Letter to my 15-year-old self

Yo,

More than ten years have passed already since I were you and surely you and I have learned a lot along the way. People say regrets are for sissies but I say looking back to those will make you a better decision-maker, if not at all a better person.

You hate a lot of people, I know. Especially in high school. That one’s real tough, but you will get over that. All you are focusing, most likely, is getting to a good university and start working. You’re not even thinking of all the friends you’ll make along the way – well because your social life didn’t particularly happen so far. But I tell you – there are as many good, like really good, people you’ll meet, if not the best, as there are crappy people you know so far. You’ll still face discrimination though because of your radical views in life – but there will be people who will be ready to accept you for who you really are. And there will be people who will just tolerate you – don’t think much about them as their tolerance do not matter at all. AT. ALL.

On that good university, you will not enter your dream uni as well. You’ll be brokenhearted by this but I guess it will all boil down to being in charge of your own education. Institution is nice, but what you do and who you are will not depend on where or what you studied. If at all, it will keep you grounded on a lot of things. Half of what you do ten years from where you are now will not be even about what you studied. You’re a true learner and you like learning a lot, you’ll get by. We are an impatient lot, but being in college will test your patience as well. Learn as much as you can, because believe me – being in the cradles of the academe is one of the joys of your life. I know because I’ve been wanting to go back.

You will burn a lot of bridges, too. You will let your emotions take over you and God knows sometimes you enjoy it. You have to learn how to keep your emotions at bay and take things at face value. It’s not worth the effort to care about things that do not really matter. Let this be a lesson to you to nurture more meaningful relationships. They may be few – people who you care deeply about – but it’s good investment. One day, you’ll see that these people you stuck with are worth it. They’ll be there through thick and thin, rain or shine, sad or happy. You’ll cherish them like your own flesh and blood and they do, too – even though they do not show you.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes there are bridges so broken you just need to burn them. Do not let other people weigh you down and sometimes you just need to turn away from them. Time will not matter, you just have to think about yourself sometimes. You tend to think of other people more than you think of yourself – and that’s bad. You need to love yourself well before other people – and this will how you will love others, too.

Ten years into this life will still see you without a relationship. Oh believe me, you’ll have your heart broken M A N Y times and the number of times you will cry will be an understatement to what you feel right now. People will make you believe that they care for you and you will still wear your heart on your sleeve. You will love but that doesn’t mean they will, too. It will hurt as fuck, but remember that your happiness shouldn’t rely on them. You will learn how to look past the hurts and move on. It will not be easy – you will self-destruct in a number of ways – but once you’ve risen from the ashes of hurt, you’ll finally appreciate yourself for who you truly are.

You’ll get to know yourself through travel, too. You’ll love travel, I tell you. You’ll find solace in being in another part of the world you haven’t been. Your joy will be incomparable as you go to places you otherwise will have no idea existed. You’ll go traveling, often alone, but never lonely. As you go back home with eyes wider, heart bigger – you only yearn to be back on the road because life back here is not easy. Life is harsh, but you’ll never appreciate it any other way, won’t you?

Tomorrow we’ll be past quarter already. I’m in this beautiful island, appreciating the beauty of the planet, and maybe having a drink or two with a few people I just met. Another year, another extension in life. We’re not sick or anything – I just like to treat each day, month, year we’re alive a celebration. Because being alive requires so. Not everyone is given the chance to be alive again – or the chance to feel alive.

I guess, what I’m trying to tell you – is that you’ll be happy… no matter how long it takes… you will… if you choose to.

Sincerely,
A bit matured version of yourself but not quite

#Bangcock Day 4: Quick coffee at Ceresia… and going back home

I will never let myself not try Bangkok’s local coffee shops so on our last day — I went out a couple of stations away from Baiyoke for an early breakfast and set off to find at least one specialty coffee shop.

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A couple of blocks away from BTS Phrom Phong is a quiet neighborhood where Ceresia Coffee Roasters is nestled in, along 33/1 Sukhumvit Road. You would need to go to the alley to see it. If you go here before 10am, it will most probably be the only cafe open in the area.

