the quarterpounder head

Brain farts. Be still. Be ready.

Lived under the shade of blue moon. Never realized how deeply you are into your fantasy. He was then wrong – feel so ashamed. Sorry.

Fought for something you thought he couldn’t even fathom. Promises of tomorrow have imprisoned the happiness you have built for days, months and years. He was rather helpless. Screwed and damped. His apology.

Underneath all those troubled situations he caused, you still choose to wear your same old beautiful smile. Madness has flown out of proportion, sadness still present. He entered the dangerous game, leave nothing but his worn out faith. Music still playing and emotions are still floating.

Holding you back will not turn back time. But believe him when he said, he tried. Knocked out and sadness has claimed its toll. Remained to continue counting days.

Has failed but not hopeless.

Timeout

There’s no jack-of-all-trades in me and if there’s something I have done in an almost perfect manner, that’s the art of  talking-without-noticing-there’s-a-problem. It is within my sphere of  awareness that I thought I have loaded down everything to the table and made the entire consciousness audible. I confessed piles of personal shortcoming even to the greek goddess of social media with an impression that honesty begets honesty. But oh boy, it really turned out different from what I’m expecting, from what I’m longing to hear and from what I’m trying to manage from the beginning.

Apparently, clear closure is evidently not present at this period and understanding is all the more not guaranteed. It is the entire process and cycle that shape us, in hope that at the end of the day both of us will genuinely embrace the life we have chosen to take part of. Whatever it is that running in our heads, I could only wish for the best.

It is difficult to communicate if you’re using different languages all at the same time. It is difficult to heed one’s stand point if you’re not even aware of the real scene of events. And it is difficult to heal the wounds if you don’t know the right cure for the obvious bruise. Thoughts that I just contemplated during my moment of peace and quiet.

Tears are encouraged, moving on is rather a requirement. It is a matter of loving yourself above everything else. I’ll get there, soon. I may be alone for certain period of time but surely I’ll find my way off to the path I truly want.

It Ends Somewhere

Uncertainty kills, literally.

Don’t know what just happened to the life I used to adopt for the past few months. It occurred to me that there’s an unimaginable event that happened in the entire track  that could have explained the present. But really it went unnoticed and helpless. Puzzled and at the same time burdened, two strong feelings that could temporarily describe my current sense of awareness. What did I get out of it? Liberty. It’s the kind of liberty that was less expected. Even social media is not helping. It recently became a sole basis of one’s identity and attitude toward someone, something – which is most likely unacceptable for me. It partially ruined its supposed purposes.

I professionally grew up with a simple belief that a good assumption hates weak assumption. Like you can’t just afford to dwell in an assumption that is totally out of track or context. When drowned with lots of assumptions it becomes very unhealthy and counter-productive to everyone. It’s like you are afraid of something you haven’t even seen for real. Painting on top of my head is often my thing, but creating imaginary pictures without visual templates often put me in trouble. In science, we are thought of producing an intelligent hypothesis while in life we are expected to identify and take care of our valuables and disregard our old assumptions.

There is no better way to cope with this unfamiliar situation than learning and moving on. It will end somewhere down the line. Uncertainty will eventually unfold, soon.

Ps. This note was meant to be ambiguous. The author has no intention to disclose anything here. Read at your own risk.   

Where We Stand

Current conflict in the West Philippine Sea, internationally known as the Spratly islands dispute, really affects both regional and international stability. Hence, further study and review in search for meaningful resolutions to the West Philippine Sea is important in two reasons; (1) ensuring both regional and international security and peace and (2) promoting regional cooperation. The Spratly islands are described to be a valuable resource in terms of not only oil, gas, natural resources, but also a strategic location that drive all the claimants, including the Philippines, to fight for their territorial claims. Currently, there is no one-fit-all-formula to resolve and analyze this particular conflict. Thus this same reason provides an overlapping resolutions and pronouncements coming from the major claimants.

We have known from the different forms of media that the Philippines have already proposed to bring up the conflict to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and this however failed to materialize since the China, being the most aggressive claimant, hasn’t been cooperating and continuous to castoff our efforts.

