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holy week break

Since the Russians own Live Journal, I don't know if this information is safe either. As technoloy progresses, you wonder if they're gonna clone your brain and personality by virtue of what one actually types out here. Are they gonna harvest your brain? My small comfort is that not everything I have is online. I went through my old stuff in my physical / analog bin yesterday. I will never digitize that stuff or at least not until I know people will keep my data safe and protected. You will never have it.

To those who are young and have always had most everything online -- well, maybe don't put the most important things online. Keep something for yourself, they're yours, unless you don't agree anymore.

Later -- there will be a BBQ at Mic's new place in Makati, so looking forward to that. Yesterday, there was a great workout in the morning. A 12K sub 6 pace forced on us by an ITA colleague Mark; and then a 2.5+km swim., I felt WARM for the rest of the whole day yesterday. I think that's one factor which definitely helps one become 'kargado' an expression cousin Noy likes to day.

Some family updates: Pops had to go to hospital coz of possible acid / gall bladder pain. I weighed in and gave my two cents on this. Mahar is still in HK as always, back from a short trip to Boston. Kel has landed in Palawan for a short trip. Gica is in Beijing. . .things will change for her again in short order.

Enjoying my bedroom at home, with new "old" furniture. I've started cleaning it out a little more also. Throwing away more old things, something I iterate thru periodically.

April promises to be a bit intense but I believe I'm mentally and physically engaged for the task.

Making an effort

Made an effort to chat w/ the boss today. All part of the process of trying to solicit more feedback, talk about career more, and ensure we're on the right kind of track. He seems to be even asking me to try something, new, something.

I think I'll try to take him up on this.

I felt good about my run today, and my swim yesterday. And my indoor bike wasn't bad either. I've been cooking more.

A Makati weekend

Monday.

Couldn't sleep anymore, so ended up getting up at 530, after not continuous sleep, to prepare some breakfast food. i made some vegetable fried rice, an almond butter sandwich (for refeuling later), and also made some coffee w/ soy.

The weekend past, which I do have to make pains to remember, 'coz essentially isn't my weekend, my real life, too?

80 min run in, and I head home, to eat some food. Agree to meet w/ David and Mike, at Yalla Yalla first, and then head on to OTO. So many Xavier kids go to that bar -- it's been sightly douchefied, which is a good sign for the bar. You always just need a whiff of douche it seems to make a buck. It seems.

We moved on to Dulo after. A lot of convo this weekend was about controversy surrounding Austin, and his harrassment actions in TxF. This has gotten some people quite shocked, but also others not surprised. I'll admit I was oblivious to it pretty much. I knew he had the tendency to say things but didn't know they crossed over to that level. Passed by Mike's new place before retiring.

Saturday morning. I had to beg off the ADS tryouts.

I did some cooking -- the carrot pesto puree for one, and did some prep for future meals. Some boiled potatoes and some chicken stock. I think I got my beard trimmed too at Back Alley. Prepared to head to JV's place for birthday dinner. Imee picked me up, we bought chocolate cake at Toby's Estate, and then heading to Marina Baytown East. Met up w/ JV, Dennis and also Elmer.

The usual delectable spread c/o JV and Tagay powers of Dennis: nacho chips w/ meat chili and cheese sauce + a tasty syrah from Napa; porchetta + mashed potatoes + mushroom cravy; chocolate cake dessert; coffee + whiskey + cognac. San ka pa right?

Imee brought me home. She was kinda enough to. Earlier in the evening I had been not patient w/ her when I asked her: Imee please make the u-turn or what?!?

Discussed friends who knew friends who knew Elmer -- he told me to be careful about who I am friends with. Well, that is a fair comment. He's also not in the most objective position.

Sunday. Some more cooking, I think. Got the laundry done. Got my biking done (3 hrs indoors). Decided to stay in rather than go out for boardgame night. Decided to fix my things in prep for Monday, and buy some coffee from Toby's.

I wasn't able to sleep well though. Am I stressing about something?

Singapore, 1st Half 2018

The pace of life remains fast. It's as if we're permanently wired to go fast now. Everything and everyone is telling us to go faster and faster. Shall we slow down again before we are unable to make that vital turn and not hit the brick wall, or in another way of saying it, shall we put the breaks on this thing, or shall we be unable to make the curve and smash straight into the barrier of the cycling path?

In a situation where things are being made to speed up, what do we have left for us? The urge to even manage to go faster, or to simply say, no. We are going to slow things down. :)

To get this Singapore trip all down in some form or another, not flawless for sure, but to at least re-live and preserve the memory. What do we have in the end really but our memories?

