[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.]

3 months.

Imagine that.

I thought that this trip will change my life. It did not. What it made me realize that I have it in me all along. That I could be a good person and be good to other people too. That I will commit mistakes but there is always a way to correct or at least to never commit mistakes again. And most importantly it made me realize how lucky I am to have met great people, to have friends who can’t wait for me to get back home, to have a great family that despite my shortcomings still see the good that I can do.

Now it is all up to me.

Armed with the Exile Adventures I have and the new knowledge of what I can and can not do, I must now start and leave my mark on the world.

Maybe the world is too big to leave my mark on but if I could be remembered by a few people, my friends, my family, and my future family then I guess that is good enough.

This is the end of the Exile and start of a new Adventure.

See you in a few hours Manila.

[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.]

Last week, I saw a wallet on the sidewalk at around 4:00 AM while we were on the car at traveling around 30mph. I don’t know how I really spotted that.

I had difficulty returning the wallet because the address on the license was not updated and no forwarding address was given. My only lead was the school I.D. saying Northwestern University in Evanston. It is in the small town suburban area.

I have to mention that when I went there, it was raining all hell and cold a frakking hell.

So I was lost in the middle of small town Evanston looking for Northwestern U.

I would probably die in a small town. But seeing Northwestern U actually brought back a lot of memories of college life.

I went to the Student Affairs office to confirm if the owner goes to the school, lo and behold she does. Feeling happy with my good deed, I went to Kellog school of Management just to roam around. For management/marketing majors out there, it is one of the premier schools of management.

As I was standing there admiring the campus, I can’t help but tell myself what life would be if I was attending this school. So I went to the admissions office and ask the requirements for M.A. program in Integrated Marketing Communications. Long story short the program director told me “You can’t afford it”.  They don’t have grants or scholarship programs. Loans are only given to U.S. citizens.

She did however sent me off on a positive note by letting me roam around inside the campus freely.

I just decided to walk to the lake and reflect while the cool wind blows and the waves crash around me.

Education is such an important thing. I just so happened to have gotten one of the best in the Philippines, it’s about time I put it to good use. It is not Northwestern Standard but at least it is good education.

So I finally met a street photographer friend from the interwebs into real life.

I am happy and thankful.

Also got the chance seeing how street photographers here shoot.

Fun times really.

I don’t know what else to say about but I am happy I am where I am and it will not be possible without the help of friends, family, and people who are there to support :)

[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.]

Watched the white sox.

They are better than the cubs.

People actually watch the games in Cellular field.

People just drink in Wrigley field.

Went clubbing. It was fun.

But it reminded me why I never go clubbing.

I never was the type to conform to other people’s standards but when you go to a club, you have to play “the game” like dress nice, dance in a specific way, buying girls drinks and shit. All in the name of getting piss ass drunk and getting laid tonight.

It makes me think that the easiest way to get laid is when you get married. At least it will be passionate, it will have a meaning, and you are actually obligated to do so to ensure the survival of the species.

You don’t have to go through humiliation, awkwardness, drinking yourself to shit, and all those shenanigans just to get laid.

I actually feel sad for some of the guys I saw who was surrounding this one girl. Imagine 5 guys circling this one very drunk girl like sharks. I think they are desperate but a friend here told me “Oh Americans are just aggressive like that” but isn’t aggression a sign of desperation to accomplish things as fast as possible?

So yeah. Will never go clubbing again.

I miss dancing though haha fucking stupid joint pain ridden knees!

A Korean, 3 Filipinos, a man from the Republic of Congo, an Afghani, a Russian girl, an Irish American, and an Irish Mexican walked into a bar?

Only in America that these things will happen.

We were flinging insults all around each other.  But we still managed to have a good time.

This made me believe in world peace. By ignoring all political correctness, accepting the fact that the thing that makes us common is all the differences we have, and by not taking things personally, we could achieve world peace.

Just like in my favorite Ska band’s song Hell on Earth "If we could build a bomb then we can build heaven too"

[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 was bit star strucked meeting a U.S. senator but it stems from the fact that the said senator did not have security guards, an entourage of 20 people, 4 SUVs, and a douche-y smile.


She was asking people how they find the festival her office organized while a lone assistant were handing out fliers.

I appreciate the fact that this senator knows that she represents the people not like in my country wherein the senators don’t know jack shit about an average joe’s plight because they were too busy stealing money from the state. 

My *aunt asked me something that struck me with regard to my current status and situation in life: What have you done today to improve your life?

I was drawing blanks. I have never done anything.

She reminded me of the fact that we can control everything. We must not wait for things to happen but we must make it happen, find a way to accomplish things no matter how simple they are. So yeah, I have to ask that question to myself every time I wake up.

(*who’s the eldest of 7 siblings, my godfather of an uncle is the 2nd eldest and eldest male while my mom the 3rd eldest)

So the longest summer of my life ends this weekend.

From March to September.

It was not the summer I wish I could have but it was a summer that will be really memorable.

Some highs: Seeing my bestfriend find work and settle down, this exile adventure that I will forever be thankful for, owning a Leica and seeing the world.

Some lows: It did not have that summer fling ala Grease that I always wanted, getting rejected from jobs, being virtually penniless, grandma’s quad bypass.

 but yeah this was still memorable.

Fall is up ahead and we all know winter is coming.

Despite that, I have a long list of things to do when I get back. For now, I have to do something to improve my life. LAUNDRY TIME!

Exile Adventure: Music Edition

One of the first things I noticed when I got here was that my grandfather and grandmother always fight. They hurl insults, they never have small talk, and they don’t even look at each other at times. They were at it for their entire marriage of 60 years.

But tonight, after my grandmother’s successful surgery, my grandfather was so adamant about going to the hospital.

When we got in the ICU, my grandfather just stared at my grandmother sleeping, still going through recovery. Before we left, he approached my grandmother’s bed, lift the side of the blanket and held her hand.

:)

Oh, please, say to me
You´ll let me be your man
and please, say to me

You´ll let me hold your hand
Now let me hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand

And when I touch you i feel happy, inside
It´s such a feeling
That my love
I can’t hide

They give meaning to the vows people take during matrimony:

"For richer or poorer, in sickness and in Health, till death do us part"

(Source: youtube.com)

[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 grandmother will have her quadruple bypass surgery tomorrow.

An aunt is panicking like shit and posting every single detail on facebook panicking my cousins who in turn ask me for details, another aunt is taking charge of everything but the other aunt is not listening, Uncles in the Philippines are panicking, my other uncle is apathetic to the entire situation, my cousin here is just playing in his XBOX, another cousin of mine will have her baby soon so she is not bothering with this, my grandfather’s blood pressure is rising, and to top it all off my mother might fly here in a couple of days officially ending my exile adventure (what good is an exile if your captors are there).

Tempers are flaring and emotions are running high.

Despite all of this, I fell that this could be a premise for a new TV series. Very stupid I know. But really, I am absolutely clueless with what I should do and what I should feel.

I talked to my grandmother and she told she already had 7 kids, 12 grandkids, 1 great grandkid with 1 more coming on the way, married for 60++ years, was able to go to the U.S., and already achieved a lot in her life. She told me she was ready. I admire her strength. At least the one who is getting surgery is the one that is strong enough to accept that what will be, will be.

Whatever happens tomorrow, there is one thing I will try to do. The only thing at least I know how to do and perhaps the only way I cope with things: Wear my good shoes, hold a camera in my hand, and be ready for things.

P.S.

To my religious friends and followers here on tumblr, if you guys could offer a prayer to my grandmother, my family and to humanity’s well being I would gladly appreciate it :)

and to my non-religious friends and followers here on tumblr, thoughts of encouragement will be greatly appreciated as well :D [Ok so that was my bad excuse of a joke to lighten things up :P hahahaha shit]

[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 want to take this time to commemorate of a man who passed away recently, a good friend, someone who always got our back in Call of Duty, Grant.

When someone close dies, you can’t help but re-evaluate your life. Grant already has a lot of achievements despite his age. He was an honorable and hard working man.

I will never forget him for giving me the opportunity to direct a play with my best friend. He allowed the shenanigans I want to include and trusted me all the way.

