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, August 31, 2012

The Weight of Friday

too exhausted but thankful for finishing lumosity games as usual. i'm planning to work tomorrow depending on the mood and the weather. at home, i might work with a bunch of articles to build a matrix on the 'enabling strategy' and how it developed through the years. but i'm just too tired now i might hold it off till next week. perhaps tomorrow i might just rest by not really doing anything phd-related as usual. the weight of friday has come and i am giving in.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writing Cannot Die

i just had to write this.  just to get it out. well into starting with the second section of the economics of self-administration this afternoon, i suddenly felt this chill. as if i am not sure what i will be writing about. suddenly, i felt tentative, not sure about my position.i struggled with the words, and the room felt colder than ever around 445 in the afternoon.

could this be the beginning of a writer's block? well into the 4th chapter?  i struggled not to think about it. and in yellow highlights, i wrote, you can do it vitti. you just cannot write because you haven't read enough, haven't processed that enough data. go back go back go back to the data.

i have to move up. struggle past the doubts. and write write write. suddenly i felt the helplessness, the sudden dip as if writing has lost its inspiration. but i can't wait on a savior. i have to save myself now. so whatever the mind conjures, i have to block it out. i just have to keep on writing, and reading, and processing.

my writing just cannot die.


with her hands and a smile suggesting how she wants to impress how she came about it, Yaman gestures the words 'Daddy' as in 'Da' (hands extending to her left) and 'D' (making the letter D by cupping her hands).  it's good the reception over skype was not too good, she did not notice how my expression fell for about 5 seconds. i had to recoup and make her repeat the gestures as if i didn't get it instantly. just to impart a sense of normality in an already abnormal situation made even worse by the separation of two people who acted as if they were married, who gave the semblance of a family to a little girl who would later have to contend with the truth that the family she thought she had was an merely an experimentation. just part of the string of broken dreams.  my heart sinks upon writing this  because how can i tell her, there is no more 'Daddy'?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Where I Am

where i am grants me the benefit of resignation. of hushing up those nagging thoughts to sleep because of the need to think deep about another.  in moments, i forget my heart, i forget the bleeding inside.

in where i am solace is granted by walks along shades of trees, the path is clear, sometimes it rains, but i get somewhere and at the end of each day, home is where the unfinished lies about and is forgotten. home becomes the home of shadows too because in every corner is a memory, even the wall is imprinted with a memory that just wouldn't let go.

in where i am, i find peace, unstable as it is, but it is there in space where one could just retreat, away from the mob that demands explanation, justification. there would be a time for them. but for now, in where i am, answers could be raked through in passing time, and perhaps, these will come to satisfy, even me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Time and Understanding

how could i be accused of not giving time and understanding? when is time and understanding enough? and when is it wanting? time and understanding - really? for what? to cushion the final blow of an eventual goodbye? or to be left hanging until one is spent? for how long will the waiting be? for how long would you indeed be fit enough, be man enough, be complete enough to face a life again, with us? see, time and understanding does not work at all anymore. you are demanding it to just keep me, us hostage to your needs. to your unmet needs for affection from a son who has drifted away from you. and for which, you also want us to take the blame. we shall not be party to this. suffer your own stupidity. time and understanding cannot wait.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


it's called self-preservation. it's holding to that bit of sanity so one can still stare at the mirror and appreciate the woman looking back. keeping that bit to keep you above water, to keep you breathing out of one's own volition still. 

i gave up on the relationship the time he stopped saying my name, a way of not acknowledging me anymore. i became a presence, a thing that just had to be there on one's beck and call. i had to be 'there' even though the reasons were no longer clear. 

it's how old couples go, the ones who just had to because of old age, because the kids have gone anyway, and there's just no other choice. eating at the same table, sitting in just the same sitting room but already looking past each other's gray hairs.  sometimes, i'm thankful we didn't get to this point. but sometimes, i ask, should i have gone further? endured just a little bit more. 

so yes, i gave up on him too. i could not endure not knowing who i am anymore in the relationship, what reason was there to start and end the day with someone who asks the same mechanical questions and expects the same mechanical answers.  i get confused with how the words 'sacrifice' and 'suffering' were being used, to the point that the doubts began to make sense. 

it is a sad sad thing.  in church this morning, i was looking over the pews and witness how i alone i was there in that pew. and it is a hard choice to make. to be alone not because the other half died. but to be alone because there is just no one fit to stay.  and i find my sadness loom, and the anger dwell. all throughout the mass, even in Thy Holy Presence, i was seething in anger and calling him names, and all the curses i could muster.  i thought i should perhaps stop going to church. until it dawned on me that no, this is the time you should go more often. 

