A UGUST 2015
t x e n p u A A R YA N N S C OU T M AG . P H
FREE M A GAZINE!
I S S U E NO . 1 2
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6—MUSIC chocolate grass
20—ESSAY love wins? by kim arveen patria
8—ART + DESIGN new collages by jel suarez
10—SPORTS pro-wrestling with chris panzer
14—ESSAY a novel romance by leiron martija
16—MARKET baby girl
18—ESSAY lost in the world by romeo moran
32—FASHION zepha & chichi
38—FASHION still in translation
44—TRAVEL japanese street style
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48—BACK STORY uphill adventures
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26—ON THE COVER aryanna eperson
w w w. sco utmag . ph Group Publisher
BEA J. LEDESMA Editor in Chief
JED GREGORIO C r e a t i ve D i r e c t o r Niña Muallam Managing Editor Cai Maroket Art Director Martin Diegor Editorial Assistants Romeo Moran Nico Pascual
Editorial Consultant Ria Francisco-Prieto
Introducing the Jack Scout, a spiked coffee drink concocted by UCC 3rdwave Clockwork exclusively for Scout. What’s in it The Jack Scout is a mix of UCC’s signature charcoal-roasted Sumiyaki coffee paired with the kick of bourbon whiskey (Jack Daniel’s, thus the name.) It also has almond extract, salted caramel syrup, nutmeg, milk, and cream topped with chocolate shavings and cinnamon powder. Best way to enjoy it Paired with an original popsicle recipe by Liq My Stick (@liqmystick) that also infuses Sumiyaki coffee with brandy. Some like it dipped in their coffeeholic or eaten alone, but once it melts with the Jack Scout, expect it to pack a punch. Where to get it UCC 3rdwave Clockwork branches at Estancia Mall and Blue Wave.
Board Chairperson Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez Finance Advisor and Treasurer J. Ferdinand De Luzuriaga Legal Advisor Atty. Rudyard Arbolado HR Strategy Head Raymund Soberano VP and Chief Strategy Officer Imelda Alcantara SVP and Group Sales Head, Inquirer Group of Companies Felipe R. Olarte Sales Director Ma. Katrina Garcia-Dalusong External Relations Officer Sophie Villanueva Ke y A c c o u n t s S p e c i a l i s t Angelita Tan-Ibañez Senior Accou nt Execut ives Thea Ordiales Abby Ginaga Accou nt Execut ives Andie Zuñiga Sarah Cabalatungan Sales Support Assistants Rechelle Endozo Mara Karen Aliasas Head of Market ing and Event s Roumel Itum Marketing Assistants Erle Mamawal Jann Turija Marketing Graphic Artist Lee Caces Business and Distribution Manager Rina Lareza Circulation Supervisor Vince Oliquiano Production Manager Noel Cabie Production Assistant Maricel Gavino Final Art Supervisor Dennis Cruz FA A r t i st Jamie Larosa
For more information, follow UCC 3rdwave Clockwork on Instagram @ucclockwork.
Sittings editor MARTIN DIEGOR Photography by MARS GUISALA
Cont ribut ing Writers Leiron Martija, Mara Santillan Miano, Kim Arveen Patria Contributing Photographers Joey Alvero, Paolo Crodua, Tricia Gosingtian, Mars Guisala, Shaira Luna, Artu Nepomuceno, Cenon Norial III, Patrick Segovia Contributing Stylists Zepha Jackson Contributing Illustrator Eru Uytiongco Interns Isa Abrera, Chissai Bautista, Jovy Lim, Javi Lobregat, Louie Miller, Tisha Ramirez, April Torreja, Yani Tiangco
jack it up
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Le tte r f r o m the E d ito r We started brainstorming for this issue with the operative phrase “moving out,” that seminal moment when you decide to renounce privileged weaklingdom and start paying rent, also not until which you’ll fully understand Rent the musical. (Your younger self might have once wondered, “Why are they living miserably on purpose?”) We got to talking about everything adulthood, independence, and difficult responsibilities. Joan Didion once wrote about self-respect, saying it springs from “the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life.” Is it self-evident or a tall order? Looking for a face for this theme, I thought Aryanna Epperson would be the perfect match. When you get to meet her for the first time, she’ll show you her iPhone case, with Zac Efron with an afro on it. “Zac Afron, get it?” She’s naturally shy and her awkward humor is endearing. You wouldn’t think the same girl is an MTV VJ, while also producing her own YouTube series. In many ways she’s coming out of her shell, moving out of her comfort zone. I think going out of your comfort zone is not at all about betraying intuition, but actually the opposite—it’s being honest with yourself and taking responsibility for what you want to do and who you want to be. In this issue you’ll meet several young people who are doing precisely that, from artist Jel Suarez who has just put up her first solo exhibition, to fighter Chris Panzer who’s promoting pro-wrestling in Manila. The two can’t be any more different, but they’re both doing what they love. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to serious talk, that comes up a lot: Love. Leiron Martija’s essay “A Novel Romance,” is as much a recollection of love and heartbreak as it is a practical reading list. Meanwhile, “Love Wins?” by Kim Arveen Patria questions if Filipinos can truthfully celebrate in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the legalization of gay marriage. Kim’s essay is a sympathetic yet sound survey of political and cultural attitudes toward LGBTQ Filipinos today. Being able to publish the brave insights of young minds like Kim, is what makes me proud to do what I do.
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raw process All ears on Chocolate Grassâ€™s new sound
Interview by MARA SANTILLAN MIANO Photography by ARTU NEPOMUCENO
IT IS CHOCOLATE GRASS’S SMOOTH, SOULFUL SOUND that represents the country’s indie scene at international music festivals such as Malasimbo and Wanderland, and for four years now, at Fete de la Musique. Chocolate Grass enthuses the same audience enamored by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Miss Lauryn Hill, Esperanza Spalding, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bad Bad Not Good, and Robert Glasper. The band’s distinctive character expresses an ode to nature and the earth, and you may have spotted fans around the city wearing Chocolate Grass tie-dye shirts, made by members’ own hands on the shore of a beach in Matuod, Batangas. Limited edition. This young band, composed of core members August Wahh (vocals), Chiko Hernandez (congas), Allan Malabanan (lead guitar), and Luis Gutierrez (drums), originally included senior keyboardist Niki Cabardo, and together they produced music that was adequately harmonious, just enough to build a reliable portfolio of music that will eventually get them signed under the same management that built Sinosikat. But Chocolate Grass inarguably optimized their full potential doing away with the keyboards entirely last year, wisely replacing it with Rich Griner’s bass guitar, whose sound they describe as “heart straaangs,” and Roderick Camarce’s trumpet, “that exra cheese.” The results—more dynamic yet patiently formulated— are soothing, earthy melodies seemingly inspired by Philippine mountains and beaches. Chocolate Grass has written music cleverly so it can penetrate the international sphere, yet still sound firmly rooted to a homegrown identity. It is surreal to watch this lineup of young, technically skilled musicians play together live on stage, and the band’s unassuming charm attracts a loyal audience that helped them yield a highly successful album launch early this year, and the privilege to play various international stages. How has the music changed since the band members’ shuffle? The sound is pretty much the same. Instead of the colors of the keys, the spaces are filled by chords that are now being carried out more by the guitar and bass, complimented by the trumpet. It’s different and it’s always a challenge, but it also provides a drive to keep going at it—to evolve with this new set of people yet still stay true to the roots of the band. Everyone in the band is constantly growing, both musically and as individuals. The new lineup almost automatically called for a new system, a new way of resonating with each other. The rhythm section has become our core element, holding everything together. What’s your songwriting process like? We make it a point to come together at least once a week to hang out and jam. Sometimes the instrumental comes before the vocals, sometimes the other way around, and sometimes they both just happen at the same time. We also pitch in ideas that we crafted individually and leave them open for revisions and suggestions. All of us in the band have our own personal music projects so we all also make music individually. This adds diversity to the songwriting. Chocolate Grass prides itself in humanness and honesty. What elements inspire you to keep your music that raw? Lately, our inspiration doesn’t seem to come from just one definite source. We all draw inspiration from each other through just jamming or sharing new music, recent nature trips we get to go on, good times we spend together, and even our frustrations. Inspiration comes and goes from all corners, and channeling it is another journey in itself. What is the band currently looking forward to? Our journey, ever since we started, has always solely been based on expressing our individuality through Chocolate Grass. It’s our love child. So everyone adds hues to the whole gradient. We continue to do that for however long or wherever this journey takes us. Lately, we’ve been focusing more on writing new material and learning about new ways to connect with our audience. n
art + design
Imagined Life I and (below) Imagined Life III Collage 24.25 x 19.5 x 9 in. 2015
Collage artist Jel Suarez takes on grown-up things: decisions, independence, and some time soon, a ring.
