Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For My Abalantung

i'm almost done
and daddy lolo will be proud
packing 20 kilos in 17
but how can i
pack your kiss
smacks on the lips
small tight hugs
your little frame
big enough to warm
mommy's heart
your shrill little voice
when you cry
never mind
i can stand it
shrieks of laughter
but closely
bringing tears
to mine
i will miss
running my hands
through your hair
our conversations
side by side
and i keep close
to smell your breath
see your eyes light up
in questions
guesses or just
plain wackiness
how can i pack
all emotions and memories
to still remain vivid
with a heavy heart
mommy says goodbye
for now
my love stretches
beyond distance
and desert sands
i love you so much
deep and

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bagong Ilong

i wish i
had no nose
a different nose
one not susceptible
to sinusitis
i wouldn't be
sneezing like this
tears welling up
and eyes puffy
umaga pa 'to!
sakit na ulo ko!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Rest

antok na me
Pagod you see
Impake to death
Timbang too much pa din
Dibale na
14 pairs of shoes
Nagkasya naman

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eye Strain

my eye strain started in 2008. i used to wash my face at noon and in the evening. late in feb 2008, i noticed my eyes shedding tears everytime i read at night to the point that within 5 minutes, my eyes would turn into small slits, as if my eyes are surrendering. in the morning, my eyes would turn red and i would go to the office, people shunning away, thinking i have sore eyes, as in conjunctivitis. sore eyes indeed but in the real sense. so i stopped washing my face noon and nighttime.

early this week, after several days of delayed summer here in naga, i went back to washing my face at noon and in the evening thinking that it would not strain my eyes since i haven't been working on the computer anyway. oh, how wrong i was. my eyes were like burning coals last night, as i finished transcribing my 5th of 12 interviews so far for the phd and went to bed at 2am. when i woke up, my left eye was so red and despairing for sleep if not for my 9am appointment in abella. only at noon, when again, i was seeing clouds. parang may muta pero wala naman. oh my, macstrain has returned! so, i'll let the recorder rest tonight and i'll blog briefly (1 blog and a new one). i forgot that i am as good as my eyes. so there, will rest for a while. so i can say, see you; in the real sense of the word.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All in a Day

this day
a child-king died
as well as
a blonde angel
someone's brother
i'm going on
8 of 12
double head ache
over crocs
a meeting moved
for monday
all this in a day
and anticipation
and we wonder
how life passes
over years

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ordinary people

hodges and wendy
warrick and cath
gil and sarah
fantasy runs faster than
the speed of light

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shoes and Slippers

what troubles me the most in packing? where to put my shoes and slippers. specifically, 14 pairs and still counting. i am imeldific when it comes to shoes and not for nothing. perth, and murdoch campus, is best explored on foot; and while some australians take it to heart to really walk with their bare feet, the walking life requires a whole lot in store. so there, where to put 3 boots (it's winter there now), 2 ladies shoes, 1 leather casual, 4 sneakers (crocs), 3 pairs of slippers and 1 athletic shoes?

Suffered from tendinitis since 22. So these Korean slippers are a must. After a long hard day, perks up and revitalizes my feet.
I love purple and this new release by Crocs is a real deal. Provides protection from the rain, roomy at the front and cushiony too. Overruns cost cheap too. I've ordered pink, white and black as well.
Who knows? I might go out on a date and wear black?
These boots are really ME! Camper boots bought at 80% off in 2000 and still amazing! See the mismatched shoelace designs? That's definitely me. Straight and weird at the same time. Ragged, down to earth and in your face!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Future

my phd studies will formally start in 2 weeks. I leave for sydney first next week and in a few days will be in perth. Yaman will be left behind but thanks for technology, will always be there with me over the internet. Whatever means, whatever there is, will be used at my disposal. I still don't miss the irony though. As i leave for the future, so will i leave my future. I'd rather accept than question that.

