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, December 31, 2013

So Long

2013 would be the year of near-misses, almosts, what-if's and whaddaya know.  the year that i shocked and also got my own bucket of surprises - from an unfinished PhD to working in the hydropower industry, of all sectors.  the year when i stopped to recollect, reassess and ingrain alone-ness. when fear became a constant companion and an unexpected friend. one does not have to fear fear. facing fear everyday almost drove me to tears (which a bucketful have yet to be shed) until the moping, the worrying stopped. i am just fine. extraordinarily strong, and fine.

as i follow more the chinese new year, there is still another month to go before 2013, the year of the Black Water Snake actually closes. it is still too early to recap what requires another month to unfold. so i will just say, insofar as the Gregorian calendar goes, so long 2013. i will never forget you. and i'll choose not to. there are no new year's resolutions. just the unending resolve to keep on forgiving and praying for forgiveness, to believe in the positive and the possible, to run away from drama and ingratitude, to relearn stability and permanence on what matters, to embrace life and love unconditionally.

Image from

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014: Looking Forward


Travel abroad

Ultimate strong lasting one

Fieldwork in the mountains

Personal stamp in the profession

Red lipstick collection

Femininity inside out

The Forbeswood unit owned

Yaman and Family Time

Gratis. Amen.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Super Dry

I will leave you dry
A pledge that will be fulfilled
However this road turns and ends
I will leave you dry
Be ready for it

Friday, December 27, 2013


i have been very good at this
no one fathoms how deep it is
no one witnessing the dissecting analysis
to become both the victim and expert
knowing how to lie with a smile
and mask restlessness with serenity

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Darkness Will Not Overcome

how did i say it gie?

just go through it. stand alone and face the darkness alone. allow it to creep into yout thoughts and conscience. let it embrace you, keep you restless, sleepless, but mindful. mindful of loneliness that like bad weather, had to be experienced, passed on through.  

just take it all in. like the wind, holler and say, 'bring it on!'. say it out loud. say it even in your sleep. it's a very testing time indeed. but one just had to endure. and to endure is to wait, without doing anything.  one need not do anything. not even lift a finger.  

and that some day, that day will come. the day when the past that matters no longer matters, not that much anymore. the day when one will not even wince, or even shed a tear. the past will be overcome, just like the darkness of today.

Pic from

Monday, December 23, 2013

Naga's Horrendous Traffic

December 23. From emall in elias angeles, it took yaman and myself 45min to get home to concepcion via diversion road. Normally, it's just a breeze of 10min. The trucks aggravated the situation with the national road accommodating only two way traffic. No thanks too to the eight choke points hurdled by vehicles starting from the old centro: the intersection beside the main entrance to the public market, the second before going up the bridge, the third at the top of it, the fourth at the corner of tabuco's obrero st, the fifth at st. peter memorial chapels, the sixth at the entrance of triangulo, the seventh at the intersection along puregold, and the eighth the road leading to almeda highway.  Trucks and choke points did the lady who has adapted to city life by just walking to and from work. Ugh, i'm definitely not leaving the house tomorrow!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dra. Jocson: On Angel's Wings

in today's homily on following our inner conscience than common sense, memory brings me back to that pensive day in february 2005, just less than a week after my 35th birthday.  it was one of my weakest moments where the One Up There showed His strength, the power of His way through my ob-gyne, Dra. Jocson.  Dra. Jocson took my mind away from what was missing --- that is, the attention of the father of the little one inside my womb.  instead, she emphasised, strongly and with the conviction of a strong-willed woman, the blessing brought by the little one's pulsating presence.  so from a position of weakness, in that white chair, came the acceptance and the realisation, a split-second decision that spelled the difference between a life of regret, and a life of astounding wonder every day.  thanks Dra. Jocson. wherever you are right now, you deserve all the good and lucky breaks, all the love of family and the God you believe in, and path paved in green and gold.  thank you, thank you for being my Angel that fateful february day. owns the pic.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


the date flashed on the bus's mini-monitor: 21-12-2013. 

so yeah, it would be two months before turning 43. 

what will happen in the next two months? 

what would i blog on my birthday?

how will two months unfold then? 

what change would be significant. 

come now 43. i'm ready for you. owns the pic.

Friday, December 20, 2013

LUNA's Hug-Me Cappuccino

Hi, can I have a cappuccino for takeout?
The cashier hesitates and demurs, 'Uhm...please let me ask the barista...'
The Barista, tall hunky and Chinese-y, flashes a dazzling smile with his perfect set of teeth and explains, 'Mam, we can't serve your cappuccino on takeout'.  Gets a gray bowl and says, 'We serve our cappuccino here to preserve the froth.'
What??? I'm going to drink cappuccino from a bowl??? Where the hell did you get that concept???
The Barista, cool and still smiling, says, 'Our owner has been throughout the world looking for ways to serve the perfect coffee and she says, we cannot compromise on the froth of a cappuccino.  We call this Mam, our 'hug-me cappuccino'.
I wouldn't mind hugging him instead of the bowl. But given his cool disposition and as I'm already there on the counter, I relented. 
'So you're the only cafe here in Manila and in the Philippines serving cappuccino this way?'
The Barista nods and smiles again.
I'm taken. 

So here goes my first foray with Luna's specialty "Hug-Me Cappuccino"...

Looking at the cups, I also said, "With all your fancy cups, you serve cappuccino in a bowl?"

Love on the wall is how I interpret this. 

What a blast for a soft opening!

A Hug-Me Cappuccino, unadorned - not at all pretentious.

This is how I take my cappuccino. Spoon out the froth first and drink the coffee later.  The pastry was not impressive but it's not what I'm after.

Hug me. sip me, and down me.  I love it!  I'm coming back for more - this time with Yaman!

Luna Coffee Shop is at the back ground floor of the NAC Tower, 32nd St., BGC.

Luna, in my opinion, has the best blurb for a coffeeshop:  Life is short. Stay awake for it!

Tara na sa Luna!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


this is a Christmas gift from Ani, our lovely attorney-in-residence.

it's a handcrafted piece and blessing 'GROW'.

indeed, more fruitful years are coming.  we will grow as a Team at work. Yaman, myself and our growing family will unite and share in prosperity, adventure, and happiness.

GROW is for today and our tomorrows.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Before evening prayers...



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just a Kiss

Hey, at my age, i'd kiss that man in pink, even if just on the cheek. so go ahead and kiss him! it wouldn't hurt. and he wouldn't mind:)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Living Here

the unit owner chose to paint the walls white, without any frames, to make the room look bigger. and it does. what is lacking here is a bookcase there on the left corner just beside the TV and throw pillows for that red big comfy sofa. it's an airy unit, made cool because of its secluded position from the sun.  sunlight still streams through the windows around noon, just like yesterday. it's lovely. a modest unit that fits the laid-back me. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


before i got to like the cappuccino at Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf, Figaro's had been my first choice. so yesterday, after this feeling of victory from the team's stint at Isabela, fancied to have one decaf one here, and my favorite pastry, Little Oscar.  took some random pics, this one here capturing the brown homey interiors of the coffeeshop and the ravished cup and portions from the famished me.  another taste of my life on a Friday, away from my home, and my heart tugging for Yaman.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lost Time

one gentle reminder: there is never a bad time to go home to naga. i should have planned this earlier. was already in cubao last sunday after meeting one good friend. i should have bought a ticket. then now, the bus should have been on its way. and i'm not here. regretting again time not spent with the daughter. regretting again weekends without her.  just as the plane touched down, how i wished, we have a home here. then i should be racing not to the office, but to home where her smell, her toys and drawings, and the sound of her voice rules. i should, i should, i should but i did not. ah, regret! owns the pic.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


88%.  A number which, by tomorrow, could start bells ringing and finally usher in Christmas.  as initial wonderment led to disbelief, disappointment, tension, and frenzy, the stabilizing point has been reached. though the space and position in the pack is still being defined, gradually, there seems to be a resting point, an acceptance that whatever the outcomes in the next 3 more months, 88% will still be 88% - higher than anticipated. owns the pic.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Breaking New Ground

yes i know.  it's strange to be talking about another 'man' again in this blog.  especially in light of the two other 'man' whose presence have been embedded for a long time, the last one particularly, in this blog.  a lot of unexpected happened since 2012 - didn't like these at all but what is happening right now, i just let be.  it is the Universe unfolding, with its all-seeing eye and mighty hand.

i too dreamt of stability and permanence.  but even dreams and blogs cannot divine the future.  yet in this blog, there is always space for discovery and renewal, for that speck of inspiration to thrive and lead into something good, to breathe anew the possibilities of a trustworthy relationship, to be beholden to a real strong one, this time.

there is infinite space for you here. i am breaking ground now. owns the pic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Red Lipstick!

