Summer Fun in Boracay

Hi, this is Garrett. My summer has started a month ago, which is kind of late compared to others who start school in June. During that month, I mostly spent time with my sister in the house mooching around and doing chores. I mostly swam and danced to Kpop dance practice videos, so I’m not sure if that was me being productive.

What I wanted to write about is the Boracay trip that we went on to celebrate my aunt’s and my sister’s birthday. It lasted around 4 nights, and we spent most of our time swimming. All of us came back with serious tan lines, but it was a very relaxing and amazing vacation.

So the first day started really early because our flight was at 7 am. We got ready and all, but due to stuff that the announcer said that I forgot, we ended up leaving Manila at 8. The flight was uneventful, and it was only when I stepped out of the plane that the reality hit me: I was in Boracay. And I’ll be honest; I was awestruck, but that admiration slowly turned to horror when I kept hearing the prices of common goods. To foreigners, they might seem cheap, I won’t lie. Ice cream for like maybe 1 USD doesn’t sound expensive. But to Filipinos who normally buy the same ice cream for way less, that is quite a shock. It seemed like lots of items had a markup of past 100%. There are many various reasons why, and I won’t bother explaining. But do know that if you travelled to somewhere in Luzon, you would pay way less to get the same goods.

Once we arrived to our hotel via e-trike, we ate lunch and waited until 2 pm to check in. During that afternoon, we went to D-mall at Station 2, where my younger cousins and my sister swam at the beach. D-mall was mostly sprawled out, and we walked a lot just to check out most of the restaurants and shops they had to offer. The beach though is what I truly liked. The sand was so soft, and the waves were so strong. It may not sound impressive to others, but the only beaches I’ve been to so far were quite rough on the feet. That beach was what you would see in advertisements of Boracay. We ate dinner at a high-end restaurant, then we hit the hotel again to rest.

The second day was mostly spent at another beach. We woke up early to visit Puka beach via shuttle. Puka was a great beach, but the sand was kind of rough. I think my relatives liked it because very few people visited it. One highlight of that day was my mom, sister, aunt, and cousins getting their hair braided. Both my mom and my sister got Dutch ponytails, while my aunt and cousins got a diagonal French braid.  We had lunch, then went swimming until 2 pm. We went back to the hotel and rested for a bit.

Mom then took me along to Citymall via shuttle. There was a very loud Zumba class ongoing, which made me look at the foreigners and think, “Is this what you think we do all the time?” We went to Watsons to get some supplies, then visited a pasalubong store to get barquillos. Lastly, we visited Mang Inasal to get dinner for all of us, then we left for the hotel.

The third day was the most eventful. We went island-hopping in the morning, then we swam in Station 2 the whole afternoon. The island-hopping experience was magical. We visited 4 stations around the sea, where the boat would drop the anchor and we could snorkel. Snorkelling was a blast! The colourful aquatic biodiversity of Boracay was so breath-taking. Fishes, sea anemones, coral reefs, and sea urchins lured the eyes of the tourists, and made them acknowledge their ethereal beauty. It made up for my frustration at my 2 younger cousins who were a bit high-maintenance.  I managed to see shrimpfish! They’re fish that swim vertically, btw.

After the island-hopping experience, we ate lunch, then went swimming at Station 2. I had a lot of fun there, truly. The waves were strong enough to knock me over, while the sand was so soft. It was a bit crowded, but that was okay. I kept on swimming from noon to sunset, so you could already imagine the very strong tan lines I had. Even as I write this, my face still sports a tan line around my eyes. We ate dinner at Dencio’s, then we went back to the hotel.

We spent the first half of the 4th day at Station 2, and the other half at the hotel. We went swimming, and ate lunch at Max’s. I was so tired from all the swimming we did since coming to Boracay, and so I took a long nap, only to be woken up for picture-taking. Then we spent the night celebrating the birthdays of my sister and aunt with a nice dinner.

