September 30, 2016

Fukuoka, Japan Part I: Sightseeing


Alas, the travel bug bit us again. Thanks to Cebu Pacific seat sales and our five-year multiple-entry Japan visa, we decided to book the cheapest flight to (and from) Japan on a period encompassing promo fares.

As the memories (and receipts) of this trip are fairly fresh, I'll try to provide the costs of the places we've been as well as the food we consumed. This is for the benefit of those who are considering Fukuoka as their next budget travel destination.

Downtown Fukuoka - Tenjin Area

Strap yourselves in folks, this is going to be a lengthy read.

September 13, 2016

Dipping My Toes Into Fictional Short Stories

Obviously, I can't think of a title for this one. Picking a title is a lot more difficult than I expected, as it sets the tone for the whole piece.

This one isn't from the archives; I've been working on it last weekend.


---

I open my eyes and I see her face. It seems that she has been crying for quite some time: eyes swollen, face stained with tears. Her friends gather around her, offering consoling words.

"It's okay, we're here for you."

"Don't waste your tears on him, he doesn't deserve you."

Not long ago, things were different. She was happy with him. I saw them a lot when they were still together. They were holding hands, sharing a meal, exchanging sweet nothings. I saw how happy she was by the look in her eyes: the way they twinkled, the way they reflected me as I danced with joy for them.

Things changed that one winter's night. I was alone with him--or so I thought. We were watching the snow fall out the window. Then, there was a knock on the door... I didn't realize that he was expecting someone. He seemed hesitant to answer at first, but then he strengthened his resolve by downing a glass filled with wine. He's been drinking, I realized, a bit too much. He answered the door, and when I saw that who came in was not her, I knew that there's gonna be trouble.

I had to let her know, but I didn't know how. She has been busy; I rarely saw her making dinner. There was this one night when she got home more tired than usual, that I saw her preparing her bath. I took a chance and tried to catch her attention, but all I did was irritate her--I think I even hurt her--and she blew me off.

That was the last time I saw her, until now. And now they are no longer together. She is no longer with him, but with her friends, crying. She looks defeated, forlorn. I wanted to console her. I wanted to hug her--but I can't do that, I might hurt her again. But I wanted to help her so badly.

Then, she reaches out and holds something in front of me. It is a photograph of them together. I was there, too. It was taken during one of their dinner dates. I look at her as she holding the photograph, a glimpse of hesitation in her eyes. I then realize what she needs to do, and what I can do to help. She needs to let go. She needs to start moving on. And now I know what I should do for her.

I need to let it burn.

Entry posted December 22nd, 2004 @ 02:03 AM GMT

[...]

*ahem ahem* here's me trying to write a poem... well, specifically... here's me documenting the fragments of thoughts coming in and out of my head as i was riding the shuttle to work, earlier this morning:

The Universe is finite
an incomprehensible web
All of us are trapped
slaves of our destiny
Choices made
lead us not out of the box,
but to another corner of the maze
Freedom:
delusion,
hopeless aspiration,
pointless mortality.
Free me from this life.
Free me from this body.
Free me from this trap.
Let me live for eternity.

[...]

The Parable of the Mung Beans

This was written sometime in 2006, when I still use Tabulas to blog. I realized that I wasn't able to include it here when I was transferring from Tabulas to Blogger.

---

This is a story about two housewives who each bought a sack of mung beans. The first housewife, eager to share her purchase with her family, prepared a soup dish consisting of mung beans, pork, and malunggay leaves. The second housewife wanted to use her purchase as dessert, so she made some moon cakes and used the mung beans as filling. Both of the housewives' families enjoyed the food very much, and because of this, the housewives felt good about themselves.

After eating the mung bean dishes, the housewives discovered that they still have a lot of uncooked mung beans left over. Looking around the house, they realized that there is little room where they can store the excess mung beans. The first housewife decided to keep the mung beans on a shelf, while the second housewife decided to keep the mung beans in the kitchen, right next to the other vegetables. Before storing the mung beans, both housewives decided to wash the beans, for they are afraid that these beans might get dirty and they do not know when they might use these beans again.

