Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Overdue Year-ender Turned Year-starter Letter

*written on January 11, 2017*

It’s almost 7am here in Koh Yao Yai. My husband is still sleeping soundly inside our room. I decided to stay at the balcony so as not to disturb his peace. Initially, I wanted to stroll alone near the resort’s pier, which is my favorite part of this place. But I’m too lazy to change into decent clothes. So here I am.

To say that the final month of 2016 was crazy is an understatement. We had a wedding, took a short vacation, moved in to a temporary home, celebrated the holidays with both families and went back to work right after New Year.

This honeymoon is meant to help us settle down.

By the way, we’re in Thailand. We didn’t put much thought into this. We got our tickets a year ago for 2,000php each (including terminal fee!). Both of us are beach-lovers, so I thought yeah Phuket is a good choice. Also, it would be our first time to travel alone so overthinking the destination isn’t necessary. It’s a first; It’s special.  We also dodged a bullet just a few weeks before the trip. I booked at a resort that was in Phuket technically but would require another plane ride to get to. Disaster!! When I found out, it was too late because I already paid in full. My bad, I couldn’t resist the no cancellation discount. I sent an email to the hotel manager to explain what happened and, fortunately, he said that they have this other resort, not in Phuket, but reachable by a short speed boat ride. It’s more expensive but I’d take it instead of wasting all that money we paid. It turned out, the island is Koh Yao Yai- perched right in the middle of Phuket and Krabi. It’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful here. Everywhere we look is like a painting. The people are warm.  The food is great. And I almost forgot how much I paid for this. Haha!

Going back, this morning, I wanted to write my year-end entry for 2016. This quiet time is meant for that, but I’m no longer in the mood. Rather than looking back, I want to look forward. This is the year we start building a life together as each other's family. I’ve been married for only 26 days. I do not know yet what marriage is, not even by the coating. But this, I know, is how I hope it would be:

I hope we continue creating our own “family” traditions, like how we start every meal with a prayer. Even though we’re just eating toasted pandesal and leftover ham.

Marriage is about bringing the other person closer to Christ. We are still both discovering exactly what that means but I thought of it that day when he panicked because he forgot to get us a copy of Our Daily Bread. We vowed to read it together every day. We fail most days but we keep on trying.

I hope marriage makes us kinder to each other. I’m sure I can do more of that but in his case, I can’t imagine if he can be kinder than how he is to me right now. He patiently teaches me household chores and just laugh when I don’t get it right the first time. I struggle when making sunny side up egg. Imagine that!

Marriage is partnership. I have this favorite quote, “Love is if you’re happy and I’m happy, we can share. But if I’m happy and you’re not happy, you can share nothing.” This marriage thing has almost made it impossible to have a bad day. When work sucks, all I need is to hear him share how exciting his day was and suddenly, I’m in a good mood, too. Everything good becomes better while the not-so-good doesn’t seem that bad anymore.

In my vows, I promised to love him with bravery, joy, and kindness. My prayer is for those three elements to forever be alive in our marriage. 

I hope that as the years go by, as we celebrate anniversary after anniversary, our only regret would be not getting married sooner. But laugh about the realization eventually because we both know, as much as we love each other, we also treasure the years we were independently striving to become the persons we are now. I hope that, no matter what, we keep our faith in the plan, His plan. We started this journey trusting that there is a plan, and that it is the best, and I know we will get through the years together holding on to that.

I am beyond thrilled to make a full orbit as a Misis this year.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

One Tuesday Morning

Suddenly, I had this weird thought: If our lives would be turned into a movie, I want this moment transformed into a scene. This very moment. The two of us in the car, stuck in EDSA traffic, trying to beat the longest tune record of a caller over the radio. We didn't even know what the price was, and didn't really care because we don't have plans of calling, anyway. But there we were, making fools of ourselves. No longer stuck in traffic. Just stuck in a silliness only the two of us can understand. What a gift to have someone to share this kind of bond with. This is my gift.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Today's YES

I found some precious, hopeful, calming words in the internet today. Hurray!! How infrequent can this be, nowadays, with all the hate and name-calling going around. It's a post by Gang Capati on her tumblr account. You can read it below.

In the middle of all the noise, I can only hope to have her heart and optimism. I envy those that feel so sure but I can't deny the pain in my gut while reading news the past few weeks. I'm scared. I'm unsure. This is unsettling and I wonder how others stomach viewing this as just another online war. But when Tita Gang says you need to wait, work, move, hope and watch (and let them know we are watching!) without drowning- no drowning allowed- it is best to believe her.

"Hindi ako natatakot, kaya ng Pilipinas kahit ano. Kaya ng Pilipino maski ano."

This is real. This is our country. This is our home. Let's soldier on. Konting tibay ng sikmura pa. Tara.

