July 2020 Unpacked

LIFE started to resume in Singapore in July.

Businesses are slowing re-opening. People are heading back into the cinemas. The government held its 2020 elections. Millions of good mosquitoes are being set free in Tampines to fight dengue. I saw my own office for the first time. I got my work pass issued. I jogged several times. I danced several times.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from July 2020.


IMG_7460 2

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS. Probably one reason I’ve been very active in jogging the past two months. This is the view at Bedok Reservoir at sunset.

IMG_0029

BUILDING MY OWN CITY. My credit card points were about to expire in bulk. I used it to give me a good discount on a 7th generation iPad. I thought I’d use it to look at newspapers and magazines using Magzter. Instead, I’m using it more for building a city.

IMG_7331

CHEESY BIRTHDAY PIZZA. Look at that cheese! Celebrated my birthday this month at Wawawa in Bedok Reservoir. I had a date with my partner. This pizza = everything.

FF006103-B9BA-4461-98BB-2E3793489164

AWFULLY CHOCOLATE CAKE. My partner knows me too well… one of my favorite Singapore brands is Awfully Chocolate. This cake was decadent!

IMG_7266

MORE BEDOK RESERVOIR. What do we have here? Another vantage point.

IMG_7262

MASKS AS THE NEW CURRENCY. Our housemates invited friends over. And we all got these cloth masks as gifts. Cute right!

IMG_0026

E-NUMANS. This was with two friends from my ABS-CBN days. The world is in lockdown. ABS-CBN has been shut down by the government. Let’s just drink.

IMG_7213

WAFFLES IN BEDOK. A friend from NBCUniversal asked me out for waffles on the day of Singapore’s 2020 elections. He had just voted that day. This was my first dine-in at a restaurant since the circuit breaker ended. The waffles were damn good.

IMG_7180

HELLO 35. What do I gift myself? A backjoy!

IMG_7169

TREND ALERT: DINING IN. After my first visit to the CBD in months… I wanted to have some alone time to enjoy a glass of wine and a plate… of… fries… and a CHEESEBURGER. SOOOOO GOOD.

0dd537ce-a439-4d31-9c0d-a8af0e26745c

BEDOK RESERVOIR WITH J. Technically we’re in neighboring towns (Bedok and Tampines). Jogging around the reservoir with my ex-colleague from LinkedIn. J is quite a passionate storyteller. So much chika.

IMG_7144

REVISITING MARINA BAY. In an earlier blog post, I shared a video from this exact spot where I was reflecting by the bay. Yes, reflecting. REFLECTING. I had a view of my old building (Marina Bay Financial Centre) and I was a little emotional. The pandemic forced many of us to work from home. With my previous job ending right in the middle of it… I never got to see my old office. My belongings are still at my table. Running shoes, jackets, even a picture frame of me and my partner. The LinkedIn office is like a time capsule. I’m asking my ex-colleagues to help me pack my things when they’re able to return one day. Also: so many people were IMPACTED by the pandemic and are leaving LinkedIn. 😦

IMG_7912

RELOCATING AGAIN, SOON. Yes, I’m jogging a lot at Bedok Reservoir. Because we’ll be moving soon. At the end of July, my housemates and I have been looking for a new house to stay. There’s a 90% chance we’ll still be in Tampines. But there’s a less chance we’ll find a place along Tampines Avenue 1 which is lucrative because of its proximity to this beautiful reservoir and one of Singapore’s top schools.

IMG_6913

ADOBONG PUTI. My first take on adobong puti because of SIMPOL with Chef Tatung. All these years I’ve been describing that my favorite type of adobo is the oily type… I had no idea I was describing adobong puti. My first batch was AMAZING. My second batch was… I couldn’t repeat my first batch.

IMG_6943

DELIVERIES ARE BACK TO NORMAL. When the pandemic started and Singapore started to buckle down for circuit breaker… getting a delivery slot only happened if you prayed to at least three gods. But happily, Lazada-RedMart and the other grocery delivery services have returned to normal.

