I fell a little behind with my tour blog but rest assured that I will finish as many as I can, or should I say, as many as I can remember. This blog entry is a special edition because this particular show wasn’t part of the Cypress Hill tour cycle but it was such an incredible experience, I had to write about it. I don’t know if I will break it up in a few parts because I did a lot of things and this is a blog not a novel so lets see how it goes.
The last thing that i was expecting after being on tour all summer long with Cypress Hill was to go to the Philippines much less attend a tattoo convention. Sen had mentioned to me that he was invited from Tribal Gear clothing to perform for this tattoo convention called Dutdutan, which happens to be the biggest tattoo convention in all of Asia. Now, this wouldn’t be a full Cypress Hill show so he was going solo. Bobby Ruiz, founder of Tribal and good friend of both Sen and myself, suggested that maybe I can come along. The opportunity to go to the Philippines was a bit hard to resist since I remember my father talking about how great of a time he had out there when he went there back in the 70′s. I still have the souvenir shirt my father brought back for me with the Philippine Jeepney on it. In any case, after everything was worked out, I was on my way to Manila. The crew that would be going was Bobby, Sen, Anti (Sen’s DJ), Big Tiny & Alex Garcia. Both Big Tiny & Alex are incredible tattoo artists. We would all be meeting there in Manila since they were leaving from L.A. while I was leaving from Buenos Aires. They had it easy since they had a straight thru flight which was 13 hours compared to my 30 hour flight time. I basically flew to the other side of the world stopping in Sao Paulo, Qatar then finally Manila. Heavy duty, eh?? I had a mixture of excitement and also me wanting to get the hell off of the plane. Having a layover in Qatar, I saw all types of people from Muslims, Indians, Africans, Asians & Americans. It was like the real life United Nations. I must also mention that the airport in Qatar was one of the cleanest airports I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in many airports around the world. It was finally time to get on the plane to head to Manila!!
I arrived in Manila in the early evening. I actually thought that the customs process would be more hectic but I was guessing that I had a lucky day. The Manila airport is an airport where you can’t even get inside without a ticket or proof of a reservation so I had to go outside before I saw the people that would be picking me up. When I got outside, the humidity and heat hit me immediately. I also saw the people who were waiting to pick up people across the street behind a fence because they couldn’t come any closer. It was kind of like they were caged up but that’s just the way it is over there. Eventually, I was met by James, the international liaison, and Dodie, who was the bodyguard. I was taken to the hotel, which was more like an apartment/hotel and it was in the center of a huge mall complex. The rest of the guys had arrived early in the morning and were in the spa getting groomed up. Sounds funny, right?? I was just anxious to get into my room, shower and get comfortable. Soon after, Sen called me to come up to the room where everybody was. Well, it was the main master suite and would become our meeting spot for the trip. It was great to see everyone and get acquainted with the Philippine crew that would be with us for the whole trip. From the beginning, everything was first class. They even provided us with local phones so we didn’t have to use ours from home. Can’t be mad at that!!
We eventually gathered everyone up so we could go out to dinner. After all that flying, I was ready for some real food as opposed to the airplane food, which actually wasn’t too bad given that Qatar Airlines is one of the better airlines out there. Our Philippine crew consisted of Butch, the head of security, Dondi (the main organizer for us), Danny (one of the assistants), Wiki (the big boss), and Dodie. We went to this place inside the Shangri-La hotel named Filipino Village. This place basically was a giant buffet of food with about 6 different sections. One for sushi & seafood, another for more traditional food, you name it and it was right there. There was even a performance with traditional dancers from the country. There is something that I kept hearing about called Balut, which is a hard boiled duck egg but the embryo is inside. Yes, there is a little beak, some growing feathers, you get what I’m saying. Big Tiny had his plate and Anti gave it a shot but as for me, I wasn’t getting close to that. I was fine with the pansit and chicken adobo. We were there for a while and we all left there with a bit of the “itis”. I was hoping that I’d be able to get some good sleep because the next day was a full press day. That wouldn’t be the case because I was still on Argentina time, which was 11 hours behind Manila.
I think this is gonna be at least a 3-part blog story so let me stop here for now and I will continue with part 2. Stay tuned because it’s gonna get good….
To Be Continued……