You always got our back, Thanks for everything Grant. You will be missed by me, the bodega boys, the UA&P theater community, and your family. Glad to have met you and see you soon :)

Went to hooters so I was like,

the women are really pretty but then something hit me, it takes great confidence to be a hooters girl. I know they are caring and invades my personal space but I can’t help but admire their confidence. With confidence you can really conquer anything.

oh and the chicken wings are great.

I was walking in Rogers Park arts fest. Someone stopped me and asked: “Hey are you a model?” and I was like

seriously, things like that can brighten a bad day :) So yeah, to my parents who say i’m ugly as fuck, people think I could be a model (although I won’t be :P) hahaha alright, stopping vanity now.

Watched a game in wrigley field, CUBS WON!

seeing 2 homers and 3 double plays from the cubs was awesome :) but still, in between that I’m bored as fuck. Baseball is a weird sport.

My Godfather of an uncle imparted another golden piece of nugget with me. He told me "There are two ways that women become successful, either they become smart or act stupid"

so after he was laughing like a hyena, I think about his nugget of wisdom again.

He is right.

The smart girls get the job done. They are the powerful independent women that you would see high up on the corporate world or performing well in politics. Notable examples: Margaret Thatcher, Joan of Arc, Leslie Knoppe (fictional but it counts!!!), Tina Fey, Queen Gorgo of Sparta, Queen Elizabeth I etc.

While many are annoyed at the stupid girls, they still are acting smart by being stupid. They give men a false sense of superiority but in truth, they have men wrapped around their fingers following their every whim. Notable examples: Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Cleopatra etc. 

You may think Hilton and Kardashian are stupid but who is rolling in Millions now and literally gets paid to party!? Fuckin A right?! Your Job is to fucking Party. As for cleopatra, let’s not forget how they tried to take over the Roman Empire.

So yeah, it’s a fun thought. Made me think about the girls in my life who act stupid or became smart to get things done :)

[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.]

Uncle: Which is cheaper? Sex with a prostitute or sex with your significant other?

Me: Of course with your significant other! Technically speaking, you don’t have to pay!

Uncle: That is where you are wrong A.g. Look at it this way, if you have sex with a prostitute, you will have a one time pay no strings attached. Sex with your significant other, you never pay but looks at all the strings attached! “Oh why don’t you buy me this? Cook me breakfast hon’. Let’s go shopping babe!” At the end of the day, count your money, you would have spent cheaper with a prostitute than with your girlfriend.

(He said with a huge grin in his face)

Me:

*His point was that sex complicates things. It’s a fun activity but never do it unless you are prepared for commitment. If you don’t want the commitment, hire a prostitute.

A few days ago, I attended a Marketing Boot Camp.

It was great!

But what I felt was shit.

Daria has this famous (and my favorite quote) of her that goes like this:

My Goal is not to wake up at 40 with the bitter realization that I have wasted my life in a job I hate because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens

I’m not even 40 and I regret taking that degree leading to a marketing career wherein I will be asked to “build relationships” so it could lead to a purchase (fuck that, build relationships because you want to be a good human being) or provide them with the best possible option for the things they need (which means your own product or service because others are shit and you won’t get cash). That and many other bitter realizations.

But then again I have to do it. I need money. Money that will fuel what I really want to do in life which is publish photography books or if lucky, get exhibits (which really doesn’t fly in the third world but fuck it, I’ll do it anyway).

Here’s to selling out but not giving in.

[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.]

A Hawaiian themed Church fundraiser held in a basement.

It’s could have been a premise for one of them Mockumentary comedies (notable examples are Party Down, Parks and Rec, The Office, and The League)

There was a guy with long as hell sideburns, dancing with everyone, and spouting a comment like this to twins: “You know, you were made once but two came out!”

Speaking of the twins, they played on stage. I’m no musical genius but when a non musical genius knows you are screwing up, there is something wrong.

The headliner band was Ellen and the soundwaves. The organ player’s sound check was Dawnby Richard Strauss. I thought something would explode or any minute, Rick Flair would make a special appearance.

What’s weird is everyone was having a hard time speaking in English when clearly, 97% of all the people in the venue were Filipino. (3 white people, a couple of latinos, and a handful of indians) I was speaking tagalog to everyone, even to the Parish priest (indian) and he somewhat understood me :D

It was hella awkward but it was fun.

