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Jalan-Jalan with Jerwin in Singapore

Jalan-Jalan with Jerwin in Singapore
Photo by Jerwin Allen Malabanan

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Deleting Friends who don't have me in their Circles. It doesn't make sense to keep them at all.

The number of Friends who have me in their Circles should be equal to the number of Friends I have in mine.
Everybody loves a teacher who is student-oriented rather than subject-oriented.
Complacency, not conceit, is every artist's downfall.
Your house should be a joy, but most especially should your bedroom be.
Love without expecting reciprocation, and be happy.
No one is unloved, and neither are you, but the persons who do love you do not bother to tell you that they do.
Always keep bottled water by your bedside.
Loose clothing subconsciously encourages you to put on more weight.
Everyone must have a place in their house where they can be all alone if they want to.
Whenever you have too much of something, the cosmos will usually take some away from you.
The wind can tie knots in the air and can also unravel them.
Sometimes a person who is down in the dumps can be revitalized by an exciting project, because creativity is the best response to stagnation.
There is such a thing as post-typhoon depression, so watch out for it.
Maturity is a premium in literature and in art. That is why it is the works of older writers and artists that more likely contain wisdom.

My Third Morion Mask

Arnold sold me his centurion mask because he is upgrading to a fiercer-looking mask.

Arnold in his Morion get-up inside the appliance store where he works and in the street.

I observe from the people who consult me that one of the greatest causes of misunderstanding between children and parents is that the children cannot conceive that their parents have their own needs and fantasies.

If mosquitoes are dragons
It is why I cannot see
The miniscule people
Who live beneath them

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It is easier to teach persons in their dreams if they are in a totally different time zone.

However, it is wonderful to be able to teach and touch persons in their dreams whenever they are in the same time zone as yours.
Sometimes your pain is on your left. Sometimes your pain is on your right.

Bathe or shower with hot water only.
Photos of Moriones Bulaklakan, not to be confused with the centuriones

Courtesy of Pie Horindo, Department of Tourism, Marinduque

I have one such mask. My other three masks are centuriones. I cannot take them out of their wrapping and photograph them pending the construction of a glass etagere to place them in.


"Field of Bones"

For my on-line Dream Journal

Recap of the Day: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Iftar holiday. I went out and took a long walk on Aurora Boulevard, searching for an old friend's hardware store. A few years ago they were compelled to move their store from Farmers Market to the boulevard. I never saw my friend again after that, and we have ceased sending each other Christmas gifts. I did not find the store. I surmised that it finally shut down and opened in another location. I was too tired to walk back home and I took a taxi.

Aubrey had two birthday celebrations today: one with the family and another with her friends, who gave her a surprise visit with food and gifts.

In the afternoon I posted 2011 Spirit Quest photos on my Google+ profile page and indicated that that was the last Spirit Quest I conducted as a group and that I decided it is better to go on such activities alone rather than in groups.

Before sleeping I started re-reading Ben Okri's In Arcadia. Its characters are hardly attractive and I am still deciding whether to include it in our fifth library flush-out or not.

The Dream:

Title: "Field of Bones"

I am surprised to recall this dream, albeit only fragments of it and not its entirety, considering that I woke up by alarm and prepared to go to work immediately upon rising.

In this dream I am once again with my frequent dream company--a group of young men and women who are my students and whom I give lessons to in their and my dreaming state. We are on the huge balcony of an office building that looks out, across the street, on the compound of erstwhile Maryknoll College, now Miriam College.

My students are eager to assist me in a task that I am about to undertake. Unbeknownst to them we are supposed to segregate bones in a cemetery. I make a list and divide my students into subgroups. I secretly hope that they will not be terrified of what I will assign them to do.

Prior to giving my students instructions I go to the men's room and decide to shave off my hair and my moustache. For some reason I neglect to shave off the left side of my moustache and my beard, which is black and coily like the beard tentacles of Davey Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean.

I look out onto the compound across the street. It is now a vast cemetery. Millions of skeletons and bones are on the grass, lying side by side. We have a formidable task ahead of us.

