Jul 282011

Cincopa WordPress plugin

I buy my flowers from Flower Depot because they are grown biodynamically and with love! Not only are these blooms beautiful, they are pesticide free and stay fresh and gorgeous for a long time. Each time I walk past them at home, I dive into their soft petals and inhale their life-giving scent. There’s nothing like it. I wouldn’t do that with other blooms grown the traditional way, but with these I know I am inhaling nothing but goodness. And I do it often! I just can’t resist. For many Christmases now, I’ve been ordering my roses from them. They make my tree come alive and fill my home with their incredible scent.

The owners, Paula and Niccolo Aberasturi, are close friends who have since expanded their business to include biodynamic vegetables and grassfed beef and pork. Yay! Isn’t that the best news yet? Check them out at downtoearth. They are also at the Salcedo and Legazpi weekend markets.

Isn’t it wonderful that there are more and more healthy, sustainable and environmentally sound choices for our families?



 Posted by at 1:31 am
Jun 012011
photo by DALE DIAZ

This part of our trip was a little sad.  We saw this little guy right on the Loboc riverbank. I’ve seen photos of tarsiers perched on shoulders and arms before and I’m glad that human beings are no longer allowed to touch them. They feel totally traumatized, actually, and there are stories about them banging their heads to induce death because of all the stress tourism brings. That’s just heartbreaking.

There was a baby tarsier where we were and the poor thing was just curled up and huddled, all alone on a branch.  I could feel his fear so I told the kids to go quietly into the next hub where the adults were. On the upside, the tarsiers are free to roam. Their caretakers say they always come back, but I’m not sure that is a measure of their health or happiness.

Our guide said that they are not endangered. He claims the reports are false and the tarsiers are still everywhere.  His tone suggested that all the new guidelines about the care of tarsiers are a bit over the top. My experience with them tells me the opposite. Wouldn’t it be kinder to just let them be so that future generations can flourish in the wild again?

 Posted by at 3:28 pm
May 292011

D and I took our four boys on our first ever summer trip together.  At first I explored bringing them to Misibis Bay but the cost was so prohibitive and went against my goal of showing them how to travel simply. We checked out several resorts, but in the end we went for this little 12-room resort on Panglao Island, The Ananyana. We loved it.

I love that it isn’t a concrete structure, but a series of huts that blend with nature. It’s simple and nicely done.  The resort is over a decade old and could do with some sprucing up, but the rooms are still clean and comfortable.

D and I took a regular room. We put our boys in a family room.  The upstairs area of their room could use renovating. Though I appreciate the capiz doors and windows, there were holes in them that were taped over. They ought to repair that or change the finish.  Our room had plain white walls which gave the room a welcome brightness.  Our boys, who like to read, could have used some of that.  We asked for better reading lamps for them instead, which the staff readily provided.
I don’t know about you but I like to be able to fully close the bathroom door.  Our bathroom had swing type little doors that belong more to a bar in a Western; it didn’t give much privacy.  The kids had a large floor to ceiling curtain as their bathroom door, which gave some coverage but still not enough privacy.  That would probably be the one thing I would change.  It would also be nice if all resorts started using earth-friendly soaps, shampoos, cleaners, etc.  This one uses Safeguard.  On the upside, I discovered that Safeguard removes mud stains! Whoa! Still, I doubt it’s good for earth, foliage or sea. Other than that, we were all more than comfortable and enjoyed the simplicity and charm of the place.
I loved the hammocks.  The minute I saw them I knew I came to the right place. There are 5 of them in all.  Even the kids enjoyed them.  They spent a lot of time reading and swaying in the breeze. Sarap!! No beach trip is complete without the requisite “duyan” and I love Ananyana for making sure they had it.
The service is good. We got to know our waiters Coro and Danny and one of the boat men, Eric, and the very helpful manager, Ruela. We joked that they might have thrown a party after we left because we had so many requests. They made every effort to grant them. I asked for my meals without rice, but with a salad instead. We asked for fresh juices without sugar. The menu could use more good salads with lots more greens,  because you start to look for variety if you’re staying in a lot and for more than 3 days (we stayed 5 nights). We love the place anyway! And we loved it even more when we discovered there were no TV sets in the rooms. YES!! They have a small one near the dive shop with dvds to rent and the kids enjoyed Yogi Bear one afternoon. But that was it.
One of the reasons we chose the resort is its proximity to the beach.  Though the water is very, very shallow for a long stretch,  you can rent the resort boat to bring you to deeper waters for better swimming and great snorkeling. We booked tours through the resort and they were well organized and priced very well.
The kids want to go back and D. and I wouldn’t mind it either. It’s harder and harder to find little places that are simple, clean, comfortable, nice and well run. The Ananyana is one such place.  If you’re thinking of visiting Bohol, make sure you check it out.
 Posted by at 9:24 pm
Mar 302011

