Monday, July 28, 2014

Waterfalls and the Legend of Everything :-D



Once in our lifetime we really have this dream of embarking into a grand tour abroad. America, Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere. My longing however, is in the European continent, and my purpose is not just for leisure but for discovery and learning too. I want to walk among the castle ruins and write something about its glorious history.

I love being close to nature so naturally most of the places I longed to visit are located in the countryside. 

Tuscany region in Italy, Fife region in Scotland, Cornwall and Cotswold in England and Klosters in Switzerland are some of the most fascinating places I dreamed to visit.

But how about the world's natural wonders?

Though most people often trade the sleepy feel of the rural area to the vibrant life in the city, I always prefer a life in a more quiet surrounding. And when choosing to go somewhere to cool down, I want to be in an environment with verdant trees and a fascinating vista, wheew!

Oh yeah, seriously, I love the life in the hillside! It's incredibly soothing and peaceful. But I am a little wary on trekking a mountain, it still scares me to death despite the thrill of adventure it provides. I have this ridiculous fear in heights.

But I do admire the majestic appeal of the rural sceneries: streams, valleys, lakes and waterfalls are simply gorgeous and spectacular.

The legendary beauty of Niagara Falls in the state of New York 
Photo courtesy of Arman Esmas

Talking about the natural wonders of the mother earth, particularly waterfalls, there are two amazing waterfalls in the world that are famous due to its extraordinary beauties: Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada/New York State, and Iguazu Falls in South America located between the border of Paranguay and Argentina.

I don't have pictures of Iguazu Falls so let's talk about Niagara instead with awesome photos I borrowed from my friend, Arman Esmas.

Niagara Falls is a splendid clusters of waterfalls with thousands of visitors flocking to the area annually. It straddles in the international border of the United States of America and Canada. Its beautiful curtains of waterfalls and the available attractions and amenities offered on both sides of the border made the Niagara one of the most popular tourist spots in the world. 

READ more about NIAGARA FALLS in MY TRAVEL ADVENTURE SITE

I would like to thank my friend (whom I have not seen in person yet haha!) Arman for giving me permission to post his Niagara shots in My Travel site, though I am not sure if he would be able to read this blog, I would extend my deepest gratitude to him anyway for the support and all the kindness he bestowed. In life, we would really encounter generous and amazing people all the way, and Arman is one. Thanks so much Arman, may God continue to protect you and shower you with so much graces!  ^____^


Sunday, July 27, 2014

All About Last Week


OMG!! I can't believe I am idling for 2 hours now. Warm afternoon sucks! 

Cannot think of anything else other than watch the dancing of the leaves in the trees outside the window. 

I know I cannot afford to just sit here and watch the sunset to dwell, I have so many things to do. Edit books, finalize the references, re-check Amazon's submission guidelines, update my three blogs, conduct additional research about European Royals, browse other sites to do link building, blah blah blah!

But right now I am totally exhausted mentally to think about books, blogs, research, and other hardcore writing stuff, I just want to play with our cats and do nothing! So funny but I don't know why I feel so extremely "lost", as if my brain suddenly stop working creatively and my energy would not just cooperate. Okay, now here. This is where the trouble goes. I forgot to bring my box of green tea, I left it in the workplace. A cup of hot Green Tea is my only energy booster. 

So now, while waiting for my appetite in writing and editing to pick up, I'll have to think randomly to recondition my brain. All about Last Week! Got these really set of amusing questions from other journal site and find it cute, cool and fun, so I will be answering it too here to "kill" boredom:

Remember, the answers should be ALL ABOUT LAST WEEK!

What's the funniest thing you did?
Cannot recall haha!

Your heartiest laugh?
Had a heartiest laugh with friends in the workplace, they were teasing me endlessly towards someone and just would not stop nudging me about something else. Since their "inquiries" were unfounded, I just burst into laughter :-D

Craving?
Food - Maki! I love Japanese food and maki is my favorite. But never got any chance to visit a Japanese restaurant last week maybe in the weeks to come, looking forward into it.

Best Conversation?
You know I love long conversation and I like someone who is a good conversationalist, smart and a little bit funny and humorous. No matter how short the conversation is, if I like the topic(s), it will stick in my head. Yes, I had one best conversation over the week.

