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Orange Margarita
22 July 2010 @ 12:26 am
If you could spend a week taking photos in any city in the world, which city would you choose, and why?

Everyday we walk out of our doorsteps seeing the same things.  The familiar school bus, the peeling paint of your neighbor's gate, the tabby cat that waits for charity at the side of the intersection.  I was born in Manila and have lived here all my life.  I've seen it stay the same yet it grows and changes.  Manila can be notorious for its traffic jams and the pollution.  It's not Paris nor New York.  Manila is the combination of the old and the new, the edgy and the sophisticated, a city of princes and paupers.  Its inhabitants smile their flashes brightly yet they have a distant look in their eyes when they look out in the bay, squeezing the wrists of their children.  It's a city with an interesting contrast and fusion of its diversity, from the different degrees of aspirations to the varying characters at every street corner.  I've been overseas and seen beautiful cities.  They're just... pretty.  Manila is not a pretty city.  With a Sony Cybershot HX5v I am not just going to capture the pretty.  Through images caught in mid-life, I can present Manila as what it truly is: a geographic poetry of the most interesting kind, a mix of space, structure, people and history anchored in its deep values and geared for the future.
Orange Margarita
16 June 2010 @ 09:47 pm
 Somehow when I feel sad I am reminded of this Nick Laird poem called "On Beauty".  I have posted this poem here before because I thought it was beautiful.  

I am posting it here again because my sadness is perfect.

by Nick Laird

No, we could not itemize the list
of sins they can't forgive us
The beautiful don't lack the wound
It is always beginning to snow.

Of sins they can't forgive us
speech is beautifully useless.
It is always beginning to snow.
The beautiful know this.

Speech is beautifully useless.
They are the damned.
The beautiful know this.
They stand around unnatural as a statuary.

They are the damned.
and so their sadness is perfect,
delicate as an egg placed in your palm.
Hard, it is decorated with their face.

and so their sadness is perfect.
The beautiful don't lack the wound.
Hard, it is decorated with their face.
No, we could not itemize the list.
Orange Margarita
05 May 2010 @ 07:19 pm
 Summer hasn't ended but it feels like I have marked a certain ending which MAY gape into a future.  I am not so sure.  Again, I just had an incredible "affair" with this guy.  For seventeen days.  And I don't know what is going to happen next, but that does not mean I am in an uncertain position.  Wherever I am now is not just all about him, but I have never been this thankful for meeting someone this incredible.

And he is only 23.  And I am not giving him a fancy nickname like the AdMan or the Almost or That Guy in December or That Guy in January.  His name is Mathias.


We were in Banaue.  We checked in this place called Nature Village Inn, a very rustic and charming resort where guests get to stay in Igorot-style native houses.  For a regular "room" it costs about 1700, but since it would be four of us by then, the owner agreed to charge us 2300 for the biggest hut.

We had left Sagada in the morning.  We actually got up pretty early that day, to catch the sunrise in Mt. Kiltepan.  We got up at around 4AM and walked all the way to the meeting place at 430.  At around 445 our guide showed up; he and his assistant would ship about five couples that early, and to my amusement, I had never been part of any "couple" in such scenario.

The sunrise was amazing, but it was cold and foggy.  I had attempted to trek Mt. Kiltepan before when I went to Sagada alone, and finally I made it, this time with an incredible guy.  I was anything but lost at that moment.  He took a lot of pictures, and I stared into the fog.  Day 12 would be the end of the second leg of the trip, and the lest leg bound to Banaue would be the last.  And we would no longer be alone as two more girls would join us.

I think the funny incident was this was the second time I know someone who saw us on this trip.  Gina was a friend in college, and I had not seen her in years.  As our picture was being taken, I heard someone squeal my name, and yep, that was her.  I wonder if she's going to tell mutual friends that FINALLY, I am spotted with a man.

The trip from Sagada to Bontoc is around an hour, and from Bontoc to Banaue is about a couple of hours.  From the main town to the resort, it's about 15-30 minutes, but since we took the jeepney it took us about an hour.  It was alright.  I liked riding with the locals.  Apparently, the old woman sitting beside me was a good dancer of the native dance.  She must be a star in her own terms.

