My Friends Are Prettier Than Yours

Seems like only yesterday that they said goodbye. Sharon was first to leave, for California, to settle down. And then Kathleen, for Doha, as if predicting that Arabian Nights chic was going to be the next big thing (true enough, the Persian Gulf would prove to be an irresistible lure to the Sex and the City girls a few years later). And then Anne, to go to New York, to fulfill her rock ‘n’ roll dreams of seeing Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, among others, live (and at the exact same time that The City had to steal Whitney Port from The Hills). And then Aya and Katrina, for Singapore. And then Meyen, for Manila. Swear to God, it got to a point where I was pretty much convinced that everyone’s favorite thing to do was walking out of my life!

But, as it turns out, there is some beauty in goodbye. I mean, without it, what would happen to send-off parties? Not to mention, of course, the infinitely funner homecoming parties—you know, for when they come back, because they always come back. And those things, they could get pretty crazy. Distance and time have a way of making you grow wiser, get smarter—but apparently not wise and smart enough to make you forget that there was a time you once played it dumb and made some pretty foolish choices with the friends you grew up with! Those are what make the ecstatic high points of reunions—the ability to look back on the stupid things that you did together, and to just laugh about it, even toast to it!

I was lucky enough to have been part of such rowdiness just a couple of days back, when Sharon, Kathleen, Anne, Aya, Katrina and Meyen came back. Yes, by some weird twist of fate and wicked stroke of luck, all of them came back at the exact same time! Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined this would happen! Like, might as well ask the world to stop turning, or the sun to stop shining!

Well, no, I wasn’t about to ask for the sun to stop shining, especially since a boating trip was in order. Yes, that was all they’d asked for, and perhaps appropriately. You know, to prove that “you can take the girl away from the island, but you can’t take the island away from the girl.” Well, that, plus they’d wanted an excuse to scamper around in their new kaftans and bikinis and maillots (for these girls are nothing without their “cruise clothes” and swimwear; Meyen alone has a swimwear closet that could dress an entire island). So a private banca was commandeered, a huge lechón from Lapu-Lapu’s finest (not disclosing; they’re our best-kept secret) and buckets of freshly cooked crustaceans were reeled in, bottles cling-clanged as coolers were dragged, and off we sailed to what could possibly be the most riotous excursion of our adult lives!

As far as “girls gone wild” go, this bunch are pretty awe-inspiring. Don’t let the first couple of minutes fool you—they’re gonna come off as mellow and all, appear deep thought-thinking and pensive, even start talking about how their lives in their new cities have “changed” them. When they do this, they’re really just sleepy. Aya knew better, of course, and all she had to do was bring out the mixologist in her, whipping up some pretty lethal concoctions, and in no time everyone showed their true colors! I’m telling you, these girls, they make talking about the past real fun. My jaws threatened to lock when we remembered, for example, the ex-crush who’d thought he was too cool for school—until he’d fallen into a manhole! Or, the countless brawls with girls who dressed bad! And even our own embarrassing errors in fashion judgment! Listening to ourselves exchange stories of yesteryears was like listening to a really good mixtape—you know, when, to borrow a line from Butch Walker, “even all the bad songs ain’t so bad.” Whether or not these mistakes had helped shape our lives, I couldn’t tell—but they sure had a hand in shaping our laughs, and that’s all that mattered.

Of course, nearly as entertaining as listening to them talk was photographing them. These girls had been “camwhores” even before that term had been invented, so to not anticipate a photoshoot to be inserted into the agenda would be rather foolish. It was hard not to gasp or almost drop my camera as their silly, unchoreographed antics spread out before my eyes. Luckily for them, because I love them to bits and pieces (and how else are you supposed to?), I’m gonna pretend I never took those, um, unbecoming shots, and just post the more adorable ones on here. Not saving anything for blackmail purposes, either—I would never, ever, do that to these girls.

Funny thing, ‘cause just a couple of weeks ago one of my detractors wrote something about how lucky she was because she was “always surrounded by friends,” insinuating that I was a loser ‘cause I was almost always on my own these days. Well, now you know, my dear, that the only reason I’m not “surrounded by friends” 24/7 is because my real friends don’t live here anymore—they are citizens of the world! Yes, they may not be with me all the time, but at least on the days that they are they make sure they do something stylish with me. And at least they’re confident enough to whip out their bikinis when it’s time to hit the beach (which is not something you can say about your girlfriends, what with their penchant for wetsuits and men’s surf jams even when they’re just hitting the pool). Said differently: At least my friends don’t have anything to hide! We embrace each other’s imperfections, and even have the guts to laugh them off! So, by all means, keep on hating! I would understand.

In related news, my friends are also prettier than yours. I mean, look: Sharon looks like Jessica Alba, Katrina looks like Audrina Patridge, Meyen looks like Katie Holmes, and Anne is a dead ringer for Olivia Palermo. Of course, I do not think I need to tell you who I look like. Everybody knows I am Lauren Conrad. LMFAO.

Photographed by Angelo Kangleon in Pandanon Island, Bohol, and the Cebu Strait on October 16, 2011

13 thoughts on “My Friends Are Prettier Than Yours

  1. I love ALLLLLLL the photos, Gel! You truly are talented.

    Don’t worry too much about having detractors, all famous people have them. Besides, aren’t most fat people bitter? LOL :p

    ps
    I keep dreaming about your sangria! 🙂

  2. You are uncommonly/ unusually/ unbeknownst to most- realllly good at this gel!
    I’m happy to be part of this “romp”, what we thought was an excuse to just whore it up for the camera turned out to be what we all need- a break.. In a boat.. At the beach.. With drinks! And your patience and love directing us to express ourselves behind your camera.. It’s just what we all need.. This is food for friendship… Love it.

  3. im so amazed gel !!! i think we should do this again, such fun photos to watch and to reminisce…that shows you really treasure us…keep doing what you love… 🙂

  4. I posted two comments but my low techie brain is not comprehending how to post this right, so this is a trial post forgive me if this come out like a rant..

  5. Oh there you go! My impatient ass got the better of me.. Three posts from moi!!! that means vacay shoot 2012 is sooo happening…

  6. Oh and one more… Jovi said “amazing gyud that guy, he’s really gifted”… This after I shoved the iPad in his face so he’ll take a look.. Rave reviews gel!

  7. You have an exquisite eye for photography, you make us looks like a professional models! Love it! I’m glad friendship doesn’t come with price tags. For if it does, I’d never can afford someone as great as you. Xoxo!!

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