Thursday, February 23, 2012

It seems like forever since the last time I posted on my own blog!  Things have been kind of hectic since the second semester started.  I hold classes from Monday to Saturday, from 8 am-8 pm! Then there are papers to check, grades to compute, lessons to prepare. It does not leave much time for blogging.  

However, just this Monday I opened my old email account again and found that it has been swamped with messages from blogs that I subscribe to.  I started reading blogs again and joining giveaways. (Don't know how long this will last!)  I miss the fun of going through the blogs and looking at these beautiful pictures and reading what the blogger has to say about them.  

BTW, I am glad the school gave me Literature classes (Philippine Literature and World Literature) this semester.  It's always a wonderful experience to pick out stories/poems/essays from books and share these stories/poems/essays to my students.  

For this grading period, the students and I read the Literature of Africa.  We rode on the words of authors as they took as to the time when the Africa struggled with the Slave Trade and the civil war.  Then there were the Apartheid and Negritude Movements.  It was also a journey to the past with the Philippine Literature classes.  

One more month and it's vacation time!

Hope all my friends in the blogosphere are doing well!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Vintage Wedding

With the NBA season over, I’m stuck with the E! Channel and their roster of “stars”.  It is important to enclose that word in parentheses because I am talking about the Kardashians.  Kim’s lavish ceremony certainly got people talking, with one blogger calling it “America’s answer to the Royal Wedding.”  THAT raised a lot of pencil-thin eyebrows. 
However, I find beauty in simplicity, so I am partial to low-key, solemn ceremony with a touch of vintage.  These are some lovely pictures of a Vintage Wedding.

The dress

The flowers

The table

The reception

The well-wishers.
Vintage too!


The Bookshelf

Dear Santa, 

It’s too early for a Christmas list, but I’m sending one early in case you are super busy in December.  All I want for Christmas is this avant-garde bookshelf that seems to defy gravity.
It would be so perfect in my room..even without the books. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Calling Captain Planet

Some bad, really BAD people are out to destroy the beauty that is Palawan.  We’re talking about mining here, folks.  Onlyselfishuncaring individuals want to see the destruction of a natural wonder for cheap money.     
Please help SAVE PALAWAN by spreading the word.  Click this link.
It only takes a few minutes to get the word out.  It could take a lifetime to rebuild these islands.
So what are you going to do?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Death Anniversary

It has been a year since our grandma left us.  She was God's gift to us, and was very much a part of our lives...from our idyllic childhood to the time we left home to try our hand at independence.  I will never forget her last gift to me: a promise that she kept.  She told  me a month before that she was going to see me on my birthday.  She had been in the ICU for almost a week and had not opened her eyes for days, but when I came to see her on my birthday (I was telling her what we had for lunch), she opened her eyes and looked straight at mine.  She kept her promise even though she was too weak by then.

Three days later, she died in a hospital room surrounded by family.

The words I wrote for her epitaph are my heart's gift to dear old Lola.  

Love always, love forever. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Filipino Pride: Manny Pacquiao

The man did it again: faced an opponent who seemingly had the advantage in terms of height and reach, but lacked the lightning speed that the Pacman is known for.  He emerged from the fight victorious, humbled from his 13th consecutive win which earned him his 8th championship belt.  More importantly, if there are doubters left out there, Manny has just silenced them with his outstanding performance last Saturday night in Dallas.

The Pacman is already an icon in the eyes of his countrymen as his success story is a testament to the values of hard work and dedication.  Born into extreme poverty, he dropped out of high school and lived for a time in the streets of Manila.  A snippet of his biography reads:

In 1995, the death of a young aspiring boxer and close friend Eugene Barutag spurred the young Pacquiao to pursue a professional boxing carreer.  Pacquiao started his professional boxing career when he was just 16 years of age, stood 4'11", and weighed 98 pounds (7 pounds under the minimumweight division).

With his God-given talent and uncanny sense of determination, Pacman rose from the ranks to get to where he is today.  Aside from his undeniable talent and charisma, his down to earth nature has endeared him to many.  In fact, everything comes to a standstill in the Philippines when Manny has a fight.  In 1998, for instance, when Manny wrestled the World Boxing Council superfeatherweight title from Juan Miguel Marquez of Mexico, the military declared a ceasefire against the New People's Army which lasted until the end of the match.  A news report read:

The military will briefly put on hold its battle against insurgents while political squabbling is also suspended as the country prepares to cheer on boxer Manny Pacquiao in a world title fight this weekend.

