Microsoft Image

Since I rarely take my own pictures, it seems puzzling to me of what motivates people taking many pictures of themselves. In these pictures they are pouting, frowning, smirking, smiling. They face the mirror and shoot themselves either wearing make-up, a strange hairstyle or sunglasses. They take them in many angles, in many places, in the […]

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Rajesh_India | flickr

With only a few texts and online messages, a friendship between people who have not yet seen for years is seemingly starved for attention and nurturing. This friendship may fray, and in the future meeting an awkward feeling rises and wrestles with a realized irony that seeing again a friend is like meeting a stranger. It is a […]

Paul Downey | Flickr.com

Teʂekkür. The word twisted my tongue (it sounds t’sh’k’r) but sweetened the Turkish smile of Ozgür, a newfound friend I met in my recent travel in the Cordillera, Northern Philippines. He taught me the word a few nights after we had a small chat about our respective cultures. He helped me again to recall the […]

Marlon Garcia / Foter

I know my relatives, at least in my mother’s side of the family. (I grew up barely knowing my father’s side.) I know my uncle and aunt and their spouses who have become part of our family. I know their adult children who are my first cousins, and their spouses and their children, my nieces […]

@rild / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

It is hard not to speak to the one you Love. I did that twice. I did that to choose to allow silence between us, in an attempt to find some cure for our toxic arguments about many things we do and don’t do. In those weeks of not talking, I realized we had been […]

Enthusiastic Businessman

I remember my interviewer’s face in my first ever job interview 7 years ago. He was looking astig, occasionally puffing his cigarette while perusing my resume. He then squinted at me as if he was reading my mind. I like to think that I was a rookie in a movie scene, fated of meeting a […]

(c) Microsoft images

Separate is a root word that metamorphoses into multiple meanings yet often reminds most people in the personal level emotionally-charged experiences. For those who have endured difficult marriages, to separate is to end the suffering of living with someone’s hell; those separated are the ones who did it. Separation is either an action that cuts […]

Juan Tamad (c) Anton Diaz /  Our Awesome Planet

Picture this: a young man sitting beneath the shade of a guava tree, lying restfully with its native hat covering its head. He sleepily sits there, waiting for the guava fruit to fall instead of picking it. This image of a familiar folklore character has been known for ages across generations of many Filipinos. He […]

Schoolboy Struggling with Math Problems

I remember the face of my math teacher when I was in third grade. Her eyebrows were almost hooked together as she got irritated when any of us in the class couldn’t recite the multiplication table. For a third grader, it was a  feeling of terror and math was not just a tough subject but […]

(c) Melisback / Photoxpress.com

When it comes to Love, one theme often emerges in those many stories I have heard from friends and strangers: the struggle to Love has wretched the relationship between them and those they Love. Like a spectator, I can objectively watch them as they grapple with the reality of Loving. It is a struggle to […]

(c) Microsoft Image

Here in my place, I can see from afar Mount Makiling, the famed mystical mountain of Laguna province, about two hours south of Manila. Since my childhood, I have seen the mountain nestled in the east, giving birth to the rising sun everyday. Locals here know that the mountain is the home to a diwata, […]

(c) Claire Madarang

The other day was my first time to roam around Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown, to celebrate the eve of Chinese New Year. The sights were a vivid red in every corner, from lanterns to red envelopes to charms to shirts. The sounds were a loud repertoire of lion and dragon dances and powerful drums, plus the […]

(c) Microsoft image

I was in my childhood when I was introduced to a number of iconic super heroes. They were once in comic books, then in cartoons and later emerged from silver screen. Many of them have resurrected in current films from their earliest depictions.With the help of advance digital technology, we have seen those heroes being finally […]

(c) Supertrooper / photoxpress.com

‘Think positive”. It is a modern way to stay motivated, to look forward with hope and to keep on going. It is almost a spiritual mantra people declare when they feel down or challenged. To think this way is to welcome business and financial luck, to be happier in one’s career and relationship, and to […]

(c) Microsoft Image

Awakening is elusive, incomprehensible and complicated. It has been one of the many spiritual buzzwords discussed by religious leaders and spiritual teachers. For most people who have developed a wider sensibility of spiritual practice, awakening is a treasured goal. Yet even the wealth of Eastern wisdom and its Western interpretations cannot make sense of its […]

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“How true is the saying ‘we are all equal’?” My friend does not ask much question, let alone philosophize. But her question has called for a deeper soul inquiry not just for her but also for me. It has also reminded me on my mind-boggling questions about the ugliest realities perpetuated by our so-called modern […]

