Tag: journal writing

A Party and a Departure

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Yesterday was the Christmas party for our bible study at Las Pinas City Jail. It was an incredible feeling, to walk into the corridor and stand in the middle of it, realizing how much we’ve grown from about 12 members to 60. We can’t fit into the corridor anymore so many of them set up chairs inside their cells instead. We couldn’t really play our usual Christmas games anymore because there’s a lot of them and I didn’t want to cause any undue commotion that will put them in trouble with the new warden (a very nice and gracious young lady). They requested if they can group themselves into 6 and make their own Christmas presentations.

I was so touched by the preparations they’ve made for us. From the hand-calligraphed sign on the whiteboard to preparing the sound system and all of their group presentations. The effort they’ve made is precious to us.

All the song and dance numbers were great! I especially loved that song one of the groups sang, Ako’y Binago Niya. The song was about repentance and hope, and how God can really change people. Everybody sang it, like an anthem, and it was such a profound experience for me to observe them singing together and with many of them crying quietly because they’ve made the song their own.

We distributed the prizes and our little tokens to them, and as usual I separated some items for a sick inmate. She had been sick since the first day that I joined the ministry, and some of the other inmates always made it a point to tell me if she needed anything. I couldn’t visit her inside her cell and she was too sick to visit us, but we always sent our love and made sure she heard about Jesus too. Last Monday, as I was handing the gifts that I had packed specially for her, the inmates quietly told me that she had died. Her colon cancer had taken its toll and she was taken away.

I just stood there for a moment, feeling like I could not catch my breath. It was astonishing, how my heart ached so much for her. One would think that she had died alone in jail, but though her family had all but forgotten her, she was surrounded with friends who ministered to her needs until the very end.

These moments with inmates, I treasure them in my heart. They’re golden. With the death of one of the inmates, I think God gave me a very real glimpse of His love and how very precious every single soul is to Him. I grieve for my lost sister in Christ, but I understand how it’s the end of a long and painful journey for her. Now she’s truly free.

Lusine

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Last week, my friends, my husband and I tried this new cafe in BF Homes, L’uisine. It’s along Elizalde St., just a few meters away from Concha Cruz. It wasn’t completely open yet, much of the place was still being fixed up. But there’s a part out front that was already set up to receive a few customers.

We really enjoyed everything that we ordered (I couldn’t fit in my cup of latte in my journal, though). This is what I really like about smaller cafes. The owner really knows her coffee, it seems, and they take great pride in every step of the process from sourcing the beans to pulling the shots, to thinking of great food to pair their coffee with. Everything’s done with great love, not lost in the impersonal approach of many commercialized coffee places. We’ll return to Lusine soon and I’ll remember to bring my camera this time, so I can take proper photos.

Manila Chinatown Pages

I was thinking of what to do for my birthday week and I decided to do something my husband and I haven’t done before. Before we moved to the south, we loved going to Chinatown on photowalks. What we didn’t really explore too much was the local food scene. So as part of my birthday celebration, we checked in to a hotel and spent the weekend just walking around Chinatown, tasting different things from different stalls and restaurants. It was quite fun, actually. I remember back in college, the first time we ever went to Chinatown, we really just wanted to find somewhere we can eat a proper serving of siomai and a good bowl of mami. So we went there with the intention to get lost in unfamiliar streets and hopefully be home before dark. Both of us loved humble, simple food, especially street food. When we got older, and especially when we moved to the south, we just kind of lost touch with our street food-eating ways.

Here are a few pages from my journal about the weekend.

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Manila Chinatown’s food scene is quite fascinating. I think I’ve never tasted siomai and dumplings as good as the ones I ate here. There’s always a flurry of people everywhere, and restaurants are always busy. The flow of people in food establishments is quite hectic. You don’t go there for the ambiance, but really for the quality of food. It’s no-frills, humble, simple, Chinese food. It’s a place where noodles are hand-pulled and made fresh daily. Dumpling wrappers are handmade, too. I took some photos which I’ll upload in GastroPop soon, maybe when I get back home next week. The vibe of Chinatown is like the polar opposite of the south, where things are quite slow and laid back, and malls make spaces for people to stay and sit for a while. In Chinatown, not many people stay and linger to read or write even in cafes. There’s always a flurry of movement. Tables are vacated as soon as you finish eating to accommodate other diners.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend. Lots of memories were relived, and many new ones were made. Looking forward to this coming week, as we close my birthday month. ^_^

The Start of My Art Journal Journey

I’ve always loved writing journals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to pouring out my thoughts on paper rather than speaking. Integrating art in my journal entry is something I’ve only recently discovered, though. I liked sketching when I was younger, but it’s an interest that I did not nurture. It was only when I joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines and became social media friends with many talented artists that my love for drawing resurfaced. Of course, you lose what you don’t use, so it feels like I’m starting from nothing again. That’s alright. 🙂 I don’t mind it.

