Flying with Jetstar Asia

About

Jetstar Asia Airways Pte Ltd (operating as Jetstar Asia) is an LCC based in Singapore. It is the Asian offshoot of Jetstar Airways, the low-cost subsidiary airline of Australia’s Qantas. It operates services to Asian countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Its sister airlines are Jetstar Pacific and Jetstar Japan.

Website

I could say that it was relatively easy to navigate for a first-timer. I just had some difficulty searching for the specific dates that reflect their supposed seat sales. I initially thought it was all a joke, a come-on for suspecting buyers. You would have to come around again and again, just to realize that it’s only good for one-way tickets. But it’s still a bargain, nonetheless.

Booking

It was generally hassle-free. I was able to book two round trip  tickets bound for Singapore at around Php3,200 ($64) each. We got the confirmation page and reviewed all details. So far, so good.

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I had to check my email in just a few hours, and this is what I received:

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It also came with the official receipt and the breakdown of charges.

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Flight (MLA>SG)

We arrived a mere hour before the counters opened. I was surprised to see the queue of people. I thought it was for China Airlines beside ours, but I was wrong. All went quite fast and smoother than expected though. We then proceeded to immigration, then our boarding gates.

We were called to depart half an hour before time. It’s small just like other LCCs, and legroom was almost non-existent. Not that I cared about it. Seats were comfortable, and I was happy to be seated near the window.  Just a four-hour flight, I thought. We waited at the threshold for an aircraft to land before taking off. It was a little bumpy at first, but eventually became steady after a while.

As I got bored looking at the clouds, I glimpsed at the food menu in front of me. Only a slab of sandwiches were available, though. I instantly smelled it when the staff delivered it to our neighbor. It wafted in the air for some time, and I resisted to urge to order one. Damn.

Three hours and forty minutes passed.

We’re almost landing in Singapore. I immediately noticed their magnificent skyline and Sentosa’s merlion from afar. I got jittery and excited, but happy  that the rest of the flight went uneventful.

Flight (SG>MLA)

Here goes the disaster.

Well, not exactly. Sorry for my exaggeration. We were already inside the plane, comfortably watching videos on our phones when an announcer suddenly said that we have to go out and return to the airport terminal. Why? Yes, you’re right. The cliche technical malfunction problem. Do we have a choice? Of course not.

Everyone were talking out loud how incompetent the airline/staff was for not finding it out sooner,  and at the same time packing their stuff and starting to leave. We, too, headed our way.

We waited for about two hours (or more) until we were called again to board. My mind was wandering? Is this another plane now? I sure hope they fixed whatever problem there was.

My question was never answered. Not that I bothered asking anyone anyway. We were all probably tired, that’s why.

My rating (1-10)
 
Website: 8
On-ground crew: 8
In-flight service: 7
Seat comfort: 8
Cabin interior: 8
Cleanliness: 8
Punctuality: 6
Aircraft condition: 6
Overall rating: 8
Verdict
I would still recommend this airline despite the mishap we experienced. It offers cheap and reasonable prices, considering the destinations. Seats were relatively okay and in-flight staff were approachable. Their English is not that great but understandable. I wish I could recommend the sandwich but sadly, I didn’t try it. My bad. (Maybe I should, next time). But as with any other LCCs, do not expect much. You paid less for a reason. If you want more amenities, bigger legroom and a great flight experience, might as well spare more bucks for real airlines. Just my two-cents.
I hope this article would shed some light on those contemplating whether to jump on that next plane to Tokyo or Melbourne. Next on the list is Delta Airlines. Will update you on this soon enough. Carry on!

Christmas in my Country

It’s almost December! And at the same time, Christmas is just around the corner. I can’t believe how time flies so fast.

Christmas is one of the most-awaited holidays here. We do it in such festive way. Giant decorations and lights surround streets and alleys. Super sale and huge discounts abound. It’s not hard to find wildly adorned structures, completely filled with Yuletide feels.

