A glimpse of blue sky, a wisp of clouds, birds, cathedral and concrete buildings is what I see in painting along the hallway wall of Malta’s airport. Looking at the mural makes me want to run outside and feel that … Continue reading
Please note that this is a scary story of my pilgrimage to Garabandal.One has to be social when on a pilgrimage. I saw a woman sitting in the garden from the bedroom window where I was staying for the … Continue reading
Studying in public school, our creed has no bearings. We are unified as human beings in singing daily our national anthem out in the courtyard, rain or shine before we start our regiment of learning academics. Religion is not a … Continue reading
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
Group travel takes a toll on my patience. Sometimes. The attitude of please-stop-telling-me-what-to-do or stop-crowding-me shows up. I can be an ass in an uncivilized situation. Once we reach a specified destination, some pilgrims want to be the first to … Continue reading
Somewhere between Burgos and Leon, they have a long way to go. Their journey started on July 9 starting from France walking destination Santiago de Compostela. Through rain, snow, and heat they marched on meeting walkers from Iran, Germany, Americans … Continue reading
This weekend, people are gathering at Lejac, British Columbia for another year of annual celebration for Rose Prince of the Carrier (Dakelh) Nation. This is in my own backyard and yet it seems harder to visit my neighbor than going on … Continue reading
I would like to stay longer and soak up the three world’s religion: Islāmic, Judaism, and Christianity. I want to be with the Muslims, Jews, and Christians: and have interfaith dialogue. At the hotel in Jordan, waiting to leave for Canada, I … Continue reading
“That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder, but not my play.” – Alexander Pope
Two black-haired girls spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Little do they know, I can tell what they are up to even though they speak in their own dialect. It’s easy to read minds, you know since I am the queen of Mischief.
Frame by frame, a series of shots put together to capture this story of stealing their thunder by taking over their acts at lightning speed.
I had the last laugh and the best hug from Thomas.
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It’s breathtaking to see from a distance the ice mass in the valley. Imagine 20,000 years ago this area is covered with a glacier. So beautiful that Norway attracts thousands of tourist visiting Briksdalbreen or Briksdal Glacier. The landscape is covered with … Continue reading
From the distance, I could see the green hill with something erected on the mound. The site is open to the elements that nothing can shield me from the cold wind. The expansive cloudy sky is threatening that rain is … Continue reading
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Remembering the dead. Lest We Forget
Here’s our infamous Fr. Rex. photobombing the group at the Alvastra Abbey in Östergötland.
We just have to make do with what we have in a given place at a given moment as we travel along as pilgrims celebrating mass. There are times that mass is performed out in an open space and we were … Continue reading
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Travelling to new places is to discover how friendship develops by seeing them with new eyes.
There are certain movements men do that I can see how graceful they are. More graceful than females do. It’s their feminine side that they do not want to admit.
They are beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that they don’t have to prove their masculinity. The beauty that oozes with sublime humility where fellow-men can watch with quiet admiration.
Where is the beauty in them?
The beauty exists in my mind how rounded they are. Not just how nice they are to stop, pause and be photographed. It is how gracious they are in accepting a stranger in their environment.
Emerging elegantly from the depth of an ancient tree enriches how life mysteriously unfolds my memory of Cuba ever so gracefully.
Looking at this Egyptian girl, suddenly I realized how ordinary my life is.
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No artist can ever draw this face for her maker created her perfectly and thus became incorruptible. This is the incorruptible Face of Bernadette of Lourdes. Song of Bernadette Songwriters: COHEN, LEONARD/ELLIOTT, BILL/WARNES, JENNIFER There was a child named Bernadette I heard the story … Continue reading
In Cuba, Che Guevara is bigger than life. The Cuban artistically erected a monument for him even though he is not Cuban. Che revolutionized Cuba. No doubt, he is their hero. “Silence is argument carried out by other means.” The … Continue reading
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I’m back from walking the land of Cuba. Home Sweet Home. So what did I miss in the blogging world? Do tell.
Good morning, my loving family, etc Guess where I am? Guess again! Tee hee hee 😂😂😂 I am at the airport, boarding at 8:20 precisely Airborne 9 on the dot Arriving Toronto at 16:20 Yikes! I have been saying I … Continue reading
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
While I was drinking a cup of coffee, a couple of birds were reluctant to go closer to a pool of water because of my presence. I stood still and kept quite in order not to disturb them since I want their company. Slowly they took the courage to dip their feet on the water while peering at me. When they realized that I will remain motionless, they took the plunge.
This is my reward, a memory of my stay at Kochi, Kerala, India. In addition, I am learning how to use the power of computer photography. My very first GIF, perseverance has its own rewards.
