Last Friday I found myself in the company of Filipino bloggers and Singaporean representatives of the Singapore Tourism Board and Contact Singapore. Since it was the start of the Singapore Food Festival, we were treated to sumptuous Singaporean dishes: the Singapore Slaw, a very interesting mix of colors and textures; Bawan Kepeting, a traditional Nyonya meatball soup; Singapore Laksa and Mee Goreng, very spicy but also very very good; Hainanese Chicken Rice, plated in the most beautiful way, and; Sago Gula Melaka with Vanilla ice cream, which is pretty much tiny tapioca in light syrup with a dollop of ice cream.
After lunch, it was down to business. Lynette of the STB gave a short presentation about Singapore. Not much words needed to be said about the island state — all of us know that there’s so much to do in such small territory. There are activities and attractions for all types of travelers and all types of budget, so you can be sure that there’s something that’s distinctly YOU in Singapore. That’s why the Singapore Tourism Board has launched a new website: yoursingapore.com. The site showcases Singapore’s top rating events, cultural festivals, and of course, favorite tourist attractions. One nifty feature of the site is that it lets you organize your trip from home so you can make the most out of your trip to Singapore.
Lee of Contact Singapore talked to us about working in SG. As the years pass, more and more Filipinos are finding themselves in Singapore. Some are there for work, some are there as tourists, while some are there as tourists looking for work. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last week that there’s as much as 100,000 jobs for foreign workers — an announcement I’m sure was met with much cheering from Filipinos who are looking for opportunities to work overseas.
Lee of Contact Singapore answering a question with Aileen listening with rapt attention in the background and Jay staring intently at something on the table
Lee explains that in Singapore they value skills and performance. If you can do your job and do it well, you are rewarded, regardless of race, gender or age. He also shared stories of Filipinos who are working in Singapore, like this OFW who works in Singapore from Monday to Friday, and spends weekends in Manila, thanks to the proximity of the two countries and cheap airfare.
He also shared that for Filipinos who are interested in looking for a job in Singapore might want to apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate or EPEC. This is basically a pass that lets you stay in Singapore for a year while you’re sending out applications and attending interviews. Though this is a much more convenient option to going on a visa run to Malaysia or Indonesia every 30 days, you *do* need to apply for the certification beforehand and you have to be qualified and present the required documents. Applications can be lodged online and is free of charge.