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)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Roots in 2012

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been. The foresight to know where you are going. And the insight to know when you have gone too far.  A blessed 2012 my sweet wifey!  (Hubby, 31/12/2011, 10.56pm)

how i wish i could always be the perfect one for you. not this grumbling grumpy student who hates being questioned, and giving answers to questions never asked before in more than five years. my moods overwhelm me and it is sometimes quite too late for me to realize how much pain i'm causing, especially for someone so patient and constant (all these 27 years!).  i would learn to  hold my tongue and my fingers that sometimes cannot help but text the most odious messages, catching you unaware, and often feeling lonelier than ever.  it is always a consolation that with a new year unfolding, one could be resolute to change, for the better.  but i'm not the one for empty promises or for hollow words. so allow me to just say this.  perfect is an unkind word.  real could be misunderstood. so what if i proceed anew with awareness, of the need for self-restraint, to be able to graduate from adjusting to homing, settling with what we already have.  it is one thing to be real in the relationship. it is another to evolve and finally situate and take root anew. 

Friday, December 30, 2011


a word learned from sally (knowles) today. an adjective which means 'noisily and stubbornly defiant' (Free Online Dictionary). sally used it to refer to herself 'the first woman, parent to complain about the school creed. such an obstreperous woman.'

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Munggo with Basil

The secret to a great munggo dish is BASIL!
Just saute garlic and white onions first. Then add the pork fillets. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour in about 3 cups of water and munggo beans. Add more water if soup dries up while softening the beans. This would take about 30 minutes of occasional stirring. Keep the lid of the casserole half open to prevent the soup from spilling over. Season with salt, pepper and vegetable seasoning as desired. Then add the basil leaves once beans are cooked.  The soup tastes so much better compared to using sili leaves.  Bon appetit!

Note: The beans could be soaked in water overnight or just about 3 hours before cooking.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Delicate Hubby

wish i'm there with you right now. that it is my hand you're holding. my shoulder you're leaning on to. my presence beside you in this one endless night of worry for my beloved.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Healthy Cos Salad Brekkie

Cut cos lettuce in quarters (I usually cut across the leaf). Top with tuna in olive oil (look for canned tuna in olive oil). Sprinkle with half of a lemon (to remove the lansa). Garnish with fresh cherry or roma tomatoes. This is a yummy and naturally healthy breakfast. My insides rejoice every time I take this for breakfast. Bon appetit!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Roasted Turkey Legs

1. Pat turkey legs dry and open deep tissues with knife.
2. Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (I prefer fan-forced since it evens out heat inside the oven. 175C for conventional heat). Rub extra butter along the base and sides of pan. Fill with water (1/2 cup).
3. Rub turkey legs with butter. Insert slices of butter in between tissues (optional).
4. Lay out turkey legs on pan. Season exposed side with salt, pepper, lemon, ginger powder, thyme and rosemary. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
5. When oven is ready, bake exposed side for 1 hour.
6. After 1 hour, remove the pan and turn the turkey legs.Season turned side with the same ingredients. Refill water if base has turned dry.
7. Bake the turkey legs for another 1 hour and ten minutes but this time, without the foil. Occasionally baste the legs with sauces collecting from the base.
8. Throw in veggies about 10min before cooking time lapses.

Tip: Take turkey legs out of the freezer the night before cooking. Just thaw inside the ref. By morning, thaw to room temperature. I'm planning to use chicken stock instead of water next time for added flavor.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Blog

i love you my Yaman, i love you my Hubby. last year, we were having a meal of spaghetti ('mas masarap ka pang magluto ng spaghetti kay tita, mommy!), matabang na adobo, and matabang na fried chicken. we hurried up after, just before 8pm, to get a seat in the Church of the Gesu at AdeMU.  Yaman slept all over the mass but clutching here, with the Hubby of my life, beside me, filled me with a deep sense of fulfillment, in that white church, on Christmas eve.  tonight, i am in the company of cereal coffee, my first set of colored pencils, two sketch pad notebooks (for reading notes), and the Hubby on skype,and Yaman asleep in Naga to make way for Santa's arrival. i wish this will be the last Christmas Eve blog from far away.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Batch 87 (English)

Time was ours to take
Heaving luggage and dreams of far away
Ever rooted in being Bicolana wherever

Gone we are from our innocent selves
Left behind the solace of youth
Over shores, we speak language of the foreign
Breathe the air of land not born into
Alive but every day seeking the familiar
Longing for the embrace of home

In 25 years, the past and its doors open
Stories bound we are to tell and keep
Amid life’s upheavals we remain
Belonging to each other in friendship
Etched in the halls of Santa Isabel
Like waves we return to solid earth
In yesterday, the promise we relive
Now bound once more to affirm
A journey continuing, inspiring, and shared

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Batch 87 (Bikol)

Time kan daraginding pa kita
Haragikhikan sa hallway, turuyawan, tsirismisan
Economics kay Mr. Estolloso, single pa Ms. Terbio

Grade 7 nagpuon, bakong first year high school
Labs ta burger ni Sheila, baduya sa Perdon
OCS nag break away, called themselves ‘pioneers’
Bawal ang charol, ang mag eyeliner, over!
Ang mag-sando compulsory, palda below the knee
Like ta si mam, si klasmeyt, nasa ibang year

In 25 years
Sain na kita napadpad, pupuruton?
Aramon ta bako sa chat, kundi harampangang istoryahan
Birikolan, Iringlisan, Tagalog, basta mag intindihan
Estranghera man sa pinaghalian
Lambang saro sato, sa Naga may pupulian
Iwalat na muna pagiging ina, agum, soltera
Namnamun ta pag-usbong kan panahon
Asin iribanan sa nalalabi pa, Amiga!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Love Made in Heaven

"hubby ko, here na po sa house
ma skype na kay yamani upon her request
nag-aano na ang pogi kong agum?
love you"

what do you say or do when you read a text like this?
i would say God is so great
He makes destinies for people
to feel more His love
there is such a thing as love made in heaven

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Urulay Kan Muro

my right arm wants a break
ngawit na kaka-type
from transcripts that just won't end
sa period, sa comma, sa 'uhm'...
the arm is about to split in two
habang urulay dai mapundo
fingers folding and unfolding
namumurula na sa paoy
the veins protruding below the skin
mayong pahingalo, maski habo na

Monday, December 19, 2011


i'm so tired from doing house work
tomorrow is another day
better perhaps

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Roast Pork for the Hubby

I do not want to celebrate over coffee, as Roxanne first suggest. 

So why not have roast pork, ahead of the planned one for New Year's? No less than this occasion calls for it.

So yeah Hubbyko, tara let's partake of this feast. The first of the very many I would prepare for us and our family.

I love you so so so much.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mrs. Michael Ferdinand Lopez Totanes

i feel that my smile is reaching from ear to ear.  my heart is singing when a while ago, it was torn from worry and doubt. i'm getting married in 2012, and it still has to sink in. it would be the first for me. a first in terms of momentous time. hah, i am lost for words. being Mrs. Michael Ferdinand Lopez Totanes says it all, i think.

