November 12, 2011


The Wedding Grinch


It’s the time of year again… a cacophony of the vexing wedding bells starts to fill the air.  And just recently, I’ve been invited to one of my friend’s wedding on, read the date, 11.11.11 (and why not, dates like this don’t come along often).  And so I hesitantly obliged, at least for the sake of our friendship.

The wedding ceremony was actually beautiful, but I felt like a vampire slowly annihilated by the fierce sunlight.

Why do I hate weddings?  Well, it’s an occasion when I feel that the closest thing I get to be “normal” is to attend it as mere spectator.  I could never be a groom (sad)… nor a bride (sadder)!  It depresses me. When I was younger, I was bold enough to embrace being different. In fact, I celebrated it. I felt “astig” to come out there in the open, defining my life in rainbow colors! No holds barred. No apologies.  As long as I don’t hurt anyone, I’m gonna do what my heart yearns.  The delusional exuberance of youth.

Although, I have no regrets, there’s a part of me still clamoring for “normal.” I wanna be as normal as I could. But what is normal, really?

I’ve been to hell and back in those dark, confused stages of my life. The path to emancipation was treacherous, at least, inside my head. I thought I’ve already come into my full terms.  But the ghosts of my distant past started haunting me again.   

As soon as the church door opened and my “blushing bride” friend walked down the aisle, I suddenly had an epiphany.  Could this be the one missing in my life? I wanna have that moment too – when all eyes are set upon me as I walk gloriously in my fabulous haute couture white dress! Oops! Wrong epiphany! This is just a fragment of my delusional imaginings from my other personal issues! (winks) Sorry for the confusion. My personal ghost might have been lost in its haunting! hehe I’ll spare you now from a hideous graphic of my bald, goatee-d self in a bridal gown. 
 
This recent occasion led me wondering, did I really make good choices in life?  Is my courageous stunt of challenging the “conventional” worth it?   I mean how many “great love affairs” do I need to be in before I get tired of it? (naks, ako na ang kalbong mahaba ang hair!... hehe)  The fountain of youth is slowly drying up and I haven’t settled yet. Or have I missed the boat? Suddenly the voice of that creepy, lithium-laced ice cream addict spinster (from Sex and the City) lurked inside my head, telling me, “You only have two great love affairs in your lifetime.” If that scared the hell out of Carrie for having served her sentence with Big and Aidan, imagine how I took it for having served all the Patricks, Johns, Russels, Joeys, Markeys, Dales and Aces of the world! I turned into a nutcase! "I always thought someone better will come along... never happened!" the creepy spinster continued. (Ahhh! Stop it, will you! I'm really starting to hear her voice! Crazy much? hehe) I’ve reached my quota long before I could think of ever settling down.  Jeez!  Has this “love battlefield” reduced me into just being a bride’s best friend, a god-father of their offspring… an outsider looking in? They're all starting to have a "conventional" family of their own while I'm still... well... here

And why do I sound like a bitter bridesmaid? I’m an effin' guy for chrissake! (winks) 



When do I become such a walking cliché? Tsk. Tsk. This got to stop.



Xoxo,
The Wedding Grinch



P.S.

And since I'm a masochist, I wanna render a song number just to add an insult to the injury! Here goes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P27MPi3ZhCg&ob=av2e

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Image credit: Tucia


Disclaimer: The image used in this article does not represent the views and opinions of the actual photo owner for this blog. The photo owner is protected by Flicker's Creative Commons' Copyright Policy.  The author assumes full responsibility attached to this blog. 

November 2, 2011


Palawan’s “Coron-ing” Glory

Once dubbed as the Philippines’ Last Frontier, Palawan has remained an enchanting destination for nature lovers from around the globe.  

This Yellow Boat was our vessel and the lone witness as we traversed into a seemingly insurmountable expedition of the Coron Islands (...our tour guide simply called it - Package Tour A (toinks!) Route - Kayangan Lake> Twin Peaks> Coral Garden> Atwaya Island> YFC Island> Grand Lake).  winks!


