Flashback Friday No. 2
International Science Youth Forum, Singapore. January 2009. This week long trip was full of firsts for me. This was my first time ever to travel without my parents and this is officially my first trip abroad – that I can proudly say I can remember! (Note: The only other time I traveled before this was when I was around 4 years old and I can never remember any of it.) It was also the first time I’ve made friends with people from other countries: Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Also my first time to be part of an international conference and I guess it was also my first time representing the country (my travel tax was exempted as signed by the government)!
The experience was beyond awesome. For a girl who has always dreamed of seeing places beyond her country, this was a very very big deal. I would love to talk about the places I’ve been to but first time traveller me did not take note of the places and running around Singapore on a tight schedule did not help my memory at all. All I can say is that a) I stayed in one of the dorms of Hwa Chong Institution (the host of the conference), I could not get over the size of this school and I guess I’m still in awe when I remember how nice this campus is b) I ran around the city with my team and I remember this fountain in the middle of a mall c) the amazing race finale was in Sentosa but we were late so we only got to hang around in the beach and watch the Songs of the Sea with me being amazed at every passing minute of the show d) we were taken to the Night Safari where I tried Ben and Jerry’s for the first time e) a visit to the National University of Singapore was also part of our itinerary and I was amazed again by the size, the labs and the museum inside the place f) visit to Chinatown and Clarke Quay in the same night of course for some relaxed shopping and street food tasting and g) seeing the big durian of One Esplanade, the Merlion, Orchard Road with my teacher Ms. Boni and my two co-delegates turned friends Norman and Emman (-lah).
Aside from seeing all these beautiful places, I, along with the rest of the delegates, listened to the researches of three Nobel Laureates. I was also assigned to a team to do a report on a book entitled Uncle Tungsten and I presented my “senior year” research (which is like a robotic hand using polymers) to Singaporean high school students. It was an amazing experience, it opened up my eyes not just to other cultures but also to Filipino talent! We got it guys, we just need a little more of those sophisticated machines and I think we’re good (unsolicited opinion, haha).
Just a footnote: I remember being freshly heartbroken before I found out I was flying to Singapore. I was hoping to get into this conference in India and I worked hard to get into it but in the end, I wasn’t chosen. I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to see the Taj Mahal and all other beautiful things in India. But I believed (and still do) that there’s a reason for everything and true enough, Singapore surprisingly came my way. Had I been chosen for India, I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit Singapore and meet such unforgettable people. I do believe that this was the better option for me, it was a good first step to exploring outside the Philippines and I am immensely thankful for the chance. In the end you have to believe it all ties up in the end. #tiwala
This trip will forever be in my heart. For such a short time I was able to see, do and meet so many people. Minus the semi-strict itinerary and the facilitators, the trip confirmed all my beliefs about what travelling can do for one person. It will change you and it will inspire you and it will expand your world beyond your imagination.
It gets better.