Have you ever been introduced to a poignant and beautiful lullaby while reading a novel? And have you ever tried searching and listening to that music inscribed in such book? I was and I did.
Thanks to young Elio, the main character in the book Call Me By Your Name, for he introduced me to Fenesta Ca Lucive, an old, sad and touching Neapolitan song. As soon as I finished reading the pages where Fenesta Ca Lucive was penned, I dropped the book and took my Ipad. I searched the song and this is what it was…
Chiagneva sempe ca durmeva sola Mo dorme co’ li muorte accompagnata She always wept because she slept alone, Now she sleeps among the dead
While listening to this beautiful lullaby, I took the book and re-read the portion where it was portrayed. The music gave a different sensation. It suddenly gave the novel I was reading a brighter color. Though, I don’t understand a single word of the song, the music is so haunting, it felt like I was in the streets of Rome witnessing the tenderness, passion and the imminent despair of the main character.
I guess I’m a bit hard to please when it comes to reading and finishing a book. After reading some of the most beautiful, exhilarating and awe-inspiring books in the past, there has been three (3) books that I started reading but – due to boredom – eventually dropped and chose not to finish it. Thus, a book will therefore be very good if I would be able to digest and finish it up to its last word.
I was actually a little afraid that I would not be able to finish a book anymore, but Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman erased that! It was the book that stirred my hard-to-please taste. Call Me By Your Name is not just a stirring and fascinating story, it is actually a beautiful poetic narrative about a person’s coming-of-age reflections, desires and contemplations.
I actually envy the writer Andre Aciman for he got the talent, gift and faculty in crafting delightful words and weaving beautiful thoughts together. Aciman was so impressive, he was able to bring readers into the major character’s heart. That is why the joy and sadness of Elio (the major character) are the reader’s joy and sadness. Elio’s passion and pain were the reader’s passion and pain. And I was so into it, Elio’s heartbroken was my heartbroken! And when I finished and read the last word of this superb novel, I noticed myself grasping for some air.
I refuse to give any spoiler! All I can say is that the book was so good, I didn’t want to finish! Now, Call Me By Your Name sits among the top ten books that I have successfully finished.
Are you like me in which the attractiveness of my own signature is dependent on the quality and refinement of the pen I use? I asked this because I am impressed and enjoy using my present sign pen. Unfortunately, my present pen (pictured below) does not seem to have a label.
And it seems that I can no longer obtain the same pen in case the present one runs out of its ink. Reason being, I got this pen from a boy who sells various ball-points, markers and pen on a moving bus. If in New York subways there are young students who sells chocolates and snacks inside a moving train, here in the Philippines, there is a young boy who sells cheap sign pens and ballpens inside a moving bus.
On a public commute to the City of Manila from a weekend adventure in Villa Escudero in Quezon Province, a shy-looking young boy hopped up our bus and started distributing a note to all the passengers. The message indicated on the note states that the young lad is selling cheap ballpens and that the proceeds of his earnings shall be used for his schooling expenses.
I opted to buy one priced at twenty pesos (less than 40 cents in US$) and got to pick the green colored pen then return the note he handed earlier. My colleague MJ, on the other hand, actually handed 50 pesos (US$1) to the young dude after reading the note and opted not to get any pen. She however did not return the note the boy distributed and instead kept it inside her bag. She told me that she is to show the note to her daughter and tell her daughter about our encounter with this pleasant-looking young boy.
And every time I use this sign pen I am reminded that it was the most meaningful 20-peso spending I did that day.
The Filipino translation for the word “beast” is halimaw. And halimaw is how I would describe the strength, depth and power of the singing voice of Morisette Amon during her participation in the recent Asian Song Festival held somewhere in South Korea.
This kind of a Filipina beast simply slayed it! This was such a phenomenal performance. Her pure talent is out of this world! And she looks absolutely gorgeous in that video!
What is so surprising with this number is that I was less impressed by her whistling capability. Maybe it’s because a number of good singers can do the whistle. I was more impressed and surprised by the unique squeaking sound that her voice makes. That is so rare and exclusively Morisette. That squeak would most probably be the most beautiful squeaking sound that I’ve ever heard.
Nengkoy (my mother) is used to check-in a 5-star hotel or resort every time she goes on a domestic vacation. Because of budget constraints and weak Philippine peso, it is the downgraded to 4 or 3-star hotels during international travels. However, in Nengkoy’s recent international trip her accommodation experience was further downgraded from a hotel to a hostel!
I am the culprit. It is because I am the one who booked and reserved a tiny room for three at A Dot Homestay via Booking.com.