cut to spec
By MARTIN DIEGOR Photography by CHISSAI BAUTISTA
JEL SUAREZ HAS GROWN UP, and not just in the sense that she’s now 24 and less afraid to gamble. Her first solo exhibition “Involutions” at Vinyl on Vinyl last month showed a different kind of Jel. Her new collages still had the signature dark and bizarre themes, but the subject matter has matured in ways that explored the limits of her craft. “I was completely thoughtless when I started. Most of the stuff I put out came from impulsive urges and a mix-up of everything I wanted to try,” Suarez admitted. “I guess this time, my collages went to a lot more deliberate process of searching and choosing the pieces to contrast and play with.” Perhaps, a back story: The young Jel was shy. Her elder brother used to keep the cool video games to himself, so she got busy with papers and scissors instead. Her grade school art teacher thought her artworks were great, so she continued, which eventually led to her art becoming a channel for her emotions. “I didn’t know how to defend myself, say no, or even show my disapproval for something. My art is an exercise of expression, and an outlet for curbed feelings. Musician/writer Francis Cabal described my [art] as akin to exorcism in collage form–I think it’s the best description of my works,” Suarez said. Jel resigned from her previous eight-to-five day job as an academic coordinator to focus on commissions and future projects. She’s considering this period as a break from it all to rethink her choices and how to possibly create her own path. Jel considers herself as a late bloomer into the arts, posting her work only on Instagram, until she got invited to last year’s Art in The Park where she sold out. It’s a safe bet to say that her art teacher was right, and a lot more people are agreeing. What inspired your first solo exhibit? Different things, but the works in it are results of my constant attempt to unearth the potential of my found materials. I was motivated to obscure, reconstruct, and destabilize the images and details that grabbed my attention. Involutions are physical manifestations of internal conflicts, and an attempt to provide direction and a sense of wholeness. What’s your favorite piece? The series of Imagined Life portraits. Everything I use for my collages are actual images that I cut from different sources, so to some extent my technique is limited to the quantity and
dimensions of my snipping. It was a lot of fun and cathartic to do something entirely different from my usual stuff. The nonconcrete portraits challenged me to deconstruct and conceptualize new forms. What’s the most difficult aspect of putting up a solo show? It may be a natural effort to put my experiences into art, but it’s always a struggle to deliver a narrative from it. It’s a double work explaining and translating my craft into words. I’ve always thought that all forms of art are self-explanatory and relative to the viewer. But that’s no excuse, I should know it better. So I try to read more and learn how different artists relate themselves to their body of work. After all, nobody can explain an artwork better than the one who created it. Speaking of going solo, what’s your take on millennials and independence? Would you say we’re a generation that can handle things by ourselves? Every generation is independent, and is naturally going to adapt. I think millennial is an overused term we use nowadays to explain ourselves. It starts becoming an excuse and or defense mechanism to certain issues and behaviors characteristic to our generation today. They say that millennials are the generation of trophy kids who are collectively more upbeat, eager, and overly confident individuals who are also likely to switch jobs frequently, and
art + design
Crossing Rubicon Duratran on lightbox 20 x 30 in. 2015
“I didn’t know how to defend myself, say no, or even show my disapproval for something. My art is an outlet for curbed feelings.” be part of the unemployed mass. I believe we’re facing the same issues as with the previous generations, we just heighten them because the truth is we’re part of a narcissist generation who feels entitled all the time (or maybe not haha.) What principle or mantra do you value most? Never wait for life to happen. What’s the most interesting book you ever cut up for a collage? What was it about? Probably my hardbound of compiled 1940’s-60’s photography magazine. It was my greatest source of material for black and white photos and surreal imageries. Who are your top three favorite artists? Local artists Nice Buenaventura, Carina Santos, and Jacob Lindo. What songs do you listen to when creating art? I love putting Wild Nothing, Real Estate, Beach Fossils, DIIV, Ducktails, etc. on loop while working. Until when do you see yourself doing art? It’s something I want to share with my future child! So probably just forever. What’s next for Jel Suarez? I don’t have a date for them yet but surely joining new shows, putting out a zine, and getting married! n
Venus Collage 17.25 x 12.5 in. 2015
heart of a lion Chris Panzer is one of many bold young men and women chasing a dangerous dream: establishing pro wrestling—really—in the Philippines. By ROMEO MORAN Photography by ARTU NEPOMUCENO
ASK ANY YOUNG, IMPRESSIONABLE BOY around the ages nine to 12, or maybe a little girl who hangs out with boys a lot, what they want to be when they grow up, and chances are they’re not going to say “professional wrestler.” Ask him or her if they’ve ever seen any wrestling on TV. Ask them if they’ve ever tried the moves at home after seeing them, especially right after they specifically warn you not to try it at home. Maybe no one wants to seriously consider it as a profession when they’ve grown bigger and faster and more muscular, but everyone has seen how majestic and pompous and amazing and awesome the whole act is, so they try it. They try it, it’s a little cool, then it hurts, then they grow out of it. They grow up to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, finding all sorts of nobler pursuits. But not some people, and certainly not Chris Panzer. You see, there is a group of crazy boys and girls around these parts who have decided to do something about the lack of professional wrestling here in the Philippines. We haven’t had any since the early ‘90s, when RJ Jacinto—the RJ Jacinto—put up a local ripoff of what was then the WWF; cartoony, campy, and rather hard to take seriously, despite people fondly remembering it. Realizing that no respectable wrestling trainer from the United States, Japan, or Europe, places where the sport blossomed from, would see the Philippines on the map and think of it as a hotbed of able bodies to train, they decided to jumpstart a scene themselves. Thus began the Philippine Wrestling Revolution. And Chris Panzer, a moderately tall, dashing, and athletic young FilipinoAmerican who’s billed from Detroit, is but one of the passionate souls who are part of the fledgling young wrestling company. “Before I even heard of PWR, I and [fellow PWR wrestler] Mayhem Brannigan already had a plan of getting into pro wrestling,” Panzer said. He’s suiting up for this shoot, lacing up his boots for a quick match he and a fellow
wrestler are putting on just for our camera. We are at this gym in Bicutan, a humble three-storey building where everyone trains only every Friday and Sunday due to the pressures of real life. It is home to a boxing ring battered by the slams and falls and watered by the sweat, tears, and occasional blood of both the athletes and the hopefuls of PWR alike. “The problem was where? Our original plan was to go to the US and get trained there, which was a long shot,” he continued. He speaks softly and quietly, but with a deep, easygoing voice. Wrestlers are supposed to be loud and energetic by nature, but he’s not that “on” right now. “But there was no holding us back; we were all set to chase the dream. Luckily, we were browsing through Facebook and found this group called PWR. Then that group decided to train for the first time. So we excitedly came up with our ring names, and the rest is history.” That first group trained for months and months under the tutelage of those who knew what they were doing and had chanced upon the group, including one of its current standard-bearers, Bombay Suarez. After deciding they were ready— regardless of whether some of them actually, objectively were—they ran their first official show September last year in the old Makati Cinema Square, because it was cheap and had a boxing ring where people trained boxing (surprise), muay thai, and karate. And that first show was a modest success, drawing in around a hundred people, which is better than they expected—many small wrestling shows in the States would be lucky to draw half that. On that show, Panzer lost his first-ever match to the guy who would become his biggest rival so far, Ken Warren, who played a millennial that lived his life almost completely on social media. (Warren’s finishing move was called the “Wi-Fi,” short hand for “Winning Finish.” Panzer would get his win back on the next show later that December.)
The childhood dream is based on glory. Wrestlers get a high not only from the physical exertion in the ring, but also when the whole thing comes together perfectly.
Photography assistant IGNACIO GADOR
Wrestlers take on each other in practice matches during training to keep their in-ring skills sharp.
The rundown mall, home to watch repair shops, ukay-ukays, and pirated DVD hawkers gave the show a gritty, underground fight club feel that nobody really minded. In fact, they embraced it; Filipino wrestling fans were just glad to see live wrestling with their own two eyes. All they had to go on before was TV and the occasional live show by the WWE, the world’s biggest wrestling company, when they were in the area, and even that had stopped for a while. You can imagine, then, the delight crowd felt at the spectacle, from the first chord that rang to the very last count of the referee. It’s the same kind of glee they felt when they were children, when wrestling on TV was one of the most important shows in their lives. Even if it wasn’t all perfect, the raucous crowd cheered with every strike that landed true and every slam that hit hard. In the perspective of a guy who looks on from the front row, it was a collective fantasy being realized. Some of us were living vicariously through these daredevils. “The PWR fans really spoil us because starting from the first match, from the very first move we make, until the main event, they are electric,” says Panzer, emphasizing the word electric. “And they don’t fade there, you’ll see them all over PWR’s social media accounts including the pages of the PWR wrestlers themselves!”
And the sacrifice is not just physical—it can be mental too. Relationships and families have historically been destroyed by a wrestler’s dedication to his craft, and this isn’t any different, even if the Filipino culture places the highest of importance on family, second only to God and a step higher from videoke. Some wrestling schools will ask aspiring wrestlers if they’re ready to grind their teeth and face terrible living conditions. “Here’s the deal, when you decide to pursue pro wrestling, understand that when you’re starting out, you have to invest everything. [One sacrifice is that you won’t live] the normal life of going to a normal job,” Panzer explains. He works gigs from time to time as a commercial model, and you can spot him on a TV ad that’s running right now. He used to hold down a real job, but the hours got too exhausting for him to focus on wrestling. “The training to be a pro wrestler itself already takes a lot of time and effort. You need to be consistent and persistent because the gap of you making it is very small, which is another gamble. From start to finish, you need to be all in. You’ll burn a lot of money, miss a lot of birthday celebrations (maybe your own), you’ll beat your body up from hitting the gym and training in the ring. “This neverending cycle will burn the shit out of you physically, mentally, and even emotionally. Unless you’re on crack, you can’t do all those things all at once. That is the life. I have a lot to lose, but that is the ultimate sacrifice for the dream.” If that sounds a little too much just for a childhood dream, you’re right. What drives a man, It is. Countless people however, to actively beat have irreparably damaged himself up for a sport themselves doing this, that’s all scripted and and a few have even died. predetermined? (There’s Someone did once say, no point in trying to hide the and I paraphrase, that truth. We know you know you have to have a screw what the deal is.) loose to really want to be “I would say the a pro wrestler. (Not that it’s adrenaline rush of always a bad thing.) performing in front of a The childhood dream very lively, pumped up is based on glory. Wrestlers audience and living the get a high not only from dream,” Panzer explains the physical exertion in when I ask him. “Also, going the ring, but also from to training and seeing all when the whole thing just the guys bust their asses comes together perfectly. off, and eventually seeing You can see it, feel it when their hard work pay off. I the crowd goes nuts for have never seen this much something awesome, such determination on a dream as when Panzer hits his that isn’t chased by many. finishing move—a badass That gives me a lot of hope, The one thing outsiders don’t realize and appreciate about pro wrestlers is their unbelievable conditioning. jumping kick to the face and just being in that ring called the Panzerschreck, won’t compare to any other feeling. You’ll just keep coming back for more!” like he does today on his dance partner for the camera. That alone is worth And there’s a reason why not a lot of people chase this dream. People the pain and exhaustion. will have that dream, usually as soon as they see one of their favorite wrestlers jump off the top rope and land on their opponent and think, “That looks cool!” but few will chase it. As mentioned earlier, there aren’t that many opportunities around here. And it also hurts pretty bad. Wrestlers get What if the childhood dream doesn’t work out? Panzer has studied the injured pretty often; it’s hard not to when you put your body through so much lives and careers of those who’ve come before him, and he understands physical punishment for a living. (WWE wrestlers usually perform 3-5 nights that not everyone who takes up the boots becomes a huge superstar. What a week every week with no offseason. You only take a break when you’re if all this sacrifice, this pain, this slow, gradual suicide doesn’t result in fame injured.) All of them report lingering body pain, even after retirement. and wealth and success? That means there is a lot of sacrifice involved, and Panzer—as well as “There’s always a job out there. Wrestling is the main priority here. I’ll everyone who signs up for this shit, not just him and the guys in PWR—is fully have plenty of chances for a job, and only one shot for wrestling.” aware of those risks. We take the last shot and finish. Panzer finally gets to relax. He’s sweaty “It really takes a toll on our body,” he says. “As early as now, we feel and shiny all over, and his muscles and bones are crying out in agony. He those injuries and some of them don’t heal 100% anymore. It doesn’t get checks out all the photos we took and becomes happier when he sees how any realer than that! You will have a very hard time getting out of bed in the awesome they look. He was already enthralled by the whole idea of this, morning. There are things that I thought I’ll never be able to do, such as and now he’s happier, despite everything. Despite the compromises he must jumping off the top turnbuckle. And I’m still aiming to top that. All I can say make in his life. is: I’ll put my body on the line.” And why not—after all, who wouldn’t be happy with a little immortality?n
Wrestlers enter into an unspoken agreement to put it all on the line when they begin on this path. The best make the biggest sacrifices.
a novel romance
LEIRON MARTIJA reads his own hearthache in Fitzgerald and Superman.
ROLAND BARTHES SAYS, at his most quotable from A Lover’s Discourse, that “the lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.” Fatal, but true. For those of us who like to live on the emotionally dangerous side, love consists mostly of leaving everything on the table and waiting. A Lovers Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes (1977) Barthes’s most famous book is a list of vignettes discussing what it means to love and be loved. The author uses both his own philosophical thoughts and excerpts from literature to explain “a lover at work.”
Batman: A Death In The Family (1989) In this controversial graphic novel, readers were given a choice to decide the fate of Jason Todd, the second Robin. It remains famous both for it’s shocking conclusion and the moral questions it raises.
and grants her a serum that temporarily gives Lois Kryptonian powers as a birthday present, just to show her what it’s like to be him. Lois of course takes the offer, and I imagine it’s because she can’t wait to be in the same shoes Superman is in. The surprising thing is she turns out to be more of a hero than Superman could ever be. When the evening ends, Lois Lane returns to her normal self, but they walk away from that dream of an evening closer, more fulfilled, as if they needn’t longer wait for anything else. We could turn to wiser, more damaged souls to give it a name. F. Scott Fitzgerald, But Barthes perhaps fails writing from This Side of to see what happens after Paradise: “They slipped briskly she says yes, after promises into an intimacy from which prescribe, after those delicious they never recovered.” passions that once coursed A memory: it must have through your veins begin to been Year Two, somewhere wear themselves out. The near its end. We were at the alternative is that perhaps movies, and though it was Barthes recognizes this as dark I could feel her smile as well; that despite all that, all she rested her head on my we can do is wait. Both views shoulder, hands entangled are equally errifying. like knotted earphones lost in In college, and for quite a the darkest recesses of your while in law school, I collected bag. My mind departed from comic books. The stories are the movie, some blockbuster I more like encyclicals, and I can’t even remember anymore. think us fans collected them I recall being content, and more for the rituality that being sickened with the idea X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga (1980) This celebrated series focuses on comic books introduced to our of contentment. Was it love? Jean Grey merging with the mystical sad, miserable, and awkward Of course it was, so naturally Phoenix Force in order to save the lives. While these heroes were it stunted growth, hindered an universe, and then her inevitable fall often depicted as invincible, open ending, given me a finite and corruption. my favorite stories were the label I would have to live with. ones with heroes falling I don’t find anything wrong with apart—Batman failing to save Robin in A Death In thinking that way. A relationship with someone The Family, The X-Men in The Dark Phoenix Saga who refuses to meet you halfway is a relationship losing Jean Grey to the Phoenix Force and its evil with a road block. Imagine the precedence you set. dementia, everyone in Watchmen questioning By the start of Year Three you start counting their heroic relevance in a world that remained the arguments, keeping score, observing how vastly indifferent to violence and hatred. In these the relationship takes a life of its own. In one stories, heroes could do nothing but wait for the particular argument, she will say terrible, painful sky to clear. things, and so will you, both of you blinded by an So naturally I loved All-Star Superman, penned irrational anger that can hardly be controlled. Next by Grant Morrison with art by the phenomenal thing you know, you’re waiting on the sidelines for Frank Quitely. This story, in particular, I loved the smoke to clear to see if there is anything left because of the first storyline featuring Lois to save, and while you had months, maybe even Lane. Superman takes her up to the Fortress of years to wait for a beautiful blossoming of fulfilling, Solitude, reveals that he’s slowly dying of cancer, enriching love, you have nothing but seconds now
Watchmen (1987) This seminal tale by comics legend Alan Moore chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by their human failings. Along the way, these characters question their actions and morality while being stalked by an unknown enemy.
