Right after my plane landed back in Manila from Bali sometime around September 2019, I had an avalanche of feels that I no longer enjoy my job. And when I found out that I will be peacing out to move and live to Dubai (I mean it’s very spontaneous, thanks to my friends who sponsored the finances haha!) I made a decision to not just explore Changi Airport as a layover, but to actually see Singapore for 7 days. I mean, you know, a place for me to think.
My closest friends would know me as a tropically fine island boy that would rather choose a trip to Elyu than Hongkong or Taiwan in a heartbeat because I’d rather wear anything I like on a beach than to put my feet in a Balenciaga (that never looked good on me) and walk the streets of these beautiful cities. What I’m really trying to say is that I am not a big fan of city tours. Well I wasn’t.
But that all changed when I met Singapore.
An island city-state off southern Malaysia. A global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Thanks, google for the information!
There are 7 things that I learned during my stay here:
1. You need to stick to your guns
When I walked out of my last Starbucks store in the Philippines on the last day of August 2019, I already stepped into the unknown. I didn’t have anything so much at all! Only courage.
There were moments when I was exploring Singapore alone that I think, “Did I really made the right choice of ending my (quite promising) career in the Philippines?” Damn knows the answer yet. But I have been throwing a hell lot of stupid questions to myself only to trigger my anxiety to the thinking that I am jobless now. I have no income. How about I go back to my comfort zone in the Philippines and live there because it’s convenient? Because it is my safe harbour?
So many questions. But before I go to sleep, after I made peace with my heart and mind, I am reminded that I am already making my way to a completely different life. I am already here, with all my life tucked inside a 70L backpck, dreamed of this for years so there’s no turning back now. All I have to do is to stick to my guns and keep going one day at a time.
Just like what Dory taught us, just keep swimming.
2. You can live in less money
While I still have a monthly salary flowing into my payroll account, I used to buy things I didn’t really need, booking a grab car from point A to point B, eating outside, subscribed to a gym membership that I took for granted and actually have a damn budget for beers. But now that I am unemployed, I learned to bring a water bottle with me all the time, I walked more, I cancelled unnecessary subscriptions and even enjoyed window shopping to the next level! I didn’t feel sorry for myself at all.
With barely $500USD in my pocket, it always got me thinking, “Can I survive until the time I get a new job?”. Fuck knows this is the only money that I have. 5 years working in the Philippines and I never thought of saving for the rainy season. And the gray skies are already here. But no time to bitch out about it now and the least thing I could do is to minimize my expenses. And so, I couldn’t be more than luckier than having a place to stay in Singapore for free. Seems like the universe is helping because my former colleague, Jen (love her! Always a big sister to me) offered me a bed to crash in. Accommodation = no problem!
3. Time to re-structure your day
I stayed another month back home after I quit my job. I remember I was really out of shape dealing with insomnia. My regular day during that phase starts as early as 2am (I was tired but I couldn’t sleep) I was just staying in bed, binge watching movies and documentaries and mostly dealing with anxiety. Thankfully, I retrieved my regular sleeping pattern just in time when I reached Changi Airport.
So since my friend Jen have a day job, we usually wake up around 9 or 10 in the morning, cook ourselves some brunch, and leave the flat by 12nn. While she’s working, I spent most of my days in Singapore touring all by myself by riding the double decker bus and using the metro.
I CAN SAY THAT SINGAPORE HAS THE NICEST TRANSPORTATION IN THE WORLD. Everything is so unbelievably convenient. There’s a metro station from Changi Airport and from there you can make your way to almost all the location without using a taxi! Very cheap. I downloaded this application called gothere.sg and everything you need to know there is to know about Singapore’s transportation system is there: which bus number to take, accurate bus schedules, metro line route, fare amount and even your ETA is there!
Sometimes it’s nice to be on your own, you know. You have all the freedom to explore the place at your own pace. Little India by 3pm? Sure. Sunset at Sentosa? Sounds fun. And don’t forget the dinner at Lavender Street!
I usually ended up going to Reddot Brewhouse at Dempsey Road to have myself some craft beers while waiting for Jen. Ahhhh fun times.
4. Enjoy the little things
Do you still remember the rules in the film Zombieland? That you can’t spend all your time worrying about where your next twinkie is going to come from, so follow rule #32 and enjoy the little things.
Little things, big things. As long as you enjoy them, go for it. I love grabbing lunch at Subway because it makes me happy. I love listening to my playlist while I’m on the window seat during a short haul flight. These things, though.
One thing you need to do when you visit Singapore is to take the North East line going to Harbour Point and make your way to the very famous Universal Studios. I mean what can I say! Isn’t it fun to go on a major roller coaster and scream at the top of your lungs?!
And also one of my favorite in Sentosa is Madame Tussauds. I mean who doesn’t, right? Though at first it was a little bit terrifying during the boat ride inside because it reminds me so much of a childhood spooky film HOUSE OF WAX. Oh that shit gave me a lot of nightmares when I was a kid, by the way. But it was fun! Got a bit starstrucked at least.
5. It’s the perfect time to move forward
We don’t try to fit in with the stars that don’t align with our constellations anymore.
When flight TR393 left Manila International Airport, I made it a point to myself that whatever I left in my country is not with me anymore. To go to a new city where nobody knows me has always been a dream. You know, the motivation to start over. To be able to make brand new memories by making new friends as an adult and finding the perfect job.
(Only that I still don’t know what the future is in store for me)
6. Always remind yourself to continue to dream big
Probably my favorite place in Singapore would be all the Orchard Street. This a place where you’ll see designer stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dolce & Gabana, Dior, Gucci and you can go up early in the morning, grab some to-go short drip with freshly baked croissant and have it as a breakfast in front of Tiffany & Co. Streaming ‘Moon River’ in spotify is highly recommendable.
These stores made me feel small. In a good way, of course. Walking around made me look forward to start working my ass off and get bigger money than before so that the next time I land back in Manila, everyone will see me in a full Louis Vuitton monogram canvass suitcase wearing Valentino macro-grid T-shirt, Givenchy drawstring black trousers and maybe some Off White black arrow tag leather sneakers for my footy. Oh and I almost forgot my Yves Saint Laurent classic 271 sunglasses.
Lol just kidding primarily because as I write this blog, I am already adapting the minimalist lifestyle. But this the reason why I said keep on dreaming big because you are bigger than you think you are capable of and the possibilities are endless.
7. You will never have all the answers
And finally, you won’t get all what you’re looking for now, sweetheart. But I know that you will eventually solve the jigsaw puzzle inside your head sooner or later. Piece by piece one day at a time. All you gotta need is keep looking for your passion, your love, dreams and happiness. And to know what you need over what you want.
So start now.
Start where you are. Start with fear, start with pain, start with both legs trembling. But start. Start where you are and start with what you have. In a year, you will be in a completely different phase you never have imagined. And it will be so remarkable you gotta need to prepare that beautiful face of yours for you are gonna be wearing a genuine smile that stays.