An Aborted Grandeur Illusion for a Halloween Costume

When a friend relayed that he read my recent blog post about my Osaka flight cancellation, he knew that one of my agendas in going there was to celebrate and attend again the big Halloween street party in Osaka. He then asked who would I be this time if my Osaka Halloween attendance pushed though.  I simply responded King George.

I have been the Riddler and an Indian Warrior in the past Osaka Halloweens, but I was really looking forward to being the mighty and loony King George this year.  But when my friend further asked why King George, I told him that we Filipinos seem to secretly yearns for a king and has the weird fascination towards noble families.  Though our country is not under a monarchy, we are so in love with kings and queens!

crowned prince of the twisted! hahaha!

 Here in the Philippines, every primary or grade school seem to have coronated their little prince and princess.  Even rich and affluent people featured in society columns in the past were tagged “royals and royalettes”.  And when people are elected to a public office, they have to go around with a whole battalion of body guards to signify how important they are, waving their hands to their constituents as if they are kings and queens of their barrio or little municipalities. 

Classic examples are the effective portrayal of the late dictator Marcos and Imelda who depicted themselves as the modern king and queen of the Philippines.  This outrageous couple thought that it was their obligation to the people to live a fabulous imperial-like lives for the poor. Hahaha!   

Also, we are so fascinated with grand majestic coronations, that we look forward to the annual coronation of the queen of the universe (Miss Universe pageant) and we go extra crazy if the crowned winner is from the Philippines!

Now that I will not go back to Osaka, my friend still further asked what then should I do during Halloween? I told him that as a message to myself, I will have to settle singing the song “You’ll Be Back” by King George in the Broadway musical Hamilton. Hahaha!

You, who would you be this Halloween?

Her Istanbul Is So Much Better Than My Istanbul

In my long-ago adventure in Ciudad de Mexico, there was one influencer (YouTube travel vlogger) whose posts about the city made it easier for me to go around.  Her posts about Mexico City was so helpful during that time that I made it as my reference on where to go, what to visit and how to go about.

This vlogger recently posted her adventures in Istanbul, Turkey.  I was a little swollen with pride to learn that I being a small-time traveler actually came and visited years ahead before she did.  I was secretly hoping that she has read a number of my blog posts about Istanbul for her to use as her travel reference of the city.

inside hagia sophia

But when I watched her posts about Istanbul, I was so envious that I wanted to revisit the city and re-do all my lackluster blog posts. Hahaha!  Her vlogs were so vibrant, so appealing and so alive that though I already have seen, felt and tasted what she was featuring, I wanted to go back, do the same and do the way she does! 

I guess I am just bitter that I could not produce a better feature of Istanbul the way other travel content creators do.  Am I really envious about her work? Or I am just finding an excuse because I really wanted to go back to the grand and splendid Istanbul?!

Let me then post a short clip of my personal experience in Istanbul. 

I hope that re-reading multiple times this blog post would in some way reduce my craving to revisit that beautiful transcontinental city.  And to that lady vlogger – whom I refuse to identify and feature here, hahaha! – I do admit that you really do a better job than I do. 

Let me just then be contented with the powerful saying that: “recognizing one’s own weakness is one of the biggest strengths that one can have”. And yeah, I am so bitter and really wanted to be back in gorgeous Istanbul. Hahaha!

I Wanna…

I hate YouTube today.  Can you just imagine this YouTube thing had the overzealous audacity to suggest a music video on my iPad that would stress, accentuate and lay emphasis on my being solo?!

How could you YouTube?  How could you?! I am so offended because the song’s lyrics is so true in every sense of the word! Hahaha!

Good thing the beat and its remake rendition is so awesome, it indeed made me dance! I’m a goofball and I love Ben Rector by the way.

