Tuesday, 5 July 2011

goodbyes and en-route adventures

Jobless, yet I've never been so busy. Unemployed, yet I've never been so tired. It has been a 5 week whirlwind!

Early last month, I was just cooking for my friends at our home in Pasig City, saying our good-byes with platefuls of prawns and crabs from Masbate. It was a working day for them, so we only finished a box of Franzia Red and a bottle of Andalucia.

My Nu Skin Posse, whom I will miss so much. Maureen, Jolie, Melanie and Myra. (Meann not in photo)

Two days later, I was in Singapore. Furnishing the condo. Looking for schools for Hans. Orienting myself in the new neighborhood, marketing, laundry, hosting dinner for Ted's friends.

Look Ma! No Helper!

With just two weeks in Singapore, we were back in Manila.

For awhile it felt like old times again. I met up with old friends, doing what we love best -- videoke!

A few days later, Ted arrived. Then, my new helper from Cebu arrived in Manila, too. So, I really had to get serious packing. We honestly didn't bring much except for things that I had earlier reasearched to be expensive in Singapore...

Favorite Toys (they're expensive everywhere, i guess) Clothes, (bought new socks, underwear for kids & hub!), Kids' Sandals, Shoes (branded shoes are more expensive here), Rania's formula, vitamins, basic medicines, my favorite sheets and Pinoy condiments that I can't live without (Nestle Cream, Sinigang Mixes, Magic Sarap, Century Tuna, Reno Liver spread, Sardines, Bagoong, Cheese Whiz and Purefoods corned beef & meatloaf).

They do have these in Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road, but they can be quite pricey and I have to commute an hour via MRT to go there. Besides, when I go to Orchard, I'd rather peek at the Designers shops. :) Domesticity is farthest from my mind!

Thank you to my relatives who sent-in uncooked Pancit Lukban, several bottles of Pili Nuts, Carmelado candies from Masbate. Every time I look at my pantry now, I have a stupid grin on my face. :) Parang nasa Pasig lang! None of those Tamil and Malay brands. Hahahaha

Thanks to our Mothers and sisters-in-law who organized a despedida at home. This is when I'm most happy... get-togethers. When relatives flock to share laughter, teasings and catch-up with each others' lives. Joan & Ochie, our two nieces are also leaving for Japan to work as caregivers.

My mother-in-law was teary-eyed. She's used to having everyone around, children, grandchildren. Now, they're all flying-out of the coop. My mother, on the other hand, ever the non-sentimentalist She always tells me, A Parents' duty is to give their children Roots to Grow and Wings to Fly. Just bring her along whether in China, Hongkong or Singapore :) She can't wait to visit us, soon.

Last time I was at the Terminal 3 Airport in the Philippines I was ranting about those stupid Airport Taxes and Terminal Fees.

Why would my 5yo, 8 yo sons be taxed for travelling, pay terminal fees, when they are not even working? Shet, Noynoy! Kinaltasan na nga ako pagpa-gawa ng airport na ito! Pati ba naman mga anak ko?

I just noticed this since I started flying budget airlines. If one flies PAL, Quantas, Cathy or any other airlines, these are already embedded in the airfare, and you don't notice that the government is siphoning money off you. Iff you get budget air like Cebu Pac, tiger airways, jet star. You have to cough-up the money at the Travel Tax counter.

First Class
Full Rate : 2,700 Php
Standard Reduced: 1,350 Php
OFW Dependent: 400 Php

Economy Class
Full Rate : 1,620 Php
Standard Reduced: 810 Php
OFW Dependent: 300 Php

Processing Fee = 200

Terminal Fee - 750 Php

Last time, I was caught flat-footed. I paid for everyone at the regular rate. This time, I armed myself.

What do you need? Birth Certificates? Marriage Contract? Passport copies? My hub's OWWA certificate? I have everything in clear folders, with xerox copies. I can even produce my kids' baptismal. :)

Dig this. Rania is exempted because she's 1.5 yo, but we still paid for the processing fee of her exemption! There is no discount / exemption for Terminal Fees. If you're a fetus in your mother's womb, you are probably exempted!

My hub kept telling me, "yaan mo na! ganyan talaga!" Ok. Not until I give my two-cents mouthful! I love my country, and I'd rather live there, work there, raise my kids there. But the system in place, the culture within the government, is not to serve us, laging, pakabig.

