Every Snapshot has a Story

On Every Road Trip

On every road trip
you and I take
the eye catches
one beautiful place.

That city of old
its simplicity is gold.
A village in a country
such unmissable serenity.

Must stop and watch
A breathtaking sunset
Or sit on the hood
and marvel at the stars.

One may yearn to stay
The heart says nay
For there is home
Not so far away.

No worries just yet
Just steer and stop
At your heart’s desire
To smile and admire

One beautiful place
the eye catches
on every roadtrip
You and I take.

Waves Are Like…

(inspired by a quiet early morning stroll along the beach)

Waves come and go, like the people we encounter now and then.

They either come, stay and become significant parts of our lives. Or they come but go, thus leaving us with fleeting and/or lasting memories.

Waves are temperamental and at times, unsettling. Such are our daily struggles and troubles which may come smoothly or savagely. Either way and whether we are ready or not, we’ve got to deal with them. Or shall I say, ‘surf’ through them.

We often want problems to come slowly and mildly, giving us enough time to organize our thoughts and maybe even get creative on how to confront them. But just us the strong waves rush to shore, so too some of life’s negativities. They get slammed right infront of us.

Keep in mind though, that just as the waves come and go, so too are the challenges in our existence. As long as the planet exists, these waves will undoubtedly find their way back to you and me.

Suffice to say that as long as we breathe, there will be challenges to meet and greet:)

Waves can be seen as ordinary or otherwise.

Take a walk along the beach at sunrise. Put away your mobile phone. Be free to feel the fresh and cool morning breeze. Listen to the sound of the gentle splashing of the waves as they reach the land.

Beautiful. Peaceful. Soothing.

Quite out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, just as the waves have the ability to bounce back and forth, life lost hasn’t and cannot. We all know it ends with one final gasp of air. The last breath.

This is a harsh reminder that we’ve only got one chance to live. One.

No matter how mundane it is, we have to make everyday of our existence worthwhile.

Now, take a break from the hectic hustle and bustle of your life and go to the beach…

(all photos are my shots😊)

My Blog is Two Years Old!

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I barely even noticed its first anniversary. Yet, it’s still up and running on its second year. That notification above is quite right,too. It is an achievement especially for someone like me who was unable to blog that much in a span of two years.

Good blogging? I am not sure about that. Apart from the stats confirming some long periods of inactivity, I must admit that I have quite ignored my site. Why? The concocted answers are in The Kind of Writer I Am, I would like to think that I penned it to know more about myself and not because I was making alibis. Whichever, it helped me to realize how my writing habits affected my blogging activity.

‘Opinions Matter’ has become a blog about anything. Because there is no limit to what I can write about. A lot of ideas could stem from the daily routine at home and at work, from a chinwag with a neighbour or from a meeting with a friend over a cup of coffee. I was able to incorporate my travel experiences, (Summer in and Around LLandudno), and yes, there are more to come!

The movies and TV programmes we watch and anything we read are also lucrative sources of blogging information. Not to mention those meaningful encounters with strangers (One Day, Two Stories).  It is fascinating when these circumstances inspire topics that become alive in anyone’s blog.  They can motivate, uplift and help raise awareness (Depression and Anxiety).

At one point, melancholy has not spared my blog and it was poignant in a poem,  In My Arms.

The point is, and I say it again, the world we live in has so much to offer to the blogging world.

Two years ago, I knew very little about blogging. I started it to feed my passion for writing. Today, it still does.

Two years ago, I created Opinions Matter because I know I have something to share about life itself. I have never been and still is not driven by stats but every notification of likes, comments and follows I get brings forth a genuine gratefulness from my heart.

Well, you’re welcome WordPress and thank you for letting me fly with you. Though it’s a turbulent ride for me, I intend to fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the journey!

The Kind of Writer I Am

My blog has been idle for some time now. It made me think of the reasons why. Thus, discovering who I might be as a writer/blogger.

Time constraints? It is a cliche but I simply lack the time. It was when I took a break from work that I got interested in blogging. My mind was full of ideas and and I have had more time then to put them into writing.

Being back to work full-time has made me just want to come home at the end of every shift and rest and relax. Oh, yes. I’ve tried to concentrate and write after work or on my days off. I have always managed a few sentences until I felt ‘I just wanna laze out as I’ve got work (again) tomorrow’.

So to be able to write, I need THE time…enough time.

Writer’s block? It shouldn’t be. Inspiration abounds! Life never runs out of experiences to opine on. The problem occurs (I know that now) when I play safe on how to express these opinions. While others are bold and gutsy about a lot of issues, I’m not. I always have to rack my brains out to find the right and acceptable words to use for fear of reprisals. And when I can’t, I get frustrated, I stop.

There you go, that says a lot about me as a blogger. I have created my own ‘writer’s block’. When will I muster enough courage to tell it as it is?

Language barrier? Okay, I am lucky that in my home country, the medium of instruction is English and correct grammar  is strictly enforced. But, even so, English is not my first language. Finding the right words when writing means the right English version, too. It is easier to articulate one’s thoughts and emotions by using a familiar language or dialect. This is true to both writing and when in a normal conversation.

Therefore, in my attempt to get my point across clearly, my rough drafts get shelved for proofreading and editing again and again until they get dismissed and unpublished.