just googled 'red lipstick' and it's quite amazing that tips abound on how to wear the mother of all lipstick colors - red.  indeed?! so what's the fuss about red lipstick?

in 2014, i want to fuss over myself. just as i fuss over work - which if God allows, would take me galloping over the far north non-stop beginning january.  i want to fuss over myself as i get into running as a sport and a lifestyle.  i want to fuss over myself as i discover the power of womanhood and the mystique of staying single. i want to fuss over myself as i experiment with long hair worn over long sojourns here in isabela and i get to know this tanned medium-built and ultra-intriguing man.  i want to fuss over myself as i keep rediscovering life and beauty and love and passion and thrill and grace in my 40's and onwards.  Life is just so beautiful! owns the pic.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Pain

the Facebook post read, 'Pain is temporary, Regret is forever.'

in choosing the painful path, not only is endured the weight of loss. we have to face resignation day by day. we have to take the past as another frame that could now be hung on the walls of the soul that is our sanctuary. a past that existed, and is believed in, but which should not consume us as the windows and doors of the future are laid bare, open for discovery.

to forgive the past is not to obliterate it. to forgive the past takes forgiving one's self first and giving in to the pain of all that cannot be restored. it is to accept loss, not erase vestiges of it.  it is to acknowledge one's defeat and not pretend that there has been no cause fought for, no battlefield unsullied, and no wounds bleeding.

embrace the pain. it's the only way the past can be let go.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gray Skies

it's this hollow feeling. something amiss. something not just right. but helpless against.  one could only watch the whatever unfold.  and pray that in time, the name, a word, and, still, one's presence could make a difference.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Neighborhood on a Friday Night

a leisurely walk on a Friday, i-Phone on hand. it feels good to be here. cool. the traffic blending in with the night. i search among the faces and find no one. no route is the same, even at night. it feels so good to be here. Solitude owning the night, and the walk back home.

The work place at a glance. Alive with lights.

I miss Yaman. She should be here.

A frenzy of lights. People either ending or yet to start their day. 

Here's my joint. Home's becoming home.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wala Today

Tomorrow it's the neighborhood, internet allowing that is.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

No Misery At All

this is so heaven...

my feet resting on a futon and me blogging, having snickers, and waiting to skype for Yaman...

i'm not miserable after all. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Night of Pandesal

on the road back to the dam at 728pm, we turned round, headed towards santiago city to get what??? PANDESAL from Noypi Bakery.  yes, pandesal is served here in santiago city at 8pm. it sells like hotcakes, the customer before me ordered two packs of 25.  Noypi's is the best pandesal in town. it might be pricey at PhP2 each (USD0.10/pc) but it's rich (dusok), soft and sweet.  right there in the car, the four of us were laughing amid munches of hot pandesal.

 along the road back to the dam, we turned back for the second time, this time to the TOTAL gas station which here in the north boasts the best comfort rooms and cafes ever.  so over conversation and gossip, had pandesal over hot drinks, with mine dunked in a steaming cup of cafe americano.  i'm not sure what time i'm going to sleep tonight.  not sure if i'm going to sleep at all. but in one of life's simple pleasures, i will remember this. that one night here in isabela, i was just like any ordinary folk, blended in, and wishing to be part of the crowd, with their most popular, tastiest pandesal in hand. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


prayed hard today. that there'll be no fiasco, no security problem, no public harassment, no media coverage. and perhaps because most of us prayed, the team weathered one crucial test in the barangay. this is just the start vitti, should the road extend beyond february next year.  one more reason to stay close to community, one more reason why Isabela beckons.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wish and Affirmation

i wish...

my mom taught me Ilocano way back as a child
that with the daughter, we can call Isabela 'home'
that my purpose here unravel soon and in earnest
that the PhD will wind up and get published next year
that vertigo will just be a forgotten prescription
that strength will come from a welcome inspiration
that the slump, monotone, and penalizing will pass

this year will come to a close
and you will be fine
you will always be fine
you just have to go through this dark highway
make sure to stand back after falling
and don't be afraid to fail forward
just don't be afraid to fail

Sunday, December 1, 2013

About You

someday i will write about you.  just like this one for him. gut-out and real. going through the blogs is raking the past, over and over. familiarizing one's self with feelings and thoughts buried deep down. but, still could not find the words. someday it will come. now, the words are not flowing right. lost between negotiating heartbreak and release. in time, i will still write about you.

Hot Mugs

two mugs for coffee and water. a magat mug for hot water and a flower mug for hot drinks. a thermos too for hot water. just taking everything hot today, on a cold cold day here in Isabela.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Am Thankful

i am thankful every day.

for good health despite emerging rustiness on the head, one's legs, and even this middle ear. 

in my prayer every day, i thank the blessing which is Yaman - ang nagpapalalim, nagpalawak at nagpakulay ng buhay ko. ang Yaman ng buhay ko.

i thank my Mom whose sacrifices knows no bounds and tanggap ng tanggap na lang. 

i thank my siblings, Jungee and Yumi, for being role models in parenthood and marriage. how much do i admire and look up to them. 

i thank all my relatives from Mom and Dad's side. walang ibang magtutulungan kundi tayo-tayo in the end.

i thank my circle of best and close friends. ang aking mga pahingahan, shock absorbers, and endurers in between the highs and lows of life. 

i thank my team because they inspire me every day to not give up in finding and fulfilling the purpose for which the company hired me for.

and though my situation now is far less than ideal, still i have much to thank for because the light is never ending. what i'm going through right now is just a process of my evolution into a better mom, daughter, sister, friend, workmate, and in the future, one person's life partner. 

so much so much thanks for everything to the One Up There!

I am Mortal

once this and that project starts, i will write down my will and even have it countersigned by a lawyer-friend here.  taking on these risks, it has dawned on me that i should be prepared for any eventuality. that even though it is morbid to inform the family about this, still, i should know better. so in simple sentences, i will declare, "I, Annabelle Vitti Valenzuela, formalize the disposition of my assets and property in this manner...blah blah blah blah blah...".  I'm beginning to feel mortal, every single day.

Friday, November 29, 2013

This Will Suffice

what's the sense of forgetting?
every letter throbs of memory
every line transporting thought back to time
to time stretching out in a sea of forever


one of my writer-friends just separated from her man of two years. a man that she would endlessly blog about. the blogs speak of deliverance, release, belonging to family, stability and a semblance of sanity, for someone admittedly with a psychological disorder. long i have sensed that this relationship will not work out. it's in the way she treats love as an emotional crutch that gave the warning signs. sometimes, the oddness i sense towards things, people, stories, and events have a way of coming true.  and while i know the inevitable, still, even if i act to counter what is sensed, even if i chose to ignore, what manifests has been foreseen.  how can i say this to her, that for about 2 years ago, i blogged that her relationship would be getting nowhere.

A Life Truth (from Writing)

time and time again, writing would impress on me certain truths that work in life, as in writing.

this morning, i could not go past one whole paragraph. kept reading and re-reading, tweaking the periods, moving it from page to another.

the main block was this: whether i should break it into sentences and make these sentences, anchor statements to developing new paragraphs. more work, more fear.

then eureka! once i started doing it, i found the flow.

often, i am like this. i get fixated to a certain thought, a certain sense of 'being' and 'believing' that dictates the way i see a person, the way i treat the day, and how i evaluate my past and present life. with this, my tendency is to self-penalise.

then i realised, what i have is just a thought.

and that the way out of a rut is to re-think, to break and see anew, to welcome experimentation, to do and brush fear like a fly, and trust in the 'flow' when one gets into it.

time and time again, i get impressed with this truth.

