Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Most Unique Gift Of All

"We don't have forever to get it right but for those of us blessed with time, we can at least learn how.."

Life affords us so much that many dont take into account. In my mind, my opinion, it seems better to stack the chips of experience rather than marvel at the size of the bank account. Money is nice too, don't get me wrong. I could use a healthy sum and put it to use in the name of heaven about 12 hours flight away from here.. But anyway, today as I was doing some much needed chores inside and around the house, my mind drifted... I was thinking about "time" and faith, not in the religious way though it all comes out in a spiritual way to some degree. It's like time/life affords us the gift of learning and its not free. It cost everything you can ever imagine and everything you can't even foresee. It's like when they give you the cliche that things happen for a reason; it does. Timing is everything; it is.. but what we do with all that is the determining factor in all of the above... In my mind today I kept saying "have faith, it'll all workout." And even if it doesn't, that too is as it should be because if your heart is in the right place and you are true and deserving, there's probably a better and more fruitful path to that rainbow you wish to see... Have faith, believe, stay true and do the unthinkable in this day and age by occasionally being nice. That part don't cost you nothing, as Ashford & Simpson once sang. *smile*

On my recent trip to the Philippines, it reminded me of so much as I've mentioned in previous posts. And despite me being born and raised in the big juicy city of Los Angeles, California, I am so grateful and thankful to my parents and my grandparents for exposing me to the other side of life known as "simplicity" during a time when things were just that; simple. It changed over time and I swam along with that; going thru my this and that, here and there experiences that brought me to this day; still living and blessed with the ability to look back with hopefully that lightbulb of wisdom that illuminates future steps and mis-steps before they happen. Man, in the Philippines, despite the obvious hardships and poverty etc etc that's truly a shame when you look around, I still witnessed happiness, smiles, laughter and endearment from those that were in that sort of predicament. The will of people is very strong and we can all sustain in the face of so much. It makes you wonder how and why in our own lives we would get upset over something as simple as our favorite whatever being out of stock at a store or those who are blessed with so much getting upset over the slightest inconvenience happening one day out of the blue... We trip so hard when there's no reason to even travel that direction. Life through its ups and downs, speed bumps, joys, disappointments, assholes getting in the way, victories, losses, and on and on and on and on is truly amazing... What a world we live in and yet we see so many adding their ingredients to a very large stew, causing so much bitterness, difficulties and strife... But that simple life that I spoke of? That was like sugar... Like a small bag of equal being added to half a cup of hot coffee... *smile* when it hits your taste buds, it feels just right.. God Bless it all and umm... it's always so nice to think... *smile* Kaibigan. I love the sound of that word for some reason...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Look At The Philippines..

Here's another video look at my recent trip to the Philippines.. Looking forward to my return there one day in the hopefully not too distant future... This ranks up there as one of my best vacations ever!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thank you 2 The Moments..

As I continue to embrace the memories that's been hitting me from time to time this week following my special journey to the Philippines, I can't resist talking about those moments that made me smile really big. Of course, I was always smiling inside thanks to love spoiling the heck out of me as she always does no matter where we be but there was also some really cool moments that I will remember and continue to take with me... Those moments when in a faraway land, mean something extra special to you. Hanging in the Philippines, there were those chance moments when I'd come across another black person. In Boracay I noticed this fella walking along the beautiful seashore, nodding his head with excitement like a yesssss moment when a sense of pride overwhelms you. Then I realized he was doing that because of me. Love said "there's a brother!" I laughed and then I greeted the brother from a distance with a smile. It was like a strong handshake that squeezed tighter out of real true sincerity and it felt good. He continued on his way but the prideful moment lasts forever. In Tagaytay there were a group of singers moving from table to table at a restaurant called Leslie's. They could sing any song you requested and they did it very well. One of the singers was a tall fella that looked to be a cool mixture of black and filipino. When he approached our table and made eye contact with me, he put his palms together and bowed with pride. I nodded in agreement that it was a blessing to make the connection and he was a helluva singer... In Manila at Green Hills Mall, an elderly black woman greeted me the moment she saw me. "Hello, how are you?" she said in a very distinguished voice. I returned the greeting and she continued on her way... Those were good moments and sometimes that's all you need to put strength in your heart for those times when the flow of life ain't so good. Downtimes are inevitable but so are the upswing moments if you keep striving, think positive and be faithful to your pursuit in knowing that you are deserving... That's one of the main reasons I was blessed with love... the right time and as she says, "God's will.."

Video Celebration of my Philippines Visit...

