Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oliver Button is a sissy...

Check out this book I stumbled upon at… you wouldn't believe it… the library of a public elementary school in a barangay in Cebu.

I was at the province recently for a day to do some interviews, photo and video shoot at three public schools.

The shoot was held at the schools' libraries. On our visit to the second school, I was looking around the books in the library while my photo and video guys did their work.

I was just browsing the shelves, not touching anything, when this particular book caught my attention. Hehe!

Oliver Button is a Sissy. By Tomie de Paola

Out of curiosity, I picked up a book and browsed through it.

I couldn't believe what I was reading. Hehe! Uhm, it wasn't because there was anything wrong with it. It just wasn't the kind of book I expected to find at a library… of a public elementary school… in a barangay.

Here was a book that could've been useful to me when I was still in an all-boys elementary school. (Ugh, memories of basketball (failing at it and at other things usual boys have no trouble doing)). Hehe! The key message of the book was very simple - It's okay to be different. The illustrations were wonderful. The story, though a bit harsh, was definitely next to real.

I was more than happy to have found the book. And I'm really hoping that some kids who "needed" the book have actually found the book and read it…

because I asked the principal if I could buy the book.

Yeah, that's how desperate I was to get the book. Hehe! Of course, despite my insistence to pay for the book, the principal was more insistent that I keep it.


Of course, when I showed the book to some friends to say how awesome it was that a book like that existed, I got a bit reprimanded for getting book from the school.

That's because some little boy who would probably have better use of the book than some thirty-year old bloke who's already okay with who he is. Hehehe!

But no, I had to get the book, didn't I? Hehe!

Okay, here's what I'll do to make up for what I did.

I will scan all the pages, make it into a PDF and then upload it online.

I'm sure I'll be violating some copyright/distribution ekers but I had to do something. Hehe!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How to raise 3000 euros for the "dream..."

I may have already found what it is that I wanted to do when I finally give up my corporate life.

Teach yoga.

Not sure if it's because I'm still on a high from attending the Global Mala Project, but I am secretly (and wishfully) contemplating about studying yoga full-time and becoming a teacher.

I come from a family of teachers. My Lola Chimang was a teacher all her life. Tita Rosie taught here before moving to the US to become a teacher. Cousin Lydia followed the footsteps of her mom and is also a teacher. Lolo Po is a respected faculty at a revered educational institution in Canada. TIta Cecil was the go-to person on labor and industrial relations.

So when the desire to teach at the University came, I wasn't surprised. I taught for a semester at my own University but had to give it up due to some stupid policies. I've always been drawn to the academe. Many of my happy years were the times spent in Faura and later on in Plaridel Hall.

When I met a grade school teacher and went out with him a couple of times, it was awesome. Unfortunately, the guy turned out to be a complete … okay, let's not finish this sentence. Hehe! I do respect him for being a teacher. That's one of the things that I really liked about him.

Anyway, so yes, I know that I'd like to teach. I'm open to the University, but after having attended the GMP and the what? a hundred and yoga classes at the gym, I am reaching a point that I ask myself, "Why not?"

One time (and until now), I keep bugging my work colleague Judee who's also into yoga that we should just quit and open a yoga studio in Cagayan de Oro.

Everything's good with the corporate life, but there are very few moments when I look for a reason to continue slaving away. My youngest brother is on his last semester in college. I'm pretty sure that my responsibilities to him will no longer be that huge when he starts working. My younger brother lives his own life. He has a job and has a very nice girl. I neither have a kid nor a partner to work extra hard for (yuck, pinasok talaga ito! LOL!), and if I could just save enough and free myself from credit card bills (ugh!), I think I would be more than happy to give up the corporate world to do what I really want to do.

After studying and getting certified, I could come back and teach outside of Manila. My heart belongs to the countryside. That's what I always say. This may be my ticket to a life outside of Manila and start one in Iloilo. Wouldn't it be great to be a traveling yoga instructor? Hold weekly classes in Iloilo, Cebu and Bacolod?

That would be awesome.

I asked a yoga teacher who was at the GMP where yoga instructor classes are held. He told me that Foundation classes are usually 200 hours. He told me that there will be one in Boracay this October.

He also told me that the fee is about P200,000.

What the?! For a moment, I lost my center and fell forward. Kidding.

India would definitely be ultra expensive then. I checked out a school in Thailand, and the Foundation course costs 3000++ euros. Haven't really checked out if there are scholarships, but I doubt if there are.

Man, it just sucks when the only thing keeping you away from your dream is money, huh.

How to go around this roadblock? What jobs to take to raise the amount?

Busy with "The Project..."

