Saturday, February 28, 2009

Networkin Swervin

Went out last night to the Terrace in Pasadena to touch face with some new ventures, and also catch Son of Ran, one of the illest Pinoy rappers out!

The host, the infamous Bambu...
Bambu hosting

Showing the homie Jojo what a "Red Corona" (Corona with a shot of grenadine) is all about!

Son of ran was just lyrically killin it... too bad his mic levels were low for the first half of his show.
Son of ran

Son of Ran's crew
Son of Ran crew

Who is this brotha that's Twittering in the middle of a hiphop show???

Lastly, the continuation of the faux-club-photographer series...
Morena is a Tagalog/Spanish word for "brown", and in context is referring to their skin. Unfortunately, tans and lovely dark brown tones aren't as appreciated in the Philippines, simply because of the Spanish influence. Because the fair skinned were immediately in the higher social class than the brown Filipinos, the Philippine peoples would develop the yearn for a foreign, fairer complextion, because their native beauty was no longer appreciated in their homeland.

But today, brown beauty is what we see.

It was great meeting up with people that are established in something they love doing. We shared similar philosophies when it comes to striving to stand out among our brothers, but still standing strong with the community. It was all love that night, I look forward to the next time we take a shot together, only this time to toast to what we've done rather than what we're going to do.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Just a flavor...

100% hand made.
Limited quantity.
No two are alike...

Mahal Poster Samples

Coming soon...



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MAFA 2009

Well, it was a fun week and an intense weekend for the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans (MAFA) conference at Chicago!  Chicago is a beautiful, modern metropolis of sky-scraping towers, gorgeous and greasy foods, open-late bars and restaraunts, and is home to many of my second fam, my college friends.

Day 1 (Wednesday)
On the way:

Checking out the local area around my hotel, the Inn of Chicago.  It was a dope spot; right in the middle of the downtown Chicago magnificent mile.  Snapped a few spots:


First taste of Chicago: Uno's Pizza. Fantastic! The crust was perfectly crispy...


It's been 3 years since I last seen snow fall from the sky. It was beautiful, the way the coat of white covered the black night...


Met up with some old alumni friends from my second fam, the Purdue Filipino Association. My homie DJ Rex was spinning at this bar that night. Chicago is the shit! They sell 40 OZ MICKEYS AT A BAR! My god...



Ended up in Chinatown at 3 A.M. to grub. Awesome.


Day 2 (Thursday)
Went street stomping around the University of Illinois Chicago campus to make sure I wouldn't get lost the next day.  Pretty nice campus, it's right on the outskirts of the downtown city.  Not a big fan of the architecture there however... too blocky for my taste.

Leaving the hotel


Scoping out the campus...



Tried some more Chicago pizza, Girodano's. It was good... but the crust wasn't as good as Uno's however. Cheese was fantastic!


Day 3 (Friday)
Friday, the day of the MAFA pre-show.  I would be performing some spoken word that night, but first, some more Chicago flavor!  My friend Christine brought me to Portillo's... I have to say, their dipped Italian beef is by far the BEST thing I've eaten that week!




Got dropped off at the UIC campus for sound check for the pre-show. I was punctual, but all the rest... were on Filipino time unfortunately.

Kapwa modern from Loyola University arrived:



Air Tabigue, stand-up comedian

Elizabeth "Abet" Lardizabal, fellow spoken word artist

Show started well. I was the second act to go. As always, killed that mic and left the crowd cheering! hahahaha... they weren't ready for that aggressive, west coast spoken word steez! Photo courtesy of Gino

Homie Leo rockin it

Air killin it

Kapwa... money shot!

At the end of the preshow, the presenters were trying to show a video but were having some technical difficulties. So, the MC's were trying to crack some really... corny jokes to keep it going. In true EMCEE fashion, I ran up and started busting freestyles to everyone's delight!  Photo courtesy of Paolo Constantino Photography

Met up with the Ethnik Roots Crew...

Hiphoppers representin'

What you see here.. is the new generation of my crew, the Purdue Filipino Association. It was great seeing my fam still growing and going!

Since when was a mailbox a "Postal Station"?

Day 4 (Saturday)
The big day of the conference.  Suited up to facilitate my workshop, I started getting ready by making Baybayin name cards for passer-bys... and ofcourse, when asked "Hey can you make me one too!"  I reply, "Go to my workshop, and we'll see!"  Hahahaha...

School roll call! That dope ass PFA poster in the middle? 4 minutes by 4 men (including myself).

Now THIS was dope. Back in my college hey-day, when our Filipino student-org was at our peak, we would pontificate about creating a midwest-FilAm student org committee, which would unite delegates of all Fil-Am student orgs across the Midwest to communicate and facilitate Midwest-wide events... THIS was their first meeting.

