The sooner, the better

That’s the easiest way to describe how I now feel about vaccines at this point.

Since vaccines started rolling out worldwide in recent months, I was hoping my family in the Philippines could get access to a particular vaccine that both science and the world media say has “higher efficacy” (quotes intended). But that particular vaccine isn’t available in most developing countries.

The question becomes this: Can we afford to sit and wait for a particular brand of vaccine while the pandemic infects more friends, colleagues, and people we know?

We don’t have the luxury of waiting. We know some people and some countries are able to quietly enjoy that luxury. But not in the Philippines. Many Filipinos, including many of my family and loved ones, don’t have the luxury of choosing which vaccine.

The best vaccine is the first one offered to you by your country’s health ministry. If it can prevent severe illness, it is already miles ahead of having no protection at all.

I’m happy my mom got her first jab on May 6 at the Tanza Specialists Medical Center in Cavite. She is scheduled to get her second jab in a few weeks.

Our family has agreed that all of us will aim to get fully vaccinated as soon as we can.

Preparing for this marathon

Taking a selfie at the Promontory. It’s a beautiful spot for a reprieve when you’re in the downtown area.

I think we are going to live with this virus for the next few years.

Businesses and travel might resume in the next few months. More people might get vaccinated. But I think it makes sense to start planning for the long term. It’s going to be like this for the immediate future. We will be wearing masks and undergoing tests. We will start reading more about hospital capacity in our locale as well as news about outbreaks. Some of us might even catch the virus eventually. I don’t want to be fatalistic in thinking. It only makes sense to prepare for every outcome.

In the past two months I’ve seen friends and contacts become infected. Today, a death in one of my circles. Two of my three immediate family members have received their first vaccine jab. I’m currently in queue for my own shot in a few weeks.

Last week, I went to work in my office for the first time since I started in the job last June. It still wasn’t the same as walking into an office filled with people. The nine of us in the office last week were social distancing from each other and we were all wearing masks.

Though Singapore’s Covid-19 cases in recent months have plummeted, there was a sudden spike with 16 community cases last week. A fully vaccinated Filipino nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) tested positive for the virus. A cluster has formed at TTSH which has claimed the life of one patient. It is the 31st death in Singapore since the pandemic began. The total cases in Singapore is over 61,000. That’s compared to over 1 million cases in the Philippines to date.

The MOH website says that about 849,764 people in Singapore have received the full dosage of a vaccine. They are currently offering it to those 45 and above, as well as front-liners. They say that people below 45 will be allowed to register from June.

I have not been home in the Philippines since Christmas of 2019. While this is the longest time I have been physically away from family, our chats have increased. I Facetime with my mom regularly. We talk about what they had as a family for lunch and dinner. Sometimes I video call from places in Singapore like the ArtScience Museum or the rain vortex at Jewel Changi Airport. They tell me about their isolation at home. My brother and my dad converted a bodega into a home gym. My mom enjoys connecting with relatives via Facebook. They tell me that our driver, Kuya Boyet, helps do grocery runs. Except for my brother, the family stays at home 100% of the time. The only two instances they left the house was to attend two funerals.

It’s reached a point that we’ve discussed the idea of my parents moving to the United States in the immediate future. We’re thinking that once everyone is fully vaccinated, if it would be wiser for our parents to stay in California where there are hospital beds if needed. The idea of an emergency and no hospital able to admit you is horrifying. I can’t believe it’s gotten that bad in the Philippines. I am stressed over the thought of my parents getting on an airplane to take a 15-hour flight to San Francisco. My brother says he will travel with them. I’m thinking if I can meet them in California. Perhaps travel between Singapore and the United States would be safer. That’s why I monitor the news about Covid-19 in the United States.

The idea is that all of this is feasible only after we all complete our vaccination.

