#Throwback: A PNR Journey Down South (2013)

April 2013. I was actually planning to go on a mall-hopping trip in the Alabang-Las Piñas areas and I really need to consider which transportation should I take in order to get there. Of course, I could probably take the bus, but considering the horrendous traffic situation along EDSA, I decided against it. I’ve got to find an alternative way to get there. MRT-3? Sure, but that would involve a transfer from one rail line to another, and I’m not familiar with the Makati-Magallanes area (where the MRT-3 Magallanes Station connects with the PNR EDSA Station) yet.

Speaking of which, the PNR (Philippine National Railways) is the oldest railway line in the country. It began operations in 1892, as Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan. It passes through many cities and provinces throughout Luzon, reaching as far as San Fernando, La Union in the north and Legazpi City, Albay in the south. Right now, only the PNR Metro South Commuter Line (passing through Manila, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, and Muntinlupa cities, extending up to Calamba, Laguna), the reactivated Metro North Commuter Line (passing through Caloocan, Manila, Makati, and Taguig cities), and the Bicol Commuter Line (between Sipocot, Naga City, and Legazpi City in the Bicol Region) are operational as of this post.^

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Prior to riding the PNR, I’ve already ridden all three mass rapid transit systems in Metro Manila: the LRT Line 1 (passing through Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, and Pasay), the LRT Line 2 (passing through Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, and eventually, Cainta and Antipolo in Rizal), and the MRT Line 3 (passing through Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay). and all of them run mostly above ground.

Of course, what I’ll feature here is actually the second time I’ll be riding the oldest rail line in the Philippines (the first one happened a couple of months back). But yeah, this will be the first time that I’ll be riding the PNR from España Boulevard in Manila all the way to Alabang.

So anyway, I’ve already planned the mall-hopping trip in Alabang-Las Piñas areas, and I’m ready to go. Of course, I don’t know the train’s schedule yet, so I’ll probably wouldn’t mind waiting at the platform for at least 30 minutes before the train arrives.

Reaching PNR España Station, I bought a ticket to Alabang. I think the ticket I’ve bought (from PNR España to PNR Alabang) costs around 15 pesos during that time. As soon as I bought the ticket, I waited on the platform. There weren’t much amenities, particularly the restrooms since I have to walk a few blocks from the station just to take a piss at an open urinal. And since the stations aren’t fenced, there’s a possibility of a passenger sneaking inside the platform and riding the train without paying. I got back to the platform and read a manga book I’ve brought with me. And yeah, there’s some rock music blaring out of the speakers.

I don’t have a smartphone during that time, so reading a book is one of the things I do to kill some time. I got distracted from my reading when a man who is about to ride the train was asked to leave by the station personnel. Turns out that the man was intoxicated, but he insists that he’s not. He eventually left the station, at the station personnel’s urging, but I don’t know if he actually got a refund. I just went back to reading afterward.

And the train arrives. It is a locomotive train, a PNR 900 Class, I think. I spent about an hour and a half standing right beside the door, watching the sights from inside the moving train. The train itself isn’t air conditioned so I ended up getting hot and sweaty during the entire ride. But it was fun, actually. I then reached PNR Alabang Station, and that happened to be the southern terminus for the line. I got off the train and that’s where the mall-hopping took place.

Going back, however, I decided to ride the bus to EDSA-Magallanes instead and take the MRT to North Avenue Station. In short, the PNR train ride is one way. Well, I’ve yet to ride the PNR train heading northbound.

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On my recent visit to the Alabang-Las Piñas areas, while waiting for the PNR train going southbound, I noticed some changes in the PNR España Station (and probably the rest of the PNR stations as well). The station is fenced, there are some benches, as well as a restroom with three toilet bowls (but no dividers). And increased security too. There’s a digital clock installed on the platform as well. It is totally different from the PNR España Station from six years back. Well, some of the PNR trains remain the same, with little to no air conditioning and lack of lighting. At least, there are some train marshalls and a ticket inspector on board.

Right now, this is my preferred transportation going to Alabang. While I don’t usually visit the Alabang and Las Piñas areas more often, it sure was quite an adventure just riding it. I’ll definitely look forward to some improvements on the rail line.

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The 2019 Posts: First Half

2019 sounds like a promising year to me, or so I thought. Sure enough, some of the (notable) events that happened are anything but promising.

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And so, the first half of the year 2019 has passed. Let’s take a look back at some of the posts that were published during this period.

#Throwback: Online (And Downloadable) Entertainment (2006-2008)

A throwback post about listening to music and watching videos online, as well as downloading a bunch of content (mostly music files). I only featured three sites that let you do just that, but of course, two of them are no longer operational as of this post.

6×6: The Six Set Of Lists About My Life And My Interests

Written for TWATKcox’s sixth-year anniversary, this special post featured six sets of lists that tell everything about me and my interests. I managed to finish the revised version of this post within a few days, despite feeling sick and lethargic at that time due to cold weather.

Living The Otaku Life

This is where I share my fascination with anime and manga, and how I decided to embark on this awesome otaku journey. And it is through this post where I share some of my earliest experience in watching anime shows, reading manga, attending otaku events and immersing myself in the otaku culture.

