The first week of November was a blast!
From November 2 – 7, me and my relatives visited Singapore: The Lion City for our vacation. There were thirteen of us, all in all, which wasn’t really a good number. But superstitions didn’t stop us from enjoying a foreign land.
Two flights were needed in order to reach Singapore: Tacloban City – Manila, and Manila-Singapore. Zest Air was our choice for the first, and AirPhil for the latter.
At Manila, we stayed at the Mall of Asia, ice skating for a few hours to pass time. It was my first time, and so was my little sister’s. To be honest, ice skating looked really really easy on T.V. Picturing how ice skaters glided on ice, they looked so magnificent and stunning, and their facial impressions were really misleading. Alternating left and right, t’was actually hard. I dropped on my butt for at least five times. And if I monitored my progress, I’d say I learned at least half of the basics. But it wasn’t really enough. What was amazing was my little sister getting ahead of me, not just on the rink, but learning as a whole. She basically let me ate her ice (ate her dust), accelerating at an amazing speed with superb control. I was left hanging at the side. My little sister never ceases to amaze me. I did learn a couple of tricks. And had fun as well. Afterwards, we ate at Max’s Restaurant before we left for Singapore.
Clouds swirled frivolously, the ripples of the ocean reflecting it quite nicely. I sat comfortably beside the window, scoring a picturesque view of the outside. Eventually, I grew tired looking, and read a few chapters of my book (Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero) before taking a nice nap.
Pain resonated in my ears, and I woke up with a jolt. I probably had a “I’m gonna fall” moment while sleeping. It was already night time when we arrived at Singapore, and I still couldn’t believe I was actually there. A big lighted sign read: Singapore Changi Airport.
The rest of the night was spent looking for our hotel… and sleeping. Theflight was ever so tiring. It always has, and always will be.
Getting breakfast was the first thing we did. We ate at a local fast food restaurant nearby. The menu was written in a Chinese-like manner so I had absolutely no idea what I ordered. Good thing there were pictures and English words on some. It kinda helped me. What I got wasn’t bad at all. Chicken and some other kind of food I didn’t know. It tasted good. I paired it with a new-found love: Heaven and Earth Tea. Man, that drink was delicious. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was full and ready to tackle the obstacles ahead.
Our destination for the day: Universal Studios
I got the gist of Universal Studios’s theme the moment I was able to get my hands on a map. It was similar to Busch Gardens, which made me feel very nostalgic. Just like Busch, Universal Studios is divided into parts, with each part incorporating a theme. The park consists of seven uniquely themed zones which surround a lagoon. Each zone is based on a blockbuster movie or a television show, featuring their own unique attractions, character appearances, dining and shopping areas. The park features the world’s tallest pair of dueling roller coasters that are based on the hit television series, Battlestar Galactica; a castle from the world of Shrek and Monster Rock, a live musical show featuring the infamous Universal Monsters. Universal Studios Singapore has over 30 restaurants and food carts, together with 20 unique retail stores and carts located around the park. Attractions premiering are marked “Premiere” and dining outlets that are certified Halal are marked with “Halal”.
The seven themes:
Hollywood is the main entrance area of the park. Its only attraction, a broadway-style theatre, is accompanied by several restaurants and a variety of flagship shops. Being a replica of the famous Hollywood Boulevard, this zone is flanked by dynamic architecture and palm trees. It also features a replica of the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
This is where we entered. We hurried inside as we wanted to at least circle the whole park. No stops for us here.
Madagascar is inspired by the hit DreamWorks Animation franchise of the same name which features four zoo animals, Alex, Gloria, Marty and Melman escaping from the Central Park Zooand unfortunately crashing onto the island of Madagascar. The zone features lush tropical junglesas well as two rides. Special character appearances include: King Julien, Skipper, Kowalski,Private, Rico, Mort and Maurice.