Thursday

Touchdown Singapore in the afternoon. Quick pass through Changi and a Mee Rebus snack before taking a $50 SG taxi to get to our home for the next few days on 2 Lloyd's Rd. The place is called Lloyd's Inn -- it boasts a high level design sensibility compared to other hotels. The lobby is good looking, I'll give them that. The rooms are spare and decent. The in-between parts are a bit too cramped for my taste. The location is very good though. Killiney on one end with the row of food places (Chinese, Indian, and others). Oxley on the other end, which has Mr. Lee's infamous house. Somerset / Orchard around 10+ minutes walk.

While Jojo met w/ a business colleague for a short while, I took a short 45 min run towards Fort Canning and back. Returned in time to take a shower and then meet Len and Jojo in Publico, not too far away. First real meal in Singapore and my recollection, tasty. Grilled cheese with onion jam. A baked lasagna. A cocktail, which was a tad weak (this would be a recurring theme in SG). End the evening w/ a beer at Somerset 131 area with Jeff, and a walk around Orchard area.

Friday

Our first full morning in SG. We eat roti pratha, kaya toast, and eggs around the corner. I also get some morning tea. I split w/ Jojo and walk towards Takashimaya / Ngee Ann City, where Len gyms. Pure Fitness is swank and fully set-up. Steep steep walk-in fee, but it seems commensurate given how fully-loaded the gym is -- Watt Bikes, large area for all the Cross Fit / Spartan trend stuff, aero-type classes and cosmic cycling of course, and other things I don't even understand or recall. An exposed brick wall for IG purposes. Post-work out I eat quinoa and beets while waiting for Len to finish her shower. She was a tad annoyed with some work issues, which was ruining her vibe that morning. Len accompanies me back to Lloyd's where I do a quick shower and then we Uber to the National Gallery. I have to pretty much bolt down my Otak Taco (w/c was seriously delicious) and coffee, and rush to meet up w/ Larry and the Lisa Chikiamco led tour of the Luna + Raden Salah exhibit, which was VERY GOOD. Learned a lot about art, and I'm glad that they did this. Had a lot more fun chatting w/ Larry -- how people are, literature, poetry, and where we are now in our lives We went into one of these cafes. . .more nice sounding, weak, expensive cocktails. Found myself missing Curator back at home.

Left Larry to meet up for dinner w/ Len and Jojo at Chop Suey Cafe in Dempsey Hill. Nice ambiance and unique. Good food, too. Weak cocktails! Sorry to belabor the point. :) James joined us, and talked about some legal troubles. We hope it all turns out for the best. James leaves mid way through our dinner. Our eating style during this trip has been grazing. Waves of multiple food orders so that we can taste a lot. We are so stuffed from the food, that we agree to walk part of the way home through the Botanical Gardens. We then take the MRT to Somerset. I end up sleeping a bit later as I am quite engrossed with the New Yorker article on the Antartic explorer Worsley.

Saturday

Meet up for Brunch at Clinton Street Bakery and Co w/ the usual crew but this time w/ Joelle in tow. Joelle brings Len's cake: a pandan cake w/c is the Singapore national cake. The sugared-bacon is seriously tasty, and the coffee rather good as well. The pancakes are pretty good, but honestly I think Wild Flour's is better. :D We then do some waking towards MRT so we can visit Tiong Bahru. We walk through the PAP enclave on our way to Books Actually (I buy a couple of books again since I'm a book addict), and then some more snacking at Plain Vanilla cafe. I split from the group to meet w/ Daniel briefly at One Raffles Place. We have a quick tea and catch up. I find out that Daniel had written the script for the series Ways of the Matriarch.

MRT back to Lloyd's, met w/ Jojo to travel together to Marina Bay for dinner. Mexican restaurant where we grazed more on soft tacos, and they kept on taking away our nacho dips. Now that I look back, I think I would have been a huffier mood if I had been paying attention to how much I was paying for all these meals :P Luckily, I wasn't particular. It was Len's bday weekend, and we were in a happy mood. :D

We then walked to Marina Bay Carnival where we played a lot of carnival games, and rode the rather scary and almost vomit-inducing ride called Mach 5. Originally I had not wanted to ride it, but had then changed my mind and made Jojo and Len do it.

Went to Tantric afterwards to meet up w/ Joseph. One of the trips major highlights. Met a lot of Joseph's friends, and made friends with friends and friends. A nice atmosphere and swell, considering bar is actually known for folks looking to meet white people. Made new pinoy friends, and also quite a number of Indians. Some names that come to mind are Cyprus and Ken, Sanjay and Ritresh, Monty, and Ben (!). Got home around 4AM

Sunday

Seamless check-in thru Changi. Last minute Chicken w/ Nasi Lemak. Cebu Pacific actually arrived early at NAIA Terminal 3, and also seamless thru NAIA. Hitched w/ Jojo who dropped me at the Makati apartment. Belinda and Kel had done the groceries.