IMG_6066They do the roasting in-house!

IMG_6067IMG_6068An exquisitely prepared flat white with latte art to boot!

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It’s almost Christmas when we went to Bangkok, so there were Christmas packages on display as well. Nevertheless, I liked the minimalist aesthetic the store has. It might feel a bit stiff, but the owners, who also prepares your coffee, are so friendly. I’m so bad with names but the store is owned by a Peruvian lady and a Thai guy. I enjoyed talking to them about how they’re sourcing their coffee — pretty awesome stuff! I also found a magazine (not in the photos) featuring Chiang Mai Design Week and how the emerging Thai city has a very laid back yet still very urban culture – and I am excited to go one day! Plus there are interesting cafes to try as well… Bangkok, I love you, but I hafta see Chiang Mai!

IMG_6074IMG_6075IMG_6076And I saw another quaint coffee shop around the corner

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Took the train and had to drop postcards at the post office… I think it was in Ratchathewi. Then I saw a hawker place – where I ate Pad Thai of course! One last hurrah. I’d miss this city of sumptuous street food and beautiful finds.

IMG_6079IMG_6081Then it’s off to the airport and it’s good bye once more. 

Ceresia Coffee Roasters
41 Praphai Phak Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea
Watthana, Bangkok (Near BTS Phrom Phong)
+66 86 843 8235
Open 8am – 6pm

Weekends – hellos, see-you-laters, and goodbyes

Whew! Finally got time to write here... I am starting to lose my mind over everything that needs to be done. And this blog is on that same list.

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Let us start with goodbyes though. So the previous week has seen meltdowns and bouts of anxiety attacks over a lot of things. Change is good, I guess, but my body couldn’t keep up. With change, goodbyes are in tow and it’s never easy letting go no matter how beautifully Elsa sings about it. For one, leaving my best friend and where we lived for four good months wasn’t easy. The place was so peaceful and beautiful and convenient – and not to mention there were a lot of cute boys in the area. Haha! But it wasn’t the plan to stay there for long right from the start. I knew that we had to leave one way or another. It might be shallow for other people, but I find it difficult to leave the place even even though I now live in a more convenient distance from work.
IMG_6200.JPGlol quick selfie break

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Meltdowns and anxieties = I need ramen in my life. I was craving ramen for the past few weeks just because I was so stressed about moving and nigh shift and expenses and boys (please refer to the photo way above, haha) I dragged friends over to Ramen places in the metro. The nearest we can get is Ramen Nagi in Greenbelt. I can swear by their Butao Ramen that it’s one of the best I’ve tried. I know, I know, Ramen seems faddish but what a stressed boy got to do when all he wants is soup?
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One visit ain’t enough – I had to bring Nica here as well. I tried the Akaoo Ramen instead and god my mouth was on fire, sure it was! Ramen Nagi has branches all over the metro, so I sure won’t miss it though.

IMG_6210-0.JPG IMG_6218.JPGMilky and Sunny has already opened at Legaspi Village!

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Local Edition has a special place in my heart. It’s one of the places I’ll miss going to frequently. Especially, when I used to spend weekends there with a special someone… who’s no longer special. It was good while it lasted though… Gah. I don’t wanna talk about this. Dating is hard, okay? #hugot | Cue: So no one told you life was gonna be this waaaaaayIMG_6224.JPG IMG_6225-0.JPG IMG_6226.JPGIMG_6228.JPG

I spent the last day before I move out with friends from Muni! It was so nice to have spent it with people I don’t usually see – people who most probably I will still not see that often. We met up at Commune with a bunch of other Muni people, had dinner at Project Pie, and holed up for drinks and games at Karl’s place. Ah, such is life. If only I could see friends more often. There sure was a lot of see-you-laters that night…IMG_6229-0.JPG

Say hello to my new place! I moved stuff from Nica’s place to my new place yesterday yet I still haven’t unpacked and my things are just all over the place. I hope I can muster the strength to do so this week because I don’t want the filth to pile up. I still can’t believe I’m out of my happy place though. I need my adjustment period!!! Then again, it feels like a restart at some point – a chance to start over and leave regrets and pain behind. I hear ya, Sam Smith! I do hope decorating this space will cheer things up a bit. I’ll keep you posted on that!

