Envious of Joanna Lumley

It’s not the monarch neither the Spice Girls.  It’s not Elton John neither J. R. R. Tolkien.  Though I admire the wit of Stephen Hawking and at awe with Margaret Thatcher, it’s not them.  The British human being who I envy the most when it comes to world travel is the effervescent Joanna Lumley.

Joanna thru her series of British TV travel shows feature amazing spots on the planet and showcase interesting cultures around the world!  What is so enviable about this travel diva is that she got to go around and got a bunch of travel-savvy production team who will do the chronicling for her!

 

I was at awe with Joanna’s enchanting Trans-Siberian adventures.  I enjoyed her splendid exploits of the inestimable Japan from north to south.  And how I wish I will be granted with the gift of travel for I was truly envious with her Silk Road adventures!

I have read somewhere that travel envy can happen to anyone.  It is caused by emotional discontent, frustration, feeling left out, the tendency for endless comparison and even social media.  In my case, it would be a mix of all of these combined with being stuck for a year due to this crazy pandemic.

I too read that one way to cope with travel envy is to turn such envy into inspiration, that is by planning the next adventure.  But it looks like planning for an out of the country escapade now seem unrealistic.

I would rather practice gratefulness and reminisce about my past trips.  Good thing I have this blog because reading through some of my travel posts decreases the intensity of my feeling jealous.

this is one spectacular spot joanna lumley has yet to step on! haha! https://neillangit.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/batad-rice-terraces-no-words-to-describe/

And while I was busy basking on these feelings of envy towards the British travel muse, I paused for a while not knowing how to end this invaluable writing.  I turned to my Facebook for a break and this very fitting photo struck me.

Hoping to see the world soon!

My Ash Wednesday 2021 Version

I am a Catholic and last year I had one of the weirdest and rarest observance of Palm Sunday.  The country was already on a strict lockdown due to covid19 and I had to contend myself from hearing the Holy Mass in front of a TV.  And since no one was allowed to go out then, the “palm” that I used was actually an outgrowth of a vine that I plucked from the few pots of plants in my balcony.

attended palm sunday in the comforts of my home as celebrated by the pope last april 2020

palaspas! (that is how we call palm sunday in filipino)

Today is Ash Wednesday.  In the Catholic tradition Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten period.  It is the season of repentance and reflection.  It is also marked by a Holy Mass in which priests or church leaders will make the sign of the cross out of paste made of ash and sacramental oil on the foreheads of the congregants.  Part of this tradition is that ashes are made from the palm fronds that have been burned from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

Since I was lucky enough to have kept the fronds (dried leaves and vine) that I used in last year’s Palm Sunday and because I refuse to go to church due to the crazy scary pandemic, I decided to do my own observance of Ash Wednesday.

Part of my creating my own ash for the celebration of this special day is the symbolic burning of my sins.  I decided to write down on a piece of paper my confessions and burn it at the same time with that of my last year’s Palm Sunday fronds. 

With the thought in mind that “for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”, instead of placing the formed ash on my forehead, I decided to return the ashes to earth.  I alternatively add the formed ashes into the soil of my plants as a symbol new life with the hopes of a rosy spring for the rest of the year.

glad to have kept that fronds for today’s observance…

I know that my ceremonial version of this day is a total deviation on how a Catholic Ash Wednesday should be observed.  But honestly, while doing what I was doing, I felt free, I felt light and I felt at peace.  And I guess that is what matters on this holy day of Ash Wednesday.

Valentines: Got Myself an Ice Cream

Like Rock Hudson who promised that he would treat himself for an ice cream if he gets the acting-role he first-time auditioned for, I too promised myself in the past that I would treat myself for an ice cream in case I finally found my “significant other”.

smiling today! haha!

I am writing this because it is Valentine’s Day today, the day of hearts, the day of love and the day to celebrate with a “significant other”.  Unlike other Valentine Days in the past where I would just stay indoors, be quiet, sometimes be cranky and do nothing, I this year mustered a lot of chutzpah to be seen in public. 

