Category Archives: musings

shake the dust


There are things you just don’t ever get used to. Like getting the rug pulled from under you. No matter how many times it has happened before, you still get caught unaware and fall flat on your face–every single time.

But you can’t really say it came as a total shock. It was only a matter time. Though circumstances and contexts differ, the outcome has always been the same.

And so you pick yourself up, put on a brave face, and shake off the dust–just as you always have countless times before.


leaving and living


This year, I learned that it’s okay to leave.  That sometimes it’s better to walk away from toxic people, environments, and situations.  That doing so does not make me a weakling or a coward.

I spent half of last year and this year putting up a strong front and trying my very best not to let all the negativity get in the way. I often felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders but I kept telling myself that I loved what I was doing so it was okay.

Then one day, it all became too much. That day, Atlas shrugged.

Chaos and mayhem ensued shortly thereafter.

I was somehow able to emerge from all that—shaken to the very core of my being, but still in one piece and only because of the unwavering support of a handful of people and the unfailing grace of God.

That harrowing experience shattered my rose-colored glasses/blinders and I began to see things and people more clearly.

I realized that I had to let go (of the bad) and let (the good) come.

And so this year, I learned to live.

For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to just have fun and momentarily feel infinite.

I have stopped second-guessing myself so much and though I still need a good push every now and then, I have started to see my own worth a bit more.

Most importantly, I have started to genuinely believe that I am enough.

round and around


I guess the reverend in F. Sionil Jose’s The God Stealer was right: It takes cataclysm, something tragic to knock a man back to his wits.

And oh, what a knockdown it was.

To say that 2015 has been a difficult year would be a massive understatement. It has, in fact, been a year of turmoil. Of rude awakenings and overdue realizations.

I’d like to think, though, that I emerged from all that stronger and wiser–even if by just a teensie weensie bit. My hands and my heart may tremble but I will no longer be paralyzed with fear.

As this past year has shown me, I am not alone. When push comes to shove, I have people who have my back. And even at the most trying of times, God’s unfailing grace shines through.

So hello, 2016. Let’s turn things around.

constancy amid change


A notification pops up. Curiosity wins over fatigue and I click on that tiny red icon.

Oh goody, it’s my daily dose of memories!

As I scroll down, my half-shut eyes open just a wee bit wider with each entry.  I come across emotionally laden song lyrics that immediately trigger the play button in my head and I start humming along, wondering about the circumstances which surrounded me then.

I encounter a lot of posts about films and books and I can’t help but wish I still had the luxury of time to curl up with a good book or watch the latest indie movie.

Then there’s the occasional political commentary sandwiched between leftover teenage angst and cringe-worthy melodrama.

Did I really say this? What was I thinking?

Oh, I remember this! I can’t believe it’s been that long!

A myriad of emotions course through me as I travel back in time and revisit moments of triumph and of loss. I wax nostalgic over what was and marvel at what still is.



I grew up listening to the Beach Boys and I have always been a fan of their music.  As I grew older and came to know the story behind the band and the music, I became an even bigger fan–of Brian Wilson, in particular.

So I was over the moon when BBC Music released this version of God Only Knows.

I was going to say that this song used to hold a special significance in my heart but I realize that isn’t exactly true. Just hearing the song again opened a floodgate of emotions.

And although so many things have changed and we are no longer the same, I guess the impact of a song–especially one as beautiful as this–will never fade.

zigzags and circles


For a lot of people–myself included–my life has taken an unexpected detour this past month. 

Despite being a graduate of Public Administration, I’ve never done administrative work (except for that month-long internship back in college).  Heck, I’ve never even had an 8-to-5 job! 

But here I am with a Position Description Form that clearly states my administrative position and the duties and responsibilities that come with it.

I’ve done a lot of writing before but never the sort of writing that my current job entails.  And I must admit that I’ve felt like fish out of water on several occasions. 

My most recent assignment even gave me nightmares for three nights in a row!  Inception-type nightmares where I’m in the office drafting the policy proposal and I wake up and find myself still in the office still writing the darn proposal and I wake up again but I’m still there!  It happens about four times before I finally wake up and find myself in bed–with my laptop and the outline of the policy proposal beside me.

I finally finished the darn thing yesterday and it seems like a massive boulder has been lifted from my shoulders.

I have two new policy proposal assignments lined up but I no longer feel like I’m in over my head.

My so-called zigzag alignment has often been a point of contention (sometimes even a deal breaker) for the powers that be.  But here, everything I’ve learned from the various fields I’ve delved into all come together.  And contrary to what some people think, my brain gets full mileage.

So while I feel that I’ve ventured into uncharted territory, I also feel that things have somehow come full circle.  That I haven’t really strayed at all.

when it rains, it pours


Some days just suck.

