Category: God

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual (catch up)

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

– Ray Bradbury

Most memorable moments are unusual.  Here are some recent snaps of moments truly unforgettable.  I haven’t written in a while but that doesn’t mean nothing much has been happening.  On the contrary …

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Time is flying at light speed and sometimes, I feel like I can’ t keep up.

So, thanks G, for the gadgets that allow us to document, remember, share and tell our stories.

grateful slice: being back on the grid and nature’s gold

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset

How to enjoy a sunset...

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I Send Two Sunsets

by Emily Dickinson

I send Two Sunsets —

Day and I — in competition ran —
I finished Two — and several Stars —
While He — was making One —
His own was ampler — but as I
Was saying to a friend —
Mine — is the more convenient
To Carry in the Hand —

Photos taken by a Nikon D90 (Boracay 2011) and a Canon Ixus (Boracay 2009).

grateful slice:  enjoying sunsets

Embracing your demons is knowing they don’t define you

Overanalysis Paralysis : It is hard to be me sometimes.

There were times, without knowing how she got there, she would find herself back in the damp and dangerous darkness, alone.  It was a familiar place, filled with dread and despair and the moment she took a whiff of the stench she used to know well, it hit her. No wonder nothing brought her joy, she thought. No wonder her smile felt heavy and fake. No wonder she felt like each step she took was like slogging through miles of thigh-high mud.  She realized that her heart was cloaked by the very same things that once made the tumors in her body grow malignant. How long has it been?  There was no more time to waste.  She knew she had to run back to where there was light.

The old script didn't work

She used to handle it differently, of course.  Before, when she understood less and was confronted with the inevitable and unbearable, she would deny, resist, fight what made her sad, scared and insecure, what made her hate herself, thinking it was the way to smother her demons. In the end, the dreaded beasts would multiply and torch what was left of her with their fiery breath.  It took years to painstakingly pick out from the embers, the little that was left of her flesh and bones; part of the slow process of putting back the pieces to arrive at a recognizable self.

This time though, the moment she was aware she was spiraling down the darker chambers of her heart, she knew better.  She understood that avoidance and escape would only bring searing pain.  And projection and denial would bring her sure death. So, she put her trust in what she now believed in and just embraced it. All.  She embraced the things that made her wrong.  The things that made her angry, scared, envious, selfish and greedy.  The things that made her what she used to be.  She also embraced forgiveness. All the forgiveness in the world.  And just like that, the demons retreated into their creepy caves, deep caverns and damp dungeons, whimpering with their jagged tails tucked between their legs. Some monsters melted into the earth. Others shrank, slithered into the fissures they emerged from and the weakest of them, disappeared into thin air.  Soon, the light peaked past every crack and crevice, then broke through with wild rays, which allowed her pale face to bask with relief in its recognition. She knew she was back home where she belonged. The scales on her heart were no longer there.


It made her feel good to know that even if she may never understand why she sometimes ends up in the dark, she was confident in the fact that she would always find her way back to the light.

No matter what.

The bearable lightness

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
— Mary Oliver

grateful slice: trusting and knowing better

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

Whoever said beach people couldn’t fall in love with the mountains is a fool because that’s not true at all. Sure, feeling the wet and warm powdery sand between my toes under an unspeakably azure sky brings peace and contentment next to none but that does not diminish the awe I’ve experienced amidst grand glaciers, cool craters and the secret-filled fields of the Mountain Province; something I’ve learned to crave year in and year out. These peak moments are made so much more when shared with people we love. I miss you to bits, sis. And to all the batches we have been accompanying to Sagada since 2006, here’s to you. Thank you for giving me a reason to go back there over and over again.

Thanks G, for meeting me in either place all the time with no fail. Your overpowering presence has more than once knocked me down on my knees. Thank you for teaching me how to live big.

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THE MOUNTAIN by Emily Dickinson

The mountain sat upon the plain
In his eternal chair,
His observation omnifold,
His inquest everywhere.

The seasons prayed around his knees,
Like children round a sire:
Grandfather of the days is he,
Of dawn the ancestor.

Photos taken by a Canon Ixus and a Nikon D90 in various places – Mt. Pinatubo, Alaska, Sagada.

grateful slice: G, my sister, Alaska, Pinatubo and Sagada — the field trip that’s become a tradition.

India 2.0 Pray – A Photo Gallery (2/3)

“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” Mahatma Gandhi (internationally esteemed for his doctrine on non-violent protest, 1869 – 1948)

Worship is a loaded word and prayer, an extremely personal thing.

