While Pim stood by the baywalk’s railing, an old woman, all smiling, passed by and said something in Japanese and gestured towards the camera. With my poor Japanese vocabulary bank: suka, honto ni, wakaranai, kawaii—words I learned from years-long of reading manga, watching anime, and interacting with the Japanese on Skype, I reckoned she was asking if we wanted her to take our photo. I smiled and uttered thank you; and she went on, all smiling. I did not expect her friendliness. Crumbs of details on places from my previous conversations with the Japanese stuck in my head: Hokkaido is known for winter […]
“Where are you now?” “In the middle of the bridge?” Yes, with a question mark because I was really on the bridge at four in the afternoon, yes, with a question mark because I could not really believe that I was on the bridge and had not checked in yet. I was kinda embarrassed to admit that I totally overlooked the simple truth that all travel guides I have read on Guiuan were pre-Yolanda (Haiyan). And that’s the thing about places hit by the supertyphoon. These places have now modifiers “before” and “after Yolanda” attached to their names.
It takes time to love big cities. Its character is not fixed, its face varied, it is or can be unpredictable. To love a city is to linger, to stay for months or years perhaps. It is not meant for place sniffers, those who can only afford to stay for three days, a week utmost: visit the Petronas Tower on the second night, go to Batu Caves in the morning, haggle at Chinatown in the afternoon. To fully love a city is to abandon the self’s restlessness, the self’s hunger for the places one has never been to. To love […]
She sighed. She was crouching on the floor, sifting some leaves with her frail-looking, wrinkled hands. She then slit the middle of one elongated leaf, which looked like pandan, and inserted the base of another. She repeated the process until she made a beautiful mandala of leaves. She pushed the heart of the foliage into the soot-bottomed casserole and then poured rice grains in it. “It is her own way to keep the rice from getting scorched,” Tommy, Whang Od’s frequent visitor, explained. She cut the pinewood into splinters and fed them into the hearth. The fire illuminated her tattooed arms.