I have been spending a lot of time doing online courses and taking advantage of free webcasts that have to do with the planetary shift that we are clearly going through.  The frequency of earthquakes and natural disasters that wipe out entire towns, ending lives, foisting crisis upon crisis on humanity as we know it today, tells me that the shift is real and it is now. Others call it the Apocalypse, but I prefer The Shift. Anyone who lives consciously will know it’s real.

Apart from world events, there seem to be pockets of violence and unrest alarmingly near us. I read about them in the papers, like our kababayans who are in death row as I write this, the recent wave of uproar over the treatment of a little boy on local television, the Senate hearings and our actions and reactions to it, murders, breaches of trust and security in our own neighborhoods–these are all part of this planetary movement that is bringing us to a place of greater human evolution.

There is a very involved online course coming up for those of you who are interested in being active participants in this shift.  I share it now if you are able and interested:

You can also listen to Barbara Marx Hubbard’s teleseminar, Birth 2012: Co-creating a Planetary Shift,which is a great introduction to the course and gives a fantastic picture of the shift and how you can participate in it.

Times are changing and though there is much death, destruction and fear, there is a way through that is coherent, positive, life-changing and life-giving, where we can be agents of this change rather than passive victims of seemingly random events.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have a choice?

 Posted by at 10:56 am
Mar 192011

Deep, coherent, measured breaths. You’ll be amazed what this can do for you. I’ve been doing this, cultivating feelings of joy and appreciation as well and I know it has helped me deal with what’s going on in the world.  The planetary shift is upon us in bigger, more radical waves and we can’t be swayed by fear and hysteria, and that is difficult to do because we are facing monumental challenges. These challenges have a lot to do with humanity waking up to a new world–a new consciousness.  There is much death and destruction, but it is also a time for great renewal and creativity.

We can be co-creators of this change if we harness our inner resources.  In Japan, despite the destruction, people are coming together in such profound ways.  Food is being left on doorsteps, people are constantly checking on one another. Everyone is suddenly grateful for the little things they used to take for granted. Countries are coming together. Everywhere, people are reaching out to each other, which I firmly believe is exactly what is needed in order for the shift to take place more smoothly.

It will not be an easy ride, but if we keep working on ourselves and strengthening that in us which always prevails, we will be the bridge towards this new world.  Scary, yes, but also very exciting.

Those of us who have heart and home intact, would do well to redirect (if we haven’t already) our lives and start living it out of our true purpose, whatever it is. There is not one more day to lose.

Deep breaths and march on!

 Posted by at 3:13 pm
Mar 102011

Look at this!  I was so happy when I saw this at the Alabang Town Center yesterday.  This bread shop was closed apparently because it just went on using plastic. Hmmmph. I’m so glad the local government did this to show they mean business.

This is a good start and I hope that retail establishments do the right thing.  We already know that too much plastic–plastic bags, especially–harm the environment, yet many stores wait until there is a law to do something about it. There are stores that use paper bags in branches covered by this law, but who continue to use plastic in areas where there is no law. Bad. That’s just plain moral laziness. We keep bickering about our government, but this is one instance where I feel they’re doing a great job, but now the people have to get with the program.

Get with it!

