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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Posts from the Summer Friday Category

First of all… a small thank you to my employer for the annual “Summer Hours”. For the creative soul, half-day Fridays can go a long way. You break from the four corners of an office. While more than half of the half-day Fridays were actually a bit stressful due to a deluge of production, filming, and whatnot… it was still easy on the heart to know that you could leave the office at 2:00 PM and not be judged by it!

This year I documented my fifteen summer Fridays. I started off with a checklist but it’s funny because I only got to scratch off a few. This year I got to travel to KL for a run. There were less museums to visit this year (unlike in 2015). But I got my fill of festivals like the SG Garden Festival and the SG Night Festival.

The final Summer Friday of 2016 went with a bang. Or sort of. A few colleagues from various departments organised a late lunch at Sacha and Sons, Mandarin Oriental. Quite an atas location for a meal. But the food was superb. Definitely a ‘date place’ or somewhere to spend a great time with close buddies.

Afterwards we found ourselves at the largest Uniqlo in Southeast Asia which just opened at Orchard Central. Hilarious how we got to squeeze in some shopping after our group lunch.

We had drinks at Ice Cold Bar (also at Somerset). I got to play two rounds of pool. We had wedges, beers… much to chill. Considering that drinking with colleagues does NOT happen much.

Two of my colleagues joined me for a night of more skewers at The Skewer Bar in Geylang. Great to catch up with our finance guy. We thought it would be nice to catch a movie so I invited two of my colleagues over to my house in Geylang for a Netflix session. “The Shining”.

The whole thing ended around 4:00 AM on Saturday. It was the longest Summer Friday activity and a fun way to end it.

What’s my biggest summer Friday regret? Not spending more time alone! I’ve become accustomed to living alone. I think I’ve done a good job. But I can do better.

***

It’s the penultimate summer Friday of 2016.

What’s going on?

  • The haze is back!
  • Filmed for an upcoming show on one of our channels.
  • Met up with my ex’s friends who are visiting Singapore.

Not really much of a summer Friday since it was dedicated to the “big shoot” I’ve been working on for the past two weeks. The stress and anxiety behind this particular filming has been the worst I’ve had in some time. Don’t get me wrong… I can do the job. It’s just a little extra stressful this time around.

And I am glad I got it done together with the help of my colleagues. Emphasis on “together”. Because it was a collaborative effort. A beautiful one. Not perfect but beautiful.

The rest in photos because I deserve a weekend of doing nothing but playing Final Fantasy and eating chicken rice.

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Acting a little silly outside Lorong Ah Soo.

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I was in a celebratory mood. The shoot is done!

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When was the last time you had a photo like this with YOUR officemates?

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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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With my ex and his two friends.

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SHIOK!

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Call time here was 7:00 AM. I came back here at 11:30 PM with friends.

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Reclaiming the magic of this view… stolen from the stress of filming here.

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Esplanade Bridge at night.

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Flags across Singapore at half-mast in memory of the nation’s longest-serving president.

One summer Friday left. Let’s make the most of it, ya.

Seeds.

Yeah, they are these little things that you plant. You’re supposed to plant them in fertile places so they can grow strong and beautiful. But sometimes people don’t have that choice or that option. But you still have to plant them. Because you’re a gardener and you need to level up.

Do I sound like Meredith Grey?

You plant seeds. But you have to plant them in places where they are useful.

***

Presenting to you… Summer Friday No. 10

Farewell Lunch for a Colleague

Our production manager is leaving us. So sad to see her go!

It would be correct to say that the yummy tonkutsu above is NOT my production manager. We just don’t like taking photos much as a team. We’re like that.

 

Singapore Garden Festival at Gardens by the Bay

I filmed a new episode for my vlog. Wait for it soon!

The installations were incredible!

Impromptu Lau Pa Sat Dinner with College Friends

Great to catch-up with my college friends! It’s been awhile.

Here we are answering Miss Earth Q&A.

Finally, a Geylang late night food trip

Discovering a few new places down the road. So happy!

Geylang food trip with my neighbours.

***

Only a handful of Summer Fridays left. Let’s hustle.

It was a gloomy Friday. But it was unique because my colleagues and I went to Tiong Bahru market and food centre for lunch.

After lunch I rushed to Bishan to help a former housemate find new housemates.

And that was it.

Bar hopping with my colleagues.

***

Twitter asks: What’s happening?

