Tag: dream

Speech at Alexis+Thatcher Wedding

The Wedding Reception Party of my niece Thatcher and new nephew Alexis is one of the coolest parties I’ve attended this year.  And in this gathering held at the Marriott Hotel Manila, I was given the task by the couple to render a speech (me being the representative of the family of the bride).

Before you read my speech here’s the cool pre-nup video of the couple…

Here’s what I said during the grand celebration of love…

Hi! I am Neil and I am one of the loving uncles of Thatcher, tonight’s lovely Bride.

Like what everyone knows, it is unfortunate that Thatcher’s dad (my brother) passed away when she was still a little girl.  I’m pretty sure that my Kuya Iko, Thatch’s dad, would be so happy now that she has grown up to be a fine woman and has finally tied a knot with a gentleman.  Kuya Iko must be smiling and watching up there in Heaven.

Thatcher grew up with her brother Denden who acted as her father figure.  It was always her Kuya Denden and at times Ate Erika whom she can count on.  Kuya Denden and Ate Erika are Thatcher’s significant human beings that made Thatcher the way she is today.  While I, along with my elder brothers Wreigh & Bogis and Ate Raquel’s elder brothers: Larry, Dennis & Nelson were her warriors if need be. 

One of the most touching deed that Thatcher has done to me is a note she composed a couple of years back.  The note was part of a gift she gave me that Christmas.  I was touched when I read that note for it indicates how appreciated my being an uncle to her.  That note was one of the best gifts I received that Christmas and up to this day that note is kept in my treasure file.

The first time I met Alexis was in Japan.  Prior to meeting him, I have heard a lot about him from the stories of my Nanay Nengkoy, nieces Erika, KrisMae and Mica and nephews Denden, Luis and Miggy.  One big conclusion was derived from their stories, Alexis is a rich kid who does not seem to know anything about household chores.  Because of this pre-conceived idea, simple tests and challenges were concocted for Alexis during our family’s vacation in Osaka.  These challenges were simple household chores that Alexis needs to undertake, i.e. from fixing the bed, to taking the garbage out, to even washing the soiled dishes. 

At the end of that vacation, my family all agreed that Alexis passed these simple challenges.  Though not with flying colors at least Alexis did his very best to get along with a crazy family like ours.  He even passed the test of eating his vegetables as insisted and enforced by his Ninang Gaying.  In my own personal analysis, the most impressive trait of Alexis is his being respectful.  During our first meeting, he automatically addressed me as Tito Neil.

To you Thatcher & Alexis, now that you are married, let me correlate my unsolicited advice with that of your recent pre-nup video.  Your prenup video was shot in Enchanted Kingdom, a theme park with various rides and attractions.  Please be advised that life indeed is like a roller coaster ride.  At times it may be like a happy ferris wheel or a nerve wrecking space shuttle ride.  There would be moments that life’s challenges may seem to be like a trip inside a horror house.  But you should always remember that no matter how hard and difficult trials may be, never stop falling in love with each other.  I’m pretty sure that life will simply be a breeze when you’re together like that of a gentle ride on a Merry Go Round. I hope that you stay together forever and live an enchanted-kingdom-like life ahead!  Congratulations and cheers to Thatcher & Alexis!

Alexis+Thatcher

Best Wishes…

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A Surprise Encounter with Master Yoda

While at the Presidio looking for a nearby Starbucks to fulfill my coffee craving for the day, I happen to have found a fountain that features one of the most iconic fictional movie characters of all time.  While sipping my coffee and taking a much deserved rest inside Starbucks after a beautiful walk at the Palace of Fine Arts, I looked into Google Maps to determine how to go back to my hotel.

Google Maps pointed that I am actually steps away from a certain Yoda Fountain.  I just wondered if Yoda is the same Yoda that I was thinking of.  I absolutely had zero idea about it! And out of curiosity, I followed the Google Map on how to reach it.

you won’t notice it unless you’ve been told
taray ng lolo mo may monumento
“spontaneity” is the word

With my personal belief that “spontaneity is the best kind of adventure”, I had a surprising selfie with Yoda, the Grand Master of the Jedi Order!

Adapting to the famous movie line by Yoda, one of wisest beings of the galaxy, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose”, this type of surprising occurrence and unpredictable circumstance truly made my first time solo travel adventure so fulfilling!

‘Di ko akalaing makita ang huklubang Yoda sa Kalipornya!

