Saturday, September 24, 2016

How An Ordinary Pinoy Can Bring His Family to Singapore for a Holiday: SG Hack For Family Trips

We are currently in Gulhi, Maldives and we've just been from a family holiday in Singapore. Some people are asking about details of our trip. I wasn't that eager to write a new blog about it since it's my second time in SG, but.....because Mom is with me and the GF and the youngest sis, I will be writing about it now! Read below. :)

I booked our tickets last March 2016 when Cebu Pacific had a promo fare. I usually book ahead of time, specially if there are promo fares to cut budgets and plan for the financial consequences. This time it's with my family so, I have to prepare for it way better than I do when I'm traveling alone. 

So, you'd ask. How would you manage to do it for the four of you? I know, you'd be asking, how can I afford? 

On a monthly basis, I provide some budget for the trip. Since it's months ahead, I could allocate a portion of my monthly income to the SG trip. Since airfare is already taken care of I just have to allocate for the accommodation, food, spots (entrance fees), transfers/transportation and little shopping.

Budget are on the priority of the game plan, so let's deal with it:

  1. Airfare - approximately P12,000+ (for the 4 of us), thank you Cebu Pacific for the promo! :) 
  2. Accommodation - I booked the accommodation days before the flight to Singapore. It's not a hotel, its an Airbnb Booking and it's very affordable click the link here if you want to try. I was able to find a place for us at P16,872 approximate peso converted amount. This was for 7 days and 6 nights. For the four of us.  
  3. Food - this is a little bit tricky, depends on who you're with. I know Mom can't live without rice in a meal, so I had to find some place serving rice that suits the budget. But I don't like to live like a pauper when in holiday. So I'd say, moderate budget for this one. But I believe we manage to be within the budget. Here's how:
    1. Most of our breakfast are from a nearby food shop of MRT Station in Bt Batok, and the meal for all four of us usually costs SG $15.00 inclusive of water/coke. That's around only P540 per breakfast multiplied by seven breakfast, that would be P3,750.00
      The affordable food in Bt Batok. And yeah, tastes really good!
    2. Lunch we usually eat at a fast food in malls usually costs around SG $50 for four of us for 7 days that would be P12,600+ approx. 
      One of my favorites, SUBWAY! But there's McDonalds and KFC in SG too. 

      Must try! Yep, find this Bak Kut Teh mark! 

      Certified Authentic Teochew Style @ Rasapura in Marina Bay Sands

      We tried some food in Marina Bay Sands this was the one we've handpicked the ingredients and they cooked it. 

      Some noodle soup they are serving. I forgot the name, but this was really spicy but tasty!
    3. Dinner back in the food shop of the MRT Station P3,750
    4. TOTAL food cost would be P20,100
  4. Transfers/transportation - we were from Cagayan de Oro but our flight is from DVO to SG. So we had to travel from CdeO to DVO. Cost per person is P550 or total of P2,200. Taxi towards the airport is approx P250. Travel taxes would be P1,620 per person or total of P6,480. Terminal fee would be P700 per person or total of P2,800. Arriving in the Changi International Airport buy the EZ  Link Card. As soon as you get to the airport and after immigration. Go down to SMRT Station then purchase one card for each of you. I purchased four cards for us. Cost is SG $12 ($5 is non-refundable card cost + $7 refundable card value). I had to top up twice for our trips and each top up is $10. But I was able to refund around $15 as of this writing. Since we were not able to consume the entire amount of the last top up, and I saved one card since we still have to go back to SG in a few days. Total cost of the transportation Harbourfront (Vivo City and Ferry Terminal), Sentosa, Marina Bay and then back to Bt Batok is approximately $113 or P4,068. I suggest you get this if you're staying a little bit longer in SG. Way cheaper than taxis. It is ideal to get a hotel or place near an MRT station so you could easily go there for transport. Add to the transport cost the cost to Indonesia which was around $48 per person. We used the Batam Fast online booking. TIP: Please note that when I booked I can only see the $11 charge, but when you go to payment you will see that GST + Surcharge is added which makes it $48 per person back and forth trip. Total cost for all four of us is P6,912. Therefore, total transport cost was P10,980.  
    Since you will be using the MRT - you have to take a picture like this!
  5. Entrance fees - nothing. Yes. I asked Mom which one we should go to, either Universal Studios SG or Indonesia. She chose the latter, and the other two agreed. Thus the Batam Fast booking. Marina Bay, Sentosa, Merlion, Vivo City, The Star, Guilin Nature Park are all entrance free! So yeah, it really depends on what you want. On the last day, I asked Mom if we could just try out Trick Eye, she was not that interested, instead, she suggested buying chocolates at Candy Empire in Vivo City. I think there was a sale, so yeah, we just roam around Sentosa, took a lot of pictures with the Merlion and nearby spots. And shopped chocolates for "pasalubong". Shopping cost us around P936 for chocolates. 
  6. GRAND TOTAL for SG Travel is P72,618 approximately (inclusive of airfare, accommodation, transport, food, and chocolates good for four persons).

