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)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Once in a Gray Life

was i the one content in just going home to this gray lifeless studio, with only a sofa bed for furniture, and things strewn all over the floor? was i the one imagining life alone, going to and from work, work being my home and not this four walled room for only sleeping? our sense of home perhaps is shaped by the shape of our inspirations and shadows cast to what can never be. now there is no imagining these dark dank places. to go home to real people and not furniture. to sleep with someone warm in skin and heart. who asks now only how you are but bent on making you feel better just by their smile. gone are the imaginations of lifeless things when the embrace to life is full.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


perhaps in 20 years, today is my first time to wear a dress...the pic is in Hubby's cell and my current phone is not capable of getting an MMS, so the pic would have to wait another day or two. i just want this day marked with a blog.  a brown preggy style dress worn for the first time by moi in a mass first attended at San Beda Church with no less than my beautiful Shadowman...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Food, Food & Union

it was a long day for lightworker and shadowman
the night also promises to be one...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Humbling Love

Shadowman insists I am the blessing in his life. But in reality, it's the other way around. I'm the one blessed for having him. Dyinosan. Pinagpala. It's cliche to say that you are someone because of someone else. But it's true and very humbling. Who we are are shaped also by the choices made by others.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


we hold it in
careful not to expose
pulsating and crazy
liquids boiling
insensible seething
for now
we hold
we hold
we hold

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Off With Your Head

to lose your head by going crazy. and to lose your head through death. either way, the disconnect is apparent and permanent. the recovery never complete. in Yaman's innocence, it's hard to explain the difference. because with my old mind's eye, there is none.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Itch Suddenly

the biggest question would be
two days before the manila trip
less than 30 days in the field
an itchy throat

Monday, February 21, 2011

Special About Today

if there is anything special about today
it is this....
once upon a time
at the break of sirens wail
signaling midnight in the lowly town of Bacnotan
a girl was born to highly expectant parents
it was 21 February 1971
the apple of their eyes
the solitary flower in the garden
the answer to their prayer
she grew-up
and became her parents' sole bundle of joy
a source of tremendous inspiration
a spring of new life
then two more came
to complete the cast
nevertheless she would always be
the first born
the ATE to everyone
until now
she is the source of inspiration
she is the spring of new life
a true beauty personified
the light
the jewel
the gem
the soul
the love
and everything
for ShadowMan

My 14600th Day

on a day like this
the working desk is left unkempt
page 503 marked for future reading
doing nothing means
doing without caring
tomorrow and worries frozen
on hours of claimed bliss

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Possible Things on a Sunday

at the laundry area, five dogs are barking, upset at a little boy passing by the vacant lot beside. i clutch the book and read on about grounded theory, analytic induction...until i could stand it no longer. it's a sunday so why am i working? why was it that just last sunday, i was watching Two Towers (LOTR-2) so how could today be different? but didn't i just pledge to work today because tomorrow is a 'special' day, and so with 'special' reasons not to do anything. but how could these be? when in my mind floats interviews to be transcribed, matrices to be filled up, old communities to be visited for wrap-up interviews, new communities to be tracked, the new DILG memorandum ordering barangays to manage their respective informal settlements, city hall offices and kagawads to be followed up on, secondary data to be collected, and i have been here for 5 months now.

looking back, there are no regrets. home after three months, my mind still tired from transcripts, my mind was blank last october except for observations that i have to write, and a birthday party to organize. by november, i returned to my communities. by december, went to and fro to perth for a conference, to and fro manila to spend the holidays, the month gone but with an urge to stop, just stop fielding, and just write. so write i did in january, unsuccessful technically but illuminated with the gargantuan task of PhD writing. by late january until today, i've resumed the org wrap-ups, the secondary data collection, the talking to key informants, and i'm in a maze trying to wrap up the old with beginning the new to get a breakthrough, of starting institutional interviews, and on the side processing data not only with the matrices of household data, but with written org stories, matrices of org histories, stakeholder analysis, and cross-data analysis for fodder to write in perth by april.

