April 19-25 Edition
Meditation In Mactan
Reviving My Soul
Best of Times
March 2, 2014
My just friend JC texted me, thinking I was where I wasn't. This is my full reply.
I landed in Lapu Lapu at 7 in the morning. I'm now at the back of Mactan Shrine.
It's so peaceful here, looks like an idyllic fishing village. This is where historians say Mactan chieftain Lapu Lapu killed the legendary Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the sixteenth century.
I saw a man walking in the water towards me. Then I realized that this part of the sea has been drained and the water is only ankle deep.
It's thirteen past ten in the morning as I write this, sitting on a makeshift lean-to made of nipa in the beach.
An old dog with worn-out brown fur is panting in the sand in front of me, sharing the shade from the merciless sun. I got my footage but my camera battery is dead. The dog, who had weakly wagged his tail while I patted his head but refused my mango ice cream earlier despite his emaciated frame, is dying too.
In a flash of insight, here in the scene of battle where hundreds have died, I felt humbled to accept that I don't have the power over death.
Reviving My Soul
March 2, 2014
This is my text to my friend RG in Manila
I'm sitting on a bench in the Lapu Lapu City plaza beside the church, almost noon.
I had to travel.
I felt that my soul was dying from too many irritating elements in the workplace. I try to be as detached as I can, but there those who impose their obnoxious presence.
I felt revived by being close to the sea as I rode in the inter-island ferry. I just came from Mactan Shrine where I wrote my story about the dying dog and the man walking on water.
I'm under the tree shades as the sun emerged from the white wispy clouds gliding and disappearing across the infinite blue sky. I hear the Mass behind me and the cheers in the volleyball game at the covered court on my right.
Beside me is the empty plastic cup of the calamansi juice I just bought. The small slice of lemon lay at the bottom like a green pearl. It will be gone and forgotten, like I will be someday, but it helped quench the thirst of a traveler. Its selfless existence is its own significance.
Best of Times
March 5, 2014
I've begun traveling again.
"I'm lust, I mean lost," I joked to my friend JC yesterday in a text. "Little boy lost, huhuhu!"
I just got a new digital camera and I went to Mactan Shrine yesterday to shoot another amateur travel documentary. I finished early and I was just wandering around Mercado, the large public market in Lapu Lapu in Cebu, watching the local tricycles with their tank-like square sidecars which I haven't seen anywhere else.
I was to go to their house that night, with our friend NJ. NJ and I are the godfathers of his son and we were there when the kid celebrated his first birthday in Jollibee in Park Mall in Mandaue last October. JC's wife was from Nueva Ecija where I've also lived in 1997 in Cabiao.
"If you grew up in the province, you'll always miss it," I told her as we stood on their balcony. "The stars are move alive..."
The father-in-law is from Hagonoy, Bulacan where I have also stayed for a while in 2009. "There is nothing to keep me in one place," I once told somebody who asked how come I've been to so many places, before suavely changing the subject. I didn't tell them that I've been to London, where JC had worked. His family is going to Canada. I also didn't tell them I've been there.
"Lie, lie, lie," goes the song. "I'm just a poor boy though my story's seldom told..."
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
"If you treat me as a visitor, then you treat me as a stranger," I told him, not wanting to bother them.
I always bring food when I visit friends, then I would "eat and run.""
I always think of Oskar Schindler at times like these.
Only his closest friends can see the heart of gold behind the generosity that blinds others with avarice.
Schindler is one of my role models, a tower of inspiration in a world full of greed.
"There is so much you have yet to know about me," I smiled at them.
I feel I'm cheapening, by flashing naked, the things I worked so hard for that I can take pride in. In that sense, I'm not an exhibitionist. Instead, I'm a magician. A touch of misdirection when things are getting too close for comfort. But I'm not illusionist, whose reality is smoke and mirrors. I don't believe in tricks - but I believe in magic.
The more a person understands how I value my privacy, the more I respect I give him. Paradoxically, the more I tend to open up as time goes by. Respect and Trust. One cannot exist without the other. Balance is the supreme law of the universe. Trust, same as wisdom and happiness, to paraphrase the sages througout the eons, is like a butterfly. Chase it relentlessly and it flees ever faster.
But if you let your heart find it, then it will come.
March 4, 2014
I've always wanted this: a quiet evening with real people and meaningful conversation.
I was with close friends last Sunday night in Lapu Lapu in Cebu.
This is my idea of fun. There's just us.
I left around three in the morning. One of them lives near. We were trying to find a taxi to take me to my present lodgings in Cebu City.
"Wait, Lapu Lapu is in Mactan Island," I said. "Where's the Mactan Bridge?"
"There," he pointed. If it is was a snake it would have striked without me even knowing. It was less than a block away. That place was called Menzi or something like that.
"Can we walk?" I asked.
Off we went.
"This is the Old Bridge" he told me as we traversed the long slim structure to get to Mandaue, another city. The New Bridge is the Marcelo B. Fernan, in honor of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice who came from these parts.
The city lights gleamed before us.
"This is the deepest part of the sea," he said.
I looked down the abyss. We were halfway. Apparently the island is like a valley beneath the surface. A small trawler passed us from below.
"If you saw someone you know drowning there," I asked him, pointing straight down, "would you save him?"
"It depends," he replied.
On the other side, the land inclined. The lights from the houses on the hill seemed compelling, like beacons to welcome weary voyagers. I gestured to them.
"Look at that," I told my companion. "Behind those walls are so many secrets. There is joy, despair, sex, murder."
Everything in the full spectrum of the human condition lies behind closed doors. Some things are best kept hidden.
"I have crossed a thousand bridges in my search for something real..." I could have written that song. "I have always been a stranger, and I've always been alone..."
"There's a bridge made of colors
in the sky high above,
and I'm certain there must be
bridges made out of love..."
April 4, 2014
10:37 p.m., Friday
This past week, two people having the complete opposite problems asked me for my advice.
One is bored with his girlfriend. I told him that the problem is with him, not the girl. On the opposite extremely, the other is so in love. I told he's destroying his life with a woman who is just using him. My friends know me as honest and straightforward but without hurting feelings. I could be very sensitive and tactful but I don't believe in politically correct nonsense. I call a spade a spade but with a touch of elegance.