An item off my bucket list: Visiting Wawa Dam

The first time I discovered about Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal was through a cosplay photo I saw lurking around my FB news feed several years ago. It looked freakin’ awesome despite myself not really being into water.

I remember mentioning how I wanted to go there, but it was too far from my place. Last year, my friend Gian invited me a day or two before he planned to go to Wawa Dam, unfortunately, I had prior arrangements I can’t cancel. Sad isn’t it?

Yesterday, April 11, I got the chance to go there with a friend who volunteered to fetch me and tour me in the place. It was a short drive away from Philcoa, roughly 45 minutes. I was glad because the place is not a type of trekking which I don’t dislike, but my body doesn’t appreciate because I get worn out easily.

We reached before 11am, and the sun was practically cursing me with her rays.

Anyway, first off before reaching the dam was this awesome view that reminds me of the river on the edge of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings, The Loudwater.

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Imagine the summoning of those water horses here. Yep. Great view.

Ha. According to my tour guide (lol) this river was usually well… a “river”, with the rocks and boulders unseen. But due to the season (hot or very hot) in the Philippines during the Summer, the water is not in its usual current. Even the dam is not spitting too much water than those I saw in the photos. But anyhow, it looked awesome.

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I was too lazy to bring a tripod, so all my attempts on long exposure shots were intolerably blurry to post. and that last photo above is obviously blurry but I’m putting it anyway because they seem to have fun. haha.

This. is. what’s. beyond. the. overflowing. dam.

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Neat isn’t it?

Even the sun was high up and we were practically sweating a lot. My friend says those bamboo cottages were disposable. I was actually quite surprised because the effort to make them is surely not a grade 1’s project. Most of these cottages were usually only there during the Summer for visitors and would be thrown away after some time, especially during rainy season, so it won’t get washed away in the “river.”

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Of course we went down there… but we had to pass through this bridge.

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The bridge certainly reminded me of the Editorial Board Team Building we had in summer of 2013 in Baler, Aurora. (that trip made me curse hiking, really haha)

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This is one of my most favorite views. Sitting in one of the cottages worth 150php unlimited (thanks for paying XD) We had some random chitchats about life and stuff here because this view is just so awesome for me.

Some more photos from where we were sitting:

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When we decided to leave around 2pm, we decided to pass by the long cut.. through this…

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Walking on three bamboo poles seem easy.. but I was really worried I’d fall and I don’t know how to swim, my camera would drown. I had no idea whether or not the water was deep, guess not, but the thought bothered me because that is clearly one long bamboo bridge.. While we were in the middle, it felt as if the whole bridge was being moved with the minimal water current. TBH, I was kinda scared and hoped it would end soon. And I don’t think I have plants on crossing any bamboo bridges anytime soon again.  Haha.

We ended the trip with a late lunch of around 2:30 in Carlito’s Grill somewhere in Montalban Center or something like it. Great food, and we left full. (and… thanks again for paying! XD)

It was a record I was already home before 6pm unlike my usual “escapades” when I’m usually coming home around 8pm. I’m a obedient kid after all. (Thanks for taking me home, too. Was actually already too bushed to commute :/ So it’s greatly appreciated.)

Anyhow, it was a worthwhile experience, and if people would ask if I’d want to go there again, it’s definitely a yes. And we’ll bring food next time for a nice picnic!

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The Cost of High Quality Cosplay Costume

So… if anyone bothered to read my About section, you might have noticed I have an online boutique named Alshain Coser. And to emphasize more on my narcism, the boutique is a cosplay one-stop shop which caters to well… cosplay needs.

I’ve read and heard a lot.. I mean A LOT who canvasses for costumes that range on “cheaper the better”, to “budget is not an issue.” It doesn’t really ring a bell much that way, but once the word “high quality” is put together to either of the two, it makes a significant difference.

This post is dedicated to all Cosplayers and Costume Makers out there who needs to be lightened up on the meaning of those two words.

First of all, to remind everyone, Cosplaying is the act of depicting characters through the means of costumes and portrayal.

What is High Quality?

There are a lot of costume-making services who claim to produce “high quality”, but by what do we actually measure a high quality costume?

1. Accuracy

Putting it simply, accuracy is assessing how close an output is to the reference. This goes not only for details, but for the fabric choices as well and even down to the color of thread used for the costume. Yes. Those all matter.

3. Craftsmanship

How durable are the stitches? Are the seams sealed properly? How does it fit when worn? Those are just some of the things to take note of when eyeing for a high-quality work.

3. Material

The main idea of using a specific material for a specific costume is being able to mimic what it actually looks like AND feels like from where it came from. If a character came from a winter-themed series, you wouldn’t use Geena or other thin fabrics, right? Though using wool is not usually advisable since we live in a tropical country. But you should get the point.