So things have been pretty crazy at work this past week. It's going to be like this until the end of November.

On top of the usual daily grind, I was given a project in support of the company's battle cry to have "Internet for All." It's only logical. The "Internet for All" vision, I mean.

Fifteen or so years ago, the thrust was for every Pinoy to have a cellphone in his or her hand. Now that that seems to be a reality, the next move really is Internet connectivity.

Going back to the project, it was originally meant to be implemented during the first half of the year. But due to some uncontrollable circumstances, the journey to launching the project took time and was peppered with challenges.

At some point, it becomes frustrating. Getting a US visa was much easier compared to getting the correct recipe for the project.

But just like what Robin Padilla said, "Tink pasitib. Wag kang aayaw." LOL!

Two Fridays ago, the project was "unofficially" launched. The next two weeks are very critical for the project because the output this November will depend on the material to be generated these two weeks.

Excited. Anxious. Looking forward.

One thing's for sure. I already know it will be successful. It is already successful.

This is the part where I tell the universe what will happen. Hehe!

I've been asking friends to pray for the project, and I know they've been doing that. I am grateful.

One of the best things about this project is that I'm working with three of the country's most respected individuals from this particular industry. I have faith in their five sidekicks and I know they will deliver.

The other thing that I really liked about this project is that I met a lot of individuals with their own stories to tell. A mom working doubly hard to feed her family. A teacher who leads his students in being proud of the local culture. A group of strangers who became friends because of a shared passion for traveling. Just to name a few.

I'm excited to tell their stories. Wait a couple of weeks and if all goes as planned, you will already know about it.

Dude, are you ready for this?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hello, hello, Sunshine Corazon...

Sunshine Corazon FTW! :P Not really a fan of Charice, but really gotta say she did us proud!

We could use some good news, especially after that whole hostage debacle.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peace, good vibes, positive energy at the Global Mala Project..

When was the last time you felt at peace despite the worries that you have? When was the last time you felt calm detached from the noise caused by your surroundings? When was the last time you felt positive carrying a light feeling amidst the daily chaos of the city?

At peace. Calm. Positive.

This was how I felt yesterday after having spent the entire day at the Global Mala Project Manila 2010 in Rockwell. And I'm quite sure the other participants of the awesome event share the same feeling, if not better.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon the tweet of Teresa Herrera about the Global Mala Project. I clicked on the hyperlink on her tweet and that brought me to the ClicktheCity page, which had more details about the event.

After reading about the event and watching some event videos on Youtube, I knew that I was definitely going to attend the gathering. Yoga buddy Allen was supposed to go with me, but work came up. JB wanted to go, but the class he wanted to attend was the same time as Xanadu. Carlo V. wanted to attend but it slipped my mind until he reminded me.

So I ended up going by myself.

Always the early bird, I arrived at Rockwell a couple of minutes before 9. The event was scheduled to start at 10, but I wanted to be there early to register already and to get the vibe. And yes, I was just plain excited.

When I walked up to the registration, there was already a small group of people by the registration. The lovely Teresa Herrera was right behind the registration and welcomed guests. It was my first time to meet her and positive energy is flowing right out of her.

At 10AM, the doors to the Tent opened. The event followed the schedule and I thought that was just really, really fantastic. The organizers did a wonderful job in transforming the venue into a place conducive for yoga practice.

After Teresa welcomed the participants, the whole day affair began. Participants formed a circle around a group of four people sat in the middle of the room that was going to lead 108 rounds of Gayatri Mantra. From what I read Gayatri is one of the most known mantras. The purpose of the mantra for the event was to purify the place and to prepare it for the practice.

Following immediately was the 108 rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) led by a group of yoga teachers. I thought this was really awesome. Rebecca, the lead teacher demonstrated one round of the sun salutation, and then we started. I couldn’t tell who the long-time practitioners were from the newbies and the intermediates. I don’t know who was familiar with the whole round of Surya Namaskar, who was learning it completely for the first time. What I found really amazing though was seeing how we all began to move as one united by our breathing and our movements. It was an experience. I have to be honest, By the time we reached the 80th round, I had to take short breaks. My arms started to feel sore that I couldn’t do the chaturanga properly. Plus, I wanted to take photos of the wonderful movement. I did join the group in finishing the last few rounds.

There were different yoga classes the entire day. I chose to attend Hatha Yoga by Corey Wills ad the Bhakti Urban Flow by Roland Dela Cruz. I would have wanted to attend the Bikram Yoga by Tristan Choa, but it was the same time as Jeanie Javelosa’s talk on Chakras. I chose to attend the latter.