While the Philippines is serious in its effort to come up with concrete diplomatic resolution on current West Philippine Sea dispute, our sets of policies and claims seemed to be lacking  in power and details in general.

It is intolerable for the Philippines to gear up and fight for its sovereignty and interests over the West Philippine Sea without a solid stand to begin with. We basically want a rules-based approach to this matter and we want to confront it once and for all. The Philippines should work hard in generating legally-binding policies that will guide the actions. So, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as the United Nations (UN) will be our venue. It is important for a country like Philippines to start employing diplomatic means in resolving this conflict and it starts by emphasizing our policies and stands over our claims. After all, to borrow Atty Oposa Jr.’s words, legal action is nothing more than a constitution of diplomacy.

Full commitment among concerned government agencies are also important in beefing up our special committee who will adhere future implementing guides and rules.

Small country as we are, we must show to ourselves while standing in the international platform that we are ready to stand for our country’s sovereignty and honor by using our power of the law. For obvious reason, we cannot fight other claimants mano-a-mano. We must exhaust whatever relevant powers we have in our hands.

Call it ours, call it the West Philippine Sea.

Inside His World

You know what will eventually happen when you are so much committed about mastering life’s sets of lessons? You get to see yourself in front of an imaginary mirror and spend couple of minutes realizing what have you become.

It occurred to me that life has consciously shape me into something.

I am not quite certain what life has in store for me in the future but who really cares anyway? I am more than happy about this ‘reshaping’ activity since this has allowed me to look at myself even more. I do appreciate the dynamism of this life and I’m going to own this change – so, here comes your introvert kid ready to conquer the world.

Almost Goodbye

Even good things have come to an end. Well, not true if we’re talking about life’s lessons, friendship and camaraderie.

Seems like yesterday when I got to communicate with my counterpart coordinators from our partner schools about our school’s international exchange program. It’s no piece of cake attending on important matters that touches the technicalities of this job. As a coordinator, you are bombarded with lots of incredible and tedious stuff (I wish I’m just exaggerating, but no) – standards versus standards, student qualifications, school’s pre-determined systems and the likes. From the beginning, I have lots of reasonable things in my head to make this process manageable and easy (both for me and for the students) to handle but certainly I’m confined with the kind of bureaucracy the school is practicing. I do acknowledge and respect these arrangements the same manner I follow rules and orders. I have tried several times to stir influence in this effort to innovate the current system but then there are handfuls of factors to consider with respect to the pre-existing system. Well, for the meantime, I’ll keep these ideas in my head and will find a perfect time to throw it in the future.

Moreover, one thing that I like about my job is having an opportunity to meet young and dynamic minds from different sides of the world. I still could remember those moments when I had my first encounter with them. Every time I introduce myself as the school coordinator for inbound exchange student, there’s always a surprise reaction on their faces. If their initial expressions could carry a message it would probably be “No middle-aged guy? All along, we’re formally exchanging e-mail with this kid?” Sharing the same line of thinking (and age bracket) with them is rather a plus factor in understanding their needs as a student and as a part of the community.

Generally, students’ entire university experience was like a re-examination of my previous experience as a college student and an evaluation of their sets of values and attitudes as a foreign student.

Also, I’m grateful and happy that they have explored well the country’s beauty and realities. I know beyond those beautiful photos with picturesque views and landscapes are life’s lessons and realizations the students could cherish for the rest of their lives. I’m also more than proud to learn that most of them have cultivated their own opinions about the country’s fundamentals and societal structures not just by merely appreciating the wholeness but also through experiencing the process.

Second semester is almost over and some students have already flown back to their country while others are still enjoying their remaining moments. It’s always nice to welcome good people like them not just in your country but also in your life.

Thank you for exploring the school and choosing my country.

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And on my final note, a meaningful exchange program will just be an illusion without her presence and sincere efforts – I believe all students would agree on me with this. As the school year comes to its end, she will also step forward and proceed to her new chosen direction. So as she moves forth to her new beginnings, I would like to make use of this opportunity to express my heartfelt thank you to my ever supportive and helpful partner on this undertaking. May our big love and support be ever with you as you continue fulfilling your dream.

Thank you, Ms. Nichole Urbino-Manlangit.

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People come, people go.

Life is constantly changing as our cherished memories continue to dwell in our hearts. Because after all, there are no ‘goodbyes’ just ‘hello’ and ‘see you later’.

Unplanned, Unravelling Trip

Someone just turned twenty three. Real or not real?

UNCERTAIN day ahead.

Carelessly, I wrote this “How are you gonna celebrate your day?” note on my planner days before the 9th of March, with the hope that my faulty brain would come up with something creative and unique. Days after, I still couldn’t think of any way to ‘celebrate’ it and so I wrote at the bottom of the note the obvious phrase “don’t know.”

Oh, wait! How about a random outdoor adventure? It’s too odd to consume the day roaming around the big city but I am buying the idea that everything will just be so random and left unplanned.

So on that Friday morning, feeling a little sick, I grabbed my bag filled with usual stuff like, pens, pencils, my planner, laptop, phone, my Flowers for Algernon book, Oreo cookies, umbrella and purse with money bills enough for the whole day of adventure. Aside from this, I also have three golden rules to follow for the whole duration of the trip; (1) Avoid phone transaction and internet connection, (2) Spend right amount of money, as possible and (3) Disregard the thought that it’s your birthday.

The last rule is such a challenge since I have to keep moving on with my inadvertent adventure without dwelling so much on the idea that it’s my special day and hence I should not feel very special. Tough!

Just like a ninja leaping from one random roof to another, I started identifying my first stop and gradually move on to the next.

Alright, off I go!

#Happymori’s Newest Haven.

The #Happymori is commonly visible on my Twitter timeline and yes that’s a fact. #Happymori is Carlo’s, my cousin who passed away months ago, newest angel name.

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MEETING with the #happymori. You may be gone, but your memories will continue live on.

On that same day, I supposed to attend the pre-trial of his case in Makati regional trial court but I later on decided not to go there anymore and instead visit him in his newest haven in Heritage Memorial Park, Taguig. Along with me is my small present for the angel, M&M chocolates. Also, I wrote few notes for him while assuming he could read those and hear him utter few responses. From time to time, I sang couple of songs for him and for the pleasure of singing, well, that is the pleasure of having a phone to accompany you with.

I spent little more than an hour talking to the wind, singing all out and whispering prayers above. I even imagined #Happymori standing on the green-blushed grasses while smiling or even laughing insanely hard because of my crazy acts going on that very moment. And so I left the place with several questions hanging on my mind – What’s life going to be like in heaven? Any music to enjoy there? Do angels really have those beautiful white wings? And can #Happymori ever taste those M&Ms?

Oh! By the way, I heard the song Collide playing thrice on my way to Heritage Park.  Collide of Howie Day used to be Carlo’s favorite song. Cool, eh?

Tik–tok! Its lunch time already and off to my next adventure stop!

Food Hunt at Eastwood.

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TASTE LIKE home. Razon's sizzling sisig and signature Halo-halo.

Everyone living in Metro Manila knows how intricate the environment is in Eastwood. However, for someone who would just like to enjoy a simple meal beyond its entire intimidating facades, this place is a perfect fit. I wander around the area to survey a good spot to eat while at the back of my mind I know what is it I’m going to feast. Finally, I rested my tired feet at the Razon’s cozy couch and enjoyed my sizzling hot sisig (of course, with sunny-side up!) partnered with their all-time favorite halo-halo. Burp! It’s indeed a celebration of happy food and tummy, reunion of local cuisine and taste bud.

Eating is always a sweet escape that will never, ever go wrong.

Bowling, sweat rolling.

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ALL FOR the strike. Bowling arena at Paeng Eastwood Bowl, Eastwood Citywalk.

It was couple of months ago when we had our first family bowling night out in Eastwood. We had so much fun pretending to be all sport enthusiasts. That day, I went back to the Paeng Eastwood Bowl to sweat out and enjoy this bowling thing. Choose ball, hold it right, throw it fast as you can and wait how many pins you can knock out at the end of the lane. Doing that repeatedly is really tiring. Apparently, I had my two strikes on round one and three strikes on the second, well, I guess that’s not bad at all. Haha!

I bought a can of coke zero after the game to settle the sport spirit that captured me in the last few minutes. Spent seconds of my resting time starring at the new design of the can, and then I randomly smiled as if someone’s picture just popped out. Calling me weirdo that time is rather an understatement.

It’s almost four o’clock in the afternoon and I have to get out of the place to attend an exciting activity in school. I went back to Cubao and ride the LRT to reach Katipunan – I know Eastwood is just across my school but really I have to maintain and take seriously my budget-constrained adventure.

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MERCI, my friend. Raphael is a French exchange student from Angers, France.

As I step on the LRT, I saw the first familiar face that day – it was Raphael De Colnet, my French student and a good friend. I walked towards his seat while hardly hoping he could not recognize that it’s my ‘day’. Gladly, he didn’t. We spent the quick encounter talking about the beauty of my country and how he is enjoying different activities he had in the past.

Raphael and I went apart when I reached the premise of the school. I started looking for the venue of my next ‘geeky’ activity.

Hunger Games Symposium.

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WELCOME, welcome. "May the odds be ever in your favor."

I caught myself lost in looking for the venue of the Hunger Games symposium. I’m quite late already and fortunately I brought my planner to check the venue of the symposium. I finally got the venue right and to my surprise I saw tons of students, staff and other visitors gathered all together in that event. Indeed, it’s wild seeing this kind of crowd.

Found myself sitting at the back row while listening to bright resource speakers talking about the book and its relevance to the current world. I honestly haven’t realized that this Hunger Games series have a lot of cool stuff to scrutinize and to discuss about. Discussions are very profound and enlightening. I occasionally hear myself saying ‘precisely… exactly…’ – the geek in me is consuming all the satisfying experience. Aside from the speakers sharing their thoughts about the popular book, there were also reaping, no, I mean raffle activities going on that entire symposium. Lucky tributes slash winners will take home limited edition of some Hunger Games prizes and other collector’s items including the mockingjay pin – the only raffle prize that I look forward to get.

The activity ended with the final speaker, also a faculty member of the school, who discussed about the world history as the important core of some fiction author, including Suzzane Collins – the genius behind the Hunger Games series. In a nutshell, I’m interestingly impressed with the symposium although it could’ve been more fun if I got that mockingjay pin as a birthday gift. I guess the odd was not on my favor that moment.

It’s already fifteen minutes past seven o’clock in the evening and time to have a sumptuous dinner somewhere. Perhaps, a resto that has an overlooking view of Metro Manila would be more ideal.

 

Experiencing the obvious.  

In my pursuit of finding a perfect place to have my dinner, I saw this Wensha Spa right on the top of the almost province-liked city of Antipolo. Wow, this must be God’s simple way of telling me to take a rest from looking for something ideal and start appreciating the beauty of the obvious. Surely, I need a total wellness night.

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ALL FAVORITES. Antipolo - Wensha Spa offers a sumptuous buffet dinner, overflowing drinks and great music for everyone to enjoy.

This spa is known for their hot jacuzzi, sauna, glorious amount of food set on a buffet style and whole body massage in a reasonable prize. But this particular spa has also a bar that offers not only overflowing beers and beverages but also a soothing sound of music. Costumers have also a chance to perform on stage and sing their heart out. Swear, I will not forgive myself if I miss that opportunity – leaving the place without me singing whole-heartedly.

“Don’t stop here… I lost my plaaa–ace… I’m close behind.”

I eventually capped off the night with a relaxing body massage. That was just the awesome way of calming and treating my body after a very long day of brief adventure.

I have little more than half an hour before the time officially ends the day. I once again opened my phone and check some text messages and Twitter mentions – now, I’m starting to break my rule number one. I started saying and spreading ‘Thank yous’ to my family and friends who devoted their special time to greet me and send well wishes.

I am greatly overwhelmed and felt appreciated, so surreal.

That odd birthday adventure was truly an experience worth keeping and remembering. An experience that enabled me to explore and celebrate the special day beyond the usual party and cakes. This is a celebration of life I so long to achieve.

Oh yes, I turned twenty three and it’s real.