felix felicis

felix felicis: May 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lessons on love from cab rides

I usually ride cabs when going home past the regular train hours. This allows me to go home well within my parents' curfew. Yes, I still have one. Haha! 

Anyway, instead of the usual evening playlists from the radio, cab drivers are often listening to forlorn love stories from avid listeners. There's Papa Jack or DJ Chico Loco. You choose. The drill is simple: listeners can call the advertised radio hotlines to share various stories about unrequited love, cheating, or confused feelings. The DJs, in turn, listen and give pieces of love advice to the chosen caller. Background songs are optional; and given the degree of drama the story creates, the faded down songs try to elicit feelings from both the caller and the listeners. 

I rode a cab going home last night. I remembered the driver I had the other night. That night's driver is not different: he switches stations, from Papa Jack to Chico Loco, and laughs on just about every funny comment the DJ jests. The first caller we were listening to was a gay guy trying to reconcile his feelings for the guy he fell in love with. Apparently, the guy he loves only knows him when he needs something. The usual case of gays being taken for granted by their partners. Papa Jack told him to move on and just forget the guy because he's not worth everything his gay partner was working for. The cab driver wasn't very keen with same-sex relationships so he switched the station. He said he feels pity for gays who think straight men will take them seriously. I was like, ok. O.o

New radio station. This time, the caller was a girl and the situation's more or less the same. The guy sees her as a rebound relationship-- whenever he feels like liking her or he's not into his current relationship, he calls this girl and tells her that he loves her still. What a douchebag. The girl, who happens to be a teacher, fell for the same trap twice. The third time, the guy told him again that he wanted to start their relationship anew but the girl knew about him being married to someone else so she tried to back off. She eventually calls the DJ because apparently, her heart is "betraying" her. The guy told her that they should see each other, that he's making time for her, trying to make their on-off relationship work. The girl's having mixed feelings; hence, the predicament. 

I was a bit relieved that the DJ told her not to listen to what the guy was saying and to just move on. Aside from not having the guts to decide which he'll be settling with, he also has issues on what love should be all about (as if I know anything about it). 

The cab driver was apparently pissed off at the whole story, and at one point I thought he'd switch stations again. Which will be perfectly ok with me. Really. But, much to my amusement, the cab driver suddenly went berserk and said that love shouldn't be like that. His Batangueno/slightly Visayan accent lent conviction to his perspective on love and relationships:

"Ala'y, di dapat ganyan! Kung mahal mo ang isang tao, walang sumbatan, walang kondisyon! Di mo pwedeng sabihing binigyan mo siya ng oras o isumbat na pinipilit mong ayusin ang relasyon. Kung mahal mo ang tao, mahal mo. Wala ng hihinging kapalit. Walang lokohan. Hindi tama iyan!"

I was wide-eyed the whole time he was saying those things. There were more, but these words struck me most. Not that I can really relate or whatever, but I felt there was a semblance of truth and practicality in his statement. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, does not boast and is not rude. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (13) outlines this perfectly. 

Manong's idea of love is timeless and realistic. While he doesn't believe in a different type of relationship (e.g. same sex, etc), I respect how he views love and how people should treat their partners. Love demands respect and equality. I think I learned that perfectly from Manong's "agitated" statement. 

Before I get off the cab, Manong calmed down. I think he felt the heat of his statements, he asked how to order a cup of Coke Float at McDo. I gladly explained the process and the combos for tipid-tips. 

It was a fun ride home. Always a fun ride home. :)

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Monday, May 26, 2014

We’re finally friends!

After more than a year of trying to befriend my first inaanak (always failing to do so), I have finally succeeded last weekend. The camera and coloring materials proved to be a good charmer. Haha. Bonus part: she was looking for me this morning. Her parents said she thought I was just sleeping on their other room. Hahaha. I hope she remembers me when we meet again. J

Trying my "eyes".

She asked her mom for permission to play with my craypas.

Wondering what her next "pose" should be.

Peek-a-boo.

Yay! She's finally smiling for my camera. :)

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Afternoon Acoustic Jam

So, Kuya P re-introduced us to this awesome music app, Spotify. The app was something I’d really want to try before when I chanced upon it on one of Thought Catalog’s summer playlist articles. During that time, Spotify is not yet available in the Philippines. Hence, the constant updates on my iTunes account and usual stalking at Soundcloud. Haha. Anyway, now that Spotify’s in the Philippines, it’s high time to enjoy it.

I especially love their moods and genres section because of the ready-made playlists. Since I’m still exploring the whole app, I have yet to create my own. I have started following a few good ones. I think. Haha. The only downside is the advertisements in between two to three tracks. I dunno if this is still present when one goes premium. We’ll find that out. Haha.

