Do you have a book that scares you? It could be of any genre but mostly it’s horror or suspense thrillers that raise some hairs.
Five years ago, on this day, I found and bought this book in Booksale (SM City Cebu). Fast forward to 2021, I still have not finished it.
Why? Nightmares — every. single. time. i. read. it.
I am a sucker for crime thrillers, books or movies. Give me gore, give me blood, give me mystery (so long as there is no paranormal involved). I also love watching and researching true crime stories. I am passionately interested in what goes into the mind of the mad. So, my experience with Cornwell’s Portrait of a Killer honestly came as a surprise. I’ve had countless attempts of continuing the book which resulted to countless of nighttime terror too.
By 2018, I gave up. It’s not about Cornwell’s writing (I am a big fan of her Scarpetta series by the way). It’s just that the scanned letters, the sketches, the newspaper clippings and the police reports — they all felt so close. It’s different when you’re watching things on the screen. Touching the pages with my hand felt like Jack the Ripper breathing on my nape.
Will I ever get over this book? How do you deal with such fear? Hmm…
Do you have a book that scares you? It could be of any genre but mostly it’s horror or suspense thrillers that raise some hairs.
February was indeed a month of love. I’ve had 28 days of happiness and momentary peace despite my writing and reading life turning not as productive as I originally planned. From Valentine’s Day to my birthday to my best friend’s wedding — life has been great overall.
Here’s a quick wrap-up of the month that was.
Things I’ve written…
Books I’ve read…
I intend to read all three books in my vintage classic box set (Secret Garden, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland) this month, but life happened wonderfully so I only got to finish Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
I have started Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland but that will have to carry over this March.
And, who would have thought, I got no book haul this month too! HAHA. My pockets are smiling from ear to ear.
Places I’ve been…
Maria finally went out of town to get a taste of nature’s best this month. To celebrate Valentine’s Day and my birthday, my friends and I went to the northwestern part of Cebu. It was a sea to summit experience, filled with laughter and joy.
Read more of our trip here: Tuburan Escapade: Better than your chocolate-and-flowers kind of date
I’ve also had my first day hike of 2021 on the last day of the month. James, Chiarra and I went to everyone’s go-to hiking spot, the Spartan Trail. What a way to end the very special February!
Now, let’s go march to March! 😀
Valentine’s Day… also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. A time of the year when the world is filled with songs, flowers and gifts. When smiles are warmer, hugs are tighter, and sweet nothings are exchanged. An annual celebration of love in all forms.
And who said you can’t celebrate this day with friends?
The last time I traveled via Transcentral Highway was in 2017 when my friends and I hiked Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Mauyog in Balamban. It has been quite a long while since my eyes feasted to the view of Cebu’s highlands. The cool wind, the uninterrupted ride (no traffic, yes!), and the long winding stretch of scenic mountain view are already a treat to every traveler’s heart. Going farther north with me are my SMS peeps, James, Chiarra, An Jurvel, CJ Estrada, Kevin, and Belle.
After two hours of van ride, we reached the municipality of Tuburan. The town got its name from the Cebuano word “tubod” which means “spring.” We stopped at the covered court across the San Antonio De Padua Parish Church which is also a pilgrim destination for devotees of the patron saint of the poor, the lost, and more. After a quick lunch and last-minute errands, we charted motorcycles to take is to our first destination.
Sea, sand and sunny smiles
Eve’s Beach Front Home and Garden Resort is a slice of paradise situated not too far from the heart of Tuburan. Their two-storey beach house offers guests enough rooms and space for a weekend getaway. Here, you could either spend an intimate time with your loved one or go with family and friends without worrying much about a crowded shoreline.
It was past noon when my friends and I checked in. Had we been younger, we would be quick to scan the place. Take pictures of whatever Instagrammable spot we find. Chase the sunset. Run straight into the high tide. But, inevitably, time has turned us into titas and titos ─ a little older yet still young at heart. We have a new priority on top of photographs now.
And that is none other than food.
My friends and I quickly turned on our kusinera and kusinero modes. Everyone got busy with slicing, grilling, cooking, with punctuations of lots of laughter and banter in between. As usual, we had a feast enough to last throughout our late-night conversations, swimming, and Tiktok marathon by the beach.
It was only during the morning that we got to explore Eve’s. The beach is lined with tropical trees which also makes it an ideal spot for hammocks. They also have a camping area for guests who opt to pitch their tents.
A spring of hope and a ‘hole’ lot more
Tuburan is also known as a “spring of hope” with its abundant water sources. One of their many springs that is recently making rounds in social media is the Blue Hole Spring located in Brgy. San Juan.
Locals and tourists alike visit this natural pool to take a quick dip and enjoy its mesmerizing blue water. On a great day, one can bask in nature’s best with the sun shining warmly over the surrounding green trees and refreshing spring.
