A Travellerspoint blog

a real travel post: any suggestions for my trips?


looking at my recent posts, clearly i'm not in the mood for recounting things that happened this weekend. i even forgot to blog about the Lala candy that Derrick gave me last Sunday before church. you see, when i was a kid, i used to buy LaLa from a very small store on Craig Street with my neighbors. it was only 25 centavos each, and we always partner it with the sago't gulaman that manang tindera would sometimes prepare in front of us. those were the days when my biggest problems were my grades. everything else was a breeze. and i want to go back to that feeling.

so i am planning this retreat today. and every day until i have my plans concrete. well, that's the cautious in me talking.

(before i continue, things to do: download Derrick's video again. check that volunteer link. read PDL. read the Hope pamphlet.)

i kinda want an adventure this time. the last trip that i planned was on my 26th birthday, i was still with my ex, Tom, then. but i only went to La Union that time. this trip is bigger. this is not just about me.

my original plan was to go to Baguio for the actual retreat, then La Union for the beach for two days, then to a secret province. unfortunately, when i checked the calendar of the retreat place, the only day available was on a Friday so i'll have things done in reverse. that secret province, La Union then Baguio. so on the first weekend, i will shop, then church the next day to pray for guidance and a safe trip. Monday and Tuesday, off to that secret province, LU on Wednesday then Baguio on Thursday and Friday. this emailing and checking rates that i'm doing is giving me a hard time. i'm thinking of going to Baguio with no reservations, since it's off peak, but LU might be a different thing. let me check again. yeah, it's peak season for September. argh.

so Baguio, i can try my luck. LU? no. gotta find a way to reserve a room. after Baguio though, i will go back to Manila for my tita's birthday.

i am so excited. now i have to think how much i have to spend.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 06:10 Archived in Philippines Tagged travel_posts Comments (0)

the cray-cray adventures: the day i prayed and almost wept


Sunday, Derrick and i went to GT so i could scope out the place. it was also nice timing since Derrick needed to attend the small group meeting after we ate lunch. the place was nice. it was really cold outside, bigger than Regis. there was a good mix of people, as opposed to Regis where there were mostly young people attending service. i was kinda distracted when the band started to play because of a really cute vocalist. argh. test. thanks, Jesus, i think i almost failed this one. LOL. what's great was, when the minister started talking, i felt at home there, too. i finally said to myself this is what i needed.

a part of the sermon talked about Nehemiah, when he "sat down and wept" and that reminded me of one of my favorite books ever, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. there was that praying exercise again. this time, we had to pray for the Philippines and what we can do. everyone around us were praying. i felt weird. Derrick started praying. i was just quiet. after he finished, he asked me to say a prayer. i didn't know what to say. it took me a few seconds before i could say something, and when i did, i prayed. i remembered my high school teacher who taught us that we should start our prayers by thanking Him for what we consider as blessings. it was also part of the sermon that day. so i thanked Him for bringing me to this path. all of the other things that i said, i don't quite remember. and that only happens when i'm drunk. does this mean i actually got high when i prayed? i was almost teary eyed when i stopped talking. i finally let go. good thing it wasn't noticeable. i would've been really embarrassed.

after church, i tried calling Nikka but she wasn't answering her phone. i'm really concerned, but anyway. Derrick and i went to Chocolate Kiss to eat. i don't know how else to describe Chocolate Kiss. i have memories in college, even after college with this restaurant. Choc Kiss, as me and my friends refer to it, is a restaurant situated in the UP Bahay ng Alumni. it is a bit on the fancier side, but most UP peeps know it for its Devil's Food cake. it is a chocolate cake with marshmallowy frosting and chocolate filling. it has changed a lot. the cake is not that moist and the price is higher than, well, fine, TEN years ago. (sidebar, Mr. Big's ex came in 5 minutes after we did). we both ordered the chix in a basket, which i love. he got the devil's food cake, i got the yummier dayap cake. :)

i didn't tell Derrick that i almost shed a tear. LOL. we talked about the recent events in our lives. i told him about my week-long leave in September. he talked about the office trolls in his life. it really felt good to have one friend who has the same objective though. i don't have anyone else to talk to about church.

