Funny how the mind works sometimes. It absorbs everything within you, and without you realizing it, even almost everything around the vicinity, including your emotions, actions, physical and mental state, and even your own sense of direction. Walking alone, also gives you time to think, and “Solitude can change your brain in profound ways” stated Jane Porter author of 6 Minute Read. It’s also like your own pair of feet has a mind of its own taking you everywhere. Losing one’s sense of direction (because you thought you went out for a purpose), is kinda funny too because you end up enjoying the journey to nowhere and even find out you actually liked the place where you stopped by or paused for breath, food or drink… so you either investigate the place further or continue walking… both of which you begin to appreciate and enjoy…
I decided to look for another place about 3 weeks ago because I couldn’t stand seeing the pots and basins on the middle of my living floor trying to catch the water leaking from my ceiling. There’s no rain… these are just water from the 2nd floor neighbor. Whenever he switches on his air conditioner, our living room floor gets flooded. It’s even worst, if it rains or there’s a storm, our bathroom floor gets flooded too from the roof gutters of our neighbor adjacent to the house. I got so fed up calling my landlady who also kept trying to ask their handyman to locate the source of the leak, to no avail. They said they will put a roof on the 2nd floor rooftop to finally stop the water from seepinng through our ceilings. But she said she will have it done by January of 2019! I told her I can’t wait that long… we’ll all end up with pneumonia by that time, even Maxie is already experiencing constant coughing, and that makes me nervous because dogs can’t tell us how they’re feeling.
So here I am, just recently found another apartment who’s owner agreed to have Maxie with us. The new place is nicer and newer than the old one. It’s a 4-unit apartment building and I chose the last unit because of the beautiful old mango tree which shades the apartment from the intense sunlight coming through during the afternoons. Hence, it’s cooler which means I can still postpone buying an air conditioner because I know its inevitable to buy even a small one in anticipation of the very hot summer here in the country.
Another chapter in my life here in the metropolis… I’ve moved so many times, I can’t recall how many times any longer. I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to go home to my hometown considering that our family residence (the house where we all grew up) there is a whole lot bigger than all the apartments I’ve lived in, in Metro Manila, because every 5 or more years, a huge flood almost always happens. The flood reaches to as high as 5 feet inside our living room and I don’t want to have that neither with all my laptops, gadgets that I need for my everyday living!
Walking with A (Wo)Man’s Bestfriend
Every other day I try my best to walk Maxie and today is one of her lucky days! So I am at her beck and call on this sunny and quiet Monday. The only drawback here is my fear that Maxie would suddenly pull the leash and try to ran after a cat or another dog she sees because she will then turn into a massive and aggressive 78-pound 4 year old German Shepherd who is unstoppable when she’s after some prey. And I look so puny beside her. So I try to shorten the leash so she won’t be able to easily put all her strength on her shoulders and most dog owners would agree that it’s just even a fraction of what they are truly capable of.
So I avoid the route where I know there’s lots of dogs and cats loitering about or simply make sure we finish our 3.5 km quiet route which is usually a 30-35 minute walk around the block near the house just to ensure that Maxie and myself were able to really have a good walk and a pretty good sweat. There are times we go to La Mesa Eco Park, a wild jungle carved into a recreation park in Quezon City (2 kms from where we are located now). It features towering trees, botanical gardens (pictured above), camping grounds, and other sports activities. An oasis in the middle of the city.
Walking Maxie is a very fulfilling experience specially if there’s no distractions (cats, dogs barking, etc.). The walk itself is very satisfying, you get to stretch your legs and your canine friend also gets the exercise she needs. So we both look around, enjoy the scenery, fallen leaves on the pavement, view the beautiful green trees on both sides of the road with the blue sky as its background. And with the gentle wind on our faces, so utterly relaxing and satisfying… and a most welcome experience for me and my dog with me stuck mostly on my computer chair banging on the keyboard the entire week and Maxie just lying in one corner of our flat most of the time sad and wishing I’d take her out for a walk…
The New Year’s Weekend Trip to Batangas
Spending my New Year’s weekend with my family is one of the best days of my life. This is usually held in my brother Rodolfo Jr. “Rudy’s” farm in Alitagtag, Batangas. A unanimous decision among us siblings for the Batangas location because its the biggest place that can hold the entire clan! But of course not everybody can come due to one reason or another. So we start it with a road trip, I rented a van that can hold my tiny family (Harry, Maxie and myself), my sister Charity’s family (with her son Nicko, daughters Gene and Nickie, and grandson Mico, and with my sister Ruth’s family (those who were able to come with us on this trip i.e. Ruth, Toni, and Ruth’s 2 sons Moie and Maru). So we were quite packed in the van. The trip to Batangas takes approximately 3-4 hours, 4 hours if there’s too much traffic. My sister Pearl’s family (husband Aurelio, sons Martin, AJ, Jack, and Mateo) will be on a separate trip with their maids, dogs, etc. using their own van. Aisha Hope (Hope’s 3rd child) with her husband will be using their own transportation too.
