Down the rabbit hole

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The night train

I don’t know if it’s just the type of music I’m listening to that’s got me trudging on melancholy tonight, but here I am anyway, succumbing to the urge to write about things that would normally sparkle in daylight, but no thanks to the dust my brain likes to kick up at night, they would only cast a sickly glow across my bedroom walls. It’s precisely this flickering, waning quality of light that makes things less searing to look at as the hour draws later. It’s probably why so many of us lose sleep over thinking. In the day, the mind’s gears are shifted to pleasantries and preoccupation. Not long after sunset though, we shift down to all the emotions that, when tied to your ankles, are so heavy, they could pull you under the surface and drown you, if you let them.

I’ve always had a penchant for steam trains. I think they’re gorgeous, especially set against a vast expanse of green and blue. I’d like to pack a small duffle bag, leave a note reminding everyone to feed my rabbit, walk to the edge of a forrest and wait by the tracks just after the first turn from a station. A whistle would sound somewhere beyond the trees and I’d brace myself for the run. Heart pounding and muscles tensed, I’d chase after an empty cargo car. All the movies I’ve seen show there’s always one that’s wide open for stowaways. If everything goes according to plan, I expect to find myself gasping for air on the hay-strewn floor of the train car, hair dishevelled but with a smile placed delicately on my lips. “I made it.” I’d think to myself, as I watch the dim blur of twilight and bark outside, until the woods break into a more steady-paced scenery, and I take in the moonrise.

By all reason, I’m supposed to be tucked in bed, safe and sound at home, but I’m not. I’m not supposed to be riding the night train, but I am. I’m running away with it tonight, like I have every night before this one. Where the next stop is, I honestly won’t really know. There are no conductors in here to call out stations, or trolley ladies to ask if I want coffee, tea, or if the centralised heating is just right. It’s just me, the rhthmic clicking of the tracks and the cold night.

Every time I ride the night train, I run into the same kinds of people. A fair number of them know exactly where they’re headed, and how long they’re staying. To a certain degree, I envy them. Every time the train slows in anticipation of the next stop, they pull their sparse belongings close to them and without so much as a backward glance and a moment’s hesitation, they jump off. I wonder how they feel, knowing exactly when to jump and landing in a soft patch of familiar earth, much different from the hardened spreads back home. I wonder how many times they’ve been to that particular stop, and what keeps them coming back. Do they walk the same streets each time? Do they go to the same taverns and drink the same wine with the same people from the night before? I don’t think I’ll ever know. I never was the kind of stowaway that had a destination.

I join the ranks of the wanderers. We give each other short glances in the stillness of the train car, shoulders swaying and jolting in unison. Some keep to themselves and prefer to sit in the back, where the moonlight barely reaches. Some pick a spot near the light so they can keep sight of a book, an old letter, or a picture. Some look for company, not necessarily to talk to, but oftentimes to just sit next to in silence. My favorites were the people who smiled. Our eyes would meet and whether by politeness or bashfulness, a corner of our lips would curl upward - a flickering moment of recognition that we both don’t know where we’re headed, and that there’s no need to ask.

At every stop, we watch people come and go. Some of the towns, I think I’ve been to once or twice before, but I’ve never lingered in. There’s this stop that smells of my mother’s kitchen when she’s baking cookies. I like to close my eyes and breathe my childhood in, remembering all the times my father, sister and I would argue over who would get the last piece. There’s another stop that always had lovers bidding each other farewell on the station. Some goodbyes seemed routine, like a woman reminding her husband to eat the meal she packed for him while she straightened out his tie. Some were more unwilling and emotional, lasting well after the train has begun to pull out of the station. What made me sad to see were the stowaways who looked like they were expecting to meet someone. They’d take a seat on one of the wooden benches and wait, often, for a lover that would never come.

Then there’s one stop that, I knew was home to the best pubs. There was always a reason to celebrate somewhere with fireworks and loud music. I’d watch the colored aerial explosions shine off my fellow wanderers’ faces as they all turn to look on in nostalgia. Groups of friends stagger onto the platform, drunk with liquor and laughter. I chuckle from all their stupid jokes and remember to tell a few of them to my friends back home. Another stop looked to be almost monochromatic. A lady, dressed in black, sold white lilies on the platform for all the passengers who were visiting the cemetery. In the distance, I’d hear a church bell toll and awkwardly, I’d mutter a prayer. Everyone gives a sigh of relief once the train lurches onward for the next stop.

My journey on the night train goes this way. Some stops I barely take note off or consciously avoid taking in. Some, I wish the train lingered in longer. There are so many of them. So many, that by the end of the trip, I am exhausted and ready to go home. I drift in and out of consciousness on the way back. I, along with the few who shared the stowaway car with me ’til the very end would shift positions to make room for the returning passengers at each stop. I liked gazing at their faces. Some of them looked happier than they did before they got off at that station. Others would have the same, confused expression, and sadly, a few would come aboard crying and keep at it for the rest of the way home. The silence on the night train doesn’t change, but the lighting does.

Outside, dawn breaks. In the light, the stations look different - ordinary. Eventually, the faint beginnings of sunlight pour into the sky, and into the night train. I look around and everyone is just as tired as I am. It was another long trip we all took, taking in what dimly-lit scenery we could to help stir some emotion and memory, but we were getting closer and closer to where the night began. I get off the night train and turn to look back at it, now smaller than it always seems to be whenever I would run to meet it. It is no longer my old friend, the night train, but something I would come back to in a few hours to ride to work, and hopefully, get the trolley lady to give me an extra scone with my tea.

I don’t know why I go on this nocturnal journey, when I could be resting, as normalcy dictates. What I do know is, whenever I rush to get on it, I find that I am never alone on the night train. That, I think, is enough of a reason sometimes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whiskey lets me feel.