#Throwback: Go For Gold… Gold?! (2014)

It was five years ago when I decided to try a Magnum Gold bar. On this throwback post, I recall that delectable moment of sinking my teeth into a luscious treat of vanilla ice cream, salted caramel, and thick Belgian chocolate and how my curiosity led me to try this (expensive) ice cream bar.

The Things I Really Hate The Most [E]

The moment I started writing this angry post about the things I hate the most, I was then having issues with my dad, as well as my uncle who made unnecessary comments on a certain Facebook post. Consider this as a straightforward version of the Kin Keihan Times post No, Never, And I Don’t Like.

Keihancarl, The Book Collector/Frustrated Bookworm (All In The Books Series #1)

The first of seven posts in the AITB series, this is where I share my experiences about being a frustrated bookworm and a (second-hand) book collector. While I become fascinated with this new hobby, I ended up buying more than I can read, and most of them are still unread as of this time. Yup, this also includes reading and collecting manga books as well, though it is separately featured on another AITB post.

The Frustrations Of A Book Collector (All In The Books Series #3)

The third post in the AITB series, this post deals with some of the problems I encountered while collecting books, from finding great but rare reads, to dealing with various factors that lead to the deterioration of some books in my collection.

Annoying Online Situations [E]

I was dealing with a bunch of likes from suspicious followers (particularly from cryptocurrency and PLR article sites) when I wrote this. Anyway, this post lists certain annoying online situations that can turn off (and piss off) some internet users. Of course, online pornography is among the annoying online situations that I sometimes deal with, and really I hate it so much that I might just call it a sight for sinful eyes.

Behind My Smile… And My Optimism [E]

The feeling of depression I experienced from attending an otaku event last May, as well as seeing a group of friends hanging out at a mall on a weekend, compelled me to write this post. This is where I reflect on my sad life despite feeling optimistic and cheerful about my everyday life.

#Throwback: The Two POF Events (2017-2018)

A look back at the first two otaku events that I attended, both held at the same venue. These events actually serve as the best moments of my (otaku) life, something that I’ll definitely cherish for the rest of my existence.

It’s Not Easy Being Peter Pan

Trying to look young and act young isn’t easy if you know what I mean. And so, this is where I rant about how becoming an adult can make things difficult for a person who doesn’t want to grow up, and the struggles I faced in trying to act and look young, despite being in my late 20s.

Some Things Come At A Later Time

Discovering talents and interests later in your life can be pretty challenging for some, but there are people who excelled in their chosen path, even if they started late. Anyway, this post revolves around the fact that there’s always a right time for everything, and that it’s not too late for you to try and experience a lot of great things in life.

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And these are the featured posts for the first half of 2019. Really, I could’ve done a better job with some of the posts, but I tend to have writer’s block from time to time so it is practically impossible for me at the moment. Also, I really need to spend more time outdoors so I can work on the stories for the upcoming literary post, as well as some of the dark-themed articles.

So what would the rest of 2019 be like? Well, there are six months left to find out. Anyway, watch out for the second part in the first week of January 2020.

Some Things Come At A Later Time

There is always a right time for everything. But what if it comes later than expected?

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I don’t know why I should be bothered by this. It’s not as if I really wanted to experience the coolest things in life as early as possible, but there are times when I can only wish it happened while I’m a little younger.

Yeah, good things come at the right time. But if it had to be this late, then why bother? It just adds to the anxiety I experienced over the years, mainly because of this thing called growing up. To be honest, it just gives me the impression that I’m forced to hold off the good things in life until it’s too late for me to experience it. Would it be nice if there is no age limit to almost everything I can enjoy?

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Discovering talents later in your life is not that unusual. There are people who only realized their talents later in their lives, like in the case of some performers, artists, athletes, and writers. So if you happened to be one of them, then you are considered a late bloomer and there’s no need to be ashamed about it.

Well, being a late bloomer certainly isn’t a bad thing. It means that you still have a chance to prove to others that you are capable of being talented, even in your old age. This is one of the perfect representations of the saying “age doesn’t matter” and I’m pretty sure most of you will agree to it. So if I decided to start writing a novel and publish it after I reached 30 years old, then I’m already part of the club.

The thought of being a late bloomer can be quite fascinating, but it can also be frustrating due to various circumstances. But despite the challenges that late bloomers have to face in discovering their long-lost talent, they are actually capable of chasing and achieving their (life-long) dreams in life. Of course, they can rise up among the younger talented folks, which should be a wonderful compensation to those who discovered their talents later in their lives.

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Some people start discovering certain interests at a certain age, especially later in their lives. After that, it simply evolves into an obsession as a way of catching up. You don’t have to be young to become a collector, an enthusiast, and a culture geek. As mentioned earlier, age doesn’t matter.

To be honest, I could have been an otaku back in college, since I’m really into anime (and later, manga). Thing is, I’m only familiar with the (limited amount of) anime shows being broadcast on free-to-air television and I’ve yet to attend anime conventions and otaku events, something that I can’t do on my own just yet. I only started reading and collecting manga during my last year in college, and I began discovering some interesting anime shows (aside from the ones shown on TV) by the time I graduated from college. Eventually, I started attending otaku events, with the first one being Pinoy Otaku Festival: Danketsu 2017. Since then, I’m trying to catch up on some awesome anime shows and read some of my growing collection of manga books, and I’m planning to do some reviews on the anime I’ve watched through the years.

