Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dream Destinations

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I find sacred landscapes and majestic ruins fascinating. Channeling the wisdom of the ages, such places have the power to move and change us from within. Here are three of my dream destinations:

Takstang, Bhutan

Poised on a ledge 2,625 feet above the Paro Valley in Bhutan, Takstang, or the Tiger's Lair, seems closer to the sky than the ground, and quite inaccessible to earthbound mortals. But it was here that, according to legend, the Indian saint Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress in the eight century. After prolonged meditation in a cave, he overcame obstructive demons and converted the valley to Buddhism, an event commemorated by the monastery.

Tai Shan, China

Of the five Taoists mountains, Tai Shan is the most revered. Its craggy, 5069-foot profile towers above the North China Plain, close to Tai'an in Shandong Province. Local legend states that anyone who climbs to the top of Tai Shan wll live to be 100.

Machu Picchu, Peru

As day breaks, shafts of sunlight fall across the ruins of Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas perched 7,107 feet above sea level on a ridge overlooking the Urumbamba Valley in southeastern Peru. Legend tells of the Incas, or "children of the sun," founding the empire that, by the 15th century, under their leader Pachacutec, was as large as the Roman Empire had ever been.

(The descriptions above were taken from National Geographic's Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, 2008)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A prophecy of terrifying, cruel and inflexible truth

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The scale is this: if your chromosomes were long enough to stretch around the equator, the difference between health and insanity would be less than one extra inch.

No horoscope matches this accuracy. No theory of human causality, Freudian, Marxist, Christian or animist, has ever been so precise. No prophet in the Old Testament, no entrail-grazing oracle in ancient Greece, no crystal-ball gipsy clairvoyant on the pier at Bognor Regis ever pretended to tell people exactly when their lives would fall apart, let alone got it right. We are dealing here with a prophecy of terrifying, cruel and inflexible truth. There are a billion three-letter ‘words’ in your genome. Yet the length of just this one little motif is all that stands between each of us and mental illness.

~ Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 24 Chapters, 2006

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As the weather warmed toward another summer

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As the weather warmed toward another summer, it’s becoming an ordeal to walk under the grueling midday sun. And February has not even ended yet. Countries on the other side of the world are falling victim to flash floods, while the Philippines is increasingly threatened by the grave effects of an El NiƱo-induced drought: decreasing reservoir water levels that lead to power shortages in the south, farms drying up in the north, water shortage, decrease in harvests of rice and other cash crops, increase in food prices, and reduced economic growth for the country as a whole.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mutual Concession

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When you usually obsess about the details and your partner doesn’t want to be bothered with anything but the BIG PICTURE, you learn the art of mutual concession: the arduous yet graceful movement towards the moment when each of you say, sige na nga. Oblivious to matters that freak you out, he sails through it all with a nonchalance that makes you wonder why, to begin with, are you freaking out. When he cannot see the point of being punctual at all times, you shrug and accept that he marches to the beat of his own drum and no matter what you say or do won’t make him follow yours. With impassioned discourse, you two disagree on things banal and potentially vital, but in the end he’ll concede: do what makes you happy, honey.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boats

Monday, February 22, 2010

I hate being aboard one, but I love the sight of boats. Boats remind me of travel, of movement, of getting away, of being free.






The above photos were taken by a friend during our trip to Boracay.

losing it


I was brought up in faith, and I am now trying to understand how and why I lost it. All traces of belief nurtured from within have faded away, supplanted by relentless doubt. In every church service I attended and each hymn that I sang while growing up, a soupcon of doubt lingered. Reading the holy book to find answers to my questions has, instead, stirred up more questions. I tried to hold on, but the nebulous traces of doubt have regrettably and irrevocably crystallized; the futility of holding on overwhelmed me: I just had to walk away. Was it the obduracy of organized religion that made me lose it, or was it my own obdurate nature that made me lose my way?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boracay Getaway

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Boracay getaway hasn’t even ended when we started planning for the next one. That’s how delightful our time together was. It may sound trite, but the company of my friends mattered more than the place, no matter how splendid it was.