Few minutes after getting off the Busuanga Domestic Airport, we were already in a perky mood as we witnessed one glorious Sunday morning in a lush canopy of blue sky, green mountains and vibrant wild flowers which seemed like an effulgent daffodils along the country road. We needed to capture the moment... and so, we... jumped! hehe


Coron Town Proper (with a landmark signage ala Hollywood!)

Package Tour A's first stop: Kayangan Lake. To go to the lake, we need to ascend the hill (then take a short stopover on top to get a snapshot of ourselves, all drenched in sweat,  while still trying to be cute for our photo behind the magnificent backdrop of the Twin Peaks -  clearly a feat in itself!).  Then we descend through the other side of the hill to get into the lake. Whew!
Cooling it off in Kayangan Lake with my cool friends (Abhen, Jess, Kim & Ronan)
Crystal clear water will welcome you in the blue lagoon.  You'll instantly forget that you have just crossed over an ardous trek to get there.

Diving deep into the abyss... of Kayangan Lake!  You gotta be a pro to explore what's beneath it (all 30-meter downward stretch of it). Or you can just fake it. Here's how: immerse in the shallow part of the lake without your life-vest, anchor your hand on a rock and push your body slightly deeper. Ask your photographer to get a good angle without revealing the surface of the water to create an illusion of depth. That usually does the trick... if you're a natural! (winks) In photograph... no one could really tell the difference! Haha 

Second stop: The Atwaya Coral Garden

Snorkling beneath the Twin Peaks. Thanks, Abhen for the cool shots! :)

Local Reggae Band jammin' along the Atwaya Shores

Coral Stone Walls of the Island

We checked-in at Sunz en Coron Resort. It's a newly-built, Korean-owned resort that's slightly off-the-hook of Coron's town proper. A must-try if you want peace and quiet (away from the cacophony of rumbling trykes that dominate the town's main streets).

Lounging @ Macario's Grill and feasting on the banquet of town's famous delicacies. 
Must try:  Ginataan Pagui / Grilled Tanigue & Sugpo

Other recommended resto: The Kawayan Grill Station

View of the Islands on top of Mt. Tapyas. This "poignant" shot was effortlessly rendered by my friend/ supermodel rival, Ronan, who clearly has a flair for the dramatics!

Overjoyed after conquering Mt. Tapyas' summit (and all its 725 steps). And yeah, we really do jump a lot! ;)

As in!
Seriously!  (winks)
Spot the weakest link! Com'on Jess, you can do better than that!

Coron is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. If you want real outdoor adventure, I highly recommend it.  It reminded me so much of the breath-taking sceneries of Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach movie (or perhaps, even better).  The place is so wonderful, that my journey almost became spiritual. I mean, after seeing these marvelous landscape makes me think... we don't need to see miracles to believe God. We just need to look at things around us more intently to see its real beauty. Because such beauty can't be just accidental...
Me, rendering a tropical version of "I'm the King of the World"

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October 6, 2011


Thirty, Flirty and Thriving?

In commemoration of Steve Jobs' inspiring life, I'm re-posting my blog, which featured his moving speech in 2005 Standford University Commencement Exercises.

"You've got to find what you love..." - Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)




It’s almost two years now since I reached the BIG 3-O dilemma.  To this date, I still feel the chill of the reality sinking into my being.  Has it really been three decades? And the long years of living along the fast lane has finally caught up on me and now I’m faced with the inevitable - exiting the freeways for the service roads to get at my real destination.

But where am I really going? That’s when it gets a little scary ‘coz, honestly, I haven’t really figured it out.  I have stalled in a mode where I look at 30 as a far-fetched vista from where I am standing. I conveniently dismissed any pressure with the thought that I am still young. I was convinced that it’s a smart way of self-preservation. I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there, so I said.  And then the "mystical" bridge came. Trust me, the cross over was almost as painfully lyrical as the Angel song of Sarah Mclachlan (Read: “Spend all your time waiting for a second change, for a break that would make it okay. There’s always some reason to feel not good enough…").

