Photos: Intramuros morning

My friend Arla was entertaining her friends from France while they were in town for a few days. She asked me to join them for breakfast in Intramuros, before they would leave on a flight later that same day.

Intramuros was one of my favorite touristy spots to shoot in, when in Manila, and I was free for the morning so I went. Nico and Mickael were friends of hers from when she did her clerkship rotation in France, while she was in medical school. They had been touring spots around the country for a couple of weeks and were just winding down.

They were great, a couple of good-natured guys were very nice and fun to talk to. They gamely tried Binignit, Champorado, as well as Halo-halo, when we were in Ilustrado for breakfast.

Being in Intramuros, the walled city, is always a good excuse for me to take photos and walk around. So much so, that Arla was amused enough to laughingly comment that I was almost more touristy than her friends. 🙂

Oh well, it simply could not be helped.

There are always plenty of colors and textures that pique my interest every time in this place.

I called this one, “Frenchman in Manila”, actually, this was Nico having a quiet moment looking on at the architecture and me noticing that the bougainvillea-laden floors made for a good contrast point.
Mickael had a small Canon point and shoot, which gave me the idea to shift to smaller cameras with a better sensor than my iphone. Also, I like taking photos of people taking photos. 🙂
Flowy skirts. March 2017.
Going up the rise. March 2017.

The Silver Lining

For the longest time, I had feared having my days die out slowly… softly into oblivion.

That wasn’t the way I had wanted to go,  of course.

Anything; with a bang, with drama, was a better ending that dying, forgotten.

Keeping a blog was one of those things I considered doing long-term so I could assuage myself of the fear of possibly dying without ever sharing anything of use to the world. Now, the world will not suffer from the lack of my sharing anything, but it is essential to my heart and well-being that I do something about this.

Many times I have little blasts of interest and frissons of passion which bring me here to type again, and share my life. It has been a struggle lately. My day job has been taking up a lot of my time, so that when I get home at night, I am overwhelmed and would much rather just work out a little and go to bed.

Perhaps it is different, nowadays. I have the desire to write, of course, and I am not at a lack for stories. However, the part where one sits down to actually write is actually the hard part. I am so easily distracted, because there are more things happening than I can accommodate salience…

Today, I received some hallelujah signs… My friend Mandy posted a link to a John Steinbeck gem of an article, and @dragonflylogic101’s comeback piece. 🙂 Both of them contributed to the gentle “push” to get on and write my life out again.

Thank you, Ladies!

——

“…where the silver lining starts to show…”

I had a good day at work today…

I can’t go into detail about my work, but it would suffice it to say, that at the end of the day, I am so glad I put in the work for these people that I’m helping. Today was a good day for them to check on them, because I was reminded once again that although I only get to help people one at a time, the hard work we both put in made a huge difference in their lives and in that of their families.

It is times like these that I feel extremely grateful that I get to do what I do for people.

Time, effort and dedication brought this into fruition, and I am always grateful.

—-

And thus ends today’s bid not to drift off unnoticed into oblivion… You will be seeing me more frequently here, starting today. 🙂

 

On Writing (and paper and pens)

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Hello.

For someone who doesn’t really love self-help books or instruction manuals (most of the time anyway), I do get interested in reading things about writing. Things like, “How to write a short story”, or “writing a narrative” or “Why we write” or “The Elements of Style” have a considerably large space in my bookshelves.

I suppose I have always loved writing…but lately, I’ve been finding more reason to “absorb” what other people have written or said on the art of writing itself. It is a soothing balm to my soul, that stops and starts ever so frequently, when it comes to writing.

(There are times when we just lose perspective, or get lazy, or just plain feel less passionate than usual.)

I can’t NOT write…and whenever I leave for long periods, I always feel out of focus. I am not in touch with myself. Be it here on the blog, or on my private journal, I always find the activity something that grounds me.

