Life outside the comfort zone.

Completing an old draft.

(April 7, 2017)

Walking and eating by one's self allow a person to reflect deeply about... well, a lot of things. 
Case in point:

I found myself one afternoon, in the midst of my routine hike around town, entering a Burmese diner three miles from where we live in Daly City. I could use a little rest, I thought; besides, I hadn't eaten lunch yet. The dim interior was also a welcome break from the outdoors, which was particularly hot and sunny that day. I went inside and sat near the back, facing away from the rest of the customers who were already enjoying their meals. I didn't mind that I came in alone, nor did I find awkward that I occupied a table for four people while a family of five and a young couple on a date were seated closely by. All I kept thinking about was one thing: I am going to try something new today.
I ordered mohinga -- catfish soup with vermicelli noodles (misua) topped with slices of boiled egg, coriander leaves and fried chick…

One quick note about yesterday.

If there's one thing I learned in the first few months since our arrival in the U.S., it's that I have to let down my guard every so often and try to connect with others on a human level.

Yesterday I broke my usual routine of keeping my earphones on when I'm by myself, as I put them away and hit pause on my iPod after I noticed that an older couple was saying something in my direction while at the bus stop. They weren't necessarily "talking" to me; rather, they were making loud comments to anyone who cared to listen about another person that stopped by them seconds ago, acting odd and asking them something before walking away. I can't repeat what they said here, but the way they said it was too funny that I couldn't help but burst into laughter myself.
The conversation shifted into why they were in such good spirits. With cans of beer in hand (I'm guessing it was beer -- I could make out the word "lager" on the cans), they were celebrating…

Half a pizza and her umbrella.

Originally from my old Multiply blog. A hopeless romantic's amateurish ode to a lost love, written when I fell head over heels for someone. I rediscovered it in my Blogger drafts lately and got a pretty good laugh out of it -- mostly because I sounded so foolishly in love back then. Posting it here so you can laugh along, too. I won't mind, I promise.
Modified from the original text. Because, you know, we'd only just revisited the Subject/Verb Agreement rules in English class when this was first written. Trust me, that older version was horrible.

(September 1, 2008, 8:57 PM PHT)

I was afraid of waking up today,
yet I did.

I was afraid of many other things when I did wake up:
afraid of how today will turn out,
afraid of how she'll respond,
afraid of her not showing up,
afraid of her going away...

As I restlessly waited for her in the middle of a sea of people,
my train of thought was headed for a crash.
What if she changed her mind?
What if she didn't really want to co…

Pain upon pain, grace upon grace.

(A personal reflection on the Fourth Word of Jesus from the Cross, guided by a meditative reading of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen's Life of Christ throughout the season of Lent.)

“And about three o’clock
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means,
‘My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me?’
(Matthew 27:46)

Imagine, for a brief moment, someone you hold dear to your heart, a person you trust with your very life suddenly abandon you – your parent, your sibling, your best friend, your loved one, your child. In your time of great agony, in your darkest hour, just when you needed them the most… alas, they are nowhere to be found. They left you high and dry, without any apologies or explanations. A ton of different emotions begin to well up: loneliness, helplessness, disappointment, disgust, rage, all while still bearing the pain that prompted you to seek relief in the first place. These remain bottled up inside of you, and you find yourself deprived of any o…

You are a good man.

(March 5, 2016)
I never imagined that I would think about death as often as I did these past couple of weeks. It’s certainly not the most pleasant feeling in the world. But it’s actually quite sobering to pause every once in a while and ponder your place on this earth, while simultaneously telling yourself that your stay here probably won't last very long.
And as if this wasn’t already unusual enough, I was surprised to find some degree of solace in the midst of my reflection from – of all things – a random pair of dogs.
It started with a few clicks on my Facebook timeline one February morning as I learned about the passing of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (I realize he is a relative unknown to most people living on this side of the globe, so bear with me for just a minute.) His name rang a bell because he was the butt of many jokes by the comedian John Oliver in his satirical news program that I watch every week. The first time I heard of him was two years ago, when …

Endgame (Four years later)

In light of the passing of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, I thought it would be appropriate to publish an old draft that has been sitting on the virtual shelf of my Blogger site for quite some time. First written in May 29, 2012, this was originally meant as an amateurish commentary on his trial and the unprecedented verdict handed down by the Philippine Senate who sat as an Impeachment Court. But given the state of affairs in our country today, and since the national elections are now a week away, I find that it is important for us to look back on this period of time in our recent history and realize how much has changed since that fateful May afternoon.
. . .
(May 29, 2012)

After 44 hearings which spanned 5 months, occupied hundreds of pages on the newspapers each day and countless hours of TV time each week, and elicited reactions from Filipinos both on the street and online, the verdict has been laid down on now-former Chief Justice Renato Corona. The verdict is guilty, with 2…


Those who've known me or my brother and had the privilege of being welcomed into our humble abode have all, at one time, wrongly identified who our mother was. It would come as a complete shock to everyone that the short, skinny, brown-haired woman they saw inside our home is not our older sister, but actually the woman from whose bosom we were brought into life. More often, people would point to somebody else when they ask me or my brother, “Siya ba nanay mo?” One of the usual suspects was this stout, sharp-tongued blonde who always seemed to be preoccupied with something – a book, her phone, the laundry, a television show she was watching, or her garden. 
No, that woman is not my mother. She is my grandmother, Solema Pilar. She is known to plenty of people as Emma, Kims, Ate or Ma'am. But I knew her by a different name...
I knew her as Mommy.

You see, we have weird naming conventions in our household. “Mama” and “Papa” are obviously my parents, but we also use those names f…