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 […]
January 5, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

Boiling Mambukal

Rivers are storied places. . . . Rivers tease the imagination. They are an important part of the remembered landscapes of youth.—Resil Mojares, “Remembering Rivers” A place mostly originates its name from a unique character it possess. Mambukal, from the root word bukal, which  means boil in Cebuano. Magpabukal og tubig. To boil water. Perhaps it derived its name from the famed hot spring. It is not surprising to find one in the area since it is the entrance to Mt. Kanlaon through Wasay trail, considered as the toughest route. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to journey this route—optimistically looking […]