This was one of the other good things about the event. In addition to the classes, there were also talks. Among the talks mentioned in the program were Healthy Living by Arthur Tanco, Art of Living by Denise Celdran and the Chakra Workshop of Jeanie Javelosa.

I thought this was really good because it gave non-yoga studio practitioners like me an opportunity to learn more about yoga.

One of the key messages I learned was yoga is not just about doing the asanas. The asanas are a way of preparing the mind, the heart, the body, the spirit for something higher.

It’s the Chakra Workshop by Jeannie Javelosa that I have to thank for that. Another example, only then did I learn that the corpse pose wasn’t really about resting the body after an hour of yoga practice. It was really about bringing everything back to your center. I definitely wished our yoga teacher at the gym (who I’m sure is certified) would share these kind of info while we practiced. (Or maybe I can go grab a book and do some own reading?)

The Chakra Workshop was the only talk I got to attend but I learned a lot from Jeanie. She spoke beautifully about the chakras and other related aspects. There were about us 7 of us, which made the activity very intimate. I loved it that Jeanie said she would still have given the talk even if just 1 person came, because it was an opportunity to share and because that person had a reason to be there.

Then it was time to head back to the Tent for Hatha Yoga led by Corey Wills. I was interested to see Corey again because I met him during his modeling days when we got him for a fashion shoot. The Corey I saw that afternoon was quite different. I saw a yoga teacher and not the model I remember. But it still is Corey because he was still as calm and as focused just like I remember him from the photo shoot.

Still feeling energized from Hatha, I decided to attend Bhakti Urban Flow by Roland De la Cruz. I was interested to see the different classes. Roland’s class was pretty familiar. It was similar to the class I attend at the gym. I would’ve wanted to take a photo of the class but I was too absorbed in the flow. I hope photos of the event would be uploaded somewhere.

I thought of checking out the other classes like the Anusara Inspired Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance by Teresa, but I had to leave early to meet up with Carlo.

I left just after Trees for the Future finished their talk on their project in the country. Proceeds of the event were to be given to the said NGO. This was also one of the reasons why I wanted to join the event. Because there was a cause it was supporting. I got to practice yoga. I learned more about it. And I even get to help a bit for the environment. Is that great or is that great?!

I've been attending yoga classes at the gym for more than a year now, and I want to have further understanding. The Global Mala Project gave me that, or at the very least, it opened the doors to having that understanding. And what I saw beyond the door was a bigger body of knowledge to be learned.

Though it was only for a day, I definitely, definitely left the event with a lot of learning.

When I was reading the details of the Global Mala Project, it said that all the participants bring was a yoga mat, a towel and a spirit of peace. I came with those, and I left the event with so much more - a spirit of peace, a new perspective on certain things, a light heart, and some new friendships. I know it doesn’t end there. Practice is needed. Discipline is needed. And I think I will check out one of the yoga studios in Makati. Who knows? I might even go crazy and just quit the gym to pursue yoga.

For now, I’m sure that I’m definitely going to join next year’s Global Mala Project. Congrats Teresa and the rest of the team for a successful event!

Om shanti shanty shanti. :)

P.S. It would have been really, really awesome if my friend Bernice was there. We all have someone or something that led us to the yoga mat. For me, Bernice was the one who got me interested in yoga. Before she left for the Netherlands to pursue further studies, we would talk about her yoga class whenever we meet up. When I finally decided to sign up for the gym, I was extremely happy to have found a yoga class that was perfect for my schedule. The funny thing is we’ve never gotten to attend a class together. That we must do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tagaytay with friends old and new...

Friday and Saturday of the long weekend was spent at Tagaytay with friends old and new.

Earlier during the week, Tey, Engel and I agreed to head to Tagaytay for the long weekend. We decided to invite Xzenia, Jeff, and Errol to complete the cast of Will & Grace or Queer as Folk or Gimik (LOL!). Tey's nephew Ken joined us so it was cool having a little kid in tow. We were supposed to meet up with Winston in Tagaytay, but it turned out that he didn't go. Jonjon was supposed to go with us, but flaked at the last minute when we were waiting for him at Sta. Rosa.

Still, it turned out to be a fantab overnight out of town.

The original plan was to have dindin at Sonya's Garden. Engel hasn't been to the place and he wanted to try it out. I made reservations at the fantab dining place. Unfortunately, we didn't make it in time. Thanks to the heavy rain that poured on our way to Tagaytay, we reached the city around 8PM. Ugh!

The good thing about this though is that everyone agreed to just have dindin at Sanctuario. It was fantab because I got to visit and see good friend Sean. We haven't seen each other in ages, and I knew he had some juicy chismax for me. Haha!