when Derrick went off to the small group meeting, i then moved to SM North to buy these: an 8G sd card for my Samsung, my goft for Bry's wedding, a polo for the wedding and a cheapo watch. :) after all that, i stopped by French Baker to eat a slice of pizza then went home. i was dead tired when i got home. i never got to read anything. even when Derrick and i were chatting later at night i was already falling asleep in between my responses. by midnight i woke up and asked the mahjongeras if they were up. well, Rye and i went to North park on Makati Ave, Wendy's then Jollibee for a food trip. hmmm: double pork rib noodles, side salad and jollibee spaghetti. i just took home the salad and gave it to my tita.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 15:10 Archived in Philippines Tagged cray_cray_adventures Comments (0)

the mahjongera sessions: the Makati pigout


so lately, the mahjongeras haven't been hanging out that frequently since Burn changed his days off. last week was a blast, really, so while i was at work for my Friday shift, i asked them and our balasador, Gab, if they wanted to hang out after our shifts. they all said yes, but with Burn hinting that he's on a date. well, bros before hos dude.

i went home first, so i could take a shower. i was the first to arrive at Starbs 6750. yeah, i came first. Gab came a few minutes later, so did Rye. Burn was still MIA. we didn't know where to eat yet. i wanted some ChicBoy because of their lechon manok, but Rye wanted to go to Banapple. So first, we tried the Ayala Triangle, which didn't seem like a triangle to me, but Banapple was full. our other choices were not too good too. good thing there was a ChicBoy just at Insular. walking around Makati made me miss the place. it was like my own NYC. i never felt the same with QC. QC is like, New Jersey. when we arrived at ChicBoy, it was like heaven. not because of delightful reasons, but i think their exhaust was broken. the people manning the kitchen looked frantic being trapped inside. the dining area was like a room full of stoners lighting up at every table. well, that didn't stop us from eating. Burn followed at ChicBoy, and i got my lechon manok. i was the only one who was not wearing a v-neck short. darn it. so Burn just came from another wonderful date, and we were glad that he has moved on from the Vince episode. i was the only one clearly not moving on from my own drama. well, that's a different story. after finishing our food, we went to that bagnet place along Estrella. Oh. My. Lord. the place looked really small from the outside, but was homey on the inside. it was air conditioned, but i was really bugged my the insect electrocuting thing inside as it zapped mosquitos, which made me appreciate it later on because my arm was starting to itch. we got ensaladang talong, original bagnet and bagnet kare kare. oh my. pure gluttony. i loved it. i loved it so much i ordered some for the folks at home.

we did not get to talk about a lot of things today, but one thing was for sure. lately, my pattern has been getting in between guys in relationships.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 14:39 Archived in Philippines Tagged mahjongera_sessions Comments (0)


as inspired by a still photo from Amelie


All that i can do is to just look at you
I really wish you knew, that i fell in love with you

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:17 Archived in Philippines Tagged poem_vomit Comments (0)



out of sight, out of mind
is something i don't believe in
for no matter how i try
your image keeps appearing

and if i never met you
i'd be free of inner strife
i wish i could forget you
and move on with my life


Posted by jc_pagdanganan 04:46 Archived in Philippines Tagged poem_vomit Comments (0)

my soul's travels: PDL Days 8-13


i have been exteremely behind in posting about PDL. last week was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. i have not, for the life of me, been able to blog about PDL because of some emotional turmoil that i went through and had had to deal with. retail therapy somehow worked, and talking to my good friends also helped.

