Friday, December 19, 2014

CH248: On the Road

I'm sitting in a bus from Genoa, Italy en route to Nice, France. I've contemplated...

Am I successful by society's standards? No, I don't think so.

Am I privileged to be living the life I'm experiencing at this moment in time? No.

Am I happy? Yes. And somehow, it seems that's all that matters. I feel like I'm on the verge of realizing and experiencing what it means to live a life. To be happy and content. Isn't that all it takes to make one's life worth living?

I'm happy my family is stable. My sister with her family in LA - rearing my niece who is 5-6 months old. My brother in Auckland with his wife and two children having just sold their old house and moving to a new bigger one next year. My parents who are almost retired investing in real estate for their retirement funds and cash flow. Everybody who is important (familial importance) in my life seems happy and content - and in turn, I'm happy and content for them the same way at this moment in my life, I'm filled with so much gratefulness because of the enormous impossibility of adventures I'm living through.

I'm still halfway through my journey around Europe and USA, but I'm loving every bit of experience so far. Never in my mind did the thought of doing what I'm doing my cross my mind before. 3.5 years ago was the first time I told myself I will overcome my fear of traveling alone. I did a short trip by myself to Rayleigh - Krabi Thailand...and now I'm on a bus that just crossed the France-Italy border!

Happy and content. It's not too much to ask, but I'm grateful for everything.

After this whole journey, will be the challenge of settling down in Australia! I haven't really thought much about it. Right now, I'm just living my life one day at a time.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

CH247: No Regrets. No Turning Back.

"Earlier after the shower I felt like, this is it! I'm going on a big adventure! There's so much to be thankful this year and it can feel overwhelming but all I can feel is just be thankful about everything! :)"

As I'm typing this in the Singapore Airline lounge, I realize that I'm not leaving Singapore with a heavy heart. This is what it's like to have lived an experience without regrets. This is what it's like to have lived life. This is what it's like to make the most of what life has to offer.

I embrace my leaving Singapore to go to my next adventure with a humble heart. 2014 had its share of ups and downs, but all the experiences have made me a better person. There really is so much to be thankful for, my life yes tear up thinking about them! I guess this is what it means to feel overwhelmed...bittersweet!

So last night, I booked a suite at the Marina Mandarin for my going away party. It seems vain to be hosting one, but I wanted a party not to celebrate my leaving but more to get the chance to see the people who have made my stay in Singapore a memorable one.

Thank you Angelo for organizing much of the surprise and to Jon for the video that made me cry not because I was sad but because I was dearly touched by it. It doesn't happen often that I cry in front of a huge crowd, but who cares! :) I don't often show how vulnerable I feel, but in the company of the people I shall treasure memories with, I guess there was no better time to cry.


And this happened :))

Keep loving life everybody! Xoxo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CH246: Last Full Weekend

My friend from Dublin who I met in BKK is right, numb best describes how I'm feeling at the moment. Stephen also went through the same process prior when his stay in BKK had to wrap up and go back to Dublin.

Numb. Taking on each day as they come. He says I'll never really feel any sort of emotion until the moment I am in the plane and realize that everything really is happening. It's more surreal than trepidatious I guess - to be about to experience the things I only read other millenials write about - quitting job, traveling and moving.

It's still like any other day. Last night though, was worth remembering. I watched hunger games mockingjay part 1 with Ange and Jon.

And then we went clubbing. :)

And for the last time, had supper in Maxwell after all the dancing!

Fun night... I hope to see you guys in Sydney Mardi Gras! X

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CH245: An Ode to Mom

Last night, I spoke with my mom to give her an update on the stuff I've packed and the time she needs to be in the airport for when I arrive.

I think my relationship with my mom has become better since I've grown older. During our FaceTime session, I told her about how I spoke with Issa (one of my closest friends who lives in Sydney now) and she told me I'll be her official travel buddy around Australia when I move. I told Issa, yes! (Of course) but it will only be the case until I find a partner. And my mom keenly asked what Issa had to say in response. I relayed to my mom that Issa said - "well that won't take too long." And then we both laughed.

Also, since I'm in a bit of a pinch because my salary will be held for a week or two after I leave, I borrowed some cash from my mom to continue to pay for the pension I bought that's on auto debit. I didn't want to touch my pocket money budget for Europe and my money in Australia is locked in until I get there. So during the course of the conversation, my mom told me, "you know what, you can forget about paying me back, the money is yours." And I was of course shocked! I told her I'll pay her back when I finally get settled in Sydney, heck, I'll buy her and dad tickets to visit me for Christmas and the new Year. After hearing that, she then told me how my dad fervently mused to her how when they're retired, they'll have to dedicate 3 months each year - 1 month respectively for Australia, New Zealand and LA to visit us kids and their grandkids! Haha, I so look forward to that!

