Sunday, July 30, 2017

Organic Super Berries from English Tea Shop!

Awesome tea finds while looking for something to drink at Robinson's supermarket!


I am an avid tea drinker. This is the only beverage that can provide relief when my energy is very low. Tea gives me a unique vitality especially at night when I am working on my books and blogs. It offers comfort and relief from stress. I am not really into coffee and the only way to keep me awake at night time is a cup of warm tea.


Elegant packaging!


This savory tea from English Tea Shop has a fusion of organic super berries such as strawberry, blueberry and raspberry. It retains the bitter taste of tea but with a little spike of sweetness, which for me a perfect blend. There's no need to put honey or lemon because the berries already provide a delightful balance of taste of sweetness.


Each tea bag is packed in a classy sachet


The juicy taste and the pleasing aroma of the super berries made this tea a wonderful tonic beverage. I love the sweet aroma! Each teabag releases a red color to the water but it does not give stain to the cup. It looks like just a natural water. This tea is perfect after eating sweets and creamy food. It balances the greasiness of fatty food.

This variety contains 20 tea bags individually packed in a classy sachet. One cartoon is worth Php160.00

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dunkirk Film: Some Loopholes

This is the film I’ve been waiting for years. Since reading the book, The Battle of Britain, 10 years ago and read the strip of the story of Dunkirk, I did not stop wishing that someday the story of how Operation Dynamo was carried successfully would be transformed into a motion picture. Ten years later, my wish would be granted. Only to be disappointed.
There’s no doubt that Christopher Nolan (writer and director of Dunkirk) is one of the most brilliant filmmakers in Hollywood. I’ve watched most of his films and almost all of it left me with a sore mind, trying to analyze the scenes. He is superb in mind games. His films often centered on logical plots and mind-bogging scenes. Like Inception.
So I expected so much about Dunkirk. First, because I know the story. I love history. I like the story of wars. Especially when it tackles the personal emotion of soldiers enduring a traumatizing situation in the battlefield. It drew sympathy. Second, because it’s a Christopher Nolan film. A mind plot master in Hollywood.
But I did not get what I was expecting. In fact, I was thoroughly frustrated, even at the very start of the film. I felt I was robbed with expectations. There was a big loophole somewhere in the screenplay. Emotion. It lacks a spike of emotion, which is the core of Dunkirk story.
Why I was disappointed?
Well, the story of Dunkirk is one of the most highly emotional testimonies of wars I’ve ever read in recent years. It retells the trauma suffered by the British soldiers while retreating, romping under enemies’ fire and left nothing to pick up their lives but themselves and their will to survive. For brave men trained to be tough in the front line under fire, their saga to leave their weapons behind and the battlefield was demoralizing. Their chance of survival was slimmer and they expected nothing in the world but miracle.
Dunkirk was a former coastal area in France where the Operation Dynamo was fully implemented. Operation Dynamo was a military strategy developed by the British commanders to evacuate the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) back to Britain.
It was May 1940, eight months after the second World War erupted. France already fell to Hitler’s panzers. The British Expeditionary Forces (the least experience among the Allied soldiers) were trapped in France and could not be mobilized. The British commanders thought their men would be totally crashed if they would continue to face the mighty German combatants. So they made a decision almost unthinkable to the brave soldiers trained to die for their country, evacuation.
They named this military strategy, Operation Dynamo. The plan was to bring all the soldiers to the coastal area of Dunkirk where the fleet of the British royal navy will wait. But it was risky. The German soldiers were equipped with high-powered battle gears, snipers were all over France, and Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force, had expert dive-bombers ready to wipe out the retreating BEF.
The only edge of Great Britain in the battlefield was the British royal navy. Unlike Germany, Britain boasted the largest naval fleets and the most skillful navy officers in the world. The British commanders decided to bank on this edge. The royal air force pilots were tasked to cover the retreating BEF and the British warships by counter-attacking the Luftwaffe.
While marching to Dunkirk, the BEF suffered severe exhaustion clouded with uncertainties whether they could ever return home alive or be destroyed by the Luftwaffe on the beach. Many were shattered by hopelessness and sleeplessness. The demoralizing situation was even intensified when hunger and thirsty took over. Artilleries were left behind and they needed to traverse the dark and dangerous trail day and night without any assurance of survival. Tired, confused and feeling useless, some of them almost committed suicide on the road and tempted to surrender to the enemies.
Days of waiting for their destiny in the seashore, several of them died. More than half of the British royal air force pilots were also killed. The British warships were attacked by German torpedoes, though only few successfully sunk. When Hitler halted the operation of the German panzers to regroup, the task to attack the retreating soldiers was carried fully by the Luftwaffe.
That’s when the miracle took place. The weather turned somber over Dunkirk and the horizon was covered with thick mist and smoke from the burning town, prompting the Luftwaffe pilots to commit several errors on target, missing the dock and the throng of soldiers.
The bad weather provided an opportunity for the retreating BEF to save their lives. While the royal air force pilots and its Spitfires did the cover up on air, the royal navy hastened the operation, taking on board the remaining BEF.
The Operation Dynamo expected only 200,000 BEF but the number exceeded and the soldiers rescued reached more than 300,000. It was considered a miracle and a successful military operation.
However, none of these dramatic scenes were captured in the film. Nolan concentrated only on the drama above the water. No skillful royal navy officers were shown. Not even the heroic royal air force pilots with their victory formation, facing the mighty Luftwaffe. And why the bad weather around Dunkirk was not recreated when it was very crucial in the success of the Operation Dynamo story? Emotion was enormously lacking in the film.
The drama over low morale felt by most BEF was not clearly captured. In fact, the film editing was quite horrible by Hollywood standard. Scenes were kept jumping senselessly to another scene. In fact, the start of the film was too shallow to be considered a work of genius. The film began with snipers firing on the soldiers, then the chasing game followed. The next thing happened, the surviving soldier was already in the beach. Sucks!
The planning of Operation Dynamo seemed omitted and almost no mention in the film, where in fact, it was the core of the story of Dunkirk. Churchill was not even shown. Though the story of Dunkirk in reality is one of the most highly emotional stories of war, and the most frustrating when it comes to soldiers’ expectation, the film, however, failed to catch some sense of sympathy. Unclear message and confusing plot. Nolan could have done it better.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The part II of the book series, The RedStar Tattoo Conspiracy is now available for purchase in Amazon. The Hunt for a Dark Child follows the dangerous trail traverses by a woman known only as Madeleine Sternwood, trying to evade the chase of the deadly assassin squad of the Golden Templars Society. 

