17th Birthday

So today, 24 February 2017, I finally turned 17. It was pretty much an uneventful day. I had work from 11am-6pm and spent most of my day trying shoes on kids. When I ended work, I got a call from my family back in the Philippines, and I’ve never missed them so much. I wish they were here to celebrate my special day with me. When I got home, I was greeted by my parents and younger brother with cake and food. It wasn’t extravagant, but the simplicity was enough to move me. I also got a Polaroid camera from my parents, and I couldn’t be happier! I remember when I was younger, I begged them for one. To receive one now was amazing— they remembered! 

The Polaroid camera I got as a present, Raspberry coloured.

I was so excited to use it that I brought it out for a whirl. I ended up using 7 of the 10 films that I had, but it was all worth it. 

Polaroid photos with my friends, though I didn’t get to take with all of them.

Polaroid photos with my family.

All in all, even thought there was no big celebration, I’m glad I still got to spend today with the presence of the ones that I love. Love you guys! 


JB Adventures

My mother’s birthday was on 16 February 2017, and we headed to Johor Bahru, Malaysia for an overnight stay to celebrate on the 17th to the 18th of February. This was such a great way to spend time as a family again— away from work, school, and all the responsibilities. 

We set out on our trip to Malaysia at noon on the 17th of February. Passing the immigration at Woodlands Checkpoint on a regular working day was so much easier compared to the weekends when most people would be on their way to Malaysia as well. When we got to Johor Bahru, Malaysia, we went to the mall across the street for lunch. 

Lunch at Tony Roma’s, City Square Mall, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The serving sizes at the restaurant completely caught me offguard— they were enormous! My pasta came in a plate that was bigger than my face! Despite the huge serving sizes, I did enjoy every morsel of the food we ate, simply because it was wonderful. 

After lunch, we then got into a cab and headed out to where we were going to stay for the night— Austin Height’s Hotel & Golf Resort. 

Highway in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on the way to the Resort.

Entrance to the Resort, Tamam Gembira, Johore, Malaysia.

We arrived in about 30 minutes, which was surprisingly quick. We then proceeded to check in to our room, so that we could head to the water park afterwards. 

The huge family suite we were staying in at the Resort. 

The Hotel Resort itself was amazing. Its architecture looked something that resembled a house where a Sultan would stay in, but with a modern twist. 

Stairs leading up to the lifts (on the left) to the rooms.

The hallway outside the suites of the Hotel Resort.

The view from the room’s window, overlooking the golf course.

The hallway leading towards the lifts to the rooms above. 

The view from the hallway to the exit of the Hotel Resort.

After we have settled into our rooms, we got ourselves ready to go to the water park nearby to enjoy quality time together. The water park was mostly empty except for maybe 2-3 other families there so we managed to get the full experience from all of the water slides.

Entrance to the Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park.

I wanted to have a go at both the indoor and outdoor Adventure Park too, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do so as the place closes at 6pm.

Wristbands given at the entrance for admission to the Water Park.

One of the water slides in the Water Park.

The staircase leading up to multiple water slides.

A whole row of water slides separated from the main slides of the Water Park.

Well, more water slides!

And more water slides!

And even more water slides!

The children’s section of the Water Park, with typical structures and functions you usually see.

What was so great about the water slides was that all of them will lead you back to the Lazy River, so wherever you had the end splash, you’d still end up in the Lazy River.

An empty Lazy River at the end of one of the water slides.

The outdoor adventure part of the Adventure Park with all the High Elements. 

Pretty soon, the park was closing and it was time to head back to the Hotel Resort for some rest time. 

In the evening, we went to explore some of the facilities of the Hotel Resort. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap photos of it but you can take my word that it was amazing. There was a bowling alley on the very last floor of the Hotel Resort, but all of the lanes were used up by one big family. So we then headed to the Lobby, and from there we found the Lounge area which consists of: an indoor Theatre (that was showing a Captain America movie!), a Games Room, a Children’s Room, a Billards Section, an Internet Room, multiple KTV Rooms (for your late-night singing sessions), and even a Gym! We played billards to pass the time through the evening, and I even got to watch a movie! It was the perfect way to end the day, and it couldn’t have been better. 

Morning came, and we then headed down for breakfast. Again, I was unable to take photos because frankly I was too focused on getting myself plates of food from the complimentary Breakfast Buffet. There baked beans, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, porrige, hashbrowns, crossaints, and even Nasi Lemak! It was definitely one of the few breakfasts I had that made me feel like royalty. 

After breakfast, I decided to go check out the Jacuzzi and Steambath rooms. I didn’t actually go and soaked into the Jacuzzi (even though I really wanted to), because I always fall sick afterwards and I couldn’t afford to be sick because of work. 

Fancy glittery sink inside the changing rooms.

The Jacuzzi bath, before the water was heated up.

