The Joy Of Seeing Joy

25 12 2011

Smile. Even just for the day, smile.

I understand this might be a tall task for many people given the adversities we are faced with on a daily basis. Personally, it breaks my heart whenever I see images of the appalling devastation that recently occurred in the southern part of the country. Losing lives in more ways than one isn’t just downright sad. It is unbearable. And in the wake of this immense tragedy, it is so common for people to tell that “everything happens for a reason” and that “life must go on” just to provide some sort of comfort and relief, all the while knowing that it will never be enough and that nothing is guaranteed. However, on this day, I’d like to be an optimist who acknowledges that when you reach rock bottom, there is no other way but up. I’d like to pick positivity over reality for a change, at least for today.


Filipinos are resilient. That is not being conceited. That is just truth, plain and simple. And I’d like to think, that still holds true. For now, let us play pretend and believe in miracles and magic. Let us allow ourselves to cross our fingers and pray for the best. Let us wish for a little more courage for us to recover faster and survive worse. No matter how difficult it might seem, try to find a source of faith and wonder because seeing joy is contagious, that’s the beauty of it. I don’t know. It might help us out. Maybe. Hopefully.

Smile. Share a piece of happiness. See a flicker of hope.

Have a meaningful Christmas, everyone. ūüôā





The Timeline

3 05 2011

MAY – Search for a new job.

JUNE – Serve the 30-day notice.

JULY – Start at the new work.

I hope this plan pans out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.





The Boracay Bliss

30 04 2011

I get up and head out at around eight in the morning. With my aviators on and my ever trusty belt/sling bag that lodges my digital camera, wallet, cellphones, and room key, wrapped around my body, I take a stroll from Station 1 to 3 and back, subtly gawking at all things and people, trying to decipher and discover their stories and possibilities. From my morning beach walk, I return to my hotel room where a fully made bed awaits me. I rest for a bit, freshen up, and then take my lunch. After a heavy and hearty meal, I go back to my chamber again to get my sun tan and cooled bottled water. Once more, I hit the beach to find myself an idyllic spot where I can bask in all the sun’s mighty glory as my back is satisfyingly pressed against the fine, pristine white sand. And from time to time, I dip myself into the crystal clear beach water that leaves a salty yet strangely sweet aftertaste in my mouth, which I don’t seem to mind at all.

That was my life in Boracay. Man, that is the life.

In case you were wondering, yes, I went there alone. I was able to pull it off, and did so with such flying (and varying) colors. Many people question why I do it (traveling by myself) and give me that searching-bordering-on-condescending, hoity-toity look. Some even consider it weird that anybody does it. I actually have two answers; one sounds rude and cocky, while the other is more on the pensive, character-defining side: (1) because I am secure enough and I can afford to do it, and (2) because I value my me-time. I sincerely love doing things alone. I just do. It helps me de-clutter my mind and shoo all the stresses away. In addition to that, like what I said before, going solo dismisses all conflicts and considerations you need to be mindful of when traveling with other people. It’s all about you and what you prefer. You get to enjoy and experience things your own way. And that’s how it was for me in my recent, out-of-the-norm trip.

Without a doubt, I was over the moon for this vacation. I had almost everything taken care of from a couple of months back. But as the getaway drew nearer, the eagerness simply went through the roof. I didn’t sleep the night before my departure. Not that I couldn’t, but I was afraid I’d miss my 8:10am-flight. I took the cab from my house to the airport. I ate breakfast there, which was a very pricey thing to do. I spent P122 for fried rice, egg, and mineral water, and was so not worth it. So yeah, never again. It was my first time in the Manila Domestic Airport (which, by the way, to my surprise, had very nice and clean restrooms), it was my first time to fly alone and Seair. I checked in my luggage and waited for boarding. It took our plane, a 32-seater, a little while before it could take off. Our flight got delayed for a few minutes, and yet, still arrived in Caticlan right on time. Yay! Generally, it was smooth-flowing.

There was nothing much to see at the Caticlan Airport. In fact, if not for the runway, I would think it was an abandoned factory or something. As soon as I got my suitcase, I hailed a tricycle and headed to Jetty Port. After about 15 minutes, I arrived at Cagban Port where Ms. Jean, my contact who booked my accommodation, was waiting for me. Another tricycle ride and in no time, I was at the Royal Park Hotel. Thankfully, the room was readily available, so I was able to check in early.

