2015 Round-Up

2015 was a blur –

I had to scroll back through my Facebook posts to remind myself what happened this year. The first quarter was spent in anxiety (waiting for bar results), the second was spent in victory (yay!) and lots of thanksgiving parties, and the last half of the year was spent immersed in a challenging work environment after a painful decision of leaving Camsur. I was able to bring my family to beautiful Caramoan, the French toast crew was born, I met a lot of new and amazing friends (special mention to my wakeskating loves – Zu, Andrew and Cole, and Cedric “Ton-ton”), reconnected with old ones, had a videoke party for my birthday at CWC, shifted from beers to lots of red wine, was in a raw food diet for a while, was living a page off Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, went out to watch a Callalily gig last-minute and enjoyed it, and just had the annual year-end review in Tagaytay with my bestest friends for some really tough adult decisions…2015 has been crazy busy for me.

I noticed that I have a theme for each year, and 2015, I think, was a year of growth. I prayed for it, and indeed, it was what the Lord gave me. Lately, there are times when I think I cannot handle it anymore, but I take a deep breath, brush off my tears and say a little prayer to be wiser and stronger.

Thank you to everyone for making 2015 such a memorable one!

This year is going to be interesting. Let’s do this! Happy New Year everyone! Cheers!!!

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Album Review: Laging Lasing by The Borrachos

This post has been several months in the making. It has been quite difficult for me to write again, and an OPM album review at that, after taking a break. I hope this is not yet too late. First, I want to say thank you to (mommy) Pola Garcia and to Ronn of The Borrrachos for trusting me with a copy of their album and letting me share my thoughts about it. I have so much respect for artists, for those who have the courage to express themselves and create music. By coming up with this album, you are already giving something out there that is definitely worth appreciating.

Now to the subject proper- The Borrachos is composed of Raffie Miranda, Ronn Sana and Paul Puti-an, all of which are also members of ska/reggae group Coffee Break Island (CBI). According to Ronn, The Borrachos was formed for those songs that didn’t sound like CBI and had a flavour of their own. When I heard this story, I thought, these guys are prolific! Kayo na ang nanganak pa ng isa pang banda. Ang galing! Their first album, Laging Lasing, is packaged wonderfully and consistently with their band’s name as the CD’s sleeve is placed inside a brown paper bag, in the same way a bottle of liquor is usually wrapped in, where else, a brown paper bag. I just realised, in Bicol (where I am staying at the moment) buratsero means “lasinggero”. Aha! That was random.

2015/01/img_0422.jpgAnyway, the album contains four (4) tracks in Filipino, and five (5) tracks in English. I love the over-all mood that the album evokes when you listen to it, the lyrics are very apt to the melodies. I enjoyed the guitar solos and the various instruments used for every song, which truly highlighted The Borrachos’ musicality. The album’s first (and last) song, Laging Lasing, is a heartbreaker. Kapag pinakinggan mo yung kantang ‘to, saktong desperado eh– may controlled angst yung vocals ni Paul dito. I love the guitar solo here! Version 2 used a piano, instead of a guitar, and it’s more melodic. Song number 2 is Palamig Painit– a Western-sounding track that will bring you to a pub with swinging doors, cowboy hats and pointed boots. It’s a pretty cool track. Patungo sa Kawalan is one of my favourites. It’s a folksy, blues-y song that has socially relevant lyrics plus a harmonica accompaniment on some parts which I absolutely loved. This Song Won’t Last Long is about taking chances but, then again, ends tragically because it “won’t last long”. It has a very easy melody, and I enjoyed the bridge on this one. A very mellow and slow song, Lonely for Awhile, is such an apt title to its melody, and is a little bit pop-sounding to me.

