Monday, December 30, 2019

The Apology You May Never See: The Unsent Series, Volume 6, Part I

.:The Apology You May Never See: The Unsent Series, Volume 6, Part I:.

Dear Nobility,

I'm sorry. 

There is no other way to say it. 

I'm. Sorry.

You feel that I will never change, except I have. By leaps and bounds. And all because of you. 

For that, I'm sorry. Because you wanted the change to be innate. But how could it be, when everything is borne and inspired by you?

You believe that I refuse to act like an adult.

For that, I'm sorry. When your world crumbles the way it does every time you walk away, I lose all semblance of pride and dignity. Being calm and composed ceases being an option.

But in the end, some things were said that simply cannot be put back in the bottle, and the painful part is, I wasn't the one who uttered them. 

For that, I'm sorry. Because clearly, I inspired so much vitriol that now, you reflect the worst things I think of myself.

Each time I look back on these Unsent letters, I always cringe. Half the time, I don't even remember who it was for any longer. But the embarrassment remains. Because I let my feelings do the talking each time I wrote one of these.

But inasmuch as these are all embarrassing ramblings I will never, ever be proud of, these are also among the fewest time where I am most honest with myself for the public record. Because as right or as wrong as my twisted point of view may be, it's my raw feelings, thinly veiled, barely concealed. The memories and the people may fade, but the pain never does. They are stark reminders that I have been through so much and, as sad as it is to come to terms with this, I have also inflicted so much.

Because I am sorry, Nobility. You are correct. I am toxicity incarnate. No matter how much I try to hold myself back, when I am triggered, I go off. It's an exercise in futility. After 36 years of being alive, the most progress I've ever had in being a better person was thanks to you. But I still have a long way to go. And for that, I am sorry.

I am sorry because you think I've given up, but the reality is, I am letting all of this hinge on a belief. A belief that you haven't. A foolish belief, it seems, but one that I hope you would come to realize before it's too late. Because I believe this is worth it. But I need you to see it the same way, or else I'd be in this alone all over again.

Because as sorry as I am, have you ever asked yourself, really, if you were? Your answer to that may very well determine our fate. 

But this much I know: this is the last time I will ever be this way for anyone. And maybe that's for the best.

I'm sorry. Yet at the same time, I'm left to ask: are you?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Thoughts Before I Turn 36...

.:Thoughts Before I Turn 36...:.

It's a few days before my birthday - one that I have zero plans of celebrating.

It's been a rough few weeks for me lately. Work has been extremely challenging, and I can't say  I've been conducting myself as well as I should have. Things have been going in extreme disarray, and lately, things have been weighing on my mind again.

I re-watched Delamar's episode of Str8 Up about Friendship. That episode shouldn't really be much of a surprise, since I wrote that episode myself, but needless to say, it really left an impression on me - that inevitably, people lose friends. For one reason or another, they do. And it doesn't matter if there was a point in time where you were tighter than a rubber band around Shaq's thigh, there will simply be some friendships where if you are out of sight, you are out of mind.

And it's not like anyone owes you an explanation when that happens. In fact, it's better for you to assume that you just fell out of touch over time, because the alternative might actually be far worse. It's a reckoning you're afraid to make, because you're afraid of what you might end up finding out about yourself. Because the reality is, looking back, you haven't really been as good a person as you thought you were.

So best to assume that you're no longer friends because you just lost touch with each other and drifted apart, than to recognize that maybe the reason they're no longer friends with you is that they just needed to find an excuse, any excuse at all, to strike you off. Because you're a toxic person, and everything you touch withers. And the only people left are the people who are too busy to find the time to detoxify their timelines, or the even fewer people who can genuinely put up with you.

And because you're too afraid of that reckoning, you are left with no choice but to let things be as they are: you can't say "sorry" if you don't even know if that's why they left. You can't reach out and restart anything for fear of rocking the boat. All you're left is to wallow in self-pity because you're too cognizant of the fact they don't owe you an explanation to lash out, but you're also too sentimental to just let it roll off your back like you know you should.

So where does that leave me? Quite honestly, I don't know. A part of me wishes I could reach out and fix all those rifts, but I don't know if it's worth it anymore. It's why I was so looking forward to the fresh start being in America could afford me. Alas, that wasn't meant to be. So now that I'm back here, I feel stuck here. And I feel like my world just got so much smaller because I don't quite know if I can bring myself to just run into these people again and not be affected by it.

My circles feel smaller. My world feels smaller. And there's nothing I could do about it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Thank You, Baratillo.Net

.:Farewell, Juned:.

There was a time where the words "I'm a blogger" simply defined me, more than anything else. Through those formative years in my life, one name stood out as someone I always listened to, and always enjoyed the company of: Juned Sonido. He was, as many people have shared by now, the early blogosphere's version of Yoda.

I learned a lot, thanks to him. In fact, if I decided to write an 8List about the things I learned from him instead of this essay I'm now trying to put together, I'd have at least 5 lists to go around. But I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few memories from the man, so here are some of my favorites...

1. The first time I ever received a token from an event I attended as a blogger, I was beside myself in excitement. You have to understand, this was before people made a living out of blogging and social media. We were all hobbyists then, so being given a gift like I was felt like such a big deal at a time.

Juned looked at me, smiled, and reminded me to not "get too excited." And I realized right then and there that yes, I ran the risk of continuing to blog solely for these gift bags rather than because I loved to blog. It was a sobering wake-up call, and an eerie prediction of people who came in the future who were *all about the goodies.*

2. When he gave a talk about ethics for iBlog, oh wow. What a riot that was. In-jokes flew all over the place, and we had a whale of a time.

3. If it weren't for him and for Nina, I would have never known the joys of how to run a Binondo food tour.
And the memories are legion. I can't even begin to think about all the times we spent with each other, and the endless conversations we had, and the fact that I just sat there, under the learning tree, taking it all in.
The last time we met that wasn't by coincidence was in 2016, when he had me do a talk in his class. It was a great time, although I did notice how different he looked. But Juned was never one to tell us about his woes, and always focused on having engaging conversations that ran the gamut of the deepest, most ponderous topics, and the shallowest, most juvenile ones.

Here and there, I would run into him by pure chance. It's easy to take someone who felt so omnipresent for granted: it's not like he's ever gonna go away, is he? Is he?

Sadly, the answer to that, like for everyone else, is "yes. Eventually." And so we now say goodbye to a pioneer, a trailblazer, someone who was ahead of the curve long before blogging and social media and the very concept of an "influencer" were ever even things that roll off the tongue so naturally as they do in 2019. More than that, we say goodbye to a true friend. We've said goodbye to more than a few among our ranks over the years, and it never gets any easier or any less painful each time we have to.

Juned, thank you for your kindness, your time, and your friendship. Words cannot convey how much loss I feel right now, and my world feels that much poorer because of it. All I can hope is that wherever you are now, you are happy, eating all the lechon and hakaw you want. Save a space for us, because we'll be joining you there too, someday, in the great blogosphere in the sky.

We will miss you. Farewell, my friend and my mentor.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


.:Don't Comment On The Layoff, Don't Comment... Ahhhhh, Too Late:.

So here I am again, blogging. Don't expect it to be a thing, though. I guess it just needed to be done.

But it's been ages. And very few things could get me out of just posting and Facebook and back into my blog, so I guess it has to be something important, right? Well, I suppose you might say that.

Three weeks. It's been around this long since Hun has been on her trip around Europe and Thailand, and while I'm happy she's been enjoying her time out there, it's been agony for me, just waiting for her. I don't think I've ever had a case of separation anxiety and general anxiety this bad before, yet here I am, counting down the days, hours, and minutes 'til she gets back, with equal bits of excitement and dread. After all, it's been a while.

Over the years, and looking back at my earlier entries in this blog, I've come to realize very recently that I have been far from the good person I've always wanted to be. I've overlooked a lot of things, I've been unbelievably selfish, and apparently, I've been anything but self-aware. Heck, I'm probably the poster boy for those fake woke people out there right now who are oh-so-progressive, yet turns out, have tons of skeletons in their closet. And saying "it was a different time" or "I'm not the same person anymore" isn't much of an excuse, really. The things people like me have done may not fill a rap sheet somewhere out there, but they sure get you "canceldt" pretty quickly in a lot of circles.

