First Impressions and Life’s Contradictions

©Moira G. Gallaga

From the President himself, “DO NOT BE A YES MAN.”

First impressions count, they say;

Yet do not judge a book by its cover.

Ah, life’s awash with contradiction.

What should one make of the situation?



Power and wealth are highly sought.


Easily making us in awe of authority,

Blinding us to their deficits in virtue and integrity.

Title confer status, but does not guarantee respect.


What should one make of this situation?

A world inhabited by paradoxes,

A life awash with contradiction,

Where truth is never easy to see.

“Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.” – Unknown

One must gaze through masks and blinders,

Built by prejudice to obscure reality.

Our sight has need to pierce with impartiality,

To ease the path to seeing equitably.


One must listen with acute discernment,

For the winds carry whispering voices,

Loaded with roiling insecurity and hostility,

In order to hear the message in its purity


And what of our emotions and feelings?

Easily swayed by what people in power say,

Sights and sounds, distorted and deceptive,

A situation to which we are continually captive.

Unfortunately, they are either far outnumbered by those who aren’t or don’t merit attention from the powers that be who prefer more compliant allies.

We often are blinded by the trappings of humanity:

Titles, degrees, positions, hierarchies, and affiliations.

What are these if not mere accessories,

Which, regrettably, people worship unquestionably.


07 June 2021

Street Food on the River Bank

© Moira G. Gallaga

Oh! The aroma is ever tantalizing

the freshly baked cakes

at this street food corner

Feeling pity for those

Feeling nausea at the sight of such heavenly delight!

It is a crime to watch what we eat anywhere we go, as cuisine for our family is a cultural endeavour.©

Smiles are contagious here

The boy wipes the stool for me smiling each time

I sat on it looking at his mom when she looks back to me smiling

We never talked as we cannot understand each other!

Why should I bother when her cakes talk

On our behalf.

Exotic food/
arouses the tongue/
and pleases the empty belly.©

Attending a party tonight

On the other side of the river

A fancy restaurant, spreading its evening glitz

I will miss the freshly baked cakes, the aroma and

Yes! The smile!

04 June 2021

The Ship – A Villanelle

© Moira G. Gallaga

The ship sails soon
Either climb aboard or stay on land.
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

You may fear being a buffoon
If you sing and dance with the band
The ship sails soon.

It is scary to balance atop a shaky dune
But how it feels when you can stand
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

This Azure Window in Dwerka, Gozo was the setting for Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding. It’s where we’re also introduced to Jorah. – Game of Thrones (Island of Gozo, Malta)

Should you ride in that balloon?
It is not even manned
The ship sails soon.

To truly live in the colors of June
Or only see in shades of bland
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

Will you stay in your cocoon?
Or live a life that’s big and grand?
The ship sails soon.
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

01 June 2021


Driving

©Moira G. Gallaga

It may at times seem like a task.
But there’s no way of avoiding it
Mundane routines get boring.
Caught in gridlock, the worst thing.

Once in a while an opportunity
To drive like there’s no tomorrow,
Accelerating rapidly,
To feel the rush of extreme velocity.

I consider scuba diving, skydiving, bungee jumping and ziplining as therapy. The tamest is going on a road trip to drive as fast as I can, clearing my mind and enjoying the sensation of the wind. A mild adrenaline rush, but nothing compared to other zen-like sports like the 4 above.

Doesn’t matter where I go.
It’s about the adrenal flow.
Driving at the edge of safety,
Risking with alacrity.

I find it quite soothing:
This driving that’s way too crazy.
With Arias blaring loudly,
My mind just swelling.

I revel in the pressure, the adrenaline … the feeling of being on the edge and the fast pace that characterizes life. ©

It’s great to hit the road,
When I’m in this manic mode.
‘Course, can’t do it whenever.
 Once in a while is better than never.

Holding Out for a Hero

©Moira G. Gallaga

Our Earth is a damsel in great distress,
enchained by shackles of iron-gray smog,
only tatters of her once-lovely dress
cover her body, surrounded by fog.

Since I stopped working full time, I tracked the changes in nature as avidly as I do with world news. (Atlas Mountains, Morocco. For this view, we hiked along the Atlas Mountain range, setting off from Setti Fatma in the Ourika Valley in Morocco. The massive mountain range stretches from Morocco through Algeria and Tunisia.)

Where are her knights, her saviors, to rescue
their maiden from the villains of this tale?
With time running out, how can they get through
the downpour of acid rain, faces pale

Whenever there tends to be an ecological imbalance, Mother Nature has ways of letting us know about it. (Porto Moniz, Portugal)

against the polluted sky? Bravery,
cunning, and dedication, refusal
to let their world lapse into slavery
at the hands of corporate ritual.

We’ve all experienced how scary it is when Mother earth is making herself felt. (Jardim Estrela, Lisbon)

The princess is choking in her tower,
she needs fresh, clean air to help her flower.

30 May 2021

Vaccination: Not a choice but a necessity

©Moira G. Gallaga

One of my earlier articles in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Clearly, vaccination is a necessity from a medical and health safety standpoint, but there are strong arguments against making it mandatory. However, when circumstances and factors related to people’s livelihood and well-being essentially depend on it, that reality must be accepted. Choice in that situation is basically a luxury very few can afford.

