And I Wander

The birds chirp at this side of the world. :)

OUR OWN PARADISE

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Last year, there was this thing I do with Google map after I found out how awesome it is: it’s called “virtual traveling.” You know how now you can type any address and Google map brings you there? As in right there on the street, in front of a building or a house. Grabe. I would virtually travel, almost like by foot to Japan, Italy, Rome, and different cities in America. Try going to Japan, & go to those secluded areas na parang probinsya nila, you’d feel so eerie, like you’re in a ghost movie or something, haha!

Sometimes too, when wanderlust hits me, but time & money won’t allow me, I’d Google countries I’d want to go to someday, and lately I’d go to Pinterest/Cool Hunter to feast my eyes on beautiful photos of places around the world. These are some of my favorites:

Keukenhof Gardens – Netherlands. Trees, flowers & a body of water. My dream backyard.

(photo from The Cool Hunter)

Riomaggiore, Italy. The density & the organized chaos calms me.

(photo from Pinterest)

Bora Bora. My dream honeymoon destination.

(photo from the internet)

Skaftafeli – Iceland. Ok siguro mag skateboard dito. Hahaha!

Preachers Rock, Preikestolen, Norway. Yes I would love to read a book, or do my nothingbox here.

(photo from The Cool Hunter)

Hamilton Pool: Nature reserve formed by thousands of years of water erosion that created a natural pool collapsed grotto and canyon. Lovely.

(photo from Pinterest)

Gorges de Lareuase III. Gorgeous eh?

(photo from Pinterest)

Whitehaven Beach, Australia. Ooooh yeah.

(photo from Pinterest)

I’ve always want to do this! Tapos talon (paraglide). Woooooh!

(photo from Pinterest)

The thing about traveling though… the image that you’d see of a particular place is not the same as when you are in it. Like if you’d look at that beach from Australia from a plane, or from skydiving, it’d give you a different feel than if you are basking in the sun in it…. right? Sometimes we’d go to a place because we’ve seen how beautiful & colorful it is from a magazine or a book or the internet. But when we get there, we’d be disappointed at how pale it is in real life. Because real life does not do saturations or contrasts or lomo, or whatever tweaks photoshop does to a picture! I know people who’ve experienced this. They go to Santorini and they’d be like, “Hmp parang Tagaytay lang e (It’s just like Tagaytay).” Or they go to this secluded beach in Florida and say, “It was more beautiful in the pictures,” and then they’d upload photos of themselves in it after fixing up the colors to match what they’ve seen in the ads. I’ve experienced the same thing with the Bellarocca Island. It was more attractive in the pictures. But it was still breathtaking from some angles. 🙂 But then, as I’d always say, it’s not really the place you’re going to, how opulent or ghetto, or high class or dingy it is. It is the company that you have that would make traveling memorable.

Like this travel that we had at the Catalina Island last weekend. It was cloudy & gloomy during most parts of the day. But we have really enjoyed our stay coz it was the first time, in a long time, that all of us were off from work/school. And this place refreshingly provided us temporary respite from the city life.

not photoshopped. edited in Paint.

Anyway…

But yeah I still want to see some beautiful & interesting places  and feast at it with my own eyes. I want to go to that place they call “between heaven & earth.” I want to go to Arctic to witness the play of lights or the Aurora Borealis. I want to go to Egypt and experience the contrasting view of the pyramid on my right, and the sight of the city on my left. I want to hike for days and reach the top of Machu Pichu & pretend to be transported in a different time.

But more than these, what I really want is to travel to different countries to feast on food, to talk to the locals, to sleep on their beds, to dance their national dance, to partake in their festivities, to chant their chants, to sing one of their native songs, to play their national game, to learn a prayer.

Sigh. I wish to live longer in this earth to be able to do all these.

* * * * * * *

Anyway, I have come across this image…

This is Skybridge Langkawi in Malaysia. Imagine having this… in Tagaytay.

Sigh.