IMG_6230.JPGIMG_6211.JPGI could really use a milkshake right now. (Photo: Friday’s Double Chocolate Milkshake)

Past few weekends and the holiday season, aka life according to my phone, Pt. 2

aka it has been lazy these past few weekends hahahaha

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The holidays are upon us… and god knows it has been lazy – from getting up and going out. The cold winds are beckoning you to hole up with a cup of eggnog hot cocoa/coffee/tea (whatever floats your boat) and endless TV and movies at home. But the holidays for me are for seeing old friends again. I haven’t seen this bunch in a while! And Maginhawa looks soooooooo different already… We ate at Indonyaki, that Indonesian place across where TK used to be at. Then almost naturally, we holed up in Moonleaf… like good ol’ times.

 

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I am thanking this year for new friends! This year marked my first year in corporate and I haven’t thanked the Lord enough for the opportunities and the new people in my life. My team agreed to do Mystery Manila for team building and yeeeeeeah! Booyah bitches, we have conquered! Go drag the team, friends, or family here and have some fun guys!

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  1. Guess what our team name is. 
  2. I don’t like that we didn’t get first. 
  3. Naturally and irl, I’m uber competitive. 

 

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Weekends are usually spent with my roommate and bae, Nica! When Cath Kidston opened in Fort, I already knew that Nica will be dying to see it… so off we went! However, we brought our EQs with us so we bought nada. Til next time then! We had dinner at The Wholesome Table in BGC Central. Food was awesome… I wish I know how to tell if something is organic, but I guess I just believed what was written in their menus. The fried chicken parmigiana was GLORIOUS, yeezus I wanna make that at home. Chug down with tamarind tea – I wanna learn how they made this, too!

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IMG_6146.JPGIMG_6158Intermission: Postcrossing IS fun!!! I’ve been receiving postcards the whole month. This one’s from the USA!

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Of course, Christmas parties are looming around the city and I had fun with the people from Globe and the Club 917 at the NBA Cafe – in line with their promos with NBA! They gave away an LG G3, a Samsung S5, and lots of Tattoo products and gift certificates. Thanks, Globe and HVMO, for this year… it has been a great partnership and I only look for more years working with you 🙂 

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And some weekends are just chilling with the fambam… I don’t see them often – I wish I could, but sometimes life has its way of hurling its big self on to you. Nevertheless, whenever I can and whenever there is an opportunity, I go see them. We may argue a lot, but I believe we love each other. Looking forward to spend a glorious 5-day Christmas break with them… oh god, the Davids really like Christmas… lounging around the house is never the same without my family!

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This was earlier at Pino Restaurant at Malingap street in Teacher’s Village. Brought the fam bam here after Angel’s Oathtaking! Congrats for being licensed and shit, sister! Go forth and educate!

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Happy Holidays everyone and all!

Holing up

As you’d know if you’ve been reading up lately – I’ve been trying to get weekends to be really interesting for me. Life has been a bit routinary for me, and I badly want for weekends as terrific as they can. This would usually involve sleep deprivation, a big gash in the pocket, and random bouts of fatigue come the work week. For the past few weekends though, since I came back from a very off-budget trip (with another one boding in a week,) I’d rather myself spend weekends holing up in my apartment. This has given me a time for contemplation – mostly on how the past weekends went and also on life, yolo-ing, and the grand scheme of things. Read more

HONG KONG MADNESS

So, there’s this app called Cameo and I’ve decided to take more videos than photos for my recent trip to Hong Kong and I uploaded them there! It’s a recap of the four days we toured the city, ate dim sum, and met so much hyperreality in this awesome city.

I hope you like it!
xJ

Suvarnabhumi Airport, and also feels

I associate airports with feelings.

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The last time I was outside the country, I was transitioning to a new job, and I was counting a couple hundred pesos before I become broke. It was also near the end of the year, and I was evaluating what I have done with it. There were a lot of feelings involved — especially I dealt with a very tough 2013.

