Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emergency Room

She is 9 years old but only a few inches shorter than a 25 year old fully grown Southeast Asian. She is Egyptian and a sweet little lady who smiles despite swollen lymph nodes and tonsillitis. 

She looks away but still wears a faint smile as her blood was drawn for analysis. She flinches a little while a tiny bleb was made on her forearm for an antibiotic allergy test. The test results are out so the antibiotic is administered deep in her muscles. She did not make a sound as the needle landed on her, no movement as the two ml of potent fluid spreads, and still she remains motionless after the thin rod of metal is withdrawn. 

Mommy gives her a hug for being a tough girl and Ms. Nurse calls her amazing names for bravery. 

She slowly walks out of the room. Away from everyone to whom she showed her courage, she retreats in a chair where she burts out into tears.

The two ml fluid brought immense pain but she managed to cover it up. Mama had to see her battle the hurt and everybody seemed too proud she did not want them disappointed. 

She had to be brave because little girls are more than just a sweet smile. But someone had to remind her that she can be brave and shed tears at the same time and that she's doing great in holding on to courage, just in case the world forgets she is also made to fight. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017


It is 9 in the evening when she decided to stand just a few inches behind the glass door. But unlike the many nights she had spent looking at the world outside of the four walls she has been spending her days in, tonight is one of the many deja vus she has collected through the years. 

The same convenience store is visible in the corner of the street, the same wrecked cars are parked along the orange brick road, the four date trees are still perfectly aligned just like how she remembered them on February 29 of last year when she first set foot on that parking lot.

She takes a deep breath while trying to fathom how the scent of air was once different and foreign. It could have been in a dream or it could have been in another plane of consciousness she has yet to acknowledge but she knows this evening is exactly how it should be. She loves this kind of moments when fate faintly whispers, "You're doing just fine."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Excerpts from my 50-peso Diary

How does humanity do it? Peace is nice and comforting. But sometimes, all I feel is fear. That overwhelming punch in my chest makes things real-death, loss, rejection, failure, loneliness. They're all in here, knocking everything inside my narrowed ribcage. That's more real than peace most days. And reality is what I was trained to believe in.

I have weird or pathetic thoughts most days. I think everyone does but there's really no way we can tell the intensity of the madness each of us have. Too much whirling and banging going on inside my tiny skull. I had to consciously shut it off most days. I had to do some meditative breathing, chant my scripted pep talks and somersault across my bed for half an hour or more. It's even worse when the buzz comes while I'm basically expected to be civil. How civilized can a gaga be? But there's this bit in my craziness that likes to shout out my love out there- for everyone and for anything. I wanna give my little humans some tight hug even if they end up crying thereafter. I wanna tell everyone to have a good day. I wanna tell grandmas and grandpas that they're adorable and that I'm in love with the wisdom and light that shines through them. I wanna tell all my friends how this day is so much better because we shared some biscuits and tea together.  There's just too much in my chest but  I sometimes end up in silence and my selfishness, insecurities, the need to be "socially normal" take over and the love just goes straight out of the window, poof, gone. It's just me again and my awkward self. #heyneurosishey

It feels like I had enrolled myself in a 2 year retreat here in Saudi. It's actually a pretty good deal considering I'm getting paid to learn about this life and all my angst. Everybody finds a way to be happy or for the very least, get comfortable in dealing with all the shit that's offered on their plates. It's also interesting how twisted things can be for the sake of finding happiness. 

She told me that the scent of a pink bar soap brings up the hate out of his betrayal and the memories of the nights that they had cuddled in bed. I told her to just switch to the green dove which is lightly scented by fresh cucumber. For me though, the pink dove scent lets me travel back to my childhood when my mama would lovingly pamper me to bed at night post a warm bath. It brings lots of loving memories. My cousin gifted me a perfume for Christmas of 2013 that smells earthy with a tinge of sweetness and for me, it's the scent of love. It was then that I felt the giddy tweaks in my chest because butterflies were dancing in my stomach and the universe fills with all the amazing possibilities brought about by my love hormones on high. When I smell a musky scent, I think I'm falling in love all over again.

