Cloudy Sunsets

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I was earnestly waiting for the sunny side up sunset this afternoon. A cloud decided to pull the curtains down on the sky from where I stood. So it ended up looking like a hazy swirl of purple, pink, white, and light yellow amidst the backdrop of viewing decks’ silhouettes.

I perspired a little. The control freak in me dislikes not having the perfect shot. But my recent encounters with nature teach me that control is an illusion. And it is one of those days where you rigidly map out everything but your feet take you somewhere else.

Later this evening, I ended up having a meaningful conversation about life’s path– a solid piece of advice that I needed, the second wind I needed to sail through life again with the aplomb and audacity I had in the past. It was good dinner and excellent conversation from someone wise and ahead in years and completely understanding of what I am going through. I had no idea that I was meeting him today. Travel has that charm of unwrapping gifts in unexpected places.

He said a lot of things. Personal things now etched in my head permanently as I doggedly get back on track.

Basically, when clouds threaten to hamper your view, it is so much better to accept, adjust, and choose a better angle. And this is precisely what I did with today’s sunset. Perhaps, this is precisely what I will later be doing with other things beyond a simple sunset shot.

Vitamin Sea Upgrade

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I floated. I lingered. I savored the sun as it hit my face while I made love to the clear waters despite the algal Boracay blooms tickling my legs. I lay supine amidst the waves, the tourists, the Aklanons offering their services, the nearby boat that tours people in the island.

Sand was powder fine and worth digging my toenails into. I sat and with zero sunscreen, allowed myself to be scorched and baked by the morning heat. I felt the ocean embrace me and few things mattered at that very moment, that one moment where abandoning the body to the waves is probably one of the world’s most relaxing thing.

It is there under the sun and floating with eyes closed that I realized something. Vitamin sea can cure the ills of an anxious mind. It has the power of a hundred self-help books and costs almost nothing save for those precious moments that you wish would never end.

Happily, I realized that floating was not a sign of weakness, stupidity, or incompetence. People need to float in order to glide. And once done, I take that experience, etch it in my heart and memory, and use it to catapult me in the direction of my greatest dreams.

And for someone who isn’t really an inherent beach fan, I think my dosage desires for Vitamin Sea has just gotten a happy upgrade.

To floating. To dreams. To the fusion of reality and dreams.

Zero Shortcuts 2015

It’s already almost halfway through the year and I am spending my last few months as a twenty-something. The first part had been a crazy hot but interesting mess, pretty much like my hair these days:

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Thanks, Vivere Salon

I took a lot of risks. Some of the risks were by force of circumstance. Others were just due to my nature of challenging myself.

This was also the year I started exploring exciting things in the country. I have recently been to the perimeter of Laguna Lake and it’s quite a picturesque adventure. I also went to Batangas with my family. This year so far has been filled with little things that are meaningful and beautiful.

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Sometimes, things are so tough. I always wish that it will stay calm forever, but such a setting won’t bring out the best in me. So I just inhale the calm moments and commit them to memory when they are available.

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Today was a particularly stormy day but I promised myself zero shortcuts for 2015. So I am posting a photo of a more steady day at the lakeside to remind me that there are more good days than bad ones. That life may have its tangles but not beyond what my mermaid hair can handle. ūüôā

Tradition and Heritage

As a single woman, I liked breaking walls and cracking open things and calling them new doors. I had the audacity of youth, the type that will take me on wild rides like a rollercoaster or an EDSA bus at midnight minus the traffic jam from mall sales and commuter flux. These days, I am being reacquainted with things I have never done. I married a man who is a quintessential guardian of tradition. And off the bat, if it were just us and not with the guidance of some Divine Force up there in the heavens, we’d be gone by now.

At the View Deck of Sampaloc Lake

At the View Deck of Sampaloc Lake

Ever since I was forcefully taken to a place with maximum life energy and control of how I spend my time, I started to gravitate towards things that matter to me and I realized how it has changed my paradigm about a lot of things. I used to view certain traditions as a backward nuisance that fosters middle-level sensibilities that go nowhere.

