The Actor

A couple of months ago, Dreamboard Artists founder Donie Galigao asked me if I could write a poem for the group’s anniversary show. Since I was busy with “Reyna Elena” and”Lima”, it was exactly one week before their December 4 show when I finally sent the poem to Donie.

My inspirations for the poem are the people who supported my grand dream of staging my mom’s Palanca-winning play. “Reyna Elena” was staged at the Xavier University-Little Theater last November 10&11. We had four successful shows (3pm and 7pm on each day). Well, they weren’t SRO shows, but the performances definitely deserved standing ovations. Most of the cast members of the play have been with me since I started staging Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” (2013). Two of them are former students, both active members of the school’s drama club, which I moderated and coached. The others, I met only during the two-day auditions we held at Loreto’s Grill.

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(Photo source: Free to download, pixabay.com)

I wrote the poem “The Actor” for all of them. Because they helped fulfill a dream that I once thought was impossible to achieve. I wrote the poem for them because they are selfless performers; because they are talented. “The Actor” is for everyone who supports our advocacy of focusing the spotlight on original plays by Kagay-anons.

I am sharing the poem to everyone – artists and non-artists alike –  who wish to read it. May this poem help you realize how valued you are as an artist. May this poem help people realize how important artists are in inspiring and facilitating change. Especially change within one’s self.

THE ACTOR

When the lights turn on

All the faces I see disappear

It’s just me, the stage, and the lights.

And I begin to feel myself float

I begin to soar

I begin to reach new heights.

Every time I do this

I become a totally new person.

I become Juan,

Martin,

Luis,

Joe,

Andy.

I become somebody else.

 

But when the lights dim

I retreat backstage

Sometimes too tired to face the real world.

Up there, onstage, I could be who I want to be

Back here, I could drown.

Drown in loneliness

Drown in pain

Drown in fear

That people won’t like me for who I am.

I am not Juan,

Or Martin

Or Luis,

Or Joe,

Or Andy.

I am myself, the way I want to be.

 

There’s just one me

And I’m afraid it’s not who you want to see.

There’s just one me

Not the many faces you see onstage.

There’s just one me

I’m not the actor illuminated by the lights.

 

Sometimes, people forget me

Because all they see is who they want me to be.

But life is as it is

And the cycle continues…

 

I go up on stage

And the lights turn on again.

And I begin to float,

To soar.

I begin to become who I am not

Because it’s who the people want me to be.

 

-The Actor

By Maia Fortich-Poblete

November 29, 2016

Cagayan de Oro City

 

Kudos to all Kagay-anon artists! 🙂

 

Davao.

Last June, I was fortunate to have been chosen as one of the participants of the Davao Food Appreciation Tour. DFAT is an annual food tour organized by the Davao Bloggers Society for bloggers from different parts of the country. The four-day event gave me a chance to reacquaint myself with Davao after five years. Or rather, after living there for more or less four years.

My family and I lived in Davao from 1974 to 1976. In fact, I completed my Kindergarten and Grade 1 schooling at Ateneo de Davao, while my dad worked for Marsman Estates and mommy was with Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

I remember my sister Connie wanting to ride the schoolbus with me. I remember living with my uncle (the late Mario R. Nery) and his family at DBP Village. I remember our house on Tomas Claudio. I remember my Kindergarten graduation and eating ice cream at Merco.

But that was way back the 1970s. We moved back here in Cagayan de Oro in 1976. Davao soon became a part of my childhood memories.

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In 2010, my friends and I decided to explore Davao. We were there for four days (Saturday-Tuesday). Our weekend was spent touring Samal Island, but we still had a lot of time to go around Davao. We weren’t able to see much (as we also had to work), but the city really left a good impression on us. I especially loved the color-coded taxicabs and the drivers who were so polite.

When I went back to Davao last June, I did not know what to expect. But, I was overly excited. One reason for this, of course, was the fact that it was my first time to join a food tour. Second, I was traveling with my cousins. And third, because I was really excited to discover just how wonderful Davao was (is).

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On the bus. Traveling with cousins.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

It was not just the food tour or my newfound blogger friends. It was not just the dining places and cafes that we went to. It was the overall feel of the place. It was how Davao made me feel.

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I felt totally safe and at home in Davao. Like I was welcome and I belonged. Everyone was so kind – from the taxi drivers and hotel personnel, to the participants and organizers of the food tour. I came home to CDO with a happy heart – and I vowed to return as soon as I can.

