November 8, 2016

How Quickly We Forget

History, as most dictionaries would put it, it is the study of the past. It is a collection of facts that is studied so that we may learn from the mistakes and be able to forge a better future and not go back to the dark past.

"The study of History is the beginning of wisdom." - Jean Bodin (1530 - 1596), French economist

I believe that studying the past is the stepping stone of understanding ourselves as human beings. The tremendous effort scientists have put into knowing our origin as humans and the earth we live in is a testament of its importance, or else why would they even have interest in it in the first place?

Historians sum the history of the culture in the Philippines as '300 years in the convent and 50 years in Hollywood.' - Now that would be one way of saying it, but as a people we are more than that. History shows that we have historical evidence of different Kingdoms led by Datu and Rajah as early as 900AD. The Spanish did not come to the Philippines until 1521, and did not conquer Manila until 1571. We already had our system of Government even before the Spanish came, but we had several governments controlling their own Kingdom, we were not a Nation.

Today we call our country The Philippines, and our citizens Filipino. But are we a nation?

Photo Credit: Official Gazette of the Philippines

The Marcos Burial

November 8, 2016 - The Supreme Court of the Philippines allowed the Burial of Former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (Rough Translation: Cemetery/Grave of the Heroes)

He is known in our history as the Dictator of the Philippines who reigned for 21 years, his long record of corruption and atrocities suffered by the Filipinos from 1965-1986 led the past generation to take the streets and throw him out of the country. 

Well that is the history we've all known, and also that's how the world would put it. But just today, with the decision made by the Supreme Court, the country is put in a historical dilemma, not to mention that a lot rejoiced of the decision, these however are the loyalist who shouts 'Marcos Pa Rin!' 

The Supreme Court defended that they had made the decision based on 5 main reasons. I now lifted the following text in RED from CNN Philippines (Link of Article:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It's decided: Former President Ferdinand Marcos can be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB), the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
Voting 9-5, Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te said the high court dismissed all the petitions challenging the proposed burial of the former strongman Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery.
He said the Supreme Court dismissed the petitions based on five main reasons:
  1. There was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of President Rodrigo Duterte in ordering the burial of Marcos at LNMB because it was done in the exercise of his mandate. There is also no law that prohibits the burial of Marcos' remains at the LNMB
  2. President Duterte has the power to reserve for public use and for specific public purposes, any of the lands under public domain.
  3. Marcos' remains, under regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, can be interred at LNMB because he was a former president, commander-in-chief, soldier, medal of valor awardee, and legislator.
  4. The Supreme Court disagreed Marcos was "dishonorably discharged," saying the disqualification only pertains to the military
  5. Marcos cannot be disqualified from burial at LNMB because he was not convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.
So who were the judges who voted against and for the burial of Ferdinand Marcos?

Photo Credit: CNN Philippines
Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, Marcos passed all 'legal obstacles'. This was the moment when I realized how faulty the justice system is, or at least in making this decision. I thought that if technicalities is all that is to be decided, he's qualified. But it failed to decide whether it was ethical to let him be buried with 'Heroes'. 

The Supreme Court failed to judge the person by his overall morality. Morality, I believe is the foundation of humanity, it is the universal truth and applies to all nations. The Supreme Court lost their credibility and spat directly on the face of Lady Justice.

"When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness" - Alexis de Tocqueville

Think of this: Adolf Hitler - The head of the Nazi Regime, also a military man. He mobilized the killing of 6 million Jews, he invaded countries. Now if the Supreme Court of the Philippines would decide if he has the right to be buried among the sacred resting grounds of heroes basing only in the legal technicalities of the constitution (That he is a head of state, and a military personnel), I'm sure he is qualified. But what about the murder of 6 million Jews? What about the victims of his crimes? Is it moral to call Adolf Hitler a hero? Even Germany does not think so.

What are we as a nation if our Justice System is not rooted in Morality? 

With this decision, does this discredit all his crimes? Does it mean that the history we knew is flawed and distorted? Is this the moral decision?

Was Martial Law and the 1986 People Power Revolution a figment of our imagination?
I have to ask my parents and my grandmother if these events really happened, because I am caught in a historical dilemma. History presents me data that prove that Marcos was indeed a plunderer, a dictator, and a human rights violator. But the Supreme Court decision qualifies him to be buried where heroes are laid to rest. Heroes. Again, Heroes.

I haven't heard or read anything about a criminal being hailed as a Hero. By allowing a criminal to be buried among heroes, doesn't that present a dilemma? Especially for the place where it says "Here lay heroes", it does not say "Here lay heroes, and a dictator."

Allowing a former President who is not worthy of emulation promotes impunity to history.

"Salvaged Memories" Mural by Randalf Dilla
This presents a grave threat to our identity nation because the decision attempts to erase a part of our history that defined us. This is almost erasing the fact that we were colonized by Spain for 300 years, that General Douglas MacArthur never returned to the Philippines, that the Atom Bomb was never dropped.

So is the Supreme Court decision telling us that these following photos never happened?

'To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child'. - paraphrase from an observation by Cicero

'The supreme purpose of history is a better world'. - Herbert Hoover

Why is history it important to building a nation?

Because history helps us understand change and how we came to be today. It is our footprint to the world, our history is inescapable, and if one understands his national history, it gives him an identity, to which for us, we call ourselves Filipino.

