A Holiday for Healing

“Never have I imagined that you would be here,” he opened. “Not at a time like this.”

“Do I look like a ghost to you?” I laughed.

“Nah, nah. Of course not,” he replied. “But you act like one, not only to me, but also to everybody.”

He finished watering his orchids and did exactly what I imagined he would do — he fixed his thin, silver hair with only a sway of his fingers, walked through the door even if his feet were covered with mud, and pushed two heavy couches which he thought he can never move around. Usually when he does this routine, he would complain about his backaches, which would worsen after cleaning all the serious mess he has made on the floor. In the end, the job will inevitably fall into my hands.

But today, he was different. He grabbed a wet mop and proceeded with the cleaning. Looking at all the sweat hurrying down his face, I knew he was too exhausted, so I attempted to grab the task by gently wrapping my palm around the handle. He glared at me and continued moving — which was another way of saying, “I don’t need your help, moron!”

The night turned quieter and colder. He exhaled deeply as he shielded his arms with his loose jacket. He handed me a scarf, which I only placed on my laps.

“I didn’t even ask how you were doing,” he said. “My apologies.”

“No need to apologise,” I replied. “Besides, my answer will always be the same.”

“Tell me.”

I stared at him intently and said, “Nights will swallow the days; sweet arrivals lead to bitter departures.”

He sipped freely from his cup of coffee and rested his back on the couch. He did not speak, but I believed he knew what I meant to convey.

My sight began hopping on every bulb of the differently-colored Christmas lights that ran across the walls of the room. The speakers sang the tunes of common Yuletide hymns, albeit in their classical versions. I saw the Tree standing like a tiny, defenseless child being driven into a corner.

“I’m sorry about the tree,” he commented as we walked around it. “It’s been years since I last installed it. Look at all this dust …”

Afterwards, I sat on the floor and examined each box neatly covered with costly wrappers. I shook some of the boxes in an attempt to guess the contents. Most of them I guessed correctly —watches, shirts, earphones, and body essentials. The names of the recipients were individually written on tiny gift notes glued atop each box.

I stood up, walked towards the table, and drank all my lukewarm tea in one shot — just like how I treat cold liquors.

“Your name’s not here,” he said, as he held the two smallest boxes. “I’ve got too many things to apologise for.”

I beamed a smile. “Haven’t I told you before? I don’t expect receiving anything from anybody. Not even from you.”

“I know. It’s always okay for you.”

“And if jealousy and/or envy arise from within me due to materialistic thoughts, I will seal them away … just like what I actually do.”

He then leaned on his couch and shifted it in such a way our eyes cannot escape the force that drove us to continue the conversation.

“You’ve always been different, Josue,” he mumbled. “But your uniqueness makes me sad and enthralled at the same time.”

“Why so?” I asked.

“Because what you have always wanted couldn’t be fit into any of those boxes; they can never be demanded.”

“Is it love?”


“What is it?”

For a moment, he paused as if he was trying to find any affirmation from within his reach over my soul. He slouched, motioning like he had arrived with a very specific answer.

“Healing,” he said.

My mind went blank. I moved silently to divert my attention and proceeded to pour another round of tea into my cup. Some of the tea spilled on the table like a stream of mossy river that led to a green sea near my toes. The cup fell on the floor as my hands instinctively and desperately searched for paper towels.

“You’re always like that,” he continued.

“What?” I replied.

“You’re always like that,” he repeated. “Like a cup of tea — you are often prone to spillage and breakage. And yet, no matter how many times you break, you still try to pick yourself up and look for your missing pieces …”

“And each attempt is a disappointment,” I replied hastily. “And each day is an opportunity to bleed and to nurture hatred.”


“I am a duality of love and hatred.”

He did not reply and appeared to be waiting for what I will be saying next. I finished cleaning all the mess and threw shards into the trash bin.

“Some say that love and hatred are polar opposites. But, in some instances, they can coexist and complement each other.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Every time I try to love, reality further drowns me,” I answered as I sat. “It’s like an ocean that has its own hands to pull me underneath until I can no more breathe. But by the next day, I’ll find myself on the shore, still breathing, having realised that the scars I had have renewed to become wounds—some of which are much deeper or more serious than their precursors.”

For a moment, I stopped. My lips failed to connect more words to the previous ones I uttered. I inhaled and exhaled, as if the air that went in and out of my lungs gave me more courage to speak. I knew he wished to talk, and yet, he remained silent.

“That’s why this one here never healed,” I said, as I lightly thumped my chest. “Because every time I try to love, the pain becomes much worse. And that pain breeds more hatred.”

“I understand,” he replied, as he removed his eyeglasses. “It’s like a part of what you’ve always been saying.”


“”Nights will swallow the days; sweet arrivals lead to bitter departures.””

I smiled and gave my short reply. “Indeed.”

He stood up, grabbed a new cup, and poured tea on it. He carefully placed it on the wooden table in front of me, as if he was encouraging me to invite more caffeine into my system. I nodded and took a sip.

“I must say that you’re right,” I said. “Healing is all I needed; and it can never be demanded. I don’t know whether it can be found through love or through something else, but I’m sure it’s there. It may take a long time, but I know it’s reachable.”

The doorbell rang repeatedly. We both smiled when the voices of the children singing Christmas carols reached our ears. We took our purses, launched ourselves to the gate, and gave the children some coins. I checked my phone and realized that it was already past nine, so I quickly bade my farewell.

“Bye, John,” I said.

“I won’t demand you to return soon,” he replied. “But I wish you’ll have the best of healing this Christmas. Take care of yourself.”

“I will,” I answered.


Politicising Marlou Arizala’s Transformation: Beauty and Acceptance in the Philippine Society



Photo Credits to zeibiz.com


“The gods fought, and the very earth shook. The soil broke in half; and from there came Xander Ford.”

This was exactly what I thought when the news about Marlou Arizala’s beauty transformation flooded my Facebook and Twitter news feeds. Three of my close friends sent me links which led me to funny memes that showed his before-and-now faces. Just months ago, he was a consistent victim of cyber-bullying for having a “Pinipig Face”— or in simpler terms — an ugly face; but, starting today, he may rise up to become a typical ideal Filipino guy — an “oppa” before the eyes of women.

I am never going to deny that I hated Marlou or Xander. In fact, I hated him not because of his ugliness, but because of his arrogance and his ceaseless demand for public attention and his unfounded search for fame. However, today I did not laugh because of memes about him, for I realised that our hatred and pessimistic attitudes towards him — not his actual transformation — are the ones that need to be called out and be corrected.

Social acceptance and beauty standards in the Philippine society

The Filipino standards of beauty, perhaps, has evolved via the amalgamation of other cultures’ perceptions on beauty. By merely looking at the television, we can see how the entrenched colonial mentality and the forces of globalisation have moulded us to conform to the Westernised standards of beauty. In the Philippine mass media, one can rarely see black or heavily dark-skinned actors playing a major role in a drama or movie; but if they do, they would only be allowed to perform comedic acts or have their skin lightened. Some actors or comedians who seem “ugly” before, upon gaining financial stability, had placed plastic surgeries on top of their list of priorities in order to please their followers and the general public.

But that is not only the problem. In a country in which fame in social media is being highly valued, many Filipinos are so hooked up on trying to look good and beautiful in order to gain wider acceptance, and consequently, more friends. If you look ugly, you may become a subject of online harassment — which was exactly the problem of Xander and the others. Such a problem may have convinced — or impelled — him to undergo a surgery, which I claim to be aesthetically successful.

Xander’s act of transformation, therefore, exposes larger problems — that our standards of beauty are becoming a requisite for others to obtain our respect and acceptance and that one needs to appear handsome or beautiful in order to rightfully demand social attention. Moreover, in a relatively conservative country like the Philippines — in which many people would tell you to accept and preserve whatever face or body that God has given you — those we consider as “ugly people” are further forced to face a moral dilemma on top of their physical struggles, thus, inevitably trapping themselves in a never-ending quest for social acceptance.


Photo Credits to news.abs-cbn.com

Opportunities for beauty capitalism

Talking about beauty in the Philippines will reveal contradictions in our culture. Like what I said in the previous paragraphs, one key example is how our conservative culture could influence ugly people’s decision to transform. However, in spite of such problem, cosmetic surgery businesses in the country never died; in fact, it may further grow now, since tools and equipment for such operation are continuously undergoing innovations to achieve optimal results and to undermine the Filipino conservatives’ fear of the possible drastic consequences of having such surgeries. Shows played in the television are also subtly challenging the current conservative views on cosmetic surgery.

