The Zen of saving water, even dishwater

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them — Chief Seattle of the Dwamish, in his 1855 letter to US President Franklin Pierce.


When I’m billeted at a local seminar house or resort, or at a hotel in some foreign city, I often notice a small, courteously worded card posted on the bathroom door or by the bedside table. It basically says, “Please conserve water” followed by some practical suggestions.

I take heed most of the time. But sometimes I forget. I leave the water on, warming it up while I go fetch something. Or in a wintry city, after I’ve rinsed down, I let the steaming shower relax me for much longer than necessary. Sometimes I tell myself that “the hotel bill has been paid for, anyway.” So I should be able to fill up the bathtub with hot water to the brim as often as I liked, even doze off in it if I wanted to, like some Hollywood royalty, and it’s none of your damn business to tell me otherwise. Continue reading “The Zen of saving water, even dishwater”

Nimble memories of Padi Solang

Describing Padi Solang could sound somewhat like the song that describes Maria von Trapp in the famous 1960s musical hit, The Sound of Music: “a flibbertigibbet, a will o’the wisp, a clown… how do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”

There are a few other parallels between Padi and Maria: their religious background, and their love of the hills “alive with the sound of music,” for example. But these points are mostly superficial.  In more substantial matters, Padi Solang is sui generis and sans rival, full of elan and eclat and panache and all other superlative Latin and French terms I could think of.

Padi Solang
Rev. Eduardo Solang, Cordillera elder and fighter for indigenous peoples rights. Photo courtesy of Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Continue reading “Nimble memories of Padi Solang”

Working-class heroes, of the biker kind

Tour of Luzon 1966 and 1967 back-to-back champion Cornelio Padilla Jr. Note that competitive bikers back then didn’t wear helmets, just ordinary sun caps. Then as now, however, they still smelled of sweat. Image courtesy of Filipino Star News.

Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan.—Ariel Ureta, popular radio-TV host in the 1970s

Ariel Ureta, forever associated with this motto under martial law, probably meant it as a harmless play or at most a subtle dig on the Marcos propaganda slogan, “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” Rumors flew that Ariel was later called to Camp Crame and given a mild dose of Marcosian discipline by being made to bike around the camp for hours—a mere urban legend, as he himself recently clarified. Continue reading “Working-class heroes, of the biker kind”