Blogging: An Effective Way to Liberate Yourself From Toxic People on Social Media

Do you ever regret posting a not-so-conservative post that made your parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, workmates, or bosses react like “WTF”? Did they comment or message you with something like “Why are you posting stuff like this? Delete it.”

Or maybe your family and friends are loyalists or Dutertards and your posts were against their beliefs so you had a debate on social media about whether who’s wrong or not.

And then you cried because you couldn’t understand how people can be so fucking stupid. You deactivated your social media account because you were so depressed and you couldn’t stand seeing more hate comments from them. Next thing you know, you’re thinking about disappearing from the world. Or whatever.

If this has ever happened to you, then your social network is toxic. First, let me clarify the meaning of toxic in this context.

Toxic connections are not only those who spread hate comments on your posts and bring you down. If you feel like you can’t post something because you’re afraid that people, especially your relatives or workmates, will judge you, then it’s time to take action.

Let me tell you why I blog (and why you should blog, too).

You’re Speaking to Everyone and No One at the Same Time

On Facebook, all my posts are visible to my friends (I have only 111 Facebook friends, btw). On WordPress, my posts are visible to the public. Why am I here? Even though people from across the world can see my blog posts, you’ll find that the ratio of WordPress users to Facebook users is 1:23. When you blog, it’s like you’re speaking to everyone and no one at the same time. 

Sure, I do the shameless plugging on Facebook and Instagram sometimes, but the stats show that most of my visitors are WordPress users from other countries. The referrers are not even Facebook or Instagram. See?

Perhaps people are too lazy to tap the link on my social media accounts or maybe they’re using free data to access Facebook, but that’s not the point. Most people, or at least most people I know, are not interested in blogging, so it’s flattering to know that there are even a number of people who take the time and effort to read my posts.

There Are Fewer Toxic People Here, Mate

When you blog, you can modify your account settings and choose the types of users who can comment on your posts. Also, you can choose to filter the comments and delete the ones you do not like even before they appear on your posts. In my case, I allow WordPress users only to post comments. This way, people who are not interested in blogging can’t throw offensive, lewd, or stupid comments at me. The smaller your following is, the lesser chance you have of dealing with toxic people. 

The Experience Is Liberating

I have published posts against Duterte, Marcos, and the Catholic church (sort of). I admit, I did not use strong language in those posts, but I can only imagine the hate I would get if I posted those on Facebook or other social networking sites, what with all the trolls and fanatics out there. It’s a wise move, you know, and liberating on so many levels, unless you’re trying to become the next Mocha Uson (I’m not).

It’s Addicting

Blogging is like sex: once you start, you just can’t stop. Once you’ve found the courage to publish your first post, face the grammar police worldwide, and ignore the judging eyes of people, one thing will lead to another.

I have so many unpublished, private, and WIP posts on my WordPress app, but I’m trying to post one every week so as not to flood my site. It’s good to have a phone with you wherever you go. If you are a writer at heart, you won’t know when an idea will pop out of your mind. Whenever this happens to me, I usually put my thoughts into writing immediately. Good ideas are always best written when they’re fresh.

You Can Unleash the Writer Within

Practice makes progress. Even though I believe that writing is more of a talent than a skill, everyone can be a great writer over time. You just have to read a lot, write a lot, blog a lot, and then read some more.

Your Blog Site Can Be Your Online Portfolio

If you want to get freelance jobs, your blog site can be your best asset. Whether it is writing, photography, modeling, or what have you, your blog site is the easiest way for employers to see if you’ve got it in you.

If you’re like me who just wants a platform where I can express my “deepest thoughts and feelings” without exposing my posts to toxic people, then create your own blog site. Remember: here, you’re talking to everyone and no one at the same time, sans the toxic people who bring you down.

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Mind Your Own Vagina (or Shut the Fuck up If You Don’t Have One)

Recently, I have had a heated argument with a guy about whether abortion is acceptable or not. In a country where abortion is both illegal and taboo, it is hard to debate its pros to someone, especially if that person does not have a vagina and if he worships a greater being who explicitly stated in his book that thou shalt not kill.

This guy kept pointing out that abortion is a sin and I countered him with reasons why it is not his business. We presented our claims, debated the topic over and over, and ended up throwing personal insults at each other. After a while, I realized there is no point in arguing with him. We obviously had different beliefs and perspectives in life–I am agnostic; he is Christian–and we need to respect each other for that. It took us some time, but we both dropped the subject and let things be.

If there is one thing I regret, it’s that I failed to make him realize that I am not supporting the mere act of abortion–I am defending the reproductive rights of women.

Women’s Rights in a Predominantly Catholic Country

It is a truth widely accepted that having a religion that decides where you go after you die should make you a morally upright human being. However, this is not always the case.