Furthermore, Xander’s (or Marlou’s) transformation could be taken as an opportunity for beauty capitalists to expand since such marketing strategies involving his transformation — which, initially, are targeted for the propulsion of Xander’s fame and career and the cosmetic company’s reputation  — may benefit the whole industry as well, especially if the demand for cosmetic products and services increases. Moreover, the industry could utilise Xander’s narrative of harassment and bullying in order to create an illusion that such horrendous actions might end upon availing such products and services.

Lastly, ever since this news came out, one pertinent question which arose in my mind is how “ugly people” from all socio-economic classes would respond to the Filipino society’s ever-changing beauty standards. However, one fact remains clear: “ugly Filipinos” who live within or below the poverty line will be forced to swallow the reality that they will remain poor and ugly … and that the beauty is also only a want and never a need and is always out of reach.


Our hatred against Marlou Arizala (or Xander Ford) before and after his transformation is not only a reflection of our individual biases and attitudes, but is also a worsening image of a society in which tolerance and acceptance are difficult to obtain. The beauty standards that we have are so warped that we are actually forcing people to empty their pockets for surgeries in order to be deserving of our attention. Nevertheless, in the end, in this battle, cosmetic businesses will be the real winners, and the contradictions within our society will further alienate and oppress those we perceive as “ugly people”.

The author, Josue Mapagdalita, is a graduate of UP Manila Political Science program.

To My Best Pal, Who Had Set Her Soul for a Short Departure


To my beloved Georgina/Jorge,

Two to three weeks flew fast forward from the day of your departure; and ever since I received the text message regarding your short burial, my world — for some instances — had been cased around an inexplicable amount of despair. My family had undergone a state of mourning, and seemingly, Marco, your dearest companion and partner, was not eating a lot for days, and yet  — once upon a time — both of you were classically conditioned to automatically be hungry as soon as you hear the sound of pots and of plastic bags. But you know what? The arriving semester will soon create a larger, inevitable doom, but I do not anymore have that ‘special someone’ whom I can talk with regarding Pokemon and Naruto episodes that I missed and whom I can express rants about my incompetence in school and about my crush who never noticed me. Ouch.

You knew how embarrassed and furious I was when a friend of mine showed me a picture of a guinea pig being experimented for medical purposes. You knew about the night when I barely had enough sleep because of  pictures of specially deep-fried and marinated-then-roasted guinea pigs that were kept to flash before my vision. For me, it was a nightmare, and I thought, “What if either Marco or Jorge are about to be cooked? Well, I would not mind grilling the cook or chef alive instead!”

The family bullied you for having red eyes — one of which turned blind for unknown reasons. I once regretted for not having brought you to a vet, but, to hell with it, why did you not heed to my advice that ‘you mustn’t use Sharingan too much to avoid side effects’?

You witnessed the moments when we were watching Marco and you having this ‘sacred union’ but such will be interrupted because you would notice us peeking. We always wished for a baby to be born, but you never became pregnant. We waited for countless months, but when we all grew tired of waiting, my only consolation to myself was: “Maybe she’s a lesbian.”

I will forever cherish the days I had you in my arms — afraid to let you go, the days we took a bath together and you were trying to flee out of the bucket of water because you felt so cold even though we were gravely plagued by the heat of summer, and the days when I would not bother walking distances to find something for your dinner.

There were moments when I would be mad at you because you were sometimes attempting to fully destroy the boxes that my father had exerted with full effort for it to remain as your sanctuary. I would also be mad at you because of myriad of other petty reasons, i.e. peeing on my face. But despite that, I love you. I love you, along with Marco and Brownie, more than any other animals — or maybe anything — in this world, that I would wish for us to stay together as friends, probably for a lifetime. But sadly and annoyingly, cute rodents have indeed shorter lifespan than greedy politicians and capitalists. Pssh.

I know that this message I am demanding to deliver is by now too late. I regret for not having to be by your side during your last hours. Or maybe, you would not permit me to do so, because you knew that I hate witnessing sudden departures.

But before I finally say my farewell to you, there is this memory that I am sure I would never forget: the very first time you set your feet on the soil and ran around the whole garden by the countryside, as if you were enjoying the first breath of freedom after my father lifted you out from your little, beautiful cage. In that particular moment, I felt so proud when I saw you running as fast as you could and stashing yourself between the rich foliage, as if you want us to play hide-and-seek with you. And as I think of it, relief comes back into my senses, because finally, you experienced the life outside the comfort of four corners during your last days.

And perhaps, this is the time to let you go.

I love you, Georgina. As always.


Your proud guinea pig pal,

Josue/Sueju Takeshi

Short Note: My buddy and I never took selfies together. There were several times when I captured photos of her, but the memory card of my cellphone containing such photos was corrupted, and I did not have anymore chance(s) to recover the files. So, I am thanking Guinea Pig Cages for posting this photo on Internet, because this guinea pig indeed resembles my dear Jorge. More power to your blog!

Starting Prompts & Blog Promotions

Good day everyone! It will take only a month or two in order for my blog to reach 500 followers. Two weeks ago, my blog, Takeshi’s Flight, celebrated its first birthday (yay!) — a moment which further questioned my capability as a blogger. For instance, compared to other new blogs, I find mine less engaging, because (1) I am sometimes simply not motivated in posting anything, and (2) seldom do I find blogs across my Wordpress reader offering prompts and blog promotions.

Then I asked myself, “What if I also start prompts in order for me to do what is being stated/instructed in my own prompt so that I could post something for a week? Or what if I use my platform so that other bloggers can check out each other’s posts and develop more connections?”

What is your opinion about this, guys? Is this a good idea?


This morning, I had a chat with a ‘friend’ of mine when I was on the train going to another friend’s house; we knew each other for around seven years or so. We are both religious, but it happened that he used his beliefs to justify his bigotry …

‘Friend’: Homosexuality is an unforgivable sin. You must repent now, or else …

Me: Wait, let me count your sins, from A to Z

‘Friend’: I’m a sinner. You’re a sinner, but the Bible says …


‘Friend’: Who the fuck said we can’t eat fat???


*brief silence*

‘Friend’: Leviticus? What’s that?

Me: Welcome to hell, bitch.

Grades: Only Numbers


Hounding his false dreams

Cared for grades than the lessons

Dispersed knowledge gained.

On Fantines, railroads, and perished dreams

This essay was published as the runner up of the recently concluded online essay writing contest, Imagining My Future,  hosted by Kendii, in partnership with The Immigrant Entrepreneur.  If you wish, you may check my essay at Kendii’s site, through this link: Imagining My Future.

Every morning, by the time sunlight shines and enters my eyes, I am constantly reminded of how exhausted I was the day before, while struggling over the pain cycling within my arms and my knees, as if I did a lengthy fitness routine for hours. Every time I ride the train leading to the university, thoughts of failing constantly reign over my head, while trying to recall the main points of the political and economic books I read over the past weekend.

But then, while I was contemplating about my academic fate and about my social responsibilities, my mp3 player began transmitting a popular jazz tone through my earphones. It was ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ of Les Miserables musical playing all over again; then I harassed the replay button and sang the famous song despite the noisy, torrid environment inside the train. Even if the other commuters were either merely observing or were already judging me, I did not halt my singing, because, for me, that moment was, but destined to release all my negative feelings.

When I pushed the magnetic ticket towards the tiny hole of the ticket gate and pursued a short, successful exit from a 10-minute worth of hell, I recalled Fantine in that particular scene — alone and depressed, wearing rugged clothes, starving and ailing — delivering powerful stanzas with her lungs out, as if that moment could be her last to decry all the curses the world had cost her.

Moreover, at that very moment, I pitied her fate and began rethinking about mine. I began thinking about what had brought me to acquiring great dreams and taking the railroad that is full of inevitable obstacles. This long road, soon, has led me to higher expectations as I conquer each level of serious challenges and eventually, to more paths of reality and uncertainty.