i feel i need to stay (one month more is not enough) but leave at the same time (to reclaim a space in writing, breathing, writing). on a sunday, i know i'm entitled to do nothing. but with so many things to do, i should forget today is sunday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

HcG Sleep and the PhD

since sleeping the latest at 10pm under hcg therapy, i would wake up sometimes around 12 midnight or 2am feeling 'full' of sleep. like i couldn't believe that is just 2 hours of sleep?! i get to wishing the therapy has ended. so i could really wake up at these times, and read, or just do my matrix, or just think through the phd. but i can't. i am stopped from getting out of bed by the thought that shocks! i need to drink after waking up. i couldn't drink because it could add up weight and ruin my supposed weight for the day. at 2pm, i'm not yet sure whether my digestion will work as easily as 4am or 5am. so with that thought, i kiss the pillows again, dream of having Shadowman on my left (Yaman now on my right --- the same positions even in Raya) and slid under the covers. the PhD would have to wait for 2 more hours.

Friday, February 18, 2011


if i'm a full-time mom, wife...and student, i couldn't finish this phd. so i thank everyone in my support network, especially my mom, for giving me this very long leash.  i can't say thank you enough.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

20 in 10

when the scales tipped at 132.5, i was angry. 5 days without injections and i gained a pound? without cheating, except for savoring the smell of french fries and banana que? at 131 yesterday, i'm already happy. having to wear clothes that no longer close. buying a new pair of pants to emphasize a slimmer figure. i am already happy. but the goal of good health is not the middle ground but the target. so at 110lbs in 45 days, i still have half of the way to go. how to lose 20lbs in 10 days? i'm already happy yet still mulling 'how?'

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hopeful Wishing

i'm facing a wall.  couldn't find a breakthrough with the fieldwork. couldn't find new information, a new track to sniff. i feel like a wolf lost in a snowstorm.  all white and while i go on, and on each day, the cold is no longer nourishing. but i know an ordinary wolf will not stop. that if i cannot find direction holed up in this house, then such direction must indeed be elsewhere. so tap, tap, tap i go. i will get that break soon, even if it means stumbling first on a hole.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Space Wars

where slums burn, malls will rise
the price of life erased by the square meter
the additional homeless, left for government to ponder
while private developers laugh billions on the way

In light of massive fires that razed 2000 squatter homes in Bgy Sinagtala, Quezon City

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Real Valentine

how real can Valentine's be? how rich could the feeling get? it's not the surprise but still that unexpected tug in the heart that every effort has been made, despite the distance or in all simplicity, to express genuine heartfelt love. here i share the gifts i received this valentine, from my true loves, Yaman and my Shadowman...

Our Yaman's own surprise, a card-heart. What's inside?

Shadowman's love in bloom and fiercely red (with passion!)...

Just so beautiful...
We so love you too Abalantung...
Hubby, ika na lang ang kulang...We love you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines

we may not have yesterday
but today and tomorrow are ours to take to forever
happy valentines my sweet forever

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our Happy Home

this is our home - Yaman, Daddy, myself, and Ashleigh and Miguel. i don't know at what age Yaman will have her sister and brother but this drawing will always be a reminder to her, to us, how bright these wishes are...


Friday, February 11, 2011

St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask

never had a manicure or pedicure ever. would rather have my head shaved than my hair dyed. but i'm partial to this --- mask, mask, mask. the mud mask by NuSkin i had to have once a week before in 2000. when i left australia after finishing my masters, never know any distributor here in the philippines except for the owner of the yoga studio i used to go to in ortigas. but when she saw me, she said, you don't need a mask for such fair smooth skin! what??? perhaps she doesn't have any stock i thought. until i found this last january 13 - St Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask. perfect. mud-like and natural. hmmmm, i like the firm tugging feeling on the skin. wear it on!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reckoning for Cora

on the occasion of bestfriend Corazon Tan's birthday, who despite being maligned, cowed, and belittled persevered to be one of Schema Konsult's dedicated and honest project managers, and now is a licensed architect on her own right, i am sharing the link on Maria Ressa's article on corruption. may our goodness prevail over our inherent evilness.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Pledge