The Unusual Hubby

if for his silence, i would think he has a girlfriend. to be used to the usual makes the unusual seem not benign at all. perhaps he lost his cel. perhaps he just couldn't text because of the traffic (although it gives him more reason to). hay where are you at a time like this? you must be wandering indeed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heart's Away

my heart reaches out for home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Serious Turning

the student needs a lot of work. to be taken seriously although to impress is not the key. to thine own self be true is a cliche but in more than 20 years since college, learned that being real despite the discomfort to others (not deliberately) saves one from excuses, and builds self-esteem as imperfection becomes an acceptable part of breathing.  this means more work academically, a deeper plowing of theory and empirical evidence. no turning back now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ang Aki Ko

may mga aldaw
talagang arog kaini
ngirit na sana
babakalun pa
aagi-agihan sana
garo mayo ka
baad sa aga
maray an pamayo
sa pangadyi aagihon
pagmawot saimo

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wild Calling

suddenly, i want to read Clarissa. the Wild Woman calls...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Waiting Sad

i'm watching 'wire in the blood', a UK drama series that actually sparked me off into following crime/ detective TV series made in the UK (e.g., Whitechapel, Silk, Sherlock Holmes 2010).  in the episode i'm watching, the protagonist Dr. Hill agreed to 'marry' his friend's widow, in a kind gesture to help her celebrate 'their' (the friend's and the widow's) marriage vows.  it's really hard to move on after losing one's only man.  but sometimes, perhaps, it's even harder to move on from a confused position: whom from to move on? i've found the man whom i would carry this torch for years and years until i die. but what if you don't? what if the waiting takes you instead to different kinds of men, to just whoever comes along, with whom one just happens to click with, in the moment.  it's sad and to see a friend fall for another trap is even sadder.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Own

i wait for my hubby to come home. to me in this small box called skype where the screen is a room of our own.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thinking in Arrows

i am the writer who thinks in figures. whose writing gets off when i see connections in between and the whole. my mind integrates the teeny weeny bits and tries to find meaning in what works together, which are in parallel, and what points reinforce. in my mind the whole is a dynamic of interconnected dashes, lines, squares and sometimes circles and triangles. this is how my mind works. it could never work without arrows.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Mens

i make sure not to exercise every menstruation. this is to help compensate for the time when i was 24-28 years old. i became so thin (dropped to 116lbs back then) that the menstruation period shrank back from 7 days to only 4. in reading about it later on, would realize that exercise obsession, even during one's menstruation, could actually harm and distort one's cycle. i have been out of exercise for 7 days and i can't wait to get back to get rid of these backaches from two days of writing. i am old and even a pillow round my back could not prevent it. nor taking calcium every day can help. but in respect of the mens, i just have to endure. so tomorrow back to sun salutations and a 28-min stretch with joel (harper).

Thursday, December 8, 2011


whatever time could be squeezed into reading about philippine politics, is squeezed. the 'notes' book now filled with scribbles here and there, from the front and from the back to at least highlight important meanings and dynamics before going to the Biblio, sometime in the future. one has gone past the obligation to study politics. obligation has been transcended by a voracious need to learn and be re-educated of one's history and the forces of structure and agency (from below and above) defining that point in history. to think of a life sustained by political research is still premature. but being in it right now is enough to revel in the privilege of discovery and insight.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


accidentally, stumbled on a word to stop her 'bilmoko' attitude, which the sister says, started just after the school year started; when the daughter, by not being used to waking up early, had to be cajoled by the grandmother into getting up from bed by promises of going to SM after school and buying whatever she fancies.  now, this SM trips have become a habit and the unfortunate lola could not exercise enough authority not to give in to the granddaughter who already knows how to use her tears, her body language to win the bargaining war in front of salespeople at the SM.  now, the mother could only use words to capture why the habit just has to stop.  it's not enough to just explain the difficulty of making ends meet, maintaining one's self down under and a family in another country. but perhaps just as she used body language, so would facial language do.  so in the course of wringing one's hair and stretching one's face, the word 'TOXIC' just jumped out. and so the daughter asked, 'who's toxic? me?'.  to which the mother replied, 'it's not you but your things. they're too many for you to count and too much for you to need. the slippers, notebooks, pencils, pens, bags, pencil cases. these has got to stop anak. it's too TOXIC'.  and so she now knows, with just a word that one must stop. TOXIC. may it be a powerful enough word.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Way of Seeing

'she' gave out a laugh today. a girlish giggly laugh that sounded like roxanne's but not roxanne's. my housemate swore she didn't laugh at all while watching 'whitechapel' by the dining table (using her macbook).

i was washing the dishes, back turned to her, when i heard the laugh. it was sort of making fun of my request to roxanne not to leave the house tonight (to work at uni) for reasons obvious since yesterday. we didn't name the reason out loud but 'she' knew, and that laugh was a way of confirming she's as smart as we are, in knowing.

the very good thing in having a Hubby who's not closed to encounters-of-the-other-kind is that he is able to affirm my reaction. after learning from roxanne that the laugh was from the 'other' one, i just went out about washing then left for my bedroom to get the St Benedict medal, tucked inside the shorts i was wearing before the weather cooled and so had to change to long black jogging pants. now, the St Benedict is secured tightly on my shirt, with a safety pin.

there are reasons to be afraid, obviously.  but the practical that i am, i know i cannot rid of 'them', nor can i fight 'them'. nor could i get affected by getting moody or totally high strung.  so peaceful coexistence be it.  this house is theirs anyway, originally. and we are just passing through.

Hubby said it's not their fault anyway. if now, i am 'feeling' 'them', then it's because of the reactivation of a third eye, which i already have (see tarot reading background).  lately, this reawakening of the third eye i could only associate with the heightened intellectual maturity from doing politics-oriented research and the brain stimulation exercises taken every morning before work.  it's the thinking brain reactivating other areas once asleep, the third eye included.

it is interesting that this is happening with the weakening of my physical eyes, a sort of reversal that could only be explained by the balancing out of energies. that as the intellectual and third eyes are reawakening so are my eyes waning of the power to see the physical.  then i get to remember this line from a movie, 'it is because you see with your eyes that you get fooled so often'. then will all the things moving forward in my life right now, perhaps losing one's natural sight is not a loss after all.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Mumu in the Kitchen

it happened in broad daylight. in the morning.

