Waves Without Sounds

When things come crashing on the shores of the mind.

Category: Ramblings

The Disappearing Rock Formations

I decided to make a new category to accommodate personal stories or anecdotes which I itch to share with you all. This began because I was about to post this story in the NoSleep subreddit but held back because I was uncertain of this story counting as a scary one. I hope you like it!


My family hails from a small town in the Philippines, situated right beside the Pacific Ocean. Despite being devout Roman Catholics, my folks still firmly hold on to traces of animism such as believing in tree spirits, fairies, dwarves, and other folklore stuff, to the point that we communicate with them. Honestly, supernatural encounters have become an ordinary part of our quiet town lives and I’m not even sure if I should begin with this one. Nevertheless, this is one unforgettable story which still keeps me up at night thirteen years later.

My first encounter with these rocks was when I was six. We were vacationing from Manila at the time and were spending the day at the beach in the middle of a cape. At the farther end of the cape is a steep cliff of yellow-white rock with lush trees and vegetation on top. I see it clearly as I type this– the pallid rock with greenery on top, the blue sky and the sea of the same hue– it was enchanting.

My mother was the first to point it out. “Look! It’s like a lady asleep!”, I remember her say in our native tongue.

The rest of us clamored at where and how it looked like a lady asleep. She pointed out that half the face was buried in sand and all we saw were her closed eyes, brow ridge, forehead, and hair of trees and shrubs. Surely enough, the lower portion of the cliff at the edge of the cape formed a pair of bulges that resembled a pair of eyes peacefully closed, with the vegetation right below playing the role of eyelashes. My aunt took a picture of the said rock formation and we spent the rest of the day uneventfully.

The picture my aunt took was developed (as we did not have digital cameras back then) and displayed in the shelf of her dental clinic back in Manila. It proved to be an interesting conversation piece. Acquaintances from our town who’d visit my aunt’s clinic were told of the rock formation. We returned to that beach a lot more times and we’d acknowledge her petrified slumber before going about our business. She was like an expected companion to our beach excursions until 2004.

I was eight when I was stung by jellyfish in the same beach and that was the last time I saw her. When we returned a few months later, the closed eyes on the cliff were gone. We have known the place for ages and there was no way that we were in the wrong beach. We were in the same spot by the same cape, but the rock formation was not there. In its place was just a boring cliff with no peculiar formations to offer. I reasoned that maybe it was eroded, or that there might have been a landslide but the people living nearby could not recall landslides at that cliff. People just noticed that it was gone one day.

I was able to convince myself that it was nothing supernatural and that the people just didn’t notice the erosion or landslide. I was content enough with this explanation until we returned to Manila to find that its picture at my aunt’s dental clinic has gone missing. Perhaps, it must have been a coincidence, but what an eerie one that is!

My family preserved the story of the sleeping lady as a conversation piece long afterwards. The rock has long been gone along with the picture, but the story was repeated to an acquaintance from our hometown. This acquaintance claimed to know of a rock formation just as interesting. It was situated in an islet not far from the cape and took the form of lovers locked in an embrace. He said it was detailed enough to make out the limbs, hair and torsos of a male figure and a female figure kneeling while hugging each other, their faces buried in each other’s shoulders.

My aunt decided to go see it with that family acquaintance. The said acquaintance has been to the spot several times and had no trouble finding it. However, the petrified lovers were also gone. A handful of people also remembered this formation, but they did not notice it turn into a shapeless boulder over time.

So far, those were the only disappearing rock formations we know about in my family, but they were enough to confound us for years to come. I cannot ascertain if both formations were of the same rock type though. I have not returned to our hometown for years mainly because the busy pace of city life has seized me. And like in the rest of the Philippines, people have left our hometown for greener pastures. However, that town is still home to my earliest memories, and in those memories remain things beyond explanation.

Ask.fm

Hi! I know it has been entire months since I wrote anything here. It’s just that I’ve never really produced anything worthy of putting here.

For now, I’m opening something more relatively personal–an ask.fm account! Yay! If you’re not familiar with it, you just ask me a question and I’ll answer it. Of course, I have discretion over which questions to answer. Check it out below and ask me something

http://ask.fm/faurphen

Writing is NOT so painful! 

My “personal personal” blog!

