Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Walking through Manila’s history

June 10th, 2011 No comments

Just when I thought I knew my Filipino history, a remarkable walking tour experience in Vancouver enlightens me on Philippine history and where my love for all things eclectic, comes from.  Toronto’s Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture, in collaboration with Vancouver’s Tulayan (meaning bridge in Tagalog) brought us Carlos Celdran’s famous walking tour, “If These Walls Could Talk.”

Despite the highly charged streets full of Canucks fans honking and hooting, it seemed nothing could detract from our focus on Celdran’s charismatic delivery of anecdotes and historical narrative.  Complete with images of colonial Manila, local architecture as backdrop, and music, the audience was shown Manila’s history through the Spanish and American colonial eras, right through WWII and linking to our present day identity as Filipinos around the world.  While 99% of the audience was of Filipino heritage, it is a cultural experience relevant to anyone interested/willing to understand the role of Manila as the “Pearl of the Orient”, and a community that is shaping Vancouver culture.  As the 3rd largest visible minority group in Vancouver, it is a course on this culture’s history that is long overdue!

Categories: Performing Arts, Travel Tags:

Walking towards mystery

April 30th, 2011 No comments

In late September 2001, I arrived by foot at the beautiful city Santiago de Compostela.  I had walked the Camino with the sole purpose to arrive in 30 days.  It was a mystery what awaited me, and yet, it had not once occurred to me in all the hours of walking, that I might not appreciate what was at the other end of the long expansive trail.  It is now ten years since I’ve walked the Camino and it still remains a very cherished accomplishment.  Simple in method, I walked.  Profound in its result, my heart and soul took flight.

When I think about that time on the Camino, I remember a few lessons I wanted to apply to life beyond the scalloped marked trail:

1)  There is no escaping my humanity. Regardless of how much money, knowledge or status anyone brought with them to the Camino, it would not make any pilgrim immune to blisters (or some other pain) during their way.

2)  My arrival is in my choice to walk each day. Camino pilgrims I met were very helpful.  There were not many young women travelling solo so people often offered to be of assistance on anything from cooking me a meal to translating the world news about 911.  But no one could do the walking for me.  As painful as it was some days, with twice the weight recommended for my body, I was the only one who could put my left foot in front of my right.  My options were clear – walk, or stay still.  Keep walking. Rest!  And repeat…left foot, right foot.

3)  Assumptions and expectations are unnecessary extra weight; let them go! When I first started walking I thought everyone on the Camino would be going the distance to Santiago, but I learned that some walked for a weekend, a week or a month.  Less than a dozen among hundreds of people I met along the way actually planned to walk the full distance between Roncesvalles and Santiago.  And yet, the quality of experience with each person was not diminished or enhanced by the quantity of time we shared together.

4) Learn to speak more languages! At least one more than English! Sadly, I have failed in learning this lesson.  I met so many amazing people from Europe, Australia, South Americas; mostly everyone except North Americans and British spoke more than one language. Here is my pledge…before I am 40,  I WILL learn a new language!  If not, I will walk the Camino again to teach me again, why it is important!

Categories: Down the Rabbit Hole, Learning, Travel Tags:

Whale Shark Swim

April 20th, 2011 1 comment

Each year between June and September, the mighty Whale sharks migrate to the coast of Mexico near Isla Mujeres (north of Cancun), and this June I will venture out into open water to swim with them.  This grand aspiration began in February 2009 when I went on a spiritual journey guided by the wonderful Shaman Healer, Angela Prider, of the Heart Quest Healing Collective in East Vancouver.  With rhythmic drumming and her powerful intuition, she helped to connect me with my Power Animal, a Whale shark.  It was the first I had heard the name and her first bringing one up.  Since then, I have had a thirst to learn as much as I can about Whale sharks.  They are beautiful and mighty, gentle and elusive.  They have no natural predators and they also do not prey on other fish.  It is truly amazing that the largest fish in the ocean lives solely off plankton.  Sadly, humans have evolved to killing them to a state of vulnerability to endangerment; we are their only predator and also their greatest hope to replenishing their population by stopping the harmful fishing and finning practices that are devastating their numbers.

Over the next two months, I’ll be brushing up on my Spanish and swimming in preparation for the trip. I am not a confident swimmer in the pool so I think I’ll need to take lessons to prepare for the open water. Accompanying me will be Kayli, a fellow performing artist from Kuala Lumpur and Viola, an architect from London, England. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll come back to hear more about how the preparation and the trip unfolds. TA!