Born and raised a Catholic, I have seen the bigotry and hypocrisy of many people. Those who claim to be religious are sometimes more evil than those who do not believe in religion at all. One simple example is the religious person that you see on public transportation. Whenever I ride a public utility vehicle from home to work or vice versa, I play a game in my mind that I call Counting Crosses. Here’s how it works: I observe silently, try to spot a religious person (telltale signs: wears any religious stuff, does the sign of the cross when passing a church), and wait until the person does something out of line. I have had various unfortunate encounters with them.

One hot Friday afternoon, I eavesdropped (you can’t help it if you have no earphones, to be honest) on a conversation of two old women in Nazareno shirts. They were talking about their neighbor who committed abortion. I heard phrases like “putang ina n’ya,” “malandi,” and “makati ang puke.” When we passed Santo Domingo church, they paused to make the sign of the cross.

If you are not satisfied with this example, let me share my encounter with an exhibitionist (see my open letter for further details). He did not make the sign of the cross, but I saw a cross bracelet around his wrist.

Back in college, I had religious classmates who always had something to say about everything. They were big fans of posting bible verses on social media and boasting about how many times they attend church services, but they were backstabbers who live and breathe to judge others. I have seen low-profile people who were more forgiving, caring, and understanding than them (which is wise).

I believe these bigots need to be reminded that there are basic life protocols beyond the ten commandments. If I were to create my own rules, it would revolve around two things: love and respect–with reservations. Respect, for me, stops when a person starts doing me and my loved ones harm.

Respect. Big deal. In case they forgot, respect is essential to achieve harmony and peace. There are wars, movements, and fights all over the world, not because people of different genders, races, and religions have different beliefs, but because people do not respect these differences.

Christians have condemned abortion from the very beginning, and I do not think I will ever see them change their stand in my lifetime. I respect them for that.

A Colonial Law That Prohibits Abortion

The Philippines is one of the few Asian countries that still denies women access to safe and legal abortion. The law that prohibits women to commit abortion is a direct translation of an old Spanish penal code. Back then, women were not even given the right to vote.

Our lawmakers are still turning a blind eye on the topic of abortion. The outdated colonial law was created mainly due to the religious standards of the Spanish people, and our law should uphold the rights of our people, not religious sectors. Even Spain and other predominantly Catholic countries have legalized abortion on certain grounds. We have seen how women fought for equality, and it’s about time we give them the freedom to control their own bodies.

Birth Control Shots for Men?

Recently, a new contraception for men was developed. The invention created a buzz in social media but was phased out after a year of clinical trial because men were reported to have experienced acne breakouts, depression, mood swings, and other side effects that women experience when taking these reproductive health measures.

See the injustice in this? This is just one of those gender stereotypes that’s plain bullshit. So, it’s okay when women suffer the side effects but an insult to men when they experience the same? Although it pains me to admit it, that’s how things work in this world.

A Violation of Women’s Rights

I am pro-abortion because the world has been going hard with women from the very beginning and it’s time we respect them and their decisions. I am pro-abortion because I understand how difficult it would be for both the mother and the baby if the mother, who is not emotionally, physically, or financially ready, continued with the pregnancy.

There were women raped by strangers who chose abortion because they would rather do it than see their child suffer the consequences of growing up without a father.

There were women born into rich families who chose abortion because they were not ready to become a mother. They would rather do it than see their child suffer the consequences of growing up with parents who know nothing about marriage and building a family.

There were women born into poor families who chose abortion because they got pregnant by accident. They did it because they didn’t want their child to suffer the consequences of growing up in a poor family.

There were women who died due to unsafe abortion because the hospitals, medical facilities, the church, and the government denied them access to safe, legal abortion, which is clearly a violation of their reproductive rights.

Poverty and Abortion

According to Guttmacher Institute, “the most common reason women give for having an abortion is their inability to afford raising a child.”

If I had an unintended pregnancy, I will not abort the child, but I will not judge other women who will. I am surrounded by street, abandoned, and poor children. I will understand if they do not want to be one of those irresponsible mothers who followed their emotions despite knowing what will become of their children if they continued with the pregnancy.

Poverty is a huge factor in building a family. You can say that you can provide for your child because you have a job all you want, but building a family is more complicated than that. You have to experience it for yourself before you believe it.

Abortion is a woman’s right. If she is not emotionally, physically, or financially ready and she continued with the pregnancy, the child will suffer the consequences more than anyone else. Growing up in a squatter’s area has taught me this.

Pre-Marital Sex and the Truth Behind It

Okay, I hear you. Why have sex when you are not ready to build a family? Why have pre-marital sex at all? Pre-marital sex only becomes a moral issue if your religion tells you so. You can’t argue with that.

