On The Things They Don’t Tell You

Note: This was an entry I wrote last August 23, 2016. At the time, I felt the need to keep these thoughts private due to some complications. I’m glad to say that everything worked out in a way that I feel like I can finally share them.

Exactly two weeks from this moment, I will be on a plane flying from Clark, Pampanga, to Boston, Massachusetts.

Well, technically I’ll be on a plane flying me to Dubai where I’ll be having a 7-hour layover, then I’ll be on a plane to Boston, but who needs to be technical.

I moved out of my house a couple months ago and my parents were gracious enough to let me dump everything I own into their house. I’m currently sitting in my room in my parents’ house, surrounded by so much stuff I can’t even begin to understand how I’m gonna pack into two suitcases of 23 kilograms each. My whole life in 100 pounds of stuff.

I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of things that don’t get shared when people tell their story of moving abroad to study. For instance, they never tell you that unless you have a few million pesos on you, you will worry about money. Constantly. And it is exhausting. You will think about where to get it, how you will get it, and briefly contemplate the merits of the value of a kidney on the black market (it’s Php50,000 for one kidney in the PH. In case you were wondering.) There were mornings I would wake up in an immediate panic, eyes flying open and having to take deep breaths to try and ward off the debilitating anxiety. “What have I gotten myself into?” I would think to myself, the fear and crippling anxiety immediately overshadowing the happy fact that I got into business school in the first place. Yeah, not that fun.

They also never tell you how the idea of leaving is such an emotional roller coaster. That sounds like a tired old metaphor, but if there’s one experience it’s true for, it’s this one. I mean, I know all us Manila people always whine about how crappy everything is and how we would loooove to escape, but when it actually happens, the reality kinda floors you.

It’s like that time I didn’t get my period for 7 months and then one day 7 months worth of PMS decided to make itself felt, all at once. One minute you’re raging about the 3 hours you had just spent on EDSA to travel 17 kilometers to your office, the next minute as you’re storming through the lobby of your office building you get sad as you see the Potato Corner stall and think, “awww, there’s no Potato Corner in Boston,” and feeling legitimately sad about it. (Well, Potato Corner is awesome, so I consider this legit.)

Another thing not really shared is how moving away from the life you’ve built to somewhere and something completely unknown can take the bravest person ever and make them buckle. Everyone talks about the excitement, the thrill, and all the amazing things they’re looking forward to experiencing, but no one mentions how it actually really feels to look at someone you care about and think, “I’m not going to see this face in person for a very, very long time.” It’s scary. And hard. And have I mentioned really, really scary? If someone were to ask me right now how this whole experience has been, all I would say to them is that the last 6 months have been some of the hardest and most emotionally challenging months of my life, and you better be darn ready to face it if you’re looking to do the same.

But you know what? If you’re lucky, you will find that you have an amazing family who will support your dreams (in the real, tangible way, not just in the “you can do it, anak!” kind of way), that you have friends who will be there for you through the entire ordeal (AKA 6 months of my obsessing about this non-stop), and that you have a well of courage inside of you that you never even knew was there.

I saw how my family was amazing through this whole thing. They have stood with me, supported me, let me cry when it was all too much at times, and helped me keep my feet grounded when I lost my way. They have given above and beyond what I asked for and expected, and for that, I will forever be grateful. I also saw that there are people who care about me and are willing to help me, even though they get nothing in return, and coming from someone who does not know how to ask for help, it was an incredibly humbling experience.

And lastly, but most importantly, going through this entire ordeal has strengthened my faith in ways that I believe no other experience in my life ever will. I am not a religious person, but I do and have always believed in God and in Jesus, and in the divine plan that he has for my life.

When I was a kid, I discovered for the first time Jeremiah 29:11: (Sunday School kids, say it with me!) “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'” And this verse has stuck with me ever since. Everything that has happened in order to make this ~*new adventure*~ possible has proven to me that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be headed, no matter how frickin’ terrified I am. I’m meant to leave (despite all the challenges I’ve had to face thus far.) Just as I’m in a time when I’m comfortable, earning well, and settled with my life (I owned nice dish sets and silverware for crying out loud! And a whole set of wine glasses! Mature looking ones!) God called on me to leave. He said, “Hey, remember that thing that you’ve been asking for for a really, really long time? Yeah, it’s time.” And despite it looking like an impossibility at the beginning, he made it happen. Who am I to say no?

It’s been crazy, and I’m still absolutely terrified (both gigantic understatements) but we’ve finally reached that point in the story that everyone talks about when they talk about leaving home to study abroad — the being excited about the new adventure. I don’t know what’s going to happen or where I’ll end up after my year of grad school (torture for obsessive planners such as myself) but I know that wherever I end up, it’s going to be exactly where I’m meant to be.


