Thank you, Saint Anthony

I have already accepted the loss of  my photos when suddenly this afternoon while I was searching for my music file it suddenly appeared in a drive that I have tried checking for a hundred times already but to no avail. It was as if the files were playing a trick on me. My feeling was of surprise and elation. It felt like these gifts of framed time and space captured for the last two years were really meant for me. I am embracing these gifts now.

Thank you to San Antonio, the patron saint of lost articles and the grace of finding them.


Image of San Antonio from the village of Balite, Bulusan

Photo: Alma P. Gamil





Moonrise in Bulusan, August 2014

For someone who is a non-techie person like me, attempting to recover lost archives of photos will be like retrieving those photos from the vastness of space. So the moment I realized what happened I checked the ones that remained and one of them is this moonrise photo – a reminder of  the night of the full moon when I summoned the moon for another melancholic shot. It did.

How callous of me to notice its melancholic beauty just now.

Photo: Alma P. Gamil


Echoes from the mountains

A view along the slopes of Mt. Bulusan, 2014

A view along the slopes of Mt. Bulusan, 2014

“He was my godson during his wedding

still so young

what a pity…”

“he was there to make copra with his brother

it was still early around 6:30 in the morning

when suddenly

sound of gunfires

obviously coming from one source

enveloped our village,”

“no exchanges of gunfires

the sound was so near us…”

“I suddenly thought of my grandchildren that were on their way to school,”

“I run and run as fast as I could

thanks God the children were already far enough from the source of the gunfire,

after the sounds stopped I lost consciousness

when I woke up they told me the horrible thing that happened to my godson,”

“gunshot wounds

on his head,

stabbed wound on his body,

left dead by the military  until mid afternoon in a farm patch

with a nearby creek in our village

of San Jose,”

“But, oh sigh, he was just a poor farmer

making a living that day

for a few hundred kilos of copra.”

“Hussshh…you should not talk of those things.

“It is better to leave it at that,”

“It will do us no good…

adding up more talks about the incident…”

I overheard the above exchanges from two elderly women passengers  from inside a passenger jeepney  while I was seated in the front seat of a Bulusan-Gubat jeepney waiting for other passengers, September 20, 2014.

Note: The news that appeared in a local daily  (Bicol Today, 18 September 2014) says that there was an encounter between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay San Jose, Bulusan, Sorsogon, Thursday morning, September 18, 2014. The casualty, a farmer, was caught in the crossfire according to the news.

Photo: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon

If You Forget Me

Lake Aguingay in the Mist, BVNP, Bulusan, Sorsogon

Lake Aguingay in the Mist, BVNP, Bulusan, Sorsogon

If you Forget Me

by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

An inconvenient time


There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

                                                                          T.S. Eliot


Pili forest, Odikin, Bulusan, September 1, 2014


It was tough I admit it. This was the first time in my photo shooting forays that my fingers were so hesitant to do what I loved most in this magical place. My mind and my fingers were  in an agitated mood. I am farthest from my flow state.  I encountered a shutterbug block in the middle of the forest.

All I wanted that time was to disappear in the leaf litters of the pili trees.  I knew then that only these giant trees will understand what was raging inside me.

Photos: Alma P. Gamil

Santa Barbara, Bulusan

Harvestmen and Purple blooms

Bulusan's flora and fauna in situ , Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, 2014

Bulusan’s flora and fauna in situ , Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, 2014

An FB friend added me to another facebook group that showcases assorted kinds of spiders and related fauna in the Philippines posted by its members. The addition was prompted because of my recent post of the above photo of a wild flora and fauna from BVNP. I was glad to the add because it started my education about Philippine spiders.

The response to my  post with this photo in the biodiversity FB group was already an exciting sign — I committed a common name error for my spider photo. Immediately I was corrected by another member by calling my attention to my post: “Correction: those are harvestmen not spiders.”  “Daddy long legs,” says another and shortly the long-legged creatures were  given a species id. As to the flora with the purple blooms, this was earlier identified in the facebook page of the Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines as an Amischotolype species.

I never thought that my photo from the boondocks will have such a long thread of discussion in three biodiversity FB sites. Wonderful!

Photo: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorosogon, Philippines