But aside from the picturesque view, what makes Blue Hole Spring likable is the kindness of their locals. Kudos to the LGU for the good tourism management. The entrance is free and there are locals and tanods who oversee the order place and the safety of the people. Tables and chairs or cottages are available for rent at a reasonable price. They also have bamboo rafts that you can ride above the blue waters.
What goes up must come down
Of course, our sea to summit experience will not be complete without a taste of the mountains. We headed next to Brgy. Marmol where the infamous Atabay Peak is located. From the circulating pictures we’ve seen, its limestone rock formation could be likened to that of Mt. Mauyog and Licos Peak.
But trust us when we say that Atabay Peak is much scarier than those two.
Not sure if it was the rainy weather, the slippery rocks, or the delicate scaffolding that pushed us to fear but the experience was literally breathtaking. Only a few of us braved to go on the edge and we all came down hurrying away from the intimidating cliff.
Our kind habal-habal drivers offered to take us to a nearby open hill instead which gave us a 360-degree view of the town’s coffee-scented highlands. This hill is located in the Plantation 1 part of Tuburan’s coffee farm which offers the Cebu-grown robusta beans.
Centennial Dao Tree (Dracontomelon dao)
The last part of our round Tuburan escapade is a trip to Brgy. Jagbuaya where the centennial Dao tree is. According to locals, this giant tree is approximately 200 years old and could possibly be one of the oldest trees in the country. Years of rain have eroded parts of the bank yet you could see how this Dao tree continues to thrive and survive.
Overall, this weekend was a wonderful celebration of Valentine’s Day (and birthday). No fancy dates or flowers and chocolates, just pure fun. Here’s to more moments like this! ❤
Check out CJ’s vlog during our Tuburan escapade on YouTube:
My dearest Girl,
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else — The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you against the unpromising morning of my Life — My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you — I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving—I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love — Your note came in just here — I cannot be happier away from you — ’T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder’d at it — I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my Religion — Love is my religion — I could die for that — I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet — You have ravish’d me away by a Power I cannot resist; and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often “to reason against the reasons of my Love.” I can do that no more — the pain would be too great — My Love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.
Yours for ever,
One of my favorite poets and letter senders, John Keats, died on this day exactly 200 years ago. Sharing this extract from one of his sweetest and poignant letters to Fanny Browne, his betrothed.
Ah, so much love. 💛
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
I went closer,
and I did not die.
had his hand in this,
as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,
was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry
but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
also troubled –
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
to which there is no reply?
Sharing this poignant poem about dying and living after someone’s death. For some unknown reason, I find myself drawn to this piece today. I hope we all heal from all kinds of loss.
Chances are the water’s shallow
Chances are the water’s deep
Youth outgrown yet still a callow
Cowed to silence, afraid to leap
Her heart’s atwitter — a jumbled prose
Wind blows, her mind’s split
Stuck between dabbling her toes
Or simply plunging right into it
Photo via Unsplash
Sharing this very first poem I wrote for this year. It’s a small piece that carries my worries about life and writing. I took long break from both — spent almost half of 2020 floating, waking up to aimless days, switching between concern and indifference about the world. For a while, “seize the day” felt so distant when you have very little to seize. Thankfully, time and time again, I am reminded by something or someone to focus on the little things that truly matter.
Here’s to better days! 😊💛
How time flies! I cannot say that January was a great start for 2021, but it was definitely a good one for me. I’ve had my own share of ups and downs, and I’m glad most of us made it through the month safe and healthy.
But before I welcome the very special February, here’s a quick look back:
Things I’ve written…
When I started the year, I promised myself that I’d go back to writing poetry. And I did, though I haven’t published any of them yet. In the next few days or weeks, I will gladly share them to my little community here in WordPress. For now, here are throwback posts from last month…
Books I’ve read…
I have spent January with one book: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume II. For the whole month, I have been Sherlocked and have rambling about this fine detective and his adventures. YAY!
More books have been added to my growing “shelfish” family too. My December order (a treat from my 13th month pay) arrived this month and I couldn’t be happier. I got these some awesome novels from Book Duke:
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
- Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov
- Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
- Vintage Classic Box Set (Secret Garden, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland)
Meanwhile, my official book haul for January are:
- The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Here are some bookish thoughts from last month, too:
- Quick Notes: The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Book Talk: Tsundoku in times of “addutucart”
- Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Places I’ve been…
My hiking friends and I were finally able to spend the weekend in the mountains of Toledo. We camped at Tagaytay Hills, the very first mountain I’ve visited in Cebu. It was very foggy with light rain, but still we enjoyed our quick escape. Here’s a short video from CJ Estrada to give you an idea:
An that’s it for the recap! See you again after a month. May February be in our favor. 😁
Many have compared the two volumes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in terms of quality and singularity. I have read comments stating that its second collection ─ two novels (The Hound of Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear) and two short story collections (His Last Bow and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes) ─ fell deeply short of people’s expectations.
