A Most Interesting Being

Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of the most captivating human beings to have walked on this planet. People who knew the man well, like his wife Mary; his friends Lord Byron, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Edward Trelawny, and many others depicted him as “beautiful.” I am positive they knew what they were talking about.

From my readings of P.B. Shelley’s life, he was highly unorthodox, very much a radical (taking into account he existed in the early 19th century) for he was an atheist, who developed a dislike for the establishment, an advocate of free love, was not in favor of slavery and capital punishment, and a writer who was quite politically involved. Some biographers even claimed he was bisexual.

Didn’t one of his friends make this remark, “I have met men similar to Byron, but never to Shelley.”

I love the brief narration of one of his acquaintances who once stood beside him and thought how puzzling and mesmerizing it was to look at Shelley’s beardless, almost angelic face and found it difficult to fathom how the unconventional poet could somehow be at war with the world.

Undeniably odd, a true talent and a rare individual nonetheless.

He was fascinated by moonlight and candlelight, and fire very soon entered into his rituals as a storyteller, ghost-raiser and alchemist.

— Richard Holmes on Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Shelley: The Pursuit.

He disappears into the woods for hours on end, only returning towards night, talking to himself and in some state of undress.

(one of P.B. Shelley’s favorite activities in his younger days)

Cerebral stimulation was crucial to his regular existence. The guy became more prolific in his poetic writings when he was in the company of fellow intellectuals such as Lord Byron or when in association with John Keats. Same could be said for his aesthetic sense. He’d been so engrossed with his travels in Europe he had to write “Mont Blanc” in honor of Switzerland’s breathtaking scenery.

Lastly, I stand by my conviction Percy Bysshe Shelley contributed heavily to the novel Frankenstein. And that Victor Frankenstein’s essence was unquestionably based on Mary Shelley’s husband. Anybody can arrive at such a deduction if they’re able to get a fair grasp of Shelley’s nature and intellectual dispositions.

Sometimes I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he possess that elevated him so immeasurably above any other person I ever knew. I believe it to be an intuitive discernment, a quick but never-failing power of judgment, a penetration into the causes of things, unequalled for clearness and precision; add to this a facility of expression and a voice whose varied intonations are soul-subduing music.

He is so gentle, yet so wise; his mind is so cultivated, and when he speaks, although his words are culled with the choicest art, yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence.

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has double existence: he may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.

– from the novel Frankenstein

Percy Bysshe Shelley it is.

Life is a River According to Doug

An FB acquaintance who I’ll simply refer to as Doug has linked a blog post on his Newsfeed relating about his current tussles over external forces such as family drama, financial complications and feelings of social isolation — which unexpectedly has triggered sudden suicidal thoughts. Moved by sympathy, I wrote a response:

Thank you for another honest, wonderful blog piece attesting to our difficult struggles whenever life sends us those strong uncontrollable waves. It’s kinda late but I hope to acknowledge your earlier FB post about the mountains beckoning including your resolve to explore their secret places, crutches and all — which I find inspiring. You seem blessed with spiritual faith, inner strength, and the love of your family; may the thoughts that try to break into your spirit wear off soon, Doug. Admittedly, I lack abundance in terms of doctrinal beliefs and kin support, so people around and even I surprise myself at times how I’ve managed to have gotten this far in spite of sustaining heavy personal losses in recent years. They fancy me sort of durable when the truth is I’m a mere chicken who’s afraid to conk out on life  . Also, I had mentioned to my past downhearted co-bloggers the merits of Ginseng and vitamin supplements which helped assist me during a mysterious depression nearly a couple of decades ago. Getting out of the house does wonders, true; rain or shine, I hope to be able to keep on doing it, even if I have to crawl on all fours  .
His Reply: Thanks for your kind thoughts. I believe most people on Facebook who feel that I’m negative assume so because I discuss difficult topics. I try to be uplifting and upbeat, and I believe that I accomplish that. I can’t change my circumstances, but I can change how I deal with them.

I have not found vitamin supplements or ginseng helpful to alleviate my depression disorder, but if they work for you, that’s great to have in your tool kit.

Love your attitude! On all fours, indeed!

I didn’t realize that you blogged. Where? I’d like to check out your writing.

