After the free French Film Festival last week (Jay and I watched Rust and Bone starring Marion Cotillard), Aliance Francais is bringing us another most-awaited free event in Manila, Fête de la Musique 2013, featuring over 100 bands to play over 10 hours.
The first thing you need to know about Bangkok is how the heat can make you do crazy things in April.
One morning, after the usual breakfast of croissant, eggs(?), fresh orange juice, coffee, and banana at a backpackers’ hostel in Siam, I searched for beaches near Thailand’s capital and found some islands a few hours away. Instead of going to airconditioned museums or malls, which was my usual fare in humid Bangkok, I took an MRT ride to the bus station (Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal). And that’s when my misadventure began.
I can’t read Thai, I don’t understand and speak Thai. I asked for directions in basic touristy English where I can buy tickets going to this specific port at Rayong. I was led to a window where I bought roundtrip bus and boat tickets. The lady said I can still catch the last boat that night if I leave before 4 pm. The last bus leaves at four.
Looking at my ticket gave me a sense of uneasiness in that unplanned travel to the rural side of Thailand.
At 4pm, I wasn’t sure where my bus is, so I showed my ticket to a woman in uniform who’s calling out for passengers. She told me to board the bus in front of her.
I was directed to my assigned seat and was given free cupcake and cold water in a sealed plastic cup. Cool, I thought – but I was scared when the bus started to move. I was alone in a foreign country whose language I don’t speak, and I was moving away from safe Bangkok to the outskirts full of Godknowswhat. Nobody knew where I was (didn’t leave a message to my Korean roommates, didn’t post a Facebook status, didn’t email anyone).Read More
I’ve been locked out of my blog for some time to avoid any hacking incidence that’s been crippling my host’s websites, so to make up for it, I’ll try to write every other day starting today.
First, some realizations.
In less than two months, I have written about 80 articles: news re-writes, breaking news stories, and full-length articles; also interviewed CEOs, politicians’ media personnel, university professors, international experts in medicine, health professionals, and other sources. I am not sure how I did that since I only used to write one full article in three months in my previous job. Amazing. And tiring, said my eyes.
The first month flew by rather smoothly because of generous guidance from the editors in Australia – and the happy fruit basket we receive every week.
Last week I started getting distracted (but I tried so hard to contain my disappointment) when I saw my tax. It’s about a quarter of my salary. I went up to the supervisor. Nothing can be done about it. Status quo. ”Welcome to the Philippines” my officemate said. I went out for a long walk that morning.Read More
The news of a US military ship stuck in an important paradise of a coral reef in the Philippine waters strikes a blow to any nature lover and travel enthusiast whose appreciation of marine life and ecological balance runs deep.
Tubbataha reef may actually be considered the planet’s act of kindness–of showing a slice of the ocean’s vast mysterious beauty, thus, smashing it with tons of metal borne out of modern human warfare is nothing but a relapse into that phase of human history called barbarism when man’s sense of civility toward others and his environment hasn’t been achieved.
It’s a puzzle, still, how among other life forms, the creature most capable of thinking can do reckless damage to the wonders of the world, which has been quiet home to the fish and corals, and playground to birds–as seen in snapshots and watercolor paintings at BenCab Museum just a few months ago.
Is it an artist’s omen that Tubbataha is to become a museum artifact? Hopefully not. Hopefully this world’s premier diving spot and heritage site survives. Hopefully, justice be laid upon those who are accountable to this incident that pulls a tangle of ugly threads of sovereignty, aggression, and territory issues.Read More
Apparently we all survived the end of the world, rather nervously. This start of the year should be a renewal of life, but I think all of us renew life every time we replace cells here and there, and improve on our self.
Right before calendars turned 2012, I made a list of outlook, which I post here with notes.
1. see the boyfriend late 2012
He went back to the Philippines last May. That’s mid-2012. Yay!
2. be an expert in the principles of supply and demand in global economies
Not really an expert, but I understood a lot.
