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Lit Out Loud

We only got to attend the last day of Lit Out Loud, the Manila International Literary Festival. I give you my favorite sound bites from a fine day of being literally starstruck! "Fame is a mask that eats the face behind it." -- Vikas Swarup, author of Q&A, said this to a fawning fan who asked him what it was like to be famous. Tarush! "Let's mess about in the kitchen. We'll come up with something." -- spoken by Mita Kapur, author of the newly published F-Word, which is about -- you guessed it: Food. "Writing from Asia is very, very HOT," said David Parker, chairman of the board of the Man Asian Literary Prize. Got that? We are HOT.

Monday Cruising

Mountain biking isn't always about getting a workout, biting through technical trail sections, ripping down gnarly slopes, upping the ante, and getting that unrivaled adrenaline rush. (Although most of the time it is!) Sometimes, the pleasures of mountain biking are as uncomplicated as cycling slowly through Baguio's quiet, unpolluted streets lined with old and empty houses, finding your way to a roadside carinderia that serves delicious Malaysian dishes at just a little more than carinderia prices, and stopping for a hearty lunch. And then you cycle -- still full and slow -- to the nearest trail and wend your way through the roots, mud, and rocks like you have all the time in the world to pedal and appreciate the way the afternoon light is wafting through the trees and throwing shafts of gold and dappled shadows on everything. Yup, you got it folks, this is yet another unabashed declaration of my love for saddle time.

Sagada Loves

1. Good friends, warm hugs, hearty laughter. 2. Hearty meals. 3. Fresh air. 4. Biting cold. 5. Mountains, mountains, mountains. 6. Elders. 7. Pinikpikan with tapuy. 8. The comfort of ritual. 9. Aged etag. 10. Beautiful pottery. 11. Croissants and sour dough bread. 12. The best-tasting ripe tomatoes ever. 13. Wild mushrooms. 14. Wild berries. 15. Wild rides.

So Proud of Mt Cloud!

"The first-timer may find the space narrow, but it is everything an ideal bookstore should be: glass windows that allow plenty of light in, quiet, no crowds (except on opening day), books not wrapped in plastic so they can be readily perused." Thank you, Brookside Baby , for the wonderful article. Some day I'm going to go visit La Terrasse. And I just hope that Julie's place will always have enough buchi for me, in spite of the deluge of new customers that will surely make their way to the bakery!

The blues. They come and go but this song is forever.

" Anyone's who's ever had a dream, anyone who's ever played a part, anyone who's ever been lonely, and anyone who's ever split apart... " Sweet Jane, Cowboy Junkies cover.

Conquered

Why do people insist on making claims to having conquered this or that mountain? When you get out there, the most you can claim to conquer are your own limitations and fears. You are nothing to the mountain. Go conquer your ego instead. Try it. It's tougher than taking a hike or a bike.

Mondo Marcos

Last week Mt Cloud Bookshop was honored with a visit from Mrs. Cecile Afable, doyenne of local media and one of the notorious yet well-loved Three Witches of Baguio. She recounted how, in the mid-sixties she opened the Ato Bookshop and Art Gallery on the ground floor of Insular Life Building, on Session Road. The Ato had a wide collection of Filipiniana. There was a weaving loom to one side and two weavers would come in and do their work in the shop. The Ato also carried prison art. She wrote in the Mt Cloud guestbook: "The books were confiscated by the soldiers of Marcos so we closed..." Mabuhay kayo, Auntie Cecile! Tomorrow, Oct. 13, at 6PM, Mt Cloud Bookshop is proud to be hosting the book launching of MONDO MARCOS: Writings on Martial Law and Marcos Babies/Mga Panulat sa Batas Militar at ng Marcos Babies, edited by Frank Cimatu and Roland Tolentino. With the presence of Frank Cimatu and a number of the authors who contributed poetry and prose to the English and Fil

Berm, baby, berm!

We has a new playground! Yesssss! Amateur berm attack.  Pro berm attack. My guardian demonyos get high! Racing to get down before the rain comes in from the neighboring mountain. My Superman after a day in the playground. Even if we've been together for years, I still think he's so handsome!

Another view on Carlos' coup de theatre

From Karlo Altomonte: "... some of those inside the Manila Cathedral that day were simply to pray, get closer to God. Perhaps one or two were praying for forgiveness, for the soul of a departed loved one, for salvation. Not everyone inside that church that day were either pro or anti-RH bill, some of them perhaps don’t care about it at all, so I will play the party pooper and stand by my opinion that while the cause is a very worthy one, there are other ways."

Damaso!

I just love firebrands who will stick their necks out for what they believe in, and who do it with style and a large dose of imagination too. Some people talk too much but do nothing, while others simply can't see past their own noses. I, for one, am obsessed with this 2-week old zit on my nose that just refuses to shrivel up and die. In his advocacy for reproductive health in the Philippines, a country held hostage in the dark ages by the Church,  Carlos Celdran takes things a big step further and says it like it is.

