Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ready Or Not...

In these last few days before the big move Singapore, the second most common question people ask me is if I am ready.

Last year, around this time, I took jobhunting a lot more seriously by sending out resumes or posting them on jobseeker websites or passing them to old friends who passed it to whoever cares. In September, jobhunting got serious as I was asked to attend interviews, as far as one before an actual offer. But as fate would have it, I didn't get anything yet.

My sister went home from the U.S. in late November and had this weird suggestion. She said that I could pass her my resume and that maybe she could get someone to sponsor my working visa. She basically introduced to me the concept of looking for work abroad and possibly moving for good. And like most everything in my life so far, I just needed someone to suggest something to me before I actually act upon it.

As far as working abroad is concerned, I had narrowed it down to two destinations: Singapore, and Australia. Singapore the great advantage of being easily accessible from the Philippines with the visa waiver and the low-cost airfares. It also boasts of a safe and secure living environment, relatively low taxation, and the feeling of pride in a fellow Asian country. The only downside, as far as I'm concerned is with long-term plans. Singapore does not allow dual-citizenship, period. On the other hand, Australia is generating the feeling of vast potential, a lot more opportunities, breathing space, a laid-back culture, potential dual-citizenship, and a growing Filipino community. The downside is the expensive airfare, some political instability (in the IT industry), possible experience of racism and the competitive local pool of IT specialists.

By the end of 2005, I have sent out dozens of applications to Singaporean and Australian companies online. Late January, this year, I was contacted by an Australian company who sounded interested in acquiring my talents after, of course, a series on interviews. I got as far as the technical interview. There was just static after. Frustrating as it is, they didn't select me. It's that sort of thing hurts your pride, question your worth, and lower your self-confidence. That episode left me depressed and confused.

Around February, I had received another email, this time from Singapore. Of course, I entertained it despite the terrible experience I had experienced before that. I had to go through phone interviews, technical interviews and online tests (guess what I was doing in this photo).

Meanwhile, I was asked to go to an interview in Makati for a local company who found me on a referral. There was also this other company in Mandaluyong who found me on a jobhunting website.

The company in Makati had already wanted to meet with me again after the technical interview. This time it was a meeting with their country manager. I didn't think of much about this since I've been with meetings with managers that were less than fruitful. But it was this time that I would be surprised. An actual offer was given, slightly exceeding my expectations (salary expectations, that is). I was tempted to take it right then and there. I didn't, so I just asked for extension and gave the other pending applications a chance. Especially, that one in Singapore in which I have (as always) emotionally invested heavily which had a chance no matter how slight.

But I did take the Makati offer and I had signed it. After which, I was to make two resignation letters. One, in my mind, for me, for everything that's happened to me so far. And another, to officially submit to the officers. March 30, I handed it in personally.

Immediately after I signed that contract, with which I was bound once I start working for them, I received and email from Singapore asking me if I'm still interested. I had to go through a couple more interviews with them. I appreciated the time they took in entertaining my application that I just had to see how that one would end. I thought I was already set on finding my morning commute routes to Makati, but it seems I was wrong.

It was already the last week of April, and I hadn't started on my clearance yet. I asked the company in Makati to have my starting date set back to one week after the date I agreed to. It turns out that they didn't have a project for me anymore but they were still hiring me. I just had to do more project-specific interviews which, by that time, I was already physically and mentally exhausted by doing them.

So finally, the Singapore company had decided to finally take me and sponsor me. They didn't have to ask me twice; although, I had to think about it for a few hours first. I informed the company in Makati that I was offered by another company and that I wouldn't be joining them anymore. That was basically how I ended my jobhunting.

The month of May was in preparation for the move to Singapore, tying up loose ends, making the most out of the summer, being a bum and planning for the future.

It's already the last week of May. Am I ready?

No, I'm not yet ready. But BRING IT ON!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Where the Treetops glisten...

So this'll be my home for a while (a month to be exact) until I find a more permanent (and a lot less impressive) place in Singapore. The complete address is:

Treetops Executive Residences
7 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 258355
Tel: +65 6887 0088
Fax: +65 6887 0066

It's right outside Orchard Road and around ten to fifteen minutes away from where I work (The Atrium@Orchard).

