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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Eat Pray Love, a surprisingly hate and love read for me

Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert
softbound, 334 pages
Memoir, Penguin, 2006

It is hard to start reading a book when one has a slight negative prejudice towards it. Before I saw the movie, I already skimmed a few pages of it in a bookstore and I was turned off by the very idea that the author wanted to avoid: Another tale of prozac-filled brain in a cold urban jungle of New York City by a woman who divorced her husband and a society filled with sexual permissiveness but devoid of spiritual warmth. As a starter, I really hated too much anxiety-filled drama so that I did not decide to read this one then.

But I came to read it this June and I am glad I was ready for it. It was a delightful read as it tackles a personal spiritual journey (or I must say, journey towards selfhood). I got her now than when I was skimming the book in my 20s. There is a point in our lives when we are faced with a question whether we made a right decision all along or just tagged along the linear dictates of society. To settle down only means to get a career, get married, have children, send them to college and send them off to real life. That is not even linear to me. If we choose a different path, the society seems to bombard us with doubts. But that is life, it is dynamic and there is no such thing as a straight line in life, whatever life and love life we choose embrace. Society has no answer so that the higher being is sought after for the answer. I did not take special notice on this spiritual journey when I was skimming the first few pages long ago.

So the author, who was prescribed with anti-depressants and contemplated suicide and prayed for the first time in the bathroom decided to find God, ended up finding herself. In her journey, she went to Italy so she can eat passionately so she regained her health, she meditated a lot in India and followed a vegetarian diet, and she found balance in her life in Bali where passion/art and religion are known and as a bonus, she found her new love there.

The author has so much transparency over her many vulnerabilities which I can say she is courageous and straightforward. She also has a keen observation and the ability to put herself as the object of her own humor. She made a heavy subject light. It is  actually like drinking whiskey but one feels like she's only having a champaigne.  

We are all anxious over what the world throw at us, whether we are married, single, with children or no children, but it is in finding an anchor whatever it may be in religion, in friendship, in art, in meditation, in words. Lastly, it is not a fault to always look for love, passion, romance, friendship. Of course, for the author, I am glad that she has finally found someone to reassure her worth.

Lastly, I just want to add that I am in love with anything about Italy right now, so I had a wonderful time on the section under Italy. To Italy, I want to attraversiamo!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur

The Translator
A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
By Daoud Hari
Hardbound, 179 pages, 
204 pages with appendices

Darfur is in Sudan. Published in 2008, this book is recommended for those who simply love personal narratives. For those interested in international politics, this is also a good background on Sudan's socio-political history. But worry not; Daoud's distinct voice is not lost in the translation. His honesty and integrity shine forth all throughout the book. This is tragedy, yes. But it is a tragedy told by a compassionate, committed and courageous man. He has the capacity to encapsulate in simple paragraph seething subjects and he can wield a good humor despite how grim the situation is. A very easy breezy read despite the heaviness of the subject and I warn you, this is an entertaining one too. Further, I appreciated the Darfur Primer as appendix 1 as it summarized the socio-political state of Sudan, very educational. This memoir appeals to the world to look at the internal and external displacement of people in their own land as a major international problem. 

With what's happening in North Korea and Syria nowadays, this story of triumph of the human spirit on the part of the translator is one uplifting story. We will be inspired to keep on working for the human rights, and to keep on telling stories like this.

For me, reading this memoir is like downing a cup of tea, just light and easy. But at the same time, I am well aware of course that the teabag, the source of my tea, is heavily laden and dipped in a very hot water before it was served to me.      

Monday, July 17, 2017

Time is relative: A reunion at Casa Mariquit Of Jaro, Iloilo City

Time is relative. Entering Casa Mariquit is like being transported to the late 19th century and early 20th century. Located just a little walk from Biscocho Haus in Jaro and with Lunok Tree as the corner landmark, this heritage house has an intact brick facade with wooden veranda in good condition upstairs. Upon entering, one is welcomed by the caretaker who will act as the tour guide as he is also the curator and framer as well as the securty guard of the property. We posed beside the portrait of Former Vice President Fernando Lopez and the caretaker informed us that it is a Manansala rendition. The house is not big but it houses some pretty interesting memorabilia like the symbolic keys to the city and lighters housed in a photo frame and a steel plane which also serves as paperweight. The polaroid cameras displayed are also functioning as well as the 116-year-old grandfather clock. What I liked most about this house is that it still has good wooden floors and furnitures. Time seemed to be preserved here, at least. Hence, it is just fitting that a celebration of our friendship and reunion be spent here.

