October 6, 2017

#WickedAdventures: Conquering Five Fingers @ Bataan

Okay, hi, I'm back. Not dead. Just, really busy with adulting because has to do it. That and I've been bitten with the travel bug again but I'm yet to be called a weekend warrior.

Anyways, right. Let's get to it. So last weekend, I went on a little trip with my officemates to Bataan on a Sunday no less. We tagged along with the other people from #BackLa aka Backpackers of Laguna. They've been around for quite some time arranging tours around the Philippines. They're composed of this wonderfully, awesome duo, Hency and John Vincent (Janbi to us hahahaha!).

This will be more like a photo dump post because what are words? It's like 1AM on a Friday that I'm writing this and my brain refuses to function anymore. But I most finish posting this. DISCLAIMER: All photos used in this post are entirely from the #BackLa Team because they take better photos than I do.

So, first off, Five Fingers is located in Mariveles, Bataan, a famous freeport zone and seaside town. It's accessible by all means of transportation, private and public (bus, mostly) especially if you're from Manila. It's a quick weekend getaway. Really, you don't have to go that far to look for a nice, quiet beach that's near the metro.

Look at us. So fresh!

Tinanlankan Cove + Cliff

Okay, first on our list was the cliff diving. And oh my God, the cliff is like 40ft high, with the waves crashing so violently against the rocks. The friendly manongs told us that it was still safe to go cliff diving despite the waves. I really, really, really wanted to jump but alas, monthly female visit stopped me. (You know what I mean.) Instead, enjoy the beauty that is this really high cliff and beautiful cove. If you want to be safe, then go for the 10ft point. But if you want to be YOLO, go ahead, feel free to take on the 40ft point.

With my officemates, Sidney and Suzy! We were so colorful

Cove to Cove Hopping

As the name suggests, Five Fingers is composed of five different coves that are connected with each other. You could go snorkeling if you want or rock climbing around these coves. But when we went there, it was just mere hours after a quite tame storm but the waters still did same kinda dangerous. Or maybe that was me. I hope these photos would do you justice of the beauty that is this place.

Quiet Apatot Cove

Nagbintana Arch

Pulong Kawayan Cove

Remember the throne room at Dragonstone in Game of Thrones Season 7? This kinda looks like that only grander. I was the only one left at the top because my body refused to cooperate and go down aka I was just being scared.


So, after island hopping, we got off at this really cute beach to wash up and have lunch and take gazillion photos at the top of this cove because the view is just like in Batanes. That's why this town is called "Batanes of the West".

It started to rain afterwards then it stopped. Then it rained again. The weather was so unpredictable. Before we left Bataan, we stopped over to see the Sisiman Lighthouse and San Miguel's Peak.

Ultimate Tita pose. How much Tita can I get?

#BackLa Ladies~


And obviously, before we head back to the busy life of the metro, we stopped by mini Seoul aka Subic/Clark area. Mini Seoul because really, it's full of Koreans and their restaurants and supermarkets that surprisingly, the locals go to, to shop for their food. We were too tired to take more photos while eating but here's my photo because it left me speechless.

There you have it. I hope this post made sense. But anyways, again, shoutout to #BackLa! Thank you so much! And also, my dear officemates! Till our next adventure! Check out their Facebook page to know more about their upcoming tour packages: https://www.facebook.com/backpackersoflaguna/

September 23, 2017

Wicked Review: Don't Tell Anyone (Literary Smut) by Shakira Sison and Ian Rosales Casocot

Published: 2017
Format Acquired: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, LGBT

Order at Anvil Publishing: Don't Tell Anyone or go to any National Bookstore branch.

If sex remains taboo in the Philippines, gay and lesbian sex is still even more unspoken. “How do you do it?” is still the most common question queer Pinoys get. Even after that question is answered, there is still the popular notion that only heterosexual sex is ‘the real thing,’ and anything else is just a deviation or an attempt to replicate the male-female dynamic of human contact.
This book makes up for this history of invalidation. An unprecedented dirty dozen, Sison’s and Casocot’s stories are direct and unflinching. They make no qualms or apologies about the nature of sex between two men or between two women. They explore courtship and contact between same-gender partners with humor, hesitation and obsession, and eventually take the reader with them as they reel from heartbreak.
Whether you consider straight sex ‘the real thing,’ or are among the LGBTQ community that is hungry for a true account of Filipino gay and lesbian loving, one thing this collection and its characters do, over and over without exhaustion, is to keep on trying.

Right off the bat, this book is amazing, I have never read anything like this obviously because this is the first LGBT literature I have read. Really, this is amazing.
I have no qualms reading smut because duh, fangirl since 2009. I have long been exposed to smut. Literary smut that is. You know, stories that depict sex as something beautiful almost. Sex is where two people come together, either to fall in love or not. Both authors have tackled writing LGBT sex as beautiful as heterosexual sex.
I have been reading gay smut stories since I have been exposed to the world of fan fiction. If I'm not reading books, I'm reading fan fiction. But, gay fan fiction is different from literature. Literature is more raw. It digs through your heart and mind. After that, it fills you up with so much emotion that you kind of overflow.
This book is no nonsense, straight up gay and lesbian erotica. This book should be handled with caution yet with an open mind. I mean, come on. the LGBT community have sex just like heterosexuals, albeit it looks different. But yes, they can have sex. They can achieve climax as well. Damn right, they are the sexiest people I have ever come across with. Not only do they have sexy bodies to begin with, but their minds are sexy as hell. This book is literally in your face. Like, really you will devour this in one sitting. Or maybe sitting on top of someone, I don't know. Hah. Innuendo right there.

