There we were, standing on soil, in the presence of an earthly giant. Greens surrounded us – an abundance of tall trees and plants. Dogs bark from the distant, birds chirp from the trees and the skies above, and your fellow pilgrims in silent voices in awe of the realization that we are here.
Moments later, we trudged along nature’s acclivities and steep stairs in the midst of the forest. Once at the bottom, we were baptized through rituals involving the waters of the mountain. We were to speak our prayers in silence, leaving our minds open for the possible answers or whispers of the mountain. We got the chance to connect to our deepest fears, to translate them into prayers. Our palms were on the massive rocks as the water washed us from above. It cleanses you, absorbs your fears, your thoughts, listens to you, and all it requires from you is that you let go and give in – surrender.
Spelunking was not something we do, but nevertheless, we were within the dark and confined space that connected the Earth’s gravity below us to the rocks that were above us. “Death could happen anytime now”, I thought. And then I remembered something. “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” The light was my surrender to God. That He has me. And my fears vanished.
The mountain awaited us.
The trek was enervating because of the blistering heat and the onerous climb. But those thousand steps were forgotten soon as we reached the peak. We were closer than ever to the heavens. The physical world was silent. A slab of rock providing limited shade was in sight and I took refuge in the comfort it presented.
In that moment, I heard only my voice and an echo that just maybe what I needed to hear.
‘Sorrows of Werther’ by William Makepeace Thackeray
Werther had a love for Charlotte
Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?
She was cutting bread and butter.
Charlotte was a married lady,
And a moral man was Werther,
And for all the wealth of Indies
Would do nothing for to hurt her.
So he sigh’d and pin’d and ogled,
And his passion boil’d and bubbled,
Till he blew his silly brains out,
And no more was by it troubled.
Charlotte, having seen his body
Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
Went on cutting bread and butter.
“The tongue of the devil”. “A hippopotamus’ fetus”. These were just a couple of descriptions I came up with upon witnessing the earthly reincarnation of the chocolate dominant foods I ate for the past twenty-four hours. From the sumptuous chocolate fudge cake to chocolate bars to burgers and steaks – the sound of these alone is enough to get you thinking already of the aftermath. Oh and I swear by my “meat injection” that the physical length and girth of the product is more than double my “skin pistol” (given I am bigger than the average Asian). Just the plain sight of the thick strong-brown almost black physical cohesiveness of that foot-long (I am pretty sure that it is more than just a foot) diabolical specimen against the immaculate white porcelain of the toilet was truly awe-inspiring (I would say jaw-dropping but that’s not something you would want to do inside a freshly used toilet). You can almost feel the phantom blobs or bubbles of its sickening odor slowly creeping up your nostrils and down your throat, wherein one magnified gulp will act as the trigger to turning your stomach inside out.
Using common sense, obviously you would flush it down right away to rid yourself of the horrors; BUT, what I thought to be the masterpiece, the main event, it turned out, was only the appetizer to what would be a long night of vain enduring attempts of flushing it down. I witnessed a crime scene one flush attempt after another. I saw it break into chunks – chunks that would fill up the whole throat of the toilet seat submerged in swamp-like coffeeish waters. I might even go as far as calling it a scene from Guantanamo Bay. I was convinced that no other sight could be as gruesome and horrific as the one I was looking at until someone shows me another.
After valiant efforts of manning up and covering my nose with my shirt, I decided to give up and consult the person who knows how to handle this – the maid. What she did, I do not know, but when I woke up the next day, it was as pristine as the sight of my lukewarm glass of water.
“The Home of Passionate Minds”
I see the azures stretching out to distant horizons, to silhouettes of buildings from surrounding cities from where I stand. On grass so green I stand. Zephyr kisses my skin, blowing through my already disheveled hair, and filling my loose shirt. It does not take a minute long for the sun to announce its presence. Already I am baptized by its weather, almost a rite of passage as you step on its soil. It is only fitting that you should embrace such atmosphere should you want to last the day in its festive enclave – it being The Fort Bonifacio Global City.
Not a hundred steps from where I alighted is the popular Mercato Centrale. Conspicuous by way of its big white tents, this place is frequented by gourmands. All sorts of cuisines and dishes are offered here – from Filipino street foods to American burgers to European desserts. I will be honest; whenever I am in Mercato, it’s not just the food I notice, goers here are all kinds of beautiful – Eurasians, Westerners, Asians, and of course Filipinos. There’s nothing like having lunch, eating good food along with other people who share the same passion – “He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.” – Thoreau; I am sure that the food connoisseurs there live by this line. A caveat to those who plan to visit soon though: do not put too many clothes on and do not forget a fat wallet. It’s amusing to know that you and your wallet can switch states at the end of your visit in Mercato – a fat wallet and a slim you pre-Mercato to a thin wallet and a fat belly for you post-Mercato.