Vitti, you have to believe more.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Of Dreams and Libido

a face should manifest in my mind. but since phd life and a draining separation, the interest in sex have almost dipped to zero. if i do get carried away, there are no faces, not even one, can be mustered. as if the dread to belong has seeped deep down and could not be undone.  the focus is on sensations, on highs that peak but don't last long. sleep follows after, rich and deep, but there are no faces, no way to tell the men in my dreams.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


off to isabela.

with two luggage bags, and two computers.

work and phd in 9 days.

getting back to the field once more.

facing the rural poor, not the urban poor.

mustering how to go about a laidback town.

better pack your nike shoes, vitti.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The 30-Minute PhD

it takes effort to revise every working day. especially if pressed for time.

but still, if  one is to enforce discipline, even for just 30 minutes, from the actual target of two hours, one gets to one point to another, literally and figuratively.

point to point - from the period ending a lazy sentence, connecting to another that sounds a bit lousy (revisions are indeed never-ending).

point to point - from one thought to another. the testing of ideas meant to secure loose connections and create a 'tight' argument.

so here, one labors everyday to love. to love still of research, of investigation, and the trapping of elusive truths.

even for just 30 minutes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

This Monday

16 minutes to 9 and what do i expect to do today?

finalise a powerpoint presentation.

get on with what is called PEST analysis.

take on admin stuff.

get a long-term view of what more needs to be done.

pause occasionally and affirm, 'I am a fair person.'

off to another Monday!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Reason's the Daughter

i could not make up my mind last friday.  at 6am, determined to stay in manila. need to clean the condo, drop by the edsa cubao bus station and meet cora.  but over breakfast at 830am, diksi mentioned the deciding line - 'make the most of the time you have with your daughter'.  so by lunchtime, i was off at the condo, packing this and that, ticking mental notes one by one (still forgot the black socks though).  and as if serendipity had a hand, the taxi driver who took me to cubao was the jolly reliable type and we ended up exchanging numbers in case i would need more of his services in the future. for someone who heads to naga every so often,  that's one more reliable driver in the list who can be trusted with a ride to cubao every gridlock friday.

and i was really meant to be home.  the daughter got sick last night, with a fever of 38C, the early stage of cough and colds, and hallucinations around 11pm and 1am, after failing to get proper sleep.  she was throwing tantrums, crying 'ayoko na' (i've had enough), 'ayoko ng christmas' (i hate christmas), 'ayoko dito' (i don't like it here) and 'mommy nag slow motion ka', all which confirmed hallucinations caused by high fever.  but one that touched me was when after her first tantrums at 11am, she asked, 'mommy galit ka ba sa akin?' (are you angry at me mom?), to which i replied 'hindi ah, bakit naman?' (why would i?).

so there. split-second decisions make the difference between being there for those needing you most. there is the solitude of condo living where i can get more sleep, watch TV, and cook whatever.but i don't mind trading sleep and me-time for the daughter whose very presence fills me to overflowing.  i am thankful to be here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gratis, Forgiveness for Yolanda

on my way home to naga this morning by bus. looking out of the window, i saw how permanent they all are --- the earth in its stillness, a lone star (venus?) shining its light, the clouds in bold brushstrokes (boding for rain?).  only humans and other living things are temporal and still we dare say, we own the earth, the sky and the wind.  it's the other way around.  we are owned by all that surrounds us. we are the ones who float and brush through each other's presence. Gratis for the earth, the sky and all the elements in their ferocity and splendor. we are beholdened to you all. please forgive us.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Revlon No Smudge?

Revlon lipstick no smudge daw. But the evidence says otherwise. And still thanks to my good friend Mitch for making my day yesterday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Ex is Married

Over the weekend, i learned from no other than mommy that the ex got married. I find it amusing as i dreamt about the marriage, even saw the wife, when still in australia. Just as i dreamt vividly our tree burnt down to ash. So it did not come as a surprise at all. Felt a bit sad remembering 'Fated' but cliche-ic as it sounds, love does not necessarily work out, even with the best of intentions. I hope though that the ex married for the right reasons; that is, because of love foremost, not need. I cannot 'read' from the reactions of news-bringers whether the marriage was received well or not. But then, just as everyone else was ecstatic when we got back together, we separated still right? It does not matter how love starts.  What matters is how it is sustained to the very end. Love should be there, I hope. It's a fitting enough birthday gift.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Starbucks Conversations

Mommy: Ano anak, mag asawa na lang ako ng mayaman para maalagaan kita full time?

Daughter gives her trademark smirk.

Mommy: So ano, tayong dalawa na lang. Kakayanin natin ha?

Daughter smiles approvingly, content with her cookies & cream milkshake.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Believing Forward

Here beside the daughter, in bed. I'm homesick already, to be away most of December and finally face one litmus test at work. Lord, I may not understand now why you led me here. Why I'm in this job, why Yaman and I can't be together, why it's such a long way to come full circle. The questions and struggles I surrender them all.  Leave and inject in me every day extraordinary strength and faith . Help me keep on believing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doctor Waiting

The doctor is here now. The decision was right to eat first. Fourth in line means more than an hour of waiting.

Whirling & After

One heavy sneeze.

One long vertigo, from 6am to 5pm.

Makes you rethink - single parenthood, single-income employment, and shared burdens.

Life is only going to get better from here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Nth Time

Dear Santa,

How do I deal with a daughter that keeps on changing her mind? 3 months ago, it was MSH. Then, lalaloopsy. 3 weeks ago, it was LPS. Now, it's Kawaii Crush. Hmmm, she feels entitled to ask and get  because it's Christmas. In less than 30 days, the list has to be finalised right? So what cut off date shall we set?  We have to let the kid decide for the last time.

Hapless Mommy

Friday, November 15, 2013

Taxi Waiting

At 32nd st, waiting for the ever reliable driver. Only late once, and with good reason. Here just under a lamp post, punching letters to make sentences, the hand a turtle compared to the mind's speed. I wait amid the sight of young couples, their fresh and eager love. I am cynical but less. Thankful more often with just this strength, extraordinary it is. I wait, tap-write and count the blessings of a happy single heart.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Team Ko

I look to my team for inspiration. Basta nakikita ko sigasig ni Morning, calm ni Alve, bungisngis ni Ms Vency, tiyaga ni Warlito at bait ni Ericson, ok na. Walang puti na hahambing pa sa team ko.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Go away to refresh, find another way of seeing. Just go away

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


The enemy is an asset. In urging you to think differently, to resort to tactics, to be more conscious of weakness and lack and how these can be reversed. It's an endless game of chess.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reading, Now

I should read more often.

Finish les mis.

Recall what the chinese nail murders are.

Read carol's book from cover to cover.

Just plain read.

Find time, now.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Completing Her

It was unexpected, odd in a setting.

Spilling light truths about two 'daddies' over halo-halo, basic chicken meal and LPS at max's.

It's a start of a long but hopefully non-tortuous conversation of the relationships around her. I hope she gets to see and value the love that is there in spite of the imperfections.

Love is what makes us complete.

Friday, November 1, 2013


i keep content.

four days off work.

four days of  having the daughter close - flesh, giggles, and kulit altogether.

four days of home - its smell, the noise of dogs, the mosquitoes, ok lang.

i keep content.

happy where i am.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Hag is Queen

how did miles say it? 'it's not as if we're engaged or something...'

truly not. i still don't consider you a friend. just a colleague, which i should get along with for my team to stay afloat.

we're still on a chessboard.  myself on the tiles, learning the rules, knowing where to stand, careful of my front and back, praying for the chance to play and stay in every move.

Revision Stage: October

chapter 2 done, so far.

chapter 1, started today. didn't go past the first sentence.

had to download, check, analyse and revise stat data.

little by little. effort by effort. from period to period.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Never Mind

on a holiday but working from home. i feel guilty watching tv, playing games on iphone, blogging like this, and occasionally texting.  i'm getting locked again into the working mode. the working mode that says, you don't deserve rest, play, and plain idle time. so how does one cope with the guilt? MULTI-TASKING!  while preparing the work plan, here i blog, text occasionally while the TV is on - GMA News TV to be exact. i haven't bathed because i need to cook and crush garlic, the smell of which sticks to one's clothes. i have the day all to myself.  never mind the guilt.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Believe

i believe that to take action is to map the way first
that earnestness is as good as concentration
that the best way to treat a visible enemy is to keep close
that in the face of a death knell, one has to proceed any way
that those who commit help should be asked to
that every stranger deserves to be respected
that to let go is to simply ignore

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blink at 8

the word for the week is blink.

in one blink of an eye, at work, the honeymoon phase is over, the challenge of reality sets in, and it's an uphill climb all the way.

then on another, seeing Yaman grow kikay and crazy over lalaloopsies, squinkies, monster high, one direction, dork diaries, and just anything pink and fancy. one can say that 8 years has gone by, and in the blink of an eye, the baby scooped from my womb at 430pm eight years ago is now her own person.

it is significant that when i was taken out of the operating room to the recovery room at mother's seton that day, the first people i saw, standing beside each other, was my mom and my bestfriend, angeline.  silhouetted by sunny, warm light. my mom, with close to 50 years of motherhood and my bestfriend, with her brood then of 4. a continuity of generations, experience, and wisdom.  two women standing there, welcoming me into their world and perhaps, at one time, breaking into helpless sighs, mumbling, 'goodluck --- kung aram mo lang!...maaaraman mo na ngunyan. hilngon ta daw.'

in my mind's eye, i still see angeline clutching a ripe yellow papaya, saying something like, 'para marahay ka sa laog.' that time, i needed more healing than the physical internal wounds of childbirth.  it would take more than just papaya to heal. what was symbolic was that angeline was there, my bestfriend who went early into motherhood, whose 'knowing' is deep. i would do all right. we would do all right.  one day at a time. until the diapers are discarded for infant underwear. from egging them to sleep with lullabyes, to singing with and even fumbling over lyrics and tune, as they rat in toto 'Best Song Ever'  by one direction. all 8 years passed in one blink.

