Tidy Whites

When your outfit goes from white to plain old dirty, it probably means you had fun.

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Planned on looking a bit ethereal on the first day of #Smart7107 but my skirt fell a little too short to actually be reminiscent of some woodland nymph or at least a look out of a Free People catalog which seems to be what I’m aiming for these days. A few hours in though and it really didn’t matter anymore with the sand basically turning my tidy whites to not-so-tidy not-so-whites (not to be confused with tidy whities – this isn’t an underwear post).

I seem to find myself in places where fist-pumping is not only encouraged but essentially inescapable. Not that I necessarily mind. Options in the Fort or spaces in Makati aren’t frequented on a normal basis so a fist pumping environment is always a welcome change. Day 1 found me really enjoying foreign acts Alvaro and Kaskade (although with a Wrecking Ball remix that was clearly not sung by Miley Cyrus, to me, Alvaro won that round.)

Day 2 was a lot less white and a lot less photographed. Let’s see where and how I can get my hands on a decent outfit photo.

Transitions

An example of outfits reflecting (confused) mindsets.

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Dropping in real quick to update you on life – mine, at least. Been out and about lately, the most recent placement being Clark, Pampanga for the #Smart7107 International Music Festival. But aside from me being physically on the move, driving to and fro (much to my chagrin – driving doesn’t really derive any sort of pleasure), I also feel like I’m in metaphorical transit – moving from point F to point G (or whatever consecutive favorite letters you have in mind) in the journey of life and am definitely feeling the transition.

Consider this outfit a physical manifestation of that. The beanie paired with the romper can be viewed as temperature-confused, but I’d like to defend it as a transitional outfit – where cold meets summer and therefore gives way to more exposed parts while keeping parts that need to be kept warm exactly that.

And if you’d contest my body’s state of mind rebutting with a blatant “but it’s been so hot lately”, I have the weekend in Pampanga to prove that even the weather is transitional and decidedly indecisive. And if the weather can be wishy-washy I am most definitely also allowed to be so. I would like to strengthen my argument by stating that I am 1) a Gemini and 2) a woman so, really, neither of us can expect otherwise.

Romper, FOREVER 21 | Heels, SUITEBLANCO | Beanie, COTTON ON | Bag, ROCKS *doing a fun thing with this brand can’t wait to share once done*

 

Dream Destinations

Where do you wanna be whisked off to?

It seems like my list of dream countries gets longer each time someone asks. Blame it on social media and blogs for opening up whole new worlds for me to see and dream about. Blame it on growing up and wanting to experience things other than H&M shopping (my sole reason for going to Malaysia 2011).

Have you asked me dream destinations a couple years back my big three would have been solid – Egypt for the pyramids, Greece for the Parthenon and Santorini and Cambodia for Angkor Wat. Now that Cambodia has been ticked off my list I know I should be replacing that one slot with my top 4 and working my way to visiting the untouched and unrealized top 2. But for some reason, the top slots are all being jumbled up like some randomized Lotto list– exhibiting either the wishy-washy person that I am or the fact that there are too many beautiful places in the world that deciding which to see first is becoming too difficult.

So let me give you a new list of places – in no particular order – that I need to visit soon.

Marrakech, Morocco

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For some reason, even if I’ve never been, Morocco is a place I seem to reference a lot. “That’s so Moroccan!” is used to pertain to a house, a setting, even a carpet even if I know that the reference is about 70% based on imagination and not fact. I feel like aside from the place being absolutely photogenic, it will be so vibrant and cultural as well. I honestly never used to like ethnic stuff but I would like to believe Morocco would be teeming with ethnic pieces – rugs, tables, spices, etc. And I would love to witness and be eternally inspired by all that.

Istanbul, Turkey

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If I imagine Morocco to be a mishmash of reds and yellows, I imagine Istanbul to be a sea of blues. Been seeing it all over social media and it’s surprising how many people are actually heading here and how many tour groups are offering this country. A devious plan of mine is to see which areas tour groups are taking tourists and maybe device an itinerary of my own. I already know where to book my hotels anyway (http://www.venere.com/turkey/istanbul/).

