I’m sorry. I had the intention of writing more on my blog during my 35-day workation in the Philippines. But when I was there, I felt like I was always catching my breath. There was nothing complicated about my month-long itinerary. Everything fell into place with accommodations, transfers, work, and family time. But I would find myself exhausted in the evenings. Preferring to indulge in a few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 or For All Mankind. I also felt full most of the time. Like, I was eating too much. (When the truth is, I would only eat one piece of chicken or about 80% of my meal.)
I’ve been home in Singapore for the past three days and I’m isolating at home. Nobody asked me to isolate at home. No policy exists that tells me to isolate at home. The country is “back to normal” even when the world is still in a pandemic. I’m trying to unpack why I have a preference to stay home.
Maybe because I’m tired.
Maybe because I don’t want to spend money.
Maybe because we’re moving houses in a few weeks and I just want to crawl back to this simple and quiet life here in Pasir Ris. Because it’s going to change in a few weeks.
How was my trip to the Philippines? I would say it’s a success. I did spend time with my family and dedicated a whole week with them in La Union. We stayed at a villa in San Juan and it was perfect. Our own quiet space away from crowds. It wasn’t a hotel so it meant my family had the luxury of privacy with exception to the pool repair gang which did knock on our doors a few times (the Airbnb hosts apologised). Other than that, it was great to be with family at the beach. We got takeouts, we dined in, we viewed the lot I purchased in neighbouring San Fernando. It was our family reunion, our family outing… the first in over two years.
Outside of that week, I was working remotely in La Union or from Makati. Working from the beach was a treat but it posed some minor challenges such as finding a meeting room when you can hear someone singing Hopelessly Devoted to You on a videoke machine at a bar next door. I suppose it adds to the charm of Urbiztondo beach. It is laid back. I fear it won’t be as laid back in the years to come… as new highways and roads will turn the area into a tourist hotspot. It already is. But I think the place will see big resort names or big hotel chains coming in. There’s “space”.
Working from Makati was another experience. Prior to my 5-day work visit to Makati, I hadn’t really been to Poblacion and experienced its many restaurants. I enjoyed it. I got to meet up with an old friend who took me to places like Krapow, Crying Tiger, Onlypans, and a couple of other restaurants. I was busy all of that week… meeting journalists and editors. I was trying to contain my anxiety of meeting people within indoor spaces. Good thing that most of the meet-ups were outdoors. I got to go to Quezon City and BGC as well.
The worst part of the trip was the airport experience going back (NAIA Terminal 3). The immigration hall was crowded, no social distancing, and no fans to circulate air. I tweeted the NAIA social media account and they’re looking into it. LOL. As if I’m expecting some type of real action. I guess the kudos is on the folks managing NAIA’s social media (for being responsive). But what can they do? They can only escalate it… it’s up to the management to implement and safeguard their staff and the public at our international airport during a pandemic. Bahala sila.
I’m fine now that I’m back home in Singapore. I use that line “back home” with intention. Singapore is my home of ten years. I’ve no plans to change it even after I got to visit the Philippines. There were a few learnings I had while travelling for a month.