It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

And we’re down to our last bottle/blog post.

Okay, so I stared at that last line for quite a while because I realized I did not really know what to write. Well, technically, I do — I want to rehash the year through a very cliché list of the highlights with cute little anecdotes here and there, but I did not know where to start. My English teachers have been telling me ever since time immemorial that a catchy introduction is worth a hell lot and I have always believed the same thing, but pardon me if right now, I am just clueless as what to put here that would qualify for such requirement. Apologies to Dickens, then.

The clock has just struck twelve and we are officially down to our last twenty-four hours. That sets the bar pretty high, sounding so dramatic and so.. final. For today, everyone has their hopes up without the very legitimate fear of said hopes ending up in ashes, the kind you bring up in future drinking sprees as a joke (Hahaha, pare, I was totally going to quit smoking, but you know, whatever), and I will not bitch out (as much as I usually do) and go on all cynical weirdo on you people for one simple little reason: I am a New Year’s Eve whore. Always have, always will.

See, I have always loved John Locke and believed that this day is our annual tabula rasa — however bullshit that sounds. Since I have professed on and on that consistency is my one weak point, it logically follows that I am such a fan of the concept of starting all over, no matter how flawed or superficial or delusional that may be to some/most people. I have out with the old, in with the new etched into my bones, and yes that is a very lame exaggeration to say the least but that’s my point right there.

It is actually pretty ironic that to be able to really go forward and start all over again, you have to feel the familiar pangs of an ending first, right? On this day the word “reminiscing” will surely be overused, as if what is embedded in memory gains prime importance in our lives again. Nothing wrong with that, I guess — the fact that we have something to look back on is a reminder on its own: how far we’ve come, how different things/we are right now.

^Yep, attempt at introduction still sucks. Might as well get on with it to minimize opportunities for further self-loathing.

I have beaten the New Year hype by a few weeks for declaring ever so explicitly in a blog post (and probably through a Facebook status update / tweet / every damn conversation I had since the first of December) that 2012 is hands down, the best year of my life. Here is some of the reasons why, in no particular order.

Moving into a new home, getting an amazing room 

2012-12-22 17.57.18

Tantamount to productivity (or at least, time you would enjoy wasting) is a breathing space of your own. I got mine this year.

We moved in last January into a spacious — well, spacious compared to the last place — townhouse, still in VC. Mom apparently found it one night as she was riding past the gates, with a sign that said a 3-bedroom unit was up for grabs. Since my family is one of those weird ones who are actually pretty close and thus tell each other everything, from the minute details of our daily lives to the monumental declarations, she casually told us about it over brunch the next day, daydreaming about how she’d fix it up, how we’d sure to bring friends over more than usual since we are to have rooms of our own, if ever. We went over to check it out that very afternoon, and mom paid an advance later on, for we are moving in less than a month’s time. Impulsiveness runs in the family.

The apartment we were living in back then (wow, a year sounds so far away now) had two rooms — one that mom and us kids shared, with a conjoined single bed and a double to house five sleeping bodies, the other one shared by mom’s aunt and our maid. Since it was situated directly in front of my high school, literally everyone in my class has hanged out there one way or another. We even had the nerve to offer that shoebox after a friend’s debut one time, the living room that night looked like an evacuation shelter for about fifteen people were crammed in the living room. I of course being selfish left them to take their positions (one even slept UNDER the dining table for reasons definitely reeking of alcohol and my lack of hospitality) and went upstairs and crashed onto my ever-loving bed, where it was cold and cozy. Oh shush, you were there, and you loved it.

Turning 18

No I wasn’t a debutante. Instead:


I spent my birthday afternoon with myself. I originally wanted to go out of town and do some exploring on my own but my parents were throwing me a drinking party a few days after and so I wasn’t in a position to ask for a couple of thousands for a wayward trip. Anyway, it was a beautiful rainy afternoon. I spent it reading Flaubert, writing napkin poetry, eating pasta, having coffee, and waltzing up to Lighters Galore to ask for a box of cigs hoping the lady would ask me how old I am because I have prepared a very confident, raspy “I’m eighteen” comeback.