My Interpretation:

I recalled the major part of this dream because my psyche wants me to acknowledge and take appropriate action on its message.

This dream is about endings and beginnings. In the daytime I gave up on finding an old friend and resuming our friendship; Aubrey ended her 14th year and entered her 15th and is truly a young lady now despite the fact that I still call her, as I still call Angelique, my baby; I posted old Spirit Quest photos and was reminded that I ended group Spirit Quests in 2011 and conducted such activities alone afterward; I picked up an old book, one that hinges on the mystic phrase "ET IN ARCADIA EGO" ("Once Upon A Time I Also Was In Paradise") to re-read and decide its fate, whether to keep it on or off my bookshelves. These are the threads that connect the warp (my conscious side) to the woof (my unconscious side) in the tapestry of my daily life.

In the dream, a college campus (the venue of learning) has become a cemetery (the end of learning in a single lifetime). Even as I was dreaming I thought that this was the realm of the goddess of cemeteries, from whom I have been discovering the unimaginable. The skeletons and bones in this dream, however, are not dead people but events, experiences, relationships, and projects in my past, perhaps including previous lifetimes.

I am being called on to undergo a major change in my life, and so it is possible that this dream also has reference to my retirement. I shave off my hair and half my moustache, but neglect to shave off my beard because I am reluctant to let go of my old, "pirate" look--even if I know that this "death" is impending, and that I must take on a different "look" yet once again.

I must assort all of the "bones" of this and my previous lifetimes in order to be able to choose the new directions I should move into.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Only death can stop a writer.
Today I finally learned how to customize my posts on Google+.

Now not everyone will see everything that I post--on my profile page (click on the round profile picture on the right)  AND in my blogs--unless they are in one of my five Circles.
You don't have to lift a finger or say a word against your critics. Your spirit guides will take care of them in the most appropriate ways.
Yesterday morning, at the Octagon, I was drafting paragraphs in longhand with my TinTin pencil. One of the American officers was agog at the speed with which I write. His remark made me stop and reflect. It is possible that the computer age has already managed to slow down everyone else's handwriting.
Every holiday, like weekends, is a preview of my retirement. I begin the morning by structuring all the major house work that needs to get done. I do some writing, I do some painting, and I rest inside my bedroom if I have to. In the evening I review everything that I accomplished.

It is crucial for a bedroom to be bare and visually restful or to contain as many favorite things that one enjoys looking at or touching.
From Nonon Padilla: "Just found out there is a Tagalog term for irony--'paricala'! From dictionary of Juan de Noceda y Pedro de Sanlucar. Sophistication as early as 1754!"

Sometimes We Value Most Unlikely Books

Two years ago I conducted "Writing from The Heart" at Tahanan Ng Kabataan Ng Laguna, a drug rehab center in Magdalena, on the border of Quezon. One of the participants was a 15-year-old boy. He was already a father at that young age. During one of our sessions, which occurred on a visiting day, his girlfriend and their baby sat in as observers. I was able to enjoy their company and get to know them well.

The boy excelled in assembling three-dimensional, wooden puzzles. I'd brought ten of them and assigned five to groups of four for an exercise in focus and teamwork. Not only did he finish first, he begged to assemble the remaining five puzzles in my cache and managed to finished ahead of all the other groups as well.

On the last day of the workshop the boy gave me his most treasured possession: a voluminous, sci-fi paperback, the kind that people read on long flights. He asked that I treasure it also, and I promised that I would. I actually read the book at home; it wasn't bad, but it wasn't the type I'd have bought myself off a shelf.

We are on our fourth library flush-out now, and have sold off many volumes to tenants on our compound, visitors, and passersby. I did not include the boy's book in any of the flush-outs. In fact I took it out again last night and set it aside along with my favorites.

I promised the boy that I would treasure his gift, and that is exactly what I am doing.

