From Personal Life

Korean BBQ Night

10 Years, 1600 Miles

One lazy day in college, I was chillin’ at the Film lobby with batchmates when the College Secretary approached us. “I’m looking for volunteers,” she said. Apparently, exchange students from Korea had arrived way earlier than expected and so she could use some help. Bored af, I was first to raise a hand. Out of…


Maxine Casaclang

Drive

TAGAYTAY, Philippines — When I woke up, I found her driving the car downhill. My friend Maxine and I came from another friend’s wedding, where I had too much to drink. On the way to the hotel, I passed out, leaving Max on her own, navigating around an unfamiliar territory at midnight. “Where are we…


Bonfire Closeup

OC

Moving on is tough. Especially if you’re me. Here’s the thing: I remember. That’s probably the one trait that has become both my muse and my warden — I don’t forget easily. When I meet with someone, I remember what they’re wearing even after months. I remember the music that was playing at a dinner…


Cappadocia

Hello, Thirties

So I’ve entered new territory: the 30s. When I hit 20, I was just about to graduate college. Still, I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to be: a screenwriter, a diplomat, a geologist, a social media marketer, a traveler. And over the next decade, I tried to do a bit of everything until I…


Lost Need Direction

Trust Issues

BATANGAS, Philippines — I am staying at the porch of our Batangas home and pondering life’s complexities when a family van pulls over. The window rolls down and reveals the matriarch in the passenger seat. “We’re going to Manila,” she says. “Should we go straight?” “No,” I reply. “If you’re Manila-bound, turn right.” With that,…


Forest Trail

Godless Course

BATANGAS, Philippines — Every Friday she came to our school, a public school, and taught the Catholic ways to pupils whose families shared the same faith. The non-Catholic kids would then move out of the room and play outside. The catechist, as our teacher would call her, always began her lesson with a story. All…


Twilight Forest

Coy

MANDALUYONG CITY, Philippines — He used to ask me how he could be stronger. Even that night three years ago when he showed up at my door, he asked me the same question. He was in tears, and he didn’t want to be that way. He said he was too lost, too weak. “You’re too…


taking travel personally

Five-Hour Connections*

MALACCA, Malaysia — We stepped out to the garden almost at the same time. And almost at the same time we placed a bottle of softdrink on separate tables. “Would you mind if I smoked?” I asked politely. “Absolutely not, I’m here for the same reason,” he smiled and introduced himself. His name is Aurelian,…