Taipei Gay Pride 2018

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Taipei was that I and my friends got to attend the biggest gay pride parade and party in Asia! Me, MJ, JB and Willie were among the 130,000 people who attended the event.

The energy and vibe that night was truly brighter than my future! Hahaha!  The ability to connect with gays from all around the world was truly an international experience.  And since we are foreigners in Taipei, we somewhat let loose for there weren’t any conservative watchful eye to answer to (like if we were back home in Manila).  We knew no one in the event yet everyone was joyful and very welcoming.      

Though we arrived a little late, we still got so awe-struck by the people!  There were Drag Queens and Kings, there were Queer Super Heroes, there were Cosplayers, there were Happy Smiling Angels, student protest groups and tons of fit non-heterosexual abdominal muscles flashing! 

I never hesitated asking interesting people to take their photos with MJ and Willie and no one refused!  We were like being a part of the big LGBTQ+ family fighting for the same cause.

When we joined part of the pack who started to head home to their respective vibrantly amazing lives, I took the chance of buying a bracelet as a souvenir.  This trinket signify that I took part on being one with the happy rainbows that day.  

Ang saya saya!

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Calum Scott Don’t Know

Calum Scott don’t know that I belong to the multitudes of British Got Talent viewers who was so moved when he sang his audition piece and celebrated along when he got the Golden Buzzer as bestowed by Simon Cowell.

Calum Scott don’t know that I definitely identify with his audition song “Dancing On My Own”!  And if I am going to sing that song, I will be like him.  I will definitely not change the pronouns in the lyrics.

Calum Scott don’t know that the first time I heard his song “You Are The Reason” was through my Spotify while I was travelling in Turkey.  He of course doesn’t know that I am one of the responsible blokes why such a song has so many airplays in Spotify.

Calum Scott don’t know that we actually have a lot in common.  We both love our family so much.  Both of us are momma’s boy.  Both of us are assiduous HR practitioners.  And both of us are attracted to the XY chromosomes.  

i was with my sister… waiting for calum as the theater starts to get full

Calum Scott don’t know that I am such a fan and did some unthinkable efforts so that I’d be able to see his first concert here in Manila.  And I was super happy when he sang my personal favorite “What I Miss Most”.  He was super adorable that night! My favorite part was when we at the audience were singing along with him. 

Now Calum Scott knows…

Ngayon alam na nya!

Remarkable Taipei

Taiwan also known as the Republic of China did an awesome job when it decided to allow visa-free entry to Philippine citizens also known as Filipinos.  They must be reaping the benefits out from this imperative decision.

Because of the influx of Filipino tourists, vendors started learning Filipino words that would entice and charm Filipino shopaholics!  Taiwainese sellers can be heard saying “masarap” (Filipino word for delicious), “mura” (Filipino word for inexpensive) and “maganda” (Filipino word for attractive)

And because of the visa-free decision, I just had my third visit in a short span of 2 years to the super urbanized capital city Taipei.  My visit was not about business or work but because of tourism.  Thus, their visa-free entry decision for Filipinos has definitely boosted their tourism. 

happy gang at the airport! 
i love this shot! 
first timers jb, mj and willie 
getting not so confused at confucius temple 
taipei mrt is eons away in terms of efficiency and comfort as compared to the manila mrt

For me Taipei is an inexpensive alternative for Filipinos who want to travel abroad.  Instead of going for a short vacation to Hongkong, Osaka or Singapore, Filipinos can actually do a fun-filled weekend adventure in Taipei.  And that is what I just did with MJ, Willie and JB!

I was not surprised at how surprised MJ, Willie and JB was regarding how progressive, modern, civilized, ultra-clean, courteous and efficient Taipei was.  They told me that they were expecting Taipei to be just like to old, shabby and stinky Chinatown of Manila.  There were actually moments when these three colleagues ponder on what happened to their beloved Metro Manila that was definitely left behind in all aspects concerning tourism and urban living.

It was my third time, yet Taipei has consistently impressed me.  This only shows that my first two visits were not merely flukes of remarkable circumstances.  Taipei can therefore be concluded as one exciting and impressive city! 

serene…

MMM – masarap, mura, maganda! 

Beef Ninja is a Pares In Disguise

About two weeks ago, Nengkoy, I and my family had an early dinner in one of the posh and popular Filipino-fusion cuisine restaurant just beside the lobby of the deluxe and swanky Conrad Hotel (hahaha! I refuse to name the restaurant). It was my first time tasting Pares in that dinner.

