Overly grainy photo y'all

We both laughed when I read the statement on the paper bag: Please enjoy this extraordinary act of generosity. In our circle of friends, I am not bragging when I say that I am the giver among us all. When February rolled in, they have begun asking me questions like “What gift do you want?”, “Are you sure you don’t want anything specific?”, “This is your last chance, what book do you want to receive?”  I can’t suppress my laughter when a friend told me how they talked about what to get me, or how to make up for what I did for their birthdays. Years ago, maybe I would have asked them to spoil me with material things, but maybe it comes with growing up that we learn to value more of the people around us rather than the gifts they give. But I do appreciate the efforts they went through to reciprocate what I’ve done for their birthdays (a letter with sincere words is more than enough for me).


On a page torn from a notebook was the trademark cursive handwriting of my mother, allowing words to flow on each line. Holding the promise of my name: It seems you’re a mixture of both. Sometimes angelic, sometimes a menace. Maybe you can do your own research when you grow up. I may have always love the name, but not as much as I love you. Happy 5th birthday! With love always, Nanay.

It was the oldest letter that I have, my 5-year-old-self wouldn’t have understood the depth of it but now this is one of the closest thing that I hold dearly in my heart. In just a few sentences, Nanay told me what my name meant but more than that – what I mean to her. I guess letters will never lose its charms because they contain stories, the contain the heart of the sender, and they capture that of the receiver. It’s a simple way of saying that you value a person that much to put your thoughts in paper. And if this is the case Isa Garcia must have thought about girls or women in all shapes, status, or stages in life long enough to have written letters bounded by a spine strong enough to hold her hopes, fears, and dreams. With this we know that her book not only contains her words, but also her heart.


These words have been long overdue. They were repeatedly contained in my prayers, written on my journal, typed through posts in social media, and stored through locked notes in my phone. Not being a wordsmith makes it longer for me to piece them together, just like what I always say: bear with me, as I try to connect the stars that formed my constellation (okay, that was too poetic). But these made me sure of three things on the art universe:

1.  A COMPLIMENT CAN GO A LONG WAY AND WARM A PERSON’S HEART IF YOU SAY IT SINCERELY (it’s easy to tell when it’s just lip service). Mine came last January 2015. We were busy doing our vision boards when Ms. Rhiza came to our table and said: You really have an eye for art.

2015 Vision board. Image on the center was an illustration by Cla Gregorio, cut out from Scout Magazine.


“You should stop reading fiction books and start reading these titles.” Mother said as she pointed to the stack of books in her workstation, bearing titles like Talent Is Not Enough, The Path to Wealth, and more business like words that doesn’t fascinate me enough to pay 10 seconds of attention.

“It’s different for everybody. My inspiration isn’t rooted in those kind of genres.” I quipped. Cutting the conversation short, just in case it would just turn into another argument or debate that I might be forced to engaged in.

I tend to put my thoughts in a back burner until I’m sure that they’re good enough to be served. The rest of the words here might be what I hold back during that day. 


Reactivating my Goodreads account has pushed me to lower the stack of books that has already gathered dust in the bookshelf. To say that my to-be-read pile is out of control seems like an understatement. The nerd in me would express this in a simple equation that the books I read is indirectly proportional to the books I buy. At the start of the year, I had an agreement with a friend that I would only buy a book every three months (and if I end up breaking this rule I need to buy her one too, so far I only failed once). Ah, the extreme measures that I must do just to control my impulse buying and hoarding tendencies. 

The books I pick up to read are based on my “mood”; some sort of gut feel that the story would match my emotions or whatever I’m currently going through in life. Here’s the chosen ones for the first quarter of the year and some of my thoughts about it:


Photo grabbed from hookedonhouses.net 
First, you are not alone. If you think that you're a glitch to the feminine species who seem to be equipped with natural skills in whipping up food that tastes good, I repeat you are not alone. 

Second, there’s actually hope for you. Society seems to align us into a stereotype that cooking should be innate in a woman, but trust me cooking maybe a talent for some. But sometimes, it’s a skill to be learned. 

I know, because I am one of those girls.


Once I was seven years old, my mama told me,
"Go make yourself some friends or you'll be lonely."
Once I was seven years old

It was a big big world, but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker

You’re a bright young girl who seemed to be born with rose colored glasses. Most of my memories of you had already crumbled with time, but I also have vivid ones that I would never forget. There was the time when you didn’t hesitate to join an acting competition at school; a tear-jerking moment was needed to be shown, as you pretended that the doll was your mother. The crowd scared you but behind stood Nanay, cheering you on. Seeing her standing there was enough to melt the nervousness away. I could no longer remember if you won or maybe another person gets to take home the prize, still you were happy that you didn’t back out.