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Showing posts from 2013

Another year is like another day

Wanting More and More to Live Unobserved, Unobserving Wanting more and more to live unobserved, unobserving, like a dog who takes the bone and goes to another room where it just fits under the low-legged table or couch. In the farthest depths, no sunlight reaches. Yet certain fish, now eyeless, streak with luminescence when excited; a lowered bathysphere turns on a floodlight and is mobbed, the strange-formed bodies drawing in for miles. No one was ever meant to see this. Certainly not the fish, who see nothing, whose tentacles travel the cold light, and no one knows how or why. Like human beings to a mystery they imagine feels some passion for their fate. And the dog? Fallen into the marrow-pleasure completely. Jane Hirshfield.

Today's Mood

Deaths nearby and deaths far away; deaths that hurt, regardless the distance. More and more, this Christmas will be about holding close the ones we love and holding up to the light the ideas we value.

Questions on Swimming in My Country

How many Filipinos know how to swim? How many Filipinos are trained to swim under extreme, emergency situations? People pitch in to pull in a small fishing boat's nets on the shore of Curimao, Ilocos Norte. June 2012 We are a nation of islands, but are we a nation of swimmers? I think we have a lot to learn from fishermen, surfers, white-water rafters and kayakers, sailors, long-distance swimmers, scuba divers, people who have experienced the different degrees of the force of water, people who know how to read rivers and oceans, people who have risked their lives in water but in the process learned techniques to survive in rough waters. Is there anybody out there that has developed a module of survival swimming lessons? Can this be taught in P.E. in elementary, high school and college? These are just crazy questions that popped into my head a few days ago, but may be something to consider if typhoons like Yolanda are going to become the new normal. In the Netherlands,

Today's Mood

I found these in the market today. Aren't they beautiful? This makes me think that maybe mushrooms and mushrooming are better metaphors for goodness and good ideas than are flowers and blossoming. Think of all the mycelia in the world...

Today's Mood

Kennon is a place that opens the heart wide. It makes room for the journey. It makes room for homecomings.

Agistorya tayu, ubing!

Forget Mark Solis. (I'm not even putting a link to his story here. Snort!) Here are a few UPians we could be talking about instead. Therese Ingrid Dado, a BS Biology student in the University of the Philippines, Baguio, has just been awarded first prize for her children's story,  Ang Kahon ng Kayamanan. The story is about two boys who help their parents out by collecting recyclable/reusable garbage, which they sell. One day they find a big box into which they both fit. When they play inside the box, the brothers pretend they are gallant prince warriors, fighting evil people in the world. They go on adventures together, inside the box. The wealth that the box contains is really the rich imagination of the two boys. Jason Robert Lobaton's  (BA Communication)  story, Si Marty at ang Sikreto ng Batek, was awarded second prize. Batek refers to the traditional Kalinga tattoo. The story is about Marty's grandmother, whose arms are covered in batek, but it is also very m

A Note on Human Behavior

"The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them." From the short story, The Nose, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Guilty as charged.

Baguio Day and Baguio Stone

Today is Baguio Day. Below are two images of Baguio stone in the same city but in different locations. This is Baguio stone. Below, is Baguio stone after city government beautification of the public market. To be fair, they painted over this Baguio stone pillar because it was charred black after the market fire of March 2009. Still, I can't help but wonder, couldn't there have been some other way to treat it so that it's natural beauty could shine through again? So that people could look directly at a part of our heritage, these being the original pillars of the old stone market that rose and thrived here one year before Baguio became a chartered city? Couldn't the city and market officials have done some research on treating the Baguio stone, instead of simply painting over the problem? Certainly, we who live in Baguio have much to be grateful for; there is still plenty to love about life in this city. But I give you this Baguio stone as a metap

Today's Mood

A Bookshop's Birthday Party

Cupcakes made by Sugarhigh at Cranberry Bakeshop For Mt Cloud Bookshop's third anniversary, the Big Little Sister and I decided to throw a children's party. We welcomed about 30 kids, aged 2 to 12, plus their parents. We played Simon says, statue dance, and we read stories. The Monkey and the Turtle , a Philippine folktale retold and illustrated by Jose Rizal, and The Grand Parade, a story about a town fiesta taken over by children, by Carla Pacis and Nanoy Rafael. We handed out prizes to the winners and the good listeners who responded to the story-tellers' questions.  We fed the kids cupcakes and cookies. We gave them loot bags filled with stickers, erasers, pencils, puzzles, marbles and a sipa each. We gave away board books and story books provided by Adarna House . Two fine arts students from UP Baguio did face painting for the kids. Luchie Maranan launched and read her new children's book, The Pangat, the Mountains, and the River , published as part of

