I was interviewed via the net by Svelte Roque a few weeks ago for a website for our (you guessd it!) kababayans. It was an interview I thoroughly enjoyed as we burned cyberspace from Manila to Belgium for a few hours exchanging emails. Come to think of it, we should have just chatted. ha ha! Allow me a little ego room and share this with you. It will only be an excerpt though. If you feel it’s worth reading, please visit

Thanks, Svelte!


It’s almost like a scene from “Entrapment”. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery go through a maze of invisible laser threads that guard a priceless work of art. It’s after hours and the museum is closed for the night. The inaccessible pieces are the most heavily guarded.

Cut to reality. Today, anyone with a connection, be it dial-up or broadband, can access the internet. There are restricted sites; after all, beauty and quality come at a price. If you know where to look, you can tap into the bursting new literature of modern times, the weblog.
The internet can be a very exciting place where the old and the new kiss.

Then there is this article at hand. If you were alive during the 70s, the following words will most certainly be familiar to you: “pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay…” If you lived through the tumultuous days of EDSA I (1986), these words resonate in your memory:
“handog ng Pilipino sa mundo – mapayapang paraang pagbabago…
katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan…” Any guitar-playing-loving Pinoy would know the voices and faces behind the first song. How can anyone not know the Apo Hiking Society? (link: The more discerning fan would recognise the hand that penned the 2nd song that captured the sentiments of a hopeful people yearning for change and a dignified life for all.

Jim Paredes is the man behind Apo’s songs. Jim’s a songwriter, for heaven’s sake. “I got my first guitar at age 11. I wrote my first song at age 15… I don’t read or write music. I write completely by feel. I save the melody and lyrics and work with an arranger for recordings. I wrote my first book in 1999.” Yes, he writes more than songs.

And captures more than just words with his eye. He shoots photography.
“I’ve been taking pictures for about 10 years… I am still learning my style here but my methodology or my way of taking pictures is to follow where fascination takes me regarding my subjects. I try to immerse myself with the subject. Lately, I have been attracted to ‘dark’
pictures, thick shadows…”

He dives. “Man!! Diving is like being in Mars or another planet. It’s overwhelming.”

He teaches. “I love to teach and the main reason is selfish. I teach because I learn as much and it clarifies me to express and teach things that are important to me. It certainly [is] not for the money. I feel that at my age, it is important to pass on what I believe are valuable things learned in my life. I enjoy teaching and give it the greatest care and attention. I look back at some teachers who had such an impact on me and I emulate them by being that kind of teacher to my students.
If I am to spend an x number of hours in class and get paid peanuts, I might as well give and get quality time from it.”

He is an artisan with these thoughts. “Basically, I am a snob pagdating sa art. Generally, pag nagawa na, ayaw ko na gawin. I never buy records/CDs that are popular. I am not a loud artist. I think I kinda go about things with more subtlety in expressing what I want to say. For influences, I listen to world music-not American Top 40.”

He blogs. *you do a double take* But he’s famous! I’m not kidding. Jim, tell my uninitiated friend why you blog. “Because I don’t believe that fame is THAT big a deal. Really! So Why should I not blog. Because I am famous? Huh?” Oops! Ok, ok, take it easy, Jim. “Ikaw naman! Did I sound galit? It’s just that from where I am I really feel fame is overrated.”
See? Told ya. But does he have time to blog? *still a bit disbelieving* Well, he says it’s a great outlet. Right, Jim? “Blogging is a great outlet.” See??? He’s so normal! Sure he is. He would reconsider his fame status, though, if he were Paul McCartney. Yeah, right. Yes, too! He said so himself! “Well maybe if I were Paul McCartney it would be different. Ha ha!!” See??? *you hand me over 500 pesos* Oo na. Panalo ka na. There’s more. Let me give you a sneak peek of my session with Jim P.
We were thousands of kilometres apart, but the way he answered my questions, you would think he had been sitting just across me.

Me: What kinds of blogs do you read? Do you frequent other blogs?

Jim: I like all sorts of blogs but gravitate towards those that sort of deal with spirituality, or at least reflect a depth of emotional interiority of the blogger. It does not have to be that deep but it has to be honest.

Me: What kind of writing do you do in your blogs, Jim?

Jim: Stuff I think about and do. I try to give it an angle that will go beyond the voyeuristic thrill I imagine people have when they read a so-called celeb blog, if you know what I mean. It’s a blog I wish to share with everyone, not just fans.

There’s so much that can happen in the simplest of exchanges. Jim and I have yet to meet each other personally. While the Oscar’s played from 2:30-5:30 in the morning here in Europe, Jim was answering my questions
7 hours away.

PE (before watching the Oscar’s): Tell us about yourself, Jim. What you do, what you really love to do, what you’re forced to do, what makes you uncomfortable, what makes your heart go wild, what captures your fancy…

Jim, midmorning in the Philippines: I am an artist in many aspects. I sing, perform write songs, write books, teach, take photos, and ruminate about life. I love to do all of the above plus diving, long walks, travel, meditation, and just finding myself thrown into unknown situations which can spell adventure. I am also the type who is learning constantly from people and from everything I encounter.
I try to be present 100% to everything I am doing and everywhere I am.

My heart goes wild at all of the above plus beautiful music, art, a beautiful subject to photograph (lalo na pag babae), [p]oetic experiences of the divine as it manifests [itself] in little things.
Live haikus without words, ika nga.

What am I forced to do? Nothing really. Whatever it is I do is with my consent although some things I least like to do. An example is sitting in formal social events that prevent any real substantive encounters, conversations, etc.

PE: Does this mean you don’t like sitting in noisy bars where you can hardly hear the people you’re with?

Jim: Yes!! I prefer quiet places. I almost cannot stand discos beyond around 30 minutes.

PE: What shocks you?

Thought I’d cut it here. Suspense ba? Wanna read more? Visit!