Anyway, their afternoon acoustic jam became a very friendly companion while I was editing several documents and drafting the terminal report for a project. You may want to listen to it too.

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Tramping (trekking + camping) at Manabu

In terms of difficulty, our previous Pinatubo trek proved to be fairly manageable; Manabu in Lipa, Batangas was a notch higher. The fact that I did not have enough exercise made it a bit more difficult. Plus our heavy backpacks. Plus three-liters of water each. Good thing my flesh and my bones did not give up all too easily. We’re planning to do this at least every month. Naks. #GettingFit

A white cross marks the peak of Mount Manabu. Manabu is the short version for Mataas Na Bundok,

Several minutes before we reach the peak, I could already hear my breathing and heartbeat. The only thing that’s pushing all of us to get there is the promise of a beautiful sunset. It did not disappoint. The glowing orange ball dominated the horizon—it was a mix of oranges and yellows, pinks and violets, and greens and dark blues. Before the stars took over, I spent a few minutes sitting at the grass and staring at that far-end of the sky. It was all beautiful and amazing. Back to tent-making.

We relied on our friend’s camping tools so we can eat a decent dinner. It was a feast—there’s newly-cooked rice, hotdogs, tocino and meatloaf. I can honestly say it was one of the best I had. Haha.

The rest of the night was spent stargazing and talking just about anything, amid all the drunken noise and merrymaking made by our fellow campers. We shared our own stories and all those funny memories from our high school days—who’s who, what happened to this and that, where did everyone go? It was only then that I remembered, it was already seven years since I last saw everyone. Three more years before a legit class reunion. Hahaha.

When morning came, the sun was already starting to rise from the east. We made it to the cross—the summit mark, to watch the sun take its place in the sky. Obligatory photos were taken at the summit and then breakfast at our campsite. By eight in the morning, we’re getting ready for our descent.

Four slips until we reached the middle station where freshly brewed Alamid coffee is served for free. Yes, you can drink all you can. Mang Tino, the station guide, is happy to assist and tell stories. If you want more, you can buy the powdered form from 100-500 pesos, depending on the size. More photos and more stories. After almost an hour, we finally went down the mountain. Alas, water and bath! And freshly-made fried lumpia for lunch!


We reached Manila, 6pm, Sunday. I was asleep the whole time. The trek bogged me down. But the fun memories we had made it all worthwhile. We’re gearing for the next climb by the end of June. Excited.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Beach bumming at Cagbalete

I was almost sure of not coming to Cagbalete that weekend. I haven’t had enough sleep and I was a bit off that week, so I could have said no; but eventually decided against it due to “friend” duties and the need to fulfill my “word of honor.”

We left Manila by midnight and arrived at Mauban, Quezon at around four in the morning. The long drive was already a mini-adventure because our very nice driver was having problems with directions, particularly with crossroads. Haha. It took as about eight to ten stops just to know we’re going into the right way. I slept through majority of those stops. Haha.

When the sun was brightly shining its six o’clock rays, we stepped out of our car and headed to the nearby wet market to buy goods. We have to cook our own lunch at the island because the blogs/guides we referred to said there’s not much food there. Our driver, who also happened to know how to cook, led our market tour—liempo, soy sauce and peppercorns for our adobo, a bag of eggplants, eggs and tomatoes for a good breakfast omelet, and rice. Very well then, we’re set.

Kids from the island eager to meet their visitors.
We had to wait for our other companion until eight before we set off to Mauban Port. Fast forward to ten o’clock. We’re boarding the boat, crammed with other backpackers setting off to Cagbalete. Nice. After 40 minutes, we saw a white strip of beach jutting out of the island—wow, this really should be good. We have to board a smaller boat—a bangka—to get to the shore. Standing inside the small boat; we’re about 10-15. Hahaha. Very Filipino, eh. Hahaha.

After landing, the choice was either to trek the small forest within the island to get to Nilandingan Cove or ride another motorboat. Because the sun was sweltering hot and we don’t have enough energy to walk, the boat was the likely choice. Thirty minutes. Whiter sand and crystal-clear waters. Relatively isolated part of the island. Wow. Just perfect. :D

Welcome drinks! :)
We spent the rest of the day frolicking in the beach, playing Frisbee and taking photos. Before the sun set, the waters receded to just ankle-deep and we’re able to reach the Vanishing Tree. Double wow. Our feet suffered from walking in the water. Apparently, it wasn’t all sand and seaweeds; the place was filled with coral reefs and mangroves before local fishermen used dynamite-fishing. The corals died since then, and our feet felt their death.

