Photographs and Memories

There are at least 7,001 islands in the Philippines during low tide. The number might go down during high tide. That’s the on going joke. I was born in Davao far away from the mainland, Manila. The cheapest way to transport a family of 13 is by ship. Being on the ship is my first recollection of travelling. It took a week by sea voyage to get to Manila. My mother must have moved us two or three times. Was it fun? For a child, it was for me.

My nephew living the dream in False Creek.

My grandfather was a captain of a ship and he owned one of the islands, Stanlake. It’s a good place to live off grid with no electricity and running water. It now belongs to the Santa Cruz family but my mother made a wise decision to forfeit her rights. My cousin started a blog about it here.

Airplane was my next memory of major travelling moving to Canada. There were eight of us. My mother and seven siblings still dependent to her. A move running away from a country under martial law and dictatorship of Marcos. We never looked back.

Celebration of Life for Jim.
Canadian Airlines Model Plane

Recently, we finally celebrated my sister’s husband’s life, Jim, after two years of lockdown. He was a flight attendant for Canadian Airlines. Sometimes, I get a good deal in travelling as a standby tapping into his privileges. The only stipulation is that I have to “dress up” since I represent my brother-in-law and just in case I will be placed in first class.

When I was leaving Switzerland for DC, the flight was fully booked and there was no room in economy. I was placed in first class. Imagine being served champagne. Such a luxury. What a thrill that lasted briefly for another passenger was willing to pay for my free seat. I have to vacate the seat. Heh!

Four-wheels motorcycle

When I grow up, the next wheels I want to own is a red bike similar to this. My first car was a red four-door Ford eight cylinder sedan. It was heavyweight and powerful. I was the first one to own a car in the family. Needless to say, I became the chauffeur. This car was so solid that it protected me from a hit and run driver. The driver was caught and his car was more of a wreck. My car’s engine is still in good condition but the insurance company won’t pay for repair. Hence, I bought a used car this time, my sister’s Honda. That was my second and last car.

The Station

It was during Expo 86 when the Skytrain was introduced in Vancouver. I must say, the train changed my means of transportation. By year 2000, I no longer need the Honda to go to work. It was a major undertaking for the City to build a better mode of people mover from Skytrain (Canada, Expo and Millennium Lines) SeaBus, AquaBus, B-Lines, and West Coast Express. Many have utilized these means, became popular and now travelling within the city is packed!

I love train travelling and just watch the scenery as it zooms away. European and British trains provided me with the luxury to sit back and relax. In India, train ride was an experience that one has to have mettle.

“Man is only a pilgrim on earth.”

Celebration of Life

The word bleary first appeared in 14th century. Fast forward to 20th century, there would be plenty of dry eyes in the British Royalty with the end of an era of Elizabethan age.

God Rest in Queen Elizabeth II.

When I was in London, I have to wake up very early to take the tour of Windsor Castle, eyes wide shut.

Wake me up when we get there!

Attention Seeking

Come on let’s get happy or angry, we may be able get what we want.

Since the word scot free is of Scandinavia origin, SKOT, meaning tax or payment, it reminded me of an angry child statue in Norway. Of all the statues in the park, created by Gustav Vigeland made Oslo famous in Norway. The artist agreed to donate all originals of previous and future artistic work to the city, as long as it would provide him with a place to live and work.

Quid pro quo.

Light Made it Visible.

To reach the peak of Mt. Sinai to witness the first light of the day, one has to start trekking at zero dark thirty.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~ Rumi

Dawn of a new day
On top of Mt. Sinai.
Half light, half dark
The light made it visible.

It is a place for everyone.
Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, Atheist.
All is welcome.

Zero dark thirty is a phrased I picked up from Tina.

Wales or Whales

Hiraeth is often likened to nostalgia in English or saudade in Portuguese, and it shares qualities with the German concept of sehnsucht, but none quite match exactly. It combines elements of homesickness, nostalgia and longing. Interlaced, however, is the subtle acknowledgment of an irretrievable loss – a unique blend of place, time and people that can never be recreated. This unreachable nature adds an element of grief, but somehow it is not entirely unwelcome. – BBC Travel

On the far side, a true story of my travel in Ireland.

“I can see whales” says my traveling buddy.

” Yes, i can see Wales from here. Can we make a trip while it’s just accross the sea?

I’ll always cherish and get a good laugh that day we spent together, walking along Aran Island, looking at tide pools, rocks, whales and Wales.

The nature of Emerald Isle

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“It’s the one place on earth heaven had kissed with melody, mirth, and meadow and mist.  ~ Irish Proverb.” Never have I seen so many shades of green in this rolling hills of Dingle Peninsula. According to the song Johnny … Continue reading

What Buddha Never Taught Me

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The year 2019 sounds so futuristic remembering a 1996 visit of Thailand. I feel nostalgic tonight. Photography then was archaic when we have to use a real camera, a film and the negatives processed. I could never tell whether the photos … Continue reading

The Journey and the Dream still continues…

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Twenty years ago, I made the first journey to Assisi on my own. I was young, healthy and carefree imitating the life of St. Francis, poor in spirit. Alone I was, I met a lot of strangers along the road. … Continue reading

Out of Solitude

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As she looked at her own face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude“.
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Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own. ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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In giving shape my view of the world having a solitary person in the foreground suggests that it is okay to be alone but not lonely.

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All work and no rest makes a man boring. Rest he did in his three-wheeler taxi cab. Who needs money when one is too tired to enjoy life. When he wakes up from his solitude, life becomes bearable again.

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And what on earth is he doing down there alone? Fishing! Men prefer to reel a fish similar to playing golf, alone. So why do men enjoy fishing alone?  Because the fish are bigger and the stories are better with no witnesses!

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In a crowd of a million tourist, he just have to sit down with a non-verbal companion. Maybe he had enough listening, blah-blah-blah. Or maybe he is just like me observing how silly tourist really are. Or maybe he left his wife in a store shopping. Or maybe…

Ah, solitude, such sweet surrender.

Which way is Ireland?

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Two Canadian girls on a trip not knowing a single word of Gaelic. Reading these street names, we don’t even know whether it means North, South, East or West. We kept on walking on the island that is thick with … Continue reading

At the end of the day, I just want to be a cat

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Oh, there were resolutions to keep a low profile to pace myself to take it easy, because nothing is so important anyway but yesterday there was an inertia that got out of hand like a rolling thunder and good people … Continue reading

Relax by relaxing and be relaxed.

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Does this sentence make sense? It does not matter, relax. Focus on these photos that will provide you many forms of relaxation. First, think like an animal. It’s so natural for them to remain calm, cool and collected. These are … Continue reading

Mother and Earth: What do they have in common?

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The Earth is always pregnant, giving birth to new life. This is the reason we call it Mother Earth. Think about this. It is the very source of life itself. It’s alive.  One doesn’t have to be Neil Armstrong, go … Continue reading

I live in my dreams.

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“I live in my dreams. Other people live in dreams too … just not their own.” — Hermann Hesse Dreams not fantasy. Start small. Series of small dreams. Put them all together. Together, the series of small dreams become big. Dreams are … Continue reading

With Open Arms

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A simple invitation I sent out to different organizations offering my services as a volunteer. To my surprise, Aids Baby Centre (ABC) accepted my invitation. On May 8, I arrived at Chiangmai from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I received a warm … Continue reading