Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

It is 14.5deg Celsius outside and Hong Kong is celebrating the winter solstice.
Friends around me are getting homesick, and I am just recovering from diarrhea.
I am on antibiotics and I cannot drink.

How do I keep my sanity?


Pinakbet and lechong kawali.

Brings you a bit closer to home, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Unsent

An sms-exchange minutes before (and during) "Rakrakan", a musical event in the Middle East featuring famous and up-and-coming homegrown Filipino bands, and which is also considered the biggest annual Filipino event in the area. Like in the past 3 years, this year's Rakrakan was spearheaded by my younger brother, Mai.


"Malapit na mag start ung show. Kinakabahan ako kuya."
(The show's about to start. I'm feeling nervous.)


-Mai La Sahara
04/12/2009
18:32


"Ha?!?! Bat ka kakabahan, e hindi naman ikaw ang magpe-perform! Wag ka ngang feeling!"
(Huh?!?! Why are you nervous, you're not the one performing anyway. It's not always about you.)

-Rye
04/12/2009
19:45


"Ticket sales aren't good pero ok naman. May kinita naman kami. BUt I'm so happy. Everyone's having a good time. ANg sabi ng boss ko, bihasang-bihasa na ako. Kaya ko na daw mag-isa. :-) I love you mama and kuya!"
(Ticket sales aren't good but that's ok. We broke even somehow. But I'm so happy. Everyone's having a good time. My boss said I'm getting very good at this. He thinks I can now do it on my own. :-) I love you mama and kuya!)

-Mai La Sahara
05/12/2009
00:46


"You know what else you're getting good at? Making us even prouder of you than we already are. Congratulations! Love you too. P.s. If your boss really thinks you can now that self-sufficient, tell him to take a leap of faith and open The Filipino Channel in Hong Kong and send you here. Miss you!"

-Rye
unsent.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Still Raining. Still Pouring.

It's still pouring. And here's what the second wave of rain brings:

Nov 4-7 Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

My first straight play in Hong Kong, after waiting for MY break for 4 years, and I get to do it with the American Community Theater! How lucky am I? Playing Gary in "Sister Mary..." (some of you who might know the play will, I'm sure, smile and say "How fitting!" Shut up!), I join what ACT President, Arvin Robles, refers to as an assembly of ACT's new breed of talents in this twin -bill with Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter". Show runs from Nov. 4-7 at the Fringe Studio. Tickets at $220 ($180 for concessions and Fringe members). For more info, visit www.acthongkong.com. For online booking, visit http://hkticketing.com

Nov 21 Everybody Loves Three (The Volume 3rd Anniversary Party)

It's Volume. AND it's their anniversary. So for sure, Chiquitta will be there. This time, though, she will not JUST be there, lip-syncing to popular gay anthems. She is launching her very own single, "Tranny In The House"! As DJ Stonedog puts it, "Come down to watch HK Queer history in the making as LA CHIQUITTA becomes our city's very first DRAG DIVA superstar!"

Cover ENTRY: HK$100 at the door & includes 1 standard drink
plus your special souvineer limited edition Volume CD single with 5 exclusive remixes from:
* DJ STONEDOG (Hong Kong) * PRINCESS ANN (Malaysia) * MATT POP! (Netherlands) * GENDERFKKK (Hong Kong) and * JAD DESENCHANNTEE (Argentina)

Nov 28 Mr. Gay HK

Hong Kong will never be the same.

Come and cheer on with us as we crown the first ever beauty king of this part of the planet, who will represent the multicultural world city of Hong Kong in next year's Mr. Gay World, which will be held in Oslo, Norway.

With a special performance by Chiquitta (of course! Why else would I plug it? We wanna sell more cd's!). For ticket and venue information, visit http://www.manasiaproductions.com


Dec 17-18 For Colored Girls Who Committed Suicide/ When The Rainbow Is Enuf

Multus Productions proudly presents this choreopoem by Ntozake Shange (that inspired Eve Ensler to write The Vagina Monologues), for the benefit of the Narcolepsy Research Foundation. Loved and well-received over the years throughout the whole world, "For Colored..." is debuting in Hong Kong through the efforts of producer/ director Donalda McCarthy.

Multus is still looking for actresses of color (any color except white) and dancers of all shapes and sizes (but preferably more adept in modern, contemporary, or lyrical jazz) to complete the cast. If you're interested and or you may know someone who is, please don't hesitate to call me or to visit this website: http://multusproductions.com

Auditions will be held this Sunday, November 1, in Wan Chai. Timeslot and exact venue will be confirmed upon registration.

How am I involved in this? Why am I plugging this? I'm choreographing.