Day 8 was about me being created for God's pleasure. the question was: What common task could start doing as if i were doing it directly for Jesus? hmmm... i think i should look at my job and make it a point of gratitude instead of something i just do everyday. i have been struggling at work. there are times when i just want to give up. it's not the people but the environment. i don't see people face to face anymore. sometimes i find it difficult to drive results from points of contact that just won't do what i ask them to do. and they're all far away. but this is what God had given me. this job went to someone else the first time i applied for it, and months later, i got it. for some reason, God must have planned it that way. i tried to leave for a couple of times, but i always end up staying. maybe i should see my job in a new light, and offer anything i do at work to Him.

Day 9: Since God knows what is best, in what areas of my life do i need to trust him more? everything. i have to put my trust in him for everything that i do. at this point, i am still partial about all that i'm reading. and that has to stop.

Day 10: What area of my life am i holding back from God? that has to be my sexual preference. i may end up sounding like a broken record, but this area of my life defines who i am. i still don't know what to do about it. a change of faith, is that equal to a change of heart? i don't know. if i had to change what i'm comfortable with for Him, then i will. but it will be my biggest challenge.

Day 11: What can i do to remind myself to think about God and talk to him more often throughout the day? every situation i am in is part of his plans for me. right now, i'm thinking about surviving a whole day at work without eating as part of my fasting. these are little sacrifices that i have to do for myself and i am asking Him to be with me at every step. imagine the two green tea muffins that i have beside my PC right now. i can smell it from my seat. i can imagine how the walnuts (my favorite) and the bread might taste like together, but i promised i wouldn't eat. so i won't.

Day 12: What practical choices do i have to make today to grow closer to God? surrounding myself with people who have the same objective would do. also, making time for Church. Sundays used to be the day when i rest from a night of drinking and merry making. that had to change. i want to hear more about Him to learn about Him. my reasoning that i have a personal relationship with God has gone stale because i clearly don;t understand Him that much on my own. soon, i might revert back to having that, but with better knowledge that i am getting from attending services of Victory and reading more stuff.

Day 13: Which is more pleasing to God right now, my private worship or my public worship? What will i do about this? i don't have any idea. being visible in public about my slowly increasing faith can be something He might be happy with. my private worship is simply thanking Him for anything that might not have happened in public. i am still in the process of writing down short prayers that i can live by everyday. it's like having my own, personalized book of prayers based on what i learn everyday.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 00:55 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

my sinful life


it's time once again for a confessional. all my life i disliked confessing. i remember doing it high school or grade school, because it was a requirement for us to graduate. i admired the efforts of the school, but i didn't feel comfortable with the idea of confession being mandated. that was me then. i thought that telling someone about my sins was the same thing as admitting i was broken, and i didn't like that. so for the past few years, i never confessed. i never said i was wrong.

whether at work or at home, even in relationships, i hated being told i was not right. my way was always the right way. this must be the worst thing about me. God must have been shaking his head for every denial and fight to prove that i was right.

as i grew up, i started taking on different vices. smoking, alcohol, sex. the only thing that i wasn't addicted to was drugs, and thank God i wasn't. i would've been a mess, and my parents did not deserve that.

smoking was like breathing for me. i smoked when i woke up, after i ate, while i put my clothes on, when i arrived at the office, during breaks, when i was stressed, when i got home, while writing, etc. smoking has helped me focus when i wanted to write poems. most of what i write included smoking as an activity. i felt relief everytime i puffed on that little white stick of death. i've quit a lot of times. just two weeks ago though, i promised God it will be the last time i would quit smoking, for i didn't want to go back. i appreciate some of my friends who back me up. sometimes i give in to peer pressure easily, so having supportive friends is a good thing.