After stuffing ourselves with Sanctuario food, we headed to the Cliffhouse for dessert and coffee at Cafe Breton.

From there, we headed to Sean's beautiful and cozy home which was a short drive from Cliffhouse. Hmm, it has changed since I was last there. It's still the same home, but it is different.

We hung out at Sean's home until 2 in the morning. It was an enjoyable time just having some drinks and good conversations.

The following morning, we were supposed to have breakfast at Sonya's but that didn't push through again because we all woke up late. Jeez! I'm going to get blacklisted already at Sonya's. Hehe!

Since it was already nearing 11AM, we just headed to Leslie's for a full brunch. It's good we got there early because the place wasn't that busy yet. We got to pick a nice table, which had a fantab view of the Taal Lake. Thank you Lord for clear skies.

After the Filipino brunch, we finally drove to Sonya's Garden where the girls brought bread and other stuff. Photo sessions were in order, definitely.

We then headed to Caleruega since Jeff and Engel have never been there. It was more photo sessions, and some "people" watching. Hehehe!

We headed back to Manila afterwards. I reached home before 8PM. Aguinaldo was slightly chaotic. Haha! I was dead tired by the time I reached my house.

Would've wanted to still go out, but I had to wake up early today. Planning to do some work. The coming week is going to be crazy.

At least, I got to spend two days outside of chaotic Manila. I couldn't be more thankful.

How was your weekend? :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cheesy Saturday...

More than just getting a much-deserved break during the long weekend, I also got to see the four-letter "L" word.

The Tagaytay trip with our couple friend became some sort of impromptu "pre-nup photo shoot." Wahaha!

I had a fantab time with Hanschen taking photos of the boys. Thankfully, they were up for the photo shoot. Haha! I think they appreciated it as well, because Hanschen and I were helping immortalize beautiful and precious moments of the lovers.

Whoa! That sounded so nice… "Immortalizing beautiful and precious moments of the lovers."

I wish I could post the photos so that haters and narrow-minded phobes could see that true love (there I said it!) knows no gender, but I'm going to get the boys into trouble. Eeep!

The retouched photos would have to do.

My favorite photo is the one I took of the two inside the church. I sat several rows away from them so I can have my moment with God. After my prayers, I just sat there and watched the two. There was one moment where I saw my guy friend looking at his partner lovingly. My guy friend was smiling and his face was one that I was familiar with. It was the face of a person who was in love.

When I saw that, I had to take out Hanschen and capture that moment. The partner's facial expression is hidden from the camera and I thought that was okay, because the "look" that my guy friend had on his face was more than enough to express what was going on between them. Awww!

Jeez… am I cheesy or what?! Haha!

I would be lying if I didn't say I wished I had that, too. Sana kami na lang nung guy in blue. LOL! :P I swear I could work as a paparazzi!

Really happy for my two guy friends. I was more than happy to give them their photos.

I just hope they don't split up. Uumbagan ko sill pareho if they do. Hehehe!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Long weekend getaway...

Some random photos to give you an idea of how the Friday and Saturday of my long weekend turned out.

Thank you, Hanschen, for producing these photos.

You never fail to amaze me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be still my heart... lol...

Why oh why do we not have H&M in Manila?! Ugh!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, unless you'll be in a country with an H&M store this November, we are going to once again miss getting a piece or two from this yet another fantab collaboration of H&M with a high-end designer.

Not sure when the news broke (early this week) but when I found out that H&M is having Lanvin as a guest designer, I can't help but text/tweet people I know who will react the same way as I did - Jepoy, Ela, Maver. Hehe!

The collection will be designed by Lanvin superstar Alber Elbaz and menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver.

The pieces will be revealed on November 2 (via a special film), while the actual pieces will hit the stores on November 23. Ooooh! I can already imagine looong lines outside select H&M stores.

"I think I loved the idea that H&M was going luxury rather than Lanvin going public," said Mr. Elbaz. Ang taray, di ba?! Haha! :P

In my case, what I love is the idea of H&M having these collabs. What I hate is that I'm not able to get pieces from the collabs. Comme des Garcons, Jimmy Choo. Hay.

Why oh why do we not have H&M in Manila? Huhuhu!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Independent is fantab...











One more thing I liked about Hong Kong is the presence of several independent designers/ clothing stores.

Hmm, I don't really know if that's the correct term. What do you call designers/clothing stores that aren't mainstream? I should be ashamed. For someone who's fascinated with labels and who gets excited over what would seem like mundane things (e.g. upcoming H&M X LANVIN (!!!) collaboration), I am at a loss with the correct term/label to use for this. Haha!

