Browsing Tag



Lifestyle By April 16, 2016 Tags: , , , No Comments

The past three years have been a whirlwind of airports around the world, visiting friends, relatives, and close family members all scattered in different parts of the world. I have given myself the title of “serial entrepreneur” after having had or started 8 businesses in the past 5 years: a rock and artists bar, an educational tours company, three online retail stores, a local travel agency,a boutique, a milk tea shop, a beach resort, and a beach bar. I am not stopping. I am a writer at heart. I love art. Art inspires my writing, as does music and performances. I used to think that in order for me to be an artist I had to be full of angst and desperation. After many travels and much contemplation, I realised that I am an artist powered by joy. I make art when I am happy.

And I am happy. Despite many wanderings, and many attempts at putting roots somewhere and anywhere, I have finally accepted that “home is not sticks and stones”. I have found home where I have found love. And there is love everywhere. And love is with me.


Photography Journey: Early 2013

Musings, Photography By March 13, 2013 Tags: , , , No Comments

I said, “Welcome back to me, Photoshop. Long time no everything,” because it is only now, in the past three months, that I have opened this application to work on my photos. So long that I have, I believe, forgotten how to use it.

If you notice, I have a new watermark, and I am trying to do justice to it by putting it on photos that I am proud of myself and amusing myself with its placement every time.

If there are some differences in the ways I process my photos now, I have the following to thank for:

1. Mark Terence Sy – for the mentorship and the workshop last December where I learned a few camera tricks and tips, as well as how to use Adobe Bridge in some ways, among other things, of course.

2. My workshop classmates who basically taught me the existence of some, as well as how to use, awesome Adobe Photoshop plug-ins. I have not mastered them as I have not been sitting long enough in front of my laptop in the past months to effectively learn anything.

3. Some cheap filters that I acquired in November 2012 that I have also not mastered enough but yes, I will get there, that because they are cheap and I do not know anything, have also taught me how to use my camera in such a way that I shoot with the knowledge that I will crop the vignetted edges.

4. Some people and experiences to draw inspiration from. Not to mention infographics brought to me daily by my fantabulous Facebook feed.


Wandering Thoughts

Musings By March 11, 2013 Tags: No Comments

It is my first day back in Manila, after spending almost 11 days in the Visayas area – mainly in the islands of Cebu and Bohol. I have a lot of catching up to do: four months worth of photos and quite a number of blogs. My blog has been eerily quiet for the past three months. The days fly by, as do my thoughts, and my life. I try my best to keep up and basically live my life as quiet and productive as possible.

I have a lot to write about, a lot of people to see, a lot of places to go to, and it seems the days aren’t enough. Or even me, there is not enough of me. But again, I try my best to keep up.

Sometimes I do not know what exactly is happening, but I try to do things, always with my fingers crossed and hope and pray that what I am doing is right, or at least leads to something useful and worthy of the time I spend on it.

In my wanderings in the past months, I have managed to lose friends, and make friends, at the same time. Some of these friendships, I have surprisingly, managed to keep and nurture, regardless of time and distances. This gives me something to be proud of, despite many failings and shortcomings.

There have been a lot of changes in my life or the way I live it, but I am more inclined to wish that there are some changes too in the way I think and approach things, which I consider more important, for what is the purpose of changing things, when my heart and mind do not?

I once read a blog on the harvard business review website and thought about writing about it, a few months ago, when my life has not taken a significant turn just yet, but it got buried in the complexities.

It made me think about the many people that have been in, out, and around my life, and can only marvel at how much I owe them what I am. I am what I am right now because of these people, who have shaped me, and I cannot be grateful enough. I can only hope that they are as happy to have me in their lives as I am to have them in mine. All that I am, think, and do, have been shaped by the many people and things that I fit into my life, no matter how fleeting or enduring, and deep or shallow.

In the coming days, I hope to be able to post the photos from the following events since December, in my website, or my Flickr, or even in my Facebook. I have not really posted anything much. A friend messaged me last week to inform me of his observation, “How are you? You have been quiet on Facebook of late.”