Anyways, I could go on and on... but that's not what this blog is all about! :) Sorry, I digress.

Friends has been asking me about tips flying Cebu Pacific's international routes at Terminal 3.

That's why I have to narrate some pointers.

If you're flying Cebu Pacific, the password for free WIFI at Seattle's Best is naia2011. They really don't change it at all. Chief Barista is Mark, he seems to know most frequent fliers by name.

Cebu Pacific fares are all-lite. Meaning, you need to pay if you are bringing luggage. Kulit ano. Just be a little patient, do the booking online, and decide your flight dates early-on, so you get cheaper rates.

During the flight, Cebu Pac conducts no-brainer games. If you are like me, who wants to participate in any crazy game, you will likely win it.

The FAs think that the most difficult question is: What is the Currency of Switzerland? They always, as sure as the sun rises, use it as the last question! So, raise your hands up before they even finish the question. It's Swiss Francs! Now, give me my prize!

Thanks Mommy for winning me this. It's not the Prize, son. It's the Winning!

Cebu Pacific don't have food on international flights. So, pack up on Chips and crackers, especially if you have kids with you. They sell Piattos for 100 bucks on the air. Cup Noodles is 100 bucks also. Ok lang. Cebu Pacific Airfare is cheaper by almost 7000 Php compared to PAL. I can get by without hot meal.

Get the choice seats! What's an additional 200 Php if you can stretch your legs, and you're nearer the toilet. Bring your Noise Cancelling Earphones! Cebu Pac has novella-like PA announcements. Shameless pluggings of Promos. The VO speaks super-ununciated English. They probably assume their passengers are from a non-english speaking continents.


Lastly, Cebu Pac don't fly out /in at the famed Changi Airport, but rather at the Budget Terminal. So, you can kiss your extensive duty-free shopping goodbye. Sad, soooo sad.... :( :( The duty free shopping at the arrival lounge is comparable that that little booklet tucked in your plane seat. The one thing, my hub usually ask me to buy, at Budget Terminal Duty free is Tequila. It's cheaper there than in the city stores.

Oh, by the way, for my balikbayan friends who are coming-in from abroad to the Philippines. Almost always, they get duped by Pinoy Taxi Drivers. The kontrata taxi are killers. You have to look for the Yellow Taxi. All airport terminals have that, domestic & international. Be sure to ask the Guards, where the yellow Taxi are. You have to bring your carts a little further. Those Yellow cabs are the metered ones. Slightly elevated flag-down rate, but reasonable. Lastly, the carts do not have fees! The Porters have no standard rate, no receipt. Just give 100bucks for international flights. But they won't bring you until the check-in counters so you're better off them.

To my friends who are waiting for updates about my little world here in Singapore.
Promise, i will get to that soon. I just need to get these Laughables out of my chest :)



  1. so, back in Singapore na pala ang beauty!

    good points:
    -"(Nestle Cream, Sinigang Mixes, Magic Sarap, Century Tuna, Reno Liver spread, Sardines, Bagoong, Cheese Whiz and Purefoods corned beef & meatloaf)"...they're like gold here! for sure 1 lugggae of mine will be filled with these (except the bagoong which i never eat, and the cheese 'coz italy's got best and it's cheap here)

    -videoke. i'm sure you'll miss your Pinas song buddies, but i guess Signapore got videoke bars too. haven't been to SG, so you can suggest one time where to /sing/shout out loud. =)

    - airport taxes and papers. the last time (2006) i went home, i have no "ready papers". malay ko ba pag me kid na kasama, bakit hinihingi ang birth certificate sa dswd. hello? magbayad na lang daw ako ng 2,500php, oks na..kahit wala nun. what??? nakipagtalo nga ako..with matching italian (bad) language) para sosy ang dating..ayun, "sige na po Ma'am..." oh, eh di walang singil-singil.

    - family reunions and bidding goodbyes. that's the "sad" part. kaya ayokong nagpapahatid pag aalis eh. nakakamiss agad silang lahat.

    ayan we'll be waiting for your day-by-day laughables and wisdoms from SG. goodluck and stay fabulous!


  2. --bear the type errors...it's 12:10am here...=)