Friday, September 19, 2014

Overdrive Italia 2014- Sixth Day: Sirmione and La Diva Divina

Coming to Sirmione was a special experience for me. A special treat actually. I had the chance to walk on the soil where the feet of La Diva Divina, the great soprano singer, Maria Callas, once tread.

I love opera. In those days when I was involved in a choir and was offered roles in certain stage plays and musicals, I thought I had a promising future in classical music. I saw myself as the next famous baritone singer (I lack the vocal chords of a tenor) and be called Il Barone of Opera. I was too ambitious. I was inspired by Maria Callas and her life, and how she struggled to become an icon.

I couldn’t be admitted to the international conservatory in the nearby town because of two reasons- one, I lack the basic elements of classical music training, and two, the school was almost exclusively for the well-off families. It was really expensive. And I was simply the son of a domestic helper and a factory worker.

Now, when I have stopped dreaming of it, all of a sudden they opened a public school that specializes in music. Fuck you Fate! Fuck you very much!

Back to Maria Callas. In the early years of her marriage with Giovan Battista Meneghini, they resided in this villa and invited many friends and important personalities such as Franco Zefirelli and the famous tenor singer Giuseppe di Stefano.

She loved this small marvellous town. She once said, “Vorrei terminare i miei giorni qui a Sirmione, in questo paradiso terrestre e qui essere sepolta (I would like to end my days here in Sirmione, in this earthly paradise and be buried here).” This was before she met another rich asshole in the person of Onassis.

Why did she love this small city by the lake?

Because of this interesting castle…. The Castello Scaligero, built by the noble family Scaligeri, Lords of Verona.

The boat rides….

A therapeutic bath. Do not try diving into the middle. It’s boiling hot.

A holy woman lived here….

This was the house of Benedetta Bianchi Porro. Now it's a hotel.

The streets are small but pretty….

The view of the lake. Serene. Beautiful. Poetic.

When she left Meneghini, she never went back to her beloved villa. But in her last years, she confided to one of our closest friends that she desired to be back to her beloved Sirmione.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Overdrive Italia 2014- Fifth Day: A Pauper's One Day Trip to St. Moritz, Switzerland

From Brescia, we drove all the way to Tirano, a town near the border between Italy and Switzerland, somewhere in the Bernina Alps.

We started the day with a bright sky. Later on ganito na....

Ang kinatatakot namin noon ay ang umulan ng malakas. Kung mangyari yon hindi na kami matutuloy. Thank God nawala rin!

The Bernina Train at the Tirano train station. Meron express at meron na two-hour ride. We took the latter. Kaya two hours ang biyahe kasi mabagal lang ang takbo, for sight-seeing.

Off we go to the mountains....

My sister and her boyfriend. Sobrang sweet nasusuka nako.

The valley.... makes you wanna sing "The hills are alive with the sound of music..."

Miralago Lake, the lake concealed among the Alps....

One of the highest points of the mountains....

And here's a surprise..... a small cozy inn!

Finally in St. Moritz Station

St. Moritz is a place of luxury, a small luxurious city beside a lake.

Just imagine, this castle is the jewelry shop of Chopard...

Nice coffee shops in open space... again, ang magsyotang nakaka-diabetes

Here's another coffee shop. The lady standing beside the direction post is my mom. I'm not really sure what she's trying to achieve. I met my on the fourth day. Nagkita-kita na lang kami sa Salò at nagsama-sama na kami papunta dito.

Random buildings and houses you see around here...

Here's what I loved the most.... THEIR LIBRARY... IN THE VERY HEART OF THE CITY. This is how they treasure books and literature. Kudos St. Moritz!

View of the lake.... breath-taking scene...

Hindi na kami masyado nagtagal. Hindi na kakayanin ng euro namin. At least for a day nakatungtong din ng Switzerland.

ALAM NA. Hahahahaha!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Overdrive Italia 2014- Fourth Day: Salò of Sodomy, of Music, and of Romance

After the convention the following day, we went straight ahead to the northern city of Salò.

It is located in the Lombardy region. It’s quite a small town but has a very rich history and culture, dating back up to the times of Ancient Rome.

When we came there, I fell in love with it. I have this thing for small cultural towns.

Beside this church is a street that leads to the center of the city

It’s a city beside the Lake Garda. And there are rows of restaurants and bars with live bands and music artists. In fact, in the music world, Salò is known for Gasparo da Salò, one of the best makers of violins during the 16th century, and for being the host of the Festival Violinistico Internazionale Gasparo da Salò, an international music festival where the best European orchestras perform with the best international conductors.

We visited the Duomo di Salò, dedicated to Santa Maria Annunziata. It is one of the major examples of late gothic architecture. It was designed by Filippo delle Vacche but was never finished.

My friend, the photographer, took us to the studio of this painter. I dunno who he is. But he’s a genius. Forgot his name though. I can’t take pictures of his paintings of course.

During the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, some of the ministries were based here. And if you search the word Salò, you might come across the last movie made by Italian genius and film-maker Pier Paolo Pasolini, Salò or The 120 Days of Sodomy. Yes, it’s an intellectual porn, the kind that will fuck your brains out. And more than that, it’s really a very disturbing one- scenes of rape, orgy, mind-fucking narrations, people forced to eat shit, people forced to have sex with this and that. I’ve seen it. Now, I’m not sure if I’m a better human being after this. It’s trash and at the same time a masterpiece if you really try to look at it from a different perspective. It was partially based on the novel written by Marquis Donatien Alphonse François De Sade, the guy who practically invented BDSM and the literary father of erotic novels such as 50 Shades of Shit, I mean Grey. OK BACK TO ROMANTIC SALO’.

It’s really a romantic city. I’m planning to come back here again next year, this time not with my friends, but with someone special. Believe me, it’s the worst place to be single, and one of the best places for lovers.  

Overdrive Italia 2014- Third Day: Abano Terme, Padua

Overdrive Italia 2014- Third Day: Abano Terme, Padua

Nothing much. We just had to come to this youth convention in Abano Terme in Padua. Why?

First, I truly felt that God called me to go to that place for a certain purpose, even if I have given up on the ministry. But when God calls, you really can’t refuse because you know that if you disobeyed you are in for some big pile of shit. Ever heard of the prophet Jonah?

Secondly, the new chairman of this national youth organization is under-attacked by his own dogs. Those foolish dogs! You might consider me as the president emeritus of that organization. I was practically one of the main architects of the group. When I was around those treacherous dogs were simpletons, always quiet during meetings. And most of all, the leader of the band of rebels was one of the most inefficient members of the council during my stint as the organization’s president.

I went to the convention just to make my presence felt, and warn them that if they make another wrong step, I will raise hell and high water.

They were nothing. They knew nothing. And as national youth leaders, they delivered nothing. When I stepped down and stopped attending all meetings, they started grandstanding and behaved as if they knew everything.

They questioned the decisions of our bishop and they even bypassed the authority of the current president of the group.

Yes, that’s church politics for you. Not everyone’s a sheep inside the church. Some are bible-quoting wolves who are hailed as the kindest deacons of the church, but truth is they nothing but mere mentally-challenged spawn of unmarried antecedents.

I am foul-mouthed. My behaviour as a church deacon is questionable. And I am an abomination. I do not deny that. But these things don’t make them holier than me.

The thing about this is that those treacherous disgusting anonymous insects actually got away with what they did. My superiors advised me not to confront them and be gracious to them.

That’s what I really hate about these Christians. They do have a perverted sense of justice. It’s like they said that “Hey you can’t fight this battle. God is actually with them.”

It’s no wonder why many are switching to Islam.