On Resolutions

It’s the last two days of the year, and admittedly I’ve been thinking a lot about my resolutions. Resolutions in essence are supposed to be great things – it’s a hope-filled message to your future self that you want to be a better person in the coming year. It wouldn’t be such a cliche to make resolutions if only people actually treated it like a list of goals as opposed to their magical wish list that they hope to fulfil in the next 365 days. (No, you are not going to go to the gym everyday. No, you are not going to suddenly never eat junk food and fast food ever again. And no, you’re not gonna magically be able to wake up at 5am everyday to head to yoga. But I digress.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking so much about my future lately that I couldn’t help but look back at the last five years. Right out of college, I was in such a hurry to get to where I thought I was supposed to be at that age. We’ve all been there, right? We have all these images of who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be doing by the time we’re 23. Learning that life isn’t always gonna turn out the way you expect it to is part of growing up. It’s a rite of passage.

I feel ya girl.

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On One Man’s Opinion About My Uterus

I have a confession: when taxi drivers try to strike up a conversation with me and I don’t really feel like talking, I tend to just make things up. Most of them ask me if I’m married and/or how many children I have, and the stories kind of just go on from there. They ask their questions, and I hone my skills in yearn weaving.

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Career Stockholm Syndrome

Don’t ask me how, but I stumbled into a career in an industry that doesn’t really afford me much free time. As much as I want to, advertising account managers or entertainment marketing managers don’t really get to go out of town on a whim every weekend (but hey if this is you, congrats, my dwindling social life commends you). So when a long weekend presented itself and it turned out that a couple others of my good friends were free, we took the chance to flit off to Batangas for a little R&R… and much to my dismay, a little mountain hiking.


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Here’s the thing – the hiking wasn’t really my idea. I don’t really climb things. I’m small. I’m afraid of tall things. I’d much rather dive or snorkel or play sports that involve balls. But I’d never done it before and I was told that Talamitam was a good mountain for beginners so I sucked it up and went along, promising myself that I wouldn’t be a whiny little betch.




I have to admit, the climb really wasn’t all that bad. The views were amazing, and the weather was cooperative (meaning the sun stayed away and the wind was cold – just the way I like it) and it was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with my camera.






This is still one of my favorite sets of photographs, and I can’t believe it took me about 10 months to write about them.

The thing with this set is, every time I come across it, it reminds me that once upon a time, I wanted to be a photographer. I’m not saying that’s dead, just… in a coma. I got into advertising as a means to an end – a job/career that grants me stability so that I can save up enough to be comfortable yet still pursue my passions. It was a good, mature plan. But lately I’ve realized that my means to an end has become my reality, and it’s getting to that point that I’m actually starting to like it. So it’s not a bad thing, really, but it’s hard to accept that something I used to want with every fiber of my being is now something that I don’t even think of anymore. Did I just learn to cope, because it turns out – hey! – I’m pretty good at marketing? Is this growing up? Or am I just being a vapid middle class yuppie whining about her life?

Because the thing is, I like my job now. I like where I’m at career-wise. I’ve been having a ton of fun the past couple of months, and the financial stability is definitely something I feel like I worked so hard for and therefore deserve. So where do I go from here? Sometimes I still see the end goal I started out with, but sometimes I feel like every single thing that I’ve experienced in the past couple of years is telling me that I am meant for something else completely different.

So far, in the past 7-something years of being in my 20s, I’ve only come to realize one universal truth: we’re aaaall faking it. And if faking it has gotten me this far, I guess it won’t hurt to see where it takes me from here.

Of Adventures And Wandering Out Of the Comfort Zone

“I hate you.” Said the fabulous French man jokingly, as we watched the sun rise while at the most remote beach you will find in Calatagan.

“Look at that sunrise. You would never see that sunrise in France. We have beautiful sunrises too, but not like this. And for that, I hate you. Because you get to see this whenever you want.”

You forget things like that when you’re from a place like the Philippines. You forget things like the fact that when people say we have some of the most gorgeous views in the world, they’re not exaggerating.

I went on a short notice adventure with a bunch of crazy people a couple of weeks ago and it was one of those trips that reminded me why it’s always worth it to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. From the insane drive to the beach in the middle of the night that had us screaming like we were on a roller coaster (this place is LITERALLY at the edge of Luzon. We could see Galera.) to finding myself in the middle of the ocean at the wee hours of the morning scratching off a thing or two from my 30 Things To Do Before I’m 30 list. To the unexpected friendships that you make with people who are from halfway across the world. It’s always, always worth it.