History is a sheer reminder of the wrong decisions of the past that haunt us today. A perfect example is Ferdinand Marcos stealing billions and billions of our country's wealth through kickbacks and projects. Yes, he did build a lot of infrastructure that the country uses until today, but isn't that the rightful job of the President? To lead us into prosperity. But what he did was build his fortune. And today the Supreme Court, who Marcos closed when he declared Martial Law, approves his burial.

Filipinos lack the understanding of the importance of history
A lot of Filipinos are lost because they do not know their past. Why did we call ourselves "Filipino". They often dismiss history as a mere past that does not affect their present. Filipinos are very shallow when it comes to identity and that is why they have forgotten the crimes Ferdinand Marcos has done his country (But is it still "his" country if he betrayed the trust given to him?)

And what of this Pinoy Pride? Pride is shallow, and a nuisance. Honor, Filipinos should strive for honor, because honor is pure and true.

We are in a continuous loop of political dilemma
Corruption is imbibed so deep in Filipino culture that everything we do is based on which benefits only the individual and not the common good.

"My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins." - Manuel L. Quezon

Filipinos are loyal not to the flag but to the politician
It's not about Yellow, it's not about Red, hell it's not about orange! It's about the 3 stars and the mighty Sun! Filipinos have a wrong sense of Nationalism, we should always swear allegiance to the flag, not to the president, not to the senator, not to the barangay official who gives you pancit every now and then. 

Our democracy hangs in danger because we have failed our duties as citizens to study our past, we have failed to check corruption, we have let crocodiles infest the congress, we have left the fighting to the poor. Our country is again in danger of losing its identity as a nation because we are scared to answer the call to uphold freedom and democracy. 

Where are the Rizals, the Bonifacios, the Lunas in you? Where is the love for your country? When will we understand that these foul creatures are running our miserable lives? It should be us running them out of our sick and poor country because they are the reason for our struggles. What we do now, this generation, how we respond to this, will put us in history if we are honorable, or forgettable. It's our time now.

Answer the call.

"The lack of a sense of history is the damnation of the modern world." - Robert Penn Warren

November 5, 2016

The Burias Islands

This past summer a friend from Canada came back after 3 years and so this one calls for a celebration. Not wanting to spend all his 3 weeks in Manila, we quickly put up a plan for a getaway, but since millenials love to travel, all the popular tourist destinations were filled. And for our group who are in quarter-life crisis, we wanted a quiet space in the archipelago for a few days.

Just above the mainland of Masbate lie the Burias group of islands, relatively unknown to the traveling majority. And without hesitation, we booked it.

The Port in Naga City
Going to Burias Island requires a lot of patience, and for me who hates long drives, I tried to bargain on taking the plane instead, but of course, because this is a democratic country, I lost. And so the long 10-hour drive began. There's really a backstory why I don't like to travel that long, because that would mean my life will be in constant danger with how fast my friends drive ( I kid you not) and I love my life, peace to my friends.

We were quite surprise that there was a traffic jam in parts of Quezon province, at midnight. But after that the road was all ours for the taking, much to the pleasure of my friends, because they can put the pedal to the metal. I was so much on guard for my life that I didn't sleep the whole travel, especially when we used the dreaded "Bituka ng Manok" road - A horrifying zigzag with steep climbs which hugged the shape of the mountainside. My heart pounded with each turn, and I was probably palpitating from all the Sting energy drink I was drinking the whole night.

As expected, when we got to the port of Naga at around 5:45AM, I lunged out of the car and threw up. What a welcoming sight for the locals there. But fast as my friends drive, they are really quite safe drivers, except for a few close calls (HAHA)

Roof deck riding
We went on for a 2-hour boat ride going to the island, and it's always beautiful to take the early ride to the island because it's not yet that hot and we got to enjoy the roof deck ride, which they said was not allowed, but no one stopped us, and the seats inside were quite strange because it had no floor, you were at the mercy of the engine's roar which made it really uncomfortable. Remember, always choose the roof deck when going to Burias island.

Arriving at Burias Island
When we arrived at the port of Burias Island, the first thing you have to do is go to the tourist office and register your names, this is very important so that if your trip goes swinging south and you become lost at sea, they know that you're missing. It's a nuisance to to register, but come on, it's only 5 minutes, and a minimal fee.

I was surprised that the port was actually big, but what is surprising that there was only one place to stay in the island for tourist, it was only about 5-7 rooms. Correct me if I'm mistaken but it's the only one I saw throughout my stay there. We only booked for 1 night here and so we were quite in a hurry to head out to sea.

After making negotiations with the boat, we quickly headed out to the open sea, and we were not prepared for what we experienced, nor we were warned - We kind of battled our way to the islands. Big swells of waves constantly hit our boat, and because I was the fat ass in the group and my weight took great effect on the boat's performance, I have to move from one side to another, wherever the boat captain told me to sit. I swear all of us had this eye contact at each other, acknowledging the fact that the boat may capsize any moment.

But after one hour of battling the waves, what lay in front of us was paradise.

Island 1

Forgive me for this, but I forgot all the names of the 3 islands we went to. I know, what a bummer, but if ever you'll go to Burias, use my photo to show to the boatman as reference to where you want to go.

Island 1 was complete paradise, it had a rocky sand beach at one side, big rock formations where you can see thousands of years of water levels. And on the other side was pure white sand that is so nice to look at. What's best was we were literally the only people in the island!

Beautiful Rock Formations

Small hut at Island 1
We stayed for an hour there just relaxing, it was very pleasant there. Then we were off to island number 2, that is where we started noticing problems with our boatmen.

Island 2
When we arrived at island number 2, which had a more grassy feature, it was already lunch time. But because we were in a hurry, we forgot to pack our lunch and we had to resort to chips and bread - this is where things took an ugly turn.

