How wonderfully you have grown since May of last year. – Morgan Harper Nichols

I believe it’s a fairly universal emotion for young adults to feel like we’re running out of time to accomplish our aspirations in life. Society glorifies the ‘30 under 30s’, painting these outliers are the vantage point for success.

Deadlines are important in keeping us accountable and productive. However, based on how I’ve planned my life (so far), everything has to be done by the time I’m 30… and that is where it stops.

If my recent encounter with a fairly serious injury (on my face) has taught me anything, it’s that time is the key to everything.

Time heals, and time is a great teacher.

Time heals

The deep wounds that a bacterial infection inflicted on my nose took three weeks to heal. Deep scars took the place of these wounds, and day by day I noticed they are getting smaller, slowly lifting up, and generally getting less ostentatious. I am still healing.

I was so incredibly stressed during these three weeks because I had an upcoming trip to Spain. In addition to reasons grounded in vanity, I was nervous because I might be considered a potential health hazard by the Spanish government. However, prayers and a week-long course of fairly strong antibiotics worked, and the final scab fell off on the plane ride from Dubai to Madrid.

This experience taught me that healing takes time. It simply cannot be expedited and this applies wounds both physical and emotional in nature.

Time is necessary for us to heal from the habits, and mindset that hinder us from being completely ready to step up to the demands of our goals and dreams.

Time is a teacher

Much like the week-long, pretty strong, antibiotic + regular cleaning, medicating, and gauzing course that I had to do for the infection, healing habits and mindsets require proactive intervention.

Forming new habits (physical and mental) takes effort and commitment which might take weeks, even months. And as we go through these processes, we learn not just new and better ways of doing things, but also new dimensions in our identities.

Our greatest stumbling blocks,

Our threshold for pain,

Our grit levels,

Our creativity,

Our why power,

How desperate we are for our goals,

What we really want out of life

Allow yourself some time to grow into the person needed by your dreams.

Time makes us worthy of the goals we’ve set out for ourselves.

Time makes us worthy of the person we aspire to be.

(Here are some photos from Thailand, taken on November 2018. Loy Krathong festival, Ayutthaya, and the incredible Wat Arun)


I was eighteen, unsure of myself yet full of dreams.

Facebook, in its new self-imposed role as time capsule, reminded me that exactly four years ago, I wrote this in my diary:

For a while now I’ve been longing to go to places far away. Far enough away that the colors of people’s eyes form a myriad of hues. From seeing only brown to more grays, blues, greens, and other magical colors that the irises can embody.

I long to be in places where people speak a different language. Different enough to cause confusion and delineation, but fascination as well whenever words that sound similar to my native English and Tagalog come up in a conversation.

I want to be in a place where the air is distinct. Where scents of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, garlic, and lavender hang strongly in the air, slowly weaving itself to the fibers of one’s clothing and the strands of one’s hair.

I long to be in a place where people play instruments I have never seen before. I want to hear the sounds they make as expert locals make music out of them. I want to learn songs and stories that express the story of a local hero, the love of a foreign man, different versions of creation, monsters, fairies, witches, and the various exemplifications of good’s triumph over evil.

However, this is not yet meant to come to pass. My own country is full of unique backgrounds, histories, stories, songs, mountains, and beaches that I have yet to experience. I must immerse myself in them before I run off to a foreign land. I must first collect stories, knowledge, and bravery from my beautiful country so I may boast of it convincingly to blue-eyed strangers I have yet to meet.

Patience is key. Patience is also preparation, in so many ways than we think.

I always new that I am meant to see the world. I didn’t know how yet at the time I wrote this entry, but I for sure knew that one day, I’ll get to pack my bags and explore the world a little bit at a time.

As I have written here before, Paulo Coelho is right: and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.


In empty moments, quiet moments, my mind wanders off to you. I envision what could be when we meet again and you end up loving me in return. The conversations we would have, the life we would live, the places we will see, and the adventures we will share, together, side by side, constant and unfaltering.

I think of you everytime I hear Coldplay’s Amazing Day. I hope you like the song as I see us slow dancing to it in evenings at our garden, lit all over by fairy lights hung on out trees. I hear the song playing softly in the background as we curl up in a cabin, up in snowy mountains while waiting for the Aurora Borealis to bless us with her magnificence.

