31 January 2017

Honey - Expat in Singapore

Honey - Expat in Singapore

We’ve had the chance to talk to Honey, 37, a Filipino expat who has moved to Singapore alone. Ms. Honey who has been living there for more than four years, now works as a medical officer/assistant manager and quality management. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was born the Philippines and grew up in Saudi Arabia. I returned back to the Philippines to study Medicine.


Q: What made you move out of The Philippines?

A: There was a job opportunity. I welcomed the adventure so I took it.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I am currently living in sunny Singapore. I have always flirted with the idea of living & working in Singapore when I had a vacation here when I was 15 years old and here I am.


Q: How long have you been living in Singapore?

A: I been here for more than four years now.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I initially started living here as a single lady. Now, I am married to a Filipino guy. We have two young kids.  Our kids consider Singapore more as their home (well, for now) considering they have been here since they are babies. My husband is pretty well adjusted here as well.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Yes, I do. It comes in waves, long intermittent waves. Thank God for technology! Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype etc. I miss the food from home so I would ask friend travelling back home to bring some when they come back Singapore. We do go home once a year. The Philippines is pretty close to Singapore


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: It takes time for them to warm up to you. But once you get to know them, they are such lovely people. I have a lot of close local friends who would tell me where to find the best food places here in Singapore. Singaporeans are also very driven, conscientious and disciplined people. I admire them for that.  


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Singapore? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Yes, it is. You just have to be open to getting to know people around you.  Yes, I get to socialise it other expats in Singapore through blog events. There is this blog event founded by Blogger Lucy Waring called BlogMeetSg where I get to meet several expats in Singapore. There is also a big Filipino Professionals community in Singapore. I have a lot of social circles here. I have my Filipino group, my doctor friends group, blogger group and many more.


Q: How does the cost of living in Singapore compare to your home?

A: Cost of living is expensive here, no doubt.  Very different from my home country.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: One cup of coffee cost $1.10 in the local hawker center that is $0.77 in the US.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: In an inexpensive restaurant, it can cost around $15 which is around $10 in the US.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: It can range from $50-100 for one main course, which is around $30-70 in the US.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I don’t drink nor smoke so I have no rough idea. Sorry.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Singapore?

A: Opening accounts in Singapore is easy breezy. Just bring necessary documents: passport, work permit and proof of billing, you are good to go. It is pretty quick and hassles free. Initial deposit usually ranges to $1000 (Singapore).


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: It does take some time for the government agency to meticulously review your documents. But I was under an agency so I didn’t really do the follow up of my visa application.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Singapore is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Yes, it is. Both the public and private healthcare sector in Singapore is equally efficient. For those who prefer an expat healthcare with a holistic approach. They can try body with Soul in Rochester Park.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in The Philippines or in Singapore?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Nope. My friends advised me to get one. I am stubborn and a bit of a daredevil.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Singapore? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: Nothing memorable really. Maybe, I am used to living and transferring in different countries.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: First, it was the language barrier. Singaporeans speaks Singlish which took some time for me to get familiar to. It is also the pace of living. Back in the Philippines, it was more of a relaxed carefree rhythm of life. Here, it is very fast paced and stress can seep into your system if you are not careful.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Singapore?

A: Positives are its beautiful city, vibrant mix of cultures and wonderful variety of food. It is a mecca of food (and shopping). For the negatives is the fast paced, work-work-work kind of lifestyle. 


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?


  • Shopping in Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands or Bugis
  • Eat at Newton Circus, Makansutra, Satay by the Bay, Food Republic
  • Have fun at the Universal Studios
  • Hang out at cafes in Haji Lane or Tiong Bahru


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: We are toying with the idea of moving to New Zealand or maybe Dubai. But returning back home is also a welcome option.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Be adventurous. Try the food. Make friend with the locals. Don’t stay in your comfortable niche. Be familiar with Singlish. Don’t eat in MRTs. Eat lots of chicken rice.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Singapore?

A: I love food blogs. I follow www.ladyironchef.com and www.danielfooddioary.com/