A full weekend. And back to work tom AM.

CNY and Social Gatherings - reverse order

3-day weekend in the city full of social gatherings. Though writing about it days after, I do not remember my days.

In reverse order. . .

Matrix Ceremony in Jon-jon's place. Long over due as this is the 2017 edition, much belated. Ria V's visit to Manila triggered the gathering. It was more of a Valentine's Matrix. The usual suspects won: Jude and Jason. Third place went to Vinny.

Afternoon spent w/ George and Mahar around Greenbelt. Dulcinea took forever in getting us our churros.

Lunch time gathering at LGV w/ the Sunrise Cottage folks. Tita Anna, Maria, and Pan were the additions. We spent the after lunch drinking coffee, tea, and discussing the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Brunch meeting at Cafe Breton (!) w/ Pao V. We've gotten into this rhythm catching up about life. What a good friendship this is developing, too, I think.

Saturday night I had actually spent at the office in Ortigas Center. Last minute work on a Strategy presentation, and also some time developing my Matrix Category (aforementioned)

Saturday afternoon at Valle 3 w/ Nonoy and Eva. It was their baby shower. Saw a lot of sporty classmates.

Saturday brunch / lunch was catching up w/ Gica at Toby's, and earlier catching up w/ George -- also at Toby's. Bumped into Grace and Sansan V -- who say right next to us.

Friday night was AWESOME. Dulo adventures w/ Brent and Jap. New friends and old friends and some gropy weirdos to be perfectly honest. Earlier in the night did a long-run in the Ayala Triangle area.

Friday early PM was at Jojo's apartment for booking cocktails. Our trip to Singapore on the 2nd weekend of March is confirmed. We are staying at an interesting spot just off the Orchard area.

Friday early lunch was at DTF Power Plant. I thought it was just like eating anywhere else, but Jojo said he liked that it felt cleaner. I think he does have a point on this.

Friday breakfast: my impression is that I didn't have such an easy time w/ this because of a tiring Thursday swim. I think I ate a shitload of cookies on Thursday night -- the lemon curd ones from Fortnum (?) and Mason.

Fast Moving 2018

The New Year has begun earnest and in a couple of days it will be February. What has happened so far:

This New Year post-countdown I met up w/ Ponchit and we hung out in 20-20. This was probably the quietest New Year yet. The President's order for no fireworks really seemed to work. I spent the first day of the New Year packing as I was off to Niseko for the 3rd time, to spend what would be my longest trip there so far, with Jojo L and his whole family -- his parents, and his wife and kids. Even Yaya Edna would be there.

I was in Japan for just under two weeks. I spent the first week or so in Niseko, where I managed to ski for 3 straight days, with some level of improvement -- a lot more parallel skiing now, and then also swam (!) indoors at Hotel Niseko Alpen for another 3 days. During the in between times, it was eating, drinking, and reading in the snowy atmosphere. I was able to get to know and bond a lot w/ Jojo's family. in particular, I spent some time w/ Tito Joey and chatted with him about different things.

On the 10th, I traveled to Tokyo to stay in a gay couple's AirBNB in Shinjuku area. They were really nice though did not spend too much time hanging out with them as I was out practically every night. I met up w/ my usual Tokyo friends: cousin Joma (at least 2x, once exploring Nicho in the evening, and the other around the Aoyama shopping districts, where we had a surreal encounter with Pharrell Williams in one of Joma's favorite bars); old air-BNB host turned friend Yosuku, who took me out one night to some pretty wild and fun spots around Shibuya. There was Japanese Karaoke and clapping, drinking, and even some pole type shows. It was excellent. My last night in Tokyo Joma and I hung out for a short while in Harricho -- what I'm calling my home bar in Tokyo (well, it'll only seem that if Yosuke is actually serving the whiskey). One other night, it was back in Nicho with cousin Mia's airline friend Art -- and it was a wonderful meeting 'coz he was complaining that he was so BORED in Tokyo, but he meets up w/ me and voila, we have a nice dinner, and we get into some mild mischief in the Nicho area. So I'm guessing he wasn't bored at all.

While not meeting up with people I had toured around some of the other neighborhoods of Tokyo whic showed some subcultures -- I took an AirBNB experience tour w/ Reggie (of YouTube The Casual) and we saw a lot of Harujuku and different shopping areas, and I also went to the Koenji area (the hipster area competing w/ Shimokitazawa), and also went to the Nakano Broadway in Nakano area.

