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, November 30, 2012

Writing Time

after blogging, i will write on a chapter. for a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour, it pays to write on the available time that one has.  it is a release to learn how a few minutes to 2 hours of writing time could make to a phd. i wouldn't be working on my last chapter if not for this writing discipline. i thank my stars for egging me to attend on that Thinkwell seminar last june 2012, and the support from Jane, the ARC, and my loving family for getting me here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alone Here

away in a big minimalist room, one can almost sense the loneliness, in this place of black, white and brown wood and furniture. the room is so spacious it is my ideal of a cozy roomy flat without walls. i remember back when i was 6 or 7, in our rented apartment in bulacan the second floor was so spacious i remember gliding round and round my parent's bedroom while my dad plays his favorite tunes and is there on the bed, reading.  the bed is comfy, the pillows soft and fluffy, it's easy to sleep. but again, i feel my alone-ness, my loneliness. in places like these, i am aware of how truly alone i am.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Janty and Jakarta

janty is the only reason i WANT to go to jakarta today. i'm looking forward to the wonderful conversations my friend. and as it has been, you will always see my heart.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What is a Hanging Sentence?

a hanging sentence looks like this -

one thing i like about computers is that it embraces imperfection. not unlike the typewriter where one has to be precise all the time in what one writes, to copy from a written draft, for instance. where errors are costly in terms of time because one has to stop, get hold of a liquid or blot white eraser, to rectify errors. but the computer saves you that hassle. like this hanging sentence. i haven't formed the full idea yet, but it's there, waiting to be returned to, when the idea has been threshed, tossed, filtered in succeeding pages.  that hanging sentence reminds me to prepare for a one-line summary of the argument which now is still being developed.  it's quite taxing, especially after mad writing, to recap, heave deeply, and gather any strength left to finish the hanging sentence.  but it makes a difference. makes a difference to one's thinking and one's writing discipline.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ideas and Genesis

in writing, one does not need a clear idea. one just needs an idea, even how crazy it might seem to the outside world, to be able to start the keys drumming. hold on to that idea as if it's your anchor. but be open to challenge it by being its angel-protectorate and devil advocate. test how strong it would hold given a positive supporting case. then test on ways the arguments fail with the negative case. but don't just give up on it by surrendering the idea as either wrong or right. it could be neither. instead, look at its dynamics - under what conditions does it work, under what conditions is it constrained. study the dynamics - at what points do they interact, what causes them to oppose and converge. from there, the essence of the idea would emerge. far from the minute crazy speck it started out from the first place. capture it, hold on to it, defend it, and slowly let it go. you have to move on another one.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bye Bye Bye...Long Hair

i've endured it since april. but now, after eight months, had to accept that long hair is not just for me. despite how sexy it made me feel wind-blown over my face. despite how it serves a protective mane in front of the screen when i need to think 'deep'. despite the warmth it gives on cold windy walks along south street. long hair is not just for me. through the years, my hair has gone thinner and limper that keeping it long makes it wavy, it has to be blow-dried every morning to gather some body and be combed throughout the day to settle it. this just wouldn't do for me who least cares about vanity. so while i might endure for awhile, i'm bidding it bye sooner now. goodbye long hair. we tried didn't we? but we're not just meant for each other any longer.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Saturday

worked till my back ached today. just before lunch. no longer woking in uni on saturdays but had to, for today, to make up for the jakarta trip this coming wednesday. by 330pm, i was just hanging on. just trying to write up a section of a section to make it coherent. as i was all alone in the arc, felt free groaning and drawing deep sighs which echoed across the hall. one just had to go through the process. and the process involves moving on although the mind, one's back, and every cell in one's body wants to stop and go home. it's very difficult. one could almost feel nauseous looking at the letters on a white screen. but just as the process is a moving noun, one that denotes continuous flowing action, so does one had to succumb. one had to continue, move along with the flow, even if at times, one just gets carried through the routine, the endless wrestling with ideas and words. this process will lead to somewhere. and that somewhere would be worth it. worth it worth it somehow.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Don't Want to Die

it was a spur of the moment post in FB, brought about by the inspiration of writing this section, which from my gut would get published and inform all the world about the tenure travails of urban poor settlements in naga city.  i don't want to die before finishing this chapter. i don't want to die before finishing this thesis. i don't want to die until it gets published into a book.

