nature

Renaissance

The quietness of my activity on this sphere is because of Instagram. The platform is a mine of all sorts. A simulacrum about life in general, I may say. My interest in this social media took off 3 years ago sharing a selfie as my first post. I was skeptic really of making, trying to keep this account active in the long run. What makes me skeptic is of my online presence. Maybe I’ve watched too much of Enemy of the State reruns in our cable TV, that’s why a stir of paranoia also hangs in the air.

Inasmuch I try to limit the breadth of my online presence. I’m talking about having accounts from other forms of social medias, chat apps, online music and video streaming sites. Aside from the paranoia, the mere memory of keeping your usernames and passwords get the best of me. It sucks when even for a couple of weeks you haven’t signed in, trying to remember it is enough to turn your brain upside down.

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Boracay Island, Philippines

Since last week I have been sharing these photos I took between 2013 and 2014. The time I was having this urge to go somewhere. Bonus was I got to spend some of these favorite adventures with friends and family. Capturing landscape and seascape reflected on my point and shoot camera and to memory as well.

My Instagram game is now fueled because of my elder brother. He sent his old smartphone home. It was in dire need of reviving. Something about it not turning on when one day he was using it. Out of his frustration and the lack of time to reboot, flash, root and all the possibilities of gadgetry magic, he sent it back here. He talked over our third brother to do all these tricks and crossed fingers that it may breathe back into the world of gadgetry. In no less than two days, the phone was lit.

Elder bro then Skype-d me enthroning me his, this smartphone. He added that I have a dope phone now once I start with my new job. I told him no. It just won’t be the case because I might end up being robbed. Well, I am being realistic here. Being guarded and cautious is what I have to deal with in the urban area where I will soon work. I only prayed that the new president’s will to combat crimes and enforce security will be apparent.

So I have this new old smartphone now. And what to do?

 

My bestfriend a.k.a. Twin S, talked about setting up our own coffee shop or cafe restaurant. We would be partners along with some other close friends. Dreaming of what our future cafe would look like I told her about pictures I searched and looked in Instagram. I was inspired by our dream to delve more into some interiors we might consider having in the cafe. A book shelving slash book nook inspired spot for our book lover customers. Or maybe a contemporary spot peppered with some magazines and arts for those who aren’t into books.

I too shared to her and to my elder brother the dream of developing an estate of my maternal grandmother. Mother owns a piece of it sharing it with her six brothers. I dream of building an eco-hostel. A sustainable farm resort where guests get to farm and be involved with the community and impart something. The idea of having, taking your vacation with a purpose.

 

This is how I am having my smartphone now. My skepticism and bits of paranoia sit on the curb while I continue to be inspired. And dream on.

 

 

 

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The Sound of Silence

nanay and i

Nanay with me

During the two months school break, this falls on April and May, we spend the last week of April staying with our maternal grandparents. Together with my three brothers we are in the company of our Tatay and Nanay sharing dinners and helping them with everyday household chores. And the dreaded limited TV time. It sucks but somewhat good for us.

Taking this one week vacation with them is more like taking volunteer work. Not that we are complaining or we do not want to be with our grandparents but young and carefree as we are back in those days we choose to spend our afternoons lounging or watching TV. If we are at their place during that week, we run for the clock. Every hour counts and we need to have something to do and be good at it.

Simple household chores make most of that to-do list. From making our beds the moment we woke up to sweeping the yard off with dead leaves in the late afternoon. In doing this, we have to observe silence and focus to doing it right. Nanay is strict and commands strong. Her voice alone makes us jump out of our seats or whatever we are doing. That’s the way she runs her household when we are there. But it is not really necessary because we are as reserved as Tatay. Maybe I got my reservations from him. Our parents made sure we behave well and respect elders. Thinking about it now, maybe Nanay just anticipated our rowdiness and tendencies to escape of her house to explore neighboring empty lots and mini jungle.

We grew up exposed to cemented roads, sparsely green public playground and uncomfortable mini park. Staying at our grandparents is our time to get to really take a walk under the trees along an empty dirt road. Running around and playing tag on an eerie lot lined with coconut trees and bamboos is all we do when it’s not too hot. We do this along with our cousins that lives there too.

I really enjoy this part of school break. I get to shout on top of my lungs with all the trees only staring at me. I am the weird nature loving kid. I can’t keep myself when I am outdoor. I touch the leaves. Hug the tree trunks. Pick some stones and throw it as far as I can. Get on top of those empty ant mounds and do a spread like an eagle with its wings open. Running along furrow after furrow without tripping. Just wanting to get some dirt on my feet and feel the warmth of the earth.

All of these we get to do when we’re finished with all the tasks. Nanay approves of it and would let us take the time out. Our mother gets to put off her parent hat during this time too. A short break when she returns home and be a doting daughter to her mother as well.