to prepare for the impending disappointment— heartache. Cheap, dull, painful heartache. Etta James, God bless her beautiful soul, singing now to the tombstone of your dead, mangled, misshapen relationship: Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home; Swing low, sweet chariot; Coming for to carry me home. “That was always the risk,” my best friend tells me. That’s a fact, but it didn’t make sense to me: “Certainly I wish I wanted less, especially when it came to love. But it’s just so important to me. How can it not be important to people?” Is it a fault that I always seek out women who are always larger than life—women who turn out to be greater heroes than I could ever be? Am I at fault for wanting that? For being willing to wait for that? Was it so utterly demanding for each romantic experience to be as fully threshed as the relationships I’ve had? Hemingway now, from The Snows of Kilimanjaro: “He had never quarreled much with this woman, while the women that he loved he had quarreled so much that they finally, in her hand for the wedding always, with the corrosion of that must surely come, the quarreling, killed what they ready to run at a moment’s had together. He had loved too notice, looking to the distant much, demanded too much, prairie waiting for someone, and he wore it all out.” something, anything. Modern literature might be I found a poem, by Thomas a bit heavy, but comic books Moore, with the same title as always tend to end at the most that painting, which likely took ideal endings; they fly off into inspiration from the former. the sunset, the camera zooms This part is particularly good: out of the Batcave with the raucous cheers of laughter, New hope, may bloom, Wonder Woman carries Steve And days may come, This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920) in her arms and kisses him. of milder, calmer beam, Fitzgerald’s debut novel is a witty Things like that. But when you But there’s nothing half so and romantic tale that examines the wear happy endings around sweet in life lives and moral choices of post-World your neck, does it ever turn into As love’s young dream. War I youth. It serves as a spiritual predecessor of his now classic, The a leash? Five years, ten years Great Gatsby. down the line, when things like It’s a little sickening bills and Your Mother and Ohhow the sum of all human My-God-Who-Is-Shes get thrown between both of experience has led us to this highly marketable you, how do you Hero your way out of that? For idea of love —a young dream to which no other joy the rest of us who don’t date Kryptonians, what could possibly compare. The price, of course, is do they give us in lieu of some super-serum for an waiting. I can’t tell you definitively why we choose overnight hero experience? For us human beings the people we do choose to love. But they come in who don’t live within comic book panels, nothing to our lives deliberately, without warning or notice, but the painfully sagacious words of Fitzgerald or Kryptonian promises in a vial. For a moment we’ll Hemingway, all broken souls, what’s in waiting? fly and have super strength and get X-Ray vision What are we waiting for? and invincibility, and when the high leaves us we I stumbled upon a painting because of end up falling in love. Do they come back? Do they the Google Art Project: Love’s Young Dream leave us? Do we fetch new flowers before they (1887), by Jenna Augusta Brownscombe. Look at arrive, if at all? We, being lovers who dream, all we our naïve heroine, here, holding her skirt, flowers can do is wait. n
All-Star Superman (2005-2008) This twelve-issue reboot of Superman returns him to his pre-eminent place as the greatest of all superheroes. The stories are both respectfully classic and excitingly contemporary.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway (1936) Often regarded as one of Hemingway’s best stories. This haunting short story juxtaposes the beautiful snowcapped peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the bitter relationship and tragedy of a married couple.
baby Photography by PAOLO CRODUA Styling by JED GREGORIO feat. STEFFI
BABY-G watch, Time Depot
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CLAIRE’S eye mask
GUERLAIN meteorites compact, Rustan’s Beauty Source
H&M bikini bottom
LUSH Happy Happy Joy Joy conditioning hair perfume
MILKY phone case, Miuxin
girl MIUXIN pleated skirt (miuxin.storenvy.com)
OS ACCESSORIES belt bag
SATIN ISLAND by Tom McCarthy
SUNNIES STUDIOS sunglasses
TOPSHOP key ring
TYPO porcelain LED light
lost in the world When a devastating catastrophe hits and you need to find your way, ROMEO MORAN suspects that the majority of you will perish without Waze. Illustration by MARTIN DIEGOR
LIKE ANY BOYFRIEND, I’ve made my girlfriend cry many times. I’ve done so for a litany of reasons, but none strike me as much when I look back as the time I made her cry for getting lost. We love to eat steak, you see, and we love nothing better than to eat steak that’s pretty cheap. One night, we went to eat at this relatively cheap steak place in Makati, a couple of arteries away from the heart of its red-light district. A couple of co-workers invited me. I’d decided to go on a whim, because I need to kill some time before I had to meet a friend near the area, and because steak. Steak. So I told her to go the usual way: take the Burgos jeep along Kalayaan and get down at the Korean eyeglass shop. Walk up the street, turn right at the Korean barbecue place, then turn left. It’s right there, it’s hard to miss the circular white sign with the thin type. (If anyone from that restaurant is reading this, you can thank me with a free steak and tartufo for two.) Some time later, when I’m already sitting down with my friends, she doesn’t arrive at the time she should arrive after saying she’s near. She texts and says she already got down at the eyeglass store and walked to the barbecue place. She turned right and went left, just like I said, but she couldn’t find the restaurant. I think to myself, “How is this possible? We’ve been here more than twice!” I call her and walk out of the restaurant so she could see me if she was on the same street. I try to guide her, but I can’t help but raise my voice and be annoyed because I’m indignant she should know where to go. After much annoyance, I finally find her and berate her a little bit for getting deer-inthe-headlights lost, even with simple directions. (I have a bit of a short temper when it comes to directions.) She starts crying and threatens to go back home. I don’t want her to, so I apologize, hug her, and offer her tartufo, on me. The lesson here is twofold: 1) boyfriends (and girlfriends), learn to maintain your chill, and 2) navigation is a dying skill. Navigation, as defined by Mr. Webster, is the “act, activity, or process of finding the way to get to a place when you are traveling in a ship, airplane, car, etc.” Navigation is reading a map, figuring out which is
north, south, east, and west. In this era, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean finding the North Star in the sky and walking straight on ‘til morning, and it certainly doesn’t (always) mean asking around for directions. Yeah, the stereotype is real, at least in my case. If other men say it’s a matter of pride, then hell fucking yes it is a matter of pride. We can and should be able to get from point A to point B, a good percent of the time, without needing the input of a third party. It’s supposed to be built-in to our DNA. Sometimes they’ll just muddle up the instructions you already have, or sometimes, they won’t even know anything. (As you can see, I have the highest trust in people.) I was raised to know where to go and how to get somewhere if I’d been going there for more than twice. I learned, in my college years, how to get somewhere by both consulting a map and asking what forms of public transportation to ride. I learned that it’s okay to get lost, because you discover different routes that way. I learned how to look at a city—once I’ve traversed its entire space, found its boundaries, and traced its whole road network—in three dimensions in my mind. I have friends who wouldn’t know how to get around, and worse, wouldn’t know how to read a map. There’s a maps application that comes in every smartphone, and its default view is the traditional map, but they wouldn’t know how to use it like their ancestors would; they’d rather just let the Maps app spoonfeed them directions or use Waze instead. Even my father, who could and would normally figure out his way on his own, now uses Waze. (But mostly to figure out where it’s least traffic.) People have become too reliant on the gentle, soothing voice that tells them where and when to turn. Last year, 64.5 million people were using Google Maps. When Google bought Waze in June 2011, it already had 50 million users. According to a 2013 study on Statista, the number of people in the U.S. who relied on their phones for navigation jumped from 9.61 million in 2009 to a whopping 66.3 million in 2012. That’s a 589.9% increase over just three years. And that’s only in the U.S.—what more the rest of the world? And why wouldn’t people use this technology? After all, isn’t necessity the mother of invention, and isn’t technology made to simplify a life that’s tough in many ways? If an app can get you to your next appointment or to your next class on time or earlier, is it not great? Should we not make our lives easier? Well, technology breaks down. I’m not saying it happens all the time; I’m just saying it happens. There might come a time when shit hits the fan and you may not have access to your mobile data. You might not even have your phone. A zombie apocalypse or the dreaded West Valley Earthquake might happen in our lifetime, you might get cut off from everything, and you must walk through completely new terrain. What happens then? Will you get lost because you haven’t learned how to use the sun to point yourself in the right direction? But I’m not saying you should go that deep. I’m not even saying you should go earn a merit badge in orienteering. All I’m suggesting is that you learn to use a lot more of your spatial awareness, that you learn to use it outside of places in your daily routine. That you learn how to actually read a map, and place yourself using the information on a map. That you not get lost if and when technology fails you. There’s a certain kind of swagger that comes with knowing how to get somewhere, especially if it’s through a road not always traveled. But you can’t get that if you don’t do your homework. At the end of the day, though, the best way to learn how to navigate is to take every occasion you get lost as a moment to learn from. Just last weekend, the girlfriend and I set out for a certain cafe-slash-restaurant in Legazpi Village. Consulting the trusty Google Maps, I saw it was along Dela Rosa, pretty close to Greenbelt, so I used the Ayala Museum as my point of reference. We met up at Greenbelt and exited the mall from Greenbelt 5, in the part where a corridor connects it to Greenbelt 1. I thought that was the street, and we went up and down in the middle of a hot June morning, not being able to find it. She usually proposes to ask a nearby security guard when she suspects we’re getting lost, and this time I relented. Turns out the restaurant was on the other street a block away. That day, navigating – 0, asking for directions – 1. n
The lesson here is twofold: 1) boyfriends (and girlfriends), learn to maintain your chill, and 2) navigation is a dying skill.