I'm scared because we are silently scarred by young souls drifting away right in front of us. We are unconsciously weakened by little bodies we carry via canvas just before we take our early morning coffee. We are slowly drifting away from this reality by regrets brimming from the hearts of those that are left behind.

We are all strange. We are all trying, some are actually battling hard, just to be happy and sane. We are all working on ourselves. But may we try not to hurt those around us while we strive to love this mess. And may we find the courage to take in our pride and apologize when we realize we did. May we be kind enough to offer forgiveness.  

There are days when you have to force yourself to be happy. In between those days, you might even hate yourself for trying so hard while others seem to have it so easy (they don't). And that's okay. If you have to work hard for just one thing in this lifetime, choose happiness. Struggle for it, learn the tricks, get your bruises, fake it 'til you make it. 

Friday, March 3, 2017


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Year 2014

People just know better, so YOU, a total sucker and a master of wrong choices must follow their grandiose plan on how to live the life that you have struggled for and gone crazy with. They haven’t seen you on your regular breakdowns and constant monologues. They haven’t seen the confidence that you have built inch by inch. They don’t know how fucking hard you tried to pick yourself up because you’re not doing just enough. HAIL THY MASTERS, BOW DOWN TO THY PERFECT SOCIETY.


Tumblr post #12
Year 2014

I’ve struggled to be a good girl because I don’t wanna end up in hell. I struggled because I don’t wanna be good to start with. I feared all the monsters and raging flames they described hell to be. It was fear instead of sanctity most of the time and it still is. Now, I don’t even know if the existence of hell is plausible. I’d rather fear the pitfalls of being alive. There is this thin line between fearing death and being ecstatic of finally knowing what’s there after the last bubble of consciousness bursts. And when I’m at peace with myself, I gracefully embrace the truth that I can be dead now- and that it’s completely okay.

Random Thoughts

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Year 2014 

**You half-heartedly loved her and half-heartedly betrayed her. Her brain is obsessed rationalizing if what emotion outweighs the other.

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**Why do you care so much of how you look? 
“I really won’t mind if only 99% of the people I meet will stop treating women like a fucking beauty pageant.”

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**To that boy; who played a memorable song on his guitar; who gets to line up before or after me for coffee; who have the exact name as to the one who came before him; who shared brief and wordless conversations with me; who doesn’t really know what name to call me. Thank you. You made it easier by just existing. Bless you.

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**I'm happy that I’m less attached to people, things and memories. The lesser and simpler things are, the better. I use lesser words when I write and speak, considering how wordy I used to be. I trimmed down my Facebook friends to almost half and limited my social media accounts to FB and Tumblr. I gave away 80% of what I had in my closet. I can fit all of my personal belongings in a small bag. I can leave the house with only 5 things in my purse- wallet, phone, keys, powder and mirror. I value people in my life but realized I am still going to be okay without them. I stopped over analyzing and made decisions based on my own definition of right and wrong. It’s freeing to know that memories don’t hold you back and things do not define you.

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**I have to write about you and the way you made me feel. I found myself overwhelmed by your presence. I stared at you numerous times with disbelief. The dream-catchers, you talking to cats, the plants, that cup of water, the cigarettes, the stars, the playlists and a fraction of your dreams. I wanted to share stories but alcohol got in the way. I felt you wanted to share a part of your thoughts too, but I am stranger. Two days, I wish it were longer. The mountains, they made everything even better.  "You wanna try?“ I’ve always wanted to. Thank you for the cigarettes.

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**After a year of failed communication, a dear friend told me, “ I hope that something is making you so happy too." And I then wanted to cry hard on the floor.

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**It is in this in between emotional states that you get to sit and analyze what had just happened. Like whoah, those were a shitload of months that went by and guess what, you’re still fucking alive and excited and beautiful and human.


