(The love of) Miss Saigon

I couldn’t help but post something about Miss Saigon right now. I’m totally fangirling over Lea Salonga at the moment (with her ongoing concerts with Il Divo singing “A Whole New World”, the Miss Saigon anniversary, and her other stuff resurfacing on social media right now), but that’s an entirely different story. For now I’ll tell you why Miss Saigon is close to my heart.

MissSaigonPosterI was very fortunate to have watched Miss Saigon when it had its run here in Manila way back in 2000. I was in 4th year high school then, and there were discounted tickets available to us at school through the school foundation for a specific screening date, so I grabbed the chance. It was the first ever international musical theatre production I have ever watched. It was also a wonderful chance, because it was Lea Salonga who was playing the lead character Kim when we watched. I also remember Isay Alvarez as Gigi and Leo Valdez as the Engineer.

I know I loved every bit of it. And when the ending came, I was shocked. I said, “bakit walang nagsabi sakin na ganito kalungkot ang ending nito?” (“why didn’t anyone tell me this had tragic ending?”). I never researched the story before I watched it. I was caught off-guard with the tragic ending, and I cried my eyes out. I was 16, and I could never forget that.

I have always been a frustrated performing artist since my early childhood. Miss Saigon fueled this desire a little more. It made me want to be in musical theatre. Specifically, my ultimate dream role was to be Gigi of Miss Saigon (not Kim, mind you). The singing, the dancing, the acting… all of those are things I would’ve love to do out of sheer passion. Unfortunately, my life was not meant for that direction, and instead I took up and finished my engineering degree and worked in the corporate world. I would still dance every now and then, sing in the shower or at home when no one’s around, or sing karaoke when there’s a chance. But I’ve never been anywhere close to performing in the musical theatre…

I also grab chances when there are good productions to watch. I was able to watch Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Lion King in Singapore. I also watched Mamma Mia here in Manila. I saw the local production of Avenue Q. Every time I watch beautiful productions like these, I have a great appreciation for them. On top of that, my desire to perform in similar productions is ignited a little bit, but I just contain it because the situation never gave me an opportunity to be a musical theatre performer.

I wonder if that opportunity will ever come…

Also, I totally want to watch Miss Saigon again. If I could just buy a ticket to London anytime soon… :p


Anyway, here’s a link to the wonderful Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Gala Finale:

Enjoy!

The Next Great Train Ride

In keeping up with my old post comparing career paths to a series of train rides, I shall write again about my next big career “adventure” in the same line…

I’m jumping onto a different train again. A grander one. Possibly the one that I have been waiting to catch for quite some time.

Soafter I’ve made myself comfortable in my most recent train for an entire year, it’s time to get off and move to the next one again. Despite the meager comforts of the recent train, it has challenged and improved me both professionally and personally. I have worked well and learned much in such short time that I spent there. I have met new people, have become well acquainted with a number of them. I have also encountered some “difficult” individuals that I never knew even existed, and was able to properly deal with them.

This time, the transition from one train to the next was quite unexpected but wholeheartedly welcomed, somehow abrupt and immediate. I did not need to wait for the next train, nor did it wait for me. I had to jump on it as soon as I can, my feet barely touching the platform.

I don’t know what to expect at this point. There’s mixture of both excitement and nervousness for all of the unknown. I’ll start discovering what this new opportunity has in store for me soon. I’ve heard this one moves at quite a fast pace, and I have to adapt quickly and be at my best to stay balanced and keep up with the pace. But I’m quite optimistic that this will take me places and possibly take me faster and farther than I can imagine. A move from a rickety steam train to a bullet train perhaps?

Wish me luck.

Steer Direction

Hello 2014. We finally meet. And just like the past years of my life, there shall be no new year’s resolution this time. Perhaps that was the only new year’s resolution I have ever fulfilled so far is the one to not make any more new year’s resolutions. Also, I believe that one does not have to wait for new year to make a resolution to change for the better. Each month, each week, each, day, and even each hour is an opportunity to effect a change.

Nonetheless, perhaps the new year is a good time to effect a theme. And for 2014, my life’s theme is to “Steer Direction”. All decisions and actions shall be deliberate moves toward identified specific goals and targets in my life. It’s not just about achieving something. It’s about reaching that one or few things that I have decided are the most important at this point in my life. Maybe one will say that this is how we should manage our entire lives. But this year is the time this theme resounds so much louder – a certain level of maturity has been reached, as well as a certainty of one wants to do with one’s life.

365 Days to get going.

Taxed, but not complaining

Hello payslip, we meet again. Once again I see my gross and net salary for this pay period, together with the corresponding taxes and deductions. I don’t think I have the right to complain about my taxes though. After all, it was the government who funded my education for 10 years, through high school and college.

Indeed, I was blessed and privileged to be a government scholar in the premier high school and premier university of the country. I had the opportunity to take one of the best educational tracks possible locally, and I do not think the financial value of that would every be equivalent to the actual benefit and learning I had in all those 10 years.

Now, I’m paying back with my taxes. I’ve been working for more than six years, but I don’t know how much longer before my taxes offset the value of my education. I dare not compute. But beyond my income tax, I believe that I have already contributed my time and talent for the betterment of the country when I decided to work on The Mind Museum project a few years ago. It probably should not end there though. I wonder how else I can give back.

I am back working in the corporate world again. I may not be one for paying back with charity and generosity because I’m more of a brain and talent person. I have some specific ideas on how I can contribute to the society eventually, but I’ll stay mum and brew on it in the meantime. While that’s in the pipeline, I’ll be paying my taxes eagerly and imagining another generation of scholars being funded to benefit the future.

No regrets

I have this one friend who I met as one of our exhibit designers for The Mind Museum. When I met her, she was still a student of UP Fine Arts, or perhaps just recently graduated then. Of course, a lot has happened since then, and she became a friend. She also now works as a professional makeup artist.

There was this one time I was out with her and friends, and I could never forget a thought she told us. She realized while working on designing exhibits that she hated doing technical drawings. She didn’t enjoy doing the CAD and 3D drawings needed in the process. She says she didn’t regret working on those exhibit designs, because it made her realise the things she did not like or enjoy doing. Because of that realization, she was drawn to what she’s doing now – makeup. She didn’t need to do all those orthographic, CAD and 3D drawings to be able to do her craft now, but she’s still creating beautiful masterpieces on her clients’ faces.

Her thoughts stuck with me much more than she may realise. It’s a wonderful way of looking at things, of dealing with mistakes, wrong choices, or undesirable situations in our lives. It’s an ingenious, “no regrets” way of thinking.

We make mistakes, make wrong choices along the way. Sometimes the “right choices” do not work out. But instead of feeling hopeless and negative about it, we can just take them as life lessons. Failed relationships teach us how we are in relationship, and a little bit more on the types of people who match or do not match us. We learn about the things that we’re supposed to do more of and what we should avoid. Wrong career decisions point us back to what we really want to do, and we will hopefully know how to make better choices the next time.

Perhaps the important part of everything is knowing how to recognize the lessons that each “challenging situation” pose, and keeping these lessons to heart. This ensures that we move forwards and onwards, make better choices along the way, and not make the same mistakes again.

The lessons of 2012

The year 2012 is another landmark in my 28-year life, because of achievements and travels, but most of all as a significant transition stage in my life. So many great life lessons were learned, and not the easy way.

I finished one of the most challenging goals of my recent life – to finish and open The Mind Museum to the public. But somehow, I had to move away and move on, because I am still meant for something else, possibly something grander than the world I moved in while still with The Mind Museum. My career was to take a big leap forward, towards where I ought to be.

However, I had to go through a rollercoaster, just to find the guts to keep on moving. At first I resisted the change. I was personally committed to the project until we finished. Everything after that was already a bonus. Then, something really made me decide to leave. Whatever that something was, it turned out to be one of the biggest blessings in disguise for me.

I had about four months of “soul searching” after my resignation. Those four months involved a lot of staying at home, freelance work, travel, and job-hunting. The most challenging was the job-hunting, because there was so much possibilities, and I had to narrow down the choices and “sell” myself properly. At the end of it, I found what I wanted, and a company who seemed to want me for who I was and what I am capable of. Big career leap, I may say. We’ll see how it works this new year.

