My Story

Apags Apagalang is Video Producer and Director working under Sindikato Productions (which he partly owns with his friends); He’s also a part-time Homeroom Adviser under the InTACT program at the Ateneo de Manila University. When he feels like it, he also does theater on the side as an actor, writer and director. He likes sports, fashion, art, music and cake. Most people find him interesting, adorable, funny, and pure-hearted. Most people.

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A Letter FROM My Future Self

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October 1, 2022

Uy Apags,

Musta ka brader? Kumusta naman diyan sa 2016? Ok ka lang ba? Sa totoo lang, hindi ko na masiyadong maalala ang 2016. Alam ko, maraming mga problema sa bansa natin sa time na yan, pero sa totoo lang,  marami na ang nagbago mula noon.

MARAMI NA ANG NAGBAGO MULA 2016 AT 2022

Anyway, marami akong gustong sabihin sa iyo. First of all, gusto kong sabihin sa’yo na Thank you. Dito sa 2022, ang sinasabi nalang namin “T” (naalala ko lang, diyan sa 2016 hindi na sinasabi ang “Game,” “G” na lang diba?). So isang malaking “T,” dahil hindi ka nag-give up. Tumuloy ka pa rin. Nasa Pinas ka pa rin. Teka, kwento ko lang sa’yo ang buhay mo ngayon. Mamaya, kwento ko kung ano na ang nangyayari sa bansa.

2016 noong nag decide ka na maging isang Life Coach/Motivational speaker. Good News: Gumana bro! Ngayon, isa na tayong Solid na Life Coach. Specialty natin? Resilience, Motivation, Relationships. Di mo maimagine noh? Sino ba namang mag-aakalang magkakaroon tayo ng career dito, complete with mga clients na Artista at mga Politicians LOCAL and ABROAD. Shet lang talaga! Ka text mo nga lang si Lebron James kanina. Si Pia Wurtzbach lagi kang mine-message. Tapos may show ka na rin sa favorite mong radio station, ang Magic 899! Chamba pero ok diba?

NAGING MAGIC 89.9 DJ TAYO!!!

Natupad ang pangarap natin. Marami tayong natulungan. Yung mga plano nating business tulad ng restaurant, financing company, foundation na nagbibigay ng sapatos at public school, nagawa natin! Nakapag direct na tayo ng full length film, nanalo ng cinemalaya at Palanca at naging Forbes Magazine cover. Astig nga, pati si Tita Oprah (TITA OPRAH HAHAHA Parang titas of manila lang), bilib sa atin. Nakakakilig talaga. Actually, kwento ko lang, kakagaling ko lang sa isang TED talk dito sa Paris. Tayo yung Finale Speaker! BRO, 1 MILLION VIEWS IN 2 HOURS. NAG V TAYO!!!! (V pala ibig sabihin viral, hindi virginity) Tapos nakakatuwa kasi nanood yung mga officemates mo sa World Stage International. Nandoon sina Coach Cherry at Coach B, si Gene (na may buhok na ewan ko kung paano) at yung girlfriend niya, Si Alyssa at ang fiancee niyang si Atty. Bob, Sina Coryn, Alex, Inna, Ysa at Jabar,  at siyempre yung the rest of your new cutie new officemates from all three WS branches. OO TATLONG BRANCH NA KAYO. 2016 isa pa lang eh.

TATLO NA ANG BRANCH NG WORLD STAGE INTERNATIONAL!

Pero ang pinakaimportanteng mga tao doon ay ang family mo. Si Mommy at ang mga anak natin. Sobrang cute ng sons natin. 2 palang sila now, pero plano ko dagdagan kahit isa pa. Tingin mo? Sana babae, para tatlo kaming lalaki na gugulpi sa lalaking mag bbreak ng heart niya. Or si Mommy nalang? Scary ng asawa natin brader, pero astig yun. Sweet din siya. Alam niya yung balance.

MAHAL NA MAHAL NATIN ANG #APAGIBIG NATIN BRADER

Sinusulat ko ito ngayon sa flight natin papuntang US. Kakaboard lang natin. Bukas kasi, may tatlong meeting tayo. Sa umaga, sa Nike. Alam ko, favorite natin yun. So matutuwa ka siguro pag binalita ko sa’yo na brand endorser na tayo ng Nike. Hahaha. Funny story to:

Nagpapayat kasi tayo. Buwisit kasing Chris Evans yan, nagpa-life coach sa atin, tapos laging nagyayaya mag-gym. Wala na tayong nagawa eh. Anyway, pumayat tayo, nagka six-pack, at nagka-cameo tayo sa Avengers movie. Mabilis lang, kausap lang natin si Stan Lee. PERO OK LANG. MARVEL MOVIE PA RIN YUN GAGI. Anyway, natuwa naman si Nike sa success story natin sa pagpapapayat! Akalain mo! LIFE COACH, NAGING NIKE ENDORSER?! Lagi silang nagpapadala ng Sapatos. Na Custom Fit. Na personalized. Na LIBRE. LIBRE PARA SHET. May picture tayo kasama si Michael Jordan! Pero group pic tapos medyo blurred. Hassle. Pag nakita ko ulit magpapa retake ako.

NIKE ENDORSER KA NA!!!

Tapos, sa hapon, Apple. Nakachamba ulit tayo. Brand Ambassador din tayo ng Apple. Ito, nag pitch talaga ako para kunin nila tayo. Astig naman, nakakuha tayo ng mga laptop computer at free iCell 4s (oo hindi na iphone ang tawag, iCell nalang). Ang saya sa apple HQ, ang linis lahat. Lahat din Siri Operated. So maraming mga voice command na ganap. Medyo weird lang na sabihin sa urinal na “hey siri, flush”. Pero mas ok naman ang voice command dun kesa urinal na touch screen diba? Anyway, may meeting kasi may i-pitch daw silang idea sa atin. Bagong Ios 25 life coaching app daw. “APPags” daw ang itatawag, sana hindi yun ang itawag, medyo weird marinig yung “update mo yung APPags” or “delete mo na yung APPags.” Ano tingin mo?

APPLE AMBASSADOR KA PA!

Tapos, to cap off your day, may dinner ka with the US President. Actually, marami na tayong na meet na presidente. Medyo naging social transformation Ambassador kasi tayo eh hahaha. Hindi ko sasabihin sayo kung sino yung POTUS, baka ma spoiler ka eh. HAHAHAHA. Sabi dun sa invitation letter, “dinner plus beers daw.” Pero magdadala ako ng wine kung sakaling kailangan mas fancy. Magluto kaya ako ng Kare-Kare para hindi naman nakakahiya sa dinner niya? Or mag-order nalang kaya tayo ng pizza? Maganda kasi may contribution eh Ewan, bahala na. May mga pinaplano kasi tayong program for Environmental Preservation Policies. I’m hoping masaya at productive kasi marami tayong gustong ma-achieve this year bago mag pasko. Siyempre, uuwi na tayo before Christmas, kasi walang tatalo sa Pasko sa Pilipinas.

WALANG TATALO SA PASKO SA PINAS.

Mabalik nga ako sa Pilipinas. Alam mo, malaki na ang pinagbago sa Pilipinas. Alam ko, dismayado ka diyan sa bansa natin ngayon. Pero wag kang susuko. Marami na silang sumuko at umalis. Wala namang problema doon. Pero may naghihintay na magandang kinabukasan. Kapit lang! 6 years, bro, oo hindi pa rin siya perfect. May mga problema pa rin. Pero marami na ang nag-improve. Nabawasan na ang crime. Tumaas na ang disiplina. May mga problema pa rin sa corruption, poverty, at education, pero mukhang mag-iimprove naman. Hindi ka pwedeng sumuko. Sayang naman itong pinaghirapan natin. Hindi naging madali ito, promise, nahirapan tayo talaga. Napagod tayo, umiyak, na-depress, nakipag-away. Pero ganoon talaga, kailangan talaga nating ipaglaban. Kailangan nating i-protect ang mga pangarap natin. Every day, meron diyang pilit tayong pahihirapan. Hindi tayo natalo sa kanila. Bahagi ng buhay natin yun.

Naalala ko, nung 2015, talagang depressed na depressed tayo. Gusto na rin nating mamatay at times diba? Naalala mo yun? Yun ang kasagaran ng pagkalugmok natin; yung hinamak tayo ng buhay diba? Kasi, 2015, dito na deadz si Ate L at si Dad eh diba. So ano naman ang pakiramdam mo 1 year after diyan sa 2016? Masakit pa rin. Actually, brader, hanggang ngayong 2022, masakit pa rin. Dapat kasama pa natin sila today eh. Pero everytime nasasaktan tayo, dahil naiisip natin sila, alam mo kung anong nangyayari? Na-iinspire tayo. Napapasmile tayo. Namimiss natin sila, bro. Pero, sila ang nagpapalakas sa atin.

Anyway, paalis na itong flight. Medyo inaantok na rin ako. Tatapusin ko na ang letter na ito. Pero last message ko lang. Brader, ituloy mo lang ang ginagawa mo diyan na mangangarap ka.

MANGARAP KA PA RIN!

Gumaganda ang buhay ko dito sa 2022 everytime ginagawa mo yan. Sana lahat ng tao, hindi nila makalimutan ‘yon. Ang magpatuloy na mangarap. Kung tama ang memory ko, may mga times diyan ngayon na nagkakawatak-watak ang mga tao. Lilipas yan bro. Dito sa 2022, nagkakaisa na ang Bayan. Marami na ring umuuwi. No joke, bro. Totoo nga yung kasabihang just have a little faith.

Ok. Iyon lang, brader. Sige, see you soon. Very last nalang,

Nice one! Love you pre,

Coach Apags

PS. Cebu Pacific ang flight natin. Hindi na siya nalelate. Sulit bro. First class seats tayo. Pero piso fare pa rin hahaha ang kuripot pa rin natin. Some things never change.

That Entry about Me as a Life Coach and a Pokemon trainer

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I want to be the very best…. Life Coach!

Me trying to Catch a Pidgey in front my girlfriend.

Me trying to Catch a Pidgey in front my girlfriend.

Everyone is buying into the Pokemon Go phenomenon of the past few days — myself included. When it launched last Saturday, I found myself stopping my vehicle (sorry developers, I ignored the fair warning of not using the app while driving) on a busy street beside the Manggahan floodway river, to catch a Magikarp. Three Pokeballs thrown later and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for the small achievement. That’s natural, when we set goals on something, and we achieve it, then you can’t help but feel a bit excited and joyful. In my new work now, I can’t help but feel the same sense of happiness and accomplishment.

Last March 2016, after more than 8 years, I left the Video Production world. For a long time, you’ve seen me post a lot of entries about making videos, selfies with celebrities, or just about plainly having fun with fellow artists. It was a fun and unpredictable life. I did a lot of amazing jobs, and met a bunch of more amazing people. I left with such a heavy heart, but also with a lot of hope as I went into a new field.

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My sindikato family x Bhiboy’s Bday last November

 

I left to pursue something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time — Life Coaching. For those of you that didn’t know, I was a Psychology major in College, and I’ve always had an insatiable interest in people, and in how people work (or not work) together. Most of you are probably wondering at this point what a life coach does, I’m guessing. Well, it’s very hard to answer that question. I mean, how the heck can someone teach life right? How can someone else tell you how to live your life, and why would you listen to them? I know, it’s a challenge, maybe some of your are skeptical. But to tell you the truth, based on my research, it’s a career that’s been helping a lot of people for quite some time now; which is something I’ve always wanted to do — help people. Call it cheesy at best, but I always feel happiest when I know I’ve helped someone in some way. Role Models include Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, Malcolm Gladwell, Nick Vujicic, Bo Sanchez, the list goes on. These people are awesome speakers, and someday, I hope I can be able to move people the way they have.

I’ve always been the helper type, I think. Or maybe more of the entertainer kind. Or maybe a little bit of both. I’m the kind of guy who brings funny stories to an inuman. I’m the kind of guy who likes making fun of myself and my friends (sorry guys). I’m a guy who likes trying to find the positive side to things especially when they’re at their worst. I’m a guy who likes to laugh. I’m a guy who likes to find things to laugh at.

So anyway, life coaching.

Basically, it’s about helping someone reach their highest version by teaching them concepts that enable them to make more choices for themselves. That’s a key concept in what I’m trying to teach — CHOICES. Reminding people that they do have choices, even when their contexts seem like they don’t. It’s about listening to people, and throwing ideas with them and hopefully find a way where they can discover something that will make their life more complete. When people feel down about their lives, more often than not, it’s because it’s incomplete, they’re missing something, or it’s already there, but they don’t completely see or grasp it. That’s how Life Coaches make life better, by helping the clients make choices that complete the puzzle.

Life Coaching borrows from so many fields, most of which, I’ve had the privilege of becoming part of — fields like Psychology, Anthropology, Mass Communication, Economics and Finance, and the Arts. There is no one way to do Life Coaching, and every person you get to talk to is a unique individual. Maybe that’s one of the prime mistakes that one can make in this new field, treating people as a solved previous case.

I’m learning how to be a life coach now. I do it while training people. Perfect match. I was fortunate enough to become part of an awesome Training company, World Stage International Network, a breakthrough and change company. We basically offer corporate trainings on leadership, personal development, peak performance, etc. Maybe you can also call it destiny, the way I joined them.

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Me teaching a module on the learning ladder at one of our recent seminars

After all of the difficulties I experienced last year, I was already thinking of leaving my job in Sindikato Productions. I wanted to spend more time with my mom, and have a more regular job with a more fixed schedule. That’s one of the challenges of being in productions, time is always slipping through your fingers. World Stage gives me that. It’s a regular 8-5 office, and I have a more fixed schedule. With sort of the same variables that I loved in Productions — meeting people, communicating with them, creating something, to name a few.

But one major difference that I’m experiencing now in Life Coaching is that I am being guided by a mentor, the wonderful Coach Cherry Africa (she’s one of the most sought out transformation coaches in Asia). I met her purely by coincidence during the time that I thought of leaving productions. Sure, I had a few production and theater teachers here and there when I was learning how to make videos. They’ve all been influential and inspiring, but working everyday for a training company and a life coach, and getting to talk to my mentor, I am learning so much more. Coach Cherry has been like a guiding mother to me (not because of age ha), but because of the constant advice she has been giving me. She explains to me concepts, and I get to see her do her thing and change lives. Working for her, I get a front row seat to seeing faces light up, to seeing transformations happen in people. She is such an role model in all aspects of her life. I am very privileged to work with her, and to be just around her. During the day, I get to ambush her and ask her questions about how to help people consistently, and I guess that’s really something that’s very important. As an artist, I’m used to being alone and thinking creatively, and learning on my own, but having a wonderful mentor to follow is a great, if not essential step towards becoming better. And maybe, someday, becoming the very best.

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My mentor, the lovely and awesome Coach Cherry Africa

And I can’t thank enough also the awesome people that I share my time and talents with everyday at World Stage: Coach B, the hot momma that keeps us in check. Alyssa, the ever so game daredevil that fixes our systems. Inna, the quietly meticulous teacher/facilitator that makes sure our trainings go smoothly. Coryn, our wonderfully talented graphic artist that always livens up our day with her boisterous and genuine laugh. Ysa, the kind-hearted and hardworking cutie pie who helps organize us behind the scenes. The passionate and energetic Jabar, who never fails to teach us new things. Alex, my amazingly reliable teammate who entertains us with his wit and his sharp attitude. And my brother from another mother, the generous Gene who is always game to help everyone, providing us with our everyday dose of Tito jokes. This is our team, and let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful journey. Almost 6 months into this, and I’ve always gone home from work with a big grin on my face, and an even bigger smile of gratitude in my heart.

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My World Stage Family

Why did I choose this life coaching life?

To be honest, my life has been a rollercoaster ride. Sure, most people would say I have it good, and I’d agree with them. I’ve been so blessed with so many things other than money. I’ve had an awesome set of family and friends, good health, and a good head on my shoulders. But truth be told, in the almost three decades I’ve been alive, I’ve had my share of ups and downs. I’ve had difficulties with my career, with relationships, with money, with self-fulfillment.

(I’m not gonna make this overly dramatic, I mean, despite the difficulties, I’ve had a lot of euphoric moments.)

But there have been so many trying times. Imagine, I was a psych major, and I ended up pursuing the arts because of a change of heart. I know I’ve been a headache to my family and friends on certain occasions. I’ve had my heart broken maybe more than most people have. There were times where I didn’t want to get up because I really didn’t know who I was anymore. It was like being on a tightrope balancing act, and falling didn’t seem bad at all because I was juggling too many things and even more thoughts in my head. I constantly questioned my presence and my importance. I ate and breathed insecurities on a daily basis. I would look in the mirror and see a fat, sad, unimportant person. I’m glad that that phase of my life is over. This isn’t the case today.

I see so many of my friends doing so well in life, and I’m disappointed in myself. People are finding their place in the world, and here I was struggling to take a first step. There have been so many thoughts of just leaving, running away to that far away place — in the words of Shakespeare ” the undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns”.

But I’m still here. I am a semicolon (fist bump to the people who knows what being a semicolon means).

And I’m glad that I can say that today. That I can say it everyday.

“I. AM. STILL. HERE.”

I am still “to be-ing”.

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ursulapags

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me at a gig last year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I want to share that victory I get everyday I am still here. I want to share that with people. When my life coaching clients (actually, they’re not clients, they’re friends) confide their problems with me, I feel an immense sense of happiness, because I get an opportunity to help them. When I was in bad shape, I people helped me too. And I can never be thankful enough for this chance to still “to be” here.

Most people think that they are broken. But the truth is, nobody is born broken. Nobody progresses everyday and becomes more broken everyday. Nobody. I want everybody to know this. I want you to understand this. In 2009, I lost one of my closest friends to suicide. I never want anybody to go through this again. Actually, a bunch of people already talked to me about taking their own lives — for a multitude of reasons. I’m glad that these people are still here. I hope I can help more people like that to still want to be here.

I feel like this is my purpose. I have been doing so for years, informally, giving advice to both younger and older friends. Which most of us do for our friends. But I want to help on a bigger level. On a more educated level. I mean, even before college, I think I’ve always been an encourager. I like being behind people and pushing them forward. Training them to help them be their best.

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When my dad and my sister passed on last year, I guess, this is my biggest take away: Life is such a blessing. I miss them everyday. And as tribute to them, this is what I’ve decided to do. Life coaching. To keep showing everyone that life is a blessing. This is how I honor my dad, my sister, my mom, my friends, my girlfriend. This is how I honor me. This is my rightful place, and I would not want it any other way.

Much like Ash, Brock and Misty, I’m still learning everyday. I understand that. And I’m ready to get on that adventure. I will need all your help. You teach me and I’ll teach you. Let us let “our courage will pull us through.” I might not be your best friend, but I will be your life coach, and your world, I will defend.

So if you need someone to talk to, just shoot me a message.

 

Tara. Usap tayo. Apags Out. 🙂

 

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photo by the wonderful Bryant Garduque

The 90’s and my Dad. A father’s day entry.

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Hey Dad.

 

How are you?

 I’m currently in a coffee shop, and it’s playing some smooth jazz.

It reminds me just how much you love Frank Sinatra.

It’s been a while since we really talked. I remember, back in the 90s, especially on sunny Sundays when you would sit in the garage, and just listen to Frank’s old CD’s (well, they weren’t old for you). You had them in little decks, I think you called those things “Disc Changers”. Disc changers were signs of royalty then, I remember the big kids wanting them in their Toyota Corolla’s and their box type Mitsubishi Lancers and their fancy Hatchback Honda Civics. I know we weren’t that well off, especially since you and mom had to stretch owning our old (but ever so reliable) VW Beetle, even though at times, the engine at the back would cough like a fireworks display on New Year’s eve. Eventually, you guys were able to buy a Nissan Sentra. I really loved that car. I like the gold paint job, even years later when the shade turned into faded cheap bronze.

And on Sunday afternoons liek this, we would take that california-scents-pine-smelling car to Greenhills, even if there was hardly any parking. But we went their for the bargains. I used to hate going there because there were so many people. But you guys wanted to buy cheap stuff, and I made the visits worth it by stuffing my face with DEC Siomai.

I remember you always had a box of tools in the car in case something goes wrong, and you had to get down under the car and magically fix that segunda mano Sentra. Those tools were then, for me, your weapons of mass correction. You were our Batman, and they were the accessories on your utility belt, equipment to battle the evils that lived under the hood and chassis of a car.

I had a set of tools too! Albeit, they were plastic; but they were branded “Stanley”, the epitome of both real and toy tools! The stuff of real men. I remember, I had my own wrench, hammer, saw, and I was always tinkering around with stuff. Not too long after that, I was playing around with the real toys of the big boys. Do you remember? How I sneaked into your tool box, and took out the screwdrivers? I remember how upset you were when I dissected our old trinitron remote, and even angrier when I couldn’t put it back together. You knew we wouldn’t be able to watch TV, which we used to see all the Tyson fights. You were always for Iron Mike, and I was always for the Brunos, the Lewises and the Holyfields. Nor would we be able to watch basketball and YOUR Chicago Bulls versus MY Supersonics, Suns, and Jazz.

My life was really built around TV then, Dad. And even if I was afraid of Vegeta, Megatron, Krang, Shredder and Cobra Commander from those morning cartoons, you still beat them all of them as the scariest man I’ve ever seen. Actually, you were tied with the Undertaker. At any moment, I thought you were gonna Tombstone Piledriver me to the ground because I broke the holy grail otherwise known as remote control.

But that day, after a few grunts, frowns and profane murmurs kept to yourself, you made your way to the hardware store to buy a universal remote (which cost a fortune back then). You always used the PI word, but never to attack anybody. You always blamed yourself. I’m sorry, Dad. But I’m glad that not a single spank was laid that day. No belt snapped. No tombstone was set for me.

I believe I grew up in that way too. I’ve never raised my palm nor fist on a child (even if honestly, at times, I thought I would) And I’m mighty glad to have that record.

A few years passed by, and you had to retire because of circumstances out of your control. Your eyes were giving up on you, and it wasn’t exactly easy for a CPA like you, when you couldn’t tell whether a 1 was a 7 or when a decimal point was a comma. I knew that saddened you, not because you were gonna be bored as hell at home, but because you wouldn’t be able to help Mom provide for us. You were always a hardworker, and you never had idle time. Even when you were free, you’d always spend it reading (which is pretty admirable coz you had bad eyes nga).

I always knew you wanted the best for me and my sister. When you were part of the workforce, you always brought home donuts as pasalubong, and even though it would be cold because you were always working out late, they’d still taste as sweet in the morning because they came from you. I loved the strawberry filled ones, and you always got those and took out the bavarian, because I hate those. I miss those donuts.

But when you retired, even though you were sad and frustrated (and oftentimes you kept it inside) I have to admit, I was a bit happy. I got to see you at home all the time. You managed the house with the same efficiency and passion you did back as an outstanding employee. You even took care of the laundry, the dogs, the dishes, the cleaning. And most importantly, you took care of us. I remember how you would religiously – even when you were sick – wake me up in the morning to go to my classes, and you got angry at me when I fail to do so on time. 5:30am I should be up so that I had enough time to shower, and eat before the school bus honked outside our house at 6am. You attended a cooking class, and you discovered the perfect Sinigang recipe. I can cook now too, dad, but I can never get your Sinigang. You should really show me how you do that. Your Sinigang is still the best, Dad.

The coffee shop is playing a Rivermaya Song now, “You’ll be safe here.”

Ironic, it’s how I feel now. I remember being safe around you.

I remember, and I made friends, which I still have today, you were always the one who picked me up whenever we did school work or hung out. You drove to fetch me in different houses of my friends, even at night, despite your failing eyesight. I should’ve been more thankful for that than I was. I’m sorry if at that time I thought you were being a buzz kill because you didn’t want me to go home so late. I loved going home late and spending a few more extra precious minutes with my friends. Looking back, maybe I should’ve spent more of them with you.

I remember how disappointed you were the first time I came home drunk. What’s more, I drove home drunk. We are both fans of Pale Pilsen (though nowadays, I only drink Light), I know this having shared a couple of beers with you. But you were terribly pissed that night. I remember you not talking to me for days, maybe even weeks. I was acting pretty brave, thinking “Hey, if you don’t wanna talk to me, I won’t talk to you too,” but deep inside, I knew I made a huge mistake and it was all just an act. The rebel kid was just a role I played to keep myself from feeling too down. Eventually, I realized the error of my ways, and I vowed never to drink and drive again. I know I missed that vow a couple of nights, because of things I went through. And I’m sorry.

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There are so many things I want to apologize to you for, and maybe I should’ve been more upfront about that. But more often than not, I just kept those regrets inside, because I never want to burden anybody or make them feel guilty or worse, make them blame themselves coz of my mistakes. I guess I got that sternness and silence from you. You were the same way. You were the typical “man of a few words,” but, I know I never told you, you are an exemplary father; the silent, but a diligent driving force in keeping our family together.

I remember that day you and mom fought. Looking back, I guess you guys could’ve separated that day. But you told me to call mom and ask her to bring something home, a pasalubong like your donuts, so that you were sure she would still come home. And you never split up. Despite everything.

I guess, this was my first lesson on relationships. I still carry it today. People that love each other can have fights, and still not end things with each other.

Truthfully, we all had fights. You-mom, me-you, mom-me, you-ate, me-everybody, etc. etc. etc. It’s just as most families do. Maybe it’s inevitable. But in all the fights, we never made irreparable wounds.

And even if you got so angry with me for picking a job in productions, which consisted of a recipe of things you did not like for me — long hours, late nights, stressful people, drinking, smoking, disappointment — not once did you ever make me feel bad for doing so. You would shrug in disappointment, I guess I got kinda used to it, but you always supported me. You always gave me a slight praise or soft pact on the back whenever I did something of merit, and you criticized me mercilessly when I committed occupational errors. I guess I should’ve been more appreciative of that. Thank you dad. I’m sorry if I could not give you your dreams of me becoming an MD or an Engineer. But I hope you know, that I continue to do my best in my new field. And I put forth the same effort and passion you did in caring for us, at least to my clients and to my co workers.

 

I know you don’t like cheesy stuff Dad.

But it’s father’s day.

Me and My Dad Last year, father's day.

Me and My Dad Last year, father’s day.

And it’s been almost 8 months since I last talked to you. I still remember your voice. I still sometimes look back at the house before I leave, just to silently say goodbye to you. It still brings a tear to my eye remembering that last day you spent with us. I am just hoping that these words are enough to express a lifetime of gratitude for you being a wonderful Dad.

Thank you for being the guy who taught me the difference between using tools, and being a tool for the care of others. Thank you for teaching me how to be steadfast, especially when I am hit by waves of problems. Thank you for teaching me that even something so small as a strawberry donut can mean so much to a person. Thank you for making me see that being angry is okay, so long as it’s for the betterment of another person; more so, that it can coexist with nonviolence. Thank you for the support, even if it is masked as disappointment at times.

There are so many things I wish I can still share with you. A couple of beers. Campagne on my wedding. My future child.

I know it’s not gonna be easy, but I promise to be as committed to being a dad as you were.

The coffee shop is now playing a Rod Stewart Song.

And thank you for the slow Sundays. I am no longer the little boy playing around in the garage. I grew up to be a decent man, and I hope I can be as well of a man as you were when you walked the earth.

One man is just a man, until they have a legacy. I hope you know that you had one hell of a legacy. At least for your family. And that’s not bad. Heck, that’s amazing. I don’t think everybody can boast such a record.

I miss you and ate.

For everyone reading this, I hope you can give your dad a hug. Or a high five, or a fist bump, if that’s how you roll. They might not need it, but it’s pretty cool to have that with your dad. I wish I can give mine one last one. The last one was when he breathed last. It still pains me, to be honest.

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But life goes on. Maybe someday we can hug again.

 

Godspeed, Dad. I love you.

 

I will always remember you as the smartest man I know. This is a picture of him with a stray cat named Kevin Durant, as he answers the daily crossword. He never missed a puzzle.

I will always remember you as the smartest man I know. This is a picture of him with a stray cat named Kevin Durant, as he answers the daily crossword. He never missed a puzzle.

 

My 420 high? #apagibig

By | apagsibig | No Comments

Today, I am celebrating two months of being in a relationship with the most awesome girl in the world. A bunch of people have been asking about how we first met, and I think I should write about it. My blog needs a new entry anyway. Hahaha. This is our story. If you’re not the cheesy, sappy type of person, fair warning: CAUTION KINDA CHEESY UP AHEAD. Sorry medyo mahaba.

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WHEN “TO MY SOON TO BAE” GOT REDUCED TO JUST “TO MY BAE”

 

Chapter 1 – How we met.

 

When I changed my facebook status to “in a relationship”, a bunch of people were curious as to what happened. Who she is, how I met her, what lead to the change in relationship status, etc. This is the story. At least from my point of view.

 

I met her randomly, without plan. It was January 20, 2016. 519 days or 12,456 hours after I turned single. Almost two years.

 

It was at an event. The Sud x Words Anonymous Album launch. Route 196 was the venue. I was playing host to an insane crowd of 400 plus sweaty people jumping and dancing and singing to Sud and WA’s awesome set. I was having so much fun! After the bands had played and the poets had spoken, it was DJ Jessica Milner’s awesome set of hits comprised of 90’s, 00’s and current hits. It was crazy fun. Some of the people had already left, and the initial Route mob was reduced to a few friends (and little did I know, future friends).

 

Around past midnight, I saw her.

 

Black dress.

 

Simple sling Bag.

 

Red horse beer in hand.

 

Accesorized with an insanely cute smile.

 

What she was wearing the night we met

What she was wearing the night we met (with her friend Judy)

I immediate think to myself: “This girl is CUTENESS of the highest order.”

 

I watch her for a bit as she grooved with the beat. I was grooving too. I remember something. I realized that I had already drank a few beer bottles, so I should be confident enough to approach her. I wait a bit to see when she approaches the bar to get another drink. Not that I was planning to get her a drink. I was sort of waiting around to see if she was with a boyfriend. I didn’t want trouble. All I wanted (and I think this is also what most guys want when they see a pretty girl in a bar), was to know her name (at least most guys I know). She didn’t seem like she was with anyone, so with my liquor induced courage, I approach her. The music was loud, so I scream whisper to her.