Tell me where the equality in this logic is: when a woman is deflowered, it is an achievement for men but a sin for women.

I’ll leave it there.

Her Body, Her Choice

After all, who will suffer for nine months and more if a woman decides to continue with the pregnancy? Is it other women, other men, the society, the government, the church, an all-knowing greater being that she cannot see, or her? If a woman is not ready to conceive a child, it is not anybody’s business but hers. Her body, her choice. It is the woman who will rot in hell or pass the time in prison, anyway.

I am pro-abortion because I am pro-women, and my decision does not make me less of a woman, much more less of a human. We all have flaws. Even the saints made mistakes and the self-proclaimed religious people aren’t perfect either. If you think I am a sinner because I am pro-women, let your actions speak for yourself.

“Whose Vagina Is It, Really?”

I find it fitting to conclude my post with the title of a book by Sandy Daley. Whose vagina is it, really? As far as I am concerned, my body is my business. Whatever I do with it, I am solely responsible for my own decisions and actions. If you think I am wrong, feel free to walk away without making any fuss or hide in your room and masturbate until you come. I will not judge you.

I am pro-abortion because I am pro-women. I will not, by any means, persuade you to side with me. If committing a sin that is against your religion or an outdated law that you follow is your only concern, might as well mind your own vagina or shut the fuck up if you don’t have one because that’s how things should be.

P.S. And don’t forget, the key word is respect.

This Is Why I Am a Die-Hard Fan of The Beatles

More than 55 years ago, millions of youngsters from across the world suffered from a contagious disease called Beatlemania. Five decades later, a 21-year-old girl still goes gaga over the four young lads who shook the world.

Sure, there are hundreds of rock bands from the local and foreign music scenes, but The Beatles ignited a fire within me that all the others can’t give. When people discover for the first time that I have fallen head over heels for The Beatles, their first reaction is always, “Are you serious?” Yes, I have been, I am still, and I will always be.

Their Songs Never Get Old

I grew up hearing so many The Beatles songs and I was not even aware of it. I didn’t realize this until recently when I streamed an online music station for six consecutive days and listened to all of their songs. Surprisingly, I found out that I have already heard most of it.

I hear their songs everywhere I go. My father loves The Beatles and he plays some of their songs occasionally, and maybe that’s how I picked up some of the lines and melodies when I was younger. My uncles and grandfather were fans too. Not the die-hard kind of fan, but they like the songs of the band enough to be considered as a fan. On Sundays, radio stations and our neighbors play old songs, and more often than not, their Sunday playlists include three or four songs of The Beatles.

The music of these legends remained even after two of them passed away. I can’t imagine a time when people will stop listening to their songs–they have left a legacy that no other band can surpass. Their songs will follow you wherever you go–they are timeless classics that will never get old and out of style.

They Tell Me Things I Want to Hear

As a wordsmith, I listen to songs mostly because I like the lyrics and the meaning behind them. I became obsessed with the songs of The Beatles because they made me understand and get to know how men’s brains work. If Taylor Swift writes about how most women feel and think, The Beatles wrote about how most men feel and think. I know that things are a lot different during their time, but if there’s one thing that did not change, it’s how men feel and think about women and life in general.

A Hard Day’s Night is about what most men want to get from their partner after a long day at work. Please Please Me is about the unspoken feelings of a man who wants his girl to please him in bed. If I Fell shows how insecure a man can be when falling in love. These are just examples but you get the point.

Apart from these songs, I like how their love songs were just the right kind of romantic. If I were to be serenaded by a man, I’d like him to sing The Beatles songs like And I Love Her, Here, There and Everywhere, Woman (okay this is a Lennon song but still), I Will, and Till There Was You (okay just a cover but STILL, I like their version better). In short, they tell me things I want to hear.

Their Good Looks Are Just Too Hard to Resist

You know how kids and most millennials these days react when they see new boy bands with members that are too good-looking? OR, you know how the Beatlemaniacs back then screamed, hyperventilated, and fainted at the mere sight of these four young lads? I was once like them, too. As sloppy as it sounds, there was a phase in my life where I became so obsessed with The Beatles because of their good looks that are just too hard to resist. Yes, a part of me still loved their songs during those times, but mostly, my obsession was about their looks.

To be honest, I first fell in love with Paul because he obviously has the most beautiful physical features. After some time, I became more attracted to the face of John and I am still. For months, I raved about the Fab Four’s good looks, even telling other people that the One Direction band that they patronize today is nothing compared to The Beatles, which is pointless and unreasonable because the two bands are simply not the same. Forgive me, I was young and dumb.