Sometimes, I wonder if I was given another chance to experience something awesome in life before it’s too late for me to try. Well, better late than never, I guess.

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You’re never too old to dream. In fact, there are some people who managed to achieve their goals in life, like the inspiring stories of elderly people graduating from college and discovering their talents later in their lives.

I knew I might be able to achieve something later in my life. But sometimes, I just couldn’t wait to do something awesome and meaningful, like I really need to do this before I reach a certain age. I don’t know why, but I always believe that it’s best to enjoy the greater things in life while I’m still young. Of course, if I become a middle-aged man and had a job, then there’s a possibility that my talents and hobbies will be put on hold, and it may take a while for me to start getting interested in it again.

I know, some things come at a later time. But it doesn’t always have to be this late.

It’s Not Easy Being Peter Pan

Dear Keihancarl, how are things going for you now that you’re heading straight into your 30s? I guess you’re having quite a dilemma right now, huh?

To be honest, I’m really not looking forward to having facial hair and lines on my face, as well as adulting. But that’s how it’s supposed to be, unfortunately.

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Looking in the mirror, I always thought if there’s a way to achieve a flawless look in addition to shaving off my facial hair and making my face (and skin) smooth. I know it sounds impossible, but… if there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

Anyway, I’m really obsessed with trying to look young and not minding my age. Now that I’m moving on to a not-so-attractive phase, I had to do something. You see, time is running out and I can never look young again once I started aging horribly.

All right, so I get to choose what I want to wear every weekend. Right now, at least, I’m still wearing some cool-looking shirts (particularly anime shirts) and some jackets to pair with. But wearing the same outfit every week simply won’t do the trick as it just gets repetitive. Layered outfits are really awesome, but only when I look young.

Well, what about those unattractive facial hairs? Yeah, I do shave those hairs off every week, but over time I’m starting to get tired of doing it just for the sake of looking young. There are some procedures that kill or slow down facial hair growth, but it’s expensive and time-consuming. I’m sure that there are some people who are willing to do anything just to get rid of that unattractive facial hair on their faces, something that sheds off a few years from their actual age. So if I wanted to look like a 20-year-old, I’ll definitely need to undergo such procedures so I don’t always have to deal with that bloody shave every week.

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Well, being Peter Pan^ isn’t just about looking young, but it is actually about the inability to grow up or engaging in adult behavior.^ In other words, it deals with an adult person’s immaturity. Well, if my way of thinking makes me immature, so what?

Adult life is mostly work and little to no play. If you’re going to work your ass off all day and getting tired all night, so be it. If [romantic] relationships add up to your extremely busy life, then you can kiss your hobbies and fun activities goodbye. Well, good luck trying to balance everything, especially if you’re working overtime.

There are some things that are best enjoyed while still young. Playing video games, watching anime, reading manga, wearing cool outfits… and perhaps, hanging out with friends. Of course, it’s impossible to do these activities once you get old, and you’ll probably get ridiculed for it. Well, it’s a shame that these things come later in my teenage life, and right now, I don’t want to let go of it. Now that I’m already past my teenage years, I really need to catch up on a lot of things before finally embarking on a road to adulthood (which I should’ve taken by now).

All right, so being Peter Pan is trying to feel young, look young, and act young, up to the point that you ended up being narcissistic and delusional while trying to ditch the fact that you’re already old. It’s just like trying to reverse the aging process, but that would be like bringing life back to the dead… in other words, it’s practically, technically, and scientifically impossible.

Well, if you’re happy with your life right now, then you’re more likely to accept the fact that we all grow old and there’s nothing we can do about it. You can make yourself look younger, but you can never be young forever.

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Basic info: Peter Pan is basically a fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie.^ He is a mischievous, free-spirited boy who can fly and never grows up. He first appeared in an adult novel The Little White Bird, and later, a bunch of literary works (that were adapted into stage plays, animated films and cartoons). He is a cultural icon symbolizing youthful innocence and escapism. Perhaps that’s where Peter Pan syndrome (Puer aeternus) came from.

Psychoanalyst Dr. Dan Kiley popularized the concept through his book The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, which is first published in 1983.^ He observed that some of the teenage boys he treated have trouble growing up and accepting adult responsibilities, which continued on into adulthood.^ In my opinion, the reason why some people are like that is because of the things they wanted to experience and achieve while they’re still young, and adulthood makes it impossible for them to achieve their goals and fulfill their (teenage) dreams.

How fascinating that someone actually came up with a particular concept about people who refuse to grow up. In fact, it is becoming a growing concern that needs to be addressed.

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There’s always a harsh truth to growing up, especially for those who don’t want to grow up. If you think your life will soon be over once you’ve become an adult, then so be it. It’s okay to be immature, but make sure you don’t overdo it.