Mexico City, Mexico

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Maybe it’s the dream of munching on tacos all-day, everyday or the idea of salsa accompanying every single thing I eat, but Mexico is such a mysterious place in my eyes and mystery is always something that curious people need to satiate. It’s not just the food, it’s the culture that I want to experience and, if I’m being completely honest, the experience of Mexican beaches.

The reasons may not be justifiable enough to have this strong an itch to see these countries, but it’s my itch to scratch and manage. I just can’t wait to fulfill my travel dreams of hopping on a plane to any of these destinations and when I do, you’ll definitely be the first to know if they meet the standards of my imagination.

Istanbul photos from GaryPepperGirl; Mexico photos from ThatsChic; Marrakech photos from Pinterest

You’re From The 70s, I’m a 90s Kid

We need not always be age-appropriate.

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Just like the title’s censorship, the outfit is pretty much PG-13 (or even GP) with embroidered flowers generously sprawled on my skirt. This outfit was unearthed in an Olympic-like excavation session in my mother’s wardrobe. Luckily, I found a bunch of really old denim skirts (and skorts like this one) that may appease my denim anxiety for a bit. Still looking for the perfect distressed pencil one that hits right below the knee. (And the one that hits right above the knee but then flounces about 4 inches outward.)

I realize this outfit probably made me look younger than I should – around 14 is my guess – but I have come to accept, that when everybody around me is all wrinkly and becomes best friends with their rejuvenating creams, I’ll be mistaken for somebody decades younger and, then, I wouldn’t mind.

For the record, I’m turning 24 this year. But that won’t stop me from wearing pieces that are probably as old as I am nor pieces that may be fit for someone much younger.

Just throwing it out there.

 

Pilgrimage Tales Of An Unholy Pilgrim: A Holy Land Recap

Here’s a not-so-holy pilgrim’s take on a pilgrimage.

This post has about 1,500 words. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!

The term pilgrimage didn’t necessarily put off any alarms in my unholy head until I actually arrived in Israel. I apparently didn’t think the trip through although packing mere hours before the flight should’ve already told me that. I was not mentally prepared for what was about to come.

The Holy Land is called that for a reason. For the Jesus-centric, it’s the land where Christ lived and died, every step of the way chronicled in the Bible with both clear and some not-so-clear geographic references. We heard that for other religions it’s holy too but I know very little about it so let’s leave it at the assumption that the Holy Land is holy for everyone.

What I didn’t expect was how holy I would be made to feel as well. I didn’t think I would be lugging a prayer book to every spot, as evidenced by my small purse meant for just a lipstick and a smartphone. I was most definitely surprised that our itinerary involved hearing mass every single day. What’s more surprising though is considering the number of churches we actually visited, the percentage of where we held mass was relatively small. But not only did we hear mass, we also organized it. The songs, the readings – we all were assigned something. Apparently most of this was discussed in the briefing but since I missed that for work, I was in mild shock.

Another thing I apparently missed in the briefing was the fact that I would be traveling in a group of 48 and, consequently, would be playing so many getting-to-know-you games. For someone who isn’t a big fan of contrived sharing, I found it a bit difficult to play the games with sincerity especially in a game where most people described themselves (the catch being using the first letters of their names) with too-good-to-be-true yet also somehow generic adjectives like tantalizing, electrifying and remarkable. And in a group where the age range is 1 to 79, what else can you say that is universally acceptable and family-friendly? But like any other awkward sharing game, I got through it. Some games were more interesting than others. ZipZap, a game that involves running around switching seats, entails memory skills, fast thinking, and physical brutality that of course sparked the competitive in me. Shoving someone out of a chair so you can sit takes determination, strength and sometimes, cruelty. (I kid. Although I think I did bully some out of their chairs.) That game I liked because I usually enjoy energy spurts with defined losers and winners. But, truthfully, in the 8 days that we spent together, the games eventually seemed unnecessary. We were, after all, singing together, eating together and, more often than not, praying together.