Years before my high school graduation, I cited a variety of careers I wished to make as effective ways to prosper, beginning from public health research or civil engineering to business administration and accountancy; but changes in the course of time also paved way for my advancement in other areas, such as mathematics and literature. I even wrote in our Class Prophecy, which was published at our school’s commencement exercises souvenir program, that I will be a Bangkok-based landscape photographer someday!

But sadly, annoyingly, and unfortunately, in the end, when I decided to choose UP Manila to be a political science major, my ‘dreams’  dashed away in a cold instant. All my desires to solve math and physics problems all my life abruptly perished; and when my first try for love failed, I gave up capturing photons and stopped turning them to high-quality masterpieces.

My first semester in UP flew by; and my only consolation for not landing over my preferred study track was the strong fact that I am studying in the country’s premier state university. The prestige kept me within the rooms of happiness, but when winds of second semester entered swiftly like a thief, I am not anymore satisfied with whatever I was studying. And as I spent sitting on the same wooden chair day by day, my desire to shift to another degree program —and even to transfer to another campus — bloomed, after which I tried to garner the grades necessary to fulfill my aim.

But little did I realize that my almost two years of stay in the university had been instrumental for me to visualize my future self and that the people around me had been supporting me for whatever I truly desire. My degree program and my university indeed had been my inspiration to spark change in the society I currently live in. I remember that sometimes, my friends ask me, “When will you be transferring to BS Math or BS Biology?” but I most of the time respond with only either a nod or a smile. Whenever I feel the hardships of life, I remember how the farmers of Hacienda Luisita fight for their rights to land ownership, despite the fear that has been haunting them for decades. Whenever I feel oppressed, I remember the Aeta children of Mabalacat, Pampanga, who welcomed our medical mission-team with open arms, without the thought that we might be just another line of oppressors, preparing to take everything that they have, including their identity. Whenever I feel sick due to the sickening environment inside and outside the campus, I remember the dying patients, whose voices are seldom heard, inside the Philippine General Hospital, and the ailing children and elderly, who travel distances to reach health centers or hospitals, residing at the country’s far-flung areas.

Thus, after several series of realizations, I became more determined to finish this undertaking. I began planning to enter medical school, to practice community medicine upon graduation, and to finally serve my fellowmen.

But, what if one day, I would be like Fantine whose dream never came true? What if everything would be just a dream – a dream never fulfilled? What if every challenge I encounter along the road would soon lead to my downfall?

Sometimes, I pray to God that I do not want to suffer the same fate Fantine had experienced. Perhaps, I may sometimes feel ostracized because of the career path I chose, but I know someone out there is willing to help me out whenever I ought to surrender. The tuition and other fees in medical school are probably high, but now, I am studying very hard to maintain the grade necessary to obtain a scholarship. The road towards my graduation and entrance to medical school may be tough, but I am determined to do my very best, because the true of state of our nation serves as a calling for me to serve the under-served and represent those who are often neglected by the government.

Perhaps, people around me may never be proud or contented for my choices that are divergent from theirs, but I hope that in the near or far future, all of our hearts will soon converge, like the railroads of a train terminal, in pursuit of a common, beneficial goal.

I hope that someday, Fantines can no longer be found on the streets and begging for alms and sympathy of the passers-by. I envision a world that is unified in curing the diseases of our society, in raising the discourse, and in building better relationships for all people, regardless of our countless differences.




Loss of hidden pride
Inspires the damsel to shine
Flips hair, loves again

Inspired by RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge. Photo from Domestic Church.

Speech 11, fun, and underlying lessons


Before I lined up and enrolled for my fourth semester of stay in the University, I already predicted that the next five months would be academically toxic and crucial. Furthermore, finding a course that will serve as the best avenue to release this debilitating mixture of feelings induced by repetitious moments of failures — or to at least partially unload a burden of another intense semester — was another challenge I had to face. Adding up to my frustration towards my ineptness in the social sciences (but I am still struggling), unfortunately and annoyingly, is the plain fulfillment of this prediction, for, even if I began changing my study habits, most of the courses I took acted like machine guns showering students with bullets of written requirements — if not, with brain-draining exams or quizzes.

However, on the positive side, there is this one course/subject — which typical students may overlook — that I never planned to take, but I enjoyed the most. In that class, everyone was obliged, individually, to deliver their chosen pieces and to unite as a group to come up with a meaningful performance. Yes, this class may sound like your ordinary high school literature subjects, but for me, every second I spared was enough to turn my life towards abrupt changes.

I hate whatever performance that compels me to stand on stage with all eyes fixing on my actions, but the Course is more than a matter of (re)building confidence and/or self-esteem. When we delivered our narratives, I realized that each one of us presented a unique, personal revelation — words that hold the key to our real-life character and to our present understanding of prevailing circumstances. It could be the same memory that shifts us back to the horrible pain caused by a bitter lost, a beloved’s death, heartbreak, deprivation of second chances, and constant failures. It could also be the mere joy we feel as we journey towards our chosen destinations. It could be the stories hidden within the depths of our hearts, waiting for the right time to be unearthed.

Moreover, as the term slowly progressed, I realized that my Revelation lies behind the lines of written in the short bond paper intended for my Narrative. I fathomed that, undeniably, there exists a thin thread connecting heaven and earth, and that even though there are situations that impale us with sorrow, there are still countless reasons to be happy.

And perhaps, the best thing I ever observed throughout the semester is the burning passion among the members of the class and that, whenever we are called to act, no one ceased to cooperate. Whatever will be the result of this term, I surely will heave sighs of relief, for I know that I’ve gone into a very interactive class, with our one-and-only lovely and passionate Speech 11 professor and lots of crazy people!


Photos are from my lovely Speech 11 classmates, Tanya Mindo and Jara Rogacion.

Refreshed Wounds

A piercingly bright curtain of stars is the backdrop for this beautiful image taken by astronomer Håkon Dahle. The silhouetted figure in the foreground is Håkon himself surrounded by just a couple of the great dark domes that litter the mountain of ESO’s La Silla Observatory. Many professional astronomers are also keen photographers — and who could blame them? ESO sites in the Atacama Desert are among the best places on Earth for observing the stars, and for the same reason, are amazing places for photographing the night sky. Håkon took these photos while on a week-long observing run at the MPG/ESO 2.2 -telescope. During this time, the telescope was occasionally handed over to a different observing team, giving Håkon the opportunity to admire the starry night — as well as to capture it for the rest of us to see. The Milky Way is brighter in the Southern Hemisphere than in the North, because of the way our planet’s southern regions point towards the dense galactic centre. But even in the South, the Milky Way in the night sky is quite faint in the sky. For most of us, light pollution from our cities and even the Moon can outshine the faint glow of the galaxy, hiding it from view. One of the best aspects of La Silla Observatory is that it is far away from bright city lights, giving it some of the darkest night skies on Earth. The atmosphere is also very clear, so there is no haze to further muddy your vision. The skies at La Silla are so dark that it is possible to see a shadow cast by the light of the Milky Way alone. Håkon submitted this photograph to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group. The Flickr group is regularly reviewed and the best photos are selected to be featured in our popular Picture of the Week series, or in our gallery.

Gazing at night skies
Thinking of old memories
Wounds turn fresh again

Photo credits to Wikipedia. A response to RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge.



Earlier, when I was inside the bus during my journey back home, there sat beside me a student who seemingly came fresh from a high school graduation ceremony. He wore a uniform full of signatures and notes; the school logo sealed on his pocket led to my deduction that he came from a school known for prestige and costly education.

In his hand was a handful of letters, and for instances I was glancing at him, I saw his smile — his teeth glittering in apparent joy — whenever his eyes flashes before the sentences which my vision could barely reach. But when he was about to read the ‘last letter’, his smile was quickly converted to a stream of tears. Even though I was concerned with how people around us may react and think, I never bothered him in his private life and suddenly, I stopped observing him and thought: “Soon, he will throw most of those letters away, along with the memories of the past, no matter how joyous or hurtful they may be. Inevitable realities would devour him wholly and would lead him to decisions he would later regret. He will realize that the promises of ‘not forgetting’ are empty and are never true, and that only few memories are truly worth keeping.”

The Heart Releases the Truest Kind of Magic


The source of magic

Comes straight from beneath the chest

Thoughts gone actualized

A response to RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge

Photo credits to http://i2.cdnds.net/ 

Forget Me


Love and Last


My love ends neglect

Until my lungs exhausts, dries

Hope shall ever last

A response to RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge: ‘Love and Last’

Your Face




Be pleased with thy jeans.

