Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My journey in finding a home away from home – A Singapore series –

I frequent a forum called GirlTalk, often as a lurker but from time to time a share my limited viewpoints in life. I love to frequent this forum because I get to learn amazing ideas from the fabulous sisters of GirlTalk. If you do have time try to visit You will get to meet funny, smart fashionistas there who are just simply fabulous. And they are very helpful too!

But anyways, this post is not about that forum, but it is inspired from a thread there. A lot of the girls are asking how to find work in Singapore, how is life in Singapore, what is the cost of living, what are the sights and sounds of Singapore. Etc, etc, etc. Well, as I have stayed here for 5 years and 3 months, I have some insights that I can share to all of you. So for the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about Singapore.

Indulge me as I begin this series on my story of how I get to discover Singapore. Once upon a time in a far, far away province in Central Visayas, there lived an idealistic ambitious girl who has never heard of a country called Singapore. Well, maybe I have because of the Flor Contemplacion story…but after the award winning movie of Nora Aunor (hehehe) I have completely forgotten about it.

Anyways, to continue with my story, I was just going about my business of earning a living and hopefully earning my Masters Degree, when I chance upon an opportunity of a lifetime. The consultant of my former company back in the Philippines who happened to be a Singaporean asked me one day thru YM if I want to work in Singapore. I was like….. Singapore? Where is that? Patiently, he told me about Singapore. It is a tiny island-state located at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. It has a population of about 4 million people. Though relatively small, but it is highly develop country – a first world country in fact. It boosts of high-rise buildings, advance technology, posh shopping malls; an ultra-modern city-state amidst a tropical verdure. Clean and green, with strict government rules. (To learn more about Singapore general information, you can check it out at Wikipedia.) Ambitious as I was then, my eyes suddenly lit up. Wow Singapore! I straight away said yes! I did not mind that I could no longer chew gum, or that I have to adjust to different cultures. For me it was an adventure.

He made arrangements for me to be interviewed by the hiring company. We had a successful phone interview and I heard the words that I wanted to hear “You are hired!” So Singapore here I come. But the excitement died when amidst preparing my documents I met several obstacles. 1) I don’t have a passport 2) I have no idea about POEA details as I was directly hired that time 3) Whilst processing my passport, I got a hit at NBI. A “hit” means that someone, somewhere out there shares the same name as me, happened to have committed a crime and I have to wait for a month before every thing would be cleared. (But I have heard lately that it now just take a week to have your NBI clearance? Is this true?) And 4) My dear mom has no idea I have signed a contract abroad!

With all those obstacles, still here I am in Singapore :). Oh, well I must have done something good somehow because the opportunity did not slipped me by but it waited for me. My employer wanted the skills I have (I eat fire by the way hehehe kidding) so they “patiently” waited for me.
So, 2 weeks before the much awaited day, I asked permission from my mom! She was surprised! (Surprise in a not so good way, I have to charm my way for her permission) I told her I cannot back out already as I have signed a one year contract and if I did back out I have to pay a month’s salary to them and that was a hefty amount. Of course it is a hefty amount because I am earning in pesos and the salary I have to pay back then is in Sing dollars! So my mom said ok, you are a big girl you know what to do.

Armed with just my in-principle letter (an employment pass pre approval, I have to personally have a medical check-up so I can get my employment pass), a two-way ticket (I did not want to bother with the nitty-gritty details at POEA so I posted as a tourist. Before it was like such a scary thing, but now, most of my friends and friends of friends I know do that. ) I boarded the plane to Singapore. I cleared immigration quite fast. I was met by my consultant friend and my soon to be lady boss. I had my first taste of authentic Singapore breakfast. Then they brought me to my accommodation.
Thus begin my journey of finding a home away from home began.

Watch out for my post on

- Cost of living in Singapore

- housing and accommodation in Singapore

-Finding work in Singapore

-Places to eat

-Our favorite pasttime - finding bargain deals - Shopping in Singapore

-others i can think of ;-)


Brown Pinay said...

It's my 1st time here found your website thru GT. Anyway, goodluck to you. Truy the post that you will share about the day to day existence of a newbie in Singapore will surely be beneficial to other Pinoy.Keep it up sis.

lizabelle said...

I'm looking forward to reading more of your Singapore experiences, Rose. :) I'm also a Girltalker here. :)

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