***

I am doing fine in Singapore. There are a few upcoming things that might be stressful. PJ’s pass is for renewal in a few months and I’m encouraging him to aggressively pursue the option that secures a work pass for him that’s good for 24 months or valid until 2023 at least. By then, at least one of his siblings would’ve graduated from university already and would be working. He gives so much for his family and I only want to see him thrive.

As for me, my work pass is valid until the middle of 2022. There is much uncertainty over work passes these days. My role is based in Manila but it does not make sense to put myself in a cage in Manila – isolated from my circles during this pandemic – in a job that can be done 100% online. Only if the veil of this pandemic is fully lifted will I consider relocating to Manila for the job. I think I can accomplish everything needed for the role while being safe in Singapore.

Our living arrangement is safe. I share the house with other overseas Filipino workers who are breadwinners in their own right. We have a happy atmosphere of occasional movie nights, birthday parties, and barbecues. It’s rare that I host my own friends these days but I’ve invited some for Nintendo Switch or a chat over beer.

On most weeknights I’m part of an online HIIT and body weights class. It’s something I make a point to participate in as much as possible. The interactions are healthy for the brain. Exercising releases endorphins. It also helps provide structure to my day. I’ve also resumed intermittent fasting. I had to pause in April because of a root canal.

***

We are going to have to live with this virus for the next few years. I suggest we start planning for it instead of waiting for it to magically disappear. It’s so bad in India, in the Philippines, and in countries that are lifting restrictions prematurely. Wherever you are reading this, be safe.

Am I relieved? Hell yes.

From the moment I dropped my absentee ballot into a SingPost mailbox to the moment the Capitol doors opened up with Joseph R. Biden, Jr. walking towards his inauguration.

I haven’t felt this elated about an inauguration since 2008 when Barack Obama took his first oath of office. I was clapping in a sleepy Saizeriya in White Sands as footage of the 45th president’s Marine One was departing the White House. I was amazed at how past presidents from both sides of the aisle, walked through the inauguration doors. Some would say, plastikan. I’d say it’s continuance, the ability to be respectful and decent… even if you disagree with someone.

The ceremony began and it was one “YAASSS” after another. Lady Gaga dressed for the Hunger Games – singing the national anthem. Fellow New Yorker Jennifer Lopez, incorporating a portion of the pledge of allegiance in Spanish, in her rendition of This Land is Your Land – before turning it up like a Super Bowl halftime show screaming ‘Let’s Get Loud’ in front of Bill Clinton. My favourite part of the inauguration was young poet Amanda Gorman. It’s like four years of a candle in the wind… all but extinguished… and then the sight of a young African American woman, wrapped in the most beautiful shade of yellow… using the power of words to uplift and move us forward. Turning a flicker of light into a flame.

I wanted to break into tears as Kamala Harris took her oath as our country’s first female vice president. Of course, her life is a buffet of firsts. She is one for all of us to watch.

And of course, the man of the hour, President Biden. Our best hope right now to deal with a pandemic which has killed over 400,000 Americans. I pray that the Biden administration be triumphant in putting a country back together.

Mornings, scents

It’s 8:29 am on a Monday.

As I gently open my eyes, I hear the door close. Tired, I rest my eyelids by shutting them and then I flip the position of my head so the other side of my face is resting on the pillow. It’s warm. I shift my head to rest on PJ’s pillow. It’s higher, cooler, crisp. It makes me smile.

A few minutes more of this shouldn’t hurt.

I try to block out thoughts about emails and Slack. I have some time before 9:00 am. There’s no commute to worry about. Only getting a few more minutes. As these minutes roll on, it’s a routine of hitting snooze on that irritating iPhone alarm. I start to hear the voices of my housemates. Doors opening, closing. The doors are heavy in our apartment.

It’s 9:05 am. I sit up in bed and lift my laptop off the office table that sits right next to the bed. I flip open my seven year-old laptop which still works pleasantly fast. Pop in a few passwords and I’m in.

My work day has begun.