“He is garrulous, yes. But he is a seasoned executive mind. It’s only been a hundred & some days. We see movement, yes. If we can see & hear past the din, this is a bullishness we haven’t seen in a long time. Hindi talaga tayo sanay sa asal kantong-macho sa Palasyo. Puro Polo Club boys ang nakasanayan natin. (well, macho din naman yung iba do'n at alam aling tinidor ang gagamitin at hindi sadyang mangungutyâ ng ibang bansa, pero may bagal din siguro do'n, baka di tayo sanay sa liksi nito?) So maybe a little more time? We have to give ourselves a chance. The histrionics make it hard sometimes to focus on the more important movements of government- but it comes with his ‘fearless dominance.’ (kailangan naman yon, kaysa sa lalamya-lamya)
Every administration has its forte, every administration has its shit. Let’s work with the strength of this one. And I will judge it by its speed of providing services- sa health, sa schools, sa roads, sa courts, sa law enforcement na serving and protecting talaga, at sa pag improve ng taxation natin. (please babaan ang taxes, lalo na sa mid to low income bracket) Do'n tayo tumingin. Kaya ko bang palagpasin lahat ng “putangina or go to hell Obama?” Well, sana mas konti siguro no'n, at sana propio ay umiral minsan-minsan, pero sige lang, focus muna sa institutions and service provision. Kaysa naman impeccable manners pero ang yumayaman lang tropa nila. Ayoko naman ng may “putangina” na nga every other sentence tapos wala pang nag i-improve sa services. I AM SURE that mere static noise is not this admin’s game plan. So let it unfold. Tell this administration we’re watching. And we’re focused on the institutions that will lend more Filipinos a better stab at a dignified life. (yun nga, health, education, care for women and children etc (Google UN SDGs)
Kung nakatingin ka lang sa DeLima shit the past month, mali ang focus mo. May iba pang nagaganap at marami pang ibang kailangang panoorin! Ang Dep Ed, ang DOH, higit sa lahat. Basic yon. May gumagalaw ba do'n? Yan ang mga tanong. Hindi kung “siya ba ang nasa sex tape o hindi.” Baka mali rin mga tanong natin minsan. Or baka mali rin ang naco-cover ng media dahil yun ang may ingay. Baka iba rin ang trip talaga ni President Duterte - hindi naman lahat ma-sasakop ng unang isang daang araw. Pero game na. Tingin na tayo sa mga institusyon. Sa Dept of Justice. Sa BuCor. Sa DFA. Sa DILG. Sa traffic. Sa PNP. Sa CHR. Pause muna sa chismis ng mga babe or subuan ng saging na sabâ. Pause.
So anyway, sige lang, more time, more time. Pag kumontra ngayon, useless lang, lalo lang siya ma aasar, hindi makakatulong ang pag diskaril sa ngayon. Try tumulong kung sa'n mang field of expertise mo. Stay in your swim lane, guard your zone. If it’s in business, stay there, work there. If it’s education, stay there, contribute. Legislation, same. Kung sports, sports. Artista ka? Go! Kailangan ng bansa ng sining. Nasa sining kadalasan ang sagot at linaw. At please- wag mag synthetic drugs. Pusher ka? Tago ka na. Adik ka ba? Pa rehab ka na. If you’re a parent, raise your children with a love of country. Leave the media to parry with this, for now. But keep an eye out. And criticize when you feel it is necessary. But do your work. Do your work and hope.
Go by waves. Decide for changes in waves. Let this wave pass. Let some waves engulf you. Surf over some. But move move move. And watch and watch and watch. And don’t drown. NO DROWNING ALLOWED. And only hope if you work alongside that hope. And walk alongside that talk. This is a choice we can make periodically. Sige lang, may bukas naman lagi. Wala munang kukurap. Wala rin munang bibitaw. Maaga-aga pa. Sige lang. Hindi ako natatakot, kaya ng Pilipinas kahit ano. Kaya ng Pilipino maski ano.“ 🇵🇭✌🏼️
-sagot sa OFW na hindi sigurado kung "ano na bang nangyayari diyan.”

GBC/13 Oct 2016/ Singapore

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Filed under: What I would have written if I wrote my vows today

Let's remember how today feels. 
How it will hopefully always feel to come together after a long day. 
This is just a moment. 
Of all people, we should know that. 
13 years behind us, a lifetime to look forward to. 
This couple of hours will be fleeting once we line them up in the vastness of millions of moments in eternity. 
We can only remember so much. 
But if I may demand, let's remember this one. 
For always.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good Morning?

You wake up every morning with a renewed sense of hope. Bagong araw, bagong umaga. I will do my best today, you say. I will be kind to everyone, you say. I will stand against death penalty because it is inhuman and anti-poor. I will not condone extra-judicial killings because "who watches the watchmen". And then you start to connect with the world thru that silly smart phone, read about today's news and then, just then, fall into the trap of reading the comments section of an article about another drug-related killing spree.


But at that point, you step away from it. Breathe. What did Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. say? Oh yeah. Do not let the world make you hard. Yes, that.

Good morning.

Soldier on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Please don't be a Tito

When I read about Tito Sotto's dialogue with a rape victim on live television where he decided to blame her for what happened, I felt furious. The fact that he uttered those insensitive remarks for the entire nation to hear means he believed he is absolutely right with his thinking. It brought me back to that time, not long ago, when the country was divided about our dear President catcalling a news reporter. My Facebook feed turned into a court room. It was messy. There were things said by women to her fellow women that I couldn't stomach. My fingers were itching to write and weigh in on the issue. But it was politically tainted. I don't have the energy to defend my opinion and see no need for it, honestly. I did not want to join the circus. So what I did, instead, was open my phone's notes and wrote what I wanted to say. 

I wrote this:

To Our Children 

To every girl who is still figuring it out: It's wrong. If someone does that to you, when you are alone, minding your own business on the streets, I hope you do not look down and try to find the fault within yourself. It's not there. It will never be because of any of your doing.

And to every boy who didn't get it so clearly: it's wrong. When your friends encourage you to do it, say NO. When society expects you to behave like that because you are a boy, be insulted. You are not like that. We are not raising you to be like that.

When a woman was catcalled on a stage as big as live television, I am sorry we weren't very clear as to whether it was right or wrong. But kids, we'll try to get it right the next time around. I promise. For the meantime, I'm so, so sorry.

As long as there are Tito Sotto's in this country, I promise to not stop feeling furious. Utang na loob. Let's stand up against this.   

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