‘m going against some people who deem using Katrina or Geena as low quality just because they’re cheap,or thin, or rougher than other fabrics. Katrina and Geena, just like more expensive fabrics like Velvet or Leatherette can be used depending on a costume. The only question to be asked if whether or not it will fit a character or reference as planned.

My Sinon costume’s jacket is actually made of Katrina. But I gained a lot of praises despite using this fabric for the sole reason that it looks accurate.

And to add to that, the above costume of Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening is also Katrina. I’m not encouraging everyone to just use Katrina, but rather open their eyes into possibilities. Using a cheaper fabric doesn’t mean a costume is trashy.

Factors on the cost of “high quality”

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Above is an actual screenshot from my page. A person who canvassed two costumes.. and obviously, his reply is not really something to be proud of.

i’m not claiming to be a high quality maker. I don’t want to justify anything. But these are some things that clients should be aware of before saying a commissioner is pricey. Because honestly, costume making is not as easy as buying fabrics and sewing them alone. It consists of several factors that probably a lot of clients don’t realize.

1. Fabric

Fabric can cost from as low as 15pesos per yard, to as high as 600 per yard. These are local prices, and those of which that are more specific for a character is another matter.

I know of people who import fabrics to complete their costumes even though they cost a lot for the raw material alone. And adding up freight cost and the scary customs fee… it’s a huge sum of money.

2. Costume Details/ pattern-making

Bias tapes, buckles, buttons, epaulet, tassle, eyelets, and a whole LOT more. Basing from experience, these are the ones that takes time to find. Especially for more complicated details. So please, don’t go saying that the shops are earning tons because fabric and labor are not the only cost of costume-making.

Which one do you think is easier to pattern, a school uniform, or a full body suit? It might sound like the first one is more difficult, but think how much school uniforms tailors make for schools every June. It’s not so far from Seifukus, right?The latter on the other hand requires great skills from a pattern-maker. Where the cut marks should go, where seam lines would end, and fitting it for a specific person so it’ll look good. And don’t get me starting on the more complicated costumes.

3. Craft materials

Despite a lot of items being an investment of a boutique, it is after all, still a cost to pay. Threads, needles, machine oil, scissors, threader and all sorts of other stuff. Costumery does not end with fabrics. To be honest, these small materials are the ones that actually make the costume.

4. details

let’s face it. If we want quality, we need to have an eye for all the details, no matter how small. Getting that small cross on the collar, or lace embellishment on a sleeve. This is the most expensive in a costume that you’re actually wanting to pay for. Any tailor can make a decent coat or skirt, but not every tailor can make sure it fits well, or that every. detail. is. in. the. costume. Details are what makes a costume stand out. It’s what people want to pay for because it achieves the look of the character that is to be portrayed. That little swirl mark on the cuffs, or a specific design that should be best embroidered. They are all factors to be considered.

5. Transportation and food

Not everyone is near resources and sometimes, these resources take up a day to find while costume makers are covered in sweat and is already worn out. In addition, due to the effort, people are usually thirsty, or hungry during the trip that he wouldn’t actually be in if it weren’t for an order, right? Thus, these should also be added in the entire computation of a single costume.

6. TIME

I don’t know how to emphasize this more. But a lot seem to neglect this. This is the very reason why I hate doing meet-ups. Because instead of being able to do something else, I am stuck waiting and travelling just to meet someone which at times takes longer than expected. I’m sure I’m not the only one who experienced having to wait for more than 2 hours for a client.

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For costume-making on the other hand, here is another example, the left photo above is 2 yards of MANUALLY PRINTED detail. It’s not the most difficult to do, but it consumes a lot of time. That alone already took me 3 hours to paint, and about 1.5 hours to make the stencils.The one on the right, Kaguya-hime’s kimono used 3.5 yards of fabric which took 4.5 hours to paint, and around 3 hours to stencil. Not to mention my aching fingers after cutting and retouching imperfect areas.

Time is poured into finishing a costume. From buying raw materials to meeting up customers. A costume maker should feel well-compensated for the time and hassle he or she has to put up with for each costume.

7. Storage/ Space consumption

I have experienced having to keep a costume for over 5 months because a client is not yet ready to pay or is no longer interested despite paying a down payment. This is the reason why I only keep costumes for a maximum of 60 days from finishing and would sell it after. I had one for 5 months because I cannot sell it even though the price is already low. is it because it’s a custom size? or just because it’s not part of the mainstream list of characters? I can’t tell.

So again, a costume maker should feel compensated by the hassle of taking care of a costume which is supposedly released already.

8. Electricity and internet

Of course this is included. Despite this being a part of the daily lives of non costume-makers, the fact that a costume maker still uses this should be taken into account as well.

