Wednesday, July 30, 2008

one florence close: clean and comfy rooms in singapore

looking for cheap accommodations in singapore is not easy. i considered booking us a room in any of the fragrance hotel or hotel 81 branches, but they seemed too generic, too cold. i like to stay in a place with personality, and a little human touch.

while singapore had a lot of backpacker joints, the reviews i read weren't too encouraging, and very few of them offered private rooms.

so i searched for more, and ended up checking out one florence close. from the website, it looked promising--MRT just a few minutes' walk away, a hawker center at the corner, residential neighborhood (read: quiet and peaceful). most of the reviews from trip advisor were also favorable, so i decided to go for it.

sent my booking information via email, and received a prompt response from cynthia, the manager. guests are asked to give credit card details, "so that we can confirm your bookings. we will not make any charges to it--unless you back out on us or make a late cancellation."

we arrived at the hostel past 11pm, waaaay past the check-in time of 10am. but cynthia already gave me clear instructions for self check-in. sure enough, there was a note at the door of the reception area with my name on it. inside it was the key, and directions on what to do to enter the hostel. i don't know about you, but i was thrilled at this tiny scavenger hunt-ish game. we find our room without a hitch, and settle in.

our room was just big enough to accommodate us and our luggage. our "bed" was a queen-sized (two twin mattresses put together) mattress placed on the floor, with ikea-looking polka dot pillow cases and duvet. aside from this, there was also a small wooden box on which the tv rested, as well as an air conditioning unit, and a tiny corner with plenty of hangers for our clothes. pretty spartan, but clean.

then came the part i dreaded most: the bathroom. unfortunately, one florence close doesn't have private bathrooms. this was the only setback with this hostel, but thankfully, the experience of sharing a bathroom with other travelers wasn't the nightmare i thought it would be.

the bathrooms were tiny, but clean and with ample hanging provisions. the hot water was working, and shampoo and liquid soap were provided. there are only two units available for guests, but i never once had to wait for my turn. toilets were in separate cubicles, and they were also clean, complete with toilet paper supply.

entertaining extras came in the form of two persian kitties, pepper and romeo. pepper actually welcomed us on our first night, refusing to leave our room when we arrived. but they're well-behaved cats (too well-behaved, actually. too quiet! :p)

now, let's talk location. from the city center, one florence close is actually a bit far. it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get to orchard, city hall, and raffles place. but the neighborhood is pretty pleasant, with most everything you need just a few steps away: there's a local hawker center at the corner, a fruit stall, a JIE bakery where you can get kaya toast, hock lam beef noodle place, and another chinese restaurant.

there's also a chinese medicine store (which came in handy when susie got sick), and a pharmacy up simon road. the kovan MRT is just two minutes away, and across the station is heartlands mall, where the bus stop (bus 1o7 or 107m) is also located.

our stay in one florence close was rather uneventful, mainly because i was hardly there. but the room and facilities were clean enough for SGD88, and the location, for me, is pretty desirable, and is not too stessful as when you stay in the city. it offers a nice glimpse into busy singapore's residential districts, where the pace is more relaxed.

the hostel provides a lot of information about places you can visit in singapore. local calls are also free, and a communal kitchen and refrigerator is also free for you to use. just make sure you label the stuff you put in the ref! :)

so, next time you're in singapore, and looking for a nice place to stay in, one florence close comes highly recommended.

more photos of one florence close on my multiply.

contact information:
one florence close
1 florence close
(perpendicular to upper serangoon road)
singapore 549588
tel. no.: +65 90272702; +65 62899005
email address:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

smooth sailing with philippine airlines

our philippine airlines flight to singapore last friday went along smoothly.

save for some turbulence which disrupted the meal service, the flight was notably efficient.

we boarded on time, and since the plane was small and the flight wasn't full, all the passengers were settled and seated in less than 30 minutes.

no matter what other people say about airplane food, philippine airlines food was good! we had fish with rice, a side salad, and coffee jelly cake for dessert. i have actually never had a bad meal on board a PAL flight.

and the best part? we took off about 5 minutes earlier and arrived in singapore 25 minutes ahead than scheduled.

amazing how the tables have turned now, huh? when before, travelers avoided philippine airlines like the plague because of their delays, now they have actually turned their service around. and the airline with 95% flights on time is now causing nightmares to the travelers who gave their promos a chance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

obama or mccain?

though i'm not too involved in the US presidential race, i found this article on brave new traveler pretty interesting.

written by dan solomon, the article, who's the more cultured traveler: obama or mccain? compares the travel adventures of both candidates.

while presidential candidates are not judged by their travel experiences, travel can greatly influence a person's perspective on a number of issues. knowing where they've been and how much of the world they've seen gives them a better understanding of how other people live.

globe introduces airline roaming

finally, i have some time to blog about this. i received a message from globe a while back (as in april of this year) about airline roaming.

with airline roaming, you no longer need to turn your phone off while on a flight. you can text and call as you please while you're flying to your destination.

for now, globe airline roaming is only available on select flights in air france and emirates, and can only be used by postpaid users. maybe once the service takes off, they will think of extending it to prepaid users.

personally, i'm not too happy about this, as i really treasure the few precious hours i have to disconnect from the world. but for people who need to be connected 24/7, this is great news.

for more information, you may text AIRLINE to 2222.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

going back to singapore

it's been dead quiet around here for a while, mainly because i haven't done any traveling as part of my money-saving technique for my big trip.

but thank goodness, i have something else to write about now. to celebrate our second anniversary, susie and i will be flying off to singapore next week.

it's going to be our first trip out of the country together, and i'm hoping i don't manifest some strange behavior while we're out of the philippines. i know that i become a different person when i'm taken out of manila, i just don't know if that person is good or bad. let's see if susie can live with it. ;)

i'm also quite excited, because this is the first time i'm traveling without any itinerary. because the past few months have been so busy (which is another reason why this blog has been updated 0 times), we thought it would be great if we could just go there and do anything we please when we please. it's the kind of traveling that i haven't done before, because i can be a control freak.

but of course, i'm hoping i could see the red dot design museum this time around. and get to shop a little because it's the great singapore sale there now! and we'll also be catching the singapore food festival!

so check back soon to read all about my singapore adventure!