Out and About

To travel, dance, get a few more tattoos.
Love.

A, B & AP

Being physically away from family and friends has awakened me to the utter convenience of technology. My Globe plan may have died several weeks ago but I charge my phone battery about three times a day for it to keep me connected to home via Facebook, Facetime, Twitter, Instagram etc. Unfortunately, as my OFW days went by, my accounts have accumulated a disturbing amount of, hmm, unpleasant sights. I always struggle to accurately describe what I see online, more so how they make me feel about my generation, because I find most of them hard to understand. I’m not sure if the modern culture of social networking blurs the human capacity to decide on the extent of transparency they can project. Obviously the real self differs greatly from the online self and it’s none of my freaking business how people want to publicize themselves but constant collages of exorbitant meals, provocative selfies with the mandatory cleavage flaunting, excessive and inappropriate declarations of personal information, and many other forms of attention-screaming online behavior genuinely baffle me. They make me feel lost in my own age range and urge me to question concepts of social etiquette, professionalism and common sense. It helps that these sites include an unfollow feature but the fact of the matter remains – I don’t get it.  

It’s not you (internet), it’s me. Probably. Maybe I just wasn’t raised to be… cute. And/or mainstream. This is why when I learned about my family from the northwest driving down south, I knew that their visit couldn’t have had better timing. I’ve admired these folks for their lifestyle long before the internet damaged my faith in cyber humanity. And seeing them again after three years not only reminded me of my principles, but also inspired me to channel this secret struggle into something proactive.

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“We don’t need a plan, we just wanna hang out. With you guys.” said my uncle when we asked them what they intended to do in the city. Taking my baby cousin Anika to the aquarium was the most costly and most schedule-y thing we did but other than that, we basically just hung out. Drove around the city, feasted over buffalo wings and ribs at home and just talked. A lot. The only times they brought out their iPhones were when communication was necessary, or when something picture-worthy happened like when Tita Betsy caught me and Anika snuggling on my bed and giggling over Jimmy Fallon videos. “This is too cute.” she said (in our book, at least).

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It’s good to be detached, especially when you’re traveling.” Did I speak with such depth when I was 12 years old???????  

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Even better than the endless talking and story-telling were the free concerts aka jam sessions, which by the way were completely normal in their own household back in Washington state. Did I mention that music runs in our blood? Quality music, alright, not the fist-pumping, awkward Taylor Swift dancing kind of noise.  

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All day and all night. Way, way better than Spotify.

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Military stints, music festivals, supernatural encounters and cross-continent adventures. All intertwined in naturally witty anecdotes and some late night booze. I don’t know about you but this is cool stuff to me.

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At some point during their 3-day stay, I was embarrassed to share my own thoughts because these people just embodied flat out modesty while I, on the other hand, represented the superficial world that my generation has become. It is truly rare to find people who live by practicality and utilitarianism at this day and age, let alone still believe in them. And I find it amazing how people can exemplify that while staying progressive and creative without succumbing to the materialistic and overly conscious society that we are transforming into. Lucky for me, I don’t only know such people, the very few of them left, I happen to be related to them too. 

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That’s the thing, I guess. Them plus their like-minded peers and the rest of us Avelinos are just tiny specks in the universe. We or I personally can’t gear everyone else’s preferences and actions towards the same direction. But picking up what I feel is best for the person that I will become already sounds like a head start. From there, I can only show what I know and hope that less people count on likes, favorites and retweets for validation. Humility is challenging but perspective is the only thing I’d guiltlessly brag about because I’ve seen it firsthand; there is way more to life than mere status, attention and likability.

I think that makes me a cooler kid.

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FIORI SPONTANEI

Certainly, nobody wants a disruptive pop-up message in the middle of a Kodak moment just ‘cause his iPhone memory is out of space. Neither does one want to just delete tiny remnants of mundane yet notable everyday encounters to make room for new ones.

My favorite neighbor.

