Here’s Lookin’ At You, Birthday Boy!

(Today’s blog is written by a guest blogger who has known Jim for a long time!)

Today is Jim Paredes’ birthday. He has had many types of celebrations before, from quiet family dinners, to loud and boisterous drunken sprees with friends, to sappy television birthdays where showbiz friends drop by and try to squeeze tears for ratings. (ugh! I’m sure you’ve seen those!)This year, aside from the Ramon Magsaysay Awards at the CCP which he will be attending as trustee, he will be doing a show with APO later in the evening. Meanwhile, allow me to wax philosophical about this day:

Jim Paredes
turns a year older today according to some contraption called a calendar, which is man’s attempt to put reference points of order to something abstract like “time”—very much like setting up buoys in an endless sea. The body and physical entity, the persona that is Jim Paredes is officially 53, or over a half-century in existence according to this ad hoc scheme called the calendar— time’s physical representation.

But let’s take a closer, more curious look at the celebrant. Let us for a moment be rude and imagine that Jim Paredes is only a muppet (sorry Jim!), albeit a very sophisticated though mortal one in human form known to his family, friends and society as “Jim Paredes”. Hmmm.. Is that hard to imagine? And now, let us also try to imagine the one who operates the muppet, the animator, the one who breathes life into it. A question arises: does the animator have anything at all to do with August 31, 1951? Or to put it another way, does Jim’s Spirit have a birthday, too? A bigger hmmm..!

How can Spirit, which was never born and will never end celebrate a birthday, or any anniversary at all? How can the timeless be measured by anything time-bound like a calendar, or any other instrument or gadget that purportedly measures time? Spirit which is forever spacious, arising and eternally conscious is free of time even as it has attended many of these birthday celebrations before. And it will attend many more, until such time as the birthdays stop coming. And it does not fret or get frantic over this inevitability.

In fact, Jim’s birth and eventual death and everything in between, is experienced fully by the Spirit– probably more than Jim can ever experience them. Because as far as Spirit is concerned, every moment is the only moment there is. No past. No future. All present—in the present!. Every conscious moment is a series of now points. It is all there is and those who are present know and live in the timelessness.

Spirit has no reason therefore to fret over death when it is just another moment. Everything unreal will come and go, like muppet Jim, his friends, relatives, possessions, works, reputation, fortune, and only what is ultimately real will remain— Spirit!. As paradoxical as it is, there is no time when Spirit is not timeless, and therefore, there is no time when essentially, there isn’t ONLY Spirit!

You cannot look for this Spirit,

for it is doing the looking.

You cannot see this Spirit,

for it is doing the seeing.

You cannot find this Spirit,

for it is doing the finding.

If you understand this,

then Spirit is doing the understanding.

If you don’t understand this,

Spirit is doing that.

Understand it or not,

just that is Spirit.

-Ken Wilber

Spirit greets Jim Paredes, Ramon Magsaysay, Cardinal Sin and all those whose natal day is calendared today, (and any other day) a happy birthday! Here’s looking at you, birthday boy! Pass around the spirits please!!

Guest Blogger: Spirit!

This essay was inspired by Ken Wilber’s One Taste!

‘la lang…


Nothing deep, meaningful, earthshaking, relevant, heartwarming or spiritual today. This entry contains no great redeeming value. The most apt response I can come up with as to why I am posting it is… ”la lang!”

If you’re on the net as much I am (sometimes), you’re bound to find some gems too good not to share. Take a break! These cracked me up: —An old one but still …uhm…it’s just beyond words! Forget whoever your idols are. DA MAN is here. Make sure you click on ALL the links. I guarrantee goosebumps! Hee hee!! —A hilariously funny fusion of Beatles and Metallica. Very witty arrangements. Make sure you check out the lyrics and listen to the songs! —Still my idol to this day even if he died a few years back. This website is so well made. It’s not a funny website per se, but if you’re a Zappa fan, you will see his playful, humorous spirit all over the place. –If you’re not yet a Jack Handy fan after visiting this, you will be. But then again, you may just end up cursing me for leading you to this site! —The end of all cyberspace explorations and quests!


In answer to some queries, I am posting the APO Europe + Dubai tour schedule of shows. While it’s a shorter journey time-wise, it’s even more hectic than the last US tour. And (gasp), it’s winter!!!!

Nov. 12—Zurich show at Swissotel

Nov. 13—Show at Arditi-Wilsdorf Theater

Nov. 18—Dubai Show

Nov. 20—Amsterdam Show

Nov. 21—Rome Show

Nov. 27—Vienna Show

Nov. 28—Milan Show

Dec. 4 —-Copenhagen Show

Dec. 5—–London show

Dec. 7—-Leave for Manila

I still don’t have all the venues but will post them when I get them.. The Switzerland (Nov12, 13) and Copenhagen (Dec. 4) gigs are entirely solo APO shows. The rest will have APO as guests doing a solo 45 minute portion as part of a concept show with Nanette Inventor, Geneva Cruz.

Do check from time to time for more info.


Friends and Thoughts of Healing!

During my last Toronto trip, I was able to visit Maricel Quintos, an old friend of mine who has cancer. In the 4 months since I last saw her, traces of her last chemo seemed fading and she had grown some hair. But she was also in pain this time around and her low grade fever did not make matters better. Her condition notwithstanding, I can only say that she is quite a person. She exudes so much positive energy to everyone around her.