Yeah, we all go through a painful process called transition. It’s actually preparing oneself to adulthood, which is basically dealing with the changes in your body, as well as dealing with responsibilities and finding your own unique identity that you can call your own. Yup, that’s what it is.

All right, so it’s not easy being Peter Pan, but it’s not easy being an adult as well. Either way, your (aging) life will screw you both ways.

i150W: Independence

Independence really sounds wonderful to me. It’s all about freedom in so many ways.

I’ve always wanted to go independent, but there are some things I need to learn before heading to that direction. Of course, the thought of it makes me wish I have a job and start earning money in order to achieve my desired lifestyle.

Anyway, independence is basically making your own choices and decisions, doing anything without getting help from others, and not being controlled by others. Of course, you are always responsible for your own actions.

But being independent is not without certain downsides. Yes, you’re on your own. You’ve got to figure out how to manage things on your own and solving your own (little) problems in life. You also need to take good care of yourself, as there’ll be no one to look after you.

Sure enough, independence is such a wonderful thing.

#Throwback: Summer Of ’09

It sure feels weird to recall the things that happened ten years ago. especially during the rainy school break.

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During that time, I passed the battery exam, a qualifying exam that determines a student’s eligibility to continue finishing a specific academic program, and a celebration happened right after getting the results. I was really glad about passing the exam that I can finally look forward to the start of my second year in college. We celebrated our success with a few drinks and some videoke.

Prior to that, I’ve just finished writing a short story called Wasted Chances, which is divided into four parts, and published in my former blog the Kin Keihan Times. It’s a story about a 14-year-old boy named Elliot, who became an orphan after losing his family in an accident, leaving him depressed and devastated. His friend Allandra tried to convince him to continue living his life to the fullest, however, he decided to kill himself by heading straight to a speeding truck while riding his bicycle. Along with the story, I also wrote an accompanying poem, called A Life Wasted.

It was also during that time when I started wearing layered outfits, consisting primarily of my favorite T-shirts and some short sleeved buttoned shirts. I don’t have a hoodie or any other jacket yet, the ones I have back then are the rain jackets. Anyway, I tend to experiment with some of the clothing I have in my wardrobe, and sure enough, I always come up with some awesome combinations, like my favorite orange buttoned shirt and a black T-shirt. I always do this ever since.

And then there’s a moment at the pool, and later, at the beach. It seems like my weird feeling is getting intense the moment I enjoy it, especially at a fun and relaxing place like the beach. Sometimes, I think that I’m unusually cheerful during those fun moments, but it usually wears off after some time. I don’t know why, but maybe I was just being weird.

I also discovered an amazing book of poetry by an inspirational child author, Mattie Stepanek. I was amazed at his ability to write poetry, despite his condition. His poems were actually compiled into a series of poetry books. He eventually succumbed to a muscular disease at such a young age, but his books of poetry had truly inspired others.

And of course, I finally get to have my first camera slider phone, a Nokia 2680-s. I loved the phone’s stylish design, but not the limited memory. Regardless, I really enjoyed taking a lot of selfies with it, even though I actually looked kind of awkward in these shots. And I can finally start listening to my favorite smooth jazz station too and record snippets of songs that I wanted to listen and search. Of course, I also tried to connect to the internet using Bluetooth, though the connection isn’t really that good. Later that year, we managed to connect to the internet using a prepaid USB internet dongle, and eventually, through broadband internet.

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Well, these are some of the things that make my summer of 2009 truly remarkable. I was having a weird moment during that time, but I’m really glad that the rain didn’t actually dampen my cheerful mood. Perhaps I was in my highest spirits that I didn’t really care about it that much.

For obvious reasons, there’s no such thing as a summer season in a tropical country like the Philippines. We’re actually supposed to call it the hot or dry season, but regardless we managed to get away with it. Besides, the hot season is comparable to the summer season in other countries, so we did call it as such.

Anyway, that’s how I spend my summer of ’09. It’s all about discovering awesome things, a nice dip in the water, and trying out some new things. I really enjoyed every bit of it.

#Throwback: The Two POF Events (2017-2018)

It’s been a couple of years since I started attending otaku events like the ones featured in this post. It felt kind of awkward for me to attend an otaku event on my own, but I did enjoy checking the booths and buying various souvenirs, watching various live performances, taking selfies with some of the awesome cosplayers, and listening to panel discussions on various topics relating to anime, manga, and cosplay.

All right, so here are a look back at the first two POF (Pinoy Otaku Festival) events I’ve attended on this special #Throwback post. I’ll only feature my awesome (and awkward) experiences during these events, though.

Pinoy Otaku Festival 2017: Danketsu

It happened back in May 2017. I was about to head out of Fairview Terraces when I saw a poster promoting the upcoming two-day otaku event, the Pinoy Otaku Festival 2017: Danketsu. I was really excited to attend an otaku event for the first time, though I was really nervous about going there on my own.

And then it finally came. For the first day of the event (Saturday, May 20th), while I was really planning to check out the event, I actually went on a mall-hopping trip in Novaliches first and then a supposed milk tea break at my favorite cafe in Lagro. Well, I never did get to have a sip of milk tea as the cafe is closed during that time, so I decided to head straight to the event.

