It’s not just on sunny days that I thank the saltwaters for bringing you to me. But it was sunny that day I was walking barefoot on the beach, thinking it all looks the same. Sand. Sky. Sea. But then, I saw you.

It could have been anyone else. Do you realize how much you look like the rest from afar? But in my eyes, the light seemed to bounce off you. I could have walked on, but for some reason I stopped. And I’m glad I did stop. Long enough to pick you up, long enough to feel every rise and every fall, long enough to run my fingers over all the places sand somehow found its way into, all the edges that sometimes hurt the hands that hold you, and you sometimes hurt me but

Don’t wish to be washed away just because you have.

I know you get tired of the ocean and how the waters break against your back day after day, but know that each time they do, a piece of your past chips off. A bit of weakness is made strong. The ocean is shaping you and it isn’t done with you just yet.

Don’t forget this.

I hope that you don’t see yourself as leftovers. Who hasn’t had someone leave them before? You are more than something that was left behind. You are not its ghost. There is beauty in the way you’ve kept your shell, in the way you still hold against the currents, in the way you refuse to let wind and weather steal your colors. Maybe you don’t know it, or maybe you’ve been waiting for the right eyes and hands to see it for you.

But I see it. I do. And I hope you’ll let me help you make it through. There are still so many sunny days we’ve yet to walk in.


“Do you still remember Russia?”

I remember carpeted floors and eating peanut butter straight out of a jar. I remember dancing in the living room with Sleeping Beauty on repeat. I remember blue-eyed, yellow-haired angels slipping in and out of my door -- creatures whose words I could never quite follow but somehow, always understood.

“Do you still remember Russia?”

I remember that a land covered in ice and trees and sprinkled with grand palaces used to be a place I called home. It still is. And strangely enough, I do remember. I remember it well.

“Do you still remember Russia?”

Ask me and I will give you scenes from a movie. Sledding down a snowy hill. Walking through tables full of matryoshka dolls at the market. Playing with ladybugs in the spring. You know, like a montage. No particular sequence, but full of color and movement.
Today, my floors aren’t carpeted. I don’t (always) eat peanut butter straight out of a jar. I don’t put Sleeping Beauty on repeat, (but I still dance) and angels don’t slip in and out of my door anymore. Much has changed but not the fact that my home used to be where these very memories were birthed, but who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll get to see that land covered in ice and trees and sprinkled with grand palaces, and maybe…

I’ll get to call it home again.


Currently taking a creative writing class in school. Will be filing these assignments under the tag CW 10. 


    I'm back with something I've been meaning to do for months now. I'm going to start recording my poems and uploading them on my soundcloud. Here's my first one. Get ready for more.



    I saw you come in this time. Normally I don't see you, hear you, feel you, or even smell your perfume that smells like magnolia flowers when you come in, but this time I did.  Now I'm sitting here at the table watching as you make your way to your seat. It's right beside mine. One seat to the left. As usual, your little coffee jar filled with turmeric powder is there. So is your black tray with powdered milk, sugar, instant coffee, and your other breakfast essentials. I take one look at you, but our eyes don't meet. Even so, now I see why I saw you this time.

    Your hands are different. The left one is starting to grow a little bit plump, but the right one is the same skin clutching tightly around the bones as always. I only noticed this now, but this isn't why I saw you come in this time.

    Your face is starting to sag a little bit. Not your expression, but your face. Your wrinkles are playing some kind of game. They keep switching positions as if trying to irritate you, making you wonder if you're looking younger or older. I only noticed this now, but this isn't why I saw you come in this time.

    Your breath comes in heavy gasps, as if trying to remind your lungs how good air tastes, how beautiful it is to breathe in oxygen despite all those chemicals of all colours mixed into some kind of unhealthy gas. It reminds me of how your life was like, of how your life is like. You patiently walk it through. You aren't afraid of hurricanes and tsunamis, of losing people and responsibilities or even being alone. You just walk it through. It's beautiful in your eyes. There is so much wonder in you even as I hear your phlegm try to block your airways but your face shows no pain. I only noticed this now, but this isn't why I saw you come in this time.

    Lola, I saw you come in because I'd forgotten you were gone. Sometimes I don't go through life as you did. I don't walk, I run. I'm afraid. I have big dreams but my hands aren't steady enough to hold them all. But this time was one of those times I did breathe. I stopped. I listened. I wondered.

    And that's when I saw you come in.

    Walk this through with me. Please.

    For my FA 10 Visual Perception class, we did an automatic writing exercise. No thinking, erasing, stopping. Just write and write and write for ten minutes straight, starting with the phrase "I saw..." So this is my piece in its rawest form and the visual we had to make to accompany it.

    I encourage you to try this exercise. It shows you what's really on your mind, things that you didn't even know you were thinking. Most of all, it shows you, well....


    It's been a year and five days, but this piece is proof that she's never left my mind since.

    Also, this photo is and always will be my favorite out of all the photos I've ever taken and will take.


failures and beginnings

   When I was twelve, one of my favorite teachers told us about how difficult it was to create powerpoints, quizzes, and grading sheets because he had no laptop of his own. He always had to borrow someone else's and it was becoming rather tiring for him to keep doing with that. He paused for a while, realized he'd gone off track, and continued on with that day's lesson.

   "Anyway, back to trees. Can I be honest with you guys? I hate trees. It's such a boring topic. Let's make this quick."

   But my mind couldn't concentrate on the pictures of California redwoods and junipers. I kept thinking about how bad I felt for him wanted to repay him for being such a fun and awesome science teacher. I suddenly came up with the idea of raising money to get him a laptop and then surprising him with it by putting the money inside a laptop made out of paper. After class, I excitedly shared this idea with my classmates and they agreed to do it.

   That night, I told my parents about my brilliant idea.

   Of course, it didn't sound so brilliant to them. 

   I don't remember for what reason it was exactly, but the discussion ended with me running to my room crying. Drama llama. Dad came in soon after with some words I'll never forget.

   "I am so proud of you. The way you were able to rally your classmates together to do something good for your teacher shows how much of a leader you are."

   Before he said that, I had never thought of myself as a leader. I didn't want to be one, anyway. I enjoyed simply supporting the leader and doing whatever was needed to be done. But hearing that come from the one man who I could really call a leader, the one who carried our family on his back, the one who would always go out of his way to make time for us, the one whose rules were rules, the one who not just told us what to do but also showed us how to do it, this man made me feel like I could be so much more than just someone who sat on the sidelines.

   Obviously, the laptop plan didn't push through, but there was something way more valuable than the thanks of my teacher that I got that day. My dad had acknowledged the leader he saw in me when I was just a kid struggling with fractions and decimal places. He saw the potential I had before anyone else did. Including me.

   Sometimes I still don't think I'm cut out to lead, but then I remember that everyday, right before reaching the school gate, he would end his prayer for me with,

   "Thank You that she has a purpose. May she be the leader You've called her to be. In Jesus' name."



This blog post is part of Victory Philippines' media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week's topic is leadership. #MyVictoryStory

Read these posts for a more flavorful, different perspective on leadership.

1. Waterline: The Marks of Leadership by Perci Paras
2. He Must Become Greater by Rinnah Ramirez
3. Lead to Leave by Paolo Punzalan
4. Stuff My Dad Told Me by Joe Bonifacio
5. I Don't Think So by Jek Valle
6. Growing Leaders Out of Your Kids by Jenn Punzalan
7. To Lead is to Lean, Learn, Live, and Love by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio
8. Deny Yourself by Dennis Sy

Or click here to read short leadership testimonies.