My usual outlet is a notebook, which I use as a journal, and use only black ink. There is no special reason, but I just like plenty of white space and black script…it is very minimalist and clean. And simple. And tidy. And makes me feel like I’ve sorted my thoughts out enough.

The paper is tricky, because it has to be thick enough, but not too thick, and of a substance that is in the middle of “slippery” and grainy (if you know what I mean). 🙂 I like the pen to glide on the paper, with the ink flowing smoothly from within the chamber, sans blots and splashes.

Most of shopping time has been devoted to window-shopping in pen stores and finding that “perfect” pen for writing. I have spent countless hours trying out and discovering which pens work for me.

For example: Cheap ballpoint: Faber Castell, Mid-range ballpoint: Parker, nibs from speedball, and most recently, I bought a fountain pen that is turning out the be “The One” for me. I bought it very recently at Scribe, which is a store in Cebu City, one that I would usually troop miles (and brave heavy traffic) for, whenever I get the chance to, in Manila.

It is a combination of all the elements of writing; passion, paper and pen…that gets the juices flowing. 🙂

(What’s your writing story/habit?)

~ S.

 

 

 

 

 

Cupid wants his arrow back

When I listen to a  song with this cadence, there is a tendency for me to just sit still and stare off into space.

“Lost Stars” is such,and  it  happens to be one of my favorite tracks on the movie, Begin Again. I watched this movie, with a former significant other a year (or two) ago, and I wanted to watch it because of the low-key setting, the simple story line, and the music. Mostly for the music…it was what drew me to watch it in another city.

It starred Keira Knightley, Adam Levine (already a big pop star) and Mark Ruffalo (fresh from his Hulk stint). It was a love story, yes, about how people change and how you eventually have to be true to yourself in the end.

It was a very creative endeavor, and they made music that was unconventional. They made use of great songwriting, acoustic elements, and recorded around New York City. It was my kind of music-making and artistic expression.

In the movie, Keira’s character wrote this song,  Lost Stars as a gift to her boyfriend. She sang it quietly, as a ballad. It was vulnerable and very honest. He took it, but he made it into something that “the audiences loved” and reveled in the way they lost themselves when he used his falsetto.

It was actually the turning point, and the end of what she had always thought. He had promised her that he would perform it as it was meant to be performed in that tender, gentle tone. However, at the end, he forgot himself…and changed it for other people. After that, she was able to finally say goodbye.

I listened to this while I was riding in a public vehicle. This is always best for me, thinking amidst the chaos, being able to detach just so. In that state of semi-detachment, I am able to discern and think about the things that have happened to me recently. In this state, I am neither angry, nor sad, nor frustrated.

I am merely listening to the story, and making it my own.

#

 

Living forever

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“Letters to A Young Poet”,  is a collection of ten letters written by Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) to Franz Xaver Kappus(1883–1966), a 19-year-old officer cadet at the Theresian Military Academy in Germany.

It is one of my favorite books. I have read it many times through and it has always been timely. Although it was written in 1929, almost a century ago, the lessons and musings gleaned from its pages remain  relevant…

Relevant, to a young woman who has just finished a very long career as a student…or a young woman who was on the brink of a new and scary life adventure…or a woman who wanted to forge out a career for herself. Most especially so for a young woman who had recently had her heart broken (but not quite), and was searching for a stable hold with which to weather out the emotional storm.

(All of these young women, are myself, at certain stages in my life.)

I did not come by reading Rilke by accident. No, it was more different story than that. At the time, I was with a young man, not much younger than myself, who I believe, loved words…

I loved stories, and I coaxed him shyly to tell me one, and on cue, this was the book that was nearest to him. In a voice that soothed my soul, he read to me the first chapter of the book.

It was a letter that talked about why one must write…a topic that was very dear to my heart…

“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

He might not have known it then, but my whole being was absorbed in that moment. That one time when he spoke, his words…Rilke’s words, touched me, and touched my heart. It was an unintentional caress, a balm for my soul. And in that moment, I knew that he, the boy,  would live forever…in my writing, my heart. #