Back in Manila -- I've been trying to re-establish my rhythms here with a particular emphasis on the following: getting enough sleep (I try for 8 hours a day), focused and regular triathlon workouts (in preparation for Cebu 70.3 in August; I even bought a smart trainer during a quick sojourn to Hong Kong just this past weekend), and also better eating -- which I am able to do buy really I get hungry and sometimes I just want a little cookie :)

I'm trying to keep up w/ my holiday habit of reading a lot -- I think I read something like 8 books during the December-early January stretch -- but this is being affected by the other focus of sleeping and training. Unfortunately I still have work :) -- which I still attack w/ some level of gusto still. I've just completed my Performance Review from my boss, and it actually was better than I had expected. I will take the advice written in my feedback seriously.

So that's just the start of the year, 1 month, and yet it was rather jam packed already. I hope to build on momentum and progress this coming February. For sure momentum will be halted a little w/ the Holy Week season coming up in March, but that is something to plan for and consider where to go. Jojo is going back to Niseko and I don't really want to go there again (haha, that would be too much). I am considering travel to Taipei, but also some travel to Singapore in early March for Len's birthday and also possibly to meet up w/ Larry Y.

People are generally healthy so far -- a great thing, but I cross my fingers. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that our dog of almost twelve year, Nash, passed away last week just after my dad's 74th birthday :(

Things which I may let go a bit this year : big nights out w/ the crew, whether Arvin's buddies or even the Singco people; drinks night out, though I still am able to meet w/ Jojo and Georgina (who will be likely doing her MBA this year -- Stanford or Columbia, honestly hoping for an excuse to go to New York); and maybe less of the trail running -- not 'coz I'm tired of it, but I just don't want to injure myself and I just want to focus on training, training, training for triathlon.

2018.

Engagements

The House of Representatives voted to submit a Php 1,000 budget for the Commission of Human Rights, around $20 US. Those fuckers. They remind me of a certain political party in the US who would vote for something in the hopes (perhaps) that it eventually won't pass anyway.

But as I said on FB: amidst darkness, light : Two dear friends have given me news of their engagement today. Vinny who is now engaged with Franny. And Georgina who is now engaged with Adrian.

<3 still exists.

ELC

The room smelled of wood, calling from a time when wood was plentiful to buy, and would be reasonable to use to build an entire room. 

Kozue

Spending a few days at my friend's Monocle-like apartment in Niseko. The name of the property is Kozue, the interiors are pretty much designer (warm woods, modern lighting and fixtures, floor to ceiling windows), and Cliff is the concierge out front who will bring us to where we need to go, and light the fire at night if it gets too cold.
I begin to appreciate how a beautiful and well-appointed apartment can actually make you want to work. One feels more balanced and together that you moved more readily into a position of action. Very similar to how when you square yourself for a tennis ball or a ski down the hill, you can make your body do what you want it to do.
* * *
I've been waking up early in the mornings (5-6 AM) to send e-mails requesting for information, meetings, and for people to arrange for research. Breakfast is such a stellar affair in Hokkaido --> yogurt-milk, jam, bread, tea. They're not remarkable but quality levels of dairy are high.
* * *
I've been going up and down the Boyo Run, near the Gondola. It's a wide and rather basic green run, but it's more or less the extent of my ability now. We'll see where the instructor will take us this AM, in terms of skills to do and what else to explore.
LEAN FORWARD. In all ways. Ski, and elsewhere.

Father

If you want to understand more about how you learned the concept of masculinity, you can look no further than your relationship with your father. Such a relationship always seems fraught, especially for the gay man. Has there ever been a very amicable Father-Son relationship in the first place? What more the Father-Gay Son relationship?

A father intuitively knows before his son, that he may be a homosexual. One says that it is the mother who has the instinct and gaydar, but I believe the father is just as astute. After all, it is the father perhaps, who is closer to the reality and necessity of policing acceptable masculine behavior. The father knows what actions will invite derision and jeering, and the father knows of what actions he himself, at one point, may have joined at the finger pointing and mockery.

* * *

How do you discover this relationship with your father? Isn't it something that you stuffed away? In so many conversations with older gay men, their relationship w/ their parents and father, have already hit some kind of equilibrium. And thus, they are not particularly motivated to have it change. The father may not recognize the son; or there may be an implicit commandment that some things are simply not to be discussed.

* * *

My father. Well, he turns 73 in a couple of weeks. He has seemed more frail as of recent. The cold here in California is not helping w/ his fractured arm. He needs more help than he used to; and we are more willing these days to offer and give it. Though some days we wonder at whether independence is really something we want our parents to achieve, given we ourselves may not have even achieved our own independence from them anyway. . .