Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Pinoy Power, Eternal Eden, etc..

Posted on March 28, 2005 by jimparedes

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Even for someone who’s been at it for 36 years this year, March 20 at the Cache Creek casino was super fun. The lights were magnificent, the sound system clear as a bell, the band tight as a fist, the audience of 1,800+ filled to the last row, and the three of us in great form, substance and playful spirit. It was a night every performer wishes for and remembers for a long time. The enthusiastic crowd which included some of our classmates watching us for the first time since we were still wannabes at the Ateneo college quadrangle gave us a reception to die for.

Filipinos are very valuable clients at most casinos, especially at Cache Creek. Like the Chinese and Vietnamese, we love games of chance, and as a recognition of how much management cares for Filipino patronage, you can find Tapsilog, Kare-kare, Adobo, etc. on the menu together with the usual bland continental and American dishes offered. Indeed, Pinoy power was evident that night as we showed up in droves outselling Jay Leno, Joe Cocker Kenny Loggins, etc. who performed there the previous weeks. Gary V. and APO probably hold the box office records for shows there. It was no surprise to us then that we were wined and dined like stars even as the casino management offered us a return engagement in the next months.

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Portal to Oneness

–Flew in from San Francisco on the 23rd of March to catch another plane to Davao where my family was enjoying the beach at Island Buenavista. With jetlag and exhaustion, I arrived in Davao and spent the next 4 days unwinding. It was one night of restful, healing sleep on a Balinese bed fronting the ocean in the island, and three cool, magical nights at the Eden Mountain Resort near Mt. Apo. In the daytime, we drove on little golf carts through the pathways that opened to forests, spice and flower gardens, fruit orchards, meditation areas which rejuvenated my tired body and cleared my overactive mind.

Finding oneself amidst giant, ancient trees and ferns and the magnificence of nature can give a sense of belongingness in this universe. I was, to speak in zen prose, one with everything. As narcissistically urgent our needs may scream at times and demand to be met, there are moments when something else arises within us. In one such moment, I sensed a ‘melting away’ of myself as it seemed it was only Oneness that existed in the middle of Eden. The quiet trees, the stillness of the evening, the bright moon that reflected on the puddle of water by the path and down the Davao sea visible from the top of Eden only proved that Oneness, the Christ, Allah, God, Goddess, Brahman, Atman or any other name we want to use to refer to the experience of complete integration, permeated everything. In the end, there was/is only Oneness, and the experience of it confirms that we are everything, and everything is us. Or as a Hindu would probably describe it, “Thou art That!” Like the few fireflies that glowed, I beamed quietly knowing that the zen I met at the mountain top could only have been the same zen I brought up. (Cosmic giggles at the thought of that!).

Here’s something from poet William Blake who must have tapped on the same eternal Onenness two centuries ago.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hard
And eternity in an hour

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Cherry of LA

The next leg of the tour is a few weeks away. Already, even more tours are being scheduled after the May to mid-June one. I really enjoyed this last brief one. Aside from performing, I was able to indulge in some serious photography in LA. Jen Santillian of Kewlit Co. gave me access to her family studio in West Covina where I took portraits and stuff. We are scheduling more when I come back and we are throwing in a photo exhibit when APO performs on May 7 at Knotts Berry Farm. Can’t wait!

23 to “Pinoy Power, Eternal Eden, etc..”

  1. rach says:

    hi sir jim. wow! napaka relaxing naman ata ng place na pinuntahan mo with your family. I hope to get some too but the closest i had of ‘relaxing’ was eating a salad in a very noisy food court. ok lng naman =)

    WOW! you are meant to juggle a lot of things ata like your books (I hope I can buy one),photography and singing.. =)

  2. G. says:

    heya, jim! i grew up listening to APO’s music – whether it be playing on the radio or being sang to us by my mom/dad…

    my parents are big fans. i’m hoping that i can take them to one of your concerts here in the U.S. Goodluck with everything!

  3. Chiqui says:

    Hi Jim, I’m Chiqui Mabanta, a cousin of your wife (daughter of Narcing). Am writing to your blog (which btw, is really interesting – & I agree about the genius of Ali G too..) to tell you about the Arroceros forest park, in case you haven’t heard of it. I know you’re in between trips so I hope I can catch you while you’re here. It’s the only existing forest park in Manila (near the Met Theater) – it’s only 2 hectares but it’s beautiful, right by the Pasig River. We’ve been trying to protect it from destruction by the Manila mayor (who’s been at it since 2003) who wants to put a bldg in it. It’s been called “Manila’s last lung” – has 3,500 trees – there are around 150 existing 100 yr old trees), 12 diff kinds of birds, you get the picture. I’m appealing to everyone I know to help protect it from destruction. Artists have been painting there every Sunday since Aug last yr (ala Paris’s Left Bank) but we need more exposure and more public support. Paolo Santos gave a free concert there 2 Sundays ago which I guess angered the mayor — padlocked the park, started sending city hall trucks to dump wood to start construction. I’m sure you will agree this forest is essential to our existence as it absorbs carbon monoxide from pollution. There are many other alternatives to this building (which he’s very vague about – a teacher’s dormitory, their office, now, it’s a “learning center”) – anything to get his hands on it. I’m not sure how you can help. Maybe by even just visiting as anyone who visits is amazed that it even exists. Winner Foundation planted most of the trees 11 yrs ago and we are there every Sunday from 11am til after lunch. It would be great if you, your family or anyone visits the park to see what we might lose. Thanks for your time. All the best to you and your family. Chiqui

    You can click on Torn and Frayed’s (an expat living in Manila) article on the park and some comments:

  4. Chiqui says:

    Sorry, that was a long post. Btw, great to read about the excellent reception you guys are getting in your tours. It must be really overwhelming. I grew up with you guys, from your “OK Lang” days til later. Thanks

  5. Jim says:

    Hey rach,
    we’ll be seeing you soon.
    keep checking this blog and the APO webseite at apohiking society.org. We will soon announce the venue and dates of the 8 other shows this May in the US>

    Hi Chiqui,
    Yes, I’ve heard of that place. This mayor of manila is one crazy guy whose idea of beauty is a concrete jungle. Maybe your group can make a big deal of it this Aprill 22 which is Earth Day. I will spread the word around.

