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

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ford Ecosport in Mars Red.

From this angle, our new car might look like a Honda Fit but it is a Ford Ecosport. It's the car Emafe and I just purchased in order to prepare for Zac's arrival. It makes me happy since it isn't too small but not too big either. I don't understand the validity of climate change and global warming but if any of the claims made by environmental scientists are true, our Ecosport will probably harm the environment less than other cars would.

I didn't think I could ever purchase a brand new car but Emafe helped me do it. That is one of the reasons I am happy to be married to Emafe, the two of us have different strengths. She is industrious and I am good at staying calm. I let her know that it is okay to feel stressed and she instructs me in areas that I am too simple minded to understand on my own.

Thank you for helping me purchase our car Emafe, I love you :)


Emafe and I before going to bed.

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 at cafe's and restaurants like Blugre but it is now common for the two of us to sit at a nail salon and get a foot 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 in the clothes I wore and my personal hygiene but the things I would say and the things I would do.


I am now recovering from years of self-abuse. I hope that unlike me, the world is already taking care of their mind and emotions. Just in case, I'll send a thank you to everyone who is kind. Thank you for being the light of the world.



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.

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

We met a broker in 2016 who came to our house to discuss a developer that was pre-selling houses in Davao City. We talked about real estate for a while and then she saw our cats. I was in the middle of recovering from an illness at the time and Emafe was two months pregnant. We were also in the process of selling our home. It wasn’t a simple choice to make and we thought about it before deciding but in the end, we made a choice and it’s a choice I stand by. In short: We sold our cats to the broker.

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. 

Our cats will be taken care of and I'm sure they'll be happy with their new family. But I will always remember my wife’s favorite cat, Toby Boy, the grey cat below. I will also remember my biological Mom. I published a photo of her in the header of this blog post.


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.

So today we did something different: Emafe, her Mom, her Dad and I relaxed at a nail salon to get foot massages. It was a really nice experience and I enjoyed seeing her parents relax. The name of the nail shop is Nailandia. I have gone there with Emafe a few times and will definitely go back.


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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Our family at the Divine Mercy Foundation.

On the way to Davao City we dropped by a religious tourist spot named 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. But I still got to sit in a large, quiet and peaceful church. There weren't that many people there so it was easy to observe the silence. I enjoyed it.

Thank you for reading about our travels and I hope you enjoy the photos!


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. Aaron doesn’t speak English yet since he's still young but his older sister does. 

While at the birthday party I took a picture of a roasted pig and that is one of the things that makes the Philippines different from the United States. I only saw a roasted pig in the U.S. once in my life but here it's extremely common. Most families that have enough money to purchase and cook whole pigs multiple times in a year do. It is part of Philippine culture. Some religious doctrines ban pig products but a good amount of the Christian population here enjoys pig during most of their celebrations.


This was just a basic update with some background about celebrations in the Philippines. Thank you for reading and make sure to find time off to relax and treat yourself with kindness.


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 I like the fact that it's like a personal diary. I have a lot of our memories there. IG (Instagram) can be less stressful for people who want to avoid reading the rants of their peers. It is mainly for photography, not text.


I hope you enjoy IG, Facebook and the Internet. If used properly they can relieve stress but if used incorrectly, they can generate stress. Have a good day everyone.


Jake.
Dried fish.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Emafe & her relatives.

Emafe and I visited a mountain top the other day. It is actually where some of her relatives live. I felt a little discomfort at first 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 the chickens that live there.

A chicken's eye looks like a fish eye and their necks move fast in twitching-like motions. I saw how innocent they were and felt a sense of peace watching them take care of their young. I also took a few moments to look at the mountains that sat off in the distance.

The last thing everyone did was play volleyball. I didn’t play but I took a few pictures to remember this moment as it is.

Thanks everyone for reading! :)


Emafe & Chris Rice.

Mama chicken and her chic.

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jake’s in his Holy Child outfit. 
Holy Child is the school he went to in Davao City (2016).

This is one of the good memories that I share with Jake. He was wearing his Holy Child t-shirt with red face paint and his Ate Emafe is the one who took the photo.


Holy Child is the school he went to when we lived in Mintal of Davao City. It was an English speaking school and the education there was good. There were a lot of school projects and extracurricular activities like swimming and taekwando.

