Miracle E-Zine’s New Issue

Miracle E-Zine’s ninth issue is out and ready to meet you, with the theme of Cage!

Click the Issuu link below for the digital version of the issue or the second link to buy a hard copy, where you’ll be able to read and soak up the poetry, the artwork and my monthly column entitled “A Writer’s Refugee”, where this time I talk about the world of poetry contests, the sending of submissions to editors and how to survive and enjoy it all.

Digital version: http://issuu.com/miracleezine/docs/issue_9-tring_

Hard copy: http://miracleezine.wix.com/miracle-e-zine#!shop/csgz

Shout outs to Guntaj Arora who makes it all possible, the entire staff of Miracle, all of the readers and contributors and to Jeremiah Walton and everyone at Nostrovia! Poetry for the support. Thank you and to more art! Belated happy birthday!

PS: Check out the Indie GoGo campaign for Nostrovia! Poetry’s traveling bookstore Books and Shovels. Keep the fires of the arts alive and burning!

– Troy

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Brighton Bound

Contrary to the story behind my previous post about Bournemouth, my day trip to Brighton is a result of years of planning, research, meshing work and university schedules together and more planning. Just ask our group planner Ate @preciousheartsu, who probably deserved this holiday the most. Thank you for always being our OCD planner and making the itinerary!

I’ll save you the other details, but our final plan turned out like this:

ROLL CALL AT ABARIDES’ RESIDENCE AT 6AM:

I got there by 6:37am because I get subjected to the Filipino time stereotype at the worst of times.

At around the same time, we all boarded our respective cars. I’m always happy to be road trip mates with Ate Precious, Barry aka Bamboo aka CARRRLO and the little guy on the right who bombed my selfie game nicely. Hi Kyle!

Shout outs to the guys over at the second car Juds, Pao and Carlo!

I thought I was going to be asleep on the way but boy, was I wrong. Thanks to morning chicharon and orange juice, I was able to enjoy the morning all the way and witness our Fast and Furious impression as we accidentally switched lanes, and watching the second car behind us do the exact same thing, confusingly. You are very cool Juds!

STOP #1 – THE CHATTRI:

We technically made it to The Chattri but we had our eyes set on the iconic war memorial statue, the one that we thought was a huge gazebo from afar. Surviving a long, bumpy road and seeing a lot of cows later, we decided to find the monument by foot. Instead, we found a small barnyard with pigs and cows and an empty house which reminded us of typical teen slasher films and what would happen to us one by one if someone came out and offered us something to eat. I told you to text Tita first kasi na we’re coming eh @samlexeigh! Haha!

Even though we didn’t get to see the actual monument, we did get some fresh air and a short walk around the farm, which was great on its own.

STOP #2 – BRIGHTON BEACH:

Finding the beach was a lot easier, and by this time the sun was at its peak and we were starting to feel the heat and hunger. After finding a good parking space, we unloaded the food and utensils that we brought along.

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All of our acknowledgements to my Dad for cooking our super spicy and savoury chicken drumsticks and to Tita Arlene for making the perfect palabok! We are the baon babies.

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Seagull. Seagulls later when we decide to feed them. It was like watching that horror movie Ben  but instead of rats, it was a gang of seagulls.

Kyle enjoyed throwing rocks everywhere, as did we all. Our feet got the rock massage of their lives when we decided to dip our feet and legs in the cold water.

STOP #3 – BRIGHTON PIER:

I was a bit relieved when I found out there was no admission fee for the pier, but then I found out it’s because everything else costs money, from the hotdogs, roller coasters and jewelry.

Just to make it clear, guys, we’re NOT allowed to jump off the pier?

This is the best part of everything. PLEASE SIT THIS. Hahaha. Thank you for pointing this to me Juds (who also pointed out that the lever just blocked the word SIDE below).

As the sun continued to be sunny and hot, we decided to stop by the Burger King across the beach, ordered a lot of food and did what we as a group do best: laugh.

As fun as it is to wander around new places with these guys, nothing can ever beat hours of laughing together at weird topics, jokes and taking endless mugshots of one another with Ate Precious’ camera and monopod. And that, for me, helped make our day a really great one.

Until next time! Where’s our next holiday going to be?

– Troy

Bournemouth Bound

It’s always being said but sometimes taken lightheartedly, but spontaneous trips usually make the best of memories and work better than those trips that are planned far in advance; those road trips that you go on a whim and everyone just goes with the flow.

Thanks to my friends’ fast skills in searching hotels and coaches, I was able to catch up with them to their improv trip to Bournemouth Pier. Shout outs to @itzfuckinryan and Mike whose Twitter I don’t know haha.

There are many reasons why I enjoyed this trip, and one of them was being able to put my preconceptions about traveling on a coach to rest.

I had a comfortable experience contrary to what I thought on the way, and I think everyone else did as well judging by some of the people’s sleeping faces, something my friend Juds would point out and say nga-nga!

The picture on the left is one of the few good pictures that I took while I was on the coach. I was lacking my usual optimism to take good pictures because I was still sleepy. I am currently what they call an iPhoneographer, but do watch out when I get my hands on a professional camera!

We got to the hotel JUST before the heavy rain started pouring. Check out that psychedelic clock!

Visiting 60 Million Post Cards for a pint and a crunchy hotdog was a highlight. I like the whole hipster feel with the graffiti and provocative artwork everywhere, the comfy tables and the food that my friends saw as a good source of inappropriate jokes. They even played Heaven by The Walkmen! That alone easily converted me into a fan. I promise to come back with my other food-lovin’ friends.

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I was somewhere in that shot. (courtesy of @itzfuckinryan photography)

It was my first time walking on white sand as I grew up rarely going to beaches, so I was a little bit more excited than everyone else to be walking on the Bournemouth Pier, where I secretly pretended to be a camel in the Sahara desert.

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Featuring my former English student and one of the coolest Ilonggos I’ve ever met. I know just a few, so pagbigyan nalang haha. Be flattered that the bartender thought you were under twenty five! Thank you for the @desperadosbeer!

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I was so thankful to have captured that shot. I now understand.

high street

How did that ball get there? Anyway, the high street here is so cosy. They even had a sweet Waterstone’s branch but I think their books are mostly about their local area as I saw a lot of books on nature and seasides on the display window. When on holiday!

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I like this arcade game where you put in 10p coins on the horse that you bet on. I actually won a lot of coins back! Picture over at the arcade near the Bournemouth Pier.

Maybe it’s because I had my mind set on HOLIDAY, but Bournemouth really got me relaxed and energised again. The sun was just right, the people were so mellow and my soul agrees with it all.

I feel like if I were to spent a few more days here drinking barrels of beer, taking pictures of clouds and having sand and coins stuck inside my shoes, I’ll probably forget everything I know about technology and other human-made whatnots.

What time does the next coach leave?

– Troy

@ParallelInk’s latest issue is out!

It’s always a huge surge of gratitude whenever I receive an acceptance email on my phone all of a sudden, and it’s no different when I got the news that the latest issue of Parallel Ink will feature two of my poems titled “Who We’re Writing For” and “The Golden Lining”.

After reading through the magazine, I have to say, I am blown away. They have everything! From poetry, to interviews and even photography! So cool! I especially like the Web Recipe page!

Check out their latest issue by clicking on the photo below:

Shoutouts to the @ParallelInk editors Jamie Uy, Jiyoon Jeong and Puinoon Na Nakorn!

Thank you and more poetry and art to you!

– Troy

‘Roadtrip’ by Karylle (2011)

I’m starting a new music review segment in my blog to quench my thirst for both writing and music. And to start it off, I feel like it’s only right to begin this whole reviewing thing by focusing on one of my favourite OPM albums.

This may be a lot to say about an album, but Karylle’s Roadtrip has played a somewhat significant part of my life post-secondary school. There’s something about the #throwbackthursday feels whenever I hear these songs playing. Yes, 2011 was a great year.

The Album:

Roadtrip is the result of a four year project that Karylle herself produced, written and funded. It focuses on the life and times of the singer in a playful, light way while still dance-able and energetic.