Love, love, love – Of Monsters and Men

Musings, Personal By February 3, 2013 Tags: , , , No Comments

When this site started out, it was really a very personal blog – a space for all my ruminations, intellectual masturbations, thoughts on family, motherhood, activities and photos with and of friends, short stories, and emotional creative output. It was basically a more permanent version of my Multiply site and a repository of my very personal blogs from Friendster written all the way back from 2005.

This was not meant to be a blog that was supposed to make an internet personality out of me, or make money for me, or a landing page for information the general public might find useful. I was into travel and sharing information for other travelers like me, so I put out a site specifically for that, Maintaining two sites became too tedious though, that in the end, I merged both. And with the expansion of my interests, friends, and activities, this site became a catch-all for everything related to my own personal lifestyle; and subsequently, put me in that category. That being said, I have tried to avoid posting personal blogs. I have not written one, in my effort to avoid putting myself as the person that is me in the limelight, but instead, putting myself as a purveyor of useful information.

I have not written any personal blogs in a long time, but this is the day I will. Because I just need to.

I am at a crossroads of my life. Today is the day I move out of the house that in paper, fifty percent of which I own. Today is the day I officially begin a new chapter of my life.


A Work of HeART

Musings By July 7, 2012 Tags: , No Comments

The first days were spent getting to know my kids. They may be taller and bigger than me now but they’d always be ‘my kids’ in my eyes.

In my classes, I made my students give me at least three things they thought I should know about them, just little things they wanted me to know about them – things they liked or not like to to do, liked or did not like to eat, and habits and attitudes. I’ve known them since they were young, we’ve not seen each other in seven years and I wanted to know how in those past years they have changed. I asked them if seven years ago felt like a long time, and was glad they feel the same way I do – it seemed to me only yesterday. They still look the same, just bigger and taller, yet the same. And to them, I still look the same too.

I asked them about their most memorable experiences from years past, and their expectations of this year, as well as how they see themselves a year or so from now. I always believed that the purpose of having an education is to be able to use it, and because of that, I always made it my purpose to give them a learning experience that they can use.

It felt really good just getting to know each other, all over again.

And then, I asked, “If there’s one thing you need to know about me, what is it? Think of a question that I need to answer.”



Musings By July 1, 2012 Tags: No Comments

Devastated would be an understatement for what I felt the past week. A horrible, numbing feeling that I waded through as best as I could by immersing myself in activities that involved things that I loved like music, art and coffee, not necessarily in that order, in an effort to be inspired enough to wake up when the morning comes.

I went to gigs, as music is thoroughly therapeutic, as much as laundry. I took as many photos as I could, delighting in captured smiles of new as well as the familiar faces. I overworked on long overdue projects just to take my  mind off the aching. After more than a year, I stepped once again at a theater, an old love, armed with a camera to hide my face with. And after the performance, walked to the harbor, breathing that mundane well-loved smell of the sea, tainted as it was, and I took it all in.

There I sat, in chair and table still wet from a recently concluded rain shower that I missed, with a cup of coffee, staring at a lonely sunset at the edge of the sea. A perfectly forlorn afternoon for my thoughts and ill emotions. I thereafter wandered amongst the stalls, looking for a unique toy to bring home to my child. Finding nothing, I wandered into the thoroughfare, steps in the direction of the east. Hidden songs from a play list thought long-deleted from the days when I still owned a Nokia for a phone wafted into my ears.

And there, just as I was crossing the wide highway, I read a text message from a much-loved old friend, and I was overwhelmed with such joy that tears sprung from the empty pools that were my eyes and streamed down my pallid cheeks. I was asked a question, and it was yet, the sweetest three yeses I’ve ever given, other than my daughter, anyone. I may be a nomad, but my heart still knows a home. And today, home beckons.


Why I’m Always Out, My Own Thought Catalog

Musings By June 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , No Comments

After being at a rock bar nearly every night for almost a year and being exposed to different kinds of music and different kinds of people, should it come as a surprise if, being back in Manila and just staying at home, I always long for it?

I had loved being around people and being out at night, that is the only possible reason why I stayed that long.

These days, I find myself always longing to come out late at night and look for where the music and the people are. It’s just me looking for me.

