I don’t believe in guilt, I believe in living on impulse as long as you never intentionally hurt another person, and don’t judge people in your life. I think you should live completely free.
- that goddess, Angelina Jolie




Thoughts to bookmark

Breaking Up -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I fell out of love: that’s our story’s dull ending,
as flat as life is, as dull as the grave.
Excuse me—I’ll break off the string of this love song
and smash the guitar. We have nothing to save.
The puppy is puzzled. Our furry small monster
can’t decide why we complicate simple things so—
he whines at your door and I let him enter,
when he scratches at my door, you always go.
Dog, sentimental dog, you’ll surely go crazy,
running from one to the other like this—
too young to conceive of an ancient idea:
it’s ended, done with, over, kaput. Finis.
Get sentimental and we end up by playing
the old melodrama, “Salvation of Love.”
“Forgiveness,” we whisper, and hope for an echo;
but nothing returns from the silence above.
Better save love at the very beginning,
avoiding all passionate “nevers,” “forevers;”
we ought to have heard what the train wheels were shouting,
“Do not make promises!” Promises are levers.
We should have made note of the broken branches,
we should have looked up at the smoky sky,
warning the witless pretensions of lovers—
the greater the hope is, the greater the lie.
True kindness in love means staying quite sober,
weighing each link of the chain you must bear.
Don’t promise her heaven—suggest half an acre;
not “unto death,” but at least to next year.
And don’t keep declaring, “I love you, I love you.”
That little phrase leads a durable life—
when remembered again in some loveless hereafter,
it can sting like a hornet or stab like a knife.
So—our little dog in all his confusion
turns and returns from door to door.
I won’t say “forgive me” because I have left you;
I ask pardon for one thing: I loved you before.


A little bit too mercury-retrogradish, I know, but it's too beautiful not to re-post.

Save Me -- Gotye

"And you made me turn
From the way I saw myself"


The Cautionary Tale of Mt. Data

While researching the Cordillera region, stumbled upon a Lonely Planet Magazine (Philippines) issue that suggested doing a Bontoc stopover instead of Baguio on the way to Sagada. The 4-hour travel difference from Manila (making that a 10-hour ride) is offset by the quaint accommodations one can expect from Mount Data Hotel and the "old Baguio feel" of Bontoc. Tempting, I thought. So what else is there that would make it a compelling stop? 

Complementing Mount Data Hotel built by the Marcoses in the 60s is the Mt. Data National Park established in 1936. One would assume that this forest park used to be in demand with many tourists (otherwise why a hotel?) and, hence, is just waiting for a "rediscovery." With the popularity of towns beyond it like Sagada and Banaue, surely Mt. Data National Park could be a good item to add on one's road trip itinerary to the North. 

That is if Mt. Data does not represent a tragic state of affairs in environmental conservation in our country. Michael A. Bengwayan of VERA files reports that what used to be a mossy forest area of 5, 512 hectares is now down to 89 hectares, with the rest converted to agricultural lands. The area's cold climate and high altitude is apparently perfect for growing commercially in-demand vegetables like cabbage and potatoes. Now, we're all for growing our agricultural industry, but what about that "national park" status? In this age of "fun in the Philippines" what do titles like this merit for not-as-popular, out-of-the-way tourist spots? What used to provide natural habitat to Philippine deers, civet cats, and wild pigs now mainly serve as a cautionary tale environmental activists use to keep Mt. Pulag from suffering the same fate. 

Oh, and about that "national park" status, this news from Sun Star Baguio reported that the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) recommended reclassifying Mt. Data's national park status to "agricultural" or "residential." So, I thought that the whole point of being a national park with budgets allotted for their maintenance and preservation (hello, National Parks Development Committee) is so it could be kept from the claws of loggers and developers? Mt. Data was destroyed within a period of 40 to 50 years, a mere blink of an eye when one considers how long it took for those trees to grow. Are we so fun-loving that we don't care so much about preserving our resources and the natural environment even for just another generation? 

So we ask the DENR, the National Parks Development Committee, the DOT, exactly what kind of fun do we have planned for our country?  


A tough life needs a tough language

When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is. 

