Skip to main content

John Muir, environmentalist extraordinaire

I first heard of John Muir when my dad started working in a medical facility named after him. Then when my dad and I would fetch my mom from work, we'd pass by an old house with a National Park Service marker. Curious, I thought... who is this famous guy called John Muir, whose name is found in many places frequented by my family.

So on a "culture vulture" afternoon, Daddy and I thought it was a good idea to set off early from the house to visit the historical landmark and get to know a bit about the man and why he's famous in California. Turns out that his house is actually a mansion, with all the creature comforts for someone who loves to stay within the high social circles.

And rightly so, since John married into a rich family. However, the alta de sociedad life is not for him... he preferred being in the great outdoors and then writing about his adventures and the beauty of the western wilderness for newspapers.

He was a major mover that led to the California we see today, a state that has a lot of conserved wilderness and forests that travelers like me, now enjoy. This, despite the urban zones that grow brought about by economic and industrial developments in the state.

I really wish that the Philippines has a strong advocate into wilderness conservation like John Muir. We have a lot of natural resources and beautiful beaches and mountains. But the pressures of increased tourism will eventually damage the once pristine conditions of mountains and beaches. And the constant pressure of building cities can lead to forests being chopped down to give way for the concrete jungle.

Popular posts from this blog

my top 10 life lessons from Suits season 1

I enjoy watching this series on TV called "Suits". It follows a strong mentor-mentee relationship. Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht), one of the best lawyers in the city, gives valuable lessons to his associate, Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams), the lawyer without the law degree. I find myself taking notes (and tweeting them) as I watch the different episodes.
While waiting for the July 1 premiere of the second season of Suits on Jack TV, I list down the top ten lessons that I gleaned from watching the first season of series. It's not surprising that many of them came from the great Harvey Specter. There are few things in there that came from Mike and Harvey's arch-nemesis, Louis Litt (played by Rick Hoffman), as well.
NOTE: if these sound like a lecture, it's because these are notes I write to myself for when I need them... and to whoever is reading this list.

Here we go:
1. "First impressions last. Start behind the eight ball and you'll ne…

Federico de Vera's brand of beauty at the Ayala Museum

On my latest visit to the Ayala Museum this year, I was able to catch the exhibit curated by Federico de Vera. I haven't heard of him, most likely because I'm not part of the art circles. I'm just an occasional museum hopper who likes to visit beautiful art pieces. This time, I was about to learn what beauty is, in the eyes of famous curator de Vera.
I was blown away by how he presented art pieces he picked up from other art collectors. Some of these pieces I've seen in other museums before. BUT, these are presented in a more striking manner... Instagrammable being the first word that comes to my mind. Spot lighting and subtle backgrounds really make the artworks pop. Walking through the different sections of the exhibit, I kept saying wow to myself. I liked the way that the curator presented every piece... he succeeded in putting the best face of each piece on display. There was a sense of meticulousness in the detail... not just dumping pieces together on a table or…


Back in college, I used to play with the UPLB Ethnomusemblia, a group of students who liked to play traditional Filipino music as live accompaniment to the UPLB Filipiniana Dance Troupe, those students who performed Filipino local dances. Tribal music was what I learned with the group: music filled with textures of the sounds from kulintang and agong; the resonating sounds of simultaneously beaten gangsa; and the deep tones from the dabakan. However, I never learned how to play stringed instruments that are part of the rondalla. I attempted the banduria but to no avail. That's why I never learned to play the music for the tinikling; instead, I contented myself with listening to the rondalla people play the lively song.

Tinikling is the national dance of the Philippines. In this lively dance, the man and the woman imitate the movements of a tikling, a bird found in the country, over two parallel bamboo poles set horizontally on the floor. The dance is made more challenging as the b…