Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Extended Summer, Week 6 1/2

Proof that I'm still alive despite my self-imposed exile, which is just a more dramatic way of saying I'm stuck in Iloilo 'til classes resume in August, which means I'll surely be missing Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the entire Virgin Labfest, and most likely be missing Venus in Fur, BlueRep's Spelling Bee, that new show Dani Girl by that new theater company The Sandbox Collective, and TP's Kleptomaniacs. The plus side is that come mid-July, I'll be flying my first B777.

Proof that I'm still alive. Because I'm pretty sure somewhere deep inside my mother's heart is a tiny, tiny spot for her unspoken unhappiness about my not taking summer elective here in Iloilo and my decision to have a regular elective (in December). But relax, there is no drama in real life, so sorry for dashing your fantasies.

Proof that I'm still alive - but wait, my Twitter account is bursting with life, which renders that first clause moot. (And here I shall insert a link to my Twitter account: I have to say this: So many misogynist, entitled idiots in America. (See Twitter.)

"Pokpok po ba ang peg niyo sa'kin, sir?" -Kim Chiu to Xian Lim in Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? The breakout star of Pinoy Big Brother has these horrendous fake eyebrows, and my mother's loving every strand of 'em.

I deserve an award for "Driver of the Month." I can drive the family van now! It's like driving one of the Flintstones' vehicles, only it's not made of stone.

"Did you like what you saw?" -Xian Lim. Peste, go back to grade school!

Binge-watching Modern Family is my idea of starting the day. Some episodes - alright, many episodes - don't make a lot of sense, but it's all still a ball.

The resident alpha dog, Disney the pitbull, will stop at nothing to kill our askal. Murder attempts every week, Disney's dick looks shriveled now, Arya the pitbull bitch is pregnant, and everyone in this house is just waiting for the askal to drop dead.

I can't believe Out of Africa won Best Picture in 1986. It looks like a National Geographic feature with Meryl Streep in it (woman's marvelous, as always). And also Robert Redford at his most charmless.

Days of Future Past is the best X-Men movie ever made. (See next post.) 

We saw Maleficent this afternoon. It is unintentionally funny. It looks like the camera found its way to a botanical garden and refused to leave; sometimes, I had trouble distinguishing the plants from the weird animal-people. But Angelina Jolie is great, Elle Fanning is very pretty, and Imelda Staunton is embarrassingly underused. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Extended Summer, Week 3 (#Laboracay)

By some strange twist of fate, I found myself in the overrated island of Boracay for Labor Day weekend. Which is to say, yes, I survived the sweltering heat and ocean of sweat and the stampede of beach-deprived people that descended upon the place, and still sort of had a good time. (Okay, I had a great time.)

The portmanteau "laboracay" - 'Labor Day' and 'Boracay' - is perhaps one of the most annoying words ever coined on Philippine soil. To quote The Marocharim Experiment, it is "irritating, grating, almost insectile in pronunciation and enunciation." Head over to Instagram and look that hashtag up, and you'll drown from the sheer amount of pictures chronicling people's obsession over their bodies. It's not just annoying; it's baffling, really, and to a certain extent, disturbing. (How many abs shots does it take to fix a brain?)

The first time I went to Boracay, I skipped a summer refresher course to join my brother and his med school friends (who are now our PGH residents), and the trip served as a great introduction to the madness of the island. This second time, I knew what to expect - or so I thought.

This time of year, Boracay turns into an ugly haven of debauchery by night. Beach parties scattered throughout the coast, empty bottles and cigarette butts and the occasional condom packet half-buried in the sand, and the noise of partygoers and sound systems reverberating across this speck of land.

While lining up to buy four cheese pizza at the Two Seasons (because that's what everyone buys there), the girl ahead of us exclaimed, upon receiving her order, "Wow, it's so cheesy!" Surprise!

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This trip served as a 1st anniversary celebration for my Hong Kong trio. A year ago, E, the Walter White of Iloilo City, A, my cousin who now looks like a legit Cantonese bouncer, and I went to Hong Kong - the first time our generation in the family traveled abroad without parental supervision. Check out my five-part photo blog: Postcards from Fragrant Harbour.

