Don't try to be the Buddha (Christ). Just be yourself for that is the Buddha.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I love you, Emafe :)

Emafe and I went to SM Ecoland again today. And once again it is now part of our weekly routine. Sometimes we visit the mall 3 to 5 times a week. But it is different this time. Instead of just shopping or window shopping we now take time to relax. We still eat sometimes at cafe's and restaurants like Blugre but it is now common for the two of us to sit at Nailholics and get a massage.

I used to feel guilty whenever I thought about getting a massage. Like I would be wasting money on something that wasn't important. I avoided treating myself for relaxation and self-care. But after years of doing that, the lack of care that I showed myself was visible in my appearance. Not only the clothes I wore and my personal hygiene but the things I would say and the things I would do.

Work is a part of life but life isn't about work. I hope that the world will wake up and care for their mind and emotions. There is a chance that I am the only one who's asleep and needs to wake up but I will not know anything until I recover from years of self-abuse.

Take care everyone, and I'll send a thank you to all of you who are kind. Thank you for lighting the way for those who are sick.

Our wedding rings.

Husband & Wife.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grilled Tuna Belly.

At a ripe age of thirty-two I am now starting to get more health conscious. I am eating grounded corn that tastes like rice instead of standard white rice and I usually drink water instead of juice or soft drinks. Sometimes it’s hard to only drink water if people are encouraging me to drink Sprite or Coke during family get togethers but other people have abstained from drinking soft drinks for years, so I can too.

I am also exercising a bit. I started doing 10 push-ups and 20 bicycle crunches a couple months ago and I have more than doubled the repetitions since. I think I will be in decent shape in 2 to 6 months. We'll see! :)

Another thing that helped me was taking photos of healthy food. I still eat unhealthy food sometimes but photographing healthy food on Instagram encourages me to continue a healthy diet. As the saying goes “Health is Wealth” so let’s not spend it all at once.

Pancit Lug-Lug from Jaltan.
Peanuts with a little bit too much salt.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Group Photo.

Emafe and I visited D’Leonor here in Davao City the other day. Ten of our family members and one friend went with us. As a group we ate roasted pig and relaxed in the wave pool. It was a cloudy day but it was still a good day to go swimming.

There are a ton of cottages there so a lot of people can fit inside the resort. But on that day there were only a few families there including us. The best part of the resort in terms of photography has to be the dinosaur statues. They look realistic and photograph well.

My biggest happiness was seeing Lungly, Renz and Jake have a good time. All of us had a good time but it’s nice to see that the kids in our presence are able to live a relaxed life and enjoy a beautiful day at D’Leonor, even if it was cloudy.

Dinosaur Statues at D'Leonor Inland Resort & Adventure Park.
The cottages at D'Leonor Resort.
Jake Abello.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Memories in Bambu Estate.

Purchasing our first home in Bambu Estate was a good experience and hard lesson at the same time. It was hard waiting for the house to get built and waiting for the construction of the amenities, planned shopping malls, etc. But it was a good experience based on the fact that we learned from it and got to experience home ownership for the 1st time.

The number one thing I learned from it was not to want so much. Wanting is often the same thing as suffering. And sometimes we think we want something new when in fact, we just want to stop wanting and that cannot be done by purchasing new things or trying new experiences. Most of the time though, it is hard to know that. But with experience and honesty, we can all see for ourselves that money and shallow happiness cannot bring joy into our lives. We will also be able to discern real happiness from false happiness.

The 1st photo below is a picture of the Gaisano Capital shopping mall built right beside our house. It was almost finished in December of 2016 but caught on fire before it opened. It still hasn’t opened yet but hopefully it will someday.

The 2nd photo is a picture of a small eatery & sari-sari store that Emafe’s parents opened. It was always their dream to start some sort of food business but in the end, it was too much work. I’m happy though that they closed it and just enjoy life now as retirees.

Our house isn't our house anymore and the store we opened is closed. But it was a nice experience and I am happy, more than ever :)

Gaisano Capital in Davao City.
Mama's Store.
Marilou Verzonilla

I cannot remember if I was ever in the house or apartment shown in the photo above but it is a picture of my biological Mom. So I guess the picture represents the past better than my memory does. But here is a memory I have of 2016.

We met a broker when we still lived in Bambu Estate who came to our house to discuss a unit for sale in Camella Davao. I still remember hearing her surprised and in awe of our cats when she saw them. She liked them a lot. And since I was in the middle of recovering from an illness and Emafe was two months pregnant, we eventually decided to offer the broker our cats. We were also in the process of selling our home at the time. It wasn’t a simple choice to make and we thought about it and reflected on our situation before asking if she’d be interested. But in the end, we made that choice and it’s a choice I stand by.

Sometimes life changes in ways that we don’t expect. And sometimes the best thing to do in the moment is not the best thing we expected. If I have learned anything, it is that having attachments hurts and can even destroy the things we are attached to. It’s better to live free, love in the moment and live life with ease. 

Having said that I will always remember my wife’s favorite cat and I will also remember my biological Mom, even if my memory isn't good.

Toby boy.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Old-fashioned building constructed in 2015 or 2016.

