Horizons and Perspectives

Going back home to Manila is a bit of a difficult thing to do when I’ve just spent the last six days with these horizons and perspectives in Batanes. But life awaits in the city and I can only dreamy of another vacation to the enchanting islands of Batanes.

I heard the fiesta is on June… Hmmm I hope I can find another cheap ticket back to Basco!

Stop. And just stop. 

March 15, 2015 12:30PM

BATANES, PHILIPPINES — I’m now here at Phil’s Brew, Batanes’ first neighborhood cafe, and I’m finding it hard to finish any writing.

The birds are chirping, kids frolicking, the smell of home-brewed coffee, Ang Bandang Shirley appending the serenity; all beautifully distracting me from everything I’ve set myself to do today.

I came here to decompress anyway. The past few days in this island, albeit still not unplugged, has been nothing short of amazing. Even after seeing everything that has to be seen, this island — this little speck of land on the northernmost border of the Philippines still hasn’t ceased to astound every inch of my being.

Today, I tell myself, I am lucky to be here.

Being utterly present in the moment is something hard for me to do, but today, it seems that my hands are not willing to do anything. I am forced to bask in the quietness of my tiny space, this corner I holed up, along with the cacophony of the buzzing community on Sunday’s best. The wind is in my face, a typhoon is coming, and I’m halfway my cuppa. I could use this kind of peace in the city.

It’s more than the gifts of nature, or the cool breeze, or the honesty culture the island is known for. The invading peace that slowly creeps up to your system, forcing me to halt, that’s what is. Ah, when was the last time I stopped? To stay still, to appreciate, to feel the energy flow… and just flow in and out of my body like a steady stream of spring water. I in the middle of it all, just in a complete stop.

This place made me stop. Not to think, not to ruminate, not to analyze, but only to stop. I thought I came here to escape; I thought that’s what I need. But all I have done so far is to stop.

And it feels good.

My cup of exquisitely prepared local brew has just reached it’s bottom and I think a refill is in order. I’m gonna stay here for a while.

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

Live to Feel!

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Few weeks back, I went to Eastwood to witness thousand of photos be posted around Eastwood City! I had mine, too (but failed to take a photo – there were literally so many of ’em). It’s #LiveToFeel – a movement to call everyone to live for your purpose. There were a lot of activities that day – ranging from silkscreen shirt-making by Team Manila to DJ sets and live surfing lessons from the Roxy girls! It was a fun time hanging out with everyone while you know, living to feel (I just had to :P)

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Read more

#Lokal Tweetup at Commune

Before February ended, a newfound friend (NFF) and I decided to gather some more friends to talk about local stuff. My NFF Uli is from San Francisco and is experiencing Manila for the first time. So what better to do but gather some friends and welcome him to the crazy city of Manila!

#LOKAL PosterIMG_6251IMG_6254IMG_6258IMG_6291IMG_6292IMG_6293IMG_6294IMG_6296Yay for cupcakes by Sweet Patti Cakes!

IMG_6300From L-R: Zel (HVMO), Jason (UP Diliman), Wanna (Muni), Tina (Globe), Saul (BPI), Jed (Scout Magazine), Paolo (Team Manila), Uli (San Fo), Cai (Freelance and overall awesome person), Stephen (Nipa Foods), Danella (HomegrownFull Suite), Ros (CommuneTweetup MNL), Michelle (Nipa Foods), and Kevin (Signet, Bespoke Man). (We’re missing Nica here, though she helped me organize this.)

Thanks for coming, everyone! See you all online 🙂

 

#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

ADULT WEDNESDAY ADDAMS IS THE SHIT (or she probably wouldn’t appreciate being called shit)

Okay, so I just lost my mind when my friend Josh gave me a link to this – oh god, I feel so ashamed to admit that this is the first time I knew about her, prolly because all I cared about are the boys on Youtube hihi. BUT she just climbed way up to the stairs of Youtube glory for me because she is just damn good at this. I am so dying rn watching over and over again! She is so damn hilarious!

I wish she does more about this and even better I wish this goes to national TV!

God, why is Youtube so awesome?

#Bangcock Day 3: #Foodcoma at Baipai Thai Cooking School and Khao San Road

This post definitely made me hungry... and maybe it will make you hungry, too!

