Widening one’s identity

Sunday, September 30, 2007

How do you keep the music playing?

How do you make it last?

How do you keep the song from fading too fast? — From the song How Do You Keep the Music Playing by Alan and Marilyn Bergman

No, I am not doing a “Dear Abby” where I will start dishing out love advice. I just thought I’d write about relationships since, lately, I’ve been hearing about many people who are finding it difficult to cope with their partners and loved ones. It’s bound to happen at one time or another. I am talking of boredom or ennui, or the onset of indifference that creeps up on people who are in special relationships. They can be people we work with, or people with much closer ties.

I thought I’d share some things I learned from the mystic philosopher Ken Wilber. While his body of work lies nowhere near the field of giving advice regarding relationships, I thought that there are things we can learn from him that may help us understand the consciousness processes and the levels we are in when we do what we do.

Ken Wilber, one of my favorite writers, talks about three ways or levels of experiencing which can apply to almost anything we do. The idea, according to Ken, is to increase the depth and width of our capacity to experience consciousness to be able to get much more out of it each time. He talks of three levels of consciousness here, with each level having different states of being that can deliver a different experience. He identified these three bodily states as gross, subtle and causal.

In his audio CD entitled Kosmic Consciousness, he uses sex as an example to illustrate the difference between the three levels. Let me explain this as concisely as I can.

On the lowest rung, which is the gross level, sex is strictly a bodily activity where one is there mainly for his or her own pleasure. It does not really matter who the partner is, or if there is even a partner. The idea is to get the maximum physical kick out of the sexual encounter. The consciousness level here is very low and the self-identity of the participant is quite narrow, which basically includes only the male or female getting all the libidinous thrills he/she can get. It is basically a selfish, egotistic orientation of sex. The goal is physical satisfaction, period.

On the next level, which Ken describes as subtle, a higher consciousness takes over. The self-identity, or ego, steps out of itself, takes a forward step and embraces the partner. Sex takes on a relational dimension as one attempts to be in tune with his or her partner not only physically but also in the emotional and psychological mode. There is a union, a communal embrace, at the very least caring, and often a love that ties them together in ecstasy. Obviously, this experience of sex and the accompanying consciousness is of a higher domain than the gross level.

On the next level, which he calls causal, the leap to higher consciousness is exponential. All of a sudden, it’s not just you and your partner making love. As Ken describes it, you are “blown to smithereens.” You both can lose yourselves and awaken to a oneness with everything.

The Tantric tradition is good for this. To say the least, it is a profound, timeless experience. The consciousness level here is a vast awareness of bliss and love, and an identification with all that is; in short, a oneness with the universe itself.

In most everything we do, we can proceed from any or all of these three states — gross, subtle or causal. In other words, we can choose from a menu of consciousness states and apply our choice to everything we have to do. Obviously, some activities require that we be in one mode mainly. Physical work, for example, may be on the gross level initially. But a greater awareness may move it to the subtle level especially if one experiences a sense of esprit de corps or teamwork, for example, and feel a sense of achieving common goals and purpose. When that happens, we can actually say we love what we do and find meaning in it.

It is not farfetched to stretch this a little more and actually experience certain physical activities in a causal mode. I have sometimes experienced a profound high, similar to what I experience when I meditate, while running. During those times, I actually feel that my body is the universe itself, and just as my heart is beating and I am sweating, the planets are turning and stars are being born. I feel that my being where I am at any given time not only has the blessing of the universe, but is sanctioned by it. It has affirmation of purpose. Could this feeling have been caused by the release of endorphins while running? Perhaps. But how do you explain that same state others reach while sitting and meditating?

Basically, the movement from gross to subtle to causal state is a progression that is ultimately about the freedom from ego — from selfishness to selflessness to oneness with everything, or from self to others to everything. It is about the ever-widening of identity.

Early on in my career with the APO, I felt that we were basically three individuals trying to do a job together. We were nowhere near being synergistic. Our partnership was shaky, to say the least. Even within the group, we competed to be the most popular. You might say we were probably on the gross level and we were merely looking out for our individual selves.

