First Book for 2019: E. Aguilar Cruz the Writer as Painter

I am getting worried because it is already the month of May and I have yet to read and finish one book this year.  I have always considered that people who do not read books are of a lesser type of human beings.  For me, people’s justification that they are too busy and do not have the time to read a book are living a less meaningful life. 

The whole purpose of reading, for me, is not about having to learn more. It is to get in touch with that deep quiet part of myself.  My inner temple so to speak.  And for me, books don’t only inform or inspire, it is also my form of deep reflection and relaxation.

Thank goodness I received a book yesterday, as gifted to me by my boss.  And what is so awesome about it is that it was personally signed by the author himself.  And since I am “re-starting” what is further remarkable about it is that it is a one-seating kind of a hardcover.

got mine signed 🙂

thumbs up X 10

Let me then formally announce that the first book I have read this year is by a prolific writer, Ambeth Ocampo.  It is his latest and is entitled E. Aguilar Cruz: The Writer as Painter.  The book impressively examines how the artistic style of E. Aguilar Cruz has evolved.

The book has thankfully brought me to a different realm for it tackles creative virtuosity, visual exquisity and inherent passion towards one’s art.  Ocampo’s writing, contemplations and analyses can effectively aid the reader on understanding the realist, impressionist and expressionist works of Aguilar Cruz.  He convincingly conveyed that E. Aguilar Cruz is an artist that is a league of his own.  And because of the humongous amount of featured photos of E. Aguilar Cruz’s paintings and sketches, the book is actually like a compact and mobile mini-art gallery!

a great read…

Thanks to this super worthy book, my worry has finally ceased.  And I can finally reconsider myself again as a more worthy and well-meaning human being.  Next book please….

Kung ayaw mo pa ring mag-basa ng libro, itong blog ko na lang basahin mo. Hihihi!

Thanking the Heavens Via Santa Clara!

I am back in Manila.  And I am back in my usual normal routine.  I am, however, is not yet done with chronicling my 2019 NYC and Washington D.C adventure.  There are still an enormous amount of experiences that I have yet to write about.

But since I am back, let me just squeeze in this post.  A thank you and an expression of gratitude post to the heavens above for gifting and blessing me with such an amazing NYC and Washington D.C. journey.

This afternoon, I went to Santa Clara Monastery to express my hearty gratitude.  And in keeping with the odd and eccentric Filipino custom of saying thanks to Saint Claire of Assisi, I offered a dozen of eggs wrapped in colored cellophane.  I also wrote a short thank you note and have it lodged for the nuns to read and send it instantaneously to the heavens via Santa Clara.

I did this because I have always believed that prayer is done not because you are asking for something but because you have a ton to thank about.

By the way the colored cellophane I chose was pink and red which according to tradition has some mystifying meaning.  Red would be luck on travel and career while Pink would be for love life and family.  I was laughing about the “luck on love life”! Hahaha!

Thanks Saint Claire! My NYC and Washington D.C. adventure was a blast!

monasterio real de sta. clara de manila

Santa Clara, Salamat! Sa uulitin…

 

Bitter Gourd Monologues is so Me

It’s been uncounted number of years since the time I last finished reading a book written in my native language, Filipino.  This long streak of non-sense convention is finally over.  And I am glad to announce that the Filipino-language book I finished is sooo me.  Its entitled Ampalaya Monologues written by “spoken word” genius, Mark Ghosn.

Ampalaya Monologues is so me!  Ampalaya for those who don’t know is Bitter Gourd in the Filipino language or metaphorically defined as “bitter”.  There are 27 characters in the book that features varying idiosyncrasies of heartaches, heartbreaks, eccentric longing, quirky hopes, emotional struggles and of course romanticized bitterness.

This I guess would be the very first book written in Filipino that made me cry and laugh out loud at the same time.  I literally was laughing at a lot of lines and thoughts in this book for I am so bitter, I can totally relate. Here’s the top six monologues I loved and totally enjoyed!   