A mother for all mothers and babies

Tomorrow at 4PM, Mt. Cloud Bookshop will host a very special Author's Talk and Book Signing with 2011 CNN Hero, Robin Lim. To my mind, she is a true Wonder Woman. She tirelessly works for gentle births and healthy motherhood for people all over the world, she delivers babies with her own hands day in and day out, she has raised her own family and is now a grandmother, and she somehow found the time in all this important work to write seventeen books so far! She is one of those persons that make you wonder whether she is an ordinary human. When you meet her, you will see that yes, she is human, but extraordinarily so.

It's World Breastfeeding Week

Let's think about breasts and their super-powers with these four women whose work I admire. Holly McNish on breastfeeding in public. Senator Pia Cayetano on the breast-feeding law and the need to embrace the breastfeeding culture in the Philippines. Amanda Palmer responds to the Daily Mail's coverage of her boob falling out of her bra during a performance in the Glastonbury Festival. (I love it when she motions for the crowd to calm down and says, "It's just a naked woman!" Haha! The lyrics of her letter to the Daily Mail appear here .) And last but not least, Ibu Robin Lim, who was chosen CNN Hero of 2011 for her tireless work as a midwife and her worldwide campaign for gentle births and healthy motherhood for everyone. Here she breastfeeds her eldest daughter, back in 1976. Source: Ibu Robin Lim's facebook page.

Excuse me while I write a good day down.

As I write this my Outrigger and I are perched on a balcony. The Outrigger has his nose buried in a law book and I am busy making up strategies in the pursuit of another dream. (Strictly speaking though, I'm procrastinating at the moment.) The Outrigger says I have a knack for making dreams come true. Sometimes this is a scary thought. From where we sit I see pine trees, grey sky and a distant lighting storm. An occasional crow flies across our view. I can almost forgive the cars and jeepneys rattling up and down the road below us. I can almost forgive the loud pop music and the mediocre coffee from the cafe behind us. This morning I took my two daughters, the Artist-in-Residence and the Little Boss, horseback riding. They spent half an hour humming to each other in their own world, on the back of Viper, a pony that the Artist-in-Residence has loved and returned to again and again for the past ten years. Lifetime friendships are made in Wright Park. Halfway through the day w

Third Monday Circles the Sun

Third Monday from the Sun is a monthly evening of poetry and spoken word in Mt. Cloud Bookshop. Anyone and everyone is welcome to step up to the mic and share their own poems or poems by others that they love. This July we remember the life-changing 1990 Baguio earthquake. The theme for Third Monday on July 15, 2013 at 6PM is "aftershock" -- literal or otherwise. And this month, Third Monday comes full circle around the sun! The first time Mt. Cloud Bookshop hosted Third Monday from the Sun was on July 16, 2012. We are grateful to everyone that came to speak, read, perform, play music, share, applaud, laugh, cry and make Magical Mondays with us. Cheers!

Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church

On July 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM in Mt. Cloud Bookshop, investigative journalist Aries C. Rufo will speak about his new book, Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church. The book "is the first of its kind in the country. Aries C. Rufo shows a Church that is cloaked in secrecy. It keeps the wrongdoings of its bishops and priests -- in sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement -- within its confines and lets them get away, unpunished... Rufo also delves into how the Church influences policy, as nowhere among Catholic countries in the world is the Church deeply involved in the shaping of policy than in the Philippines. Overall, reforms are taking place, but these are highly dependent on the Church leaders, the bishops who try to change mindsets and systems." "Aries C. Rufo was a beat reporter for the Manila Times and the Manila Standard covering politics, judiciary, and religion before joining Newbreak in 2001. His pieces for the maga

Today's mood

Cordillera Folktales and Story-telling

It was cold and wet outside on the day of the launching of The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and other Cordillera Folktales . But inside Mt. Cloud Bookshop we were warmed by stories read and performed by the Aanak di Kabiligan community theater group. Storytelling on a stormy afternoon. Paco Paco. A Benguet story from the book, published by the Cordillera Green Network. Aanak di Kabiligan means children of the mountains. The theater group was born out of the Cordillera Green Network's eleven years of conducting workshops in which children transform their grandparents' stories into theater productions. Here they perform the title story of the Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and Other Cordillera Folktales.