Now let me list down the popular activities/food before and after our Christmas:

Simbang Gabi (Night  Mass) – mostly practised because of tradition. Catholics and alike flock to churches all across town and hear their early lecture at roughly 03:00 in the morning. Other parishes also hold evening masses, though this is uncommon. After which, you can expect to be greeted with the salivating aroma of native delicacies such as bibingka and puto bumbong, among others.

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Bibingka – No Christmas is complete without this. My ultimate favorite:  bibingka! This one is traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves. Basic ingredients include rice flour, egg, coconut milk, sugar, margarine/butter and water. Almost always, you’d see a slice of red salted egg and grated coconut as your topping.

Puto bumbong (Steamed glutinous rice) – Another popular in this season. It is colored purple (which looks yummy) which came from a mixture of sweet rice and black rice. It is usually served with butter, sugar and grated coconut. Yep, just like bibingka’s. Another must-try!

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Noche Buena – probably the most fun-filled event. What can you expect? It’s dinner time! That dinner before Christmas, that is. Exactly on the evening of the 24th of December. Everyone gathers around the table, ready to dive into an array of delicious foods and desserts. These would include, but not limited to, queso de bola (ball of cheese), spaghetti (or other type of noodle), fruit salad, and the famed ham.

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Gift-Giving – or we normally say Kris Kringle or simply exchange of gifts. I don’t know with the others, but we do this after the noche buena. I would usually prepare small gifts for my nieces and nephews, with (kinda) big presents for my brothers, cousins and parents.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!! 

My A-Z of Bucket List 2017

Yes, you read that right: 2017.

For the past year, I felt like I was too focused at work. I kind of forgot to enjoy life and what it has to offer. I simply bounced along. But then I saw this:

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I realized it’s never too late to do something new. A new day presents another chance to change things. And since the bucket list challenge has been a thing for a long time now, I decided to blog my list online. I will be constantly updating this, as necessary.

A – ttend a beach party. It sounds like real fun.

B – ake a blueberry cheesecake, or any other cheesecake for that matter

C – uddle up with a special someone next to the fireplace, while sipping hot chocolate ♥

D – onate clothes that I am not using anymore; design my own house

E – mbrace imperfection ♥

F – ix my bedroom. Or fall in love. SOON. ♥

G – et married. SOON. ♥

H – ug a real panda. I adore them.

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I – ncrease my stamina and weight

J – oin a charity and sponsor a child’s education

K – iss someone special in the rain ♥

L – earn another language. Now working on my Nihongo skills. Please don’t ask my level.

M – ove to another country permanently. A] Japan, B] Canada, C] Austria, D] Finland. Suggestions anyone??? 

N – eglect negative people. They keep coming.

O – pen my own business. Torn between a cafe or restaurant. Or both??

P- ublish my own book

Q – uit procrastinating.

R – ead more books.

S – ee Santa Claus! Impossible? ……..Okay, how about skinny-dipping??  Or stargazing?!

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T – ake my mom on the vacation of her dreams.

U – nleash my hidden potential.

V – isit the top 10 tourist spots

W – atch fireworks at Disneyland/Disney World; watch my favorite boyband in concert; watch Adele live

X – Can I skip this? Pretty please? ………………………….Thanks 🙂

Y- ell at the top of the mountain. YOLO!

Z – iplining

 

What’s yours? I’d love to see how it goes for you and for me. Good luck!

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Sentosa  Island

It’s true. This island is awesomely huge. You could probably visit and enjoy all attractions in three days (or maybe two). Well, it’s my assumption. Me and my buddy decided we’d only take the cable car and go to the most-visited place, Universal Studios!

Although we encountered some difficulty locating the ticket counter, we eventually found our way and easily exchanged our vouchers. Let me tell you that I AM acrophobic (extreme fear of heights). And as they say, face your fear. Okay, I thought of this many, many times. I told myself I wouldn’t EVER ride rollercoasters and the like, but this is different (I hope). I will just try.

