I Wish I Did..

High School,  Senior Year, Talent’s Day.  

I have always worked behind the scenes, especially when I was voted as the President of the Art Club. We were the team that decorates, and beautified the school for its activities, minor or major. One program I’m really fond of until now is Talent’s Day. I get to sit backstage and watch the performers prepare for their number. I got to talk to them before they go on stage, and sometimes this is the only chance I ever talked to them. I got to see the first timers, and diffused their stage fright in the process.

I had my taste of the stage experience, as I was able to perform one particular Talent’s Day while I was a Sophomore. I was forced to join the class’ dance routine. It was a good one. Not great, but still good though.  Until now, I am still wondering what could have happened if I performed a number that I was really into, something I was really interested in, or something that I have always wanted to do.

Days before the program, I got the list of performers. I had to make sure that the stage, the props and everything else would be neutral, so as to complement all of the performers. I saw the program, and most of it are song and dance, song or dance numbers. (When you say “talent”, Filipinos would automatically think of the three, nothing else). This is when a thought came to me. Since we were trying to make our Senior year memorable, why not do a surprise performance?

I told my twin brother about the idea, and of course, we were both excited and hesitant. No one has ever done “it” before (in our school anyway). Plus, the English Supervisor and the Principal needed to pre-approve all performances, to filter out obscenities and anything taboo. Like that would help. I was pretty sure that “ours” had no way of getting approved, pre or post Talent’s Day.  But we still wanted to just insert it in the list.

After a couple more days, we were still not sure if we were going to push through with the plan. We were practicing a bit while finishing the stage design. We had free access to the school auditorium, so it would have been an advantage. We were getting more anxious every hour. We did not really think it would be successful. We thought that the teachers would be mad at us if we did what we were planning.

What is “it” exactly? We wanted to do this:

We were thinking of changing some of the pronouns and/or nouns a bit, to take a stab at the school’s authority figures.  The desire, and the need, to graduate was greater, so we ended up not doing it.

The Gym People

I have been working out more consistently lately, having been able to find the motivation and the right schedule. And with that, I also brushed up on my Googling about gym related stuff, and came across a few funny articles about people in the gym. After reading it, I suddenly became more aware of people I see while working out. Going to the gym had another meaning all of a sudden. Instead of just working out, it became a new observational post.

Jargons:
Reps – repetitions; a movement within an exercise

Bike –  Stationary Bike

Trainer – person qualified to give you pointers or show you how exercises are done, and which muscles are targeted. Also known as the Gym Staff.

 

1. The Overly Sweaty Guy – I usually see this guy (he is kinda old) every Sunday morning. He does a lot of reps with light weights. I am thinking that he needs to lose fat. With the way he is dripping sweat, I am pretty sure he lost more than enough of his body’s water content already.

I got to the gym around 8 am. He was the first one in. I went on the bike, not knowing that he used it first. I almost slipped off the equipment because his sweat was all over the seat and the pedals. Looking down, I saw a pool of it on the floor too.

2. Mr. Competitive (aka The Half Reppers) – I have seen some people that fall under this category. He starts off with a weight appropriate for him, then notices the guy who alternates with him uses more, so he amps his routine up and ends up in a pissing contest. He also loves to race, seeing everyone else use the stationary bike, he also went ahead and used it. He went pedaling like he was running from the cops.

 

Sometimes, I just want to walk up to him and advise him to decrease the weight, since he already had a few near misses, and it can cause his early demise, but since he is older than me, I just shrug it off. But I still keep my eye on him, just in case he would need emergency medical attention.

 

3. Meathead Douchebag/s – My twin brother and I call one particular person in our gym “Dan Brown” because he tells so much unbelievable stories to everyone who has ears. Like one time, at band camp, how he lifted the bus because their tire broke, and what was worse, he used his left arm because his right was busy stopping a volcanic eruption. All of this while he was sick with chicken pox.

He also goes to the gym even if he is not working out. Just to watch television, and tell more stories of his adventures. Oh, and maybe hit a few reps  and tell everyone within earshot that he is not feeling it so he’s just going to sit down and tell you more about himself.

 

4. The Know It All Who Really Does Not Know Anything – Most of the time, # 3 would also be # 4. If no one would be listening to their stories, then they morph into the unofficial gym Personal Trainer that criticizes every single move you make. Every. Single. Move. They usually end up doing the same “mistakes” anyway, but it does not stop them from waving their non-existent Trainer certificate around.

5.  Megaphone Guys – Grunts and groans all around, even if they are using minimal weight. They usually end their set with an exclamation of what their newborn baby is. It’s a boy!!!

6. Machine Hoggers – Every time I see these people on my gym day, my frustration level goes off the charts, since they like to park on the machines and let no one alternate with them since they apparently rented it for the day. My schedule usually takes the turn for the worse because of the length of time that they use the machine/s.

7. Ab-Flasher – these are the people who don’t have anything to do but wipe their faces with the bottom of their shirts, flashing their abs in the process, most of them non existent. A “One Pack” pretty sure does not count.

