• Essays,  Notes on Adulting,  The Daily

    The Challenges of a Filipino Millennial Immigrant

    Healing. The word has become a kind of joke meant for the small stuff. A cheeky answer to questions ranging from how your weekend trip went, or how you found the beyond meat burger to be. I joke about it too, I thank my friends for my week spent in Toronto and how healing it’s been. But looking back, I did mean it more sincerely than I thought. I didn’t realize that I was actually hurting emotionally and mentally because of my move back to Vancouver. Up until I went to counselling I had been struggling with these emotions on my own and trying to work it out. My counsellor…

  • Essays,  The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    Sunburns

    Hello, it’s been a week since I came back from a two-week stay in the Philippines. My skin is red and raw from sun burn, and the sleeping hours are still skewed. There are many thoughts that have been running through my head ever since I got back. I realized that that trip was a happy goodbye. I was assured that I always had a home and friends who treasured and loved me just because. But it was time to stop looking back and pining for a life I had already left. In the words of my good friend Kristel,”Be yourself! Immerse yourself!” It’s always been my problem, elsewhere was…

  • Nostalgia Pieces,  Writer's Cafe

    An Eternal Summer Afternoon

    I read somewhere how the Philippine government was trying to figure out what to do with 10 million mangoes produced in excess due to the warmer weather. Mango float, mango shake, mango graham, mango juice, mango jam… the list went on in my head. But the list quickly turned into memories of long, languid, hot summer afternoons, and falling mangoes. There was an abundance of mango trees in Area 1. It was a neighbourhood of faculty homes in the fringes of our university. The paved roads had become dusty from continuous plumbing repairs by Manila Water but it was still lush with overgrown plants and trees. There were mostly fruit…

  • The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    Currently: April Fool’s

    I’ve never really been a fan of spring, save for the cherry blossoms. But everything else about spring feels like a lie to me. It signals warmer weather but is as cold as winter, and because it’s the start of planting season, suburbia smells like manure. Not to mention the pollen allergy that comes with it, spring definitely reminds me of broken promises. I call it “Your Lie in April” like that anime. But aside from complaining and being salty about the season, I’m here to update you on things that have been happening in my life lately. Currently, I am . . . Watching: The Table (2017) a Korean…

  • Essays,  Notes on Adulting,  Writer's Cafe

    Growing Up Good

    On my recent trip back to my hometown I found my diary from when I was seventeen years old, in it I wrote “My boyfriend is a chauvinist. I need to get a new one.” I burst out laughing when I read that, truly my higher self knew what she was talking about. I wished I had ended it shortly after, as I constantly question why I still dated that person for the next seven years. But now I’m also thanking and honouring myself for getting out of it. I have come a long way from that relationship and have learned many lessons in the process. International Women’s Day reminded…

  • Letters,  Writer's Cafe

    Pebble in My Shoe

    It’s fall where you are. Where I am there is only either the scorching heat or the lashing rains. I may be exaggerating a little. Fall, even though I am far away from the scent of pumpkin spice and the sight of  fallen leaves- fall, still reminds me of you. It’s not something I consciously think about. Maybe it’s an internal clock- a clock that doesn’t exactly know the specific time of day, but one that knows seasons and sentiments. It’s an inconvenient feeling- that feeling of nostalgia for happier times. A pebble in my shoe, specially now that I’m busy living a different life.

  • Letters,  Writer's Cafe

    A Darker Shade

    I don’t think we will ever witness the first snowfall of the year together or that I’ll run back to you the way  I did when I first left. Somehow, I think I knew this when I decided to pursue other things more than you. I knew time would change me somehow. Without you, I could learn to see my own value without having to measure myself against the standards you had set for yourself. I knew they were superficial, that sooner or later you would realize this. But I couldn’t wait around for that to happen.  It wasn’t to say that I was unhappy with you – on the…

  • Notes on Adulting,  The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    The Artist and Her Shit Sandwich

    Elizabeth Gilbert talked about the concept of “shit sandwiches”, which are the not so awesome things you have to do to get to your goals. This is where the phrase “you gotta eat your shit sandwich” stems from, a phrase my sisters and I usually tell each other when we’re feeling demotivated. Brian Tracy calls this “eating your frogs.” These days I feel like I’ve been trying to eat a frog sandwich. You see, I took up a scriptwriting elective this semester because during my break away from film school I realized I wanted to be first and foremost a storyteller. Akira Kurosawa said in one of his interviews that…

  • The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    The Daily: Hometown Blues

    When I was in first year college, a computer science major told me that my name spelled backward in Greek meant disaster, well sort of. That’s how I remember it. He said the word “disaresta” but now looking back he must have mentioned something about it being an attack on a console game. Disaresta was one of the most devastating skill a player had available. I can feel that now. It’s my last night in my hometown and I managed to break the shower knob resulting in an avalanche of water spraying all over me. I figured I had managed to do what I meant to do in my hometown. Which…

  • Essays,  Writer's Cafe

    I am Brown and Both

    I understand that it was made in jest- that I could not be considered Mindanaoan or even Filipino because I left the Philippines. The thing is I still want to answer those statements, because I got a lot of flak even before I left. Why would you leave? Don’t you love the Philippines? You’re forsaking the country. You’re a traitor. Hmm, I wonder- the heroes we have hailed before us also left the motherland. I wouldn’t equate myself to being a hero but you get the drift. My being Canadian is an added layer to my identity- it does not eliminate my birth, my childhood, my life experiences in this country…