I hope to build my phd blog soon. First, to build an audience on my topic and second, as a way for me to release and learn from the learning process of research. we can learn from each other. One costly mistake in doing my masters on divorce was holing it up inside when it should have been expressed, commented, revised and refined. Thoughts i realized should grow organically with seeds of knowledge planted and grown under protective as well as harsh conditions. That is, it should be exposed to test whether it will thrive or just wither. So as i open a new chapter, i hope to be with all of you still on the journey.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheating Debt

it's hard to be betrayed by your mentor. because mentors are meant to be role models, to pave the way to what's right. I have a mentor who has been my friend for more than 10 years. we remember each other's birthdays, xmases, father's and mother's days. lately, he just chose to forget. and for what reason? i guess, to get an old debt off his back. for him, i did work left unpaid for 2 years. but i hang on to believing he'll pay because he was my mentor. I trusted him. Sad because for now, he chose the cowardly way. He chose not to trust himself. He may have cheated me off my pay, but he forgot that he cheated himself more. Cheated himself in believing he did the right thing. But no, someday he will regret. He'll realize that debts are debts, that time cannot write off. His debts would still be there but he would have lost his friends, and himself.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

happy father's day to you
and you and you
single mothers out there
who don the hat
single fathers out there
dominating the kitchen
we who take our kids
to school alone
and save space for one
who must grapple
with answers to
questions unending
at the end
the stage is ours
on the other side
we seek for one face
one presence
yet holding our hands
lies one
the difference
all worthwhile

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wimbledon without Rafa

i'm glad you listened to your body. you cannot win the french, wimbledon, the olympics, and the australian open without exacting a toll on your body, not to mention, your mind. you're not superman. and even superman has his weakness. so rather than disappointed, this fan says do as you will and heal. heal in time for your next game plan and that is to win every game you enter. what could be a testament to great sportsmanship but to play fair and able every time? so there, you may want to spend days fishing. reflect on a birthday spent finally with family than on the court. you will always have my respect, Rafa. you deserve time, as much as you want. see you soon, rested and well.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feral Power

talk softly
chew small
eat light
stare not
laugh meekly

gilded cage
emotional battery

libog helps
it pays
to not listen
maging bastos
say i
don't care
so hold on
to the animal
your vagina
is yours

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Obscene Additions

mar + korina = a couple of opportunists

iggy + dato + mikey + gloria = quatro cons in congress

gloria + mikey + dato + mike = asawa-pang familia

vicki + hayden = mama-son

vicki + katrina = ang kirat at ang kiri

vicki + katrina + hayden = ang kirat, and kiri, at ang ka-ikli

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


to laugh hard and not
cry openly and not
shout boldly and not
love unconditionally and not

so laugh till you cry
cry till you dry
shout till you're out
love till you die

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


he has been in my mind since april. right when staying in naga for more than a month crystallized and was a dream worth having before leaving for perth this july. i want to see him, touch base as what i did with my bestfriend itie. i wanted to know how his life turned out, wow, for the past 20 years (we've been apart that long?!). you would not believe this. but he is actually the only guy who proposed marriage to me. i didn't take him seriously then, at 20, and being my first 'official' boyfriend since jujun, i don't want to. not that i want to play the field. it's just that marrying your first boyfriend is just one big limitation. i'm supposed to have boyfriends after him, right?

then suddenly, at 2 months when i was pregnant with yaman, i saw him at a mall in legazpi city. we were both surprised that we snobbed each other. but his memory lingered. the way he looked at me, with knowing eyes. it helps to know also that through the grapevine, i learned that he's a doting father to his children. one who studies in colegio and another in parochial. for someone who's a self-confessed playboy, that's one hell of an improvement. thinking of him now, i realized he was not too bad at all. he's friends with all his ex-girlfriends. me included.

i don't know why the ache of just missing him for all those 20 years is as strong as the day i first met him. i could not be sure whether it's april or december 1990. basta it was raining and what struck me about him was his self-assuredness.

