And then there were three Tigers

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The last time I decided not to buy a new Tiger because I thought I will just wait for two more weeks before I will come back for it, I feel terrible because when I return to the store the design I am aiming for is not available anymore! I wanna show tantrum inside the store!

And so when I saw their new Summer collection, I have decided that I will buy this time and right away before someone buys it again. So, now I have three Tigers.

Bugang River

Bugang River is voted consistently as one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines. It is located in Pandan, Antique where I came from.  It deserves all the accolades because from the looks itself, it makes you want to throw away your shirt and jump over the cold water.

Yep, the water is cold because its source is  a cold spring where another famous place is located, Malumpati.

Last Easter Sunday, I invited some friends to dip in this river because the weather is just so humid and warm. Perfect time to go swimming, and since I already did sea swimming the previous day in Phaidon, a river swim is well-deserve.

They say that the famous Pasig River used to be as clean as this 100 years ago. I was fortunate to experience swimming in a clean river on this day and age of environmental decadence. I hope that the local government, and with the cooperation of local stakeholders, will maintain the cleanliness of this precious gift from God.

Summer Escape 2012 (Phaidon)

This year’s Holy Week break comes with a free one day extension because the Monday after Easter is a regular non-working holiday in the Philippines. That makes it five days of free time.

I decided to come home to the province in Pandan, Antique to recharge from the busy and stress of work life in Manila. Besides, I did not came home last Christmas break (2011) so it really was fitting and deserving to come home.

Aside from observing the cultural practice of a boy reared in Catholic upbringing, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is reserve for Church-related activities and reflection.

On Black Saturday, I invite some friends who also went home to go to Phaidon, just within our town. This resort is always my favorite get-to place because Boracay is already crowded, especially this Holy Week. Phaidon is secluded and with few guests (mostly foreigners), the beach is exclusively for me for the taking.

The sand is not as white as Boracay’s but its comparable in terms of pureness and powdery. It has an excellent sunset, too.

You can visit Phaidon’s official site here for more details.

I am blessed to be born in a place where fine beaches abode, and forest relatively intact for its residents to enjoy and explore.

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I heard about this book from surfing Amazon, because it keeps on appearing on “the best book” list for 2011. And it made me even curious when I know that the author is just a teenager, a twenty something American who was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1985.

The words are pleasant and lyrical; a budding skill for an exceptional young writer. Full of magical realism, reminiscent of Garcia-Marquez, or Rushdie. I am sure that this book will be enjoy not only by medical students, but also by someone who was raised or close to their grandfathers/grandmothers.

This is an excerpt of Tea Obreht from Amazon.com:

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A Letter from the Author

Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in New York.

After completing my first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, I’ve found myself indulging in a sentimental mood. I pretend that this is due to my need to retrace my steps, to see how it all came together, and, by remembering what I did before, somehow speed my next project along; in fact, I am probably just procrastinating or being insufferable, mulling over memories that, due to the late hours, were doomed to an impregnable haze a long time ago. I dig through my “notes”: folded scraps of paper, the backs of torn-open envelopes where I doodled plot points and lines of dialogue, index cards with cryptic inscriptions—“BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WATERMELON?!?!?”—punctuated as though I’d had some kind of civilization-saving breakthrough.

For whatever reason, as I go through my notes, I spend much of my time revisiting the evolution of my characters.  Who’s been there the longest? Who was thrown out at the last minute? Who was the life and soul of the first draft, and then ended up with one dialogue in the third? Who’s been renamed, transformed completely into somebody else?

In some ways, the answers to these questions are both pointless and intensely personal, like telling a long-distance friend about how you’ve fallen in love with a person they have never met: they can listen politely while you rattle off a list of traits or events, but a whole world of experience separates the storyteller from the listener. But I do believe that thinking about these things gets back to the vital question of artistic control, and the surprising ways in which your work takes on a life of its own. In The Tiger’s Wife, I found, of course, that core of the cast members— a tiger, his “wife,” a little boy—were all together at the outset, in the spring of 2007, peopling a lackluster short story about a deaf-mute girl who arrives in a snowbound village in pursuit of the escaped tiger with whom she performed in a traveling circus. But, to my surprise, I also found a then-minor character called Dariša the Bear.

Originally, he was a mean drunk, a ruthless and uncomplicated villain, hardened by religious fanaticism, and I wanted the reader’s revulsion with him to be simple and complete. When the story began to expand, and the village of Galina and the characters who live there expanded with it, there was no room for Dariša; his kind of villainy had been eclipsed by a far more sinister character, and he was extracted and put away. He wouldn’t find his way into the book again until one afternoon, almost a year later, when I found myself at the Moscow flea market of Ismailova—a townie-shunned tourist trap against which the few Russians I knew had cautioned me—and among the predictable lacquered matrioshkas, bootleg DVDs, prints of Soviet propaganda and fake Fabergé baubles, I met the bear-man. I can’t picture his face anymore, but I do remember that he had pitched his booth at the top of a wide, stone staircase, and that, draping down from the top like water, were the pelts of maybe two dozen brown bears of all shapes and shades, mouths agape. We must have talked—I can’t imagine not asking him where he was from, or whether he had done the killing himself—but I don’t remember the conversation. What I do remember is going home that afternoon and dredging up a man reincarnated as Dariša the Bear, a hunter and taxidermist whose obsession with death, drawn from great personal loss, is rooted in his desire to understand and preserve the majesty of things once living.

I would never have thought, at the outset of all of this, that of all the characters in The Tiger’s Wife, I would end up feeling closest to Dariša. Perhaps it is because in a roundabout way I have ultimately spent so much time with him; perhaps it is because, in the end, he becomes a man who seeks to capture life in the absence of it. After all, isn’t that what storytellers really do?

Turning Japanese

Last March 29 is my younger sister’s birthday. And yes, we celebrate each other’s birthday one week apart. This time, though, we dine out in Greenbelt 5. There’s a Japanese restaurant named Kai and we just wanted to eat light, since it’s a dinner. We don’t want to spend the whole night drinking tea just to digest all the food that we ate.

We had takwan mango sushi, ebi tempura, and mushroom and asparagus udon. Not heavy on the stomach, but definitely satisfies the palate. Will be back!

After wards, we went to Mary Grace in Greenbelt 3 to sip a cup of coffee and some food for the gods. Yummy. Sinful. Fattening. But then again, we only do this once in a while so indulge.