My nights last year always started out with a cup of coffee, either at my favorite Starbucks branch in Magsaysay Avenue or a cup my staff made for me, that I quietly enjoyed either by the large windows of Wharf Galley overlooking Magsaysay Avenue or the tables at Kebob downstairs. Starbucks is only my third favorite coffee shop, after Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Bo’s Coffee, but in Naga, I had loved hanging out there because of the big trees outside. I had loved the open air tables, where pieces of flowers and dried leaves blew with the breeze.


You Had Me at Exciting

Musings By May 29, 2012 Tags: , , No Comments

There were a number of articles that amused me the past days, triggered by this article someone from my network shared:

“10 Reasons Why You Should Date Someone in the Arts”

Frankly fed up with the onslaught of articles on “Date a Man who Reads“, “Date A Girl Who Travels,” “Date a Boy who Travels,” and more recently, “Don’t Date a Boy who Travels,” this article is a refreshing break. Though now that I have re-read the article, “Date a Girl who Reads“… or Writes, for that matter, I have, never been this agreeable, nodding my head, more times than I can count. In between little smiles of course. Why we are obsessed with justifying WHAT we date is beyond me, but that’s just me, whose so-called tastes have always been baffling to many, to say the least.

1. They will always have a friend who’s in a show, or having a reading, or playing a gig, or showing in an art gallery.

You will go on dates such as these, not because we have friends who are in a show, or  reading, or a gig, or having an exhibit, but because, we simply cannot think of anything else to do or a better place to go than that, off the top of our heads. Or that’s where we we’re going anyway, before you expressed interest in joining us.

Below that is a link to a supposedly related article on 5 Date Ideas for Night Owls. I have never been a morning person and if it we’re up to me, no date should start before five in the afternoon, but there is a shortage of people who are up for dates after midnight, at least in my 30 years of experience. Unless they want sex. And in that point, is that a real “date”?

Which brings me to:

3. People who work in the arts often have relatively free/strange schedules.

Yup, that’s us, the blokes with the strange schedules. Actually, we’re even raising our eyebrows at the word, “strange.” To us, nothing is ever considered strange.

Which, promptly, brings us to:


Letter from a Mother to a Daughter… Happy Mother’s Day

MOMents By May 8, 2012 Tags: , , No Comments

My mom and I have never been close. She was never really active in my life. A long time ago, I came to a point when I did not care anymore about our relationship. I care now, but she is gone.

It’s been more than a year since her passing, and I can’t say I miss her as much as my sisters and brother do, for she was never really that big a part of my life. But when I come home to our house in Bicol, it feels ever more empty. Along with her absence came the feeling of our house being homey. She was truly what kept that house, home.

Some days I think about what I could have done to have loved her better. Some days I still fault myself for not having done more.

Now that I’m a mother myself and my own gone, never has it been ever clearer to me, that my mom, more than the mother I knew she was, was truly her own person, and there were so many things she had to compromise so she can be the mother she thought we wanted.

When I read this, how I wished I had read this before, so that I understood her more or better – or anything that could’ve made us closer. Now all I have are regrets, for things that were never done, things that will never be.


Letter from a Mother to a Daughter:

“My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.


Riding in Buses with Boys

Musings By October 8, 2011 Tags: , No Comments

The only bus at the terminal when I walked in at four in the morning was a Florencia line with a sign to Nato Port – Sagnay. I boarded it with a smile and thought how nice it would be to actually get off at the port. I told the conductor I was getting off in the town of Pili, some fifteen kilometers and thirty minutes away, and paid the fare of P15. Oh how I long for the beach, I thought as I closed my eyes.

I woke up to peer through the stained glass windows and the pelting rain into the dark of what looked like vast expanses of watery rice fields and I knew instantly I had slept too long. I checked the time – five o’clock. Sleepy and not knowing where exactly was I, I decided it was best that I get off in the town proper, whatever town that happened to be.

I entertained the thought of getting off at the port but I looked at my boys and decided, maybe next time.

