Scaling Greater Heights

divilacan trek (44)

Pitong araw po naming nilakad ang bundok ng Sierra Madre hanggang makarating kami ng Divilacan, Isabela. Jump off namin, Sindon Bayabo, Ilagan, Isabela, September 2, 2011; 7:30am.

 

 

 

Binabagtas namin ang tropical rain forest ng Sierra Madre sa pamamagitan ng aming mga paa. Nariyang malusob ang aming mga sapatos sa putik; matisod, madapa at mabasa sa mga mabatong sapa; aakyat ng bangin; gayundin tatawid sa isang madulas na troso.

divilacan trek (38)TREEEEE

TREEKKKKKKKKKKKK

Hindi na inaalintana ang mga lintang kakapit sa aming mga binti. Pag nabusog ang mga linta sa mga dugo ng aming mga paa at binti ay kusa na lamang itong aalis. Ang mga linta nga pala, sabi ni Sir Banjo ay isang natural indicator na isang parte ng rainforest ay undisturbed.

divilacan trek (39)LIMNTA---1

Sa gitna ng kabundukan, naubusan po kami ng bigas at baong sardinas. Kaya nagkasya na lang kami sa mga halamang gubat kagaya ng dahon ng ferns, prutas ng rattan, at mga saging at mga kuhang isda ng mga katutubong Agta mula sa mga sapa ng kagubatan. Isang buong araw na laman ng aming tiyan ay nilagang saging lamang.

divilacan trek (15)divilacan trek
Malaki ang naitulong ng mga porter or guide naming mga Agta na sina kuya Noni, Weasly, Ate Merly at mga kasama dahil kabisado nila ang kabundukan at mahusay silang maghanap ng aming makakain. Napakagaling manisid ng isdang “igat” si Mang Noni at si Kapitan, kung kaya’t wala man kaming bigas ay masarap naman na isdang igat ang aming ulam. Si Kapitan, binalewala ang kagat ng mga bubuyog ng kagubatan, makuha lamang ang honeybee bilang aming merienda.

  1. divilacan trek (24)

 

Nariyang matutulog kami sa gitna ng kagubatan gamit adivilacan trek (40)ng aming mga tent na dala sa mga batuhan, sa gilid ng ilog, sa mga tablang naiiwan mula sa mga old logging ng mga nagdaang taon.

 

 

 

divilacan trek (16)

Si Blackie nga pala, ang kasama naming aso, pero tawag ko sa kanya Lyka. Perhaps Blackie was the first dog to traverse Ilagan to Diviacan. Bilib ako sa stamina ng asong iyon, kahit nataga ang kanyang likod noong minsang nilinisan ni Mang Noni ang aming daanan, ay kaya pa rin nya. May kasamahan kaming nagsabing pupulutanin na lang si Blackie noong wala na kaming makain, pero marami ang tumutol.

 

 

Sina Kuya Rusell nga pala at Kuya Walter, ang dalawang engineer na GPS master, sila po nag-encourage sa akin na ipagpapatuloy ang paglalakad. Muntik nga po kasi ako sumuko sa pangalawang araw ng trek, hehe..Thanks Kuya Rusell and Kuya Walter.

divilacan trek (25)

Sir Banjo, thanks sa mga inputs at insights na ibinahagi mo sa amin. Si Sir Banjo ang spokesman ng grupo. Kahit pagod, he never tired of speaking, hehehe,. I mean sharing with us, sa kanyang mga nalalaman tungkol sa environmental protection lalo na yong palagi niyang sinasabing batas – ang Republic Act 1586 – Phil Environment Impact Assessment System. Taga DENR siya kasi, hehe.

divilacan trek (2)

And foremost to Kevin, hehehe, siya talaga ang atat na atat sa experience na ito, kasi ayaw ko talaga kasi alam ko ang hirap sa ganitong trekking. Kevin, we made it, bro…nyahahahaha!!!

divilacan trek (7)

Alam kong bihira ng maulit ang ganitong yugto sa aking buhay, at ngayon pa lamang nagpapasalamat ako na nagkaroon ako ng pribileheyo na maranasan ang ganito. All 7-days we had to commune with nature. Sabi nga ng taga DENR naming kasama na si Sir Banjo, we had to walk in congruent with nature..Dapat synchronize ang aming mga hakbang sa kalikasan, otherwise matitisod, madadapa o mahuhulog sa bangin ang sinumang lalabag sa laws of nature.

divilacan trek (49)divilacan trek (6)divilacan trek (13)