Thank You Philippines from Anthony Rivers on Vimeo.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Children of the Philippines

I have to say that during my recent trip to the Philippines, I got a big kick out of photographing the children. It just happened by chance. I didn't plan to take so many pictures of children but you cant help it, or at least I couldn't. Every shot I took I wondered what the future held for them. Many of them were either begging for money or selling fruit and other items to make money. I pray this phase of their lives is a short one and they prosper in every way they dream and imagine or better yet, find a way to become inspired to do and become more than what's been shown to them... I have to thank them for all the great smiles and hellos given to me... Salamat..

Thank You Philippines...

Imagine traveling thousands of miles to another part of the world to find what you've not only been missing but what you've been looking for every time you return to the birthplace of your parents. Such has been the case with me. My parents were born in Texas. I love that state with a passion as well as neighboring, Louisiana. I can never get enough. For many years I would travel there at the same time of the year, seeking, searching and hoping I could find and reunite with old feeling and experiences from the days gone by. Meaning, the incredible summers I would spend in Mt. Pleasant Texas as a child with my grand parents, Virgil and Senora Rivers. And all those moments and times with my parents(Virgil Jr. and Gloria Rivers) visiting the farm in Texas. I've learned by experiencing the last year of my mom's life recently that preparation is everything and so much of my life prepared me for the incredible trip/journey that I took to the Philippines thanks to my special love(Lorna/Mitos) who showed me her birthplace and so much more.

I was warned of the heat that I'd experience in the Philippines. I smiled. Everyday I kept asking, "so umm, when does it get hot out here?" *smile* Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia prepared me for any kind of heat. When I got off the plane in Manila, I felt like I was in Atlanta. The only difference was the fellas trying to pull my luggage away from me just so they could get us in the position of having to tip them. It was just the beginning of what would become one of the best trips of my life. I was also warned of the mosquitos. I didn't really notice them until almost the end of the trip when I saw a couple bites. The only minor annoyance was the funny looking lizard that kept making a funny sound late at night. His sound is the exact same thing as if some one were beating on glass with the edge of a coin. tick tick tick tick... When I first heard the sound, I said to love "is someone knocking on your window?" She laughed and told me it was the tick tick lizard... The only major annoyance was the guys selling sunglasses on the beach in Boracay. One after the other makes you feel like "dang!!!!! didn't you see me two seconds ago say no to the other guy!!" They drove me crazy along with the DVD sellers in the Green Hills mall.

Anyway, the Philippines felt like home right away. We hit the highway, headed for Pangasinan. I felt like a kid watching the best cartoons except my TV screen was the car windows. I didn't take pictures right away. I just sat there watching this part of the world. Traffic was crazy in Manila and it took a while to get out of the city but I loved just being there. I was fascinated by the poverty followed by the more well to do areas. It was different from what you see in the states on one level but at the same time as we got outside the big city and I saw more scattered areas of poverty, it reminded me of the Mississippi delta region.

My first really fun moment was getting stuck in the middle of traffic somewhere in the Pangasinan province. I'm not quite sure where we were exactly but traffic was at a stand still and that's when I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I looked all around and noticed how colorful everything was. The jeepney's, the trike's, the bike's, etc etc.. Everybody revving up their engines and blowing horns at each other but no one appeared angry. In Cali, I'm sure a traffic situation like that would result in a bunch of fist fights and road rage. There, they just blew horns and inched their way forward until somehow the gridlock of traffic unlocked itself. Soon after that we made our way to a place called Calasiao where love said I'd be able to eat the best "puto" you'll find anywhere. When we pulled into the area, young women reached their hands forward and began to desperately wave for us to come to them. I guess you can say competition is stiff right there and every peso counts. I also experienced my first moment where young children came over to beg for coins. It's somewhat heartbreaking to see the little faces pressed up against the windshield of your car, begging for you to roll down the window and give them something...I pointed to love so they waited for her. *smile*

And then finally we reached San Fabian, the place where love flourishes and the incredible Efren and Violi work hard to keep the beautiful beach house estate looking just that... beautiful.. And I was blessed to be able to stay there and be spoiled constantly... i'm not used to that sort of thing; being spoiled and having others do so much for me...

Anyway, there's so many moments I can go over and eventually I will as they come to me. That was just part of the first day's arrival in the Philippines and believe me, from day one to the end of the trip, it was filled with moment after moment.. We were super busy, back and forth from Manila to Pangasinan to Tagaytay to Boracay... I'll write more as it all comes back to me but I just wanted to share something really quickly before going to sleep and preparing for my back to reality moment. I'm back home in Cali and already missing the Philippines. But more importantly, I'm so thankful for love, her fabulous friends, batchmates aka classmates, and her truly amazing family... I am truly blessed and I hope my mom is watching from above, maybe smiling or shaking her head and saying "wow Anthony... " Thanks again to the Philippines!! Mabuhay!