Monday, December 31, 2012


The nights have suddenly turned cold. The weather, to my surprise, was now giving my weary visage kisses that sent icy tickles playfully rippling down my spine. Albeit late, I enjoyed the wind's cold fancies as I walked to Philcoa from work. With happy thoughts keeping me warm inside, I slowed my pace to think what I have achieved for the year that has passed.

With an unknown presence, my many thoughts unsettled me. Deep inside, I knew something was wrong, but can't figure out exactly what. My eyes looked at the purple sky and the radiant circle that reined the moon. Letting out a deep and soulful sigh, I let go of what was troubling me, afraid that a bout of depression might come knocking my spirits down.

Still partly filled with intrigue, I entered a fast food chain to eat. Falling in line, I looked at the lonely table where a special person and I often used to sit. I remembered the things we talked about until the wee hours of the morning: his passions, his achievements, and his struggles. I remembered the times we just stayed silent and looked at each other. I remembered how handsome he looked each time he smiled, and how happy his laugh sounded every time he saw how much I ate. Images of the happy times we shared together came uncontrollably rushing to my exhausted mind, which made me feel only more sentimental. There were just so many things I wanted to dream and experience in life with him, and it broke my heart each time I realized that he was now gone and would never, ever come back.

It was then what I realized what was wrong: I held each and every happy moment in my past too closely in my wounded heart. Like a bandage to stop the bleeding, those memories have kept me sane and strong after all that happened. As long as I had those little memories keeping me warm in the bitter cold of my emotions, I knew I would push through. But the problem was that I have forced myself to be satisfied with those little candles of warmth embracing my heart: I am no longer seeking a more profound sense of happiness to keep me always smiling and happy. I am hesitant to experience and create new memories with people because I am terrified that everything might turn into another grave mistake. I will never find my own separate peace because the reality of things was that I have long given up hope and stopped the tireless search for it. I was living in a world of my delicately preserved memories, choosing to look away from the world filled with unique experiences of what life meant. Time has stopped in a period wherein I was the happiest -- my life has never continued forward, locked in a perpetual pause to protect my notion of what it meant to be happy and content.

After finding the guise to break away from my reverie, I took my order and slowly approached the lone table. However, seconds back to my ephemeral reality, my body turned and my feet shuffled away from the testament of the happiness I once had. I found myself sitting at a distant table, trying to find the courage to open my heart to experience new memories in search for the long lost paradise I have always yearned for.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Mere seconds before midnight, we gathered round our humble feast to thank for our blessings that we have received for the past year. As soon as we closed our prayers, everybody was eager to delve into their own plates full of food to silence their rumbling stomachs. The special meal was made extraordinary by the people celebrating the spirit of sharing and happiness.

Christmas. I didn't mind the empty feeling inside because I realized that at least for today, it wasn't important. What mattered most was that my relatives in the province, despite their differences with one another, came together as one family to enjoy the moment. The cold breeze that echoed outside the house was blanketed by the warm smiles everybody had inside the old home full of each others' fond memories.

My Christmases will never be incomplete ever again. In my own little way, I have learned how to embrace one of the true meanings of the season. We were crowned by a dark, unfriendly, and starless sky, but that didn't stop me to shine a small light of hope in my heart in search for a separate peace I've long yearned for.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Faithful

Dead tired from a hectic day at work preceded by a miserable two-and-a-half hour sleep, my eyes were heavy with a weight invisible to me. Managing to change my worn pants into something more comfortable, I laid on my bed as the fan filled the room with a soft hum that lulled me to sleep. Within a few minutes of gazing emptily at the ceiling, thoughts deep about work, my body finally let go of my consciousness in favor for a pleasant dream that made me silently wish never to wake again.

After a seemingly impossible short amount of time, the enigmatic world that I belonged to suddenly ground to a complete stop. Half naked and half awake, I looked at the dusty old clock that hung across my bed. It was already past one in the afternoon. Without realizing the truth I slept a full fourteen hours and the fact that I was terribly late for a meeting, I gave the real world a deep, heavy sigh. Nonetheless, I collected myself and prepared to leave for work.

With the angry afternoon sun baring everything down on me, I patiently waited for a tricycle to bring me to the bustling Commonwealth. Starting to get temperamental because of the heat encroaching my skin, I plugged in my buds to ease up my burning mood. One of my favorite songs, Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps, was on the playlist.

Made off
Don't stray
My kind's your kind
I'll stay the same

A tricycle managed to pass by. I hastily called the driver's attention and was soon on my way. The sweat on my back was already trickling down, ever so slowly, mocking my impatience to the heat. I was gradually taking in the afternoon's rage within me. Perspiration rolling down my neck, I tried to relieve the tension by removing my backpack and letting much welcome air come rushing to my back. However, it wasn't enough to appease the fury building up inside of me.

It was during about that time we passed by a humble chapel beside the road that knows me by heart. I tried to look up on the cross atop the chapel's ridge to attest to my faith, only for the bright and merciless sun to conspire against me. Blinded and dismayed, I squinted my eyes hard and looked down.

Wait, they don't love you like I love you
Wait, they don't love you like I love you
Maps, wait!
They don't love you like I love you...

A street urchin was down on his knees, hands together in solemn prayer. He didn't mind the stares and leers of strangers that passed by. No complaints escaped his knees about how hot and scabrous the pavement was. He paid no attention to how the incredibly intense midday sun was spoiling the otherwise pleasant day. He was there in his own little corner of the cruel world, keeping his innocent convictions and hopes true. At the very least, his faith was true to himself.

In those few seconds that I witnessed the kid, I realized how faithless I have become. Seven years since Nanay's passing, I have lost the courage to truly believe with my entire soul. Two years since a previous relationship, I still find fear residing in the deepest parts of my forgiving heart. And up to this very moment, I still have nothing in me to make me hope that a different tomorrow will come. All I turned out to be is an empty and hollow shell of a man, completely different from the little boy who has nothing but his enduring faith. 

Wait, they don't love you like I love you
Maps, wait!
They don't love you like I love you...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tenacity: That June 2009 Incident

...I see this as a blessing in disguise, parang 'yung isang break-up quote lang, kelangang isipin na inilalayo lang ako ni Bro sa mga di naaangkop na kaibigan. I'll move on, because I realized there is more to life than this stopover with you guys. I hope that when we meet again, we all have grown into better human beings.

Bilang pagtatapos, mag-iiwan ako ng isang aral na huli ko nang natutunan, mula kay Kuya Trip:

"You can never be 'you' if you are defined by any group you have joined."

Jay, from his blog
June 10, 2009

This is probably a dangerous topic to tread on, but I am not taking sides here. I've ever since been an outsider about this issue that tore friendships apart. I didn't prod into the issue, I just childishly chose a side, since looking back, it was the only side I knew.

As far as I know, there were many people involved in the incident, but my only concern was two online friends, Jay, the owner of the entry, and someone I fondly called as Uncle, a person whom Jay and I respected. I valued my friendship with Jay because we had so much things in common, while I highly looked up on Uncle because he always knew what to say.

What happened three years ago was that Jay and Uncle had a falling out due to reasons no longer important now. Jay turned to me, seeking whatever solace I had to offer, as he told me his story on what happened between them. The end was that I took the emotions of Jay to myself and started to hate Uncle for what he did. I remember myself being so angry that I had the strong urge to punch and destroy whatever was within sight.

With a greater sense of maturity unlike before, I can tell that what Jay and I did was wrong. The way things look now, we were kids throwing an ill-placed tantrum. I can't say the same for my friend, but looking back at everything that I have wrote or done, I realize how self-centered I was; the world nothing more but a vessel to spread all my self-caused hatred and problems. My insides seethed at the thought of Uncle because Jay hated him: the thing that mattered most then was the fact that Uncle was the one who left Jay. I didn't place any effort on knowing the reason for it. As I read again what Uncle had to say about Jay's breaking of silence, he made it clear that there is more to the world than just our own childish little selves. I have read this on a lonely midnight three years ago, and only now did I understand what he truly meant. I knew Uncle was as patient as he was intelligent, and I guess what happened was that sadly, he ran out of wire. I'm not the one to blame him, because I'm sure his load was just as full like anybody else's.

I may never know the entire story, but as an outsider with a broader perspective than before, I know that both Jay and Uncle had a terrible misunderstanding, made worse by volatile emotions that ultimately put their friendship, trust, and faith in one another to ruin. I do not know if they have made efforts to reconcile. But even if they haven't, I'm hopeful that both of them are continuing to grow not to be better human beings, but to be more mature individuals who know their own unique strand in the endless fabric of life.

Jay, Uncle, I hope you are both well and good. Someday, I wish to see both of you in person, probably not together, but see you guys in person nonetheless. I just want to shake your hands firmly and politely thank you guys. 'Di niyo lang alam, you guys are one of the persons why the nasty little blogger who wrote nothing but negativity came out the sane and strong person he is today. Cheesy and drama as shit, but true.


A friend of mine was pleasantly surprised to know that I was a true blue Atenean. It was one of those childish questions people ask, and I reluctantly answer with full candor. He too, was an Atenean, a senior of mine some years before my time. He was telling me with a great grin on his face that I didn't have the usual notion of a blue eagle being pasosyal and konyo, and that he was elated about. Different from me, he had great command over the English parlance; squarely constructed sentences coming out in straight and true English, while my sorry tongue tried its best to cope up with his command over the language. I actually said I was hoping that he wasn't an inglesero like the person he was, since I quote, I would die. With a guffaw, he told me how genuine I was reflected my warm personality and kind heart.