I'm supposed to start on June 5 but I'm arriving on Friday night, June 2, just to give myself time to adjust. It's Singapore Air, Business Class. Sweet!


If anyone wonders where I get my kakulitan, I had this conversation with my mom this morning.

Mom : Bahala ka
Me : Talagang bahala ako
Mom : Bahala ka
Me : Talagang bahala ako
Mom : Bahala ka
Me : Talagang bahala ako
Mom : Bahala ka
Me : Talagang bahala ako

(while walking away)
Mom : Bahala ka
Me : Talagang bahala ako

(off in the distance)
Mom : Bahala ka


This morning an expat surveyor from the moving company that was assigned for me was interviewing me on the personal belongings that I want shipped to Singapore. I'd just be shipping my other clothes, shoes, books and DVDs. Now those DVDs, as I mentioned, are the real sticky thing with this shipping thing. The safest DVDs I can bring are all seven seasons of The Simpsons (woohoo!), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Seasons 5-7 (woohoo!), The Dave Matthews Band: The Central Park Concert (woohoo!), and not much else (d'oh!). Posted by Picasa

I Can't Stand (XMen 3:) The Last Stand


That was an ugly one!

I'm sorry, did I spoil it for you?

Oh man, I'm still reeling from watching that one.

(collect thoughts, collect thoughts)

(Deep breath)

I cannot look at this movie without looking at it in the context of the XMen comic mythos (at least up until I stopped collecting comics). How great those stories were. The Days of Future Past, Inferno, Fatal Attractions, The Age of Apocalypse, X-Tinction Agenda, The Dark Phoenix Saga... Believe me, they murdered the entire thing with this movie. How they bastardized it.

But don't let that stop you from watching it. You can still see the cool WETA Digital effects (the same people responsible for one of the greatest trilogy movies of all time, The Lord of The Rings), the steamy scenes, and the crappy script. Oh wait, scratch that last one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Shift in the Space-Time Continuum

That's it. I've officially screwed up my sleeping habits in the past few days. It's 2:40 AM right now and I'm wide awake (or at least, I just can't sleep). I've been awake this late for a few days now. I'd wake up at around 9:00 or 10:00 just because it's usually too hot to stay in bed and the sunlight's blinding me. In the afternoons, if I'm at home, I'd take a nap until right before dinner time. Then I'd be awake all night watching David Letterman (at 9:00 PM), the news or The Daily Show (at 10:00 PM), The Tonight Show (at 11:00 PM), Late Night with Conan O'Brien (at 12MN), Blind Date (at 1:00AM) and The Fifth Wheel (at 1:30AM). What a way to screw up my metabolism.


Now, TV's LOST will be airing their season two finale this week in the U.S. As far as I can tell, they've built up a lot of things since the start. I just hope the finale won't be a let-down. The audience is getting a bit weary of the entire mystery, they can't keep them for long.


In fact the wait for the LOST "reveal" parallels the wait that I have to do in real life. I've prepared all that I can, and now I'm just waiting for answers to trickle-in. It's very close now, but all I hear is deafening silence.


3:08 AM. Still awake.


I've also been downloading a few songs from new artists I hear in the radio, TV or the iTunes Music Store. The new entries to my trusty iPod are: Daniel Powter (you know, the "Bad Day" falsetto song), James Blunt (the Steve Nash look-a-like, also more falsetto songs), Jamie Cullum (He's gonna have a concert in Singapore next month), Gavin DeGraw, Kurtis Blow (I like old-school rap and I heard this one in the show Everybody Hates Chris), Mos Def (yeah, the guy who played Ford Prefect in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie. He rapped some in The Dave Chappelle Show.) Nelly Furtado (she's got a new song "Promiscuous" featuring Timbaland. I don't really dig it), and The Wreckers (they also have a new song "Leave The Pieces", which I heard on Leno).

Know any more good music?


