Reverse the 614: Toronto First Impressions

“I’m on the last American exit to the northland I’m on the last American exit to my homeland I’m on the last American exit to my last chance They keep calling out my name, I shout it down” “Last American Exit” – The Tragically Hip The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is roughly three times the population of the Greater Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area. Based on … Continue reading Reverse the 614: Toronto First Impressions

Just Scratching The Surface: Toronto Pt. 2

“I have to come and see youmaybe once or twice a yearI think nothing would suit me betterthan some downtown atmosphereIn the dance halls and the galleriesOr betting in the OTBSynchronized like magicGood friends you and me” “GOOD FRIENDS” – Joni Mitchell When doing research for our trip, I found quite a few helpful resources, including the BlogTO YouTube channel and website itself. Their site … Continue reading Just Scratching The Surface: Toronto Pt. 2

The Roots of it All (Pt. II)

The most interesting thing I was looking forward to when receiving my DNA test results was something I slightly dreaded, but something I expected would not be found. With the three-hundred-plus year rule of Spain over the Philippines, one might expect that the Spanish intermingled with the natives based on all the Spanish surnames which most Filipinos sport. That is what I figured during my … Continue reading The Roots of it All (Pt. II)

The Roots of it All (Part I)

Pamilya – in Tagalog, this translates to “family.” Anyone who knows anything about The Philippines knows that a huge emphasis is put on the family. Many can relate to having many lolos and lolas, titos and titas, and a ton of cousins at large gatherings, but you were never really sure if they were blood-related or not. Your parents said they were family, and you … Continue reading The Roots of it All (Part I)

Hope I Die Before I Get Old: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

That stanza, famously sung by The Who’s front man Pete Townshend in their classic song “My Generation”, initially reflected the first-time experience I had with the slick, glamor-filled displays at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located along the lakefront in Cleveland, Ohio. But as much as that attitude drives much of the greatest music within the fuzzy confines of this musical genre, the … Continue reading Hope I Die Before I Get Old: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom – it’s a wonderful concept, but quantifying it isn’t always easy. Over the millennia, money or the currency of the moment has become associated with the concept of freedom. But unlike money, freedom isn’t doled out in round numbers, nor can you stash a little freedom underneath your mattress in case of emergency. But what you can do with your money, and what you … Continue reading Freedom Isn’t Free

Flipping On the Flip-side

A confession: up until relatively recently, I wasn’t interested much into learning my ancestry.

After all, I was born here in America, not the Philippines, and I bought into whole American melting pot ideal I saw happily sung on those Schoolhouse Rock segments. Yes, I did hope native Filipinos did well in international competitions (the 1992 Zamboanga City Little League World Series Championship and resultant scandal was particularly disappointing) and similar, but I wouldn’t be one who would betray my country of origin, my country of citizenship.

Then, there was a progression of things. A presidential election in 2016 and a distinctly growing atmosphere of anti-immigrant and anti-perceived-to-be-immigrant sentiment that is in reality not all that new. Tensions only grew when COVID hit, with a number of politicians happily going along with the blame game. Finally, it hit home for me in a personal way, when some enlightened soul told me that I needed to go back to China.

I took a long deep hard look at myself in the mirror shortly after that. Unless I wanted to go the Michael Jackson route re: lose my skin color and had crap tons of cosmetic surgery, a certain segment of my country’s population was never going to accept me as American. I figured shortly thereafter that was a good a time to dig in more deeply and explore my roots.

Continue reading “Flipping On the Flip-side”

The Track Less Traveled

Many folks I’ve encountered have a distinct tendency to romanticize the past. Everything was more pure and carefree, and times were far more simpler. Truth is this nostalgic-tinged view of times gone by is something of a crock. While there are a number of factors involved, I think the driving factor behind this phenomenon is human nature – very few people actively choose to dwell … Continue reading The Track Less Traveled

Lull-ville Lullaby (Part 2)

Call me angel and take my handWishing you could be my manBut I can tell if its truth or liesWhen you’ve got bourbon in your eyesTell me something that I don’t knowThen I dare you to prove it soI’d ask you to try this on for sizeBut you’ve got bourbon in your eyes“Bourbon in your Eyes” – Devil Doll Last-second substitutions played a role in … Continue reading Lull-ville Lullaby (Part 2)

Lull-ville Lullaby (Pt. 1)

“Take me back to Louisville,Take me ‘neath that southern sky,Long to hear the whippoorwillComin’ home, Louisville,By the railroad track.For the choo-choo train to take me back.I’m so happy I could cry!Here I come, Louisville.”“Louisville K-Y” – Ella Fitzgerald My father-in-law, who has spent a fair amount of time in Kentucky, calls The Derby City Lull-ville. I had no idea if that was a personally quirky … Continue reading Lull-ville Lullaby (Pt. 1)