'it' may have taken a fancy on the cover of janty's hand-me-down teapot. it's peanut-shaped handle i guess.

this morning, just before breakfast at 7am, i could not find this cover. it's nowhere in the dishracks, left and right of the sink.  not inside the cupboards below where the pans are here. nor those on the far right where the plates lay.  it's not mixed up with the utensils container, which happens to be stout, round-shaped with holes on the side. no, not here. impossible. not in the cabinets above with the various teas roxanne and i had stacked in a year. not on the dining table. not in the trash, and wondering, could i have mistakenly thrown it with the garbage from last night's cooking? no, impossible. something that solid and hard just could not be.  then ah, must've stored it with the baking stuff after baking cookies yesterday. but no, the white porcelain cover was not in the stack of red silicone bread and muffin pans.

when roxanne found out about the lost cover, she too looked high and low, taking time opening each and every drawer close to the bins.

after 15min of looking, we just decided to just stop and head for the shop to get the week's supplies.

by the time we got to the house around 945am, i just nonchalantly bent down the lower right cupboards again to check the baking utensils one more time.  on the verge of standing up, i saw it. the porcelain cover sitting there innocently on the left dish rack. the left dish rack which roxanne and i combed one by one, on separate occasions. the hairs on our arms were on end, each aware of what has just happened. i could only blurt out 'thank you', 'thank you'.

cora calls them the 'borrowers' who in their own little worlds get to use the things we have in our world.  so as i told the hubby, it makes sense to say 'goodbye house' when leaving and 'hello house' when arriving from uni, to this house.  these greetings do not fall on deaf ears. they are just here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fr. John's Homily

Fr John Archibald of St Patrick's doesn't look that impressive as a priest. he is already old, looking at you but with no eye contact. sometimes he forgets turning on his microphone, like this. one day, he just droned off during the sermon, got home disappointed and swore never to attend his masses, ever.  but at 11am today, i had no choice.  before this sunday, i have already attended a mass by him and got impressed by his sermon although i've forgotten what it is about.  anyway, his sermon today touched on the message of john the baptist and the wilderness in our souls.

Fr. John is a pragmatist in saying that although we may consider ourselves not so sinful enough to have a spiritual life as barren and as dejected as the wilderness, still we have to be conscious of our complacency in our relationships with the living, as it is God. it's like a house he says, that if left uncleaned, unmanaged, in time will self-destruct.  so he points out the 'cobwebs' in our lives that need taking out - our tendencies to forget, impose false pride, not forgive, take our loved ones for granted. and he compares the Voice in the wilderness, of God's to the small but often drowned voice amidst current-day promotion of the materialist, the obscene.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ceremony and the Abalantung

now we are committed to the little girl. yes, our abalantung, we will have a ceremony. i in white, and you in pink. clutching pink and purple flowers. as is a cake decked with them. your practice with kuya and gab will not come to nothing.  we will have that ceremony soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tribute to Natalie

i always go back to her.

when the writing is fluid and the fingers fly, she's there saying, go with the flow, break out, jump! dare to be wild!

when the writing just wouldn't take-off and i stop here and there to collect thoughts from articles down the carpet, from books scribbled in pink, blue and green ink, or from just a word, or an interview line that is just so important, she says, stay cool, be patient. writing takes time. remember, writing is organic.

when i'm inspired, with electricity tingling up my fingertips and just couldn't stop thinking, with the urge to write, even though doing something else, like walking home, she says, get your pen, write down your thoughts before they're lost. whatever paper, whatever pen, will do. trap your thoughts on paper so you won't get trapped remembering. 

and when i'm tired, dead tired, hungry and the angry sun awaits outside to bleed me of whatever strength remains, she says, leave your desk now and rest your mind. allow your thoughts to simmer down and filter the reasonable from the superfluous.  writing takes resting. tomorrow is as promising as today. 

i have never met her. only read her. read the reality of her life in writing. but here in this phd, she is an ever-present inspiration, every day, whatever, wherever, however the writing goes.

thanks so much Natalie...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kaantabay's Reform Dynamics in Equations (aka The Thesis in Math)

state power = personalism (individualistic) + party (collective)

societal power = urban poor as organizations + urban poor as movement

the thesis is:
state power > societal power

in Kaantabay:
state power = f (patronage, discretion, political machinery); and,
societal power = f (individualization, demise of urban poor organizations, political capture)

the consequence in Kaantabay:
Poor program effectiveness = poor repayment + illegal land transactions

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Avoiding the Sun

starting last week, have been waking up early at 445am to be able to do the things i set out to do every morning before the sun is out, in its painful splendour at 9am.  yes, because it's now summer, sunrise takes place about 530am here, it feels like 12 noon by 9am.  so longer days make my days even longer still. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Becoming my PhD

if two years and 3 months ago, i am able to establish a no-work weekend or a no choice-but-cook-and-clean mondays, a day to read judge dee mystery series or exert a right to do nothing, now, garo dai na uso ini. perhaps it has to go with the self-imposed deadlines for next year. so whatever time could be squeezed for reading, editing, scribbling, planning or just plain thinking, i just do it.  as if the only time spent not doing the phd is when i sleep (although sometimes nightmares come, about my interviewees withholding information, or my notes catching fire), exercise (body and mind), walk to uni, eat, shop for weekly food and supplies, skype with the daughter and the hubby.  i'm gradually becoming my phd.  in a sense, i am even liking it.  which is strange because i am not supposed to. it appears blasphemous to even say it. tantamount to being a pariah in a place where each and every day, everyone wrests with the demon which is the phd.  i just don't.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Four-Word Politics

i've been reading four filipino history and politics books since last Friday: David Wurfel's Filipino Politics: Development and Decay (1988); David G. Timberman's A Changeless Land: Continuity and Change in Philippine Politics (1991); Patricio Abinales's and Donna Amoroso's State and Society in the Philippines (2005); and Benedict Kerkvliet and Resil Mojares' From Marcos to Aquino: Local Perspectives on Political Transition in the Philippines (1991).  I'm not reading them en masse, but in bits and pieces, the best parts in each book. if i am to digest in four-word sentences what stands out from each book, these it would be - That in the Philippines:

1. democracy is a myth (Wurfel)

2. local-national conditions mutually transformative (Kerkvliet & Mojares)

3. relationships underlie political culture (Timberman)

4. post-EDSA politics diverse, divisive (Abinales & Amoroso)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Death

it is only in death
i will be valued
only in death when
i will be remembered
in kindness
the time when
the aged left behind
will cherish the offspring

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Skype with Yaman

yaman, i like green. i like tulips.  i like pink roses, but if you like them, i could have the red ones.  i just miss you so so much my Abalantung.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Politics and My Tipping Point

at what point did i reach the tipping point?  or the point where, from somewhere, and after more than two years of struggling with 'political analysis', 'political theory' and even arriving at a simple calculation to ground my learning experience (politics=relationships) and a theme that will ground the phd journey (development is political); i have come now to a point of understanding, organically, or coming from self-synthesis and self-critique, and not just from the simple exercise of believing (what this and that author writes about), my place in the study of politics.

writing the evolution of Kaantabay last july appeared to have been the litmus test.  it was a rewriting of a draft on Kaantabay's history submitted to jane last january which looked more like story-telling.  in the july redraft, i found my voice speaking together with the data. i appeared to be making sense politically, and jane confirmed it.  fast forward to november 3 when a week before, the july draft had to be edited once more as a presentation paper. what was initially thought as a ho-hum exercise turned out to be a breakthrough of a real serious honest-to-goodness chapter. the presentation paper resulted not only from the simple editing of the july draft. it became a consolidation of other and earlier drafts written about Kaantabay, the earliest being the one written in august 2009, just a month after starting the phd. 