-- Jeanette Winterson, on a recent interview for Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Vigan: Calle Crisologo at night

Photos taken from a recent trip to Vigan, Ilocos Sur with Greenminds

One of the highlights/ must-dos of any trip to Viganto see and walk along Calle Crisologo at night
We found the name of the resto really funny, made more hilarious by the fact that I used to handle Customer Service training for one of the well-known plastic surgery centers in Manila (just to make it clear: I'm not an advocate of surgical cosmetic enhancements) and this resto's name sounds uncannily like "tummy tuck," a procedure that surgically flattens your stomach (it's quite bloody, I tell you). Tummy Talk, however, does just the opposite: it's all about tummy expansion, and how! They serve great, affordable food and nearly everything with bagnet! Do try their  Special Miki w/ Bagnet (a generous bowl costs around Php45-Php60) and Pakbet w/ Bagnet (under Php150).  

At night, Tummy Talk sets up tables on the street, making it the perfect spot to observe other tourists while you enjoy good Ilocano food.  
Greenminds has been to Vigan about ten times already. The reason he keeps going back? The empanada! Empanada in Vigan is incomparable. 

Make sure to swing by Irene's at Calle Crisologo. Their empanadas seem to have more longganisa and have all the requisite ingredients for an "authentic" Vigan empanada. Plus, the vinegar (the spicy and not spicy variants) is just perfect. Greenminds and I took home 4 each to Manila and he caught (okay, sniffed) me eating one right smack at  midnight on the bus on our way home.  


What travel teaches you: there'll be more to come

I found that I can be attached to what I loved and still hold it with an open hand, always ready to let it go. This is the only way I found to stay connected with people and places and not get trapped by my own desire to hold on to them. Travel taught me that there is always a new person to meet, a new sight to see, new inspiration at the next bend in the road. There is no need to hang on to beauty and goodness; there will be more to come. 
- Basho 


The Drive Home

It started with a look: one of mischief, the kind you knew was up to no good, from eyes that firecrackers lit, thrown sideways as he shifted gears. His car made a U-turn on the noisy highway, that road often mentioned in history books, and my brain reconfigured the story of my 20s, yielding this boy some space. 

We drove through roads with sad trees, filling the void in his car with conversations, i.e. about socially-aware rap music he thought I should listen to, about a little-known coming-of-age Ghibli cartoon I would let him borrow. When traffic forced us to a halt, a song from the 90s went on air and I let him sing along; a track from the 80s played next and we danced to it, awkwardly.  

Then, it was time to leave an identification card with the village guard. He made the last of turns and then stepped on the brake in front of our gate. The lamppost watched as we said goodbye for the first time, lending her nod of approval by illuminating his face in a way that made him look rough, but gentle (the scruff gave a nice shadow). And then, a kiss, a moon-and-lamppost-lit kiss.

It's all just a memory now, a recollection with its own twists and turns, a story with its own soundtrack. Sometimes though as I'm about to let myself in, the light flickers and winks at me, but the keys jangle and I'm reminded how late it is and I should, perhaps, be getting inside.


In a different form

Anyway, my mum always said things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.
- Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)

Love cleaves through the mind's mathematics

The truth is that you can divide your heart in all sorts of interesting ways — a little here, a little there, most banked at home, some of it coined out for a flutter. But love cleaves through the mind’s mathematics. Love’s lengthways splits the heart in two — the heart where you are, the heart where you want to be. How will you heal your heart when love has split in two? 
- Jeanette Winterson

DCFC in Manila (03.05.12): our "We were there!" photos

the band, with, as Corin puts it, Ben Gibbard doing his sexy moves
Corin and Carl
Meg, Turtle, me

Hearing some of the songs being played live was just surreal.

This night's one for the books. :)

All photos on this page are taken by Corin Arenas (thanks, newfound concert buddy!)

A shoutout to Death Cab for Cutie

And the news reports on the radio
Said it was getting worse
As the ocean air fanned the flame.
But I couldn't think of anywhere I would have rather been
To watch it all burn away.
To burn away.

...and how appropriate that the best show I've ever seen would be right here in Manila. Thank you, Death Cab for Cutie, thank you, Ben Gibbard, for going all out. That was such an awesome, awesome performance you gave last night. I don't think there was a dry eye in the audience or a person who regrets being poorer by a few thousands. We all went home with shaken souls and swelling hearts, but all of us were also a tad more human than before your concert began.

Final shoutout: MANILA LOVES YOU, DCFC!

***Video of DCFC live in Manila where Ben Gibbard delivers his "I apologize on behalf of the band for not coming sooner" spiel + plays "Grapevine Fires" from Narrow Stairs