Now I started appreciating why we need to cultivate and document life even if it’s tedious. Because we are preparing it for future generations, so that they will not forget who they are. It is not to control them, although some oldies still do that controlling thing that makes the young ones defy the tradition which could have helped them self-actualize much earlier in life.

Up until this moment of my life, I had no sense of love for tradition. I merely wanted to go through life as a floating seafarer with no particular direction in sight. But we make life changes. As a little girl, it will be unthinkable for me to grow my hair long. Today, you can do an Elsa braid on it like what my sister-in-law did.

I guess there will be more changes. Good ones, I hope.

 

Maria Cristina Falls’
Hydro Power Plant

I find it quite difficult to populate the Structure category of my blog, even when I began this in 2010. So I am making a post about a really nice structure that I found recently. I am doing this with the hope that I can write about more fascinating structures this year.

As a little girl, my only interest was to answer Maria Cristina Falls in Kasaysayan¬†quizzes and exams. Being the country’s second tallest waterfalls and prominent source of hydropower, the power plant of Maria Cristina is just something that I accepted as a fact off a history textbook. I was not that much of a fan of history books while growing up. While I learn a lot from books, recent experiences showed me that textbooks sometimes miss out on the stories or colorful experiences that lie behind a standard waterfall picture. If only kids can learn about history through actual experience of the sights and sounds, they will find themselves more privy to¬†a more lasting and resounding education.

At the time of our visit, the waterfalls was at its maximum capacity of 90% power provision for the plant. And there was so much water. Unfortunately, the viewing deck was closed when we entered Nature Park to see this beast of a waterfall.

A mojon marking three barangay boundaries in the power plant was unobtrusively standing in a corner near the viewing deck:

Maria Cristina Waterfalls Mojon

Maria Cristina Waterfalls Mojon

A mojon means something to me as a geodetic engineer because it symbolizes the traditional mode of work in my engineering industry of choice. It holds the location or coordinates that will allow land surveys to be made more accurate around the vicinity of the power plant. People who know about the mojon are familiar about my line of work. Usually, it’s the old people who know what it¬†is. Often, I find myself having to explain to young people that it is necessary for traditional survey work. In English, it’s called the concrete monument which is established and distributed as a network of points for accurately marking locations¬†on the surface of the earth. Since this is a Barangay Boundary Monument (hence the BBM acronym inscription), it is quite crucial and useful.

There were some old legends that mojons during World War II were destroyed because of the metal detectors. Metal detectors, according to old tales, were used by treasure hunters who were looking for the buried Hiroshima Gold. And in their quest, they ended up detecting these mojons instead of the treasure and ripped it out of the ground.  There is actually a fine or penalty for ripping out control points or mojon setups like these. But these were installed long after the treasure hunters wreaked havoc on the old Philippine control point system. Usually, it is easy to find these concrete monuments in prominent landmarks such as the Maria Cristina Falls.

From where we stood at the viewing deck, it was still a mesmerizing experience. You will hear the water literally making an eerily powerful sound. It howls and can be heard from a distance, or as far back as the gate of Nature Park. The power plant is designed just right beside this mammoth waterfall, towering at a height of 320 feet. Leafing through the pages of a history textbook will not prepare you for the breathtaking experience of seeing it up-close. At least, this is the closest we can safely get. It powers around 70% of Mindanao, and small wonder that it does:

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The formal name of the power plant is Agus VI power plant. I heard that there are other features inside but it was closed for viewing when we went. There is a public lanai or deck that has tables where you can enjoy your meal (breakfast or lunch) while listening to and seeing the waterfalls from a safe distance. There is also a tiny zipline near the entrance but we were in a hurry so we did not get to try it. (It was really more of a makeshift rope contraption that crosses from one side of the falls to the other.) The entrance fee was in a range of 50 to 80 pesos, I think.

Notice that I did not really take much photos of the power plant itself. I felt like the structure was an eye sore beside the majestic waterfall scenery. But it was a necessary eye sore because it powers more than half of the whole island of Mindanao.

