Feb 27, 2010

The Silhouette and The Painter

I want to paint this girl in silhouette
who's about to choose a path in the fork,
then wish I can choose the path for her,
point to where she ought to go.

She's lost in thoughts and in my thoughts,
but found herself in my painting,
or did I brought her into life?

I've picked the colors for her backdrop
gold against gray,
sun kissed rays against the lifeless trees

She's alone
and I can't provide her company
except the dead trees drawn
and I know she's more comfortable that way,
since she won't allow me to intervene.

I cannot see her face,
it's hidden in in her unkempt hair,
and I want to brush it.
Is she facing me or facing away?

A painter can use more control of his art.

I can't keep her off my mind
and I prefer it that way,
but she's bigger than life,
unlimited and boundless.

She picked up the brush
I am the one being painted.
I am the silhouette.

by Neil Palteng

for gina: who is learning about science in stockholm university

instructions for gina: fold this up and head towards stockholm

and now that you're there, faithfully, unfold my heart into this letter and read

i imagine you on a footbridge, looking above the heads of those norse gods, their heavens raining flecks of snow on their hair. how does it feel to conquer something?

i've read that the nights in stockholm are cold, frigid and that the mornings, that sometimes there are no mornings. so maybe now you are better friends with the stars, too, with the milky way, didn't we both theorize that the galaxy was a cold place? was - because we learned in school that everything in the night sky is past.

and now that you don't see the sun as much, are you catching up with the rest of the universe? because whenever i see the slide we used to sit on top of, i struggle thinking which of us is past, which of us is present - i am thinking now, still, blowing warm, cloudy smokes into space.


I started the morning by grabbing a cup of coffee, sitting in my study and picking up this literary portfolio. I came across this poem by Gian Lao (he's one batch higher than me in school) and his poem reminded me of a Pablo Neruda - the inspiration is so vivid, so palpable that it infects you personally like a virus that forces you to look back into your memory and find a similar experience you had, even though there's none. I guess that's how powerful some poetry can be:D

I had to read it three times to fully appreciate its beauty.

Feb 26, 2010

There Has To Be a Better Way

My official reign as Philippine rep. to the Global Ecovillage Network will start next week and I'm having a hard time setting my schedule with other representatives (mostly European and African) because Manila is 8 hours ahead of London!

Why London? Because the boss says we use London time. As far as I know, Asia is under represented compared to Europe so we have to follow by their standards. I think we only have around six countries from Asia (Japan, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India) and I'm the newest member in their international council! I'm probably the youngest as well.

It's difficult for me because I have to wake up at 2am or 4am in the morning just to meet them via Skype or something and talk about issues regarding budgets, expanding membership, facilitating international partnership, organizing exchange visits/programs... I'm usually not a morning person so my mind is blank during these hours.

This is bad because they might think Filipinos (particularly me) are mute or stupid! Haha!

There has to be a better way in organizing these meetings!

I haven't been to London and I want to go there even though London Fashion Week is over. Oh please, oh please, oh please:D In that way, I don't have to wake up so early:P

I promise to wear clothes made from authentic Philippine fabrics designed by young Filipino designers only. Even my underwear will be made of pinya because I want to promote our culture. Talk about a young version of Imelda! Haha!

Honestly there has to be a better way because I got a headache while trying to convert my available free time to London time. I hope Japan can over rule the council because Tokyo is just one hour from Manila and it would be more convenient for me:D

Asia and Oceania have 57 Ecovillages
The Americas have 209 Ecovillages
Europe, Africa and the Middle East have 197 Ecovillages
The Philippines is just starting in Nueva Ecija and I want you to be involved:D

If you are interested to be part of this global movement for a more sustainable future, check out these sites:

and get in touch with me through my email: neilpalteng@gmail.com

Feb 20, 2010

My New Painting

What do you feel when you look at the painting? I did it only for 2 hours but it somehow captures what I want to say when words aren't enough.

I actually have a title in mind for this, but I guess it's not worth mentioning here since someone might get offended. Guess why - the title is a name of a person.

I was free for the rest of the afternoon so I got my brushes and paint, without anything in mind as my subject. And after few strokes from here and there, it turned out to be like this:

(acrylic on canvass)

Things have been depressing lately.

One shallow reason is that I spent my money that was supposed to be used to have my car retinted. I'm really weak at prioritizing my expenses. Just last week, I spent my tutor payment to buy this black leather jacket with leopard print lining. I know right, simply divine!

Anyway, I think people these days are more alone, not physical but more of emotional. (Or is that just me?)

After finishing my finance long test earlier this afternoon, I rushed to the mall to buy myself a comfort item to get de-stressed - leopard print fluffy bedroom slippers.

There's something in buying new stuff that postpones this loneliness, but after quite some time, it rushes back and you're stuck in this black hole of depression. long sigh...

By the way, if anyone has a copy of Heights' latest art portfolio, can you check if my painting, "Plato's Allegory of the Cave," got featured in the magazine? Thank you!

Feb 16, 2010

Effortless Wealth, At Least Three Countries and More Prophecies

For the past six years, Celadon (Ateneo's Chinese org) has been inviting this fortune teller to school. For just a hundred bucks per 10 mins, you can ask questions ranging from career, health, wealth, family life, love life... I got my fortune read just to appease my curiosity and I can't stop beaming for the rest of the day.

For the record, I'm not usually superstitious but based on my grandma and mom's experiences, the "prophecies" actually come true - both the good news and bad lucks.