then in less than 10 seconds after posting the line, i got a worried call from nicole. she thought i was sick or something. the worried voice at the end of the line was met with an incredulous laugh. of course not, i'm fine. i'm even inspired in writing.

then after about an hour, dean came. knocked on my door and asked to be seated to just talk to me. dean with the big rucksack which looks quite heavy he walks with a stoop. i always like talking to dean because of his calm voice and the way he looks at you straight without blinking. then after a few minutes, i realized why he came. he saw my fb post and wanted to know how i am. he wanted to call but realized he doesn't have my number. he was so concerned to see me that he just decided to drop by the arc.

i am so blessed to have such friends, nicole and dean. one very close and the other not so, but still, they went out of their way to ask how i am because of an fb post. for that, i am just so grateful.

after dean left, had to go back to fb and explain. and indeed, several messages of concern came - from daisy salvadora, charan, jemea, hazel. i felt so sorry distressing them. even personal messages came from maylien saberon, auntie yev, dimple, joey, and ms.lynn. i had to be more careful next time what i post in fb. they do not deserve distress from this post.

so there, i don't want to's a positive thing. i don't want to die just yet. and i thank all these people for also not wanting me to, until my time has come. phd

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Go with the Flow

i've written here before about following structure. about how the key arguments provide the basis for structuring a chapter, or a section. found a way through the dilemma blogged about the day before yesterday. followed my gut and started a new. opened and saved a new document and cast the old one for safekeeping - this will come handy in the future.

in this new doc, there are words in caps and highlighted in yellow: JUST GO WITH THE FLOW VITTI. while i have the key arguments, i am experimenting on developing each section. there is no fixed structure. based on key points, i just drum away. making sure that the writing still adheres with the arguments. in essence, i'm just letting the writing shape and structure the discussion. in compromising structure with flexibility, i've also highlighted points that need revising earlier.  i know i'm right, my gut tells me. will just need to hold on, relaxed and faithful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What to Do?

the first of three parts in this chapter is almost finished. but i feel there's something wrong. that there's a better way to go. as if a sign, the Endnote is playing tricks on this one. a case of 'faulty codes' according to the Endnote HelpDesk which is egging me to revise and start anew on a new Word document. how to go about this? how to go about this? will think this through the walk through south street. will think this through before starting the 2-hour writing marathon in the morning.

Monday, November 19, 2012


gusto ko na mag impake.

pero kaipuhan pag mag analyze ning 4 tables, write a section, and fly to jakarta.

gusto ko na mag impake.

gusto ko na mag uli.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yaman is Home

yes, more than once i thought of cancelling.  i felt that december away from my thesis would be crucial.

but the heart has its place in the grand scheme of things. while the mind may have ruled decisions since april, there is no way the heart is giving in this time.

although on one side it would be difficult. although going home would prove a real test. i know there is no assuaging the pains of this tired old heart without the warm embraces, the breath, the touch, the sight in the flesh of my Yaman Abalantung. she's all worth it. she's the worth in all this.

i understand fully why he had to give us up for his son. because nothing beats the love of his son. just as nothing would beat the love of and from my daughter. i understand perfectly. that's why i'm going home, despite what has happened.

i can't wait for the next three weeks.

i can't wait to step on the soil of naga and head for Yaman.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Roxanne's Chicken Feet Dimsum

just noting it down. this is roxanne's recipe for chicken feet dimsum.

