• The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    Life in the Time of Corona: Dispatch from Vancouver Week 1

    Monday, March 16, 2020 – Our store hours changed and so my coworker and I had an hour of cleaning our counters and taking snaps of products to advertise on our social media accounts before opening shop. Managers were letting us know that decisions were still being made as we spoke. As I was getting off work, I said goodbye to my coworker. We usually say things like “see you tomorrow!” or whatever day one was scheduled but we refrained from doing so because we didn’t know if the store would decide to close down temporarily. “Hey, you never know!” We told each other as we parted. My sister and…

  • The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    How Things Are| II

    Every time I come from a trip to the Philippines I always feel refreshed. But for this recent trip, it was more revelations than rejuvenation. My mistake is always forgetting to write down my observations and feelings after every trip. There is a kind of intensity about life in the Philippines that makes it almost impossible to reflect if one doesn’t make an effort to do so. This is why I’m taking advantage of the quietness back here in Canada, before I dive into my ordinary life and forget about these thoughts. Corona, an observation – Almost every establishment back in the Philippines had a fever gun. But aside from…

  • Essays,  Letters,  Writer's Cafe

    Manila and its Uncertainties

    I don’t know if you will like Manila. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a dirty, chaotic, third world city. The streets are filled with grime and potholes. The people push past you or stay grounded when you try to make your way as you whisper excuses. But I still love it here. I fell in love with it as a kid when my father first brought us back for a visit. We had lived in my grandmother’s marbled, three-story house. The house was a beautiful mid century modern piece of architecture – designed and built by my architect grandfather. The stairs and walls were made of concrete…

  • Notes on Adulting,  The Daily

    How Things Are | I

    Exams – I took an exam last weekend. Whether I pass or not doesn’t matter because if I fail, I’ll try again. But of course, it’s best to be prepared. I am trying not to hinge all my hopes and dreams into one basket. Something I have been guilty of doing for very long and have only learned quite recently not to. We’re guilty of placing all our projected desires into one object and expecting it to fulfill all our needs, may that be a partner, a job, a friend, or a gemstone bracelet with amazonite, tree agate and sodalite to ward off all misfortunes. A poet whom I enjoy…

  • 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…

  • The Daily,  Writer's Cafe


    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…

  • Essays,  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.