felix felicis

felix felicis: May 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jux is closing T_T

Aside from this blog, which serves as my online journal of some sort, I’m also maintaining a photoblog for well, my photos. I’ve always been fascinated with photography so when I had my first smart phone, I began taking pictures just for fun. While Instagram and all its filters are artsy and fun, I know I have to own a real camera—one with lens and shutter and all. So there, last December I bought one! Hahaha! More photos came in. My photoblog was full of them and I’m so happy.

At least until now. T_T

On August 31, Jux will be closing and my photos will be without a home. As soon as I learned of the news, I had to immediately download all my files and frantically look for a new hosting site. Alas, I found none yet. Jux was a photosharing site and a nice blog all in one. And it’s suddenly closing. Here’s the reason why:

It’s sad to hear that they have to close. I’ve grown to love the site—it’s interface, the typefaces and all the other features it has. I have to look for another one again. In the meantime, I’ll be uploading a few photos along my entries. If you know a nice photo sharing site, lemme know. Thanks! 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gatsby? What Gatsby?

From Paste Magazine
“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn.
 “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

I had always been curious of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. Maybe because I’ve seen it in every to-read list I’ve come across. We never had the chance to read it in our high school lit class because we focused too much on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, Beowulf and Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Not that I don’t like them—I think that those stories really pushed me to read more literary pieces. It’s just that I felt we could have covered more literary masterpieces from the industry’s giants. But of course, that could be the subject of a whole new blog entry. Back to Gatsby.

I had the chance to borrow a copy from my office seatmate who is a fellow book hoarder. We suddenly had this habit of recommending titles and exchanging books. Hehe. I could have stuck with the e-book copy I illegally downloaded from the web but the smell of an old book just did the trick. Haha! For almost a week, my train rides to and from the office were spent listening to reading Nick Carraway’s narration on Gatsby’s life.

The first few pages were slightly boring. Or maybe it’s just the language. Just the same, I went on reading. Several more pages and I was actually enjoying the story. The Great Gatsby has a simple plot. Carraway, a struggling stocks agent in the 1920s and the story’s narrator, happened to become the neighbor of millionaire Jay Gatsby in a fictional town called West Egg. Every week, people from all over New York are flocking to Gatsby’s mansion for a night of merrymaking. Amid all the sparkle and glitter of his lavish parties, Carraway knew that Gatsby had only wanted to impress his teenage love: Daisy Buchanan. Such quest would significantly affect Gatsby’s fate in the end.

A friend (that’s our office ED) asked what I thought about the movie and the book and here’s what I told him. I liked the story even if it ended in an unhappy note. It was tragic and heartbreaking and at the same time beautiful. Of course, it was totally unfair to pin every single accusation to Gatsby while the Buchanans get to run away (sorry, spoiler). We could say the same to things that happen to us along the way—we’re blamed for things we did not do, and worse, we haven’t got any chance to defend ourselves. But the truthfulness evoked until the end was something that really got me. Injustice happens, even to the best of us. And while some get their dose of revenge or redemption, many more are not given that chance. So what do we do? I could say that Mr Wilson’s “God see’s everything,” statement before he set on looking the yellow car, was something we could hold onto. Or that everything will fall into its own places in due time. I don’t really know. I guess we’ll know it when unjust experiences come to us. For now, it’s a truth that we’d have to live through.

I’d like to think he agreed and then he said that he’s quite amused or curious or whatever that I thought about the story this way. I can’t remember my reply. Hahaha!

In other news, I watched the movie even before I finished the book. Hahaha! Anyhoo, no problem with that. I still finished it and I could say that the movie adaptation remained faithful to the original story. Baz Luhrmann and his team may have omitted several parts but it did not affect the overall feel and impact of the movie.

Similar to other movies Luhrmann headed, Gatsby was as splendidly designed as his other signature works (read: Moulin Rouge, Australia, Romeo and Juliet). It was also a nice move to infuse today’s hiphop and RnB tunes in the movie’s lavish party scenes. It’s like 1920’s Jazz reinvented.

4.5 out of 5

Found this over the net—Gatsby character map! Geeky and nice. Read on. Hahahahaha!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Surf’s Up in Laoag

Our coolest thing you can have in the sand. 4x4.

The last time I went to Laoag, we did 4x4 rides in their sand dunes. This year, with friends, we still did the rollercoaster 4x4 ride and then we added something more, SAND SURFING! One, because it was part of the package but two because, why not. Hahaha! We met up with Kuya Jun Musni, the 4x4 guy we met last time, who gave us a pretty good discount on the rides.

A year passed and a lot have changed in Barangay La Paz. There’s already concrete road jutting in between the vast arid landscape that is sand. For thirty minutes, we were bumping and screaming and laughing yet again while atop the vehicle. After one last bumpy ride, we spent our next thirty or forty minutes trying out sand surfing. It was really fun! We literally bathed under summer sun and the sands. Kulang nalang beach! Hahaha!

