Ahoy Guam! – Part 3: Leaving, did not leave, finally left!

As I have mentioned in my previous post, the last part of my Guam chronicles deserve an entry of its own.

On what I thought to be our last day, in which I was hoping to finally have a swim on the beach, this was what greeted me when I opened the door to the veranda.

Let the storm rage on

Let the storm rage on

I can only long for a swim

I can only long for a swim

So there was no question that I would be going out to the sea with waves that high from a distance. Although I have also noticed that a couple of Japanese tourists were brave enough to tackle the wind and water (AND THE WAVES). Some of them were even swimming in the pool. You gotta love how this cold temperature was just peanuts for them, compared to the winter they experience year in and out.

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Mindanao Mission – Day 1: Hello Mindanao!

My colleagues and I were supposed to meet at exactly 1:00 AM in NAIA Terminal 3. I had to drop by the apartment in Makati to pack my things, but as I had to do chores before doing so, Mon and I found ourselves in Pasay, then to Glorietta, and back to Pasay just to pick up my office laptop. I did my best to pack only the essentials, but as we will be moving from one place to another within a day, I had to bring as many shirts as possible. I also decided to finally buy a new luggage from SM for about Php 1,700 and hopefully it will hold up well.This shot of arrival in NAIA Terminal 3 looks verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry familiar

Sunrise viewed from the plane

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My first backpack in years

If you take a look at the things I own, you can immediately identify the absence of a backpack. But why on earth I didn’t have one? It was a very interesting story because I used to be backpack-only type of guy — well that was when I was in grade school until college.

The last backpack I owned was this red Nike backpack (which I dug out of the bowels of my closet for picture’s sake. It literally has cobwebs on the bottom):

My old Nike backpack from college

It was what I used to carry because I also had everyday training and it was very easy on the shoulders for the weight was pretty much distributed evenly. Unfortunately, when I was on my way back to UP for training with the squad and as I passed by Philcoa, a little, dirty girl stood in front of me and grab my legs. I was of course taken aback and was trying to get out of her embrace. A few seconds after when I was about to pay the jeepney back to Aldaba Hall, I’ve noticed that the front pocket was open. It felt like being doused with cold water because upon first sight, I knew right away that my cellphone (a Nokia 3230) was stolen. That was my bat signal to curse the backpack for eternity and I have gotten a big, slouchy messenger bag from American Boulevard in SM North a day after.

Tracy's leather satchel backpack from Hairspray movie

(Screencap from the movie ‘Hairspray’)

Years went by and I still wasn’t convinced that I needed a backpack. I forever associated it to being prone to stealing because a person is definitely blind when you have the bag at your back. However, when I first saw Tracy (Nikki Blonsky) carrying the leather satchel backpack in the opening sequence of Hairspray, I realized that it might have been time to reconsider having one. I think the one in the movie is similar to the type of bags that Cambridge Satchel does, and I highly doubt if they did not issue a backpack-type. But as I was already disenchanted by the price of a Cambridge Satchel, I was just confronted with the idea of having even just one backpack.

Louis Vuitton Monogram Montsouris GM backpack - Manila, PhilippinesAs the old adage goes: NEVER SAY NEVER. First of all, I’ve said before that I’m already growing out of my monogram phase. But can you resist something that suddenly comes up without a warning (i.e. a good deal) for an insanely significant fraction of the retail price? When the Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM backpack was initially released, it was sold at US$ 1,300. I see that a lot of online sellers selling it at an average of US$ 500 (and Luxury Exchange even sold one for US$ 910!) Can you fault me for getting it in a snap because the seller offered it to me for an extremely reasonable price? 😉 I bet you would even beat me to it if you can!

Kanye West with his Louis Vuitton Monogram Montsouris GM backpack

(Photo from Fashionphile)

My knowledge of Louis Vuitton, albeit limited, is sufficient, especially when it comes to monogram canvas and epi leather. However, I will not assume that I know a lot so even when I was inspecting the bag, I was secretly Google-ing “Montsouris GM” because I was not really sure if the style in that size was made. The initial search results was of Kanye West carrying the same bag from Fashionphile. Okay so the style do exist, but I needed to inspect every hardware, date code and heatstamp to make sure that everything was okay.

Louis Vuitton Monogram Montsouris GM backpack - leather straps and vachetta bottom - Manila, Philippines

I still cannot believe that I got a good deal for this bag! Of course, it was not perfect, with minor issues such as that ‘stain’ near the heatstamp by the back, and I had to clean some parts of the canvas with a damp cloth, but nevertheless it was in excellent condition. What bothers me the most, however, was the amount of vachetta the bag has, especially at the bottom. I never owned anything that has this much vachetta, and I’m afraid that it might get ruined under my clumsy hands.

ITALIA Jacket, brick skinny pants, Louis Vuitton Monogram Montsouris GM backpack - Manila, Philippines

I’m only 5’6″ and the bag doesn’t look small, so that’s a good thing. But Mon and I agree that he’s going to use it for our trip back to Seoul. (Yes, I can’t stop talking about our Seoul trip because I’m extremely excited!) As much as I want to use it there, I’d just stick with a messenger because I’ll be most comfortable with it than this bag that I’m still not used to. =)

Something bright and cheery for a wedding

Last Friday, I was resolute not to wear white because of the prospect of wearing something similar to the waiting staff in the wedding was big. So I opted for a bold color, which was really out of my comfort zone as I’m the Switzerland-type of person a.k.a. always neutral.

