“We often superimpose a mental grid over things we photograph to help with composition. This week, let’s go literal.” – Michelle W.

Here is mine:

Grid (1)

This is the stair landing going to the second floor of our house.

Grid (2)

And this is the one that leads to the viewing deck at the rooftop.

What is more interesting about all these is that they were designed by me and the welder is my son-in-law. I like our partnership because we both learn from each other. I’ve learned the basic concepts of welding and I can do welding job now. He was also learning fast the rudiments and concepts of design as in: symmetry, balance, variety, movement and overall impact.


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Eidel Fit’r in our Corner of the World

Close to 2 billion Muslims all over the world celebrate Eidel Fit’r today (July 17, 2015) to commemorate the day of Eid-el Fit’r in fitting celebrations in their respective communities. More often funfares and other forms of merry-making, not contrary to Islam, are included to make the occasion more lively as this is also a time for thanksgiving. It is a day of rejoicing, because in Islam, devout worship and the performance of good deeds deserving of the pleasure of Allah are considered just cause for celebration.

Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity” while Fiṭr means “break-fasting”; and so the holiday symbolizes the celebration of break-fasting after completing the fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therfore, is the first day of the month of Shawwal that comes after Ramadan.

Muslims are commanded by the Qur’an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.

The Sunnah (recommended acts) on the day of Eid are as follows:

  1. Waking up early.
  2. Preparing for personal cleanliness
  3. Taking a Ghusl (bath) after Fajr.
  4. Brushing of the teeth (shewaq).
  5. Wearing of best dress appropriate for the occasion.
  6. Using perfume (esp. for men).
  7. Having breakfast on Eid-el-Fitr before going to the prayer ground.
  8. Giving of Saddaqah (alms-giving).
  9. Going to the prayer ground early.
  10. Offering Salaat-al-Eid in congregation in an open place except when the weather condition is not favorable.
  11. Using two separate route to and from the prayer ground.
  12. Reciting the Takbir.
Muslims at the prayer ground in Matalam.

Muslims at the prayer ground in Matalam.

In our corner of the world (Poblacion, Matalam, North Cotabato, Philippines), Muslim devotees started to converge at the prayer ground (which is an open space at the playground of the Matalam High School)  as early as 5:45 a.m. I was a bit surprise to see Muslim women arriving in bigger numbers than the men until at about 6:30 a.m. there were already more men than women.

Before the start of the Eid congregation prayer, I was asked by the Imam (congregational prayer leader) to make some announcements on anything relevant to the occasion.

eidfitr (11)

I told the Muslim faithfuls that Ramadhan is an occasion for the highest level of spiritual retreat and soul cleansing to take place. The holy month of Ramadhan is an Islamic assertion to give utmost dedication and commitment to the performance of iba’dah and purification – meaning, a way to live life that is free from sin and unworthy mundane indulgence. The essence of Ramadhan is practicing a way of life that ensures any Muslim faithful of a place in Heaven, and therefore, should be carried out throughout the year as death can come anytime. The traditional notion that after Ramadan, one is free to return to his/her usual imperfect (sinful) way of life, is absolutely wrong, hence, a spiritual reawakening is necessary to correct this.

Ramadhan, in fact, is the annual training ground for every Muslim faithful to demonstrate that he/she is capable of rising above mundane dependence on food, water and sex during the day. As a training ground, it is expected that the virtues of fasting be kept alive and practiced until the next Ramadhan comes.

I like the sermon of Ustadz Norodin Abas especially the portion where he said that there are three kinds of people that exist in this world with respect to faith and material possessions.

Ustadz Norodin Abas deliveing his sermon.

Ustadz Norodin Abas deliveing his sermon.

