Search and You Shall Find in My World

30 March 2011

Seen from MLQ3's Tumblr

We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person who you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.

Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live 

28 March 2011

Puto-sikwate makes my day

I bowed down to my officemates when they insisted I should try the puto and sikwate near the Basilica of Santo Niño. The office is freezing cold I have to go out. Snacking on puto maya, sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and ginger, with its everlasting drink accompaniment sikwate (local version of hot chocolate) is a great respite.

Well, their version of puto is not the best nor the worst. The really hot sikwate is not like my Grandma's but could pass for a great merienda

Although unknown to me, but it seems that nook has regular patrons as evidenced by the slowly forming queue outside. However, one annoying habit most carenderias around the country is the use of cracked china. This one is not an exception.

If you want to try their puto maya and sikwate, go inside to that street near the Basilica where Chowking is and ask where you could find the puto. I believe they are known there. No signage is visible around.
Hot choco on a cracked cup. 

27 March 2011

Basho and Japan

Countries may fall, but their rivers and mountains remain. When spring comes to the ruined castle, the grass is green again. ~Basho

25 March 2011

The God-makers of Jakosalem

These people at Jakosalem Street in Cebu City do wonders with just a piece of wood. For a short time, they would make an amazing sculpture of saints and gods in their image and likeness. And they always amazed me to no end. I wish I have their patience and creativity.

23 March 2011

Hands. Blood. God.

Hands. Blood. God. The women wove those words together, the same way they hung their clothes on the lines. Mixing words like shirts of different colors, inseparable. Exactly the way they laid them out to dry on corrugated aluminum. The way they went to church every Sunday, veiled with holiness, only to come home screaming in the Spanish curses nobody could understand. I thought of umbrellas, how these women carried them in both rain and sun, always finding ways to cover themselves. The more I listened, the more I understood what had happened...

~Bino A. Realuyo, The Umbrella Country

21 March 2011

Our culture and heritage provide us wisdom, not our cell phones

(Note: This article is posted at and I copied it as is. It is written by Elizabeth Lindsey, Ph.D. Ms Lindsey is an anthropologist. The article struck a chord in my soul because of the truth that we human beings have the innate want for company of other humans. No man is an island, the adage says. We need to reach out to them, physically should I say, so that we can feel them, and be one with them. Our culture and heritage should be passed down because in the end we would be called what we are. This is an eye-opener to all of us.)

(CNN)-- In an era of technological advancement, we're bloated with information yet starved for wisdom.

From the boardroom to the bedroom we're connected 24/7, yet loneliness is at an all-time high.

More people are reaching for mobile devices than for the hand of someone in need. Where did our humanity go?

Our current crises are a reflection of our internal turbulence, our own private torments.

The truth is we're trying to find our way. But where do we turn for answers?

For centuries, cultures throughout the world have used indigenous technologies to navigate life's complexities. From navigator-priests in Micronesia to mystics in India, vast sums of knowledge are available if we but recognize it.

We are living an illusion that calls itself reality. We track the every move of city dwellers in New York as if it's breaking news while forsaking those with valuable insight. An African elder said, "You worship the jester, while the king stands in plain clothes."

In a society that celebrates youth, we have forsaken the wisdom of age.

As a child I was raised by three old Hawaiian elders who planted and fished according to lunar cycles, who knew the names of the winds and rains, and who relished their intimate relationship with the natural world. They remain among the greatest environmentalists I've ever known.

Today such insight is marginalized if not altogether dismissed. I believe that when an elder dies, a library is burned, vast sums of wisdom and knowledge are lost. Throughout the world libraries are ablaze with scant attention.

My work is as an ethnographic rescuer, a conduit between past and future generations. The urgency of this effort cannot be overstated.

Two years ago, a 108-year-old Chi Kung grandmaster died in a cave where she'd gone into hiding when the Maoist regime came into power. Like many others, Master Wen's knowledge, the sum total of generations before her, was lost.

My doctoral work in ethnonavigation led me to study with Pius "Mau" Piailug, a Micronesian Palu, navigator-priest, who was considered the greatest wayfinder in the world. Wayfinding is the native science of noninstrument navigation.

Mau, who passed away six months ago, was descended from a lineage of navigators who sailed over 3 million square miles of open ocean without the use of instruments or maps.

They synthesized their data from patterns in nature such as the rising and setting of the stars, the sequence and direction of waves, even the slightest color of the underbelly of clouds and the flight patterns of certain birds. This was quite an accomplishment considering that it was during a time when most European thinkers believed the world was flat.

Fortunately, Mau's life and wisdom were well-documented. Future generations now have access to a man whose intellectual and scientific achievements in their own way rival that of putting a man on the moon -- his sea, our space; his canoe, our capsule.

