The Lull

Day 6: B O

It was a slow day for everyone. I arrived late, because my classmates did not prepare their materials beforehand and apparently they have no qualms of taking their time to do so. I can’t walk to Balara alone–my purity is at stake, not that I’m judging the people there but still–so I had no choice but to wait for them.

Eunice and Angelo were both present. They were fidgety because we weren’t sitting in our usual seats in a sunny corner of the room, because Ate Divine claimed it for her own students. It was a bad start.

The quiet moments. Teaching will not always be fun. The minutes seem to drag on like hours in some days. Sometimes, they’d fly as fast as a bullet. This day, however, was a lull.

The kids were bored to death. They picked up the lesson faster than I could teach them. They seemed to hate coloring that day, because it was so monotonous. The scorching weather made things worse. I could barely get them to talk to me.

So I brought out sets of letters to keep them on their toes:


They put together the letters to spell words. I started dictating some we read before: oso, mama, basa. Then I dictated simple ones that we haven’t discussed: labo, laba. Then longer ones: sasama, malas. Then lababo.

Lababo? Really, Nae? Are you torturing them? Probably I was. I was kinda frustrated that day too. But I wanted to see if they could.

They couldn’t.

At least I tried.

I hope for better days.

The Rising Action

I have yet to write posts for the pre-assessment and first three sessions with the kiddies. They will be up maybe after I submit my Eng 22 midterm paper. Sorry.

I just have to write about today. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I kept quizzing them about the sounds and names of M and A until they know the letters by heart. Today, we string these letters together over and over again: am, ma, ama, mama. I added an S for Angelo (Eunice was absent last Monday): sa, Sam, sama, sasama, sama-sama. 

I laid out letter cards and had them arrange these letters to form am, ama, etc. We sounded out each letter then combined everything in one breath. AM. SA. MA. SAM. Then two. A MA. MA MA. SA MA. Then three: SA SA MA. Into one phrase: SASAMA SA AMA. Then another: SASAMA SA MAMA.

The look on their faces was so priceless.

When they finally read the words on their own, grins stretched their cute faces from ear to ear. They were looking at me like “Ate, I can read! It’s not hard!”

They were laughing.

They were so filled with fire that I didn’t have to prompt them to read over and over and over and over again. I tried to fan the flame by telling them it’s THIS EASY TO READ. 

They were free.

They could read on their own.

They can stand on their own.

During the first few sessions, I feel so scared whenever a question returns unanswered. Whenever they wring their hands in confusion. Whenever I print and cut materials that might not serve their purpose.

But they’re learning.

They learned something from me. 

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe a few hours of sitting with these kiddies can affect them THIS MUCH.

I feel like a teacher.

I AM a teacher.

I love you, my beautiful and wonderful babies. Ate loves you so much. Don’t give up. We’re almost there. Let’s do this together.

Thank You, Lord, for guiding me to this field. I tried to run away from this calling, but You have far better plans. 

This may be an emotional encounter, but this certainly isn’t the climax. I know this is just the beginning.

The Moments In Between

It’s so silent right now. I’m alone in the condo. I hear nothing but the scratching of my pen on these pages. I hear nothing but the ominous tick tock of the clock. No fan, no AC, no noises from neighboring units. No cars, no multi-cooker, no groans from the refrigerator. No whirring from the laptop cooler. No footsteps in the hallway.

I hear nothing.

I hear nothing, yet I hear everything. I hear my jumbled thoughts loud and clear. I hear my mind, my consciousness running away from You. I hear the endless, pointless chatter trying to distract me from reaching out and writing here.

See, I zoned out again. It truly takes much effort to build a relationship. It needs focus, time and discipline.

Is that why I don’t have a boyfriend yet, Lord? Hahaha =)) You’re teaching me how to truly love my First Love: You. That it’s not all about feelings and hormones and sappy love songs. That it’s about communication. That a relationship is not defined by public milestones, but by the quality of the private moments in between. The lull between two great events. The normal days.

How is our relationship right now, Lord?

Note: Written last May 18, 2013

Graffiti Moon

I do random things when I’m bored and happened to be sitting in front of my laptop. This time, I Googled my name. Yep. That’s right. I Googled my name. How vain :))
A long time ago–high school feels like a lifetime ago–I wrote a poem during Math class. I was brimming with excitement from finishing an awesome novel, and was dying of confusion in my Math class. So yeah. Hahaha.