There’s Always Something New to Fangirl About

Unlike other self-proclaimed Beatlemaniacs, my obsession with the band doesn’t stop with listening to their songs, which are quite too many, to be honest. I research and watch their videos a lot during my free time that I was even disappointed when Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, Ron Howard’s documentary, was released. The tagline of the film was “The Band You Know, The Story You Don’t” so I expected to see a lot of fresh information about the band. Sadly, most of the clips and facts there (except the full-length, digitalized Shea Stadium concert, of course) are common knowledge to die-hard Beatles fans. I guess I set my expectations too high that I forgot to note that only Paul and Ringo are alive. So, if Ron Howard would present unheard of stories, these stories could only come from the two living band members who were also the speaking heads in the film.

However, that film was only about their touring years. Even though I know a lot about these four lads already, there is still so much more to learn about their life and music.

I guess that’s the best thing about fangirling over a band fifty years after they took over the world–so much has happened in this span of time that you won’t be able to keep up even if you spend most of your time researching. Luckily for me, the internet gives me access to a lot of reading materials. Whether true or not, these fresh stories and details keep the Beatlemaniac fire inside of me burning.

They Make Me Feel Like I Belong

Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong generation? Like when you read a classic novel or heard a classic song and you really wished you were born when the authors or singers were still alive? I do. All the time.

When it first dawned on me (like really dawned) that John and George were dead already, I cried. I know my reaction was 30 years late, but I cried as hard as the fans of Christina Grimmie did when she was shot earlier this year. I cried like I did when Alan Rickman died. I cried because I couldn’t believe it; perhaps I was still in denial. They sound so real when I hear their voice and they look so full of life when I see them in videos, even in black and white. To me, they are not dead; they are just too distant, too far from me like so many foreign artists and singers that I can’t reach. But they do make me feel like I belong.

As an introvert, I’d rather interact with people in my head than with people in front of me. I dislike going to movie theaters to watch mainstream movies as well as going to gigs to watch mainstream bands because I don’t want to bump into annoying people. In other words, I hate jumping on the bandwagon. Being a fan of The Beatles turned my world upside down.

Now, I am a member of a Facebook group called The Beatles Universe. It feels good to interact with people who are not my age but understands my love and passion for something. I learn a lot from them and guess what? Most of them are seniors! Unlike other fan groups, they are not pretentious; they are really, madly, truly, crazily passionate about The Beatles and that’s exactly why I love them.

Just recently, I attended a tribute gig organized by my fellow Filipino Beatlemaniacs where we rocked and rolled to the beat of The Beatles’ timeless classics. There were only a few of us who came to witness the show, but it was fun because we all shared the same passion and love for the band.

The Beatles opened up a whole new world that I consider as my place of solace, and it’s always ready to take me in whenever I want to escape reality. This band makes me feel like I belong. Thank you, John, Paul, George, and Ringo for being there for me when no one else was. You shook my world just like how you did more than 55 years ago.

*Featured photo used not mine

An Open Letter to Filipinos Who Think Duterte’s Sexist Remarks Against Women Are Okay

Yesterday, President Duterte stood firm on his decision to allow the late dictator’s remains to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. This news shook me to the core. And just when I thought that things could never get worse, the Americans proved me wrong–Donald Trump won the US presidential elections.

I was at the office, watching Google’s live update as I awaited the end of my shift. I witnessed how the red slowly overshadowed the blue as victory greeted Trump and his supporters. All hope that I had for every woman in the world vanished when I saw that he needed only four more electoral votes to win the majority. By 4:00 PM, when the last few electoral votes were being counted, I refreshed Google three times before I let the truth sink in.

The world is going down for the third time for women.

This news disheartened me, but knowing that Clinton still won the popular vote means a great deal to me-–the majority of Americans do not want a sexist, misogynistic, and xenophobic man in the White House. My heart goes out to all the people who did note vote for Trump. The last thing that the world needs right now is another leader who will set an example for being a sexist, misogynistic fuckface.

I am writing this open letter because even before Trump won, a lot of people have been comparing him to our president. And worse, I’ve been reading news and opinion from people who keep justifying their disgusting words and actions. This makes me sick. I do not want to hear another “let them be” version, which pretty much varies from “Ano’ng magagawa mo, eh ganun sila magsalita?” “Hayaan mo na, matanda na.” “‘To naman, nag-jo-joke lang ‘yun.” “Ganun talaga siya.” “Dami mong alam!” “Shut up ka na lang!” to “P*tangina mo, dilawan!” 

I hate people who justify these two leaders’ sexist remarks about women. I understand that women in America are not done with their fight for equality yet–the 2016 presidential elections have left their country in fragments–but  I expected so much more from my fellow countrymen. Filipinos have never failed to surprise me these past few months. Whenever I see someone like Mocha Uson who applauds the president with all her might despite the man’s countless gender-directed insults and lack of political correctness,  I flinch.