from what i learned from dabbling with feng shui, numerology, and the tarot, all these have a reason. i think that perth is opening a whole new different chapter for me that now, at this life, i seem to be on the verge of undoing and repair. i feel that i'm going back to all things past, especially those here in naga, and there's this responsibility of owning up to something, facing something dreaded and ignored long ago. could it be him? what was it that i missed? why am i missing him this way when we had closure and we even had a good laugh of what we've been through. i recall what he said to me then: 'pero vitti, pag mag abot ang panahon, na stabilisado naman ako and stabilisado ka naman, and dai pa kita nakua kan iba, siguro man pwede kita na lang'.

i answered that line with a smirk, half-shy. because it was so impossible. he had a live-in partner then and just had a crash relationship with a smashing beauty in school. while i was already working and i had the whole world for the taking. i was too good for him. i did not deserve him. could it be that i am just dreaming? could it be that the way that i'm missing him, miss as in missing a train, is because he was supposed to be the good husband, the good father, that i could have had for me and yaman, now. is this the truth that i'm supposed to face? and now, i'm afraid to face. meanwhile, the way i look in his memory is eons from how i look now. i could not even face him!

but back to what he said, we're both stable now although he's already taken and i'm no taker. i could be content just talking to him, holding not his hand but his gaze. ex-lovers resisting the penance of being strangers. in friendship, both looking for solace, release.

let's just see how it unfolds. when amaya read my cards last january, she said that there would be someone, a man from the past, back from the dead. just imagine, what i shrugged off then is possible now.

wuuu, i feel the chills. let's see what happens in facebook.

(Eerie. After titling this blog, i realized that Ghost (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) was our first and only date movie.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Lesson in Carrots

45 minutes
To the carrot cake
Jack London read
The lady in red
Learning lessons in
One carrot cake

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Love Rewind

one of my bestfriends, itie, and i touched base today, after so many years of just waving at each other everytime she passes by the house. as with bestfriends go, conversations are directionless. from the mumu who inhabited their house a year ago to bayantel to her boyfriend in dubai to why i like mika tan (the pornstar) to my boyfriends of the past. i told her what i wrote here before that i consider jujun my first love. and she asked why? well, i knew i love him then so why couldn't he be? and we had a good laugh as she said, 'my first love would be my first kiss!'. and there, i realized that for her, first love is intimacy, while for me, the burst, the sensation of having felt L-O-V-E for the first time was a good enough criterion. then i remembered, jujun never kissed me, much less steal one; and, never even held my hand. but it doesn't matter, even now. the memory of jujun leaves me with a sense of contentment that i was loved by a man like that. itie and i shared the same sentiment. our first loves drew the line and raised the bar. and while others came after, we are proud and blessed to have loved them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Everyday Joys

along edsa, there is a billboard that reads, 'when a child is born, a parent is born'. a month ago, i related here my frustrations of being a single mom to yaman. i fear her hate and anger, openly expressed. correspondingly, i punish myself with guilt and a sense of helplessness.

i am learning. first of all, that it does not take a day to be a parent. you do not become a parent just by giving birth to her and him. nor would it take seven days as long as when the world was made. it takes more and demands a lot of kindness and patience, not only on and from the child, but also on and from you.

i was raised in a culture of perfection, in a culture where mothering has stringent rules and report cards. i realize now that we all navigate differently. we approach the mothering culture in different ways and none is either perfect or incomplete.

i tried to mold my approach depending on the child, depending on yaman. amaya once said in explaining the montessori way of learning, 'you have to raise yourself to the level of the child'. so i started by levelling with her. looking at her eyes when we talk. eye to eye. and while finding it difficult at first, i took out all judgments and strived to see her as she is. what triggers her anger? what triggers her to follow and not follow? who is this person? then i turned the tables on me. why am i so judgmental? why am i so sensitive? what is preventing me from appreciating myself as a mother?