 

I only had three goals for this retreat: (1) get sun-smacked; (2) parasail; and (3) ride the zorb. Other than these, I had no other plans, except maybe to really enjoy.  Sunbathing perhaps is one of the last things I will ever give up on. Soaking in all the sunshine is always cathartic and cozy. Ditch the beach beds! Feeling the sand and the water is the real shiz. Not to mention the specific seaside scent and the sound of the crashing waves, they’re quite simply soothing. Parasailing was such an incredibly remarkable experience. I’d even go out on a limb and say that it was some of the best 15 minutes of my life. Being up there felt like stepping into an oasis of tranquility. The comforting fusion of the cool wind and the warm dash of sunbeam tenderly cloaked my spirit and dissolved all my anxieties, and even for that fleeting moment, the world stopped and shut down. It was superb. The mere thought of doing it again gives me good chills. I didn’t get to try the zorb. Boo. Apparently, doing it NOT alone is more fun; hence, I was advised against it. I was, instead, encouraged to give reef walking a shot. Comparing the two, doing the zorb costs a little less (P580) than helmet diving (P600), but the latter lasts longer (ten to 15 minutes) than the former (three to five minutes). Oh, and souvenir pictures and video are included in the reef walking package. That was my cue. While I did enjoy helmet diving, I’m not sure I’m elated to do it again. Sinking was a struggle. It hurt my ears. There was just too much pressure. And also, it was really cold underwater. But upon seeing the fishes in various shades and shapes rush toward me, I was one happy kid. Of course, the photo opportunity was pure wonder.

A wall art at a restaurant could not have stated it any better: ‚ÄúDiet is not an option.‚ÄĚ And that was exactly what I adhered to. I binged. Most of them were utterly mouthwatering and scrumptious — from the generic fares like tapsilog, isaw, fries, and beer, to the specific ones such as Bite Club‚Äôs grilled burger, I ‚̧ Backyard BBQ‚Äôs bulalo steak, Smoke‚Äôs beef salpicao, The Original Hawaiian Bar-B-Que‚Äôs sun-ripened mango chicken BBQ, Fishbar‚Äôs beer-battered fish and chips, Crazy Crepe‚Äôs mango crepe with cookies and cream, and Jonah‚Äôs mango and banana choco vanilla shakes. This summer holiday was one crazy-ass celebration for calories, my adipose tissues, and if I still had them, my gallstones. Sinful indulgence indeed! I also feasted my eyes on the diverse, mostly lovely,¬†and occasionally hilarious sights of Boracay: the sunset, the sand arts, the beach¬†sports and¬†activities, and the “success stories”/”island souvenirs.”

 

It goes without saying that this vacation caused a pretty substantial dent on my wallet. Doing activities individually does cost much more. You can’t really haggle and you have to shoulder the regular rate. But I prepared myself for all the expenses. And in the scheme of things, seeing how my heart ended up with immeasurable joy and appreciation, money shouldn‚Äôt be an issue. I swear,¬†had I chanced upon my worst enemy there, I would have shown compassion and would have given my forgiveness in a heartbeat.

My four-day bliss inevitably and unfortunately had to end. The¬†last day¬†just passed by so swift:¬†I got up,¬†packed my stuff, took one last stroll along the beach,¬†had breakfast,¬†checked out from the hotel,¬†took a tricycle, a boat, and¬†another tricyle, and there I was at Caticlan Airport, waiting to board. I¬†wanted to¬†prolong my stay there, but Seair refused¬†to give me an extension, as my flight back to¬†Manila¬†was right on the dot. With a heavy heart,¬†I mustered all the¬†fondness and jollity and life went on.¬†All things considered, though,¬†every second of this trip was a moment well spent, so definitely, there’s no speck of regret for me. And most certainly, this is¬†an indelible highlight in the Rexy Jolly chronicles.

Thank you, Boracay. As usual and as expected, you delivered. You were all sorts of awesome. I’ll see you again — hopefully very soon. ūüôā

Now here‚Äôs a pressing concern: I’ve already picked Baguio and Boracay as my personal hideaways. Where to go next? Time to cruise a place that begins with another letter in the alphabet, maybe? That’s a start. ūüėČ





The Shining, the Shimmering, and the Splendid

22 04 2011

THIS is what happens when technolust takes over.

And today, they’re one-week old. ūüôā

Charlie (Why? Because it is the name of the person who gave me discount on these purchases.)

