October 23, 2013
A week after the calamitous 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Central Visayas and some parts of Mindanao, over 2000 aftershocks have been recorded, and the counting continues.
The entire country aches for those who have been hardest hit, and once again, we witness the unshakeable spirit of the Filipino people.
It is particularly on social media that we are able to take note of the various ways our people are coping, and it is usually done with humor. Of course, no one in their right minds would wish to make light of the tragedy, but we have to admit that the country has always been able to get by every calamity with the bayanihan spirit and the trademark Filipino sense of humor.
Meanwhile in Dipolog, we have birds chirping, rosy sunrises, a view of our silky black stretch of beach sand and the serene sea, rosy sunrises, glorious summer-like sunsets, and a clear view of the moon almost every night. With the bad weather in Luzon, devastation in Visayas, and chaos in other parts of Mindanao, Dipolog makes one feel as if it is an entirely different country. Yes, we felt the quake and the aftershocks, too, but Dipolog has been fairly unperturbed. We should be thankful for this and not take this blessing for granted.
Furthermore, as we behold and support the rebuilding and the restoration of what has been destroyed in Bohol and Cebu, perhaps it is time to reconsider not only the strength of our infrastructures or the generosity of the budget reserved for the reinforcement of heritage buildings, but especially of things indestructible – things like faith, hope, and love.
“So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
October 16, 2013
This may sound rather childish but it took me a while to forgive Forever 21 for replacing Powerbooks in SM Cebu’s Northwing. The idea of fashion being more popular than books and the stark realization that the majority favors outward adornment over the beautification of the mind always saddens me.
It was with greater regret that I accepted the closing of my favorite bookshop, La Belle Aurore in Cebu City. Last Friday, October 11, 2013, we said goodbye to the Junquera branch with a musical farewell.
It is bittersweet to note that I was blessed with the chance to participate in the bookshop’s significant moments – its opening and its closing, and in many moments in between (as exhibited in this collage). I will always remember its book-lined walls and gentle warm light. It was one of those rare places where my mind felt at home enough to blossom there and unfold unabashedly. It was where beautiful souls gathered to find solace in literature, music, or in one another.
I know I am not alone. I am not the only one who has asserted dominion over the nook with the pillows, and I am not the only one with fond and precious memories of that charming little oasis in a desert of inelegance. The people in attendance last Friday affirmed this throughout the voice and the violin’s sweetest strains, when everyone was so silent and I could hear only the stirring of kindred minds communing with each other like the comforting rustle of book pages turning.
But unfortunately, it takes so much more to keep places like this in existence… (Or perhaps it only takes just a few more similar minds to keep places like this in existence?)
Thank you for the wonderful and tender memories, La Belle Aurore II. “Time was soft there.” :’)
September 10, 2013
There is chaos all over the world: The tension in Syria is escalating; the situation in Egypt is as troublous; and in Japan, the leakage and radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plants are diffusing fear.
Even though the consequences of these events are affecting the entire world, these major headliners can make one feel that the Philippines is only dealing with vexations of lesser proportion such as the pork barrel scandal.
That is what I thought until the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels attacked Zamboanga City on September 9. As part of the Zamboanga Peninsula, Dipolog City cannot remain impervious to the alarm close at hand.
Some have speculated that it is a mere diversion to distract people from the main controversies and issues that need to be addressed. I am not in the position to confirm whether it is a diversion or not, but lives have been lost and our brothers and sisters in Zamboanga City are living in terror. Those responsible must cease the appointing of innocent people as clueless and helpless pawns, and those in power must do something in order to prevent further tragedy.
At the end of the day, we realize that conflicts and violence in other countries and ours do not differ too much for they always involve corruption – corruption of minds, hearts, and souls. Corruption is darkness, as we all know; and as Victor Hugo has also attested in his novel, Les Misérables, “The only social peril is darkness.”
May we never allow this darkness to permeate our beings. I pray for light, harmony, and peace from above especially for those who are directly affected. As a musician, I reside in this line by Leonard Bernstein: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”