what would you do if…

To those who follow me on social media, they’ll know that #throwbackthursday is my favourite and most used trending topic, alongside its cousins #flashbackfriday, #sentisaturday, and even the ridiculous ones like #memorymonday.

Memory lane is kind of like a second home to me. I like having stories to look back on and little anecdotes to share with people, because if they were good stories, that means I’ve so far lived a good life, especially if they were funny, and if they were bad stories, well, then that means I’ve got things to learn. Or maybe I’ve just been watching way too much How I Met Your Mother.

Since I’m a man of eccentricity, I sometimes like to take the whole throwback concept into a whole new level, and I’ve got the next paragraph to prove it.

Now…

Suppose you were walking down the street, and for some reason whatsoever, laws of time and physics out of the window, you see yourself, but yourself from the ancient year of 2011. Summer of 2011, to be exact. Back when the devastating London riots was just days from happening, Demi Lovato has just released her hit smash Skyscraper and you couldn’t wait to get your hands on the new iPhone 4S.

And that version of you stood right in front of you, just as speechless as you are. But after gathering the ability to speak again, he/she asks you how they will be turn out to be like in the year 2014. You have the opportunity to say anything, but not too much because as we learnt from the classic 80s movie series Back To The Future, telling too much about the present while in the past can cause changes in the space-time continuum, just like what Doctor Brown said, but I’m blabbering now.

(Just in case you were wondering what I looked like three years ago. Wala kayo sa akin! Mahaba na nga buhok, naka hat pa in the middle of July! I had way too much fun to care about looking decent. Pic courtesy of @preciousheartsu. Check out my blog entry on her photography here!)

If you were put in this situation, what would you say?

I asked some of my friends this, and here’s what they answered:

  • @youthiyowhiskey – “2014 will be interesting. It’ll be a lot of fun, a lot of hard work but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Just keep going. Also 한글 bruhh.
  • @preciousheartsu – “Don’t ever forget who you are and what you believe in. Our appearances might change but our hearts will always be the same. Emo emo din pag may time! Haha!”
  • @itzfuckinryan – “I could just tell him that he’ll find out anyway, so let’s have fun. He won’t ask anything, he’ll just buy himself a beer.”
  • @ItsInesB“You have to suffer to achieve happiness because every suffering ends in happiness. If you’re not happy, then its not the end.”
  • @KrissyKyrenn – “You just have to deal with each trial and problem in life step by step. Never be in a rush because you will end up where I am now – uncertain with what I want. Though this happens in some point of your life, continue to hold on to God’s promises because He will carry you through.”
  • @wilburpille – “I would say 2014 for you is going to be great, just commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed! Amen!”
  • @maryytolentino – “So many things will change from the way people judge you.”
  • @kirbytc96“Do not change the type of person you are and do what ever makes you cheerful. Remember kindness is one of the greatest things you could contribute to the world.”
  • @CJ_Sabado – “2014 will be a great year for her. She will learn to open her heart and her mind to God, and so she will go through the journey of maturity where she grows to be wiser. And with that she becomes a lot happier. It’s the beginning to a new chapter.
  •  @KTineBeatrice – “You’ve been too nice. I’m a changed person!”
  • @samlexeigh – “Just accept all my flaws and how imperfect I am though I still love being me. Yes naman! Hahaha!

How about you? How would you react to something like that?

– Troy

PS the featured photo above is the self-proclaimed “Filipino table” where we H+C alumni all touch based for lunch, before going home and for all of those “pautang ng one pound saglit” moments. I think it was a Filipino table from 2004 – 2011.

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What’s Your Talent: Photography by @preciousheartsu

I am proud to be a Leo

Those are seven words that I will always use to describe myself. Those are seven words that also rings true to one of my best friends, one whose Leonine heritage shines through just about everything she says and does.

I first met @preciousheartsu, or Ate Precious, back in our secondary school Hurlingham and Chelsea, and I remember the first ever interaction that we had. It was the first day she and her brother Josh (aka the other whiskey boy haha) came back to school after they spent a vacation in the Philippines, and even though she didn’t even know who I was, she gave me a polvoron and the warmest smile ever, and then asked for my name.