I heaved a sigh coz we have this really huge (hectares & hectares!) land in Tagaytay. Story goes that my lolo’s lolo, a politician, used to own most of Tagaytay. But you know how before, parang wala lang, politicians would give away land titles to people, out of, I dunno, charity, or to get more votes. The vastness of the land areas they own is so huge that giving away parts of it was just like giving out barya (loose change)… Until there was only a small portion (still huge!) of land that was left to him & his family. The land is located in the innermost secluded part of Tagaytay, and at the end of it is a majestic view of the Taal volcano. Yes, kind of like in that photo above. There had been a lot of corporations or rich investors trying to buy it, but for some reason, it won’t push through. Different reasons, but mostly I hear was that they think that some areas were too matarik (steep), it would be hard to develop it. Well, I say, why don’t they do something like that (photo above)?? Ugh. Or maybe build a real nice resort/hotel at the edge of that property, where the land touches the river, and then build a cable car from there to the main road so that they can make their guests arrive in the hotel through that cable car… right??

Sigh. I heaved a sigh again coz last I heard, the government took it away coz my relatives could not pay the tax.

So if you are a rich developer reading this, please, maybe you could develop the land and make it as beautiful, if not better, than that one in the photo? And make me & my family honorary guests in your hotel so we could have own our paradise?

🙂

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April 30, 2012 Posted by | family, nature, travels | | Leave a comment

SAVAGE BEAUTY

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One of the highlights of my New York trip with Spidey: visiting Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (an exhibit of almost a hundred of McQueens collections which will go on until July 31, 2011).

* photos from the internet

Leaving the steps of the museum, I was filled with all sorts of emotions. They had virtually captured a bit of the essence of every McQueen show. I have loved him not so much as his creations but as what those provoke inside me. Everyone can put together things and call it a creation or art. But what separates a genius or a great artist from everyone else is something greater than what is seen or heard: it is what happens when you’re not looking at it anymore, what has stuck in you when you go home or walk in the park, what it stirs in your head, what it breaks in your heart, how it drives you in certain kind of high or madness. And he does that to me… Or is it because I am mad like him? 😀

“Despite the commercial aspirations of the show — “Savage Beauty” was funded almost entirely by the label whose clothing it features — it is nevertheless difficult to look at a single one of the designs without being mesmerized, intrigued, or provoked into some response, oftentimes confusion. No designer has better embodied Yves Saint Laurent‘s incisive dictum that while fashion is not exactly art, it requires the creativity of an artist in order to exist. McQueen’s originality and genius derived from the fact that his tremendous talent as a designer was matched by his capacity as an artist. “

This is my favorite. (Spring/Summer 2001) There was this huge 2-way mirror box. The audience was reflected on the mirror. There were these beautiful models walking around in the room. Then a conventionally ugly woman was revealed. It was trying to say that beauty comes not from the outside but from within. Since it was shown as a loop, as soon as the woman was revealed, it went back to a mirror reflecting us. I saw myself… as if trying to ask, Now where is that beauty within you?

Alexander McQueen:
“I am a romantic schizophrenic.”
“I oscillate between life & death, happiness & sadness, good & evil.”
“I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”
“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Blogroll, New York, travels | Leave a comment

SIDETRIPS

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I am currently in this part of the America that is frequently covered with clouds lately. But for a day, the sun had peeked and we were able to do the DC tour & take lotsa lotsa photos. Myrene (Spidey’s cousin, and my batchmate in MC) is a camwhore… and I love it! Coz finally, Spidey & I have more photos together. (Fact: Spidey hates having his photo taken. Proof: In most, if not all, of his photos with Allstars, he is either flashing a poker face at the back, or is missing.) Yesterday, we hung out at the Inner Harbor in Downtown Baltimore. We went up these semi-steep stairs that led to a hill that had a sweeping view of the city skyline & seaport. It was so beautiful albeit the absence of sunlight.