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One thing I really wanted to do in Bangkok when I got back was to take quick cooking classes. There was this class held by someone recommended by Jamie Oliver (oh god, I was fake dreaming he’d appear for a surprise visit) but it was fully booked even a month away from our trip. So I instead googled and compared a lot of classes around Bangkok – all ranging from as cheap as 900 baht to as expensive as 4,000 baht. Among those choices, I went to Baipai Thai Cooking School – and they did not disappoint *insert Jonver face of approval*
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At first glance, Baipai does not look like a cooking school. The whole place looks like a spa or some expensive villa. Now I really do wonder if they offer accommodations. Haha! Upon entering the school you’ll be welcomed by the staff while they serve lemongrass tea – the freshest I’ve ever tasted. IMG_6009IMG_6011IMG_6012

Fone welcomed us to the school and gave us a crash course on herbs and Thai seasonings. She even let us taste the herbs – some of them tasted quite a bit strong – which represented Thai food for me. I was so excited to learn more how Thai food is done correctly!IMG_6013IMG_6014IMG_6016That chili is naaaaasty but I like the green one

IMG_6017IMG_6018IMG_6019IMG_6021Insert dramatic quote while grating coconut

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Puu, one of the chefs who teach here, also taught us how to get fresh coconut milk. And man, it wasn’t easy.  We enjoyed trying it out but I don’t think I can do it for two more coconuts. However, fresh coconut milk tastes so much better than the canned ones available in the supermarket. If you have time to go to the wet market, it’ll be better to use those though.

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While we were touring the place, the staff prepared the kitchen for us. It was a lovely setup! I am not even joking – because I love kitchens and if I have a place of my own I’d have the kitchen bigger than any other room. Back in my hometown, I’d entertain guests while I cook and it still is the best part of my home for me to host. IMG_6028IMG_6029

First up, we learned how to cook Thai Satay – which involved a lot of herbs and spices. Puu made the peanut sauce for everyone which was so tasty I actually wanted to ask her to cook some more to bring back home (perishing was an issue, though). Making the peanut sauce involved so much smoke I don’t think I can make it at home – unless I go back to my parent’s place and cook outside.IMG_6313_1400x1050Jonver (2)_1400x1050Skewering so hard especially the meat was so thinly sliced

IMG_6031That peanut sauce tho

 

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Then we made a quick salad – Spicy Prawn and greens – which Asian vinaigrette was really refreshing and citrusy. It’s one of the those quick fixes you can whip up in five minutes. Perfect for the lazy bachelor that I am – or that homemade quick date that can help bring you the home run!Jay, Susan & Jonver_1400x1050Jonver (6)_1400x1050IMG_6040

We had two dishes which we cooked on fire. Asian dishes spells stir fry for many people – so we made stir fried beef and beans. We didn’t do Pad Thai though (I’ll be back to learn authentic Pad Thai because it is bae) but we did Thai noodles which is kinda Pad Thai, too, with different ingredients.Jonver_1400x1050IMG_6043IMG_6044IMG_6045Perfect way to cap this experience? Thai Milk Tea!

IMG_6046IMG_6048Group Dinner (1)_1400x1050Meet the whole class!

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The class went for half a day but spending it here was all worth it! DSC02253DSC02255DSC02268

The next day will be our last day so we drank our last drop of our alcohol in the famed streets of Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri. DSC02278IMG_6055IMG_6057

Paid 10 baht to take a photo of these but we weren’t brave enough to try. My body isn’t ready for that. IMG_6058IMG_6059Internal joke. Nvm lol.

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Our last night in Bangkok was hella fun!

Baipai Thai Cooking School
8/91 Ngam Wongwan Road
Soi 54 Ladyao, Chatuchak
(They pick you up from your hotel)
+66 2 561 1404
http://www.baipai.com

Other places in this post:
Khao San Road
Soi Rambuttri

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.

IMG_6213.JPGI’d really rather not discuss this one

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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)

#Bangcock Day 2.5: HANGOVER TOUR!!! (Plus pictures I prolly shouldn’t have taken yet still safe for work)

And the sleaze starts right here right now

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For some people, Bangkok is the capital of sleaze in Southeast Asia. Known for its pretty ladyboys for and not for hire (not to mention affordable sex-change surgeries), exotic and bizarre sex shows, and hangovers from shit you prolly shouldn’t have taken. We have Hollywood and a thousand and one guides to the central hub of the banana pancake trail to thank for having, albeit small, a picture of what Bangkok’s dark side is.

