Past and Future


CLOSURE? No, it wasn’t unceremoniously granted in that un-cinematic, crying-filled, climactic (mostly my end) yet cold and calculated (on his part) conversation, but it came in the very telling and stunning silence which ensued and never actually ended. The absence of any words left to say spoke volumes. That alone told me all I needed to know. That in itself was “the answer” others spend the rest of their lives seeking.

IT BROKE ME in such a way that only something that was really real, and suddenly gone, could. But it’s exactly that brokenness which almost killed me that made me whole again and feel even more alive than I was before, the very exquisite (albeit educational) pain that’s now teaching me to truly love and nurse someone else going through it:

A KIND OF LOVE that isn’t at all the all-consuming blaze that razed my past, but a love that started as an unexpected spark of attraction, a stubborn flicker of hope, tended with revolutionary patience to a slow yet sure and steady flame. One that illumines all doubts and puts a fire in your proverbial belly, but this time without burning yourself in the process, the kind of love that just feels right, that hopefully lasts and fights and gives light in turn for a lifetime.

For my past, and hopefully, my future. ūüôā

#Flames #Feels #Future #WritingPrompts

[Originally posted on, April 25, 2018]

Silence please.

Sabi ng isang kasama, “Huwag mong hanapin ang sarili mo sa taong mahal mo.” (Don’t try and find yourself in the person you love)
I think though that that’s a natural impulse that must be overcome, the need and desire to find someone familiar and not have to adjust to new terrain, a challenge to accept the fact that in loving someone else, this person is truly an Other, an entirely different being one must fully understand in order to truly love.
Through the process of caring for this person, I’ve learned as much about myself as I have about them. My perception and prioritization, my processing of time, of communication, of grief itself, is such a stark contrast to that of the other person.
I guess God is teaching me a whole new way of loving, of healing someone so similar, yet so different from me. All the more challenging, but definitely more fulfilling and worthwhile.
My whole life, from the noise and chaos of the NICU to the perennial white noise and background music I feel I always had to have on, it’s as if I’ve always craved noise. It reminded me of presence, that someone was there, that something was happening.
For me, silence meant absence, neglect, stagnation.
Thank you for reminding me that silence can be therapeutic, meaningful, and at times necessary, after all.
Thank you for teaching me that sometimes less is more, and that love is not always something that needs to be said, but more importantly, shown.
If you’re reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t give you the silence and the listening you craved just when you needed it most.
(This is the first blog post I’ve written on this page for almost six years, and hopefully the first of many in which I write about you)
Sana mabigyan mo pa ako ng pagkakataon at kausapin mo pa rin ako. Kapag handa ka na.
Magpahinga ka muna. Sa katahimikan.

PS. Happy Birthday, Grandma.

Falling into their Right Places


Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a course that demands so much of your time and energy (especially where I come from, country and¬†school) that if you don’t have the heart for it or if you can’t imagine yourself living the rest of your life as a nurse or working with patients, you literally won’t survive the stress and the requirements. My batch mates who realized this early on made the decision to drop-out of our major subjects (professional courses) and work on raising their grades and meeting the requirements to shift to different courses.

Since the school year here in the Philippines is from June to March, it’s that time of year again where the results for shifting and transferring among college courses and/or campuses are released. Shifting and transferring is a tough, meticulous process with quite a paper trail. Sometimes interviews have to be conducted and transcripts compared for you to earn a slot in the course.

On Face Book, some of my friends, in such a jubilant mood, announced to the world that they entered this course or that campus, whereas some others weren’t as lucky.

I remember having been forwarded a quote via text message a few years back. It went something like this:

“When your world seems like it’s turning upside-down, like everything is falling apart, be patient. Just wait. Everything will fall into their right places, sooner or later.”

There is just such a warm and fuzzy feeling when you see the people you care about fulfilling their goals and witnessing their dreams turn into a reality. A close friend of mine who truly struggled and tried to hold on to the course (although it was never in her plans to enter the medical field) pulled her grades up and submitted all the requirements for shifting to another course. She had “back-up plans” in different campuses and schools. She started to worry when her “Plan A” didn’t turn out to be a success. Little did any of us know was that she was granted a slot in the BA Journalism program of the College of Mass Communication in the Diliman Campus of the University of the Philippines.