A Pacman fight also means no traffic congestion and deserted streets and malls. (Once when we were in one of the busiest malls in Cebu City, we wondered where the "mallers" had gone to it looked like we had the mall all to ourselves.  When the match ended, the movie houses' doors flew open and out came the throng of Pacquiao supporters.  The peace and quiet we found earlier was quickly replaced by a loud discussion of the match, its outcome, and the greatness of Pacquiao.)
A few days after Pacquiao cemented his legend, the world awaits for his next move.  Who's next for the Pacman?  Will the much anticipated Mayweather fight finally happen, or will he pick up where he left off with Marquez? 

While his future opponent does not have a face yet, Manny will go back to his people to celebrate this achievement and to perform his responsibilities as a duly elected congressman of his province.  The world can wait and there's plenty of space for another fallen fighter. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Diary of a Campaign

Last Saturday, we joined a "caravan" to support an uncle's bid for election as Baranggay Chairman of Ipil.  Together with his seven kagawads and their supporters, we braved the elements and took to the streets one last time before the campaign period officially came to an end.  This was the first time I accompanied a campaign because I have a distaste for politics.

Although I spent most of my childhood in Ipil, I knew so little about the place.  The caravan introduced me to places that I have never seen before--from the rocky beaches of San Roque II to the rice fields of Panali-an.  

These are the pictures we took to document the campaign trail for Election 2010.

The assembly area was Ipil Central School.  The caravan was supposed to start at 8:00 a.m, but had to be delayed for the local band whose call time was 9:00 a.m.  

With Tiyo (Uncle) Alan and my sister
The Old
The Young

The Women

The Men 

Family and friends were on hand to offer their support to the party.

The caravan finally started when 9:00 a.m. came around.

We walked on the highway in San Roque II, 

and on dirt roads that are too narrow for some vehicles,

passed under untamed bamboo grass, 

and made our way to a beach littered with pebbles.
(The sea was beautiful during this time: glittering under the sun, but serene at the same time.)

We squeezed into narrow passages, 

until we gained room to breathe.  
(Being a city girl who loves the country life, I was only too happy to see rice fields.  These greens made me think of the good old days.)

We trudged on narrow pathways,

saw goats grazing in the pasture,
(Again, was very delighted to see animals  we don't see in the city.)

continued with the walk in the blistering heat,

 then we reached these muddy tracks next to a river.
(Meanwhile, a bulldozer was busy excavating gravel and stone in the dying river.  It's a sad sign of the times when the river you used to swim in as a child is being exploited like crazy!)

Finally, we reached the highway in Panalian and headed south. 

The caravan ended just before noon with lunch served at Buena's residence.  By then, we were exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, but it was all worth it.

Another reason to love my Ipil:  the harmony between modernization and the "old life". 
 (This could inspire another post in the future.)




The Reader on Politics

5:30 P.M.

The drizzle had caused the darkness to descend early on the central school where the canvassing of the local elections was going on.  The air was filled with the sound of the birds as they made their way home to the tree branches, droopy from the heat of the October sun.  On page 70 of How to Make an American Quilt, The Reader was marveling at the eloquence of the author's description of a relationship: 

Your garden contains love-in-a-mist and honey-bear roses, which fill the air with an exceptionally sweet scent; only a few people are able to tolerate such a honey-sweetened atmosphere.  And the climbing roses making their ascent toward sun and sky, bound at the root to the earth but longing for the sky.

Reason told her to put the book down as the fading light is not suitable for reading.  Then something else caught The Reader's attention:  the voice of an election chairman as it drifted through the classroom windows bearing the names of the winning candidates.  Her heart sank.  Here, a hopeful could win a race by attaching a piece of paper which bore his name to a twenty-peso bill.  It's not the politician, but the money who does the talking.  This fact led her to raise two questions:

If someone sincerely wants to be The Leader and render service to his people, does he need to resort to drastic measures to win votes?


If we can be swayed by a "small amount", what does that say about our capacity to think? (or to feel?)

The reality is that anyone who jumps into the political wagon should be prepared to face the dirty tactics employed by fellow politicians.  These tactics are nothing new, too, and they have been a part of Philippine politics for some time now.  They are the cancer cells which slowly kill the hopes of those who desire to see a change in their society.  Yet, they have been left uncured for who-knows-how-long.  

Confronted by this reality, The Reader could only shake  her head at the outcome of the local elections.  As she likes her peace and quiet, she'd rather not ruffle someone's feathers by letting her fingers run amok on the keyboard. 

Done with the rants, The Reader turned to page 71 and read:

When you are making the friendship quilt you are declaring love and faithfulness in the face of parting, perhaps forever.

Say it with your hands.

Then wave good-bye. 



