Jan 29, 2012

Life in SG: Santa Grand Hotel

Hello there! :)

So sorry for the lack of posts! We transferred to the house that we'll be renting for a year and it took a week for us to make the internet+cable work. But now that we're connected again, I'm gonna blog regularly  na! Okay, I'm crossing my fingers and toes here. Haha.

Anyways, on to the real post...

Since our assignment is long-term, our accommodations are at our own expense. The company, however, booked us at a hotel where we could stay for two weeks while looking for a house. I, along with 11 other teammates, am checked in at Santa Grand Hotel.

SGH is in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown and because Chinese New Year is just around the corner during our stay, the very street that the hotel is in is almost always jam-packed. Our consolation is that it's a few minutes walk to our office and the MRT station so there's really no complaining :P

This is the reception area and that's their friendliest front desk officer, Kelvin.

Our rooms are in the third floor and these two iPads are what's gonna greet you as you step out of the elevator. Yup, WiFi's free! :-) Perfect for OFWs like us. Haha!

The hallway.

And my keycard.
Oh, what can you say about the wifi password? :P

There's my room! ^^,

Before anything else, picture muna :D

If I remember it right, I got a Deluxe Room priced at SGD 144.50 per night (again, don't convert! haha!). I think we got a discount because their published rates say it's SGD 250 (corporate stuff, maybe). My room is a bit small for it's price but it's all mine so I didn't mind the size.

Let me show it to you.

Here's one side. The room has windows but sadly, I don't think it can be opened. And even if it can, it opens up to... wait for it... another room's windows. Haha!

The other side. The cable TV only has 10 channels! Yung iba dun, Chinese pa! At the very least, it has HBO :-)

A closer look at my bed. I loooooooove the headboard. It's simply classy. The bed's just how I like it in terms of firmness. The pillows I love too! But sometimes the sheets are itchy. Sometimes lang naman.

At the corner is a pole where you hang clothes. I don't have a closet in my room but I think it's okay because a closet is creepy for someone who has wild imagination like me. Haha.

Now the bathroom... I like the shower and the lavatory but seriously, it's just too cramped :-(

The wallpaper caught my fancy. Love the color and the texture.

This is the breakfast area. I adore the couches! Royalty ang peg! :-)

The breakfast spread is super limited. The free-flowing drinks made up for it, though.

Yup, that's just about it.

And this is what we ate for 14 effin' days! In fairness, my stomach got used to it by the fourth or fifth day. And it's free, okay.

Meet auntie who serves the breakfast. Always with a smile. I love her, so I took a picture of her before we left :-) By the way, most of the staff are very accommodating except for that one lady who scolded my friend when the power in her room went out. Haller, it's not her fault! And for the record, that's not how you treat paying guests!!! Oh well.

And like I said, the couches are love so I'm not checking out without a picture on it :-)

Considering the amenities, location and service, I'm giving Santa Grand Hotel 4 out of 5. There's definitely room for improvement but overall I had a pleasant stay.

More SG posts coming soon! :D

Jan 7, 2012

SG: From Take off to Touchdown

First things first... Happy New Year, dear friends! :)

I know it's been a week since the turn of the year but you know also that the past days I've been ultimately busy preparing for my departure. Yes folks, I'm now blogging from the Lion City! :)

My last few days in the Philippines was emotionally draining. I found myself crying every so often because saying goodbye to loved-ones was really something I haven't prepared for. A day before my flight was our monthsary and J and I really made the most of our last day together. Of course there was a lot of tears but what truly moved me was that more than the drama, there was HOPE. Hope for a safe trip. Hope for a rewarding career. Hope for more maturity. Hope for a better life for my family. Hope for an unwavering love and commitment for J and me.

Now let me just photoblog my departure from MNL and arrival at SIN =)

The day's first shot. I am definitely gonna miss my two babies :(
Oh, sorry about the puffy eyes, yan ang napala ko kakaiyak magdamag.

Obligatory shots with my family and J before checking in at the NAIA Terminal 2.

My colorful luggage. I opted for lighter bags to maximize my meager 20kg.-allowance. Thanks to my honey who did most of the packing! :-)

Our last shot before we officially bid each other farewell T_T
Pilit na mga ngiti namin no? :(

Sadness is killing me as I entered those glass doors but I tried hard not to cry because I don't wanna draw attention.

Then I suddenly told myself... "Shocks may nipper ako sa bag ko! Lagot!" hahaha

My passport (thanks Jim for the pretty passport cover), boarding pass and Overseas Employment Certificate (yes folks, we're technically OFWs). Bagong Bayani ang peg! :)

Boarding... Up to this point I'm still asking myself if I can live without J and my family.

We're flying PAL.

ETD was 10:10 but we took off at this time pa. #FilipinoTime
Tears slowly rolled down my cheeks as the plane gathered speed in the runway. Leaving my loved ones behind broke my heart but I had to keep telling myself, this is for the best. Fighting!

With only a couple of hours of sleep the past night and eyes tired due to crying endlessly, I let myself fall into slumber. I was only awaken by my Project Manager when it was time for lunch. The food was okay. Service was so-so. Flag carrier yan, ah. PAL could definitely use some more Customer Service 101 sessions.

After about 3 hours, we're ready for landing. My butt hurt because of sitting for quite a long while. 3 hours lang natagalan na ko, what more if US or Europe?!

Touchdown! Thank Heavens for a safe trip.

Arriving at Changi Airport -- truly word class!

Our very first group picture in Singapura!

And of course a solo shot! :)

Quite a lengthy walk to the exit so these walkalators are heaven-sent.

Yes, this is still inside the airport. Parang park lang :)

Lots of transportation options they have there.

But we can't hail a taxi yet coz the drivers won't accept our money. We had to drop by Currency Exchange to get some Singapore dollars. Rate at that time was 1 USD = 1.29 SGD.

At the same booth we bought a local SIM. It's expensive!

Now we're ready to ride a cab. Pricey also, so don't dare convert. Haha!

This is it! I really am in SG! Hello Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands! It's my first international trip, by the way.

I had to take a photo because it's my first time to ride a right-hand-driven verhicle. Those are my teammates Khai and Che.

No traffic at all. A few minutes was all it took to get to our destination.

The hotel where we're staying for two weeks. Photo from their Facebook page. Actual photo was soooooo far from it. Blame it on the Chinese New Year. Hahaha.

There you have it. The beginning of a new and extra challenging chapter of my life. Expect to read more of Singapore in my next posts! :)

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