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Tatay with my cousin H

With all these gallivanting, Tatay is just reserved and nearby. I know he pretends looking at his carabaos but he is watching over us. He is such a quiet man. As I write this, imagining his voice and tone is lost in me. He speaks in low but round voice. Sometimes raspy at the end. His face stern at times but always kind in appearance. A memorable spot where we would gather around him when he is sitting on his rocking chair taking his time too.

Either one of us would sit on one of the arm rests or the rest of us would just sit on the ledge at the veranda. We do this late in the afternoons. I can’t remember what do we usually talk about. I was in third grade when he died and I can only remember so much of him.

With Nanay, we get to spend a little more time of her company. But I still miss them at their old house. The house as of today doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s a dissonance of what it was like when they were still living but the memories and silence linger on.

 

It’s been a while since I got there.

 

 

 

Feel and Let Loose

 

Someone who can dance?

 

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Nobody wants to dance, I think. As for me I just want to rock out and feel the bass transcend in my nerves. Maybe it will give me goose skin. Maybe it will bring me to somewhere. Whatever that means.

This is a memory of one of the best travels I and my friends have been. The place was serene and beautiful. Most of us agreed to it being tranquil and having this chill vibe downplaying on us. We tend to be selfish when we gather on one place we like. That feeling of just having it for ourselves to explore and commune with even for a short time. That’s how we make memories together.

Inasmuch as I want to rock out to Urbandub’s First of Summer while having our drinks I just can’t. No mobile speakers for me. It’s just up in my head playing together with the sounds around me that night. The breeze. The lapping of small waves. The bass from blaring speakers and muted screams from this party animals. Mobile party that is. Definitely the era of everything mobile is here to stay and I and my friends are too.

 

We’re living it up
Make this night ours
We own the world
I wish this lasts forever

—Urbandub, First of Summer

 

 

Change

When my cousin A and I reached the summit at noontime the sun was not that harsh. Gray clouds were closely coming in as we enjoy ourselves taking our I’ve-been-here kind of shots. The air got colder but not a whiplash of wind can be felt at the top. The gray cast muted the brightness, too much hard light, of the sky as more clouds gathered together. My eyes were squinting so much I cried frustration at myself in forgetting my sunglasses.

batulao

Taking away the time from the changing weather unfolding before our eyes it was still a moment of triumph. On conquering a mountain. We were fortunate that those gray clouds just hovered on us—it never rained on our parade—while we re-energized ourselves with what’s left of our trail food, a loaf of sliced bread turned into instant club sandwich (not really!) and she bought buko (young coconut) for the two of us. Its water was just sweet and refreshing. Ah!

March 2013, Batulao

 

Breathe: Inhale, Exhale

U.g.h. I set my alarm the night before at exactly 5 o’clock AM and I didn’t wake up to T. Swift’s Shake It Off. Damn. It was supposed to be my blasting tone. Pretend you haven’t read this. Anyway, I was startled by my little bro’s tap on my foot. He said, “It’s five thirty already! Let’s go for a jog!”

Yes!

I grabbed my shoes and put on black socks. Changed into a cotton shirt. I wore my running shorts when I slept in the night. After few minutes, my brother and I were out of the door and started walking on the paved national road. The sun’s glowing in the horizon. Light volume of vehicles pass through. It was safe enough for us to tread on the curb, not on the sidewalks. We were 5 minutes away to the oval where we can jog around for few laps.

Breathing in, breathing out as we continue to walk. Deeply breathing fresh air up into my nostrils. Ah! Just cool and clean. I instantly felt a rush of relaxation in my chest. My mind’s warming up. All I can think of was my walking and breathing. I initiated a short talk with my brother about his plan on coming back at the metro to finish his review and his license exam. He was curt of his answers. My way of words to him were plain. I haven’t pep talked him at the moment. He knew what I would say. It’s not that I don’t know to appease him of his failure but I want him to recount all his efforts and just go on with his plans.

paved road

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I told him that I will jog and walk at the oval comes early morning. He answered, “Okay.” What I really had in mind was for him to really say yes easily. If not, I would encourage him. I wanted him as my company because this was my way of letting him drift off a bit from the stress compounded from his pre-license exam. He failed hapless on the 3rd try. He fell short of few points to pass it and be able to be certified by his university to take the national license exam this September. I know his mind was rattled.

Get out! Let your body rip some benefits of active physical activity for 30 minutes. An escape. De-stress from the last 2 days of mind and psyche challenge. Re-energize. Recharge.

We jogged for 2 laps around the oval and spent the rest of the time walking. We were there for 1 hour. There were also people doing their morning routine of run, jog and walk. Some student Cadets were having their training too.

After an hour, we decided to walk farther going to our dear uncle’s house. Maybe some 300 meters away from the school’s oval. It was our cool down after sweating it out. We walked home from there after rehydrating ourselves and having a morning chat with them. We walked on the curb again. Our backs were facing the sun and felt the warmth beneath my shirt. I needed to get some sunshine, Vitamin D.

When we got home, I felt good. I was hoping the same feeling for my little bro too. I hoped it eased him of thinking too much. Tsk. I forgot to hug one of the old trees inside the campus.