Did you ever think of dreaming to escape somewhere?
OMG!! Yes, all the time and last week was no different. I always wanted to escape somewhere, to de-stress, relax and have a long conversation with whoever is available. My friends in the project planned to go on a trip to Puerto Galera in mid-September this year and I will go with them.

The Most Annoying thing?
We have this really annoying boardmate who thinks she owns the whole room and who appears to have an attitude problem. She does not talk and she moves so clumsily, every time she puts something on his plastic cannister, she seems dragging everything in the room and the sounds piss me off!. 

Summarize your "All About last Week"
The environment was gloomy but I did not find it punishing or disgusting, I love the cool surrounding so I would never feel down when there's rain. So excited towards something, I don't know what it is that blew off my excitement I just want to feel good and be excited and inspired. Sometimes we don't need to search for reasons why we are smiling, why we seem floating in the air with too much excitement and inspiration, we just want to absorb the feeling because it's nice, good and terrific and because it truly exists! Life is a choice and you can choose to be happy. I choose to be happy despite all the chaos and troubles that are happening around.

That's all about last week.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Soulmates! Are they real?

Oh God! Where's my soulmate, is he still alive? Would he still come?
Been waiting for him to cross my path for the past two decades of my life
Would I still wait until eternity? I am so tired!!!

Why I am stuck in this craziness? Why it seems I can’t take you out of my mind? You’re like a waif that I can see you everywhere! Are our souls entwined??

Oh!hohoho!!! Soulmates! Are they real?

This might sounds so absurd, but lately I began pondering incredibly hard what am I into this world? Who am I? What path I should be traversing? who to be with? And all those self-provoking questions.

Until the questions boiled down to something like an old argument that has been existed for generations but continue to be debated if it’s really real—SOULMATE! Is this real? Or just a product of the wild imagination of the poetic world.

According to an article in Huffington Post quoting an American Writer, Richard Bach “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys that fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are."

The ancient thinker, Plato, has his own version defining a soulmate: “...and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment...”

Oh Soulmates!! 

According to some, a soulmate is the embodiment of love and partnership, uniquely different in a way that he or she fits the lock that opens your consciousness and your deep emotions, the bond is somehow strong and deep-rooted.

In our lifetime, we always waited for that beautiful moment to come, that we could meet someone who could open our consciousness and compliment the energy and desire we felt, someone who seems to be the complete version of ourselves, whom it feels like we had met in the past but could not figure out when and where, someone to whom we feel extra familiarity, more like the feeling of stumbling on our twin, the other side of ourselves!

Okay that's soulmate, so where’s my soulmate? Why there seems to be an endless moment of waiting? Where in the corner of the world should I find him? Is he still alive? And if ever he still exists, would we still meet?

Moving on with the article in Huffington Post, according to the writer, there are several indications which clearly outline a soulmate bond. Here are few hints:

 Elements of a Soulmate:

1. It's something inside. Describing how a soulmate makes you feel is difficult. It's a tenacious, profound and lingering emotion which no words can encompass.

2. Flashbacks. If he/she is your soulmate, chances are he or she has been present in your past lives. Soulmates often choose to come back together during the same lifetime and scope each other out in the big world. You might suddenly and briefly experience flashbacks of your soulmate. You might even feel an odd sense of déjà vu, as if the moment in time has already taken place, perhaps a long time ago, perhaps in a different setting.

3. Familiarity and Connection. Ever known two people who finish each other's sentences? Or two persons who seem so many things in common, who have the same preferences and tastes? They both fell in love with the same music, same movie genre, books, foods and other choices. That's a soulmate connection. 

4. You fall in love with his (or her) flaws. No relationship is perfect, and even soulmate relationships will experience ups and downs. Still, that bond will be much harder to break. Soulmates have an easier time of accepting, even learning to love, each other's imperfections. Your relationship is more likely to be a soulmate match if you both love each other exactly as you each are, accepting both the great and awful tendencies we all have.

5. It's intense. A soulmate relationship may be more intense than normal relationships, in both good and sometimes bad ways. The most important thing is that, even during negative episodes, you're focused on resolving the problem and can see beyond the bad moment.

6. You're mentally inseparable. Soulmates often have a mental connection similar to twins. They might pick up the phone to call each other at the exact same time. They have the same like and love. Though life may keep them apart at times, soulmates' minds will always be in tune with each other and feel like they are closer despite the distance and space.

