Divided We Fall

Everyday, my appreciation for the huge turnout of the youth in various protests all over the country today grows bigger and bigger. Their unwavering conviction to fight for the remembrance of the atrocities in the past and wounds that have yet to heal inspire and empower me to stay firm with my own opinion and beliefs.

It is true that this country needs healing and I agree with the president that it all needs to end now, but I can’t say the same for his decision to allow for a dictator responsible for the deaths and unfortunate fates of thousands of our fellowmen and for an ill-gotten wealth to be buried alongside those who have done otherwise.

Healing is achieved through forgiveness, and forgiveness should be given wholeheartedly with or without an apology from the aggressor. We should forgive to be forgiven by God. This is what the Bible says. For a fleeting moment, I’d like to agree with the president when he said that healing is what this country needs, but I doubt that it can be achieved this way.

Say a family member was taken away from you, was tortured and killed inhumanely by someone devoid of even an ounce of remorse, would you forgive him? The Christian way to answer this is YES, with no hesitation and with sincerity. Though it is not always easy to follow God’s words all the time, it is still expected of us to forgive, nonetheless.

Easier said than done. I myself was born years after his 2-decade regime and with Ilocano blood, yet I find this painful, so it is quite hard to find it in my heart to forgive. What pains me more are those who tirelessly support him because to me, they seem to celebrate the the man’s heinousness. They are merely adding insult to injury. Seeing them act as if completely blind to the past injustices infuriates and saddens me at the same time.

I’ve recently learned that their family has both pending and dismissed graft cases, the former due to lack of evidences, but nevertheless, everyone in the family is still able to run for various positions in the government (although politics are full of such people). They have committed various fraudulent acts in the past and now, they secretly buries F. Marcos himself in the LNMB. I don’t know about you, but all these sound too dodgy to me. It amazes me how they seem to have an overabundance of fuel to add to a fire that has long erupted. They seem to stop at nothing to get what they want and it looks to me that they’ve no fear of God as well for them to do all these.

Now, various protests have erupted all over the country. It doesn’t look like the people are going to let the past be forgotten. All they are asking for are justice and peace yet here we are again, with history looking to repeat itself. The streets are appearing reminiscent of the past people power revolutions and all because of the same man that brought about a holocaust of our own.

A proposition suggested by a member of the anti-Marcos group to bury and build even an ostentatious memorial for him in Ilocos Norte sounds good to me. This way, both parties will be at peace and he will be surrounded by those who love and support him. Burying him in a public national cemetery then suddenly prevents the entry of relatives who normally goes to visit their loved ones there isn’t fair. This is just another privilege given to the Marcoses, but at the same time a right taken away from the citizens of the Philippines.

Unless a compromise be arranged between the two opposing parties, unhealed wounds will reopen, no justice will be served and this nation will remain divided.

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Mama and I just finished watching Titanic. I found our old VCDs earlier and ended up watching the first half of Vertical Limit and the discs 2 and 3 of Titanic.

This film is (as usual) emotionally exhausting to watch, so we both found ourselves barely moving on our seats as we watched everything right to the very end of the credits (yep, we both even uttered names of those we thought are Filipinos). It was her first time to watch it again after sooooo long and I knew by the look on her face and tears on her eyes that she was a bit traumatized.

Likewise, no matter how many times I see this film, I cannot keep myself from breaking into tears. I know it has a lot to do with the musical scoring, thanks to my favorite, James Horner, but I also have to give it to Jack and Rose for the short but truly sweet thing they had going, until the very end.

I love how this film affects me in so many ways possible and differently each time I watch it. I love how I’m always reminded that life is short and how we always take it for granted.

I also realized how lucky they were (had they been real people) for finding true love, despite it being short-lived. That won’t take away the fact that it was still truly special.

I realized how small my problems are, compared to what the passengers of the infamous liner have gone through. I also realized how love can make everything seem so simple and easy…nothing a little lovin’ can’t fix.

Watching Jack and Rose fight their way through one obstacle after another gave me hope and inspiration to keep moving forward myself. After all, it is what life is all about…

to keep breathing, to pick yourself up, to treat everyone nicely and to love.

In the end, Rose struck me with her little speech and with this line that I didn’t realize was there until today…

“But now you know there was a man named Jack Dawson and that he saved me… in every way that a person can be saved.”

Much like how this film saved me from losing my sanity in such a difficult time.

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P.S. Didn’t know Google has this little treat for their users. Made me smile yesterday 🙂

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Stuff I See 3: Goosebumps

They finally released Beauty and the Beast‘s full trailer yesterday and just before the famous sparkly (star) dust disappeared above Cinderella’s castle, the familiar piano piece we heard from the teaser months ago was played yet again and before I know it, I’ve got goosebumps all over.

I posted the news on my facebook  wall years ago when they first announced it (Who would’ve thought right?), but forgot it was there til they released the teaser trailer 5 months ago. Being a big fan of Emma who’s portraying Belle, which is only my ultimate favorite Disney Princess, I almost could not wrap my head around the big news at the time. I was dazed, but just as excited as everyone else. Plus, Luke Evans, a LOTR favorite plays Gaston. **freaks out even more**

Knowing that this was going to be huge, I still got a little surprised to see the total views going beyond 7 million after its release yesterday.

What doesn’t surprise me though is the fact that so many people have declared Belle as their favorite Disney princess of all time. Who wouldn’t? Even though at some point they all look alike, I still like Belle’s features the most. Her thick brunette hair and her doe eyes can take down the rest of them all any day. 😛

I also love the soundtrack very much. I remember playing it on our cassette player/walkman (LOL I miss the walkman) all the time when I was young and I even memorized the conversations in between the song, “Little Town“.

Among other stuff I recently discovered was this group of incredible Korean dance superstars, 1 Million Dance Studio. I don’t even know how I didn’t find out about them sooner, seeing that they’ve gotten so big and have such a huge following online.

I was girl crushing on all of these talented choreographers so much that I even followed them on Instagram.

Among my favorites were of course, those that featured my favorite songs: Closer, I took a Pill in Ibiza and Handclap.

Dayummm, I’ve always been a frustrated dancer and I admit I love dancing so much even if it’s just a one-way thing, so seeing all these women do all of these mind-blowing moves literally left me with my mouth wide open.

This first video features Lia Kim, who is only the sickest & dopest dancer I’ve ever seen and whose arms I super duper envy, showing off her very own choreography for the song Closer.

Favorite parts starts at 0:38 and at 2:00. I literally have replayed that part a hundred times. Plus, I also really like the girl in the middle of the second group. I love her look! LOL!

This next one I’m surprised they were able to choreograph a super fun routine for. Likewise, I also repeatedly played their sooooper awesome moment at 1:10. And so many people loved Yoojung, who danced here with Lia, but had a different and more flowy style compared to the latter. She’s also super fun to watch because she smiles a lot. 🙂

This last one I soooper love too because of the fun, feel good song, “Handclap. I also love how they let everyone dance this time.

They have tons of other routines I liked on Youtube. Their Beyonce‘s “Run the World” is also to die for.

I also have to give it to their cameraman/ director of photography/editor for the amazing shots and editing. GALING GRABE! Had I learned how to speak Korean, I would’ve applied for their studio’s job openings posted on their IG account. HUHUHU!

If that wasn’t the biggest thing I saw these past days, then maybe seeing Stranger ThingsEleven on Birdy‘s music video for Sigma is, where she’s gotten even more fan appreciation for her not so surprising (at least not anymore) acting prowess. She can act more than half the people on local tv today and she’s just, what, 13, 14? 

I was also surprised to learn that Sarah Hyland can sing!

She did a great job on this that it made me want to learn how to play Closer on guitar. Thanks to him for making it easy for me:

Finally, the woman, who no matter how controversial she gets, still gives me goosebumps for her incredible talent and x-factor. This was posted back in 2014, but it was my first time to watch it today. I failed to look at the title and couldn’t recognize the song by the beautiful, new arrangement, so I didn’t know it was a recording of Love Story, so when I heard the first line after the equally amazing introduction (the band and the back up singers were all so amazing, Imma cry), I died for like 2 seconds, then went back to life just in time to finish the whole thing.

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Trip Down Memory Lane | Weekend Warriors Part II

Christmas is only 44 days away, and the year is swiftly coming to an end, yet I haven’t even crossed out half of the stuff on my list of trips and events to write about. Boy, I better get everything done soon and by soon, I mean NOW! 😛

So going back to where I left off 4 months ago, here’s the second part of our exciting, but not so challenging, and thus enjoyable 😛 day hike to Mt. Manalmon back in May. Here’s the first part. ⛰⛰⛰

No, I’m not being cocky at all. It was definitely a walk-in-the-park and I can even vouch for those who don’t work out on a regular basis. Easy peasy is what it was.

Although I couldn’t say the same for my cousin, whose blood pressure, I assumed shot up as early as the first ascent. We had to stop a few times so he could recuperate and re-hydrate.

After the first ascent, we reached a clearing (in terms of plants & trees), just a few meters from the marker at the foot of the mountain.

We stopped again so we could catch our breath or should I say, take some selfies. The drying grass helped make for a good background on our photos and the wide patch of land served as a rest stop for various groups before the second ascent.

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Basing on this marker, the first ascent was just around 36 MASL

We then proceeded to climb the mountain itself in more or less an hour after we left the jump off point. This was probably the more challenging part of the climb. Though more amateur friendly, it’s still a mountain, so obviously there are no paved staircases and metal railings to hang on to on the way up. It can still be perilous so you’d need to watch every step and to hang on to branches and vines to support yourself. You see, that’s the beauty of having a guide, he told us exactly where to anchor our feet and which vines/branches to grab a hold of.

Here are some shots taken by my sister who was ahead of us…

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Resting after the steep climb, while the sister went up ahead…

Here we were finally reaching one of its many summits!!

Reaching the first summit was more than amazing. The first mountain I ever climbed was Kalbaryo within Mt. Banahaw back in high school and for a moment, I was taken back to how good it really felt to immerse in the great outdoors.

I’ve this extreme fear of heights. I get weak in the knees just walking along mall balconies, but being on top of a mountain feels so much different from that. I guess the surreal feeling tricks your mind into thinking that you cannot fall over the edge, not with beautiful views in sight. Just saying that makes me seem high because that’s exactly what it felt like, literally and figuratively. It was euphoric. I guess nature can really give you that feeling, huh? This is most probably why everyone goes mountaineering these days. Just writing about it now makes me giddy. Definitely can’t wait til our next hike. Keeping fingers crossed.

Apparently as seen on the following photos, the first summit was where we stayed the longest, because it had bigger room to accommodate several groups. At the time, I think there were 4 groups of 5-10 climbers when we reached the first one.

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We also maximized the time to take as many selfies and groufies as we can in one spot, and to re-hydrate and freshen up. Fortunately, the sun kind of shied away too when we reached the top, so we didn’t have to hurry to go to the next stop.

Some of these photos below were taken by our guide and we’re all very impressed, I must say. His compositions were spot on! Way to go, Kuya Joseph!

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After a while, we decided we needed to let go of our spot as more groups were coming up, so off we went to……….. take more selfies! 😛

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Here are some longshots of the incredible scenes we saw from above. Those ants meeting under a tree sure look good in those shirts.

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The second and final summits were both on the other side of the mountain and had more beautiful views of what I believe is the Madlum river snaking its way in between these mountains.

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The final ascent was quite steep so we had to Spiderman-crawl to the top. My sister recorded the whole thing on video, unfortunately I messed up the music volume while editing, so you’re gonna have to put your speakers on full blast for this one.

The third and final summit had less room obviously, so we had to do all our shenanigans very quickly as the queue of climbers was also getting longer.

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This tree was on the edge of the mountain and even though my cousin looked really happy here, he was actually very nervous as I was when I took the photo.

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Yes, we also danced our hearts out on the summit. Bucketlist thing. LOL. This must be why someone from the group behind us was so pissed at us.

There you go. That was definitely one of the many highlights and blessings of this year for me. Of course, it could not have been possible without His blessing so like all of the mountains that we’ll be conquering this year and the years ahead, this was and always will be for His glory.

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I want to say though that this is the last part of this travel series, but then I realized there’s still so much to write about. We also tried the extremely challenging Monkey River Crossing and Spelunking, both of which I think deserve a separate entry.

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Morning Person

If I were to choose a favorite time of day, it’ll be a tie between early in the morning or late in the afternoon, primarily because I’m obsessed with I adore taking golden hour photos, and also because I think I’m getting old and old people NORMALLY just wake up very early in the morning or bask in glorious sunsets to pass the time.

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Kidding aside, I do really love mornings, even more so than afternoons apparently, evidenced by this and this. I just love waking up early, not necessarily too early like when I used to have a 9-5 job, but earlier than most people do, especially on weekends, holidays and even when on vacations.

My body clock is probably just programmed to automatically wake up early enough for me to catch the news errr morning shows or the sunrise while enjoying the cool morning breeze or for me to do some chores or a quick workout to start me up with the rest of the day’s activities. Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me at all. Like I said, I love mornings and I don’t only say this because I don’t have any choice.

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love the morning tones in photos

Most of the time, I also feel like I cannot afford to burn daylight, not with the productive things we can do if we just wake up a little early than usual. Plus, I love how peaceful it feels when you water the plants and you won’t hear anything except literally, the birds’ chirping. You’d think that city living has rid us of this little “luxury”, but yes, there’s still a big chance that you can have that provincial feel you’ve been longing for.

However, nothing beats the real thing, so whenever we’re on vacation, I make it a point to walk along the loveliest beaches we’ve been to at dawn. I’m not really the type to stay up late partying in Boracay (mostly because I can’t keep my eyes open way past 10pm LOL), but I sure did love waking up extra early to enjoy the seemingly abandoned beach, especially on low tide. I did the same when we stayed along the splendid shores of Pagudpud, Laiya, Bohol, Puerto Galera and Bataan. As expected, most of the people out strolling or jogging were 20-40 years my senior, and it couldn’t get any better than that.

Here are some of my favorite early morning photos…

Here’s when we woke up soooper early so we could catch the sunrise together in Laiya. A lot of these photos were shot in film, hence the light leaks! 😛

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Bumped into a pearl vendor at around 6 in the morning.

Lounging around early in the morning at home.

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This photo doesn’t even look special at all, but every time I see it, I can’t help but stare at the sunlight’s golden reflection on my bedroom window.

Then there’s my favorite set, Pagudpud morning stroll with the parents…

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The campsite, before and after sunrise!

And finally some digital, early morning photos from our trip to Galera…

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Apart from capturing such sceneries in the morning that would’ve totally looked different in broad daylight, I also love that mornings give me hope and make me want to look forward to better things to come. Then there’s also my love for breakfast food and the fact that mornings are more conducive for praying and reading the Bible.

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