The road trip to Batangas is as always very exciting, full of laughter and even scolding and shouting towards the kids if they get too unruly. There’s never a dull moment when you are in the middle of my clan’s activities, whether its a party, a wedding, or a road trip. We arrived so excited and full of spirit… my brother Rudy opened his farm gates for us. He, and his wife were there to host the New Year’s party cum Family Reunion. The minute we got off the van, there was yelling (from the kids), laughter among us grown-ups because my brother Rudy is a very good and witty comedian. I used to tell him that he is such a funny man, he should have been a comedian but then again my father was very sick a long time ago and him and my brother Matthew agreed that instead of taking up law, he should take a course that won’t take as much time since there’s so many of us in the family. So he became a merchant mariner (our countrymen call it seaman). He was one of the few in our country who became a captain at such a young age because he was very good at what he does and he excelled and made a name in the Shipping industry and I am proud of him for his achievements.
So how do you put the two nights and one day of reunion in just a few words? Tough, but I will give it a shot… The kids of course had a blast… Our first night, they were singing karaoke and dancing and played parlor games (left), where they kept passing around a shot of some sort of alchohol drink. Some of the adults were also dancing and singing and some preparing foods to welcome the New Year (2018). The morning after our arrival the kids have gone for a walk to the nearby Taal Lake, then bathe in its highly sulfuric water.
I’m not sure whether that was a good idea… others tout the healing powers of bathing in Taal Lake because of its highly sulfuric content and others are fearful of it. The kids took some photos as always (never forget the selfies, it’s a crime among them if one should forget… hahaha). When I say the kids, they’re not exactly kids anymore, Aisha Hope (Hope’s 3rd child) is 33, Nicko (Charity’s oldest) and George Anne (Ruth’s oldest) are both 30 years old already, Martin (Pearl’s oldest) is 27, Joie Anne (Ruth’s 2nd) is more or less 25, Gene (Charity’s 3rd child) is 22 years old, Toni (Ruth’s 3rd child) is also 22 more or less. So when the walking party came back to the farm, they look beat as if they’ve gone to a war and came back half alive but survived the experience… hahaha
The rest of the family were busy cooking, chatting, just more or less updating everyone of what’s been happening in each of our families’ lives… Our kind of family reunion has always been impromptu in the sense that it’s not some sort of an elaborate event planned 6 months ago or something similar, no invitations involved, just quick phone calls or even facebook messenger calls because emails takes even longer. We kind of gotten used to these gatherings and became very good at throwing whatever’s needed for the trip and the event in just a few hours. If there are some ingredients lacking for a dish one of my sisters or sister-in-law will prepare, we communicate with whoever is still on the road to drop by the community markets they pass by or even a mall like in Batangas which boasts of their own SM Supermall too and just make last minute purchases for the event.
My brother Rudy also prepared his place for the onslaught (lol), he had a dirty kitchen set up outside of his main house, prepared his other 2-bedroom cottage for whoever wants to sleep there i.e. extra pillows and cushions… he actually set up his farm for family events such as this. Some of us brought our own pillows and beddings too because my sister-in-law Ate Evelyn, phoned to say she might not have enough pillows and blankets. The food is more or less continental with a mix of native dishes that one family member may like and with to prepare it themselves. Some already prepared it back in the city and just put it on a tight container for safe travel to the province. I usually shy away from these family gatherings because it prevents me from working (funny but true) and I know wifi is not that strong in the province. But when I do go, I always come out of it sooo very happy and excited for the next one because of the experience of seeing the familiar faces of my love ones and I get to hug them once again. There are some sisters and brothers and their families who were not able to join because they are living in our hometown Davao City, Philippines which is the Southernmost tip of our country, it takes a plane ride before they could attend such reunions. But they do get to see what occurred because we post the photos on our family’s facebook page. Happy New Year everyone!
My Nowhere Walk
I wandered one time, early morning, with the sun just a wee bit up. I walked and just walked, sometimes disdaining the scenes around me, and sometimes enjoying it. The foibles of humanity in a South East Asian woman’s perspective. I walked past shanties side by side rundown bungalows along the streets of an Asian paradise. While walking, so many things came and went through my mind, past mistakes, future plans, apologies never said and forgiveness that were never asked. I felt like crying, you know that feeling when you don’t know what to do next sometimes, not knowing where to go and you finally realized that its not where you are going, it is what you are doing now, that matters. You just have no more power to undo past mistakes, if ever they were that, you will just have to let go and move on. I remember Joyce Meyer, a preacher whom I have come to like and respect for whatever she believes in, that we will have to learn to let go of the past in order to be able to move on and get on with your life. I thought she was quite right.
Finally, the First on My Bucket List…
Took me a while…but finally had a chance to go to Boracay…considered by some as one of the best beaches in the world…and it’s in my country…Praise God…Went there with my son Harry, my nieces Aisha Hope and Gene Rudie. The feeling was like coming home. I have grown up near the beach and stayed near it for the first 16 years of my life. I have always loved the sea, but work and the rigours of daily living have kept me apart from it. So visiting it after such a long time was such a wondrous experience and visiting it with my love ones was pure gravy!
