Do you have something about Self-Love? This is not the exact question I heard four years ago, but I presume this one is the nearest. It was after a workshop I facilitated that a participant approached and asked me. Yes, I’ll explore on that, I said. In my mind, however, I was caught red-handed. I […]
Read more "The Love Within Us"
My left lower molar has no damage, said my dentist-friend, though it was sensitive to too much cold and heat. She tapped it lightly with her dental instrument. There are cases that the damage might be inside the tooth, she added. But the molar is OK from the outside. I asked her this a few […]
Read more "On Pain"
She was like an expert balasador, flashing a deck of index cards on the table. Every student in the class gave her one card with our name on it. The whole class was her whole deck. She seems like a gypsy ready to pick and read a tarot card. Here’s our typical class: she picks […]
Read more "Loving Our Questions"
Styrofoam containers, stained red with spaghetti sauce. Each had left-over noodles, fried chicken bones and crumbs from its crispy breading. Used and oily spoon and fork, red-stained too. Small containers with left-over gravy. Plastic cups with left-over Coke, from a few drops to half-full. Each had a red straw made from a sturdy kind of plastic, […]
Read more "The Waste We Make"
It was Mothers’ Day this year, May 10. I was in the company of eccentric people like myself. Some of them write for a living. Others teach. The rest just write. But all share a passion that seems closeted by their busy worlds. Their hands know what it means to touch a pen (or a […]
Read more "This is FLOW"
A city is supposed to be fast, and its time is always speeding. But the whole Metro Manila learns the opposite – it slows down. Its road traffic trickles like an aged tar. Its patience, in the words of a friend, is a shorter fuse, ready to spark and explode. EDSA is a long, irritating […]
Read more "To Slow Down"
We keep on hearing these stories: people, mostly men, who walk away from their relationships, or worst their families, stealthily, often without goodbyes, or sometimes with cryptic parting word like mysterious riddles doomed without answers. They leave behind their loved ones, their children, their partners, their spouses without explanations, without any compelling reasons. In the […]
Read more "Why People Leave"
I punched him in the face, hitting his nose and moist gums with my right knuckle. I was fed up with his taunting while trying hard to bear my headache due to a slight fever. He was stunned, eyes widened, immediately touching his bleeding gums. I barely remember what followed. Perhaps he walked away, while […]
Read more "In Me"
No matter how familiar they appear to me, through many occasions of writing and reading, Baybayin characters remain open to many meanings. I’m not sure with other writing systems like Chinese characters or Egyptian hieroglyphs. They seem to me precise and exact – combine characters and there you get new meanings. But I cannot describe […]
Read more "Yaman: A Baybayin Meditation"
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 […]
Read more "Higher Selfie"
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 […]
Read more "Open Friends"
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 […]
Read more "Thank You"
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 […]
Read more "A Life With Relatives"
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 […]
Read more "Silent Love"
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 […]
Read more "Tell Me Something About Your Soul"
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 […]
Read more "In Our Separateness"
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 […]
Read more "Is Juan Tamad Really Lazy?"
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 […]
Read more "After Math"
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 […]
Read more "Wounding and Healing"
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, […]
Read more "The Divine Face"
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 […]
Read more "For the Spirit"
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 […]
Read more "Everyone is a hero"
‘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 […]
Read more "The Negative Potential"
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 […]
Read more "Gentle Awakening"
“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 […]
Read more "Are We All Equal?"
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 […]
Read more "From Friends to Siblings to Lovers"
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 […]
Read more "Times and Eternities"
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 […]
Read more "Creations, Not Obstacles"
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 […]
Read more "A Glass of Wisdom"
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 […]
Read more "The End of the Suffering World"
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 […]
Read more "What Babies Teach Us"
You are here. We read this phrase on fire exit and shopping mall maps. Getting lost inside a building is no problem, since this type of map points out your exact location and shows you where to go. The map is more relevant to its reader compared to urban maps. Urban maps may be accurate, but […]
Read more "From Here"
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 […]
Read more "Through the Piano"
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 […]
Read more "Our Many Isms"
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 […]
Read more "On Metta"
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, […]
Read more "Folding, Unfolding"
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 […]
Read more "Creative Side"
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 […]
Read more "Elders’ Healing"
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 […]
Read more "Love Has No Opposites"
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 […]
Read more "The Meaning of Kapwa"
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 […]
Read more "Out Of Our Minds"
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 […]
Read more "No Other Way"
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, […]
Read more "Awakening in Love"
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 […]
Read more "The Dance of Words"
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. […]
Read more "The Soul of Blogging (Process)"
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 […]
Read more "Too Much"
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 […]
Read more "Word Intuitive"
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 […]
Read more "How to Love"
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 […]
Read more "The Power of Here"
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 […]
Read more "On Sacred Breath"
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