Through the years, however, we learned teamwork, camaraderie, fellowship and everything that goes with it, and moved up, consciousness-wise, to a higher, subtler level. We learned to subsume individual egos for something bigger. This was when we discovered that APO could be so much more fun and fulfilling.

In the last seven years, when we perform, we are, at the very least, in subtle mode: we invariably manage to experience the joy of being one with our audience. More often now, we even go higher to reach the causal plane where we get totally lost in the ecstasy of performing, interacting, enjoying and sharing our creative powers with ourselves and our audience. The distinction between audience and performer disappears. There is only the show. There is a power that takes over which allows us to feel effortless and wonderful as we do what we do. It feels like a miracle, actually.

Last Saturday, backstage in the Cebu International Convention Center, I was still feeling weak due to my recent bout with dengue and I was quite apprehensive about whether I could sustain my energy throughout the show we were about to do. But by the second song, I felt that I had connected with Boboy and Danny and we were “in the zone,” so to speak. We were “it.” From where we were, it seemed like everything was happening flawlessly and wonderfully. It felt like magic, and the audience seemed to confirm it. We were the universe itself showing off its awesome powers.

How does one transform a gross experience into a subtle or even a causal one? How does one reach out to another, and eventually embrace everything? The answer lies in being constantly conscious and opening oneself to ever greater, wider experiences until the fear of ego death is overcome. But the ego must keep dying again and again many times over, and so it means doing this continuously and making it a practice. And you’ll know you’re getting somewhere when you accidentally “lose yourself” on a regular basis.

* * *

Are you in-between dreams, jobs, loves or lives? Do you feel stuck and can’t move ahead? I am announcing the 36th run of my “Tapping the Creative Universe Workshop.” Here, participants uncover, face and overcome the issues that block their productivity, creativity and joy.

The sessions will be from Oct. 1 to 5, and conclude on Oct. 8. The workshop is from 7 to 9 p.m. at 31 M. Jocson St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Cost of the workshop is P5,000.

For reservations, call 426-5375 or 0916-8554303 and ask for Ollie, or write to emailjimp@gmail.com for inquiries and a syllabus. For those who inquired before and who have been waiting for the right moment: Don’t miss it this time!

Thank you’s, open archives, and a last call

Am truly amazed at how many people were praying for my recovery. I received a lot of comments on this blog, plus my mailbox was full of encouraging words from readers. I got so much texts too. I can only say thank you truly for everyone’s concern. I am getting better and almost there. I still have to gain a little weight. Last weekend, I did a concert with APO at CICC in Cebu and though I was feeling weak and unsure of my self before we came out, the reception of the audience just lighted me up. I was able to do the show completely with encore pa. Really loved the experience. APO and Cebu are always a good combination.

I went for acupuncture three days ago and the sessions really boosted my energy and balanced my body. I actually feel good. I leave for Masbate early tomorrow for a show. Except for sleep deprivation due to such an early flight, I know I will be fine.

For those who have been writing and commenting about my archives not being accessible,guess what? They are now. Thanks to my techie friend from Canberra Ralph Flores, all you need to do is click on the button on the right side of the page marked ‘archives’ and you can read three or so years of blogging.

–Just arrived this morning from Masbate where we performed last night. We had a gym full of people and the hardest rain outside you can imagine. It sounded like non-stop applause as the rain hit the metal roof. It was also steaming hot inside the venue I actually thought I would pass out. Grabe. In the middle of the show, I arbitrarily took out one hard song because I was feeling quite dizzy already. But despite all that, we did the show with flying colors. I had no idea the people in Masbate were so much fun and so demonstrative in showing appreciation.

We love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you feel stalled, blocked or stuck in your life, this is for you. Life is short. If you’ve been meaning to so something about it like attending this, now is the time. This is the last call for the TCU workshop run which starts this monday already.

