Silence: Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Heritage Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (as of 17 January 2018) is SILENCE.

I love having time to myself — solitude re-charges me . . .  I had never really immersed myself in a long stretch of silence beyond my occasional hour-long meditation sessions. I went to this hermitage on a silent retreat for uninterrupted, unstructured time to think, to walk, to read, and just be.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in the Philippines. It was founded in 1611.

Last week, self had the privilege to drop by for a visit. Her first stop: the Antonio Vivencio Historical Library, named after self’s great-grandfather.

How her heart ached to see these precious books, 30,000 volumes (which had been carried out of Intramuros by hand, just before the Battle for the liberation of Manila, at the end of World War II).

If she could, she would happily spend the rest of her days in that library.

But she is back now in San Francisco. When will she return to Manila? Who knows.

The answer is: SILENCE.



Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Manuel Duldulao: “Vertical” Climate in the Philippines

The one indulgence self allowed her here was to buy a coffee table book by Manuel D. Duldulao: The Filipinos: The Portrait of a People.

She thinks it’s quite a good book, with lots of fascinating insight on not just Filipinos but herself, too.

For instance, she used to think she was uniquely impulsive.

Then she read in Duldulao that Filipinos tend to be impulsive.

She thought she was uniquely fatalistic.

Then she read in Duldulao that Filipinos tend not to put too much trust in institutions (like the young people of Trumpland?), therefore they can be described as fatalistic. Self has tended recently not to put any faith at all in institutions. Therefore, SHE is fatalistic!

This coffee table book is loads better than therapy!

The Filipinos: Portrait of a People, p. 176:

  • The climate in the Philippines is what you might call “vertical.” There are no seasons in the Islands since they lie just above the equator. Terrains, however, play tricks on the barometer; the gauge keeps sliding up or down when you hit the road every twenty minutes or so. Manila is hot and humid to begin with, being flat and low all over. And yet five minutes from its eastern border is the pilgrimage hill town of Antipolo and for another 20 minutes further east is the village of Sampaloc Hills in Tanay, Rizal, which tingle with the bite of spring weather all year round.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Philippine Splendor in Makati

Whenever the breeze shivers the trees outside the window, self gets such a thrill:


With Dearest Mum in Ecology Village, Makati

Dearest Mum’s writing desk is a collection of disparate objects:


Love these old reliquarios that Dearest Mum has scattered about:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Weathered 2: Still Manila


Alice, Who’s Been Working for Tito Tony (with the cane) and Tita Aida Since Forever!


The Manila Metro Light Transit (MRT) is very old and quite weathered. Here it is, above the main artery of Metro-Manila, the perpetually traffic-choked Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA)


Son at Seven: Picture in a (Quite) Weathered Frame


Weathered: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 10 January 2018

This week, show us the effect of time and the elements.

— Krista Stevens, The Daily Post

The desk in Niece Georgina’s quarters in Dearest Mum’s house in Makati, the Philippines. Old photos of Dear Departed Dad and sundry folk:


Pictures of the Passed On and the Very Much Alive: Dearest Mum’s House, Makati, the Philippines

The bed in Dearest Mum’s spare bedroom, with kulambo (mosquito net) and handbag tree, conveniently right next to the four-poster:


Four-Poster Bed, Makati, the Philippines: January, 2018

Niece’s pocketbook collection. She has great taste in reading matter!


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Needs To Have the Letters ‘O’ and ‘U’ in the Word

Another great Fun Foto Challenge from Cee Neuner: Needs to have the letters O and U in the word.

Self’s word is SOUP. Specifically, a delicious Philippine soup that originates in the central Philippine islands of the Visayas:


BATCHOY: Super Special Bowl of Heaven

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Manuel D. Duldulao

  • Tribal behavior encourages cliques. This, added to an urge to feel free and pursue pleasure, makes the Filipino resist the idea of being etched in a totem pole. Manila presents a picture of hurry and scurry, of hustle and bustle, or roaring and hasty moves. The cafes are loud with ideas. The raucous hawkers, peanut and loterry vendors, taxi drivers and salesmen, messengers and passengers all display some kind of Neapolitan velocity. But each one darts on his own. It reminds one of flitting fish, its circle-chasing without meaning, neither like the mainline thrust of Tokyo nor the ponderous roll of New York.

— from p. 54 of The Filipinos: Portrait of a People

About the author: Manuel Duldulao was born in Concepcion, Tarlac province, where his father was principal of the local elementary school. At the age of 14, Duldulao migrated to Manila, and spent twelve years in advertising. Now, he devotes himself to writing about Philippine art and culture.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: BLUE WATER, DISTANT SHORES, p. 14

“You have been spreading falsehoods. You are a wicked child. Why do you cause your mother so much grief? What evil has infected you? Do you delight in making her miserable? What does it serve?”

Matias is so frightened that he cannot speak a word. “Do you know what mortal sin is?” the priest continues. He rises from the desk. He looks immense, immovable as a boulder.

Growth: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 3 January 2018

In this first week of the year, many people anticipate beginnings, changes, and opportunities for growth. Share with us an image that evokes this spirit of change and newness — the smile of a new friend, a freshly planted garden, an empty journal waiting to be filled.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Self is in Manila for the first time in a number of years, and what she loves most about it is the fact that even in the smallest pocket gardens, the plant life is so fecund. Below, three examples:




#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Blue Water, Distant Shores

The language may be a bit portentous. Nevertheless, here is from p. 7:

So the story begins. It is a story of churning oceans, ships, dragon’s breath, siren calls. A story of leviathans and faith, about islands and the building of ships. About Hell and Paradise. About blood and fever. And greed, of course. That, above all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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