Monday, January 30, 2006

Attemptfull Sophistication

First and most important I want to wish a very very very HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to my little sister, Tricia. I love you and I am so proud of you and the person you have become!

I just spent a week in Dumagettee for a seminar on project writing and grant proposals. I have no current intention of applying for grants. The seminar, put on by Peace Corps, included working 3.5 days with our counterpart from our site. I found this aspect to be very rewarding. I would assume even more so for my counterpart. My counterpart tends to be very busy (not the norm for PC counterparts) so spending a full 3 days talking about projects, the proper way to introduce them, implement them, and follow them up proved to be very beneficial. I learned some new stuff too.

On my way home from Dumagettee, Negros Island, (about a 6 hour bus and a 1.5 hour boat) I decided to stop for the weekend in Iloilo city and enjoy yet another festival. This one being Dinagyan. I do have some pics from it that I hope to post another time, but I defiantly took fewer pictures this time around. I was there with a bunch of Pinoy friends and I wasn't so much in the mood for pictures. I will say that Dinagyan included many more people, with Iloilo being a larger city. But Ati Atian was more fun in terms of dancing and crowd interaction. With a crazy Friday and Saturday night at the bars I came home on Sunday very worn down, but still oddly restless. I started going through some papers and what not and realized I had been writing more then I realized since I arrived in the Philippines. At my seminar this previous week I wrote some random stuff, mostly poems. Well I’ve decided to post a couple here. Well see what the responses to them are. This may be the only time you get to read them, perhaps I'll put some more up. Depends on if I write better or worse than a Vogon*, It is, as my title to this blog states, my attemptfull sophistication.

That and I can't draw, so when I get bored I doodle poems instead of pictures.


Fuse them. Confuse them.
Tactful trickery
talks the walk
walk the talk?
Oh hell thee
audience is
health-y. Won

to win them
but how and
You have the merit
down the credentials
of knew.


Has the walk taken


We simply stood.
Thoughts tearing
Away at what?
away at us?
Away at tears
at THEIR tears
Grasping at the next
not holding the last
in tranquil transition lingering
lost. Plausible
tranquil and torn?
Perhaps perhaps
simply miss

Well I hope that wasn't too bad on you, or mabey you just skipped it and came right to this paragraph. Eitherway i'll keep the poems limited and put some more pictures up soon. My friend Tin Tin from England, who most of you know, will be coming to visit me for a couple weeks in Febuary. I'm takeing 2 weeks vaction to "escort" him around the Philippines and see how much trouble the two of us can stay out of. I'm sure well have some good pictures from that.

*Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain. The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison. --(Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ati Atihan!

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Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom!

That’s how is started, the next thing I know it was 2 days later, and I had danced a lot, seen a festival of the likes I had never experienced before in my life, and had a fabulous time.

Legend has it that over 800 years ago Malaysians, from what is now Borneo, came on boats to the Island of Panay (the island I live on) to find a new place to live. Of those that came, their were10 tribes. They had a meeting with, the then currant inhabitants of Panay, the Ati. What happened next was the “Barter of Panay.” The Ati agreed to leave most of the island to the Malaysians and head to the mountains, for no more than a golden hat and necklace for the tribal chief. Before they left they had a celebration of epic proportions.

That is what Ati Atihan celebrates. There are tribal competitions, with dancing and drums. And I mean DRUMS, all day and all night, DRUMS DRUMS DRUMS. You can’t help but feel the rhythm inside you. There are other festivals in the area that celebrate the same thing, but Ati Atihan is unique. Firstly it is the original, second the others you just watch, at Ati Ati, you participate. You sat sat. You Dance around behind a band of drummers all through the city and square with thousands of other people just grooving to the drums. It’s like a nine hundred year old traditional rave. It is fun.

The whole celebration lasts a week, yet the biggest days are the last 3. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I went for Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning. Next year I go all week. Being there is like mixing State Street in Madison on Halloween, with Mardi Gra, with a rave. There are costumes of all sorts, crazy people, beautiful people, drunk people, happy people, and on and on and on.

It was a people watching paradise, I hope you’ll agree………… Image hosted by

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And lastly my friend Eric, groving with two Baklas (dragqueens).....hehehe
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Its My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want to.......

Excuse my french, but hell yea I'll cry if I want to. I'm 25 years old damn it! I can't believe I have been alive a quarter of a century. Its a shocker, as all of you know from your own experiances with birthdays, I don't feel 25. How am I in my mid twentys?......I can't even spell.

Well Its becoming a trend, of my last 5 birthdays I have been out of the country for 4 of them. And I don't forsee it being much differant for the next 2. That means when I turn 27, 6 of my last 7 birthdays will have been oversees. I can deal with that, mabey its keeping my least thats what I hope.

So birthdays in the Philippines. I'll start with saying I had a blast, BUT......Western Style birthdays definatly have there advantages. The tradition here is when its your birthday, you pay for everything. This sucks. My officemates expect food, either lunch or snack. My barcada (friends) expect booze, either whiskey or beer. My host families expect dinner. Starting alive and ending up dead. On and On. It was an expensive weekend. Good thing I won 1,500 pesos at the cockfights that friday.....must have been a lucky birthday weekend thing. There is nothing like celebrating another year of my life by watching chickens kill eachother. Oh we'll get to more killing here in a seccond.

