Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Everything happens for a reason - the miracle of meeting a real man

When some people ask me why, at 35, I am still single - one of the things I hate hearing is, "Don't be so fussy la!"

I have never been fussy. And my basis, has always, and will always be a connection. Regardless of what I may say, I am a romantic at the end of the day. 

So I believe, that everything happens for a reason. On top of that, my mom always tells me, everybody in your life, is there for a reason, a season or a lifetime - so I've always assumed that our purpose in life, is to find out why we were placed in other people's lives. It is one of the reasons why each time I meet cool and interesting people... I prefer getting to know them one on one. Spending real time with them.

Over the last few weeks or so, I've come into contact with quite a few males who have opened my eyes quite a bit, and truly have, by action, showed me what being a real man really was about. All of them just behaved that way of their own accord; not forced, not coerced, and definitely not while grudgingly being nice and accusing me of being a princess.

Each of them in their own way, has led me to believe that maybe, I've not been fussy enough. And I mean that as a true compliment.

Because they have made me realise just how a woman should be treated. They've truly nailed the gentleman thing.

Perhaps I have gotten used to guys who tell me they are gentlemen - but then let the door swing in my face. Walk faster than I do even in foreign countries, with me trailing behind (which, in some instances, can be an issue of safety, really). Who do not bat an eyelid, nor pull out their wallets, or even volunteer to contribute when the bill comes. Do not get even get me started on guys who get fresh with you - and take "hands on" to a whole new level.

I can give you an endless list of names of men and personal encounters, reasons why I probably stopped believing that true gentlemen really existed. Perhaps, in some way, God or destiny, brought these people into my life, to give me hope and to remind me to raise the bar. Hold men to higher standards. Instead of just expecting losers.

From the sweetie, sneaky hottie - from Ottawa, Ontario, that I bumped into in Madrid that made packing fun, who made me realise, that not all men were opportunists.

To even the Keanu Reeves lookalike who massaged my feet while at a pool party, or the awesome (and devastatingly handsome) Daniel Hilarion, who kept refreshing my drink and making sure I was well taken care of while I was in their company - each of these men I'm mentioning in this post, opened my eyes to the fact that there are nice guys out there.

So even if some of them are only destined to cross paths with me for that one moment, I am grateful that they did. If only because I am happy that they taught me to not expect so little from men. That not all guys are scum/douchebags/manboys. And that when men want to, they can really step up.

Some of these men, I was privileged to spend more time with in Spain, getting to know them, and truly observe "their natural behaviour"/ in their natural habitat.  In fact, I'd say every guy I hung out with in Spain, Willy, JB, Rovi, Mong, Jimmy, Rain, Chris, Paco - to even our bus drivers, our tour guide - all of them were fine specimens of males, so I'm just going to mention some standout episodes that come to mind.

Just like there is no such thing as the perfect woman, there is no perfect man. But some of them, come pretty close.

Like... Rain for instance.

What a sweetheart. We chatted quite a bit on our #VivaCodorniu trip even though we'd never met before. And on our last night in Madrid, we started talking about relationships.

He opened up and shared with me about a relationship that really hurt him. And I have to say.. I am amazed how this man has turned it all around... from thinking that life only handed him bad cards in love - to the sweetest proposal he made to his fiancee.

And while every proposal story is sweet and memorable in itself, I always think, that credit is due, when real effort is put in.

Director extraordinaire: Rain Pengson

You see, a guy who makes an effort in a proposal, I think shows in some way that even when shit hits the fan, he is willing to work at the marriage. Even if a proposal does not go to plan, the effort, the time put in to think about how to propose and when... to me, it shows how much the man values his partner. It's not just about the size of the diamond or the price of the ring - neither of which would move me.

But watching this video, had me tearing up. Of course oo one expects something this elaborate or creative, because Rain is pretty one-of-a-kind. But, I just feel that it is a pity these days, that men hardly ever even go on their knees to ask the woman they love for their hand. 

Maybe I'm just a traditional sort of girl. But I was impressed. Rain gave me hope that there are guys who are romantic out there. And there is such a thing as second chances, and fate. So thank you for that. =)

Amazing right?

Another man I was honoured to spend more time with was Ro!

Rovilson Fernandez is amazing. And I'm not just saying that because he was the first winner of Amazing Race Asia.

This guy, pleasantly surprised me one time after our trip to a vineyard. He had seen that my shoes had gotten muddy, and were crusted with dirt. He disappeared, then emerged with wet paper towels, and proceeded to kneel down and clean the mud of my shoes!

I actually jumped and got shy because you seldom see guys who are that gallant and giving. Read as:  I'm just not used to ACTUAL gentlemanly behaviour. These are things we read about in classics written by people who are long dead. I didn't think they still happened in real life. Let alone to little ole' moi!

And having a guy that big, get down in front of you in an act so humbling... well, needless to say, his selflessness impressed me and really made me think - when was the last time any guy I dated, had done anything that was not selfish, or was this giving?

This immaculately dressed TV travel show host is gregarious, loud and fun-loving. He just is BIG. Big and tall. Big personality. Big voice. You can't miss him. But that's all just a facade.