Happy Eid-el-F'tir to all my Islamic friends!
There are times when, despite your mastery of your daily routine, you experience little snags and delays: a key does not turn properly in the lock, you drop a coin and must pick it up, you forget to switch off a light and must go back and switch it off, and so on. Whenever this happens, do not get annoyed with yourself.

Sometimes our spirit guides distract us and delay us in order to prevent our walking into accidents. Had you crossed the street a split-second earlier, for instance, you might have gotten run over by a truck.

And so, always look for the blessing behind delays.
Never use shampoo straight from the bottle. Take a bigger, translucent, container, pour the shampoo into it, and dilute it with water. You may go for a 50% shampoo-50% water solution, or a 30% shampoo-70% water solution. Shake well. This makes your shampoo milder and prevents your scalp from developing itches and pustules.

After shampooing your hair, rinse off immediately, and rinse off well. Do NOT keep the shampoo on while soaping and scrubbing the rest of your body. While it makes a pretty picture, it is not good for your scalp.

Using the same brand of shampoo is like smoking the same brand of cigarettes for too long--you develop smoker's cough and must temporarily switch to another brand.

In the end, of course, you can live without smoking,

In fact you can also live without shampoo.
They who do not listen will not be heard.
Whenever a mother is ill the entire house is in gloom.
Do not be disappointed with having to improvise. Consider it a challenge to your creativity.
It is too easy to fall in love with a dancer. All you have to do is watch a performance.

Monday, July 28, 2014

They brought you back to life.

What other sign do you need from them?
And to you, I say:

But what if, when he grows old, he is no longer cute?
The triumph of beauty is not ephemeral as long as it remains in the minds of others.
Don't be afraid to write in a beautiful notebook thinking that you will spoil it. It is there for you to use and to enjoy.

A good notebook, good paper, and good pens improve your writing.

Think in terms of cooking--is it not more fun to use the best utensils for yourself, and does it not improve your cuisine?
Youth has maturity only when it knows the parameters of youth.
You can really have only ONE best friend. All other good friends are fast friends.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Always remember that your career dictates the nature of your future illnesses.
It is the season of the Serpent, but the Scorpion is riding on its tail.
Too much sex develops a propensity for violence, and violence is extremely offensive to the spirit.
When facing a Taladro, bear in mind that the "left" side is not your left but the left of its principal figure.

If you have a massage ball like this, it can help you go to sleep at night. It is made of soft rubber. I believe it is available in malls.

When in bed, place the ball on your pillow and secure it between the top of your head and your headboard, so that the rubber spikes press lightly on your scalp. Close your eyes, focus on the pressure, visualize a still object or scene, and then make your mind hang like a frozen computer screen.

Do not resent the fact that you do not have complete happiness, because no one has it, not even the people whom you think do.
Though a hermit lives alone and far away from everyone else, he is constantly sought out by others.
He sorely needs to change his speech writer, because whoever it is does not write in the language of the people.
The bigger your house, the more you will spend your entire life cleaning, repairing, and maintaining it.

A Preview of My Retirement from Work

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Slept ten hours last night, the first time I've been able to do so again after a month. I very much look forward to doing this as often as I can upon my retirement, which will be in a little more than seven months from now. Oversleeping truncates my day but makes me feel completely rested and healed, and I have the option of staying up late at night and do some writing--except for tonight, of course, since I am still employed and must reset my alarm for a full week in the office.

I am jumping out of my skin to retire because:

--I am fed up with commuting and do not want to ride in yet another train or bus.
--I am 63 and will have given 36 years of service to the office by the time I retire--that is more than half my age and I want to live the rest of my life for myself.
--I wish to live the rest of my life without a supervisor and co-workers.
--I need to finish more cyberspace books, novels, paintings, and short stories before I say goodbye.

The biggest irony about my prospective, post-retirement life is that many of the consultancy offers I have been receiving entail my traveling far away from home. I made it clear to all that distance and salary are of no concern to me as long as I am transported to and from my home each time. Yes, you can only have me via door-to-door shipment. The traffic situation in this metropolis is hopeless, and has become a cause of anxiety, dysfunction, and mental disorder to others.