It was only seven in the evening but the sky’s pitch black. The only light we had were the small light bulbs that dot the whole area. The island relies on a generator for electricity, so supply’s available only from 6PM to 6AM. No problem. The bonfire we made at the beach provided the needed light and warmth for the whole company. With a bottle of beer and a good round of stories from everyone, the night was indeed well-spent.

The next day, the sky was filled with varied shades of blue, violet, yellow and orange—the sun’s already rising in the east. A hearty breakfast and a few more frolics and jump shots by the beach before finally packing our bags to leave.

Sunrise. :)

We walked the length of the other side of the beach to get to the boat that will bring us to Mauban again. It was a good weekend. The trip did not disappoint. #happy

More photos at Flickr and this photoblog.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Roots


Having had enough of bumming for weeks inside the house, the siblings asked if we could go on a trip. Naturally, I obliged being the semi-wanderlust that I am. Char. Hahaha. Anyway, so where’s our destination? The ‘rents hometown—Legazpi!

We left Manila by lunch time (which was awfully late because we should have left at 10:00AM) and it took us 13 hours before we reached Legazpi – after midnight. Our ~favorite cousin fetched us at the bus terminal and went home to get that much needed stretching and rest. The next day, our mini-adventures began. J

One of the highlights of our trip was when we were able to convince our younger siblings to try the zipline at Embarcadero. Because this was their first time, we went ahead. When they saw how exhilarating the feeling would be, they were eager to try it out. Haha. Yay!

Getting to the other end of the line was quite slow, maybe because I gained a bit of weight? Or maybe… I dunno. Anyway, the view’s very nice—the majestic Mayon Volcano to your left, the vast waters that border Legazpi ahead of you and people who watch you scream at the top of your lungs, just way below you. Hahaha!

We did not explore much on food and sights because our tour guides easily got tired of walking. Haha. They have asthma. So yeah, we just went to the usual tour places such as the Cagsawa Ruins and the churches in Albay. Because we visited during the Holy Week, we watched the Good Friday parade of life-sized saints. I personally admired their devotion and the beauty of their tradition. I guess it’s also something fascinating. On Easter Sunday, we went up early to watch what they call the “saklot”—this is a re-enactment of how the angel took the veil of death from Mary while Jesus rose from the dead. It was performed at the town plaza. After the unveiling, rosary-shaped balloons were released and then the morning mass began.

The best thing during this trip was spending time with our cousins and their children. I can’t really believe that I’m already a “lola” just because our nephew already has a child. Wow. Anyway, our meals were not complete without the usual banter and fun-filled stories. The conversations are funnier now because there are a lot of “sabaw” stories and we’re all mature enough to just joke around and have fun. Haha.

We also visited Nanay and Tatay Taba’s graves to pay our respects. Nanay Taba was an important figure in our childhood. She’s our mother’s eldest sister. Because their parents died early, my mother already treated Nanay Taba like her mother. When she passed away in Christmas 2003, it was one of the saddest moments in our lives. We lost our “matabang” aunt—that one person who would always spend her summers with us and treat us with fishballs every time we buy food at the wet market. My mother would always cook sumptuous meals and that’s because she was able to get the freshest catch and produce from the market. She’s our usual “unan” and “dantay” when our parents go to conferences in Baguio or Batangas or Tagaytay. We really miss her. So when we got the chance to go back, her grave was our first stop.

On Sunday afternoon, before finally saying farewell to this wonderful place, our aunt from Sorsogon treated us to a roadtrip. We went to Pilar Port, thirty minutes from their house in Putiao. Our cousin’s car was pick-up so the adventure became much better. Our faces were sticky and our hairs were disheveled but that fun ride made it all worth it. After a few obligatory photos and selfies (hehe), we went back to Legazpi to pack our things. We’re finally heading home.


Our bags were filled with food and pasalubong and also beautiful memories from our short visit. We’re definitely coming back. But yeah, we’ll be saving money for a more comfortable plane ride. J

Check my Flickr account for more photos or my Jux photoblog. J

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fade Out



Hi, hello.
Sit, stand.
Eat, drink.
Think, think.
Walk, stand.
Chit chat.
Chit chat.
Slowly, slowly
Fading.

Doors closed,
Windows opened.
Farther, farther they go. 
Walking, half-running.
Waving. Distant.

Slowly streaming.
Filling the lids.
Halt, stop.
But faster it goes.
Going, going.
Fading.
Left behind.
All alone. 

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