Here's to you mom.

An Ode to Mom (November 18, 2014)

I remember the days when you made me flash cards to help me memorize bible verses for a competition in school.

I remember when we recorded to cassette tape my dictations so as to help me memorize poems for another competition in school.

I remember how you helped rent a costume for me last minute for my stage performance of Annabel Lee for our English week contest.

Gosh, I think it was a coincidence, my horror upon seeing the most princely outfit you could find - all covered in sequin. I didn't win for the performance but I won Mr. eloquence.

I remember the fights we had when I was younger - How I'd slam the door and lock it to get away.

I remember also the time you accompanied me to ROTC (military service course in college) because I was learning to drive. Only to miss each other out because your phone batt died so I was left with the task of driving home by myself.

In retrospect, that's how I earned the courage to drive. Hmm, maybe it wasn't a coincidence we didn't meet up after my training then that time.

I remember all of these things and more. But despite the good and the bad, I am reminded of the love you have for me and the love i have for you.

This one's for you mom, I love you very much! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CH244: Family Visits SG

So more than a month ago, my family visited me here in Singapore. It was a bit stressful planning the perfect holiday considering there were two toddlers - one 5 year old and another just turned a year old.

For anybody interested, since my nephew wanted to celebrate his birthday in Legoland, half of the trip was spent in Johor Bahru Malaysia while the other in Singapore:

Day 1: Tuesday 
09:05 Arrival (T2)
11:00 Check-in MBS
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Infinity Pool
20:10 Dinner
21:30 Wonderfull Lights Show
22:00 Bed
**gardens by the bay was included in the itinerary but we decided to move it to Saturday - which didn't push through since the toddlers wanted to sleep in lol

Day2: Wednesday 
08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Check-out MBS
10:30 universal studios Singapore
18:00 Dinner DTF Sentosa
19:30 Get Stuff from MBS
19:40 Pickup by Taxi from MBS
21:30 check in to hotel 

Day3: Thursday 
08:00 Breakfast
10:00 legoland waterpark
17:00 Go to JB Outlet
20:00 Dinner
21:30 Back to Hotel
**it was supposed to be the theme park first but since it was overcast and with a chance of rain we decided to do the waterpark. Thankfully the skies cleared up

Day4: Friday
08:00 Breakfast
10:00 Checkout
10:30 legoland
17:00 Pickup by Taxi to go to Swissotel
19:00 check in
20:30 Dinner Chinatown / Stroll around Raffles City Mall

Day5: Saturday
09:00 Breakfast
10:30 Check-out Hotel
11:00 Orchard/Somerset/ Shopping
14:00 Go to Airport
15:00 Check-in airport
17:40 Departure

It was nice to have spent time with my family. I also took the opportunity to have them get extra luggage to bring two bags of my stuff back home - half and most of which were winter stuff I bought but haven't used and the rest were tidbits like souvenirs from travel etc. We don't get a lot of opportunities to be reunited so it's always nice to have a reunion. My sister and family unfortunately couldn't come along as my niece was just 3 months old that time. So maybe next time the reunion will be in NZ or Australia! :)

Of note:
1. The stay in MBS from my experience is always a pleasant one. It can feel a bit too touristy with all the people in the Infinity Pool area, so it's appreciated that they have a section where there are no kids allowed - Adult pool!

2. It was my first time staying in Swissotel and I felt their service was fantastic. It was definitely a breeze checking out and the staff were attentive despite the lot of people on the weekend we were there. Marina Bay Sands I would say - you would have to call the attention of a staff to get help instead of the staff sensing your needs and offering it. But I'm not complaining

3. To go to LEGOLAND, I would highly suggest renting a private vehicle / van to bring you to and fro Singapore. It's so much easier to go through immigration compared to getting a bus.

4. Service is much different in Johor Bahru compared to Singapore. The hotel we stayed in Hotel Granada had a great location. The hotel was average, but we were a bit put-off that the room they gave us despite the specification in the request not to be a smoking room - was a smoking room. So when we got in, it smelled strongly of smoke (for one of the rooms). I booked their LEGOLAND package which I think was a deal and just extended the stay by one night and correspondingly extended our LEGOLAND tickets from 1 day to 2 days entry.

Anyway, pictures!

And I complain to friends how I'm so dark now. I want to be lighter when I go to Europe! I don't want too much contrast when it starts snowing! lol 

Family photo!

With my housemate Louisa

Last look at the view

Like an intern doing a coffee run for everybody hahaha
More pictures!

