Jane (continued) …

When you can truly see the world — I mean see it all: the corruption, the dirtiness, the dishonesty, the manipulation — you want to fight for goodness, for honesty, for sincerity … you want to fight for the magic that you know exists; you want to fight for — what feels like — your life.

We all want to see the beautiful things in the world — the beautiful places — and we want to see them being and looking beautiful. We want places like Manila Bay to glow and shine and vibrate with its gorgeousness. And we want to fight for it — even if only spiritually — regardless of the obstacles facing us, because we feel like we are fighting, also, for ourselves. I feel that I am in the midst of that fight — fighting for myself — and Joe and I want to know if you are also in that fight … because there is often comfort found in others.  

See, we are often taught that it’s easy and foolish to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves and instead do what others and society want us to do. As a result, it’s the hardest thing in the world to do what we want — I mean, what we really want. And it takes the greatest courage.

My and Joe’s voice — as well as this venture — are small in this world; Joe and I both acknowledge that. Regardless, the brand Manila Bay Beach — and everything we hope it will come to represent — will advocate for and encourage every man and woman, regardless of age, to pursue their happiness and whatever it is that feeds their personal magic.

There are three things that have kept the magic alive in me: Trace, Cohen, and Grady, my sons, the “monsters”. They are both the most wonderful and the most annoying creatures in my life — but I could not imagine a life of magic without them. Through them, I’ve learned self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, how to power clean and how to not be grossed out by awful smells.  I’ve learned how to function without a decent night’s sleep, as well as how to navigate approximately 150 interruptions per hour. Also, because of them, I am now fluent in three additional languages: Cohenese, Gradish and Know-It-All.

I’m currently here in California, USA, with my boys. The worldwide pandemic and subsequent government regulations have prevented most people entry into the Philippines; yet still, the country exists in my heart as a distinctly memorable dream, as something beautiful and alluring and teasingly tantalizing, yet just out of reach. There is magic to be experienced in the Philippines, and I eagerly await the opportunity (my impatience increasing haha) to board a plane with my beloveds and a twenty-one-hour movie marathon later hear the Captain speak the following words, “Flight attendants, please prepare for landing.”

Life, existence, everything, it’s all about the magical moments seeking them, feeling them, embracing them — and shouldn’t it be? Life without good parties, without coffee, without laughter, without exposing hypocrites, without jogging, without nature, without walking away from the people who never listen to another because they are only thinking of what they want to say, without photography, without finding the positive within the bad, without people who laugh at themselves, without the opportunities to be creative, without having to take my foot out of my mouth, without thoughtful conversations, without good  tequila and without the moments of magic? … um, no my heart would break.

And beyond the simple experiences that define our daily lives, and beyond the authentic human connections and the love that each provides, we are here to pursue our dreams, come what may, arriving at an end result that is hopefully overflowing with happiness and success.

But that end result must be true happiness and real success; it must go beyond financial reward and status … to be a genuine success, one must find the true agreement between a man and the existence he leads. (Credit to Bob Dylan for that far better definition of success — which I have paraphrased above — than that which any dictionary has ever provided.)

And that is what I want for my monsters: that true agreement between a man and the existence he leads. That kind of success. Because that is all that matters. Not money. Not celebrity. Not status. And I’ll — and so will Joe — always encourage this kind of quest for both genuine happiness and success — not only for my monsters, but for each and every one of you who seek the same in the grand, historic city of Manila — and in every Shire, every Never-Never Land, every Emerald City, every Xavier’s Academy, every Chocolate Factory, every Wonderland, every Hogwarts, every Pandora, every Central Perk and every Narnia — real or imaginary — across this magical world.