May 20, 2012

because tweeting about it is never enough

If you're following me on Twitter, or if you're a Facebook contact of mine, you probably already know about my stand on the Lady Gaga issue that's hitting the religious community like an anti-Christ. 

First of all, I'd like to admit that yes, I am a fan. Not so big a fan, but the admiration is there. Not only of her music or the out-of-this-world music videos am I a fan of. I'm also a fan of what she stands for and, of course, of who she really is behind all the make up--and the meat. 

When she first became mainstream here in the Philippine music scene, I was not aware for those were the days when our cable was problematic and listening to the radio wasn't an option. That was the time when I was still drowning in OPM and Taylor Swift. Poker Face didn't really tickle my fancy for I didn't really have a thing for party/dance songs or whatever you call those ridiculously upbeat and infectious songs (though I still don't listen to such up to now). But it was when I heard more of her that I became a fan. I enjoyed listening to her songs and watching her videos despite the criticism for her utterly bold ideas. I enjoyed watching her perform live on award shows because doing so just leaves me in awe. I enjoyed looking at pictures of what she wore on the red carpet. Most often than not, all eyes were on her because of her outlandish ideas for a dress (e.g. the meat dress). But it wasn't until Born This Way and You and I that I acknowledged myself as a true-blue fan. 

And now, as a fan of hers, I think it's time that I lay out all my cards for her. 

People who think of her songs as satanic or evil are probably just deaf or mentally retarded. I heard somebody on the TV who's against Lady Gaga performing here in the Philippines say that the song Born This Way is actually about encouraging people to be criminals. First of all, Born This Way, for me, is one of her best songs so far. It's about being proud of who you really are regardless of race, appearance, sexuality, etc. It's not about killing people or pillaging villages! It's about being comfortable in your own skin, and accepting others who are also different. It's about not giving a damn about what others may say just because you don't fit in this cookie-cutter society. It's about finding beauty within yourself and letting it shine. It's about self-acceptance. It's about loving every inch of ourselves. It's about our freedom to be ourselves. In the society that we live in, people are easily judged by their appearance, color, or their sexual preference. I believe that this song speaks to those people who have been ripped off of their freedom to truly be themselves. Unfortunately, those moralists don't believe in this and would rather have citizens who are judging, scared,  and are feigning heterosexuality. 

Born This Way is just one of her songs that have been misinterpreted by those moralists. My message to these moralists is to not take things literally. Just because the song was titled Judas doesn't mean it forces you to worship Satan or to be a modern-day Judas. 
Then there's the exposure issue. They think it's immoral that she goes on stage almost naked and covering only her lady parts. Well, these moralists have definitely not gone to Boracay nor have they watched shows like Wowowee where women wearing skimpy clothes are dancing in the background most of the time. And my message, again, to these moralists is a quote from Vice Ganda, "Ang maduming isipan ang nagbibigay ng maduming kahulugan sa isang salita." To a dirty mind, anything is malicious--even a harmless little bunny. 

In addition, nobody is forcing those moralists to watch the concert. If they think it's too "evil", then they shouldn't watch it, and just leave the floor to those who are dying to see her perform live--just like myself. But unfortunately, I don't have the time and, sadly, the money. 

I can go on all night saying what I have to say about this issue, but I think that this post might end up too long to be interesting. As a conclusion, what I would like these moralists to know is that there are always two sides to any story. This goes the same with people. Just because she names one of her songs Judas or just because she wears skimpy clothes to her concerts does not mean she worships the devil. Don't they know how charitable Lady Gaga is? Don't they know that she always prays backstage before her performances? Come on, moralists, if you're really the "holy warriors" that you claim you are, why are you doing this to one of your sisters? She's also a daughter of God just like everybody else. 

Do good, "they" say. But truth be told, what "they" are doing is nowhere near that. Look who's the devil now.

I'm a fan, and I support her. I may not be in the concert physically, but I'll always be one of her little monsters. 

Thank you, Lady Gaga, for entertaining us with your music and for giving us the courage to be ourselves. I hope to see you someday. It may be in another country when I'm old enough or when I'm "loaded" enough to dole out some cash for a VIP ticket. I just know it. 

I just know that someday, I'll be on the edge of glory, too. 

May 6, 2012

together again

Yesterday, my Dad got a call from one of my aunts in his side of the family. She was inviting him to my grandmother's birthday celebration the next day. He just laughed. He got off the phone and asked me and my sister if we'd like to go. Of course, we said yes.

