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)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sleep and Coffee

had cappuccino past 4pm last monday with nicole. while i was just so happy to meet up with my ex-roommate, the coffee would later be a regret. didn't sleep well the evening of monday until tuesday morning. my mind was busy mulling over a paper abstract until the cars came running down south street once again. it's 4am again and have not slept in full for a full hour. while i still went to uni tuesday, my mind stopped working around 4pm and i had to trod down south street, with a lot of effort to get home. after a quick dinner of chickpea tuna salad (which was in fairness just delicious!), called it a night as early as 7pm. roxanne  was so concerned about this change she waited as i came from the loo. 'i'm not feeling well for lack of sleep you see? the coffee.' and she understood. so still, no coffee for me in the afternoon; otherwise, i will lack precious sleep. after evening prayers today, i'm hitting the sack.

Monday, October 29, 2012


i miss my roommate nicole.  i miss how she values silence and quiet. how considerate she is in opening and closing the door softly so she won't disturb my work. how she avoids looking at my computer when passing by as a way of protecting my space. how she asks permission when  making a call to not rattle my concentration. how excited she would get when talking about german burgers, chocolates, of a type of rootcrop in germany where sugar can be made, of delicious cakes made only in her country and which only germans can spell, of their churches and the steeples and the religious architecture inside. of her granny which she calls on everyday and her dad who taught her the value of money and hard work. i miss our walks for coffee together. our talking over once in a while over lunch to sample one another's food. of secret gossip and dreams and the stories of our lives which only the two of us could identify with. i miss her so much to be so happy with her today and aamani, her 5-week old daughter. i can truly say i have a german friend. i can truly say, i have a real friend in nicole.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

About Fully Paid Households

the stats suggest that a fully paid household in Kaantabay is more likely an original awardee, a widow or widower,  is dependent on children for financial support, and deriving mainly income from informal sector jobs. it does not matter whether onsite or offsite, it is more likely for those working in the informal sector to be fully paid in their amortizations.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making Sense of Stats

trying to figure out the quali stats and tests done by the sister. for lack of time, i'll blog about this tomorrow. for now, i'll settle with sense-making still.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Fine Place

find me one place
one stump for weary feet to rest
a bed of feathers for weary bones
some mist of clouds for a weary mind
an escape to no escape
to wake up and fine gone
this fine one place

Thursday, October 25, 2012


here i am, skyping with the daughter who's so into youtube and this group, one direction, to ever hear me. pano pa kaya pag teenager ka na anak? for the past 1 hour, i'm looking at this video and could only understand 'crazy, crazy' while she sings along with the video. hay, the price of being far from my daughter...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little Prayer

hay, mapagalun mag surat. ang pirming pangadyi kan sarong arog ako is sana, every day would be much better than the one before it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Steps Pa Rin

i might have just written less than 25 words today. most of the morning have been spent revisiting the tables, constructing new ones, and struggling with the insecurity of having to revisit each line in the Excel sheets again to reacquaint with the 108 households interviewed from march 2010 down to march 2012. it's having to contend with entering the last 7 households from sabang whose data have not yet been entered in the mother tables but included in the preliminary quanti and quali tables for stat analysis.

then in the afternoon, rummaged through the literature again. to identify and isolate the relevant ones dealing with tenure security, urban land reform - theory and empirical data alike.  i have yet to read in detail the 'observations on households' and 'households analysis pointers' to guide the analysis. these do not include having to accept the reality that not all data could be analyzed to fulfill the objectives of brevity and clarity that the supe so longs of my writing.

