Me, 2018

Today, in the hill behind Ranie’s childhood home

28 December

I usually write my yearenders in my bedroom, the morning after I send the last of my work-related deliverables, and all that’s left for me for the remaining days of the current year is to sit back, eat all the food my stomach can possibly hold, and spend some time by myself reflecting on the past 12 months. 

This year I am attempting to start this in Ranie’s childhood home, surrounded by a three-feet radius of our stuff, as well as his sisters’ (this is their 2nd room, actually Val’s room during college, that we invade when we visit). Outside Ranie is belting out Love on Top on karaoke with his sisters, while his mom is reading a recipe book that came with the juicer we got her for Christmas. His elder brother and father are somewhere out there, getting errands done or probably getting a smoke (his brother).

And one more thing — it’s been raining buckets since 6am, the likes of which I’m used to usually around July-November. The kind of rain that makes me want to stay in my room, and write. So this is why this is possibly happening now — a paradoxical bright spot on a cloudy day. 

It couldn’t be possibly any more different from what my usual – and admittedly – ideal – scenario for a year-end wind down is. It is so different, in fact, that 24 hours ago I was actually having a meltdown, less than an hour before we were scheduled to leave the house, telling Ranie that I am having a panic attack because I was so worried that I couldn’t write my yearender blog — as if it was the most important thing in the world; but actually, it was the only thing I could verbalize about the whole situation: my fear of difference, my anxieties, my internalized insecurities challenging what objectively and deep down is one of the things I’ve been excited about, to ring in our 2nd year as husband and wife, our first NYE, our first holidays together with his family. 

I.e. thoroughly exciting, new milestones, things I visualized and deigned to actualize at the start of this year. Like everything else that I went through, which I panicked and finger-wrung and cried and panicked my way through and somehow survived because what else is there to do? 

But this already seems like I’m wrapping up. I haven’t even gotten to the good parts. So here goes.

The good thing about being here – I have lots of time and very little distractions. I can make this 10,000 words if I want to, longer than a Lang Leav “book.”

03 January

… Or so I thought, but the storm ended up lasting three more days. We had no power and barely any water and the roads ended up being so flooded so that there was no where to go and much to do. I was able to sleep a lot, do some longhand journaling, finish Michelle Obama’s Becoming, blow through Candy Crush like I never did when it first became popular. The floods and long lines at the groceries prohibited us from shopping for media noche, but we were able to put together a decent spread using whatever was readily available in the ref and the backyard (for the record, it was caldereta, spaghetti, and our own version of hainanese chicken. And yes, I helped prepare it all). The rains let up on the first day of 2019. Yesterday we got Ranie’s mom a new automatic washing machine. We visited friends. We ate more food and slept some more. My period came, and I had very little issues with the cup. And that’s been it. Now we’re going home.

There is no Internet signal in Ranie’s home. I wasn’t able to soak in social media, or even get in touch with people for work. I wasn’t able to ponder and reflect on my year, I wasn’t able to reflect on how people were reflecting on their year, and I wasn’t able to reflect on how I want to reflect on 2019, where I see myself going, what I think I need to be worrying about. 

And now that we’re home bound in a few hours, I’m grateful and appreciative of what everything happened. I saw how the storm and the landslides took entire homes, families, and livelihoods in neighboring cities here in Bicol. We were spared. It could have been worse.

If anything — perhaps this whole experience, the newness of it, my first new years’ away from home, and in circumstances so starkly different from what I am used to — I think this is micro of the macro: the wrap up, the message, the forecast. I am 30, married, and this is what growing and giving and gaining is all about: leaving comfort zones, living in the present, letting things be. Defining myself on new planes and roles: a wife, a new family member, new geolocations. Possibly a mother soon, too. 

An entire week sans connection means I also had a lot of time to think about my work, my “career,” which I do not get to do when I’m responding to a hundred chat groups and marathoning decks and reports and queueing posts and brainstorming for content and angles 8-10 hours a day. I love where I am, but I am also wondering if I haven’t spread myself too thin, chasing after “freedom with stability” and being a yes-girl all through Q3 and Q4. I feel far from done w/ this season, and there are so many commitments and projects that we need to finish. I feel that I am in a good place to do more and do well. I am grateful for all the trust and opportunities and connections I’ve gained throughout 2018. I believe in what I do and the people I work with — most of them, at least. But this past week that persistent, dull hum that’s been bugging me for ages finally rose to the surface, bubbling and clear and insistent. Asking me: what am I doing all this for? For that I do not have even a vague answer. I say I want to tell stories, but are these the stories I really want to tell? I should be telling? I want to spend time on figuring out what my purpose is, and I want to chase after this next.

This is the best I can come up with for now, as we need to be meeting Ranie’s family soon for a dinner before we get on the bus. Tomorrow I’ll be fully back on board, catching up on work. Jumping right into 2019, no time to pause or hesitate.

