It was around January when I read the news that L'arc En Ciel will go on tour for their 20th Anniversary. I was planning to go to Hong Kong but I didn't pursue it due to my Q1 (Quarter 1) workload. After a few weeks, they released a date but with no confirmed venue yet in Singapore. I was thinking to wait for the venue before I purchase my flight tix. I mean, it's just January and the concert's on April. Why do I need to rush?
However, when I was talking to my friend, Rich over at YM about the upcoming Laruku's concert. And my friend in SG, Hoshi was excited that I'll be coming for a visit. It was enough for my inner fangirl to go in HYPER mode. The next day, I decided to purchase my round-trip tix at Cebu Pacific. It was also a matter of luck that the said airline has an on-going promo.
When I got my flight tix, that's where the realization of traveling alone sets in. It was my first time to go abroad. We have heard of stories of being falsely accused as a drug trafficker or their visa/social pass was declined to a country because they're from the Philippines. Unfortunately, when I searched on tips on traveling from Philippines to Singapore AS A TOURIST, most of the articles I got were how to get a job illegally. Seeing such information so easily available on the net and even being encouraged by some didn't help and just made me more paranoid of what will happen to me in Singapore. I was concerned how the Immigration Officers will view first-timers like me.
ANYWAY, Rich and Hoshi helped me a lot on preparing for my 1st trip abroad. Rich even prepared a list of the things I have to do/bring. Hoshi on the other hand, told me the things I've to expect from the Immigration. I also told her that I read some articles that the requirements of the PH Immigration to travel abroad varies especially if they doubt that this person will try to find work abroad. She assured me that since I'm a tourist, all I need were an invitation letter, my round-trip ticket, passport and a trolley pack of clothes with enough space for pasalubong. :D
BEST EMAIL EVER!
Warning: May induce hyperactivity as a result of its ability to release a fangirl's emotions
It was February when I received an email from Hoshi with the subject: BEST EMAIL EVER! Indeed it was! She attached a screenshot of her transaction in SISTIC (the ticketing service for the L'arc En Ciel concert). I remember it was Sunday midnight/Monday morning when I saw her email. Oh, there was a cold rush all over my body~ It was like: gosh, I'm really going to see L'arc En Ciel in Singapore. In concert. LIVE!!! kyaaaaah!!! After I've settled down, I searched for a live clip of Driver's High and smiled that I'm going to experience that same energy and passion from Laruku.
It wasn't until March that I've told my other friends that I'm going to see L'arc En Ciel. I'm also a member of an FB group of PH-based fans of Laruku and one of my longtime online friends, Tcha was also going to see the concert. However our concert seats and flight details are different but we agreed to see each other before/after the concert. As for my parents, I told them that I'm going to SG, 1 week before my flight. I decided to keep this as a secret to them as I don't want to get them worried for months (I started this whole plan around January). After what Hoshi have told me about Immigration rules, I'm confident that I'll be able to pass thru since my intentions are true. I'm a tourist. I'll visit my friend and watch a concert. However, for my sanity's sake, I still prepared documents like: NBI Clearance - to travel abroad, Certificate of Employment with salary (to show financial capacity incase the Officer will ask me aside from cash and credit card), copy of my LEAVE form and a print-out of BEST EMAIL EVER! ^.^ It was my first trip abroad so yeah, can't help to have some jitters. First trip abroad and SOLO flight, literally. hahaha...
My flight was on Friday (April 27) but I decided to be on leave (at work) by Thursday so that I'll have ample time to prepare my things. Packing for clothes was easy but I've had some difficulty with the shoes. Since I've to bring which wouldn't eat a lot of space but would be very convenient to use while roaming around Singapore. For shoes, I ended up bringing 1 boots, 1 wedge and 1 foldable flats. I did what my friends have told me. I've checked my travel documents. I've also prepared a copy of my passport and valid IDs just incase anything happens. I also gave my parents a copy of Hoshi's invitation letter and my flight details. This may seem over the top for a 1st time traveler but I have an extra t-shirt and undies in my handbag. It was a precautionary measure incase my trolley got lost.
Thursday night (April 26), the ever-sweet and bubbly Hoshi called to check up on me! She's in Singapore and I'll be staying at their place. ^_^ We talked for around 5-10mins sharing our excitement that we're going to see each other and our plans for the weekend aside from attending L'arc En Ciel's concert. While, my parents arrived at our place in Manila, pass 10:00PM and we left at 2:30AM of Friday. We arrived at the airport around 3AM. There was a long queue already of travelers but check-in was not a problem. Then after that, I went to the Travel Tax counter to pay my dues (1620PHP) and to the PH Immigration counter (550PHP).
I sat at one of the seats near the boarding gate. I was sleepy and I've to fight it. At the same time, there were hints of hunger. The hot chocolate and bread I had at home didn't do any justice to my stomach and I know that if I don't eat a heavy breakfast, I'll be dead hungry on the plane and it's one of the worse places to be hungry due to limited food availability.
Thankfully, there were a few establishments already opened near the boarding the gate. I wanted to eat at this Japanese-inspired resto but they have a limited selection of food (probably because it's just almost 5AM) and didn't find any to my liking. I ended up having breakfast at Sweet Ideas Restaurant. I had their spicy sardines. Hm, I was expecting it'll taste something like Century Tuna's Spanish chunks. But the food's still okay. They have free wifi too. Just ask the attendants there for the password. After eating, I roamed for a bit and saw a resto offering gelato. I was also pleasantly surprised that there's a TOKYO CAFE in the airport. Too bad, it seemed they're only open on the latter part of the day.
I went back to the assigned gate and waited. I noticed there were a lot of families who are also going to Singapore in my flight. I wondered if that child who's probably not yet 10 years old infront of me shares the same feeling that I have about this trip. Does she feel excited about being in a new country? For a brief moment, I wished that our family would experience having a trip together going abroad.
The plane arrived on time and I was already inside the plane by 6:18AM. Our plane left the airport by 6:45AM. Once on air, I'm surprised to see Manila to have a lot of skyscrapers than before. And there are others which are under construction. I'm guessing that area is Bonifacio Global City. Anyway, when the plane descended way up in the sky and all I was seeing were just clouds, I started filling up the Immigration card then after that, I decided to catch some sleep as I know it's going to be a long and exciting day ahead. I'm thankful that I got an extra leg room and the seat behind me was empty so I was able to recline my seat to a very comfortable position *lucky*. I fell asleep for an hour before the baby in our lane cried relentlessly. I checked my phone for the time, I still have 2 hours. I tried dozing off but I find myself being awake by the crying baby. I didn't feel upset since it's just a baby. Probably around 5-6months old. I've to commend the flight attendant who was very attentive to help the mother in pacifying the baby. And when the mother needed to go to the loo, the baby didn't cry as it was left on the arms of the flight attendant. Makes me wonder if the FA's married or she's just good with kids. When the mother (of the baby) came back, everything seemed fine. There were times the baby still cried but it was not as loud as before that will stir up everyone in the plane.
To pass the time, I did some daydreaming how the concert will be like and what songs will Laruku play. I also thought about the food that SG has. tee-hee~ I saw in TLC (Travel and Lifestyle channel) how multi-cultural SG is which also reflects in their food. Time really flies fast when you are pre-occupied as our Captain declared that we'll be on our final descend and then that we're near SG. I checked my window and saw some land already. Then, I recognized Singapore. I'm amazed how a place considered small compared to the Philippines in terms of land area and yet this country is highly-developed and has a strong economy. The plane landed smoothly and the Captain officially declared that we're in Singapore.
Continue reading about my Singapore Trip... For Part II: Promised Land