It is a languid day for me, yet another advance experience of my retirement, when I can enjoy a one-hour breakfast, a two-hour lunch, and a two-hour supper. Time is wealth and health. I can't wait to be rich and in good shape.

The cable company to which my TV is subscribed has been having connectivity problems since last week. I am unable to tune in to the news and to old movies, but I am appreciative of the stillness and the silence. It is an apt transition from a week in Marinduque to a week in Metro Manila. So must we value our weekends. They are not ends but pre-beginnings, providing us time to recap, to summarize, to synthesize, to align and center ourselves, in preparation for the days ahead.

I am now at the kitchen table writing in my TinTin notebook and having a cup of brown, Baguio tea. The pages of the notebook have been filling up with black-ink scribbles from my dragon pens. It has occurred to me that, once I have consumed and torn off all its sheets, its covers can be used as a file folder to contain my ideas for as-yet-unwritten short stories. Should I decide to buy more of them, their covers could contain other ideas for novels, magical spells, paintings, workshop syllabi, and house improvement.

While still employed I can write only two hours a day. This is the same advice I give my creative writing workshop participants, as I advise my art students to sketch anatomical figures also a minimum of two hours a day. One begins writing and drawing for oneself, as in a diary. Posted in cyberspace they become available to the world and are accessed by others, whether on purpose or by accident. Whichever way that happens, you manage to touch their lives by what your heart was saying.

In the end, you write not really for yourself but for your fellow human beings, long after you have affixed the period to your last sentence.

Sometimes, when you stop and reflect that your life and your art are so different from those of others, it makes sense that so must your religion be.
Google+ Followers may now read GUIDELINES FOR THE COMING WEEK on my Google+ page.

Just click on my circular profile picture on the right-hand column.
Marinduque Psychic Backlash

As what always happens after I visit a place, at least a dozen people in Marinduque are now thinking of me, reaching out to me mentally, and asking me questions they were unable to ask when I was with them.
Always reserve special gifts not for the persons who welcome you upon your arrival but for the persons who, at the end of your visit, bother to come and say goodbye even if they really don't have to.

What is an octopus
But a sea tree
That hydrates itself
Faster than an earth tree?
The only way to lose is to do so with good cheer, knowing that other victories are reserved for you. For, in the end, all will truly be equal, with the same amount of losses, victories, punishments, and rewards on their tally sheets.
There are many things I am thankful to broadcasters for:

--Being on call 24/7
--Being available night and day, rain or shine
--Performing consistently even whey they are ill or not in the mood
--Making painstaking efforts to look presentable all the time and no matter what
--Remaining calm, steadfast, and amiable in the face of criticism
--Having the courage to expose anomalies in society, no matter who the perpetrators are
--Encouraging the people to be civic-minded
--Stressing the importance of being service-oriented
--Inculcating the urgency of taking action, or being proactively constructive
--Listening as well as talking
--Accommodating everyone who contacts them or responds to them
--Keeping themselves up to speed on a wide range of topics and current events

There are many things I am not thankful to broadcasters for:

--Assuming that everyone is a Christian, and believing that the terms "faith" and "salvation" are exclusive to Christians
--Being heavily opinionated rather than intelligent
--Revealing their personal biases
--Presuming that others are not doing their job well, or are not doing their best
--Clowning around on the air
--Making fun of people on the air
--Discussing their family life and their personal problems on the air
--Thanking people for gifts they receive on the air
--Not recognizing that we are a pluralistic, multicultural society
--Showing off to audiences that they are in dangerous situations, and selecting the riskiest locations to be shot against
--Not distinguishing between journalism and melodrama
--Auditioning for awards
The problem with teaching obedience is that you teach treachery at the same time.
Boredom is the fruit of undiscovered creativity.
Even long after a building has been destroyed, you may continue to enter it and leave it in the astral realm, but you must know exactly where its doors were originally located.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Marinduquenos take pride in the fact that their province is, by measured distances, the heart of the Philippines. The main island is even heart-shaped.
Marinduque has no indigenous peoples, but Dindo told me that the Hanunuo of the neighboring island Mindoro have four-note instruments similar to the seven-note instruments used in the kalutang.

