2020 Year-End Review

I’m glad I got to get out of the house for the first quarter of the year more than I used to do. But this blog is about what I did for the rest of the year during the lockdown.

TV Shows

Everyone’s first instinct when thinking of what to do in a lockdown was probably to binge some shows. I started with K-Dramas—Crashing Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. My favorite though is Reply 1988. Its ending is as justified as How I Met Your Mother’s.

And, I can now finally understand The Office References after finishing the whole series in a month. I also started Parks and Rec but haven’t continued it yet after getting distracted by Reply 1988.

Gaming

Kix has been recommending Stardew Valley to me for some time, and I found the great opportunity to start in March. I got reminded about it because it got mentioned by my colleagues at work. Unsurprisingly, I easily got obsessed with the game. I played it a lot until I got tired of it.

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My Swab Test Experience

If you have COVID-19 symptoms within the past two weeks and want to get tested, I might have some information you are looking for.

This is my experience with the Chinese General Hospital’s walk-in RT-PCR test or what everyone knows as the swab test.

The testing area is open 24/7 and located on the second floor of the building to the right of the main one if you’re facing the hospital from Blumentritt Road.

The location of the testing area in the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center compound.

The first thing you’ll do is fill out forms, a lot of them. So make sure you bring your own ballpen. No one will share theirs, I assume.

Aside from writing the usual personal information, make sure you have the contact details of people you interacted with (e.g., household members) and temperature reading of your fever if you had one. Remember to bring a valid ID and a doctor’s referral. If your doctor’s referral is digital, you’ll be asked to email it to the lab.

The staff will check if the information they needed from you is complete. If everything’s fine, they will provide you the invoice and you will be asked to proceed to the cashier. I didn’t confirm, but it looks like they accept Paymaya and credit card payments. The regular price of the RT-PCR test is Php 4,000. But since I am a Philhealth member, I only paid Php 591.

I then proceeded to the swab testing area, wherein I was interviewed briefly by the staff. A handful of people queued up for the swab test, but I didn’t have to wait long. On my turn, I was swabbed in my mouth and both of my nostrils (oronasal swab).

All done! There’s nothing else to do but to go home and wait. I went around 10:40 PM and was done in an hour.

The results are expected to be released within 72 hours, but I got my results after only 15 hours! I can now enjoy my holidays without worrying if I’m infecting my family. 🎄

Apple Arcade: 2019 Picks

Yep, the year in the title is right. Before I got employed last year, I’ve been playing Apple Arcade games. I’d like to talk about three specific games that stuck with me until this day. I thought of finally writing about it because I discovered that there are new exciting releases that I’d like to start playing soon!

The common denominators about these games are interesting narrative, great graphics & sound design, and can be finished in one sitting.

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City Pop & Learning Nihongo

みなさん、こんにちは!お元気でしたか?9月から先週まで日本語オンランクラスにさんかしました。(純子さん、いつもしつもんにこたえてくれてありがとうございます!)

For the past two months, I’ve been taking online Nihongo classes by the UP Department of Linguistics. Thanks to Alvarez-sensei and my classmates, I passed Japanese 1. I had a lot of fun and I’m excited about Japanese 2 next year. 🎉

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Traveling to Egypt

It still feels surreal that I was able to travel to Egypt early this year, considering what’s happening now. One time, it dawned on me that we could have been stuck there for months, but luckily we were able to go home before travel bans happened. I was supposed to blog this experience right after the trip, but it just didn’t feel right, might be insensitive and all. But considering we won’t know when we will be traveling again, I might as well write my experiences here, at least those I can still remember.

We scored piso seats to Dubai back on March 3, 2019. Travel bloggers attested that it’s the cheapest way to go to Europe/Africa. I agree, but I wouldn’t mind paying extra for comfort next time. It was my first time riding a long-haul flight with a low-cost airline, and hopefully, I’ll have enough money next time for it to be the last. We also didn’t buy in-flight meals and instead bought from Kenny Rogers right before boarding.

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Egypt Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos (2019)

Ever since I found out that I was born in Egypt, it has been my lifelong dream to go back and get to know the country. Forward to 25 years after, I am finally closer to that dream!

I looked everywhere to research for this trip, and sadly, there is only a handful of Egypt experiences by Filipinos online. (I usually refer to Julio’s blog in planning this trip.) Because of this, I am documenting my own experience so that travelers after me can have more resources to rely on.

In this post, I’ll walk you through how I applied for our tourist visas (Yes, I am not exempted, unfortunately. 😂).

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Ang Aking #Kwentubig (My Water Story)

I have been asked how I got into data science, considering my previous field of expertise in the water industry. I was a regulatory and compliance officer. Based on the job description, I should have dealt with mostly words—from laws, regulations, filing of permits and petitions, hearing transcripts, and other documentation. But as an engineer, a job title couldn’t stop me from working with numbers.

Last September 26, 2019, I spoke in the first-ever Kwentubig, a storytelling event about water and the environment. The event was organized by the Philippine Young Water Professionals (PYWP) and the 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines.

That night, I told the story of how the water industry led me to data science.

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