so there, little steps pa rin. little steps na kailangan, nonetheless.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Little Steps Muna

the alarm still rang at 5am but i went on to sleep till 6am. between dreams and the consciousness of deciding whether to just sleep over, or go to uni. the latter prevailed so by around 8am, drawn to the usual route down south street. the lowness was there. the feeling of relief, of surviving Development Effectiveness, a week earlier had passed, to be replaced by this gnawing fear of the last major chapter. how to go about it. so in between photocopying this and that, as a way of conditioning one's self  to a gray, rainy and 'lazy monday' (as roxanne called it), browsed through the journal articles about tenure security, urbanization, and informality. some i've read, others new, but all will be re-read if necessary.  went back to the tables, the qualitative and quantitative data on excel, last seen in april. one long sigh. so much to recapture again. and then, took out my 'observations' (dated october 2010), the 'households analysis pointers' since july 2012, a write-up on slums submitted september 2011 and started a new file entitled 'tenure security_draft_22oct2012'. the deadline is on in 4-6 weeks after meeting the supe. ok, these things for a monday are a start. better than just staying at home. just hold on vitti. plod on. you've gone through difficulty before.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Work, Nevertheless

too tired. after cooking. washing the dishes. washing clothes. and this first day of the mens.

perhaps i should not work tomorrow. but i need to see the supe. to mull how to start, strategize and structure the last major chapter - tenure security. to take advantage of not exercising and setting out early on south street.

so i should just sleep early today. work, work, work, and rest only when you have to.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Supe and this 'Somewhere'

it could be one balancing act. if one has worked in the real world for long, and feels this entitlement of being an ' expert', it could be difficult. for a linear thinker and tutored on technicist approaches to evaluation, i had a difficult time immersing on politics. if i had entered the phd knowing what i know now, and taking the available time to learn more rather than from scratch, i cannot imagine what higher-level thinking would i be engaging into. but this is useless thinking. because i am already here, and thanks to my supes, especially Jane, i know i've reached a place - this 'somewhere'.

in meetings, sometimes, it could seem strange that a supe could recommend to do this and that, and not agree with what i plan to do. but in more times than one, the supe has been correct all along. if i had not taken jane's suggestion that i deal first with Development Effectiveness, as a way of clarifying my thinking through the tortuous political economy analysis of Kaantabay's self-administration, and also to help the framing of the last major chapter - tenure security - then i would not be in this glorious 'somewhere'.

it's still a long way to go. but this 'somewhere' is glorious because finally! the supe not only agreed but was ecstatic of how i was able to understand Development Effectiveness and inject into it 'politics' as one way to evaluate development reforms. it's glorious because finally, i understand the politics of what i am doing and could definitely defend it even when under torture or sleeping. finally i got it. the thesis is on solid ground.

so the central theme to doing a phd remains sound.  your supes are not there for nothing. it pays to follow them, to heed their advice, despite one's resistance. at the end of the day, they may be your harshest critic but they too would vest the only well-deserved approval.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Answers

the answers to the questions came as i shut out the 'white noise' and unnecessary details. sometimes in writing, there is the urge to impress. to write as much detail and references as possible to show off how much one has read and know about something. so to be concise requires discipline as well. and voila, in taking out all the unnecessary, the obvious though not plain staring at me all along has finally been understood, has finally emerged from the writing.  what a relief. although saturday is now an imposed work-from-home day, it's now a day to look forward to. thank you Lord!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Questions for Tomorrow

where are the connections? how would politics lead up to development effectiveness and the study of outcomes? under what conditions? to what would my study conform? would it be another way of looking at evaluation? would it qualify as an evaluation of politics?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yaman is 7

today is yaman's 7th birthday. i can't believe how time flies. this time, 7 years ago, i was probably still inside mother seton's recovery room, with a bedside lamp directed over me to keep me warm. that's technology for you, ala mother seton way. in about an hour, i would be transferred to my room by two orderlies joking about how 'sexy' i am because i'm just too big at 180lbs, after giving birth. i never worried how life would turn out. i never worried that i have no money left in the bank except for savings for giving birth. after that, i don't know what to expect.

although Yaman came at the most unexpected, and even unwanted time, never did i regret any day after october 17, 2005. every single day of my life after, i found my purpose of being, my purpose of proceeding, my purpose for just going forward, wherever. then slowly, things began to shape, the dreams begin to have flesh again, the dawn was immediately followed by promising days and fulfilling nights, with her beside me.

