Land Ahoy!

       strait of gibraltar

A ship approaching port near the Strait of Gibraltar

       Being a seafarer allows you to go places, absolutely for free. Though the next question would be something like this: Have you enjoyed your trip to those places you have been to as a seafarer? Even it is a fact that we, as seafarers are able to go from on place to another, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have all the leisure we can get out of those places. It might be somewhere like Brazil, where anyone would have an automatic picture of Rio de Janeiro in the mind; Barcelona, where, perhaps one might imagine the famous Sagrada Famiglia Cathedral or Singapore where Sentosa, Marina Bay and its well-known trademark, the Merlion are all real places that one might be pondering about once all those places are heard. It is called association. Association in such sense that we tend to associate words with pictures. We heard or read a particular word, a name of a place for instance, then we picture out something associated with that place.

      At this point, a seafarer’s stereotyping-induced dilemma takes place. He posted on a social networking site his location (there are internet connections on vessels nowadays), or maybe a photo of a certain place or port from other country, then his friends as well as his family would definitely post a thread of comments in awe.Maybe they were thinking that when a seafarer is in a port who happen to be granted with shore leave, he is now free to travel on that country. Perhaps he would go to bars, drink some booze, make some acquaintance with foreign women and roam around the city. Little did they know that being on other land as a seafarer doesn’t guarantee a full-time getaway or total sight-seeing.

     I’ve been to different ports, but I can’t say that I truly enjoyed all those places outside the country. I guess it takes a profound sense of appreciation and keen observation before one can say that he enjoyed a place so much, even if it’s for a short period of time. If I am going to count the number of times a ship berths to a port, it would be an average of twice a month depending on the origin of the vessel to its point of destination. Considering that number, I can go to 18 different countries or places based on the number of months as per my contract which is nine months. With that, I can boast to my friends back on the Philippines that I’ve been here and there, did this and that, saw this and that, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, that idea is something that is very unlikely to happen.

      A seafarer is specifically hired on board a vessel to work. Nothing more, nothing less. The good thing is that he has the opportunity to go to different countries or places since it is included in his line of work. But looking at the other way, even though he is able to go to those places, he cannot spend his time there like a common tourist or a backpacker. He will, go out of the ship, take some few hours unwinding on an environment devoid of work, then go back to the ship. Sometimes he is actually deprived of this opportunity because he is expected to perform his duties during port operations.

      Seeing this situation every now and then, I realized that I can make the most out of my time once I happen to go on shore leave, or even on a short transit to a certain area, say, the Suez Canal. Going to places would be fun, even if it would be on a short period of time. All I need to do is widen my perspective, invite new ideas and look at everything on various point of view. Through that I can learn and become knowledgeable about different people and places. I can also obtain enjoyment as well as peace of mind by simply admiring those things I see and new to me and then I can tell stories (the good ones) to my family and friends once I finish my contract and return back home.

     Opportunities like shore leave allows a seafarer to enjoy life away from his tiring job on board. He can choose to enjoy his short-term stay on foreign land or be depressed due to overspending. Whatever his choice is, it would definitely affect his own well-being. Anyone would say that there is no easy job in the world out there and seafaring is not an exception. Hence, chances are given to unburden people of their toxic routines. We will always work to suffice our needs but it is not even a reason for us to stop enjoying life. We can be too tired of our job and all we can do is rest. But one thing is for sure. We always have a choice.

I confess…


      I am a human. Living in this world for survival. I believe that I have my own purpose, but until now it’s nowhere beyond my understanding. I ‘m trying to live with the society’s standards. I want to adhere to it, live in peace without any guilt but my own nature as a human contradicts the laid structure of its ethics. I want to live my life to the fullest, but every strand of my humanity tells me that I am bound to live a life amidst the cruelty of this world. I try hard to survive my own dilemmas. I strangle to fight and break free from the shackles of my own dark persona. I keep on trying to overcome my own weaknesses, but every time I try to make a step forward, an endless void appears before me; devouring my will to redeem myself. Today would be the start of another battle. A battle against me, against my own self, against the odds my own mind created. Hence, today I will start to lighten the burden of my heart. I will face the truth and bathe myself in light. To try in my own way how to live in life without regrets. Hence, I confess.