Tonight, we are going back to Jersey to catch a plane back to L.A. This has been a woderful wonderful week for me filled with walking & walking & walking! (How many W’s was that? 7!) I think this is the longest walk I have ever done in my entire life! I am tracing it back to our weekend in Vegas:

  • While the boys “deposited” money in the casino, us girls (my sister Rio, Myra & Manresa) with the babies hiked the not-so-hot-yet-at-this-time-of-year Strip going from Luxor to Excalibur to MGM to our destination M&Ms building (all these for the kids, ya hear?)… and then back.
  • Days later, I was walking the rainy streets of New York with my Spidey, Reflex & Liana.
  • The next day, the sun had paid us a visit, and so Spidey & I walked around the city for almost 10 hours! Central Park (HHWWPSSP… for those who don’t know, that means “holding hands while walking pa-sway sway pa! Haha!) => Meatpacking (when we looked for that “nice” resto Sheena suggested we eat in, but she gave us the wrong address, thank God for GPS on my BB) => Brooklyn looking for that club & searching for Sheena when we thought that we lost her coz her freakin’ phone died => Times Square (where we stayed til 4am talking about things that reminded us of those glorious times, how it can never be experienced/understood by anyone else but us, conversing with a deaf alien sighting, debating about the end of the world, and listening to a rap by a drugged “OG” who hates Bin Laden => Port Authority Bus Terminal where we had to catch a bus back to Jersey where we’re staying only to find out that the first trip is at 7:20am (and so Spidey & I had to wait there for 2 hours).
  • Two days later, in DC, even with the tour bus around, we still had to walk around the area coz our freakin’ bus always takes a long time to arrive at the stops.
  • And then the next day, though not that long a walk, we had to climb those stairs at Harbor Square.

Wow walking in 4 cities… and now my bum is bigger! 😉

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Blogroll, interests, New York, travels | Leave a comment

FAMILY TIME

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…is travel time! 🙂

There are a lot of beautiful places in the Philippines that are waiting to be explored. When I become a billionaire and I settle back home, I would really aim to travel to some of its resorts/islands like Amanpulo, Siargao, Cebu, Palawan, Samar, etc. I would not leave this earth without stepping on those shores. 😉 I would also want to go trek mountains & go spelunking again in Sagada, Benguet & then Apo. Oh boy. Just thinking about it gives me some kinda cheap high, ha-ha!

Jhong & I love to travel. That’s one of the things that makes us happy. I believe traveling is also one way for people to bond & get closer, and also to discover things about themselves. It’s also a way to celebrate life & to appreciate the beauty of nature God has given us… But being in a group & having responsibilities like we have, we could barely afford to have the time. Last Christmas, Jhong surprised me with a travel voucher from Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay! (Isn’t he the sweetest??) But we were only able to use it after 6 weeks haha!

photo from the site

Tala doing the "leg up" 🙂

The place is good for b&b. If you are a foodie, you’d definitely love the courses offered at their Verbena restaurant. We ordered a very sumptuous Pan-Fried Creme Dory fillet for dinner. It was masarap that we almost cleaned the plate ! I also loved how they have cheese & wine tasting in the afternoon, and warm milk & cookies before bedtime. 🙂

the real master of cheese.

cheese & wine tasting

while we were watching TV, she was doodling

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Weeks before we were to move here in the U.S., my wanderlust struck. I wanted us three (me, Jhong, Tala) to go to Taiwan for my birthday, attend Culture Shock, and maybe do some shopping. But Jhong suggested that maybe we should go someplace else like Bellarocca. I’ve seen photos of it before & I remembered having drooled at the sight of a Santorini-inspired island… & so I conceded. This time, it was my turn to make all the arrangements. I was not able to purchase a voucher from dealgrocer, but I was able to get a promo rate. (Incidentally, after I posted some photos on facebook, a friend sent me a message & told me she knows the owner! Pooof, sayang another discount pa sana haha!) Anyway, so in the midst of my chaotic pre-departure activities, I was able to still my mind momentarily when I saw it in flesh… err earth. 🙂

photos from the internet

i always do this in every hotel that i go to. 🙂

breathtaking view of Mount Malindig & Sibuyan Sea. imagine waking up to this.