Awwww! So that's how we would sense our soulmate, according to Huffington Post haha! And if the above elements seem quite too familiar or have been present when you encounter or meet someone, then most likely, that someone might be your soulmate!

And according to other sources about Soulmate. Once in a lifetime, we will really encounter someone who is truly the exact replica of ourselves, someone who could complete the mystery of our existence, someone who is our Soulmate. 

Hmmm...if soulmate is finally in your surrounding, you can instantly feel it...as soulmates easily recognize each other through their common interests...


Sunday, July 20, 2014

We gotta Learn to Let Go....

Just got home from attending the afternoon Sunday mass and it feels so good! After days of brooding for something I don't even know existed my distress subsided and I am thoroughly relieved, comforted with the fact that there's still God who recognizes my value and who always protected me.

Today's gospel is so inspiring. It's all about God's parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:36-43). The weeds are those belong to the evil one and the son of man sows good seed. For a while I reflected on the parable and pondered on my life, I am a good seed and nothing can keep my faith away from me and no matter what happens, my faith never ceases. I truly believe in the power of prayers.

Whatever circumstances I will be encountering in my life's journey, I know God is always my guidance who never get tired of me. I've a long way to go in life.

Have you ever encountered a certain moment where everything seems a little noisy and a little crazier? As if something blares too loudly that you can hardly even heard yourself talking?

These are clutters of everyday-life and in order to move on and achieve peace, happiness and contentment, we gotta learn to let go of these clutters and think about life in a bigger picture, think about the beauty of the environment, the stillness of the mother earth and the soft tang of the evening air, these are magical moments that provide so much inspiration.

We gotta learn to let go of close-mindedness too. We are all different and unique, we never share one's thoughts and opinions and biases, we cannot force our ideas to others in a way that we cannot dictate them how they judge us or interpret our behavior and personality. So let's give them space and let us also give ourselves enough space to breath and stop over-analysing everything.

The world is a better place, absolutely wonderful place to live in if we have to let go the things that we have no control. Life is a beautiful journey to be wasted on useless things.

Learn to Let Go and breathe deeply! :-D


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Storm in my Tea Cup

Literally, a tropical storm hammered Metro Manila last Wednesday, July 16, beginning at early dawn and it was awful, destructive and run havoc to the environment. 

I was just lying in bed the whole morning, rolling my eyes to the ceiling of the bedroom I shared with three boardmates, listening to the raucous shrieking of the winds and enduring the terrible hunger pangs I felt.

While the rest of the people in the neighborhood seemed like in great panic, I was in deep thoughts, unconcerned whether the world will crumble into pieces. My mind tousled with so many qualms as if I was about to be punished for some terrible mistakes I never realized I committed.

The tropical storm receded but not the storm in my tea cup. The little tempest I was trying to ignore grew into a monstrous blizzard. Harsh and ruthless. Should I listen to my intuition? Is my intuitive nature got it right? Or just over-analysing something. But instinct is louder than logic. The trouble with being too pleasant is that you'll be slightly judged and dismissed as nervy and worst, be misinterpreted in a different context.

But there's nothing we can do how people react and how they mirror us. Sometimes they just gauge us on first impression as if it is the totality of our personality. It's quite sad because it hampers an opportunity to know each other better. Mostly, the golden discovery lies somewhere along the way while the process of knowing is slowly taking place. But sometimes this is never achieve due to wrong impressions. And the road to discovery dies even before it picks up.

We all have storm moments at some point. And it often comes without warnings. Moment by moment, events and circumstances push us to the end of the wall and force us to believe that life can be so unfair sometimes. 

The week started so good, or so I thought. But what seemed like a bright, beautiful week ended up in despair. The clear hint of distaste bounced up. The road to tribulations is beckoning so it's better to stop at the intersection to avoid a disastrous journey. It pains me to realize that I could never fit in no matter how I tried to be amusing and courteous, I always ended up being thrown out. Maybe it's time to go back to myself and just be contented with living alone.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Magical Moment. It rarely Happens


“Sometimes the things that are felt the most are expressed between two souls over the distance and over time...where no words abide. And others may speak freely, live with one another freely, express themselves freely– just like everyone else, but then there is you... you have no words for proof of reassurance, 
no tokens of professed love, but you have something. Something worth keeping.”
- Saint Paul Trois Chateaux: 1948

I think everyone would agree with this: There's no such thing as perfect moment but we can make every moment perfect. It's on how we deal with life that makes a difference.

