Monday, 31 December 2007

Greening your household

Everything in Australia is big. The land area is so vast and the houses are just BIG. When you eat out, you brace yourself to generous portions and horrendous bills awaiting. Yes, am two months old here but I am still into the conversion mode which prevents me from buying anything.

The age made such a big deal on the carbon footprint made last Christmas and it made me feel upset about how slow my project is taking place. However, it gave me the push to work more for next year.

An average Australian household has a carbon emission of 1 ton in a month. The low population rate of the continent is no excuse for such a high emission of carbon in the atmosphere... 'after all, we breath the same air in the same planet.

This leads me to the conviction that carbon offsetting is a logical idea in all these footprints. Next year, bear with me as I go blogging on how green you are and whether or not your household is green already.

We owe it to ourselves and the earth's future to be vigilant. We should do our share of solidarity in all of this.

The Outsider vs The Stranger

I went to the bookstore last week to do last minute Christmas shopping. It was just a breeze as I got only one present for my landlady but I stayed there to commune with the books. I can only do as much as the books were too pricey for my pocket. I crave for home everytime I turn over the prices of those books. Nevertheless, browsing through the pages of the books, smelling the pages are still for free, so I indulged on it.

One book caught my attention and it was that of Camus' and the title was "the outsider". I wracked my mind why no one told me about the book as I knew I covered much of his books. As I tried to reach for a copy, I remembered---translation does wonders.... Yeah, it was indeed another version of l'etranger.

I went home grinning like another silly girl. But it made me think--- the title for me is more appropriate. Being an outsider brings you to the innermost core but detaches you at the same time from the sheer reality of it. A stranger is always outside of it. It is never inside... It made people get angry at Meursault and eventually led him behind bars... and death.

Just how at home are people really at their own realities?

Friday, 7 December 2007


For two hours, I did not face the computer monitor today. I did something else and that was stamping 500 envelopes with 'postage paid in Australia'. I just wanted to put my mind to rest.
I find it very helpful to do some diversion. It kept me focused on my work.

Others may call this 'blocking' thoughts and actions to encourage creativity and productiveness. I really wonder if this is also the same tactic that the police did when they blocked the Sumilao farmers in going to Malacanang? What higher things did the palace residents have in mind?

When one walks for thousands of kilometers, braving all the heat, rain, aches and pains, would it not be considered 'Christian' to at least, receive them? Or, is it not just another time when the nativity story was relieved? This time, the palace residents wanted to play innkeepers. They really did their part very well, highly militarized and apt for the times.

I just wanted to play 'student' --rereading the story, reflecting, criticizing....

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Photos from down under

Perhaps I have chased so much of my shadows…

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


Yes, am missing home. I miss a lot of things that I don’t get to do out here. But I connect much to what is going on at home. I read the news and catch up with every crumb that goes along the way.

I wonder how much of the truth got filtered along the way in my readings. I wonder how much ‘defacement’ of facts took place in the transfer of information and in my reception of it. Let me just make some bullets on the news I got from home and somehow place it back into my blog---

The NPC mural.

The National Press Club cried for being ripped in the open, alleging that the artists asked for a very high fee. On the other hand, the artists cried foul over the alleged censorship. Some faces were altered to allegedly cater to the whims of some sectors in society.
I cannot put a price on art and talent. The NPC should be the first one to know that. They survive on the freedom of expression and art is the driver of what we must express. What has gone wrong?

Am saddened and alarmed at how a very prestigious institution succumbed to censorship or pressures. The NPC got the much-earned respect because it stood by principles and the truth.

Comprador barangay elections.

Generally, the people still sold their votes to the highest bidder in the latest barangay elections. This is an ongoing defacement of the order of things that we still cling unto (at a superficial level?). What are the other alternatives? Lest, we continually regress to a pointless corner altogether.

The issues highlighted above might not be THE issue back home. Yet somehow, these issues brought me home. How can changes be alternatively effected? Can there be any? The cynics say NOPE.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A day in the life of a volunteer

(caveat! this is quite detailed, made on siesta hour!)

I still wake up ahead of my alarm clock but the cold mornings down under keeps me longer in bed (ahem) than when I was in my happy old city. I do my morning ritual creatively and grope for my mug of tea (simply because the coffee at home is nescafe!) after I turn my laptop on...

Work follows... I am online most of the day with a huge bar called BUSY most of the time. My work is just at my fingertips, connecting people and looking at how they do the things. In some mornings, I discuss things with Stefan, critically look at things and agree on how we proceed.

At times we take lunch at the parish office and continue to work from there or, we go on to virtually hole up in front of the computer. Routines would change when meetings are scheduled. I get to see a lot of the city when we attend forums and discussion groups.

The local melbourne news will be on in the evening and dinner follows. I get to chat with my friends before dinner. The wonders of internet keeps you in touch with dear friends far and near.

The computer is on until midnight. Sometimes, I do it for personal reasons: updating blogs, reading news, chatting online with friends. I do work too! I update some presentations and lucidly think about the implementation part of the project.

No pubs and bars for me to go but I don't miss it much. Those are more interesting when friends are there. I can't take them with me. The itinerant longs for those spirited laughs but is content with what she does... The direction and meaning is there. It is important.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I spoke in four masses today. I got more inspired and affirmed seeing hope becoming real and concrete through the simple acts of solidarity that my adoptive parish takes. We got the whole parish together to sponsor some aboriginal people from Darwin for the World Youth Day program in sydney next year.
My parish creatively raised funds for them through the Melbourne Cup Sweep. It is through a raffle draw that depends on the winner of the great horse racing event in Melbourne next week.
So far, the parish already raised 1,000 AUD not counting the last mass.
Indeed, humanity is too good and generous after all...

Saturday, 27 October 2007

making sense

barely half-filled backpacks lugged anywhere
toting thoughts and abstract plans...
i go by the hour, i take the train.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Awes and wanders: by the 'spires'

by the 'spires'

i didn't appreciate much of the architectural grandeur that you showed while walking past by at you. it was when i shivered at the blow of the wind that i forced myself to seek for sun... you are no ordinary structure just like the rest of the people i listened to...
but i still seek for the warmth and the soul that you can certainly offer. please don't allow the hardening of more hearts and the concreting of more goals. it is okay if we slip and get disturbed by pebbles along the way... just make us feel alive, breathing, struggling...
by then, you won't become another ordinary skyline feature and a landmark to behold...

awes and wanders

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Celebrating our Rice (Ryan's photo reflections)

Will I be able to feed my children?

Poetry for the people...

A reply to the many worries people take when it comes to rice questions...

Tadiyandi is just around, uncompromising with its faith in the local culture... We won't let up our passion to be Filipino...

We hold on to our indigenous rices too dearly...

RICE FEAST! (Farmers from all over the province)

Alternative leaders of this island, please be true to your promise to the farmers. You feed us tonight but that promise can even feed the unseen children of the future...

And the consumers...



Young People for Development and not for GMO

(Photo credits: Ryan Macalandag)

Rice Reflections


October 17, 2007 the Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agiculture and Development (BISAD) supported by the Young People for Development (YPD) organized a cultural night in to commemorate the world food day celebration and to strongly say NO TO GMO RICE!
PHOTO CREDITS: Ryan Macalandag.

No matter how much I call you, you fill up my senses, give me energy.

My creative ancestors wrapped you up in coco palm. The seafaring Boholano blended their need for rice and the way to keep it fresh for a long time.

The drought is over, the last harvest insures a good supply of food for the next month. I can't contain my joy. It is truly appropriate that we pay tribute to the rice.

you might not know of the different rices existing in our province. If you open us up, be surprised at the different varieties that you can discover. Please take the pain to educate your peers about the loss of the many indigenous rice at the onset of the hybrids...

Keep GMO off our province, we have so much of varieties to keep.

It takes pain to bring rice to our tables but we know how to balance our life. we find solace in the music that we play and the community that be belong to...

Sir, please keep us in mind when you think of investments and development. If you can't see past us, just keep the rice in mind...

Please share what happened in your next meeting with the Chamber of Commerce.


Hunger is equated to rice...

In Bohol, we specially cook rice on a 'woven' coco palm to complete the barbecue fare. Boholanoes as seafaring people 'invented' the hanging rice or puso to make it more handy for the travelers and for it to last longer...

When am hungry, that means I crave for rice. Friend, the one hanging on top is not for aesthetic value. It is done to pay tribute to the rice that is on our tables, filling us up to satisfaction when needed. The one hanging is not meant for you to suffer with pangs of hunger, to salivate at the thought of having it without the means to buy the RICE...

The longest rice was hung at the City Plaze to commemorate the World Food Day Celebration. The rice was cooked by the farmers. They prepared 2 sacks of organic rice for the activity. The rices are of different varieties.