What I love about Nature Village Inn is the view.  This place probably has one of the most incredible views in Banaue.  The deck faces the distant rice terraces which were carved from the mountains of Cordillera.  I experienced a substantial moment of bliss, just looking at the mountains, talking with Mathias, recounting the past 7 days.

And then we had the talk.  I had to bring up the fact that we may have the plan to meet in December, with me flying to Denmark (yep, that's where he's from), but we might not know what will happen in-between.  

See, this is not new to me.  I dated a guy who had to leave.  And well, let's say it didn't work out.  I am not saying that this thing with Mathias would be hopeless, but I cannot help but be realistic.  He's 23, he's going back to school.  He'll move to Copenhagen to start a new life.  He has so much ahead of him.  Hence, do I have a place in his life once these things start to happen to him?  I had to bring that up, but he pointedly said that when he was here he chose not to date anyone for eight months.  Until he met me.

On the seventh day I was just happy as if sadness decided to keep quiet for now.


I had mentioned here I was having a birthday dilemma.  By March I had no plans.  Typically I would be off someplace, alone or not.  But somehow forces made me stay.  I think it had something to do with Into the Wild; you know, that movie about Christopher McCandless, a 20-something American who decided to leave his life, live in anonymity, live off the earth, stuff like that.  His story fascinated me at some point; I thought it was sad.  I had impulses similar to Christopher McCandless.  By the end, before his death, he wrote, "Happiness (is) only real when shared".  It kinda struck me.  I wanted to be happy on my birthday, and I did not want to be alone.

Well, for most of my birthday, I was alone.  How ironic.  As if I never left.

On the night of my birthday there was a party.  I had planned to go there, but as I was faced with having dinner alone, I wanted to go home.  Finally, Sylvia showed up (after her date stood her up).  And then Roan (after several circumstances).  We decided to hit M, but then Sylvia insisted we check out the party first.  If the party was blah, we would leave.  Simple.

Around midnight, on the day I was almost a day into being 31, I met a 23 year-old man.  About 30 minutes into talking with him he took his guitar and sang a song for me in-front of everyone.  "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix.   He almost never left my side.  When I went home, he texted me.  He wanted to see me again the next day.


It was a Saturday, and we would go out that night.  He was planning to take me to MOA after dinner to meet with his friends who perform there.  As the stage gets opened for guests who wanted to perform, Mathias was set to perform as well.  I initially arranged to meet him in-front of this Japanese resto on Makati Ave (he doesn't eat sushi, but he's fine with it), but when I got there the place was closed.  So we headed to MOA and had dinner by the bay.

Things were going ok until I received a text from the Ad Man.

The Ad Man was apologizing and told me he wanted to see me again.  He was set to leave for London in a week.  He would leave Palawan the next day and wouldn't be back until Tuesday.  I told him I might go on a long trip starting Tuesday (Mathias and I were talking about taking a trip together).  Anyway, the texting kinda got, er, mad.  I told him I was glad it was over.  He said I was not nice.  Well.  Action and reaction.  It's a universal law.

Dinner went okay, and then later on he performed: "Don't Let Me Down" and (yes) "All Along the Watch Tower".  Afterwards, his friends joined us.  The bars were closing down.  I was really tired.  I started to get bored that I started exchanging PMs with Roan on Facebook.  Eventually, I told him I was ready to leave.  He said "OK" but he looked as though he didn't want to leave.  So I told him to stay, I wanted to go home.  And then he said, okay, he would stay.  So I got up and left.  He looked so surprised.

On the way to the parking lot I received a message from him.  From his message, I knew that he really, really liked me.  And that he's such a sensible guy.  I had never met anyone who would be that open with me.


Day 1 we initially decided to leave for Sagada.  The plan was to go to Sagada, meet my friends in Baler, and then go up north again to Banaue to meet his friends.  It was a crazy route.  But anyway, my friends suddenly couldn't make it and while we were at the Pasay Terminal of Victory Liner, waiting as chance passengers heading to Baguio, I told him about it.  And then he said, "Let's go to Baler first!"

