Breakthroughs, Breakouts, and Workouts

Libra season is here and it’s slayin’

If you’ve seen this blog before, chances are you already know that I created this to help with the burnout that I am experiencing from work, to rekindle the passion that I have for writing, and also to meet people over the web who shares the same passion and interests that I have. And now three months into this blogging life, I can already notice some great changes in my daily life and I also have you, yes you — the one reading this to thank for.

In my last post, I mentioned that I resigned from my job. A fierce, bold move in the midst of the pandemic when a lot of people are being laid off and looking for work. I myself am dumbfounded with my decision but it is one that I had to make if I wanted to keep my sanity in check. With an economic crisis, this thought should not even be entertained, but after some careful and dreadful thinking, I still believed that it was the right thing to do – I have to quit my job, even without a job prospect in sight.

It might even be called reckless or stupid, but I wanted to see what I can get away with. Sometimes, life requires you to take the leap off the edge to teach you how to fly. And as the last quarter of the year started, 2020 decided to throw in an awesome plot twist my way: I got offered a job opportunity that was better than what I even hoped for.

And to top it all off, I also experienced significant improvement in terms of my mental health. Of course it hasn’t been all up to fate and the universe, I also did a lot of changes and tried to incorporate mindful techniques and other healthier lifestyle habits as much as I could in my every day life. And as it has helped me, I also want to be able to share some of it with you:

  1. Workout – With all the snacking and food deliveries that became a routine during the six months of quarantine in my country, I had to find a way to keep my body burn those calories off. I found some good and fun exercises on Youtube and on the Rebel app that keeps the endorphins coming. I’m admitting though that I still am not that disciplined yet.
  2. Skincare – I totally disregarded my skincare routine when I suffered burnout from work. Months passed by that I did not even bother to put on any moisturizer or even wash off my face with some cleanser before sleeping. I was too tired to care, and even more to function. But last month, I decided to step up my game and bought a whole new skincare set and has been religiously taking care of myself in that area.
  3. Mindfulness – I learned about mindfulness from a couple of self-help books that I was reading a few months ago but only truly gave it a try when I hit rock bottom. Simply put, it is a type of meditation wherein you focus on the present, and nothing else at all. My favorite exercises are breathing exercises as it really works like magic on me. You can also checkout a beginner guide here.

Honestly, I just wanted to share the good news and also to bring some positive light to this blog too. And if you’re reading this and need an ear to listen, or a virtual friend to talk to, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m also open to suggestions! πŸ™‚

Cheers to the sunrise and new beginnings!

Stick It!

I started this blog for a sole purpose – to act as my passion project as I start working on my self-care. For the first few weeks, I have tried to write religiously as possible to justify the cost of purchasing the domain, and honestly, because I am excited with the community I found here and it also was my sort of escape. However, I have been in a slump for about two weeks now not because I don’t find this fun anymore, nor because I felt lazy and decided to just quit out of the blue but because I realized that there’s more than one way to practice self-care during this time of pandemic.

A month ago, I decided to quit my job. Yes, during such a crazy time. And yet, as I am writing this, I know deep in my heart that it is the right thing to do – the job has taken the life out of me and the anxiety and the sadness (depression(?), I wasn’t medically diagnosed yet since I haven’t had the courage to see a doctor in this pandemic) that it brings outweighs the pros of staying – mainly, just my salary. It was such a bold move and my anxiety got even worse, there were times that I could not function the whole day -I would just stop and stare at my laptop screen instead of doing my job, then breakdown. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I wanted to write but I also could not find the energy to open my laptop and do it without thinking about the work I should rather be doing. I know I had to do something about it so I took a few days off from work to give myself some space without feeling guilty.

I filed for two days off before and after that weekend to have more time to gather up my thoughts and “fix” whatever it is that I’ve been feeling. I also did not tell my family about the leaves so that they’d give me my space, thinking I was working. It was during those days that I realized that self-care truly comes in different forms but it always starts with this step – you’d do something good to yourself, for yourself.