I love you, my heart yearns for you. I long to see you again and stare into your hazel eyes, see if the pupils will once again pulse when you look back at me. I love you so much that it terrifies me, scares me enough to think that I should stop loving you because there is no guarantee of you ever feeling the same way. You don’t know how much I feel for you and I’m terrified that if you do find out, you decide that I am someone you could never love in return.

But tonight I realized, as I listen to Amazing Day, that love must be freeing. That I am free to love you, and my love for you should not be in pursuit of possession, but only of liberation. It is not really love if I can only love you when there is a guarantee. It is not love if it must adhere to a strict timeframe that is not designed by God.

And so, I decided to keep loving you, keep waiting on you, despite my fears, despite my doubts, for those who live in love evenually discover that love has returned to them in a multitude of ways .

I will live in love, and in hope, for you and for what could be.



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They say saltwater heals, whether in the form of tears, sweat, or the sea.

It’s starting to become a tradition, a beach escape in March.

Escape is not being used lightly since it was technically an escape. There was no Wi-fi, nor phone signal and nobody heard anything from me for two days.

I began composing this at two in the morning. Apart from the sound of waves kissing the shore and the crickets chirping away, the world is quiet. My mind is quiet as well, an anomaly, but definitely a welcome change. In the quiet of the night, I let it all come, the truths I have been ignoring and forgetting amidst the vicissitudes of daily life.

Your superbrain is killing you, superbrain. 

Overthinking has been taking out the joy in everything lately. Overanalyzing and overplanning every task to ensure efficiency, assuming what another person is thinking instead of asking him/her directly, and diving straight into the worst case scenarios (in the guise of preparation in case things go wrong) has been incredibly draining. Tonight I am reminded of the fact that we need to live in the present, in the actual world, for this is how we determine what could be.

It’s okay not to know everything.

The beauty of Schrodinger’s cat. What is meant for us will always come and what is withheld from us is oftentimes for our own protection, and this includes information. Similar to the way spoilers work in movies and novels, life would be incredibly boring and pointless if everything is made known to us prematurely just because we wanted to know.

Communication isn’t always the key to a good relationship

Because sometimes, letting go is. I have always been the type to talk it out, but as life went on and my circle widened, I have come to meet people who don’t really prefer to discuss conflicts and its possible resolution. I made the mistake of pushing for the talking solution with a dear friend last February when we had a minor disagreement and it only made the conflict worse. What could’ve been resolved in a day (if only I had let it go) ended up lasting for a week and a half, and that week and a half could’ve been filled with happy memories. I did realize eventually that letting go is the only solution, and that if we are truly secure in our relationships and we know the heart of the other person, it’s okay to leave things unsaid.

Mental health breaks are a privilege

I realized this when I informed my mother of this trip. She wished me safety and that I get the equilibrium I am seeking. But I ended up thinking about her life which probably became overwhelming multiple times, being a single parent and all, when I was a child. She never once took a “mental health break”. Falling apart is a privilege. If you can afford to be broken down by difficulties, because it’s not a life or death situation, or there’s no child that will go hungry, or you can afford to go soul-searching, you are still better off than a large number of people.

Tomorrow I go on a boat ride and a snorkel trip with two of my best friends. Looking forward to being reinvigorated by nature so come Monday, I can face the world anew.



Excerpt from the journal that I hope is helpful:

“It’s already kind of sad that that you have to wake up at 4:00 AM five times a week. You don’t have to make yourself even more miserable.

No snooze buttons. Get up when the alarm rings and make it your first achievement of the day.

Stick to your lemon-in-warm-water-before-anything-else habit because you know it did wonders to your digestion and energy levels in the two weeks that you were consistent.

Prepare breakfast and enjoy it with french-pressed coffee.

Listen to some really upbeat tunes that have a positive message. A really good one that you recently discovered is “Good Morning” by Mandisa & Toby Mac.

No social media and emails until you’ve settled into your commute.

Enjoy the view of the sunrise on the left and the Manila Bay on the right.

Decide that it’s going to be a great day and remind yourself of that decision everytime something adversarial comes up.”



January 2018 will be over in six and a half days and it failed to be the big bang month of greatness I (and society) wants it to be.

I’ve been stuck in a funk these past few weeks. Emotionally challenging situations keep popping up and the internal turmoil that follows is omnipresent. I also failed to accomplish some of the goals I set for myself this month and disappointing oneself is probably the worst feeling of all.

