My Week in Photos

On the afternoon that I flew in to Iloilo, the light drizzle made the city glow, perfect for wandering aimlessly. My Iloilo trip was mainly for spending time with family (long-overdue) and bumbling about town with eyes half-open. I had no exciting agenda — I just wanted to relax. And I was battling a cold.

Five things that made my stay and the following week:

1. Family


because I always say some bonds need to be reinforced more than others.

2. This not-so-little object of my annoyance


and vice versa.

3. These books


because it’s nice to be reminded of my awesome childhood.

4. Badong


because love me, love me!

5. This reunion


because date nights – reunion date nights – are the sweetest thing.

Truth be told, I welcome any excuse to isolate myself.

Blog Signature


Step Up Routines

Self First

All of us have been there before where our days seemingly resemble an endless cycle of work-sleep-work-commute-work-sleep-work. Well that’s how my life’s been lately and I’ve allowed myself to fall into a rabbit hole of unhealthy routines that have rendered my house passably neat, my lawn a mess of overgrowth and my hamper overflowing.

Unhealthy routines often come in the guise of sleeping in and putting off small chores because “Dammit, I’m so tired I’m taking the Saturday off,” and that means staying in bed for most, if not all day, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns. Before you know it, you’re faced with a mountain of housework because well, being lazy seemed like the only luxury you could afford. And time you enjoyed wasting is not a waste of time, right?

If you live alone like me, taking care of yourself and keeping a tidy home seem like gargantuan tasks after a grueling day at work. And carving some time for your self and home seem counterproductive when all you want to do is fall asleep. The dishes can wait, you tell yourself. I can just recycle my jeans, you add as you fall asleep. This is well and good but waking up to having literally nothing to wear and a stack of smelly dishes is not ideal either. Personally, I find that it makes my stress levels go up a notch, affecting my mood for the rest of the day, weeks even – yes, I can be a sourpuss.

No bueno. Not at all.

So in the attempt to take back my life by putting my health and sanity well ahead of stress, I’ve vowed to find joy in doing tiny things to make the space I call my own feel meaningful and peaceful, an adequate reflection of myself.

Tiny Things

A few scented candles. Nothing beats a cozy, sweet-smelling home. Picture this: You, a good book, coffee, candles flickering in the background. What stress? I find that creating a restful mood uplifts my spirits.


Do the laundry. I hate any chore remotely involving water and the laundry is no exception. But boy oh boy, opening a closet full of clean clothes is the closest thing to heaven as I can get.


Coffee and a good book. I believe in carving pockets of time for myself to recharge and refill my happy tank. Being on the go and on my A-game all the time is tiresome. Studies show that slowing down in some aspects of your life greatly reduces the risk of burnout. So what do you say? Swap your email for a book and actually finish your coffee.


Do the dishes. Again, chores involving water. But doing a little goes a long way, at least where dishes are concerned. Keep your dishes from piling up by washing that cup of coffee AS SOON AS YOU’RE DONE.


With schedules always feeling full, finding time to do nothing else other than sleep can be difficult. We can’t all be perfect all the time but I find that an hour or so in a day to create healthy routines can work wonders for the soul.

Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I’d like to think that my days aren’t always a race toward high performance and career success, that sometimes, life is a turtle-paced walk toward peace and being present.

Blog Signature

Laiya Beaching Weekend ~ April 2015

Five days from  now, we’re going on a quick trip to Laiya, Batangas. Just for the night, the first of (here’s hoping) many, many trips to the beach, any beach this year. So in anticipation of this weekend’s trip, let’s look back at the last time Thing 2 and I ran away to the beach.

Laiya 12

Laiya 4

Now I haven’t been to Laiya or any of Batangas’ surrounding beaches before. A travesty, I know. I was very excited, obviously (I made sure to pack a couple of days before); and even more so because work was starting to get on my nerves and I needed a break. Actually, it had gotten chronically bad at work. It has always been my belief that when things get chronically bad, you do something about it which meant an irrevocable break for me. Not all the time, no; but this time, it was warranted.

And so it was off to the beach but not before waking up to a series of missed calls and messages from harried family members — we had lost my cousin, Kim. It was a huge blow for the family. I immediately packed an overnight bag for Mindoro.

Barok 1

Laiya 9

Current events having taken a turn for the worse, I was in constant anxiety the entire trip to Mindoro. I’m being honest here when I say I truly wanted to stay longer but I also needed the brief getaway we had previously planned. My heart broke in a million pieces for Kim but I was also looking forward to the beach. I remember thinking that with all that’s happened, it was obscene to be excited. But there I was.