Listened to this track along with the rest of Hammock's
"Raising Your Voice... Trying to Stop an Echo" album while
writing this blog entry. They go so well together. Try it ;)

Really supposed to be preparing the content for tonight's episode of "Rant & Rave", but for some reason, I can't maintain my focus. My mind's a messy salad of frustrations, burnt out notes, worn-out thought strings and unanswered questions. One of which, I'm hoping to get an answer to by the end of the week. I find this question stems from that all too-familiar phenomenon of drunken intimacy. I think anyone who's ever had a little too much to drink has experienced this. Whether you choose to frame it and mount it on a blank wall in your brain, or to dismissively leave it time-bound on a dusty shelf in your past, is all up to you. But it did happen.

You're probably wondering right now if the "drunken intimacy" I'm referring to is sex. Well... yes and no. It would be on one extreme end of the spectrum, yes, but it doesn't leave much room for interpretation the morning after. Its formula is basic. Too much alcohol + relatively attractive and equally inebriated individual + primal instinct + opportunity (venue x time) = drunken intimacy via sex (or sloppy making out in a dark corner if you were playing for the junior league of intimacy that night).  A quick fix was all there was to it. Basic. Superficial. Easy to walk away from, and won't ever merit the usual melancholic "pause in midstep and look back" moment we all know too well from movies and overly dramatic teenage sitcoms. As easily as this amorous mistake is made, it is just as easily forgotten.

I'll tell you what lingers well after the sun rises on your hangover. Well after you've washed the dry, sour after-taste of last night's liquor from your mouth, and the smell of cheap cigarette smoke from your hair. As you down your third tall glass of water in an hour, you scavenge for snippets of memories from last night. Like bits of torn paper, you pick them up from the floor of your mind and do your best to make the frayed edges fit. It was you, a glass too many of that whiskey, a warm, equally lost soul, and a blur of other people in the room.

As the pieces come together, you remember laughing and stumbling arm in arm. You remember bumping knees under the table, and blissfully not worrying so much about what was coming out of your mouth. With the weight of an arm around your shoulder, or the feel of someone else's fingers interlaced with yours, you forget about all of the times you felt alone. Not a single article of clothing left your skin, but you know you bared a part of yourself you usually keep chained in secret. There was no rowdy inappropriateness, but you know you lost control of that cold facade your sobriety normally fuels.

For a good half of a weekend's inebriated population, there's satisfaction in just that - having someone, and the absence of the fear of acting on it. No rough kisses. No regretful touches. No harsh words. No promises to fear breaking. Just solace in knowing carefree nights like these exist, and we all have an infinite number of chances to revel in them, all while holding someone's hand. No need to berate yourself for whatever stolen embraces and half-kisses you managed to come home with. It was all badly miscalculated, yes, but you're human. You spend most of your days telling yourself you're fine on your own, but when the sun goes down and the liquor kicks in, you'll be surprised to find the comfort you never knew you needed in the smallest of gestures. Amidst laughter, stupid jokes, a bruise you'll wonder about in the morning, and bar tab receipts, and smeared makeup, you'll swear you've never felt younger and more alive.

You only have until sunrise. Don't let go just yet.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What a sad sight.

LSS of the week goes to:
Jameson by JMSN

As I’m writing this, the sun is setting on my second day in Cebu. Really needed this quick getaway with my universal constants: my family. A vacation out of town with family is actually pretty much like being at home with them. Everyone’s lazy and totally laid-back, except you eliminate the temptation to coop yourself up in your bedroom, so you all end up eating and napping together like lovey-dovey pigs in mud. Except here in fancy-shmancy Shangri-La Mactan, it’s not so much cuddling in mud as it is lounging side by side on ergonomic beach chairs while sipping on overpriced blended fruit. Then again, are these fruit shakes fruit with sugar, or sugar with fruit? Mapaglinlang! Still, it’s quality time with the people who matter most to me. I’ll blog about the trip in a separate post.

See the massive extent to which I fangirl for my family? We’re not afraid to invest every fiber of our being in family because they’re our safety. An unconditional, and unwavering pool of all our roots, memories and support for an uncertain future. With everyone else though, we’re a bit more wary of how much of ourselves to trust them with.

Faith in people. That’s something I believe I have a whole lot of, considering I was blessed enough to always be surrounded by good-natured individuals. Many, of course, have fallen into the past - childhood friends I shared late afternoons and scraped knees with, primary and secondary school teachers who saw my old bright-eyed self, and high school friends I survived the awkwardness of puberty with. Although, just because someone’s a part of your past, doesn’t mean you forget about them. Humans, by nature, are sentimental beings. The social networks we have today bet on that heartstring - that need to keep in touch. So time and distance have never mattered to me. If you were a friend to me once, and assuming you didn’t murder anyone close to my heart or plundered my family’s wealth or quite literally stabbed me in the back, then you’re still a friend to me 5, 10, 15, so many years from now. I will remember you, whether faintly or vividly, and running into you in some random place will always be something to smile about.

If you read the post before this, you’ll know that lately, I’ve been contemplating on getting back in touch with someone who told me it’d be best if we didn’t talk for a couple of months for the sake of (and I quote), “killing the feelings”. Like the good guy that he was, and the optimistic girl that I am, we eased ourselves into our little hiatus with a few jokes here and there about how things would be like the next time we’d get around to talking or even hanging out. I think the last thing I said to him then was, “Hey. Don’t be a stranger.” He smiled at me before he left, and I figured, Oh what the hell. At least we’re still friends. I rested my faith on that and kept it there for 3 months.

