Luckily we had sensibly accomplished most of the packing the night before and so even though it was an early wake-up we had time to get ready and enjoy one last breakfast with Bell and Russell. We had a few payment issues – there seemed to be some confusion as to exactly what was included in our package but given we hadn’t paid for extras at the sister resort Magic Ocean in Anda they followed that and let us off. A note to anyone heading off to a dive resort where you are in the middle of nowhere – it is so much cheaper to get an all inclusive/full board offer as realistically you can’t go and eat anywhere else anyway, even if you wanted to. If we had known how isolated the resorts were we probably wouldn’t have chosen them but we had had a lovely time and made the most of the relaxation time. We finalised the last of our packing and Russell and Bell waved us off as we headed back to Cebu to the airport.
The drive is around 3 hours but quite honestly we spent most of it sleeping and watching life go by for the people of Cebu island. We drove past one school with all the children lined up outside and it had lovely underwater murals all along the walls. After checking our luggage we headed for some lunch at Streets of Asia. Cebu airport is pretty small and having scanned our options we decided this was probably our best option. I opted for the pad thai which was perfectly acceptable but nothing inspiring. I was really sad to be leaving the Philippines and nearing the end of our trip. It is a country I have wanted to visit for a long time and is an absolute divers paradise. The poverty and lack of development did really take me by surprise, it is somewhere that if you want to visit you should go now before mass tourism destroys it. You could see the beginnings of it emerging at Alona Beach but it still felt like a forgotten land in many places and really is absolutely beautiful!
It was a short 3 and a half hour hop to Singapore and believe it or not I mostly slept again, travelling does have its advantages at times. We arrived in and given that Carolyn had some tight timescales took a cab to our hotel – Four Points by Sheraton Singapore. It is a shiny new hotel and has everything one might expect from a medium to high end hotel chain. We checked in and Carolyn headed off to help Nani with final wedding preparations for the next day. We had timed our arrival to allow Carolyn to be a bridesmaid for one of her friends from Singapore Nani and so this was our plan for the next day. I decided to head to the hotels rooftop pool and make the most of the final few hours of sunshine. The pool was pretty unimpressive, just a small rectangle that didn’t look very deep but the double bed loungers were nice and it provided some fantastic views of Singapore, particularly as the sun started to set.
People often ask me what they should do when they visit Singapore. I have been quite a few times now and while there are fun sightseeing things such as the free walking tour, temples and of course Sentosa, to me the one thing everyone should prioritise in Singapore is to eat! The city is full of some of the most fantastic and cheapest food in the world and has truly something to cater to every taste. I mailed Halle, our Singaporean friend to ask for a dinner recommendation and she, as always, came up with a stellar recommendation. The People’s Park hawker centre in Chinatown was a 10 minute walk and so I headed straight there and kept my eyes peeled for the mandatory line. I was in search of Mala Hot Pot and as soon as I saw the snaking queue I knew I was in the right place. You pick out some meats, vegetables and seafood and they ask how hot you would like it (I am a lover of spicy food and I was thankful for the local girls recommendation that I went with medium). After paying you walk round to the other side of the stall and wait for your number to be called. I headed off to a local juice stall to order a lychee juice (absolute heaven). As I had put noodles into my hot pot I didn’t get rice, but if rice is a preference this comes when you pick up your steaming pot from the other side. I personally feel the words hot pot are a bit misleading, it is really just a spicy stir fry with all of the ingredients coated in the spicy Sichuan peppercorn sauce but is absolutely delicious and a must try if in Singapore. I got chatting to a table of local foodie girls who gave me some recommendations for must eats and then headed back to the hotel for an early night. It had been a long day of travelling but being back in the land of fantastic food was a true treat!