Essays and articles

Getting Focused

One of the obstacles to productivity is losing focus. Whether home-based or not, those of us in our working years have to face those occasional times of succumbing to voices of negativity whether coming from inside or outside, and mitigating the damages that such forces can wreak on our health and total well-being. These can manifest in boredom, monotony or disorganization. Like tornadoes they can come and upset all our plans and routine, or it can come like a slowly creeping invisible creature that can build a niche in our psyche ready to rule our thoughts, actions and habits – until you just wake up one day and you loose your zest for doing something creative, positive and productive. The key to dealing with this problem is through centering – the art of keeping our balance or regaining our focus.

Reflect and find the source of the problem

As often said by sages and scientists, finding the roots of the problem is key to the most effective solution(s). Whether it is a habit we have not kicked or a thought-pattern we keep on repeating, the cause may just be as simple as one that is as they say “right in front of your nose.” Once identified, we can easily distinguish the effects from the actual cause. If not, we tend to mistake a simple pain due to something life threatening while it may just be your body telling you to take a rest. The same goes when our day’s plan go awry or some project outputs are not delivered on time. In such cases, the cause can either be within our control or beyond our control.

If we knew it all along, and last New Year’s list of things to do or to stop doing is still fresh in our memory – maybe it is time to really kick a new start. Be more specific. Make a separate plan for each identified solution. Is it a weight loss problem? Then, find a weight-management plan that suits your lifestyle and budget. It is the noise and mess in your workspace – then tune them down and clean the clutter.

The art of centering, of finding our sense of purpose is something that can be learned through life. What is our inner compass? What drives us? What makes us get up each morning?

Focus…Focus…Focus

It’s like a mantra one can repeat again and again. Life is full of distractions. When we find our grounding, we’ll know we’re on the right track. Sometimes we may ask ourselves: why did these negative forces crept in? Who gave them the power in the first place? Let’s face it, nothing is perfect here. Back to our mundane lives, if we allow negativity and nurture them, it’ll thrive. We can at least establish control – through finding that sense of balance.

Essays and articles

Blogging – Two Years On

I started blogging out of curiosity on what this medium is all about. Then i realized i had to swallow what i had taken a bite.The concept of PurpleMoms came at a time when in one of those points in a woman’s working life, we take a pause. I realized I had been away for so long and the kids had all grown up into budding young adolescents. Wouldn’t a mother take the chance to squeeze into their lives again – fully present and still hoping to thrive? It wasn’t an easy choice. Two years on and it is still hard work. Perhaps, it will be until one retires fully and ride into the sunset.

The good thing is two of my girls are now in the University. And they’re thriving, too. And the youngest, the one asking more questions and needing attention than i expected. Sometimes I ask if i did not make this choice, would they be better off than if I continued headlong with staying overseas and making a life of my own and be that long-distance parent? Looking back into those two years, we started off with great expectations. There were ups and downs. But it was worth every minute until practicalities set in.

So here I am, blogging if there is time to compose thoughts in my mind. I had to work again at least near my abode to live that ideal “work-life balance.” And we’re doing fine.

Contents of this blogsite are now becoming reflections of my daily routine and interests. Everything matters. The mundane? These can be made special, too.

Essays and articles

If my Yoke are Called Books, Yes, I will Carry Them

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Who isn’t irritated with paying excess baggage fees? If these are books, i will simply close my eyes and open them again once in the comfort of a quiet place to read. Sounds self-engrossed? Nope, “to each her own means of leisure.” This love affair with the hardbound, paperbacks, and printed stuffs dates back more than 30 years ago when i first discovered a novel in our house. I credit my elder sister for teaching me to read – her 4th grade texts! I guess that’s one of the perks of having an older sister – you may not get a hand-me down dress all the time, but mine did taught me the love for reading. When I reached the 5th grade, lessons on the Greek mythology classics were fairly easy. I had read them years earlier. The novels I’ve read in my teens started with Nancy Drew and Hardy boys  (I’ve read all the collections in our High School library) to more thrilling Agatha Cristie editions, Tom Clancy, and best selling ones in the 80s. In College, i switched to reading again the classics and  completed all the books in the Literature shelves in our library. I’ve discovered Harper Lee, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the rest in the school’s collection.   The best reads were those authored by my own compatriots. It is like looking into your own soul with new eyes. So i also discovered Nick Joaquin, F.Sionil Jose, Lualhati Bautista and the poetry of Marra Pl Lanot.  I swear that I have read more  fiction  and poetry than the required readings in Political Science. I found that reading the poems and prose of these social critics taught me more about power and politics than required, although in framing our narratives learning the science was good sense . Books can excite the mind. They can also make you sober.