Time is relative. It was like yesterday that the three of us left the college halls. We celebrated our 20th birthday together and will most probably miss each other's 40th but we all felt like we were still college girls who enjoy catching up on each other's lives and though we became busy with different tasks during our normal days, we find some common grounds. We write love letters to each other then. Pose together to have our pictures taken in a studio. Then we became busy with many other things. Now, even messenger cannot compensate when one of us has different timezone. But we all still plan and dream and laugh a lot just like the good old college years.

Time is relative indeed. When we converse, time stood still, as Anna correctly observed, and then as the sun went down, time ran so fast. It is too short but well-spent with two friends who are busy mothers and one of them now lives in another continent, and another one working on going somewhere. Perhaps, our next pep talk over slices of cake will be when I'll be visiting either of them somewhere. Our last meeting was in Dinagyang 2014 before one of us moved away. But the heart felt like it was just yesterday that we hugged each other and said I love you to each other. I love these girls.  

Here are the quick lines on my head while on the ferry going home. It should aptly end this tale:

Friendship is forged for many reasons.
We wanted ours to be a long tale of sort,
but it is never cosmic or symbolic,
so we only end up saying that
just listened well,
chose who to trust,
knew who genuinely care,
gave love freely.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The charm of Camotes Islands: The sea and the caves cement our camaraderie

CAMOTES Island has been pinned in my travel list for a long time already.
The travel advisories from different embassies directed to many tourist destinations in Visayas immediately before our travel date scared me, but in the long run, my itchy feet prevailed. Squeezed after a work-related convention in Cebu, a two-day escapade was just a perfect fit.

Why Camotes Island? Listen, the sound of its name alone evokes a laidback rustic white sandy beach scenario free from intruding crowd. I am happy to feedback that the reality of Camotes was as genuinely exciting as the planning stage.
We went running around on her white sand beaches, basked under the summer sun, and discovered her torquise blue waters at the Santiago Bay, Bakhaw Beach and Tulang Diot Islet.
In Santiago bay, we just walked along her long shore lined with white sand as we were there on a sunset, and observed the sea urchins and sea cucmbers. In Bakhaw, we soaked ourselves in gusto to her crystal clear salty waters and played volleyball using the seaweeds.
In Tulang Diot, we had the joyous beaching because the islet easily belonged to us and her waters embraced our bodies raring for clear blue salty waters for so long already.
Initially, the caves were not a come on because they evoke no romantic get-away idea. Caves are synonymous to horrifying dark abyss and stinky bats. But the reality of the visit turned our expectations around.
The caves of Paradise, Bukilat and Timubo are bathers-friendly, as they all enclose cool waters worth one’s time to dip into. Timubo cave was the first one we encountered and we had fun dipping in her waters and when we realized that going farther inside is manageable when some other tourists came in, we also went in. Timubo is pretty but we can’t get good photos because some lights are off.
The next cave was Paradise, our favorite because when we came in, there were only three of us and the waters are cool and blue. We joked that if the man-made table and benches inside this cave is used as conference table for our pre-litigation cases and we are sure that we will have 100% success rate.
The popular Bukilat cave is a separate tour and a must-see. This high-ceilinged cave has openings that serve as source of light. Going inside this cave is like entering an enchanted kingdom, as the cave is picturesque. Bukilat was recently one of the locations for the movie of Kathniel, Can’t help falling in Love.
I was with two friends whom I travelled alone with for the first time. Trailing the beaches and caves in Camotes is quite a challenge given the distances between the places and the mode of transportation for a small group is either a tricycle or the habal-habal (motorcycle). Our camaraderie was put to test because the group has to maintain composure while travelling along long paths with a few signboards  and lots of banana trees and horned white cows along the way.
Well, I am happy to report that we all three passed the composure test and the camaraderie can surely go to many other places. With the two girls, Josephine and Helen Joyce, I seem to be travelling with a scriptwriter-director and an actress.
Oh, I have one thing I have to tell you. Travelling in Camotes is trading one’s comfort food. There are no top-notch restos or eateries; we tried the bland Sutukil in Santiago and the red-colored barbecues in the Baywalk.
The only consolation we had was that we were able to buy fruits in the market stalls beside the Baywalk. But if you happen to pass by the Poro, the small eatery beside the Tourist Information is the only that I can recommend for you to try.
Other points of interest: Mangodlong Beach, Lake Danao, Holy Crystal Cave, Busay Falls and Buho Rock.

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