• 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…

  • Essays,  Writer's Cafe

    Crooked, Beautiful Things

    I used to dream of capturing beautiful things when I was a kid. I think that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to be a filmmaker before I even knew what it was called. I wanted to capture the sunlight on someone’s hair or the flowers on a pretty white house’s windowsill. But growing up I realized that beauty wasn’t enough, I wanted the energy, the feelings that radiated from those images. I wanted images that had a life of its own, that had stories to tell. And this is what I realized while I waded through teenage insecurities, adolescent angst and adulthood – life won’t always…

  • Travel Diary,  Writer's Cafe

    Kanchanaburi Roads

    We were running late. The previous night, we had walked the stretch of Petchburi Road under the rain to get to our hotel and our exhaustion took its toll. When we got down to the hotel lobby, our tour guide was already there. She bowed with her hands clasped as we apologized profusely for being late. The tour guide introduced herself as Nuch, she tapped on her watch and said we had better leave to avoid Bangkok traffic. Jeshley asked if we could take at least 10 minutes to grab breakfast. She tapped her watch again and said “10 minutes, okay I give you. I will wait.” I took some…

  • Travel Diary

    Siam Longings

    Bangkok, 2013 – I fell in love with Bangkok on the first night. It was unexpected. It was  a quiet appreciation that crept on me while I waited in queue at the airport.The lines were long but the process fast. While in queue a Chinese man spoke to the usherettes in his own language. I found myself smiling because I seemed to understand what he meant to say. Throughout the entire trip, I found this a recurring thing among elder Chinese tourists. They would speak to me in their own language, I would respond in english,  and for some strange reason, we all still understood each other. This was made evident…

  • The Daily,  Writer's Cafe

    The Daily: Frustrations and Middleclass Aspirations

    Yesterday was a good start to the week. I’ve been struggling with my sleeping patterns for over a month now. I usually can’t fall asleep until 6 am and so I wake up around 2 in the afternoon. For a time I was heavily stressing about this because I felt it wasn’t normal and that I was wasting the day away. It wasn’t like I lacked sleep, I just had off hours. So I started jogging/walking almost every night. At first I’d do it every other day, but recently I’ve been clocking in at least 5 km everyday. I’m not going fitness crazy yet but I’m so happy about my small start.…

  • Essays,  Writer's Cafe

    A Thanksgiving for All Seasons

    Along with the coming of autumn, I feel like being reborn. After a slow, and painful death, the past four years seem long gone and I am shedding the remnants of my past . The starting over is always a struggle – one I often forget while living through the daily drudgery. Even sans Turkey dinner and cranberry sauce, I still have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful to know that there are kinder men, kinder than the men who cry  and tell you they love you then betray you the moment your plane takes off. I am thankful that I have finally allowed myself the opportunity…

  • Travel Diary,  Writer's Cafe

    Of Coconuts and Sticky Rice Cakes

    I had my first taste of Thailand’s famous iced coffee at the Damnoensaduak Floating Market. For the days to come, we would all buy iced coffee every chance we got. It was sweetened with condensed milk – something that made it taste better than the usual. I had been doing the same to my coffee when I was in design school, it was the only way I could stomach drinking 2-3 large cups a day to power through late nights of coding and designing. Aside from the iced coffee, we noticed the altars on almost every road. This was something quite grandiose and new to our eyes. We were born…

  • Essays,  Notes on Adulting

    Into the Cocoon

    Baby Steps. I always seem to find myself from ground zero everywhere I go. People always say it’s a good thing. Marissa Meyers was quoted saying: “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”  But it doesn’t really feel good when you’re the one being pushed against the wall, does it? There is something depressing about being at the bottom and wanting to get to the top without knowing how. When I was in…

  • Fiction,  Writer's Cafe

    Something Salty

    I stared at my phone, wondering how you got my number. But I guess it didn’t matter, you were already asking questions with a sense of urgency you did not deserve. You asked, could we meet? anywhere! It was all up to me. You just needed some answers. Closure. I try to scan through my memories. The last time you ever crossed my mind was two months ago. I was in the office kitchen, looking out the window, waiting for the water to come to a boil. I thought then “wow, I haven’t even thought of him or found any reminders of him. It’s almost as if he never existed.” It was amazing to feel that…

  • Essays,  Writer's Cafe

    Do Not Pour Oil on Water

    I am water. I flow freely and take the form of anything that tries to shape me. I seep through little cracks and holes and go as far as the currents take me. He is oil. And although he can take any form he wants, he is closed off from anything outside his element. Water cannot permeate through him. But through anything else, water can. And so, maybe this is how we are. We live amiably, side by side. We touch but never intertwine.