one could find no solace in the silence. right now, i am filled with a lot of anger. even upon waking  up in the morning, anger is there. i can stand upright, function, will myself to write because there is one more left to love - my self. i have to stay afloat. i just will not die this way.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Drawing Notebooks for Yaman

when before i used to collect books, now it's drawing pens and notebooks.  stored up different kinds of notebooks already - long thin ones, 1/4 size ones that can be stuffed inside the bag, regular notebook-sized to accommodate more space, and the larger A4 ones for greater freedom to draw. while for us, notebooks are journals for writing, Yaman uses these to draw whatever - her idea of castles, a vast wardrobe, butterflies, flowers, teddies, candies and even different kinds of cakes. she is both curious and attentive she can fill half a notebook a day, just by drawing whatever she feels like it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Diputa Ka!

today, did something that i thought, i would never do to the man i committed to love forever. in clear burning text - i told him diputa ka! (asshole!)  i was not happy after doing it. i felt a little relieved. but i was thankful having had the chance to articulate in two direct words how i really feel.

how i really feel being rejected, me and my daughter, being led to believe, trust, only to realize in the end that we are just replacements to one's broken dreams of a family. how i really feel being abandoned to explain and bear the shame of a foregone engagement. left to conjure explanations that could help save face to someone whose straight face betrays the fear of pity and ridicule.  how i really feel after being made to believe in songs, endearments, and commitments that one would never fail, one would love even beyond death, and just falter at one's self-centeredness. how i really feel contending with old plans again, of having to muster one's old self again, of planning again on solo, of going into that single mode again, and getting resigned that this would be one's fate, that there is no turning back, no getting fooled again.

so yes, you of all of them deserve this. those who came before did not promise at all, so what is there to expect, to live for, to build the future for. but you said, much too much, it sounded true, it sounded unassailable.

diputa ka talaga.  it is just so mean to pretend not to know. it is just so mean to pretend to be blameless when you started it all.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Angry Birds

playing angry birds could be so frustratingly simple yet frustratingly annoyingly. why can't these pigs just die? he he

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HB 4244: The RH BIll

from memory, this is what HB 4244 promotes:

1. reproductive rights to all from sex education to maternal health care (including monthly half-day leave for pregnant women for check-ups), the full range of family planning services
2. what government, non-government organizations, the private sector, and citizens' groups could do to translate the Bill into programs at national and local level
3. respect for informed consent of receiver
4. assured access to services without prejudice to sexual orientation, marital status, age; and without the need for third-party consent, authorization if receiver is of legal age and is the victim of related assault by own parents or guardians
5. full coverage of health services under government health insurance programs, which implies access mainly for regular government and private sector workers
6. humane design and delivery of services and facilities in consonance with the special needs of people with disabilities
7. employers' responsibility in the provision of reproductive services and facilities
8. upgrading of skills of health workers

what the Bill does not promote:
1. abortion, still considered illegal
2. forced or mandated delivery of services especially to the poor
3. control of family size

where the Bill is unclear:
1. definition of employer, whether government or private, and the extent of allowable to minimum provision, including how cost burdens are to be shared with government through subsidies (bears the risk of the costs of provisions being passed on to consumers)
2. coordination of responsibilities at local government level considering that local health units and DOH are implementing arms but the former is under devolved responsibility by local government units
3. whether expansion of responsibilities by health care units corresponds to increases in salaries and other related benefits

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mayor Robredo

the son has come home, acceptance at last.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mayor Robredo


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mayor Robredo

if he follows the light, he should negotiate for more time. more time for the salvage operations to finish what has been started since last saturday. from the after life to this life. perhaps it's possible. it has happened before. people rising from the dead. people declared dead, suddenly coming alive as if breathed on by God. then perhaps he could be one. he's done the exceptional, the unexpected. for another one, he is due.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mayor Robredo

like all NagueƱos, am concerned that Mayor Robredo has not been found after the search and rescue operation following the plane crash has been halted on account of darkness.  the thesis would still be written as it should not in the memory of, or to give justice, or in fairness to.  there is an accounting that must be done and the reality that manifests and prevails in the data would still be written.  the thesis stands by its validity.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Epic Chapter