The sessions will be from October 1-5, and conclude on Oct. 8. The workshop is from 7 to 9 p.m. at 31 M. Jocson St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Cost of the workshop is P5,000.

For reservations, call 426-5375 or 0916-8554303 and ask for Ollie, or write to emailjimp@gmail.com for inquiries and a syllabus. For those who inquired before and who have been waiting for the right moment: Don’t miss it this time!

* * *

Intimations of mortality

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately. The best way I can think of to describe it is this: I feel emptied out. If I were an ocean, the water would have dried out exposing life forms that are twisting and gasping to keep alive. It’s a strange feeling and it is not pleasant or comfortable. And my curious nature, which thankfully has not evaporated along with my feelings, knows that something is definitely up. I have been observing my own life for too long not to suspect that I must be entering a new phase or something.

Getting downed by dengue and being hospitalized not only left me tired and listless but also made me discover new feelings I didn’t know I had about aspects of my life before I got sick. Where before, I had an effortless, light and happy-go-lucky stance, I now feel heaviness. Where before, I felt energetic and positive that I could do almost anything I set out to do, I now sense that there are limits to what is possible. I know it is the state of my physical body that is responsible for this since I still do not feel that I have completely recovered my strength. But I also feel there is more to it than that.

At a certain point in Blacktown Hospital, when I was close to being delirious and I was not making sense to my doctors, and Lydia had to finish my sentences for me because I would lose my train of thought, I found a part of me that remained quite lucid and clear, watching my feverish, pain-wracked body go through the illness. This part of me calmly watched and I remember it thinking that if I was nearing the end of my life, then so be it. Let it be.

It was uncanny. There was a bigger me that had reduced everything physical and empirically real about Jim Paredes into a third person, an “it,” a phenomenon no different from anything else arising in this space and time called life. There was someone else aside from my mind that was witnessing it all and this “witness” was unaffected and calm. I have actually met this “witness” on other occasions and it has always had that ineffable quality. I knew it was there and that it was also me. Could it be that the “witness” part of us could actually be bigger than our so-called lives?

And what constitutes a life anyway? For many, it’s how much knowledge one acquires, or the pursuit of material goods, or the so-called peak experiences that make us feel alive such as travel, romance, sex, adventure, conquest of the unknown, sensual experiences, overcoming danger, the thrill of acquisition, fame, adulation, progeny, or creating monuments and signposts to our own greatness. I have looked at and lived life in these ways many times, and it’s been great!

The pursuit of all of the above makes sense while I am indulging in them. And while I am alive, they will probably continue to do so.

And yet, when I find myself face to face with mortality, all of a sudden, all of these wonderful life pursuits lose their charm. Life is without color or vitality. In a flash, the amazing human body, the charming personality or the talented instrument that made all of the above possible, delightful and attractive is rendered powerless and pitiful. In my case, I was reduced by a mosquito bite to someone incoherent, pitiful and helpless. I could not even perform the elementary task of explaining to my doctors how I was feeling.

In the logic of the world, the state of sickness and death is meaningless and tragic. But in the eyes of the “witness” who is watching all this, what is happening is simply what is happening. And I am not being redundant here. The witness neither judges nor condemns but simply watches as it has always done.

Which brings me back to what I am feeling right now, this emptiness, this drying up of the ocean that is my life. With the water drained out, what was hidden to me is now exposed. On the dry bed, I see a mishmash of things that I have not given the importance or appreciation that I should have, and things I have wasted my time and resources on. The water, synonymous to unconscious denial, missed opportunities and unheeded callings, had covered everything and gave the impression of a placid peacefulness and balance, which was actually not there.

One of these “denials” and unheeded callings is my relationship with the people I love. The whole dengue episode has made me appreciate Lydia and my family and friends so much more. They are eternal companions in this life journey, and yet I have not been a good fellow traveler who paid attention to their needs and their company as much as I should have. I realize now how much more present I should be to them.