It’s a far cry from her previous album, which not only was a playlist about letting go, but also used predominantly song covers from the 1970s to 1980s.

Most OPM albums stick to only one genre throughout, like pop, rock or karaoke-friendly song covers, but this album sticks to its guns and lays out a playlist that’s got fast and upbeat songs (OMG, Found My Smile Again), slow and emotional ballads (My Hero, My Angel, Safest Place) and some songs that dabble with a little bit of both (Good To Me, Subic, Everything About You). Some call it a feast for the masas (or chopsuey according to some articles), I call it being artistically awesome!

I am crazy about singers that sing the songs that they wrote themselves. It makes it easier for me to like it because they’re most probably the ones who understand that song the most and it’s easier to believe the emotions in their voice when singing it.

The fact that these songs are original makes it a beneficial contribution to the development of OPM. We need less covers, less novelty songs and more music that talk about real, current stuff!

The organic sound, the clever lyrics, even the packaging and the little details like where in the Philippines the song was written sold it for me. The OCD dork in me has been noticed.

Kudos to you for making such positive music, Ms Karylle!

The Listener:

I remember getting Roadtrip as a pasalubong from my Ate Michelle aka @michellelovesmischa when some of my relatives in London flew home around the same time the album was released. Talk about fate! I remember it coming in a blue SM SouthMall bag with a couple of Cebu’s dried mangoes. Successful pangtanggal ng homesick!

Not only has these songs helped me learn how to write “happy” poetry, I also call this my gateway album to Original Pilipino Music. Prior to this album, I never really listened to much Filipino music other than APO Hiking Society whenever my dad would cook dinner.

Soon enough, my tastes in music eventually swerved towards OPM. My playlist now consists of mainstream artists like Zia Quizon, Bamboo, Christian Bautista, Sam Concepcion to underground gems like June Marieezy and even rappers like Dello, Estranghero and my personal favourite, RJay of LDP.

Songs I Recommend:

I like the entire album. Sorry, but that’s the truth. So what I did was I picked out five random songs, and they are:

OMG for the cool abbreviations, Basically for that sweet, sweet bridge, Running for the lyrics, Subic for the background sound effects and awesome belting and Desert Drama for that sultry, poetic finish. I never really understood the meaning behind that last song. Not even the English Lit student in me found a conclusion! Cool!

Get the album here:

iTunes: Roadtrip

CDBaby: Roadtrip

Many thanks to Stages Group for the featured photo above. All copyright goes to the original owners.

– Troy

What’s Your Talent: Venus by @imgjalarcon

It’s rare for me to get to know someone who is just as passionate with their craft as I am with mine, so when I do get that chance, I usually end up earning a friendship that consists of constantly throwing ideas, songs, words and Youtube links all around.

That friendship applies to one of my closest friends slash favourite tweeters: @imgjalarcon.

To his friends, he is:

One-fourth of the Avatars, a ladies’ man, a brother and, according to me, a secret hipster (or hipztahh as I’d like to call it whenever we’d all Skype call one another),

But to his adoring public, he is a:

Guitar-playing, screamo-shouting legend in the making who likes tweeting words of wisdom to the masses.

Gerby, or GJ, has been one of my closest pals ever since our patintero and agawan base days, and I remember the first time I heard them play their music. It was back in 2006 when I was toothpick-thin and I knew little about the world outside my terrace. He and his band that consisted of his brother and friends would either be strumming their guitars lazily in the middle of a conversation or wake people up from their after-lunch siestas as they go on full rehearsal mode.

A few years later, after reality knocked us all in the head, we found ourselves in different corners of the world, with GJ now based in Miami, Florida. And thanks to the power of recent technology, I’m able to constantly catch up with him and find out more about him and the evolution of his musical endeavours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEwRyX5XN7M

Here’s a link to their cover of a song by Bring Me to the Horizon ft. @imgjalarcon and drummer Daniel Serrano.