not only is this november draft a testimony to my political voice but it helped round and orient my thinking politically about state-society dynamics.  and true to the word, i latch on the word 'dynamic' to make my claim that politics may be messy, complex and in the philippine context, outright crazy; but it could be studied, like any other, as a transformational process engaged into by state and societal actors, which in turn, changes them as individuals and members of a collective, and in a resulting turn, influences their motivations and decisions.  which could explain why our good governance guru of a mayor is both messianic and manipulative at the same time. which could explain good governance as a tool of political management. which could provide another reason among the many why being critical means not just criticizing, looking for faults per se but seeking to understand, find meaning, find voice to the unsaid, the unbelievable but certainly, not unlikely explanations behind what happens, fault or not. indeed history would be the judge of that. 

now i see with fresh eyes. i have read James Boyce's Political Economy under the Marcos Regime but never got to understand deeply the politics of my country and my city until i found Jonathan Fox last April, digested him since and finally understood what he meant by November 2011. and there is Colin Hay and Bob Jessop to thank for strategic relational analysis, and Joel Migdal for the inspiration to the word 'transformational' in his state-in-society framework.  now i am reading Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso's book on state and society relations in the Philippines, and next, Wurfel (Filipino Politics) and Timberman (A Changeless Land).  i will never be the same after this.  in thinking, breathing, seeing, studying and living Filipino.

why am i writing this?  because i want to mark the day of marked change. a tipping point in this phd when the conviction to discern politically has been reached.  i want to look back and see, that here, at this time, i've made the breakthrough.  i am not yet finished with the phd. i have yet to come full circle. but just with my eating and sleeping, exercising, motherhood, true love and commitment, i have finally come to my own in politics, embracing it with the firm touch of faith.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


it must be the heat, and the waking up before 5am to escape the sun shining cruelly, its rays piercing through your skin as early as 8am.  it must be the interval of 5-6 hours in between meals which at this starting phase, could stress the body out. must be the thirst that could not be stanched just by water (which reminds me to get powerade tomorrow). or the 1.01-hr interview that took 1.5 days to transcribe. for whatever reason, i am here in bed, tired and for the first time, skyping and blogging while lying down.  i need lots of hugs kuta? where are you my Yaman and Shadowman?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Perfect Thesis

perhaps there should be a simple rule such as this. writing a chapter should entail only a maximum of two months.  more than that, and there must be something wrong. wrong maybe in terms of the argument, evidence and reasoning.  to be stuck in a chapter for two months is also a sign of perfectionism or of just the inability to breakthrough. when that time comes, that two-month expiration period would be the sign, for one to stop and move on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't Know Much

at 6, i don't even know how to add. could not even comprehend the concept of more than, less than or equal.  can't spell 'stem'. don't know what a venus flytrap is.  haven't heard the word 'multiply'. but i turned out ok, so far. i hope yaman would be better in life than me, regardless of knowing how to add, multiply and spell 'venus flytrap'.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blue Roses for the Hubby

Special blue roses for you my Hubby on your birthday
It doesn't matter how old you are, as long as we grow old together
Hair grey and thinning are secondary as long as us you don't forget
And as old age creeps, our steps would slow down
But hopefully not our heartbeats, our beating heart as one
I love you. 

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Persist. Focus. Endure.

when a friend from here eventually goes home, with thesis submitted and affairs in order, one is left holding a bag of inspiration and a bag of desperation.

inspiration because the other's experience points to what one should do to be able to finish. and that is not just to work hard, which is a given. but to persist even if a day in uni brings a lot of mishaps like computer glitches, the meeting with the supervisor goes awry, and one contends with missing data. to focus despite a single blank page staring at you by 5pm. to endure every step, every heartbeat, every hair on end wanting to just do the opposite than go to uni. 

desperation as one envies the other's journey  home. of breathing the polluted but still welcome air of manila in naia. to drown in the warm embraces and greeting smiles of loved ones. to relish what it means to be filipino: in food, custom, the news, its politics, the scenery of dwindling ricefields, and to just speak tagalog, bikol. 

while revisiting this thesis outline, my mind is filled with thoughts of home and when and how i'll be able to make the final and successful breakaway from the toll of the phd as bic-bic did today.  in the sadness of this cold gray nook that is my room, my spirit takes solace in thinking forward. so vitti, persist. focus. endure. live it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Choc Fudge Cake Recipe

The recipe for Choco Fudge Cake c/o Margaret Fulton is as follows (I've memorized it after bungling the first one):

250g butter + 1 tbsp (for lining sides and base of springform pan, see picture)
250 g dark chocolate (premium quality for baking)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp almond meal
1/3 tbsp cream of tartar
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 180C.  Rub base and sides of springform pan with butter. Line base with butter with baking paper and rub another dose of butter over covered base.  Dust with flour. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  When done, set temp to very low heat to keep the mixture warm. Set aside.

Separate egg yolks and whites.  In the egg yolk mixture, mix the sugars until just blended.  Pour yolk-sugar mixture to chocolate mixture. Then add the flour and almond meal.  Mix but do not overdo.  Remove saucepan from heat to just keep it warm.

Warm the egg white over low heat in a separate saucepan.  Add the cream of tartar until these form small white globules.  Pour egg white mixture to chocolate mixture slowly then mix.  It is normal for the mix to have white solids from the cream of tartar.

Pour entire mix to springform pan.  Bake for 35-45 minutes. The cake, according to MF, should 'tremble' at the center when cooked.  It is normal for the cake to settle down a bit after cooling.  Dust with icing sugar (1/2 tsp) and serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Bon appetit!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Choc Fudge Cake (Take 2)

the critical part of baking is measurement. so when i poured in three cups of flour and almost two cups of almond meal on the chocolate base mixture, something was dead wrong.  roxanne insisted that i could still use the heavy dough that looked like cement mix.  but after forming cookies and still pouring the dough on the springform pan, after 15 minutes, the result was still a bready bland mass of chocolate. so after literally crying my heart out, just heaved a big sigh and went on to bake the choco fudge cake, the second time, after replenishing lost ingredients by dropping by the shop around 4pm. 

The Choco Fudge Cake with hard-to-resist slices from moi and Roxanne. On top is icing sugar. Without it, the top looks a bit like marbled cake because of the cream of tartar.  The insides are soft and fluffy. Just perfect.  The recipe is courtesy of Margaret Fulton.  Bukas na since late na.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bic Bic's Reality

today, my good friend bic-bic discovered, less than a few days before leaving for the philippines for good on sunday, that her bank account has been closed and all the money in it wired to the philippines. all her money to the point that she has none left for shopping but for the bond money from her landlady amounting to more than A$500. she was upset upon learning from her bank of the erroneous transfer and it took a while for her to be comforted in knowing that her money is not lost after all. it's in safer hands even.  perhaps it's just the thought of not being able to do as she pleases, with the amount she expected to have. i would say that it's really our expectations that disappoint us, not the reality waiting to be acknowledged. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hubby's Washing

hubby's doing the laundry at present.  technology allowing a peek of what he's doing at home, in his own side of the world, in his domestic setting. without a woman taking care of him, he has gone to task the laundry of his office clothes. making sure that he does not appear forlorn and neglected by his household (if there is) by the quality of the uniform he wears. it is necessary to maintain a sense of presentability to the outside world. a sense that even by the sight of one's uniform, one's life as a single adult alone in his condo is isolated from prying eyes.  just hoping here that his long delicate hands will not betray him.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Compromised Life

while hanging my clothes yesterday, can't help but think about the Manny Pacquiao saga. from a hand-to-mouth existence, now money is no object, but for what in exchange? a wife that you no longer recognize. whose ignorance and pettiness it takes the penchant for showbiz stars, plastic surgery and hermes bags to convey.  does he ever see his children while playing the role of congressman, tv actor, endorser, and wanton playboy? does he ever really get to pray in the face of boxing practice, photo shoots and media events?  who among his throng of friends and alalays could he really trust now?  is his best friend around and still his best friend?  in what ways does he miss his life of struggle yet quiet existence? what would he give to bring this back?  what answers does he seek?  does he ever ask these questions?

Monday, November 14, 2011


returned to doing transcripts from second phase fieldwork just last week. hearing myself is such torture that i cringe and wonder what impression i may have left on my interviewees. they must have thought: 

1. she interrupts what i say...
2. she keeps on repeating my answers...
3. she forgot what we talked about God, how is old is her memory?...
4. she drowns her questions in 'po'...i can't understand the bloody question?!
5. she gets lost in the conversation...just told her a while ago about this and that...and we're talking again about the this and the that...

my interviewees are so patient with me.

i can't stand myself!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time

once upon a time,
i dreamt of having 12 children.
6 girls and 6 boys who would bear my
initials as follows:

alexandra vanessa
alessa vivian
annisette victoria
astrid virginia
agnetha vigdis
antonia veronica

armande vaughn
alonzo vittorio
adamas virgil
andrei vitus
argylle victor
allen venetius

if hubby and i met earlier,
a large totanes brood by now exists

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What do I wish for?

... a return ticket home to Naga and Manila these holidays
... a long awaited annulment
... for God to change his mind and forego Doomsday 2012
... a PhD well written and submitted
... a deep and flourishing well...

Friday, November 11, 2011


every time i remember the past, the Lord i thank for releasing me just at the right time, for the right reason. and now as i see my present and future, the Lord i thank for returning what has been lost, at the time least expected but auspicious, and for reasons, reclaimed and clear.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Can Only Sing for Christmas...

tending my herbs this morning, i found myself singing 'winter wonderland' to them.  gone away is the blue bird, here to stay is a new bird, who sings a love song, as we go along, walking in a winter wonderland...

 the breeze is still cool here in perth, at the tail end of winter.  by december, it would be hot and scorching to the point that pine trees droop and the poinsettias in our neighbor's backyard fail to bloom.  i face the gloom of december 25, as my heart pines for my Yaman and my hubbylabs.

i've said before that by hook or by crook, i would be home for christmas every year after a flat christmas away from yaman in 2009.  still, i would have to eat these words and swallow my pride.  these holidays sandwiched between yaman's 6th birthday and my fieldwork, and the well even drier than before.

so perhaps, on december 25, i will just cook roasted turkey, blog and the morning after, tend to my herbs and sing, i'm dreaming of a white christmas...just like the ones i used to know...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How I Wish

everytime i see the hubby eat noodles,
and the daughter being carried to bed
how i wish i was there preparing their food
and tucking them in

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Right To Shave My Head

if i could lawyer for the right to shave my head, it is this.  that hair can grow and that if one is shamed to be seen with me, in public, this way, then avoidance is their call, not mine.

for one's talk about freedom, there is really none. we are held within by structures. movable prisons that may permit movement but still constrain and dictate under the conditions set by others. 

and why would shaving my head be conditional with death?  i am not only bereft in exercising the right i once had; and threatened with the sentence of shame. more than this, i am left no choice for acceptance in life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Man Who Holds My Future

i believe that just as when you set your sights low, you would get the lowliest; then when you dream far and big, you would be presented the opportunities to get far and live to the full. gone are the days in my love life where i just contend with what comes. na kumikibit-balikat lang.  where the rule of the relationship is, 'what you see is what you get' and 'bahala na bukas'. 

it is when we get into deep conversation with that special someone, on our dreams, that we realize what is easily taken for granted.  that commitment which is as intangible as air.  but as our visions become one, so does the language, and hopefully, with grace from Above, the courage to get these dreams going.  with my Shadowman, there is this stability so longed for but very rarely had.  i could recall the eerie uneasy silence that my ears have grown accustomed with whenever my dreams are articulated in one-way conversations.  to be with someone, and still feel very much alone. 

here he is in front of me. serious and earnest his face as he respects my space for blogging.  he doesn't talk, just observes. occasionally butts in to remind me that Ms. Philippines was the first runner-up for Ms. World. this man holds my future. not in a crystal ball of illusions. but in fixed clear and colorful visions of a doable and shared future.  i rest my world into his hands.  safe forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Love Is Almighty

He is always true to His promise
that whatever He started in us
He will take it to completion
because He can never contradict Himself
nothing is hard when the heart loves
nothing is impossible when the heart understands
and nothing is heavy when He is in our hearts

Saturday, November 5, 2011

December 2010

Yaman made this in a scrapbook she's starting with pictures of us in our Manila and Tagaytay outings last December. I wonder whether my daughter misses that time. I think she does. The first stay at East Raya and the trip to Manila Ocean Park (Manila City), Tagaytay City, and Amici.  The Christmas Eve mass at the Ateneo and how she slept from 9pm onwards because it was already bed time. How am I going to get home to them this Christmas Holidays?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cold Cradles

i look at her and know that she too wonders how her daughter is at this time. whether she's fed as well as this one, doted on, talked to with constant attention. and perhaps she wonders too, seeing me on the screen, how can she bear to be as far away as myself from her own daughter. and we are linked by reasons that no mothers with children just beside them would understand.  we are the mothers of cold cradles.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Talk

today, gave a presentation of my paper, 'The Evolution of Kaantabay: The Influence of Policy and Politics (Pre-1989 to 2010)' at the asia research centre. the key would be ruling my nerves which i did not do by imagining a naked audience. rather, i just proceeded from modulating my voice and speaking as calmly and clearly as possible to get the arguments and findings across. now i am released. the dread of an arc presentation has passed and another one does not look as daunting. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 1 Scare

november 1 really provided a real scare but after calming myself to the reality of the situation, the thesis was still salvageable.  knowledge hardwired in this brain and in hard copies.  but technology should not be taken for granted and always, the virus danger is present and real.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


technology may not be on our side tonight
as lightworker panics over the discovery of
her pc and external hard drive being infected with malware
the prospect doesn't look threatening but it is always good to be sure

Monday, October 31, 2011

Transcripts to Go!

a short fuse. red days coming up. and a thurday to finish. God, guide me through fieldwork 2 transcripts!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Printing the Paper

the visit to uni was an insurance. that whatever happens with the soft files, the paper file is still there. indeed, the hard copy is still the best copy. better to re-type than re-think.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Finishing my Paper

it was unexpectedly long at 48 pages, excluding a 4-page reference list and a 5-page glossary. it also contained 10 tables and 2 figures.

