The Vice Presidential race is on! We're presented with an "interesting" set of candidates. One is a son of a dictator, one is a widow thrown into the political mix, one is married to a showbiz sweetheart, and the last choice is a coup d'etat plotter.
If you've been a voter in the Philippines, you know that candidates present stories more than political platforms. So what are the storylines of this batch of hopefuls?
I've known for a while that Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be seeking higher office. Social media has been filled with so many pro-Marcos propaganda, most of which are nauseating to say the least. There is no doubt that his father is one of the most brilliant minds in Philippine Politics but how the fuck did we quickly forget about what his regime has done to this country? The social media propaganda are quick to boast low crime rate during his presidency yet they fail to mention the countless murders and disappearances that happened in the same "glory days" of his father.
Then there is Leni Robredo, the widow who took the reigns of his husband who passed away in a tragic accident. Her story has some strange similarities to former President Cory Aquino. Hers seem to bank on sympathy and the belief that entering the race is a "sacrifice" they made for the Filipino people. Politics in the Philippines is hardly a sacrifice, especially if the administration has been wooing you for months because they failed to secure the commitment of other politicians to be the running mate of their beloved Presidential candidate. Either she is naive or she's become very calculating.
There's not much I can say about Senator Chiz Escudero. She hasn't really been a strong contender. Anyone who gets married merely months before the election is always a dubious character.
Finally, there's Gringo Honasan - a possible partner for current VP Jejomar Binay. He will complete the Bin-Go or Bi-Hon team. While he is instrumental in throwing out former dictator Marcos, he was also a well known mastermind of a series of coup d'etat during Cory Aquino's administration.
Who then should we choose as our Vice President? Sometimes I feel like we don't really pay attention to the VP candidates because they only serve as a distraction, a way to push more voters towards their Presidential candidate who is in some sort of trouble with the voters.
I have been following the Mars Curiosity Rover as it sends back amazing images of the surface of the Red Planet. But nothing has been more amazing than NASA's announcement today: they found evidence of liquid water on Mars.
Where there's water, there's life. Where there's life, humans are bound to go there. Are we on the verge of experiencing a scene from Prometheus?
This photo looks so damn convincing. The streaks do prove there was once liquid flowing through these:
It starts with a joke, a giggle and a good amount of time spent together. It may not be in that particular order. Someone appears to be the persistent one and the other is the passive, vulnerable one. It's a dangerous chemistry of emotions - one that forces you to forget about your relationship with your boyfriend or marriage to the woman of your dreams. The strength of the feeling overpowers logic.
First symptom: the "couple" starts regularly taking lunch breaks together. They start sharing intimate details about their lives. Conversations deepen and go into the more private topics and answers to the most difficult questions in life. Are you happy with your life? Are you satisfied with your relationship/marriage? If not, are you willing to do whatever it takes to be happy?
Next symptom: the "couple" starts avoiding the others to have more privacy. Their conversations turn into private jokes and secrets that no one should know. They become super comfortable in each other's company that their brains are undressed and their mouths lose their filters. The duo becomes exclusive to them.
Then they push the boundaries further. They turn lunches into after work activities such as coffee talks, movies and dinners. Both parties start lying to their partners about their whereabouts. The husband blames the often unreliable transit system. The girlfriend blames the non-existent accident which caused hours of traffic.
While the partner and spouse accepts the excuse and quietly watches reality television, the "couple" laughs at a corny, 2D movie. They start holding each other's hand. They share a big tub of pop corn. The guy asks him to taste his drink and the girl obliges.
By the third week of their romantic adventure, deceit becomes their all too familiar. Text messages become scheduled messages that attempt to avoid any shadow of doubt. Adultery and infidelity become nothing but a part of a foreign language they do not care to understand. They are happy and free and living in the moment.
And then they have their first kiss.
The kiss, however, is never enough. There will always be room for something bigger, something better. They both allow themselves to sexually experience one another. Her heavy breathing silences the phone alerts coming from his wife. His weight distracts her from the boyfriend's persistent phone calls.