Don’t threaten tattered wallets.

Choose needs over wants.

A response to RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge.

Starry Night; Warm Sunshine


If  you are looking for great adventures,

Search beyond the boundaries and the comforts of the city

Carry within you the struggles of the marginalized and the poor

And in a united goal , watch with them a lengthy starry night.


I knew you had to always look through the window

Because the chills of dawn caused your bladder’s impending explosion.

Remember, endurance’s a prerequisite to long journeys along the road

But in a few hours more,the embrace of warm sunshine will be above you.


The sandy, sizzling environment of Mabalacat, Pampanga

Surrounded by long fences and monstrous signs of corporate entities

Wanting to build golf fields and the planned Clark Green City,

The starry night is, but in loneliness, will soon dash away.


Two mountains standing apart, connected with hanging bridges

Spark great fear of falling onto the hard rocks brought by lahar

But to reach the community one must brave the height

Because the mission’s fulfillment gives a warm sunshine.


The Aeta children welcomed the strangers with a facial beam

Without the thought that they might be oppressors

Or the right hand men of the capitalists or of the landlords

And in their beautiful eyes a starry night might glow.


Happily they sang the modern songs they hardly understood

Singing Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ in a repeating stereo tone

Or idolizing Lyca Gairanod and all other ‘The Voice Kids’  renditions

Their melody touches like warm sunshine beneath the ears.


Most of them lined up inside the small, hollow-blocked room

Waiting for the doctor’s stethoscope to be placed above their chests

The babies cried, but the schoolers observed in an open-mouthed wonder

And just like the blinks of the starry night, they wished to hear their hearts too!


The adults spoke about their stories and histories

As they offered root crops and nutritious meals to the hungry

As they spared their bedrooms and pillows to the sleepy strangers

I knew the warm sunshine blessed their souls with hospitality and prudence.


Our Aeta brothers and sisters suffered from oppression

Through false representations of those empowered by the ‘seats’.

They have always wished for self-determination,

But instead experienced some unwanted alienation.


In development they were not against,

But only hoped for the promised sustainability

Where the neoliberal agenda shall not prevail

Over the indigenous people’s interest and of the masses.


During starry nights I shall remember the Aeta children of Marcos Village

And as stars glitter I shall always see the hope in their shy smiles

Their mountainous settlement shall remain their paradise

So that their warm sunshine won’t turn in a cold instant.

This poem was published at Sulo’s March 2015 Issue. “Starry Night; Warm Sunshine” is the metaphor used to describe the current lives and struggles of the indigenous peoples in the Philippines.

Sulo is the official newsletter of KATRIBU National.


Basic Masses Integration & Medical Mission in an Aeta Community


I remember these children of sandy environment of Mabalacat, Pampanga and their facial beams whenever they sing Yeng Constantino’s “Ikaw” and their idol Lyca Gaironod’s own rendition of songs. I remember their loud laughter whenever we commit errors in pronouncing the words inherent to their dialect and whenever I give explanations for asking me why I am called “Dora”. I remember them responding in an open-mouthed wonder whenever a stethoscope is being placed above their chests, while wishing to hear the beating of their own hearts.
They were never hesitant to show their hospitality and trust; they never thought that we might be just another line of oppressors or the right hand men of the capitalists or of the landlords, who, in a cold instant, may take away everything that they have, including their identity.
I am afraid that one day, they might lose their mountainous paradise or perhaps take flight to the lowlands, because of the present development aggression in the area.
I am afraid that one day, these children’s shy smiles will soon dash away like dying stars, due to the continuous oppression inflicting our Aeta brothers and sisters.

Resist development aggression! Stop ethnocide! Defend the right to self-determination!

Beacon and Field

God Light

Sharp beacon of light
Fielding great moments through clouds
Battling against height

A response to Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge

Photo credits to http://www.alaska-in-pictures.com/

Love in Pain and Sickness


I Know, I Believe, I Can!

I once believed that those people, who are mathematically-inclined, generally have a hard time in learning the languages and the literature, as experts mostly say. But ironically, I simultaneously discovered creative writing and mathematics as my deep-rooted passions, and I feel that I cannot live if one overrides the other. Therefore, as much as possible, they should be kept balanced.

Since grade school, I had so many detractors who did not believe in whatever I can do. For example, there are people who never thought that I can do well in mathematics, simply because I got straight 75 grades in my arithmetic classes. Thanks to my mentor, John, who was a theoretical physicist, for discovering my talent in numbers, firstly when I solved a Calculus problem when I was still in sixth grade. He once happily remarked to his student, which was me: “This kid is not dumb for not knowing the half of a half. Give him anything that involves higher mathematical skills, and he won’t bother solving the problem even if it will take him days, weeks, or months to finally arrive with a complete, amazing solution.”

I know I can also do well in creative writing, but honestly, there are times when I feel that I am not confident with my writing. That is why I have learned to blog, and because of that, my connections rapidly grew, and I am not anymore afraid of hearing criticisms from other writers, because I know that whenever they find faults in my writing, I can learn from them. Also, in my posts I realized that I could also inspire other people.

I know, I believe, I can continue my passion with numbers and letters, and I hope people will continue in giving all the love and support that I need.

A response to Daily Prompt’s “I Have Confidence in Me”

Beast & Day


The Scriptures foretell:
When the judgment day comes near
The lamb slays the beast.

A response to Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge.

Photo credits to http://static.guim.co.uk/ 

War and Fame


In desire for war

Guts and strength overthrow fear

Fame is well achieved

A response to RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Challenge. Photo Courtesy of wikipedia.org

77 seconds remaining

I used the Philippine Eagle's flight in some passages to relate it to how a Filipino student's journey to the fulfillment of his dreams.

I actually used the “bird’s flight” as a general reference to the Philippine Monkey- Eating Eagle’s (the national bird) flight in some passages to relate it to a Filipino student’s journey to the fulfillment of his dreams. Photo Copyright 2012 by Nigge as seen at Cynthia Galang’s report at www. gambassa. com

This article was published three years ago under the features page of our high school campus publication, News Gear, where I served as a sports editor and photojournalist.  


77 seconds

Tick tock tick

77 seconds

And my heart beats again …


“Fly.” she said. I did not understand.

And then she repeated, “Fly.”

It was not until I reached this age that I understood such word. The word I never realized would be so essential in my journey towards my dream, a dream I never knew how it started and how it will end.

And that simple three-lettered word crossed my mind in each and every hour, until it branched out to other words. I accidentally peeped at my wristwatch and found myself in a room full of wall clocks. Afterwards, I mindlessly entered a portal emerged between those clocks searing with blinding light.


77 seconds

Tick tock tick

77 seconds

Tell them what I meant to tell you.


Four years indeed. I was once a young bird living in this sanctuary, ready to leave until such time draws near.

Yes, I am a bird and no one could ever stop me from flying. And this place became my home with its keepers as my mentors. Here, I nested and felt myself in company with others. I was neither caged nor chained; I flew straight to my goal. But the barriers around limited my sought-after freedom.

Exhausted, I glided back down to the keeper.

I quietly placed myself in a corner, and then he gave me water to drink, noting in a sad tone, “In one minute and seventeen seconds, you may now say goodbye to your comrades.”

He again spoke and opened the gates. Tears began streaming from the very corners of my eyes as he handsigned me to leave.

And out from nowhere, I flew and flew, until arrived to a certain place beyond the horizon.

I was in my fourth year in high school when I took this photo of first to fourth year students who filed up on the school quadrangle before the principal as a punishment for their tardiness.

I was in my fourth year in high school when I took this photo of first to fourth year students who filed up on the school quadrangle before the principal as a punishment for their tardiness.

At one point in our lives, we would realize that this particular sanctuary was the school we belong to, in which the keepers are the teachers who continue in nourishing us with knowledge and proper values until we are ready to be set free and be independent like an eagle proudly and confidently soaring and spreading its wings above the endless morning sky.

Outside this institution, there are many possibilities. There are new challenges awaiting for us to face with bravery. And the real world is far different from what we see today in our own, immature perspectives: it is indeed a war of principles and a stronghold of failures. But here, we were trained to overcome those storms and firmly stand up for what is right.