My friend noticed that our bread was opened already and almost halved, also, the cigarettes we brought started missing. No conversation was needed, all we did was converse using our eyes and we talked about it when we swam at the beach, the boatmen were stealing our food.

Not wanting to be frustrated and not wanting to pick up a fight, we let it go. We just thought that they must have overextended their welcome of us offering to share our food. It really didn't matter to us if they ate most of it, but they stole it, behind our backs, I honestly didn't care if they ate all of it as long as they did it in front of us.

I hope the people of Burias would be more careful in handling their tourists, because if these things happen, their tourism will never improve.

Island 3
Island 3 is where we did our cliff jumping. It was my first time and yes, I did it, but my friends think I'm a coward for not jumping in the 10 feet platform, I only did the 6ft platform. But I didn't want to go to the 10 feet because honestly, I didn't want to be the reason for a tsunami.

After the island hopping, we took a rest at our room, talking about how and why they stole our stuff and how it will affect their tourism business if it's frequently happening with other tourists too.

Food in Burias is not that good, best if you stay to eating what your stomach recognizes.

And of course, like real men, we capped off the night doing one thing, no it's not alcohol and women. It's counter-strike! We played until the power outage stopped us, which led us to drinking a bit, yes, just a bit, we know that our bodies aren't getting any younger and we drank just enough to make us sleepy and off we went to bed.

Until next time, cheers!

November 1, 2016

Reel Feels

Movies fill the void that's missing in our lives, sometimes it makes us realize that all the questions we have in life lie within ourselves, but only if we reach deeper. And most of the time (at least for me) watching a movie is really helpful.

So here are my top 10 "reel feels", don't worry I won't spoil anything, I'll just describe some things about the movie and why I chose it.

10. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

I know this is a new movie but I wasn't aware that the book was published years ago, I've heard about it a few times before but I didn't care for it much until I watched the movie, and it wasn't because of the book but it was because of the actress Eva Green (I have a crush on her)

I love how the peculiar were kept safe by Miss Peregrine. My favorite is of course Jake (or Jacob in the book, if I'm not mistaken) because he sees what I see. This movie gives you a sense of identity.

I loved the movie so much that I actually bought the book right after because friends told me the book is better, and I do believe that, I haven't read it yet, but I know that books are always better than the movies because it doesn't skip anything.

9. Begin Again (2014)

Begin Again makes it in the list because it captures how I view music as one of the requirements of having a beautiful soul. I'm an old soul, I love the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Tears For Fears, and a lot more old bands out there and I love how their lyrics feed the soul, and this movie captures it perfectly.

It also makes the list because of a certain gadget in the movie, you'll get what it is, I actually bought one and I haven't used it yet, because I don't have anyone to share it with yet, maybe one of these days? A little stroll around Intramuros, yes?

8. Lars and The Real Girl (2007)

Ryan Gosling's talent to dedicate himself to be the character instead of being the actor is amazing. I didn't even notice that it was Ryan Gosling acting out during the whole movie (I mean I know it's Ryan Gosling, but I don't see him in the movie, I see his character)

There's a likeness to the character and me, in a slight way - the way that I am very uncomfortable with talking to people and social gatherings. If you've spent time with me outside or planned a night out, you'd notice I like keeping it small, 5 people is already a crowd for me (or have I just gone anti-social the past few years?) So go watch this movie and I hope you love it.

7. The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line is better than Saving Private Ryan - Yes I said that, yes I said that people, go and crucify me. The Thin Red Line is the lesser known war movie of 1998, overshadowed by Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, and why is that? Of course, Tom Hanks, who wouldn't spend money on Tom Hanks in 1998.

I only knew about this movie when I was in college, researching about World War 2 stories (It's my hobby, reading about WW2) and I googled for "Best War Movies" and The Thin Red Line was there.

If Saving Private Ryan is the action-packed war movie everybody had expected, Thin Red Line is the anti-thesis of war movies - Slow, sensitive, poetic. And I think it's where Terrence Malick outguns the 'ol Steven Spielberg. Malick captured how war can damage the human soul and why war must be avoided at all cost. You'll also be surprised with the cast in this one, and it's 3 hours long so please pop those kernel or better buy a lot of Potato Corner fries (I recommend wasabi flavor)

6. Ang Nawawala (2012)

You might be thinking "What?! A Filipino film made it to your list? An Indie? What a Hipster!" Woah, woah, woah, first of all, I was hip before hipster was a thing. Second, yes, a Filipino indie film made it to my list. Why? Because this is "Reel Feels" mofo, you better recognize that.

But why this? I discovered this from a friend who suggested this to me, that friend of mine hates Filipino movies, and for him to suggest this to me with great enthusiasm made me really wonder. I got a chance to watch it when it was shown in Cinematheque Manila, I think it was only in April or May when I saw this.

The movie also made me discover Pinoy indie musicians like Hannah + Gabi, and Ang Bandang Shirley. Go watch this, now! DVD costs around Php 1,200 though, so, let's share a copy?

5. No Strings Attached (2011)

Why this? Because Natalie Portman is fucking perfect here, her smile is fucking perfect I actually cursed on my blog, twice. Because I'm as sweet as Ashton Kutcher. Yeah I know, not good looking as him but hey, if you close your eyes, I'm still sweet.

Now ok, jokes aside, I love this movie because it gives me that "kilig" factor. Because it's just so relevant about people starting out for fun and then falling in love, getting things complicated and then the fall out and then the rebirth of love.

