Thursday, May 31, 2012

It’s almost 9 pm

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It’s almost 9 pm. I’ve been reading the whole day. My mind’s filled with words and ideas all muddled into a murky mess. Not another page, I told myself. What does it take to reorder my thoughts and bring some semblance of clarity to confusion? A break, perhaps. Or an invigorating conversation. A distractingly funny movie, possibly. A good night’s sleep, definitely.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lame

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book development’s done, and I’m currently idling away the hours until the start of the new project.  I can now catch up on my Spanish lessons (where I’m stuck at conjugating radical changing e to ie verbs); I can focus on training for our next mountain adventure; I can also dedicate my mental faculties, deficient as they are, to writing something less lame than this.

Monday, May 28, 2012

fascinating, bewitching, entrancing

Monday, May 28, 2012

If there is any life that is happier than the life we led on our timber ranch for the next two or three weeks, it must be a sort of life which I have not read of in books or experienced in person. We did not see a human being but ourselves during the time, or hear any sounds but those that were made by the wind and the waves, the sighing of the pines, and now and then the far-off thunder of an avalanche. The forest about us was dense and cool, the sky above us was cloudless and brilliant with sunshine, the broad lake before us was glassy and clear, or rippled and breezy, or black and storm tossed, according to Nature's mood; and its circling border of mountain domes, clothed with forests, scarred with landslides, cloven by canons and valleys, and helmeted with glittering snow, fitly framed and finished the noble picture. The view was always fascinating, bewitching, entrancing. 

~ Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Can Something This Beautiful Be That Lethal?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The sun pounded mercilessly, defying the leaden landscape that surrounds me. A few minutes into the two-hour hike to the crater lake, I looked around, dazzled by the splendor left behind by destruction. Can this be the same volcano that caused such havoc to our country several years ago? I asked myself. How can something this beautiful be that lethal?


MT. PINATUBO
Location: Boundaries of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales 
(15°08.4’ N, 120°21’ E)
Elevation:  1.445 km (height before eruption was 1.745 km)       
Base Diameter 40 km                                          
Caldera Lake:  Pinatubo Crater Lake (2 km in diameter and depth of 600 to 800 meters)  

The second-largest volcanic eruption of this century, and by far the largest eruption to affect a densely populated area, occurred at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15, 1991.  The eruption produced high speed avalanches of hot ash and gas, giant mudflows, and a cloud of volcanic ash hundreds of miles across.  The impacts of the eruption continue to this day. (Source)


The former summit of the volcano was obliterated and replaced by a caldera 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide. The highest point on the caldera rim now stood 1,485 m (4,872 ft) above sea level, some 260 m (850 ft) lower than the pre-eruption summit. (Source)


A reported 847 people were killed by the eruption mostly by roofs collapsing under the weight of accumulated wet ash… In total, 364 communities and 2.1 million people were affected by the eruption, with livelihoods and houses being damaged or destroyed.… In addition to the severe damage sustained by these communities, roads and communications were damaged or destroyed by pyroclastic flows and lahar throughout the areas surrounding the volcanoes. (Source)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Global Table

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Next time you sit down for a meal, imagine that there are nine other people sitting with you at the table, and that together you represent all the people on the planet. Organized by nations, two of your tablemates are Chinese, two Indian, and a fifth represents all the other countries in Northeast, South, and Central Asia. A sixth represents the nations of Southeast Asia and Oceana. A seventh represents sub-Saharan Africa, and an eighth represents the remainder of Africa and the Middle East. A ninth represents Europe. The remaining seat, representing the countries of South, Central, and North America… 

If seated by nourishment, one person is hungry and two are obese. More than half eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but that number is shrinking. The stricter vegetarians and vegans have one seat at the table, but barely. And more than half of the time any one of you reaches for eggs, chicken, or pork, they will have come from a factory farm. If current trends continue for another twenty years, the beef and mutton you reach for also will. 

~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, 2009

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reclaiming Citizenship

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I think that’s the surest sign that you’re a Filipino: You lay claim to it, and in doing so, help shape its meaning. (Carla Montemayor, Interaksyon

It amazes me how excited he is to receive his Philippine passport. Maybe living in--and being a citizen of--another country for such a long time does that. Claiming once birth right becomes so important that one is willing to go through anything just to become a ‘Filipino’ once again – just like he did. 

We were lining up to have our passports stamped at the entrance to Machu Picchu when I noticed him trying to hide his passport from our fellow trekkers. Later I asked him about it. He said that he wanted to be identified as a Filipino, and not another gringo. That is how proud he is of the country of his birth. Many US citizens can easily go to Peru, but only a few from a developing country like the Philippines can or do. And some Filipinos—both here and abroad—do not fully lay claim to and take pride in being Filipinos.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stiff and Sore

Monday, May 14, 2012

I woke up feeling the aftermath of another great hike. Sore and stiff, my muscles and joints are screaming not in pain but in jubilation. All this pain is part of the splendor of another day outdoors doing what I love best.

hiking to the crater of Mt. Pinatubo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim 'I do enjoy myself' or 'I am horrified' we are insincere. 'As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror' - it's no more than that really, and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.

~ E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, 1924

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blankness

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Here I go again. A deep, gathering blankness has taken hold on me.  I sit down and pick up my pen, but I always end up staring at an empty piece of paper. Unsure of what to say, devoid of fresh ideas and disinclined for the buffering effect of trite language and worn-out sentiments, I give in to the clarity of silence, of words left unarticulated.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unruly

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Twisted into two tight buns then uncoiled after a couple of hours, my hair resulted to this:


Wild and unruly. And totally me.
 
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