Especially seeing old people dancing. I want that too, in the future :)

When you play the grill of thrones… Ok, i’m stopping the bad pun there.

Also went to a meat packing center.

There were literally a lot of meat! I could see me and my friends now who are avid meat eaters. It’s as cold as Winterfell but the manly men throwing meat around, cutting meat, and the cold temperature made it a really awesome Manly place!

I cooked for my family yesterday. Well grill. As grilling the only type of cooking that I have confidence in.

Weird that Charcoal here in America heats up fast and burns longer. So yeah, I overcooked one chicken, but I adjusted and like a Lannister, paid my dues.

I think I should learn to cook more food. For my personal needs, to not just be the designated dishwasher during out of town trips with my boys, or you know… to whip something up for the morning after (haha as if that is going to happen!)

But yeah, I enjoy cooking. Getting the skill will be pogi points for my mother :)

[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 was standing waiting in the bus stop when a middle aged African American man was handing out fliers with a smile on his which contain information of a Catholic Church group get together for bible study and whatnot.

He was handing it to everyone, Even to an Arab wearing a kurta shirt. The Arab man glanced at the flier and crumpled it.

I was standing there frozen at the situation that unfolded before my very eyes.

Seeing that I witnessed the situation, the Arab man approached me and said: "If you only knew what the Koran said about Jesus"

I was still frozen.

Certain questions are now running in my head.

Should I have defended my faith? Should I have responded with what I know the Koran tell about Jesus? Should I have engaged in conversation and discussion about religion and cultural differences?

I always just follow what I learned from my theology professor, Fr. Latorre, said: (This isn’t the exact quote but it goes something like this) “You can never prove which religion is the best because religion is faith and philosophy shown through a supernatural revelation. The only way you can prove your religion is if you live it.”


There is actually another question that is a wee bit controversial but it is bugging me— (see next para.)

If I was an Atheist, would I have been angry that the African American Man is peddling salvation while the Islam man is imposing opinion on my choice?

Atheists I’ve met here, in the Philippines, and those I see on the interwebs are Atheists by rebellion and not by reason.

What I mean is that they have rejected religion because of the actions of the members of the institution that go against the teachings of the Church and/or that there is no God because of the many evil things that happen to them, to earth, and to humanity, and/or the lack of physical evidence for the existence of a God.

Atheists, to me at least, always complain about religion when how I understood life so far is that the ultimate form of rejection is indifference.

That is why I had the impression that an Atheist would complain and defend his faith (or lack thereof) to the Muslim man or the African American man distributing the flier.

(post script:

I mean no offense to Atheists. It’s something that have been fascinated me for years now. Not that I am turning to Atheism but the culture and the life that Atheists live has always been a curiosity to me. These questions and observations about Atheism arise from the curiosity. So curious in fact, that I have been considering doing a documentary project on the lives of Atheists but I have no idea what images should I show and how am I going to do it.

And yes, I have friends who have rejected religion and even follow people on tumblr who openly talk against Catholicism.

I am also tagging this not to argue or flame but to engage in discussion in a civil manner. Religions and cultures might be different but at the end of the day, we all have something in common and that is we are human.

Thanks, now off to another exile adventure

- A.g. )

I admire parents.

Cousins from Canada arrived over the weekend.

They were in their late teens.

We went to 6 Flags Great America theme park.

How we got there was pester power. My cousins persuaded their parents to give us money to buy tickets to Six Flags but the parents defenses were giving a good fight. Eventually they were defeated saying this to my cousins: “Sige na, para hindi naman kayo ma-disappoint” (Ok, we will do this so as not to disappoint you.)

Boom. It just hit me like a flash. A sort of slideshow happened in my brain of all the things my parents did so as I would not be disappointed. (With the ultimate thing of them sending me here). And despite all the things they do to make me happy, I continue to disappoint them but they still love me. Thinking about it teared me up a little.

I don’t know if I would have the courage, patience, and perseverance to become a parent and to not disappoint my children. Maybe not now but perhaps I need to be more mature and eventually prepare for the day that I become a father.

All I am saying is, give your parents a hug. Thank them for everything. Even if they disappoint you. It builds your character and makes you self reliant. :) Parents are just great.

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