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The Price We Pay For Love September 1, 2017

Posted by Janjan in Uncategorized.
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When all is said and done, Grief is the price we pay for Love,” writes my friend Nats using an elegant fountain pen.

I guess this sums up what’s been weighing down on my thoughts these past few weeks. A good number of my friends, myself included, find ourselves searching for lovers to fill the empty parts of ourselves. The holes in our hearts aching for tenderness, passion, and an honest intimacy to be found in someone we love, who loves us in return.

But our experiences and past relationships either left us with resentment, betrayal, and a wariness for the pain lent by vulnerability to a lover’s cruel blow.

And yet we hold faith that somewhere out there, there is someone who would hold the broken parts of ourselves in their hands and find somehow the impetus to revere and honor both the magnificent and the broken lying in their fingers.

That we ourselves would find the strength to be this kind of love for another.

I think about that also in the intimate friendships I’ve lost. In the trust broken and the respect forgone. In the love that cannot be seen past the cruel things we say, and the things we should have done.

But never did.

It’s been months of coming to terms with the brokenness and putting ourselves back with piano string and gum.

It’s easy to say that the love we seek is within ourselves and lies not with another.

But it cannot be denied that sometimes, we just want to be held, in a manner that says that the other cares. That there is a space held in the heart for fondness to grow.

In the broken places, we hold hope to find a love that is worth the grief of loving.

There is a bravery in that. A courage in the willingness to give it one more try.


Kian Loyd delos Santos August 18, 2017

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It’s hard for me to imagine being 17 years old and pleading for your life. Harder still to imagine that the people you are begging from are the ones who are supposed to be protecting it.

But on Wednesday this week, Caloocan police placed a gun in a boy’s hands and heard him crying. I imagine myself being 17 years old feeling scared for my life. Being so helpless and vulnerable, and accused of a crime I didn’t commit. Crying hot tears.

I’d think about whether I would ever see my family again. The pain in my mother’s heart. I’d think about the things I will never live long enough to see. High school graduation. True love’s first kiss.

I think about these men in front of me, these strangers who hold power over my life and death. Would they listen to my helpless cry?

I think about God and I wonder if He would save my worthless life.

I think about the look of indifference in the policemen’s eyes as they cock a gun against my head and pull the trigger.

Is death painful? Does it come sudden? Or does my life play in slow cadence before my eyes, as the light dies and darkness comes to extinguish my flame.

And I’m myself again, a 39 year old lawyer. I bury my head in my hands and cry for the innocent; at how senseless and meaningless Kian Loyd’s death came for him.

He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. His life meant nothing. His death stands for even less.

And I cry, because that could have been me at 17.

I cry because no one could stop it. Not the President nor the 16-million who voted for him. Not the rest who can only keep quiet in impotent anger.

Not the policemen tasked to protect Kian Loyd’s life.

And certainly not Kian Loyd who now has no more words to say. It has been done.

I cry for despite all my tears, not a single drop will bring this child back. He died cold, scared, helpless and alone.

Comfort Zones August 14, 2017

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Despite having an airconditioner at home, I always sleep with an electric fan set at the lowest speed. These balmy August nights, I sleep with my pajamas on, and sometimes if it’s particularly rainy outside, with a blanket. You could say warmth is my comfort zone. I fare better in hot temperatures than I do with the cold.

I turn the AC on whenever my best friend from Bukidnon comes on over, however. It’s usually set at the coldest temperature. But even that makes my friend sweat. He sleeps with only boxers on. You could say that cold is his comfort zone.

I think about the peculiarity of the human body. Underneath, we all have the same set of organs, the same cells, the same fundamental DNA. And yet, what I would consider too cold, my friend would consider too hot.

You’d think that by now, the human species would have evolved an adaptable sense of comfort level for temperature, that, no matter where you’re placed, the temperature is always just right.

But we don’t. Our bodies will always seek the temperatures set at the levels closest to our hearts:

At those which remind us of home.

The Vibe and Feel of the Corner July 31, 2017

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I was walking past a coffeeshop near my house today, en route to Bo’s Coffee in Baseline. I was sad to see that it was closing down and transferring elsewhere.

I thought about why I rarely had coffee there. The shop was much closer to my house. Their grounds were okay and their prices much cheaper to Bo’s. I had better chances of getting a good seat there as it was less crowded.

But I still prefer the Bo’s at Baseline. It appeared I wasn’t the only one. Despite the other coffeeshop being highly visible at a busy intersection, Bo’s received more patronage.

Why is that? Business-wise, it made no sense.

It’s been said that the other coffeeshop’s location is jinxed, however. Businesses that open there rarely thrive for long.

The feng shui is supposedly good and yet the place doesn’t get a lot of customers.

I theorize that it’s “vibe” has something to do with it. There’s a heavy feel to the shop. One doesn’t feel like staying there for long because it doesn’t feel welcoming. The lights were too dim, even during the day.

One would theorize that something resides which draws away the positivity in the area.

Well at least that is my suspicion.

To Be Fair July 29, 2017

Posted by Janjan in Daily Musings.
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I am on an Oracle Journey for a period of 52 days while I acquaint and befriend a new oracle deck I’ve purchased: The Wisdom of the Oracle. Today is my third day.

I draw card #38: To Be Fair.

The card speaks of balance. I am reminded of the Hermetic Law of Polarity, and how I, as an Awakened Being, must walk on the Middle Path. I must practice compassion, non-judgment, and equanimity, accepting all that is for all that it is and is not.

I’ve been striving to remain neutral and non-judgmental in these times, specifically with respect to politics. But some days are harder than others. Violations abound and incredulity becomes the norm. How does one speak out for what is right, and at the same time, practice peace and serenity?

And to be fair, the card could also remind us to see things at another’s point of view.

The Joy of the Present Moment July 28, 2017

Posted by Janjan in Daily Musings.
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I just want to share the beautiful words of my friend Maritess Holsapple, who brilliantly connected the joy of being at the moment with satisfaction and happiness for others, no matter where they are in the moment of life.  (Original text is by Maritess but translation to English and editing are mine)

Just an observation:  Why is it that most people are rarely happy for others?

If you’re single, they ask, “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend already?”
If you’re in a relationship, they ask, “When are you getting married?”
If you’re married, they ask, “When are you having kids?”
When you have kids, they ask, “Add more so that he/she’ll have someone to play with”
When you have many kids or as you grow older, they ask, “Do you have any grandkids?”

If you notice, each stage has a reason to be happy and cherished, but people skip sharing in the joy of the present moment of another’s life, by quickly pointing out what the other person lacks, and hurrying the other person on to what they think should be the next stage.

Life is never a race. Rest assured, it passes by swiftly.

Pushing people off their happy moment is just pointless and shows an inner sadness in the one hurrying others on.

Shufflemancy July 27, 2017

Posted by Janjan in Daily Musings.
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Few people know that I’ve taken up divination as an interest. Divination is the means of securing information through non-rational means. My method uses tarot cards and Oracle decks to read situations, people, and thoughts which people hide from themselves.

While non-rational (in the sense that the means used to gather information is not directly causal or connected to the information sought), there is however some scientific basis for the method. Carl Jung, the pre-eminent psychologist who developed theories on personality, the states of consciousness and archetypes, posits that all of humanity is connected through a collective unconscious which is the source of our common symbols, mythologies and stories which is the language used to convey the wisdom that our race has collected over the ages.

Hence cards are merely one means for divining meaning. Interestingly, modern times have crafted a new technique called Shufflemancy.

Simply stated, shufflemancy is divination which employs electronic music players. You can use your iPod, your Zune player, even the WinAmp program on your desktop. What’s important is that these music players have an extensive collection of songs and a random play function.

The method works like this: Let’s presume you’re using your phone’s music player. Open your music app but don’t play any music yet. Still your mind and open your thoughts to answers from the Universe. Then ask a question.

In my case, I asked last night whether a close friend who is angry with me will ever speak to me again. Then I pressed the random play button on my iPhone music app.

Two songs came one after the other: “Careless Whisper” by George Michael – Life could never mend / the careless whisper of a good friend…

Then afterwards, “Boys Don’t Cry” by the Cure – I would get down on one knee and beg forgiveness plead with you / But I know it’s now too late, there’s nothing more that I can do..

And that’s really all too it. You just use your intuition to determine the Universe’s answer to your question. You don’t need any fancy tarot cards, or read tea leaves from the bottom of a cup.

All you need is an open mind and a discerning gut feeling. Try it and see if it works for you.

The Chronicles of Janjan July 26, 2017

Posted by Janjan in Daily Musings.
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I’m dusting off the cobwebs from this blog and committing to a more frequent and regular posting.  One of my best buds was telling me about how he was taking up writing to have a better sense of himself and his “branding” as a photographer.

I thought about that.  Mind you, I write frequently.  Not just in my work as a lawyer but personally, I keep various journals.  I used to have only one but now that my interests have diversified, I keep multiple notebooks to track down my thoughts on various topics.  There’s my personal journal, where I write about the things which happen to me, Jan Ralph Perez, as a person.  Here is where I transcribe things too personal to share to others, or where I process heavy thoughts that need thinking through.

And then there’s my dream journal.  I keep one by my side to write down the dreams which occur to me at night.  I’m what some call a dreamwalker.  My dreams are vivid and fraught with meaning.  Some times, they are also prophetic, or I am used as a vessel to deliver messages to certain people.  There are times where I suspect I have travelled in astral planes to visit other realms.