Exactly a week ago, as my hairdresser ran a flat iron through my hair at 6AM for an entire day’s worth of taping for CGE TV In Da Loop, I focused on the weight of my phone in my hands, and the weight of my decision to break the ice. I readied myself for two possible outcomes of what I was about to go out on a limb for: the pleasant cessation of having to pretend the other doesn’t exist, and well, nothing. I don’t know why, but I felt it then in my gut that the latter seemed more likely. Oh, but I told myself I knew him enough to be a good guy. As I composed the message on Facebook, my hands went cold.

“Hey, stranger. :) How’ve you been?”

I stared at it, hushed, suddenly wanting to delete everything and go back to the already familiar silence that took the place of sweet nothings, late night conversations and stupid, smitten laughter. I just sat there, almost marveling at my fear of getting nothing. Since when did nothingness become that terrifying? Probably since I knew that if he didn’t reply, it would ultimately mean he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. The thought angered a little part of me, because if that was his intention all along, he should’ve just said it instead of being some odd withering memory settled in a corner of my mind. With that, I sent the message and went on with my day. See, I’ve always loved anger. It’s one of the most motivating emotions one can feel. Sadness debilitates you, while anger pushes you. If you have to feel something after being wronged, be angry. Channeled correctly, it can lead to a whole lot of self-improvement, and once the embers die, you’re left with a certain peaceful resolve. But maybe that’s just me.

He replied the next day. Before I opened the message, I told myself, This is better than nothing. I braced myself for whatever he had to say, and opened it. This is what he had to say:

“I’m fine. Very busy. I’m with family.”

I took a seat and cradled my head in my hands. It was a legitimate reply, yes, but as I read it a second, third and fourth time, I started to doubt if this really was better than nothing. It was blunt. It was dismissive. It was cold and didn’t agree with the warm person I knew him to be. At that point, I wondered if reaching out was even a good move to begin with. Maybe I should’ve let that smile of his be my last memory of him, instead of this three-sentence reply. I wanted to lash out at him for it. In fact, the first draft of my reply was, “You rude son of a-”, but my breeding, tact, and call of the high road won. I deleted it, and instead typed:

“Are we still not supposed to be talking or what? I just figured I'd break the ice. I mean, I'm not after anything. I just wanted to know if we're still friends. :)”

I added that smiley face out of sheer spite. I wanted him to man-up and give it to me straight. You’re either in my life or not. There is no grey area for you to hang around in forever, while I walk on eggshells, trying to balance avoiding you and showing you I still want to know you. As much as I wanted him to stop being such an asshole and tell me he can still be civil with me, I wanted him to give me a reason to stop being so goddamn nice and do something that would let him know I’ve had it.

This was last Saturday. He’d always be online on Facebook, and in the back of my mind, I’d expect an Inbox notification. Nothing came. After 4 days, I went up to my mom and asked her, “Mama, can I ask you for some advice? I don’t know what to do.” She turned the TV off, faced me and asked me what was wrong. My voice broke. “Should I delete him?” I felt my lips tremble and my eyes sting. I didn’t realize until then how hurt I was. My mother berated me for not doing it earlier. “Bakit ka pa umasa na pwede pa kayo maging friends?” Teary-eyed, I said, “I don’t know. I guess I expected better from him.” I went to his profile page, hit unfriend, found his name in my phone’s address book, deleted him. I set that bridge on fire, stepped back and with a heavy heart, watched it burn.

Faith in people. I have a whole lot of it. Still do, but if there’s one thing this experience has reaffirmed, it’s to NEVER EXPECT. Although, time and again, we all learn that just because you expected something (the way I expected an unideal outcome), doesn’t make it hurt any less. To tell you the truth, it’s not so much the “rejection” that hurt me. What really got to me was the disappointment. My whole life, I’ve never had to erase anyone, nor has anyone tried erasing me, but I guess there’s a disappointing first for everything. Took me a while to absorb the fact that someone who used to be special to me, and I was special to, could find it in himself to cut me out. Just like ripping a bandaid off, it’s over before you know it, and everyone can finally move on. I really wish I didn’t have to burn that bridge, but really, why would you make room in your life for someone who won’t make room for you in theirs? Don’t let anyone have one foot in your life, and the other out of it. We all deserve better. I know I do. So I'm keeping my face turned to the sunlight and I hope to God I live a life that won't necessitate me setting any more bridges on fire.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Most complicated analogy ever

I stumbled upon this track while perusing Tumblr. Fell in love with it almost immediately. I don't know. Maybe it just reminds me of young love... what with the vocalist's clearly pubescent voice and choice of words.

"She Is Love"
I've been beaten down, I've been kicked around,
But she takes it all for me.
And I lost my faith, in my darkest days,
But she makes me want to believe.

They call her love, love, love, love, love.
They call her love, love, love, love, love.
She is love, and she is all I need.

She's all I need.

Well I had my ways, they were all in vain,
But she waited patiently.
It was all the same, all my pride and shame,
And she put me on my feet.

They call her love, love, love, love, love.
They call her love, love, love, love, love.
They call her love, love, love, love, love.
She is love, and she is all I need.

And when that world slows down, dear.
And when those stars burn out, here.
Oh she'll be here, yes she'll be here,
They call her love, love, love, love, love.
They call her love, love, love, love, love.
They call her love, love, love, love. love.

She is love, and she is all I need,
She is love, and she is all I need,
She is love, and she is all I need.

No, you idiot. She is NOT all you need. You need to finish school and get a job that'll let you send your kids to college when they're 18, all while feeding your wife's obsession over designer bags, shoes and the Home Shopping Network. That's what you need. But, okay, I see you're happy and your girl seems nice enough. Carry on.

