Stained Glass Reverie

Father’s Day is just around the corner and Papa celebrated what would have been his 86th birthday 2 days ago. I guess rather than let this giant void left by his passing consume me, I’d rather reminisce the happy memories I’ve had with him. I just realized how little pictures I had with Papa. In this age of selfies, oh my! I would’ve probably taken hundreds with Mama and Papa, be it candid or posed, artful or themed. If only I could convert my memories into jpeg files and repost it all over, so it would be like they were still around. That they haven’t really left, that they still remain to be, larger than life, the lessons and impact they impressed upon so many lives, still rings. Oh where to begin! All I know is that my Papa is still probably one of the smartest, fearless, kindest people I have ever met. It was from him that I learned that everything one does in life should be with passion, with gusto, with the best of their being, otherwise, not at all. It was from him I learned the value of sharing with others, that charity begins at home, what it’s like to be selfless for the ones you love, how important it is to learn to laugh at yourself sometimes and be silly because life is so serious as it is… and so much more. Each day, I strive to be able to live out all these life gems he effortlessly demonstrated all throughout his life. I fervently wish that I could see them one more time, even in dreams. Just so I could feel the safety and security of his love. He was my true north. With him, life made sense.

My sister, Pia, was lamenting how Max, my 19 year old nephew, was so immature, like he was a kid trapped in a teenager’s body. How he seems so lost and confused. Heck, I’m a kid trapped in a 40 year old body. And even at this age, I still don’t have the answers, and am just as lost and confused. Often, I wonder if I’ve really made any progress in this life. Or is it just the glorification of the “busy”. I feel sometimes that I just act, but am not really getting anywhere that sometimes I wake up with the thought “Why bother”. They say that it’s counterproductive to live in the past since it then leads to a vacuous existence. I’d rather enmesh myself in the vibrant memories of my past. At least it still there’s some living done. Because sometimes, every moment spent in the present seems to be a deadening experience. (I should probably rewrite this when I’m not in such a dark mood.)

And then I think of my parents.  I don’t think there ever was a time when I saw them unsure of themselves or falter in any decision.  Whatever they said, they stood by it, even if it turned out to be wrong or a mistake later on.  They would own up to it, and then move on.  But they always had a quiet confidence, a certainty that they were doing what they were meant to be doing, the circumstances they were in were there as it should be.  I’m reminded of Papa when I was younger, there was no question he couldn’t seem to answer or know.  Well, my Dad was very well-read and always kept abreast of current events and on-goings.  I was always amazed how when I asked him what a word meant from a book I was reading, he wouldn’t end with just giving me the meaning, but would go to give the etymology of the word, down to the latin root in which it was based.  I asked Mama sometime when I was in my teens, how they seem to be unfazed at being “parentless”…. how they didn’t have anyone to run to if they had questions on how to do things or needed a second opinion on whether something was ok or not.  She replied, “Why would I need anyone else when I can always pray.  When I don’t know anything, I pray”.  At the time, I was irked at her for having such a nebulous answer to what I thought needed a concrete and categorical response.  It’s only now, that I got to fully understand what she meant.  There are some questions that can only be arrived at through meditation and self-reflection.

And now I guess, this is what growing up is about.  It’s not so much as knowing a whole lot or having all the answers.  It’s more about knowing your principles, knowing what you believe to be true and sticking by them, not second-guessing yourself.

In as much as I would like to believe that I am a grown-up, lots of times, I still am no different than I was back then.  Still unsure of what’s up or down, left or right, stay or go.  I’m still trying to get the hang of defining what’s what and more so, sticking by them.  But as ostensibly slow-paced is my evolution to full-fledged “adulthood”, I’m getting there.  One day, I hope not too late, I will be.

Everyday, I am thankful for the memories that I had with my parents.  I may have not appreciated them as much back then (oh, so much wisdom in hindsight!), I cherish each one of them.  They may not have made sense back then but looking back at the events after they unfolded, they now paint a definitely interesting picture.  Each memory, like a piece of glass, slowly coming together, to form the window to my soul.

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Photowalk 16 February 2014

I did say that there’s to be a delay in these photowalk uploads. I try to keep it as updated as possible. So here are last Sunday’s shots.

It was an easy Sunday. As usual, there were less cars and people on the streets on Sundays. Every Sunday, Emerald Avenue a.k.a. F. Ortigas Avenue, was closed off to vehicles from 6am-6pm, to give way to the car-less / healthy environment / healthy living campaign of the local government. (You have to give them some credit for trying to minimize our carbon footprint).

