It was 2004. One of the best moments in my life is when, after a long and rigorous screening process at the CHED (Commission on Higher Education) office, I was chosen to be one of the ten delegates to represent the Philippines to a youth conference held annually in Singapore called the Sunburst Youth Camp. In it, ten representatives from thirteen countries are invited to spend nine days in Singapore to share what it's like to be a teenager in our respective home countries.
|Can you find me? ;p|
A good part of my second year in college was spent preparing for this camp. Of course, we were representing the Philippines so we had to make sure we behaved accordingly and appropriately. Our Saturdays were dedicated to weekly rehearsals and meetings, so of course it is inevitable that I became good friends with my co-delegates.
We stayed in the Regional English Language Center Hotel and our itineraries were filled with different activities that included exploring Singapore (we went to Outward Bound Singapore, the Night Safari, the Changi Museum, and pre-Universal Studios Sentosa, among others), learning about the other delegates' cultures and traditions (I wrote the required "What it's Like to be a Teenager in my Country" piece together with Aldrin), and of course, mingling. My roommates were Faith from Singapore and Tahn from Myanmar :)
The highlight of the camp was the Cultural Night wherein we performed the number we spent all those weeks preparing for. Guess what, we got a standing ovation!
|It is one of the proudest moments of my life! :)|
My co-delegates and I were able to meet for a couple of times after the camp (especially Cenen who went to the same university as I did), but unfortunately as time went on, real life interfered and some of us got too busy with other things. I've lost contact with some of them, but thank God for social networking sites some of us were still able to communicate.
A couple of weeks ago, Crystal sent Cenen and me a message asking to meet up, and so, after seven looong years, we FINALLY did!
|McDonald's in Singapore, December 2004|
|Sentro in Greenbelt, April 2012|
Heehee I brought my old photo album (the real, tangible photo album, not Facebook album LOL, 3-megapixel digital camera FTW) to this outing, and we had a blast looking at our seven years-younger faces! As you can see, we tried to replicate our old poses haha. Can you spot the differences? Cenen and I are still wearing glasses, but now he's wearing braces too whereas mine and Crystal's have been removed already :D
|We ordered Chicken Adobo, Pancit Palabok, Adobong Kangkong, and bottomless Sago't Gulaman|
|Cenen also brought his dog Hachi. What a cutie-patootie!|
Aside from feasting on delicious Filipino food and catching up, we also made plans to see each other more in the next months. As what we've been (jokingly) planning since right after the camp, we made plans to visit Singapore again this year just for old times' sake and to touch base again with the place where we experienced our first taste of independence. Imagine going to a foreign country without your family and with just nine other teenagers and two CHED representatives as chaperones, isn't that scary? I was actually bawling my eyes out during my first night there even though I knew I would be back after nine days. Homesickness, what up. We're planning to go this August, and I am so excited! We're just waiting for another seat sale *cough*cheapskate*cough* and we're set!
Now all I have to do is make sure I save enough money. ;)
It was great to see you, Cenen and Crystal! Hope we could get the others to go with us, too! :)