(Right: at the airport; Left: Pilak Girls at D'Mall)

(Right: Kalibo Airport; Left: Cagban Jetty Port)


(island hopping and helmet diving)

(lunch at Magic Island and parasailing)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Nurturing Friendship

Friday, February 12, 2010

In a few hours from now I will be meeting up with old friends for a weekend on the beach. It’s something that we’ve planned and looked forward to for a year: this getaway and get-together. But more than the need to take a break from the daily grind is the fervent yearning to be with each other and nurture the friendship we have had since we were kids. I am thankful that despite the physical distance among us, our hectic lives, everyday agitations and different priorities, we’ve managed to make this happen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Organized According to Literature

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Because I am an unabashed bookworm and a stickler for organization and this blog has become a day-to-day chronicle of my life, I thought of organizing three years' worth of posts according to the titles of some of the books that rocked my world. Here are the book titles that I used as labels (and what the posts under them are about):

  • A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole). About men and how they can be such dunces at times
  • A Frolic of Her (His) Own (William Gaddis). About memes
  • A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway). About food
  • A Sentimental Education (Vladimir Nabokov). About school life
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison). About D
  • Bleak House (Charles Dickens). About how bleak the Philippines can sometimes be
  • In the Beauty of the Lilies (John Updike). About poetry and passages from books that I find beautiful.
  • In This Our life (Ellen Glasgow). About everyday life
  • Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace). About being facetious
  • Little Women (Luisa May Alcott). About women and our frivolous ways
  • Look Homeward, Angel (Thomas Wolfe). About home and family
  • On the Road (Jack Kerouac). About travel
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez). About solitude
  • Portrait of a Lady (Henry James). About me
  • Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust). About reminiscing and reminiscences
  • Sense and sensibility (Jane Austen). About trying to make sense of things
  • The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton). About my friends from childhood
  • The Ghost Writer (Philip Roth). About writing
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood). About work
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Carson McCullers). About being lonely
  • The Moviegoer (Walker Percy). About movies
  • The Pursuit of Love (Nancy Mitford). About love and relationships
  • The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennet). About books and reading
  • This Side of Paradise (F. Scott Fitzgerald). About things and places in the country that I find beautiful.
  • Vanity Fair (William Thakeray). About being vain
  • Waiting (Ha Jin). About waiting
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread (E.M. Forster). About being irreverent

Monday, February 8, 2010

Several Selves

Monday, February 8, 2010

It astonishes me how, in merely a few years, somebody whom I thought I knew very well could change and turn into a person that I do not recognize anymore. The things that make her endearing are almost gone, and I don’t know if she’s aware of it. Maybe I was the one who changed: she’s always been like that, and I just look at her differently now. Or perhaps, to maintain our life’s balance, we collect several selves and shift from one surface to another without becoming less of ourselves within.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Sensitive Stickler

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Part of one’s despair, of course, is that the world cares nothing for the little shocks endured by the sensitive stickler. While we look in horror at a badly punctuated sign, the world carries on around us, blind to our plight. We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation. Whisper it in petrified little-by tones: dead punctuation is invisible to everyone else – yet we see it all the time.

~ Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, 2003

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eight

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I snagged this meme from Kayni.

Eight movies I recently watched:
1. There will be Blood
2. Ai No Corrida (In the Realm of the Senses)
3. Avatar
4. Across the Universe
5. The Mist
6. 100 Days of Summer
7. Up
8. Bride Wars

Eight things I look forward to:
1. Valentine weekend in Boracay with my friends
2. Getting a shorter haircut
3. Spending summer with my sister
4. Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s biography
5. 6:30 PM so I can go home
6. Enough sleep
7. Trip to Malaysia with D
8. Whole wheat pandesal, cheese and bananas for tonight’s dinner

Eight things that happened yesterday:
1. I chatted with a colleague over Fita biscuits and a mug of tea.
2. I read Dennet’s book till past midnight.
3. Two applicants arrived for interview.
4. Comelec officials worrying over the influx of mobile phone signal jammers were shown on TV.
5. I found a website that offers a good day trip package to Malacca.
6. I paid my electric bill.
7. Cebu Pacific Airlines sent our new itinerary.
8. The Grade Four Student Guide review is finally completed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Misery Memoir

Monday, February 1, 2010

I am told that I have a tendency to alienate my readers. It has something to do with how I write and what I write about. Seeped in melancholia and often self-indulgent, my writings are not something that everyone can enjoy, like, or put up with it. Thus, it’s no wonder that this blog--my misery memoir--has only a handful of regular readers. Why would my narcissistic, otiose rambling be of interest to anybody, anyway?

I like it when people stumble upon my blog, like what they read and even come back for more; but I also like the fact that I remain obscure and with limited readership. It gives me a sense of freedom. I do not feel constrained to write about toothless banalities that would be agreeable to everyone and not offend anybody’s sensibility. I can write about things that I want to write about and not what readers would want to read. Eased of the burden to be likeable and liked, I can turn all introspection against myself and write to my heart’s content.

 
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