The Other World

© Moira G. Gallaga

The fingers breaking the waves and then the ears,

immersed in silence.

The simultaneous sinking and floating, oblivion,

the other world.

The wonderfully deadly feeling of pressure on the ribcage,

bringing to life my small and simple mortality-

the adaptation of the body.

All divers are created equal(ized) – it’s just that some of us handle the pressure better.

spinning slowly through the dark abyss,

spiraling upwards with the power of risky physics.

Movements both of grace and power- more than I could articulate on dry land.

The other world.

Where I dare become all of the things that juxtapose ‘self’, where I understand my

smallness

and carefully observe my own

dexterity,

as though through a camera lens.

All becomes clear. Like clean water.

One of the things I learned from scuba diving. Enjoy every descent …that’s what it’s all about. (Praia dos Pescadores, Algarve)

25 May 2021

Facing Life’s Challenges

©Moira G. Gallaga

Life can test an individual’s will in a great variety of ways; either by having absolutely nothing happening or by having everything occurs all at one time.

We are forced to fight numerous battles throughout our lives.  There are times when we are too reliant upon others to save us. Other times, there is simply too much happening at one time for us to take care of it all.  What you are going through at any one moment should never determine what will happen over the course of your life.

Taking a break and hanging around Hawksbill Summit, 4,051 feet above sea level in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

For many individuals there are a lot of challenges in life.  Many people choose to develop a very negative world view because they always seem to go through periods of their lives in which they don’t have enough; nothing is going their way; or there is simply too much going on for them to handle.

It’s good to understand there are so many things we can’t solve. Many things we can’t control. Learn to live with that thought, that’s exactly what makes life great. I live by the rhythm of the seasons. Unpredictability. (Luanda, Angola)

Through all these, we must continue to maintain our sense of honor, stay true to our principles and possess an indomitable spirit. Work hard in life each and every day, and also work hard in specific life areas consistently.  If we do not, we will only improve in short spans and can never attain optimal growth due to the fact that growth will sometimes stop, unless we start investing more effort into that particular area.

Our Lady of Medjugorje

“Bad days are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you should shut doors and dim your light. Even the best trip up sometime.”

17 May 2021

Do You Believe in a World Without Wars

©Moira G Gallaga

Note: I stumbled very recently on this very short piece that I wrote back in 12 February 2012 as I was going over some of my old postings. With the recent conflicts and war in Gaza, Myanmar and other parts of the globe right now, notwithstanding the presence of a pandemic, it caught my attention. Amazing how the passing of 9 years lets you see something you write in a different way. I don’t see myself writing this today, at least not in the manner I have expressed it back then. I still get the point I was trying to make all those years ago, about the importance of individual agency and that the trade-off would be conflict and war. However, I would have made more effort to stress that while we should celebrate and value individuality and independent thought, violence and conflict should never be tolerated as a natural outcome of this process. I guess the adage that one mellows with age is true. Well, it is in my case based on this post, hahaha.

“The first casualty of war is the truth.” – Aeschylus

Unfortunately, war is and has been a constant companion of humanity. In my opinion, the absence of war will only mean one thing, humanity as a whole has become one mindless and single-minded entity. War is a consequence of conflict and conflict results from a clash of ideas, thoughts, necessity, etc… As long as humans are capable of independent thought then conflict is inevitable. This means to have a world without war is to have mankind thinking alike and in synch with each other, like a hive of some sort. I think I’d prefer to have the privilege and freedom to think and decide for myself, even if this makes the world a dangerous place to some extent. Besides, if we have the capacity to wage war, then we also have a capacity to wage peace. It’s simply a matter of finding a balance between the two.

“History is written by the victors.” Attributed to Winston Churchill but actual origin unknown

20 May 2021

Be Kind to Yourself

© Moira G. Gallaga

It is hard work being an adult. There are constant demands on your time, energy and emotions from many different people. Your spouse, your children and your boss all want to be the focus of your attention at all times. While it is important to do your best and live unselfishly for others, there is another side to this coin.

It is impossible to live life to the fullest if you are not kind to yourself. You cannot give 100% of yourself to others if you have not been nurturing your personal life. The list below shows you some ways that you can carve off some private time and treat yourself right.

Rest. Relax. Recharge. Refocus. Not a luxury – it’s a necessity. (Prague, Czech Republic)

1) Schedule Personal Time – Everything of importance in our lives has to be scheduled in. If you do not set a time as if it were an appointment, your personal time will never happen. You do not need to set aside much time, maybe just 15-20 minutes to read a book, play an instrument or take a nap.

2) Join a Group – Consider joining a club or taking a class on a subject you love. It may be a book club, a diving group or a pottery class. This is a great way to get away from it all while doing something productive at the same time.

3) Get Up Earlier – You may not enjoy setting the alarm 20-30 minutes earlier, but you will be surprised at the result. Those few moments of peace and quiet before the rest of the family gets up will become your favourite part of the day.

Slow down and be kind to yourself. The results are worth it.

Nature recharges our minds and bodies. (Lillehammer, a town in Norway where a Mossad hit team killed an innocent man by mistake in the early 70s)

15 May 2021