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For whatever I can share to inform, inspire, enlighten, and bring joy and hope to others, then this blog has best served its purpose.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spiderman and the Skyscraper


The last time I watched a Spiderman movie was in 2004, a decade ago. It was one of the most awesome things I had done for myself when I decided to watch it alone. Inside the movie house, everything turned out surreal. Or was it just my rich imagination allowing me to express my own story in special effects and, as what was Peter Parker was best at doing, to swing away from one skyscraper to another.

One good thing I’ve learned from watching that movie was that, as cheesy as it may sound though, it was able to provide me with a sort of connection by which I had all the freedom to turn the fiction into a non-fiction. The movie was about the struggle between living the superhero's own normal and ordinary life as Peter Parker and the big responsibility that he must answer as the Spiderman. When the plot thickened up on him and the conflicts were only adding more loads to the burden, swinging between skyscrapers seemed like one best alternative that will remind him of the superhero status that he has had and will always be. Spending time with his girlfriend at that very particular moment of confusion would only highlight in either way.

If there’s a battle Spiderman needs to win, it must be the battle against his own self; something within him. In real life, Spiderman could be just like everyone else, dealing with a tough issue. The best remedy I could find, though, is for him to use the power of his imagination to influence his emotions. Once he has settled with that kind of thing, he becomes invincible.

It never ceased to amaze me how the imagination can play a very important role in the daily life of a person. Like when the stumbling blocks of life are thrown in someone’s path, there would always be an easy route towards finding comfort in things imaginary; the knight in a shining armor to the rescue. But that’s just the good thing about it. Imagination is such a powerful tool to use for one’s own advantage. It could be a source of positive transformation you like to see in things, people, the world, and yourself.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Defending an ally


Will the United States defend ally Philippines in case the islands nation is attacked by a foreign military? No matter what the skeptics may be saying, treaties and pacts are formed and aimed to benefit all parties involved. The Philippine-United States Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 shall be fully enforced for what it was in theory or otherwise what’s it to continue to exist for?  The Treaty was signed between the United States and Philippine delegates in Washington D.C. on the 30th of August 1951. Under such Treaty, an attack against the Philippines by a foreign country, will be understood an attack against United States of America and vice versa.

The Philippines, considered by many military strategists and historians as America’s strategic and long-standing ally, will once again become a major hub for American troops and hardware aimed at keeping track of the stability and balance in the Asia-Pacific region as the two nations came up with a new deal by signing the 10-year Enhanced Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Former U.S. president Gerald Ford saw how important it was to keep maintaining the American presence among Asian allies and for the decades to come, during his Manila visit in December of 1975, as he was quoted as saying in one of his public speeches that “world stability and our own security depend upon our Asian commitments.”

Visiting U.S. president Barack Obama clearly stated in a speech he addressed during a state dinner with Philippines president Benigno Simeon Aquino at the Malacanang Palace that “through our treaty alliance, the United States has an ironclad to defend you, your security and your independence.” That should be understood a clear message to China should it continue with its expansionist program by grabbing lands of neighboring countries.

But whether the United States will actually defend the Philippines or not in case of an armed attack by a foreign country, the Philippine government must use such Treaties to its own advantage. It is not always good to let other people come to defend or fight for you, but rather you have got to find ways to defend yourself. There must be a massive military build-up, upgrade, and modernization to take place while these Treaties are still in effect. In that way, the Philippines is in a win-win situation: building up its external defense capability while, at the same time, protected by a Treaty.

Obama is the seventh sitting US president to visit the Philippines


Obama and Aquino. Photo credit: bigstory.ap.org
Obama’s Philippine visit on April 28, 2014, that’s today (Manila time), was only the seventh for a sitting US president. The two nations shared a deep and long history of struggle, commitment, friendship, and cooperation. Filipino and American soldiers fought side by side against the Japanese imperial army during World War II as well as in the Korean War several years later.

It all began with Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower who, 58 years ago, despite having spent several years in the Philippines as an aid to General Douglas MacArthur prior to World War II, pioneered for a sitting United States president to visit the former island colony and a long-standing ally. It was followed by Lyndon Johnson in the year 1966 who was in town to attend a summit with leaders from six countries: South Korea, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, and host country the Philippines.