So maybe, this is the kind of writer/blogger I am:

I need time.

I hesitate to tell it as it is.

Perfectionist (if this is the right term) with words.

Does it matter if these traits are right or wrong if they do get me into writing?

Am I even a writer at all?

To blog or not to blog

My daily routine of heading to work has been put on hold for sometime now. This has given me the opportunity to re-ignite hobbies of old: reading and writing. With more time to spare, I was able to read those pocketbooks gathering dust on the shelf. I got to unwrap subscriptions of unopened journals and magazines and read them all.

Coincidentally, I have had this longing to write about my own culture the moment I realised its slow demise and how much I have actually taken it for granted.

To blog:  As I browsed through some photos of home, my ‘creative juices’ kicked off. I took courage and started writing. I decided I wanted a reader audience and learned the intricacies of blogging. This site, Opinions Matter,  came to life.

My first attempt to blog about my roots,  Hometown Fortress came to fruition.

I suddenly felt that I wanted to write more about anything and share my opinions from my heart’s point of view. Not only have I discovered that blogging is an avenue for doing such but also a way of knowing the eccentricities and convictions of other people. Blogging has indeed widened my writing horizon.

To blog more: My determination to share my culture in writing has not waned, therefore, a separate site, www.benguetsite.wordpress.com has been created.

I hope that through this specific site, I will be able to relay the significance of not just knowing but also remembering one’s culture and traditions. Hence, passing a priceless heritage to generations still to come.

You may click on Benguet Blogs in Menu to read about my life as a Kankanaey Igorota.

Otherwise, stay tuned to more of my opinionated blogs about a lot of things under the sun.

One Day. Two Stories.’Kevi and Santa’

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A quiet stream


The weather
may be muggy today, but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Kevi and Santa. Here is the other story.  

I took a stroll into the woods and stopped by a quiet stream to cool down. A dog was already there doing the same.  Its kind lady owner allowed me to take a photograph of her dog having fun.
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As I took the shot, my attention got diverted onto a couple at the shallow end of the stream. Their backs were turned to me and both were busy getting something from among the overgrown bushes in the water. This scene felt familiar. It took me back to a river in a town where I grew up. What I needed to do now was to verify a wild guess!

The woman noticed me and signaled that I follow a narrow path leading to where she was standing.

Whoah! I was right! The couple was gathering fresh and (oh, well, call it organic) watercress! I knew it!

Watercress is called tungsoy in my Ilocano dialect.

Here’s a flashback to my neighbourhood in La Trinidad, Benguet Philippines. Many residents plant watercress in a river for free! Then it was sold fresh and in bundles. By the way, for those who grew up in the same neighbourhood, they would know exactly what river I was referring to.

Back to the present: Where I currently live, watercress is packed and sold for making vegetable salads. Some people are not aware that it can either be sauteed or steamed.

The couple from Nepal spoke broken English but I was able to get their names; Kevi and Santa. They generously gave me a bagful of freshly picked watercress! From a stream where you’d never expect was teeming with such nutritious green.

Not unless you have the slightest idea, then you’d never know.

img_2688Thank you, Kevi and Santa. Watercress happened to be one of my favourites. I hope we’ll meet again.

 

Here is the first story in one day.






One Day. Two Stories. ‘Bernie’

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someone else’s lucky day


The weather may be muggy today but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Bernie. This is his story.

My stopover was in a park with a large pond near my home. It must have been my lucky day! I just spotted a pair of swans frolicking in the water. What a good photo that would make!

Then I noticed that it was also someone else’s lucky day. He was not only clicking away with a camera slung around his neck but seemed to be chatting with the swans, too. Interesting!

 

As I approached nearer, I found the man feeding the swans and their cygnets with grass. Sensing my curiosity he explained, “They do eat grass but not any kind. They must be hand-cut and I’ve just given them dandelions. Try feeding them with that (pointing to the grass on the ground) and they will only spit it out.”

Here’s more: he must have read my mind. “The colour of the beak of the male is dark orange. The female beak is also orange but lighter.

They used to have nine cygnets. One of them died and the other got injured so it  was taken away.”

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Suddenly, the female swan (now I know) came closer to him. “Okay, you’re still hungry. Here’s some bread.”

I thought, “Oh wow, carbs and veg, good for you swan.”

“I come here everyday”, he continued. I guess my face looks familiar to them. But I would not mess with them during the mating season. The male, especially, can become aggressive. “He hit my hand with his wing once and it put me out of action for four days!”

He then pointed to a heron perched on the concrete in the middle of the pond.

heron ready for take-off

He got amused with the coots trying to grab their share of the bread. He threw in some more. I thought, “carbs and veg, good for you, ducks!”

Finally, I found the chance to ask him his name. ‘Bernie’.

Bernie is an amiable old man. (Even the wild swans took to him, right?) The lines on his face reflect a happy human being.

Not only did he impart valuable ‘swan wisdom’ but also taught me how to identify the variety of birds residing in the pond. More importantly, Bernie gave my photos more meaning.

I have been to this pond several times but today was a chance encounter with a man who has a genuinely good heart. Indeed this was a lucky day!  I know I will see Bernie again one of these days. I drove away with a smile.

Here is The second story in one day.