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These days names like Noam Chomsky still catches my attention. Call it force of habit. I read The Guardian (on my smartphone), and in the 80s we had our own called the Free Press. Now, there is not much that delivers the punch. Perhaps the context has changed. Not until – the current Greek drama that media has captured in all its stunning details. Call it people power through the votes. The Greeks had just voted a resounding NO! to the proposed bail-out of European financial moguls in a bid to save their failing economy. I guess the powers-that-be are really dumbfounded. Was it a smart move of PM Tsipras to let the people have the final say? It not only saved his mandate of leading his own people but it gives the rest of the Western world a chance to take another look into the meaning of regional cooperation on the basis of solidarity and common grounds.  I wonder if the argument of so called sustainable foreign debt and socially just repayment schemes will hold water before the creditors? But this story is indeed worth following and all praises to the brave Greeks!!!

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One particular book I am currently browsing is an inspirational, self-help one with the title “The Voice of Knowledge” written by Don Miguel Ruiz. I had been in the past reading Eckhart Tolle and can’t help but compare the two authors in what they’re saying about faith, religion and sometimes mixing these with the drama and nonsense we keep listening to in our minds. Ruiz calls these voices as “lies” while Eckhart calls them the “pain-bodies.” While Ruiz is spiritual and Eckhart a secular humanist, what they’re saying is somehow similar. They convey a message so simple that the complex mind of the modern person need to reframe. We need to be authentic and true to who we are.

Essays and articles

Of New Years and Facing What’s New in Our Lives

2015 came in with the usual big bang. People do not usually greet the advent of another year with nonchalance. Everywhere it was celebrated with grand displays of fireworks, boisterous parties and communal gatherings. New Years are often regarded as turning points – a day in our busy or mundane lives to mark the beginning of another chapter yet to be discovered and about to unfold. People are also diverse when it comes to giving meanings to such events and  to particular traditions or cultural practices as an expression of these. This creates a vibrant and colorful panorama through music, arts, rituals and cuisine.

It’s exactly 55 days since day 1 of 2015, how has it been so far for you? Do we still try to fit stereotypes and cling to old patterns, habits and ways of thinking that we have sworn to change several New Years ago? Do we still listen to that old crap that keeps you stuck? Here is one book  published ten years ago that i found still useful to challenge anyone from complacency. It is titled How Now written by Raphael Cushnir. In it he outlined a hundred or so many different ways to practice being in the moment. It begins with making a list of what you want to start – be it a new job, new friendships, new hobby, alternative lifestyle or simply a new book to read. Perhaps you may also find ideas from revisiting your old New Year’s resolution lists and see what are worth pursuing, affirming and probably advocating (and why not?). We may not recognize it but despite the hullabaloo it is one continous path we travel in our lives, the choices we make either in our careers, relationships, and connections with the bigger world outside ourselves. Yet, New Year could also be a perfect time to pause and  come to terms with what’s new in our lives.It takes courage to do so – embrace the change! But doing so can be uplifting and liberating.

So what’s new?

Essays and articles

Forces of Nature, Wrath of God and the Many Stories People Create About Calamities

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It was a wet Christmas season we had this year and few days into 2015, another tropical depression brought unabated downpours in large parts of the country. Cool weather keeps you huddled in your blankets well into mid-morning though the threats of flooding are keeping people on their toes. Some parts of the South are already facing the perennial swelling of rivers and flooded communities. Whether due to the large volume of rainfall, denuded forest covers, poor drainage systems or a mix of these factors, floods can sweep homes, animals and trees in rural areas, and a sea of garbage and unimaginable waste in urban congested places. This is a picture of a Third World country in the grip of natural calamities. We are told later of stories where people triumph over such disasters through sheer willpower to survive and of the help that comes from others. One question that nags me is how do people react to such calamities. Exactly who do they blame for such misfortunes in their lives?