I still vividly remember the moments when Van (my girl_friend) and I were singing to the tune of Plumb’s REAL - “Look at me I’m 23, beautiful, a sight to see tonight!” during our carefree night-outs. Can’t believe that’s almost a decade ago.  And every time I look at the mirror and sing to that same tune, I get chills ‘coz I can’t own up to it anymore.  Suddenly I felt so validated that beauty is really skin-deep! Thank God! (winks!)

Reality checks here. Reality checks there. Now I’m having a profound affair with reality.  Gone are the days when the only affairs I maintain are the “tricky” ones with another lost human being. Now I have to think twice whether it’s worth it. Most of the time, I’d rather be alone because it’s less complicated. Reality checks… again. See?!

After graduating from college, I have this clear vision of myself making it through the real world. Thwarting every obstacle that comes my way.  Being filthy rich by the time I get 30. Then reality bites here. Reality bites there.  
Sometimes, I regret watching “Reality Bites” movie, ‘coz it burst my bubble of a romantic vision of myself conquering the world. It kept me grounded.

Now that I am 30-ish, I have gone through the rite of passage. I know it’s okay to feel a little petrified. But it’s juvenile to make excuses anymore.   

I want to close this with a video of Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement 
Address. I hope you get an inspiration out of it the same way I got mine.


August 15, 2011

10 Notoriously Sad Songs To Indulge In When You’re Bitterly Heartbroken


After your BFFs have volted-in and given you the much needed lift (as if!) over several bottles of beer (or wine or Starbucks coffee jelly for the ladies), time to say good-bye. You head back to your crib, lie down on your bed and look blankly up the ceiling. During this moment of inevitable solitude, crazy things rumble inside your head. You drift away into your own reverie. And then you make that stupid mistake of turning the radio on. The bitterly familiar hum starts to reel in, “You are the minstrel and I you can touch…”

Did I set the mood right? You bet, I did! Now time to reveal the cruelest among the cruel songs (ever) that remind us of the bad side of love.


1.  Love is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse




Best lines:


Though I’m rather blind
Love is a fate resigned
Memories mar my mind
Love is a fate resigned

Over futile odds
And laughed at by the gods
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game


2.  Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy




Best lines:

So you're gone and I'm haunted
And I bet you are just fine
Did I make it that easy to walk
Right in and out of my life?

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Why can't you just let me be?


3.  Angel by Sarah Maclachlan




Best lines:

Spend all your time waiting
  
For that second chance
 
For a break that would make it okay
 
There’s always one reason
 
To feel not good enough
 
And it’s hard at the end of the day
 
I need some distraction
 
Oh beautiful release
 
Memory seeps from my veins
 
Let me be empty
 
And weightless and maybe
 I’ll find some peace tonight

4.  Broken Strings by James Morrison




Best lines:

Let me hold you for the last time
It's the last chance to feel again
But you broke me, now I can't feel anything

When I love you and so untrue
I can't even convince myself
When I'm speaking it's the voice of someone else

Oh, it tears me up
 I tried to hold on but it hurts too much
 
 I tried to forgive but it's not enough
 
 To make it all okay

5.  Chasing Pavements by Adele




Best lines:

I've made up my mind, don't need to think it over
If I'm wrong I am right, don't need to look no further
This ain't lust, I know this is love

But if I tell the world, I'll never say enough
'Cause it was not said to you
And that's exactly what I need to do if I'd end up with you

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?

6.  Broken by Lifehouse




Best lines:

The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
 
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
 
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

 

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
 
With a broken heart that's still beating
 
In the pain, there is healing
 
In your name I find meaning
 
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, 
I'm holdin' on
 I'm barely holdin' on to you

7.  Soulmate by Natasha Bedingfield




Best lines:

Here we are again, circles never end
How do I find the perfect fit?
There's enough for everyone
But I'm still waiting in line

Who doesn't long for someone to hold
Who knows how to love you without being told
Somebody tell me why I'm on my own
If there's a soulmate for everyone

8.  Run by Snow Patrol




Best lines:

I'll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done

And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here

9.  Smile by Tamia




Best lines:
Sometimes I sit at home by the phone, 
hopin’ he might call me but he don’t call me
But then I realized dreams come true aren’t for girls like me, not like me
And so I go around with my head up like it ain’t no thing
And when the boys around with all my friends I’m into other things ‘coz
You never let them see you sweat, don’t want them to think the pain runs deep, Lord knows its killing

So I put on my make up, put a smile on my face
And if anyone ask me everything is ok
I'm laughing 'coz no one knows the joke is on me
'Coz I'm dyin inside with my pride and a smile on my face...on my face

10.  Lie to Me by Shane Mack




Best lines:

Lie, while you're even early
Deny, that you're in any hurry
Cry, and tell me not to worry
'Cause what I don't know, is never gonna hurt me

Breathe, now baby don't feel guilty
Deceive me, then just walk away
Leave me, the truth will only kill me
It's gotta be, it's gotta be this way

One more bad excuse
Before you turn me lose
Give me something to remember you by
Couldn't you offer me
A little dishonesty
Promise me you'll try
You'll lie to me

** Bonus Song: Jars of Heart by Christina Perri




Best Lines:

And I learned to live, half-alive
And now you want me one more time

Who do you think you are?
Runnin' round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are?

These songs really got it. They captured the deepest sensibilities of every human’s yearning for love… in whatever forms. It mirrored every one of us who dared to plunge into the sea of love, unmindful of its consequences and the possibility of emerging empty-handed. They say the best way to heal a broken heart is to deal with it head on. Did I mention that these songs also have über melancholic melodies that can really drag you down into your rock bottom? So indulge!

Do you agree with me, or think that I’m just being melodramatic? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts or your own song selections. You can leave a
comment below.

_________________
Photo credit: le vent le cri


Disclaimer: The images and videos used in this article do not represent the views and opinions of the actual photo and video owners (from flicker.com & youtube.com) for this blog. The author assumes full responsibility attached to this blog. The photo owners are protected by Flicker's Creative Commons' Copyright Policy.

July 25, 2011


Goodbye, Amy


For all the times I have savored the soothing 
melancholia of your song, “Love is a Losing Game…”

When I am too fragile and broken, and there’s nothing I can do 
but seek refuge from its poignant melodies…

Thank you, Amy Winehouse.

Your life may have turned tragic… 
but you definitely left something beautiful behind.

Rest now in peace.







________________

June 18, 2011

The Mediterranean Vibe of Antulang Beach Resort



Antulang Beach in Dumaguete is one of my favorite places in the Visayas.  It is situated in Siit, Siaton, Dumaguete Negros Oriental - approximately an hour drive from the Dumaguete Airport. 

The Antulang is not a typical beach resort with accessible shorelines.  It is slightly suspended on top of the island tip, so you will need to descend through its lofty staircases to enjoy the beach below.  It has a Mediterranean vibe like that of Positano Coast (Under the Tuscan Sun movie - does it ring a bell?). If you’re honeymooners or just "kinky acquaintances", making out in the obscure part of the beach is surely a sizzling (but romantic) experience.  Just be watchful of creatures (read: sea snakes or whatever) that may lurk around with a different carnal agenda! haha  


But who needs  sea water when the resort has several pool complexes to boast; not to mention the infinity pool that really captures the "forever and beyond." Just like any panoramic views, it's humbling.



The food is great. At lunch time, it offers smorgasbord of delightful cuisines –  seafoods extraordinaire (my fave from any Visayan sojourn) and other culinary delights.  Plus there are nice, professional-looking (they wear the standard hotel service crew outfits) attendants to pamper you with all your needs… and wants if you’re the “prima donna” type.  There are multi-level decks of cabanas for a themed dinners during peak seasons.

Image credit http://www.agoda.com/asia/philippines/dumaguete/antulang_beach_resort.html
The package also offer a tour at Apo Island through their own private yacht.  A Mediterranean atmosphere, a yacht, it's definitely a high life for a day!