at the closing stage of editing, my nerves were on end. i have had nasty experiences with Word and they normally happen when i'm saving voluminous files, especially the ones with tables and figures. so with this paper, i had to delete the 2 figures first then reinserted them during the last pasada before updating the table of contents.

hay, nakaraos din. the powerpoint would be easy. just 10 slides max. it would not be a breeze on november 3. but this, these 48 pages is a good start.  i'm proud of it because it was able to consolidate 75% of drafts written in the past six months. it could even stand now as a chapter, a real chapter.

so it's really true, we may not appreciate it in the writing process, even at the output stage, but every piece written has value, one cut-and-paste way or another, at one time or another. they will all just fit. beautifully.  i look forward to the rest of this phd.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Four to Ten

four minutes to ten, and i realized i haven't been here. thought of posting my latest favorite, tomato and shrimp pasta but the thought got drowned by the paper finished for next week's presentation. so this would have to do. so i could back to bed, with legs raised and saying my goodnights to the Hubby i miss tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four Friends and their Descent

four of my friends here in australia who did their phds, ahead of me by about 2-3 years posted successes with their thesis lately. three of them - janty (indonesian), jay (nepalese) and teng phee (malaysian chinese) had their thesis examined and eventually accepted. janty with minor corrections and teng phee without the need for any (impressive!).  jay did not say anything about the revisions on his thesis except that it has been accepted by the Research Committee of Murdoch. bic2x, my filipina friend, just handed in hers last friday and what a relief  it is, after 6 long months of waiting for the go-signal from her principal supervisor (she had 4 supervisors in all).  as bic2x said, they are now on the descent from the mountain. and while i still am on the ascent, just seeing them with skin, souls and sanity intact, weathered but still standing, fills me with a lot of inspiration. in my mind, i can see them with their hats, walking sticks, and weary but beaming smiles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Delicate Flower

he is so sensitive, the change in weather rattled his health once more, or so he said. it must be the after-office choir practice. or the meeting for his bacolod trip.  or the food he eats at smc cafe. or perhaps he's using perfume again. perhaps because of the isolation from moi.  oh Lord please take care of him for me. i can only watch from afar, the not so clear sneezing form of my  husband.  the most delicate flower of my garden.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shadowman's Girl

for the past two days since arriving
Lightworker has been nursing colds
and an impending asthma attack

but she has not remissed her duties
of daily exercises, cooking, laundry,
blogging, reading, skyping to her loves
even to her batchmates
for whom she committed to draft
the request letter for sponsorship

what a lady!
she is Shadowman's girl
his Lightworker

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fighting Asthma

the cold temperature inside the shop at IGA-Winthrop must have done me in, including the low resistance from the lack of sleep and a nasty run of colds.  by the time roxanne and i got home past lunch, i was already coughing. with intervals of 30min at first, until it became more frequent. it was only in the evening that a dose of cough syrup was taken, from an old supply of bisolvon inside the medicine cabinet. good, not yet expired.  the asthma i observed also last night, but was drowned out by the cough syrup.  around 4pm today, i heard a slight wheezing. and until now, there's a pause in my breathing that only asthmatics know is asthma. still i refuse to use the inhaler. saka na, when i can't hold it anymore, can't take in air as manageably as i can now. it breathing already interferes with toothbrushing.  to use the inhaler means taking two doses, one in the morning and another at night, for 7 straight days. the risk of losing my voice then is high, which does not bode well for the november 3 presentation of research findings. so now, the wheezing will be endured and the natural fight against asthma would continue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday's Indulgence

friday night
the couple agreed not to have dinner
but navigating through c5 and seeing lydia's lechon signage
changed everything
sometimes it is good to yield, in moderation though


lightworker's back to perth, early morning sunday
tired, sneezy, sick
if only shadowman can feel what you feel
he will endure, suffer if he may
be well my lightworker

Saturday, October 22, 2011


not yet sick but on the way there. the nose has been runny since getting here around noon, in carpet-paved T3 of singapore's changi airport. i left my health and heart in naga city and manila. i love you Yaman. i love you Shadowman. i'll be home soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Enough with Yaman

enough is hard to define when referring to how the week spent with Yaman was. i count enough how she keeps on jumping when i arrived, indicating just how happy and excited she was on seeing me after 6 long months. i count enough that we spent her 6th birthday with her Daddy here in Naga. i count enough how we tickle each other before waking up.  i count enough taking her to school every day from monday to thursday around 8am, then fetching her by the gate come release time of 3pm. i count enough the clutch of her small strong hands as we walk the streets of the village, the route to sm and back. i count enough that we now have a favorite spot at shakey's naga which she readily goes to when entering. i count enough that today, we got to play tetris in E63 called globalboxx, that we got to play tickle before brushing her teeth, that we got to talk of how the Korean movie 'Mama' made me cry on the flight home, and she clutched me so tight with the idea of her mom drenched with tears and chose to just embrace and cuddle me, despite her tita yumi offering her arms for an embrace.  i count the many more enoughs in the future with my abalantung.  there is no saying enough after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blog Is

while lightworker attends to some school batch-related concerns
shadowman writes to say she can't make it today

but the world of blogs has a life of its own
it moves...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spaghetti for Yaman

it was a simple request from Yaman. that she would like to have spaghetti for lunch tomorrow, her school normally requiring them to bring packed lunch every wednesday. spaghetti for lunch? pwede daw, she said. then, mommy diba marunong kang magluto ng spaghetti?. so there, out of the blue, and good that i went to centro in the afternoon, not that i won't even if it's not on schedule to, i would really go out of my way to cook a simple spaghetti for my little girl. so now she's fast asleep and tomorrow she'll have her spaghetti for lunch. courtesy of the mommy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Late Blog

too tired too blog and too broke to care
as the back touches the bed
can do no more
but sigh then snore
the sight of the sleeping Yaman
beside me like an angel
and i shall lay deep in slumber
the blog a thought
but worth writing a day after

Friday, October 14, 2011


by the time this is posted, i've traveled 3222 miles to get to manila. i have gone past the long immigration lines at naia 1, especially at the rush hour period of 1pm-5pm.  i have perhaps been mulling whether to eat crispy pata, or panga ng tanigue at gerry's grill. perhaps the Hubby is with me already or am waiting for him at raya. perhaps i've done a little stretching. perhaps i've taken a bath na.  let all this happen Lord in your grand time. Please, get me home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Of Bags and Home

this time, the luggage contains only one pair of pants, mine; while the rest are for everyone.  nice to see how a 15-kg case could hold what has been hoarded for the past five months, from shop sales, and visits to the swap mart during early sunday.  one pair of extra shirt and underwear are in the carry-on bag. i'm going home. even if for a week. i'm going home.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


indeed, why does God bestow us with sunsets if not to say, that no matter how the day has been, a magnificent splendor that only He can design, awaits us.  i know that Shadowman and I are part of his grand design in our individual lives. it matters why we met this time, and why we met at all. 