With testicles the size of asteroids, I stepped out, I went out and smiled outdoors!  I decided to be cheery and light-hearted!  A good amount of it was spent in my office so as to beat a deadline, shop at the biggest people-infested mall for larger-sized shirts because I’m getting plumper and do a little grocery at a nearby hypermarket.  Included in my grocery haul was a pint of ice cream.

Yup, I decided to treat myself today for a big calorific amount of ice cream.  You may be wondering now if I finally find my “significant other”.  Let me answer it then…

ice cream!!!

Did you know that Rock Hudson went to his nearby diner and ordered for an ice cream despite knowing that he was not chosen for the acting role that he auditioned for?   Though sad and down he was nevertheless was full of hope.  Rock Hudson treat himself for a big goblet of an ice cream because he was proud of the courage he showed during the first time he auditioned.  

I got the strawberry flavor!  Happy Valentines everyone!

Should Have Sang Don’t Stop Me Now!

my mom, my sister & me with the deadly bangs!

What are some of the songs you were exposed to during childhood?  Like Zoey Clarke of the musical tv series, I got quite a lot. Try recalling your childhood playlist.  It is believed that the songs and music you heard during your early years, in some bizarre way, shapes your personality today.  But do you have a song that you regret not singing during your carefree childhood?  I got one.

I can lucidly remember during my elementary days every time our teacher is suffering from a terrible migraine, a cruel dysmenorrhea or bouts of laziness to teach, she would robotically call for a “program”.  A “program” is a short spontaneous talent presentation inside the classroom in which the teacher would assign the class President to act as the emcee and call out the class Sergeant at Arms to list the names of students on the blackboard who has gone talkatively noisy during the program.  These raucous students whose names are listed on the board will later be castigated by the teacher when she’s feeling better.

This brief talent presentation would always comprise of singing, storytelling or rendition of a poem.  I don’t know why the patriotic yet very boring song “Ako Ay Pilipino” (translation: I Am Filipino) is always performed by someone.  Other Filipino 70’s classics were also commonly sung during a program, the likes of Mamang Sorbetero, Mr. DJ, ABaKaDa and Bato Sa Buhangin.  Another habitual and regular number presented is the rendition of the classic poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer.

my love for hugging trees may be attributed to my constant early development hearing of the joyce kilmer poem

Each time I am called to perform, I am prepared to either sing a song or tell a story.  I no longer remember the number of times I would tell the tale about the Alamat ng Mangga (translation: The Legend of the Mango Fruit) or the Alamat Ng Pinya (translation: The Legend of the Pineapple). 

I seldomly sang.  But when I am coerced to croon, the usual song that I would sing is not a Filipino-melody but from Annie’s “Tomorrow”.  Yup, bet your bottom dollar, I can hit those high notes when I was a kid!  I love the message of hope that Tomorrow conveys, but I have one regret though.  Back then, I should have studied and memorized Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. And added it to my very limited repertoire. Haha! 

This song could have been so appropriate because it’s singing and storytelling at the same time! Aside from its fun and exuberance, it also conveys self-worth and self-regard.  For sure, singing Don’t Stop Me Now would give further head ache to my teacher and my singing could have been such a show stopper!  And since the tune is super bouncy, I am pretty sure at the end of my singing, every body’s name is listed on the blackboard.

Driver’s License Bare Version by Morisette

One of my bases to consider if an internationally released song is a big hit in my country is when an able singer here in the Philippines get to do a cover of the song.  But since everybody here in my country is an able singer, let me reclassify that basis.  That is, if a song has been covered by a first-rate mainstream professional singer in my country, then such a song is a big hit.

And because of this, let me formally declare the sad and moving love song entitled Driver’s License originally sang by Olivia Rodrigo a big hit here in the Philippines.

Here’s the fabulous “bare” and moving version by the gorgeous Morisette Amon:

Morisette is so damn good! The vocals are so raw and emotional, she seems like living and feeling the song! She can tell such a sad love story through this rendition.  Super impressive!

And that’s how I sing in the morning by the way! Haha!

The Unescapable February

My solo dealings literally, figuratively and unromantically about life’s quests and adventures has resulted to considering the love month of February as a season for silly rants, inane bitterness and ridiculous resentments! Hahaha! 