It was so spontaneous.  We changed terminals and took the bus to Cabanatuan.  From Cabanatuan, the 5-6 hour rough trip t o Baler.  We finally made it to Baler.  We swam on our first day.  He threw me into the water.  A jelly fish stung my thigh.  We walked on the beach.  

We planned to go surfing the next day, and then go to Dicasalarin Cove.  It was crazy to be looking forward to something and at the same time I didn't want time to move.

DAY 17

Without that much drama, we woke up to his last day.  We planned to go to Megamall, but thanks to Friday traffic and the sale, I drove on and took us to Shangri-la instead.  We were running out of time; he was supposed to get something for his dad.  When we got to Shangri-la we ordered lunch but he had to go to the cash machine.  It took him 30 minutes to finally get some money.  Thanks to payday Friday, the machines went bonkers and the line was long.  And that was before noon.

We had to hurry as his plane would leave five minutes before five, and we had to go to the post office so he could send his package home.  I generally helped him pack.  My apartment was a mess; he left some mess as well, inevitably.  He left his slippers, his toiletries, his playing cards, a USB port, some chords, his guitar.  Finally when everything was packed and I locked the apartment behind me I knew how it would look when I would get back later.  The scattered pieces of him that he could afford to leave.

We drove to the post office near the airport, and then I parked and accompanied him to the departure area.  We waited for his two other friends.  We didn't say goodbye when it was time to go.  His last words were "See you".  I think I choked back the same words.

The odd thing was I didn't cry.  Well, I shed a few tears, but not because he left.  I had never been grateful.  I cried because I felt lucky to be part of his life, and he in mine.


Of course --- now what?

Experience teaches you things.  If anything, I don't want to be bitter.  Ever.  Whatever happens.  I don't think I have enough ground to confront him or to demand anything.  We didn't talk about the immediate future --- just a reunion, someday.  And I don't know what someday will look like, where he will be in his life, and most especially, where I am going to be.  I told him to never lose his way, to go back to school.  I have things going for me as well.  I have my own goals.  I would like him to be part of my life, but as each other's fixture ---- who knows?  I don't know.  I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.  I don't know what he is thinking now.

See, I don't know.

DAY 7, Part 2

Whilst waiting on a jeep in Bontoc bound for Banaue, Mathias took out his notebook.  He's had this notebook for years.  He wrote poems and songs in it as far back as 2006.  He translated these works for me, from Danish to English.  And he had never shown anyone these pieces.  I must say he can be a pretty good poet!

To my surprise when he took out his notebook he asked me to write something.  I don't know what he wanted me to write.  But I had something to say.

I can still remember it well.  I had never written one for anyone and then give the piece with my heart and soul and name on it.  I wrote,

We trace our journeys with our tracks
Our past and future on our backs
Where do we go?
What is our next destination?
I don't know
We'll move on

That's all that is left to do.  Move on.  Together or apart.  Life goes on.  And we'll see about crossing paths again.  

In the meantime, I have decided to stay happy.
Orange Margarita
26 March 2010 @ 11:27 am
 Another Friday has come, and Friday night is in a few hours.

To be honest, after that thing with the Ad Man, kinda lost the spirit of going out.  Well, that does not mean I have stopped going out, in fact, I have been dragging Liz to go out.  I think I am not doing this for me but for her.  Like last Friday --- we crashed this party.  Well, I know people in the party, and have somehow, er, reconnected again with That Thing in December, and have met some new people, but still.  I don't know.  I told this young one early this week, a good Christian guy of 25 or 26 who is falling for this good Christian girl of 18 or 19 that at that party I realized I was not going to find "anything" there.  It was a weird moment, sharing this thought with this guy who knew of my misadventures and has probably started judging me (bless his heart).  Or maybe I am in that Samantha Jones moment in this episode where she gets sick and none of the guys she was with was willing to help her around the house.  And then she cries to Carrie that she is going to be alone, etc., etc., but after the recovery she starts swinging around and does not look back.

What the F.