Honestly, I can't explain it in words, just watch this. XoXo

4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Yep, that's not a typo, it is titled the Pursuit of Happyness. It's been 10 years since this movie was released and it's such a big hit so I don't really expect a lot of people who won't know this movie. But in case you don't, this is a true-to-life story of a man being broke and just wields his incredible will power to get through hardship. I cried, not shed tears, I cried and I'm not ashamed of that. For such a beautiful story like this, who wouldn't let a few manly tears flow?

3. Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

I don't think I need to explain why this. I mean, why not? We all have our wallflower sides, but only a few see and feel things, and for the few who do, I already love you, from the bottom of my heart, because if you see and feel the things I do, we should hang out.

2. Love, Rosie (2014)

What can I say? I fell in love with Lily Collins ever since. The unconditional love in this movie is just amazing. I can't explain it, the love here is raw and just beautiful. I love it, I love it, I love it. So watch it, watch it, watch it! I still don't have the book so anyone out there want to give me one? Thanks in advance!

1. Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man is an Indie film that was supposed to show here in the Philippines but somehow it got pushed off by a big-budgeted movie and I hate the cinemas for doing that. I had to scour the net for this.

Daniel Radcliffe plays a dead person here and all I can say about his performance is that he 'killed' it. Get it? He killed it (HA HA HA)

This is a comedy-drama-adventure-almost musical-soul-searching movie. This is about accepting yourself for being who you are and you don't need to hide it, you don't need to hide being weird because at the end of the day it's your life and you need to express it, and express it now. People know me as the devil-may-care guy who doesn't mind being embarrassed for some shit he's done.

Yeah, I don't really mind about not having to care what people think, I do what I do as long I'm happy and I don't step on anyone's happiness. That's just me, and maybe that's why that when I watched this film, it was a personal confirmation that I am sure of myself, that I am no longer looking for my identity because what I am for the past years, the "bumpy" in me is no longer an alter ego, it was the real me, my personal experiences made the "bumpy" I am now, and I'm not ashamed of that.

And if only I can force everyone to watch this, everyone will find their identity. And I want you to watch this, watch it alone, with headphones and listen to all the conversations because it's all important or else you'll be lost in the movie. Watch this so that you don't have to hide your weirdness, we just have to show them.

---End of List---

October 4, 2016

First published E-book: Escolta

Hi Friends!

     I just released my first e-book titled "Escolta", just to tell you guys the background of Escolta.

     I was inspired to write this when I went to an art fair in Escolta, I thought what a beautiful setting Escolta would be for a story. It was the summer of 2014 when I started working on it, it was originally supposed to be a novel but I thought it would be hard stretching a one-day story. So I decided that it would be my first short story as I already have a novel project that I was developing for 4 years during that time (Make that 6 years now)

     After just a few months I lost my spark of insanity in writing and I stopped writing. In 2015 I was encouraged to write it for a contest and so I did and wrote it, but with a deadline, I was pressured to finish it, that's why I hate deadlines. I knew it wouldn't win, and it did not, I think probably it was one of the first entries to be eliminated.

     Just a few months ago, around May to be exact, I had quit my job and I was a couch potato at home and watched movies all day and getting drunk all night, that was the routine. Until I watched the movie "Stranger Than Fiction", The narration in that movie was superb and so I thought I should revisit my writing - and yes, my writing sucked big time, it was way off, I embarrassed myself for sending that to the contest.

     So I scratched the plot and retained only the setting. I rewrote it for 1 week, locked up in my room, writing from the moment I wake up at 9am and ending at around 8pm. I even hunted quiet coffee shops to write.

     And now I present to you, Escolta.

     Escolta is the first part of my planned 3 or 5-part short story series. Yes, when I finished writing this, I wanted to write more so I wrote the 2nd part last June, it took my around 3 days to write the second one. Watch out for the second part because I may release it this week.

     Escolta is available for FREE through and Barnes & Noble. So download and read now because I'm about to drop the second part! Cheers!

October 3, 2016

A Short Piece


I just want to be quick about this one, I was cleaning my laptop files and I saw this piece I wrote as an exam for a past job. I think this one was actually why I got in. The challenge of the creative director was simple - I have to choose an object inside my bag and create a fictional story about it. But first he asked me to write in Filipino, which I speak fluently but I can't write well at (It's actually a frustration for me to be not good in writing Filipino)

So all I had in my bag that interview was a bottle of perfume and velcro wallet. I chose the perfume.
And I would just like to share with you this very very short story I wrote about that perfume. It's only 800 words long, so, happy reading!

This photo illustrates how I conceptualized the story, out of nowhere.

"C.K. Juan"

     Dalawang Gwardiya - Ang bagitong si Calvin, payat ang pangangatawan, matangkad, mistulang kalansay at liliparin sa isang bugso ng malakas na hangin. At si Klein, ang senior officer ng kanilang hanay, maliit na nilalang, at ubod ng laki ang tiyan na animo’y puputok ang butones ng kanyang uniporme. Sila ang tagapag bantay ng Busilak Perfume Factory sa may Novaliches.
Hatinggabi, sa harap ng gate, malamig ang hangin, gawa ng palapit na ang panahon ng pasko, lumapit ang bagitong si Calvin kay Klein. “Sir, tayo lang ‘ho dalawa magbabantay sa factory?” ang tanong niya. “Hindi ah, dapat nga ikaw lang eh, dahil baguhan ka dito, sasamahan kita sa unang gabi mo rito, marami kang kailangang matutunan nang mabilisan dahil ayoko na sa puyatan, nananakit na ang likod ko sa ganitong oras.” Tinitigan ni Calvin ang maka-mundong hugis ng tiyan ni Klein at napaisip na lamang na malamang iyon ang dahilan ng pananakit ng kanyang likod. “Ang bigat ho kasi ng bagahe niyo,” ang sabi ni Calvin, nakita ni Klein na ang tinutukoy ni Calvin ay ang kanyang tiyan. “Hoy Calvin! Bunganga mo naman, kaya kitang punitin sa nipis ng pangangatawan mo, tara na nga’t malaki ang factory, marami tayong iikutan.”