 

8. The REAL DEAL – they are the biggest guys in the gym, they use a lot of weight and still get the proper form. They look like this:

They are not as huge or aesthetic as Ahh-Nold, but you get the idea.

10. The Blogger/s who are Taking Down Notes for Their Next Blog – uh…

That’s a lot of pictures.

It’s More Fun in The Philippines

Just recently, our very own Department of Tourism came up with a slogan “It’s More Fun in The Philippines”. I think it was around the second week of January that I have heard of it, although I found that it was originally created before December (after a bit of researching). The website itself (It’s More Fun..) was created around December 29, 2011. Now, it has gathered so much attention that it has become an internet meme.

Originally, I was feeling it.  I really thought it was cool, until several things started to remove the awe and the mystique of it. One is because apparently, it was not an original concept, but a spin off of a very old Swiss tourism slogan, shown below:

This was used by the Swiss National Tourist Office around 1951 (!).

I got tired of reading comments about the similarity or even the copying of the said slogan. The Department officials and supporters were defending themselves, while the always smarter and better critics are flooding them with objections. If it was copied, why don’t they just admit it was, and if it was not, why wouldn’t the geniuses give it a rest? It is a great slogan, and a great way to promote tourism in the Philippines.  Last year,  the DOT already pulled out a campaign because apparently that was also copied from a Polish tourism campaign. With all the “critics”, someone should be able to come up with a new God-damned catch phrase at least. I guess not, since “critics” are there to just criticize.

It also has gone viral, too viral, that it already seems to be overused. Too many pictures, too many captions. X, more fun in the Philippines, where X would be anything that you can think of. Too much of a good thing. I grew tired of the slogan after seeing hundreds of pictures. Some of them are meant to be funny, but I saw a lot of uploaders in the official Facebook page who did not get the concept.

Of course, most of the Filipinos would agree that it is more fun in the Philippines. I hope that the government takes heed and improve tourism related structures, like airports, perhaps. We wouldn’t want tourist who came to see proof to be turned off with our airports, right? You know, the first thing that they would see once they get off the plane? Yes, that thing.

Walking the Streets of Ayala

I usually walk quite a long distance from the office to the bus stop on my way home ever since we moved. It’s no surprise that my beloved office shoes suffered more wear and tear. As a result, I started wearing slippers after shift, just to ease usage of my shoes. It costs a lot these days, so it also saves me money, too.

Some people find it weird that they see a guy who wears office attire with slippers in an elevator, even if the person is on his/her way to the ground floor exit. I guess it does not occur to them that the person (in this case, me) is going home. One instance, a couple was talking quite loudly, taking notice of my foot wear. They were saying something like I may not be aware of the office dress code, blah blah blah. Much to their chagrin when my trainees came in the elevator and called me “boss”. They suddenly turned quiet, so I smiled at them and told them that I was in fact familiar with the dress code, and that I was going home anyways.  I went back to my trainees and sort of reminded them not to call me “boss”. It makes me feel like an evil mob leader, and old too.

I usually don’t like parading around acting like I own the place, and it reflects outside the office. I don’t want to stand out of a crowd so I wear the “regular” clothes. Polo shirts, and slacks. If there are instances where I have to wear long sleeved shirts and/or coat and tie, I remove them before going out of the office. I don’t want to walk under the sun with those things on.

I went home by myself earlier, since Marla did not have a shift. It was around 7 am, and as usual, I look weird going in the opposite direction. People are just going to work, while I am going home. I find myself literally dancing around crowds of people on the way to start their day, all fresh and hurrying, while I was strolling.

I like to look at the tall buildings on the way home. I still could not believe I am working in the Central Business District. I look like a child ogling the architecture, but it works most of the time. People would stay away from me since they don’t want to entertain possible questions for directions because they might be late.

The buildings I pass:

Of course, the Glorietta and Rustan’s malls. The “Big G”, as we call it, houses several luxury items and boutiques, is where my office is located. Just beside it is Rustan’s, another big name in the retail industry.

Glorietta
Rustan's

Next is the Makati Stock Exchange building. I am familiar with this because it has a basketball court near the basement where I usually play. Usually meaning once a year, only if my schedule permits. This is where I used to wait for the buses, but it takes too long, so I moved to the next stop.

MSE

Some “towers” that I regularly pass by:

The PBCOM (Philippine Bank of Communications)  tower. This is the tallest building in the Philippines, although for most of you I am sure this is just a regular building in your place. It is a 52 storey commercial building  where we used to lease space.

Next is the HSBC Tower, also known as the Enterprise Tower.

The best looking building I have ever seen.

I can’t forget the Ninoy Aquino Statue in front of Insular Life Building.

I have to look straight up to admire the beauty of the tall facades. I get dizzy just by thinking of how it feels to jump off them. Not suicidal though, just parachuting off them.

Stuff That Happened Last Week

**  I went to a Globe Center (one of our local wireless providers) to check out if they would have postpaid plans that would match my monthly expenses on their prepaid platform. I spent almost Php331.25  (roughly $7.70) per month for my phone, and all of it is because of text messaging packages.  I was able to chat with their one of their web representatives the week before, so I kind of have an idea on which plan I would choose. I still wanted to verify the plans available, so I decided to personally go to one of their centers (at Market! Market! in Taguig, with Marla in tow).