So for my officesmates I took the ones I hangout with most to a local resterant for lunch. It was good. But the real fun started after lunch when I went home to prepare for my berkada, and other friends in Damilisan (my barangay). I had bought 3 chickens and a friend in the barangay gave me a turkey (most filipinos don't like turkey). Oh all of them were alive by the way. You don't go to the corner supermarket and by a dressed chcken here. Well in the city you could, but why would you do that, its not fresh?....Anyways, we killed em, and chopped two up for adobo. Adoba is a local dish here that is really good, its a unique sauce with chopped up chicken or pork. The other chicken and the turkey we lechoned. Look below to see what Lechon is. I'll tell you its good.
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Yep, less then 4 hours ago, they were running around outside my house.
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I cooked up some other stuff to, and we drank some beer and a bit of good whiskey. All and all a good time. Below is inside my "kitchen area" and the next picute is right outside my door.
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Oh, this is Sy Sy. Her dad is the brother of my landlords wife. She is another shinning example of cute filipino children. She loves my hammock, even if unproperly used. She chilled there most of the night of my birthday, getting up occasionally for soda or to grab some more chicken or turkey.
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So my birthday wish?........That the Bears win this sunday and than win two more games after that. Thats my wish. Its not so much of a wish, cause its so plausable....but it is what i'm choosing to use my birthday luck for regardless. I just hope I didn't wear it out with Liverpool having to pull one of your there arses in the FA Cup.

Hope you all are bringing in the first weeks of the new year in great fashion! Miss ya all!

Playa, Bay Bay, Beach

Spanish, Illonggo, English. Upon my arrival home from New Years in Boracay (just google it) I started playing around with my new camera. I started taking all sorts of shots. Most weren't turning out, but that is due to my own inexperiance with photography and not a shortcoming of my camera. I am slowly starting to figure it out. I've shunned the "scene" settings and I'm forcing myself to learn what situations call for what exposers, apature, iso, ect.

So I figured what better place to go play around with my new toy than my beach. Well not my beach, but it may as well be. I'm there enough. So I bought a nalgene bottle full of Tuba, I have recently had a liking for tuba (the coconut wine that comes from coconut trees, just tap the tree and out comes alcohol), and sat to take pictures. These are some of the ones that turned out okay. I hope to keep getting better ones as time goes on.

This is the traditional Filipino boat, it is called a Banca boat. When I first arrived to the Philippines I was convinced I would purchase one once I got to site, maby even outrig it with a small sail. Yet I choose not to. Mostly becausue I don't need to buy one. I"m friends with a lot of the fisherman in my barangay and I can use thier bancas whenever I would like. Its fun to take them out paddling, or to a fish pen and just go swimming.
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You may recognize these two from some other pictures I have taken. They hang around my house a lot, specially on the weekends when I am there. If you look at the top right of the picture in the water, that is a fishpen. The pop up all over in the ocean around December. There was one before December I could see from my beach and now there are six. They are anywhere from 50 meters to mabey 150 meters from the beach. Men go out and use nets to collect whats in them early in the morning, around 4 am, and in the evening around 7 or 8.
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While the men are collecting fish the kids normally swim and play on the beach. Women will either be in the house preparing dinner or on the beach brushing up piles of leaves and burning them, it keeps the beach clean looking but its mostly to keep the mosquitos down.
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I think I took about 20 pictures of this sunset. 3 or 4 turned out really good. I ultimitly choose this one cause it was the only one I took that was vertical instead of horozontal and I liked the capture of the clouds. I don't think I have posted a picture of the sunset from where I live, but this is it, almost every night. I'm sure you will all see more pictures of that scene in the next 18 months.
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Wait....thats not the beach, but his little doggy hat is cute.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

What a Christmas Eve Dinner!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years! My Christmas was spent with various host families, with lots and lots of good food. As you will see below. New Years was a blast on Boracay, and I got my new camera as well. These are the last pictures you will see from my old one. In the next week or two i'll get pictures up from my new one. I've been going crazy the past couple days taking pictures, I really like the camera I ended up choosing.

So Christmas day was spent in Damilisan, my barangay. My Peace Corps friend, Shawn, happened to be traveling through Iloilo so he stopped at my place for Christmas day. My Landlords family spent the day before shopping for the much food. Yet my favorite was the 2 items below, the giant prawns and fresh crabs. We spent the morning washing and cleaning them, and started cooking around 3 or 4. The crabs where good, but the prawns were AMAZING. We also had pork, chicken, a specialtiy in the area called cajuice, made with local beans, kinylaw (Filipino style sushi), and lots more....but dont forget the rice too!

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Yea these were big prawns......and colorful too. (Above and Below)
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Jesus (Above) and Jo Jo (Below) got the crabs ready, most of them had their claws wrapped up but a couple got to Jesus later, it was funny.

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The next day I ate at my friends house in the town, he had a whole roasted pig. I think over the course of the week following that day I was at three other "occasions" with Lechon (Roasted Pig). It is definatly the same here as in the States when it comes the the holiday foods being in abundance.

This Blogg is a brief one, I am really looking forward to getting some pics up from my new camera and I'll write more then. Today I'm in the city, I just got done with a meeting at the Provincial Government and now i'm off to my Language Lesson. I hired a tutor to help me once a week. Its my version of a New Years resolution, but not really. I made a resolution 5 years ago to not make New Years resolutions......