I also found a small walkway which frankly I just found really pretty so I took some snaps of it.

Pretty walkway from the front.

Pretty walkway from the back.

After checking out the Jacuzzi, I headed outside to check out the pool. 

The swimming pool right outside the main entrace of the Hotel Resort.

I would’ve definitely went for a quick swim, but due to time constraints all I could do was admire the huge pool.

Soon, time came and it was our cue to head back. We did pop by again at the mall for lunch at Seoul Garden, and I bought myself a cute bear from Famous Amos as a graduation gift for myself— just 5 months overdue.

Graduation teddy bear I got from Famous Amos in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

All in all, I had a great time, even if it was only for an overnight stay. I’d definitely come back and maybe even bring my friends along the next time I come here. Till the next adventure! 

Educational Success

As most of you probably know, the past 1.5 months or so has been exceptionally rough. From getting two failing grades in my GCE O’level examinations, getting my EAE Application revoked, to getting rejected by all of my 12 choice courses in the JAE Application. It was one demoralising event after another. The worst part of it all was the wait in between each soul-crushing news; it gave enough way for hope to start building up, which was crushed over and over again. Admittedly, I felt that I was at my lowest point, that I’ve been left with no hope, in pitch darkness with no light to guide me out. I had no one to blame but myself, yet I couldn’t bring myself to face the severe consequences laid out in front of me.

I had a chance to appeal in the JAE Appeal, and needless to say I took that chance. However, I could only appeal to 8 courses from 2 different Polytechnics, and I knew nothing about any of those 8 courses. I went ahead and appealed, but to say I was confident about a successful appeal would be a lie. By then, I had mostly given up on myself to be successful in anything and doubted that I’d get a successful appeal. 

Low and behold! My appeal was approved! I was shaking with happiness because I was finally given a chance to redeem myself, and to prove to others that it’s gonna take more than failing grades and multiple rejections to take me down. I felt myself swell with joy, and the liveliest in weeks! It was honestly a feeling that cannot be described with merely words. I shed a few tears of joy (mainly because I was at work), and once again felt ready to take on the world. 

I am now a student of Republic Polytechnic, studying for a Diploma in Media Production & Design in the School of Technology for the Arts. I do have plans to switch courses for a Diploma in Mass Communication after Year 1, but if I end up enjoying this current course, I’ll stick with it for the full 3 years and maybe even go as far as to pursue a professional career similar to this. 

This is a new beginning, and I hope I’ll be able to make full use of this opportunity to continue my education. When you think it’s the end, it never really is. Life may throw bad event after bad event at you, but I promise you that things will always get better. It’s okay to feel sad and demoralised for a period of time, that’s absolutely normal, but always remember that there is always light in that pit of darkness. To more happy events in 2017 and beyond! 

Educational Struggles II

I am tired. I feel the lowest of lows. I am both empty and full of sadness, disappointments and frustration. Where did I go wrong? What did I do to deserve this?

If you haven’t read Part I, I suggest you would to better understand this post. Posting Results were released today. I hoped for the best but got back nothing in return. I wasn’t posted to any Polytechnic courses. I am, however, able to appeal, but to a mere 8 courses in 2 Polytechnics. I can only choose 3 courses as a final attempt to appeal to enter a course. As of this moment, I’m waiting for my appeal to be settled, but if things go south once more, my other choice of path is to enter a private school (e.g. Kaplan) as another way to get a diploma. If that too inexplicably fails, I don’t have much of a choice but to return to my homeland to pursue my education there.

So much undesirable events has occured in 2017. I want to stay positive but at this point I feel no hope is left for me. 

Be positive!

It’s not the end!

Things will get better!

I appreciate your kind words of encouragement, but it’s so easy for you to say that. Try walking a day in my shoes, try living this life and see if positivity is as attainable as you say. It pains me. It’s as if I’m not allowed to be sad because I have to be happy for my friends. 

I can’t believe I got into some stupid, useless course,

they complained as I admire how lucky they are to even be given a shot to continue their tertiary education. They say they’d rather drop out, while I’m here willing to take any course just so I can continue studying. I’m full of jealousy, shock and disbelief. 

What am I to do?

I’m stuck, and have been stuck, in a waiting game of Life itself.

I wish I could talk to more people on a personal level on how I’m coping, but it’s not like my friends cared enough to even reply to messages. What a way to add salt to my already-gushing wound. 

I feel so alone. 

I want to be able to rely on my friends to be there when I’m down in the dumps, but all I get is swept under the rugs as everyone continues on with the conversation on a different topic, overlapping with shallow small talk about themselves. I want to let out my sadness, but no one wants that kind of negativity around. All I can do is bubble it up.

It’s not that bad.

Yeah, easy for you to say. Nothing remotely devastating has happened to you that could well affect a significant part of your life.