[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

I went to a hot topic topic today. To those unfamiliar, it is like American Blvd back home.

I remember loving that store and dreaming I could shop there everyday. It is very much my high school paradise. Everything there reminded me of certain things I wish I had when I was in HS.

Seeing it for the first time in 5 years, it is now different. Not because the store changed some of the things they sell but because the emo punk scene kid in me is dying. I am actually laughing at some of the things I used to think were cool.

I see this as a manifestation of me growing up.

On August 20, Blink 182 is going to chicago.

I want to see them live. There are some songs that are perfect for what you are experiencing with your life.

I was in high school. I was alone, down, and looking for my identity.

One day my sister walked in holding a Blink CD. First thing she played was dammit.

It taught me that to grow up means to rely on your own. I forgot about that through the years. The reason my parents sent me here to Chicago is to realize how to be on my own. 10 years on, they are still right.

I now have a chance to see them live especially now that I am applying what the song taught me 10 years ago.

I can’t wait to see my favorite band singing my favorite song live :)

The punk boy in me maybe dying and I’m turning into an adult but that doesn’t mean that one stops from growing up. Never stop growing up :)

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

My uncle in the father’s side with mental health issues passed away last night.

My grandmother is mourning as well as people back home.

There has been an issue of autism and various members of the family with mental health disabilities.

It got me thinking, when the reproductive health bill passes in the Philippines (despite the strong resistance, sadly, I think it will be passed) me and my wife [and hopefully not, God forbid, the state] has the option of aborting the baby once we know if there are disabilities with the child. 

I can’t for the life of me do that for the sake of convenience and practicality. It is a life that was given to us. I got a scolding from my folks here convincing me that I should just abort. Probably because it is America where everything is pro-choice. I’m still culture shocked by the way people act here in public. Call me conservative but modesty is a value that is disappearing in the west but I digress.

We all go to church by the way. So yeah, I hate it when everything I know suddenly gets shattered.

When Magellan circumnavigated the globe, he shrunked the world and revolutionized globalization.

With the internet, you could have more things in common, share ideas, and easily interact with a Game of Thrones fan girl serving delicious crepes in NYC, a die-hard asuka cosplayer in Toronto, a street photographer in Russia, and an insanely funny guy who has great taste in female celebrities and pretends to be a journalist from Indianapolis.

But despite that there is still racism, hate, and a disjointed pride stemming from the fact that you are American.

I don’t get it. Being American doesn’t make you better than me.  

That incident sucked some of the happiness I have this entire exile.

It’s really bugging me and I this off.

My father told me to shoot stock photos of Chicago for his buddy’s stock photography agency.

Did I just turn into a freelance travel photographer? I think I just did :)

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

It scares me as to how my grandma and mother act the same. It shouldn’t scare me but I am afraid to raise my kids like they did. But then again, they both turned out great so why should i worry.

There are just so many things they say with the same manner and do the things they do with the same conviction. They both freak out and panic towards my welfare at the simplest of things.

The worst part: They both tell me not to trust people, going against everything I know. If you are kind enough and sincere enough, people will know you will not do harm.

Heat Wave has just ended with a bunch of rain showers making wet mornings and very chill afternoons. Perfect for listening to Damien Rice, Coldplay, and others who make you feel sentimental.

I struck up a conversation with a stranger on the train. It was the best I’ve had so far in this country. It was so good, I intentionally missed my stop :P I was not in a hurry that day, might as well make the most of that conversation.

Wicker Park festival was fun. Cheap Beer, good tunes, and lots of characters and women.

But you guys probably know I roll differently. I didn’t grab cheap beer, I only listened to one band, but I got myself immersed in shooting the characters.

Had the great opportunity of shooting beside street photographer Justin Waggoner

A great guy and a great street photographer. His style is greatly different from mine but he makes his style work. We also learned a lot observing each other. I actually want to write some of the things I learned shooting with Justin. 

There is something about street photography and street photographers. It is some sort of a unique brotherhood that takes care not only of other street photographers but other people on the streets as well.  

With all of the things I am learning and experiencing, I can’t wait to get back home.

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

As I took a street shot, a man who was included in the frame at the distant background approached me and asked for payment. If not delete the photo he says. I use film so I can’t. I got out by being honest and said that I am photographing the streets of Chicago and I am a tourist. He went about his way. 