Jan 13-16 Romeo & Juliet

Orpheus Productions presents a very modern, very relevant, and very hip production of Shakespeare's most renowned classic, Romeo & Juliet at the McAulay Theater, directed by Andy Burt and choreographed by me, of course. More info will follow in January.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life Is A Musical


Revived Ep 17, "Life Is A Musical" of TD&RS, Out Now!


We waited so long for this. Finally, the musical episode that we have been promising you since Season 1 of The Dan & Rye Show.

Our sincerest thanks to our friends who made this possible. And special mention to "Mr. Englishero", Rony Fortich, for graciously hosting us and playing the piano all night.

Kasuys, here is the 30-minute version of the fun, musical 4-hour jamming that we did one warm Saturday night in August. Tunes that make our hearts smile from Broadway all the way to Cubao. (Imagine how heartbreaking it was to select only 12.5% of everything. There's probably gonna be a part2)

We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we had fun recording it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Endings Are Beginnings

Before Chiquitta hogged the limelight, there were three of them. And together, they were called The Glitterazzis.

Join Tiara Ferrari, Krystle Meth, and La Chiquitta as they relive their sisterhood for one last time, in their one-night-only Farewell Show,



"Vegas My Ass!"
Oct. 2, Friday
Volume
Performances at 11 and at midnight

Free entry.

Happy hour till 11 pm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When It Rains

The long, dry spell is over. And this time, it is pouring! I have been complaining the past few weeks that I don't have enough time to sleep anymore, or to spend with Dan, or T, or even to party. And then I realized, I can go on and on complaining, but this is what I had been asking for, for 4 years!

Shows, shows, shows! Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals!

If you missed Chiquitta in "Hello Sailor!" two weeks ago, the first of a long thread of performances, know that there are other showa that you can catch to make it up to me. ;-)


"Everybody's Famous". Chiquitta's birthday show at Volume. This Friday, 25th f September at Volume. Show starts at 11. Free entry. Happy hour til 11. http://www.volume.com.hk


"Thoroughly Modern Millie". HK Singers brings to Hong Kong the 2002 Tony Awardee for Best Musical. Musical direction-- Scott Gibson, Choreography-- Mandy Petty, Direction-- Allan Nazareno. Hong Kong City Hall Theatre, Oct. 6-10, 730pm (with a 230 matinee on the 10th). Ticket Price- $280. http://www.hksingers.com

"Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You". American Community Theater presents Christopher Durang's Obie Award-winning one-act play, in a twinbill production with "The Dumb Waiter". Opens Nov. 4. More details and poster to follow. http://acthongkong.com

See you at the shows!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pre-Partum

"Friend?" He answered my call with that. Just that. Friend. None of the perfunctory politeness of "hello", or "yes?" or "Dan speaking. How may I help you?" And that's not surprising. That's how I answer his calls too. That's how we are in everyday life, Dan and I. We are way past niceties and put-on courtesy. We do not beso whenever we see each other, or whenever we part ways. Not that there's anything wrong with beso, we do that to our other friends. It just feels funny when we do it. When the two of us do it. It's not malice. There is definitely no sexual tension between us. Now now, probably not in a million years, even though a lot of people insist on thinking we'd be a good romantic couple. It's not disgust in any level, either. It's not repulsive. It's just funny.
"Do we already have replacement for the broken shower hose?" I asked, without saying hello first also.
"None yet."
"Ok. I'll get one today."

We hung up.

That shower hose. It's been busted for more than a week already. I remember the first time I discovered it had a hole, the water went straight into my nose and eyes, and it felt like the way it does when someone pushes you into the swimming pool and you're totally unprepared. You inhale the water and you actually feel it flow through your nasal passages down to the throat. Close to drowning, that's how it felt. I almost panicked, but the stronger urge was to laugh at myself. And then, instantly, I thought of sms'ing Dan, "Our shower feels like Disney's waterworks parade." Not funny, not profound. Just nonsensical. But that's how we are. We sms each other whatever comes to our minds that we feel we need to share with someone. Anything, from "I felt like crying watching the fireworks" to "I'm washing my balls." And yes, by balls, I didn't mean the kind that they use for sports. I meant testicles. We share stuff like that, too. See, for us there is no such thing as too much information.

Four hours after the phone call that I made, I was home already with the brand new shower hose. I haven't fully settled when an sms from Dan came in: "You home? Looks like I'm the one who won't be coming home tonight instead."

