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Uber Singapore (and Philippines) is gone.

I’ve once written how I felt cheated with their discount codes. But in reality, Uber is 80% of the time cheaper than Grab.

Uber officially left Manila yesterday, April 16, making Singapore it’s last South East Asian country (it was required to extend until May 07).

And even on the last remaining days of Uber Singapore, it’s still noticeably cheaper than Grab.

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My favorite part of Uber is that the driver doesn’t know where you’re going. They can’t choose passengers!

Unlike Grab which gives freedom to their drivers to choose passengers!

After May 07, it’s Grab vs Comfort… And we all know Comfort is even more expensive!

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So I guess that’s it… Goodbye Uber…

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Was at Holiday Inn Express for an overnight staycation!

Before I say anything about the hotel… Let’s talk about location!

Singapore is a small place with convenient public transport.

The hotel’s location is not perfect, but the Central Mall and Central Square are just across it if you’re looking for restaurants.

10 minutes walk to Chinatown MRT, Clark Quay MRT and Robertson Quay.

Taxis are available, but since this is Singapore, I suggest that you install Uber/Grab!

As for the hotel… It’s small.

The room has the basic stuff. (Although I can’t seem to remember seeing a safe)

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Toiletries are limited, but you can request for a shaver and comb if needed.

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Like other Singapore hotels, they will provide a free mobile phone with free data and local calls… Since the device runs on Android, you can also use it as a hotspot for other devices.

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Alarm clock/phone speaker is available if you love listening to music.

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On the roof top, they have the lap pool, jacuzzi and park. Don’t expect too much from the view, the hotel is basically in the middle of the city.

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DIY Laundry is available on the 2nd floor and gym is also on the roof top… I didn’t have time to go around but both are mentioned on the hotel’s website.

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As for the breakfast… Nothing to write about, but I’ve seen worst from neighboring hotels (so I guess it’s still a positive).

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I guess people stay in Holiday Inn because of brand familiarity.

If you need the location, then Holiday Inn Express is ok. There are cheaper hotels nearby which offers a bigger room, better facilities and better location… But they will not have the Holiday Inn brand.

For more than a week this December (2017), I drove Mitsubishi’s Mirage G4.

It was a rental car which should give me a good look at the car.

Why am I so excited? Because I’m eyeing to buy the hatchback version of this car (also on my list are the Honda Brio and the Suzuki Celerio).

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This is the exact car I drove from QC to Laguna to Subic to Clark and in small trips inside Metro Manila. Almost 500kms with the car and I guess that’s more than enough to write something about it.

The car had almost 31k in it’s Odometer, I’m not sure of it’s exact age, but 31k on a regular car should make it around 3 years old.

If you do a quick search… The car has a lot of negative reviews from Europe, US and Australia.

Positive side, it was the Philippines’ Car of the Year for 2012-13

So if you’re also thinking of buying this car… Hope this post will help in your decision.

Negatives

Steering wheel’s audio controls were no longer working!
Visor was useless – I’m 5’8 and if I follow the “proper driving position,” the visor will block my view.

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Steering wheel was blocking the turn lights (again following the “proper driving position”)

Speedo/Odometer had a blueish hue, which turned orange at night

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Shift panel does not have lights which can be an issue if you’re not too familiar with the car.
A/C wasn’t strong enough – on a December!
No way to turn off “Eco Mode,” I believe this causes the half a second delay when stepping on the gas pedal. I find this dangerous if you’re not very familiar with the configuration. For provincial roads, the delay in acceleration will result to planned overtaking which can be tiring during long drives.

If you’ve read reviews about its weak rear suspension – it’s actually very weak, it also has this weird bounce when travelling in uneven roads at around 60kph… To those familiar with C5, there was this motorcycle lane near Taguig where the car just looses its poise…

I had 3 adult passengers at the back and after the trip they were complaining that the car had very stiff suspension. I told them it was not stiffness, the suspension was actually no longer moving!

Noise noise noise, I can hear the engine, the road and the car beside me.
I feel that if you’re one of those guys who sing in traffic, people outside will actually hear you!

The car can’t be all bad… Here’s a list of positives!

Can fit 5 adults, 4 if you want them to be comfortable
Start/Stop button – you need to get used to it, but I’m choosing it over the conventional car keys.
Reverse camera and sensors were so convenient
Turning radius, I was initially torn if its bigger… Or the car is just smaller.

So yes, my list of negatives are longer than my list of positives.

It’s also the reason why I started with the negatives.

One thing you have to consider is that you’ll be paying around 700 thousand pesos for this car. (G4 GLX – 712k as per TopGear Philippines)

At that price range, you can only get a Manual Vios, CVT Vios will cost around 840 thousand (1.3E AT as per TopGear Philippines)

If you’re thinking that the Vios is way bigger than the G4, look again… The 3rd Gen Vios is big, but the G4 is almost the same size as the 1st and 2nd Gen Vios.

