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Showing posts from June, 2014

Silent story-keepers

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It's one thing to feel lucky for being able to do what you love (say, write) for a living and quite another to do it on your own terms (say, write about what you actually love the way you want to).

Browsing through my photo albums, I came across the beautiful images of Manila American Cemetary and Memorial. I was assigned to do a story on it for Rektikano Magazine and, to date, it's been one of my favorite published works. Below is the original/unedited draft.

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Silent story-keepers
Appreciating the bitter-sweet beauty of the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial with John Silva
We may need to have made an indelible mark on our lives, to have married the wrong person, pursued an unfulfilling career into middle age or lost a loved one before architecture can begin to have any perceptible impact on us, for when we speak of being ‘moved’ by a building, we allude to a bitter-sweet feeling of contrast between the noble qualities written into a structure and the sadder wider reality w…

Dressing problems

Wednesday 11am, managed to drag myself out of bed, showered brushed teeth put on whatever clothes. A glance at the mirror—out of habit—didn't like what I saw, changed outfits three or four times.

Walang gana, we say in Tagalog. That's how I felt. Despite this lack of enthusiasm or better yet a mental readiness to face the day, I couldn't go out looking pangit.

And that was something to be happy about. That I still cared. That I haven't accepted defeat and instead 'dressed up, fought, [made] amends'.

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On a related note, I came across this article about Elizabeth Hawes today. I haven't heard of her and, as the author remarked, neither have you. The piece, however, served as a good introduction to the American fashion designer. Let me end this blog with Hawes' words so you can begin reading her:
If you’ve solved your dressing problems satisfactorily for yourself, you are bound to attract the people you want to attract and for the reasons you want to attrac…

A lonely office

Sadness is saddest when quiet. When you find it inside a cold house, when love has learned late how to express itself.
Those winter Sundays
Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices? To me and a couple of friends, the above is our go-to Father's Day poem. Regardless of season and kind of relationship, though, the poem speaks of the unglamorous, everyday—even administrative—nature of love.

As pointed out in this essay (about knowing when one is ready to marry), 'love' has two varietie…

Lyric

Colors of the Wind didn't hold my attention during the time Pocahontas became popular. Last Thursday, though, I was at an event with a musicals theme and the song was performed. Then it hit me: Paint with all the colors of the wind is such a beautiful line.

Well, the proper thing to do afterwards is search for it on the net—music and lyrics—listen a hundred times then sing along.


So I discovered more stunning lines. Sing with all the voices of the mountain... Roll in all the riches all around you / and, for once, never wonder what they're worth... You'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon / for whether we are white- or copper-skinned...

More surprise. Further research taught me that Stephen Schwartz was the one who wrote it. But I saved the best for last. Below is my favorite part of the song, where 'colors of the wind' is placed in context and turned into poetry:
You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint with all the…