deep fry chicken feet first.
then cook in water seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, rice wine, sugar, and garlic. boil for 10 minutes first then simmer until chicken is soft.
coat the chicken in corn starch dissolved in a little water.
drizzle with chopped chives or spring onion.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tugging with Data

nakua ko naman. pero bakong madali. ang magpili, sa kadakulan ning data, kung ano ang ibabali sa thesis, asin ang dai. maski ang advice kan supe, 'to just focus on those you need to write about' - is not that straightforward. one must justify, be convinced of what needs to be included and culled. the reference, true, is the research questions and the arguments. but deep within, a tug-of-war reigns because of the massive data at one's disposal. this is the bane of too much work in the field. one gets overwhelmed. there is only enough trails to follow so one would not get lost on the way up and down this mountain.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pace kan PhD

papano kaya ang maray na strategy? in this chapter, the long and short has benefits, and both will be done anyway. but against time, and the impending return home, one has to check moving with the urgency of submitting something substantial before leaving against moving just steadfastly to the pace the arguments are willing one to have. minsan, sa pagsurat, ang susuraton, dai ang nagsusurat ang nagtataong direksyon kung ano ang matatapos sa panahon na igwa. sa aga, sa paglakaw sa south street, huhurup hurupan kung ano and pwede asin dapat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letting Go

one can be whole in many other fulfilling ways. one can choose to just let go amid the dashed hopes, confusion and drama. there is no use wallowing in crisis. happiness becomes an active choice. to learn to focus on what one has. and the many aspirations yet to be fulfilled in a life where one has passed the threshold of middle age. time has become so precious to waste on the past. one has to let go. let go of the past.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Death by Chocolate

it must be the ultra sweetness and the dryness of mouth, suddenly inundated by a drink of hot water. had to walk back home at a slow pace. and now, though i've eaten chickpea salad, sans the tuna, and even had a 2 servings of whole wheat crackers, i still feel like vomiting. this has to settle for a while. i had to settle for a while. my stomach has gone, past breaking point.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Right Pinkie and Left Foot

cut the right pinkie while multi-tasking in the kitchen - cooking, washing veggies, then washing the dishes. an accidental hold on the knife, the knife that is always sharpened prior to cutting anything, and lo! blood was gushing i expected edward cullen to materialize in front of me. strange, the pain on my left foot, observed since 4pm, suddenly left me. as my attention was riveted to the wound, the blood, and roxanne's instruction to raise the right hand higher than my heart and to just wait for the blood to stanche by firmly pressing on it. now, that the wound's ok, a band aid has been wound over it, the left foot is again at pain. ah pain. old age old age old age.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


stop counting
keep hoping
stop fearing
just believe
tomorrow unfolds
beyond expectations
today happens
seize it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FB Message to a Bestfriend