We woke up very early on the 5th day because we had to be at the airport around 6. The flight was uneventful, but it felt great to come back home. (It didn’t feel as great to do chores, though, but stuff had to be fixed.)

So that’s what happened during my vacation in Boracay, I hope you enjoyed reading this.

 

Goodbye 2018

Hello everyone, it’s Garrett. Today is January 2 for me, and I’ve decided to look back at what 2018 brought me. I’ve spent the first day of 2019 cleaning the house, which was very much needed after my relatives stayed for Christmas and New Year. I also spent the first day getting to know another Kpop band, Day6. Yes, you’ve heard it, I have gotten into Kpop. Before I explain how I got there, let’s see what 2018 has given me.

I started 2018 with a new phone. Well, technically, it’s a hand-me-down from my dad who upgraded to the iPhone 7. It’s a 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus that was already showing its age, but I was very grateful for it, because I used that phone throughout 2018 for education and entertainment. I still have it now, and I very much appreciate the presence of a headphone jack. (I’m still a student, and I’m not blowing weeks’ worth of my allowance over a wireless headset.)

I attended a friend’s birthday party in January near my house, which was something considering that most of my friends are far away from me. What stood out the most was that I was the only guy friend of hers that attended. Also, I was a few minutes late, and I was nervous that I missed out on a lot of things, but it turned out that the party hadn’t even started yet. Filipino time is real. If you don’t believe me, try being on time to any gathering. Everyone will think you’re early. The party was great, I had a fun time with her friends, and the food was delicious.

February was when I had my first prom experience. To be honest, I didn’t see how asking someone to go to prom with them become the norm. All of us batch mates dreaded going to prom, but the experience itself wasn’t that interesting. The batch above us attended too, because our prom was about them passing the responsibility of being the oldest batch in the junior system to us. The food was great, sure, and everyone looked amazing in their prom attire, but my batch didn’t care much for the entirety of it. The only reason why all of us went was because we had a dance number that was going to be graded as our final exam in PE. When it came to the dance floor being free for everyone, most of my batch mates stayed in their seats on their phones while the others were dancing crazily with the upper batch. I took my chance to dance, because I didn’t wear nice clothes to sit down and be boring. When it came to the slow dance, everyone danced with everyone. No one really cared who was dancing with who. The most memorable thing I can remember is seeing a good friend of mine dancing with his scientific calculator.

March was mostly spent by my section and I preparing our class play for our English project and exam. We started on the props, the script, and the auditions. I auditioned to be one of the main characters but I wasn’t picked, so I ended up becoming one of the props men. When the script was done, we started doing run-throughs. When the props were done, we started practicing with the props.  That’s when we realised that changing sets under 10 seconds was harder than we thought. Our play had to be within 1-hour, and we had to adjust many things to make our play fit.

March was also when I had an outreach with my club. We went to an elementary school in Zambales to teach them about math. The school was located somewhere near the mountains, and the buildings needed some work. The students were very attentive to us when we were teaching, but it was my first time encountering classes where exams had to be read out loud by someone. I asked why the teachers had to do that, and they said the students had a hard time comprehending stuff written on the paper. Before we went to the school, we met an important official who acknowledged our efforts at helping the students of the elementary school in their subjects. March was also the month that my section discovered my love for dancing. One of our classmates had to create the choreography for an 80s song to be used as the entrance, and he asked for volunteers. I was one of them, and as we practiced, I always gave my all, which impressed everyone. Practicing the choreography was fun, amidst all the changes that were made to make it more interesting. I was given the title “Most Energetic” because I had the most energetic performance.

