Jul 262015


My previous post earned a conversation with a concerned friend who thought I might be clinically depressed or suffering from concealed depression (aha, a brand new disease !). Like I said in the post, I am not prone to depression, but this does not mean I have not felt despair, sadness and grief. I have. I am somewhere in that well now, but slowly finding my way back to the surface.

Now, I know myself, but I also like to guard against denial. I went online after we hung up and read several articles on depression, even took a few quizzes, enough to confirm what I already know: I’m just sad, and I know it’s something that comes with my life experiences of late. If I went into detail, you would agree that it is a very sad time, indeed. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Jul 182015

photo from flowersavenue.com

I have been underwater lately; it has been a year of tough lessons and unexpected reckoning. I am not prone to depression, not one to wallow, but these days levity and laughter are elsewhere. Humor has always been my fall back, reliable beacon, my go-to-light at the end of all of life’s tunnels. But not this time. Still, I refuse to accept it has abandoned me.

On a morning when I could barely keep my head above water, I noticed a family of three walking–sisters and their father. As my car passed them, he flashed a smile at my tinted window. He didn’t mean to, I think; It was already there. It was relaxed, content, full of quiet joy.

A short distance later I saw a boy of about four aiming his face at the breeze just beyond the family car window. On him I saw radiant joy and certainty, as if he knew it would always be his.

Joy. It is everywhere. There will be moments when it will elude you, when you will feel it has left, but on that day I learned the next best thing–to look outside and find it there. For now it is outside you, and it is enough to know it is within reach.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Feb 162015



I recently had a talk with my godson about marriage. His friends seem to be diving in, left and right, and he’s having to fly to different places to attend weddings and christenings. Part of him was feeling a little odd being one of two in his group who is still single, but it was clear he had many questions about the institution. I told him I had as many and feel marriage to be painfully outdated given our present context.

We are different human beings today, evolving towards becoming more and more ourselves (hopefully), so more and more marriages are ending up torn and frayed, if not completely shattered. Religion certainly has not helped in this area. There is much talk about fidelity, forever, sin, morality, God, but not much about the necessary and spiritual evolution of the self, and how this can happen authentically within the same space. Isn’t this what marriage can be–a conscious spiritual endeavour, the nurturing of shared space that allows each individual freedom and self-actualization over time, the recognition and honoring of each other’s essence, learning to love in truth, first ourselves and then another? I move towards these points each time I think about marriage and all its possibilities. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Nov 242014


I’ve been spending a lot of time with mine. I am an introvert, so this is portentous. I seek them out, listen to their often hilarious but wise counsel, and mostly fill myself with abundant gratitude for who they are and all they mean to me.

On a birthday that veered towards abject sadness, they rallied. We buried our hands in clay and made imperfect pottery, all the while making fun of the beautiful mess of our lives. We tormented our teacher with endless inappropriate remarks, laughed even more, sang while we kneaded, and held each other’s stories close. We shared a meal and snickered as the waiters slunk away from our vehement fun.

Shortly after, still on the birthday theme, I travelled with two of them–something I haven’t done since my early twenties. I had the best time chatting, exploring, getting lost, eating with joy and gusto, having our faces made up by strangers who did their best with what we had; We are in our late forties after all. But we laughed even through that and invented jokes about the many undiscovered (until now) uses of our most reliable concealer, all the while acknowledging — if not finding ways to humor — the heartbreak in the room. I chat with these two nearly everyday. We are never far away from each other. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:32 pm
Sep 282014


Every Sunday, when my schedule and weather permit, I start the day with a solo walk. I do this not so much for the exercise, but for the peace it brings me. I pause on the bridge to watch the river below, listening to it gush and travel. I remember the river we used to visit in Los Baños as a child, a little longer than a hop and skip away from my grandmother’s farm. I see my poorly made green flip flops again, remember how they made my feet bleed, and smile at my little girl determination to keep going because I did not want to miss my regular “tampisaw”.  I am lost in the memories before I walk again.