I thought I already knew what love meant and that I was capable of giving it in great big doses, until I was showered with so much more of the real stuff in my time of need. I saw a selflessness coupled with a cheerful willingness to help that really touched me to the core. And for that I am not just grateful but regretful that my capacity to reciprocate may not be as great.

I also discovered that there is so much more of what one can and one needs to do in the limited space of a lifetime. I feel like I should, on a daily basis, make at least one contribution to this world that will cause it to be more expanded, creative and compassionate.

Every day can be purposeful — and liberating. Our encounters with others, casual or otherwise, can make someone’s day. We can improve the way we use our time by doing something meaningful like creating love and giving it away, instead of just sitting in front of the TV and being mindlessly engaged, or flitting from one “kick” to another as if that is what life is all about.

In the coming days, the ocean that is my life will fill up again and I will feel more energetic and actively get into the thick of things once more. But this downtime is something I will make use of.

I remember talking to a psychologist many years ago who asked me what question I thought God would ask when I met Him face to face. I was dumbfounded. All I could think of was how much I had achieved in this world and I was trying in my mind to connect it to the parable of the seeds and talents. Seeing the confusion in my face, she smiled and calmly raised the possibility that all God might ask is, “Did you love?”

I have never forgotten that.

* * *

I am announcing the 36th run of my Tapping the Creative Universe Workshop. It is where participants uncover, face and overcome the issues that block their productivity, creativity and joy.

The sessions will be from October 1-5, and conclude on Oct. 8. The workshop is from 7 to 9 p.m. at 31 M. Jocson St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Cost of the workshop is P5,000.

For reservations, call 426-5375 or 0916-8554303 and ask for Ollie, or write to emailjimp@gmail.com for inquiries and a syllabus. For those who inquired before and who have been waiting for the right moment: Don’t miss it this time!

* * *

The 36th, nice sweat, pay-offs and some shows

Am back in Manila to do some concerts, and while I’m here, I thought I’d do some other things that I really enjoy. I know this is a bit of a rush if I get the numbers I will push through with this. I am talking about the creativity workshop I’ve been doing for years now. I last ran it in Melbourne at the onset of my dengue episode last August 24. I’m ready, willing and physically able to do it now.

The 36th run of TAPPING THE CREATIVE UNIVERSE Workshop is on

WHEN: OCTOBER 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 8
TIME: 7 to 9PM

For reservations, do call 4265375, or write to emailjimp@gmail.com for inquiries and a syllabus.
For those who inquired before and who have been waiting for the right moment, DON”T MISS IT THIS TIME!

* * *

I love the heat in Manila. Literally, this was my first day in more than a month where I have not put on a sweater! It was cold in Sydney when I was there, and it just did not feel comfortable to my recuperating body. This nice sweat is so familiar and nourishing! I realize now that I am more of a ‘heat’ than a ‘cold’ person. Winters don’t really thrill me. It may charm for a few days and then it can get annoying!

* * *

My guitar and voice teaching in Sydney is beginning to pay off. My students are really improving. Lately, I helped some of my voice students have their own medley minus-ones for performance by calling on my Manila musician contacts to arrange them. We are happy at how good the medleys have turned out. The students are happy that they have minus ones ‘tailor-made’ for them. One of these days, I am thinking of having a small recital for them if I can all get them to agree.

* * *

Tomorrow I will be seeing Danny, Boboy and our musicians for a rehearsal. We will be doing a show in Cebu this Friday at the CICC. All this rest and recuperation I am doing is to get ready for this. I am excited about it and I am psyched up to do a GREAT show. After this, we will be doing a few other shows in Lucena and other places.


If you are Manila based, make sure you catch our Music Museum shows on October 12 and 13. If you are one of those who have not seen us perform,don’t wait. Life is short, and fleeting. Enjoy yourself with us.

Double-clicking to oneness

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Every day, I go on the Internet to check my mail, websites, multiply accounts, etc., and it never ceases to amaze me that from wherever I am, I am communicating with people from different parts of the world. And while I am reading mail and comments, I am chatting with different people simultaneously. If someone had told me 20 years ago that all this would not just be a possibility, but would become routine in our lives, I would have totally dismissed him.

