Reload 018: Final Two Idol Favorites – Jessica’s “My All”

I Want My MTV
I Want My MTV
I Want My MTV (or whatever’s on YouTube)

RELOAD,  REFRESH, RESTART  018 –  It’s what we do in our computers.  So with life, we take a break.  If all else fails, reformat. Sit back, relax and enjoy my favorite video reposts. :-)

It’s down to my final two favorites, and here is Jessica Sanchez’ soulful rendition of Carey’s “My All”.  Jessica makes me proud to be a Filipino.

If you come to my country you will see a lot of Jessicas here with such golden voices, just like Pempengco. We are such a musical country (everyone’s singing in the shower).  If Phillips or Jessica wins next week, am okay with it.  At least in the final episodes, am seeing Heejun again in the audience. :-)

Reload 017: Final Two Idol Favorites – Phillip’s Beggin’

I Want My MTV
I Want My MTV
I Want My MTV (or whatever’s on YouTube)

RELOAD,  REFRESH, RESTART  017 –  It’s what we do in our computers.  So with life, we take a break.  If all else fails, reformat. Sit back, relax and enjoy my favorite video reposts. :-)

It’s down to my final two favorites, and here is Phillip Phillips’ beautiful, danceable rendition of Beggin’, that leaves fans breathless.  He is really a complete star package.  What caught my attention during his first audition, though (he sang my Michael Jackson’s Thriller, what can I say), was that he uncannily reminds me of a young Bruce Springsteen. Plus you can’t forget the name (and the eyes, teeth, smile… and he is Heejun’s best friend).

My other favorite judge (Steven Tyler) did mention to him that he could be the future Boss (Bruce’ nickname).  Whoever wins between the final two is alright with me.

Continue reading Reload 017: Final Two Idol Favorites – Phillip’s Beggin’

Take flight and heal yourself

Langkawi, Malaysia © Jojie Alcantara 2012
Langkawi, Malaysia © Jojie Alcantara 2012
Langkawi, Malaysia © Jojie Alcantara 2012 (click to enlarge)

“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

For friends who are in the healing process at this moment, hurting from betrayal, complications of love, and shattered trust… fly free.  Go and find your wings.  Let the wind take you to places where you can heal, feel it fan your faces once more, and not be bogged down by your miserable burden.

A heavy heart when unloaded, unclogged, purged, and rid of toxins…will feel light and almost brand new again.

Never mind the scars.  They will lighten in time.

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Bee-you-tiful

Macro bee on flower by Jojie Alcantara
Macro bee on flower by Jojie Alcantara
Bee on flower © Jojie F. Alcantara (click for large view)

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa

Try to do small things for others without waiting for big rewards.  It works wonders for me.

Eden Nature Park, Davao City © Jojie F. Alcantara

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Lasting memory

Tubajon, Dinagat Islands © Jojie Alcantara 2006
Tubajon, Dinagat Islands © Jojie Alcantara 2006
Tubajon, Dinagat Islands © Jojie Alcantara 2006

“Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this “something” cannot be seen or heard or numbered or scientifically detected or counted. It’s what we leave in the minds of other people and what they leave in ours. Memory. The census doesn’t count it. Nothing counts without it.” ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

In 2006, I went to the “Mystical Island Province of Love” — a long, cheesy moniker for Dinagat Islands in Surigao del Norte but which proves to be correct in many aspects. I will tell you all about its beauty soon.

During my stay,  I would witness a different sunset every time, each one stunning than the last.  This particular image was taken with a point and shoot Canon Powershot G6 (it was chunky, yes, but it had incredible colors even then), taken straight from the camera, left untouched, and merely resized for my blog.  I stumbled upon it today as I went down memory lane through my old files (it has been a habit lately, smiling at old digital memories). This may have been an early indication of my penchant for silhouette shots.

As our author above says it, we all pass through life leaving something unknowingly behind.  I hope this photoblog will last for as long as it continues to inspire anyone…even as I may grow old and these gnarly, shaking hands couldn’t even press the darn button anymore (much less squint at my laptop monitor and type).

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We are the change that we seek

Sunrise in Baywalk, Times Beach © Jojie Alcantara 2012
Sunrise in Baywalk, Times Beach © Jojie Alcantara 2012
Sunrise in Baywalk, Times Beach © Jojie Alcantara 2012 (click for large view)

 “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~ Barack Obama

Early morning walk and a sunrise shoot.  Hypnotized by the swirl of red-orange tones and yellow skies,  I stepped lower with my tripod and reached down the waves, trying to capture the solitude of the replica of the Little Mermaid.  At break of dawn, people started to arrive in the park, jogging, picnicking, doing aerobics, walking.   She will be a little less lonely, for someone is bound to notice her. But in her misfortune and enchanted state, she continues to sit there, waiting.

