Thursday, May 31, 2012

Traversing Troy

I did warn tell you guys about the variety this blog has, right? From newspaper features to cheating men to Rovilson Fernandez, we now shift to travel and food!

I was organizing some of my photo folders and stumbled upon my Turkey trip pictures, so I figured I might as well share with you guys one of its highlights. =)

Having taught mythology as part of a Literature subject a few years back, I was really looking forward to seeing the city of Troy with my own eyes. And because the city was mythological anyway, I was also daydreaming that perhaps there was a chance that Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Orlando Bloom would greet me when I got there.  My fantastic hopes were quashed, as there was only a symbolic, huge wooden horse that greeted me at the entrance.  

What’s amazing about Gelibolu (a seafood restaurant that offered the best calamari) is its location---right beside the sea, so close to the waters that everytime the wave hits, it splashes on the deck. It made outside dining impossible that day, but I didn’t mind. It was too cold for my liking anyways. I liked my calamari hot, and not frozen by the cold weather and made wet by splashing sea water. 

Seafood is another one of Turkey’s main cooking specialties. Its landscape, after all, is surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.  The coastal cities are the best place to to go to if you’re looking for a seafood trip.  Bosphorus fish have been specifically named by travelers to be most delicious!  Turkey offers seafood dishes in a variety of ways---grilled, fried, baked, stuffed with vegetables, and – of course  - cooked in a lot of olive oil.  Fish kebabs are also a common offering in Turkish seafood restaurants.  But like I said, the best calamari in Turkey can be found in Gelibolu---golden rings of crunchy, outer layers and a soft, inner squid flesh.  I didn’t even need a sauce to boost the flavor.  I considered the calamari an entire meal on its own!

There wasn’t much to see in Troy, sadly. But the knowing all the (real) back story and the juicier myths made walking through the grassy paths and seeing the stone walls more interesting.  After our lunch at Gelibolu, I’m pretty sure that if it boiled down to choosing between Helen of Sparta and the calamari, the Prince of Troy would have gone for the splendid seafood instead.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rovilson Fernandez

Yes, my title just has to be his name.

Thank you, Google.

I've had a crush on this guy since Amazing Race Asia 2. He's just so incredibly witty, exceptionally funny, and downright sexxxaaaay! Try watching reruns of that season and I'm sure you'll fall for him, too. =P

So, one day, my friend Karen Kristie posted this meme and it got me thinking, well if I had to say one guy's name, whom would I pick?

I tagged him on Twitter and he replied!

I screamed, of course, when I read his tweet. ROVILSON FERNANDEZ HUGGED ME!!!! My mom and sister were all, what are you squealing about. I shouted VIA TWITTER. HE HUGGED ME VIA TWITTER. Hahahahaha. I know I'm a dork, but I'm such a happy dork.

Thank you, Mr. Fernandez, for providing what could be a lifetime's supply of kilig and good vibes with just a single word enclosed in asterisks. =)

Now, if only I could hug you in person. ;-))))))))))) #2012BirthdayWish

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why Do Men Cheat?


A couple of years ago, I submitted the first draft of my short story collection to my mentor for critique. He returned most of the stories to me, commenting that I needed to establish a "motivation for infidelity". Although I had written those stories prior to being in a relationship (and therefore without any first-hand experience regarding the monstrosity of cheating lovers), I had still assumed that men never really needed a "reason" to cheat. All they need is a partner, a willing accomplice.

My reaction to my mentor's comment was more or less a sophisticated utterance of WHUUUUUTTT?!---which, of course, was only in my head. I could never say that to him in person. Haha. A few months after, I attended a lecture in the same university and my mentor was in the panel. The subject of husbands cheating on their wives was brought up. And while both the lecturers and the audience just accepted the subject of infidelity as a fact that needed neither justification nor further explanation, my mentor spoke up. He will have none of it---the unexplained infidelity... or infidelity as it is. Men simply do not cheat on women for no valid reason, and contrary to the steadfast belief of women all over the world: there are men who remain faithful to their partners throughout their lives.

Problem is, I think most of them lived in the same era as my mentor. And my grandfather.

Most of the guys my age play around. With girls. And with Diablo 3.

I don't know what their so-called motivation for cheating is! Maybe they're unhappy. Maybe there's something missing. Maybe it's just a guy thing---maybe they're born with a chromosome whose sole function is to cultivate infidelity.

Normally, I would just be technical in my approach---meaning, I'll Google it. After all, Google has everything you're searching for (except your true love and your sole purpose in life, and even then I think Google can mock you with suggestions "Did you mean.....").

I was able to gather comforting research material. I say comforting because the answers I found all bordered on medical conditions----meaning, these guys didn't really want to cheat in the first place but they have this and that disease, some hormonal imbalance, some scientific shit that drove them into cheating. Even more comforting is the conclusion that, under these medical conditions, the unfaithful partner actually feels remorse after cheating.

But since I needed some "based on experience" answers, I tweeted the same question to my guy friends. One shared my sentiment, "Pag may pumapatol." But the most interesting answer I got was that men cheat to take a chance. I have to say that it was an eye-opener! Hahahaha.

He said that men usually have a bad sense of comparison and logic. Sometimes, even if they're already happy with whatever they have, if they find someone who matches their "requirements", then they'll go for it. They'll give it a try. It doesn't matter if this will inevitably screw everything up in the end.

I have always wondered about that---I always asked, Don't you ever think first before doing something?! Because there are scenarios where the guy either wasn't thinking clearly or was thinking clearly but did not really care about the consequences of his actions.

There's also the issue of contentment. And ego.

I guess most guys have a problem with that---being contented. There's just too many awesome girls in the world and if one of them is willing to give him the time of day, then YOLO!! (Dontcha just hate that?! Haha!) Besides, current beau just might love him enough to forgive him for the indiscretion. So he can still have what he's supposed to lose in case his new partner doesn't turn out to be what he expected her to be. At least, he was able to try, to know, to discover what might have been. It's a win-win situation. Of course, this would not be happening in the planet of mature people. =)

This insightful friend of mine also warned me that if I was going to be doubtful of every single guy, it would be unfair to those men who don't think and act like that.