I hate bigoted women who applaud the president for insulting other women–as if making scathing, appalling comments on their fellow women is not an insult to their gender as a whole. I hate stupid men, fathers especially, who justify the president’s foul words, who keep on insisting that he is only joking every time he cracks lewd remarks–as if they won’t care if their daughters were catcalled on the streets, as if they won’t mind if their kumpares threw sexist, offensive comments against their wives.

I hate you for being one of them. I hate you for being one sexist, misogynistic fuckface like them.

If you are just too blind or kulang sa pansin, I have no way of knowing. But if you think these sexist attacks are okay, I am sorry to tell you but you are one fucking stupid human being and you do not deserve a woman in your life.

We do not need another man who will insult us and make us feel less human.

We have had enough.

I have a lot going on in my mind, but I figured I might as well share my personal experiences to show you what it is like to live in a country where societal sexism exists–a country where people like you exist.

I have seen two exhibitionists in my lifetime. The first one was when I was in high school, while I was en route to Cubao. I was only 14 years old then. I had to submit my grandmother’s laboratory results to a certain hospital and that was actually my first time in the area. As a young girl who just set foot in an unfamiliar place, I was afraid I might get lost. I was riding a jeepney when an exhibitionist opened his zipper and showed me his disgustingly big, hard penis. I was shocked but I could not move. I could not say a word because 1) I was afraid of what he would do, 2) we were the only passengers in the jeepney and I did not have someone to back me up, 3) I was young and helpless, 4) I was a young girl and it’s normal for us to experience horrible things like this, and 5) he was tall and looked like he might do something bad to me if I fought back.

I looked away and let him do his thing while he continued to stare at me maliciously. I went home depressed.

The second time happened earlier this year when I was on my way home from work. I took the Espana-Blumentritt route and fell asleep on the ride. I was jerked awake when the jeepney came to a sudden halt near the Chinese General Hospital. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked because the swollen penis of the man on the other side greeted me. He looked at me with a mischievous grin on his face while he masturbated, but I did nothing. I did nothing, not because I was not insulted by the act, but because I was afraid. I went home more depressed and traumatized this time.

I am not the type who talks about my problems a lot, but I told my best friend about the incident a week later because I was still depressed. I do not always let these things pass–everyone who knows me knows this. In fact, I get back at these perverts whenever I have the chance. If I do not drop the PI bomb, I give them the middle finger. And do not even get me started on the subject of being catcalled on the streets–I experience this almost every day and I get back at the fuckface when I have the chance.

If catcalling is a form of sexual harassment, then I am disgusted with myself–I am sexually harassed by strangers. Every. Single. Day.

Depending on the circumstance, I also confront perverts. One example was when I was in an FX. I was wearing a skirt and I noticed that this fuckface kept accidentally sliding his hands on my bare legs. Since the FX was full of passengers, I decided it won’t do me harm to shame this disgusting man in front of them. I shouted to no one in particular, “Pwede pong makipagpalit ng upuan? Manyakis ‘tong katabi ko eh.” All eyes fell on me but the pervert could not look me in the eye. The man on the passenger seat gave way and offered me his seat. When we reached a stoplight, the pervert said “para” and went away.

The passengers praised me for being the brave girl, but if I was really brave, I would slap him hard on the face, take a picture of him, and post it on social media. But I was not brave enough.

In a country where it is normal for men to slut-shame women, especially when we are wearing revealing clothes, it is hard to muster the courage to fight back.

Sometimes, I want to wear a skirt or dress to work, not because I want to sport an on-point OOTD, but because this piece of clothing is easier to wash than jeans. But most of the time, I don’t. Most of the time, I settle for jeans rather than risking being catcalled by perverts on the streets.

Imagine your younger sister, your mother, your girlfriend, your wife, or whoever you hold dear being catcalled, watched by a pervert while masturbating in public transportation, and sexually harassed in public. If you keep justifying the president’s lewd remarks against women, if you keep treating societal sexism as a laughing matter, if you keep siding with these sexist and misogynistic leaders, and if you keep insulting women, then these acts of sexual harassment will continue and your loved one is at risk.

When the president, the man who holds the highest post in the country and the role model of many, started throwing misogynistic remarks to various women, I was dispirited. But to say that my heart was shattered when my fellow countrymen started justifying his actions, and worse, emulating them, is an understatement.

I am writing this open letter because I want my fellow Filipinos to stop these acts that are sexist, stupid, disrespectful, insane, and most of all, inhuman.

Yes, with fewer drug addicts around, it is safer for us to walk the streets at night. But, you see, I have lost count on how many times I heard men like you justify their deeds and words using the president as their example. One night, when my boyfriend and I were on a bus, we heard a random man saying, “Eh ano kung manyak ako, presidente nga natin manyak din eh.” Then on one viral Facebook post, a woman complained that a group of perverts catcalled her on the street. When she snapped back, they said, “Arte mo, kala mo maganda ka? Kahit magsumbong ka pa sa pulis. Kahit magsumbong ka pa kay Duterte, manyak din yun eh!” Even my younger brothers cheer whenever news about our president’s sexist remarks flash on our television screen.