I’ve always enjoyed conversation, and the idea of people popping up at different times of the day via cyberspace is simply great. It does not really matter where cyberspace is located. It’s a dimension where, in real time, one can find out how everything and everyone is.

Clearly, our world has “speeded up” and totally changed from a few centuries back. Just for perspective, I remember reading that when George Washington was the first United States president, he reportedly told his staff that he had not heard from his Secretary of State Ben Franklin for three months, and thus it was time to write him a letter.

I also think of what it was must have been like during Rizal’s time, when it took six to nine months for letters to be delivered from the Philippines to Europe. Can you imagine receiving a letter saying your mom is not well? By today’s standards, the thought of such a long wait to find out more details would be unbearable.

When my sister migrated to the US in the ‘60s, it took almost four weeks for her letters to reach us, and another four weeks for our responses to reach her. When she called long distance, it was during weird hours of the day, and always, the conversations were short and rushed. It took us sometimes eight hours to place a call to the US since there were not enough lines available for overseas communications and we had to wait for our turn.

The time difference, of course, was a big inconvenience. My brother Ducky would try different ways, including laughably ingenious ones to get connected immediately. An example was he would request the operator to connect him now, “before my sedative takes effect.” Sometimes, he got lucky.

Because of the modern access to communication, even migrating isn’t what it used to be. One can live far away in some foreign land, but then there’s The Filipino Channel (TFC) and a host of Filipino communities, if one really needs to be with kababayans. Besides, there’s text messaging. And there’s video chatting. The early migrants, before all this technology was available, certainly had it much tougher.

The greatest thrill about being a cyber citizen is that I am able to have access to people whom I would otherwise not have a chance to meet, much less converse with. I have written to Paolo Coelho twice to discuss his books and have gotten responses each time. Neale Donald Walsch and I have exchanged a few emails. I am even on their mailing list. There are sites like zaadz.com and other forums that discuss topics I like — spirituality, Zen, creativity, technology, where I can join conversations with some anonymous, some famous, but all brilliant people who are passionate about the subjects and causes they espouse. In these forums, one can be anonymous too, even without nationality, and be on equal footing with everyone else.

If the early Native Americans used to send out smoke signals to cross distances to communicate, the very idea of blogging is not much different, except that it’s the whole world that can read your message and someone out there will most likely respond. I am thrilled that my blog gets visited by people from every continent, even if I wonder what universal appeal, if any, I am sending out.

The implications are staggering when you think about it. We already live in a world without boundaries and borders. We can invite people into our little lives and vice versa and learn about our common humanity. From time to time I visit blogs by Iraqis just to see what life is like for them. It’s one way to see them as they are, beyond the differences that separate us like religion, ethnicity, language, customs and political affiliations. I find myself richer just knowing that there are people like them.

I also get a lot of letters from people I don’t know who seem to have put their trust in me. I am not talking about the bogus bank managers from Nigeria or Burkina Faso who want to share a stash they supposedly have. These are people who resonate with something I have written, and wish to talk more about it, or even discuss their personal problems. I am humbled that I am given a chance to inspire, heal, or even just help them see their situations in a different, more liberating light. But the bigger thrill is that I am conversing with the world!

I like to think that the Internet is an offshoot of man’s greatest yearning, the one bigger than science, and the indefatigable quest for knowledge. I am talking of a spiritual yearning to connect to the whole, to experience oneness with everyone and everything. When I started my own journey to introspection years ago, I found myself taking up scuba, perhaps as my way to parallel externally what was happening internally to me. In the same way that we need statues and monuments to “make flesh” our Gods, dreams, and aspirations, I surmise that man invented the Net as an infrastructure to heal the “separation” which people who are alienated experience everywhere.

