I'm coming back sooner rather than later. That's for sure

Bangkok – Food and Fun

This being my third visit to Bangkok, I did away with the temples and decided to just eat, eat, eat. And shop, shop, shop. And eat some more. 

Took photos of everything that made this trip fun. Enjoy!

Memories to Ashes

Photo by the Philippine Collegian
Photo by the Philippine Collegian

What happened to the Faculty Center (FC) of the University of the Philippines was beyond sad and horrible. Reading about the posts of professors whose properties and memories were burned down was depressing.

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Photo from the Philippine Collegian

FC was home to the faculty of the Colleges of Arts and Letters and of Social Science and Philosophy. Before online viewing of grades were a thing, I used to roam around the building and search for the rooms of my professors to get mg class cards.

Submitting papers in pigeon holes were also memories that used to be either fun to reminisce or sends shivers just thinking how I crammed those requirements.

But more than the academic-related memories of FC, it was the moments shared with friends, and classmates, that really stuck to me.

Photo from the Philippine Collegian
Photo from the Philippine Collegian

When one of my greatest friends since high school was still studying in UP (a Chemistry student, that smart ass), and we were still bummed that we weren’t allowed to study in Mapua as we initially planned, we would meet at FC and eat lunch, think about the future, and talk about how much we “hate” our parents for not making our college dreams come true. All these over shawarma rice. We then found our own circles in UP but we would still meet up from time to time, either in FC or in front of it.

My fondest conversation of ours was about our hopes of purchasing future homes right next to each other (and of course, the rest of our friends would do the same thing), so that we can still be together most of the time. Clingy, we knew that. But you have to understand, the two of us were stuck in Quezon City all to ourselves while the rest of our friends were either in UST, Mapua or DLSU and they would all go home to Cavite together, or meetup after their classes to hang out.

It was also in FC where one of my college organization’s (UP Journalism Club) acquaintance party for new applicants was held. Members and their buddy applicants were required to spend time together to get to know each other better while preparing a production number for the party. I had to buddies then, Ian and Myra, and we decided to do a song and dance number to the tune of Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.” Bias aside, we had one of the best performances that night. Haha.

I can’t believe this is the only photo we had of our epic performance (Photo by Kim Pauig)

I am pretty sure I had a lot more experiences and memories in FC and it pains me to see that future UP students will not have that opportunity to spend time in the building. I know that there are tons more places and buildings inside the campus to build memories on, but somehow FC was a symbol of the rich history of the campus, what with all the books, photos, documents, papers, certificates, trophies stored in the building.

And while all these physical mementos are now turned to ashes, I am pretty certain that thousands of UP students, alumni and professors will relive the memories they had and will share them for the world to read, see, and grasp how it feels to walk the hallways of FC to check if you got 3.0 or just see if your favorite prof is in for a quick chat and consultation.

I would love to hear about your FC memories and how it became an integral part of your UP life.

Realizations and Contemplation

(Blog post caused by long holiday and lack of things to do)

I don’t think I will ever get over what I did. I will move on. But the memory and consequence of what I did will always be with me.

But I want to start not feeling bad for myself because of what happened. Time and again, friends have reassured me that while that certain decision was not my finest moment, it was something anyone could have done and that I should not persecute myself over it for such a long time. It has almost been a year.

I know I have found the one. I know I did. But I let go because someone showed a remote promise that there could be more. I even tried to justify my decision by saying that it was for the best for both of us. But deep down I knew I was wrong. I don’t know if it was pride or mere stubbornness, but I refused to back down from my own doing. I saw it through. And the end result was not what I hoped.

I know I have found the one. But I also know that I won’t be getting a second chance. At least not any time soon. I am not even sure if I want to. I feel like I’ve caused so much pain that I need this punishment. I need to feel the consequence of what I did. I need to live with it.

But you see, that’s the thing. I need to stop treating this as a punishment. This is my life now. All that happened — my decision, him, our memories, what could’ve beens, what ifs — they are all in the past.

And as much as I would want to turn back time and not do what I did, there is no use in hoping that everything will just reverse and go back to what it used to.

This is my life now. This is not how I wanted it to be, but I can still choose to live it. And I can still choose to live it well.

It has almost been a year. I feel like I have a grown as a person. I could’ve chosen a different way or circumstance, but I have grown nonetheless.

All is in the past now. I need to remind myself that all I can do from this point forward is improve and grow even more. I need to be a better version of myself; a version of myself that I can be proud of. I need to be that version of myself that is ready for that second chance–or maybe even a new chance.

They say you only get one great love and that when you find it, you should never let it go. I may have found my one great love and I may have let it go but who’s to say that there is no greater love out there, waiting, looking for me. And if there’s none, at least I can say that I have loved. I may have made a mistake, but at least I loved.

Cine Filipino 2016 Marathon

Cine Filipino marathon!

A photo posted by Billie Bautista (@thepinoybabbler) on

My first movie from the festival (A Lotto Like Love) was not really a great start for me, but I am hopeful these films will be a lot better.

Sakaling Hindi Makarating won 2nd Best Picture while Star na si Van Damme Stallone won 3rd Best Picture

Reading More

So I’ve decided to read more books this year, despite my tight schedule, what with work and graduate school.

In previous years, I would be happy being able to read 3-5 books every year, thinking that it any number would be better than not reading at all.

But I really do enjoy reading. It’s just that I get so tired sometimes that I would rather sleep or eat than read. It also doesn’t help that I try to catch up on almost 10 TV series. Plus, there are movies I want to watch. And unfortunately, they go on top of my  to-do list, simply because they are easier to accomplish than ready a novel.

I at least have 20 books in my shelf that I bought in the last few years that I haven’t read still and just collecting dust.

I hope this year will be different, though. I plan on reading at least 1 book every month. I have so far exceeded my personal goal because I have already read 5 books in the last 2 months.

books read

I tend to favor young adult novels more, but I also have a number of books in other genres as well.

You may find it shallow but my main deciding factor when buying a book is the cover. I know, I know. I get interested if I see a pretty cover, then I read the synopsis. That’s when I decide if I feel like buying it. To each his own, right?😛

I don’t really post much, but if you feel like following me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/thepinoybabbler

ZAYN Releases 2nd Single, It’s You

After performing the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ZAYN officially released the single “It’s You,” which will be part of his debut album “Mind of Mine”set to be released on March 25, 2016.

While still a R&B song, his second single is more mellow compared to his debut single PILLOWTALK. ZAYN still showcases his vocal abilities, this time more focused on his falsetto, which he often used in 1D songs.

Here’s the lyrics of the song:

[Verse 1]
She got, she got, she got
Her own reasons
For talking to me
And she don’t, she don’t, she don’t
Give a fuck
About what I need
And I can’t tell you why
Because my brain can’t equate it

[Refrain]
Tell me your lies
Because I just can’t face it

[Chorus]
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you

[Verse 2]
I won’t, I won’t, I won’t
Cover the scars
I’ll let ’em bleed
So my silence
So my silence won’t
Be mistaken for peace
Am I wrong for wanting us to make it?

[Refrain]
Tell me your lies
Because I just can’t face it

[Chorus]
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you

[Bridge]
Could it be that it’s a lesson
That I never had to learn?
I looked at it like a blessing
And now it’s just a curse
I don’t know why
I don’t know why

[Chorus]
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you, it’s you
It’s you

http://genius.com/Zayn-its-you-lyrics

[Movie Review] Always Be My Maybe: The Least Star Cinema-like Rom-Com, and That is a Good Thing

LOOK-Sweet-and-sexy-Gerald-and-Arci-in-Always-Be-My-Maybe-poster-625x410-carousel

I had low expectations when I decided to watch Always Be My Maybe. For one, I was not really sold on the lead actors, Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz. Also, director Dan Villegas’ film prior this one, Walang Forever, failed to really live up to its promise (or my expectations, really). The story just sagged during the latter part of the film.

Always Be My Maybe follows the story of two persons having a hard time moving on from failed relationships. And what started out as a simple friendship spiraled to a more complicated, no-label pseudo-relationship.

What I loved most about the film was how chill the story was. There was no need for an out-of-this-world cheesy gimmick, which I feel is a formula for a typical Star Cinema rom-com.

The pacing of the whole story was not rushed. There was no pressure to cover so many aspects of their lives that sometimes could make the audience feel tired. That was what I felt when I watched Walang Forever.

I fell in love with Muñoz because of this film. She gave the right amount of funny, sexy and cheesy in her acting. I really felt sad and bad for her character. Her acting reminds me so much of Jennylyn Mercado’s. It was so natural I sometimes forgot that she was just acting.

There was also a suprising chemistry between Anderson and Munoz. There was one particular scene that showed their sexy side, which was done tastefully. Although I must admit that it made me a little uncomfortable, like such scene did not belong to a rom-com film.