so like my mom, gie, and all my mother-friends, we marshall on. living our own stories of warmth, discovery, stress, sorrow, resignation, and anticipation in motherhood.  our children love us but they may not like us all the time.  sometimes they stay for the wrong reasons, and leave for unexpected ones.  sometimes the only home they go home to is our heart, our memory.  despite our nagging presence, eventually they become who they truly are. that's just it. no hard and fast rules. only endless OJT.  the sighs will come but we stay on and continue believing.  until the next blink.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blink and Bubble

i felt it even before leaving for work. a brooding sense of doom.  no such thing as a perfect company but to see the veneer shed off in less than two months has to be absorbed on a tuesday. why did you all blink? as on a monday, the bubble burst. and like naga city and mayor robredo, i came to see them in real light. the posturings are just in the exterior. and i came to see how difficult, and possibly short the road could be. but there is no road ahead but this. so off i go.  reflecting on happiness and what it means as a choice.  in Desiderata it says, 'Strive to be happy'. indeed, it is a hard choice to be happy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Perfect Pork Sinigang

could it be the onions, red this time? red onions rare in perth. could it be the tomatoes? local ones, sliced in chunks to bring out the taste.  could it be the pork loin? chosen because it looked fresh, indeed, they tasted fresh. so today, cooked the perfect pork sinigang. perfect because it tasted just like my mom's, even without using sinigang mix.  just what i deserve on a working sunday, alone here where i live.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Revisions and Sleep

however the night has been, lack of sleep or excess, deep or slight sleep, you have to wake up every morning, except on a sunday, to work on your revisions vitti.  yes, you are slow, working still on chapter 2 since september. but it is better to work on a slow pace, rather than not work at all. so today, you gathered 30min of revising time, working on Castells.  be happy for it. you have moved. you're in page 17 now. you are making good progress.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


on the way home, there was this family, sitting on the pavement in front of the park just downstairs west of the office building. the daughter must just be 3 years old, in ponytail, and enjoying some goodies. the dad is just beside her, wiping leftovers from her mouth away and lovingly touched her forehead. how i wish Yaman and i are like this. how i wish i'm going home to her every night. that i get to pat her, cup her lovely face, ask and see how her day was looking at her bag, her clothes, listening to her stories of whatever. how i wish she's here beside me, preparing for bed, praying together. ever since i came back and hadn't have the chance to spend more than a week in naga, we have had a connection common to all bonded mother and child.  the gesture of the dad in the park was enough to tell me that Yaman and I have crossed a threshold. our love for each other is way beyond barriers.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Out of the Comfort

moving out of one's comfort zone is really discomforting. it forces you carry newer and heavier responsibilities than usual. it forces you think more before you do. it forces you to think beyond yourself. and wish that there is a daughter, a mom, that i could go home to at the end of the day. it forces you to take in the silence and whiteness where one lives. to take in solace in replenishing one's energy through prayer and constant affirmation of strength, wherever it may come from.  one stops to question, and quest instead for answers from finding both will, and way.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kasabihang Bago

how does that say again?

pag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo din ng mamon?
if there is no way, prayer will show where
tumatanda ka man, bumabait ka pa rin.

ok, it's the real world. will navigate the waters.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Back to Daily B

i miss this. i miss not only thinking about but also writing about my life, my day, another's life, one critical observation, or just letting the fingers play and reach and capture whatever thought is there. i miss this.  suddenly, i realise blogging every day is still really important.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Second Weekend

it's my second week here. since sept 7-8 before the plant tour in isabela, ifugao and benguet.  it's not a full weekend yet since most of the time, in the afternoon, i've been out in the neighborhood - buying stuff for the unit. i still miss megamall. it has everything, from the mundane to the classiest stuff.  at papemelroti, spent almost an hour absorbing every abubut, home design, and what have you. the ceramic pieces i wanted are there, the sign of "BELIEVE" for the office, and even a smaller version of the Desiderata, which is now again displayed in the bathroom. hanging a Desiderata where one spends most of the time thinking.  it's a ritual, that i hope will also bode well for this modest nest i'm in.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yaman and Dork Diaries

it's better than any other expensive but minute Lalaloopsy set.

buying her another Dork Diaries book (Dork Diaries 2-in-1) continues her reading habit although yes, at a much dorky, teenager-y level - kakikayan for one.

but here goes my daughter - designing her Dork Diaries book with sequins and gems.

so like Yaman, just only Yaman...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Perfect Day for Yaman!

my daughter has a new Lalaloopsy Littles doll (Bundles Snuggle Stuff), placed just right beside her this morning while she slept. and the package arrived with her LPS!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Apayao and my Mom

Yesterday, performed my first public role as GDP Business Development Manager in front of schoolchildren, teachers, and superintendents of the Department of Education in the province of Apayao.  In doing so, I am acknowledge my northern roots, with Mommy being an Ilocano and with myself surrounded by her fellow Ilocano-speakers.  This first public role paid homage to my northern roots and I beam with pride for my Mom, for belonging to her.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recovering the Sakong

as the plane touched down here in tuguegarao, my first thought was:

'i'm not entitled to walk after not blogging for a week. by the now, i should be in crutches. no!...perhaps a wheelchair as not only have i lost my feet, but my legs as well.'

remember, the REAL Natalie's challenge? to shoot one toe off for a day of not writing. seven days from september 8, and the days before that. my toes are long gone now. so i'm shooting from the sakong up.

okay, okay, of course, i have a big excuse.

i have a big job, with big responsibilities, and a big question mark on how i'm going to settle down to address the Balanced Scorecard for performance.

to go ahead is to go sure. and to go sure is to stop, breathe, think, systematize and build a routine WHATEVER happens in a day, however the schedule may change.

there's a new laptop.

now using an I-phone.

living in a neat modest condo near work.

i'm touching down. recovering stability. from the sakong up.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


on-boarding. orienting. learning. moving.

no facebook.
no lumosity.

just change.

stabilizing is on the horizon.

no blog for the next four days.

stabilizing soon soon soon.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thought Bites

lalaloopsy - in Yaman's lips all the time

special privileges in Isarog - as a loyal customer for more than 5 return trips (manila-naga) this is deserved.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wrap Up

i promise to buy Yaman lalaloopsy although i prefer monster high.

the week has been a frenzy starting with the orientation weekend with Aboitiz.

i haven't blogged and played lumosity as often.

but as soon as i'm settled here, will soon normalise.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mood Meter

excited. nervous
sad. tired
expectant. pensive
intrigued with tomorrow
can't wait for friday

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday with Mommy

i went to sunday mass with mommy today. then we went to mcdo. after buying my antibiotics, we went to SM. we bought another monster high notebook - 2 notebooks in 1. thanks mommy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Instinct Lang

it prays to trust one's instincts. to go through the online nbi clearance application system rather than the manual way. to take the medical exam in the afternoon while there is time. today, only minor things are to be settled. work work work awaits. and the phd routine jumpstarted. hurray to good habits!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


one has broken through the routine and started with chapter 2. even if this means passing through the first paragraph. go through the motions vitti. be patient with yourself. take it 2 hours a day, at a time. your system will work. you can do it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


it's just instinct. to wait for the doctor and take heed of her advice. finally, Yaman's fever since sunday night has been traced to UTI. antibiotics have been administered and so far, she is no longer as listless as yesterday.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yaman's Likes

Yaman misses Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. she loves still One Direction. currently gaga over Monster High. can't get enough of stickers, notebooks, erasers, sharpeners, pencil cases.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home Na

tired, from manila. but happy happy happy in seeing my Abalantung, Yaman. she just loves her new monster high Draculaura pen, pencil, eraser, ruler, pad, and pencil case.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


today, if 10am upwards is free, heading off to cubao to buy the ticket home for tomorrow.  surrounded by strangers and the buzz of talk and computers in this internet cafe, i miss the silence of home, even if this means dogs barking on the side and the sound of endless tv.  home is still home. and days waiting makes me miss it so much.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Missing and Patience

i miss my daughter. i miss my chapters. i miss my mom. i miss naga. i miss my bffs. i have to take all this missing in. and just sit, and surf, and read, and text, and call, and absorb. you are where you want to be vitti, and you have to be patient to be able to move much much forward.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Online Tests

waiting for online tests to be emailed. at 42, life indeed is just starting and unfolding for a wiser outlook on the future.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Job Interviews

went through three job interviews today. it appears that landing a very good one is just in sight.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Monster High Sticker Stylist

yaman and mommy are playing Monster High Sticker Stylist. we are creating and describing fabulous designs of our favorite monster ghouls - Frankie Stein, Spectra, Ghoulia, Clawdeen, Cleo, Draculaura etc.  we are loving every moment of it!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beware of Ghosts

this Chinese Ghost Month (07 Aug-04 Sept), one should refrain from:

1. signing business contracts
2. house construction
3. moving house

be extra careful and vigilant too.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


where i am, i should be. thankful nonetheless.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Endless Embraces

it was an emotional farewell from my friends in the arc. i am happy not because i'm leaving. i am happy because all the people with me today, at afternoon tea, are my very good friends and with their send-off, our friendships run very deep. and the embraces just keep on coming. fabio, melissa, agung, dirk, chanae, yanti, ian, carol, jane, jim, sia, dean, vanessa, charlotte, xiao min. i love you all. i love you all.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No Giving Up

this happens. you are confident, then suddenly shot down. hayyyy...anyway, the goal always is to stand up, stand up, and stand up. and not give up.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ate Grace

the box is already at ate grace's house. looking at her in conversation over pancit, beef pies, and gelatine, ate grace hasn't changed at all. as with her green timber house - warm, cozy and decked with a lot of bric-a-bracs. she is one person worth coming back to, in perth. and i will be back, next year. thanks ate grace:)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Perth I Love

after a sumptuous despidada last night which jim warren calls a 'biblical epic' with the bunch bunch bunch of food and guests, i'm left now counting the days to leaving. in my heart, i know there is no leaving perth at all. this is already my city too. and i will love it, as the memories with and of the people who came yesterday and shared the night with me, will keep perth alive always. pictures coming soon...

Friday, July 26, 2013


my baby lies asleep. on a friday, perhaps she played much in school. won't be seeing her in the next two nights. will just keep on staring at her, curled up round some cushions. i love you my Abalantung. we're just counting the days.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I'll Miss...

after the despedida on saturday, then, i can pack. the luggage are just waiting outside.

i'll definitely miss perth. my routine of waking up early at 430am and walking to uni along south street around 7am.

i will miss my supervisors, especially Jane, who pushed hard and squeezed, and is still squeezing the best out of me.

i'll miss all my very good friends - roxanne, nicole, yanti, charan, dirk, sia and muninggar.

i'll miss the cappuccino from the library.

i'll miss my desk.

i'll miss the phd life of quiet and madness.

i'll miss this. and i'm treasuring all the memories.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reconciling Files

the top shelves have been cleared. tomorrow, the naga files need reconciling as well as the journal articles on this journal separator/shelf just beside me. then the last round of scanning. phew!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


breather. when there's so much still to reconcile and save and file, breathe.
when the only option is to wait for the universe to unravel, breathe
in the hope of settling down one's spirit, just just breathe.
thanks, Leo.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Winding Down

the balikbayan box has been resealed, rearranged, and waiting to be closed and transported to ate grace's house this sunday.

the blue samsonite and dark brown IT luggage have been taken down and waiting their turn outside.

cleared the leftside cabinet. won't be bringing much clothes home after all.

perhaps there'll be a lot of space for my notebooks, books and important articles.

ah, the last second week. less than 14 days, pauli na ako:)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Swan

how can i leave perth without bidding goodbye to the mighty Swan River on its eastern side? so today, with roxanne and yanti, i'm taking my first and last walk for this year along its banks and will breathe the sea air and listen to the gulls hovering by.  i will sit on my favorite bench and reminisce the conversations with janty as i share the same with my two great buddies with me.  today's the perfect weather, sunny with a little hint of clouds. the Swan will be all blue in splendour. the time i come back, i'm bringing no less than Yaman with me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Last Two Weeks

the last two weeks for clearing and reconciling
cleaning and removing and discarding
the luggage will be taken down by tomorrow
dusted and checked - the body and its wheels
can't wait to get back home and start anew

Thursday, July 18, 2013


the writing is winding down. one chapter is still imperfect. one has taken off. the other is in its final form. the writer is still advised to think logically, systematically. will meditate more to get this focus. you are right, jane. no matter how i say no, you are always right.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


the end in editing of the fourth revised version of chapter 3 is almost in sight. tortuous isn't it? that's real phd writing for you. revisions are a totally different world from draft writing. i believe in the process. i'm sticking with it, for much of will.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tittle Tattle

the daughter is so busy with monster high, the mother is busy looking for a condo
the daughter asks, what'S RIP? the mother asks, what's RFO?
the daughter exclaims, "mommy, bili mo ko...". the mother exclaims, "ay naku, kailan ba?"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thankful as Always

the antidote to impatience, nerves is gratitude. i am grateful always Lord. i have faith. and just as i am doing for this thesis, i will abide by the process. thank You.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Another Box

some stuff have been packed and the box is full. still biding time for sealing this. i'm still deciding whether to get another box or not. what is there left to pack? journal articles? annual city government reports? printouts of all 100+ interviews? gosh, then i still need another box. which means I'M TAKING EVERYTHING BACK HOME!!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


saturday is ironing day. and so sorry to miss the indonesian dinner again at yanti's house:(

Friday, July 12, 2013

No Fading

it's the usual friday. somehow, because it's a friday and it's semester break, uni's a bit dull. the supervisor and arc staff are off on a book workshop and both me and the German roommate are so engrossed with work, we hardly look at each other. time like these, i wish this 'world' could just fold up and lead me to the other life waiting for me up there in the philippines. but for now, the enduring continues. but the love doesn't fade. it's what keeps me hanging.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


it's quite interesting
all the life we have in one place
can all be summed by a box
what you put there
and what you leave behind
tells a lot of about
what you need
and care about
all in a box
all in a suitcase
our lives are measured
in a box too
our lives end

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Home in the City

this is my ideal unit. no walls, no protruding furniture, no carpet to trip over. just space space space for the chi to move, sway and flow. i imagine living, sleeping and working here until the sun in the east warms the interiors in the morning and its setting on the west looms the closing of another productive day in the evening. i will be living here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tripping in Ortigas

there is something amusing and relaxing looking at condos for rent in ortigas. i've been 'tripping' online. from the chic designs of units at the renaissance towers to the ordinary yet relatively cheap and spacious units at megaplaza. now, i'm going available units at malayan plaza. with how much i'm paying here for a month at perth, i could already get a 40sqm fully furnished unit in ortigas. it's very exciting browsing through the images. starting over is really a wonderful venture. now that i know what i want, will be, and how i will get to the desired destination. i'll be in one of these units soon.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Analytical Framework - Yes!

the desire to 'go' woke me up today. used to waking up at 430am from monday to saturday, the body clock was triggered much earlier at 4am. and though i've willed the body to let me sleep more since it's a sunday, just couldn't. my mind is already alert, looking back at the amazing week, where because of focus, zeal and the inspiration drawn from the One Up There, the universe, the analytical framework, on the third revision, finally took off. my confidence is soaring because i've tied it exactly as the analysis went in the eight major chapters. which means one crucial thing. that the thesis is consistent and valid. my spirit is really soaring. i'm confident now of going home and still maintaining focus. because now the framework has been consolidated and tested - with flying colors. so here i am naga, and manila. i'm ready for the new life in store in the philippines. i'm finishing the phd along with it:)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Love You Vitti

i love you Vitti
for all that you are and have come to accept
your love of short hair
of boots, silver, leather and ritzy shoes
the moles on your face
and your intelligent wrinkles
that hearty laugh easily triggered
your stares when concentrating transfixed
the discipline you've carried through
to maintain fit, alert and focused
the deep knowing and the desire
to restore, recover relationships
and build dreams around faith and family
your motivation to push onward with happiness
i just love you

