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National Library of Singapore

When I went to Singapore, part of my itinerary was to visit Libraries to satisfy my proactive soul and look for a possible undergraduate thesis topic. My goal was to even visit all, however, that would be far-fetched because aside from there are a lot of libraries, most of the libraries I’ve seen on the list are for children! Just imagine looking for a hardcore Linguistic book, and finding a colorful book of Red Riding Hood, instead?

Among the libraries I visited are Sports Hub Library, Toa Payoh Library, and National Library, but it was the National Library that enticed me to return several times– which led me to not visiting other anymore because I found the one.

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I can still remember the exact moment I visited this library the first time. I was shrinking, I wanted to know if I have to pay anything to get in. But I was alone, and I just felt so diffident just by looking at the lady at the information desk. She looked strict, reserved, and intimidating, like those nuns administering convents for young ladies– and then only God knows how my imagination led to an entire soap opera

I circled around the exhibit in the lobby, and honestly, I was already thinking about aborting my mission.

I wanted to go back to my comfort zone.

I wanted to go home.

But I reminded myself that I have no time to be hesitant because I’ve traveled so far, and it is embarrassing to fail at something just because I was shy. Myself, my family, my mom, my ancestors, my countrymen– they will all not be happy if I go home– just because I was shy.

So I took a deep breath and approached the lady. She politely smiled at me, and under my shaking smile I asked, “Hi, I am a tourist and I want to enter the library, do I have to pay anything?” She smiled more and then she shook her head, “No no, you can just go in, sit, and read.” She even swayed her hand, gesturing me to go in. So, I said thanks, and I went in.

And after that, I returned to the National Library several times, and I started smiling and greeting uncles around the place.

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National Library of Singapore, is also called Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. It occupies the 5th and 7th-13th levels of the National Library Building, at the Victoria Street, Singapore. It is located near Bras Basah Complex and Bugis. They are open Monday-Sunday from 10am-9pm (except on Public Holidays).

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But for me, I usually stayed at the 8th level because that is where the Social Science and Humanities Collection. In this section, I was able to find a lot of books in all the fields of Linguistics. They have such a huge collection and their books were really kept well. I was even fascinated to find books that are part of the references of the books I’ve read in the Philippines. I don’t know if I am normal but I felt like I am seeing a celebrity in person when I touched their books!

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The staffs are also very diligent in their jobs. They have a table on the sides, wherein they will ask you to put the books after you use it, instead of inserting it in any bookshelves. The staffs really make sure that that table will always be free of any books because they put it in their rightful places right away.

Although in using the Online Catalogues, it was quite stupid-eating because it’s different from what we have in the Philippines. In their catalog, if you search for one book they will all give you results even from other libraries. And the call card number is different, I don’t know how to use it. Seriously.

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They also have a cafe outside the library but I wasn’t able to check it out and eat there. But they always have a lot of clients, so I think the food there tastes good.

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With the rise of the internet, research, and the import/export of books, information has been at the tip of our thumbs. Thus, I don’t believe that ignorance is bliss. It was never, and will never be. At this age of technology, it is embarrassing to still be ignorant.

As anyone has noticed in the facade, facilities, and books at the National Library of Singapore, everyone will agree that it is a modernized library, and being a modernize library actually helped enticing more students, tourists, and people in general, to visit and spend time at the library.

That’s why I do hope that the Philippines would invest in these kinds of establishments. To encourage more students to study and to be able to entice more researchers in the country. Filipinos are already intelligent people, we just need more venue to hone our talents.

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Gardens by the Bay

Almost 3 years ago, just hours before we return to the Philippines, we visited Gardens by the Bay and watched the Supertree Grove‘s lights gracefully twinkle with the lullaby.

But this time, we went to 2 conservatories, which are the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

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We first visited the Flower Dome, it is a conservatory housing different kinds of flowers and trees from different parts of the world. Although it was raining outside, I noticed that when we entered the conservatory, the temperature suddenly dropped in accordance to the needed temperature of the plants.

According to their website, Flower Dome was hailed by the 2015 Guinness World of Records as the largest columnless greenhouse in the world! It replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California, and parts of Spain and Italy.

While roaming around I found these unique-looking flowers. I am not sure if there are flowers like these in the Philippines or even those that are a little alike. But whatever, I like these flowers!

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After finishing wandering around the Flower Dome, we entered the Cloud Forest. As much as according to their website it has the same indoor temperature with the Flower Dome, I found it colder because of the water spritzing from the gigantic falls. Looking at the multileveled edifice behind the falls, I found myself cringing because it looked like a submerged ship covered with mosses– and I have Thalassophobia, so looking at this “submerged ship,” I am having thoughts about sharks and other only-in-Marianas-Trench-found creatures are dangling between the leaves. oh my god

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Basically, there is not much attraction in this conservatory aside from the gigantic waterfall and the abundance of green leaves masking the edifice holding the waterfall.