Reasons to be in Burnham Park on Saturday Morning

NOTICE: The Free Burnham picnic has been moved to July 6, Saturday, 8 AM. Weather conditions dictate that we stay dry, warm and safe today -- and meanwhile contemplate the many ways in which we can let our city officials know: Please keep Burnham Park green, open for people and closed to business! Free Burnham is an open event in Melvin Jones on July 6 2013 from 8 AM to 1 PM for people of Baguio from all walks of life to come together in a picnic and lie-in to show city hall what a park is meant to be and to tell them, We need space to play! Because public space for recreation is an essential part of any city. Because every child "shall have full opportunity for play and recreation" and "society and the public authorities shall endeavor to promote the enjoyment of this right." (Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child) Because it has been proven that the presence of green, open and public spaces is good for people's physical health and sense of

Free Burnham!

I am all for making declarations of love as statements of protest. Poster by Karlo Marko Altomonte This coming Saturday morning, July 6, 2013, declare your love for Burnham Park and for parks in general from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. on the Melvin Jones football field. Bring your footballs, volleyballs, bicycles, bows and arrows, badminton rackets and shuttle cocks, trick decks and longboards, frisbees, mats and picnic baskets. You can even bring your dogs! (Let's set an example and clean up after our own pets if necessary.) We envision a lie-in on the football field or a human fence around its perimeter or one big picnic of families saying, "WE NEED SPACE TO PLAY!" and showing the mayor and the incoming councilors what a park is all about. While we're there, let's clean up the park too so bring garbage bags, gloves (there's lots of broken glass), and fashion your own poker/garbage-skewer (for lack of a better word). The mayor has been hemming and

The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang

On June 30, 2013 at 2 PM, Mt. Cloud Bookshop will host the launching of the new children’s book, The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and Other Cordillera Folktales . The event is open to the public and will include story-telling and a performance for children by the Aanak di Kabiligan Community Theater Group. After eleven years of telling stories through the Community Theatre, the Cordillera Green Network (CGN) and its theater company, The Aanak di Kabiligan has published a compilation of Cordillera folklore. These stories were the inspiration behind  the CGN's successful environmental education campaign, dubbed as the "Eco-Theatre Caravan", a roving theater community of young Cordillerans, theatre artists and volunteers performing in different communities in the Philippines and prefectures in Japan advocating environmental causes through performance. The book is a collection of folktales from Kalinga, Benguet, Apayao and Mt. Province. These storie

Today's mood

Be as a jar of frogs' eggs, full of possibility.


Today I crave big beautiful things. There is no food for this hunger. Only the Alhambra will suffice. Or sunrise seen from a mountain, An ocean of clouds At my feet.


This one is for Tito Rudi Tabora. Words: mine Top image: mine Center and bottom images: googled

Meandering Thoughts on Motherhood and Mountain Biking

I have two daughters. The Artist-in-Residence is now 18 years old. The Little Boss is now 14 months old. The Artist-in-Residence and I are still in the adolescent phase, which can sometimes be more intense than the infancy or toddler phase of parenting. And then I went and decided to start all over again. Several things had to stop: drinking, partying and biking -- among other important matters, of course. I knew all that was coming. After pregnancy and 14-months of breastfeeding (and still breastfeeding) the Little Boss, I have finally been reunited with one of my great loves. Yes, mountain biking. I have two mountain bikes. The First Love is a hard-tail and has been with me for 16 years now. Sexy Sadie is a full-suspension, new addition to my stable. On that first trail ride the other day with Sexy Sadie, I shivered with the realization that it had been a long, long time since I felt I was being true to myself. Being a mother entails a lot of self-sacrifice. I don't co

The Dead Room

He stood for a moment rigid before the door of the dead room. Elaine had said to him when he first moved in and before they got married: “There’s just one thing, Peter. Promise me youwill never, EVER, go into the dead room.” Elaine with her candles, crystals, decks of tarot cards, and different-colored clothes for each day of the week, all in accordance with the alignment of the planets. Red on Monday, purple on Tuesday, blue on Wednesday, green on Thursday, orange on Friday, white on Saturday, yellow on Sunday. Never anything random on any given day. For Elaine, everything had meaning and purpose. This suited Peter, who was happy to be a seaweed, swaying back and forth in the ebb and flow of her quiet ocean. At least, and at last, he was rooted some place. Yes, for her he could do that. He could stay out of “the dead room.” He couldn’t help but think of it between quotation marks. The door of the dead room stood solidly in its frame. No knob to turn, no latch to lift. No locks