9. Extremely picky and extra-hassle-to-handle clients

Here is another of the most neglected efforts. The 7 factors above should be considered TWICE into dealing with clients who are too picky unreasonably. This goes for extra expenses that are out of the way. Like meeting them for another time due to repairs, or going out of your way into finding a specific material for their costumes because they did not like the first option. I personally hate having to meet clients more than twice (first DP and measurements, handing over balance and costume) because 1.) it’s truly a hassle 2.) it’s extra transporation expenses that is actually not included with a costume’s computation.

One example for this is when I met a client who ordered a full set costume. i asked her to bring the boots she want to use for the boot covers during our first meetup, but she was not able to provide it during the time. Of course, I have to meet her up a second time just to get those boots, which, needless to say, is extra cost and extra waste of time.

Can I ask for a handling fee for that? Yes. But is it advisable? No. It’s like you’re begging for some loose change of 50 pesos for unnecessary transpo when you’re asking for 5000 pesos for the set. Do you get the point?

10. labor cost

Not everyone sew their costumes themselves. Some handle a set of tailors who do the work. But even with the former, the fee to be asked for should be enough to compensate the effort put in, especially for the more intricate details.

11. emergency expenses

When costume makers fail to do something asked, it is normally appropriate to have it remade with no additional cost. This is one of the things covered by the emergency expenses along with wrong choice of fabric colors, unavailability of cheaper resources, wrong computation due to whatever reason and other sudden expenses.

The cost of A HIGH QUALITY COSTUME

Some people would be okay charging 500 pesos for a Female Seifuku costume. But some others would find 1500 even too low for that. But you get what you pay for… usually. You don’t expect a shirt from Divisoria to last as long as one from a branded store. It’s like hoping your CDR-King keyboard will survive as long or longer than the ones that come from ACTUAL manufacturers of these products such as A4Tech or so.

I’m not saying that all cheap costumes or items in general are low quality. But generally it all depends on how they see the factors they need to consider. But then again, these factors are not really cheap and people have a different understanding of “decent income.”

Everything entirely depends on the costume maker. But needless to say, if you want to see quality results, you need to be able to weigh the factors yourself and expect to spend an amount. And obviously, if materials are expensive, you cannot expect not to be bashed on posts such as “looking for: cheap but high quality costume,” “need costume, must be detailed but low priced!” or “Need cheap MTO costume because I’m only 12 years old. It has to be detailed, high quality and blablabla because I’m only using my allowance.” Come on. Cheap and high quality don’t really go together often.

Personally, I just hate people who are already okay with low quality not-too-accurate costumes. I cannot vouch about their financial capabilities, but obviously cosplaying is an expensive hobby and should not be meant for people who are not really ready to shed off some cash.

Can you really unlove someone?

Mini demons piercing the heart, memories that disrupt the mind, shattered little puzzles of hope – the morbid reality of falling in love. It’s like sending yourself to an all-out-war. You hope you won’t die, you’re aware you may, but you never expect it to be that soon.

We fall in love. We get hurt.

We fall in love. We get hurt.

We fall in love. We get hurt.

Yet, we all never seem to learn.

We hope that they’re different, they’ll be our happily ever after and the “last guy/ girl we’ll love.”  Every. Single. Time.

It’s a planet-wide problem. People of all ages, race, gender and status encounter at some point in their life. And it doesn’t matter how much it’ll hurt in the end, because it’s the greatest feeling we’ll encounter despite challenges. And no matter how much love hurts. It keeps life intact.

I raise the question, “how do you stop loving someone?”

I asked a few friends for their insights. For the list they offered, it all boils down to two things.

DIVERT YOUR ATTENTION.

Swing your thoughts to things that make you happy. Keep yourself from thinking about the past. You can’t just kill the feeling.. but you can make yourself create reasons not to remind yourself of the person for the time being. Do that a lot, and you’ll find yourself forgetting what once was there.

Fall in love…with yourself.

How many times do you need to remind yourself that you need to be cautious not to break your already bandaged heart? Once? Twice? Ten times? Learn to value yourself a bit more. Leave love for yourself so you’ll know when is the right time to let go. No one will exactly know how you feel for someone, and it’s only you who can save yourself.

But despite all…

LOVE IS NOT SCIENCE NOR MATH.

A friend told me once before that love needs no thinking. It’s not a logical equation that has a definite or correct answer. It’s not an experiment that needs several studies to work out. Because when love comes, it doesn’t choose. It needs no reason and it needs no answers. It comes out for you to feel.

But finally, WHAT IF THE ANSWER IS… YOU never do? 

I’m quoting my friend ate Lev, “Once you love someone and you leave them, whether you like it or not, a tiny sliver of love still remains somewhere inside you…”

I’m not actually passing through any love crisis. But it made sense- a lot of sense. You actually don’t. Because once you love someone, you’re sharing a part of yourself to them, and them to you. And no matter what, memories is what binds you. You can’t unlove someone like poofing rabbits in magician hats. You just learn to accept the fact that they want to continue a life without you being part of it. It takes long.. but it doesn’t take too long, for wounds heal with time and stopping your feeling unnaturally is like regretting you ever have to love them before.

