June 10, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

City of the Smiling Mask

THE cheeks are overly pinched. The eyes are shadowed with purple. The lips are painted red. The lips form a sickle. The mask smiles. Why do most masks smile? Happiness is hard to suppress. We wear it. Assuming it is contagious, it is our utmost intention to infect others with the happy virus. Or perhaps happiness is contrived. We exhibit our happiness as to make others covetous. Suffering fills the world, and happiness is the white dot on the black paper of suffering.  Why do most masks smile? There is art in sadness. It requires discipline. Bending a concave into […]
May 31, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

Homebound

A lot happened, some were rewarding, some surprising, some unwelcome, some outrageous. But May indeed was a rewarding month.  I’m back on trails again. A call from a travel editor prodded me to reacquaint myself to the trails. Mountains, trails—they remind me of us, humans. They can be unpredictable, predictable.  They can be selfish, inamiable, indifferent. The boyfriend said geography could not be selfish, humans could, are. “You were trying to personify geography,” he said. No, I wasn’t. It’s a cold fact. And nature has every reason to be. It reminds me of Arundhati Roy’s passage from her The God of […]
April 26, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

Barili | Falling Further in Mantayupan Falls

On our way to Mantalongon, the habal-habal (motorbike) suddenly wobbled. We stopped. A flat tire. “Asa ang pinakaduol na vulcanizing shop, dire, bay?” the driver asked the guy idling in the waiting shed. “Sa unahan, bay.” In Cebu, around the bend takes thirty minutes or so.  It unexpectedly rained, so we sought shelter at the nearby store while waiting for the driver to return. Two old men advised us to wait til the rain ebbed since they could tell it was raining hard in Barili by just looking at the mist-covered mountains. While we were waiting, an outraged old woman arrived […]
April 26, 2011

SUNSTAR: Places of Memories

 [Past] does change. The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind. —Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss A traveler intrudes upon the privacy of a place. Yet, is it possible to be part of its privacy in a time too limited, too short, too constrained? Possibly not. To reconcile the gap between time and understanding the place, one creates a version of the place on memories. And the place becomes truthful, sincere to memory. Mt. Timbak: The Mini-Calvary Experience the relief of being an unknown transplant to the locals and hide the perspective […]