Forces of Nature or Wrath of God: The Fear Factors

For quite some time we were comfortable with the idea that typhoons and other natural calamities are part of our existence as forces of Nature. Communities learned to adapt to these chaotic events that oftentimes damage homes, animals, crops and even take lives. The idea of Disaster Risk Reduction was never heard of until recently. For a time the public was skeptic of what the national weather bureau forecasts, until it started using more advanced systems, its forecasts becoming more accurate and its language more friendly to the layman.

There are also  those who talk about Divine punishments and that such calamities are God’s way of reminding people to walk in the path of goodness. Such a view may not rest well with those whose world views are more secular or scientific, and for those who do not believe in such “religious nonsense.” The classic text or biblical narrative of the Great Flood that swept the lands in the time of the prophet Noah (Christian text, different name in Islamic text) tells us that calamities can be a way of God to cleanse His creation. In the same Christian text, it says that such times will not come again as mankind had been delivered by another means of Redemption. Which leaves us with the question that why a God who is believed to be All-loving would send such cataclysmic events to His own people as a punishment for their wrongdoing?

Other religions and world views offer a different take on human suffering and the way Nature speaks when it is desecrated.

In ancient cultures people believed in multiple gods that sends many forms of destruction to human societies. Hence to appease their wrath, people make a lot of offerings and create symbols to extol the god of water, harvest, fire, etc. These age-old fear of the unknown and uncontrollable forces found in Nature still manifests in the modern Filipino psyche despite the years of inculcation of Monotheism and Christian beliefs, or the advancement of science, Western education and mass media. Call it a complex personality and way of thinking that tends to rationalize events into good luck and bad luck, blessings or punishment, bad karma or good karma, etc.

Climate Change or Conspiracy Theory: Storms as Man-Made Calamities

Another view that is fast gaining popularity is climate change as a man-made phenomenon. It says that the rampant use of fossil fuels and emission of toxic gasses into the atmosphere damaged the ozone layer and hastened what was supposed to be inevitable warming of the planet. The increasing temperature of the seas, the rising sea level is the culprit why storms had become more frequent. So who’s to blame for our woes? Environmental activists and climate justice campaigners blame the large emitters of greenhouse gasses as culprits to why island countries (and archipelago like the Philippines) are suffering from these calamities. The lobbying has been taken to the UN and negotiations ongoing, although the recent one proved to be disheartening again.

Adaptation and DRR: We can Re-learn to Live with Nature

The six o’clock news showed  the extent of the damage wrought by Tropical Strom Jangmi (local name: typhoon Seniang) in the country. A number of communities in the Visayas and Mindanao were flooded and the death toll higher than what Storm Hagupit left behind. Authorities are saying that the factor of pre-emptive evacuation saved lives when the strong winds of Hagupit battered a large part of the Visayas. With this recent storm, we wondered why despite its lesser intensity, the damage was still extensive.

In other countries, floods and tsunamis are also realities faced by people. In fact the 1994 tsunami that swept Aceh in Indonesia and other areas near the Indian Ocean has just been remembered – the lost lives honored by their families and love ones. While people are reflecting on that painful past, heavy rains caused flooding in Malaysia, Thailand and some parts of Sri Lanka. So we are faced with the reality that natural calamities are bound to happen again and again. Thus, the only way to deal with forces of Nature is to adapt, prepare and mitigate their risks. Early warning systems and improved communication technologies are helping, so do better coordination between communities and their leaders.

Our ancestors have learned to live with Nature; science attempts and continues to unlock its mysteries. What keeps us from learning again how to honor the Earth and protect it from further destruction?

Essays and articles

Thoughts on Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

What Loving the One Earth We Live Implies

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Giant dandelions… a rose with its stem growing from the flower… human heads with growing horns, people turned into demons….. These are just some of the images the viewer will get while watching the 1990 film “Dreams” by renowned Japanese Director Akira Kurosawa. In “The Weeping Demon”, one of the eight dreams narrated in an episodic style, the story unfolds with the younger Akira’s representation found walking in a desolate land, the scene – an aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The young Akira met a figure, who says he was a former human being who had grown one horn on his head after the meltdown. He wept for the tragic results of what he claimed as human folly, when man desecrates the environment and commits excesses out of greed, arrogance and ignorance. In this “hellish” place, demons (who were former humans living in that habitat) roam around devouring the weaker ones as their sustenance. Yet, the weaker demon (strength is determined by the number of horns growing on the demon’s head) felt a sense of glee on the fact that the demons with more horns on their head suffer greater pain than what he experiences. The demon then led the man Akira to where the howling of the greater demons were emanating. The number of horns each got was probably equal to the extent of the monstrosities of their deeds while still in their “human” form. Anyone can have his own interpretation of what these images meant. What is clear is that the film presents a picture of what humanity can do to bring its own destruction.