     Nilibot ni Klein si Calvin sa Busilak Perfume Factory, magmula sa pinakaharapan na gate ay nilibot nila ang buong looban ng pabrika. “Magmula alas-nuebe ng gabi, hanggang alas-kwatro ng madaling araw, iyo ang pabrikang ito, sa iyo ipinagkakatiwala ng kompanya ang lahat ng nasa loob ng nasasakupan dito. Ikaw ang Mayor ng Busilak kapag hatinggabi. Ituring mong sariling iyo ang lahat ng naririto, bantayan mo ito na parang sarili mong bahay, at higit sa lahat, talasan mo ang iyong pandinig, at balatan mo ang iyong mga mata, maraming nagmamasid, naghihintay ng pagkakataon na magnakaw.” “Sir, yes, sir! Ang laki pala ng loob nito, mahirap umikot dito ng walang wheels, wala ba tayong pa-wheels diyan sir?” ang tanong ni Calvin. “Wheels? Halika rito,” ang sagot ni Klein, “Eto, mamili ka ng wheels mo, etong bisikleta na iisa nalang ang gulong sa pagkaluma, o etong skateboard na nakuha namin sa trespasser? May wheels, wheels ka pang nalalaman diyan, may pa-radyo at thermos naman kami eh, kaya competitive ang benefits mo dito.”

     Pinasok nila ang main building ng pabrika, at sa loob nito ay ipinakita ni Klein kung pano gumawa ng ng pabango ang pabrika. “Alam mo, sa tatlong dekada ko nang serbisyo dito ay walang nabago sa proseso ng kanilang paggawa ng pabango, tatlong dekada ko nang sinisinghot ang halimuyak ng kanilang pabango, at pag naaamoy ko ito’y sumasabay sa aking ala-ala ang nakalipas na tatlong dekada kong pagbabantay dito,” ang pagkuwento ni Klein. “Ang tanda niyo na pala noh? Kaya pala hinahanap ko kung san yung amoy lupa,” ang pabirong pag sabi ni Calvin. “Hoy, Calvin, iyang bunganga mo susungalngalan ko ng pabango yan hanggang sa bumango, bwiset ka!”
Inakyat nila ang lumang torre na yari sa laryo sa gitna ng pabrika. “Alam mo, Calvin, panahon pa ng kastila itong torre na ito, ayaw tanggalin ng may-ari dahil swerte daw sa kanya ito, napapansin ang kanyang pabrika.” “Ang ganda ng tanawin dito, at mahangin, kitang-kita ko rin ang buong paligid ng pabrika,” ang sabi ni Calvin.

     Napansin ni Calvin na tahimik lamang na nagmamasid si Klein sa kawalan at tila may mabigat na iniisip. “Ser, ganda ng drama angle niyo diyan ah, pwedeng pang kalye-serye, Alden Nitso, ikaw ba yan?”

     “May pangarap ka ba, Calvin?” ang tanong ni Klein, “Dito, sa loob ng pitong oras nagiging sa iyo ang pabrika, babantayan mo ito, ngunit pag putok ng umaga’y sa kanila na ulit, pangarap ko noon na magtayo ng kagaya nito, isang pagawaan ng pabango, sa pabrika na ito ko rin nakita lahat ng pagkakamali sa paggawa ng isang pabango.” “Anong pagkakamali?” ang tanong ni Calvin.

     “Ang bote dito, kulay berde’t madilim sa mata, ang korte nito ay bilog parin, ang aking gusto ay papayatin ang bote, parang ikaw, at nakagawa na ako ng mas mabangong halimuyak na siguradong papatok. Sa tagal ko rito ay natutunan ko narin kung paano gumawa. Natatakot lang ako magsimulang muli, wala akong kasama, at kulang ako sa pera.” Ang sabi ni Klein.

     “Sir, may alam ako sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo, may tindahan kami, at may kilala din akong gumagawa ng bote, pwede natin doon ipayari yun, may ipon din ako, pagsamahin natin ang pera natin at bumuo ng negosyo,” ang paanyaya ni Calvin.

     “Ano itatawag natin sa negosyo natin? Pagtatanong ni Klein. “Dapat kakaiba, dapat astig, pang-first class ang dating, parang pangalan natin. Calvin at Klein… Edi Calvin Klein! Pang-international ang pangalan natin diba.”

     “Ano naman itatawag natin sa pabango natin?” “Sir, sa tingin ko “One” dahil una natin eh, ‘Calvin Klein One’ ang itawag natin.” “Nako Calvin, mahaba – “CK One” ang itatawag natin diyan.”

     At diyan nagsimula ang alamat ng Calvin Klein.

September 14, 2016

Intramuros: The Past & The Curious

     As the great Confucius said "Study the past if you would define the future." And yes, I do agree with him. I've always been fascinated with the past ever since I was young, history was my favorite subject growing up and Philippine history was my favorite of them all. I'm not an expert in all parts of our country's history, but if I can be boastful, I do know more than the average Juan. 

