keepsakes.’ guide on how to have your taste of the C3AFASG experience
Hi guys! I’ve just come a long way from Otakufest 2019 in Cebu — my photo album is up on Facebook, the latest podcast will feature a series of recordings from the Queen City of the South.
By this weekend I expect to use most of the footage I captured to create five videos that will be uploaded on both YouTube and Facebook.
Before I get to this (and that McDo Teriyaki Burger that’s sprawling on my news feed and making me hungry), let’s talk about C3AFA Singapore: They’ve announced the dates already — November 29 to December 1, 2019.
Do you want to go? Is it your first time to go? I have A LOT to say about my first-time experience visiting Singapore.
Although I didn’t get to Marina Bay Sands or Singapore’s Chinatown or Orchard Road or even Universal Studios Singapore (chances are you’d want to get there), I hope this guide of mine covers the basics.
(Of course, you get your passport ready.)
- Have at least Php15,000 for your flight (surest rate since there’s seat sale in less than an hour from now). After you buy that plane ticket, plan out your itinerary as early as possible. I’ll tell you why in the succeeding pointers.
- After getting your plane ticket, save up for the itinerary. Expect to spend an equivalent of Php1,500 to Php2,000 a day. (If you’re with BPI/BDO, they have currency exchange service, ask customer service to avail of this. If not, go to Makati and look for a currency exchange.)
- As you get off from Changi Airport, you may see this Singapore Tourist Pass being sold at Changi Recommends. You can buy there if you want the discounts — else, go straight to the Changi Airport train station to get it. Since we’re talking about itinerary here, if you want to go to a lot (I mean A LOT) of destinations in Singapore, this is a recommended buy.
- I’m the kind of a guy who doesn’t rely on Free WiFi, so I bought a travel SIM Card on Klook which I claimed at a Cheers convenience store inside the Changi Airport lobby. You can choose from either StarHub, M1 or SingTel on Klook — I chose M1.
- Now, if you’re just in Singapore for C3AFA, look for a store that sells a NETS Flashpay prepaid card. I love using this a lot. This card is like a beep card, and it can be used for traveling via bus/trains to even buying food from 7-Eleven. KLOOK can deliver this for you in a week or so depending on your location.
- Speaking of NETS Flashpay, you can top up (load) the card at the MRT Stations (at no additional charge), or at a nearby 7-Eleven (additional top-up charges apply).
- This brings me to my point why you need to plan your itinerary: Budgeting. You can distribute your budget this way: NETS Flashpay for transport and 7-Eleven, cash for the hawkers and the shops.
- There are some places that you can’t use NETS Flashpay prepaid cards, such as this Thai Supermarket inside Golden Mile Center. They only accept NETS Flashpay credit cards (this is another kind). That said, please keep some spare cash, maybe SGD10s or 20s.
- Always go for trains if you have a specific destination in mind (For example, Suntec City’s at the Promenade MRT station). If you want to go on a wanderlust (or just want to get lost), ride the bus.
- Speaking of buses, there’s a separate entry and exit point in each SMRT bus. Please tap your card on entry and exit. Also please familiarize yourself with how the country’s bus system works.
- Since C3AFASG is held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, you may want to look for a stay near that area. I stumbled upon Five Stones Hostel at Beach Road as I change my booking, and I set myself there in stone.
- If you’re going for a shared room, it’s best to have someone you know with you. For example, Five Stones is where one of my friends stay; so I booked right away. Luckily for me and my friend, we saw each other in the same room!
- This, setting aside the fact that there are others who will share the same room and take their rest. Of course, this can be a bit challenging, but if you’re there to sleep and not make unnecessary noises, no problem at all.
- My stay has a common dining/watching/internet area at the ground floor which is great. Five Stones also has a paid breakfast add-on, meaning you can have your breakfast at their pantry with all the cereal and milk and bread and so.
- Have a travel adapter with you. Singapore uses the three-pronged plug type G. In my case, we rented an adapter plug for SGD20.
- Don’t be afraid to ask where is the nearest hawker in the area. My stay is a a walking distance away from the Golden Mile Food Center, where there’s this stall serving Hainanese Chicken Rice — and it’s so delicious that it got featured in the newspaper one time ago.
- Also, the stall beside it serves delicious, freshly-squeezed cane juice. Spend maybe around SGD10 in three stalls and feel full afterwards.
- Don’t leave Singapore without eating Hainanese Chicken Rice AND Ya Kun’s Kaya Toast. There’s a Ya Kun near my stay, and also at Suntec City so you can’t miss it. Klook previously has a listing for the Kaya Toast but I think they’re not available at the moment.
- Speaking of not being afraid to ask, if you are lucky enough to ask directions at Suntec City’s information counters, you may be actually talking to a fellow Filipino. This was a great moment for me.
- Please don’t get sick in Singapore — whether if that’s headache, or flu, don’t get sick. Drugstores like Guardian don’t sell medicines in tablets — they sell in blister packs, which is quite expensive for me; but then it’s Singapore.
- If you do feel that you get exhausted, why not get freshly-squeezed orange juice straight out of the vending machines there for SGD2–SGD3. Drinking this helped me survive an exhausting day there.
- Don’t blink — Singapore is so fast paced, I felt like 12:00 am is early for me. The sun sets at 7:00 pm or so, not the usual 6:00pm sunset in Manila. This amid the fact that both cities have the same time.
- Protip: C3AFASG has something in store for everyone — my photographer friends take cosplay photos at Suntec Singapore lobby and the Sky Garden, some went inside and met Rithe (who eventually became the other half of Team Singapore for World Cosplay Summit 2019), you can attend the concert as a regular or as a VIP.
- For photographers, you can shorten “May I take a picture of you?” to “Photo can?” Can, meaning it’s possible/yes. From here on, we’ll start learning Singlish. (Also, bo jio can mean “ah, this one’s not inviting me” as far as I understood. Correct me if I’m wrong.)
- Speaking of VIP, they have lotteries for guest artists that you can sign up for — if you’re lucky, you get a signed poster handed out to you on the spot. (In my case, I got a nano poster). Oh, another thing: Don’t be late for the concert or you’ll lose your seat even if you reserved it.
- Suntec Singapore has water dispensers. Bring your water container with you.
- Keep an eye out for 24-hour convenience stores that has automated bill/coin dispensers.
Still can’t go to C3AFASG after all of this laid out to you? Don’t fret, I’ll share to you my experience in a 40-minute full-length feature: