Showing posts from May, 2007


I think I've said it before here, that my whole OCCI Seminar Trilogy experience has all been about openness and surrender. But I also noticed that this openness also, well, opens me up to other people's energy.

To begin with, more people are drawn to me. And not just the usual slew of con artists ("I need money to go home to Mindanao!" or "My son is dying and I need a gazillion bucks!") or beggars or lost people who somehow always pick me from the crowd (I always thought it was because I looked either harmless or stupid).

A side story on that: when I was a student in UP Diliman, a guy came up to me, chatted me up about Jesus, and sold me a plaster of Paris bust of the Savior for P100. A couple of months later, I was accompanying my brother to his enrollment in UP Los Baños and the same guy picked me again!

Ever since I started to really open up, I've had people introducing themselves to me. I've had more people telling me they love me. I've had people jokingly flirting with me--both men and women. It's crazy how a little openness can go. If I had only known it was so easy, I probably wouldn't have been such a wallflower in high school.

The drawback is that I'm also easily drained by negative talk or negative outbursts, so I tend to ignore people when they start to whine. And everyday, I'm easily moved to tears (though I've realized that if I just let it flow, it does feel better).

I should learn to start conserving/protecting my energy now. What color bubble was that again? Pink?

Shifting perspectives

It took me a while to realize this, but what has really held me back in my writing career is that I focused more on being liked--by my teachers, my mentors, my bosses, the general reading public--than on sharing my talent by using it to spread the truth.

And so I trapped myself with drama, freezing any progress whatsoever I could have made early on, when UP accepted me as part of the Creative Writing program; when I graduated with my CW degree; when I won 2nd place in the Palanca Awards for my teleplay (now a defunct category, by the way) many years ago, when I worked for a major network's dot com; when I worked for major broadsheet; when I had a stint as a marketing writer that taught me so much more about writing in 6 months than I learned under my direct superior in that major broadsheet in three years; when I started pursuing my MFA in CW in DLSU; when I had supportive teachers like Doc Bau; when I heard of so many contests, workshops, open submissions, et cetera, et cetera.

All the opportunities I allowed to pass me by because of my drama: I told myself I wasn't ready. That I'm not yet as good as I want to be (and considered this with pride, even, successfully convincing myself that since I knew I could be better, it said something of my good taste). That I wasn't even sure I was supposed to be writing.

It's all crap to me now, I have to admit with much embarrassment. I had no idea I was pretentious about my gift. I knew I could write the minute I set my pen on paper in grade school, that very second I submitted that first winning essay, I felt it in my heart that writing was something I could do for a lifetime. And I do know this without question.

Last weekend, for LEAP's 2nd intensive, it became clear to me that I have been holding back on my thesis, despite it still having the ability to excite me with its ambition, because I wanted the perfect little story in my trademark contemporary and occasionally lyrical and playful and blah blah blah writing style. I wanted the perfect opening lines. The perfect characters. The perfect titles. I wanted it to blow everyone away. And this all seemed so daunting.

But right now, looking at it from a renewed perspective, it just hits me: Write the truth you see. Share your gift. It's as simple as that. All the rest is background noise. And crap you tell yourself.



As part of my personal goal in LEAP, I had my hair cut yesterday at Piandre Libis, right after my last day of training. It rained when I went home, so it doesn't look too different now, but last night, it was blow-dried straight, and it looked all neat and pretty. I'm actually considering getting it straightened permanently--but it's really expensive, so I'll think about it first. Besides, I do like my wavy (ondulado!) hair, even if in the Philippines, long, straight, and shiny locks are on top of the "Beauty" list.

I tried to make it straight this morning--just in time for LEAP's 2nd intensive, so my coach and my teammates will at least see the difference--but my Revlon straightener, a gift from the US, won't work, either in 110v or 220v. I suspect it was mistakenly plugged into a 220v socket. Do you guys know where I can have this little thing fixed?

Maybe I'll just have my hair treated with something? Or have it colored? I've never done anything to my hair before, so I have zero ideas. I like the thought of it completely black, instead of blackish-brown, but I can't decide if I want it dyed.

Just bouncing off ideas! My hair has always been an issue for me, ever since my dad cut it really short when I was 10 and it didn't grow back straight anymore. I've kept my hair long since college because of this.

Any suggestions on what I should do? I'm hairstyle-impaired, but I'm working on it.

Day 1 at work

Day 1 was a long day. At some point, I was panicking at the thought of all those binding legalities--but I guess that's what an entire day of lectures about methods, and rules and regulations can do to you. Seriously, I've never sat that long and listened to lectures in my entire life--not even in college.

But it was all good. Just information overload, I guess.

Around the time I was having this panicky feeling, I remembered that it's part of my LEAP goal to joyfully and excitingly start my job because this will allow me to pursue a writing career without having to worry *too much* about the corporate rat race. It calmed me down.

There's a Hawaiian-themed party in the pantry on Friday. I am working on not thinking about all the other things I have to do... but I find it so hard because I want to make lots of money to buy me a pretty little laptop... which will enable me to make more money!

Isn't life just great!

Taking a deep breath

I start training with my new job tomorrow. I'm going to be an online English trainer--something new and exciting for me. I'll be based in Alabang, but I'll have three days of training in Libis.

My schedule has been packed but erratic lately, but because of this job, it's going to stabilize for sure soon. I'm welcoming this, actually, because while I hate routine, I like structure!

I'm a little scared about having full-time work again--but I'm also looking forward to it because it's going to bring new people in my life. And God knows I need those right now.

More news

Happy birthday, baby Keona!

Keona turned one yesterday, May 21! We had a simple dinner at Congo Grille in Westgrove, and coffee and dessert after at Cafe Breton across it. Her real party's this weekend, but I won't be able to attend because I'll be having my second intensive for LEAP.

I'm sad about it, because
the theme is Neverland and she'll be dressed as Tinkerbell. But I'm consoling myself that LEAP is helping me to be a better person, and a better auntie for her.

Keona enjoyed her evening in Congo Grille and Cafe Breton, because of the decor, which, apparently, was exciting for her. She kept trying to reach the mobile in Cafe Breton. Last time she was there, she was only six months old, and she grabbed a flower from one of the vases. She also got a monkey stuffed toy from Congo Grille, and she was very pleased with it.

Weight goal!

I've been going to Fitness First Southmall for two weeks now. I've lost 5.6 pounds. Slow and steady, is what my weight management trainer tells me. I have till June 22--my LEAP deadline--to lose my first 15 pounds. Slow and steady.

My week in the Visayas

On the ferry to Dumaguete

Talk about hitting the ground running! Ever since coming home from my short adventure in Bacolod, Cebu, and (a surprise sidetrip!) Dumaguete, I've been living an active/hectic/full life towards the pursuit of my LEAP goals. It's scary and exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time. But before that, here's what happened during my trip--or, what I've come to call ...

My Amazing Race

I left Manila via Cebu Pacific on April 30 at 8.30am.

Bacolod Leg

1. Arrived at the airport 7.30am for my 8.30am flight. Long lines. Labor day weekend. Made it. :)
2. I arrived in Bacolod 9.45am; my friends (Ana, Mich, Louie) picked me up shortly.
3. Checked-in and had lunch at the Sunburst Resort in Silay, owned by Ana's uncle.
4. Visited the almost-hundred-year-old Bernardino-Jalandoni House. It was closed but we begged the guy cleaning it to let us in.
5. Rode bus to Victorias Milling Company to see the church with the The Church of Saint Joseph, The Worker (otherwise known as the Church of the Angry Christ). The mural's really beautiful, and Jesus doesn't look angry, just stern.
6. Had dinner with Ana's dad, uncle and aunt. Had chicken inasal, as planned, and Silay's famous and super-delicious lumpia ubod, buko pie, and an amazingly easy-to-make and delicious fruit punch.
7. Swam in the resort pool.
8. Slept way past midnight. (Snored.)

Day 2

1. Had breakfast with Mich, Ana, and Louie.
2. Left for the airport the next day for my 9am Cebu-bound flight.
3. Bought piyaya outside the airport--for Jonathan, who was already waiting for me in Cebu with Heizel.

Cebu Leg

Day 1

1. Arrived past 11am. My flight had been delayed. (I saw Christian "Suportahan Taka" Vasquez in the Bacolod airport!)
2. Arrive at the Jasmine Pension house around 11.30am, only to be whisked away to the cheaper pension house next door, Verbena Pension House, by Heizel, who was wearing skimpy shorts and sporting a tan from her trip to Bohol. Hehe.
3. Had lunch with Jonathan, whom I hadn't seen since December last year, and Heizel at the Verbena canteen.
4. Went to the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan Island, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Magellan's Cross, that short stretch of road with cheap but pretty borloloys, and the Cebu Cathedral, where Nathalie met up with us!
5. Took a taxi to the CNT Lechon restaurant in Guadalupe--only to find out that there was no more lechon. :(
6. Ate at AA Barbeque instead. :D
7. Had a few beers and sang videoke (for the first time!) at the place across our pension house.
8. Slept early. (Snored in a duet with Heizel, according to Jonathan!)

Day 2

1. Woke up with lechon in mind.
2. Had breakfast in Verbena. Checked out, but left our stuff.
3. Original plan was to go to the beach, but Heizel and I had some work to do, so we hung out for a while in my favorite internet cafe in Cebu, the name of which I can't recall.
4. Went to Ayala Mall (of all places, haha)
5. Ate at the Food Choices branch of CNT! Finally, we got our lechon. :)
6. Heizel and I waited for Jonathan in Starbucks (again, of all places!) while he met up with a friend.
7. Went back to the Capitol area to have a one-hour massage, because it was cheap. (I fell asleep, for the first time ever during a massage. And snored.)
8. Met Nat again; she treated us to this nice, homey place for dinner. I wish I could type the name here, but I can't because it's in Cebuano and I can't remember. In Filipino, it's like Kainan ni Kuya Jay. (Nat, help!)
9. Had coffee at Bo's. Got stood up by an Air Force guy who was supposed to meet Heizel.
10. Picked up our stuff, and went to Nat's house to sleep.

Dumaguete Leg

Day 1

1. Woke up around 5am, got ready. Nat's dad took us to the bus station for our Dumaguete-bound bus. Which was already full.
2. Took the Liloan-bound bus, which left at 6.30am.
3. Arrived in Liloan around 11am. Boarded ferry to Dumaguete.
4. Arrived in Dumaguete around noon. Nat's friend Mark picked us up and brought us to the Silliman Alumni Center, where we were staying for the night.
5. Had lunch at the canteen. Toured Silliman. Had sansrival and silvanas at Sansrival. Watched a cultural presentation. Dinner at Jo's Chicken Inato by the Sea (upon which overlooked a huge statue of Mother Mary that looks like an apparition at night).
6. Coffee at San Antonio Cafe, perhaps the most beautiful coffeeshop I've ever been to.
7. Had oysters, pizza and beer at Hayahay Tree House Bar & View Deck.
8. Slept. (Nobody told me if I snored.)

Day 2

1. Woke up really early, like 4am, for breakfast before Heizel and Jonathan's early bus back to Cebu. Ate at Qyosko, a 24-hour restaurant. Had arroz balao, which I loved-loved-loved. It's like fried rice with bits of dried fish. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
2. Went to the market to have sticky rice and hot chocolate at Loreta's Painitan, and bought budbud kabog from this nice old lady selling it there.
3. Went back to the room, sans Jonathan and Heizel. Freshened up. Because...
4. Nat and I were Mark's radio show guests for a whole hour! It was my first time on radio, and I had a great time after getting over my initial nervousness. The show was aired on Killerbee 95.1 (DYSR), heard in some parts of the Visayas, including the part of Cebu where Jonathan and Heizel's bus was at that time. We talked about being writers for the entertainment industry, and we answered questions from a lot of people who texted in.
5. Mark brought us to one last stop, the Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage (NOAH) store. Bought a nice ethnic necklace.
6. Took the 12.30pm ferry back to Cebu, this time just with Nat.
7. Arrived in the city around 4pm; visited The Freeman office.
8. Left for the airport to catch my 9.30pm flight. (I was in the same plane as Bits, a friend from UP, but we had different seats, and I didn't see him again after we landed in Manila.)
9. Got to the final pit stop, my home, before midnight.

This trip was more than just travel for me. It was an exercise in openness and surrendering to the spirit of adventure--as part of my "Yes Experiment," where instead of deflecting the opportunities that come my way as I used to do, I embrace everything that's in line with my highest good.

What's really amazing about this trip is that I experienced so much and yet I didn't even have to spend much because a lot of the things we did (and the food we ate) were courtesy of the generosity of people--Ana's folks, Nat, and Silliman University through Mark.

The power of one simple word: YES. :)

You can read my piece on the show we watched in SU here.