The overwhelming feeling actually gets intense the moment I got there. I was too shy to approach a cosplayer just to have a picture, but I managed to do it. And since my dear old smartphone doesn’t have a front camera, I really need to make sure that all of my selfies with the cosplayers would turn out great, never mind the not-so-good quality of my smartphone’s camera in poor lighting conditions.

One of the cosplayers looked awesome, and I get to have a selfie with him. However, I did the unthinkable: I did ask the guy about the name of the anime character he is cosplaying. To be honest, I was actually curious about the cosplay character so I wanted to know, but I ended up asking a wrong question. Turns out the character he was cosplaying is indeed not an anime character but it is actually something else, like a video game or an online game character. I got a little embarrassed soon afterward, but he was really nice. I managed to recover and moved closer to the stage to listen to a panel discussion about the different anime genres, focusing primarily on yaoi, yuri, and harem anime.

I bought a stuffed plushie, a character from the anime Yowamushi Pedal (Grande Road) named Jinpachi Toudou, in a Halloween costume. It nearly wiped out my allowance, since I only have a limited budget for the two-day event. The stuffed plushie is proudly displayed in my room, hung above the light switch beside the door. It is the only souvenir I’ve bought from the event.

From time to time, I left the event area and went for a little mall-hopping trip on the two other malls in the area. Of course, I always make sure to go back to the activity center so that I can enjoy the event.

I didn’t get to check much of the second day of the event (Sunday, May 21st), but I did catch some parts of the karaoke competition of anime theme songs, some live performances (particularly by Poly-V x Ivy! Musume), the announcement of winners, and some games before the two-day event ends. It was quite a bittersweet moment.

My black fleece coat and black slacks serve as my outfit for the entire two-day event, with my black anime shirt and black fingerless gloves for the first day of the event, and my olive yellow polo shirt and a cloth string that serves as a tie for the second day of the event. Luckily, I didn’t get mistaken for a cosplayer, considering that I usually dressed up like that whenever I go out, especially on certain events like this one.

Pinoy Otaku Festival 2018: Ai

I was hoping for the next POF event to be held at Fairview Terraces again. And sure enough, it is held there for the second time. Yay!

All right, so I’m in for another awesome weekend, the Pinoy Otaku Festival 2018: Ai, at the same venue. I was really preparing for it, though I never actually saved enough money to buy some awesome souvenirs. Anyway, I proceed with the plan, despite the rain during the entire weekend.

For the first day of the event (June 2nd), I left home early but didn’t head straight to the event just yet, just like the last time. Besides, I was really nervous about going there on my own (for the second time), so I really need to calm down first. As usual, I checked a few shops at a mall in Novaliches and then had a cappuccino frappe at my favorite cafe in Lagro (luckily, they’re open that time). I get to do some selfies and checked my Twitter and Facebook accounts. After that, I head to the venue.

By the time I got there, a panel discussion is about to begin. I was really interested in panel discussions, where I get to listen to the panelists’ opinions and sharing their views on certain topics, like comparing different types of media such as anime, manga, light novel, and visual novel, and the issues in the cosplay community.

I get to have some selfies with some of the cosplayers and watch various performances and intermission numbers. There were game shows too, like the Anime Game Challenge and The Otaku Singing Bee.

I only get to buy a couple of pins and a keychain as souvenirs. To be honest, it was kind of sad considering that I really want to buy some awesome souvenirs (like the anime shirts at one of the stalls), yet I can never spend too much on it. Well, that should do for now.

The second day of the event gets even more interesting. There were karaoke singing competitions, cosplay competitions and the battle of the bands, with some performances, games, stand-up comedy, auctions, and panel discussions. Of course, there were additional selfies from awesome cosplayers.

Well, I may not have a lot of budget for souvenirs, but I actually get to have a beef and mushroom bowl at Yoshinoya and a passion fruit tea burst at CoCo. To be honest, I always make sure to have enough budget for food, even if I had to exceed my intended budget.

The Battle Of The Bands is a must watch segment, as eleven bands compete on stage performing a cover of their chosen anime theme song, and either a cover of an OPM (Original Pilipino Music) song or their own composition. The competition lasted until about a quarter past ten, a little past the mall’s closing hours.

There was the announcement of winners, and another POF event ends. Just like the last time, it is quite a  bittersweet moment. I got home at exactly 11:00 PM, which is kind of expected.

I still wear my favorite black fleece coat and black fingerless gloves, but I didn’t feel like wearing my anime shirt at the moment. I wear my black zipper tie with my striped brown and white polo shirt for the first day of the event, and a plain yellow shirt on the second day of the event. Nothing special, really, though I actually got mistaken for a cosplayer on the second day. It was a little awkward, to be honest. I should have been more careful with my outfit choices.

Postscript

This year’s POF event (Pinoy Otaku Festival 2019: Asobu) is not held at Fairview Terraces for various reasons, including the number of congoers and the rental costs. Luckily, Robinsons Novaliches is there to serve as the venue for this year’s POF event, which is incredibly more spacious than Fairview Terraces’. Once again, we congoers in Northern Metro Manila and Bulacan areas were still able to attend the event without the need to travel south.

