Singapore · Travel Tales

Throwback Thursdays: Singapore in 2009

In the summer of 2009, my uncle who used to work in Singapore invited his family (my tita and cousin) to his home. They in turn invited me as well. We were there for two weeks, and even though we could have gone to Malaysia as well during that span of time, we were worried as it was the height of the spread of the AH1N1 virus. So I pretty much immersed myself in those two weeks.

It was my first time in about a decade to be abroad, so I was excited. Also, this meant that I ended up looking a lot like a “tourist” in the disparaging sense.

The quintessential "OFW shot" (as my college friends put it) at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
The quintessential “OFW shot” (as my college friends put it) by the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Please feel free to note that my (very grainy) pics here are filtered to the max with the Luminance app.

My uncle lived in a pretty awesome condo unit a five-minute walk from the Lakeside station of the MRT. I spent lots of afternoons and evenings swimming in the pool. I also loved that I could go to so many sights and malls just by taking the MRT or the numbered buses. Twice I went around myself, mainly to shop. I went to Mass in a Catholic church nearby once, and for some reason I was so touched that I cried in the midst of strangers. I rarely ever do that.

Feeding some lories at the Jurong Bird Park
Feeding some lories at the Jurong Bird Park
At the Botanical Gardens
At the Botanical Gardens
Songs of the Sea in Sentosa
Songs of the Sea in Sentosa

Some sights I still can’t forget are Sentosa and the Songs of the Sea lights and sounds show, the Singapore Flyer (a steep price), the Botanical Gardens, the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, and the Jurong Bird Park. (Universal Studios was still being built then.) And of course, the malls. I wanted to buy everything from the Kinokuniya bookstore on Orchard Road and from all Charles and Keith branches. The markets in Bugis and Chinatown were also fascinating. Two things I can’t forget about Chinatown are how I seemed to arrive at a totally different world upon ascending the steps from the MRT station, and how it has a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and a mosque, all in one area.

Chinatown
Chinatown

And Singapore was so unbelievably clean and organized. At the time I naively had a feeling that the concerns of Singaporeans were so simple. I mean, I remember picking up a newspaper and reading the front page, and I don’t recall the exact news but I remember thinking how trivial the headline would’ve been if it had been a Philippine publication. It took me some literature to remind myself that such thoughts are only for the casual, touristy observer.

So many things have changed since then, I realize now. I probably will not hesitate so much to go from one end of the Singapore MRT to the other, and I think I can appreciate laksa better this time around. And my uncle, who brought us around the little country, has passed away. He used to be the only one who called me “madame” ever since I became a teacher, you know.

I say this about a lot of places I go to, but maybe I’ll go back one day.

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One thought on “Throwback Thursdays: Singapore in 2009

  1. Ms Fil! I think I know your Uncle! hehe my family stayed with him in his condo the last time we were in Singapore πŸ™‚

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