 

My line was:

 

“Hey, ang ganda ng music noh?”

 

She nods in approval, and I see her smile. I semi awkwardly danced beside her (not with her or to her). Few moments later, I extend my quivering hand, a bit nervous, a bit excited, actually a bunch of mixed feelings. I guess I already knew this girl was beyond ordinary. “I’m Apags pala.”

Trudat

Trudat.

“Elise.” she receives my shaking shaky hand.

 

I bump her Red Horse with my almost finished San Mig Light Bottle. I think to myself, “Elise. Pretty name. An even prettier smile.” I turn around and leave. Might say something silly. Good move. Walk away. Pa mysterious. Pa cool. Swabe moves.

 

Joke. IT WAS NONE OF THOSE THINGS.

 

SOBRANG HINDI SWABE. Overly kinabahan lang. I WAS SO SCARED TO SAY SOMETHING TURNOFFING. Was thinking to myself that with a face and smile like that, FOR SURE, MAY BOYFRIEND YAN.

 

I spend the rest of the night not minding her. I was actually kinda flirting with someone else then, too. So no biggie. But I remember going home that night thinking about her smile. and that made me smile.

 

Us recreating the first night we met at Route 196. Roughly this spot.

Us recreating the first night we met at Route 196. Roughly this spot.

 

Chapter 2 – When the meeting became friends.

 

During that night, I posted a picture on my instagram about the event. Little did I know that that post would lead to something else much greater.

 

A few days later, the band Sud reposts one of my pictures. I see a like.

 

“_elisegarcia liked your photo”

 

Click on username. HOLY LORD JESUS CHRIST. ITS THE GIRL WITH THE FANTASTIC SMILE WHO DRINKS RED HORSE BECAUSE SHE’S COOL AND MAANGAS.

 

It was time for Operation “CRUSH KITA KAYA I-AADD KITA SA FACEBOOK PARA MAKITA KO KUNG MAY BOYFRIEND KA KASI CRUSH KITA GIRL.”

 

Open Facebook. Check her profile. No relationship status. Check recent pics both on IG and FB. No recent boy sighted.

 

ADD ON FACEBOOK. GIVE ME ACCESS TO YOUR PICTURES MY CRUSH. YES. YOU DO NOT KNOW ME. I AM WATCHING YOU NOW. PLEASE LORD SANA I-ACCEPT NIYA.

 

“You and Elise are now friends.”

 

Self high-five.

 

Stalk stalk stalk stalk stalk. CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH OMG CRUSH KITA TALAGA PHYSICALLY AND PERSONALITY WISE.

 

I almost talk to her, but then again I held back.

 

Subtext: DON’T CHAT WITH HER. BAKA MAY BOYFRIEND, HINDI LANG NAKALAGAY SA SOCIAL MEDIA NIYA.

 

Oh, she likes the beach. Oh she cooks. Oh she’s (insert bunch of other inferences about her personality because I’m too shy to talk to her pa).

 

MAN I AM SO STRESSED CRUSH. I need to unwind. Need to get my mind off of this.

 

Open Tinder.

 

Swipe left. Swipe Left. Swipe Right. HOLY LORD JESUS YOU ARE ON TINDER, MY CRUSH.

 

It was at that point I thought to myself: SINGLE KA NGA.

 

SWIPE RIGHT WITH A LITTLE PRAYER.

 

“You matched with Elise.”

 

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY I LOVE YOU.

 

It was time for operation “PWEDE NA KITANG I CHAT PAREHO TAYONG SINGLE EH.”

 

“Hey! it’s weird, I met you na in person and we’re facebook friends, before we matched here. Usually it’s the other way around diba? Haha.”

 

“Haha yeah,” she replies.

 

“Usap nalang tayo sa facebook. I rarely open this app (this is true though, I rarely opened tinder na noon.”

 

And we started chatting. First we chatted about the usual stuff, work, common friends, and then about more personal stuff, like stuff we enjoyed, 90’s kids moments. I remember, while I was chatting with her, I would feel sleepy because late na, but I never wanted to stop, because she was so much fun to talk to. It was crazy how I had so much in common with this person. Felt like I’ve known her all my life.

 

A couple of days of chatting like that, and I was pretty much hooked on her.

 

How can you not be hooked on a girl as prety and as amazing as this one?

How can you not be hooked on a girl as pretty and as amazing as this one?

 

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. CRUSH HAS NOW TRANSFORMED INTO “LIKE”.

 

Chapter 3 – The first semi date.

 

It was a whirlwind week: Seeing her smile, awkward dancing with her, adding her on social media, and chatting with her.

 

It was a Thursday. We were chatting as usual. She mentions that she was gonna go to a gig the following night. A music video launch for Jensen and the flips. She asked if I was gonna go. I said I didn’t know about the gig. She didn’t ask me to go, but I said I’d drop by anyway.

