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)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


to not expect too much without letting go of everything would be the way to go, for me, for now.

Monday, July 30, 2012


it's like losing one's job. the eerie numbness after the jolt. words suddenly laid out in the open. and you wonder where you were when all these have been happening.  there are no meanings to be searched for now. no events to psycho-analyze. like doing nothing is luxury enough. to stare into nothingness the only consolation.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not Enough Time

times like these i wish a week consists of 8 days and a phd scholarship could run for five years. then tomorrow i can choose to stay at home, find time to fold clothes, stitch, and finish joel rocamora's Breaking Through.  one day at a time is hard to get by.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eat Food Love

Cook only for those you love. And cook with love at the most. Do not just cook for the sake of it. For in food the soul finds peace. And that peace should lead to real happiness.

Friday, July 27, 2012

This Spot and the River

on this perfect day, i went to this spot by the Swan River where janty and i used to walk, and sit, and go on our endless conversations. here we meet people walking their dogs which makes janty tense all over.  and then what melts our hearts would be old couples walking side by side, holding hands. couples really growing old with each other.  well, we would assume they're couples, married ones. but of course who would really know, and one should never be surprised if they should indeed be having affairs 'no?

in this spot, i really wished janty was beside me this afternoon. but what should i tell her? how would i say it?how could i say that being happy is not simply being happy? and that being sad is not simply being sad? that i am in between, and not very, not quite.  i get sick of speculating too. of hanging on to half-answers. of staying on this nook of half-believing and also half-preparing that there might be an inevitable, an unavoidable outcome. and as i sit here, i get a text, a wish that i get what i'm finding for. i'm not here to find anything. i'm here to settle into a place that could change in hues of blue, white and gray, that could dry up along the coast and smell like rotten moss during summer, but would still remain to be a river, whatever the season, the month, whoever walks by it, and whether those sitting by the benches eat chips, drink beer, chatter, read an e-book, or just sit, and sit, and wait.  wait for time amid an endless river that would always be there.

i'm not looking for anything. i'm not here to find anything. i'm here to find wisdom in waiting. and the river says, just go on with whatever there is.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


it must be the grimness of the tragedy behind the stories of fatalities and survivors of the titanic disaster in april 1912, read online and listened to over youtube last night. must be the the missing of my daughter, her smell, the clasp of her small hands, the sound of her voice. must be this last tortuous political economy section where the econ and political dynamics are just a toll to write. must be because of you and how the losing, missing of who i know you are, is really affecting me. must be these cold mornings, this late blogging, the lack of exercise because of the mens, the absence of nicole in rm 2.04A, the basil plants wilting because of winter, the icy winds lashing along south street. must be because of all these causing this distress inside, this tiredness even before lunch, and the drudgery of dealing with the endless white page forever in front of me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mountain Climbing and the PhD

i don't like mountain climbing. tried once walking to the national high school for the arts in el-bi, sometime before graduating in 1991, and had the worst fright of my life.  the lungs cannot stand the altitude, i almost fainted from the effort of making steep climbs. but i like reading books about mountain climbing experiences, two of which detail the harrowing events of mountain climbing disasters in mount everest.

that's why i liken the phd to mountain climbing. in everest, there is a very steep pass before one gets to the very peak, which climbers had to negotiate otherwise the trip to the top could not be made.  it is a pass just before the peak where one's mountain climbing skills of balancing one's weight, and managing the altitude, is put to the ultimate test.  

a phd is like that. there are many steep hills and deep crevices before getting to the peak. there are so many descents into failure and frustration it makes no sense to look at the peak anymore. whatever peak there is. what one could only hold on to is to keep on going, whatever the pass, whatever the crevice is encountered. in the third part of the political economy analysis, and with the many paths to negotiate, i get confused how to get there, to the high point of this chapter where i can look back, gauge the terrain made and could safely say that yes - the first major hurdle has been surmounted.  but still, that peak is elusive. the sight of the peak is elusive. but every day i should keep on going. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


