Thursday, October 23, 2014

LT / The world is a book

And those who do not travel only read the first page. I think it was St. Augustine who said that.
Last week, I shared that I have a new writing project - letters to my mother from every destination I visit. From my last trip, I managed to write a number of letters already (because I had a lot of stops), and I'm looking forward to my next trip if only to write more to her. And apart from the letters, I also rely on travel for new experiences that will inspire me to write, not just for my blog, but on my journals, and practically everything else.
Malabo Waterfalls, Pulang Bato, Valencia, Negros Island
It took a breakup for me to get that much-needed push to travel, and looking back, I couldn't help but feel even more grateful for what I thought back then would be the end of me. Well, it was the end of me - a part of me, that is. When the worst was over, I packed a bag and flew to Dumaguete, and the part of me that refused to live died in the process. I came back a new person, with a new thirst for life, and for travel.
Port of Dumaguete City at night
There is just so much to see out there, and if you don't travel, you're depriving yourself of the opportunity to know not just the world, but yourself, as well. When you travel, especially when you're alone, you open yourself up to a great deal of wonderful experiences you used to not have access to, and you learn so many things beyond your wildest imagination. You are also forced to open up to other people you meet on the way.
Apo Island
Dear reader, I urge you to travel. I urge you to leave the comfort of your home. I urge you to book a ticket and pack a bag - be it for a couple of nights or a couple of weeks or a couple of months. I urge you to go somewhere you've never been, for a fresh view, and maybe even a fresh start. If at all possible, travel alone - don't be afraid! It's when you're by yourself that you truly learn to depend on you, to enjoy your own company, and to love you.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MW / Ampalaya The Musical

The timing for my second Dumaguete trip for 2014 couldn't have been more perfect. The weather was on my side the whole time, and I got to watch HOPIA perform live, too! And another great part was that the theatrical run of Ampalaya The Musical was set on the dates that I was there! Awesome!
Ampalaya The Musical is the adaptation of the legend of the vegetable Ampalaya (bitter melon). My friend Jerry was part of the cast - he played Sibuyas (onion), and my other friend Andy was the stage manager. It was staged in Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium inside Silliman University, and I dragged Franco with me to watch on the gala performance on Friday night.
Woot, Jerry!
Save for a few technical problems with the microphones, the entire production was an absolute delight to watch (Franco was LSS-ing after, haha!). Jerry was great in it, and I was soooooo proud of him - especially since I know that he has only been doing theater for a short time. He even lost weight - not sure if it's for the role or because of the role. Haha!
With my favorite onion!
Although some parts of the play were in the local language (Bisaya), I still enjoyed it immensely. I haven't watched a play in a while (the last was The Sound of Music), so it was a great addition to my trip. I even helped spread the word about it to the local Dumaguetenos I met during my stay!

Jerry and Andy, great job, you guys! Can't wait for your next production! :)


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HFT / The sibling-hood of the traveling gi

I've been itching to give jiu-jitsu a try for a while now, mainly because my DEFTAC friends have been telling me that it's a great sport. I know it is, but I got too caught up with things to do for the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) 2014 and the URCC, so I kept putting it off. The ACC was held in Cebu last September, and I decided to extend my stay and take a side trip to Dumaguete before I headed back home to Manila.

And because I couldn't put off Brazilian jiu-jitsu anymore, I decided to borrow a gi from my adopted brother, JR, to bring with me so I can train in Dumaguete. I actually considered training with DEFTAC Cebu, but (1) I didn't know anyone from there, and (2) I had very limited time there because I had to make it to Dumaguete by Wednesday for Franco, so I scrapped that plan and opted to just go to Moalboal and Oslob instead. (NOT BAD, EH?)
In Shangri-La
So anyway, traveling with a gi is a bit complicated if you already have so much luggage. I was forced to tie the gi with my newly-bought white belt (yes!) and carry it by hand. JR gave me specific instructions to respect my belt, so I was as careful with it as I was with the gi. I never let it touch the floor/ground, and I didn't let it get soiled.
At the bus station
In the domestic airport in Manila, I was amused at how people were totally staring at the gi. One woman at the x-ray machine dared to ask what it was, and when I told her it was a gi, she asked if I did tae kwon do. Haha, wrong sport! I politely replied that it's for jiu-jistu, and she gave me an admiring smile that at the time I didn't deserve because I haven't even started!
Finally, I wore it.
Starting from my Makati apartment, the gi has gone with me to: Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Mactan Cebu International Airport, Be Hotel, Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, all around Cebu City, Moalboal, Oslob, all around Dumaguete, back to Oslob, then Mactan Cebu International Airport, then Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, and then finally, my apartment.

If the gi were a child, I'm sure it would have thrown tantrums. Haha! Now I wonder how far my own gi would travel when I finally get one.


Monday, October 20, 2014

UM on time sharing with GVM / Good Vibes Monday!

So I told my friend Reese one evening (well, wee hours of morning, to be accurate) that I was considering retiring Ukay Monday. Shopping has taken a backseat in my list of priorities, mainly because I'm not really a girly girl to begin with. Although ukay-ukay is still very cheap, I've refrained from entering stores because I'm saving up for other things (my own boxing gloves so I can give Franco's back, and my own gi! Woot!).

A part of me feels kinda sad about giving up the category, because I'm really a big ukay-ukay junkie. But to be perfectly honest, I find it a bit challenging to write about clothing because I'm not exactly a fashion plate (I just like cheap stuff, haha!). I don't know what's in, I just know the basics, the classics. I don't know much about fabrics. Bottom line, there's only so much I can say about clothing.