Pares is the Filipino’s common reference to a Braised Beef Stew usually paired with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Pares is a common dish served in carinderias (small local eateries) usually found along the side streets of Manila.

Since it was my first time, I don’t really have an idea how a good Pares tastes like. That is why I did not know if the version of the posh restaurant was way superior as compared to other Pares-es served in customary, regular and more economical carinderias.

My adventurous nephews however are more well-versed than I am in terms of the taste of Manila’s street food and cuisine. My nephews particularly Denden commented that the Pares served in Café Adriatico is way more delicious as compared to the version served in the restaurant we were having dinner at. He nevertheless commented that the food presentation by the posh restaurant was way more gorgeous as compared to the plain and simple Café Adriatico dish.

When I try to recall if Café Adriatico serves Pares, without batting an eyelash, I reminded Denden that Café Adriatico does not serve it. He then informed me that Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja dish is actually a Pares disguised in a modest presentation and is called in a different appellation.

beef ninja (pares in disguise)
cafe adriatico in malate

My other nephew Luis confirmed this observation and stated that indeed, Beef Ninja of Café Adriatico is a Pares dish. Both agreed that though it needs improvement in terms of food presentation, Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja is among the top three Pares-es they have ever tasted.

This inspired me to order Beef Ninja when I had the chance to dine at the 40-year old Café Adriatico in their Malate, Manila branch. While doing some photo shoot of the dish, I wonder which came first in terms of evolution. Was it Beef Ninja of the 40-year old restaurant or was it Pares served in carinderias? I may not know the birth of Pares and how it really tastes like, I nevertheless savored the delicious flavor of one of the best Pares (in disguise) dish on the planet.

Ang sarap!

Cool Coffee Print at Celia’s Cafe

Baristas spend years perfecting their latte art. Tons of milk and espresso has been spent so as to achieve a beautiful design.  But when you visit Celia’s Café in Alaminos City in Pangasinan, they actually have a machine that can actually have your favorite selfie photo be printed on your coffee.

I don’t know of a café in Manila that offered this same cool feature and going to Singapore or Hongkong would be too expensive if I wish to have my photo printed on my coffee.  That is why I did not missed my chance of having this coffee experience when I last visited Celia’s Café, my family’s favorite café in the northern part of the country. 

super cool…

Celia’s Café is located at SSS Building
Marcos Avenue, Palamis
Alaminos City, Pangasinan

Super Cute Arziolo

How would you feel seeing your baby photos on Youtube?  That is what I thought of while I was uploading a collage of Arziolo’s photo on Youtube.  I hope that this baby would be glad in case he sees this when he grows up or he can always just press “report” and relay his reason for flagging this video.

Arziolo is Nengkoy’s great-grandson by the way…  These photos are too cute not to share for everybody’s viewing pleasure!

Ampogi!

Sister Isabel’s African Adventure with God

When my elder sister (Gaying) and Nengkoy recently had some pieces of their jewelries commissioned for cleaning and polishing, they were given some giveaways by the jewelry shop.  Nengkoy kept the photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe while my sister handed over the giveaway book to her son, my nephew Luis.  I however snatched the book from Luis telling him to let me be the one to read it first and will just hand it to him after I’m done.  Luis joked that I might develop itchiness and skin rashes while reading it because the book was written by a Catholic nun. 

The book laid on my dining table for some considerable weeks already.  Still, quiet and unmoved.  Two reasons why it took me some time to start reading it.  First, it was written by a Catholic nun and I was not ready to be preached about some Catholic dogma.  Second, it was written by a Catholic nun, therefore it’s going to be so boring.

But as soon as I decided to scan and read the initial pages of Life On A Mission by Sr. Isabel Villacarlos, I no longer stopped and dropped it until I finished the very end part. 

When asked how she survived all the challenges of her mission,

Sr. Isabel answered, “one must have a major in Faith,

a master’s in Hope and a doctorate in Love.”

Life on a Mission chronicles the adventures, quests and journeys of a Catholic nun in north western portions of Africa.  Sister Isabel can be considered one extra ordinary nun.  She learned to ride a camel, dealt with poisonous snakes, drove a truck,  fell onto a bridge while driving a car, assisted in delivering babies and battled a storm are some of the highlighted adventures of Sr. Isabel in the book.

I guess being a travel addict myself made me stick to reading this book.  But the beauty about the experience of Sr. Isabel in Africa was that she was able to reveal and uncover the presence, manifestations and attendance of God in her adventures, which for me is such a cool thing!

Life On A Mission may not be a bestseller, but it is one remarkable book that definitely deserves more!

Wala akong masabi sa adbentyurs ni sister!