Baywalk, Times Beach, Matina, Davao City

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Sunrise in Angkor

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Sunrise at Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara
Sunrise at Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara

“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.” ~ Lauren Kate, Torment

Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple Complex, Siem Reap, Cambodia (April 2012)  © Jojie Alcantara

Cambodia was in my bucket list and a dream destination come true when I first visited it in 2011.  I stayed overnight in Siem Reap, the gateway to the ancient wonders of Angkor Complex.   This year, I was able to cover more of the temple ruins, enjoy its breathtaking vistas, experience the culture and marvel at its sunrise and sunset.

Please do enjoy my photos.  View more of my Cambodia gallery here.

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Aloneness

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Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara
Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara (click for large view)

“We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God, together as a community as well as personally; to be alone with Him — not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything — to dwell lovingly in His presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. We cannot find God in noise or agitation.” ~ Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

Deep inside the elaborate temple ruins of majestic Angkor Wat, I found people in zen-like composure, individuals who opted to stay away from the crowd, find their own quiet corners to meditate, and suck in all the spiritual energy these ancient walls have accumulated through time. Whatever it is, it must be a positive force, because we each end up going out of the archaeological wonders in a state of serenity, submission, and mystic calm– somewhat like a recharging of life.

Okay, okay, she did remind me of that morbid character from “Drag Me to Hell”, so I was a little subtle in capturing her furtively– like hiding behind a pillar from across the temple (with the white lens sticking out like a sore thumb) — and in many of my shots, I did catch her staring at me, which gave me the shivers.  Still, you can’t judge a person from a movie character lookalike.  Besides, she seemed to be relishing her solitude, and merely regarded me as one of those pesky tourists carrying a heavy telephoto lens without knowing how to operate it.

She did give me a penetrating stare, though.  Hope she wasn’t mumbling incantations.

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Achieving serenity

Monks at Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara
Monks at Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara
Monks at Angkor Wat © Jojie Alcantara

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” ~ Swami Satchidananda, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Another serene moment revisiting the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, April 2012  © Jojie Alcantara

River of life

Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie F. Alcantara
Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie F. Alcantara
Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie F. Alcantara (click for large view)

“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.”  ― Emma Smith Continue reading River of life

Teach the hard lessons

Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake by Jojie Alcantara
Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake by Jojie Alcantara
Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake © Jojie Alcantara (click for large view)

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”― Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm Continue reading Teach the hard lessons

River People

Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie Alcantara
Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie Alcantara
Tonle Sap Floating Village © Jojie Alcantara

The great river-courses which have shaped the lives of men have hardly changed; and those other streams, the life-currents that ebb and flow in human hearts, pulsate to the same great needs, the same great loves and terrors. As our thought follows close in the slow wake of the dawn, we are impressed with the broad sameness of the human lot, which never alters in the main headings of its history–hunger and labour, seed-time and harvest, love and death. ~George Eliot, Romola Continue reading River People

Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (Tasik Dayang Bunting)

Lake of the Pregnant Maiden © Jojie Alcantara
Lake of the Pregnant Maiden © Jojie Alcantara
Lake of the Pregnant Maiden © Jojie Alcantara

“At the center of every fairy tale lay a truth that gave the story its power.” ~ Susan Wiggs, The You I Never Knew

One of Langkawi’s many legend-filled attractions is Pulau Dayang Bunting (Island of the Pregnant Maiden), the second largest  in this 99-tropical island paradise. Continue reading Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (Tasik Dayang Bunting)

The Dreamweaver

T'boli weaver by Jojie Alcantara
T'boli weaver by Jojie Alcantara

In this weaving house built for them, the gentle and colorful T’boli (ti bo lee) women weave the most sought after beautiful t’nalak (woven abaca fibers in radiant colors). The cloth, culled from tie-dyed abaca fibers of distinct red and black tones, originates from the roots and leaves of trees. Then comes the arduous process of days to weeks of stripping, boiling, soaking, drying, rubbing with wax and shells to produce the final fabric of such intense, lasting colors. Continue reading The Dreamweaver

Sunset at Tanjung Rhu

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Sunset at Tanjung Rhu © Jojie Alcantara
Sunset at Tanjung Rhu © Jojie Alcantara (click to view large)

“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!” ~ C. JoyBell C.

The 5-star Tanjung Rhu Resort, located at the northernmost tip of Langkawi Island, is spread over 1,100 acres of sprawling rainforest, healthy mangroves, rolling limestone, and a breathtaking private 2.5 km beach that may well be unmatched anywhere else in the island.  Though I stayed in another beautiful resort, I was treated to a sumptuous dinner there, where I had an opportunity to witness a gorgeous sunset at that moment. Continue reading Sunset at Tanjung Rhu

Transient

Self portrait, Beijing, China by Jojie Alcantara
Self portrait, Beijing, China by Jojie Alcantara
Self portrait by tripod and timer, Beijing, China by Jojie Alcantara, 2011

transient*

 We exist upon borrowed time.

Yours.

Mine.

Under moonlit dance sublime.

Wine.

Dine.

 Fleeting life, several chances.

Giddy pain.

Blissful romances.