drinking? oh man. i may drink occasionally at times, but when i'm really down, i drink a lot. i once regarded vodka as my best friend, and took on Kathy Handler, my drinking alter ego, in reference to the great Chelsea Handler. until now, i have a bottle of vodka at home, which is like a test i have to pass everyday. i was wild when i was drunk. recently, realizations of being lonely made me turn to alcohol. i drank every weekend. i met some new friends, that was fun. but when things got a little bit cray, i had to limit my relations with certain people. that's the thing with alcohol, you never know what you're going to do when you let it go to your head. i was told i shouted "i love pen*ses!" at a bar. yeah. libations at greenhills was like heaven for me. it was a place where i met new friends and cemented my reputation as a big drunkard. i didn't care how much i spent just so i can drink. we even rented a condo unit just to party. i loved alcohol. i revered alcohol. maybe because i felt sooooo free in the fake reality it offered. i was able to do things that i shouldn't, but i am glad i never went too far. some people can't handle it well, resorting to activities without thinking. i almost became a pure hedonist, living for pleasure. not just for alcohol, but with the things i did with it. i never want to use alcohol agaon to be flirty with anyone. i don't want to be thought of as someone who used alcohol to take advantage of other people in their drunken stupor. a real friend will not take advantage of you in a state of stupidity.

oh, being stupid, right? sex has gotten me to do crazy things. i spent money on internet connection, computer rentals, time and effort just to get laid. gone are the days of having my flavors of the month. if there's one thing i'm proud of so far, it's that i haven't gotten jiggy with anyone for almost a year. i want my next one to be special because i deserved it. the one thing that may hold me back is what our church may say about, well, sex.

if there's one thing that i feel will be a problem with the renewal of my faith, it will be my homosexuality. this has become my lifestyle. if people were to give words that would describe me, i guess the top spot would be: gay. i have been this way for years. i have come to accept what i liked in life. i honestly do not see myself being with a woman. nor having children. this must be the ultimate test. i do not know how the future might pan out for me, but whatever He decides i do, i should accept with all my heart.

so what is this confessional about? i want to identify what my faults are. i have found friends who serve as my outlet everytime i need to say my sins out loud. and these conversations did not need alcohol. i also remembered this while training a course yesterday. i asked the participants to think of their fatal flaws, and i had my own answers. my flaws are fatal. i could die. lung cancer. liver disease. AIDS. it's not easy to have vices. it feels great to be crazy. but i have to use my head.

in a few weeks, i will embark on a solo journey to find and know God better. i think i know myself enough. those who say they don't know themselves are all in a state of denial. how can you not know yourself? do you constantly need others to tell you who are? maybe it's because you don't want to acknowledge yourself. going on this retreat looked fun being with someone, but i haven't found that one person with whom i can share this experience. so i guess going alone is the best option. i am excited. i want to go back to Manila feeling a lot better about myself, my faith, my life.

surely, i have dealt with a lot of evils, and there are more to come. all i need is to strengthen myself, and not go back to the way i was. a sinful life is fun, until it comes back to you and hits you where it hurts the most.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 18:08 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

the case of the sleepless and full-stomach weekend

(with an emergency mahjongeras session)


Last Friday, i went to work really early because i was supposed to meet Derrick and give him cupcakes, but something happened the day before and well, i did not have cupcakes to give. Derrick went somewhere else instead, and I, feeling alive-alert-awake-enthusiastic on a payday Friday, still decided to go to work early and eat at Manang's! I discovered Manag's when i went out on a date with Paul months ago in Mercato. Well, it was just a stall there. The one along Morato was an actual resto. The place looked like a less fancy Jollibee but with the same friendly crew. I totally understood the understatement with the interior because my focus was on the food. When i arrived, i was the lone customer. Minutes later, there were pairs of people coming in, some i think were dates, and i felt a bit sad. I was the odd, gay man out. Anyway, i ordered the four-piece chicken wings, which was actually just two wing parts cut into halves, so you have four. I don't care. memories came back when i savored the hot meat, crunchy skin and delicious original sauce. I forgot about Bon Chon and Four Fingers altogether. Oh-la-la.

