It’s been several times that I have been to Villa Escudero and with all those repeated moments that I have been there I always fail to have my photo right at its famous waterfalls. Maybe it’s because in my previous visits, I feel discouraged because this prominent spot at Villa Escudero is always full of people trying to have their selfies or pictures taken. There is always a frustrating photo bomber lurking within your camera frame.
But with my recent revisit, I made sure that I not only be taken a picture with, I also made sure that the whole waterfalls is all mine!
Here’s a great tip for those who are planning to visit Villa Escudero and have the waterfalls all by yourself. All you need to have is your mobile phone, a gorilla pod (a camera tripod) and an alarm clock. First thing you need to do is to set the alarm clock the night before you plan to have your awesome photos taken. Set it at 6:00 AM and make sure to wake up at 6:00 AM.
Then early in the morning bring your camera and tripod to the waterfalls. Set it up and have awesome photos and videos taken! Be there while everyone are having their breakfast. Be there before all tourists flock the site.
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!
It’s eight in the evening on a Thursday. I am (again) alone with no intentions of doing anything except think of the last couple of decades. Yeah, in the last couple of decades, I did not seem to have encountered the right timing for me to meet my supposed correct and destined significant other.
It may have been a lifetime, but this will not discourage me from constantly praying and hoping that the right one, in God’s beautiful time will simply arrive. And yes I guess, when it comes to love — same as when buying ice cream — some actually prefer to wait in line even if they can get the same thing from another store without queuing.
But waiting and working on this for the last couple of years seem to become quite more of a difficult task. Each time I got to meet someone, work on a possible connection and ends up with nothing was like playing Super Mario Brothers all over again. I was like the Mario (of the Nintendo arcade game) jumping on top of Koopa Troopas, breaking bricks and climbing flag poles, crawling through sewages and kicking Goombas only to be told at the end gate of the Mushroom Kingdom that the person I am looking for is in another castle.
And yet, may I already be on the latest Super Mario Galaxy Deluxe version or not in the stage of my life, I will not stop playing. I will never stop wishing, I will never cease finding and I will never tire hoping until I meet that partner who is meant for me at the ultimate and final gate of the Mushroom Kingdom.
And when I got to meet that person at the final gate of the last Mushroom Kingdom I will definitely gonna sing this song…
Two glances and a pinch is what made my day today. These very simple acts are the movements I made that totally made my day different from the rest of the days that has passed. I know that such is a silly thought for such an old soul like me. But today I was feeling like I’m in my first few weeks of high school, shivering and shuddering because of an absurd chance of mingling with a person of infatuation.
The Christmas Season has passed, a new year is on a roll and last year’s events and highlights are now officially a memory. But today is some kind of a different highlight. I received two short glances from the person I have been thinking, wishing and praying for and that I got to give a light pinch to that person’s arm before I walked away.
Walking away, I felt the electric current in my right hand. The lucky hand that pinched the arm of my object of infatuation. And as I walked away, I felt my left hand being so jealous of my right hand. And while I walk away, I can feel my lips curving into a happy shape known by all as ‘smile’.
While the electricity in my right hand starts to wane as I walk away, I wanted to let everyone near me to hear me shouting, “Hello, all of you! It’s a beautiful day! A perfect day! A day of possibility!”