Dindo composes music.
Almost everything in Marinduque shuts down at 8:00 PM, but then again so does my hermitage in Cubao.

I was even under the impression that Gasan has a 10:00 PM curfew, or so Zebra suggested.
Everyone in Marinduque is friendly to strangers. Even the people in the streets smile and greet you "Magandang hapon po," a favorite expression that is always recited cheerfully and sincerely.
Mayda, the Philippine Information Agency representative in Marinduque, traces the name of the province to "Maring" and "Duque", equivalent to "Maganda" and "Malakas" who emerged into being from a split bamboo tree.

Dindo, the Department of Tourism director in Marinduque, has three versions: "Mariin"  (from the word "dinit") and "Duque"; the phrase "Mara-on-duque" meaning, "The sea is everywhere;" and the name of Mount Dinalig, which is the highest mountain in the province.
Marinduque has six municipalities: Boac, Mogpog, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista, and Torrijos. Again, I am reminded of Siquijor, which is also an island and has six towns.

Marinduque is commemorating the Battle of Pulanglupa September 13 this year.

It has three traditional, cultural heritage forms: the Moriones, the putong, and the kalutang.
You are the writer and the artist, and you are the creator in control.

Never allow your medium to take control over you.
Men love the color white but do not have the stamina to maintain its purity.
Anger will always be associated with destruction.
Too many plants spoil the garden. Too many trees spoil the forest.
Earth, air, and fire become jealous whenever you are over-awed by water.
The little boy cannot wait to be independent of his family.
Watch out for a pair of twins who will be born at the end of this month. They will grow up to be great movers and shakers, whose tandem genius will astonish the world.
There will always be fireflies where there is no insecticide.
Every fear has a cause within as well as a cause without.
Someday in the future it might be possible for people who are discontent with their country to simply disconnect and move on to another, the way one can delete one's current blog and create one's paradise on another.
There is no such thing as freedom from responsibility.
In a poorly directed film, characters giving each other lingering looks on close-up in moments when they should really be running away from danger can be very annoying,
I can always sense whenever my granddaughters are thinking about me, no matter how far away I am from them.
If you don't fill in the blanks, fate will fill them in for you.
Love is undying when it is spiritual. It is ephemeral when it is physical.
Yesterday morning, while packing in my cottage, I saw the Reycard Duet, who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, in a 1950s, black-and-white, comedy-musical-melodrama on C1. I felt not nostalgia but overwhelming pathos for young stars who must live on in celluloid whilte they age in real life.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dindo's photos of my putong in the Provincial Hall of Marinduque

Friday, July 25, 2014

Don't just level up. Set the bar ten notches higher.
Imperialism has the deepest roots in religion and in entertainment.
The users of technology upset the god of technology.
Overexposure finally gives the young broadcaster's gender away.
To every mage, air is as tangible as water. It is a medium of transmission. Like water, it takes on shapes, and is capable of being shaped into other forms.

In Marinduque (Friday, July 25, 2014)

Friday, July 25, 2014

As the goddess of the storm granted me safe passage from Cubao to Marinduque, so does she grant me safe passage home. It is a bright, sunny, scorching morning. The carpenters and gardeners are out doing chores--more Paul Bowles characters in an unwritten novel.

I finally tell Zebra that the place is inhabited by tikbalangs. Santan is their favorite flower; wherever this flower proliferates, tikbalangs are sure to live nearby. Zebra is thrilled, and is thankful that I did not tell him this before last night.

We proceed to the passenger terminal at the Port of Cawit, which is closer to our hotel. Zebra buys our fare on a larger boat.

Mayda sends me text messages; she wants to see us at the pier before we leave. She has a surprise for me. She also wants me to meet her middle child, Paulo.

While waiting for Mayda to arrive I check out the coffee table book on Marinduque that the Office of the Governor and the Department of Tourism gave me.