I don't really feel "broken", I am just busy.  Or maybe frustrated.  My life has been so far promising, but nothing has been happening.  And I am in this position where I just want to do, do, do and go, go, go, but things (and people) around me seem to be victims of circumstances.  And I don't like that.  I mean, fuck circumstances.  Do something about it.  And I am at this point of doing something about it, but as I promised myself that I SHOULD NOT do things alone, well, I am now subject to greater forces that are beyond my control.  Maybe that's how it is, but it is fucking annoying.

So anyways.  As I am determined to have the groove back, I am going to dress nicely tonight and party.  Okay, I hate saying "party", I just want to have fun.  I am looking forward to hanging out with Varvs, and apparently her cousins from the States will be joining us.  Maybe tonight I just want to chill, have a few drinks, and dance.  I so want to dance.  I just want to dance.  And then sing.  And then let go and shake off the negative residues of my frustrations.
Orange Margarita
23 March 2010 @ 03:03 pm
 The Bali birthday will be likely Baler birthday.

Close enough!


This is going to be a new year.  For this first time in yonks, I am spending my birthday in Manila.  Or rather, I am not doing any bongga traveling on the day of my birthday.  But I am thinking of leaving the day after and head to Baler for some surfing (waves should be ok enough), trekking and camping.  

The thing is, this is the kind of traveling that I do not want to do alone.  I want to travel with friends.  And unfortunately... well, my friends are not as, say, free as I am.  They cannot leave work and can only take a break on weekends, etc.  This truly sucks.

I just hope I'll find incredible travel buddies for this one!
Orange Margarita
 I don't see why people go online and put "Do not disturb" as their status message.  If you don't want to be disturbed get off the fucking IM.

It's the same as if you want to be seen, if you want to meet people, get off your ass and go out.  I saw this rerun in Big Bang Theory last night where Sheldon is trying to make friends.  See, Sheldon is the kind of guy who wants to learn things.  For instance, when he decided to learn how to swim he goes online and learns the theory.  He goes as far as using a simulation software.  But he never actually goes into the water.

By the way, the Ad Man texted me Friday/Saturday morning at 2AM to inform me that he was finally a certified diver.  I texted him back Saturday afternoon.  I actually implied through the text that I was annoyed I didn't hear from him.  He apologized.  But you know me, I just had to rub it in.  He stopped replying.


I mean, damn, I always do this.  Rubbing things in.  I see the problem.  If I don't see that the guy gets my POINT, I am going to have to say things again.  Or maybe the problem is the reason I rub things in is because I am not getting the response I want?


I don't know about the Ad Man.  There's a part of me that wants to see him, but there's also that part that says, "You're wasting your time on him".  I don't know if I want to see him because I want him, or maybe I just want to see him so I can crush his balls.  You know?


I think I am going to take a break from men.  I had that thing last December, and then early February, and then the Ad Man, and then... who knows.  Frankly, as that poem by ee cummings goes, I am "tired of the things that break".  Seriously.  I am looking for an incredible connection that will last.  At least for months.  And then we'll see.
Orange Margarita
09 March 2010 @ 08:01 pm
 My uncle died last Saturday.  His death was not a surprise; he had been sick for years and the doctor had informed us weeks ago that we're just counting the days.  Nonetheless, it is still sad.

I think the sadness is in the fact that he faded.  He was a dashing gay man, he joined beauty pageants when he was young, and he was make-up artist for the local movies back in the 60s and 70s.  He roused my curiosity in smoking.  I remember this incident when I was a kid.  He was smoking, and I tried to grab the cigarette from him with my mouth.  And then he turned the cigarette in the burning end and put THAT in his mouth.  It was funny.

Anyway, he passed and he was cremated this afternoon.  I could only go to the service because I had to get back to work.  I can't even remember the last time I saw him.  He lived with my aunt, and I go to my aunt's place as much as I can, it's just that he never left the room.  New Year's, Christmas day --- he just stayed there and did not want to see anyone.  Eventually we found out it was because he's ashamed of how he looked; he got really thin.  But this afternoon, with a dab of red lipstick, I think he looked mighty fine.  I just wish I gave him a hug.  It's so hard when you think everyone's going to be around forever.


