You dream of her

with her arms reaching out to you

asking for help.


You dream of her

floating everywhere you go

looking at you with tears

flowing, never ending.


You think she needs

comfort, love

time she was not

properly given.


You think she needs you

to stand and say

hey, look at Maria.


So you let it be known

that something needs to be done

that someone needs

to be shown

his fault,

his negligence,

his failure.


So you let it be known

that it’s you

who stood up,

spoke loud,

made everything right.


You dream of her

with tears in her eyes

Maria, looking at you

through your soul,

piercing your heart.


You dream of her

never realizing

your guilt

pierces your heart,

shatters your silent life,

with sound of breaking glass,

of lives you’ve broken,

of dreams you’ve shattered,

of hopes you quashed.


Maria looks at you

asking for help

reaching out

almost touching you

staring deep in your soul.


And then you realize

Maria wants you

to help yourself.

The Tale of the Spider

I was taking a hot shower one day.

I could feel the fatigue being washed away by the hot water.

I could feel my lungs being cleared by the steam that enveloped the whole bathroom.

Then I saw it.  A golden spider the size of a dime slowly going down right in front of me.

I stared at it.  I was adamant not to be the kind of girl who screams at such a small creature who can’t even nick my skin to show blood.

So I stared at it some more looking for stripes or fangs or whatever.  It stared back.

I figured, the first one who blinks will lost but as brave as I thought I was, the spider was braver.

It swung.  From its rope made of spider silk that I thought would weaken from the steam.  Left and right, it taunted me.

I could crush it, I know.  But I wanted to be brave not cruel.

I closed my eyes praying it would go away.

I hummed to the tune of Hey Jude.

When I came to the line “Hey Jude, don’t be afraid…”, I opened my eyes and the spider was gone.

It could be on my head or down the drain or back to where it was hiding in the first place before it ruffled my senses.

It could be anywhere.

I chose to think it was just my imagination.

What we imagine can’t kill us.

But if I see you again, my dear golden, brave spider, remember the line from Hey Jude?

“Hey Jude, don’t be afraid. You were made to go out and get her.”

I will get you next time.

Pakialam Ko

Pakialam ko
Why would I care
If it doesn’t happen to me
Life goes on.

People getting shot
Sent to jail
Wrongly Accused.
Pakialam ko
They’re not my relatives
They’re drug addicts
They deserve it.

Joking about rape
And getting sensitive about it
Come on
Get a life
It’s a joke
Pakialam ko
I haven’t been raped
I don’t know how 
Victims Feel.

Warantless Arrests
Military in the streets
Pakialam ko
Our city is safe
No bombing
No martial law
Every thing is normal.

Pakialam ko
Why would I care
If it doesn’t happen to me
Life goes on.

Until it happens to me
Until I call for help
And people reply with
Pakialam ko
Until I scream begging for mercy
And all they say is
It is not happening to us
Our life moves on.

Pakialam ko
I should have cared
I should have realized
That even if it doesn’t happen to me
It can happen to me.

*"Pakialam ko" is a Filipino phrase roughly translated to "Why would I care?" 
or "I do not care."

Take Off

I held his hand the entire time we walked from the parking lot to the boarding gate not caring if the two overweight bags we were holding made it almost impossible to do so.

I counted the minutes left before I had to leave while he mindlessly chatted about a new game that he started playing.

I dragged my feet to the security check, fell in line, not looking at where I was going but looking back at where he was standing.  He looked at me as if I was only one around in the crowded area.  I looked at him standing still in a blur of people passing by.

I went through the security check, blowed kisses over and over again while the guards barked “Take off your shoes”, “Laptop out”, “Take that Jacket Off”, until I could no longer see him.

I walked to the gate like a zombie, eyes red, sniffling as I tried to hold back tears I found a seat, stared into space and debated whether I should call or just let him drive home without distraction.

If the walls of airports can talk, they will all agree that all kinds of emotions can be seen in the eyes of the millions and millions of people passing by.  An airport is just a place to pass through but the emotions it brings to people are lasting.

Young lovers excited to go to a new place that they have always dreamed of going.

Grandparents fearful of being in such a busy and confusing place longing for their kids to be around so that they can guide them until the boarding gate.

People going home because someone is going to marry or because a close family member died.

Starting a new adventure.

Going to meet a loved one.

Leaving a loved one.

All emotions are present.

Name an emotion, look around you, and you’ll find that in no time.  Being in an airport is like being in a movie that has no ending.

I still long to hold his hand even just for another minute.

I still long to hold him tight and hear him say how much he loves me and how I am his life.

I still long to tell him how happy he made me and is still making me despite the tears that are falling from my eyes.

I still long…

But my plane is taking off and going thousands of miles away.

So I am going to fasten my seatbelt and tell myself to be strong.

And wait.

Wait for the time where I will board the plane to see him again.

Kindness breeds kindness

Today, I was approached by an old man.

He is a barker.  In the Philippines, “barkers” are known to call out to passengers who would want to ride jeepneys.  They also make sure that the passenger sit close together to fit in as many passengers as possible. In return, the jeepney drivers give them a tip for their service.  Tips can vary from 2 pesos to 10 pesos depending on the number of passengers the barker was able to get.

Two weeks ago, Manong, as what we call old men here in the Philippines, asked me if it is okay for him to sleep outside our office.  I told him yes but never asked him why.  He jokingly told me that now I have another guard to look after our place.

One cold, windy night, I went outside and saw him arranging his bed made of cardboard boxes.  I asked the guard what happened to Manong and why he no longer has a home.  He said that Manong and his son-in-law got into a fight and he was asked to leave his house.  He did and while he was still looking for a new place to rent, he decided to just stay outside our office.  I bought him a blanket.  No one should sleep in that kind of cold without a blanket.

I told Anya this story.  I told her that parents, however hard-headed they can be, should still be respected by their kids.  And if the kids are older, they should understand parents more especially if they begin to act irrationally.  I told her about how much Mama loved our Lola all throughout her life and how the kids should always love their parents the same way.

Today, I saw Manong again.  He looked rested and he had a smile on his face.  He told me that last night, there was a little girl who ran after him and gave him twenty pesos.  He said that all his life, no kid that young ever gave him money.  He said he told that story to every one he knows.

You know what?  That kid is Anya.

I asked her why she did that.  She said “She just feels like it.”

My heart is full of pride today.

If my baby’s “I just feel like it.” means being kind, I think me and Mama are doing a good.