I’ll be completely honest with you now: I know nothing about his genre of music, but through all of the Youtube videos he’d post everyday (yeah I actually listen to those sometimes!), I get a good idea as to what melodic post-hardcore music is like.

And because I know so little about his genre of music, asking him some of these questions cleared it up for me. Read the answers of the front man himself below:

1. Describe your band in three words:

Instrumental, melodic, Emo with some sort of underground spirit. It’s really hard to describe because we have mixed this melodic and Emo sound.

2. Which bands do you look up to?

We have a lot of bands that we look up to. We’ve listened to every type of music. It’s hard to give one. But I guess we all have been influenced by all of these different kinds of bands. Every band that we listen to, we learn something new, so we try to apply not almost all of it but the best part of it.

3. What have your original songs been about?

We’re working on out third song right now, which is my favourite one so far. The other two songs are great, too. I think it’s going to be perfect for this EP that we’re working on.

4. How can we learn more about you nowadays?

We’re pretty chilled right now, just writing songs and fixing this line up for Venus. We are now planning to release the band as soon as we’re complete. Follow me on Twitter @imgjalarcon or Facebook (Just type my name) for more updates. Peace out.

5. Any words for #GerAn?

#GerAn – I wish we could bring this back, maybe. (Hopya)

So far these guys are concocting up something fresh and a fusion of all of their favourite sounds put together. I always keep pushing this guy to just get it all done so I can download it on @iTunes and plug it everywhere (I’ll need 10% of the proceeds then, please).

Watch out for future updates, guys, these guys will rock. And I’ve heard them rock, and they rock.

–          Troy

Happy 12th Anniversary @PentecostTV!

Every time that I’m with everyone from Pentecostal Victoria (their Sunday venue is at Westminster City School, by the Pizza Hut by Victoria train station), I feel a huge surge of euphoria. Let it be a big word, but euphoria is seriously the closest word that I can use to describe the feeling when I first attended a Sunday worship with them three years ago, and when I did just a few days ago at their 12th anniversary, the 8th of June.

I grew up a Catholic all of my life, but I did attend a born again Christian worship back in Cavite when I was a child, but it was here in London, with these people where I actually really learn to appreciate it all.

The first time I attended their worship and Bible study was on a Wednesday evening, Ate Kris who was my cotillion partner in Ate Precious’ debut introduced me, and I think that was a better time to start because we weren’t that many and I felt less shy, although I still felt shy enough to dance and sing along with everyone, I am totally in tune with everyone in terms of the good vibes and the profound messages that they preach out to everyone in the room.

The picture above was when I attended their Christmas concert back in 2011. They performed a version of the Prodigal Son. My favourite part was the long cardboard with the pasted picture of pigs as a prop.

Another great memory that I have with Pentecostal Victoria would be back in 2013 when they invited me to be a part of their homeless people feeding program, where we would hand out bags of food (provided by Joshua Nurse, who is now a pastor!) as well as telling them about the church itself. I managed not only to tick CHARITY WORK off my bucket list, I also received a t-shirt from one of the homeless people as a thank you gift, but I’ll tell that story in another entry.

Some of the Pentecostal youth, Ate Kris and H+C alum @jasminebharti, to whom this photo originally belongs to.

Flash forward to Sunday, the 8th of June, where the celebration of their 12th year was held.

Worship songs are so energetic and happy with them,  I promise to come up and join them one day.

The youth performed a remixed version of ‘Let it Go’! Will post an IG video of that soon. I love their version of the lyrics. Still so powerful. Props to you Kuya Jethro, Cedrick, Lea, Mandi and Samantha a quien habla español también! ¡Buena suerte con tus examenes!

image (3)There were also some performances and presentations from other Pentecostal branches. From Exeter, Bristol and Weston Super Mare. They even represented different countries, which was a cool touch!

If you want to get in touch with Pentecostal Victoria, here are some links:

Facebook: Pentecostal Victoria

Twitter: @PentecostTV

To all I’ve met through Pentecostal Victoria, thank you for everything you have taught me, everything you have done for me. Thank you for letting me be a part of your growth. To many more years!!!

– Troy