I just cut ties with the Ad Man.  No, I haven't spoken to him.  It's been more than a week, and well, no word.  I take that as a sign.  I removed his name from my phone book and removed him from my friend's list on Facebook (that evil).  I don't think he'll notice anyway.  Some things just fade away.
Orange Margarita
05 March 2010 @ 03:39 am
 As my friend Mirro said a few hours ago, I was just probably having a "moment".

I think I wrote about a similar "moment" that took place about two years ago.  Liz usually calls it the tattoo incident.  Even though I had always wanted to get a tattoo, I never really had the guts to do it.  Until my heart got broken.  Well, I wasn't even in-love with the guy, I was just heartbroken when I found out he's seriously seeing someone, and at that time I was not over him yet.  Anyway, I didn't really find out about it directly from him, I found out through that evil that is Facebook.  Hahaha.

Anyway, it was that Facebook and tattoo moment.  I was just upset that day that I started driving and almost hit a truck because I was not concentrating.  Well, not really something I am proud of, but well, to divert the pain, I decided to get a tattoo.  Which was pretty ironic because the entire time I was getting inked it hurt so bad I was wailing and laughing at the same time while crushing my friend Regh's fingers.  

Thursday morning, for some reason, I was just upset.  The night before I had a good time ---- I saw Up in the Air.  Solo night at the movies and I had Thai for dinner.  I played basketball at Timezone.  But Thursday morning I got up pretty weepy.

I haven't heard from the Ad Man.

I am not going to expound on why a guy I've only gone on three great dates with will drive me upset.  Well, it's perfectly normal for most girls, but I am turning thirty-one in a month (OH GOD) and I do think that He's Just Not That Into You makes perfect sense.  See, it is not just about the Ad Man, it's other things.  It's those other men.  But anyway, the Ad Man is the catalyst to all those things I am upset about myself, and yes, it has something to do with the fact that he has not called me.  Even to say hi.  Nothing.

Well, I am thankful I have incredible friends.  I texted Mirro and asked him if he could meet up for drinks because I was having a breakdown.  I texted Liz that I had been crying in the car on my way to a meeting (she was expecting I'd get another tattoo sooner or later).  And at around nine or so in the evening, the three of us met at The Fort.  It was touching --- Mirro and Liz had met each other only once, and I am glad they're my lovely friends.  It's a very Sex and the City moment.  Your friends are there when you need them, even though Mirro had to go to work at eleven in the evening and Liz had to rush from the hospital in Manila and drag her ass all the way to Taguig.

It's been an incredible night.  I had a great time with these two.  It's just so funny and great to have crazy single friends who will give you support which can be quite far from sappy.  We had drinks at Alexandre and then in this bar called Limbo.  Unfortunately, Mirro had to eventually leave, and Liz and I got to spend time together.

Before leaving Limbo for M I received a phone call.  At 11:30 PM!  From that guy I went out with Saturday on V-day/Chinese New Year weekend!  See, I had not heard from him since our "date".  Well, I thought it was odd of him to ask me that late if I could help him look for an apartment near my apartment.  HUUUHHH?  What am I, a real estate agent?  A walking classified ads?  Hahaha.  And if I am not mistaken, he was calling me from Singapore because he's on a business trip.


And I thought men are that simple, no?  But they're like women!  Geez.

So well, I said, sure, I'll help.  And then Liz and I went to the next bar.

I just love M.  I'm sorry, but I love it.  I don't care if people say it's full of expats.  So what.  There's no door charge, the drinks are great, the music is way better than the other clubs here in Manila, and people lose themselves and really dance.  And yeah, I happen to meet guys there.  That's where I met the Ad Man, and that other guy, and that other guy.  And then this guy.

Anyway.  It's just funny that about eight hours ago I was weepy and crying.  I was just crying.  So strange.  My heart was just burning.  And when the night started, I started dancing.  And then this French guy started dancing with me, he got my number, and we're meeting for drinks tomorrow.  The thing is, he is leaving for Australia tomorrow night and he's already asked me to go to Australia!!!