Reading this book didn't change my sexual orientation as a heterosexual. Reading this book made me understand the struggles and hardships of the LGBT community when they fall in and out of love. They suffer so much just like we do. Reading this book makes me want to study about gender and all the difference that there is about it. Just so I could understand that there's more to it than just being called a man or a woman.

This is just a beautiful piece of literature that I hope some day a lot of people would get to read more #LGBTLit. I hope this isn't the last from either of these authors. I hope more people follow suit as well. This book is funny, sexy, witty, sad, and just downright amazing. Just buy it now.

Shakira Sison has won two Palanca Awards in the essay category. As a columnist for Rappler, she has also been honored with a St. Scholastica's College Hildegarde Award and a Lasallian Scholarium Award. She was a fellow for Poetry in English in the University of the Philippines' National Writer's Workshop in 1999. Shakira holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and works in finance in New York City.

Ian Rosales Casocot is a novelist, and teacher film, literature, and creative writing in Siliman University in Dumaguete City. He has won the Palanca Award several times and has also won the NVM Gonzales Prize, a PBBY Salanga Writer's Prize and the Fullybooked/Neil Gaiman Philippine Graphic/Fiction Prize for his fiction. He is currently the coordinator of the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center.

June 24, 2017

#WickedAdventures: Conquering Mr. Oro

Hi, people. If you've known me for a long time, you probably know that 1) I was born in the city and 2) I have never in my life climbed a mountain. But everything changed last June 17. My lovely office mates tagged me along, with zero sleep and zero training whatsoever, to climb Mt. Oro in Rodriguez, Rizal. According to Wikipedia, Mt. Oro is 340 meters above sea level. To an experienced climber, it's not high. But to me, it was tall enough.

The minute our shift ended at 11PM on June 16, Friday, we dashed to Cubao over at Sidney's house. We debated whether we would sleep for a few hours or eat. Of course, we ate.

At exactly 4AM, we rode an FX at Farmer's, Cubao going to Rodriguez. Since it was still early in the morning, it took only 30 minutes tops to reach Rodriguez. The minute we got off the FX, I was shaking. Not because of the early morning breeze. But because, damn it, I'm going to climb a fucking mountain!!!!! So I was scared, excited, nauseous, happy, sleepy, and all sorts of emotions.

Don't we look so fresh on a Satuday morning? (Photo from Sidney and Christian)

After buying last minute things at the nearest 7/11, we rode a tricycle going to Brgy. Mascap. The tricycle ride was crazy because the drivers drove so fast along winding roads. Finally, reached the registration area near the barangay hall.

Adventure awaits, but first, a photo. (Photo from Sidney)

Our guide, Kuya Robert, was so nice. He told stories about the mountain and his experience as a guide. The trail up to the mountain was relatively okay at first. But compared to my friends, I was the one who had a hard time. I keep losing my footing while climbing and my legs were burning already. Either it's because I had no sleep or because of my weight or because I'm just generally clumsy or all of the above. So I had to go forward near our guide just in case I further injure myself.

Still a long way to go~ (Photo from Sidney)

For a moment, I forgot my worries because wow, the view was amazing. I mean, I wish I could live the simple life away from the buildings and the concrete jungle that I've always known. You don't have to go far and spend much to escape. I used to be so amazed whenever my friends tell me stories of when they went to the beach or climbed a mountain over the weekend. I don't know if it was just me, but I always thought that going to such places would be exhausting. You only had two days of break. But you'll never know once you try.

So, to you, if you're a corporate slave or not, TAKE A BREAK. Go as far as you can away from the city. Your body, your heart and your mind will thank you for it.

Into the woods with these ladies~ (Photo from Sidney)

The weeds are almost as tall as me. (Photo from Sidney)

How can you not take a photo of that view? (Photos from Sidney)

I think it was around 8AM when we reached the top. But the sun was shining so bright I thought it was high noon already. Let me tell you, I was rendered speechless. I mean. JUST WOW.

Tried my hand at taking panorama

VICTORY IS OURS! But really my photos don't even do it justice.

Because dab is life (Photos from Sidney)

Obviously, our adventure doesn't end there. We took a side trip going to Payawaran Falls. It took at least an hour to reach the falls but it was well worth it.

Hell yeah, still so fresh (Photo from Christian)

Fresh coconut water. Thanks to Kuya Robert! (Photo from Sidney)

I don't think I would've made it out alive if it weren't for Kuya Robert. (Photos from Sidney)

The water was so cold. I wish we could've stayed there all day. (Photo from Sidney)

(Photos from Sidney)

Thus, our adventure ended. I promised myself that I will lose weight so that I could go on another adventure like this one. I don't know when that will be but let's see. Thank you to my friends who put up with my "heredera"-ness. On to the next adventure~