Anyway, I was eating my very sad avocado dinner next to my mom on the couch just a few minutes ago. I said "very sad avocado dinner" because the avocado itself is sad it's not a big, fat juicy steak with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables on the side. DAMN IT. Sorry, got distracted. Back to my little kwento about my mom. So she was playing Bejeweled Blitz on her iPad. She's obsessed with that game. She has it linked to her Facebook and everything, so I can see her getting cheap thrills whenever she gets high scores. Ain't that cute? I'm happy for my mother dear and her minute attempts at regression. Thing is, she doesn't really know when to stop. As I sat there, omnoming on my sad avocado, watching her play. She stretches her neck from side to side and says, "Ang sakit na pala ng leeg ko." Naturally, I tell her to quit playing coz she's been at the damn thing for the past hour and a half, but she dismisses me by saying, "Hindi, mali lang position ko." Ayos sa denial ah.

No, I'm not gonna use that anecdote to segue into something predictable and terribly cheesy like, "Kahit masakit na, titiisin ko." Coz that would make you and I vomit blood all over the place. I hate sappy, martyr crap like that. Instead, I'd like to talk about being stuck in a rut... coz that's exactly where I am right now.

You know how you do the same things over and over again for quite some time, with your brain on autopilot, just letting things fall where they may, and going with the flow? You don't even feel it at first, and God bless you if you go on with the rest of your life not ever questioning anything, but for most people, the realization that you've been running around in circles comes unexpectedly. Mine came in the dead of night some time ago.

People go on about how sleeping early is good for your health, mental acuity and your skin, but what they don't tell you is sleeping early helps you get away from the negativity that likes to wrap itself around you late at night. It's when things go quiet that your mind wanders to things you normally don't have time to entertain. After all, who has time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and brood? Go ahead and classify these insomniac trains of thought as irrelevant, but you'll be surprised. They're the very things that make you see things differently the morning after.

And now we move on to analyzing the analogy. I have to do this, just in case may kulang sa brain power. We're all in this together, guys.

So, the realization that I've been running around in circles came to me the way my mom realized her endless pursuit of matching colored jewels has strained her neck. And like me telling her to quit it, I actually received a lot of advice from a few friends about my dilemma, telling me to do this and do that.  At this point, it's not so much that I'm in denial of my problem, but I think it's more like I realized there was something I was doing wrong, or not doing at all. No one has it easy in life. In the end, it's all about perspective and attitude. Now to figure out what I have to change. Thanks, late-night brooding, for the insight.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I gave a boy a paper heart once.

It was the night of December 14, 2011 when I wrote something for a boy. I posted it on my Tumblr, and immediately Googled "how to origami heart" right after. On a piece of colored paper I absolutely thanked the universe for letting me find in my little sister's drawers, I wrote the post's link. I remember spending a considerable amount of time deciding which color among my collection of metallic pens to use.

Yes, that's me, having a smitten mental breakdown that's probably borderline gross to most people. Didn't care though. On pure whim, I was determined to execute a small-scale surprise for this person who was once, and very briefly, so special to me. The obsessive compulsive neurotic mess in me perfected the origami heart. I remember giving it a little kiss good luck before going to bed that night. I didn't need to tell you that, but what the hell, right? I'm sharing anyway. Might as well bare all.

The critical part of the plan was to slip the origami heart in his pocket without him knowing, so he would discover it by the time he got home. I distinctly remember over analyzing everything about this step. I couldn't put it in his front pocket, because, first, it'd be too difficult to be sneaky from the front, and second, he might reach into his front pockets for his phone or whatever else and the heart would be prematurely discovered! FAIL. Clearly, the backpockets were the way to go, but I knew I had to make sure not to put it in the wallet pocket, or the heart might fall if he ends up pulling his wallet out. Gaaaahhh, I was a panicky mess.

Throughout the night, I kept waiting for the perfect ninja moment to slip the paper heart in his empty back pocket. Towards the end of the night, just when I was about to give up, I saw him drop a P20 bill. My heart shot up to my throat. "Hey, you dropped a twenty." Because he was carrying our picnic basket (You'll understand in a bit), I had every reason to put the bill back in his pocket for him... paper heart included. Mission accomplished! I felt so espionage! Suave like an infatuated James Bond girl.

The boy brought me home. In nervous anticipation, I waited for him to let me know he got home alright. I told him to check his pockets. He texted me, "You sneaky woman." I remember throwing myself onto my bed and digging my face into my pillows in utter kilig and holy shit he's reading it kill me now. He read this:

It’s the night before the outdoor movie you invited me to, and I don’t know exactly why I’m overly preparing for it. It’s a public picnic. What the hell am I supposed to be fussing over when half the people there will be sitting on newspaper and snacking on food packed in styrofoam. But, whatever, I let myself fuss anyway. I rummaged through my family’s junk to unearth a mat and a woven basket, stole one of the softer blankets from the linen closet, and tied red twine around spoons and forks. The twine was totally unnecessary, I know, but tying little ribbons helped me calm down a little bit.
As I’m writing this, I’m not entirely sure the food I have lined up in my head and on tomorrow’s grocery list will work out. All I know is it involves cake. Cake is sweet. Just like you are to me. Okay, that was lame, but screw it, it’s the truth. I also have no idea what to wear yet. I’m always torn between dressing up nice for you, or dressing like I’m not out to impress anyone. I do wanna impress you though. I just haven’t quite figured out how yet.
Hell, I’m not even sure about the weather tomorrow. If it rains, then I guess it’s a sign picnics aren’t for me. See, I’ve never been on a picnic. I’m hoping tomorrow night would be my first, and I’m giddy at the thought of sharing a mat with you under the stars. If it rains right in the middle of everything though, I’m hoping it’d happen just like in movies, with my hand in yours as we run for cover. Those are the kind of scenes Taylor Swift writes songs about.
I don’t even know how you’re reacting while reading this. You could be creeped out, or you could be laughing. There are so many things I’m not sure of, really.
Except you.
I’m pretty sure meeting you was one of the best things that happened to me this year, and the more time I get to spend with you, the more I know for sure you’re good for me. We could be infatuated today, and strangers tomorrow, but right now I want to revel in the certainty I feel around you.
I’m thanking you ahead for a wonderful night. That’s something else I’m sure of. Picnic or no picnic. :)
There you have it - my small-scale surprise for someone who was once special. We were infatuated then. Strangers today.

