June 21, 2013

Lovers in the Park

Last Sunday, June 16, hubbyt and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. As what we had last year was a wedding in the mountain, we figured, what better way to celebrate our first year together than to go out and once again, be one with nature?

Landscaped like most parks in Singapore, the Botanic Gardens, our top pick for our picnic venue, takes pride as the country's flagship park. With 74-hectare area that houses a huge diversity of plant species from all over the world, the park boasts of impressive components such as the National Orchid Garden, Ginger Garden, Swan Lake, Palm Valley, and Rain Forest, among others. 

Parang elbi lang. We love how the Singapore Botanic Gardens reminds us of our favorite place in the Philippines.

It is said that with its 150 years of history, the Botanic Gardens stands as a living heritage of Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. Indeed, while there are more popular landmarks like the Merlion, the Marina Bay Sands and Sentosa, I believe the Botanic Gardens is the most fitting emblem of Singapore: landscaped yet well-maintained, 'unnatural' yet very pleasing to the senses. 

While it's easy to feel sorry for the little Red Dot for being deprived of natural resources that neighboring Asian countries enjoy, it is impressive to note how it managed and sustained to offset what it's lacking of. One can go on ranting that the park is man-made, but it doesn't cease to be beautiful. Come to think of it. It's a hell lot of work (not to mention expensive) to manufacture a forest, but at least Singapore tried and is successful at it! I guess that's why, beyond the issue of who put it there, this emblem of Singapore gained my respect and admiration.

It is also noteworthy how a park as huge as this sits at the very center of the city-state, a fact that signifies the expanse of the tourism industry here.   

Even when devoid of color, the Garden's landscapes remain a delight to see.

Hubbyt checking out newly-installed trees from South America.

As soon as we've laid out our picnic blanket, we felt at home. Somehow, the park reminded us of the Freedom Park at UPLB, Philippines. Well, nothing beats my first love but at least the Botanic Gardens gives off the same invigorating feel. Hubbyt and I munched on our Carl's Jr. Famous Star, the only decent burger we've tasted in Singapore so far, while soaking up in the whole experience. 

But something more breathtaking than all the scenery and greenery are the sight of families and groups of friends who, like us, also came to enjoy the Garden's offerings. It was Father's Day and I guess people went there to celebrate as well. There's something fundamentally revitalizing about watching people share a lazy afternoon together: families sharing snacks, a mother teaching her daughter to ride a bike, or a father watching his son learn how to walk.

It's a joy to watch these two pretty little girls ride their scooter.

I love how benches like this are generously scattered throughout the park.

After enjoying our snacks, we took a walk around. The place was so huge that it it was almost dark when we left but we still didn't get to cover all of it. We vow to visit again and enter through the Tanglin gate next time.

I could claim that this was taken in Baguio or Tagaytay or any other place cool, but I guess my sleeveless top gives away that it wasn't.

I can't tell where our marriage will take us in the next few years, or which park we'll lay out our picnic blanket on, say, our 50th wedding anniversary. I just know for sure that wherever it is, I'm going to be happy. :-)