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The entire “trip” took only 15 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime for me. You know what I’m talking about, right? But I survived! Should I rejoice? Maybe. I halfheartedly enjoyed the spectacular view from our seats. I was screaming for a while, then I kept talking to myself. I can do this, I can do this. And I did, I guess.

After that excruciating, nerve-wracking, and gut-wrenching (at least for me) experience, we walked along the crowd. We saw Madame Tussauds along the way, but only took a pic outside.

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Then, we were instructed to take the monorail going to USS. It was really cute.

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Finally, we’re almost there! But first….

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And who doesn’t love chocolate? Especially Hershey’s?!? I bet.

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We saw the big Universal globe. Again, one of those famous backdrops. Tell you more on my next post! 😉

Day Tour in Batam, Indonesia [2]

Next stop: Sari Bumbu restaurant. We were really eager to eat because we’re all starving. I was relieved to know that it’s a buffet restaurant, not seafood. I have previously read blogs indicating that they ate in a certain Golden Prawn 933/555. It was quite a popular option included in a tour package. It was supposedly “free” and with this, I certainly didn’t expect much. Some people were saying good reviews, but most were not satisfied. I often saw terms like mediocre, so-so, and tasteless. But it’s cheap!

Fortunately, we didn’t have the chance to taste it for ourselves. What we had was the typical Indonesian cuisine. Nothing fancy, though. It was pretty good, considering. I wouldn’t say it was tasteless, but it was so-so. There were several foods to choose from, with names I couldn’t decipher. The staff were very friendly in assisting us and answering our queries. I really find it funny that they initially talk in the native tongue, then suddenly get surprised when we respond in English. It would take awhile for them to talk once again. I especially loved the fact that we can eat as much as we like, and that there was ice cream. It was scorching hot outside.

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This was our first set, complete with soup and dessert. I remember coming back at least twice to get more. Haha 😀

After lunch, we headed to the next stop (and last temple for the day). It was probably the newest one we have visited. What I really liked about it was…the cute baby buddhas! There were a lot of them, each bearing some sign of good luck.

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My friend said to hold the bag of money for prosperity. Hmmmm…..there’s no harm anyway.

Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple

And the biggest buddha was right there in the middle. I don’t see other tourists going near it, so we didn’t bother. We were pretty much contented with the babies.

After this, we went to several shops: chocolate, Polo (which they say is authentic), kueh lapis, local delicacies, batik (traditional fabric), and Batam shopping mall.

In all of these, we managed to spend all of our pocket money for that day. Ah, were they good at convincing! I was aghast when I found that I don’t have IDR cash left, only SGD! That made me stop and instead of buying another kueh lapis box, opted to get the buy one-take one chocolate bars I spotted in the mall. Not bad, eh?

And that’s it. Our day tour was done. I was somewhat satisfied, never mind my cashless bag. It was as if we went full-blown shopping spree. We went back to Singapore with loads of plastic bags and paper boxes. Considering the difference of price between these two countries, it was a good bargain still.

If you are interested in Batam or Bintan, for that matter, you may check out Travel Delightfully and book any of their packages.

Day Tour in Batam, Indonesia [1]

Tourists to Singapore mostly go to Malaysia for a day or two of sightseeing. Well, we opted to take the unlikely route: Indonesia. There is this small island called Batam, quietly nestled an hour away. It is the largest city in the Riau islands, third-largest city in Sumatra, and eighth-largest city in Indonesia. Two nearby islands, Bintan and Bulan, are also quite popular for Singaporeans.

Batam has a tropical climate, similar to my home country. The people spoke of several languages, predominantly Indonesian. The locals were generally friendly and approachable. I would assume this is because we look like them. And because of that, it never really felt like a foreign country for me.

We landed at Sekupang International Ferry Terminal. One could immediately see the difference from where we came, the much-larger HarbourFront Centre. We rode Horizon Fast Ferry, which was relatively new compared to its competitors. We basically had no choice because this ferry was already a part of the package we availed. The entire trip was generally good and smooth-sailing. It was a cloudy day, and luckily, there was no impending typhoon.