Do I really think the entire male population will cheat at one point or another? No, not really. But I have to say that perhaps not every guy--- but most of them will.

I know only one guy who will never cheat on his girl. This is because he came from a broken family, and he has never fully recovered from what his father has done to his mother. He was just the poster boy for monogamy. I haven't really spoken to him in years. I shall not count the short phone conversation of hi, hello, when did you get back from the States. The last time I really talked to him (in person) was when I was having problems dealing with my parents' separation. He saw me sitting alone on a bench in school. I was a loner, you see. He sat beside me and asked me what was wrong. Incidentally, he's the guy who asks shocking questions out of nowhere---like, passing me in the halls, smiling at me, saying hi, and then asking, "Are you happy?" And then I would stutter for answers because I wasn't expecting him to ask me those questions. Did I mention this guy is extremely good looking? Hahahahahaha. He was a crush ng bayan in college. To this day, I still couldn't figure out if I liked him or what. Sometimes, I think I was a little infatuated somewhere in between being friends and being strangers. But things started to get awkward and I didn't want to have to go through the pains of wondering about how I really felt about him and how he really felt about me, so I distanced myself from him. It's always so much easier to let go when you never really have them yet.

But I digress.

During that bench moment, I stared at him while he spoke of how painful it was to find out your father cheated on your mother and I said to myself, this guy will never cheat. There's a chance he will be cheated on instead.

Every time the subject of cheating is discussed, I'm inclined to say ALL MEN CHEAT! But then I stop because I remember him. I saw him a couple of weeks ago in the mall. He was with his girlfriend. I smiled and thought, "You lucky girl!" I know that people change. And in all the years that I haven't seen him or talked to him, he could give Alfie Elkins a run for his money by now. But I would like to believe he's the same faithful guy and that his girlfriend enjoys the rewards of his fidelity. All girls deserve that.

Did I want to be with him? I don't think so. We are two very different people---our only similarities were our strong devotion to our families, and that we are both loyal partners to a fault. He had flaws that, if I were truly honest with myself, I could never safely tuck within the drawer of unconditional love and shove it shut. We can only be just friends. Maybe I want to be with someone like him in terms of loyalty and commitment. I'm sure there are others like him---the league of extraordinary gentlemen---but I have yet to meet one of them that I can fall passionately in love with. =)

* * *

It's almost scary to pose that question---why do men cheat? And I was equally curious and scared of the answers I will receive. Scared---because being cheated on hurts you like no other pain on earth ever could, and to know that men will have "reasons" to impose that hurt on women is such a terrible, terrible thing. But I guess I am still quite satisfied (and impressed) that I was able to get real answers to the question of "Why do men cheat"? God forbid that I will ever hear the answer, "Why not?".

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Other News...

On page S-3 of The Philippine Star, Features section: "Idol Fans Speak Out" =) 

Friday, May 25, 2012


A.K.A. Why I am on the CJ's side.

My father is Anti-Corona, my mother is Pro. I've heard both their arguments, but I have to say that since day one, I've been on the side of the Chief Magistrate.

The impeachment trial is the legal drama that Pinoy television never had. It's our teleserye response to L.A. Law and The Practice, albeit with poor screenwriting and annoying characters. The highlight of this show is the battle of the veteran minds: Serafin Cuevas, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. These are the only people worth watching---but like any other ending series, they saved the best scene for last: CJ Corona finally taking the witness stand.

I read some tweets from Anti-Corona people and noticed that despite their hatred for the Chief Justice, they agreed that he was a very candid witness. His body language exuded sincerity and truthfulness. Of course, there were a few other hilarious tweets from people who knew nothing about the litigation process, or even the basics of Philippine law (which we all took up in College, I'm pretty sure). So many SMH moments. I have over a thousand Facebook friends and there are only about five or six people (Facebook and Twitter contacts combined) who share my views on this issue. But I've never been one to change my beliefs just because they go against the majority opinion. Let's just say that I've put my "Unsubscribe" and "Hide Story" Facebook buttons to good use---I wished, however, that there was also a "Shut up, you're only embarrassing yourself." button. And oh, don't get me started on the celebrity faction of the so-called yellow network. One of the many downsides of the flourishing social media platforms: "influential" people feeding the public with poisoned information. That's not a political opinion, dear artistas. That's a paid advertisement.

So why am I on CJ Corona's side again?

Because I am on the side of the law. Of the truth. And this man speaks of the truth. If he were as evil as PNoy and his minions portray him to be, then why fabricate pieces of evidence? And for heaven's sake, why does the prosecution team suck so badly? They are a disgrace to the legal profession.

Serafin Cuevas, on the other hand, is a master. He is officially one of the icons in the legal profession that I will forever look up to. And Miriam Defensor-Santiago---everyone knows she's one of the very few people in this trial who doesn't have biases. Her comments and questions are always so spot on. And as @teddyboylocsin tweeted:

In case none noticed, Miriam was building a case for culpable violation of the Constitution's separation of powers vs PNoy.

I guess you can say I take the side of the brainiacs, too.

It's really not just Renato Corona who is on trial here---it's the Supreme Court, it's the entire judicial system of the Philippines! Sure, it's just Corona that PNoy hates (due to the Hacienda Luisita decision)---but this disappointment of a president doesn't seem to realize the repercussions of his personal vendetta against the Chief Justice. He is attacking the Supreme Court and raping the basic principle of separation of powers. The only reason people hate Corona is because he was appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. THAT IS THE ONLY REASON. They don't even know him---but the public has been "informed" by these biased television networks that he was appointed by GMA, whom the nation abhors. And so, in effect, Corona has to suffer the national wrath. I dislike GMA just as much as I dislike PNoy. But that doesn't mean I'll condemn Corona because I don't like the former president who appointed him.

I truly admire Corona's courage to take the stand, to sign the waiver, to present himself to the public, and (in the words of GetRealPhilippines) to become a hero of bank secrecy reform.