Markie (Why? Because I went to Market! Market! to claim these babies.)

Suri (Why? Because the moolah I spent was insurance money. For the record: No, I did not win the lottery.)

Yes, I swallowed my pride and¬†ate my words. I bought Apple products. And I’ve been catching so much flak for doing it. But so far, I like what I have. Charlie’s really awesome and convenient: long (over six hours)¬†battery life, light (my old Dell laptop is much heavier) yet sturdy, and such an eye candy (really purrrty interface and has vivid colors, which is perfect for my viewing pleasure). Oh, and did I mention¬†about the Magic¬†Mouse? (But I call mine¬†FUNKY Mouse. “Magic” is, uhmm, lame, and¬†doesn’t quite encompass the wonders of this piece of happiness.) I must admit,¬†it’s¬†a luxury, but it’s just so adorable and cool to use.¬†Markie’s the least-tinkered among the three, mainly because I had a hard time grasping iTunes. Haha!¬†However, the iPod Touch was the beneficiary of my very first apps purchase: Text Twist! I know, I know.¬†I’m such a geek, and¬†I’m not contesting. LOL.¬†Now it’s no longer empty. Almost¬†everything in my mp3 collection is in, and¬†Markie contains¬†a few movies, as well. And finally, Suri.¬†For obvious reasons, it’s the most used among the¬†fantabulous trio.¬†Facebook? Twitter? YM? It’s all covered. And BBM is simply divine. I don’t care if it sounds smug, but it’s the exclusivity that you pay for. I have yet to sync my e-mail, but I will get to it soon. And typing on the keypads is nifty and neat. I love hearing the clicking sound it makes. Hehehe!

I still¬†have¬†a lot of things to discover and explore — and I mean a LOT. I hope in a month’s time, I’ll be able to maximize most, if not all, of¬†the features of these thingamajigs. My good friend tells me: “syempre lalo na sa mac malilito ka at first pero after nun ma-realize mo bakit ngayon ka lang nag-mac after all these years. remember that statement dahil sasabihin mo talaga sakin yan after two weeks.” I think I’m getting there. ūüėČ





The Nearly Perfect Next To Normal

28 03 2011

Watching Next To Normal last Saturday has left me thunderstruck. And it makes me wonder: how do they do it? How in the world could they act with such depth, sing with much passion, move with graceful precision, and still deliver their lines with such clarity, all at the same time? Because if I were in their shoes, I’d be physically and emotionally spent and pretty much useless on stage. But Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Diana Goodman), Jett Pangan (Dan Goodman), Bea Garcia (Natalie Goodman), Felix Rivera (Gabe Goodman), and Jake Macapagal (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden) were just unbelievably riveting and¬†fantastic. Even neophyte Markki Stroem (Henry) delivered a¬†decent performance. It just doesn’t make sense, and it’s just not fair. I am seething with envy. There were a few glitches with their lapel mics here and there but in totality, it was a moving and memorable¬†theatrical experience.

Next To Normal is a¬†Tony Award- and Pultizer Prize-winning Broadway musical about a mother who suffers from bipolar disorder and manic depression and how her struggling family deals with her condition. It delves into the subjects of loss, desperation, and hope. Its book and lyrics were written by Brian Yorkey and the music was composed by Tom Kitt. Admittedly, I didn’t think Filipinos would relate very well with the story of Next To Normal because unlike Americans, we’re not really that into the general idea of psychological therapies/treatments. But judging from the people’s reaction when I saw it, the theme of this drama is so truthful and encompassing, it struck a chord and made an impression. It definitely hit the nerves of many audience members as sobs could be heard everywhere as the cast did the final song.

A compelling story + evocative music + dynamic production + intense performances = one helluva show that is next to perfection! I swear, should there be a re-run, I will watch again.

Personal favorites and highlights:

– Dan: “They say love is blind. But believe me, love is insane.”

You Don’t Know/I Am The One prod. This introduced me to¬†Next To Normal a couple of years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.¬†Just sheer genius and power. And Lauchengco-Yulo, Pangan, and Rivera’s version was undoubtedly gripping. They didn’t disappoint.

– Natalie: “Take a look at the invisible girl. Here she is, clear as the day. Please look closely and find her before she fades away.”