I had to leave soon (with Romy's take-out) because i knew it was difficult to get a cab along Morato going back to work. I didn't want to walk. Ugh. When i got back to the office, Romy reminded me that there was a birthday celebration at work. Wooooh! We had spaghetti (Filipino sauce), pizza and ice cream. Double. Effing. Dutch. When the food came in, we were in a meeting. After the meeting my food was already gone. Romy and i kept talking about Manang's to Ray and Rem that we decided to order 24 pieces more. Yes. The four of us. 6 pieces each. By the time the delivery arrived, i was almost full. I stopped eating after my third piece. Yes, sometimes i give up (i wish it was that easy for other things). I finished my sixth piece towards the end of my shift. I could feel my heart complaining about all that oil. Sorry.

Anyway, we ended our shift kinda happy. So i went home early and didn't ask them out. By the time i was about to sleep, i caught Burn on Grindr. Well, we had to talk about Vince at some point. We ended up conferencing Rye, who just got out of work at 7am. Guess what happened next?

So 930am, i was at Starbucks 6750. No sleep. I guess i willed myself to go because i haven't seen Burn for a long time and i wanted to hear his story. And i wanted Rye to hear my story. So i told him my story. I got the reaction i imagined, and no, i did not cry. I didn't cry because i was always the one who cried in public. So i held my tears back for a change. It felt good to unload such things to good friends. Although i knew it wasn't something they could digest right away. I wasn't trying to do anything, i just wanted them to know. Almost all day, i got the remarks i was expecting. It was irritating because everywhere we went, i remembered the thing. Even the songs in the mall were reminding me of the thing. By 11am we settled at A Veneto, which was really disappointing. Well, their chicken pesto was not so satisfying. My stomach was full but my mouth was asking for more. Number one, the chicken fillet was really thin and dry. Two, the serving was surprisingly less than what we expected. Three, i kept comparing it to Napoli. Oh Napoli, I love.

We then went around Landmark to look for un-reading glasses for Rye, and then we decided to got to Cash and Carry. I haven't gone to Cash and Carry for a long time. Well, the last time i did was during Branden's first birthday. And we only went to Jollibee so we never saw the interior. It looked great, compared to the long stretch of stalls from years ago. We went to Smart, but they did not have what i needed so we headed to Sun. After my purchase, we went to Book Sale, my heaven, and bought my third Sedaris book that i may not read until December. After that, i went crazy and bought new underwear. For no reason. We headed back to Glorietta 5 after hearing Jealous for the nth time. We went to Bench again, but this time we didn't buy anything. I lost my will to purchase. And i felt i needed to do number two.

So we went home. I dropped off Rye near his place, but it took me almost an hour to get to our place because of traffic. I forgot it was fiesta in that area. Ugh.

When i got home, i immediately went to the washroom and did my thing. Was too tired to go out with my cousins. I just looked at my purchases. And calculated how much i spent that day. And then slept.

I woke up around 12am the next day because of my freaking alarm. Had we slept before meeting up, i would've been so late because i realized i set my alarm at 12am when i was awakened by it from a deep sleep. So smart of me.

I ended up watching Suits instead.

In a few hours, i was set to go to Fria's christening. Well, it was nice. I also got to see Karen's place for the first time. Loved the food, but i was too tired to stay. When we got home, i felt i wanted to go out, despite the laziness.

My cousins and i, plus two nieces, went to Greenhills. I sold the phone that woke me up and got another Samsung, an Ace, that is locked in TMobile Korea. Great. Then we ate at Little Asia in Promenade. I am loving that place everytime. I went there first with Paul, then Lester just a few weeks ago. Who's Lester? Yeah, Lester. Anyway, we ordered the chicken, Korean beef stew (yum! The Best!) and got my free herbed chicken. I was full! Again! What i love the most will be the Japanese mixed rice with shrimp! Love. It. And then we went home.

At home, i realized that i have been behind with my PDL chapters. Good thing Derrick asked me about it. We were so into the holy stuff and then i fell asleep. Sorry Derrick.

