Saturday, February 26, 2011

Childfree

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Deficient in maternal instincts, unwilling to conform to socially defined obligations, disinclined to subject a child to life’s suffering, selfishly protective of my freedom and personal space and incapable of being a responsible and patient parent, I had elected not to have children of my own. I stay away from children, and children stay away from me.

But karmic forces must have been at work for I was tasked to develop instructional materials intended for use by preschool and nursery teachers. My reaction was: Oh no, oh no, on no. I don’t know anything about children! How can I possibly write a book for kids’ instruction? I’ve already forgotten most of what had been taught in my Child Psychology course, and now I have to put tremendous effort into understanding how a child’s mind works. It would have been easier if I were a mother, but I guess this is just life’s way of poking fun at me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How could I be so awful?

Friday, February 25, 2011

How could I be so awful? So many times have I asked myself that question that it has become a daily incantation. If I were more tolerant of people who are endowed with that fantastic capacity for bombast, circumlocution, equivocation and obfuscation, I would not have been such a castrating bitch. While those people might have well deserved a verbal lashing, I would still have been much better advised not to be so awfully contentious. If I could only learn to curb that sneering tone, the eye-rolling disdain, the untrammeled vituperation, I would. And I am both appalled and relieved to find that I couldn’t.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

he died from solitude

Thursday, February 24, 2011



But the truth was that he died from solitude, the enemy known but to few on this Earth, and whom only the simplest of us are fit to withstand. The brilliant Costaguanaro of the boulevards had died from solitude and want of faith in himself and others.

~ Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, 1905

Monday, February 21, 2011

Inca Trail: Permits, Packing Lists and Porters

Monday, February 21, 2011

With only 200 trekkers allowed each day on the Inca Trail, it is no wonder that all trek permits for departures in March until May of this year have been fully booked since January and those for June are almost sold out.  It’s a good thing we were able to secure trek permits for our chosen travel dates before they’ve completely ran out.

There are four months to go, and we've started preparing the things we'd need to bring for the four-day hike:

A daypack that would hold 

Our passports
1.5-liter water bottle and purification tablets
Camera with extra batteries
Wet wipes
Sunblock
Sun hat
Sunglasses
Extra jacket
Snacks and coca leaves

And a duffel bag (to be carried by a porter) that would contain:

-10C sleeping bag with double foam mattress
Change of clothing
Woolies
Bathing clothes for the hot springs
Extra pair of hiking boots
Towel and toiletries
Eyeglasses and contact lens kit
Medicines for altitude sickness and diarrhea
Insect repellent
Hand sanitizer
Flashlight and head torch
Trekking poles

All other superfluous accoutrements must be left behind because there are limits to the weight a personal porter could carry:  Each trekker can only give a maximum of six kilos of personal items (including the sleeping bag and the mattress) for the porter to carry. There are laws that protect porter welfare in Peru, and this practice of limiting the weight that porters could carry provides a safeguard against porter overload and maltreatment. In fact, one of the reasons why I chose our tour operator among hundreds of companies in Cuzco alone is its reputation for promoting responsible tourism and porter welfare.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

in front of the camera

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I realized that I'd rather be in front of the camera than behind it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's so grand about a Grand Reunion?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It’s been 16 years since we graduated from high school, and some classmates are planning to hold a Grand Reunion in December of this year. I don’t know what’s so grand about it when we can’t even summon enough interest from everybody to participate in the said activity. Various ideas have been floated for everyone’s consideration, but so far we haven’t reached anything concrete. Fun runs, donate-a-classroom projects, a yearbook, a class fund – we’ve lots of grand dreams that we’ve no idea how to carry out. How can we make these happen when majority of us are too busy with our lives to care about what can be seen as portentously overblown and overly ambitious ideas or too indifferent to involve ourselves in this group effort?

Monday, February 14, 2011

just another ordinary Monday

Monday, February 14, 2011

I woke up this morning expecting the world to be filled with pink and red heart-shaped balloons, but not a single balloon was in sight. Despite all the hype, today is turning out to be just another ordinary Monday – with nothing special to look forward to and not a hint of romance that would make me swoon.

Then I stopped and asked myself, why am I entertaining such thoughts? Maybe because in spite of my cynicism I still believe that:

“Love, we know somewhere within ourselves, transcends ordinary expectations and experience. Love gives more and it takes more. It is a metaphysical minefield—or a mine. It glitters, illuminates, endangers. The stakes are real. You win some. You lose some. You are never undamaged. But you are, with any luck, undaunted.” (Cristina Nehring, A Vindication of Love, 2009)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Would you rather, therefore, have had nothing at all?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"What is it my dear?

Ah, how can we bear it?

Bear what?

This. For so short a time. How can we sleep this time away?

We can be quiet together, and pretend - since it is only the beginning - that we have all the time in the world.

And every day we shall have less. And then none.

Would you rather, therefore, have had nothing at all?

No. This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."
 
A.S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance, 1990

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

China Chronicles Three: Deja Vu

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Was it Macau’s steep lanes, uphill winding roads, and dated shop buildings along narrow alleyways that reminded me so much of my hometown, Baguio of old?  Or was it the nippy January air that brought back memories of those days when, swathed in sweaters and never seeming to tire, we would wander around the city on foot, without a care in the world.  Or it must be the company: I was with my closest friends, the people whom I grew up and shared many happy memories with.

 
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