– Dr. Madden and Diana’s exchanges/interactions. They were the comic relief and they had smart-ass banters.
Dr. Madden: “There’s a difference between being happy and just thinking you’re happy.”
Diana: “Most people who think they’re happy just haven’t thought about it enough. Most people who think they’re happy are actually just stupid.” – Gabe: “‘Cause if you won’t grieve me, you can’t leave me behind.”

– The set and the play of lights were such a delight to the eyes. They were especially effective during the hospital scenes.

Song Of Forgetting prod. After undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, Dan and Natalie finds out that Diana lost a great deal of her memory. Natalie is once again forgotten.

Maybe (Next to Normal) prod. Diana talks to Dr. Madden and refuses further treatment. Shen then talks to Natalie and opens up to her for the first time.
Diana: “Maybe we can’t be okay. But maybe we’re tough and we’ll try anyway. We’ll live with what’s real. Let go of what’s past. And maybe I’ll see you at last.”
“We tried to give you a normal life. I realize now, I have no clue what that is.”
Natalie: “I don’t need a life that’s normal. That’s way too far away. But something next to normal would be okay. Yeah, something next to normal, that’s the thing I’d like to try. Close enough to normal to get by.”

– Diana: “I’ll take a chance. I’ll take a chance on leaving. It’s that or stay and die.”

I Am the One (Reprise) prod. After Diana decides to face her issues on her own, Dan is left alone in the house. His son appears and talks to him. Dan tries to shut him out at first, but folds and faces him, and mentions his name for the first time: “Gabe. Gabriel.” To which Gabe replies: “Hi, Dad.” WATERWORKS!

– Diana: “And you find some way to survive. And you find out you don’t have to be happy at all to be happy you’re¬†alive.”





The Heart-Tugging Words

23 03 2011

I’m a sucker for finely-penned, gut-wrenching lyrics. They don’t even have to be filled with cryptic figures of speech. Sometimes, telling the story right upfront does the trick and captures my attention. And for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been tirelessly listening to these two songs.

Someone Like You is off Adele’s sophomore release 21.¬†I never thought she could top Chasing Pavements from her debut album but she did. And her latest offer is just pure gold. Other standout tracks are Rolling In The Deep and Turning Tables.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over

Never mind
I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
“Don’t forget me,” I begged
I remember you said
“Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead.”

Nothing is The Script’s second single from Science & Faith, the group’s second studio album. After giving us The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and Breakeven, here’s another masterpiece that will probably be a staple among those who are almost perennially in pain. You might also want to give Long Gone And Moved On a try.

And my mates are all there trying to calm me down
‘Cause I’m shouting your name all over town
I’m swearing if I go there now
I can change her mind, turn it all around

And I know that I’m drunk but I’ll say the words
And she’ll listen this time even though they’re slurred
Dialed her number and confessed to her
I’m still in love but all I heard was nothing

Oh, sometimes love’s intoxicating
Oh, you’re coming down, your hands are shaking
When you realize there’s no one waiting





The Bankruptcy

28 02 2011

I resent this month. Generally, I’ve never been too keen about February. I find it pretentious, superficial, and overrated. People irrationally call it the “love month,” as if you desist from loving during the other 11 months of the year. They make an incomprehensible effort to overspend on inane stuff that are utterly fleeting and arguably pointless on hindsight. But now, I caught a few other reasons to be repulsed by February with much more intensity. And¬†I’m just spent —¬†bankrupt —¬†in more ways than one.

You never imagine things that you see occur on TV or in movies could happen in real life, much less to you. How monetary loss drives an individual to a frenzy is uncharted territory to me. Was. Yes, the¬†life-savings-down-the-drain kind. I do not intend to delve into the specifics. It’s nothing illegal, of course. But I do know now how devastating it is to be in such harrowing situation. As a consolation, I just tell myself that there are far worse ways to lose finances. That’s all there is to do. And well, start the rebuilding process.

Personally, I’m feeling detached and¬†cleared out of any speck of enthusiasm, most especially for work. Waking up tomorrow unemployed wouldn’t be the worst thing for me. Seriously. Being in the office either makes me abhor more people, or provides me with more reasons to be repulsed by someone. I’m not kidding, nor am I exaggerating. Every working day is becoming less and less tolerable. I hope I’m able to get out of this shit hole soon because staying on is a slow and painful death sentence.

So yeah, I am more than pleased to kick February’s ass out of the way, and usher in a hopefully less destructive and more productive March. In Lily Allen’s words: Fuck you, February. Fuck you very, very much.