###

It was only yesterday when I came to terms with wearing a surgical mask in public. I remember two things. Where will I get my supply of masks? Is the N95 mask overkill? I only have one N95 in my cabinet. (In 2020, #SGHaze now looks like a drop in the ocean.)

I didn’t have a supply of masks in the first few weeks of the pandemic. They were flying off the shelves at the time. It got so bad that I accepted an offer from a nurse I had dated… who had access to masks. He offered me a box. How bizarre it was to walk into a Starbucks in Sengkang so he could pass to me surgical masks. I didn’t know how to feel. Grateful? Guilty?

###

Going back to the scene at home. PJ normally starts his work day before working hours. He likes to get a head start. On Friday evenings and during all of his Saturdays, he’s parked in front of his laptop screen listening to lectures in the living room. PJ started his MBA a few months ago.

I know how busy he can get. When he told me he’s working on his new passion project which is to launch his own YouTube channel, I was excited. And guess what? He made it happen.

Congrats love for launching your first video. ❤

Show him some love by subscribing to his channel!

On scents

Personally, my favourite scents are more subtle in the form of scented candles. I used to buy those from Yankee Candle. But I stopped after the air-condition cleaner said that my a/c filters had turned black (or something) probably because the smoke of the candles added more pollutants into the air. I could be wrong.

I do enjoy good scents.

surprises, relevations, gratitudes

Four months later.

This quote was mentioned in a video blog I was watching earlier. It resonated with me because I don’t think I was quite done mourning the end of what I was doing previously. A life I was living right before we were all told to go home and stay home back in March.

Yes, surviving in a pandemic overshadowed everything else.

Now that four months have passed, I’ve had some time and distance to gain some clarity. I’ve also grown to accept some truths.

I won’t tell myself that I failed, when I know I gave it my best. I won’t tell myself I should’ve done it differently, when I know I did what I could… quietly, and without compromise… that I was kind and curious, bravely marching in unknown territory. I won’t tell myself I’m perfect, when I know I never was.

There are questions that had lingered in my head about how things transpired. But I’ve decided to let it go. It’s September. I would like to think I’d made many friends from that place. But the key takeaway is knowing that I made it, I somehow did it, didn’t last as long as I would’ve wanted… but somehow, for cinematic purposes… from the ashes of where my life was in early 2018, I somehow became a flame.

***

AIM FOR THE MOON.

IF YOU MISS, YOU MAY HIT A STAR.

W. Clement Stone (American Businessman)

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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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. 😦

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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…

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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

In the kitchen, more

What’s a subtle benefit of staying at home and avoiding restaurants? I’ve never cooked this much in my life. My partner and I created a meal plan which I document using a Google sheet. Recently I’ve learned how to bake salmon (which is fairly simple). I’ve also improved the time it takes to make cheesy tuna pasta. I’ve made improvised tacos. Simple really. We placed some pita bread in the oven since our preferred grocery store nearby doesn’t seem to have taco shells in stock.

Am I proud? Of course I am. I’m graduating from Singapore’s circuit breaker and phase 1 knowing that I can also cook a Filipino staple like sinigang. I’ve never baked fish in my life until now. I can even chop garlic cloves faster. My brother is doing more cooking as well. He shares photos in our WhatsApp family chat group.

We count the things we’re thankful for.

What have you cooked recently?

Freedom should never be taken for granted

June 12 is Philippine Independence Day. It’s when the Philippines declared itself independent from Spain in 1898. It’s taken different meanings through the decades. In 2020, it’s a potent reminder to never take the freedoms we enjoy for granted. We can’t afford to be silent if we see injustices happening. Speak up. The Philippines is not for sale to those more powerful. We are our own country.

It’s mid-June in the year of the coronavirus. Four and a half months later, Singapore leads Southeast Asia in total pandemic cases which is short of 40,000. Neighbouring Indonesia is past 36,000 with daily increases reaching new highs. Singapore’s circuit breaker and phase 1 have seen cases that reveal a gradual drop in cases. It used to be in the 800-1,000 a few weeks ago. We’re now seeing 400-500. The country is observing community transmission since circuit breaker ended on June 1. The Philippines is seeing 25,000 and that number is increasing too – with protests happening on Philippine Independence Day and quarantine measures being lifted by the government.

