Skip to main content

To the Indefatigable Traveler

Don’t say you’re not even tempted to shop when you’re traveling. I saw you looking at postcards in the souvenir stalls near the Notre Dame in Paris and buying designer look-alike handbags from street vendors in Florence and Venice. Yes, you brought the world to your home. There is a Greek vase with its familiar scroll on the side table in your living room, a Japanese kimono hangs from a bamboo pole on your dining room wall, African masks adorn the hallway, and Eiffel Tower base lamps in your bedroom, a bright reminder of the City of Light. Who can miss the lace fan from Spain, painted with flamenco dancers, that sits right above the mantle, next to the castanets?

How exotic you look in that colorful sarong from Bali you always wear when the temperature outside matches the tropics. The upscale flip flops from Hawaii go well with your outfit. Now I know you’ve been everywhere. Even the soap in the bathroom is pure English lavender and the chocolates in the fridge are Belgian, no less. How long has it been since you came back from your last trip?

Your wine rack has two bottles of reds you lugged back from Burgundy. I was hoping you would offer me a glass. And the sophisticated refrigerator stickers are copies of artworks from the Musée D’Orsay. I know, I have a couple of those. The guide book you lent me of Scandinavia has a banana shaped bookmark from Costa Rica. I was touched when you gave me the silver camel brooch from Peru and the papyrus painting from Egypt.

When are you going to wear the wooden clogs you bought in Amsterdam? They’d be perfect for working in my garden during the rainy season, if you would lend them to me. And how did you silence the cuckoo clock you found in Germany which hangs in the guestroom? That rug from Turkey looks good in the family room, except the dog has chewed it a bit. How I wish I have my own set of bronze Buddha statuettes, just like the ones you brought back from Thailand.

You are an inspiration to me. You’ve been everywhere! And you have reminders of all your journeys at your fingertips. I admire your sense of adventure and wanderlust. I thought I was well traveled until I met you. You've been to 65 countries and counting. That’s way more than I’ve visited or hope to visit. I know I have a long way to go and not enough space for all the memories I will bring back home.

* * *

Image by Rosario Charie Albar


Popular posts from this blog

The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pre-colonial period Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by  Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together with   Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last was

8 Heritage Houses of Iloilo

Lizares Mansion The province of Iloilo on the island of Panay has a rich trove of heritage houses, left over from the sugar industry boom in the 19th century. Iloilo also had the largest port in the Philippines at that time which facilitated the export of sugar to foreign shores and deposited money in the hands of the sugar barons. The barons dropped their earnings into the acquisition of properties in Negros and the construction of beautiful homes in Iloilo, many of which are located in the vicinity of the Jaro Cathedral. The Lizares Mansion was built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife, Concepcion Gamboa and five children. The family fled to safety when World War II broke out and the house was occupied by the Japanese military. The family returned to the house after the war but left once again after the demise of Don Emiliano. It was sold to the Dominican order in the 1960s and was converted in 1978 to a private school, Angelicum School. The mansion now houses the

Filipino Struggles in History - Carlos Botong Francisco

In 1968, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila), commissioned Carlos "Botong" Francisco to paint the history of Manila for Manila City Hall. The series of large scale paintings was called  Kasaysayan ng Maynila  (History of Manila).  The paintings deteriorated over time and no attempt was made to preserve these historical canvases until 2013 when Mayor Amado Lim sent them to the National Museum for extensive restoration. Four years later, in 2017, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Manila City Council signed an agreement with the National Museum to leave the paintings at the museum so they may reach a larger audience in exchange for museum grade reproductions to replace the originals. Kasaysayan ng Maynila was later renamed Filipino Struggles in History and is now on display at the Senate Hall of the National Museum . Carlos "Botong" Francisco died in March 1969, a few months after completing the paintings. He is one of the first Filipino modernists and