And So Now, We‚Äôre Here.

I’ve always wanted to write about my travels. But like 93%* of people who have had the same thought, I have never really gone around doing it. I thought about making another blog. Do the whole “study abroad” schtick. But who am I kidding? It’s comfortable here and I know it takes me forever to start anything. I have been so far away from my comfort zone, so I think staying in a cozy spot would be justifiable this time.

I have been here in Antwerp for more than eight months now. Time does fly fast. This side of the world has so many nice things to explore and so many interesting things to write about. Living in a different city, studying abroad and visiting other country have been such an adventure. There is a huge chance that I might just write stuff about the state of Belgian fries, or the ever-fickle weather. Food and the sun are nice things to talk about too. We’ll see. It depends on the weather, I guess. ūüôā

So, see you around? ūüôā




A year later…

Well, the ink didn’t sink in. Life happened — as it should. But the words stopped. Not in real life, but perhaps just here on this virtual space. With Facebook, Instagram and blogs, I often wonder why we even bother to put our lives out there.¬† I don’t think it is just the usual argument of humans seeking attention. More often, I think it is that need to let things out and express yourself with an audience. That cliche of wanting to be heard. That weird feeling of existing side by side with your own kind. No words need be exchanged sometimes. Just a space shared with another soul is fine.

Scrolling through IG posts, there seems to be a wealth of memes and comics about how introverts live, think or see the world. I reckon, most of it has been made by introverts themselves. It’s amusing how a group of people who professes to lose energy from social things can be so out there about the topic in social media. Perhaps it is precisely because the internet is not exactly a social platform in the classical sense? Interestingly, I don’t really see similar posts about extroverts (maybe my social bubble has blinded me from them or they’re probably too busy “extroverting” to have enough time to make these references).

This is not a diss on the glorious tribe of introverts as I may very well be a member, but rather just an observation which I try to relate to my interest in writing (which wavers from time to time often). I find that I write less when I have people to talk to about the things I actually wanted to write. It is as if writing it all down has somehow become redundant.

I still remember those quiet after office hours where I sit at my desk typing crazily about life, my hopes and dreams, and some other shit as if the whole world will be tuning in. It was nice to get a reaction here and there, but having to see your thoughts written, staring back at you, that is quite fun (and embarrassing too).

I think, in the future, I would like to embarrass myself a few more times.


Let the Ink Sink In

Despite all the things I actually want to write about, writing has somehow lost a bit of its wonder. Not having been able to write anything worth posting, writing now feels like an awkward conversation between friends who have drifted apart.

Before, it was so easy to just type things in. Now, I feel like every word is up for scrutiny, not by any reader, but by the very paper I write things to.

Attempting to spill out the words in this blank space feels like opening up to a familiar, yet now unrecognizable place. I wonder if the problem is in the paper, or the pen – like trying out a new ink on a piece of parchment. The ink seems to effortlessly melds itself into the fibers of the paper, many moons before. Now it feels like I am using an ink-filled pen on a glossy sheet.

The resistance is palpable. A resistance that was probably built from a long period of neglect, of fading familiarity — much like many things beyond writing.

Maybe, I need to give it some time before the ink soaks the paper. I wonder if I should just buy a new notepad, or something.

For now, I hope the ink sinks in.


Why Misery Loves Company

Once there was Misery.
Swimming, breathing, solitary.
It went about its business like you and me.
Lived on its bubble while sipping tea.

One day Company came.
It had color that I cannot explain.
Neither good nor bad.
It didn’t really make one happy or sad.

Misery was curious and somewhat amused,
Of this new fellow that came rolling through.
Things are the same, but not exactly
It’s just that this time, there is Company.

Sometimes it speaks
Sometimes it sings.
The other day it was silent,
Brooding even, it seems.

Misery went about its routine.
Lived on its bubble while sipping tea.
But now Company is here
With Misery, drinking its coffee

“Misery loves Company”
I heard someone say
The reason, I wonder
So I started to ponder.

Not for its mood or songs,
Not because of what it’s given or done,
Despite liking coffee over tea
Misery still loves Company

Even after tea has run cold,
In a bubble drowning in silence,
Misery has company
….and that makes all the difference.

Travel Notes: Manila

Travelling is an awesome teacher. And while some learn their lesson on top of a mountain or in a deserted island in some exotic destination, I got mine in Manila, the same “unsophisticated” city that I was born into.

Fresh out of my¬†first trip abroad, I stepped out of the cab, looked around me and saw something different. Well, not too different, but it certainly wasn’t the same. Having spent the the past five days in four different¬†cities in Thailand, I think I still had in me the wide eyed wonder of a tourist. Everything I saw felt like it had a promise of a new discovery. Perhaps this is to be expected while travelling in a different country, but the feeling of weird unfamiliarity prevailed during that hot May morning.

РLet the excitement subside, I reminded myself.
– Adventure’s over.
– There’s nothing here you haven’t seen.
– But is there really nothing more to discover?