On the day of this photo Jake was singing at a Holy Child event with his classmates. And he was singing so loud that the veins in his neck were getting really large. And I remember seeing a strong sense of innocence in his expression and gestures. That is probably the closest thing to fatherhood besides my wife’s pregnancy that I have ever experienced.

So I am looking forward to more interactions like that with Jake, and especially the birth of my son, Zac Lucas Rice. I have a good sense that the day he is born will be similar and probably a lot more intense. It will be the first time I witness the miracle of life in person and I predict it will be a day of pure joy :)
Jake & Renz (July of 2015)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fast sketch of Chris & Emafe Rice.

Sometimes our society or at least the part of society I grew up in teaches people to have goals. The philosophy is that without a goal, a person will get nowhere. But I am starting to think that trying to get "somewhere" often takes us to a place that is worse than our starting point.

When we don’t have a goal or agenda we are more fully ourselves. We can enjoy life more, our family, our friends and most of all ourselves. Goals might be good sometimes but lets not get so caught up in goals and enjoying ideas that we forget to see the real thing, Reality, staring us in the face and waiting for attention.

P.S. A good definition for the word "God" might be "Reality". It is the only thing that is real and everything else is false.

Sketch of Emafe Rice.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chris & Emafe Rice
Emafe met me at the Manila Airport with her aunt and cousin on August 29th, 2009. After our time in Manila we flew to the province and got picked up by her parents and brothers. I still remember seeing the never ending rice fields and coconut trees lining the highway with the wind blowing towards me and the fast motion of the multicab I was in. It was surreal!

We visited other relatives of hers but the first thing Emafe did was clip my toenails. I am not very clean when it comes to that and in the Philippines it is much more important. I don’t spend that much time caring for and looking after my feet so that's probably why I needed them clipped so badly.

Anyways, it was awkward getting my nails cut by someone else for the first time. It almost felt like she was going to cut my toes since she used a nipper to trim the skin around my nails. But I am now getting used to it.

Thank you, Fema. I love you :)


Emafe clipped my nails today.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our dog, Gabby.

Sometimes when I notice an animal I see a dog, cat or a bird. And sometimes I can look at Gabby the dog and I sense some sort of reflection, like a mirror. I see something similar in his eyes and mine. He doesn’t walk upright, talk English or have a wife, but I can see a part of myself when I look in his eyes. Especially in this photo. I can notice the same thing in the cats we used to care for.

Some people say that Love is a form of attachment, other people say that it is seeing yourself in another person, animal or thing. I don’t think it matters what the word means to other people but I can sense some sort of connection between me and everyone & everything else. It isn’t that strong but looking at photos like this one makes it stronger.

There is a doorway that leads to the End of Suffering, and I believe that noticing our connection with other people, places and things is the door.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This is a church at the Monastery.

I visited a monastery with Emafe and her family the other day. The location was silent and solemn with trees, open space and a small prayer room. As a family we took time to sit, walk and reflect. 

Most of us wrote prayers on little paper cards. Renz even wrote a prayer asking God if he could go to Heaven with his family. I know he doesn't quite know that much about the world and that most of the stuff he knows and thinks he knows is based on what he's been told. But I still see a sweetness in his prayer.

Out of everything he could of asked for he asked for him and his family to be together & happy forever.



I love the open space here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Emafe's Dad in his store.

I have had a good time since I moved to the Philippines. Distance has been a slight issue, since I am away from friends and family members that I grew up with. But in terms of Self-Growth and Personal Development, I had no choice but to move to the Philippines.

Life is simpler Here. I am sure there are places in the United States like the Philippines and even simpler if you compare Amish communities with cities in PH. But the crowd I was with in the United States wasn’t simple. Keep in mind that there is nothing essentially wrong with being complex, it is a matter of preference, not Right or Wrong.

The two most influential people in my life that help(ed) me do this is Emafe and her Dad. Her Mom, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and everyone else I was introduced to played an equal role. But it is Emafe who helped me appreciate animals, her Father who helped me appreciate plants, and both of them showed dedication towards helping me improve my health, lifestyle and understanding. Everyone did, but looking back, it seems like the two of them took leadership positions.

Emafe is a leader, just like her Dad. And I owe the two of them something money can’t buy, Love, Joy and Understanding in One.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Renz is practicing his photobombing skills in the background :)