Unfortunately, when we got there, a huge throng of people were already present. We observed first, looked at the phones available, and looked at the plans that they offer. We saw a tablet that offered a Plan Builder option, but that only raised a few more questions. We decided to get a number, only to find out that the personnel were not too helpful. Maybe they were undermanned, or maybe they had other good reasons.

Waiting for more that 20 minutes, we decided to go, since we did not want to waste our time waiting. We’d have to go back next time, maybe in another center.

We Shall Meet Again!

Yes, I keep track of my phone expenses, as well as other expenses. I keep a note in my phone complete with the date, the amount spent, and the item purchased. I’m very budget conscious. Parsimonious, even. For my phone expenses, I see to it that I would take note of my text messaging packages, and the number of text messages sent, to be sure that I am subscribing to the right package. I use an excel file to save all of my expenses daily. If interested, I can send you the sample file. 😀

** Please check my friend’s blog who happened to visit one museum the past week, here

** My co-trainers have a hatred of coins. Cuprolaminaphobia, according to the web. They don’t like having coins in their wallet, bags, or pockets (most especially). Most of the time, they would just leave it on their stations, ask others (including me) to change it with paper bills. or just give it to me, since I need coins (I need it for the bus fare).  I think this is okay, only because they give it to me, and I save a bit for the fare. But sometimes it actually seems snottish to be irritated by coins. I think that they are just too rich to even bother with coins.

 

** Speaking of which, one of my pet peeves in the office is when my co-trainers start to talk like “rich people”.  I don’t tell them this, but it gets irritating if they start talking about the stuff that they bought, stuff that they did, etc. It’s okay if it is just the normal conversation, but when it turns out to be a pissing contest, then I’m out. One of them is my boss, so I can’t do anything about it. We were talking about work, then she started to talk about the laptop that she bought for this certain amount (I intentionally forgot), and blah-ed on about other expensive stuff that she bought.  Just last week, they were talking about going to a vacation spot because of a Piso Fare.

 

I am not sure what this is, but I think that this means that they would pay only 1 peso for a plane seat reservation or something. They asked me if I wanted to join, and of course I declined, having other priorities (brother’s tuition, rent, etc). Their reaction made me feel like I made the worse decision of my life.

Again, I don’t know much about the Piso Fare promo, but all I know is that it excites people too much that they end up spending for a trip that they don’t really plan on getting into. The Piso is only for the reservation or something, but they would still spend on taxes and other things related to the travel.

 

 

Six Flags: After Katrina

Some creepy pictures of Six Flags in Louisiana ; abandoned since Hurricane Katrina (2005). The images show a glimpse of a possible apocalyptic environment, if humans ever cease to exist.  Check ’em out here.

I don’t really have an eye for photography, and I don’t know anything about the jargons that they use, but the negative comments from the site was for the saturation. A quick Google search led me to this explanation:

The term saturation comes into play when measuring the amount of color being reflected“.

Personally,  I think the pictures are great, but to some experts, I guess this is still amateurish for them.

It is a very depressing view to what natural forces can do, and a reminder of what it actually does. Makes you remember that humans are still not the most powerful beings on Earth, even though we would like to think it.

There are no more lines of people waiting for their chance to ride the coasters, ferris wheel or even balloons nor clowns. Just empty machines, and graffiti.

Credits goes to the actual photographers who risked arrest to get the stunning pictures.

The Museum Interest

I always pass by the Yuchengco Museum when I go home. I see the really big and intricately detailed group of statues (shown below) and since then, I have always told myself that I should go and check out the place one time. Unfortunately, after 3 years of working in Makati (where the museum is located), I still have not been able to follow through.

I thought that it would be expensive to go here. I was also thinking of asking a few of my co-workers to go, but it seems that they’re only interested in places where they serve alcoholic beverages. Some of them even dismissed the idea as a “child’s field trip” and that “grown ups do not go in museums” kind of thing. Filipinos in general do not really care about history, let alone museums. There would be a few who does, but it’s only a handful. I grew tired of the current “art” I see in TV, movie, print media, and radio, so I figured why not take in a museum environment?

I googled the museum and found out that the entrance fee was very affordable. Based on their website (http://www.yuchengcomuseum.org), it was just Php100, roughly $2 and some cents. This gave me the added motivation to visit. January 23 was rumored to be a holiday, and if it is, then I would be going.

I tried looking for more museums in Makati, and found out that there were 4 total. One of them is this museum I am already talking about. The other 3 are: the Ayala Museum,  Museo ng Makati  and the Philippine Army Museum (which does not have a website, or so I think).

I remember my last museum visit was in Museong Pambata (Kids’ Museum), and I was still a preschooler. I feel like I should be visiting these places more frequently, especially now that it is just within the vicinity of my work place. Might as well get re-acquainted with history, if I would want to make history.

(from the Ayala Museum Website)