A Non-American and the Un-American at the US Capitol

If it would be inevitable to change my citizenship, one of the nationalities I would prefer would be to be an American.  Sad, crazy and outrageous as it may sound but who would not want to be part of the populace who has the strongest economy, the richest opportunities, a very hip civilization, beautiful people and a super power status as a nation?

It is therefore not surprising that setting my foot on USA soil (at least being a tourist) was on top of my bucket list.  Luckily by some grace and blessings from the heavens, this entry on my long and arduous bucket list has long been done and accomplished.

majestic yet a tranquil visit

I, a non-American have been to USA a couple of times already.  And in my last visit, I found myself at the capital state of Washington DC touring the insides of the US Capitol.  I can clearly recall that the outdoor grounds as well as inside of the Capitol Building gave me some incalculable sense of calmness and security.  It was majestic, it was peaceful, it was secured.  I can also recall my regret of not bringing my favorite pillow then.  Reason behind this is that being inside that most secured building on the planet gave me immense feelings of security and comfort.  The building made me feel so at ease, dreamy and relax I wanted to take a nap.  Haha!

loved it!

But these personal experiences in and out of the Capitol Building was a total opposite of what I saw and read on the news when Americans themselves consecrated the dignity of that honored spot of their country.  For me, the reckless and unwise siege done last January 06, 2021 at the Capitol Building was so sad and very un-American.  From my personal view point, the January 6 incident did not in any way made Americans great again!

Though some peace has been restored, I was in fact quite glad that on the day of the humiliating siege I was not an American.  I just hope that every American would realize how lucky, how fortunate and how free they are being citizens of the strongest and most democratic nation on the planet.  They should not let these valuable benefits slip from their hands because of some rash, thoughtless and heedless revolts and rebellions.

If some un-Americans are tired of being American, a lot of deprived and underprivileged gasping human beings here at a third world far east are willing to swap with them.  I guess, only when they become non-Americans would they realize how precious it is to be one. 

Barkada is Fine with Me

I have personally experienced racism, discrimination and oppression here in my country and especially abroad.  This is oddly because of the color or my skin, my Malay/Pacific-islander features as well as the weird sounding accent that I have when I speak the English language.  And often times, here in my country, our warm hospitality is often abused by the flat-out bad travelers of a more dominant race.  And when abroad, I had personally felt the quiet laughter and the subtle disgust exhibited by the more dominant race towards me.

Digressing a little, recent local news featured a newly opened bar in Washington DC.  It gained interest here in my country because the bar was named Barkada, a Filipino word which means “a group of close friends”.  Though named after a Filipino word, the bar & resto has nothing else about the Philippines.  One would expect that it would offer something Filipino – cuisine, beverage, music, interiors, etc. – but surprisingly none.

got this photo from IG account of Barkada

This rouse some flak and negative reactions from my fellow Filipinos who posted unenthusiastic and superfluous comments on the social media account of Barkada (the bar).  It seems like a case when the Filipinos and not the dominant race are the oppressors and the unfair.

Some Filipinos would accuse the 4 Caucasian owners of cultural appropriation since not one of them were from the Philippines.  Other snow-flaked Filipinos would demand that the owners have to change the name because it has no relevant ties with the Philippines.  And even accused the owners for taking from a culture that is not theirs and that these Caucasians are asserting again their being so entitled. 

These juvenile and aggravating reactions made the owners published an apology to Filipinos who felt slighted.  Yet their impressive statement was on point when they explained the beauty in the word barkada that prompted them to use it as the name of their establishment.

“barkada” is such a gorgeous word that all should know and celebrate

For me, I totally agree with the 4 Caucasian owners when they said that barkada is a beautiful word that connotes the deep meaning of friendship.  And I totally disagree with the narrow-minded, intolerant and prejudiced Filipinos who reacted negatively on naming Barkada barkada

In fact, I actually felt flattered that non-Filipinos were able to appreciate the gorgeousness of the word.  For me, using the word barkada by a non-Filipino owned and a non-Filipino concept bar is totally fine.  In fact, the owners have just lifted up the concept of “barkada” into a higher global plane. 