Richard Nixon was the 3rd sitting US president to visit the country on July 26, 1969, shortly after Apollo 11 carrying the three American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon. He was quoted as saying about his country’s historical ties with the Filipino people, in his arrival speech in Manila, “We went through World War II together. We have gone through Korea together. We now have a war in Vietnam.”

In December of the year 1975, Gerald Ford became the fourth sitting American president to visit the country and as part of his Asian journey by which he also visited China and Indonesia. Ford saw the importance of a role that the United States would be playing in maintaining the peace and instability in the Asia-Pacific region. He was quoted as saying in one of his public speeches that “world stability and our own security depend upon our Asian commitments.”

Bill Clinton was able to visit the Philippines twice while in office. First was in 1993 right after his election to the presidency. The second one was in 1996 to attend APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Subic.

George Bush became the sixth sitting US head of state to visit the country in October 2003. Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo welcomed him and his delegates in the historical Malacanang Palace and the two leaders also addressed a joint session of the Philippine Congress.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Two popes made saints in joint canonization in Vatican today


The Roman Catholic Church has added two new personalities into its roster of saints in what was a double canonization ceremony in Vatican today, 27th April 2014, presided over by the Argentine but of Italian descent Pope Francis himself. The two popes who were made saints and both shared the pope names of John were Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, as well as sharing the same real names of Joseph. Pope John Paul II was a Polish actor and also a factory worker in one of Poland’s chemical factories bearing the name of Karol Jozef Wojtyla prior to considering the priesthood while Pope John XXIII, on the other hand, was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli to a family of sharecroppers in Sotto il Monte in the Lombardy region of Italy.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world flocked to Saint Peter’s Basilica Square to witness the final step towards sainthood of two of the towering figures of the 20th century Roman Catholic Church. At exactly 10:15 AM Vatican time, Pope Francis officially declared the sainthood of the two popes by saying, “We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church.”

The date of canonization coincides with the feast of the Divine Mercy. It was during Pope John Paul II’s papacy that the first Sunday after Easter was officially declared as the feast of the Divine Mercy.  The feast of the Divine Mercy was based on Faustina Kowalska’s diary, a Polish nun who was said to have had a face to face conversation with Jesus and by whom Pope John Paul II has canonized on 30th April of 2000. It was not a coincidence but rather God’s will that he died on the day of the feast of the Divine Mercy on 2nd April 2005.

Pope John XXIII championed the cause for calling an Ecumenical Council as a way of updating the church. He was the first Pope who were able to do so for the church since the Council of Trent some 500 years ago. His humility, generosity, and reconciliatory spirit made him one of the best loved popes of the 20th century.

Chopped pig feet stew


This morning my wife cooked me a Filipino comfort food called Chopped pig feet stew. Like the rest of the Sunday mornings since my son Nathaniel was born almost two years ago would, more often than not, found me waking up very late into. The night before would be a session with my imaginary friend talking to me which could last till dawn--the Muse every writer would go crazy about.

I missed the early Sunday morning walks we had at the park before but if I can only bring back the early bird that I once was. But to my relief, though, I would always be served with what every Sunday morning comfort food my wife would be cooking. I’d sure be gaining more pounds for that but it doesn’t matter at all for as long as I’m going to see it as a sign of progress instead. I’d be hitting back the gym for as soon as it needs to be but, for the meantime, let me be just the hedonist. Anyways, here’s how the Chopped pig feet stew should be cooked (according to my wife):


Ingredients

1 kilo chopped pig feet
1 pechay sliced into three parts
1 raw ear of a corn sliced into four parts
1 tropical yam sliced into smaller parts
4 green peppers sliced twice each
1 lemon grass
1 onion chopped into four parts
2 tablespoons of salt
1 Knorr pork cubes seasoning
3 tomatoes sliced twice each
1 ginger (crushed)
potable water
¼ squash sliced into desired parts


Cooking procedure

Clean the chopped pig feet (already a dressed version ready for cooking) thoroughly with water. Put the chopped pig feet in a large cooking vessel. Add water to reach a little over the level of the chopped pig feet. Cook and wait until the meat softens. Normally, the water level will decrease due to prolong cooking. Add water again and allow it to boil.

