To my ever-fixed mark,

a woman can’t fall in love with a man she can’t learn from. That’s why I fell in love with you.

My constant. My guide. If you ever prove me wrong, I haven’t loved at all.

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Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

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Alex and Louie

Seven years ago, life wasn’t that complicated. You know when a person was special and you know when your effort was worth it.

Skipping recess was worth it. Spending my hard-earned income from selling piaya at school was worth it.

He was worth it.

And I hope he still has that Alex and Louie pillow with a personalized apple print I got him for his birthday.

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Happy Birthday.

And happy 7th anniversary.

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Social Media Saves the Day: My Top Gear Story

I went home like a former MVP who never scored a single point at a game the day after my S4 got stolen. I borrowed my uncle’s laptop to go online after I had my breakfast. Then I had a long phone call with my mother who was bound for the city to get me a new phone. I can finally attest that it’s hard not to own a smart phone these days. Feeling tired and stressed, I fell asleep immediately after the call only to be woken up again just after two hours. My cousin from the States messaged my mom that my IDs were all over Facebook.

I jerked and tried to remember if I took pictures of my IDs using my phone, but I know I didn’t. I started to be anxious again while I turned the laptop on. I had around 50 messages, 30 friend requests, and a few mentions on Facebook. Because Top Gear Philippines posted this:

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Only a few minutes after it was posted, my cousin Dax who’s based in L.A. messaged my mom.

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The comments are overwhelming. You can read them here. I know I had to reply. 1Two of my most important IDs were stolen along with my phone and I didn’t have an idea that they were also gone. The messages, tags, and phone calls from family, friends, and concerned netizens kept on coming until late in the afternoon. I spent the next few hours trying to wrap my head around the whole situation. So, this is how it felt like to be “viral”, I mused.

I planned to let the long weekend pass before I went to the said address to claim my IDs. During the weekend, I still kept on receiving messages from people who I don’t know, from my family and friends who were informed by people who were fans of TGP’s Facebook page. After work last October 6, with a friend and Google Maps, I found Brgy. 601’s office. With the help of the Brgy. Chairman, we went to the house of Kagawad Marc Ambrosio who was Mar Torres’ friend. Mar Torres was the one who found my IDs somewhere around their area and I believe he was also the one who asked TGP to post them online.

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With Kagawad Marc Ambrosio outside his home.

Losing my phone didn’t only teach me to be extra careful. It made me realize that I should keep in touch with people who I’m taking for granted because I’m too busy sleeping when I’m not working. That and so much more that I’d like to keep to myself.

Thank you to Sir Mar Torres, Kagawad Marc Ambrosio, Top Gear Philippines, and around 100 people who messaged me to say that my IDs were found. I still receive messages until now. This is also to let you know that I got them back.

What can Social Media do for you? It’s a digital, interactive, and proactive Lost and Found channel. It can save you from the hassle of going back and forth to the government offices for renewal. It is quick. It is efficient. And it gives one the hope that in a society where corruption and deception prevail, there are still millions of others who value honesty, sincerity, and concern for another’s affair.

P.S. Read the first part of this story HERE!

 

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When in Manila Lesson #010

When riding the bus and you feel a portion of your hair is being pulled out so hard, don’t turn around to complain. Instead, keep your eyes glued to your bag and hold on to it tightly. 

With all the premonitions and the vague anxiety I had the morning I got out of the office and the strange urge to hug my bag tight while riding the first bus to work that evening last October 2, I should’ve known something unfortunate was bound to happen. It was a tough week because of the unpredictable weather which aggravated the already stressful everyday Manila traffic. Little did I know that I aside from missing pre-shift overtime due to heavy traffic and thunderstorm, I was in for a series of unfortunate events that week.

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We were already along Pasong Tamo in Makati. It was just a kilometer or two away from my office so I already decided to fold my umbrella and put it inside my bag when my hair was suddenly tugged back. I thought a baby did it so I turned around and said, “Aray!”. When I looked back after my hair was let go by a man who was walking to the door, I saw that my bag was already wide open. My heart pounded as I watched the three men get off the bus. I wanted to shout to the bus conductor not to let them out, but I wasn’t sure if they were what I perceived them to be and if something was stolen from my bag.

I rummaged through my bag and yup, I knew it. When in Manila, trust your first instinct and just apologize if you’re wrong. My beloved S4 was out of sight.

It all happened so fast and I had a 5-second black out after. I took a deep breath and tried hard to focus. I sent my mom, aunt, and my friend who owned the postpaid account text messages. I called Globe to report the situation when I got to the office. I’ll spare you with all the details because it was something I don’t want to remember. Bottom line: I felt horrible. Feeble, a little bit shaky, and unable to concentrate.