Words cannot explain how happy and proud I was for her because I knew that the writer in her would finally have a chance to shine; an avenue for expression and an opportunity to hone itself. Writing is and has always been a hobby and passion of hers. Getting into the Journalism Program was tantamount to her having taken the next step to the fulfillment of her dreams and to pick up those pieces of her life gone awry, so to speak.

Another friend of mine tried to shift out of Nursing into another course, not because she didn’t have the heart for it, but because her parents weren’t happy with the idea of her becoming a nurse. Being a member of our¬†barkada¬†(a core group of friends), she spent a year in another part of the campus, taking up subjects different from ours in order to make the grades and requirements needed to shift. But shifting is a very competitive process, and oftentimes, the “supply” of slots offered is depleted too soon for all of the “demand”. In short, she didn’t make it and some other students deemed more qualified were granted the limited slots.

My heart goes out to this friend of mine who didn’t make the shift and all others like her, because their plans didn’t seem to work out this year. I’m not one to tell them to give up, to suck it up and move on. They can always try again next year. But they’re comes a point in life where¬†you just have to know when to stop.

Go ahead, fight on to the very bloody and bitter end if need be if there is still that smallest, most tiny, most unlikely glimmer of hope, but if fighting is costing you more resources, time and emotions than ¬†a retreat, where is the sense in that? This just doesn’t apply for the whole shifting drama, by the way. I boldly daresay that it applies for life, as well. ¬†To fall takes faith, courage and most importantly, trust. Trust in the circumstances and into your own intuition. But have serenity and sense to know that there are some things that aren’t worth changing.

Learn to accept failure as a blessing in disguise or an opportunity for growth or introspection. See where you’ve gone wrong and work on it. Learn to be content. Sometimes, we waste too much time and energy chasing after things which aren’t supposed to be ours or aren’t for our own good in the first place. We dream of falling into the right place when, little do we know and late do we realize, we’ve been in the right place all along.

To Be Called a “Hero”


What does it mean to be a hero?

No, I’m not going to give you the oft-used, childish and idealistic answers of “yung nag-alay ng buhay niya sa bayan“. Yes, it is a possible answer, but it is hardly realized.

I’d rather give you one concrete, modern-day example before I go into all the socio-civic stuff.

I was just called a “hero” by a newly-found friend the other day because he said I made him happy. (although maybe not in the way he expected or wanted) He told me that I “saved” him from the throes and bouts of depression and thoughts of running away from their house..etc. It was if I picked him up from his lowest of lows by extending him some concern and by showing him some attention which served as a distraction and a way out for all of his negativity.

Well, being called a hero is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

But is making someone happy, saving that person from depression and extending concern already an act of heroism?

Modesty aside, I guess it is, on the personal scale and if heroism is to be some subjective/relative virtue.

In today’s day and age where you’re supposed to grow up right away and mind your own business and not give a sh*t or the light of day to most other people and live life in the fast lane, granting someone your quality time and sole attention is already an act of heroism, especially if that person is at his or her low point or in a state of vulnerability, like nurses not leaving their sick patients’ bedsides. (Okay, so that was a little biased. Deal with it. Hihi.)

Of course, heroism, especially on the grander, national scale, entails a greater responsibility and sacrifice; purity of intentions and consistency of deeds. Which makes a lot of personalities which we enshrine in our pantheon of heroes unworthy and a bunch of unsung heroes want of due recognition.

For me, to paraphrase the words of one of my wiser professors, it’s those who choose to stay and serve the country who are the real modern-day heroes, despite feelings of hopelessness when we’re compared to the progress of other countries. I’d give them recognition and respect over those who choose to follow their (dare I say, “self-serving”?) dreams of going to those damn greener pastures.

Being a Filipino and being talented and putting the Philippines on the map isn’t enough to be called a hero. *ahem ahem Pacquiao, Pempengco, Jessica Sanchez…etc.* ¬†Taking pride in them is moot if we use these personalities to assert our superiority over other races and nations, and not just our identity as a people as it should be.

But being a good Filipino, being honest and selfless, offering your talents and strengths for the country and putting the Philippines in the history books instead is hero-status-worthy.

On a Similar Frequency


For all of us with radio sets at home. isn’t annoying when the slightest touch of the dial during the middle of your favorite song turns it into white noise? Ang hirap kayang hanapin ng mga¬†station¬†na gusto natin.

