Tuesday, September 28


While waiting with colleagues at the hotel lobby, I saw a familiar face, a former college classmate. I actually stared at her and she stared back. After a couple of long-drawn seconds, she still wasn't reacting and at that point, I started doubting if I was staring at someone I know. Yes, I know it's rude to stare and I won't think of doing that to a stranger in a million years! She was a couple of steps away when finally her eyebrows gave out a semi-puzzled look and her lips quievered in a half-jesting smile. Finally, she recognized who I was!

After some small talk and a little urging from her for me to enroll in the same gym she was heading to, we exchanged numbers and said our "See yahs!" Not soon after, while treading the traffic trap that is EDSA, I received a message on my phone that said: "U look good!"

That made me smile. I guess I'm ageing well. This bodes well for the ugly duckling. I guess I do have a future after all! :)

Sunday, September 19


Almost midnight and it was still raining. I had taken three steps from the cab, midway to our gate when a man, probably in his forties, stopped me. Admittedly, I was a bit shaken which he might have noticed given his rather unusual greeting.

"Hindi po ako masamang tao. Kailangan ko lang ng tulong."

His mother, a sampaguita vendor, was stabbed in front of a 7/11 store a couple of blocks from our place. He had solicited assistance from the Mayor for the funeral arrangements but still had to raise a couple of hundred for the undertaker's fee. He was fumbling over some sheets of paper: death certificate, a written "SOA" from the public cemetery and some more I didn't really bother to look into. He was trying to convince me of the veracity of his claim, trying to differentiate himself from the typical street fraud we've come to know.

And then teary-eyed, with a cracking voice, he suddenly pleaded, "Kung gusto niyo ho luluhod pa ako dito, tulungan niyo lang ako."


Day in and day out, I struggle with the fact that I need to make something out of myself. I look around and see the things I lack, materially and otherwise. I guess it's a question of security... and it doesn't really help if at this age, I have nothing to show: zero savings, a thankless job and a general non-direction. And I often come to a point when I ask a series of why's: Why am I in this rut? Why can't I find that one big break? Why can't I provide for my family? Why is everyone else moving forward while I, I am left behind?

I've talked to a friend about this. I ranted, "Am I being materialistic?" To which he replied, of course not; having enough money gives you a sense of security. Again, it's about security. Security... why are you so hard to pin down? And there you have it, yet another why?!

I don't really want to go on rambling. After all, what I'm feeling is just a formless general sentiment. It's one part wanting, it's one part sadness, it's one part frustration over things material and otherwise.


"Hindi na ho kailangan. Pagpasenyahan niyo na ho ito." I handed the guy a fifty-perso bill, not much but it was all I could spare. Everyone struggles and I'm still at a better place, much more blessed than a lot of people out there. I know this but then making peace with it is an all-together different matter.

I know I should know better... but I can't help it.

Wednesday, September 8

Happy Child

Executive session meant getting booted out of the board room and finding myself sandwiched between the Executive Assistant and another staff.

"Alam mo malungkot pa rin si Betty," said the Ex-A.

Her pain was palpable. Betty, her teenage daughter, just got her heart broken.

"Sabi ni Dom ok lang raw iyon. She'll learn from it. Alam ko naman iyon pero mahirap din pala talaga. Biruin mo antagal mong inalagaan tapos ganun-ganun na lang. Sana maging happy child na siya ulit soon."

She had a hopeful tone during that conversation but her eyes betrayed her... much like Nanay's eyes that morning when I unexpectedly hugged her while she was busy poring over the stove, heating some water for breakfast.

In a home where sweet nothings and I-love-yous were never the norm, how Nanay stared at me that morning when it was still dark outside and we were the only souls awake in the house, left an awkward sense of assurance in me. I rediscovered how silence can be an ally, how stillness conveys the promise of being there.

But the sadness in her eyes will haunt me for a long time. Nanay felt my pain, perhaps far more than I could imagine.