Photographs and Memories

My feet carry me in different parts of the world to understand the divinity of Mother Earth.  I am grateful what Mother Earth provides beneath our feet.

Along the way, we encounter a bridge and calm water that create a perfect reflection of what is above the still water, ‘as above, so below.’

Passing a bridge walking along Santiago de Compostela

Passing a bridge walking along Santiago de Compostela

Pilgrimage takes me to sacred sites where I deepen my faith and understand other’s devotion. The road beneath our feet can be a rocky terrain. There are others that will go up hiking barefooted to feel more connected with the Earth.

Stony path hiking to the top of Medjugorje

A flat paved surface is a pleasure to walk along the groves of olive trees as we pray the rosary and meditate on the passion of Jesus Christ.

Flat surface at Fatima

For more adventure, climbing Mt. Sinai requires the help of a guide or a camel ride in the dark. At Mt. Sinai, we meditated about Moses’ encounter with the burning bush and talking to his God. At the top of the mountain, we welcome the rising of the sun. With the sun’s glorious light, a new day dawning and darkness dispelled, the walk down is more treacherous. A rock beneath your feet, one could take a tumble on a slippery slope.

Rugged terrain at Mt. Sinai

Walking a Sacred Labyrinth in tuned with every step and every breath we take quietens the mind. There is no right or wrong way to walk. There is no time limit. Meditating or staying prayerful as we step one foot forward, stop and pause as long as we want, then take the next step. One could never get lost going in the center with an open mind and heart . We walk out of the circle feeling rejuvenated and centered.

Labyrinth at Naramata

According Hermes Emerald Tablet ‘as above, so below’, I can only translate this according to my Catholic faith.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ~ Jesus Prayer

Church Cemetery at Oberammergau

As a pilgrim, I keep walking, passing through these places. In the end of it all, I will be the one lying beneath His feet.

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.

Post Card to myself

Although i may have travelled all the roads,
crossed mountains and valleys from East to West,
if i haved not discovered the freedom to be my self,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have shared all of my possessions
with people of other languages and cultures;
made friends with pilgrims of thousand paths,
or shared alberque with saints and princes,
if i am not capable of forgiving my neighbor tomorrow,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have carried my pack from beginning to end
and waited for every pilgrim in need of encouragement,
or given my bed to one who arrived later than i,
given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing;
if upon returning to my home and work,
i am not able to create brotherhood
or to make happiness, peace and unity,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have had food and water each day,
and enjoyed a roof and shower every night;
or may have had my injuries well attented,
if i have not discovered all that the love of God,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have seen all the monuments
and contemplated the best sunsets;
although i may have learned a greeting in every lanaguage
or tasted the clean water from every fountain;
if i have discovered who is the author
of so much free beauty and so much peace,
i have arrived nowhere.

If from today i do not continue walking on your path,
searching and living according to what i have learned;
in from today i do not see in every person, friend or foe
a companion on the Camino;
if from today i cannot recognize God,
the God of Jesus of Nazareth
as one God of my life,
i have arrived at nowhere.

This is a postcard titled “Pilgrim’s Prayer” written by Fraydino I bought not as a souvenir but a reminder that I am only a pilgrim on earth.

Photographs and Memories

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

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Youngest cousin surrounded by older (Instamatic Camera)

Memories:  This is one of the very few prints I kept using simple instamatic disposable cameras. I can’t even remember who the baby was, for we had so many of them — looking at this photo brought back memories of me when I was maybe four or five. My brother was just born, the youngest in our family. My siblings and I were at the foot of the bed, watching the baby in awe. A fluid was dripping from my nose, stuck out my tongue to like it. 

It’s strange how my brain conjured this memory. Maybe my brain is telling me that what I see in my mind is essential versus what I see.

A lady bird landed on my arm. (Canon camera)

Symbolism and Meaning:  A ladybug landed on my arm when I was on one of my pilgrim walks. The other pilgrim said it’s a sign of luck that Mother Mary came to visit This belief is based on Christianity. One thing I know for sure, when I see a ladybug, it brings out the happiness in me.

The other day, I was watching “The Dig” on Netflix. It’s a true story that happened in 1939 that changed England’s history where they dug up a burial site of an elaborate ship filled with treasures. One of the items they found is a well preserved yellow ladybird. What’s fascinating is the treasures were carbon-dated during the early Anglo-Saxon period around 410 to 1055. 

I wonder what made them carry this object. Is it for divine protection for the afterlife?

Medjugorje Christ Statue (instamatic camera)

Pilgrimage:   Returning from spiritual travel, folks always ask for a photo to support stories I tell them. They want to see pictures of churches, masses, the incorruptible, and miracles such as a dancing sun or an apparition. Really!?! Maybe, I can photoshop some of my pictures. But I don’t. What you see is what you get.  

