Revisiting my dreams

Revisiting my dreams

As one goes through life, we are often faced with the realization that there is a need to stop, sit, think about, analyze and check whether we were able to reach what we once dreamt of becoming. I can still remember those times when I was usually asked to talk about and describe or write down what I wanted to be when I grow up – be it in school or in a casual conversation with somebody I just met and wanted to have small talk.

It’s nice to go back and reflect on those dreams.

Marine Cryptozoologist

During my elementary years, I was quite fond of reading books about myths and legends. Maybe because I really like natural sciences – specifically things, creatures and natural phenomena around me. I was fascinated with things quite out of the ordinary. The moment I read a story regarding a giant squid, I became interested with sea monsters that can only be found in the deepest parts of the ocean. One time, when I was reading a copy of Reader’s Digest, I was dumbfounded upon seeing a scary image of an orange sea creature resembling “Nessie” the Loch ness monster (which of course is a myth until now). That’s when I decided that I’ll be a marine cryptozoologist when I grow up. I would like to do research and discover hidden sea monsters and enjoy travelling as I work with a team during those expeditions.

Television Journalist/Broadcaster

In high school, my teachers discovered that I have a natural flair in writing, proofreading and editing. I can still remember the first feature article I have written as a freshman. It was about my realizations regarding the song “A Whole New World” – the soundtrack of the Disney movie Alladin. That’s when the school paper adviser asked me to join the Editorial Staff of the campus school paper and compete in journalism and writing events. It was also the same year when I was sent to public speaking competitions and I realized that I have a knack in getting my ideas across an audience. During my senior year I became the Editor-in-chief of the school paper and that’s when I realized that I don’t want to be a marine cryptozoologist anymore because I want to be a journalist and write. I also like the way a local TV journalist deliver news in the evening news program. She was very clear and precise in terms of delivering the news. So I decided that I will become a journalist by day and a Television broadcaster in the evening. Later on, this dream was supported by a college qualifying exam that revealed that I have inherent skills that will allow me to study mass communications and journalism.

President and CEO of an animation company

Due to some unexpected events, I wasn’t able to pursue a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. A scholarship pushed me to take another path and consider my other skills geared towards engineering and applied sciences and that is to pursue a bachelors degree in Computer and Information Science aka Information Technology nowadays. And as I go on through the program, I began to like logic, analysis and design. During my sophomore year, on the first day of classes I was asked by my professor to talk about how I see myself in ten years time. Because I have learned to love computers and technology I have decided that I will become a President or a CEO of an animation company.

College Professor and a part-time Business Process Analyst

In college, I have had several professors who were really passionate in teaching. They are the ones who exerted extra effort in reaching out to their students. They did not only make me memorize ideas and concepts but they were able to challenge the way I think and reason but the most important skill they gave me was: they made me learn how to discover and learn things by myself. They also taught me that there are several ways on how things and systems work, and that I always have to be on the lookout for the most effective and efficient way with the least cost and without sacrificing quality. That was when I realized that I want to become a College Professor like them, and if my job environment will permit – I’ll also practice being a business process system analyst.

After college, I thought a career in a local semiconductor company will be a good start – maybe I’ll be able to fulfill one of my dreams. But, during my months as a trainee, I realized that I was not happy with the work environment and I felt like I was a prisoner inside. Facing the computer for eight hours a day did not make me happy. I’m yearning for something else.

So I decided to apply in a local university. I enjoyed working for 16 years in the academic community and there I was able to fulfill my dream of becoming a College Professor and a part time business process analyst before I decided that I’ve had enough of that dream. So, I applied for voluntary exit (sort of an early retirement in other companies) and that it’s not too late for me to start dreaming again for things I would like to do in life.

Freelancer

It was my 12th year in the university, I was given a plaque of appreciation and cash incentives during my 10th year for loyally serving the university. My life fell into a rut of multitasking and most of the time I am stressed, worried and sick. That was when I realized that I want to do something else and be someone else. I want more control of my life, more time to reflect on things, travel and most importantly prioritize my ministry. So I decided to become a freelancer and use my other skills, and enjoy a simpler, more laid back way of life. I’m currently out of the rat race and I can say that I’m more relaxed and happy.

Now, I also have more time to reflect on things that happened in my life. I realized how unrealistic and idealistic my dreams were when I was young. I’m glad that as we go on through life and learn and experience things – we become more mature and realistic – so our choices and decisions are also wiser and better than before.