I know I drove then top of the line GLS Mirage G4… Not the GLX.

And I honestly think the GLS is too expensive and you should look at other alternatives before buying one…

But the Mirage GLX (and the G4 variant) hits a sweet sopt in features and price.

If you’re 90% of the time alone in the car
Family of 3 (or even 4)
If that “out of town trip” is only twice a year (I do not count Tagaytay/Cavite/Batangas/Clark/Subic as out of town)

Then you can consider the Mirage. This will be a different if you’re considering a manual tranny car…. (get the Vios) But in 2018 (and beyond) I think it’s unfair to push my daughter to drive manual.

One thing about the car I rented… I tried so hard to keep the car’s Eco light on…
Did my calculations after returning the car… And I got 7km/l!
The car’s performance made me hope for 15km/l… 7 is just too low.
Maybe it’s the car’s maintenance, or lack thereof.

Furama City Centre

We visited this hotel last December 07, 2017 to do a quick inspection as we send some of our company guests here.

I was not able to see the pool, gym and other facilities…

But we’ve managed to see their rooms and restaurant.

The lowest tier of their rooms are pretty simple.

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One thing you get is size…

The hotel is pretty old, I understand that a renovation is expected soon… But something it has over the newer hotels… SPACE!

The most inxpensive room presented to us even came with a tub!

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Next tier going up…

Same room, bigger TV and you get an Echo Dot…

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And yes Alexa/Echo can turn on/off the lights for you.

Club room looks nice for couples…

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But the daily rate is very close to their suite…

Suite will allow you to cook and you get a regular sized 2 door fridge.

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All rooms will come with a complimentary local phone with data.

About the hotel’s location

It’s walking distance to Clarke Quay and Chinatown MRT.

Furama City Centre is a 4 star hotel and I’m sure you’ll find newer and cheaper hotels in the area…

But the space and privacy you get is something to consider… The walls dividing the rooms are old school thick and hard…

Since the hotel is at Chinatown, you’re staying outside most of the time, the age of the lobby and the corridors will be easily forgotten once you’re inside the rooms.

https://furama.com/citycentre

That Uber 50% Off Scam!

Before the weekend started, Uber sent me an email for 50% off on UberX/Pool rides for the weekend… (And Yes, I know that the discount is capped at S$5.00)

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To my surprise… Even with Uber’s 50% off, Grab was offering better fares.

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Received another “promo” for weekedays and I guess I will be thinking twice before booking Uber.

Uber Save Big

Saw a Star Wars Experience the Force ad in Facebook and I knew I just had to go.

Sadly, after getting there, I’m not sure of my expectation was too high or the Millennium Falcon and ACT Walker on display was just really (really) bad.

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You don’t need to be close to see that they were both made from cardboard!

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The experience was so bad, it should be flagged as fake news 🙂

I guess to some this is not a big deal…

But it’s been 10 years since I last flew with PAL!

I don’t even remember how NAIA Terminal 2 (aka Centennial Terminal) looks like…

Philippine Airlines to Manila…

Plane was an Airbus A320

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Business class section means everyone in economy will have to use the 2 toilets at the back of the plane.

You won’t find the usual inflight entertainment from SQ…

myPAL WiFi was available which means you get your usual movies, but you’ll need to watch them using your own device.

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I’m not sure if you can access myPAL WiFi on you laptop. But for iOS and Android, you will need to download the myPAL App.

App is pretty straight forward… I find it annoying that your movie will stop everytime the pilot has an announcement.

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I also suggest that you also find a way to hang your device on the seat in front of you as I found it impossible to continue watching my movie while eating.

Onboard meals were ok. Big plus that they have local beer available (Colt-45)

NAIA Terminal 2 also know as Centennial Terminal

Tip: On arrival, airport taxi is crazy expensive, I wouldn’t recommend normal taxi. If your destination is within Metro Manila, use Grab or Uber.

Flying out

Centennial Terminal only caters to Philippine Airlines, both domestic and international flights.

Once check-in is complete, you proceed to immigration then security checks on your way to the boarding gates.

Inside the departure area, there’s a few food stalls, 1 coffee shop, 1 water dispenser and 1 toilet!

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You’ll also find the usual duty free shops.

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Free WiFi is available from Globe and Smart.

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I would recommend that you take a light snack while waiting for your flight… PAL has a reputation to depart late.

I have to say that Terminal 3 is still Manila’s best airport, followed by Terminal 1 (yes it can be crowded, but at least they have Starbucks!) then Terminal 2.

Best way I can describe my experience with PAL… If Singapore Airlines and Cebu Pacific had a child, it should be Philippine Airlines… Not as basic as Cebu Pacific, but not as fancy as Singapore Air…

So in choosing your flight to Manila… Singapore Airlines will always be more expensive, but like Cebu Pacific, they use Manila’s Terminal 3.

The only reasons I’m choosing Philippine Airlines again are timing and since it’s cheaper than Singapore Airlines.

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