And ofcourse, yours truly doing the Baybayin Writer's workshop! Just like the SCPASA conference workshop, this went great too! Not a single dozed-off or hung-over kid, all seemed quite receptive. And again, overhearing those "That workshop was DOPE" comments always brightens me up! :-D

Keynote speaker, the 2001 America's beauty.. queen. Or whatever her title was.  Giving an inspirational speech by speaking about how great she is...

The hotel crew

Current gen of PFA

Freshman initiation...

Went to go eat with some alumni and the PFA crew. Kimchee and seafood fried rice. Pretty good!

THIS RIGHT HERE... is MY generation of PFA. This is a family photo, straight up.

Went back to the campus for the Battle of the Bamboo show. With my old homie, Derrick (

All schools that performed on stage, and the UofI crew win! Props!


Went to the afterset and then some afterwards... 

Day 5 (Sunday)
Had breakfast at the campus with some of the PFA crew, and then they went home.  It was great seeing them and sharing knowledge about the crew.  That's fam right there...

I was completely exhausted from the conference at this point. Stayed in, watched Malcolm X, walked to Jimmy Johns (best!), ate a Hunter's Club, cried at it's magnificence, and went to bed...

Day 6 (Monday)
I was on a mission for my last day in Chicago to find a great Chicago hotdog, since I already had the deep dish pizza, the sub sandwich, and the italian beef...  So I went street stomping around down town to see wassup.  Stopped by a few spots first... 

Always been a fan of sartorialism

Concept, cut, sew

First place I found was "Downtown Dogs"

This was good... but nothing special. Honestly, I felt like I could've bought everything that was on the dog at a Ralph's or Vons, and replicated the exact same flavors. But the potato chips were excellent!

The second place was recommended by a barber. J's Dawgs 'n Burgers

Presentation... was ass. Honestly, it LOOKS unimpressive, but it TASTES fantastic! The combination of all the topings and the hotdog link itself tasted very unique and culminated into the sum of a great dog! The fries were meh...

Street stompin:





My homegirl Christine called up, seein if I wanted to hang out for a lil bit and too some tourist stuff. So, we went to Navy Pier and what did I see? Another hot dog spot!

As a hotdog, it was good, but the toppings weren't great. The pickle should've been cut up, and same with the peppers, because they were cumbersome to handle.


Gangsta pinhole ish

Hotdog head



In a last effort to see some Chicago sights, she brought me to "the bean". Ofcourse had to take some shots!



Got dropped off at the hotel, and night fell. Still, I needed one last flavor of Chicago. Stomped around for a half mile or so and I found...

On the menu, there's all these testimony's from food critics, newspapers, magazines, food blogs talking about how these are the best ribs in town! I got excited and ordered the BBQ sampler, which was a quarter chicken, half slab of baby back ribs, and a THICK ASS porkchop cut. And HONESTLY... it was OK. Actually somewhere between "good" and "meh". *sigh* ...nothing will ever beat the Southstreet Smokehouse in Lafayette Indiana to me...


It was 11:45 pm, I had a shuttle to catch to the airport at 10 am, and I haven't packed yet.  I was planning to get a full night of sleep in... Until my friend calls me up and says, "we should go out for at least one more beer..." 4 am, I wind up at some Burrito shack:

The burrito was good. Honestly, it reminded me of La Bambas, an old burrito joint at Purdue that shutdown a year after I graduated...

Day 7 (Tuesday)
Finally packed, headed to the airport... I had a blast to say the least!  Met up with old friends, made alot of new ones, dropped some knowledge on Baybayin, got the word out about The Bathala Project, and ate tons of delicious Chicagoan food!  Chicago is a BEAUTIFUL city, and it's architecture could keep one entertained for days... however, something bothered me about the city.  

It was too... pretty.

Ofcourse, all downtown areas of all citys are going to be pretty because of the high influx of tourists and what not, which would be reason as to constant cleaning and buffing but still.  Even New York City and Los Angeles have their bridge underpasses of bums and used condoms, graffiti scrawls on roof tops, bottles and trash on the sidewalk... maybe it's just being from L.A. where the graffiti culture is so strong, but it didn't seem right without seeing a bit of paint (or even an off color buff mark) on the walls of such a beautiful city...

Airport homies:

Got home, and the first place I hit: Lucky Boy Burgers in Pasadena for the best garden burger ever!

It sure feels good again to not have to wear a jacket for fear of snow, and seeing the diversity of L.A. being just another common accepted thing in the city of Lost Angeles.

C.A. all day.

~cyph WIC