Friday, May 16, 2008

Transit Trance

May 16, 2008
10:40 a.m.
Hong Kong International Airport

Airports are so interesting. So many people just going… coming home, leaving home, in transit, stopping by, passing through. People searching, finding, wandering, discovering, risking, looking for a better life, wanting to run away, yearning for a vacation, on a romantic rendevous, a honeymoon, a mundane business trip, an adventure, ----waiting, walking, running, singing, talking, humming, pushing, carrying, holding, crying, laughing, hugging---excited, tired, scared, sad, hopeful, in love, sulking in heartache, asleep, awake—in between emotions, in between memories, in between countries, in between leaving and arriving…in transit.

All the above. Let’s just say a mixture of everything. Halo-halo. That’s one way to describe it. Halo-halo…A common dessert drink found on every corner in the Philippines. One of the MANY things I will miss. Halo-halo, which translates to “mix-mix” is how I feel right now. Sagada halo-halo to be exact…. I mean, I never had halo-halo like what Sagada offered….a whole mixture of crushed ice with banana, lanka, macoroni, ice-cream, flan, milk, sugar, beans, cantalope, coconut, etc… it was a surprise in every bite! But none-the less, sweet. Every ingredient was and is unique… and each a different taste… that’s how I feel. Except its not just a handful of ingredients, it’s a plethora of experiences, feelings, and memories of people I have met and places I have been, and the lessons and realizations that come with it all----mixed all together, blended together, resulting in a sweet concoction.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

a tattooed heart

i'm sitting in front of my laptop, and I'm kinda speechless in what to write. I just don't know where to begin. my gosh, this trip has been amazing. when one is about to leave a place that has permanently made a mark in her heart, things become more sweet, time spent with people becomes more valuable and yet still unbelievable. hard to grasp. that's what it is... until I'm on that plane overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean and am in the clouds will I be in that "transit trance."

I wanted to come back to the states with a "piece" tattooed on my back. I started sketching it out in the beginning of the trip and kept on adding several elements that symbolized significances and aspects of this trip, this pilgrimage, this "lakaran." Instead of coming back with tattooed flesh, I'm coming back with a tattooed heart. Yes, yes, corny as that sounds, but how else can I put has definately been a perspective-changing, heart-molding, mind-stimulating, soul-digging-and-finding- kind-of-trip.

Time definately went by fast. I've met a lot of people and thankful for EVERY second.

damn....hours before i leave. too many emotions to describe. too be continued.... still in the process...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

no camera, just painting with my words

when your heart won't let you sleep, it has to mean something. for the past couple of nights, its either really hard for me to sleep or I've been waking up in the middle of the night. I'm not quite sure why. I do have a feeling of anxiety tho. I don't know if it is because I'm so close to going home, or because I'm leaving a place I have come to call home.
today it hit me the hardest. I woke up a little bit before 5am, just before the sun rise, when the morning seems so fresh with a hint of orange coming up in the horizon, the roosters crowing, and all the birds singing their morning songs. I swung on my hammock, with a cup of cold water thinking it could calm my heart. its the in between time. between sleep and wake. when last night's events slowly catch up to you, contemplation about things said, and feelings felt. when it gets all to much to bear, and you know you can't go back to bed, what did i decide to do? ride my bike.
there's something about early mornings that give one's soul a kind of peace. riding on empty streets, that as the sky gets brighter, people slowly wake to sweep their front yards, feed their chickens, warm up their jeepneys, or start opening up their small shops. there's something about the nice light too. how it hits the pavement or the wooden houses with a soft orange glow, or how it reflects in the puddles that i love passing my wheels right through leaving a trail of a contemplating bike rider. it's early morning when the sun doesn't beat down on you, but gently kisses your skin, slowly waking up your senses.
After watching the hint of orange take shape into an orange ball, I turned around, and backtracked passing by the puddles I splashed through, and the streets that seemed to be more awake. Thinking that I could just exhaust myself back to sleep, I headed to my bedroom, only to have my restless heart beat more heavily. My heart is trying to tell me something, and I could only draw it out through writing, typing, reflecting...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Capturing and realizing the present moment is an art

When describing Baguio, I think my friend Sonia put it best, "Temporary insanity, lucid interval," For some people, Baguio is a weekend getaway or a short vacation, and for some it is home. For me, why do I love Baguio so much? I don't know. Maybe because it reminds me a lot of home- the weather, the diverse art scene, the hills, the warm people, etc. I really can't explain why, but I practically spent the whole last month traveling in and around Baguio and the Cordillera Mountains. The bus and jeepney rides may have been long and bumpy, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

There's something about being in transit--- on a long bus ride with strangers, heading in the same direction in silence only accompanied by the passing scenery and one's thoughts. It's reflection time. Reflecting about what one has left behind and what one is about to approach. It's in the idle time of being in transit that one laughs to herself, and quietly closes that chapter, accepts it, and gets ready for another. The closing of one chapter, does not mean the end of the connections that one has made in that particular part of her story, but rather its reviewing that chapter-- studying it, and taking every lesson one can take from it, only to not forget but to go forward with a renewed frame of mind and being. I'm not just talking about this one trip to Baguio, nor am I talking about this whole six-month trip in the "motherland," this chapter review can happen every passing day. On a bus, taxi, plane, MRT or BART, or on a road trip-- its when the vehicle is in motion, and YOU are at a stand still. Everything around you is moving, along with the thoughts in your brain, and even if you are sitting in that seat, your body is there, but your mind is pulled into depths of the past and the future.

I guess that's why I really do not mind public transporation, traveling on my own, or just "going" in general... It's a time when I get to have my own chapter review.

But when I am in the presence of others- whether it is shooting, or at a social gathering, or with family or friends- one on one or in a group setting-I am there. The present moment. Or at least I really try to be. Sometimes it is so hard to grasp because our minds have the ability to go in every which direction, so I consider it an art. It takes realizations, experiences, and mistakes to grasp the importance of the present moment. One may argue that as a photographer one really is not grasping that particular moment for what it is because we have a camera in front of our face. But, the present moment is relevant to everyone. I frame mine literally with my eye and my camera, and you frame yours with your mind. Even if I have a camera in my face and am clicking away, does not mean I am not mentally there. I'm absorbing that moment, framing that moment, recording that moment. My camera is an extension and an expression of me, and its presence already effects that moment.

Maybe my nostalgic state of mind is why I became a photographer, trying to capture every moment I can. What can I say, I'm in love with the world, its people, and the stories that are presented in the present. It becomes a piece of the past that I could share with someone in the future.

Probably one of the main reasons why I love Baguio is because I learned one of most important lessons from one of my inspirations, Mr. Kidlat Tahimik. Listen to your "sariling duwende" or little voice inside, that "unique indigenous spirit in each of us," that unique creativity that every single person has. It's your own frame of mind that you listen to, use, and apply, when performing and creating your art. It's been with you since birth and has developed throughout your life and experiences. No one has a life exactly like yours, and that is what makes your "sariling duwende" your eye, and your art different and unique. It's just about learning how to listen to it and then apply it.=)

I've learned so much throughout this whole journey. I love it! I may not be in transit, but I'm definately in reflection mode. Time is counting down, but that doesn't matter, only now does!!! Live it, learn it, love it!
The fire that keeps me warm tonight, will only be ashes tomorrow.
And tomorrow's ashes are evidence that there was a fire today.
And if the future's winds sweeps those ashes away,
the memory of the fire is what will keep me warm.

Ay, bigat!! In english, "Gosh damn, that's heavy!"