Now you can go through The Fort by a vehicle or a bicycle but like they say, “walking is equally, if not, more pleasurable and highly encouraged.”
After that sweat-inducing, belt-loosening, and breath-catching bout of food munching, it is time to put your feet up – not exactly right away, as you still have to amble your way down a street. When you’ve done that, you’ll find yourself in the High Street. Earlier, you thought of finding a place to wind down in and regain your composure. Now, that might not be the case anymore as you find yourself before a number of alluring shops and end up just window-shopping since your thick wallet has already shape shifted into a food-baby. However, if you’ve already walked the High Street several times before, you’d walk on and pick your spot to relax in right away.
There are a number of cafes along the High Street but I prefer to stay in Fully Booked. Aside from my love for books – be it reading them or just taking the time to appreciate the book cover, the ambiance of the place draws me there. Something about its air is inspiring. Lounge music would fill the halls sending out good vibes to everyone. I would see a kid equipped with her cute day-bag put on a pair of huge headphones from the music section and start to bob her head to the music. On the other side, I would see a straight sartorial cognoscente pick up books about fashion and music. It’s the diversity of age and occupation that’s present in Fully Booked that keeps the place interesting. Finding a seat here is not a problem. Aside from the seats they have beside each floor’s central glass railings, almost the entire place is yours to sit on. Being in the company of the physical manifestations of the different authors’ imaginations is truly stirring. You don’t even have to pick a book, just walk past the rows of books and let your fingers glide on the spines and let the touch stir your soul.
Once you think you are ready to take on the rest of the day after your inspiring visit to Fully Booked, you might want to visit Forbes Town Center. It is a small place occupied by a number of restaurants and shops. One particularly interesting shop there is Titan. It’s a classic American-inspired barbershop and at the same time a sneaker boutique. It’s a great stop for sneaker-heads, basketball aficionados, and those looking to start a new phase of their life (looks-wise). It only seems right to get yourself a new look after having already fed not just your soul but your belly as well earlier in the day. The day is really starting to look like a “me” day.
In another street, you’ll find buildings of foreign firms such as the Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan. What does that tell you about the place – easy, the place is world class. You can’t deny that. Even tourists will tell you that once they get to roam around the place named after Andres.
Putting The Fort in sentences filled with glorifying and positive adjectives is a cinch because The Fort is worthy of the dictionary. One can dream of settling here and live like a Renaissance man day after day, night after night, indulging in the arts and literature the place has to offer through its landscape and architecture to the shops founded by love of the individuals or the families behind them. It is a place where the streets have no names (U2 reference) because they go by numbers (faint attempt at a joke). Seriously though, the streets are four lanes wide with spacious pedestrian walks guided by visible street signs and stoplights. A wandering soul will not get lost here. One can map the skies and its stars at night amidst the cool wind and distant flickers of light and not have to worry about moonlighting villains. The Fort truly is a place most can only dream of, it is a place filled with dreamers, and it is a place where dreams come true. “Welcome to the home of Passionate Minds”.
Greeted by a morning unlike any other
Amidst ear-splitting Spanish caterwauls
He promenaded the Newtown plaza
Each step he took, took him closer
To his inevitable consequential demise
Beneath cloudless heavens
Triggers were pulled in synchronicity
Turning humdrum malicious festive noise
Into deafening silence
24/7-ready-booty call partner
Today’s generation is lost much like the 70’s (sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as told in the movie, is the zeitgeist of the 70’s). Today, people don’t really take into account the religious teachings anymore – ones they ubiquitously heard from their parents when they were growing up. Any of the demons like alcohol can be blamed for today’s kids’ atheistical decision making. The moment a demon clouds up someone’s head, he sure is set for about anything actually and by anything, I mean ANYTHING – from being cajoled by his “good old reliable” friends into losing his not-really-innocent innocence to an underage masseuse in a not-so-illicit-looking-massage place to getting acquainted with Mary Jane or some other nose candy.
As much as I would like to talk about almost all kinds of mercurial teenage shenanigans, I can’t as I will be only talking about one and that is messing around with a friend (yes, THAT ‘messing around’).
In the past week’s new movies that were showed in cinemas was one called ‘Friends with Benefits’ starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. I am not going to beat around the bush by hinting at or describing in euphemisms what the phrase “Friends with Benefits” mean; it simply means two friends, a boy and a girl, having sex as if they were only playing tennis (it’s a quote from the movie, the tennis thing is) – you do it, shake hands, and proceed with your life.