After seven days, the housewives decided to check on the mung beans, and to see if anything bad has happened to them. To their surprise, they saw little yellow sprouts instead of the little green beans that delighted their families' appetites one week ago.

"This is preposterous!" exclaimed the first housewife. "This is not the mung bean I first started with! Why, I washed the beans and put them in a safe place, and this is what I got! A ruined heap of maggot-colored vegetables!" And she continued to whine and to complain about the ruined mung beans.

The second housewife was equally unhappy about the situation. She did not want this to happen, for she had other mung bean dishes in mind that she wanted to try. There are a lot of vegetables in her kitchen, and the last thing she wanted is another vegetable to take up space in her already-crowded kitchen.

However, she decided to give the mung bean sprouts another chance. "This isn't what I wanted, but maybe something good will come out of it," she mused.

"Nothing good will come out of it," countered the first housewife. "We might as well accept the changes and get on with our lives. We still have other vegetables that we can use, no sense holding on to those ruined mung bean sprouts."

The second housewife did not want to give up that easily. For that evening's dinner, she tried to make vegetable spring rolls for her family and included the mung bean sprouts in the dish. Her family never tasted spring rolls like this before, and they sure did miss the mung bean dishes. But they realized that the spring rolls aren't that bad, they just tasted different.

The first housewife, still disappointed, did not want anything to do with the mung bean sprouts anymore. She made use of her usual vegetables for dinner. She reasoned out that the change is inevitable, but her family has to stand strong about it. She is thankful that there still are old familiar things to hold on to, not to mention new vegetables to venture on. There is no need to waste time over ruined mung bean sprouts, and because of this her family can move on and live a life without mung beans.

A month or two has passed over the two households. The first housewife has completely ignored the mung bean sprouts. Eventually, the mung bean sprouts withered and died. The sack of mung beans that once had potential now lay in waste, and was later thrown out to rot on the streets.

For the second housewife, the mung beans were still given attention. Now and then she would wash the sprouts, and use some of them for cooking. One day, while tending the mung bean sprouts, she was in for a surprise. The older and bigger sprouts bore seeds. "Oh my!" the second housewife exclaimed, "Who would've thought that the mung beans didn't leave me after all?"

And she harvested the mung beans from the sprouts and was able to cook the mung bean dishes she wanted to cook, ever since she first bought the sack of mung beans from the market.

- THE END -

September 10, 2016

#SupportLokalPH: Sinaya Cup

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Sinaya Cup

Sinaya Cup is a brand of menstrual cups and a community of modern active Filipinas

(Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sinayacup
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sinayacup/)

Saving the environment and your lady parts, one cup at a time!

First things first: What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a tool for collecting female menses. Much like a tampon, it is inserted into the vagina, and its cup-shaped structure is used to collect discharge flowing from the cervix. Unlike a tampon or a disposable sanitary napkin, it is reusable for up to five years.

Why consider using a menstrual cup when tampons and sanitary napkins work fine?

There are two main reasons to consider using menstrual cups:
  1. To minimize ecological footprint. Disposable female hygiene products are more often than not non-biodegradable, and depending on a country's waste management laws, used tampons and sanitary napkins are either used in landfills, incinerated, or worse, thrown into the oceans. This pose potential health hazards to both humans and other living creatures in the planet.
  2. To empower women to continue normal activities even during their period. When inserted correctly, a menstrual cup is virtually unnoticeable. Furthermore, a menstrual cup that is correctly worn will provide a seal that will prevent any discharge from leaking outside the vagina. Since a menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours, a woman is free to be as active as she pleases, even during her period.
Admittedly, I am not an active/ sporty person, so my reason for trying out a menstrual cup is Reason #1, i.e. to help save the environment in my own way. I always wanted to start living a zero-waste lifestyle, so hopefully by this way I am one step closer to this goal.

SIDENOTE: While there are other eco-friendly alternatives to using tampons and disposable sanitary napkins, like cloth pads and the like, I'm not too keen about washing a bloody pad just to use them again. Washing my underwear and clothes each time I get a leak is effort enough, thank you.