Ten Days Of Silence


Travel

I am sitting cross-legged in a fairly large meditation hall, my knees resting awkwardly on two pillows. I am propped up on two other pillows. Outside, I hear birds and a grass-cutting machine hypnotically whirring its way through. Inside the hall, someone coughs. I hear the person next to me deeply sigh. I bend over, […]

June 17, 2016

Veronika And The Naivety of Cheerleaders


Travel

It was one of those evenings when you travel when you have no plans. I had just finished a tiring day of snorkeling, my first ever. In the port city of Dumaguete, I sit by the promenade. The sun is just about to set, as I listen to music and watch a steady stream of […]

April 11, 2016

Dante And Butterflies


Travel

It’s not often that you meet a man called Dante. Come to think of it, I have never met anyone called Dante. Dante the playwright, yes, through his works. But this Dante, I meet in the beautiful Philippines island of Siquijor. On my way to visit Mt. Bandilaan, I see this little sign that says […]

March 31, 2016

An Escape To Wine


Travel

It’s morning but the heat is already enervating. A dry, barren plain stretches out before me. The air is dry. The landscape almost like a surreal scene from a dystopian flick. The odd patch of green struggling against the aridness. Your car turns the corner, off the Sholapur-Pune highway, onto a rough road, and then […]

March 24, 2016

Finding Faith In Siquijor – Part 3


Travel

I get back on the bike to find Nanay. Outside, the rain has stopped. A few men are out on the street, playing basketball. I stop and ask about directions to Nanay’s house. I get four different directions from four drunk guys. “You need bolo-bolo? “asks the only one who speaks a bit of English. […]

March 18, 2016

Finding Faith In Siquijor – Part 2


Travel

Siquijor has healers of all kinds. Herbolarios like Ann, who you read about in my previous post. Then, there are bolo-bolo healers. There are also the darker mambabarang – the ones who will cast a curse with their potions. But the ones I want to find are the bolo-bolo healers. Bolo-bolo healers use a drinking […]

March 12, 2016

Finding Faith In Siquijor – 1


Travel

The sun is already fierce at 10 in the morning as I make my way through narrow winding roads up the hills on a little Vespa-lookalike motorbike. On my left, in the distance, the turquoise sea stretches away, oblivious to my quest. After an hour, I wipe the sweat from my brow, remove my helmet, […]

March 8, 2016

Meeting Elvie In Pamilacan


Travel

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. Having just come back from organizing and escorting an all-women trip to the quaint, rural hamlet of Banavasi in Karnataka, today was a day for me to just think about all the wonderful women I have been in touch with over the years, and who have been sources of inspiration […]

March 7, 2016

The Year Of The Monkey


Travel

I can’t believe it’s the Year of the Monkey again. That it has been more than a decade since the last Year of the Monkey. Gone through 12 Zodiac signs. All the other animals before reaching the monkey again. It was in 2004 that I first met the monkey. Back then, I was in Lianyungang, […]

February 8, 2016