When I was at Medjugorje, an imposing larger than life, Christ Risen bronze statue stood at the square. I noticed a man wiping the knee of the sculpture. When he was gone, I went to inspect what he did. The statue is solid to the touch but hollow inside. Touching the knee, I cannot determine what the man saw. I just stood there baffled, and then I saw a trickle of water dripping down. Interesting. Where is this condensation coming from, I thought. I even checked if there’s a water valve attached to the statue to fill the hollow part. Nothing. So I wiped the water off with my hand. It has no smell. I looked at the knee with great intent and saw water forming like a tear. I wiped it again, checked if there is a hole on the knee. Nothing. The tear-life liquid leaks again. I was mystified. 

Did I take a photo of the liquid? Unfortunately not. I’m not a photographer equipped with all the proper camera. All I have is a story.

For those who believe no miracle is enough, for those who believe no miracle is necessary.”

Apparently, a liter of liquid comes out of the statue daily.  There are oral testimonies that it is can cure illness.  On the scientific level performed, it’s 99% water with traces of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur and zinc.  The Church does not comment on the phenomenon.

What if …

Imagine if the world is safe to travel, I could be somewhere in the world right now visiting sacred places on another pilgrimage in Peru.

Here in my sanctuary, Vancouver, BC, Canada, I can only imagine walking and following the footsteps of the Incas. Dreaming.

Tell me, are you on this list? What part of the world 🌎 are you staying, sheltering and keeping safe.

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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

Times: Person of the Year Journalists killed or jailed

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When a journalist becomes the story, it’s not good news. That’s what happened to Daphne Caruana Galizia, the best investigative journalist in Malta, killed by a car bomb. Her name is not mentioned in Times: Person of the year. I … Continue reading

Thunder and Lightning

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“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.

Weathering Heights

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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

Overdose of Satisfaction

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Just can’t get away from these two gals following me like kitty cats. If they were really cats and died in the process of following me, only satisfaction will bring them back. They are very proud of making street photography … Continue reading

June Brides

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It was a warm sunny June afternoon when we visited the old town of  Kaunas, Lithuania. Most old town has a plaza and a town hall for everyone to enjoy. Even a place to have a wedding celebration. First, I … Continue reading

Fill in with your imagination

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There is place for me in this historical tapestry, in the upper right corner, just above the Beatles. And so I write words, words that I have heard, a jumble of notes, these words are not mine. And so it … Continue reading

As far as eyes could see, yet always drawn nearer.

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There is something about looking at the vastness of water on earth. It has a mesmerizing effect between heaven and water. Hypnotic. Walking on the beach or sailing around, looking at the horizon as far as eyes could see, there … Continue reading

Ecstasy at our feet.

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These feet will take us wherever they want to go. Passengers from the hydrofoil are rushing to plant their feet on the ground of Estonia after a two-hour sail from Finland, 2,000 of them more or less. As pilgrims, our feet … Continue reading

Border Security

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With heightened awareness on the growing tension crossing the border to USA, we make sure that we bring all proper identification. Canadian passport might not be enough because our passport states our country of origin, Philippines. Should we ever get … Continue reading

What a good life!

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Do we travel in order to be moved or is it that we travel in order to move around?
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We check around the surroundings in search for a perfect ambience, our eyes darting from one object to another, our whole body tasting, breathing, feeling, smelling, touching, hearing, listening all in one instance taking it all in.
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But…. there is no but. We can only focus on one that will transport us from a lot of movement into our inner world with conscious measure of calmness and clarity.
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And then, I could feel the air pulsing and be one with the hummingbird, heart beating as fast its wings yet hovering still to the sweet aroma of the nectar beckoning it, kissing and drinking the elixir of life.
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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

Faithful to Our History

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Home of the locals in Havana, Cuba, is rife with history. It’s written on the walls, it’s written on their faces, it’s written on the wind. Fieles a nuestra HISTORIA: Faithful to our history. Let it be written, let it … Continue reading

Far away from home, make it memorable.

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It’s not even a day, I miss them already; my family, friends, neighbors, cats, and the comfort of home. Leaving them behind to travel for my annual pilgrimage creates a nostalgic moment. Far away from home, I want to make … Continue reading

The land that glows

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It is the land that glows and expands. There are so many possibilities what one can do here. It is one of the most beautiful lands I’ve ever seen. Cuba meaning “Land”. In its simplicity, this is a place that … Continue reading

Finding Time

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Joining a guided walking and sightseeing holiday in Cuba with Walker’s World is not actually a pilgrimage. However, I made sure that I consider it as one for I always consider myself a pilgrim on this earth. Visiting Churches is … Continue reading

As Above, So Below

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My feet carry me in different parts of the world to understand the divinity of Mother Earth.  I am grateful what Mother Earth provides beneath our feet. Along the way, we encounter a bridge and calm water that create a perfect … Continue reading

Road Sign: Beaver in Utero Just Ahead

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An American traveled to Canada and had difficulty understanding our road signs. He came up with a name for this sign. ‘Beaver in utero just ahead.‘ Actual meaning of the sign: Parks Canada The more he traveled in our country, the weirder … Continue reading

Going Home – Thoughts of In between

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My thoughts are collections of other people’s ideas. There is no need for me to rewrite the story. They are good as they are. The following writings are thoughts from ordinary people who do extraordinary work that help shape my … Continue reading

Leave all your blues in your shoes at the door.

