Cause babies, you’re a firework

Putting together a magazine is not easy. Neither is it as glamorous as the movies, party pictures, and glossy pages tell you. But like I tell everyone when they ask why I’m still clocking in to put together three magazines,I say:  “I love what I do.” Sometimes, of course, what you love doesn’t love you back as much. Yet there are other companions who stick with you throughout that erratic relationship, and keep you strong as they cheer you on. Above are the two wonderful ladies who have loved the magazine with me in the last year or so, and have kept my head above water when things got tough. The gorgeous, multi-colored woman named Aia, on my right (your left), has moved on to greener pastures.

As she said in her blog post about her departure, “Capricorns ruled that magazine.” And we did, despite all the delays, revolutions, and crazy hijinks in between. Given such mad experiences, a family like friendship developed: Aia was in the company long before me and was level headed in the advice she gave me during our crises, she also always had a plan B in mind that never failed. She’s also a lot more organized than me, able to draw lists of things we’ve missed, just to keep everything in perspective. She was like a big sister, giving sage advice and always ready no matter the outcome. Then came in Nina, the smallest (literal) and youngest of us all, whom Aia adopted as her office daughter. She was the wisest of us all, and now, we have to take over and fill in such big shoes to guide the new recruits.

Of course, we had crazy, stupid moments in between all that hard work: giggling and shrieking about boys, mischievous smiles acknowledging that what we overheard from certain entities was WHUT DA LURPAK, drooling over abs when the time permitted, laughing over videos, moaning over the lack of money (because we all just bought from a sale), tanduay ice/shots/beer bottles/siomai for merienda, and all the other crazy shit we could come up with.

 Thankfully such bonding moments left us with an amrazing travel buddy. Here’s to Full Moon, Tomorrowland, and every other Philippine province, Zara! Till the next travel sale or shoe sale 😉

And then, there’s Karla.

The best way to describe Karla is through her laughter: it’s loud, proud, mischievous, and warm. Sometimes the joke isn’t even that funny, but hearing her laugh at it is enough to make you laugh hard. She’s also one of the kindest, most patient, prettiest (totoo na yan ah? :P), sweetest, and most caring people I know. And by kindest, I really mean, kindest. Even after people have taken advantage of her while on the job, she still finishes work and finishes it well. You’ll only hear her complain and talk shit about someone when she has a valid reason to do so. Otherwise she stays friendly, happy, and sweet the whole time. She also has the best quotes…which I won’t post here, just to lessen her embarrassment 😛

Karla extended one more week at the office just to finish her magazine–that’s how hard working and dedicated this girl can get. I can say the same for our friendship: we didn’t grow close automatically (shy type daw nung una, lol!) but when we did start having our sabaw, manyak, shopping moments, the rest was history. She’s been patient with my stress, anger, and WTF drunk moments. Her last week was uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time, but I know that every time we see each other in the future, it won’t be as if we were apart for such a long time. Cause that’s how easy it is to be with Karla. And Karla, F you pa rin for going home, but remember, many are willing to give you a home here in Manila ;).

Going home. More fun in the Philippines.

I commute almost every day going to work, to arrive at my social events, and even getting home from said social life events. I have to deal with the disgusting smog, death-defying driving, boarding and exiting a moving vehicle, and crossing pedestrian lanes where cars and trucks suddenly speed into. When I do ride with my parents or a friend, there’s traffic to deal with, plus highway robbery toll prices and perpetually rising fuel charges. Said conditions, along with my meager 20-something salary, discourage me from saving for a car. I always say “I wish I was rich enough to have a driver,” but setting myself apart and enjoying such a luxury won’t help those who continue to risk their lives or drive jeepneys just to save more money for food.

I pay taxes. The amount I pay can feed me and get me around the city for one week. But it’s my duty to give that up and yet still have enough money to deal with the previous paragraph.

I almost got mugged in a taxi last year. I could have been raped, considering all the other stories I had heard about less fortunate taxi riders. It’s hard to be a woman in the Philippines. I can’t stay out too late unless I have a companion going home or someone to drop me off because I risk my life, my hard earned money and purchases, and dignity by doing so alone.