It's actually been a couple of months since we became strangers, but for some reason, today I remembered him and realized how much of a waste a failed attempt at romance turned our friendship into. Is it so wrong that I wanna reach out and tell him I wanna be friends again? I'm not after anything. I just want us to stop being strangers. No, I'm not heart-broken. I'm just in a state of panghihinayang.

I made a paper heart. Those things aren't built to last, and I should've known, but I still made that paper heart. It'd be a shame to see it go to waste. I hope one day I'll find the courage to fish it out of the past. It'll probably be tattered and torn around the edges. It might not even look like a heart at all anymore, but I'll always remember what it was. I'd dust it off and tell him, "Hey, remember this? What do you say we turn it into something different?" I don't think figuring out an origami friendship would be too hard.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thanks for the good vibes! #1

(This is gonna be a series of blog posts! Every week, I'm going to compile a list of things that made me happy, and hopefully some of the good vibes I got would rub off on you guys. Here goes the first entry in this series, and in no particular order. Enjoy!)

1. Sbtrkt's "Hold On" - This has been on loop on my iTunes for three days now. I've always been a fan of all of Sbtrkt's music, but this track in particular from their self-titled album just soothes me on so many levels. I love the vocals, the arrangement - everything. Although I can't seem to understand the music video. A little help from you intelligent people would be great. ;)

SBTRKT - Hold On

2. Banana + Nutella = ASDLFKJASHDFJK. I've been on a calorie-reduced diet since March. Yes, it's torturous discipline and sacrifice, but I always make room for a small treat everyday just to reward myself. 1 tbsp of Nutella is 100 calories, and a medium-sized (approx. 7 in long) banana is 95-100 calories. If Zac Efron had a flavor, I imagine it'd be this. Warning: If you don't have self-control, do not attempt to prepare this snack. NUTELLA WILL BE THE END OF YOU.

3. PicMix for Blackberry. I've always been a frustrated Instagram user. I mean, I love my BlackBerry, but I hate how all the fun photo apps are tailored for Apple or Android. Molome doesn't have the collage templates, and even though PicStory had those templates, it doesn't have the cool photo filters. PicMix has everything! Yay for an Instagram-like app for BlackBerry users! Go get it from App World for free!

4. Street food merienda with the family! We live just about 10 minutes away from UP Diliman, my mom's alma mater. On random, fair weather and lazy afternoons, my parents would take me and my sister to one of the street food stalls by Vinzon's Hall for a round or two of kwek-kwek, fish balls, kikiam, and pancit canton. We'd take our food, cross the street to the UP Sunken Garden and just hang out on the benches while watching soccer and frisbee teams practice. The mangtataho and dirty icecream man would always come around our spot in time for dessert. Total diet sabotage, but I love quality time with my family.

Fishballs and kwek-kwek for me!
My favorite sauce combo is maanghang + vinegar!
My dirty dessert! I really wanted taho that afternoon,
but oh well, there was no mangtataho nearby :(
5. My unbelievably sweet parents. I had another agonizingly long taping day for CGE TV In Da Loop the other day. Our usual call time is 6am, and it's only 12-13 hours later that we hear the director say "That's a wrap!" By the time I got home, I was wiped out and had a migraine. My mom, knowing I wasn't well, fixed me a comfort snack. My dad brought it up to my room. It was a mug of warm milk and a star-shaped butter cookie. When I opened the door, he said, "A star for the CGE Star." I'm not exaggerating when I say I cried from the sweetness. Then again, it could've just as well been from exhaustion, but the point is, I feel so blessed to have such loving parents.

So much love :)
I'll stop at just five GV sources this week. I just wanted to make a quick blog update before I turned in for the night. Something semi-crucial is happening tomorrow afternoon. I've got an audition! If all goes well, and the universe decides to back me up on this, I'll get a call-back and I can release a hint as to what I'm trying to get myself neck-deep in to. Adieu!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last Friday night's realizations

After our ASAP Chillout interview with Megan Young.
L-R: CGE Jocks Edu, Jessica, Anna, and Chacha
For some reason, the universe and the little demons that inhabit it never fail to conspire against me having an evenly spaced out week of events. The days that I have my 6AM-6PM taping for CGE TV In Da Loop are the same days my friends decide to invite me to a night out, and it's always all the way in Taguig or Makati, no less.

Before I go any further, let me just share a fairly recent observation of mine about this damned weekly exodus to these two far away places: Most of the people who go to Makati and The Fort area live no where near there. I'm gonna go against my grammatical by-laws by saying I am literally at a loss as to why everyone absolutely insists on journeying all the way to Makati or The Fort area, when it'd be more convenient to go some place nearer to where everyone lives. Most of the people I know and most of the people they know live in Quezon City, Marikina, San Juan or Pasig, and yet, come the weekend, this entire populace will end up braving traffic and gas prices just to end up in the "happening" places in Makati and Taguig. Not being a hater! I do love my nights out over there, but I sometimes wonder why there aren't any more convenient "places to be".

During taping last Friday, we had YouTube sensation Petra Mahalimuyak as a guest in one of our episodes. We've partied together once before, during her birthday at 7th High (which is in Bonifacio High Street), so she was sweet enough to invite me to meet up with her at Scarlet Lounge in, you guessed it, The Fort. Which I actually found coincidental since Jeremy (I wrote about him in my last entry here.) invited me to Jill's in... the same damn area. I swear, we all need to expand our horizons.