I vote for an acquittal because the charges against him are not even valid grounds for impeachment! Again, Teddy Boy Locsin wrote it best:

 What is a bill of attainder? It is a bill such as parliament passed by majority, condemning without trial a man to exile or death, to the forfeiture of his title and property, on no more proof than the parliamentary majority's dislike of him. Such bills have since been outlawed by democracies, prohibited by the Bill of Rights. The Corona impeachment was launched without evidence, signed without seeing, approved without probable cause by an overwhelming majority, simply on orders from the man holding the purse strings of government. If that is not a bill of attainder, what is it? An impeachment? No. A thing is what it is and not what it is called. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, and manure as bad.

The charges made against him are not impeachable offenses, period. It's one thing to convict an innocent man, and another to convict an innocent man based on imagined charges and fabricated pieces of evidence.

Sadly, though, it looks like he WILL BE convicted. My mother said, "I don't think Corona cares anymore if he gets acquitted or not. He just wants the truth to come out." And sadly, with this impeachment trial, the saying "the truth shall set you free" doesn't work anymore.

Emil Jurado wrote:

I always say that Corona’s fate will be decided not only in the Senate halls, but in the bar of public opinion. Senator-judges are also politicians and public sentiment carries great weight in their decision-making process.
But public opinion is shaped by how media presents issues related to the impeachment. This is where the problems lie. Some major players in the industry—a giant radio-television network, for instance, as well as widely-circulated newspaper—are unabashedly pro-Aquino. 
We know that public opinion stems from perception, and perception may be farthest from the truth.

You gotta give it to PNoy, though. Marcos had to impose Martial Law in order to have complete control over the country. PNoy just had to impeach the Chief Justice. I wonder what his parents, champions of democracy, would say if they were still alive.

I will wait for the results of the Impeachment Trial with the same enthusiasm I had when I waited for the results of American Idol. I already had a feeling Jessica Sanchez would lose to the WGWG. I was prepared for the disappointment. But there is still a part of me that is hoping the right results will come out.

If the senators will vote not according to their political wills, if they will set aside their biases and alliances and recognize the stupidity of the trial, if they will vote for an acquittal because the offenses are not impeachable in the first place and (as the simplest rules of procedure will dictate) the prosecution's case was too weak... then maybe, just maybe, I can have a little faith restored in my leaders. And maybe I can honestly say that it really is more fun in the Philippines.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Charlie's Puff Girls

That's what you get when you turn the Power Puff Girls into Charlie's Angels. =P

Presenting yours truly as Dylan Buttercup, Chiana Artista-Lubang as Natalie Blossom, and Eden Reyes-Parvaresh Wafa as Alex Bubbles!

With our prettiest apprentice, CJ!!! =)

It's been about two years since our last reunion, but it always feels like it was only yesterday that we last saw each other. Cheers to college memories, classic dialogues, and true friendship that is unlike any other. =)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Monday!

Lex and I would like to wish you guys a very happy Monday. And if your Monday turned out to be more shitty than usual (I like counter-shitting it by having at least three cups of coffee before noon, Lex just sleeps in), remember what the successful weekenders say: "Never let one bad day make you feel like you have a bad life." ;-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lightning. Letter. Love.

Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. If you don't start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I'm not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you'll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven't tried, you haven't lived." - Bill Parrish 

Dear Bill,

You are right. Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. And, unfortunately, it is also made up of all things ugly and painful. Ms. Sangil says that pain and pleasure are twins. I must say I believe in her more than I believe in you (or maybe, I believe in you both equally. But she's a friend. And you're fictional.) 

Growing up a hopeless romantic, I subscribed to your quote in the same way that I have subscribed to the idea that there are twelve months in a year and that I suck at Math. 

You asked, "if you don't start with that, what are you going to end up with?"  I have an answer for you. 

You end up with with the same thing that you'll end up with if you took the other road: a broken heart. Because that's what endings are. Sad, broken, exceptionally sappy, and drives people into writing emo, pointless blog entries on Blogger.

I believe that when you start with someone, you don't have to "end" up with anything. You just carry on, you live on. You grow and you journey. There are no endings. For if there are, then I guarantee you that it's nowhere near "okay".

You said, "...find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back."

You talk as if love can be found as easily as getting a bottle of meds from the pharmacy. If only your words could be used as prescription. If finding a person we can love like crazy and love us even so much as half-crazed were as easy as shopping for a nice pair of shoes, then there would be no need for social networking sites where people waste time letting the world know "what's on their mind". People would be immersed in their own little love stories, their happily ever afters.  I'm gonna tell you, Bill, that most of the time---when you find someone you love like crazy, they don't always love you the same way back. Sometimes, they just really drive you crazy. In the very fortunate event that they do... there's still no guarantee that they will love you the same way back for the same amount of time that you love them, and vice versa.

"Forget your head and listen to your heart. I'm not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you'll come back." 

Bill, this quote of yours is the reason why mothers all over the world will cry themselves to sleep and wish they can just lock up their daughters in the bedroom and not allow them to party and meet boys until they're at least 45 years old.  Running the risk gives you a rush---it makes you feel alive. That much I will have to agree with you on.  But not everyone gets to the finish line. So let me add something to that line of yours, Bill. Let me say that when you run, be prepared to fall down and get scarred. Bring lots of band-aids and Betadine.  

Now, Bill... don't get me wrong. I still agree with your quote---in the grand scheme of things.  At the risk of being branded as highly emotional and downright corny, I guess I still have to say that in this life, one of the best adventures a person can ever have is falling in love. You're one lucky bastard person if your beloved loves you back. But if they don't, then you're in for an even bigger adventure. There's no place like the unrequited's address.

After all, there's nothing in the phrase "falling in love" which says that the person you fall for will fall for you too. Unless we rephrase it to: falling mutually in love. I don't believe in letting him "catch" me when I fall. That's not enough. I want him to fall as much as I have, to take the jump. To fly with me. To believe, 
as much as I do, that lightning can strike anytime. To sing with rapture and dance like a Dervish with me. To be del rio sly deliriously happy with me. It's all romantic idealism and fairy tales, I know. But substandard love is worse than no love at all.