A HENS NIGHT TO REMEMBER OR NOT TO REMEMBER

Veil, flowers, fancy gowns and an altar- the wedding season is fast approaching no doubt. But before the excitement of finishing whatever is necessary for A life-changing day, is the prior bachelorette party that will surely be the next thing you will (or will not) recall after your wedding.

With the mass exodus of women who take part in these is an unending list of activities to make the day just as important as tying the knot. These events vary from country to country but are usually just a one-time experience for any bride-to-be… lest she has a thing for getting married more than once. So this should be a worthwhile experience.

But apparently, even though the idea of an all-nighter or a weekend getaway with your girls sounds rather amusing, is the question attached with any hen’s party.

Why is it necessary to pay for activities where the idea is to have the bride answer ridiculous questions or leaving her dancing on top of a table, or raunchy dares that will question her participation?

In fact, hen’s party is just as hated by many as much as a lot embrace them. By judging from the number of people who still patronize this kind of tradition if we may call it, it is still something guaranteed to be remembered five, ten, or even 20 years from now, be it a good or humiliating experience. Celebrating the last days of freedom of the bride is first thing to consider. And once everyone agrees that the theme and activities should be tailoring around the celebrant’s wants, things won’t go wrong.

Prior to the bachelorette party is a list of questions on the groom –to-be; a range of ideas, from how he felt during the proposal, to actually asking his partner’s favorite sexual position and location. It will be something private but undeniably something to laugh (or discuss) about.

One of the considered bright ideas for an activity is twisting up one of the classic children’s game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey… but only it’s a man’s tail you’ll all be pinning after being blindfolded and spun around. It will surely be a giggling matter just like when you were kids.

Another one is the Balloon Pin where everyone besides the bride writes a question or two on a piece of paper rolled and placed inside a balloon or balloon-shaped man parts if they’re actually available. After blowing them, the bride gains the right to choose which kind of man-part inflatable she likes best from the lot and pop it to answer the cringe-worthy questions. This can even go on the rest of the night as a commercial break for other activities.

But setting aside the naughty activities, some toned down events can also happen. This includes getting decent and proper (or maybe not so much) marriage advices, tips on boosting men’s sexual pleasure and foreplay ideas from the more experienced of the group… such as the mother or sister-in-law. Who knows, the bride might also discover a thing or two about his groom! It’s not yet too late to call off the wedding.

But between the slightly illicit dares and tamed Q&As is getting to know the bride-to-be, the bridesmaids and her close friends more. It’s like a girl’s night out, but filled with humiliation, penis talk and booze. It’s actually a win-win situation.

Variety spices up life, so doing unusual and ridiculous things might just be the thing to escape the daily dose of norm. And whether or not it leaves a bride laughing her gums out or cursing everyone, it is indeed one memorable experience for everyone.


This is a ‘test’ article I submitted to a potential client. Sadly, according to a writer I look up to, Karen of Untamed Writing. Free trials are a no-no. But since the did has been done, I’ll be posting it here since technically, this is an unpaid job.

SEX SEX SEX: Why this word gets your attention

So apparently, I did get your attention, that’s why you’re currently reading this, right? It always wondered me why people get distracted, or attention is immediately taken upon hearing words such as boobs, ass, and of course, sex. Just a heads up, this is a very opinionated article.

‘Sex’ in general can automatically get someone’s attention, like it did to you as a reader. This is probably because curiosity arises for things in which humans are by nature interested in, no matter what age, race, or sexual orientation implies.

Some might not know, but Maslow’s hierarchy of needs actually include sex as a basic physiological need, which is kind of ‘cool’ in the sense that you can have it as an excuse to your girlfriend or wife for like, every day.. or not.. Anyway, to sum things up, besides the fact that it is essential, well, it is a very satisfying feeling, isn’t it? I believe that’s why terms like Friends with Benefits, no strings attached and FuBu or Fuck Buddies were invented and practiced after all.

Besides those aforementioned, I just can’t find any conclusion as to why this word heeds more attention than other more important things like economics, religion, and politics affecting our countries inconspicuously but drastically. Sex is a very broad topic but is very much closeted into a limited explanation as well. Besides Sigmund Freud’s theory relating our libidos to personality development and driving force of our behaviors, basically it just means either love, reproduction, or the feeling and relief it brings to a person, simple as that. So why of all words, this?

Sex as love. Love as a feeling. With a very obvious explanation, for very conservative women, they rather call sex as ‘love-making’ where you do it out of your Oxytocin.

Sex as reproduction. For multiplying as the word implies. Used as a tool of spreading your genes to another generation.

Sex as a feeling. Because it feels nice, comforting, fun and all those other words you can think of.

Sex as a relief. For your boners, wet V’s to minister your arousing horniness.

