Monday, June 17, 2013

As Above, So Below

My first peak and my first dive.

The town of Anilao in Batangas is just a two-hour drive away from Manila but it brought me to entirely different worlds. In just one weekend, I did two amazing things which I have only just dreamed of doing: climbing a mountain peak and scuba diving. What's even more fun is doing it with fellow, earth-loving pagan friends. 

Local mountaineers rate Mt. Gulugod-Baboy (aka the "Swine Spine") as one of the easiest peaks to climb but we still ended up with Bikram-yoga sweat after just a few minutes uphill. After about an hour and a half of huffing and puffing and taking short breaks to catch our breath, we finally emerged from high grass and were surprised by how different and beautiful the mountain-top landscape was. It felt like we have just stepped into the Windows XP default wallpaper. There's a great feeling of accomplishment and natural high just standing on top of the mountain and looking at the land below. It would've been cool if we set up camp here but we had to prep up early for a morning dive.

When in Batangas, have barako coffee (my favorite).

The seaside diving resort we stayed in was quite cozy. The porch was wide enough to lay our mattresses on, and so we had the mountain breeze and the crashing waves lulling us to deep, restful, delicious sleep.

We had our dive master Pixie teaching us the basics of scuba diving. Thankfully It wasn't too complicated as I thought. I couldn't get over how cool I look the first time I wore my diving gear. We had to take a boat to the diving site and the preparations took quite a while before we finally plunged into the sea.  As we go deeper and deeper I was growing in awe at the alien, dream-like, underwater world revealing itself for the first time around me. It was so beautiful, I could cry. Seeing it was one thing, feeling it is another. The sense of being weightless is just indescribable, I felt like a spirit hovering over the seabed. I emerged from the waters with a bleeding nose because my right ear had problems equalizing, but I was relieved after being told that it was quite normal among newbies. I slept that night dreaming of Finding Nemo land.

I'm hooked. I'm saving up for a PADI course right now.

 Tired feet on top of the mountain.

Feeling the mountain breeze.

 Waking up by the sea.

Laughing at the instructional video.

 Prepping for the plunge.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Making Magic Ink for Paper Talismans

I ran into this wikiHow about making ink out of teabags, and I thought how nice it would be to make some for writing symbols on paper talismans.

Of course I'm not happy with just making normal tea ink. So I added some bay leaf and star anise and lemon peel and rose petals into the brew. Those sort of happy, positive, love-and-light magic herbs.

It ended up smelling so sweet I could imagine rainbows and stars coming out of the tea. Using it as ink is quite a bitch though. It's not very "clingy" on the material I used, which is the back part of a document suited for my spell, and the stupid "ink" keeps feathering out on the paper. Using a nib pen is also another matter. I didn't realize those things need some mad skills to write with.

My talisman ended up the size of a hanky because my tea-ink writing skills are useless on anything pocket-sized.

It must be noted that this stuff isn't something you could keep indefinitely. Just a week in storage and it already grew molds.

So I'm back to tea-stained papers and my magical Parker jotter. I'm never probably going to use a nib pen again until I learn some calligraphy, which is sort of in my to-do list and is up there with sending surprise letters  to friends written on parchment sealed with wax and sent through a pigeon the post office like the good ol'days.

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