Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Archive for December 5th, 2010


A night of passion 4

Posted on December 05, 2010 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated December 05, 2010 12:00 AM


A time with others: With the author Jim Paredes are Jorenz Tanada, Steffi Tad-y, Karen Raagas, Aicca Roxas, Erika Valdueza, Jumax Amellabon, Myles Jamito

I like things mildly dangerous, and sometimes even on the semi-wild side. I like saying yes to things I am not sure about. Sometimes, when I am traveling, I like hopping on a bus, destination unknown, and sometimes end up getting lost. It beats just staying in my room.

In cyberspace, where I spend a lot of time talking with people I don’t know, I sometimes take a few risks. I like to go beyond the comfort of talking to someone from a distance, someone I can opt to respond to or not, and actually meet him or her in the flesh. Once I invited seven random people I had never met for dinner at my house in an event I called, “Seven People You Meet on Earth.” It turned out to be a great evening.

Last Friday, I hosted another such event that I called “Night of Passion.” Through Twitter and Tumblr, I posted an invitation to anyone who was interested in talking about their passion over wine after dinner. I said I was looking for people from certain types of professions or backgrounds — travelers, lawyers, businessmen, scientists, etc., but I also said I was open to junking the rules depending on the responses I got. I asked them to email me their stories from which I would chose eight people. I got close to 80 replies.

Most of the people who wrote in were very interesting and seemed like the type I would actually want to meet. But I had a limit of eight and so after I weeded out the applicants who did not seem “right” for one reason or another, I randomly chose eight people, making sure that both sexes were adequately represented.

When Friday, the 26th came, all eight showed up at my doorstep for the after-dinner tête-à-tête on the topic of passion, and everything else.

After everyone said their tentative hellos, we sat down around a table and I asked that each one of us talk about what we were individually passionate about.

It was interesting being in the presence of Jorenz, a lawyer, who was animated about his passion for stereo equipment, his recent acquisition of old and rare vinyl records, and his love for biking. And there was Karen, a call center supervisor who shared with us the many facets of her work, which include giving advice, inspiring, firmly disciplining, mothering among other things, the diverse personalities who work under her. She also mentioned that her real passion is film and that she plans to enroll at the UP Film Institute next year.

There was Steffy, 22 years old and an advocate of child education, who radiated her love for her students in the GK center. She went through quite a number of twists and turns deciding what she wanted to study in college, changing courses until finally deciding on education. Her idealism was refreshing. Erika, an astronomy buff, talked about her rather obscure favorite topic with much passion, telling us about how photos she took with her telescope were shortlisted among 2,000 entries in an international contest.

Myles, a businessman, techie and graphic designer shared the joy of his creative process making designs for small and big businesses. He described the “marinating” process in his head which leads to something good enough to present to clients, sometimes just hours before the deadline.

Aicca is a nurse doing part-time work for a music promotions company, a place where she feels may have found her real calling. More than nursing, she loves everything about her work and is quite conflicted about whether she should still pursue nursing as a career. There was also Jumax, a Cebuana mother of two who works all week in Manila and goes back to Cebu where her partner and their children live, on weekends.

Lastly there was Sanndra, a traveler who relishes every place she visits. She has traveled in many modes — from first class to tightly packed provincial buses. She has hiked up mountains, swum with the butanding, earning enough credentials to talk about the joys of travel with some authority. What struck me was her sharing that she finds inner peace, a kind of centering amid all the movement and action, when she is on the road.

Throughout the evening, we flowed seamlessly from one topic to another — from the possibility of extra-terrestrials being real to transvestites in Bangkok, to photography, Steely Dan, Zen, living in other places, climbing mountains with the elderly, life in Cebu, our Ondoy experiences, earthquake fault lines, global warming, my bizarre adventures in Kathmandu, creativity, spirituality, etc.

In the midst of the animated conversation, I glanced at the clock on the wall and saw it was already 1:30 in the morning. How quickly time flew! None of us realized the late hour because we were all lost in each other’s passion-telling.

But I had to end the party because I had an early meeting in Makati the next morning. I thanked everyone profusely for showing up, hoping hey did not find it to be a waste of their time. It certainly wasn’t a waste of mine. In fact, I was giddy at how well everything turned out.

What are the chances that eight people who don’t know each other and whose only common ground is that they share the gift of passion, can come together around one table and affect each other’s lives by talking about their interests?

When they were leaving, I felt that I had been with a great group of people who could actually become my real friends. A few minutes later, the nine of us were tweeting about the fun we had being part of this experience. Jorenz, the lawyer, offered to host another gathering if everyone was up to it. The others tweeted in agreement.

This experiment tells me that that there are lots of people out there who are “friends-in-waiting” and who could be our real friends if we made the effort to seek them out.

Jumax and Karen, in separate tweets and messages, expressed how the “Night of Passion” made them come alive, as passion is wont to do. The great Dr. Albert Schweitzer put it so well: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

I thank my eight new friends for a great night of magic, wonder, and the contagion of passions shared.

I will definitely do this again… and again.


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