Medical-Surgical Ward

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Year 2014

On their grimaces and weak sighs, burdened coughs and labored breaths, the struggle for life seems too absurd. 
“Look for my medicines.”
The urgency on his tone made it sound like a desperate plea that he doesn’t want to die today… or EVER.
“Please look for my medicines.”
Please save him from his mortality.

Plastered Face

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Year 2014

Looking at your face, my brain goes technical, retrieving memories of us.
Your eyes, I remember how you looked at me with depth when you tried to question me with things, when you tried to challenge my beliefs. I remember the weakness those eyes gave me.
That mole, I often saw it while looking up and you held your head so high, I wondered what’s gonna become of us and thanked the universe that I had you by my side.
That sad smile, the face you had when all the cockiness was put aside and you told me all about your doubts and fears. When you asked for a hug or a hand to hold because you didn’t know what choice to make.
But now, without those memories, you become a harmless stranger, so far away from me and I realize how crazy it is that I allowed the thought of you to move my world.
You become this plastered face on the screen; curved lines, vibrant colors, motionless, meaningless.

Pep Talk

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I am going to stop obsessing about things and people that don’t do me any good. I am going to live in the now and choose love and peace. I am going to go on jogging at least once a week. I am going to swim. I will join Zumba. I am going to save millions and go on a hike before the year ends. I’m gonna learn how to dance. I will strive to eat healthy again now that I have the freedom to buy my own food. I’m gonna own lesser things. I’m gonna draw more mandalas. I’m gonna visit the beach more often. I’m gonna take more risks, count 1-5 and take chances. I’m gonna quit taking shit personally because this life is too huge that I should stop magnifying my ego. And when things get shady, I know they will, I’m gonna remind myself of the exact reason why I chose to go back and fight for this- I love what I do despite it being an energy and spirit sucking profession most days. I’m going to be an active Earth warrior. I’m gonna let the light in me honor the light within those people I meet. Namaste.


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I personally don’t like drama. Maybe my subconscious likes it, thus, I “unknowingly” attract “tragic encounters” every now and then especially at times when I feel that life is a bore. But with my healthy state of mind, ego clashes and other nasty regression from me or others are a big no-no.
I tried to build a strong sense of self ever since kindergarten because I had to- no one would fight for me then with my mom away from home and my dad living the bachelor’s life. I hated showing my emotions or maybe, I had no reason to feel because I was secluded in my own little world. My childhood sucked but I grew up to be an okay adult and I’m proud of the grumpy little Ronida who managed to pull it off. But sometimes, the grumpy little Ronida pays a visit and I feel like a total asshole. 
I love the feeling of vulnerability but I also equally despise putting my guard down. I don’t want people to see me cry but God forbid, I allowed myself, for numerous times to lose it in front of someone who I now realized, never cared because he was also wrapped around his own misfortunes. I like it when I feel both the good and the bad around me. It makes everything else unreal and intangible and what only matters is the whirlwind of shits and ahhhs inside me. Humans, such a nasty breed of the living.


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My heart skipped a beat when I saw a picture of Eastwood City. I instantly screencaptured it from my fruend’s instagram. The first time I entered Eastwood, the world felt new, scary and exciting. I knew I was lost but deep down, I was hoping that it was the place where I can find whatever shit that made me feel empty. It was the place where I didn’t care what’s gonna happen next and I put my guard down numerous times. 
“Anything could happen,” whispered Eastwood. 
“Desires you never told anyone? Honey, you can do it here,” Eastwood added.
I didn’t go wild. But I did things that I have always wanted to do, free from the need to conform with cultures set by close-minded people.
God, I wish I took more photos. I was too busy submerging myself into experiences so selfies and pictorials were always forgotten.
Eastwood City would always have a special place in my heart. It was home for “the Ronida” that was kept hidden and it is “the Ronida” that I am now proud of no matter what other people say. She knows that people are not defined by the choices they made in the past, that taking chances and fucking fear is a gift to your soul and society is an asshole that labeled people based on their beliefs. 
I wish you get lost at some point in your life. It’s scary but that’s when best things happen and you realize what you really want. Accept that cliche, it’s truth.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Heart Pendant

Most human interactions that I see now are very parasitic in my opinion. Don't get me wrong. I do my best not to be cynical about people. I place a wide curtain of giving them the benefit of the doubt to the point of falling into the deep well of naivity. Then I surprise myself, yet again, for being presented with the fact that most do not see the world through the conscientious mirror I am trying to view humanity.