Right after taping, I went home to shower, primp, don an outfit with equal parts provocative and conservative, and have the usual "I need this to stave off the night's alcohol" dinner. First stop at around 10:30pm was Jill's, which was an okay place. They were playing hits from the 80s and early 90s, which I actually really enjoyed since I grew up listening to my parents' music, so I knew all the songs pretty much by heart. As I sat there talking to (more like yelling at) Jeremy, I watched the people on the dance floor: mostly men and women in their late 30s and early 40s, living it up on a Friday night. Watching them dance made me realize just how different my generation's dancing is.

Ever since hiphop and RnB started dominating just about every music platform, all girls ever do now on dance floors is thrust ass, rock hips, get low (dirty-dancing girl friend optional), and maybe make the slutty mistake of letting a guy grind on her. Well, if you think about it, how else would anyone dance to songs that are mostly about sex, money, and random mentions of long designer brands just for the sake of filling in a few more beats? Dance, dubstep and house music are steadily starting to dominate as well. To these, people mostly just jump around, fist pump, air tap, and dramatically close their eyes and sway as the chorus comes on. Lucky you if the track has vocals you can sing to. Although even without the vocals, a lot of people will insist on singing the melody of the chorus with "Tenenen-teneneneeeen tenenen! Tenenenenen tenetenenen!" Fascinating, really.

And let's not forget about "Teach Me How To Dougie". No, scratch that. LET'S FORGET ABOUT IT. PLEASE. It's become one of the most overplayed songs ever. Even worse than "Like a G6", because ya'll react to it like it's the friggin' YMCA or Achy Breaky Heart of our generation. Which, by the way, is a depressing thing to let come true. We're nearly halfway through 2012, people, and ya'll still wanna learn how to Dougie. Get over it. Speaking of YMCA though, I absolutely hate it when a club's DJ puts YMCA on. Everyone starts doing the YMCA steps, then the drunk ones manage to hit random people around them, and I just pretty much scowl at the tackiness of everything.

This might just replace all my other Friday night haunts.
Good crowd, good drinks, good music!
Next stop at around 11:30 PM was Scarlet Lounge to meet up with Petra Mahalimuyak (Real name: Ashley Rivera), but since the pictures from the club's photographers aren't all up yet, I'll reserve my ramblings about whatever craziness (I'm pretty crazy, but there are crazier people in these places) went down in that big, red room for another entry. But to end this, I basically woke up last Saturday morning with a realization that partying really is one of the more extravagant activities a person can end up doing on a weekly basis. I know because I spend my own money on whatever nights I go out on. It's not the best way to meet people and build your social networks because really, what kind of relationship can you establish in a loud, dark room where everyone's inebriated? And it's not the healthiest lifestyle either. More on that next time though. Congratulations on surviving my rambling! Ciao!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Self-pity is the second best medicine.

The best being laughter, I suppose, but I've never heard of a good laugh curing anything more than a mild case of bad vibes, or possibly aiding the authorities in spotting a space cadet. And by space cadet, I mean someone who's on the green. And by green, I mean Mary. And by Mary, I mean - enough of this. You get it.

Me and one of the men I cannot
imagine life without - Jeremy!
Yesterday, one of my absolute best guy friends dropped by the house. His name is Jeremy, and he's tall, dark and interesting. I really do want to guest him in one of my vlogs soon because he's a lot like me only he looks slightly African American and has a penis.  That being said, I know he'll be a joy to watch. Yes, that's him wearing the John Lennon sunglasses on the left. Now, I say he's a lot like me because we both like to talk (a lot), and we're both politely evil. See, that's something I'd like to coin right now. Politely evil.

Jeremy and I, more than anything else, like talking about people. No, we don't gossip. That's terribly juvenile and unsubstantial. Rather, we like analyzing people in general, how different kinds of people fit into certain social situations, and how we tend to play our cards in the same situations. The cards he and I value the most are politeness and grace. Jeremy and I have both come to terms with the fact that shit does in fact happen to the best of people, at the most inconvenient of times, and on a fairly regular basis. We're also very much aware of the fact that the only forgivable unfortunate turns of events are those that are organic and subject to the laws of physics. Those are few and rare. The ones that are a bit more relentless come from people, so if there are things anyone has to master, it's a convincing smile, a polite laugh, small-talk on autopilot, anger management, and conserving your energy for necessary interactions with people who matter. In short, put on a happy face, and keep your real sentiments to yourself. Be politely evil.

(Jeremy, my darling, if you are reading this, know that I love you and people will only slightly think less of you after this entry is done.)

I don't really know why I decided to go into a significant amount of detail about Jeremy and I, because I was only really supposed to talk about the upset stomach I got right after we snacked on a plate of my mom's nachos. Thing is, I can't really pinpoint the nachos as the culprit because I was the only person who got hit. There you have it, me writing a hypochondriac blog post. I spent all night nursing what I think is a mild case of stomach flu, thinking I'd feel better the morning after. Nope, day two feels worse.

You probably don't know this about me yet, but I consider myself to be pretty bionic. I hardly ever get sick, thanks to good genetics and the additional immunity I've acquired from my years as a student nurse. Thing is, when I do get sick, it's a tough bug to beat. And because it so rarely happens, I like to indulge in a little self-pity whenever I'm down with something. There we go! Finally, the title of this entry has come into play. Whenever I'm sick, I wear my tired, frowny face along with the most unflattering and mismatched house clothes I have in my closet and either sprawl myself on a couch where household members can see me and my sad state, or lay in my bed for hours and enjoy having my mother bring me good stuff from the kitchen. (Oh wow, that was probably one of the longest sentences I have ever composed ever, ever, ever.)