Basically in a subjective tone, the word grabs your attention because of curiosity where you can come out of your comfort zone without being judged and redefine it as to how others see it. Their perspective as much as this post of mine may not really influence you or affect you but even negate your own opinion of it, but the thought of it lingers through your mind and will continue to grab your attention to further increase your curiosity upon.


This article was first published in Bubblews, but I decided I would not further my adventure there. So I’m posting it here now.

I Love You, Then Not at All

Innocent glances, then mindful stares- it held long, I lost count after 3 seconds. It was a continuous channel of thoughts… like I knew you very well, from somewhere before. You smiled, I reciprocated. and that’s when my biggest mistake started.

We allowed ourselves to exchange a mutual feeling, so I thought. I was stuck in the whole idea of love in fairy tales. That one day, my prince charming would arrive and claim me. We’ll look into each other’s eyes and realize we’re bound for love. It was a common thing between us. It felt as if I was your world, it felt as if I was the perfect one that completed you and you to me. I gave myself in, gave myself up to the feeling of love, to the feeling of completeness.

But then, I realized I should have associated love as a dream instead of a fairy tale. Where nightmares are also dreams. and that I shouldn’t have woken up from my slumber with the thought of a possible forever.

I asked myself then, was it the right time to fall? and if I do, would anyone… anything catch me? But then, I grew up as a hard-headed child. Not that my parents didn’t raise me well, but rather children want to explore a lot and it’s better to take things from experience than word of mouth from  the histories of whenever.

I fell. It started fast.. and when I saw what’s beneath clearing into my perspective, everything went to a slow motion. Time was ticking. I can hear my heartbeat. And to the last second before I met my fate, I was still hoping you’ll catch me. But you didn’t. I only expected of bruises the moment I let you enter in my life. But I didn’t know that love actually has more than that. I was foolish and innocent who knew nothing of life- of all.

I was caught by a glass held by two cliffs. And the moment I tried to regain myself, little shattered piece caught up with my fall. It pierced through my heart like tiny little demons who know nothing of feelings, much like me..

I wanted to just die then and there. But I realized. Love… love is good the way it is. When people get hurt, they will value it even more.

But despite that, it’s exactly how Paulo Coehlo describes it in Eleven Minutes, “love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer.”

 

The Deal with Chinky Eyes: Stereotyped Chinese

So I saw this post on my Facebook feeds (FB influences me a lot lately) from Candy Magazine’s digital content a few days ago. It was an article entitled 10 Things That Every Chinita Girl Can Relate To. After reading the post, I felt the need to share and caption it with caps lock on how the list was lacking so much. So here I am, trying to fill the article with my own perspective, a chinita (I’m Chinese, really) But actually, I just have nothing better to blog about.

Let me first start by emphasizing my own struggles with CandyMag’s list.

1. Having monolids is a real struggle.

Whenever someone decides on doing my make-up for a photoshoot. The whole process will involve me cursing my own eyes. My good friend Jed, who often does my make-up, literally has to put on a hefty big layer of eyeliners just so it’ll come out on photos. And yes, it looks funny whenever I have my eyes close – like really.

2. Being asked what random Chinese characters mean.

People would assume I automatically know the meaning (and care) about Chinese characters whenever I see them.. And it’s not like they would actually know if I translated 你是笨蛋 as you’re really beautiful, ne?

3. I can’t laugh so much especially on crucial situations.

Yes, I have a thin view. And that decreases to just a line whenever I think someone’s face is a total joke I hear about a friend’s idiocy. Yep. Especially walking down the stairs or crossing the streets.. you know..

4. Being a math wizard.

Well majority of Chinese people are, especially if it involves money, ha! But it might have been because the school I graduated from in high school has the best Math curriculum around. Our school kick butts on Math competitions and send award-winning delegates to international competitions and win. But nope, not me, I despise Math. But TBH, most of us who graduated from that school were like math wizards in college, even for Math majors, because we were “trained” hard. Hell I ace exams not even attending lectures.

5. Getting the eye on Chinese-Philippine issues.

Okay. When the Scarborough Shoal territorial issue came in the picture, I had a professor in college who apparently decided to make a joke out of it saying “Huwag kang tumabi diyan, baka agawin ka rin niya” (Don’t sit beside her, she might steal you, too) to my best friend who was beside me. It wasn’t exactly offending to me, but it does bother me why we’re generalized that way. And to think of it, my grandmother mentioned that they were already studying Scarborough Shoal in China’s geography way back when she was still little. So meh.

6. Having a business of sort… in 168/ Divisoria.

These two somewhat became a combination. I was asked a few times whether or not our family had a business. Though my answer was a stereotyped ‘yes’ it was followed by an immediate question whether or not we have a store somewhere in Divisoria. Not all Chinitas or Chinese have a business, more so a space rented in Binondo, okay. XD

7. Hopia, siopao, lumpia, tikoy manufacturers.

Need I say more? I don’t think I need to post this as a status whenever Chinese New Year is coming, yes?