No “half day” experienced earlier. But the amount of work I managed to get done in the afternoon had improved dramatically from the pace of things earlier in the week. I seem to work better when it’s quiet in the office.

There are only a few remaining summer Fridays left. So here’s a new checklist:

  • Start processing papers for Filipino dual citizenship at the PH embassy.
  • Experience two other Fitness First gym locations. Those with swimming pools that have a great view of the city below.
  • Visit a new park or try a heritage trail. I’m looking at Coney Island, Haw Par Villa, West Coast Park, parks at Sembawang or Woodlands.
  • Go for an annual physical exam to gauge improvements and address health status since joining a dragon boat team.

A former colleague commented “adulting” when she saw a photo of me shopping for bedsheets. Yup! What a beautiful day to purchase new bedsheets for my new flat in Geylang. After work, Greg and I went to Bugis to hunt down the MUJI bedsheets I really wanted.

Damn it these are pricey! I-MUJI mo mukha mo, George. $$$

 

Womp womp. A MUJI bedsheet without pillow cases costs about SGD 80.00. Add the pillow cases and the total would be about SGD 100.00. Now, get this… the MUJI bedsheets are in gorgeous Earth tones with a chic, simple striped design. They would look awesome on my bed, right?

SO IN LOVE WITH MY DEPARTMENT STORE BEDSHEETS said no one in the history of mankind until I had this photo taken. PAK GANERN.

 

Ten minutes later I was checking out at a department store counter at BHG. I went for the cheaper “baduy” bedsheets you can find at every department store. Total cost was SGD 29.00 for the queen-sized sheet, two pillow cases, and a bolster case. Kasi naka-budget ako. Budget, budget, budget.

After scrimping on bedsheets, I end up splurging with Greg at the Clinton Street Bakery a few kantos away. He orders one of the all-day breakfast platters while I go for a “Black and White Cake” with a cup of mocha. Perfect.

So funny the magazine I bought earlier in the day was a premonition of my afternoon snack!

I return home to Geylang just before sunset.

And spend sweet time sweeping the living room floor with a half-broken broom.

The bathroom needs cleaning too. I gave it a good scrub to bring the cleanliness level up to 60% at least. Better than 20%, eh?

The balcony is a hodgepodge of broken chairs, dead plants, three laundry racks, and some fitness equipment. Basically it’s an eyesore that everyone is too busy to fix. But I was feeling my groove so I re-arranged some of the things on the balcony. It needs a good sweep and some mopping.

The last thing I did for Summer Friday was complete my first full video blog. While doing it, notions of “why the fuck am I even bothering to do this?” came up again.

But this time I stayed true to myself.

I did it. Shot, edited, uploaded, and published.

 

Video blogging is a pet project of mine. And if I can tie together my writing skills, my editing skills, my producing skills… and include a bit of honest (though sometimes awkward) personality… who knows where I can take it one day.

But it all begins somewhere.

xoxo

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A month has passed since I moved away from my ex.

On most days the feeling of independence is empowering. I don’t have to worry about anything or anyone other than myself.

But there are moments when I’m in a restaurant and I start reminiscing how it felt like to have him sitting opposite me. We wouldn’t talk about much other than what to get for dessert. Maybe if we dig further back we would be finding a spot in a crowded food court in Trinoma. Or one of the more intense memories I have of him… is feeling so sad to see him on the other side of the Quezon Avenue MRT platform. How I wanted the weekend to wrap up quickly so we could be back together again in our tiny apartment on Scout Rallos.

That seems like a lifetime ago.

I didn’t really feel “Summer Friday” today. I went to work and jumped right into my inbox which was swarmed with emails. While it’s fantastic to be “so busy” coordinating shoots, scheduling edits, and writing scripts… I’m really just trying to SURVIVE. Get by. Produce the best work possible on a silly, broken heart.

Lethargic is the best way to describe what happened before gym. But I dragged my feet over to 100AM and lifted weights. I even ran into a common acquaintance. I took my sweet time working on back, shoulders, and core. I tried to execute exercises I learned from my dragon boat teammates: flutter kick, leg raises, leg touch, heel touch, and planking.

Dinner was at Menya Musashi at Raffles City. This was where I went from happy and fierce to sad and emotional in the span of five minutes. Looking at my bowl of ramen and my extra side dish of four chicken kaarage WHICH I CAN NEVER REALLY FINISH ON MY OWN. I would usually share this with him… or he’d pick a few pieces from my side dish. Or he would try my soup… even if his soup was the same. He just needed to try my soup.