Tala & me at a villa infinity pool

Tala & her daddy. my 2 pieces of heaven on earth.

sunbathing

"Look daddy!"

wind surfing! i was surprised that i got it on my 2nd try... i almost reached the open sea!

her favorite spot

the staff are sooo nice! they became Tala's instant playmates.

dinner at the patio on our last night.

(Update)
Since a lot of you are asking about these resorts, go to these links for bookings/reservations:
Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay
Bellarocca Island Resort & Spa

March 1, 2011 Posted by | Blogroll, family, travels | , | 2 Comments

THE BIG CITY

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My idea of NY before was this concrete wilderness that is sooo alien to me. Like going there would require a great leap of faith, a fashion sense (coz I don’t have one ha-ha!), and… moolah. Kasalanan ng movies and SITC. Back in 2007, I was caught in a major dilemma that I didn’t want to face… I wanted to run away. And yes, I wanted to go to NY. To throw myself to its jungle head-on so that I can maybe straighten myself up by just being there. But I didn’t have the money, ha-ha! So pffft went my hiatus.

Last year, I was flown to NY for free… and with a sizable allowance …and accommodations in a 5-star hotel near Central Park! For a week, I lived, ate, slept & breathed New York! And in that city where it all started, I was given a Hip Hop tour (sponsored by Kennedy Center). I, together with the other participants of the Hip Hop Program, was brought to a jam in the Bronx, a workshop with bboy Kwikstep, watched “Stomp,” attended a Sugar Hill Gang Concert & watched a bboy battle. It was one of the best experiences of my life!  That time, I never spoke or uttered any single Tagalog word coz I never bumped into any Filipino. I have not eaten any Filipino food, too. My staple food consisted of microwavable pasta & rice, bread and egg… I have experienced walking around Manhattan people-watching, window shopping, getting lost, at daytime & at night.

I found out that it is a big, friendly city after all.

This year, I passed by the city from Canada (where Allstars had a concert) before going home to California. Sheena, Knowa, Flave & I took a 12-hour bus ride from Toronto. I wasn’t planning on going there if it was not for Sheena (It was her lifelong dream to go to NY!) & the classes that I wanted to take at BDC. It was a different NY experience this time coz we stayed at Queens where a lot of Filipinos live (Hey, there’s a Jollibee there!). I didn’t feel like a tourist anymore coz 1st, I have been there before. 2nd, I have no camera. You know you’re a tourist when you take pictures of every place & everything you do. You take a picture with a Hooters waitress, you take a photo of the Empire State that’s 20 blocks away, you ask someone to take a photo of you in the subway or a bus or under a tree. Heck, you take a picture of the food you ate or a squirrel that you have seen for the first time that is not a cartoon (Yes I did that heehee!).

Sheena had a camera though so we had pictures! And this is me on the subway:

And with an army jeep (I LOVE JEEPS! It is my dream to own one!):

Most of the time, we were on a quest for a certain food. Like one time, Knowa wanted us to taste the “best pizza in NY.” It was near his college. When we got to his college, he couldn’t find it. We must have walked around 10 blocks until 2 students helped us. And viola, we found it!

It’s called Frank’s Pizza Express! The pizza tasted really good! “It’s the sauce,” Knowa would excitedly chime in, pointing to his pizza. Yep. It’s the sauce guys. Try it! 😀

We had other quests for food like the famous chicken & rice at 53rd & 6th St., and the Pomme Frites Belgian fries. I just realized that the one common thing about all those food that we ate was the sauce. Yes people, IT’S THE SAUCE! The pizza sauce with real tomato of Frank’s Pizza, the white and add-to-your-discretion hot sauce of Halal Carts, and the different dips of Pommes Frites like the ones I loved such as the mango chutney & pomegranate. Yum!