8. Being in a fixed marriage.

I once joked my mom to admit it whether or not I was actually in an arranged marriage. Just so I won’t hate her for falling in love when I literally don’t have any right on. It kind of disappoints me I’m not haha. I don’t have anyone to blame if my marriage doesn’t go well. Lol.  But I do have some Chinese friends (ho are not even 100% Chinese for that matter) who are actually being introduced and supported to be with a friend’s son or daughter. Like wow, it does happen. But those aside, the world is already too modern to have these fixed marriages lying around anywhere. It just works for the more traditional ones.

9. Getting involved in impromptu Chinese monologues.

“Salita ka nga ng Chinese!” (Speak Chinese!) My friends would often ask. It’s kind of weird though.. much like reading Chinese characters, they won’t know if I’m actually swearing. Haha.

10. Being extremely frugal and stingy.

This is probably one of the most stereotypes I do want to admit. While there are those who actually spends unnecessarily like me, there are also those who are very outright ungenerous to the point that it’s embarrassing. But it’s actually really part of the Chinese nature.

11. Having Tan, Lee and Ang surnames.

There are a lot of other surnames besides this.. not as much as Filipinos, but we do have some more besides these. I was asked before by a friend’s mom after knowing I’m Chinese if my surname is Tan. Like really.. it’s the only surname out there. There are also surnames that does not only consists of a syllable and is usually a combination of a lot.. like Yuchengco or Tanlimco.

12. Having a vacation in China.

I actually have a few friends from wayback high school who do spend their Christmas and Summer vacation in China. But not everyone does. There are a lot of Chinese born and raised in the Philippines such as myself, and while my grandparents do have a house in China, they also don’t go there as much as they have come to love the Philippines, too.

13. The “Ang Chinese ay para lang sa Chinese” (Chinese are meant for Chinese only)

Okay, here’s one more of the most asked phrase I get. This is yet another nature for Chinese, but since Chinese people can actually be found just about anywhere, its unlikely to stay with that tradition for everyone. But there are also a lot who prefer Chinese partners in the sense that it makes them feel more secure having the same nature, background as well as dialect. But this usually goes based on personal preference rather than a tradition being upheld. As much as Filipinos have generalized insights with Chinese and other nationalities, Chinese do have them too, so they rather keep their families from the same decent.

14. Living in Chinatown.

Well this.. No, not all the Chinese in Manila lives in Ongpin/ Chinatown or Binondo. If that’s the case Ongpin would be swarmed with yellow people and it will certainly remind everyone of MRT in rush hour because there are a lot of Chinese in the Philippines.

15. Being called GI, intsik, and chekwa.

Honestly according to what I heard, these are supposedly insulting; it may be aligned with calling Filipinos indio or something. But then again, I already got used to it, and most of those who are supposedly offended do not know what it means so no harm done.

I am actually still thinking of some more.. and will hopefully get back to this haha. I have already loved the Philippines and I am admitting I rather be here than in China.

What did they do to you?

The LRT and MRT are probably the fastest mode of transport across cities especially during the rush hours. Falling in line to get on a train takes longer than the actual transport, yet, several Filipinos opt for this instead of spending time in a 20-kilometer long parking in EDSA. Despite being squeezed sardines in a sweat-inducing train cart, it has become the daily commuting life of several of our countrymen.

I came across an article by Filipinews shared by a public artist fan page, the piece was entitled Filipino Celebrities Who Took the MRT Challenge.

I was thinking of something to do for the afternoon, and reading one of the comments on that post made me decide on writing about it.

To quote:

you see, the frustrating thing about this is that they only see this as a challenge. it is an experience that they wanted to try when in fact, thousands of filipinos literally live this kind of “challenge” every single day.
after taking videos/photos of this, these celebrities are free to get out and return to their comforts. they are able to detach themselves from this reality because this is not their reality.”

First of all, I am saluting the person who posted this. She was actually able to deliver a sensible message that is not just a long piece of rant. It also made her garner over 100 likes in less than 24 hours from other FIlipinos who agree. It is actually a challenge faced by thousands of Filipinos every single day and these artists take this as a fun thing to do, a publicity stunt or whatever, actually. It doesn’t really matter what the actual purpose is, because whether or not what they say is actually true, Filipinos will always bat an eye and notice the littlest of things.

I do have some insights though.

These artists have their lives almost pasted on their foreheads wherever they go. Every little thing they do, good or bad, it makes or breaks their image. Truth be told, we are the ones who actually make them. Because if no one patronizes them, then it’s been long since their contracts has been held off by TV channels.

Yes, they can definitely detach themselves from the idea of this transportation reality because they have private cars and they can literally sleep with their leg up high listening to metal or even Swift music while munching on a burger and fries combo. But despite this, none of them is actually rich (or crazy) enough to buy their own Charlie Tango and travel across cities whenever they want. Despite themselves being in the comfort of their cars, they still face the traffic along EDSA just like everyone else- just like your normal Filipino.