If there’s anything I did a lot of this year and would want to bring over to 2013, it’s spending loads of time with myself — and not in the sad, FM Static-kind way. I wouldn’t be able to count and I even doubt that I could remember all of the times I went away by myself this year, but if there’s anything I am certain of it’s the fact that I always came back home feeling amazing. There’s something about having no one to answer to but yourself. It goes beyond freedom and plunges more into liberty. Spoiling myself equates to self-discovery, and if anything that’s what made this year the best. Writing this now, although I am still perpetually confused over an array of things and perhaps I will always be, I am more assured of the things I want, even more of what I don’t. That’s what matters most, and that isn’t such a bad place to start the new year with, right?

(continued around 5PM, 31st Dec)


I took up a year of Philosophy in PUP before I dropped out and then transferred to Kalay for the second sem of 11-12. While I wasn’t exactly anti-social, it’s safe to say I only started going out with people from my school last summer. I’m graduating by 2014, and saying spending my last months in college with these people makes my college years the best is an understatement. :)


Kalayaan Review Launch Party


One particular lazy afternoon with Kalay Lit Sirkol during Org Week


Random Thursday night in Katipunan

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UP Pride March in June ’12 and then Red Horse and Red Hot Chili Peppers after

I am probably getting the most out of college, as my mother says. It’s not about the collegey everyday starting at 4PM drinking sessions either, it’s being around like-minded folks and feeling for the most part that anything is possible since you’re young (and wild, and free) and the world is up for grabs, yours for the taking. Believing that with utmost certainty, even if such mindset reputedly only lasts until graduation is definitely something to be thankful for every single day.

PLUS, The Art Collective

And then, there’s PLUS — a rowdy bunch I have gotten extremely close to this year. Seriously, these people have been like family, and it’s not just because some of them spoil the hell out of me. I have always respected the wisdom of those who are older. I have never been one of those angsty teens who mumble “just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re right” every chance they get with an annoying pout. I appreciated the wisdom that came with experience, and surely people more advanced in years than us has a little more clenched under their belts, don’t they?

Coincidentally, I have discovered — and pursued — passions mainly through them. I don’t know what wrong turn I took early in my life but I am seriously glad for stumbling on a burning love for literature and philosophy. These people did too, and *awww* we found each other amidst a (albeit literally) mind-boggling maze. Sleepovers aren’t really sleepovers for debates lasted into morning, until one by one we fall silent and then wake up late into the afternoon having this hankering for ice cream. Always ice cream.

This year has been eventful in more ways than one. During the summer, I had a reason to kick myself for not getting into the coveted UP Applied Physics program ( my HS scores were dismal, have always been an English nerd until recently ) for our talks now covered black holes and spacetime and galaxies and neutrinos and whatnot.


One night in April, Steve, the one morally responsible for joining such crazy souls into one org, had some members of the Dark Sky Network join us. I think this was the night I met Elaine. And look, Alvin,  your hair is still.. there! :D


This one was during Venus Transit. We camped since eleven PM over at ADMU where the Manila Observatory is located, fought yawns and jammed (Steve brought his guitar literally everywhere) until about six, and then waited for first contact with other people from PAS. After we headed to UP to check out what’s going on there and then I fell asleep during the drive back to Marikina and didn’t really care what happened after because I was so damn tired, but nonetheless happy.


I was about to make a pun looking all Sciencey and stuff but hey my hair color looks nice on this I should probably go for touch-ups. :D

For the second half of 2012, they had treks almost every two weeks. Broke-ass college student style, I wasn’t able to come even once — but I can’t wait for the one this January! We’re climbing Mt. Pico de Loro and I am advertising it here because this blog shall serve as a wall of shame if I don’t join them.

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One of Elaine’s gorgeous shots. Mt. Batulao, October.

Meanwhile here’s an adorable photo of Steve just because.



Elaine and I during Dulaang Kalay’s The Woman in Black. She’s my VIP.