just three nights ago, i had one of the worst dreams ever. a female seer prophesied that the future of our relationship would be maindatahun. the dream ended abruptly, that it was not enough to throw important questions like, 'in what way?' and 'how can we avoid it?'. 

i am sharing this dream here as a way to dispel the possibility of misfortune. just as if if one dreams about death, one should talk about it to avoid it. 

i am not ignoring that Shadowman and I be meant for prosperity, other than posterity. for who would not want a blissful and stable relationship? but that, i would desire fairness too. fairness, in the sense, that if God brought us back together, and for a purpose, then perhaps it is justified to ask that we be able to live and give witness to this purpose by living our togetherness to its fullness.  not that i desire a perfect seamless relationship because testing does happen.  but i desire that we may be spared from tragedy above all that would not only affect us, but also the lives connected with us. 

until now, i could still not reconcile, am still searching for a lasting and quiet peace, why two broken lives made whole again by togetherness could be fated as tragically. 

may this dream remain just a dream, soon to be buried in the recesses of memory, and deep sleep.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Save the Best for Last

it's as trite as sunrise and sunset
but one needs to experience it to believe it
indeed God saves the best for last
and more often it is the most uncommon

when two people pledge to love for life
they do not only promise heaven and earth
but everything in between and beyond

to my lightworker
i do not promise  heaven for its sake
i promise heaven and earth and everything
in between and beyond for your sake

fear not for we will journey through life together
dreams, nightmares, sad realities will come
but for as long as we are together
there is no storm we cannot weather

this is our time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So Far

in five months,  three mini-chapters have been written.  the first, the introduction, containing an explanatory framework for assessing policy outcomes that considers program outcomes as not independent of political relationships and the governing political economy.  the second, on the policy and politics of Kaantabay, explains how the program is a product of a policy environment as well as the exploitation of political opportunity by urban poor groups, elites and state reformers in naga city. the third, on the pre-Kaantabay conditions of 12 study sites provides an ethnographic explanation of the informality and extra-legality of squatter settlements in naga city. only 12 months left to find how these all fit with other data and information yet to be processed, pondered and written.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blogger Sucks

Blogger sucks. Pictures uploaded in a mesh of colors.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In the Company Of

alone in the company of birds pecking on dried leaves and fallen lemons. in the company of cars breezing through the freeway, occasionally honking, and one with boisterous teenagers yelling their hearts out. in the company of strange noises between the walls and up there on the ceiling. in the company of the wind gently flapping the open blinds. in the company of a tenacious fly trapped between the wire mesh of the kitchen exhaust. being alone in a cold brick house could really drive one to insanity if not for the quirks of life within and from the outside that brings sanity back to the dining table.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The List

i am doing part-time admin work in the arc, looking up names of previous researchers, speakers and the who's who in politics and international studies that make up the list of invites for the center's upcoming jubilee year.  how do i dare ally with these people with all their credentials, publications, and recognitions? do be a doctor too, to be counted among them, is one feat i have yet to see manifest, even in my daydreams.  my data is so far off from my hands, i am doing non-phd work for the past two days, which further adds to my isolation and desolation.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yaman Ko

nami-miss ko na ang parong ni yaman. itong halong vinagre aromatico, gatas asin johnson's baby cologne. makugos asin mahadukan ang aki ko sana ngunyan na, sa atyan o sa aga. makakauli man giraray akong naga.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Earth with Michael

i know i have to start with the seminar paper, or the biblio of an urban poverty article, or the readings on realist evaluation, or a re-reading of the mini chapters written since april. but i don't want to. instead, i chose a non-cerebral but monetarily rewarding task of googling names and addresses just to help me home on my seat, familiarize with the scenery and air of the centre, and acclimatize with the eerie silence of not having nicole around.  how i wish to see the Hubby coming down those steps to the arc once more, for us to walk the way home to windelya and just absorb the noise of passing cars drowning our talks together.  jane calls it, 'coming down to earth' because, indeed, in the past two weeks i have been in heaven and beyond. i caught a glimpse of a life with the Hubby, all absorbed in him and through him. and how i wish that life is really permanent. that outside of the arc and this phd, there is a real man i'm coming home to and with, every day, my true and real love by the name of Michael.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Miracle Sana

i wish for a miracle.  to find a way home to my family this december. i don't know how to respond to the bidding of my heart. that longs for my Yaman and Shadowman.

Monday, October 3, 2011


the navy blue slippers empty of his feet
the air about his presence
the bed the mark of his heavy frame
the chair by the dining which he occupies
the mirrors of the face that smiles back

so tonight i shall asleep
with whatever memory i can hold
of my true love who came, and stayed, and loved
his slippers now by the door of this room
his sweater and pillow by the bed
the sheets will stay on for another week
to keep his scent, his musk, alive

this is the only way
i could be comforted
by the reality that he was here
with me, beside me, and in me
loneliness now takes on
the color of blue and shadows...

Sunday, October 2, 2011


he does not complain. whether walking 10km from stirling highway to matilda bay to swan river to the university of western australia. whether washing dishes even late at night, hanging the laundry and folding them neatly once dry. whether facing flight cancellations and the lugging of heavier than expected luggage. by the sofa tonight, as i lay my head on his leg while watching tv, i know this is the man who holds my forever. he is tired from walking. he feels fat from eating. he seems irritated from my asking him not to spy while i'm blogging.  but still he's here by my side, downloading. faithfully by my side all the time. he is all i want all these years. and i have to pinch myself that this is all true, he, with me, his leg, his music, my music, our music. our happiness of just being together enough to quell the tiredness, the fatness, and the irritation two people just go through to forever. he just shouted, 'done wifey!' a little while ago. thanks my Hubby. thanks really so much for being you. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Daddy's Songs

a lot of songs and singers remind me of my Dad. stylistics, jose feliciano, dionne warwick, john denver, asin, and just now, rico puno. reminds me of life in the 70s, my still uncomplicated, carefree life. when in the company of these singers and their songs, i would glide by the wooden floor of the master bedroom, my dad reading his favorite book or newspaper. when breakfast, lunch and dinner were my only expectations with these songs being played in the background.  when pressing on the 'play' button of our cassette tape was a massive accomplishment. when the only time i don't see my dad working was when he winds and unwinds the brown glossy string from his cassette tapes to rehash them.  sometimes, hearing tunes in the bus or the mall or just were pop music plays, i would be reminded of a song, as if it's in the music box of my memories, transporting me back to the time of being skinny, with reed-thin legs. the time when being strong is a far off obligation. when the sight of the man of the house and his songs are enough to bring comfort, assurance that tomorrow will be the same as today.

Friday, September 30, 2011


brain cells are resting for awhile.  replaced by scenery, loved ones, heaps of clouds. the writing is just sleeping. the mind ruminating.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Having a Wife

he could not find his medicines. claimed he left him on the kitchen table top. not in the room. not in his bag. good the wifey thought differently. the meds are just here somewhere and lo! tucked inside his knapsack, inside the main compartment, his meds. good you have a wife now, hubby!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


in Sydney now for the Hubby to meet my second parents, Auntie Nina and Uncle Rollie and the insans. i'm so proud of him.