On this day, I am accompanied by butterflies, who flit and flutter beside me. They are so close I feel they must be my beloved grandmother, Mamoo, or my dearest friend, Wyngard, already on a different journey. I remember how they were–Mamoo who was my everything when I was very little. She made me laugh like no one else, taught me what I know in the kitchen, gave me so much. Wyngard, who was also mother to me, who listened to every story of heartbreak and was always there. Always. On Sundays, I feel them with me more and more. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:42 am
Sep 072014



Almost overnight, everything normal is upended, from an innocuous sms exchange suddenly turned vile and venomous, to a meeting about one topic suddenly being manipulated into something more personal and dishonest.  I’m trying not to shoot the messengers. (Insert chortle.) Instead, I’m seeing the unearthing of deep issues that now demand an honest look.

I recognize the signs; I’ve been through this before. I know I’m being violently kicked out of my complacency because I have been ignoring all the calls for attention, hoping they would all disappear on their own. I should have known better. They never do.

The soul doesn’t like complacency. It doesn’t thrive in half-truths and untruths, so if you choose to coast along, ignoring its need for light and clarity, life will assert itself and create uncomfortable and painful situations that require you to pay greater attention. This may be through illness, the demise of a relationship, or a series of difficult events that, when examined objectively, may carry a theme–a message for your next evolution. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Jul 232014

My street after the storm.


One of four nests I found on the ground.

I wish I had a bucket list, and on that list, this item: Fall on a man. Then I could finally cross it out.

We had dinner at a neighborhood restaurant because our village announced another power outage.  I didn’t feel like sitting through that again, so off we went. As we stood up from our table, I lost my balance but managed to lean on an empty table to my left. Thinking I was fine, I took another step. That’s when it happened.  I fell. On a man.  He was shocked.  His wife shot me dagger looks.  She probably thought it was an overly dramatic ruse to steal his wallet.  Or worse (but let’s not go there).

Before I unceremoniously fell on him, I saw my left foot flip unnaturally to the left. Waaaaay left. Hours earlier, I was feeling lightheaded, headachey and out-of-sorts.  My day had been spent talking to my architect/contractor about repairs and improvements, of making my house storm ready and safe, this on top of on-going remedial work, thanks to a former contractor from hell. I bit the bullet and asked my bank to recommend an insurer. There were forms to fill out; more checks to write. I tried to breathe out my anxiety.  It doesn’t pay to worry about the future, but that is easier said than done. I was in a state of overwhelm, but putting one foot diligently in front of the other anyway. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:34 pm
May 022014


I’m so tempted to post a candid, really horrid photo of me here, just to prove a point.  I almost did, until I saw the scratches on my arm, blemishes on my face, remembered how I over-trimmed my eyebrows and well,  I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I was also at my heaviest (not pregnant), my hair was limp and unstyled, and of course I had the worst expression ever: bored, zero energy, definitely anemic–basically, an unthreatening zombie. I could not post it. Not even for that point. I have to say that I look more like that most days before, during and after obsessively scrubbing my shower stall, cooking, exercising, doing the laundry, not cleaning my study–just being myself, and not appearing in selfies. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:23 pm
Apr 032014


I’ve been very quiet since Yolanda and going through a sort of crisis.  There was so much to do and such incredible noise around it.  All of a sudden volunteerism became all about selfies and narcissistic posts.  I just couldn’t get into the culture.  And that made me look twice at the stuff I write and wonder if there was still space for it in today’s obsession with lists, quizzes, travel posts, witty one-liners and other “look how clever I am” entries.  I rebel at the thought of having to post and promote my own writing.  Then D. said just this morning, “But how else will you do it today ?”.

I honestly don’t know. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:59 pm
Nov 222013



I’m trying to write and I’m not sure why, because I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost all words.  While others keep churning them out, I seem to be without. Haiyan barrelled through and claimed them all. It brought forth new ones, like “storm surge”, but I find myself unable to find the old reliables.  My head is full of images, yet the words still escape me.  I’m struggling for balance in a world that is permanently changed. My shopping list includes items I wouldn’t normally buy, in quantities my home never needs, some for the living, some for the dead. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:44 am