Friday, July 5, 2013


i can feel it. i'm walking inside the grand hall. i'm taking its massive elevators, then walking amid the japanese-styled rooms, arranged like a panopticon where everyone sees what one is doing without really looking, noticing. privacy where all eyes but no eyes can see. i am here to see someone. then after our meeting, i'll leave the headquarters on to the building just across the street where the heart of IED lies. there my white desk awaits, adorned by a statuette of a grand lady in white, splendour and riches all around her, elegant in form, confident, assured. this is me. this is where i will be.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Philosophy

simplify your life. 
find time. 
take a walk.
smile a lot. 
surrender things undone. 
refresh the day for tomorrow. 
will happiness into your life. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Voice Behind

it's this voice, this tiny but powerful voice one has to follow in the writing. the voice that says not to make short cuts. to read in order to be clear. the one which tells you, 'i'm just not satisfied --- you have to explain more'. one just has to let go then. to stop, read, understand then write. that's how quality writing is made. the hands build on thinking that builds on ideas that has to be applied to be given flesh.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


it's all coming together now. i'm just right on track. 6 months to the revisions. these will all be over in october.  preferably before my abalantung turns 8. thank you Lord as always for the daily inspiration. i am grateful for all these and more, every day.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Typical Sunday

i cooked. i baked. i washed. i chopped. i fried. a typical sunday. this is my life on a sunday.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Another Offer

i got another offer from the Bank last night. it was from another unit of the Independent Evaluation Dept doing a self-evaluation study of a regional cooperation program. if it were my call, i could take this project. but right now, still bound to the supe, i have to follow the advice to stay. who am i to say it's fruitless. perhaps the chapter will reveal itself in the coming weeks. who am i to say it won't be done, looking at the output today, saturday, the last day of the work week, i do marvel that it could be written this way. i am indeed writing this way. if the Bank accedes to my request to do the assignment from here, it's luck, Lady Luck indeed. if not, then i would just have to go through the motions and not dwell on the foregone opportunity. this work should have been mine. but i am doing more important work, nonetheless.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Missing Company

alone in this house. while there are days that roxanne and i would not talk, after being so busy with uni and wrapped up with our thoughts, still, the presence of one has been in this house for so long not to be missed. one has to get home early before sunset, to feel safe. one has to still check the locks, bolt the doors shut and make sure the windows are closed all the time. i would not do living in a condo all alone, in manila. it is much too strong. this silence. no silence like this.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


i believe and in doing so, i trust the process and the people dealt with. this is turning out for the better.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monster High

my daughter has a new favorite. Monster High (ugh...). over skype, could hear the Monster High jingle being played over and over and over again. on one run, she pauses the song, to copy their lyrics. now, her eyes are so transfixed on the you tube screen. until when is this fixation? what will be next?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Lives

three lives in the making --- a weekend mom, an external PhD student, and an ADB consultant. can't wait for the trial run. being a full time mom during weekends, carrying on with the remainder of revisions in the morning and spare time in the afternoon, while embracing new challenging roles in an evaluation study of climate change interventions by the Bank. this life is most welcome.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Difficult Boss

looking back, the most difficult 'boss' i had was my father. this was back to the time when i did admin stuff for him. typing letters from a neighbor's house, going around the neighborhood to get signatures of officers for their monthly meetings, getting orders again from around the neighborhood if one of our pigs had to be butchered. he was quick, thorough in checking my mistakes. i started doing this at the age of 13 up to 16 when i was still in naga before college.  for more than once i was made to return to the neighbor's house to retype, to go around the neighborhood to repeat meeting instructions and recheck meat orders. i have to endure yelling, berating, that hatred in his face, as if i should not ever make a mistake. but with this 'training', i i indeed learned to be thorough, became a stickler for details, and found the way of introducing and talking to strangers, which helped me as a social specialist grounded on the field, talking to strangers. but it was a difficult learning experience, 'working' for my father. that's why we never really got close. that's why i might say i love my dad, but not to the point of liking him.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Future Now

ask. believe. receive. my friend, joey, advised to think ahead and claim one's desires as already there for these to unfold in real life. and i did. i started praying in terms of 'my intentions Lord are...' instead of 'please grant me...and make sure this does not happen...' i started saying out loud, 'i am...' rather than 'i will...'. and it did manifest.  it is not a plain transformation. it's as if i have been prepared, or is being prepared for this, for some time. just at the time when i got tired of complaining, sulking, whining, and getting angry at the past as a way to hit back. so now, the future is unfolding. it is here in my present, for the taking.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

No Blues

it's a red letter day today. then i realised that in the past, the blues have come after being a natural worrier all these years. because lately, since last week, by thinking positively, i haven't had the blues at all. only today, the mood was quite different, as it happens when having one's period. on the overall, i'm happy and eager to be. as i should be.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Road Transition

when writing, one must stop at the top of the hill. when one is in the verge of transitioning, extending the discussion to another line of thought, argument. tomorrow, i will confront the move downwards, contemplate and free the thinking from the constraints of past drafts. i will free the mind and fingers and just glide glide down until momentum gathers.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Blessing and Commitment

i have visualised it and it has come. work is waiting for me back home. the commitment to finish the revisions is even greater. every minute deserves the best of efforts. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Declaring It

i am powerful
i am beautiful
i am prosperous
i am meant to be this and more
i own the present and the future.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vietnamese in Freo

it's freo night with Yanti, Charlotte, Kirat and Charan over a steaming bowl of authentic vietnamese noodle soup! whoa~!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


it's one of the best marinades i've made. porkchop with salt, pepper, veggie seasoning, tarragon, rosemary and lemon juice (half of a whole lemon, medium sized).  keep overnight and fry in medium heat in canola oil. yummy! tastes well with mesculin salad, drenched with the cooked oil. nothing bad in indulging with a little fat once in a while. good to finish with coca-cola. nothing bad either indulging in sweet drinks, once in a blue moon! bon appetit:) no need for pictures as the true test is in the taste!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Getting On With It

everything is possible. the mind is clear and go on with rebuilding. the mind is clear and is not afraid. everything is possible. it is happening now.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Will Miss This

the balance of taking it slow but sure. of running against time, to time that must be spent on quality. somehow, the walks along south street are slower. taking in every bush, every memory of the sky, the color-draped sky during sunset and the crisp air beating round my ears in the morning. i will miss south street and the solace it brings after a long hard day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Yanti lost her bestfriend, Ulfa, yesterday to cancer. the loss of a bestfriend can never be recovered from. from death, physical separation, or a misunderstanding. Yanti had to take time off from the phd. these things happen. while writing the 'book'. but as the saying, Life goes on, implies, stopping is only part of the journey. it can be a long one or suppressed because of the impressed need to go on. but take your time, Yanti. even after the PhD is over, time can never replace a bestfriend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yes, Can Do

less stress
more conversations
less worrying
more consulting
less late work
more sleep
face it vitti
can do, always.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


the daughter surprised me for saying 'goodbye' as early as 7pm. huh? this early? parang kailan lang. tomorrow, Yaman will be going back to school. at 7, she's already in grade 3, according to the montessori system. goodluck abalantung! how i wish i'm there to bring you to school tomorrow. have a good time with your classmates. keep steady. don't take school too seriously.

Friday, June 7, 2013


all of a sudden i want to cry. i want to cry over what i have lost. what i was made to believe. what i am forced to explain, by myself, by my lonesome, all the pain, and shame, mine and mine alone to bear. and all of a sudden, the weight just got so hard to bear. it has never been easy being strong, and alone. of having to make the hard decisions and face the stern realities, with your loved ones out there, out there in a place you can't even touch.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking It All In

it takes mastery to be able to take it all in. criticism is still criticism. i am tired. and it gets frustrating when a chapter thought to have 'passed' need to be rehauled, again, even though in the previous feedback, only minor corrections seem warranted. if i am still me, like three years ago, i would have ranted and cursed my supe behind her back.  but perhaps a sign that i've 'matured' is this. i told her straight that i am running out of time. and if not for this, i would not bother. who would want a finely written thesis? and i'm learning. i'm really writing how to write for an audience. not just writing to please me, with what i already know. but then i made my frustrations known --- are we aiming for a perfect thesis, or just a good thesis? can we settle for a good-enough thesis? because right now, it takes a lot of emotional and mental toughness to stay within stride of the supe who keeps on changing her mind, changing her approach to my work, just because she'd read a book about what thesis writing is, the importance of well being for the poor, etc. i want to know the boundaries of this thesis. because it is a struggle keeping up --- with time, with the ebb and flow of writing, with winter that threatens short writing days and early nights, and the supes who cannot seem to settle down on what they want from me. i am just taking it all in. i want to learn. but please, can i be spared some kindness?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Being Me

it's hard being me. tough through and through. but still, i try to be. i try to ward off the fears, face my frustrations head on. and just breathe deeply before plunging. blogging about this is good. when i'm old and this blog still exists, i will always look back from march until august 2013 when strength, as far as i can tell, has been tested through and through. it's hard being me. still, i carry on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Final Leg

when i get home, i hope i can get to rest, even for just a month in naga. rest in this pink couch which i'm looking at now, with Yaman beside me. when i don't need to open my computer for about a month. where i can escape from microsoft word and not worry about getting a living. i hope this will be over soon. and that finally, preparations will start for the final leg home.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Some Precautions

my agreement with roxanne is this.  except for sundays, if she finds me still not awake by the time i should be, she would knock on my door to check whether i'm still alive or have died in my sleep. the dizziness since last sunday must be the cumulative effect of sleep apnea, which i have had long before while overweight, up to now, at my normal weight. tomorrow, i'm having my bp checked. and if i'm lucky, will request for a blood test.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