I walk the same streets everyday going to work and school. The only place that I am used to exploring are the brightly lit halls inside shopping malls. Basically, I know the place that I know, but outside of that, I am lost.

Travelling, for me is not just about getting on a plane to go somewhere different (although, I wouldn’t say no to that). I think it has more to do with the intention of experiencing a space with fresh eyes and savoring all the craziness that comes with it.

Don’t be a foreigner in your own country, I¬†think that is how the Philippines’ tourism¬†catch phrase years ago¬†is translated. Although I know that it meant to encourage Filipinos to¬†¬†travel the Philippines, I also don’t think that it is such a bad idea to go about with the “eyes of a tourist” sometimes.

Familiarity does breed contempt sometimes. Even worse, familiarity nurtures indifference. Seeing the same squalid environment and hopeless traffic condition day in day out has robbed us all of the opportunity to appreciate the energy of this bustling city. The intention of experiencing this place, this vast living space, has all but passed. The beauty, the history and the spirit of the city is left waiting to reveal itself for the next willing tourist.

Lighting up

Candles are so full of metaphors, or at least us humans keep on making some sort of interpretation on a lighting mechanism we invented ourselves. Anyway, life is short so I decided to indulge a human frailty this quiet night.

Candles are most magnificent when they are serving their purpose–when they are giving light. Somehow, in this process, the wick, the candles core, can sometimes lose its light by drowing on its own melted wax.

In order to keep the light from burning, you either pull out the wick or pour out the melted wax from the candle holder to keep the wick from drowning.

Tonight, watching how the flame danced reminded me not to over do things, to not drown from our own version of reality. It is also sometimes necessary to rid ourselves of things we have grown to consider as part of our being, to shed some pounds perhaps, or to just pour out the negatives in order to keep the light alive so our purpose can be revealed to others and also to us.


Ang Payo ng Pulmo

Hinga nang malalim, ang sabi nila.
Hinga lang, hinga lang. Isa pa.

Kung madadala lang ng isang buntong hininga,
ang sabid sabid na nadarama,
ang sigaw na ayaw kumawala,
ang bulong na naguusig, nangungutya,
ang galit na humahalo sa pangamba,
ang pagkalunod sa dagat ng mga pinalampas na sandali,
ang pagkamanhid na ikinukubli sa tawa at ngiti,
ang takot sa bawat gabing paparating,
ang pagbagsak mula sa banging hindi pa nararating

Hinga nang malalim, ang sabi nila.
Sa bawat paghinga, may saglit na segundo ng pagasa,
na may kamay na hihila,
na sa mabigat na tangan ay magdadala,
na ang dilim ay kusang magpaparaya…
na kahit sandali’y sisilip ang mga tala.

Huminga nang malalim, ang sabi nila.
Pagkat ang paghinga lang ang tanging magagawa
Nang iyong katawan, nang iyong baga.

Hinga lang, hinga lang. Isa pa.
Huminga nang malalim
….ang sabi nila.


After almost a year, here we go again. Writing an entry here feels like praying to the Big Guy after a long long while. At first, you don’t really know where to begin despite knowing how much you really want to let out. It’s also probably like opening a bottle of champagne, once the cork is out, the words should just keep flowing in.

I used to write regularly here. I guess a lot of it has to do with my “five posts per month” goal and also the novelty of blogging for me at that time. I don’t think I will ever run out of topics to talk about. But oftentimes, when I have talked to somebody about some new idea or thought, it feels a bit redundant to put it again in writing.

Another blogger and also real life friend calls her blog a “repository of her thoughts”. I think that is quite accurate. The cyberspace is a great way to dump some brain farts and probably a place to spill some of those heart farts as well.

Here’s to more online spills and spiels! ūüćĽ (<—that’s a beer emoji, in case it doesn’t properly show)

No Thank You, Google

I thought Google had all the answers.
It does not.

Some theorizes that in the future, not too far from where we are today, the cyberspace will have achieved some semblance of omniscience. But it won’t.

Humans know lots of things. We also do NOT know a ton of shit. We may know some things, but not all. Definitely not everything.

As long as we have a heart that even the minds cannot decipher, the human condition will remain to be a bottomless crevice filled with irony and enigma.

The mystery of our humanity might look endearing (to aliens perhaps?), something to set us apart from unicorns and hyenas. But when you find yourself drowning in that same pool of uncertainty, you will crave for the cold and unflinching comfort that only “knowing” can bring.



After more than a year of not writing anything worth posting, I am at loss. Not exactly at loss for words, but more at loss on how to organize my thoughts, which topic to write first, and how in particular to begin. I think I am over thinking this. I rarely jump the gun especially with words. Maybe I can make an exception this one time? I ramble often, mumble even, non-coherent thoughts that would even confuse me as a reader.

Buuut, what the fork. I hear Sara Bareilles in the background telling me to ” let the words come out”. Seriously!¬†This doesn’t really warrant bravery, writing. Well, this one in particular does not, me thinketh. This is more of a “don’t think, just do” kind of exercise. Probably just like riding a bike after not doing so for so long? I would be the last person to confirm this. I don’t really bike but that’s what they say.