there must be a sense of accomplishment after four weeks of interpreting what Kaantabay is as implemented, in the nuances and complexities of its sites, and the social facts associated with its settlers. there has to be a sense of accomplishment even if just finishing half of the epic chapter.  what is being written deserves to be a book today, and may one's efforts not be wasted. so to celebrate a sunny friday with perfect blue skies under chilly weather, the half-epic chapter was handed in just after lunch for the supe to read.  as i've told june, our japanese colleague in the arc, i'm taking my weekend early and have i!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


i have to see it in paper. i have to read it, feel the paper throbbing, hear the words speak in black and white. hear them make meaning and sense. in black and white, the dynamics might float, suspend in the air for me to grasp and smell and jolt my now weary brain cells from 20 days of disciplined writing.  tomorrow, tomorrow, let the recasting begin.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Work Days of the Week (to a PhD)

Monday...hay...monday na naman... (it's monday again...)
Tuesday...shocks, apat na araw na lang natitira...(four days to finish whatever...)
Wednesday...gosh, kalagitnaan na naman ng linggo...(it's the middle of the week!)
Thursday...ano, thursday na?!!! (what, today's already thursday?!)
Friday...ugh, Friday na agad?!!! (it's suddenly Friday?!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


on one side of the globe, my good friend signora elaine just had a baby boy. on another, someone just blogged about banana fritters while another reflects on death, the terminally ill, sudden deaths.  roxanne got a precious go-ahead to attend a seminar conference, a boost to her phd. over youtube, two star-struck lovers commit crimes in the name of love, doomed to separate mournful deaths.  michelle in arc is already five months pregnant. and nicole is giving birth soon. with the rh bill in the philippines, abortion becomes a life option.

everywhere around me, life and new beginnings abound amid an equal ounce of death and goodbyes. that i think is the way of the world.  the way by which hope, surrender, desire, release, and reckoning merge into a cycle where everyone is subject to. life-death-life as it is witnessed and lived.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Agony of Political Economy

have almost written 20,000 words and haven't come close yet to proving the argument. the words have their own direction. they make sense but there is this nagging feeling, this is just going to become another chapter but not the chapter hoped for. so that chapter hoped for would be written in another four weeks, which prolongs the agony of going through political economy analysis for a harrowing 16 weeks. why is a fellowship then being aspired for under the weight of so many words, so many thoughts, so many arguments pushing one to head in only one direction?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Deduction, Details, and Politics

deduction as an art and science is actually the attention to detail.  true detective work lies in the logical resolution of cases, with the utmost attention to detail and the context under which events occur.  these are as rightfully shown in the practice of deduction in BBC series such as Sherlock, Poirot, Whitechapel, Case Histories, and Garrow's :Law.  compared to these, the CSI series and other US-made detective series are mere promotional activities for state-of-the-art technology in crime detection; and the latest hot bodies and hairstyles in hollywood, which are forgettable.

this attention to detail makes the study of micro-politics not only necessary but vital into capturing the nuances in which political relations develop, are asserted, sustained and even die out over time.  while the macro politics that deals with ideology becomes the mother frame for undertaking any political study, it would remain bare with mere bones without the flesh of details coming from the study of micro-political units such as individuals, households, organizations and local governments.  i know where i belong.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Yes Janty

yes janty it's true.  i would prefer just seeing you and we can take a walk along swan river. it would be a relief having another talk with you by my side with the majestic blue river witnessing the death of dreams to tears. so perhaps i'll just reserve my side to another face-to-face conversation in the future ok? i'm too numb to even care about the details. i'm too tired i'd rather not go back to the stories, the timelines, the transitions, and the vanishing points. it just happens. separation happens.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Burying Shadowman

i can still sing, hum so i'm ok. when praying, i never did ask 'why?'. instead, the question rests on 'why not?' and the answers that come are assuring. the future may be difficult but it would be better.

the return to 'bad days' and 'bad moments' is almost too familiar, the attitude straddles between cynicism and a clinical approach: 'i've been through this before, at even much more difficult circumstances, so what could be done is this this this...' or ' we go again, the pain is difficult to carry but it's bearable...step one, step two, step three'.  in a way, i thank that there is a phd to finish because indeed the mind gets preoccupied. i am able to find comfort in the thought that there is an even greater societal problem to address than this stupid nagging heartbreak.

until the question pops out: how can one approach heartbreak that methodically? and the answers that come point to my very own tragedy.  i am fated no more.