The pilgrimage itself was organized to a Tee. Journeys of Faith, our travel agency, had operations down pat. Schedules were clear – from the wake up calls at 5:30AM to the dinners at 7:30PM. All meals were taken care of by the group, the shopping stops, bathroom stops, and more importantly, photo stops were all taken into consideration too. Even tips for the drivers, bellboys, etc., were already included. The only thing I paid for was my $6 bottle of beer. That also means I didn’t shop for anything. I personally didn’t think the house needed any more religious icons but judging by the weight of our luggage on the flight back my mom seemed to disagree.

The Holy Land is indeed holy. What we did was literally a walk through the bible – from Jesus’ birth to His resurrection (although not necessarily in that order), to significant moments in His family and disciples’ lives. Name an event in Jesus’ life, we probably walked it. The area of the Visitation? Included. Where Peter denied Jesus thrice with the cock crowing? Also included. Where Nathaniel hid in the fig tree? (Who is Nathaniel, you ask? I’m not exactly sure myself but needless to say, it was also included.)

If you were wondering, let me blurt out your questions for you. Do I know the bible by heart? No. Did I recognize all the characters and all the places mentioned? Well, not really. Did I find it boring? Not at all. The country is beautiful – all structures were built with limestone, everything looked so picturesque that I’m claiming Israel my favorite country to date. The places we visited though were even more magical. You lean against a wall in some cave to listen to our priest’s reflection (who, by the way, can double as a stand-up comedian; even our masses were borderline comedic sometimes), and have people point out after that you were, in fact, leaning on Jesus’ blood. I apparently was in one instance and it freaked me out a little bit before realizing it was holy and should therefore be prayed over. The churches built on the iconic sites were so grand, beautiful and towering. Chapels where we had mass were either natural caves or outdoor with the view of the sea (specifically of Galilee). It was breathtaking. The most interesting activities involved seeing the birthplace in Bethlehem and spending Christmas there, kissing Jesus’ tomb, seeing Mary’s tomb, being baptized where Jesus was, eating St. Peter’s fish by the Sea of Galilee and the couples renewing their wedding vows in Canaa.

Honestly, a lot of times, you don’t really feel the gravity of where you are and what you’re doing because you’re more concerned about the little details. My worries entailed questions like: “Where in this sacred circle should I kiss? The gold-plated rim or the center?” or “My red lipstick will totally leave a mark! Do I have to wipe it after?” or “I’m crouched so low under the table how do I get out without tripping and causing a scene?” And then as you leave the concerns dissipate and turn into a new kind of horror “Sh*t, that was the tomb! I should’ve prayed more” or “I apparently don’t know the rules of the Three Wishes. I should’ve made more!” Magical, I tell you. Magical.

The people we were with though were equally great. I was fortunate enough to have travelled with my mom and my best friend, and, well, her family. My best friend’s mom actually handles the agency and was our tour leader. But the rest of the people that we met were amazing as well. There are tons of horror stories about traveling in a group. Strangers forced to travel together don’t always mesh well (and that’s putting it mildly.) This group though was full of charming and, more importantly, humble individuals who unknowingly taught me a thing or two about pretense. By the end of the trip we all had #sepanx and in the first two weeks since we got back, the young ones already had reunions…twice.

“So are you holy now?” a question that’s been thrown my way several times with equal parts sarcasm and torment I wonder what people really think of me. Well, no. Not really. (Although at this very moment, I’m wearing a necklace of a saint and one of the star of david that I would consider both unusual and uncharacteristic.) But the answer is still no. Did I appreciate the trip though? Of course.

Honestly, often I feel very removed from the prayers I recite and the Bible stories I was made to read and memorize. They felt more like lessons to me, growing up; lessons one had to remember for the sake of remembering and not embarrassing one’s self in inevitable group prayers. Some seemed a little too fictional. The elaborate stories and countless characters felt more like a Lord of the Rings trilogy than a series of biographies; stories that were griping but so full of magic they didn’t seem true. Plus, in this day and age when even the Church starts telling you that some may have been “exaggerations for creative purposes,” it’s hard to pinpoint what to believe and most of them are taken with both an open mind and a grain of salt.

