Saturday, August 30, 2014

Forced to go on break

I think that, so far, I've built the reputation of being a workaholic among the people who train in BAMF MMA Center because every time I'm there, right before/after training, I'd be facing my trusty Lenovo laptop (or sometimes, I'd even be reading a book in between rounds of boxing). Maybe I bit off more than what I can chew, because truth be told, I don't get to unwind anymore. I've had to sacrifice sleep, reading time, writing time - basically me time.
I have to be reminded that it's okay.
(image from the internet)
But I have friends who force me to go on break, and I'm grateful.

A few weekends back, I watched my friends Abi, JR, and Franco compete in the 2014 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu National Championships, and because Franco won Gold on the first day (Gi), he treated us to ramen in Yushoken, and he gave me the grand tour of Alabang Town Center, haha! We ended the evening with coffee in Makati.
My first movie in AGES.
(image from the internet)
The following day, he won again (No Gi), and we all watched Guardians of the Galaxy in Greenbelt after play time with their dogs and dinner in Yoshinoya. Noemi, Franco and JR's sister, joined us then. I got some work done over that weekend - yes, I had my laptop with me the whole time - but I still managed to squeeze in some time away, and that's what mattered.

At the gym, Franco would make an effort to get me away from my laptop by making me do weights before I work out. JR would always invite me to go La Salle for Happy Thursday, and sometimes I'd actually show up and grab a few beers. I've had some dates, too, and some catch-up sessions with friends I rarely see like Bianca and J-Sio. I even had gigs, thanks to Paul!

I don't know what I did right to deserve the awesome friends that I have, and I'm not about to question being blessed. I'll just be thankful that I have them around.


Friday, August 29, 2014

FTF / Forza Italia!

I met Francesco through common friends, Anna and Chase (read about our ukay-ukay trippy in Cubao!), the night we were sending Chase off to the US. We had dinner in Cafe Via Mare in Greenbelt, and then we walked to Red Box for some good old karaoke! Chase is a really awesome singer and I kinda felt bad that I only got to hear her sing the night before she left! :(

Anyway, Francesco's Italian, so he would "scold" me on Facebook for eating Jolly Spaghetti - which is one my favorite guilty pleasures! Haha! We both like rock music, plus he's a bassist and I'm learning to be one! He's also a customer of my alcohol side business - he got a bottle of Glenlivet for a really good price! Yay!

So anyway, this is a blog post of three firsts.
Perfect with a bottle of wine
(photo from the internet)
A while back, we had dinner and wine in Straight Up Bar, a roofdeck bar and restaurant in Seda Hotel in BGC, Taguig. Francesco ordered a bottle of wine for the two of us, which we downed over conversation interrupted only by bathroom breaks! I really couldn't remember much about the wine except that it was a bit on the sweet end so I liked it a lot. The food was okay; I wasn't disappointed or anything, mainly because I kept my expectations quite low - it's not a dinner place to begin with.

But it was a lovely place, and the view of the Bonifacio Global City skyline was very, very nice. From work, I went straight there, so the view was definitely refreshing. But because of a work-related emergency, I had to go back to the office at midnight (yes, people, sh*t happens), cutting the night short. I'm glad that I'm doing freelance work now (and I hope I don't get tempted by corporate stability again)!

After that evening, my life got way too busy that we didn't get to talk much for a long time. We'd exchange a few words on Facebook or on Google+, and we'd try to plan to see each other and catch up, but nothing ever pans out. We once bumped into each other in Bugsy's - he was there for the World Cup, and I was there to celebrate my brother AR's birthday. It was from there that we finally decided that we just HAD TO meet up!
(photo from the internet)
It happened in a week or so that we found ourselves in Motorino Authentic Napoletana Pizza in Greenbelt 3 (near the cinemas). In his words, "This restaurant saved my life in Manila!" From the mouth of an Italian man, that means a lot! I've tried one too many pizzas in my life as a land mammal, and all were good, but this one is just on a level of its own!
Luke, I am your father.
(photo from the internet)
Francesco and I had one pizza each (I eat like a beast because I train like one!) - he had Prosciutto Di Parma, while I ordered Margherita with American bacon topping. Oh my goodness, it was just too good! It's a bit pricey, but it's well worth what you pay for. I love that you can see the oven from the dining area of the restaurant - it reminds me of Darth Vader.
I did it!
(image from the internet)
All the photos in this post are grabbed from the internet because of the third first: My phone died, and I didn't beg the waiters to charge it for me. I wasn't able to take any photos, but I wasn't able to take any more phone calls or messages by 10:00 PM. I went totally offline for a couple of hours. I'm not sure what I missed, but frankly, I couldn't care less - in fact, I'm glad I missed them. I've forgotten how it feels to really be with another person without reaching out for my phone. It's a healthy exercise in shared humanity and I'm grateful for it.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

