Jan 31, 2010

Magazine Feature

Did this interview and photo shoot a few months ago for Prime Magazine's Fine Art section and this was the first time I actually saw it in hard copy print!

It's difficult to get a copy because of the very limited stock since they're just a starting company. I don't even know if they have a pdf file where you can read over the net.

My brother (whose name they got wrong) and I talked about our personal styles (if you can classify it at all), our inspirations, dressing rituals, ultimate staples, icons, how "it" all began...

Anyway, please stop calling us twins! Haha! :D

I just remembered something! We were walking around a small provincial town and there was this guy riding a bicycle who slowed down and stared at us incredulously! Is there a problem? He laughed and said, "akala ko kambal!"

We are definitely not twins, although we speak the same and almost finish each other's sentences!

Jan 24, 2010

Missing My Dad

My dad called my mom to say that he misses us, and for the weirdest reason.

They were surveying a forest of Brunei and as they were collecting some firewood, they saw this family of monkeys!

Somehow the monkeys got agitated probably because of some territorial issues so they charged at my dad's team. HAHAHAHHA!!!

Of course, they ran for their lives!

Now I'm asking myself, did he miss us because he had fun being chased by monkeys or he miss us because we look like monkeys? HAHAHA!

Why We Still Blog

Reflective thinking is best placed into action if you write it down - ideally in the form of a blog - since it allows you to think freely without heavy structures and other formalities.

I was aimlessly browsing the web last night and I came to this ancient blog of my high school friend. His articles are well written - never fails to give that familiar humor and wit. Ironically, you can very much relate to it because it was written to serve him, probably without minding what others would comment or think. He blogs because he loves it and he doesn't do this to be famous, to brag or to be a "literary prostitute".

And I kinda miss that kind of writing. Mind you, it's not just a free flow of ideas in text. It needs to be at least organized and creative - to be enjoyable and readable. A writer once said that reflection is one of the five traits of a learned man, and reflecting without action (at least in writing) is just intellectual masturbation - it somehow gets wasted aside from a temporary "benefits" it gives you - whatever that is.

I mentioned Reflective Thinking because when you put it into writing, it...

-gives you true perspective
-gives emotional integrity to your thought life
-increases your confidence in decision making
-clarifies the big picture
-takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience

I'm not the right person to explain the 5 bullets above (refer to John Maxwell's Thinking for a Change book), but I can say that I totally agree with him especially the last point he made.

We must not underestimate our human weakness - we forget stuff more often than what is needed and by writing, that stuff is immortalized, or at least preserved for further use. Yes, taking pictures is more... visual (duh!) but writing is one of the very few mediums where the 5 senses can be stimulated all at the same time.

So, my dear readers, I urge you to insert another item to your not-so-New Year's resolution: Start Keeping a Blog. Formspring, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook is not enough! Start a blog today/tonight.

Jan 17, 2010

Coffee on a Roll!

Just broke a new personal record. Within less than 12 hours, I was able to visit 5 coffee shops!

First at UCC Vienna Cafe Corinth (1:30pm) where I had a chat with my high school friend Arren. I miss that guy, he always has that warm aura around him. We shared old high school stories and gossips. He treated me with this bubble gum flavored sparkling drink which is total love!

Then at Starbucks Corinth (5:30pm) where Lester and I ate pre-dinner food. We were waiting for Isa and AJ to get back from their tournaments. (Isa - Tennis; AJ - Judo)

Back to Starbucks Corinth (10:30pm) with Isa, AJ and Lester to buy more coffee.

Here's our team still high on caffeine!

We decided to make another trip to Starbucks Metrowalk (3:00am) with Isa, Lester and Julius. Surprisingly, there were loads of people lining up for coffee considering that it's almost dawn. We even saw this bold star! Haha!

We went to mass in the morning then they dropped me at Temple Drive to wait for my dad to pick me up. But before going home, I hit Starbucks (11:30am) again to buy myself some Ham and Cheese Croissant because I might just pass out at any moment.

And that's my coffee-filled day:D I hope it won't happen again! haha! I feel so jumpy tonight!

Jan 14, 2010

Capitalism as a Rape of Culture

If you don't know Zara, you don't know fashion - that's what my friend always use to say. But does he know Zara well enough to know that behind the stylish cuts and patterns, fabulous window displays, 100% organic prints and 100% cotton are women who are threatened by their bosses of sexual harassment and lack proper labor rights?

I was reading this book "The End of Poverty - Economic Possibilities of Our Time" by Jeffrey Sachs (economics professor of U2's BONO and special adviser to UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan) and there's this interesting article about Bangladeshi women who makes clothes for




Before I continued reading the article, I rushed to my closet and checked out some of my shirts because I was sure a "made in Bangladesh" tag was somewhere to be found. I was right, two of my Zara shirts have that label "made in Bangladesh." The rest are either made from Peru or Turkey.

I don't care even if Zara thinks I have a body fit for an 11-12 year old kid. What they're doing is (as nice as I can put it) irresponsible.

