Greetings from Lipa City! The city where my parents live that is 2 hours south of Manila here in the Philippines.
It’s the third post in this series and I already messed up a little bit by posting this a day late. It isn’t entirely my fault and I will elaborate on what happened a little later on.
I bought my second cake for someone in the space of 7 days for my older brother who turned 31 years young, or 25 as he likes to say, this past week. I was trying the remember the last time I actually celebrated his birthday with him in person and it might have been a couple of years ago when I visited the Philippines for the first time in almost 8 years!
Although we haven’t spent a lot of time together lately, the time we do spend together is always filled with food and technology, two things we share a fanaticism for. My future sister-in-law was also in attendance (they get married later this year) and it was quite the family gathering to celebrate the year that has gone by for my brother and to ring in the one that is to come.
To you, brother, Happy Birthday!
Since this post is a day late, it is also Mother's Day so Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and Queen of our household.
Let the updates begin.
This post is a day late. What’s going on?
Just before I left my parent’s house to head into the city for my brother’s birthday, the internet went out and the ISP informed us that it would come back on in about 3 - 5 days. I was in the middle of doing some work online when the interruption happened and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. To rub salt into the wound, cell reception is also pretty poor in the subdivision so using the data connection from my cellphone wouldn’t have been a viable option either.
I waited it out and was happily reunited with a stable connection when I arrived at my brother’s apartment in the city for his birthday. As soon as I had arrived, we were discussing what our plans were for the weekend since it was also Mother’s Day and he expressed that he wanted to return to my parent’s place to continue his birthday celebrations. Oh, poop.
We arrived late last night and, unsurprisingly, the internet was still out! I’m typing this in the notes app on my computer since I can’t connect to the blog and I will hopefully get this post online tomorrow when I head back into the city where I will spend my last week in the Philippines before going to Sri Lanka.
This whole experience has led me to realize how much of my life is dependent on the internet, and that is a little scary. My girlfriend lives three time zones away and we are heavily reliant on the internet to keep in touch. All the passion projects and paid work that I do is all 100% online. This morning my mother caught me gazing at a bush outside our window because I didn’t know what to do with myself. That's how bad it gets for me.
Luckily, I had some photos to edit and some Netflix shows I had downloaded on my phone to keep me company, but the idea of being disconnected for a long period of time seriously cramps my lifestyle and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Biggest accomplishment this week
After putting the job hunt on the back burner after last week, this past week was spent trying to get some passion projects done. I edited another vlog from my trip (any guesses on what it is from the teaser I posted last week?) and I was happy with the end result. It is not online yet because I didn’t have the bandwidth to upload it but getting another one done was intoxicating. I’m working on getting them out faster but trying to juggle everything I’m working on has made that very challenging. Honestly, I’m just happy that I got one done. Baby steps, right?
I’m going to use this opportunity to reset expectations for myself, and. in effect, all of you. On the first post of this series, I was shooting to get all of the vlogs completed before I leave for Sri Lanka on May 18th. That is highly unlikely now given the rate at which I working on them. I’ve got 4 new vlogs completed and I’m going to try my hardest to edit 2 more before I take off. Fingers crossed!
Tv shows I’m currently really into
To prevent myself from working too damn hard and actually enjoy some down time, I’ve been really enjoying some new shows that have hit the airwaves recently. Two shows that I have started getting to are The Handmaids Tale (Hulu) and American Gods (Starz), both adaptations of books that have cult followings.
Out of the two, I am enjoying The Handmaid’s Tale more and really like the character development of the protagonist, Jane, who is trying to survive in a near future dystopian United States where she has been enslaved as a surrogate mother for the powerful elite who are unable to bear any children of their own.
To be fair, American Gods is only 2 episodes in as of this writing and is still developing the rather complex mind-bending narrative it is trying to weave. I’m not 100% sold on the series yet and the next 3-4 episodes are going to make or break it for me. The name of one of the main characters is Shadow Moon! That should give you an idea of the vibe this show is going with!
Along the same lines, one show that I was happy to see return was Sense8 (Netflix). I was eagerly awaiting the new season to premiere that I binged through it all in about 48 hours a few days after it went online. This was the first time I’ve watched an entire season of a show like since the first season of Mr. Robot (USA). The show is spearheaded by the Wachowski sisters (from The Matrix fame) and centers around 8 individuals who are connected telepathically and trying to escape capture by an evil corporation.
WARNING: Minor spoilers
Out of the 8 main characters, my favorite has to be Lito (played by Miguel Ángel Silvestre), an action star from Mexico dealing with the fallout of going from hero to zero after some scandalous pictures surfaced forcing him to come out of the closet. While the main story arch centers around the unique abilities of the 8 individuals, I really loved the commentary around the social issues discussed on the show that is all too real in society today: love, homosexuality, and greed, amongst other things.
What are you working on this coming week?
Time sure has flown by because I will be in Sri Lanka when it comes time to writing the next post of this series. Besides working on vlogs and the job search, I will need to focus on packing because I can’t bring everything I need with me. I will be returning to the Philippines this December for my brother’s wedding and that will be a good opportunity to bring some more things back to Sri Lanka with me.
If I’m unsuccessful in the job hunt this summer, I will be back in the Philippines in August, which is yet another reason not to bring everything this time around. I am hoping I do land a gig and stay in Sri Lanka, but just like everything in life, nothing is given.
Another thing I’m working on this week is trying to procure a new camera - the Sony FDR-X3000. I was first introduced to it after watching a Kai Wong video (see below) and I was instantly sold. This little action camera bests the uber popular GoPro cameras in every way and it is one of those devices that I must have in my arsenal.
Optical image stabilization in 4K and a 3.5mm mic input where its biggest selling points but the MSRP of $400 for the camera alone doesn’t make this an impulse purchase. Sony Philippines is currently having a promotion to sell the device with a live viewfinder for 23,200 PHP ( about ~USD$460), knocking off almost USD$90 off the bundle's retail price. It’s a sign I tell you!
I’ve been selling off some no longer used gadgets to raise funds to buy this camera and I am down to selling just the GoPro itself. Even if I am unsuccessful in selling the GoPro, I will still be purchasing this Sony wonder camera this coming week and will be playing with it. Look for it to feature on one of my videos soon!
Favorite trip photo seen this week & the story behind it
This photo couldn't be more appropriate considering the situation I'm currently in. It was taken on the couple of days I spent on the remote island of Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia. Unlike the more developed Koh Rong island next to it, Kong Rong Samloem is a lot quieter and has fewer amenities, including, you guessed it, the internet. I spent a lot of time in the water since I could do nothing else and there was only electricity at most places for the night time. It was refreshing at first but the isolation started to get to me really quickly.
Accommodation on the island was also extremely limited and I had to shell out USD$35 a night to stay in a private hut because everything else was taken and there was only one place within 15 minutes of where I was that had wifi. I remember that I was in the middle of a project for my side gig and I did absolutely no research on the connectivity of the island before getting on a ferry over there. You can see how grumpy I got on my vlog below.
The next time I write this I'll be in Sri Lanka!
About The Author
Nico Atienza is a third culture kid who took a year off from his life to make his dream of circumnavigating the globe come true. Apart from his love of travel, he is making videos for his Youtube Channel, an award winning volunteer who knows how to travel for free using miles & points, and is also probably trying to figure out how to tell his next story.