By Kaye Estoista-Koo
When you say Singapore, several things come to mind: one of the world’s most expensive cities, if not the most expensive. F1 season every September. The Merlion. Marina Bay Sands. Universal Studios Singapore.
These are the usual reasons people go to the small island state. But with its ever changing landscape—new buildings and new train stations crop up every so often—there is always something new to discover. What it lacks in land area as Singapore is no bigger than Quezon City, Singapore more than compensates for in experiences.
From concerts in the park, to special exhibits and displays in various museums and galleries, art performances, musicals, and more, one can say that Singapore is always moving, vibrant, and alive.
With the launch of their brand campaign Passion Made Possible, the Singapore Tourism Board is engaging in a fresh way of making Singapore connect to an even larger global audience. Passion Made Possible is an umbrella concept that focuses on the Singaporean’s passion, vision, ingenuity, perseverance, and drive to ignite and explore.
Just this weekend, they introduced three Passion Ambassadors from the Philippines: Mikael Daez, actor and travel vlogger; Nicco Santos, owner of Hey Handsome, Your Local, and Any Any; and Andre Chanco, owner of Yardstick, a b2b business inspired by his time in the Lion City.
Passion Made Possible has already been introduced to 16 markets worldwide since August 2017 and alongside the launch, they hold a Singapore Travel Showcase. The showcase gives a foretaste of Singapore’s foodie scene, its fashion and culture scene, and its discovery of new places scene.
Mikael, who normally stays away from tourist spots, was pleasantly surprised to find himself enjoying the sites and scenes he has been introduced to so far.
Would you believe that out of his many, many adventures the world over, Mikael has never tried to skydive?
However, he got to do a simulated sky diving experience in Singapore, on Sentosa Island. “With iFly, supposedly the feelings you experience are exactly what you would experience when you are skydiving. So if you want to say, like me, hey, I skydived, iFly is for you!” he shares.
Mikael says that is what drew him to the whole Passion Made Possible campaign. “Finding something so magical in a city that is so cosmopolitan, that’s the magic of it,” he adds.
Becoming a Passion Ambassador is Mikael’s dream come true as well. “Singapore is a place close to my heart because that is where my best friend lives. I have one best friend and he is in Singapore. So for me to be able to come over there, promote it, and promote travel to Filipinos is something I really believe in.”
His most recent discovery of Pulau Ubin also sparked in him so much appreciation for Singapore’s past.
“It was nice. Many like-minded travelers like me like looking into history, delving deeper into the culture, and this place, it is Singapore stuck in time, in a very different time!”
Nicco says that for him, repeat visits to hawker centers in Maxwell and Tiong Bahru are a must.
Nicco chimes that in Manhattan Bar, which happens to be one of Mikael’s favorite bars, the lead bartender is Filipino and he gives free tequila shots to Pinoys. Smoke & Mirrors is his other go-to.
Edward Koh, Singapore Tourism Board’s executive director for Southeast Asia, revealed the value of the Philippines to Singapore: We rank seventh in their list of markets coming in to tour and visit.
“This is a global campaign that goes beyond tourism and business,” he says about Passion Made Possible. “It is our brand for the international audience using an inside-out approach by defining more clearly who we are and reflecting the journey we went through over the last 52 years since independence, and our people, our best stories are through ordinary Singaporeans going about their daily life.”
Passion Made Possible happened through the groundwork of doing qualitative and quantitative research on 4,500 locals, agency and travel stakeholders, and tourists. Two themes emerged, Edward shares: passion and possibilities.
With Passion Made Possible, they are looking at building a stronger base of quality tourists. “People who are the discerning travelers, who will spend more, enjoy certain experiences, not just the usual. They will want more immersive experiences, letting them live like locals,” he says.
So whether you’re hiking up MacRitchie Reservoir, walking in the quiet subdivision of Hillview, eating hawker food in Chomp Chomp in the posh residential area of Serangoon, visiting the Mandai mangroves, taking in Peranakan architecture in Joo Chiat, or strolling Punggol Waterway Park, Singapore is laying itself open before you.