Sunday, September 24, 2017

Snippets: Post Birthday Celebration

Taken last August 27, 2017. Today marks the first month of my final year of being in my twenties; next year I will no longer be able to say that "I'm twenty something." This year I had a pre-celebration with two of my high school barkadas and my brother, simply because I really miss people; and a post-celebration with new friends I met just over a year ago, because I felt like I at least needed to celebrate my last year as a twen-ager (I claim that word─I thought of it just now.) I am yet to celebrate with another set of friends to be able to say I celebrated my birthday. On the day of my birthday itself, it was a solo occasion as I attended the 6am mass alone, and spent the day toiling on several workloads, that I was no longer in the mood to celebrate at the end of it.

I wasn't in the zone that day, so I was not able to cook as tasty as I wanted it to for some reason. I felt something off with the taste. I was so stressed that time, I assume. There was so much struggle to cope up with, but my brother kept on bugging me to celebrate. SO, FINE! 

I cooked five dishes and baked dessert that day. A supposed lunch, we ended up eating at 5pm...because I told them to arrive late because the food will also be cooked late. My friends helped make some of the dishes, but our food theme was Korean-international-fusion, hence there were some Korean dishes, as well as non-Korean ones. My brother made the pretend-Sicilian salad, a friend grilled the porterhouse steaks, while I cooked the beef stir-fry thing, fettuccine pasta ragu using the porterhouse meat as the sauce base, samgyupsal, japchae, some kind of Korean stew using the Ifugao-smoked-pork etag as my meat base, and a tray of orange-essence-infused brownies. Our drinks were a combination of flavored soju, red wine, tequila, and rosé. We finished eight bottles that night.

It was a good day to celebrate, even if I was tired at the end of it. 

I actually posted this same photo on my Instagram with the caption, "Sometimes I think people celebrate birthdays to feed hungry friends." Yes, I thought of that quote, so I also claim it. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Snippets: Arashiyama's Bamboo Grove at Kyoto, Japan

Taken last September 6, 2017 at Arashiyama's infamous Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan. The trip was actually one major cause of my absence from ever updating the blog for the month of August. Other than the fact that it was my birthday month, having to work long hours five days a week and juggling pending activities, I was the one organizing our first official family trip to Japan. I've never been to Japan, and I never been out of the country with my whole family before; having to put two and two together stressed me out so much that I never had enough free time from the end of July up through mid-September.

But at the end of the day, nothing compares to the feeling of making a long-time dream happen. I worked hard for this, and I cannot clearly describe the feeling of finally being able to stand on the very spot where I used to only see in pictures, aspiring and wondering whether I can ever make it happen. More than just appreciating the actual beauty of the place, it's that sense of surreal elation that got me saying to myself, "Wow, I'm here." 

The bamboo grove isn't exactly extensive, it's just long enough to look good in pictures, but does not stretch as far as the eyes could see. But walking through it gets you in a meditative state, wherein you feel nature touching you to your soul. Even at a supposed hot day, passing through in between the bamboo path gave out a cool breeze that wafted at my skin like a perfectly blended air to soothe down my tired limbs. This is one for the books, and as I've mentioned in my Instagram post that day, it was "An exceptionally tiring yet amazing day."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Van Gogh is Bipolar at Maginhawa

Van Gogh is bipolar, and he's a Dutch artist who lived a tragic life, one of the most prominent artists who we briefly discussed in my Art History class back in college. Van Gogh is Bipolar, is a restaurant, one we've been discussing about trying out since after college...and one I finally got to try last week. Ever since my brother experienced eating there a few years back he'd been repeatedly telling me about his desire to go back for a second. After agreeing that we eat dinner with a few friends at a new Korean restaurant at BGC, he tells me that he just made a reservation at Van Gogh is Bipolar because he forgot what we agreed on a few hours prior. But come to think of it, I think I was meant to go there because just two days before we went to the restaurant a friend posted a link on Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal as Van Gogh in a docudrama called Painted With Words. The beauty of the script lies in the fact that they used a lot of the words coming from the written letters of Vincent sent to his brother Theo. A word of caution though, the movie is a downer...because it deals with frustration, depression, loneliness, and art at the same time.

Here's the link to the 1hr.20mins. movie by the way: Painted With Words

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rooftop Poetry

I met someone on a rooftop, the same rooftop where I was asked a question that cornered me into a brief malfunction, and got me thinking long after I answered the question. He was tall, pleasantly charming, British, and in an advertising field in London. We spoke a bit about our travels, and I suggested some local beaches where he could go to because he's also surfer without much itinerary on his supposed three-week solo travel. A few weeks after I met him, I tried recalling that night and ended up with this silly poem. My interest in creating poetry ended in high school...which was over ten years ago, because at one point I found them to be too ambiguous and pretentious, that I just stopped it all together. Now, after maturing a bit, I'm trying to reignite my appreciation for poems by writing one. I wrote it in one sitting, uninterrupted, but this is just a casually written thought as to how I felt that moment of reminiscing. And no, I don't do word counts and rhymes in my poetry.  