True enough, a couple of weeks later, I rode on the bus to Davao again. This time, I traveled alone. My sister was spending a couple of days in President Duterte’s home turf to take care of work, and we decided it would be a good opportunity to spend time together.

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Traveling alone. On the bus to Davao.

It was my first time to travel on a bus alone. It was a  7-hour trip, so I thought I’d get bored or restless as I had no one with me. But, surprisingly, I felt totally relaxed and comfortable. I wasn’t afraid, too. I just read, watched some TV series on my tablet, ate some crackers and chocolates, and then slept.

My second time in Davao this year was the real eye opener for me. On my first day there, I explored the city on my own. The hotel I lived in was near Abreeza Mall, so that was the area I first got quite familiar with. When my sister arrived the next day, I was able to explore more as I moved to the condo that she rented for us – which was in the opposite side of the city.

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Yes, there was traffic on my way to Ecoland from Abreeza. But, it wasn’t of the Manila (or even CDO) magnitude. Every taxicab driver I encountered was so kind and helpful. They took only the exact amount; I had to force one of them to take the extra coins I gave him as tip.

Moving through crowds of people allowed me to experience what it really felt like being in Davao. It allowed me to see Davao in different views. It made me admire Davaoeños more.

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Going back to CDO. Alone on the bus.

I left Davao with a heavy heart because I wanted to keep on exploring it. It was the break that I needed. The relaxing treat I long promised myself. Even before I left for the bus station (and my sister, for the airport), I already knew I’d be going back to Davao as soon as it was possible. It has become quite an addiction for me.

Now, Davao is thrust in the limelight for a different reason. For a heartbreaking, tragic reason. Although I did not really go to the Roxas Night Market, we did pass by the area several times during the food tour. And the hotel I lived in was quite near the place (if I remember it right).

So, the minute I heard about what happened, dozens of images flashed in my mind. Images of people – young and old, women and children, all with fear on their faces. I could not believe what happened. Fear, anger, and shock battled inside me.

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But Davao is strong and Davaoeños are fighters. I know they will get back on their feet in no time. I know our President Duterte will not leave his fellowmen behind. I know the perpetrators will soon be apprehended and justice will prevail. Davao will stand strong.

After surviving years of darkness, Davao will not allow anyone or anything to take away its light again. Ever.

My trips to Davao were all a homecoming of sorts. It’s a journey I want to continue for years.

I will be back soon, Davao. I’m looking forward to exploring your wonders again. So, stay strong!

 

 

(For a more detailed take on my DFAT experience, click this: http://www.hofmag.com/davao-food-appreciation-tour-unique-way-experience-dutertes-home-turf/164459)

 

 

 

MY TRAVELS IN PICTURES

In July 1996, I accompanied my mom to a World Blind Union conference in Madrid. On our way back to the Philippines, we passed by and stayed in Paris and Rome for a few days.

Some of the most unforgettable places we visited include the Fontana di Trevi in Rome. We also went to the Vatican City and visited St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. It was a very memorable and meaningful experience; one that I will never forget.

I had fun at Parc Disneyland in Paris. And, of course, the Eiffel Tower took my breath away! We stayed with Filipino friends, so we were able to eat rice and adobo. The family with stayed owned the restaurant Aux Illes Philippine; the wife was the daughter of the late culinary genius Nora Daza.

I spent my afternoons in Paris walking along River Seine, simply enjoying the sights. It’s an experience I won’t trade for anything else!

Madrid will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s everything I want in a city. I had fun walking around and visiting museums. I did not have a difficult time guiding my mom, who was already 98% blind at that time, because they had facilities for the disabled practically everywhere!

I loved spending time in their side street cafes, eating potato chips and drinking Fanta. I spent more than an hour going around a 4-story bookstore. I’ve never seen so many books in one building! When everyone was having their afternoon siesta, I went out to explore the streets of Madrid.

Before leaving for Paris, my mom and I joined a tour group and explored the walled city of Avila. It was a beautiful adventure!

Finally, we also had the chance to dine at Restaurante Botin, which is said to be the oldest restaurant in the world. It is also known as a favorite dining spot of the great Ernest Hemingway. Anyway, we tried their roast suckling pig (lechon de leche). What a satisfying feast that was!

Our European trip is something I will forever hold close to my heart, especially since it was the last time I traveled with my mom. I wish to go back there one day.

Below are some of the other photos of my Europe trip. I have yet to scan all the other photos in my collection. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add them here soon!

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Tour de Eiffel.

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Arc de Triomphe.

