I have no words to tell you how I ushered in my 24th year, only this: I am happy. Tired, yes. Stressed, double yes. But happy, and I think that says it all.
Okay, first of all (let's just get this out of the way): I SUCK AT BLOGGING. OFFICIALLY. To those people who say "blogging" is not a real thing, trust me, it is. When I started this, I had no idea how much time and effort it took just to sit down and write about your thoughts (or at least map out what you think people would be interested to read, and get to blogging about it), while attempting to construct it in a presentable way. I used to keep journals as a kid, and well, I write, so I thought this would be easy. Apparently not. I don't even know if ya'll are gonna be reading this, but it's different: to try to remain as casual, conversational, and accessible as possible for a "readership" (that may or may not exist).
It is now the first of February and I have not posted a single substantial thing on this blog. That is to say that November - January ended up a lot busier than I thought they'd be (don't get me wrong, I love what I'm doing and I'm so happy to be busy), but it did leave me with nothing for the blog except, well, updates.
And I hate to be that kind of girl, but I only have updates (in list form, as per usual) coming your way again (I know, I suck). But here goes:
1. The Artists' Kits Are Out
I wrote about this (teased it with a photo of some paper worms to be specific) last November, and it's finally here. What exactly is it? WELL: THE ARTIST’S KIT. (TADA!!) Simply put, it's an all-in-one package for artists and artists-to-be.
Now, here is where I get lazy and copy-paste the Facebook caption: Coming from the 3 basic kinds of performance art, you can choose from The Actor’s Kit, The Singer’s Kit or the Dancer’s Kit!
Together with the help of our mentors: Topper Fabregas, Caisa Borromeo, B Delgado, Ejay Yatco, Cara Barredo, Jim Ferrer and Erica Marquez-Jacinto, these kits were built to equip you with the material essentials in one art-filled package. These include guidebooks, audio and video files that give you an insider’s look into the world of theatre through the lens of our mentors at your own convenience!
To place an order, all the details you need are in this link http://bit.ly/1PGI8AU :) For questions and concerns, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a Facebook message!
Like our Facebook page facebook.com/SpectrumCollabs and follow us on Instagram @spectrumcollabs for more updates. :) *end copy-paste spiel*
Spectrum Collabs is me and my co-founders' baby, and I guess that makes The Artist's Kit kind of my grandchild. Weird references aside, it would mean so much to me if you help us make art more accessible to our fellow artists and artists-to-be by spreading the word about the kits, placing an order, or simply just letting us know what you think!
2. I'm in a PLAY!!!
Art Kills. February-March 2016. Produced by Spectrum Collabs in partnership with the PARC Foundation.
And it's going to make you want to scream bloody murder. (Details to be released soon) But do block off the latter half of your February Friday nights ;)
On a side note, I am absolutely loving the work the entire team has put in in this show :) I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of passion and talent coming from EVERYWHERE - from the directors, to my castmates, our SMs, the crew, the writers, to just AUGH everyone. So much love and so happy to be a part of this <3
3. The Pup has an Instagram
This is hands down my favorite photo of Mr. Hutch.
My followers got tired of seeing Hutch's face on my feed and asked me to make one. Half kidding. Truth is, I didn't want to keep spamming people with photos of my dog, so my sister and I decided to make him an Instagram account :) Follow @gethuched for a (possible) day-to-day recounting of my little bae's life. #letsgethutched ;) (Special thanks to Thanh for this awesome hashtag, and of course for the instagram handle)
4. Comic PupdateS?? (GET IT???...?...)
So... bad news: we weren't able to register for the Feb 2016 Komiket until today so I honestly don't know if we were able to make it. Good news is... we haven't received a rejection email yet so there's hope (fingers crossed).
That said, if we do get to sell at Komiket (February 20, 2016, 9am-7pm, Centris Elements, Q.C.), we'll be selling Part 1 and Part 2 of LIDP there. Lots of mishaps went down last Komikon, and to be frank: we were just not ready. (RUSHING IS BAD GUYS, PREPARATION IS KEY!) But, I swear, we've learned our lesson. We're not going to rush to be able to produce a new comic just to make it in time for the next exhibit. We do have some new ideas up our sleeves, nothing concrete yet. We were thinking of selling prints too of some of our other artwork, but we'll see. For now, LIDP Parts 1 and 2 are definitely going to be on sale there (if we weren't too late for the registration cut off, that is!)
