With these hands I create the world

staring into your trusting eyes is a little scary.

your eager eyes,

wishing for me to impart new wonders

to your ever evolving world.

its intimidating.

what if i talk about the wrong things

and lead you to a path

where you wont be your best version,

where you wont be brave to face

the monsters and scary things

that give us scars?

i don’t want the blood of

innocence lost to stain my hands.

but being here,

standing before you,

is the only place i want to be.

i long to be there

as you experience new things,

discover new worlds,

and become who you are meant to be.

being a teacher is what i want

to always and forever be.


Shackle free

Staring into the abyss
Numbs the mind.
Like a frozen still, slowly shattered
By the ravages of time.
I want to be free of that.

ode to a past lover

i’ve suddenly thought of you after six years.

its been a long time

of pain-free existence.

a breathe of fresh air.

freedom cherished and lived.

but often i wondered

if the walls built and broken

by the lies, hurts and expectations

has corrupted that small island

of hope,

that part of me that

believes that true, abiding love exists.

im not a hopeless romantic now.

nor am i a cynic.

ive now realised that

cruel men may give you wounds and heartbreak,

but they can never conquer a true tower of strength.

and for that, i thank you.


purging expectations

somehow, you’ve become my life

a breathe, needed

for me to be nourished.

i never wanted you to be the definitive part of me.

a mirror. showing me my scars.

festering wounds that hurt deep.

aches that debilitates, paralyses, kills.

i want for you to let go of me.

free me from writing stories that are no longer relevant,

or real.

i now free myself from dreams that has become corrupted

and realities that faltered.

i expected for us to be forever.

nevermore will i be foolish to wish that to be so.

Suspended Rainbows

Colours had always been part of me.

The gentle sway of light as I

riffle through your rays.

Textures, which

heighten the senses.

I’ve now lost all my love for you.

Your bright shade can no longer entice me to


Bone by bone.

What was once vibrant is now dull.

Dying embers of something once longed for.

A Valentine’s Day letter to me

Dear Recently Single Me,

Its Valentines’ Day tomorrow. Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Cheer up. No need to fret. You won’t die tomorrow.

Sure, given the recent events, this Valentine’s Day would be very difficult to deal with. You’re heart is broken; you still cry while you shower. You still stare blankly at the distance, reviewing in your mind how your relationship collapsed. And given that it is also his birthday tomorrow, its doubly painful since the day was given additional significance; its not just a day celebrating being together, but his special day as well.

But, if you really think about it, you survived other Valentine’s day without going on dates, or meeting lovers, or getting chocolates and flowers from guys. The best Feb. 14’s you had pre-Balug was spent dressed in black, attending UP Fair concerts, and getting your annual henna tattoos. You had fun then – the music, the new ways to express yourself though body art. That was love and celebration free from anybody. It’s just you, and loving yourself freely.

Cheer up. You’re still you. Why not view this year’s February 14 as a celebration of your love for yourself? That you love yourself enough not to settle in a relationship that is not nourishing enough, for both of you? You’ve set yourself free from complications that prevent you (and Balug) from growing emotionally, creatively, spiritually, from sharing your gifts to the larger stage. Being away from each other and becoming you again is the more loving and responsible choice.

You prayed for a Happy Heart this year. Maybe being single would give you that.

Happy Hearts Day. You’re heart is still beating. Nothing is lost.

With lots of love,

Newly single Me

Travel, or why I only need my backpack and malong to be sane again

When I was younger, I heard stories of my father’s travels when he was working around the world. Our house was near a river and there were plains where we can run around and create different worlds we can live in. Given that some of it were based in kiddie shows we see on TV, but still, we imagined something different from what we have – trees, burning sun, and lots and lots of sand. We use to play hide and seek when the moon is full and my mom is in a good mood.

Growing up, I saw some of my cousins starting to play with video games. It wasn’t a priority in our household, and was seen as an unnecessary excess. I also started dreaming of living in the city, where you can stay up late partying, meeting people, eating out. Libraries, cinemas, bookstores, art spaces became more important than running around with my siblings, or taking a long hike up to see our makeshift bahay. Playing by the river became less appealing to me.

