I am the kind of friend who rarely talks online with my friends who are on the other side of this world. Not because I don’t want to talk with them, it’s just that I’d rather to talk with them at least over the phone or better yet, in person. I wasn’t like this before. But I got tired talking about nothing online. Because most of my friends who are away talk about things that I couldn’t relate, they wouldn’t also know what I was talking about or we didn’t have enough time for each other because of the timezone we are at. Or the conversation would actually end after you say, “I’m fine. I miss you.” It kinda beat the purpose of talking with each other.
But when they go home or when I go to the place where they are at, we would see each other and feel like it was just last weekend we were together. And then we would start talking, catch up with what’s new and remember the crazy stuff we did together.
When I booked my tickets for Singapore, I couldn’t think of a friend to meet there. So I decided to only stay there for a week and meet some locals instead and make new friends. Two days before I was leaving, I remembered my very close friend is actually based in Singapore. I sent him a message, telling him about my trip. Right there and then, he promised that we would save each evening for me. We got so excited that I had to re-arrange my original itinerary and squeeze him in.
Evening 1: After dinner and orientation with my fellow volunteers, I had the rest of the evening to discover Singapore. Archie excitedly waited for me at our hotel lobby and just like that, we felt like we never got separated, that it was only last Saturday we went to the beach with the rest of the gang. I had my first MRT in Singapore with him and he gave me his EZ Link card for me to use while I was in Singapore.
We haven’t seen each other for almost 4 years. I was living in Manila when he got married in Cebu last 2010 and then he moved to Singapore the year after. I have been his adviser and confidant, he is older than I am but he treats me like a big brother (Yes, a big brother). We have the same passion when it comes to helping the local music scene when we were both in Cebu. We love to be different. Because we are!
Funny, because we wore the same thing. He was wearing sleeveless black and gray stripes shirt and I was wearing sleeveless red and white stripes shirt. While we were on the train, a group of middle aged Filipina mothers waved at us and said, “Filipino din kami!” (We are Filipinos, too!) So, we talked with them until they arrived to their stop. One of them asked, “Artist ba kayo?” (Are you an artist?)
I readily answered, “Oo, vocalist siya ng banda niya sa Cebu!” (Yes, he was a vocalist of his band in Cebu!) Archie then simultaneously, “Siya naman ang manager ko. Siya nag-oorganize ng mga gigs namin doon sa Cebu.” (She is my manager. She was the one organizing gigs for us before in Cebu)
The ladies responded, “Kaya naman pala. Makikita mo kasi sa mga porma ninyo eh.” (That figures why. It shows with the way you dress up.)
After we got off the train, Archie and I were laughing and started talking about our good old days in Cebu together — the gigs, spontaneous beach getaways after the gigs, road trip and the friends we were hanging out with.
So, we walked around the streets of Singapore while catching up with each other’s life for like 3 hours maybe — from the Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, along Raffles Ave, Esplanade Dr., passing by Clark Quay and Fort Canning, down to Stamford Rd, Bras Basah Rd to Victoria St and finally took my first bus ride in Singapore going back to my hotel since he had to take the last bus trip and go home before past midnight.
Day 2: We agreed to see each other after my fund-raising dinner with my fellow volunteers organized by the Nanyang Technological University at the Indochine Restaurant. Unfortunately, I had a little accident. So, I couldn’t leave the place right away and as I checked the time, I was thinking Archie could have already gone home. He wasn’t able to get online to read my message that I couldn’t make it. And yes, he had to wait for me at the MRT station for an hour!
Day 3: I told him I am gonna make it up to him, however there are things that I couldn’t control or I wasn’t prepared. I am not usually a late-comer when I meet my friends. Since I was in a new country and I didn’t know that it would take me time to get from one place to another, I had to cancel on Archie again. I felt so bad because he had to wait for an hour again and he wasn’t even mad. He was so patient and understood my situation and said, “No need to say sorry. Remember, we are real friends. And with real friends, we do not say sorry. We understand each other.”
Day 4: There are no more excuses. I should see him before I leave Singapore. As planned, we went to Johor Bahru to have lunch and buy cigarettes because I ran out of them and it was too expensive to buy in Singapore which costs SGD12/pack which is equivalent to Php420!
I only had 2 hours of sleep because on Evening 3, I stayed with my Ate May and her family. We talked the whole night and went to bed around 4AM. I had to wake up at 6AM to get ready for our Johor Bahru which I did. But I couldn’t leave right away and meet my friend, Archie. Everyday, I should have an hour to do nothing upon waking up which I forgot to consider before agreeing to meet him at 7AM at the City Hall MRT station. Together with Archie, I was also about to meet Mabel, someone I met online through Couchsurfing who sent me a message and agreed to go with us to JB. Mabel is a Filipina working in an architectural company based in Singapore.
So, I finally arrived at the City Hall MRT station by 9:30AM and then off we went to Johor Bahru. Since we had limited time, we ate our brunch at this Indian street food resto at the Johor Bahru Sentral.
We walked around a bit after lunch and tried some Cendol sold at the street. Cendol is a traditional dessert originating from Southeast Asia which is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. It was sweet and creamy. I’d probably make one here at home!
After a quick walk, the three of us went on the bus back to Singapore for my next engagement with some local Couchsurfing people.
It was only a short time spent with my very good friend while I was in Singapore. So much to talk about and places to go. But soon, when we can, it would feel like we were never apart at all.
Thank you, Doh for taking good care of me and making sure I’d get on the MRT by giving me your EZ Link card. hahaha! I miss you and will definitely see you again wherever our feet bring us!