Between them, it was the “tennis” statement that led them to being “F-buddies”. How two individuals can agree to such a vocal (better yet, oral) informal pact, to me, is wild and crazy *chuckle at that* (Let me rephrase that; how a proper lady can agree to something like that, to me, is dishonoring. As for a man, it’s only normal for him to engage in mischief especially one that involves the three letter word all men think of almost every minute of every day). Retortion: “Wild and crazy” to those who were raised by uptight Jesus freaks but since most of us are not in this day and age, I say, we say it’s an offer we can’t and won’t refuse.
While we may find out that we were born under a lucky star and find ourselves a 24/7-ready-booty call partner, things can still get ugly despite those vivid images of sexual scenarios you’re already thinking of. As hinted in the movie, sex to women, is not just sex (this could work for guys as well, those who are more feminine emotion-wise). Sex is more than just the rubbing of the skin or the “release of tension”; it takes emotion within and without (double entendre, yes, it is). In most cases, the woman will fall in love and will bring awkwardness and weirdness in their supposedly inverted platonic relationship (unaffectionate but very sexual). You can’t strum a guitar and not expect it to make a sound because it is going to and it is going to vibrate within and without and tickle whatever might be tickled. Same thing goes for the act of sex – you can’t just do it and not feel anything (well, actually you can do it and not feel any emotion afterward) especially if you are doing it with someone you see all the time. Time is a goon and it will visit you soon whether you like it or not and love takes time.
To end this filth heavy read (ambitious), here is a quote from Mila Kinis (kinis is Tagalog for smooth), excuse me, Kunis on what she thinks about being “Friends with Benefits” with someone:
“It’s like communism—good in theory, in execution it fails. Friends of mine have done it, and it never ends well. Why do people put themselves through that torture? But friends with benefits isn’t a purely sexual relationship—it’s two people who like each other having sex, not a random hookup. And when two people who like each other have sex, eventually someone catches feelings and everything is fucked.“
By the way, the movie is not as awkward and as uncomfortable as this read but it will be if you are to watch it with your parents.
Sucker for pulchritude
“You see, I’ve always wanted to be a painter, and like many artists before me, the female form has always been a great source of fascination. I’ve always been in awe of the power they posses.” – Ben Willis, Cashback
As a man, I’ve always been drawn to beauty – from raw appreciation for it blossoming to some kind of guiding inspiration. A study shows that babies are attracted to the same objects adults consider to be attractive. Inclination to beauty is innate in us.
Select individuals outgrow their love for beauty and learn to see beyond the mystical physicality that earthly creatures or materials possess (through a divine understanding of life). To some extent, you might say that the said idea is just a matter of love and lust – lust being the physical and love being the unseen. It is through the presence of love that the fleshes evanesce exposing merely our souls and it is through lust that we are blinded from morality resulting to detachment from the social conformity.
A confession: I have never had a girlfriend and I think you know why. I go by the saying “I’d rather be single if I can’t have the ‘girl of my dreams’”. That saying alone is ignorant and fanatical – crazy you might say. You might also say that my devout fascination for beauty is just a euphemism for lust but I dissent from the idea. The eyes, the hair, the lips, and everything that is on a woman’s body, when observed within such closeness wherein everything slows down, has been nothing but soulful inspiration to me. Beauty serves as my muse for my poetry. All that beauty has elicited from me are reflections of beauty itself – poetic manifestations of casual picturesque sightings. In no way has my appreciation for such lovely entities made me commit selfish iniquitous acts. I’ve always been able to keep my hands to myself (no pun intended; others seem unable to do so resulting in acts of lasciviousness).
“I’d rather be single if I can’t have the ‘girl of my dreams’”. Let me just get back to this quote. This is absurdly pretentious. Goddess looks and insane curves aren’t enough to make a man commit. Sharing your life with a poker-faced mirror-hogging supermodel is going to be monotonous. Sure, your eyes may be well fed in the beginning given you are “blessed” to have been given an “angel on earth”, but let’s face it, we look for more than just physical qualities in a person. It has happened to me a few times before – I engage in a casual conversation with a girl I strike as someone whom I would not put on a pedestal (there’s just two groups I put people in – the beautiful and everyone else) and end up almost falling instantly just because of the invisible bond that seems to tug our heartstrings simultaneously. Given that I am much of a Don Quixote, I end things abruptly (not in a way that it calls for a talk, I just quit and avoid) before something could even start (again, an egotistical take on things assuming that the other person felt or saw the same thing). Nevertheless, I am a sucker for pulchritude – Aphrodite’s creation.