Looking at the pictures from the previous POF events makes me look forward to the next POF event. Maybe I should try doing a cosplay of my favorite anime character for at least once in my life, while I still can.


All pics are taken by yours truly, Keihancarl X. Photos from POF 2017: Danketsu are taken using LG Optimus L3 II, and photos from POF 2018: Ai are taken using Vivo Y53 (2017).

Behind My Smile… And My Optimism [E]

“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.”

Woody Allen

In every smile, there’s a darker story. And I’m no exception to this.

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At first, I seem to be fine, cheerful and optimistic as usual. Little did they knew that I was actually having a hard time coping with my unhappy life, which includes the feeling of insecurity, fear, loneliness, and depression. I never told anyone how terrible I’m feeling right now, and I don’t want them to worry about me.

I can’t imagine myself smiling all the time while I’m still reeling from the long-term effects of rejection and low self-esteem. It was back in fourth grade when I first experienced being rejected by my peers, and that was about eighteen years ago. All this time, I’m carrying a heavy burden that impedes my social skills. While I can still communicate with other people, at times it just feels uncomfortable for me to engage in small talks and lengthy conversations. Not to mention that I’m socially awkward during certain events and social functions.

Since experiencing that painful rejection, I had a hard time making friends. To this day, I am still a loner with no one to share my painful experiences and heartbreaks with. I don’t know if I’ll survive this loneliness, but right now, I appeared to be fine. Sooner or later, I’ll probably just break down without a warning.

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Fast forward 2019. Right now, I still reflect on my depressingly lonely life. I’ve become a pessimistic and cynical person, sometimes clashing with my cheerful and optimistic attitude. My life is slowly crumbling as I grew older, eventually turning into a pile of dust. Sometimes, I imagine myself living a happy life, hanging out with friends and enjoying a lot of fun activities. In reality, however, I’m just being lonely.

Did I actually realize how terrible my life is as of late? Why am I sitting in front of the computer checking my social media accounts and trying to picture myself with the so-called friends doing fun activities together? Why am I spending my time checking a lot of shops, dining in a restaurant, visiting a lot of places, and attending fun events all by myself? What’s wrong with me?

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As I listen to a sad instrumental song, I suddenly felt emotionless and would let myself be absorbed by its depressing melody. Upon switching to an upbeat song, however, I struggled to smile but somehow managed to hold back my tears. Well, it usually happens every now and then.

I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to prefer sad, depressing songs over upbeat ones. After all, there’s no reason for me to smile anymore, since there’s nothing to be happy about. Maybe I should write a depressing song that would bring out a person’s inner angst, and they’ll probably thank me or hate me for that.

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My life is like sunshine and rainfall. My happiness is like sunshine, brightening up someone’s day. My sadness is like rainfall, making them feel upset and gloomy like the dark clouds in the sky. While everyone loves a warm dose of sunshine, not everyone loves the rain.

Well, I really hate rain for a lot of reasons. First, it makes the soil muddy and slippery. Second, it creates puddles everywhere. Third, I simply hate getting wet. And of course, the dark clouds associated with rainfall can really dampen my mood, not to mention that the absence of natural light can make a person experience mood swings and depression. No matter what happens, I can never appreciate the rain for all I care.

Anyway, I still can’t imagine myself getting excited during the rainfall. In fact, it totally killed my excitement, my motivation, and my happiness. No offense to those who love rain, but where’s the fun in that? I don’t see any.

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As I grow older, my feeling of hopelessness increases bit by bit. And so, I planned something to prevent myself from experiencing this cruel fate.

Well, what choice do I have? It’ll be too late to start over, and it’s too late to try again. In other words, my life is completely over. I’ll probably live the rest of my life regretting everything that I’ve missed, or I’ll probably just end it all. Anyway, no one’s willing to lead me out of this misery so there is no point in trying to make me feel better over missed chances.

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There’s no point in hiding my emotions with a smile and an optimistic mindset, and there’s no point in pretending that I’m all right all the time. If I reached a breaking point, then it’s all over for my pretentious self. You know how some people are good at figuring out the real truth behind someone’s smile and optimism. Besides, my feeling of hopelessness is starting to get obvious, thanks to my angst-ridden posts on my blogs.

Yeah, I really don’t want to make anyone worry about me with these posts (as if anyone would), but I think I really need to let anyone know how terribly hurt I am in the end. Who knows, I might end up doing something unpredictable in the end without a warning.

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Behind my smile and my optimism is the negativity I possessed since that painful rejection back in fourth-grade. There’s no way for me to get it out of my system, so my future is completely doomed. While I’m well aware of the dangerous effects of embracing negativity, it somehow aided me in expressing my dark self.

I’ve been a loner since fourth-grade and I still managed to survive. Well, being a loner is something I’m really good at. Sooner or later, I’ll definitely reach a breaking point and I might end up feeling uncomfortable about telling anyone how I’m feeling at that point.

Will I ever survive this miserable journey? Right now, I could probably tear up my guts and die in absolute misery since I don’t really have a purpose in life. As long as I continue living in this world, I’ll end up being a burden to everyone. You know how much I struggled to continue living this cruel life without any help, and now I’m starting to give up. You can always say that it’s not the end of the world for me, but are you really sure about that?