April was when we had our class play. Our play was based on the book “Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe”. The other 2 sections based their plays on “They Both Die At The End” and a Nancy Drew book that I forgot the title of. To summarise the event, most of the plays featured LGBT themes. Our batch made history by being the first batch to introduce LGBT couples in our plays. The thing is, the lone play with a straight couple got the most awards. I don’t blame the section behind the Nancy drew play; it was definitely a delight to watch, but something felt off with how the judged awarded the sections. The most memorable experience for me was the opening choreography of our play. Our play started with a main character leading the dance with Footloose. At that moment, I didn’t care about the audience, I just focused on having fun. Mom was ecstatic and said that my dance reminded her of when I was a kid. Sure enough, I saw the video and realised that I danced like I was on a sugar rush. Everyone else was chill, but I was dancing like I was going to be graded individually on a group project.

What stands out the most to me during summer was the 3-week internship that I took as a requirement for graduation. I’ve talked about this before in another post, and basically,  it was the internship that made me start commuting via the trains. The place that I worked at was great, and so were the people that I worked with, but it was so repetitive, my ADHD self couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t imagine how other people with conventional jobs could stand doing this for the rest of their lives until they hit 65.

Summer was also when I got braces. I still have them now, and I’m used to them already. I usually stick to various shades of blue or green whenever I change rubbers, although I still look awkward while smiling in them. Back then, though, I was in pain all the time especially when they put on the rubbers for the first time. Eating anything was hard, which sucked because I had the rubbers put in my mouth right before we went to Singapore for my sister’s birthday.

My sister’s birthday trip to Singapore was very enjoyable. I revisited some places that I loved back then, and we visited new places and restaurants to eat in. My sister had fun too, although I think I enjoyed myself more than she did. We found out the hard way that she wasn’t a fan of Universal Studios Singapore. Both of us loved Science Centre, and the hotel that we stayed at was also amazing. Gardens By The Bay impressed all of us, but I wish I didn’t almost fight with my mom and my sister over my power bank. All of our battery lives were short at that time, and I was the only one who packed a charger. I was a fan of Singaporean cuisine, and their transportation, but I was shocked at the prices.

August was when I started Grade 10. This year, I was separated from most of my friends in school. I only had like 2 friends in my section at first, and I felt the walls around the other friend groups surrounding me. It wasn’t that they hated me, I think it was just a result of sticking with the same people for so long that everyone ended up creating their own world.

September was when my batch presented the laws that they made for various countries that would help fulfil Sustainable Development Goal #4 : Quality Education. It’s a tradition among Grade 10 batches, and it was our project for Social Science. My team was assigned Philippines, and our policy targeted educational facilities and learning environments.

October was when I became 16. I checked exams on my birthday and got some scores back (worst birthday gift ever), but during the weekend before that, my relatives came over to celebrate my birthday with me. After I went to my boarding house from school, I treated my roommates to chicken nuggets and fries from McDonald’s.

October was also when I got my first report card for the school year 2017-2018. My grades were good, but I flunked Physics. Again. I can’t exactly remember the grades, but I will always remember what my advisor said about me in the remarks: “He’s a kind and gentle student but he’s encouraged to be more open to socialization to gain more friends.”

November was when I was truly making an effort to gain more friends in my section. That meant that I immersed myself in almost everything related to Kpop. Why Kpop, you ask? I observed my classmates to see what would help me start a conversation with them, and the answer was Kpop. Most of my batch mates listened to Blackpink, Twice, NCT, Seventeen, BTS, and other 3rd generation bands that you can imagine. So, I did my research. I searched the songs that most people say every Kpop fan should know, and I listened to them. Once I found the songs that I liked, I downloaded them on my phone, and searched more songs sung by the band or singer. Interestingly, I realised that most of the songs that I enjoyed were sung by either 1st or 2nd-generation Kpop idols. Super Junior, 2NE1, Girl’s Generation, BoA, Wonder Girls, SHInee, Shinhwa, and more captured my attention. I asked a friend for help in identifying the members of Super Junior, and we became closer over the fact that both of us were fans of Super Junior.  I still couldn’t make friends over my taste in Kpop, though, until I started listening to more 3rd-generation bands, like NCT, Monsta X, EXO, Red Velvet, BTS, EXID,  and so on. One memory that stood out the most to me was when a BTS fan complimented my ability to dance to Red Velvet’s song Peek-a-boo in 2x speed. Another one was when I showed my section that I could dance to Boombayah by Blackpink, and the last one was when I showed some classmates how to dance to Gashina by Sunmi.

