Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enchong Dee on a weekday evening...

"You want to go to see Enchong Dee?" asked good friend/former colleague Noreen via text last week.

I've been bugging her to get me an autograph with the kid for the longest time, so I was really one happy boy when I got the text message above. Woohoo!

Though I'm swamped with work, I just had to make time for this. Who knew when another opportunity like this would come along, right? Better to grab it now.

Noreen told me we were going to visit Enchong during the taping of Boystown. The location was in some village in Pasig. I'm not that familiar with Pasig, and I know how horrible traffic is on a work night, but I chose to ignore all of it. Hehe! It's not every day you get a chance to meet Enchong, right? Unless of course, you study with him in DLSU.

Anyway, together with Noreen and super nice colleagues from ABS-CBN, we arrived at the house where the shoot was at around 10PM. The camera was rolling so we had to wait outside the house. There were lots of people nearby waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of Enchong and the other cast members.

After a couple of minutes, Lino Cayetano came our way. He was directing Boystown. Noreen and the girls just love him. And it's not hard to see why. He really looks like a nice guy.

We told Direk we were visiting Enchong and he told us that Enchong was just at the tent chillaxing since it wasn't time for his take yet. After getting a souvenir photo with Direk Lino, we headed towards where Enchong was.

When we got to the tent, he was just outside hanging out with the crew and he seemed genuinely happy to see Noreen, Bing and Yam. I guess that's one of the really, really enviable perks of being in showbiz, huh? The celebrities remember your name and they really remember your name.

I wasn't that starstruck because I already expected Enchong to be warm and accommdating and ultra down-to-earth. He was. He is. He was patient enough to let us have our photos taken with him. I had to get like four just to be sure. And then I asked him to sign a "Hi Maver" card for my colleague Monet. Some more photos and then I said my thanks.

He said, "Salamat po, KUYA Angelo." Wow! I'm really getting old, huh?!

And it's true. Because after the Enchong encounter, I just hung out with Noreen and the girls and watched the taping, and that's when I realized I have not the slightest idea who the kids on the set are.

Save for Dino Imperial (who did a PLDT endorsement), Ron Morales (because of Bench), I had to ask Noreen who the other guys were. A little Google and that's when I found that the kids were collectively known as the Gigger Boys. For what reason? I have no idea.

I left the set around midnight. If I didn't have work the following day, I would have loved to stay and just watch the taping. It is interesting for someone who belonged to the "outside world," so to speak. It was my first time to attend a taping of a TV show so it was really quite an experience. Yay!

Thanks again, Noreen!!! You're the best. Next na si Megastar, ah. =)

Haven't been posting because work has just been really, really toxic. I've missed a lot of running time and spinning classes, because the to-do list just keeps on getting longer and longer. Haha!

Catch Enchong on Your Song Presents: BOYSTOWN this May 10! Definitely, definitely going to watch it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Too much for one heart...

Too much for one heart.

It really is the year of the bull... at least for one's heart.

The first four months of this year has been nothing but a series of punches and blows on the heart.

After all the battery and the assault it's undergone within a short period, it's surprising that one is still standing.

No matter how strong one is, sometimes, one can't help but say, "This is just too much for one heart."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The King Red Lion (and the tropa) drops by for a visit...

Yousif A. and some of the TNT boys dropped by the office last Thursday for an employee-related promo. Unfortunately, I was already in beautiful Zamboanga by the time they arrived.

The last time I saw the guy was during the Thanksgiving Mass/Party at the office last month, I think.

Thank heavens for really kind colleagues/friends who play along with the craziness of their team mates. Haha!

So thank you, thank you, Faith, Maricris and Kuya Manns for making the photo above happen.

And clearly, it wasn't just me who had to do the above. So did Maver. Haha!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zamboanga I love...

Zamboanga will be my Iloilo of Mindanao.

Three days in Z.C. and I must say that I really, really loved it there. If there was any anxiety that I've felt before going there, it is from the perception and all the news that I've been hearing. And looking at it now, that is unfair not just to the Zamboangueños but I guess to everyone from Mindanao.