Mommy and Charlemagne

My mom and Charlemagne.

St John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist inside the Notre Dame Church.

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Fontana di Trevi.

St Peters Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Arco di Constantino in Rome.

A building in Madrid

A building in Madrid.

A Madrid Coffee Shop

A coffee shop in Madrid.

The Walled City of Avila

The walled city of Avila in Spain. 

My Boracay Adventure In Pictures

Sorry, this is long overdue. I promised to post this some months ago, but I never had the chance to because of my then-busy schedule. Anyway, this is a peek into my Boracay adventure last May 2012. I was there for three nights and four days with my family. It was actually our (my sister and I) birthday gift to our Dad, who turned 71 on May 5th.

Everything was kept under wraps from him until about two weeks before our departure. Daddy had a grand time. We all did!

Yes, many people say that Boracay is too commercialized and tourists overflow, no matter what time of year. That was my thought, too, when my sister first told me that we were going there. But the minute I stepped off the plane, all my previous assumptions disappeared.

Boracay is the perfect place to relax and unwind. I was coming off from a work-loaded week and needed to take a break. I had allergies because of the summer heat and all the work-related stress. Boracay was the sanctuary that I needed. Not only was I able to relax and unwind, I also got to spend time with the most special people in my life. Of course, the fact that we stayed in one of the best hotels in the island was a big plus factor!

So, here are some pics from that awesome Boracay adventure with my family. There are a lot of beautiful places in the Philippines, and if you’re planning to visit some of them, please include Boracay in your list. You won’t regret doing so!

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My sister and Joseph. Strolling in Station 1.

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Boracay’s Station 1

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Yay! There’s a restaurant named after me! 😀

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This small island is actually a grotto.

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Photo op. Hubby and I.

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Waiting for the sun to set.
(My niece Sandra and Connie & Joseph.)

Boracay sunset.

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Fire Poi Dancers!

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Sandra’s steak at Valhalla.

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My Valhalla grilled chicken burger.

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Daddy’s birthday dinner @MESA, Boracay Regency. MESA is a family favorite.
(Green Mango Salad)

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MESA, Boracay Regency

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Duck!!!
MESA, Boracay Regency

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Daddy’s birthday cassava cake from MESA.

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My family. My love.

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Last night dinner. ARIA.
Nomnomnom…

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Daddy and Sandra playing Unblock Me on the iPad. Precious moments!

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Me.

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Connie and Joseph by the sunset.

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Silhouette. Sunset. Mother & Daughter. Precious.

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Boracay Garden Hotel. Where we stayed.
The room balconies.

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Murakami. My Boracay read.

Ahhhh….relaxed! Too relaxed, I fell asleep! 😀

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Hubby. Relaxing.

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One of the pools. My sanctuary.

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Aaaaahhhh….simply breathtaking!

Boracay sand.

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That’s Sandra and I in the pool. Connie’s sunbathing. (I know! Tiny, tiny us!!!)

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My Audrey Hepburn slippers.

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Boracay souvenir.

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Boracay’s airport is small, but definitely world class!

Till we meet again, Boracay!!!

Cebu.

My husband and I are blessed with incredible friends and relatives. Last 2010, one of our awesome friends/relatives gave us the chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of Dahilayan Gardens and Resort. It was a weekend to remember! In October of last year, one of my relatives helped me fulfill one of my ultimate dreams: to watch Jason Mraz live in concert. This year, the same friend/relative who gifted us with that Dahilayan Garden weekend gave us another surprise: a Cebu vacation.

The last time we were in Cebu, together as a couple, was back in 2003, when we accompanied one of my students to the National Schools Press Conference. I was able to go back in 2005 with my fellow teachers, but it was a brief weekend thing. This year, we got the chance to explore Cebu in the real sense of the word.

We left for Cebu on Good Friday evening. We did not know what to expect. We had a reservation in one of the pension houses near the Capitol Site, but other than that, we had no concrete plans. Thanks to two awesome friends, we were able to make the most of our stay in Cebu.

Larsian BBQs.

A lot has changed since our last Cebu visit. Case in point: since it was Good Friday, we were worried that we would not find any open restaurant or fast food. We were wrong. Fuente Osmena was buzzling with activity. And the Larsian near our pension house (Chong Hua area) was open. Cebu was alive on a Good Friday evening, whereas CDO was so quiet. The malls and major establishments were closed, though.

Basilica de Sto. Nino

Black Saturday started with a visit to the Basilica de Sto. Nino. I tried to recall my 2005 Sto. Nino experience, but only hazy details came out. It was a beautiful and moving experience. What made the visit more meaningful was that it was Black Saturday, and I was with special people.

Ayala Cebu

For two people so used to Greenbelt and Glorietta, Ayala Cebu was a totally awesome experience for my husband and I. The first thing I remember saying when we got to Ayala was, “I hope CDO’s Ayala Centrio will be this beautiful!” There were a lot of trees; one of the reasons why we love Greenbelt.

The Coffee Bean

And there were a lot of coffee shops we loved (Coffee Bean, Seattle’s Best…No Gloria Jean’s, though!). We just had to try them all! Hahaha! And, of course, there was Fully Booked, which is like heaven to me!

Casa Verde. Brian's Ribs.

Our awesome friends brought us to different dining places that we loved. In fact, they even gifted us with a free lunch buffet at Radisson Blu Hotel! It was one gastronomic experience! Thanks to them, we filled our stomachs with delicious dishes from Friday’s, Cabalen and Casa Verde.

Radisson Blu Buffet

We also had the chance to experience IMAX movie viewing for the first time. It was quite heavy on the budget, but it was well worth it!

Our original Sunday plan was to head on over to Camotes Island, but one of our friends had to be back early Monday for work. So we had to change our itinerary. The next time we visit Cebu, though, Camotes will definitely be in our list!

We also went to the IT Park, where we got the chance to buy some good bargain stuff from the tiangges (flea markets) there. I fell in love with the place. When we went there, it was dusk already and I saw a lot of people jogging and walking. I loved the idea of business mixing with pleasure and comfortable living.

I know that there is still so much of Cebu that we have not explored. But what made our Cebu experience especially memorable were the friends who came out and did all that they could to make it such. The next time we visit Cebu, we’re going to have to think of ways to repay them in similarly awesome ways.

Next week, my family and I will be off to Boracay for my Dad’s 71st birthday. Unlike our Cebu trip, though, Bora was planned. My sister and I have been working on it since January this year. We wanted to surprise our Dad. Although I practically used up a month and a half’s worth of my salary, I have no regrets. I know I’m going to have the time of my life with the people I love.

2006, Market! Market!

If there’s one thing that my travels have taught me, it is this: it’s not where you go that makes a trip special; it’s the people you are with and the people who helped you get there.

I Value Fitness

My sister is a professional fitness trainer and she’s one of the reasons why I started working out. Health, of course, is the number one reason. I realized the value of regular exercise in achieving good health and fitness.

I have a long way to go yet, but I’m doing my best. I try to work out everyday. I do P90X yoga, P90X Stretch, Zumba Fitness, Pilates, TRX and Kettlebell training and some cardio routines. Sometimes, if the unpredictable weather permits, I walk and jog. Yoga is, so far, my favorite as I’ve been doing it for years now. But don’t get me wrong, I’m no yoga expert! I still cannot do the complicated poses, if that’s what you’re thinking! I’m comfortable with my yoga routine, though, which is basically a mixture of routines lifted from the P90X and Alan Finger programs.

I also try my best to eat right, no matter how difficult it is. Last year, my doctor told me to  stop eating fried food because they’re one of the main contributors for high cholesterol levels. I switched to a fried food-free diet and the results were great! I try to stay true to that diet up to now, although it is sometimes difficult. I often find myself trying out alternatives.

This is just the start of my journey. I’m not even halfway through my fitness goals, but at least I’m doing something to get there. Some people may not understand why I love to “torture” (their term, definitely not mine!) myself by working out, but it’s all because they’ve never really tried doing it.  The feeling that I get after a work out is simply awesome. It’s like I’m reborn…rejuvenated! I feel lighter and more confident now. And, of course, I look better now. Nothing like the 18-year old me, but better still considering that I’m already in my 40s!

Yoga for Life yoga marathon. May 2011, Makati City.

All these I owe to my sister Connie, who is my inspiration for the fitness stuff that I do. It has made me a better person in every sense of the word. As for the times when I stumble and fall – because I still do, no matter how determined I am – I always find some reason to stand up again and continue my fight.

I encourage you to try working out. Contrary to what some people say, it can be fun. It depends mostly on your whole outlook. If you think positive, you’ll feel positive and achieve positive results.

Working out or exercising is not just about looking good; it’s more about taking care of yourself by taking care of your health. Think about this, ok? And drop me a line or two once you’ve decided to start living healthy.

Have fun!