I've fallen in love, Bill. And Cutting Crew says it perfectly... "I've been in love before... the hardest part is when you're in it." 
I have loved and been loved in return.  It was one of the happiest times of my life. And yet during those years that I shared my love and my life with someone else, therein lie as well the most difficult and painful moments of my existence. 

And so I end this note with nothing short of a lesson learned. When you love---give it your all. When people tell you to love yourself, to leave some for yourself, don't be such a dumba$$ and LISTEN. There's no guarantee that the object of your affection will treat you with the same level of mad adoration, so get over it. You have to realize that loving and living don't mean getting a well-deserved return of your emotional investment. To love is an experience, to be loved in return is a gift, and to be in love for the rest of your life is a miracle. 

But forget this not: love is about respect, trust, and unconditional happiness. And family. Yes, Bill. Family. 

I have loved, Bill. Therefore, I am certain that I have lived. Lightning can strike, but it can also kill. Love has passed away and I await its second coming. Although I have some issues against your beliefs, I still generally share your sentiments. And I believe you will be happy to know that I still believe in what you said. 

I still believe in love.

And I am still as corny and cheesy as ever.

Kisses to Joe Black,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Photography: Lykes Tykes

Do you lyke kids? Coz I do. =P Especially the Lykes kids! They will always be one of my favorite photography subjects. =)




Finnegan the Filipino


I miss Finnegan. He's so grown up now! I remember I was one of his favorites because I couldn't resist him, I'd always carry him and play with him and search YouTube videos of Dora and Boots with him. He's the only guy I've ever licensed to drool on me. He's about a year and a half yearold now... probably drooling over toddlers in tiaras. Boo. Hahaha. I miss you, Finnegan. Mwaaah!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Celebrating With Charris

Nope, not Pempengco.

This Charris spells her name with two R's and an S instead of a C, is a lot cooler, and is not at all controversial. Friends, meet Charris Aguirre-Aclan! Long time friend and entrepreneur!

FIERCE! Stole this from her FB, definitely my favorite photo of her!

I've known Charris since my grade school days. We were classmates for a while. Although we lost touch after graduating, I would always hear news that she's working hard somewhere---back when all I did was probably watch cartoons... Charris was already working her ass off at a very young age. I have always admired her industry, her passion to excel in her career, her drive and commitment to achieve her dreams. She's a girl who dreams big and actually works for it! Her devotion to hard work is somewhat contagious. I've ran into her a couple of times over the years and every time I do, she's always at work---and she has that smile on her face that tells you she loves her job. That's one of her best qualities, I think. 

Early last year, I found out that Charris has started her own event organizing gig. This came as no surprise because she's been working for years and pulling off these things would be just a piece of cake for her. She can start her own company in her sleep. This woman can organize a massive mall event and not break a sweat.  So when I found out that she now has CHAlebrations (Charris + Celebrations), I was really impressed and proud of what she'd achieved. With over a decade of experience and exemplary skill, it was only a matter of time before Charris came out with her own business.

I talked to her recently about Chalebrations, we had a little Q&A. Hey, I do want to start my own business someday (*cough*KathleenKellyBusiness*cough*) and getting some tips from Charris will surely come in handy in the future. ;-)

Sooo when exactly was CHAlebrations born?
Chalebrations Events Planning and Management started a year ago. Yes, it has been a year. Thank you, Lord, we turned one!  

What made you decide it was time to start your own business?
Having a day job where income is fixed, I started thinking of other ways on how to earn more and at the same time do something that I love. I started planning things around Feb/March and had our first event last April 2011 - Isabel's first birthday, a Luau Themed Party at La Finca Farm and Country Resort. It was one colorful summer, where guests had fresh flowers and Hawaian lays.

Chalebrations Events Planning and Management wouldn't be successful without the help of specials friends. Glenford/Gio Kalaw (who gave the name Chalebrations) was my mentor when I was just starting. When I was thinking of Party Chic or Fuschia Events, he thought of something more powerful. He combined my name with celebration and made it Chalebrations! Now to complete the name Chalebrations - my boss (but I'm not reporting directly to her! Haha!) supplied the other half of my company name - Events Planning and Management. She also made my logo and video/teaser. I'm very thankful to these persons!

But why did you choose events organizing?
I was really into parties and social gatherings! 

How has the year been so far for CHAlebrations?
I was inspired to do a lot of research and started attending seminars/trainings to make my Events Planning and Wedding Coordination business successful. I created my Facebook page and had my own website with the help of a friend again - Carlo Dimaandal  Of course, Chalebrations is really blessed with wonderful suppliers too, one of them is Sam and Monique Enterprises.

Our big break came when we had our first official client, a Hannah Montana-themed party for a 7th birthday celebration. I will never forget the celebrator Gia's 7th birthday held at Hotel Ponte Fino - where everything was pink and purple. It was really memorable not only for her but also for me, since CHAlebrations is my baby.

Cha hard at work but looking oh-so-fab!

Although there aren't a lot of event organizers in Lipa, you still have competition. What sets you apart from them?
We stand out from the others because we have the passion, talent, and creativity to oversee all aspects of an event. We want each celebration to be a form of self expression that will showcase the individuality of the celebrator. We wanted to make each celebration unique and personalized---made just for you. We are not just here to serve, we're here to make that service unforgettable.

Time to pluggg!!!
Chalebrations Events Planning and Management offers a variety of events planning and coordination services as well as party packages that will ideally suit everyone's needs and budget. We are open to all concepts, themes, and ideas for all occasions. We guarantee that everything will be handled with professionalism, commitment, and LOVE to make your dream event possible. 

So to all my friends in Lipa who would like to have your dream parties a reality, please give Charris a call! Visit for more information. =) Charris doesn't say she'll TRY. She just goes ahead and DOES it. =) So cheers to Charris! And may there be more Chalebrations in Lipa City this 2012! CongraCHAlations!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

McGosling or Nothing

This is the standard blog entry that naturally comes after a vlog that talks about why the writer is still single. This is the mandatory "Don't get me wrong" post, an open letter to the universe that basically says: I'm happily single but that doesn't mean I don't want to fall in love someday!!! This is the bitchslap! answer to the unspoken assumptions made by the audience that when a girl is single, she is afraid to fall in love again and get hurt, that she has trust issues, that she is jaded, that she thinks of love and relationships as a twisted form of the armageddon, and that she will kick your ass for thinking that, etc.