Mari O said that it is this perception that is keeping people from extending the assistance to Mindanao, and he is right. And I want to be able to help changing this perception. If this blog post about Zamboanga would make even just one person want to fly to Zambo, I would be most happy.

I liked everything in Zambo. From the people to the local culture to the few tourist spots I got to visit to the food, gawd the food, everything was to be liked.

Even before the plane landed, I saw this island the most beautiful, beautiful sand, just off the coast of the main island. From the plane, I could only imagine how beautiful the island must be. I was later told that the name of the island is Sta. Cruz, and that the sand there is actually pinkish, and not white. And that it's such a fantastic island, but to get there would require one to bring a military escort, just to be sure. It's saddening, because for sure there are several more islands like this in Mindanao but they will for a long time remain to be untouched and unseen by the majority. There's some good in that (environment preservation), but it's also quite sad (for beach-loving people).

Here's a rundown of the trip.

Food: Went to Chinito's for good sizzling food, La Vista del Mar for dessert - mango cobbler and the fruit shakes were really good, John's Seafood Grill in Canelar, Cafe Zambo for cheap but huge servings of grilled seafood, Satti for satti (sate) and the sauce, and there's this restaurant (the name I forgot!!! Grrr!) near Morning Sun Satti that serves yum Muslim food.

Night Life: Yes, night life! Whereas Iloilo has Smallville, Zambo has Catribo. It's way smaller than Smallville but the concept is somewhat similar - a compound of bars, cafes, restaurants. I like it that it's small but very much happening. You've got the Bean's Cafe for some coffee, cakes and cheap SML bucket, then you can go to Halo for some (in our case, a LOT of) dancing. Then there is a videoke bar, a silog restaurant, among others. I don't know about you but as long as there's SML, really great dance music, fantastic buddies, you've got me onboard.

Sights: Went to the Yakan Village to see the traditional weavers, then to La Vista del Mar for a view of the ocean (I swear Zamboanga has the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen) and a view of the Balikatan soldiers... mwehehehe). Also went to Fort Pilar to marvel at the mini-Intramuros, to Lantaka Hotel by the Sea to check out the pearls, then to the barter market for some shopping of Malaysian goods. The City Hall is a must see, as well. Loved the architecture.

Souvenirs: Bought some pieces from the Yakan Village to be framed and hung on a wall. Bought tons of boxes of Apollo and uniquely flavored Maggi and Nescafe from the barter. Went with Michelle and Noel to the Aderes Market where they bought curacha and crabs (the place is seafood heaven, I tell you!) and to the Sta. Cruz bagsakan for cheap, really cheap marang. It's just that I'm not a big fan of bringing raw food back home when on trips. I would probably buy a unique piece of heavy furniture, but not a kilo of crabs.

Accommodations: Was booked at the Grand Astoria Hotel. Nothing really spectacular, but it's a good hotel because of the strategic location (a couple of steps away from the Zambo WC), the really fast Wifi connection (I LOVE!), and the presence of a barter right at the 3F lobby. If you have the money, you may want to check in at the Garden Orchid, La Vista del Mar or Lantaka By the Sea hotel.

Transpo: We had a van on our second day, and the Zambo SMARTees were kind enough to take us around but I did get to try to commute. It wasn't that bad. Almost everyone knows Tagalog, and you wouldn't feel uncomfortable to speak in Tagalog. The tricycles charge like a cab though, so I'm not sure how challenging the haggling could be.

I would be lying if I say that I didn't feel lonely as I boarded PR 128. I like Manila, yeah, but I'm getting too tired of it. Discovering cities like Iloilo, Zamboanga (and Singapore, oh man, Singapore!) makes me want to pack my bags and leave the crazy, chaotic city of Manila. When I think of the traffic, the pollution, the noise, the fear, I feel much of resentment and want to escape the city. There is really no big enough reason for me to stay here, anyway.