Looking on the bright side, why would I resort to that gruesome way of thinking? Anyway, I’ll continue living this miserable life on my own until I can manage to escape from this death trap. After all, I really don’t want to die just yet.

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There’s a little bit of hope left in me. I’m trying to make the most out of it since they’re really hard to come by.

I look around, smile, and pretend that there’s nothing wrong with me. I try to think only happy thoughts. Deep inside, however, there’s still darkness in my heart, my mind, and my soul. There’s no telling if I can still hold on to this pretentious way of living… after all, I can’t really hide this feeling forever.

No need to worry, I’m doing fine. Even if I’m not.

i150W: Of Plans And Schedules

There’s always a need for me to plan everything, especially if it involves a much-awaited event.

Of course, I’m pretty much obsessed with making plans and sticking to it at all times. In order to keep things organized, I also scheduled my planned activities, even though I didn’t get to do this much.

Plans and schedules are necessary for achieving a specific goal. Say, if I decided to go out on a weekend, I usually plan my outfit, the itinerary, my limited expenses, and even the route or the kind of transport I should take. While I generally don’t schedule my activities for a weekend solo excursion (which is mostly mall-hopping in general), there are times when I feel like scheduling my trip so I can make necessary preparations before heading out.

Just imagine what happens if you don’t plan and schedule everything. You can’t achieve your goals without them.

 

Annoying Online Situations [E]

The online world can be a pretty annoying place with spammers, hoaxers, bashers, posers, and unscrupulous people crawling all over the cyberspace. Their aim is to annoy and piss off online users. What in the [online] world is going on?

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Let me get this straight, I really don’t appreciate being noticed by spammers and suspicious people. I don’t need to receive private messages from a long-forgotten friend (whom I rarely interact with) asking for likes or money. And yes, I don’t want porn taking over the internet by storm as if they’re catering to all age groups. And all that fake news that’s spreading out throughout the internet? That’s even worse than receiving bad news. The online world is pretty f*cked up, to be honest.

So there are different kinds of annoying online situations that are primarily focused on the internet and social media. All right, let me take a swipe at these scenarios.

All Kinds Of Spamming

Spamming is the worst kind of online annoyance, whether it’s the kind you received through e-mail and instant messaging, suspicious advertisements that suddenly pop-up while browsing, and all that. Anyway, it’s a form of unsolicited message which is basically advertising in general.

Back then, I received numerous spam e-mails on my spam folder, which I cleared periodically. Some of them came from that online pharmacy selling Viagra or Cialis, and some of them came from phishing websites posing as legitimate websites. Even blogs like this one aren’t safe from spamming, and I have to deal with a lot of spam comments on some of my posts before I decided to start moderating comments. I did this to make sure that none of these spam comments will appear on my posts. And yes, Akismet did a wonderful job of filtering comments, most of which are likely spam comments.

So what makes spamming really annoying? It’s obvious that the same message you received over and over again can really drive you crazy, and may force you to respond to that spammer. By doing so, you acknowledge their message and you may end up receiving more spam messages than usual. Worse, you’ll end up getting your personal information stolen and downloading malicious software in your PC or mobile devices.

My advice, ignore these messages and delete them. Luckily, there are spam filtering services (on some websites, particularly blogs) that help you filter comments against spam. Some e-mail clients had a spam filtering feature that singles out suspicious e-mails that contain spam and viruses that can do harm to your PC or mobile devices and compromise your online accounts.

False Information, Hoaxers, And Fake News

They’re pretty common anywhere in the online world. Perhaps, their goal is to spread misinformation among the gullible online users, and maybe some die-hard fans of personalities or some companies.

Yeah, I’ve already seen a lot of false information circulating on the internet, particularly fake celebrity deaths and rumors of tech companies shutting down and all that. Hoaxers will do anything to make people believe that the false information they spread is true, and it’ll be harder to control. Fake news also proliferated through social media and some blogs, posting content that is too good to be true. Unbelievable, or simply not believable?

I’m generally not annoyed by hoaxes and fake news, and I don’t usually believe in this kind of false stuff. But then, seeing people fighting over false information on the internet can really make me anxious and mad at the same time so that makes it annoying. Well, it just shows that not everything you see and read on the internet is reliable. Unfortunately, not even Google and Wikipedia.

Unfriendly And Toxic Bashers

Social media nowadays aren’t as peaceful as it once was ten years ago. Almost everyone had access to the internet and social media, so maybe that’s how friendships are formed and broken by it.

The attitude of social media users is shown on comments and reacts to posts. People clashed over some posts on social media accounts, as well as exchanging offending opinions and colorful remarks. Lately, some Millennials and Generation Z kids are getting embroiled on some online confrontation on certain issues (mostly political issues), eventually leading down to hurling insults and personal attacks against one another. And to think that social media is a great place to reunite with old friends and making new friends, well they also consider it a place to spread hoaxes and rumors and pick fights with random people.

