Thursday, March 29, 2012

How happy we had been

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realise - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been. 

~ Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek, 1952

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And the Training Resumes

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It’s almost 11 in the evening. I can still feel my muscles throbbing from the workout that I just did.  I really am trying to stay true to the program I got from a mountain climbing website, but there are times when I feel too tired or lazy to do anything strenuous for the day. Only the belief that with every lunge, crunch, leg lift and toe pull I am getting closer to my dream pushes me to embrace all of these. With every bead of sweat, I tell myself, I am making things happen. Soon I will climb those mountains. Annapurna, here I come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

to see everything for the first time and for the last time

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


All my life one of my greatest desires has been to travel - to see and touch unknown countries, to swim in unknown seas, to circle the globe, observing new lands, seas, people, and ideas with insatiable appetite, to see everything for the first time and for the last time, casting a slow, prolonged glance, then to close my eyes and feel the riches deposit themselves inside me calmly or stormily according to their pleasure, until time passes them at last through its fine sieve, straining the quintessence out of all the joys and sorrows. 

~ Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco, 1965

Monday, March 26, 2012

Disentanglement

Monday, March 26, 2012

Losing myself in a book and abandoning the mental chatter and superfluous inanity of the real world has become so easy that I found myself doing precisely that for the past week. But the escape that I longed for proved hard to achieve. How can I dissociate myself from what is really happening when the books that I read not only transform how I think about the world but also affirm that which I want to escape from? The parallelism between Westeros and this world we live in are too amusing and disquieting to ignore; the dystopian world of Panem is undeniably an allegory of politics and a critique of modern celebrity and reality TV; K’s futile struggle to enter The Castle portrays the struggle against aloneness and the yearning for recognition. The books that I thought would disentangle me from reality knot me more into it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

an even more sinister analgesic

Monday, March 19, 2012


If religion is the opium of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister.  If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.

~Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Neighbors

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The neighbors were at it again, providing much needed drama for everyone on the 7th floor. Two nights ago the typical silence that pervades the condo’s corridors and lulls its residents into comfort was shattered by the banging of doors and enraged voices raised in argument. “Open this door now! Do not lock me out of my own house!” The woman bellowed in futility. The perennial marital discord between the couple who live two doors away has become such a normal event that the sight of police officers outside their door doesn’t bother us anymore. In fact, the sight of them reassures me somehow: police officers still come to the rescue when they’re needed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Trouble with Mountains

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The trouble with mountains is that they’re addictive. Once you climb a few, you want to climb them all. That’s how I feel. And so does my siblings. Only a few days have passed since our hike to Mt. Palay-Palay and our bodies have not fully recovered from the adventure, yet my sister is now planning another climb, to Mt. Pinatubo this time. Like me, my siblings got bit by the climbing bug, I guess. 

I've done the Andes; now I dream of the Himalayas, the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mts Rinjani and Bromo in Indonesia, the Cordillera del Paine in Chilean Patagonia.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Descent from the Summit of Mt. Pico de Loro

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Climbing down a mountain was never this difficult.



The photos are courtesy of Nicko Picazo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

On Marriage and Making Decisions

Friday, March 9, 2012

All breathless and sweaty battling the stairs, I had only the voices on my iPod to distract me from the insanity of what I’m doing. And so I listened, trying to forget that I still need to do two more rounds: The podcast was about the things we do for love, a Valentine special on This American Life. One of the guys being interviewed mentioned how comforting it is to know that a marriage doesn’t have to last. It’s the couple’s choice to decide whether or not to stick it out. There is always an option; it’s not a for-all-eternity-till-death-do-us-part thing. Then another guy countered that it is in fact the marriage vow to stay together whatever happens that gives him solace. The conviction that despite your differences as a couple, through thick and thin, and in sickness or in health, you will remain together can be comforting to one and distressful to another. Making sense of this paradox proved to be more difficult than climbing stairs. 

And as I grappled with these contradictions vis-à-vis my own beliefs and prejudices, I remember these words: 

Contrary to what most people think, making a decision is one of the easiest decisions in the world, as is more than proved by the fact that we make decision upon decision throughout the day, there, however, we run straight into the heart of the matter, for these decisions always come to us afterward with their particular little problems or, to make ourselves quite clear, with the rough edges needing to be smoothed, the first of these problems being our capacity for sticking to a decision and the second our willingness to follow it through. (Jose Saramago, The Double, 2002)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All in One Weekend

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My siblings and I were to supposed spend several days in Puerto Galera this month, but, oddly enough, my youngest sister—who is in high school—has the most hectic schedule of us all and is too busy for a long vacation. Thus, we settled for a weekend in a nearby seaside town instead. The itinerary includes, hiking, scaling a mountain, frolicking on the beach, roasting seafood and lots of photo shoots – all in one weekend. I can’t wait for the fun to start.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I don't have to talk, smile or be nice

Monday, March 5, 2012

Everything’s already set when, to my chagrin, I realized that I’d rather spend the night alone than be in the company of old college classmates.  I had my clothes picked out, my face glammed up and my hair ironed to perfection, but, regrettably, I don’t feel that kind of glee a former fat girl who has slimmed into the woman I am now feels when about to meet people who’d be surprised by the transformation.  It could have been a tremendous stroke to the ego, yet I don’t feel as if I want—or need--something like it. The conversation would have been really fun – that I’m sure of. It just takes so much effort to be in the company of others sometimes.  Everything’s easier when I’m alone and I don’t have to talk, smile or be nice. I can just lie curled up in bed with a book and bother no one. When I’m alone no one can intrude into my space, my thoughts and my affairs.
 
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