Singapore: Universal Studios and Kallang Road (Days4&5)

Singapore: Universal Studios and Kallang Road (Days4&5)

September 6

Ever since I was a child I have always been fascinated with the ancient civilization of Egypt. I’ve often imagined myself exploring the pyramids and experiencing the scorching heat of the desert. I have also watched The Mummy 1 and 2 movies, it has always been my dream to see its set. This is why I was really excited to explore Singapore’s Universal Studios because one of its attractions is the set of the said movies.

Upon entry, first we visited the set of Madagascar, Shrek’s swamp cottage and the Castle of the Kingdom of Far Far Away.

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We also watched Water World, Shrek 4D where we experienced the eerie sense of spiders crawling on our feet, Donkey’s Knight Club, and watched Lights, Camera, Action by Steven Spielberg where we have seen the simulation of a Category 5 hurricane which hit the New York City harbor. It was a thrilling experience.

Then, my niece and her dad went inside Jurassic Park to experience its rides.

But, I decided that I’ll be enjoying Egypt and the sights in the Mummy movies :). There, we boarded an indoor high-speed roller coaster. It’s like passing through one of the pyramids and encountering the Mummy from the movie. I kept closing my eyes every time the roller coaster approaches the mummy coffins. I had goosebumps when a virtual mummy appeared in front of us and tried to swallow us. It was indeed a scary and thrilling ride. We were screaming from start to end.

Then, we visited Sci-Fi City, Galactica,  New York and the Hollywood Walk of Fame where I saw the star of Julie Andrews 🙂

We enjoyed taking a lot of photos and buying souvenirs from the shops. Then, we had our picture taken at the Lake of Dreams before leaving Sentosa and heading to our hotel.

It was really nice to unleash the “child in me” and just enjoy the activities and sights in the Universal Studios Theme Park. I was carefree and I felt like I just want to live in the moment. Seeing those movie sets made me experience stuffs which  make up our dreams – for me it was the highlight of our tour.

September 7

Due to some unexpected events, our flight was re-scheduled and we have to stay in Singapore for another day. So we decided to pack our things and then take a stroll in the park at Kallang Road near our hotel in the afternoon.

The air was hot and humid, but strolling outdoors was able to lift our spirits. And whenever there are trees, there’s also a light refreshing breeze that blows.

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Another thing, I was able to appreciate in Singapore is their sense of discipline. People are diligently following street signs. They go to bus stops and strictly follow traffic rules. You don’t have to worry about pick pockets and thieves stealing your phone, purse or other belongings. I felt secure while I was there.

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Lastly, everywhere you look, they are able to maintain order.

All in all, it was a fun and enjoyable trip. I was with the best persons I can be with during my first international flight and overseas tour. It changed the way I view life and what I’m capable of doing and achieving. I became a different person after the trip. Experiencing a different culture and seeing a different way of living made me realize that I still want to visit more places and know more cultures and broaden my horizon. So I promised myself that in the years to come – I’ll make it a goal to visit other places within the Philippines and other countries in Asia.

Photos (c) Te Leah and KuJo

Singapore: The Merlion, Sentosa and Songs of the Sea (Day 3)

Singapore: The Merlion, Sentosa and Songs of the Sea (Day 3)

September 5

Because we were really tired the previous day, we woke up late the following day. We started our tour at 10am. Our schedule is to explore the vicinity near the Merlion adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

While exploring the vicinity, I was able to appreciate the architecture of buildings and bridges. We have seen a lot of tourists in the area, and we also took a lot of photos with the Cavenagh bridge, Fullerton Hotel, Sands Sky Park, Singapore Flyer and Esplanade as our backdrop.

We had late lunch at 2pm – and it was may first time to eat broiled duck. I had a hard time eating since I’m not used to the texture of the meat as well at the sauce poured over, but my cousins really enjoyed the meal.

At past 5pm, we went to Vivo City and met my niece so we can watch the Songs of the Sea at Sentosa Resorts World.

Songs of the Sea

I really enjoyed watching this tale. It was a combination of lights and image projection on water, with a very good set of background music and talented actors and actresses. I had fun watching the show and taking pictures of the amazing effects.

Afterwards, we also had our pictures taken with the scale model of the Taj Mahal.

Then we had our dinner at Vivo City where I have seen senior citizens still working as restaurant crews. How I wish we also have that in the Philippines since older people who are used to working find worth and fulfillment even in simple jobs especially if they think that they still want to work and they still have the strength to be productive. I think Singaporeans have a really high regard for work and productivity.

Then, we went back to our hotel and another dreamless sleep followed.

Photos (c) Te Leah

Singapore: My First Overseas Trip (Days1&2)

Singapore: My First Overseas Trip (Days1&2)

Right now, I’m feeling somewhat blue so I decided to read my previous journals. One of them was about my first overseas trip way back 2010. Maybe it’s time to share my first overseas adventure.