I felt a little bit sad. The last time I saw him was on Friday, last week. And even then, we didn't get to spend time with each other. We didn't have dinner together, because he came from a party. We didn't chat even, because I was trying to edit our podcast. When I left the following morning, he was already out of the house. I hadn't been back until last night since that Saturday. And he was out. But the sadness didn't last for very long. First, I couldn't just expect him to sit around and wait for me to come home whenever I feel like it. Second, I am happy he's no longer sitting around like a spinster on his days off like he used to. I used to often pester him by saying, "Why don't you learn to crochet? Suits you." He is finally spending his days off socializing, catching up with friends and not movie marathon-ing. I couldn't be happier.

So today, I hopped in the shower and, as soon as I turned the shower on, I realized I hadn't installed the new shower hose. I could've done it last night, but I didn't know how. The two times we had to replace it, Dan did the handyman's work. But Dan is out, so I have to do it. And he's leaving soon, so I have to learn to do it.

I remember when Mamu (our ex-flatmate, who stood as the household mother) left us, there were moments when Dan and I would ridicule ourselves because neither of us had half of Mamu's aptitude for bolts, screws and wires. Once, our bathroom light got busted. We had to bear with it for two months, lighting candles whenever we had to go in, until we called our landlord to fix it for us.

I'll be like that soon. Lost. And Dan will no longer be there to laugh at my doltishness. The kind of laugh that you know is just a laugh, and not judgment. And Dan will no longer be there to take the initiative to learn what I don't want to learn. But it's ok. First of all, I don't want him to sit around and just always be there ready to support me in every way I want to, while I allow life to happen for me. And secondly, He's moving on. He is taking a brave, bold step. He is stepping up to the next phase of his life, like I had always wanted him to. Like I had always forced him to. I couldn't be happier. And prouder.



"If all my friends have forgotten
half their promises
they're not unkind,
just hard to find"

Monday, September 07, 2009

My Boyfriend Is A Stud


Oh, my man, I love him so
He'll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don't care
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright all right
What's the difference if I say
I'll go away
When I know I'll come back on my knees someday
For whatever my man is
I am his
forever more


Happy birthday, T!
Thank you for loving me
despite, with all, and because of
my imperfections.


You're everything to me.
I AUMULU to bits.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where Are The Asians?

The Miss U oh-nine coverage.


Your kasuys--- a curious observer, Rye, and a pageant enthusiast, Dan-- with pageant expert & co-author of globalbeauties.com, Jamesy, and their beloved HK Beckies gather at 8am for a morning of pinoy breakfast, lotsa chika & laughter, and 84 women vying for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2009.

They share their thoughts about the ladies' dresses, hair and make-up,
and Jamesy lets us in on some juicy background on the finalists
and what happens in the Top 15 selection process.


Revived Ep 16 The Grand Ligwakan*
http://tdrs.mypodcast.com


*We are terribly sorry for the delay. This episode was supposed to come out right after the live telecast of Miss U. But it wasn't until now, Saturday almost, that mypodcast got its act together and allowed us to upload. Anyway, here it is. Sigh!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Almost There


Almost There.

Almost where? Listen up to find out.

The rowdy guest co-host from the first season, Chris, joins Dan & Rye as they look forward to their immediate future.

With a live phone patch from Dubai, and greetings to London.



Revived Ep 15, "Almost There", Out Now!
The Dan & Rye Show Revived!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What A Difference A Night Makes

As I walked home from the bus stop last night, I called T like I always do. He was a little frustrated that his internet wasn't working. I was the last to use his computer so I thought, maybe, I broke his Mac. When I got home, I realized that it was neither his connection or his computer that was acting up. Facebook was down. So was Yahoo. So was Hotmail.

That was last night. 10:30ish pm. Fast forward to this morning... 10ish.

I refused to take off my eye mask because I knew deep in my heart it wasn't waking time for me yet. But my body and mind refused to cooperate. There was no way they'd let me go back to sleep. So I got up, checked my phone and found out it wasn't even 10am yet.

I headed to the kitchen to get my morning water (since I stopped smoking, I have learned to make a habit of having water the first thing to go into my system everyday), and then to my computer shortly after to feed my restaurant staff, water my flowers, and socialize. That's Restaurant City, Farmtown and Sorority Life, in case you're a little confused.

And then I filed the bank statements that have been lying on my work desk for about two months already. Over the course, I have found some documents that need to be filled up. I looked into my filing cabinet to search for some numbers, which I didn't find, so I decided calling Fidelity. I ended up accomplishing not one task, not two, but three, out of that 5-minute phone call. I then called AIA and completed a task which wasn't even on my list.

I fixed myself some lunch, brewed coffee, had some of Josh's double Graham chocolate ref cake, and went on with my tasks.