Dear fellow Filipinos, is this how we want our society to be? To be full of sexists and misogynists who think it is okay to insult women because the president is okay with it? Because the president himself is doing it?

True safety is not about giving us the peace of mind to stroll the streets at night because there are fewer drug addicts around.

True safety is when women can confidently walk the streets any time of day without the fear of being sexually harassed.

I do not want my children to grow up in a society full of evil people. I do not want them to become one of you. I do not want my younger siblings and cousins to emulate what you are doing; I do not want them to think that it is okay to catcall women, to have “locker room” talks about us, to insult our dignity, and to make fun of us as if we are not humans.

In case you forgot, we are humans too.

We do not need another exhibitionist, we do not need another pervert who will harass us in public transportation, we do not need another stranger who will catcall us on the streets, we do not need another human being who will blame us for wearing short skirts and revealing clothes.

We are not the problem; your stupidity and lack of respect is the problem.

Dear Mr. President, if you truly care for women, stop being a sexist, misogynistic git because you are setting a bad example for your countrymen. Most Filipinos are not smart enough to determine what is right and wrong, and if you continue making gender-directed insults about women, they wouldn’t know that societal sexism is wrong. Lead by example. Use your power to influence Filipinos to respect women. With another misogynistic president on the waiting list, these acts of sexism need to stop. Only then will we be able to feel that we are safe under your government.

Only then will we feel that change has truly come.

I know that my blog post won’t reach a lot of people and I know that like billions of other posts, my blog post will disappear into the abyss of the world wide net within a few minutes. But I am taking my chances. If this blog post ever reaches your screen, please do not let my message pass like a ship in the night. You do not have to share this post–all I ask is for you to be a catalyst for change.

If change won’t come to us, let us come together to make the change.

Harry Potter Visits My Bookshelf

Harry was eager to win the Quidditch match and beat the Slytherins to the finals when he saw these seven giant books that bore his name in shining, shimmering gold letters.

Like a boy enthralled by the beauty of a veela, Harry could not take his eyes off of these towering books. He flew up to the sky until he reached the top of the enormous books when he was hit by a bludger. Before Harry could turn around and find out what happened, the Slytherins cheered as Draco, a boy with sleek blond hair and ice gray eyes, was lifted in the air.

Draco was holding the golden snitch, a tiny ball the size of a walnut, as he stared at Harry with a condescending sneer on his face. And just like that, the Gryffindors lost their last chance to win the house cup.

***

Confessions of a Dumb Girl: My 2016 Anvil Grand Christmas Sale Experience

Note: the following are confessions of a dumb girl who loves books and learns a lot from them but is stupid enough not to learn how to prepare for a book sale event like this.

I have always been a fan of book sale events and discounted books in general. In fact, half of the books on my shelves are hauls from different book sale events. That’s why when Anvil posted this photo on Facebook,

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Photo Souce: Anvil’s Facebook Page

I saved the details on my phone immediately. But then, life happened and got in the way.

Tip #1: Don’t let life get in the way of your dreams. (wiw)

So there was I, three weeks late for the grand opening of the grand warehouse sale. I’m not really a fan of sharing my stupidity with other people, but here’s my confession: I went there without knowing what types of books they publish. When I heard about the event, I pictured the National Bookstore warehouse sale where you get to bring home books of different genres like foreign classics, foreign young-adults, and foreign everything.

I was wrong.

Tip #2: Mag-research muna tungkol sa publication house.

Rey Christian (my boyfriend), Eca (my friend), Arsen (her boyfriend), and I haven’t been to Kapitolyo before, so we had a hard time finding the exact location of the warehouse. Eca and Rey, who both happen to work in Mandaluyong, were also not familiar with the place. Yes, they both know that Kapitolyo was only one jeep away from SM Megamall, but they didn’t know exactly how to get there. I was the one who invited them in the first place and I knew that I must be solely responsible for the directions and all. Sadly for them, I was never the street-smart girl. (Excuses. I was really not prepared.)

Tip#3: Alaming mabuti kung paano pumunta sa pupuntahan (?).

We all met at SM Megamall. We asked a random kuya how to get to Kapitolyo and he told us that it’s only three stoplights away from where we were. We could commute but were greeted by a long line of commuters waiting for the next jeepney. So, rather than waiting in vain, we walked. And walked. And walked. When we reached the third stoplight, we asked yet another random kuya if we’ve reached our destination. He told us that we were still two stoplights away from there. So, there. We walked and walked until we lost count of how many stoplights we’ve passed. After what seemed like forever, we asked a random ate if we’ve accomplished our mission. We did.