Oh, and while we're on the topic, Hutch's surgery went well. We were able to raise a total of P11,770 for his surgery. You guys were absolutely phenomenal. I cannot thank you all enough for supporting our comics (aka his surgery). He recovered fast, and he's (fat and) happier than ever (minus the allergies he now has all over his face, but well, that's my dog for you)
L-R: Hutch came to seconds right after his last stitch. His vets at VIP White Plains took (and take) really good care of him. Couldn't be happier; Hutch upset about his cone the day after his surgery (yes, he was already that alert the next day); Aaaand he finally gets used to sleeping with a cone (yes our husky sleeps with a blanket (in fact, I do have a photo of his brother as a puppy hiding under the sheets. So odd considering they have a double coat)
BONUS: A Footnote (read: A semi personal life-update)
Because I realized I have not posted any life-updates whatsoever in a long time, I'm going to end with this: 2015 was a f@#*@(!) (wow, I censored. How mature (??) *pats self on the back*) mountain. And by mountain I mean the type you prepare months beforehand for to hike, and then when you get there you still find yourself wondering what the hell you got yourself into.
To be honest, I don't know how I got through that (I don't even know if I want to sit down and write about it). But I'm here. I'm well. I am barrelling through.
2015 is a blur – I spent most of the year on the run, trying to find myself in all these places, thinking that the quickest to self-discovery and peace was a plane/boat/car ride away. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn’t. Most of the time, these trips only made me more tired, and yet, still left me itching to get away. But there are a few exceptions: Sagada, Lucena, Coron – places I found myself wishing I could stay longer, that I could just live there and start over (away from everything), places I find myself longing for now.
There are still things to run away from – truth is, I don't think I'll even run out of reasons to leave. But on a more serious note, maybe that's not what this year is going to be about. Maybe this year is going to be all about finding comfort in a place I can return to (lakas maka How to Return Home lol); knowing that as far as I go, for as long as I decide to be gone, there's always a place that will call me back – a wagging tail, a soft bed, a conversation between two friends (and by that I do mean a conversation between me and my mother) over brewed coffee at any time of the day.
Here's to a healthy, drama-free, and travel-and-art-filled year. And of course to kicking 2016 in the ass.
Here's a photo of my favorite trip of 2015 as a reminder that all is well (and as it should be), and yes, I do have to write about that.
Photo by (my cousin): Kayla Zabala
There’s something surreal about stepping onto someone else’s sacred ground; watching them whisper prayers, lighting incense, holding their hearts' silent wishes, trusting that someone out there will hear them and answer. In every country I’ve visited, these temples, mosques, churches are proof of a belief in a higher power; more so, our capacity to trust someone; to believe that someone out there will get us through insurmountable obstacles. Some call this prayer; some, a leap of faith; in my eyes it’s bravery. There’s nothing more courageous than to put your faith in someone, not knowing if He’s listening; just trusting that He’ll be there.
I have not written about my China trip, still struggling with the editing of the thoughts in my head, but here are some of my favorite photos from that trip. For whatever it's worth, I do plan to return. And definitely on better circumstances.
I am definitely planning on writing a series though, called Postcards from China filled with photos and notes in my head – everything I planned to write, and say about Guangzhou, but never got a chance to.
"Do you know how to skin dive?" My sister and I exchange looks. Neither of us have done this before.
I smile and shake my head, "No, but we're strong swimmers." Fact is, there's nothing I'm more confident about than my sister's (and my) athletic capabilities, especially when we're together. Since we were genetically designed to be highly competitive (thanks to our (sometimes neurotic) mother, and equally competitive father), being around each other tends to bring out the most competitive side in both of us.
"Okay, well it's simple," one of the divers was telling us, "just tuck your head in so that your body moves vertically and then push with your legs."