DC59455A-BCFC-4BA4-8AD1-57655C416A1B

OH I DISCOVERED THE NORMAL PATH AT BEDOK RESERVOIR. It’s not all gravel apparently. There’s this and it reminds me of Hyde Park. Except with humidity.

IMG_6953

BAKING IS A THING NOW. My partner and I have discovered the wonders of easy-cooking through baking. Baked salmon. Baked chicken. Baked potatoes. Baked carrots.

IMG_6989

THAT SAID, THERE’S MCDONALDS. I have cut down on carbs significantly this past month. I feel great and energetic. I feel my tummy is smaller and I’m on the path to a slimmer body. Yadda yada yada. We still order in McDonalds from time to time.

IMG_7025

THE EMPHASIS IS CLEAR. I love this neighborhood. More jogging while holding onto my mask.

0A0436FE-9F88-41F1-BFD5-9B2A914339BA

DONKEY KONG: TROPICAL FREEZE. While assembling these 40 images for July unpacked, I realised not a single one captures my Just Dance 2020 obsession. I’ll share another game I’m playing which is Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze. Yes, I am allowed to play games. I am allowed to save on “partying outside” and “drinking at bars” by staying at home and playing this stressful game.

IMG_7081

MY NEW OFFICE. Omg, an address I never imagined I would ever have for an office. This 1930s building in the CBD really stands out next to the tall buildings that surround it. I’ve been intrigued all these years by the Quadrant. And now… it’s where my office is. When I visited in July… I couldn’t help but feel emotional. YAS. When your previous work contract ends in the middle of a pandemic… when you’re living in a country that can eject you if you don’t have a valid work pass… seeing any semblance of normal… like an office building = gratitude. Like in most roles that we start in… I’m on new joiners probation. But still, I had my moment. Thank you. 🙂

IMG_7082

VISITING THE CBD = EATING CBD FOOD. What can be more CBD than a bowl of poke. For months… eating home-cooked food… this $12.50 bowl of raw fish was an experience.

IMG_7862

DENGUE IN THE HOOD. Dengue doesn’t give a shit about a pandemic. The country is seeing record levels of dengue fever. Like seriously. I’ve befriended a couple of Wolbachia mosquitos… since there are millions being set free here in Tampines to fight the bad mosquitos. I can’t pronounce wolbachia. It’s like worcestershire. Wol-ba-chia. Wol-BA-chia. “Hi everyone, my name is Wolba Chia, I’m 35… and I’m the first to enter the work room.”

IMG_7785

IMMORTALIZING THIS VIEW. This is what you see if you look out the window from our room or our living room. It’s a view of Temasek Poly and in the distance… Singapore’s CBD. Why is it significant? Because this was my view during Singapore’s circuit breaker and lockdown. Even if I’m at home… I can still see the city. We’ll be leaving from this house soon.

IMG_7727

DIMBULAH COFFEE. It so happens that my new officemate’s favorite coffee place is Dimbulah. Highlighting this because Dimbulah Coffee at Marina Bay Financial Centre was our go-to for coffee outside the LinkedIn office. I mean at 35 I should cut the sentimentality. But I welcome the transition between two roles, same coffee shop.

61717289314__2F3965BD-A4DA-456A-A3B1-D62DF14F92B5

STEAK AND FRIES FOR $13.50. We’ve discovered a Grab food delivery gem here in Tampines West called “Amigo’s”. They serve pretty decent pastas for a good price. Plus, they serve decent steak and fries as well. Delivery is life… on a busy “working from home” day.

IMG_7622

MOBILITY. I’ve been trying yoga in the past few weeks. As usual, my mobility is a problem. I can’t seem to stretch or bend far enough. I got this on Lazada for a few dollars.

IMG_7605

WINGS. This was part of my birthday lunch. My birthday was on a weekday this year. This delivery came from the Wingstop in Bedok.

