Why? Why not?

Let me start this first entry since forever with a rant: I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s a black hole that ensnares and devours that which is free yet priceless — time. Case in point: I was sidetracked a good ten minutes from writing this all because I caught the glow of a notification on my phone’s screen in my peripheral vision. Facebook, one could say is no different and arguably the worse of the two. Its toxic landscape of fake news and vile people notwithstanding, it stands solid as the easiest way to keep in touch with family and friends back home. It helps that I mindlessly scroll through my feed with eyes half-closed anyway; the bulk of it does not register. With Instagram though, it’s always a 50-50 thing. One day I find the images inspiring, the next I cannot stand it. The perfectness, the posturing, the over-curating — it makes it hard to believe that the genuineness of the image has not been filtered out. I’m not preaching here; I too love them filters. So let’s altogether recognize it for what it is; it’s life captured in the best light from the best angle and photoshopped for good measure. I understand that everyone puts their best foot forward on social media, but the effect here is staggering. There seems to be no room for ugly on this platform. Precisely because it’s mostly images that are rarely given context, the viewer is left to fill the gaps in the story, or else, take everything at beautiful, perfectly manicured, veneered face value. “How to be you po?” we all subconsciously ask.

Last month, I took some time off Instagram. I wanted to channel my attention to more worthwhile endeavours. While it did help to cleanse the palate, I failed at my primary objective — I ended up spending my newfound extra idle time on Facebook.

Clearly my mind has to be engaged otherwise it will continue to wander. I know that if there is one thing that can capture my attention more than images, it is words. I’ve thus made it a point to actually read the paperback I almost always carry with me to work. To take it a notch further, I’ve decided to write again. Discounting a hiatus in the Himalayas or an interruption-free week away on the islands of El Nido, I can think of no better way to purge the mind of distractions (aside from working “in the zone”).

My twenty-four year old self started this blog six years ago as a way to document and express. At that time, I worked on weekends, and hustling 6-7 days a week to meet clients on my days off would not be uncommon. Busy, yes, but that was the primary reason why I wanted to do more and experience more of life. I woke up at dawn to be in the pool for 7am swimming lessons, and I’d rush to the studio for pole dance classes after office hours. On weekends that I didn’t work, I took six-hour bus rides to escape the city a couple of times and get surfing lessons. And even if I wasn’t particularly good nor consistent at writing, I still made time for this.

So what’s my excuse now?



Of Buses and Trains and Laundry

It’s a quiet afternoon. The sky is overcast, and there is a faint breeze whistling through the trees. I have just boarded a bus to the nearest train station. I no longer have to look out the window to see where I should get off; I’ve taken this trip enough times to know.

I’m on my way downtown, to Lucky Plaza to be exact. Like most Filipinos here, I’m about to send some money back home. Yep, this is part of who I am now, a Filipino who works and lives abroad. To distill my existence into a three-letter acronym would be a wrong way to describe how I live though, or anyone else, for that matter. Life and people are much more nuanced, and to morph and glaze them over into a concept or collective, however well regarded, would be to see them from a narrow perspective. You begin to realize this when you become one of them yourself.

I’ve been based in Singapore since May last year, and with everything that move entailed and all other things, I kind of lost touch with the pleasure that is writing. Not that I’ve let go of the personally gratifying exercise that keeping this blog has been. It’s always always bubbling underneath the surface, but I’ve allowed myself to be almost fully occupied with the exigencies of this new chapter. Only today did I realize that it’s been a full year since my last post; only today did I finally decide to put a period on that rather sad gap and to start a new sentence, again and again.

As you may expect, I’ve gone through more than a couple of cycles through the metaphorical washing machine of life, from the time I started to seriously contemplate uprooting and throwing myself “out there” up to today. I’m all for YOLO, but know that behind the hippy-ishly filtered images of “living fully and freely” lies major work; setting something into motion and following through with it takes commitment, tenacity, and a whole lot of faith. Freedom, with its dazzling rush of excitement, comes with the grounding weight of responsibility. And depending on how you are as a person, anxiety will surely tag along as well.

Given all that and, at the risk of sounding self-absorbed, my seemingly inborn tendency to observe as I live and at times observe myself as I’m observing, the highs and lows and twists and turns can be prolonged and magnified. A royal pain in the ass sometimes but a gift nonetheless. This is where writing comes in. You put your arms around the wriggling, pulsating strands you fall into, the web of life you find and create, and endeavor earnestly to weave it all into something intelligible, interesting, and if you really try, something beautiful.

I have a year’s worth of balled up material and a lifetime ahead to work with. So please bear with and join me, dear readers. I am not “a voice of a generation”, but I am a voice, just like you. Now you might ask what good it would do you to drop in once in a while. I actually cannot give a perfectly good answer to that perfectly good question. All I know is that it’s fun to share and definitely fun to sort of eavesdrop. At the very least, you can see how my ride is going, and maybe you can tell me about yours. And who knows? Maybe one of these days we’d run into each other on the train.