Allowing and using the word barkada as a name of an establishment will not end discrimination, racism and oppression in the world.  Nevertheless, barkada may it be a word, a tavern, a feeling or a people should not selfishly be alienated but should instead be celebrated.

Oh, and by the way, here in the Philippines we have very popular restaurant establishments named Vikings Luxury Buffet restaurant and Congo Grille which has nothing to do with the Scandinavians and Congolese people and cultures.  Also, the most popular corned beef brand here in my country is called Argentina yet Argentinians are not offended, I guess.  Even the most famous and well-revered beer brand that we have here is named San Miguel Beer yet still Saint Michael is not reacting and posting his rants on social media regarding the unpermitted usage of his name for this Filipino alcoholic drink. Hahaha!

i wonder how saint michael feels… flattered or appalled?

To my fellow Filipinos, can we just move on and stop being such sensitive drama queens?! To the owners of Barkada, thanks for the warm appreciation of the word and I hope to have the opportunity to visit your store soon when given the chance to be back in Washington DC.  I really hope that during my visit the warmness of hospitality and friendliness of service you provide is Filipino-like.

Found LOVE at Blagden Alley

While trying to get ready with my next out-of-the-country adventure, I decided to transfer my recent travel photos to my external drive memory bank.  I noticed that there was one place in Washington that I failed to feature in my blog which I deliberately went to so as to experience, smell the area as well as get some awesome photos.

How can I forget the LOVE mural at the Instagram famous Blagden Alley?Or is it my subconscious telling me to temporarily miss it and only be aware again in time for the celebration of Pride Month this June?  This unique and eye catching piece of art is by Lisa Marie Thalhammer.  It is an LGBT-rainbow colored piece which communicates the simplest yet universal message of inclusivity and acceptance. Whatever it may be, let me then chronicle this little piece of experience that I had when I happen to see this meaningful and awesome street art found at Blagden Alley in Washington DC. At least through this street art, I can really say that I did indeed found LOVE in DC.  I hope next time its the one true thing!  Hahaha!And by the way, let me have this opportunity to greet everyone a “Happy Pride”!

Pumapag-ibig sa bwan ng Prayd!

Talking to the Huge Seated Dude in Washington D.C.

When I revisited Washington D.C., I revisited a humongous guy seated on a humongous chair.  The first time I visited four long years ago, I simply looked at him, be at awe and did not dare talk to him.  But this time around, I did not miss the opportunity of speaking to him and have him hear what I have to say.

I told him that the country he once led had gone a long way.  It’s free, it’s wealthy and has gone powerful.  I congratulated him on that.  I also told the seated guy that there are still pressing problems and tough challenges in his land that can’t simply be solved overnight.

 But what impresses me most is that in his home-land everybody seem to have the right to be ridiculous yet the people strive for democracy, liberty, opportunity and equality.  I also told him that I am particularly fascinated by some of his people’s good will and listening hearts.  I then asked the seated guy if he can adopt me and snatch me away from my present country.  The guy remained seated, unmoved and did not respond.

I then left and move on with my touring of Washington D.C. hoping that on my next visit he would say hello and would realize that I deserve to inhabit his land.

Dedmabels ang lolo mo! 

Unique Looking Washington D.C. Metro Station

I have written in the past that one benchmark for me to consider visiting and exploring a place or spot on the planet is the availability and complexity of its metro or subway system.  The subway or metro train has always been my preferred mode of transportation when discovering a metropolis.  It is quick, cheap and convenient. 

Also, for me, an urban zone’s train transit system is a suggestive representation of that place’s culture, social conduct, and communal conventions.  Riding the subway train is like being one with the locals.

When I was in Washington D.C., its metro train system was my most used mode of transportation known as the Metrorail. And what is so distinct and captivating about the Metrorail is its exceptional look, motif and pattern.  Its design is like a weird fusion of retro and space-age at the same time.  Being at the station creates the feeling of being in a futuristic movie set in which such movie was created sometime in the 60’s.

It is weird but I also often felt like being inside a thermos bottle!  And it also felt like some strange alien is about to pop out at the end of the stunning tunnel.