After this trip, I decided to revisit my childhood textbooks and see what else I can experience firsthand as an adult for 2015. Someday, if¬†I will be blessed enough to have my own children, I will help them remember the country’s heritage¬†by taking them to places like these. I hope that exposing them early to these things will make them better than I can ever be as a person and more loving of this country than me and my husband. Because that’s really what matters more at the end of life’s short rope: the legacy we leave behind to future generations.¬†Books by itself can spark the imagination. Book knowledge coupled with an actual experience can extend the imagination and stir additional inspiration.

 

Wondering Wanderer

For years, I think I nurtured a subconscious hatred for travel.¬†¬†Ironically, I took a travel-intensive career when I decided to become an engineer. No matter. It did not help me curb my tendencies to prefer curling up in my bedroom with a good book in hand. It’s my default go-to thing.

Mimbalut falls in Iligan City

Mimbalut falls in Iligan City

Recently, I started reconsidering my deeply ingrained beliefs about travel. I guess it involves stepping out of my comfort zone and having a handle of self-knowledge abundant enough to help me take new risks in life.

My most recent trip challenged my introverted self in a lot of ways. I did realize that something inside went alive while I was traveling. I had the inspiration to write about new ideas, ideas that would not have been born if not for the stimulus provided by the new destination. And I realize how I had been shortchanging myself in the last few years. I realized that what I read in the books are supplemented by what my other senses can experience in transit.

I often considered the costs and considered travel as a vice and not a means for personal development. I vaguely realize now that I committed a disservice to myself when I shut out this part of the possibilities of things that I can do. I was just hung up on putting food on the table and supplying for my family’s needs; it never occurred to me that I can still do that while squeezing in a new travel experience here and there as a gift to myself and as a gift to the soul that needs new experiences to breathe and create freely.

Prior to my awakening to basic instincts of wanderlust, my travel was limited mainly for work; I disliked shelling out travel expenses for personal reasons. But I found my personal reasons in the midst of professional business this month. I also found more reasonably priced travel packages that are lumped with groups of other common professionals out to have a good time; it need not cost an arm and a leg. In fact, some even thrive on a shoestring budget and go to so many places.

I guess this blog is likewise entering another phase of content because of these new realizations. (But I will still post about books, for sure.)

 

 

 

 

Bucket List Overhaul

The biggest fallacy ever written is that people often stay the same. People have this very pliable capacity to change, expand/degenerate into another version of themselves. When a person is made aware of the potential within him, it awakens a new set of possibilities.

So I promised my mom to make a Facebook account after getting married so she can check on me. In and of itself, it’s good to stay connected to people. For a few months, I went back on people’s radar. But I got exhausted with it. It was fun catching up with people but it was so exhausting. I missed my cave so I turned it off again. And then I resorted to my 2013 things. I used to be so addicted to social media. Now, I mainly use it as a conduit of information where I can get updates on topics of interest. My nerdiness seems to have gone full circle this year.

Work demands that I travel. It’s a quiet middle of the night in this completely unfamiliar place. I took a job that showcases the risky things that I do not like. Some people pay to travel, hike, and get new experiences like this for leisure. In my job, jetsetting is a way of life. So it’s an ironic choice of work for someone who would always prefer reading books in bed and attending art exhibits. I do like the intellectual kick that comes from new discoveries so I still somehow appreciate the things given by my choice of work.

My recent channel of creativity is androidography so I began playing with pictures taken from a fairly decent , cheap, and run of the mill smartphone. I will probably post some of my finds as soon as I figure out how to optimize and manage all my writing outlets.

Things got so intense last month for me so I kind of tapered my passion down to manageable and non-life threatening levels. At this stage, I have some radar when I am working at an unhealthy intensity. I was approaching that red zone three weeks ago so I am slowing down to regroup my resources and reclaim my sanity. My new hobbies seem to be helping me out but I still have a paperback in hand as a go-to, a form of literary escapism that has filled my childhood days with happy reading memories.

It’s December and I am still looking for my 2013 goals to see how I fared in my now-defunct 43 things account. I am really looking forward to 2014; it will be my first time to officially share my life goals with another person and I am excited with the synergy of this new dynamic.