Saturday, August 18, 2012

Istana Open House Singapore

The Istana in Singapore is where the President lives. It's like the White House to the United States, or Malacanang to the Philippines. It's located in the primest of the prime locations in Singapore as it sits right on Orchard Road.

Let me be the first to admit that two years back, I had no idea what the Istana was, or who Singapore's President was at that time. We stumbled on a long line in front of the white gates on our way to Plaza Singapura on one holiday or the other, and when I asked why people were lining up, the security personnel told us it was because it was one of the five days in a year that the Istana was open to the public. Given my curious nature, I dragged yaya and Fi inside so we could explore it. Foreigners just need to donate a dollar to enter the grounds.

The lions at welcome you at the gate.
The line that intrigued me.
There is a crowd because President Tan went out for a photo op (Jan 2012).
In 2010, we sat behind President Nathan watching some kids perform for him.
They have a golf course when you enter.
This tree has long extending roots.
Dramatic shot.
See the buildings? That's Orchard Road.
Our favorite activity was climbing up a (low) tree.
I climbed up with Fi, mini skirt and all.
View from the top.
There is a fountain in front of the main building of the Istana.
There is another line (and another donation - I think SG$5) to enter.
Too lazy to line up, we were happy enough to stay on the steps.
There is also a pond with a Queen Victoria statue.
It reminds me of the waterlily ponds in Monet's garden in Giverny.
Queen Victoria's Statue.
Sofia loves the play area.
Patiently waiting...
Thin Ninong arrived just before closing time.
Sofia brought him to climb our favorite tree.
Fif and he favorite Ninong.
The kid on the higher branch was always including himself in our pictures.
Tim is obviously not happy! Hahaha.
Then I joined them.
See the boy?
There were a lot of kids behind me who wanted to climb up the tree
but we were not yet done picture taking.
I love the lighting of this picture.
Moving to another branch for another angle.
Sofia and Ninong moving on to the playground.
Peek a boo!
Time to go, It's closing time.
On our way out, Sofia showed Ninong the tree with giant roots.
Fif and Ninong.
Sofia took Ninong's picture by the pond beside the golf course.
Can you imagine this peaceful uncluttered place is on Orchard Road?
Swan in motion.
Pair of swans.
Sofia wanted a picture with the police van.
You can see Istana Park and Vision Crest (one of our old office locations)
in the background.

The Istana is open to the public five times a year to celebrate the following holidays:
  • Second Day of Chinese New Year
  • Labour Day (always on the 1st of May)
  • National Day (the Sunday before 9th August)
  • Hari Raya Puasa (the actual day) --- 19th August for 2012
  • Deepavali (the actual day) --- 13th November for 2012 

On one of Sofia's trips to Manila, she was telling our helpers at home that she went to the house of the President and we saw him, and we watched a concert with him... So when we had the newer nanny with us in Singapore, she was quite excited to visit the President's home too and Sofia was her tour guide.

If you have nothing planned for the holidays, the Istana is a nice place to visit with kids. The Singapore Zoo normally has a booth and they bring ponies and snakes. The gardens are also very big so there are a lot of places to explore in addition to the ones we've visited.

Hmmm... thought bubble, maybe I should check if there are similar visits that can be arranged for Malacanang now that we are back in our home country. I'm sure Sofia will be interested to see it too. Just Saying. 

No comments:

Post a Comment