It is clear that users of the Net can and do affect each other for better or worse. Because of its capacity to make its users present to global issues in a local, “town hall” kind of way, consensus is built much faster. In many ways, regular citizen initiatives can organize opinions faster than governments and corporations can. Just look at the power of YouTube.

Sooner or later, could it perhaps be possible that our higher instincts can really use the Net to experience an unprecedented oneness that can go beyond the World Cup, Olympics and Live Earth events? There are millions who have received and responded to petitions to end the war in Iraq, to curb global warming, to end the violence in Darfur, to promote “conscious capitalism,” etc. Many times, the number of people who do respond to such issues do reach the critical numbers needed to begin to affect world policy.

This shows that at the very least, we are indeed capable and beginning to think as one humanity.

Passion and compassion

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I have just gone through the wringer, health-wise. On August 24, on my way from Sydney to Melbourne where I was going to do a workshop, I suddenly fell ill with high fever. I was still able to run the workshop successfully the next day, but with great difficulty. The fever continued unabated. All the time, I thought I was merely going through a bad case of the flu, which is quite prevalent here in Sydney these days.

But after seven days of high fever and debilitating headaches, I began to see signs that what I had could be something else, maybe even dengue. I checked into a hospital and after many tests and observations, was admitted with the possibility that I had dengue.

Not too strangely, the doctors here were not familiar with the virus since there are no dengue mosquitoes in New South Wales. It was my wife, Lydia, who has had dengue before, who told them that I had all the classic symptoms of it. Dr. Raul Amor, a Filipino cardiologist, also visited the hospital to help explain to the staff what dengue was.

I stayed in the hospital for five days where, at last, the debilitating headaches and fever were stabilized and finally subsided. I am now back home to further heal and recuperate.

The whole experience of suddenly getting very sick, becoming delirious, incoherent and physically dysfunctional has left me in shock. How terrifying it is that one day, I can be okay, and the next moment, have a complete change of circumstances. I remember talking to the doctors in the midst of my stratospheric temperature readings and quickly losing my thread of thought in mid-sentence. I had to rely on Lydia to finish what I was saying. It was as if there was nothing solid I could hold on to. I was too distracted and removed from present reality because my body was totally out of whack and could not be host to anything coherent that my mind had to say. Those were scary moments when I felt I was losing everything, including my mind.

The next few days were spent trying to stabilize my physical condition. On my end, while I was slowly recovering, amazed at the fantastic health care I was receiving under the Australian system, I could not help but be saddened by the cruel fact that many people in the Philippines, the poor especially, will never have access to medical resources like I was getting here for free. My sorrow also extended to all the suffering that other people everywhere in the world were going through.

Sure, I was fighting for my own life, but I felt the insignificance of my own pain compared to the infinitely worse cases of physical discomfort that many were going through everywhere — the child in some remote area of the Philippines whose chances of surviving dengue are practically nil, the “terrorism” suffered by those who do not have enough resources to take care of their loved ones who need medical help…

I was profoundly affected by the contrast of the realities that were playing before me. It hit me more than ever how suffering is hard to understand unless one is suffering, too.

While I was not exactly surprised at where the compassion was coming from, I was amazed at the intensity with which I was feeling it. I have experienced feeling compassion before, and have “dropped out” of the feeling many times. Call it “compassion fatigue,” wherein one might have the intention to help but cannot summon the spirit to do it due to the overwhelming dimensions of the problem at hand.

Perhaps because I had gone though a life-threatening situation, I decided during my stay in the hospital that I would fight against the apathy that can easily engulf me when I feel the weight of the problems of mankind pressing on my shoulders. There is always something one can do — any small thing to help, even if at that very moment all one can do is feel oneness with the rest of suffering humanity.

When I got home from the hospital the other day, I was still engulfed in profound sadness about the whole experience. Sure, I was glad to be home, but I also felt that no matter what wonders modern medicine can come up with to sustain life, there are things that will never change. We will age. We will die. And yet, as cruel and cynical as that may sound, I also know that these very realities can give one the meaning and the purpose to keep going in life and improving it not just for oneself but also for others.