I can't describe my happiness. It has been months that I suffered from the drought. We don't have to take rice every meal--- a rationalization I say to myself or my family. But, we can have puso in some special occasions...

The Bohol Chamber of Commerce, Inc. President signing to make Bohol's rice untainted of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)

Sir, please keep us in mind. We know that we have to uphold our freedom to choose, to be assured of good health and freedom in the way we live our life. But we are just ordinary farmers. In that signature, can you insure that our voices are heard, loud and clear?

I have lived in the city for so long. I miss the ricefields and its smell during harvest time...

My child, will you be able to appreciate the craft and the effort involved in planting our staple food? Will I be able to feed you enough? What would you be?

My boy, we have been here for so long. We tilled the rice from the time we knew how to ride the water buffalo... Don't worry much. Find a balance! We survived finding solace in our music and tending to our field in the daytime...

PROMISE TO US that you share to your little boy the pride in farming and the respect in the rice. Promise to us that you continue the struggle

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Accounting Saturday

(September 29, 2007)

Traffic and the unbecoming thought of coming in late made me jump out of bed on time. As I showered, I have to tell myself that Manila is one place where one must add an average of two hours of travel time in order to keep appointments. It was excitement that pushed me to make it an effort to be on time despite the tempting look of my bed and the balmy morning that greeted me.

Yes, we were just on time. I enveloped myself with all the hugs and greetings I got. People were surprised to see me. I really come from afar. It was a joy to be there. It was another reunion that I have to attend.

I met the people of the “first generation”. There was Jun that I tag Mr. Courage and Faith. He battled with his kidney problem for three years. The haemodialysis kept him going twice weekly. There was Grace whom I thought already left the country to advance her career but was all along in the neighbouring province of Cebu. The South Luzon group was also there. Their sense of community disarmed me.

Friends from the World Youth Day era were also there. I was surprised to find that some of them still gladly keep in touch with each other. Such friendship nurtured and cherished! Actually, the first generation and the world youth day group seemingly interspersed with each other.

I would have stuck myself to that group were it not for my Kolkata experience. I was blessed to join the team who went to the pilgrimage of trust last year. It renewed my ties with the newer blood of Taizé permanents and youth volunteers of the Philippines. We gladly described our selves as ‘old but new’… Only three from the group of durglets were unable to come and cherish the first year anniversary of our journey to India.

Bro. Aloi’s reflection on the life of Bro. Roger entitled “Trust in God, Peace of Heart and Inner Combat” was the focal point of prayer and sharing. Interestingly, he opened a side of Bro. Roger that we didn’t experience and that was his anxiousness. What amazed me was his ability to channel that supposed paralysis to creativity. The ‘inner struggle/combat’ was very much alive just like any ordinary person but he was able to go beyond all of those.

We capped our day by sharing the itineraries of our journey. It was beautifully done. Listening to other’s paths made me feel convinced that life doesn’t run out of people who make sure that other’s lives will become beautiful.

An uneasy afternoon

I was late for the funeral mass. I just got back from so many errands (although others will call it work.) But we were on time for the funeral procession for the cemetery. We were added to the pile of cars that came for the funeral. We were an attendance, a statistic.

What unfolded at the cemetery was a drama. The cries and the moans were not the ordinary sorrows of loss and guilt. Everybody knows that it was more than that. Perhaps others cried thinking that they could have cared or have gotten more involved. Others just realized the consequence of the decisions that they have made. Others cried out of shame or apathy of the situation.

I also shed a tear. It was a tear of helplessness. We buried a beautiful soul whose only mistake was to hope. She hoped for a rosy future and a solid family. She begged for love and attention. She worked so hard at becoming perfectly best. To our humane standards, she was unable to cope. Her health failed. Perhaps, she died of consumption.

Her death is a reminder that life offers no guarantees. The choices we make will always continue to disturb us. The subsequent actions does not guaranty any result.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Angkor Wat and its splendor

I was plain lucky or simply called to wander into the hallowed grounds of Angkor wat. It was just greatness in every sense of the word. I walked through its halls and byways and touched the historic grandeur of the proud people whose past was somehow 'deleted' in many ways... Pol Pot or any devastations can't just erase the proud past of the people there. Climbing through the pagoda was a grand celebration of humanity for me.

My heart bled from the immense work that the Khmers must do to save the temples. The world owes much to history. Yes, we must also do our share of saving them.

This leads me to my own questions of some other historic greatness that my people should also celebrate. What mammoth past do we have?

