I’m an urban chic – born and raised in one of the most populated cities in the world, Manila. I didn’t grow up in a place where people are too polite or kind. I grew up in a place where people are competitive, extra, insanely talented, and ambitious. It’s hard. It’s hard when you knew you are not one of the best locals.
But it doesn’t stop me from believing in myself so instead to compete against local talents in Manila I created my path and I moved to Singapore.
Singapore is not a big country but damn the local business is competitive. It’s neck to neck. I can hardly breathe. Singapore is a country that is continually undergoing the process of change. If you are not innovative or updated of the changes, you will be left behind.
Recently I realized I’ve been living in Singapore for almost 17 years. And I feel nothing special about it but I feel disconnected from home. Sometimes I feel lost because when I visit Manila, many locals do not recognize me as ‘Filipino’. My accent, attitude and character have changed. But when I meet Singaporeans, they don’t recognize me as local raised.
I’ve lost my identity and it doesn’t feel good.
I’ve thought to take a break. I need unfiltered honesty about my situation if I will remain Filipino citizen, Singapore citizen or should I move to the States to reconnect with family.
I decided to travel to Semarang, Indonesia not for leisure but for business. However, I took advantage of the situation to enjoy every moment.
I had a humble trip and it was amazing. Let me share with you…
Indonesian food is one of the best Asian cuisines. A simple ayam goreng (fried chicken) can taste like a 5-star hotel cuisine because it is marinated with a lot of herbs, spices and special way of cooking it. I definitely enjoy the local food in Indonesia.
I like the sour and sweet taste of this fried tilapia.
One of my favourite places in Semarang is Hanamasa, the Japanese buffet restaurant.
After couple of nights in Semarang, the group and I travelled to province. On the way, I saw this family.
Every 3-4 hours, we stopped for a casual makan. This meal is $1.00.
We stayed at a 3-stars hotel. For S$140, I was able to book 3 rooms.
The hotel looks not bad. It’s spacious and comfy.
The view is not fancy but it says alot about the culture. I like it.
On the way back to Semarang, I manage to have street photography from the car.
The group and I had a casual lunch here. It was chill.
Nature lovers can easily spend the entire day travelling in Semarang and the nearest provinces. The mountains are beautiful, the streets are full of culture, people are kind and humble, and it’s pretty much safe to travel around (if you have local tourist guide). If you didn’t pack any appropriate attire, no problem. You can buy dress at the local shops from S$2-S$8.
What’s my favourite moments during this trip?
- I like street photography. I’ve doing photography since 2010 but after I sold my gears, I stuck with my Olympus Pen and I rely on VSCO editing. It makes me feel passionate again.
- I like the nature views and the peaceful living. When I get old, I hope I won’t live in a city again. I hope to live in a rural with loved ones.
- I love the local Indonesian food. My only fear is to have stomachache and to gain weight. ha ha!
- I had fun knowing Cliff (our project manager). He is kind to accommodate us.
- I had a pleasure meeting Ping and Surigi. They have fun and amazing stories growing up in Singapore. Somehow I can relate to their stories.
- I had fun doing video shoot with Kiki in the car. The bonding vibe was chill. It makes me miss my sisters.
When I got home in Singapore, I feel grounded and I remind myself that I am not better than anyone else and thus, I need to improve my work, I need to hustle harder, and I need to stay humble. I need to remind myself not to be perfectionist because there is no perfect time to launch a business – just put your stuff out there. The quickest way to success is to take feedback from customers and relevant advisers in your company and improve from there.
Thank you, Josh for this wonderful journey. My heart is full of love and inspiration to do better. I just hope I can keep it up. 😉
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