8 Years of Blogging

Eight years ago this day, I launched myself into the wide and far-reaching space of the blogosphere. And Pinoy Transplant In Iowa has been in orbit since then.

IMG_0509

Eight years in existence may be deemed a milestone, especially if you consider the fact that according to research (which I also read from a blog), the average lifespan of a blog is less than 100 days. Perhaps I’m just more stubborn. Too stubborn to quit.

Though in all honesty, I seriously thought of walking away last year. I even have a “swan song” article written already, though it remained unpublished. Again, too stubborn to quit.

I am thankful for all of you, my readers and followers. The silent majority of you are not bloggers. The past year has been the most successful year yet, with regards to readership, as I got more than 70,000 visits last year. But I know, that’s nothing compared to some popular blogs that can garner that same stats in just a few days. For me, it took me eight years to establish that level of audience. That’s fine, Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Speaking of Rome, do you know that the Colosseum in Rome took 8 years to build? It was completed in 80 AD. Given the available technology and equipments they have during that time and considering how colossal (sorry, pun intended) that structure was, which can hold 50,000 people, eight years was really not long, but was rather quick. So a period of time can be short or long if you look at it in different perspectives. Anyway, we know that the Colosseum is still standing today after almost 2000 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not having the delusion that this blog will have the same longevity as the Colosseum. But at least I can say that with the number of visits I have, I can fill the Colosseum in a year.

To all of you, again, I am grateful and humbled for your continued visits.

Sincerely yours,

IMG_2493

Pinoytransplant

 

(*first photo was in Ilocos Norte 2012, the second was in Tel Aviv 2017)

 

Looking for Falling Stars

Last summer, we learned that there would be a great opportunity to see meteors in our area. That is if we would look at the right time and at the right direction. And provided that we would have a clear sky.

The event is the Perseid meteor shower, a stream of debris associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet. This is an annual event, and they said that in a clear night sky you can potentially see 100 falling stars in an hour. A hundred falling stars in an hour? That’s a proposition that was just too hard to resist.

Even though I spent half of my life in Manila (can’t see much stars in a big city), I have seen meteors several times in the past. The first time was when I was in grade school during our school’s camping in Batangas. The last time was not too long ago when I was driving home one night here in Iowa and it streaked down the sky. Perhaps I am lucky to see falling stars a few times, or perhaps I’m just looking at the night sky an awful lot of times.

My wife who have not seen a falling star ever, except maybe Kris Aquino falling off the stage on live TV some decades ago, so she was really determined to see this event.

So one night last August, we went outside to watch for falling stars.

We live in a country side, which was a decision we made years ago, where our dark night sky still shows the stars shining brightly and not blurred by the city lights. However in the past 13 years we have lived out here, the city has been creeping closer and closer to us. The cornfields and open prairies that we used to pass by is steadily being gobbled up by construction of housing developments and commercial establishments. I am not sure if I would like to call that “progress.”

It was close to 11 o’clock at night when we went out, a time that ordinarily I would already be snoring. We stood in our deck and looked out in our backyard sky towards northeast, the direction we read it would be. After close to half an hour outside, we still have not seen any falling stars. Not even a single one! And they promised 100 stars an hour?

We were also getting cold, for even though it was summer, it was seasonably cooler than usual that night. Our necks were getting strained as well from looking up. We should have placed a mat in our lawn and lay there under the stars with our blankets. At least we would be comfortable while we eagerly wait and while we listen to the ‘sweet nothing’ whispers in our ears. I’m referring to the pesky mosquitoes buzzing around our heads.

After a long while, as I was looking at the sky in the direction we thought the meteors would appear, I believed I saw a light streaked in my peripheral field of vision. So I told my wife that perhaps we were looking at the wrong direction. So we trained our gaze to a different direction in the sky.

Sure enough, in less than a minute, we saw a bright star flashed across the sky and disappeared in the dark. Not much later, another one did. And another one.

Isn’t it like many times in life, what we’re searching for has been there all along, we just have not realized it, or we just have not looked the right way. Like your lost keys. Or the love that you’re waiting for. Or the happiness that you’re chasing.