IMG_7585

CRAVE NASI LEMAK PACKAGING. This is cute. I wish Singapore had binalot.

IMG_7568

RAWR. Rion Ishida is my favorite YouTuber right now. He has been a companion during this pandemic. He releases videos weekly… sometimes twice a week. Here’s us enjoying his video while we have lunch by the window.

IMG_7549

OUR 2ND FAVORITE FRIED CHICKEN. Arnold’s. It’s a staple in these times.

IMG_7496 2

PICNIC AT EAST COAST. Our buddy C is leaving Singapore for Canada. We wanted to have a picnic at the park recently. The park was crowded. We wore masks… but we can remove them while we’re munching down cupcakes and chicarons.

IMG_7481 2

MERE MORTALS IN MARINE PARADE. I had to send this to my partner.

IMG_7883

CATCH-UP WITH EX-COLLEAGUES. Thanks for inviting me out for sushi!

IMG_7875 2

SUSHI ROLL. For evidence. This was in Tampines. 🙂

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0583.JPG

CATCH-UP WITH COLLEGE FRIENDS IN SG. It had been about four months since. We had dinner in an empty Chinatown and drinks at a half-empty Maxwell hawker.

a1ce6e8a-a98a-4fcf-9e06-790202d62f0e

WEEKEND VIRTUAL BRUNCH WITH FAMILY. This is a new tradition we’ve started. Thanks to my brother for organising these. We should have more.

35a4f8b3-dcc8-4512-a128-9b8142bd41ab

YOGA WITH THESE PADDLERS. Led by our former women’s captain (or wait, is she women’s captain again this year?) — yoga on Tuesdays! I need to work on my chaturanga.

And we’ve reached the last two out of 40 images for my July unpacked…

7ea665a3-1088-4a97-a018-a87c193edfc4IMG_5032

FAMILY. I am grateful they are safe and healthy at home in Cavite. They are quarantined safely and avoid going out even with numerous types of community quarantines being imposed in the Philippines due to the pandemic. They appear lively and happy… even 3 or 4 months into this pandemic. I am a man who doesn’t go to church… but I do pray. And I pray for strong health for my brother, my parents, my partner, and all my loved ones.

TURNING 35. This month I turned a year older. I’m halfway to 40. My greatest lesson in recent weeks is the ability to edit out what’s unnecessary. Why? Read on.

Just because we’re surrounded by friends, family, and people… does not mean we have to keep people around “for the sake of it”. Evaluate your surroundings. Evaluate the people you converse with. I wouldn’t suggest surrounding yourself only with people that you agree with. I suggest you give yourself the power to choose who or what you want in your circle. There’s no need to force things or force situations. You have the power to do what you want. You can be an asshole. You can be someone’s blessing. Don’t be afraid to edit things in your surroundings. Don’t keep things around “just for the sake of it”.

Ending the month with one of my most played songs on Spotify. Take care.

Other matters (very important matters, putting it here for documentation)

  • SINGAPORE COVID-19 CASES: 52,205 cases, 27 deaths (businesses have reopened, Singapore held elections, malls and businesses require SafeEntry, active contact tracing)
  • PHILIPPINES COVID-19 CASES: 85,486 cases, 1,962 deaths (Philippines overtook Singapore in July, and is now 2nd in SE Asia for total cases. Indonesia is on top.)
  • UNITED STATES COVID-19 CASES: 4.59 million cases, 155,000 deaths (the United States is world no. 1 in Covid-19 cases)
  • PHILIPPINE CONGRESS DENIES ABS-CBN FRANCHISE TO OPERATE (affecting 11,000 workers including many of my friends)
  • LINKEDIN LAYS OFF 950 EMPLOYEES (mostly in sales and talent acquisition)
  • NUMEROUS COUNTRIES ARE SEEING 2ND AND 3RD WAVE OF INFECTIONS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.