And while I’ll be talking about these newfound habits and interests of mine in other posts, I’d like to use this post to highlight the help of essential oils to help me relax during such stressful time. During the nights that I have a hard time sleeping due to the anxiety, I’d pop in the diffuser we have at home and let the lavender scent caress me to sleep. Aromatherapy is a practice that has been around for centuries that uses essential oils for its therapeutic benefit. And with the rise of the popularity of holistic living and alternative medicine, also comes the rise to stardom of essential oils. In fact, in the Philippines, there’s a term for people who uses essential oils for healing or those exploring its wonders – “oilbularyo”. The oils have different effect on the body and mind but one particular scent that I like is rosemary as it is said to combat fatigue, mental exhaustion and it smells really fresh too!

The universe’s magic also intervened as Princess from The Mindful Modus shared in her previous post that she’s recently decided to sell her own essential oil inhalers on Shopee. It was exactly what I need – a pocket sized essential oil inhaler of the scents that I already like and trust. Ordered it right away and was delivered shortly after two days.

I tried her three available scents – Dream (lavender and eucalyptus), Focus (rosemary and eucalyptus), and Breathe (lavender and rosemary). I knew before I ordered that I’d like breathe because it’s my two favorite scents from our oil collection at home but I was surprised to find myself really liking her mix of rosemary and eucalyptus for her Focus scent.

So if ever you find yourself dipping your toes on the world of essential oils and would like to test if the hype about it is real, feel free to check out Princess’ oh ma therapie! for affordable personal inhaler sticks. πŸ™‚

Replay Or Rewind

If you had a chance for a β€œdo-over” in life, what would you do differently?

At the young age of 6, I got tested and was said to be ‘gifted’ by a respectable doctor from a research facility here in the Philippines. My grandparents who were living with me during that time deemed it necessary to hone the talent that I was given with. Unlike most children my age, I did not get to experience the typical childhood life outside of the house – I did not get to play physical games with peers, ride around town on my bike, or simply have playmates. Heck, my childhood best friend is my classmate who I competed with for gold medals during quiz bees and school competitions. I was a total nerd but it wasn’t because my grandparents forced me to study or hindered me from a normal childhood life – it was because as early as 7 years old, I already liked to rise up to the challenges presented to me and they made it seem like finishing at the top of the class was a feat.

Come the end of my high school life, when we were all deciding what course to take that’ll help shape our future. I wanted to do something related to Communication Arts but everyone was telling me that I’d throw away my gifts if I pursue it. I ended up going for a ‘tough’ choice, a course everyone thinks is challenging for most, a degree worth pursuing they say – Electronics and Communication Engineering. Up to now, I don’t know what people should really be doing given this degree.

I got through engineering school even if I didn’t like it in the first place, going through each class thinking that it’s only a challenge to conquer, I looked at complex circuits as riddles to be solved. Then right after graduation, I took the board examination and passed the ultimate test. It made me proud but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t even satisfied. And yet, my dad was ecstatic and proud of his little girl who has just become a licensed engineer. I will never forget the look on his face. For that alone, if I were given another chance, I still would have taken the degree. Even if it leads me to where I am right now – a place full of confusion.

Well, if I am to go through that again, what’s the whole point of the post? What’s something that I would “do-over” if given a chance to hit the rewind button? There’s only one thing that I could actually think of: I’d let myself experience failure. I will not be scared to lose, to fall down, and fall right flat on my face. It took me 25 years to realize that experiencing failures and rising on your feet again is its own reward and would only make success a bit sweeter. I know, there’s no going back in time, so instead of having to “do-over”, I will let this be a reminder as I continue to shape my future and face the hurdles of fate: winning isn’t everything and there’s no such thing as failures, only lessons learned. πŸ˜‰

Today, V knows the difference of being ‘good’ and being happy.


I would like to thank Think Talk for nominating for the Liebster Blogger Award and for providing a beautiful set of questions which inspired me to write this post. I feel deeply honored knowing that someone out there appreciates the things I write.

