BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


It has been, to say the least a very tiring week. There are times, like now, when I question my faith on humanity.

I will never understand why a 70-year old Austrian locked his own daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.

Why do these things happen? Why do crazy parents put their babies in microwave ovens? Why do men molest their own daughters?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the pleasure of reading

I'm back after two days in Hong Kong. I'm bankrupt as usual as I couldn't resist shopping for books in HK's Page One and the small but very interesting bookshop at the HK airport.

So now, I have absolutely no money until the next payday. But who cares? There's almost nothing that can compare to the pleasure of reading good books.

I bought Pico Iyer's latest book on the Dalai Lama and Paolo Coehlo's Brida. I also bought a book about a child soldier who fought in the war in Sierra Leone and another on parenting.

Now, I can't wait. The pleasure of being lost in a good book takes away all my worries about where to get my next food and gas money. In times like these, I always remember a good advice from taipan John Gokongwei. He said in one interview that he taught his children to spend on travel and good books because they are among life's greatest treasures.

Oh yes...such pleasures of life!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Drenched in Hong Kong

Hong Kong- Did my life flash before my eyes as the pilot warned of a tumultous ride? No, but all I could think of was to throw up as I suddenly had a revolution in my tummy.

It was more than a bumpy ride. It was a roller-coaster ride and a very scary descent on the former British colony.

Three young ladies who looked fresh out of college, seating on the same row, said their lives flashed before their eyes. As for me, I only thought of my dear darling daughter.

The uncertainty was over in a few minutes but the heavy downpour in Hong Kong lasted the whole day yesterday. I was drenched after walking the whole afternoon around Mong Kok looking for this and that.

Today, however, is a new day. The sun is out. My travelmate and I will again roam the city for whatever we could find. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the typhoon has left for good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Northern Exposure

SAGADA, Mountain Province - It was a long and arduous trip, perhaps not unlike the journey of a pregnant woman in labor, giving birth for the first time. But I am finally here after several hours on the road.

It's been years since I last saw this town where time seems to have ceased. At least to me. The air is still fresh and crisp and the deafening silence of the evenings is still music to my ears.

Or so I thought. After several days, I realized I am still a stranger to this place, with every experience still as foreign to me as any new journey. It's true what they can never really come back to the same place.

Still, this trip is still an experience that will linger in my memory for a long time.

For how can one not enjoy Sagada? You listen closely and you will hear nothing but the laughter of children roaming safely and freely around town, no need for the watchful eyes of their mothers and fathers. You listen more and you will hear the chirping of the birds, the cries of the owls and the dogs, echoing deep in the mountains. You will hear the rustling of the leaves and the splattering of the rain on the pavement.

The air is cold but the warmth of the people will welcome you. There's no need to rush here. There's rarely a chance to feel stressed out. You can take your time eating "born again" cooked in garlic and olive oil. You can devour on the famous lemon pie from the town cooperative or you can while your time sipping mountain coffee in one of the many shops here.

Oh yes, this is the Sagada that I know. Only this.