It was interesting to see contraptions along the coastline of Kochi. These are called Chinese fishing nets that are permanent fixture that is unique and an unusual way to catch a fish. It’s a great tourist attraction.
Curiously, my two nephews and their sister wanted to know how it works and paid the fisherman for show and tell.
The net is lowered into the water, left for at least five minutes and raised back up by pulling the ropes. This is the hard part. The kids have to partake on this experience and pulled the ropes. They were so excited that they did catch something: a tiger fish, a wee one that has to go back to the sea to grow sharper fangs.
Did the kids dare to hold the fish? Nope, too scared to be bitten. Such scared cats.
Besides just a few steps away, one can find all kinds of fishes and have your pick.
There are contradicting history how the Chinese fishing nets arrived in Kochi, Kerala, India. Some says Chinese explorer introduced it, others by Portuguese that came from Macau. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this is the biggest bait for tourist.
Raj Ghat means Royal Steps and is a place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on 1948.
In New Delhi, we visited Raj Ghat. To reach the memorial site, we walked a long corridor surrounded by beautiful green lawn, well-kept garden and a peaceful place. The vastness of this place is impressive.
Gandhi’s memorial site is made of black marble slab adorned with orange marigolds. The flowers are changed daily. A perpetual flame burns at one end. Inscribed on the stone is “He Ram” (Oh God).
It is mandatory that we must remove our shoes before entering the enclosure to keep the area free of dirt from our footwear.
The place was busy with visitors including school children on a field trip paying homage to him.
The design of a simple memorial site reflects Gandhi’s modest life. Simplicity at its best.
He came, he saw, he conquer is the meaning of Veni, Vidi, Vici. This is the beginning of a love story about Taj Mahal.
It started when a prince, son of a Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar the Great went to a bazaar, saw a girl named Mumtaz Mahal and conquered her. It was love at first sight. She became his third wife and favorite. In return, she gave him fourteen children; however, she died giving birth. In her deathbed, he promised her that he will build the most impressive mausoleum over her grave and will never marry again.
Shah Jahan was heartbroken and devastated. The country was in mourning for two years. Subsequently, he undertook building a monument that took over 22 years, thousands of men and elephants to build this bigger than life structure to fulfill his promise to his beloved.
In every dynasty, there’s always a villain that is the Shah’s third son with Mahal named Aurangzeb.
Aurangzeb killed some of his families, took over the throne and banished his father to a tower in Red Fort at Agra. From the fort, Shah Jahan can only view from the distance where the love of his life lays. He died at the tower in Agra and was buried next to Mumtaz in Taj Mahal.
I can only imagine how hard it was for the Shah to be separated from his beloved.
What I find beautiful about Taj Mahal is the love story between the Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
These photos were taken from a shopping bag “Unhappily Married” and should explain the title.
Check out their Facebook, it’s hilarious. Go ahead, it’s pure and clean.
Let me get this off my system.
If you are looking for Starbucks in India, good luck! You can only find the coffee shop in the Airport, departure area.
And if you are looking for a freshly brewed coffee, there is no such thing! Everything is instant coffee in India. The famous one is Nescafe or Folgers. Kate Crimmins are you rolling your eyes yet?
It was a problem, a very big problem for me. But hey, I am a pilgrim, this is not Club Med.
So, what is Indian Coffee? Pretty basic:
- Instant Coffee – two packets if you want it strong
- Hot Water – very small amount to dissolve the coffee
- Warm Milk –lots to combine it with the dissolved coffee
- Sugar – if you want it sweet.
Oh, some make it frothy to give it an espresso look. There’s hardly any coffee in this cup but bubbles.
I was kicking myself to get a “caffeine kick” to it. There’s hardly any caffeine in an instant coffee. Drinking two or three cups of this first thing in the morning is my form of “flagellation” for seventeen days to wake me up. I survived.
The minute we arrived in Canada, we stopped over at my sister’s place and I asked for a real good brewed coffee, mug size.
Aaahhhh…. good to the last drop followed by a refill.
I am so glad to be home.
The heart of the matter
Love is like a banana
Or be like an Ape
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”
There is no escaping the traffic. One has to learn to be an aggressive and defensive driver. It seems to be the louder and longer you blow your horn, drivers will allow you to converge.
As I look out from the comfort of the bus, I asked Padre what is this area? “Is this the flea market.” The short response was that this is the slum area.
On the other side of the coin, this is what most people prefer to see, an illusion of history past. This area did not bring any emotional sensation from me in comparison to the traffic and the slum area.