Now, as an adult, I’ve learned that the freedom I experienced as a child, and my connectedness to nature, gave me the opportunity to soar and become a better, innovative, creative me. I’m not knocking city living, I don’t think I will survive with my sanity intact if I go back to my childhood home. But the experience of once in awhile living without the internet, or mobile phones, or 24/7 convenience stores, forces me to appreciate and focus more on what is important. Creative is not only about creating something new, its about discovering unexplored facets inside of you and letting it out. How can you play with something different if you refuse to experience something unimaginable? Living means experiencing the daily and the unexpected.

I am in the process of living again, trying to be sane again. Give me a malong and my backpack, and I’m off to newer worlds.


walking princess.jpg




What I want to be accountable for this 2013

In recent years, I am getting into a habit of identifying 5 things I want to achieve for the new year. These items are specific and grounded in reality. In my late teens and early 20s, I used to experience periods of depression and self-recrimination because, looking back at the year that passed, I feel unaccomplished, wasting away time and gift given to me. In 2010, I’ve made a conscious leap to be more proactive, to make conscious choices, to be accountable to myself. Realising you have potential and you have a gift is only one step; bringing it to practice is another challenge altogether.

This year, I want to actively pursue these things (or variations thereof):

1. A more consistent physical and spiritual practice

My goal is to be light (back to 110 to 112, which is my comfortable weight), lithe and lean (no more flabs, ma!) this year.

A lightness of being is something I’ve always wanted. Looking at my old pictures, I wish for my old body – lithe and lean. I remember being able to bend and leap and run without my lungs wanting to burst. I wish to go back to feeling and being my whole body – not only the parts that bear witness to the stress I experience. I find that the more negative and depressed I am, the bigger my sense of being is.

I wont be going back to tennis, but will explore Pilates. And I will go back to dance.

Spiritual practice is trickier, but the more important need and challenge this year. Given the work challenge I will be taking head on this year, a clearer mind and a thinking heart is needed so that I may make conscious decisions and choices. Meditation is a must, as well as journaling. I need to re-learn how to be introspective and reflective without taking long-distance trips (in recent years, epiphanies happen when I am stuck in a chair for hours and the changing scenery allows me to hit light bulbs one after the other).

Commitment: Pilates once a week, daily to weekly journaling. Explore dance choices, yoga.

2. Focus over multitasking

I take pride with the fact that I can handle multiple projects (and crises) at the same time. But looking at my patterns, and what I am tasked to do for my work this year, made me realise that focus is the better approach this year. I’ve taken on challenges that represent a single passion of mine. I feel for this year, until 2015, I am called to develop (visualise, create, institutionalise) structures for youth development. Advocacies for culture and indigenous community appreciation and promotion should be integrated, rather than separate from my work. And I am fortunate that where I am now provides a better opportunity for this.

Commitment: Focus on youth work (mentoring, developing of structures), less un-related side projects

3. Create my foundation

This year is dedicated to building the strategies and structures of my youth work. By December 2013, I should have my National Board, my legal papers, a functioning office separate from my home, a basic fundraising structure and team, some national PR exposure, and some office volunteers.

Commitment: fulfill Year 1 KPIs in my work – become a legally recognised foundation

4. Learn how to drive, and own a decent mode of transportation

I’ve always used public transportation, but this is the year when I will drive and own and maintain a car. This is a sign of growing up and being mature for me – I can no longer blame public transportation if I come in late for appointments. Being responsible on how I reach different places is a personal milestone that I’m deciding to embrace this year.

Commitment: Learn how to drive, get my license, and own a 2nd-hand car, by August 2013

5. Replenish my savings account

I’ve exhausted my savings account for the past three years traveling, changing my lifestyle, getting to know myself and what I really want to become. Now that I am more stable – more sure of what I want to be and what I am, I need to build again my safety net. And invest for my next cycle, when I finally decide to settle down and have my family.

Commitment: savings equivalent to 3 months salary + funds to buy my 2nd hand car (4 months salary worth) + monthly contributions to my mom’s house fund and my dad’s farm fund

Other things I want to achieve this year: finally publish a paper (not just present an academic paper in an academic forum); travel to a place I’ve never been before, an unexplored territory, both locally and internationally; mount 1-2 art exhibits; finally monetize my customised, personal planner practice.

Let’s see where I will be come December 2013. 🙂