I’ve started my new job working for a media intelligence company. I’ve completed my first training week. I’m eager to quickly learn the ropes. I have an affinity towards media professionals and journalists. I studied broadcast journalism in university and I’d jump on any opportunity to provide support to media professionals and journalists back home.

Weather in Singapore has been a mix of humid afternoons and fierce thunderstorms. You can spot the tops of buildings across the length of Bedok Reservoir from our living room window in Tampines. In the distance, you can see the Singapore skyline. This includes Singapore’s tallest buildings like Guoco Tower, One Raffles Place, and the UOB Building. I’ve sat in the living room long enough to notice when the sunlight reflects off some of the downtown buildings or when the water at Marina Bay bounces light onto one of the hotels there. Wild.

I try to jog at least three times a week. On alternate days, I’m exercising at home with the help of these videos and Just Dance 2020. I’ve noticed I’m getting larger in the belly area — likely due to being stationary at home the past three months. The new job I have means I’ll potentially be client-facing. I want to ensure I look sharp. 🙂

Music I’m listening to…

Lady Gaga’s Chromatica album is a blessing for 2020. Every song is a hit. I love Free Woman, Plastic Doll, and Sour Candy (her collab with Blackpink). Since 2018, I’ve been listening to more K-pop. It’s bubbly, upbeat, and well-produced. I’m obsessed with SUNMI – who drops music like tap water that was switched off 10 minutes ago. TWICE, I thought was a duo. BTS, an explosion of creativity and inspiration (really, if you haven’t caught up with BTS, listen to their music… there’s so much heart in it and in their performances). Then there’s ITZY, adding color to the monsoon season.

Shows I’m watching…

PJ and I completed The Good Fight — meaning we’re CURRENT. Legit we subscribed to Amazon Prime to watch The Good Fight but the fourth season wasn’t available so we had get creative. I completed Westworld season 3, which has numerous scenes filmed in Singapore. The season’s rehoboam supercomputer sits in Marina One which was next to my old office. Marina One houses the offices of Facebook and Netflix in Singapore.

Speaking of Westworld, I’m confused by it lol. But I keep watching. Weird.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 was a highlight of the past two months. The season is lighthearted and the stories are inspiring. It’s different from some of the drama of past seasons. I understand some fans live for that drama. But with the coronavirus, we needed a season that doesn’t feel too petty.

We’ve moved onto RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 5 which brings us back to some drama. Derrick Berry, who I thought was a questionable addition to RPDR All Stars 5 initially… is gold. Absolutely proven wrong. He brings reality drama back to the show. Spoiler alert coming up. He is the first to be eliminated from All Stars 5.

I’m taking two online writing courses on Udemy. I’m hoping to finally complete at least one of them today.

I’m working on launching a website called Singapore Kuya. It’s a resource for Filipinos living and working in Singapore. Do visit and follow. 🙂

Running Route: Tampines Avenue 1 and Bedok Reservoir

I feel a little bit of accomplishment. LOL

I’ve nailed a new 5km route from my new rental flat in Tampines. It’s about half sidewalk (Tampines Avenue 1) and half park (Bedok Reservoir Park) along its northeastern stretch.

Basically, I start off right in front of the main entrance of Temasek Polytechnic (TP). I take this footbridge to cross to the other side so there are fewer people (since we are practising physical distancing right now).

It’s an easy warm-up jog on the sidewalk in front of TP. You’ll reach a series of condos that sit on the edge of Tampines which is also where one of the major roads spill onto. You’ll notice the sidewalk signs indicate you’re on the Park Connector Network (PCN). Follow this along the edge of the condo wall and it brings you to the northern part of Bedok Reservoir Park. Here, you’ll enter the park through Bedok Reservoir Carpark B.