Note to self: give Ate Precious a box of polvoron for her birthday and then Boba Jam taro milk tea. Weeeeeeeee!

One of my favourite qualities about Ate Precious is her ability to bring out the inner child in me without making me seem immature. When we’re together, we may seem like two young adults, but we’re actually two elementary students usually laughing at Marvel superheroes, making jokes about shop names (wala akong Wasabi sayo!) and reinventing common catchphrases (talk to the turtle!). My jokes are nowhere near as havey as Ate Precious’ jokes, especially after she’s had our dose of bubble tea and Japanese bento!

Flash forward…

to the year 2012, the year where our love for the arts first merged, thus creating a stronger friendship. One summer after swimming in Kingston, and when my book Lost in London was at the middle of its construction process,  I had an idea on how to attract more readers: through photos. Alongside scenery photos I took myself, I stumbled upon the idea of maybe using me as  a subject.

As soon as I asked Ate Precious if she’d like to help me out, she immediately began talking about themes and ideas and what kind of brick walls she thinks would work best as backgrounds. Mabilis talaga ang mga Leo!

And a few months later, this are our end result.

GGSS! I was called Robin Padilla for a good few months then, so that means it was a success!

And in the following year, for another book that I’m still yet to finalise, here’s another shot from a more concentrated, James Dean-esque pictorial.

Here’s some of the other photos that she took herself. Check out the details!

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And in the spirit of this segment, I had the privilege of asking Ate Precious a few questions about the craft.

1. Describe the moment when you first fell in love with photography.

To be honest it wasn’t love at first sight. it was more like, the more I took pictures the more I fell in love with it. It wasn’t about the place nor the camera that made me love photography, but it was the things that it can do for us. It captures those moments that you would never be able to go back to. That’s what I love about photography, it’s just a picture but it has a lot of memories, good and bad.

2. What sort of message do you want to tell people with your photography?

I’m not really sure. All I know is that I want to let people know the story behind the photos. I want them to feel what the pictures are showing, I want them to know the reasons behind the smile, the laughter and the tears behind every portrait I take.

3. Do you have any themes or styles that you like using through your editing?

I don’t really edit the images that much because I want it to be as natural as possible. I mean, how can you see the real beauty if you hide it ? I believe editing is not necessary, you only need it to enhance the beauty, not to cover it.

4. Which do you prefer to photograph, nature or people?

I love taking portraits, don’t get me wrong, taking pictures of the views around you is good but capturing moments through my lens is priceless.

5. Final question: favourite camera model and why would you recommend?

I’d definitely recommend Canon especially for beginners or Nikon (Although I haven’t tried it; they say it’s one of the good ones). If you’re still starting to learn about photography like me, try to invest on those mid-range prices. You don’t wanna spend less and get a bad quality camera but you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds for a professional camera as you’re still beginning to explore.

There you have it, folks, straight from a talented photographer herself. Don’t be shy about asking her to take a photo of you, you’ll only look ten times better. Haha!

– Troy

What’s Your Talent: Ubehalaiya by @LindtHyacinth

I’ve always admired people who are passionate with their careers or hobbies, and those who are just great at being multi-taskers, something that I try to be myself. And since the writer in me is too powerful to ignore, I eventually got inspired to focus on these types of people in my writing, appropriately titling this segment “What’s Your Talent”.

Today we’ll be exploring more into the booming fashion world of my eldest sister @LindtHyacinth.

Now, during the day, my sister is generally known as:

a panganay na kapatid, a friend, a daughter and a mother.

By night, she is: a fashion boutique owner extraordinaire of Ubehalaiya Atbp and superhero.

To those who has a Cabida in their life, be they be lovers, friends or relatives, they’ll instantly recognise a sense of ambition, optimism and spunk to succeed. My sisters are great examples of that. I’ve always heard stories from my mom and dad that Ate Aiya always loved being in charge and whenever they would play ‘tinda-tindahan’ as kids, she would always take on the role of the ‘tindera’ and would always know how to calculate and divide up the play money. And she also always played as Mario back in their Nintendo Gameboy days, something that my Ate Michelle didn’t mind, she said, because she always preferred Luigi, who wore her favourite colour green.