In a manner I can't describe, he told me that soon enough, I'll notice how sympathetic I was. The problem with Ateneans was being too altruistic that they forget to leave a portion of the cake for themselves -- too much of the man-for-others being imbibed for the some of us. He asked me if there was any single time when I noticed I was too nice for my own good. I intentionally looked away and said a yes with deep, heavy sigh. A jovial and intelligent fellow, he laughed at my reaction, telling me how he liked my honesty.

I have long noticed that I am too considerate and good-natured for my own good. Ever patient, I do so because I know that it is the right thing to do, even if it would cost me my freedom and true happiness. Looking deeper, I do good things without seeking for any in return with great ardor simply because I hope people would do the same. The sad thing is not all people see an act of generosity as a brave and noble thing to do. Instead, they see it as an opportunity to manipulate and bend the truth to their will, feeling victorious as they do so. Little do they know that once the glass mirroring their smug and proud faces is shattered, their reflections will never look the same ever again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Blue Wilderness

With a new identity, the midnight wolf entered the blue wilderness filled with figures bound to satisfy his wants. As a wolf roaming the thick foliage blanketed by the darkness of midnight, he only desired for his very own pack in which he can truly say he belonged. As the weeks turned into months, one thing became apparent: the blue wilderness was nothing more but a field full of prey, all begging to be taken down with a vicious, rabid bite. The barter to happiness was a perfectly chiseled body. Arms with thick guns bursting from the sleeves, a chest and body that can launch a thousand ships, and a virile manhood brimming with testosterone were all that mattered.

The blue wilderness was nothing more but a repeating lie. Like clockwork, the midnight wolf entered the hunting grounds hungry but left far more famished. Each and every silent step made a question bury itself deeper inside his core. After almost two years of searching and looking at the dark midnight sky, his tired eyes have seen the answer that was patiently waiting to be found in the present.

Mustering a final howl that echoed throughout the blue wilderness like a knell, the midnight wolf silently wandered off. With his vision straight and true, he headed atop a quaint knoll. The air was saturated with uncertainty and fear for the future, but carried in it a great relief from all the pretensions happening below. He made one last glance of his grim surroundings; the same scenery that broke his heart and shattered his trust over and over again. Without regrets holding him back, the midnight wolf braved forward to the outside world, his tracks and shadows never to be seen in the blue wilderness again.

But his tale continues, as he lives through the sweet sorrows of pain -- subtle reminders that he is alive, yearning for a separate peace and happiness in the ironies of life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wish List

I've been staring on the Christmas Wish List for our team Christmas party for about over two hours now. I'm having trouble figuring out what my Minimum of 1. Maximum of 5. Worth P250.00 is.

I was telling my best friend earlier this morning that I was particularly down this Christmas season because I had nothing to look forward to. I told him that I always made a point to look forward to something each and every time Christmas made its presence known by the cold evenings of December. I never wanted anything material for Christmas since I always waited for something that will be of worth to me even after many years have passed, no matter how small it seemed. I just wanted to be happy, or at the very least, content.

A lot of things have happened to me for the year that is starting to close its final pages, and I guess what I can wish for this Christmas is that nothing more will happen that will push me to wear a fake and empty smile once again. I know keeping this in my heart will bring me a separate peace only I understand, but even so, I am no longer content. I've always told myself it was far more important to be content than to be happy, but looking back at everything that has happened, I am no longer content in just being content. I'm sad that I'm slowly starting to unlearn the idea that has kept me going through all these emotional problems. Maybe all I want is the ability to actually tell myself I am completely content and happy and desire for nothing else.

But even so, I know I'll pull through this Christmas, even if it's the emptiest one ever in my life. I've made it through my particularly unbecoming of a birthday, what more Christmas?

I know I will. Ako pa.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One night in April, I received a message in a gay social networking site from a user with the handle bonnetboy. He was asking me if I wanted to meet up with him on a friendly date, and I remember his words exactly:

Are you up for a friendly meetup bai?

With a shrug, I halfheartedly said yes. I was saying yes for the sake of it, not because I was particularly interested in him. I remember thinking negatively to how big the difference in our heights were: I stood at a tall six feet one, while he was only five feet five. During that time, I have always ignored those kinds of messages, and I was saying yes to bonnetboy, whose name was Van, plainly for a change.

And a change it was.

Right away, everything felt so right. Van and I would exchange messages via text or Facebook into the wee hours of the morning. We would go watch movies together and hold hands for the entire length of the movie. He would always tell me stories on how he has succeeded and failed in his goals in life. His strong will and personality made me feel that I could depend on him to be there beside me no matter what happened. And true enough, he did protect me during the saddest time of my life -- when I no longer knew what the truth was. Everything felt so right and I was sure of it. I have never felt so happy and content for the longest time. Everything, except for the fact that he was to leave in a month's time to work in Canada for the sake of his family, especially his ailing mother who he loves very much.

My heart silently broke. It was my fault, since we have agreed not to fall in love with one another because of the fact that he will be leaving soon. A few nights before he left, we met up for a last time. I was afraid the night will end because I had to admit, I already loved him. Before we separated our ways, I gave him a tight hug and told him I'll miss him so much. We both hated goodbyes so we left things at that, promising each other that we'll still meet in the future for sure. Immediately after letting go, my eyes started to well with tears. Not wanting him to see my cry, I walked away, eyes tightly closed. Taking a deep breath, I looked back, and saw him mouthing the words I love you. At that moment, my life became complete and incomplete at the very same time.

Seven months have passed, and deep inside my heart, I still love Van. As cliché as it may sound, I've never met and known anyone like him. He's no longer here with me, but he continues to be a part of and change my life. Thanks to technology, we still talk to each other regularly, though times now aren't that like before. He told me recently that his stay in Canada has been extended for another two years, and I'm happy for him because I know working there is a dream come true for him. However, my heart quietly cried, and broke for a final time as my little hopes of us being together when he comes back has all been blown away. But because I love him, I know that I need to step back and let go to watch him succeed on all the goals he has set for himself to achieve.

I still love you pumpkin. Thank you for always being so sweet and kind to your sweetie. I miss you so, so much. Take care always.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Faith (Part Three)

After convincing myself I wanted to go, tonight I decided to finally visit the wake of my friend's mom who recently passed away. With shyness filling my insides to the brim, I gathered some courage and entered the viewing chapel where her remains were.

I was greeted by my friend's older sister. After I politely introduced myself,  she and I had a little chat on how my friend and I got to know each other. Soon after, she excused herself to attend to the other guests. I silently sat in the middle of the room and emptily stared at the ornate cross quietly looking over everyone in the room. As the other guests chatted to pass away the time, I found myself musing on what my friend and I have become during the little time we spent together before he left. I realized then that I miss him so much, but there was nothing I could do. No matter how strong my desire to see him and be with him was, nothing would happen because we have both made our choices long before.

I stood up and looked at my friend's mother. She looked peaceful and serene, freed from all the pains brought about by her illness. I said a little prayer for her eternal repose and her family's strength of will before saying goodbye. I held the hand of my friend's sister tight as I said my final condolences, and left the chapel.

Before I went home, I passed by a nearby church to offer candles for my friend, his mother, and his family. As the flicker of light turned into a bright and strong flame, I realized one thing: I can always turn to the one up in the heavens for guidance and support. I've always searched strength inside of me, but I never managed to find it -- maybe the reason being my lack of faith not only to the one above, but maybe even to my own self as well. When I left the lit candles to carry my prayers into the night sky dotted with stars, I looked at the cross inside of the church and felt each and every strong and slow beat of my heart.

Kayo na po ang bahala sa aming lahat.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Faith (Part Two)

I heard mass last Sunday after a very long time of not celebrating. Being not the most devout Catholic around, I thought to myself that saying thanks for a wonderful first-time experience abroad would be a nice thing to do. I also wanted to thank him for looking over us when we were in a foreign land, and for taking care of our loved ones while we were away.

As the mass was going on, I found myself constantly drifting away to thank for a lot of things, the first being my trip to Malaysia and Singapore. Afterwards, I asked for the continued guidance and good health of my family and friends. I prayed for my friends who were experiencing troubling times for them to find the courage to face and stand up to their problems.

After hearing mass, I remember saying to myself how refreshed I felt. It was a very optimistic feeling that everything would turn out to be well and good. It was like after being shrouded by darkness, I have finally seen the light I have long searched for.

But after a few days, the reality struck me that it everything I felt isn't true. It was a naive thing to feel.

A few days ago, I received a message that a friend of mine was again back in the hospital because of his heart condition. The problem was that some weeks prior, he was already admitted to the hospital for nine days due to a mild heart attack because of problems tearing up his family. On the very same day, another friend of mine left me a message telling that his terminally ill mother has sadly passed away after months of painful battle with leukemia. The sad thing about it was that both my friends aren't here in Manila and will not be anytime soon, which made me feel thrice as much helpless as I actually was. I wanted to talk to them in person to know how they were but obviously unable to, adding immensely to the grief I felt.

My already broken heart broke even more. My tears welled up, but I managed not to shed a single tear. Thinking that I specifically prayed for their cause, I looked up and wanted to ask why everything had to end up that way.

But I didn't. Instead I said a little prayer for them, and continued to carry a very heavy heart and a distracted mind filled with concern. I looked up with a blank stare, and thought to myself that unless I find a miracle, I cannot do anything else but to have faith.