By the way, I won't go into the specifics since there may be a chance that the prophecy might get "intercepted" haha! I'll just mention the highlights.

I'll gain wealth effortlessly. This applies to my family (care of my dad) and to me personally especially in the future. Maybe now's the perfect year to ask for that silver Toyota Hilux!!! Haha! If not, I'll just settle for a white pony.

I'll have a job immediately after I graduate (companies will be the ones looking for me) and the work won't be demanding but I'll work like 12 hours a day, so I must make sure to take rest.

Me: What should I do so that I'll be very successful in my career?

Fortune Teller: Hmm... Not much. Luck and money will naturally gravitate towards you so you don't need much effort at all.

I'll win Vice President for Communications and External Relations for Harvard Project for Asian International Relations this year!!!

She told me to prepare my passport because there would be a lot of travel abroad this year, at least three. She got that right since I'm planning visits in several countries in Asia, although most of them are not for leisure purposes.

I have social (and a bit of diplomatic) work there promoting the environment and solutions for sustainable development:P And this time, it won't just involve UNICEF, but an org where I can move freely and make my own decisions. Loads of adventure will come!

I'll only have two serious relationships and both will be long term and will happen after college. I'll marry at the age of either 26 or 29 and will have three kids. She strongly cautioned and advised me to take care of the last one because he/she will be very very sickly.

I'll retire in the province with a house overlooking a body of water, either a lake, river or sea.

If you want your fortune to be read, contact me so I can reserve you a slot. Haha! She's really good, I tell you guys!

Feb 15, 2010

40 Days of No Shopping

I can't fathom how anyone can keep his sanity under solitary confinement for 6 years. I've always admired the resilience and endurance of the human heart, although we cannot see it these days because of immediate gratification.

I was having my second to the last shopping splurge before Lent (the last would be this Sunday) and I came across this book - Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng. I was able to read its summary and found it interesting so I grabbed it at once.

You can read a summary here.

Anyway, I mentioned Nien Cheng's story because I'm on this noble quest to prove (at least to myself) that my heart is resilient and enduring. And Lent is the perfect time to prove this since we Catholics have to drop something we really really love. In my case - that would be buying stuff.

My sister asked me last night what my Lenten resolution is (probably because it's their homework.) I'm not going for the no meat on Friday's since I'm not a meat lover and giving it up won't be that hard.

Here's a more challenging list:

1) Won't buy jackets, cardigans, vests or long sleeves for the next 40 days starting Wednesday (except this coming Sunday)

2) Won't buy a footwear for the next 40 days starting Wednesday (except this coming Sunday)

3) Won't buy art books, self help books and novels for the next 40 days starting Wednesday (except this coming Sunday)

4) Night out budget won't exceed Php500 except post V-day night out with friends tomorrow.

5) Cut daily allowance by 50% starting next week.

I'm limiting my list to 5 bullets for me to easily remember.

Don't forget to get your ashes on Wednesday, but most of all, remember why your'e doing this - not because it is prescribed by the church or God needs people to suffer, but because it is a test of the human spirit and discipline (at least that's how I see it)

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai

At the strike of twelve, the party music was drowned by clanging drums and cymbals, and the entrance of two Chinese Lions signaled that we have reached the year of the tiger.

Interestingly, they performed this dance wherein they (the lions) kissed at the end - aha! it's Valentine's Day again, and I'm still single (and ready to mingle?) for the 19th year.

But I did not celebrate it with the usual company of my high school friends. Instead of commonly eating at Sonja's or Krispy Kreme for our pre/post V-Day chats and gossips,

I partied the night with my college friends at Amber.

Hopefully, the company of Chinese folks will bring me all the luck I need this year. Haha!

And speaking of luck, I'm going to have my fortune read first thing in the morning tomorrow, or at least after my Finance class.

I'm crossing my fingers. I've got a feeling that this year would be a blast!:D

Photos by the fabulous Jet Garcia and Jansen Santos

Feb 9, 2010

Blogging is Praying

Prayer is beyond talking to the impotent god. On a practical sense, it is a clarification of intentions, a personal reflection we often do through mental mumblings, often disorganized and said in a very routine way - most of the time forgetting what a prayer actually means.

Having said that, I think writing is an effective way to pray, and so as painting, writing music and poetry. Blogging for me has become holy (not in a narrow religious sense, of course). It helped me clarify my intentions and what I want to communicate through others. It gave me a clearer picture of me.

It has somehow reached a level where I prefer it than my studies because it fulfills a higher value. In the words of Max Scheller, it fulfills the value of holy which is higher than utility (academics) or even mind and spirit (studying).

I also mentioned painting, music and poetry. These stuff go beyond the cognitive and reach for the spiritual, and I must say in a very disciplined, creative and organized way. It is an outpouring of the heart and mind into a clear manifestation, although open to a lot of interpretations by others.

I remember my high school English teacher telling us that one of the five signs of a learned man is being reflective. Since we are incarnate spirits, it is better if we put this reflection through action - not just a series of mental rehearsals since it would be difficult to retrieve for further use and would be so much disorganized than instead of clarifying a broader picture, it would just cloud us.

I realized that most people fail to pray or at least reflect because they cannot see these actions benefiting them. That is exactly the problem if these thoughts remain in the supra-sensate.

So i think people should write more. I heard one of my friends (who is a very good writer) say that the days of blogging are over. Well, forget your readers, at least write for yourselves.