 

I haven’t see or talked to the writer yet Ampalaya Monologues seem to have entered into my realm.  It was as if Mark Ghosn has entered my cranium and cerebral cortex and wrote what he has seen inside.

According to some write ups, Ampalaya Monologues (like The Vagina Monologues popularized in the past in the western side of the planet) are actually staged and performed by actors in front of big audiences.  But I guess reading the book would be a totally different experience.  It was as if the character was merely talking to the reader and no one else like in a big crowd.  Thus, reading the book I guess would be more intense and can definitely hit you right at your very core.

I love every piece of the chapters/monologues yet the last part was actually the most fitting for it makes you realize that for every tear, every heartache and bitterness a reader felt and experienced in the past, such sufferings will eventually make a person fervently mature and emotionally stronger.  I believe in the ultimate message of the book and that is for bitter people like us, there is still a chance to move on and some freaking flicker of hope is awaiting for all of us. 

Ang sabi nga sa libro, mas mabuting maging bitter kesa fake!

Major Major Major

Strange yet true, the Filipino language is one of the unique languages on the planet that duplicates the same syllables so as to produce a word or a name.  I am so used to knowing a person with the following appelations: Cheche, Ging Ging, Gly Gly, Ton Ton, Lotlot and Jon Jon.  And I am not a bit surprise to hear and use these Filipino words: hakahaka (speculation), singsing (ring), guniguni (hallucinations), gabigabi (nightly) bubukaka (will spread the legs widely) or lokoloko (loony).

Looney_1

this post is like this, baliwbaliwan at ang saya-saya!

Other Filipino duplicated-syllable words that I don’t intend to translate are pekpek, titi, kiki and bulbul! For those people who don’t speak the Filipino language you would just have to google the translation.  While for the Filipinos, I’m pretty sure they are now laughing out loud while reading this.

From my readings, one reason why my Filipino language is so used to duplicating syllables to create a meaningful word is because Filipino language as a whole seem to be composed of only simple and uncomplicated phonologies.  Also, my Filipino language lacks the composition of 3-lettered consonant clusters (like using str or psy in the beginning of a word and the use of gth or rch to end a word) to make it somewhat complicated.  Because of these limitations and to compensate so as to broaden the language, Filipinos unconsciously decided to duplicate simple utter-able syllables so as to create different words and meanings.

Filipinos are so accustomed to duplicating syllables as words it unconsciously spills out from our train of thought when we even speak the English language. Remember Ms. Philippines (Venus Raj) during the final Q&A round of the Ms. Universe pageant who replied that she never had any “major major” problem that she has done in her life during the 21 years of her existence.  This was a top trending topic then in the twitter world during that time.

I myself would sometime unintentionally utter doubled/repeated English words as if I am suffering from palilalia especially when I am so so very very happy!

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smiling though i am so na-wiwi-wiwi-na!

But what is even more strange is that Filipino language does not only duplicate syllables, it even triplicates it so as to even relay a different meaning for such usage of syllables.  Filipino words with triplicated syllables are actually words in future tense form.  Take these as examples:

  • Lalala (will worsen)
  • Dadada (going to spread a word or spill the beans)
  • Bababa (will descend)
  • Nanana (going to develop into a pus)
  • Papapa (will eat)
  • Yayaya (will invite)
  • Dododo (will suck from a nipple of a baby bottle)
  • Pupupu (gonna defecate)
  • Wiwiwi (gonna urinate)
  • Nganganga (will wide open a person’s mouth)

I was about to type hahaha which means laughing out loud! Hahaha!

Kakaloka!

Justice for Kian

kian delos santos

kian delos santos

This is the face of the 17-year old boy whose last text message to his mother is a request for a bicycle who ironically according to the Justice Secretary possess Php 16,000 worth of shabu in his pocket on the time of his death.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who was right-handed yet his body was found holding a gun in his left hand.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy whose dream is to become a policeman man someday yet it is the police who ended not only his dream but his young dear life.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who represents the present type of sadistic justice system and brutal killings now rampant in my country.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who according to the police retaliated but whose autopsy report says that the fatal gunshots were shot from behind his ear.