answers are slowly unfolding and it is a lifetime of learning. for one, yaman is fiercely independent and like me, works best on trust. instructions she does not appreciate repeating. she knows it and you have to trust her. brag her incessantly and she gets angry. impressionable, she learns expressions from all around her but take time to explain, and she knows the limits, what is good and bad. she listens well and understands. even what is hopeless about adults (swearing) and why not all are role models, but all strive to be.

and me, for one, i know that as it hurts, it is also in mothering where we heal. only in reconciling first with ourselves could we be good mothers. and in appreciating our children as persons in their own right makes us good humans especially. it takes a lot of courage and innovation to get out of stereotypes. while it may be difficult, it is not impossible, and definitely not rewardless.

All the Best to my Fellow Mothers (and Father-Mothers - Hi Doc!) in the World:)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Broken Tooth

chip on pearl
bite untasty
feeling for more
but bitin
a small piece
but worth the world
the difference
between tasting adobo
and greasy pork

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Black is White and Vice-Versa

when there is nothing to write
write nothing
say nothing
think nothing

but to think of nothing
is still thinking
to say nothing
is still an attempt on saying
to write nothing
is still an attempt in writing
so nothing is something
it is everything

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grissini's in Naga

The sister and I decided to have a bite before picking up Yaman from Village Montessori at 430pm today. It was 315pm in our clocks so there's enough time to relish good food. To Cereza we got off to after AdenU. We wanted food not as 'flat' as those in Kopi Roti and not as heavy as those in Chef Doy's. Pasta? Ok let's see what Grissini's got.

By facade alone, it already talks 'PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA!'. It's too Shakey's-sy in color though. If not for the 'pasta' on the side, who would know that they serve interesting pasta dishes?

Here, the dating is Italianni's. Bread smudged in olive oil and virgin soy sauce (tama ba?). The fucassia's soft, yummy and smells good. One loaf though is enough to prepare for the heaviness of the pasta.

If my numbers are right, they have at least 10 different pasta dishes than your bolognese or puttanesca. Yumi and I wrangled a bit between mameranto and vongole. Big sister won so voila! Vongole ala Grissini! First, don't order this when you've got kids and teens around, unless they like their pasta hot. This dish I found too hot. After 3 servings, my ears were smoking! As to taste, I give it 2 of 5. Perhaps because the spicyness overpowered the taste so much. In my palate memory, I could not distinguish anything extraordinary about it.

I like their bathrooms and this semi-powder room at the left of the back exit. Men and women's rooms are distinguished by male and female portraits. 'She' looks like Lucy Torres!

One plus point is that it's cheap for a place where one can eat Italian. Pasta and fuccasia only PhP172.00. The waitress is engaging and efficient (keeps on filling our glass with water and quick with the bill) and even suggests dessert. Food is cooked right beside the kitchen next to the bar, suggesting confidence in cleanliness and safety of the food.

Food - 2
Service - 4
Ambience - 3 (no privacy as one can hear conversations on the next table)
Cleanliness - 4
Price - 4
Overall: 3. Worth a try. And you may want to order another dish than Vongole.


Note: In writing this, I attest that I am a food lover, not a critic. Not meant to be judgmental, defamatory or libelous (bwahahahaha!) at all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bakit Hindi Ikaw?

ako mismo?
ikaw, sino pa ba?
ngunit kailangan pa
bang pagsabihan
wag kalimutan
di na kailangan
kung sinuman
kanino magsisimula
kundi sayo
dapat lang
ako mismo ad
di kailangan
di kailangan ng
gimik sa

Monday, June 8, 2009

Teaching a Child to Brush

say ah. brush down left and right and center
say eee. brush straight left and right and center
and circle
say ah. brush up left and right
tongue, tongue, tongue
brush up and down
ta tan ta tan ta tan
ta tan ta tan
tan tan tan tan
tan tan tan tan

Sunday, June 7, 2009

a love story: unprepared

so the actor said, 'marry me'. 'tough luck, pare', i've gone to speaking tagalog street talk with him since he has gotten into my nerves lately.