<> Below is an entry in my journal I wrote last April when I first saw her. I asked her permission before I put it on this blog. I’d like to share it with you. <>

“My encounter with Maricel Quintos, a 48 year old woman, mother of Michelle Bayle and a friend I met some 29 years ago, has made quite an impression on me. Maricel has been diagnosed with colon cancer which has mestastasized in her liver. She was given 6 to 9 months to live by her doctors in Toronto if her new round of chemo does not work out. Her catscan, after her initial chemo a while back showed that her tumors, instead of shrinking actually doubled in size. Her doctors hope that a new regimen will work out for her. <>

I was able to spend time with her during my recent trip and let me tell you, I am totally stunned and in awe at how peacefully she has accepted her condition. She carries herself with a serenity of one who has come to terms with her mortality. She narrated to me how she had made preparations with the funeral home for her eventual passing. <>

Maricel’s brave acceptance of her fate. coupled with her conscious detachment from the pressing details and lures of life that still beckon the living are truly admirable. In place of what she has given up, there is a joyful clarity and expansiveness, a peacefulness and grace that are visible to all who sit with her. It is a radiance that can pull me out of my daily concerns. She has been blest with the gift of acceptance.

Through her, I seem to experience a glimpse of the Oneness that we all pine for which she seems to be intimate with. In matters of the Spirit, it is obvious that she is healed and at peace! <> Truly, the prospect of life’s loss is powerful enough to make life meaningful! To be ready to let go is to have it both ways–the joy of embracing the eternal while living in this crazy impermanence called life!.” <>

To Maricel, may you hold on to your peace serenity through all this. I’m praying for you and sending good thoughts of healing everyday. To the readers, please do the same.


Been lying around the house since I got in from Toronto early yesterday morning. The ride home was long, but thanks to the wonderful Filipino hospitality of PAL, it was pleasant. It’s always hard adjusting to jetlag. I forced myself to stay awake all day yesterday so I could get into Manila time quickly.


Toronto was a bit of a letdown as far as the APO show attendance was concerned. Or maybe the venue was simply too big. Promotions were rather limp and short. But we made up for it by giving the audience two and a half hours of new material. We promised a different show and we delivered, much to the audience’s delight if we may proudly say so! It was a lot of fun for us as well singing songs we had not sang for a while, some since we recorded them–Princesa, Hangang May Pag-ibig, Lumang Tugtugin. It’s always an honor to be instrumental in bringing the Philippine experience to our kababayans. I love meeting people after the show and talking to them.

Picture by Ricky Tanpoco. Thanks! See more of his shots at


Canada is a great country. It’s policy of promoting cultural diversity is an enlightened one. While we were there, Filipinos, Chinese and Greeks were all having their festivals which included parades, exhibits, fairs and stuff. Two weeks before, it was the Cariba festival for people from the Carribean. And all these with funding from the Toronto Arts Council! Everywhere you go, you can hear accents and languages from everywhere. And the whole scene seems one of not just tolerance but respect and even amity towards all people!

A sharp contrast to its southern neighbor indeed! The US, ever on paranoid alert for terrorists, was screening every visitor like he was Osama Bin Laden! To cross the border by car to the US last weekend took two hours or more. On the other hand, it took minutes to drive to Canada. When leaving Canada, one does not even have to go through immigration. Apparently, they don’t seem worried if visitors overstay!

Canada, like Australia is definitely more laid back than the US. It’s a country with all the goodies of the US but without the cruelty of its hard-core capitalism. Maybe it’s the small population and so there’s less stress on the social safety nets. Its pro-people policies, from medical, employment to educational benefits are truly enviable. I noticed that people on the street are still friendly enough to help strangers with directions. I hope that it remains like this. (Okay, I’m sure my left-wing bias is showing!).


On a lighter note, I forgot to pay attention to a rule I live by when traveling and that is, NEVER to trust weather forecasts. With August supposedly being a hot summer month, I did not even bother to bring a light jacket, much to my discomfort. Sure enough, temperatures dropped to unexpected Baguio-like lows and I had to buy a sleeveless sweatshirt to keep warm. I can only imagine what Europe this wintry November will be like! Brrr!!


When the US and Canada decided on their borders, Canada got the better side of Niagara Falls. It’s truly one of nature’s breathtaking wonders. I can stay there all day and just stare at the water!


Lastly, every blue-blooded Atenean cannot miss having a deja vu experience when listening to the Canadian national anthem! We first discovered this in 1975 when we had to learn the Canadian anthem for a series of concerts there. The Ateneo grad song, the same anthem sang in every basketball game is unmistakably a rip-off from the Canadian original. After the first two lines,

“We stand on the hill

Between the earth and sky”,

it’s the Canadian anthem melody all the way— to a tee! Akala siguro nung gumawa ng Ateneo song na hindi siya mabibisto! ha ha!



Time is passing by! It’s time to seize the day and finally get your life going! Don’t waste another moment! If you’ve taken this workshop and it has done you good and would like to recommend this to friends, feel free to pass this on.

I am pleased to announce the 26th Run of TAPPING THE CREATIVE UNIVERSE, a

cutting edge creativity workshop that will uncover, unblock and release the joy and creativity that yearns to express itself in all aspects of life! Through interactive activities and excercises, the workshop will not only enable participants to meet their blocks but also introduce ways and

practices that will help them overcome and remain unblocked for life.

People who find themselves in a rut or unable to move forward—from artists of all kinds, housewives, CEOs, businessmen, lawyers, executives, nuns, priests, students, teachers, engineers, etc. have taken this course with amazing results.

WHEN: Sept. 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 17
WHAT TIME: 7 to 9 PM
WHERE: ROCKWELL CLUB, Amorsolo drive, Rockwell MAKATI
FEE: P5,000 for all six sessions inclusive of snacks.

The workshop runs for 6 sessions and only one absence is allowed. Please
call 426-5375, 929-0230 for reservations and questions. Ask for Ollie!