Satisfied, my wife suggested that we can go back inside the house, knowing also that the right direction where we can look was in the full view of our bedroom window. So we pulled out a sleeping mat and placed it near the window, and there we laid for the night instead of our bed, and watch for more shooting stars.

They said that you should make a wish when you see a shooting star. Of course I did. That wish was already been granted: lying down here beside me.

IMG_5651.jpg

Happy Anniversary my dear. It has been 23 years of happy moments and fulfilled wishes.

(*photo taken in Mohonk Mountain House, New York)

 

Seven Years

Seven years ago:

1. The original iPad was introduced by Apple. This revolutionized our use of tablet computers.

2. The tallest man-made structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai was officially opened. It remains the tallest building to this day.

3. The XXI winter Olympics was held in Vancouver, Canada. One of the highlights was Canada beat USA for the gold medal, in an overtime game, in men’s ice hockey.

4. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake occured in Haiti, devastating the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. With a confirmed death toll of over 316,000, it is the seventh deadliest on record.

5. Toy Story 3 was the top grossing movie of the year. It earned more than $1 Billion worldwide.

6. The commercial space flight project SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon capsule. This became the first privately created spacecraft to successfully return from low-Earth orbit.

7. The blog Pinoy Transplant In Iowa was launched. Though it is not as earth-shaking as the events I mentioned above, yet it is significant for me. This blog is still going strong.

I read in an article some time ago that the average life span of even a top blogsite is only 33.8 months. That is less than 3 years! It is also reported that the average life span of a blog is short, as 60-80% of bloggers abandon their blog within a month. I must be doing something right then.

I know we humans have a short attention span. We lose interest quite quickly. We may be engrossed in one thing today, but tomorrow we will be off to chase some other fancies.

Even in television shows, a TV series reports that most of the show even if they are a hit, last 4-5 seasons. After season 6 it is on a decline. And 7th year is like the zombie years. I hope that will not be the fate of this blog.

Last year, this blog site was visited more than 50,000 times, just like the year before. Though Philippines has most of the hits, with America a far second, this blog has been read in more than 130 countries. I am really humbled and grateful to all of you my readers (majority are not bloggers) who continue to visit this site.

I hope I can stay relevant, as I continue to blog away. I know I have not earned a single dollar from maintaining this site, and I intend to keep it that way, as your visits, likes and comments are enough to keep me going.

Again to all of you, thank you very much.

img_0297

 

Sinampalukang Pangarap

Sinampalukang manok. Pinangat na tilapia sa kamias. Sinigang na bangus sa bayabas. Ginataang santol. Alam natin ang mga ito bilang Pilipino. Alam din natin na kahit maaasim ay masasarap ang mga ulam na ito.

Pero nakarinig ka na ba ng Sinampalukang Pangarap? Masarap din ba ito? O maasim?

Noong nakaraang buwan, ako’y nag-balikbayan at nag-balikpaaralan para dumalo sa pagdiriwang ng aming 25th graduation anniversary mula sa UST College of Medicine and Surgery.

Dalampu’t limang taon na nga ba ang nakalipas? Parang kahapon lamang ito. O hindi ko lang matanggap na matanda na talaga ako, at nag-uulianin na.

Ang tema ng aming selebrasyon ay: “Mundi Dottore*: From Tamarind Dreams to the World.” Sa madaling salita, sinampalukang pangarap.

IMG_2441

Ang temang ito ang napili dahil ang UST raw ay nasa Sampaloc, Manila, at marami sa aming mga nagsipagtapos dito, ay nagsipangalat sa iba’t ibang lupalop ng mundo. Para sa akin, na tunay na lumaki sa Sampaloc, at nagmula sa isang simpleng pamilya at pamumuhay, ay talagang naaangkop ang “sinampalukang pangarap.” Mula sa uhuging bata ng Sampaloc na nakarating sa kabilang dalampasigan ng mundo.

Marami-rami rin sa amin ang nanumbalik at dumalo sa selebrasyong ito. Kung saan-saan ang ang aming pinanggalingan. Mula sa iba’t-ibang bahagi at iba’t-ibang isla ng Pilipinas, at mula rin sa iba’t-ibang sulok ng ibayong dagat. Kasama na ako rito.

