Love story; an attempt


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​Love Story; An Attempt​​

(First published in the 2013 Spring edition of Off the Coast Journal)

 Among all the other things, it was the way you told me, “our leftover Korean”

and then plans became suddenly parallel and unfuddled.


It was the way you promised you wouldn’t be a chapter in a book,

a rhetorical question, the postscript of lilies on a grave. Our leftover Korean,


sitting cold like a block in the refrigerator while we got drunk over red wine

and graze at the squishy couch cushions, the fan whirring in the smoky air over


us. It’s poetic, believing we’ll ever amount to something, to anything. It’s gallant.

It smothers your skin tonight, clings to my neck when you bite me. You


swore you wouldn’t be a chapter in a book but I can only promise you

a dedication page, a name in a catalog, a full-page obituary. So let’s go downstairs


and make some cocktails and heat up that bibimbap and you can kiss me

caramel and bruised and bite my tongue for me and I promise, I will forget this forever.



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How To Survive In A Victim-blaming, Catcalling Society

I’m dancing at a music festival 
when someone behind me 
lays a hand on my shoulder.
I assume it’s a friend until
the hand shifts down my chest.

Burning with vodka and fury
I snatch his wrist, pull around,
and hit him in the jaw.
It doesn’t strike well—
I’ve never punched anyone before—
so I knock him in the gut,
just for good measure. 

I stare at him, doubled over and spit 
Never do that to a woman again,
and then I run fast.
My friends laugh in the car:
You hit a guy! 
but I sit silent and fiery. 

In Quezon City, in Makati,
in Boracay: men leer and
smack their lips and whistle. 
I give them the evil eye,
or flip them off,
or tell them leave me alone; I’m married.

When they churr ganda/sexy/
smile ka naman! sungit mo naman!

I yell puñeta! and they all laugh. 
I’m not sure if they’re laughing at me
for being a girl 
incorrectly speaking swear words, 
or at the idea that anything 
I utter might actually clam them up.

In my unguarded rage I dream of a society
where I am not a public property. I would
march and begin wars 
for my right to wander down a street 
free from fear or danger,
a hundred wars for a day
in which my able body belongs to me alone.
A battalion raised against each cat call. A bullet
for every harry who ever told me to smile. 

“Embrace your flaws.”


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Let that sink in your thoughts even just for a moment.

We all have issues. We all have imperfections. We’re all flawed. We all have mood swings, triggers, egos, unconscious motives and glitches in our systems that have been propagated throughout our lives. The childhood trauma, insecurities, egoic patterns, anxieties and fears buried deep within our subconscious. Pain skeletons of our parents and our grandparents and even our ancestors, confined belief systems and all other higgledy-piggledy shit that we came into this Universe to un-become. Some come with more baggage. Some come with less. But it doesn’t matter because we all have them.

The unpleasing old patterns don’t really go away, never to return forever. Sometimes they do. But they never come to stay forever either. The only difference is that as time passes, we grow in enough awareness to recognize these patterns and we create a space big enough to grip it so that we no longer respond in the unconscious ways that we did before.

I’m perfectly flawed. I have my own funky shits that I need to improve on. I’m not always grounded. I still get wobbly sometimes. I still have my insecurities, fears, worries, triggers, doubts that come up at certain times in certain scenarios. I have been serving and volleying ball with it all since I started recognizing them. I don’t always have my shit together. And that’s okay. Because I do my best to sit with it in awareness. And I can breathe easier knowing that.

We cannot ignore and neglect all the flawed, dark and sad parts. That’s not possible. That’s like hiding the dust under the rug, covering it up with any form of instant pleasure. It’s a temporary predicament but the root isn’t taken out. So it will breed right under, growing and seething until it fumes to surface.

Embracing your flaws doesn’t mean that you are invited to be the shittiest version of yourself and it is okay. It means that you’ve accept your faults and imperfections and you’re bringing it into a powerful space of acknowledgement. We do not need to make things okay instantly. Let your consciousness rise first. Allow all of it to just be with you. Be aware of it. Sit with it, let it have a cup of coffee. Once we’ve allowed it to pervade within, then we can do the mending and the healing.