Hi everyone! I was inactive because I was occupied lately and cannot find the time to write poetry. I just thought that if I put anything else aside from poems in here, it would disrupt the flow of “Waves Without Sounds” (get it? “the flow of waves? haha)

Anyway, I made a separate blog for my other more personal nonsense. Please check it out and follow here!

My Other WordPress Blog

I made another WordPress blog for the stuff I write in Filipino.

Check it out at https://alimuos.wordpress.com/

Reach

 

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Where the air is crisp and pure and mild,
And the skies are ever clear;
Where the trees reach high and the grass is green,
And the nights are filled with peace;
Where the untainted soil is nurturing,
And the children want for nothing;
Where the beasts sing of things to come
And the spirits keep watch and hear
Each prayer and each step we make,
And grant what we deserve;
Where everything does not have a price
And all is family;
The simple life is not too far,
And so is peace and freedom,
It is just us who have the hardest time
To stretch out with open hands,
To reach out, take hold and seize the peace
That we keep on wishing for.


For our Anthropology class, we went to a community of indigenous people living at the mountains of Pampanga. It’s amazing how life seems so peaceful there. The community is like one big family where they trust one another. Money doesn’t seem as important to them as it is to us since they have crops and they can just hunt for food. It was a good break from urban living. I slept better there than here in the city where I’m always anxious about things. Above is a picture I took during our trip.

Blast from the past: The Balangiga Massacre

This literally hits home as Balangiga is in the same region as my hometown.

LA INDEPENDENCIA DE FILIPINAS

Today marks the 114th anniversary of the infamous Balangiga Massacre, which exemplifies the brutal treatment and racist attitude of the Americans towards the Filipino people in their quest to “pacify” the Philippines and integrate our islands as an  American possession—as in the words of President McKinley, to “benevolently assimilate” the Philippines. Despite the US government’s effort to cover up their atrocities in the Philippines, the Balangiga Massacre remains one of if not the best documented example of  American war crimes against the Filipino people.

  • The Action of 28 September 1901

Originally, the “Balangiga Massacre” was referred to the battle that happened in the town of Balangiga, Samar on 28 September 1901 where the troops of Company C, 9th US Infantry Regiment were garrisoned in order to close down the town’s port and prevent supplies from reaching the guerilla troops of General Vicente Lukban.

The townspeople decided to attack the Americans…

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The Best Things in Life

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Taft Avenue, Manila | Photograph by Malory Columbretis

I often get anxious or stressed out and then drive myself into thinking that no good can be had in this life. In between these bouts of sorrow, though, I have surges of happiness that I take from even the most mundane circumstances of my life.

This morning, I was rifling through old notebooks in search of a certain story I wrote down some time ago. I found the story, but I found a more interesting entry in one of those notebooks. The entry was dated 30th of May, 2014, and I was so thankful towards my past self for listing down the things in life that are worth living for. The title of the list is ‘THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE’ written in capital letters, and I thought it is something worth sharing, so here it is!

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE: (according to Malory Columbretis)

  • That time of day from 3pm-5:30pm
  • Long rides alone, especially during the night
  • Trips that pass the way from Quiapo to SM North EDSA*
  • Rainy weekday afternoons
  • Windy Sunday afternoons
  • Walking in the park or the mall alone
  • Starry midnight skies as seen from the rooftop
  • Being alone in the classroom
  • Climbing mountains in a ride
  • Feeling the ocean breeze and hearing the waves during the afternoon
  • Constant tinkling of wind chimes for more than 5 minutes
  • When you can smell the rain and different bodies of unpolluted water without seeing them
  • Befriending strangers without certainty of meeting them again
  • Exploring unfamiliar places alone
  • Walking against the wind
  • Birds on trees
  • Daydreams. Undisturbed daydreams.
  • Companionable or comfortable silences

*This is extremely personal, and it is also my favorite. I grew up constantly frolicking in these two places and the route from one to the other is my own memory lane because I pass by my high school and my childhood home.

I remember writing that list to cheer myself up with when I’m drowning in gloom, but I am easily distracted and as such, I forget many things that I am not supposed to forget. Now, I will remember what to do when I am blue–I will just look at that list and smile at how such simple things are the ‘best’ things for me.

In sharing this, I hope those who read this list will remember their own ‘best things in life’ no matter how simple those things are. I believe it is best to have sources of happiness that are easy to have instead of constantly worrying and pushing oneself towards something big which is difficult to obtain. We all walk our own paths towards great things that we deeply desire, but when your feet are sore and you need something to ease the pain, you just have to look around and see the little things that make you happy.