     My love for history was further fueled when I began studying inside the walled city of Intramuros. Every time I entered its walls, it warped me 400 years back, and every time I walked the halls of my college, I often wondered if I've walked the same path as the revolutionary heroes of the Philippines.

     My passion for history couldn't be contained by wondering, so I started wandering. I'd frequently go on solo walks inside the walled city, yes, on my own, usually every Saturday when I only had morning classes and I knew I saved enough money for the week to enter museums inside the walls. There are at least 8 museums inside the walls alone so I'd go to one every week. But there was one main museum that was the star attraction of the walled city, and it was Fort Santiago.

A replica of the Tranvia
     Now I have a lot of relatives in the U.S. of A. And it was so wonderful that they all came home to spend their vacation with us! Oh the wonderful chaos it created at home - The hectic schedule everyone had to commit to, the noise that started during breakfast up until the wee hours of the night with wine, whisky, and beer on our hands. My uncles and aunts and some of my cousins grew up here before moving to the states (except for some of my cousins who were born there)

   And luckily there was one Saturday that everybody was free. So then they wanted to go somewhere, and of course, me being a staunch lover of Manila city, I said "Let's go to Intramuros!" to which everyone agreed to. I hastily prepared an itinerary for them, I started with listing all the attractions and asked if they wanted to see something in particular. My cousins wanted to see San Agustin church because that's where their parents got married (San Agustin Church is a UNESCO world heritage site) and so I eliminated the minor attractions and drew out a final plan.

     So at 7AM (Yes, I scheduled our departure that early because we live 12 kilometers away from Manila [Yes, I count distance, too] and with Manila's dreadful traffic, it can mean at least 90 minutes of travel) we left the house and drove toward my beloved city. It was quite fun that my uncles and aunts still recognized parts of the street, they were all "oh, there used to be..." "hey, that was ______ before!" 

     We arrived an hour later (Thanks to a miraculous smooth traffic) and since it was still a bit early to go to the museum, we stopped by the walls in front of Lyceum University because it was where a few of the walls' Spanish cannons were still on display, though it is exposed to the elements. And after a few minutes of walking around, the sun's heat began claiming the land and it was time to go indoors. And so I took them to Fort Santiago, where they can have a crash course lesson on the life and works of our National Hero Jose P. Rizal.

They say that to capture someone's soul, take a stolen photo, and so I did. Look at their genuine, priceless smiles
     There were a lot of people visiting the fort on that day, good thing the weather became cloudy by the time we got in. So just like what a tourist would do, I told a bit of trivia I knew based from my own research (No, I didn't source Wikipedia, don't worry) but of course a professional tourist guide would be much better than me, but hey, this is my family, so I got you, fam.

At the Tranvia
My cousin Lee enjoying Banana Cue

  I would tell them things I know, but most of the time I just let them read on to the material available there, I didn't speak if I wasn't sure of my history, it's hard to misinform people, it would be a disaster.

     Fort Santiago has improved a lot compared to the first time I went there alone in 2008, I was a college freshman armed with a camera $2 and my I.D. to have a 50% discount. Back then there wasn't much that was going on in the Fort, it was just an old, dying place where it was treated as "some place where history took place...and where Rizal was imprisoned." - That was that, cameras weren't even allowed inside the main museum then. It was hot, dimly lighted, and HOT.

     Since 2008 I made annual visits to Fort Santiago (Even this year! I was just there a few months ago with other relatives from the states, greetings Militante Family!) so make that 8 years straight of visiting one place. And comparing it 8 years before? It's so much beautiful now, the landscaping was improved, there are coffee shops, photography studios and souvenir shops around. The grounds were kept clean and the most important change was the air conditioning. Yes, it's now cold and the reading materials were also improved to my delight!

One of the improvements inside: The Trial of Jose Rizal
Vast improvements for the display cases and reading materials
          I can say that Fort Santiago is really worth the visit now, especially for the young ones because some Pinoy kids today know Naruto and One Punch Man but has no idea who Juan Luna is. I always believe that our grasp in our identities as Filipino rely in our knowledge and understanding of our past. And if my uncles and aunts who are away from home grabs the only chance they get to visit the roots of the blood in their veins, why can't we? Us who are living here, the museums are open. I think it's time that schools stop field trips to malls and head to museums instead.

I got them to follow Rizal's final journey!
     And after 90 minutes inside of the Fort, we then went to San Agustin Church, luckily the church was open at that time because of a wedding. We didn't go inside the church's museum anymore because you'll need about 2 hours to really appreciate the artifacts there.

     After reminiscing the church and wedding bells, I took them to, well you know, of course, a Filipino restaurant, and yes, it's Max's (To Max's Management: That is not free advertisement, please send GCs.) We had the whole crew munching on chicken, beef, pork, noodles, I think we got all from the menu, even the desserts! And sorry if you didn't see pictures of the food, well we were so hungry.

     With tummies filled and energies replenished, we went to one final stop before we head home. Of course, it's a visit to Rizal Park to see the greatest Filipino (Until Today)

Here's the family, and that's the only angle where you won't see DMCI's Torre de Manila
     I'm glad I had a chance to take them there, it is different when it's family, but it is always a different experience when I tour someone around Manila. One thing is for sure, I won't ever get tired showing people my beloved city of Manila.

I found an old post World War 2 Photo of Fort Santiago and combined it with mine. Amazing how I took it at the same angle as the photographer who took it 70 years ago.