 

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Go and Do

Thursday evening like this is an evening for reflection for me, a way of feeding and nourishing my soul. I always make it a habit to grab any books from the shelf, I invisibly labelled “spiritual”, and read and ponder from it. Tonight, I opted to open a verse from the Book of Mormon, that old one that Mormon missionaries usually gave to the “investigators” of the LDS church. With eyes closed, I chose a page and when I opened it, I was surprised that the verse is my all-time favorite, 1 Nephi 3:7. Yes, I remembered it well, during our Sunday school, we were told that this is about Nephi’s obedience to return to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates (a very important record of Lehi) because it is God’s commandment. I noticed that I colored the scriptures green with side note, “obedience”. I looked my other scriptures, that one we called in the church as the “triple book” and visibly observed the color red with a side note, “challenge”. Maybe because returning to Jerusalem and obtaining the brass plates heavily guarded was a very difficult task. And by the prompting of the small, still voice, I scanned the pages of my KJV Bible and landed on the New Testament page at Philippians 4:13 which every student of the bible can memorize – about doing anything with Christ who strenghtens. I just paused to seek some inspiration, then I saw the eco-bag I bought from SM, those ones with printed words ranging topics from environmental protection to anything with spiritual value. This one reads, “It’s not the load that breaks you, it’s the way you carry it.” As if a spark of sudden thought, I remembered I downloaded some pictures from the internet on how some men carried heavy objects in a peculiar way. Thought after thought, many things came to my mind like the song, “He Will Carry You”, the “Footprints in the Sand”, etc. All these things were quite jumbling in my head. For a while. I don’t know how all these pieces fit together… Then I pondered the words – obedience, challenge, how you carry, God strengthens… Now maybe, Heavenly Father tries to teach me this evening that once you obey Him, all problems have solutions. Just pray and trust Him, and His will be done. Amen!

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When Life Throws You Lemons

Is this Lemon “worth the squeeze”?
Tamang-tama nung Friday ang officemate kong si Jackie ay may dalang lemon. Tinda nya. Bumili (umutang) ako ng isang kilo. Tamang tama sya dahil may sipon at ubo ako. I really need Vitamin C. Pagdating sa bahay that night, binalatan ko yung isa, just like how I peel off the buongon, kahel at orange. Yes, nabalatan ko naman sya pero mas makapal ang balat nya. I tried to eat the lemon kagaya ng pagkain ko sa kahel, pero di ko nakayanan sa sobrang asim. I have no juicer, so I have no choice other than slice them and squeeze off, so I could extract its juice. Mahirap mag squeeze. But after all the squeezing, the byproduct was a lemonade. Nilagyan ko ng konting asukal. Ang sarap! Natural juice… I did all these every after meal through the weekend, at ngayon medyo nawawala na sipon at ubo ko. Lesson in life: When life throws you lemons, make a lemonade… and, lemonade needs all the squeezings… Patience + hardwork = success
#WorthTheSqueeze
#WhenLifeThrowsYouLemons

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God Will Give Me Justice

 

Now watching the movie adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, that tells of Edmond Dantes imprisonment at Chateu d’if for 13 years because of alleged treason, which in fact, an act of betrayal, selfishness and political ambition of people whom he trusted. At Chateu he met a fellow prisoner, a French priest, who teaches him the principles of physics, economics and literature, and how to fight like a swordman, they both dig the tunnel, and eat rats. The rest of the story is yet for me to be seen… Will Edmond escape from prison and seek revenge? For almost a year now, I seek for a copy of this book at NBS and Fully Booked, but to no avail. I saw one only at Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile, this movie will do just fine. For now.
#classic
#TheCountOfMonteCristo
#revenge
#justice
#GodWillGiveMeJustice
#ImAcountNotAsaint
#ImYourManForever

 

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The essential is still invisible

I first heard of the book, The Little Prince during our recollection for graduating high school students when the seminarian/facilitator quoted an excerpt in Visayan dialect, “nganong makipag-amigo man ka nako nga fox man lang ko,” dealing with the topic on friendship and taming. Years back, I was able to watch its movie adaptation, and lately its animated version. Early this year, it came to my knowledge that another author tries to write its sequel, The Return of the Young Prince. I noted some drawings on its pages just like the original written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Still don’t know its content, that’s why I’ll be reading this book tonight, asap!