Faith. Maybe that's a miracle in itself.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Goodbye Money: Team MY/SG

Some initial thoughts about Kuala Lumpur and Singapore:

1. Clean. And I do mean clean. There is still the occasional litter here and there, but you can count the trash with a single hand. The places are so clean that I don't remember seeing any flies buzzing about.

2. Efficient traffic systems. Never did I experience any heavy traffic on both places when we commuted by bus. And my god, the bus and railway systems of both places are so great. It's so convenient for us backpackers because everything was so connected. Kuala Lumpur has the KLSentral, the only place we needed to go to when we needed to go somewhere via railway, and Singapore has the SMRT, a bus and railway system so efficient you should never be late for anything.

3. The people are so disciplined. People cross only at designated places and do not litter. In Singapore, people stay to the left when standing on escalators to give way to other people in a hurry and stop completely when seeing pedestrians wanting to cross a pedestrian lane.

My trip to KL and SG was a real eye-opener to me. Being my first trip out of the country, I'm so overwhelmed on all the things our country is missing out. It was the simple things that stuck most on my mind because if it was that simple, why can't we implement it here? I'll do my part. Even if I know we won't be anything like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore soon, I'll still do my part because the change should start with each and every one of us.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Eleven Hints for Life

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.
But what is more painful is to love someone and never
find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who
means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was
never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a
porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away
feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose
it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been
missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an
hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it
takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don't go for looks, they can deceive. Don't go for wealth,
even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you
smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day
seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other's shoes. If you feel that it
hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck
a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may
heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes
along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with
a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone
around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die,
you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Too Nice

As I was walking home, I saw my ex eating in a nearby burger joint in our place. He has moved out of the house to a room a few blocks away from us, but still inside the subdivision. This was the third time I saw him since he left, and I should say I wasn't thrilled.

He was apparently busy replying to a message. Good thing, since I didn't want to see him eye to eye. During the moments I saw him, I didn't care how he was; I was just happy that he's no longer a part of my life. I even crudely thought that the shorts he wore was originally mine. But what made me write this post was what I thought afterwards. I silently thought how he was doing, if he was eating well, and if he was happy, or at least content. After realizing what has entered my mind, I coldly shrugged my shoulders and said I didn't care, or at least it isn't my concern any longer.

I thought to myself how kind a person I was. Sa lahat ng masamang pinagdaanan ko sa kanya, tiniis ko lang lahat. Wala siyang narinig na paninira sa akin, panay totoo lang ang sinabi ko nung panahong hindi ko na kaya. Tapos ito, kahit papaano, bilang isang kaibigan naiisip ko kung kumusta na siya.

Maybe I should stop being too nice -- it seems it's not worth the thought and effort anymore because people don't know how to appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


As I was going back to work from a break, a man carrying his daughter strode past me. The little girl was in her cute little fairy outfit for the Halloween spirit, but different from her happy costume, she was crying. The girl leaned her cheek on her father's shoulder, would silently cry a little, and tried to persuade her dad about something, only to end up sobbing more than before. After spending a few quiet moments, tears welled up in her eyes as she tried to once again talk to her father to change his mind. The father patiently said a resolute no, which made the little fairy hopelessly weep in defeat.

I learned that the little girl wanted a Barbie doll so badly that she was tearfully imploring her father to give her one. She was muttering that her old doll was already broken and ugly. The mother, who was trailing a little behind the pair, calmly told her daughter that she should stop crying because the doll was not for sale, so whatever they did, they could not get it for her. Those words only made the little girl cry even more. She didn't care if other people saw her crying, probably because she wanted the doll so badly.

As I turned right and parted ways with the family, I thought to myself how simple children were. They like the smallest of things, and if they did not get what they wanted, they could simply cry. They could complain, whine, and cry all they want, without anyone being far too concerned. Being an adult, I thought looking at things like that was unfair, since children were innocent to the bigger things in life. Children do not put too much value on their emotions as much as adults do. They do not dream and aspire things the way like we do. They usually just look at the present, unlike adults who look years into the future.

With all the feelings jarred up inside me, I envied the little girl of her privilege of cry. I was jealous as she was able to cry her heart out, and that people were there to console her. As control slowly slipped my grasp, I yelled to myself that I wanted to wail my lungs out, tearfully asking for a reason why I cannot have the little piece of happiness I desired.

As I pressed the call button of the elevator, a tiny but important thought entered my mind: maybe that little piece of happiness I wanted so badly isn't what I wanted after all. Maybe it was something to appease the desires of the present to rid of the past, just like the little girl and her doll.

Still unsure, the doors of the elevator slid open and I stepped out. I asked myself when I lost the childlike innocence I witnessed in the girl. But after some second's pause, I told myself I wasn't worried, because I knew whatever happened in my life, I would be able to pull through, no matter what.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Test of Faith

..and I would have easily failed. Really, I feel pathetic sometimes.

I have a rather tough problem with a friend of mine now. I was so stressed out that I implored for divine intervention: I felt a cowardly feeling overcome me, so I asked God to give me a sign: I asked Him to give me a certain dream in order to let me know what I'm doing is right, and He did.

Having received the sign I asked, I stood with my decision, only for something really bad to happen in the few days that followed. I thought to myself why things had to be that way, but in the end, I accepted it and reasoned out that it was a lesson I needed to learn the hard way. In the verge of giving up, I received a text message from my friend that reassured me everything would be fine, at least for now.

At the end of everything, I learned that having faith isn't something you only do when pinned down and cornered. Deep inside, I asked for help because I wanted something or somebody to blame when things went horribly unwell. That was wrong. Faith requires an enormous amount of courage and will, as it is finding a solid sense of security in a whole lot of fear and uncertainty.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Last night after hitting the gym, a bud of mine and I went to a nearby joint to eat. I asked my friend on how his date went, since the day before, he had miryenda with the girl he wanted to get to know. He told me that he liked the girl better, since he thought that they complemented each other -- him being quiet and cool, while the girl being the talkative and cheerful one.

His problem was that the girl's ex was a good friend of his, and was working in the same company as we (and the girl) do. He thought that it would be awkward if it happens that something more than friends develop between him and the girl he liked. I told him that he shouldn't mind that now, since he was still just in the getting-to-know-you part of things. He should worry that in the future, when things really develop into something else. Plus that time, I added, the guy would have probably moved on from his relationship with the girl.

I asked him if he's really alright with the girl being an officemate of ours. He said that it was just fine, since he's primarily focused on his tasks at hand when he's at work. He asked me why, and I told him that for me, "missing time" was important. I shared a little about my previous relationship, and that a mistake I did that made things worse was when I let my boyfriend (girlfriend: I'm not out at work) live with me and my family. Things just got out of hand. I personally grew tired of seeing him each and every day that passed, until came a time when we found ourselves in a very physical fight that I had to call it quits. Everything that was happening during the time was no longer healthy for both of us, and letting go was the best decision, I thought.

As we left, I said sorry since I felt that I sounded so bitter of what remained of my previous relationship. I told him that yes, I was bitter in a way, but I was more disappointed than resentful. I told him I was disappointed because my ex chose to bring himself down to a miserable and pitiful state. He asked me if my ex and I were still friends. My reply was no, because I felt I can no longer trust him ever again. He broke my trust way too many times that I felt he no longer deserved the trust I gave him over and over again to redeem himself and prove that he was better than what he turned out to be.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MSP: Floor (Part Twenty-Seven)

Today, I signed a contract:

Start of Term: January 5, 2013 (tentative)
Start at client name: January 9, 2013 (tentative)
End of Term: April 9, 2013 (tentative)
Assignment: MSP

MSP is short for Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

Yesterday, my manager alerted me to approach his cube as he wanted to discuss with me something really quick. He casually told me that he has considered me to be deployed onsite, since I was eager to do so. Earlier this afternoon, while I was passing by, he pulled me in and showed me my contract for deployment. Everything was tentative since the budget of our project for the following year was still not decided. I glanced at the document and found my name, along with the role of onsite coordinator.

This is one of my goals, but now that it is in four months' reach, I suddenly feel a wave of frightened unpreparedness run over me. I wanted to assume the role of team lead offshore first, to at least partially prepare myself with the tasks attributed to an onsite coordinator. Life is very much unexpected, and if this is the case, I have to break free from my security in familiarity and embrace this new chapter in my life.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spoiled Brat

Years ago, I always remember myself carrying an emotional burden only I knew existed. I always complained about how things were so far from what I thought they were supposed to be. The littlest rejection over things irked me for days. I hated myself for being so unlikeable to the point that I wanted to end my misery to attain some happiness once and for all.

That was years ago.

After a few days of wondering, stepping away to see how I felt and how I thought, I can say that I no longer have the emotional capacity of an egocentric and selfish kid who thinks of nobody but himself. I have learned that the world isn't here for the consumption of my ideals, that I was only a part of it no matter what happened. People are there because they are people, and not because they are made to server whatever purpose I had.

I always thought that I wasn't a spoiled brat ever since I was a kid. My parents didn't give in to my whims and tantrums, in all their forms and sizes. But after coming down from the hill to the real world, I realized how bad my inner attitude was: I have spoiled my own self. I always thought the world was unfair because it seemed that I never got what I wanted. But after two years of learning what the real world is like, I have accepted that life is indeed unfair. It is up to us to do with what we have and make life for us and for the people around us better and more meaningful.