The time now is 3:25 AM


3:30 AM. Hey That's 70s Show is on. I guess this'll be all for now.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Offseason and Whacking Day

Earlier tonight, my mom asked me how has it been since my last day at the office. It has been more than two weeks. It's also the first time in five years that I didn't receive anything in my bank account on a pay day. So in effect, all my cash withdrawals and Visa Electron charges are actually making me poorer every time.

My "monthlies" include: amortization for the car (which I am leaving soon), DSL bill (which I am leaving soon), cellphone bill (which I am holding on to for a while), camera "bill" (payable to my magnanimous father at low, low rates) and other miscellaneous expenses.

A lot of my expenses in the past few weeks (days even) are for new clothes. A few of which are t-shirts, collared shirts, sandos, shorts, and pants. Next up, a few new black pants, and long-sleeved shirts. My office attire is actually smart casual. Ssss-weet(-ah)!.


[in David Letterman voice] Hey kids, do you watch Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition?

Being a bum, you know, I thought I'd be able to watch it a lot more. Well, turns out, I still have better things to do. But I managed to watch this small bit in which I figured out what was going on in about five minutes. It was about this one guy participant and...himself, and trying not to be "tempted".

Ok, I don't really need to sanitize this. Yeah, we all watched There's Something About Mary. But how could you go on knowing that millions of people are watching you trying not to choke the chicken. Anyway, the show gave the guys a basketball for them to amuse themselves with. For a while, that is. How could the producers not expect this to happen? Or maybe they did. Anyway, it made for an amusing sequence including that part when they (questionably) were hinting what's going on with the girls, and the part where they were looking for corners of the rooms out of cameras' fields of vision. Heh, kids these days.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lapit Mga Kaibigan At Ma-kinig Kayo...

I just sent a formal acceptance letter to my future employer in Singapore. It's been a looooong tiiime coming. And now it's here.

Well, not yet, really. I still have to fix some papers, do yet another medical test (third time's a charm), and play the waiting game again. This time, it's for the approval of my employment pass.

In the next few days, some people will contact me regarding the shipment of my personal effects to the city-state. I am a bit reluctant to bring over all of my DVDs (all original, of course) as Singapore's Media Development Authority is quite sensitive about the material it may contain. So I better clear that up with the people responsible for shipping. I'd hate to leave seven seasons of The Simpsons on DVD just sitting here at home. Band of Brothers, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine seasons 5-7, Three Colors Trilogy, Monty Python films, Requiem for a Dream, Airplane, Top Secret!, The Big Lebowski... Sigh. Some books and music CDs may also be questionable, but I don't know the exact policies regarding that. Anyway, I'd be shipping mostly clothes, shoes, and accessories. They're probably expecting some people to ship over some furniture and appliances, but not me. Hmm, maybe I should have some pillows and blankets shipped, or even one of those infomercial air matresses, in case of emergencies (or for visiting friends and relatives).


The biggest problem of course, is that with twenty-six years of pampered living with parents, I don't know the first thing about living alone, much less living in another country (not to mention, a country I've never been to before). There's budgeting, looking for your own food, doing the dishes, doing your laundry (and ironing), paying rent and utilities, keeping the house clean AND most importantly, coping with the fact the you need to concern yourself with such things. But it's all a learning experience.

Boy, The Sims barely covers half of those I mentioned. The real thing is probably less hillarious too.


Any help of course is very much appreciated (except from my mom who insists on going with me while I adjust. No way.) As it stands, I still have until the end of May to prepare for my new life. I'm flying out in June if all goes well. I'm nervous and excited.


I'm sure to fly back in July for Noel's wedding. I asked for a week off before July 8, and I think they took it quite well ("No problem" was the response. No, I didn't hear them add "and don't bother coming back".) I also plan to fly back every now and then, if time and money permit. The worst case is that I spend at most, just a weekend for each of my trips back home or wherever. I hope it doesn't turn out that bad.


Wow, June already. Just in time for The Great Singapore Sale! Woohoo!

Monday, May 15, 2006

More Rain!

