ArtLit, Blog, Essays

“Kasumpa-sumpa ang maging Pilipino sa panahong ito…”

In the library of Philippine feminist works, there is a poem that reads:

ang maging babae sa panahong ito:
Depinisyong pamana
ng nakaraa’t kasalukuyan…
Anong pag-ibig o pagpapakasakit?
Anong paglilingkod o pagtitiis?
Ikaw ang pundiya ng karsonilyo,
ang kurbata, maging ang burda sa panyo’t kamiseta.
Susukatin ang ganda mo sa kama,
ang talino sa pagkita ng pera.
Kumikita ang beer at sine,
nagdidildil ka ng pills…

Ruth E. S. Mabanglo’s “Ang Maging Babae” captures the frustrations of an oppressed identity. And in times like these –with an administration that boasts of crucifying the opposition, a legislature that’s scrambling to legalize discrimination, and a people that prefers alternative facts to reason– it is easy to replace “woman” with “Filipino”.

ang maging Pilipino sa panahong ito:
Depinisyong pamana
ng nakaraa’t kasalukuyan…

Continue reading ““Kasumpa-sumpa ang maging Pilipino sa panahong ito…””

ArtLit, Blog

basket of angry and mute kittens

silence speaks nothing --

To be consumed by words until they come stumbling out, 
arranged and resonant, 
unwilling to bow to the closure of strict lips. What is that? Where is it-- 
I've written copies, and rallies, and letters YET none of the words 
that reside in me have my heart, and I'm---


I've never known fear like 
the fear that I have of the words inside me. I don't know what they look like. 
Amorphous, greedy, vicious things
I fear that if I write, if I speak, if in another sentence I play out a new stanza, 
If I dare
I fear the truth will come out. WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE HONEST good lord

I fear the truth of --loneliness?-- frustration, listlessness. A cacophony of longing 
that has no name and no purpose; I can feel everything raging under my skin 
like a quiet storm, a knot in a maze in a forest
woosh woosh woosh 
Outside the wild listlessness 
fades into a practiced nonchalance. Words can't unravel if the words 
are too honest, and all my letters are honest. I keep them in.

Through a mirror: I am indifferent, and silent, and sleepy. whispers

I fear that the who that I built outside will be consumed by the monsters 
that are growing in the peripheries! 
shades drawn, battle lines marked 
fighting myself by burning the war
suffocate drown and asphyxiate my self

Another lie, another half-truth. statement
I fear what I have in me; I fear that there is nothing in me at all. 

What if I can't write or paint or speak because there are 
no monsters in the deep?
No colors in the wind, no female mysteries, no hysteric soliloquies 
A new model! An automaton of motions, everything but nothing at the same time
Outrageous for the price of fun:
number not available!!!

Motions upon motions
Unfeigned confusion
"           "
relaxation, elevation, escalation

In what scenario will I start to write the entries that define my meaning:
Denial death dusk depressed
by myself

Shut up! Stop! Speaking! BE SILENT be silent be silent be silent 
until the silence starts screaming
without me


This isn’t a cry for help. It’s a………………n exercise in trying to write again OTL. And I wrote this earlier while eating in Market Basket! Good shrimp and good salmon!

In other news, my sister’s in Korea (and I gave her a cool list of things to buy for me). I’m still here, not studying for my GIN exam on Tuesday. :o

I want to write about so many other things: how much I’m following Miss Universe, how I loved our graded physical examination earlier this week, how I’ve got secrets piled upon secrets. Some other time.



ArtLit, Blog, Essays

I am furious: #MarcosBurial


that the soul of one person
has been desecrated to dust
should call to arms a nation's heart
and set fire to a world of sorrow

but here we remain, the whole world burned.
the grass is razed and the trees are fallen.
there is no more fruit,
there will be no more gain.

we sit still, here, in our own warmth,
housed in a multitude of light,
while the embers of this play
build towers of dust around us.

this man's perversion of honor,
prostitution of life,
and profanity?
is not a question.
the dust of the departed calls to you:
scorch it, conquer it,
burn it to the ground!


Here lies a man, bare bones and sin
His children had to steal through the dark night for him
Beloved by many but reviled by even more
May his blood never rest, all ignoble foresworn



Hukayin ang puso at buksan ang damdamin, 
Ulitin ang tanong at subukang isipin:
Ang patay noo'y pinutulan ng diwa at dila, 
sinaksak, ginahasa at walang tigil na pinagdusa.
Walang boses ang bangkay at mga nang-iwang ulila,
maliban sa tinig at sigaw ng kanilang mga tagapagmana. 
Kaming mga anak at kamag-anak, kaibigan at apo
Tayong pinalaking mga tinuringang Pilipino.


Ilang bilyong dolyar at ilang milyong pangarap, 
tatlong libong patay at sandamakmak na hirap.
Mga salitang pabulong, mga talata't sanaysay, 
Hindi mabilang na bayani, mga buhay na inalay.

Kahit isang pursyento lamang 
ng mga bintang ang totoo
Hindi ba't sapat na ang isa
upang kilalanin siyang berdugo?

Burial in Secret

Yesterday, in a turn of events no one in my acquaintance expected, the ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos was hurriedly buried in Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Heroes’ Burial) by his family. He was buried with full honors in the manner of heroes; the Philippine flag was buried with him.

And his family, composed of thick-faced personalities and statesmen, had the audacity to come to the place as if it was a celebration and victory. There were same-edit videos of the event.