Life is indeed full of uncertainties. We won’t even know when the sun will set for us. But I am holding on to this truth: every time the sun will rise, there is a creation of a new dream, a dream that God has promised us to fulfill.


77 seconds

Tick tock tick

77 seconds

And tomorrow begins.


This institution had been our breeding ground and sanctuary for four years. We, students, are the ones who inhabit in it.

There are times when we crammed for a project or an examination. Some had been naughty and had cut classes. We always learn from our experiences. And those experiences will help ourselves in the future. And all of us will succeed together in a journey bounded by friendship and love.

What will happen tomorrow? I honestly do not know. God never gave us the ability to predict what will happen in the future. And all I knew is that I once studied and failed. But my dream was never crushed.

I now understand what she meant with what she said. Now I understand.


Never stop dreaming

Until you reach there


Sueju Takeshi 武

The Writer and The Physicist: The Meaning of Courage

Once, there was a teenager who wished to escape puberty by the time the first twin pimples popped out near his nostrils, and he hated the fact that the silly idea of removing them with the sharp ends of the nail cutter was something he could not accomplish, because, local aged men told him that if one tries to remove those pimples, the person most likely will face love misfortunes.

The teenager did not believe that, of course, because he thought that the beliefs of these men belong to that of the medieval ages.

In short and honestly, I am that teenager.

However, my mentor, John, a British old man (he’ll be turning 76 next January, but his memory is sharper than my own), long-time quantum physicist and retired professor, is an exception to the rule, because unlike any other people who existed in my life, he was, I think, the most open-minded of them all, which led me to considering him not only just a wise mentor, but also as a grandfather.

When I revealed to him that I wanted to be a writer, he was the first one to laugh horribly, because, at that time, I was at my peak of mathematical learning (he calls me “genius”, by the way, and I do not know why). Anyway, since he cannot do anything to alter my dream, after each of our sessions, he would find a little to share to me some of his vocabulary skills and his knowledge in essay writing.

A year ago, I thought of writing a novel, and I wished to find inspiration to write one. I came up to his room and asked him about courage.

“Courage is best exalted as one conquers the roaring waves when he may choose to pass the serene seas.” I said.
“I disagree.” the John said. “Courage is waiting for the storm to end and for the waves to reveal their silence.” he continued. His cough was terrible lately, I noticed.

“That is patience, Sir.” I affirmed.

“Oh! Have I told you that I already finished?” he said. Then, in a jiffies of staring at each other’s eyes, we burst out in laughter.

Then he slouched his back again against the new black chair we bought that morning. he took deep breaths as he glanced at the window. “Because whenever there’s a storm, you have to muster lots of courage to stand the cold during the evening and the uncertainty of sun shining by tomorrow or not.” he said. When I thought that he was right and I could not add anything up to his argument, he dozed off to sleep. Meaning, our conversation is finally over.

Kabataang Makabayan, Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan: A Theatrical Production Review


The Kabataang Makabayan (KM), being the “national seeding machine for the Philippine revolution” (Reyes, 2014) and one of the “critical forces of the Philippine revolution” (Communist Party of the Philippines, 2014), serves as the crucial opponent of the “semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions” (Sison, 2013) prevalent in the country. And as a part of the organization’s celebration for its Bonifacio Day-inspired establishment in November 30 (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, 2014; Reyes, 2014), around five decades ago, it organized a theatrical production entitled “Kabataang Makabayan, Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan!” held last January 30, 2015 at the University Theater, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

With 20 or 50 PHP-worth of ticket in the audience’s hands, the atmosphere among those who were unaware of KM’s nature was marked with lowered expectations in terms of the event’s form and with an apparent chaotic behavior as the crowd rapidly grew in numbers.

The production staff did well with writing the script, because it vividly portrayed the history of the KM, from the advent of the First Quarter Storm and the Diliman Commune up to its continuing nationalistic struggles against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism.

However, one must note that ordinary students comprised almost half of the total horde of viewers, and the observer, despite being fully-attentive in watching the scenes shown on the stage, might had heard of the repetitive questions regarding the three concepts mentioned at the previous paragraph, which are, of course, difficult to grasp or understand. However, such act should not be rendered annoying, because one may witness that the play had sparked interests among the youth attenders, thus paving a way for further encouragement.

The costume could have passed the standards of the viewers, and it was obvious that the staff had been so much resourceful with their wardrobe. But the main problems of the production were the lack of acting skills, of smooth transitions, and of a good sound system. There were times when the actors failed to effortlessly recall their lines, thus creating short lapses. The transitions at the first and the second parts were partly messy, but the actors managed to impress the audience with the performance of the singers at the latter parts of the play. Lastly, the sound system was pretty terrible, as one could hardly comprehend the dialogues, especially of the lead characters.

However, it is also important for people to understand that despite the slight muddle in some parts of the production, the KM proudly voiced out their history by means of communicating with the audience, therefore leaving them with an impression that they must focus on the content rather than the form.

The beliefs of the KM are the foundations of modern activism, which, in turn, made the relevance of the organization brightly highlighted as the problems that occurred in 1964 and during the Martial Law remained as undying plagues to the Filipinos, because, corruption and poverty were never erased as generation changes (Tan, 2015). The actions of the KM went beyond armed uprisings, as they also delivered educational discussions to the vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed masses, leading to the highly-inspired formation of other organizations that courageously protect the inherent rights of these people. Therefore, the KM has been a valid living reminder to the youth that as long as the state continues to be an instrument in exploiting the masses and the nation, the struggle has not come to an end yet.


Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. (2014). Rise Up! Celebrating Kabataang Makabayan and 50  Years of Youth Organizing. Retrieved from http://bayanusa.org

Communist Party of the Philippines. (2014). Long live the Kabataang Makabayan on its 50th  anniversary! Retrieved from http://www.philippinerevolution.net

Reyes, N. (2014). 10 Awesome Facts about the Kabataang Makabayan. Like a Rolling Stone. Retrieved from https://natoreyes.wordpress.com

Sison, J.M. (2013). Kabataang Makabayan and its Relevance Today: Message to the League of Filipino Students and the Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante. Retrieved from http://josemariasison.org

Tan, M. (2015). KM@50. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from http://opinion.inquirer.net

Love and the Universe

Love and the Universe

Orbits decree the farthest distance

And light years dictate the lowest chance

‘Cause I am Mercury and he is Mars

Revolving around a certain sun.


The stars die as the universe expands

Uncertainties conquer the realm

With Orion losing the last arrow in his arms

And notes of requiem, catching the breath of life.


Polar ends rotate and interchange

As love cripples out in mortal vain

Drying the tears of the ailing night sky

When the new dawn wishes to arise.

My Interpretation:

I made this poem earlier during our Political Science 150 class, while I was struck with boredom. The piece tells the story of unrequited love and of moving-on, both of which I had tried to relate with the natural events in the Universe and even in our planet. Moreover, I am writing this interpretation because this is one of the skills I had learned in Speech 11, one of the General Education (GE) subjects that I have been taking for this semester.

The first stanza simply states that the author and the one he loves are different, in terms of talent, socio-economic status, likes, and the others. The third verse subliminally suggests that the author and his beloved are both biologically male, as Mercury and Mars are both Roman gods which are masculine in nature. But the fourth verse says that despite their obvious differences, they share the same goals and dreams in life, which is figuratively represented by the sun.

The second stanza is much more emotional than the previous one. The first line,the stars die as the universe expands, means that chances to go nearer to the one you really love seemed to be so distant whenever opportunities keep on knocking on your doors. This could also be interpreted as an abrupt enlargement in your beloved’s circle of friends, which could increase the probability that he may not notice you.

The first line, moreover, is also a statement of failure. Thus, in verse 2, it is normal for the author to feel the plagues of uncertainties as he has his heart broken. This emotional challenge is even more emphasized in the third line, with Orion losing the last arrow in his arms, which symbolizes despair and depression. The last line of the second stanza looks like an oxymoron, with notes of requiem symbolizing severe distress and breath of life symbolizing hope. When both of these concepts are connected with the word awaiting, the author may have wanted to say that the encouragement and help of loved ones could mend at least the worsening pain of the heart-broken individual.

The first and the second verses of the last stanza mean that whenever we repeatedly fall in and fall out of love and get hurt, we also tend to change our perspectives concerning love. Moreover,the third and the last lines of the same stanza are interpreted as the moving-on stage and the return of true happiness.