     I confess about my sins. My sinful nature as a human, my imperfections that made me inclined to worldly desires. I confess all of those selfish desires, all those things that my eyes have seen, that my head welcomed without any second thought, that my darkness feed on to nourish itself. I confess that I let myself fall into the abyss of sins, with myself knowing that I would fall. I confess that due to my own insolence I am arrogant. I keep on believing that I would be forgiven and would be given another chance, but I set aside both things and continued on adhering to the call of my own desires. Hence, I confess.

     I confess about my own desires, my carnal desires. I confess that because of these things I let my guard down and let the world feed on me. I was so na├»ve and carefree. I keep on telling my self that I won’t be swayed by what I see, by what I hear. I was totally blinded by my own belief, and let the prevailing trend consume on my curiosity. I confess that my lust has led me to a depth that I’m starting to break into pieces, that I am starting to be covered in darkness. I confess that it started to create an alternate universe inside my head, making an escape hub from the real world. I confess that I keep on living on vivid fantasies, fueled by my carnal desires and tried in vain to stop the expansion of the said universe. Today I will take a stand to take over my own self. To stop what I have to stop. To live in the real world with real people. Hence, I confess.

       I confess about my weakness. My weakness that makes me a lowly pathetic human. I was given a brain to judge, a heart to decide. I was considered superior among all other creatures, but I am weak. I confess that I was considered superior but cannot prove that argument. I make decisions, make judgments and make some choices. I make all of them to live life the way I want it to be, but I end up empty and clueless of my very own life. I’ve been looking at life with various perspective, but cannot find my own purpose. I want to overcome my weakness, my inability to properly use my God-given talents to find my purpose. Hence, I confess.

       I confess about my doubts, my agnosticism. I confess that there are times that I almost doubt the existence of the Divine. I confess that I only ask for His guidance when I need Him the most, when I have no one beside me to help me. I confess that I am arrogant at the same time ignorant, that my faith is easily swayed, that I don’t stand to what I see is right. I confess that as a human I keep on making excuses, that I make a senseless argument to make my sins just. I confess that I know the Law of the Divine, but tries to become ignorant to cover up for what I did wrong. I confess that I see people doing wrong, but I do nothing to tell them that what they did is wrong. I need to straighten my path in life. I need to have a promising relationship with the Divine. Hence, I confess.

        I confess about everything that is in me that holds me to the path of being humane. I confess about everything that is in me that holds me to have a life with no regrets, a-not-so-perfect but contented life, a life that I wish I could live to the fullest. I confess everything that is in me that holds me to have faith not faltered. I confess that I make sins intentional or unintentional, but I am bind to become accountable to those sins. I want to know my purpose and I believe that this would be the first step in knowing that very purpose. Hence, I confess.

Photo: credits to the owner.

Summer Komikon 2014: Kikomachine

Ang Unang Sulyap sa Pinakabagong Tomo ng Paborito Kong Komiks

         Rak en Rol!

     Hindi ako magkamayaw matapos kong mabili ang paborito kong komiks sa nakaraang Summer Komikon 2014 sa Pasig. Pangalawang beses ko pa lang naman na pumunta sa ganitong pagtitipon ng mga local comics artists, pero iba pa rin sa pakiramdam ang amoy ng papel, ang makita ang mga may-akda ng mga komiks at makasama ang iba pang mahilig sa komiks. Nakaka Cro-Magnon!

     Sa totoo lang, wala akong kahilig-hilig sa komiks. Not until nabasa ko ang unang volume ng Kikomachine Komiks na hiniram yata ng kapatid ko sa kaibigan nya. Nakakatuwa ang bawat frames. May sense ang mga dialog. Tina-tackle ang mga bagay-bagay, mga mysteries at enigma. Tumitingin sa ibat-ibang perspective. Yan ang Kikomachine. Dahil siguro doon kaya ako nahumaling sa komiks na 'yun. Oo, nakakatawa ang karamihan sa mga eksena, na maari mong i-relate sa sarili mo, sa mga kaibigan mo, sa paaralan at kahit sa lipunan. Baka dahil din sa angst na nasa puso ko kaya parang na-magnet na ako at nahumaling na bumili sa tuwing may bagong labas ang Kikomachine Komiks. At nagawa pa nitong mapapunta ako sa isang comics convention.