As I write this, I am in India, where I have had the privilege to study with a mystic and a Brahmin priest, the descendant of 14 generations of the greatest classical musical artists in this country. And I am heading for Bhutan where I will travel to the rural countryside to be with sages.

For me, this is much more than a flirtation with adventure. It is a life-long love affair with humanity's story.

Pic grabbed from

16 March 2011

The radiation scare and some facts

The Philippines is again in the limelight at the BBC website when a prank SMS (allegedly from BBC) circulated here telling people that an acid rain from Japan will fall at 4PM last Monday. Some took it seriously so that drugstores were amazed at the sales of their iodine, the "medicine" to use to avoid thyroid cancer as a result of that radiation.

A government university even cancelled their classes and sent their students home.

In view of the radiation scare generated by the nuclear plants that were damaged in Japan during the strong earthquake last week, I am copying in full the text provided by Reuters on how much radiation should we take in for it to be considered fatal. Let us all be informed.

March 16 (Reuters) - Radiation levels in Japan remained a huge worry on Wednesday following explosions and fires at the Fukushima power plant. But there has been no indication that people away from the plant's immediate vicinity have been exposed to harmful amounts.

In Tokyo, only very insignificant amounts -- one that pose no danger -- have been detected.

Here are some facts about the health dangers posed by radiation:
  • On Tuesday evening, radiation levels around Tokyo were less than 1 microsievert. While that is nearly 10 times normal readings, experts say that amount of radiation is very minimal and even smaller than a dental x-ray, which is about 10 microsieverts.
  • Even if a person was exposed to that level of radiation in Tokyo all year round, that amounts to about one-third of the radiation from a single organ CT scan.
  • People are constantly exposed to some level of natural radiation. They get exposed to tiny amounts through sitting in airplanes, routine chest or dental X-rays, and larger amounts through medical tests such as CT-scans and MRIs.
  • Depending on the flight route, flying at a height of 40,000 feet exposes the passenger to radiation of between 3 and 9 microsieverts per hour -- far more than the levels seen in Tokyo so far.
  • Generally, people are exposed to about 1 to 10 millisieverts of radiation a year from natural background radiation, caused by radioactive substances in the air and soil. One thousand microsieverts make 1 millisievert.
  • A whole body CT scan, for example, gives a radiation dose of 20 to 30 millisieverts, while a single organ CT involves a dose of less than 10 millisieverts.
  • Radiation is measured using the unit sievert, which quantifies the amount absorbed by human tissues. One sievert is 1,000 millisieverts.
  • On Wednesday morning, levels at the Fukushima plant reached 10 millisieverts an hour before falling to around 3 millisieverts, Kyodo News Service quoted Japan's nuclear safety agency as saying. Early on Tuesday, the level peaked at 400 millisieverts an hour -- 20 times the annual exposure for some nuclear-industry employees and uranium miners.
Below are different levels of radiation exposure -- all measured in millisieverts -- and their likely effects on humans, as published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
  • Exposure to 50-100 millisieverts: changes in blood chemistry.
  • 500: nausea, within hours.
  • 700: vomiting
  • 750: hair loss, within 2-3 weeks
  • 900: diarrhoea
  • 1,000: haemorrhage
  • 4,000: possible death within 2 months, if no treatment
  • 10,000: destruction of intestinal lining, internal bleeding and death within 1-2 weeks
  • 20,000: damage to the central nervous system and loss of consciousness within minutes, and death within hours or days.

BBC Flash news : Japan Government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Philippine at around 4 pm today. If it rains today or in the next few days in Hong Kong. Do not go under the rain. If you get caught out, use an umbrella or raincoat, even if it is only a drizzle. Radioactive particles, which may cause burns, alopecia or even cancer, may be in the rain.

Should a nuclear fallout is imminent, here is a comprehensive guide on what to do. Please read PREPARING FOR NUCLEAR FALLOUT.

What is a SIEVERT?

Photo from

15 March 2011

A real snacks deserve a big burp!

This is what I call THE real snacks. A not so ripe banana (saba) fried in any way you want- as a bananacue with melting sugar caramel, pinaypay (breaded fan-shaped banana), or turon (banana wrapped in lumpia wrapper) with caramelized sugar. AND eaten on the street just like a real downtown boy.

14 March 2011

Want to help Japan?

A few friends of mine have suggested coming to Japan to pitch in with the recovery efforts.  I appreciate your willingness to brave the radiological dangers of international travel on our behalf, but that plan has little upside to it: when you get here, you’re going to be a) illiterate b) unable to understand instructions and c) a productivity drag on people who are quite capable of dealing with this but will instead have to play Babysit The Foreigner.  If you’re feeling compassionate and want to do something for the sake of doing something, find a charity in your neighborhood.  Give it money.  Tell them you were motivated to by Japan’s current predicament.  You’ll be happy, Japan will recover quickly, and your local charity will appreciate your kindness.

