Iucunda Memoria est Praeteritorum Malorum

A few days ago, in a rather beautiful fit of hysteria, I decided to uninstall the Facebook app on my mobile device in a desperate attempt to tame my social media primal instinct. My proclivity to tap that blue, perspicuous “F” icon with a strong semblance to the Masonic Tubal Cain symbol has become an unhealthy second nature every time I unlock my phone. This 21st-century disease, a modern-day St. Vitus Dance, is an addiction that has been proliferating on a global scale, with the smartphone-wielding masses as its willing victims. I’ve hoped to end its villainous reign over me by removing it from my phone. Really?

Seriously, my Facebook usage has taken its toll on my infinitesimal personal productivity — so, I decided to get rid of the app for good — only to find myself scrolling through dainty Instagram posts instead.

Revisiting WordPress, staring blankly at the immaculate whiteness of the “Write” space, I realized that the struggling wordsmith in me, styptic at best, has been reduced to a lifeless bard, maimed and devoid of inspiration. Look at what you’ve done to me, adulthood.

A noble crusade to redeem my juvenile passions led me to pry an ancient email inbox open: the jejemon-esque but thoughtfully-conceived “blasphemous_boy07@yahoo.com” account. Amidst the debris of my teenage preoccupations, I rediscovered my love for drawing, an odd fascination for the occults, an inexplicable zeal to ferret out my ancestry, and this epic poem I wrote myself:

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Tinglayan, Kalinga: Shambhala of the Painted Ones

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Alas, my poor, dear life dangled by a thread as our cranky jeep skidded through the narrow mountainside road of Buscalan. While my friends were reveling in the novel experience that is top-loading, I was mumbling incantations inside my head dedicated to the bululs guarding the stretch of rice terraces right before our eyes. I felt like the rice gods were scoffing at me, chuckling like mad emperors overseeing a wretched gladiator immured within an amphitheatre, as I tightened my grip on the rooftop railing whilst our ride rocked and rolled along what seemed to be a sorry excuse for a road — my sweating hands weren’t helping at all.

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Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Taal Cathedral.jpgAfter a looooong hiatus, I’m finally back in the blogosphere. Yay!

I’m sparing you the details, the why’s and the how’s (the juicy part, I know) but in a nutshell — 2016 was one helluva year. It literally drove me nuts, up to a point where I had to regularly see a psychiatrist. True story.

If there’s one page that I would tear off my life book, that’s it —  the year 2016. It’s worth drinking a glassful of water from the river of Lethe. I’d be real blunt and honest about it — I hate it to the bone. 2016 was the dark night of my soul. Continue reading “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis”

Calayan, Cagayan: Arcadia of the North

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An overnight bus ride to the upper fringes of Luzon. Then, a grueling, five-hour lampitaw ride further north, to the haziest verges of the Philippine territory, all the while battling the tumultuous waves of the Babuyan Channel. This is how Calayan, the Arcadia of the North, tests its curious visitors. It makes sure that only the bravest, starry-eyed wanderers, those with the true heart of an adventurer, will ever tread its verdant pastures and wade in its turquoise waters. Continue reading “Calayan, Cagayan: Arcadia of the North”

Biri, Northern Samar: Alien Topography

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The otherworldy shapes and colors of Biri’s rock formations readily evoke a phantasmagorical scene, like something out of a Starcraft map. Tidepools display a mesmerizing gradient of turquoise fading into a subtle seafoam green; oddly-shaped metamorphic rock sculptures blanketed with a verdant carpet of grass, jutting out of the waters of the mighty San Bernardino Strait– whose elements, the wind and the waves, continue to shape, mold, twist, break and build even the grandest megalith in its unforgiving territory through the years– and maybe even through countless eons to come. Continue reading “Biri, Northern Samar: Alien Topography”

Tawi-Tawi: Heavenly Hinterlands

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So, Tawi-Tawi happened.

It was not really my most unnerving feat to date, as I’ve been to Basilan not just once, but twice. You see, Basilan is dubbed as one of the most dangerous provinces of the Philippines, along with Sulu. The province of Tawi-Tawi bookends the southernmost chain of the Sulu archipelago, earning an uncalled-for stigma of compromised peace and order situation that its neighbors are infamous for.

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