These gray clouds have been incredibly difficult to deal with as I generally live life on the bright side. My coping mechanism has always been to avert my eyes and focus on what’s good and golden but this time, the clouds are too hefty that they’re all over the place. This time there’s no escape and I’m learning to be grateful for this growing experience that taught me that the only way out is to go through, and not around, the deep dark tunnel.


is the answer, I realized, as I came across the famous optical illusion of a duck that is also a rabbit one evening.


We expect too much from January. Everyone preaches that in order to have a fantastic year, you must have the best start. I realized that though this thinking has its merits, it distracts us from the fact that we still have eleven more months: three hundred thirty four more chances to try again, to have the best day ever, and to have the “day when everything changed”.

I do want to make 2018 the best year (so far), and this funky January will be the perfect starting point. When one’s at the bottom, the only direction one could go is up, hopefully better informed, better armed, and more prepared to handle the funks of life.



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I am not great at Tagalog which is embarrassing. I’m one of those Filipinos who, as a child, learned English first then Tagalog second. Speaking and writing in straight Tagalog requires great effort on most days, and this is why I’m proud to share this short story (a dagli) which I wrote for a class in college.

Inspired by Geena Rocero, this is the life story of a transgender person who had the opportunity to finally live her truth.

Si Geena at ang Kanyang Paglipad

Siya ay kasalukuyang nasa himpapawid, nakatingin sa mga tala. Habang ang kanyang mga kasama ay nahihimbing, siya ay nag-iisip. Ang katagang “self-made woman” ay nabibigyan ng kakaibang kahulugan kapag iyong nakilala si Geena. Si Geena na ang buhay ay halos puro paglalayag.

Ang una niyang paglalayag ay para makalayo. Makalayo sa ama na ang tingin sa kanya ay kahihiyan. Makalayo sa pari na ang tingin sa kanya ay makasalanan. Sa mga kalye, café, at bar ng Amsterdam at San Francisco siya nakahanap ng pagtanggap. Sa mga beach ng Rio de Janeiro niya nagawang mag-bikini at sumayaw nang malaya at walang panghuhusga. Sa Greenwich Village sa New York niya natutunan ang ilan sa kasaysayan ng kanyang mga kauri. Mga lugar na bukas sa mga tulad niya. Sa piling ng mga katulad niya na malayang nakakapagpahayag ng kanilang katotohanan siya nakahanap ng kaligayahan.

Ang ikalawa niyang paglalayag ay para sa kanyang anyo. Galing Kalibo, lumipad pa-Maynila para sa estrogen na galling Estados Unidos. Sumunod naman ay sa Alemanya para sa kanyang balakang, sa Belgium para sa kanyang suso, at Sa Thailand para sa kanyang puke. Sa kanyang paglalakbay, unti-uniting tumutugma ang kanyang panlabas sa kanyang kalooban. Unti unti niyang nakakamit ang katotohanan.

Ang ikatlo niyang paglalayag ay para sa kanyang pagkatao. May isang pagkakataon na limang oras siyan pinaghintay sa NAIA dahil ang kanyang hitsura ay hindi tugma sa kanyang gender marker. Siya ay tinawag ma ‘mister’ kahit siya ay mukha nang ‘miss’. Nakakapuno at nakakainsulto. Lumipad siya pa-San Francisco at pagkaraan ng ilang taon, dito tuluyang namatay si Gino, at ipinanganak si Geena.

Ang ikaapat niyang paglalayag ay para sa pag-ibig. Para kay Oskar. “Your name would look better with two letter e’s”, sabi sa kanya ng Aleman nang siya sa wakas ay naging babae na. Hinawakan niya kamay nito habang ito ay natutulog sa kanyang tabi. Malapit nang lumapag sa New York ang eroplano. Sa makalawa ay ikakasal sila sa siyudad na ito, bagay na hinding-hindi niya magagawa sa bayang sinilangan.

Maaaring ito na nga ang huli. Ang huling paglalayag ng isang babaeng mistulang buong buhay niya ay lumilipad. Hinahabol ang katotohanan, kalayaan, at kaligayahan. Maaaring ito na nga…


*Ang pangalang Geena ay hango kay Bb. Geena Rocero, isang Pilipinang transgender na ngayon ay isang model sa New York. Siya ang tagapagtatag ng Gender Proud, isang NGO na naglalayong tulungan ang mga transgender na maging totoo sa kanilang mga sarili at magpakalap impormasyon tungkol sa karapatan na malayang pagpili ng sekswalidad.


