Imperfect Love

My father was the typical man of his generation who left the parenting to my mother. Someone I only saw in shadows, flitting in and out of my young life. Someone who, once in a while, gave me a glass of water in the middle of night  or teased me about my missing 2 front…

Biking Around Ayutthaya

Went biking around Ayutthaya yesterday with my son– gawking at temple ruins that have been declared a UNESCO Heritage site. And drinking milk tea. Of course.   Nowhere do I feel time marching on more than when I travel with my children. Where before I was the one they followed around, now it is I…

This Battle We Fight

Dearest Bem, You chose as your favorite photo of me and the President a most memorable photo indeed. This was taken October 2015 in the President’s favorite carinderia in Davao City—when he hadn’t thrown in his hat in the presidential ring. I was with my pops who wanted to say hi to the mayor and…

The Privilege Of A Lifetime

That dig I took at Senator Bam Aquino wasn’t supposed to be mean spirited. I really do think those thoughts: what’s it like to live your life under the shadow of a giant of a man? What’s it like to try to have, as one of your strategies for success, be someone you’re not and…

Bugan

I was invited by the Ifugao women to speak to them in celebration of Women’s Month. Actually, it was the Secretary who was invited. Second-stringer lang ako haha.. Tapos their invitation pa said something like, “It was a unanimous decision to invite you, Madam Secretary.” Ka-anxious dba? Kasi pano if they see it’s just me,…

Kebs

Since joining government, I’ve had some of the silliest things said to me—and in all seriousness too. Like—“From now on, you can’t write your usual way—too honest, too open. Too raw.” “No more bad words for you online.” “You’ll need to go high from now on.”  “You can’t write about the imperfections of your family.”…

Sounds Like Rain

I had a boyfriend in college who wrote me some of the best love letters I have ever gotten that till this day I can still quote some of his lines back for the sheer poetry of it all, “I only need to know I am loved by you and all becomes right with my…

My Mother’s Portrait

There is a sadness I’ve carried with me all my life and I did so even when I had no idea that I did. And it is this: how I lost my mother as a child and how I searched for her in all the alleys, all the back roads and all the mountains I…

Embrace

So I woke up this morning, went on my run and if you had gone on that run with me, you’d have seen what I saw: the world awaking to a brand new day. This priceless gift of 24 hours where even the richest man on earth on his deathbed might not have—no matter if…

Rose Tattoo

So I was at a party a few nights ago and found myself between two women who asked me and each other this party question: what top 3 things would you do when you retire? Their answers bewildered me: paint, sing, dance, travel, write. You mean you’re going to wait till you’re 65 till you…

A Letter I Wrote My Daughter

Dearest Boo, There is this noxious idea that society, religion, government and even members of your own family will force into you and it is this: that you are less than who you really are. Someday soon you will fall in love. And you will fall in love over and over and you will need…

Fractured Worlds

I love this photo of me and papa that his nurse took a few days ago. That day was a crazy-busy day. And as I hurriedly kissed papa goodbye, he smiles at me warmly and says, “Let’s go to Saisaki,ok?” And I look calm on the outside but on the inside I am going, “No…