As Writer as it Gets

By Euden Valdez

I’M a writer. And it shows in a lot of ways. One that’s simple and as writer as it gets is collecting notebooks.

The three in the picture are my current constants: 1. A folio notebook, which is a gift from a friend who knows me so well. It has been used and abused for I guess about four years already. It’s refillable with pocket inserts so I can keep lots of stuff and trinkets inside it; 2. My 2020 CBTL planner, which also doubles as my bullet journal. It’s so functional for me because there is so much space for writing and planning. For the record, this is one and only café planner that I “collected” because it’s refillable and created by the same makers of my folio notebook; And 3. My notebook from work, which I use on the job and for other jobs particularly my volunteer work.

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Full Transcript: Ebe Dancel on his 20th Year in Music Industry, 1st Solo Concert

INTERVIEW BY EUDEN VALDEZ

FOR Ebe Dancel, the show always goes on. He has been doing so in the last 20 years. The show went on for the singer-songwriter when his longtime alternative rock band Sugarfree disbanded eight years ago. He went solo and almost slowly but surely made a name for himself in the industry.

Come February 29, 2020, the show continues for Dancel as he finally holds his first solo concert at the Metrotent in Pasig City. It marks and celebrates his two decades in the local music industry.

Last December, this author was able to exclusively interview the OPM icon in promotion of the upcoming solo concert, which sold out within months of selling by the way. It was serendipity of sorts for the last time I was able to interview him exclusively was for the promotion of his first solo album eight years ago. 

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What Two Pairs of Running Shoes Taught Me

BY EUDEN VALDEZ

I hope this won’t bore you but I’m going to talk about shoes—and a lot about myself through shoes.

I come from a middle-class family who always have just about enough, if not less. Growing up as a student, I remember the only time I would be bought a new pair of shoes was before the school began. I had other pairs apart from the leather ones but these weren’t many.

Today, in a span of two weeks, I bought myself two pairs of running shoes, costing about P10,000, for my upcoming, first marathon in February. I don’t mean to brag because in reality—well my share of reality—that amount is already a luxury. It wasn’t intended rather the result of careless choices.

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IN PHOTOS: Huta Siallagan at the Heart of Lake Toba, Indonesia

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

GADING SIALLAGAN is an old man, probably in his 70s or even 80s, who sports silver hair that is neatly parted sideways. His facial features are refined but what strikes are his eyes, deep set with wisdom as a Batak of Northern Sumatra in Indonesia.

In his prime years, Siallagan was an aerospace flight control engineer, which made him see the world from Asia to America to Europe. He also became an educator in a top Indonesian university.

Today, the well-traveled Batak is settled in his hometown, particularly in Huta Siallagan in Samosir Island at the heart of Lake Toba. At 1,145-square kilometer and 450-meter deep, it is the largest volcanic lake in Southeast Asia, as well as one of the deepest in the world.

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Facing Fear, Testing Limits, and Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 3

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

(Last of Three Parts)

Chasing Time, Going Home

DO you know that feeling when you’re chasing time to something very important, like a concert or a flight, but suddenly luck isn’t on your side? With every ticking of the clock, you’re tummy is also turning. You need to make it, no matter what.

There wasn’t any concert in the mountains or a flight back to Manila, but we were indeed chasing time on our last day at Kibungan. To be exact, chasing our bus ride back home. It was still in the evening but we already knew how limited our time and resources were. The chase was on. 

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Facing Fears, Testing Limits, and​ Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 2

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

(Second of Three Parts)

Crying Mountains to Tacadang

HOW does one prepare for a journey to someplace one has never been before? Often, a traveler relies on research and recommendations. For us mountaineers involved in community work, communication among locals and leaders are required.

It is them whom we based our itinerary and estimations on trek time. Often, if they say it takes them one hour to summit from jump off, then we double it for ourselves.

This was the case for our Kibungan circuit, in which half was to be spent on unfamiliar trails despite RAK Ph Mountaineers’ regular outreach activities in the mountainous province. We were aware that coming from Sitio Lanipew, all of us would technically be “first-timers” going to Barangay Tacadang proper on Day 2.

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CCP to Unveil Commemorative Markers on 50th Anniversary

(From the Cultural Center of the Philippines)

ON September 10, the Cultural Center of the Philippines will unveil markers to commemorate the important role played by the premiere institution in promoting, preserving and developing the Philippine arts and culture in the past 50 years. The markers will be installed at the CCP Main Theater Lobby.

“The Cultural Center of the Philippines is a fulfillment of the decades-long quest of countless Filipino artists and government officials for a National Theater,” the marker partially reads.

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Facing Fears, Testing Limits, and Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 1

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

(First of Three Parts)

Rainy Assault at Almasi

IMAGINE assaulting a steep trail with small steps carved from a mountain’s solid surface while being exposed to the forces of nature—behind you is the open mountain range covered in white. You realize you’re actually inside the clouds or the fog, whichever, for it is raining and every now and then, the wind blows sharp, cold stings. Below, you see the endless and tiresome steps you just took but not the bottom.

Now imagine arriving at the top of such the arduous ascent only to be faced with a new peak, beyond it, a silhouette of yet another peak. It feels and seems like there is no end to this assault.

​This was the infamous Almasi trail of Kibungan’s mountain range of high summits, deep gorges, thick forests and countless waterfalls.

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Lav Diaz’s 4-Hour ‘Ang Hupa’ is Cinemalaya’s Opening Film for 2019

(From the Cultural Center of the Philippines)

FOR the first time in its 15-year history, Cinemalaya is opening with a four-hour-and-thirty-minute film come August 2 at the CCP Main Theater. Lav Diaz’s “Ang Hupa (The Halt)” is the the center of this bold move for the most anticipated film festival in the country. 

This screening is a homecoming of sort for Diaz’s “Ang Hupa” after making its world premiere at the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight, the non-competition section of Cannes Film Festival, in France early this year. 

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Camiguin May Be PH’s Next Best Diving Destination – Says Cebuano Diver

BY EUDEN VALDEZ

BO MANCAO is not just a diver by heart but also by blood—if there’s such a thing. After all, he was born into and raised by a family of divers from Cebu, one of the most renowned dive destinations in the Philippines.

The country being an archipelago teeming with marine treasures, Mancao naturally ventured out of his hometown, discovering other sites in nearby and faraway island provinces. Camiguin was one of them. He was still young when he first discovered and explored the waters of Camiguin together with his father back in the 90s.

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