Hay, take me back to Zambo, Iloilo or Singapore.

Bayani Challenge was one fun challenge...

After the Bayani Challenge experience in Bukidnon last year, I must say that I was really looking forward to be part of this year's Bayani Challenge. The sites for this year were Zamboanga and Sulu. To be honest, I really would have wanted to go to the Sulu leg. But I knew my head was going to get chopped off, not by terrorists, but by my bosses if they found out that I (and my colleagues) went ahead and joined. Haha! I was lucky enough to be able to go to Jolo and Lamiitan three years ago and it was an experience I wouldn't mind repeating.

Anyway, the Bayani Challenge Zamboanga trip was just as good. It was my first time to visit Zamboanga and I fell in love with the city. What I feel for Iloilo is what I feel for Zamboanga now (but this is a whole other entry.)

The other thing I thoroughly enjoyed was meeting the SMARTees of Zamboanga. It's always enjoyable to meet local SMARTees because they're really warm and they really make an effort to make you feel welcome.

Ms. Lalaine and Ms. Janet were super nice to fetch Judee, Mich and me at the airport. The three of us were really hungry so our first stop was at Chinito's. Woohoo! Local food. I had the grilled tanigue. Judee had calamari. Mich had grilled bangus. I also tried the Zambo White, some kind of lychee slush, which was good.

From Chinito's, we drove to Culianan, which was twenty minutes away from the city. Zambo SMARTees will have a summer storytelling session in a local school and Judee et al had to meet with the principal. After Culianan, we had to drive the opposite way. Our destination was Tulungatong, the site of the Zamboanga Bayani Challenge.

On the way to the site, my eyes were looking left and right while on the road just trying to absorb the local scenery. There was so much to see, so much to admire. As I've mentioned a million times before, I really, really, REALLY love the countryside.

Anyway, when we got to Tulungatong, the Bayani Challenge was already in full swing, as expected. The first thing we did was to see how the Ateneo de Zamboanga and Universidad de Zamboanga teams were doing. I was impressed, because after just four days, both teams have accomplished so much already. After some interviews, I went around to check out the other teams. It's always inspiring to attend the Bayani Challenge because I am reminded of my Pahinungod days. Awww, I terribly, terribly miss those days. It was so much different, and until now, I would still say that those three years were the best years of my life.

On Friday, it was time to join the Zambo SMARTees for their first ever house build and Bayani Challenge. We were blessed with somewhat good weather. It was neither hot nor wet (but still, I got a really bad case of sunburn on my nape, on my calves, and my feet.). It was amusing to watch the SMARTees work, because they were all really excited. It was great to work with them, because we got to exchange stories and I really felt the volunteerism among the group.

Highlights of the two days at the Bayani Challenge, aside from working alongside the SMARTees, ADZU and UZ volunteers, were getting to hear Tony Meloto and brothers Luis and Mari Oquinena talk about the event. I always feel inspired after talking to them. I've met Luis and Mari back when I was in college during my YFC days. We even went on a mission trip to Bacolod and Dumaguete, but I don't think Luis remembers me at all. Hehe!

If there was one thing I would've really wanted to experience though, it would be to go to the Bayani Challenge as a participant and not for work. Not to document, not to do interviews, but to really be part of a team and do the heavy lifting.

That would be awesome. Congrats to GK and til the next Bayani Challenge!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Playing Noah Mayer and a Happy Baptism...

"You learn to play the straight man,
Your lines become routine.
Never really saying what you mean. "
- Role of a Lifetime from Bare

It was the baptism of Phoenix, the third kid of friend from Magsaysay Weng and her hubby Berlin. I was asked to be Ninong. Sweet, huh?!

Attended the affair with Magsaysay friends Shy and Cathy. We also met up with Lenly and hubby Genie and super cute kid JM at the reception.

The baptism was held at St. Andrew's in Bel-Air. I can't remember the last time I attended a baptism. I don't really say yes to invitations to be a godparent, because I believe in the importance of the role. So if I know that I won't be able to keep my role as a good Ninong, I'd prefer to say no.

From St. Andrew's, we headed to Ebun in Greenbelt 3 for the reception. It was my first time to try the restau and I enjoyed the all-Filipino food. I also absolutely enjoyed the choco cupcakes that Weng got from Marta's cakes. Really sinful, really good. Haha!

It's always great to see these girls because get-togethers are guaranteed to be really full of laughter and great stories and chismax. Haha! Plus, we always get a kick out of me pretending to play for the other team.

Yesterday was no different. Mwehehe! Played the role of ATWT's Noah Mayer just for fun. Really hilarious. Haha! I'm the girls' official manwhore. Haha! (Or I've probably been replaced by one of the MTs? Haha!)

Welcome to the Christian world, Phoenix!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday in Calatagan, Batangas...

Went on another road trip on my last day of the Tagaytay trip. Haha!

We decided to head out of Tagaytay and go further south to hopefully hit the beach. The nearest that came to mind was Lago de Oro in Calatagan. Thanks to my trusty Nokia and the 3G coverage in Tagaytay, I was able to go online and find directions and info on Lago de Oro.

Yeah, yeah, it's a wakeboarding resort but all I really wanted was to go to the pool and have some sun.

So it turned out to be a really pleasant surprise when we were told that we can actually rent out a raft that could bring us out into the sea for some swimming. woohoo!!! It was even better.

The entire afternoon was just spent in the water. Romil, Bernard and Mikey swam a bit but chose to stay on the raft and sleep. Sean and I, on the other hand, just really enjoyed the water. The water was perfect. Not that cold. The sun was fantastic. It was great.

Total damage for the whole thing was about P1K per person. You pay P650 for the entrance to Lago de Oro (P350 is consummable, and you get a free towel which you can keep). The raft cost us P1500 for the entire afternoon. Not bad at all, yeah?!

The drive back to Tagaytay was horrible. Augh! Traffic was that bad. Going to Calatagan took us about an hour, going back took us three f-ing hours.

Still, I'm one happy boy because I was able to hit the beach, have some sun and definitely, lots of fun.

By the way, I also bumped into a college classmate, Bea. I haven't seen her for the longest time so it was really great that we saw each other at Lago de Oro. Haha!

Happy treats come in orange boxes...

An orange box is a happy thing.

Since I didn't have anything planned for the long weekend, I decided to get on the next available flight to a neighboring country and treat myself to really nice things that come in the orange box.

Haha! NOT!

Took a road trip to Tagaytay to spend the long weekend at Sean and Romil's place. Haven't seen the two boys for the longest time. Sean has been constantly inviting me to go visit them, but work gets in the way or I'm just too lazy to pack my stuff. Haha!

Anyway, while I was on my way up to my room, these lovely boxes greeted me. I was still a couple of feet away from the boxes and it was kind of dark but I already knew what those boxes were. Wooohoo! Exciting.

Come on, say it with me - Air-MES(z), (S sound is a combo of s and z). (You've got an entire thread on Hermes pronunciation right here. It's amusing. Haha!)

I liked the slouchy tote bag. The leather is so soft and smells so great (PETA is going to kill me for writing that sentence. Hehe!) and I like it that there's no logo nor monogram to scream out the name of the brand. Haha! The backpack's a bit too girly and too structured for me. But it's worth the purchase because you actually get two more canvas totes to convert the bag into a tote or a smaller backpack.

The boxes were Romil's. I didn't think the guy would be such a bag man, so I was really surprised to see those boxes and some dust bags from Mrs. Prada, Mr. Gaultier and Mr. Vuitton, as well.

Woohoo! It was heaven for any bag man. Haha! If there's one thing I realized from the close encounter with Hermes, it is that I don't think I'm going to be an Hermes person. Yeah, I do love the soft tote, but Hermes is a bit too formal for me. Maybe twenty years from now. For now, I think I'd still go for Mrs. Prada. Hehe!