I got off the town proper, still not knowing what town, and walked under the eaves of the line of sari-sari stores shut at five past on a rainy Saturday morning until I found a sign. It read:


The Beach Will Wait

Musings By August 29, 2011 Tags: , No Comments

I should be writing. There are so many things to write about and people to write to. Letters, I should be writing letters and these days, I seem to do nothing else but that. Important ones, not like the ones I used to write. Ones that do not matter now, if they ever did.

I should be writing letters, but right now, at 3:51AM, the last thing I want to write are more letters to other people. Perhaps a letter… to myself. Musings, like the ones I used to write.

Two nights, I sat on a bright yellow bench, with my dusky pink sweater wrapped around me, a cup of strong sweet and creamy coffee in a stryfoam cup bought from the sari-sari store nearest to that bright yellow bench that has endeared itself to me, and listened to Taylor Swift’s Fearless on my phone. I never did pay much attention to Taylor Swift, except when her video is on the music channel because she is absolutely pretty with that pouty lips and tiny mouth of hers, and except during that time when Kanye West was an a** to her at some particular awards show, but for some reason, I found it fitting to listen to Taylor Swift as the wind blew my hair around my face and the coldness of the early morning seeped into my jeans. A pair of bootleg jeans, perfect for my cowboy boots that has made itself famous in this particular city I happen to find myself often enough these days and that I have dug out of the bottom of my childhood cabinet – a memoir from my high school days.


Easy Saturday

Musings By August 8, 2011 Tags: , No Comments

I make it look like Naga and Manila are not nearly 500 kilometers away from each other with the number and frequency of trips I make between the two cities within a month. The past months have been truly frenetic, as is obvious from the infrequency if not totally lack of, blog posts. Let’s not mention the database crash that occurred almost two months ago that left my site with features and almost half of my old entries missing.

Moving on (and I’m always moving on it seems), I am back in Manila to work, work, work it all away. From my original Wharf Galley staff of seven, one headwaiter, two waiters, one chef, one assistant cook, one cashier and one sound technician; I now have nine, plus one bartender and one operations manager. This makes the work, for my staff a little bit easier with regards to inventory, and for me a whole lot easier with the responsibilities I used to have. I now officially have someone to audit my daily financial reports, in addition to my accountant/bookkeeper on retainer, and to run my errands while I am not in Naga.

Though it may seem that I am always out on supposed nights out, otherwise known as gimmicks, those are actually gigs I have to go to as part of my responsibilities as bar owner, producer and somewhat band manager.


Welcome Back…. A Little

MOMents, Musings By July 20, 2011 Tags: , No Comments

I’m back home now, where I fell asleep on the sofa earlier this morning after having about an hour and a half of good chat over chocolate milk with H. Lia watched her favorite morning shows on the telly while she laid in my arms as I slept.

As of this writing, I am sitting on Lia’s orange little chair while the electric fan blows our way, fanning me and my little one who is fast asleep on the sofa. She was stacking cans of soft drinks on the table in front of the television set when she turned around and slipped on her milk bottle. An accident that left her sprawled on the floor, with a bleeding lower lip and screaming for her Mama. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms, wiped the blood, the sweat, whispering in her ear words of comfort, until she fell asleep. She fell asleep with a frown on her face, while I had a smile on mine. I have missed this so badly. This. This baby in my arms. The past nights were spent pining away for her, as I could not sleep in my hotel room, in a bed that in the past I have always shared with her, missing her hands entwined with mine.

The past weekend had been very difficult. In so many ways.

But yesterday as I was leaving, I hugged my father tightly while he was cooking his dinner, asking him if he was going to be okay all by himself. I went home to get a blanket, and so that I could sit on the rocking chair in the balcony and spend some time with my father. A little chit chat. We had cried ourselves away last Saturday, quietly, as discreetly as possible.

Today, I am thinking of going to the hospital or a doctor to have my back checked, maybe have an x-ray done. Maybe I might also have some time to go to the dentist. Dulaang U.P.’s Rizal X is opening tonight so maybe, finally, after so many months, I can shoot again. Then it seems that my Travel Factor friends are all in town so maybe we can get together for our usual midweek get together. Maybe, just maybe.