I know trying to cut the cost of production is key for an efficient profitable business but it's hard to believe what I found out in Sachs' book:

"thousands of people walking to work in long lines... these workers were almost all young women, perhaps between ages 18 to 25... the women often walk two hours each morning in long quiet files to get work. Arriving at seven or seven-thirty, they may be in their seats for most of the following twelve hours. They often work with almost no break at all or perhaps a very short lunch break, with little chance to go to the lavatory. Leering bosses lean over them, posing a threat of sexual harassment. After a long, difficult, tedious day, the young women trudge back home, when they are again sometimes threatened with physical assault."

What is striking about the situation is that most of the Bangladeshi women consider working in a "hazardous" workplace the greatest opportunity that these women could have ever imagined and that their employment had changed their lives for the better.

I continued reading the article and realized that although these women are given upward economic mobility (and although their wages are still below the minimum,) it has done more harm to them.

Capitalism rapes culture dry.

Capitalism forces itself into a society because it feels like a messiah who can save people out of unemployment and poverty.

Of course people need to buy to make their lives better! How could anyone possibly live without a microwave oven, a water heater or a dishwasher!

Capitalism slowly penetrates society, no matter how hard it resists, thinking that it can heal a broken down economy, not realizing that it is the one who's actually sick. They introduce new systems from the ever glorious West because it is a superior culture and it would do wonders in 3rd world society like Bangladesh, not knowing that a system of living already exists for the people there and introducing a new one would cause marginalization - leading to more violence and death.

Maaaring sumagi sa inyong isipan ang paglapastangan ng mga prayleng espanyol sa mga katutubong Pilipino. Hindi ba isa itong malaking makinarya ng kapitalismo - nagbebenta sila na parang mga puta ng pananampalataya, kapalit ang pagtira sa mga encomiendang nangangako ng pagbabago at proteksyon. Hindi man lang nila naisip na may sistemang gumagana na noon at mas marami lang naisantabi sa kagustuhan nila ng pagbabago at sa katotohanang kanilang hinahain.

These Bangladeshi women don't want to give birth because they are so driven to gain financial prosperity. Fine, that's a start. What would be next, they'd stop wearing their Sari in exchange of leather boots, mini skirts and trench coats. They'll watch Glee, True Blood and sing to the tunes of Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus.

Look at how capitalism raped the Philippine culture. Not dry yet thanks to the likes of Carlos Celdran, Imelda Marcos and Ambeth Ocampo. I need not explain further. (although there's so much irony in the examples I used)

If you do not see what is happening, nahawa ka na ng sakit ng kapitalismo, na parang kanser ay walang sintomas, at kasama ka sa mga patuloy na gumagahasa sa kung anong natitirang meron tayo.

Benevolence is the worst form of marginalization. Kasama ka na sa mga taong nagmamagaling ipasok ang tulong na hindi naman hinihingi o kinakailangan. Isa ka na sa mga taong nagpapatakbo sa makinarya ng kapitalismo.

Jan 8, 2010

Ang Nag Ladlad and Some Hardcore Political Gossip

Immeasurable wit from a tongue slashing political activist is a deadly combination, but that only applies if you are like one of those ancient-minded COMELEC officials who disqualifies human rights party lists because they support gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals.

The Danton Remoto (chairman of Ang Ladlad - I call him Ang Nag Ladlad) we interviewed was very warm, jovial and it's as if you'd known him for months. Maybe he got that from his 22 years of teaching or he's just in a good mood that day.

We interviewed him for a report about marginalization on our Philosophy class, but I wanted to interview him ever since he showed support for the homosexuals who paraded in a celebration honoring Mama Mary (because I was furious then but now I'm good) two years ago.

If you were to choose someone (even from the past) whom you can date for one whole day who would it be? > "Pablo Neruda. I want to know where he gets his motivation/inspiration in writing such passionate poems." Yes, aside from being a pro gay rights activist, he's also a literary heavyweight - having written eight books and winning prestigious awards for his poetry and essays.

Probably the best compliment I've ever received was when Escy told me that I write as well as him. I just flipped when I heard her say that! (By the way, can I say that I really love the picture below!)

I hope that the Supreme Court will allow his petition to reconsider the Ang Ladlad as an official partylist, and come 2013, I know that he will win the Senatorial race with flying colors, mostly dominated by pink.

PS: By the end of the interview, we asked for who he will vote. That ended up in a lengthy conversation of political hardcore gossip, which I am not allow to publish publicly. I can only say that there are very nasty stuff going on. Email me if interested:P

Jan 5, 2010

Some Sleep?

It's weird because I've been doing this same routine for the past nineteen years and nine months, every single night and up to this point, I still can't master it.

Sleeping. I know a lot of people are having problems doing this natural part of being breathing living creatures. For an "event" that requires you to just lie down and close your eyes, it does indeed take a lot of effort to do - take a warm bath, drink a warm milk, decrease the room temperature to make it chilly and on extreme situations (which I did four straight nights on a row,) take an anti-allergy pill with high sleeping powers, Benadryl for instance.

