Bette Porter is my hero. Take that with a grain of salt if you must, for not everything I say should be taken seriously — or should it? Beneath the satirical facade I always try to put up, those who truly know me, may very well scoff at this sad attempt at masking true emotions — just as I always have. Because anything that comes out of my potty mouth always bears some weight of the truth, albeit often wrapped in sarcasm or perceived indifference.

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives

Mistakes were part and parcel of Bette Porter‘s existence, as they were/are in mine, and often with uncanny similarities I cannot divulge. She may be a fictional character, but through her, I felt my everyday struggles were given validity — that they weren’t just shallow trivialities of lesbian existence.

I’m just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

Like most fictional protagonists, Bette and Tina’s story was prettily summed up in a happy ending. And as much as I wish all stories could end up like that, the truth is, they rarely don’t. Because most real life relationships end up way past the breaking point, beyond repair, where a resolution just isn’t possible anymore. But underneath all this, is an unspoken truth, a lesson which tells us that we’re not just pawns in the game of life. We can take control if and when we wish to, but vulnerability is an essential part of the process. This is why Bette Porter is my hero. She’s fiction, but at the same time, she’s as real as can be, because she showed me that even strong women can and will feel pain.

She taught me that women, no matter how tough, still need to have a good cry every now and then before they can pick themselves up again.

 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Yesterday, I woke up from a deep slumber, reinvigorated for the series of holiday parties lined up for the days ahead. As per routine, I rolled over to the left side of my bed to where my laptop was, and clicked on Yahoo PH’s current events. I couldn’t believe my eyes: “Storm floods in south Philippines kills 200” (update: total number of deaths is now at 437). It was the shortest headline that sent shivers down my spine. The southern Philippine cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iligan were being swallowed by a tropical storm so severe that Mindanao has never seen anything like it in the last 25 years.

Just a couple of months ago, my own beloved city of Davao went through a similar ordeal which made national headlines. Body count: 25, injuries: hundred, collateral damage: millions of pesos. That event was particularly close to home, literally, as the houses severely ravaged by flooding were a mere 10 minute walk from our own house. That should’ve been a wake-up call, but for some reason, I never took it to heart. After the frenzy has died down, I went my own usual merry way and never took a look back. It is both embarrassing, and disturbing. I guess, life as we now know it, has a way of making people jaded to the screaming realities of calamity and devastation. Our world has become so engulfed in negativity, we don’t even bat an eyelash to crimes and disasters that have become facts of our existence. Sometimes, even to the point of rendering us incapable of feeling empathy, which is the most unfortunate of all.

Speaking on that note, it surprises me how little posts there are on my Facebook news feed regarding the Cagayan de Oro disaster. Most people seem to be oblivious to the situation at hand, still going on and on about what they’re eating, where they’re going or what they’re buying, and who they’re fucking (or not fucking). Newsflash: The world isn’t just about you.

I do not intend to lecture here for I know how difficult it is to keep our priorities straight in a world where sex scandals or the latest iPhone releases are counted as top billing. So I apologize if I am coming on too harshly. But let us not forget that it is our responsibility as Filipinos, and as humans, to not lose sight of our humanity. When empathy is lost, all is lost.

Tsunamis, typhoons and hurricanes can destroy towns, cities, and even countries — yes. At the rate our earth is deteriorating, devastation of varying degrees is inevitable, but when people lock arms and join together to rebuild the devastation, that is when miracles start to happen. Because the fact is, humans have always had a way of adapting to the trying forces of nature, that is, if we don’t lose our humanity in the process. To borrow an excerpt from William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus,’ we are the masters of our fate, we are the captains of our souls.

 

*photo via skyscrapercity

My favorite lesbian high fashion couple are BACK by popular demand(!) — as evidenced by consistently high stats for THIS previous Frejzona post.

As much as I love fashion models, I am no fan of magazine editorials, so I shall only be posting my favorite CANDID shots (mostly from PFW 09/10 & 10/11). All the better, ‘no?

I thought so.

FYI: Freja Beha Erichsen and Arizona Muse are the world’s no. 2 and no. 7 top runway models, respectively, according to models.com

There’s no denying ‘Freja Beha x Arizona Muse is rocking everyone’s socks.

And I’m loving every.single.minute.of.it.

Bonus: Here’s a three-month old video of Freja and Arizona for Doctors Without Borders.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂

 

Always,

*all photos link back to source

I got an early Christmas present in the mail today!!!

It’s the December 2011 issue of my faaaavorite magazine in the world, Rogue.

No, this isn’t a freebie. I have a subscription.

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t about Georgina Wilson either.

I honestly couldn’t care less whoever they put on the cover.

NOW FOR THE MEAT —–

THIS is why I’m professing my undying LOVE for Rogue magazine!

“In the 60s and 70s: when stewardesses were schooled in style by Chona Kasten, pursers dabbled in international smuggling, pilots steered planes loaded with gold bullion into Switzerland, and the Middle East was a melting pot of flight crews in search of all things illicit. Jose Mari Ugarte looks back at the wildest period of the country’s 70-year-old carrier in this epic tale of sex, drugs and smugglers in skirts.”

 

Sex was Number One. You had a different girl every night, and they’d even refer you to their friends in Amsterdam so you’d have women there too — lahat.

Babae sa lalaki, babae sa babae, lalaki sa lalaki….

 

“I saw all these crates in the cargo terminal of MIA, and I asked the handlers what they were. He told me there were three tons of gold flying to Switzerland. I just walked away and kept my mouth shut.”

(photo: President Ferdinand Marcos on board Philippine Airlines in the 1970s)

 

Rogue has always been on the edge, but THIS — oh wow — this issue is just heroine on overdrive!!

Everyone should get a copy…. NOW.

Sidenote: Funny how Georgina Wilson is on the cover. For the unaware, she’s the current girlfriend of former President Ferdinand Marcos’s grandson, Borgy Manotoc. I bet this wasn’t a coincidence… and THAT is exactly why Rogue KICKS ASS. Hahaha. \m/

Disclaimer: This isn’t a paid advertisement. 

WARNING: This is a picture-heavy post.
PART ONE is HERE.

——————————————————————————————————-

Arriving late at night and getting hassled by South Korean immigration wasn’t a good start for my semestral break vacation.

Soon after arriving at the hostel, we slept away our stress into the morning.

This is KC all bundled up. It was 11 degrees outside.

Waking up extra early, we were pumped for the day ahead. Chungjeongno Station was only a few steps away (literally) from our hostel, so that was convenient.

Before getting anywhere, first on the agenda was figuring out Seoul’s subway system.

We purchased some T-money cards (Seoul City Pass) at this high-tech vending machine.

Seriously, Japan and South Korea are well ahead of the west when it comes to technology.

On a side note: Yay for stored-money cards! We don’t have to get our hands dirty when fishing for loose change!

The Seoul CityPass even came with some discount coupons (though we never got to use them).

Wonder when the Philippines will keep up with the rest of Asia?

At most subway stations in central Seoul, virtual tourist guides are omnipresent, such as this.

Awesome.

I remember having machines like this in Singapore and Hong Kong as well.

I therefore conclude that MISSHA is the 7/11 of Seoul subway stations.

I think I saw more MISSHA cosmetics stores than actual 7/11s. Hmmm… Only in South Korea! 😀

Oh, and don’t forget the ubiquitous lingerie shops too!

They’re everywhere! And they’re so…….. PINK. Hurts my eyes. (@_@)

Miss Hydrocephalic Head says “안녕하세요!” (Anyong haseyo!)

After about 10 minutes of eventful walking through the station, we finally arrived at the trains.

We didn’t have to wait long.

Although most of Seoul’s subways are old (built in the 70s and 80s), the trains are fast, efficient and on time.

No hassle.

Our first stop: Itaewon.

It’s supposedly the main district of most expatriates, and although we’re far from being expatriates, I figured it would have many English signboards (duh), thereby making the place easy to locate food joints, which in my mind is as good of an orientation to Seoul as it gets.

Crappy justification, I know.

Most of the time, I’m a thrill-seeking foodie in search of exotic (and cheap!) holes-in-the-wall. They make for the most interesting meals.

But I wasn’t feeling too adventurous then, as evidenced by my rumbling tummy. I just wanted to EAT.

With starving stomachs, we finally decided on……. Taco Bell.

LOL. Yeah, I can hear the howls of laughter right about now. 😛

I am sorry for this uber FAIL first Seoul foodie post, but you have to understand, we were hungry and I just wanted to stuff myself silly with comfort food.

Besides, I haven’t had Taco Bell in a while (reasons, reasons…).

My raging appetite was tempted to order the El Grande Burrito Salad, but deferred to the Lite Beef Soft Taco, Taco Supreme and Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla.

