#RELATIONSHIPGOALS – Nine Lives by Mikko Mahinay

Valentine’s Day brings out more of my inner Uncle Scrooge more than Christmas; but my point being (as is with the latter) is that we don’t need to wait 365 days just to celebrate some basic necessity (unless you consider taking rejoice during Black Friday sales, or the up to 70% off during Yuletide Midnight Madness sales for items that are actually 2 seasons behind or you never ever actually get to wear & end up at the back most portion of your closet) or perhaps, this is just me trying to justify myself being single in the fashion of Stacy Dash during the 2016 Oscar Awards.

But don’t get me wrong- I’ve had my share of romances: Ambitious and tragic, elements quite common as is with almost every type of romantic inclination. I’ve actually talked about this with my inner circle of friends (which is very limited) of how difficult it could be to actually find a partner with my identity as I’m beyond the very least promiscuous or my definition of flirting includes talking about history, art & culture versus going out on weeknights trying to buy someone of my preference a few drinks in exchange for their numbers and a few sexual innuendos in between. And even when most of my colleagues do frequently enjoy the delusional mental portrait of how  romance is sexually driven, or even to the most unfortunate instances, of romantic novel-ish- I abstain myself of being caught up in things that do not bring out the best in me (based on experience. It is the best teacher, after all, and never ever Thought Catalog) or the kind that just drains you mentally, emotionally, physically and let’s face it- even financially.

I’m not saying I don’t appreciate anyone, or find them lit AF (as kids put them out these days) but I think romance for everyone should be just like some Visa application from a third world nation- it needs a pile of supporting documents to actually be approved of. Firstly, both you and your partner need to be financially capable and keep up with each other’s lifestyle (I don’t believe in compromising for the benefit of the other. It’s a relationship, not a charity case) Second, you both need to have some sort of stable careers and have some secure identities rather than being one or the other’s emotional luggage because one of you still do not know what you want in life (but want a relationship beforehand. LIKE DUH) and be

independent even when the other half is missing (think Kanye & Kim. Kim is Kim with or without Kanye, while Kanye is Kanye with or without Kim. They may not have the kind of relationship straight out of the pages of a Nicholas Sparks’ book, but they sure can live on their own) And last, you need to support one another because even if having a common set goal or same level of interest is a basic fundamental, you will have differences with each other you may never quite understand. In this modern day & age, this can refer to Instagram Husbands who find it difficult to comprehend an Instagram Girl’s necessity for cute photos, but just be supportive and be her human tripod camera man.

Okay, in case you’re wondering why I didn’t mention being nice, patient, loyal and understanding up in there; it’s because those are basic needs for a decent human being. Not a standard for a relationship.

Okay, so maybe my tendency to become so corrective is why I’m single.

Enough of that.

When Mindanao Gold Star Daily asked me to shoot & style 3 of Cagayan de Oro’s couples in our own little version of Tinseltown for the special Valentine’s Day issue of the newspaper, I found it a bit ironic (& somewhat, to some extent, painstaking) but up for it because of the total creative license the guys always give me. Plus, all 3 couples are friends of mine and not my first time to shoot them. I’ve recently shot Max and Dan for one of their pre-wedding shoots and I shot Paola and Geli for Spruce’s 11th year anniversary a few months back and the chemistry when you’re with familiar faces is always exciting and undeniably produces stellar content. And knowing all 3 couples, I know they also believe in what I wrote up there about how relationships ought to be: Geli and Aldrian aren’t just a couple, but business partners as well in running 3 businesses together and obviously do not compromise but rather compliment each other’s lifestyle (financial) Max is a well-known personality who recently became a doctor, while Dan was a TV personality himself and a businessman who runs a bakery in town (identity) while Paola is a hair & make-up artist (who also runs a business) while Oliver has always been the silent, low-profile gentleman who is gleaming with joy as he supports Paola up in the limelight (support)

Going back to myself. Perhaps, my so-called standards I have set for myself may be difficult to find a partner immediately. But will it be worth the wait than sleeping with some broke, immature and confused individual I could just find myself on Tinder or flirting with me on social networking sites? Yes. It will be worth the wait. Nothing good ever comes easy.

Forward march, soldier.

Photography & Styling // Mikko Mahinay

Starring // Geli Paras & Aldrian Villegas

 Paola Paladio-Ching & Oliver Ching

Dr. Maxine Monasterio & Daniel Mejia

Hair & Make-up // Christie Jane Sia (for Geli & Aldrian)

 Paola Paladio-Ching (for Paola & Oliver)

Cleve Janobas (for Maxine & Daniel)

Wardrobe // Plains & Prints (for Geli & Paola)

Onesimus (for Aldrian & Oliver)

Gaisano (for Maxine & Daniel)

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