No more dramas. Life sucks, so I'll go deal with it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I was clearing some space in my room for my Xbox since I wanted to finally finish playing Resident Evil 5. The last time I played it was over half a year ago for the reason being I liked playing Kinect games more. As  the release of the next game in the series is approaching, I emptied a corner on the shelf below the television in my room. I wanted to pump Majini full of lead with Chris Redfield's pump-action shotgun before Sherry Birkin, one of the protagonists of the next game, enters the scene.

As I patiently moved random items that cluttered the shelf to make space for Raven, I came across a long-forgotten orange bottle of perfume with the word "Happy" on one side. It was the perfume given to me by a person who changed my life some years ago. Curious, I opened and tried it. To my surprise, I found the scent no longer appealing like before. It didn't smell like it was no longer good; it smelled perfectly fine, I just didn't like it anymore.

I remember myself really liking that perfume long ago. I always wore it wherever I went. I did not consume the entire bottle because I was afraid I won't be able to get another one.

As I was putting the bottle inside its proper box, I noticed that the orange bottle had patches of paint peeling off. Without stopping to think for another moment, I placed the sweet-smelling container that I liked for so long in the past inside its orange box, partly disappointed.

The tangerine tinted bottle that represented my happiness in the past was probably just a fake, but my feelings made it real, at least for me.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Goodbye Money

Clark (CRK) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
12 November 2012, 1105-1450
AirAsia AK1663

Singapore (SIN) to Manila (MNL)
16 November 2012, 0620-1000
Jetstar Airways 3K761

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Call me a hypocrite, but I logged in to the site after I gained my account back. I signed back in because of curiosity: I've been out of the site for a couple of months now. I've changed my password and removed all my face pictures. I also wanted to know what happened during the time when someone was using my account against my will. Good thing I found out nothing, or there was actually something that happened but I will never know, since the site only retains messages for a week, unless saved.
As expected, the same kind of people are still on it. I can't blame myself for trying to be optimistic after all that happened. But rest assured, I'm definitely on the edge of leaving the site, at least for now.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Answers In the Present

I received a text earlier this day containing two of my previous accounts and their current passwords. Shortly after replying thanks, my phone buzzed again and showed a message containing the words I'm so sorry.

It was my ex.

I want to trust him this time around that he's truly sincere in saying sorry, but deep inside me, I just can't help but doubt his intentions. Maybe that or sadly, it's just I bluntly don't care anymore. I've closed that sad chapter of my life and shoved it deep inside the horrible recesses of the past.

Actually, there was no reason to say sorry since I have long forgiven him for everything. In my point, there was no sense to hold a grudge because it just wasn't worth the effort. I have already accepted his apology even before he asked for it. The things that happened were just too painful that's why I don't want him to be in my life any longer.

"The past... it blinds us, it fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present. Look there, you'll find your answer."

I have long looked in the present and found my answer. This time around, I hope you find yours.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy Birthday to You

Yesterday was the birthday of a friend of mine who has been a crush ever since junior year of high school. It has been a very long time, around seven years or so, but I'll admit that I still like him even until today.

I've known him since second year high, as we became classmates then. I've never seen him at school before, and I honestly thought that he was an upperclassman who got retained in second year. Being a member of the varsity basketball team, he had this very athletic look on him: great height, tall nose, and a buzzcut head. During that time, I felt nothing special towards him even if he had the physical attributes I like on a dude -- he was just my classmate. But the following year, I was assigned to sit beside him. Things changed. I started to like him because of his easygoing nature. He always wore his signature grin whatever happened. He looked very mysterious, gallant, and proud, but at the same time, very kalog. Even if his interactions with me were primarily school-related, there were little times that told me he was a kindhearted person. Of course, I did not tell him upfront that I liked him, but I think he knew that since we became seatmates. There were little things I'd do only for him that I won't do for anybody else, even my closest friends: let him copy an assignment, cheat his attendance record, or even make a paper for him. Graduation came, and I remember being down that I would not be able to see my crush anymore. Silly me.

I was surprised that he took the same course as I did: computer science. It meant that I would still see him in college, and that we would still be together, as blockmates at the least. True enough, we were still in the same classes, and he was still the same old him: copying assignments from me, cheating his cuts and absences with my help, and asking me to help him program our first project. I did those things as a friend and not as someone who liked him. Things were okay until one time, in wanting to help him, I lied to him. The sad part about it was he found out about it, and he told me he knew that I lied. That incident was one of those stupid things each of us is bound to make.

I no longer saw him the following year. He dropped out of school, probably because of that incident. I never heard any real news of him after that. All I know was that he's in the States, finishing university there. It was sad, but I moved on nonetheless. He was straight and moreover, he was already in the States -- not that I'm saying I had the chance.

After a few years though, he dropped us a line that he was in the country. He treated us blockmates out for a couple of beers, and I sat beside him, of course. I listened to his stories on how different it was in the States, and how he misses his friends here in the Philippines. He was as easygoing and as kalog as ever -- not to mention his grin and his laugh. That night, I was very happy because I saw him again after a long, long time (and he was even more handsome than before), but at the same time, my heart quietly broke because the reality that we will never be together finally came upon me. I wanted to silently shed even just a lone tear because I knew that I'll never see him again, but I chose not to because I wanted to enjoy his corny jokes and boisterous laughter for the last time.

Wherever you are Joseph, I hope you're doing well. I know you are, ikaw pa?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thirty Leaves in Four Months: Floor (Part Twenty-Six)

I have a rather interesting problem at work: how to consume around 30 leaves in a span of four months.

I earned a lot of leaves because of the relentless overtime hours I rendered during the first few months of the year. There was a lot of work to be done in such little amount of time. The result was the team accomplishing what needed to be done (but being down by the colds from time to time), and us earning a lot of leaves in the process. The time being mid-September, I am put into a position wherein I should use all of my leaves by December, or they will be rendered null and void.

There is an option to convert all my earned leaves into cash, but the converted amount, computed in my rate last January, will strike a hefty sum to tax, which I dislike. Looking at the pros and cons, I decided that taking the leave is the better decision since I would get paid in my current (and better) rate as I took the day off. I talked to my manager about it, and he told me that of course, I cannot use all of my leaves at once. He advised me to take a week's off every month until all of my leaves were used up.

With that planned out, I am troubled on what to do when I do take a week's off at work. It would be a waste if I just slacked around at home, doing the usual stuff I do each and every day.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Present

"It is each man's quest to find out who he truly is. But the answer to that lies in the present, not in the past; as it is for all of us here."

"But the past tells us who we've become."

"The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us, it fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present. Look there, you'll find your answer."

Conversation between Matthias Lair and Carl Hauser, 
in the movie Total Recall

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tenacity: Cologne

...I was too selfish for my own good. I told him that I wanted to think of my own happiness first before others, and that I believed that during that time, being alone was the right thing to do. It didn't exactly bring me happiness, but it brought me happiness contained in the fact that I was doing what I believed to be the correct step forward. In a very civil and composed manner, he told me everything that I did or did not do that brought about him pain, and that it was better to forget about each other.

...The thing I regret doing was me taking him for granted. Yes, I was going through a lot, but it was not enough an excuse to take someone important for granted. I just sort of believed that he would understand me as he underwent the same things that I went through, and that was wrong. In the end, I only caused him pain, which was something he didn't deserve at all.

Until now, I am still uncertain about my feelings for him. But now, I have no more reason to think about it. Going back to the happier times, I asked him what was the cologne he wore when we went out. He wouldn't tell, and said that he'll give me some as a gift since I really liked it. As I was doing my groceries yesterday, I curiously picked up a bottle of cologne and tried it out -- it was his. Putting the small bottle in my basket, I wondered if my decision some weeks ago was the right thing.

It was. Painful as it may have been, but it was.

Nox, from 'Cologne'
September 4, 2011

Afficionado F56. It's the cologne I use until now.

Alone (Part Two)

For the past few weeks or so, I've been thinking about going back again to that site. Sure, I've lost my account because of things beyond my control, but nothing else is keeping me from creating a new account. I can freely create a new account and avoid putting pictures that will make me recognizable. But for after so long, I still remain steadfast in my decision of not going back to the site any longer, even if my own reason is unclear even for myself.

But I've got things straight now: it is all because of fear.

In no way am I willing to risk just for the sake of being happy together with a special someone. The things that I went through were too much that up until now, remnants of it still appear in my head from time to time. Looking back, I am amazed that I allowed everything that transpired in the past to actually happen. With reasons now unclear after letting all love and concern go, the only thing left now is fear after anger silently eroded away with time.

I'd be a total, hypocrite liar if I said that I'm not hoping for someone who'll prove me wrong. Sadly enough,  that person already came almost three years ago and proved me wrong: not that I would never find someone that I'll be happy with, but that there was something else much more painful than being alone.

In reality, I still do not find strength within me. My confidence is always impeded by insecurities I know I can overcome, but do not. Whatever the case, I'm slowly inching forward: I find strength in the solace of a separate peace, a silent world only I can see and hear.

Monday, August 20, 2012


When I told my mom about being gay, she was worried for me above all things. She wasn't angry at me for being so, but she was troubled because she feared that I will grow to be a lonely person despite my cheerful disposition, since a lot of discreet gays end up being such. That night, I reassured her that she did not have to worry, because I chose to be gay and I wanted to stand by my decision. In my head, I said to myself that I am used to being alone anyway.