September 8, 2016

Hungry Critters in Binondo

     Manila is a city where you'll never go hungry. Ever since I studied here I've turned every stone looking for a great place to eat. But there will always be one place where I'll never be ashamed of admitting that it's my guilty pleasure to stroll around with food in my hand - and that is Binondo.

     Binondo is an ancient district just north of the walls of Intramuros, it was founded in 1594, just 30 years after the walled city was founded. It is where the Chinese settled, and so did their legendary cuisine, it was once home to the great Noodles and Siopao of Ma Mon Luk. 

     Today, the Chinese still reside here and with it, the food. I first discovered the wonders of Binondo when I joined the "Binondo Food Wok Tour" where hungry tourists gathered and went chow-hopping. After that, armed with a foodie map, I'd go explore alone, and sometimes with friends.

     This time, I went with 2 of my close friends who had never crossed Jones bridge to taste the wonders of Binondo, so without hesitation, I volunteered as a guide and off we went and crossed the bridge.

Me and my favorite noodle house
     For the benefit of all, I'd like to tell you guys that when you tour with me around Manila, I love sharing historical pieces about the place (I'm a history buff) because I'm so passionate about Old Manila and the rich history it had before the city's decay in the 1970s.

     Because it was traffic in Binondo district, we left the car in Intramuros and walked toward the food haven. I'd occasionally point to directions and buildings, sharing what it was before and when it was built and who were the famous people connected to such places. I don't know if they were interested at what I had to say, but I said it anyway, because baby I was born this way (Thank you Lady Gaga)

Jones Bridge
     Before I forget, I want all of you to know that I don't know the streets in Binondo, I just remember by memory where to turn to get to these places, so if you'll ask me how to get there, might as well just use Waze or Google Maps.

     The first food place I took them to was the "New Po-Heng" where they served vegetable lumpia, I always prefer to it as the appetizer. The place was inside an old condominium building, there's not even a signage to direct you inside. When we got inside, only a few tables were being served and because we came in the afternoon, the food tours had already stopped. And so I got our orders - 2 lumpia both cut in half (because the serving was enormous and I was afraid my guests for the day would have full stomachs)

New Po-Heng's Famed Vegetable Lumpia
     The lumpia consists of greens, carrots, a kind of nori, brown sugar mixed with nuts and of course, a wrapper. But what makes this appetizer a winner is the sauce (which is not in the photo, you have to find out for yourself!) The sticky sauce complements the lumpia and without question, they loved it. Our expense for the 2 lumpia? $2 (Php100) It's so cheap, right? 

     Up next was "Dong-Bei Dumplings" which I think is the most popular dumpling place in Binondo, I've heard many friends eating here and I won't argue with that, it is the best dumpling house in town. And why is that? Because they only sell dumplings! That's why they're so good at it!

Steamed 'Kutchay' Dumplings
     I really wanted them to try the shrimp dumplings but by the time we got to Dong Bei, (Around 5pm) there was really nothing left on the menu but the Kutchay Dumplings. I was quite disappointed that they won't get to taste what I wanted them to have but I guess there's always a next time for that. We opted to get 2 kinds of the Chinese Chives-filled dumplings - Steamed and Fried, and there were 10 pieces of each order.

     It is simply delicious, I have no words for Dong Bei Dumplings, they never fail me. I've brought a lot here and they all loved it. The good thing about Dong Bei is that you can watch them do their dumpling magic, they prepare it right in front of the window of their hole-in-the-wall, 2-storey unit, which the second floor houses the owners of the restaurant. Here's another trivia, the owners are from mainland China and so the recipe of how they prepare the dumplings are of authentic tradition, there's really no need to go to China to taste authentic dumplings! And the cost for the 2 plates of dumplings? $4 (Php 200) and we're almost full!

Trivia: Dani is my first friend in college
     We got a little stuffed in the waist area so we decided to take a rest first and let the critters of our tummies devour our food first before moving to the main event of the food trip.

Just missed the Fried Siopao
     I also wanted them to try the fried siopao, but because it was already nighttime, everything was sold out.

     And for the main event, it was noodles time! I accidentally found this restaurant during my 'research' in the net about Binondo (Whenever I'm bored or I have nothing to do, I usually read about the history of places and in this case, Binondo) and it became my favorite last stop in Manila. This is one of the few places where I can eat alone even if it's crowded, I didn't care, the noodles are divine.

Beef Kan Pan La Mien
     Lan Zhou's Kan Pan La Mien is their best seller and I would even recommend it for a Michelin Star, I swear it is that good! I drive and suffer Manila's traffic for their heavenly noodles. You have a choice of Beef, Chicken, Spareribs, and Seafood for your toppings and each choice comes with a soup. What I love about this place is that they have an open kitchen so you can view how they make their noodles and the serving is already enough for two, but since I want them to have the full "La Mien" experience, we ordered one for each of us. The noodles costs around $4 but it's really a bargain considering the serving, and yes they give free tea.

Death by Binondo

     I asked them how the food trip was and they said it was fantastic. I take pride in recommending food places because, you know, food is the extension of my soul.

     It was actually hard to walk back to Intramuros to get the car because by the time we finished the noodles, we couldn't move. We dragged our feet walking back slowly and stopping after a few hundred meters to say how stuffed we were.

     As you can see in the photo, I died from gluttony. It was a fun afternoon sharing the wonderful district of Binondo to my friends, and I'm looking forward to bring other friends here, even you! Yes, you who is reading this, just hit me up here, post a comment and let's schedule your trip to Binondo. Don't worry, I don't charge a tour fee, it's free, but you have to treat me! (Joke)

     See you guys on the next Bumpy Journey, cheers!