Tip#4: Wag maniwala sa random kuyas. Magtanong sa random ate para may chance na tama.

So this was the #Kapitolyo that I’ve been seeing on the Instagram posts of my pa-cool kid friends. As procrastinators, Eca and I checked our phones for the warehouse location for the first time. We asked a random tricycle driver where Bo’s Jungle was, but all we got from him was “Malayo pa ‘yun” before he turned his back on us. We asked three more random tricycle drivers before we finally discovered that we needed one more tricycle ride to get there.

Tip#5: Ask the fourth random tricycle driver to be safe.

We’re finally there! I never imagined I would blog about this experience, so I didn’t bring any camera. Eca brought hers, but I never thought I would need pictures for my blog. To make a long story short, I won’t be able to show you pictures of us at the Anvil warehouse.

Tip#6: Magdala ng camera kung may blog ka, you know, just in case (sad face).

It was a long journey, but when we saw the poster outside the warehouse and realized that it really was a warehouse, Eca and I couldn’t contain our giddiness. I’ve been to a few warehouse sale events before and I remembered that the NBS ATC Warehouse Sale in 2014 was not held in a warehouse. A bigger location means more chances of scoring more amazing finds. Yay!

Tip#7: Kapag sinabing warehouse sale, i-expect mo na sa warehouse gaganapin.

After we left our bags at the guard’s station, we immediately reached for a basket. Eca, having heard stories from her friends about the kind of books there, dropped her basket as soon as she laid her hands on it, saying that she would never need it anyway. Judging by the Facebook poster, I expected to see classics and YAs and some textbooks perhaps, but what greeted me were mostly textbooks and reference books, textbooks, and reference books.

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Photo Source: Anvil’s Facebook Page

Anvil also posted this photo on Facebook, which set my expectations for the warehouse sale. I’m a fan of classic novels and I really wanted to buy an Anne of Green Gables book. But when we got there, I realized that maybe if we went there earlier, we could have laid hands on more great books.

Tip#8: Refer to tips number 1 and 2.

Then, the quest for books that spark my interest began. As I scanned the place and browsed through the titles, I found several (14 to be exact) that piqued my interest. I haven’t heard or seen these books before but I don’t judge by title either – I read the synopsis or overview on the back and scan the pages first before I buy a book. Let me show you my haul:

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I got these 14 books for P410.00 plus the eco bag that costs P15.00. Not bad, especially because I got this treasure, which was also the most expensive of all (P100.00).

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I never really bothered with history or politics when I was a student. I only became a concerned citizen when I became a registered voter, but I have always been anti-Marcos. I hope this book would enlighten me about what really happened during the Marcos era and teach me what students won’t learn from textbooks and history books in school.

***

After we checked out at the counter, we realized that our hands needed some TLC. Eca brought her alcohol but there were only a few drops left. Luckily for us, his boyfriend brought his monster-sized alcohol.

Tip#9: Bring a friend who has a boyfriend who has a monster-sized alcohol.

We ended our day with a few beers. It has been ages since we last met and we figured we might as well drink the night away, just like the old times.

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From Pasig, we went to Malate to satisfy our cravings for Erra’s famous ramen and shut our growling stomachs. Despite the long journey from our offices to Megamall to Anvil to Malate, we had fun.

Tip#10: Pay for the buttered chicken that you all devoured, motherfuckers.

***

On a serious note, here are some useful tips that [I wasn’t able to use but] I want to share with you so you can have a fun, stress-free book shopping experience:

1. Since it’s a warehouse sale, expect stains, creases, torn covers, and tanning pages on the books. Bring one or more of the following because your hands will need some major TLC after scanning the dusty shelves, boxes, and piles:

  • Alcohol
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tissue
  • Wet Wipes

2. When you find a good book that sparked your interest, don’t settle for that copy right away. Books inside the warehouse are scattered everywhere and you might find a better copy with less physical flaws after a while. I always do this whenever I visit warehouse sales, so I end up with copies that look good, if not as new. Below is a picture of the books in my haul. These copies have less tanning pages and spine creases compared to other books that I found there.

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3. Bring an eco bag. If you don’t have one, they sell eco bags at the warehouse for P15.00 each.

4. Research about the books that they publish so you know what to expect.

5. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Anvil offers readers like me a great opportunity to get to know Filipino authors and their works. I expected to see good YA and classic reads but the treasures that I found were so much better than I imagined. If you are a student, you can score a variety of textbooks that are hard to find at very low prices.

6. Be there early. I’m not sure if they restock books because it’s a warehouse sale, but I believe you’ll have more options at the warehouse’s opening hours.

