What I've Learned

“The gift of music will save your sanity”—Lourd de Veyra

The multihyphenate artist on Coltrane, the philosophical paradox of jazz, and the profound simplicity of bread with butter.
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Risk is at the heart of anything that will change anything. Dapat mayroon kang sinusugal para mayroon kang ma-achieve.

I didn’t pursue the normal definition of having a family. I live with eight dogs. I live with…ang term namin, “cohabitation.” I’ve been in a state of cohabitation with someone for several years. And instead of kids, we have eight dogs. 

Happiness, I think, is a state of not giving definitions or trying to prove whether you’re happy or not. It just is, ika nga ng mga Buddhists.

Courage is not simply the act of overcoming fear, but achieving something in spite of that fear. Alam mong takot ka. Kasi ’yung hindi natatakot, tanga ’yun.

Kung may gagawin kang trabaho, kahit maliit, ayusin mo na rin. Ginawa mo na rin lang.

In terms of parenting, pinabayaan nila kami na maging kami lang. Wala silang inimpose na gusto nila sa amin. At least sa akin. O baka matigas lang ulo ko.

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I think the gift of music will save your sanity—or, will be your destruction if handled in the wrong way. It is something that puts you back in place in the world, but at the same time, it’s also something that elevates you away from it.

Jazz is something that always transforms, every time you listen to it. It’s like the paradox of stepping into the same river twice but not quite.

Perfectly baked bread, and butter with a little salt is...it’s like sex. It’s profound simplicity. ‘Yung natutunaw sa bibig mo na crust na malutong, mainit-init pa; tapos yung loob niya na parang soft, pillowy, tapos mayroong sumisingit na parang something creamy and something salty. It’s a complex experience, I think, and it’s enough to be your last experience on this earth.

When John Coltrane plays, it’s like it’s an extension of his spirit. You get lost in his flurry of notes. ’Yung tinatawag na “sheets of sound,” siya ’yung isa sa mga may pakana n’un. It’s like one breathless arpeggio after another. Listening to him is actually like listening to someone in profound, meditative prayer. I do not mean that in the religious sense. But listening to him is an experience—especially in his later albums, considering he used to be hooked on heroin until he cleaned up at hinanap niya ’yung sarili niya. And the only way na nakita niya na makatakas sa mundo was playing the saxophone, and playing it differently, and exploring the different avenues of sound and the possibilities of the instrument.

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Alam mo yung ginagawa ng mga whirling dervish sa Sufi? Iba na ’yun eh, may nangyayari na, in terms of ’yung kanilang biological functions. Sa kaiikot nila, may nangyayari nang iba. Gusto ko sana ma-achieve ’yun sa pakikinig lang [ng music].

I would like to see Bhutan. Pero parang pinuntahan na ng mga bloggers, kaya hindi na muna ’yun siguro.

I believe we are all tasked to do something. Ang corny pakinggan, pero ang linaw-linaw na mayroong tayong fundamental contract sa mundo na ito, na, okay, gagawin mo ’to, para magawa ko ’tong bagay na ’to. ’Yung hindi gumawa n’un, instantly disables you from performing your function na nakadepende ’dun sa ginawa niya sana.

Laziness is a destroyer of any potential as a person. Galing-galing magsulat, hindi naman nagsusulat. Galing-galing magpinta, hindi naman nagpipinta.

Biggest regret ko: hindi ko tinuloy ang pagpipinta ko. I think, like playing, it would also afford me new avenues of pleasure for myself.

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The perennial mystery [of women] is part of the charm. Just let the mystery be.

Anything na ginagawa mo, if invested with certain amounts of concentration, joy, pleasure, the self, nagiging dasal. No matter how silly it is, no matter how grave it is.

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