It’s always fascinating to see what happens when you do something that scares you or makes you uncomfortable.

So. Where to next?

An Open Goodbye Letter To Globe Telecom

DISCLAIMER: August 6, 2014

Hey guys! In fairness sa inyo, binabasa niyo pa rin ‘to. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit. Hahaha! Anyway, as rib-tickling it is to read all your angry comments as if kayo personally ang inaaway ko at hindi Globe Telecom, at bilang kaarawan ko po bukas, comments will be disabled for the time being. Don’t worry, I’ll enable it again after the weekend! Alam ko na sobrang importante sa inyo na you have to have your opinion heard all the time, but I want to spend my birthday weekend in peace and away from any form of ka-jologan. YEAH, I SAID IT! Hahahaha. Thank you for the 20 thousand hits to the blog rant that I angrily wrote on my phone in just ten minutes! I suddenly feel so relevant!


I have come to accept that sarcasm is lost on the vast majority of the Internet, so yes, I’m being sarcastic.


I get it, I’m the one in the wrong here.

On the one hand, I have an unpaid bill of around 4.5k to Globe from a now inactive work line that has remained unpaid since October last year, certainly becoming a cause of concern for the company. On the other hand, I have been receiving early morning calls, threatening texts and emails, and threats of legal action… For a debt of less than five thousand pesos. I’ve already given the date, time, and place of where I would pay the bill. Parang ransom Lang. Yet I still get threats over and over again. I get it. I’m the one in the wrong here. But I wouldn’t be so annoyed about this if I had been getting stellar service from Globe in the last four years that I have been a postpaid subscriber. But no. We all know that stellar service is not in the nature of Globe, despite what their ludicrous awards say. So this is my open goodbye letter to you, Globe Telecom. I sure hope I can make it count.

I remember moving over to you from Smart in 4th yr high school cos you had the unlitxt promos first, and a boy I was dating bought me a SIM card. Alam no naman, masarap makitextmate sa crush mo. I figured, eh, I’ll spend less on credits. And all my friends are moving to Globe anyway! Well, I have certainly regretted that decision hundreds of times in the last few years.

So here. I’m gonna right my wrong today, and I’m gonna live out the rest of my contract with you for another month. I’m gonna pay off my debts, my gigantic, concerning debt of P4,585 that I have irresponsibly forgotten to pay. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

Since according to your agents, these threats are coming straight from the MAIN office, my shame is certainly heightened. But I’m just curious though, did they raise the alarm over at the Multi-million peso Globe Tower? Is there a giant picture of my face all over their offices? Certainly the MAIN OFFICE has me on some sort of MOST WANTED list, because it seems like only the worst of the worst would be hounded by such overachieving billing agents. I am almost proud of my notoriety. But of course, I am more ashamed of how I have wronged you, Globe. I am so, so sorry.

But still, thank you for the memories. Thank you for the fake unlimited data plan. Thank you for the dropped calls, the iMessages that are a day late, and for the exorbitant roaming bill for a country that I wasn’t even in at the time of billing. Thank you that there is absolutely no signal in my house in BF, meaning I have to run outside every time I get a call, no matter if I’m still sleeping in my room or in the middle of a shower. Thanks for the memories. Because these memories will surely be keeping me away forever.

I am so excited to close down my account as soon as my two year lockout is done this august. And I will make it my life’s mission to make sure that I discourage people from from patronizing your product. You do not deserve their business

Goodbye, Globe. I hope, after today, I never even have to so much as think about you ever again. Don’t worry, babayaran ko muna, syempre, yung utang ko sa inyo bago ako umalis. Kawawa naman kasi Kayo eh. Baka namumulubi na kasi Kayo.



Hi Smart. I’m coming home. Can you ever forgive me?

EDIT July 31 2:57 PM

As of today, I have been called twice, texted once and emailed once. Even though I spoke with this same person yesterday and replied to the text that I got earlier today. Gumuguho na yata yung Globe! Naku naku naku.

EDIT July 31 4:09 PM

I call the landline number that has called me at least 5 times regarding this matter, and what answer do I get? “Ay ma’am Smart department po ito.” Hanggang sa pag hanap sa harasser ko, mahahassle ako?? Hahahaha.

EDIT August 3, 2014

This is, by far, my favorite comment:

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 7.47.22 PM


Thank you, Philson Legaspi, for making my day.

EDIT August 4, 2014

I would just like to share that, after EVERYTHING that this agency put me through, no one even ever acknowledged receipt of my payment. Ever. Nothing. Radio silence. Round of applause, please!