If there's a person I should credit for getting me interested in non-mainstream labels, it's my ICON colleague/running buddy I-vanchy.

It was him who got me fascinated with indie designers. Nom de Guerre, Goods of Desire. I’d include Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela and Junya Watanabe, but they’re really not indie designers. They are “independent” designers though, always different from the rest of the pack.

So on the recent trip to HK, I was really glad to see that there seems to be a healthy and thriving local fashion scene. It helped that we stayed at the Fashion Walk area in Causeway Bay.

You can’t imagine how ecstatic I was when I saw that right outside the building where our hostel is located is Tsumori Chisato. A few steps away from it is Y-3. Right at the corner of the street was Vivienne Westwood. At the other corner is A.P.C. Earth Music + Ecology. Right next to it is HK-based label 5CM.

Of course, the mainstream big shots re also in the area - Marc by Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, DKNY, Bally, Calvin Klein.

On our last day, we did some last minute shopping and visited some indie shops. I forgot the name of the building, but at the mezzanine is where several fantab stores are.

Indu Homme and Chapter 7even had I-van’s name written all over it. Haha! Near the Ikea at Parklane Hotel is Initial. I thought I had a photo of Initial, but I don't. Boo.

Locally, I have to admit that I'm not that familiar with independent designers. I’m guessing that The Ramp at Crossings carry a lot of their pieces though.

One of my non-mainstream favorites is Dean & Trent. I am really amazed at how the brand has been thriving for the past couple of years, even without the use of ATL marketing strategies. I got to talk to the owner for a couple of minutes weeks ago, and I’m hoping that… secret for now. Hehe!

Who’s your fave independent designer?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Global Mala Project Manila... Spread some GV

This is interesting.

Any chance I can get you to attend it? I definitely want.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The best little boy in the world... is you...

I'm not sure if I ever wrote about my Coming Out. Blame it on the several years of blogging and keeping track of the topics I've already written about. That and the fact that I've changed blogs thrice.

I was reading the blog of some good friends and I saw the post on The Collective Blogging Event on Coming Out by Theorgy.

The post is late but hey, it could still count.

The first time I told someone the truth about me was also the first time I felt being judged for being gay.

It was in college. I was in my senior year. I spent my freshmen til junior year trying to ignore that "difference."

One of the people I considered a mentor told me, "Don't worry about it. It's okay... as long as you don't act on it. It's the cross you have to carry for the rest of your life."

That didn't sit very well with me. I won't touch on religion and Catholicism in this post. That's for another topic. Let's just say that thanks to some literature (The Best Little Boy in the World by Andrew Tobias), I became more comfortable with myself. I became bolder. I knew that I can no longer hide the truth nor run away from it. The past three years were spent struggling with myself, and it was time to put an end to that.

I told a classmate about it. We were pretty close, so I thought that person would understand. I can still remember the very moment I said it. We were on our way home. We were on board a bus that we usually take during that day. And then I said it. That classmate told me it was okay.

Great, I thought.

But in the next few days, I noticed that it wasn't okay. When I talked about some guy I met, the classmate felt uncomfortable and tried to change the subject.

It wasn't until I came out to another group of classmates that I felt truly accepted. I remember telling them the truth on different occasions. To Charmy, when we parked at SM Megamall. To Leah, when we were stuck in the rain one afternoon. To Eden and Kendi, during a road trip in Tagaytay.

At that time I didn't know it yet, but these are the classmates who will turn turned out to be among the closest people I would ever have. We may be thousands of miles apart now, but we manage to keep in touch whether it's via Facebook or email.

This was one of the most significant "coming out" that I did. After I told them, I started to tell friends and people whose friendship I valued. Some of them accepted me. Some of them thought they accepted me, but eventually realized they can't handle having a gay friend.

My family? I didn't see the need to have a grand coming out with them. I still don't see the need. Danton Remoto told me before, "The moms are always the first to know." He's right. My Mom hasn't asked me yet, but a cousin told me my Titas were asking my Mom about me. My Dad and my brothers? I know they know. But again, I don't see the need to sit down with them and have an usapang lalake.

I thought I've been a good son. I did great in school, graduated with honors, landed a good job, and so on. I know it sounds stupid that I have to enumerate the "good" stuff. I sound like I'm justifying my being. I'm not.

Looking back now, this is what I can say about coming out. It's not always easy. It's not always a fairy tale ending. But at the end of the day, you have the choice... to be okay, to be happy and be gay. It's your life after all. Freedom and responsibility.

If you're still in the closet, peeping out of the closet, or completely out of the closet, it's okay. Just know that you can still be and you still are the best little boy in the world to people who love you. And sometimes, that's enough.