i may have never imagined having a daughter before, never envisioned myself to be a mom. but every time i see her, i look at the wealth before me which is my daughter, i know that dreams don't have to be dreamt to become real. the life of dreams come from the unexpected, the unwanted, but deserved, in true measure, nonetheless. i love you my Yaman. i'm coming home to you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Starting Again

sometimes the best way to start a chapter is to answer the question: what the hell would i say in this chapter? and how would i say it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Slow Start

the mind was so tired. until this morning, admitted to the supe how i still prefer not to think. the writing has still much to improve on. jane can only shake her head. i have the right arguments, great points. but have to find a way to tell the story of the Kaantabay in clear, direct terms. so ok short sentences would do. and it has to be clear in my head as well. ok, i will start tomorrow. but it would indeed be slow.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A New Chapter

haayyy...tomorrow is indeed another day. Development Effectiveness here i come. sana dai masalimuot ang pagtatagpo ta.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

No Man Forgiven

i am functioning well without him. used to not expecting any communication. deleted whatsapp and viber from the tab. deleted him from my phonebook, online contacts, and even blocked him from fb and from this blog. gone are the days when i would occasionally stop and check the mobile, and the tab for possible waylaying texts from him. i have gone about my world, in a world that somehow did not stop, did not perish now that he's gone.

then came along this dream from two nights ago. in the dream, i am so angry with him, i almost wanted to bash his head in. and i woke up with a heavy sore feeling in my heart. i woke up very angry, again.

so even if in my conscious world, i am well and happy and afford a hearty laugh with roxanne, the bbc series i watch on tv, and enjoy the precious walks down south street, the dream reminded me that as unresolved issues remain, the anger will remain.

and i will not wrest with it. that's what happens i think with the loss of hope, the death of what i thought was a new and final beginning. the 'different kind of love [i] thought [i've] found' was no different from the rest, even harsher, more cruel, the weakest.  i no longer believe in love as romance. i no longer believe in roses, in embraces, of warm nights.  i no longer believe in faith, trust, acceptance, commitment, undying love. i no longer believe in tomorrows. if someday, i would ever be in a relationship with  a man, again; it would just be so only for utility, for practicality - to only get something out of, and no longer to give or even to be. this time, i will use the man for my own ends. not for love. definitely. not for any kind of love.

the dream reminded me of that. i am truly angry. and i will forgive no man for this.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Finished. A Chow Mien.

the political economy chapter is finished, emailed to the supe.

prayed before dinner. dinner of combination chow mien, with crispy noodles and chicken feet dimsum. a dinner deserved after a harrowing stage of writing which i will never forget. the exhaustion, the endurance with detail. and the will to proceed after 'wilting' meetings with the supe.

now i'm full. not necessarily happy because it's a long way to go. but yes, i am happy. i am happy the chapter is closed and i could proceed to another. this time, i hope to write wiser.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


sometimes what one considers as complex, the solution is so simple to stare back at you wide-eyed. the worry has passed. time seemed manageable now. i hope that the Grace from above would be sufficient to finish what has since been started in 2009. thank you Lord.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


i am up to the last part of the argument for a chapter that has reached 23000 words. not a good sign for brevity. i am counting the periods, the commas, before i can close this. looking forward to writing 'in summary...' and move on to the next chapter. close to two months in all. napipiga talaga ako ng phd na ito.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just Write On

it's hard to write knowing that what you are writing will be rewritten substantially in due time. thoughts are screaming and waiting to be written. but these should be tempered. and while the writing is not smooth, it now pays to just stop for a while, and organize before moving on. the task of writing on is not as simple but still, should be done.