But there are these lego-constructed flowers.

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And they also boast the bridges that will make your legs wobble because the paths are not a hundred percent covered. So, the edges near the railings are transparent and you’ll see ant-sized heads below. To add more to that horror, once people are running, hopping, or jumping you’ll feel the bridge vibrate like your phone vibrating when the grim reaper is calling to pick you up.

Gardens by the Bay occupies such a huge area so it will be tiring to walk here and there. But worry no more, they expected tiresome (and/or lazy) tourists, so they offer unlimited shuttle services. For only SGD3, you will have an unlimited access to their shuttle that will transit you from the conservatories to the ticketing office/main entrance. For everyone’s information, the nearest MRT is Bayfront, and it’s accessible near the main entrance.

So there you have it if you want to visit Gardens by the Bay, please buy your tickets on their website.

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Derwish Turkish Restaurant

Singapore, as many people know, is a multicultural country that is home to Malaysian, Chinese, British, Australians, Indians, Americans, Asians and other European descents. When we speak of culture this will include language, religion, cuisine, norms, music, and arts. So basically, we can infer that the culture of the people living in the country has been promulgated to every corner of the country.

That’s why, when I went here for vacation, my sister and I pledged that we will be trying different kinds of cuisines because most of the restaurants prioritize the authenticity of their dish– although for sure, it’s going to be pricey~

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For tonight’s restaurant, we went to Derwish Turkish Restaurant for dinner. It is located at the busy street of Arab, which is dominated by European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Among the lavishly designed restaurants that we passed by, it was this restaurant that captured our attention– since the one who was offering us to check the menu was a Filipino. (#Bias #patriotism #kidding) He greeted us in Filipino, “Magandang Gabi” (Good Evening) and then he started talking about trying their dishes. Though he is not a pushy kind of server, he was in fact very calm when he was pointing at the overwhelming varieties of dishes, but later we just found ourselves saying, “Okay, table for 2 please.”

The restaurant is elevated, with an almost-3-steps stairs leading to the main door. They have tables located outside the restaurant, but we preferred the ones inside because the grandiosity of the interior was pleasing me. Besides it was warm outside since it has been unpredictably downpouring and sun burning. I almost believe a Goblin was on PMS. Kidding.

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When we entered I found myself in awe with the flamboyance of its design. The tiled walls were occupied by different impressive patterns and in the middle, there was a frame of people carrying gold jars.

The white table complemented with the prints of the chairs. I think having blue prints on the chair and blue utensils holders gave an impression of being a royal blooded person. You know, it looked so first-class.

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Hummus and Bread (SGD9)

This is my first time trying Turkish food, and upon seeing this dish it gave an idea that probably the cream will taste sweet and that I don’t want to try that greeny-yellowish liquid in the middle because that might not taste good.

But thanks to my sister, she gave me a heads up of what will be the taste. The cream or dip is called Hummus, and according to the dictionary, it is a thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. So apparently, it won’t taste sweet and instead, it tasted a little salty and it did a great job complementing with the bread. And I would also recommend you to dip near the greeny-yellowish liquid a.k.a. the Olive oil. 

However, the bread was cold and I would prefer if it’s warmer.

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This is one of their appetizers, it a bloated bread while it’s warm then it deflates as it gets colder. I preferred dipping this bread to the Hummus because due its warmness the consistency of the Hummus with it is observed.

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Chicken Kebab (SGD25)

In this restaurant, aside from the Chicken kebab (SGD25) they also serve Lamb kebab. However, I am not used to the taste of lamb, so we chose this one instead.

The thick and tender kebab were skewed in a sword design skewer, and before it was even set on our table, its rich flavors are evident with the tantalizing aroma it comes with. It smells so good, you’d find yourself senseless to other things while swallowing that imaginary lump in your throat! It is also served with vegetables and short-grained rice. The servings are enough for sharing if both of you are not so hungry.

Although, Turkish restaurants, in general, are pricey. It is not only the architecture of the restaurant, the extravagance of its tables, chairs, and utensils, or the title of it being a Turkish restaurant.

You are actually paying for the authenticity of the culture enveloped in the dishes they serve. You are paying for the quality of the herbs and spices, the tenderness of the meat, the freshness of the dough, and the mastery of the chef in bearing these dishes for you. You are paying for the culture that they preserved and handed down to generations after generations.

Here are my solo picture and a picture with my sister! 🌻

So there you have it! If you want to visit a restaurant that serves authentic kebab with a touch of extravagance and cultivation of culture, Go to Derwish Turkish Restaurant! You can find it at 60 Bussorah Street Singapore 199476. Hope to hear your experience!

PS. There are a lot of Turkish restaurants that you’d find at the Arab St., and nearby streets, but please find this restaurant. It looks like this from the outside.