Of Typhoon Glenda and Disaster Preparedness

The Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters. As a matter of fact, it has been one of the major sources of international attention to the country in the past few years, especially in the wake of typhoon Yolanda (known as Haiyan in international news platforms.) A few days ago, only 8 short months after Yolanda, typhoon Glenda (known as Rammasun internationally), was the latest in the never ending list of storms to tear through the country.

News reports say that Glenda was only technically in the greater Metro Manila area for a total of 3 hours, but it was enough to shut down the entire capital city. Trees, electric posts, even posh malls were seen ripped from the ground, toppled over, and torn apart because of the storm.

My area in the southern part of Metro Manila lost power at around 4:30 Wednesday morning, at what I believe was the height of the storm. It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that the power came back on in my area, but unfortunately the same still cannot be said for a large part of the Metro. Naturally, everyone has been recalling the storm Milenyo, which happened in 2006, and had the same effects that Glenda had, in it that the strong winds were what dealt the most damage, as opposed to the floods of Yolanda. Thankfully, it seems as if Meralco, various telco companies, and even malls and other food establishments seem to have been way more prepared for Glenda this time around, as the power was restored quicker, communication was difficult but not impossible (considering the major telco companies were also not as high tech back in 2006) and most major malls and supermarkets were operational and open as safe havens to those needing power, food, and shelter within 24 hours.

(And yes, I choose to look at the positives of how this storm was handled as opposed to complaining about the lack of power in my house. I am safe and dry, my loved ones are safe and dry, and there are people out there risking their lives for you so that you can charge your cellphone again and get on Facebook. Perspective is in order, people.)

It’s frightening to think that this is only the first storm of our infamous rainy season. This is why everyone needs to make sure that they are prepared for whatever else will come our way this year. The Red Cross has an incredibly helpful Disaster Safety Library that everyone needs to read. Here are the links for the flood safety checklist and the tsunami safety checklist. Remember, one of the reasons that Yolanda had such extensive damage was because so many areas and people simply were not ready for it. Also, here is a helpful list of recommended basic disaster supplies that everyone should have ready in their homes.

Growing up in a country like the Philippines, it is easy to be so desensitized to things like this. Seeing people swimming, living, and working in flood water is not a new thing, and it is easy to forget just how horrible a living condition that is. It is heartbreaking to watch your country be ravaged over, and over, and over again by something that is way beyond your control. But we will get through this, because we are Filipinos. And like that post that goes around the Internet every June 12 says, where I come from, everyone is a hero. You’re in my prayers, Pilipinas.

On Cuteness Overload


One of the advantages of being surrounded by so many babies because of your family and friends is that you definitely don’t run out of cuteness to photograph!

The 7107 International Music Festival

It was a festival riddled with controversy, and the sketchy stretched out into way after the festival ended. But hey, the music was spectacular.

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On the S Word

I can’t seem to get myself to sleepyland, so I’ve decided to write, and seeing that it’s just become Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to write about love. Probably not in the way that you’re thinking, mind you, seeing as I’m not exactly the market for the holiday.

You see, I’ve been single for a long time. Six years and seven months, to be exact. Don’t worry, I just counted now, it’s not something that I keep tabs on or have kept tabs on ever since I became single. I’ve only ever had one serious relationship in my life, and it was in a time when neither my then-boyfriend nor I even knew anything about what it meant to be in a relationship. We were in love, I don’t doubt that, but the stupidity of a teenage college student knows no bounds, and unfortunately our relationship’s demise was the casualty of that stupidity.

So yeah, I’ve been single a while. Kids born when my ex and I broke up are in the first grade now. Holy crap, seriously? Give me a moment to let that sink in.

Okay, moment over.

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On The Quarter-Life

There are two kinds of ages. There’s one kind that just sort of passes, I call them the “awkward ages” (19, 22). Then there are those that feel like age milestones. We’re all familiar with the sweet sixteen, the becoming legal at 18, and the becoming “universally legal” at the age of 21. The first age milestone that I remember was when I turned 13. “I’m a teenager now” was the thrilling thought that would enter my head. After that was 16, when I felt like it was about time that I started doing some teenager-y things. Funnily enough my 18th birthday wasn’t really an age milestone for me, but actually it was the 19th. It was the end of my teenage years and I felt like I hadn’t really made the most of them (so I got busy making up for lost time. Phew that was a crazy year.) Then the next would be the age that I am now, 25. For the past six years I’ve felt like I was stuck feeling like I was still 19 years old, but now I finally feel like my own age.

