Dialogue Between A Boy And The Brain Coral

While making a quiet dialogue with Nature, my son called me, “Hey, dad. Look, it’s a brain.” As he pushed the dead coral away from the water, he started to talk to it.

Boracay Philippines

He was a bit far from me and I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Looking at him and the coral, it looked as if the coral was trying to tell him a story. May be it was telling him how he died and lost his home. How from the years of unchecked, careless, insensitive greed and tourism, he and his community were slowly driven to near extinction. A sad tale that is still happening this very second around the world.

Boracay Philippines

The next words I heard my son spoke was, “Dad, I’m making him a house,” as he covered the coral with sand.”

Boracay Philippines

Then he said, “Now, I’m making a home,” as he carefully added more sand details around and above the coral. He also used his hands to make a wall and shield the coral from the approaching waves.

Boracay Philippines

Nature gives so much without holding back. When we feel tired and lost, it opened its home countless times so we can heal and rest. Now, Nature is asking, “Can you help me save and rebuild my home?”

Boracay Philippines

Sometimes, it takes an innocent child at play for us adults to realize the things we had done or others had done. It also takes a child to remind us that no matter how small, we can do something to help, reverse and rebuild.

Boracay Philippines

If we love Nature, then it’s time to make a serious dialogue with it.

Boracay Philippines

Early morning, on my last day in the island, I walked by the beach from our hotel towards the hospital. Every few feet, I was greeted with empty plastic bottles and wrappers, beer glass bottles, even a light bulb and a medicine ampule. I felt a mixture of shock, concern, anger and annoyance. 11 years ago, when there was less tourism and development, the shoreline was cleaner. I picked up a few and throw them in the garbage can. A lot of people treat nature like one big garbage can and expect it to clean itself and always be beautiful for their amusement. A lot of people use nature like its inexhaustible but it’s not. If we want our children and the future generation to enjoy nature the way we did, then today is that day to start caring for it.

All images captured by my iPhone 5S in Boracay, Philippines. An island where if I search hard enough and begin the day when most tourist and locals are still asleep, bits of paradise still reveals itself. And yes, me and this island made so much dialogue to each other for so many years that I already considered it as one of my many homes that I need to go back and protect. I hope those who live in it, visit it and those who make tons of profit from it will find in their hearts to listen to its cry. If an 8-year old heard it, so can we.

Thank you for island hopping with me. Hope it brought you back to places and memories of island paradise.

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Frayed Rays Of Hometown Sunsets

In time, the edges of what’s left of the many things that has worn out will help us see and appreciate the beauty of having a simple life.

sunset

I have so much to tell you. I got tons of new memories to share. For now, let me begin with a simple sunset by my hometown. A sunset I thought no longer exist as pretty much everything around my birth place has changed.

sunset

As I watched my son and his cousins laugh, play and take a swim on its warm tropical waters, the golden sunset seemed to be saying, “Not everything has changed and yes, I do remember you.”

sunset

“I remember you more than the many sunsets you could ever count.”

sunset

God has his reasons for calling us back and allowing us to set another journey.

sunset

In less than 12 hours of reaching my parent’s place, he showed me why I needed to be there.

sunset

At 04:30 in the morning, I found my mom on the floor with my dad, confused, unable to speak, flapping her arms like she’s about to have a seizure. I prayed hard as I tried to stay calm for everyone else that it’s just severe hypoglycemia and not a stroke. Twenty minutes after drinking a can of juice, she slowly regained consciousness and strength. We had to watch her the whole day and see a specialist.

In my home town 911 does not exist and the nearest emergency brain C.T. scan involves a two-hour drive to the nearest medical center. Where I came from medical common sense, family support and prayers are the first emergency responders. She did okay after that but the event scared me like never before. In a way, I felt blessed to be there. What if they were all by themselves? My mom is 70 years old and my dad, 73. Out of 6 children, only one fate allowed to grow old by their side.

sunset

The incident had me ask so many questions I long been trying to evade. The incident opened my eyes to what’s truly important in my life and that of my family. The frayed pieces of reality beckons me to reconsider the goals and dreams I made so many years ago.

sunset

It’s true that when we get older, we get wiser as our priorities change and evolve to something more meaningful. Time becomes a luxury we can no longer afford to waste. Time is knocking at my door, so loud I can no longer ignore it or pretend it’s not happening.

sunset

Sometimes, our journey lead us back to where we started of. Sometimes moving forward means going back to the source of all things we longed for.

sunset

Love, faith, inner peace, family, friendship, happiness, contentment, good health, these are treasures we discover when we begin to truly listen and see. These are the frayed rays of hometown sunsets we can’t afford to lose or forget. On a clear day, life reminds us that not everything has changed. That when we needed them the most, hometown sunsets will find us.

sunset

Captured in these iPhone images are the daily sunsets by the beach in Roxas City, Capiz Philippines. When I took these images, its coastal skyline was bursting in explosive colors of orange, yellow, red and purple. For several minutes, a glimpse of paradise revealed itself. For several minutes, I was reminded that I will always have another home waiting patiently when I do decide to return.

