June 25, 2012
In Search Of
After my 10-day Vipassana Meditation in Cebu, I found myself within the orbit of seekers pursuing higher evolution. I speculate that they are in search of the truth, in search of themselves, and in general, searching for clarity to all the insanity they see around them. Since I have a mind curious of life's hidden secrets, it is a natural progression for me to resonate with them. Most of them, perhaps, seek enlightenment. On the other hand, I can care less about enlightenment as I care more about marginal gains I make in knowing myself more and the planet I live in. I'm still enjoying my bliss together with my madness. I simply want life to unravel and reveal its golden nuggets - existence in the quantum world, being filtered down to a speck of consciousness, traveling outside the tangible universe, etc. All these things have been claimed by mystics, seers and sages over millenia. Now, theoretical physics have the math to support it. If it's out there, I want to experience it. Everything under the sun is fair game.
After the meditation, I had an instant family - a loosely-held group of Vipassana practitioners. We just held our first full-day sit in Minglanilla, Cebu. Every now and then, a few of us would get together and talk about our practice and how Vipassana has shaped our lives into something more purposeful. In Cebu, Vipassana's future is uncertain. There is no center and there is no money to hold another 10-day sit. I'm confident however, that the universe will find a way to make it happen - it always does anyway.
Surya Nanda Yoga
The group that somehow adopted me are the yogis and yoginis of Surya Nanda Yoga. It's a tight group who practise together and hang-out together. They are illuminated by their bliss and selflessly open their doors to others who wish to bask in it. I'm one of the takers, and profoundly grateful for it. They've tagged me along for their weekly routine - not just the yoga practice, but Zen meditation on Thursday, Dharma talks on Fridays, Saturday night chillouts, and teacher-training on Sundays. Their studio is close to where I stay, and have afforded me the privilege of free yoga - wow! Because of this, I almost always practise my yoga daily.
Golden 90 Days
I've always wondered what transforms after 90 days of continuous practice. I once asked an Art of Living guru how powerful a breathing exercise (pranayama) we've just done, is. His answer still reverberates, "do this religiously for 90 days and you'll find the answer to your question." Of course, 90 days continuous daily practise is difficult as something always comes up. But this golden '90 day' time frame never left my headspace. If it applies to pranayama, then it should apply to yoga. One of these days....
I get to hang-out with the parcour boyz because they hang-out with the Surya Nanda crew. I see the complement - parcour and yoga. Add meditation to that and you form a mosaic laying out a bigger picture of like-minded individuals. It's cool seeing them do their tricks - the firedance, body acrobatics, etc. I'm inspired making a few attempts joining them - it's a rush.
Ananda Marga Wellness Center
I met a group of devotees performing bass and drums at the Handuran Pizza one evening. I've actually met one of them sometime back in Davao, which got me an invite to visit their center. I thought I'd just say "Hi", but I was offered a room, yoga, meals and health treatment. They even performed a fire dance to all the ashram guests that night. Whoa! The center is haven for those seeking alternative and holistic treatment to health or weight issues. I've met some local guests and foreigners who came all the way from Cyprus. The Margis do this without any pressure to join their organization, which makes it totally cool.
Chu Un Buddhist Temple
This is as close as I got to Sunday school. Ever since I got inside the walled perimeter of a Chinese Temple in Bacolod and experienced the openness and airy expanse of the place, and the welcoming demeanor of the temple keepers, I became partial to it. No week would go by without me spending an evening at the Chu Un Buddhist Temple in Cebu either for Dharma talks, calligraphy, or Zen meditation. I'm usually with my Vipassana friends or Surya Nanda friends. Oftentimes, they also serve sumptuous and free vegetarian dishes (yea! free food!). Since I always eat out and often times default to meat, I find this a refreshing and nutritious alternative.
Every Saturday at 5:30 in Mango (Cebu), a gathering of free thinkers talk about a particular topic and exchange ideas. The last one I attended, they talked about being assertive (not timid, not aggressive) - or what they call the art of being true without ruffling the feathers of the other party. It's similar to popular bestselling books like Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Effective People. The demographics span a broad spectrum - a kalimasada cum restauranteur, yoginis, parcour boyz, monk-in-the-making, independent seekers, etc. Again, this would be ideal for people seeking evolution of the higher kind - or simply put, for people who want to become better human beings.
In the not-so-distant past, I would immerse myself in adrenaline activities - mountain biking, scuba diving, mountaineering, etc. That is a bliss unto itself. Now, almost in sharp contrast, I've turned around to something more sedated but perhaps more incisive in shaping a headspace that conforms to the natural laws and mindful of the well-being of all sentient entities. It's self-empowerment of a different kind. Once again, this is its own world with its own bliss, its own roller coaster ride of self-doubt, epiphany and collective connectivity.
All this spiritual pursuit is just nice and dandy, but as my yogini friend, Tana once told me, "unless such pursuit is put in the service of others, it's nothing but ego". In my own parlance, if I can't use this as a catalyst for positive change that ripples through our universal fabric, then it's nothing more than spiritual adventurism.
ps - many many thanks to my newfound friends who've allowed me into their orbits, and those who offered their friendship, homes and themselves, making me feel at home and welcome to this new and wonderful place - Cebu.
(Jun 25, 2012) Nicely said. Thanks for sharing Gigit.
"I am grateful to have met you!" -- Robert Vecchioni
(Jun 25, 2011) the gratitude is mutual :)
(Jun 25, 2012) Gigit, I just read your "seekers' lair" post. It resonated and only further confirmed that I am grateful to have met you!
Cebu City, Philippines
Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
- Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
- S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
resto / cafe / bar
- Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
- Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
- Love Yoga World - yoga studio
11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
- Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
at The Yacht Club Mactan
- Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure - MTB tours, bike sales and repairs. Bed and Breakfast + Resto Cafe + wifi
1298-b V.Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City | 0942.959.7451
- via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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