I guess that’s how it is with friends. A simple nudge of the dial to just the right frequency and you light up and become so much more animated in your conversations. It’s as if at that particular moment in time, your thoughts just connected. That’s enough to put at least a smile on your face. Finding someone who truly understands you without hesitation or confusion is really quite a joy to behold.¬†Because it’s that hard to find people to relate to, at least in my case.

No’ng¬†high school¬†kasi, ¬†I was able to find a great circle of friends after a while, but due to personal differences and our differing paths and divergent decisions, we didn‚Äôt last that long. For the most part though, I felt that some people misconstrued my ambition and outspokenness as something of intimidation and conceit, which in turn, made a lot of my classmates detached, disenchanted and evasive of me for a while, unfortunately.

Kung dati,¬†sa ibang ¬†friends¬†at¬†schoolmates¬†ko, I seriously had to “tone myself” down and seemingly silence the geek and AmBoy within me. I avoided talking about academic things or rambling on about this kind of philosophical concept with my other friends, because they enjoyed too much in talking about their latest victory in some repulsive computer game or who they saw when with who at the mall. I tried my best to curb and hide my American accent, lest I be thought of as someone¬†mayabang.¬†Because of my yearning to fit in and assimilate, it was if I denied myself of who I really was.¬†Come college though, all those walls I thought I needed to reach out and to protect myself were toppled and rendered unnecessary and nonexistent by my new school’s open-mindedness.

One of the things I love about my current school (the University of the Philippines) is that, no matter who or what or where you’re coming from as a person,¬†parang makakahanap at makakahanap ka rin¬†ng taong sasakay sa mga¬†jokes at¬†random thoughts mo. You’re bound to find someone. I feel so free and so at ease in my school because every one is so diverse and insightful, so much so that you see a bit of yourself in them, but through their eyes, you learn so much.

Oo, aminado ako, minsan, weird o malabo talaga akong kausap, pero meron at meron pa ring mga kaibigan na darating na kayang-kaya akong sabayan at intindihin. 

I’m so thankful that nowadays my signals are understood, the reception is clear and that I hear more than shallow white noise.

Welcome to my Incubator


¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Instead of the usual happy scenario of being surrounded by cakes, candles, balloons and abundant food in the comfort of one‚Äôs home; I‚Äôm hooked up to all these wires, various tubes and weird apparatuses in a frantic Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I find myself celebrating the months leading up to my birthday in some dreary plastic tub called an incubator ‚Äď trapped, alone, fighting for survival and barely even human.

                This is how and why I am.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† After just a mere 23-week stay, I was abruptly evicted from my mother‚Äôs womb, for reasons only God knows. I weighed a mere 1lb, 13 oz (844 grams); and was measured to be only 12 ¬ľ inches long. To think, if the average and normal human gestational period lasts around 39 weeks, I came out roughly three months ahead of schedule.¬†

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Many a tense, sleepless night did my parents have to endure, hoping for the best but expecting the worst ‚Äď wishing on a fervent prayer for my fragile life that hung by a thread. Everyone said that it was nothing short of a miracle that I came out of that whole ordeal alive, perfectly normal and healthy, even on to this day.

                I do believe that it was a decree of Divine Providence that I live to tell my tale. I mean, if it wasn’t for my dad serving as an enlisted member of the US Navy at the time, and the very generous insurance that the military endowed, most likely, I wouldn’t be here to type this life story of mine right now.

                There I was: not even aware yet of the wide world waiting for me, but already a veteran of hospitals and a certified globetrotting Navy Brat.

                 The stage for my life was set: I was raring and ready to see the world.

That was an excerpt (well, the introduction, actually) of this autobiography I made that was required in one of my college subjects.

So, this is me, folks! Welcome to my blog! I believe this serves just right to be my first official blog-post (My disclaimer came first)

Besides being the machine which saved my life, “incubator” holds a special symbolism and meaning to me. I deemed the term apt enough to be the title of my blog because I believe that “incubating” my thoughts will be what it’s mostly all about. I mean, this page, I hope, will provide me just the right medium and space to express and hone my thoughts into a form intelligible, permanent and appealing to myself, and maybe even to others.