But we have to love our ugliest parts first, with honor and compassion towards ourselves and others throughout the process. 💚

Another Piece About You


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For most of my younger years, my idea of love was grand, monumental and all-consuming. I’m starting to think that the reason for that was because I only based it on all the movies I have watched and all the books I have read. And in those stories, they rarely ever catch the part of the love that really matters. The quiet and average parts. The ordinary days.

Growing up, I always thought true love was bouquets of red roses, dates on Friday nights, little black box that held expensive things, and always knowing what to say, what to do. I thought true love was a kiss in the midst of the rain, deep anecdotes, and the perfect moment. But now that I’m older, I’ve realized it’s not like that at all.

See, because true love for me is ugly Viber chats, and peeing while you’re on the phone. True love is kissing at 6AM despite the morning breath, it’s running on a Sunday despite the temptation from your comfortable bed, it’s singing at the top of your lungs in spite of the wrong tune. It’s saying all the wrong stuff, at all the wrong moments. It’s sarcasm and being honest even when it hurts. It’s late hours of the night when it’s been a long week, it’s sharing a beer and it’s no make up and bad hair. It’s tears from laughter, it’s tears from fights and it’s nothing like any love storybook you’ve ever read.

It’s never running out of things to discuss and to argue about, and it’s being comfortable in the silence of things. True love is watching How To Get Away With Murder though you swore you never would. It’s getting mad over petite things. It’s “run a little faster,” and “you’re late again” and knowing you’re so lucky to hear those every day. It’s spilling your feelings at 2AM when you should be asleep. It’s that old Sinatra song you hear on the radio that always makes you smile. It’s the worst story you could ever imagine, but thank God it worked out anyways. True love is never giving up on the magic. True love is not leaving when things get hard.

I prefer my definition better anyways.

September’s Affirmation: Acknowledging The Bad Days


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Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

Last week, I had what Daniel Powter would call: a terrible, no-good, very bad day.

I’d slept poorly the night before—possibly because I had a bit too much tea, somewhat late in the day, and possibly because I have a mung bean-sized bladder that doesn’t seem to understand or even care about REM cycles.
In addition to being physically exhausted, I was feeling emotionally consumed. I’d been dealing with a myriad of feelings thanks to PMS, as I prepare to train for my first ever marathon, and as I try my best to manage my time wisely dealing with a number of commitments.

Also, I was feeling a little disappointed with myself. I’d recently slowed my work down a bit, both to allow myself space to process my feelings related to the recent major life decisions I have made and to work on some new creative projects.

Turns out, there’s no logic in expecting that I can simultaneously entertain a tidal wave of emotions to wash over me and bring about something completely unrelated to those feelings.

So on top of anxiety and panic about the ~future~, I was feeling guilty about “wasting time.”

In an attempt to improve my mood, I asked my partner if he wanted to get lunch, but first I needed to stop at the clinic for my medical examination.

I started looking for a GrabCar taxi at around 8 in the morning. Finally found one after 30 minutes. The cab driver took a different route to “avoid the traffic” and also as per his Waze recommendations, we threaded the always flooded area around Mandaluyong City Hall, passed by that always “under-construction” site and then through to Makati Avenue. I was just headed to Buendia cor Paseo. We could have just took EDSA and turned right to Gil Puyat but my gosh. To sum it up, the trip from Shaw Boulevard to Medicard took two and a half grueling hours.

The traffic looks like something you’d see at Enchanted Kingdom, except without the enthusiastic banter you usually hear when people are drawing closer to Space Shuttle.

My patience was right there with my bladder—the size of a mung bean’s—and I really wanted to just go back home instead; but the sooner I finish that medical exam, the sooner I could stop telling myself, “Why are you doing nothing? You have to get that medical exam done!”

I thought, “This will pass quickly,” without any better reason to believe this was true other than wishful thinking. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After arguing with the driver for a bit, while shifting from leg to leg and wiping sweat from my brow, I said, “Never mind. Just follow what your Waze tells and just please bring me to my destination.”

I hadn’t shouted at him. I hadn’t insulted him. But I’d been rude. I’d been frustrated, impatient, and impolite. I’d vomited “bad day vibes” all over him, then resorted to silence in a huff.

And I felt terrible about it.

“This was so un-The-Wandering-Dakini-like,” I thought. “I should be better than this.”