Empty Street

I thought we were just to have a quick bite at the nearest fast food joint (read: Mickey D’s) or at the nearby galleria food court, when Teki declared that we’ll be eating at Pancake House. I wasn’t exactly in a cooking mood (add wash-dishes-clean-up-after-meal mood) so I thought it was a real treat! We were watching our expenses since cash inflow was a little delayed than expected. But I’m really grateful that Teki manages to squeeze in a surprise allocation in our monthly budget for “entertainment expenses”. Add to that, I was getting a little stir-crazy from staying indoors too long. Heck, even Beanie wanted to get out! (Again, I think our cat has thrill-issues). Everyone could use a little jolt now and then to remind them they’re alive and not existing in a vacuum.

Well not that there was anything particularly edgy about our activities, but it’s gotten to a point where getting out of the house IS a jolt from the routine.

Ortigas Center Blue Skies

Blue, thin cotton skies, cool breeze, laid-back and relaxed. The distant chatter of families, children playing and barking pets as they scurried along the short stretch of empty road, floated in the air. I sure was glad Teki convinced me to go out today.

Ortigas Center Skies
Antenna
Sapphire Road going to ADB Avenue

The one day in the week where people occupied the street, and not cars. There are still a few ignoramuses who insist on passing through despite the several huge, orange barricades and TPMO enforcers at both ends. An example where the law is taken as a mere suggestion rather than a mandate. The enforcers themselves are lax about it, at one time, almost endangering the many kids who have little control on operating the breaks on the go-carts and bikes they’re on. There was even one car who had the temerity to angrily honk at the road blocks, as if the barrage of sound would magically make the blockades stand and make way for him. Yes it was close to the 6pm cut-off, but there was still a good full hour for the people to enjoy the stretch of empty road, un-threatened and undisturbed.

Skater Boy

It was also fun to watch the skaters doing tricks on their skateboards. There were some who were showing off to get attention (mostly from the pretty girls biking), but there were some too who just really loved to do twirls and whoops and jumps on a little piece of wood on wheels. This guy is a regular. I see him almost every weekend. (Well at least on those rare days I do get to go down and watch the Sunday crowd).

Orange Interiors
Spice & Seasoning
Pancake House logo
Feeling the Orange-y theme

We had lunch at Pancake House near Malayan Plaza. This was our first meal of the day. Teki is a creature of habit and Pancake House is among her default go-to places to eat. I’ve always liked their orange motif. After all, orange is the new black, right?

Pan-Fried Chicken

I had their pan-fried chicken, which is one of my favorite fried chicken, (next to Jollibee, of course). I’d never get tired of eating fried chicken. Especially this, with its light, breading-less, crispy skin and tender, juicy meat, dipped in their tastes-like-home-made gravy. It reminds me so much of the fried chicken we used to have as kids.

Tocino with egg

Teki had Tocino with egg. Although usually, she has home-styled bangus. I guess this is one of those days she wanted to veer off the routine, just a tiny bit.

Kokology

While eating, we regaled each other with random scenarios, alternately agreeing and laughing in disbelief at the purported revelations of our respective answers.

Plant Box
Green!

I’ve been living in the city for a number of years now so my senses have formed a yearning for some natural fauna and the smallest spot of greenery brings me joy. They are a welcome break from the dull greys of steel and concrete that surround us.

La Isla Condominium

Whenever I pass by this signage, I feel the urge to do a little calypso jig, and sing Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”. This is one of the original residential structures in Ortigas, and is very well maintained. I imagine they aren’t open to renters and are very exclusive as I haven’t met anyone or seen any pedestrian coming from that place. Usually the gates are heavily guarded and have CCTVs all around their perimeter.

Ortigas Park Signage
Trellis

It isn’t as sophisticatedly landscaped as the gardens that come with Ayala developments, but I’m thankful nonetheless for this little oasis, this tiny patch of green nestled in the middle of Ortigas Center. I also like wooden trellises. There’s something comforting about them, like unobtrusive markers that guide your path. Did I mention that I’m heavily surrounded by concrete and steel?

Greens & Yellows
The leaves that look like flowers
Green on Red
Tiny White Flower

This little white flower reminded me of the song “Tiny Dancer” by Sir Elton John. This delicate beauty managed to flourish despite the daily deluge of carbon monoxide and other noxious gases, and bring joy in its own little way.