She was right. For the past few days, I've been in this limbo of being happy and being lonely. A part of me wants to find someone to share my life with, but a better part of me is content with what I am. Probably deep inside, I am still afraid of a relationship because of what became of my previous one.

I know I can do this. I am no longer the insecure boy who desperately tried to find security from a stranger. I now find strength within me. For now, that is enough for me to carry on, even if I am alone.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Project Kratos: Back to Start

Seven workouts in my new gym, I pulled a muscle in my groin due to squats, and strained my left wrist due to the bench. Both are getting better, but these injuries rocked my view on how I was performing under the bar.

Coach Oscar has told me twice on different days that I was doing some lifts with improper technique, na sayang ang buhat. True enough, I never felt the soreness I felt the first time I lifted. I asked him what the proper way was, but the problem was that what he taught me wasn't exactly the lifts I'm following. With that, I decided to deload all the weight I'm working on the next time I hit the gym to practice solely on technique. It is disappointing, since I am looking forward to a deadlift of 130lbs, but it's better this way: a crippling injury would be far more regretful rather that going back to start to improve my form.

Writing this now, I found that tt was the typical me: jumping straight into the heat of the battle without pausing to look at how things were faring.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Project Kratos: New Gym

For the past two weeks, I've started going to the gym again. I stopped for about three weeks because I unfortunately caught the flu which pinned me on my bed for at least two days, and then problems arose regarding the arrangement of my stay at Gold's. I also became very busy at work: double shifts were not unusual then (which caused my immune system to take a nosedive, hence the flu). Determined to meet my 170-lb-10%-BF goal in March 2013, I looked for a new gym and started to work out again. And I did find a gym, convenient enough for me to go to after work, along with some of my office mates as well.

Five workouts in my new gym, a coach told me that my form when squatting was poor -- I was arching my back way too much. He told me that the bar should only be on top of my shoulders and that I should not put out my buttocks way too far. I tried to follow his advice, but I found the style I was using, bar on the shoulder blades, more comfortable for me. Since I didn't want to look stubborn, so every time the coach passed by, I'd stop and do something else as a silly excuse for him not to watch.

Anyway, I feel my efforts are paying off. The fact that I'm sleeping early now is enough reason for me to keep working out. I'm looking forward to a deadlift of 130lbs -- about two or three weeks from now. Hopefully I can perfect my form so that when the heavier weights come along, I should be able to lift them without pulling a muscle.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Maturity: Floor (Part Twenty-Five)

I went to Ahm some days ago to ask if there was still an opportunity to be deployed onsite in Omega, my current project. He told me there still was. I asked him based on my performance if I was already qualified to be deployed onsite, and he told me that I should be a little bit more mature when it comes to work. I should learn how to resolve situations with a quick answer and a punctual follow-through. He also told me that I'll never truly understand what "maturity" meant unless I am able to experience an opportunity to act such: as a team lead.

In the almost over one hour that Ahm and I spent talking, the thing that stuck in my head the most was about strengths and weaknesses. He asked me the question whether if I'll sharpen my skills to overcome my weakness, or to focus my efforts to further improve my strength. After giving a partially slipshod answer of enhancing my strength, he reassured me that it was the better decision of the two. Focusing on my weakness and improving it will make me just mediocre at best, while taking my strengths and pushing them to the limits will outshine whatever weaknesses I might have. Besides, whatever I was weak on can be assigned to another person, Ahm wittily added.

Now, it's up to me to know what my real strengths and weaknesses are. I guess it is part of being mature.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tenacity: Incomplete

Twelve years ago, I lost the person whom I called my father.

I lost the person I sought refuge to after a day full of teases and tears. I lost the person whom I told all my little victories, the small times I conquered the seas of my insecurites in my simple life back then. Twelve years ago, I lost a part of myself, never to be returned forever.

Here I am, standing incomplete under all the realities of life.

Tatay may no longer be here, but he'll be forever the one and only tatay for the rest of my life.

Tatay, masaya ka ba sa kung naging ano ako ngayon?
I love you Tatay. Sana masaya ka na ngayong magkasama na kayo ulit ni Nanay.

Zweihander, excerpt from 'Tatay, Miss na Kita'
August 3, 2009

Coming back to this post, I do wonder if Nanay and Tatay are happy in what I have become and what I have achieved. When I was a kid, they'll always lull me to sleep whenever I cried. Each and every time woke up, I always felt better. No matter what happened, I always found them beside me with a patient smile.

Nanay, Tatay, sorry if I turned out to be gay. But I'm proud to say that I'm a stronger person than before. Yes, I may be alone and incomplete under all the realities of life, but I no longer feel that I'm alone. I also have learned that being incomplete in itself is one of life's realities, and I'm trying my very best to be complete despite being incomplete.

Nanay, Tatay, I miss you both, but don't worry. Ang hirap, pero steady lang ako dito. I'm much more closer to Ma and Dad. They both know what I'm going through. Nanay, Tatay, I know both of you are always looking after me up there. Kita niyo naman, umiiyak ako ngayon. Huwag niyo sana ako pababayaan kasi alam niyo ang pinagdadaanan ko.

I love you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strength's True Price

From what I've experienced time in and out, inner strength isn't something one is born with. The hearts of people grow weaker or stronger with each passing day. After a meaningful day, one either walks away teary eyed from all the opportunities for growth gone forever, or relieved because one survived, permanently changed by what experiences one faced. I can say this because the person writing this and myself six years ago are now two completely different persons, but not without similarities.

I write this because for the past few days, I've never stopped thinking about all the what-ifs of my life. What if I did this? What if I chose not to do that? Rather than sulking about what could have become and living in regret, I always find myself looking for something worth learning in each time I stopped to ask myself. Never failing to pick up a tiny, shattered fragment of a better tomorrow, I have built myself a goal that I want to achieve in the future.

Making a choice in a crossroad of chances is a brave thing to do. Strength's true price is never knowing the answer to each and every what-if in our life.

We don't have to. We don't need to. That's why I can say I am stronger.

I choose to grow and be a better person not for somebody, but for myself. I am thankful that in everything that I went through, I always found a reason to learn and move forward. As Sum 41 puts it, holding onto the past will just make things worse for what little goodness is left. The worst part is that things are worse only for that person, and not for everybody else.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sum 41 - Makes No Difference

Makes No Difference
Sum 41
from the album Half Hour of Power

You're running fast and missing but cannot help convincing
The reasons you gave me are all wearing thin
It's not meant to hurt you but let me assure you
It's not what I said but intentions you've read

So when you hold onto the past then you
Will break down what little is left
Yeah, there's nothing more you can't ignore
And say it makes no difference to me
It makes no difference to me

Now that you're older, life's weighing on your shoulders
You can't seem to keep things so perfectly straight
With most things so basic you might as well face it
You can't help but worry it's all just begun

So when you hold onto the past then you
Will break down what little is left
Yeah, there's nothing more you can't ignore
And say it makes no difference to me

It makes no difference to me
It makes no difference to me
It makes no difference to me
It makes no difference

So when you hold onto the past then you
Will break down what little is left
Yeah, there's nothing more you can't ignore
And say it makes no difference to me

It makes no difference
It makes no difference to me
It makes no difference
It makes no difference to me

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stats (File 13)

According to the do-it-yourself health kiosk you operate with a five peso coin,

Your Measurements:
Weight: 165lb 6oz / 75.1kg
Height: 6ft 1.6in / 187cm
Body Mass Index (BMI): 21.5kg/m²
Age and Gender: 24M

Blood Pressure
Maximum Systolic: 128 mmHg
Minimum Diastolic: 77 mmHg

Body Fat Estimation
Fat Index: 13.4%
Fat Mass: 22lb 0oz / 10.0kg
Free Fat Mass: 143lb 6oz / 65.1kg

Heart Rate Analysis
Heart Rate: 82 P/min
Maximum Heart Rate: 103 P/min
Minimum Heart Rate: 75 P/min

Normal Weight: 142lb 8oz - 191lb 13oz / 64.7 - 87.1kg
Normal BMI Value: 18.5 - 24.9
Normal/High/Hypertension Systole: 129 / 130-140 / 140+
Normal/High/Hypertension Diastole: 84 / 85-90 / 90+
Normal Fat Index: 14 - 20%
Normal Fat Mass: 23lb 5oz - 35lb 14oz / 10.6 - 16.3kg

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Project Kratos (Phase I, 2/36)

Project Kratos is my effort to be stronger and lift heavy, with a better looking body only as a result. I'm following the Stronglifts 5x5 Workout: five sets of five reps each exercise, with the exception to the deadlift where it is done five sets of one rep each.

I decided to follow SL5x5 because I was never a fan of isolation exercises and I can't afford to stay for hours at the gym. SL5x5 focuses only on compound exercises, and it allows me to train in under an hour at the most. The core exercise of the workout is the squat, while it's core principle is to start light and progressively add weight each time I visit the gym.

Phase I of Project Kratos is 12 weeks: 36 workout sessions in total.

I started the program with the following stats:
Weight: 161lbs
Body Fat: 13.4%
Posts under this label will serve as my training journal to track my progress and as well thoughts about exercising and the gym for the next weeks to come.