7. Avoid the rush hours (and Fridays, too) for obvious reasons. (But if you’re dumb like me and you went there during rush hours, you’ll do better if you walk the distance from Megamall to Kapitolyo instead of waiting for a jeep. It’s faster and more hassle-free.)

8. Always be prepared. If you want directions, Google is always at your service, thank you very much. #AlwaysChallengeYourself

The event runs until December 10, so grab your eco bags and wallet now, visit the Anvil Grand Christmas Sale, and score amazing books from Filipino authors.

Beatlemaniacs, Booze, and Boyfriend: My The Beatles Tribute Night Experience

I was among the lucky ones who were given the chance to rock and roll to the beat of The Beatles’ timeless classics on the third volume of A Hard Day’s Night, a gig organized by Ilustrados. It was a tribute night for the four young lads who shook the world where Beatlemaniacs came together to let their hair down and sing along to the Fab Four’s hits.

Last February, my boyfriend and I also came to witness the volume two of this event, which was held at Troika. When we saw Ilustrados’ Facebook post about the third volume, we knew that we just found the perfect place to be for our date night. Because what could be better than a night spent with your boyfriend? A Beatles tribute night with booze and him, of course.

Beatlemaniacs Come Together to Witness Ilustrados’ A Hard Day’s Night Vol. 3

Photo Source: Ilustrados’ event page

Howard Luistro of Oh, Flamingo opened the event with Mother Nature’s Son, a heartwarming song from The White Album. It was followed by And I Love Her, a romantic McCartney song that never gets old. His playlist included the following songs in particular order:

  • Mother Nature’s Son
  • And I Love Her
  • Anna (Go With Him)
  • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Penny Lane
  • No Reply
  • I Need You
  • All I’ve Got to Do
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Happiness Is a Warm Gun
  • Blackbird

Using his ukelele, Benny Giron of the BennyBunnyBand rocked the stage with a wild rendition of Why Don’t We Do It in The Road. Benny said that his all-out performance drained the energy out of him, so the next song that he played was I’m So Tired. Nice segue, man. The songs he performed were as follows:

  • Why Don’t We Do It in the Road
  • I’m So Tired
  • I Will
  • Something
  • Till There Was You
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Yer Blues

Benny’s stage-wrecking performance of John Lennon’s Yer Blues was followed by another high-energy performance by Kissling. Everything seemed to be impromptu with this band, with Jeremy Lopez quoting Howard that “Pwede naman hindi professional dito ‘di ba?” Still, singing along with our fellow Beatlemaniacs when the lead forgot the lyrics was fun. Kissling’s playlist included the following songs:

  • Day Tripper
  • Please Mister Postman
  • Words of Love
  • I’m Only Sleeping
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • In Spite of All the Danger
  • Here, There, and Everywhere
  • Rain
  • Ask Me Why
  • Revolution
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

After several rock performances from the two previous acts, Ian Penn (Rafael Pena) serenaded the crowd with acoustic songs from different albums. He started off with Michelle for a warm up, followed by In My Life, which got the crowd singing, and Across the Universe, which set the mood for his entire act. The song was followed by four more feel-good, if not melancholic, songs by the Fab Four. The songs he performed were:

  • Michelle
  • In My Life
  • Across the Universe
  • For No One
  • Oh My Love
  • Dear Prudence 
  • Here Comes the Sun

The steady flow of sentimental songs was disrupted (in a good way) when Strange Creatures entered the scene. After Ian Penn’s beautiful rendition of Here Comes the Sun, I’d say there’s no better way to lift the mood of the crowd than by playing Eight Days a Week. The songs they played were:

  • Eight Days a Week
  • Baby’s in Black
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Two of Us
  • Strawberry Fields
  • If I Fell
  • Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
  • Girl
  • She Loves You

Jeremy Lopez, Ian Penn, Benny Giron, Carl Juliano of The Subspring, and Jon Tamayo shared the stage to close the event with eight Beatles classics, which got us banging our heads, dancing to the beat, and singing our hearts out. This part was what we all looked forward to the most in this event and these guys did not fail us. Come Together was an amazing song choice, although the singers (and the crowd, too) forgot some lyrics. Because seriously, who cares? Even John Lennon forgot the lyrics during some of his live performances. The playlist consisted of the following songs:

  • Come Together
  • Don’t Let Me Down
  • Twist and Shout
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • Oh Darling
  • Let It Be
  • Abbey Road Medley (Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/ The End)
  • Hey Jude

As expected, they closed the event with a longggggg rendition of Hey Jude because nananana.  If they played another song after that, we didn’t know. My boyfriend and I went home at 1:30 AM. We got a good night’s sleep, with me dreaming that there will be a fourth volume to this event.

*Featured photo used not mine