I didn’t win the giveaway book, but a personal email from the author herself was more than worth the loss. That email’s still saved somewhere in my inbox.

It’s been more than a year, but the memories of this poem still gives me the chills. Oh fangirl mode :))

Please follow SimulaCrumbs! It’s a blog where some college friends and I post awesome stuff.

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Graffiti Moon:


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✎ 15+ Wallpapers for Writers

Love love looooveee ❤

Plotting Bunnies

Many authors and writing guides say this: make writing a part of your life. Make it routine, make it a job, make it count. Sound advice. But sometimes you need a shortcut to help you take the first step…

Like seeing it every time you turn on your writing space, the mother of all procrastination: the computer.

Months ago, I made this simple wallpaper for myself:

I wouldn’t say it helped me achieve zen and spit out chapter after chapter. In fact, it didn’t make much impact on my lack of writing routine. But there was something about seeing this reminder when I turned on my laptop, whether it was to do schoolwork or go on youtube. It made me want to write something, or at the least spend some time with my characters and find out the latest gossip in their lives – lives that were waiting to be…

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Writer Psychology

Can writers write their own book on writer psychology? Because it’s a bit different from the bookish PhD kind of psychology. Writer psych is raw. It draws on human reality and emotions rather than polished textbook theories.

How do writers make characters so… real? So human? Why are some characters flat and uninteresting? They’re presented with complicated back stories,  jaw-dropping and drool-worthy physical features, badass action scenes. They spout lines that are tailored to make the ladies swoon or cry their brains out. But… they’re… they lack something. Not a heart. Just something. Something that animates them, that makes them human.

Why are other characters written simply, yet they such tremendous impact on the readers? These superb people are normal. No need for superpowers or other forms of sugar coating. But why do these people feel so real that the readers end up rooting for them? Treating them as actual friends? Talking to them and asking them for advice? Why? It’s hard to imagine them living in between the dusty pages of a book. They had to be alive. They must be breathing. Existing. They must be. I cannot take no for an answer.

Creating worlds, too. The best ones are those grounded in reality. Reality is NOT equal to being completely devoid of magical characters or whatnot. Reality in the sense that the fictional world has the same unwritten laws as ours, the same social norms and attitudes that we can relate to. 

Writer psychology is a wonderful thing to explore. It details the fine lines that divide the brilliant authors from the okay, the meh, and the horribly crappy ones. I was so stoked that I even thought of emailing some authors. Hahaha.

Note: Written last April 25, 2013

The Silence of the Crack of Dawn

Note: Originally written June 14, 2013

It’s becoming a habit these days to meet at the crack of dawn, before the day really starts. It’s so peaceful, so quiet. Just You and me.

I miss this silence
Where no other thoughts intervene
Thoughts of undone homework,
Thoughts of unwashed dishes,
Thoughts of unchecked tasks,
Thoughts of unwritten Notes,
Thoughts of unread texts,
Thoughts of unprinted essays,
Thoughts of unanswered pings,
Thoughts of untrue scenarios,
Thoughts of unwanted distractions
To keep me away from You.

I love the crack of dawn,
I love its pregnant silence
where no thoughts intervene.

I only hear the whispers
Of my pen gliding on these sheets.
I only hear the ticking
Of the clock that marks my day.
I only hear the creaking
Of the rickety table as I write.
I only hear the breathing
in out



Slower thann it used to be.

I only hear Your still, small voice
beckoning to me
calling out to read Your letter
waiting so patiently.
I only hear my sister’s breathing
No, not snoring.
That kind of breathing
Heavy, deep breathing
When one wanders in slumberland.

I only hear the sounds
that echo Your call:
It’s just You and me,
So go on and read my Word.

I love the crack of dawn,
I love its pregnant silence
where no thoughts intervene.

Just You and me.

So awesome.

I love the crack of dawn,
I love its pregnant silence
where no thoughts intervene.

Because everything was already done
the night before
So that I can fully savor
The silence of the crack of dawn.

My homework is done,
The dishes are washed,
All tasks are checked,
All notes are written,
All texts are read,
All essays are printed,
All pings are answered,
All worries are solved,
All scenarios are gone,
All distractions dispersed,
So nothing
Can keep me
Away from You.


