The Night’s Watch

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Some nights you wish you can push back the morning. Last Wednesday night was one of them.

The event: the soft launch of news and lifestyle website Coconuts Manila. The place: Kasbah at The Fort Strip, a hip and trendy place that was, until about three beers later, an assault to my proletarian senses. The company: Interaksyon’s Boojie Basilio (not in photo), Business Mirror’s Jonathan Perez, Coconuts Manila’s Jonathan de Santos (standing), GMA News Online’s Carmela Lapeña, and her husband Manix Abrera, the noted cartoonist. Crazy bunch.

Crazy night, too: 90s alt rock music, soft lights, free-flowing booze. And girls, too. Tall, leggy types puffing coolly on their Marlboro Blacks, conspicuous even in semi-darkness. Were they really exchanging side glances with me, or was it just the drink in my hand? In any case, by the time my friends and I disbanded, roughly about 2 a.m., I was like Jack Kerouac atop Desolation Peak: drunk, blissful, without a care in the world.

Photo courtesy of Boojie Basilio.

The ballad of Oyster Boy

Photo1108These past few weeks after work, I take to drinking with the hottest, most bad-ass date I can drag from nowhere at the last minute: myself.

Not that I had a falling out with friends. They’re still out there, the flag-carrying members of the Forever Thirsty Club, all one text message away, especially if the message contains the word “beer” preceded by “free.” They’ll be in front of me in seconds, big toothy grins and all, if I want them to. I drink alone simply because, these days, I feel much more comfortable when I’m all by my lonesome.

Alone, but not lonely, I must say, as I have my Kindle to keep me company.

This started after a particularly hellish shift last January when I went to the Antipolo FX terminal near Farmer’s and saw a line of passengers stretching all the way to Ortigas Center. Since I was feeling down that time and in no mood to look at the fat old yentas and bored-looking (thus boring-looking) Singles for Christ types on the queue I decided to kill time in Cubao. In Oyster Boy near Shopwise I saw a vacant outdoor seat and a wallet-friendly price list (wallet-friendly in the age of sin tax, that is).

I’ve been an Oyster Boy regular ever since.

Of course I could also go to those watering holes in Cubao X, the go-to place of all cool people in the area. But when I’m on these solitary late-night yoga sessions the last thing I need is a hipster next table having a verbal diarrhea about art exhibits. So: Oyster Boy. They already know me there.

It’s always two beers for me. Three tops. One time I ordered four and spent the long miserable trip to Antipolo at war with my bladder. Two are enough. And then I’d leave the place feeling better than when I sat down an hour or so earlier.

Simple joys.

Full moon friends

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Taken last Saturday, at Alan’s Grill in hipster haven Cubao Expo.

From left: me and my red face; Boojie the self-described antisocial media expert; Anna May, a reluctant celebrity blogger during the heydays of Multiply; and Marky, travel blogger slash photographer slash punk rocker extraordinaire. Marky and Anna May I met through Multiply, Boojie an ex-workmate and close book/beer buddy.

There should’ve been three more heads there, Reese and Grace and Lot, three girls with awesome spunk, but they had prior appointments (two of them celebrating their name day that day). We didn’t let the absentees cast a shadow on the long overdue meet-up, though.

Over buckets of ice-cold San Mig Light and crispy pata to die for we banged around several topics ranging from politics to rants vs. the iPhone generation to — courtesy of Anna May — near-rape experiences. It was a full-moon night after all, perfect time for wild stories.

Looking forward to the next session already.

Photo courtesy of Anna Mae and her trendy Prada phone.

Bad spirits

The Thursday night group clowning around with Boojie’s (right) photobooth app.

Talk about a crazy-ass weekend. By crazy-ass, of course, I mean alcohol-fueled.

Dig this: 3 a.m. Friday found me at this gasoline station (Shell? Chevron? Fuck if I can remember) on Sumulong Highway upchucking my dinner and dignity from a jeepney’s window in full view of everyone — the driver and fellow passengers, some of whom clucked their tongues at the sight of me; the people in other vehicles lined up for their fill; the gas attendants; the assorted nighthawks who, for one reason or another, were there on that ungodly hour. It was humiliating, to say the least, and I actually felt sorry for the poor bloke who ended up cleaning the mess I left. And boy what a mess it was, I’m tellin’ ya (that I clearly remember).

Hours before that I was at my good friend Boojie Basilio‘s place in QC with office-mate Jonathan Perez. It was our semi-regular Thursday night session, only at a different venue. Bro talk and jazz music and Boojie’s version of a Long Island Cocktail washed down with ice-cold beer. I guess I had too much fun.

Actually, I was handling it pretty well at first. On my way home I was seated beside the jeepney driver and the cool mountain breeze on the highway was doing me good and reminding me of December. It was only when we stopped at the gasoline station and hot fumes assaulted my face and nostrils that my stomach did a somersault.

That was Friday morning.

Heavy metal videos kept Sidney and I entertained after listening to the new Opeth album, ‘Heritage’

Friday afternoon, after more or less five hours of troubled sleep and a late lunch, high school buddy Sidney Macalinao dropped by our place with bottles of Colt 45 and some junk food. He was there for our two-man listening party for the new Opeth album, Heritage. (Some word about it: It’s weird when one of the best death metal growlers decides he no longer wants to do death metal growls.) Sidney stayed until I kicked him out around 10 p.m. because by that time I was already tired and feeling debilitated from all the alcohol and shit and wanted nothing in the world but sleep.

Saturday I drank a lot of coffee and capped the day with Tanduay Ice because I was feeling kind of gloomy and feeling the pressure of another workweek on my shoulders. I have a lot to say about this, but I rather not bore you with it. This pathetic excuse of a blog entry has gone on long enough.

And then Sunday I woke up sick.