Even the lighting of the stations were something unique.  It’s not bright like the usual and distinctly dim which adds up to a whole lot of character as compared to other typical subway stations of other urban zones!  Being at such an uncommon looking-station adds up to the unique Washington D.C. experience.  The Metrorail stations are also photo-friendly.  It’s actually Instagramable!

And through my readings, I have learned that Washington D.C.’s metro stations were voted and included in the list of America’s Favorite Architecture.  After reading such, I seem to not be so surprised by this recognition.  Metrorail is hip, cool and totally dumbfounding.

Sakay Na!

The Blind Whino

If I live in Washington D.C. I would have the quadriceps of steel.  After just 48 hours in the city, my shapeless flabby thighs were beginning to show signs of muscular definition from all the walking.  My friend Jhong who is based in New York was correct when he warned me that being a tourist in Washington D.C. requires tons of walking.

But aside from the corporeal benefit of touring D.C., tourists like me would get to encounter cool contemporary spots that are often snubbed and not featured in typical tour destinations of the state.

One particular dapper of a spot in D.C. is the psychedelic-looking structure called the Blind Whino.

The structure was originally a Baptist Church that served and provided the religious needs of the local community.  But a developer bought it out from the Catholic Church and sat for over 2 decades before an artist was commissioned to beautify it and call it the Blind Whino.  The former church then was transformed into a superb venue for art performances, exhibits and even social functions.

It was actually some considerable walk from the nearest train station before you can get to the Blind Whino.  But all the troubles and pains of walking were all ignored and neglected when I started to marvel at the dazzling colorful structure.  Funny because when I tried to enter the main door of the building, I stopped myself from doing/gesturing the sign of the cross when I realized that, yeah, it is no longer a Catholic Church.

try locating this piece at the facade of the building

vibrant collection! 

lucky to see how young artist, shawn michelle perkins does his job

And what added up to the already awesome experience was the exhibit that was running during the time of my visit when I entered the Blind Whino.  A number of sassy and vibrant painting works by artist Shawn Michelle Perkins were beautifully hanged on the walls. 

It was definitely awesome to have discovered the Blind Whino.  This type of cool spots definitely makes walking the streets of Washington D.C. all worth it.

Muntik na ko mag-sayn op da kros. Kaloka!

Stupendous Artechouse

When I was in Washington D.C. I tried searching for the quintessential place, piece or circumstance that I can share in my social media account (particularly in my unpopular Instagram) that would ultimately launch and make it in-style, so-prevalent and too-widespread.

I then found Artechouse.  It is some sort of like a seasonal museum and an art pop-up project with huge multiple projectors all over the wall.   On the time of my visit, the exhibit’s theme was fittingly about Cherry Blossoms since it is cherry blossoms season in D.C.  Artechouse named it “In Peak Bloom”

Here’s what I got and hope you click and check it out!

Artechouse’s stupendous #inpeakbloom exhibit brought something that is difficult to describe.  It is some sort of a contemporary art that seem to have been mixed with theater, music, film and technology that is interactive in nature.

Unluckily and as usual, this post only garnered few likes in my Instagram and it didn’t made me popular.  Though my Instagram remained unpopular and bleakly received I realize that this failure didn’t made me less of a person.  But In Peak Bloom exhibit, I guess brought in me some colorful peace with bundles and bundles of joy and gladness. I was stupendously pleased to have seen and experienced it! 

Ang hindi mag-click ng Instagram post ko na yan, Panget! Hahaha!

Funky Watermelon House

Seeing and taking photos of the White House is a tourist’s travel destination and activity when in Washington D.C.  It is the must-see house when visiting the state capital of the United States.  I did just that as I posted in my previous post.

Also, while being in Washington D.C. I can’t help but marvel over the beautiful residential houses lined on the streets of this state.  Its design and architecture seem to represent an all-American type of living.

 

But there is one funky house that really struck me the most while visiting D.C.  It is not painted white like the official resident of the US President but instead drawn into the colors and design of a watermelon.