How about you? How do you interpret this short poem of mine?



Background photo from http://virtualphotographystudio.com/

Today’s Motivation

I would like to omit the word “sometimes” at the beginning of the quote.
First and foremost, this quote is really essential for someone, like me, to understand that there are much better things in life than pursuing a relationship that is about to sink. Saying goodbye is hard, but it is meant to forget someone and totally move-on from the love you once had.



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The 13th UP – Finnish Global Health Course: Day Two

The fact that I would be away again from my family bolted into my head the moment I woke up. I wondered if there was a littlest reason for me to leave, but then I threw all the remaining pretexts I had towards the trash bin.IMG_0346

My first morning in Morong, Rizal was surprisingly chilly, giving me a very hard time to get up. I smelled my breath as the worst in my entire life; to top that was a straight line of dried saliva plaguing its host’s beloved face. The feeling was horrifying, as well embarrassing, because I had to keep up with my behavior every time, because I was dwelling in a room for boys.

As I jumped towards the shower room, the water almost killed me as it dropped my temperature down. Even singing my most favorite song I heard last night through the radio couldn’t hide the soft brrrrr I uttered every time the soap hit my skin.

IMG_0371After eating our delicious breakfast, I quickly drove my feet upstairs, to the seminar room. Group 1 gave a short recap of what we did the preceding day, including attending a lecture at the Department of Health. Afterwards, our ears and eyes opened to hear and watch their funny cheer.

The first one to deliver the almost two-hour talk was Dr. Ramon Paterno, a faculty of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine. His presentations were entitled “Global Health Situation” and “Philippine Health Situation.”IMG_0376

In his Powerpoint slides, he was able to “define what global health was and describe the global health situation, trends and major issues.” He also emphasized the importance of health equity, which was defined as “the absence of differences in health that are not only unnecessary and avoidable, but also unfair and unjust” (Whitehead, n.d.)

Right in the middle of the discussion, he showed us a video by Rosling, entitled 200 Years that Changed the World. The presenter stressed that before 1810, all countries, including Great Britain and the United States, wereIMG_0384 in the sick and poor quadrant. However, it was important to note that during the 19th century, the first world countries’ income improvement had also improved the state of health among their people, and it was evident even during the first wave of the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, despite the good news that such created a great, positive impact to public health, public health practitioners cite differences in incomes between states, regions, and countries could be an indicator of health inequity, as people in poor areas would always find a hard time getting proper medical attention and much worse, the medicines to prolong their lives, because such services are costly and cannot be afforded by most of the sick marginalized.IMG_0423

The worst thing that was happening nowadays, as he stressed, was that financial institutions such as the World Bank, influences formulation of health policies, leading to privatization of public hospitals and creation of companies offering health insurances. This, moreover, heavies the burden of poor Filipinos.

He also discussed to us the current Philippine Health Situation. Health as a most basic right was emphasized by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, but it seemed to be violated by those in government position through the legislation and execution of bogus programs, adding to the sad fact that 6 out of 10 Filipinos die without medical assistance or without even seeing a doctor. Poor Filipinos also tend to forego consultation in order to be able to buy medicines and because, also, of non-availability of drugs collageand long distance of health facilities from their homes.

Dr. Buching ended up his talk by equating the Philippine Health human resource crisis to global health human resource crisis and by restating the issues that he aforementioned.

Dr. Gene Nisperos stirred up the atmosphere of supposedly hungry people (in my perspective) as he introduced his lecture, The Socio-Economic-Political Framework and How It Affects People’s Health, with a nerve-breaking, yet clever and funny icebreaker. The challenge was that he will give us a group of words written in metacards, and we will arrange them such that we can make a meaningful story out of them. Hilarity ensued as my group chose me to present our (or so to speak, my) story in front of everyone. What happened next? My own graceful humiliation.

Anyway, in Dr. Gene’s talk, he told us how global and Philippine politics intervene with the state of public health in our country. For instance, the Philippine Health system is patterned after that from the US (specialty-oriented, hospital-based, higher wage for private practice and even the medical education curriculum). In terms of economic aspect, the three principles (liberalization, deregulation & privatization) being promoted by World Bank, International Monetary Fund & World Trade Organization (the three evil institutions) led to privatization of hospitals and health services and to monopoly of health care services.

The social roots of the current state of public health was also tackled, as the Universal Health Coverage (aka social health insurance) promoted AGAIN by the World Bank (really record-breaking, huh) resulted to establishment of private companies jeopardizing the rights of common people to health. Moreover, we can deduce that the people’s mindset nowadays towards medicine is curative rather than preventive & is doctor-centric.

He also discussed how culture and value systems affect one’s perspective towards achieving good health. For example, the Church influences us to decide whether an action is moral or not. The said institution (especially the Roman Catholic) is still against the Reproductive Health Law, which, on the negative side, will delay the prevention of the spread of HIV-AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), of the increasing mortality rate of pregnant women, and ultimately, of povertyIMG_0504.

The afternoon session commenced as soon as we finished eating our lunch. This time, the first speaker was Dr. Anthony Cordero, one of indeed wittiest doctors around. His lecture was entitled The Primary Health Care and Rights Based Approach to Health, in which he allowed our minds to review the basic tenets of Primary Health Care and reiterate its relevance. He asserted that everyone, especially health professionals, must believe in the principles clearly indicated in the Alma Ata Declaration, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and emerged  during the International Conference on Primary Health Care held at Alma Ata, Union Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in September 6-12, 1978. Moreover, he defined Primary Health Care as “a value system or approach rooted to Alma Ata Declaration” and “a type of medical care one may receive by first point of contact”. Lastly, Doc Ants devoted the last minute for his lecture, remarking that health is multifactorial.

The next part, Analyzing Why We Cannot Go beyond Self and Family: Building the Concept of Nationhood was facilitated by Dr. Elizabeth Paterno, Doc Buching’s wife, instead of Dr. Michael Tan who did not make it to the event. In her short session, we were able to analyze the historical roots of our subservience to foreign interests and dictates. It was appalling to know too, that our concept of nationalism affects how we view health as a fundamental right.

Covering up again for Dr. Tan’s absence, Doc Ants assumed the role of the speaker for the presentation entitled, Gender, Culture & Sexuality. In such lecture, Doc Ants defined current concepts on gender and sexuality, including reproductive IMG_0534health and promoted the cultural and gender sensitivity in development work.

After eating dinner, we climbed back upstairs again to watch the film, Inside Job, which pinpoints the key explanations behind the great US recession by mid-2007 and its effects to the global economy. After which, before sleeping in the Men’s Dormitory, I had a short laugh trip with the boys, so I concluded that my second day in Morong was really blissful and interactive.

Photo Credits to Ms. Pholyn Balahadia, GHC student facilitator.


The Room

Photo from 1stclasscleaningnyc.com

Photo from 1stclasscleaningnyc.com

The room deviates from the customary

For silence’s a requisite to survival

But neither of us shall deny

The consequence of a dying love


The room throws us back again

To the moment where we began our affair

Lingering, clinging to each other’s arms

Prevailing sleep for once in a while


The room’s trapped in indiscernible vacuum

Petrifying strong structures to be voided

Shattering, drowning hearts loudly heard

Playing the music of unsung hymns and melodies


The room leads to yet another room

Where two creatures fated to spend honeymoon

But such has borne great witness too

Of love’s gloomy dusk to commence soon


Roses will be plain rubbish

If once blue skies kept turning grey

Doves can’t anymore fly northwest

Leaves won’t transpire in zest

Each moment that passes

Every glimpse you create

All actions you make

Desert me, breathless

No creature shall complain

When I gasp in pure despair

How shall I love thee

If you already took my breath away?

The 13th UP – Finnish Global Health Course: Day One

Last January 5-11, 2015, I attended the 13th University of the Philippines Global Health Course at Bahay Silungan, Morong, Rizal, Philippines. It was sponsored by the University of the Philippines College of Medicine’s (UPCM) Community-Oriented Medical Education (COME) Unit and Social Medicine Unit (SMU) and by the Peoples’ Health Movement – Philippines and was also generously funded by the University of Tampere’s Duodecim – Finnish Medical Society. The course was intended to educate health sciences students about the issues affecting the local, national, and global health, and to equip us, student-leaders, with essential skills which we can use as we go back to our respective universities.