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Travel, for me, is a little bit like being in love, because suddenly all your senses are at the setting marked “on.” Suddenly you’re alert to the secret patterns of the world.” – Pico Iyer

It was love at first sight. 

I never believed that it’s possible for a  moment of contact to be enough to make one fall head over heels, and be willing to do anything and everything to pursue the object of their immediate insanity.

Turin however, was unreal and otherworldly. Love at first sight, as it turns out, is possible when one travels. The entire city is a Baroque exhibitremnants of the old Savoy-ian wealth and grandeur expertly preserved throughout the centuries. What I saw only through documentaries and mama’s collected National Geographic clippings on Italy was suddenly all before me and it was overwhelming.

I visited two palaces turned museums: Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama, former homes of Turin’s fallen monarchs, the Savoys. I was also able to see the Shroud of Turin, as well as the Egyptian Museum. The most fun I’ve had however, was at the National Museum of Cinema. It was nirvana for a lover of film and imagery, as Maria Adriana Prolo’s collection was extensive and authentic. As souvenir, I bought a postcard of Audrey Hepburn to remind me to live an elegant life. The museum was housed inside the Mole Antonelliana, Turin’s “La Tour Eiffel”, and whose panoramic lift allowed me to see the entirety of the old city as well as the surrounding Italian Alps.

The various piazzas were moving displays of the typical Italian life. Street performers playing and dancing to classical music could be found in every corner. Water fountains with steel busts of a Bull bring forth an endless stream of perfectly potable mountain spring water. The street graffiti were incredibly poetic, calling one’s amore “alleluiyah” like it’s nothing.

The locals were never in a hurry. There was always time for a stroll or a chat with a friend and an Apéritif. The only hurried thing I saw was the drinking of coffee, as “café” automatically means “espresso” and is consumed right at the bar in one to two gulps. I ate authentic pizza and lasagna, and had Sauvignon blanc with dinner followed by a shot of espresso, and then a shot of Amarre. Oh, and I also had Gelato every day.

This visit was a privilege afforded to me at work, and it was a game-changer. Turin gave me something to aspire for. I was reminded of the dream of working at the UN level I had since university. Those dreams could be translated in to a concrete plan now, with a specific UN Agency in mind, and motivated further by the desire to live in this beautiful city.

Turin cleansed me of the  distractions that have been sabotaging my goals for months. I was made to realize the importance of letting go (of people, activities) even if we might like them very much. I realized further the value of one’s mental energy, and how necessary it is to choose one’s battles in order to make sure that we are investing ourselves properly.

Most importantly however, I realized that maybe I am good enough for this dream and that someday (a foreseeable someday), maybe I could make it.

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All photos were taken using an Oppo F1s+. My first full mobile photography set. 🙂 



Adulthood so far has been a continuing journey of learning how to be alone, or more appropriately, how to be happy when alone.

Growing up has been marked by companionship. My first school was chosen because I had cousins who already go there, and could therefore keep an eye on me. Nanay is also always at every Kumon and violin lesson, every play date, camping and learning trips, extracurricular classes, everything.

This sheltered upbringing has been incredibly comfortable, but I was also robbed of independence. I was afforded with more freedom when I reached my teenage years, but somehow I rejected it. Life, since then, has been an unconscious, yet relentless, pursuit of relationships, friendships, and companionship.

The tables are starting to turn however. Nanay’s age is starting to catch up with her and I am starting to take on the caretaker role more and more each day. My friends are also feeling the sting of adulthood, and we have less time to get together and talk. And in a bid for independence, the boy I loved also decided to leave.

Travel however, has been my greatest teacher. Solo trips to Thailand and Italy has taught me the value of solitude. Being left alone to navigate foreign environments with people, languages, and cultures completely different from what I am used to are priceless experiences.

I have learned to be grateful for the opportunities to get to know myself better, what my likes and dislikes are, the extent of my capabilities, and how I respond to adversity.

These are growing pains that I have learned to love and actively seek. I learned that I could function and be happy on my own, and that the companionship that I used to yearn for could wait and that they come on their own anyway (and when they do, it feels much better).

Weightlessness is a treasure, a freedom not afforded to many. I realized that there are a multitude of things I would like to do on my own for now: career pursuits, personal improvement, adventure, further education, among others.

Suddenly, I am grateful for all the friendships that ended, for him leaving especially. I realized that maybe, he too needed to do things on his own at this time in our lives.

For now, I would like to be left in my lonesome, enjoy the weightlessness and be free to pursue the future I desire, full steam ahead.