    Thanks for informing me.


  6. Marem Pavia says:

    I’m glad that you were able to relax, Tito Jim. 🙂 Congrats!

    Have a fun summer!

    My friend Paula Nicole is a niece of your manager Butch (did I spell that right?) Danz…apparently, Mr. Danz knows my Dad as Tony Pavia. I thought that might ring a bell with you instead of Bochock.

    Also, I read what Ms. Chiqui wrote…I’ll spread the word as well. 🙂

    Love you!

  7. Anonymous says:

    siguro kailangang makita ni mayor ang central park sa new york city. thank you for the info. i’ll let my friends in manila know about this.

    APO concert – galing talaga ng Pinoy!!! WOOOOOHOOOOO!!!


  8. ~C4Chaos says:

    wow! taob si Jay Leno 🙂 hataw! btw, got my Rebel XT. will be practicing and shooting like crazy….

  9. LadyWhiteSpirit says:

    Just blog hopping 🙂 mogondo po yong poc no groon hohoho homohobo no ngoso ko doto..wolo long po:)God Bless 🙂

    maganda po yung green na nature picture po…

  10. magandang katakyut says:

    favorite ng kuya ko ang apo, ako din namana ko sa kanya.awww miss ko na rin ang kuya ko:(

  11. Anonymous says:

    i like this zen idea of oneness; somehow it echoes the spirit of montaigne in his beautiful thoughts on connectivy: let one person be all people to me, let all people be one person to me.

    how’s you father-in-law, by the way?

    – cbs

  12. Anonymous says:


    michel de montaigne is probably rolling in his grave.

    – cbs

  13. Anonymous says:

    CBS–Dad not too well. These are sad days for him. Must read up on Michel Montaigne.
    Marem–It’s Butch Dans!

    Ayrie, ladywhitespirit, and maganadang katakyut—salamat.

    Maricar–masaya yung gabi dahil b’day mo!

    Coolmel–awesome!! wanna see your pics

  14. balikbayan_box says:

    I was in Eden the last time i was in Davao (January 2005).

    I remember when Eden was just being developed the, me and my higschool classmates would drive up to Eden just to be one with nature. Im gald after all the development they made with Eden, its remains the same, the natural beauty of nature.

    Good luck in your US shows and good health to your Dad in law.

    All the best, neyborhud!

  15. Jim says:


    Eden remains one of my favorite places. It is still beautiful and they have added so many more attractions. They now have a firefly glass house and on some nice it looks really great. They have birds in big cages, peacocks roaming al over the place, and so many more. I am so glad the Ayalas of Davao (who are also my relatives) have the right vision and respect for Mother Earth.


  16. MadMuse says:

    Hi, Jim! I’m your cousin Pia, the daughter of Mila Misa-Vicente. I saw your interview in PinoyExpats which I am a part of. Good to know you’re doing great! If you drop by Boston, let me know! 🙂

  17. Anonymous says:

    Read your awesome interview on PE.
    Below is a copy of the link.


    God bless and more power to you.

  18. maricar says:

    My thoughts exactly! What better way to celebrate a milestone in life than that of watching an APO concert.

    Thanks again.

  19. Chiqui says:

    Hi Jim, it’s me again. Speaking of respect for Mother Earth, we were just alerted that they have started to destroy the forest – they’ve brought in equipment and have started “clearing” the area so plants & trees have been destroyed WITHOUT a permit from the DENR. We’ve contacted different people from the press, the National Museum and DENR. As of this time, not sure of its fate. We’re going there after lunch.
    In the meantime, just wanted to inform your readers that Fr Rod Reyes will be saying a mass at the park (whether it’s locked or not) this Sunday at 11am.
    It’s located at Arroceros St. in between Manila City Hall and the old Met Theater. The LRT station just across is called Central. Pls come to help save this sanctuary. Thanks again. And thanks also to the other readers who are helping to spread the word. Chiqui

  20. BabyPink says:

    wow! that’s a really nice place and what you said about it makes it nocer and more interesting.:)

    good luck po sa lahat-lahat!:)

  21. Jim says:

    Hi Chiqui,

    Sorry to hear about the destruction of the forest-park in Manila. What happened yesterday? Natuloy ba nila? There’s nothing in the newspaper about it.

    baby Pink, If you ever have the chance, EDEN is the place!

    Hey Pia, Boston is not on the itinerary but one of these days, we should be going there. LLet you know.

    Anonymous, glad you iked the interrview at PINOYEXPAT.


  22. Chiqui says:

    It was a great mass w/Fr Reyes. Inquirer, ABS-CBN, Business World, Manila Standard and Knowledge Channel were there. Evidently, people are scared to write about it bec the mayor is really powerful. Like ABS.. only showed the part where the mass was in honor of the pope and not the protest part. He has started destroying trees but was stopped by DENR til the hearing on April 7. Our bantay said he was there yesterday & was really angry that he tore down the Luntian Pilipinas sign. I’ll keep you posted.

  23. Anonymous says:

    hej jim!

    napakacool mo naman! doon pa rin ba kayo nakatira? i was living with your next door neighbor sa l heights….sa mga sisters in the 1980´s. doon pa rin ba kayo? i just started blogging last month kaya heto I found your corner in the sky. interesting!



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