Her new poetry

It’s been years since she last felt this way.

He effortlessly painted a smile on her face and made her laugh like she did in ages. Hearing his voice on the phone made her feel like a child who had no weight to carry or deadlines to worry about.

Was it because of his thick eyebrows, chiseled jaws, alluring eyes, broad shoulders or tall body? No. It was because of how he made her want to shape up and become better and unleash the beautiful soul inside her after years of carelessly restraining it in shackles.

It was in the way he made her feel that she fell for him. In his presence, she felt free.

And as she thought of these things, she let out a deep sigh, as a silent, comforting realization slowly dawned on her.

He is her new poetry.

A year of lockdown

Time check: 9:55 p.m. Himala. May gana pa ang brain cells ko para magsulat ng blog kahit 12 articles ang ipinasa ko sa desk ngayong araw. Mga limang buwan na rin pala nung huli akong nagparamdam sa munti kong blog site.

Disclaimer lang na wala talagang kwenta ‘tong post na ‘to. Haha. Sabihin na lang natin na gusto kong mag-unwind, through writing. Delete/edit na lang mamaya kapag nakornihan ako. Lol.

Grabe no, isang taon na rin pala simula nung naglockdown sa Pinas. Ang daming nagbago, ang daming planong nasira. Ang daming buhay na nawala, at mga taong nawalan.

Isang taon simula nung lockdown, ano na nga ba ang nangyari sa’kin?

Wala yata ako sa best state ko noong nagsimula ‘yung lockdown, at noong gumapang na sa sistema ko ang ika nga nila’y pandemic fatigue, naranasan ko rin ang ma-stress, o siguro ‘yung mas malalim na pagod na hindi kayang gamutin ng pagkain o tulog. Siguro, marami rin naman sa atin ang nakaranas/nakakaranas nito, lalo na kung idadagdag mo pa ‘yung iba mong iniisip sa buhay na minsan ayaw kang bigyan ng kahit kaunting break.

Pero a year since the lockdown, alam ko na nag-improve ako, at patuloy na aasang bubuti. May mga bagay din akong natutunan at nadiskubre, kagaya ng…

Continue reading

An appreciation post for my favorite artist, Clara Benin

This is not a feature article. This is an appreciation post.

I was riding a bus sometime last year when I came across on Spotify a song that featured a beautiful combination of laid-back guitar string plucks and an enchanting lady’s voice.

I immediately fell in love with that music. Her music.

The song? Parallel Universe. The artist? Clara Benin.

Continue reading

I just finished writing a book of poetry and prose!

Hello, my few readers! Just sharing a good news. This week, I finally finished writing a book containing poetry and prose. I have sent drafts to three of my closest and trusted friends for them to give me a feedback.

Writing the draft was definitely not easy. In fact, even after reading it at least thrice, in one sitting each, I still find some parts that need revision or minor tweaks. It will be further edited as I incorporate the review of my friends to whom I have sent copies.

The book is composed of 155 pieces of poetry and prose (this can still change), each showing a glimpse of my soul. I have yet to disclose the title, but all I can say is it is about freedom from internal conflicts.

I find solace in the fact that I was able to make a “product” out of the experiences I went through recently and in the previous years. Continue reading

My self-care habits during quarantine

It’s been nearly three months since the Philippines was placed on quarantine to curb the further spread of the coronavirus disease. While the country was placed under a more relaxed general community quarantine since June 1, I am still stuck at home, and I probably will until December 31 after our company decided to subject us to work from home setup until the yearend.

I admit that at some point, things started to get a little stressful especially with all the news and everything else happening around me. To ease up the stress, I have decided to observe some self-care habits which I have practiced for a few weeks now.

These practices are quite simple but perhaps you may pick up from it some tips that you may consider in your own routine.

Meditation

Mobile apps Headspace and Calm are heaven-sent. I have yet to access their content for premium subscription but even their free meditation sessions are superb. Through some sessions I have listened to, I learned that meditation is not about running away from your thoughts but learning how to deal with them properly and having mastery over them.

