Kindness

TAOYUAN, Taiwan — An old woman and two suitcases have become the great divide between impatience and emptiness. Confused and frazzled, the petite lady unintentionally blocks the aisle to the Economy Class of that KLM flight to Amsterdam. The pressure from the growing line isn’t helping. She doesn’t know where to put the bags. The man…

The Man Who Lost an Ear

When he wakes up that balmy morning, he fears he lost a part of him the night before but he is not sure what exactly. All he knows is that there was big mob, there was a screaming tune, there were drinks – potent cocktails of various colors – and they were overflowing, there were…

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Conversions

ZHANGJIAJIE, China — He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously,…

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…

Ashen Uncertainties

ZAMBALES, Philippines — “Summer is coming.” His excitement equalled the dread the Starks felt toward winter. Randy, our boatman for the day, looked forward to the peak of the dry season, which was sure to bring hordes of tourists to the shores of Pundaquit, Zambales. He would wait a couple more months. February had just started.

Noodle Soup for the Soul

LIUZHOU, China — The train from Liuzhou to Guilin was packed that Saturday afternoon. I was pushed to endure the two-hour ride standing at the space in between cars — by the toilet, next to the garbage bin, beside the smoking area — with the other passengers who booked a ticket too late. I shared…

Pinoy Travel Bloggers Slumber Party: 5 Things that Made it a Blast

PASIG CITY, Philippines — It’s not every day that I get to see people in the same line of work as I am (if work is what you call what we do). When I’m on a self-imposed travel hiatus (like in the past weeks), I am usually either (1) stressing myself over the number of posts…

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…