Should. There was that word again. What’s the worst thing you can do when you’re having a bad day? Pile on more reasons to feel even worse.

So I decided to give myself some break. Did the GrabTaxi driver deserve my attitude? Nope. Could I have been less impatient? Sure. Would it do any good to stress myself over it? Absolutely not.

The next day, after getting a better night’s sleep, I searched for my recent messages and texted the driver.

“Hello, I am not sure if you remember me but I was your passenger yesterday…”

He swiftly responded, “Ah, yes.”

I then asked if I could give him a call and he said it’s fine, so I did.

“Hello, sir. I was rude to you yesterday,” I said, “and I’m sorry.”

It felt strange and vulnerable to say this to a stranger, but I was sorry.

I was sorry because I imagine his job isn’t easy. And the sun was beating down on him too. And he didn’t get to run out when I did, to eat lunch, go home, and de-stress.

He was doing his job—and a good job at that—and I was sorry I treated him poorly.

“It’s okay,” he said. “I know how it is when you have an important appointment to attend to.”

“I was just having a really bad day,” I said, “and you were right. I should have instructed you which route to take.”

“It’s okay,” he said again. “We all have bad days.”

Where I stood just yesterday, feeling rude and guilty, I now stood feeling gentle and considerate. I doubt he knew it, but he gave me an amazing gift. He reminded me that my worst moment didn’t even have to define me.

I have the freedom to choose to do something differently. I could choose to take responsibility, admit my faults and accept the consequences, and do better today than yesterday.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to realize I’m a lot like that smartphone application “Waze—messy and far from perfect. I make mistakes. I’m not always very gentle or polite. Sometimes I let my feelings get the best of me. Sometimes I don’t deal with things very well.

But maybe these little messiness are big opportunities. Maybe the worst of humanity can give way to the best of us.

Maybe every moment of impoliteness is a good day waiting to happen. Okay, so that’s kind of corny, and maybe a little idealistic. And I realize there are certain scenarios when people are far harsher than I was, and far less understanding than the driver.

But I know next time I encounter someone who seems rude, I’ll remember how I felt that very day. I’ll keep in mind that I’m likely not seeing them at their best, but this, in any way, doesn’t define who they are.

Then I’ll look them in the eye and think to myself, “It’s okay. I understand how it is. We all have bad days.”

When we plant the seeds of what we really want in our lives, trust that in setting our intentions, love and patience out there; our dreams will eventually come true. What we put out and what we expect are EXACTLY what life will deliver to us. I want to share my favorite Zig Ziglar quote to inspire you as this month ends: “What you send out – comes back. What you sow – you reap. What you give – you get. What you see in others – exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you.”



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“Then, she began to breathe, and live, and every moment took her to a place where goodbyes were hard to come by. She was in love, but not in love with someone or something, she was in love with her life. and for the first time, in a long time, everything was inspiring.” – R.M. Drake 

I know I have posted many literary pieces lately, but I can’t help myself. I find the words resonate so well. So simply yet so strongly.  

A few friends of mine are going through times of change. Yes, mostly career-based. And it’s tough; tough to watch them struggle with changes of heart. The contractions the heart makes when it’s wrenched out. However, these individuals are stronger than they know.  

As I am now approaching my mid-twenties, I have found the desire to be more selfish with myself. This is it, my little kittens. This is the time you have for you. For you to find the you, and become the you, that you’ve always envisaged. This is the time to fully develop the life that’s just started to take roots.  

There is no need to play the blame game or guilt trip here. There is no one to blame when hearts are meant to deal with these changes, insecurities, shifts and growths.  

In the end, happiness can’t be bought. It can’t be measured by the goals we set marked with time-sensitive stamps. As cliche, as poor cliche, as it sounds – life is meant to be lived. Lived by you and the relationship you build with yourself. Others can come secondary. And will come secondary because the stronger you are on your own, the more attractive you become.  

Life is meant to be lived through the difficult times and to be embraced during the golden times. The lows will take you higher; look up. Remember: “the harder you slam the ball into the ground, the higher it bounces back up.” Trust me. And when you finally realize that there is just so much opportunities and good things out there, you’ll unintentionally become inspired. It’s a beautiful thing.  