Those smiles faded as soon as the vehicle went amok. Hahaha!

See the tan lines?! Hahaha!

Flabs are still abs daw.

Ready, set, SURF!
If you’re planning to try it out on your next summer adventure, prepare PhP2,500. That already covers an hour’s worth of 4x4 rides and sand surfing. Rentals for ATVs are separately offered. Or visit their Facebook account for more details.

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Harry Pottery in Batac

After a grueling but super fun morning spent at Barangay La Paz’s sand dunes (that’s in Laoag), I begged asked my friends to visit the oldest potter in Batac and try out something new like shaping mud. Of course they gave in to my request because it’s within our route and because they want me to be happy. Chos. Haha!

Twenty minutes or so passed when our jeepney stopped over a pottery store just by the highway. We were asking ourselves if that’s already the place when I saw THE old lady shaping mud in her veined hands. “Eto na yun!” I remembered exclaiming. The rest was history.

That's Lola Paulina surrounded with freshly made pots.

I heard of Lola Paulina (if my memory serves me right) when I listened to Mayor Nalupta on one of the good practices sharing sessions I have attended. The session was focused on further localizing education through various local government efforts. In order to instill culture and a sense of history to the younger people of Batac, the local government thought of mainstreaming pottery again. It was one of their more steady streams of local income before; when the once sleepy town became one of the province’s urban hubs, pottery was sidelined and was left to the older people to pursue. Lola Paulina was one of the last traditional potters left in town who still pursues the craft and is willing to teach eager people.

I was just trying to be funny there
but the mold's really heavy. #truestory
While I was busy trying to shape a mound of mud, my friends did the informal interviews. We learned that Lola Paulina was working for the store. And we thought she or her family owned it. Customers from within Ilocos and those from nearby provinces really visit the store to purchase bulks of pots and other earthenware. They usually don’t get much, I think, because the stuff they sell are sold cheap. I mean their flower pots are ranging from PhP40 to 70 while the smaller versions are for PhP20-30. They even have miniature pots and chicken feeding plates sold for PhP5 and PhP10/3 pieces, respectively. When you compare those sold in Manila, there’s a huge price difference.

A few more minutes and I’m done with my pot. I only shaped mud through a mold which you might say is not really a legit form of pottery. I could have tried the more difficult stuff or wheeling and feeling all that mud in your hands but the guide said they’re not doing one yet. So we stuck with the mold. I felt happy with my finished product. It was slightly easy except on removing the shaped pot from the mold. I did make futile attempts but it was really heavy. I managed to remove it, though. Of course with help from our guide. Hehe.

I remembered it was on my bucket list. Another one done. When I was doing it, I felt like a town’s culture slowly slipping through my hands. I felt their hardship through the sweat that beaded my brows and their pride as soon as I finished one. Cheesy, eh? Yep. And fun. You should try it. :)

THAT'S MY UPSIDE DOWN POT! Happy girl here! :)

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Two cents on election day

A few more hours and we’ll be heading to the polls to cast our votes. To think 2010 was just like a few years ago and it was my first time to vote. Wow. This will be my second time. The excitement to use the machines diminished a bit but the interest to participate in yet another political exercise remains to be seen.

I should have written this before, but I haven’t got much time to sit down and just type down the words for this entry. Anyhoo, here are my two cents worth of advice for those people exercising their right duty to vote on the 13th.

First off, it has to be clear that as much as voting is a right we hold, it is also a duty that we have to be responsible for. Cliché as it may sound but Peter Parker’s uncle was right when he said that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” When you cast your vote later (that’s when the sun’s up), you’re not only doing things for yourself—you’re doing this, along with everyone else, for your fellowmen. If you choose to vote for a bad guy, and he happens to win, you really don’t have much ascendancy to complain because in the first place, you’re one of the people who put him to power. If the bad guy you chose happens to lose the race, that’s one good thing. But remember that the choice you made reflects the priorities and principles you hold. Now, if you choose not to exercise that right, stay at home or somewhere else to spend the whole day bumming around, then we really can’t do anything about that. But remember that you don’t have the right to complain if bad things start happening and it’s affecting you big time. That’s because you never participated in the elections: you did not make a choice, no you made a choice, and that’s to abstain from the whole democratic process. You did not just squander your only chance to contribute to putting good people in the position, you even mindlessly allowed evil to perpetuate by choosing to keep mum. So there, you have to use that right and do your duty of serving the country by putting good people into office.