Cocoon Digital painting 2 x 3 ft. 2013
After same-sex marriage is legalized in the US, KIM ARVEEN PATRIA questions if Filipinos can celebrate, too. Featuring art by ERU UYTIONGCO
ON JUNE 27, I woke to a deluge of greetings from friends. It wasn’t my birthday. “Congratulations, Kim. Love won for you today,” one of the cryptic messages said, prompting me to fight the urge to sleep in on a weekend and find out what I had missed. The answers were waiting for me on Facebook, where I have admittedly been getting most of my news lately. My friends, it seemed, wanted to be first to tell me that humanity has taken a step toward making the world a better place for those who, like me, fall in love with people of the same sex. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), that fateful day, struck down federal laws that prohibited same-sex marriage, making it legal in all of the country’s 50 states. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community celebrated the victory all over the world, including the Philippines. “Take me to the U.S., please,” a friend said on Facebook, tagging his boyfriend. He was a broadcaster, so his post drew hundreds of likes and comments. Other friends quoted Obergefell v. Hodges, Obama’s heartfelt speech, or gay Americans awash with joy. Almost all of them ended with the hashtag #LoveWins. My boyfriend had been asleep amid the hullabaloo, I figured, and he had been avoiding Facebook for weeks. I took it upon myself to break the news to him. Between the time I sent my text and his reply, I counted: We had been dating for six months. It was too early for a couple to think about marriage, but screw that. The U.S. is not the world When his text came, it read, “Good for American gays.” One minute he was a man I almost considered marrying that fine Saturday morning; the next, he burst my bubble with the truth. The U.S. is not the world, and the fact that same-sex marriage is legal there does not make it legal in other places, including the Philippines. The U.S. was not the first country to make same-sex marriage a national policy. A month before the SCOTUS ruling on Obergefell, Ireland made it possible for its citizens to marry someone of the same sex in a referendum. That victory was celebrated, too, but not as widely as the SCOTUS win. Facebook, for example, did not have the rainbow filter for profile photos when Ireland voted yes to same-sex marriage. #LoveWins did not trend that day as well, even when Ireland made history by becoming the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. After the SCOTUS ruling, Facebook I am inclined to attribute the introduced a tool that lets users sweeping impact of the SCOTUS ruling to put a rainbow filter on their profile pictures. Facebook CEO Mark the fact that, whether we want to admit Zuckerberg showed support, too. it or not, we Filipinos look to the U.S. not only for the latest fad or the new trend, but also for the most relevant policies. The U.S. is not the world, indeed, but the world is watching the U.S. But another possible reason the SCOTUS ruling speaks to Filipinos more than the Ireland referendum is procedure. The LGBT community and its supporters here perhaps concede that if the question of legalizing same-sex marriage were put to a popular vote, they are not likely to win. Legislation and jurisprudence definitely seem more feasible. Philippine case In fact, a young lawyer filed a petition before our Supreme Court in May last year to lift Family Code limitations on marriage. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III claims that the 1987 law repealed provisions on marriage in the 1949 Civil Code, which does not limit marriage to be between man and woman. The petition argues that the Family Code is not consistent with the Constitution because it violates the fundamental rights of gay couples to decisional privacy (their right to make personal decisions without government or anyone else’s interference), their right to start a family, and their right to equal protection. It awaits comment from the Office of Solicitor General, which defends the government in court. Falcis, who identifies as gay, asked the high court in his petition to think of the “millions of LGBT Filipinos all over the country who are deprived from marrying the one they want or the one they love,” and who are “deprived of the
bundle of rights that flow from a legal recognition of a couple’s relationship.” Falcis insists that it is wrong to say that a favorable decision on his petition would benefit only gays and lesbians. A Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage would allow a person to marry a partner regardless of gender. It would mean that samesex partners are on equal footing with opposite-sex partners before the law.
Filipino LGBT groups held a Pride March in Luneta, a day after the SCOTUS ruling. Photo: @xtina_superstar on Instagram
Rights issue Nothing in the present law stops Filipinos from living with a same-sex partner. So what’s the fuss about? Falcis says it’s about marital rights and benefits. “While rich LGBTs can go abroad and get married or change genders, poor and middle-class LGBTs have no option but to remain unmarried,” he says. Paul John Peña knows what Falcis is talking about. Peña, a marketing specialist, and his longtime partner Rhex Santos, a bank executive, were wed at ceremonial rites in Tagaytay last March. They flew to California less than a month later to be legally married—at least in that U.S. state. The SCOTUS ruling thus directly affected the couple. “Our marriage in California is now legal in all 50 states. Still getting goosebumps for this big win, America! Whilst not yet legal in the Philippines, at least there is hope as we remember this day in our fight for marriage equality,” Peña posted on Facebook on June 27. He knows, however, that not all same-sex couples are as lucky as him and his partner to afford a wedding abroad. In the first place, not all samesex couples get the same support from family and friends. That’s why Peña and Santos support moves to obtain locally what they had to fly to the U.S. for. Peña says he is willing to file a petition before the court with the Filipino Freethinkers, which advocates secularism. In July, the group sought individuals who would apply for licenses to marry same-sex partners. Their requests will surely be denied, but that’s the point. They want to illustrate how Filipino LGBTs are deprived of their rights.
“Marriage is about building a family. A family composed of two individuals—a single mother and her daughter, a lolo and his apo. Gay couples can love and grow old together.” —Jesus Ricardo Falcis III, lawyer
The Church’s hand The Filipino Freethinkers is not the only group making moves with regard to the Supreme Court petition for same-sex marriage. Two days after the SCOTUS ruling, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released a statement asserting that marriage “is an indissoluble bond of man and woman.” This is not the first time rights advocates in the Philippines found themselves in a tug of war against the powerful CBCP. The elite group of men in robes were the biggest opponents of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, which they equated with murder of the unborn child; and divorce, which they said was against Church dogma.
By now you might be asking: why are we talking about the Church when the issue is legalization of marriage? Falcis, Peña, Tani, and all the Filipinos they are standing for are not asking that the Church change its position on marriage, let alone declare that same-sex unions are also sacred. All they ask is that it be deemed legal. Unfortunately, despite the principle of separation of church and state, the Catholic Church wields political power here. Some 80 percent of Filipinos are subjects of the pontiff in Rome and the bishops in the Philippines. Every presidential candidate serious about winning seeks the blessing of the Church. It will not be enough that politicians espouse secularism, because even those secular of thought but cling to seats of power would still be ruled by the Church. While I pray that someday, not all Filipinos will easily be swayed by frocked men in pulpits, I doubt that the heavens will answer my prayers soon. The fact that the CBCP has spoken against the SCOTUS ruling seems to have emboldened smaller church-backed groups to make more radical moves. As I write this, throngs of supporters of the Archdiocese of Lipa’s Commission on Family and Life are planning a “solidarity march against same-sex marriage.” Cecille Devilla, head of the commission, actively campaigns for the July 24 event, where supporters are asked to wear red. “Defend life and traditional marriage—the union of a man and a woman, not gays and lesbians. No to LGBT,” she said on her Facebook wall, which is public, and is thus free for all to read, quote, and share.