Then, it becomes a cycle of pleasure and deceit, a hundred times over until something cracks, someone suspects, someone investigates and someone finds his/her first clue.
It usually is the intuitive wife who feels the awkwardness. Her husband is usually not smiling after a long day at work. He has been spending a lot of time at the office when, only a few weeks ago, he was complaining about how boring his job is.
The clueless boyfriend, on the other hand, just wondered why the girlfriend has been so understanding lately. It's as if something (or someone) is filling the void in her life.
On a very low Saturday morning, the guy becomes all too sloppy. He leaves his phone open. The wife grabs it when she gets a chance and reads the flirting on their messaging app. The name has been masked to avoid suspicion but she knows that tactic too damn well. She confronts her husband and he denies it profusely even after showing the text messages and countless of photos hidden in his phone.
He tries to contain the situation but the wife goes on a rampage. She confronts the girl with the social media as their audience. The affair suddenly becomes the biggest scandal of the century.
Insults and threats are thrown at each other. Curious friends and co-workers are waiting for the next batch of posts on Facebook. Twitter is not spared though has limited reach.
The affair is suddenly put on a screeching halt. The guy who promised to put the girl first when things go awry is suddenly quiet. He is afraid of what his wife will pull of next: will she take away their child? Will she file a case against us? Will she hire someone to kill both of us?
Thoughts become exaggerated. Communication between the lovers is cut overnight. The feeling of his body on top of her is suddenly replaced with an overwhelming fear of embarrassment and hate towards her.
In the middle of trying to cope with the scandal, she cracks. She starts looking for another job, finds one, and leaves the company for good. She just want to have a fresh start.
Meanwhile, the guy who becomes a cheating coward of a husband, desperately tries to repair the marriage. He is afraid of incurring the wrath of his wife's family. He is ashamed of what transpired at work. He becomes too sensitive when jokes are thrown during lunch break. He eventually decides he couldn't take it any longer and finds another job.
They both start again and this time in separate spaces.
The office moves on the next best gossip.
I was flicking through some TEDx videos to find some inspiration when I found this video of Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend. The 33-year-old gave a very important and inspiring talk about how to find work you love - something I've personally been struggling with for a few years now.
While I do [kind of] love what I do and the things that come with it, there is still a feeling of emptiness in my daily work life. It is so much easier to say "find the job you really enjoy" or "find what you think is fun and you'll never have to worry about work ever". Frankly, only a few people are lucky to turn their passion into something profitable. For most of us, needs and responsibilities dictate the course of our actions in our professional lives. So how do we marry these two goals?
It doesn’t matter even if you’re the President of the US. When you’re with Bear Grylls in the unforgiving wild, you have to do what he says - including eating a bear's leftover salmon!
I will own this: I love watching the Real Housewives of New York City. I love the Real Housewives franchise in general. I love watching people bicker and argue about stupid things and get into trouble after a few cocktails. It's both nauseating and entertaining. While the ladies from the other cities usually just talk about the money they do or don't have, RHONY had a lot of storylines this year to fit into one short season. It's probably because there's just too many women! Eight is too much!
My favorite highlights of the season:
- Bethenny's return brought back the real in Real Housewives. I love how she calls the other ladies out on their bullshit.
- These women are more open about sex this season. I mean, the whole Pirate Booty scandal last year probably helped them loosened up. They no longer talk about jewelries and dresses. Thank God.
- The Princess vs. Countess showdown was fun to watch. Luann doesn't seem to know what she is angry about but she keeps insisting she is mad about something. Maybe she's just trying to stay relevant so her contract gets renewed again?
- The whole Turks and Caicos trip was a blast. It is probably one of the best RH trips I've seen so far.
- DORINDA! She's bat shit crazy and I love her.
I think overall it was a great season and this great cartoon sums up all the mess in less than 7 minutes.