MAC: cheap steals and freebies

I consider myself frugal when it comes to shopping for make-up because honestly, I find myself too lazy most of the time to use it. And when I do buy make-up, I tend to buy what I believe is a good quality brand. So when I see some good deals on the brand(s) I like, I don’t quite hesitate on doing the purchase and just last July 30 (#NationalLipstickDay) as promoted in Lazada, I did not double think on getting the mini trio lipstick of my favorite shades that came with some surprisingly good freebies along with it.

One of the brands I trust and my go-to brand is MAC mostly because I believe that they have some decent high-quality products that justifies its price, and also because I really am a sucker for black and classy looking branding. So when I saw their ad (I know, I know, it’s targeted ads) for their #NationalLipstickDay sale, I hurriedly click on that add to cart button even if most people think that we would have no use for lipsticks while locked down in a pandemic stricken country.

Let me share with you my #NationalLipstickDay haul from MAC and Lazada:


I bought the mini trio lipstick in the shades Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy, and Mocha for only about $32 USD, and for MAC prices here in Southeast Asia that’s already a steal. I opted for this color combination because the Velvet Teddy (deep-tone beige) is my favorite everyday lipstick. Velvet Teddy really suits my skin color and it’s such a good MLBB (my lips but better) matte pick that isn’t drying to the lips. The other color that made me decide to purchase the set is the Ruby Woo. It’s MAC’s best-selling red lipstick of all time and there’s no question why – dubbed as ‘very matte vivid blue-red’ that seems to be universally flattering. Last but not the least is MAC’s Mocha, a peachy yellow-brown lipstick in satin finish. I don’t really do a lot of satin because I prefer make-up in matte formula, but I myself was surprised when I put on Mocha and actually liked it. Initially, I was thinking of saving it to give as a gift.

L to R: Mocha, Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy

The sale trio on its own is already a super steal but MAC and Lazada’s #NationalLipstickDay promo got even better when they decided to throw in the top-selling MAC Maker Lipstick @mainedcm in a plush gold packaging FOR FREE. I was so surprised they gave it away for free when it was always sold out when it was just released. The shade is a plum-red matte, in total opposite of the MAC Maker’s first @mainedcm which was a good nude lipstick that suits the Filipino skin tone.

And as if a free full size best-selling lipstick is not enough, they also threw in a cute notebook style water bottle and cute stickers to customize your lipsticks with.

MAC #NationalLipstickDay freebies

I know, given the pandemic and the necessity to wear face masks outside, lipstick purchases seem to be illogical but I figured these little gems are good for another year or more if kept well. And well, why the hell not? A woman can choose to fix herself up at home… for herself, just because she wants to.

New Horizons on New Normal.

If you’re on social media, I’m pretty sure you have encountered a couple of picture or stories of cute animal characters from your peers, friends, and even celebrities you follow. Released on March, just about when quarantine started on most countries, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the world by storm. It’s an addition to the Animal Crossing franchise from Nintendo, but this latest game caters to their newly portable console, the Nintendo Switch and its Lite variant. Nintendo sales have garnered an all time high during this period and this game is one of the reasons why.

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons was surrounded by so much hype mainly due to the reason that it has been eight years since the last game in the franchise was introduced, and that it offers an endless possibility in a controlled and limited life in quarantine. The addition boasts of features that gamers are excited about from autosaves to remote island life. Here are some of the reasons why everyone took on the Dodo Airline Ride:

  • Remote island life – On the start of the game, you are being ushered from the airport to a remote island of your choosing where you can get to customize basically everything as you progress in the game, opposed to the previous games where it was set on city life. This basically is a good selling point especially the timing of the game’s release when everyone was stuck in their houses. It’s a virtual island life getaway!
  • Character customizationRight from the start, you’ll be given the freedom to design how your character would look like and can change it, even your clothes, at any point in the game too.
  • Create your own tools – To move forward in your deserted island, tools are to be made and yes, you get to create your own and customize them as well. From basic tools such as flimsy shovels to gold decorations – the game boasts of a wide variety of DIY recipes that players will encounter and make.
  • Autosave – Unlike in the previous Animal Crossing games, there are certain times in this latest addition that it’s being saved automatically.
  • Nook Miles Rewards Program – Basically, you’ll be rewarded for uhm… doing anything. Just kidding! But yes, that’s more like the gist of it – there’s built-in goals in this program that you’ll achieve just by simply playing the game as it is. No puzzles, no hard thinking, no confusion – just play the game as you like, in your own pace, and you’ll get rewards. A game that keeps on giving.
  • Multiplayer ability – Okay, we’re all stuck at home when the game was released, and as social creatures we somehow look for interactions – what a fun way to immerse yourself in a game where you can showcase your creativity to your friends and even strangers by visiting each other’s islands, sharing custom patterns that you have created, make trades like our ancestors did before (barter system), or create virtual adventure relay games. I even had an Animal Crossing date with my boyfriend and had a virtual catch-up with a friend!
  • Updates – since March, a number of updates have rolled on. Usually, there’s one for every weather change (yes, you can have your Sakura moment, and even your Winter Wonderland in the game). There are also other seasonal updates such as the June wedding celebration. And some updates to add gameplay and characters: you can now go ahead and swim in the ocean in your nice wetsuit, or meet Redd, who’s being dubbed as the sly fox.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons paved a way for us escape the harsh reality that we get to face everyday. Even with the above stated features, I believe that the main selling point of the game was the open-ended style and the freedom of the players to take control of their own world – an option you don’t really get to enjoy in real life. Endless possibilities, escape from the pandemic, and witty animal friends – I mean what’s not to like?


I’m planning on doing a giveaway of my stuff and bells as I plan to start my island from scratch. If you want to join or simply looking for an item or colorway of an item, let me know in the comment below. πŸ™‚

Pandemic Made Me Do It

By now you’ve probably seen tons of photos, articles and blog post that are all related to this pandemic. What can we do? This has been monumental for everyone of us – like it or not, we’re all affected by the rapid spread of this virus and it is such a game changer. We were all forced to take a pause from our daily routine, our sense of normalcy disrupted and have since been adapting to our new normal. But as social beings stuck in this world of capitalism, we still found ways to create new fads.

It started when Dalgona coffee took the internet by storm. This easy to make beverage is everywhere on the first few weeks of quarantine – you name it, it’s all over your face each day. The fact that it is easy to make, its ingredients readily available (for a fair price too), highly aesthetic and actually tastes good got the most of us whipping our hearts out. Then came the basque burnt cheesecakes and other pastries. By now, some of your friends have probably opened their own homemade bakeshops that you’ve already tried (
#supportlocal). And let’s not forget the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons that everyone (including the celebrities we follow. Hi Elijah Wood and Brie Larson β™₯) jumped on the hype train and went gaga over the deserted island life simulation game that even Nintendo was surprised by the sales not just of the game, but the consoles too. But I think, one of the most common guilty pleasure we all share right now is online shopping. It’s convenient, it’s hassle-free, and yes, it’s plain old “retail therapy”.

Again, what can we do? We all have our own coping mechanisms and online shopping can boost our mood or at least gets us something to look forward to. Careful though, it’s a slippery slope to going broke. I myself am a culprit of spending some hard earned cash during this pandemic period to help me get by and let me share with you some of the stuff I loved
:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
    I am guilty of being completely crazy over this game for the first two months since its release. I was playing (more like grinding) this simulation like game which helped me escape from the clutches of reality during the first few weeks of the quarantine. Check out my thoughts on this game here.
  • Kindle Paperwhite
    Late last year, I broke my Kobo (another ebook reader) and has been meaning to replace it ever since but only got around to it during this quarantine period when I stayed with my grandmother. All my books were at home and it also didn’t help that I slept in the same room as to keep tabs on her and therefore could not continue with my late night reading. For those reasons and the sale on Lazada (the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia) got me eye-ing this new version of the Paperwhite, I haven’t been disappointed by this since I was able to get my hands on it!
  • UVC Sterilizer
    Even before the virus outbreak, I already have a small bottle of alcohol with me inside my purse or my pocket. I bring it with me when stepping out for lunch or while drinking with friends. When traveling, I see to it that I buy some sanitary wipes and alcohol on the first or nearest convenience store that I could find. So when this pandemic hit the Philippines, I was one of those people who are a bit more careful – spraying alcohol everywhere, getting my hands clean all the time, wearing mask even inside the car, and now, carrying with me a UVC sterilizer too. I just had to up my disinfection game! The efficacy of this product is debatable especially when dealing with the corona virus, but I did my research on the dos and don’ts, and also looked for a reputable brand that I believe in.