"ANG TABA GUMAGALAW BA YAN?" - Daniel

Nevada — California

POINT LOBOS

If there’s one thing that always catches me by surprise in my relationship with my bassfrands, it’s how we always seem to agree in one thought or principle in every possible aspect even without verbally and formally coming to terms with it. When summer kicked in this year, we all worked our individual ways to revert back to an active lifestyle. From yoga to boxing, high intensity interval training, outdoor activities and underestimated yet physically demanding computer games, the three of us found ourselves signing a commitment to fitness. Paired with this is the scraping off of excess junk in our daily diet and while this may or may not extend to our ridding of unnecessary emotional baggage, it’s brought us a lighter and more balanced disposition altogether.

Moving to a new city didn’t hinder me from staying faithful to this bond. Even though after careful thought I realized that Elorde is the first thing that I miss from home, I try to stay active amidst the bay area’s perpetually chilly weather and the temptation that lingers around my bed and sweaters. Jogging in the nearby parks and yoga on my bedroom carpet have become routinary, but today I did something I really wish I could’ve done with Mookie and Cara: hiking.

Thirty minutes away from where I’m staying is Point Lobos, a vast natural reserve woven by hiking trails that provide a majestic view of the Pacific Ocean. Linking the quaint cities of Carmel and Big Sur, it is clearly an impeccable connection of land and sea, and rocky and serene. I swear some of the guys we saw were just chilling the fck out in the adjacent white sand and pebble beaches, while others conquered the endless pathways interlaced through the mountains. It was such a relaxing hodgepodge of sights - my pictures do no justice.

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You’ll find me in there somewhere…

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There!

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Not so hidden now, is it……………

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Other than the unfavorable effects of procrastinating leg-focused workouts, the point where two things meet and blend naturally into coexistence is what I was reminded of today. Just pure and pristine, nothing forced and artificial. Land and sea or person and person (and person, in the bassfrands’ case), it becomes one of those priceless things that you have to see and feel for yourself. Pretty cool, that kinda stuff.. nowadays pretty rare too.

GREAT AMERICA

So… In celebration of my first Fourth of July holiday living in the States, regardless of insufficient visual aid, I’m sharing a road trip I had a few weeks ago to, for the sake of contrived correspondence and thematic harmony, Great America. Leaving my camera at home had pros and cons – one pro being me having complete mobility and zero restraint from the careful handling demanded by any SLR, and the utterly regrettable con of not being able to document how much fun I didn’t expect to have. I was whining like a four-year-old to my cousin as we lined up to the first rollercoaster. After thirty minutes of waiting for less than a minute of loops, cork screws and superhuman speed, I wanted to go again and sit at the front.

A few personal thoughts before I share my groundbreaking, high quality, #vsco worthy post-processed iPhone photos:

  1. NOW I know what an adrenaline rush really feels like.

  2. I was terrified lining up in the craziest rollercoasters alongside KIDS APPROXIMATELY AGED 7-10 AND THAT SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT MY ADULTHOOD.

  3. Ok lang, di na takot right after my first try. Hah.

  4. One of them felt like Quidditch and that made it so much cooler. (Again, this says so much about my adulthood.) (Whatever, I belong to the Harry Potter generation.)

  5. These rides perfectly symbolized my omnipresent stupidity of clinging to inhibitions and the fck of a ride life can be after they’re let go. #ang #sarap

OKAY, PICTURES!

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Scattered around the park are food courts that sold pizza, churros, funnel cakes, turkey legs and, (first timer moment) BEER. Double-sized cans made any following rollercoaster ride HEAVEN. Tunay na biyaheng langit. Solb.

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Reprezent -______________-

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Lovely company. JC, my cousin, and his beautiful girlfriend Yashira.

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For those of ya’ll planning to visit, go on seconds and thirds at the Gold Striker and Flight Deck for me. Happy Fourth of July!

YVR

Me: Ma, how do people talk in Canada?

Ma: Like Americans.

Me: You mean they have the same accent?

Ma: Pretty much.

