Saphine's Final Exhibition

Updated: Jun 2

This post is a part of EmpowerU Life Writing’s Final Exhibition: check out this post for more information!


My Teenage Life

written and performed by Saphine

My teenage life

Was very different from other

Teenage girls

My friends enjoying their life,

Having fun, going to university.

While I

Worked all day.

I needed to work hard

To help my father support

My three siblings to finish their studies.

At the age of 16,

I leave home in Tarlac City to work.

My mom is against it

But she doesn’t have any option.

I work as a cashier

In a convenience store.

On my duty hours first thing I do:

Inventory of all the items in the shop,

Clean the floor and the food stalls,

Then I just stand in front

Of the cashier waiting for customers.

On the corner there is

A mini coffee bar

Filling the shop with the

Aroma of freshly brewed coffee

And hot chocolate,

Instrumental music

Playing in the background.

Once the wind chime rings,

"Good day, ma'am/sir, welcome to Shell

Shop" with a big smile as I greet them.

At 18 I change to a “better” job,

To a semiconductor factory in Pampanga.

Workers wearing bunny suits,

We look like astronauts,

Only eyes peeking out of the suit.

Before entering the production,

Everyone needs to pass through the

Air shower, the air blows so hard,

It's like the wind of typhoon 2 hits you

To clean all the dust particles.

Being a structural epoxy operator

Is boring and sad.

All you can hear is

The whooshing of the machines.

And the ringing of the oven,

Like a cell phone tone.

Looking at small computer chips

With a microscope for

Eight hours of duty is killing me.

When there is an opportunity

To leave this job, I grab it.

At a facial clinic in Manila,

I train for 6 months as a facial therapist,

I love this job so far,

From looking in the microscope

To looking at someone's face,

Cleaning it to make it glow,

Always a smile on my face.

The equipment is

Fascinating,

The ring light, face steamer and

The laser used to close

The customer's pores.

The rooms and beds are white,

Music plays in the background

To make the customers relax

While I'm doing the treatment for them.


Then my parents ask me if

I can move back home

So that I can go home every day

After work.

No more instant noodles for dinner

Back to the safe province

So I find a new job in our hometown

In International Wiring System Company

To do harness wire taping.

This job is hard at first,

Following the conveyor belt, but

Afterwards I find it a challenge

To stay on my spot

To push myself to finish my work.

I have a frown on my face

At the end of my all night shift

Once I get back home,

My mom has prepared my breakfast

And warm water for bathing.

After taking a bath and eating

My fried rice and ham

I just sleep all day long.

My mom wakes me up at three o'clock,

My food and uniform

And warm water ready.

"You need to eat first before you

Go to work again, you haven't eaten

Your lunch,"

She tells me with her

Very concerned voice.

Due to my work I missed all

The gatherings and get togethers

With my friends, but the communication

With them still close.

Sometimes they would just

Find a time that

I was able to be with them.

And I don't regret missing

All those happy moments,

Because due to my hard work,

My siblings could each stand

On the stage with my parents,

Wearing a white graduation gown.

Joana is a licensed

English teacher in Taiwan.

Jodessa working in a

Private hospital as an assistant nurse.

Rj just finished his studies last year,

Majoring in general education.


Now I still need to work hard

As a domestic worker in Hong Kong

To support my daughter in her studies,

And give all she needs.

And this will be

Another journey that I can

Tell and share with others,

In the near future.