Me: For me, there’s nothing negative about the fact you don’t mind pouring what’s in your heart and mind here every so often. I can only delight over a certain amount of Trump memes and cat photos on FB  . As you’ve said, we all have the means to search for other coping strategies that’ll fit us, if ingesting supplements don’t work for you. The commitment to “show up” and determination to play it out to the end are what truly matter.
Just between you and me, I don’t think I’d want him to drop by this blog and read my soppy stuff and candid disclosures. I thanked him for showing interest to “check out my writing” though and told him to give me time to take down the embarrassing details first before I forward the link  (Both my palms on face) . Of course, it won’t happen ever. I still have some shame left within me. 😀

The Disgraceful Exit of a Princess

This blog will also serve as the official repository of my thoughts on news and certain issues — even though they originally appeared on my FB .

On Carrie Fisher’s Final Toxicology Report:

I won’t deny my disappointment as well upon learning she hadn’t been able to put her drug use behind her — after all those years. Commended for her mental acuity, writing smarts and independent spirit, she most likely possessed the right faculties to combat her addiction or at least stick with an extended, more effective rehabilitation program. Whatever psychiatric affliction she had had could’ve been brought on by her long-term dependence on such illegal narcotics, imo. Her heavy drug use started very early — at the tender age of 13. Previous articles and interviews of her could only point to the fact she behaved like a privileged brat who blamed almost everyone for her circumstances — she even refused to talk to her mother (who had raised her singlehandedly) for 10 years, imagine that.
I live in a country that has lately been seizing worldwide attention because of our leader’s controversial war on drugs. Although I was brought up in a sheltered environment which rendered such illegal stuff too terrifying to welcome as a chunk of my existence, it doesn’t mean I didn’t commiserate over specific cases — I tend to feel some sympathy for pill-poppers who couldn’t easily withdraw from painkillers by reason of their physical ailments. But we’re talking of Carrie here who’d been found with mere recreational substances — cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy — inside her system. 
If ordinary people could find the resources and strength to survive their personal travails, why couldn’t she? How could she have allowed the hungry beast of addiction to devour her life?
Millions of others have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; something that can be managed through certain treatments. It’s my belief such a malady shouldn’t justify nor end up side by side with dope stories.
Carrie Fisher almost had everything yet she threw it all away. How sad.

My Heart Belongs to Donald Trump

It’s improbable I’d have this much enthusiasm for a U.S. presidential contest ever again. Oh stop clapping. But really, it’s been a wild ride — and still, I am glad to have aligned with the most extraordinary candidate to have run for the highest office. 
His disinclination toward political correctness was what brought me in, not to mention his strong objection to illegal immigration. His fighting spirit is beyond compare plus the man’s punishing campaign schedules are clear display of excellent work ethics.
Sure I have squirmed more than twice during the sixteen-month course by dint of his unpresidential remarks and style; and when he went for the jugular in jarringly swatting down his GOP rivals one by one.
He’s right, however, on several matters. The planet’s most glorious country is indeed infested by corrupt systems and officials. The government has long been failing and burdening the middle class. Incompetence has prevailed in many executive levels of the administration.
The point of issue is to bring back the nation’s lost grandeur. I’ve been told by my co-bloggers from different lands that nothing and no one will be able to save America now or in the future. Who knows? Maybe Trump can, if given the chance.

Unfortunately, there’s one or two slices of the American citizenry pie Donald Trump could not penetrate. What a bummer if Hillary wins. Even to the eyes of outsiders like us, America no longer holds the same stature that it reveled in twenty years ago. And now it’s even going to be run by a felon? What a joke.
And what a waste. The Dem nominee’s loss could be an opportunity to flip the middle finger at the controlling media and airhead celebrities who should’ve stuck to their real tasks instead of indulging in political swaying and partisanship.

Obama contended Hillary is the candidate qualified for the job of the president. But is such an endorsement well-grounded when it’s coming from somebody with one of the most unimpressive performances as the U.S. topmost leader?

I’ve been aware Trump’s chances of winning are slimmer because he may end up lacking in the solidarity of both the African Americans and Hispanic voters. Not to mention he made the mistake of waging a war against the media which resulted in the most vicious character assassination of a presidential candidate ever. Most Americans have been used to bland political personalities whose facades have been either protected or polished by their press campaigns; they aren’t ready for an unconventional live wire that’s Donald Trump. These factors leading to his loss I may be able to understand after the elections.

Now what I may never be able to comprehend is Hillary’s takeover of what I’ve always regarded as the most powerful and esteemed nation of them all. Strong evidences lead to the veracity she committed malfeasance while in public office. That makes her liable (to be tried in court) — so technically, she stands as a criminal. And criminals aren’t supposed to rule the world.