Not a religious issue False propaganda is how Falcis describes statements similar to what Devilla and her group issue. “The petition only seeks for the legalization of same-sex marriage under the law, or civil marriage. Each Church or religion is free to follow its own beliefs and not marry same-sex couples if they don’t want to,” the lawyer says. He also criticizes the opinion that same-sex marriage will destroy the family. “We do not seek to destroy it, we seek to strengthen it. Marriage is about building a family. A family composed of two individuals—a single mother and her daughter, a lolo and his apo. Gay couples can love and grow old together,” the lawyer says. Gay Marriage - Results by Continent What Falcis and the Filipino LGBT 100% community lament today is a problem Pope Francis himself Support identified in his Oppose Apostolic Exhortation: 50% the tendency of the No vote Church or its followers to “feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or 0% remain intransigently faithful to a particular A study shows that majority of Catholics worldwide Catholic style from oppose same-sex marriage, with the exception of the past.” the United States and Spain. Source: Bendixen & Catholicism is Amandi International not superior over all other religions, and it is not the religion of all Filipinos. There is the remaining 20 percent of the population who may be non-Catholic Christians, Muslims, or even without religion. What’s it to the Church that two agnostic men want to marry? Some are arguing that such an arrangement should be called a union, not a marriage. But the law must not concern itself with such trifles. The Roman Catholic Church may try not to, but I will not be too popish to tell them that. Thankfully, Filipino churchgoers seem to be getting the point. A survey published by Bendixen & Amandi in 2014 showed that the ratio of Filipino Catholics who oppose same-sex marriage (84 percent) is smaller than the ratio of the same population who think that the Church should not marry people of the same sex (92 percent). If those numbers are to be believed, some 8 percent of Filipino Catholics are fine with same-sex marriage so long as such marriages are not performed by the Church. That ratio is small, but it serves as a shining beacon of hope that Filipinos—even Catholics—are beginning to
understand that same-sex marriage is not a religious issue. A means to an end In the first place, I think that the legalization of same-sex marriage is not the end-all and be-all of the LGBT struggle. In fact, I think it is valid to ask why LGBTs now fight for the right to marry at the same time women fight for the right to divorce, but that’s a topic for another day. For me, same-sex marriage is only a step toward acceptance. In its statement against same-sex marriage, the CBCP said, “No bishop, The Empire State Building lit in priest, deacon, religious or lay leader rainbow lights in celebration of actively serving the Church will ever New York City Pride Week, two days after same sex marriage was demand to know of a person his or her legalized in the US. orientation before serving the person, as Photo: ESBNYC.com The Lord Jesus commands all his disciples to serve. All will continue to find welcome in the Church.” If we play the Church’s game of semantics, we would find that they used “orientation” in their statement. They didn’t say they don’t care whether you’re a man sleeping with another man. What they said was that they don’t care whether you’re a man who is inclined to sleep with another man. “The Church does not discriminate against our brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction, they are still part of the family and they are welcome in the Church,” a spokesperson to Archbishop John Du of Palo once said. “What the church denounces are the acts, which the conscience dictates are transgressions against our Lord.” Falcis finds this line of thinking preposterous. “Gay people can’t be gay and not love a guy,” the lawyer says. “It’s just like being hungry. You can’t be hungry and not eat! People who tell gays that they’re ok and accepted as long as they don’t love other guys (hate the sin, not the sinner) are really telling gays not to live!” I would have found it funny, too, if it didn’t hit too close to home. What’s stopping me from laughing is how painful it was to hear my mother say she’s trying to accept that I am gay, as long as I don’t bring a boyfriend home. “Should you get yourself a boyfriend, don’t flaunt it on Facebook,” she told me. Freedom When I complained to her about feeling lonely, my mother said, “You should really find a girlfriend.” The same mother declares that she understands me for who I am, and that she loves me nonetheless. It’s a lie we LGBTs so commonly hear among from our families, friends, and peers. “We love you, but…” It is easier to comprehend rabid Catholics who condemn gays to the fires of hell. At least they tell it to our face instead of sugarcoating it. They are honest to us, and we will be honest, too, when we curse them. You cannot, on one hand, claim that you accept a person for being gay and on the other, stop the person from loving someone of the same sex. Gayness is not a physical state, but an emotional one. We are gay not because of the clothes we wear, the way we talk, or the way we walk, but because of the people we love. Telling us that we can be gay but cannot love whom we choose to love is not acceptance. It is merely tolerance. Worse, you are not even tolerating the fact that we are gay; only the fact that we identify as gays. I don’t claim to speak for all, but what I want from you is acceptance—not merely of the fact that I am gay, but of the fact that love cannot be forbidden. The question here is not whether marriage equates to love. It is also not whether heterosexuals want LGBTs to get married. It is definitely not whether God wants them to. It is not even whether gay couples really want to get married. The question is whether gay couples have a choice. n
Kim Arveen Patria, 25, currently works for a senator’s office. He came out through an online column in 2014, but he hopes that someday gay people no longer need to do so.
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26 on the cover
of pepper Aryanna Epperson is the patron saint of successful introverts, socially awkward people, and cat girls. Interview by ROMEO MORAN Photogrpahy by PAOLO CRODUA Styling by JED GREGORIO
on the cover 27
28 on the cover
“I guess even though I’m up there, and sometimes my knees are shaking like crazy, or I’ll do the ner vous laugh, or I’ll forget something to say... I tr y to make it a thing in my mind, that it’s all in my head.”
THERE STANDS, in a bare corridor deep in the reaches of the LRI Design Plaza’s immaculate halls, a fake plastic tree. Nobody knows why it stands there and decorates this almost-forgotten part of the building. It’s not very tall. It is rooted in front of a towering air conditioner that feeds it with the coldest continuous blast of wind as though it needed oxygen to live. The tree is adorned with little white fairy lights that shine brightly all day long, as though it were there to illuminate a quiet park. Plastic trees don’t have spirits in them like real trees do, but it’s almost like it’s inviting people to sit and stay under it and talk, and melt away some imaginary chill that discourages conversation. So naturally, this spot is where Aryanna Epperson and I found ourselves talking to each other. Sitting on the hardwood floor, right in front of the aircon’s icy breath, great on this hot summer day but undesirable anytime else. For this, of course. A little about myself, but mostly about her. You see, the 18-year-old MTV VJ/YouTube personality/events host/ blogger/college student/cat girl—she’s either a multi-hyphenate or a multislash...ate, depending on your preference of punctuation—has just finished a shoot with us. A shoot that, dare we say, might just be the culmination so far of everything she’s gotten into and tried to be on her own. The young recognition not of being the daughter of a well-known stylist and photographer (her parents are teammates, not meal tickets) but of a bold and honest willingness to try and share with the world the things she loves by putting herself out there. Out in the wicked and treacherous, yet fulfilling, landscapes that are local TV and the Internet. YouTube, especially, because you know how people can be on the site. Anyway, she just finished enduring an afternoon standing in front of colored backdrops, posing for the camera in clothes she might never wear, not in real life, not on the shoots she does for her blogs (I know, I just checked aryannaepperson.com), until now. And I just finished enduring a sleepy afternoon waiting for her, sitting on the edge of my nerves because I don’t know how to talk to this girl; not because I don’t know how to talk to girls, but because I know little about her. I don’t get MTV Pilipinas on my cable at home. Or maybe I do, but I just watch too much History Channel. I haven’t read a single entry on her blog or seen a single YouTube video of hers until it was time to prepare for this interview. (Dudes are free to follow her stuff online, as she tells me later, but we’re not her target audience.) It’s okay, though. We get through our respective afternoons with the help of pizza and Mojos.