Mayda's big surprise: a chestnut-brown horsetail! I've always wanted one, to create a whisk with. The whisk is a scepter of power, actually, and is used to spread out magical energy. It is the sure sign that the goddess of the storm has blessed this journey.

Other gifts from Mayda: another necklace with Morion pendant...

...and three Morion bookmarks carved out of soft wood.

Mayda's son Paulo.

I give Mayda gifts as well: a mother-of-pearl cameo pendant and an anklet twined with bells.

The big vessel has air-conditioned sections and open-air sections, four levels, a cafeteria on the third level, multiple staircases, and viewing decks in the rear. Since there is no Pepsi Max available I buy myself a bottle of Mountain Dew at the food counter. A young woman steps up and asks the salesperson, who is standing in front of me, to charge the battery of her cell phone She greets me. She is one of the police inspectors who participated in my workshop. I hardly recognize her because she is in civilian clothing. She is en route to attend yet another training seminar in Batangas.

At the end of this trip she will come up to the topmost level, where I am, and I will give her the Haring Bakal one-eye-coconut talisman that I am wearing.

Zebra follows me to the fourth level, where the smoking area is.

I take pictures of the foam below the stern. I am fascinated by the way the water churns in four, separate columns and then dissipates and merges with the waves once more, hundreds of meters in our wake.

Even if the sun is out and our trip commenced in calm waters, there are, somewhere in the middle of the path, rough waters--"water pockets" equivalent to air pockets on flights. Each time this happens, though, I remind myself that I prefer to be exactly where I am rather than sitting before my computer in the office.

There is a portion of the ferry boat ride where we seem to be in the middle of nowhere and there is no land in sight 360 degrees round us. It is the part of the ride that I enjoy most. It is the moment when I feel totally disconnected from my body and the world, and all my cares and concerns cease to exist.

There were many things we could have bought in Marinduque but did not: pieces of wooden sculpture from Mogpog because they were costly, images of Our Lady of Biglang-Awa because we were unable to go back to Boac Church, more varieties of sweetmeats because there were too many and I'd been given a bag of arrow root cookies and banana chips by our workshop organizers, buntal fabric from Torrijos because it was too far away, three-foot long, fresh yellow-fin tuna because we had no ice coolers to place them in, Moriones gear because we were required to pay for them in full and then wait for them a week to get done. I was happy with the friendships I'd established, especially the former owners of the masks I have, and with the snapshots I'd taken for my electronic diary.

At the Department of Tourism office yesterday afternoon, it was Dindo and Ding who told me that Marinduque has indigenous weaving crafts and is well-known for its buntal fabric. Torrijos, however, is 50 kilometers away from Boac. Dindo and Ding showed me samples of this exquisite, handwoven , product. I would not mind ordering some and having the curtains in Angelique's bedroom woven out of buntal.

Zebra has eaten biscuits for lunch in the ferry's cafeteria. I settle for a dry tuna sandwich and a cupcake inside the car. It is 4:30 PM and the sun is setting,

We go through the town roper of Lucena but the traffic is bad. Zebra takes a long detour that nonetheless ensures continuous driving,

I cannot hep but notice how thoughtful and well-organized Zebra is. In the back of the vehicle he even brought along, on a hanger, his embroidered, peach-colored barong, just in case I would need to be driven to a formal function.

Sunset in San Pablo. We listen to the news on the radio. The AM stations merge and emit sounds like those at a cheap, town carnival. It is 5:13 PM.

Twilight in Alaminos

Darkness falls on Santo Tomas.

Entering the SLEx 7:07 PM

7:30 PM. Metro Manila traffic begins. It is an especially bad day and night. According to the motor pool dispatcher the traffic has been abnormally heavy since 3:00 PM.

8:30 PM detour through Forbes Park

I arrive home 9:30 PM. Everyone is in bed. Zebra and the security guard assist me with my luggage. I offer Zebra a nice, square supper, but he, too, is eager to get home. He will probably reach his own home at midnight.

I take supper alone and afterward unpack, also alone.