To my Little Penguin

bobek

I know it embarrasses you to have been called as such now that you’re a grown man. On my part though, it makes me a bit melodramatic.

Everything is vivid. From the little boy bound to piss me off everyday, to a teenager whom I was in charge of looking over aka take cover when school trouble arises, to a yuppie whom I did style consultation for in exchange of free food or a pair of pants, then suddenly to an army official.

You were a bright kid, but you were equally hard-headed and mischievous. Some of your teachers even disliked you for your curious and sometimes sarcastic inquisitions. I was called to office a few times because you were caught throwing pieces of paper at ceiling fans, vandalizing school property, forging our parents’ signature, etc. We kept these our little secrets then. Our parents only knew of a few years ago, they only laughed their heads off, but could have fumed in anger that time.

Everyone knew you as the happy-go-lucky kind. I guess it’s just us, your family, who believed that there’s a grown man underneath your childish antics. Because we listened more than your words, we took notice of your silent sacrifices, we took note of your dreams. But who knew, right? You were sneaky. You never told anybody. There were a few signs, but no hints. I didn’t even know that the reason you borrowed my neck ties was for your application for the army. Still I mull, if I had known, would I let you? Maybe yes, maybe no.

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And here you are now, looking mighty and strong, with a respectful stance and assertive but calm demeanor. You’ve come so far from the laid back and annoying guy we all knew. Look how a year has changed you!

Proud as we are, it worries and saddens us even how all of these entail threat upon your life. You may have briefed, acquainted, and had us ready for this, but we never were. Never will we be. If only there’s a way I could make offering to the gods just to have you assigned some part of Luzon or Visayas instead of Mindanao, I swear, I’d roast a thousand suckling pigs!

We have barely three days to spend with you before you proceed to your assigned division. Can tomorrow until Sunday be composed of 48 hours each? I’d cut the drama, just get home safe.

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I look real mean in this photo, but I love you in real life, abnormal penguin brother Bobek!

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Here We Go and Dare We Stay*

It has always been a dream to spend my birthday in the mountains. In 2009, I spent several days before my birthday in Baguio. I did research for my thesis, some escapism, and time out for reflection. This year, the boyfriend granted me a trip to Sagada. It’s a lot like Baguio, only less commercialized.

Just few photos from the trip. Some are not yet available (friend hasn’t uploaded yet), and some I choose to keep inside my head.

***

Good morning, Banaue!

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Weather wasn’t too kind. Guy passengers had to go out and clear the road on the way to Bontoc.

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We freshened up, had lunch at Yoghurt House (This deserves a separate food post!), and made way for our 2 hour trek to Bomod-ok Falls. This 180 feet tall waterfalls is a beauty. The water was freezing. I wasn’t able to take photos since my ipod is not waterproof.

After the trek, we cleaned up, took a quick rest and headed for the Homestay’s Diner. We waited for our dinner to be prepared. We had hot chocolate and coffee while the boys played a 5-stringed guitar.

It’s already Christmas in Sagada, by the way.

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We hopped on to Ironman’s beautiful cabin-like abode. We had a hearty dinner while having some sort of experiment with a Teflon pan. Guinea pigs were cheese and sausage. We had wine and some good old Bugnay (rice wine).

He had a fireplace in his house. It made our stay more legit!

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We spent the rest of the evening singing random songs. It was more like an acoustic Rockeoke actually. Here’s the boyfriend doing one of the things he does best.

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The next day was scheduled for the Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection. I was a bit hesitant to go since I had cramps the night before, but with the help of Salonpas (I smelled like an old lady) and painkillers, I managed to finish the spelunking course. It was tough. As I have mentioned in my Twitter, yes, I have never feared for my life until that moment. Imagine going through the caves’ cracks, crevices, holes, cold water (again!), assaults, there was even a rappelling portion! Not to mention, the rocks and stones were just either sharp and slippery. I was too preoccupied with my survival, I didn’t take any photo.

And here we are, fresh and clean after spelunking.