Upon clearance from the immigration and retrieval of our luggage at Taoyuan International Airport, I Nengkoy and my sister proceeded to the nearest airport transport service. We booked a return exclusive luxury car service that will drive us to our hostel and pick us up to bring us back to the airport on our last day’s stay. The driver was quite surprised upon finding out that we have to be dropped not to a luxurious hotel but instead to an ordinary building where our hostel was located.
Actually, upon alighting the luxurious car, I never noticed where A Dot Homestay was located for there was no signage. Upon noticing that I seem to look confused, the driver was kind enough to point to us the building and entrance gate were the address of our hostel was. Shockingly, there was no reception desk where to transact our check-in. Instead, we proceeded to the 5th floor of the building, were asked to take off our shoes and was led to a dining table where we settled our payment and where the crew issued us our electronic keys to our room.
Nengkoy and my sister then told me after we have settled inside our room that both of them were already contemplating of pushing me to transfer to a legit hotel. It was obviously their first time to be in such a type of a lodging. They were not used to a guesthouse without a front desk, a concierge and an elegant chandelier in a lobby.
I have no intention of under estimating this hostel. It is because I, my sister and Nengkoy were quite impressed by the facilities, cleanliness and offerings of A Dot Homestay. After our first night, we easily adjusted and came to appreciate this cozy and comfortable establishment.
A Dot Homestay basically grew in us. Maybe it is because it offers remarkable facilities (comfy bed with fresh and spotless linens, clean and big common/shared toilet & shower rooms, a free-to-use washer and dryer, very fast internet connection, hot, warm and cold drinking water, a fridge that all guests can use and even a kitchenette if guests wish to cook their food). They even offer us to eat and try the free snacks placed and made available at the main table.
But aside from all these pleasant and amazing features, there are two things that I like most about A Dot Homestay. First is the warm, gracious and well-mannered staffs. All their staffs whom I encountered can speak English (Sarah, one of the staffs, according to her actually studied English here in the Philippines for 3 months) and everybody were so genial and are so willing to assist so as to make sure that we enjoy our visit to Taipei. They can even give you tips on where to dine and where to go to.
Second is the location. A Dot Homestay is literally just a couple of steps away from Exit 3 of Daan Station. The nearness of the train station is one of my main considerations why I chose and booked A Dot Homestay. I know that Taipei weather is like Manila weather. It is hot, boiling and very humid. Thus, it would be too difficult to walk on the streets so as to reach the station if the hotel would be too far a distance. I was also glad to have chosen this lodging establishment because I am with Nengkoy and my often-complaining sister who hates to walk under a blistering climate. Thus, the location of A Dot Homestay is just perfection!
Thanks to A Dot Homestay! It is because this establishment made Nengkoy’s first hostel experience a very pleasant and remarkable one.
Oh and by the way, on our last day, it was a different driver who picked us up and drove us to the airport for us to catch our flight back to Manila. He was driving a Mercedes Benz. It was so noticeable that the driver was puzzled and bamboozled why we were not picked from a luxurious hotel but instead by the bustling Xinyi Road in front of an ordinary-looking building.
I’m a proud uncle I must say. Up until now I can’t seem to overcome the genial feeling at how the wedding ceremony and after-wedding-party of Alexis & Thatcher has turned out. All elements of a fun party was there. The wedding reception in particular was a well thought-off kind of a revelry.
The set-up was grand, the live music was impeccable and the host was entertaining! Elements of Alexis and Thatcher’s personalities were present in all corners of the venue, from geeky/techy toys and designs to youthful books and journals. I never realized that chic elegance and non-mainstream geeky-ness can jive well and would be such an exciting type of a wedding party concept.
Another impressive aspect of the party were the food and drinks. When I saw the menu, I immediately concluded that the line-up of these exciting dishes were well-scrutinized. The dinner was absolutely lovely!
I am not a wine connoisseur but my having three glasses of the red wine that night would signify how good the wine was. But the most impressive of all in terms of drinks was the serving of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. There was nothing geeky about it, but the serving of this rare Scottish whisky – a freakin’ bottle on every table – was sheer elegance!
But all these were topped by the dance number that Alexis and Thatcher has performed that night. My family knows that the couple (both seem to possess considerable levels of geeky-ness) shall be the last to dance in any of our family’s occasion. Seeing both strutting a swanky and ritzy dance number was such a treasure to behold. Alexis and Thatcher’s romantic dancing made me super cheery, my emotional equilibrium went berserk that it made me cry for joy.