And I'd be a liar if I said none of these things happened. And I'm certainly not proud of them, and striving hard every single day to be better and to move past them. But that nagging question always lingers in my head: do I deserve the chance to move on? Do I deserve the chance to better myself, or should I still be paying the piper for all I've done in the past? It's a question I genuinely have been asking myself lately, and quite honestly, one I can't quite give an unbiased answer to.

You see, in the time I've spent apart from Hun, I've realized that as much as I strive to be better, not only have I failed, but I could also be so much better than where I am right now. In so many ways. And at an age where most people are supposed to "have it together" now, I realize I'm so far from the mark that it's hilarious. I'm still living in those so-called glory days where I could do no wrong in Philosophy class, and radio was so exciting, and it didn't matter that I wasn't making much or saving much because I'll get to that point - someday. Yet here we are at "someday," and I'm still... hovering. Floating around. And Hun has been my one guiding compass. The one person who looked at me and gave me direction at the point I needed it most.

There are days I wake up with wonder, thinking what I did right to deserve someone like that in my life.

But there are also days I wake up with fear, thinking what I did right to deserve someone like that in my life.

These last three weeks have been agony, even if to any outside observer, it shouldn't be that bad. It's been my past coming back to do a number on me. A reckoning for who I was and who I still am, despite everything I've done in hopes of bettering myself. And to wonder if I even deserve to be with the one person who finally gave my life a semblance of a plan and direction shakes me to my core. Because it's here that you see that I've run out of excuses. It's impossible to say that it's not me, if I still end up being a failure, with all the second chances I've been given.

And while I may not have it the worst in the world, it's still a far cry from all the bluster and potential I thought I had in what has turned out to be a decade and a half ago. It's a minor tragedy in unfulfilled potential and underachievement, but when it happens to you, it really, really opens your eyes to the possibility that you've just been lucky all this time.

And that your luck might be about to run out.

So when Hun comes back tomorrow from those three long weeks, all I can do now is hope that despite everything, despite all the shortcomings, despite all the unspeakable things I simply cannot take pride in, she still sees something worthwhile in me.

Because sadly, I can't really blame her if she doesn't.

Thank you for having been my world, Hun. You truly made a difference in my life.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The End Of An Era - But The Start Of A New One

.:The End Of An Era:.

In recent days, things have been changing with a flurry. It's not easy to understand the reasons why, but things clearly are moving at a pace I could barely keep up with.

A few weeks ago, and I'm afraid I have nothing in the way of pictures to show for it, Nuffnang Philippines officially announced that they were closing their doors. It was surprising, and as the night whiled away, I couldn't help but wonder what happened, especially with all the news going on about the owners and their lawsuits, it's insane, to say the least.

It was great reconnecting with former co-Nuffies, and fellow bloggers alike. That evening really stood out in stark contrast to my mostly mundane life ever since I've prepared for the big leap. And as I fondly recall the simpler times of 2009-2012, when a cab to The Fort would only cost me 180 bucks, and riding to work even at rush hour never took longer than 45 minutes, I realize that as times change, so do I. People I used to look at a certain way, I view very differently now, often for the better.

But I'm rambling. Nuffnang was definitely a great time in my life, and though that chapter is clearly closing now, I come away from it a far better person than coming into it. And not a moment too soon.

.:The Start Of Something New:.

If you told me in 2015 that I would be making a big leap of faith like the one I make in a few days, I would have laughed in your face. But see, the last three years has been a true test of character-building if I ever had any.

But with the coming typhoon spoiling my (real, actual), I guess this leaves me no choice but to say my piece here, instead of elsewhere.

By the time you're reading this, I'm already where I should be, as I'm scheduling this post, instead of putting it up immediately after writing it. It was unbelievable for me to end up here, but here I am. And a lot of that has to do with The Hun, who made it possible for me to see my potential at the tender age of freaking 35.