But, I would like to set one thing straight. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has had enough of Sherlock Holmes by 1893. When he wrote “The Final Problem,” Doyle was resolved to kill Sherlock despite the growing demand for his brilliant and remarkable hero.
Why? I see two reasons: first, it was to save himself; second, it was to save Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle did not see himself as a writer in a box. Although the adventures of his Baker Street duo greatly appealed to readers, he continued to explore other genres including fantasy, poetry and historical fiction. Killing off Sherlock had the purest intention, but it unfortunately received the worst reaction. The people of London were utterly disappointed and mad. It took Doyle eight years to give in to their pressures and release The Hound of Baskervilles in 1901 which is the first novel in Volume II.
Doyle knew that the quality of Sherlock’s adventure stories would inevitably decline. Each case required an intricate plot and, in turn, meant a lot of mental work for the writer. Additionally, the public’s demands and his publisher’s deadlines did not make it easier. This is why I empathize with Doyle. He wanted to preserve the greatness of Sherlock Holmes without the influence of fandom.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume II revived Sherlock in print, yet some people would say that it did not carry the same fire. Maybe, maybe not. But one thing’s for sure, kudos to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for writing such superb work.
Genre: Juvenile fiction/Coming-of-age
Synopsis: As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she’ll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.
Five reasons to read the book:
1) Anne Shirley. If there is only one character I wish I could ever be, that would be the beloved Anne with an E. Everything about her ─ thoughts, words, actions ─ is charming and you just can’t help but fall in love with this little redhead. Anne does not only change the lives of the people around, her but the people reading her story as well.
2) The journey. All the books in this series takes one on a journey of growth. L.M. Montgomery writes poetically, but she does not gloss over reality with it. Many ups and downs are put into spotlight as you follow Anne’s life as an orphan girl, a teen, an adult and, finally, a mother.
3) The cast. You get to meet a number of lively characters throughout the series. Some of them you will like, some you won’t. Some of them becomes your kindred spirit, some will challenge your perception/belief. Some people carry stories that will break your heart while others will give you a glimpse of new experiences. Anne of Green Gables is an amalgam of POVs that you would not want to miss.
4) The lessons. The series teem with lessons about life, love and everything in between. L.M. Montgomery writes realistic dialogues and a lot of points to ponder are exchanged among characters. The lessons, told through Anne’s amusing scrapes and romantic notions, will have you looking at life with a positive disposition.
5) The setting. From the beautiful Green Gables country home in Book 1 to the old Morgan place where the Blythe family finally settled in Book 8, Anne will make you see the beauty of nature and life through her keen eyes and extraordinary imagination. I love how L.M Montgomery took her time with the specifics and details of each location. Definitely a new addition to your list of favorite fictional places.
Highlighted Quotes: (Book 1 to Book 8)
“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
“The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
“It will come sometime. Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it is Tomorrow. Not Today but Tomorrow. And then things will happen … wonderful things.”
“There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves.”
“You were never poor as long as you had something to love.”
“Gilbert darling, don’t let’s ever be afraid of things. It’s such dreadful slavery. Let’s be daring and adventurous and expectant. Let’s dance to meet life and all it can bring to us, even if it brings scads of trouble and typhoid and twins!”
“Even when I’m alone I have real good company — dreams and imaginations and pretendings.”
“I suppose all this sounds very crazy — all these terrible emotions always do sound foolish when we put them into our inadequate words. They are not meant to be spoken — only felt and endured.”
“Well, that was life. Gladness and pain…hope and fear…and change. Always change! You could not help it. You had to let the old go and take the new to your heart…learn to love it and then let it go in turn. Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer lose itself in autumn. The birth…the bridal…the death…”
“Time is kinder than we think,’ thought Anne. ‘It’s a dreadful mistake to cherish bitterness for years…hugging it to our hearts like a treasure.”
“It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.”
“Being frightened of things is worse than the things themselves.”
“The body grows slowly and steadily but the soul grows by leaps and bounds. It may come to its full stature in an hour.”
“Dream after dream comes true—or rather is made true by persevering effort.”
Final Thoughts: Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montomgery’s classic eight-book series, will forever be my favorite go-to read. All thanks to its hopelessly romantic, impulsive and overly dramatic red-headed heroine, Anne Shirley. This beloved Anne with an E heightened my love of the natural world and opened my eyes to the little things in life that truly matter. It reminded me the importance of love, friendship, family and chasing my dreams with enthusiasm, colorful imagination and fierce passion. Throughout the entire series, I felt like I grew with Anne. I was able to see life through her poetic eyes and take her delightful musings with me in the real world. Whenever I am short on motivation to move forward, I turn to Anne of Green Gables for a dose of positivity, inspiration and insight.
Have you read Anne of Green Gables series? Did you like it as much as I did?