Etymology and Meaning

Lilim is a Tagalog word that, with weird serendipity, captures everything I look forward to in a walk or a bicycle ride outdoors.

Lilim means shade made by any structure that blocks light from above. Usually, it refers to a shade that a tree makes, blocking sunlight, particularly on a very hot summer day.

In a country like the Philippines, a lilim is a friend of nature lovers. For some, it is the only reason why a walk outdoors is even attractive. Aside from the infrequent dry and cold weather days in the Philippines, which makes a shade-less walk possible, most communion with nature would be done under extreme heat from the sun from as early as nine in the morning to as late as five in the afternoon. To go out and walk in nature with a portable lilim, an umbrella, is acceptable but weird. People who walk here are able to do it because of a lilim, which is sometimes the canopy of tall trees that cover a forested path. In less forested paths, such as those in the middle of fields I used to walk on in Pangasinan, a lilim is less available, but its sight is welcomed and anticipated.

Here in the Philippines, by four or five in the afternoon, the sun is less hot as it has begun its descent. This is often the time I go out to walk or ride my bike to discover a new path, visit an old one, and just find something new to see. Interestingly, while researching more about the word lilim, I discovered that its Pangasinan equivalent, sirom, is a synonym of the Tagalog word dapithapon or sunset. Sirom is also a Hiligaynon and Waray word, which means the same thing. Therefore, lilim is not just the shade of trees that I have taken refuge on during many of my walks and bike rides. Lilim is also the time when I took those walks—a time when I would often be alone in the middle of fields as farmers go home after a long day of work.

At that time, clouds are also more mature, much bigger, creating welcomed shades that block the sun—a phenomenon called by the similarly sounding Tagalog word lilom. The best lilom would create beautiful sceneries in the sky: celestial halos, long sun rays, and the much-awaited mackerel sky.

The Newsletter

Lilim is my bi-weekly newsletter on walking. Originally it was a weekly newsletter, but I just couldn’t sustain that schedule of production. It is too much product oriented. As of 2022-08-25, Lilim will be “published whenever ready” and shall be integrated with Uman.

I took craig mod’s advice and released Lilim by season. As of 2022, Lilim has three seasons. The first season was a mix of walk vignettes and personal essays. The second season followed a 3-2-1 newsletter style. The third season is mostly walk vignettes.

Moving forward, I would like to write shorter vignettes, like those of ben hewitt (300-400 words, 2-4 paragraphs). This would teach me how to be more succinct and could lessen the load further so I can focus more on my studies.

The vignettes will present a specific moment (microcosm) and then connect it with a more abstract philosophical idea.

I don’t want to be at the center of the story, even if I am the protagonist. I simply want to show what i see and from that, elicit thoughts, appreciation, and awe on the reader.

See Lilim Newsletter Plan.