Saturday, December 29, 2012

Style and Soul in Singapore

I knew blogging has opened doors for a lot of other people to travel around either locally or internationally. It just never occurred to me that one day, I'd be one of them.

This December, I went on a Singapore trip with five other bloggers made possible by AirAsia Philippines, AirAsiaGo and the Singapore Tourism Board. Allow me to endlessly talk about my trip as if my tweets, instagram uploads and facebook posts weren't enough. People say you never forget your first and true enough, my first-ever travel project will forever be memorable.


As one of the founders of Bloggers United, I really wished I was there to witness how successful our event was (which took place while I was away) and be able to get-together with some of the blogger friends that I haven't seen in such a long time. I was a little sad to have missed it but I have no regrets whatsoever. The Singapore trip was a rare opportunity that I couldn't ignore. It was just what I personally needed -- a different group of people, new sights to gawk at and fresh experiences to relish.

I've always wanted to travel around the world but it's something that I've always put off because of my incredibly busy work schedule, not to mention my sheer reluctance to spend my hard-earned savings. Sounds just like you? Haha. But really, with this trip, I found a new sense of boldness to go ahead and fly to certain parts of the world -- a confidence I gained from knowing that doing so isn't as expensive as thought it would be. With a carefully planned itinerary and proper research (check travel blogs for tips), travelling on a tight budget is now truly possible.


What's with AirAsia?
Just like Robbie (one of the bloggers I went to SG with), I tried booking a round trip ticket back to Singapore for five days (Jan 31 - Feb. 4) and AirAsia's rates go as low as P5,099. Meanwhile, for as much as P11,772 (hotel + flight), I got an additional cheap hotel accommodation by booking a package tour with AirAsiaGo. These are incredibly more affordable than: 1) Cebu Pacific = P7,089.81, 2) AirPhil Express = P7,416 and 3) PAL = P11, 971.

Personally, I've only experienced flying with Cebu Pacific (so I can't speak for the other airlines) which I initially thought was the cheapest of them all. I'm quite surprised to discover AirAsia as one of the most low-cost airlines -- so low that it seems like you won't be needing to wait for promo fares to be able to afford a ticket. It is based in Clark International Airport, Pampanga which sounds really "far" to me at first but it's actually just more or less a 2 hour ride (an hour and a half without traffic) away from my place. Considering travel time, cab fare and Manila's daily traffic condition, I realized that it's much more convenient for someone like me, who resides in Quezon City to go all the way to Clark instead of NAIA.


When I came back from the trip (Dec 17), I went straight to a hosting job (yes that's how tight my personal schedule is, haha) in QC. We left Clark at almost 4 PM and I was there (in Tomas Morato) by 5:30 PM just right in time for my 6 PM call time. I was sooooo amazed at how clear the traffic was on a Monday! Hmmm... I wonder if this would also be the same scenario (horrific Edsa traffic) if I came all the way from NAIA? 

AirAsia's other travel destinations also include Kalibo, Davao, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and their recently launched Singapore and Taipei (and more local and int'l flights). I also heard they will soon be providing shuttle services from Trinoma (yey!) directly to Clark Airport for only P200.00. Plus, if you don't have any check-in baggage, save yourself from all the hassle of falling in line by using their self check-in kiosks.


You get what you pay for?
I've been really open about being such a penny pincher, always buying the things that are the most affordable but I make sure everything appears to be beyond its actual value. With AirAsiaas cheap as the airfares may be, the quality of service doesn't suffer. I'm not kidding when I say  it doesn't feel like I'm in a budget airline at all. I appreciate the upholstery of their seats, good-looking and accommodating flight attendants (we were all captivated by Abelard, a senior cabin crew haha) plus their minimalist designed interiors definitely exude class.

Photos grabbed from Robbie :)

So in this case, NO. You will not get what you pay for. You'll get even more. Safe and satisfying indeed.


The travelling soul
My short-lived trip in Singapore will be unforgettable for sure. I got to travel, to make new friends, to eat delicious dishes, to lose myself in a foreign country and many more. I feel privileged and blessed to have been chosen and I'm incredibly grateful, humbled and at the same time honored to be a part of AirAsia's inaugural flight to Singapore. For some people it may not be a big of a deal especially if travelling is a part of their lifestyle or their job. But for me, I find happiness in the simplest things like these.

After spending a few days with mostly travel bloggers, I've never been so inspired to put "Explore the world or at least the Philippines first," in one of my things to-do this 2013. I feel like I've been caged in my work place, my house and my familiar surroundings most of the time that I fail to take a risk and throw myself in adventures that I will be happy to look back to when I grow old.

Singapore is a beautiful country and no wonder why a lot of my friends would want to seek opportunities there, live there for good or at least visit for fun. In my next few posts, I'm really excited to share with you more about it!

View from the Singapore Flyer

Thank you so much AirAsia Philippines for making this a merrier Christmas for me. You're a modern-day Santa!

* * * * * * * * * *

Want to experience how exciting it is in Singapore? Book your flights now with AirAsia Philippines till January 6 to avail of their Rainy Day Travel Promo starting from P499! For updates and easy access on their travel promos and surprises, like them on Facebook.

Meanwhile, score affordable hotel accommodations and package tours via AirAsiaGo!  Visit their website at www.airasiago.com, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/airasiago.ph, and follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/airasiagoph.  

Disclosure: Trip made possible by AirAsia PhilippinesAirAsiaGo and the Singapore Tourism Board. Read more about my blog sponsorships here.


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