That’s it? That’s ALL there is about Canada? I had to see (or hear) for myself.

Vancouver’s ethnic diversity and livability are just some of the reasons why I’ve been dying to visit. When I had my chance to go, I had very limited time to explore the city and find out if it really is just a milder version of the US, as my mom always says. Bear with me as I attempt to squeeze ten days into a single post.

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I feel it pertinent to note, before anything else, that this was my best friend for ten days in 2012.

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A couple of minutes in this incredibly steep cable car ride will take you to Grouse Mountain, an outdoor playground offering lots of exciting activities such as skiing, hiking, ziplining, lumberjack shows and grizzly bear viewing. My strata of jackets, venti cup of coffee and this temperature board would probably explain how unbelievably cold it was that time. If it’s like this on spring time, imagine winter.

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It was alternately rainy and sunny when we went but that didn’t hinder the commencement of all these thrilling activities. I mean, coming up close to a grizzly bear? And hearing every gust of a breath coming out of its humongous size? And THEN watching lumberjack shows featuring steamy local lumberjacks with soaking wet shirts in the middle of a cold drizzle? My eyes widen just recalling it.

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The rampancy of sights like this could be well attributed to the quality of life in Vancouver. Driving to and from Grouse Mountain and practically anywhere in the city will blanket you with lush greens and widespread natural reserves. 

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Didn’t miss the chance to drive by the sprawling Stanley Park and marvel at these adorable totem poles.

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A quick boat ride took us to Victoria, another city in the province that attracts tourists all year round. Our first stop was Miniature World, an adorable museum filled with intricate dioramas of historical and fictional stories. This is literally cuteness, redefined.

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Next is where I felt my Disney princess fantasies come true. Craigdarroch Castle used to be the home of Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who was considered the wealthiest man in the land during his time. The castle is one of the massive houses built by successful entrepreneurs during the industrial age and seeing it definitely got me all Mia Thermopolis. Never in a million years did I imagine myself even coming close to one so excuse me while I flaunt the pictures I painstakingly delayed my whole tour group for.

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Elegant architecture, exclusive in-house communication systems, furniture and clothing of the Victorian era. Needless to say, I was mesmerized. 

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Back in the mainland, I had just enough time to explore the rest of the city and even if one day is very insufficient for my usual downtown adventure, I was lucky to come across charming novelties that make Vancouver unique from all other places I’ve visited.

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Truth be told.

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Ran into a legit Indian artist who carves as you please. I loved the whole thought of it and so did my equally quirky aunt. Here’s a photo of her, what she got and my wonderful cousin, Anika.

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Again, I could go on and on with my pointless ramblings but for the meantime, I guess hearing the same American accent from everyone already completes this journey. Next time, I’ll carry more profound motives.

Laboracay 2014

A few minutes ago, I finished an entire draft about my relentlessly challenging travel arrangements, extended beach living, preempted spring break experience and all that EDM. I deleted it. I realized that all of those details wouldn’t encapsulate what I bagged from Laboracay this year.

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Hopping into several groups of friends within the span of five days paved me the faint road to self-rediscovery. In the midst of the loud music and the buzz from alcohol, I was able to learn more about myself and validate some of the principles I plan to carry for the rest of my nomadic life. 

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I probably have a thousand pictures of this view but I still keep taking more. For the nth time I reaffirm my forever love. Some people aspire to be doctors and businessmen. Everyone says this but I mean it more than ever: I want to travel the world. And I will. I dream to make a profession out of it someday.

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I love exploring. Experience is my favorite teacher and I will never back down for new ones. It’s so refreshing to discover tiny details about the different places and people you encounter. It’s the best way to live, the only way I plan to do so.

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I have a very small family but I have a gigantic circle of friends. Humongous. It ranges from party people to socially inept nerds and I couldn’t be more grateful. Because of them, I am a melting pot of ideas and perspectives. Listing them all down would be impossible and I might never find the right words to describe what they really mean to me. 

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EDM? Just not my thing.