It only takes at least three to ten minutes of meditation under the basic course of Headspace, and I am amazed at how a few minutes can actually change the way you live for the day. When I meditate in the morning, I found that things that used to bother me, particularly stress at work, do not seem to disturb me that much anymore. Aside from morning sessions, both apps’ meditation recordings for sleep really help me say goodbye to the day faster than normal.

Drinking green tea (or any calming drink)

I have been a lover of green tea—a great antioxidant—since I developed acne back in college. I find comfort in my nerves whenever I drink it in the evening while reading articles or books. For me, drinking green tea is a time for relaxation. It contains less caffeine than coffee so I do not find a hard time sleeping at night when I drink it hours before I go to bed.

Skincare

When stricter quarantine measures were still up, I had no opportunity to buy skincare products because queues in drugstores are normally longer. But now that there are less people in drugstores since many are now allowed to go to workplaces, I finally had the change to grab the skincare products I love. My skincare routine is simple: facial wash, toner, and moisturizer, and at times, sheet masks from Korean brands when I want to relax my face.

I mostly use Celeteque products on my face because they are gentle on the skin and have effective ingredients even though it can be bought with affordable price. You may also buy more expensive products if that’s what you prefer.

Continue reading

Something in the Rain: On why it could be lined up with the best Korean series

Credits: Netflix

The last time I binge-watched a Korean drama was back in college three years ago. I took a break when I started to work because of my busy schedule and other priorities, but now that we are on lockdown, I have more time to search for series and movies worth watching. When I discovered Something in the Rain, also known as Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food, I knew I will be able to finish it in just a matter of days.

This 2018 series is a romantic melodrama starring Son Ye Jin (also the female lead in Crash Landing on You) as Yoon Jin A, and Jung Hae In (also from One Spring Night) as Seo Jun Hee. The plot was nowhere near the fantasy stories I normally like in K-drama. Instead, it showed a story about Yoon Jin Ah, a recently dumped 35-year-old woman, who suddenly saw Seo Jun Hee, her best friend’s younger brother who is back in Korea after a three-year work abroad, in a different light. The two then decide to take their almost brother-and-sister relationship into something more but encounter challenges as their respective households, who practically consider each other as family, oppose them being together.

I have watched a handful of Korean drama shows since high school, and I can say that Something in the Rain, written by Kim Eun and directed by Ahn Pan Su, had a unique storytelling that will really captivate your attention. Of all K-drama series I have seen before, this one, for me, has the most perfect flow of all scenes from start to finish that I can actually rate it above the best Korean series in my list.

Continue reading

Journalism: Ang paghahanap

Naaalala ko pa ang pakiramdam noong una kong makita ang pangalan ko sa dyaryo. Online newspaper, actually. Sa website ng Manila Standard, na The Standard pa noon, ko nabasa ang unang article na may solo byline ko bilang intern noong 2016. Naaalala ko, pinabasa ko pa yun sa isang kaibigan.

“Hindi ko lang macontain yung saya ko,” sabi ko sa kanya noon.

Pagkatapos nyan, sa Rappler naman ako napunta bilang intern din. Natatandaan ko pa ang kaba at saya na naramdaman ko noong unang beses kong pumasok sa building ng kumpanya sa Estancia sa Pasig City. Priceless yung moment na yun.

Ngayon na regular na manggagawa na ako sa media, halos araw-araw ko nang nakikita ang byline ko sa website namin. Pero may kilig pa ba?

Gusto kong maging totoo: Minsan meron, minsan wala. Depende sa isinusulat. Continue reading

‘How He loves’

Napakinggan mo na ba ‘yung Christian song na “How He loves” ng David Crowder Band? Una ko itong napakinggan noong 2016 o 2017, mga panahong simula ko pa lang naiintindihan ‘yung mismong pinaghuhugutan ng kanta—pag-ibig, hindi ng tao, kundi Niya.

Kung hihimayin ang lyrics ng kanta, mamamangha ka sa kung paano nito inilarawan ang pag-ibig ng Diyos.

