"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Monday, June 11, 2018

noisy, feeling entitled, and..

"When we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society, and economy."
 -- Steve Maraboli

the setting before was at the park, this time: in an airplane bound for manila from puerto princesa, boarding time 😉 june 10, 2018. 

view from my window seat
before our plane made it to the runway for take-off

when i reached my assigned row, a millenial couple from that country of the people who grabbed my map — but this reference is only useful if you already know the story at the park 🤪 — where was i? 

oh yes, in the airplane! 

a young couple were noisily discussing in their language about who, between the two of them, should take the still empty window seat along their row. i don’t speak their language but i figured out what it was all about because they were taking turns pointing to the window seat, their faces exhibiting eagerness to takeover but with hesitation upon reviewing & seeing the indisputable seating assignment registered on their boarding passes. 

play good music, that’s my cue! 

i politely interrupted their discussion by saying, “excuse me, i need to get there,” and using my hand to gesture towards the ‘hot’ seat of their conversation 😏. they had no choice but to stop their discussion. my presence meant they had to abort their takeover-the-window-seat plot. 🤣 they realized, too, that they had to stand and leave their middle & aisle seats temporarily so i can reach my seat. 

i saw the look on their faces when they realized that the window seat, which both of them wanted to take, was going to be occupied 😜. i’m glad that despite their disappointment, both of them stood up to make way for me and neither made an attempt to negotiate for 24F, the seat — i wasn’t inclined to give way to them anyway. 😅 i only give up coveted seats to impressionable kids, senior citizens, or PWDs, or in the interest of safety — NONE OF THESE apply to them nor the situation. 

they’re just noisy, feeling entitled, and undeserving.

note: i completed writing this while they were talking so noisily 🤯 beside me, while the rest of the passengers around us were just silent, the plane was going through turbulence, and the cabin crew and the captain took turns using the public address system to make important announcements. i could hardly hear what the captain said over the two inconsiderates’ irrelevantly loud conversation, which even got louder as the captain made further announcements 🤨.

Saturday, May 05, 2018


"Inagaw nga namin (mga) isla n’yo, mapa pa kaya!"
 -- contributed by one of my friends


at some point in ashikaga flower park, i was preoccupied with trying to take selfies under the trellis of the double-flowered wisteria when two females approached and called my attention. with my left hand, i was holding the pamphlet-slash-park map, which was given to me by the personnel at the park entrance. held by my right hand was the selfie stick with my camphone. i had to stop what i was doing to properly acknowledge the presence of the two but even before i could complete a cordial greeting, one of them grabbed the folded-and-rolled pamphlet from my left hand! 😱 no words, no non-verbal plea, nothing but unpermitted taking of MY park map. 😱 i knew right away that they’re NOT japanese at all! despite my indignation 😠, i stood there trying so hard to maintain a tolerant facade 😳. as if they did not do anything socially unacceptable, the two started talking to each other while turning the paper over and over again, completely ignoring my presence 🤨

MY map of the ashikaga flower park

based on their interaction, the two of them got lost in the park 🧐 (note: ashikaga flower park covers a large area but it is not that large for two non-stupid adults to get lost in — there are signages and arrows. plus, park guests are given maps at the entrance.) 🤔 while they were carrying on with their conversation, it was obvious to me that they did not know where to go because they could not even figure out where we were despite the user-friendliness of the park map. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 

my first attempts at interrupting their conversation with an “excuse me” did not work but when they finally acknowledged that i was still around 😲, i told them “you are here” as i pointed our location on the map. then, they started resuming their discussion — as if i wasn’t there 🤷🏻‍♀️, as if i did not say anything helpful — while turning the paper once again 😵 and then back to the page with the park map before looking at me and telling me in a commanding tone, “how to get here?” 😱🤯