13 March 2011

Japan: the blast of the wintry wind

The last time I posted a song from one of the soundtracks of Kill Bill (see my post- Why are the Japanese so poetic?) and appreciated the poetic language of the Japanese, an earthquake struck Japan. It was so hard my heart cracks along with the earth.

Now here I am again. I can't help but copy these poems posted at Paulo Coelho's blog. They are so beautiful that despite the sad tone, I think they should be shared. Noteworthy to read are the comments shared by Coelho's readers. Click on the link above if you want the original posting. Meanwhile, read on-

As banked clouds
are swept apart by the wind,
at dawn the sudden cry
of the first wild geese
Winging across the mountains.

In a mountain village
at autumn’s end—
that’s where you learn
what sadness means
in the blast of the wintry wind.
Saigyo (XIIth Century)
Each of the rain drops has a tale to tell
about the sorrows of people
about the hardships living things go through
about the arrival of sparrows.
Yamamura Bocho (XXth Century)
Out in the marsh reeds
A bird cries out in sorrow,
As though it had recalled
Something better forgotten.
Ki No Tsurayuri (Xth century)
The evening sky itself
becomes something to cherish
seeing in one of the clouds
the smoke from her funeral pyre
Murasaki Shikibu (XI century)
Oh you yellow leaves
that whirl upon the autumn slopes
if only for a moment
do not whirl down in such confusion,
that i may see where my beloved dwells.
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (8th century)

Photo source

Rockin' on at Handuraw

It's been awhile since I have not returned to Handuraw in Lahug, Cebu City. My last experience there was not quite interesting but tonight we decided to give it a try.

But weekends at Handuraw is time to rock. Really rock! (Especially if you get hold of their sub zero beers at 45 pesos only.)

If you do not like places or concerts with high decibels then the place is not for you. You see, weekends at Handuraw are reserved for the up and coming artists of Cebu. Expect boy bands belting punk, rock, rock and roll, ska, reggae. Name it you have them, all original music. Yes, original music. They composed and arranged their songs all by themselves. College students in black, high school students keeping up, rastas of different sizes and all. Handuraw is one hell of a place for weekend music. In a sea of kids wearing black, I standout in red.

I wonder why, despite of all the people, their service is efficient tonight. Unlike when I visited the place last time on a sleepy luncheon meeting.

But tonight, we jam. The icy bottle of beer makes it more cool.

The last band sang their last song, a cover version of Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger. A fitting tribute to a Handuraw returnee like me.
And so Sally can wait, she knows it's too late and she's walking on by \ My soul slides away, but don't look back in anger, don't look back in anger \ I heard you say...

12 March 2011

Prayers no longer needed

When the earthquake struck in Japan this afternoon I was not minding the news because I thought it was the same earthquake that struck them yesterday and I was also too busy doing a serious project. But when I checked my Twitter account, I was suddenly transported into that place.

Frankly, I was literally shivering when I saw the online feeds and cried later when the tsunami struck in certain parts of that nation, even reaching 10 kilometers inland. Subsequent tsunami warnings were given to the whole Asia Pacific region.

I was reminded of my dear friends there in Japan and I hope they were doing fine.

Consequently, several unwanted text messages kept my phone busy, telling me to pray as if the tremor in Japan could be undone if I pray. Of course, this was a commercial action from enterprising companies and individuals riding on the disaster to gain financially. Or from some zealous Christians who could think of nothing but blame the sins of the world for the disaster.

How insensitive! Or idiotic?

I don't think prayers would help now but are rather useless. What can you do?

However, immediate actions are rather necessary for those affected like helping residents or sending monetary donations to Japan. Can you believe that there are about 400,000 Filipinos in Japan? Helping and donating are noble causes worth pursuing. These are better than kneeling down and blame people for disasters.

Good luck to all of us. 

Pictures grabbed from several website sources.

10 March 2011

Why are the Japanese so poetic?


Meiko Kaji's Shura no hana

The Flower of Carnage

Begrieving snow falls in the dead morning
Stray dog's howls and the footsteps of Geta pierce the air
I walk with the weight of the Milky Way on my shoulders
But an umbrella that holds onto the darkness is all there is.
I'm a woman who walks at the brink of life and death
Who's emptied my tears many moons ago.
All the compassion tears and dreams
The snowy nights and tomorrow hold no meaning
I've immersed my body in the river of vengeance
And thrown away my womanhood many moons ago
On the behalf of heaven, they're our soldiers, the loyal, invincible and brave.
Now it's time for them to leave the country of their
Parents their hearts buoyed by encouraging voices.
They are solemnly resolved not to return alive, without victory.
Here at home, the citizens wait for you.
In foreign lands, the brave troops
Instead of kindness from someone
I do not care about
I rather prefer selifshness from you my beloved.
Oh, it the world a dream or an illusion?
I am all alone in jail.