I just want to put this out there though, I am not the conscientious queen and at the very least, I do not aim to be. Someone once said about me on social media, "You acted like you're a saint, turns out you're a freaking whore." (Total extremist, I do not even know how to flirt. Review your vocab girl!)  I did not ask people to place a halo above my head. I am just like every other normal person who tries to act out of love and when others abuse it, I act out of anger. Human enough I must say. 

I know how selfish I can be and that is something that I might have to work on for the rest of my current lifetime. What I am good at is self evaluation. So people who don't,  bugs me. But this is a world with varying perspectives. We ask ourselves to give out good, even if that's offering a friend a chocolate bar without the hidden motives of gaining trust so we can use it upon our advantage. God, when did people start to see the world as a board game made up of strategies? Maybe that's why I never bothered to learn chess. (No offense, you chess players are geniuses.)

We have the unconscious inclination of persuading others to carry their hearts on their sleeves as well, but that aint possible. That idiom is even viewed on a negative light. This world asks you to toughen up your game if you want to emerge the victor. My nervous system isn't wired to compete though. I do enjoy the endorphin spikes of winning. But I get stressed out overtime. Trying to make a point, as I am writing this, is already draining me. 

This is a hard pill to swallow because you want YOU and everything else to be just as you envision them in your head.

Let it pass. 

Let it go. 

You aint perfect, so is the rest of the world.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bullet Journal

  • These are very obvious but you need a reminder so here they are:

  • Three cups of hot tea won't win over a 3 degree celsius winter but it can keep you warm, for a while.

  • People leave, honey. The number of people leaving is unbearable. Now come on and give yourself a tight hug.

  • Don't stash away that coat and warmers just yet because the cold just had a rest and you'll have to rummage that luggage like a maniac because you'll freeze. It isn't over.

  • There's nothing more romantic than your fluffy purple blanket and Patrick star to go home to.

  • It's normal to keep many photos of yourself. Vanity is self love if done the right way. 

  • Most of the time, you're just hungry and the world isn't ending. Keep calm and have your cup of rice.

  • Things don't go according to plan. People may unexpectedly leave on the first quarter of the year. One year can drop into one month over a single phone call. It will suck big time. But you should be okay. You have to.

  • It's okay to overdose on vitamin C because a flu is evil. Or maybe not.

  • Don't be afraid to starve. Stop buying too many frozen chicken thighs because they will make you vomit in the long run. Eat more tofu. Your health is more important than umami.

    • I know kamote leaves and kangkong are insanely expensive. But treat yourself little farm girl. Comfort food is comfort food. You deserve it.

    • You can freak out with your past life regression visions. But remember your imagination is mostly as wild as your heart and Katherina can be just that, a medieval by product of your neurosis and loneliness.

    • If you have to write another goal on paper, please make sure you've got guts and discipline to go with it. Or you might as well burn them. Remember procastination back in college? It only lead to anxious and sleepless nights. You don't want that.

    • Please, please, please. For the love of god. Keep your debit card safely locked in your cabinet and if you must, throw away the key! Forget it even exists. 

    • Who needs facebook and instagram again? I am super proud of you! 

    • That Chinese astrology website has some serious shit in it. It was on point for 2016 and 2017 doesn't look too pretty. Do your best to triumph over those planets, moon and inauspicious stars they're talking about. Cheesy advice coming.... be brave. 

    • The language barrier dries out the empathy from you and it shouldn't. It takes hard work to put your heart into something you can't even understand on a lyrical level. Still, hard work pays off. Just try harder.

