Taken with iPhone 6s, filtered to B&W
Written on 9/3/2017

Some years ago, probably as a senior in college, I had watched a TED talk by Shawn Achor, a psychologist who argued that, by being happy, one becomes more productive. What intrigued me the most about his talk were the five tasks he suggested we do to create a positive change. I have these tasks written on the whiteboard hanging in my room ever since. I don’t look at my whiteboard everyday and I haven’t really kept these tasks in mind. Certainly not on a daily basis. However, I looked at my whiteboard again recently and realized that I have been getting back to reaching a point of productivity that I haven’t reached in quite some time.

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4AM thoughts.

The heart has been heavier lately. The brain has been exhausted. The feet aching. The eyes droopy.

Bish, don’t kill my viiibe. Bish, don’t kill my viiibe.

I think of what happened this past weekend in the state south of me. I think of how “the leader of the free world” has fostered this type of environment to allow these sad hooligans to come out of the woodwork. I pay attention on a daily basis to the obscene headlines, the offensive actions, repugnant tweets. It’s to the point of numbness, like from a lack of blood circulating to the extremities. Should anything be shocking to us anymore? We’ve seen what we’ve seen, the masks have been removed, and the person who we knew then is still the person we see today.

I tend to carry the weight of the world and the burdens of others on my shoulders. I know…it’s unnecessary and truthfully unhealthy. That’s just my biological makeup. But I – we – must maintain composure. It is these trying times when I feel useless if I don’t take action. I gotta do something about it. But what?

I have the urge to unplug myself from the electricity of social media and television (okay, DVRed shows). I’ve done it before several times. It’s sensory overload. Although these avenues are typically where I receive my entertainment and news, it’s become a bit too much. It’s a symptom of not having a full-time job. It’s what eats up a lot of my time. Maybe I just need a little alcohol in me.

I want to do more exciting things. I should go hiking more. I should learn how to DJ. I should edit these damn videos. I should read more books. I should be writing more. On the other hand, I feel guilty partaking in these pleasures because 1) I just want a job, at least a better-paying one, 2) My full-time job right now is getting a full-time job, and 3) I NEED MORE MONEY. Oh, October you can’t come soon enough.

Sobrang miss na miss ko kayong lahat. Araw-gabi. At sana, magkikita rin tayo ulit. Sa madaling panahon. At ngingiti kami. Tatawa kami. At magiging masaya kami. Hintayin mo na lang ako ha…

It would be nice to have a day where I could be totally irresponsible and forget my worries. Not report to my airport shift. Take a long road trip. BOSTON, ANYONE?! It’s been a while since I traveled. Oh, how I spoiled myself last year and the year before.

By the way, y’all…I just got hipped to Copeland this past week. How did I miss out on them? They would have fit perfect during my high school days. Been listening to their music all week. Which reminds me, I haven’t been to a concert in soooooo long.

I’m trying to get back to my pre-freshman 15 weight.
I actually don’t know what weight that was back then. But, basically, I’m trying to get to a respectable number on the scale. YA FEEL ME?

I’ll leave you with this:

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

Elie Wiesel


Tomorrow, I’ll be fine again.

Songs of the moment

IV OF SPADES – Ilaw Sa Daan

Copeland – Erase

Elliott Smith – Strung Out Again

Don McLean – Vincent

A Meta-Blog Post About Why I Didn’t Really Blog About My Trip To The Philippines

This post could be considered a continuation of thoughts from this one. I really wanted to post multiple posts, with photos included, about my travels to the Philippines this past December/January. But the more I postponed the posts, the more I just wanted to keep all the pictures and memories to myself.

This trip meant a lot to me. It was another grand opportunity to visit my relatives and meet additions to the family I hadn’t met during my last visit. It was the first time out of my seven trips where I was really out on my own. I traveled the most on this trip: El Nido and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, rural Batangas, rented a condo in Makati, Laguna, and all around Metro Manila.

But as much as I enjoyed and admired all the new places I visited, it doesn’t surpass the amount of joy of simply spending time with my family. And it’s ironic. I branded my trip as a trip for adventure and not really about getting to see family because that’s what I always had done. On previous trips, I felt I had been kept from experiencing the beauty of other parts of the country.

Sure, I walked along the coastlines of gorgeous beaches. I saw flocks of beautiful tourists everywhere I visited. I ate some pricy, yet delicious, dishes in restaurants I wouldn’t dare consider before. I drove an ATV on muddy roads around brown hills. I got to play basketball with elementary schoolers in a random town. I got to pretend being bougy at a casino resort. You may have seen a lot of this on my Snapchats. Even though I did many new things and visited new places, they weren’t the defining moments of my trip.

I think more about the heart-to-heart conversations I had with my cousins, learning things about my family I never knew before.

I think about the cuteness of all my cousins’ children and all my infancy.

I think about how my nieces and nephews get by without really using computers, fancy smartphones, video games and tablets like the children growing up here in America.

I think about how one cousin, who I believe is much smarter than me, and if given the opportunity to live here in America or elsewhere, I am 100% positive that he would excel and flourish in his career.

I think about my uncle who at his old age is still working hard on the rice fields. Like WOW. Seeing him carry large sacks of rice on his back back to his house. I’m sure I would break my back if I tried to do work as hard as he does.

I think about my Tita, now a widow, and how lonely she feels since her children are grown and work in Manila and are not able to spend much time with her.

I could go on and on…

The Philippines is not just a country where my parents are from nor is it just a temporary paradise for tourists. After each visit to the homeland, I end up leaving more and more pieces of me. That place is always going to mean so much more to me, more than you may understand. I wish I could describe to you completely how deep my love and my affection is for a sanctuary that I most genuinely call “home”.

And it will always be brutally disheartening to me knowing that I am very much attached to a place that’s on the opposite side of this planet. Kailan kaya tayo ulit magkikita…sobrang mis ko na kayong lahat talaga…