hubby, wherever you are, there i am
it doesn't matter where or how or when
just here, in the now, for always
i love you...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guilty by the Gun

i hail the death of Gen. Angelo Tomas Reyes, by his own hand, a brave act; if only to restore pride to his name. it's symbolic enough. to die in the grave of parents betrayed --- broken and accepting of who he really is. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I Thank HcG For (Other than the Lost Weight)

for forcing me to venture into the Naga City Public Market
where I bonded with mom
in learning the lefts and rights to and from
the fish stalls and the veggie markets at the sides

for leading me to prepare my favorite ampalaya sweet salad
and where i bonded with mom again
while cutting the veggie into thin slices
dicing the onions and the tomatoes
hey! i no longer cry when cutting onions!

for prodding me to prepare fish cocido (tanigue and yellowfin)
bonding with mom again
as i cooked inun-on (talakitok)
in less than 10 minutes

for making me experiment with beef, seared with thyme and oregano
chicken breast fillets with psyllium and rosemary
shrimp in chicken broth with snowpeas and carrots
squid boiled until dry with chili leaves and bell pepper
native chicken soup with cinnamon, anise, mushrooms, and celery

weight lost with a newfound palate
i may miss the foods of old
but i found a whole new world
exciting to venture every single day

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oregano for your Cough

take about 10 oregano leaves. wash them clean. boil a slight amount of water. when boiling, soak the leaves and turn the stove off.  transfer leaves to a cup and press them together to get a tablespoonful of oregano extract. mix kalamansi juice with the extract. close your eyes and drink the extract in a zip.  oregano is good enough to help you expectorate and stop incessant coughing. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Learning Weight

it's like gandhi lying with naked women. had inun-on (fish cooked in vinegar) while the whole family were feasting on Graceland's generous pancit and dark chocolate cake, and mouth-watering Andok's jumbo chicken. more than the will, it has to do with preparation. after so many years of putting off food i love. the psyche helped as well as i learned to deal with cravings by thinking, i could have a taste of these delicious food at the right time. from 151 lbs last jan 13, this blogger is now 133lbs. not bad at all. and bad for me to lose it all on an eating binge. so there, i'm working on my weight on a higher learning curve.

Friday, February 4, 2011


minsan kahit
gaano mo kamahal
ang sarap pa rin
tirisin ang kuto
anak pala

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Withdrawal Symptoms

last night, all i could think of was gorging. on pork liempo and chicken from either andok's or baliwag's. large size fries from mcdo. the kakiage tempura from Kitaro. maki from bicol lunch, congee from luk yuen, yang chow and squid head from mannhann, mommy's paksiw na pata and pork nilaga, yumi's gambasetti, pork chop steak, adobo. oooohhhh, instead of sheep, food was jumping over the fences of my mind. how i wish i didn't become this big. how i wish my thyroid will normalize for me to eat these, without the guilt and stored fats, in the remaining weeks i'm here in the philippines.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dinner on a Plateau

i'm getting crazy. all i can think about is kakiage tempura from Kitaro. crunchy, real vegetables deep fried in batter. how else to deal with hunger pangs than just read? ha, bahala na. went on to prepare my only meal for the day (after an ordeal of 5-6 apples). a dinner of steamed malasugui.  how i wish it's 530pm. then, it could be steamed. then at 6pm, i could eat this mouth watering dish.

Just season with salt, chopped garlic and ginger (placed between the flesh according to sis yumi), crushed peppercorns, tarragon and calamansi (to remove the lansa).  Steam for 30 minutes.

The finished product --- Thank You Lord!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


to get tonsilitis two days straight now, and a breaking cough that requires expectorating every hour, i must be thankful. thankful for having an excuse not to go out. thankful for just doing matrices. thankful for just entertaining visitors, like bestfriend angeline this afternoon. i wish i was not doing my PhD. i wish to just be a lazy but rich layabout, without worry of things undone at the back of my mind. no worries of tomorrow. to live fully for today without the fear. but i make do with what i have, with what i am restrained from doing, with what a cold gray windy day has to offer. it's good we cannot control the weather and the illnesses that beset us. i am indeed thankful.