Our company held overseas tour every two years for employees that have 2 years of service and beyond. I joined the company last 2015 and the same year, they had an overseas trip to Japan. I was allowed to join that time, but I need to pay for myself (which costs almost half of my salary) and as I’ve just been less than 4 months in the company and in Singapore, I don’t have the luxury to spend that amount (well, save first right?) So fast forward to 2017, our company had another one again. And I am one of the the lucky employees to have an all expense paid trip! Earlier this year, my colleagues were debating on which country we’ll go. If it’s South Korea or Sydney. Most of us wanted to go to Sydney so our Finance Manager contacted one of the travel agency here in Singapore to ask for quotation. Unfortunately, the budget for Sydney was too much for our budget so they just decided to go to Melbourne instead and it will be a 5-day trip. Who wouldn’t love to have a few days off from work and spend some time in a beautiful place? I’m quite lucky right?
Fast forward to a month prior to the trip, our HR Manager gathered our documents and arranged schedule to the embassy for visa processing. Good thing, it only took 2 days to get the result. They gave me and my fellow Filipinos 1 year visa, with 1 month maximum stay.
Fast forward to weeks prior to the trip, I was so stressed on finding 5 sets of winter outfit for the 5 day stay. Yes, WINTER!! It was winter season by the time of our trip. I needed to have atleast 2 layers of thick outfit just to get through the day. I lived my entire life in a tropical country and used to wear simple shirt and pants, so it’s a lot difficult for me to decide on what to wear. I’m quite picky also cos it’s my first time to go outside Asia, and Australia is too surreal for me that’s why I wanted my outfit to be more than the usual and I wanted my pictures to look better than my previous vacations (you know?! level up ang Aus. haha!) But after a few trips in the malls and Bugis street, I finally found the outfits that I’m comfortable with.
09 May 2017 – Day 0
Our flight was around midnight which gave us reason to still go to work the whole day. But good thing they allowed employees who lived far from the east to go home early and prepare. Our call time was 9pm in Changi terminal 2 and I was surprised that all of us were quite early. Maybe all were too excited, eh? haha! In total, there are 34 people included our trip, including one of my closest friends, Win John who works for a different company. (our company allowed us to bring a friend/family as long as they will pay for their own)
What I love about Singapore Changi Airport is that almost all of the flights leave on time, and if there happens to be a delay, you can also relax in their cozy lounge and boarding gates, they also offer free massage if you know hot to spot them.
As usual, we boarded on time and took off on time also. It’s also my friend, Win John’s first time to fly with Singapore Airlines, yey! As for me, it’s my 5th time with SQ but the plane that flies from Singapore to Manila is a lot different than this. The seats are a lot nicer and the LCD is much bigger than my previous SQ experience, and it’s touch screen also! Cool. lol
One more thing that I love about Singapore Airlines is their fooooddd! You can choose your main course between chicken and beef. And you can choose different beverage from juices, softdrinks, wines and alcoholic drinks. I helped myself with some wine and a couple of shots of Bailey’s. It helped me to sleep well too. haha
10 May 2017, Wednesday – 1st day
The flight took 7 hrs and 35mins; we landed before 9:30am local time (Melbourne is 2hrs ahead of Singapore) which allowed us have breakfast in the plane before landing in Tullamarine Airport.
Finally, I stepped a foot on a different continent! haha I thought I’ll be stuck in Asia for forever, that’s why I’m super thankful to my boss! It went well when I passed by the immigration. The officer didn’t asked any question, they knew I was included in a group tour. They didn’t stamp on my passport too! HUHUHU. WHY??!!! No evidence that I went to Melbourne on my passport!!!! I was a bit disappointed that time, but shrugged it off and look forward to the rest of the day.
You can already feel the chilly weather outside the airport, which made me worry if I can get through the day as I’m only wearing a thin leggings, a shirt and a thin long jacket. The 34 of us secured our luggage in the bus, and we proceed to our first destination.
First stop was St. Patrick Cathedral.
I don’t have a decent photo of the church itself, only selfies with my colleagues.
Next stop was Fitzroy Gardens. The only time I felt really cold while strolling in the park. Well, I’m used to hot and humid weather which is the reason why I don’t go to parks. haha
I used my iPhone 6s in the above photo. The quality is as good as DSLR ❤
For lunch, since the travel agency was a chinese company, we had lunch in a chinese restaurant. Sounds funny, right? We’re in a western country and having chinese for lunch is not a great idea. Well, still thankful for the free trip. haha!
Next stop was the Federation Square. It is a unique cultural events hub where world class events held,
‘Next stop was the Eureka Tower, Melbourne’s sightseeing at its finest. The skydeck stands at almost 300 meters above the ground, where you can enjoy the most spectacular floor-to-ceiling, 360-degree view in Australia (the highest in the Southern Hemisphere)
Next destination was in one of the souvenir shops in Melbourne. I already forgot the name but they sell cheaper chocolates, nougats etc too! Our last stop before having dinner was in Harbour Town, a big place for different factory outlets. The Melbourne star (the gigantic ferris wheel) is also a walking distance here, as well as Costco. We just roamed around for about 30mins then we immediately returned to the bus. It’s freakin cold!!
For dinner, we ate
again in a chinese restaurant. Funny thing was that the food we had during lunch was almost the same as what we had on dinner. Hahahuhu.
For 4 nights, we were booked in Mercure Hotel.
Thanks for reading guys! This is only the first day of my Australian adventure. Will update in a few days. 🙂