 Rules evolve, merely broken.

Silent pleas

Guilt unspoken.

 We survive on lovers’ boon.

You the sun,

I the moon.

 Willed as cosmic order thrives,

You  set, I rise.

This love survives.

 Fragile, sacred, butterfly wings.

Blow thy kiss.

Seal my bliss.

 This lifespan is much too soon

For moments caught

In soft cocoon.

 Beyond the time we share today,

Like butterflies,

We fly away.


© Jojie Alcantara May 18, 2001

This was written for an ex-boyfriend who disappeared from my life (see date above) only to resurface two years later, expecting to reconnect with open arms in a guilt-free friendship. By then I had consciously transformed into the nomadic solo traveler and free spirit that I idolized in him, eventually sealing my closure and developing my self-reliance in the next years.  In retrospect, I had nothing to forgive, but everything to thank for, including the pain.

Footnote: Several years later, he finally said sorry.  It was the only thing I wanted to hear the most.

*transient. 1. a: passing especially quickly into and out of existence 2. not lasting, enduring, or permanent; transitory. 3. lasting only a short time; existing briefly; temporary: transient authority. 

Jojie Alcantara in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket, Thailand

A dip into the blue abyss

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This photo, since it was published many years ago, has been the most viewed and commented upon in my Pbase photo gallery, my most popular site which garners more than a thousand views per day.  Rhonson, an award winning photographer, didn’t take out his camera, but as though hypnotized, immediately went for a dive.  So I got my money shot instead (I made sure to precariously position my leg dangerously hooked onto a jutting tree trunk by a cliff, while the other leg was balancing my awkward pose).  This image has been published several times. 

Rhonson dives in Hinatuan Enchanted River © Jojie F. Alcantara
Rhonson dives in Hinatuan Enchanted River © Jojie F. Alcantara (click for a bigger view)

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

Proudly located in my awesome island, this little known town of Hinatuan is blessed with a hidden treasure –a stunning blue lagoon nestled within a mountainside and protectively covered by a forest.  Its dark tinge comes from the Pacific sea pouring in from a deep underwater crevice. To local folks, it is said to be enchanted. Full of rich marine fishes swimming in the deep blue, no one is said to have ever caught one. Once you take a dip in the cool, clear waters, you don’t want to come out. Continue reading A dip into the blue abyss

Do not judge characters

Sunrise in Malita  © Jojie Alcantara
Sunrise in Malita © Jojie Alcantara

“I’m not crying out for help, but I am sharing my experience in the hopes that readers will get something out of it. I’m not the one who gets to decide what that is, if anything. I’m just starting the “journey” if you will, so I can’t possibly know yet what the “message” of my life really is. I only know what has happened so far, and how I’ve felt up until this moment.  I agree that reading about the pain of others is concerning when they are still hurting and in the same situation as when they wrote about it. But what can you do? You can reach out, ask how you can help and be there to listen. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. You can’t love someone who doesn’t love themselves enough to take care of themselves and stay out of bad situations. Believe me, I know this.” ~ Ashly Lorenzana

Ashly Lorenzana is between 24-25 years old.  I found her on the net when I was looking for a good quote for my image.  I wanted to write about the virtue of being non-judgemental to characters.  She wrote a self-published book called “Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort” where she wrote of memoirs on her experiences as an escort.  Continue reading Do not judge characters

Rush Hour

Phnom Penh, Cambodia  © Jojie Alcantara
Phnom Penh, Cambodia © Jojie Alcantara

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.” ~ Clare Boothe Luce

“RUSH HOUR”

Captured at sunrise, in Sisowath Quay

Soaring over Langkawi

Aerial photography by chopper in Langkawi © Jojie Alcantara
Aerial photography by chopper in Langkawi © Jojie Alcantara

“One of those flash epiphanies of travel, the realization that worlds you’d love vibrantly exist outside your ignorance of them. The vitality of many lives you know nothing about. The breeze lifting a blue curtain in a doorway billows just the same whether you are lucky enough to observe it or not. Travel gives such jolts. I could live in this town, so how is it that I’ve never been here before today?” ~ Frances Mayes, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller

View Langkawi in a bigger image here.

I came down with a viral infection as soon as I arrived from Malaysia last week. An exciting frenzied week of traveling by plane, train, bus and ferry has weakened my system into a coughing mess.  I coughed my way all throughout the trip.  I ran out of medicines but have managed to complete the trip without buckling down from exhaustion (you will if you drag around a huge luggage on wheel, a camera bag and a laptop backpack). Continue reading Soaring over Langkawi

San Victor Island

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San Victor Island, Baganga, Davao Oriental ©  Jojie Alcantara
San Victor Island, Baganga, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara

San Victor Island is a 3-hectare hidden gem of Barangay San Victor with powdery white sand beaches, rich in marine’s life and coconut grove, located in Baganga, Davao Oriental.  It is run by a priest and caters to small seminars and quiet retreats. Continue reading San Victor Island