Odyssey | noun | od•ys•sey | \ ˈä-də-sē \
1 : a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune
2 : an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest
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coconut trees
There's currently not much I'd like to add to my previous writings in this section, except that I'm still at it.  It's interesting to note that I had a very pessimistic perspective in my very first version of this section (at the very bottom of this page).

Previous version of the About page:
(Probably written around 2009)
In a Nut Shell

This blog was born (circa 2006) out of a notion that there must be something more to life and that what I was experiencing thus far was somehow fragmented, disconnected, and artificial. At one point, I was fed up or burned out (or awakened, whichever way you want to look at it); I had left a top-tier university education, a budding career, and all the comforts that a life in the US might offer -- basically just dropping everything -- in order to search for "something." Nothing was really planned; I left the US with about 200 dollars in pocket and a couple boxes of personal things to live a new life in my motherland -- the Philippines.

What was or am I looking for? I don't really know exactly. Or perhaps I kind of do, but don't know how to get there. There are so many paths, yet we do not even know which path will get us there the quickest, or with the most ease; actually, we do not even know which one will get us there at all.

Anyway, once Coconuter was born, life began -- in the sense that I was now actually living, instead of just making a living. Times were fun, times were hard; but at least I had liberty -- the freedom. No expectations, no judgment, no boundaries... It remains to be seen whether I actually ever obtained pure freedom -- probably not. I think there were always lingering attachments, feelings of guilt, chains of responsibility just waiting to recoil. But at least it was as close as I've gotten thus far to freedom in its purest form.

The adventures began, and there were many stages: the simple life in the rural provinces, living in the urban jungle of Manila, returns to the US to try and resurrect the pyramid that was really never my idea, returns back to the Philippines because ultimately I never wanted to build the pyramid in the first place, and several meanderings in between... like a lost soul feeling his way through the dark, just trying to find some kind of direction and pick up enough momentum to get wherever it is I've been trying to get to or whatever it is I have been trying to find.

Obviously, I lose myself sometimes... Often just taking off, running away from something, and looking for something else. Vague? Arguably, yes. I guess it's just difficult to sum up a life's story into a few paragraphs.

But, in general:

This is, for the most part, a travelogue detailing "The Adventures of the Coconuter"--the adventures (and misadventures) of David the Coconuter (that would be me) in his epic journey as a modern nomad in the Philippines, USA, and wherever fate may take him, as he searches for purpose and meaning to life encapsulated in an allegorical golden coconut. It documents my travels through life, nature, and the world, as I photograph and write about places, wonders, events, and experiences.

Furthermore, this blog is about...

Nature. Natural living. Following instinct. Preserving the environment. The way things are.

Love... of family, of people, of cultures, of memories, of the Philippines, of travel, of freedom, of life...

Life. The battle between truly living and merely making a living. The stages of life. Finding purpose and meaning to life.

Peace. Soul-searching and finding oneself. Understanding and solving the problems around us. Connecting the past, present, and future.

God. The wonders of life and our world. Having faith without necessarily religion. The universe and the unknown.

(Probably written around 2008)
"Adventures of the Coconuter" is the chronicles of David "the Coconuter" in his epic journey as a modern nomad in the Philippines, USA, and wherever fate may take him, as he searches for purpose and meaning to life encapsulated in an allegorical golden coconut.

Today, the blog has transformed from a pure travelogue into a mini web portal encompassing an array of subjects, while keeping the "Coconuter adventures" as the foundation and still maintaining the philosophical and free-spirited passion that inspired the journal's creation and that initial "leap of faith."

Go ahead and browse around the blog, or read on to discover what started it all:
The Beginning
(Written Feb. 2006)

Is it “Nothing ventured, nothing gained?” or “Nothing ventured, nothing lost?” Most people run away from turmoil. I, in this particular situation, am running into it on purpose and willingly. Most people go through some kind of scenario in life where they are peer-pressured into, analogically, “jumping off a bridge.” Well, in this case, everyone's telling me not to “jump” (and logic and reason is on their side), but somehow I feel like I was meant to dive into the pit anyways.

Almost every Filipino wants to get out of the Philippines. It is a small and densely populated nation where more than 85 million drowning people are clawing at each other for a gasp of air. They want to run away from their diseased third-world country, plagued by starvation, crime, low wages, political corruption, poor economic growth, and terrorist attacks, just to mention a few.

They all yearn to go abroad, usually because of the desire to live in a more civilized nation where life is relatively safer, is more comfortable, is more financially secure, has modern medicine and technology, has a higher quality of education, etc.

Well, I had all this and more. And then I sacrificed it all. I have let go of the comforts and financial ease of living in the US, a full scholarship to a top "Ivy League of the South" US college (Rice University), and essentially the whole American Dream in order to become a modern nomad in the Philippines. I, a half Filipino-half American raised in the US, now will be facing life in a turmoil-infested third world country, and I am doing so willingly.

Furthermore, as this trip is a leap of independence and an emphasis on self-sufficiency, I am going there without any financial help from my family and without any extra money or belongings except what I feel are necessities for survival.

What led to this? I kind of know, but it’s hard to explain completely. Perhaps life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and searching and understanding the meaning to it all is a large part of the reason. My instinct also tells me I may be able to find it in my birthplace, the bucolic provinces of the Philippines. I view the pastoral setting as my “safe haven” although in reality going there may prove to be my undoing. I am clouded by visions of “striking gold” in a country where everyone tells me nothing glitters.

I am trying to find what it is I am meant to do in life in the Philippine provinces where modern civilization has not fully taken over life, and even though everyone tells me I am wrong, my heart still tells me that my purpose may just be found in this radical free-spirited journey and that I just may find that "perfect (golden) coconut to fall to me from the sky" or promising opportunity, rather, that I have been looking for.

My journey begins on February 21, 2006. I will try to document my travels as I try to live in the Philippines and do some self-retrospection in hopes of understanding life and finding myself, meaning, and my purpose at the same time.

That's how it all started. Come and read the true stories that followed and relive this amazing journey. And join me as I continue today with the ongoing search for the elusive golden coconut


Anonymous said...

hi. you have such an insightful site. i like how you relate your experiences in the philippines and living here in the states. yes, you are right. growing up in the philippines so much better than in here, with respect to the level of imagination & socialization that filipinos have. keep blogging & God bless you...

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog because it's very substantial and I learn a lot. Keep this up and God Bless you always

~ fren ~ said...

nice blog, wide perspective.

i've added you to my list of 'good reads' by the way. keep your blog going :)

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

i salute you for your passion and love for the Philippines, proudly linked you in my site. hoping my visitors/readers can read your stories too! Keep it up! hope you'll be back in the Philippines real soon!

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