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Every Ocean Deserves A Visit

Now putting the book, “Everything, Everything” after reading it for five nights, to its predestined spot in my YA bookshelf. Also today is the first screening day of its movie adaptation, but to my disappointment, it isn’t screening in either SM Cinema or Robinsons Movieworld here in Isabela, so after putting the book down, I content myself now in viewing its movie trailer and video clips via Youtube.

“Everything, Everything” is the first novel written by Nicola Yoon, and it’s a New York Times best seller. What I love most in this novel is that, it is not racist, a proof of a paradigm shift of modern YA authors that romantic dramas don’t really need white, beautiful sick girls to make us care.

The lead female character in the novel is Maddy, an 18-year old aspiring architect, plagued with a rare illness called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare and incurable immune disorder that means she can never go outside, so she has to spend her whole life in a glass smart house designed to keep her from getting infected. Her protective mother, a doctor, closely monitors her every move. Maddy takes an immediate interest in the cute neighbor boy, Olly whom she spies moving in next door. They get to know each other and managed to converse through texting and gmail. Further on, it develops into flirting and soon, fine romance. SPOILER ALERT: (if you haven’t read or watch it yet, stop reading it now) Towards the final chapters of the book, it turns out that Maddy was never actually sick. After her father died, her mother convinced herself that her daughter was ill, terrified of losing her. But of course, love conquers all —-

#EverythingEverythig
#EveryOceanDeservesToBeSeen
#SCID
#NickRobinson

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Sibbling Struggle

This month, I am really hooked into South Korean teleplays and films, the like of the Goblin and The Legend of the Blue Sea, which more often than not, I got hard time following through its English sub. This morning I came across this film, MY ANNOYING BROTHER, downloaded it, and just watched it in my laptop. Yet, I felt betrayed because what I thought the film to be a comedy focusing on sibling struggle, a shift in tone suddenly came in conflict towards the second half of the film. That’s the selling point, that thing called “just when”, the film delve much deeper, leaving me torn between laughing and devastating tears, almost I was like being pulled out of a buddy comedy and thrust into yet another tear-jerker film. Yes, just when the two half-brothers are starting to make amends, the elder bro found out he’s on the final stage of terminal cancer. He has only a short time to say farewell to his brother and help him win gold at Rio Paralympics, which will secure his future. Perhaps going in with perceived notions about the film hinders the viewing experience, so watching with an open mind might make all the difference.

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Moral Fiber

MORAL FIBER /*

Last night, in keeping up to be “always” a true blooded Potterhead and to personally commemorate the 19th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, I watched (alone) for the nth time HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. Towards the middle of the movie, on that part of the Twi-Wizard Tournament at the Black Lake on which Harry had hard time saving two souls, but triumphantly did it at the end without a moment’s hesitation saving both, then Dumbledore awarded him s…econd place (though he finished the task second to the last) because of Harry’s MORAL FIBER. I paused the remote and reflect. Just what is moral fiber Dumbledore is talking about? Then I realized it is the strength and ability to choose and act what you think is right in a difficult situation.
#moralFiber
#battleOfHogwarts
#HarryPotter
#Potterhead

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Making unbearable people, bearable

   

 

On March 31, 2017, I posted on Facebook regarding the character of Col. Carreon, from the primetime television series, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Just a thought: Carreon’s character in #AngProbinsyano is multi-faceted. I can easily associate his character with that of Professor Snape in Harry Potter series. Both have access to information overload with what each party’s up to. How to use these information could make or break to which side they are most loyal to. Prof. Snape was unpredictable, so do with Carreon. The only difference is that, Carreon is heavily indebted to Joaquin in terms of financial matters, while Prof. Snape was “always” keeping his secret vow to protect Harry for his love of Lily. How Carreon will play his dual role by struggling to keep his police work and integrity intact, while supporting and feeding information to Joaquin, that’s ours to behold in future episodes. But I still believe, Carreon has still redeeming qualities left.

And yes, Carreon has redeeming qualities left. Fast forward this week’s episode, April 24 – 26, following the death of Col. Carreon’s daughter, a change of character reveals his true self. Last night, Carreon agreed to help Delfin proved Cardo’s innocence. He revealed to the media that Joaquin is alive and that the Tuazons’ are involved in illegal doings while Cardo is the one who’s innocent.

That makes unbearable people, bearable.

FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano is a 2015 Philippine action drama television series based on the 1997 Fernando Poe Jr. film of the same title, courtesy of FPJ Productions. Directed by Malu L. Sevilla, it is topbilled by Coco Martin, together with an ensemble cast consisting of Susan Roces,  Arjo Atayde,  Agot Isidro, Jaime Fabregas, and Eddie Garcia. The series is confirmed to air until January 2018 due to its high ratings, action scenes and “real life lessons” which was received well by the audience and also known to educate its viewers about Philippine laws and issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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MY THIRTEEN REASONS (and maybe more…) WHY

I intentionally delayed my “guilt-trip” to write something on what I read, listened and watched about Jay Asher’s THIRTEEN REASONS WHY because it’s my choice. Yes, a choice – just like Hanna’s choice, your choice, or just anyone’s choice, because we all have this freedom. Though, the novel or the hard-hitting tv series via Netflix is a work of fiction, yet it gains controversy because it deals with varied topics most of us rather won’t talk about.

I don’t know where to start. . . Just like creating thirteen recordings on cassette tapes is not an easy task. In the advent of the digital world, maybe some of us, most notably the millenials may not even know how to use cassette tapes. But on my part, my very first job after college revolves on tapes. From the news room, I recorded aired news from radio and tv, and transcribed the same – all in my 8-hour shift. What happened to those transcribed news scripts were sole resposibilities of the news editor and the news anchors who would afterwards deliver the news on air.

I remember during the early ‘80s, aside from the snail mail, the use of the cassette tapes was very useful to those working abroad, particularly those in the Middle East. It was a medium via voice recordings as a means of an exchange communication between a nanay or tatay working abroad and their families here in the Philippines.

What compels me to write something about Thirteen Reasons Why, is because even at the most holy of all weeks, I can almost hear Hannah’s voice, recorded on seven cassette tapes the night before her suicide. Hanna’s recordings are different. She elaborately planned it, even distributes individual starred maps to her listeners, which they’re supposed to follow as they listen to her recordings. She isn’t using the tapes for self-reflection, to try to figure out how she can gain power over her surroundings. Instead, she’s trying to put her listeners in her shoes – to show them how it feels to be on a list, how it feels to be accused of things and have rumors spread about them, and further confirms her belief that her problems are unsolvable.

No matter how calculating she was about her plan, it’s very clear from these tapes that Hannah isn’t thinking straight. For example, Hannah reveals the names of some alleged criminals (Jenny Kurtz) but not others (Bryce Walker), regardless of how bad each person was to her. She also threatens to publicly release the tapes if her listeners don’t do what she asks. But the last person on her list is Mr. Porter, who will almost certainly have to turn the tapes over to officials anyway. These tapes were definitely a plan made in desperation and we can hear it both through the anger and the confusion in Hannah’s words.

That’s what these tapes are all about. It’s through her recordings, and Clay Jensen’s reactions to them, that we get to know Hannah. We hear Hannah’s description of her life at her most desperate and disturbed, which makes it easy to forget that she wasn’t always this way.

To be more honest, it’s a challenge on my part to remain objective about the characters being accused of serious illegal activity, particularly Bryce, Tyler, Justin, and Jenny whose side of the story I haven’t heard, while still trusting the voice of Hannah..#
1. the tapes
(To be continued)

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THE GREATEST DELETE

 

THE GREATEST DELETE

Alvin E. Lauran

We are now living in the information age. People tend to think in terms of email, google, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has become a strange abstract for some minds. Perhaps a little story could help.

Archangel Alvin nervously ran to God’s throne to give his report. “O, God, the unexpected has happened! Everything is gone.”

He took a deep breath to calm himself.

Archangel Alvin was heaven’s computer programmer. A wizard of the trade, he was chief of staff of angels who monitored what was happening in the entire universe. Most importantly, he was tasked to update the records of all the faults committed by men since the beginning.

“Power hits us under our very wings. All the computers have conked out. And all the files have been deleted – all, including the billion geopbytes that stored mankind’s sins. Our system wasn’t programmed to react to brownouts. We’ve never had one actually.”

Archangel Alvin finished off his report with a hundred and one details that summarized the loss of eons of hardwork. He stood ashamed, head and wings bent. But in a quick glance, he caught God’s sad eyes.

Then in what seemed like a tired voice, God spoke – so softly it might have been simply a thought.

“I knew it was coming. In fact, I caused it. It’s all part of the plan. It was I who pulled the plug, but just for a while – for that one moment…just when my Son breathed his last on the cross and commended His spirit.”

So saying, time paused. Everyone fell silent.

Archangel Alvin felt in his heart that in the cover of heaven’s brief darkness, God has needed to cry.

And Jesus’ death had deleted mankind’s sins. #

 

 

 

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