Then add the corn, squash, and tropical yam and wait to cook for 2 minutes. Add ginger, onion, green peppers, lemongrass, tomato, and pechay. Wait to cook for another 2 minutes. Then add salt and Knorr pork cubes seasoning. Wait to cook for one last minute. Transfer in a large glass bowl and serve. Good for 6 servings.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Turning every single day of your life into a gift


To those who considered life as a gift will be able to find a lot more each passing day for as long as they live. Of course, life is not always going to be an easy ride and there are days when the hurdles on the road seem like too huge for you to overcome. The terrain may as well be, as unfamiliar as it is, like heading towards a hill.  

The gift of the everyday could be found in the way you look at things and to change their effects on you for the better. It is to savor every single moment with the joy, wisdom, and beauty of what you’re capable of making that will lead to your deepest spiritual fulfillment. Every single day is an opportunity to help you discover the core values you will need for your life by becoming, in as much as it takes you to knowing who you truly are and can be, your own artist.

In reality, things can go very wrong, turns ugly and life can be, at times, rough and tough. But that’s when you have to find ways for what there may be in things you can do something about. The keyword is “attitude.” When things are just beyond your control, you can control your attitude towards them instead.

The gift of the everyday is also the giving of your own gifts in exchange. What are these gifts? The gift of sight that can go beyond superficial seeing, the gift of humility, the gift of contentment, the gift of sympathy, the gift of enthusiasm, the gift of love, hope, faith, and many more.

Turning every single day of your life into a gift is to fully experience life itself by which you have to appreciate the every little facet of what it can offer. It is about the transformation you could get by changing your consciousness for positive reasons. It is not something you have to wait for nor to let others do it for you. You have got to create the device yourself that will produce about such gifts.

Above all, you have to remind yourself that, when things and circumstances are blocking your way from finding them, you had the people close to your heart to treasure for a lifetime, the things that you do to connect you with the divine, and yourself--these are gifts worth keeping for every single day that you will never run out of.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

If this must be a poem I’d like to avoid writing


It began with a choice. A newcomer set out to liberate a freak wave of thoughts that would later on form the ideas which could take a freakish sense of intent to permit that to happen. At least, at one instance, I didn’t have the time to think about it. There’s a certain amount of denial for what this craft can only pull for a lot of reasons.

In other words, if this must be a poem I’d like to avoid writing it is imperative to be in times like this to also create something different. Something which I would have written long ago only to forget what it’s all about. But yet, again, it comes back as the missing piece; the particularly the same amount of time I would have spent enduring, longing, and wondering.

That’s fine, that’s just fine.

Still, it’s hard to know when to stop once I started. Or perhaps to argue that it’s just the filling in the blanks of the page that has turned. It would read like suggesting a question to be raised in the minds of astute readers. No one else is expected to have all the answers though.

If this must be a poem I’d like to avoid writing, I’d be squeezing more juice out of the orange. Or perhaps a treat to a fascinating spectacle of a die-hard coffee drinker arguing that people must stop consuming tea anymore because it has fluoride as high as its antioxidants content would have rather given me a clue: The implicit assumption of facts that are, in fact, facts.

I might be wrong about it, if this must be a poem I’d like to avoid writing, as if similar thoughts expressed in different ways and for different reasons encourage you to read. Only then would it occur for you to read. And yet it was still not enough.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A closer look at the prism of love


This poem, of my original composition, aims to understand the condition of a love in its primitive form. But it’s also a hopeful attempt, on the other hand, at decoding the intricacies of one of the most powerful of emotions that, as one comes to fully comprehend of its very nature, will lead to go beyond the boundaries of what might be discovered. Love should emerge from the Light and Truth or otherwise it is not love yet.


Another way to fire those flares off from the cannons
Of your contemplative eyes would be a confused stream
Of the steady, the something that will come out from
Extreme angles asking me to look out: Through the glass

Sculpted in light in the drifting away of the moment--
Even with the mere act of keeping the important of our lives
Drift faster than the insignificant ones.
Can we not see where our visions fail?

Yet I’d rather be a window somebody would look out at.
Something in the chaotic state projecting enough light
To show the form that must emerge that will otherwise
Remain void, without pattern into these darknesses.

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