Totoo, bago mag-reunion, ay naging sabik akong makita ang mga dating kaklase na naging kaibigan at kasangga sa anumang pinagdaanan, sa hirap man o ligaya. Kamusta na kaya ang mga kumag?  Ano na kaya ang kanilang racket ngayon? Ano na kaya ang itsura nila? Gaya ko kaya silang tumanda? Tumaba? Pumayat? Pumuti ang buhok? O naubos ang buhok?

Makikilala pa kaya ako nila? O makikilala ko pa rin ba sila?

Aaminin ko na bagama’t saya ang pangunahing naramdaman ko sa aking pag-babalik, ay may halo rin itong kaba, pag-aalinlangan, at konting pait. Dahil alam naman natin na hindi lahat ng mga nakaraang ala-ala ay masasaya. Parang sampalok, may maaasim din.

Mayroon din palang sinampalukang ala-ala?

Paano kung makita mo ‘yung dati mong nakaaway? O ‘yung nang-basted sa iyo? O ‘yung ayaw kang turuan at ayaw rin namang magpakopya, kaya tuloy nag-remedials ka. O ‘yung laging magulang at tamad kapag duty ninyo? O ‘yung nagsumbong at nagpahamak sa inyo? Buhay pa kaya ang mga anak ng tinapa?

Sa kabilang banda, paano naman kung makita mo ‘yung mayroon kang atraso noon? O kaya’y ‘yung kaibigan mo na hanggang ngayon ay hindi mo pa rin nababayaran ang hinayupak na utang mo?

Ano kaya ang iyong gagawin kung makita mong muli ang malupit mong guro na nagpahirap sa iyo? Ano kaya ang mararamdaman mo kung makita mo ang teacher na dahilan kung bakit ka hindi nakapag-marcha sa graduation? Makaya mo kayang ngitian sila o baka magdilim ang iyong paningin at hindi mo mapigilang mag-hurumintado?

Pagtapak mo kaya sa dating paaralan, masasayang gunita lang ba ang sasagi sa iyong isip? O hindi mo rin maiiwasang maalala ang iyong mga naging pagkakamali, na matagal mo nang pinagsisihan at pilit nang kinalimutan?

Hindi ko na lang sasabihin kung ano ang aking mga naramdaman, ngunit sabihin na lang nating may mga sugat na kahit naghilom na, ay masakit pa rin kung makanti.

Subalit lahat ay lumilipas din. Hindi dapat manatili sa maaasim. At kung may maaasim mang mga alaala ay higupin na lang ito na parang sinigang sa sampalok, na matapos mong namnamin, ay masarap din naman pala.

Ang mahalaga ay nakatapos, at naging matagumpay sa pinili mong landas na tahakin. Kahit pa naging puno ng putik at balakid ang iyong dinaanang landas. At ngayon ay taas-noong nanumbalik at nakipagdiwang, para ipakita sa kanila na ang iyong mga sinampalukang pangarap ay iyo ring naatim.

Kaya kahit sampalok man, ay tumatamis din.

********

(*Mundi Dottore is Latin for World Doctor)

 

 

Amazing Run: 6 Years of Blogging

After 6 years, almost 600 posts, and approaching 190,000 visits, this blog is going strong as ever. In fact, this last year, was my most successful year with regards to the number of visitors.

I know, this is not a race, but still, what an amazing run!

DSC_0452

Thank you for your continued support.

(*photo taken somewhere in Palawan, Philippines, on one of a featured site of the Amazing Race)

 

5 years of blogging

A few years ago, I started on a trip all by myself.

IMG_0784

Then, a few of you followed.

IMG_0903

Later on, several more joined in.

IMG_1612

An adventure that has taken me to sail back to where I came from.

IMG_3392

And to soar to places I thought I can only dreamed of.

IMG_0057

After 5 years, and after more than 500 posts, and more than 130,000 visits, I am still enjoying this ride.

IMG_4442

For all my readers, followers, and even for the chance passengers, thank you for joining me on this journey.

(*all photos taken with an iPhone)