During that time, I was teaching in the university for 10 years already and I know that my life will continue just the way it is. My life have fallen into a rut – I’ll go to class, deliver my lessons, go home and during the weekends enjoy my ministry. There were times when I’m always looking forward to those two-week semestral breaks so I can change my environment and visit places in the Philippines with my cousins – these trips are those enjoyable times when I can break free from my routine.

It was the month of September, three months before I turned thirty – a life-changing event happened. One of my cousins invited me to accompany him to Singapore to fetch his daughter after she finishes her on-the-job training. I was really excited. Maybe because, I already told myself that I will have no chance of going outside the Philippines. That’s why I’m really grateful for this opportunity.

Here’s a detailed record of my first international trip:

September 3

5:00AM Boarded a Victory Liner bus bound to Caloocan.

10:00AM Arrived at Dau Station, where we ate brunch at Jollibee and rented a van going to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), checked-in our luggage and paid the following fees: Terminal and Security fee =600php and the Travel Tax=1,620php. Went to the immigration for verification of identity docs and stayed at the Departure lounge.

12:50PM Boarded our flight – we used Tiger Airways.

5:00PM Arrived at the Changi Budget Terminal, Singapore, boarded a taxi and checked-in at Regin Hotel, unpacked our things and explored the vicinity. At the back of our hotel is the Geylang district. I have seen a lot of shops and roadside eateries or hawker food stalls.

We decided to try 3  big bowls of spicy noodles as our dinner which amounted to 8SGD. Then we went back to our hotel to rest.

September 4

Boarded a bus and used the EZ link card for the first time, we have to fetch my niece and her things at 95 Student Hostels where she stayed during the months of her training at Coffee Club. Then in the afternoon we went to Mustafa to change our Php bills to SGD and bought some souvenirs.

Then we roamed the streets of Singapore. Explored Plaza Singapura and had our lunch at Just Acia. Our luch was served with unlimited ice cream, coffee and soda.

Next, we visited Orchard Plaza and Orchard Central. There I experienced going up a very high escalator. Somehow, I got really nervous and my palms started perspiring – that’s when I realized that I also have fear of heights.

At past 4:00 in the afternoon, we boarded the tourist bus to see Marina Bay Sands Hotel where we bought tickets so we can go up the Sands Sky Park – a view deck shaped like a luxury ship where you can see the view overlooking the city.

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The lobby of Marina Bay Sands Hotel
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At the Sky Park
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The city looked somewhat dull in the afternoon
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Then …  it became a city of lights.

We had fun looking at the view, had a lot of photos taken. As the sky becomes dark, the city transformed into a city of lights. It was an amazing sight to behold. As we explored the sky park, we also saw the infinity pool.

Upon leaving Marina Bay Sands, we passed through the Double helix bridge and visited the Youth Olympic park.

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“I was up there a while ago.” ^0^
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The lights are really mesmerizing …

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Afterwards, we boarded the train, then bus #64 and bought fruits at the wet market near our hotel. We were really exhausted since we were walking most of the time to see and appreciate different sights so we took a much needed rest.

Photos (c) of Te Leah.

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 3

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 3

October 15, 2012 – A childhood dream came true 🙂

Te Veck was asked to do an errand for a work colleague so we went to Mong Kok and visited Capital Computer Center. Afterwards, we had our brunch at Mc Donalds and travelled to Sunny Bay.

” A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep

In dreams you will lose your heartache, whatever you wish for you’ll keep ..”

The moment I was waiting for since I first saw a Disney movie 🙂 – it’s now time to live the dream at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

The Mickey Mouse Train

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inside the mickey mouse train

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The Welcome Arc and the Theme Park Ground

First thing I did was to look around and appreciate things around me – then came the photo opportunity with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Since it’s only 2 in the afternoon the queue is short.

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Then, we looked at the paintings, drawings and caricatures at the Animation Academy at Main St. U.S.A.  

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then watched the street parade where I really got teary-eyed since the realization hit me – my dream really came true – A childhood dream came true 🙂

Next, we went to Tomorrow Land where we boarded the space mountain high speed roller coaster. Then to Fantasy Land where we saw Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella Carousel, Snow White’s wishing well but wasn’t able to see the Golden Mickeys and experience the train with the “It’s a small world” song background.

In the Adventureland, we boarded the Jungle River Cruise where we have seen animatronix.

Next is the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars – an outdoor roller coaster at the Grizzly Gulch.

And then we decided to go separately so the couple with me can see the attractions at the Toy Story land and board the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.

 

while I scan souvenir shops and then later on watch the Festival of the Lion King musical show. The actors and actresses really have very good singing voices – I enjoyed every bit of the musical.