 

Friday. I was asking my friends if they wanted to go to the gig. Sa Saguijo. Hassle. Sa Ortigas kami nag-wowork. Traffic. Mahal Uber. Hirap pa ng parking.

 

The super fun gig, music video launch of Jensen and the Flips

The super fun pero medyo hassle gig, music video launch of Jensen and the Flips kasi sa Saguijo at Ortigas ako.

LORD I WANNA GO PERO WALA AKONG KASAMA. ANONG GAGAWIN KO OMG. SHET SHET SHET EXPLETIVES. I WANNA SEE MY CRUSH.

 

You know what I did? I went anyway. I commuted via shuttle to Saguijo alone. I wanted to see her. And if she was with other friends (guys), I would just leave after. But I wanted to see if our chats could be as fun in real life. Just to check, really. I didn’t know what was gonna happen.

 

This is us recereating our first hangout since we met. We were wearing these shoes.

This is us recreating our first hangout since we met. We were wearing these shoes.

 

I ended up spending the whole event just talking to her and getting to know her. Man, this girl is really above and beyond my impressions of her. She is just a pleasant surprise. I even got to meet some of her friends, and they were really fun and cool. We went to her friends apartment, and we talked some more.

 

I ended up that night bringing her to her house thru uber. She was a bit sleepy already, so she leaned on my shoulder. Her hair smells really good. Left hook to arm around her shoulder.

 

She leans closer.

 

I hold her hand. Yung serious na holding hands ah. Yung may interlocking fingers. Hindi yung parang pang our father sa church. Yung pang “May nararamdaman ako para sa iyo.”

 

She interlocks her fingers, too.

 

 

Chapter 5 – Nung naging kami.

 

We spend the next few days always seeing each other. Having lunch, or dinner, or drinks, or something. I had already confessed my feelings for her, and hse felt the same way.

 

I was scared. Things were going too fast. But then, I realized that it was ok. We were both taking risks. But there was something there. And the thing about grownups is that, we might have the same fears as young people when it comes to relationships, but based on our experiences, we have a different kind of courage in facing them. Yes, we dated for two weeks before we got together. Hindi matagal, people will say, But I don’t care. We don’t care what you think. We’re cool like that.

 

I told her, I don’t know what I did good for me to meet someone as perfect as her. I don’t know if I deserve her. I don’t know why we met the way we did, and why we fell for each other similarly.  But I’m glad we did. There has to be a reason why we only met now, why we met like this, and why we feel this way about each other. Maybe it was fate. Maybe it’s all luck. But I wanna keep doing this thing with you.

 

On my birthday (Feb 11), I wanted to spend time with her. But she was out of town. We did have a salubong though. So I was kinda sad.

 

Us faceswapping during my bday salubong.

Us face swapping during my birthday salubong.

 

On Valentines Day, she was still away. I woke up early to message her. But that morning, my facebook wall was so full of couple pics, and I got so annoyed! Annoyed at the fact that I couldn’t spend the day with the person who I wanted to be my Valentine.

 

So I drove to her. God, I was just so annoyed. So I surprised her. I just went there to have lunch with her. Then I went home. It was at that point, I knew I was in love with this girl. I was happy I did that. Even if initially I thought it was out of annoyance, I ended up realizing that I did it nga because I loved her.

I surprised her. I asked her to send a selfie, then I sent this selfie with her in the background.

I surprised her. I asked her to send a selfie, then I sent this selfie with her in the background.

I loved her na. I knew I wanted to be with her, and her alone. No point in playing games, keeping it in, or whatever.

 

Yup, I already loved her at this point.

Yup, I already loved her at this point.

February 20. We were hanging out in my house. We were talking. This is the conversation.

 

“Alam mo, mahal na kita, ” I said.

 

“Mahal na rin kita,” she replies

 

“Tara, maging tayo na, ” I reply.

 

“Sige. Tara. Tayo na,” she ends.

 

Walang drama, walang arte. Usapang masinsinan lang.

We decide right then and there to commit to each other. I know it’s not as romantic as big proposals, or whatever. But it worked for us. And we got together. And my life has been so much more.

 

Us with my Niece, Mirka at the beach. I am wearing a tita hat.

Us with my Niece, Mirka at the beach. I am wearing a tita hat.

Two months of being with someone who makes me such a better person, I wish everyone can experience this in some form. You know how awful and tragic my 2015 was, and I don’t know if this little story of mine gives you guys hope. But I hope it does.

 

A saying goes “When you’re going through hell, Just keep walking.” Johnnie Walker ad ba ito. Anyway. My point is, things do work themselves out. I thought they wouldn’t for me, but I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

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There is someone out there who will make us so happy. Someone who will hug us until all the wounds of yesterday start getting healed. Someone who will hold us until all the broken parts of us glue themselves back together. Someone who will remind us that we are meant to be loved. For me, it’s Elise.

 

I’m really happy being with her.

 

You know how much I love you, babe. Chamba nga siguro how we met, especially the timing. But from this day forth, I will love you with all my heart. And that decision to love you everyday and to try and be the best person I can be for you, well, hindi na yon chamba.

#apagibig

 

The two of us voting the same person for werewolves

The two of us voting the same person for werewolves. We are on the same team, now and always.