Friday, April 13, 2012

VANS

Or 10 reasons why I don't need Nike Air soles to fly nor keep my feet Off The Wall:



1. Its first store was opened to the public in 1966 by brothers Paul and James VAN Doren in Broadway--the same year fellow Californian and author of "The Satanic Bible," Anton LaVey, founded the Church of Satan (just add another 6 hehehe).



2. The Van Doren Rubber Co. started out as DIY* and was very anti-corporate. They manufactured shoes and sold them directly to the public--in other words, very punk rock! A la Recto's "pasadya" stores Glenmore and Luciano back in the day, Vans only had shoes (authentic #44) for display and customers had to pick what shoe they wanted made. Customers then came back in the afternoon or the next day to pick up their finished shoes. Operative word is "custom".



3. Its sticky waffle sole favored skateboarders--who need non-slip shoe bottoms to grip slick decks--so by the 1970s, many skaters (including BMX riders and even surfers) were sporting Vans all over SoCal. Z-Boys and sk8 legends Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta (watch "Lords of Dogtown") even designed the multi-colored #95 (a la "bagets") which became the first sk8board-specific shoe.



4. It wasn’t until 1982 when Sean Penn, playing the role of a stoned surfer, wore a checkered slip-on #98 in the iconic youth film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" that people around the globe desired to own at least a pair of Vans.



5. With the rise of HC** punk in the US during the early 80s (watch "American Hardcore"), Vans became the shoe of choice in the UG*** music scene. Sharing the same DIY ethics Vans had in the 60s, lo-top #36 and hi-cut #38 were seen worn by frontmen of pioneer "old school" HC bands Minor Threat (Ian MacKaye) and Black Flag (Henry Rollins), among many others.



6. Appearing on the front cover of the "American Hardcore" DVD, on the back of Wasted Youth's debut album "Reagan's In," and on countless fliers and fanzines, the now (in)famous backflip shot of a skater stagediving into the audience during a 1981 concert was shown wearing a pair of Vans old skools.



7. Since 1995, Vans sponsored the annual Warped Tour which showcased punk music and extreme sports. Held in parking lots or large fields (a la Woodstock), the tour featured a flea market/"tiangge"-like atmosphere in the spirit of DIY where indie bands, record labels, zine publishers, and non-profit orgs sell their merch.



8. At least one or two members of today's best post-punk, post-HC, post-metal, post-everything bands wear Vans on and off the stage. It has been worn to more rock concerts and slampits than any other shoe. And there's just something uber hot and cool about chicks wearing it under skinny jeans or short skirts.



9. With its colorful canvas uppers and gum rubber soles, Vans is heavy-duty but very comfy for every day use. Wear it with or without socks, in casual or formal wear, in all weather, for all ages, etc.



10. Jazz up your Vans to express your individuality and sense of style. Spraypaint it, dye it, button it, stud it, etc.



Thanks to Jay Tiyanak for the last pic (me doing an air ollie in the mosh pit).

*do-it-yourself
**hardcore
***underground

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sierra Madre Resort & Country Clubbing

Or 10 reasons why spending the first half of my Holy Week in Tanay, Rizal totally rocked!

1. Located along Marcos Hi-way, it's just a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Metro Manila (more or less, depending on traffic along Aurora Blvd-slash-Katipunan Junction and how you cruise the "isaw/bitukang-manok" road). Getting there is already one hell of a roller-coaster ride. Turn off the aircon, open all the car windows, and enjoy Laguna Lake to double the fun on the zigzag route.

2. Akin to the Banaue Hotel overlooking the Banaue rice terraces, the resort's verandas overlook the green Sierra Madre range. The refreshing mountain breeze and breath-taking panoramic view are already worth the trip.



3. Get to meet gods and goddesses in the Greek Garden, pond and gazebo (with painted ceiling a la Sistine Chapel). Perfect background for tying the knot, entertaining wedding guests, or wooing someone you love (after all, Venus IS there).

4. With room rates starting at P1,500 (2 persons) to 2,500 up (4+ pax/suite/overlooking), why not pitch a tent, camp out, and have a picnic for only 350/head overnight. Barbecue/cook your own food, drink to death (then puke your guts out as Romans do), and all the world is your toilet--that is, if you're not afraid to do it in the dark.



5. Beat the summer heat and take a dip/pee in 4 swimming pools (P150/head): 1 kiddie (or was it a jacuzzi?), 2 adult+chlorinated as hell (chemi-kill blue), and 1 with free-flowing fresh ice-cold mountain water (algae green) in Spring Valley. Then rinse off with the ONLY hot shower in the 4 and watch all the work week's grime swirl down the drain.

6. If you're into shooting (practical & balls), there's a firing range if you're feeling Lito Lapid (P200/hour, bring own gun+ammo), an 18-hole golf course if you're feeling Zobel de Ayala (200/player), and billiards if you're feeling Bata Reyes (100/hr). But if you're not so into live ammo, you could always wear camo and play airsoft or paintball (250/head) in the jungle.



7. For home bodies, there's the restaurant-cum-reception area-cum-music lounge with videoke if you're feeling Showtime (P200/hr), mahjong if you're feeling Lucio Tan/Henry Sy (400/day), and an upright detuned piano that's just beat (free to play) if you're feeling like me. Of course you can also kill time/lose money playing cards/"bangka" with "piso-piso" bets in blackjack, trumps, and "pusoy dos" (or regular "pusoy").

8. For cowboy types--aside from cocking guns on the range--there's also horseback riding (P200/hr) and Zorb/globe riding (100/head on land, 150 if in the pool). Stepping on fresh warm horse shit is always free of charge.



9. The place is chock-full of ropes--from hanging bridges to rappelling to wall-climbing to obstacle courses to ziplines (P100-200/pax). With an extra rope--and since it's the Lenten season anyway--you could even do a Judas Iscariot on one of the big forest trees.

10. And at the end of the day, if you realize there's more to Holy Week than a long vacation/outing, you could also meditate, trek, and do the Station/Way of the Cross via the Holy Mountain. Make sure you got medical insurance and are sincere in your prayers just in case you slid down the red muddy soil or fall off the viewing deck. Or you could always do the rosary in the safety of the resort's chapel.



Bonus: Get to meet nature spirits in the flesh and an earth elemental or two if you're camping out/trekking at night in the forest or mini waterfalls. Just don't forget to bring salt and something red!