• City stories,  Culture,  Nostalgia Pieces,  The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    Mostly Manila

    Some time in 2017- It was a scene straight out of a coming of age film. A jam packed apartment turned bar, the crowd singing along with the playing band. My friend whizzes through and gets me to follow her to the washroom where we stand inside with the door ajar as Dee looks on. “Zip me up!” Stellar had been struggling to get into her dress and decided that she’d take an Uber to Saguijo with an unzipped dress instead of changing into another one. “I’m stubborn I know.” She tells me as I try my best to zip her up. “I don’t think it’s you, it’s the dress,…

  • Culture,  Nostalgia Pieces,  Writer's Cafe

    Glimpses of a Filipino Holy Week

    Growing up in the Philippines, I’ve taken for granted the traditions and celebrations we do every year. Christmas starts in September. You won’t miss it because radio stations and establishments start playing Christmas songs on the first day of September. It’s also a very particular type of Christmas song. It’s the ones sang my Jose Mari Chan, dubbed by Philippine popcult enthusiasts as the Father of Philippine Christmas, probably more popular than Santa himself. Over the next months they’ll start rolling out the ones sang by Mariah Carey and other artists but it always starts with Jose Mari Chan. I didn’t pay attention to this until one day while on…

  • 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…

  • Essays,  Nostalgia Pieces,  Writer's Cafe

    Third World Worries

    I remember the many nights spent walking in the heat and dust, sitting through 2-hour bus rides stuck in traffic, walking through the flooded streets of Chinatown. I remember you bringing me hot noodle soup and jelly rolls when I got sick, and buying me ice cream every day of the summer we spent together. I remember how we tried to keep from falling apart as we waded through all the inconveniences of a third world country – The floods, the traffic, the heat, the congestion, angry coworkers . You came home every night dissatisfied, phone constantly ringing. You always assured me that everything was okay as long as I…

  • Essays,  Nostalgia Pieces,  Writer's Cafe

    An Urban Life

    When I am back in Manila I will live in an old dingy two-storied wooden apartment, with a boyfriend who doesn’t mind if I model clothes or make-up. We would have pets, maybe a dog or a goldfish and a turtle. On Sundays we’ll while away our time watering and talking to our plants, lying on the couch and feeling the warm air waft through our dusty windows. We will shut our laptops and tablets, hide them in the closet and take out dozens of books to read in the afternoon. We will light incense and bow to the universe, offer food to the gods and munch on them afterwards.…