Escaping to a Summer Day Near an Extinct Volcano

In an imaginary life, everyday is like this.


Escapism? One can hardly fault anyone for indulging in some escapism. Check out the recent popularity of superheroes in movies where they somehow save the day, or fantasies such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter where the good eventually triumphs over evil, or science fiction where the future gets secured in galaxies far away.

Maybe there’s a lot of reasons for wanting to escape reality in today’s world, but I won’t get into that All I know is that some dose of “mindful escapism” — including hobbies, sports, photography and (cough, for some) blogging — is good for our mental health.

And when we “escape” with friends and create happy memories with them then it’s one way to bring the good from the imaginary into reality. And maybe that can make this world a little better and there would be fewer reasons to escape from it.

(Photo taken at the foot of Mt. Makiling, an extinct volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.)

Unmoored But Not Adrift in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is a “managed resource protected area” in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is 420 kilometers or about an hour’s plane ride from Manila.

It has 45 islands and islets, each one a quiet corner to get unmoored from the hustle and bustle of city life.


One can while away the day on a boat, not to go adrift, but perhaps get back one’s bearings.


Or, when the day is done, simply enjoy the sunset, in a place where no one is in a hurry, not even the sea turtles that come to lay their eggs on the shore.


The day is long, as it should be, because when the days are long, then life is long too.

Natural Heritage

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost


I saw the sun rising, an orb hovering above the lake, failing to push the mist away from the mountain. I took a detour.

Why do I wander? I sat there, wondering.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
-JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

But they were on a quest, mine was a detour.

I pushed my thoughts aside. I just wanted to enjoy my detour.
(Sunrise over Laguna Lake near Mt Makiling in Laguna province in the Philippines.)

Does the Earth Belong to Us?

When I watch a sunrise


Or the occasional moonrise


I sometimes wonder if the earth is a better place without us.

I’m not trying to be a tree hugger (nothing wrong with being one).


I am simply trying to ask a bigger question —

Is the earth a planet that belongs to our species, to use and exploit, and, when exhausted, move on and colonize Mars and other planets?

Or are we part of nature, homo sapiens another species on earth, another passenger on this planet?


“With great power comes great responsibility.”

This has been quoted through the centuries, including the French Revolution, the US Supreme Court, Winston Churchill, the Holy Bible, and yes, Spider Man movies.

That our species is preeminent confers it great opportunity, to shape the earth for its purpose, and enjoy its gifts.


But also great responsibility.
and Earth Day 2017

Photos from top: Sunrise at Mt Fuji, Moonrise over Laguna province in the Philippines, Todai-ji at Nara in Japan, Ho Chi Minh International Airport, Sunrise in Laguna province in the Philippines

The Mound That Gave Massachusetts Its Name

(Moswetuset Hummock, as seen from Quincy Shore Drive in the Fall.)

There seems to be consensus that Massachusetts is named after the indigenous people living in the area.

What is not unanimous is where the name of the tribe came from. It is commonly translated as “near the great hill,” possibly referring to the Blue Hills south of Boston. Alternatively, it is represented as “Moswetuset” from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock in Quincy (shown above). Moswetuset means “hill shaped like an arrowhead.”

Whichever is the correct origin of the name, it is clearly rooted in the Earth.
hummock (noun)
: a low mound or ridge of earth; a knoll.

hill (noun) :
: a small heap, pile, or mound.

How Heavy is a Mountain?


According to this calculation, it can be several billion tons. Smart geometry and physics.

But I also like this answer – as long as you don’t try to lift it up, it doesn’t weigh anything at all. It’s like problems, you don’t deny their existence, and you don’t run away from them. You just don’t carry them around.

Science vs. philosophy. Your answer depends on how you see the question.

(Photo: detail of the “Three Sisters” at the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia.)

Today I Passed the End of Day Test

“Each day is a new canvass to paint upon.
Make sure your picture is full of life and happiness,
and at the end of the day you don’t look at it
and wish you had painted something different.”
– Author Unknown


It’s not perfect, but I’ll take it. And tomorrow I’ll paint another one.

(Pico de Loro Cove, Batangas, Philippines)