And when we heard that she’s embarking on this fashion boutique, we couldn’t be more excited for her.

I always thought that the personal style of the seller can be seen through the type of clothing and bling that he/she would sell. Just check some of them out!

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Alongside those, there are also a wide array of clothing, jewellry and other stuff that you can check out. Her booth usually based in Festival Mall, Alabang but they also sometimes sell around Metro Manila, so for all of those coming home this year, make sure to check them out!

Not only is my Ate a fashionista, but she also uses her super powers for good. Last year during the events of typhoon Yolanda, she made sure that the proceeds that she got from her merchandise went straight to charities that helped those in need. She even offered the buyers a choice as to which specific charity they want their money to go to. Oh diba? 🙂

An Interview:

1. When did you first realise that you enjoyed growing a business and working in customer service?
I was becoming unsatisfied with my regular job and I felt there was constraint in terms schedule and fixed salary so I started creating a small business.

2. Why choose fashion to build a business from?
Fashion is never ending, and somebody doesn’t need so much money to have a sense of it. I go for the basics — jeans shirts and flats but i add spice to my simple outfit like fancy earrings or bright red lipstick.

3.What’s your personal style?
I dress up according to my mood. I actually don’t have time to look up the net on the trend. But I do like and get awed with the grungy look of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

4. What can we expect from you in the future?
Variation!!! I will be looking for variety of fashion items that are not pricey but still stunning.

Add her up on Facebook and follow her on Instagram to get instant updates on new merchandise. Right now she’s making her own bracelets, some with charms and some with gemstones. The ones I have are all from her. I trust her and her knowledge on style and magical stone properties.

Web Map:

Facebook page

Instagram link

Oh, and one thing. If you do get the chance to drop by, make sure to give her, my Ate Michelle who calls Twitter “Tweeter” and all of the kids a huge hug for me. Love you all!!!

– Troy

Get “Lost in London”

One of the biggest highlights of my writing life so far has been the opportunity to live, write, edit (for a lot of hours) and eventually self-publish my first ever collection of poetry appropriately titled Lost in London.

With poems written in the middle of Romford, bus hopping sessions around Putney to Kingston to being stuck a crummy classroom in Hammersmith, this project has been under construction for almost three years: a very crazy time that gave me memories that I will never forget, good and bad experiences I’m grateful to have lived through and the most supportive and intelligent friends to survive it all with.

In this book are poems that I’ve written through the love stories, the roadtrips and food trips, the dysfunctional friendships and the rainbows of hangovers that we unwittingly stumbled upon due to the intoxication of youth, with matching photos of the landmarks familiar to me and numerous words of wisdom that rung in my head over and over again. Lost in London talks about that time in your life where you’re so lost and so engulfed in your teenage lives, probably broke, and all you have is your heart on your sleeve, an open mind and a willingness to explore the world with people who are in the exact same place.

Thank you to…

  • My English teachers Tom for telling me about Blurb and its wonderful services and Naz for your constant support for my poetry through emails and writer’s group. I will always remember your Monday double poetry lessons, even the ones I slept through.
  • Mommy, Daddy for reading and my sisters Ate Aiya and Ate Michelle for the overseas love. Your support means the entire world to me. Thank you for encouraging me to reach all of my dreams, no matter how strange they sound to you.
  • To my London family, my nomads, my brothers and sisters for all you have done. To Ayaan, Josh, Juds, Ate Jyds, Rydze Khalifa, Ate Kris, Val and Tine. Thank you for letting me use your words for the book.
  • My Ate Precious for being one of the coolest photographers ever! Our photo shoots consist of constant Costa breaks, chismisans and super cool picture picture moments in Richmond Park. To Barry “Bamboo” for making us laugh and being our supporter and Madam Sampaguita Girl Juds again for making dinner and movie night after the shoot! The best kayo!

Web Map:

@BlurbBooks link

Give my book some love, Internet style:

Facebook page

Goodreads page

If you’d like a small preview, check out some of the poems now via my Wattpad account!

– Troy

PS, watch out in the coming summer for my book’s accompanying video trailers ft. me and the stellar videographing styles of my great friend and Leo sister @preciousheartsu!