iyo, di bale na. masakit talaga baga kaya ang mayong katabang. nag try akong mag apud last wednesday saimo. kaso, sala garo ang connection ta pirming may error. dai ko na kaya nauubos load ko ta dai na baga akong katext pirmi. nageexpire na sana, sayang man. arog kaini, sa monday, ma expire na naman.
being ok has to be qualified. i admit it was very difficult starting july. pirmi kaya akong anggot maski lalo na pag aga. nanggigigil ako sa anggot to the point na kinakagat ko ning ngabil ko. then sa banggi, nahibi ako. i just went into the void gie. talagang minati ko si kaanggutan ko. there was even a point that when i cut him off from fb and my blog and he even dared to ask 'why?', namuda ko sya. there was even a time garo habo ko na magsimba ta maski pag nagmimisa, minumuda ko sya in my heart and in my mind. nabasa mo naman garo ini sa blog ko. anyway, nagsawa na lang baga ako. nagsawa na lang ako sa pagka uyam. nagsawa na ako kahihibi. being away from naga and manila is a big help man garo. and siguro dara naman kang experience and personality ko. dai ko kaya ugali baga na magmukmok forever or wallow indefinitely in self-pity. dai ko talaga ni ugali. maski pa binabayaraan ako kan mga lalaki ko sa buhay, maray na lang, dai ako binayaan kan pagkatao ko.
so iyo ni. inaaccept ko na sana ang sakuyang eternal na pagkasawi. maray nang tanggapon ang totoo maski makulog. iyo na garo talaga ni ang buhay ko. ginibo ko man ang gabos, even gave love an nth chance pero mayo talaga, sawi talaga ako sa pag ibig. isinasa-Dios ko na sana. tutal, mayo man malain na magsolo na lang. nakakaya ko man. saka igwa nakong aki, igwa na akong Yaman literally and figuratively. kontento na ako. kaya man siguro natawan ning maray na breaks sa work asin sa pag adal para dai ko man masyadong mamatian ang kawalan.
halaba na ang buhok ko pero garo dai ko na mahahalat ang pag uli, mapabulog nako. naggagatol ang liog ko sa buhok ko. mapa jakarta pati ko for a conference. mainit duman kaya mauuyam sana ko with long hair. o sya, daing paraka busy. may work ka pa online? masakit talagang maging solo parent pero it has its perks and it has its own rewards. maaaraman mo man yan.
into the last chapter na palan ako kan thesis. but as the structure turned out, igwang 2 parts kaya malamang 2 chapters na naman ini. im giving enough time for revisions ta my thoughts are everywhere in the seven chapters written so far. hayyyyy masakitun magkalog ning utak! but i like it! kan nasa void ako, maguluhon ang surat ko. jane, my major supe, would even beat her forehead just to express how hard it is to understand my writing. have to remind me all the time to simplify my writing. kaya ngunyan, ang style ko pagsurat garo itong sa blog, diretso. mayong patumpik tumpik.
o sige na, halabaun na ni. see you december. habo ko na kuta mag uli ta para dirediretso na surat but i realize, i need my daughter more than she needs me. kaipuhan ko ning emotional replenishment from her. ok, babay na talaga. ciao!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


how could i ever expect that data gathered for a span of 3 fieldworks totalling 11 months could only be written in a month and in only 10000 words. the struggle continues. the mountain is larger, steeper, wilder than i thought. the peak is almost too near to see but still hardly reachable. better to trod the cruel path than walk around in circles.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


ang nanay ko nahuhumaling sa personalan. gabi-gabi naririnig ko ang boses ni jeanne garcia - mataray, diretso, kikay pero seryoso. ang problema ng mga tao ngayon sa tv na hinahanapan ng solusyon. hindi naman ito solusyon kundi isang pagpapakita lamang ng kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari, pag maraming nanunood, at maraming manghuhusga sa kung anong saloobin mo, anong sinasabi mo, anong iniiyak mo. huwag sana nating isipin na ganito kadali ang pagharap sa problema, ang pagharap sa mga taong nagdulot sa iyo nito at ng kaakibay na dalamhati't hinanakit. tv lamang ito. ang tunay na buhay ay nasa labas nito.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post PhD

there's not enough time to do what one desires. even thinking and writing has its limits in two hours. somehow, when the route going down the mountain is at bay, then i could focus on things to prepare the future with. one or two possible research proposals, funded here, in the philippines, or elsewhere. to get down on publications and start in networking with housing and politics scholars, my so-called contemporaries. right now, the crossroads are imminent. to track another mountain after this, depends on what i will encounter on the road down, the road home, and the final dismount. i wish to stay but the circumstances are not in my full control.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


no one comes clean after a heartbreak. one's truth can never be the sole truth. it is just an explanation of one side and has its bias. i admit to pride and my right for self-preservation. but i will explain only where it merits.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Natural Lang

just have to go natural i guess. been using alternately two organic moisturisers for about a month now. Natio and Yes to Carrots (yeah it's made of 97% carrots). still, rashes are appearing on my right cheek so i have to stop pronto. aging is a natural process anyway. sunflower oil and other organic oils would have to do for the space then.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Mountain

now i worry about the household sample, which does not lend itself to statistical analysis. qualitative analysis therefore might have to take the upper hand and analysis of organizational data would have to be undertaken.  ugh, the bane of writing at the tail end of the thesis is the emergence of data problems that could have been addressed in the second and third phase fieldwork. ugh, what another big high tortuous mountain to climb.