I'm a very effective wallower in self-pity and moping around, I'll have you know, so if anything, I think it's the extra TLC I get from my family and best friends that makes me get well sooner. If I play my sick card right (and I know I do), there's a change of gears in the house and I feed off of all the love and care that I can squeeze out of their little hearts. Oh, I wouldn't call it manipulation. Wouldn't call it regression either, even though I'm sure manipulation and regression fit well. I think it's more of knowing what you truly need, and remembering that nothing shining, shimmering and splendid can ever compare to feeling taken care of.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I feel like a champion!

Just in case you didn't immediately get the Disney excerpt
I dropped just now.
I do. I really do. It's a golden Monday night for me, and I think I'm feeling cheeky enough to tell you and the woman with no face breathing over your shoulder right now why I feel absolutely triumphant. That is, if you can keep a secret. I'm going out on a limb on our purely virtual and impersonal relationship right now by entrusting you with something I've been gushing over for the past 3 hours. There's been so much gushing, in fact, that out of sheer kilig and giddiness, I've gone to the bathroom to pee approximately five times in those 3 hours. That's a lot! I've probably lost you, but I do believe there's a tangible connection between the butterflies in my stomach and the sphincter that regulates my urine. Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!

See, there's this guy... whom I won't name because if I do, his name will ring a multitude of bells in your Filipino brain, then I'd get caught in a crap storm of issues and unwarranted attention, and I just don't want to make an ugly mess of things. Anyway. So there's this guy... whom I've always kind of had a - and in the most shallow sense of the word - crush on since I was a kid. (OH DEAR GOD, LET THIS ENTRY BE RIDICULOUSLY VAGUE.) Long story short, I finally met him in the flesh a few weeks ago, and just a few hours ago, I find out he digs me.

BOOYAH! Please accept this virtual high five which then evolves into a Bro shoulder hug with complimentary Bro pat on back.

Sarabi. See how she does NOT
look like Nala?
So that's basically the reason why I feel like a champ tonight. I feel like I went from plain Jane, ordinary member of Pride Rock, to freakin' alpha female Sarabi. Now, if you can't remember who Sarabi is, she's Mufasa's wife. No, she does not look like Nala. It's like comparing Meryl Streep with Amanda Seyfried - not even on same planes.

At this point, I've noticed I've made two Disney references in the last 10 minutes. Is this my thing when I'm giddy? I regress? Oh, and I type fast too. Hot damn, I should be this annoyingly happy more often. I'd get more work done.

No wisdom or ruminations for this entry, I'm afraid. I just felt the need to rapidly depress the buttons on my laptop to disperse all this extra energy. Goodness knows I need a nap if I wanna catch my show later after ABS-CBN's news and current affairs programs, which by the way, always end up pushing CGE TV In Da Loop one hour later. We're on our second week, and so far, the support's been amazing and I keep getting so much positive feedback from everyone. I am in love with the feeling of knowing I get to bring a tiny ray of sunshine into viewers' frustrating bouts of insomnia, no matter how sabaw our show can get at times. Hahaha!

Tune in every weeknight around 1am, after Channel 2's news and current affairs programs! 

'Til my next entry! Ciao!

P.S. If you want me to write about something, feel free to suggest. Nothing too heavy though. I don't like going on about politics, religion, or anything that will make me come off as remarkably well-versed in grown-up matters. I now end this post script with an immature teehee to prove my point. Teehee! ;)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I miss eating like a man.

The act of dieting was always a foreign concept to me. Mostly because I never really needed to diet myself. I was a fat baby who grew into a healthily plump kid, who suddenly became Ethiopian stick-thin as soon as 7am-3pm school days became the routine back in third grade. I blame my sudden weight loss on my then lack of interest and skill in feeding myself. I was 9, and being the lazy and relatively spoiled little girl that I was, I was used to being spoon-fed by my yaya. Before you roll your eyes at your screen - which is actually a pretty moot thing to do, so don't bother doing it anyway - let me give you another reason to make fun of me. I used to drink my milk from the bottle 'til I was... 10. Voila! Aside from releasing naked pictures, a sex scandal, or a very tactless, homophobic/racist comment, I actually cannot shame myself any further on the world wide web. Back to my skinny tale then.

I grew up a very skinny kid. Now, I just noticed I've used the word "skinny" twice in the last two sentences, so I thesaurus-ed it just now. Let's see... there's scraggy, angular, rawboned, skeletal, "looking like a bag of bones", and (probably in Shakespearean-talk) spindle-shanked. I'm particularly drawn to "skeletal" because it makes me giggle like a stupid little dunce, so let's use that in my rephrase.

I grew up a very skeletal kid (LOL). I think at one point, when I was 12, I was only 70lbs. Plus, that was the time in my life when my dad would call me a Sasquatch because the tips of my fingers would come down to my knees. (MY LIMBS GREW FASTER THAN MY TORSO, SO WHAT, WANNA FIGHT?!) So imagine how gross I looked, all skeletal (LOL) and long and awkward. Not cool. Although, I do give myself props for still managing to attract a few lesbian admirers in school despite my badly miscalculated Sailor Moon-like proportions. That's what you call swag, brah. 'Sup.

Holy fffffries.
Anyway. This underweight trend of mine stayed all throughout my teenage years. Don't get me wrong, I did start to fill in some time in high school, but mostly, I was free to eat as much as I wanted whenever I wanted. I inherited my father's tall, slim frame along with his crazy fast metabolism and passion for rice. I'd have a ratio of 1 spoonful of ulam is to 2 spoonfuls of rice. That's kaing-marino for you! The food was always good, I was always happy to eat, and I was convinced I would never get fat.

I was wrong.