it's like a butterfly that lands on your shoulder from nowhere
like the last pink lollipop in a sea of yellows, greens, and oranges
like the rare blazing sun amid winter's gray dreary sky
the refreshing but fleeting scent of grass after a day of rain
on one of life's mysteries that even fate cannot explain
the choices behind you present themselves again
but you can no longer touch them for so long
not enough to capture with one hand or two
and we wonder beyond questioning
why it has to be, when it did
why now?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Red Moon

six strips of snakes
one choco nut bar
three handfuls of corn chips
i let my hair down
within a week
to be sinful
to allow a bit of discretion
with food
no counting calories
no limit on sugars
only the palate to spoil
once in a red moon

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Waiting for a Star

waiting is like waiting for a star to fall. testing patience in every tick of the clock. i understand. one has to be complete outside of the relationship, to be complete inside of it. there is a need to find meaning within, restore one's self-esteem to be able to be that person that one deems to be, desires to be, in a relationship. but what if the star does not fall? which means, what if waiting takes forever? then one shall elect to be a tree whose purpose is to grow, branch out, and wait for time. wait until disease or lightning or the heartbreak of an ax extinguish the life within.  a tree waiting day and night for the stars, bright from afar.

Friday, July 20, 2012


thank God it's friday! first time to mean it. it's friday, the end of the work week. while it has been less perfect in the writing, in struggling to give form and substance to the argument in the third phase of the political economy analysis, still the effort will reap its just rewards in the coming weeks. it takes a lot of mental conditioning to accept what is appearing in black and white, to accept the tentativeness of one's positions especially in taking care that this thesis is not a careless demolition job, but an informed reasonable critique.

but thank God really it's friday! no alarm clocks over the next 48 hours, no imposed two-hour writing stretches and reading and transcribing in between.  there will be time to do cross-stitching, to do a little easy reading on the special issue of Development in Practice (2007) and the scholars' take on development buzzwords and fuzzwords in the 21st century (poverty reduction, citizenship, corruption, governance, empowerment etc.), to read a chapter on joel rocamora's anthology of the CPP, to cook, wash flags, do some weeding, clean the house, and just let the cold and rains pass without bothering the walk over south street.

thank you God for making Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yaman's Rainbow and Pot of Gold

i will find you there
at the end of our rainbow
rains submerge mere words
in silence trust runs deep
in solace we find refuge
in patience we find faith

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Selling Myself to the World

in less than a year, will be back in the job market where thousands of filipinos toil and expect luck and hard work combined to get them - somewhere.  in off-PhD periods starting last week, this is what i have been doing. revising the ADB-formatted and full CV and have sent them to at least 7 contacts in ADB and the development consulting world in the Philippines.  on one track, also eyeing possible junior academic or post-doctoral fellowships here in australia. yes, i'm in the crossroads of pursuing either an academic or consulting career in the coming years, depending on who beckons first and where instinct leads.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yaman's Moon and Starlit Sky

i wish upon Yaman's moon
the hope inside to never waiver
i wish upon her host of stars
the answers and peace found in time

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love and Writing

in the confusion of my soul this morning, i latched on to something, this thing that has kept me going through the seasons here in perth - writing.  the critical question was - why should i go on loving? and against the threat of an early shower and a wet walk along south street, i found the answer. 

every work day, i go along that road, on to paved roads and over composting wood, grass, and sand. and every day, as i slump into this desk of ever-increasing piles of white paper, and i go on writing. sometimes i wallow in bullshit, and sometimes, i bask under luminous breakthroughs.  but the point is, i'm here every day. i report for work every day. i report to write whatever the season, with or without inspiration, with or without expectations, sometimes without any analytical map on this aging head, sometimes on the energy of just dragging one's feet.  

and perhaps the logic of love works the same.  we report to the presence of that other half, within spitting distance or in that other side of the world. we report every day. we command whatever energy there is, to relish excitement, longing, and happiness. and to also endure frustration, loneliness, and bitterness.  we just have to be there. to write, to love till the end. until we are spent on the experience. and we either quit or evolve to another level of writing, another dimension of loving. we commit not to the outcomes, but to the process of it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


nicole and dhaval held the baby shower today for Bubu, their pet name for the baby inside nicole for the past 7 months. the shrimant ceremony, as it is called in the Hindu religion, took more than an hour, ending with nicole and the baby being prayed over by chants, splashes of rice and roses, and altar offerings of about 12 fruit varieties, which includes coconut.