What really made me write about this is the issue on how shallow-minded some people are. I’m sure a lot of these artists would prefer taking public transport simply because it’s cheaper than your juggling gasoline price and is actually faster most of the time. But if these artists actually decide to ride the train on a regular basis, they’ll be making their way out of your average Filipino asking for autographs, or a selfie just to boast around FB and IG on a regular basis as well. Why?  because we make them what they are. If they were regular Filipinos who made their way to be social media’s viral content, we would often read “Proud Filipino Here!” but those who show pride for their country suddenly disappear- shamed even by our own people, when an issue deeming a bad image to the country is presented.

Besides, why hate? Of course, some of these artists were born on a silver platter, but then again, at least one person took effort to serve that plate to them. It’s still someone’s hard-earned effort. And if they are not, they work as much (or even more) than a lot of us to get what they earn and to buy what they want like their private transports. I’m sure it’s unlikely your common FIlipino knows about their schedule, but as far as I know, we get more sleep than them.

The challenge has more bad implications than good, just because of the fact that these butt-hurt Filipinos cannot agree to the fact that some people can live their lives by doing commercials, showing themselves up on events or acting out on whichever telenovela plot that can sell sponsorship and whatnot. Which again, is caused by us, the majority of Filipinos, they are who we make them.

It could have been the site lost the best vocabulary to describe the experience of these artist, but then again, it can also be because Filipinos do not really understand what it means. We all know how these train rides is an actual challenge, then, just because some famous celebrities decide on taking on this so-called challenge, they are judge for looking down on public transport and calling the tough everyday commuting lives of others a challenge.

I am in no means a friend of any artist, nor am I a racist blogger who just wants to produce something to publish on her blog. But hear me out. A lot of people are selfish enough to only post their side of the story, it’s not like these artist could read them more so care about it when they are already judged just by showing up on TV. But looking at it from another party’s perspective should be done more often, not only by Filipinos, but everyone in general.

Searching for what to write about is a bad idea

Ironic, isn’t it? Writers are meant to express in the form of words, but creativity drought does not choose its victim. I’m positive writers both amateur and professional encounter this at some point in their life.

I’ve been earning from writing since way back second year high. But whenever I don’t have any clients to fancy with my word talk – even though at times the topics are actually shitty – at least I’m writing, earning and learning. I actually run out of ideas whenever I want to hit some traffic on my blog.

One common thing writers do is a quick Google search with article ideas or topics to write on; which is why there is an unending list of articles by different authors hoping to supply the answer. But honestly, with the several times I did that, I end up closing the search engine, and throw away the idea of writing when I was so motivated firsthand.

Just exactly why the title?

Writers are in fact relatable to each other. Topics pop up with no apparent reason at the most surprising moments and we don’t have a pen and paper at hand to scribble it on for remembering later. So why is having a list of numerous and creative topics not the best thing if half the job is already done?

It limits your opportunities to actually choose.

Despite at least one of those topics sparking an interest to you, you’ll probably end up overthinking on how to actually write it than the usual hands-on-keyboard (or pen) and it does the job for you. Looking at someone else’s idea will actually kill your own.

3 tips on knowing what to write about

Don’t worry; I’m not going to go against what I just said. I’m not providing any cheat sheet of topics but rather a guide to get your creativity going.

  1. Relax. If you’re thinking too much on what to actually write, you’ll end up being lazy because it’s taking too much effort. Drink a glass of water, it will help. Maybe you can think of something to write about the water, the glass, the cupboard or something. Who knows! We are writers, and creativity is endless.
  2. Change your location. Been blogging on your desk since forever? Why not try hitting the road to a coffee shop nearby? It might send in some new inspiration for the writer in you.
  3. Go out of your comfort zone. If you’ve been writing about pets, try something else. Divert your attention; you might realize you have a thing for flowers too! Or maybe you’re an inborn news writer or a gossip girl. Opportunities are endless. No matter what the topic is about, writing it is practice anyway.

Wrapping it up

Looking and searching for a topic to write about is way too common to be bugging a lot of writers. Explore and get out of your comfort zone. Set your imagination free and do with what you have. Eventually, topics will spring like a mushroom on any sunny day and the next thing you’ll be Google-searching is how to budget your time in writing because you have a lot of ideas piling up.

Need help overcoming one of the writer’s dilemmas? Read Dealing with Writer’s Block and Effective Way Not to Run Out of Ideas.

What hurts more, coming from a broken family, or not knowing the family is broken?

I had come to my senses.

Growing up in a broken family is what I thought can make me a stronger and a better person. I’m sure as hell there are a lot who can vouch how strong of a person I am and it’s something I always saw as a compliment. But yet again, when fate seem to play with your feelings, it’s not the easiest to stay firm on your ground when everything else is falling apart.