Out of the Blue

This morning at a meeting in Star Cafe on post-calamity early recovery with a Benguet municipal mayor, a UNDP documentation and community journalism maven, and some people who expertly flow back and forth across the bounds of governance and civil society, somebody passed me a book of love poems. Feigning absorption in the discussion on disaster risk reduction I held the book under the table and opened it to a random page. Wrestling Our oneness is the wrestlers', fierce and close,        Thrusting and thrust; One life in dual effort for one prize, --        We fight, and must; For soul with soul does battle evermore        Till love be trust. Our distance is love's severance; sense divides,        Each is but each; Never the very hidden spirit of thee        My life doth reach; Twain! since love athwart the gulf that needs        Kisses and speech. Ah! wrestle closelier! we draw nearer so        Than any bliss Can bring twain souls who would be whole and

In the works!

mt cloud bookshop (click here! click here!) Dream construction ongoing. Soon to come true! (Photos by Marta Lovina. Website construction by Jason Herbolario .)

Even my widgets are tuned in to my movements

It's no coincidence this turned up on my AnthroDaily widget . Obviously, the spirit of Margaret Mead is with me and knows where I'm headed. (Image from the Asian Ethnographic Collection, Division of Anthropology , at the American Museum of Natural History)

What not biking feels like

Every month for about a week or ten days I'm prevented from biking by my female biological... erhm, functions . I used to subscribe to the point of view that having your period shouldn't stop you from doing whatever it is you want but as I've added years to my as yet relatively short life, I've found that it gets harder and harder to push my physical limits when my body's already working overtime dealing with hormones and blood and guts and all that naturally inevitable stuff. Given that pre-menstrual stress and post-menstrual stress are bad enough for us girls and the people around us, can you imagine what it's like for me and the people who must bear with me, not being able to bike only because I have my period? And to have the deprivation compounded by hormonal mood swings? It makes me grumpier than I already am. Oscar the effing Grouch has nothing on me when I'm ride-deprived. It's like the third day after you've quit smoking, when the initi

Star Cafe's Litson Rice

Stellar , to say the least.

Bicycle Myth-breaker: Women don't know what bicycle-love is.

 (Photo by Baguio Biker Girl Liza Maraan, Thanks, Liza!) At long last, we got  an all-girls' bike ride going in Baguio! Wheee! This has been my dream for YEARS! We started out in a group of four and struck out for Shilan, which is one of my most-favorite riding routes for its variety of terrain and because it's one of the easiest, least threatening places to hone one's off-road riding skills. Soon there will be more and more women with knobby wheels playing dirty on our mountain roads and trails. Mwahahahaaa! Go grrrls! No doubt the biker boys will be pleased to see more girls out there, but if these strong women were to be any more fond of their bicycles than they already are, I think some men might be worried.

Downhill Race Virgin No More

I don't consider myself a biker that races. If I remember correctly I've only ever joined 2 mountain bike races in this life, and my third mtb race was also my first downhill race, thanks to the needling and precise coaching of my brothers Behind Bars (at Aky's bikeshop). It all began with an 'innocent' visit to the tracks skillfully built by Team ULAW in Cruz, La Trinidad. For the boys this was going to be the first of a series of practice visits prior to The Flow DH Party on July 3, 2010 . For me, it was just going to be play... "FLOW" is the purrfect word to describe the tracks at Cruz... (If you see these, "...", it means words have failed me and I've floated off into a biking reverie...). Lovely smooth berms, big jumps (which I skipped of course), tight switchbacks... enough roots to shake you up a bit, no rocky threats, one tricky off-camber slope that was as slippery as a wet bar of soap, and a wonderful wonderful wonderful 2-fo

Pop ethnography of Dutch PhD "Promoties" 2

POSTSCRIPT to Pop Ethnography of Dutch PhD Promoties 1: According to one of my more knowledgeable and senior informants, in the past the paranimfs really did go to defenses armed, to protect the promovendus from attacks from outraged professors. This was way back in the 17th century, when "science was very important" and a defense could last for days. My over-active imagination went into overdrive: perhaps some of these 17th century defenses ended in duels! But that's pure speculation and not based on any anecdotal -- much less empirical, evidence. It was very possible for a defendant/promovendus to black out from exhaustion and the paranimf was then allowed to continue to defend the thesis on behalf of the out-cold promovendus. (As expected, the younger members of this society are no longer aware of the origins of certain elements of the ritual. For them, these elements have become, simply, "The way it has always been done.")

