Friday, February 15, 2008

Back from Life Hiatus

It's been a while. Not much to say regarding that. I took the shot above while on a sunset boat ride in Oroquieta, Philippines with a few of my cousins, provided by one our aunties (Thanks Auntie!). We'd just finished hosting the annual Grand Reunion of the very extended family of Simona Marapao. To give you an idea of how big this reunion is, Simona Marapao is my great-great grandmother. She had 10 children by two separate husbands, and each of those 10 children's "clan" takes turn hosting this huge Christmas Day reunion in Oroquieta. My family and other relatives from different places all "returned" back to Oroquieta to put on this reunion the past Christmas.

I've been fortunate enough to have been able to visit the Philippines several times. Many of my relatives live there, and it's always a great trip to go and see them, spend time with them and enjoy the wonderful places all over. I've been as far south as Davao in Mindanao and as far north as Banaue Rice Terraces, including many places in between such as good ol' Oroquieta, Bukidnon, Cebu, Bohol, Boracay and of course who can forget Manila. That congested, polluted city that we (nearly) all must pass through to get to the rest of the beautiful Philippines. But why think of the city when you can instead recall sights like the sunset over Mindanao, a cool breeze brushing at your cheek, the refreshing sea wetting your feet as you dangle your legs out over the tiny boat filled with your cousins, and the stars, one by one, slowing waking from their daytime slumber to decorate the sky with their twinkling smile. That's the Philippines I like to remember.

Tempo Libero Front Page

Friday, August 11, 2006

Books, books, and more books

I sort of already described to you how big of a nerd I am when I told you about all the books that I bought in San Francisco. What I forgot to tell you was how fascinated I am with libraries. So much so that I even visit them when I am on vacation. How sad.

Examples: When Elaine and I went to Australia last January, we were walking around Melbourne one day just sight-seeing, and I made us visit the State Library of Victoria, which we were just walking by. Even took photos! Here's me sitting on the lawn in front of the state library. I still don't know how Elaine and I survived those two weeks together alone in Australia. She dragged me to things like the Old Melbourne Gaol (jail) and I dragged her on a winery tour and to the library. Boy do we have different ideas of "fun."

Another example: Visited the State Library in Hawaii. Yup. But this time it wasn't just me who wanted to go. Michael also wanted to go, so that he could photocopy music scores for playing on his oh-so-in-tune piano at home. We copied "The Piano Man" by Bruce Springsteen and a couple Disney classics, "A Whole New World" and "Beauty and The Beast."

Final example: Still after visiting all those bookstores in San Francisco and the Bay Area, on my last day in California, I suggested that we go to the Foster City Public Library just for fun. Yup, just for fun. Michael and I ended up browsing the used book room for a good hour or so and ended up picking out five books to buy. For $3.50 how can you go wrong? Snagged some pretty good titles, too, like Stiff by Mary Roach, My Antonia by Willa Cather, Cebu by Peter Bacho, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee.

Still today, I went to my home library in Willowbrook, Indian Prairie Public Library to borrow CDs and I ended up buying a used copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond for 50 cents. I think I'll end up opening a used book store someday.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Florentine street life in San Francisco

Another mini-trip to The City today. This time, checked out North Beach. It's a neighborhood on the northeastern edge of San Francisco, characterized by many Italian restaurants and shops. The area is centered around Washington Square, and runs down Columbus Avenue toward the Transamerica Pyramid building. The terrain is hilly, as is most of the City, and the famous Lombard Street crooked decline is nearby. There are great views of the rest of the city as well as the Bay and beyond.

The two places we dropped in on were Stella Pastry Caffe' Italiano where we took a short break for espresso and the cream puff (seen on the left). A short stroll down Columbus brought us to the City Lights Bookstore, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A quick browse around the shop helped me appreciate the independent bookstore atmosphere that is so often lost in today's Borders-era big box culture. I didn't purchase anything this time around, since I had already made two bookstore purchases earlier this week, one at A Different Light in Castro and the other at Moe's Books in Berekeley. Took down more titles of books that I'd like to eventually read, after I get through the piles already waiting for me on my bookshelves at home.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Victorian Houses in San Francisco

Victorian Houses in San Francisco
Originally uploaded by s.tham.

Went for a short trip to The City today. Walked around the Castro for a bit, had lunch at a small but nice restaurant named Nirvana. Bought a couple books at A Different Light bookstore then headed to Alamo Square to take photos of the Victorian painted ladies homes, aka the Full House homes (shot in the opening sequence of Full House).

Spirit Catches You + Barracuda

Currently Reading: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Yesterday I started reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which was assigned to all incoming M1 students at UIC College of Medicine. It's a story of cultural differences between a Hmong family and their epileptic daughter and American doctors. I'm only about six chapters into the book and already I am hooked. I've been waiting to read a book as gripping and real as this. I'll keep you updated on how it goes as I get further into the book.

Just ate at Barricuda Sushi restaurant in Burlingame, California for lunch today with Michael. Had the lunch special, from which you can pick two menu items from a list including chicken teriyaki, calamari teriyaki, spicy tuna roll, shrimp and vegetable tempura, chicken kama-age, and much more. The two main choices along with rice, salad, and miso soup cost only $8.95. Not bad, huh?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Peace Flag

Peace Flag
Originally uploaded by Iguana Jo.
I love this photo of the Pace flag in Italy. Was strewn all over cities, bidding for Peace throughout the nation and the world.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Don't waste your tempo libero

With this post begins my blog dedicated to some things that I enjoy on my free time, of which I wish I had much much more...