Banaue

Banaue Rice Terraces | Photograph by Malory Columbretis

Next up on physics curriculums: “Interstellar”

Jeepney Art

The streets of the Philippines, especially that of the National Capital Region, sure suffer from traffic as heavy as the air pollution. Filipino commuters like me are pretty much used to these. From the trains to the buses and the tricycles and sidecar pedicabs, all means of public transport (aside from taxis) are hell to ride– it’s like participating in the Hunger Games at least twice a day. But of all the hells I could choose from amongst these means of public transport, I would always choose the Filipino jeepney.

Jeepneys were originally made from the leftover US military jeeps from World War II, and the name is believed to be a combination of ‘jeep’ and ‘jitney’ though others suggest different sets of words. Since then, the jeepney became a popular public utility vehicle in the Philippines and was even dubbed ‘Hari Ng Kalsada’ or ‘King of the Road’. Like how rice is always on the plate of Filipinos, the jeepney would always be on the Philippine roads.

Now, the reasons why I prefer riding the jeepney over any other public ride out there are (1) it’s cheaper than bus and train, (2) I find it more comfortable as opposed to the train where you have to stand and have a number of people directly proportional to the area you take up squeeze you on all sides, and the bus where you either sit and get your way out blocked by a myriad of bodies or you stand and suffer every brake and acceleration the vehicle makes. However, the top reason why I ride jeepneys is because they are canvases for artistic expression.

They can have graffiti,

line art,

anime

and portraits.

Sometimes, they even have messages that could tell stories.

‘Mula sa Piso’ (From a Peso)

And you would even know how many brothers and sisters the owner has and what their names are if you’re observant enough.

What I like most is you could know what they are fans of.

I remember my favorite jeepney when I was in high school, it had portraits of The Beatles all over, and they even play their songs inside!

I know some of these are borderline copyright infringement, but I don’t care and I believe I speak for the majority of Filipinos. Anyway, it will never change the fact that I will always find commuting more fun in the Philippines!

Also, a bit late, but happy Independence Day, Pilipinas kong minumutya!

Aking adhika, makita kang sakdal laya.

BEAUTY IS OUR HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE

1 SIGFRIDSSON

BEAUTY IS OUR HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE BEAUTY IS OUR HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE

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Understanding Social and Personal Expectations.

“Their specific standards are not our standards. People have no right to force their standards onto us. We are to treat each other equally.”

stevenjcurtis

Two types of laws

It is common knowledge that one should not kill other people. We should not steal, nor should we tell lies. These are common standards that we all have. Specific standards consist of how we live our lives, and what we expect from ourselves. At no time should we ever enforce specific standards onto others. We all have specific standards that we hold ourselves up to. Most of the times these standards are derived from a mentor or role model that comes into our lives. This could be from our childhood or someone who we associate with. Whichever may be the case, these are our expectations of ourselves. We should never hold someone else to our standards. Would we expect a Maserati Ghibli to function as a Ford 750? People function in the same manner. Each of us have different talents and different abilities. We should never limit another person by imposing our standards on others. Likewise, we…

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A Little Digression and a Hint of Lament

Let me ride the wave of current events in this post. Does the name ‘Jennifer Laude’ seem familiar to you? That name has been hitting the local news frequently as of late, and the case associated with the person named so had sparked several issues. For those not familiar with the case, please read about it in the following links.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/u-s-marine-charged-murder-killing-transgender-filipina-article-1.1974857
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/10/13/14/used-condoms-found-near-murdered-transgender

Jennifer 'Ganda' Laude, a woman.

Jennifer ‘Ganda’ Laude, a woman.