While a part of me was satisfied being sarcastic on the internet and quipping about the government, more needed to be done with my life. I want to do something that really lasts and allows me to challenge myself in ways I've never been challenged before. As a comedy mentalist who has minimally plied his trade in the last couple of years, it's time that changed, and for that to happen, a change of environment is necessity: I've allowed myself to go stale. I've been too complacent, if nothing else.

So now, we enter the unknown, and challenge whatever comes our way. I may be clueless where we're headed, but thanks to The Hun, I'm confident we'll get there. We always have for the last three years. That won't change at all, I know.

There are so many goodbyes to be said. But instead, to everyone, from family to friends, allow me instead to just say thank you.

Sa inang bayan na nagmulat sa akin sa katotohanan, at humubog sa aking pagkatao, lubos ang aking pagpapasalamat. Ito ay isang pansamantalang pagpapaalam lamang. Magkikita tayong muli, at hindi mawawala ang alab ng aking puso para sa Perlas ng Silangan, magpakailanman. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Statement: Bloggers For Freedom

.:My Pre(r)amble:.

I was still in high school back in 1999 when, in the middle of then-President Erap Estrada's term, one of the biggest thorns in his side, the Manila Times, ended up selling to the late Mark Jimenez, a close friend of Erap's, for what was essentially a steal.

The Manila Times then, like the Inquirer, then and now, definitely made some controversial choices when it came to how it chose to report on the then-President. That Erap's showbiz friends then launched an advertising boycott on both papers in hopes of teaching them a lesson, a lesson only Inquirer managed to survive, was a clear red flag that the Estrada administration would brook only so much dissent. Lucky for them, the internet was barely around at the time, and people were too busy talking showbiz and UAAP on Pinoy Exchange to really get into any meaningful form of political discourse online, especially with the absence of contemporary social media and the echo chamber platform it has ended up providing for everyone of any inclination.

Today, we see glimmers of that happening again. While the Inquirer purchase may not have been a move of desperation that the Manila Times sale was, the sudden revocation of Rappler's incorporation by the SEC is a glaring act of selective justice. And while I won't pretend to be the fount of legal expertise many of Rappler's detractors suddenly appear to be despite well over a year of pretending cops killing drug suspects without due process was anything but cold-blooded murder, it doesn't take a mind-reader to see when the fix is in.

When it happened to CJ Corona, a person most of us weary of GMA's machinations happened to be anything but fond of, not a small number of us on this list today opposed this political railroading on principle - even if we didn't like the guy.

When then-President Aquino used the Papal visit as an opportunity to take cheap shots at the media outlets that just wouldn't get off his back, not a small number of us on this list today clapped back, telling him to toughen up, because the President's job is thankless and only history can judge him.

So now that President Duterte has decided for himself that he will brook no dissent and that not using tanks and guns to take down his enemies is an act of benevolence in and by itself, are we supposed to suddenly make an exception for him?

Protecting the freedoms we have worked so hard to earn is not a partisan act. Defending our institutions and due process does not recognize party lines. All it does is acknowledge that as flawed as the system is, this is the system we are supposed to abide by. For without the system, if all we have is shortcuts and the word of a man who walks back his every other statement as a joke that only his cult of personality ever gets, what exactly are we putting our trust in?

This is the Philippines. It is my country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right. Anything less, any complacency, any attempt at compromising one's core values, solely upon the altar of one man is a betrayal of both the self and the nation that we live in.

.:Statement: Bloggers For Freedom:.

We concerned Filipino bloggers stand for the rights to free expression and to free speech. And our first responsibility is to protect these rights.

We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers.

We stand against moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.

Now is a time for making choices amid battles between truth and lies, debate and dissonance, democracy and dictatorship.

