Sunday, February 23, 2014

The pool is a happy place

The wee one showed us why during a day trip to sunny and warm Asin, Benguet. She also showed how a few small steps and nano-seconds of sliding can be a leap and splash of faith.

Photos by Booboo

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time to be silly happy

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?
- from Susie Steiner's article "Top five regrets of the dying" from

It's one of those things to remember as I respond to hillside family duties--to allow room for joy apart from fulfilling a list of must-do's.

I only have to look at the youngest family member's great attitude towards each morning she wakes to. Then I realize how curiosity about the world and an attitude of openness to whatever often lead to most welcome silliness, quickly followed by laughing times. Refreshing breaks, indeed. Leaves me sufficiently recharged. Meanwhile, the storage space in that inner room expands.

Welcome, Weekend! You're better than five working days of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Butones and I decided to advance you by a day.

It's a gift, a grace just to waken to another morning like this with the button of my life for company. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A piece of work

Crouched under a wide leaf, the camera and I seized this view of the sky one cool morning a month ago in Antipolo. What a humbling piece of work is Nature! Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The shine on a Sunday

Early today I was on the last few pages of the Steve Martin novel Shopgirl when I looked up to see the sun, not the ball of fire but its rays. They formed shapes/shadows after they broke through the glass jalousies that my sister had just opened. They were still there until I felt the sky turn overcast again because just as suddenly the rays disappeared.

Strange how these rays reflected the tenderness I felt for Mirabelle and Ray, the perfectly mismatched characters in Martin's story about love, heartbreak and healing, how all these elements lead to an education for both persons. There are times when the fictive characters we allow into our lives through reading can seem more real than those rays I saw with my very eyes.

Thanks, Mr. Martin, for time well spent with you. And by extension, thanks, Mt Cloud Bookshop, where I found and bought the book. It just called out to me from a shelf one late December day.

Thanks, Mr. Sun, for the reminder I should get up, get out to meet you again.

Pre-breakfast rays of light Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love's Weird, a poem for VDay

Someone (okay, I own up- boy, that was quick) wrote the words below to someone. Let's have it--a giggledy googledy V(ictory)Day message to him who his girlfriends (wife, daughters and grand-daughter) call Rolly, Tatay, Tats.

In the garden with his mug of coffee Photo by Babeth Lolarga

it isn't from lack of passion
that my words cannot cohere
the constancy of your reliability
it covers bills maintenance meds
the weekly provisions
even the occasional new threads
(i got "batanes" to wear on my chest)
the response to SOS
for my sins of omission
will never go out of fashion
let me yell it to you for all to hear
but it's clear public pronouncements
are not your thing
so on this day i bring
you not stamps not coins
i've run out of valuable trinkets
sorry, can't add to your collector's
delight for ends and odds
odds ends amassed in
a lifetime's companionship
apart yet strangely together
in foulest (let others un-think
thoughts of sundering the union)
and/or fairest weather
but hear hear
see see
what i can be
i'm that one bewildered
woman rising
& greeting someone
chosen for love's
weird machinations
so am i getting close to coherent?

this on the afternoon
of a long day
i bring you
the world's untold
untapped riches
Screen shot of today's Google home page

Love Food, Love Words

Julia Child it was who wrote, "No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing."

Whether it's cooking (for which I confess to be a 1.9 on a scale or 10) or writing (for which I would still rate myself that same 1.9--beginner's mind always--got you there!), one must keep doing it. No, I'm not plugging Nike but even that brand got it right.

That is why Baguio Writers Group enjoys doing workshops. Fun and learning fall in love while working with our hands, including taking down notes and doing exercises alone or together, whether chopping onions or chopping lines into stanzas.

So here we go. This e-vite is designed by BWG's VP Jenny Cariño.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Light without and within

If on a Tuesday afternoon, you wander lonely as a cloud (Jeez! An editor will clobber me for misappropriating a most Wordsworth-y line) and find yourself in this part of Baguio, don't forget to look at and out this window. The light appears to be focused on a heart-shaped and gigantic gabi leaf. That same light also generously illuminates what's inside Mt. Cloud Bookshop.

"Bul-ul Mirror Tricks," Del Tolentino's accordion book, sits backlighted on the window sill. The paper balloon and mobiles of origami birds unfailingly charm both repeat and first-time visitors. His solo book art exhibition, "Bric-a-Brac," is up until March 7. Ask the shop girl where Del's handmade books are. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday as Lucy van Pelt

There is this cartoon of Charlie Brown looking determined, he's caught running towards a football that is standing on its head and held in place by Lucy van Pelt. We also know that Charlie never gets to kick the ball. Lucy always pulls it away at the last second.

To me Mondays are like Lucy. I am fiercely determined to start the week right, to finish the unfinished and not graduate from a project with a grade of "Incomplete." And then someone, something suddenly stalls the mad rush to meet my goal.