Sorted the laundry, cleared up my work desk, revised the Chiquitta blog, re-fed my staff, harvested, planted, socialized even more, chatted with T, replied to business emails.

Now, I'm finishing this entry, and it's only 2:50pm. (I actually would have finished this 10 minutes ago had Chris not called. But he did and I had to take it, since he seldom calls now and he's soon leaving HK. Sume-senti. Pagbigyan.)

It's amazing how much one can accomplish when he turns in early to wake up just a wee bit earlier than usual. More importantly, it's amazing what difference a night without Facebook makes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Finalist

via sms

R (at the Channel [V] Lady Gaga party at FINDS): T, I made it to the Top 12! :-)
T (at home): U r number 1 to me.
R: Aww! Remind me that again when you see me later.

thanks, Fabiola, for the photo

2 hours later, at T's. R, dressed as Lady Gaga wakes up T


T: Waaaaaah! You scared me. You look like a clown!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Certain.

"This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime."
--Robert Kincaid, "The Bridges Of Madison County"

I've been hearing chimes going off over the last thirty minutes. Like wind chimes. They sound off every 2 minutes.

I am not hallucinating. I am not crazy. I am not imagining things. The windows of my room are closed, my computer desk is the way it has been over the last 2 months, except for the vacuuming that Ate Cora did underneath it. The application windows I have open are Firefox, Safari & Skype. On Firefox, my tabs are Restaurant City, Farmtown, my blogger account, and The McVie Show Season 8. On Safari, I have Sorority Life, Multiply, Standard Chartered HK and BPI Online. Chatting with T on Skype.

Where the hell is that sound coming from? It is driving me crazy!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Death In The Middle

Somewhere in that little nook that has become our rendezvous, in that oh-so-familiar little bar in the middle of Hollywood Road, called Volume, in the middle of the week close to midnight, I was in the middle of a friendly conversation, amidst men intoxicated by free vodka, talking on the top of their lungs, so that their voices could drown the blaring music coming overhead, when, with a sense of urgency, he came up to me and said, "I have something to tell you."

I asked him what it was.

And, with both pride and coyness, like a child showing his teacher his artwork, and with a misplaced accent, common to caucasians trying to speak my language, he said to me, "Mahal kita."

I felt, in the middle of my chest, a heart just died a thousand joyous deaths.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Forgive Me, KC, For I Will Sin

Forgive me that I will not be the kind of friend that you want me to be. I will not hold your hand and cry with you, if you ever do. I will not be scared at the uncertainty of the future. I will not stroke your fragile spirit and say, "I'm sorry to hear that." Because I am not.

I am happy. I am very happy to see that life is finally unfolding itself for you.

I will not lie and tell you everything will be ok. It sometimes gets difficult-- heart-breaking, even. But that's what makes it all worth it. Because at the end of every hardship, is one more ounce of self-respect that you earn for yourself. And I can't wait to see you rise above it all, the way I did with you by my side.

Welcome to the real world, KC! I am delighted to be facing life's battles with you. It's time to put those high heels back on.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Lutong Macau

I've never really enjoyed Macau until my last visit.

Perhaps because I have never really explored it as extensively. Or maybe because in my previous trips, I wasn't privileged enough to sleep at the Venetian. Or maybe simply because, this time I was with T. And being with him made all the difference.

Pre-departure.

At the elevator landing of the 14th floor,
just before we started the hunt for Rm. 14-003.
We weren't warned that the whole south wing of the Venetian
was as huge as Megamall Bldg. A.
(Guy, BTW, is one of Jason's best friends. It was
my first time to meet him but it felt like we've known
each other in our teens. Err... well, in his teenage and my toddler years.)


the main event.
Belle, you made me very proud of you again.

our first round of drinks.
Sparkling sangria for me, Rose sangria for T,
and ice-cold beer for Guy.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who's the bitchest of them all?

She brought us carrot cake, inside scoop and lots of fun.

Pineapple barbecue with cinnamon sugar
for breakfast at Fogo Samba

AUMULU-ing at the Ven

T being such a good tourist.

the Macau landmark.
We didn't go any closer than this.
"What's the point?", I quipped.
"I was able to get it by zooming in anyway."

The most sumptuous lunch and
the most refreshing

noontime sangria (they use lemons instead of oranges)
at Fernando's



*Thanks, Miss Jamesy for lending my your Cybershot! Full album to be posted soon, with the official video documentation.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Two Women

This morning I found myself in tears. After giving in to them, I paused and asked myself the reason I was crying. I found two.

First, Corazon Aquino. The woman who paved the way for our generation to know the life of freemen. To live it, and enjoy it to its limits. She led the whole nation in its fight to bring back what it thought it had lost. She restored the dignity of millions of people. She passed away last night.