And of course, who would forget the PLUS Benefit Gig? :)


Reading “Daybreak” and then singing Man in the Mirror with some of my favorite guys in the world :)


And then an acoustic set with my brother Josh later into the evening.


With mommy ever-the-stage-mommy and Clai, Josh’s girlfriend of two years.

I have to say, apart from the ice cream/Red Horse-induced talks with these people covering everything from Physics to Philosophy, one of the best treats of this year is getting to jam with them almost every week. And it’s not just the talent that made making music with them worth the two-hour commute to Steve’s home in Marikina, it’s also how fun (Royal extra kulit :D) and easy everything is when you’re with them. Family indeed. :) Heart heart, PLUS!

Happy Mondays Poetry Nights

So I have unabashedly stamped my forehead with the writer label since I was a bipolar (sometimes nerdy, always sassy) little girl and of course it only follows that at some point, I would want to try out and see if other people can make sense of my poetry right? This year I had the nerve to submit a poem to Happy Mondays Productions and got to perform for them twice alongside other writers, even *the* Marne Kilates. Reading his “Name-Giving” after a long stretch of zero productivity inspired a poem or two. :)


The November installment. Sang “Sway” with Steve on his axe first.


Two of my HS bestfriends came for support. This one was taken over dinner at Cannan, Katipunan Ave before heading to Tomato Kick.


The December installment. This time, I had my brother back me up with his bass. Did a cover of Sinosikat’s “Prayer” as well before reading two poems.

I have been enamored with poetry since high school until present. There is still a lot to read, to learn. I have been and I want to keep on writing poems, I might even submit for the IYAS poetry fellowship as well. This year I’ll be trying my luck with fiction and creative non-fiction, too. For the whole of December I have been reading short story anthologies and essays from the 80’s to the present and to put it simply I think I have yet to prove myself. Still, all out support for contemporary Philippine literature!


Rock Loqal 2012

Now this one’s a highlight not only because I got to see all of my favorite local acts in one night but because I managed to win two patron tickets to this concert. :D


Managed to score them because of a very desperate three-paragraph answer to a question. Dickies asked fans who their favorite act is and why, and I keyed this email around two in the morning hoping for a blessing of the universe, so pardon my bullshit.


.. of course, things this year only took a turn for greatness and when I met up with the rep, he handed me VIP passes. Cool!


I brought one of my closest friends, Tsini, and together we looked very, very unladylike slamming to Slapshock and Wilabaliw. Must have lost fifteen pounds that night. :D


Me finding no point in hiding my happiness. :>


Kat, the epitome of the ideal woman. :D Sinosikat came after Slapshock so I was gasping for breath while shouting the lyrics of “So Blue” and “Mr. Musikero”. I swear, she stared directly at me for about thirty seconds and technically we sang together. I guess it was hard not to wonder what’s wrong with the crazy woman in front row. :D


It is very obvious that I have a crush on Ian Tayao because I took a rough estimate of fifty photos of him that night. ;) Ian, Me Techie Love You Long Time. <3


This is a photo of me during a rock concert to fool you into thinking that I am fun and lively. :)))

Old friends we will never get tired of, even if they asked us to

I met some of the greatest souls this year but I am also fortunate enough to still be able to keep the ones I already knew around. There’s something about spending the whole weekend in bed with your best friends from high school or talking through Skype until 6 in the morning (in the Philippines, that is) with your bestfriend who is in California whom you will still love, around the world and back. This one needs no explanation.


Impromptu reunions with HS barkada


PUP Marx Fest, March ’12


With the gorgeous Serena VD, all the way from Cali, and whom I miss terribly. Happy New Year, S!:)

So this is just a very lazy photo-heavy blog post once again I would have preferred to give depth and meaningful insight to but I am running late and I see no point in continuing this entry tomorrow since this is a year-ender post, after all. My family will be spending tonight at my father’s home and I’m supposed to be getting ready already. As I am writing this my siblings are running around the house half-naked complaining about having nothing to wear (despite having just shopped, because I said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re all very vain), and I can just feel that tonight — and 2013, of course — will be one of the greatest. :)

I promise to write/right something everyday, starting now.

