Tag Archives: Awesome

On Cynthia Alexander and Guerrilla Tears

A guerrilla tear trailed down my cheek reminding me that great music can be overwhelming, specially live.

From raindrops and goodbyes to welcoming the ecstatic pains of motherhood

From the beauty of the present to our forgotten respect for this world

From strolling past a sleeping lake to mind-tripping and cyclical bike rides

Cynthia Alexander has written powerful music, piercing through my metal-plated armor.

I’m still clutching at the emotions stirred by tonight’s conspiracy… Hence the blogpost (which I may just post tomorrow, a day late).

Thank goodness for music, my favorite time-travel machine, taking me back to electric experiences like tonight.

HUGE sigh.

MyJaninay finding herself in Cynthia Alexander’s June 16, 2012 gig at Conspiracy.

A special thank you to Pochoy for taking me. I hear and feel so much more with you.

Cynthia Alexander in Conspiracy, 16 June 2012
“This is more than intimate,” she said.
Conspiracy was packed, inside and out. Everyone enjoying Cynthia’s pleasant company and exquisite music.
“Amoy High School!”
Cynthia’s brother, Joey Ayala, came in through the window armed with funny quips.
“Dumaan Ako” performed by the talented siblings
My keyhole view of Cynthia Alexander… before I decided to stand up. 😉
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Milkshakes over Boys

I dare not analyze lyrics to the popular Milkshake song…

Instead, I’ll post a picture of my favorite milkshake in the metro. Made with carabao’s milk, this delicious delight from Chuck’s Deli gives me the giddy shakes!

I prefer strawberry milkshakes, but their chocolate, vanilla, and other flavors should be just as good!

“This is madness.”

One of the most wonderful people I know, Misha, suggested I watch this documentary by BBC. It’s about a bus driver from London who goes to Manila with a challenge to become a jeepney driver by the end of the trip – DRIVE A JEEP ALONE IN MANILA (Siya pa nanunukli)! He lives with Rogelio (a jeepney driver) and his family and learns, firsthand, how tough it is to live in our country.

I cried. And cried again. The world is anything but fair. I urge you, if you have a little less than an hour, to watch the docu below – The Toughest Place To Be A Bus Driver. You can watch it now or later. But I assure you, it is not a waste of time. My thoughts and frustrations are below.

I will write about 2 things. You may read one and not the other. Or not read at all. But I’m hoping you read both! :p

Road Rage

I, too, drive through the streets of Metro Manila. I confess that I do scream, curse, and lash-out (in the confines of my car) at pedestrians and other drivers on the road, most specially jeepney and bus drivers. In these moments, I feel I live in a place that is the epitome of inconsideration. And, against all my better judgment, I get sucked into the bandwagon.

Inconsideration, in my opinion, is an extremely huge problem in our society. I’ve always believed that if people were more considerate of each other, lines would move faster, traffic would ease up, mall-wide sales wouldn’t give me a migraine, and stress levels of most everyone when outside the confines of their home would decrease.

But where does this come from? Why can’t most people think of anyone but themselves?

I guess the true questions is, “How can one be considerate when one’s mind is on survival mode? Can I feed my family today?”

Inconsideration stems from this dog-eat-dog world, the reality of day-to-day survival.

What happens to my road rage now? It’s so much easier to be angry, curse at faceless strangers and not care. But how can you be angry knowing what these people come home to? … Knowing they’re stuck in a vicious cycle of suffering they can never get out of?

Rage turns to sorrow.

Life. To live. It is more than just physical survival.

To understand this rant, you’ll have to watch the documentary… Or just keep in mind that millions of Filipinos live in the slums, in their makeshift homes. Many are young married couples with 12-13 children.

How can one truly value life but accept the condition in which so many Filipinos are living?

How can one value life and accept that people eat recooked rotting food from the trash if they eat anything at all?

How can one that values life be OK with bringing a new life into this world only to starve, suffer, and have nothing but survival in mind?

How can one value truth but withhold readily available information, that is common knowledge to most educated people, from the less fortunate with less access?

How can one be against the RH Bill? I really CANNOT understand. What are you afraid of?

More abortion cases? Please explain to me how this happens with less cases of unwanted pregnancy.

Are you afraid that our country will have a problem of underpopulation like other developed countries? Oh my goodness. Do you really think that it’s as easy as the simplest cause-effect equation? There are so many factors that will contribute to that future possibility. Besides, if you have people that value having a family, this will not happen. I am aware of most all methods of contraception but I still want to have my own children one day… When I can actually sustain them financially and emotionally. Values formation and valuing the family as the basic unit of society can be taught and developed.

Please help me understand… Because my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around this.

What kind of person would think that a young married woman living in a makeshift box with 13 (THIRTEEN!) children and barely anything to eat is wrong for taking measures to prevent any more pregnancies?

Would you condemn her to hell? Isn’t she already living there?

Get me out of me.

Imagine if you saw yourself as you see your character in an RPG game.

There’s a reason why most games show characters from a 3rd person perspective – WoW and Diablo, SIMS… Even racing games!

I remember my Dad telling me it’s easier playing those racing games in a 3rd person view. He said you can see how the car reacts to everything so you know whether you’re too fast, braking too early or too late.

Same goes for characters in the other games I mentioned, even those I didn’t. You see how your character moves. You’ll catch the things you’re doing wrong; see things you’re doing right.

I’d imagine life would be easier if I could choose a 3rd person view.

I’d probably realize more quickly when I’m saying something out of line or doing something stupid. I’d like to see my face, not JUST to make sure I look good (Hehe), but to make sure my facial expressions don’t reveal negative thoughts and emotions like anger, annoyance, distaste, or utter disgust… Not unless I want them out in the open. :p

Plus, it might make it easier for people to come to terms with how they look physically. Maybe you’ll be forced to accept how you look since you’re seeing yourself constantly… Maybe it’ll be easier to accept yourself AND motivate yourself to be healthier.

There’ll be no need for mirrors to remind you to lose weight, brush your hair, or get more sleep.

And I think that it would help me prevent loads of foot-in-mouth and face-palm moments.

BUTTTTT…

I don’t really need that 3rd person view option.

That may make it easier… But it isn’t the only way.

I can just work work work to take my self out of myself. Think think think that though I do have thoughts, those thoughts are plagued with my own perspective and are oh too subjective.

It’s a constant struggle to stay open to other people’s new discoveries and thoughts and opinions… But to be a good human being, I believe that’s a necessary struggle. And a blissful one – not the happy-laughy-type-of-joy but the deeper kind.

So many seem trapped in their own viewpoint forgetting that a mind has the ability to step out.

AYAYAY.

My ramblings.

Heart And Seoul

Ja-Bin in Korea!

(Unedited Version of my Myx Mag Article)

I was in complete awe of Korea and in utter disbelief that I was sent there for work – to shoot a total of 9 shows and interview 2NE1’s Dara. It’s a remarkable place with breathtaking sights and, literally, breath-taking weather (It reached NEGATIVE 6 degrees one night!). As soon as VJ Robin and I stepped out of the plane, we were greeted by a waft of cold air that made me thankful for my scarf and beret… and Robin – regretful to have nothing but his t-shirt on (with jeans, socks, shoes, and, hopefully, underwear on as well).

As soon as we saw Myeong Dong, which is the area we would call home for 2 nights, our eyes widened and we simultaneously uttered, “WOW.” I was told that Myeong Dong is like the Makati City of Seoul. But, honestly, it looked nothing like Makati. People sashayed in their fashionable winter clothes. Beautiful pastel-colored shops lined the narrow alleys like sweet eye candy for us adventurous VJs. With such a beautiful backdrop, we got to work on the special Korean episodes to be shown on Myx.

Aside from feeding our appetite for adventure, we also made the most out of every meal of the day (which included merienda and a midnight snack). We sampled as many Korean delicacies as we could. We feasted on Ginseng Chicken, Bulgogi, Bulgogi Burgers, various street foods, and my newly discovered Korean favorite – Budae-chigae. We were thrilled to discover that cold weather makes your body work harder to keep you warm, thus burning the extra calories we consumed… Or at least that’s what we told ourselves to justify our excessive food tripping.

But the trip to Korea wasn’t all about feasting and frolicking. Robin and I were there on a mission. Without a crew or any staff from Myx to guide us, we were tasked to return home with a successful interview with K-Pop Superstar Sandara Park. Armed with our video cameras, list of questions, and bundle of nerves, we made our way to Dara’s TV Commercial shoot for Etude House (www.etudehouse.ph).  Even before we met her, we were impressed at how professional she was during the shoot. Watching monitors from a separate room, we saw how her eyes lit up once the director said, “Action!”

All intimidation melted once we met the sweet and soft-spoken Dara. Inspite of her flawless beauty, she has an air of humility that was exceptionally endearing. Not to mention, she still seems very attached to the Philippines and us Filipinos. She could not hide how much she missed the country and all her fans and friends back in the Philippines. Plus, she expressed herself tremendously well in Filipino, to the utter disbelief of our tongue-tied-when-speaking-Filipino-VJ Robin.

A photo from my Interview with Sandara Park in Korea!

Meeting 2NE1’s Dara was definitely the highlight of my trip. With the precious interview footage safely in tow, Robin and I headed home to Manila with a newfound love for Seoul Korea but also a greater appreciation for home. After all, if a K-Pop Superstar who is set to be an international sensation is proud to have lived in the Philippines, continues to speak in our language, and clearly misses the country and its people… Shouldn’t we also be proud to be Filipino? BAM!

Of the time I took on the Heroes of Newerth (Myx Mag Article, Unedited Version)

Who hasn’t heard of DotA?! It’s the game that has groups of intense players shouting and laughing in their favorite computer shop tambayan. It’s the game that has your crush glued to the PC at 3 in the morning while you wait for his reply to your “Matutulog ka na?” text message!

Now think DotA with better graphics and less hassle! Let‘s welcome the Heroes of Newerth! Even the name is more appealing. Really. DotA or HoN? DotA might sound more astig. But HoN sounds malambing even when it’s all about killing creeps and ambushing heroes!

HoN is almost exactly like DotA. It’s a clash of two teams with each member playing a hero with its own mix of special skills and powers. The main goal is still to get to the opposing team’s base and destroy their source of life! Along the way, you’ll have to stomp on some tiny creeps, destroy towers that throw massive boulders at you, and, of course, kill each other’s heroes! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

For a noob like me, though, I find HoN much simpler and easier to play. I don’t need to remember as many keys and I don’t have to hold down the ALT button to see how much life people have left! The items and recipes are categorized and are easier to find and sort through so I no longer have to bug a teammate to ask what I should be buying with my earned gold. While playing HoN, I was able to focus more on my hero – gaining experience, killing our enemies, and escaping when they decide to pick on a noob like me!

The hero I chose to start off with was Pestilence – a purple hornet that keeps flapping his wings. He’s based on DotA hero Slardar so their special skills are the same. I tend to like heroes that can stun enemies, stopping them in their tracks! It’s great for a noob because you can stun the enemy to kill him, or to get away when he’s trying to kill you! Pestilence also has the ability to increase its movement speed. Again, you can use this to chase an enemy down or escape when you know he’s a godlike HoN addict out to get you.

Another hero I tried was the Electrician and he’s unique to HoN! He’s a bit more difficult to use. Like Pestilence, he can stun a target. The problem is, he’s automatically pulled towards the stunned target so it’s really more of an offensive stun. For defense, Electrician can create a shield around himself when he is being attacked. He can also shock enemies to make them slower or shock teammates to make them quicker!

From the two heroes, I’d definitely stick to Pestilence. His stun covers the area around him so he can immobilize more than one hero at once, as opposed to Electrician who can only target one hero at a time. I found that Pestilence was easier to use so I recommend beginners like me to try him out while getting used to the game!

When asked if I’d rather play DotA or HoN, I’d stick with HoN. DotA is a little more complex. Although, I think if I play HoN a little more, I’d be better at DotA, too! HoN’s graphics are also much better. Plus, you don’t have to feel bad for being a beginner! You can join games online that are specially created for noobies. You can practice all you want with fellow beginners without shame! But I think even die-hard godlike DotA players would enjoy HoN. It’s easier to play through the internet and you can challenge people from all over the world with less hassle. Plus, you build on your own ranking so you’re constantly challenged to do better and win more games.

The only problem I find with HoN is that not everyone can play it. It’s currently in its Beta stage and only a number of people have accounts that they may or may not decide to share. But if you have any gamer friends, try and persuade them to lend you their account just so you can try it! Don’t worry, though! Once HoN is released, you can purchase an account and play all you want! Who knows? Maybe you’ll even see me in game! Or better yet… Go gaming with your crush at 3 in the morning!

Ilocos Trippin’ 2012

Sooo… I don’t really have much mind or much time to write some flamboyant entertaining post on my Ilocos Adventure. But I did work on this video so I hope you enjoy! Who knows, I might go back to this post… Pick it up, edit, swirl and twirl it into a magnificent piece on how Ilocos is the cradle of Northern Luzon’s culture and history.

But for now, why not just experience it for yourself? All the information you need is right here.

Good job, Philippines!

Ilocos Trippin’ Basics

I went from Manila to Vigan. Stayed overnight. Traveled to Laoag, then Pagudpud. I left Manila late Friday night and got back Monday morning.

I suggest you stay an extra day in Pagudpud to enjoy the beach but go when it’s a bit warmer. Nowadays, with the weather going haywire thanks to our wasteful ways, I’m not sure when that’ll be. This year, early March is pretty HOT.

I suggest you follow the same route, but ALSO visit Bangui Windmills and Cape Bojeador Light House on the way to Pagudpud from Laoag. I wasn’t traveling with a group and didn’t want to splurge on a van from Vigan to Pagudpud so I took a bus and couldn’t make pitstops.

Okie dokes! Here’s the skeletal information with my side comments.

Manila to Vigan

How To Get There

Bus Companies

  • I rode a Partas Deluxe Bus from the Cubao station for Php720/person. Pretty spacious and comfortable.
  • 8-9 hours on the road
  • No toilet
  • Bring a jacket! It’s fuh-reezing! Though that’s just me. I don’t fare well in the cold. Hehe!
  • Best call the bus companies for their daily bus schedule and rates. Those fluctuate. 😉

Partas (Cubao) – (+63.2) 727.8278 / 725 1740

Partas (Pasay) – (+63.2) 851.4025 / 410 1307

Florida (Cubao) – (+63.2) 781 5894

Florida (Pasay) – (+63.2) 912 5354

Maria De Leon (Sampaloc, Manila) – (+63.2) 731-4907

Farinas (Sampaloc, Manila) – (+63.2) 731.4507

Where To Stay

  • I stayed in Grandpa’s Inn and I am completely satisfied! They have a great restaurant, a coffee shop, and the place is so quaint and antique-y! I will definitely stay there again.
  • I got the fan room with 2 twin beds and a restroom for just Php980/night!
  • Vigan is very small so anywhere you stay will be close to everything else. No need to stress about that.
  • Here are some places I recommend. Best to call or SMS in advance for questions and reservations.
  • Grandpa’s Inn would be more than happy to help you get a van to tour Laoag, the lighthouse, windmills, and take you to Pagudpud. Just call them up and ask for the rates and schedule! I’m pretty sure the other hotels would be able to do that as well.

Grandpa’s Inn – (+63.917) 580.2118 – Website

Villa Angela Heritage House – (+63.2) 425.6473 / (+63.919) 315.6122 / (+63.927) 894.0610 – Website

Hotel Salcedo de Vigan – (+63.917) 856.4588 / (+63.917) 990.6675 – Website

Vigan Plaza Hotel –  (+63.2) 246.1501 / (+63.77) 722.1527 / 632.0317 – Website

How To Get Around

  • A tricycle will take you anywhere around the city. Php30 should get you to your hotel from the bus station. And that’s for 2 people already!
  • WALK. It’s a tiny city and you see more by walking. Grab a free map from your hotel and explore
  • KALESA or horse-drawn carriage. The kalesa drivers know all the tourist spots (museums, churches, bell tower, pot-making, gardens, zoo, etc.) so just hop on one from off the street and ask him where he can take you! It’s Php150/hour (Rates may change so ask the front desk of your hotel.). Prepare to pay around Php500. There are a lot of places to see! Reserve the whole afternoon for exploring!
  • Feel free to give an extra tip if you can spare the cash. 😉

Where To Go

  • Don’t forget to ask for a map at the front desk of your hotel. All the sites should be on there as well and you can plot out your own route based on where you’re coming from and where you want to end up. 🙂
  • The places are free but they ask for donations. I’d give Php20 per museum just to help them maintain it. 😉
  • Below are the sites you can walk to, fosho’

Calle Crisologo – Cobblestone streets, sound of hooves clonkity clonking, ancestral homes… It’s a beautiful walk that’ll take you back to the Spanish era. Here you’ll find loads of shops where you can buy local woven products like blankets, robes, bags, etc. Furniture, too!

Sy-Quia Mansion – The Vigan residence of 6th president of the Philippines – Elpidio Quirino. If it’s open, there should be a tour guide to explain the history of the house, its furnishings, and the family.

Crisologo Museum – Residence of the Crisologo family turned into a museum

  • You can walk to the places below or take a kalesa already. If you’re up for it, I suggest you walk then hail a kalesa after to save on moolah. 🙂

Vigan Cathedral/St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral

Archbishop’s Residence

Father Jose Burgos’ Residence

Plaza Burgos & Plaza Salcedo

  • It’s best to take a kalesa ride to these next places! It’s a great experience and these sites are far from the city and kalesas are more comfortable and more environment-friendly than tricycles! The horses are
  • The kalesa drivers know where to go and they know information about certain places, too. Feel free to be friendly and ask them questions. They may have some interesting stories to tell!

Bantay’s Bell Tower and St. Augustine Church – Get ready for some cardio up some stairs!

Pagburnayan – You can try to make a clay pot after you watch them. They make it look too easy! You can’t take the pot home with you, though. It is sun dried and takes about a week.

Hidden Garden – I could’ve skipped this, quite honestly.

Sunflower Farm – I’m sad I didn’t get to see the fields of sunflowers! Ask your kalesa driver if the sunflowers are in bloom.

Baluarte Mini Zoo – Pretty interesting considering it’s privately owned by Philippine politician Chavit Singson. There are tigers, ostriches, dears, small horses… Website!

What To Eat

Vigan Longganisa – A longganisa is a small but chubby salty sausage filled with goodness! Vigan is known for their version of the longganisa. Best to eat this for breakfast with garlic rice (called sinangag) and egg. Don’t forget to put a little vinegar (called suka; pinakurat is the type of strong suka they may have) for an extra kick! (I ate this as my free breakfast meal in Grandpa’s Inn!)

Ilocos Empanada – Ilocos has their own brand of empanadas. It’s deep fried and crunchy with egg, meats (preferably longganisa), and a bit of veggies inside. Again, don’t forget the suka! (Irene’s Empanada is really good. They have a nook in Calle Crisologo and another near Sy-Quia Mansion)

Bagnet – Ooh yeah! A delicious slab of fried pork both crunchy and tender! I love  this!!! With rice, of course. And best with a hint of this mixture – bagoong (fish sauce) and calamansi (our tad sweeter mini version of a lemon). You can eat this with the pinakbet as well, since pinakbet is made with bagoong. MM-MM-MMMMMM!!!

Pinakbet – Delish mix of veggies!!! Just try it! Ok. Now I’m hungry.

Vigan to Laoag

How To Get There

  • The front desk of your hotel can check everything for you whether you want to take the bus and need the schedule or get a van ready for you to tour all the way to Laoag and Pagudpud. I suggest you take the van. It’s more expensive but you can split the cost between a group.
  • Should you take the bus, you’ll need to hire a tricycle to tour Laoag.

Where To Eat

Saramsam

La Preciosa

Where To Go

  • To get around, you’ll need to hire a tricycle. They may try to charge you outrageous fees so be wary! We paid Php200 to get from the bus station to a restaurant for lunch and the following sites, then back to the bus station.

Sinking Bell Tower

St. William The Hermit Cathedral

Ilocos Norte Capitol

Tobacco Monopoly Abolition Monument – Right next to the capitol and near the Sinking Bell Tower

Museo Ilocos Norte

  • If only I had time to spare, I would’ve gone to the sites below. These are a bit farther so you’ll have to pay your tricycle driver more. I’ve searched online and Php500 should do it. Go on and try out your bargaining skills! But, again, if you took a van, this wouldn’t be a problem at all. 😉

Paoay Church – A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Malacanang of the North, Paoay

Bacarra Bell Tower

La Paz Sand Dunes

Laoag to Pagudpud

How To Get  There

  • Again, I must stress the ease and stress-less-ness (I know that isn’t a word) of hiring a van from Vigan. Because from Laoag I took a non-aircon bus to Pagudpud. *bow*
  • This is the time you can pass through Burgos to visit the Cape Bojeador Light House then the Bangui Windmills – both of which I missed out on. Instead, I experienced sweating onto my seat with my bag on my lap and getting squished to the window with a bunch of random people. Buttttt, you only pay Php60/person! So feel free to choose your adventure. :p
  • Once you reach Pagudpud, pass by the Florida “station”. There are quotation marks ‘coz it’s more like a simple restaurant area but you’ll see the buses outside. Just ask around. PURCHASE YOUR TICKET HOME ALREADY! Just so you’re sure you have a seat. 😉

How To Get Around

  • I’ll give you one guess.
  • Make sure to get the mobile number of your tricycle driver in case you need a ride!

Where To Stay

  • There were a few new resorts sprouting up so go and check online to find more resorts to stay in!
  • Don’t forget to ask the resort if they have free transfers from the bus area to the resort and back when it’s time to say bye-bye.

Villa Del MarWebsite

Hannah’s Website

Terra Rika Website

Where To Go

  • Uhhh… THE BEACH. There are island tours you can try, too. And feel free to take a tricycle to the main town or “bay an” to have some empanada and longganisa. YUM.

That’s about it. BAM!!!