Whatever, Donald Trump’s victory is the only early Christmas gift I could wish for this year. The enchantingly feisty candidate I find the most likable, authentic, and believable — warts and all. I’m so glad and proud to have stuck with the man.


‘Coz We’ve Become Desperate For Change

John Oliver, I can understand your need to spice up your monologue on your talk show. But seriously, you can’t be that clueless. Why don’t you come over to the Philippines and have a look and experience how things really are around here? Foreign press is quick to attack politicians in our land who aren’t of the same mold as their ideal traditional ones. Maybe they don’t get that crime and instability have remained as impediments to our progress for the longest time, and the divide between the rich and the poor has always been large and abominable.

With it the probable burgeoning of another dictatorship and the cropping up of death squads in wiping out the very dregs of our society, you mention? Listen, we’re willing to take the risk. Honestly. As to the front-runner’s jokes and remarks the western media find highly offensive, they’re inconsequential compared to our hunger for change we’ve no problem letting go of them.

I’m still of the opinion the Philippines is beyond salvation. Yet our desperation for something different in the government or for a sincere public servant to bring forth hope is currently supplying us with this much perception.

In concurrence with the millions of filipinos who picked a (hopefully) fresh type of leadership last Monday, I’m pleased with the landslide victory of our country’s soon-to-be Chief Executive. Congratulations to my new president Rodrigo Duterte.

Rooting For A Fellow Filipino — Boxing Great Manny Pacquiao

In the field of sports or entertainment, no one has put our country on the map other than our greatest Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao. This Sunday (May 2), Philippine time, he’ll be facing Numero Uno Heavyweight champion, Floyd Mayweather.

I’ve never liked boxing. It’s appalling for me to watch two people punching each other like crazy until both of them get blood on their faces (Ouch Ouch); Both ending up like black and blue marshmallows, both unceasing in their goal to get horrible brain damage, oh I mean, earn a coveted title.


No way could I feel ecstatic that my country is internationally famous for this vicious sport.  Yet what can I do? That Filipino men excel at boxing perplexes me – despite us being shorter and probably lacking in strategic ability compared to our taller and more tactical contenders of different race.

But for once, I’d like to see a fellow countryman seize the globe’s highest spot in a field of sport. I can’t watch the bout on Sunday morning here. It’s an event I don’t have the spunk to witness. It’ll be heart-rending to see The Filipino Champ’s face get transfigured (to its worst), his energy dropping after each round in the live battle, while giving everything that he’s got. All for the title, the glory, the honor he pledged to bring to our nation.

I really do hope our man wins.

So I say, Go Manny Go!

A Kiss That Travels Far

You see things

way too far

sentiments that defy

journeys of the mind

wandering off the margins

of  your realm.

The same way you indulge

in reflections

with blazing ardor.


What you may not know

is how your words bring me

to a place

I could bear to stay.

to a world where time

motions its hand

to a remotest space,

where a softening

of my dauntless mettle

rests in grace.


Some things in my heart

the mannered mind

won’t dare utter,

such as an affection

better not identified,

an endearment better – 

and forever left unsaid.

-marj 2014


Education In Its Essence

For factors heavily driven by market forces rather than by true callings, the three most popular college courses young people have swarmed into in the last decade here are nursing, computer science and criminology. It backfired though when a surfeit of nurses and security personnel/watchmen emerged as a consequence after their supply overlapped the demand for them. Same can be said for the manpower resources in the business outsourcing industry. We are in a stage of societal evolution where everything is measured in market values. What then will become of education when all things monetary eclipse the urge for deeper learning and culture-enhancement?

My son is entering his fifth and last year in his engineering studies, majoring in a field of his own choosing. I originally had wanted Music to become his lifelong career because he exhibited some talent in playing the piano and the guitar in his earlier years. But (unfortunately for me) it was not meant to be. He had already made his choice then and was adamant about it even before I had the chance to convince him to make a go in the field of Arts. With a heavy heart, I bent to his wish. Nonetheless, I’ve always carried this belief that Science and Math are the tools for living while Music and the Arts are the reasons for living.

As this week marks the opening of another school year in our nation where education is considered a federal priority, I find myself rapt in thought, ruminating on a few educational philosophies of life. There are questions that have fermented in my consciousness for the past several days.

Is there an assurance that my son will go the right path and never lose his way? He’s naturally God-fearing that goes side by side with his having an academic nature. I am thankful for that. But what guarantee do I have that he won’t get sidetracked in the long run?