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no child deserves this (sad)

I am obviously outraged!  And it is unfortunate that killings like this will continue until a new Philippine leader will be put in place.  I just hope that something sane, and logical, and sensible and compassionate and judicious will come out from this tragic and terrible event.  The shape, position and situation of Kian Delos Santos is the state of the Philippines today.

Hustisyang mailap para kay Kian!

Hardships of a Filipino Passport Holder

20170814_142412I want to travel to Japan (again) but my visa has expired.  That is why I am so busy trying to collate all needed documents and requirements for me to re-visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

While trying to fill out the Japan visa application form, I realized that it is hard to be a citizen of a very weak passport.  Humongous preparations are needed to be undertaken for earthlings like us so as to venture into having to experience the joys of travelling.

For other citizens with very strong passports, their first step when they want to travel out of the country is to scout for a good-priced airfare.  For Filipino passport holders, scouting for a bargain airfare would be pretty much at the latter part of the multitude of complex steps that we need to hurdle, overcome and accomplish.

Photo of specific size and background, bank certifications, tax certification, employment certification, birth and baptismal certifications, approved vacation leave certifications and correctly filled up confusing application forms are some of the obstacles that we have to undertake.

Thank goodness, Japan embassy need not schedule me for a one-on-one interview with an embassy consul.  Other embassies would even add up more requirements like a face-to-face interview, a digital photo, a biometric fingerprint record, a medical vaccination/s certificate and a good coverage of travel insurances to name a few.

Aside from being so confusing and time consuming, being a Filipino passport holder is more expensive.  On top of all these time consuming collation of necessary and obligated documents, breathing Filipinos like me needs to pay for the expensive non-refundable visa fees!

The amount of visa fee application can already be a supposed additional budget to a sumptuous dinner in a posh restaurant or a night’s accommodation rate to a first class hotel or the total train and taxi fares of the Filipino traveler to the country of his destination.   And the only assurance for Filipino passport holders applying for a visa is that they are guaranteed to pay for a visa fee, may their visa application is approved or denied!

It’s hard to be a Filipino passport holder.  We are unlike other citizens of this planet, who would simply buy their plane ticket, pack their bags, bring their powerful passport and proceed to the airport so as to catch the flight to a country of their preferred destination.

Josmiyo!

Still Majestic & Magical in Bagac, Bataan

It’s been 5 long years after my return to Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.  Five years ago the resort located at the edge of the Philippines radiates a feeling of how majestic and magical Filipino culture is.  And with my recent visit, five years later, the beautiful resort in Bagac Bataan has massively expanded offering more Filipino architectural wonders of the past.

In my second visit (this time with Beth, Wlillie and JB), I was again at awe on the richness and beauty of the Filipino culture and architecture.

beautiful

the building where we were billeted

my personal favorite… casa la drillo

the bagac gang selfie

still majestic… the former hotel where i and travel buddy karen was billeted 5 years ago

serene…

There has been some arguments on whether Filipinos are Pacific Islanders or South East Asians, but when one visits Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, one would realize that Philippines has a different character that is unique and of its own.  The architectural wonders along with the culture and customs linked to it as featured in Las Casas Filipinas are uniquely Filipino and could not be found anywhere in the Pacific Islands neither in the neighboring countries of south east Asia.

The best thing I like about Las Casas De Acuzar is that there is no ugly photo that we have shot.  One need not be a professional photographer to obtain an excellent photo.  Because of the beauty and stylishness of the place, every photo is Instagram worthy!

sunset… one of my instagram entries

a new thing near the lobby

strike a pose muna

magical! (with beth and willie)

will be back…

I don’t know if Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is a popular foreign tourist destination.  I have yet to realize that because when we were there, all I could see are domestic tourists or Filipinos living abroad doing a short vacay in the Philippines.  This place has yet to be tapped by the foreigners.  And in case I would have a foreign visitor, Las Casas De Acuzar would be one awesome option for a destination!

Grabe! Ang ganda!