I spent my 27th birthday in Singapore

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  • February 13, 2024
­čôŹSingapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

I’m officially twenty-seven. You know what that means: a mental health crisis!

What am I doing with my life? Will I ever be married? Do I want kids? I’m twenty-seven, why am I not married, hell, why am I not in a relationship?

I then turn to my distraction: travel. This year’s destination is the land I wish the Philippines turned out to be: Singapore!

It was a splurge and I don’t regret it

It was a quarter-life crisis. People buy cars and houses, but since I live in a third-world country I’ll do the best I could. I picked a flight on Singapore Airlines, mainly because I want to try a wide-body plane for the first time and I wanted to see what all the fuss about Boeing planes are about.

Flight SQ 915

Holy freaking comfort. The food was beyond expectations, the seat had ample spaces and crying children were immediately shushed. A direct opposite of a typical Cebu Pacific flight (our descent to Japan last October felt like we were murdering a child because how on earth could they cry like holy hell) and a vast improvement over the cramped seats offered by AirAsia.

Our hotel was in the middle of Little India, which is right across a train station (which we only took once because Grab was too convenient), and we had an iJooz machine right outside the hotel. My card statement is full of FRUITS VENDING PTE LTD because we had a minimum two cups a day. It was THAT good, and I recommend giving it a go whenever you drop by Singapore.

Changi was as beautiful as I remember

Immigration lines at Changi took literally less than 30 seconds because everything was automated. In contrast, we almost missed our flight to Singapore because NAIA immigration lines were like a dry-run of what hell is gonna be like. We were in line for 1h30m and we barely made the boarding call time.

Changi was huge, and honestly I could spend a day here watching people and still have fun. It was comfortable, the bathrooms and carpets were clean, the screens and art pieces were nice and can amuse you for hours, the train system was working and connected you to the city – it was better than what I remembered when I first visited.

We lived pretentiously

I gotta admit, there were a ton of awkward times. We walked around wearing suits for a day because we took a Whiskey Museum guided tour. It felt like I was a fish out of water. The highlights of this trip were the ArtScience Museum (even if it was my second time), the Whisky Museum tour (because I was literally in front of a bottle signed by King Charles), and the Marina Bay Sands dinner.

The Grande Whisky Museum, whose contents are valued at SGD 128,630,196.

Could you imagine that this vault lived inside a mall? Singapore is the safest country in the world that they could afford to store that in a freaking mall and not put it at risk of theft. Meanwhile, we can’t leave a phone alone on the table in Starbucks in the Philippines whenever we get a drink from a crowded branch.

The minimum spend to get a table in the Marina Bay Sands Sky Bar is SGD 400. Thanks to the social energy of my best friend, we got to wait for our dinner reservation at a table for free. We ordered drinks while waiting for our 10:15pm dinner slot, and holy hell, the view was amazing.

This was an experience I’ll never forget: it’s gonna take a lot to make me forget I spent a night eating and drinking at the top of one of the most famous landmarks in the world.

We spent an entire day in a museum

I wouldn’t be able to bring friends to a museum for more than an hour: everybody gets bored. But when you and your best friend have the same wavelengths, you could spend a day and it wouldn’t be enough.

The National Gallery in Singapore was a treasure. Beautiful exhibits, state-of-the-art immersive displays and programs, and they even have a Marcos-era wing showing the atrocities of martial law declared in the Philippines.

The foyer of the National Gallery in Singapore.
A section showing Southeast Asia over the years.

Alas, I had to return

With my budget going tighter by the day and visa requirements ensuring visitors need to return, I had to fly back to Manila. Once we landed in NAIA, the e-Gates weren’t working (that brings me up to a 2 out of 8 success rate in using the e-Gates), and the conveyor belt that had our bags stopped working. They had to carry our bags to a different belt on the other side of the arrival hall. Yep, I’m back in Manila alright.

This would not be the last. This was my second time in Singapore, but it would never be the last. I’m glad I was able to spend my 27th birthday with my best friend in a country I consider to be a utopia.