September 6, 2016

Let's ride again!

     Guess who's back? Back again? Bumpy's Back, tell a friend. Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Guess who's back, Bumpy's back!

     Hello everyone! I return to save you all from life's boredom. As you all know, my life is your entertainment. But before I get into things, please forgive my sudden disappearance way back in May 2014. I was "pre-occupied" with the journeys of life, I got into a lot of struggles in life. But hey, that's why my blog's called "the bumpy journey of life" and I am Bumpy.

     What's different with this ride compared to the first 7 years of blogging? (I started in 2009)

     I am now more open to all of you, I won't hide feelings so that you will get a taste of a raw, and unedited Bumpy, but I have always been honest to all of you, I just didn't share THAT much. But things will change from now on. AND I WILL TRY TO PROOFREAD MY POST FIRST, YOU KNOW I HATE PROOFREADING MY BLOGS (It's evident with so many grammatical errors during the first years of my blogging)

     So what the hell (or heaven) happened? 

     First, I got into a string of misadventures in my career in the advertising world, I worked in 3 different companies for the past two years. I was let go at a job as a Digital Marketing Assistant after 6 months (That was February 2015) due to having different creative ideas and strategies. And so I was jobless for 3 months, and without money coming in, the floodgates of my wallet became streams of rolling coins. I was actually offered an internship at a big ad agency, but there was no pay and the contract was for 2 months, I couldn't accept it so I reluctantly accepted an offer and went "client-side". Yes, I went client-side, I became a "traitor" to advertising practitioners. 

     But my work experience with this client-side company did me damage. It's not so much about the work load, I can handle that without sweat, it was easy, it was more about the people I worked with. I experienced "crab mentality" and I have seen people with skins made of tupperware. There was so much beaking around and backstabbing. And the corporate world was so different to the 'creatives' world that I was accustomed to. I'm not saying that all corporate companies are like this, but for my experience it was so difficult. I lost a lot of sleep because of it, I badly missed the advertising world, I missed the people, the freedom of casual wear and the unrestricted number of breaks and most importantly, I missed creating, innovating, and thinking about campaigns hoping to turn it into reality.

     So after 5 months, I walked out, happily. There was so much relief that I started to see rainbows and began hearing birds sing again, I was that happy that I got out of that horrible work place. There were a good few friends there, but I knew who were the snakes, I always knew.

     But then I got in an events & communications agency and I got to be a Copywriter! I always wanted to be a copywriter ever since I graduated in 2012. There were misses and hits, but I was always happy when my idea became reality, I was so fulfilled I didn't mind going home way past midnight and show up at the office the next day (but of course, if you know me personally, you know that frequently take naps in the office) - But the best of all of being a copywriter? We can drink alcohol to expand our minds during brainstorming. But all things come to an end, and just after 6 months, I had to move out again. My boss there was so kind (sometimes I think he was too kind) that he didn't even know how to let me go and so we ended up laughing our way toward ending my contract. He said I had the knack for copywriting (naks!) but I was at the wrong business, he said I should try Above-The-Line advertising and veer away from events. Of all the work places I've been into (I think it's 6 or 7) since 2012, I'm only thankful to three of them: My first job (proofreader), my first experience in Digital Marketing (What's up Makati!) and my last job - as a copywriter. And for the rest of the companies I've worked for, shut up nalang ako.

     My career's so wild right? Can't blame them though, I'm a Journalism graduate chasing the world of Advertising, as much as I love it, I think it will never be my home.

     And so I was jobless again and combined with a broken heart, I drank the months of May, June, and July away. Yes, I was literally drunk every night during May, I was drunk weekly in June and finally I was occasionally drunk in July. What can I do, I was depressed. But one day I finally decided to watch the film "Stranger Than Fiction", it's been in my laptop for years but somehow I always skip on it. The narrative of that movie inspired me to look at my past short story work and compare how the movie told the story and yes, mine sucked big time. But after a while the inspiration died, what else could I write? I'm was still depressed and comparing my short story to that movie was almost suicidal, so I just watched another stock movie which was "Midnight in Paris" - It was that movie that gave me the inspiration to revise my work and come up with stronger storytelling, and with the help of a friend (a friend who must not be named) we worked with character names and again with the help of some friends (some friends who must not be named) I had them read the draft which they gave mostly positive reviews (I hope they were honest, because I really needed the negative comments more) and I can say, writing 10,000 words in 3 days and cutting it into 7,000 was really extraordinary for me because I'm a slow writer. I think being a bum and having a long break (and heartbreak) did help me come back to my writing form.

     So because they loved the first part of my three-part short story, I wrote the second one a week after the first and I think it's quite as good as the first one. I'm still thinking about what to write for the third part of the story, so I'm really excited to finishing this personal project. I also plan on selling it, I found a cafe in Quezon City who supports independent writers and I hope I do get a go signal. Don't worry, I'll sell them really cheap, 3 stories for a price of 1? Not bad right? Cheers!

      So what am I doing now? I'm still doing advertising. But I only do it from 8AM to 5PM. I know have more time to make blogs for you, my beloved readers! I'm really quite surprised I still got an average of a thousand views every month without putting up anything for a long time.

     And because I went rogue on you guys for more than 2 years, I owe you guys a lot of bumpy stories, and I will give all the bumpy stories you all deserve to know. But please forgive me, I'll try my best not to leave you again. So will you come and ride with me again?

!Vamos Por Todo!