Monday, November 3, 2014


I ----
Your personality type: INTJ (turbulent variant)
Strength of individual traits: Introverted: 12%, Intuitive: 24%, Thinking: 13%, Judging: 31%, Turbulent: 6%.

After Friday night's Halloween themed HOHOL (hang out hang out Lang) with friends, the following day I found myself wanting to just stay in and do nothing.

Rather than do nothing, actually my housemate hosted some friends over our place where she served turon (a Filipino dessert). But aside from that, my plans to go to the gym have been set aside to do nothing more and nothing else. It seems I found myself in a perpetual state of introspection as of late.

The other day, I found myself thinking that it seems the only attention I like getting is the sort laced with sexual tension...I didn't host a party for my 28th birthday but decided to go to Europe instead. There's a lot of things going on at the moment, admittedly, with work and planning for sabbatical. I haven't really thought much of how big a move to Australia is. Maybe I just don't want to think so far ahead of the worries I might and will probably face. My emotions are in a rut and it seems the only thing I can find worthwhile to escape this hollowness is through sex. Not so good hearing it said out loud not seeing it written down.

I was reluctant to host any sort of going away party for when I leave. The idea of hosting a celebration to commemorate my leaving seemed alien to me and rather felt narcissistic to some extent. But on a last minute decision while I was on a booking spree for some train rides I needed for Europe, I decided to book one as I don't really know when I'll see again - the people I invited.

It has a lot to do with my personality type I guess. Rather than spend the last month I have here in Singapore - getting drunk and partying, I've gone on auto pilot to introspect and reflect the life I lived here the past 3 years 10 months. There's so much to digest my mind just shuts down and I feel sometimes desperate to just zoom forward and find myself in a better place - living my dreams. Alas, dreams are worked for. So between now and getting there...well who knows, it might take a while.

Friday, October 31, 2014

[Random] Undesirable

A different perspective: Undesirable (October 27, 2014)

The cold air blows past his face
His grown hair fluttering, dancing
His eyes are closed
His mind deep in thought

By the balcony, outside he stands
He is shielded away from the quiet
The music, blaring the beat
Pacing the rhythm, stirring emotions

He opens an app on his phone
A profile, last online 12 mins ago
Cute, good looking, he messages
Hoping for a reply, maybe

An ember glows as he inhales
Exhales, then a stream of smoke
He flicks the cigarette
Ash like snow, light and flitting

He feels the buzz of his phone
Opens the app from earlier
Nothing. Phantom vibrations
The person he messaged - Online

Several sent messages, no response
Ignored, overlooked, insecure
A gnawing desperation

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CH242: Shifting Perspectives

There is only exactly 1 month (31 days in this case) before I fly back to Manila for a few days - then my adventure in Europe begins ... continuing it to the US then back to Manila for what I would say, my longest stay in Manila since coming to Singapore...before I eventually fly off to the land down under.

Nothing much has changed I guess on my end with regards to anticipating and feeling excited. Being excited for Europe, Australia,and everything is at the back of my mind. Before I flew with my ex before to London, I was accused of being nonchalant about the trip and the experience. I only felt excited the day before the flight. I guess, it has to do with not feeling so high only to feel low when it doesn't happen or push through? Is there logic to that? Right now, I've been busy with work. I work in a secure site as well and access to internet is restricted - no smartphones allowed for external staff - so yeah, work.

To some of the people at work who learned I would be resigning or that I have "tendered" (the verb I've been hearing around), after hearing that I will be moving to Australia, their first question is so you've found work? And it sort of became redundant and feeling a bit like a broken record to say that no, it's too early to look for work at this time since I will be taking a break from working.

One friend of mine messaged me several weeks back: "Wow! I'm really surprised you're leaving Singapore considering how well you are doing there."

So what's the point of this entry? With my answers and how I went about this exit from Singapore, it made me realize that, there seems to have been a shift in perspective. I've had 4 projects/works here in Singapore in the span of 3 years 10 months. Prior to that I had 2 jobs in the Philippines in the span of 2 years 9 months. In Singapore, my reasons for changing jobs were job security, higher pay, better package, more stable, better working environment, challenging, etc. But now, there's simply no reason at the moment for me to take this break...this sabbatical before I fly off to Sydney...other than because I want to so I will.

