Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Team Philippines Represent: Skyscanner Bloscars 2014 Travel Awards in Singapore

Philippine Travel Bloggers Singapore

A day before the 2014 ranking of the world’s most expensive cities to live in (by the Economist Intelligence Unit) went out to public I was invited to grace the Skyscanner Asia Pacific Region’s Bloscars Travel Award 2014 event. With three of my fellow Filipino travel bloggers, we represented the country for the regional event. And yes, we were flown to the most expensive city for free!

Still blushing from the recent recognition from Skyscanner as the first princess in the 2014 Bloscars Travel Awards, I was in awe knowing that not only they were bringing the Philippine winner to the Regional event but also the runners-up. It will be my first time to discover Singapore and I was so excited.

Marina Bay Sands Singapore

It was Thursday and I am running late for our 10 am flight to Singapore. Allan, Mica and Che were already waiting for me inside the not-so-familiar (read: not budget) terminal in NAIA. Checking in was a breeze. We had so much time to chat before the flight. And I get to know more about them. And it felt like we’ve known each other for like forever. That’s what cool about the Filipino Travel Bloggers, if you’re an outsider you’d feel like they’ve been friends since high school but then again they just met there – for the first time.

It was raining when we arrived in Singapore’s Changi Airport (apparently the world’s best airport in the world for 2014 – Skytrax). We were met by Harold from Skyscanner and were ushered to our appointed van. I’ve heard about so many things about strict restrictions and limitations in Singapore and I wanna experience that – really.

Singapore Flyer

The sun wasn’t still showing up as we were brought one by one to our respective hotels. I was assigned to an Ibis hotel in Novena area (I’m doing a separate post on this) and rested for a while.

Ibis Hotel Mascot
cool Ibis Hotel mascots
For dinner, the Filipino contingent was treated to a seafood feast in Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at their Riverwalk branch. We entrusted Harold on checking out the menu. And he didn’t fail us. 

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore

With our bibs on (and some ice-cold beer) we indulged in Crispy-fried Baby Squid, Award-winning Chilli Crab, Signature Black Pepper Crab, Fried Prawns with Pepper and Spiced Salt and Yang Chow Fried Rice. The servings were huge and true to its name the crabs were really jumbo in size. It was so fun watching everyone as they wrestle with the huge crabs on their plates. I especially loved the Black Pepper Crab, the peppery sauce rocks.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Black Pepper Crab
Signature Black Pepper Crab is the winner!
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab
Award-winning Chilli Crab
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore
clockwise L-R Harold (Skyscanner representative / kababayan), Mica, Che, Allan
A quick stroll around the Clarke Quay area followed the sumptuous dinner. We stopped by on a coffee shop and chatted till around midnight. And as I went back to my hotel I was still convincing myself that this was all happening; I am in Singapore and getting some treat for something I love to do – writing about my travels.

Friday was the big day. After some good hours on my hotel’s breakfast buffet we were collected by our appointed van for the series of events that were lined up for the day. First was the FunVee Double Deck Open Top Bus Tour by City Tours. Starting from the Singapore Flyer, the sightseeing tour went around the city and passed by some famous landmarks in Singapore. There, we met the other awardees from the Asia-Pacific Region (Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Korea and Australia).

Singapore City Tours Bus

Singapore City Tours Bus
we've got the best seat!
Singapore City Tours Bus

The good thing about FunVee tours is that you can go down at the appointed stops  to enjoy each stop/attraction and wait for another FunVee bus to your next stop. You may opt not to go down the bus if you just want to pass a certain spot.

For us, we toured around the city and checked out the Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade Bridge, Merlion Park, Lau Pa Sat (Festival Market), Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Botanical Garden, Orchard Road and Raffles Hotel. We circled the town for an hour and our eyes feasted with great sights of Singapore.

Singapore City Tours Bus

Singapore City Tours Bus

Next in line was the Singapore River Cruise. We boarded the iconic Singapore bumboat from the Merlion Park in Marina Bay. The cruise celebrates Singapore’s rich culture and heritage by passing along some important landmarks with audio visual commentary along the journey.

Singapore Merlion
where's the shower eh?
Passing through the Marina Bay, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay was a unique experience in itself. The commentary did help in visualizing the early Singapore and then relating it to the present. There’s this certain charm on each area we passed by; unpretentious, unique and charming cityscapes unmasking right before your eye. Such a nice treat.

Singapore River Cruise

Singapore River Cruise

After the River cruise, we went ahead for our lunch at The SQUARE Restaurant in Novotel Clarke Quay. This cool restaurant offers a buffet featuring the “Flavours of the World”. The vast spread of dishes was such a feast to my eyes. I hurriedly grabbed a plate and tried some Singaporean popular dishes. I notably loved their Laksa and the ice kacang. The attendants were very helpful in assisting me as I create my own ice kacang (like our halo-halo in the Philippines).

Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore The Square Restaurant

Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore The Square Restaurant

Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore The Square Restaurant

Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore The Square Restaurant
more more kacang ingredients
My most awaited part of the day came, the Skyscanner office tour. I dunno why, but I have this fetish for workplaces. I wanna design my own workplace to my desire which can’t be because the entire school is my workplace. Moving on, we were at the Skyscanne’sr Asia Pacific Regional Headquarters in the middle of Singapore’s Central Business District.

Skyscanner Singapore

Skyscanner Singapore

The Skyscanner office is a huge playground for creative and cool people. The working environment is perfect for me. Lounging areas and game stations are strategically placed on every corner. The pantry, oh the pantry, is loaded with everything you need. I grabbed a drink as we continued on with the tour. The conference rooms are named according to some famous spots around the region, Banaue in the Philippines as one of them. We continued on with the working stations that are loaded with high-end techie stuff that all I could identify was the computer.

Skyscanner Singapore Office

Skyscanner Singapore Office

Skyscanner Singapore Office

And then the awarding of the winners from the different countries followed. We were all cheering for Allan as he received his plaque (and 50,000 pesos worth of Skyscanner credits, ugh! Inggit).

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014
Congrats lantaw.com
After which, we all went to this cool restaurant named Group Therapy along Duxton Road for the main event where the regional winner will be announced. The cool and hippie cafĂ© located on the second level on 49 Duxton Road was the refuge of all the participants. We were treated with a nice early dinner before the start of the main event. Ron (who's based in Singapore) of Fliptravels joined the party as well.

Group Therapy Singapore

Group Therapy Singapore

And right before the announcement, we were all rattling for some photo ops on the Skyscanner backdrop with some amusing stuff on hand. Harold even used this selfie stick to fit us all in the photo.

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014
effortless selfie
Skyscanner Bloscars 2014

And then the announcing of the winners came. Silence surrounded the room as one of the Skyscanner representatives started reading the winner. And then screams went afterwards. The duo bloggers, Rose and Joseph, from Singapore won as the Asia Pacific Region’s Best Travel Blog 2014. Good job guys.

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014
Travel and Beyond - Singapore
Asia Pacific's Best Travel Blog 2014
Allan didn’t make it. Our Philippine winner didn’t grab the major prize. The Philippine contingent was sad but when we saw him acknowledged it very gracefully we were fine. I’m proud of my team. We were all supportive of each other We were all in for a fun-filled adventure in Singapore. And that’s how it’s meant to be I guess. 

Yes, we can be as competitive as hell but putting aside the fun and enjoyment for the sake of winning is such a waste. Again, I’m proud of the Philippine travel bloggers who relentlessly provide everyone with their amazing posts about their trips around the Philippines and beyond. A special shout out to Skyscanner who made this all possible. Thank you for believing in me.

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014

Skyscanner Bloscars 2014

And oh, by the way, they raffled out an (read: one) Ipad Mini for everyone and guess who just got lucky that night? Haha.  

thanks again Skyscanner! :)

Skyscanner
Unit 08-01, Robinson Point, Singapore, 068911
Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/SkyscannerPhilippines

City Tours
221 Henderson Road, #01-05 Henderson Building, Singapore 159557
Contact numbers: (+65) 67383338 / 67389897
Email: enquiry@citytours.sg

Singapore River Cruise
1 North Bridge Road, #15-06 High Street Centre, Singapore 179094 
Contact numbers: (+65) 6336 6111 / 6336 6119 
Email: enquiry@ rivercruise.com.sg

The SQUARE Restaurant
Hotel Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
177A River Valley Road, Singapore, Singapore, 179031
Contact number: (+65) 6338 3333
Hotel code: 5993

Group Therapy
49 Duxton Road, #02-01, Singapore, 089513
Contact number: (+65) 6222 2554
Email: events@gtcoffee.com

Check Singapore acoommodations here





21 comments:

  1. You lucky girl! :)
    All great pictures. I love it!

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    1. thanks! it was so nice meeting you there firsta! :)

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  2. Congratulations for making it, Carla! May next year pa naman siguro. hehehe. :)

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  3. Congrats! Pero mas masaya yan yung sinama lahat ng PH finalists hahaha

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  4. Ang galing! Congrats sa Pinoy rep travel bloggers!

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  5. I really enjoyed our Singapore trip! First pa lang natin ang saya na :D Thanks also for supporting my love for food teehee. More trips! <3

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    1. ang sushal ng first trip natin noh, SG? haha. more more trips mica! :)

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  6. waaah! chong ikaw na talaga! free trip to SG at nanalo ka pa ng iPad mini. lucky girl :)

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    1. hihi. binebwenas lang. thanks ice! enjoy your trip :)

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  7. Replies
    1. Paminsan-minsan lang to Kulapitot. Hehe. :)

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  8. congrats karla! very deserving of the award. :)

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    1. I wasnt able to congratulate you right away on your bloscars award then your singapore trip. im sure u had a blast. nice photos too! kala ko nung una trip with tita agnes. :)

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  9. Interesting articles are published here. By reading it I acquired great deal of knowledge on various subject. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  10. Nice article. Thanks for sharing valuable article with us.

    ReplyDelete