2AM Snacks: Halo-halo at Chowking

09 March 2011

O ye, o ye your Lord's on the way

I was walking along Jakosalem Street in Cebu City and was trying to follow this cartful of wooden statues so I could take a shot of them. Yes, statues. The men pushing the carts were actually running against the flow of traffic and the statues were raising their hands I was imagining they were going to stop the flow just like superheroes. Funny!

I believe they were heading either to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral or the Santo Niño Basilica. Which reminds me that today is Ash Wednesday among the Roman Catholics around the world. I would be expecting more statues this Lenten season.

Traffic lights did not permit to take a shot ahead of the men pushing this cart. I was using my ever reliable Sony Ericsson K800i phone camera.

08 March 2011


A woman selling newspapers from her wheelchair early morning in Cebu City with a guy wearing an orange shirt beside her whom I believed is her husband. He is just standing there.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8 percent of the world's wealthy. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

TODAY IS THE 100th INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY. Let us help all women recognize their rightS by supporting the Reproductive Health Bill.

Nights at work: Wilt, wilting, wilted

Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets.
These past days had me without sleep and feeling groggy until I would board a jeepney. Funny how I would observe my fellow passengers on-board the jeep going to do about their business- schools, markets and offices, while I am in the opposite direction- home.

I used to express my appreciation on working in the wee hours- no traffic, no irritating sounds, just you and the computer. But lately, working late has taken its toll. At the end of my night, literally, I could not say I have been renewed. More of like, wilted? And I don't want it no more, concluding that call centers are not really for me. End of topic.

But as I look at the fresh faces of my fellow passengers their vibrant appearance give me something to look forward to. Like a fresh hint of soap.

While I am melting, their faces exude hope.

07 March 2011

A rare find in Colon Street

Somewhere along the Philippines' oldest street, an old mailbox stayed stuck and forgotten. I was tempted to open it up and see if somewhere in its deep recesses a forgotten letter might have been left undelivered. But I could not and did not.

I also posted this one at-
 old mailbox in Colon Street, Cebu on Twitpic

04 March 2011

Next destination: Masbate (Ohhhh the trip is postponed til April next month due to work backlogs)

“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it… You hope, and you dream. But you never believe that something’s gonna happen for you. Not like it does in the movies. And when it actually does, you want it to feel different, more visceral, more real. I was waiting for it to hit me…”  ~ Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard in The Beach

02 March 2011

Jollibee forever!

This may not be healthy but I have been eating Jollibee Hot and Spicy Chicken for about six meals in a row. And I love it!

01 March 2011

The Great Condom Buy-In of 2011

Ridiculous laws need ridiculous response. 

For now, you might have heard that posh village called Ayala Alabang in greater Manila making the purchase of condoms and other "abortifacients" illegal, without the necessary prescription (reseta) from your doctors. It only means this- if you want sex you go to your doctor. Ridiculous!

So to ridicule Ayala Alabang's law on buying condoms, I suggest that all pro-RH bill supporters go to Ayala Alabang and start buying condoms from their stores and see if they could cope with the demand and the need to list down all them buyers.

I call that- The Great Condom Buy-In Day!

Ms Rina Jimenez-David explains why the ordinance is not helping the people from that rich enclave- Coercion in Ayala Alabang- and I would like to quote a few paragraphs:


ANOTHER ISSUE to take up with the good men and women of the council is the practicability of their ordinance. It provides, for instance, for every pharmacy or drugstore to keep a register of barangay residents who buy contraceptives, including condoms, from them. The identified users would then be meted out a fine or a short jail sentence. It also provides that foreigners (and there are many in the village) who buy and use contraceptives, after paying the fine and serving their sentence, would have deportation proceedings lodged against them.

How do the barangay officials propose to enforce their ordinance? What would prevent any Ayala Alabang resident from buying his or her contraceptive supplies from any drugstore outside the barangay? Would “tanods” (watchmen) resort to stopping residents at random and going through their handbags or pockets for pills and condoms? By conducting random internal examinations of women to check if they are using IUDs? How would they know the couples who use family planning? By barging into bedrooms unannounced and cross-examining them on their mating habits?


Read more-

Photo from


Scene near Cebu Provincial Capitol building along Escario Street
Night scene at Manalili Street in downtown Cebu City