Time to look around Sagada!

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We walked wherever our feet took us, other inns, courts, cooperatives, hospitals, restaurants, schools, souvenir shops, and churches. I actually make it a point to visit nearby churches whenever going places so I did the same here. However, the Anglican church at that time was closed so we just roamed around the garden.

This view of the sun midst the pine trees is breathtaking. It gives that kind of warmth, joy, and a promise of peace, still, and calm.

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That night, we just stayed at the Homestay and had dinner at the Diner. (How redundant that sounds!) We spent the chilly evening stargazing at the Dap-ay with a dog, Pipay, and foreign visitors.

It has been a mushy dream for me to spend an evening with my lover to do stargazing in a Dap-ay. The timing was perfect. There were plenty of stars in the sky. They were bright (you know stars shine the brightest in the province), I could almost point out every constellation there is! I was secretly cringing (in a nice way) that time. HAHAHA

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We woke up early the next morning. The sun was up, giving the apt amount of warmth midst the cold winds.We headed for souvenir shops and some restaurants we have previously missed. We even walked down until the Sagada Weaving shop looking for pine cones which my mother requested.

We took a quick lunch thereafter and headed for the terminal to Bontoc.

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It’s almost goodbye!

We took the topload on the way to Bontoc. And again, I feared for my dear life. There were still rocks, stones, and dirt on the road. It was dry yet bumpy. I was scared I might fall down the cliff, but the view was awesome. Think: lush pine trees, mountain ranges, scenic terrain, ravishing river. The Sagada-Bontoc trip on topload might have scared me off, but the view was too beautiful to consider the trip bad at all.

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Farewell, Sagada! You have indeed made me fall further in love with the North.

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*Words from Rachael Cantu’s, Far and Wide.

The Skinny on the Skinny, The Flat on the Flat

I am skinny. I was a skinny girl who grew up to be a skinny woman.

***

Puberty arrived a little late in grade school. I was already awkward then when all these growing up things occurred, which just made me even more awkward. I was a bit envious of my gradeschool friends who already looked like full-grown women. Their bodies already have shape, they have already grown breasts, their hips have widened and their bottoms have become plumper. I thought I’d be the same come my period. But nothing happened, even after years of monthly bleeding.

My mother was alarmed of my health. My weight was no longer proportional with my height. She had me eggs every day, aside from the smoothie (?) she prepared which consisted of raw eggs, chocolate, banana, and milk. It tastes good you know, but it kind of wears you off knowing you are basically fine and wasn’t sick or something but had to do/drink it anyway.

***

I remember wearing my first brassiere in high school. It did not fit me well. The A cup size was already too large for me, but my mother insisted that I should start wearing because that’s just what a growing woman should do. I came to school the next day and people thought I grew boobs overnight. I was teased – that it was all pad and air inside. They asked me if I had put in pieces of bread to make up for the hollow spaces. I hated these jokes. Aside from the fact that these are corny Pinoy jokes, they were all just mocking me.

I hated that they associated flat chested-ness with me. I hate it when flat chested comes up their thought bubbles when they hear my name. I hate it that they made fun of what I didn’t have or what I partially had. I hated people because I was aware that I am more than my lack of boobs. I’m smart and witty. But this was the idea of me that stuck to them. I mean, come on! This is puberty people, you learn this in school, along with GMRC, so be nice to those having this kind of bad phase.

Good thing, I was not the type to dwell on physical things. I give credit to my parents for always telling me that I have my brains to boot and nadaaah to what other people say about how I look. Flat-chestedness did not become an insecurity. I was no longer looking at other girl’s boobs. I mean, what do I get from comparing anyway? The story went on, and I made it through high school skinny and flat.

College came and the people I knew were less judgmental. Must be the carefree environment of the university, or the theoretical and serious approach of the academe, or must be my course’s focus on thinking and problematizing, or maybe we were more drawn on what appeals to the mind rather than the physical.