Hey, rainy season is here! Typhoon Caloy passed over the metro with strong howling winds countering the heat that built up over the past few days. It was nice and cool all weekend long, my kind of weather.

The start of the rainy season also reminds us that it's almost back-to-school time, and that parents will begin to raid Divisoria and National Bookstores for school supplies. So, you better watch out if you're headed that-a-ways.


Being a bum allows me to watch NBA games almost everyday. The NBA Playoffs are coming along fine. Although I wanted the Lakers to advance to the second round, I really knew that that was expecting too much. Anyway, I'm still rooting for two teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the L.A. Clippers. Chances are that they won't go all the way, but the games are fun to watch, nonetheless.


Soooo, it's almost June. I remember making a promise to redesign this blog. I'm gonna go startup the graphics editing program and see what I can come up with. Hopefully, this blog would look different by the end of June.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Week of the Wait

I thought I'd blog a lot more often this week, with so much time in my hands. Mostly, I've been lazing around the house, going out sometimes, doing some errands, and whatever goes into mind.

So anyway, the questions regarding my career hasn't all been answered. But at this point, probably only extreme circumstances or acts of God will probably lead me to being totally unemployed and having nowhere to go. Those who haven't heard what I've been telling almost everyone will have to wait a bit more until I am one-hundred percent sure of the plans for me.

I generally spent most of the week waiting for the answers that I want. I'm the ultimate "anything's possible" guy. It's a "Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst" kind of thing.

Nonetheless, I am getting the break that I've always wanted since starting on professional work.


Ok, so I've already given "the last day speech" in the office. What else is there to say?

On a personal note, I'd like to say that I could have gone on for years and years more than the almost-five years. I could have worked the eight-to-five, sitting in front of the office, barely half an hour's drive from home, with people and work that I was already familar with. I was at the point where I was gaining more friends, going out a lot more, and basically having the greatest time of my social life in a long time. And then it was one month after I handed out the letter.

In retrospect, I guess I was going out with a bang. Did you guys see American Beauty? "1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule!". I was on cruise control over the past few years, and now I just switched to manual.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fun-tana! May 6 -7 , 2006

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
I've been out of town for the third straight weekend. This time it's a teambuilding trip in Fontana, Clark Field, Pampanga. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm currently unemployed but please don't make me explain it.

It was lots of fun spending time with old and new friends. So go check out what went on, especially in the water park.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

And so...

Almost a week since my last day at the office and I still haven't written anything about it. Maybe it still hasn't set in yet. But probably the most important reason is that there are still big questions about my career, where it stands and where it's going. Meanwhile, I'm distracting myself with going out a lot, running errands, exercising, bumming around, watching TV, and generally living a non-stressed life. I've spent some time downloading songs, trailers and music videos (including the hillarious Fatboy Slim's "Ya Mama" video ), and adding them to my iPod. I've yet to clean my room and organize my junk (if it's actually possible for it to be organized). Come to think of it, I've yet to organize my life at this point (if it's actually possible for it to be organized).

Solve this for me

I received this over text a few weeks back. Help me solve it:
I'm 11 letters long, my 1234 is an insect, 345 is food. My 5678 is a heavenly body. If you combine 1358, you'll get my 78910. My 91011 is your bestfriend. What am I?
I couldn't solve it. It's driving me nuts.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pundaquit, Zambales, April 30 - May 1, 2006

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Don't ask me how I got this picture on this post, but it's certainly a lot better then the other underwater pictures I've taken in this trip.

This is in Pundaquit, Zambales, where the sand is dark, and the water a lot saltier than usual (we guess, it's because of its proximity to Mt. Pinatubo). It's just an hour or so north of Subic.

You know the drill, go check out the flickr pics.


Subic, April 22-23, 2006

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Weekends are packed starting with this one in Subic with old college buddies. We arrived at around lunchtime and ate at Meat Plus (Mmm...steak). We spent Saturday afternoon at Camayan Beach and had dinner there too. Did you know that after 5PM, the entrance fee of P200.00 is consumable at their restaurant?

After a night of drinking, it's back to the beach, at All Hands Beach. Go check out the flickr pictures.