When I was about six or seven years old, I read in a magazine that Jared Leto referred to his relationship status as "terminally single". As a child, I thought "Well, that sounds cool. Terminally single." As I grew older, of course, it sounded pathetic. Terminally single, to most people, meant the unattached homo sapiens who are past the early thirties with no foreseeable relationships written in their near future. Terminally single: as though it were a disease and falling in love was the cure. Three years ago, I could have told you that I was terminally in love. It was a disease and being single was the only cure. Since I am sharing with you this piece, either I am cured or I simply misdiagnosed myself.

I am single. But I don't intend to stay single for the rest of my life. Even if I don't end up married, that wouldn't be such a bad thing either. I believe that both states are paved with equal opportunities for happiness---it's your attitude towards your status that either creates or destroys that happiness.

The point that the greater majority has been missing is that being single doesn't mean a girl hasn't moved on or that she has been traumatized or that she simply won't "put herself out there".  With regard to the public notion that a person has only, truly (madly, deeply) moved on if she/he has already found someone new (or is in a new relationship), I would like to say two things: One, rebounding is a shitty possibility; and two, some people find happiness and completion in a myriad of other things and not just in the arms of a lover.

I once watched an interview with a controversial celebrity doctor (who was having relationship problems with a younger lover known for being a womanizer) and she said---something like---her children cannot give her the kind of happiness that she gets out of a relationship. I guess a lot of people have told her to look for happiness in the company of her family, her friends, and most importantly, her own self. But she refuses to even so much as acknowledge the chance of finding fulfillment and bliss without romantic love. She said that it was different, that the happiness she feels when she's in the arms of a man is unlike any other and she cannot feel that same level of joy from her kids. In my head, I was like, dude, you just want to get laid. Apologies for being blunt here. I actually felt sorry for her---because it means that she can never be happy on her own, she will always need a man by her side, she is completely powerless: take away M-E-N and she can't spell the m-e-a-n-i-n-g of life. Screw standards, she needs to get screwed. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that she will get involved with ANY man for as long as she doesn't stay single. Pitiful. A sad, sad case.

Love is a necessity in human life, but romance---romance is optional. I have always seen it as a bonus. I thank God for the life I am living, for the blessings and the happiness He gifts me with everyday. If and when I fall in love, that's an extra gift. That's something that will add to my happiness. It's not what will conjure nirvana, it's not my only happiness. Romantic love will not create but rather nurture happiness. I learned this the hard way, and it wasn't something I realized overnight. It's taken me years to finally understand and live by what I have learned.

Take a look at the photo above. Yes, I know that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams have long broken up. There's always a chance that they will get back together. There's always a chance for everything. But whether or not they get back together is not the concern of this blog entry. I would simply like to point out that the photo above is my gauge---my yardstick for the quality of romantic relations.

I wrote as a Facebook status once, "Kapag single, hindi agad maka-move on? Hindi pwedeng may standards muna?"

I mean, seriously. Just because I'm not in a relationship right now doesn't mean I haven't moved on. I simply have standards. McGosling or nothing! And I'm simply okay with being single. Call me mayabang or what have you, but I don't need a man. I lived through 24 years without one, and when one came along it changed my life but a breakup doesn't equal the apocalypse, and it certainly doesn't mean that I will have to find someone to take that person's place, that I suddenly cannot live without a lover. Do I want one in the future? Sure. But I don't want one, I want The One.

It would be nice to fall in love again. I look forward to it. But I look forward to it with eyes wide open---I have been hurt, I have been traumatized but that doesn't mean I'll stop loving. Sometimes, two people just really don't belong together and can't make the relationship work. But that doesn't mean they don't belong to someone else out there whom they can work everything out with perfectly. I look forward to falling in love with a renewed sense of kilig, with somewhat fresh but knowledgeable perceptions about relationships. Let's just say that, right now, both my heart and my eyes are open. :)

An email exchange with a very smart lady (whom I will name only if she permits me to! hahahaha!) bolstered my beliefs about all this... she told me she understood my views on being single. That she, too, did not want to be in a relationship just for the sake of having one, for a label. She wants a love that's makabagbag-damdamin.

I want the same thing. I want mad, passionate love all through out. I want sacred moments over breakfast, I want random hand kisses, and feeding each other pie, and kissing each other just because... McGosling or nothing! I don't want a relationship that has a "honeymoon period" where the succeeding months will be filled with complacent moments of a lackluster love. I want a lifetime of honeymoon. I want fire---still balanced by quiet moments of movie marathons and library dates, intelligent conversations and useless debates. I want burning love that lights up the boring moments.  I want to waste time just laughing over jokes, kissing in the rain, lying on the hood of the car while eating ice cream and gazing at the constellations of conjugal dreams and life plans.

Okay, now it's even more apparent to you why I am STILL single. =)))))))

Kidding aside though, life is short. If I'm going to waste time with love, then that love has got to be phenomenal. It has to be made of pure awesomeness that ---- in the unfortunate event that doesn't last a lifetime ---- I will look back thinking that the time wasted was worth it, every freakn second of it.

But if it DOES last, well... there's really not much to say except.....  it was worth the wait, wasn't it? All the goddarn Disney couples would be so jealous of our ever after, and even the unparalleled McGosling love affair will be put to shame. ;-)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To the woman whom I owe my life to, Happy Mother's Day! I love you, Mom.

And to all my friends who are mothers and to all the mothers of my friends, a very Happy Mother's Day to all of you as well! =)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Manila's Green Sanctuaries

Living in the city and getting caught up in its fast paced lifestyle can eventually take a toll on one’s being. Your body craves for a much-needed respite from the draining physical work. Your mind desires even just a moment’s peace from the capital’s hustle and bustle. And while you normally don’t have the time and the extra effort to drive out to the countryside, you’d find that Manila actually has some remarkable nature parks that you can retreat to: an escape into the city’s green hideaways.