We sign our names here to tell everyone we have made a choice. We are bloggers for freedom.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
Tonyo Cruz
Dale Bacar
Marcelle Fabie
Myk Mykapalaran Cruz
Rod Magaru
Ely Valendez
Alex Lapa
Tess Termulo
Zena Bernardo
Jover Laurio
James Romer V. Velina
Ramon Nocon
Flow Galindez
Helga Weber
Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan
Raymond Palatino
Loi Landicho
Saul de Jesus
Karlo Mongaya
Ricky Rivera
Mark Will Mayo Magallanes
Eyriche Cortez
Julius Mariveles
Yusuf Ledesma
RJ Barrete
Dino Manrique
Peachy Tan
Rhadem Camlian Morados
Julius Rocas
Jon Limjap
Markku Seguerra
Jam Ancheta
Estan Cabigas
Enrico Dee
Acee Vitangcol
Stefan Punongbayan
Jesus Falcis
Hancel Reyes
Czarina Maye Noche
JM Mariano
Reginald Agsalon
John Clifford Sibayan
Jane Uymatiao
Johnn Mendoza
Carlos Celdran
Christian Melanie
Jann Medina
Carlo Arvisu
Inday Espina Varona
Eugene Alvin Villar
Melo Villareal
Brian Ong
JM Tuazon
Fritz Tentativa
Fitz Villafuerte
Tina Antonio
Mykel Andrada
Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr.
Renz Daniel de Vera

Published on January 19, 2018, Black Friday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The 2017 Year-In-Review

.:The 2017 Year-In-Review:.

Bye, 2017! I hope I remember enough to answer this stuff.
1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Do a podcast, even just as a guest.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year, and I don't plan to make any this year. As it has always been. This hasn't really changed, huh?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Doesn't seem like it, but a lot of good friends got married.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but someone did early 2018. :(

5. What countries did you visit?

Went to Vietnam for the first time ever, and had a great trip in Cebu!

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Money! This is the year of Trabaho, Ipon, Travel, Enjoy.

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

September 30. Never thought she could pull it off, but Patricia the Hun threw me a surprise birthday party.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My "Despedida" show, despite lackluster attendance due to weather and timing, was probably my slickest performance to date. I've also made a lot of headway helping out as a mere fan in the small but budding world of Pinoy pro wrestling.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not doing enough to assuage fears that should have been assuaged, and the immediate consequences of that inaction.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

During the Manila Improv Festival, I had no voice and was burning up with fever.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Seeing as she's been winning tournaments with it, Patricia the Hun's Mono-R Burn deck.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Patricia The Hun. No explanations needed.

13. Whose behavior appalled you and made you depressed?

People I wished to work with who ended up doing wrong by me or my brother.

14. Where did most of your money go?

MTG, Food and Uber, it still seems.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My webshow with the Kakaibros, even if it's been spotty when it comes to shooting and posting online.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? – happier
ii. thinner or fatter? – fatter
iii. richer or poorer? – poorer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Travel, gigs, and actually writing for Cracked. This has been going on for how many years already, but I think at least two of those will change.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Unwise purchases.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent in Tagaytay again.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?

Stayed in love? Absolutely.

22. How many one-night stands?


23. What was your favorite TV program?

How To Get Away With Murder has been on fire this season.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

More like the opposite. I've made amends with people I never expected to. And that's a good thing.

25. What was the best book you read?

The new Dan Brown book since that was the only physical book I read. I know. Judge me.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

That Inigo Pascual isn't such a bad singer at all.

27. What did you want and not get?

To get more gigs. A lot of hitches got in the way, but this year, I'm done with excuses.

28. Favorite film of this year?

Probably Smaller and Smaller Circles and The Last Jedi.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34 in the company of people who loved me enough to plan a party behind my back.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Selling my condo off, and maybe headlining a show I didn't produce myself. Still the same, but I'm fine with it.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

Hanging shirts. Not by choice.

32. What kept you sane?

Patricia The Hun, gaming in general. Hearthstone and WWE Supercard, especially.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

All of them. Still.

35. Who did you miss?

Switch Improv. Elbert Or.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

The Kakaibros.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Patience is truly a virtue and can save relationships.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito 
Deja que te diga cosas al oído 
Para que te acuerdes si no estás conmigo...

Despacito: slowly, in Spanish.