And then, there's Gloria Arroyo. By invoking solidarity among the Filipinos like her predecessor had done, she, too, ousted an unwanted political leader. Like her predecessor, she promised to restore and rebuild. Whether she failed or not, and if she did, the extent by which she did, I have no idea. I am the least interested in politics or in her. What I do know, is that she robbed my generation of artists the kind of dignity that Aquino fought to give us back.

This morning I found myself in tears. Out of sorrow and grief for the woman who, for years, stood as the matriarch who held my ailing country together; out of pain for my fellow Filipino artists who have been blatantly humiliated and betrayed by the very institution that was supposed to nurture them; and out of utter disgust for the Philippine government that, I am now convinced, is a company of greedy, power-hungry traitors who should have died instead of Cory.

I have never felt so strongly about politics ever before. Just now. So allow me to wallow in my tears some more.

For Art's Sake

These are two of my godchildren---

Charlize dreams of becoming a ballerina.

Dudi dreams of becoming a visual artist.


Please, God... End the travesty that the government is making out of the arts in the Philippines now, so that my godchildren may become happy, fulfilled artists when they grow up to realize their dreams. I love these kids dearly and I don't want them to suffer the tremendous humiliation and heartbreak that I, together with the rest of the Filipino Artists Community, am experiencing now. I don't want them to lose faith in the arts and be disillusioned the way a lot of my peers are, right now. I want them to become real "artists"-- those whose works are propelled by life and not by politics. I don't want them to be part of the dreadfully shameful system that they are starting to create.

Please, God. Please.

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Heart Welcomes You Back, Old Friend

Are we ok?

Of course, we are. No more drama.

It feels so great! I feel like I finally have you back in my life.

Yes, you do. And this time around, there's no more letting go.

Haha! I love you, baby boy! Oh and please tell your cute man I said hello!



Happy Birthday, Jesse!
Welcome back!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Other Way Around


Certain people stay in our lives forever.

And in certain people's lives, we stay forever.

Happy birthday, Oca! Thank you for everything.Happy birthday, Ricky! Thank you for everything.
You boys will forever be part of me, as I know I will forever be a part of yours.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thought Du Jour

"Not all chefs started out as a dishwasher.
Some of them didn't have to.
You can hate them for that,
but that doesn't change the fact that they managed to skip
the dirty work."

-The Divine Ryeness


Friday, July 24, 2009

Years Go By

Like fine wine, some things just get better as they age through the years. Things, such as beauty, friendship, love, and party skills.

2007


2008


2009


And us, in general.


Happy birthday, my beloved Jamesy! Here's to even finer beauty, friendship, love, party skills, and us in the coming years. I love you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Be My Lady


In no particular order, here are the ladies that inspired me, moved me, and made me smile today, and made me realize that, no matter how certain I am that I will never, in this lifetime, fall in love with any of them, the world would just be a mess without women. This is my way of honoring them.

REMS
Rems is, literally and figuratively, a hard habit to break. She is my in-transit-to-work-on-the-phone companion. We spend about half an hour chatting, to an from work. not collectively. Half an hour to, and half an hour from. She sets the tone of my day and calms me after a long day. It is difficult to break away from her. She is my mother , I am stuck with her forever. And I have no qualms being stuck with her. I am grateful, in fact. There is no other woman I'd rather love for my entire time on earth.

NURSE ANN
Nurse Ann, my Smoking Cessation Counsellor, is to me what a kindergarten teacher is to her pupils. I have always held a tremendous amount of admiration for kindergarten teachers. They are noble matriarchs of great power and authority. How often do we hear a child say he eats veggies because his teacher told him vegges are good for him? A mother can force-feed veggies on her child. But all he needs is to be told by his teacher to eat them. I know for a fact that quitting smoking is one of the most intelligent, most reasonable, most beneficial decisions I have ever, ever made in my life. But to be told by her that I am doing good and that I am on the right track just validates that ten-folds. Her weekly calls have been nothing but delight.

THE GURLS
They are the ones who come to my classes regularly. They are the ones who can--- in terms of stamina, pick-up and strength--- out-dance the other girls who only come to my classes when there are no other instructors and they have no other choice. They can out-crunch them, out-stretch them, out-pas de bouree them. Best of all, they have an understanding of their own bodies. They know what works for them, and what doesn't. They know the importance of wam-up and stretching, and they know that water breaks are not fellowship or gossip hour. They probably don't know it, but they inspire me in so many ways. Every now and then, I still ask myself whether what I am doing now is what I really wanna do. Until now, I still don't know the answer. What I do know (and I know this because of them) is that, in the meantime, I am not wasting my time and energies doing what I'm doing. They are happy, they see results, they enjoy it. And that makes me happy.