i do not know what vertigo exactly means so i had to look it up. experience of a spinning or whirling movement. had one today, for about three episodes this morning. for someone who has been a stickler of good diet and healthy living, this came as a shock to me. i couldn't be having this. i'm well enough to do 100 push ups a day. it must have been the late sleep last night. way past 1030pm as i started writing practice again - writing six pages straight by hand. then woke up early around 6am. i felt my mind and body was ready. i should have relaxed more. it's a sunday anyway. for someone finishing milestone writing and a single parent, it's scary. suddenly i felt my mortality. the phd mattered less compared to my daughter. i kept thinking of Yaman the whole morning, the whole mass, and on the way back home. what would happen to her in case i succumb to a stroke, or fail to wake up tomorrow. finished or not finished, i will just get home by end july or early august. if i am unwell, i do not want to die here. if i am unwell, i want to get back on my feet with my daughter around. if i am unwell, i want to be with Yaman.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Little Details

i am now at the stage of revising my thesis. while writing is the heart and spirit of the thesis, there are other details that need to be attended to. little details that say a lot about the integrity of the writing process. these details are in the references, and the listing of tables, figures, maps and photos (which are formally called 'plates' as i've checked with other submitted theses). to not grapple with this at the tail-end of the revision process, i make sure to check all these in every finished chapter. a print-out is always helpful. here i mark the acronyms first, then go on to check the reference list whether the details are complete. for instance, in cited journals and book sections, the exact pages must be reflected. likewise, publication details for books must be accurate with the edition that one has actually read/ used. on-screen, i make sure all tables, figures, maps and photos are highlighted in yellow so i won't miss anything. i allot a folder for each revised chapter where a word document is dedicated for all these lists. fastidious yes, that's why it takes a lot of effort to finish a phd. one has to be writer, secretary, librarian, documentor, and admin all the same time to come up with a polished thesis. i no longer rue the process. i just go through it. they say this is just a start.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fasting Blues

i have to reconsider fasting. perhaps next time, i should be wary of drinking too much coffee and tea as a substitute for tea. by 2pm today, minor stomach pains were setting in and i had to supplement apples with wholewheat crackers. by the time i got home at 550pm, i had to eat two more of the crackers with dip to hold off the pain.  i still would fast next week but would watch what i'm drinking.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Pic

Yaman and Mommy are this happy together. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yaman and Cards

my daughter, according to the sister, is now a master in pusoy dos and tong-its.

what can i say???

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cousin Larry

my cousin larry in the US died today. i'm not sure if he had a good life. about several years ago, he got divorced and was taking care of his kids. he did not have enough, so he and his children had to live with my uncle in seattle. i could not recall of any positive news about him in the past year or so. it's so sad. to leave this world the way he did. for people to feel sad for you, well before you have died.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Grateful Monday

i'm always edgy on a monday. the toughest day of the week. the toughest day to start anew. but somehow, the chapter i'm planning to finish by friday, was over at past 530pm today. more time to meet with the supe, discuss the key issues and corrections, and revise the revised. tomorrow, since the supe is away with melbourne, i can start at least with the next chapter and write another (sure) sentence or two with the conclusion. i'm plodding on a monday but i'm grateful.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


today, i went on skype with liza who lives in sunnyvale, CA.letting her know of my tragic-comedic love story had to be done online, texting will not do and is too frustrating. close to a year after the heartbreak, it's a relief to be able to talk about it as if the past is already a distant past. with a lot of perspective on the side. the pain is not much anymore. and while one can be a bit casual in telling one's side of the story, of course it's not a casual heartbreak. not of mine is, as i don't play around. but since the heartbreak has been one of a series, one can speak about the angst of it as well as the experience of getting through with it, with a sense of cool. talking about it with a bestfriend is a relief. yes, i'm thankful at the end of it all. yes, it's good to know each other's limitations before committing to anything more serious. yes, one can still be happy, and complete, and from a relative sense. to say, i am happy and complete compared to what would have been if  one has still been through this and that. and while liza laughs through it all, perhaps she is able to as i am holding on amid alternating between loss, pride, sadness, relief, disappointment, and release. there's no map in going through and surviving heartache. one carves a style, a process of adjusting, and thriving. from heartache, we ended up talking about the phd. and it's a similar process. i go through the motions, the process, aiming to still be intact in mind, body, heart and soul as i negotiate the drafts, the deadlines, the comments, and the never-ending cycle of correction and adjustment. there is an end to heartache. as there is an end to this phd. and i will open a new door to something, and somewhere. liza will always be there.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bibra Lake

today is Bibra Lake day
a treat of home-baked coconut cake and raisins with roxanne
a 1-hr 6-km trek around the lake
with black swans and the sounds of cockatoos and cookaburras
parents and toddlers in bikes
bald men and couples walking
conversations about phd, our loves, and the future
i regret not having a smartphone for pics
anyway, the words will do
an afternoon under the hot sun this autumn
Bibra Lake made my saturday

Friday, May 24, 2013


you got what you want vitti. make the most of your time and live within your means. but you deserve to rest tomorrow. it's been a harrowing three months and you've held your ground.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Past 2 Days and Status Quo

i forgot to blog for two days, two days of which the highlights are: tuesday, march 22: finally the mens has come after two months (exactly 2 months since the latest was since march 21); and march 23: the house at naga got 'flooded' again because of leaky sections of the roof. the latter has further reinforced my decision to stay here until the end of july to finish revisions as much as i can. although i am still praying for guidance because of the living costs it will entail out of the meagre savings stashed. the days are passing on well, i'm sleeping better, i'm praying even more, and giving my best in the writing obligations of the day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bye Bye Burdens

it was a prayer book given by auntie nina two years ago, september 2011. it was just there lying around, hidden from view by an old newspaper. last sunday, i just took it after observing after several nights of praying. and there i chanced upon the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, now published online in my facebook account. i don't know what to ask really. the prayer did not even say that one should have a petition before praying. i just believed that in this unideal situation i'm in, there will be acceptance and strength. and from out of nowhere, a consciousness towards emotional healing struck.  i am unloading now the emotional burdens of the past - unloading, letting go, surrendering, releasing.  the past cannot be undone. some things can no longer be reversed. my decisions are firm. but i can forgive, forget, and pray more importantly to be forgiven. i cannot move on in full with these burdens.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Growing Uli

winter's here so i'm growing my hair long. to which the daughter exclaimed in unguarded honesty, 'mabuti naman!'. another mane to maintain in the coming weeks.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This Faucet

one just has to prepare for the worst. let's hope no fool opens the defective faucet and cause flooding in the arc. it will destroy everyone's year i'm sure:(

Friday, May 17, 2013


it's good to walk by home, early, along south street. with the sun still up and warming the shaved head with hairs slowly growing. to just take a breather from the stress by looking to a late afternoon of watching 'a touch of frost' at one's leisure. it doesn't matter whether work again awaits tomorrow. what matters is now. that after this sentence, i'm going on youtube and watch all i want.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Goodbye and Hello

i say goodbye to fellow researcher, rod, tonight whose going on fieldwork around the world.

i say welcome to the world forever to the newest addition to the Valenzuela family, Margani Nathan Valenzuela-De Luna:)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sun at Dusk in Murdoch

from my room with a view to the paved road linking the arts building with the education building, my most favorite view is the near dusk color of the surroundings around 4pm. there's something comforting about the yellow rays of the sun radiant over the green foliage and the brown bricked buildings. it reminds me of family and i often imagine yaman walking down the path to collect me from work.  it's another thing about murdoch and perth that i will miss.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Awaiting a Baby

awaiting my newest nephew. coming in two days. margani as i dreamt him had the color and face of his dad and, his mom's curly hair. i'm pretty sure that he's a boy. let's see on thursday:)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good Monday

if stairs is po's nemesis, mine is ironing. after 2 hours of ironing last night which led me to sleep way past 10am, i couldn't bear to wake up and start the day at 430am this morning. so on a monday, i decided to sleep through and woke up around 730am. the weather was great in perth - sunny but cool with south street basking in beautiful bright blue, green, yellow, white, and golden colors, in all the right places. while the day did not unfold as i expect it, and one has to make real choices at the end of the day, it's still a good monday nonetheless. one has to start with the realities faced, even if these realities are so hard to accept, not without crying. perhaps i will cry later when i pray. it's a good monday, nonetheless.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Yaman

Yaman's mother's day gift to me was a picture frame, hand-made out of recycled stuff that she was cutting out and finishing up just this monday, over skype. it was an old picture of her and me, i still had long hair. we have the same smile. the same cheeks that stand out when we smile. we were both looking side-ways into the camera. happy. the frame has an 'i love you' written on the top right side which shows her firm penmanship at the age of 7. how i wish to be home with my daughter now. today, i just had a quiet treat for myself, at Salia's Cafe in perth, downing a cappuccino and my favorite, pecan pie. how i wish my daughter is here. how i wish we can make this a tradition every sunday.  wherever we are, to eat, to talk, and laugh, look ahead, reminisce yesterday or just be silent amid the comforting presence of having one another. i shall have no other but my Yaman. away from her, nothing could be more sure. i love you my Abalantung. this Mother's day is for you.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


hand-washed dark-colored clothes soaked two days ago. soaked flags for tomorrow's washing. cooked salmon and snowpea shoots just in time. just 5 minutes to 7pm. what a relief.  i could really multi-task.