i am fated no more to belong to anyone. that the attempts to build a relationship would just stop at attempts and never at the desired fruition: marriage, a solid complete family, someone's name to carry, someone to raise a kid with, someone by my side in old age, someone to cry over in black, someone who i can be with in the portals of heaven.  this, these images, are just fleeting images. in my relationships, i have just been offered a glimpse of what is, what could have been, and what could never be. and that's it.

this tragedy did not come in just one act. but in a host of acts it is almost laughable that i don't ever get to learn the lesson.  it is so laughable that a stack of old tragic love songs could define my life, and i still got away with it.  it's so laughable i've survived just in time before getting tattered to pieces. it's so laughable that i've escaped marriage, the prison of prisons, a gilded iron cage. it's so laughable how my best friends could almost now predict beforehand the sequence, gravity of my heartbreaks. it's so laughable but i'm not really laughing.

so yes, i will still say what i've written ages ago about Shadowman.  that i really envy women who have found best friends in their men.  who are assured of a lifetime of stability, quiet strength and ready laughter. my heart will still tug at the sight of old couples walking hand in hand together.  i would still wish there is a man on the other side of the bed as i look past Yaman.  i will always wish that i am not the only one who's strong.  but i will hope no more. i will pray no more. tama na. so be it, this tragedy, but let this be the momentous final act. there is more to life than crying over men, failed relationships, images, glimpses. Shadowman is forever resigned into the shadows.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wish on a Unicorn

it  brings into stark contrast how centrally important Yaman is.  how she looks so tough, her patience tested in waiting for me for months on a stretch. but how vulnerable she really is because i should be the one protecting her, guiding her, showing the way through what's wrong, what's right.  how could one catch up with the lost time? when i come back, may there be no more separations like this.  i wish on her unicorn that the coming years be kinder and more generous to the both of us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


mabuti na lang may Bach to console a heart that's crying.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Does It Take?

or perhaps how much does it take to live in a spacious and also safe place in Metro Manila, far from the ravage of floods and secure that the daughter who has gone off to school will not get stranded, as such going to work and school would just be exercise for one's health.  i've been at looking for condos for rent in ortigas center and i found myself praying to please please grant me this job in you-know-where so i can afford to live here and give my daughter decent schooling.  the fear of flooding is too much.  may naga and the rest of bicol be spared from similar calamities. perhaps there is another place on earth where a decent living and a decent life can be lived away from the travails of living in this sorry metropolis?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Life's Lesson in 614 words

after a late start (1130am) and an early departure for home (330pm) because of impending rain, 614 words were still written today, and none of these were footnotes.  indeed, life may not turn out according to the ideals we set for ourselves.  but the difference between contentment and remorse lies in just making that choice of making something worthwhile of the time we have.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ready for the PhD

Ready for you tomorrow my thesis. The weekend went smooth and easy with the usual housework, and with  a fully checked wish-to-do list: played games, baked, cross-stitched and dyed my hair. Ready for you for the next 5 days!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


it was a perfect day for lebkuchens. german cookies, baked especially for nicole, the uber german roommate in the arc. the house all to myself, the silence, despite the undecided weather outside. silence silence silence. the butter and honey melting on the stove. the dough perfect with the smell of ginger, cinnamon, and orange and lemon zest.  perfect balls of cookie dough forming round my palms, flattened by my fingers. perfect. just the mood for perfect lebkuchens.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Roxanne's Chair

on this chair, legs are propped up the bed, the hands can move around to get that book over there or another one by the stand on the left. i could sit like any lazy person could and while away time with laptop indeed on my lap, play games, or just watch BBC detective series over youtube. have been working all day this week, i almost dread Friday (not 'thank God it's friday!' but 'i can't believe it's friday!' kind-of-feeling). at this hour, the self-imposed distance from the phd begins and life in Roxanne's chair is lived to the max.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wisdom of the Weak

let me be me
in this space of grief
where i can rule time without guilt
where looking nowhere is looking inward
and perhaps a new purpose could be found
where not moving for the sake of it is not weakness
as where surrendering to tears one could gain strength
here in this space where i tend once more familiar terrain
of heartbreak, loss, regret, and the sense of once more failing
i do not wish to ever return but only in hard choices could we ever learn

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Worlds

it would be good to leave Earth once in a while. wake up in Venus and opt for dinner in Jupiter while watching Saturn's rings. would be good to find new perspectives and new ways to appreciate one's existence over the humdrum and toil of every day, through mist and muck, in this planet of oxygen, green grass and beings walking on two legs.  perhaps there would be a way to appreciate one's mortality and the essence of time once suspended on air, surrounded by the unfamiliar, and waking up to the unexpected.