Señor Sisig at Powell & Ellis

I did not miss the Philippines when I was in San Francisco CA.  Aside from the copious presence of Filipinos everywhere in SF, there are bounteous existence of Filipino dishes around.  The mere fact that at the back of my mind there is a Filipino whom I can easily approach while in SF and there are Pinoy dishes around, I never have to suffer the looney craving for my home country.

During my early stay in San Francisco I had an unfaltering decision of not eating any Filipino dish during the whole length of my stay in the City by the Bay.  And at the same time will munch on a big and heavy burrito, a seem-to-be-staple for the locals.  This decision however was easily modified when I saw a food truck named Señor Sisig parked along the corner streets of Powell and Ellis at downtown San Francisco.

it must be the filipino in me that i just have to fall in line
pabili!
popular choices…
sisig burrito
gone in a couple of minutes

Since there is a queue of people on the said food truck, out of curiosity, I quietly fall in line and looked unto the menu board that the food truck offers.  To my surprise, Señor Sisig offers a variety of Filipino fusion dishes.  This therefore made me decide to violate what I have earlier promised yet will achieve what I intend to eat at the same time.

I ordered the surprisingly large and heavy “Señor Sisig Burrito” – a Filipino-cum-San Franciscan dish because it is a fusion of Sisig (a Kapampangan dish) presented in a San Francisco burrito way.  And what’s my verdict as to how this dish faired? Let me just say I gasped on my first bite and the large burrito was gone in a matter of minutes!

My experience of chomping on Senor Sisig Burrito can therefore be summarized as a promise that was broken yet a fantasy that came true wrapped into one.

Sarap!

The Golden Gate Bridge and a Lucky Dude

What’s the worst and stupidest thing a first time tourist in San Francisco USA would do?  That would be… not seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and shoot photos of it.  I apparently is not that person.  I saw, I touched, I smelled (and even tasted it) and had uncountable selfies!

daytime
yey!
kamangha!
view from the top
one lucky dude

I actually went and see the Golden Gate Bridge twice.  One during a sunny afternoon and second was at an early evening when the sun is about to set.  I went twice just to confirm and re-assure myself that the first red orange bridge I saw was indeed the freaking Golden Gate Bridge! Hahaha!

I love the bridge.  It’s elegant and mild from afar but absolutely robust and mighty when you got to step on it.  And as I was walking along the sidewalk, I kept on pinching myself to validate that I am not dreaming and that I really am stepping on one of the Wonders of Modern World.

nightime
happy!

And when I reached the mid-part of the bridge, I tried looking down at the frigid water of the San Francisco Bay.  All I can utter was, “This freakin’ b!@#ch is high!”  After seeing the bridge twice and marvel at the beauty and strength it possesses, I smiled and proudly told myself that I indeed is one lucky dude!

Ang taas ng pota!

I’m a Surfer!

How many times do a person need to play a sport before he or she considers that game as his/he sport?  Does it have to be a daily playing of the sport? Once a week? Once a month?  Do a player needs to receive a prize or a medal for winning the game before he or she considers that sport his/her sport?  Or do you have to enlist yourself to legit and recognized sport organization so that you can call that sport your sport?

Or do you simply need to know the mechanics of the sport, be a knowledgeable on who are the legends and superstars of that sport and you just have to simply have to be an avid fan of such a sport before you can consider that sport your sport?

If the basis for having a sport is the last question, without any shoes or any gear, then my sport would be tennis.  But for other basis or criteria of having a sport, then I can easily say that I don’t have one.

Maybe playing a sport is not in my genes and bloodstream.  In the past, every time a soul would ask me what’s my sport, without butting an eyelash and feeling sedimentary, I would simply say “none” then start justifying that sports are only for people who needs to exhibit hatred, vent out ones boastfulness and dispense their sadistic pleasures.

But this is until recently when for the third consecutive year of visiting the bucolic municipality of Baler, I guess I can consider myself of finally having a sport.  That would be SURFING!  No not windsurfing or kite surfing or internet surfing.  Its beach surfing!  Yeah!  This is my third time on three consecutive years to surf the soft-sanded Sabang Beach of Baler.  Would this count?

a short re-briefing...
a short re-briefing…
as usual someone needs to carry my surf board for me. hahaha!
as usual someone needs to carry my surf board for me. hahaha!
i heart baler
i heart baler
surf is up! hahaha!
surf is up! hahaha!

