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, June 29, 2012


the most important thing, is to never stop loving.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yaman Draws

Yaman draws
a bag with butterflies
a baby trolley with four wheels
mommy's knapsack and
sling bag riddled with pockets
in a flash she draws them
the imagination alive
the hands in full swing
talent a-blossoming

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Political Writing

the writer perhaps should have an awareness that one's writing style is rooted to one's personal history, preferences, biases, quirks, and the way we choose to view the world. that is, we write from our vantage points, and the advantages provided by the resources available.  into political writing, i know i could hardly write like the accomplished scholars in the arc.  i could hardly compare to the political writers in the philippines whose names adorn any political writer's shelves --- rocamora, quimpo, doronila, abinales, rivera, nemenzo.  occasionally, the writings of political scholars on kaantabay and naga city would be encountered --- angeles, shatkin, melgar, and i shirk.

looking through more than 50 pages of kaantabay's political economy already (and have not reached the half-way mark), the writing attempts to be political and indeed it succeeds in the right places but still a work in progress. but looking at the tables and the analysis, i know i'm also approaching political writing from what i know and have been trained to since UP days --- analysis of data. thus, while it is still a learning process to engage with ideas and theory, my brand of political writing makes use of first-hand data to give flesh to the bones of ideas and theory.  in a way i inject my own technical approach to the data in the political writing exercise of this phd.  where would this lead?  the question is one that cannot be answered at all but can only be looked back to, in hindsight.  what i am more aware of is the cross-fertilization.  my own style of political writing has taken root and it shall grow hand-in-hand with the rigor of data analysis.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beauty Tips for Winter, Pinay-Style

1. Virgin coconut oil (VCO), apply on lips before bedtime to not have chafed, cracking lips
2. Vaseline petroleum jelly, rub on the soles and sides of feet, and over your toes before putting on socks at nighttime, to keep feet soft and smooth
3. Sunflower oil by Human Nature, apply over face in the morning to serve as day moisturizer. Can be rubbed over lips as well for protection
4. Bathing, take one daily.  In finishing off a hot shower, turn the HOT nozzle off and turn on the COLD nozzle full blast and go under even for just 5-10 secs.  This is enough to close one's pores and not feel cold the entire day.  (Thanks to Sassa for the reminder)
5. Fern-C, take 1-2 tablets a day to prevent the cold setting in and for extra protection against hay fever.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Heaven in Antarctica

a morning without an alarm clock is heaven in antarctica, given the cold here in perth (2C).  more time to fantasize on shadowman, imagine him to be these two blue pillows beside me and just snuggle up close until the yellow-orange rays of father sun peep into the blinds.  these simple pleasures, allowances in having menstruation and being saved from exercising, and just the thought how these 'rewards', of having to wake up when one wants to, and to do what one just likes, are really deserved, makes work in the coming 5 days after tomorrow, one to look forward to.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


when would i get to tell facebook how my life changed because of it? that our love story could be one in a multitude, but is a story worth telling still, and worth thanking facebook for?

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Matters

it's entirely one solo flight. a lone writer surrounded by articles, budget ordinances, books, two mugs for hot water and chai, books about naga, and working on word and excel files simultaneously. it's easy to own one's work in a phd, but it is not one's own entirely. like a bird flies in the sky, so is there the air providing support, the sky and the atmosphere making flight possible. there are trees providing rest and respite, and the earth below where one finds nourishment. what surrounds in the immediate and the short-term exists and is relevant but the shadows, the inspirations, the life behind the life, is what keeps the lone writer with her heart still throbbing, the blood still flowing to find meaning in times where failure seems unforgiving, imminent.  it is the shadows, the inspirations, and the life behind this life that matters.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Night Routine

vco for the lips
vaseline for tired feet, longing to be pretty
oatmeal-shea butter lotion for weary hand
but no castor oil wrap today
kasi may mens

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Modest Gains

i content myself to modest gains in a day. 122 words in the first 2 hours, computations in one excel file for an hour, a finished 34-min transcript, with 9 minutes left completed in less than 50 minutes (this is the third day of finishing, starting at 22:59 of the interview time), and 437 words in the last 2 hours, before leaving to a cold chilly wednesday afternoon. one gets to be at peace while braving a storm.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lost Sleep

what is it with fresh animal milk that gets me down? i could hardly sleep last night. the traffic have almost died down in south street by 12 midnight, and still i could not sleep. aware of my eyes closed, but no dreams came. my bladder would have almost distended by going to the toilet every so often roxanne might have wondered what was happening. but this is no excuse to not go to work. so despite strong showers, i still have to lug to uni, with heavy eye lids and a brain working only half of its capacity. sleep sleep sleep, please do not abandon me today.

Monday, June 18, 2012


other than the winter weather, with raging blue skies, i would certainly one other thing about perth, and australia in general: the shopping catalogues (ha ha!).  my cousin catherine would agree of how relaxing it is, to just laze around, browsing catalogues, and how it would be good to stack up dark chocolate bars (70% cocoa) for cooking, for checking when would that can of olive oil be half-priced, whether a sale would be on foe jelly beans, or as it is very rarely, would dressed organic chicken be sold below A$5/kg.  the feel of the glossy pages, the sight of bright colors - blues, reds, violets, greens, and the fresh look of tasmanian salmon is enough to make you plan your week ahead with a visit to the shop a must.  who are the most effective business people in australia? the brains behind shopping catalogues no less!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day My Shadowman!

how does one really become a father?
siring a child is not enough
it takes a lifetime to be one
so it means going through the
heaven and hell of relationships
of having to bask in sudden joys and
deal with unexpected sorrows
it's having to eat one's pride
and taking down one's guard
it's being a general to lay down one's rules
and being a soldier to follow tradition
and in times we do not understand
the outcomes, and doubt our guts
we could find solace
that as fathers, we just don't count
what is due us, what we may deserve
we just go on and on
trustful yet mindless
of what comes
the hurts may pile up
but not the defeats

Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Time

have a guilt-free sunday and monday, vitti:)

Friday, June 15, 2012


today, i have immersed into an writing discipline learned from Maria Gardiner of the Thinkwell program in Flinders University. Thinkwell is aimed at helping post-grad students survive through their masters and Phd by balancing out the demands of their lives in and outside graduate study - to prevent failure, which is not being able to submit the required written amount of work, as well as burnout, from striving too much and getting too little in terms of results.

the writing discipline requires one to write all day, from a finding that 30min to 2 hours max is the much that one should devote to one writing in one sitting. in effect, in an 8-hour workday, which includes lunch in between, one can devote only 4 hours for writing, paced at 2 hours each, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. preferably, to start writing the first thing in the morning, and the last one in the afternoon. the time in between is reserved for non-writing tasks like meetings, data processing, transcribing ('counting bugs' for lab people), reading etc.  with regard reading, the technique is to write-read-write rather than the other way around which tends to make reading an excuse for not writing at all in the day.

under this writing discpline, i was able to write 627 words today (the key is not the right number of words, but in the amount of time for writing) and along the way, made 1 table, processed revenue and expenditure data, started with the revenue structure and transcribed 9 minutes of interviews. a good start and a good way to find balance, stability and flexibility in this phd life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


May you have serenity
To whisper when others are shouting
To smile when others are angry
To pray when others are doubting
To face turmoil yet feel composed
To have inner peace in spite of outside noise
To thank God in spite of mounting trials

- from PIP, 9:17am today

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Steady Road

for one's writing strategies to be validated does not mean one is perfect. it means one is in the right direction. so let this direction be steady Lord. i am willing to face difficulty, just stay with me along this road. please finish it with me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

sometimes the only reason for writing is to stay alive.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Not All P

i could not work today. as if the body was rebelling against anything p - phd, papers, pen, panic. while already tired from washing and cooking the chicken dish for baon this week, i could not bring myself to the desk and start the transcribe. i should stop feeling guilty. feeling guilty of not working on a free time this monday. i should stop feeling guilty about baking, drinking tea, and gorging on date and almonds loaf. i should stop feeling guilty about resting. life here in perth is not all p.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tab try

First time sa tab and have yet to master the prompts. The hubby is asleep now and I have yet to raise my legs.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Among the Giants

i finished writing 1/2 of a chapter today. but it looks like a chapter on its own right because the theoretical framework and resulting conceptual framework was derived adequately from the literature. the theoretical framework by itself holds. applying the theoretical framework to a political economy analysis of the Kaantabay program before 1989 showed that the principal argument was valid as the evidence, from firsthand and secondary data. supported it. at 4pm today, heaved a sigh of relief as the email was sent to jane, 2 days before monday, the date when we agreed that she should read something of what i have been doing since may 26.  i suddenly experienced a sense of accomplishment, so liberating and quite apart from the previous releases experienced with writings in the past. because in this chapter, i dealt with theory head-on, i suddenly felt how it really is to be a scholar. the grand difference of what i write from consulting or from the business of journalism.  this is much much higher stuff. because in engaging with theory, i am like facilitating a 'talk' among prominent giants in the literature of urban development and politics, and from that exchange of ideas, i finally found and created my own voice, heaving, pushing, struggling to be heard. that voice is finally coming out. but a bud this time and it is not afraid to grow.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just Realizing

in the circle of JOAN ROAN-CO, only Rodonna has a husband beside her. all of us four - Jopen, Angeline, Corazon and myself are separated from our husbands by distance, or as in gie's case, the untimely passing of vincent. just one sad realization on a rainy thursday here in perth. donna must realize how lucky she is.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Get Real

i wish...

the day has more than 24 hours
that ideas could be condensed in 8500 words
that reading in a day could take 10 articles
that my legs could take me to uni in 5 minutes

but the day could not prolong agony for more than 24
ideas exceeding 8500 are better than zero
concentration should not be compromised on even 1 article
and walking more than 5 helps the mind prepare

so take heed...
wishes are for wimps...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Us Pa Rin

in a relationship that is technology-dependent, i am still glad that even without seeing each other, even with just written words exchanged, i breathed the day with you. walked lonely south street with you in mind, and carried your shadow across the day's travails from my desk and the cavern of room 2.01a. technology cannot replace, will not surmount the beating of hearts content despite the day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Into the Void

lost in my own limbo
the road has not only forked
but also revealed fresh paths
i do not wish to take
but beckoning
as if now
i have no right to be tired
i have to trod before thinking
in the darkness
of silence and sadness
the void stares back
and asks,
why not?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Unending Questioning

how far would i go and until what boundaries? once i get satisfied with a chapter, questioning begins and i am led to search once more for theory as if the questioning never ends. am not sure if i'm learning or just overdoing it. heaven help me, to know the right commas and periods in writing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Strong as I Am

i am not nice jane. but vitti, you are strong. 

and there in front of the tv, my daughter watches her favorite cartoon night in and night out.  she makes do with a virtual mom. and as she hugs the pillow, glances at the screen every now and then to see how i am.  and so i struggle with my emotions, and so too does my daughter. at an age when she has realized mommy will not come home every night. that i am not a warm body she can touch at will. 

and she is strong too. with a nasty cold and cough that break out so badly, she will sleep with her lola, but still alone with her thoughts of me.  and she steels her heart not to cry. instead, to wait in patience, in the promise that i would be home, finally, by the time she's 7. we are made strong not only by love, but also the wait for it.