A lot of people I know are so intimidated by the talent of great artists that they don’t even act on the desire of starting an art journal. I personally believe in not resenting your own progress, no matter how slow it is. With the overabundance of ugliness in the world (especially on the internet), contributing your voice in the form of art and other hobbies is not a bad thing.

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I learned that I like to combine words and pictures. The photo above is a rough sketch about the great protest march at Selma. I wrote my thoughts down about the movie after we watched it. It takes longer to finish a journal entry, but it’s so worth it afterwards.

Calligraphy is also something that I just recently discovered. Integrating calligraphy with art is so much fun. My journal is a hodge podge of pure text, text and drawings, alibata brushwork, drawings and calligraphy, photos, clippings, etcetera etcetera. It’s not a neat catalog of watercolor paintings or pen and ink sketches. It’s imperfect and ink-stained, crumpled and cramped, and it brings me so much happiness.

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After all, isn’t that the whole point? Each day in our life is different, anyway. I’d like my art journals to reflect that. Each day is a new adventure, a blank page waiting to be filled.

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If you’re thinking about starting your own art journal, I hope this nudges you to the right direction. 🙂 Do it. Do it today, with whatever art supplies you have and make your pages even more vibrant and meaningful to you than they already are. Art is <3

Same old show.

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I really thought that all the hate and poo-slinging will slow down and grind to a halt after the elections. I was wrong. It looks like it will be noisy for a while. Actually, I’m coming to terms with the possibility that this is  the new normal. To care about the sanctity of human life, to care about due process and how the loss of it is a reckless way to go about a “crusade” that has good intentions, to have a balanced view instead of an idol-worshiping attitude for the new president… all that has become very unpopular. All of a sudden, we’re surrounded with people who “want change” and are less bothered by loss of human lives. Like sharks driven crazy by the smell of blood. All of a sudden we’re surrounded  by family and friends who feel strongly about rallying around the ideal. I sometimes wonder if these people shout louder and are more offensive and boisterous about their newfound “cause” because deep in their bones they know something’s wrong about all this.

I’m not one for debates, and I think it’s foolish and self-destructive to alienate my family and friends for the sake of pushing your brand of politics (of all things) in such an aggressive and offensive way. I’ve resorted to not looking through my Facebook feed (which, with my decidedly introverted personality, was once a favorite way of keeping tabs on family and friends) because of all the ugliness in it. It’s not just the news that is ugly, it’s the attitude of people. Somehow, things have grown much worse. Filipinos have become even more divided. Many of us have lost our civility and it’s like we don’t know how to balance our views and emotions anymore. There’s a reason the terms “Dutertard” and “Yellowtard” and all the other -tards were coined (makes me cringe to even read it now), and the evidence for that is all over social media.

In the narrow-mindedness that is prevailing these days, there’s no room for reason. If addicts and pushers are brutally killed, then they got justice. If one is given due process, it means justice was not done. If you’re anti-Marcos, then you’re automatically pro-LP. If you’re not red, you’re yellow. If you’re critical of Duterte, then you’re anti-Duterte and you and your family need to die violent, inhuman deaths. If you’re against the all-out-war on drugs, then you’re in cahoots with these druggies. If you clamor for due process for these druggies, then you’re condoning the violence they have done or will do in the future. If you want some checks and balances to be placed to keep the government from exploiting their power, then you’re against the drug war. If this…then that. The one with the loudest mouth, the one who can scoop up the biggest mound of shit and sling it around without care or second thought is the winner. Winner of what, exactly? No one knows.

At the end of the day, people have pulled so violently on the already tense connections that we have with each other, and boy, it’s exhausting. Humanity is exhausting. I’m all peopled-out, honestly.