    • Perfume makes you sick. Stick with two sprays. You smell fine.

    • You have weak lungs so stop trying to be a badass because cigarette kills. Read the labels.

    • You paid 35 riyals for that yoga mat so please do something on it. A super awkward downward dog is acceptable miss newbie yogi.

    • Your temper is very erratic. It's not really nice but it doesn't make you a bad person. Continue working on it but stop the self blame. Take all in.

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Life letters from my smartphone

    I am not a "how are you", "i am fine" and "what are you eating?" kind of conversationalist these days. I have gone far from the meaningless texting spree phase I had back in highschool. I get into trouble with facebook's "seen" feature because I just cannot maintain a non stop convo for more than 15 minutes. But I am thankful for this kind of conversation that I have with my bestfriends. We can go for a month without talking and a single well thought of message can set the light. 

    October 13, 2016, 5:30pm

    Dearest Ronida,

    Im typing this letter while making bantay for jeep for work at 10 pm. Im sorry I havent reached out yesterday like I said I would. I admit it flew over my head with a lot of other things going on. Hehe.

    Im trying to train for milo marathon although Im not really after the marathon because Im too weak still for that. Ive always loved to runnnnn... sometimes from the reality. Haha.

    Know what? I think I may be over him. Im finally realizing that he may not be the same person I loved... Haha. So after two years, here I am, moving on from a crush. 😆 

    My vegetarian diet has reached the six-month mark this Sept 29, but yesterday I cheated with the softest chicken empanada. But the chicken was so minute I think I can forgive myself. 

    Im still not sure where my life is going. But Im more nervous for the country under Duterte's communism inclinations than for myself. I dont know if that's a good or a bad things.

    I guess that's it. How have you been? Do write back when you get the time.

    Your soul sister

    October 13, 2016, 8:07pm

    Dear Soul sister,

    I am honestly thrilled to receive this letter. I am currently waiting while my doctora talks to a Pakistani patient about his teeth. The language barrier and an irritating patient is really a problem. My doctora is already impatient.

    My roommate is celebrating her birthday today. I cooked chicken sisig for the first time and I am hoping it's edible. I also made brownies but it didn't turn out well. So I just rolled it into small chocolate balls and now i think they're better. We'll be eating later at 11pm over here. Too many good foods but I'll have to eat in moderation because of tummy issues.

    And guess what, we'll visit the desert for the first time tomorow! They call it the redsand. We might go into the hidden valley as well. Finally, I'll be meeting Mr. Desert. I need the comfort of nature and the dry sand is way way better than this concrete environment that I've been in for 7 months.

    I dont get bloated that much these days. I googled and I'm thinking I might have a fungal infection in my gut. I've been cutting down my sugar and carbohydrate intake and I think it's working. My bilirubin is now normal. But I am losing alot of weight. I am now down to 47.5kg from 50 in 2 weeks. 😞 I still cant go in the same route as you. Veganism is hard if you don't have a solid foundation for doing it I guess.

    Regarding him, I'm doing good. The negative emotions are slowly leaving me. I am currently thankful for everything that has happened. 

    I am glad you're in the process of moving on from yours. It is a hard road but you'll get there. I think the perfect formula (though there's really no perfect in any sense) to move on from someone is the choice to actually start the journey, the drive to live in the present and a passionate dream to occupy the emptiness in our hearts left by the people we once loved. We'll have to sprinkle some love along the way too. For someone once told me, our hearts is such a beautiful vessel to carry anything ugly. 

    So much love, 


    October 19, 2016, 11:00am

    Dearest Ronida,

    Forgive me for taking too long to respond. I've been caught up with a lot of things: hospital work, mountains, peer pressure, jogging, volunteering, and a new online job. But all of these endeavors feel like there's no sense of direction in my life still. 

    I am so happy you finally met Mr Desert! Still waiting for that essay. Hahaha. Gosh. How intoxicating it must be to be in a place sooo old and teeming with everything but appears empty, just as Paulo Coelho put it in much better word combinations in The Alchemist. 