Now on to the real thing.


When you're traveling with E, some form of disaster is bound to happen. For instance, the car horn getting stuck and subsequently dying. (Thirty minutes later, it rose from the dead.)

Those mountains signify the Antique-Aklan border.

Boarding the boatling.

The short boat ride from Caticlan to Boracay.

The waiting game began at the Boracay port, as E struggled to look for a place to spend Thursday night because we surprisingly arrived a day in advance. Now try spotting A!

Finally, a place to call 'home'. First selfie, while people fixed the room.

First sunset! For three afternoons, I literally just watched the sun go down the horizon. This island may have the makings of a wasteland, but the sunset here really is peerless - even the overrated Manila Bay ought to kneel.

A having fun burying his foot.

Good lord, the multitude of Mainlanders! Here, they were so amused by the dancing service staff of some establishment. (The song was "Nobody" by those Koreans.) 

Maturity by the beach!

Our first (and sanest) party on this island! Fortunately, this was the only one that I managed to document in my phone.

And a selfie to end the first day!


A and I were up by 7 and went for a swim. Then, it was an entire day of walking back and forth the island because I was with the two most indecisive people in the world, and one of them was eternally distracted by the endless parade of eye candy.

At the Sandugo Sandals store. 

Scenes from Station 1.

And that's gardening at #laboracay for you!


We stayed at this quaintly rustic bed-and-bath complex - definitely nothing fancy - and outside our room, this rooster would wake us up at the ungodliest hours.

Last afternoon at the beach. Last afternoon to photograph what can only be one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. I basically just sat there for an hour, white sand beneath my #blessed ass, iPhone in hand, "Next to Normal," "American Idiot," "Hit List," and Train blaring in my ears. Magical!

Child of #laboracay.

Men of #laboracay.

Woman of #laboracay.

This Mainlander daddy was thirsty.

This next set of photos is my most educational. One couple even showed us the best way to use a selfie stick.

The sun's going down...

... and it's gone.  All in all, three "Before Midnight" moments during this trip. Three!

By the sea with A.

Sand sculpture!

Kids wanna be mermaids.

And so we said goodbye to this island and this crazy weekend and that Saturday night that I can only remember in hazy fragments and with the help of A and E. (I'm being hyperbolic here.)

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SIDE TRIP 1: Malumpati Cold Spring Resort, Antique

The Malumpati Cold Spring Resort in Pandan, Antique is nestled in the foothills of the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park. To get there, one must traverse a long and winding (and bumpy) road deep into the heart of the woods, but the drive is so worth it. The cold water, cool breeze, chirping of birds, blue skies, green trees, laid-back atmosphere - just about every hackneyed phrase to describe the stuff that rustic Edens are made of is applicable. It's just an hour's drive, maybe less, from Caticlan, so if you have a car, do check this place out. Just don't go there on Sundays, or else be prepared to enjoy the place with an entire barangay.

On the road: Logging - legal or illegal - is never good for the environment.

The resort!

The popular diving board(s).

Kids approaching deeper waters. Yep, the spring is deep in parts.

A cave.

E having the time of his life.

E's first dive, viewed counter-clockwise:

The view from my spot:

One last shot of E's fake-dive.

SIDE TRIP 2: Roxas City, Capiz

Six months since the eye of supertyphoon Yolanda passed over Roxas City, traces of the immeasurable horror and destruction still live - in the bent and barren coconut trees, in the skeletal remains of abandoned warehouses and roofless buildings. But make no mistake: Life has returned to this city, and inspiringly so.

On the road: The mountains of the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park. 

Arrival in Roxas. Proceeded straight to the seaside for mid-afternoon lunch, and snapped this photo while restaurant-hopping because E is, again, the most indecisive person in the world.

The Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral.

Robinsons Place.

And... they have a hill behind Robinsons! People here should realize they're lucky to live in a relatively young city, with lots of room for city planning.