Much like me though, he also is a bit of a recluse. He's actually shy.

The best thing about him though, the gentlemanly part, was never fake.

Ro! Now joins the list as one of my favourite men in the world

And then there was Mong Alcaraz.

Now Mong to me felt like one of my "brothers from another mother" from the get go. =) Perhaps, also because we shared a love for shoes, added to the fact that well he does know one of my real-life "bros" - a childhood friend of mine. So Mong felt like an instant homie.

A blurry shot of Mong in soundman action, outside THE oldest bar in Barcelona.

Now this is not a clear shot of him at all. But google Mong Alcaraz, and you'll realise that he's FRIGGING FAMOUS.

Besides being in two of the hottest bands in the Philippines, Sandwich and Chicosci, he is also engaged to the hottest momma on legs, Mel Lozano.

Check out Sandwich's awesome music video - New Romancer, starring Mong  dude in beanie.

Now Mel, is one of those intimidatingly super cool girls. Pretty. Petite. Insanely talented. I mean for crying out loud, the woman is a Cannes Film Festival awardee! Add that to being a mom to their lovable baby Mira, and still being incredibly fit, I should logically be slitting my wrists with paper* in sheer despair at my own ineptitude.

*"Death by papercuts" is a sara-ism, a term for a slow and painful death. Usage eg: Watching that boring play was like death by papercuts.

But instead, spending time with this couple made me think... "aww... I want that some day". They fast became one of my favourite couples in the world.

They never stayed angry at each other, if they ever were. And what struck me about the two of them was that they just worked. They knew when to give. When to step back and let the other do their thing. They were very together. Yet totally independent.

When Mel was working on producing and directing the travel show "Team Philippines" was filming - Mong stepped up and was soundman/crew/gofer. No airs. No, I'm-a-diva-superstar, I-don't-hold-booms. He just let Mel do her thing, and supported her, and chipped in with work.

He was also a supporting and loving partner for whenever Mel had new momma duties. And what was super sweet, and Mel probably never knew this - but the one time she skipped dinner because she was feeling ill and Mong still came out with the rest of the crew - he was a different man. He was quiet, concerned, and checking his phone every two seconds with brows knitted in worry.

You just knew that while we were having awesome food, at an awesome place, with an awesome view, his heart was not really there. Mong was just missing having HIS PERSON by his side, enjoying the experience with him. He could not wait to get back to the hotel fast enough, and I thought that was just incredibly cool.

You know how I've mentioned before, there are just some couples you look at and you just know, yeah, they're gonna work. They will survive.

Yup. They're it. And just thinking about them puts a smile on my face.

Fingers crossed, here's hoping I'll find that some day too.

And let's not forget, my main man, Paco.

What can I say about this incredible man.

But Pacopacopaco. He just puts a smile on my face. And the photo below is one of the times I will always remember for the rest of my life.

Given, I have ice cream in hand. So logically, the choc and ice cream lover in me would be smiling. But, what you don't know, is just 10 minutes before this, I was sobbing uncontrollably at a bullfight. Like full on, mascara running, makeup streaking, unglamorous, unstoppable type crying.

I've seen bullfights on TV before, but seeing it person, was quite a different. and emotional thing. Paco had put so much time and effort into getting tickets off the blackmarket for the night after our bull run in Pamplona, and I don't think they came cheap at all.

But once he saw me cry, he dragged me out of the arena and spent one of the most lovely afternoons I had in Spain just walking around with me in the city. It was really nice to just talk and connect.

One of my favourite things to do in life is really have deep conversations, about nothing and everything with another human with a great soul. And meeting one as special as his, is nothing short of amazing.

He always put the needs of everyone, before himself. Always tried to make sure everyone was as happy as possible.. he was the host with the most.

And above all, he has won a loyal friend in me, for life.

*sara thumps chest and flashes what she thinks is some gangster loyalty sign*

With my Pacopacopaco =) The man who always knows how to make me smile
Also another fine gentleman, was JB. Justin Bratton.

Just like my MBF (male best friend aka Tomur), JB has often been mistaken as my boyfriend. Probably because we're just so comfortable around each other as pals.  

He was one of the best travel buddies EVER.

And this I say, also because both of us had our trips extended, so I had more one on one time with him in general.

Even sharing a room with this dude, was not a problemo. Hanging out, was always easy. Talk. No talk. It was never awkward at all. If I needed to sleep, he just let me. If he wanted to just head out and do his own thing, he did. And always checked in to make sure I was ok.

Best thing ever?  I NEVER, had to carry heavy stuff when JB was around.

Now we had a really long trip.

A 6 hour drive back from Madrid to Barcelona.

A 7 hour plane ride from Barcelona to Doha.

A 7 hour transit in Doha.

A 7 hour plane ride from Doha to Singapore.