To be honest, it was not until today that I thoroughly read the news online for this topic. I first heard about it when I groggily ambled into our house one evening after a tedious day at school. As I was taking off my shoes, my father pointed at the TV rather enthusiastically for a 58-year-old man. “Ayan! Yan yung news kaninang tanghali. He explained, being an avid watcher of news whatever time of day it is. It got my attention, and my mother’s too, as the news anchor introduced the report. With LGBTQ rights as one of the advocacies that interest me most, I paid great attention to the report and so did my parents. Knowing my parents are conservative individuals who come from a generation wherein gender was not as widely-discussed as it is today, I steeled myself up so as not to be offended by the comments my parents might make by the end of the report. I got what I expected when the program moved on to another topic– my mother heaved a sigh and lowered her gaze and my father gave more than his three usual ‘tsk’s. “She’s another victim!” my father exclaimed. I was surprised. “‘She’?” I asked, “diba transgender siya? Jeffrey pa nga yung pangalan niya e.” My father looked at me sternly and said, “Oo, ‘she’. Kasi babae siya, anak. Siya si Jennifer.” I suppressed a tear at that moment as I resumed taking off my shoes, not because I felt defeated but because I felt proud that my father understood poor Jennifer’s predicament. My father continued to lash out regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement, how Americans treat Filipinos and how twisted the American mentality seemed to him. My mother chimed in from time to time to my father’s rambling that evening. I merely listened to them so I could assess their views in my mind. They never attacked the victim for not being ‘straight’ or for being a slut as they did Nicole, the victim of the Subic rape case. They discussed the case, the situation, the motives and such. I was waiting for the spite towards the victim, but it never came. I felt proud, perhaps because I felt responsible for their current views– telling myself that my lectures on gender during dinner has finally gotten into their minds. That night, I slept with a silent congratulation to myself. “Today, my family. Tomorrow, society.” I remember telling myself.

I told that story just so you can have a clue on my reaction when I turned to the internet earlier today. A friend of mine shared this link: https://anc.yahoo.com/news/jennifer-laude-s-fiance-vows-to-ensure-her-killer-will-be-punished-002535941.html telling his Facebook friends to read the letter and the comments then react on the state of Philippine society. It got my attention and I followed his words. I shed tears while reading the letter of Jennifer’s fiance, but I was astonished as I read the comments. All I was able to say as I read the comments was ‘why’, ‘how could you’ and ‘what the f*ck’. I heard that crisp, thin sheet of metaphorical paper on which I wrote the congratulatory note to myself being torn with zest. I wanted to show those spiteful comments to Marc Suselbeck himself and say “you’re right”. To me, those comments were personal blows to which I felt defeated.

Negative comments to Jennifer's case.

Negative comments to Jennifer’s case.

As any other person would, I sought someone or something to blame for the mentality of those people. The media sprang to my mind. The media that shows gay people cannot be taken seriously, that they are meant for comedy shows and mock-pageants, that only the ‘straight’ people can live happily ever after, that the LGBTQ are afflicted by some kind of perversion. It would give me a bit of joy when documentaries, shows and films would feature the lives of LGBTQ people nowadays. However, I think that narrating and delving into the lives of gay people is not enough to raise awareness.

Possibly one of the most sexist commercials I've seen.

Possibly one of the most sexist commercials I’ve seen.

Funny how the media would frequently define what a man is and what makes one manly, and what a woman is and what makes her womanly, how the media explains chivalry and modesty, the strong and the delicate, masculinity and femininity, and segregates them into two boxes to establish that it is what is proper– in other words, how the media draws one single line to separate the sexes in a binary way. Clearly, though, everything– especially gender– is not binary. For sure the media knows it and has acted on it, but merely showcasing is not enough, it has to be explained. I have not seen a single local show or program that has tried to explain the different genders and sexuality– heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, transgender, transvestite and so on. The people needs to be educated, showing and protesting is not enough if we don’t make the subject clear to them.

As if only housewives do the dishes!

As if only housewives do the dishes!

This brings me to the issue of marketing and how sexist most ads are. In advertisements and commercials, it is always the woman who cooks, does the laundry, washes the dishes and does all the housework, and it is always the man who drives, drinks alcohol and energy drinks, and does all the heavy work, and it’s always “sa mga nanay na nanonood”. As a child, I would glance at my father whenever the host or whoever was speaking would directly address the mother. When I was little, my father decided that he would focus on nurturing me even if that meant he becomes unemployed and does the things only the Nanay would do. I think my father made the right choice because I would not be the person who stands where I am now if he was not able to always stay close to me as I grew up. So what about the fathers who decided to fill in the society-dictated role of the mother? Back when I was a child and even now, I would take offense when that generalization, “sa mga nanay”, is mentioned.

Perhaps, though, now that the media has decided to take an active role on gender education, the mindset of our society regarding gender issues could be shaped, especially through marketing. If we pay more attention to gender sensitivity, perhaps we can reach out and relate to more people. Say, if we minimize gendered marketing, maybe the society would be more welcoming to everyone no matter what their gender or sexuality is.