At one mass back in Manila we were (still) singing Christmas songs in Church. Surprisingly, lyrical mentions of Bethlehem and other references to the manger made me smile all the while thinking to myself, “I’ve been there; I’ve touched it; I’ve seen it.”

Now, things feel very real to me. Now, it’s like wishes to the Universe aren’t just thrown at some open sky. They’re thrown at an entity I know the history of – an entity I now can relate to on some level because I’ve seen how far He climbed to get to the top of the mountain, how long He walked carrying the cross, seen blood on caves and on stones. The Universe, while I know I’ve always had it on my side, has made me understand it – an understanding I never would’ve gained had I just read the Bible or listened to some homily. And if there’s any takeaway I have from the trip, it would be that.

So what advice would an unholy pilgrim leave with another possibly not-so-holy one? That you try it. At least once in your life visit the Holy Land. I personally found it magical and I think others would too.

Oh, and though it may not be in the memo, a pilgrimage apparently means walking a sacred walk, literally or figuratively, and what can best be described as church-hopping. Now we both know.

Journey to the Holy Land (teaser) from Karl Porio on Vimeo. Will share the complete one once I get my hands on it.

Once Upon A Dream

When songs and outfits give you the spooks.

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I didn’t realize ’til after the outfit was photographed that I looked like a school girl. With the background and the photos’ tone though, my look quickly escalated to a ghastly school girl, perfect for haunting the halls or whatever it is that houses otherworldly student bodies.

Admittedly, listening to Lana Del Rey’s Once Upon a Dream may have had something to do with my eerie interpretation of this outfit. Been watching the trailer of Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent and what was once one of my favorite Disney songs ever has now been turned into this dark bubble capable of terrifying even the toughest of children (or grown-ups if you can call my nighttime, scaredy-cat self that).

And though I don’t usually do this, let me end this post with a song. Listen to it and then tell me if a) you are not freaked out, b) you will not cast a haunted, sinister light on whatever it is you’re seeing right now (be that a cup of rainbow ice cream or your favorite pair of shoes) or c) you did not just get goosebumps. If it’s none of the above, you are one brave soul and, consequently, you might need to give me courage lessons or at least sit with me through therapy.

And if you want to check out the amazing trailer, view below. You’re welcome.

Sweater, H&M | Skirt, NAVA | Bag, PROUDRACE

Seeking Summer

Let’s talk weather biases.

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Not sure about you but I’ve personally associated trips to Tagaytay with amazing 3-hour lunches and the perfect time to blast music from the not-so-distant past (think: Spice Girls, Barry Manilow and all of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits) – the only time I could feel like a decent DJ where my music is actually appreciated instead of laughed at. Katy Perry seems to get more giggles than fist pumps.

With the idea of great food as my irresistible bait, I couldn’t say no to a Tagaytay proposition. For the first time though I did come prepared: with a blanket of a poncho that I kept tightly wrapped around me up until the moment I got back in the comforts of my temperature-controlled car. And for a person always dressed inappropriately for the weather, that was a huge pat on my now covered back. I even went the extra mile and brought my new Neon Island bag in one of my ultimate favorite icons – L.A.’s palm trees. I did hope that somehow a reference to summer would psychologically alter my body’s reception to the cold. It didn’t. Still, to me the stylish reminder of summer in the otherwise chilly cold was a wink to The Universe to bring on the perfect weather for summer outfits without the accompanying heaps of sweat. Let’s see how soon that happens. I trust the Universe will make room for my skin-baring summer outfits begging to be worn.

Dress, GIORDANO | Poncho, vintage | Bag, NEON ISLAND | Flats, COLE VINTAGE | Necklace, SKULL TAPE CLAY | Sunglasses, NAVA 

photos taken at Marcia Adams Tuscany