Luscious La Mesa

Nestled in Quezon City’s La Mesa Watershed is a 2000-hectare forest sanctuary. The watershed is made up of 2,700 hectares in all with its 700 hectares belonging to the reservoir. Dubbed as the “Lung of Manila”, the La Mesa Eco Park serves as the city’s “carbon dioxide sink”, providing the metropolis with clean air. Surrounding the shed is a well-developed nature preserve that is quickly becoming a favorite destination among the visiting city dwellers. What draws tourists to the forest, aptly named La Mesa Eco Park, is the variety in facilities and activities that it offers — add to that its accessibility (it’s just right along Commonwealth Avenue).

There are about five hectares of picnic sites in La Mesa Eco Park. Families gathering in the Lopez Picnic Grounds paint a quaint picture of idyllic life: a relaxing meal with blankets laid on the ground with a multitude of trees providing shade and a relaxing ambiance. Lovers are treated with the park’s own brand of romantic atmosphere: a delightful paddle boat ride at the Superferry Boating Lagoon or perhaps a tranquil bonding moment shared at the Fishing Lagoon after reveling in the beauty of the Shell Flower Terraces (The two-hectare floral terrace is incidentally the very wall of the La Mesa reservoir).

READ MORE AT:  Manila's Green Sanctuaries VIA Planet Philippines
Planet Philippines is the first truly internationally-circulated Philippine newsmagazine.  It is published and circulated in the following cities: Chicago, Boston (New England), Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, London (UK); and Melbourne.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reposting: The Art of Deadma

I wrote this piece five years ago, back when I had no inkling as to how the art of deadma in relationships worked. It's safe to say that the ideas below apply more to infatuation or crushes---I wrote it five years ago but, re-reading it now, I feel like I'm listening to a teenager. Haha! I have made some revisions although most are minor. If I had to discuss the science of deadma in relationships, I'll need another blog entry for that (and one week's worth of venti Barako Joe).

In light of recent events, I have added an extra section at the last part of this discourse. =)  And, from now on, I am adopting this disclaimer: If you don't like what you find in my blog, DON'T READ IT. Thank you.

This is for all the beautiful people who have had their hearts broken by a mere question mark (“?”), a four-red-lettered “Buzz” in YM, a single and effortless smiley (that annoying letter “U” with two dots on top of each end), and many other manifestations of insensitivity released via modern technology.

Many many thanks to my adviser, the woman who has mastered the fine art of deadma long before I have (long before I realized I needed to enroll in the course)--- none other than the Divine Deadma Diva, you know who you are.

* * *

Jessica Zafra, in her essay “Dedma 101,” discusses the etymology of “dedma.”  Dedma, according to her, comes from “Dead Malice,” which is a translation of “patay malisya.”  She continues to define “Dedma,” and writes:

1)       To completely ignore/feign ignore of the existence / presence of someone/something
2)       To snub, reject, or toss in the trash
3)       To pretend deafness or blindness in order to escape a sticky situation 

She also states that “Dedma” can be classified into three varieties:  accidental, practical, and malicious.  From her article, I gathered that accidental deadma is, in other words, involuntary deadma. You fail to notice something or someone simply because you were restricted by limitations on human faculties.  To quote Zafra, “…failure to put on one’s contact lenses or hearing aid before leaving the house.”

Practical deadma is what one does to save one’s ass, if I may say so bluntly.  “You approach the sleazoid---and then you notice the big, burly man behind him, hefting a clutch bag that obviously contains a gun.”

Practical deadma, then, is self-preservation. Zafra’s third classification of is “Malicious,” wherein she defines that “…dedma may be used to inflict pain.”  Voluntary deadma, to say the least.  This is the most common form of deadma that we practice (or, at least, my friends and I practice).  Zafra’s example deals with a person not wanting to have his/her object of destruction see their breakdown. Something like, “…revenge is best served cold.”

My favorite part of Zafra’s article is where she mentions the “Dedmaster,” which may be construed as a person who is expert on the practice of “Dedma.” And while Zafra did not explicitly define the finer qualifications of a dedmaster, I do believe that in order to be one, a person must exercise consistency, sustainability, and most of all, immunity to relapse.

But why do we deadma?  Better yet (or worse), why do we deadma as though our life depended on it?

1.  Desperation Deadma  We ignore to implore--- implore to the insensitive hearts of these people, to ask them to figure out what’s wrong without us having to spell, translate, and draw flowcharts for them. In this case, deadma is the last resort.  We have tried everything.  We have tried caring, we have tried getting involved, we have tried solving problems and drawing conclusions, we have prayed, we have gone to novenas, we have shed tears and lost many hours of sleep… we have done everything in our power, we have used up all the options on our part and no longer throwing the ball in their court but actually handing over the ball to them ever so politely (may magic word pang "please").  But being the wonderful human beings that they are, they simply rely on us goddesses to do everything alone, to complete tasks that rest on their shoulders. Deadma can be an act of desperation.  The last, desperate (and most of the time) futile attempt to get a desired response from an otherwise insensitive jerk. We deadma to invoke the elusive “What’s the problem? Why are you ignoring me?”  Or, “Hindi ko alam kung bakit hindi ka namamansin." (Period.  His tone hanging, daring you to tell him exactly why you’re doing the deadma deed.) We are desperate to get them to listen to the multitude of cries and echoes of despair hidden in what we perceive to be classic silence.

2.  Deadma Din!   We deadma as an act of retaliation.  (Naunahan ka kasi nyang deadmahin.  In short, gumaganti ka lang).  "He made me deadma a couple of months ago, so I'm returning the favor."  Warning, this act has side effects (staring at the cellphone that doesn't beep, changing status messages every minute - all of which are not-so-subtle pleas to get them to talk to you, checking your list of books and DVDs which you could swap, checking your list of books and DVDs which are still with him and which you will later claim you need returned, etc.) This motivation may also be tainted with a preventive measure.  "Feeling ko dedeadmahin na nya ako, uunahan ko na. Hah!"  This act has even greater side effects.  ("Nauna naman akong mang-deadma so siguro okay lang kung una na rin akong mamansin.")