Every man has his human dignity, his final right to be buried with even the least amount of respect. But for a man and for a family who were behind at least a decade of blood, where thousands of Filipinos died without dignity and disappeared without a trace, it should have been clear. Not everyone has the right to die a hero.

Continue reading “I am furious: #MarcosBurial”

ArtLit, Blog

if i should drown;

if i should drown;
quotes for the many days

if helplessly in love:

L’amour est la poésie des sens.

I will do as devils do. Fall.
-H.S. Leoch

I’m sorry about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine.
-Richard Siken, Little Beast

You happened to me. You were as deep down as I’ve ever been. You were inside me like my pulse.
—Marilyn Hacker, Nearly a Valediction

I love you. If you hadn’t existed I would have had to invent you.
–Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

And I’d choose you; in a hundred different lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.
—Kiersten White

They amputated your thighs off my hips. As far as I’m concerned they are all surgeons. All of them. They dismantled us each from the other. As far as I’m concerned they are all engineers. All of them. A pity. We were such a good and loving invention. An airplane made from a man and wife. Wings and everything. We hovered a little above the earth. We even flew a little.
-Yehuda Amichai, A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention.

if in the throes of longing:

Le seul vrai langage au monde est un baiser.

When I haven’t been kissed in a long time, I create civil disturbances, then insult the cops who show up, till one of them grabs me by the collar and hurls me up against the squad car, so I can remember, at least for a moment, what it’s like to be touched.
—Jeffrey McDaniel, When a Man Hasn’t Been Kissed

Tattoo my lips with permanent kisses.
-Michael Faudet

if in contemplation of the past:

I may think of you softly from time to time. But I’ll cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again.
-Arthur Miller, The Crucible

You fell in love with my flowers but not with my roots, so when Autumn arrived you didn’t know what to do.

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
-W.H. Auden, Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

if in trouble with oneself:

You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.
-Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Everything interests me, but nothing holds me.
-Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

I’m not sure which is worse: intense feeling, or the absence of it.
-Margaret Atwood

I spent my life learning to feel less.
-Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress and tragedy of it all.
-H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

I belong deeply to myself.
—Warsan Shire, 34 Excuses for Why We Failed at Love

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.
-William Shakespeare, Henry V

And God said “Love Your Enemy,” and I obeyed him and loved myself.
-Kahlil Gibran, The Broken Wings

What if I told you I’m incapable of tolerating my own heart?”
-Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.
-Sylvia Plath

if looking for stories:

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
-Philip Pullman

They say a woman’s first blood doesn’t come from between her legs
but from biting her tongue.
-Meggie Royer

When a language dies six butterflies disappear from the consciousness of the earth.
-Earl Shorris

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
-Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

The worst is not, So long as we can say, ‘This is the worst.’
-William Shakespeare, King Lear

I survived because the fire inside burned brighter than the fire around me.
-Joshua Graham

I see the sun, and if I don’t see the sun, I know it’s there. And there’s a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there.
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.


connoisseur of thundering bullets, unabated
i collect words.

ArtLit, Blog



I’ll be uploading a super loooooong post about the ASMPH Transsum later. Also, I updated the Masterpost!


kinikilabutan ako
sa tono at tinig ng mga tawa mo,
hindi sa takot at hindi sa galit,
ngunit sa tuwa at nagbubungang pag-ibig

wala sa mundong ito
na mayroong mga ngiting
katulad ng sa iyo

kaya ngayon:
gulat, pag-asa at kilig

hindi ba't
kay ganda ng buhay natin

mag-aral ka na lang.
ArtLit, Blog

Spoken Word: Aloha

Here are the pieces I performed during Aloha, a benefit event hosted by some CAMPers last May. I think that was May. Before that, I hadn’t performed a piece in public since… early 2015? I think. (Thank you to N for inviting me to perform).

I tried to edit them but then I realized I didn’t want to. They are a testament to my ability to cram under pressure. I wrote flame-resistant an hour before the event, right after V and I finished our thesis defense. It was so fresh it was still called Untitled when I performed it.

I guess, uh. Click to zoom in?


I feel like there’s more to that night that I should blog about… But honestly I’m just trying to clear out my blogging queue before med school starts (registration’s on Monday!).

Me, performing. Lol.

ArtLit, Blog

life’s overflowing

Love is happiness
when your beloved is happy.

There's a twinkle in your eyes,
it suffocates me --
with warmth.

You're blushing.
I'm blushing. 

I'm so

I’m also happy you exist.

I have learned that you need not know someone to love them. But what I know of you I do love.

You are, apparently, my longest relationship to date, from starting point to now.

Your hand fits in mine.

You’re also very tall.

I like your cap and your sweaters.

I’m so proud of you.

To B.


Life Update went to Divisoria with my mom earlier (I think I kind of annoyed her because I was so useless lol), then had some coffee. In a fashion.

ArtLit, Blog

your hand fits in mine

I measure my love of a person
by how well their hands fit with mine. 

It's the color of trust,
the brightness of my life and my future
in the safety of your palm.
I would close my eyes
and listen to my heart 
as it beats
to the sound of your footsteps.
You lead me to places I do not know,
and frankly
I do not care. 

There are no new ways to say this, 
and maybe this is an eternal truth:
as long as you are with me, 
I am where I am supposed to be. 


No kidding though. One of my favorite things to do when I’m exhausted is to hold hands with a person I trust and then sleepwalk. I just instinctively follow where they lead and how they walk while I take a walking nap.

I wanted to do that earlier, but then I remembered I was literally on a masturdate (date by myself), so there were no hands to hold.

I actually just thought of this walking home from my grand trip around Manila. More about that later!