 Posted by at 2:33 pm
Sep 192010
Seriously, how loud does everything have to be?  At a dinner with friends Friday night, we talked about how often we have to ask for music to be turned down everywhere we go–from stores, to coffee shops and restaurants, everything has become unbearably noisy.
I entered a watch store a few weeks back and couldn’t get the attention of any of the salespeople. They were staring vacantly, yet absently moving along with the deafening beat. They were in slow motion. I was trying to ask a question and was motioning to my ears and they still didn’t get it. I finally yelled, “CAN YOU PLEASE TURN DOWN THE MUSIC ?” Yes, it was that loud. Very, very loud. They looked at me as though I were a crazy villainess and grudgingly slow motioned to wherever the controls were. They adjusted the volume so minutely that I just gave up and walked out.
On a recent trip this summer, D. and I marvelled at how nice and quiet the malls were. You can actually think while you shop and enjoy walking without feeling so assaulted. Here, I zip in and out and have learned to stay away from noisy places.  If I’m hearing the music from outside, I know it’s going to be unbearable inside. Forget it.
Really, how loud does it need to be? Until there are laws that protect our hearing, I’m going to keep asking everyone to please turn it down.
 Posted by at 9:14 am
May 192010

Some residents of my village have been trying to put a stop to the useless and highly toxic practice of fogging against mosquitoes. This is done in the hopes of annihilating the dengue virus, but has been proven quite useless. The mosquitoes go away (imagine the size of the mosquitoes against the power of the mist so, yes, they are “blown” away) and then come back once the fogging is done. Those that remain more than likely mutate into even more virulent versions of their former, unsprayed selves.
After a lot of going back and forth, research on the practice, research on dengue, all it took was the DOH’s official stand on fogging to convince the committee that we no longer need to do that here. Apparently, it is pretty clear that the Department of Health has a No Fogging Policy. So there. The only reasons they give are that it is useless and expensive. They do not talk about how toxic it is to all of life. Still, I am grateful that the dangerous practice will stop.
Chemical pesticides are designed to kill. That’s what they are for. They do not target just mosquitoes. They will kill whatever is there–dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, you name it–everything that is in the environment that is part of creating a healthy ecology. Some of these insects we have to thank for naturally eating mosquitoes and helping us, but we’re killing them as well, thereby helping to create the problem we are trying so hard to fight.
I am happy that my village has decided to follow the DOH policy, though I wish more people would see just how toxic pesticides are. The case against fogging is not just a case against uselessness and expense; it is a case against pesticides that kill. We are not there yet. Some people just shrug their shoulders, as if we were inventing what is already proven in so many parts of the world. Pesticides are toxic to all living things. They cause all types of cancers, skin, respiratory and endocrine diseases, etc.
We’re so scared of dengue, we think fogging will prevent it (it doesn’t), so we allow ourselves and everything living around us, to be exposed to chemicals that will give us serious, terminal illnesses instead. I don’t get it at all. But with the end of fogging here, I am hoping that people will notice the restoration of life as well.
In the meantime, gratitude for the death of fogging is in order. YES!
 Posted by at 9:38 am
Apr 302010

This photo doesn’t even capture the majesty of this tree. It’s called the Grizzly Giant and stands way above the giant sequoias at the Yosemite National Park. Its branches are as thick, if not thicker, than some of the trees in the grove. It was awesome. The road to the grove was closed so it was a long hike up, but it was worth it, just to be able to sit before this tree.

I looked at it and could feel my heart opening, tears of recognition and connection springing forth. I have been trying to live in harmony with the earth for many years, but this tree made everything real to me again. I compost, segregate, grow and eat organic, recycle, you name it, I do it, for the same reasons everyone else does it–to save the earth. That statement and others like it, have become quite abstract through the years.
As I sat before this tree, it all came home to me in a practical and profound way–to feel that connection again between myself and nature, so powerful as to break open a heart that I so wrongly thought was already open, to recognize the essence of who we are. That is what it’s about.
It took the Grizzly Giant’s ethereal embrace to make it all personal again–to make it universal again.
My heart remains full.
 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Mar 272010

Yup. It’s candle time again tonight. I’m thinking of bringing out the citronella incense and sitting out on my balcony. It’s very windy where I am, so I’m not sure my candles will remain lit, but it would be nice to be outdoors, totally enfolded by the darkness.

8:30. Tonight. Turn it off.
 Posted by at 8:51 am