I got to travel around in 2012 too. Twice to Boracay for vacation, to Bacolod for a wedding, to Singapore for a conference, to Malaysia for a personal adventure, and to Australia for a vacation with the family. The Malaysia and Australia trips were after I resigned, and in a way it was good because I got to spend three weeks in Australia and go around a bit. We mainly visited my brother in Sydney, met up with a lot of extended relatives, and went sight-seeing. We also got to experience Canberra, Gold Coast, and visit other relatives in Melbourne.

That’s a gist of what happened in 2012. Some important realizations and lessons:

  • I am lucky to have a wonderful family who I can always rely on, and I am quite sure they will always have my back no matter what. And I also now fully appreciate when they say “mother knows best”.
  • Introspection is very important. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks about you. You can never please everyone. Just focus on the things that are important to you, and just be the best version of yourself. I am who I am. I cannot be someone else. There are parts of me that I cannot change, and I would like to be accepted the way that I am, fluff and stuff.
  • We should be careful who we trust, even with the “good friends”. Be careful how much you share with them. I’ve been burned twice before, by two people who I thought will have my back no matter what. Seems like they were the ones who judged me the most, perhaps because they knew too much. They thought they knew who and what I really was, but they were already blinded by their prejudice and their own biases.
  • Boys will be boys. I can never understand how some of them are so willing to cheat on their wives or girlfriends, but I have no plans of getting involved in such. I can’t stand to be someone’s number two or someone’s mistress, and I do not want to be the cause of hurt to spouses, partners, and children.
  • I’ve completely closed and abandoned my “hope” for my first love. Finally, first love “dies”, after 15 long years. I now understand why it was never meant to be. It never was, never is, and never will be. The book is closed.
  • I’m bankrupt. I’m almost done paying-off my liabilities though. I’m now learning a better way of managing my finances, saving on basic expenses, and eventually putting something away for the rainy days. The credit card is taking the backseat from now on.
  • I’ve found myself into Twitter. It is indeed one useful tool of communication.
  • Home is where the heart is. It is not a single place, but rather, wherever love (and family) resides.
  • Simplicity and calmness. Two wonderful things I’ve learned from yoga and meditation.
  • I know now where I want to be, and what I want to be. I’m going after that now.

Maybe the greatest lesson of the year is learning to let go. Let go of things that you don’t need anymore. Let go of things that do not work anymore. Let go of the negative emotions. Let go of expectations. When you learn how to let go of the right things, you’ll learn to travel lighter, with less baggage. Then, you’ll have more space for new things, and possibly for the best things that have yet to come.

I have all the space now for everything that 2013 will give me. I’m ready.

Life, the train ride

Living life is like traveling on train. You take a train to get you from where you are to where you want to be. You wait at the right station, on the right platform, for the right train to come around.

But it’s not as simple as just riding a train from end to end. You need to know when it’s time to get off. If you do too early or too late, you’ll end up in the wrong station and may not be able to immediately transfer to the next train that will take you closer to your destination. Sometimes, if you stay on a train for far too long, it will take you back to where you started.

I may have stayed on in my last train a bit too long. Maybe I got too comfortable and too used to it, that I failed to get off at the right stop. Now I’m waiting at a station wondering which train to ride to get me back on the right track. It may take some time, and maybe some additional train rides, but I know I’ll be able to figure it out soon.

Also, notice those people in the train with you? Most of them did not come from where you came from, and are not heading to the same destination as you. Don’t compare your travel to them, don’t make any of them a benchmark. Strike a conversation with them if you wish, but do not let yourself get attached too much. Don’t you ever let them make you forget where you intend to go.

Nonetheless, no matter how far you plan to travel, or how many trains you need to ride, just remember to enjoy the ride.


After years of listening to songs and watching movies about trains and train rides, I finally experienced and realized the real train system in Sydney and Melbourne. It’s not as simple as the usual metro rail or light rail systems I’ve seen so far. Perhaps it would be more interesting to see and explore the train systems in Europe. 🙂