Yes, life is a mess and it can be terrible. But the scene can change dramatically when one accepts it as such and lives in the middle path between the opposites! One can only awaken to beauty when he has seen ugliness.

Without suffering, would we ever know real joy?

As I lay on my bed last night, I felt the fatigue in my bones, and the tiredness of my spirit. And yet I knew I was alive — and that was something. I smiled at the thought and mustered enough gratitude to thank God for the strange gift of compassion: the realization that I am every man, woman and child who suffers.

And, since this enlightenment had to come from the awful experience of riding out dengue, I said thank you as well.

* * *

oreo, mio’s art, a possible new book, a new album turning gold!

I know I left things hanging, especially about the christening of the name of my new Spanish guitar. I got an unbelievable number of responses from readers, many of them with great suggestions fitting for a new soul companion like a guitar. I liked some, like Luna, Joyce (for Joyce, my favorite Brazillian artist), and many others but I may settle for something that elicits a less noble or aesthetic purpose but still muse-like. Or just something that plainly amuses. I will call my new guitar ‘Oreo’ for its striking resemblance to the cookie, if you will.

Let’s see how that plays out the next few days. Kung di bumagay, I will review the names again.

A few days back, I went to Mio’s school to see the seniors’ art exhibit. For senior year here in Aus, it seems everyone must present some body of work for exhibition before year’s end. I was quite glad I went since I felt Mio had presented something quite interesting, and got a really high grade for it.

His art involves making stencils and he imprints them on old vinyl records, and it is quite unique. I don’t want to sound like a doting father which I know am, but his works which he has been giving to classmates, selling, or just keeping at home are really wonderful stuff. Was so amazed to see them. He also makes designs that he imprints on running shoes, bags and other fabrics.

Lastly, I published yesterday my first photo book on Lulu.com. It’s a compilation of my exhibited pictures under the A.W.E. collection plus a few more. I am waiting for the first copy to be shipped to me. If it turns out beautiful, then I will release it for public appreciation and will put more info.

In less than two weeks since its launch, the new tribute album to APO dubbed Kami NAPO Muna Ulit has just turned gold!! While I still don’t have my official copy, I am quite pleased with the mp4 files sent to me. Some of the music is quite interesting. I love Tuloy ang Ikot ng Mundo, Siyotang pa-class, Love is for Singing, and some others. Try to get the double album, the one with the new versions and the APO originals. I guarantee you an interesting listening adventure!

Apo Paredes Escapes Catastrophe (APEC)

Thanks to Edd Aragon for the wonderful acronym.

I am finally home.

I was discharged from Blacktown Hospital yesterday afternoon after 5 days of confinement due to dengue fever which I must have contracted in Manila before I arrived in Sydney last August 18. At one point, I really thought I was a goner. I was on my 7th day of high fever, was delirious and my headaches were debilitating. To make matters worse, no one in the hospital had a working knowledge of what dengue was. The doctors only knew about it theoretically. It was Lydia who was a big source of knowledge for them since she had had it before. It’s not surprising that they knew little about the virus since there are no dengue mosquitoes here in NSW. I was in the uncommon and almost laughable situation of being under the care of the best medical system in the world, but with the ‘wrong’ disease.

It has been a grueling experience but it was made so much more bearable by everyone who showed concern and prayed for my recovery.

I sincerely thank all of you who visited, prayed and sent healing intentions. I am humbled that God listened to your prayers. I am so lucky to be loved by true friends and kin who helped Lydia and my family cope during the past few days.

All throughout this ordeal, I was sustained by everyone’s healing love especially Lydia’s. I am really not too well yet since I am recovering from a life-threatening condition. The doctors and staff at the hospital were just simply wonderful and caring and I could not have made it without their dedication and determination in healing their patients.

This will be short. Am still tired. Please continue to pray for my full recovery.

God is good. I thank God for a new lease on life.

* * *