In my next (and less-caffeinated) post:  the consequences of deadma (also known as, the theory of regrettable results), and the detrimental deadma which only leads to an inevitable relapse (and which later leads to the realization that, “Kapag forever mo siyang na-miss eh forever ka ding magiging Miss.”  Or, the logic behind the necessity to graduate with a Deadma Degree and enrolling in a post-graduate course:  Moving On).

Apologies if I have triggered your gag reflex. Like I said, I wrote this five years ago. I blame the half-assery of literary exposition on the slight lack of maturity experience. =P

Instead of posting the second part of this piece, I would just consider the following insights as a qualified sequel. To avoid any misconstructions, I am referring to the art of deadma strictly outside the parameters of romantic relations. (Translation: I am not talking about my past relationship!) This is just deadma with regard to life in general, love not included. Because love always deserves a limelight of its own.

I guess it has taken me five years to become a Dedmaster, and for reasons not enumerated in the above piece, suprisingly. I used to lack the immunity to criticism. And I was perpetually concerned about what my friends and other people would say about me, my actions, my words, my decisions. I guess it stemmed from growing up as a sheltered goody-two-shoes. Well, I guess I got hurt and I grew up. And today, I no longer care about certain things: unnecessary judgment hurled at me, impressions from insignificant people, friendships and interactions that are no longer healthy, etc. So, I guess I have finally mastered the art of not caring. I will always care, however, about what my family and closest friends have to say: because I know that their concern is genuine and that they have no ulterior motives.

I have always been careful about what I write. I still am. But since this blog and all its contents are products of my cheerful brain, I believe I am entitled to publish my opinion. If something is said to me, and a question is asked, expect that I will give an answer. Do not ask me questions if you are afraid that you will not like my answer. It's like telling someone "I would like to kick your ass." and then expect them to do nothing. This is not Planet "Just Saying". This----this blog, all of it, is actually planet Cherie.  Do not come to me and complain that you did not like what I wrote or that you were offended by what I said. You have offended me with many tactless words that I have chosen to DEADMA. You could have at least returned the favor. And before this concluding paragraph turns out to be an open letter, I'd like to reiterate that since this is MY blog, I will say what I want----still guided by the common rules and ethics that govern human existence, mixed with the unwritten laws of blogging. Unless I specifically spell out your name or I ask you directly to view an entry (something which I really practice every now and then), then do not flatter yourself assume as well. This will ensure that the world will be a better place!

But although I am confident that I have perfected the art of deadma, I still have my limits. I know when I should refrain from discussing a topic and I know when to let go. Life is too short to live under the shadows of fear: fear of not getting the right reactions, fear of being misunderstood, fear of not blending with the majority. I live by the rules of "I cannot please everybody".  Again, DEADMA SA MGA NEGA. I will write what I want, I will continue to share a piece of myself through this blog.

I thank you, bow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

As Sweet As Her Name

OKC 2011 with the spectacular Lykes
In a lifetime, you will be fortunate to make hundreds of friends (in the Facebook universe, maybe even thousands). You will lose some of them---others, you will choose to leave behind, others you will fight for to keep.

Excuse the cheese, ladies and gentlemen, but today is the birthday of that one friend I will always fight for to keep: Candy Villanueva-Lykes.

I don't know how old she is by now, honestly. When I first met her in 2004, I thought she was the same age as me. We were the same height, same built, just different hairstyles and complexion. She looked as young as I was---a fresh 21 year-old! Hahaha! We were classmates in DLSU's MFA Creative Writing program but I remember that she didn't come to school until about the next week or the week after that. I think she was in New York that time and when she got back she didn't know there was homework in Poetry class. I guess she crammed and whipped up a few verses, hence giving her work the title of: "Written in Five Minutes". Now, I'm not sure if I got all these details correctly----Candy knows I'm someone who remembers A LOT, but I do have some lapses every now and then. ;-)

We've known each other for eight years now---and eight years is a long time to know someone and be there for them---at every moment, for always. Over the years, Candy has witnessed (either firsthand, through my stories, or hearsay) the growth that I call life. I know she thinks being called a guardian angel is corny, so I'm just going to say that she's my life coach. =)

If my memory serves me right, she told me once that she sees herself in me: how she was when she was my age. And I remember feeling instantly relieved because I knew that if she saw herself in me, then it was only a matter of time before I blossomed into the woman Candy already is. She's a role model for me, someone worth emulating. She's a (soon-to-be internationally) published author, a certified fashionista, a promising photographer, an amazing wife and mother, and such a supportive friend. She's a blessing to her family, and she makes really good stir-fried shrimps with veggies. She's also a travel writer, magazine editor, newspaper columnist----she's so incredibly talented in writing that I regard her as someone who belongs to the ranks of JK Rowling and Paulo Coelho: someone who changed my life with what she wrote.

Cands, I did tell you that you're gonna be the Matron of Honor at my wedding, right?

I was the bridesmaid at Candy's wedding in 2008, and I guess that's where our collaborations began. I helped her with the wedding AVP. Today, I help out with the web design of her travel blog (watch out, is coming out with a new look soon!). She helps me out with the bigger things: moving on from a broken heart and unleashing the proverbial inner goddess.

Today is a special day FOR ME. Because, although you may barf with all the cheese and mush and cliche----if not for today, then I won't have my life coach, role model, and editor. I won't have one of my dearest friends. I am eternally grateful also to her parents for conceiving her, that's a given. And, of course, to the equally spectacular Tim and Finnegan Lykes for sharing Candy with us, her friends.

So, cheers, Candy! Happy Happy Happy Birthday!

Thank you for helping me, for always being the voice that I normally need to hear. Thank you for your patience and your ability to see through the grayest of clouds and come up with the most colorful of inspirations, the sprinkle of picker-uppers that you always throw my way. Thank you for ALWAYS believing in me and in what I can achieve, how great I can be---when I feel that all I can be in life is to be cute. (The believing in me and my powers is true, though!) Thank you for living the life that I know in my heart I would like to have one day. You are a flawless balance of talent, hard work, great ethics, dedication, faith, right attitude, and most of all: a big heart. You're Stephen King's female counterpart and your eyelashes are the biggest threat to Kim Kardashian. Now, I understand why so many people are insecure of you and want to copy your every move. How can they not? You're the next best thing to perfect.

