Fish And Chips, Anyone?

Greetings from Melbourne. It’s been three days since I left Middle Earth (New Zealand) and I am still suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms. Auckland was where we stayed and from the description of the locals, it even gets better when you fo down south. Auckland is wonderful, beautiful, pristine, fresh, pure and ..well.. God LIVES there! There is simply an overabundance of breathtaking scenery and yes, sheep and cows! If nature isn’t your bag, it will be if you visit. Just the same, I visited some shops in the city that are hip even by high and low earth standards. In one shop called Groovy!, I was listening to a song called “rock and roll macdonalds” and it is the weirdest, funniest thing. I should have bought the CD. It is so stupid it is brilliant!

Got some LOTR memorabillia. Unfoirtunately, we could not visit the sights since they were all in te South Islands.

The Filipinos there are equally wonderful and nice. So many good kababayans who look like us, but already talk with that quaint Kiwi accent! We had a great show—full house and they had to turn away two hundred people. The best thing about that is it guarrantees that we will be going back! ha ha!

Gotta go. We have a lunch at the dock in a few minutes. Fish and chips, anyone?

I’m supposed to be leaving for New Zealand tommorow for a concert in Auckland with Danny and Boboy this weekend but their visas and tickets aren’t settled yet. I may have to leave ahead tommorow with my significant othe, girlfriend, …OK, ….wife, Lydia. At least we’ll have something like 4 days to see the sights before we do the show. Can’t wait. If there is such a thing as a Lord Of The Rings tour near Wellington, I will surely take it. I’m bringing lots of camera gear and intend to take some good ones.

Nothing like travel especially when you’re visiting a place for the first time. Lydia and I are avid travelers and when we have to pay for it, we choose places that are off the beaten track—Kathmandu in Nepal, Rajastan in India, Cambodia, Bangkok (where we celebrated our 25th with a Buddhist ceremony. Cool!). I’ve been to Rio in Brazil and Moscow in Russia. Actually, I’ve seen a great portion of the world including Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, a lot of Asia, Europe and Americas thanks to APO’s concerts abroad.

Still HIGH!

As someone who writes songs and now, books, it is an absolute thrill to receive feedback from people about my work. That same night after my book launch and the next day, I was getting a stream of congratulatory texts. I would like to share 2 with you.

-“Only on page 41 and all I can think of are 4 things: one, how can a seattle’s best mocha latte be 90 pesos when your 270 Peso book is like sipping a divine high. Two, thank god you write so well seeing that you speak for so many lovers of and travelers of life. Three, 17 more books may not even be enough to contain your unstoppable documentation of this spiritual love affair! And 4, it’s not dark at all jim! It’s glowing with honesty! Ang sarap mong basahin! If I could answer NEALE, I’d say the thirst is not quenched it becomes deeper.”–Catoy

This came in two texts messages. The NEALE she refers to is Neale Donald Walsch, writer of Conversations With God series who wrote my foreword. ( One of these days, i will narrate how that came to be.)

The other text message reads

-“Jim, I must express to you my gratitude for putting out this new book. It is highly insightful, yet sincere and very honest. Thank you for sharing what it means to write on water and hum in the silence.”–Jojo

Now that I’ve typed this down on this blog, I can erase it from my phone. It was too precious to erase immediately. Or maybe I just felt too attached to it. ha ha!! So much for being above the fray. My ego is still vulnerable to flattery!

Last night, APO had a concert with Parokya Ni Edgar at the Ateneo covered courts. Large crowd, a lot of fun. We came on stage wearing grade school uniforms—khaki pants and white shirt with the school seal on the pocket. Not only did it elicit a reaction, I actually felt younger just wearing it! My son Mio who is 15 watched APO for the first time since he can recall, and to my great thrill, was impressed! Sure, it may have been just his old man and friends, but the music was what he talked about in his blog after. Nice, simple joys of someone who’s been doing this crazy APO thing for more than thirty years now!


After The Launch

What a book launch it was! Many people came and bought books, and from the looks of it, a grand time was had by all. I know I did. I had forgotten what it was like to attend one’s own book launch. It’s been two years since the last book was released. I relished writing dedications on the books bought by supportive friends, students and relatives.

I love the cover of the new book and the idea that we put some pictures on it. It’s been a while since I had finished it, almost a year and so have forgotten what I had written, or at least how I wrote it. And it is therefore quite an experience to have a reader open to a favorite page and ask me to autograph it. It’s as if something strangely familiar appears before me– a rush of impressions from some golden moment when the dove of insight perched on my life. I can only smile in gratitude.

What a good moment tonight was. We ended it with some tasty Chinese food. something fittingly mundane (but gratefully appreciated) to cap the evening.

Now, I officially begin the work on my 4th book! What will it be like?

Will let you know when the dove can be seen hovering above my space.


Powerbooks, Pasay Road, Makati

October 18, 6PM.

My dear friends, relatives, students, colleagues, and all those who happened to just be here,

Thank you very much for being here.

Writing On Water is my third book. The first one is called Humming In My Universe, the second one is Between Blinks, and now, my third one. I started writing this book even before Edsa Dos happened, and finished everything around middle of last year.

During the launching of Humming In My Universe, I boldly proclaimed that I was going to write 20 books in my lifetime. I have 17 more to go after tonight. I hope I have a long lifetime.

The coolest thing about writing a book is you can announce your thoughts through the published word and share them with readers. The scariest thing about writing a book is that you can be reckless enough to announce your thoughts through the published word and share them with readers.

Right now I feel both cool and scared. Cool, because I actually have another book out and that feels GREAT! WOW!! I am also scared, because publishing my thoughts makes me vulnerable, if not duty-bound to protect what I have said, or even live by them. Right now, I have no problem with that since my thoughts still coincide with what I have written. I felt they were true then as now. The scary part is, what happens in the future when I feel differently about what I have written today?

We have always been taught to stand for our beliefs, and that is a great thing. However, after living on this earth for 52 years now, I realize that the greater part of growing sometimes lies not in our rigidity and devotion to beliefs but in our openness to what life presents. The unfolding of events, the new inspirations that come, the synchronicity that the universe throws along our paths very often tell us that the Truth we harbor is actually bigger than we can imagine. In fact, Truth, or more accurately, our understanding of it, like software always needs to be upgraded. The version of our understanding could easily reach its expiration date, if we don’t watch out.

To be metaphoric about it, Truth can only watch, while patiently waiting for us to appreciate it in all its glory, even though we seem to understand it at best, in tiny morsels served over a lifetime.

And in that lies my escape hatch.

I will keep writing however imperfect my take on things, on truth as I see it, because my understanding is always being upgraded, expanded, clarified as life unfolds itself. But I will try my best to always confront it with greater openness, consciousness, attentiveness and compassion.

Writing On Water is the latest upgrade.