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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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?!-

E Sy

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

On blogging

I have been in and out of blogging for quite some time now. And to be honest, I am struggling. I have yet to find my voice and my style, and consistently write and publish posts that are reflective of what is truly going on in my head.

I started blogging in i.ph (thevideokequeen.i.ph) probably around 2006 or 2007 and have since lost all my posts there when i.ph went on “permanent vacation”. Back then I wrote about my thoughts, how I felt about stuff, whatever happened during the day, or a huge event that I went to. Then I moved to blogspot around 2009 (thevideokequeen.blogspot.com), which I have managed to keep until now, albeit missing a lot of posts from around 2010 to 2012. That was the time I had a self-hosted blog (thevideokequeen.com) on WordPress.org, a move that was totally unexpected, but proved to be quite fulfilling. The idea of managing and focusing on building your own site actually made me write more, focusing on music and events, and making concert or album reviews. I really enjoyed what I was doing, and then the site got hacked. Unfortunately, I don’t have any backups on my posts and lost everything. I tried to post on my original blogspot account, but the pain of lost memories lingered. I lost steam.

All throughout these blogging “episodes”, I have retained the blog title “videoke queen.” I guess maybe it’s because it is only when I am singing, facing a videoke machine, that I learn to let go and just enjoy the song. I edit a lot when I write. And if I am left to do as I please, I will edit and critique my work until I end up not writing anything. It’s awful. My blog title, I think, is my subtle reminder to let go and be unafraid to share my thoughts. It’s a work in progress.

Fast forward to several years and unwritten stories, I find myself in a different location experiencing a lot of new things and meeting a lot of people. For the past year, I have resorted to posting photos on Facebook to capture these “moments”. It’s not enough, though. I realize I have to go back to writing again and sharing the blizzard of insights and ideas whirling inside my head. It’s time to revive the videoke queen but this time, I guess I will be sharing different stories. I will try to make it more personal, and reveal more of my thoughts rather than just chronicling a concert or a show. Thus, expect posts on various subjects from now on. It’s a huge risk for me, opening up like this. But I guess the best way to connect to people is to give more of myself.

Have you ever struggled like this?  If yes, how did you deal with it?