Happy birthday, Candy! Love you!

I've decided that U2's "Beautiful Day" and "Sweetest Thing" are always gonna be played on your birthday! =P

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Pink Pajama Diaries

I think it's about time I uploaded a video blog that bordered on something so cliched and overrated that only the far-too-common title of "pajama diaries" can truly surpass its banality: the topic of why I am single.

If you have 3 minutes and 11 seconds to spare (possible scenarios: watch this while brushing your teeth, or waiting for your coffee to cool, or waiting for your downloads to finish, or when you're just really bored and anything will do---leaving you with no standards for personal entertainment and enlightenment whatsoever), then you may proceed to click the play button of the embedded video below.

I would like to give you a considerable warning---or warnings, actually:

1. Watch this if and only if you have time to kill. And if you like me. Or if you're related to me. (Translation: You will not loathe me for all eternity for wasting your time with this vlog.)

2. The entire video blog episode is actually sixteen minutes long. However, I only selected scenes in the vlog which pertained to the topic I earlier mentioned. Therefore, the video is merely a teaser of sorts.

3. Since the teaser is made up of snippets of a longer video where I nonetheless babbled about many nonsensical but deeply heartfelt (allow me to keep my redeeming value, please) subjects, the entire thing may not even make sense to you.

4. Following the logic of #3, some statements may be taken out of context and persons directly or indirectly referred to in the video may misinterpret the same as something... well... negative, but I assure you that it is not. Hahahahaha.

5. I recorded this on a VERY HOT summer day, while under the influence of three maybe four cups of coffee.

I initially didn't want to upload this video (for so many reasons which I did discuss in the earlier parts of the recording) but something happened today that just.. triggered the compelling desire in my caffeine-pumped heart to just go ahead and upload it, just make it available for public consumption. There is a companion piece to this video blog. Regardless of how it looks like, this (the vlog and the upcoming discourse) isn't about me. Haha! I actually had a conversation with someone whose recent actions are somewhat mirrored in the underlying theme of this video blog. Today, I was shocked at how some people are seemingly desperate to lose their "single" status and for what? Nothing but a label. Since the guy is in Narnia and she's in Middle Earth. It's like that. Soooo, I'm uploading this vlog as a prelude to my next blog entry, brilliantly titled "Why The Rush?" #SarcasmInCaseYouMissedIt

Dear friends, you have been warned.

Did I warn you that my thumbnail shot has nothing to do with the video? No? Make it number 6, then. And there's a slight audio sync problem. Number 7! ;-)

I'm not sure if I should upload the rest of this video. Haha. It's mostly filled with pink pajamas and (tastefully rendered) profanity. What do you think, Ana Viajera?

Saturday, May 5, 2012


This blog is like a halo-halo that's living on the edge, dangerously mixing ingredients from some other parallel universe. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing---I just know that it's what my blog is shaping up to be: a varied fusion of pictures, texts, and videos that make sense... sometimes. =P

When I started this blog, it was clear to me that I wanted to share stories that would help out my readers (most of whom are, of course, within my circle of friends). Another certainty was that I wasn't going to dish out some specifics, some stories which I didn't feel necessitated publicity. It's been a major struggle... many times, I've written full-length blog entries and have come close to hitting the "publish" button only to realize that I am going to break my self-imposed rules. And so I hit Command+A then press Delete, then breathe out a heavy sigh, and then write about an altogether different topic.

This, my friends, is one of the reasons for the varied topics and writing styles I have in this blog.

I guess the topic range is quite understandable---I jump from heartache to family to sports to photography to Ryan Reynolds to coffee and to everything else in between... just like any normal blogger. But I think one variety you may have noticed here is that of my writing style. Sometimes, I write in light tones, sometimes I speak my mind so seriously it sounds as if I am writing an academic paper (or so cheesy I'm a Hallmark blogspot edition).

I wrote more reflective, sober somber blogs back in Multiply. I blame that one on the timing: I was enrolled in MFA Creative Writing back then and whatever writing exercises were required of us in the classroom were somewhat mirrored in the blog entries I posted. Add to that the security of Multiply---I could easily pick out the readers. I had no fear of being misinterpreted because I meticulously selected the readers for each blog entry. Only those who understood the very context of the entry would be given access to the blog post. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I do not have that luxury here in Blogspot. I've decided to take that as a challenge, however. I am to be careful with what I write---knowing fully well that anyone can read it, even those whom I hope wouldn't read it.

In the beginning, I wanted this blog to be very lighthearted. Easy to read and absorb, I guess. I didn't want big words and complicated themes. I didn't want cryptic messages. I didn't want to fall prey to the austerity of legal writing that would sometimes creep into the statements I make.

E.B. White once wrote that "... a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down."

And so I wrote in the same manner as I spoke.

Lively. Full of laughter. My facebook URL is not Team Cheery for nothing, after all.

THIS has given my blog a level of variety that none of my other/previous blogs have ever achieved. My style blog has kept to its categorical nature: a collection of outfit shots and style tips. My photoblog is just exactly what its label defines it to be: a repository of photographs I've taken and a few captions here and there. My Multiply blog is laden with a substantial amount of variety, too---but it's no longer viewable by the public. I don't even view it myself, except when I need to recover some files and refresh my memory on some life events I have worked hard on forgetting. Hahaha.

I guess what I'm driving at here is precisely what I wrote in the second sentence of this blog entry: I don't know if this variety is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not sure if my blog induces brain hemorrhage among my readers or if it allows them to get a closer glimpse at my personality. This is how I write, this is how I talk. I've been through so much, evolved so much, that I'm as varied as the style-and-topic-shifting entries in this blog. I'm your halo halo on a hot summer day. But instead of ice cream, you're getting cheese on top.

Lots and lots of cheese.