nicole and dhaval would on sight be considered an unusual pair. nicole as white-skinned and brown-haired as any german. and dhaval, as brown skinned and black-haired as any indian.  nicole devours meat like any german. while dhaval has been a pure vegetarian since birth, he could only tolerate eggs to fill his protein requirements once in a while.

once in a hair salon, they had haircuts which started at the same time but nicole's finished earlier she had to leave for the shop for a few minutes before fetching dhaval. when she returned a little later, and was about to settle the bill, the cashier asked her, 'and you are with?' and she pointed to dhaval beside her. the lady in the counter, tactless as she is, blurted out 'you mean, you really are together?!'.  and that's a little racist remark too, don't you think?

looking at them today, nicole in her sari, and dhaval in his kurta, no couple could be more meant for each other than them. nicole could not understand hindi, but dhaval beside her, translated all the way what the minister was saying, especially when it is in reference to what she would do (e.g., rice throwing part of the ceremony).  and seeing them relaxed with one another, one realizes how real love works.

real love works in the simplest of ways.  to just love, be there, stay there, acknowledge, be in the presence of. in this sense, the 'I See You' declaration of love between Neytiri and Jake in 'Avatar' matters strongly, in any relationship.  to see the living presence of a person beside you, and be whole and devoted to that presence. that is simple love. no need for grand long words. no need for cliches. no need to make promises. no need for talk of dreams so far off they become ephemeral in time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Next?

the One Up There has the habit of really answering what i pray for, especially in terms of relationships, that He really gives them literally. with XXX, i prayed that he just give me a relationship (and He did, a relationship - with a guy who happens to have homosexual tendencies ugh). then with YYY, i prayed that he give me one man i could really love (and He did, a one-way relationship where i was used for another's ends and left me in tatters). then with ZZZ, i prayed that He give me everything i could ever want in a man and a relationship - true love, stability, permanence (and He did, in a once-in-a-lifetime and too-good-to-be-true relationship - until external forces home down, threatening it)

 so now I ask, what next? what should i then pray for? should i be more specific? and pray like this...

i pray for words with the will to make commitments and fulfill them...
i pray for decisions that will not snuff out hope from resistance, already flagging because of uneasily long silences...
i pray for positions of strength that will protect and preserve what has been built over time...
i pray for many more wells of understanding, so that as as one dries up, another could be summoned to sustain...
i pray for more honesty and decency, to face whatever eventuality, rather than dwell in the limbo of loss and regret...

or perhaps i should just stop praying. and to just believe in the here and now, amid these throbbing realities that strike deep down but need facing.  perhaps God has answered enough, has had enough of these prayers. and i should just move on, and be brave, as always.

Friday, July 13, 2012


a girl's night-in with shabu-shabu and one movie classic in the 1980s, Robert Redford's 'The Natural', a hit when i was just 12 years old and daddy was still alive and watching movies in betamax was still in. thank you roxanne, sassa and yanti!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

KFC Indeed!

Every bite of the chicken was worth every word for that 10893-word mini-chapter. Thank you Lord. May there be more kfc dinners like this one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