Monday, September 26, 2011


the Hubby was so happy with the tour of New Norcia and the Pinnacles desert. he called the experience 'priceless'. being with him, and this happy, is what priceless means to me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


yesterday, i forgot bestfriend gie's  birthday. got holed up with preparations for today's picnic, i forgot the date. but one shouldn't forget bestfriends' birthdays right? which reminds me, that i was also late in greeting liza last sept 15 (fb'd her a day late too), alvin (sept 17) and even rodonna (sept 24). there's no excuse because i too feel a pinch in my heart when who i consider the most important in my life forget what february 21 is. here our failing memories could know no forgiveness.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blog Change

i have never changed what has originally been written here till now, but i understand the point why it needs to be done. the context said so. i hope the context by which i said no could be understood as well.

Friday, September 23, 2011

All for You

Ika ang lalaking dapat silbihan. The one who deserves to be waited on,lavished on. I wish to do all for you my love. Not only that you deserve it. More importantly,I will be honored to.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Tab

The hubby brought this tab here so while he watches whitechapel using my pc, I could still blog and enjoy sitting here on the sofa with his arm around me. The hubby who enjoyed his first walk to kardinya, to the point of having his picture taken at bus stops. The weather suits him, he says. Still he cannot help opening the laundry while it is on, to check whether it is still working. Still he cannot help mentally computing the peso equivalent of stuff priced aussie,his jogging pants worth 3 more inquiring manila. We are experimenting on a future together, our first full day here in Perth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Sense of Rice

the Hubby arrives in perth today and he requested adobo na alang, and of course, rice. no problem with the adobo, i even whipped the mushroom soup he likes.  but when it came to cooking the rice, hmmm, i was quite at a loss in measuring the water. should the yardstick be my pinky or the middle finger, and whether the 'line' should be the bottom or upper crease.  i have not eaten rice since january 13, 2011 and so for nine months, i have lost my 'sense of rice', such that i no longer know how to cook it, even with a rice cooker around.  before, i could even cook one using a kaldero and when i was a teenager, in our dirty kitchen, i cooked rice using sungo (dried wood). while the basmati was cooking, i had to peep occasionally and more than once, added extra water because the grains seemed tough still. so there, the Hubby will serve the verdict.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


reading too much between the lines will get us nowhere but hell
so i suggest we take the trusting road and quieten fears from the past.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hubby Outside

my Shadowman plies the night, searching for one in a fleet of cars. how i wish i am there with him. then the distance to raya is negligible. wherever we go, as long as we're together, the world outside does not matter.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


it's been a while since i played scrabble. glad to know, i haven't lost my groove.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The One Next Door

to strive to be on good terms with all people. thus written in Desiderata. but it is hard sometimes when in a history of relationships, one realizes the need to be wary of getting duped into submitting to a friendship with another.  i look at her and wonder, how good a friend could she be when she did this and that to one good friend of mine. and i look at myself, at what point would i allow both our selves to converge on agreeing to a genuine friendship and until when would be endure setting these invisible fences in light of broken expectations?

Friday, September 16, 2011

God in the Parenting

the Hubby is in naga today, in time for the Pe├▒afrancia Fiesta. despite one long drive from manila to naga and the pressing need to just rest after waking up early at 5am, the first order of the day for him was still to drop by the house in concepcion, to see Yaman.

lukso ng dugo, or the physical manifestation of one's parental instinct (paternal or maternal) by the shooting up of one's blood pressure when seeing a child for the first time does not work in this instance.  by blood, the Hubby and Yaman are not related at all but the compassion and love binding them is as if they are.  then on the extreme, i am reminded and i wonder, how the other one with the real biological connection could have afforded to neglect and turn against us when Yaman was barely a month old in my womb.  this person never asked about how Yaman is, whether Yaman is a boy or a girl, or what her birthday or even name is. never.

at a public lecture i've attended today, prof raj of gettysburg university (pennsylvania) related an extraordinary custom in sri lanka where young children are carried by their parents or grandparents and together go underneath the belly of a standing elephant. this is done not only in reverence to the mystical power of this majestic creature, but in potent symbolism of parenting as a task and challenge against all odds, the parents subsumed under external forces beyond their control but still committed to raise their children however and whatever it takes. 

indeed with this custom, i see parenting in a different light.  parenting is more than just biological, which suggests, on one hand, that it is not impossible for blood relations to kill or hurt one another that's why there is incest, incestuous rape, infanticide, parricide.  yet, on the other hand, it is also not impossible for the unrelated to flourish in love that is committed and nurturing.  parenting takes a lot of courage, and sometimes, blind but bold determination to just head on, strive on, tire on, cry on, shoulder on.  kaya may nagpuputa, nagnanakaw, nagsisinungaling, pumapatay, nagpapakamatay, para sa tunay o tinuturing na anak.

i believe that the measure of parenting is not what we make out of our children but on far we carry on being their parents, standing with them, understanding even to the point of breaking, whatever, however they may become.  it would be unfair to blame the crime and hate going about in the world today to just bad parenting.  because then we forget how are actions are shaped not just by how we have been raised but also, more importantly, by the choices we make.  but however mistaken or fatal our choices, who do we see on our side, but our mothers and fathers, be it natural or acquired? their love is there to endure, outside of the forces beyond them.  in this way, they seem to have a sense of divinity in the unconditionality of their love.

that's why there is a sense of awe and delicate irony in this unconditionality: people who can love children who are not their own flesh and blood. parents who can love their children, even at their lowest points as human beings. parents who absorb the muck and face the crowd, like my mom did with two daughters having children out of wedlock.  they are, indeed, Gods.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


only an asthmatic could perhaps understand what another asthmatic goes through. on the heyday of my asthma, which pretty much coincided with my confusing teenage years and the hectic work years with schema, a back rub, a hapiyap, one directed at massaging the lungs were a great source of relief. my dad would come to my room, which was shared with the brother then and rub the bottom of his palms down my back, at the right, left and center.  how i desired that comfort every time i have asthma while already working. but then, daddy was already dead and i was already living by my lonesome in one boarding house at bliss-mandaluyong. 

Yaman today has been diagnosed with slight asthma and here now over skype, i watch as lyn (her yaya), give her hapiyap as i've instructed.  told her to refrain from putting cologne on yaman's clothes till she's well and for mom to make sure that her pillows are propped up while she sleeps.  i can only watch as she now lies on the pink sofa, while watching tv. a little later she'll fall asleep na. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Locks and My Forever

with water it follows
tame until its kiss
with the wind
lashing over my face
blinded by streaks
of black and gray

i await your hands
to smooth it back
over my nape to
the arch of my spine
so far i've resisted
to clear some space
for my face
but come summer
it is a different story

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Asaynment on Skype

hirak man ang aki ko.naghahagad tabang sa assignment, mayo man nag iintindi until her tita came to the rescue via the internet. hamo anak, mauli na si mommy. madali na. so here we are now, thinking through various types and examples of body covering on animals.