Laiya 1

Laiya 7

I was glad to be greeted by the sight of the water, so serene and inviting. I imagined the waves lapping at my feet to retreat with my cares and the guilt I harbored for not staying in Mindoro. We stayed for a total of two nights in Taramindu and one night in Acuatico.

Laiya 3

Laiya 6

Thing 2 and I love the water so much and this trip served to highlight that even more. We were both on the same page in terms of getting the most out of the water and if that meant not leaving until sundown, so be it. I was sunburnt before day 1 was up and so was she. No complains there.

We thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip (4 days and 3 nights) and I wish I could go on and on about the many beach activities we did but really, it was all about enjoying the sun and the water. Wait, we did go kayaking much to Thing 2’s chagrin. I might have made an ill-informed decision to go paddling out in the afternoon in not-so-still waters. I was able to paddle us safely back to shore and my backseat paddler was only too happy to have both feet on the sand.

Laiya 11

Laiya 8

Heeding to the subtle pull of the beach was a decision I do not regret. There were the waves singing to us, a reminder to pause and take a step back. That we do not always need to be in the thick of things all the time. That we can take our time even if the world says hurry, hurry.

Laiya 10

Check out more of our glorious misadventures plus resort/accommodation details here.

Blog Signature

Just start

It’s been awhile since I updated this thing. The writing is wonky but I am trying like how about we create our own NAPOWRIMO and just churn out poem after poem after poem? 

Easier said than done. I haven’t written anything remotely resembling a poem in months. So here I am again, trying to conquer the difficult task of starting. Well.

Blog Signature

Words Elusive

When what you have
is the absence of words
to fill the dry, expectant parchment —

you tell me how you have tried
to fill the gaps with fixtures, pictures, a trip to some distant country, smokes and sighs of longing

to find the words
older than our own still elusive,
the quill poised, the ink quickly drying.

To this, let me tell you — I dreamt of a poem
taking flight from the tips of your fingers
springing forth to bleed unto the page.

In my dream, the poem found itself awake.
And you, powerless in its awakening,
can only stare at tall walls turned short,

narrow ends opening to wider streets offering no resistance
to the words surging, hurriedly whispering —
We’re here. We’re here.

Here. In the arms of an imaginary wind.
The words telling of movement,
promises a return.

Blog Signature

What’s in a name?

Her kiss. Her touch. Her name. This thing we have. The thing that inexplicably, unexpectedly existed before it needed a name. Name, name, name, name it into a pedestal. Explain it and say it. Name it all, everything. Damn you, name that feeling, that sense, that energy; name you and me and us and what you want, and how you want and what this is and what it will be and what you will be and what we can be and what we will be. Tell me what this is now that it wasn’t before. Name the thing that makes it real. Tell me the true story of the origins of life on Earth and name the route that got us from there to here, then to now; us.

From nothing comes something. Names come after. After the longing of unknown cause, the wish never whispered, the thought never shared, the feeling that explodes, the experience that sparkles and blinds, the inventions, the creations, the ache that flares, the thing, that thing, the something that was not here before and now is here, big as the world and wide as the sky; the feeling of her as she steps close. The exquisite feeling of her arms around you. Her lips. Her strength. Her beauty. Her smile that beguiles. Her mind that intrigues. Her voice that enchants. Her words that captivate.

Naming captures. Holds. Forever. Even if what is named changes, evolves, morphs into something else, fades, wanes, disappears, goes extinct or magically reappears. A woman loves a woman. Naming a thing calls it into existence, calls it to attention, heralds its arrival and achievements and failures and its place, its right to exist — and to be — in our very human world.

Blog Signature

I dedicate all my writing to you.

En Pointe

 (c) stilettista, 2011
Ballet Philippines delighted audiences with its performance of Crisostomo Ibarra in 2011. Crisotomo Ibarra was a contemporary dance retelling of Dr. Jose Rizal’s pivotal novel Noli Me Tangere. The dance performance was part of SGV’s 65th anniversary celebrations and Mr. Washington SyCip’s 90th birthday. Atty. Minney Reyes, Dr. Rizal’s great grandniece through his sister Saturnina, was also present to lend her support. She noted that it was a timely staging, as 2011 is also the year of the 150th birth anniversary of our national hero. She encouraged the audience to remember what Rizal died for and to live out those same heroic values everyday. The one-and-a-half hour show featured music by Jed Balsamo and choreography by Paul Alexander Morales, who also directed the performance.
 Check out more of our photos here.

 Blog Signature