“from here, how to get here? (pointing at the park’s entrance on the map) 😮👀 all along, they were figuring out how to go back to the park’s main entrance! (another note: the park map was drawn in such a self-explanatory way and the park pathways are easy to follow.) i told them to just follow the path. 


i pointed to the oh-so-visible path closest to us. they also asked where the park’s main entrance was 🤦🏻‍♀️. how could two people perusing a very-easy-to-understand map not know? 🧐 although i was tempted to lead them to the opposite direction because of their rudeness, i still pointed the correct direction. i got a thank you. i held out my hand to receive back MY map. the two of them hesitated and looked at me — maybe because they wanted to me to go with them to the entrance so they won’t get lost, maybe because they wanted to walk away with my map, or maybe because they didn’t trust what i told them; but whether it’s one or two or all of those reasons, i wasn’t inclined to go out of my way anymore to be of further help to them. it’s more than too much that i already still helped them even though they were rude, unapologetic, and dense.

note: this happened to me on april 20, 2018 and i got really pissed off that's why it took time for me to write about this. ang naka-quote ay clue sa kanilang bansang pinanggalingan. walang duda na doon sila galing; pati ugali sablay na sablay sa kalidad kahit nasa bansang hindi naman kanila. 


Monday, May 04, 2015


"To see a man beaten not by a better opponent 
but by himself is a tragedy."
 -- Cus D'Amato

boxing is a sport, yes, but, like modern-day wars, it's also a business. people can only wish for a great fight but there's no guarantee at all.

when a boxing match is touted as the "fight of the century" (never mind that it's just 15 years into this century), you can't blame people for expecting a mayweather-pacquiao bout to be something like an ali-frazier slugfest or even better. unfortunately, this "fight of the century" failed to live up to the hype and this is not surprising. quite predictably, mayweather won by taking advantage of a strategy that does not make him lose points in the game, anyway, but takes away the very idea of boxing as a contact sport of throwing power punches and not so much about turning far too many opportunities into the art of hugging and running about in the ring. still, congratulations floyd mayweather, jr.!

i am writing this and i am not even a fan of boxing. i just happen to read many, many months ago about the muhammad ali-joe frazier boxing matches, especially the anecdotes on the "thrilla in manila" (ali-frazier 3); check them out online then you'll have an idea or two of what a "fight of the century" should at least be. 

i was hoping mayweather would step up his game a bit in this boxing match to make things worthwhile for the boxing fans but it's like asking for the moon and stars -- he's just self-absorbed that way and, good for him, his boxing style lets him stay undefeated. his style, by the way, reminds me of winning any contest by mere technicalities, not by a spectacular display of excellence to raise the bar.

at best, i've only seen pictures of the mayweather-pacquiao match; i haven't seen any of the videos -- i don't have to. oh no! if it's just another one of those boxing matches with no KO's nor remarkable exchanges of punches, i don't have to watch otherwise it's just like reading a story with no climax nor cliffhangers, eating spaghetti without meatballs, drinking expired soda -- no fizz -- (and they all remind me of that biblical latin phrase "mane thecel phares" quoted in el filibusterismo) -- not worth the while, a waste of time.

i learned about how things were like during the mayweather-pacquiao bout mostly from facebook posts, which made it easy for me to imagine how mayweather played it like he always does because i've seen clips of his previous fights and there's nothing special in his wins -- his smart style of securing the win is boring. pacquiao, on the other hand, knows how to give a great show when he's in the ring, win or lose.

unsurprisingly, mayweather arrogantly claimed that he did more for boxing than muhammad ali BUT, if being the announced winner who got heavily booed by the crowd is any indication, this is just him and his money team shamelessly and desperately plugging his 'TBE' business. despite his undefeated record, the crowd and the other greats wouldn't readily serve glory and greatness to him. 

05.03.15 it's a pacman world today!

win or lose, it's how you play the game, how you do business. in deserving greatness, the HOW matters. :) congratulations manny pacquiao!

note: this was originally posted here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

blacklight (ultraviolet light) plus philippine passport pages

"The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest
and most foolish failing there is."