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Every encounter is valuable. It’s always good meeting new people and forming new relationships because they all teach you something. Every experience exposes you to new things, good and bad, and ultimately, they all make you realize the kind of life that you want for yourself.

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Lastly, at the end of the day, nothing is more rewarding than peace of mind. Achieving this varies in different people. I personally need just a little bit of everything you read.

Till next year, Bora.

SFO

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that the key to a lasting relationship is falling in love with the same person over and over again. It didn’t apply to the romantic type in the said post, and neither will it in the one I’m currently composing. I’ve always professed my unending love for San Francisco, a city that constantly pulls me back through the years and even though I could have spent my money for a city that I’ve never visited, every trip to this one felt like coming home and a vacation at the same time.

Here are a couple of reasons why it remains my favorite.

Embarcadero is essential. It’s a waterfront that spreads into a wide industrial area including the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, Ferry Building, Pier 39 and AT&T Park where you’d find a deep diversity of people. From local fitness buffs to college students to friendly kababayans, it didn’t run out of things that fascinate me. Combine that with the calm breeze, the intimacy between you and the sky, the ocean rush far different from beach waves and the subtle circulation of countless forms of street art. It was love at first sight.

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I haven’t gone to many other piers in the world but I already know why the bay area’s clam chowder is an institution. There were no left overs when I had this, not even the bowl of sour dough.

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A couple of miles from the pier is where downtown is and THIS is almost orgasmic for me. All sorts of weirdos scatter in the geometric corners, vintage cable cars and vertical streets which actually feel like Inception, now that I think of it. 

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It is almost mandatory to drive at least once on the Golden Gate Bridge. It felt unexplainable to know that you’re suspended in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, standing on something that you only see in the movies. In the midst of the bridge’s length and its location’s much colder weather, joggers and bikers surrounded you in the side pavements, reminding you that in life, “kanya kanyang trip lang talaga” (to each his own).

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The peak of eccentricity doesn’t stop there. Alcatraz is a small island located in the San Francisco Bay and used to be a federal prison. It is now converted into a museum that reveals everything about prison life back in the day. It’s eerie enough that it’s isolated from the rest of the city, what more the thought of a single voice accompanying you as you walk through its abandoned walls? It was an audio tour, meaning guests are given headphones and a small device upon entering. These gadgets made it possible for every guest to roam around the place with their own individual voice guides. Nothing felt creepier. I loved it.

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Regular prison bunks, special isolation cells, kitchen, bath, library and control rooms. I never thought jail could be so interesting.

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The BART is one of the most practical modes of transportation in the bay. A few minutes in this train will take you to probably one of the most energetic places ever: Mission District. Travelers are often warned about safety issues in the neighborhood because of its history of ethnic conflict. The said concern is the very reason why it pulsates with culture today. Unconcealed stares welcomed me, but its vibrant graffiti-covered walls in literally every building in every corner and every block only drew me closer.

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I cannot emphasize it enough.

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I could go on and on. 

:)

All photos by myself.

G

Once upon a time, there were two girls who were curious about things that were far beyond their years. They explored places and people together and decided that they, as pathetically high school as it gets, and because of the nature of activities that they initially enjoyed together, should call themselves gimmickmates.

One of them is typing this insufficient back story for you; the other one is this.

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Eight years later, they still embark on various journeys together, like this one where they both went surfing the second time. 

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That girl whose phone is glued to her face isn’t my best friend.

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She’s a sister.

And I’m basically dedicating this first post to her because that trip up north was life-changing.

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You know how they say that the key to a lasting relationship is falling in love with the same person over and over again? I don’t think that only applies to the romantic type.

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More than eternally being patient with my pessimism and endless self-esteem issues, thanks for always inspiring me to greet the sun and just ride the waves.

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We did a pretty good job choosing what to call each other back in high school, or at least choosing how to shorten it. Because now we can say that G’s been our thing way before all the cool kids started to use it.

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Credits to Manny Vergel for the photos.