A rundown of Filipinos’ favorite activities and attractions in Singapore
It may be one of the world’s smallest countries, but Singapore offers much more than what you usually expect from a cosmopolitan city. And this is something Pinoys know very well, whether they are one of the 170,000-plus members of the Filipino community in Singapore or are visiting the country for the nth time on vacation.
Skyscanner takes you through the haunts and hotspots Pinoys have come to love in Singapore and the activities they gravitate towards.
1. A snap with the Merlion
It’s a prerequisite of sorts, especially among first-time visitors, to have your photo taken with the Merlion Statue. The Merlion—a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a mermaid’s body—is Singapore’s traditional trademark. You’ll find the original 8.6-meter-tall statue at the Merlion Park in One Fullerton, where it overlooks Marina Bay. A few steps behind this is a 2-meter Merlion cub fountain. Remember to bring along your selfie stick to get some amazing shots here.
2. High up Sands **SkyPark**
As far as Singapore’s modern-day structures go, the Marina Bay Sands is the most iconic. And on the 57th floor of this hotel-casino is another Pinoy favorite: the SkyPark. From the SkyPark’s observation deck, which is 200 meters high, you get a full view of Singapore’s Central Business District skyline. There are also restaurants on site, plus a 150-meter infinity pool (only hotel guests, however, can take a dip).
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3. Aboard the Singapore Flyer
For a panoramic view of Singapore and beyond (catch a glimpse of Malaysia and Indonesia too!), hop on the Singapore Flyer. This giant observation wheel lifts you up 165 meters. It has 28 air-conditioned capsules, each as large as a city bus and with enough room for 28 passengers. A complete rotation lasts about 32 minutes. You can also book a private capsule for a unique wine-and-dine experience.
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4. Explore Gardens by the **B**ay
How is the Singapore government painting the city green? Visit Gardens by the Bay to find out. Take the tram tour to get a lay of the land, including its three waterfront gardens. Then explore on foot its two conservatories: feast your eyes on a variety of flora from the Mediterranean and subtropical regions at the Flower Dome, and experience the cool and moist conditions that plants in high mountains thrive on at the Cloud Forest. Try to also catch the sunset from the OCBC Skyway, an elevated walkway connecting two of the supertrees—the park’s 25 to 50-meter-high steel structures designed to look and function like trees.
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5. Zoo hopping
Singapore is as much of a treat to nature lovers as it is to animal lovers. In fact, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore runs four different attractions. The Singapore Zoo houses more than 300 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in settings patterned after their natural habitats. You can also feed kangaroos from your palm, watch flying foxes dart above your head, cross paths with ring-tailed lemurs and even have breakfast with free-ranging orangutans!
The Night Safari offers tram tours and walking trails starring nocturnal species. Their specially lit enclosures are bright enough that you can make out the animals but dim enough not to distract them.
The River Safari brings you aquatic and terrestrial animals of the world’s most iconic rivers, including the Amazon, Mississippi, Nile and Yangtze. Its biggest scene-stealers are the giant river otter, giant salamander, Mekong giant catfish and giant pandas.
The Jurong Bird Park features a walk-in aviary with over 600 free-flying residents and dedicated sections for flightless and nocturnal species and birds of prey. This is also your chance to see penguins play, flamingos strut and pelicans hunt.
Photo credit: travlang
6. Day of leisure and adventure at Sentosa
Sentosa Island is the go-to place for outdoor recreation and leisure. This resort getaway boasts three artificial white beaches, each with its own allure. Palawan Beach is the most family-friendly, with its string of shops and restaurants. Siloso Beach is the most lively, with outdoor activities such as volleyball during the day and parties at bars by night. And Tanjong Beach is the most tranquil, with its crowd-free stretches and romantic ambiance. The luge ride is a big hit too, while extreme adventure seekers can try the steep zip wires and free-fall parachute stimulator at the MegaZip Adventure Park.
7. Cable car joyride
Sentosa also happens to be one of the stops of the Singapore Cable Car. Riding the transparent enclosures of this bi-cable gondola lift makes for excellent sightseeing. Plus, it provides the most scenic route to the rustic forest of Mount Faber Park and the vibrant hotspots of Faber Peak Singapore.
_Photo credit: tripadvisor_
8. Have a blast at Universal Studios
Exciting attractions. Thrilling rides. Astonishing shows. Oh, and your favorite movie characters coming to life. It’s no surprise that Universal Studios Singapore in Resorts World Sentosa is such a huge draw. The longest queues are usually for the Transformers ride, Battlestar Galactica and The Mummy roller coasters, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure and The Waterworld show. If you have kids in tow, there’s a junior roller coaster and a mini Ferris wheel in the Far Far Away zone and a carousel at the Madagascar section. If you’re in town in October, you’ll even get to see the special Halloween setup.
_Photo credit: tripadvisor_
9. Party at **Clarke Quay**
Clarke Quay has transformed into one of the hippest hangouts in Singapore. A riverside dining and entertainment hub, it hosts five blocks of restaurants, clubs, live music spots and bars where warehouses once stood. The floating pubs? They’re actually refurbished wooden boats.
But there’s more to Clarke Quay than just its nightlife. You can try its reverse bungee ride for a taste of adventure or go on a 30-minute leisurely cruise along the Singapore river.
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10. Feast on **chili crab and black pepper crab**
On the culinary front, don’t miss out on Singapore’s signature crab dishes. The first is the chili crab—juicy mud crabs stir-fried in a sweet sauce with a tomato and chili base. The dish is often served with mantou (toasted buns) so you can scoop up and relish its savory sauce. Families usually troop to the East Coast Parkway for their chili crab fix. Or if you’re planning a night out in Clarke Quay later, there’s a Jumbo Seafood branch just opposite at Riverside Point.
Another must-try is the black pepper crab. This dish uses hard-shell crabs fried in black pepper. If you want to sample the original version, get a table at the Long Beach Seafood Restaurant. You could also make reservations at the famed Eng Seng Restaurant.
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Photo credit: seriouseats
11. Shop, shop, shop at Orchard Road
Filipinos love to shop and if they’re feeling the urge to splurge, chances are they’ll be at Orchard Road. This long stretch is home to mostly upscale malls and boutiques. While gadgets, antiques and furniture can also be found here, designer apparel and accessories are the best-sellers.
Many top fashion companies have branches in Orchard Road, including high-street labels such as Topshop, Mango, Uniqlo and Zara, as well as luxury brands like Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton.
Read more: Top 5 luxury shopping malls in Asia Pacific
Photo credit: tripadvisor
12. Hang out at Lucky Plaza
Along Orchard Road is a haunt for the Filipino community: Lucky Plaza. This six-storey building sells mostly electronics on its lower floors and beauty products and food items from the Philippines on its upper levels, where you can also get an affordable haircut and listen to (or belt out) Tagalog songs. The basement houses a string of restaurants, including Filipino eateries and pizza and fast-food joints. There’s even a Jollibee branch here!
To Filipinos living in Singapore, Lucky Plaza is a budget-friendly mall where they can spend their off days, a comfortable spot to mingle with other Pinoys, and a trove of the things and treats they miss from home. You can also drop by here for banking, currency exchange and remittance transactions and to avail of cargo delivery services.
Singapore is packed with things to do and places to see, and has something in store for everyone. No wonder it has won Pinoys’ hearts.
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Photo credit: flickr