One night Aus invited us to come to Sin Sin. It was refreshing to see a dance floor brimming with really good dancers! Just like myself, they were there to dance & not drink, or mingle, or make pa-cute. Hehe! There was this group of girls, ang gagaling talaga nila. I never saw any of them hold a liquor bottle. They left the bar after they got tired… There were also old people dancing. There was this white guy in his late 50s doing some weirdo steps. He would come up to every one as if scaring them then he’d go down the floor and do floor works! Nakakatuwa. And Aus was there with friends doing waacking & vogueing. Woooot!

One day, I went to the city alone. We had stayed at Knowa’s dad’s place at Queens. To go to the city (Manhattan) from their place, you have to take a bus & subway.  Knowa was so nice to drop me off to the nearest train station though. So I just took the subway by myself. It would be approximately a 30minute ride to the city. But I got off the train earlier. I came from F train’s last stop 179th and should be getting off 42nd. But I noticed that after 60th, we were at 36th already. I thought I missed my stop. So I got off. Ha-ha! Wala pa pala sa city, I was at Queens pa rin. It was 15minutes later that I emerged at Times Square. :p Ang saya mawala!

It is not easy to get lost in New York streets coz of its grid system, unless you’d forget how to count. But depending on your state of mind, it is easy to get lost and fall in love with the city. I was there walking around, without a cell phone, a car key or my own house key. Armed only with my sneakers, a subway unlimited pass & a bottled water, I knew I would survive there. I have said (on my Facebook wall) that “every Manila girl can survive in this big city.” But it really depends. Filipinos, despite the disorder of the system & unstructured way of living, are very much pampered. Sometimes we get spoonfed on how to live, are laid out a blueprint of what directions to take, and in most cases, some of us live off our parents’ retirement benefits, even still live in their houses even if we already have our own family. There are only a few individuals who would bravely flee out of their comfort zones in search of their own independence &, well, their own mark in this huge huge world. Those are the people that can survive in NY.

I myself instantly felt at home. As I’ve said, I thrive on the chaos & disorder of Manila. I live off the noise which calms me. I crave for the fast-paced flurry of people which somehow makes me lie back & just spectate. The extreme differences in its architecture, the heterogeneity of people provide sensory overload that pacifies me… Coz in this city, more than what Manila can give, I can be in my own world. People just let you be… Unlike in Manila, if you go out by yourself, watch a movie, or go to the malls, people would look at you weird, worst they’d think “Kawawa naman walang kasama.” Don’t get me wrong. I like how people-oriented our people are. It’s just me, coz I am really a loner by nature. And in NY, I do not feel sooo alone in being alone. 🙂

Now I am back in California. Sheena is still there living her dreams. I know, with the situation I am in, having my own family, and a huge responsibility to my group, living there is not an option anymore. I can just only live vicariously through my girl Sheena & hope that she can reach her full potential & reach the height of her nigga-ness in the city that will surely nuture her strong spirit.

Besides, there are still more cities in the world that I can’t wait to visit. Ciao ciao! 🙂

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Blogroll, New York, travels | 2 Comments

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BOONDOCK

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Sometimes beaches get overrated (well, at least sa utak ko lang), and I’d crave for the silence & naturesque beauty of the mountains & cliffs. The view of/from their top always overwhelms me, almost to the point of an out-of-body experience.

I mean look at this. I bumped into this photo on the ‘net. Isn’t it breathtaking?

If there’s one place in the Philippines that I’d wanna go back to, it’s Sagada. I say, everyone should visit it at least once in their lives.

I’d want to walk the whole day, trek its mountains & explore its beautiful caves again.

Nakakamiss. It was like I was a different person when I got there. I think it’s because it was so hard to get there, as perilous as going thru Mordor to Mt. Doom. Hahaha! Well, I was exaggerating. Though it really felt like that. The driver of the jeepney that took us there was like sooo insane! Maybe he got his driving training from Manila coz there were times when we would almost fall from the steep, tricky roads & fall off to nowhere. Nakakaloka.

