Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, 2013!

Well, I guess that’s it. Isn’t it? This year is finally behind us. I’ve never looked forward for a year to end so much as I have this year. This year was the worst year out of all the years of life. And yet a lot of wonderful things happened1; I guess it just goes to show that there is always good that will come out of a bad situation. I just wish there had been more good this year than bad.

The things I wish to never forget about 2013:

1. That time I was in the pilot episode of a reality TV show called, Come Date With Me on the W Network.

Still from Come Date With Me Canada

2. Being auctioned off at Love a Heart2. Photo credit: Chris Luckhardt.

Facebook Events | Love a Heart

3. Stage Managing for Canadian Music Week and meeting #LeBeau, Garret3.

Canadian Music Week Stage Manager

4. Stage Managing for North By North East and meeting Sloan. Sorry no pictures.
5. Getting a brand new family member, Drogo.

Drogo Sy!

6. Having a custom vine made just for me by Cyrstal Light Canada.

Facebook | Crystal Light Canada | Weird & Wonderful You

7. Assistant Stage Managing for Pride and getting to meet and work with En Vogue.

En Vogue at Pride 2013

8. Going to Cunt Cottage and having an amazing weekend away from the city.

9. Working for TIFF and getting to see some stars up-close-and-personal-like. No pictures, because I want to be able to work there again in 2014.
10. Going on a boat cruise with Shannon & the gang courtesy of Crazy Uncle. No pictures because I have no idea what I did with the pictures from that cruise. Oops.
11. Volunteering for TEDxToronto4.

TEDxToronto 2013

12. Being in a feature film that won an award at TOIndieFF2013, was part of the official selection at DIFF2013 and reviewed here.

Unhappy Happy Still
13. Working on the 48 hour film project where our team won Best Ensemble Cast.

Hashtag Bougie Productions

13. Meeting and falling in love with #LeBeau’s two daughters5. No pictures, of course. They’re too wittle.
14. Celebrating Christmas with our families and getting 2nd Christmas with the girls. Also no pictures, because I’m a spoil sport like that.
15. Being able to celeberate my birthday & the holidays with some really awesome friends. Again; no pictures, because we didn’t take a group photo and there are too many great ones to choose from.
16. Getting to keep in touch with my wifey, Christine Estima even though she’s a gazillion miles away.

Skyping with the Wifey

Last but not least…
17. Getting to do this fun photoshoot for Ford Canada with the ever-sexy, Ford Fiesta, Marie & Brock.

Date Night with the Ford Fiesta

Shopping fun with Marie & the Ford Fiesta

I’m not at all interested in re-living the past that was this horrible year, so I won’t go into any details about it. I would rather look forward with hope and excitement for what 2014 might have to bring. I can only hope that it’ll be a good year because if my own personal history has taught me anything 2015 is set to be another doozy. You see, there’s something about years that end in zeros and fives – they don’t like me very much. I had a terrible 1995, I can’t say 2000 was any better, 2005 was horrible, 2010 was another nightmare year… mind you, they were all bad for heartbreak but not much else.

Anyway, that’s a whole 365 days away. For now, here’s hoping that in 2014, I…:

  • …no longer have to worry about how I’m going to pay for groceries or laundry.
  • …can actually afford to meet up with friends at least once a week.
  • …find the energy to get off my ass and start exercising again.
  • …will visit my parents and cook for them more often.
  • …will stop worrying about things that I really have no control over.
  • …can reconnect with some old friends who I miss but have drifted away from, for no good reason. And stay connected.
  • …get to go camping twice – once with the family, and once with the man and/or friends.
  • …get to visit somewhere I have never been.
  • …write more for this blog.
  • …learn how to make a Filipino dish I have never made before, but love to eat.

And that’s about it. I had a longer list but I’ve cut it down some in an attempt to be a little more realistic with my resolutions. I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013 because at this age, I’m kind of over them. Since 2013 was such a bad year though, I needed some things to look forward to. And these are some of the more important things I’m looking forward to for this New Year.


What are you looking forward to in 2014?

  1. I met Garret this year after all[]
  2. an annual favourite[]
  3. Nope. Not his real name[]
  4. another annual favourite[]
  5. and finally having children in my life. wee![]

KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival starts TODAY!

8th Annual KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival

I’ve always been pretty proud of my Pinoy upbringing, even if I’m not necessarily loud about it. A large part of that pride is tied to the fact that Filipinos have a knack for being talented. We love the arts and the arts seem to love us right back.

Kultura is a festival that celebrates all the things that Filipinos in Canada are doing wonderfully. Every year the festival has featured all sorts of tasty food, marvellous art installations, rockin’ live music & stellar performances – all hailing from the tinubuang-bayan1. This year is gearing up to be yet another impressive week; with a strong finish at the annual KULTURA Philippine Culinary Competition featuring “Kain Kalye” which translates into ‘Street Eats’2, and also includes KULTURA Live! and the KULTURA Marketplace – all taking place at Artscape Wychwood Barns from 12-7pm.

It fills me with all sorts of pride & butterflies to support KULTURA because of all that it accomplishes and the amazing talent that is brought to the light of day through the five day celebration. Considering it started out as a small backyard art show+party, and seeing what it has grown into I can’t help but feel an immense sense of pride and hope that it continues to see nothing but success. All the founders wanted was a natural way to present the kind of work that the Kapisanan Centre was doing throughout the year. I’d say they’ve done that now, and brought about something so much more enriching and inspiring.