Along came adulthood. My adolescent metabolism's gears slowed, and my kaing-marino started to take its toll. Being naturally cheeky, I first started seeing the weight gain in my face in pictures. Then I started debating with myself if my jeans were shrinking in the laundry, or if my ass was growing. I couldn't believe it at first, but, I was starting to put on weight... and too much of it.

The heaviest I've ever been in my life was 118lbs, and I managed to trim that down to a comfortable 113. Even though I was never able to get back to eating like a dock worker, I was at least able to get into my pants without having to wriggle. See, my body is stupid. It thinks the only places to store fat in are my face and my ass. I'd love for some boob allocation, really, but I guess things don't work that way around here.

Here comes my work on camera and on TV. You know that saying, "The camera adds 10 pounds"? IT'S TRUE. You have to be extra thin, to look just right on camera. In this line of work, the standard really is skeletal. For a foodie like me, it's daily torture to try to eat as little carbs as possible, passing on dessert, and always having to scrutinize nutrion labels and to count calories. Only thing about all this maintenance that I like is working out, but at the end of the day, I think about the good old days. Back when a full meal didn't come with a side order of guilt and a promise to run 4 kilometers the next day.

I hope my motto, "Nothing worth having ever came easy," doesn't wear me out!

Ugh. What a depressing entry. Let's go look at porn. Food porn, that is. Grab a box of tissue for your drool and check out It's one of my most favorite online haunts... and source of late night cravings. HA! Good luck.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's still the dream!

As some of you already know by now, I'm also a nurse.

No, I don't go around in a white uniform that barely covers my crotch while I absolutely insist to all my male patients that a sponge bath is necessary. That would be an adult film industry role, and a very passé one at that. A way less glamorous vision of me being a nurse would be someone who gives shots to the old and dying, and cleans off poop all day. That one's a safe mile off too.

What I am really, is all sorts of things. I make videos on YouTube, and this has inevitably forced me to use a hybridized slang word to describe myself - I'm a vlogger. (I used to shudder at word, but I find that gradual overusage and abuse can desensitize anyone to almost anything, including neologisms.)  Apparently, now that I'm resurrecting my passion for writing, I'm a blogger too. Oh, and I work as a TV host on ABS-CBN's "CGE TV In Da Loop". Then there's this other venture I've been dying to tell everyone about, but until a contract makes it official, and promotions start, I need to keep my face shut about it. But ultimately, professionally and primarily, I really am a nurse.

All the things I'm busy with right now are in no way even remotely related to the fact that I have a professional license that basically gives me the right to wear a plastered white cap on my head, BUT I really haven't given up on the dream.

And what is the dream?

You'd like to think that now that I'm dipping my feet in media, I've already reformatted my heart and mind into dreaming of being the next Anne Curtis. Well, I'm not gonna lie to you, sweetheart, I wouldn't complain if I did get to that total boss of a level, but my heart still beats for a Nursing career. Thing is, the dream's setting is in America.

I'm hoping none of you scorn me for wanting to leave the country. I'm also hoping none of you attempt to start a losing argument about me being unpatriotic, because if you really think about it, deciding to work abroad when there clearly aren't enough opportunities in your motherland is in no way traitorous or selfish. I love this country, and as is, I love my life here. Truth be told, a part of me is scared of starting over in the Big Apple.

(c) Philipp Klinger
You read that right. I've got my eyes set on New York, baby! Big city! Bright lights! Fast-paced everything! The right to wear black and grey everyday and scream profanities at anyone! A dependency on minute-ready street food, coffee in the park, and public transportation! A Gossip Girl hotel tour I would just love to take and acquire absolutely zero percent personal growth from!



Just the other day, I sat in the living room with my parents and filled out application forms for the licensure examination. Three words were on loop in my mind: SHIT'S. GETTING. REAL. Next step is having these babies notarized. The next would be mailing them. Hot damn! That's gonna be the first time ever that I'm gonna be sending snail mail in this lifetime. Shit is getting real!

Now to not get ahead of myself, go through the process, and study my ass off. Until I'm all set to leave on a jet plane - or at least a comfortable Boeing 747, since I do live in reality - the realness of shit remains subpar. Only thing left to do once I'm off is to not let it hit the fan.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Uncertainty is addictive.

No one goes through life without falling in love - without feeling so much as a little flutter of emotion and attachment for another human being. I guess it’s in our nature to want to ache in someone’s absence, and revel in their presence. If you think about it, that whole rollercoaster ride of polar opposite emotions is addictive. Consistency was never the most alluring feature of love. We like the volatility.

There isn’t a soul out there who could honestly say they’d want to stay on the sad end of the emotional spectrum of the heart. That’s just common sense. What I’m wondering though is if anyone would want to be happy… forever. Imagine that. No yearning. No void to fill. No anger to douse, and no reason to cry. The saying, “To know sadness, is to know happiness.” is as overused as it is truthful. So, let’s behold that truth in the light of love. 

It's an ecstatic plunge into all sorts of happy whenever you're together, then it weighs heavily on your heart as you watch them leave your side at the end of the day. There's that heart-breaking helplessness when they're at a low point, then pride floods you when the universe finally hands them a long-sought after dream. They make you want to pull your hair out during a fight, but you know few things feel better than that first hug after making up. Then there's that near-suicidal state after a breakup, followed by - hopefully sooner than later - the maddening butterfly infestation in your stomach from finally meeting someone new, and plunging right back into romance.

Complacency is a bad rut to get stuck in. It's where passion goes to retire, passively benefit from a regular, "just enough" pension, and develop a fondess for rocking chairs that ease reminiscing of days that were an extra spectrum more vibrant than the 8-bit present. Analogy overload, I know, but you get me.

Keep it crazy. Keep it young. Stay turbulently in love, and enjoy feeling human.