--Stephen Fry

1st day of april 2015 
once upon a wednesday

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! thanks to the tip that i got from ate bambit, i found out about the interesting images that are embedded on the pages of our passports. 

thanks also to that viral article showing the images revealed by ultraviolet light (a.k.a. blacklight) on the pages of the canadian passport! ate bambit got curious and she wondered if there's something similarly interesting in philippine passports that we can see with blacklight, too. surprise, surprise... there are! she shared some pics and i got really interested so i went looking for a handy blacklight.

-- some of the blacklight treats in philippine passports -- 

here are some of the images from my old and my new passports (yep, even the old one!). these are all mobile shots so bear with the quality. 

departure and arrival stamps on my old passport
note: china really prefers to use red :)

i was surprised to find out that even those entry-exit stamps we get upon departure and arrival light up with blacklight... ohhh so they use special ink for those stamps.

this represents the generic look of the pages
of my old passport under blacklight
several lines of the passport issuing agency's name in filipino and in english
with the letters written all caps in normal and mirror-orientation
above the page number and a featured image at the bottom

those passport pages are not plain-looking at all! blacklight reveals that all the pages in the philippine passport have something other than the passport number and logo.

in my old passport (maroon and machine-readable; issued in 2008), all pages on the right face of every spread bear the image of the national flower of the philippines, the sampaguita. the photo which appears before this paragraph is page 42 and the left face of the last spread of my old passport. page 42 bears the image of the 2000-year old banaue rice terraces, a national cultural treasure of the philippines.

some of the images featured on the pages of the machine-readable passport:

sampaguita, kalesa, philippine jeepney, and abaca

rizal monument (manila), intramuros (old walled city of manila), barasoain church (malolos, bulacan),
and the colorful vintas (zamboanga)

bicolandia's mayon volcano and bohol's chocolate hills

both my old and new passports have a panoramic image of the malacañang palace on the centerfold. in my old passport, after the centerfold, the right face images from the previous pages were just used again. 

the centerfold image of the machine-readable passport
malacañang palace

unlike the old passport, my new passport (e-passport; issued in 2012) packs more and bears a unique image on every page -- representing stuff from northernmost batanes to southwesternmost tawi-tawi and from palawan in the west to surigao in the east!

some of the images featured on the pages of the e-passport:

stone houses (batanes), paoay church (ilocos norte), calle crisologo (vigan, ilocos sur),
and banaue rice terraces (ifugao)
bamboo organ (las piñas), the big guns of battery way (corregidor island),
mayon volcano and cagsawa ruins (bicol), and mines view park (baguio)

blood compact shrine (bohol), san juanico bridge (samar-leyte),
gen. macarthur and company landing memorial (palo, leyte), and lapu-lapu monument (cebu)

i am delighted that iligan city and tawi-tawi share a spread in the e-passport. on page 18 is an image of the maria cristina falls and on page 19 is the image of the sheikh makhdum masjid, which stands on the site of the oldest mosque in the philippines in simunul island, tawi-tawi.

images of mindanao in my new passport
maria cristina falls (iligan city) and sheikh makhdum mosque (tawi-tawi)

because i'm from iligan city, page 18 deserves a highlight in this post! hihihi.

presenting... the blacklight look of the 18th page of my new passport
iligan city's maria cristina falls 

another image of mindanao in my new passport
surigao's day-asan footbridge

well, if you think that this post is an april fool's day prank, get a uv lamp or uv penlight and see for yourself!

in my honest opinion, it's really a must-try! you won't be disappointed unless your passport is fake. hahaha.

