No Fluke Accident

“Time flies fast when you are having fun.”

I will never refute this popular phrase. It has been countless times when I have wished I could stop the clock from turning, yet as a mere human being, I was designed to do my own treatment of it: Make the most out of what it offers or just allow it to slip my hands and be regretful for the rest of my life. I obviously did the  first. And so with my sister and niece as we maximized our remaining hours in Singapore on December 9.
Originally scheduled to fly back to Manila at  5:40 pm that Tuesday, we were informed via an email a week before our flight to Singapore that it was changed to 7:40 pm due to aircraft situation (What’s new with Cebu F_ _ k … er … Pac?). The first time Yula texted me hazily about it and requested me to double check the date, I became anxious thinking that our December 6 flight would be affected. Had it been a change in our departure sked, it would be doomsday if I failed to run at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).
In spite of the reschedule, something good still came out of it. The new time provided us a window to do our last-minute shopping that morning right after our last breakfast. My sister targeted one place where electronic and IT products are being sold. This is the Sim Lim Square which is just a few meters away from where we were billeted. Nano would be buying a new gadget as her gift to herself for her golden birthday on December 24.
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Going around the six-storey building, we found out that not all shops were already open since we went there before 12:00 noon. Unsuccessful for the tablet-hunting, we decided to return to Bugis Street since Nano forgot a few more “pasalubong“. From Sim Lim Square, we followed the road that would lead us to Bugis. The route we took brought us to Moulmien-Kallang Town Chen Yang Court where we saw two Buddhist temples erected  just a few steps away from each other. 

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If we were not under time pressure, I would have entered these two religious edifices to have an actual feel of their place of worship. 
We progressed with our movements and were heartened with the prismatic scenery on the street.
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Then, the sight of kibitzers standing in front of a posted horoscope for the year 2015 caught our attention and made us also curious what the stars say about us in our respective years. Yula and Nano, who have never seen single-blessedness as a problem, reacted hilariously for what awaited them in the Year of the Pig.
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Reaching Bugis Street, we split after a few minutes and just agreed to meet at McDonald’s.
4th4Again, Nano’s extended shopping made her the last one to join my niece and me in the fastfood chain. Consuming the order of Yula, I suddenly felt like drinking the fruit juice which I saw inside Bugis. I left  the two for a while and had tarried in one of the shops where I saw lovely-looking scarves. I went out with three of them and was really glad that I did. You will know at the later part of this last narrative.
Once I returned to McDonald’s, the two stood up for us to start going back to Perak Hotel to check out. I was the first one to reach the hotel and had me taking snapshots of the Indian temple near it. 

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A few minutes after, Nano and Yula arrived. The three of us just had to pick our luggage and haul them into the cab which would take us to Changi Airport. 
On our way to the airport, I did not stop myself from having a picture of this bridge that was the most challenging part of SCMS 2014 and where I was still able to run strong ahead of many runners. With my recall, I silently bid my farewell. 

road

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Early arrival at the airport gave us a lot of time to tour the premises. Nano was even able to charge her mobile phone and prove that we didn’t have to worry about our bags getting lost when we left them near the charging area. 

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Battery replenished, we decided to eat our late lunch at the second floor.

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4th41I picked my last meal in Singapore very well, but told myself that I would look for a restaurant in the Philippines that offers Singaporean dishes. It’s one of the things that I have fallen in love with in this country.
We knew we shouldn’t be dawdling in that diner so we proceeded to the Cebu Pacific counter in time for luggage check-in. We were second in line. Minus the heavy bags, we were free to roam around and hop from one boutique to another. Nano and Yula went to an electronic shop while the orchid garden inside the airport magnetized me.
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When the two joined me, they brought the good news! My sister’s search for her tablet had finally ended. Happy for her! And I was happier because her buying it made me own a Minnie Mouse stuffed toy by presenting her receipt and adding only SGD 3.00. It’s an additional souvenir (but would be reserved as a gift to someone) though I would prefer the life-sized couple to be brought home. Hahahaha…

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4th14Yula too was able to buy a bag for her mother while I purchased three Harrods pouches with cat designs on them. Resting for a few minutes in the orchid garden, my sister became an on-the-spot respondent to a survey-interview. Once over, we checked the time. While looking for a spot nearer to the boarding area, we passed by the free computer internet. I took the chance of checking my Facebook and sending an update to my husband and responding to a private message from one of my college best friends, who was also in Singapore with his mother. I had just posted my reply and question when my niece came rushing excitedly to tell me that she had seen Francis at a coffee shop! It delivered the answer to my query whether he too would be at the airport that afternoon. 

I believe our meeting was no fluke accident. The strength of the bond of friendship between us is very strong which made it emit the highest energy to draw us together even in a foreign land.

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4th25Through Francis’ Facebook post, I learned that Mamang and he were also in Singapore, a day after we arrived there. It was Francis’ birthday treat to his beloved mother, whom I also consider mine. I could have inquired where they were staying (I learned that their hotel was very near to where we were lodged) and extended an invite to have a meet up with him, but I knew my best friend very well. To add, they had that overseas trip to privately bond and celebrate Mamang’s birthday. I did not want to steal him from the most important woman in his life. 
Goofing around while still getting hold of our overflowing happiness, we marked that encounter the most mind-blowing moment in our lives. It added to the euphoria I was in. 

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As a group now, we proceeded to the queue for boarding and continued our celebration above sea level when Francis sponsored our snack. 

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4th6You bet, we were inseparable once we arrived in NAIA 3. But events in our lives, even if we desire to prolong them,  have their ending. We exchanged our goodbyes, hugs and kisses. I smiled to see that Mamang had already worn the scarf which I handed her as a simple on-the-spot birthday present, together with one of the pouches I bought from the airport shop. 

Beyond doubt, these are the beautiful indelible memories I brought home with me from Singapore. They are indeed worth a king’s ransom. 

logo-without-border1Photo Credit:
Francisco Vargas Castillo Jr. at https://www.facebook.com/francisco.castillo
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