Happy New Year!


Quick post: The Thing About Change

.. is that although it is inevitable, it has timing as its willing bitch.

Meaning, it has absolutely no respect for the people you “leave behind”, both literally and figuratively speaking. I used to think cutting people off from your life — even just the act of blurring them out for the most part of the year — is a cruel act able to be executed only by heartless folks who came and went as they saw fit.

Now, I have this great deal of priority for necessity. Maybe somewhere along the way I grew up and realized how each day is a breeding ground for greatness, and so found that there is no use on wasting them having to put up with, well, anything. Patience is a virtue, yes, we have all heard that before, and tolerance is its main property, but doing so is a choice, not an imperative for a situation not to end up basically the equivalent of putting your head inside the microwave and pressing start.

I have always liked the idea of transition, very rarely the idea of stability —  although according to a paradox of Zeno’s they are not polar opposites, one way or another they may actually main the same thing right? Still, I’d rather be eternally in motion rather than eternally at rest. Being wired up this way has the trade-off of outgrowing things, places and people, usually at warp speed, but what’s the use of forcing pieces in if you are now building up a completely different puzzle?

We move forward. No matter how slow or hesitant our steps may be — we still do. And the things that are necessary for survival remain, even after we shed off the unwanted weight.

Whatever It Takes To Get To The Light

You got me runnin’ wild, wild and free
The open road is all i need
You got me runnin’ wild runnin’ free
It’s never gonna be like it used to be

Tell me something, and for once, consider sincerity an imperative, if virtuousness is something for the grown-ups who has told versions of the truth a little short of a million times already — can life really be this damn good?

I know, I know, I must have said it way more than I should. If WordPress had a quota for sappy-happy entries, I would have  long been booted off from this island. But I shall keep reminding myself, lest I forget.

I have already repeatedly advertised that I have the best support system in the world, and up until recently I have written about finally (hallelujah) arriving at a decision on what to do not just after graduation but during the months leading to it. And it’s not about these major sources of pride either — the little things play their part. These days I usually catch myself beaming ear to ear just mainly because of them, like tonight, for example. My bestfriends from high school came over, and in between those photo-ops that seems to be the thread that holds every holiday reunion together, I found myself grinning over how simple and easy everything just is when you are with old friends. These are some of the people that know you best after all, and finding the five of you crammed into your double bed one random December night fighting over your old comforter because somewhere along gossiping and the spoonfuls of ice cream it got way too cold for words isn’t the least bit strange.  On the contrary, everything feels in place.








It doesn’t stop at that. You find yourself alone typing away at one in the morning while nestling a cup of mom’s spaghetti (knees weak, mom’s spaghetti :D) and popping piece after piece of your favorite chocolate into your mouth as you scan the guidelines for a writing gig you just scored this afternoon. And you love everything about it — every nitty-gritty detail about the way you are tired but would rather be writing than sleeping, anyway; how your living room looks like Santa’s sleigh exploded as torn gift wrappers are everywhere ; how you find that you are actually looking forward not just to getting together with your college friends tomorrow evening but also to going out with a new friend sometime soon; how you are scared as fuck over applying for a writing fellowship but you never really knew you could be on-the-edge excited about at the same time because you have never wanted something quite as bad before — and with things we want the most, with the desires that burn in our skin, isn’t it just appropriate that you have replaced elementary emotions with extremities that make you feel, for every waking minute from now on, that you are this-is-cliche-but-it-could-only-be-summed-up-with-this-word alive?

It is just amazing, however fleeting this sense of contentment is reputed to be. Let’s just revel in that for now. :)

Art lives upon discussion, upon experiment, upon curiosity, upon variety of attempt, upon the exchange of views and the comparison of standpoints.