Not exactly the best meal ever, but it was soooo darn good on an empty stomach. Yummo!!

They had the nicest staff too!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Koreans look so cute without even trying.

I’m not a fan of most abstract artworks (I find them to be a last resort for people who can’t draw shit), but these were awesome. Light-hearted and fun. My kind of abstracticism. 

These look like something my graphic artist friend, Megg, would do.

After our Taco Bell smorgasbord, we meandered through Itaewon’s cute hilly alleyways and found THIS charming bakery, which (as we found out) is apparently a tete-a-tete joint for foreigners, yuppies and old Korean women catching up on their gossip.

Fascinating.

I love Tartine’s logo.

The 1940s woman is a fitting emblem.

The place is too lovely for words, ‘no?

The bread station.

The dessert selection left me in a tizzy. So many to choose from.

But my eyes were set on the Rhubart Tart.

It was, for lack of better words, absolutely delish! And I’m not just saying that for the sake of patronizing description. See, I have a thing for random spikes of sourness in my food, and this tart had just the right amount of sweet and sour to keep me digging in for more.

KC didn’t enjoy it much as her definition of dessert is sugar overload. All the better I suppose because I devoured the entire thing myself. *burp*

We walked off the Taco Bell + Rhubard Tart calorie-overload around the rest of Itaewon and chanced upon a souvenir shop called “Rainbow Souvenirs.”

Surprisingly, the “rainbow” actually did mean something significant. The two female owners of the shop were a couple! And they were already in their forties! Awww… I think my heart swelled a little bit just by looking at them.

Homosexuality isn’t generally accepted nor is it a common topic for small talk in South Korea. So it was nice seeing two people going at it (so to speak), despite all odds. I was inspired. Go support Rainbow Souvenirs now! 🙂

We walked to the far end of Itaewon and spotted this hot American(?) army chick in camouflage.

Helloooooo… 🙂

We thought seeing this chick was so awesome. But we soon discovered that military personnel in Itaewon are a-dime-a-dozen.

For what reason, I’m not sure, but I figure it has something to do with the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

On another note, I wish I’d taken the DMZ tour (but my companions chickened out), so I’ll have to do that another time. More reason to go back to Seoul!

Funny how they’re standing right in front of a Skin Food beauty shop. LOL.

After a few more minutes of walking (best exercise ever!), KC announced that she wanted to do some shopping (which was the most surprising thing I’ve heard all day considering how decidedly unfashionable she/we are).

But with nothing better to do, I conceded.

We hopped on a train and took the MTR to Dongdaemun.

The Dondaemun area is home to South Korea’s largest wholesale and retail fashion malls. And when I say largest, I mean LARGEST. There were no less than 15 mega-buildings in that area alone, all housing shopping complexes with clothes ranging from bargain buys to high-street.

This is the ancient “Gate to Dongdaemun.” Pretty cool.

I literally got cross-eyed just deciding on which building to go into.

That being said, I highly suggest you skip Dongdaemun if you’re not a die-hard fashionista or retailer of Korean-style clothes. This place will wear you out! Save yourselves the hassle.

After about an hour of browsing through racks and racks of merchandise, we started wondering where THE GROCERY was.

We just had lunch of course, but being our usual foodie selves, we were always on the lookout for more chow.

We saw a couple of pojangmachas (small tented restaurants) around the area for hungry shoppers, but there was no sight of any grocery store.

Here’s lola and her pojangmacha.

All plates were wrapped in plastic and overgloves were used at all times. How hygienic. Reminds me of infection control protocols in dental school. Hmmm…

We came and went into about 3 more buildings before realizing that aside from 7/11s, large grocery stores were NON-EXISTENT in Dongdaemun. Say whaaaaat??

Yeah. Apparently the Koreans like to shop for clothes without having to be tempted by fattening shopping sprees at the grocery. HOW SAD.

Well, thank god for random food stalls that made us feel better.

Soon after having our fill of these goodies on sticks, we left Dongdaemun and headed for Seoul Station, where the largest LOTTE Mart (grocery store) in Seoul is (as suggested by a volunteer tourist information guide).

For what it sounded like, we were expecting a pretty big smorgasbord of perishable grocery goods. But we soon found out that South Koreans DO NOT like to eat NOR do they like grocery shopping.

The Seoul Station LOTTE Mart was big, yes, but about 1/3 of its floor space was consumed by cosmetic products (Face Shop, Skin Food, Aritaum, IOPE, Laneige, et al).  Only in Seoul.

