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

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.

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 extra projects and extracurricular activities like swimming and taekwando.

On the day in the photo above, Jake participated in a singing event with all of his classmates. 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 and for a longer period of time. It will be the first time I witness the miracle of life, 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 believe that somewhere is worse than Here.

When we don’t have a goal, we are more fully ourselves. We enjoy life, our family, our friends and most of all ourselves. Goals might be good sometimes, especially since having a goal ‘To Not Have Goals’ is just the same thinking pattern all over again. 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.

Words are symbolic and in many ways words are metaphors since everyone who reads this will have their own interpretation. But one interpretation for the word God is Reality. It is the only thing that is real, 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, especially since I hadn’t yet been to a country like the Philippines.

Once in her hometown, we visited with her other relatives, her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc. But one of the first things Emafe did was clip my toenails. I am not very clean when it comes to things like that and in the Philippines I guess it is more important. I am usually busy looking straight in front of me so I don’t spend that much time caring for and looking after my feet. That could be 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. It felt a bit frightening and still does, even though it doesn’t hurt that much. But I am finally getting used to it.

I am now making it a habit of saying Yes the moment Emafe is ready to cut my nails, and I am making an effort to do other things that make me feel uncomfortable. ‘Exposure therapy’ is one of the best ways to relieve slight and mild cases of anxiety. I recommend it for people who get a feeling of discomfort, anxiety or stress from things, thoughts or feelings they are avoiding.

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 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 Mankind is almost there.

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. Someday he’ll know that Heaven is only revealed when Heaven and Hell, Good & Evil, Happiness & Sadness (a.k.a. Reality) are seen as a package deal. The Kingdom of Heaven is Here, and it was always here. It was with us all the while.

Beyond the concepts of Good & Evil, Satan & Christ, Life and Death is God. It cannot be explained in words but it can be experienced. Desperation for such an experience guarantees it will happen.

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 :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sometimes in the midst of noise there is a quiet presence, a sense of peace where all joy and love can be found. This is what I am learning. I am learning the art of finding peace, of noticing peace as it is, at all times in every situation and circumstance. But I am not there yet. I am still getting there, or to put it another way, I am getting Here from over there.

I have spent much of my life focusing on thoughts. Thinking of the future in the best times and of the past in the worst times. But I am starting to get better at focusing on the Present, the Gift that God gave me, the present.

(Note to Emafe: This is the gift I told you about when I was sick.)

I am noticing Zac more, even though he is still in Emafe’s tummy, and I am noticing Emafe more. I am slowly waking up from the dream called The Future and waking up to now called Reality. I hope all of us will do this, and do it together. This is how we find peace, not only for our hearts, but for our friends and family.

May the world know the world as it is, Perfect.

Monday, May 15, 2017

This is a poem I made that can mean more than one thing. It is subjective and ambiguous on purpose. Not necessarily out of cleverness, but the Truth itself is ambiguous and to such an extent that it seems subjective.


I Am

Before the Universe, I Am.

For I am Nothing.

In need of nothing.

In search of nothing.

In fear of nothing.

I stand on my own.

I am Nothing.

I am the Universe,

I Am.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nottingham Building in Camella Northpoint

I visited Camella Northpoint yesterday with Emafe to pick up the keys to our condo unit. It was an investment we made in 2012 to help us save money. But now that I am older and have lived in the Philippines for over 7 years, I am no longer interested in purchasing real estate. Paying the taxes is a hassle, maintenance is a hassle and renting it out to someone else would be a hassle. That is one of the reasons why Emafe and I sold the house we purchased in Davao City (too much work with not enough benefits). But that might be related to my personality or diagnosis.

Since I wrote about my diagnosis a lot has changed. I have come to accept that I experience avolition and my wife has accepted it too. So things are smoother now. I sleep a lot, help when I can but I don't worry about the things I am not good at. I still do my best but I learned that I cannot force myself to do better than I can. I either can or I can't, and I understand now that it is good to do my best but that my best is all I can do. I guess I am trying to say that I know my limits now (on a moment-to-moment basis). I think that is a good thing.

Liverpool Building of Camella Northpoint
The building of our condo unit is nice. There are big windows on the side of the building that lets in fresh air during the day. And even though I haven't visited the building at night I am almost sure it has a pleasant cool breeze then too.

One of the best parts about the condominium complex is that the community is covered in pine trees. I love plants so I am happy that I have a place to relax and view some nice trees. The trees are especially pleasant to view from the clubhouse and the doorway sized windows. I think I will bring plastic chairs when I stay there so I can sit outside with Emafe and look at the view. I am happy to say that the air was fresh too, at least during our last visit.

Emafe and I visited the OBGYNE today for one of her regular checkups.

Now the last part of this post. I wrote a letter to my son but I never updated the news that Emafe is pregnant! At least not on my blog. So now it's official, Emafe is over 5 months pregnant and soon, at the perfect time, Zac Lucas Rice will be born and the two of us (Emafe and I) will be first time parents. If you remember, I was big about .XYZ domain names a little while ago. But coincidentally, Zac has XY chromosomes and Emafe nicknamed him 'Z' on her Instagram account. So somehow, someway, I got exactly what I asked for. I just didn't know at the time that Zac was my dream, Zac is what I was waiting for, and Zac is what my wife and I were waiting for together. 

I am happy I will be a father soon, and someday I hope to walk him around the condominium community we own a unit in. It is a beautiful place and reminds me of when I was young and went camping at Redwood Glen