We went on this crate adventure where we got to see the whole cast doing whacky things. After the ride, I was right on time to watch the Madagascar show (whatever it’s called 🙂 ). I even took a video, which was allowed, hopefully. Others were taking some too. I love those penguins.
Far Far Away
Far Far Away is inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s hit Shrek franchise which depicted how the fairy-tale characters lived in daily life. The zone consists of many recognizable locations from the film series such as Shrek’s swamp house as well as Far Far Away’s glamorous Romeo Drive which contains the nightspots of the town such as Hook’s Knight Club. The highlight of the zone is the 40-metre tall Far Far Away Castle which is a world’s first. The castle hosts attractions such as Shrek 4-D and Donkey Live featuring the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz. Special character appearances include: Shrek, Donkey, Puss In Boots and Princess Fiona.
We lined up for Shrek 4-D, which was a great attraction. The moving chairs, the water sprays, the air bursts, all reminded me of Busch, which means I had just as much fun. The souvenir shop was strategically located outside the attraction, and viewers had no choice but to pass it by. I saw little Shrek stuffies on the way out.
The Lost World
The Lost World contains many traditional attractions present in most Universal Studios parks around the world and is divided into two sub areas: Jurassic Park and Waterworld. Jurassic Park, based on the popular film franchise by Steven Spielberg and novels by Michael Crichton, features the newly redesigned Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure which is based on the popular water rides in other Universal Studios parks. Waterworld contains mainly water-based attractions and is based on the film Waterworld starring Kevin Costner.
We went on one of the attractions called Canopy Flyer. It was similar to Busch’s Alpengeist, minus a little percentage of fear-inducing loops and twirls.
Ancient Egypt is based on the historical adaptation of Ancient Egypt during the 1930s Golden Ageof Egyptian Exploration. It features obelisks and pyramids which are typical of Ancient Egypt. Also featured are Pharaohs’ tombs which were commonly discovered during that era. Visitors take the role of a daring archaeologist who aims to unravel the riddles of the Sphinx in this sand-swept land. The area also relies on the depictions made in the popular film franchise, The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser.
This is where we rode one hell of an indoor roller coaster – Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride. It was so extreme. My hands gripped the seat as hard as it could. My eyes were closed in some parts, but most parts were done in dark, so we had absolutely no way of predicting when the next turn would be. I can’t believe I actually rode it, and realized I missed so much at Busch. Our pictures came out quite comedic. Some had their mouths open,some were ducking, and some showed pretty scared facial impressions.
We also rode Treasure Hunters, which was way too boring. It was intended for kids,which were present in our group… a lot.
Before heading to the next theme, we stopped at a snack cart, which was operated by a fellow Filipino.
Sci-Fi City is an imagined metropolis of the future that contains many modern conveniences of life, but with little or no remnants of past inhabitants and cultures that are able to stand the course of time. It is the home of the world’s tallest pair of dueling roller coasters, at a height of 42.7 metres (140 ft). The pair of dueling roller coasters, Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon, are based on the hit television series, Battlestar Galactica.
We didn’t have enough time to see the attractions here so we just passed by for the final theme. It was kinda lucky for me ’cause Sci-Fi City holds the two most popular roller coasters of the park. I didn’t wanna get on any of those, even if I were forced to. (But, it would be a little bit embarrassing. Good thing luck was on my side at that time. 🙂 )
New York is based on the original New York City, during the era of post-modernization. This zone features various icons commonly portrayed in movies including the trademark city skyline, neon lights, facades, sidewalks as well as the romantic atmosphere of the Big Apple. To top it off, this zone also have a replica of the famous New York Public Library with two lion statues at its entrance.
A show was being held when we passed by here. And the performers were… Filipinos. They were, like, a dance group that also did some hostings and encouraged crowd participation. It was funny how the foreigners looked when the performers would talk in our language.
Their show was an excellent way of wrapping things up for our group. Getting to see fellow Filipinos entertaining others and having fun in the process. We exited the park, over-flooding with all the precious memories. And that’s just the first day of our vacation. 😉