But upon getting there, I’d forgot I’d ever taken that ride in my life. I wouldn’t be able to put it into words coz the experience of being right there is just so magical. It was like I was taken to another period in time. And the people, especially the igorots, they looked so different! They were actually beautiful! I even noticed their rosy cheeks & stress-free aura, kahit yung mga travel guides namin na nognog! Hehehe!

But yea, I’d find a way to go back there.

I’d also want to go see that Grand Canyon & Yellowstone River view (photo above) & be taken out of my breath. Even if that will be my last. 😀

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, nature, travels | 2 Comments

CLOSING TIME

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i’m going home in 2 days.  ang bilis naman… hehe! time really flies fast when you’re not looking. time will really always be my enemy, it’ll never become my friend hmp!…

but i had fun here, while it lasted.

part of me doesn’t wana go back.

my heart is torn… but i think i’d leave the other part here. coz i might miss them all too much.

akin.jpg

March 9, 2007 Posted by | family, travels | Leave a comment

IT’S ALL BS ANYWAY… BUT ITALIA SAVED ME

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i heard this somewhere…

“it’s all BS anyway. at the end of the day, the better men win, not just on a skill level, but on a HUMAN level.”

i knew i’d have a lot people holding  grudges, even disapprobations if i publicly post that blog. but i had & still have no regrets. why should i suppress myself? just coz i’m starting to be a public figure doesn’t mean that i would just sit in a corner & hold every emotions & opinions to myself. 1stly, this is a free country (cliche but true), 2nd i’m not wont to do that, 3rd sometimes education of the mass requires an open discussion & free thinking without censorship. i know freedom has boundaries & has always required great responsibility, that was why i drew a line. if people who read that are smart enough, they’d understand… i will still continue writing coz that’s what & who i am. just as i’d still continue to dance as long as i can walk… my only concern is that being a part of a group, people might take my words as words coming from allstars’ mouth. i’ll just wish they’d all be smart enough to think otherwise.

but anyway. i still believe that after all these, IT’S ALL WORTH IT.

* * * * * * *

notes ciao ciao!:

* italia is sooo beautiful! best served for couples, hehe!

* 5 days (minus 2 competition days) is really not enough to take in everything of italy.

(who’d ever wear pink slippers in the streets of torino?)

* “we all the same, we all eat on the same plate” (from a proverb an italian team quoted for us).

* may friendships na kme pagpunta sa LA! =)

* love their gelato,

* their apartments,

* the cars,

* the language,

* ebrithing!

* pinoys in torino are one of the best peeps in the world.

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Philippine Allstars, rants, travels | Leave a comment

A LONG WINDING EDSA

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last sunday, i came back from the island down south finding almost empty streets & wide open roads. dang, no wonder boracay almost spilled over! most of manila folks got a break from citylife only to find out the the real break is here. what a breather it was to even have the thought of having a picnic in the middle of EDSA! then it hit me. i felt the need for a little joyride…

and it led me to starbucks at the SLEX shell station.

oh how comforting it was to just sit there & stare at the highway with all these vehicles speeding past. i was taken out of my world right there & then.

i get a kind of high, a cheap one, when i get the feeling of being left behind, when people move fast, when cars speed fast. there’s this sense of peace in stillness, of going against urgency. in that starbucks, i got high.

that chill-out experience got me so drugged that it fueled my wanderlust. so off i went to my ancestral home in amadeo, cavite… bah i was fearless. though i knew my car’s ready to conk out anytime soon, i was fearless. well, more of a ef-it-i’ll-be-ok…

it was a nice easter day for me… spending it on the road with tristan (my car). i’ve forgotten how therapeutic driving is.

imma try to do that again. maybe i’ll drop by laguna next… or up north. baguio, anyone?

oh well, at least i got to visit my gramps & my lola… and most of all, at least i got the feeling of being REALLY at home, which i haven’t been in a long time. and that’s another story.

April 18, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, introspect, travels | Leave a comment

   

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