We were greeted by a long queue of people in the immigration, and when it was our turn, everything went okay (almost).

And then, my mind was wandering. Where is our tour guide? We decided to go out of the main lobby and searched. Then a man suddenly approached us from behind, asking our names. At first, we stammered and got quiet. Then he showed us our passport copies (which we sent prior) and package itinerary. Oh! He was our tour guide! Thank God he found us. We exchanged a little greeting and proceeded to the small van waiting. I am not sure if it’s a good thing, but we were the only “guests” for that day.

First stop: Miniature Park. Locals used to call it Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. I heard that there’s another one in Jakarta, though. But this one would suffice. Various traditional houses from all over Indonesia have miniature versions in this park. It is free-of-charge.

 

There were so many houses! And they’re all so cute! After an hour, we went to our first temple for the day: Tua Pek Kong.

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There were only a few people inside. And at first, they were looking at us skeptically. Then I realized we were wearing shoes inside. Big NO-NO! I saw our guide waving at us, showing us where to put our shoes. Our bad. It was really embarrassing. Anyhow, we went again to another temple.

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A big buddha was prominently placed right at the center of the entrance. It’s the first thing you’ll see. The smell of incense was pungent in every corner. We decided to burn one and whispered a short prayer. Yes, we left our shoes outside (we knew better this time) as soon as we saw the clean and clear vinyl tiles. Our guide and driver also prayed with us. Theirs was longer, though.

We also went around, as there are many small temples behind. They all look relatively the same, just with different arrangements and design. We also found a vegetarian canteen which made us remember the time. It’s almost twelve! Back to the van, it was as if our guide read our minds. He asked if we are already hungry. We both nodded.

 

The Peak Tram, Sky Terrace, & Madame Tussauds

On our third day, we only had until 6 pm to enjoy. We left at around 8am, right after our heavy breakfast. Off we went with our maps, to the nearest train station.

Our first stop: The Peak Tram. I have seen and rode many trains and subways, but this ought to be different. As most passengers agree, this is the only way to truly experience the beauty of Hong Kong’s natural wonders. The best part is the illusion, which we all highly enjoyed. The children together with us were all screaming excitedly when we were going up.

According to a study* by The University of Hong Kong, passengers riding on The Peak Tram will experience a spectacular visual illusion; when going uphill, the high rises of the right ride of the tram appear to fall toward The Peak. This Peak Tram illusion is induced by a change of the subjective vertical caused by the tilted visual environment and reclining body position of observers inside the tram. -The Peak website

Upon reaching the end station, we were greeted by an array of souvenir shops. We didn’t buy any, as we are planning to go later to a much cheaper option. We continued our way through the crowd until we saw the way going to the Sky Terrace. We queued as well.

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After several escalators, we finally reached the top. LITERALLY. It was awesome.

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We were given an audio device to listen to (that’s the red thing hanging on my neck) about the history of the Peak. I only understand a little of it because I mostly enjoyed the videos. After which, we took turns taking photos.

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As we were heading out, we gave back the device and proceeded to Madame Tussauds. I was really excited about this. We checked our cameras if we have enough batteries, and luckily we did.

The line was short, but inside it was packed. Flashes of camera everywhere. I was astounded. It was as if I am surrounded by famous stars waiting to have their photos taken (with me?lol).

 

I didn’t know which image to use here, as there were TOO MANY of them. I guess these three would suffice. I don’t want to flood this post, anyway. But rest assured that you’d enjoy there when you visit someday. Make sure to charge your batteries and phones in full. There were many categories — Hollywood, Asian, sports, anime, etc — to choose from. We went out tired (from smiling at the cam mostly, haha) but satisfied. We went downstairs for a short snack at KFC and proceeded to our last stop: Ladies Market.

I wished to have roamed more at other markets, but we lacked time to do so. This was the last time to buy souvenirs. We bought I ❤ HK T-shirts, keychains, magnets, and local goods.

And that was it. Our trip was almost over. We went back to the hotel to wait for our coach. Until next time, HK! 🙂