Was it worth it? Of course it is! When you're travelling with your family and you see their smiles in each picture, you'd really say, yeah, these are all worth it!


  1. Sentosa Island - you have two options in going to Sentosa Island from Vivo City. 
    1. Board walk - free of charge 
    2. Sentosa Express - SG $4.00
  2. Within Sentosa Island you have a lot to see already:
    1. Merlion - this speaks for itself. If you say SG, it's Merlion for one. 
    2. Orchid Garden - this is beyond Merlion, just beneath it is the Orchid Garden. 
    3. Lake of Dreams - it's in the entrance towards the Merlion. 
    4. Entrance to Universal Studios - this is before the entrance leading towards the Merlion, this is in the first station stop of Sentosa Express. 
    5. Malaysian Food Street - this is where you could find food, obviously. Malaysian, yes. Obviously again. :)
    6. Coffee Shops - starbucks, coffeebean, etc. 
    7. Cable Car Station  - this is also just near the Merlion statue. 
    8. Candylicious - fun to take pictures outside of the store with M&Ms and other cool chocolate and candy characters. 
  3. Marina Bay
    1. Marina Bay Sands - the boat above the tall building. 
    2. Giant Water Lily - Is within the Marina Bay complex. 
    3. Helix Bridge - architecturally great design of a bridge, stunning specially at night. 
    4. Esplanade - this is the microphone shaped building. 
    5. Gardens by the Bay - this is where the amazing colors you'd find.
  4. National Parks - SG is blessed to have a lot of parks and most of them are entrance free! We only visited Little Guilin since it's near Bt Batok (where we stayed for the whole duration of the trip). 
  5. Indonesia
    1. Nagoya Hill Mall - this is where you have to shop. Lots of cheap class A items. Bags? Yaaaaas!!! My sister went crazy with bags here. Prada, Chanel, Givenchy, LV, Gucci, Hermes, you name it! It's here. And watches, and shoes, and T-shirts! If you've been to Vietnam's Saigon Square, then Nagoya Hill Mall is a Deja Vu! :)
    2. Megamall Batam Centre - quite poshy of a mall. Like an Ayala mall in the Phils, yes, a little bit pricey and you wouldn't find much cheap priced items, but they have authentic boutiques of signature items. 
    3. Batam City Square - it's like Nagoya Hill Mall. But, it's really cheaper in Nagoya Hill Mall. Mom was able to buy some items here though. And yeah, sister also shopped here.
    4. IMPORTANT NOTE: I figured it's highly recommended to exchange your money for Indonesian Rupee at the SG Ferry Terminal. In SG Ferry Terminal the exchange rate is P1,000 = INR250,000 but when we arrived in Indonesia the exchange rate was P1,000 = INR150,000 and we looked around within the mall we were able to find a Money Changer with P1,000 = INR200,000 (the highest exchange rate we could ever find) and it cannot be easily seen or located because it's in the basement area of the mall where electronic products are displayed/sold. 
I am sharing below some photos we've had in this trip. 

What's your SG trip was like? Was this helpful? Please comment and/or share. 

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