Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So this is what SEM is all about

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I spent the day researching on search engine marketing and optimization for our company. I realized that it’s an entire universe of advertising that I am ignorant of. Pay-per-click, backlinks and search analytics are concepts I am not interested in until today. I have been blogging for more than four years, and it’s only now that I learned all these.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Foot

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors...disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it. 
(Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, 2002)

Friday, August 26, 2011

What dullness may not red lips and sweet accents render pleasant?

Friday, August 26, 2011

It IS the pretty face which creates sympathy in the hearts of men, those wicked rogues. A woman may possess the wisdom and chastity of Minerva, and we give no heed to her, if she has a plain face. What folly will not a pair of bright eyes make pardonable? What dullness may not red lips and sweet accents render pleasant? And so, with their usual sense of justice, ladies argue that because a woman is handsome, therefore she is a fool. O ladies, ladies! there are some of you who are neither handsome nor wise.

~ William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1847

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pag-asa na Dulot ng Bawat Umaga (Hope that Each Morning Brings)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuwing gabi, bago tuluyang pangibabawan ng antok ang aking katawan, sari-saring bagay ang pilit na sumusuot sa aking isipan. Nandiyan ang bulong ng pangamba, ang kurot ng kalungkutan, ang lambong ng kawalan ng pag-asa – mga kaisipang matagumpay kong napipigilan sa maghapon ngunit mariing humuhulagpos sa paglubog ng araw. Pagsapit ng dilim tila mas mahina ang aking diwa. Ngunit sa pagdating ng bukang-liwayway, ang bigat ng aking kalooban ay matuling napaparam. Ang liwanag na dala ng umaga ang siyang bumubuhay sa aking pag-asa, at bawat araw ay nagpapahiwatig na maari akong muling mag-umpisa.

(Every night, before my body is engulfed by sleep, various thoughts invade my mind. There is the whisper of fear, the pinch of loneliness, the veil of despair – thoughts that I can block during the day but run wild as the sun expires. As darkness falls it seems like my spirit gets weaker. But as dawn comes the heaviness in my heart vanishes. The light that morning brings raises my hopes, and each day suggests that I can start once again.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What’s the point of writing?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is the point of writing when nobody reads what you write?

I think that writing in itself can be its own reason for being. It feels great to know that there are a few who read my work, but the mere process of stringing words together already provides me with tremendous satisfaction. Writing has ceased to be about my wanting to be read but has become indistinguishable from living my life.

Maybe the point is to continue writing as if—or although--no one is reading.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peru in Color (2 of 2)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Continued from Peru in Color (1 of 2)

aji amarillo, Peruvian shrimp dish, Mancion del Fundador in Arequipa, Cusqueña beer, churros

graffiti in Miraflores, Mancion del Fundador, building in Lima, flowers along the Inca trail, corn varieties

the Pacific Ocean along Costa Verde, Plaza de Armas and Mirador de Yanahuara  in Arequipa, building in Lima
These photos were taken during our trip to Peru in June and July 2011.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peru in Color (1 of 2)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peru means ‘land of abundance’ in Quecha, a remarkably appropriate name for a country whose diversity and incredible beauty are beyond all my words to express. The country’s myriad colors signify the richness of its culture and the exuberance of its people.

Peruvian ceramics, locals at the Inti Raymi Festival, dyes sold at the Pisac market, a weaver in Arequipa 
corn farm in Calca, an alpaca, rooftops in Cuzco, buildings in Machu Picchu, mud and adobe house in Huaran
Urubamba market, a Peruvian lady, a blue vase on a blue window
The above photos were taken during our trip to Peru in June and July 2011.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

At Random

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting only three hours of sleep doesn’t help when one’s trying to finish a proposal.
Some people have twitter-sized attention spans.
Can I get away with skinny jeans, hiking boots and a sleeveless top at work on Friday?
…not a comment about religion but how society treats things we idolize.” He didn’t know he’d end up crucified, too.
I have to buy a new swimsuit. A bandeau this time.
It seemed as if the world had drained itself of all possible topics of conversation. The only ones left are babies, bellies, parenthood and pregnancy.
They say postmodernism is now dead. Hasn’t it been for some now?
Maybe I should try that new Vietnamese restaurant around the corner.
People always say mabait when they mean mabutiKind doesn’t really mean good, does it?
Three sets of twenty repetitions of plank with alternating leg lifts do not sound very inviting.

