October 31, 2013
Sambawan Island, Biliran

Sun.Star | Reaching Sambawan through Kind Hearts

BILIRAN, PHILIPPINES. “ADTO KAG SAMBAWAN? Kuyog nalang nako,” suggested Noe. We were at Naval, both booked at the modest pension house near the port. After checking in and informing the front desk of my whereabouts, the lady on duty informed me that there were no boats for Maripipi on Sundays. I sat on the bamboo bench, mouth agape, overwhelmed by stupidity and sleepiness, while she disappeared to prepare my instant coffee. After handing it to me, she disappeared again to attend to her laundry at the back. When she returned, she pointed to the man sleeping in the open room […]
August 24, 2013

Sun.Star Cebu | The Capital According to a Cebuana (3 of 3 parts)

HER eyes were the softest brown. An almond mole—like an islet below the curve of her right nostril—took after the shape found in the crater of Taal Lake. “Taga-Cebu man ko, ma’am,” she told us—her accent less pronounced than ours. But there was no mistaking that she was one of us. A fellow water vendor called her out after eavesdropping on our self-deprecating remarks about our poor Tagalog. We found an instant ally in this place surrounded by a lake that looked and felt like a sea. She had the slyness of a Bisaya as well. “Ari lang mog palit […]
August 19, 2013

Sun.Star Cebu | The Capital According to a Cebuana (2 of 3 Parts)

MANILA, according to Maynila—a TV program I sometimes I chanced upon in my high school days—was all about high school or college drama and romance. Rizal Park—commonly or formerly known as Luneta Park—Intramuros, and Fort Santiago are some of the backdrops of the budding, breaking, reuniting of young love. Maynila bears the tagline, Larawan ng Bansa (The National Image). There are times that I am convinced that our national image is reduced to drama, youthful and foolish sentimentalities, romance. Often, parks are dating sites for the young and the young-feeling. But on a bright Wednesday morning, I only spotted a […]
August 13, 2013

Sun.Star Cebu | The Capital According to a Cebuana (1 of 3 Parts)

FROM above, Manila was a galaxy of pulsating veins—wide awake, working, bright in the wee hours of the morning while the moon creeping on the lower horizon looked nearer and more orange than Cebu’s. As the plane was about to land, the capital seemed romantic and vulnerable at four in the morning. Such delusion that the metropolis was fragile disappeared the moment the taxi driver outside the airport teased “Taxi, ma’am, mura lang para sa inyo,” in his fraudulent baritone. More than encountering unfamiliar terrain, visiting Manila—which takes an hour by plane from Cebu—is more about confronting a language we […]