There are myriads of stories, or articles already written about Boracay, so this snippet will just be one among many. This spectacular white beach, one of the most popular in the Philippines is God’s gift to us Filipinos and I thank God I was able to visit it and enjoy one of my dream destinations. Suffice it to say, the visit to Boracay was short but oh so awesome!
The Open Library
I was surfing the net one day and I found a great site for those who love to read books, one of the many I actually located and so truly loved. I found it on the net without the slightest objective of reading but like most of us when we are surfing, we find sites on the net by happenstance. This site had digitized a million books already. Isn’t that great? There are so many people who loves to read but couldn’t afford books and this website The Open Library is offering it to all and sundry for free! You can just click on the site and choose any books of any title by any author which they have in their database and you can read it until you get tired. You can even download them without paying a single cent. Isn’t that wonderful? And the most wondrous thing about it too, is that you could actually see the actual book itself in its original published form, flip it page by page. hahahaha… ain’t that something to see? This website and their founders should be commended for this most admirable offering to all of us who can’t afford to buy books specially the best sellers. I thank God they are there and there really are so many angels still living here on earth. Oh and by the way, I just copied an actual image of a book, I read once from this site…
So when you left-click on your mouse on the right side page, the page flips and you are then looking on the next page… cute…hahaha… or you can either click on the left and right arrow on the bottom right of the screen. You’re practically reading from the original edition of Cyrano de Bergerac!
The Streets of Quezon City
One of the things I enjoy most, is riding in buses. I know traffic in the Philippines is horrendous to some but the weirdest thing of it is that I enjoy riding in Philippine buses along the busy streets of any Philippine metropolis. I enjoy watching the world go by even when its so polluted. I know its not safe for my health but I try not to exhale too much because I might end up with several respiratory illness, ha, ha, ha. I like watching people walking the streets and haggling with vendors, buying from gift shops or simply just walking fast along sidewalks. It makes me wonder too how life can be so fast yet so slow. A contradiction of sorts, what was that word? yes, an oxymoron, (thank you Google again!), which how I explain life is in itself an oxymoron anyway!
A “Wonderful” Trip to the Local Market
I woke up early this morning so I could go to the market early. It has been a long time since I have been to the public market. I have been stuck in my room working and writing that I felt I needed to go out before the Internet will swallow me… hahaha… strange but I felt like that. My son wanted to eat smoked fish too. He and I enjoyed eating smoked fish specially with tomatoes and soy sauce. Hence, the thought of doing that together was one of the reasons why I got up a bit earlier than usual this morning despite this being my rest day. So I walked, it was a short walk, maybe a mile or so and I felt the sun … oh it was a beautiful experience! Feeling the sun on your skin. I know you will think, what is wrong with this woman? Ain’t she seen the sun? It’s been there since God made the earth!… There are so many things we take for granted, one of them is the sun, nature in general, actually. The sun is just so beautiful, its rays, it felt so good and wonderful to feel them on your face. I practically savoured it! Just so long as we do it early in the morning like before 9 o’clock in the morning, the sun can be your greatest friend and its very good for our health, specially the vitamin D it gives which is very very important to our bones.
So I walked and so loved everything I passed by… until I got to the public market. I found it so, so exciting. The fish mongers, meat mongers, the hawkers, everything you want all under one very, very huge roof. It was as if I have never been to a market. But I felt so invigorated looking at people, amused at the buying and selling, the yelling for customers to come buy their produce and goods. I felt it was such a good idea to go there today… some kids running around, some customers having a shouting match with people trying to sell their wares, the food stalls, the hundreds of things being sold. It’s like an amalgam of human beings and things all thrown together to make great “music” together … a cacophony of people is more like it! This is the difference between a public market and a supermarket. In a supermarket, everything seems controlled, you know too organized sometimes you feel restrained and suffocated. While in a public market, it’s “chaos” … but exciting. Strangely… I loved it… I didn’t know I would miss it sometimes. There are times when we are so irritated with the noise, the chaos, the pollution, but then again I realized I would miss it too…
What defines “you” or “me” for that matter…
I find that question if ever asked of me a sort of intrusion. Funny thing is, I’ve always asked myself a gazillion times, why do we need to have a definition of ourselves in the first place? Why ask that question? Why do we need to label each other or label activities or things or nature? I just realized that no one knows or no one really cares to know too or no one ever realized the futility of such question. I once read in a magazine or maybe online, someone asking another person what defines her. I was just bowled over (s#$*!). Stupid, stupid and bloody stupid. To be continued… got to work… I am sounding too trite and forgive me for also committing the same error that I wanted to denounce on this platform. The fact that I called something or some act “stupid” also makes me one. I just labeled “it.” That reminds me of the fact, that we really are not so “perfect…” even if we try too hard. So as Mooji (www.mooji.org) said, don’t try too hard. Just forget about it! hahaha… Sounds too easy! It takes too much time to ever get used to that concept of just forgetting about it. Don’t think too much, leave it alone…blah blah blah… I think it could work too. Oh GOD, how I just want to relax, forget about it and let “time” takes its course, just as my cup runneth over…