Well, the next day i went to work really early for a report i had to do. Felt sad when i left home because all of them were there. And Marcus was smiling! Well, tomorrow's another day. And tomorrow we will start our Hunger Games at work. we'll only be allowed to eat once a day. How long can i do this? It depends. I gotta fast and pray. Thinking of writing down quick prayers that i can say everyday. One, "Please let me go home safe today, Lord."

See you later!

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 04:24 Archived in Philippines Tagged the_case_of Comments (0)

for you


it's funny how with just one second, i almost gave up what i believed in and held on to.

in one moment, i was ready to lose my values and live in a make-believe world with you.

i hold back the tears that try to escape from my eyes while i can, for if i let them fall, my feelings will take over me again.

i wish i could do what's wrong, i wish it was that easy. i wish i had not known what was right, i wish you were free.

if you asked me to run away today, i could've said yes. i could've disregarded what everybody says.

i didn't expect it would come to this. i can't lose my sanity with just one kiss.

i shouldn't let loose and go against my faith. so even if it hurts, i will wait.

and til the time we're on the same ground, just know, i'd always stick around.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:06 Archived in Philippines Tagged poem_vomit Comments (0)

my soul's travels: PDL Days 5, 6 and 7


Let's continue with Days 5, 6 and 7 for today. I have not been posting much about PDL, and i don't want to be too behind with what i need to write about.

Day 5 starts by asking: How do you see your life? Oh, the horror. My answers right away were life's a party, a long-playing music video/movie, etc. The answers to this question was regarded as my life metaphor. It is a "description of how life works" and what I expect from it. The book went on to say that seeing life as one big party says one thing about me: my primary joy in life is having fun. Well that's a bummer, ain't it?

In the next few paragraphs, it was revealed that there are three life metaphors that we can look at: Life is a test; Life on Earth is a trust; and Life is a temporary assignment. Looking back at my answer, oh geez. Hahaha! I guess i really need to learn a lot more than what i know about my life. A party? Yeah, that has to stop.

The chapter was a bit short, and i think is, for my purposes, best encapsulated in the questions for Day 5:

What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?

Hmmm... I guess one test was probably with my decision to renew my faith. It all fell into place for me. I had a friend who asked me to join him in Church, the venue was convenient for me, the people were pleasant, etc. The choice was mine, with all the roads leading to this, do i run from it, or do i move forward? I think the choice to stay was the start for me. I had people ask me why I made the change, I had people joking around the activities of this Church, but i chose to stay. There will be more tests that will come, i know; and that's why i am asking for strength everyday. I have a big test coming, and like a moth flirting with fire, I hope to end up with no burns.

What has God entrusted me with? I am unsure what it really is, I am trying to think about my life and see if there is anything of great importance that i handle. My job, I guess, is one? But this answer is not concrete for me.

Day 6 continues with the next life metaphor: Life is a temporary assignment. It says that all of us are so into our accomplishments and achievements on Earth that we forget about our life after death, what would happen after our last breath here. We forget about eternity, and whether we spend that eternity with God or not.

The question for this chapter was: How should the fact that life is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?

For me, to simply put it, I have to make sure that my next decisions and actions are geared towards what my life would be after i leave Earth. I have started my Project 365 and i must admit, there are a lot of temptations to break those goals that i set. Just today, my fubu was texting and i felt that that was a sign that tests are being put into motion. I want to be successful in this. I have never seen life this way and i am hoping i can come out victorious.

Day 7 was about bringing glory to God, as He was very generous with sharing His glory to us. The question was: Where in my daily routine can i become more aware of God's glory? Every moment of my life. When i wake up, it means i'm still alive. When i go down and see my family, it means i'm not alone. When i go to work, it means i'm blesses with a nice job. Everything I do or see is an example of His glory and i'm lucky to realize that now.

I am still tempted to read ahead, but i think taking this one day at a time is really helpful. Soon, i guess. I'll look back at everything i've written when i reach my 40th day. :)

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 02:27 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

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