But secondly, you don’t just vote. You also think about the choices you make. When you entered college, you choose a school that would be able to help you get through university life. When you eat in the restaurant, you don’t just choose Waldorf salad over chicken—you think about your appetite and even factor in the budget you have. When you shop, you don’t choose one dress from the other just at once. You think of what color will suit you or what design will flatter you. The same decision-making process can be applied when exercising our right to vote.

We don’t just put people in those public positions—we think of who to choose first because we know that the country’s and the people’s direction lies on their wisdom and ingenuity. So if we choose to put people who don’t even know how a bill becomes a law or how to properly engage in an intellectual discussion, I’m thinking we’re going to have a bad time.

Again remember, we are in a representative democracy so the people we choose to be on those positions REPRESENT us in many ways—our concerns, our aspirations and even the dreams we have. So putting dumb people there, as said, kind off reflects the level of dumbness we have as a people. We wouldn’t allow that so, no to dumb, opportunistic, agenda-setting politicians in our government.

Finally, the same family name does not mean much when it comes to public policy making. What your father or mother or elder sibling did, for that matter may or may not mean the same good policies implemented before. It maybe difficult to gamble for newer names and fresher faces in our legislative bodies, but I guess it is worth that risk. After all, elections are a democratic tool to ensure that power is properly and efficiently passed on from one citizen to another. Keeping it to one person or to the same family certainly goes against our understanding of democracy.

Again, we have to remember that they are just our representatives. We hold that power over them so being greedy on that brings more harm than good to a fledling nation like ours. Dr. Nicole Curato was right when she said that “Good dynasties are those willng to wither away.”

Power, prestige and fame maybe nice and beautiul and fun at times. But the longer we hold on to it, we end up paranoid. We continue to cling not knowing that we’re slowly drifting apart—the same way that had happened to Queen Cersei in the series A Game of Thrones.

These things have always been easier said than done. But it’s better to remind people of these even at the last minute. We’ve always wanted a better country of our own—a society we can be prouder of. I say, we start later when we mark those spheres and dye our nails. The results of our hardwork may take so much time; it is still worth that investment. 

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Shalom, Lolo Cadio

The last time we saw him, he was smiling beautifully. He still wore his usual pleated slacks, crisp barong and good old Oxfords; his white hair was carefully combed. He shook our hands and asked me and my siblings “Kamusta?” We told him we’re good. And then he asked us to say his hellos to our parents. “Ok po,” we said. He smiled again when we asked for his blessing. And then he bid us goodbye.

He was always a nice old guy to us—that elder man who would happily share his boxes of chocolates to everyone in the church. We grew up seeing how his graying hair turned to white but his smile never changed. His eyes would always light up when kids and adults alike would greet him right after Sunday services and ask for his blessing.

Christmases in the church were always made special with the poems he composes for kids and teenagers to recite. There’s a different piece for every age group. The nearest Sunday before Christmas Day, we deliver those poems we have memorized for three weeks and give our best to get the prize. I won once. The next year, I failed to memorize the poem so I was quite a laughingstock. We already forgot the lines, we never even understood most of the words that time —but what stuck were the fun memories of hearing those nicely written Filipino words recited with innocence and passion by kids eager to win.

We always took pride of learning the songs in our hymn book because most of those were translated from English to Filipino by him and his wife. Because we’re kids that time, we marveled at how they were able to do the translations and still sing it using the same tune when sang in English. I mean, that’s quite difficult. When we grew older, we already know most of the songs, at the very least the choruses. This time, we’re amazed at how they were able to retain the essence of the songs despite the translations. Genius.

My parents were close to him and his family. Pa and Ma looked up to him like a father. We have always considered him our extended Lolo even if we never called him Lolo once. I even promised to my parents that when I get married someday, he’ll officiate.

We saw him again last Monday night. He’s still smiling. This time, his hair was all-white and his eyes were closed. He still wore the Oxfords along with a nice tux. We saw him again. For the last time. There by the altar where people close to him sang praises and thanked the Lord for his wonderful life. As we listened to their words, we realized it was too long a time that we saw him last. As his daughter recited his farewell poem—the one he wrote while waiting for the light to come onto his deathbed, we learned more about the man we looked up to. He was not just an elder Pastor. He was also a grandfather-to-the-rescue, a gifted writer and a loving mentor. He touched a lot of lives and they cherished his kindheartedness and good-natured attitude on life.

I never got the chance to say goodbye to a man who inspired me to excel and push for greater heights. I would like to think that this entry is a fitting eulogy for a man who never failed to show a good example of undaunted service and commitment to Christ’s mission. I suddenly remember the lines of the song sung during the service, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful / May the fire of our devotion light their way / May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe / And the lives we live inspire them to obey / Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Lolo Cadio, we found you faithful. We will continue to press on towards that goal of spreading Christ’s Gospel. Someone like you made it happen; we know that we too can live a faithful life for the God we serve.


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