The program commenced with the Welcome Ceremonies in the morning of January 5 at the Alvior Hall, College of Medicine, led by the officials of UP Manila and UPCM. Despite most facilitators being medical doctors, they welcomed us who came from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) with open arms. The ambiance was so imperturbable that I never considered changing my decision to join, since I will be obliged to be away from my family for a week.

The following are the objectives of the course which I found very well attained:

  1. Describe the global health situation and issues that affect it.
  2. Analyze the country’s health situation in the context of the global health situation.
  3. Describe the different indicators used to monitor progress in national development and health.
  4. Describe and discuss factors that influence the way health is viewed and intrinsically shape the health landscape locally and globally.
  5. Identify basic skills in communication, advocacy and organizing.
  6. Describe the different strategies and efforts implemented in response to these issues.
  7. Formulate appropriate responses based on their local capacities

At the very beginning, I and my friend, Alex, thought that our actions might be restricted and that we will be forced to behave most of the time. But still, our mouths never stopped as we strolled down the Taft Avenue then to the Tayuman Road, in which the Department of Health (DOH) was situated.


The speakers representing DOH’s Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau (HPDPB) delivered a lecture entitled “Introduction to the Philippine Health Situation and the Department of Health”. Such lecture provided us an overview of the Philippine health situation, including various issues and concerns affecting local, national and global health, as well as a brief overview of the DOH in the context of the national health system.

I was overwhelmed with the speakers talking about health statistics over and over again, and I was quite disappointed when they honestly told us the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 could never be fulfilled. I was also appalled to see the DOH framework or organizational structure, which is very susceptible to corruption and service delays.

2011-11-24_18-08_KP organogram.pdf_0

By 1PM, we left UPCM and traveled to Rizal. After eating snacks and settling down, Dr. Edelina Dela Paz introduced the participants and faculty facilitators and gathered the participants’ expectations. Dr. Melecia Velmonte, a retired faculty member of the UPCM and also the owner of the Bahay Silungan, gave the house rules. The participants were also divided into five groups for doing the recap and for solidarity night performance.

After dinner, we watched two short movies. The first one was Limang Libo, which narrates how the poor were ready to do whatever it takes just to have a ready cash payment for their beloved ones who were at the brink of death. On the other hand, Krusada: Ospital provided a brief overview of the Philippine Health Situation and had put more emphasis on the effects of privatization and medical insurances to common people.

I was assigned to sleep at the Men’s Dormitory. I wished to stay at the Ladies’ House, but I can’t, because everything might turn awkward. My first night in Morong was intimately quiet, and I spent the entire evening relishing the undertones of nature.



In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Image Search.”


Yuletide’s over

Longing for your arrival

Waiting for a chance.

But no departures

Shall shatter our love.

No More to Lower Audience Visits

For two months, my WordPress blog was kept inactive, mainly because of the following reasons:

1. My computer’s system was completely destroyed, primarily due to the viruses that invaded the system. Since I had no choice but to reformat the whole thing, I tried my best to fix it, but I faced another problem: saving the soft copies of my novel’s manuscript. I never had the chance to retrieve it, but luckily, I still have the drafts on my notebook. But still, I am now having a hard time doing the same manuscript, so instead, I made a new one, creating new dialogues, which I found more sound and effective.

2. Since the computer was already down, we decided to cut off our Internet connection. My inspirations in daily writing usually come from the Daily Post, but since we didn’t have the way to surf the Web, I didn’t have a chance to look over the Daily Prompts. Another problem is that when I go out to search for Internet cafes, I find their computer rentals too costly that even renting one for around half an hour is already equivalent to 1/4 of my daily allowance for schooling. Until now, though I already fixed the computer, we were still finding ways to have a new Internet connection.

I promised myself then that I will stop frowning for the lowering statistics shown in my blog. Instead, I swore to myself that I will keep this blog much more active than before, since the second semester of this academic year is about to begin. 

Topping my New Year’s Resolution

It has already been days since we celebrated the coming of the New Year, and most people from all walks of life had started — or even published — their New Year’s Resolution. I, too, had written mine by Dec 31st, and I wouldn’t dare publish the entire thing.

Anyway, here are the things that topped my Resolution for this year, which, of course, would only be kept as promises, and might not be fulfilled:

1. I will try my best to move on from that guy. I will stop thinking anything about him and any underlying memories.

— My bestfriends have heard this sworn statement for almost a hundred times already, but as you all may know, it is really tough to move on if you truly loved someone. Right?

2. I will not anymore cut classes. I will not anymore sleep during classes.

— This is really difficult to fulfill, especially whenever I find a class too boring or whenever there is really an emergency. But if I really can do this, I will reward myself with a bar of chocolate.

3. I will start focusing on my studies.

— I always do, right? My problems are the term papers. I hate them, because I am too lazy.

Ice Jail

Trapped inside

The piles of rocks

From a speedy avalanche

I found myself

Barely breathing

With heart racing

In terror, I screamed

But my voice seems

To only bouncing back

No one heard me

I only thought of

Letting the night pass by

The howling wolves

Terribly scared me

I thought of you

While jailed in ice

The next day

I don’t know why

But I woke up

In a hospital bed

And I saw you

Touching my forehead

“I’m here now. Don’t worry.”

You said, smiling.

Someone Who Understands the Most

As I am typing this, I knew by heart that my mind earlier had been surged with the thoughts of flooding requirements, of prospects of failing, and of anxiety over uncertainties. My friends and colleagues, and even my previous teachers beforehand knew that I can prevail over academic stress, but sometimes, I blame myself for entering a prestigious university, in fact, the best in our country in terms of academics. I blame myself for choosing the wrong degree program, for my undying weakness in economics. But despite that, I felt motivated and challenged, because once and for all I did not only come to the university just to get A+ in my transcript of records, but also to learn about new things, aside from those I had already mastered, such as mathematics.

During this semester, I am bothered with the enlargement of my eye-bags, perhaps, because of staying late at night to study lessons. But during midnight, I go upstairs, to our house’s rooftop, and try to watch the stars, and how they twinkle after a few seconds. And in doing so, I remember my late bestfriend, Paul, who was once there with me, on the same rooftop, and having conversations about our dreams.

Last night, I don’t know why, but I felt that he was with me, as I rambled about my incompetency, of my recent failures. Years ago, when I felt that my elder brother had set his distance from me, he stood up for me just like my own brother.

“You know what? Since the day you were gone, I feel that I am always failing.” I said, gasping, while finding the moon over a cloud of stars.

But of course, I found no answer.

“But my friend, listen to my ramblings for a while. I know that you are someone who understands the most …”

From that moment, I whispered and shouted to the wind all my problems in school, in friendship, and in family. And when I was done talking, the stars appeared to be apparently twinkling several times, and a shooting star crossed the sky, almost only for a second. Though I acted childish, I made lots of wishes.

After which, I went back to my bed, and read the pointers for tomorrow’s exams, and slept with contentment and with overwhelming peace. 

Falling Leaves


Photo from Tumblr

For a boy who lives in the tropics

Though the surrounding’s torrid

And wet oftentimes

He waits for those falling leaves

To mark his season of writing

Patiently, fervently

He watches the trees

That are opposite the window

But an autumn is so far away

Nor found in nearby states

So he keeps his wishes

Inside his heart, that someday

He could travel the planet

Or go to temperate zones

Like that of North America

And see how wonderful

As things keep dropping

One by one

But the reality is that

An autumn is so far away

He kept on reading about it

In books, in encyclopedias

And even defined it with

A handful of dictionaries

But a writer indeed knows

How to imagine scenarios

So he felt contented by waiting

For the rain to cry once again

Then he’ll see the green leaves

Dancing with the wind

Losing balance, falling

Swimming with the basin

The boy is now happy

Holding his pen up high

And begins scribbling.