I would like to think that one of the contributing factors to KULTURA’s success is the fact that there are family ties rooted in the tinubuang-bayan1, but I’m sure that their passion, love and pride for Filipino culture and talent is nothing to scoff at either. Growing up in Dubai, I recall attending many events that celebrated Filipino talent and pride but they all fall short of showcasing original talent. Much like Caroline Mangosing‘s experience here, where she would only see beauty pageants3, Hawaiian & salsa dancing and Celine Dion cover artists. KULTURA was created to allow those of us4 with something original to share, a place to do it.

Kristina Guison

Artists like Tim Manalo, Kristina Guison & Julius Manapul who will collaborate with Regent Park, Cabbagetown and the surrounding neighbourhoods as part of Daniels Spectrum’s Outdoor Arts Program in Bayanihan: An Interactive Art Installation at Daniel’s Spectrum today from 11am till 7pm.

Artist Bios

Timothy Manalo was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2006, he attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University), where he received his Bachelor’s of Fine Art from the Sculpture and Installation program and was honoured with the coveted OCAD Medal upon graduation in 2010. Known for being technically skilled, Timothy Manalo has gained numerous experience within the fabrication industry as an sculptor and fabricator working in fibreglass, mascot-making and custom interior finishing companies. Most recently he has started working as an ice sculptor for an ice producing company. His true focus is on his personal art practice, which he is able to exercise in his studio located in downtown Toronto. – See more at:

Maria Kristina Guison is a visual artist currently residing in Mississauga, Ontario. She was born and raised in the Philippines. She took up Production design in Theater and Film for three years in College of St. Benilde, Philippines, then transferred at Sheridan, Trafalgar campus, Oakville Ontario for the Visual and Creative Arts 2-year program. She started being active in the Kapisanan Centre when she joined the CLUTCH Program, a 5-month arts-based program for young Filipina women that deals with the expression of Filipina identity through a wide range of multi-disciplinary arts. Kristina’s works are mostly inspired by not only the by her personal history and experiences, but also by her views on the Philippine society, specifically the relationship of the so-called oppressors with the so-called oppressed. She is amazed at the beauty and sometimes grotesque characteristic of Filipino resilience through out its long and very eventful history. – See more here.

Julius Poncelet Manapul was born in the City of Manila, Philippines.  He immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1990 where he studied Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design University graduating with a BFA in 2009.  He then took one year of residency at Toronto School of Art in 2011.  Julius attended the University of Toronto for his Masters of Visual Studies in 2011-2013. Julius cuts to create new Hybrid imaginaries and the unattainable utopian narratives of the imagined Queer happy endings, that reflect his own struggles in religious beliefs growing up as a gay young man in the Philippines and Canada.  All in all placing questions in his coming out process and his own racial melancholia.

Now for a complete look at all the KULTURA events happening this week:

Day 1: BAYANIHAN Interactive Art Installation
Date: Wednesday, August 7th
Time: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: Daniel’s Spectrum
Address: 585 Dundas Street East
Cost: FREE
Day 2: ILUSTRADOS – KAPISANAN Legacy Campaign Fundraising Gala Dinner
Date: Thursday, August 8th
Time(s): 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. seatings
Where: Lamesa
Address: 669 Queen Street West
Cost: $80 
Day 3:
(KONTRA)BIDA: A Clutch Vol. 5 Exhibit
Date: Friday, August 9th
Time: 7 p.m. – late
Where: Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture
Address: 167 Augusta Ave.
Cost: FREE
Day 4 Part 1: Tales from the Flipside: Over Time, Overseas
Date: Saturday, August 10th
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture
Address: 167 Augusta Ave.
Cost: FREE
Day 4 Part 2:
Tambay Nights featuring WilaBaliW
Date: Saturday, August 10th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture
Address: 167 Augusta Ave.
Cost: $15
Day 5: KAIN KALYE: Filipino Street Eats Competition + KULTURA Live! + KULTURA Marketplace
Date: Sunday, August 11th
Time: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: Artscape Wychwood Barns
Address: 601 Christie St
Cost: Various5

But that’s not all, the folks over at the Kapisanan Centre are doing so much great work I couldn’t fit it all into one blog post. Look out for another post later this early next week sometime this month where I tell you about the great things they’re doing for the Filipino fashion scene here in Toronto.

Hope to see you this week!

  1. Filipino for homeland[][]
  2. Kain meaning Eat, Kalye meaning Street[]
  3. one of which I actually entered and thankfully lost[]
  4. Filipinos[]
  5. depending on the food truck[]


What happens when a place that is supposed to be home, no longer feels like home. What does that mean for the person that you’re supposed to be? It’s feels extremely uncomfortable in every way being in the Philippines and I just can’t wait to go back to Ireland (or even Canada).

There are still aspects about the culture that I like, but it seems that like Catholicism I’ve decided to choose which aspects to honour and respect. I’m beginning to wonder what kind of person that makes me. And then I think that I don’t really care, because I’ve always maintained that as long as I maintain an honest soul that I will be okay. But is it still honest to abandon where you’ve come from?

Not that I’ve had much exposure to the culture itself. The most exposure I’ve gotten is second and third hand experience in countries where Filipinos have migrated to. I suppose I should’ve made more of an effort, but I didn’t and now I don’t feel like I could ever go back. Mostly because I don’t want to. Does that make me cold hearted?