December 7, 2015
Guiuan, Eastern Samar 2015

PHOTO DIARY | Traveling to Guiuan after Yolanda

“Where are you now?” “In the middle of the bridge?” Yes, with a question mark because I was really on the bridge at four in the afternoon, yes, with a question mark because I could not really believe that I was on the bridge and had not checked in yet. I was kinda embarrassed to admit that I totally overlooked the simple truth that all travel guides I have read on Guiuan were pre-Yolanda (Haiyan). And that’s the thing about places hit by the supertyphoon. These places have now modifiers “before” and “after Yolanda” attached to their names.
November 15, 2015

PHOTO ESSAY: Why I Did Not See the Petronas Towers

It takes time to love big cities. Its character is not fixed, its face varied, it is or can be unpredictable. To love a city is to linger, to stay for months or years perhaps. It is not meant for place sniffers, those who can only afford to stay for three days, a week utmost: visit the Petronas Tower on the second night, go to Batu Caves in the morning, haggle at Chinatown in the afternoon. To fully love a city is to abandon the self’s restlessness, the self’s hunger for the places one has never been to. To love […]
February 12, 2015
Whang Od and Buscalan

SUN.STAR | Whang Od and Her Village

She sighed. She was crouching on the floor, sifting some leaves with her frail-looking, wrinkled hands. She then slit the middle of one elongated leaf, which looked like pandan, and inserted the base of another. She repeated the process until she made a beautiful mandala of leaves. She pushed the heart of the foliage into the soot-bottomed casserole and then poured rice grains in it. “It is her own way to keep the rice from getting scorched,” Tommy, Whang Od’s frequent visitor, explained. She cut the pinewood into splinters and fed them into the hearth. The fire illuminated her tattooed arms.
January 6, 2015

Welcoming 2015: The Ruckus That Is Not Home

“We love you too, yaya. Asa lagi ka karon? (Where are you now?),” replied Mama after receiving my New Year’s greeting. I just finished witnessing the city burst into orgasmic colors at the view deck somewhere Transcentral Highway. I was supposed to leave Cebu to pursue something entirely new, but Seniang delayed my plans for two days. It was good in a way. In the past eleven years of residing in the city, I never had had the chance to stroll around days before the year ends. I would be on my way home, or my idea of home: Tuburan, via the silent, […]