SINGAPORE ON A BUDGET: Food and Shopping

The best Hainanese Chicken Rice with Milo Dinosaur - two must-try popular food in Singapore

The best Hainanese Chicken Rice with Milo Dinosaur – two must-try popular food in Singapore

My friend, we are not only travellers.  We are also shopaholics and a hungry bunch, too.  In Singapore, we can also have our food and shopping adventure without damaging our pockets.  Here are my experiences on my recent Singapore getaway.

FOOD: Hawkers!!!

Maxwell Food Center at Chinatown.  It's just right across the Pagoda

Maxwell Food Center at Chinatown. It’s just right across the Pagoda

Singapore is also a place to fulfill your gastronomical adventures and hawker centers offer the best and cheapest option to taste the different flavors the country has to offer.  Depending on the food you will eat, you will spend around SGD 3 to 10 a meal per person.  For drinks, it ranges from SGD 0.90 to 3.  That is cheaper compared to eating at fast food joints or restaurants which may cost SGD 20 or more.

Long line at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Center.  Home of the best chicken rice for SGD 5 only!

Long line at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Center. Home of the best chicken rice for SGD 5 only!

As for desserts, walk on any street and look for any cart that sells ice cream sandwiched in wafer for only SGD 1.20.

The popular ice cream wafer at the streets of Singapore

The popular ice cream wafer at the streets of Singapore

To know more about the location of different hawker centers in SG, go to this website.

SHOPPING: go to street markets or grocery stores

Shopping for souvenirs at Chinatown

Shopping for souvenirs at Chinatown

Singapore is a mall rats wonderland!  There so many malls in this country full of shops catering to your different liking but may cost you an arm and a leg, or even your kidney or liver.  But if you want to save money, go to street markets instead.  I highly recommend that you go to Chinatown with 3 streets full of sellers of knick knacks of everything.

For SGD 10, you can buy either of the following:

  • 3 to 4 pieces of souvenir t-shirts
  • 4 to 6 pieces of ref magnets (depending on its size and material)
  • 6 pieces of key chains
  • 3 pieces of accordion fan
  • 3 to 6 pieces of wallets for ladies (depending on its size and material)
  • 3 to 4 pieces of table display (depending on its size and material, again)
  • 3 to 4 pieces of paper weights
  • 3 to 6 pieces of lucky charms (depending on its size)

But if you want to bring along some flavors of Singapore with you, go to any grocery stores for a more budget-friendly option.  A bottle of their popular Kaya spread costs SGD 2 to 5 dollars depending on its size and brand.  Buy chocolates, cup noodles or chips that are not available in the Philippines for SGD 0.50 – 8 depending on its brand and size.

Hope I help you save on your upcoming Singapore adventure.  So my friend, enjoy your vacation and don’t forget to buy me a pack of flavored Yakult (priced at SGD 3.10).  Hihihi!

A pack of Yakult with Green Apple, Orange and Grape flavors.  Available only in Singapore for SGD 3.10

A pack of Yakult with two original flavors, one Grape, Orange & Green Apple flavors.  Available only in Singapore for SGD 3.10

 

*Tinakits*

 

DAKAK PARK AND BEACH RESORT: A Surprise at Dapitan City

Dakak Park and Beach Resort

Dakak Park and Beach Resort

My friend, when you were a kid, where do you wish to go?  We both want to go to Disney and any other fun theme parks overseas.   But sometimes, we were influenced with what we usually see on TV on the things we want to have or the places we want to go to.  Yup! Television is powerful.  That is why I also want to go to Dakak Beach Resort because of its commercial I always saw on the noontime show my family watched before. That is one of the reasons why B and I chose to go to Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao for our annual summer getaway.

When I booked a discounted flight with Philippine Airlines going Dipolog City, the gateway to Dapitan City & Dakak.  We stayed at Dapitan City for a day and stayed at Dakak Park and Beach Resort for 2 nights.

Based on their website and Facebook page, their package already includes hotel pick-up and drop off and one-day pass to their sister park named Gloria Fantasyland.  Since we stayed at Home Sweet Home by the Bay, we arranged that they pick us up there.

