Surviving Cebu's Earthquake
February 8-14 Edition
My novel "Jukebox" is published September 13, 2013 on SmashWords. This is the story behind the story
A love story between a girl and the boys from her different worlds
The greatest stories ever told, like the heroism of Christopher Reeve and the triumph of Victor Frankl (not to mention the salvation of Jesus Christ), happened in real life.
Jukebox is about a young woman, Jo, and the young men who shaped her character and changed her life: Leandro, Rico and Wally.
The reader will share their joys and feel their pain. In the end, the characters become part of the reader's life, as real and unforgettable as family and friends.
Jukebox is about family and lovers. It is about the power of courage and the glory of love. It is about facing your humanity and finding your place in this world.
Jukebox, after all is said and done, is the story of us all.
This is based on a true story
November 4, 2013
4:15 a.m., Monday
I feel born again. Being away from the city refreshed my mind and renewed my spirit.
I woke up a few hours earlier, meditated and did yoga and martial arts practice. The rest of the world is asleep.
A light rain is blessing the earth.
Now in the silence of the early morning hours before dawn, I'm contemplating my role in the world. There's only a few things I need for myself. I already have written down all that I need to do for the next three salaries, and mostly they're for other people and for my own personal development.
I want to be the best that I can be so I can useful to the world and, hopefully, be a ray of hope for others. My philosophy is continuous improvement. I'm now further streamlining my life to focus on just two things: bringing out the best in me and being as helpful to others as best as I can.
For myself, I will take my spiritual life to a higher level, pardon the pun. I will go back to the basics and change the way I meditate. I'm also focusing on perfect health and physical excellence to achieve balance. My present lodging is perfect for yoga and gym work, and I sincerely desire it can rise to the challenge.
This balance is about my Oneness with Supreme Intelligence. In other words, my relationship with God. What I seek is an ineffable state of union that transcends religion and embraces the entire universe.
For others, I'll go full-blast in being proactively helpful. The people who know me well all have proven that my friendship is true and loyal. I'm now being methodical: I can be selfless but I don't want to be treated as Santa Claus. The way I do that is to plan my budget ahead, with my obligations and my assistance in perfect harmony.
In the end, what people will remember are the acts of kindness, not your gadgets and trophies. But I don't expect to be remembered. I don't even expect anything in return at all . In fact, my most painful experiences came from expecting other people to keep their word, because I always do and I've always been there for them.
"Coz that's what friends are supposed to do..."
Count On Me
"You can on me
like one, two, three,
I'll be there,
and I know when I need it
I can count on you
like four, three, two,
you'll be there..."
October 15, 2013
I was shaken awake this morning.
My first impression is that somebody next door is reaching climax.
"This is the worst hangover I had in my life," I thought as I noticed that my entire apartment is shaking.
I heard the screams below my balcony. It was then that I realized it was an earthquake. I would learn later that it was magnitude 7 on the Richter, with the epicenter in the neighboring island of Bohol.
"There's a personal reason why I have the absolute conviction that no harm will ever come to me," I told Chad and Harvey when we got together for lunch. "And I have proven that to myself many times."
I went down just in case the second floor where I was would collapse. No point in courting disaster. I saw people outside panicking and weeping, holding on to each other as if the world was ending.
"The worse the situation gets, the calmer I become," I said later. "That just goes to show that I'm not normal."
November 10, 2013
"I just survived Super Typhoon Yolanda and before that, the Intensity 7.4 earthquake," I told my friend Chris via text message.
Chris, a filmmaker conducting an acting workshop in Manila using my scripts, was glad I'm safe. Me too.
Both events converged on Cebu, where I am now living, and the rest of the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The quake's epicenter was in Bohol, just across the sea from my adopted home in Talisay, about 30 kms. south of the provincial capital.
I was physically untouched by the disasters. But it affected me emotionally deeper than I first thought. It's really frustrating that whatever help I gave for relief operations, like for the #Bangon SugBohol campaign, is not enough to ease the sufferings of the victims. Worse, I know I could have done more if I weren't going through some personal issues. It's hard to be a superhero when you're struggling with your own personal demons.
On the day of the October 15th quake, I got together with my Cebu friends Chad, Harvey and Jeanno. We went downtown to see the extent of the damage.
The Colon district was a ghostown.
We stood before the ruins of the historic sixteenth century Santo Niño Basilica.
The towers lay scattered on the street.
That church, more than anything, is the symbol of Cebu.
I feel empathy for my friends: the damage also goes to the soul of their culture.
Amidst the rubble, we met a famous Cebu character but I forgot his name. He goes around selling really delicious homemade munchkins. I was told his story has appeared on the local paper Sun Star. Apparently, he went to the Philippines to get married but it didn't work out. Instead of going back to Europe, he stayed in the country for good. I would hear later than he also got featured on Kapuso Mo: Jessica Soho, a news-magazine TV show.
My friends and I went to Plaza Independencia, where my photo in front of the V-shaped memorial for veterans was taken. We felt the earth move from the relentless aftershocks.
Beside the park, there's a big building named GMC, where the entire fourth level has collapsed.
People ran, shouting, whenever the ground began to shake.
A firetruck stood nearby, ready to face the onslaught of nature like a sandcastle againts a tsunami. Its domelights blazed in the coming of the night.
December 13, 2013
Friday The 13th
I found only one person where I'm currently working who actually loves to read printed books.
Coincidentally, she's also interested in paranormal phenomena.
So I gave her, among others, my rare copy of How To Read The Aura by W.E.B. Butler.
The author, a renowned clairvoyant, was once invited to a spiritual healing session early last century in Glasgow, Scotland.
He can see the aura surrounding the patient like a "deep blue cloud," he writes. But it's just hovering there outside the body. The healer rubbed some blessed oil on the patient's forehead.
"At once things begin to happen," he recalls. "To my sight it was as though a vortex was set up over the forehead of the subject, and the deep blue light seemed to pour down this in almost exactly the same way as the water in the bath or sink disappears when the plug is removed. Within a short time, all the energy had been absorbed into d patients body. Not only did she say she felt much better, it was clearly evident that she was brighter n more alert, and appeared to be much improved.”
How do know if what's you're seeing is the real thing? What if it's just your imagination? Or it might be just wishful thinking.
"It is important that anyone who is attempting to develop and train extrasensory perceptions should start by cultivating the most scrupulous honesty," says Butler.
Healing through the aura is a serious business. Henry Steel Alcott, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, has learned the art of magnetic healing during his travels to India. But the energy needed to project the healing force left him weakened. His Indian guru taught him to draw strength from trees. I do that too.
He was lucky. On the other hand, another healer, the orthodox priest Fr. John of Kronstadt, died when his life force drained.
"The answer," says Butler, "is that although there may be an inexhaustible supply, unless the channels through which that power is drawn into the human personality of the healer is sufficiently clear and open enough to allow all the power needed to flow in, there will be a gradual depletion of the healer's personal energies, and the only solution, at least for the short term outlook, is to stop doing healing work until the stock of energy has been renewed."
A spiritual person's aura, says Butler, is shown by its "clearness of form" and "strength of charge."
The aura has many levels. One is the etheric, the same stuff which ghostly specters are made of. This is where a person's mental and physical conditions can be seen.
"In Search Of..."
Hosted By Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy
Episode: "The Human Aura"
(Part 1 of 2)
(Part 2 of 2)
But there's more than meets the Third Eye.
"It is difficult to correctly asses the true level of character of anyone by simply reading his aura, unless one has built up by practice the ability to watch the permanent aura, when the nature is being subjected to stress. It is under these conditions that the true character of a person can be discerned."