After her harrowing escape from her captors, Madeleine recovers her memory and discovers that she was only hidden under Sternwood’s identity while confined in a mental asylum remote from the world. Her real name is Bea De Leal – Gladstone. She resides in Portland, Maine and only seven months into marriage. 

She also believes her husband is still alive and living somewhere. Two strangers help her slip from the Augusta hospital. She travels back to Portland. But the death squad tracks her while on the road with a friend. She misleads the assassins and seeks the help of a family friend, Lady Burke. 

Eventually, Bea realizes that the only way to uncover the motive of the organization is to find the person who imprinted the red star tattoo in her shoulder, the mark that alarms the society. Her pursuit to uncover her enemies pushes her more to the center of the society’s treacherous game. 


Paperback is now available. 
Check this link to place an order


Can she successfully unmask the real identity of her powerful enemies this time and resolve the mystery behind her red star tattoo? Find out in this book! Brace on for more thrill and excitement as we continue to follow the dangerous saga that Bea Gladstone traverses.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Chasing Moments

At times, the story of life never sounds magical as the idea of fairy tale. Sometimes it appears as though something is not always right and things often turn horribly wrong. As though somewhere in this world a disaster always ready to lurk, scoffing our zest in life, halting our hope to move forward.
Is it just me? Or circumstances are just so awfully hostile. But I always felt I am being deprived to savor the moment of thrill. It always turned the other way around before it could go ahead.
Privately, a nagging truth of what’s coming ahead often drifts in my head like a broken arrow, giving me some prickly sensation somewhere beneath my chest. It’s a passing thought, but towards the end of the day, it thrives in my mind.
Maybe I need some special moment to discern completely the intricate context of human existence. Things are never going to be easy but as days progress, it will get better. Things will get better. It won’t take far worse than having a tooth ache anyway.

Perhaps, I’ll start exploring the idea of taking a risky adventure just to see how far I would go with my inner strength. But it sounds ridiculous. Utterly silly to start messing up. So I’ll take it from here. Rediscover my worth, peep at the cracks where sunlight filters, look on the brighter side of life and discard the notion of desertion. If things are meant to befall then it will happen. It doesn't need to be coerced. It will just flow naturally.