Friday, May 10, 2013


after reading from to 4pm, decided to do push-ups before resuming with writing. on the dirty and hardly vacuumed carpet, did 30 non-stop push ups with feet raised. i was exhilarating. after 30 counts, i could still do more, even extend until 50 or 60. keeping the weight stable indeed has its rewards, including regular sun salutations and pilates which have strengthened my back and upper body. i'll see how much i can do tomorrow.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pwede na Soup

the vermicilli was cooked well. the soup was bland. veggies were in heaps - green capsicum, buk choy, carrots, white onions. and so with the protein- chicken, chinese balls, pork, beef strips, and shrimp. if not for hunger, i'd let it pass. but as food is grace, whatever the form and the taste, i will still take it in. this cold autumn evening in perth, any hot soup is worth eating.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Answer to Late Mens

got a credible answer yesterday from Fusion Health on whether i should take supplements to enhance my menstruation (of course their product) and why at 42 i am already having irregular mens. it so happen that i am also taking liver cleansing tablets for close to two weeks now. this is so because i take about 7 vitamin supplements daily (vit c, b12, magnesium, fish oil, calcium & d3, and zinc) and had to cleanse the liver regularly every 3 months. the naturopath mentioned that liver cleansing might have interrupted the mens. and it must have. just last year, around april, my cycle reached 40 days because a week after arriving here in perth, indeed i was taking liver cleansing tabs. and yes, i was supposed to have my mens on the last week of april, but before then, had started the liver cleansing routine. the body is already old. it's not what at seems. can no longer multi-task. the lesson then is to liver cleanse only after the mens. ok then. i just hope the mens comes soon once this week is over.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So Be It

i can't wait for this life to end, and for the next 40-50 years to start. it's like going through another door. but this time, the door beholding is bigger, ornate and promising only the better stuff, withheld for the past 42 years. so now, i may forego. i may postpone. i am left to sacrifice, and endure. and be tested, every single day. it's not because it is ending. it is perhaps because it is a beginning. a honing period. to be able to 'get' the lesson and imbibe it in ways that one cannot forget. so be it.

Monday, May 6, 2013


How does one evaluate 2012? With a mix of resignation, sadness, triumph, fear, and anticipation. At what point did 2012 start and where did it end? This is an assessment.

Resignation. One always wishes for the best of things and relationships. The year started with someone and ended with no one. An unexpected outcome. It was not part of the map to 'forever' but it did happen. Before this, surmised the tarot lady in 2000 was wrong all along. Someone was meant to come and stay, and hold the fort with. But that someone just turned out to be like any other one. Mid-point to 2012, the divination had to be respected. Tried as much to be practical, at one point, sat on the edge of the bed, and threw one's arms in the air in resignation. So this is how it is. However hard one tries, however one tries to be the ideal strong partner, reality unfolds with a surprise saying, 'It's not you. It's just your fate.' So that is what fate means - to try to be and still be shortchanged by one's reality.

Sadness.  Strength does not come from light, but from the overbearing darkness that needs to be endured.  The cup of sadness overflowed and only the light of night brought solace. Shed amid the tears were questions, judgments and anger. Anger reigned for a while, the insides of one's mouth bitten until it bled. Tempers flew in the centre as the Hag with rowdy wavy hair strutted about throwing dirty spoons, plates, leftovers in the bin. There are no friends left to share one's turmoil, except Roxanne whose limits to absorbing shock had to be considered all the time. No one asked to the point of being encouraged to share.  So the thread of one's sadness had to be rolled into spools, to be unrolled to one's version of the story, only to real friends who mattered to ask and wait and listen and bear and comfort. It is true. Better to lose a boyfriend than a bestfriend. In sadness, only bestfriends can be trusted to endure one's sorrows.

Triumph. South Street marked the road to endings and beginnings. If before mid-2012, walking home to South Street at the end of the day meant impending comfort to one's heart; by the midpoint, walking over South Street every morning signified deliverance.  Deliverance from nagging pain and thoughts. It meant doing something concrete for the day.  South Street and the writing mattered such that opening the door to Room 2.04A every morning tingled with excitement. The day meant not being ruled by one's heart but by one's mind. The night reserved for sadness was to Day reserved for triumph.  Triumph in ideas, words, sentences, commas and periods. The daily routine was set: to write, to read, to prepare tables, to transcribe, then to write again.  One wrote to exhaustion, then to the satisfaction of closing a section, a chapter.  Amid the comments of writing that ebbs with confusing sentences are comments that writing is rising with clarity. The triumph is in the daily effort of coming to work, and writing one's work. This is what it meant in saying, 'the PhD saved me'.

Fear.  One wonders, what is there left to fear in 2013 since loss has come as early as 2012? What is fear this time? It's in going at it alone, still, after being made to believe that one will never be alone, anymore.  It's more than just picking up the pieces.  There are no pieces left to rebuild.  It's like choosing a new door, but without knowing what door will manifest.  Perhaps the door matters less than the one facing it. Armed with whatever faith, a bunch of heart, and whatever self-belief is left after dealing with loss.  To be alone at the nth time and to finally be resolved that this is how it would be until death comes.  One is led to believe that perhaps one's soul has not been split after all. There is no twin soul, no soul mate, no love of one's life, out there. Rather, the soul has already been perfected by one's grief. That the soul is already complete because of an unbelievable surge of strength that only one's God can bestow. But the fear is there. Perhaps fear is normal.  The fear confronting the soul helps acknowledge its continuing need for others. That other need not be a partner. A partner is not the totality of one's completeness.  One need not a partner to be complete after all. So on the edge of fear, one learns to reach out - for life.

Anticipation.  Once the veil of romantic love lifts off and flies never to return, one sees in stark relief the importance of people who matter. Of those who love without question.  Of those who love because they just do. Those for whom your name, your face, your being has been stored, imprinted deep down. Life becomes a grand vista yet to be explored. One comes to appreciate good health, the completeness of family, the silent love of one's mother, and the laughter of one's daughter, the future that lies for the taking, and one's God to hold on to, whatever the season.  One becomes ready any time. Whether the next year be good or bad under divination, Chinese astrology, numerology, or just plain luck - one still takes heed, but one all the more believes. This is how 2012 would end. A year of blinding surprises, deep pain but bottomless faith, nonetheless. Been there, and still here. Ready as ever.

Planning Laundry

now that saturday has become a workday, the laundry is being spread over several days starting sunday. yes,. it takes a lot of planning too. saturday is for handwashing flags. sunday, for bulkier stuff like pants, bed sheets, the towel and bathrobe set, jogging pants, and jackets worn this cold autumn season. monday, the laundry of house clothes, pre-soaked in perla and vinegar the day before. the rest of the week, the soaking and handwashing of light-colored  and dark-colored clothes for school, respectively. if one has the will, then the way opens. and that works for the serious stuff as well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sign of Red

it just can't be. i'm just 42. last march, my menstrual cycle reached 40 days. then this april, no mens came. as of today, my mens is running on a near 60-day cycle. i'm not panicking. but i'm not happy. the mens keeps the toxins out, flushes out waste from the reproductive system. so now, where are all the waste going? and wouldn't this be affecting me emotionally as well. i still wait for the sign of red. it's too early to raise the white flag of surrender.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


i'm cross-stitching while the daughter plays pusoy dos, at a tender age of 7. praying that she will make better use of her brain and her hands just as her mom doesn't have an idle time with them.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday in Freo with Yanti

i would consider her one of my sweetest friends. yanti, my indonesian colleague in the arc who shares the same name as my best friend now based in jakarta, janty with whom Yaman's second name Asrijanty comes from. we had lunch today at freo. for us to 'celebrate' important milestones this week. her having submitted 60% of her chapter to the supe, and me, the revised version of chapter 1 (introduction). we had pad thai noodles, crispy squid and fresh shrimp rolls. then to walk off a hearty lunch and keep ourselves standing, we dropped by two op-shops, good sammy's and salvo's, fremantle's versions of ukay. by 2pm, we had coffee at salia's cafe, a small but homey cafe run by a young malaysian family. she had mocha while i had cappuccino and irresistible pecan pie (a discovery in sydney since returning to australia in 2009). it's good to be with a warm bosom friend who can see your life as is and not judge. we'll have another one on the end of may. this time, we're going to swan river.