December was the saddest month for me. I lost my grandma, Lola Ana, on December 2. We went to her memorial service on December 21 and 22. It was the saddest funeral I’ve went to, because my grandmother was kind to so many people, and she cared deeply for everyone. Everyone cried for her, and I think the heavens did too, because it was raining on those 2 days. I cried really hard especially when it was time for her to be buried, because the gravity of the situation sunk in deep, that I was never going to see her smile again.  I think what helped me move on was the fact that she was in heaven being rewarded for all the good deeds she did to us, and that if we were good too, we could see her again in the afterlife.

Now, it’s January. It’s the first month of 2019, and I’ve discovered a K-rock band, Day6. Their songs are great to listen to while you do your daily tasks, and the members are very talented especially when they play their instruments. Their vocals are underrated, and I’ve decided to start 2019 right by becoming their fan.

One wish that I have for 2019 is that I get to hang out more with my relatives and friends.  It’s a bit hard because both my relatives and friends are kind of far from where I live, but nothing beats the feeling of having a good conversation with people you are close with. Also, this is probably because I’ve watched too many shows that depict teenagers always having fun with their friends in various places out of school. You can’t blame me for feeling a little bit jealous at that, can you?

Anyways, It’s the start of 2019. I have yet to see everything that it has to offer, but I’m pretty excited for what it can be.

Enchanted Kingdom

The rides! The fun! The safety! All found at Enchanted Kingdom!

Me and my relatives including our balikbayan relatives went to EK. It was really fun. We rode a lot of rides, starting with Up Up and Away. You ride on a parachute, which goes around and around. There is also the Roller Skater, which is a roller coaster. The first time I rode it, I was caught on picture screaming, the second time, I clenched my teeth.

Next stop, Disc-O-Magic! You ride on the disk, which goes up and down like a U, while the disk spins around and around. I understood the reason why all my cousins were screaming when I rode it.  I can’t remember what we rode after that, but we rode a lot of rides.

We rode Space Shuttle, the ride which my mom vowed not to ride again. It pulls you up, then away you go, round the loops and the part which looked like a broken Slinky, then, you go backward this time. I swear, Kate my cousin was crying after we rode it.

We rode Flying Fiesta, where you sit on a chair, and it goes up and spins around and around, you’ll fear it’ll sling you off. My mom, according to my sister, was shaking.

There is also a ride I liked, which is called the RioGrande Rapids. You ride on a raft, which experiences bumps and waves of water, and the luckiest one gets wet in the waterfall. We all rode it three times, and I was the wettest.

We rode Anchors Away. It’s a boat which rocks back and forth so much, one second you’re weightless. My sister was raising her hands one second, the next, she ended up getting scared. Dad needs to ride this so he can see why I was screaming like a girl. It looked like it was an okay ride. But, it took me away from being okay.

I’ve ridden also the EKstreme tower. You ride on a ring that slowly goes up, up, up until you hear a click and you go down, down, down. I was kind of scared riding it, because you never know when you’re gonna fall.

There is also this ride called Dodgem, which basically means bumper cars. If driving licenses were based on how well you drove a bumper car, I would never ever get mine. I kept crashing on the walls.

I’ve ridden Jungle Log Jam, where you ride on a log that’s going on a path, then you go up slowly and down so quickly. I was caught on picture with my mouth open.

Finally, we watched the Fireworks Show. The fireworks were awesome, really. Right now I have cough which sounds like fireworks during New Year. Sort of like Katy Perry in her MTV Fireworks, except that the color of my fireworks are green and Katy Perry did not have cough.

Ekstreme tower. Going, going, going, gone!

Ekstreme tower. Going, going, going, gone!

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