I didn’t expect myself to be letting out my feelings in a burst of tears. I never ever wanted to come to the point when I need to be 10 years younger, not knowing what to do and not understanding a thing. And it hurts how I had already come to that.

I remember going on outings with my aunt and uncle, to Enchanted Kingdom, eating out, and even once in an overnight to Subic complete with a tent and a grill. I was even playing Badminton or flying kites in Luneta back when I was in Elementary. My dad would always bring me there every single Sunday. I always looked forward to it. Till it became twice a month, then never at all. Those are my clearest memory from childhood that I want to keep alive in my mind. The days when I always thought of our family as the perfect one.

But then, fate had to ruin it. All those memories shattered into tiny little pieces piercing my heart of the perfect family I thought of. My dad, having a second family. It didn’t bother me at all, of course not. I was only 9 then, I think. But I do remember having to finish a carton of tissue in my mother’s store while flushing myself in nothing but tears.

The next year after that, my dad invited me to go out with him on his Birthday. He told me the same story my mom told, but I was hearing his side. I remember we were in SM Manila’s food court then, I had a plate of steak and my dad sitting in front of me.

Those were the days when none of it mattered to me. My dad still went home despite. It was as if nothing happened. But the frequency of seeing him diminishes little by little. I didn’t mind. I was still able to see him 5 times a week.. to 3.. to once a week.. to twice a month.. to once in three. But it never bothered me. Because I was still able to call him whenever I like, whenever my mom and I would fight, he’ll lend his ears and comfort me through the cellphone. It was as if he was never actually gone. He was actually my hero, still.

As I was growing, I began to understand what he left. I graduated college and realized the responsibilities he was slowly letting go of and how my mom took all the burden into sustaining the family both financially and emotionally. filling up the emptiness  even though she is also broken.

My mom would always tell us that we’re lucky we grew up with my dad, whereas my sister grew up not having to bond with him or anything. But I say, it’s harder to live being left by someone despite your memories than not knowing them at all.

My mom would occasionally text my dad about her rants on the responsibilities he left. And instead of producing results, my dad would rather seenzone her texts. Just the other day, my dad went home.. and after seeing my mom in the house, he left. Avoiding conflict? I don’t know. But I know my mom sure was pissed. She felt that my dad was making nothing into an issue when it didn’t matter to her if she sees him or not.

My dad texted and messaged me on Facebook apologizing that he had to leave. I, of course, slightly scolded him on how that was a bad move. Which eventually lead our conversation into me scolding him some more.

And I never thought I’ll be able to say this while drowning in my own tears.

“true, we don’t hear your side. but if this is actually a blame game.. well we both know what started this. and of course i don’t want to come to the point that we have to discuss way-back-history. maybe yes, what’s happening is way beyond your control but then maybe no too.. but it isn’t in mom’s hand either. Exactly why you both, and even us kids have to exert a little more effort.. but then, ikaw yung bumitaw sa responsibility, dad. do you really expect us to just always understand that it’s out of your hand and you’re doing your best? it’s not that we’re always with mom to be able to feel and say this eh. for the record, she doesnt even know of this conversation. 6 years pa mag-aaral si shobe. who knows what avenue is already after 5 years, or even after this year lang. hindi naman malaki kinikita namin ni ahya to sustain every meal, necessities, shobe’s education, house rent, electricity and all those.”
“i don’t know how this conversation is going to affect our relationship.. I love you and I respect you dad, we all do. but at times, I really do question why this is all happening. Or if you even feel we’re as important as those in bulacan. we should be the one who’s asking if you still love us. We could have been the perfect family dad eh. back when we were still flying kites every sunday or vacationing in Subic. funny, those are the memories i rather keep to be able to actually feel you do. but look at it now. it’s no where near and sad to say everything is close to falling apart. akala mo madali yung gantong setup? hindi kita sinusumbatan dad, it’s too late for that. but i hope you sometimes feel how we do kasi if you think you don’t feel our love, paano pa kaming naiwan?”
He hasn’t replied yet, but I know that would hit him right in the mark knowing him. I know I’m his favorite kid and those coming from me is a first.
But I don’t really know how this is going after. I’m ready for it.. I’m just half as glad as I’m relieved that I was able to finally tell him what I feel. What’s happening next? I don’t know. But I do hope it injects a little sense to him.
As for the title.. it hurts.. a lot. And words cannot describe how I really feel, more so how my mom feels. But I rather get hurt with the truth every day, than believe in a lie that everything’s okay when it’s not and find out when it’s too late. At least I can fully support, defend and love my mom all the way as she did to us since we were having only half a dad.
I honestly don’t know whether or not I prefer not being an adult and live in the fantasy of the perfect family. But this is reality… and it hurts 100 times more than I can blog it.