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Romantic Blossom Necklace from Ileana

A few weeks ago, I received this Romantic Blossom Necklace from Ileana of Enchanted Beads.  The rose pendant also doubles as a brooch.  I'm loving the necklace, and so does my Mama!  In fact, she was the first who wore the brooch to her school's September mass.

If you want to see more of Ileana's creations, check out her blog Enchanted Beads and her Etsy shop.

Some of my favorites:

I Dream of You ring

Flower Power earrings

Romantic Garden Necklace

Thank you, Ileana!


Friday, October 8, 2010

In Pursuit of Victoria Holt

An old book was sitting on a shelf, gathering dusts and inviting termites to chew on its pages that have started to turn yellow.  Mama had stuffed it there a few years ago and had seemingly forgotten its existence.  The book was written by a certain Victoria Holt and its title seemed strange to me then: The Pride of the Peacock.  Who would be interested to read a few hundred pages about a peacock, right?  So I passed.

A few years later, I picked up the book out of boredom and started reading the first pages.  It was love at first read.  Josh and his ladylove invited me to their lives, took me on a journey to the outbacks of Australia, and even gave me a scare with stories of the Green Flash.

Since then I have been on the hunt for Victoria Holt books.  Unfortunately, they are kinda elusive.  It has been years now since I last found one.

The best ones are always the hardest to find.  Where in the world could they be hiding?



Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Dear, Dead Loves of Vanished Youth

In 1925, a woman authored a story that changed the landscape of Philippine Literature for ever.  That short story ushered in a new era of Philippine writing in English.  Its subject is a universal that has puzzled both the poets and the common man over the ages: Love.  The woman was Paz Marquez Benitez; the short story was “Dead Stars”. 

In a nutshell, Dead Stars is about “the dear, dead loves of vanished youth”.   Alfredo Salazar, a bachelor in his thirties, is engaged for four years to Esperanza when he feels that the intensity of his passion for her starts to fade.  He meets Julia Salas at a dinner party, and he eventually finds himself drawn to “the lure of naturalness, of an alert vitality of mind and body, of a thoughtful, sunny temper, and of a piquant perverseness which is sauce to charm.”  Society dictates that Alfredo honor his understanding with Esperanza; thus, they marry and start a family.  Eight years into his marriage, he goes on a business trip to a lake town where Julia lives, still unmarried.  He visits Julia, and leaves with the realization that although he has never forgotten her, he no longer feels the same way about her.  The author writes:

Gently—was it experimentally?—he pressed her hand at parting; but his own felt undisturbed and emotionless.  Did she still care?  The answer to the question hardly interested him.

The young moon had set, and from the uninviting cot he could see one half of a star-studded sky.

So that was all over.

Why had be obstinately clung to that dream?

So all these years—since when?—he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens.

An immense sadness of loss invaded his spirit, a vast homesickness of some immutable refuge of the heart far away where faded gardens bloom again, and where live on in unchanging freshness, the dear, dead loves of vanished youth.

Although this was penned almost a century ago, Filipino readers who have a penchant for love stories can still appreciate its honest portrayal of love.  Back in college, this was just another story for study.  Alfredo didn’t have a face then, and there were no dead stars in my heavens.  The best love stories need not have a fairy tale ending, though; sometimes it’s how the story starts—a chance encounter, a walk in the rain, or a night under a blanket of stars—which strikes a chord in the heart. 

Perhaps, another writer got it right when he said:

But like a dead star which is so far away, and whose shine could actually be the leftover traveling light from it, he was a long way from getting the girl, and the love he thought was possible, never was.

Or perhaps, nobody truly understands the real nature of Love.  Not the poets.  Not the intellectuals.  Not the star-struck lovers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inday Learns to Write

She sits under the canopy of an old Chico tree, eyes drawn to heaven in search of the words that have eluded her, drunk with the ecstasy of a passing inspiration.  Her fingers struggle to catch up with the words unraveling in her head, except for the ring finger of the right hand which seems to have a mind of its own.  It keeps hitting the backspace key.

Inday played with words in grade school, flirted with them in high school, and went to bed with them in college.  As playmates, they allowed her to summon images of sunny days and starry nights.  Perfect for the romantic soul with a Peter Pan syndrome.  They made excellent lovers, too: passionate when stoked and persistent when refused.  When deadlines were inevitable and a 3.0 was threatening to spew out of a professor's pen, they would stand before her in all their naked glory and her head would hungrily absorb their every form.  

Once, in high school, she burned midnight candles for Numbers and Equations.  She was wiping the sleep off her eyes when they deserted her--right in the middle of a major exam!  Poor Inday was left to scribble marks on her paper in the hope that the teacher (aka Sir Allan) would recognize her effort.  That quick desertion was the start of their love-hate relationship.  They would meet again for the next two years while she was at university and again when she was taking post-graduate classes.  Every meeting was always a struggle for her, with Math having the last laugh.