This blog has been through a lot. About 50% of the original content is missing. The backlinks don’t work half of the time. My list of favorite links on the right navigation panel need to be set up again. I need to bring back the categories and the top navigation drop-down menu. All of my about 4,000 tags were totally erased. Ah, a lot needs to be done.

Tomorrow it’s all back to work again. I’m not looking forward to the operational meeting as I believe we will be looking at “Not Done” tasks again, and no one will be happy about it. But for today, let me lounge around in my own home, while my baby sleeps, comforted by the fact that in her dreams and in her reality, her mama is back.


Hello blog, it’s been a while…

Musings By May 27, 2011 Tags: No Comments

Needless to say I have been very busy with everything that’s been going on with my life. Some of them I freely disclose, some of them I prefer to keep private. There are so many times that I wish I can just leave everything in Naga behind and go back to my friends, my work and my peaceful life in Manila. (I barely have time for my friends here though they always make it a point to come see me at the bar and even take me out to the movies).

Twice, my wallets were lost to the sneaky hands of the poor of the streets of Naga. I lost money, my cards, IDs and my trust in the people of Naga. The streets are not how I remember it to be. The people even. Or maybe I’m just older. I found myself dazed in front of a police officer filing a blotter report for the sake of all the affidavits of loss I have to file so I can have replacements for my cards and IDs.

Then I was in a car accident.


Forgetful Lucy

Musings By May 24, 2011 Tags: , , No Comments

It’s midway till dawn, quiet, with only the hum of air-conditioners reverberating through the concrete walls and wooden floors, interrupted by the soft pattering of the rain on the roof of the back kitchen where I do one of the things in life I love most, laundry. Yes, laundry.

I have the house all to myself, or so it seems. There is no one sleeping on the living room floor, there is no one guarding the main door, there is no one walking around the house in this godforsaken time of the night except me, and I like it.

In the main bedroom, the little one and the big man sleep on the soft bed, cradled by pillows, stuffed toys with names like Happy (I think I’m happeeee!) and Doug.

I sit here, illuminated only by the light coming from the screen of my laptop, and close my eyes and think: All I wanna be is outside, laying on a hammock, with the breeze blowing strands of hair across my tired face, lined prematurely by nearly three years of… of I don’t know what.

Do I regret the things I did? Yes, of course. But all the things I did, I did only because I loved, and if that’s the case, is it true that love finds a way to flow back to me?

All the things I thought was dear then are now meaningless, lost in the cold winds, rain and snow. Snow!.

When I sleep, I’m always grateful, no matter where it is, because wherever that may be, it is still better than the bleachers I slept on for hours on stretch on busy airports in countries where I knew no one and no one knew me.

If you think you can make me feel alone, alienate me, ignore me, say all kinds of things about me, at me – you can’t, for the simple reason that I know exactly how it is to be truly alone.

If you think I’m cold, you don’t know cold. The kind that seeps through your bones, through five layers of sweaters, each one as useless as the next, the kind that seeps through your skin, to the core of your being, to your very soul.

Danger, courting danger. What if I had not been able to make it out of that city safe? There was absolutely no one there but me. Just me, cold yet resolute. Take me home, my tired, sore feet.

Death, courting death. I had looked at that man’s face smashed against the concrete, how many times in that night did I wish that that was me instead? Whose wail was that heard echoing through the night? Was that mine? Dazed and shaking to the core, yet alive – with fine shattered glass all over my head.

Pain, enduring pain. The pain of pretending that everything is alright, that things do not hurt. Smile, smile away. Come, let’s hold each other through the night. And forget me as you go. Did I ever really matter to you? The way you slipped in the night, quietly, with hardly a whisper, what did that mean? When its my turn to go, would I remember to pass by the people who wish I would or would I go straight into the warmth of the one I loved the most in this world? I wonder who that would be then.

It rains and rains and I imagine myself holding out the tip of my forefinger out into the rain to catch a drop. Longing for the sound of impact as a water drop collides against skin.

This is my 29th birthday post. And I had thought, and perhaps nearly wished, that the birthday blues would not get me this year, but it has, it always does.