     Simple lang naman ang guhit ng mga larawan sa Kikomachine. Hindi masyadong ini-emphasize ang detalye ng katawan ng tao, pero kuhang-kuha ang bawat galaw na nais nitong i-portray. Madali mong maintindihan ang mga mensaheng nais iparating, at matutuwa na matatawa ka sa mga "katangahang" umiiral sa pangaraw-araw na buhay ng tao.

      At dahil nakabili na nga ako ng Kikomachine Komiks Bldg. 10, madadagdagan na naman ang koleksyon ko ng komiks na ito. Sayang lang at di ko napa-autographan kay Manix Abrera, ang haba kasi ng pila. Gusto ko rin sanang bumili pa ng ilang komiks at manga na gawa ng mga local artist, lalo na 'yung Skyworld pati na rin 'yung komiks na pinagbibidahan ni Alexandra Trese, pero sa susunod na lang siguro. Ayos na ang pagpasama ko sa kaibigan ko na na-enlighten sa mundo ng Pinoy Komiks at pagbili ng paborito kong komiks.

       Ikaw, aside from hentai manga, may paborito ka rin bang komiks?

Photo Credits:

Throwback: College Dilemma

Reality from Within

           Another day has passed…only to spawn my exhausted mind with series of flashbacks, bad memories and unwanted things, whirling repeatedly on my head. Slowly, without any disturbing noise, I lied on my bed, looking blankly at the ceiling; thinking of my college life’s perplexed state. “I am not supposed to endure this intellectual imprisonment and emotional dilemma,” my mind would tell me. I can’t help but reminisce the past… the previous times when I am not yet within this strong citadel of  deprivation, inside the institution that shaped and changed the person who is in me….
            As far as I could remember, I entered college full of enthusiasm, vigor and vivacity. Mesmerized by the embellished description of the school, training, facilities and education, the ember of curiosity and excitement ignited on me with such alacrity as the schedule of classes draws near. I knew that something awaits me; something that is unanticipated lying over the horizon for me to face.
            June. It was our first night on the institution. I was with my comrades to experience something that marked a deep imprint on our young hearts and mind. It created shadows of doubt which we endured during the first and second semester of first year. It was something that made us part of the scholar world contained in the program; inside the system of interconnected lives. Life went on during those times. We cried and we shed tears. We laughed when we exchanged hilarious experiences; we laughed at those mischievous things we’ve made. The hard times enabled our bodies to take pain without hesitation, made our connection with one another equal to that of what is prevailing between brothers and the awareness of the truth and lies that exist on the scheme. Everything was put pieces by pieces like a puzzle to make the picture clear of where we really are. From there we saw ourselves amidst the gargantuan tentacles of a kraken, ready to lure us into its hungry mouth…
            Realization really hurts; same with the truth that pierced our minds down to our soul. We all felt trapped and put to place where we can’t make any choice but to stay. A place where we are supposed to experience things in order for us to grow, but we are deprived by it. Disappointment arose time to time since things were not happening in the way that me and my fellow second year scholars expect them to be. We couldn’t do anything but to discuss on ourselves the place and our present situation, to compare ourselves with  the condition of other scholars from other school, to utter regrets and blames and finally, to silently intimidate ourselves.
            We all really felt left behind by time and fate. I’m not on the part of being pessimist, nor I am on the negative attitude towards the institution and the endless complains on school burdens. It is on the opportunities we had let go of in the past. Like the fine sands passing betwixt the fingers of my hands, I was then holding lots of opportunities and choices but I just let go of them without further regard on the outcomes… we keep on bearing on our minds the what ifs and I shouldn’t thoughts, still nothing can be done to change everything. All we can do is to look toward the frontiers of space around the school. To watch the distant stars overhead at night and to increase the thirst for answer of what lies on the other side of the mountains or what subsist beyond the sea. Simply put, we are just imagining things that are not present on the place that took hold of us for years.
            I took a deep breath, only to notice that it was already past ten. My memories drift back, leaving my mind blank again. Looking through the darkness, I slowly closed my eyes…I wonder if something will change the things that we keep on labeling reality; I wonder if something awaits us in the future to make our dreams real…