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Not that it matters, but in a few hours, I’ll be on a plane again towards another country I haven’t been to. It gets to me that I’m still excited no matter how common this place is among travelers in my country. I have lost sleep thinking about being in the airport with thousands of souls seeking refuge, whatever their reason is, and heading towards whether to certainty or oblivion.

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And I guess I’ll never get over the necessary goodbyes an airport represents.

*Photos taken using an iPhone 5

Me Time Weekends, also my life according to my phone

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I’ve been really sick lately. So instead of going out, I lounge around at home, recuperating. And truly, I’ve become a Tita in my own right. I’m looking at you, @TitasOfManila.

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And yes, because I was and am still sick, I am trying to eat healthier food. Aka, I make basic muesli and store it in the fridge because it’s so easy to make and I am really tamed to cook. But my muesli is great! Drop by at home sometimes and I’ll make you one. I’m looking at you, Pamhins of Manila!

IMG_5401Pepper chili chicken in citrus mustard dressing sandwich

On times that I cook, I really make it sure that it’s healthy as well. Though my love for really good corned beef hash and (gulp) SPAM, off to the supermarket to buy real meat with no added sodium. Rustan’s has deals on their meat selection so YAYYYYYYY. Says the sucker for supermarket deals. I need coupons to happen in this country.

IMG_5397And make baon [that is a Spam Kewpie Mayo-Mustard sandwich by yours truly] if there are leftovers (don’t mind the spam peeping under the wheat bread, okay?)

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BUT OH GOD, this big tub of Tillamook sitting in the fridge is not helping to keep me away from eating. Hey you gotta enjoy what you eating, right? Clearly, this post is all about food. Because what better things to do but to eat on weekends???? (I’m getting hungry now meh.)

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On times that I have energy to drag myself outside, I try to jog (loljk sometimes, that is) and head to the Legazpi weekend market because it’s so near my place why not. And afam or cute college/yuppie/hipster kid spotting. Don’t judge, @BekisOfManila 😛

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IMG_5387Jeezus this small brick pizza oven. I want one, okay?

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IMG_5390And I found Shahani/Super Starlet‘s milk. From her boobs, I guess 😛

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On days that I really have the energy to be sociable aka I am not feverish/achy/sleepy/tamad I exert and effort to see friends. Haha, that is in my zombie form, if I really want to. Seriously though, working the night shift is a bit making me @LolasOfManila faster than ageing through smoking. So on weekends I try to see my family and friends as much as possible.

IMG_5404I met my mom, este my sister pala (but we were with our mom as well) to celebrate in advance her passing the LET. I really believe she’ll make it. She’s awesome at what she does but she really does look older than me, no? HAHAHAHA. Also, mental note to self: try to make it a habit to take pictures with people. I am terrible at taking groupies. But I need these pictures to remind me of my human self when I’m in ogre mode.

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I met up with Hanna (with Ella supposedly in the picture) before the big move to Makati over late breakfast, cakes, tea, and rants about the world. My friends deserve an award for tuning me out when I rant. Also (half-)watched Maze Runner with ’em 😛

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My roomie and I love the Bleach store so much. And taking selfies by a big mirror. And making faces. And eating and not exercising. /wrist.

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Speaking of friends that I don’t see that much… I met Cariza and Jonard over a glass of wine and stories of travel, work, and life plans. But we really did talk about Vaginas of Manila, too. We need to make that happen, bbs!

***

I really need to get better so I’m publishing this and heading to sleep. Plus, I need my energy back because this weekend I’m going somewhere… and God knows I’ll need all the energy I can get.

Happy Midweek!!!
J

 

El Nido Diaries: Day 4; Heading back to Puerto Princesa and more misadventures

The Misadventure Log

Inasmuch as I wanted to spend the last day in El Nido town proper, the six-hour travel back to Puerto Princesa for my flight back to Manila was a big, big, big deal breaker. This wasn’t in my plans, actually. But I tried to be smart and before the weather got any worse, I hopped on a van back to the city. A bumpy, cramped, and sleepless van ride ensued. I was starting to feel the fatigue as well (and boredom because the only entertainment that I brought with me was busted.)