Then there are my journey notebooks.  These are notebooks which I use to write down my impressions on new Oracle decks that I am acquainting myself with.

Also, there are the various sketchbooks I have lying around with doodles, paintings and drawings from my travels here and there.  I am good at starting these, but lousy at completing them.

Then there are the notebooks I keep in my day-to-day bags, where I write down notes, checklists, and whatever catches my fancy.

There is a notebook for each mask I wear.  One for the inner voice within, another for the shaman-mystic, one for the artist, and another for the lawyer.  A compartmentalization divided by cardboard and paper.

Ah but if you could only read what stories they tell.

The Shadow in the Room November 8, 2016

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For the past few years, the eighth of November seems to be, to the Philippines, what the eleventh of September is to the Americans.  It is a day that portends tragedy and mourning.  In the year 2013, it was the day when Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan struck the country and created the largest catastrophe in human history.

In the year 2016, the Supreme Court ruled, allowing the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (the country’s national Graveyard of Heroes, for those who have died defending the country).

There is no way to lessen the pain Filipinos now collectively feel, regardless of where you stand on this issue.  For those of us who fought the good fight during EDSA and the toppling of Martial Law, this is a slap on our faces… a proverbial salt rubbed on one’s wounds.  We had loved ones that were arrested, tortured, and murdered by the Marcos government during the Martial Law days.  The Supreme Court’s act is a betrayal to those sacrifice of lives.

For those who believe in Ferdinand Marcos’ heroism and martyrdom, I cannot believe that they will callously rejoice in the victory of their cause.  At some level, perhaps in the sub-conscious, they will feel the pain and trauma of the ever deepening divide among their brother and sister Filipinos.

I am not here to cast judgment, or at least, not anymore.

What’s done is done.

In the last few years, I have been subjected to a series of crises both personal and national, and it has made me turn more inward… to that which views each moment as a spiritual awakening.  So let’s strip away any political color in this event, and see this with the lens of spirituality.

Fact:  Martial Law was a reality.  So many died at the hands of the Marcos government.  So much of our national economy was plundered and used to enrich the coffers of the Marcos family.

Fact:  The Supreme Court has ruled that there is no legal impediment to the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

These are both wounds.  Wounds that will never heal.  It is like a bone broken twice that can be set and mended, but it will never be the same.  It is like getting over from the heartbreak of being rejected by the only person that you have ever truly loved.

You never get over the pain.  You just learn to walk away wounded.

With so many calls for forgiveness and healing, I keep thinking now… what if these are wounds that are not meant to heal?  These are wounds whose pain will forever remind you and haunt you… a precautionary tale to help future generations remember and never be complacent.

Every time we gaze at the tomb of Marcos, it will remind us of the separation his life and struggle has caused between a Philippine nation that strives for unity and cooperation.  What if we are meant to be separated?  What if in our division, our spirit becomes stronger, and more resilient?

The psychologist Karl Jung talks about a restorative psychiatric treatment called “Embracing the Shadow”.  The Shadow is that part of our collective subconscious which contains all the traits we find abhorrent.  Greed, callousness, malevolence, and all the others.  We abhor the Shadow because it is a part of us.  All these dark and evil traits, as much as we are loathe to admit, they are part and parcel of our psyche and we cannot detach from them, no matter how hard we fight.

Embracing the Shadow is the act of acknowledging the darkness and accepting that it is a part of us.  We allow it to be brought to conscious thought, in order to witness its rage and bring it to healing.  To bring these parts of ourselves to loving acceptance and self-compassion.

The Catholics call this “The Long Dark Night of the Soul.”  The Buddhists call this “Mara”, the demon that points to the sufferings which man creates for himself.

I call this, “the Shadow in the room, where none should be.”

Healing comes when we allow the Shadow to rise from its depths and place it within our attention for recognition and awareness, for it to be surrounded by the light and meshed into our being.

The burial of Marcos will happen, and as much as I hate to admit it, perhaps the Loyalists are correct.  Perhaps a healing can happen, but not in the way they think it will.  When we place him in the forefront of our consciousness, it will remind us of our country’s brokenness, and of the fact that we will never truly know justice and peace until each and every one of us works within and brings about the change needed to transform our country.  We cannot rely on our governments, nor in our institutions to effect it.

We Filipinos have to start working on ourselves, and healing our individual brokenness.  We have to transform one by one until we bring ourselves to states of compassion and love.  Perhaps then we will truly live in a just and humane society.

There is a Japanese artform called “Kintsugi”, or one where pottery once broken is mended and brought back to form with bindings of molten gold.  It exists to point out that one is even more beautiful for having been broken.

Perhaps Marcos’ burial is the lacquer which not only serves to bind us together, but to remind us that we are broken and fragmented.  But there is a beauty in that.  Acceptance is the way we embrace and transcend all our troubles and hurts.

Blessings of peace and healing light to our country.  Wherever you stand, whatever political colors, you fly, I love you all.  Let us hold hands and be Filipinos.

Shai Hulud October 1, 2016

Posted by Janjan in Armchair Politics, Geekery & Nerdoms.
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N.B.  Herein lie spoilers.

I was reading Frank Herbert’s “God Emperor of Dune” around December of 2015.  My father was in the hospital at this time, and in a few weeks, would leave this earthly realm.  Perhaps because of the specter of Papa’s passing hanging heavily over our lives, I found myself engrossed with the book, as an escape from the sadness and worry.

The book is the third installment of Herbert’s Dune series.  It chronicles the last years of the reign of God Emperor Leto II Atreides, who, in the previous book, merged with the animal deity of Arrakis, the terrible sandworm and had become some bizarre amalgam of man and sandworm.  He had literally become man and god, entombed in one flesh, monstrous in size and horrific in countenance.

As God Emperor, Leto II established absolute dominion and tyranny over the galaxy.  Tyranny in the sense that everything from the ecology of worlds, to the establishment of religions, to the control of the Bene Gesserit breeding program was completely within Leto II’s exacting control and scrutiny.  Rebellions were quickly quashed by his fanatically loyal Fish Speaker army, and not even the wiles of the Bene Gesserit nor the intelligence of the Bene Tleilaxu could measure up to the wisdom Leto II possessed through the countless lifetimes of cellular memories stored in his powerful prescient mind.

I read this book months before the Philippines’ elections and now under the Duterte administration, I can’t help but compare some parallelisms between what Leto II established and what I think President Duterte is trying to achieve.

The word “totalitarian” has an ugly ring to it, and rightly so.  Despite the many attempts to establish autocratic governments, history has proven time and time again that dictators, even with the best of intentions, eventually fall to power’s temptation.  The corruption inherent in sinners and saints eats us within, and as the adage goes, “Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.”  This is not to say that there have been no exceptions, however.  Lee Kuan Yew’s success with Singapore is oft cited as basis for the legitimacy of totalitarian leadership.

This was likewise the point cited in God Emperor of Dune.  Tyrannical as it was, Leto II’s reign established three millenia of absolute peace, order, and abundance in the lives of the humans under his rule, to the point of obsessive-compulsive attention to detail.  For 3,509 years, humans knew no famine, no war, no ignorance, no pain.  Opposition and subversion were quickly suppressed and everyone was made to toe the line upon the pain of torture and death.

This was not to say that Leto II was a cruel creature driven by egotistical concerns, far from it. Upon reading the narrative, as well as the thoughts running in the God Emperor’s head, the reader understands the love and compassion Leto II held for humanity, and that this was all part of a very long and well thought-out plan for humanity’s ultimate survival as a race, as foreseen by Leto II with his prescience, in a vision called the “Golden Path”.

The absolute control served as a countermanding force that created stored up potential energy via repression and suppression of mankind’s innate need to take control of his own life and destiny.  It created within us an unassailable drive to survive at all costs, the trouble which lay beyond the reign of the God Emperor (and told in subsequent books of the Dune series).

This seems to be the rationalization and battle cry of President Duterte’s supporters: There is a method in his madness.  For all his blustering and bravado, behind the President’s potty mouth lies a mind as razor-sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, capable of lobotomizing the criminal tendencies lurking in the dregs of the Philippine subconscious and carrying us forward to Golden Years of freedom and safety.  At the cost, it seems, of swallowing whatever bitter pill the President prescribed for our cure, without question, without struggle, and without protest.

Fundamentally, the dividing line between his supporters and detractors lay on the amount of trust one reposed on the President.

If indeed the story of the God Emperor is applicable to the Philippines’ plight is one that remains to be seen.  While many elements are there, we ask if President Duterte shares the wisdom, foresight and detailed planning that Leto II poured into his vision of the Golden Path.

Nevertheless, everything goes according to Leto II’s plans in the book, and we finally see the wisdom behind the tyranny and fascism in later installments of the series.  We see that despite the great chaos and violence that humankind inflicted upon itself in the great war between the Bene Gesserit and the Honorable Matres subsequent to Leto II’s rule, humankind went out and survived all the far reaches of space, even with the mysterious Old Man and Woman doing its best to obliterate humanity.

I  can neither conclude nor hope that the Philippines will share the same plight as the novel’s.

But this much I can say though.  Leto II planned his own demise because he knew that for humankind to grow, they had to destroy their God Emperor… destroy their own God.  He planted the seeds for his own destruction under the hands of Siona and his own beloved Duncan Idaho, through revolution and assassination.

One hopes that a better story and a better ending lies in store for the Filipino people.  I pray for President Duterte and the desert storm rising in our way.  May we live to find ourselves treading our country’s Golden Path.