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)

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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nothing Special on 9/11

while the world commemorates the decade following 11 sept 2001, i would like to remind (and perhaps i'm not alone in this) the world that while it takes sympathizing the dead of 9/11, so should we light candles for the victims of US-led, funded, and managed atrocities around the world.  why should 9/11 be special just because it's on US ground?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


i try to think that tomorrow will not be our last goodbye. that perhaps we would get to see each other soon in our post-docs (if independently we decide to again study, and again here in perth). that perhaps she would come to my wedding (when will it be Hubby?). that perhaps, i could be able to visit her in jakarta (would you be able to afford it without any hitch Vitti?). i will just psyche myself that it's a global but shrinking world and that Janty will always be there - always within reach, within sight. I will miss you Janty.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Lit Review

the purpose of the literature review is:

(i) to identify key issues significant to your study. mine is on seven topics interwoven in terms of significance to methodology (effectiveness, political economy, structure and agency, and evaluation) and area of interest (urban poverty, housing and tenure, and politics of implementation)

(ii) find what aspect of each affects my study and how; for instance, in terms of usefulness to the methodology i'm taking and the explanatory framework i'm proposing, or rather my principal argument (i.e., that policy effectiveness could not be explained solely by outcomes (with respect to intended policy goals and other unexpected consequences) but also by the politics of implementation (political relationships among actors/ agency/ strategic action) and the political economy (governing socio-economic structures, with national and global influences)

(iii) how do i think my study fits in within the academic debates on these topics

the literature review i set out to do in a month. so help me Ina.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cat Hair

i've gone a long way since lugging a ventolin or symbicort inhaler, wherever i go, every day because of a vulnerability to asthma.  sort of defeated this vulnerability by changing jobs with less stress in 2003, learning yoga breathing, and just not following doctor's advice, particularly in not taking inhalers every day for 'maintenance'. if there is such a bullshit word in asthma-related pharmaceuticals this is it - 'maintenance'. that in order not to get asthma, one must inhale ventolin, symbicort or any toxic drug every day. bullshit! doing so would only lower your immune system, weaken your lungs even more because normal functioning, normal inhaling, is replaced by artificial means - the inhaler.  one of my good friends, Peddy Palomar, should know because his wife, an asthmatic who relied on inhalers all her life because of this 'maintenance' crap, suffered a stroke and was in a coma for two years before finally succumbing to it in 2004.  'maintenance' is  just a promotional gimmick so that pharmaceutical companies could go on making and selling asthma inhalers. 

but i did get to use symbicort today. for a reason that made me miss blogging yesterday.

got asthma in less than 2 hours staying in my friend's house for dinner. she had two cats, black and hairy which were actually very lovely, with round small faces.  i'd know it by the breathing. it starts by becoming labored, then heavy then constricted. got to sally's house around 545 and by 7pm, i had to go out of the porch to get some fresh cat hair-free air.  by 8pm, the nose started getting watery and by the time we prepared for the drive home at 930pm, i was already sneezing inside her car. at windelya close to 10pm, the sneezing fits were on, together with the heavy constricted breathing.

i was still hoping drinking hot water and sleeping would cure it. having removed the day's clothes and using new ones also.

but by 230am got awakened by the wheezing and until 6am, just couldn't sleep.

had to break the fast just after 6am to drink cortisol (to stay away from inhalers) but after staying 30min in bed, still hearing the wheezing, couldn't take it no longer. took the symbicort from the drawer and had my first dose in over a year. 

hayyyyyy....what a relief! wheezing gone in 5 seconds. 

but still it's just for today.  i'm still not lugging symbicort inside my bag here in perth.  but would be quite careful about cat hair...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dealing with It: Writing Organic, Again...

the thought just came while working on chapter 2, as in, just a minute ago.

the best way to deal with a question, a nagging argument is to deal with it. to write about it. to research a little more. read the article again. read the biblio summary. even print it and read over and over. then write over and over.

it's like threshing. threshing dirt while planting. like my herbs. while it's necessary to plow deep into its root and rake out the soil from down deep and push it upwards, on the surface, in touch with the sunlight.