Adulthood came and I still had the same body type. I don’t remember anyone mock me as much as in high school. Or maybe they do, but I just shrug my shoulders and that’s it. I met a lot of people, men and women, and not even one dared to take make a big deal out of it. Well, except for my current boss who thinks I have the perfect model type body (at size 0 or even smaller); he even transforms me to a mannequin at times. And honestly, that is kind of gratifying, knowing finally, someone takes high regard of what others have made you feel terrible about.

I guess it’s just that people really get into dirty and awkward phases, or worse, never get out of it. My story is no less different as those who have been mocked and laughed at most of the time because of what they lacked. It’s a struggle, but it’s just a matter of acceptance – of knowing and being aware of who and what and how you are and turning everything around for your own good. After all, what people see is in you is what you pass on to them.

Dear Favoritest Boy in the Entire Universe,

We’re bound to stay kewl, yah know 😛

I’m leeching Internet at the office right now. I hope the IT guy is cringing over what I’m doing so I won’t receive a memo in the next few days. I’ll keep this short since I’ve offered you all my words and I don’t want them repeated and exhausted.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Cheers to the coming birthdays we’ll be spending together!

I LOVE YOU, SO MUCH – WORDS BECOME UNDERSTATEMENTS.

Sort of working Saturday

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First modeling stint, eh?

Weekends are one of the most important things to me. I could just lie down lazily in bed or be randomly somewhere else aside from the home. But this Saturday, or for the coming Saturdays, I will have to work or rather sort of work, posting Facebook and Twitter stuff because I am the Internet slave of the company. So here I am dealing with that.

Just a little break from the employment sh*t I am doing is my modeling debut for the company. Yes, I modeled our jewelry because we have no model to source that day. Ohwell, work.

Also, follow our Facebook Fanpage here.

Cagayan de Oro Chronicles: A Photo Spam in Blog Format

Surprisingly Surprising – This is how I marked a red-letter day in June. I wonder how it came to Mr. Snooze my penchant for surprises. He got us plane tickets to Cagayan de Oro! Weeeh!

Earliest Passport to my Heart

The Cagayan de Oro trip was his birthday gift to me. Since my birthday is always a month-long celebration, we had it scheduled last weekend.

Mogu-Mogu! Always part of the plan 🙂

Here we are being bored to death waiting for the plane. We had our Kowloon House siopao breakfast plus Mogu Mogu.

This was also part of a test shot series. After zillions of attempts, we finally decided to use the camera manually. Mr Snooze was the trip’s official photographer anyway.

It was a sunny day and we had no trouble with the flight. The sky was clear, I almost cried at the sight of the white sand beaches in Visayas. (Oh yes, you’re next!)

We arrived at Lumbia Airport at around nine in the morning. It is a pretty small airport (I think it can only accommodate two or three planes at a time) located at Cagayan de Oro City, though honestly far, think thirty-minute drive from the town.

The Love of Big Burgers

Our friend Kae, who has been staying at Cagayan de Oro for seven years now, was as our tour guide for the day. She picked us up the airport and brought us to Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon. She is the worst tour guide ever, giving us pamihiin rather than facts to explain the oddities along the way. She even proudly calls, mistakens rather, a gerbera for a sunflower! But since she’s funny and we miss her like that, we brought her a big burger and Krispy Kremes! Yey!

We passed through hectares and hectares of pineapple on the way to Bukidnon. The fire trees were also beautiful.

Bukidnon was a three-hour drive from the airport. It’s a trip through the mountains and vast areas of pineapple, corn, tomatoes, calamansi, etc. The weather was kind of chilly, it reminded me of my dear old Baguio.

Arrived at Dahilayan Adventure Park at around noon. We had lunch at the park then geared up for the longest zipline afterwards!

Mr Snooze was at the zipline too while taking this photo. Thus, the weird setting (he used manual) and angle. I love the pine trees!

End of the Longest Zipline

We took the all-rides zipline, inclusive of a 320-meter, 150-meter and 840-meter (longest) zipline, for only 600 bucks! It wasn’t as much as scary as the Tagaytay zipline, for there were pretty landscapes and scenery to wonder at.

