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.