Pop ethnography of Dutch PhD "Promoties" 1

As an anthrogeek I've decided to approach next week's "promotie" (an esoteric dissertation defense ritual practiced in academic circles in the Netherlands) as participant-observation taken to the extreme and to do some research prior to the event. Apparently, a promovendus (one who would be promoted), is supposed to have two paranimfs. What are paranimfs? I googled paranimfs and found only Dutch information, the most accessible being Wikipedia of course. (Disclaimer: I know. Wikipedia is not the most reliable of sources of information.) I copy-pasted the whole text on paranimfs into babelfish and the translation that came up is priceless so here it is verbatim: (Disclaimer: I know. Yahoo Babelfish is not the best tool for language translation, but the babelfish on the other hand... Oh never mind.)   Image source: Leiden University The promovendus is generally accompanied by two paratrooper nymphs. The original meaning of paratrooper nymph is bride noblema

When, did you say?

"You can build a way of life on postponement." -- Robert Corrimer, The Moustache.

Reposting because I need to be reminded

Wild Geese You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things. by MARY OLIVER Tough Years How many times have you said to yourself or thought out loud, It's been a tough year? Tis not the years that are hard on us, my love. For the years themselves are weathered devotees; they are seasons come around again an

Random Diss Excerpt #15

Image credit:  http://journalism.missouri.edu/alumni/larre-johnson-71.html Yes, I have a question. Could I have some bacon with that please?

Patricia Evangelista Does it Again

THIS IS A CONDOM AD "If an individual chooses to abstain, chooses to have sex before marriage, chooses to be promiscuous, chooses not to have children when married, chooses natural methods, chooses to have threesomes at high noon with a jumbo pack of condoms and a hot pink leather, he/she has that right. It’s called a democracy. Judge him/her for it, if you will, but the government cannot. A ban on sexual intercourse has yet to be included in the Constitution." The rest of the piece is brilliant too.

My Breasts...

... are flat. They barely fill the bikinis I like to wear. And if you came to this post hoping to find something titillating, you are about to be disappointed further. Another fact about me and my breasts is that I try, as much as possible, to keep them free from bra-bondage. Given that there's nothing much there needing support, I don't really see the point. I wonder about our skewed notions of immodesty. Is going au naturel beneath the shirt and not wearing a bra more immodest than faking larger breast size and forcing the cleavage issue with underwiring and padded bras? (Unfortunately, the only kind of bra you can find in this country that doesn't have painful underwiring or extra padding is the trainer or the sports bra. What does that tell you?) This question of im/modesty reminds me of the legendary Laurie Anderson's Smoke Rings, in which she asks, Que es mas macho? Pineapple o knife?... Que es mas macho? Lightbulb o schoolbus?... Que es mas macho? Iceb

OK GO

I know this is going to seem silly but things like this fill me with inexplicable happiness -- which is the simplest and bestest kind of happiness there is.

Baguio Calligraphy Book Launching

  A collection of poetry and fiction from the Cordillera's premier city. Please join us for the book launching on March 7, 2010, at 4PM in National Bookstore, SM City, Baguio. There will be readings, music, merienda, and laughter. The anthology, a project of the Baguio Writers Group, is edited by Francis C. Macansantos and Luchie B. Maranan with an introduction by Cirilo F. Bautista. It is published by Anvil Publishing Inc. The contributing writers are: Tita Lacambra Ayala, Janice Bagawi, Desiree Caluza, Jennifer Patricia A. Carino, Frank Cimatu, Jhoanna Lyn Cruz, Merci Javier Dulawan, Ralph Semino Galan, Rommel de Guzman, Luisa A. Igloria, Edgar B. Maranan, Babeth Lolarga, Junley Lazaga, Monica Macansantos, Priscilla Supnet Macansantos, Baboo Mondonedo, Chinee Palatino, Corazon Patricio, Padmapani L. Perez, Solana Perez, Rachel Pitlongay, Scott Magkachi Saboy and Roger "Rishab" Tibon. The book is P375 and will be sold at 10% less during the launch.

Sab-atan II's Litson Rice

A litson rice review with the discerning Dawgs .

Walt Whitman and Umberto Fiori Agree

Walt Whitman wrote: I AM THE POET I am the poet of reality I say the earth is not an echo Nor man an apparition; But that all the things seen are real, The witness and albic dawn of things equally real I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed of the sea And went down to reconnoitre there a long time, And bring back a report, And I understand that those are positive and dense every one And that what thhey seem to the child they are [And that the world is not joke, Nor any part of it a sham]. (A poem Whitman didn't complete. Taken from Ceslaw Milosz's anthology, A Book of Luminous Things) Umberto Fiori wrote: CHIN If someone in the street shouts at me "What was that you said?". stops the motorbike, gets off, takes a run at me, grabs me by the collar -- it means that words when somebody says them don't just drop into the void: somewhere, somebody hears them. And people see me: I'm not just stared through

