We’ve been married for two weeks now, and caught up in a whirlwind of work and family events. We hadn’t really planned on having a honeymoon — it was out of our budget, and we had several trips booked for Q3 anyway — but middle of last week we just agreed that we both needed to get away, just a bit, from all the craziness. So we did some last-minute hunting and decided to take a bus to Subic, Zambales, to pause, breathe, and kick off being husband and wife properly.
Our plan was just to rest and sleep a lot, but somehow on Sunday morning we found ourselves taking a mini-tour within the Pamulaklakin Forest Trail, an ancestral domain managed by an Aeta community. There are half-day and hour-long tours; I highly recommend the latter as a side trip if you’re in town for a convention or a family outing. Our guide gave us a crash course on how they utilized the trees and plants for various household purposes, and even did a demo of how a single bamboo can be used to cook and serve a meal for two. After the quick hike we spent some time relaxing in the cool stream.
Manila looks a whole lot different when you look up (and invest a few dollars in an analog emulation app’s premium version). VSCO has always been my go-to, and I’ve bought so many film packs already before they introduced the X membership (but I think $20 / year might be too much?). Then there’s also Afterlight, VHS Cam, Snapseed, SKWRT — and now Kuji, the Huji for Android, which is honestly not bad. Mildly obsessed with it, and I’ve infected Ranie as well… follow our fan account? Haha.
Every time Incubus would come to Manila, the circumstances were never ideal. Finally last night the stars aligned, and I saw them live for the very first time in my life! I had such a great time with Ranie, Franco, and Val at Araneta last night.
Morning View is one of my favorite records of all time. It was the 2nd CD I ever bought in high school. I would listen to everything from Nice To Know You to Aquaeous Transmission at 4 am while reviewing for periodical exams (that’s the story of how I became a morning person). When I started working, my musical taste leaned a little more into the pop and indie-rock/funk/etc spectrum because of all the plugs I needed to score. Spotify has now basically rendered having any sort of preference moot, honestly, but deep down I still love my nu-metal and pop-rock. Anyway… listening to songs from their latest album 8, live, made me realize what a forlorn album it is… frankly it didn’t excite me that much, so I haven’t been looping it, but man, last night, it was all about the mid-2000s era too, so my 13-year-old fangirl heart was very happy.
We were in upper box seats but we jumped and head banged as wildly as the floor people (well I did)… God, I need to go to more concerts to unleash like that. It felt so, so good. Thank you for coming back, Incubus.
About this look: wore this last night to Incubus’ concert! It’s like their 4th or 5th time here, but I’ve never caught them live until now — even though I’ve loved them since 2001 when I was 13. A lifetime ago. Typically one would wear black and jeans to a rock concert, but I wanted to look more polished and grown up, because let’s face it, no one in last night’s crowd was probably younger than 25 (I think). This would’ve been an office look if not for my beaten, still-so-good Chucks… I love clean, androgynous silhouettes (come to think of it Brandon does wear a lot of shirts / suits in their earlier videos…).
A look that mixes the old and new… probably the best way to deal with random nostalgia on a weekend.
Also, believe it or not, this is our first concert together. In our 10 years as a couple. 2018 — a year of many milestones for us 🙂 Including THE BIG ONE. Hay! So many things to still do and organize. I’m not chill — I’m frozen in panic. But this will happen one way or another. Askdjflsjlkdjg!!!
I just missed life-update blogging, so there. Nostalgia, told you. 🙂
We were in four Laguna towns Friday night and yesterday: Los Baños, Lumban, Pagsanjan, and Sta. Cruz. I guess this is our version of a pre-Valentine’s Day date?
In Elbi, handed over invitations to our former teachers/sponsors. Then we met up with some orgmates.
In Lumban we bought Ranie’s barong. He’s always been dead set on getting an authentic one, straight from the source. It was perfect timing as he had a 2-day workshop in UPLB (and I’m working remote / pretty much anywhere these days).
Some updated notes on getting a barong in Lumban: From Los Baños, Lumban is only 90 minutes away via the Sta. Cruz bus route, then a 10-15 minute jeep ride. After the 2nd bridge, you’ll start seeing barong and gown shops left and right of the National Highway.
I found sources online that the good destinations are in Rizal Street, near the city market / plaza. As for us, all Ranie had in mind were specifics of what he wanted (piña, intricate but not too fancy embroidery). We actually found it in the first shop we entered, called Magano. Ranie usually struggles w/ formal wear in his usual size (M) because the sleeves always end up being a tad short, but Magano had a M-L size (Medium-Large) that fit him perfectly. I also loved his choice as the detail was beautiful yet subtle — very pogi. 🙂 The barong only cost P3000 – that’s 50 to 70% cheaper than a ready made barong in Kultura or Rustan’s. It also came with 2 free inner shirts already!
To be fair, we did check out a couple more stores after our purchase, but Ranie was already v. happy with his barong. In one shop, I actually saw a work in progress of a barong being embroidered w/ the colado style, but then got too shy to snap a photo because we weren’t buying anything. It’s amazing that handmade traditions still find a way to thrive in this day and age.
Since we wrapped up our errand pretty quickly, we did a bit of walking around Lumban’s streets. Lumban feels so quiet compared to other Laguna towns I’ve been to.
After an hour or so, we took another jeep to Pagsanjan, where we ate a late lunch at Calle Arko. The food was super affordable and pretty much good. The highlight of our meal was pako (fern) salad w/ white cheese and sweet vinagrette. Such a simple yet amazing dish.
We asked the waiter where to get pako (my mom loves it). They told us they get it in Sta. Cruz market. Perfect, we thought, that’s where we’ll take the bus. So right after the meal, we took yet another jeep to Sta. Cruz market. But it was so hard to find pako in the afternoon — all the stalls have run out! We did find two last bundles with a street vendor. I grabbed it all.
Now, my body is aching all over and I seem to be nursing a slight fever. After two months of remote work + a couple of weeks of baby sitting in between, I am… exhausted. Funny because I left my previous job to be less so!
There is so much that needs to be done. Both in work and for personal life. I wish I could feel more steady, to appreciate the options and privileges I have and to maximize them so that I don’t slip into an overwhelmed state again.
For today I’ll try to rest. These photos will be a reminder of why I’m doing all of this, what it allows me to do, and why it’s worth it.
Scenes from a Saturday spent with friends, history, and creative commentary. Props to the organizers behind the first-ever Manila Biennale, for doing a free open house right before the actual events and talks happening all month long. Intramuros, with its solemn walls, wide-open parks, and peaceful cobble pathways, was the perfect setting for the exhibits — in fact, the juxtaposition couldn’t have been more apt. Quite a few art pieces and installations tackled freedom, justice, and society. It’s sobering to realize that we’re still challenging familiar oppressors and issues that we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years. Continue reading “Manila Biennale 2018 | Snapshots”→