Hope you enjoyed the preview of my Summer travel of 2014. When I watched these sunsets, I saved you a seat with the best view next to where I was. Yes, I did remember each one of you during my island trip.

 

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Summer Lovin’ Philippines, I Do Remember

Philippines, I may be thousand of miles away but I do remember.

PhilippinesHow can I forget you when you gave me so many Summers to love and remember.

PhilippinesSummers that you built with me. Summers that I carried with me, lived with me.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI have not forgotten our many walks by the beach and the many moments of soul searching. I have not forgotten our stories, our dreams and the many promises we made. Have you? I you did, let me help you remember.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our laughter.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember the many beautiful sunsets.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our island travels…

Summer Lovin' Philippines…the unexpected adventures and exciting surprises.

Summer Lovin' Philippines Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our childhood innocence and many simple happy plays?

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember how thrilling  it was playing in the rain. Do you remember that time we chased a rabbit in our front yard? We had a lot of fun didn’t we?

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember the boat rides with its many breathtaking views both above…

Summer Lovin' Philippines…and below the water.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember our faith, culture and traditions. Call me nostalgic. Call me sentimental. Call me sensitive. Hey, ain’t my fault. You blessed me with all these, they rooted so deep.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember smiling and being happy with the little I have. I remember the same smile among the people I met who barely had anything to go by. You showed me so many ways to be happy without having to buy anything. I remember because when there are times I felt I have nothing, you inspired me to feel that I have everything.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember with fondness, families who gave so much more than I deserve. They gave me their heart without asking for anything in return. They gave me a home whose doors never closed even long after I was gone.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesDon’t ever think for a minute that I have forgotten about you. In times of triumph I celebrated with you. In time of storms, I worried and prayed with you. When you needed help, I remembered with utmost concern. It ain’t much, but I hope it was something that helped you rise up and begin a brand new start.

This Summer, a friend set sail the many boats of Operation Baroto or Boat for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Through the many generous contributions by friends and family, hundreds of boats were given to fishermen who lost their means of livelihood. Fishermen who the government has failed to reach despite of the million of dollars donated kind hearted people from all over the world. These fishermen only received several days worth of canned sardines, rice and water. They days after, nothing else came.

This Summer, a friend set sail the many boats of Operation Baroto or Boat for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Through the many generous contributions by friends and family, hundreds of boats were given to fishermen who lost their means of livelihood. Fishermen who the government has failed to reach despite of the million of dollars of donation received from kind-hearted people from all over the world. These fishermen only received several days to a few weeks worth of canned sardines, rice and water. The days after, nothing else came.

I remember the many love you gave. A mother’s love, a father’s love, a sibling’s love, my very first love, all kinds of friendship and family’s love. Love that inspired me through the years. Love that gave me courage and strength. Love that nurtures when days are grey and weeps for much-needed comforting.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

 

 

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesI remember more than you think. I remember more than what others think. So, when I step foot on your soil once more, may you remember me and all that I have become. So much have changed for both you and me the long years we’d been apart. Change that scares me sometimes. Change that motivates me to hang on to what’s still left of the many precious memories and connections of the past and the present. I won’t let go. Please don’t let go.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesIn the next few weeks, embrace me once more with a Summer Lovin’ that will have me forever grooving.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer of sharing, giving, reminiscing, reconnecting.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer of creating new stories, plays, laughter and adventures.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesAn island seaside Summer of many happy laid-back days with lots of room to dream and fill my bucket list.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA treasured Summer among family and closest of friends.

Summer Lovin' PhilippinesA Summer that will remind me that I will always have a second home whose doors will never close because it waits patiently, excitingly for my return.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

We always go back to places that meant more than just memories. It is part of who we were and what we hope to become. When I brought my son to the Philippines, he knew immediately that he will always have a second home with even a bigger family other than what he already has. That alone is why we always try to go back. Back to where it all began.

 

Yes, I do remember you. I hope you do to.

Summer Lovin' Philippines

 

 

There are so many of us who had to leave our homeland of birth in the hope for a better future. Some for a dream others for adventure. Whatever our reasons were, part of us will always long for love ones we left behind. Remembering somehow brings us closer to them and the home we used to know.