If worse comes to worse and I take such a risk, I will hear conservative idiots saying it was my fault for getting raped. Because there is a large percentage that think the fault is and always will be with the woman. And that she should have 10000+ children without considering the consequences, despite the serious lack of sex education, balanced choices (natural and natural), and proper medical facilities.

Despite the daily struggles, sacrifices, and annoyances I deal with, I do agree with the DOT that it is more fun in the Philippines. And no, it’s not just because I work for a travel magazine.

You see, I whole heartedly agree that:

Need a lunch that costs only Php30-40 (Php 43 = USD 1), and it already includes meat, rice, and a coke? Only in the Philippines. Plus it’s interesting and tasty, take your pick: atay (liver), barbecue, or some intestines can be your viand.

This has been tried, tested, and confeermed in the last 24  years I’ve lived here. Whether on the beach, at the mall, at a friend’s house, or at a club/pub. Last Friday night was just about enough proof:

“Emba pic,” Filipino style.

Ain’t no mountain high enough here in my mother land, thus,

From the DPP forum’s thread on the DOT slogan.  Yes, I’m not just saying this because I also work for that magazine 😛

You see no matter how many times I say “I wish we had the commuting system of Europe,” or how I’m sick of hearing myself sigh at government corruption, there’s no place like home. I am not condoning bad infrastructure, taxi scams, the lack of health care, chauvinism, or any of our society’s flaws. I have to live with the dangerous effects of these every day, but I don’t tolerate them. To survive, I have to avoid them.

But will being negative and bashing the DOT’s sincere efforts to make our country’s citizens and the rest of the world visit our unique culture help? No. It will just divide this already torn country further. Filipinos are known for looking at the bright side of life, laughing through any situation just to keep sane. Considering the dangers we have to deal with, that’s a lot better than giving up or thinking the situation is hopeless.

Need I say more?

Also, it’s the Department of Tourism guys, not the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editorial section. It’s their job to promote the wonderful, crazy, and funny aspects of our country. It’s not their job to criticize how shitty things still are. Their slogan led to all sorts of pictures that made Filipinos reflect on what makes the Philippines so unique and memorable–whether the subject of the photo was actually more fun or simply poking fun.

So seriously, bring your arguments somewhere else. Or rethink how you’re dealing with this so-called “baduy” slogan. It got your attention right? Well then, I think the DOT has made their point.

2012

I left 2011 with an idea of what 2012 would be like. With major plans made for this year, along with the plans of others’ affecting my job, I was more than certain that 2012 would be a challenge. Thankfully the wonderful people, insights, and blessings that 2011 has provided also let me enter the new year with a sense of optimism. The universe never falls short with blessings, and considering what I’ve been through, I won’t let myself come out of any challenge alive.

Apart from the wonderful people that made 2011 memorable, I hope to bring some of the positivity, wisdom, and courage I learned from last year into 2012. A lot of people said RIP 2011; I say, I’m keeping 2011 as my guidebook for 2012 (yeah, not as catchy, lol). But there are people and aspects of the year that I have to let go of , but I know I’ll get there once the need to do so happens.

Possibly the greatest lesson I’m bringing with me into this year is to never stop persevering. I know 2012’s plans will require this–that along with a lot of patience. There are still many, many things I have to learn–academically, professionally, emotionally, and physically–and I hope to embrace all these new things in the new year.

Patience. Patience will be necessary considering I’ve decided to keep my job. I love what I do, but it’s a struggle to agree with whom I work for. But I’ve managed to survive a year, so that’s enough to give myself another pat on the back. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with choosing to keep a job to support yourself. Independence is still something I working towards, and having to put up with the non-glamour (then again, what job is glamorous?) of a job is just part of that. I cannot change others but I can change my attitude, which brings me to this resolution: a better game face, less anger and more diplomacy. I am also learning from the people I work with and I bow down to how they deal with things. It’s time to take a page from their grace under pressure. If optimism and patience fails, I have a cold demeanor and my surround sound head phones to rely on. Hehe!

The second week of the year has already started. Here’s to hoping my resolve lets me survive it. 😉