An undefined moment
Of an unspecific time
In an indefinite place
I met your eyes with mine

It was an unsolicited chance
Of uncharted plans
But in that one instance
It felt just right

I may have forgotten your name
Your face now a blur
But in that fated encounter
We made ourselves smile
And just for that cameo moment
We were in each other's lives

Friday, July 7, 2017

Snippets: Hda. Remedios

Taken July 1, 2003 at Hda. Remedios, La Carlota City. OMG! It's been 14 years and a few days ago!!! I found this photo in an old folder I saw in my external drive, along with a few other embarrassing shots of my younger days.

This is the result of the first Gawad Kalinga village waaaaay back when it started to build concrete houses in exchange of the nipa ones. It took a village to build one, with a target of fifty houses at the end of the year, schools and foundations worked hand in hand to building the structure. I was amused when I first saw this view, with the bright yellow carpeting the center and uniformed videogame-like houses in line, that's why I took this photo. Fourteen years after, it's still nice to look at, but the paint has faded and the flowers are no longer blooming with patches of dirt in between instead of the lush green, and the people back in their old ways, waiting, complaining, hoping. When GK first started, the women of Remedios were taught to make candles, snacks, and other small items that they might be able to earn a living on. I even remember buying some candles during one of their bazaars in the city's public plaza. The men where taught how to make organic compost fertilizers, about half a hectare near the entrance of the village was dedicated to producing sacks of it at a given time...but after two years or so they say a tornado or hurricane demolished the place and production stopped. My vision of a farm goes back to my remote childhood memories of when we'd go there for the fiesta wherein everyone was celebrating in their own little ways, and another distinct idea of what a farm might look that stands out in my mind is the farm from the simulation game Harvest Moon. I thought it was as simple as sowing seeds, watering the crops, and harvesting them after a couple of sunrises that makes it thrive...but no, that is far from the reality that I see, from the stories being said to me. It takes hard work, and the hardest of which is dealing with people unwilling to share in your vision. 

So...over a decade has passed, a lot has the same time, in the end, at least for most in the hacienda...nothing has changed. What brings down an idealist? Lazy cynics and unmotivated dreamers disincline to do the work, instead, they focus on the unlikely chance that one day heaven might open and hand them a million pesos, to which they can be happy with, that is until they spend it all on temporary amusements and a day's worth of fill. And while I hear success stories from other GK villages, with this one, it's the same story all over's a sad one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Maligcong Rice Terraces and Mt. Kupapey

I wrote somewhere at the back of my head as part of my 2017 bucket list, I should make it to the rice terraces this year, but as some cases go, I did not only reach it, I went above and beyond it. I reached for the clouds and conquered Mt. Kupapey. Going to Maligcong was the highlight of my Cordillera trip. As seen in the photo, standing up there and staring down at the terraces at the break of dawn will give you a feeling that's hard to describe. Breathtaking? Yes. As for the other words, it doesn't matter, the only thing I can say is that it was euphoria to be in that state of present. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tila by Clara Benin

I just wanna share my love for Clara Benin's voice and music style. Right now this is what's been running on repeat in my head since they played the song last Saturday at the BGC Art Mart. It has a beautifully calming quality and has that nostalgic tune to it. She's also, as many may know, is the daughter of Joey Benin, the bassist of one of my favorite childhood bands, Side A. Tila is from her album, Riverchild. The lyrics tells of how she has this wishful thinking that you listen closely to the wind and might just hear in your heart the secrets she has told to the wind. Or something like that.

Tila humihinto ang aking panahon

Walang naririnig kundi huni ng ibon


Dinadala ng ihip ng hangin

Tila gumaganda ng lalo mga rosas

Sabay, sabay silang sumasayaw sa hampas ng hangin

Dumadampi at bumubulong sayo

Naririnig mo ba ang bulong ng puso ko

Binubulong ng hangin

Tila ngumingiti ang araw sa umaga

Mga paru-paro'y naglalaro

Sa hampas ng hangin

Dumadampi at bumubulong sa'yo

Naririnig mo ba ang bulong ng puso ko?

Binubulong ng hangin

Sana nga ito ay marinig

Binubulong ng hangin ang dama nitong dibdib

Naririnig mo bang tunog ng puso ko?

Binubulong ng hangin