Love comes in many ways, in a myriad of forms; the moment you breathe in the essence that comes along with letting go of preset novelties you have set in front of yourself, the swifter clarity will come.  

You know what the golden secret is? Let it evolve the way it’s planned, loosen your firm grip and give way to the bigger picture. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find – how naive you really are to even think that things won’t get better for you.  

Times? Times will always get better, ALWAYS. And so will you and your life. So unbind and know that you’re not alone in feeling confused or lost. Everyone feels this way sometimes. And before you know it, you’ll exhale a sense armed with an inner-power that will cross a serendipitous route, which will seemingly walk you through to something unexpectedly otherworldly.  

Above all, value and appreciate the relationship you have with yourself. It’s ever evolving and to sum it all up quite simply: that’s the greatest thing about this beautiful life. You do you. xx

coup de coeur


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Back in college, one of my Philosophy professors lectured wildly about love once. He asked the class if we believe in “love at first sight.” Everyone shrugged, puttered with their phones: no, not really.

“But what about coup de coeur,” a girl said, and even with my limited French I knew instantly what she means. A coup d’etat means “the sudden overthrowing of a state” and so I thought: “the sudden overthrowing of a heart.”

My professor asked if that wasn’t the same thing and she said “Well, not really, I don’t think so, I think they have distinct meanings. I am not sure if you can truly love someone without really knowing them but a coup de coeur,” and here she made a sort of gesture to indicate abruptness, or shock, “I think that really happens.” 

That reminded me of how once I watched a man walked out of the elevator and everyone else in the room went into soft focus and then fuzzed out and disappeared, and how I can keep replaying that moment in my memory like it’s on a film, and I decided she was right. I looked around and the entirety of the class was staring at her, and a couple of people were nodding, but everyone had sort of gazed over. Not the antsy, Twitter-checking inattention of earlier, but all of us in some other room or city or across stated or an ocean, seeing someone for the first time, all over again.

the gossamer of a traveler’s dreams


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Before I left for my birthday trip in Thailand, everyone was offering their opinions—warnings, reminders and precautions, really—that because I’m a young woman, I shouldn’t travel there by myself. It was funny, because I am a backpack kind of traveler who goes with the flow wherever I am, I have no qualms on exploring new spaces, new places. I can adapt with and fit in pretty much anywhere. It wasn’t like I was planning to walk around in short shorts and/or miniskirt, wearing red lipstick and stilettos, popping my gum, and screaming swear words at people in my fluent English.

It was an incredible experience. Because I was there alone, I got to slip away to wherever I wanted to go. I traipsed through the local markets, rode a yacht and hop from one island to the next, snorkeled and swam with the fishes, visited caves that were home to monkeys and sacred buddha statues, wandered around the busy streets where women sold delicacies and faux leather goods, and checked on stalls where people sell durian chips and banana pancakes. I visited a lot of Buddhist and Chinese temples, prayed with strangers, fell in love with the vibrant colors of the Old Phuket Town.

I met someone from another foreign country and we exchanged stories about our travels, about his diving and underwater caves, about how our birthday trips are going, about my mountain climbing, about Europe, about the islands back home. We canoed in Phang Nga Bay, entered a secluded cave where you can’t hear anything but the sound of nature. He asked me to lie down with him, I asked him reluctantly why and he answered, “You’ll love it,” and when we looked up the blue sky peeking through the canopies, it felt amazing. It was beautiful. It felt like paradise.

I haggled with a guy over the cost of something and, though we couldn’t agree to a price, we sat down and had coffee together. That’s what’s important in traveling and in life: acknowledging where you are and enjoying it and being grateful for what it is. 💛💙💚❤️

the frequency of distance


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I’m not quite sure
how many gospels it takes
to keep me fooled, in belief

that they all mean differently
and keep us overhanging
by different inches

there are cities in our tears
it’s a geography of thoughts,
of love, and I am wandering.

the pacific


The present is being lingered
between your ruins
and your shortfalls.
I want neither.

I want a coastline
with you on it.
I want my heart
cruising and veering

within a cell of its own
like old times, back when
I thought loving solved
the heaviest of thoughts.

Words don’t speak anymore.
Neither do fleeting glances.
I want futures with you in it.
I want love and nothing more.