Apo Island is whimsical.  There is a distinct rock formation along the shoreline (similar to Anawangin's) that leaves you nostalgic of an old epic adventure movie. You’ll instantly feel that you’ve seen it somewhere, from maybe an old Panday film or from Pirates of the Caribbean.  


Apo Island, by the way, is one of the major diving spots in the country.  If you’re lucky, you can get a free diving lesson (for the dummies) from in-house divers (if they’re less busy).


The package offer is slightly above the standard rate, if you’re accustomed to the typical Boracay getaway, but it surely is worth it.  It’s double-delight when your company is paying for your leisure trip (as in my case... winks!). If you want a semi-exclusive, less congested vacation spot, I can guarantee that Antulang Beach Resort can give you that.  It’s a different experience.

I know rainy days are coming, and my blog is slightly late for its theme, but what the heck, we’re in the Philippines, where there are only 2 distinct climates – hot and hotter. So it’s never too late.  



For more information about Antulang Beach, you may visit their site at http://www.antulangbeachresortdumaguete.com/ppc/

June 11, 2011

The Video That Won First Place At Cannes


Image credit Derrick T

I love browsing through Youtube's collection of witty ads that chronicle funny, touching and moving life moments. There are occasions when I feel the "void"; when I'm too consumed by mundane routines of my life. So I take a moment to breathe and look for a "convenient" inspiration to remind me that life is still beautiful. 

And yeah, Youtube can magically take you to an emotional roller-coaster ride. Usually in just a few minutes, you may experience sudden burst of laughter or a mild pinch in your heart that leaves you teary-eyed. And somehow, by the end of each viewing session, you are left with a sense of purpose to make your life more "Youtube-worthy." (winks!)

I want to share with you this short clip that features a child's innocent but poignant gesture of kindness. In few unexpected moments, be it trivial or grand, we are moved by acts of selflessness that validate the greatness of a human soul. 

It's so easy to be cynical and feel defeated in the most trying times of our lives. Life can be short, but moments like this make it worthwhile. 






Disclaimer: The image used in this article does not represent the views and opinions of the actual photo owner (from flicker.com) for this blog. The author assumes full responsibility attached to this blog. The photo owner is protected by Flicker's Creative Commons' Copyright Policy.

June 10, 2011

The Menaces of Passive Aggressive People



Sometimes, it is much easier to deal with snotty, pain-in-the-ass b*tches than to deal with nice-in-the-exterior, passive-aggressive people.  At least those b*tches own up to who they are. You will have a clear grasp of how to deal with them head-on.  But with the passive-aggressive ones, it’s a whole new different playing field.  You’ll never know what you might get out of dealing with them.  They can be nice and cooperative at the on-set, but you’ll be surprised how they can turn things around and hold your ground at their mercy.

Life is a competition. It's about survival of the fittest.  You instinctively become competitive, which means you work your ass out to deliver good and thriving results based on what is expected of you as an employee, student, athlete, life partner or whatever role you play in life. Being a conscientious person, you make a conscious effort to promote a healthy competition, that is surviving it through without stepping on or compromising anyone in the process. It's fair and square. And so you are always on guard of people who play it dirty and do tricks which are always at the expense of anyone who’s getting on their way.  Sometimes it gets the best of you. And in many ways, you are offended by their sensibilities. Sometimes you want to do silly things to counteract their menaces. But you don’t have the heart to carry it through. You don’t want to sound self-righteous or anything, but you know you've managed to live up with the moral upbringing your parents have instilled in you.  You recognized that there are code of ethics to live by.   But this is the “real” world.  So you need to figure things out to properly deal with these people.  Meanwhile, you detach yourself.

Which role do you play in this picture? Time to do some introspection.  You might be thriving at the moment. But the race is long. And Karma sees through the deep recesses of our hearts.

And who am I? That’s a secret I‘d never tell. You know you love me.

Xoxo,
Your conscience  ;)  

_______________
Photo credit Urban Woodswalker


Disclaimer: The image used in this article does not represent the views and opinions of the actual photo owner (from flicker.com) for this blog. The author assumes full responsibility attached to this blog. The photo owner is protected by Flicker's Creative Commons' Copyright Policy.