Aside from these three and the local food businesses that I support, the best purchase during this period is actually this: yes, this blog. engrvwrites.com. I was a bit hesitant at first because this is my hard earned money that I’d be spending to fund this little passion project of mine but then I realized that if I’m not gonna believe that I’m worth it, then probably nobody else will. I took a bet on myself, and it has not been the same since then.

How about you? What are your favorite purchases this quarantine period? πŸ™‚

Mondays And Headaches

How are you feeling today?
What is the root of that emotion?

1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

It’s the 125th day of the quarantine here in the Philippines. Since last March, I’ve been working from home and about two weeks ago it was announced that as a part of our organization’s business continuity plan, we’ll continue with this work from home arrangement until the end of the year. It gave me a sense of relief given that I won’t have to face the risk of going outside to carry on with my job unlike most Filipinos struggling in this situation.

Had someone told me that I’ll be working from home six months ago, I probably would have entertained that news with glee. But now, being holed up in in my room for more than four months, I feel the psychological impact of this set-up, and it doesn’t help with the burnout that’s been looming over me for quite some time now. You might be reading this and feeling the same way or maybe just stumbled upon this post without having been affected by this global pandemic, anyway, let me share with you a little tip I got from a self-help book:
your feelings are valid, and when you get to the bottom of it, it gets easier to ride the wave.

To answer the question above, I’m actually feeling frustrated right now – I always look forward to the weekend, especially when the work from home arrangement started that when Sunday afternoon hits, I end up feeling well, yeah, frustrated. How come I haven’t made the most of my free time and WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MONDAY AGAIN?!

I sat down, grabbed my trusty notebook and the nearest pen I could get my hands on. As I scribble down my feelings, I realized that this strong negative emotion stems from the work related problems that I’ll be forced to face again tomorrow. It takes me back to the responsibilities that I am obliged to do, and the tedious tasks that I have to repeatedly do for another five days. If I’m honest with myself, hell, I may be feeling this way because of my fear of failure and that I still might not be able to provide the solutions that I’m responsible to come up with. It’s not about my weekend activities or lack thereof, because in reality, I was able to spend time with my family, watch the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix and even the qualifying, play console games for a few hours and even see an anime film for the first time. In the end, it’s about this hard truth: my frustration stemmed from my fears.

Knowing and understanding this makes a great impact, because now I can address my feelings better and accept that there are things that I have no control of, and those that I do have, I can start working on. Instead of feeling miserable for the rest of the night, I now have the choice to refocus my thoughts on solving my problems or pushing them at bay to deal with tomorrow to take the rest of the night off peacefully reading blog posts and news.

Good night and as a reminder, keep in mind that:

Faith smothers your fear of the unknown

Jen Sincero

Sex and Vanity

It was 9:52 on a Sunday morning, fair but a bit cloudy outside. I was feeling quite tired despite of having been able to sleep for eight hours. I reached for my Kindle and decided to go for some light novel instead of a heavy read, and let myself be carried into the world of extravagance by Kevin Kwan in his new book Sex and Vanity.

The first part of the story revolves around another crazy expensive wedding, but this time set in the beautiful island of Capri and an adventure of a nineteen year-old Lucie Tang Churchill, our protagonist with Eurasian beauty that she seemed to be completely unaware of and born of old American money, and her love interest George Zao from Hong Kong, also born from a ridiculously rich family who kept his mysterious character together in the first act. It centered on Lucie and finding herself being drawn to yet also appalled by the young lad in the cobbled streets, ancient mansions, upscale hotels and historical beauty of the island only to be separated by a heated and passionate albeit unfortunate incident on the wedding day itself.

