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