Tag Archives: life

Leonids meteors and much more

I woke up at almost 2:00 pm today and I have a good excuse for that. Leonids meteors.

From 2:00 to 4:00 am, hubby and I were lying down on borrowed carton and rubber mats (thanks to students and fellow astronomy fans out there), at the viewdeck of the PAGASA Observatory in UP Diliman Campus.  It became quite cold at around 3:00 am and that’s when we realized how stupid we were not to bring anything like mats and blankets! :) (Next time, we know better!)

Anyway, the long wait was definitely worth it. We started seeing meteors every 15 or 30 minutes or so. If my count is right, I have seen about 11 of them. Not bad for a 2-hour stay. The girl beside me who started their watch at about 9:00 pm said she was already on her 25th meteor by the time we were leaving. So using simple calculation, she have seen an average of 3 to 4 hours meteor an hour. Not bad too! (I must also thank her and her other friends who kindly shared their mats with me and hubby – who are total strangers in the dark!)

My favorite meteor happened sometime around 3:30 am – it left a bluish streak of light and the ‘train’ it created was thicker than the others I have seen this morning. It appeared below the Orion star constellation (at least from my vantage point of view). I shouted and clapped my hands along with the others who would also normally applause and cheer everytime a meteor arrives. Wow, if we had seen only one meteor that night, then it would already be worth the long and chilly wait.

Photo credits: Jim & Carol Harlan from Space(dot)Com

The other meteors were equally magical, leaving reddish, yellowish and mostly whitish glow along the dark skies. One even had an almost greenish tinge! According to the NASA website, “The color of many Leonids is caused by light emitted from metal atoms from the meteoroid (blue, green, and yellow) and light emitted by atoms and molecules of the air (red). The metal atoms emit light much like in our sodium discharge lamps: sodium (Na) atoms give an orange-yellow light, iron (Fe) atoms a yellow light, magnesium (Mg) a blue green light, ionized Calcium (Ca+) atoms may add a violet hue, while molecules of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) and oxygen atoms (o) give a red light. The meteor color depends on whether the metal atom emissions or the air plasma emissions dominate.”

Leonids meteors showers (taken in US skies)

Photo credits: Anthony Galvin from Space(dot)com

The news articles about the meteors showers predicted that there would be about 100 meteors appearing every hour but unfortunately, I think the visible ones numbered about five per hour only. I guess one reason is that the others were not visible to the naked eye anymore because of the clouds and yes, the level of pollution in Manila. I always think that ‘stars shine more brightly’ in the provinces because the air there is cleaner and therefore the skies are clearer. It makes sense because according to scientists, those ‘hazy’ skies are mostly caused by air pollution. One probable factor why we also didn’t see more meteors was the cumulative effect of city lights – I am very sure that we’d see more of the meteors had we been watching from, say, a secluded beach resort or a mountaintop. I hope we city dwellers will do something more concrete to combat air pollution, or we are doomed to a future with no more nights of stargazing and meteors-watching.

It was my first time to do stargazing again after a long while. This time, I have a husband beside me (who must have been thinking how the hell he ended up with a wife who would drag him into the dead of the night just so they can watch falling stars…hehehe). [Yes, hubby, expect more of nights and morning like that!]

I posted this in my Facebook today, “Looking at the expanse of the night skies with stars scattered all over like burning jewels, it made me think again about how mysterious, beautiful, perfect and energizing the universe is. Everything is just so perfect, the planets don’t colide, the earth just circles the sun in harmony with all the other planets, and we live, we breathe, we laugh…Ahhh, this is so full of mystery, so full of magic…”

God must really really love us all very much.

For more details about Leonid meteors and other astronomical facts, you may visithttp://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/meteor.html

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This is not a paid blog.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin

Extraordinary moments

The flowers smile at the sun.

Here in Baguio, I am reminded once again that in ordinary things lie great mysteries and sheer beauty. Here, I have learned to look at flowers again, explore their details, like the way they smile at the sun.

I have learned to enjoy a cat (a very naughty and aggressive cat at that!) even if I have always been a true-blue dog-lover. Meet Baguio’s Garfield: he is the adopted cat of the house (the first one where we stayed two weeks in late March & early April) who meows, wails, shouts, and kicks like a little girl who just lost her favorite baby doll whenever she is hungry (which is like 8 times a day!). I also suspect that “she” is gay because she enjoys curling up her body with the legs of MY fiancé! I swear she never did that with me!

He sure knows how to throw a tantrum ;D

I have enjoyed simple card games like Black Jack where I always won against JR. Whenever I shuffle the cards, I would always make some voodoo-like whispers and gestures to the cards as well as some hand and arm movements so as to bring me luck and true enough, I always won most of the games. JR thinks I am really a witch. The more amusing thing is, he also started doing some hand and arm gestures which even looked funnier and crazier coming from him! The laughters we shared are so heartfelt that sometimes, it seems that tears of joy would be rolling down my face any moment. Ahhh…being together with someone who makes you laugh at yourself and at life is really one of the greatest gifts of the universe.