Cacai Bautista brought most of the laughs, what with her timely banters. I  generally do not like the fact the Filipino movies are filmed a couple of months before its showing date, but it worked for this movie. They were able to insert jokes that are still being used in real life.

Never mind the fact that there was one scene dedicated to promoting ABS-CBN’s latest teleserye, Dolce Amore. The director was able to put enough story and relevance in that scene that it didn’t bother me as much.

I can say that I haven’t enjoyed a Filipino rom-com this much since English Only, Please (which was also helmed by Dan Villegas).

It just started its run in theaters on February 24. You have lots of time to see this film. And please do. For a mainstream Star Cinema movie, it delivers a relevant story, likable acting, and just a pure good time.

All in all, I was just really thankful that the ending was as realistic as a Star Cinema movie can get.

Rating: 4/5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

WATCH: Zayn Premieres New Single “It’s You”

ZAYN, after the success of his debut single PILLOWTALK that became number 1 in over 60 countries, has debuted another song from his upcoming album MIND OF MINE during his guesting at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

I’m just happy he is now able to sing the way he really wants to and showcase his amazing vocal skills.

Can’t wait to hear the rest of his music.

A Valentine’s Day Story

“Hi, do you mind if I share the table with you?”

“Sure, go ahead,” I replied with a smile.

The place was surprisingly packed for a Sunday. I failed to notice when I came in earlier.

“Do you always go here?” you ask.

“On weekends, when I can. I could never do any writing at home.” Which was true. I would always end up sleeping or binge watching instead of finishing a story I was writing. I noticed that you were holding a book with a piece of the bookmark sticking out. You had not opened it yet since you sat down.

“I really admire writers. It is so easy for me to tell a story, but do not count on me to put it on paper,” you said as you let go of the book and cupped both your hands on your drink.

“What’s that book you’re reading?” I asked, trying not to stare at your hands. I had not typed a single word since you came.

“It’s nothing, you’d make fun of me,” you said with a mild blush on your cheeks. You got the book and raised it so I can see it past from the view blocked by my laptop.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I read that book a couple of years ago. I didn’t understand why you would think I’d make fun of you reading that book. You got me curious.

“So,” you said as you opened the book and started reading it, while I, on the other hand tried to type but ended up with random words that didn’t mean a thing, “why did you think this place is so full during Valentine’s day?”

I looked around as if to affirm your observation, and you were right. All tables were occupied, with most of them cradling a single person either staring at their coffee or just plain staring to nothing.

I let out a soft laugh, realizing that, wow, I was one of those people. If you hadn’t come, I would be sitting here alone. “I’m not sure, really. Maybe, they have no plans until later tonight?”

“Maybe,” you quipped and sipped from your cup. By this time, I stopped trying too hard to write and just stared at you. Creepy, I know, but I wished and thought you would not notice. Besides, it seemed like you were so into the book now.

I was supposed to have plans today,” you said lifting your gaze to my direction, which really startled me.

“What happened?” I probed. You supposedly having plans didn’t really surprise me, seeing how you could really be involved with someone.

“Ah, short notice,” you said and then somehow hesitated to continue. “I guess last night he realized he didn’t like me anymore.”

I didn’t know what to respond. Yes, I noticed the pronoun you used and yes, I was a bit shocked but no, I still did not know how to react.

“At least you got to enjoy the journey of making those plans. All things considered, you are still quite lucky.” It was late when I realized how out of place my comment was.

You just bowed your head and faked a smile.

“I’m sorry. Still fresh, huh?” I apologized.

“Yeah. But hey, at least I get to enjoy this cup of coffee with a writer, right?” you said, which somehow came to me as you assuring that I did not offend you. Thank you.

“Well, feel free to share the table with me as long as you want. I’m pretty sure I’ll be here for a little while longer.”

You then asked me the question I was hoping you’d never ask. “How about you? Why the grand plan of spending this day in this place alone?”

I faked typing. I let the sound of my keyboard clicking drown out the awkward silence, hoping you would get the hint that I was too ashamed to provide an answer. But instead, you leaned a bit toward me, waiting for my response. And so I gave it to you

“Last year, I was a wreck. I made a series of bad decisions that ultimately led me to this moment,” I answered vaguely.