Whatever happened to the old me concerned about all the reasons I listed down to justify changing jobs (which were all on a contract basis i.e. not permanent or regular)? I'm guessing (as I'm not 100% sure yet - only time will tell) I just got tired of partying, traveling, working and just making money and just living the Singapore life. I feel I'm ready to settle down (not get married) but to really set up roots in a place I will fall in love with (with or without someone else - that's a different matter haha). There's no anger or resentment with Singapore for not giving me PR the first time I tried or with the companies I worked for - for not offering regular employment. I feel like I'm leaving Singapore because the adventure has run its course (a lot earlier than I had planned which was to stay for at least 5 years), and for me to stay longer will just chip away the hopes I have of achieving the dreams I dream of. So, despite the luxuries and comforts I can accord myself here, I don't think I'll ever truly be happy knowing I can be happier and live my dreams elsewhere.

It will be sad to leave very good friends in Singapore. It will be scary to make the transition and starting over. It will be down right terrifying. But, I've let go and I am letting go. Right now I'm free falling with indifference, straight faced. I sometimes feel people may think I'm not that excited to leave or travel when I answer because I don't answer with as much enthusiasm as I should. But it's still a long way to go...i haven't even thought about whether from this free fall, I'll crash or hit the ground running.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Random] I am

I am (October 14, 2014)

I am desire
Image objectified
Lusted for

I am fantasy
Dreams embodied
Wishes fulfilled

I am wrath
Equality purveyed 
Justice served

I am ambition
Soaring high
Goals attained

I am free
Free to love
Free to be

I am, I
Not yours
My own

The above sort of expressionism was inspired by the Chanel Spring+Summer 2015 show I saw last week.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CH241: Skin Tight

So, I've got a lot of back log in terms of updates on this blog. My family visited me two weeks ago (it's been two weeks already?!) and I should probably write about that. But with all the work that's coming in and projects that I need to do on my last few weeks here in SG, it feels more like I'm going away with a BANG.

Anyway, one time coming home from the new project for work that was a bit like the proverbial monkey wrench in the cog wheel, my battery ran out, and I had nothing to do to preoccupy myself in the train ride home. So, I decided to go old school and write down some thoughts on paper in the train.

September 19, 2014

The reality of it is, we evolve and change no matter what. It's in our DNA I should say to adapt.

I realized something that seems so obvious I had to wonder why I didn't realize it sooner: "we actually grow into our own skin." I mean that in the sense that the world and society a generation back (or at least from my perception) had the expectation that when you become an adult, you know what you want and what to do and what to accomplish. But, maybe this realization comes with age and maturity, or traveling, but I have noticed with myself, minute and distinct changes in attitude and taste.

In my 28.5 years of living, I've discovered for one thing last year that I'm actually repulsed by the idea of drinking orange juice with pulp. There's something off with the pulp's texture mixed in with orange juice. Like how I also realized early on that I abhor marshmallows (the texture as well) and how I find it gross to eat pineapple that's mixed in with something savory - like Hawaiian pizza for instance.

I feel like I'm less affected by things that could get me worked up and have my emotions stirred. Things that annoy me could linger in my head and I'd be vocal about it and unnecessarily cause friction before, right now, I'm more "edited" or "curated" with how I speak and present myself. There's that filter that sometimes just comes on now more often than it did before - that goes: "Is this something worth getting fired up about? Is it worth your time? etc"

The thing about the realization is that never in my life at that point in time I realized it, have I felt most comfortable in my own skin. Like I've said before (CH235: Life Lessons at 28), self-acceptance is important. But a notch higher above it is self contentment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CH240: Mainstream

As weird as my thought process goes, after watching Panic! at the disco doing a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, my mind went to thoughts on mainstreaming.

At first I was like, who is this band? Their cover is good. Then I thought, they must have been an obscure band before - that was able to catch the current and go mainstream from indie or underground.

Currently, going mainstream and viral has become mostly easier with technology. With so many social media platforms to be discovered in, talents are easier shared and discovered. How was it like before for musicians? Handing off tapes, constantly performing in pubs to be discovered by a talent scout?

This is beside the point I wanted to make. There is power in mainstream. Why would there be social media campaigns to change the thought and opinions of people, to raise awareness etc? Governments use it (social media) to affect the direction the stream flows. We've seen Russia try to influence the mainstream with their fabrications and cover ups with the downing of MH17. We've seen ISIS go mainstream with their  gore. Somehow, IMO they're very much like Al Qaeda but with a better representation on social media. They've ridden mainstream and were able to use social media as a platform for recruitment.

I find it pretentious when people denounce mainstream. Let's take another example from something fictional - True Blood. The vampires campaigned for mainstreaming with the introduction of the human blood aptly called True Blood. They presented themselves as safe because they've synthesized a product that will stave them off from feeding on humans.