'he's showing progress', the korean PT reported two days ago; locked eyes with me, as if meaning more. 'you should sing to him more. i think your voice is working miracles on him'.

ehem. my voice? i could barely command an audience of frogs.

perhaps what he meant was the humming. to inure myself to missing delfin, i've gone to returning, rather than avoiding things and memories leading me back to him. so this record of ASIN, i've come to playing over and over and over at home. so LUPA, i've gone to humming over and over and over at work. i hum while doing my rounds, walking to my car, at the meatshop, and as i turn the lock and find myself alone at the house at 8pm, i cry endlessly with brown bags strewn over the floor until i fall asleep in the sofa.

inside, i am into depression which i cannot show at the outside. i feel too far important to others than to myself. much worse than walking wounded is walking hollow. and for now, that space is filled by music, filled with ASIN, and LUPA.

by the time i could not see him because the gravity of my grief, the actor saw in me much more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yumi's Tortelloni Ricotta e Spinaci

Cook ricotta then set aside. Combine cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Mix with the ricotta. Top with cheese, sliced bacon, and basil leaves. Bake for 5 minutes.


Friday, June 5, 2009


as i write this, i'm waiting for ira's turn to play scrabble while also taking a break from writing on watershed management. supposed to post yumi's newest innovation on the tortellini but my cell is not working well on its email function. so while the mind is divided in doing three tasks, i just decided to simplify this blog by writing about it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the burden of vicki

you're angry at the girls
so you say
'this is what you get for stealing my man'

you're angry at the girls
so you say
'i'm the victim here'

you're angry at the girls
so you say
'he's the victim. he's been drugged'

you're angry at the girls
so you pay
a capricious mom
ambitious lawyers
station wars

it's really hard
to be an old
broken-hearted fool

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love in the Time of Arthritis

my hands go numb
the letter unwritten
felt tip pen bleeds
not for lack of words
but for lack of will

to stand on one's feet
my gaze follows you
along with my heart
the crutch useless
immobilized not by frailty
but by fear

i could not walk the mile
the journey foregone
ticket on hand
i say forget it
entombed the soul
as much as the body
this impossible love
for you

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


to take advantage
wait a while
buts in a sentence

gamitin sa pangsariling kapakanan
hintay lang
ngunit sa salita

fair enough
english at tagalog
negative at positibo
universal meaning
literal at figurative

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (9)

I suggest, you start at Part 1 below.

My pledge was that if I don't get the scholarship, I owe the floor a makeover. Here the defaced part of the living room.

...which extends to the CR. The kitchen happens to be the busiest part of the house given the foot activity and relative defacing withstood by the floor for almost 5 years.

Where am I going? The answer is right in this image. Incidentally, it looks like the map of Australia. Would you believe this image points to the door as if signifying, 'we're afoot to the land down under!'.


My Guijo: A Picture Tour (8)

Ira, the eldest niece now and then as a baby (back). Kimi, Mading Joey's unica hija (right) and Yaman as a baby (left).

A wooden chime at the southeast.

Ceramic chime at the center of the house.

Gina's homewarming gift in 2004 which was a Monkey year.

A metal bell in the northwest to have mentor luck.

Twilight fans, Yaman and I.

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (7)

While visiting during my pregnancy, Ruby asked bestfriend Cora, 'bakit ang dami'ng baboy dito?'. Cora answered, 'kasi baboy si vitti eh', which elicited a slap in the arm from Ruby. True, I grew so fat when I got pregnant (more than 170 lbs). But true, fat or not, I'm a Pig after being born 1971, the year of the Metal Pig. Here is what's left of my Pig collection (after Yaman took some as her own and pushed one from the stairs).