Stay tuned, I guess!


Seek and you will find…

Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor

Funny how in the last few weeks of 2016, a surprise work assignment saved me from work fatigue in general. It wasn’t really a breather (it was work!) but it was still very fun and very much what I needed (water, spelunking, good food, new friends, new lessons, new opportunities). I am thankful.

I will finish the assignment, pack up mine and the team’s deliverables, and then focus on enjoying closing 2016: with a happy photo story about this experience, my sister’s wedding, spending more time with our baby Fourth, Ranie, family, love, provision, belief.

Everything has its own time and season.

Doodling on my phone

Having fun drawing using my new phone.

I can’t write about my feelings.

I can’t write about my feelings because I am still feeling them. After 45 minutes, I felt that I was still unable to say what I really wanted to convey. I felt that you still didn’t understand me. I felt mostly angry, confused, and also heavily frustrated. I felt that I didn’t want to do this anymore. I felt that this was the same thing we argued about weeks ago. I felt that this was the same issue we’ll be dealing with years from now. I felt hateful of my feelings. I felt afraid. I felt dread, and I am still feeling all of this.


I can’t write about my feelings because I didn’t want to feel them. I grew up with you. I changed with you and you changed with me. Seven years ago, my feelings were of gratefulness and stillness – a peace which was new to me; a peace which I wanted to carry over past graduation and working and life. But slowly that peace was repeatedly replaced by something else – a fear that we will never change into something better. Even though I knew that there was more to us than that, even though all the sage advice I have heard was to ignore that advice. I know better, I know that feeling these feelings are bordering on irrational. That I need to be more giving, more patient, more understanding, and I need to trust you and the world and myself. But I can’t feel these things, and instead, I feel all the things which I thought I’d never feel. I can’t write about them because I deny them as I think about how I really feel but they sit there, staying, clogging, sinking, rotting.

I can’t write about my feelings because they’re strange and complicated. I used to write about my feelings A LOT. It was the only thing I knew how to write about. I learned about feelings by reading about them and vicariously experiencing them – and then when things happened, they only sort of validated things I learned about. Feeling was simple – it was a process of validation and epiphany. Every feeling I was able to define and compartmentalize and chalk up to experience and growing up. Feelings were simpler when things where simpler. But now feelings are compounded and molded and heavy and layered and striped and flexible and questionable because there are memories, too many things have happened, and the things that have happened do not happen anymore in the books I read and the movies I watch. There is nothing to validate, there is nothing that other people can explain, these are things only happening to us and I have done a bad job so far of recording these things because often, going home at night, I’m to weary to write, or I’m so confused that I don’t know where to start. I developed the habit of posting images and metaphors – It was easier. Outlets became trickier because now more people I loved and worked with were into reading what I write. And it wasn’t always helpful to have everyone know what you feel (realized this the hard way)

I can’t write about my feelings because they make me aware of how much I’ve changed and how much you’ve changed and how much we’ve changed.

I can’t write about my feelings because I wrote to be able to look back on things and to remember them better. But now sometimes I wish I didn’t feel things, more so remember them. My feelings now are harder to keep and harder to commit to. I can’t write about my feelings because they hurt you. They hurt me. I don’t want my feelings to be actual things, I want my feelings to be fixed, I want things to go back to the way they were AND to be better. I hate all this middle-feeling part.

I can’t write about my feelings because some nights, storming off, silent and deliberately hurtful, I try to look inward, and amidst all that blackness I feel nothing, I feel emptied out, I feel done with us. Then I go to sleep and dream flowing, aimless dreams. Then sunlight kisses my eyes and I wake up like this, intent on writing my feelings, intent on being sad, intent on forgiving and being forgiven and looking forward. But now writing about not writing about my feelings, I still feel afraid. I feel afraid of wanting you and wanting this because I’m not sure if this is the right thing to feel. I feel afraid because what if one day I stretch too far, snap, and don’t come back to rationality? What if this is what we’ll keep feeling and we’ll never have the happiness?

I can’t write about my feelings because this is not a story I want to tell, but at the same time, it’s a story that is so true (even though it bucks all my notions of concrete, specific narratives) and so affecting my whole being for a long time now.

I can’t write about my feelings because I don’t know how to stop writing about them, or to quit them altogether.

Until tomorrow

Hump Day 🙂 Thank u Mia for organizing this!

Miss you sea you

I need…
Grabbed from

Money. Not a lot of it, just some of it.

No scratch that – I don’t really “need” money. I just want something (it’s not a NEED) and I’d have to have some money (aside from what I have) to get it.

And… I’m sad because usually I’d be OK with not getting what I can’t get but now I want it because I almost could but I can’t.

And basically that’s why I’m messed up sad. :p


Calling all abs: we do yoga now. 

Ranie’s birthday dinner 🙂