This post I offer as a tribute to all the travelers, migrants, overseas workers and their families. We are not alone in this journey.

 

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The Colors Of Summer Comes Alive In London

There are places blessed with sun-kissed Summers. Summers bursting with colors they look like explosive fireworks in broad daylight. Summers so alive our world goes into one euphoric merry-go-round spin. One such Summer I found in London. Join me today, as we go travel the globe and experience what Summer feels like in London.

LondonOur adventure begins at Trafalgar Square.

LondonNow, check your pockets. Do you have a coin with you?

LondonNow, close your eyes, make a wish and toss the coin. In London, Summer magic can turn wishes into reality.

LondonTime to stretch those legs and climb the Nelson’s Column. I promise the view on top will be worth it.

DSC_6307Who wants to check the priceless Art works of Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh at the National Gallery?

London

LondonAnyone hungry? How about shopping? Let’s check out Covent Garden Market. It’s a great place to eat, shop and be entertained.

LondonRecognize this fella? It’s Yoda. Can you figure out how he is able to levitate? The cane perhaps? Oh, well he is Yoda and he can do a lot of cool stuff.

LondonCheck out this guy. He swallowed the entire balloon. Isn’t that a choking hazard?

LondonReady to ride the double decker bus for a city tour? Who wants the front row seats?

LondonDid I forget to mention there are no seat belts? Part of the thrill!

London

LondonLet’s take a train ride and visit the queen at the Windsor Castle.

London

LondonHas anyone spotted the queen yet?

LondonThough I didn’t see the queen that day, I get to stand next to my very own queen. We don’t need royal blood to feel like a royalty. In our home, we are the queen and kings. The very house we live in is our simple version of a castle.

LondonIt’s almost time for the Changing of Royal Guards at the Buckingham Palace. We need to hurry up. It’ll be a long walk.

LondonNow, time to run…

LondonOops, we’re a bit late.  So much crowd ahead of us.

LondonFor a better view, either we sit on top of  someone’s shoulder or…

London…squeeze our way in. Whatever works.

LondonOkay, that was a bit crazy. Time to cool down for some refreshing fruit bubble tea at Brewbox.

LondonStill hungry? We did a lot of walking after all.  How does a newly baked treat and brewed coffee at West Cornwall Pasty sounds?

London

LondonI hope everyone’s energized because we’ll be cruising the River Thames. Let’s discover all the attractions around it.

LondonJust several blocks away, stands the grand Big Ben. From afar it looks small.

LondonAt close range it is really big and tall.

LondonLet’s have an adrenaline kick and see London from above inside one of the capsule of the London Eye. Don’t worry, it’s not a time capsule!

London

LondonReady for more action? How about a close encounter with Jack the Ripper at the London Dungeon. If you are scared of the dark and closed small spaces, it’s okay to say no. We’ll meet at the exit.

LondonCaution, not for the faint of heart. Believe me, a few men were screaming too!

LondonOur colors of Summer won’t be complete without a trip to the beautiful coastal town of Bournemouth in the south coast of England.

BournemouthConsidered as one of Europe’s best beaches, Bournemouth sums up what Summer is all about.

Bournemouth

BournemouthIt was the hottest, brightest Summer weekend that year. The beach was packed. Everyone was trying to get a piece of water fun, sunshine and hopefully some great looking tan. I was simply trying to get the best of Summer memories as much as I can. Who knows when I’ll be back in U.K. for a Summer like this.

BournemouthIt’s funny how when meeting for the first time, my son and his cousin were shy and quiet. Several hours later, they were inseparable, holding hands and telling stories like they were long best friends. Summer does that and more.

BournemouthThe last time my wife visited London, she and her cousins were just kids. Now, they are all grown up, some with kids of their own. Times flies. So are the many Summers of our lives.

BournemouthSummer is having an amazing time with friends and family. It’s about creating new exciting memories with people closest to us as well as those we get to know along the way.BournemouthMy Summer in London and the U.K. was truly unforgettable not because of what I saw but because of the family I created a special bond with. Leaving was hard, even harder when I saw my son and his cousin cried because they realized the last dinner we spent with her family was also a time to say goodbye. So we made a promise that one day soon, when fate allows, we will go back and once again experience the many colors of Summer in London.BournemouthI hope you enjoyed our Summer getaway in London and Bournemouth. I hope our travelogue brought the colors of Summer right to your doorsteps.

Once again, “Summer is not a season. It is a feeling.” Don’t let the weather outside your window contain the Summer in you.

Thank you for being a great travel companion. The more people celebrating Summer, the more fun it becomes.

 

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