The yellow pig is from Divisoria and the green one from the Surplus Shop in Megamall. The pink one is from Yaman's Dad as a pasalubong from his trip to the US in 1993. Would you believe that red plastic pig cost PhP400 in 1993 (also from Megamall)? Ugh!

Mamasito gifts (December 2006, I think).

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (6)

Comfort rooms lie next to the kitchen. Doors are kept close always to contain the 'foul' breath coming from comfort rooms as known in feng shui. The left is the toilet and the right is the bathroom. Based on feng shui principles, the CRs are unadorned but kept clean always.

That mirror has been in place since we moved in.

In line with feng shui, am not showing the toilet here. But to give you perspective, this is how I read Desiderata every morning.

The famous Desiderata poem read every morning. I left this here so that it could be appreciated just the same by the new tenants.

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (5)

This bedroom faces the east and so absorbs the sun in the mornings. Yaman and I sleep on the floor (on a blue mattress) while Mom occupies the bed. Yaman doesn't like sleeping on the bed, mainit daw. And we could watch movies endlessly of course.

The earthern portion holds a cross (a gift) and my personal altar.

I pray to my saints every day from Monday to Friday. First, the Divine Infant Jesus Novena, my affirmations with crystals in hand, and personal messages beginning with Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Chinese God of Fortune (rightmost), the Sto. Niño, and Saint Prosperity (middle).

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (4)

The stairs decked by Yaman's bags and my pigs (what's left of it). No feng shui principle on this one.

On the second rung, I grazed my left shin. Bye-bye perfect legs! On the left is a makeshift 'gate' to prevent the little girl going up the stairs, especially without us knowing.

The crucial portion where many have mistaken as one and nearly fell below.

The entire flight takes about 10 steps and ends in 'oro' (gold).

That wall used to have a calendar bearing metal pigs. The house has 2 rooms. The right is the master bedroom and the left, the yaya's room. I didn't take pictures of this room because as we were already moving, it was filled with boxes and styro. Tamad na ko ayusin.

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (3)

This house boasts 2 sinks which can be converted into two self-contained kitchens. The one on the left we use for brushing teeth and the right as the 'official' kitchen.

Ira's drawings adorn the walls. Done when she was between 5-6 years old. The mongo drawing was done by Nikki, Yaman's cousin from her father's side.

The house was designed to fit just three people so the simple dining 'set'. When Yaman was born, Mom and I ate here, as well as Mai-Mai, her yaya. For large banquets, we just join together this table with the brown table holding my things (beside Yaman's eastern nook).

The semi-circle view ends here. The blue chair used to be my writing chair.

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (2)

The house is a melting pot of regions, visited by Tagalogs, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Zambalenos, Samarenos, and even Balikbayans. There is a room indeed for everyone!

A view of the Eastern wall. The straight feng shui blocked by a row of furniture.

A nook of feng shui ideal to the northeastern part of a living room: a green water plant, ceramic vase, wooden pigs, and metal elements signified by the phone and metal money tree.

Yaman's nook on the eastern wall is occupied by her toy cabinet, potty, and dora's height tracker.

Believe me, this is the last piece of furniture displayed in this house. Mom gave this to me two months after moving in. Previously, I used the mirror found in my Loreal powder case.

My Guijo: A Picture Tour (1)

I lived here for 5 years. Here I changed jobs 3 times and had a baby. The kamias on the right is the Green Dragon, my lucky charm.

A wood chime in the northeast. Tinkling sounds as you enter.

The view of the door from inside. Note the protection metal chime. Dried palms at the door, the Holy Family, Laughing Christ and Serenity Cross at the left.

The view of the living room from the door. Yaman's desk and space at the left, the Western Wall bearing Yaman's first portrait. A framed Desiderata from Papemelroti likewise. Toys now occupy my writing nook. A computer table sans a computer.

Yaman turned my life around for the better.