(c) East Digital Studio

Dex and Jan are a very unlikely couple. I have observed how those little details and big pictures in their relationship have evolved in the past 13 years. In hindsight, it was not as common as we often expect of many couples. They weren’t really romantic to each other. I rarely saw them holding hands […]

(c) Microsoft image

Where does our attention go nowadays? There are too many, but there are those familiar to us. We watch the newest TV shows and movies. We monitor the hottest news. We follow the lives of famous people. We track the changes of countless trends. We update fashion styles that suit our taste. We spread the […]

(c) Microsoft Image

On the last day of a recent retreat,  me and other participants were asked by our mentor and facilitator Ms Leah Tolentino to collect some small stones and leaves outside the room. Later, we gathered them all in the room’s center, laying them down carefully on the floor. Then, we were asked again to scatter […]

Woman Drinking Glass of Water

We have quite a number of various drinking glasses and mugs in our kitchen. But in the recent years, none of the glasses has ever managed to survive. I estimate that around 5 sets of glasses got broken one by one. My mother bought new sets just to replace those she broke. Her eyes recently […]

(c) Dennis Wong / Flickr.com

Doomsday and dystopian themes in American movies are often blockbusters. Those arresting fictional images of global chaos suspend our disbelief as we watch them, and questions about our threatened existence keep blowing our minds. We have seen zombies, nuclear wars, alien invasions, viral epidemics, terrorism and anarchy, comets and asteroids, massive earthquakes and other natural […]

'Paveli' (c) Alvin Tanauan

Paveli is the first baby girl in the family. My younger sister gave birth to her the exact day when I posted Return to the Inner Child. That was really a timely moment. Five months have passed and it has been a continuing magical journey for all of us in the family to watch how […]

'Morning' (c) johnnyberg / stock.xchng

You are here. We read this phrase in fire exit and shopping mall maps. Getting lost inside a particular building is no problem, since this type of map sketches your exact location and shows you where to go. It makes the map more relevant to its reader, compared to urban maps. Urban maps may be […]

Microsoft Image

When I was in prep school, I saw a sixth-grader playing piano in the principal’s office. Her fine fingers fell gently and swiftly like falling leaves over piano keys, as she played a song that hooked me for about 10 minutes. I was amazed, but my amazement did not stop there. I wanted to learn […]

(c) UBE / photoXpress.com

Ism. This interesting suffix recently crossed my mind. Even if it is a familiar component in many words, I also noticed that if it stands by itself it seems so nondescript. When it appears in a complete word, as it is so often combined with some prefix or plain words, it wields new power. It […]

Microsoft Image

When I began searching and studying the meaning of Love, I have always resorted to mostly theoretical sources. Psychology, philosophy and religion were among the references I searched. I also stumbled upon the books of Leo Buscaglia and Erich Fromm, both provided me a fresh paradigm of Love. Their take on Love helped me veer […]

(c) Latiche / Wikimedia Commons

I was 12 when I became hooked on origami. My ninong (godfather) taught me my first lesson, the famous origami crane, some weeks after he arrived from Japan. I was in sixth grade and it was a creative adventure. At the time, aside from cheap plastic toys sold along the sidewalks near the school entrance, […]

Microsoft Image

After a talk I gave, a young lady from the audience approached me and told me how thankful she was to learn that we are in the same boat: she is a struggling creative with a lot of passion for singing and music. She is a nurse, but her heart sings more for her creative […]

Elderly Hand Holding Cane

I enjoyed the company of older people. I sought the counsel of a priest or a nun. I chatted with librarians, janitors, security guards, drivers, cashiers, vendors and people living ordinary lives. I talked to older people in hospitals and communities, learning about their condition while taking their blood pressure. Those conversations as a young […]

(c) Markus Hofmann/Photoxpress.com

Life is not possible without the dynamics of opposites. There will always be up and down, left and right, hard and soft, hot and cold. This truth is true in all levels, whether in nature or in humans.  What is troubling is that we see opposites mostly as opposing. We have created absolute concepts, like […]

(c) Ravenwood / stock.xchng

The Vernacular Kapwa I have always heard the meaning of kapwa, at least in vernacular, as a reference to a popular public service TV program here in the Philippines. Its thrust is to help the poor, sick, disabled, depressed and devastated ease their suffering by giving financial, medical and psychological aid. Amid the fancy and […]