Though boxed-type of a structure and not the typical house seen along the streets of Washington D.C., the Watermelon House was indeed something unique.  Kudos to the artist who planned and made this because he was able to successfully capture on drawing attention of passersby and onlookers on such a funky art.

 

I could not contain myself from not taking photos of the Watermelon House when I saw it!  I nevertheless did not dare knock on the door so as to enter and check how the interior looks like.  I left the residents alone of course.  But I definitely wondered if living inside is as refreshing as that of the refreshing watermelon.

Mukha namang Hown Swit Hown infernes…

Washington Monument: Highlighting The Unusual

Visiting Washington D.C. would be incomplete without your having to take a photo of the 555 feet obelisk known as the Washington Monument.  I in particular had numerous photos and selfies of it on my phone.

To further submerge a traveler’s visit, it seems a must to learn further about this monument dedicated to the first president of the most powerful country on the planet.  One fact I learned is that no structure is allowed to be built around Washington D.C. that shall be higher than this monument.  Another is that it made of marble, granite and sandstone.  Like numerous number of photos I took, there are also numerous facts and interesting anecdotes about this monument.

But while trying to think of what to write/post about this magnificent monument, I come to realize how come I am so excited and appreciative of such a structure when back home in the Philippines there is also a similar and equally important monument that I have not written about.  And that I actually do not even own a single photo of such monument known as the Rizal Monument built in honor of my country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal.

Is it because the former is stateside which is hard and difficult to reach while the latter is so local that I can have a photo with anytime I want?  Is it because Washington Monument is so grand, upscale and massive that it is so awe-inspiring as compared to the smaller in size Rizal Monument?  Does my writing subtly signify my wanting to project that I am like the cool guy who travels a lot?  Or is it because I am so freaking “mayabang” (airhead and conceited) that I’d rather feature a monument far far away that entails a lot to reach than that of the easily accessible structure? And why am I allowing this somewhat dishonor to my country?

Well I guess the answer to all these lies on the fact that it is just but human not to highlight the acknowledgement and appreciation of something usual and easily accessible or of an experience that usually occurs.  Admit it!  Rare and unusual circumstances are usually more memorable and are highlighted in our lives.  You, I guess would not highlight featuring the a nearby rub-down park you grew up playing at on your Facebook or Instagram account but once you spent an overnight stay at a luxury hotel which seldom occurs, such experience is posted and highlighted right away on your social media account.

Moments like seeing and experiencing the Washington Monument is not an everyday occurrence for an ordinary folk like me.  Besides it takes a lot to see it personally if you are coming from the other side of the world.  It takes money, time, effort, courage and even a lot of luck to see and get there.

I’m pretty sure Washington D.C. locals would feel ordinary and usual toward their big centerpiece of obelisk.  And I am sure that they are craving and would look forward to a memorable powdery white sand tropical beach experience in the Philippines and will take all opportunity and luck on checking out the Rizal Monument in Manila.

But if you my dear reader think I’m simply bragging, well, you are also half correct!  Hahaha!  You can say whatever you want.  And yeah I am bragging and yes I am the dude who wants to look sooo cool! Hahaha!  The only thing that I can say then is “I hope you enjoy reading my post as well as that of seeing my photos”.

Ang Yabang! Gusto ko ngang iuwi ang monumentong ‘yan! Haler…

Giant Blue Cock

Except for chicken in a form of cooked food, I never imagined that I would be able to feature a chicken in this blog on a different form.

Welcome then to a giant blue cock sculpture by artist Katharina Fritsch entitled Hahn/Cock.  I happen to have found this completely cobalt blue of an art piece on the rooftop terrace of the east building of National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

I honestly don’t know the significance, the logic and the wisdom for this piece of art.  But if its point is to simply let its onlookers to marvel and take photos of it so that it can be posted by every viewer’s personal Instagram account, then the artist I suppose has been very successful on its intention.

Hahn/Cock the artwork truly is something… some say it is something feminist in nature while others say that it is a symbol of strength and awakening.  For me, it is simply one giant blue cock that is kinky in context and biological in perspective.

Ano kayang lasa nyan kapag in-afritada.