When we are thinking with so many worries and nurturing lots of anxieties, life turns pretty bad, but when we dart our focus to rosy things in the environment and treat each day a special moment of magic everything will turn out awesomely great and beautiful. 

It pays off to be optimistic.

But there are times that the story of life never sounds as magical as fairytale. At times it appears as though an evil fairy godmother waved her magic wand with misfortune in our head that "waiting" for that special magical moment to take place seems like an eternal quest. And as days go by, we feel so disgusted and frustrated why we should wait longer before things happen. 

The longest period of time is waiting for something or someone we truly want.  It's not that we're extremely stubborn, but in life, in order to save our last breath for a beautiful moment to unfold, we should learn how to compromise with time even if it means "eternity".

But as we all know, life can be so generous,  sometimes it allows destiny and fate to collide and circumstances to make ways no matter how long it takes to show us that God has  a better plan more  wonderful than what we have thought.

Then things happen in a way we never expect. Magic overflows.  Moments become magnificent as if the world is at peace and clutter-free.

And there, time away, separated by space, across the miles and beyond borders, the voice rings like a soothing melody. Far from a distance, the color of the blue horizon magnifies hope, emotion reverberates magic, more splendid, more spectacular. Suddenly, you feel an instant connection. Then it lingers and the stars look like they’re closer and everything becomes magical.

Everyday, it feels like I see the seeds grow and I want to hold it in my palm and wait for some buds to appear and watch it bloom into beautiful flowers. There's a bright beam of sunlight that filters through the window of my soul that I suddenly smell sweet-scented roses everywhere.

That's a magical moment. And it rarely happens. And when it happens, I know it's genuine and eternal, beyond imagination. "Waiting" afterall, is a master plan designed by God.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Monalisa Smile?



This is the same question that lurked in the mind of Dan Brown when he gazed pensively at the portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous work of art in Louvre Museum, Paris, paving the way for the creation of his controversial book “Da Vinci Code”.

I don’t want to dwell on Brown’s work, I did not watch the film nor read the book, I hate the fact that he lampooned the Catholic religion. But just like him, I am also drawn with the secret behind the mysterious, enigmatic smile of Monalisa. What she'd been hiding down the centuries?

 At the replica of the portrait of Monalisa -  Puzzle Mansion, Tagaytay


Let’s start with the legend of the portrait.

Monalisa, probably the most written, most sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world, is a masterpiece of Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian artist. But originally, Da Vinci did not name it Monalisa but “La Gioconda”. He started working on the painting around the 16th century but it was never finished until he went to France to work for King Francis I. He brought the unfinished painting with him and continued working until 1517. Monalisa thoroughly became a French possession and was never brought back to Italy.

People across generation were intrigued how Da Vinci came up with the portrait, who was the real subject? Was really she or he? Many versions had been reported as to who was the model in the portrait, the most well-known was Lisa Gherardini, wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. Others were women of noble birth: Isabella of Aragon and Costanza d’Avalos, Duchess of Francavilla, but many speculated, maybe out of creating further controversies, that the subject of the portrait was Da Vinci himself!

The obscurity of Monalisa's smile and the mysterious angle of her gaze made the painting the most celebrated work of art in the world!

How she was made?

Why Monalisa is so mysterious? Why she can be radiant one moment and obscure the next? According to studies, Da Vinci painted Monalisa in oil using the sfumato technique or the smoky effect with just his bare fingers as there were no brush marks visible on the painting. He applied almost 40 layers of thin glaze mixed with different pigments that create shadows around the mouth.

Da Vinci used a pyramid design, placing the subject sublimely in the space of the painting, against the backdrop of a countryside (my own speculation is a Tuscan landscape hehe) hands folded, face glowed in the same light with the hands, mouth arched in a bewitching angle, chin in a delicate tone and an enchanting gaze that intrigued scholars for ages. The degree of her gaze varied depending on how people look at the painting which made the image more mystifying.

 Work of a Genius

Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius but even with his unique artistic skills and brilliant mind, he might have never thought he could create a masterpiece that would haunt generation across the centuries. Monalisa is not only a splendid, stunning piece of classical art but also a strange painting that manipulates vision.

According to scholars and art experts, Da Vinci achieved an unusual meticulous effect of art techniques because Mona Lisa’s smile changes the way people look at the painting. It spurs different expressions: subtle, charming, demure and ambiguous.