Monday, October 8, 2012


had to recast the political economy analysis of kaantabay under self-administration. the supe wasn't too pleased with the structure. and i agree. so with heavy hands i plod on, to finish the 3rd and last batch of arguments although these would latter be rewritten. better to subject these thoughts in black and white nonetheless. and for me to fight the rising tide of disappointment. buntong hininga na lang. i will get there in time.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From a Lonely Point

for the past 24 hours, i have been on a somewhat online 'debate' with supporters of the JESSE ROBREDO LIVES fb page. yesterday, in this page i shared my view that Leni Robredo is just being used for political purposes by the Liberal Party in Camarines Sur, which I contend is hobbled by the sudden death of its leader, Jesse Robredo. the only recourse therefore is to use the Robredo name to full political advantage, particularly exploiting the sympathy accorded to his widow. these arguments are initially developed in the latest Descansos post.

of course, in 153 comments on that page, i was the only one with the openly dissenting opinion about mrs robredo's candidacy. the supporters were suddenly one in harping the cliche-ic statements of the wife embodying good governance ideals, her representation of clean politics, and one even went to the point of saying that 'leni robredo is jesse robredo'.

it is really amazing to see how the passion for one's ideals could be unleashed by a contrary opinion.  and so is it equally hard to restrain myself from being as overly emotional. to be able to argue on the basis of political facts, of 'political reality as it unfolds', as expressed in my third and last comment (hopefully) to close the argument and my position. it is a lonely position, an awkward position nonetheless in the midst of people screaming down their throats that i am just so wrong. well, i am just warming up. this is what it takes to also stand for beliefs, despite how inappropriate, unpopular and vulgar it may appear to some. it is a lonely position to write from, and i shall continue doing it for the sake of freedom that needs wings to fly above the crowd, despite how ruthless they could become.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

At 815pm

hm? what is in steamed trout that gives me a tummy ache? this heavy feeling such that sleeping early becomes a concern. ah, the serving must be it. cut the dish in two and apportion the halves in two separate meals. ok, now comes the washing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stability is My Sanity

stability is my sanity. despite the confusion outside of this phd life, it bears to wake up with the purpose that there are words to be written for the day. that the mind should be focused to be able to derive dynamics and meaning coherently. it is a consolation that as the day ends, and the steps are counted from uni to south street and finally to windelya, the war with words have also come to a close with a small, albeit real victory. there is much to thank this phd for than just the realization of dreams. this phd willed me to live amid the temptation of dying.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Soprano

Yaman is Soprano 1. just giddy with delight:) can't wait to be home this december.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yaman the Singer

even mommy was caught by surprise. Yaman has just been accepted to the village montessori children's choir. from the letter, it appears she auditioned without telling her lola about it. her audition piece was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. i'm just so happy about it. i never had the chance to be active in extra-curricular activities in school when i was young. so i'm just to happy to support her through it. love you Yaman. i'm proud of you just for passing the audition.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Till the Last Period

halfway to explaining why kaantabay is a political project, found, again, obvious kinks here and there. but a warning flashed through my mind. no, i don't want to overhaul again, like i did two weeks past. no, i'm not going to change major arguments again. i am firm with what i've written so far. if it sounds off tangent, then it would be up for the supes to judge? after all, that's what their jobs as supes supposed to be right? find the kinks and point out their ironing, but only later. at a much later time. i want to go over the hill this time. to just go on go on until the last period that marks the end of this huge huge chapter.

Monday, October 1, 2012


the dream presented an obvious choice. wealth more than i imagined. wealth entitling an audience with the old and new rich. a man beyond my desire to have. but there is no love. the clothes, bags and furniture not of my taste. the wardrobe does not even fit my frame i began to think skinny. and the man was pouncing with whoever. i could have all these but i had to die. i even the repeated the question, i had to die to get all these? and then a hearse came in advance for my dead body and there was loaded a real corpse --- my sister's --- and i woke up crying. at 433am, i texted my sister to end the curse and the dream. no, there is no choice. that is not the wealth i need. the wealth i crave for. it's not even wealth. just stability. i'm taking the long hard road instead.