PS by Paul Smith Orange Linen Shirt - Manila, Philippines

While planning on what to wear, I suddenly remembered what Luna Lovegood mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about wearing sun colors to a wedding, for luck. Well, the shirt was not yellow but orange was also a sun color, right? A bus stop from Halloween might also be appropriate but I did not mind anyway. =D

PS by Paul Smith Orange Linen Shirt with flower detail - Manila, Philippines

The shirt was pure linen and with flower details from the chest up to the hem, and given that the wedding was to take place in an overcast Saturday afternoon, the breathable fabric made the garment very comfortable.

DIY red leather bracelet and Louis Vuitton Trousse - Manila, Philippines

I also saw this leather string from a little box and had a quick DIY project of making my own red leather bracelet! I also noticed that as much as I like carrying a bag, I thought that it was too much to carry one in a wedding given that most of the things I have are big. So I just opted for my trousse toilette, which was normally a toiletry kit. This reminds me that I needed a good leather portfolio for future events like this.

Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City

Stained glass panels inside Mt. Carmel Shrine

The wedding took place at around 3:30 PM in Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City. It was the last wedding for the day, and we were almost late and that was a bad thing because Jannet was one of the bridesmaids. I’ve been seeing  Mt. Carmel from LRT-2, but it was my first to be actually inside the church. It was very beautiful, especially the ten (I think) stained glass panels.

The bride walking down the aisle with her parents - Wedding at Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish

The wedding in the altar of Mt. Carmel Shrine

And there was a photo bomber behind us!

It was a very beautiful ceremony but none of us cried. It was very humid inside, though, and I did not regret wearing linen. I just can’t imagine how ‘hot’ the men in the entourage were feeling because they were in full shirt-suit regalia. I personally thought that it was a bad call to wear them in lieu of the traditional barong tagalog, unless the wedding was in an air-conditioned place.

Mon and I after the wedding, waiting to go to the reception

(My shirt was originally untucked but upon reflection,  I should have just tucked it in the first place. Oh well!)

Mon with my high school classmates Jannet, Jayel, Marcial and Alex

The reception took place in the Oasis Pavilion Garden in Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, just a few blocks from Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish. There were about 200 guests and we were seated with other guests by the 15th table. There was also a live band to provide entertainment to the people while waiting for the food (which took forever to arrive).

Waiting for the food! - Oasis Pavilion Garden

Hungry was an understatement, more of famish

On another note, my digital camera’s battery was exhausted after the first few pictures inside the reception. I then resorted to my cellphone’s crappy camera to take photos. It was fortunate, though, that the venue was well-lit so the pictures turned out relatively okay. Similarly, we were so hungry that I did not even bother taking pictures of the food!

The "Money Dance" of the couple - Wedding at the Oasis Pavilion Garden, Quezon City

The program was quite long but it was expected. All sorts of things that usually happen in a wedding took place, from the tossing of the bouquet to my favorite ‘money dance’. Upon introspection, the tradition of ‘money dance’ was taken differently by different cultures. Other cultures had this idea of the guests having a one-time dance with the bride and pinning money onto the veil. But here,  from what I’ve noticed from all the weddings I’ve attended, it was usually just the newly-weds dancing in the middle with the guests pinning money on BOTH of them.

They had several audio-video presentations, but my most favorite one was the production done inside NAIA Terminal 3 (which was evidently done at the same time of their pre-nup shoot). I did not cry during the wedding, but seeing the video did really make me tear up. :’)

With the bride, Czarina <3

They say that the bride was most beautiful during her wedding and Czarina was definitely one. But I was kicking myself last night for that camera mishap because I took a barely-passable shot with the bride using my cellphone camera. I wanted to take another one but she was obviously ‘in-demand’ and she was immediately whisked away by other guests after this photo.

Photo with high school friends before leaving the wedding reception! - Orange PS by Paul Smith, black tailored skinny pants, Lanvin belt, Prada leather laceup, Louis Vuitton trousse clutch

My camera then miraculously became alive and I was able to take a few more photos before leaving the venue. Jayel, unfortunately, had to to go mid-way the program because she had to attend a practice for some work-related Intramurals. It was funny to imagine how she brought rubber shoes and training clothes inside her bag.

Photo booth! - The Oasis Pavilion Garden

Photo booth picture with Mon

Of course, we had to take an obligatory picture in the photo booth set up by venue’s the entrance. We also had a picture taken with the whole group but Jayel took it home as an evidence for her mother that she indeed went to a wedding (a decade after and she was still like that).

As it was also Mon and I’s 4th year and 1st monthsary, we originally intended to go somewhere else and watch a movie (i.e. Taken 2). But as it was already late when the whole thing was finished, we just went home and bought food from KFC to eat with my family, who was busy watching the finals of X-Factor Philippines.

Best wishes to Mike and Czare and happy 4Y1M Mon! <3