Of course, dahil Laging Lasing nga daw, the album is filled with more love songs that will cause you to, well, drink more. Broken Down Merry-Go Round is another really sad song and the melody indeed makes you feel that you are lost in circles. I found this song sounding a bit similar to Lonely for Awhile but this time, accompanied with a harmonica. I am amazed at how these songs truly evoke the emotions that the songwriter wanted you to feel. Another favourite is Crazy – the chords are so beautiful and influenced by country music. I think, however, that they could do away with the harmonica on this one. Moonchild has an unusual intro which you can find in any Antonio Banderas movie soundtrack. Hahahaha! This song is very distinct and has a high recall. It reminds me of one song by Train, which I can’t seem to remember the title. Uuuugh! The guitar solo on this song is pretty solid. Lastly, Parang Himala‘s percussions is the one that stood out for me. I love the verses, and saktong sundot lang yung harmonica dito. 

Overall, I enjoyed listening to Laging Lasing even though these songs will not normally be in my everyday playlist. For a simple music consumer like me, getting to listen to an OPM album like this is a big deal. A huge thank you and congratulations to The Borrachos for coming up with a well-thought CD.

You can follow The Borrachos on Facebook for updates on their gigs where you can grab a copy of this album. You can also message them there if you want to buy their CD.

Cabin Sessions: Comme Si by E. Sy Kennenga (in French, Tagalog, English and Creole!)

We have this thing we call “cabin sessions”, which are actually jam sessions inside our pretty wooden cabin here at CWC. Now I’d like to share this one here because we just had a blast jamming to this! Just a little backgrounder, Kat and I learned that our friend Cedric (whom we thought was French) was actually from Martinique, one of those beautiful Caribbean isles I would love to visit someday. Upon learning about this, we asked him if he could share us some Caribbean music and he introduced us to E. Sy Kennenga. We loved Comme Si by E.Sy Kennenga so much that we decided to do a cover, and even translate it to Tagalog, English and Creole! Here’s me, Kat, Cedric and Bass having one of the coolest cabin sessions so far –

It’s pretty amazing how music really help form great friendships, despite language barriers. Kat and I don’t speak French, Cedric and Bass (and Steeven- not in the video) speak little English, but we just had a great time jamming, talking (aka charades and Google translate. LOL!) and hanging out while they were here at CWC. This was truly a connection beyond borders – from the Philippines, to France, to Martinique yeeew! Update – We actually emailed E. Sy Kennenga about this and we got a reply from his brother/manager. How cool is that?!-

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A trip to Museo Orlina in Tagaytay

One of my goals whenever I come home to Manila is to meet some of my friends whenever I don’t have an activity with the family. That’s what I tried to do this Christmas break, in between appointments with my amazing and super-sipag dentist/friend Doc Kelly (yes I am plugging here- visit her at Tooth Options at Legaspi Towers, Paseo de Roxas, Makati, just across Greenbelt 1).  One highlight during this break was my day trip to Tagaytay with college friends. I know, this might sound weird to some because of the worsening traffic situation there, but with Tagaytay’s increasing number of good restaurants and a few attractions, it still holds as a good destination a short ride away from Manila. We decided to visit the Orlina Museum and was amazed at the beautiful art (glass sculptures) by renowned artist Ramon Orlina. I’ll be posting here some of the photos from the trip, and you might consider visiting the museum and appreciate the beautiful art in that place – IMG_3301 IMG_3298

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10 Things You Can Do in CWC Aside from Wakeboarding

CWC (Camsur Watersports Complex) prides itself as the best wakepark in the world. This is not an empty claim, as I have heard countless times from wakeboarders all over the world- professional or otherwise- that CWC (or Cdub, as it is sometimes known) is truly a wakeboarding paradise. The park’s features and the people (those already here and those who come visit, I say) collectively make it the best place to hang out and enjoy the sport. Have you ever wondered why there are a lot of videos featuring CWC when it comes to wakeboarding? Just try searching for wakeboarding and wakeskating videos on Vimeo and Youtube and you will see that the biggest stars in wakeboarding and wakeskating have an edit (a film) of them riding at CWC. I did not know this a couple of years ago. But now that I do, I hope that in my own little way I will be able to spread this good news to my fellow Filipinos. It is something that we should be truly proud of.