Waiting for that precious moment to strike becomes an eternal quest then. A blurry stake. A tattered hope. As though I am gawking at the opaque horizon, searching for some bright stars to flicker when it was actually drizzly above.

So what I've been missing? Pointless musing perhaps. Or sordid reveries. It could be that I am just overthinking everything. Putting some vibrant hues, seeing rainbows when things were not actually there.

Scared. I am always scared to be rejected. Scared to be abandoned. Scared to be pushed aside. Scared to fight back. Scared to navigate unchartered territories. Scared to speak up. Scared to explore. Scared to be in the crowd because I lack self-confidence.

I often saw imperfections in me because I always thought people look at me that way. It seems I am wearing a mask all the time for worries of lifting the veil that shrouds the broken pieces inside of me. So I deliberately refused to open up my door to others I am not comfortable with. I only limit myself to someone who shares my passion in life, whom I could completely talk without being judged, whom I could completely express my views, even my weirdest thoughts, without being misunderstood.
I am a certified introvert. I don’t easily jell with others. Though, over the years, I developed an interpersonal skill that allows me to deal with people from different walks of life smoothly, I am still tentative with my approach in mixing with the crowd, with the people I don’t share any common interest. I'd rather spend time alone in the corner than endure the agonizing moment of pretending to be happy with the group, when deep inside it feels like hell.

I grew up in a very different childhood atmosphere. I was raised in a secluded place with nothing in the environment but sea, long coastlines, rivers, mountains and ravines. I would spend my day alone in the house, pressing my nose on books, or at the seaside marveling at the horizon where I often wondered what’s on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

I was taught to be cautious. So I grew up keeping myself away from everyone I find unconventional. Talking to boys was considered a taboo. So I developed a very antagonistic approach towards men. Back then, I considered them as bloody vultures that should be avoided. Until that mindset revolved into a personal culture, wrapping my little, shaky world.

I also grew up believing that life revolves in two patterns: right and wrong, black and white. However, when I became of age, I learned that things sometime fall into black and sometime fall into white, that most wrongs are not rights and most rights are not wrongs. They are simply different and unique, strange and extraordinary, terrific and tough. It’s up to people how to gasp the difference. Still, my horse mentality prevails.

Maybe I need someone to constantly remind me that life is so incredibly wonderful. That it’s not all about wars and chaos and rejection and pain that haunt this planet. There are wonders and the feeling of being loved and appreciated that make this world a better place to live in.

One of the most magnificent things in life is really to meet people whom we could go so naturally that having them around already feels like home. Whom we could interact without forcing ourselves to be appreciated. Without forcing ourselves to be cherished. Someone who could completely understand the core of our being. Someone who could make us laugh during bad days. Someone who could make us feel incredibly cool and protected.

That moment.
That special moment.
I am still chasing it. I am still hanging on.
But will it still comes?Will it ever happens? I wonder.

Some Good Things Never Last

4:00 AM, 25 June 2017

Sleep seems an impossible task. So I got up from the bed and seated near the window, breathing erratically, trying to make sense with the things that had just unfolded. Staring into the blank space, I wonder why I needed to mope over things that seem so totally pointless to rebut.

As the dawn of Sunday breaks in, I began to wonder why I started seeing some pattern of dark spaces again. Like those passing layers of obscurity that seem to hover in the air when the mind is drifting somewhere. And those bubbles of desolation that seem to burst up in the horizon when the body is overwhelmed with despair. Prickly and smothering.

The familiar questions of confronting myself with so many whys start to build up in my thoughts. Why matter transpires in ways I never thought would happen? Why good things never last? Why somewhere beneath my ribcage something felt so heavier each second?

Over and over again, the same story of rejection haunts my mind like a restless ghost, as though I am destined to suffer defeat all the time. I know I’ve grown up enough to understand the intricacies of life, but things can be so tough to absorb at times that when it hits unexpectedly, you’re totally blown up.

My little world has always been isolated, making my journey in life quite remote. I drink emptiness every morning like people taking their regular coffee. And for so long, I lived my life almost in total seclusion, with my door remained close. I refused to open up because no one understands me anyway. So, I traversed life alone without someone’s arm to support me when I fall down to my knees.

But time rolls in. And my definition of survival is no longer plausible. I know it. So adaptability to a harsh society becomes a necessity then. I made some fine-tuning with my approach in life though. I’ve tried. Yes.