I have yet to know technical terms of the sport like tubing, windswell, crumbly and pearling, but I’m definitely stoked every time I got to surf.  It may only be my third time but I already feel like I’m a Kahuna!  Kahuna by the way according to surfers are the wizards and magicians of surfing!  Hahaha!

Now ask me.  What’s my sport?

You, what’s your sport?

‘Yun nga lang… nakaka-hingal!

Stupidly Expecting for Dami Im

In my recent journey to New Zealand, I got to spend a very short period of time in Australia.  It is because my flight from Manila to Queenstown was via Sydney.  It was a 3 hour layover at the land down under.

While at the Sydney airport, I was ecstatic because despite the fact that chances of bumping into my favorite Aussie celebrity was like asking for the heavens to give me the greatest love life I don’t deserve, I was still positively expecting some mystic phenomenon to happen.  I was not expecting to bump into Kylie Minogue or Hugh Jackman nor Cate Blanchett or Chris Hemsworth.  I was not expecting Australians to bestow me a red carpet welcome.  I was not expecting the mayor to hand me the key to their city.  I was actually hoping to see Australia’s singing diva, Dami Im!

dami-im

dami was not popular yet during my visits in sydney...
dami was not popular yet during my visits in sydney…

I know it’s stupid but as soon as my feet landed on the grounds of Sydney, my bizarre and inexplicable hope for Dami Im to be at the airport!  And since I don’t have any photos to show, it means this longing did not transpire.  I guess the heavens was smart enough not grant such a wish, otherwise, I would not have left the airport in time for my journey to fresh Queenstown.

Let me just satiate and mollify this stupid wish by posting and listening to Dami Im’s latest single “Fighting for Love”.  I actually prefer Dami’s live performance during the X Factor TV show than the actual music video of the song…

Na-aning-aning lang sa Sidni…

My kind of NZ Town is a toss between a Queen and an Arrow

When I have already spent a couple of days in New Zealand, I was starting to realize that this fresh country is giving Japan (my most favorite country) a good run for their money.  Everything seem so fresh, nice and clean in New Zealand.  Crime rate in NZ is basically nil like that of Osaka and even the public toilets were as clean as those found in the Nippon country.

Actually, I have long realized that if I will be given the opportunity to live in Japan, without a batting an eyelash, I would easily choose Osaka.  But in New Zealand, it would be a toss between two awesome towns.  I would like to live either in Queenstown or Arrowtown.

who would not want an afternoon sight like this
who would not want an afternoon sight like this
colors of queenstown
colors of queenstown
seating by the bench...
seating by the bench…

Queenstown is a bit small in terms of size and population for it to be considered a city, but the vibe and energy it displays is sweepingly large in scale.  I particularly loved the cosmopolitan restaurants.  The multi-ethnic offerings of these restaurants to its residence and visitors are impressively wide ranging.

No one should get bored when staying in this modernized town.  From bungy jumping to jumping off a plane or riding a crazy rough speedboat, Queenstown can be considered as adventurer’s haven.  But what I particularly love about this town is that aside from doing adrenaline-filled activities, you can take time to a slow down.  You can simply find a lakeside bench and engross yourself to the beauty of the nature.

early arrowtown spring
early arrowtown spring
colors of arrowtown
colors of arrowtown
taking it easy at arrowtown...
taking it easy at arrowtown…

Arrowtown on the other hand is a quaint little town just minutes away by car from Queenstown.  The tree-lined avenues (which I suspect changes its looks and color depending on the season) as well as the fashionable shops at the main road (Buckingham Street) are two of the nicest areas that this town boasts about.  And like Queenstown it also has a wide array of excellent restaurants.

This historic gold-rush town seem to possess an alluring character that is uniquely of its own.  It is so charming we actually drove twice in this town to further explore the sights and we even walked a short riverside nature trail to breathe some of the freshest air on earth.

Arrowtown has a much slower pace as compared to Queenstown.  Another impressive character of this town is that it is uncrowded. I suppose this is the place that Queenstown locals go to if they wish to have some quiet time for themselves or with their family.

I live at the most densely populated city in the world.  There is never a day in my city that I would not see a human being.  Everywhere I look, everywhere I go and everywhere I smell there is someone near me.  Thus, the uncrowded yet colorful places like Queenstown and Arrowtown for me are true gems of a place.

Samdey… samdey… titira din ako dyan!