The film has a very interesting ending with the man Akira running away from the scene. As the weeping demon implies, he can become like one of them if he stays. As a viewer of the film, there are two conclusions that can be gleaned from it. One – there is a hope for the man who strayed into that “hellish place”, he can go away and not be like the demons themselves. Second, he has witnessed the repercussions of the monstrosities done by those former human beings turned into demons. He has a story to tell.

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In another episode, “The Peach Orchard,” the story unfolds from the conversation between a woman (probably the Mother) and a boy who just learned about what his family had done. They had cut all the trees in the orchard. The boy was saddened by this, and on a day celebrated for the Dolls, he had a rare experience of engaging them in a dialogue right were the stumps of the mutilated peaches stood. He was assailed by a strange apparition of a girl, whom he thought was one of the visiting friends of his older sister.

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The girl led him to what was once the orchard where the dialogue took place. Convinced of his sincere love for the trees, the Dolls showed him the possibilities of each tree re-growing and the Peach Orchard coming back to life again. In another culture, the Dolls would have represented the Unseen Spirits that most indigenous communities believe protect the forest. This film sends the message of conserving Nature conveyed in the most simple and direct manner that even a child can understand.

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In the last episode, “Village of the Watermills,” the viewer is shown an ideal community where pristine waters flow through its creeks with watermills constructed by the locals and maintained by its old and wizened folks. The people of this place were said to have shunned pollution and preferred to live simply and preserve their environment. It is no wonder then that they live as long as 100 years old or more. The communal spirit and respect for one another is also strong shown in the coming together of young and old to the hearse of an old woman who also lived past a hundred years. The old man fixing the broken watermill did not hesitate to leave his work to join the procession. The Dreamer Kurosawa was intrigued by what he had just witnessed. It was a place that honored even the stranger and traveler, and there was one whom the locals believed had his remains buried by the roadside. Children would come and place flowers on the grave, a habit that this community practiced to respect both dead and living.

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The film’s vivid cinematography, simple plot and language appeal to viewers of all ages. It comes in a light and unique packaging yet leaves you wanting to have more. It speaks plain language, yet leaves behind a profound message.

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(Credits: Images from google.com)

Essays and articles

Reclaiming Spirituality for Life and Gender Justice: A Book Review (Part 2)

(Note: This is the continuation to the previous blog posted on the same topic).

Domestic Violence

Another form of violence which women (and their children) are constantly exposed to is called domestic violence. It is what one theologian-writer who contributed a paper on this topic contained in the book “Women Resisting Violence, Spirituality for Life” called an all-pervasive form of violence inflicted to women “at the heart of patri-kyriarchal relations of oppression’ (Fiorenza, 39, in Mananzan, et.al. (eds),1996). The term “kyriarchy” was a neologism or a new word coined by Fiorenza which literally means “the rule of the lord or master” similar to the German word Herrschaft. Feminists or those who are familiar with the gender discourse or Women’s Studies are used to hearing the term Patriarchy to refer to the ideology or system of male domination.

Domestic violence comes in many forms. It can be through verbal abuse, physical harm, sexual violence, psychological violence, threats and intimidation, and even economic non-support. It  cuts across social differences or status – be it race, religion, income level, age, literacy level or professions. Data and statistics confirm the trend as alarming and seems to exist as a social problem  even in this day and age.

Fiorenza’s systemic analysis of violence against women in these spheres explored notions of “false consciousness” which she traces to so called “disciplining practices” that women and girls undergo similar to what sociology refers to as the “socialization process” of people. The negative aspect of such manners of socialization within culture and religion is developing “acquiescence” of the woman to the abuse and violence – losing her humanity as a result.  Faced with the dilemma of keeping one’s religious affiliation without disrupting cultural and political meanings – women of faith often face dis-empowering choices. The alternative which Fiorenza pointed out towards the end of her article spoke of “liberating” traditions within such faiths – which for instance in her Christian tradition talks about God’s identification with human suffering. And this is possible  through a counter-discourse and critique on the contradictions between “lived experiences” versus theological meanings that negates the victim’s agency to seek a life free from violence, ensures her dignity and well-being.