KC, who is a chocoholic (understatement), was beyond disappointed at the sheer lack of chocolate and candy selections which didn’t even occupy half of one aisle!

We’ve never seen so little foodstuff in such a big grocery store. Insane.

Personally, I was both amused, and exasperated.

We figured, there’s no use fighting the system. South Koreans are vain, so we might as well hoard all the cheap skin care and cosmetics we can get. Ride the wave, as they say.

By some lucky twist of fate however, KC discovered the BEST moisturizer for her overly-sensitive skin: Laneige.

Now weren’t we just glad South Koreans are SO. DARN. VAIN?!

Later that night, we had our first proper Korean meal at a popular restaurant in Seoul’s University area of Hongdae, which is absolutely picture-perfect at night.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the restaurant’s name because there was no English translation. Sorry.

The place was pretty spartan, but served amazing food. No wonder a lot of people were flocking to it.

Here’s me and my sad, hungry tanga face. (No food on table yet.)

Now this is ME and my happy face (see: glorious food on the table). *drool*

Now, KC and her happy face (…and that big SLAB of meat). Oh daaang.

Enough food to feed a small army.

Enough food to feed our two stomachs.

We are gourmands. Here us RAWRRR.

BEST rice bowl meal everrrr!

The crispy nori strips made all the difference. I still have dreams about it.

With stuffed bellies, we hightailed it back to our hostel for a good night’s sleep.

By the end of the day, we were already making plans of going back. *fingers crossed for promo fare*

Needless to say, Seoul ‘had us at hello.’ 🙂

NEXT UP: Insa-dong, Myeong-dong and more of Hongdae!

 

I’m a big — no, HUGE — fan of pies and pasties. So, being as that my travel buddy and I were in Sydney a couple of months ago, I just HAD to try the famous Harry’s Cafe de Wheels.

After navigating through Google maps, I decided on the Ultimo St. location since I figured it was closest to our hostel at the corner of George and Pitt streets.

We then went off on foot on a rainy Sydney morning, and after walking for what.felt.like.forever (hungerrr is what it was), we came to THIS corner pie shop.

That’s my dorky brother, Shugo, and travel buddy, KC.

Hannah’s?!?!?!

Where the fuck was Harry’s???? I didn’t walk 20 minutes on a rainy day for no Harry’s!

NOOOOO!!!

False alarm.

Apparently, Harry’s goes by the name of Hannah’s too. WUTDAHELL.

Nobody told me I was dealing with a hermaphrodite pie shop!!

Anyhow, I was too starved by then to care about Harry or Hannah and just ordered the most LOADED Pastie & Peas on the menu. *wild boar mode*

Why, hello there. Welcome to my stomach.

It wasn’t as great as I expected (I tend to be unreasonable when I get too excited), but it was quite good  and filling considering my ravenous appetite.

Not content with just something savory, I had to chase it down with something sweet (but of course).

And then came the largest single Custard Tart I’ve ever eaten. Gourmands represent!

The citron notes added just the right amount of tartness (pun unintended) to offset the sweet custard. THIS is how custard pies should be made. Heaven on the lips, pounds on the hips.

My stomach was screaming for a break, but I wasn’t nearly done just yet.

We were heading back to our hostel on George St., passing by Capitol Square, when lo and behold, something caught my one working eye!

HARRYYYYY’S!!!! I could’ve screamed like a shameless fanatic right then and there, but chose not to for fear of puking all the peas I just scarfed down.

I had a cold, but nothing could get between me and my love for (eating) pies.

AAAAAHHH….

….CHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

By this time, I was well aware of how painful of a let-down the famous pies actually were, but I just had to order ‘Harry’s Tiger’ (lean meat pie + mashed potatoes + mushy peas + gravy) and force my gut to surrender to the gluttony — if only for the novelty of it all. So sue me. I’m pie-crazy.

Like the Pasties & Peas I had earlier, the ‘Tiger’ was good, but not exceptional.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s every bit as delicious as it looks, but I’ve tasted better. Blame it on Sovereign Hill’s Hope Bakery, where some of the BEST meat pies in Australia are baked fresh every day. I would go to Ballarat just for those pies. Heaaaaaven.

As I bid goodby to Harry’s, I promised I’d find my way back to Haymarket and have one more ‘farewell pie’ before leaving Sydney.

Sadly, I never did.

Maybe another time.

xoxo

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