“He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”

Jealousy. Pagkaselos. Naranasan mo na bang magselos? Sabi ng kanta, ganoon daw ang nararamdaman ng Diyos sa atin, lalo na kung may ibang bagay—o tao—na umaagaw ng pagmamahal natin na dapat ay nakalaan sa Kanya.

cross

Nakakapagtaka. Bakit nga ba magseselos ang Diyos sa mga tao lang naman, na halos wala namang halos ginawa kundi ang talikuran Siya?

Siguro, ito na rin ang dahilan kung bakit sa pag-ibig ng Diyos lang maaaring idikit ang salitang Griyego na agape, o ‘yung pinakamataas na klase ng pag-ibig.

Dahil sa sobrang lawak, mahirap ipaliwanag sa iilang salita ang pag-ibig ng Diyos. Syempre, perpekto ito kung iisipin. At kung alam mong matatagpuan mo ang ganitong klase ng pag-ibig sa Panginoon, tama lang sabihin na wala ka nang ibang hahanapin.

Pero, wala eh. Sadyang mapaghanap ang tao. Continue reading

Wearing Mitch Albom’s shoes in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’

Mitch Albom was the first author I encountered as a teenager. I was 16 at the time, a fragile first-year college student almost clueless about the complexities of life. His book titled “The Time Keeper” was recommended to me by a close friend, and later contributed much to my thought process. The same goes for his other books that I have read in the years that followed. The words “It is never too late or too soon; it is when it is supposed to be” in that first read has caused a huge impact on how I see time as I grew older. (Read here some of the best quotes in “The Time Keeper.”)

Six years later, now that I am 22, Mitch again amazed me with another book which I always knew have been a best-seller since years back but which I have only read recently. Before grabbing a copy of “Tuesdays with Morrie”in a bookstore, I initially thought I should have read it when I was younger. I have always been curious about the content of that book, and at the back of my mind, I knew I was going to read it one day.

That day came this year. But I was mistaken. Upon reading it, I realized the book found me just at the right time.

IMG_0054

The book is about Morrie Schwartz, a then 78-year-old sociology professor who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and how he taught deep lessons about life to Mitch, his former student who later became his friend. Being slowly overtaken by the disease, Morrie gets visited by Mitch on Tuesdays. They talked about several topics that range from the world in general, feeling sorry for yourself, regrets, death, family, emotions, fear of aging, money, love, marriage, culture, and forgiveness.

Continue reading

The healing power of gigs

If you’re an introvert and fond of music, you’ll understand what I mean when I say attending gigs offers some sort of healing.

Late last year, I discovered how it can surprisingly showcase a much-needed pause amid the noisy environment we now have. Gigs do not just serve as opportunities for artists to display their talents but also as avenues to process bottled-up thoughts and emotions, ranging from the more favored joy, love, and peace to those we try to skirt like fear, doubt, and anxiety.

In addition, attending gigs is also a way to support local artists, especially those in the indie scene.

It is important, however, to note which artists to choose depending on the listener’s needs and wants. Everyone surely has preferences on artists and the genres they identify with, but as for me, I opt to listen to those who incorporate message of positivity in their songs.

Partner their music with dim lights at cafes or other gig venues plus the calm ambiance, and you’ll have a beautiful space where your weary mind can forget loads of thoughts and rest for a while.

Speaking of such artists, some of those I prefer listening to in live performances are Clara Benin, Munimuni, and The Ridleys. There are other artists I also look up to, but I have yet to hear them perform in an intimate set-up.

If I would have to choose just one artist in a pool of talented, independent musicians in the country, that would be Clara, who for me is undoubtedly one of the best in blending laid-back and enchanting voice with acoustic guitar.

IMG_0128
Clara Benin

I will not forget when she said in one of her gigs early this year that there is no such thing as negative emotions. Sadness and anger (when expressed correctly) are just part of being human after all. She said what’s important is we know there is hope that we will get better. In an online gig she recently hosted in her Facebook page, she also narrated how her song “Wrestle” tells us to be present in the here and now, even if we want to be in some other places or situations. Continue reading