LT / Instapoetry

Although I have a predominantly logical mind, I have always been passionate about the creative, which explains my love for reading literature and writing. I am and I always will be biased for prose, but I do have an appreciation (and maybe even a little bit of talent) for poetry (I'm proud to have had my piece called "(Un)Empty Spaces" published in Flow 5.2, curated by Joey Yupangco).

My friend Reese shares my passion for poetry, as well. She follows a poet named Robert M. Drake, who posts his work on various social media sites. He's a talented young writer who, in my humble opinion, has really found his voice. Anyway, one random evening, Reese sent me a screenshot of her Instagram feed with the piece from Drake, and she left me a note saying that she immediately thought of me when she read it.
My heart is full <3
she was fierce, she was strong,
she wasn't simple. she was crazy
and sometimes she barely slept.
she always had something to say.
she had flaws and that was ok.
and when she was down, she got
right back up. she was a beast
in her own way, but one idea
described her best, she was 
unstoppable and she took everything
she wanted with a smile.

Reese reposted the photo and dedicated it to all the beautiful and strong women she knew, myself included (thank you, dear!). And as I end this post, let me dedicate it as well to all the beautiful and strong women I know, starting with the superlative that is my lovely mother.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MW / SaGuijo gig #2

I'm starting to notice a pattern - when I know that I'm about to perform in SaGuijo, I get sick. The first time I caught the flu the Sunday before the Tuesday gig. What could have been the second time got cancelled because I had fever brought about by exhaustion from my Dumaguete trip. And the most recent was was the same - I had fever the day before because of the all-nighters I've been pulling for work!

Thankfully, I didn't have to cancel again. Although we didn't get to practice because we were both so busy, and although Bok couldn't make it because of work, Gershwin and I marched on and played a five-song all-original set as Manaha. Our repertoire included all the usual suspects - Pag-Amin and Kape from my arsenal, Kalaro, Palaisipan, and Mulat from his.
Our biggest little fan! :)
Photo by Franco Rulloda
This one's extra special because my godson, Asher, was there with me onstage (well, it's not really a stage but you get what I mean)! He was just too cute and I'm so happy Ava brought him. In one of the songs, I actually felt him tugging on the mic stand, and I had to fight the urge to stop singing and just play with him, haha!

But the best part about this gig is that my DEFTAC friends were there! Woohoo! Before the gig, JR dropped by the condo to hang out, and because he noticed I was so nervous, he ended up doing stupid dance moves to make me laugh! Franco and Reese picked us up and then we had dinner in Sinangag Express in Malugay before we finally headed to SaGuijo.

Alfred and his lovely wife Kat managed to escape from their cutie patootie son, Alo, for the evening, and they made it there right about the middle of the third song. I almost wanted to cry at how supportive they were. We haven't even been friends that long - Alfred I met in March, Franco in May, Reese in June, and Kat and JR in July - but they really made an effort to be there to support me.

Franco even posted a photo of Manaha on Instagram! It was a bit embarrassing because he tagged Urbandub's Gabby Alipe, Hale and Mecca Music's Champ Lui-Pio, and the official account of 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub - and all three liked the picture! Haha! Reese even commented that I have a fan club and that they'll show up at the next gig wearing shirts with my face printed on them! I have crazy friends and I love them! :)

Thank you, Paul, for always having Manaha in mind for your prod. Thank you, Ava, for always being supportive of Gershwin and the music that we're trying to make as a band. Thank you, Franco, JR, Reese, Alfred, and Kat - having you guys there means so much! :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HFT / Fight Factory Manila

A few weeks ago, my schedule got so crazy that I missed my usual Wednesday workouts at BAMF MMA Center. Luckily for me, though, Franco brought me with him when he trained in Fight Factory Manila in Greenhills. While he rolled on the mat, I threw punches on the ring. Yup, I finally got to box in a ring! :)
Ring time!
My instructor's name was Harold, and much like Coach Vincent, he's a good teacher. However, the difference between the two is that Coach Vincent knew me better - he knows that I have workaholic tendencies, that I'm anaemic, and that I don't get a lot of sleep, so he's a bit more considerate when he notices I'm starting to get tired.
Harold didn't know those things about me, so his assumption is that I'm in good shape and I'm there to work my butt off. Which I did, even though I was a bit under the weather at the time (I had slight fever when I woke up that morning). I struggled a bit on the ring; the soft surface meant my feet sank a bit with each step, which then requires me to exert a little more effort to move around.