Then we arrived in Puerto at around midnight. I cannot think of any other adjective but cramped and sleepless again, I hopped on a tricycle and asked him to lead me to the cheapest pension house, which are all booked btw. So I settled for a slightly pricier one (considering that I have a lot of things to get repaired. Ugh.)

The next day, I ran out of smokes and it took me an hour to find one. And Mcdo ran out of coffee. Took me another hour to find decent coffee. And I guess I was really having a really bad case of a bad day. On my last day in Palawan.

Told ya misadventures all throughout the trip.

But I did leave happy :3

So I guess before I ruin my mood for El Nido and Palawan in its entirety (hahaha) Here’s a few photos that I still have left unposted on my blog:

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DSC_0075Hmmmmm when to be back?

More El Nido? Here are Days 1, 2, and 3!

El Nido Diaries: Day 3; Roaming Around Town

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I have less than a day to stay in El Nido so I wanted to make the most out of my stay. It was still rainy (not seen in pictures because, if you can remember, I broke my camera and phone on Day 1) but still what I can say about the rain in El Nido — it does not lessen the beauty the little town has. People are still out and about. I’m even surprised Art Cafe was almost full!

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Yes, without the island hopping and other fun activities you can do in the islands, El Nido is pretty much boring. B U U U U U U T , I’ve come to appreciate the quiet in the town. In the mornings you can just walk along the beach, grab breakfast, stare at the beautiful, beautiful limestone cliffs. If you have a book, you may just sit anywhere and read. This dog (below) accompanied me while I ate breakfast at a nearby beachfront resort which I heard is a good choice to stay at, too. The day passed by really really slow and I really appreciated the town even more.

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If maybe I stayed a bit longer in the town, I would’ve hanged out more in Spider, where I stayed at there. The people managing the place were nice, and I’ve really had good conversations with them. I’m known to be really picky with my coffee but instant coffee can’t do this town any bad. It makes everything right, even.

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Or yes maybe, get my second tattoo. I still haven’t decided yet what to get. One day… and I hope it’ll be while facing the majestic limestones of El Nido.

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It’s such a shame, that I only got to spend only a short amount of time (with little amount of photos, too!) I wish I’ll be back soon. Maybe alone again, even for the second time around. I’d really like to meet more people, and get to know more locals – and yes hang out with myself some more. After this, I haven’t been more comfortable being left alone with myself than I used to.

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If there’s something the cliffs, the clear waters, and the misadventures taught me – it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I am thrilled to go on a trip alone, but I never thought I don’t necessarily need to be lonely.

***

The Stranger Log:

  1. As I said, the weather wasn’t any better. Luckily, I brought with me an umbrella to at least walk to Art Cafe – a massive institution in El Nido. They really had nice breakfast sets, and I also learned that they grow their own crops. How cool is that? They also sell postcards, so it was kind of a one-stop shop for me. After my quick postcard-shopping, I sat down and smoked when this equally bored Dutch woman named Milou and I started having a conversation. I think it started with – how I really looked like her Indonesian father when he was young. This isn’t the first time I was mistaken for an Indonesian and wow even in my own country, eh? Then, I think a couple of hours later we were talking about her hometown, her friends back there, and a lot of things, really. I didn’t even thought I’d still meet anyone here anymore. 
  2. I did quite a hike after mailing the postcards in the Post Office. I reached a place called Hilltop and it was literally a restaurant on top of a hill! Since it was raining though, there weren’t much people. Luckily, Laurice and Leobi was this couple who were on a pitstop before they head to the falls in the town’s outskirts. Leobi lives in Paris (!!!!!!!) and was on her yearly vacation here in the Philippines. Laurice on the other hand is this girl who hails from Batanes (another !!!!!!!!!). I really had fun listening to their stories!

***

God, why do I even need to leave this wonderful place...

More El Nido: Day 1, Day 2

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