Neighboring Areas
Hacienda de Mandaluyong

In the park, there’s a small bas-relief mural marking the 75th anniversary of the Ortigas Center Association, one of the earliest modern developers in the city. I’ve always identified myself to be from Marikina, but I guess this is my new home now.

Shoot!

I hope I don’t appear to be one of those artsy-fartsy, poser photographers who contort themselves in uncomfortable positions, giving the illusion of expertise only to produce mediocre, laughable images. Oh who cares how I look! I like taking pictures, that’s it. Someone once told me, there’s something spiritual about taking pictures. It’s like God’s extending a little bit of His power to immortalize a bit of life.  It’s also said in some cultures, that when you take pictures, especially of live subjects, a piece of their life is taken along with the shot. Credit goes to Teki for this shot.

Chatime

To cap off our little field trip, we stopped by our favorite coffee-shop for drinks. I didn’t order from there and instead got Roasted Milk Tea from Chatime. Usually, I enjoy hanging out at Chatime, but this particular branch is the epitome of indifference that make up Nancy Friedman’s darkest nightmares.

Beanie in the bag

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I did mention we took Beanie the Cat with us on this little outing, to let him experience a bit of the outside world. He still is wary of other people (and creatures), but once he knows that it’s just the three of us, he peers from inside the haven of his carrying case and sniffs in all the novelty that surrounds him. When we came home, he shortly fell sound asleep on the floor, only to wake the next morning. Too many thrills for one day, it seems.

Snowy Ortigas

I’ve always wondered what it was like to have snow, without having to move to another country or sacrifice our tropical state.

If there were a soundtrack to come with this day, the song “Easy” by the Commodores would be very fitting.  Here’s hoping everyone has lighter, freer, easier days.  Not necessarily and more than, Sundays.

Photowalk | 15 Feb 2014

I decided to put in photos of my familiar haunts.  After all, today can only be today.  These may be good to look back on later when the topography may have changed, since the whole of Pasig sits precariously along the fault line.  But on a less morbid note, it may also be good (at least for me), to look back on my thought process / state of mind at the time.

Mang Inasal

The customer service bane of the roasted chicken industry.

Ministop

Mini-Stop reminds me of an 80’s Movie line “Para kang carinderiang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain” (You’re like a cheap eatery open to all who want to eat.)  Indeed!

Chinabank

This is one non-inclusive bank, methinks.  Along with Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, etc.  What about multiracial folks?  Who should they go to for their financial fiduciary needs?  There used to be a Pilipinas Bank and a Banco Filipino, however they both declared bankruptcy or something that they exist no more.  Here’s hoping that the same fate won’t happen to its namesake country.    

Monday-Sunday 24//7

Now that, is simply too tall an order for any human to fill. Even the saintliest of people need a break every now and then. This is something fittingly left to parking spaces.

Signs

Subliminal messaging on gender inequality.  Or am I just reading too much into the signs?

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Ortigas Center

One of my favorite caffeine fix places.  But out of all of them, this is really special.  This is where I knew one of my prayers were answered.  

Take Out

Does this apply solely to fast-food or to erstwhile romance as well? Be a “take home” instead.  Taken home to meet the family, friends as THE legitimate significant other.

Starbucks

Over-priced coffee in every corner.

Jabee

Jollibee junk tucked away in the bushes.

Jollibee

Where Pinoy tastebuds reside…  (Panlasang Pilipino, at home sa Jollibee)

The Urban Wanderer

Following where your feet take you?

Walking

Quo Vadis, my friend?  If only I knew the answer to mine.  

In God We Trust

At the end of the day, I really do.

Mr. Park’s Bread & Cafe
Inside Mr. Parks Bread & Cafe

Another “Korean Invasion”, they’re everywhere!  And thriving, if I may add.  Well, their products are pretty good, I must say.  Nice interiors too! If only there were more thriving Pinoy enterprises.  

Highlands Coffee

I used to think this was a Filipino enterprise, as they used to serve “Barako Brews”… or maybe I had them confused for another coffee shop?  I’d take our local brews any day, if only I wasn’t prone to coffee-induced migraines.

Drinks Selection
Drinks Selection

Variety after all, is the spice of life.

