Singapore in 6 Hours

Once every month before we get our work permit, our company sends us to Singapore to fix our papers. We meet with a fixer in Orchard Road and then spend about 6 to 8 hours in the vicinity as we wait for the documents.

It’s a pretty harrowing experience because we get put on a plane at 6 a.m. then come back home at 11 p.m. Typically, we don’t get any sleep.

I also enjoy coming up with excuses for immigration officers who are naturally suspicious of my travel habits. Why will I come back on the same day? What am I doing in Singapore? What am I doing in Jakarta? It’s one of the perks of being a Filipino. Your default status is an illegal worker.

But I try to make the best of it. I mean, I am on Orchard Road, with about SG$300 in my pocket, so why not enjoy?

Here is what I did on my last trip.


Brunch at Rocky Master, a UCC-type establishment. There was a Filipina handling the cash register.

Mushrooms, sausages, sunny side up eggs, ham and hash browns
Blueberry muffin. Yum!

Explore the train system. It was interesting, but very confusing as I had to switch trains twice before I could get to Orchard. It reminded me so much of the MRT back home.

Two very noisy, annoying Filipinos kept commenting on my shoes, my hair, my coat and the way I would look at the train map (“Para namang magbabago pag titigan niya.”) — probably not realizing I could understand them.



Sleep at the Specialist Nail and Beauty Spa at the Far East Shopping Centre. I was so sleepy at the time, and had already tried sleeping on a bench (uncomfortable) and the bookstore (attendants shooed me away), so I decided to get a massage.

It took me a while to find a decent massage place, where the masseux wasn’t in full makeup and lingerie, eager to get me off after a 1-hour Thai or Swedish massage. I also got my nails done while watching a sequence of Lady Gaga music videos.



Tried the infamous Jollibean. Had a chance to do so before I boarded the plane home. It was truly, truly abysmal. The almond milk was kind of weird and the pancake rolls were dry. I gave the latter to an Indian janitress, who probably threw them away.

Only the crispy peanut pancake was passably good.

I would rather have Filipino Jollibee any day.

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