Training Day 2 (06/16/12)
Workout B

5x5 - 50lbs

5x5 - 45lbs

1x5 - 90lbs

Training Day 1 (06/14/12):
Workout A

45lbs, 5x5

45lbs, 5x5

65lbs, 5x5

I was actually scared to go to gym for the very first time. I felt very conscious about other people looking at me while I squat an empty bar. But as soon as I entered the gym and did my business, I felt very relieved because people didn't pay too much attention on what other people were doing. It was like everybody at the gym had an agreement not to bother somebody else unless their form is putting them at great risk for injury. When I went to the gym today, I didn't have the uneasy feeling eating me inside out. I went, did my squats and lifts, took a shower, and left. The gym (at least my gym) was like a brotherhood where every individual values respect to another person's space and time. It was very different from what I had in mind: a place packing beefy men snickering at a thin person's attempt to lift weights as thin as he was.

As Napoleon Hill places it, "neglecting to broaden their view has kept some men doing one thing all their lives."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tenacity: Ironies


How can you be happy if you know that you won't be in the future? Happiness is just a drug to go to a nice world full of fake realities. Upon entering the state of happiness, you are blinding yourself from the truth of this harsh society. Happiness may be the saddest thing in the whole colorful world of emotions. How come? Being happy is a very selfish act. I mean, how can someone be happy if the people around him/her isn't? In my experience, happiness cannot be created. In order to feel happy, you must make someone sad. See how wrong happiness is? When you are happy, you are an agent of the vicious cycle of happiness. And sometimes, a defeat hurts more after a period of extreme happiness. It really, really does.  

Being happy forever isn't possible.  

Being content is enough. 
But being content is like being happy.  

But keep it to yourself. 
This way the cycle loses a catalyst.

Zweihander, 'Ironies'
December 13, 2006

This is one of the reasons I try to keep a blog. Keeping track of myself through writing makes me see how little or how much I have changed as a person.

I no longer believe what I said almost six years ago. True, being content is enough, but being content isn't the same as being happy. Being content brings a much more profound sense of peace. Happiness can be a mask to hide sad lies, but nothing can replace the feeling of being content. It is a freedom from the yearning to be always happy and fear of being miserably alone in solitude because deep down inside, I know that I can make it through.

Even though I have a lot of mistakes resting on my shoulders, I can now say that I believe in myself. And that is what matters most.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

(Happy) Birthday - 24

Yesterday, I turned 24. I wasn't excited about it.

My birthday this year probably had to be the worst I've ever had. But I have to reluctantly say that this particular birthday was one of the best as well.

Worst, simply because a lot of things happened that either broke my heart, or broke my heart even more. My birthday had a sad prologue of tears and heartbreaks which simply made me lose my will to love ever again. Everything that happened was just too much to bear that I had to throw in the towel.

The best in an unsure tone because I learned a lot. I really do mean a lot. I became a little stronger, and in my current situation, that is enough for me to be content. It's just disheartening that things had to end that way.

People wished me happiness in my birthday, but honestly, my birthday would be a sad one and would never, ever be complete.

My wish? For things to get better for everybody. I didn't wish for happiness because let's face it: I won't be completely happy no matter what happened. I just prayed that whatever obstacles I encounter, I'd have the strength to carry on with life.

But seriously, I just hope things get much, much better when I turn 25.

Pumpkin, I patiently waited for your pasabog today even if I knew it wasn't coming. Tanga no? Naisip ko kung naalala mo bang birthday ko ngayon, but I guess it doesn't matter anymore. Sana maayos ka na dyan sa Canada. I miss you so much. Hindi lumilipas ang araw na hindi kita naiisip. Just give me time na makamove on. It's hard, but I'll forget my feelings for you when the time comes. Like I said, I will never forget you. I love you.

Truth (Part Three)

This series of posts, entitled 'Truth', contains a whole lot of sarcastic resentment and bitterness about the things that happened for the past year and a half. I do not place expletives or vulgarity in my posts, but in the light of the events that happened, censoring these will not fully capture the feelings I am trying to bring out. If you, dear reader, find the above pathetic or offensive in any way, please do yourself a favor and close this tab.

Future Nox, I dedicate this to you. Don't make the same mistakes as I did.

My ex dropped me a line last Friday:

ayaw ko ng mag sorry kase paulit ulit na lang ,saka na lang siguro pag natama ko na yung mali ko sa sarili ko.
tinatanggap ko naman na naging obsess ako
pakialamero..sana hinayaan na lang kita
pero hanggang sana na lang yun kase nagawa ko
wala na akong magagawa dun kundi lumayo na lang sayo
thanks for everything !

The first few words that immediately popped into my mind was and fuck you too. Sana hinayaan mo na lang talaga ako, pakialamero. We've been through this for at least four times, sans the pakialamero part. I always felt a strong sense of compassion sweep inside me every time we had this conversation, but last Friday was different. I'd admit I still felt some soft feelings inside me, but I forced myself to wear a poker face, shrug indifferently, and harden my calloused heart.

alam mo naman pala eh bakit kinailangan mo pang gawin lahat ng ginawa mo?
sa susunod wag ka lang hanggang "sana"
gawin mo
first friday ngayon
nagmisa ako
nung pinikit ko mata ko para magdasal
tangina naluha ako
kunin mo na lahat ng gamit mo sa bahay
intindihin mo na ayaw na kitang makausap, di ko na sasabihin ang dahilan
alam mo na yun
hindi mo na kailangan magpaliwanag kasi bale wala na rin
alagaan mo na lang sarili mo palagi
kaya mo yan
i'm sorry if i sound so mean
pero kailangan ko ito gawin
kailangan natin itong dalawa

See? Until the end, I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was still quite worried about him. He's at his weakest and needs help, but that help would not be coming from me.

And to think that my ex doubted me that I loved him to the point that I doubted even myself. But after all that happened, I'd just swallow what was once my true feelings and tell myself that I never really loved him to begin with. It makes things far more easier and simpler. Why? I'm so broken right now that I cannot afford to have a strenuous emotional life: I'd implode from all the pressure and much unwanted stress and tension. Besides, I don't love him anymore. Rather, I'd love him to leave my life.

I don't regret anything that I went through, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to experience all the fuck and shit that has happened. Regret won't grant me anything but a desire for vengeance. I'd rather treasure all the bitter realities I've learned and experienced to build myself anew.

This time, I'm really leaving without you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Truth (Part Two)

This series of posts, entitled 'Truth', contains a whole lot of sarcastic resentment and bitterness about the things that happened for the past year and a half. I do not place expletives or vulgarity in my posts, but in the light of the events that happened, censoring these will not fully capture the feelings I am trying to bring out. If you, dear reader, find the above pathetic or offensive in any way, please do yourself a favor and close this tab.

Future Nox, I dedicate this to you. Don't make the same mistakes as I did.

Ano talaga ang dahilan? 

Pakialamero siya kasi.

Everything would have been better if my ex minded his own life. I can't say if he found his life too dull and boring that he ended up always meddling with my life. I'm not saying this to insult him or start another fight (which would probably happen if he reads this, but I don't give no shit anymore). I am stating it now because that is what I see as the truth, and he needs to realize that that is the truth.

He always told me to tell the truth to my mom because his image was so destroyed when she had to step in between us in an extremely physical fight. He wanted me to tell to my mom everything naughty I did because apparently, those things were the cause of all his resentment and anger towards me. I thought to myself, why should I do that? Don't I have the right to live a part of my life in private?

At tama bang dapat raw magkasundo sila ng magiging boyfriend ko kasi raw kuya ko na raw siya ngayon? Ni tunay ko ngang kuya hindi ako pinapakailaman sa personal kong buhay, siya pa kayang kuya-kuyahan ko raw?

Go destroy the dreams and life of somebody else. You've already destroyed mine. And no, I didn't destroy no fucking dream of yours. You wrecked your own life and dreams because you allowed yourself to become such a horrible person. Hindi mo ba na-gets kung bakit gusto kong maayos yung problema natin? Uulitin ko, kasi sobrang miserable mo na, at alam mong hindi ko gustong ganyan ka. Kung anu-ano na ang ginagawa mong katarantaduhan. Para ano, mapansin kita? Nakuha mo na ang gusto mo kasi pansin na pansin na kita ngayon, kaya lubayan mo na ako. Tanginang buhay to.
But I think it's my fault for allowing him to be still part of my intimate life. I'd admit that we still had sex long after we broke up, but I clearly told him that sex was just sex. It was just a release of carnal desire, and it did not contain any romantic feelings. But probably that didn't work out for him. Maybe he still thought there was still something else going on, that the "buck fuddy" thing didn't work out for him. I'd like to say the shit I am now is all my fault, but who am I kidding? Probably own pathetic self.

Now that I've cut my connections with him, let's see what will happen. I've given too much fuck about him, and I think it's about time that I move on with my own life, preferably without him. Harsh as it may sound, I'd rather life a life full of shit rather than to be with him ever again. It's just he's caused me too much frustration, grief, and pain already -- and to think that he calls himself my "big brother"?


I probably caused him so much unneeded frustration, grief, and pain as well, but it's his fault that he felt that way. He told me before that until now, he loved me very much. I wanted to tell him that it wasn't love that he was feeling, it was turning into a sick obsession. Why? Because if you really love a person, you'll let go so that the person you love would be happy -- a lot of people would attest to that. It's a painful sacrifice, but it is the correct and healthy choice. What did he do? He stalked me and destroyed possible relationships with two wonderful people that I could have been in. He wanted me to be still with him, out of either sheer selfishness or some other reason I no longer have interest in knowing, even if he clearly knew my happiness was no longer with him. I told him that I wanted to be good friends with him, but I was not willing to be his boyfriend ever again. Looking back at all the tears I held back and painfully shed because of him, I should have just let him leave our house as soon as I broke up with him. Honestly, I didn't do so because I was terribly afraid of what would happen to both of us, but looking at what has happened to us now, it was an unforgivable mistake. Both of us didn't deserve anything painful that has happened in the past year and a half.