The combinations made the workout fun for me - Harold really mixed things up! But I got exhausted easily. I only completed three rounds, and I would have been very disappointed in myself if I didn't have fever that same morning. After the first round, I was already sweating like a pig (glad I don't smell like one, haha!).
Before the workout ended, we did some ab workouts similar to what Coach Vincent would make me do, but with small variations. The results were the same, though - I felt a lot of real pain in my abnormally short torso the following day. But I'm not complaining, because that's how I know I can expect results after a while! :)

Since Franco and I still had to go to Plato Bar (near La Salle) for Raveolution (his brother Jr and my friend DJ Mark Nicosia invited me), I took a shower at Fight Factory. I love that they have one of those big shower heads that I'm such a sucker for! I must've been in the bathroom for half an hour because by the time I was done, Frank's workout was over, too! Haha!
Check this out!
For people who may find BAMF MMA Center at tad too far, Fight Factory in Greenhills is a great option! It's on the second floor of One Beverly Place in Annapolis Street. They offer boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay thai, and MMA at really good rates. Enjoy!


Monday, August 25, 2014

UM / Versatility

I'm crazy about white tops: I already have three crisp white shirts with varying sleeve lengths (my favorite is the G2000 top that I bought from Baguio), but every time I go to the ukay-ukay, my eyes immediately scour the place for more white tops (and colorful skirts to match). Although I will admit that it's not very smart to buy white from the ukay-ukay because all the items there are pre-loved, I still go for it against my better judgment.
White is versatile
I got this top from Guadalupe for a mere Php20, and sadly, the photo I took doesn't do it justice. It's actually made of some sort of heavy fabric, so I could wear a black bra underneath and it won't show. There's a belt-like detail in the weave that makes my waist seem smaller, and the v-neckline reveals just the right parts of my decolletage to create the illusion of a longer neck.

It has some mild stains that won't go away with washing, but that's okay because they're not noticeable. I usually wear this with a pair of skinny jeans and ballerina flats, but it looks just as nice with a pencil skirt and high heels for those power meetings. :)


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Having is greater than owning

People have grown so used to labeling things as their own that a lot seem to derive comfort from whatever it is that they can call theirs - a house, a car, a phone, a computer, and so on. Although I would dare claim that I am not attached to most of my material possessions (thanks to Fight Club), I still like having certain things - especially my books, and I don't think that's ever going to change, haha!

I'm not against the  need of people to own things; if they want it and then they worked for it, then they deserve it. I'm like that, too, albeit to a lesser extent. I guess I just spend on different items than most people I know, and owning those things do make me happy. But there is something that I'm really, really against, and that's the idea of owning people.

The definition of ownership is the state, relation, or fact of being an owner. Being an owner means you legally possess something, that that something is your property. The term also implies having power or mastery over something. The key word here is something, not someone. 
No, you don't.
(image from the internet)
While most dictionaries have similar definitions of owning and having, those are two very different philosophical concepts - for me, at least. To own something means you control it fully, and that can only be done to a thing, and not to a person. We have people in our lives, but they're not ours - we do not possess them, and we do not control them.

To own someone is to destroy him or her - you impose your will on that person, and if he or she chooses to be owned, he or she will sacrifice identity to accommodate your need for ownership. He or she will cease to become his or her true self to become what you want. In the end, he or she will be reduced to a thing, complete with all the labels that limit his or her personality, his or her humanity.

Wanting to own someone could also destroy you. When the person you think you own falls short in his or her attempt to become what you want him or her to be, you will be disappointed. If he or she somehow manages to meet all your expectations, you will forever be responsible for that person because you made him or her, because his or her identity is your product.

We do not, and we cannot, own people - we can only have them - and by this I mean letting them be who they really are and just be grateful for the privilege of having them around.

Let me end this post with a quote from Paulo Coelho, lifted from the novel Eleven Minutes: Nobody loses anyone, because nobody owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.