So you know JB's momma raised him right, because he was always taking care of me through the whole thing. My bags. My welfare. Whether or not I was sleeping. Eating. Everything. He always made sure I was taken care of first. When I was sick, he walked around looking for a pharmacy for meds. In the planes and the airports, he carried my bags almost all the time. And of course, opened all jars and bottles for me. =P Honestly, if he wasn't around, I might not have been able to eat or drink at all.

The fact that he can speak a little Spanish was a major bonus, because he totally took care of ordering food too.

All you have to do with this specimen though, is make sure that every once in a while, you keep him hydrated with a damm beer.

Best travel buddy ever: My muchacho, Justin Bratton. With a Damm beer.

Moving on from the Spain trip.. there was this wedding filled weekend, where I caught up with some of my fave bros.

First of all, my AH BENG got married!!!!! =D And Brendan, more affectionately known as brabra to the rest of us, wed an awesome "ang moh lian" and I couldn't be happier for him.

But every single one of the boys in this pic below, is a perfect gentleman.

From Pete - who always has been an awesome host whenever any of our pals has set foot in Indonesia. I mean this guy is such a gentleman even to us, his mere friends, from small things like picking us from airports, and stocking the car up with mineral water for those fresh off flights. To noticing really small things, like, getting a driver to turn the air conditioning down if there was a little sneeze, or walking slower just to talk to my mom who might be lagging behind - this one is like.. fwah - aunty killer power to the max.

To Gary - who moments before I had to get up on stage to host the wedding dinner, helped me with my wardrobe malfunction. 

The red sole of my shoe was totally breaking off from the rest of my shoe and folding over and tripping me up. Gary saw the problem, and within minutes, the "McGyver" had a new roll of duct tape, had folded a piece over, and was kneeling at my feet, pressing my shoe together. AND IT HELD UP! (In fact, thanks Gary, the shoe is still intact after your "repair work".

I mean... I have no idea how in the last 3 weeks, I've managed to have 3 such lovely, charming men at my feet assisting my clumsy, calamity-filled life. But all I can say is, I've definitely been blessed.

From Left: My co-host for the wedding, Jeremy, MY AH BENG - Brendan, Ricky, Gary and Pete
Last, but certainly not least. Two cutie pies. Jeremy and Mike.

One of which by today, I have to bid goodbye to. And I'm honestly quite upset about, so I'll just talk about him for now.

I've mentioned him on my blog before as MFAM aka My Favourite Ang Moh. Mike Asbridge.

I have nothing but love for this man who I met on a trip ages ago. It is ironic, that I was only on this aforementioned trip, with a diva of an ex who was trying to patch things up with me. Funny enough, I left that trip with a few really good friends, sans ex. =)

And Mikey, was one of the good things about that trip.

This Kiwi boy, has cooked for me. Has listened to me cry over guys who have broken my heart. Has watched football matches with me - AFTER cooking nachos with guacamole and chilli he made from scratch!!! And he has always. ALWAYS. Been a perfect gentleman. 

He is one of the few guys whom I have always, and will always, make the time and effort for. And I am truly sad that this man I call my friend, is moving back to NZ. Yes, I do get that having free accommodation if I decide to visit, is definitely an upside, I mean, being the gentleman, he's already offered of course.

But... I'm really, really going to miss this man in my life. Just.. being close enough to know that I could just pop over and hang if I wanted. 


Good Luck back home Mikey. SG is always gonna be here if you ever decide to come back.

Jeremy, me and Mike, flashing our Asian V's while Mikey still can.

Mikey has always been a good sport too - at his farewell party some time back.

So to all these men I've mentioned.. whether in brief, or more..

Thank you, for showing me what real gentlemen are like.

And for showing me that there is more to being a man, than just having the right equipment.



Sunday, July 6, 2014


So I shivering ever so slightly in the lounge of Doha Hamad International Airport....

Shaking my fists at the sky for
1. Not grabbing that shawl I  considered putting into my carry on as I was leaving the house.

2. Not wearing pants.

Not that I'm not wearing any pants. I'm just wearing a skirt. A leather studded skirt to be precise.

Not one of my finer moments in judgement.

After,  a close to 5 hr conversation on the plane with a rather suave architect named Charlie, who had the most amazing stories. ...

I have come to the conclusion to the question he had asked. ..

"Do you feel any pressure (sic - to get married?"

I don't really. Not the way most people do.

Don't get me wrong,  when I sit with my friends who have the cutest kids.. With husbands who are awesome. .. I do get a tinge of envy.

I want that too.

But I don't want it with the wrong person.

I do miss caring for someone. And someone caring for me. But sometimes,  I find that ... It seems to be more of a distraction if the person isn't. .. supportive of the things I want to do,  or achieve.

In the last few years,  there have been only a few people who have been able to break through my defenses.

One guy,  I always thought was perfect guy. . and I could actually picture myself with.

The other. .. Well. He captured me. Heart. Soul. Mind. But. .. I guess,  I did not mean the same to him. He never once. .. fought for me.

Which is. .. heartbreaking. 

Oh well.

My neck is aching. And I have 7 hrs to kill.

So I leave you with a pic of giant teddy in Doha.

And the awesome pool.

But I'm freezing way too much to even consider jumping in.