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Photo from @visitcamsur. (c) Teejay Rodriguez

International contests and the biggest teams in this sport have been to CWC and continue to do so because of its amazing features and the chill vibe of the place. However, I have always encountered this – I don’t wakeboard. What can I do aside from wakeboarding in CWC? A lot, actually. Aside from learning how to wakeboard at the beginner’s lake, you can actually do a lot of fun activities here. More than a year ago, I came here afraid to even take a dip in the pool because I don’t know how to swim! Now I am sharing you some of the fun stuff you can do while staying at this amazing place. I came up with a list of things that you can do apart from wakeboarding-

1. EAT. CWC has a restaurant that offers tasty fare ranging from Filipino, American to several Asian-inspired dishes. Best-sellers would be the Bicolano Pizza and Bicol Express. Personally, I love the Chicken Inasal (pretty good marinade) Beef Villanueva (there’s a little bit of beer in its sauce and it tastes good!) and the Fried Ibos ala Mode for dessert (that’s fried sticky rice topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with crushed pili nuts- yum!).

2. SWIM. There are 2 pools you can choose from – one beside the main cable and one at the Villas. It’s a perfect place for the family to have fun altogether.

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Photo from @visitcamsur

3. MASSAGE. CWC has some of the best massage therapists! Some of them have been with CWC for years hence, the countless practice that they had on the job. You can have your massage on quaint little huts beside the main cable for an amazing view. Or you can also have it in the privacy of your cabin, just in case you fall asleep after such a relaxing one.

4. SKATE. The skatepark at CWC, just behind the Clubhouse, is (I think) the first skatepark built by a local government unit. I am always happy to see kids playing there, usually on weekends. So if you’re into skating, don’t forget to bring your board when you come over at Cdub.

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5. HOT SPRINGS + MALABSAY FALLS.  I know this is already outside CWC but most of the people I have encountered here need to go out and take a break from riding after some time. The hot springs at Panicuason is a good place to relax and soothe those sore muscles if you’re too tired from riding. A short trek further will take you to Malabsay waterfalls, if you like to be surrounded by nature and then maybe swim in its cold waters.

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Photo from @visitcamsur.

6. WATERFALL-HOPPING + DEER FARM. This is another option that’s near CWC – exploring Consocep Mountain Resort at the slopes of Mt. Isarog where you can see 3 waterfalls: Tumaguite, Bulalacao and Kawa-kawa falls. You can also drop by the deer farm on the way there- it’s quite an experience.

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Photo from @visitcamsur.

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Photo from @visitcamsur

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Photo by @mariusoczon.

7. RAIL SKATES. If you’re game for a different riding experience, try taking the rail skates to Naga. It’s a 30-minute ride along the rail tracks on a motorized platform that gives one a view of the Camsur countryside. It also makes for good videos!

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Photo from @visitcamsur. (c) Jovi Villareal

8. JOG or BIKE. Do this early in the morning around Lago del Rey or maybe even around the entire Capitol Complex and be able to witness a spectacular sunrise, with majestic Mt. Isarog as an amazing backdrop.

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One early morning run around Lago Del Rey.

9. PARTY. Happy Ending Bar is just beside Cdub’s Clubhouse and near the dock at the main cable where some of the craziest parties usually happen. Believe me, it can get crazy sometimes.

10. PEOPLE-WATCHING. Ah, everyone’s favorite pastime. Just chill at the dock and watch the people ride, chat, eat, whatever. Best done with a cold beer in hand. You might even make a new friend 🙂

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Photo from @visitcamsur. (c) Francis Espina

That’s it. I hope this helps. If you can think of anything else, or you have some suggestions, feel free to comment and share with me your thoughts.

PS: Follow @visitcamsur for photos and updates on Camsur tourism. Tag @visitcamsur on your Camsur photos, too!

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Oops that’s me flying a kite near the pool. Photo by @mariusoczon