Monday, June 23, 2014

Pinoy Boy in the City

I started this blog as a place to store and dump my pictures. And sometimes it still is, but that's beside the point. Along the way it became a place where I could post my pictures publicly, which, I thought, would then encourage me to take better pictures. And later, I found a blog format that allowed me to tell stories through the photos I took, a sort of extension of my creative writing days when I used to weave fiction.

Inevitably, this blog, without me noticing it, has transformed again. Inevitable because I've been moving through doors, phases and places this past couple of years and transformation comes with stepping through doors, whether we realize it or not. I want to say that this blog is changing because of all the growth that's been happening to me and in me but "growth" would be too presumptuous, and in many cases, plain lie. So let's stick to the word "change." I'm changing and so is this blog.

I moved to New York a couple of years back to study Economics and International Development. Back in the Philippines, I've worked in the non-profit sector for a long time, but I felt I needed to go back to school and equipped myself with skills and knowledge to actually be able to serve better. It's been a year since I finished my MA in Fordham and it looks like I'm going to be here in NYC for a couple more years to learn a little bit more about being in development.

And as I come to terms with being here - and yes, it's taken me this long to come to terms with it because I miss our ridiculously large and numerous malls, the smell of taho in the morning, the sound of the Selecta ice-cream bike in the afternoon - I've also learned to grow fond of this City. Don't get me wrong, Manila will always be number one for me, but New York can be very charming in the way that some  mannerless, rough, rugged but pretty people can be charming after you spend a few weeks with them trapped in an elevator with nothing but alcohol for drinks.

And knowing that I won't be here, surrounded by lights and subway grime, forever I want to capture this City in my own way. Whatever that means will unfold in the days to come.  This may also be a long way of me saying that I'm changing the name of this blog. Atleast for now.

And in keeping with the photo blog theme - here I am in Grand Central. Grand Central is probably my favorite spot in the City because I love people-watching and great architecture and GCT certainly has those. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

San Fracisco at Night

First part of this trip is HERE.

We only had one day in San Francisco and I wish we had more. I was super exhausted but I couldn't rest when there was so much of the city to see. So I decided to walk around some more.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

MET MUSEUM with Ma'am Rica

I've been to the MET Museum almost ten times and I don't think I've seen everything there is to see. It's huge. It's one of the few things that make me a little jealous of Americans and their first world money. And so I was glad when Ma'am Rica said she wanted to see the MET again. We looked at the Egyptian exhibit and ALMOST bought jewelry.

First part is HERE by the way.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Missing Winter

I know I spent the last few months complaining about how cold it was and here I am posting about missing winter. But can you blame this boy from the tropics where it's always sunny and warm even when it's raining. Man, has it been hot or what. It really is the city of extremes when it comes to weather. 

I found these pictures lying around in my hard drive. It's also been a while since I've seen most of these people and these pictures are a good reminder of how it can be to hang out with them.  The day started with me meeting Chinno and Kathy in Grand Central. I haven't seen Chinno in 10 years so that was awesome. 

And then I had lunch with Aisa, Annie and Chuckie then met up with Neil in Central Park just to roll around in the snow! I keep forgetting to make snow angels! Warning, long post ahead.

Zsazsa in NYC

These days I've been blessed with friends visiting from everywhere. Someone up there must know that I'm homesick and Jollibee is no longer enough of a cure. This time, Zsazsa dropped by! She was my co-worker at Pathways to Higher Education. It's this great non-profit organization that helps marginalized but deserving kids get access to quality higher education. I haven't seen Zsa in over seven years. She's been in Philadelphia for over two years and it's only now that we've had time to finally meet up. Why it took us so long is a wonder to me because this visit just made me remember how much fun hanging out back then. We ended up visiting the Bronx Botanic Garden which is pretty all year around. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bea in Boston Part 2!

I felt that this particular trip to Boston was a little bit more relaxed since we've already seen most of the tourist places and there was no pressure to run around and see everything. Bea is also a good travel companion because she's very chill and just wanted to walk around the city.
So the fun continues!

Part 1 is HERE

Ma'am Rica in America Part 1

Ms. Rica Bolipata-Santos comes from a line of very famous artists in the Philippines. Today she is one of the most important writers/essayists and is head of the Ateneo University Press(naks!) But for many years she had always been Ms. Rica, my teacher. She was my very first teacher in Ateneo and, being a boy from the province who wrote nothing but cheesy love letters in high school,  I owe much of the confidence I gained, and badly needed, throughout my college life, to her. She wasn't just a teacher of English, she was a teacher of life. And this is why I probably took 18 units with her, because it was from her that I gained so much passion, not just for literature, but for living. The kind of living, which rests on arms that reach out to the highest of heavens and the lowest of earths, arms that unfold to embrace and welcome but also fold to rest and protect. 

Living in the moment, living for the moment. 

So imagine my excitement when she told me she was coming to NYC. She brought with her a suitcase full of memories and insights. And silliness, of course. Lots of fun, senseless, meaningful silliness! And also her wonderful sister, the oh so talented, Ms. Plet Bolipata-Borlongan.

We picked them up from the airport and welcomed them with flowers and the most excited of hearts!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cardinal Tagle visits Fordham University

The Archbishop of Manila, His Eminence Cardinal Luis Tagle visited Fordham University to receive his Honorary Degree. Of course, Filipinos all over the city came in full force to welcome and celebrate mass with him.  Some of us helped out in the mass and the coat check. And when we got bored, we did what we do best - pose.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Anna's Birthday at Grill 21

I've always been very resilient when it comes to homesickness. I think it comes from being an only child raised by a single parent. While my mom was away working, I would spend hours playing clay and watching TV. In the beginning, of course, I used to cry a lot when my mom would have to go to work. But in time, as with many other things in life, you get used to it. Which is why, I think, it wasn't very difficult for me to join JVP or study here in NY.

But, you know, there are just those days when there's nothing I wouldn't give up for a sniff of dirty Manila air. And the closest I can get to home, other than coming home to relatives in New Jersey is eating Pinoy food. And so I was a very happy kid when Anna said she would be celebrating her birthday at a Filipino restaurant so her husband's non-Pinoy friends can try Filipino food.

They served lumpiang shanghai as an appetizer. And they kept the supply coming! I don't think I've eaten that much lumpia in my entire life. Thank you Anna!

Anna looking good here!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visit

Every year, come spring time, I always make plans to see the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. They're supposed to be amazing. And every year my laziness and aversion to huge crowds win over and I end up staying home, eating Chinese food and binge watching survivor.

And so far, every time I miss the one in D.C. I end up going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden just to be able to say I took pictures of cherry blossom trees There's not a lot but that doesn't diminish their beauty in any way. 

And for the first time in five months, I'm wearing shorts!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bea in Boston Part 1

Boston is, I think, next to Manila and New York, my favorite city. Sometimes, I think I like it even more than New York because it has all the convenience of a city but in a package that's small enough to be tranquil and stress-free. Thus I was very happy to be back in Boston for a third time, this time with Bea, who was on vacation from her amazing work in Kenya.

As with other blog posts, don't expect any of the pictures to be in any sort of order. Life is random! and so is this blog. 


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