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…

Mama’s Face

A tita messaged me months ago and she said she’d been looking at my Facebook profile photos and this one photo of mine was what struck her the most because, she says, this is where you look like your mama the most. And even though this wasn’t my favorite photo of myself then, it fast…

Make-up Sex

I had make up sex early this morning. You know what it is I’m talking about, right? The kind where you thought you had lost each other forever and how it frightened you both and the world became a dark void—huge and hollow. Then he walks through that door and you’re both so happy, you…

Model Unit

I’ve been seeing this post for some time now on Facebook. What it is is a housing unit in a relocation site that the government has offered to Metro Manila’s informal settlers on top of a one time 18 thousand peso relocation cost. I’ve read with dismay the comments posted. The comments posted and the…

What I Mean When I Say I Am A Runner (Not by Haruki Murakami)

I was a grade schooler when I was initiated into the dark (literally–it was before the break of dawn) world of running. My father, himself a runner, made it mandatory for me and my siblings to shuffle with the other Milo running clinic participants round the Quezon Memorial Circle. The first time I ran, I…

By My Father’s Knee

  I had a most dysfunctional childhood. Really and truly will bet I will win over what you say is your family’s unforgivable levels of dysfunctionality if you had the bad sense to go toe to toe with me over this. I know this because I’ve tussled with a lot of my friends about this–over…

Thy Name is Woman

I remember the night before I got married, I sat down and wrote this long piece (addressed to me) about how weird it felt to have to change my name just because I was getting hitched. It didn’t seem fair to me then. It doesn’t seem fair to me now. But I went along because…

Ultimate

That dude with a wide smile in the middle of this sea of wide smiles is my son. This is my son, who, after a grueling day at school, just has to go outdoors and fling that frisbee for hours–until the dark says “Enough.” And on weekends –Saturdays AND Sundays– he wakes up before the…