The Php 5,500 per day Dakak ‘Ta Bay package given to us was expensive compared to the resorts we availed in most of our trips.  We were somewhat forced to avail of that package for our contact said it was their cheapest, only to find out that they have a cheaper room.  Anyway, we got we have paid for and more because it includes free buffet breakfast daily, can use their swimming pools and Jacuzzi, free one-day pass to Gloria Fantasyland, and the surrounding area of our private villa was quiet but near their restaurants and pool area:

Our room from the outside.

Our room from the outside.

We got our own cable TV.  We only have 2 channels available, ABS-CBN and HBO Asia.

We got our own cable TV. We only have 2 channels available, ABS-CBN and HBO Asia.  We’re not complaining though.

Separate beds - one single and one king-size.

Separate beds – one single and one king-size, plus an extra mattress.  I think 4 people can sleep here.

We got our own rack, separate lavatory and personal fridge inside the bathroom.   Shower area and toilet were separated with curtains.

We got our own rack, separate lavatory and personal fridge inside the bathroom. Shower area and toilet were separated with curtains.

The pools evoke fun that we maximized it and swam there for 2 days:

Slides!  Watch your kids here for the water is 7 feet deep in this pool.

Slides! Watch your kids closely here for the water is 7 feet deep in this pool.

This is fun!!!

This is fun!!!

With fountains at the center and surrounding areas of the pool.  This has a separate section for kids.

With fountains at the center and surrounding areas of the pool. This has a separate section for kids.

Third pool with man-made falls, only 5-foot deep.

Third pool with man-made falls, only 5-foot deep.

B enjoyed dipping at one the pools after swimming on the beach.

B enjoyed dipping at one the pools after swimming on the beach.

The area was serene since the resort was far from the city center:

Pagoda in the middle of the resort which serves as their Function Room.

Pagodas in the middle of the resort which serve as their Function Rooms.

Serenity at the beach.

Serenity at the beach.

And the beach was heavenly! The sand was fine, water was calm and clear and the atmosphere was serene!  Perfect area to unwind and forget the busy work life we have back in Manila:

DSC_0355

Peaceful afternoon

Peaceful afternoon

Relaxing at the beach underneath a tree.

Relaxing at the beach underneath a tree.

We noticed that the waters were always calm.  Maybe because the beach is surrounded by cliffs and mountains which breaks the waves.  It is ideal if you want to swim at calm waters.  There is no stones at the beach nor at sea which means you can walk barefoot here.  The sand is cold to the feet, which is similar to the sands in Boracay, even if the sun is beaming hot .

Fine sands of Dakak.

Fine sands of Dakak.

Beach activities like kayaking, banana boat ride, jetski, and other activities were available for an additional fee which we did not asked nor availed since we want to relax and not do any strenuous activity.  But we did availed of their zipline adventure for Php 500 which includes a free 30-minute horseback ride going to the starting point. They claimed that they have the longest zipline in the country, and I guess they were right.  I think it took us more than a minute for us to land on the other end.  It was scary at first for our starting area was very high.  But once you’re released, you will enjoy the fresh breeze and the scenery of the mountains, its forest and the sea.

Our ride going to the Zipline area.

Our ride going to the Zipline area.

Almost ready :|

Almost ready 😐

Success! Here's my certificate :)

Success! Here’s my certificate 🙂

If you’re hungry, they have the Bamboo Restaurant that serves Filipino and international cuisines.  This is also the venue for their buffet breakfast and is facing the beach.

B at the juice and bread area of Bamboo Restaurant's Breakfast Buffet.

B at the juice and bread area of Bamboo Restaurant’s Breakfast Buffet.

 

So many food to choose from! yum :p

So many food to choose from! Yum :p

Us enjoying our hearty meal overlooking at the beach.

Us enjoying our hearty meal overlooking the beach.

But if you have enough money, try their Italian Restaurant named Il Patio.