Honestly, I can’t even remember the shot and his face wouldn’t even be seen but to honor him, I wouldn’t be using that shot I guess.

Just and observation and I may offend by saying this but Manila’s Urban Poor and African Americans here act the same when you point a camera towards them. They are the ones who show a lot of character and aggression. They are both easy going but will try to out hustle you if you are not smart enough. 

It’s weird but there is probably a connection there somewhere.

I should take photos of women who smile at me.

I smile a lot here. I don’t know but I’m extra giddy here. And when I shoot, I always require myself to smile even if I was noticed or not. But when just walking around I smile and a lot of people (especially women) smile back. Not in a flirty kind of way but in a "Hey you are a human being and you exist" kind of way.

I get sincere smiles though when I offer a seat or open the door for people. Probably because they know I don’t have an agenda. I guess that is where my observation of insincere smiles come from: you smile because you have an agenda.

I’m sure smiling is required and written in all sales and HR manuals of all the companies here in the U.S.


I will now refer to them as vintage google.

I got myself lost in a library today, much like what happens when you enter a search in google. It was fun. I should do it again.

Libraries have all the answers, just like google. It’s probably one of the things I will miss when I head back home to Manila. 

Product Placement time-

Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl is the Sex. I don’t know why but I love it so.

I miss the taste in my mouth as I type this!!!

I need to go back to Navy Pier because I remember 5 years ago, that is where I had my most delicious hotdog.

Good food can sometimes compare to that feeling you get when you just got some. I’m sure there is a study somewhere proving that.

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

I did not know that here in America, you can keep your 3D glasses :)

So I’m keeping the Glasses I watched HP7 pt. 2 in :) and added a special something. Let’s see who would cast Reparo on this one :)

Finally seeing Ron and Hermione Kiss, Snape’s Pensieve Sequence, Longbottom slaying Nagini— Wow, just wow. What a way to end the series that taught me to read stuff :)

I was sitting down in Michigan taking a break from street shooting when a large, tattooed Mexican approached me. I was scared shitless.

Mexican: “Hey Man, are you a student or something”

Me: “No Sir, I’m already a graduate”

Mexican: “But you know stuff right?”

Me: “I hope so?”

Mexican: “You know what, Who is this guy? (Pointing to his shirt) White people and some Asians are giving me the eye! I don’t know man!”

He is wearing a Che Guevarra T-shirt. I explained Che to him and why people are giving him the eye. Turns out, He was wearing it because it was given to him by his mom, he doesn’t really care who Che is, he just loves his mom :) We had a few more minutes of racial stereotypes and jokes then I photographed him and went on his way with smiles on both our faces :)

We can’t help and profile people at times, I guess that human nature, but when we understand person’s story, you’ll see them as an individual instead of a stereotype.

Attended a writing talk about how to write when life gets in the way. He gave 5 tips but the short of it all is this: Write even if you are not a writer at that moment. Scribble on paper, Record your voice, write in a wall. Write.

Everything exists on the mind, you just have to materialize it.

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

Only been here for 2 weeks but I’ve learned so much and I want to use it immediately when I get back home. I’m not yet done here but I have to be patient I will be forever thankful to my family and to God for this.

I’m slowly learning what I want to do with my life. It’s simple: To properly raise a family. It may not change the world or solve hunger but if I could make the world perfect for 3 other people (my wife and 2 or more kids) then I guess that would be enough. I can achieve those by working hard and be a good man to my future wife and kids.

I want to find a job when I get back. I will be focused, determined, and patient. I can do this but for now, I need to continue learning about life.

Damien Rice is becoming my soundtrack here in Chicago :)

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

I’ve always wanted to have a simple wedding.

I never want to spend much for it because I want to invest the money on a house rather than a lavish event (albeit once in a lifetime). I want to make my wedding about the ceremony and not the celebration. I learned those from my parents :)

Turns out, my parents got married in the Manila Hilton, Had Guests stay for 3 days, and complete with make up clothes and all the trimmings. ALL I KNOW ARE LIES!!!! :(

My Grandma told me that my Father’s mother want to have a celebration like that despite my parents really insisting on a simple ceremony.

I guess my parents wanted me have the ceremony they wanted , something simple and really intimate and I want that too :)

(Parents always try to live Vicariously through their kids)

There are 3M’s I want to have in my life: A leica M, Marriage, and Money.