3. expand business network
This has to be the year I met the most number of new contacts, talked with so many people, in the Philippines and abroad.
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I did with watercolor pencils and oil.
5. ride an elephant
6. beach bum in Bali
I decided to postpone this and beach bum in Philippine beaches instead. All year round.
7. invest in some properties
8. road trip with college friends
Not just one, but two memorable epic trips.
9. make more people happy
I hope I did make people happy when my sister and I bought Papa a car, when my friends and I organized a fun run for the victims of violence against women, when I hosted a friend’s wedding, when I wrote a feature article for IRRI’s Rice Today magazine (it was picked up and quoted by international press), and when I wrote that article in Youngblood, which reached more than 11,000 shares!
10. make love on the sand late 2012
Happy new year!!!Read More
In between reading books and editing articles, I bring here some memories from weeks ago at BenCab museum in Baguio City, Philippines.
Entrance fee is 100 pesos (prices are discounted for students). The museum has four floors of wonder and the fog outside reminds me of the blinding whiteness of Saramago’s Blindness.
Ben Cabrera is mostly known for his carvings,
but his paintings are equally captivating.
I love it when I tour museums without too many visitors, so I was glad there was just 1 to 3 other guests when we went here one weekday.
Being alone in a museum gives you the freedom to react honestly to a work of art.Read More
In some other time, or planes of existence, time seems to move forward ever so slowly, slower than the city pace or that of a town indulged in a rush for Pleasures that will masticate society- and self-induced Pain.
Tam-awan Village in Baguio preserves a way of living in its small parcel of land in slopes and mid-air.
One can reach this kind of place through a long cab ride from Session Road (about P100 only) or through a dream.
It’s so small that one can trek up and down from one Ifugao hut to another, all in a span of coffee time.Read More
Camiguin is a province island, north of Mindanao. It’s known for the sweet, succulent lanzones that looks like a full moon outside, quarter moons inside because of the fruit’s whiteness and translucence.
The day we arrived in the island, our host Grace invited us to help her parents harvest corn and lanzones. Mike and I agreed to work, thinking that this way we “pay” for our free food and accommodation.
During the lanzones picking, we were all just laughing. We didn’t plan how to reach the fruits so high up. Mike climbed the trees at first, then Grace’s Dad had to devise ways how to hand him the bolo to cut by the bunch instead of picking piece by piece. Later on, we decided to use the ladder.
We harvested enough to fill two baskets, which strained the boys’ muscles. Imagine how many kilos of juicy goodness are in here. The difficult part is, Tito’s Pajero was parked a kilometer away from the farm.
More grueling was the harvesting of corn. Grace and I were just watching his father, at first, pulling the corn from the plant, breaking it easily the way one breaks a twig in two. Next, he would step on the corn plant, fruitless and no longer of use in the Earth–down to the ground till it lies flat, all its magnificent height put in past tense.
When we were asked to do it, Grace and I decided that we will give the corn and corn farmers more respect from that day forward. My arms and legs were full of scratches and insect bites when I emerged from the corn field. Grace seemed to have a burning face from sheer minutes of picking and trampling on the dry plants of the island of seven volcanoes.
The next day, we were shown around the farm of their balikbayan friend from the US. The Ponciano’s farm is well-manicured, I have to say, with grafted lanzones trees and flowers planted around.Read More
One weekend, under the trees of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Grace Cutab and I were talking about the Run for Given, when she mentioned that she’s having a trip to their home in Camiguin.
September and October have been busy months because aside from work, there’s the fund raising activities for Given Grace, the 19-year old Computer Science student slain and raped in UPLB exactly last year.
Since justice delayed is justice denied, the Task Force Given Grace organized a benefit gig in business district Makati, a bike ride in idyllic UPLB, and a fun run in the University of the Philippines’ flagship campus in Diliman.
Net income: Php80,000. This was our biggest surprise.Read More