    It's always refreshing to hear about your cooking adventures. I like to think you have gone very far from that girl who deleted her instagram account just because she felt her cooking was insulted. Hahaha.

    Please dont judge me but these days I feel sad because boys dont approach me because they find me weird. Some do... Initially. Then I start talking. Then I can slowly see the interest die away like my obsessive infatuation with "him". Hahaha. That reasoning hasnt been verified yet but that's just my guess. Some days I feel like I hate this weirdness and I know I shouldnt because we should be able to hold on to what makes us who we are so when people leave, we can still see our worth and love ourselves. On these notice-me-senpai days I understand your misery with "him" even better and I wish he trips or bites his tongue wherever he may be. These thoughts sadden me. If mother was here, maybe she will laugh, congratulate me for being a girl (finally), and offer some advice.

    It gives so much hope and calmness to think that someday we can work together in Ireland where hills are rolling green and I have you to calm my nerves and cook weird but yummy stuff and maybe snag some nice Irish boys, too. Lol. Omg I sound like nakatlan. I may be ovulating these days. Pardon the female. 

    Duterte is selling us to China. How do you get news about PH? 

    Cheers Ronida! Flip that crazy, pretty hair!

    Sitting at our Molo Plaza,
    Your soul sister

    October 21, 2016, 1:10pm

    Dearest Soul sister,

    I just want to tell you how these letters never fail to make me genuinely happy. The past few days were filled with forced smiles and a lot of unnecessary worrying, probably why I haven't gotten the energy to make a response. Pardon the delay of my letter.

    After what happened with "him", all I did was laugh about it and insert some well deserved fuck yous in between my thoughts of him. However, I know that I was hurt and was worried why I haven't done anything with that pain. I needed to cry but I forced myself to be brave and masked my vulnerability with 30 minutes to 1 hour unpaid overtime at work, washing other people's dirty dishes and doing my laundry every two days when I used to do it once a week. I thought I needed to be busy and physically exhausted to shut off the questions and drama in my head. But eventually, 2 nights ago after reading tons of thoughcatalog articles, I made peace with "him" (in a made up convo) and all the unanswered questions I had related to "us". It was a good and long cry and I felt so much better after. 

    You are not nakatlan. It is perfectly normal to desire to be with someone or to be chosen or to be adored. We all want that. I also think that not being loved for our unique "beauty" encased in an intricate weirdness is much painful than plain rejection. This may sound very conceited. But yes, it takes a lot of guts, energy and wisdom from the other person to look beyond our kind I guess. But I am also thinking, Brene Brown once said that those who experience love and belonging simply do one thing, they believe they are worthy of love and belonging. So maybe that's the part where we should look into?   

    I can't wait for our Ireland living too! But these days, I am trying to live in the moment AKA seeing all the perks of my still almost two year stay here in the kingdom. I found out that that lessens my sadness immensely. A friend often talks to me too about missing our unicorn convo and escapades and I do too. But then, I realized that wanting things that are out of our present reality only contributes into a series of depression. Que sera sera, what ever will be, will be. 

    I am in a habit of ligthing a candle and staring at our gratitude rock before sleeping and right after waking up. I talk to god and the universe often these days and that calms me. 

    May all love and peace be with you second wave sister,


    Ps. I'll get back on my feet and sane thinking and will write that desert essay ASAP. It deserves my unwavering creative spirit which I'm still recharging as of the moment. Thank you for your patience.

    Saturday, December 24, 2016

    The 25th

    It is my third Christmas away from home and my first abroad. This time is certainly different than the many Yuletide seasons I had back home where colorful lights and merry songs envelope the atmosphere. I promised myself to stay away from the blues if that is possible, as loneliness is often times an involuntary reflex especially in this season. 

    In 15 minutes, it's Christmas back home. Over here, we have to wait for 5 more hours given the time difference. I tried calling my parents in between my duty breaks but they are either already fast asleep or the phone is somewhere deep in the woods for no one answered my calls. This is probably what my mother felt for decades as she celebrated special occasions in other countries. I feel like a real adult now, save my many immature choices, for having to deal with this OFW heartache. If adulthood is about sacrifice, I feel very legit.