But because I don't really have the heart to retire the category completely, I've decided to do a time-sharing thing. Besides, 'retire' is a bit too extreme considering that I can write an Ukay Monday post again in the future if I so wished. Haha! So let's call it an "alternate."

Reese and I tried to brainstorm for possible alternates. She suggested movies, but because I'm not a big movie buff (not anymore, actually), it's not really something I'm too keen about. Besides, I usually just watch films adapted from books I've read/want to read. I'm also not a foodie - I eat a lot, yes, but my palate is very simple, so that's not exactly a great option for me, either.
Start the week right.
(image from the internet)
She then recommended posting a joke, at the same moment I thought of posting an inspirational quote to set the mood for the week. And that's when it hit us: GOOD VIBES MONDAY! Haha! The category will feature anything and everything GOOD VIBES (that won't fall into any of the other categories, of course). It'll be purely curated content, because the internet is a wonderful place!

As a first Good Vibes Monday post, here's one of my favorite videos, shared to me by my adopted brother, JR:


Saturday, October 18, 2014

An opportunity - part three

The Managing Director (MD) was this super cool and incredibly fit woman - I'm guessing she's in her late forties or early fifties at the most. I liked her instantly - when I hit that age, I'd want to be just as healthy and vital. Anyway, the interview with her was very casual, which made me wonder if it would have been okay to dress down.

Most of the conversation was about mixed martial arts. She asked me why I'm trying to make my way in a man's world, and I told her the story about the first MMA event that I attended, how I felt so bad for fighters who couldn't even afford the most basic protective gear like mouth guards and groin guards.

What I witnessed from that first event moved me, and I wanted to do something. I wanted to help amateur fighters by giving them an avenue where they can make their way to the professional leagues. I wanted to help develop the sport in the country, to make it more mainstream, to make it more accessible to the public.

I doubt that we will find another Manny Pacquiao in the near future, at least not in boxing - so it's a matter of finding the next great Filipino fighter in another sport, which is MMA. The MD told me that I shouldn't try to compete with men, and I assured her that I wasn't trying. I told her that I'm working with them - after all, great men need equally great women behind them. Haha!
Desk job again? Hmmmm.
(photo from the internet)
She then asked me the question that I anticipated but somehow failed to prepare for - was I willing to give up my freedom as a freelancer for a nine to five? Although I still had some doubts, I said yes, because I needed some stability in my life - which is actually very true. I love doing freelance work, but the erratic schedule makes it difficult for me to pursue my new passion for martial arts.

We ended the interview on a cheery note. She told me that they'll be in touch. The following Sunday, I flew to Cebu.

To be continued...


Friday, October 17, 2014

FTF / Bagnetized

Why does unhealthy food have to be the yummiest? That is the question I've been trying to find an answer to since I discovered junk food. Haha! But seriously now, I have this on-again, off-again love affair with pork. When I taught myself how to cook, I focused mainly on chicken, fish, beef, and vegetable recipes in an effort to get healthier. So when I'm confronted with a raw slab of pork, I really don't know what to do with it (bacon being the exception, of course).

As such, my pork consumption is limited to places beyond my home - my friends' homes, and of course, restaurants. And topping my go-to list for the fried sort is 8065 Bagnet in Estrella Street, San Antonio Village, Makati. I had lunch with my little sis/BJJ champ Abi one random Thursday after a sleepover, and my goodness, it was AWESOME.
More than the food, what I really loved about 8065 Bagnet is the homey feel of the place. I went cray-cray taking photos of everything - they had books and original art and all these wonderful accents one would find in an old home, and I am officially in love with the place! I'm a huge fan of old things (I've been told I'm an old soul, and I've also been told that I'm just old, haha!), so everything about the restaurant is wonderful to me.
These caught my eye. And I photobombed them, sorry.
Bagnet Art
Now I'm craving! Argh
The wait staff are very warm and courteous (but not high-strung like some over-caffeinated baristas in Starbucks, haha!). Overall, I had a really great experience there. Pay them a visit on your next bagnet craving! They have a branch near La Salle, as well, if you're from that area. :)


Thursday, October 16, 2014

LT / Letters to the woman

A little over a month ago, I was in Cebu for the Asian Carriers Conference 2014. It was a really exhausting but also really fulfilling experience, and I'm very grateful to have been part of the project. I arrived Sunday night, and all I had time for was work until Friday night. My down time finally started on Saturday, and I made the most of it, of course.

I did some laps in the pool and I also took a dip in the white sand beach. I wasn't able to soak in the tub in my room, but it's okay because I took long, luxurious showers throughout the week. And when everyone else in the team left for their respective afternoon activities, I decided to stay in the room to have some quiet time for writing.
Senti much?
The stationery of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa was just wonderful, and so I got really excited to write. I decided to write a letter to my Mom.

Our client for that project is PLDT, the same company my Mom worked for most of her life. I got to chat with some attendees and as it turns out, a number of them actually knew her (and my godfathers, too!)! It made me so happy and giddy until I realized that picking up my phone to call Mom isn't really an option anymore.

So I wrote to her. I told her about the event, and then some. As I was writing on the balcony overlooking lush greens, I took a photo, which I posted on Instagram and Facebook. On the Facebook version, I got a comment from my friend Eros - he gave me the idea to write and compile letters, and then publish a book.

What an awesome idea, eh? So right then and there, I decided that I'm going to write to my Mom whenever I travel! And maybe I'll have a book in a year!