John Frank Sabado: Ecowarrior

Standing before the larger-than-life, hyper-detailed work of John Frank Sabado, one cannot help but wonder: Where lies the source of Sabado’s phantasmagoric imagery? The answer throbs quietly in the loving arms of this earth. The roots of Sabado’s work lie in the simple story of a boy growing up in a forest that shrank as the boy’s world expanded. Sabado was born into the lifeworld of the Lepanto logging concession in Mankayan, Benguet. There his Ilocano parents worked to support and educate their children. As a boy he spent his days going to the river, fetching water, catching eels, hunting for mushrooms, gathering firewood. To him these chores were not work. They were no different than the mock wars that he and his playmates would wage in the forest. There were many dangers lying in wait for adventurous little boys living in a logging concession but no harm ever befell Sabado and his friends. This was deep play in the arms of Nature, whom Sabado describes with a wide grin as &qu

Santiago Bose Remix

Christ the Locksmith's Lament When a key is lost you come to me for I can pick any lock, open even the chambers of your heart. But once I throw the doors wide you slam them shut again, bolt them quickly from the inside with heavy beams. I am left on the outside listening to the echoes of closed entries, knowing you believe I cannot be trusted not to enter unbidden. © Padmapani L. Perez, 2010 THE EXHIBIT RUNS UNTIL MARCH 31, 2010 . Read all about it at here, at Snippets from the Manila Art Scene , and here, in Ystyle .

Ayuyang's Litson Rice

How does the lechon rice at Ayuyang Bar and Feliz Restaurant rate on the two seestars' and Fritson's snout system?

Bored on the 4th of July til 15th of March

(Un)Made by Walking (wrote this for the catalogue of Kaw's Bored on the 4th of July one man show in the Ateneo Art Gallery) Kawayan de Guia arrived at the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, New York spent from the journey from the Philippines, out of sync and empty-handed. The hosts at Omi drove him to Houston, the closest town from the Arts Center, to buy some materials for the work he would be doing as one of 30 artists from all over the world participating in a three week residency. They took him to Walmart. Within five minutes of being in Walmart Kawayan was assailed by a wave of panic. In that inexplicable moment of terror, Kawayan decided that he should return to Walmart at his own pace, and on his own terms, to understand the way he felt about being there. On America’s Independence Day (Kawayan calls it, “America’s day to shine”) he set out at dawn and walked alone for six hours across 30 kilometers of Route 66 through a landscape he describes as, “Eerily empty. For

Pine and Bamboo, Bamboo and Pine

The first on-the-spot water media painting competition to mark the Ibaloi Centennial. Scheduled on Feb. 20, Saturday, starting as early as 8:30 and ending promptly at 4 p.m., the event at 308 Piraso Road, Tam-awan, Pinsao Proper, Baguio City, is sponsored by the Baguio Aquarelle Society and the Cordillera News Agency. Their aim is to raise awareness of the Cordillera's precious natural heritage, trees and the indigenous people's culture being the most prominent. The title of the contest was inspired by a nature poem by Basho, a Japanese poet. More details? Click!

Front Page News

This is the f***ing front page of the effing Philippine Star? Lactum's advertising hacks had this to say about mothers and revolutions in the "headline story": "A small effort makes a small impact. Mothers can easily participate in the Nourishment Revolution by serving three balanced meals a day and a glass of Lactum to their children. Discreetly, as they mix the milk solution, mothers are incorporated into the movement through every revolution the spoon makes. With more mothers participating in the Lactum Nourishment Revolution, they can help Pinoy children achieve proper nourishment and moms can be 100% panatag." DISGUSTING. Where's the real news? Arundhati Roy had this to say about selling headlines in The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (2004): "There's been a delicious debate in the Indian press of late. A prominent English daily announced that it would sell space on page three (its gossip section) to anyone who was willing to pay t

Open Page

2009 rode roughshod over a lot of people. I had a miscarriage in January 2009 and with that baby, who waved at me in the ultrasound with ten fingers and ten toes and a face I could almost recognize, I buried a dream. Even so, I had imagined a seed was planted in that grave and that it would sprout from the earth, grow into a towering tree of love, and spread it's shade above us. Months later I was desperately drowning my sorrow in all the wrong waters. I found myself at the dead-end of a wonderful relationship that had lasted eight and a half years. Hundreds of people were left reeling from the aftermath of Ondoy and Pepeng. I didn't get the giant tree of love I wanted but in it's place a beautiful, lush, disorderly garden was thriving and teeming with untamed life, and death, and life. I only had to see it for what it was. Also last year, my family mourned the death of a grand aunt whose love for all of us was greater than the sum of all parts of the clan, and whose parti

Conspiracy Theory