Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mt Manabu: Ascent

Manabu Peak, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. 760 meters above sea-level.

Sagi and Mac invited me to join them and their friends for a trek up the mountain. It would be my first time outside the Scouts to do so. It would also be the first time for me to climb with their group. I had decided to go even before they harangued me with text messages. I just needed to make sure my work was done before I confirmed.

Saturday morining, and I am on my way to the designated meeting place, having packed haphazardly the night before ... or rather, the few hours before sunrise. I know I have over-packed once again, and it was evident through my bulging backpack. Said backpack, by the way, is inadequate for a trip like this, and I had to use up every ounce of creativity I had in order to pack my things, or to attach said things with the bag. Carrying stuff by hand is inadvisable, and I am made painfully aware of such fact.

Two hours bus ride and we are at Lipa, Batangas. Lunch at the local mall and a bit of wait to complete our group, and we're off. I let them transact with the tricycle drivers who would, well, drive us to the foot of the mountain. And we're off.

The initial hour of the trek was easy. The path was rather level, with only a few obstacles like mud and boulders to obstruct me. There is a rule in mountaineering that we were taugh during my scouting days: "Never loose sight of the person in front of you." We actually managed to disobey that rule, and it cost us a few minutes, trying to figure out where our sweepers had gone to. Turns out that they were in the correct, newer path up the mountain, and that we were following an older, longer path.

The new path was a bit of a shortcut. It was also very steep, and it took all my will power to keep up with the rest of the group. It also made me realize how weak my legs and lungs are. A lifetime of reading books, or else balancing books, definitely made me ill-prepared for this trek, which mountaineers consider a "fun climb", but felt like the vestiges of hell to me at that moment.

Mountaineering websites describe Mt Manabu as a two-hour climb. We made it to the camp site in three, nearing four hours. We took our time with numerous pit stops, and I am grateful for those.

They say that reaching the top was exhilerating and rewarding. It was that and more. The view was beautiful, and the advent of the rising fog (or rather, descending clouds) added to the mountain's allure for me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shirking Responsibilities: A Year of Movies and Stuff

38 movies, 1 concert, 2 plays, 1 cheerdance competition; and it still doesn't quite sum up what I had been up to the past year. It was fast; it was fun; it was tiring; it was heart-breaking at times... but it certainly wasn't boring.

I am reminded of a line from Ally McBeal by John Cage: "If you look back at your year, and it doesn't make you shed a tear -- whether happy or sad -- then consider that year wasted." I may have done quite a few (well... a lot actually) mistakes during 2008, but wasted, it isn't.

I just hope that I remember my lessons and not repeat those same mistakes.

Here's hoping for a better year than the year that was past... even though it's a month late in the celebrating.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Writing... or The Loss of Such Ability...

I was supposed to brag, I mean, write about my mountain excursion two weekends ago, and our foodtrip/movie day last weekend, but I just couldn't find the words. I can't seem to be able to string one phrase with the other to make those wondrous blog entries I know is in me to draft.

I hate this feeing. I have so many ideas, but nothing comes out of it, because the words don't come out. It's like mental constipation, and, just like the digestive system variety, it's not good for the health. Not to mention that it disrupts all other mental functions, and clogs my thought processes.

I wish it would go away...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Returning

It's 10.30 pm and I should be preparing for tomorrow. Instead, I'm in my room, reading Artemis Fowl and drinking a glass of wine... my second, for that matter. The holiday break has been over-long, but somehow, I feel like the returning is rather soon.

Reluctantly (at least at first), I have thrown away all my routine, starting with my sleeping habits, and going all-out from there. I still wake up before 9am, though, and it gets rather hard, when you sleep by 4, or 6. Good thing the weather is cold enough to warrant an extended sleep until 1pm.

As good as it is, it poses a problem for me, come tomorrow. How now, do I get back into routine when for the past two weeks, I've been in limbo, with all time gone out of proportion? How do I get back into motion, especially when the monthend reporting is looming ever nearer, and I haven't even started with my December tasks?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Work has never been more interesting as it has this past year. It has spawned numerous blog posts and still more thoughts that failed to launch out of the cerebellum. Not that it was scandalous enough to be put on paper, I was just too preoccupied to even formulate the words.

With innumerable ups and downs, calling this year colorful seems blase and understated.

During the first week of December, I was given an email that put to light everything that has transpired during the last few months of the year. Such a simple memo drove to home the gravity of my situation more than any panel or luncheon meeting that ever involved my presence. I was riven from my mental bauble long enough to appreciate the mess that I was in; the same mess that I thrust myself into.

Suffice it to say that the information in this one simple memorandum jarred me into finally committing to that one option I have been contemplating on and off for the greater part of the past two years.

I seem to be the type that would always go with the flow; accepting things as they are, and adjusting myself to the situation. But sometimes, an undercurrent, deeper and far stronger than the visible flow, compels me to negate the usual, accepted norms of doing and thus offer much resistance.

In high school, we were taught that Voltage (E) is the product of the Current (I) multiplied by the Resistance (R), or E = I * R. Simply put, electricity is produced when the flow of electrons are met with resistance. Veering from Electro-Electrical studies, Creativity is produced when the need is met with obstacles. Necessity, as they say, it the mother of all invention, and when there are hindrances to what you need, therein sparks the the creativity needed to surpass the obstacles presented.

Such a grand notion, indeed. But then, what if the obstacle is within you? What if, instead of the flow, the Current, you have become the Resistance? Therein lies the problem, for creative inspiration should stem from the person, not the obstacle to creation.

I was offered an opportunity to create, in a manner of speaking, but I resisted. I tried to find in me the drive I needed, but instead found in me more hindrances. Thus, I failed to spark and sparkle in a way that I know I can.

Pressure turns soft limestone into beautiful, enduring marble; it turns dark coal into cold, hard diamonds. But this same pressure can turn basalt into sand; and precious crystals into nothing more than dust. I am pressured, and from there stemmed my resistance. And resistance, when it stems from within, is counterproductive. It is self-restricting and stifling.

This, in turn, brings us back to the memo at hand, and how it has jarred me out of inaction. It is still too early to tell what my action would be, but suffice it to say that the decision to act has finally been set.

The Tempest

Let the winds howl my sorrow, the lightning flash my rage
May the thunder scream my anger, the rain my despair
This storm of emotions is tearing at my soul
Thus heaven reflect this torment, give voice to anguish
I dare not show.

This illegitimate love is tearing at my core
A mistress of a fool, this secret liaison
Started as dervish, and ended as soon
Has left me at the brink
and thirsting for more.

So I summon the storm to quench my wanting heart
To wash away this unnatural desire
and clean me of this lustrous passion.
I call upon the gale to staunch this secret fire
unbeknownst to many, this unrequited love.

I stay in this storm to drench in the cold
Waiting for a Ray of Light I know will not come
Futile effects of passion unfulfilled
Twisting, Tormenting, Tearing me down
but waiting still, the Lovefool

The Tempest
written 28May07
posted at friendster blogs the same day


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