We found this little spot here because I wanted to talk to Aryanna as we walked around. There’s something inherently awkward about trapping someone, after you’ve met them for the first time and likely might never see them again, in some corner for (at least) a 20 to 30-minute interview. You might see them again depending on the places and the happenings that
you go to (like me and my homie LA), but you might never talk to them again the same way you talk to them now. And you know that you have this time with them, that they have to agree to spending that time with you, because you’re both just doing a job. How awkward is it to talk about your life with someone whom you do not know, someone who must record it and immortalize it and put it all out for the world to see? So I proposed to have our conversation in transit, hoping that the motion and the effort we put into walking and actively trying to not run into a wall might get rid of whatever jitters there might be. But we found the magic tree in the middle of the hallway. We had nowhere left to go, so I decided we sit here, ending up falling in the exact situation I’d hoped to avoid, but we’d walked a bit and it’s a little less awkward, so I guess it’s okay. Plus, the tree looks really, really nice. Are you socially awkward? I ask Aryanna. “It depends,” she answers, drawing out that last syllable. On what? “On the person,” she says. At times she talks slow, especially when she’s feeling her way through a thought, but there are times where she talks fast, vomiting all the words at once because she’s trying to Usain Bolt her way through an idea that she is either embarrassed or excited to have. This might be one of those times it’s the former. “There are some people who are just great at conversation. There are other people who are just socially awkward that I’m like, ‘I don’t know...’ I’m just, I get all clammed up. And I’m really trying now not to be awkward and make conversation and talk like a normal human being, but there are just some moments where are like... *sighs* I’m so bad at small talk sometimes that it’s like hmm, okay. And you just mutually know that you’re awkward, and you don’t know what to do! So I just live in the awkwardness.” This is exactly what we’re doing—living in the awkwardness. I’m bad at small talk, she’s bad at small talk. But, again, we have a job to do, so we must endure it. You know what, I say, after we finish this and we go back upstairs... “It’s gonna be so awkward...” Let’s not make it awkward. “Okay! It’s agreed.”
But how does an awkward introvert, as Aryanna Epperson describes herself, become an MTV VJ and an events host? It’s easy to talk while doing videos in front of a camera, because only the camera is judging you and cameras can’t really judge you—the hard part is uploading it to the internet and waiting for everyone’s judgment, if there is any judgment. How do you talk to people, in front of people? How do you not shirk away from the hot pressure of a spotlight? “[The MTV VJ Hunt] introduced me to the field of hosting, which is something I also thought—wow, introvert! Humans! Talking to them in
ESME PALAGANAS top and skirt. Opposite: FOREVER 21 top, H&M pants, CHARLES & KEITH shoes, Previous spread: (left) All apparel from FOREVER 21, (right) NLPZ jacket and shorts, H&M bra top
on the cover 29
30 on the cover
TAN GAN knit bandeau, H&M culottes and purse, CHARLES & KEITH sandals. Opposite: TAN GAN top and skirt, FOREVER 21 sunglasses
on the cover 31
“I’m surprised that people have recognized me, because I’m not like Anne Curtis, or like these people who are on TV all the time that ever yone knows. But I feel like I’m just so small, doing my little thing. I’m just in my own world, doing mah thang.”
person!” she says. She has a habit of talking in exclamations, suddenly squeaking sometimes as her pitch rides a rollercoaster, which is fine because it relays what she tries to say much better and more concisely. “It was just a whole new level, especially for me, just to be talking face to face to a lot of people.” “But people,” she continues, “I mean, there’s nothing wrong with people. It’s just something you put in your head, like you tihnk of what other people are thinking of you. But something my mom told me, that really helped me growing up, was not to care, not to let it bother you. Because it’s those outside things that can stop you from growing as a person. And I guess even though I’m up there, and sometimes my knees are shaking like crazy, or I’ll do the nervous laugh, or I’ll forget something to say, no one’s going to remember it. I don’t know, I try to make it a thing in my mind that is all in your head, and you just have to push yourself to do something.” And she is, she says, the kind of person who will do something if she absolutely has to do it. It’s a perfectly good piece of advice for anyone who is on the fence about doing something they want to do but haven’t plucked up enough courage to jump in. After all, how else do you start swimming if not by flailing to try and stay afloat? It took her ‘til her second or third taping as a full-fledged MTV VJ to finally be comfortable with all the stand-uppers, because it was imperative that she get used to the job. It’s all really a matter of putting yourself out there and not caring what other people think—if they think negatively—whether it’s VJ-ing, blogging, or putting up videos on YouTube. “I was never really worried about that,” she says. “I mean that was one of my biggest concerns—what other people think—because you are showing yourself to other people. It’s not like I’m just doing it for myself. I wanna share things, and I wanted that to come across really well. So I was worried about that. Like sometimes, I’d upload a video, and I feel like, ‘Oh, people are gonna make fun of me for this.’ But I felt like there will be more people who liked it than didn’t like it. And if I liked it, I do it for them.” Does hate make you reconsider sharing stuff online? “No way. I mean, come on, that’s like one out of a hundred who would question that, and I don’t think one person should stop me from doing mah thang,” she says, without a trace of irony, like how Anna Kendrick’s character in Pitch Perfect would randomly break out things she’d never say in real life. “If that happened, then I wouldn’t be doing mah thang!” “I’ve always lived like that. I’m not apathetic toward anybody!” she quickly clarifies. “Every time is a new experience, I have to tell myself that. It’s almost like something I live by. So I think that it’s just something to remember, to ground yourself to. And I thought that every time you do something, you should do it for other people. It’s a service type of thing, I guess, being a VJ, but it’s also about doing it for yourself and that you’re comfortable with who you are. Because if you’re not happy with who you are, or how you project yourself to other people, then people won’t receive that as well.” And people have been receiving that pretty well. As her celebrity grows little by little—ever since her blogging days—the atmosphere shifts along with
it. She’s an incoming second year in a Big Three school, where she gets stopped and recognized occasionally. “I’m surprised that people have recognized me, because I’m not like Anne Curtis, or like these people who are on TV all the time that everyone knows. But I feel like I’m just so small, doing my little thing. I’m just in my own world, doing mah thang. So when people are part of that, it feels so special. When they go up to me and say hi, or in the mall, I’m just all, I’m just normal! I’m just human! I’m just like you guys! I think it’s so sweet when they approach me.” I have a feeling that it isn’t going to be hard for her to succeed, and soon enough, more people will see and treat her as the celebrity she will become. The attitude she has now, the same one that’s been instilled in her by her mom Jenni, is actually the perfect concoction for success. Do your own “thang,” march to your own beat, fret not what the haters think, try a lot of things, move out of your comfort zone, seek out your passions, dream big, aim higher—that’s how winners go about their business. The awkward introvert in Aryanna just hopes that even if she gets big, even if you look up to her, you’ll still treat her like the human being that she is. Introverts can only handle so much time on the pedestal.
We finish our conversation and head back up to where we left everyone else when we escaped the shoot. “How was it?” my editor Jed asks. “Baaad!” Aryanna replies. She’s joking, of course. I hope. She says her goodbyes to everyone. I turn around and go handle some quick business I need to attend to. I turn back around to her and she’s about to say goodbye to me. “Bye! Thank you!” I say, putting my hand out. I’m a shaker. “Bye!” she says. She leans in, expecting a beso on the cheek. I still have my hand out, and it takes us a second to realize that we were going for two completely different farewells. “Oh no!” we exclaim, at the same time. “We broke our deal! Now it’s awkward!” There’s a little panic in the air as we try to haggle whether we’re going for the handshake or the beso. “Okay,” I say to her, slightly freaking out. “You decide!” She goes for the handshake. That’s fair, I think. Not too familiar, not too estranged. She leaves, and I take a moment to breathe and process what just happened there. It’s what I do every time I complete some sort of social interaction; I give myself some inner feedback and dissect whether it went well. That didn’t go well at all, but it was funny. There could not have been a more perfect ending for two awkward introverts. n
Makeup by SYLVINA LOPEZ Hair by EDDIE MAR CABILTES
chichi Photography by SHAIRA LUNA Styling by ZEPHA JACKSON
UNIQLO top, ALPHAZEPHA shorts, RICK OWENS shoes. Opposite: CUGGI sweater
VINTAGE G-111 jacket, COS top, ZARA shorts
KAREN WALKER sunglasses, UNIQLO shirt, ALPHAZEPHA shorts
feat. ARCHIE & ZEPHA
still in translation Photography by CENON NORAL III Styling by JED GREGORIO
PENSHOPPE shirt and T-shirt, SLAVES OF LIBERTY pants. Opposite: FOLDED & HUNG long-sleeve tops and pants
FOLDED & HUNG shirt and cardigan, worn backwards. Inset: ELIZ MARCELO top and skirt, ROSENTHAL TEE pants. Opposite: FOLDED & HUNG T-shirt, SLAVES OF LIBERTY mesh robe (worn underneath), PENSHOPPE pants
FOLDED & HUNG jacket and pants. Opposite: FOLDED & HUNG top, ROSENTHAL TEE jacket (worn underneath), PENSHOPPE shorts
Grooming by SYLVINA LOPEZ feat. MAV
i foll o w
TRICIA GOSINGTIAN goes style-stalking in the streets of Tokyo and Osaka.