Ah well, a couple of words already on paper. I shake my hand and give myself pat on the back.

“In order to live a long and happy life…, you need to write. No matter how stupid it may sound, you need to write.” – Dr. Gelia Castillo, national scientist

Match Up: Good versus…Great?

Good and great.

These are two words that can be used interchangeably in describing people, events and things. I have often thought that “great” is in many ways better than just being “good”. For example, when ¬†asked¬†about a particularly pleasing experience, one could say that it wasn’t just good. Instead one can describe it as something that was rather¬†great.

Same words, right? Only, the latter seems to carry much more weight — in a higher degree of “goodness” if you may.

But my simple understanding of both of these terms was somewhat changed when I read how Mr. Ollivander described Lord Voldemort in the wand choosing scene in Harry Potter.

Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…. I think we must expect great things from you, Mr Potter…. After all,¬†He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named¬†did great things ‚ÄĒ terrible, yes, but great.

Suddenly, these two words no longer felt like proper synonyms of one another. I mean, can something really be great and not be good at the same time?

Apparently, the answer is yes.

Growing up, I thought¬†that in order for one to be successful (whatever that means for each person), one must also be “great”. Excellence has always been the aim, hence being merely “good” would not really suffice. As I meet people with varying levels of successes and accomplishments, the difference between all things good and great seems to widen all the more. This is not to say that most great people are far from being good, or the other way around. I was just struck by how different these words mean when describing an individual.

Greatness, despite its obvious relativity,  is often easier to gauge while goodness, in its truest form, is far more difficult to define. In an effort to make personal changes in attaining both of these description, one cannot help but compare the roads that lead to each of such attribute.

Winston Churchill once said that¬†“great and good are seldom the same man”.

I wonder if this is really true.

My Yearlong Christmas

I’ve been staring at my Christmas presents since Monday. I really want to rip the wrapping papers apart but I made a promise to my sister to open them on the 30th with the kids. ¬†I got most of my gifts last week so this past days have been a very long marshmallow test for me.


Looking at my unopened presents, I was reminded of the number of “gifts” that I already received this year. The only difference between those gifts and the ones before me is that they are mainly things that can’t be wrapped by paper or string.¬†These gifts are the type that reveal themselves before you slowly, and in manners which you least expect them to. Gifts that cheer you up on a random day and those that make you happy for an extended period of time.

Aside from the material things I received this year, I get a feeling of being truly blessed when I stop to consider my everyday presents; good health, great friends, fun moments, more wisdom, good vibes and generally, more love <3.

Last year wasn’t exactly a bust, but this year has been a big leap compared to last. I don’t really know how I got to be so lucky. The year has not been perfect as I also lost some very important things. But generally, it’s just been so amazing, this 2013.

While I somehow believe that some sort of karmic energy had its hand on this good fortune, I can’t just pin all this on my own awesomeness (insert: evil narcissistic laugh^^). A great part of my gifts are made up of (or made possible by) the equally amazing people who’s had burden of putting up with my daily craziness. So,

Let it be known: I have good people on my side!

BUT wait, what good did I do to have these guys on my team?

With all seriousness, what baffles me is that despite being unworthy of these gifts, I am still being wonderfully blessed. Some call it luck, ¬†chance; I prefer to see it as providence since I have been showered by His grace time and time again. It’s really all on Him.¬†All these gifts makes me feel joyful and humbled.¬†The love is just so overwhelming. I am so thankful.

Mon Dieu, je vous remercie et je t’aime…bon anniversaire aussi ^^

Reading among Other Things

Read 12 books or more…and write about it.

This is number 3 on my 2013 goals. The first part is not too difficult to do but ¬†writing about the things that I’ve read can be a bit tricky.¬†I could have easily written “make a book review” but I opted to be more vague about it. ¬†I have made some feeble attempts to write one in the past (if one can even call it a review) but I think it’s not really something that I enjoy doing — ¬†book reviews.

I’ve never really been a fan of reviews, on books in particular.¬†Reading has always been a very personal experience for me. It is like having a conversation with somebody but you’ll have to trust that somebody (most probably the author) to fill you in with some out of this world story. It may be about a boy wizard, socialist ideals among farm animals, dating in the eighteen century…the list goes on. The conversation may sound one-sided but it really is not. ¬†Once the words are read, your imagination allows you to take the rein from that somebody and to live out the fantasy in your own mind. This, in essence,provides the reader the unique opportunity to travel.

It might sound like a phony clich√© but that has just always been the case for me. In some ways, reading is also like eating. We might be devouring the same book cooked by the same author but we won’t necessarily have the same opinion about it. I guess you can say the same for music, movies and other art form.

But somehow reading is a cut above the rest because we are made to decipher and interpret words that are written. We were given particular clues as to how the places and characters look but I think not everything will be identical in the way our minds project them.

The most recent book I read, The Shadow of the Wind, summarizes my lengthy rambling by this quote,

A book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind” ~Carlos Ruiz¬†Zaf√≥n

Happy Reading ¬†‚̧