I guess you can say I grew up with a specific version of both. I also learned to reject a lot of this version as a young misguided adult and jaded academic/scholar.  At some point though, I started to search and once again yearn for that connection I had severed so callously as a twenty something. Someone was definitely listening, I guess, because to make a long spiritual story short, I re-met God just a few years back with a brand new heart and with a whole new set of eyes. Frankly, my life as a thirty something has not been the same since.

Anyway, my experience  is  really all I know up close and there’s no way I am an expert on either.  I mean, I do not know enough to comfortably write about religious diversity at length lest I let my ignorance about the many different ways to worship God fall through the cracks of my sentences.   That’s the last thing I want to happen.  What I did try to do while I was in Ahmedabad and Mumbai was capture what I saw behind the lens.  The varied and colorful offerings, the different places of worship, the diverse rituals and plethora of belief systems.  I also tried to snap the sincerity, the earnestness, the compassion and the intimacy between man and his/her G/god/s.    From Ganesh, the Hare Krishna, to Buddha, MumbaDevi, to the Jains, to the Haji Ali Shrine and the Christian service that S and I attended the only Sunday I was there, spirituality was definitely part of this maximum trip because it was everywhere I looked.  I hope the gallery is an apt glimpse.  Om. Amen.Namaste.

grateful slice: the freedom to know G, in the most intimate way real to us

Be Kind. Rewind.


And just like that, May has rolled in.

Today, am extremely grateful for three things; that I am  alive.  That I am saved.  And that I have access to forgiveness, power and hope ALL the time.  So today I say thank you over and over again; a thousand times over, thank you.

grateful slice:  remembering my why

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

maggie and milly and molly and may

by E. E. Cummings


maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach(to play one day)

Orange sky

and maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

Periwinkle Mood

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

as the sun sets

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and


may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.


For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

mid morning

Photos taken by a Nikon D90. Playing with light and a polarized lens (Dumaguete, Dec 2010). Poetry by ee cummings. Win.

grateful slice:  ee cummings and the sea


late afternoon

Shame shame shame

Appropriate Attire - Antipolo Church

Appropriate Attire - Antipolo Church (photo by Mon)

I found this old draft buried in my Drafts folder …


Aug, 2009:

I thought guilt was the culprit all this time, especially being born and raised Catholic. For years, after having discovered who I thought I wanted to be outside of my mom’s religion, discovered my “power” as a woman, my “strength” in discourse and identity in my sexuality, I found some sort of tenuous voice to assert and articulate the many misguided things I thought I believed in. So when I woke up from my feminist slumber….I said, piss on guilt. Guilt oppresses. It kills. It stunts and suffocates. It makes you feel, well, dirty. Until you say screw it. That (religion) is just about control, colonization and fallen priests who have set their sights on unassuming (guilty) choir boys. Ha! Piss on guilt, I said. Thinking that it was guilt that made me feel, well, bad and exhausted.

Recently though, I have decided that it’s not about guilt but shame. Shame is worse than guilt because there is nobody to blame; there’s no god to point a finger at when it comes to avoiding icky feelings. No one to look at but the worried, sleep deprived, tired reflection on the mirror. I believe though, that we are not born ashamed. We are taught to be that along the way. We learn to keep secrets and hide the best parts about us. We learn to settle, to choose poorly, live with pain and consequences and in quiet desperation. We learn to embrace the selves that resemble the tiniest versions of who we are.


OMG. What the heck was I talking about? going through? thinking about? I honestly can’t remember anymore. I tried, racked my brain, dug deep….but nothing. I can’t remember wth.

And today, I am grateful for that

because I am a new creation.

[So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17) ]

I am agog at the thought that I already go by a different voice, a different truth, a different narrative. Thanks, G.

grateful slice: forgetting guilt AND shame that make us cling to the tiniest versions of ourselves

Day Three: The worst is over


the Hunger Games (photo taken in UP, Diliman)

I am getting used to the hollow feeling in my belly.  It’s like a companion now, the ache of not having anything in there. There is a silence in place of the growling.  When I drink water, I feel the cold go through the empty cavity that is my tummy, feel the chilly liquid in my bones like contrast dye during an MRI.  I still think of food, especially Kookoo’s Nest pizza,  but no longer crave it.  I am also no longer afraid of losing energy; no longer paranoid that I will get a hunger headache because I haven’t.  I woke up this morning thinking the worst is over.  My mouth is still dry for some reason, no matter how much water I drink.   My spirit though is drenched from the well-spring of being full from something else.