Release Me


Credits to http://blog.timesunion.com/ for the original photo!
Poetry by S.J. Takeshi

Haunting Past


In response to RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku Prompt Challenge #16 Haunt & Release

My Fair Lady: A Movie Review

my-fair-lady-dvd-cover-44My Fair Lady (1964)

Cast: Audrey Hepburn; Rex Harrison; Stanley Holloway; Wilfrid Hyde-White; Gladys Cooper; Jeremy Brett

Director: George Cukor

Synopsis: Rex Harrison, while playing the same character in this film’s Broadway counterpart, is introduced as an arrogant professor in phonetics, Henry Higgins, to Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower seller, who is being played by Audrey Hepburn. The story begins to unfold in London, Great Britain during the reign of King Edward VII, when Henry Higgins brags about his knowledge of the English language and emphasizes its relevance in determining one’s position in the social hierarchy. Meanwhile, Eliza Doolittle overhears this and later on offers herself to be the professor’s pupil.

Review: Before Hollywood lost George Cukor due to his untimely death in 1983 at the age of 83, the film My Fair Lady has been long considered as a masterpiece. Leading the cast and the crew, garnering eight Oscars in 1964 and three Golden Globes, the musical’s director proved this motion picture as timeless, since it subsequently inspired the production of later works. Cukor approached the film with multiple levels of depth that is, being able to turn to a piece that inspires change — a keen study of feminism. The portrayal of the story is quite slow-paced, which of course does not have any drawbacks because the length is reasonable enough to explain every scene. The restoration is marvelous, as exquisite as the high-class films that the Hollywood deemed necessary to be produced these days.

The Hepburn-Harrison chemistry is favorable, and their very good exchange of conversation exemplifies their nearly superb delivery of the script.

Hepburn’s role as Eliza Doolittle is plausible, because she is able to picture in the mind of the viewers how Eliza “murders the English language” and soon learns to speak it very well. She also shows at the near end how educated she has become, thanks to Professor Higgins, Colonel Pickering and Mrs. Pearce, for teaching her how to act as a lady. Meanwhile, Harrison’s effective landing with the same role as the Broadway counterpart means giving justice to the entire character development, that is, showing the ability to act out as somehow a kind of a real, brutish and misogynistic professor of phonetics.

Though the usual romantic-comedy stories end with a very predictable ending, the case does not obviously apply to My Fair Lady. One of the scenes that the viewers must see is the part when Eliza’s father, Alfred Doolittle, and his friends sang “Get Me to the Church on Time” as it represents a very good musical arrangement. The orchestra’s approach to the “Overture” gave a superb introduction to the film, leaving people having a certain feel of watching a Broadway show. The last song which is recommended to be played repeatedly in your audio devices is “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” because, though Nixon sings this part for Hepburn (who does the lip-sync), the voice is so clear and powerful, and apparently attractive to the ears. In addition, the Edwardian period sort of setting justifies the plot. The clothing choices are indeed appropriate, especially when Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins and Colonel Picking attended a ball.

Even though the ending is quite unfavorable for most viewers who aspire a happy and closed one, the film proves itself as legendary and worthy to be watched with your family and friends.

Another Sweet Day

Your smiles’s enticing,
Invites me to spend
One more sweet day.
And fortnights pass
Kissing on thorned bushes.
Life’s filled with no regrets
Rolling ourselves on the bed
Shared each other’s glances.
Entering the coffee shop
Staring at you as you order;
Sipping the same drink together
While I’m wiping your lips.
Your smiles’s enticing
Persuades me to wake up again
For one more sweet day.
Forgetting all yesterday’s pain
As we linked our hands
Feeling the heat in your palm
Showing me your burning love.
Going out on Saturdays
Treating me with street food
Bringing me to places I never knew.
We stood by the corner,
Passed by long, narrow roads
But I knew and I am sure
I am in love with you.
And everytime you let me go,
Everytime you lose your smile
Ships sink, my world feels cold.
Today, I brought no ring
But here’s your popcorn, dear.
Kneeling in front of you,
To ask you to marry me.
Your smiles’s enticing,
Requests me to spend
One more sweet day.
And I am all the more willing
To share your pains in the past
And the uncertainties of the future
I can’t afford to lose your smile again
Stay forever with me.
And in this another sweet day,
Will you marry me?

A response to Daily Post’s Writing Challenge: Genre BlenderI used Romance as my genre and Poetry as my style.



A response to Daily Prompt’s Sweeping Motions

Shine & Potential


End Station


This isn’t a Harry Potter story
Or of some lovers sharing glory
I opened my phone, utters some voice
You said, where are you now?
But the calling time’s maximized,
So I clicked the red button.
The train driver had notified:
Taft Avenue, this is the end station.
I looked outside, sunset starts
And the clouds on the opposite side
Filled the skies with gloomy shade
I phoned you back again
Saying, wait for me there
You dropped the call; shocked to see me
As if I were a ghost, or a mystical wannabe
Our eyes interlocked, moments froze
We met by the rusty escalator
But with you, tightly holding a girl’s hand
Like I expected, she’s of beauty
Her posture’s great, complexion dominates.
Uttering a word, you cannot do.
She said, do you know each other?
You said no, so pain stabs me
We both nodded, but I was doomed
Then the rain heavily falls, shouts in thunders.
We both parted ways, soon after
All the rainbows slowly fade
At that transit’s end station.

In TransitPhoto from Flickr. Poetry by Sueju Takeshi.

Masked in Hell

Visit our country. Open your hotel room’s television to check out for the latest local news. And when you finally have done it, do not anymore be surprised with what you might see.

The Philippines, while being described figuratively as the Pearl in Orient Seas, prides itself for its long tradition of corruption. And as part of this crocs-inspired culture, let me introduce to you, dear strangers, a city where I first gave something to contribute to Earth — an addition to the exponential growth of world’s population — and also where I currently lay my body to hibernate for years: Makati City.

While Dan Brown through his novel, Inferno, described the country’s political capital, Manila, as gates of hell, I would describe my dear city, the deemed financial capital, as one that is masked in hell. No, I am not describing it as torrid as if you were already experiencing the extreme temperatures inside the future lake of fire and sulfur. I am not also telling you to dislike the historic Pasig River, which streams across its map and of course is now polluted and as dirty as the recent politics.

But beware, you might die since crocodiles are everywhere. Of course, I am not talking about literal death. Just be aware of the current system — bribery plus fake biddings plus ghost employees.

Sometimes, I blame the world for throwing and disposing all the scumbags at my place. Well, I have no choice, but that’s silly. If you want to be rich like the Ayalas and Gokongweis, put your business along the streets of Makati Avenue and Ayala Avenue. Whenever you go out of your office, watch the street children pulling wooden carts, begging for money and inhaling liquids from the inside of a tiny plastic bag. Oh, I forgot the other part of the culture: when the traffic light orders us to stop, we will defy the rule and then rush, crossing the street, aware but never minding the dangers we might face.

The strangest thing for a visitor? Various techniques of snatchers or thieves, such as those being used by dura-dura (saliva) gang and akyat-bahay (climb the house) kids. Try also our local street foods if you want to get any of these three: Hepatitis A, B, or C.

But sometimes, experiencing a bit of hell means tasting a lot of heaven.

Welcome. And enjoy.

Welcome, Stranger. I think I violated the Prompt’s rule. But I don’t mind, anyway.

Releasing Mental Breakdown

‘Twas a big, rainy day
Friends come by and say hey
And all my clouds turned to gray
Finals will come by May.

My eyes locks at computer screen
Feeling nerd, I have been
Summer fades, stress release!
Playing games with ease.

At last, the exam was laid
On my chair’s desk, nerves break
I looked into the first query
My nose bled in fury!

Big Day Ahead

The Truth has been Spoken!

I came across a pavement
Full of compulsive buyers and sellers
Of different garments.
Nervous, held my bag,
Fearing snatchers to pass by.
Suddenly I heard someone spoke
Her voice’s enticing, clinging into my ears
Her words: Buy this at low cost.
‘Twas a old woman, with black-grey hair,
Rugged clothes welcomed me.
Oh sure, Madam! said I.
This vial, said she, will let truth speak
Smoking around your victim!
She laughed; I became a crazy madman
Slowly, opened my purse
Gave her more than a grand
Say, thanks! And left.
And came to my bestfriend,
Removing the vial’s cork;
His breath was overpowered.
For a while, he felt dizzy
Afterwards, hypnotized.
I said, Have you ever loved me?
I haven’t, his straight reply.
But at least,the truth has been spoken.
And lies no more linger on my veins.

A response to DAILY PROMPT’s Truth Serum

Fun but not Facts


The Great Divide

Photo Credits to: Taryn Cox The Wife

Poetry by Sueju Takeshi