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In India, we have to leave our footwear before entering a temple. I prefer to keep my beat-up shoes rather than moving it outside for fear of losing them and have to continue the pilgrimage barefooted. I never understand the … 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

The Catch of the Day

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.

Kochin chinese fishing nets

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.

kochin tiger fish

Did the kids dare to hold the fish? Nope, too scared to be bitten. Such scared cats.

Kochin fish market

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.

My Immigration Story

 

False Creek July 2014

False Creek July 2014

“My mother and I left the Ukraine on August 8th, 1991, when Ukraine was still part of the USSR. At that time, there was great political unrest My Immigration Storythroughout the Soviet Union. Communism was on the decline, and the power of the Mafia was increasing with an astonishing rate. Ukraine was in political and economic chaos. Organized crime bosses were graining political power; corruption was present at all levels of politics; and the Mafia was buying out high-level authority figures and gaining easy access to the purchase of weapons leading to gang warfare and uncontrollable violence against civilians.

My mother stood for over five days in a line-up in Moscow for the opportunity to get two international visas, one for her and one for me. Luck was on our side, for we were granted two one-month visas to Canada. On June 27, 1993, we boarded a flight to Vancouver. I was scared and eager at the same time. It was incredibly hard to leave my friends behind but I was excited for the adventure that moving great distances provided. We left with barely any belongings and a mere $250 in Canadian cash. Little did I know that our one-month trip would turn into me becoming a Canadian citizen.

For the first month my mother and I lived in Burnaby. After extensive house hunting she found a place she liked and we re-packed for the short move to False Creek. On July 1st, 1995, we received our Canadian citizenship after a mere four years in this wonderful country. I have now lived 6 years in Vancouver and am glad we chose this city over any other on the planet.”

by: Sergie Doubkov
Source: A Vancouver Story #5

Walk, walk, walk

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Where am I?  According to the itinerary, we would have walked the foothills of the Pyrenees near the French border. This is the Camino’s traditional start to the “French Route” where medieval pilgrims arrived into Spain from France after an … Continue reading

The rain in Spain…

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The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

Really?

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Somehow this cloud does not look promising on the first morning of staying in Bilbao, Spain. The sun was struggling to break through the thick clouds.

It’s rather a warm day, the sun won, the rain lost, the clouds remained in the horizon giving a soft white fluffy cottony texture,

I found a corner bar that is open first thing in the morning. It is actually a coffee bar by morning and  serves stronger beverage by night, if you get my drift.  Here I decided to have my morning Java and a simple breakfast.

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Ah coffee. Coffee tastes much better in Spain than Starbucks in Canada.

In the background, I could hear music playing to the tune of “It’s a Wonderful World. It seemed to me that it was coming from across the water,

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After coffee, I decided to follow the music and crossed the bridge. At the other of the bridge, I found the lone player and people were passing, in a rush, and continued walking.

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Well, I have all mornIng and now he has an audience of one, me.  I requested if he could play the “It’s A Wonderful World” again. And he did.  What a beautiful way to start a day. Of course, he deserves a good tip for making my morning memorable,

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I walked away and he was playing the classical hymn “Ave Maria.”

Good Morning, Spain!

Pilgrims not a Tourist

In our travel package, we all receive a booklet about our itinerary, brief history of places, travel info, prayers, hymns and most importantly a guide or commandments as pilgrim. 
This preamble is actually hilarious. 
The organizer knows when to invite us to read this list especially after a week of travelling.  That’s the time we are starting to feel heated due to lack of sleep, high expectations or just plain cranky. 
We all read this without laughing, as prayerfully as possible.  Are you kidding?  Have you ever tried to suppress your laugh and it comes out of your nose? 
So here are some clips on prayer guide: 
Response: Lord, May I Remember that I am a Pilgrim and not a Tourist. 
If any delays should occur or changes take place prior to any departures and I became anxious:  Response. 
If I do not get the seat of my choice on the plane and the bus:   Response. 
If some things do not happen on schedule as per itinerary:   Response. 
If my meals, bed and washroom in a foreign country are not to my liking:  Response. 
If a person in front of me buys the last item I really wanted:  Response. 
Travelers’ Commandments: 
Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home, for thou hast left thy home to find things differently. 
Thou shalt not let the other pilgrims get on thy nerves for thou art paying out good money to have a good time. 
Remember thy passport so that thou know where it is always, for a man without a passport is a man without a country. 
Thou shalt when in Rome do somewhat as the Romans do.  If in difficulty, thou shalt use thy Canadian sense and friendliness. 
Remember thou are a guest in every land and she that treats her host with respect shall be treated as an honoured guest. 
As pilgrim, I prefer to soak in everything with my mind’s eyes and soul in places we traversed.  Here are a  very few pictures I captured.  

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