 

Other Forms of Violence

The third part of the book has been devoted to a series of essays and reflections on violence inflicted to women in the realm of the economy and in times of war and conflict. There is a particular reference to the plight of minorities ( in contemporary times, the issue of migrants), and the conflicts involving militarism. Such conflicts erupt whether due to political. economic-structural, ethnic, religious or ideological reasons are also  fueled by a confluence of factors, with internal and external actors drawn by their own interests to these conflicts. In all cases, women (and other vulnerable groups) are often among the collateral damage – subjected to the worst forms of dehumanization – rape, torture, slavery, genocide, and other forms of gender-specific violence. The writers have specifically mentioned the cases of Korean and Filipino women during WWII who had been subjected into a systematic form of sexual slavery, as “comfort women.” Post WWII conflicts also spoke of similar cases – told and untold. The war machine thrives on the global sale of arms crossing borders, that only resulted to untold damages to lives and communities. The roots of such conflicts remain unraveled, and in most cases, have resurfaced in today’s news.

 

Conclusion

The element of human agency in the narrative of the person’s oppression is essential to its end. This is the best aspect of the book, where each writer/scholar constructs the situation (in this case analyzing each form of violence women suffer from) that leads to further discussion on possible  solutions to these problems.  The writer-contributors’ conclusion being – “breaking the silence” that surrounds violence against women.

Another factor that makes reading this whole book a unique experience for those new to the discussion, or a recollection for those who had been into it sometime ago (like me for instance), is the varied experiences of different cultures and women’s voices from various faith traditions reverberating. Somehow, humanity have reached the so called cyber-age, where the world has become one global village, and the pains of one part of the globe affecting the rest, so it should go for the ancient malady that is women’s oppression. Justice and integrity of creation – these are the calls made by those leading women of faith in the 1990s, and  seem to resound in the present more loudly than ever.

 

(Reference: “Women Resisting Violence, Spirituality for Life.” Mananzan, Mary John, et al (editors). USA: Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY; 1996. )

 

 

 

 

Essays and articles

Reclaiming Spirituality for Life & Gender Justice : A Book Review

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I came across an old book, rather a collection of reflections, essays and writings of women from various faiths and religious traditions. These are women from diverse cultures talking about violence against women. “Women Resisting Violence”, it says on the cover edited by a pool of women. It was published in 1996 – four years since I started working as a young researcher in a women’s NGO in my country. That year I also became a mother.

In those years, feminism was a nascent idea slowly taking roots in the cultural context that was Philippines. Many fear its growth as a bad influence, a western import that is meant to divide and create conflict between the sexes. Who would have thought it can take root and harness what was already there in the culture in the first place? The present generation has so much to thank for the women of the 70s and 80s: a national framework on the role of women in nation-building, laws and policies that are meant to protect women from domestic violence, rape and other forms of abuses redefined and penalized and many other gains from past to present. Despite these policies and laws, cases of violence against women are still on the rise.

Furthermore, there are a host of problems needing solutions that are needed to lift majority of women out of poverty. Where poverty thrives, women are also vulnerable to abuse.

At last we came to realize that emancipating women, means lifting the burden placed on men’s shoulders, too. This is liberation that frees both victim and perpetrator; powerful and powerless. However, in the wider scheme of things, both sexes are actually affected by structures, systems and policies that are dehumanizing. At its worst, both had been socialized and made to accept such practices as “normal.” It is “normal” to bully a woman because she has the body of a woman. She is assumed to be weak so words alone can break her spirit. But a man will not verbally abuse another man – it is more macho to physically assault another man (hence, war was invented). As a form of deterrent in some cultures, men who bully women are called “faggots” to shame their acts (derogatory term referred to gay men, with apologies!). Even men who are gay are known to receive as much abuse and bullying as females do. In domestic settings, the man can do both and more, as woman is “object and possession” – a kind of ideology that is meant to subjugate and control.

Denise M. Ackerman, one of the contributors to this book spoke of the “unrelenting evil done to women in war and in times of so-called peace.” Indeed, violence permeates through everything – ecology, economy, culture, politics and even religion. Thus, women needed to reassert “spirituality for life” – and reclaim the life-giving, life-sustaining character of faith and spirituality.

