January 2013 was a very eventful month. And truly, it defined how the rest of the year is going to be for me. I know this year’s only been three months but it was the most difficult time of the year. So far, at least. And when things are difficult for me, I run to my refuge, back to where my heart is, to the place I call home.
Meet-up was at The Podium’s open parking lot at twelve midnight, so we were all hanging out at Starbucks as early as eleven o’clock. I haven’t been on a trip with my Travel Factor friends in quite a while, the last time we were together was the Tambaron Island trip in Bulalacao, Mindoro last May. (Click here for the blog on that.)
We left the parking lot a little after one in the morning and arrived at Sebay Surf Resort close to nine in the morning. It was a really long trip, especially since I’ve had experience with my surfer friends PJ and Gerard when we’d take Manila-San Juan in three hours, yes, 3 hours, because that’s how fast Gerard (de Sagun) drives! We didn’t mind though because our room was going to be available at noon and we spent the entire morning just hanging out, checking out the beach, the girls, the surf, the breeze, all from the comforts of the restaurant of Sebay.
The last time I was in Urbiztondo for surfing was January 2011, and the last time I went on a decent surfing trip was in Baler, March 2011. I went a number of times to Bagasbas in Camarines Norte while I was based in Naga but I never did get to do any surfing there. I haven’t really surfed in almost two years – so, even though I tried to get ready for surfing a few days before this trip, I took it easy on Day 1. About an hour of riding some white water, and no paddling even. Soo…. lazy.
We spent more time hanging out with friends at San Juan Surf Resort, drinking Pinacoladas from Sunset Buckets (a cousin of the Boracay Bucket). The above photos are from my friend Ayie’s camera. Thanks Ayie!
I spent so much time hanging out with friends that I wasn’t dressed yet by the time Up Dharma Down came onstage. Never mind the bath, we quickly changed into shirts and shorts and headed to the concert area. We weren’t gonna miss Up Dharma Down!
UP DHARMA DOWN
Ean Mayor [drums and loops] Carlos Tanada [lead guitars] Armi Millare [keyboards, vocals] Paul Yap [bass]
Up Dharma Down was the first band to come onstage after DJ David Ardiente‘s set and the crowd was just starting to trickle in.
I really had no plans of going out last night because I feel I have gone out enough times already this week but when I saw the line-up for the gig, I just really had to go. I’m a fan of The Discoball, who happen to also be my friends, and where they play, I just really have to go too. If I’m in the metro at least.
When I saw that Taken by Cars and Techy Romantics were also in the line-up, I asked a few of my friends that I knew were also “fans” if they wanted to come along.
I’ve only been back in Manila three weeks and I haven’t quite gotten around to seeing all of my friends, and it was such a joy to have an unintended mini-reunion at Saguijo. (P.S. The last time I was at Saguijo for some band-lovin I think was back in 2008 though I was there for some bazaar some time much more recent).
Bee Eyes was playing when we arrived. Two of our friends were already seated at a table outside. We busied ourselves with catching up over beers and a pinacolada while waiting for The Discoball to play.
Shortly after lunch at Entalula Island, we noticed that rain clouds were fast approaching. Afraid that the rain clouds will get to us and spoil all the fun with all those photo ops, we quickly boarded our boat and headed to our next destination – Simizu Island.
We, somehow, outran the rain clouds and found the beach, sunny and completely empty! All the other boats filled with tourists have also already boarded their boats in pursuit of another sunny destination and we had the entire beach all to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon.
Lovely still wanted to go to Vigan Island (also known as Snake Island) on this trip but we spent hours doing all kinds of things much to the entertainment of our other friends Janice and Lors who were just there sitting under the shade of trees, that before we noticed it, it was already four in the afternoon.
Here is a panorama of the beach:
Simizu Island, named after the Japanese diver who died in an underwater cave exploration, has always been one of my favorite destinations. I cannot count how many times I have been here, though I was surprised that I did not see a lot of photos of it when I went through my archives.
The island is popular for 1. picnic lunches on the beach, and 2. snorkeling and fish feeding.
Indeed, when I first snorkeled here in 2005, it was absolutely breathtaking! The sheer number and variety of fish were overwhelming. Through the years though, the effects of the El Nino phenomenon, coral bleaching, and extensive tourism have taken its toll on the coral life on this island, and that first snorkeling experience became just a memory that have never, even to this day, been replicated. I would now say that the best snorkeling experiences can be had at the snorkeling sites in Coron (North Cay Island, for example) and Balicasag Island in Bohol; lowered expectations for El Nido.
My very first camera was a Pentax Optio WP point-and-shoot camera that I bought in 2005. It was waterproof and I could take it to depths of 1.5 meters. I took it with me on every beach trip until 2010, when it took its last underwater video in Balicasag Island. I found these photos (above and below) and video clips from my May 2007 visit to El Nido.
I keep saying this to all my no-kids friends, of which there are plentier than plenty, since I was almost the first of all my friends put together to get married: You will never know what it takes to be a parent until you become one.
“Your life will change when you have a kid” is an understatement. Though superficially, my life now seems not too different from the one I used to have pre-baby, that’s all it is, superficially.
The very first thing I learned when I had the baby was, it’s possible to love something so much that nothing else comes close, and you will do everything, anything to make your life and that thing you love so much, work. It’s even possible to forget all other loves you once had. That was how it was for me.
Because Lia was promised before I left, and the entire week we were not together, and right before and even during the plane ride from A. Soriano Hangar to Lio Airport, that she is going to where the beach is, it was imperative that we go to the beach the very same day she arrived.
1. I know the owners so I am comfortable hanging out there without being a guest.
2. It is quiet in Caalan. There is also a good, though relatively rocky, beach, with clean sand.
3. It is the first lodge you see when you turn the corner in Caalan. The entire Caalan beach is also somewhat extensive and there are so many things to see and places to be at there too.
It was nice that my 2.5 year old goddaughter, Hiraya, was there too. Hiraya is Likha’s daughter. Likha and I were together a lot when I was living in El Nido back in 2005. He, my co-teacher Eric, together with Derrick, our neighbor who also happens to own a boat and is also a licensed tour guide, and I, could be seen together frequently back then. I first saw Hiraya back in 2010 when she was just 3 months old. She is a quite the replica of Likha’s wife Dada.
Not without a little embarrassment, I set out to write this blog that will let people know what I have been up to the past month, and that is – make-up.
I have never been into make-up really. I was always the tomboyish kind. My sister always had to remind me to powder my face, and the only thing I don’t ever go without is eyeliner; but because I have been close to being bored to death the past month, I decided to try out something different.
So I started frequenting Martha’s beauty blog, not for anything but because it was different from most sites I visit, “most” meaning mommy blogs, artist blogs, writer blogs, travel blogs, and photography sites. Martha has always been into make-up. I had loved seeing her all made up when we we’re still working together in theater. It’s not that I have not been into make-up at all. Being a theater person required you knew how to put on make-up on yourself, but I was not quite inclined to putting make-up on regularly or when going out.
Last month, I decided I wanted to try out a personal make-up class. So for one afternoon, together with make-up artist Leah Tulang of The Make-up Corner, we set out to do all kinds of basic make-up on ourselves. Not that I didn’t know that already, I just wanted to see if there was something else out there I needed to know.
Night Make-up Look, with Leah Tulang
Yes, I looked different. How fun! I even look like I have more weight on me than actual. Or maybe that wicked grin was just me trying to make my red lipsticked lips look thinner.
We then moved on to doing the smoky eyes look that I have always been curious to learn. Ta-dah! Smoky eyes look achieved, I suppose. This photo was taken at home, after it endured four hours of travel, a movie and walking in the rain.
After being at a rock bar nearly every night for almost a year and being exposed to different kinds of music and different kinds of people, should it come as a surprise if, being back in Manila and just staying at home, I always long for it?
I had loved being around people and being out at night, that is the only possible reason why I stayed that long.
These days, I find myself always longing to come out late at night and look for where the music and the people are. It’s just me looking for me.
My nights last year always started out with a cup of coffee, either at my favorite Starbucks branch in Magsaysay Avenue or a cup my staff made for me, that I quietly enjoyed either by the large windows of Wharf Galley overlooking Magsaysay Avenue or the tables at Kebob downstairs. Starbucks is only my third favorite coffee shop, after Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Bo’s Coffee, but in Naga, I had loved hanging out there because of the big trees outside. I had loved the open air tables, where pieces of flowers and dried leaves blew with the breeze. More
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