    We should go saying "happy birthday Jesus!" but because I am not super religious and it is said that the 25th isn't exactly the great guy's birth date plus we are in "the kingdom" that believes in a separate man up there, we can't go around greeting everyone a merry Christmas unless we want to attend the next public lashing.  We have to hide the physical symbols of our merriness for let's say, safety reasons. 

    I grew up in a town that's been tagged as the "Christmas capital of Western Visayas" and I spent most of my holidays eating puto bumbong and playing the roleta while Jose Marie Chan's carols were played in the background. For the first time ever, I will celebrate the 25th without the spirit that I have always loved and cherished.  

    But we are doing our best. Maybe Christmas isn't really a date in the calendar or the flickering lights dangling on chopped or synthetic pine trees. Maybe Christmas is something we have to look for from within because however cheesy it may sound, this day is for  the celebration of love. And love does come everywhere regardless of your GPS location or the god you believe in.  May our lives be filled with love, have a merry Christmas! ❤

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016

    My invincibility cloak

    When I was a child, I had a phase when I thought I was never going to die and nothing tragic would ever fall upon me. I then later learned in psychiatric nursing that it is actually a part of a social development.  I watched gruesome news on TV about people dying and heard stories of a relative or a family friend battling debilitating diseases but I had not thought of those ever happening to me.

    I felt extremely invincible.

    You are supposed to outgrow putting yourself in a pedestal of strength and invulnerability. In some degree, I did.

    Through the years, I haven't engaged myself to romance saved the many crushes I had from highschool and college. My romantic affairs were fairly limited to unrequited puppy love and a series of daydreams. I did have my heartbroken several times by crushes that never talked to me or denied my friend requests on facebook (stalker alert). But I had always comforted myself with the idea that the rejection was to be foreseen as they haven't known the real me and had they been able to just give me a chance to prove myself, they'll see beyond my curly hair and dark skin and will eventually realize that I'm a good catch, a weirdo with her Jurassic sense of humor. But until then, they will continue to see me superficially as my "love affairs" with them were limited to my creepy glances and fake group messages just so I can talk to them.

    I thought I was also invincible in a real heartbreak.

    Then I had my first real heartbreak.  Someone still broke my heart despite knowing the real me and even after I tried to prove myself. Then another heartbreak followed.  I was confident that they have seen beyond my curly hair and dark skin and that they have realized that I was a good catch. I thought they were okay despite me being a weirdo showering them with my eccentricity. But invincibility does not shield you from pain, it makes it cut even deeper.

    I learned about vulnerability in the most humane way. The ache was too real and I slowly went down the pedestal.

    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    Mirror, mirror on the wall

    As a budding human being, I used to own a set of cassette tapes and a song book entitled “Most loved children’s songs”. It was gifted to me by my mother with the hopes that she could raise her little girl into a talented and charming lady who can sing. I almost memorized every song as I played the tape nonstop. I belted “Mary had a little lamb” and “The greatest love of all” like a pro. For a while, I honestly thought I was a good singer. Not until my seatmate in second grade had to shut me up while I was in the middle of a singing spree. She deliberately told me that I suck in singing and that she was annoyed that she had to put up with my irksome voice the whole semester. I thought she was just being mean. I went home and told my father about it and was disappointed with his confirmation that yes, I was (and still am) really bad at singing. This made me question myself, “Am I really capable of anything?”

    We started in this life with positive ideas of who we are. Our first knowledge about ourselves was based on an internal radar that was programmed by our brain way before it got affected by external factors. Before social standards, culture and familial affairs directed our path, we all have a state of oneness that for me, was the most genuine form of peace that we so often chase as adults. We started seeing the world as labels. These labels then turned into divisions. These divisions became the pioneer for organized living but also became the building blocks for hierarchy and stereotypes.