We roamed around Dahilayan Park afterwards.

Had this photo taken just to scare the wits out of my sister. HAHAHAHA She freaks out at the thought of lizards.

Mr. Snooze’s favorite photo of the bunch. Pretty realistic!

A souvenir photo for my little gorilla brother. Im such a sweet ate!

A group picture…

Mavz, me, Kae, and Ronald

And snaps from the playground. Kae, Mr. Snooze and I were first acquainted in gradeschool, maybe the reason why we act like kids when were together. HAHAHA

Oops! Forest Park turned into Rest Park! Time to go home

It was another 3 long hours on the way back to the city. It was already dark when we checked in at the hotel. We cleaned up and rested for a while then hopped on to Penong’s (it’s just stone’s throw from our our house!) for dinner.

Chiken and pork barbecue for me. I had three cups of rice that night.

Barbecued Pork Belly was Mr. Snooze’s dinner. I was ingget because they’re big and tasted like bacon!

This saved me from the default clam chowder from Soup Kitchen – Halaan Soup! Fresh clams!

***

White Water Rafting was our agenda for the next day. We were picked up from the hotel at eight in the morning. Yes, I was so excited, I woke up around six in the morning for this!

The weather was pretty fine that day. It wasn’t too sunny (Yey, no sunburns!) nor did it rain, or else, the activity would have been called Brown Water Rafting. But the waves and rapids were pretty active and perky.

At the twist rapids. Each side were to do reverse paddling.

Our tour guides made our rubberboat climb up a formation of rocks in the middle of the river. It was cool!

Jumped off the water 15 feet deep!

There was a part of the river suitable for swimming. I was never good at swimming, I actually barely know how to. But almost everyone from the boat jumped to the waters and I was like a baby crying in utter fear. But because I’m nagmamatapang like that, I joined the group. I seemed unmindful of the 15-feet deep water, but I was really scared!

Ahoo! Ahoo! Conquered waves and rapids! YEY!

We both got a little darker after the rafting activity

We got a free lunch after White Water rafting. We were all tired but we still explored the Macahambus Cave in the area. We actually pleaded our tour guides to do so since it’s not part of the package. HAHAHA Good thing, they gave in.

Me, a Kuya, a German Kuya, and another Kuya

The trek was rather short. Macahambus was just a small cave where soldiers took refuge during the American War. It didn’t have any entrance fee but we needed to pay for the rent of our small flashlights. The cave wasn’t well-maintained, we found a bottle of Fit and Right inside and graffiti at the veranda.

View from the end of the Macahambus Cave – Cagayan River, the White Water Rafting place to be

We slept hours when we got to the hotel. Kae joined us after she watched the Pacquiao-Marquez fight  at her boyfriend’s. We walked around DiviSoria searching for whatever we liked for dinner. Our feet led us to Sentro.

Kae’s Char-grilled Cheeseburger

My Unagi Pasta. I loved how they made eel and seaweeds pasta perfect!

Mr. Snooze’s cheesy dinner

We headed to Kae’s place afterwards. We had beer and a poker. Yes, finally, I know how to play poker. Who would’ve thought I’d learn it in CDO?

Beer helped me learn Poker

***

Monday was our lazy random day, or maybe, I was too lazy I just wanted to stay in bed. But after lunch, Mr. Snooze dragged me to wherever our feet would take us.

We walked from the hotel to DiviSoria to the Cathedral.

Cathedral’s facade

I wasn’t actually sure if taking photographs were allowed inside the cathedral, but my art studies self sneaked out and asked my official photographer aka Mr. Snooze to take snaps of the interiors. The cathedral was basically of wood. The facade and some other parts were just newly renovated and turned into cement.  I was drawn into its wooden vaults with triangle and wide arch support. Weird because some niches’ arches were pointed and had a Gothic feel. Weird mix.