1. Those whose faith increases as their material possessions increase and decreases as their material possessions decrease;

2. Those who were blinded by materialism that, despite huge increase in their material possessions, they remain adamant and unfaithful to God; and

3. Those who remain steadfast in their faith despite being poor or less fortunate than others.

Of course, the best type of people are those belonging to no. 3. He said, however, that one does not have to be poor to be steadfast in his faith. He asked: “Do you know what is better than no. 3?” “Those who keep their faith regardless of whether they are poor or rich”. Still, much better than this, are those who, not only keep their faith, but remember to share with the poor in times of abundance, and those who are able to keep their faith and resist envy and temptation in times of deprivation.

May Allah (swt) grant the Muslim Faithfuls inner peace, peaceful co-existence with their fellow human beings (Muslims and non-Muslims) and eternal peace in the Hereafter.

Happy Eidel Fit’r celebrations to all.

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Song of a Fallen Migratory Bird

migratory bird

All alone am I
Ever since your goodbye
With just the beat of my heart
Ever since we’ve been apart

All alone am I
With only just a sigh
For all the happy moments
Of togetherness and sentiments

All alone am I
From the time you came by
I’ve never seen such a nice blend
That I thought would never end

All alone am I
In the blink of an eye
I realize you are now too far
And out of reach like a distant star

All alone am I
No use praying on high
For one that can’t be mine
No matter what I put on the line

All alone am I
Is all I can sigh
I’d better live with the knife
Without you in my life

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Descent. Yes. This leads me to one of my favorite mountain resorts, Camp Anatolia, in the town of Midsayap, North Cotabato.

Here are the steps that descend to the deep cool pool.

ca (8)

ca (18)

ca (16)

I love to indulge here in this cool mountain resort.

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Photo Challenge: Cover Art

This is the cover of my grand-daughter’s photo album. She will be two years old on November 6, 2014. The album will be displayed for guests to see on that big day.

Just to give you a glimpse of what’s inside this photo album:

She shows us the proper way to eat spaghetti.

She is nicknamed “Drew” because she thinks that she is another Drew Barrymore :)

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Signs. Yes. And I want this sign to pass the strongest message ever unto you, to me and to all of us.

1. Causes of Climate Change


1.1 burning of fossil fuels

factory emissions

1.2 Forest Fires

forest fire

2. Effects:

2.1 global warming


2.2 coral bleaching

coral bleaching

2.3 melting of the polar ice caps

melting ice caps

And a lot more.

Probably, there is nothing or very little, that we can do for causes of climate change which are due to natural causes such as volcanic eruption, tilting of the earth’s axis, erratic earth’s orbital plane and the sun’s behavior.

But, please. For causes which are man-made like unabated burning of fossil fuels, forest fires, slash-and-burn agriculture, improper disposal of liquid and solid wastes, cutting of trees and destruction of the ecosystems.. let us do something about it.

The race to save our world from the catastrophic effect of global warming against those who continue to contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer is, by far, the biggest game that homo sapiens have to engage. While we are badly losing this race, more than 90% of the world’s population are unmindful of this reality.

When do we act? Maybe when we already experience hardness of breathing due to scarcity of oxygen from the air that we breathe.

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Photo Challenge: Endurance

Endurance: the ability to stay put; the will to survive or nature’s way of preserving itself.

Here is an edifice in our hometown that has endured for more than two centuries now.

Fort Cotabato



This is the Spanish stone fort that was built in about the year 1800. It was used by the Spaniards as a command post and launching pad for their operations to subdue the Moros (who now proudly call themselves Bangsamoro) of Mindanao. Unfortunately, this was the only one of three major Islands of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) which was not ruled at will by the Spanish colonizers.

When the Americans arrived here on Dec. 11, 1899 (as you can see on the scribbled note), they used the fortress for the same purpose. But then again, the brave Moros of Mindanao stood up to defend their homeland. They have mastered the art of ‘hit and run’ type of guerilla warfare to inflict body counts against the enemy with superior weaponry.

The Moros, now the proud Bangsamoro, showed their ability to endure superior forces because they were fired up by a more superior love for their homeland which they would never give up to foreign dominion and control.

What a way for this stone fort and the Bangsamoro to show ENDURANCE!

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