What would a trip to Australia be like without seeing kangaroos and koalas? Our host was kind enough to drive us around the Central Coast. He took us to Lake Macquarie where us to Lake Macquarie where I got to meet the kangaroos. They seemed harmless and nice but they tend to hop away as we tried to get out of the car.
We had better luck when we went to the famous Australian Reptile Park. There were kangaroos which were literally sitting on the grass. People were taking photos with them - except me. Animals scare the shit out of me (except our dog).
My companions were forcing me to stand behind the kangaroo and touch its head. I politely declined after seeing a 5-year-old Aussie kid get kicked by a kangaroo when he accidentally touched its tail. Poor kid.
And of course, the cutest animals are the koalas. They're simply adorable! The park attendant warned us that they have sharp claws and they tend to scratch visitors. I was satisfied with simply admiring them from a distance.
And there were other interesting creatures:
It was finally time to finally be out and about in Sydney. After a drunken night with my bestfriend, she decided to show me all the touristy places.
I only dreamed of being in Sydney before this. I finally saw the majestic Sydney Opera House in all its glory.
It was very gloomy that day so my photos aren't great. Still, the beautiful structure stood out. And oh, yeah I got to see the famous Sydney Harbour Tunnel too.
At the back of the Opera House was the gorgeous botanical garden. We hopped on a Choochoo Express train and took a trip around the garden. The driver was giving us a brief history of the trees and structures while we admired their beauty.
We walked and walked until we reached a place called The Rocks. It reminds me of Old Intramuros (Old Manila).
A quick train ride took us to the other side of the Sydney Harbour where the only theme park in Sydney is found. It's called Luna Park. The rides were pretty old and we weren't in the mood to go on any of them. (Translation: the Ride All You Can pass was too freaking expensive!) We waited until the all the lights were turned on.
The best part is that it gave us a different view of the Harbour Tunnel and the Sydney Opera House:
The best thing about my trip to Australia was the fact that I got to meet with people I haven't seen in years. My bestfriend, who lived in Eastwood for 7 years, was eager to take me out on a Sydney Pub Crawl. I was ecstatic. It was a Friday and I had a very busy week. I had to give myself a much-needed alcohol intake.
Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate that the trip from the Central Coast to Sydney would take more than two hours long. There were two options: there's the express train (limited stops) and regular trains (with heaps of stops). I ended up taking a regular train. By the time I got to Sydney, I was ready to go to bed.
But of course, that didn't happen.
We started our pub crawl at the Aurora pub. I had my first two Ciders ever. I've never really been a beer drinker so I settled for Ciders. That was the first mistake I made. We moved to another pub and then another. Our goal was to have one shot per pub. I did, however, get two or more at some of them.
There's this cool pub called Forresters in Surry Hills which had the best mojitos. We had a pitcher of a four seasons-flavored mojito. It was AWESOME. Next, we moved to a place where they served these Skittle shots.
Me: Why are they called Skittle Shots? (There were no Skittles on it.)
Bartender: Try it:
Me: Gulp gulp.... AAAHHHHHH!!!
It tasted like fucking Skittles mate.
We ended up on Oxford Street where everything gay and fabulous are. We stayed at the Stonewall pub where there was a drag show. I enjoyed it so much. I performers were amazing though I was pretty scared actually. The drag queens were more muscular than most men I know. It was hilarious.
After three ciders, I was dancing wildly - on my own. I remember meeting a girl and her gay friend and we danced for a bit when I heard Disclosure's "Latch". I kept screaming "That's my song!!" for like a hundred times. My bestfriend said someone was taking a video of me with my hands up in the air while dancing.
Those idiots put that video on Instagram, by the way.
I was drunk and tired and it was time to go home. On the train on our way to my bestfriend's place, I started crying and screaming "I Love You ________". My bestfriend enjoyed while watching me have my usual "alcohol breakdown."
When I woke up the next day, I had no memory of going on a train, walking to my bestfriend's apartment or almost anything that happened after my 8 or 9th (God knows how many) ciders.