Although she is slow with her sentences and paragraphs, words are careful to exercise a saintly patience with her--something that snobbish Math lacks.  She struggles with Coherence too, as with this post which keeps jumping from one thought pattern to another; but most days, she's just too lazy to pay attention to Grammar and Concluding Paragraphs--so she plays with the keyboard some more, and wishes fervently that the ghost of a Holt or a Sheldon takes possession of her creative spirit.

Until then, Inday continues to sit under the canopy of an old Chico tree, eyes drawn to heaven, drunk with the ecstasy of a passing inspiration.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Lure of the Siren

»First you will come to the Sirens 
who enchant all who come near them.

If any one unwarily draws in too close 

and hears the singing of the Sirens,
his wife and children 
will never welcome him home again,
for they sit in a green field 
and warble him to death 
with the sweetness of their song. 
There is a great heap 
of dead men's bones lying all around, 
with the flesh still rotting off them.«

-The Odyssey-

She bathes herself in controversy for she seems to enjoy the smell of dried ink on paper bearing her name and proclaiming her latest shenanigans.  She makes outrageous proclamations in public that have tainted the family name, and when the media frenzy gets too much she hides behind the myth of the Aquino name.  A few years back, she proclaimed on a televised interview that she had contacted STD from a former lover.  Public opinion was divided: some praised her for staying true to herself in an industry where make-up and fake hair hide the real person underneath, while some cast stones at her for having loose morals of a woman who was supposed to come from a good and religious family.

Now that her older brother is about to take office as the fifteenth president of the Philippine republic, Kris Aquino's influence has stretched far into the corners of the Executive and Legislative branches of the government.  First, there were talks of a Joey de Leon appointment for the Optical Media Board (OMB) post.  Then followed a string of names, all showbiz personalities who were staunch supporters of Noynoy during the campaign:  from Boy Abunda the Bff, to Ogie the Pogi, to Dingdong Dantes, and finally, Leah Navarro.  In a culture that places importance on Utang na Loob, the Aquinos are now about to give the devil his due, while the common man watches from the side as the oligarchs start to rip what little garb this country is left with.  It happened during Cory's time, and it will happen again during the son's time.

Kris, with her continuous meddling in the affairs of the state, is starting to resemble the mythical sirens of Greek mythology.  "The Sirens," writes Bulfinch, "were sea nymphs who had the power of charming by their song all who heard them, so that the unhappy mariners were irresistibly impelled to cast themselves into the sea to their destruction."  Huge crowds gathered around her during the political sorties, eager to hear promises of a better life.  Now that securing the presidency for Noynoy has been accomplished, Kris has turned her attention on securing the seat for Senate President for the Liberal Party's Senator Kiko Pangilinan.  The Daily Tribune reports that "...the presidential sister was said to have promised choice committee chairmanships to them, in exchange for their vote in favor of Pangilinan.  The presidential sister is into influence-peddling, and in the case of Estrada, sources said that senator was supposedly offered the retention of his current position as President pro tempore while Revilla was said to have been assured of retaining his committee on public works and highways as well as public services.  Lapid was allegedly promised to be retained as chairman of the committee on sports, games and amusement, while detained Sen. Trillanes has been promised freedom to attend the Senate hearings in exchange for his vote for Pangilinan."  Beware of the lure of the siren.

Photo from The Daily Tribune
Kris' life is an open book: who hasn't heard of her affairs as she jumped from the arms of one married man to another and bore a child out of wedlock?  Her married life is laced with controversy, as well:  there were whispers of affairs of husband James Yap.  But all these are forgivable, and frankly, none of the public's business.  If Kris makes a mess out of her privileged life, it will not deplete the country's natural resources, nor will it make the stock market crash.  Her supposed involvement and influence in Noynoy's decisions, however, are a different story.  

The Aquinos have a tendency to sweeten their family name with tales of heroism and religious devotion.  In a country desperate for a new breed of leaders whose hands have not been dirtied by corruption, the Aquinos rode on their famous last name and their mother's death to secure the votes.  But wait, isn't that a form of corruption too?  To take advantage of their parents' legacies and a recent death in the family does not speak too well of the son and daughters
 of "heroes".

But last May's election is already history.  Noynoy has already been elected President and for the next six years he will be the leader of this small speck of land on this part of the world.  I'm crossing my fingers that his sister's meddling will not be his downfall.  That she will not be the Siren "who enchants those who come near them, only to leave a great heap of dead men's bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them."