At the end of the day, our group, all 20 of us from Canada, Philippines and Austria gather for a meal to give thanks to India for opening their doors and converge with them.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Converge.”
“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ St Francis of Assisi
It was one of the dark moments of my life when I decided to follow the Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. The very first pilgrimage I did, alone. Of course, it took planning and reaching out to strangers. Sending out e-mails mostly to the Franciscans and Sisters in Rome. They are very helpful.
Hello, my name is Maria Siglos. I am writing to seek your help if you could provide me with contact e-mail in Assisi, Italy for any retreat centres or catholic homes who would like to accommodate me during my visit in September. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Waiting and patience is very important when embarking on a pilgrimage. They say everything is in God’s time. These qualities did not exist in me at the time. For one, I want to run away, throw in the towel and enough of the so-called career and professional life. I quit my job of 14 years.
But I have no choice but to wait and see. I prayed to all the Gods: Shiva, Ganesha, Buddha, St. Francis, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Finally, I received a response.
Fr. Gregory forwarded your letter but I am just back from vacation and tomorrow I am on my way to Assisi… if you are online now, please answer immediately and I might be able to help you by getting the info tomorrow. I would appreciate knowing what you are looking for… there are guesthouses and there are probably retreat houses.
How long do you plan to be in Assisi? Are you looking for private time? For a directed retreat? Are you looking for 4 star? Are you looking for modest places = shared bathrooms? Retreat places are likely to be basic. Do you have an idea of your dates? Please furnish any other info you might think is helpful.
Oh? Too many questions! I thought it’s just as simple as booking a hotel and I am on my own. St. Francis didn’t have to answer to these questions. All he did was divest himself in front of the church and left Assisi. What I need is private room with spiritual direction.
Being not in the right frame of mind, I really do not know what to do. I simple replied whatever that they can provide, I will be grateful.
Year 2000 was Jubilee Year in Rome, I found out. A very special year when one of the sealed doors of Vatican Church will open and will shut again for another 25 years. Imagine Rome and Assisi are buzzing with pilgrims and tourist alike. Good luck finding a place to rest.
It has taken a while but I have now obtained the necessary information. One of the friars in Assisi did a bit of telephoning and searching. I need to say that in Assisi they are very full as far as accommodations are concerned. I believe this myself because some friars here in Rome have been looking for places for friends coming to Rome and they are pulling out their hair… everything seems to be packed here in Rome and by extension in Assisi.
Maybe prayer is not the answer. Maybe I will challenge God. Maybe I will give St. Francis of Assisi a threat. NOW HERE THIS! I said in my mind. Instead I said, whatever St. Francis. If you want me to come, I will come.
Surrender. When I completely surrender myself to God, it works. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I have found a single room in a guesthouse run by the friars at Porziuncola. There are two guesthouses. This is the simpler of the two, prepared to make things within the reach of simple, working class pilgrims.
The dilemma of travel arrangement is over and a new fear surfaced. I have no job to come home to. Back to prayer again begging St. Francis to help me find a job. Not a career but a job that is a means to an end to continue being of service to humanity while I live on earth.
A week before I departed for Assisi, I received a job offer, an answer to my prayer. The people who hired me were willing to wait for my return even though they needed a person immediately. Another sigh of relief.
With everything in placed I went with peace of mind, walked the plains of Porziuncola, climbed the mountain to reach his hermitage and scrambled my way up to the hills of Assisi to visit San Damiano where he heard the Cross spoke to him to build a church.
St. Francis of Assisi is real. A person who lived in life of luxury, partying and drinking. He joined the war, captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment he was dangerously sick, body mind and soul. After his release from imprisonment, in the forest he met a leper. Leper is the lowest of the lowest, the untouchables. But Francis touched, embraced and kissed him. From then on, a new Francis rose and started a new movement.
That was lifetime ago, another 14 years. Currently, I am still working for the same employer. A job that I like, love the people I work with and doing service in between.
Coming from a big family, in part, I would think that I can get away from people during a pilgrimage. Wrong. What I experience is a sea of humanity. We all have this desire to belong and to connect.
After pouring our heart and soul to our devotion, we also have something in common that is totally different. Guess what? SHOPPING!
and this is my family, in part.
After all of these events, I spend a great deal of “me” time.
Charles Dickens uses the technique of juxtaposition in the opening line of his novel “A Tales of Two Cities”:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
Unlike Charles, I will be using mostly humans to compare them with something and this brain will see the far side of life.
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Entering the narrow pathways considered as a street in Santiago de Compostela, we could see the steeple of the cathedral. The pilgrims’ steps quickened as they are getting excited to reach their destination. In front of the towering old steeple, dating as … Continue reading