Myriad Forms of Violence Done to Women

Violence takes many forms. The underlying cause is power – unequal power relations, and the urge to exert power of the perpetrator(s) over the victim.

Cultural and Ecological Violence

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The book also discussed different forms of violence that women suffer from. Although these were mostly retold from “herstories” or critical trajectories in the lives of women from Asia, Africa and Latin America, there were inputs from women in Northern countries that spoke of similarities in reflections and spirit of empathy. There is so called cultural and ecological violence. These are spoken by women from indigenous communities reclaiming their identities in the face of an imposition of something foreign such as the notion of patriarchy. By engaging in cultural critique and internal dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect, women can transform their realities, says Elsa Tamez on her discourse on “Cultural Violence Against Women in Latin America.”

Ecological violence now widely acknowledged was still fresh in the early 90s as a focal point for activism. Out of these reflections came ecofeminism – the likes espoused by Vandana Shiva and of nameless women engaged in the production sphere confronting realities like depleting natural resources, natural disasters and policies that place more burden than relief on their economies.

In contemporary times, we point to climate change as a pressing concern with irreversible effects on the planet. We witnessed dramatic changes in weather patterns, rainfall amount and natural disasters as a result of combined loss of natural protective systems in the environment and the damage of the heightened occurrences of storms and other natural calamities.

(to be continued)

Essays and articles

A Healthy Way to Losing Weight

It’s not for vanity’s sake. We need to shed-off excess weight sometimes. The one year of working at home sitting before the laptop to write most times of the day had its toll – I’ve gained weight. I realised this when I find it hard to do basic yoga poses and keep the balance longer. From 120 lbs, the weighing scale showed 145 already. With a family history of serious health problems, there is no better option but to watch what I eat. Here’s what I prepared  for lunch today.

 

All Green Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

     malungay leaves (moringa olleifera)

     onion leaves

     alugbati leaves (basella alba)

     camote tops leaves (sweet potato leaves)

     green tomatoes

     okra (ladies’ fingers, bhindi or bamia)

     basil leaves

How to Prepare the Soup:

    1. Wash all the ingredients with tap water.

    2. Chop the tomato and green onion leaves.

    3. Boil water in a sauce pan.

    4. Add the okra, tomato and onion leaves.

    5. When the okra becomes tender, add the rest of the ingredients.

    6. Season with fish sauce.

 

Here’s what the main ingredients look like:

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Alagbati leaves(Basella Alba)     Sweet Potato leaves        Morengga Leaves          Bhindi or bamia (okra )

 

All ingredients are fresh and organic. Some people find this dish a bit bland. In the Central Visayan region of the Philippines, they usually add more vegetables like aubergine and squash. They like it a bit salty and add salted fish or anchovies. Since I’m taking it easy on the salt, I just added a spoonful of fish sauce. The essence of basil adds extra flavor to the soup. Basil is also great with free-range native chicken soups. I’ll try innovating on this all-veggie dish and see what more one can come up with. 

Next move, watch the weighing scale every morning. 

 

Essays and articles

Creating Green Spaces

Lately, my mother (the kids’ grandma) started her own urban farming project with seeds like basil (in different varieties), chilli, and lettuce.  She used local materials like bamboo to construct a two-storey seed nursery. This is quite a space-saving technique leaving the pathway free for people to pass through. Planting greens not only cools the air but is pleasing to the eyes as well.

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                When the basil matured, the family had pasta in pesto sauce. She also made her own basil & garlic raw juice concoction as natural medicine.

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                Some years back, she made a remarkable make-over to an unused piece of land near her community centre. The garden became her source of joy and pride. My parents are natural “green thumbs” – those people gifted with the capacity to make things grow profusely. One of the local agriculture technologists in the city taught her how to propagate lemon trees through the grafting-method. After several months, a small orchard sprouted in what otherwise was previously an unused sloping piece of land.

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                She also grew roses and other flowers that blossomed generously enough to add decor to our house and offerings for Sunday masses she and the kids attend.

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                   As most hobbyists often say, gardening takes patience, lots of it. Who says we can’t smell the flowers in the city? Well, ours is a small one, but seems to be on the road to rapid urbanization. It is good to see that women like my mother have continued creating green spaces even in places nobody thought can spew abundance.