    (photo taken from Anna Akana's instagram account)

    I first learned about how I looked way before I even learned how to look at myself in the mirror.  I was told that my hair was a mess and considered less of a hair because it was kinky. And by the standards set by the culture where I was growing up, kinky and straight hair do not belong under one category. They are both keratin growing in our heads but they are not the same. Fair skin and brown skin are also surprisingly, grouped in two different sectors based on the beauty standards that were mostly influenced by Western colonization and plain racism. My parents did their best to shower me with love but I eventually had to say hello to the outside world. So in kindergarten, I learned I was a brown girl with a kinky hair and that there were other kinds of girls with other kinds of hair and we are different. The difference was harmless before it was set as a tool for separation.

    From childhood, we were slowly being wired to see things as group A, group B and group “whatever we would like to label things and people”. We begin to see ourselves through a vaguely tinted glass mirror. Things even became harder when we not only hear people telling us of who we are but we also have the media reminding us through every magazine and TV show that we are just “this” and we have to put on some of that matte lipstick and wear that top of the line shirt to turn into a decent mortal.

    We are social creatures that thrive with every human encounter. We gain strength and wisdom from every conversation and acknowledgement that we get. Our hearts, however, our also fragile and extremely vulnerable for isolation, insecurity, comparison and self-doubt brought about by these encounters. We will inevitably feel inferior in this world that is built to make us question who we are. That is why it is important to be introspective. There is a reason why solitude and meditation are valued from the beginning of time. It directs us back to that oneness that we once had. It makes us see who we really are beyond the elusive tinted mirrors that were handed to us. Because with peace and love, there are no “this” and “that”. There are no unnecessary labels that will make us question ourselves and no markers set to divide humanity.

    Saturday, November 5, 2016

    Random Facts About Saudi Arabia

    If you plan on working in Saudi Arabia, here are some random facts you should know about the Kingdom.

      1.  It’s not entirely a desert.

    When my mother was working in Saudi in the 90s and early 2000s, I have this idea that the hospital she was at was surrounded with dry land. I know that there were buildings and asphalted roads. However, I thought that when you look just a bit farther away, the desert would be visible. No. You will need to travel an hour or more to see the “sand”. I haven’t been to any other places outside my current city which is Riyadh. In here, you’ll be surrounded with high-rise buildings if you are located in the metropolitan area.

     2.  There’s an abundance of seafood.

    The first question I asked my mother when I finally decided to work in Saudi was, “Will there be bangus (milkfish) over there?” Mama just laughed and told me Saudi bangus can get 50% bigger than the usual bangus we often buy in our town. There are lots of seafoods and I don’t know what the Arab water has but they’re ginormous.

     3.  You’ll eat chicken most days

    When I was fetched from the airport, our Indian driver made a stopover in a local fast-food and ordered two broasted chicken. I haven’t heard of the term broasted before but it’s popular here. It’s basically just fried chicken. Filipinos also love to order “faham” or grilled chicken partnered with spiced yellow rice. My grocery also includes four to five whole chickens each month. The chicken industry wins.

     4.  There is winter

    I arrived during the last week of February. On my first few weeks, I have to wear a  sweatshirt because it’s too cold. Winter was ending at that time. This month, winter is  starting again and I was told the cold is unbearable. It may not be as cold as the ones they  have in Europe and America but hey, I thought I was working in the desert. They said that  you’ll meet people in the streets covered with comforters. Talk about fashion.

     5.  Everyone looks the same most of the time

    This is very obvious. You will mostly see black ladies. (Belated happy Halloween!) Every woman, even the non-Muslim has to wear an abaya (a black cloak) and a hijab (head cover up) at least. Most Muslim women though would wear a niqab so you’ll only see their eyes. The Muslim men wear thawb which is a long-sleeve dress that’s usually white. You’ll only see expatriates and a few Muslim men wearing civilian clothing.

    There are lots of other interesting things that you should know about this country. But it’s already 5 am as I am typing this so I might just make another list when my eyes are not half way closed.


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