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On Friendships

People always tell you that the older you get, the fewer friends you will have. I always believed this because I always wondered why older people seemed to not have as much friends as those in their teens or 20s do, so I figured natural selection also played a role in the friends that end up staying in your life, but rather than being survival of the fittest, it became survival of the ones that deserved to be there.

I grew up being told that I didn’t have to be around people that didn’t deserve to be in my life. Friendship is earned, not expected. If someone’s so-called friendship isn’t worth it anymore, then walk away. If they aren’t enriching your life in any way, walk away. You can always make new friends. While this may not have been the healthiest outlook when trying to build strong friendships in my teens and early twenties, it’s definitely become more and more applicable the older I’ve become. I’ve found the people that I want in my life and I want around my future children’s lives, so I’m finding that I’m slowly weeding out the ones that don’t really deserve to be in my life. I’m not talking about cutting ties or severing friendships, but I am talking about putting importance on the opinions and actions of the right people. These days, I just can’t find it in me to give a shit about what a majority of the people in my life think and feel about what I say and do. Other than my family and the select group of friends that have proven themselves to be the real deal, frankly, I don’t really give a damn what you have to say about anything.

On Something I Never Had

Sometimes I wonder if I really want some of the things that I never had or if I just want them all the more just because they were denied of me. Typical human nature, to want what we can’t have, what was denied of us despite our asking for it. It’s stuff like this that make humans so shitty yet at the same time its flaws like these that make us who we are as a species. That can either be good or bad depending on where you’re coming from.

We hold on to moments and use them to justify bigger things, but in the end moments aren’t enough, and sooner or later you’re gonna have to realize that those moments that you’re holding on to are long gone. And you’re still here, holding on to something that you should have let go of a long, long time ago.

I had myself convinced for the longest time that I want something sane, something simple. But I’m not sane and I’m not simple, so why the hell was I looking for that?

Maybe, hopefully, next time that I fall in love, it will be grand.

“Wherever I go, whatever I do, I wonder where I am in my relationship to you. Wherever you go, wherever you are, I watch your life play out in pictures from afar.”

Phillip + Maja

I don’t do weddings very often but when I do, it always fascinates me how very different each and every couple is. The dynamics, the temperaments, even the kind of love that they have between each other is always different. I’m always left with so many thoughts afterwards. (Well, as I am with everything.)

Phillip and Maja’s story is a special one, having been childhood sweethearts that met on accident more than a decade later. When Phillip saw Maja walking towards the FX that he was riding, he made it a point to not miss that chance, now here they are six years later, married and still laughing. Isn’t that a lovely story?











On Looking Back

I’ve been staring at this blank screen for about an hour now. I think I’ve typed out and erased what I’ve written around 10 times. I used to love to write. I still love to write. Why is it so hard now? Why do things that always used to be easy end up being hard after some time? Who knows.

Because of certain events that have happened in my life recently, I found myself digging up my old journals. I have a whole box of them, sitting under my bed in my parents’ house. I don’t even have all of them, maybe about half. I distinctly remember having a journal in the first grade, but with all the moving that my family has done in my life, it’s probably somewhere in a pile of trash by now. Although I’d like to think it ended up in someone’s pile of old stuff in their garage. Maybe someone will find them one day and laugh about the little girl writing about how she wanted to punch her classmates in the face because they wouldn’t pick up the trash.

It was a painful thing, reading my ramblings from ten, eleven years ago. I was such a whiny little fourteen year-old. But then, I tend to think all teenage girls are whiny and annoying. And to think I wasn’t even one of the girly ones.

It struck me how alike and different I was to my sixteen year-old self. 2005 was a weird year.

It also struck me how I wrote in such detail. Is this a teenage thing? These days it’s so easy to document one’s life through tweets and facebook statuses and Instagram pictures. It’s a whole other thing to take the time to sit down with my journal and write down all these minute details of my day. Sometimes those were the ones that were most priceless.

I also didn’t realize how freakin’ boy crazy I was. It was one boy to the next then back again. It was hilarious/painful. I was so eager to fall in love.

It was unnerving to read one particular journal. I could see the tone in my writing change. It changed from this hilariously naive and bitchy little teenage girl who called every single boy “not good enough” to this… I don’t know. Quieter? Yeah. I think that’s the right word. To this quieter girl. I fell in love for the first time, and I got quieter. I was waiting so long, sometimes impatiently, to fall in love and have these emotions sweep me off my feet, and as it turns out, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the feelings when they came. I was sixteen. What did I know.

Look at that. I was almost completely honest. How utterly terrifying.