Il Patio Ristorante Italiano

Il Patio Ristorante Italiano

Il Patio Ristorante Italiano is their fine dining restaurant.  It is surprising to know that there’s a semi-fine dining Italian Restaurant at the beach cause I was used to seeing crowded bars.  The price was quite heavy on the pocket but it was so worth it!  Their pizzas were cooked the traditional Italian way.  The pizza crust of our Margherita Pizza was soft and chewy.  We never ate any other pizza like that in Manila.  Their ravioli was al dente and full of cheese and basil inside.  The entire meal was so simple yet so full of fresh flavor of its ingredients!  So far, Il Patio is the best Italian Restaurant I have ever been!

Our Ravioli stuffed with cream cheese and basil, sauteed in butter, topped with tomato sauce.  Delicious!

Our Ravioli stuffed with cream cheese and basil, sauteed in butter, topped with simple tomato sauce. Delicious!

Pizza margherita - so simple but so delicious, too!

Pizza margherita – so simple but so delicious, too!

The resort was a surprise for me.  You can’t imagine that a quiet and laidback province like Zamboanga del Norte will have a world-class eco-resort hiding at the back of its mountains will full of modern amenities. Again, the fee we paid was super worth it!

Cheers to our successful summer getaway added in our list!

Cheers to our successful summer getaway added on our list!

This is my second part of our Dapitan Tour. Wait for my last post about availing of our free tickets to Gloria’s Fantasyland.

 

-Tinakits-

A Joyous Holidays & Fruitful New Year!

Our Christmas Tree with some of the many gifts surrounding it

Our Christmas Tree with some of the many gifts surrounding it

December is the busiest month on everybody’s calendar.  The last month of the year is also a time for us to reflect if 2013 has been kind or challenging.

For me, it was full of adventure!  There were downs but it was more of a learning experience.  I am very excited what will the new year will bring!  But I promised to continue with the topsy-turvy adventure called life.

To you my friend, thank you for being a part of my 2013.  Let’s continue with the friendship and enjoy 2014!

Happy Holidays! 🙂

Philippines’ Official Holidays for 2014

My friend, are you always planning ahead?  I am!  I am so finicky about the things I should do that I plan way ahead of time.  Can you believe that I am done planning for my budget next year even if 2013 has not ended yet!

That is why I was so happy that the Philippine Government already posted next years’ official holidays.  That means, my friends and I can already choose the best days to plan for our trip in 2014 so that we can book those discounted plane tickets once airlines announces their seat sale!!!  My Goodness!!!  I already overused the exclamation point to my excitement!!!!

So my friend, here are the holidays next year as posted on the Philippines’ Official Gazette:

January 1, 2014, Wednesday – New Year’s Day (Regular Holiday)

January 31, 2014, Friday – Chinese New Year (Special non-working day)

February 25, 2014, Tuesday – EDSA Revolution anniversary (Holiday for all schools)

April 9, 2014, Wednesday – Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular Holiday)

April 17, 2014 – Maundy Thursday (Regular Holiday)

April 18, 2014 – Good Friday (Regular Holiday)

April 19, 2014 – Black Saturday (Special non-working day)

May 1, 2014, Thursday – Labor Day (Regular Holiday)

June 12, 2014, Thursday – Independence Day (Regular Holiday)

August 21, 2014, Thursday – Ninoy Aquino Day (Special non-working day)

August 25, 2014, Monday – National Heroes Day (Regular Holiday)

November 1, 2014, Saturday – All Saints Day (Special non-working day)

November 30, 2014, Sunday – Bonifacio Day (Regular Holiday)

December 24, 2014, Wednesday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)

December 25, 2014, Thursday – Christmas Day (Regular Holiday)

December 26, 2014, Friday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)

December 30, 2014, Tuesday – Rizal Day (Regular Holiday)

December 31, 2014, Wednesday – Last day of the year (Special non-working day)

*Separate proclamations will be issued for the observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eidul Adha

Based on the information, we will have 4 long weekends.  Aside from Holy Week on April, we can enjoy long rest on January since Chinese New Year falls on a Friday (Jan. 31).  Another will be in August for National Heroes Day (Monday, Aug. 25) & a longer Christmas celebration since December 26th (Friday) was declared an extra holiday for the working people.

A fifth long weekend might happen because there is a possibility that Eid’l Fitr for 2014 might be on July 28th which is a Friday.  But still, it depends on the Muslim Calendar.

So my friend, let’s plan for our next years’ getaway.

-Tinakits-