“You know what the beauty of today is?” you asked. I was not sure if this was still in connection with what I just said, or you just decided to go off topic. “The beauty of today is that it is just one day. Twenty-four hours to let those who are lucky enough to be happy with someone to enjoy and affirm their love. As for people like us, today is just twenty-four hours to reflect on what went wrong.”

I was just amazed. I was embarrassed to think how it showed in my face, but I was at awe.

“In the end, today is just that—today. We’ll have thousands more of ‘todays’ to make things right,” you continued. “I mean, I hope to God we make things right somehow,” you added with a laugh.

“Wow,” was all I could say.

“Oh, shit, I just blabbered. I’m sorry.”

“No, no, no. I was impressed, to be honest.”

“I told you, I can tell good stories,” you quipped with a wide smile. I reciprocated his smile while trying to rewind what just happened, just to experience it all over again in my mind.

“How could I forget my manners?” you said and offered your hand to me. “I’m Kevin. And you are?”

===

Happy Valentine’s Day. After watching The Last Five Years for the nth time, I was inspired to write a story. Totally fictional. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

2016, A Year of Beautiful Beginnings: LoveYourself Launches New Clinic, “LoveYourself Uni”, and The NEX+ CHAP+ER Program

12628477_10208551660611588_2539417452991819550_oLoveYourself is about to enter a new phase as it opens a new clinic, called LoveYourself Uni to replace the LoveYourself Hub, which was closed down last December 2015. The new and more accessible location along the northbound lane of Taft Avenue, just beside LRT-1 Buendia station, offers bigger space and a hospitable and cozy environment, an upgrade from the LoveYourself Hub’s older location at San Marcelino Street, Malate, Manila.

Regular operations for LoveYourself Uni will commence on Wednesday, February 17. Operating hours will be the same as LoveYourself Anglo along Shaw Boulevard. Details on the location and operating hours of LoveYourself’s two clinics can be found here.

Unity, University, Inclusiveness

LoveYourself Uni, pronounced the same way as the “uni” in the words “unity” and “university”, has been given its name as an allusion to the core philosophies of LoveYourself.  It refers to the unity of the community, with a thrust on unity that goes beyond gender, sexual orientation, or identity, in the same way that the HIV epidemic is not necessarily limited by these factors.

Furthermore, the name wishes to impart a sense of inclusiveness, that all groups of people are welcomed and given the same hallmark treatment qualities of “inaasikaso” and “iniingatan” for which LoveYourself is known for. These two Filipino words do not have a direct translation to English, but roughly mean “being handled” or “being watched out for” and “being taken care of”, respectively.

It is also LoveYourself’s mission to help its clients receive the right care and treatment by early detection. It also employs various behavioral change mechanisms through its numerous awareness and education campaigns.

Lastly, “Uni” is also derived from the word “University” as a reference to the youth. DOH data has consistently pinpointed the youth as among the population groups most vulnerable to being infected by the virus. In December 2015 alone, 183 of 650 or 28% of reported cases were aged 15 to 24 years old.  From January to December 2015, 2,215 out of 7,829 or roughly a third of reported cases came from this age group.

Aside from its physical accessibility to nearby universities, it is the hope of LoveYourself to be able to speak to the youth and impart valuable awareness that can potentially save the lives of young people.

Opening Ceremonies

To commemorate the occasion, an inauguration of the clinic is set on Saturday, February 13, with keynote speakers and personalities expected to grace the occasion.

Chris Lagman and Vinn Pagtakhan, founding members and leaders of LoveYourself, are expected to render speeches. in addition, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)’s HIV/AIDS research program head, Dr. Rosanna Ditangco, as well as representatives from major partners, the Department of Health (DOH) and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, and various media and lifestyle personalities are all expected to grace the occasion.

Performances by artists including slam poet readings are expected to provide entrainment during the opening ceremonies.

Springboard Towards The Future

Apart from the opening of LoveYourself Uni, the onset of the New Year has been marked by LoveYourself’s expansion into PLHIV (People living with HIV) care and treatment through the launch of the “NEX+ CHAP+ER Program”, which addresses both the biomedical and psychosocial aspects of HIV treatment.

The program is currently being piloted in LoveYourself Anglo, with a number of LoveYourself volunteers functioning as life coaches. The same program will be implemented in LoveYourself Uni.

This program is highly significant for the organization, whose services were previously confined to HIV testing and counseling, including bringing and counseling reactive clients to receive proper treatment from accredited medical facilities, primarily its major partner hospital, RITM.