After almost a month in the province we are now back in Davao City. The photo above is a new building but it’s design is a little old fashioned. I always notice this building whenever we travel in the city and I think the construction of it was finished in 2015 or 2016.

After arriving in the city, Mama bought us a jack fruit so that we could have a snack and relax. It was really tiring to travel that far and I must admit, I was a little over fatigued after that. I actually don’t know why. Something about traveling and maybe exercising again really got me sick and super tired.

So today we did something different: Emafe, her Mom, her Dad and I relaxed at a nail shop to get foot massages. It was a really nice experience and I enjoyed seeing her parents relax. I am not sure what Emafe and her Mom got but her Dad and I at least relaxed from a massage. The name of the nail shop is Nailandaya. I have gone there with Emafe a few times and will definitely go back.

As most people know.. stress is the number one common factor present in marriage problems, family problems, financial problems, health problems, imaginary problems and just about every type of problem there is. So if we can handle stress, we can handle anything. I handle it with peace.. especially since most problems are imagined or made worse through unhelpful thoughts.

One of the unique fruits in the Philippines, Jack Fruit.
Emafe Rice and her Dad.
Pedicure at Nailandaya inside SM City Ecoland.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Our family at the Divine Mercy Foundation.

As a family we woke up at 3:00 AM in the morning earlier today. That is how we beat the traffic and missed the long line at the barge. If you didn’t know, a barge is a boat that carries passengers and cars across water when there isn’t a bridge in place. And when traveling from the province to Davao City, we catch a barge. But before getting to Davao we dropped by a religious site known as Divine Mercy. The site consists of a good sized church, a large landscaped park, and a big statue of the legendary Jesus Christ. There is also a place to light candles and some souvenir booths lining the entrance.

I was a little disappointed that I was still sleepy when we got there since I didn’t enjoy the outing as much as I normally would. It was also really hot outside. But I still got to sit in an empty church, and I love empty churches. I actually love quiet churches but that usually only happens when the church is empty. Most of the time it doesn’t matter what kind of church it is, as long as it is a church, a temple, or something like that.

I feel a strong sense of peace in a down-to-earth real way when I enter an area of silence that a large number of people have prayed and meditated by. It is like I can feel the energy of the people who prayed there. The modern consensus in the scientific community would probably be at odds with this but I believe we leave traces of our emotions wherever we go.

Well. . . That’s enough about that. I hope you enjoyed the photos. I will do my best to maintain silence in my heart and mind at least a little bit each and every day.

A statue of Jesus Christ at the Divine Mercy Foundation.
The landscaped park at the Divine Mercy Foundation.
Overlooking a beach in the Philippines.
The ocean in the Philippines.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Elma & Tita Flor.

It’s May 28th today and that means it’s Aaron’s birthday. He is now three years old! I still remember before he was born when it was just his Ate Claue and their parents. He is still young so he doesn’t know English yet but Claue does.

We bought them some blank paper and pens but I am hoping to buy them school supplies. Paper, crayons and pencils are cheap but sometimes it’s not a priority since food is more important. I want them to have a little extra so that they don’t have to worry about running out of paper or losing their writing tools. It might not be time for Aaron to write or draw yet but I think he enjoys seeing Claue draw.

Now back to the party. In the photo below there is a roasted pig. It is different in the United States since I only saw a roasted pig there once in my life but here it is extremely common. Most people who can afford purchase a pig to roast on almost every occasion that is considered special (at least in the inner circles that surround me).

So that’s the update for today. Thank you for being a part of reality and make sure to take time off to find yourself. If you’ve already found yourself you are a lot like me. Even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Birthday Celebration.
This is a street dog here in the province.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Emafe & Chris Rice.

Emafe and I were laying down last night and I asked her if we could take a photo together. It is now one of the many photos we have taken together as a married couple. I also asked Jake if I could take a photo of him.

I upload my photos to Instagram. And if you didn’t know, Instagram is one of the beautiful apps on the net. I like it since it is like a personal diary. I have a lot of my memories there and it is easy to navigate since it is organized by picture, not by text. It is often less stressful than Facebook since most people probably look at their own profile more than others.

I discovered that paying too much attention to others can affect our ability to care for ourselves. If we want to care for others, we must care for ourselves first. That is when all of us will discover we are all connected. One body in a sense that a single human being who suffers affects the rest of us.

Dried fish.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Emafe and her relatives.

Emafe and I visited a mountain top with her parents and family. It is actually where some of her relatives live. At first I felt a little uncomfortable since it was a new scenery and I felt a little stressed from the news I saw on TV. But then it was time to sit down and look at some of the chickens that live there.

Chickens have eyes that look a lot like fish eyes and their necks move fast in twitching-like motions. I saw how innocent they were and felt a sense of peace watching them walk around and take care of their young. I also took a few moments to look at the mountains that sat off in the distance. The coconut trees living there seemed as vast as an ocean. I liked that too.

The last thing everyone did was play volleyball. I didn’t play but I watched a little bit. I was content just snapping a few photos as a remembrance. People were smiling so I was smiling too. It was another beautiful day in the Philippines.

Emafe & Chris Rice.

Mama chicken and her chic.

Chicken playing peek-a-boo.
Walking chickens.
Coconut trees on a mountain.
The family playing volleyball.