Thursday, March 23, 2023

Handwritten: Louise Glück's "Vespers"

Louise Gluck - Vespers


Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Here's I Went out Walking by Grace Paley, page 56, in her collection, Fidelity. Bought this book at National Bookstore in Mandaluyong for Php 200!

Grace Paley poem

I envy Ms. Paley here. The only walks I take these days are along the hospital corridors. The mountains I climb are flights of stairs to take me to the fourth floor.


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Death of plans and expectations

Stacie Schmidt on the Pharisees' plot to kill Jesus after He raised Lazarus back to life: 

When confronted with Jesus, we all find ourselves in that place where we understand that Jesus’ power and call to believe means the death of our plans and expectations. 


Saturday, March 4, 2023


I'm on the lookout for good places to eat, so I know where to bring my friends whenever they come visit. I wrote previously that deciding to where to eat—or meet—is a perpetual dilemma. Compiling a list of restaurants and establishments in Marbel, Gensan and South Cotabato that serve anything that can be eaten would probably make these decisions easier. 

So here's the first restaurant I've tried: Juego, on the way to Agan Homes in Koronadal.

My cousin Hannah told me about an good place that serves good chicken wings. It's a walkable distance from the house. She said, "You won't notice it. It's on the second floor, like a hole-in-a-wall thing." I learned that it's a hip place to go to. There's a live band that plays music until late at night. 

We tried it out for early dinner.  I was with my brother and cousins, Hannah and Alyza. To discover new and exciting places, one must seek the wisdom of youth.

It still comes as a surprise that this area used to be rice fields. Tricycle drivers charged double whenever we visited classmates who lived here. The passengers were few and in between. After a short stretch of paved road followed a longer dirt road. 

As we turned from Judge Alba Street to enter the road that leads to Agan Homes, Manong said, "It's like Maginhawa," referring to our gentrified neighborhood in Quezon City that used to be almost exclusively residential but has now become a restaurant hub. In a way, this area feels like that: infused with energy and bright lights and joie de vivre. There are many vehicles that pass by. New places have been put up and seem to be enjoying good business. 

To Agan

But we found Juego. It's hard to locate if you're not local to Marbel, but the people here are always smiling and will point you to the right direction if you ask nicely. 


We arrived at 7 PM-ish, just as the place was coming to life and the live band was setting up. Juego opens at 4 PM. It's probably the best time to eat there if you hate crowds, but it might still be too hot. There's no air-conditioning. At night, the cool air is refreshing. The open air vibe adds charm to the place. 

Happy staff - Juego

The pork sisig was delicious. 

Sisig - Juego

The chicken wings were great, probably the best ones I've tasted in the region. Crispy on the outside, but tender and moist on the inside. We had the hot wings. The sauce was spicy, but just the right kind.

Wings - Juego

We also had the garlic chicken wings. We had them with rice—as you should, given the explosion of flavor—which completed the combo.

Garlic chicken wings - Juego

I came back last night and ordered the same things. There was a good crowd of families and friends and schoolmates and officemates. The band was playing beautiful contemporary music whose lyrics I didn't know.


Friday, March 3, 2023



The internet, for all its evils and flaws, can be a wonderful place to discover things. Reading Biola University's The Lent Project devotionals, I click a link that takes me to Jayne English's Substack and find an essay on silence

She begins this way.

I hear it first thing in the morning. Though it's not really silence. There's the whir of the fan, the slowly ticking clock. It's not so much the absence of sound that defines silence, but a moment when the second hand slows the spinning Earth and creates an expansiveness of time. Not just on the borderlands of waking and sleeping, we cross the threshold into this broad space more often than we realize. Usually artists take us there.

She offers the reader a poem by Suzanne Cleary, Elm Street, which will go down as one of my favorites. You see, I've been reading more poetry now, usually in the mornings before I go to work. Poems force us to slow down. Poems demand silence, contemplation, and time—what our souls and bodies need, I believe, in this fast-paced world. Elm Street is "the story of a man sitting on the porch with his guitar, not playing, but getting ready to play. The whole street is in a state of suspended animation before the first strings are strummed." Here's an excerpt.

I am so happy to see the man who lives in the house on the corner

sit on the porch with a guitar on his knee, one arm draped

loosely, as if he patiently scans a vast repertoire, choosing

which song to play, or as if he has stopped mid-song

to tighten a string, then decided to listen to Elm Street

and compose a new song, notes his fingers will find and follow,

for Elm Street is a steep hill that draws skateboarders like a magnet,

that makes drivers roll down the truck window and stick an elbow out.