8 for 8 and KFC

i am nearing 90% completion of the political economy analysis of Kaantabay from 1989 to 1994. while this involves rewriting of the Kaantabay evolution chapter already completed last year, much effort is still exerted in emphasizing the political aspects of state society relations, and urban land development in naga city. it is so taxing to do political economy analysis the original 6-week schedule has extended to 8 weeks for only the first two phases (pre-1989, and 1989-1994), and would require another 4 to conclude the third and last phase (1994-2010). nevertheless, tomorrow is late night shopping and i intend to finish before 4pm, and relish the 'reward' of eating KFC. sometime ago, i've already blogged about this. how the very common KFC we find at malls in the philippines could be such an effort to have here in perth because one has to commute twice to get to a kfc outlet (murdoch-kardinya-booragoon; or murdoch-perth). that's why KFC is an apt reward for the similar effort of doing a political economy analysis of three periods program that is taking more than 2 months to write. i think with roxanne, the shared 8-pc bucket with french fries, mashed potato and chicken nuggets would suffice for so far 8 weeks of serious writing. c'mon roxanne! off to booragoon tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weather-Weather Lang

you will write, whatever the weather. early on, walking to uni, the parka was drawn up to cover your ears from the biting cold. umbrella in hand for snooty raindrops, uran-mayaman. in your room, the heater's on because the cold penetrates even thermostatic buildings here in perth. and then suddenly, lo! the sun is up, bathing the window on your left with the afternoon sun. so should your fingers drum, vitti. whatever the weather. ground your emotions to a halt and let concentration anchor you to that seat, that desk, that room. whatever happens, you will finish your book, you will finish your book.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Life Goes On

will still wear my hair long not only because it's winter. flags would still be washed on mondays. and it would be an effort, still, thinking of new recipes for minced beef - every week.

i will not question faith, nor fate.  i will be grateful for the years when i have been truly happy, and complete, as if God's grace was unending.  i've been through it. and i know how it is.  and now that it's over, i would just have to breathe, and walk, and write, not as if nothing has happened. but to live through, again, another phase of hurt and heartbreak as it has always been.  

to dwell more on answers and opportunities, rather than just questions. to command all honesty how to explain to my 6-year old daughter that it would just be me and her all along. mommy would have to come to the rescue, again. there will be bad days, again, as usual. there will be times when tears would have to be shed, in gallons, again, as usual. but the usual usually comes, and just goes.

it is time to face one hard lesson.  that is, one just have to settle with alone-ness, solitude, and make a real life out of it. more than wearing one's hair long or shaving it. more than the flags that could preoccupy one's mondays. more than just minced beef that could be tossed and turned, and could still be eaten anyway.  it is more than the agony of failing, and finding that, i just have to live with myself for the next 50 years, after all.

and i shall live this life with pride.  i will assert myself through my writing, and let it take me to places never fathomed. and i will still love and care and kiss and embrace and jump under both sun, and rain.  i refuse to be defeated. life will be lived on my own terms.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


as if a goodbye is inevitable and we're just counting the days.  for how long could we settle on just 'understanding'? and how deep can the well of understanding be, when day, by day, the earth gets parched from an unforgiving sun? when there is only fog dampening those promises, and blocking clarity of the day.  we could not even hear each other anymore, as if there is no more point in listening.  so like last night's dream, a goodbye would be inevitable, undeservedly near.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rush Wedding and Mrs. De Luna

my sister yumi just got married today, in civil rites. it was a rush wedding to the point that they, with her groom, cannot wait for mommy to arrive from her ilocos trip. a lame excuse to have a judge palo in pasacao officiate her wedding. it's a mixed kind of feeling. for someone you love entering into a commitment in rush circumstances not called for by pregnancy. but i have to be happy for her. i just should be. i just could not understand why it has to be a rush wedding.

Friday, July 6, 2012


this is rest. to play scramble on end. play lumosity early. to blog early. skype with yaman who's now also wallowing on the weekend ahead of her. here just waiting for hubby's plane to touch down, wishing that he arrives before 9pm at raya.  tomorrow's the last day of the work week but the evenings of it provide the peace long awaited in full on sundays and mondays.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Compromise

sorry hubby but i cannot compromise 9pm. we've talked about this for many times already.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


perhaps this is it. alone in the room. alone in the company of winter. the unbearable burden of loneliness.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


when is when?
when shall the name be taken?
when to reverse the curse befallen?
when to wear the band unbroken?
when to end, the questioning of when?

Monday, July 2, 2012

goodnight to the world.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sweet Time

apart from laundry work...

perhaps, i will just sit still tomorrow and let the day pass...