I often fall asleep and use my phone on the bus, but that one time when I didn’t, it got stolen. It happened so quickly while I was alert. At one point, I blamed myself because I wasn’t careful enough.

I didn’t have that phone for the sake of having it. I needed it and now it’s gone with all my notes, contacts, pictures, and important files. I easily accepted the fact that it was gone but what upsets me most is that it happened in a snap – under 15 seconds! I confronted a man who snatched my 5110 while I was in line in Jollibee when I was in Grade 5 and I kicked a man’s willy when he jumped on top of me to get the same phone the year after that. But now that I’m supposedly older and wiser, I didn’t have the chance to do any “brave act” when I was robbed.

I just pray that the thieves use the money from my phone to buy food for their children, or pay hospital bills, or buy new roofs for their house. Manila is unsafe. I should’ve known better. There was no use in filing for a police blotter because even they can’t be trusted. I still want to write more horrible things connected to this one simple crime, but I’m already starting to feel bad again and beginning to hate our government officials for doing so little for our third world country to be safer for the commuters. No matter how you put it, they have something to do with how these crimes come about.

So I’ll just trust that you take extra precaution when in Manila. Trust no one. Be paranoid in all public places. These thieves target air conditioned buses with WiFi because they know the passengers probably own smartphones. It’s a concrete jungle and you never know what traps come your way. You never know who’s watching.

Oh well, as my Chummy always says, lessons learned.

P.S. There’s a part 2 HERE

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Simple Lang, Ayala Triangle, Makati

 

When you’re so like gutom na, you better head to Simple Lang at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati. The restaurant is charmingly conyo; the good kind of conyo. Its modern twist on traditional Filipino dishes and its minimalist interiors scream simplicity yet no matter how hard they try, its sophistication couldn’t be concealed. It makes me think of the old rich. They don’t need to tell people they’re rich, people just know they are by the way they carry themselves – simple lang with class.

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Sosy na Patis! Toyo na, Suka pa! :D

High ceilings, bold colors, and elegant interiors.

My first time there was with a friend. At first, we thought we didn’t order enough for two, but we ended up having leftovers. I was just too happy with the chicken ass that I forgot to enjoy the dinakdakan, but it was also good – tender and spicy.

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Crispy “Broken” Ukoy (P75)

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Crispy “Chop Chop” Pork Belly Dinakdakan (P195)

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Chicken Ass Skewers (P150)

After a week, I was back there when one of my cousins from Iloilo visited. The place was jam-packed so we ended up being seated outside, but it was all cool.

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Inasal Java Rice (P160)

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Tusoktusok (P120) – set of fishballs, tempura, squid balls, and chicken skin

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Sinigang Crispy Bagnet sa Watermelon (395)

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Simple Lang’s tagline says it all – it’s good food simplified. They have taken traditional Filipino dishes a bar higher by refining them. It’s definitely a good addition to the rows of good restaurants at Ayala Triangle.

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Honestly…

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I say I don’t remember
But I do
I say I’ve moved on
But I haven’t

I say I don’t want you back
But it’s all I ever wanted

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In the Concrete Jungle

I left my comfort zone only to want to go back. I’ve never wanted anything outside of Iloilo, to be honest. But as they say, one needs to find new ground to make new mistakes and learn from them. Getting out of the comfort zone means growing. Perhaps I felt like I needed more variables for my trial-and-error strategy in life.

My Papa calls Manila a jungle. With a rich repository of experiences, he was very hesitant in allowing me to move out. I endured a month of everyday when-in-Manila lectures and reminders. Yes, I was afraid at first, but I was more confident that I can do it on my own. A month after, I realized that at 24, I am still my parent’s child – dependent and not mature enough. I still need them. I had all the freedom that I needed but when I wanted more, I realized that I also want to be constantly humbled down and restrained. When everything seemed to be in my control, I started looking for higher authority and I can never be grateful enough that I have family here.

I’ve been here for nearly 7 months and last long weekend, I was able to come home to fresher air, slower pace, warmer hugs, and convenience. I’ve longed for it so much and I was so glad to finally be home. 

But I was ambivalent. I think I could never totally go back to a slower lifestyle after I got a taste of the life in the big city. There’s no greater comfort in being home but there are more challenges to face and more opportunities to grab here in the country’s capital.

I think I’m already 60% done with my life experiment. In going home, I found answers to some questions that had bugged me for months. One thing is for sure, I’d still want to go home every so often. To have a glimpse of my hometown’s progress, to feel the familiar, to savor convenience now and again.

Here’s a song that would probably describe my homesick feels. 

Home is somewhere I’ll never get tired of going back to, even if I finally settle in Ireland in the future. :D

Magbabalik at magbabalik ako sa Iloilo. :) For sure!

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