Reading the first part of the book really made me search for the tourist and some historical spots mentioned. What more can I say? Kevin Kwan has the ability to captivate us in the world of the crazy rich and yearn to see or experience it someday. For me, the first part captured the youth of Lucie perfectly while setting up the foundation for the other characters too, who would be later seen or mentioned in the story. While reading about the wedding week in Capri, I could almost immediately picture this novel in the big screen. That’s how Kwan delivered his storytelling – another chic story waiting to be adapted.

The second part of the book takes five years later from the incident involving drones and on to Lucie’s life back in New York where she says yes to the exorbitant wedding proposal of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Cecil Pike. Most of the chapters take place in the Hamptons but also takes us to an even more elite circle in the Upper East Side than Gossip Girl did. The extravagance of these characters quipped with satirizing them was what made me stick to finishing the whole book in a day despite (for me, at least ) the story not being able to pull off the romance part, at all. I simply find the young “love” of Lucie and George in the wedding week a little too weak to practically make that of an impact on the later part of the story, and Lucie and Cecil’s relationship doesn’t make sense to me (or to anyone probably, I mean really, how did these two even got together??)

I’d hand it to Kwan still for not only delivering a romcom but throughout the story, topics such as racism, the feeling and experiences of being multi-racial, and even the new vs. old money issue (probably being a problem only for the upper 10 percent of the world’s population) are being tackled. However, these were not deeply dealt with but was just a recurring theme and can be easily shied away from. Given these shortcomings, I would still recommend reading this book now. Why? Because I’d rather be transported to the enchanting landscape and dramatic scenery of Capri than be cooped up in front of my T.V. again for a whole new day in this quarantined life.

Close Them Now Please

from 1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

Did you do it? Even for just like 5 seconds, maybe?
You did? Nice!
You didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t have either. But you might want to slow down for a bit and read my two cents on it.

Why am I, a stranger, being such a pushover and asking you to close your eyes or maybe take some deep breaths?
Because we all we have to. At least once in a while. Living in this day and age, amidst a pandemic, in an economic dip, being bombarded with news filled of abuse, hatred, and hopelessness, things can be pretty upsetting and overwhelming. And yet, even in this “new normal” while we’re still being forced to live in quarantine life for everybody’s safety (including our own, please wear your mask), we are being expected to push ourselves to our limits for the sake of our jobs, finances, stability, hell even the comeback of the economy.

We’ve been programmed to measure our “worth” in our productivity. However, more often than not, this so called productivity is being wrongly measured as simply the amount of time you’ve worked. Which then leads people to think that in order to be productive, you have to work your ass off as much as you possibly can. This I believe has created a generation of young adults so desperate to prove their worth in this big world and has ended up with so much cases of burnout that it has now become a household term.

Burnout can come at you no matter how far you’ve risen in the ladder, how many medals you got, and how many times you’re revolved around the sun. It has gotten to me so bad. So bad that I considered quitting my job without the prospect of another opportunity, so bad that I found myself crying at 3 in the afternoon feeling miserable and unaccomplished despite of everything I’ve achieved thus far (engineering school ain’t for the weak, the board exam rattles most, getting promoted).

I am not immune to this. I simply don’t know where it all went wrong – I have a stable relationship, a career, hell even a title I don’t ever use (except for this site obviously), and yet I feel trapped in a perpetual state of exhaustion. With my fear of failure and love for challenges, I always strive to come through and do all that has been tasked to me without considering my work-life balance and in total disregard of my time. I do all that I can to meet deadlines, and deliver what has been asked of me, not even pausing to ask myself if I want to do it and why. AND THIS, THIS IS THE REASON WHY I STARTED WRITING AGAIN.