So when is a person deemed to be truly educated? I guess my simple mind can only allow me concise and upfront answers to these issues. Is it enough that a well-refined mind be able to recite verses from Shakespeare’s tales? Have a deep appreciation for classical symphonies and concertos? Aim for and achieve success through accumulation of liquid wealth, medals, stuff and sundry representation of riches?

Sometimes high literacy also tends to give a false illusion that we are in an elite league of our own. Members of society that have become so out of touch by the way.

Does having an MBA or PHD in an area of specialization, for example, give one a license to be highly discriminating and spit out arcane rhetoric with accompanying judgment without basis or proof? Thereby cementing the conviction about his or her perception being flawless, never susceptible to distortion? Is there nary a room now for misconceptions? Scholarly hubris often blinds someone to the realities of his or her surroundings I guess. If education is supposed to sharpen one’s awareness and intellect, how come many of us get clueless as to what is real and what is not? This is kind of distressing.

You can be anything you want to with the right amount of education. Therein lounges (a little?) some danger. The mind can be such a powerful tool. Knowledge has the ability to twist the truth and even concoct something invisible to our naked eyes. We have to be reminded history has produced a multitude of malefactors despite the high level of intelligence and incredible credentials they possess out of their advanced schooling. Having exceptional intelligence and being well-schooled doesn’t make one resistant to temptations and incapable of violating codes of conduct or committing acts of transgression.  Technology, the end result of all those knowledge explosion, ironically gets to be an accessory in the process.

Education makes a whole lot of difference. That is an incontestable fact. Moral education then should therefore be considered a national priority to help create conscientious, civic-minded and responsible citizens. I’ve never been a deeply religious person and yet I’ve begun to discern the importance of religion and education working hand in hand in character building and the overall progress of a nation. Much as serious problems have consistently hounded our educational system, it may be fundamental after all for Church-run or other religion-run schools to keep a dominant presence in our society so that they may be able to help in molding our young citizens into becoming better human beings.

Solitude On My Own Terms

Warm on the heels of famous women and their recent breakdowns, Demi  and Heather were the “It” girls of my generation who were both destined to become eternally cute and popular. Having been casualties of humiliating divorces, they’re also now both enduring the ruthless passage of time. Recently pegged as poor little rich women who’ve somehow lost their way, many have slammed them for being spoiled by their wealth and fame that they couldn’t deal with their current mid-life crisis like the rest of us.

How good can people get sometimes at creating a smokescreen that obscures their true feelings and plights?

The inclination of these hapless celebrities to succumb to drugs and alcohol has puzzled me for too long. What really drives them to give in to such pernicious temptations? Has their pain become unbearable, resulting to their inevitable free fall into the abyss that culminated in their self-destruction?

I’m in no position to cast stones at anyone this time as I have a gentle understanding of what these people have gone through. Melodramatic as it may sound, I too know what real pain feels like. The sickening ache that I’m sure can overwhelm even the strongest of hearts. How many times have I skirted on the very edges of despair when this soul of mine felt like crying out loud in the rain?

More than I’m willing to admit, I guess.

I don’t remember ever inviting drama into my life and yet it has come like a cat that has sprung unbidden onto my lap. Then there had been moments when certain kinds of melancholy or some sense of emptiness would creep in like a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, and the only sensible way out was for me to relearn how to sail through the rough seas.

Growing up and even now that I’m an adult, I’ve always felt like an outcast. Exactly much the same as the eternal wallflower that prides itself on contemplating the paradigms of its existence, while possessing a pleasant awareness of an alternative route to an imagined realm at liberty from all things mundane.

Music, movies, literature, art, nature… They’re the outlines that characterize the wonderful breadth of my solitary world. The best friends I’ve had for so long. Even the stark beauty I find in the heart of loneliness has not shown any signs of fading.

Alone with my thoughts, I could conjure up happiness every now and then, muse on some lonesome episodes from my past, and in all its glory bring back the dead and gone..

Worlds might have come crashing down and prayers remained unanswered. I, who have gone off the deep end in certain unrelenting personal winters of my life, am still determined to tough it out.

As we’ve no choice but to soldier on.

I remember how my father, who had sensed my predicaments in his earlier ailing years, had told me these exact words with a smile, “Even if I want to, I can’t get too worried about you. You’re the true-blooded daughter of mine who can easily discern the correct path and decide on the right thing to do. You’ve always been strong.”

Oh dear father… if you only knew…