The idea was to visit the National Gallery Singapore but I decided to move that to tomorrow so a friend could join me there. I took the train home listening to Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande like a normal 3o-going-31 year-old gay man.

On most days the feeling of independence is empowering. But today I lost to all things sentimental.

There’s a temptation I can’t exactly put my finger on in Hong Kong.

Is it the temptation of having a new city to explore? Or is it the excitement of having the chance to start anew? Hong Kong is both familiar and unfamiliar. Its streets and alleys are vibrant and mysterious. It feels safe with a bit of danger. Am I still describing a city?

***

The whole of Summer Friday 2016 No. 4 is documented in this post.

The past week was loaded with training not in Kallang, but at International Plaza:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro 250 – A Course for Experienced Editors
  • New Top Secret (LOL) Interface our department will be using to upload promos

The third summer Friday was toned down. I was a bit exhausted. I hit the gym in the afternoon and then went to Bishan to collect some of my remaining clothes at my old flat. I also packed up my shoe rack.

And, I cried.

I couldn’t keep it in. I was hugging my favourite stuffed toy which I decided to leave with N. To sort of… “accompany” him so he isn’t lonely without me there.

I started crying when I remembered how beautiful this master bedroom was at one point. I had Star Wars Clone Wars blasting on Netflix, playing on my TV. My two lamps were keeping the room looking warm and welcoming. Our laundry was filled to the brim… his clothes and mine.

I remember the excitement I felt when I would hear the gate close outside. This would signal that he was arriving from work. I would try to switch off the lights and disappear under my quilt… so that when he entered the room he would think that I was already asleep. WHICH NEVER HAPPENS. He would enter the room, all dark… and then pause for a moment… and then say something like “Ang arte mo” (you’re acting1) or “Hindi ka pa tulog” (You’re not sleeping!)… then he would switch on the ugly fluorescent light and reveal me under the quilt… I would be smiling or HIDING MY SMILE.

Or when he would cook pork adobo or sinigang or that pork giniling… and we would eat it together on the bed… on top of this IKEA thingy intended for laptops.

Or the countless stupid things we would giggle about… together.

So yes, I cried. And I couldn’t stop crying. Because I had made the decision to move out three weeks ago. And I was crying because quite frankly… he didn’t even bother to stop me from leaving.

***

N arrived later that evening and we spoke for quite a bit. It was the first time we saw each other in two weeks. He noticed I had been crying.

My Uber arrived. I took my shoe rack and a bag full of clothes, and shut the gate in the softest way possible.

That’s my third summer Friday.

I went to IKEA Alexandra with two of my editors.


We were shopping around for new office decor. We moved into our new space last month. It’s kind of a bare space, so we were given a little something to do something about it.

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For the office, I got myself a Kvart desk lamp. I like mood lighting.

For my new place, I got:

  • A laundry drying rack (expandable, perfect for the condo balcony)
  • A hanging dryer for socks and underwear (the one that looks like an Octopus)
  • A laundry flexible basket
  • New bedsheets… A MUST (I can’t go on using old things can I?)
  • An IKEA memory pillow – firm type
  • An IKEA softer pillow to compliment the firm one
  • One more HOLMO lamp bringing my amazing collection to FOUR.
  • New quilt cover, a green one with stripes… green reminds me of RENEWAL.

Took a cab from IKEA Alexandra to my place in Geylang… and daaaaaymm it set me back by almost SGD 20.00. Argh.


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For dinner I tried the corner coffee shop and ordered Salted Fish Fried Rice. I was eating it by myself and still trying to get used it. Sigh.

***

Where am I on the “Ten things I hope to accomplish during this year’s Summer Friday”

  1. Take a stroll around Fort Canning Park. — soon
  2. Enjoy a sunset at a beach in Sentosa. — soon
  3. Visit the Fitness First branches in one-north and go swimming there. — soon
  4. Travel to Hanoi, Vietnam on a shoestring. — doesn’t look likely given budget concerns
  5. Travel to Ko Samui, Thailand on a shoestring. — same
  6. Travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia on a shoestring. — same
  7. Explore further the National Gallery Singapore. — soon
  8. Play arcade games one afternoon. AND ALL AFTERNOON. — soon
  9. Volunteer for something. — looking into this, for an LGBT org
  10. Find a good dentist in Singapore. — soon