Sometimes I feel like I never left the incubator, like I still spend my life inside of it. I’ve been wanting to write this blog for the longest time, but it’s only now that I mustered enough initiative to start writing. I tell myself that it’s only now that I’ve had enough time to actually sit down, type and tinker with all this blog stuff to assuage my frustration at my supposed-inefficiency.

I’m the kind of person who has so many plans and wants to do so much, but I just don’t know how exactly to carry them to fruition or completion. It’s like I’m in this constant state of developing myself, but I don’t know when, where or how this development will end up.

Take this blog, or even studying for an exam or watching a movie, for example. I’d put it off until I feel that can’t put it off anymore. I’d think of all sorts of justifications or excuses why I didn’t do what I wanted to do in the first place. Procrastination at its best? Maybe. But I remember reading an article entitled “Are you a Procrastinator or an Incubator?” I guess I’m more of an incubator, because I really take the time to process and group my thoughts and assign my own meaning and values to them.

To illustrate: I’d stall doing a writing assignment, not because I’m overconfident or that I don’t want to do it (well, maybe just a little), but because I’d want everything to look, sound and¬†feel¬†just right¬†when it’s done. So I guess my high standards for myself manifest in this situation.¬†

It’s like I always wait for the perfect time, perfect place, perfect person – the perfect circumstance, only to find that when push comes to shove and when it’s really time to get going and when fate catches you off-guard,¬†the only perfect time is right now.¬†There are some things that just can’t wait. When the opportunity comes knocking, kick the door wide open, greet it and embrace it. If a 23-week-old premature baby could do it and hang on for dear life and still manage to make the most of it, I guess we all can. If a 17-year-old guy finally gets asked out on a date, accepts it and witnesses a friendship blossom into a love of a lifetime, then follow suit.

Even though I feel like I’m treading the line between being perpetually “pre-term” and finally “full-term”,¬†I hope this blog will be an effective tool in helping me grow and develop myself. (Yeah, I know, I sound so self-centered and self-absorbed right now. I’m really sorry for that. Try to cut me some slack first, pretty please?)

Selectively Permeable: A Disclaimer

My Diary Online. A most random, truly heartfelt pensieve of a Filipino student-nurse’s knowledge; angsty rants; smart-aleck observations; patriotic aspirations; activist sentiments and artsy critiques sprinkled with generous amounts of verbose gayness.
(I just repeated what was on the info-caption part on top of the page for all of you too disoriented by all the colors or too lazy to read it)
So basically, the phrases I put above are going to be the main or at least commonly-touched topics of this blog of mine. ¬†But they certainly won’t be limited to them. This blog is going to be really personal and wordy, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you might as well¬†turn around and find another tea shop.
I’m fluent in English, Filipino, Capampangan, Swardspeak and Medical/Nursing jargon; so you’ll a lot of code-switching, run-on sentences and bastardization of languages in my posts as well. I’ll just define and explain stuff as I go along. Excuse my language and please bear with me. I am a grammar-nazi but I’m far from perfect. So please forgive my occasional grammatical error, misused idiom, oft-used cliche, a redundancy or a ¬†lapse in style or punctuation. Sorry if this blog gets buggy or whatever. I’m such a noob to blogging.
Since you are my guest to this home of my thoughts and I am the host, I shall treat you with hospitality and respect. So I’ll cut back on my censor-worthy words and thoughts. But I must be given my due respect as well. Feel free to comment here or personally contact me for any clarifications or reactions to what I have written here, but comment with sense and with a sense of prudence and respect. The last thing I’d want is some piece of hate mail with baseless arguments and hurtful diatribes.
Because these are my personal thoughts, views, rants and opinions and they do not represent necessarily the institutions or concepts which I refer or allude to. As much as possible, I mean no offense to any reader or group. Most of the pictures/links/videos I’ll post here are not mine originally. I don’t own them and I don’t intend any sort of copyright infringement or plagiarism. I’ll cite when I must.
More often than not, I find my mind in a state of disarray, and so this translates to my thoughts and the way I express myself. All I ask of you, dearest reader, whoever you are, is just to be like a “selectively-permeable membrane layer”. Like the cell wall keeps out polar, large or charged molecules, I ask you not to take my word for everything I say because most of what I expect to write are a bunch of flowery rants of sentiments insignificant to the advancement of humanity. So just take it with an open, but discerning, filtering mind.¬†
Thank you very, very much for choosing to (waste) pass your time here. Happy reading.