My heart was torn... I can't also bear to simply climb through rails and mazes and treks to all the the past and say yeah, we were great. That past must also continue coherently....

I clicked my heart away in Vietnam...

Anytime, am definitely going back there. The people are hardworking, unaffected by the development around them. The tall buildings and the poshness around the city center did not deter the ordinary people from peddling their wares. It is very normal to have the setting above just anywhere in Ho Chi Minh. I can't imagine if Makati will be full of people cooking puto in the middle of a busy walkway. Won't the MMDA chase them off?

The children accepts the reality as it is. There is nothing wrong with the seeming 'misplacement' of sorts in there.

I can't also forget the face of the schoolgirl who sells flowers and chewing gum after classes. She charmed her way around that no ordinary tourist can resist her sales pitch once you listen to her. Hard work and sheer determination.

Let's have some snacks!

We went down for some drinks at a restaurant some hours away from Phnom Penh. I was excited to finally reach Angkor and I was counting the hours away.

A local girl tugged my sleeves and asked me if I want some snacks. I told her that if it is something native, I'll go for it. She held my hand and took to me to THE STALL. "I'll treat you! It's my favorite!" Indeed, it was yummy. The treat is not for the fainthearted but any traveler should have some. It is no blogging material for the gustatorily 'boring' type. But truly! It's yummmm... crack crack...

meeting the ghosts of S-21

S-21 was a school transformed into a torture chamber as a way of purging the 'dissidents' of Pol Pot regime. The eerie atmosphere with the 'live' gadgets that shouts of excruciating pain gave away the place. My only connection with the area was the movie The Killing Fields that I saw years ago.

The authorities didn't do much glossing up about the place which made it more real. Going through the rooms and the different storeys of the building would enrich once imaginations. "NO smiling and laughing" was hung on the walls. It reminded the people to pray for the repose of the souls who died in 1975. Faces of people who suffered were displayed on the walls. The innocence of the kids bearing their names and the resignation of the older ones haunt me till now.

I wouldn't be surprised if people could hear moans and sighs of excruciating pain at S-21. The reminder of the terror that 'was' in the cells and the tools used were still there. I was utterly depressed by it all.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Behind the shutters

Extra sweet luggages come along the way when i travel. One of which is my camera. Although a decade old, it is still a priority when i travel. At times, it has become more of a liability for me to carry such a bulky equipment. Yes,yes, many traded in their SLRs to a handy digital camera wherein one can delete unwanted photos and funny focused shots. i still remained in the old age...

lately, i noticed that i lost the novelty of posing in front of a monument or a statue. Am just contented to take photos of places and unknown faces. In phnom penh and indochina in general, I was just lost in the thousand of subjects that I clicked the shutters away... (ironically, I haven't developed them...)

Now, I am fully rested and is waiting for the time when my negatives will be developed and I will get a self-scolding at the importance or profanity of the subjects I caught...

(pics to follow of course)

Monday, 23 July 2007

Climate Change

I have always been complaining about how warmer the earth has become and how inconvenient it is to stay outdoors. It has become a liability to expose myself to the sun. The skin gets burned and my head comes to a bursting pain.

In Phnom Penh, I am put to shame at how shallow I am when it comes to the issue on global warming. Technically (intellectually perhaps), I could connect the issue to climate change to the warming of the earth. I also put this into action by avoiding the installation of an aircon in my home. However, it is just simply an act of avoidance as I spend most of my warmer times at work and my office enjoys the airconditioning.

I can be alarmed to the point of fear and freeze in mobility or do something drastic and put more passion on this cause. I can also try to change my lifestyle a little bit more. But in truth, as I type on this blog, I put the fan on.

What can we possibly do? Reduce consumption and use, REUSE the things that we used, RECYCLE in order not to burden the earth and, OFFSET what cannot be avoided. We have grown so complicated to the point of sophistication. We are more vain. So, the idea of offset is more plausible.

The What and the Hows of Offsetting

For me to travel to other countries, I have to take the flight. However taking the plane uses up more energy and fuel than any other mode of transport. But this cannot be avoided in my context as I live in an island. So, I have to pay inorder to offset my carbon credits.

In the payment, I have to choose groups that would fully make use of the credits and gave back the most of it to its people. This is ethical living to the maximum level.

There are also groups who looked into some projects that would help reduce the emission carbon dioxide to the air. I think it is worthwhile to do this.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

On blogging

Sige lang kag blog diha
Daghan sigurog Iningles?
Adunay nakit-an nga nindot o nadungog nga hilas?