My Frozen

When someone discusses anything about Frozen, young lads and lassies today would link and associate this to the fearless princess Elsa, her adorable sister and the cheerful Olaf.  Yeah, Frozen would be about the fun charming Disney movie and its sequel based on the fairy tale Snow Queen.

young people’s king of ‘frozen”

Frozen today would also be associated to a now classic seven-year-old song where the snow glows white on the mountain tonight and where the wind is howling like a swirling storm inside. Hahaha! Yeah, it is entitled (who would not know?) Let it Go.

But for me, I don’t associate Frozen to Frozen, the movie.  It is because prior to this film, during my younger years, my brain has been wired, stuck and enthused by an excellent 22-year-old song and a music video masterpiece.

I would associate Frozen to a mystifying lady in a black dress who would mysteriously collapse on the ground and would magically turn into numerous black flying crows.  I would correlate Frozen to a lady who tells us that “love is a bird, it needs to fly, let all the hurt inside of us die

Watch this, this is my Frozen.

Yup, my favorite song in Madonna’s 1998 album Ray of Light is my Frozen. 

But no matter what your Frozen is.  May it be the sensuous song by Madonna or the Let It Go from the movie Frozen, both songs seem to have an interlocking message.  It tells us that we should simply let go because we are considered frozen when our hearts are not open.

Ja Ja Ding Dong and a Eurovision Movie Parody

Since I have been watching and looking forward to it for the past 5 years, I pretty have much of an idea about a European subculture known as the Eurovision Song Contest.  I can say that I am one of the very few Far East Asians who is aware about Eurovision.  In fact, I have written a couple of blog posts about it. (Click here post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4 to prove it).

Because of this pretty adequate idea about this spectacular European annual event/contest, I indeed enjoyed and had a good laughter while watching the Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

I thought at first that it was some sort of a documentary of how a band and a song was developed that eventually garnered the highest point in the contest sometime in the 1970’s.  But after seeing that it stars Will Ferrell, it made me realize that it would be something funny and comical.

And I was right when I was already laughing at the side-splitting scenes of the film.  It was a riot!  I was so thankful that I have a pretty good idea about Eurovision that is why I appreciate and enjoyed the movie so much.  My enjoyment and amazement were amplified when I saw some of the previous contestants and winners rendering some precious song numbers in the movie.  Even the campy queer vloggers who would discuss about the contest every year in their vlog were in the movie.

And since the movie is about the fortunes of an inept Icelandic band, Fire Saga who got the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream when they were selected to enter the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, the songs sang in the movie were indeed Eurovision-worthy.  These songs were so like the Eurovision entries in the past: big, provocative, motivational, emotive yet very eccentric.

I particularly loved the song Husavik.  If this song is an entry in the actual contest, it would indeed garner decent number of votes from the judges and the public.  Lion of Love is so funny yet so Eurovision! Volcano Man is one fitting example of an eccentric Eurovision representation.  Since the movie is delightfully funny, I am particularly in love with the song Ja Ja Ding Dong!  In fact, the scene where the way it was requested to be sang in the movie was so hilarious!

The movie was a fantastic funny parody about Eurovision and I indeed was laughing! I love it!

One Thing Missing by Tom Goss

When I commented “Wishing this song is dedicated to me”, the composer and artist of the song responded, “Who says it’s not?

my youtube comment… wishing…

Here’s the semi-popular yet very cool (acoustic version) song by Tom Goss…

With such a comment by Tom, let me then assert that this song is indeed dedicated to me! 

My 2020 Song: Fall On Me

Last year, my chosen song of the year that best described me was This Is Me by Paul & Pasek.  It was such a big hit it actually became the most preferred personal theme song last year of almost everybody.  It was about self-acceptance despite the private struggles and personal oddities that every one of us, in one way or another, possesses.

fall on me…

This year, I decided to have a personal theme song once again.  I actually tried pressuring myself by listening to a bunch of emotional and poignant songs that would best describe myself and my vision this 2020. 

It was actually quite easy to pick one from among the selection of poignant songs composed by Lauv or by Billie Eilish or by Troye Sivan.  But none of them popped my bubble. I actually ended up choosing one song with no intent of actually choosing it.  A song sang by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, it was a mere recommended video on my Youtube.  And once I heard it, I knew it was the one.