We took a jeep to Limketkai Mall afterwards just to bully and bother Kae at her office. There was nothing interesting in Limketkai. It’s your usual mall, like any other mall in Manila. We went to Vjandep afterwards to get friends pasalubong. We rode a motorella (it’s like a cross between a tricycle and a jeep) going home.

We rode the motorella YEY!

***

We got up early the next day for our hotel check out and to meet Mr. Snooze’s cousin. We had real good chicken for breakfast!

JRJ’s Chicken for breakfast

These were Inasal chicken initially roasted then deep fried. The carinderia provided no spoon and forks, we were compelled to eat with our hands. It was really fun!

We had lunch just after two hours. We were still full, but lo and behold, we still had a feast!

Chicken Sisig! I loved the bell peppers!

Fish Tinola: First I’ve heard, first I’ve tasted

Fish Kilawin, because Mr. Snooze remembered how I devoured his father’s kilawin in a matter of minutes HAHAHA

Buca Halo! This is so benta to me! No brain freeze at all 🙂

Thanks ate for lunch and after lunch accommodations! 🙂

We stayed at Mr. Snooze’s cousin’s place after lunch. I took a nap while Mr. Snooze uploaded our Rafting pictures in Facebook. Who’s still perky? We headed for the airport at around 4 in the afternoon. Turned out, we were early as our flight was delayed. There was an Ikebana exhibit then, which Mr. Snooze pre-occupied himself with. He took pictures of the flowers while waiting for our flight.

It was past 6 in the evening we were allowed to board the train. It was already dark then. So, that’s it. Bye CDO! Til next time! 🙂

Bye CDO! Thanks for the gift/trip Mr. Snooze! iheartchoo! 🙂

The Young Heart Cheats Death by Reconstructing Memory

This is a guide where the heart wanders in case it has been torn. This is the closest and the farthest from home. It rekindles and rules out memories, washes out all remembering.

There is a place she knows people wouldn’t think of as beautiful as she would. They might even look for a corridor leading somewhere else without the cold floor and bare walls. But this is, she says, what makes it beautiful.

She looks out the high windows way above her head. Her soul screams to the unknown faces from the other side. But no one notices, but the little streaks in broken weakened glass dampened with her breath.

She lies in corners. She rests against walls she could paint with utter delight. Her fingers get soaked in memories she’d rather have. She plays in her head a series of events she’d incorporate with reality.

She flutters around and suddenly find herself in ruins, in what she failed to hold with both her hands, in what she has fell short of saving. But her Corinthian columns still stands proud, quite enough to build another Parthenon.

Then she sits under the sky with a silent smile. She looked up.

She still and will, set the rain on fire.

Years Juxtaposed

We, of the same blood, flesh and bones

I know I have promised a pretty decent post for you, dear brother. This isn’t it. I’d be writing too soon. I’ll end up romanticizing every little detail. That too, is the reason I won’t be providing too much text on this post. Separate photos will speak for themselves. Their juxtaposition will emanate more stories. This is so Art Studies I know, forgive me.

I will write about you when I’m out of my weightlessness. That. And I love you two.

Trapped in Bubble Plastic

Froilan Calayag's bubble plastic art at the Tutok Soena 2010 at MC

Too many times I have confessed about my love-hate relationship with my job. Today*, I went back to the confessionary.

I love mummifying unicorns, hearts, elves, and gnomes. I love talking to people about ideas and theories even, in art. I love how the rush of putting up shows turn into a crimson red labor.

Must be the overwhelming PR jobs this week that landed me a position in the rant highlights. I never really liked drafting PR’s. I’d rather prepare coffee for the guests (kidding here, for the sake of expressing my utter dislike of that job) than bring together fancy words (though I put in academic terms at times) to create a real beautiful image and impression of a show. It doesn’t hurt that much actually. It’s like curating in words, putting resonance and wonder into print (which I guess is also one tough job). Only if the artworks are not subject to sale…

Honestly, I do not feel the same about art writing as I did some two years ago. I feel like I cannot write with the same zest and yeah, knowledge perhaps (please note the lack of confidence here). Somehow I blame PR-writing. I feel like it’s the shallow and general orientation of the short article that has limited me in writing further sensible stuff about art.