Wa siguroy buhat?
Apan nganong si inday magparôk man gani sa ka-laay,
Sige lang ug mugtok, di man lagi maka-blog

Tingali, adunay maayohon nga ka-chat
Dili uy, daghan og gustong pasuyaon
Lapas na man gud og 800 ang sulod sa friendster.

Basin baya og adunay suliran o problema
Unsa, utang? Kaon ra may gisaligan
Ang suroy ra man nga banana cue ni manang

Sige lang siya og blog kay sige man sad kag basa
Imo mang gi-bookmark ug gisuhid ang mga lakang
Labaw pa jod sa artista

Imo pa jod nga gipanabi ang latest sa iyang life
Di ba moderno nga panglili na nâ?
Wa pa jod ka matagbaw?

Monday, 2 April 2007

Experimenting with the lenses

Title: Romance with Tanduay...

Self-pic (aka self portrait--- my hand ached as i took the photo myself)

Title: Desolation

I tried to be 'serious' with my lenses and I just wanna share some of the shots...

The Butterfly


More and more, I felt my wandering.
I just can't help it.
I am a butterfly...

Flitting away to places, meeting faces, nodding at issues.

Boredom rising...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

To simply love

Avocado Road on March 26, 2007 was a hub of activity at 4:30 in the morning. Most of us prepared to leave the house in order to skip the traffic. Our destination was the Shrine of the Divine Word at the Christ the King Seminary. We will attend the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Fr. Leopoldo (Pol) Jaucian, svd. Half-awake, we took the cab towards the site and greeted the sun rising over metro manila.

The Shrine was full of people who had close encounters of him. St. Jude Parish and the Catholic School was in full force. The crowd was a representation of people whom he worked with through the years. There were even guests from outside the country. I could feel the outpouring joy and love by the people for him. There was this lady who clicked hundreds of photos even before the ceremony started. The jubilant response of the people would say it all. The people cheered (even cried) even at the start when Fr. Pol marched down the aisle...

I noticed that the seating arrangement was color coded. We were included into the yellow code that meant 'others'. Still at the very end, our affiliation with Pol cannot be fully identified. I also noticed that it was the unidentified 'others' portion of the shrine that was easily filled up. They were the very people who cheered most and was so excited to catch a glimpse of the new bishop...

The ceremony lasted for a long time. What brought home to all those rituals were the words of Card. Rosales---"the main work of a bishop is to simply love... pray!-- it is in praying that you maintain your intimacy with Jesus... this is the only way that you would remain faithful to your call..." Tough! It made me wake up...

The people listened to the Cardinal on his homily. The order was so tall but the people seem to silently say--he can do it. He did that for a long time! For those who closely know Monsignor Pol, no convincing is needed that indeed he is such a very good person. I CANONIZED HIM! How can I resist from my not doing so? His vocation called for higher things. Now, he will be with his people in Abra. He is there to love.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Brand New Day

I rummaged through my clothes today in search for something lavander to wear. It is women's day and I felt like celebrating. In the messy things in life, I chose to see the brighter side and focus on the things that I can do well and efficiently.

I dress up to give support to my boss who, in the political arena, was accused of betraying her party... It was not that way in the real sense. She was just true to her mandate and tried very hard to collaborate with everyone. However, when it worked, the people in her party were disappointed. The people benefited. However, the city gains did not win her a ticket to her party. She was booted out.

This gave me the necessary excuse to go out with a friend and do some sharing. Caffeine and talk goes together more than anything. One of the questions raised after our talk was 'what power lesson can we get out of it?' I kept quiet and said that the lesson is recycled--- when one goes against the grain, one will get crucified...

So much for this rantings... I just hope to see a new city with higher goals and higher thoughts. I just wish that leaders would look beyond affiliations and for once get moving.


I gave her the 'lamp post' award. She might stand alone but it radiates too much light. It deters crime from happening and attracts all the tiny insects around her... Goodness attracts but may not go well with politicking...

Monday, 5 March 2007

Karaang Balay

I was previliged to watch a play two weeks ago (check out the lifestyle section of the Bohol Chronicle). For lack of time to write, let me show some unedited photos about it. The play was performed at the Malon House, one of the old houses in Baclayon, Bohol that faced the controversial threat of demolition to pave the way for a road widening... The play was directed by Gardy Labad, Bol-anon by heart, blood and choice...

Guests included Inno Manalo of the Ayala Foundation.

More photos on my picasa account...