While everybody adores the amorously fab month of Feb, for me, it’s a dark and menacing month that I hate to confront and grapple with!  I am so prosaic and unromantic, friends and colleagues know that if I could just skip and jump to March after the cool month of January, I would! Hahaha!

But this year, let me go pretty easy towards the unescapable February. Let me be a little different this year.  I decided to post no rant, no bitterness and no resentment in this season of love!  I will instead try my very best to post thoughts and notions about love may it be towards pets, friends, a movie, a song, a romantic partner or even inanimate objects!  Besides who wouldn’t want to be love-filled during these uncertain times of the pandemic?

Watch out Cupid, this blog may eat your heart out this love month of Feb! 

I Missed My Locale

This morning while the tropical sun is still mild, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to step out to give myself some pretty good cardio drill.  And while taking a break to catch my breath every so often (no thanks to the pandemic) only then did I realize that it has been a year that I have gone outside within the local vicinity where I live.

So in between the fast walks and jogs, I would stop and take a number of photos of the area.  It was the morning that I got to appreciate the aesthetic attractiveness of the spots and places where I live.  It felt like I missed my locale!

manila morning

fresh!

quiet…

i love this minute jungle in this part of the city

In the past, I have always been the kind of person who would rather chuckle and laugh at strangers (visitors and tourists alike) who would marvel, appreciate and take photos of the areas near my place.  I have been so used to how my nearby vicinity looks like that I find it weird for strangers to admire and gape at the charm and appeal of the area.

a cool morning in manila

And when the morning started to get too hot and while I walked my way back to my unit, I realized that people need to leave in order to miss their place and had to travel so as to realize how precious and beloved one’s starting point was.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Me, Anthony B. and the Vicious Sisig

A couple of years ago while on a 6-hour pit stop at Incheon International Airport on my way to San Francisco for some exciting solo adventure, I can clearly recall that I chose to sit at a very quiet portion of the airport and a tall white curly-haired gentleman sat across from where I was.  He too was quiet and seem so engrossed with his mobile phone.  My hazy brain tells me that the guy looks like Anthony Bourdain.  When the guy looked at me and realized that I was staring at him and seem to have noticed that I know who he was, he stood up took his leather bag and silently left.

I recalled this vivid experience because of my recent visit in an eatery at the culinary capital of my country where the late Anthony Bourdain once dined. I was at Aling Lucing’s, a humble eatery in Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga. A two-and-a-half-hour ride from Manila.

anthony bourdain with the sisig queen during his visit (framed memory posted on the wall of the eatery)

I chose to dine in this modest eating place for its original dish called “Sisig”.  This too was the same dish that drove Mr. Bourdain to dine in this eatery because the tasty Sisig has been established to be one original Filipino food. 

I consider Sisig to be in the same league of other scary savage Filipino dishes like the Dinuguan (black-colored pork blood stew); the petrifying Balut (steamed fertilized duck egg); Betamax & Helmet (grilled coagulated pork blood and grilled chicken head respectively); Tuyo (the dreadfully stinky dried fish); and, the lewd Soup No. 5 (soup made from bull’s balls & wiener) to name a few. 

sisig!

these other food selections clearly complements the ferocious sisig! steamed tilapia, grilled eggplant, salad with pink shrimp paste, balo-balo dip (another savage dish made of fermented rice sauteed in shrimp & tomatoes)

a collage of photos i took during my visit

Sisig for me is vicious and ferocious because it is the ears, the face and sometimes the brain of the pig that is the main ingredient – grilled, chopped into pieces and served on a hot sizzling plate!

Sisig has gone a long way since the time this has been created by the Sisig Queen herself, Aling Lucing.  In fact, during that solo trip in San Francisco, I had the chance to eat Filipino Sisig in burrito form! Click here to learn about it: Sisig Burrito.

According to Mr. Bourdain “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.  Enjoy the ride.”  And one unique culinary ride that one must take is by trying the vicious, un-elegant yet very tasty Sisig.

Hug A Tree

In today’s chaotic world, everybody seems to have lost connection to Mother Earth.  Everybody seems so preoccupied, so anxious, so tired and so unsteady.  Here’s one beautiful tip for you to supercharge and achieve reconnection to the planet. 

tree hugger!

Breathe deeply, close your eyes and hug a tree.