So, is Monalisa Smiling?

The answer is: No. Basically, the attitude of the way Da Vinci painted the girl personified sophistication bordering subtleness. The concept of "smile" is just an optical illusion and depends on how we look at the picture, where our gaze focuses and how far we are from the portrait, her supposed "smile" varies, but it's purely "illusion". When people look directly on the mouth and carefully move the stares up to her eyes, the smile disappears, why is this so?

According to one scientist, it is because our peripheral vision sees blurry images while our central vision sees fine details. Different cells in the retina transmit different categories of information or “channels’ to the brain. These channels encode data about an object’s size, clarity, brightness and location in the visual field. So the belief that Monalisa is smiling is just part of a spatial frequency perception within the mouth. Okay, that's according to the interpretations of researchers and scientists.

So how I looked at Monalisa?

When I visited Puzzle Mansion in Tagaytay last weekend and saw the replica of the portrait of Monalisa, I shortly studied her face, sort of an experiment, if the optical illusion they are referring is true. Of course this is not the original version so there might be some distortions on the contours of the painting and the details of the image might not be accurate anymore, nevertheless, I made some scrutiny on the image.

As I moved closer to the painting, I saw this strange effect of my gaze. I stared hard on her eyes and saw a far-away look expression, she seems serious and demure, but when my stare moved down to her mouth, an enigmatic smile reappeared. Her eyes are not fixed to the spectators as everyone believed but it threw off away to the other side  as if looking the other way around.

Tired with my little experiment, I moved forward and left Monalisa haha! So there you go, the mystical existence of Da Vinci’s work of art.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tagaytay Again!


...And still, my long-standing dream to visit Sonya's Garden remains an elusive quest :-D

Love it here!The atmosphere is so homely, very quiet and breezy

Got to visit Tagaytay again yesterday with my friend, Rowie Tagaan. We dropped off at Bag of Beans to take our late lunch. It was our first time to dine at BOB and quite impressed with the natural backdrop of a countryside scenery, cool, quiet, tranquil and soothing. Very homely atmosphere, perfect to chill down after a busy week.

I love the theme of Bag of Beans - European setting with Oriental touches! The ornament details are very Asian and the menu reflects the European tradition of a coffee shop but the feeling remains in a Filipino tone especially the furnishing and the buffet area. 

We chose to sit at one of the tables in the veranda and we love it! Very cozy, as if we're just enjoying meals in the balcony of our own home, the soft breeze of the afternoon air made the whole dining experience a very relaxing and fulfilling one. I would love to make a repeat visit!

We originally wanted to go to Sonya's Garden after Bag of Beans but the weather suddenly turned awful the moment we waited for a ride and because it was around 5:00 in the afternoon and Sonya's is very far from the road, we decided to postpone the plan and went to Puzzle Mansion instead.

We're two care-free adventurers, so excited about many things in life!

Going to Puzzle Mansion was some sort of a challenge, the road is not bumpy but the travel was quite taxing, since we have no car haha! We only hired a tricycle and oh God! Only private cars are allowed to park at the vicinity of the mansion. So we have no other choice but to trek the hilly road, it was drizzly but we managed to enjoy the experience of walking at the hill side, taking pictures along the way and reached the museum with a relaxed mind :-P

Puzzle Mansion is more like a rest house with a breezy feel of a farm life and a soothing scenery of the mother earth. It is located in the grassy field of barangay Asisan in Tagaytay. The museum that houses the largest jigsaw puzzle collections in the world is just within the mansion, which is originally a tourist inn with 11 rooms offering bed and breakfast accommodations.

Jigsaw puzzle of the portrait of St. John Paul II
Why Monalisa smile? 
A question that led to the creation of the book "Da Vinci Code" when one day Dan Brown gazed at the portrait  of Monalisa in Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
But Monalisa is not smiling, it is just an optical illusion according to experts

My favourite jigsaw puzzle among the collections was of course that of St. John Paul II, oh yes the portrait is so heart-warming, seeing the face of the beloved great pope again is such a beautiful feeling. I love you St. John Paul II!!

We left the area around 6:30 and went back to Mendez to catch a bus ride for Manila. Such a spectacular feeling of being able to relax and chill after busy days. And tomorrow, it's back to normal, arggghh! I want more weekends!!!

Read more about this Weekend Escapade here in My Travel Adventure blog