After the show, I found Te Veck and Ya Rex waiting for me outside the theater. Again, we had our pictures taken and then redeemed the gift.

To end the Disneyland experience, we waited for the fireworks display. It was a play of lights, firecrackers, projected images and videos as well as famous Disney music and theme songs.

We also took pictures at the Mickey Mouse Train Station before leaving Disneyland Resort.

“Have faith in your dreams and someday, the rainbow will come smile at you,

No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing,

The DREAM that YOU WISH – Will Come True!”

Before going back to our hotel, we ate Chinese food at a local restaurant in Mong Kok – and they really have large servings.

Then, we bought preserved delicacies and boarded the bus back to our hotel.

The next day is our flight back to the Philippines and I can say that I really enjoyed my vacation in Hong Kong.

Photos (c): Te Veck

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 2

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 2

October 15, 2012

After resting for long hours it’s time to travel and explore tourist spots again.

We ate Thai food at a small restaurant near the hotel. Then, we took the way going to the underpass to reach the bus stop and travel to the Prince Edward MTR Station .

Through Te Veck’s navigation, we reached the Tung Chung  station where we found the City Gate Outlets mall.

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Ngong Ping 360 degrees cable cars on the horizon

There we boarded a Ngong Ping 360 degrees cable car (another milestone) and reached Lantau island. On our way to the island, there were Lord of the Rings-like views and scenery :), also saw the airport and at the distance I also saw other cities.

We also  had the opportunity to taste their native delicacies: soya soup, fish ball, dumplings and the sweet and spicy rice noodle rolls.

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enjoyed our snacks

Tourist spots in the island

Sunset in the island

Before the day ends, our next goal was to visit Victoria Harbor and see the Avenue of Stars.We had fun taking pictures, saw The Peak at the horizon, and of course the lights of the buildings along the harbor. There were floating restaurants and we’ve seen a lot of tourists just enjoying the view and the cool breeze.

Then came the Symphony of lights – I was really happy to experience the play of lights and the music from the orchestra. It was relaxing for me and its the perfect way of ending a day of walking and exploring different places.

Hours of walking and queuing left us tired for the day but instead of directly gong back to our hotel, we decided to visit their night market and buy “pasalubong” for our loved ones. We also found a small Pinoy restaurant and which served “tocilog”, “tapsilog” and “chicksilog” at the Jordan station in Kowloon.

Since somehow we got used to looking at maps, we were able to find our bus stop and reached the hotel to rest.

Tomorrow I’ll be living a childhood dream :).

Photos (c): Te Veck 🙂

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 1

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 1

Since it’s already October, I was reminded of another tour I’ve had in the past. It was my second time to travel outside the Philippines and was really excited since I’ll be fulfilling a childhood dream 🙂

October 13, 2012

It was 15 minutes before 7am so we need to Hurry! We really have to hurry! It took us a long while to reach Clark International airport and our flight is at 7am. I was with Te Veck and Ya Rex and after settling fees at the airport, we were able to board the plane. 1 and a half hours passed and we arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport. We gathered our checked-in bags and bought entrance tickets to the tourist spots we’ll be visiting plus the octopus card which was able to bring us to a lot of places.

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Hong Kong International Airport

We boarded an A22 double decker and reached Regal Oriental Hotel at Kowloon before lunch time. It was my first time to ride at the front which made it easy to take a lot of pictures and even videos 🙂

After having biscuits and noodles and some freshening up, we proceeded to the bus stop and travel to their train station and reach the Central Station where we met fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses. 🙂

The Peak

At the Central Station we had to walk going to the Peak and be part of the long queue of tourists who will board the Peak Tram.

Madame Tussaud’s Wax figures

Bubba Gump Restaurant  at the Peak

Since we’re already famished, we tried the delicacies found at the restaurant made famous by Tom Hanks’ movie.

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inside Bubba Gump restaurant
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The Sky Terrace

Sight-seeing and picture-taking followed. People from all around the world sat together and enjoyed the scenery.

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sweet couple at the sky terrace
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Victoria Harbor as seen on top of The Peak
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structures and their night lights

Had a throbbing temple afterwards, maybe because of the change in temperature since it was somewhat hot and I’m used to the weather in Baguio City where October is cool. My head was really painful, I thought I will collapse, but prayer really helped. One downside, we had a hard time talking to the locals in English regarding how we can return to our hotel. Despite the headache, we reached our hotel after walking almost 2 kilometers. What a night! I had a long and dreamless sleep afterwards.

Stay tuned for the continuation of my vacation in Hong Kong. 🙂

Photos (c) Te Veck 🙂