Another example would be the gay identity. There are pride events in different cities to raise awareness on equality. Awareness is being raised on discrimination, unfair treatment, abuse and bullying, which otherwise would go on to be accepted and unspoken. People  fight for awareness to influence mainstream.

Mainstreaming is very much a western concept it seems. Western mindset feels more open. Different movements started from the west: Gay Pride, PETA, Wikileaks, Feminism, the different causes UN pushed (anti poverty, hunger), AIDS awareness, etc. (For ISIS, I believe, it's a westerner who manages their social media campaigns). I guess it's because America is the number one superpower which is why?

Mainstreaming is a thing I would say everyone aspires to ride on in one way or another. People looking for likes, riding the waves of popularity (fads: Philippines-  ihop, uniqlo, etc). Mainstreaming is a thing. Let's not deny it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CH239: Paella Night

I So my housemate and I just finished hosting our Paella night. She made a seafood paella Negra while I made a simple chicken, chorizo and shrimp paella.

I am so happy it turned out well considering it was my first time making the dish and I must say without any conceit that it's almost at par with the one I tried in barcelona :)

Definitely feeling fulfilled about this culinary accomplishment!

I learned after peeling four cloves of garlic that you need to crush it first before you peel to make it easier.

Cooking paella needs constant attention so the bottom doesn't burn too much!

Presentation makes the food tastier! Make it look good and instagram the shit out of it.


My housemates seafood paella negra


So happy my great friends Paul and Eugene could make it by!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[Random] Top 20 Cities Meme

I was just tagged on Facebook by a well-traveled friend to share my Top 20 cities.
As it felt a bit like a #humblebrag to post on Facebook, I figured I'll just put it down here. It's also a good reference :) Unlike the book meme which took me a while to write down and list, this one came a bit easier. One of my favorite question I like to ask on dates is "What are your 3 favorite cities - that you've visited?" - so seeing it expand to 20 well, I guess that's why this meme is by well-traveled people tagging "well-traveled" friends.

From what I've observed on the top of the list, having 4 seasons is more to my liking.

Your Top 20 Cities. Tag me and 20 of your well-traveled friends to find out their favorite destinations.
Here's mine:
1. New York, USA
2. London, UK
3. Taipei, Taiwan
4. Madrid, Spain
5. Lisbon, Portugal
6. Bangkok, Thailand
7. Barcelona, Spain
8. Hongkong, China
9. Edinbrugh, UK (Scotland)
10. Singapore, Singapore
11. Wellington, New Zealand
12. Las Vegas, US
13. Auckland, New Zealand
14. Siem Reap, Cambodia
15. Vigan, Philippines
16. Los Angeles, USA
17. Boracay, Philippines
18. Bali, Indonesia
19. Cascais, Portugal
20. Davao City, Philippines

Sabbatical (possible) additions/omissions
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Hague, The Netherlands
Brussels, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Milan, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Pisa, Italy
Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore), Italy
Nice, France
(Eze, France)
(Monte Carlo, Monacco)
Lyon, France
Paris, France
San Francisco, USA
Sydney, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

Saturday, September 13, 2014

CH238: Travel 101

Budget. Budget. Plan. Organize. Prepare.

I was up till 5am earlier this morning planning accomodations and transpo for my upcoming sabbatical.

God! New York accomodations are so expensive! Peak new year?!

So now I'm at the beach. After soaking up some sun, I wrote down all my expenses so far, forecasted expense, cash inflow and current liabilities. I'm a little stressed since the computations include my family's vacation which messes things up a bit.

Que cera. I shouldn't be so stressed since I decided to move out most of my money to Australia for when I migrate so that's a safety net. I just have to stick to my budget and plan accordingly. Plus! After sending IRAS (tax authority of Singapore) an email last week, I got my assessment last Friday and that's been paid for. One liability out of the way. Right now, let me soak up more sun and just worry about being without money some other day!

Monday, September 8, 2014

CH237: Life's a beach

[Update] The hotel manager of W Hotel just called me to inform me that they have found my wallet in the lady's toilet. :)

Life's a bitch. My wallet was stolen last weekend at W Hotel. In the span of 10 minutes from when I last saw it...boom. Gone.

I think it was the veuve clicquot champagne that made me impervious to the dangers of a theft. Oh well

I've moved on from the loss of some money, my Mont Blanc card holder, 1 ATM, 2 credit cards, fitness first membership card, Starbucks card and Singapore IC. I watched Fight Club the same evening and as Tyler Durden said "The things you own end up owning you." So, que cera.

I've moved on to dreaming of getting this one which is currently out of stock Except in MBS.

Or I'll just make do with the other Mont Blanc wallet my ex gave me and buy the Prada in Milan when I go in December.