We promised to grow old together. :)

Armed with my digital SLR, I have learned to look more into the details of things. I was able to take a nice shot of the lowly “pang-sipit ng sinampay” (clothes clips) and again, felt grateful that I have two eyes that allow me to look not just at the big picture but appreciate the details that are often taken for granted. Aren’t we all guilty of this sometimes? Faced with problems and challenges, we forget the “small things” around us that truly matter.

There is beauty in the smallest details.

And there was the full moon! I have always been a moon-watcher. I try to keep track of the phases of the moon. In Baguio last April, we were there when the moon was at its fullest. And it was also a double-blessing because the moon was directly facing the room assigned to us. We gazed at her and took pictures…and was probably even “moonstruck” on the second night of moon-watching because suddenly, after an hour or so of watching, JR and I just simply collapsed in bed, feeling like our energies were totally sapped by the moon and yet, wonderfully, strangely, the following morning, we felt like we had a very long, deep and completely restful sleep.

Moonstruck in Baguio.

It is May now and we are back in Baguio. I am sure that there will be more nice surprises and yes, challenges along the way. I continue to sit still, be in total awe of the moment, contented that the river flows and I am alive.

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This is not a paid blog.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin

Snippets

Tattoo

The butterfly grows on my back.

Saturday was fun. Met up, for the first time, with my online buddies who share one of my passions: photography. We went to Fort Santiago but were unfortunately not allowed inside–this is a long story and may cover an entire page of a blog–so we just went to Intramuros and then Baywalk. I remembered how I miss watching the sunset. I was clicking and clicking even if the sun was still quite harsh…I know this is bad for my lens. But who cares? And then a couple of tattoo artists began installing their makeshift booth. Hmmm, this is getting more interesting. I haggled for a 100-peso butterfly design and decided to have it done on my back. I sat while I imagined myself as the painter…people stared at my back (or maybe the evolution of the butterfly or…both) but I didn’t care. The artist was telling me, “stop moving or we won’t finish” so I tried to sit still and endured the feeling of being stared at.

Ahhh…the butterfly was finally growing on my back and when it was over, I stood up, happy that it was over. I love my butterfly. Now it is a part of me. It will fade one day day but I won’t forget the simple joys of becoming a human canvass.

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A hug from a stranger

The sun still refuse to set. I waited with my camera, silently, as if waiting for a lover. Then a group of Korean guys approached me and asked me to take their pictures (through a combination of sign language and little English). I happily obliged…but I realized this was tough. Their backs were against the late but still blazing sun and there was no way my (still limited) photography skills can make their faces appear on this shot. I told them it’s hard, the sun is at your back. They just nodded their heads and posed..and so I continued and took their photos. I think they didn’t care at all. They’re just happy being together, enjoying Manila Bay and its famous sunset and maybe having photos that may eventually end up in their deleted files. But oh, I got a sweet gift. This was unexpected. One of them went to me and hugged me! No words, no nothing, just the beauty of a simple hug. Who can beat that? Maybe he can’t speak in English but for me, he just told me one of the biggest thank you’s I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

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Baclaran

“This is a microcosm of Philippine society,” I thought aloud inside my friend’s car as we weaved out of Baclaran Church. It’s past midnight. Another friend was talking endlessly about the cute guys we saw around the Church. And sex. Around us were merchants, devouts, cigarette vendors, pirated DVDs stores, chauffer-driven luxury cars, and bibingka stalls. I am part of this but I am not. I found myself but I am lost. I remembered the candles I lighted. The prayers I whispered. Next week, same time, I will come again.

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Silence

For two days I didn’t go out of my house. I worked and read and wrote and read again. I seemed to have immersed myself in so much solitude and reading that I may have forgotten to eat voraciously (as usual) as I lost two pounds (yehey!). I had fever when I woke up this morning. It was so cold last night. My world was so silent. I received text messages and knew I should go out and be a part of humanity again, to be confused again, to laugh again, to believe again, to celebrate again. My solitary days will soon be over. My friends miss me and I miss them. I am back. I am back.

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“Artists don’t sleep…

…they just close their eyes.” I just suddenly blurted this out one night when my friends were leaving my place and said something about me looking like I am already very sleepy. I don’t know why I said that. Sometimes I just say things and realize that they don’t make sense and yet, they make sense. You know what I mean? Sometimes these words just happen. Like moments in our lives that just happen. I promised myself I’ll always try my best to write more. To write about these moments more. To embrace my life more. To take photos more. To understand my life more. To become a better friend. A better lover. A better daughter. A better sister. A better artist. It’s past 2:00 am as I type this. I must be inspired. Or maybe the 2-day seclusion did my soul some good.

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Love

Sometimes I don’t understand you. I give myself to you completely but sometimes I don’t like you at all. You are my joys yet you are my pains. You are my growth but you are my destruction. You are my strength but you are my weakness. You are my light but you are my darkness. You are that comforting voice in the middle of the storm but you are the noise in my deepest solitude. I don’t love you but I love you.

[Re-post of a blog dated January 30, 2007 (from my previous site).] 

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This is not a paid blog.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin