February 25, 2017

It's been fun, but I must move on.

I still remember my first blog post eight years ago. It was a poem titled "Am I Worthy For Your Beauty?" - I've always been the romantic kind, and 84 more blogs later, I'm closing my blogspot permanently. Yes, my dear friends, I'm afraid this will be the last post you'll ever read here.

It's been fun blogging here, I met many talented travel bloggers, although I've never met any of them in person, you guys were one of the motivations for me to continue to blog because all of you wrote such great stories and I wanted to be a good writer like you guys are.

Blogging here for 8 years is something that I treasure, this has been my outlet for all those years and now I'm leaving all these 8 years of memories. I don't want to leave but I really must go, not because I don't like it here anymore, but because technology has left Blogger behind. Google has not updated its features, it only means Google may close Blogger in a few years and I needed something more permanent.

Yes, I am not actually quitting my blog. I am moving to my own site which will launch on March 1, 2017.

The new site will be on www.bumpyofmanila.com and there I shall start again. The new blogsite is a work of love. I did everything there, even took a youtube crash course so I can learn how to code things like I.T. guys. I've been developing it for the past week now and I must say I haven't been this sleepless since I was in college. In the morning I would work from 8am to 5pm and when I get home at around 6:30pm I'd start developing the site which will continue until 4am the next day. I would sleep for 2 hours and wake up at 6am to prepare for work again.

I really wish I could continue here but I also have to follow the technological competitiveness of my website.

So what's new with my blog at www.bumpyofmanila.com?

1. Name - (Of course, John, duh!)
2. Own Domain - Yep, I finally bought my own domain and web hosting too for the next 3 years.
3. Collaborative blog - I want my new blog to be a place where artists can show their art.
4. Sections - I have 5 sections now (Blog, Review, Books, Music, and Kalayaan!) Where Kalayaan is specifically for artists wanting to share their piece for absolutely free, provided that I approve it first.
5. Website is responsive - Of course the blog is responsive for mobile users.

I don't want to spill drama here because I'm Bumpy, I never go dramatic over things, I just laugh at the comedy and tragedy of my life.

For those who have been part of this blog, I love you all and thank you for joining the bumpy journey of life with me! Now, another journey begins for you and me, I need you more than ever now.

So this is just a very short goodbye, I'll see you on the new blogsite on March 1 ok?


February 19, 2017

Typewriters: When We Were Kings

     There was once in our time when Typewriters were the kings of letters. I do remember when these heavy, mechanical machines were in its last hurrah. I was still a small kid when I used to play with typewriters in my mom's office, we didn't have tablets that time so I would use office supplies as toys. Scissors were monsters, pencils were missiles, and Typewriters were the sound effects of guns strafing enemies. I love the mechanical sound it made, imagine 5 typewriters clacking around the office from 8AM to 5PM, it was corporate symphony. 

     And then slowly they were replaced with bulky computers, the orchestra was silent, the beautiful chaos was gone. With today's technology, you can command computers with a touch to the screen.

Olympia Traveller de Luxe - The only remaining Typewriter we have
     A few days ago I was looking through old photos and then I saw typewriters in the old office, so I started asking what happened to these beautiful machines. A staffer told me they were keeping one which they haven't used for years. I became excited and asked for it, and when it was handed over to me, I saw the sad fate of the old typewriter. 

     From the outside, it was very dirty because it was hidden in a corner where dust and dirt had settled. What really made me sad was when I opened to see the inside of it, not only that had dust settled, but it was full of insects, roaches and spiders, good thing all of it were already dead. I hate roaches and spiders, just saying.
Forgotten and Neglected

     I started trying all of the keys and all were still working, the oil hasn't really dried up and it only showed minor rusting. That's why I love old machines from the past, they were made with superior quality metal. I became curious about the writer's model and I did a bit of research about it and found out that it was first released in 1995, it was one of the last models released by the Typewriter industry. It was made of metal and plastic for keys and casing. I learned it was meant for the "on-the-go" people, which explains the model's name. 

          I was wondering when the typewriter was bought. And I remembered my Grandfather, he loved technology, and I'm guessing this writer was bought around 1997 at least. That would mean that I have a 20-year-old gizmo in my hands!

     The next thing that came to my mind was to have it repaired because I've always wanted one. Mom gave me an electronic typewriter before, but I've always wanted a manual. And this one was perfect, it was small and lightweight, I imagined businessmen and reporters running with this thing back in the late 90s,

     I went online for hours finding a shop to have it repaired, but I wasn't only looking for a repair shop, I was specifically looking for a place where typewriters were respected with care and expertise. Because I know how a repair shop who sidelines in fixing typewriters would end up to be - a quick clean and re-oiling of the machine, and that's not how I wanted it fixed. I wanted it to be assessed by an expert.

     And with a stroke of luck, I found an old clip of ANC interviewing a certain Mr. Avena about why he won't sold computers and has only sold Typewriters since his Father started the business in 1936.

V. Avena & Sons in Espana Boulevard
     I was excited and I quickly bargained with the office that if I had it repaired, ownership would be transferred to me. (Pretty smart eh? Thank you, Pawn Stars)

     And so I went to Espana Boulevard in Manila on a Saturday morning and there I was amazed with how the shop pulled me back into the age of Typewriters. Row upon rows of old, classic Typewriters lined the shop. It was almost a mini museum, and I bet old Government workers and Journalists would love this place. It was like back in the 60s with their signage.

Old Typewriters for sale, some are for display only
     I became so excited that I actually forgot that I was holding the old typewriter I had, and the one who answered the door had to tap me on the shoulders because I had already entered a restricted place. 

I have a fascination with round keys, I failed trying to buy this one
     I have a fascination with old typewriters that had round keys and I tried to actually but the one you see above. It was fully functioning but the guy said it was only one of the collection of Mr. Avena. But that didn't deter me, so I still tried and asked how much would Mr. Avena probably sell it. When the guy said an insane amount, all I could say was "Oh, okay." - Obviously the amount was lightyears away from what I had in my wallet at the time.

An all-steel-and-spring Typewriter, I forgot to ask if it was real.
Having my Traveller de Luxe assessed.

   After about 10 minutes of asking about the shop, I finally handed over my typewriter to be assessed. And just like I expected, the expertise surfaced like routine, he quickly saw the flaws and the missing parts that I didn't even know were supposed to be there. But sadly my visit was incomplete because Mr. Avena wasn't around yet to make the estimate. I wanted to personally meet him because he's put so much dedication to run the shop even it's no longer profitable, good thing though that he owns the building so he has a passive income to keep the shop.

     I was already back in the office when I received a call from Mr. Avena, I stuttered answering as he estimated the price of the repair to which I think the price was really professional, it was well-priced and you would actually feel that he's more than happy to repair it for you. It was not about money, but it was more passion. I think he priced it for charity or something.

     For now, I shall leave you in suspense for the typewriter is in the good hands of Mr. Avena. I shall blog again to report on the condition after it has been repaired. 

     Till my next typewriting, cheers! 

February 18, 2017

A Haven from Adulting

     There are times when you don't have all the time in the world to plan vacations, and I learned that in this stage of my life called "adulting." Responsibilities often hinder us from stretching our legs after a long day of work. Gone are the days when I can easily stroll the streets of Manila with my camera for a quick meal for the soul. Now it's so hard for me to meet friends just a few kilometers away from me.

     But there are days when you've reached the limit of stress and you feel that you've used up the morale tank and feel the dementors reaching for your soul with a death kiss. That's when reason is thrown out of the question and you've just had it.

     Good thing my friends felt the same way, we were all needing the emergency break from life and we wanted to be somewhere that's familiar, we wanted to be the kids that rule our body, even just for a little while.

     And there's no other way of doing that than to be unplugged from the city life. But we still had to fit our breather within the realms of reality to schedule it. And luckily, there was one weekend we actually agreed on. (It's so hard for me and my friends to schedule vacations because we work in different industries)

     Two hours away from city lies a gravel path to Infanta, Quezon Province where I found the most modest home perfect for a weekend rest. The wood cabin is situated on the cliff side of the mountain, where I saw the range of forestry Infanta had.

The Modest Cabin
     The cabin is almost unnoticeable from the road as people would think it's a local house, but it was a safe haven for 4 stressed individuals during that weekend. There was also an unusual coldness that enveloped this part of the road. The weather here is always rainy. I've been here at least 4 times and it was always misty and cold, it always felt like Baguio city at 6AM the whole day.

     What's more lovely here is that it's near a famous stopover for motorcycle riders. This canteen offers some tasty exotics - Mountain Snails, Frog Legs, Wild Rabbits. Yes, I did say Wild Rabbits.

Frog Legs

Wild Rabbit
     In this cabin we could act like high school students once again, pulling out unused jokes for over a decade. We could horse around, except of course, we try not to push each other off the cliff.

The Pool's temperature is at least around 10 degrees.
     In this cabin, we are free from our responsibilities, signal is difficult, a good thing if your boss is already looking for that unfinished presentation deck you left at work. In this cabin, we stretch our legs, pour whiskey, and eat - Which reminds me that we went so far with our stress eating that we ate what was supposed to be our breakfast food.

It is hardest to cook at nighttime
     The cabin doesn't have electricity, which I think is a perfect partner for the cold night. We battle the coldest winds with whiskey and hot food. Yes, food must always be present when I'm telling the story.

Sun breaking the clouds
     I can't explain into words the rejuvenation I get every morning when I wake up here. I always feel new, like the tank is filled and once again I'm ready for the city.

     This place always reminds me that I am human who lives in borrowed time, and this cabin reminds me that a breather is sometimes all we need to endure life.