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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


A week's vacation at sea makes all the difference between being too busy to live and being too busy to rest. If I had my druthers, I would have gone on and on, drifting off into as many sunsets and waking up into as many sunrises.

Engulfed by the sea, one regresses, as it were, to some point of stillness --- the womblike still point whence life begins and ends. It is going back to a beginning and knowing it for the first time. In Eliot's words: We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.

"Quick now, here, now, always ---
A condition of complete simplicity..."

The allure of cruises as vacations lies there -- the stillness, the simplicity. If only the threat of a perfect storm were not there. There lies, too, the exquisite danger of it all; the teetering between stillness and disaster.

It is the river as mother to the sea
Entraps us into this womblike feeling of ease;
It is the river draws us to this discovery
Of need, our quiet helplessness.
We are the river ran its course
Into an engulfment of restless sea.

A cruise is a perfect "going away" vacation. Having just finished our fifth, we plan on taking the promise of the "Allure" in 2011. A cruise mimics the stillness and simplicity of crossing some divide where one "goes away" but is able to "come back". Having one's cake and eat it, too.

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