Itâ€™s the Harajuku blendâ€”dyed hair, piercings, gel nails, and attitude.
Obviously the best way to show off friendship is to share socks and shoes.
Hearts at the train station
The Japanese loves osoroi, or the concept of matching outfits.
No one wears anything body-con in Daikanyama in Shibuya, Tokyo.
“I WAS IN JAPAN last March and May. I go around four to five times a year; though not all are personal trips. Luckily, I get invited to participate in Japanese tourism projects, fashion shows, and TV-related work. When I get to go for leisure, it’s all just shopping, and taking photographs of new places and people. One of the things I love most about Japan is the concept of omotenashi, which is hospitality and customer service. I’ve never visited a country with standards that can rival the Japanese level of politeness and respect. Good service is mandatory—they don’t do it for tips, or anything in return. Other than that, I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese kawaii culture. Cute is cute, whatever the time and place, whatever the culture or age. Kawaii is truly really a happy way of life, and a positive state of mind. I find solace in immersing myself in a totally alien culture and writing about it so people can get an idea on what to do on their next trips. My blog, more than just posting OOTDs and product reviews, aims to give readers places to go to when they have to stay where they are. With Japan, it’s a little daunting at first, to go to there and not understand a thing, but as long as you do your research beforehand, and rent a pocket wifi in the airport before you start your trip, you’ll be fine. You have to be able to use GoogleMaps in case you get lost, or if you’re trying to find hole-in-the-wall type places that are out of the tourist path. When I’m there, I can just take photos of street style the whole day. I usually take photographs of people when they either look like they blend in (colorful Harajuku style in Harajuku), or totally look out of place (Harajuku style in places like Daikanyama or Roppongi.) Recently, I have a penchant for shooting close-up details, and couple-matching fashion.” —as told to JED GREGORIO
On-point neutrals Randoseru are backpacks used by elementary school students. These two aren’t content with the usual design.
Stylishly beating the cold
Walking in heels the whole day is never a problem for Japanese girls.
Hand in hand with matching bags
the scout house party WHAT HAPPENS when one year passes? Well, the Earth manages to run another lap around the sun, the world gets a new iPhone, and we get one year older and one year better. That, and we celebrate Scout’s birthday in a big way. Our first anniversary party, dubbed the Scout House Party, held last July 11 continued a young tradition of throwing an awesome bash (also, coincidentally, in the Samsung Hall at SM Aura). Even though Candy Gamos of Cheats remarked that it’s weird to have a house party in a place that actually isn’t a house, the place felt as much like a house as possible: we had a couch, we had a bed, and it even broke. The air hockey tables, beer pong games, and DJ lounge from last year’s shindig have returned, along with a foosball table, spiked coffee, and two TVs with Xboxes hooked up to them to entertain even the most discerning partygoer. Scout cover boys and girl Enchong Dee, LA Aguinaldo, and Jess Connelly, along with a lot of other friends also dropped by to party with us. The stages were, once again, divided into two: the main stage, where bands rocked their asses out, and the DJ lounge, where people were free and encouraged to dance. CRWN, Autotelic, Tarsius, Ang Bandang Shirley, Chocolate Grass, along with a host of other awesome bands took the main stage.DJs John Pope, Xtina Superstar, David Sorrenti, Samantha Nicole, and a roster of today’s hottest DJs held court at the lounge all night long. Our awesome party couldn’t have happened without the help of the Samsung Hall at SM Aura, GTW by SM, SMDC, Mossimo, Pony, and UCC 3rdwave Clockwork, Jack TV, MTVPilipinas, Inquirer SUPER, RadioRepublic and Click the City. —ROMEO MORAN
Photography by JOEY ALVERO, CHISSAI BAUTISTA, JAVI LOBREGAT, and PATRICK SEGOVIA
Jujiin Samonte & Paulo Castro Saab Magalona-Bacarro
Jess Connelly & John James Uy
Anna Buquid & Bruce Venida Autotelic’s Josh Villena
Enchong Dee Moonwlk’s Nick Lazaro
GTW by SM’s selfie mirror
scene 47 Koji Arboleda
UCC 3rdwave Clockwork launches the Jack Scout
Jennica Sanchez, Wanda Chen, and Akiko Abad
The Brew Kettle Beer pool
Jensen & The Flips
Kimi Juan, Thomas Caja, Kara Chung, Elena Ortega, and Jelito De Leon
Karen Bolilia & CJ Cruz The Scout editorial team: Romeo Moran, Martin Diegor, Mara Santillan Miano, and Jed Gregorio
Sam Gomez, Monika Sta. Maria, and Hye Won Jang
Ourselves The Elves’ Paula Castillo
Lorenz Namalata, Nikki Ruiz, and Esme Palaganas
Nimu Muallam chillin’ on the Scout Bed by SMDC Chocolate Grass’ Abs Haw
The Mossimo lounge
48 back story
ISA ABRERA learns to embrace the uphill battle.
Overlooking view of the sea and sunset from the campsite at Mt. Gulugod-Baboy. Photo by LIAN DUMAS
MT. GULUGOD-BABOY in Mabini, Batangas wasn’t supposed to be difficult to climb. It takes one to two hours on average to reach the summit, but we managed to double the hiking hours by taking frequent resting stops because of the heat. Whenever we stopped, panting and sweating, the view of the deep blue Balayan Bay behind us called us back down, egging us to quit climbing and plunge into its cool waters. Why did I ever think it would be fun, climbing a mountain with a group of strangers? Why would I voluntarily allow myself to sweat so much under the sweltering noontime sun, when I could be cooling off at the nearby Anilao beach? I grew up with two brothers who are a decade older than me. I was always too young to go with them on their adventures—from the murky waters of Manila Bay (one of them was on the dragon boat team), to the muddy trails of some distant mountain, to some hidden Palawan beach. When I was 15, I finally got to tag along, to Binangonan, Rizal for a climb up Mt. Tagapo, which had a view of Taal Lake and other mountains like Mt. Maculot. The website Pinoy Mountaineer scores Tagapo with a difficulty level of 2 out of 9. A level 2 trek takes less than two hours to reach the summit; a level 9 takes four days. I reached the summit alive, but it was impossible to enjoy the breathtaking view when the trek has already literally taken your both. I plopped on the grass, gasping for air. The next mountain we climbed together was Mt. Batulao, two years later. I’ve been generally more active then, more ready for an outdoor adventure. Compared to Tagapo, Batulao has multiple peaks and higher altitude. I learned that aside from developing endurance and stamina, a lot of physical
preparation is important for preventing injuries during climbs. Mt. Talamitam, for example, is an easier climb in terms of altitude, except for its 60-degree assault up the summit. What makes a climb like this more difficult is the lack of trees that provide shade, demanding more hydration. For an efficient climb, rationing water is important, as well as preventing too frequent bathroom breaks. The easiest climb I’ve done is Mt. Manalmon. There was a lake on the way down. We didn’t mind the mossiness, a refreshing swim is always nice after a climb. The organization UP Mountaineers holds open climbs every year called Talikasan, which non-members are welcome to join. Last June I decided to join the Mt. Gulugod-Baboy open climb, first overnight climb. I had second thoughts. My brothers wouldn’t be there to save me from stupid things I might accidentally do, like that one time I lowered my leg through an opening and not on the ground while going down a cave. But I couldn’t quit. That’s the thing about courage. You can’t be courageous if you weren’t scared first. The strangers became my friends, who offered to bring the group equipment I couldn’t provide, carried the tent that didn’t fit into my pack, shared snacks along the trail, and told stories about their previous climbs. The summit was a 360-degree view of green mountains, a blue sea, and a violet and orange sunset. Seeing innumerable stars at night was a reminder of the immensity of the universe. It was as if my brain shut down and allowed my body to feel, without thoughts to interrupt the experience. My feet got me there, my lungs saw the fresh air. My skin heard the wind and my eyes felt the beauty of rumbling hills, the unending sea, and the night sky. n
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Scrappy. Creative. Curious. These are the words that describe Scout, the only free publication designed for millennials that focuses on the...
Published on Aug 1, 2015
Scrappy. Creative. Curious. These are the words that describe Scout, the only free publication designed for millennials that focuses on the...