I remember my yoga master telling us that the most difficult position to do is the "Dead Pose." What's difficult in laying down like an eagle, closing your eyes and think of nothing? Forget about the physical aspect. He said that the mental part of letting all go and feeling "dead" is more difficult because it takes a lot of concentration mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

Anyway, god help me sleep. It's 2:45am and i still have a class at 7:30am. Zzzz....

Jan 4, 2010

10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class

Will be buying this book after reading the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership!

"Rich and very rich people have developed the discipline of delayed gratification. Millionaires do today what others don't, so they can have tomorrow what others won't."
  1. Millionaires think long term, the middle class thinks short term.
  2. Millionaires talk about ideas, the middle class talks about things and other people.
  3. Millionaires embrace change, the middle class is threatened by change.
  4. Millionaires take calculated risks, the middle class is afraid to take risks.
  5. Millionaires continually learn and grow, the middle class thinks learning ended with school.
  6. Millionaires work for profits, the middle class works for wages.
  7. Millionaires believe they must be generous, the middle class believes they can’t afford to give.
  8. Millionaires have multiple sources of income, the middle class only has one or two.
  9. Millionaires focus on increasing their net worth, the middle class focuses on increasing their paychecks.
  10. Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions, the middle class ask themselves disempowering questions.

Jan 3, 2010

Soar High - My First Song Composition

On my way home from Corinth, I found myself humming to a song I wrote years ago for our high school graduation song competition. Although it wasn't chosen to represent our class because it sounded like it came from a musical, I still remember every lyric and every high note in the song.

memories echo at the empty hallways
as we drift apart from this home
four years of laughter, of sorrows and pains
in lessons in life and values to gain
but now's the time to spread our wings
soar high on what tomorrow would bring

Can you spot me below? It's not difficult, I'm not hard to miss:P This was taken during our last outing as a class at Albert's resort.

It was during our Music class when our teacher required us to make a chorus and sing it in front of him. God knows I can only squeak the song but he actually liked it considering it only took me 5 minutes to write the whole chorus. I think five more songs were chosen (including mine) and he asked us, the composers, to complete the whole song for the class to choose its representative song to compete with the other classes.

Yzzy's song Sulyap got most of the votes because it was the most upbeat and heartfelt for a high school student.

at heto na (and here it is)
andito na tayo (we have arrived)
handa ng humarap sa bagong buhay (ready to face the new life)
isang sulyap pa sa'yo kaibigan (one more glance, friend)
bago tayo magka hiwalay (before we part)

I wish I could let you hear it because it's really catchy. Proof? I can still remember it after three years. Anyway, it used to be uploaded in YouTube but I guess my classmates removed it.

I wrote this because it would only be one year and three more months (hopefully) before I wear that navy blue toga, get my diploma the face the "real world" (again), and what bothers me is that I don't want to work and I don't expect to work soon.

I feel that work will just dehumanize us, chain us in an assembly line to feed capitalists and baptize us into this religion of over glorifying institutions.

Soar High! That's the title of my song and I think we should soar high beyond our formal determinism. I want to soar high to heights that can only be achieved by people who think that money is just a bonus and all other enlightening crap that my philosophy teacher teaches. I'm afraid Sir Jope really got into me.

One year and three more months. I hope it's enough to fuel my idealism for the rest of my life.

Dalai Lama with a Scarf and a Blog

"NEIL! The year is about to be over and thanks for all of the things you shared with me. Ive always thought you philosophical and spiritual that sometimes i find it difficult to fathom your 'fashionable valor' (literally). Haha. How random. Youre like the DOTS' Dalai Lama only with scarf and a blog. Continue inspiring peeps and stop being a byotch already. Thanks again! :)" - Mikey Flores

Dalai Lama with a scarf and a blog?!? Haha! That was probably the biggest compliment I received this year!

Come to think of it, I am indeed spiritual and philosophical (in words and in practice) so it may sound to people weird if I engage in this highly consumerist lifestyle.

But then again, can we say that Anna Wintour or even Cecile Zamora-Von Straten is NOT philosophical? I highly doubt it.

Maybe both Anna and Dalai L. are philosophical but they see Truth in different lights. Dalai L. thinks a peaceful united world is what we ought to live in, while Anna would prefer a thriving community of glamorous individuals. We can only choose which is healthier.

And about that BYOTCH thing, I'm trying to be nicer and kinder every year but I guess I need to work more on that:P

Jan 2, 2010

Starting the Year Right

Spent the New Year in the country club in Tagaytay.

Haven't been there for quite some time, but surprisingly, the servers still remember us:D

The view was still breath taking - the sun sparkling on the Taal lake, the combination of yellow, red, violet and blue during the perfect sunset and the silence.

And the wind was so fierce it just sweeps you above the ground:P

T'was definitely a great way to start the year.

Being away from the fast paced lifestyle and noisy streets of Manila for a few days is just so refreshing.

Anyway, I'm actually planning to celebrate my 20th birthday at the country club pool!

It would be a firefly themed party and lanterns will be all over the place. I'm so excited and I hope my friends can all attend:P

I did this before but only few attended because the travel is more than two hours from Manila. This time it would be bigger!

Have a great year everyone!:P