Outbreak Manila 3: Enchanted Kingdom

I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead. It remains to be the one and only TV show that had me shrieking and jumping around the room in both fright and delight when I saw its first season. I cannot care less for vampire books/movies/tv series/fanfics/etc., but zombies have proven to be irresistible even in their limpy, wobbly, crawly ways. Unlike their pale-skinned, blood-thirsty fellow undead, zombies are admirable in their unequivocal quest to eat humans alive. They won’t try to befriend you, woo you, or win your heart (apart from wanting to devour it). They don’t talk and cannot and will not make piercing eye contact. Almost zero chances of sparks flying. It’s enough that they see us as lunch; there is no need for the added complication of inter-specie, star-crossed love affairs. I respect that. And no, please do not bring up Warm Bodies.

Deputy sheriff Rick Grimes getting chummy with unsmiling no-name zombie lady

You can imagine my excitement when I first heard about Outbreak Manila, the 5km run that dares people to run as though their lives actually depended on it. I would not pass up on the chance to live out the fantasy of becoming part of Rick Grimes’ zombie apocalypse survivor crew. I wasn’t able to join the earlier installments for various reasons, but I just had to do the Outbreak Manila 3: Enchanted Kingdom version. I thought the amusement park was the perfect venue for such an event, and I had another reason. When I was a kid, I read a horror children’s book that was set in a traveling carnival. It became one of those stories that stayed with me. As it turned out, I would be hitting two birds with one stone.

The event was held last October 31. It was the first time I “celebrated” Halloween, and I was thrilled. I was doing the run with Pau whom I consider to be one of my best pals. We go on all sorts of crazy “adventures” together, and this was yet another one for the list. Participants were encouraged to wear costumes, and I was game for it. The outfit would still have to be running appropriate though, and I didn’t really prepare. I somehow ended up with a purple wig that I really wanted to wear even if it did not make sense or looked good. But what the heck, right? It was Halloween, and life on earth as we know it has supposedly ended, so why should how I look matter? Because we were taking pictures, that’s why.



Aside: And we were running with Daniel Matsunaga. Spell distraction! We didn’t have photos taken with him though. I would not need a reminder of how hapless I looked with my disheveled wig beside such fine male specimen. Ha ha. Rovilson Fernandez was there with him. He noticed my purple hair, which I explained to be a mutation caused by whatever it was that brought about the zombie infection. I know, right? So smooth.

Each participant were given three flags that signified his/her three lives. The “zombies” were tasked to steal them without actually touching the runners. Some of them just stood there, probably exhausted from badgering the previous waves, but others remained to be effective and energetic tormentors. Nonetheless, they all deserved props for their impressive undead make-up and styling.

All in all, it was a highly successful event. Besides not being able to provide enough medals for all those who made it out “alive”, the organizers did a good job of making sure that it was safe and enjoyable for everyone, especially non-runners. I myself am not a runner, and I didn’t want to start training for the event even if Pau told me to. I thought I could get away with the workout I got from swimming and pole dancing. I should have listened to her though; my body would have thanked me for it. Good thing it wasn’t a race. There was no need to reach the finish line first; you only have to get to the end with at least one flag (life). Pau and I did complete the run with lots of flags to spare, and we both got a high from screaming our lungs out at every walking dead that popped out of dark corners and from successfully zigzagging our way past the hordes of zombies who took their roles rather seriously.

Now that’s done, I certainly will not want to trade places with any of Rick’s friends, even with Daryl around (ha!). I highly doubt it would be that much fun.

Find out more about Outbreak Manila here.


So sorry it took me this long to post about this. Currently working on my blogging backlog! 🙂


The New Little Boss

I woke up in the middle of the night and felt a mound of fur nestled against my side. It took more than a couple of seconds for me to remember that a new member of the family has arrived and apparently has promptly elected my bed to be his/her favorite snooze spot. I scooped up the bewhiskered ball and gently placed him/her on the floor. A couple of somewhat disappointed, yearning meow’s failed to deter me from drifting back to sleep.

In what felt like an hour later, I was roused once more and again sensed a presence near me. I opened my eyes and blinked a couple of times, hurriedly attempting to make sense of the hazy figure hovering over my face. Once it came into focus, the solid jet black outline jumped out against the darkness of the room. He/she is back, sitting calmly and quietly, his/her steady gaze fixed on me, studying me as it seems. That’s when I realized that no matter how hard I stare, I could not see his/her green eyes. I am looking directly at a very, very black mass. A sudden jolt of freaked out panic surged through me. I was very much awake now, thank you very much. I popped out of bed, snatched him/her up, and (still gently) tossed him/her out the door.

Meet Salem, my slithery, irrepressible stunner of a kitten.

As much as I adore this absurdly bewitching specimen of inky black feline cuteness, this new roommate arrangement definitely needs some work. Receiving wake-up calls from a shadow-like figure, no matter how delightful when bathed in light, will certainly require some getting used to.

P. S. We haven’t bothered to check his/her sex yet. You learn to wait when you (and the vet) have made wrong determinations in the past. No need to confuse the little kitty now, is there? Haha.