Over the past months, I tried stepping out of my secluded shelter. I started seeing people through the lens of flexibility. Eventually, I learned to relate. I laughed with them. I started looking at my surroundings the way it  supposed to be seen. The way it supposed to be understood. Finally, I saw the other side of the world I never thought ever existed.

Little by little, I began to feel comfortable with what is being there and who are there. Time becomes precious. And moments become invigorating. A whole new world opens up. And life seems completely different. More thrilling, more brilliant. A great anticipation about the future emerges.

Suddenly, I become a new person with a unique vitality. Motivated and elated, as though this vast planet is a gorgeous circle of wonders that’s so full of amazing things and remarkable people. I am at my most calmest. A thrill of joy starts teeming up, excitement seems everywhere. A pang of satisfaction is lurking underneath. As if a unique brand of magic engulfs the entire universe, including my own little, damp world. 

But some good things never last. One day, things turned out pretty ugly. Lovely flowers suddenly withered, the beautiful horizon became dull and misty and the once vibrant blue sky turned somber. Eventually, my little world became shaky again. Overcast and uncertain.
Now, I feel like I am drifting apart, edging away, to a point of nowhere. I hate seeing dark layers of obscurity. But things happen. It keeps repeating. Then an inevitable consequence transpires, I am slowly crawling back to my old shelter, something I utterly detested. Darn!
But things sometimes occur the way we never thought would unfold. Maybe that’s the vagueness of life. To be haunted by stuff beyond our control. And we must prepare to embrace its downside. Because that’s what life is all about.
I’m alone again, agonizing over the lost connection. Now, it feels like I am slowly drowning with the swarming brook of solitude. With no one to pull me up. No one to understand my oddness.
Looking at the trail of my journey, I wondered why I kept moving back to square one. Why things in my surroundings would not just bend to my longings. Why I remained so empty after trying hard to fit in to somebody’s world. Why I could not move forward? Did I overestimate my plan? Or I am just rushing into things.
Nonetheless, I already come to a point where discomfort towards a hazy future no longer scares me. I should learn to adjust. And clever enough to accept the notion of reality. I should accept thing as it is. And just find some bright spot among the dark hues. Today, might be bad, tomorrow might get worst. But the next day will surely look different. It does not have to be like this all the time.
Life has to move on. It could never get easy as things progress, but it has to move on. I figured, at times, we refuse to peep at the cracks where sunlight filters because we want big windows to see the whole sunshine. We keep on looking for something that’s not been there. And waiting for something that will no longer return and will never happen. It’s time to look at the bright cracks where sunlight filters beautifully with so many shades. Varied shades that manifest optimism. And hope.
Life does not end in misery. Or in rejection. Or in failure and defeat. It’s a continuous quest. It continues to rotate. No matter how terrible the circumstances. And beyond the ugly trimming of desolation, there’s a point of great anticipation that awaits. Tomorrow, things will look different.

I always believed that circumstances often bring us to where we should start cultivating our strength and self-worth. To where we should start growing as a person. Things change, our environment demands change. So we should learn how to be flexible with the call of times.

But why I am still emotional? Why I am still acting as if I lost something very precious somewhere?

I figured, maybe because the little world I built up with the people I used to relate with starts to disintegrate. And it felt like I’ve lost something very precious along the way. I’ve lost something that’s been so very important. And already part of my mundane life. And I find it very hard to re-adjust. My horse mentality (too focus on a single direction) made it more difficult for me to adopt the sudden switch. But I should learn how to bend. I need to. No matter how difficult it is.

After moments of contemplation and shedding tears, I’ve finally recognized the fact that in life we can’t have both. If one is given, another one is taken. And believed that life is not just about trappings and routines, but also about how we appreciate things around, and how we align it with our concept of living beautifully. We cannot change the rotation of the earth nor the movement of the environment. We cannot recreate the history of time and rewrite our destiny. But we can have a new beginning. A fresh start. A positive disposition. There’s no such thing as too late. Everyone can start at any point. Somewhere.

Life is a game, I will just play it tougher this time. If there are lessons I've learned from this journey, it's the essence of patience, determination and humility. Everything happens in time that God chooses. Maybe this life, this current pattern of my life is where God wants me to be. Where He wants me to grow as a person. So, I’ll just follow the trail and considered it as a grace to live by. After all, God’s plans are better than mine. And His time is always perfect.