Be strong and courageous.  That’s the message today.  There’s nothing to be afraid of because I am not alone and it is the year of stability, capability and force; the way to be and what it means to be strong.  And in that strength is freedom, favor and fullness.  Things I am believing G for.  A part of me humbly wishes that my name  be changed too.   From Jacob to Israel and from Hoshea to Joshua.  I am clinging to the vine.

grateful slice:  powerful messages

Top Ten Grateful Slices for 2010

Fresh picks of 2010

2010 did not disappoint.  It was truly a stellar year filled with love, hope, truth, friendship, laughter, humble pie and lessons learned.  I wish I could write down every single thing/moment I am grateful for but I managed to join the bandwagon with the play on the top ten grateful slices for 2010.  And here they are:

1.  My daily walk with G.  Without it, nothing else past number one would be possible.  So thanks for everything, G.

He made this possible (Dumaguete, Dec 2010)

2.  My spiritual family — for their support and guidance (includes S and G’s small group; the ladies from St. Lukes; Victory Fort community; S;  my co-teachers from Beacon, Training for Victory classmates, my sis)

Victory Weekend

3. Family and the opportunity to make peace with mom (she forgave me, just like that.)

Skagway - White Pass & Yukon Route Railway with my mom

Mom and I in Peter Paul (photo taken by Mon)

4.  My sister’s beautiful Manhattan wedding

Maqui and Mark at ease (Photo taken by Mon)

5. My winner, gold medalist friends (the girlz, the gayz, new friendz, and time&tested friendz too) You know who you are.  Thanks so much for making 2010 truly wonderful.  🙂 Win.  Will have posts on odes to these wonderful peeps very soon. Stay tuned.  #postaweek2011

6.  Traveling and all the people I get to go with and/or meet along the way

….around the Philippines  (Sagada, Caliraya, Laiya, Tali, Quezon, Dumaguete)


Sagada 2010 with the kids

Caliraya Sunset

TALI staples

Laiya Laugh Trip

Peter Paul, Candelaria with the family (Photo taken by Mon)Peter Paul, Candelaria (photo taken by Mon)

The jetty at Kookoo’s Nest, Dumaguete

…And of course, traveling  to conduct IBO workshops (Adelaide and KL).  I’ve been pretty lucky.  Next year, India. 🙂  Twice.  Thank you, G.  I am humbled by these opportunities.

Petronas Towers, KL Malaysia

Crowne Mutiara Kuala Lumpur Participants, Cat 2 Language A Workshop

Adelaide: My room with a view

Prince Albert College, Adelaide Participants, Cat 2 Language A Workshop

Loved the wine in Adelaide

Loved the food in KL

7. Buying my Nikon D90 and taking Basic Photography lessons at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation.  Two of the best decisions in 2010.

Photography 101

8.  The kids in my life and getting to spend time with them:  Sabine, Mateo and Basti, My 8PG homeroom and Rune and Gray (Lapster’s kids)

Playing with the tripod, christmas 2010

Beautiful Girl

The boys are back in town

Hamming it up with Grade 8 PG. Win.

my godson, Gray (with @maimailim)

Rune like the wind

9.  Passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers.  This just told me that I am on the right track in terms of listening to His will.  Win!

10.  Rediscovering writing and being open to falling in love again: one led to the other, now they bleed into each other.

grateful feet (Kookoo's Nest, Dumaguete, 2010)

I am going to cheat a little and say that there’s really so much more to be grateful for.  There’s being in New York City twice in one  year, being in New York City taking pictures with my brother, actually, being in NYC with my whole family; MM’s and Lapid’s valuable mudakis/brotherly advice one fine day (after PTCs), yoga (and yoga with friends), running (and running with friends), grand gestures (decisive admirers and airplanes), kinilaw, anchovies, skype (being able to talk to Lauren or Itsy anytime and S almost every week even if she is already in Mumbai), girlfriends who listen and keep us real, films, Pixar, Starbucks Drive thru, blogging, twitter, MUJI, the IBO Middle Years Program, writing to special people in the other side of the world … gosh, the list goes on and on and on … I guess the point is, is to take a moment to take it all in.  Inhale.  Exhale.  My heart is overflowing right now.  Goodie, next year, it can be 11 awesome things for 2011.  Win.

What are your ten grateful slices for 2010?

grateful slice:  being grateful