post scripts:
(1) all the blacklight images 'hidden' in the machine-readable passport are already embedded in this post. i selected only a few from the pages of the e-passport but here's the list of featured blacklight images from that newer and better version: rizal monument, banaue rice terraces, bonifacio monument, vigan (calle crisologo), leyte landing memorial, chocolate hills, mayon volcano, corregidor, mines view park, blood compact shrine, day-asan footbridge (surigao), lapu-lapu monument, san juanico bridge, windmills of bangui, maria cristina falls, simunul island mosque, cultural center of the philippines, aguinaldo shrine, malacañang palace, san agustin church, taal volcano, fort santiago, san sebastian church, tubbataha reef, manila city hall, fort san pedro, barasoain church, national museum, callao cave, miag-ao church, limestone cliff (el nido, palawan), fort pilar, mt. apo, las piñas bamboo organ, people power monument, mt. samat shrine, underground river of palawan, batanes stone houses, paoay church, and the makati business district.

(2) with blacklight, philippine passport pages appear more interesting than philippine bills. i used to think that it was the other way around.

blacklight + PhP 20 bill
except for the serial number on the bill's front face,
nothing else really interesting lights up
so here's the back side

blacklight + PhP 100 bill
same case as the PhP 20 bill -- except for the serial number on the bill's front face,
nothing really interesting lights up
so here's the back side

Friday, December 19, 2014

snow people

"Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories."
-- from the 1957 movie, An Affair to Remember

they finally showed up!

the adorable family that greeted me on my way to the laboratory
fukui city in japan

as much as i want to take credit for these 3 delightful snow creatures, i have to say that i'm not the one who made them. i merely saw them while i was walking to our research building. the bigger ones stood no higher than my knees but they're such head-turners and i was won over right-away by their cuteness. needless to say, seeing them made my day!

i'm glad that i stopped and took the time to capture this picture. when i passed by the same area on my way home tonight, only the left one was left standing. the right one was already headless and the baby was... i don't know... kidnapped?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

a glimpse of japanese culture: chanoyu

"If man has no tea in him, 
he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."
-- Japanese Proverb

noun \¦chänō¦yü\
"a Japanese ceremony consisting of the serving and taking of tea in accordance with an elaborate ritual"

once upon a japanese tea ceremony in fukui-shi

this afternoon, i took a very short break and attended a summer tea ceremony. we ate mochi and drank green tea. both mochi and green tea were prepared and served according to japanese tradition.

by observation, i learned some key points...

they bow every time they approach to serve or to retrieve items from the guest, the guest acknowledges every time with a bow.

they turn the tea bowl 2, 3 times before serving the tea to the guest, the guest does the same before and after drinking -- this has everything to do with aesthetics and not superstition.

the guest who gets served first receives his tea in the most valuable bowl. with significance comes great pressure because all eyes are on this guest (trick: know where to sit and avoid the first chair. for this matter, know which is the "first" chair.)

the teapot, the tea whisk, the tea cups, all have their stories. all things related to the tea ceremony, including the chabana (tea flower arrangement) and the wall decor (calligraphic scroll), are meticulously chosen and done. no element is there by whim or random chance.

the host is usually female. it is a rare occasion when a male is the master of the tea ceremony.

the hosts don't just master the art, skills, grace, and discipline required to perform the various tasks that they do, they also speak with a higher degree of politeness -- definitely more polite compared to the already polite japanese form (there's "casual form" for everyday conversation with friends and equals, there's polite form, and there are also more polite forms.) because the tea ceremony is also about respect, the guests are expected to adhere to this level of politeness and exhibit social finesse.

my participation in the tea ceremony allowed me to have the experience but it didn't transform me into someone very capable of serving tea the japanese way. at best, i merely gained more insights on what transpires during the tea ceremony and on what the hosts and guests do before, during, and after. even for the role of a simple guest, i still have a lot to learn about the tea ceremony. this goes with saying that a whole lot more is expected from me if i were to be a host.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

that alice in wonderland moment

"the days are long but the years are short." 

indeed, they are. 

today, i'm officially 10 years old... 
in blogging years!

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