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Reflection on Mental Illness In my late teenage years, there was a time that I wanted to become insane. Riddled with so much frustration and anger, taking my life was never an option. Instead, I wanted to escape by means of psychological breakdown and live a life with mental disorder. Despite contemplating such idea, it […]

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I keep on hearing the same theme out of many stories: people who suffer from being unloved. They do not meet their expectations of being Loved by their partners, spouses and loved ones. They feel deprived because they have Loved too much.  They are not appreciated for what they do, whether at home or in […]

(c) Ye Liew / Dreamstime

Right after Buddha’s enlightenment, a man saw him and became confounded by his presence. The man asked the Buddha if he was a god, an angel or a saint, but to each question the Buddha answered “no”. Then the man finally asked, “Then who are you?” The Buddha replied: “I am awake”. In this story, […]

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Word Intuitive   My new community of spiritual-creatives knows that aside from being a teacher and writer of Love,  I am also a word intuitive. A word intuitive is a term I coined to refer to people who have the gift of understanding the divinity in words. A word intuitive has the capability to see beyond […]

Woman Typing on Keyboard

This post is the conclusion of  The Soul of Blogging (Essence). It also summarizes the talk I just gave last May 26 at the iBlog8: The 8th Philippine Blogging Summit held at the Malcolm Theater, College of Law, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City. To many who aspire to blog, blogging seems a bit daunting. […]

Microsoft image

After a series of relationship blows that cost her family, business and career, a friend I met some months ago told me that I must not Love too much. She said that with gravity of regret in her eyes. Though she told me her story without going into details, her old emotions quietly emanated from […]

(c) Eastop / stock.xchng

I am not a literature or linguistics expert, but I have a gift that allows me to interact with words more than just writing, speaking, reading or listening to them. This gift has allowed me to read beyond the lines, unearth the words’ origins, and reveal their sacred message. It is a feat that resides […]

Couple Face to Face

My cousin is now 17 and he had a girlfriend 2 years ago. They were still in high school then (most students of their age have boyfriends and girlfriend). They spent their time on wholesome fun like watching movies, hanging out with other friends or strolling at the malls. They were happy getting along until […]

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Despite climate change, summer getaways are still in vogue, taking up new ideas on having fun in the beaches. Philippine islands are truly gifted with the best beaches in the world, and they are all sure destinations for many Filipinos and foreigners who long for the waves and breeze. Beach resorts vie their place on […]

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To be honest, the past month dragged me into a convoluted state. I had to make ends meet by finishing my writing deadlines. These were interspersed with a lot of things to think about – worries about physical and financial preparations for a retreat I was about to attend. Then, I focused on the rest […]

Hands of Woman Using Laptop Computer

About 6 years ago, long before I started blogging, I had been struggling to finish a single decent article good for newspaper publication. I dreamed of writing a book but it seemed to be much more daunting. I wrote a number of poems, but I knew I had to hone my literary skills. Feeling helpless, […]

Man Walking Along Line in Road

What makes it difficult for us to redefine Love, let alone embody it, is the collections or series of many troubles and problems that we have had in our lives. One good example is when we feel negative about anyone or anything; when we suffer from a particular bodily pain or illness; when we cry […]

(c) Teodor Ostojic / Dreamstime.com

I have some friends who share a similar dilemma: they all really want to have a relationship. Some of them have met an ideal person but the romantic potential between them is still lacking. Others have spent some time dating someone, yet they still cannot find the special one. In their many years of searching […]

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a Tree

This came to me as an insight: many of us have heard Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and it has revolutionized our way of thinking and experiencing time from our constricting past memories and future anxieties into a serene, empowered Now; and long ago there was a Ram Dass whose wisdom quenched the thirst […]

(c) Microsoft image

Often, we are not aware that we breathe. Life continues even if we forget our breathing. We could take breathing for granted because it is only a normal process of  our bodies, just as we take our hearts for granted because it beats normally without our control. Or we could choose to pay attention to […]

Heart symbol in red, symbolizes love/romance

It was in 1956 when Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving was published. After more than half a century, the truth the book conveys remains palpably true. Fromm warned his readers at the beginning of the book: “This book, on the contrary, wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily […]

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Why Love? Many people have asked me why I find this topic interesting. Why did I choose it? That’s a good question. We often decide over things that have either trivial effects on our daily concerns or have the power to change our lives. Careers, jobs, relationships, beliefs, and finances are often major life decisions. […]

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