— Henry James, The Art of Fiction

The Lazy Photo-Heavy Holiday Post

I would have prattled on and on about how my family spent Christmas Eve with lovely quotes on family and love and generosity in juxtaposition with a photo stream featuring each one of us in our holiday best — but there wasn’t any of that this year. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with the traditional Pinoy celebration, it’s just that we did things differently — we always have — and for 2012, it could be summed up in three words: pasta, pizza, vodka.

Which explains why we all forgot to take pictures no matter how annoyingly conceited we all are — my siblings literally spent the eve of 24th rolling on the floor laughing, and by 1AM we were in bed already for reasons now foggy. Perhaps we should be thankful for the lack of documentation whatsoever, after all. :)

Anyway, I had an epiphany yesterday: I have been reading purely Philippine literature for this month. Ergo I was more than happy to receive these.

2012-12-26 11.40.31

So okay, the Short Story Anthology, I bought with my own money — part of the two-thou budget I was supposed to use to buy a dressy outfit. Mom probably knew I was planning on wearing the whole oversized shirt–cut-off shorts–slippers combo to every family event this season and so resorted to drastic measures, which backfired completely because I ended up taking myself out almost every night to explore the city and to treat myself to good food.. and these.

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Since I rarely load up and my phone functions more as a music player anyway, I thought it best to splurge on a memory card that could handle these ( and the ones I’m downloading at the moment):


.. which, ultimately, posits that I couldn’t be any more ready for the year to come. I spend more or less four hours on the road everyday anyway, so the kick-ass music library is actually an imperative. The books, though, they are a worthy trade-off, always have, always will. I’ll probably spend more time in the library/in my room/on the bus anyway so I prefer dad’s old hoodie and jeans all day everyday.

I’m shooting to qualify for early graduation, among others. I couldn’t emphasize any further that 2012 has been trying in all senses of the word, and so as a general resolution I shall rack up my plate with so much stuff, things I have always wanted to do. Say, finishing a 10k race. Hiking up mountains. Applying for a job to save up for my master’s next year. Sending as much as I could to publications. Maybe an internship during the summer. And, of course, writing, which I’m glad I have already been doing quite a lot of–

Habitat for Humanity Planner (from Mom as well) already vandalized during its first day of service.

Habitat for Humanity Planner (from Mom as well) already vandalized during its first day of service.

So after spending the whole day in bed reading yesterday, one of us decided to be normal and eat out, which makes a lot of sense since it was Christmas after all. Drove all the way to Mister Kabab, everyone’s favorite Persian place, and drowned ourselves in Beef Korma and the best lava cake in the whole wide world which I don’t have a photo of since it was gone in three minutes flat.

Me with my gorgeous twelve-year-old sis, Sophie

Me with my gorgeous twelve-year-old sis, Sophie


with daddy

with daddy

this time, with mom

this time, with mom

Legit stolen shot of mom with my brothers, Elmo and Josh

Legit stolen shot of mom with my brothers, Elmo and Josh

By New Year’s Eve, someone should drill sense into me and remind me to unearth the old handy-dandy camera for high-quality shots.

Anyway. Lazy post it is, lazy ending as well. Christmas was awesome, period.



brightness has always been more tolerable with the shades down. only then

can we strain this explosion of waking

into pretty strips of white light, staging dancing dust.

never mind if Plato said we should look up

look out, look straight ahead. He was wary

of darkness and thought we should be, too.


I, on the other hand, have always

loved shadows. At least, they

remain. There are those who only had to open

their eyes — and left. They are

convinced I am still

in hiding.




There goes our home. I did not feel anything

when we left, no yearning

for everything familiar

that is now lost–


usurped by the mere promise

of change. I did not even look



back. Sometimes I wonder what is

to be said of my apathy. How can something

that means so much to another mean nothing

to me?


I organize clutter

into boxes, reducing my years

into labels until they are finally

empty and put away, like how


torn-out linoleum is replaced

by the sound of my feet thumping

on the new wooden floors.


I got used

to getting off at another stop, writing

this strange address whenever I am asked

to reveal a little more

about myself.


This is home now. Funny how

I have always struggled with learning

how to forget. Now I’d give the world

and back

to remember.



and then, a year.