I told my friend that no need to worry, I am coping up in my own way. She was worried because I told her that I felt so bitterly alone even if I knew that I wasn't. I manage by just looking forward to the time wherein I'd be thankful for everything that has happened because it made me as strong as I could possibly be.

I still believe that time will come.

Pumpkin, first day mo sa work ngayon. I know you are doing great, ikaw pa. I wrote three new goals today. Sa totoo lang, I shouldn't be thinking of you anymore, but I just can't help it. Promise, I'll forget you as soon as I can, hindi lang talaga ngayon. Hayaan mo lang muna akong manghinayang sa nasayang nating relationship. Ingat ka palagi, and always remember that I love you very much.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Truth (Part One)

This series of posts, entitled 'Truth', contains a whole lot of sarcastic resentment and bitterness about the things that happened for the past year and a half. I do not place expletives or vulgarity in my posts, but in the light of the events that happened, censoring these will not fully capture the feelings I am trying to bring out. If you, dear reader, find the above pathetic or offensive in any way, please do yourself a favor and close this tab.

Future Nox, I dedicate this to you. Don't make the same mistakes as I did.

The context: very very bad misunderstanding between me, my ex, and my "boyfriend" who is now in Canada. Ex being having broken up since December 2010 from a one and a half year relationship. "Boyfriend" in quotes since neither of us asked the other if he'll be one, but we have already told each other our feelings for one another. And I'm gay.

I received a text message from my ex:

Sana kung magkikwento k
sa iba ung t0t0o.tnx!
sbhn u kung bkt tau nag away
at sbhn u kung anu talaga
ang dahilan.

The problem is I never lied. Cross my heart, hope to die. I'm swearing in God's name that I didn't lie even if it's a horrible thing to do. I am that sincere I didn't lie. Everything was just a big swab of fucked-up misunderstandings. I'm so sick of not knowing what to think, since apparently every time I open my stupid mouth, a whole lot of fuck happens. And I'm not so sure if that's supposed to happen. I feel so ignorant, or maybe even controlled. Fuck you, intelligent and free world.

And yeah, I hate it when you substitute mo to u when texting. I'm pathetic, since even the littlest and most trivial of things I can no longer take. I read this as sabihin you kung bakit tayo nag-away at sabihin you kung ano talaga ang dahilan. Hilarious.

i told the truth. van either
misunderstood or told a lie.
i'm sorry if it counts. but it
doesn't matter now. van cut
whatever relationship we have.
just pay your dues to ma and me.
don't text me again. thanks.

The (non-verbatim) text message I sent in reply a few hours ago. I should have sent that message (or at least the last two sentences excluding 'thanks' part) a year and a half ago, but nonetheless, this is the start of picking up the pieces of what I have left. If I only had the balls to tell my ex that it's over, so go leave the house since we know the you still living here scheme isn't happening, everything would be at least better. But no. I just told him that it's over, but you can still stay here dahil may pinagsamahan tayo. I was too kindhearted and naive, him being my first boyfriend. If I steeled through and gave him the boot to the ass, our wounds would have long healed by now. Maybe both of us are happy with each others' lives. But no. The past year and a half was nothing but a big swash of lies. Lies to myself, lies to other people, lies to the whole fucking humankind. Lies that did nothing but to make the wounds of breaking up only worse.

May pinagsamahan tayo. I can't believe I still thought that way even if he told me that I destroyed his fucking dreams. Sinira mo ang mga pangarap ko, he said. I honestly got deeply hurt when he said that to my face, but I didn't fucking weep. That was not a lie, isn't it? Maybe it was. Lies, sweet lies.

I understand Sweetie, I won't insist... I just wanna thank you for everything sa mga pagsakay sa mga kalokohan ko at dun sa konting love na binigay mo! Hindi rin kita makakalimutan and sorry din if I put you in the situation kung nasaan ka ngayon. For the last time, I love you... Goodbye!

Don't worry, I will remove everything that links us both after this....

Ironically, I'm worried he'll remove everything that linked us both. This is probably the last message I'll ever get from my "boyfriend". I cried after reading this. I felt so heartbroken that I cried. I can't hide my feelings to myself anymore. But I had it coming. Who in their sane mind would fall in love with someone who's leaving the country in two weeks? I didn't want to let go, because I already loved him. I honestly believed that we could work things out, but let's face it, it isn't happening. I am not a part of his dreams, Canada is, and I completely understand why.

And no, it wasn't konting love, damn it. I really loved him, but I was afraid since I knew there would be a time that I'll need to let go. Like I said, I'm not a part of his dreams.

I love you, pumpkin. But yeah, let's face it: you'll never be around to feel that, but at least I know that that isn't a lie. I love you, that's why I'm saying goodbye as well. It's painful as hell, but time can heal even the deepest of pains. You have a new life ahead of you, and I don't want to be in the way dahil baka sirain ko rin ang mga pangarap mo. We wouldn't want that now, do we? Good.

But really now, do take care pumpkin. I'll take the leisure in writing this nonsense since you won't be able to read this anyway. I know you know that I love you. I'll still wait for the pasabog you promised on my birthday, even if it isn't coming. I'll still wait for March to come, since you said you'll take me to Cebu, even if I know you'll go there without me. I love you, and take care always. Allergic ka pa naman sa lamig, eh ang lamig lamig dyan sa Canada. Sayang, wala akong copy ng picture natin together, ang pogi ko pa naman dun at bagay na bagay tayong dalawa. Miss na kita, at naiiyak na akong isiping hindi na kita makikita o makakausap man lang ulit. At oo, magpapasabog pa rin ako sa March kahit hindi mo na yun makikita, promise. I'll always set goals like you do to put some direction in my at-the-moment life.

I love you.


Moving on, I took pride in myself that I never blamed anyone for the things that happened, no matter how screwed or fucked up they were. That was a terrible, seething lie. Now, I blame myself, and deep down inside, I blame my ex for everything bad that happened to my romantic life after I met him. Sinira ko mga pangarap mo? Well, sinira mo na rin ang mga pangarap ko. Sana masaya ka na para lubayan mo na ako, tangina. Gets ko naman kung bakit ayaw mo akong makipagsex sa iba, kasi delikado, baka magkasakit. Alam ko yun, salamat, pero bakit pati mga taong nagugustuhan ko? Bakit kailangan mong gawin yun? Akala ko gusto mo ako magkaroon ng boyfriend kasi natatakot ka na hindi na ako magkaroon ng boyfriend ulit dahil sa kinahinatnan ng relationship natin?

Stupidly enough, I ask these questions even if I have no intent of knowing the answer. Not that I don't like to, but because let's face it: it doesn't fucking matter anymore. And I'll just have a relationship with my right hand. Kung basted, edi sa kaliwa.

I'm not the person who'd say such horrible words. Think, yes, but say, no. Why am I saying them now? Wala lang, for a change. I've always tried to avoid conflict with my ex, but I always ended up starting them. I was always the one flaring up and barging in with a raised tone. Why? Because I always got frustrated about our situation. Wala kasing nangyayari. Hindi ko na alam kung ano talaga ang problema: ako, siya, o kaming dalawa.

And (apparently) on all counts of our 'disagreements', he always told me that I was a bastard liar. Well, probably it's true, because he fucking knows everything about the things I did or the people I met. You know, things that he or even my mother is not supposed to know? I feel dumb that apparently, I am at amiss how the world operates the word privacy.

"Ma, I'm calling to tell you that I'll be home late kasi I just had a romp with a man old enough to be my father at 15th Avenue here at Cubao. No fucking, delikado yun eh. Just some mutual sucking and jerking and some sweet intracrural. Ang laki ng titi niya! Oh yeah, bakla ako. You knew? Fucking fantastic. Ok see you later, love you lots bye."

No? I thought so.

But it's my fault that I do not delete messages in my inbox or change all passwords every half hour that passes. That's why in the first place, he knows everything I did. I'm not careful enough. Blame me. Please blame me.

Privacy and crime are two different things, right? How come I feel as if I'm being punished for doing things in my own, private life? I mean, having some sexytime with a person you've just met (which you should not do) is well, bad, but it's not like I ransacked a bank for a million bucks, right?

The way things I'm seeing it, several things can be happening here:
A) I do not have the right to privacy. Does that make me a matinee idol?
B) My ex does not know I have the right to privacy. Does that make me a matinee idol in his eyes?
C) My ex does not know how privacy operates. Not reading others' phone inbox or hacking emails and social networking accounts is a start.
D) Let's keep it general. It's a misunderstanding.

I'll bet my balls on the last one. But to place some effort in answering the question kung ano talaga ang dahilan, I'll say that it's him getting frustrated that I do not tell everyone about the vulgar and horrible things I do, you know, things that fall under the word privacy. He gets the shitty grits of a bad rep because he does all these stupid things just to make me spill my beans. I'm running on pure speculation here folks, but my guess is that he thinks I don't know what I'm doing in my life. What am I, a damned three year old?

