Weekends

It’s been seven months since my sister Sorene left us. And while we have slowly been adjusting to life without her, there are certain circumstances where we still wonder how things might have been if she were still with us. Since she left, the extended family in Cagayan de Oro has celebrated birthdays where her presence was significantly missed. Continue reading

Photo Essay: The Beauty of Bukidnon

Sharing a photo essay from one of my high school mentors on one of my favorite provinces in the country.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Bukidnon is a haven for photographers, especially those who like pastoral scenes, landscapes, and waterfalls. Here are reasons why.

1. Del Monte Pineapple Plantation, Camp Philips, Bukidnon.

Huge pineapple plantations mark Bukidnon's landscape. Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ Huge pineapple plantations mark Bukidnon’s landscape. Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Pineapple workers on their way to work. PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ Pineapple workers on their way to work. PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

2. Damilag, Bukidnon

PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Erick Salonga provides an interesting central point in Damilag, Bukidnon. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ Erick Salonga provides an interesting central point in Damilag, Bukidnon. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

4. Camp Philips Soccer Field, Bukidnon

School children taking their lunch at a vast open ground in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Photo: Bok Pioquid School children taking their lunch at a vast soccer field in Camp Philips, Bukidnon. Photo: Bok Pioquid

Children taking their lunch together at the Camp Philips Soccer Field. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ Children taking their lunch together at the Camp Philips Soccer Field. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Children take their lunch break at one of the benches at the Camp Philips Soccer Field. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ Children take their lunch break at one of the benches of Camp Philips’ soccer field. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

5. Barangay Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

Two girls walk towards their school carrying flower garlands used for a Philippine cultural dance. Photo: Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ Two girls walk toward their school carrying flower garlands…

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Men can learn a thing or two from real wolves: less snarl, more quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities. That’s really what wolfing up should mean.
Carl Safina

Reflections on media killings

A member of the police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) prepares to process the scene of the Maguindanao Massacre in November 2009. Photo from Japan Times (Photo from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/23/asia-pacific/crime-legal-asia-pacific/old-wounds-still-fester-anniversary-philippines-worst-massacre/#.VWO4rE-qqkp)

A member of the police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) prepares for processing the scene of the Maguindanao Massacre in November 2009. Photo from Japan Times.

Growing up with a journalist father has always given me an idea of how risky the profession has been, particularly in the regional or local areas, where political and commercial interests hold sway over how journalists conduct themselves.

Despite those interests, I have also seen my father pursuing stories which he viewed to be necessary for the public good and for the creation of a more just and equitable society. And it was by his example that when I eventually went into journalism where dedication to ferreting out the truth and exerting efforts to balance stories became important aspects in the conduct of the profession.

Still my idealism then, when I went into the profession, was tempered by the reality that journalists in the country can easily be killed. And no amount of beautiful epithets or eulogies can bring back the lives of journalists murdered because of their devotion to revealing the truth. Continue reading

Let us learn from the lips of death the lessons of life. Let us live truly while we live, live for what is true and good and lasting. And let the memory of our dead help us to do this. For they are not wholly separated from us, if we remain loyal to them. In spirit they are with us. And we may think of them as silent, invisible, but real presences in our households.

Felix Adler, Life and Destiny

“Little Talks”

You’re gone, gone, gone away
I watched you disappear
All that’s left is a ghost of you
Now we’re torn, torn, torn apart,
there’s nothing we can do,
Just let me go, we’ll meet again soon

I know you’re somewhere up there Padaday. And I hope you are happy.

Will see you again one day. And when we do, let’s have those little talks again.

Padayon Padaday

Me and Sorene at Xavier University High School. I think I was 7 at this time while Sroene was 4. Photo from Auntie Evelyn Gomez.

Me and Sorene at Xavier University High School. I think I was 7 at this time while Sorene was 4. Photo from Auntie Evelyn Gomez.

My sister Sorene was never your usual silently-obedient type. She was never one who would just concede to your ideas without you exerting an effort to convince her of what you have in mind. No, she was not like that. She was never like that.

Sorene was not an easy sibling to live with. She was head strong, aggressive and fiercely proud. She would never bow down to you if you don’t deserve it. And she would never think you deserve it if you have not earned it.

We always had a love-hate relationship as brother and sister. And our differences started early when we had a pig, with whom I had grown fond of, slaughtered and prepared for Sorene’s baptism. I was only four years old at that time. And I felt bad with what happened.

A couple of years after that though, I had one of my life’s biggest scares when Sorene was admitted to a hospital in Cebu City for high fever. We had just moved in to join Papa after he was assigned there for work. And there we were in a hospital room with Sorene on the bed. I worried much about her, so much so that I slept beside her on her bed, only leaving her side to eat and clean myself up. Continue reading