I should’ve known from the way things were going when the clock struck twelve that today was going to be one of those days.

I tried to channel that glass half-full schtick but it just wouldn’t stick.  I also tried looking for that proverbial silver lining but all I could find was a sky full of rain clouds.

I did get a few minutes of peace and I momentarily forgot about how awfully things were going.  But just when I thought the worst was over–BAM!–another mishap hit me smack in the face.  It was as if the Universe was saying, “Ha! I’m not done with you just yet!”

And sure enough, things came gleefully crashing down.  Like dominoes.  One after the other.

As if that wasn’t enough, a torrential downpour began to fall.  I wanted to shake my fist and yell, “That’s right!  When it rains, it pours!  Very punny, Universe. Very punny.”

tidbits of thought


It was the day before Day Zero.  I hadn’t had any sleep and I had just spent half the afternoon standing in line at the bus terminal.  I breathed a sigh of relief and sank into my seat.

“Finally, some much-needed shut-eye!” I almost said out loud.

But then I realized that I was seated next to some random guy so I clutched my backpack and leaned my head against the window instead.  A conversation with a stranger was the last thing I wanted.

Every muscle in my body was sore and my eyelids felt like lead.  I looked out the window at the heavy traffic and giant billboards.

“Hello, Manila.  We meet again,” I whispered as I half-smiled.

It wasn’t long after that I found myself weaving in and out of consciousness.

Although I was in a stupor for a good part of the trip, I did have moments of alacrity.  Whenever I would find something interesting, I would scribble on my imaginary notepad and take snapshots with the camera in my head.

Tidbit No. 1: Juxtaposition and Ambivalence
Tall buildings are a dime a dozen in Metro Manila but one particular building managed to stand out: a high-rise building that seemed to be in limbo.  It looked half-unfinished but also half-abandoned.  It was like seeing the beginning and the end all at once.

Something about its ambivalence stirred something in me.

Tidbit No. 2: Different Strokes for Different Folks
Like in most places, houses and buildings gave way to increasing stretches of green as we moved farther and farther away from the metropolis.  I couldn’t help oohing and aahing over the sheer variety of trees that dotted the landscape.  I imagined painting them, using a certain type of brush stroke for each type of tree.

Tidbit No. 3: The Desolation of SCTEX
But what I found even more riveting were those pockets of petrified land in the midst of all the greenery.  It was as if some maniacal sorcerer on a dragon haphazardly threw down balls of fire, scorching patches of grass.  Leaving behind nothing but shriveled remnants of shrubs standing in mute horror and seemingly delicate magenta flowers clinging onto the branches in defiance.

Tidbit No.4: Sea of Devastation
Those little pockets of desolation along SCTEX, however, paled in comparison to the river of lahar in Porac.  I could only imagine the terror the people of Pampanga must have felt when Mt. Pinatubo erupted all those years ago.  My college roommates’ stories came rushing back to me as I stared in awe at the lahar flow.

My reminiscence of these borrowed memories, however, was interrupted by the high school kids behind me.

“What a weird-looking sea!” they exclaimed.

I honestly didn’t know whether I should be amused or mortified.

“That’s lahar,” I couldn’t help saying.

Their eyes grew wide for a moment and they nodded in comprehension.

Although these kids initially had no cognizance of lahar, they were still in a way correct.  This may be a river of lahar but it could just as well be a sea.

A sea of devastation, that is.

no place like home


I’ll be in the metro for a few days next month and I have to admit that I’m pretty excited about the trip.  I look forward to catching up with friends, visiting my beloved Alma Mater, and going on a foodtrip with my siblings.  But the metro to me is like the moon is to Ernie.

Well, I’d like to visit the moon
On a rocket ship high in the air
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon
But I don’t think I’d like to live there

As much as I miss the happenings (film festivals, concerts, and art exhibits) and unlimited choices (food and shopping), I simply cannot imagine living there–not at this point in my life.  The daily commute is just too stressful and the pace too frantic.

On the other hand, life in my hometown is pretty laid-back.  It’s quiet but not too quiet.  You see, Iligan is a hybrid.  It offers the convenience of city living but at the same time, it retains that probinsya charm.  We have a mall (albeit a small one), wifi hotspots (practically everywhere), and most other stuff cities typically have.  But we also have waterfalls (more than twenty-two!), caves, and all those lovely things the countryside is known for.

More than anything though, I love being in Iligan because this is where my family is.

There’s so many strange places I’d like to be
But none of them permanently
So if I should visit the moon
Well, I’ll dance on a moonbeam and then
I will make a wish on a star
And I’ll wish I was home once again…
So although I may go, I’ll be coming home soon
‘Cause I don’t want to live on the moon
No, I don’t want to live on the moon

Daily Prompt: We Built This City