I'll admit I'm exaggerating things here. But simply put, his point is that what I'm doing is wrong. My point is that he's not even supposed to know that thing I was doing, not on the grounds of I'm hiding dirty secrets from him, but just on the fact that I have a private life. His point: concern perhaps? My point: tangina bakit ka nanghihimasok sa buhay ko? Hindi naman ako pariwara at alam ko naman ang ginagawa ko. Sarili kong ngang nanay at tatay hindi ako pinapakialaman, hindi dahil wala silang pakialam, dahil alam nilang alam ko ang ginagawa ko at nirerespeto nila ang mga desisyon ko.  He cares way too much, as if he's like an overprotective boyfriend, which is actually quite good. As a friend, I really do care, but as a boyfriend, I don't fucking give a damn anymore well since, matagal nang hindi kami.

I'd totally understand everything if we were in a romantic relationship together since partners need to be transparent to one anoth...oh.

Just shoot me in the head so it's all over. Do it as an act of mercy.

I know he has his reasons, and I won't force him to tell me if he doesn't want to. You know, privacy? Maybe my ex is right that I am shit clueless on what I'm doing, but there's one thing I know: I want him out of my life. I am sincerely sad that it has come to this, but I've been sad way too long. What's running in my mind is that a little bit more sadness won't hurt anymore if I can be given the chance to be happy afterwards. I'm clinging on the chance to be happy. I'm that desperate.

This post was all but vulgar rage accentuated with crisp expletives. Promise, I'll post something more levelheaded. Kaya nga part one ito eh.

Bakla ako. At kung hindi mo alam, bakla ka rin kasi pumatol ka sakin. Pero ako, hindi pailalim kung tumira. Kasi gawain lang ng bakla yun.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stats (File 12)

According to the do-it-yourself health kiosk you operate with a five peso coin,

Your Measurements:
Weight: 154lb 10oz / 70.2kg
Height: 6ft 0.8in / 185cm
Body Mass Index (BMI): 20.5kg/m²
Age and Gender: 23M

Blood Pressure
Maximum Systolic: 121 mmHg
Minimum Diastolic: 73 mmHg

Body Fat Estimation
Fat Index: 11.6%
Fat Mass: 17lb 13oz / 8.1kg
Free Fat Mass: 136lb 12oz / 62.1kg

Heart Rate Analysis
Heart Rate: 104 P/min
Maximum Heart Rate: 125 P/min
Minimum Heart Rate: 55 P/min

Normal Weight: 141.1 - 189.8lb / 64.0 - 86.1kg
Normal BMI Value: 18.5 - 24.9
Normal/High/Hypertension Systole: 129 / 130-140 / 140+
Normal/High/Hypertension Diastole: 84 / 85-90 / 90+
Normal Fat Index: 14 - 20%
Normal Fat Mass: 22.5 - 34.4lb / 10.2 - 15.6kg

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Burning Out: Floor (Part Twenty-Four)

After our very hectic schedule for the past few months, we have finally reached calmer waters. Most of us are now assigned to fix whatever defects our program has. Deadlines still need to be met, but the pressure on our part is way much easier for us to be able to go home like people working in the standard nine to six shift. We were overjoyed that our onsite coordinators let us enjoy the long and much anticipated holiday weekend, as we were skeptical since they had the authority to force us to go to work instead.

Two days after the long weekend away from work, I realized how nice the outside world was. I buried myself under a ton of work that I have forgotten how to live a life, as the saying goes. I kept choosing the most difficult of tasks so that I had a reason to stay cooped up on my station till the break of daylight not primarily because that I want to challenge myself career-wise, but forget whatever problems I had outside the four corners of our office.

I just burned myself out. Not that I have lost my motivation to go to work. It's just that I don't want to stay at the office working my eyebrows off. Part of it being me losing a lot of hard-gained weight, and part of it being me wanting to break away from the shackles constantly binding and slowing me down.

One Step at a Time

"You know, you totally destroyed my dreams."

I'm taking my life back, one step at a time. I'll move forward and leave the people who wallow in despair and regret behind. I'll once again live my life, one meaningful day after the next.

"If you're no longer happy, then it's time let go. The pain will be worth it."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stats (File 11)

According to the do-it-yourself health kiosk you operate with a five peso coin,

Your Measurements:
Weight: 155lb 15oz / 70.8kg
Height: 6ft 0.8in / 185cm
Body Mass Index (BMI): 20.7kg/m²
Age and Gender: 23M

Blood Pressure
Maximum Systolic: 137 mmHg
Minimum Diastolic: 71 mmHg

Body Fat Estimation
Fat Index: 11.8%
Fat Mass: 178b 4oz / 8.3kg
Free Fat Mass: 137lb 10oz / 62.5kg

Heart Rate Analysis
Heart Rate: 107 P/min
Maximum Heart Rate: 125 P/min
Minimum Heart Rate: 89 P/min

Normal Weight: 141.1 - 189.8lb / 64.0 - 86.1kg
Normal BMI Value: 18.5 - 24.9
Normal/High/Hypertension Systole: 129 / 130-140 / 140+
Normal/High/Hypertension Diastole: 84 / 85-90 / 90+
Normal Fat Index: 14 - 20%
Normal Fat Mass: 22.5 - 34.4lb / 10.2 - 15.6kg

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stats (File 10)

According to the do-it-yourself health kiosk you operate with a five peso coin,

Your Measurements:
Weight: 155lb 15oz / 70.8kg
Height: 6ft 1.6in / 187cm
Body Mass Index (BMI): 20.2kg/m²
Age and Gender: 23M

Blood Pressure
Maximum Systolic: 126 mmHg
Minimum Diastolic: 71 mmHg

Body Fat Estimation
Fat Index: 11.1%
Fat Mass: 17lb 2oz / 7.8kg
Free Fat Mass: 138lb 12oz / 63.0kg

Heart Rate Analysis
Heart Rate: 84 P/min
Maximum Heart Rate: 90 P/min
Minimum Heart Rate: 82 P/min

Normal Weight: 141.1 - 189.8lb / 64.0 - 86.1kg
Normal BMI Value: 18.5 - 24.9
Normal/High/Hypertension Systole: 129 / 130-140 / 140+
Normal/High/Hypertension Diastole: 84 / 85-90 / 90+
Normal Fat Index: 14 - 20%
Normal Fat Mass: 22.5 - 34.4lb / 10.2 - 15.6kg

Three-Day Mindanao Escape: Iligan and Cagayan de Oro (Part Four)

After eating a quick breakfast at Victoria Suites, our driver arrived and picked us up at four thirty in the morning. We took the still dark highway to the west towards Iligan, Lanao del Norte. Sleepy, our group once again fell asleep on the way. We only woke up to the endless shaking of our van as we took the rocky path towards one of the best places I've seen in the country: the pristine Tinago Falls.

With our guide, Kuya Jonathan, we descended the steep four hundred steps downwards the falls. After a few minutes, we finally arrived at the bottom, and we were all astounded by the color of the water: it was an unreal turquoise blue. The cold air made by the falls made me shiver with anticipation. We donned our life vests and took a balsa towards the falls. The water was very different: it was clean and fresh. I scaled a rock face about twenty or so feet high and jumped down. I was frightened, but the feeling of falling down in a seemingly endless plummet was one of the experiences I'll never forget. The wind rushing on my face until the splashing of the beautiful waters deafening my ears was something I want to do all over again. After listening to the stories of Kuya Jonathan while on the raft, we decided to leave the magnificent falls since we were pressed for time. With places still to set foot to, we tried ourselves against the challenge of the four hundred steep steps uphill. Our knees and legs creaked and groaned every step, but the experience of Tinago Falls served as a source of strength. After reaching the top, we said our thanks and bade goodbye to Kuya Jonathan, before starting to head back to Cagayan de Oro.

We took a short sidetrip to the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's heritage home. There, we learned a little about history thanks to the very friendly and courteous staff who took care of the place. After that, we went to the country's highest waterfalls, Talon ng Maria Cristina, since it was just a short drive away. Situated inside a nature park in Lanao del Norte's biggest hydroelectic power plant, it is dubbed as the "Twin Waterfalls" since a rocky protrusion on the edge of the falls splits the water into two mighty currents. It was unfortunate that we were unable to see the falls in its full glory, since it was only during weekends when both segments of the falls are opened. Two hours on the road, we arrived back at Cagayan de Oro for our final adventure in the trip: the adrenaline-pumping white water rafting.

We transferred to a jeep and headed to the starting point of our adventure on the great rapids. After a hearty lunch and a few pointers from our raft guide, Kuya Bambam, we boarded our raft and started our adventure down Cagayan de Oro's river. We passed through numerous rapids, from simplest to the craziest ones. We paddled and steered our raft under the command of Kuya Bambam. After successfully conquering a leg of rapids, we raised our paddles high and shouted our cries of victory and relief. After almost four hours of white water rafting adventure, we arrived at the endpoint. At that time, it was the end of our adventure, so we dried ourselves and prepared for our return back home. Kuya Bambam gave us a lift back to Lumbia Airport, which was a convenient fifteen minute drive from the rafting adventure's endpoint. We said thanks and bade farewell, before entering the airport to board our plane back to Manila. After an uneventful wait for our delayed flight home, we boarded the plane at around nine in the evening, and shortly took off bound for Ninoy Aquino International Airport. At eleven in the evening, our plane made its final turn and landed safely and soundly at Manila.

The three days I spent in Mindanao was a tiring one. More than half of the time, we were on the road or on sea, traveling to our next destination. But all the sights we saw, people we met, and experiences we gained was definitely worth all the time and effort. This was my first time to travel somewhere far from where I grew up, and it made me see the glimpse on how exciting it is to embark on a journey to travel across new places.