A few years back, such a simple family gathering ended up with tears and one sibling running after the other. I don't want to expound on that anymore, but it's pretty obvious that things have not been okay between my Dad and his family for several years. Feelings and resentment left unsaid, tears, and all that drama have maintained this gaping void between them. But yes, after years of reflecting and cooling down, this gaping void has been diminished, if not totally eradicated. 

With our driver in tow (because my Dad has problems driving at night due to his declining vision), we went to Cubao for my grandmother's 89th birthday celebration. She'll be turning 89 on the 7th, but the family decided that it would be better if they had the gathering today to make sure everybody could come. With everybody, they meant everybody. As we stepped inside my grandmother's house, all eyes were on us. But those weren't the cold, glassy, and suspecting stare you get from doing something wrong. Those stares were more like the warm and welcoming stare you get from your family after returning home from a long journey. Yes, from that moment, I felt it. As they approached us, giving one beso to one aunt and doing the respectful mano to an uncle, we made our way back into the family my Dad has so long turned his back on.

It all started from there. The usual "Ang laki mo na" and the "Dalaga na si Joyce" welcomed me. Of course, I expected to hear that from them. The last time they saw me was when I was still in high school. Questions were then asked about my studies and other stuff. They were even asking about my love life! I surprised them with my quick and dignified response when they asked me if I had a boyfriend already. But it seems like one of my aunts was already very updated through Facebook. They were really open about things. And I loved it. They were old people, and yet, they were very cool to talk to. I enjoyed it. My cousins were there, too. I also got to talk to them though they wanted to remain silent most of the time. I was able to converse more with my aunts and uncles. Wait, does that mean I'm really old now? 
My Dad with my three aunts :) (two of them are doctors!)
My Dad, my aunts, and my grandparents 
With my Dad, cousins, aunts, and grandparents
Food (a lot of it) was consumed, pictures were taken, and stories were shared. But, sadly, we had to leave before sundown given that we live farther south and our driver apparently has difficulty driving at night as well. (For the last part, I think my Dad invented that just to leave the party early.) Before leaving, we went to my grandparents' room to say goodbye. My grandfather's really weak already. He's a war veteran. And I'm really proud to say that he's one of the few soldiers who survived the infamous Death March back in the Japanese era. Now he's just lying in bed. He can't even see well anymore. We had to introduce ourselves just so he'd know that we're there. My grandmother, despite not being able to walk anymore, is still kind of strong. She can still see and her memory's still really, really sharp. She's still very talkative, too! So there, we said goodbye to them with hugs and kisses. My grandmother insisted that we should go there more often. My Dad just said yes. 
My Grandma blowing the candle on her birthday cake
With some of my cousins (From L-R: ML, JM, Me, Tala, Criselda)
With ML 

As we made our way out of the house and to our car, all of them (except for my grandparents, of course) accompanied us. It took us about 15 more minutes before we could actually leave because people were still chatting with each other. And after the final 15 minutes, we were on our way--southbound.

I had so much fun today. I felt really good talking to my aunts, uncles, and other relatives. Everything about the bitter past has been forgotten, and only the good remain. I was sad that we had to go early. I really wanted to stay longer. Maybe on the next family gathering, we'll be there, too.

As we made our way home, I reflected on the day's events and on how glad I am about this reconciliation between my Dad and his family. I'm glad my Dad decided to forget about the past and just let things be better for him, for his siblings, and for his family. I think he's happy with this, too.

But I'll never forget the tears I saw rolling down my Dad's cheeks as he hugged and kissed his mother goodbye.

May 5, 2012

life's a beach

Last weekend, I was at the beach! Hooray! Well, that sounds kind of weird since I don't really like beaches. Wait, let me correct myself. I used to not like beaches. I've always told people that when it's hot, I'd rather go somewhere cold like Baguio, Alaska, or inside the fridge. And I also do not see the point of wanting to get your body fried under the sun when you've been complaining about the heat non-stop. Also, I don't understand why people wear bikinis. People are practically in their undies when wearing those bikinis, and yet, when they ARE actually just wearing undies, they wouldn't even dare go out of the room---let alone walk around the beach in them. Even though I have such issues regarding the beach (and the scantily clad people walking around the beach), I must say, I like beaches now. 

Taken from the floating cottage
 I was invited to go by my sister since her husband's side of the family planned to go on an outing, and they're kind of low in the people department. What I meant was, they could use some more people to go with them since they're such a small family. So there, my niece and I tagged along. My boyfriend was supposed to come with us too, but due to a prior engagement, he couldn't. Sad. I could have had more fun if he was there, too. :( Moving on, early morning last Saturday, we made our way to Batangas with a guide to Laiya, Batangas my sister had procured from the internet. The travel was quick. I remember just putting my earphones on and drowning to the sound of my current LSS, Disenchanted by My Chemical Romance (my current background music for this blog), and then dozing off. The next thing I knew, we were in Brgy. Puting Buhangin in Batangas.