Because it’s circuit breaker, the park is only open to joggers who need to get some fresh air and to take in the lovely scenery. I mean, fine, it’s man-made. But I’ll take it over running in tiny circles near my HDB block.

Bedok Reservoir Park includes a jogging path that is made of gravel. This is one of the unique features of this park. If I understand correctly, the gravel path is unbroken around the entirety of the reservoir lake.

However, I didn’t realise there was a non-gravel path available as well if you don’t want to dirty your shoes. This wider path is the standard in Singapore and it is shared with bikers, dog walkers, and people on rollerblades.

I noticed the park had a reasonable amount of activity-goers (the “approved activities”) this early evening. It’s nice that the government even has the technology to detect if a park is crowded or not.

I did both the non-gravel and gravel path. When you reach the Forest Adventure attraction (ziplines), it’s obviously closed. But they’ve also closed the gravel path for a certain stretch due to redevelopment of some sort. This is also where the dragon boats are at Bedok Reservoir.

Back onto the non-gravel path, it leads toward the “main entrance” of the park which has Wawawa (the nice restaurant at this location which I can’t wait to open again for cocktails and pizza). This is also where Carpark A is. Mindful I wasn’t going to hit my 5km goal if I headed back to Tampines Avenue 1… I circled the main park area a few times while taking in the purple sunset. YES. A purple sunset this evening. Like a painting.

Exit through Bedok Reservoir Carpark A and make a hard left back towards Tampines town. A large construction site is there which is the future site of Tampines GreenGem. An exciting new HDB development that will have a view of the reservoir.

This would be around the 4km to the 4.5km mark. Great to spot the Tampines West MRT station at the intersection. This is also where “Tampines town” begins. I make a hard left on the side of TP to finish the loop at 5km right in front of the main entrance of TP.

I noticed my energy levels and pace reach optimum around the 4km mark. I enjoyed getting into my stride again. I try to run 3-5km at least three times a week. I used to do this at Marina Barrage. I’m happy I’ve found an easy route right outside my rental in Tampines.

I’m planning to tweak this route into a 5.5-km or 6-km if I do one loop around Bedok Reservoir Park (the actual body of water) + TP. I’ll update again in a future post.

For those reading from outside Singapore: What is Circuit Breaker?

NOTE: Circuit breaker encourages the public to stay at home at all times. We are only allowed to go out to buy essentials (groceries, takeout food) and to do some exercise which is what I did. Wearing of masks is mandatory unless you’re running, biking, or doing some form of solo streneous activity while outdoors. I had my mask with me the whole time and I would wear it once I started walking.

Where’s your favourite running route?

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3 emotions I’m probably better without

What are the three emotions I’m probably better without?

  • Worry. I worry about situations I can’t control. I worry about the ideas or concepts that I’m not knowledgable in. I worry about the things I’ve said or haven’t said.
  • Anger. I snap when I’m angry. I can turn into a fireball of rage. I express my emotions in American English – my first language. F-words are native.
  • Nostalgia. I am overly sentimental about people and things. I document memories. I get stuck thinking that I’m a victim of my past.

These are three emotions I’m probably better without. But I acknowledge how each one has a tiny silver lining.

Worrying has taught me to create documents in how I organise my thoughts and plan for the future. It’s taught me to come up with an action plan. Worrying keeps me on my feet. I only have to ensure I keep from over-worrying. Too much of it is detrimental.

Anger has taught me that I’m responsible for my actions. There are consequences. But anger has also been my great equalizer. It’s taught me to flex for what I’m worth and to stand up for myself. I have to ensure that anger is not directed at people. Too much of it will alienate loved ones.

Nostalgia has taught me to look at the bright moments of the past. It reminds me to believe that I’ll make it through to the next day. I have to ensure that I’m at peace with the fact that the past cannot be changed. Too much nostalgia is deadweight for the future.

What emotions would you be doing better without?