January 13, 2017
Sinulog Festival 2014

RAPPLER | Sinulog: To Flow with the Current

This narrative and photo essay was first published on Rappler.com on January 19, 2015.  CEBU, PHILIPPINES—“Every year, my Niño comes back,” shared a middle-aged man holding a small replica of Sto. Niño. His must have lost its cross before, now replaced with a rolled-up chocolate wrapper. He was one of the passengers I saw holding a Sto. Niño on our flight back to Cebu from General Santos last Friday. Our flight was packed, and so was Mactan airport. I thought Cebu would not be as crowded as it used to be, with Pope Francis’ visit and Typhoon Amang hovering over […]
December 13, 2016

TEDxUSanCarlos Talk | How Traveling Shapes Me as a Woman and a Writer

It was TEDxUPCebu that invited me first to debunk the popular dictum [quit your job and travel the world] after some of the students read my open letter Dear Isa, It Is All Right Not to Travel here on BWAB. But I’m leaving Cebu to pursue a year-long trip abroad while fending for myself through jobs online, so I declined their offer. Another opportunity knocked on my door, this time  around from the University of San Carlos. Here is the piece I shared to a very attentive crowd. “Wa ka mahadlok maglaag-laag nga ikaw rang usa? (Are you not scared traveling alone?)” I […]
November 25, 2016

RAPPLER | The Ceiling, the Cross We Look Up to

This essay on Magellan’s Cross, and by extension on faith, first appeared on Rappler. Blue is for travel and career. Yellow for health. Red for love. Pink for happiness. Green for success. Nanay Claudia—who stood somewhere between 4’6″to 4’9″—explained the meaning behind the colors of the candles she was holding on her right hand. A green plastic bag filled with candles dangled on her left arm, a black bag belt wrapped around her waist. She talked to me in English (quite good, I would say), thinking I was a foreigner, a dark Korean or Japanese perhaps, whose travel itinerary to […]
November 18, 2016

Sun.Star Cebu | Mouli Ka, Ya?

“MOULI NA KA, YA?” asked my younger sister upon seeing my backpack ready. “Unsay mouli? Molarga nako oy,” I retorted. Mouli in my Cebuano mind means “go home” while molarga, “leave. ” I found it rather interesting—even disheartening—that my family viewed me as a city daughter and a mere visitor of my hometown. But I cannot blame them. I left Tuburan to pursue my degree in the city and hopped from one job to another afterward and visited this unheard-of, yet biggest town in the province when time allowed it. “Sige lang kag suwat sa ubang lugar, wa gyod ka […]