It feels like I hit rock bottom and you know what they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. But damn do they made it sound so easy. In reality, this has forced me to read on self-help books I used to shy away from. Instead of staring blankly at my laptop thinking that I’m working, I tap into resources that poses information that could possibly do me good. It also forced me to think about how I overcome all the hurdles I had to pass and how I’ve succeeded. I was forced to look back and go after my passion – what drives me to live and not just exist.

It forced me to take a break. I cannot stress how important it has been to me and this journey to getting myself back up on my feet. I know I am not there yet and I’m in no position to instruct somebody, but if anything and it helps, do not forget to let yourself get some rest.

Take a break.

Close your eyes. There is nothing to see here. That’s the point.

Singapore: Why I Keep Coming Back

It’s been 109 days since the lockdown has started in our country – due to this quarantine, a lot of travel plans are postponed or cancelled. Nobody saw this coming, and no one has dreamed of going through 2020 like this, for sure. I know, traveling is not the biggest problem everyone’s facing but there’s also some therapeutic magic to it that alleviates stress that people dearly misses, especially having been cooped up for months. So, to satisfy my thirst for it, I decided to revisit my old photos and memories from my past travels and realized why I keep coming back to this one country – Singapore.

First time I went to SG was when I was 18 years old with my grandmother. The minute I stepped inside Changi Airport, my mind was blown by its look and feel. It was something else – from the interior design, the well spaced walkalators, plush carpeted flooring, the lounge, and even its spacious comfort room. No wonder why it was dubbed as the best airport in the world, and that’s even before they had The Jewel. But there’s also one thing obviously evident from their airport to the rest of the country – it screams of being digitally competitive. How they utilized the continuous growth of technology to improve is something I want to happen as well at home.

Initially, we planned for just a 4-day trip thinking to hit only the tourist spots of this well known small country, but it has its magic and we ended up staying for 2 weeks! On the first few days, we already went to check most of the destinations it was known for – Sentosa Island (where Universal Studios Singapore is loacted), Shoppes at Marina Bay, the Merlion, and even the Night Safari. One thing I noticed going to all these places was even if it was crowded with a lot of people – it did not feel overwhelming. In the train stations, it wasn’t unruly at all even during rush hour. There was this feeling that in the sea of a multiracial crowd, you still get to have your own safe bubble, your own personal space. It was because of this, and the country’s low crime rate that when my cousin turned 18, she and I decided to go to Singapore and celebrate her birthday, without any grownup supervision. In fact, during this trip, I must have forgotten my wallet in one of the lockers (all my money and card was inside) in Universal Studios only to remember it the next day. I simply called the USS hotline, asked if they saw it, and the lady only had to ask me what my name is and bring my passport to claim it. That’s one thing you can’t deny when you’re in Singapore – you feel safe.

The next thing I’ve always liked about Singapore is how clean and orderly it is! Some says that it’s because Singaporeans are well disciplined people or simply because they have nationwide cleaning processes and strict laws, but no matter what the reason behind is, in all times I’ve wandered in the streets, shopping malls, food communes, and did my commute – it’s cleanliness and orderliness is always a welcome sight to my eyes. There’s something relaxing when you ride through the city in the morning and see the streets clean, then stroll through Marina Bay Sands Boardwalk with a boba tea in hand on a sunny afternoon with the same comforting vibe, and still the same streets being kept at midnight after a few drinks at Clarke Quay.

What’s a better way to know a place than through its food? If you’ve seen the film Crazy Rich Asians, or read the trilogy, you’d know that Singaporeans are foodies. There are quite a number of Michelin star approved chefs and restaurants in the country – from Hawkwer Centres to an old church converted into a food complex. Yes, that’s where the wedding in the Crazy Rich Asians took place. I just love how welcoming their food scene is, it shows racial diversity and the combined culture of its inhabitants. Whenever I go there, it’s always a must to have some char siew meat, hainanese chicken rice, chilli crab, and bak kut teh.

Okay, I have to stop writing. Just by coming up with this post makes me want to go to Singapore for technically uhm… the 6th time.