ATE CORA
Ate Cora is an empowered woman. She defeated in two hours, the grease buildup in our kitchen that was three years in the making. And she did it with tremendous aplomb and out-of-the-box witty remarks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ain't Over Til It's Over

Did you really think the 2006 Christmas Party was the last? I beg to disagree.

Ladies and gents, here again, are the Swarovskis with a special guest.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What's New With You?

I bumped into an old friend as I was walking the busy streets of Central. (My dear, friend, if you are reading this, know that this is not about you, ok? You were just a catalyst. It's a general observation, and you were just a catalyst. So don't feel bad.)

"Hey! I saw you last Saturday. In the afternoon. You were walking out of a clinic in Tung Chung. I was calling you, but you were walking fast to the train station," he said with much eagerness.

"Oh yeah, I had just finished my dental appointment then," I affirmed.

"I see. So what's new with you?" he asked with as much eagerness.

"Well..."

"Besides the dentist," he said, either trying to be funny, or trying to prove he was paying attention, or both.

"Well, besides the dentist, I went for a facial and a haircut on Thursday, and... Oh! And I've already stopped smoking. So... What's new with me? I have clean teeth, clear skin, freshly-groomed hair, and carbon monoxide-free lungs. That's what's new with me."

"Alright. Well, it was great seeing you. Have to go. Bye!" He said immediately, and turned away. He probably realized I am a changed person. At that very moment, he probably wondered: Where did the old Rye go?

"Alright. Bye!" I said, and, as he turned away. I realized there really wasn't anything in everything that I said that he was interested in. And at that very moment, I wondered: "What exactly do people wanna know when they ask what's new?"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Day But Today

The angel came down from heaven and said to me, "Haven't you been wanting this for four years now? What's stopping you? Just do it. Take it. Go!"

And so I did.

Dan, get your appetite ready. It's war-in-the-kitchen time once again!

Friday, July 10, 2009

There's A Battle To Be Won

There's a battle to be won. And as with any other battle, we do not only need the boldest and the fittest, we need power in numbers.

We need you.

We need everybody.

Because this battle does not only concern one particular nation, one particular race, or one particular class. Not just one particular ethnicity, one particular generation, one particular lifestyle.

It is a battle which knows not the principles of demographics.

This battle has already been killing millions and will continue to kill even more; and while mankind is not yet equipped to stop that from happening, we can stop the already-staggering statistic from growing even bigger.

Let's educate ourselves and others. Let's take that first step and then move on from there as a generation of bold, fit, learned human beings, large enough in numbers to defeat what promised to be a plague to wipe out mankind.

HIV/AIDS is still a force to reckon with. But it is NOT indefatigable.

Visit the AntiHIVirus site by clicking here. And join the Facebook group by clicking here. No bullshit. No gimmicks. Nothing that will ask for your credit card number or any password. All they solicit, is your commitment to learn and stay protected.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Medical Opinion

Because of a terrible migraine attack that disrupted my life this afternoon, I went for a medical check-up early tonight. Such episode paved the way for a couple of first's in my recent medical history.

First, it was the first time for me to go for a private doctor, post-Disney. Since I left Disney--- since I surrendered my AIA health card, as a matter of fact--- I worked so hard at keeping myself healthy so that I didn't have to pay $240.00 only to be told that I needed to rest and take some medication, which I could obtain OTC anyway.

Second, it was the first time for me to visit an unfamiliar doctor. Ok, so maybe Dr. L had, to a certain extent, a somewhat shady personality. But he was familiar and comfortable. He knew my medical history, and it just was oh-so-convenient to know that I didn't have to relay everything there was to know about my body everytime I went for a check-up. Unfortunately, Dr. L had moved to a different clinic already. I didn't have any choice but to succumb to the mercy of another medical practitioner.

Third, this was my first migraine attack in so long. The last time I had it, if memory serves, was in summer of 2007.

Fourth, and most importantly, this was the first time I had a very useful realization about my medical analysis. "Dr. New" said that my migraine was caused by heat, and the extreme brightness of the sun. I knew that for a fact. He said that to prevent it, I need to stay in enclosed spaces as much as I could. Knew that too. If, and only if, at any case, I need to subject myself to the scorching heat of the sun, I need to protect myself with an umbrella (for the heat) and a pair of sunnies (for the brightness). I knew those too, and I've been practicing them.

That's where it all made a difference. The question was: if I was practicing those preventive measures, why then did I not see a migraine attack coming, and how was I not able to prevent it from happening?

The answer was utterly sophomoric: Because my Burberry sunnies are dated, out-of-season, weary, have become incapable of fulfilling their duties. So... in the iterest of preserving my own health, allow me to say, "Tom Ford Andre, see you very, very soon!"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Today, A Phonecall.

"Do you realize, Ryan, that you are already stages ahead of the therapy?
You finished in two weeks, the program that we planned for 10 weeks.
You're done with withdrawal.
Now, it's just a matter of resisting the temptation, because your body doesn't need it anymore.
Keep up the good work, Ryan.
You should be very proud of yourself, because I am very proud of you."



-Nurse Ann
(HK Jockey Club Smoking Cessation Program)
Today, 2:39pm


___________________
Thank you, Nurse Ann. Yes, I am proud of myself and yes, I will definitely keep it up.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Special Days

...are days like yesterday and today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feels Like Insomnia-ha-ha-ha


Yes, I am the muse that he wrote this song for.
Thanks, Noelito and Jamesy for keeping and delivering the picture to me.
You guys are love!

I never thought that I'd fall in love, love, love, love
But it grew from a simple crush, crush, crush, crush
Being without you girl, I was all messed up, up, up, up
When you walked out, said that you'd had enough-nough-nough-nough

Been a fool, girl I know
Didn't expect this is how things would go
Maybe in time, you'll change your mind
Now looking back i wish i could rewind

Because i can't sleep til you're next to me
No i can't live without you no more
Oh i stay up til you're next to me
Til this house feels like it did before
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah

Remember telling my boys that I'd never fall in love, love, love, love
You used to think I'd never find a girl I could trust, trust, trust, trust
And then you walked into my life and it was all about us, us, us, us
But now I'm sitting here thinking I messed the whole thing up, up, up, up

Been a fool (fool), girl I know (know)
Didn't expect this is how things would go
Maybe in time (time), you'll change your mind (mind)
Now looking back i wish i could rewind

Because i can't sleep til you're next to me
No i can't live without you no more (without you no more)
Oh i stay up til you're next to me (to me)
Til this house feels like it did before (Because it)
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah
Feels like insomnia ah ah (Ah), Feels like insomnia ah ah

Ah, i just can't go to sleep
Cause it feels like I've fallen for you
It's getting way too deep
And i know that it's love because

I can't sleep til you're next to me
No i can't live without you no more (without you no more)
Oh i stay up til you're next to me (to me)
Til this house feels like it did before
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah

Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah
Feels like insomnia ah ah, Feels like insomnia ah ah

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How To Prepare For A Dance Audition In Less Than 2 Hours

1) Choose: Go back home to get your dansneakers and rehearsal outfit or swing by Fonteyn in Wan Chai to buy them.

(If you choose the former, don't bother coming to the audition anymore. You won't make it on-time. If you choose the latter, be sure your EPS has sufficient funds.)

2) In Fonteyn, carefully examine which of the two pairs is most comfortable dancing in without a proper warm-up: Bloch's new Slingshot or the classic Capezio gore boot.



(If you choose the former, think again. Think how many danseneakers you already have and how rarely you use each one of them. You don't need another one. If you choose the latter, buy it in tan. You already have a black one.)

3) Choose which dance belt suits your specific need: the wide-band quilted Capezio, or the comfort Capezio.


(If Frankie suggests the Fonteyn dance belt, say "No" with utmost conviction.)

4) Pick a pair of jazz pants: lycra or cotton.

(Jazz pants? Really? Early 90's?)


5) Engage yourself in a conversation with the staff and forget about how much time you have left.

6) Swing by Pacific Coffee for a cup of Macchiato.

7) Take the train to the venue.

8) Get lost. Spend the 10 of your remaining 15 minutes walking around the block, following different directions from different people. Wait until you're fully drenched in your own sweat before you decide that calling the audition secretariat is wiser than asking people around for a street you can't even pronounce right.

9) Wait for the next lift. Do not take the first one, because the first one is a glass lift and, because of your fear of heights, you might faint when you see how high up you are from the ground. Waste 2 minutes waiting.

10) Get in the venue just in the nick of time. Excuse yourself, get changed, wipe off your sweat.

11) Two demi-plies, one grand plie, forward bend in first position. Repeat everything in second, fourth and fifth, varying the port de bras. Do this as quick as you can. The audition's about to start.

12) Improvise.

13) When in doubt, pout.

14) When you fall from a turn or your extensions aren't as good as they normally are, blame the floor.

