weekly photo challenge: nighttime

faia sign
location: lisbon, portugal
when i travel, i bring a cheap camera only. my reasoning is that if it’s stolen or broken by accident, it won’t be a big deal. if there’s a drawback, it’s taking pictures in low light conditions. it can be quite a challenge. it can be a hit or miss, mostly the latter being the result.

take the case of the above picture taken outside o faia restaurant in lisbon where we went for dinner and enjoyed listening to fado music. among the pictures that i took that night, it was the only one worth keeping. the others taken inside the restaurant were too bad to save for posterity.

by the way, you can’t go to portugal without experiencing a fado performance in one of the establishments there. fado, which translates to ‘fate’ in english, is the traditional folk music of portugal. its melody and lyrics remind me of the filipino kundiman that is full of love and sadness and longing for something lost or unattainable.

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September 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm 10 comments

in memoriam: samira salih al-nuaimi


while i was having lunch with my iranian friend, i commented how nice it would be to have a muslim wife.

“why would you say that?” he chuckled. “once the hijab is removed, you can see that they’re no different from other women. inside the house, they rule.”

i used to think that muslim women are non-confrontational, and submissive, and accommodating to men, but now i’m not so sure.

time and again, the news tells about muslim women who don’t fit the stereotype.

there’s malala yousufzai, the teenage girl who stood up against the taliban and championed the education of girls in the swat valley in pakistan. the militants shot her in the head and between the neck and chest. fortunately, she survived to continue her advocacy.

just this week, we read about samira salih al-nuaimi, a human rights lawyer in the iraqi city of mosul who was seized at her home, tortured, and publicly killed by firing squad. her offense was being critical of the militants’ destruction of mosques and shrines in the city.

according to nbc news, al-nuaimi was known for her courageous work promoting the rights of women and helping the poor. she would also be remembered as a lawyer who passionately defended people detained by u.s. forces for free.

in her short life, she represented the best of what a woman or even a man could be. she is survived by her husband and three young children. may she rest in peace.

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September 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm 8 comments


for friday fictioneers 100-word challenge 26 September 2014

Marie Gail StratfordPhoto Credit: Marie Gail Stratford

I never thought I’d be embarrassed of my mother, but that was until I learned about her job.

As a single mother, I gave her credit for spoiling me. She bought me designer clothes and shoes. Now I felt like a fraud for wearing them.

She cried when I confronted her about working in a strip bar. Growing up, I made her cry even more for what I perceived as her shortcomings.

Looking back, I couldn’t imagine how she could deserve such an ungrateful son. I hope it’s not too late to make amends and tell her I love her.

September 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm 42 comments

wordless wednesday: love locks

location: queen mary’s bridge (marienbrücke), hohenschwangau, bavaria

September 23, 2014 at 9:31 am 8 comments

weekly photo challenge: endurance

machu picchu
location: machu picchu, cusco region, peru

dear one, as long as we live in hope, we will endure.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson


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September 19, 2014 at 11:21 am 16 comments

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