I now have a leica M :)

Just need to work on the Marriage and make more money (to pay that Leica M and to get married :D)

Like my uncle says all the time: Money makes more money!

I love Contemporary Art.

For me, It is sifting through the bullshit. 

So when I saw works of Andreas Gursky, Andy Warhol, Marcel DuChamp, Jeff Koons etc. in the MCA today,

Mind happily blown :)

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

One of the agencies I dream to work for Ogilvy, emailed me and sent me a notice to appear for an interview on the 13th.

I’m 10,000 miles away.

Rather than be depressed, I’ll try to set-up a skype interview or something. If not— I will try to reschedule an interview as soon as I get back, September or October.

Went to pubs, karaoke bars, and a country themed pub.

I’m not a bar type of person so I don’t know if it is the same back home.

People hooking up in front of me, making out, getting piss ass drunk.

I was just observing things and smiling at everyone. Even at some of the girls who waved and smiled back, the people with me went "You should hook up with her!" I was just meh.

I don’t know. Maybe I was culture shocked, maybe I’m really missing someone back home and staying committed, or both.

Meat Salad.

Named Slayer. From a metal themed bar named Kuma’s Korner

They actually call it a burger. But my friends would be proud of me eating a Meat Salad.

I enjoyed art classes in my College and HS.

So seeing the work of Degas, Caravaggio, Manet, Monet, Picasso, and a slew of other classical and renaissance artists just blew my mind.

And this is just Chicago. If I probably went to Guggenheim, I must be checked to an institution after.

Keeping myself Busy. That’s all I have going for me here.

[Exile Adventures is my way of chronicling my trip to America with the purpose of finding what I want to do with my life and what it is about.]

I’m starting to miss home. Not that I want to leave but when you have your roots planted in a particular place for a long time and it gave you so much, you will feel incomplete. You’re not just part of that place, you are that place.

Am I enjoying my time here? of course, but the real work will start in a few days. That’s where we’ll see things going.

If tumblr is a gauge of the type of girls in America then I am disappoint. I follow a lot of awesome nerdy girls and redheads (online crushes FTW!!!) but I’ve Been here a week and I’ve only seen one pretty red head and no trace of a nerdy girl. I’m starting to think they don’t go out much :(

I want to meet one before I go home *fingers crossed*

Kamon America! Where my geeky girls at?!

An interesting exchange I had with one of my grandfather’s nurses.

She was looking for way so that I could get my papers and stay here in the U.S.

I outright said no and I want to go home. (The only time I’ll stay is when I get married here. In a span of three months? I highly doubt it.) I also admitted that I am spoiled brat that is why I was sent here by my parents.

While walking Michigan Ave. and doing some street shooting I came to this conclusion as to why I don’t want to stay:

America is great if you are an American. I guess it’s true for any other country. Immigrants have a hard time or at least are having a hard time living here. They had to cope with stereotyping, racism, and a slew of other things that people born in America never experience.

I currently have problems of my own that is why I was exiled here by my parents. One thing my uncle told me is to never solve a problem by adding more problems until you forget your earlier problems, you’ll never get shit done and you’ll be depressed as hell.

I’ll enjoy my time here and I know I’m slowly becoming better :)

I wish we could have google services back home like the Maps wherein you can plot your route. Even Street view.

My philosophy in travelling is to get lost. Follow the curiosity and no matter where you end up, you’ll surely enjoy the travel and even the destination.

Google now prevents you from getting lost.

Rode the bike all day yesterday and I’m toasted as hell but it wasn’t as hot as Philippine weather (around 30-32C or around 85-90F)

I love the fact that motorists respect pedestrians, bike riders, and obey traffic laws at all times. That seems like a utopian society for the Philippines.

And motorcycle riders don’t go through every nook and cranny of the road. They occupy their own space like a 4 wheeled vehicle. Wow. Just wow.

because of this I’m starting to see why people have first world problems, it’s as simple as they don’t have third world problems. And choosing not to care makes you a bit of a douche, but you are still alive and that is all that matters.

Gay Beaches.

I’m sorry for stereotyping but the Homosexuals all over the world really are the same. Fun people, really fun people.

They also have the cleanest beach from the 3 beaches I went to yesterday :)

(yes, there is a homophobic slur there somewhere I just don’t want to include it here :P)

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