Cherry Coke

Don’t find these too often.  I guess that’s what makes it appealing to me —  its limited access , the uncommon-ness of it.  I guess that’s how I’d like to be perceived sometimes.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being ordinary.  I guess I’d want to be the random thing once ignored, that catches the eye.   The one worthy of a second, if not, several, repeated glances.  

Ice

Ice.  May you continue to cool the fieriest of drinks and tempers.

Random Guy & his phone

Connected or Dis-connected?

Gadgets

Or maybe then again, they’re talking…

Love for Commerce

Preying on the singletons… sheesh!  Isn’t it enough that they are assaulted with reminders of their single state?  Not that there’s nothing wrong with that.  But to cash in on it is something I find disturbing. Here, they preach of “empowerment” and salute single-ness, yet somehow remind them that they are!  Over the years I liked Valentines less and less as it became increasingly commercialized.  For the life of me, I don’t really understand the appeal of this cramped coffee shop.  They don’t make their own food (gotten from concessionaires), and their coffee isn’t remarkable and too sweet for my taste.  Must be the kitschy interiors that distract them from realizing this.

One way or another…

Yup, one-sided always sucks. (saw this on a  fire escape door)

Conch Sugar Pastry

This is one of the great finds I’ve had this week.  It’s light, flaky and oh-so yummy! The caramel complements the light, airy, pastry which doesn’t make it cloyingly sweet.  Goes very well with coffee or any beverage, for that matter.  And reasonably priced too!  This ought to be making waves instead of the “croughnut?”

Beanie Boo Boo

And no post would ever be complete without including my cat, Beanie.  Oh the things he gets away with because of his cuteness!  Our cat has thrill issues.  He’s afraid of other people yet always wants to sneak out the door to the hallway when it’s empty.  But the moment there’s sign of others, (esp. the dog that lives next door), he scampers right back in.  He loves to mark spots, much to the annoyance of the dog next door who ends up barking and peeing outside my door sometimes.  Thank Goodness his owner cleans up the mess before I see it.

And thus endeth this day’s photo-walk.  My walks, just like my posts, are rambles.  Yet somehow, they are freeing.  I don’t ever pretend that this would be some deep soliloquy on life.  This is life, at random.  My life, to be even more specific.

Until the next post.

Photowalk

Today is Valentine’s Day. Unlike the rest of the world, or at least the one I revolve in, I don’t like to revel in the commercialism of this so-called “holiday of hearts”. So rather than herald what I don’t like, I’d rather veer my sights to the things I like. Teki mandated that we have more frequent walks, in an effort to put in some form of activity in our heavily sedentary days. So I took a camera and tried to take pictures of the familiar with fresh eyes. I’m thinking of having a daily photowalk journal of sorts, but then again, just like this blog, I don’t think I’m that committed to fill it out on a regular basis. But I will try. And for its maiden installment, here’s a slice of life, from my eyes. I”m glad my creative muse hovered nearby.

City at Dusk
City at Dusk
Stop and smell the flowers
Stop and smell the flowers
What are you waiting for?
What are you waiting for?
Scaredy Cat
Scaredy Cat
Beanie's foray into the outside world
Beanie’s foray into the outside world
A little lost, perhaps?
A little lost, perhaps?
View from the top
View from the top
Portals...
Portals…
A step into the unknown can sometimes be scary yet necessary.
A step into the unknown can sometimes be scary yet necessary.
Night walk
Night walk
The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, regardless what footwear you're in.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, regardless what footwear you’re in.
Here Kitty kitty kitty....
Here Kitty kitty kitty….

Happy find! :)

Happiness is stumbling upon a new find. Was randomly searching on the “Stages of Grief” when I came across a link that presented a breakup mix on the 5 Stages of Grief, which surprisingly, had a great mix, which were not the typical wrist-slashing, cry-me-a-river type of mixes. This then led me to explore the site further and found this happy, happy mix of top 2013 picks. I may not be as attuned to current trends / hit music but the picks in this mix are all just a refreshing delight, like a long, cool smoothie on a hot day. 🙂

Happiness is what started out as a sad moment turned into a happy, almost giddy feeling.

Thank God for the amazing healing power of Music. 🙂

I Found Love!

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I Found Love!

And then it happens. And when it does, you just know it. Because Teki can’t contain her happiness, she’s just like anyone who is giggly and excited in love. For Marg, who in all of my shortcomings, found me and kept me. A happy song for an extremely happy day for a happy girl….