Celebrities aren’t immune to this kind of uncivilized criticism. There are cases that some fans are lashing out on some celebrities for supporting a particular political candidate, airing disappointments against a certain establishment or person, getting involved in scandals, and trying to get people’s attention through publicity stunts. Even pictures of celebrities showing off their beautiful body are also becoming a target of hate posts from bashers as well.

Bashers are toxic internet users and should be paid no attention. Better yet, why not social media sites moderate such unfriendly posts in order for it to be a friendly place to express ourselves? Yeah, some bashers will complain about the lack of freedom of speech, but do these idiots know that even FOS has its limits?

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is the worst thing an internet user has to experience. It comes in a form of online harassment, sexual remarks, hate speech, threats, damaging and libelous posts, and doxing (broadcasting a victim’s personal information through social media sites). It is actually a hundred times worse than being bashed online. Not cool.

Hungry For Likes?

I suddenly noticed a lot of social media users soliciting likes from fellow social media users. Well, how was it? Were you able to gain enough likes for you to win the top prize in that so-called contest?

Nothing against such posts asking people for likes, but do you actually have consideration for the people you constantly annoy just for them to like your pic or anything like that? Well, let them come to you instead. And don’t you go tagging people just to ask for likes, especially when it comes to so-called contests. Even social media pages of well-known companies won’t go as far as annoying certain social media users to convince them to join their online promos.

Posers

There are some people who are playing the victim… and even posted about it on their blogs or social media accounts. If you really want others to pity you, then you should at least be in your best behavior. Berating others while asking for people’s sympathy isn’t going to cut it.

Private Messages From A Friend You Don’t Interact With

So that so-called friend of yours just messaged you unexpectedly, but instead of saying “how have you’ve been”, they’re asking for something else, particularly money. Don’t you guys have shame? Besides, you’re not even close with that person, yet you have the guts to ask for money from them? Well, good luck with that… if you don’t get unfriended or blocked.

Spoiling The Fun

Case in point: Avengers: Endgame is so extremely popular that some people tend to post spoilers on the internet (on their blog sites and social media accounts) regarding the movie. Of course, not all people are pleased with spoilers, as this ruins their excitement in watching the movie. Even some friendships end acrimoniously because of it. Even movie directors Anthony and Joe Russo asked fans not to spoil it.

Well, I’m not a fan of the movie and I’m not even a Marvel fan, but this situation somehow makes sense. I mean, this should teach moviegoers and die-hard fans a lesson about posting spoilers on their social media accounts. After all, everyone wants to watch and enjoy the film without something ruining their excitement.

One more thing, if you already watched the film or an episode of a TV series before anyone else does, please do them a favor and keep those spoilers to yourself. Show some restraint.

Bot Followers And Those Digital Marketers

There are fake followers in blogs and social media sites. Most of them are following you for no particular reason at all. Some of them actually had a blog that features posts like “How To Earn Millions” or “Guide To Cryptocurrency”, something that I find suspicious and annoying, and may scare away some of my legitimate followers.

There were a few of these fake followers on this blog that I constantly remove from the list of followers, but they always keep coming back. Now that I think about it, why can’t WordPress do something about this? Why not add a feature that blocks fake followers? Don’t you think it’s about time to incorporate that feature into this blogging platform? WordPress, are you listening?

Online Pornography And Some NSFW Content

The internet is for porn. Bullshit. You’re making the online world dirty, so to speak.

I wouldn’t mind if online pornography is meant to be kept private, like having its dedicated social media site (where everyone needs to log in just to watch porn videos) specifically for that purpose. Yet, they just keep proliferating everywhere, and some minors have access to it. Some porn sites may even have child pornography in it, enough to prompt conservative countries to completely ban access to these sites.

Before the ban on NSFW material, my Tumblr blogs were followed by a handful of porn accounts. I ended up blocking them anyway, with a look of disgust and disappointment. I know I’m not getting enough followers, but I certainly don’t need followers showing their boobs and p*ssies. Besides, I’ve had enough of those so-called invitation-to-a-private-chatroom spam messages in the past so I’m trying my best to keep them off my turf.

And regarding NSFW material, I’m divided on that one. I don’t mind seeing fanfictions or some yaoi fan art, but I definitely don’t want to see any porn on that site. Well, if PornHub managed to buy Tumblr (that I hoped would never happen) and decided to restore NSFW content on that site, then fine… just make sure they have a large space for family friendly content as not all Tumblr users are seeking for adult pleasure, including me. And make NSFW content inaccessible to minors.

Internet Fraud

Some people use the internet for their deceptive acts in order to trick people out of their money, property, and inheritance. Suspicious investment schemes, shady online transactions, counterfeit postal money orders, and romance scams are some of the perfect examples for this.

Really, if you have the guts to extort money from your victims, then shame on you for committing this deceptive act. Not only you robbed them of their hard-earned cash, but you also robbed them of their hopes. Remember, the authorities are out to get you for your fraudulent actions, no matter how well you disguise yourself online.

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I must have ranted too much since I’ve already featured numerous situations that affect online users. Seriously, I could have done better with expressing my disappointment and disgust over these online annoyances.

The internet is supposed to be an instrument for meaningful communication, real information, and helpful online services. Just make sure to use it properly and don’t use it to annoy and/or victimize other online users.