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IMG_5974Officially my favorite azn beer

IMG_5976Cool company of ladies reppin’ South Africa

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This time though I wouldn’t pass the opportunity up to see it for my own eyes. Nothing screams like #Bangcock than taking The Hangover Tour! The guys from this tour company gave us the lowdown on what can be seen in the sleazy sois of Patpong and Nana entertainment complexes. They also will bring you to key locations of the Hangover II movie – from where the ladyboys are to where the real action is! Depends to you what action you want though – we chose to be dirty all the way – from a bar where ladies with no underwear dance to GAY GUYS SUCKING EACH OTHER’S COCKS. ON. STAGE. Yepp, you heard it right – on stage! Feast on your carnal desires with your eyes. You can give in to it, though make sure you brought enough baht since they don’t swipe cards using their asses!

photophoto(2)photo(3)photo(4)photo(5)These fine ladies bought Patron for everyone. I like them that instant. 

photo(6)They were playing good bitchy music, who are we to resist

photo(7)And that’s Con’s first time to see a punani

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How much sleaze goes around Bangkok, you ask? From the moment the sun goes down… IT’S EVERYWHERE, but especially in Nana (Sukhumvit) and Patpong (Silom). The whole soi is teeming with men, women, and transwomen.

photo(11)This ladyboy is too pretty for words…

photo(12)photo(13)photo(14)Please don’t ask what I’m doing here :/

IMG_5983Yepp, they don’t allow people to take photos, but this was literally shot from the hip. I might be in trouble for posting this, but what the hell.

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There were also a lot of handsome afam, some pretty drunk enough to not realize you’re hitting on them. Hehehehe. I really wouldn’t find a hook up here, but the sight was very welcome. I MEAN THE FIRST FEW BARS WE WENT TO ARE FILLED WITH GIRLS. Nothing against, but this gay guy is pretty sure he’s playing for the other team, if you know what I mean 😛

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When we got to Spanky’s in Nana Plaza though I was hella buzzed already. Mama got one too many Changs to know what she’s doin’ yo! Spanky’s is where they spank you real hard for the love your sunburn. So yeah, don’t go if you have any burns because it’ll hurt. But this drunk boy just had to go on stage and… TWERK. Yes, I twerked like no one’s watching. I twerked like I was in my bedroom. I twerked… and Miley would approve. That’s while being spanked mind you — and I didn’t know — while a real girl (uhhhhhhhh yeah if I knew I would’ve freaked, so I did afterwards) was HUMPING me. Mama got one too many Changs to know what she’s doin’ mhmm alright.

IMG_5988Patpong knows it best

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The stories of the famous ping pong shows were no hoax! This is probably where I was amazed and grossed out all at the same time. No spoilers, but I just have to mention that they shoot darts using their vajayjay. LIKE WHOSE JAW WON’T DROP WIDE OPEN ON THAT. The last performance though was the climax though – like real climax. Yes, if you’re too young to read this, stop reading, or just don’t tell your parents what you read *wink, wink*

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But of course, I wouldn’t pass up on the gay show even if it costed us almost another thousand baht. Don’t care, wouldn’t care, even it actually threw my budget off. Kebs na mga baklaaaa! I wouldn’t have done this anywhere else but here. What I liked about The Hangover Tour is that they swear to get you good seats without getting scammed; with drinks to boot! And I must tell you this, from gay guy to another gay guy – the sightseeing was well worth it. With and without underwear, those Asian boys are indeed ripe for the picking (photo below). I haven’t seen that much showboys in my life. AND I MUST ABSOLUTELY MENTION AGAIN THAT THERE WERE BLOWJOB SHOWS THAT TOOK PLACE. There. To the tune of, was that Rihanna or Lady Gaga? I really wasn’t paying attention anymore.

IMG_5995IMG_5997IMG_5998The Hangover Team gave Val a shirt for her birthday! Yay!

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*With photos from Con and the Hangover Tour team
*I have videos but yeah not posting ’em hehehe

Book your own Hangover Tour here!

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