• 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…

  • 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.…