I had prepared for that outing! Well, not really. I planned to reduce my food intake just so I wouldn't look like a big fat slob while wearing the bikini top and shorts combo that my sister and my niece prepared for me. But of course, I couldn't do that. I ate normally, even more. But at least I bought some sunblock lotion for my body and for my face. I can't really risk roasting my skin because my skin burns easily. And based on experience, a sunburn is probably the last thing I want to have as a souvenir from the beach--next to a shark bite. 

Upon reaching Laiya, we looked for a nice and affordable resort that can house all 15 of us. Of course, it wasn't easy. We had to go through different resorts with incredibly ugly names like "Mr. Bean" and "Mura Lang". Just imagine the agony if we had decided to stay in one of those stupidly named resorts.

Friend: Wow, Joyce, you went to Laiya? Saang resort kayo?
Joyce: Mura Lang.
Friend: Aah ok, Saan nga?
Joyce: Sa Mura Lang nga.
Friend: Oo nga, pero anong pangalan?
Joyce: Die, friend, die.

Fortunately, the scenario above never happened because we were able to find a nice and affordable resort with a respectable name--The Mangrove Farm Resort. (Nice name, huh) The Mr.Bean resort turned out to be really ugly and it was a freakin' 200 METERS AWAY FROM THE BEACH! That meant we had to walk through the wilderness from our cabin to the beach. And that was a major turn-off. What if there were bandits or lions or rapists or leprechauns in those woods? NEVER. We didn't even consider checking out Mura Lang beach resort. 

So there, having settled down and all, we ate lunch and headed to the beach. It was still too hot by that time so I just sat on a comfy chair, taking pictures of everything--even my legs. My niece, my sister, and most of the other people there were already having the time of their lives in the water. Negro, please.
Lounging at the shore, staying away from the sun
Olyn, my niece, swimming
The picture I took of my legs
The boobs with inverted nipples
After a few hours of watching other people swim, making sand boobies, and taking pictures, they decided to go back to the cabin for lunch--again. And so, after that, I took a nap. Upon waking up, it wasn't as hot anymore so I decided that it was time for me to get in the water and feel like a ridiculously hot mermaid.
A true stolen shot (taken by my sister)
The water was really shallow because of the low tide at that time. I had no problem with that. I can't swim to save my life. And knowing that I'm too smart (and tall) to drown in waist-high water made the beach more comfortable for me. We took pictures while in the water. My sister had an idea of kneeling so that the water would hide her, ahem, stomach, allowing her to look skinnier in pictures. Though I can proudly say that I didn't have to. HAHA. And even if I knelt, the water would still be too shallow to hide my waist. More HAHA. 
Stef (my niece), Me, Olyn, Ate Meanne (my sister), Ninang Ifey
Upon sundown, we went back to the cabin, ate dinner, and rested.

In the morning, we rode the floating cottage as the guy with the nail art brought us farther off the shore. We had life vests on so we were able to get into the water and float around the cottage. Being the wimpy hydrophobic that I am, I never strayed too far from the cottage. 
At the floating cottage before being pulled farther off the shore
Into the deep water 
It was fun. Really. I kind of enjoyed being in the water until the waves of the ocean made me really dizzy that I had to get out of the water before I started vomiting. 

We stayed afloat for two hours until it was time for us to go back to the cabin to eat lunch, and pack our stuff because we were only allowed to be there until 12:00 noon. But before that, we walked along the shore and took pictures of ourselves near the gigantic rocks. 
With the large rock
At exactly 12:00, we left the resort. On our way home, we listened to this sappy Maalaala Mo Kaya-like program on the radio telling a story of a girl whose first love ended miserably. This guy on the radio kept repeating, "Hindi pangit ang first love mo. Mali lang." We got home at around 3:00 in the afternoon. 
Inside the car
I had fun at the beach! I got to conquer my fear of water AND somehow, my fear of the sun. I didn't get sunburned or anything, but my feet are two shades darker than they originally were. I loved the experience. I no longer fear the water that much , and I don't hate the beach anymore. I'm even looking forward to more beach trips in the future. Actually, we're brewing another one as we speak. ;)

I hope you, my beloved readers, are having fun this summertime, too. 

Until the next post. :-*