#12 of 1001 Awesome Things: Last Episode of NatGeo’s Cosmos

August 30, 2017
“Put the table inside or else I will no longer eat here”, I told my family last night after they replaced our round wooden dining table with a plastic rectangular foldable table. I was serious and angry. I loved that table. It was there since I was a kid. We do not pass around food because of the lazy susan. After a while, I realized that I was too dramatic–a Telenovela level drama.
Today is full of drama too and I realized that drama is addictive. It sucks us dry but we still want more. We create our own drama if we can’t get enough. (Read Minimalism and Drama Queens)
I have seen plenty of drama while working with Small and Medium Enterprises in the countryside. These enterprises often form a cluster and register as an association. They start out as friends. When they form an organization after they realized they can work perfectly together and work together perfectly, they usually develop these annoying petty misunderstandings, and they eventually break away from their once loved group/s.
My first ever clients were 3 middle aged ladies who were into manufacturing handicrafts using sustainable materials. They started out as co-trainees at a livelihood training we organized. They were the best performers in a class of 40. They were three persistent, hardworking mothers too.They formed a group and started out their own enterprise. Unfortunately, their expertise and strengths were not capitalized. Instead, they used it against each other. They became competitors inside their small business. After 2 years, they disbanded.
Today, I also listened to other SME conflicts during a trade event. I had to listen because it’s part of my work. These conflicts may affect their businesses in the long run. Their conflicts were ranging from petty to “Friendship over” cases.
I also had a conversation with my officemates and I realized our office, like any other offices, is full of drama. We talked about drama in a very dramatic way.
When I got home, I had to listen to the drama of my loved ones and about the drama of people around them.
Like me, everybody is stuck with their rectangular dinner table dramas.
I remember the last episode of the documentary Cosmos where Neil Degrassi Tyson talked about the insignificance of Earth in the Universe. How the earth was actually a lonely and sad planet. How humans are actually insignificant in the vastness of the cosmos. And then I reflected on how my opinion about a rectangular dinner table or even my ego affects the infinite clouds of stars, dust, suns, and planets. We should learn how to fly using our imaginations for us to realize that above these clouds, we are nothing.
To close today’s awesome thing, let me quote Carl Sagan :
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
 
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
 
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
 
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
 
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

#8 of 1001 Awesome Things: Turo Turo and Tapsilogan

August 26, 2017
Travelling in the Philippines is cheap according to the budget travelers I met and hosted. When they ask me where they can eat a cheap meal, I always tell them to eat at small stores called Turo turo or Tapsilogan. And these stores are everywhere! 

 

Turo Turo, also known as Carinderias are practically everywhere. Turo means to point. You have to point out which viand you want to eat. You can find these stores in every street, every school and every parking area of jeepneys and tricycles. When I had the chance to talk to repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Syria a couple of years ago, most of them would tell me that they want a carinderia business

 

Tapsilogan is a coined term for Tapa (Cured Beef), Sinangag (Fried Rice) and Itlog (Egg). These stores are usually open at nighttime until early morning. A meal usually costs a dollar. 

 

These stores are not only popular to travelers but also for locals. As for me, a person who tries to become healthy in this Fast Food country, turo turo are my go-to stores to eat healthy meals. Not to mention the support you give to local entrepreneurs and a dirty finger to the Fat Bee and the Scary Clown. 

 

Earlier, my friends and I went to this turo turo near a University hospital. The place was tiny with only six tables and around 2 dozens of monoblock chairs. There were 4 vegetable viands and around 8 meat viands, both in stainless steel containers. I ordered the sauteed bitter gourd and this very tasty taro cooked in coconut milk. The 2 vegetable viands cost a dollar. It was cheap. It was healthy. It tasted like mom’s cooking. 

 

During dinner, we went to our favorite tapsilog place. I ordered TunaSilog and a bowl of tofu. They served it with soy sauce, a very sour green lime and my all time favorite chili paste. This costs around 2 dollars. 

 

I am not sure why we still eat at expensive unhealthy fast food chains when we have these local stores. If you happen to travel to the Philippines, make sure to try out turo turos, carinderias and tapsilogan.

Half Day Random Trip at Subic, Zambales

Last Thursday, I have decided to file an emergency leave and travel to Subic, Zambales for a half day breather from work. Since I had no plans or itinerary whatsoever, I just went there, walked around the 3-km radius of Harbor Point Mall and took some photos. The gloomy weather made the trip better.

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More photos here.