I fell in love with the vagueness of the song.  The song’s lyrics and dynamics actually needs quite a measure of wit and intellect to really absorb and understand its message.  Thus, this song’s imprecision, its haziness and its abstractness is so me!

Last year I was so clear and on point about my humility and self-acceptance.  This year, let me be a little odd with my value, be a little puzzling on being caring and a little baffling with my unselfishness because I want you to Fall On Me.

Cutest & Bravest

At a very young age, I knew how it was to be very sick.  I was too sickly, I could be considered a regular “customer” of hospitals.  If hospitals and clinics would have a promo like Starbucks – earn enough points to get your free coffee on your next visit – I would be one who can easily earn the required hospital points to avail of a free confinement in the next visit. 

i remember this! my elder sister took this photo and i was just discharged from (as usual) the hospital.  too weak to smile! hahaha!

During my childhood, nurses and doctors are no longer surprised to find and see my name on their medical charts.  Nengkoy (my mother) in fact have loads of stories and anecdotes about her experiences in hospitals and during medical emergency situations that involves none other than, me.

I know how it is to be very very sick.  That is why every time I see a young child at odds and is battling an illness and medical circumstance, my heart would just melt.

I am in tears when I encounter this trending news about John Oliver Zippay, the young kid who battled and won a war against cancer.

The video washed my eyes!  I am super happy for J.O. (his nickname).  What is good to know is that aside from being sickly at a young age, both I and J.O. were tagged “STRONG” by our respective fathers.  The hashtag in J.O.’s GoFundMe page created by his dad was #JOStrong.  My Tatay (Dad) on the other hand named me after Neil Armstrong.

got this from cnn photos!  super happy for this boy! so brave, so brave!

There’s one big difference though between me and J.O.  Aside from his infectious charm, the difference is that J.O. is the cutest and the bravest!

St. Petersburg Metro Stations & the Budgetarian In Me

Visiting and journeying to an out-of-country place entails a lot of readings and research.  I would usually explore the internet on how to go the cheapest and most convenient way so as to reach my hotel from the airport – should I go by train, by taxi, by bus or by other modes of transportation. 

Because I turn “budgetarian” when I travel abroad, it is a must that I have to know the Philippine peso conversion rate to that of the currency of the country I am to visit.  It is also essential to know the weather so that I can plan what appropriate clothes to bring.

I don’t join expensive, tiring and time consuming tour groups unless it is for free.  I would simply research on various tour packages and do it myself.  My point of reference during my DIY expedition of tourist spots are the hordes of Chinese tourists.  As soon as I see them, I know that I am in the right place. 

I do my own touring and not join tour groups because aside from its being cheap, I can control the time being spent on these tourist spots. I can leisurely stay as long as I want or simply pass by if such a sightseeing spot is plain and mediocre.

One classic case of venturing into a DIY-tour as based and followed from an online tour package was my touring the interesting metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia. Available in the internet are tour packages wherein you got to be see and experience various beautiful underground metro stations within St. Petersburg dubbed as masterpieces of underground architecture.  This 90-minute duration tour package is worth 33 US dollars per participant.

Pushkinskaya station

 I spent only 45 rubles or 75 US cents when I did it by myself!  45 Rubles is the entrance fee to get inside the metro train system! Hahaha! Here are some of the photos I took when I did my own touring of the most beautiful metro stations in the world!

Ploshchad Vosstaniya station

Kirovsky Zavod station

Avtovo station

Here’s a video slideshow to further entice you to go on a DIY journey!

A Beautiful Place in that Side of the Planet

Di ba nakakatakot? A question if translated in English would be “Isn’t it scary?”  This is the very question I often hear and receive from people and friends who found out that I have recently been to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Well, my usual answer would be… “It is a beautiful place in that side of the planet.

who wouldn’t want to smile with such a blessing?

Here’s a glimpse of my Day 2 at St. Petersburg.