I will enjoy the present, and the past shall be for me the past


I will no longer, as has ever been my habit, continue to ruminate on every petty vexation which fortune may dispense; I will enjoy the present, and the past shall be for me the past. No doubt you are right, my best of friends, there would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if men—and God knows why they are so fashioned—did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead of bearing their present lot with equanimity.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774

Monday, August 15, 2011

Excited About

Monday, August 15, 2011

A friend said that life becomes boring if you don’t have anything to look forward to. And it does, indeed. Life’s dullness will be intolerable without these to be excited about:
  • The four-day long weekend at the end of the month. The government has declared August 29 and 30 as non-working holidays. This means that I can bum around with my family for four straight days. Hallelujah.
  • A bed-and-breakfast jaunt with girl friends in September. We rarely see each other and what little time we spend becomes truly precious.
  • Season 2 of The Walking Dead in October. This apocalyptic blood and gore zombie galore of a TV show got me hooked after watching its first episode. There is something captivating about its story line despite–or because—of its graphic portrayal that is not recommended for the faint of heart.
  • D’s longer visit
  • A short trip to Thailand, maybe. A return to the Chao Phraya river, our favorite hotel in Bangkok, Thai cuisine and lots of sun, sea and sand – it’s like going back to the things that induced my love for travel.
  • All the books that I plan to read for the rest of the year. A Free Life, The Mayor of Casterbridge, A Tale of Two Cities, Billy Bathgate, Lord Jim, Sentimental Education, Vanity Fair, The Princess of Cleves, Call it Sleep, The Woman in White, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love… The list is endless.
  • A trek to the Himalayas, if the gods permit

Friday, August 12, 2011

Detox

Friday, August 12, 2011

I have started weaning myself off Facebook. It is not a complete disassociation from the world of social networking but more of a conscious attempt to remove Facebook from my daily routine.

Facebook has enabled me to keep in touch with friends all over the world, but reading or responding to friends’ status updates is not a substitute for having a real conversation with them. I feel as though what I see or read on Facebook is trivial and superficial. It doesn’t tell me what is truly happening with my  friends’ lives. It merely gives me a false sense of connection with them. I love reading friends’ witty quips or looking at their travel pictures, but I realized that I don’t really have to know that much detail about things that should not be shared at all, shared by an indiscriminate mass of ‘friends’ whom I barely know.

The ability of social media to surround us with constant chatter and fill in life’s idle moments has made them habit-forming and time-consuming. Through the years, I probably spent more time on Facebook than I should have. It is now time to realign my day-to-day routine. Like mobile phones that, for several years now, I have managed to live without but to some people are indispensable, Facebook doesn’t have to be a staple of my existence. By limiting my visits to Facebook, I could devote more time to things that deserve my prolonged attention; by denying myself of its transient pleasures, I could concentrate more on the  enduring rewards of life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The open road, the dusty highway

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


...There's real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here to-day, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!

~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, 1908

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Salineras de Maras

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Maras Salt Mines is located in Peru’s Sacred Valley, 10 km NW of Urubamba

What looks like a patchwork quilt of white and various shades of brown cascading down a hillside are in fact thousands of terraced salt mines that have existed since pre-Inca times yet are still operable till today. Fascinated by its beauty and astonished by the fact salt can actually come from ancient mines and not only from sea water, I was left speechless by the sprawl of salt encrusted ponds before me. My ignorance was evident: As I looked at the workers standing ankle deep in those ponds I could not comprehend how salt is produced. I needed to look it up. And here’s what I found out:

“Since pre-Inca times, salt has been obtained in Maras by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream. The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the underground stream. The flow is directed into an intricate system of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds. Almost all the ponds are less than four meters square in area, and none exceeds thirty centimeters in depth. All are necessarily shaped into polygons with the flow of water carefully controlled and monitored by the "farmers". As water evaporates from the sun-warmed ponds, the water becomes supersaturated and salt precipitates as various size crystals onto the inner surfaces of a pond's earthen walls and on the pond's earthen floor. The pond's keeper then closes the water-feeder notch and allows the pond to go dry. Within a few days the keeper carefully scrapes the dry salt from the sides and bottom, puts it into a suitable vessel, reopens the water-supply notch, and carries away the salt.” (Maras Salt Mines)


Monday, August 8, 2011

the comforting clutch of family

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nothing compares to the comforting clutch of family especially in times when you need it the most. The sadness that you harbor and rarely show the world is evident to the few who have been with you through the years. Words are superfluous for they know without you telling them. Their mere presence comforts you and makes you want to believe in something, anything. You leave home soothed and defiant, geared up for another battle with life.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Consciousness

Friday, August 5, 2011

I am sick of listening to my thoughts. Is it wrong to yearn for silence once in a while? The longing to relinquish consciousness at times is simply too strong to ignore and too precious to succumb to. Why can’t this incessant noise find its tranquil voice?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

the love of accumulating money

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit? That will help us to understand how the love of accumulating money grows an absorbing passion in men whose imaginations, even in the very beginning of their hoard, showed them no purpose beyond it.

~ George Eliot, Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, 1861

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The need for another preoccupation

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

That which for several months had been the overriding passion of my life is now completed. I need another preoccupation or, as some would prefer to think, a new obsession that deserves my prolonged attention: anything that would divert my mind from this ruminating--and oftentimes self-mutilating—habit. It is disheartening to admit that as we develop a deeper appreciation for the world around us the more we are compelled to look for distractions to keep life’s horrors at bay.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the world obscured in white

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How is it possible that when I look out the window I see the world obscured in white? Thunder rumbles on and the rain continues unabated. I want to go home. That is, if I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Capacity for Destitution

Monday, August 1, 2011

That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be…

~ Marilynne Robinson, Home, 2008
 
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