On the way to the hotel this evening, a friend told me that I am one of the people most likely to write about art in an academic/scholarly manner. I might even end up in Art magazines/publications, she said. That is certainly what I want to do (add writing curatorial notes here). Consider my thesis as Exhibit A. Problem is, I write in layers. I never wrote in a formalist (this is how it looks like) manner alone. Moreover, I go beyond looking. I look beneath the surface. I critique. I look into different perspectives and tap into Art Gods and Godesses.

I’ve tried writing for the gallery. But I ended up criticizing the shows anyway. Questioning this and that, laying down ideologies and theories, which is basically, too much of a reading. But yeah, I was trained for that. Hello Art History, Art Theory and Art Criticism classes.

I remember our former Project Manager. She’s an artist, or yeah, was an artist. She now calls herself a “retired” artist. She found it a little too problematic to work for a gallery while working as an artist. She left January 2010 with the simple reason: “Conflict of Interest”. Now, I understand her.

And to further explain this rant post (for the lack of better term), you can check my one of my art woes here. It dates back Manila Art Fair 2010, but I’ve got real same sentiments there, minus the PR writing hatred, that is.

So, this makes me look forward to next week to finally free myself from the PR’s. On a serious note, this makes me reconsider going back to school. Hello summer, please give me enough time to decide.

*post dates back Friday, 1 April.

Reasons Why You Should NOT Date Ted

  • Ted looks like an awkward teenager. She is skinny, has a number of weird tan lines, has messy hair, no boobs, a little too big ass for her stick-type body and a pair of big cheeks. She dresses up randomly according to her mood or whatever else she fancy.
  • Ted grammatically edits in her mind everything you say. She’s an ex-school paper writer, an ex-language and literature student, an ex-student of grammar OC professors. Once, she got frustrated at her 7.3/10 paper because her professor gave her a note: “good writing style, but grammar bogs down your grade.” She got frustrated and vowed to always pay attention to grammar.
  • Ted is in between a critic and writer. Thus expect a blog or a post about you after a date. She enjoys art criticism so much that she literally applies “criticism” in its general sense to everyday little things – and that would include you.
  • Ted has a bigger appetite than you do. Doesn’t seem like it, but she eats way too much than you do or you could ever imagine.
  • Ted will give you a codename. She wont call you Batman/Superman or any superhero for that matter. She gives weird names like epicfail book characters and t-shirt prints. Worse, she’ll write you an open letter with that weird name.
  • Ted uses a zillion languages. Seriously, she speaks Filipino and English and a little French. But she speaks illiterate/conyo/jejemon language. Example: ‘Let’s cmon ourselves over there nalang pfouhz.
  • Ted will stalk you. She’ll sniff through all the possible social networking sites you have and muse/laugh over your blogs, photos, vids and audio posts just because.
  • Ted laughs hysterically. It’s her natural, intoxicated or not. She’s nuts, she’s aware of it, and she’ll prove you it’s true.
  • Ted is not a pleaser. Of course her attention will be focused on you, but don’t expect her to be agreeing with you all the time. She won’t try to woo you or appear desirable just because she’s in a date with you.
  • Ted likes reading and writing history – her history that is. She’ll put in your name as entry in her calendar/journal/planner and it will be your day forever and that will make you epic. It will be up to you then whether to leave a beautiful or nasty portion in her autobiography.

As per Ted’s friends’ request:

  • Ted has friends who will not allow her to date just anybody. Thus, prepare to be flooded by friend requests on facebook. Plus Ted has a friend who does not have facebook and correspondingly wont add you, but is a karate blackbelt who will kick your ass if you break Ted’s heart.

*This is actually a recycled blog post from my Tumblr and Multiply Sites and was inspired by a friend’s online journal.