September 17, 2013
Sambawan Island, Biliran

To Sambawan Island in Images

An excessive dose of stupidity and an excessive reliance on kind hearts: that is how I reached Sambawan. I was in Ormoc, Leyte fooling students that they could take the ambiguous “travel writing” (in the Philippine context) as a career. Sleepless and restless, I answered several wise questions from students. One of them, do I make money from writing—travel writing specifically. There was that hackneyed anecdote on love. “Do you make money from love?” “No.” “Writing started like that. You do it as an act of unconditional love. But money comes in later.” I was half-asleep when I said that. […]
September 9, 2013

The Everyday at Cateel Davao Oriental

If I were having a gourmet dinner, Cateel was the main course of my recent Davao Oriental trip. Sachi was such a great host. She rarely comes home. So she was sincerely excited to explore her hometown, visit relatives, and talk Mandaya—their own dialect that has a trace of Bisaya but not quite. The word most vivid in my head is “ampan.” Sachi’s old house was uprooted, wrecked  with hundreds of houses and trees during Pablo. I witnessed how she almost did a karoshi (I’m just exaggerating) to amass funding for the building of their new nest. She is your perfect […]
September 8, 2013

Us Kids at Aliwagwag Falls, Davao Oriental

Let me start with a confession. My little story “Tubod”—a story about water—won a Palanca (1st prize on Cebuano short story), and the awarding was held in Manila on September 1st.  It was my first try to join a major literary contest. Yes, I did not expect a win. I just wanted my little story out which has been evolving and kept secret for the past five years.  It won despite its flaws. Now, what is the connection between the story and Davao Oriental. A lot. I chose the place over the ceremony. My aim was to have the story […]
September 5, 2013

The Everyday at Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental

August 29, 2013 Today: I woke up at five and observed how Amihan kids practiced in the morning before they left for school. Three boys were assigned to prepare breakfast. A group of boys has its turn to prepare meals for everyone. I had coffee at the small place where Lupon fishermen had theirs. Carding, drunk, tailed me around with his “makahilis og baga” stare. He is an interesting character.  I took photos during the kid’s “duwa” (their word for skimboarding), tried it, and failed big time. Walked around and covered a good portion of the 7km Dahican Beach and […]