15) If you get the job, blog about it and be an inspiration to others. If you don't get the job, blog about it so that others can learn what not to do.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Four's Majeure

It was only 6 in the morning. The sun has just risen, and most of the city was still asleep. But in one corner of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, it was already noisy and bustling with activity. That's what happens when you put 50 performers together-- you get an overwhelming dose of noise and nonstop chatter, especially when they get all excited. On top of that, add the family members, lovers, and friends that each one of them brought (or each one of them was forced to bring), so as to make that sweet, cinematic goodbye scene happen.

Past Step 1, which was the Overseas Employment Certificate validation at the OWWA office, and Step 2, which was going through tight security to get into the airport lobby for check in, the crowd thinned. Well-wishers weren't allowed in that section anymore. All that was left, were the passengers bound for Hong Kong. The extra crowd was already gone, but the noise wan't. It did, however, evidently turn from excitement to panic. Most of them went over the limited baggage allowance, and very few were prepared to pay the penalty. They were going to be gone for 18 months, at least. It was just right to bring everything that could help them bear with homesickness.

Few more minutes later, the whole group was already at the sitting area by the boarding gate, which looked out to the tarmac. The chatter has died now. The ridiculously early call time must have hit most of them. Excitement, no matter how big, can only conquer body clock for so long. For those whose body clock wasn't a problem, there was a different hit.

A plane with a huge Cathay Pacific insignia emblazoned on the side, wheeled towards their designated gate. "Finally!", exclaimed Noel Rayos. All conversations stopped, napping eyes opened, and everyone's head truned to the same direction. It was CX 912, the flight that would hold what was then, the most sensational export the Philippines dealt. Tex Ordonez then said, "Ito na ba iyun? Ito na ba talaga yun? (Is this it? Is this really it?)". She shed a tear. She was going to leave her newborn baby to work, and to be part of something new.

About two hours later, they were at the HK Immigration desks. Some of them, the first ones to get their passports stamped, had to go back and redo the whole process. The immigration officials overlooked their working visas, so instead of a year-long permit, they were given just two weeks to stay as visitors. Gladly, it was HK Immigration that they were dealing with. The procedure was swift and stress-free. Imagine if it happened in Manila.

Shortly after, they were greeted by two chinese ladies, Winnie and May. One was cheerful, plump and quite talkative, while the other was skinny, coy and soft-spoken. They both had their Disney nametags on and were very welcoming. They asked the group to form two files, arranged alphabetically according to surname: one for the males, and one for the females. They were then brought to the private bus that delivered them to Gold Coast Hotel.

It was only lunchtime. Their rooms weren't ready yet, so they all left the hotel lobby to grab their first HK lunch. Some headed straight to McDonald's. It was the safest option. A few immediately went to try the restos that dotted the Gold Coast beach. Others, those who decided to play safe with their budget, opted for Circle K and had the cheapest microwaveable lunch they could find.

It was June 5, 2005. It was the first day of their 18-month gig with Disney in Hong Kong. They were batch 2 of 3 batches of Filipinos in the Opening Cast. Some were excited, some were stupefied. Some were already thinking of shopping, while some were already calculating how much money they'd be able to bring home after 18 months. Some were already homesick, some eager to start a new life. Some would, later on, discover new avenues that Hong Kong would open for them. Some would go home. Some would stay. One of them would find himself getting close to the point of no return. That is today. The major fourth anniversary. The stage at which he will decide whether he will stay until he gets permanent residence, or go back home while it's not too late.

Just last night, he called his boyfriend to say that it felt a bit weird that none of his batchmates organized a get-together to celebrate the anniversary. His boyfriend said that somewhere down the line, people will stop celebrating it anyway. It just happened earlier than he had anticipated. Today, he got a message from his friend, Jojo Mamangun. They shared the same sentiment. He then decided that he will never stop celebrating his HK anniversaries. Because more than the memories of that Sunday morning, more than the disdainly meager first lunch in HK, more than his Disney stint that had already ended to make way for more adventures, more than the financial plans that he has yet to fulfill, June 5 marks something bigger. It is the beginning of something that changed his life in more ways than most people can imagine. It wasn't just a move to Hong Kong. It was a move to a new life.


So, to everyone who was also part of the opening team--- to you who are still here in HK, and to you who are elsewhere; to you who still hold dear the experience we had together and to you who choose to forget it; to you whose opinions about HK have changed, whether for the better or for the worse; to you who have other plans; to you who are now living your other plans; to you who will continue to celebrate your HK anniversaries like me; to you who have already stopped; to everyone who holds a Opening Cast shirt or jacket or Mickey hat, allow me to say, "Happy 4th anniversary!"