Right, simple. "But my body is naturally buoyant," I say--not so much as a form of protest, but only to let him know so that if I fail, I have a faulty body buoyancy to blame.
He laughed, "what do you mean?"
"Well, I mean, I just don't sink."
I don't remember what was said after this moment, just that after two and a half hours of swimming freely in the open ocean, my sister and I finally learned how to skin dive.
During the Labor Day weekend, my sister and I traveled to Cebu. We stayed at BlueWater Maribago (special shout out to Tito Pete for making this possible)–and for the first time in our lives, we were able to skin dive. For those of you who don't know skin diving is basically underwater snorkeling. (Unfortunately, I wasn't able to borrow an underwater camera so our exploits weren't well documented.)
It turns out, the BlueWater properties actually have a save the seas initiative (which I write about in the June 2015 issue of Mabuhay Magazine). Some 20 divers (or so) do a dive at least once a month to clean up the surrounding areas of the BlueWater Properties namely: Sumilon, Panglao and Maribago. While we were there, we were informed by Project Blue's Head Erik Monsato that they were going to go coral planting behind the island.
My sister and I have never gone coral planting. That is to say, I thought it would be as simple as placing my feet into the ocean, bending over and putting the corals in place. Apparently, it's not as easy as it sounds. Before the actual coral planting, they asked us if we had flippers and snorkeling gear (we had none) and provided us with the closest fit.
At this point, I realized we weren't just going to be bending over and dropping corals, but Iya and I have never been the type to back out on a challenge, so we pushed forward, swimming into unknown territory. Some ten minutes (and a couple of "A JELLY FISH, ATE!!" moments), we finally reached coral planting area behind Maribago's man-made island. And so commenced our first foray into saving the seas.
A Lesson in Survival
I won't get into the nitty gritty of things. Just that coral planting wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, during the first 30 minutes, all we really had to do was keep up with the divers and hold the basket filled with corals so that they didn't have to carry the extra weight themselves. Fact is, if you know how to keep yourself afloat, you won't have any problems staying out in open sea at all.
After the coral planting session was over, we were informed that we'd been swimming in open water for almost 2 hours. In our heads, that wasn't even an achievement. What we were more excited about was the fact that we were able to dive to the bottom of the ocean floor, and pick up corals and shells. It surprised me to know that we were out in the open water for 2 hours (almost 3) and that we didn't even get tired at all.
And so, the (not so quiet) realization: how did we stay out in the open seas for two hours without so much a word of complaint from either of our mouths?
Simple: you don't get tired of the things you love.
I have learned (the hard way) that to survive in this world, you have to find the things that will make you want to roll out of bed in the morning. Make you want to forego sleep. I haven't been waking up early enough for work--even with enough sleep (and that says a lot, I suppose). But when I'm only running on three hours of sleep (or none at all), and I have to be up for a trip to Sagada or Baguio with my friends, or a vacation with my sister, I am so giddy with excitement, I don't even need the extra cup of coffee in the morning. It's not so much that my legs were strong enough to keep me afloat during those two hours in the open sea, not so much that my sister and I have been swimming since who knows when, not so much that we wanted to outdo one another in terms of stamina and skill. It's that she and I both love the ocean (and fear it), and are never more at home than when we are out at sea.
My sister and I went home from that trip, dark, (fatter), but with hearts as light as a feather.
Charles Bukowski once said: "Find what you love and let it kill you." I hope one day to be able to fall in love with a craft, and let it consume me with passion (the way things used to)--the same way being out in the open seas (saving the planet in our little way) meant more to my sister and I than we ever imagined it could.
Below are some of the photos I took during our stay at Maribago. Will be uploading the others soon!
Lara L. Antonio
93% Stardust. Exploring the world–a camera, pen and notebook in hand–one island at a time.
Note: All photos on this blog are taken by me, unless stated otherwise.
Disclaimer: This blog is not necessarily reflective of my best writing and photographs, just somewhere I need to dump my thoughts. If you want to see some of my art, you can also jump to my tumblr (which is usually more updated): storiesbylara.tumblr.com!