i remember natalie goldberg again.

and natalie's word will forever remain true.  writing is organic.

and like any organic matter, to see writing take root, grow and flourish. it must be dealt with. written in the open. it must be taken out into the light.

times like these make me just proud and honoured to be a writer...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


the only way to contentment, according to St. Patrick's missal last sunday, is to lose all desire to things beyond one's reach. but isn't it a flawed statement? because what we desire is usually those we do not have at present; thus, which we aspire to have through hard work, marriage, earnest study or just wild but plain luck.  perhaps it could be re-worded. it's not losing one's desire that could make us content. but finding peace within ourselves that, that there are just things outside our reach despite the strongest of desires.  in tennis, the player who wins is said to be the one who wants it more.  i don't think so. you may want as much but can only do as much. contentment is accepting the limits of who we are.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Singing like Yaman

at 7 years old, i sang 'ngayon at kailanman' with so much gusto to the right lyrics but the awkward trying hard tones. it has become a 'classic' at home, all my family would laugh heartily of the memory; laugh so much to the point of crying.  i didn't care, i just had to sing. hearing Yaman sing 'Ako'y Isang Pinoy' (the national anthem at 24 zone 6 concepcion pequena) and 'Bayang Magiliw' (the national anthem of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, i could see and hear myself.  i was as thin. with long hair. in sandos and shorts that showed my thin reed legs. eager to impress.  so i kept on singing. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moving On

life is not about looking back
and wishing that today is the same as yesterday
life is about moving on
accepting changes
and looking forward to what makes US stronger and complete

Second Last Sunday

today would be the second last overnight stay on a sunday here in nedlands. today perhaps would be our last stroll, janty and i, together along swan river. we'd talk about anything under any kind of weather. one time in 2009, we negotiated a rainy windy sunday from the river to her place in broadway. the wind was so harsh it broke my pretty brown umbrella with wavy trimmings on the side. the umbrella was so disconfigured by the strong winds it has to be thrown away. i really get so sentimental with my bestfriends. there's no other emotion but sadness in leaving or seeing them leave. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Perfect Saturday

it's good to have saturdays end with a submitted chapter, even if imperfect. it's good to mark it with a sweet happy conversation with Yaman, with her pickings of santan for mommy and the big cut-outs of hearts for her daddy.  it's good 'seeing' the image in your mind of the hubby and the little boy enjoying tempura noodles together. it's good to be in a room warmed despite the cold weather outside. thank you Lord for this Saturday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Dreaded Place

i don't want to but i have to. coming to this point of facing the question: am i really on to the right argument? after writing for days, have what i written been a waste, what can i salvage, what should i throw away (to oblivion), which should i consider (and for how long?). neither the option of home (to seek the comfort of the stove  or the oven) or the shop (buying fresh veggies and fruits) could bring solace. as if dread has to be endured by chaining myself to this chair until the clock ticks 5pm and there's no choice but to walk home.  the only way to solace is enduring and facing one's mistakes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


today, devoted only 60% of the time to the phd. the information overload from writing and reading threw off my balance since yesterday and by the start of this thursday, at around 850am, had to take things slow.

worked without bach and rearranged the structure of chapter 1 again. 

after coffee break around 1030am, the return to my desk at 1130am and a lunch break from 1130am-1230pm, resumed until about past 1pm.

welcomed another respite in helping nicole out of the cobwebs in her mind. we discussed her argument and her research questions and after a half-hour discussion, she was so pleased that she said, i just earned a 'full place' in her thesis acknowledgment, above dhaval. 'you mean to say, 'billing' then?' and she laughed in agreement.

by 205pm, started with a little paid clerical work. stamped about 200 envelopes with 'air mail' and 'asia research centre' (this was a bit tricky because the name had to be placed in between the name and address of Murdoch Uni). Then packed the arc 2010 newsletter in about 150 envelopes, with name tags pasted as well. it was all done in 2 hours, with hot water as my only fuel.

so this is the day the Lord has made. except for chikka which worked so dismally the Hubby may have been thinking, 'where the hell is my wife?', the day unfolded pleasant and still.