In this case it's the sight of this white flower that's about the size of my pinkie's fingernail. The names of flowers I haven't mastered yet. After my daughter Kimi taught me an old camera's macro function, I've used it to satisfactory purposes.

Have a good week then--and yes, Monday, here I come!

Wee five-petal beauty Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jump shots

"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." -Victor Kiam

Big shadow and little person warming up for their morning walk, each keeping their distance from each other.

And she's off while her papparazza gives chase.

Upon Booboo's suggestion, Butones does a quick study of some low rocks set in an irregular circle before practicing her jumps.

The second or third of the jumps captured and preserved

Here's another!

She finishes the first go and prepares for her once-around

At about this time, she's shouting, "Booboo, follow!"

Pretty confident, huh?

Energy's still up. Following the jumps was a walk on a flat road, then a climb up stone steps, then down in another part of the neighborhood. Then home again! Photos by Booboo

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Warmed by another sun at 7 a.m.

"I believe in the sun even when it's not shining /I believe in love even when I am alone /I believe in God even when He is silent." - Tweeted by God's Grace at 7 a.m., 8 Feb 2014. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Friday, February 7, 2014

Far from the madding colony

“Optimism does not mean continual happiness, glazed eyes and a fixed grin. When I talk about the desirability of optimism I do not mean that we should delude ourselves about reality. But practicing optimism does mean focusing more on the positive fall-out of an event than on the negative...I am not advocating the kind of optimism that means you blow all your savings on a horse running at a hundred to one; I am talking about being optimistic enough to sow some seeds in the hope that some of them will germinate and grow into flowers.”Philippa Perry

You said it for me, Ms. Perry.

Just for that, allow me to hand you this image I saved from a walk. An ant's quiet persistence, alone and/or with a group, never fails to, well, inspire. It permits me to find reason to further perspire. Okay, ending today's entry right there before I'm arrested by the Word Porn Police.

Hey, little fella, I'm with you. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Sing-Along

Begin again

“We can always begin again. No matter what happens, no matter how long it's been, no matter how far from our aspirations we may have strayed, we can always always begin again.”Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher

The kid with the cute-as-a-button nose and eyes larger than buttons was worried that I was lagging behind during the climb out of a forest. I had paused to pull out the trusty digicam to record her solo, unassisted climb up with Merci Javier Dulawan leading the way. I caught her clutching her little bag of spare clothes at that moment when she was calculating how far forward her Tita Merci was, how far behind I was.

The Salzberg quote is more a reminder to myself not to lose heart in heartfelt undertakings when there are setbacks, delays or signs of uncooperative inner weather. The reminder says: pause, catch your breath, then carry on.

They say the soul's trajectory is ever upward. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thank You World-single

Some things just are

"Not everything has to have a point. Some things just are." - Judy Blume

Like my latest fascination for people's shadows or how these appear at certain times of the day. Sun's appearance is required.

The Button and her Booboo cast two shadows, small and triple X. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Small and mighty

"Remember the weak, you who are strong, you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene and bright with the resplendent glory of God." - excerpt from a prayer composed by Flannery O'Connor to the angel Raphael

We can't and always be there 24-7 for those who need our presence in their lives. Or do my shadow and I delude ourselves into thinking we are needed by anyone for that matter? Meanwhile, we stay connected to the near, to the far through this small but mighty thing called faith.

The Button about to raise her arms like angel wings as she studies her shadow one morning. Photo by her Booboo

Monday, February 3, 2014

She's both singer and song

"(T)here is something more than just living from hand to mouth and there is music and poetry out there." - Sumi Jo speaking about the way her mother raised her in an interview with

Sumi Jo smiles at her collaborating artist, Najib Ismail, at her first concert in Manila. Photo by Anna Leah Sarabia

An old departed friend, ever-green, ever-great in my eyes still, used to say, "Art is the greatest form of philanthropy" in private conversations, in public discourses. Sumi Jo is interchangeably artist/philanthropist. Thank you for the music and the memories again!

Being interviewed by the classical music station DZFE at Cravings Restaurant, EDSA Shangri-La Plaza

Viewing children's drawings at Tuloy sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Bowing and folding hands to acknowledge girls and boys cheering her when she enters the village gym

She joins the kids in singing the chorus of "You Raise Me Up," the lyrics of the refrain returning to her naturally: "You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;/ You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;/ I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;/ You raise me up... To more than I can be."

When Ms. Jo is asked if she can sing just one song, she acquiesces but requests that the Josh Groban track be replayed while she hastily googles the complete lyrics in her cell phone.

One more time she joins the kids in singing and swaying to an inspirational anthem.

Freshly cut lettuce leaves make up her first bouquet from the Philippines. With her are Tuloy Foundation's Fr. Rocky Evangelista and the nuns who look after the kids. Photos of Sumi Jo at her Manila press con and her visit to the village by Babeth Lolarga

Filipino pianist, flutist shine with Sumi Jo | Vera Files

Filipino pianist, flutist shine with Sumi Jo | Vera Files