My life is like a movie.  I am just waiting for the Narrator Guy to hit it again and then fill my head with musings.  
Orange Margarita
02 March 2010 @ 07:19 pm
 I have been sick since last night, but today has been the worst.  My head is stuffy but my temperature borders between warm and cool.  Last night I went to a "spa" near my apartment, and was pleased to find that they offer Philippine massage which is hilot.  If Thai massage is all about the stretching, hilot is all about deep kneading.  It's all about healing, and basically, the idea is to crack the "cold" stuck in your muscles and nerves.  Anyway, the hilot last night was quite an experience; the manghihilot is a male.  Well, I think he's quite effeminate, maybe in his late 30s or 40s.  The thing is when I got home I was totally gone.  I woke up in my clothes from yesterday, hearing my snore.

The thing is, my body aches big time now.  A friend once told me this Chuck Norris quote: "Pain is weakness leaving the body".  Well, I have been in pain as this weakness is taking too long!

Anyway, I want to share my thoughts whilst having a shower minutes ago.  I thought of the Ad Man.  Again, like I said, we don't have plans yet this week.  I have a shooting Sunday and he'll be off to an open water scuba diving thing this weekend as well.  So no weekend with the Ad Man!  BUT --- there is this movie that I want to take him to, it's a Canadian horror film called Pontypool.  When I asked him Saturday his favorite films, he suddenly said, well, most of his films are comedies!  Steve Martin and the Monty Python.  Will a guy who loves humor appreciate an intelligent horror film?

I decided I would ask him, and then this thing flashed in my head:  I wanted to show my world to him.  And this is not because I am in-love!  See, I rarely make such connections, and as to quote Will Macy in Magnolia, "I have so much love to give".  Here's this guy who likes me, and I am not in-love with him, but I want to give him love.  You know?  This is an event in my life!  I am seeing someone, again.  Well, sort of.  But still.  It's been a long time, and I want to make the best out of this one!  And I'll see if he's willing to participate, you know?  If not, well, that's toobad, and if he does, we'll have a good time. He may hate the film, but still.  I want to try.  Step outside my comfort zone and just. give. love.
Orange Margarita
01 March 2010 @ 01:22 am
 After I asked the Ad Man out Tuesday night, we had agreed to meet up Saturday sometime around 10PM or so.  Saturday I received an emergency text from Roan at 8PM, asking me if she could park her stuff at my place.  Thinking that I had not heard from the Ad Man since Tuesday night, I thought I should confirm whether we would still be meeting up because I was not sure if I would go straight to meet with him or if I still had the time to meet  with Roan at my apartment.

Ten in the evening.  Not a word.  I was starting to get quite pissed.  I did not want to text him anymore.  See, here's the thing: if you don't want to see me, tell me.  Don't say you'll do something and do another.  It embarrasses YOU.  Anyway, I told Roan, fuckit, we're going out.  I was wearing a really hot red dress which I wore at my brother's wedding, but I wanted to change and get rid of the look.  I needed a long drink.  I had no plans to go crazy.

So eleven came and went.  Nothing.  Around 11:30, Roan and I drove out and, hey-ho, I received a text from him.  He said he was at a party and he asked if I would still fancy meeting with him.  Frankly, I wanted to text back FUCK YOU.  I was so pissed.  But of course, it was just the ego talking.  I wanted to cross him out.  

BUT --- Roan talked some sense into me.  She said I was being impulsive.  And then she asked me why I was upset.  I told her.  And then she said I should tell him the things I said to her.  It was ridiculous.  She said we're in this stage of breaking patterns with men.

So what have been my patterns with men?  I let things slide.  I don't tell them how I feel.  If I get mad at them I make up some excuse in my head until it's too late.  I could have been more confrontational without being too mean.  

Well, I decided to meet up with him, but I told him I was quite pissed at him.  He apologized and I told him I'd meet him in his neighborhood.  I waited for him at Starbucks, and I saw him approach from afar.  I did not smile, I wanted him to know that I was not pleased.

Anyway, to make things short, the Ad Man and I are  okay now.  Again, no plans this week, but frankly, this time around, it is pretty much up to him.