Note: Originally written June 13, 2013

Lord, I’m so tired.
I feel like I’m running on adrenaline all day.
I have to do everything at once.
I have to be everywhere at once.
I have to do this, to do that
And the items on my checklist
Never seem to end.

In fact,
everytime I check one off my list
I see two or three taking its place:
Two papers – done (EL 50).
An assignment – done (Eng 100).
Reviewing – done (Span 10).
But, Lord!
I still have a research paper (EDFD 120) I haven’t read the novel yet (Eng 12) The reading is so thick (EDL 105) I haven’t finished the first chapter of Fromkin et al yet (Eng 100) LTS blog! Teach hasn’t texted yet! (NSTP)
Lord, I’m so tired.
I am so tired.
Not physically.
But mentally.

All my assignments
All my research
All my readings
Have wrung me dry.
Withering under the tropical heat
Like a useless husk
Slowly disintegrating into dust
Until it is no more.

I feel so empty.
I have nothing more to give.
My time?
My effort?
My energy?
My money? (huhubells the readings)





I can’t do this anymore!
And it’s only the first week of school!
First week.
First week.
How many more weeks to go?

I can’t even cry.
I force myself
But I can’t even cry.
That’s how tired I am.
That’s how empty I am.
I don’t have the strength
To launch myself in
An all-out crying mode.
I don’t have enough feelings
To sustain one
Crying fit.

It’s so sad.
But I can’t even cry.
Can’t even cry over
This sad, sad fact.
How sad.
One sad, sad, sad

Lord, I’m so dry.
So empty.
I’m longing to be filled
With something that lasts.
I’m longing to be content.
I’m longing for Your joy.
I’m longing for You.

How long has it been?
Four days.
Too long.
Four days.
I survived that?

I did not.
I can feel myself dying inside.
Every hour I avoided Your presence
Because of my pride
My laziness
My self-centeredness.

Lord, I’m sorry.
I want to stay
Just like this.
Not feeling the urge to bolt
And do something else.
Something useless.
Something worthless.
Something that will waste my time.
Anything that will waste my time.
Anything that will keep me away
From You.

Lord, rest.
Just with You.

No, it cannot be found
in books
in a language
in a chatroom
in a newsfeed
in a bed.
But in You.

No One else.
Nothing else.
Nowhere else.
But You alone.

Matters of the Hearth

Note: Originally written April 30, 2013

My parents’ marriage. It is a wonderful thing to be born to my parents, to parents like them. To them.

I’ve been reading a lot of novels and hearing a lot of stories where marriages simply lose the “spark”. In this generation, those stories are so common that we are desensitized to the truth behind them.

I think these marriages are like fireworks. Lit by a tiny fire. Suddenly exploding with a grand display of colors and design. Lighting up the night sky. Then disintegrating as fast as it appeared. The end.

I’d like to think of my parents’ marriage as the fire in a fireplace. Not that I tried to use one personally. I’m sort of familiar with the principle behind it.

A fireplace is filled with logs and paper kindling and whatnot. A tiny spark suddenly blazes, but it doesn’t die as easily. It keeps a steady flame going. And You stoke their fire to make it burn brighter and brighter.

One more thing about the fireplace is the chimney. All its waste and gas and all that goes up and UP and is released to the sky through the chimney. My parents turn to You when they have troubles. Sure, they have friends. But they turn to You first.

The fireworks, on the other hand, simply shoot up and burn its short supply of explosives. Then it dies. When it dies, it leaves a rain of ashes and heavy smoke. It cares nothing for the consequences left behind by its actions. The bystanders are left to clean up the messy aftermath.

But the show… is it worth it? Spending a fortune for a few seconds of happiness? I don’t think so. That kind of marriage ran on human’s supply of volatile emotions. When everything’s spent, they move on to the next grand show. But it’s so tiring. And so unsatisfying. There’s this hole, this longing that can never be satisfied by enjoying a few bursts of glamour and bliss.

One will always crave constancy and contentment. Not the adrenaline high or deathly low. Just the feeling of contentment. That feeling can sustain you for days, not just seconds.

Wood is more commonplace than explosives or whatever powder is used in fireworks. It can be found everywhere. Wood burns longer. It’s more substantial. The flame is not as hot, but it’s steadier.

My parents love the little things about each other. My dad’s hair. My mom’s awesome cooking skills. Clothes. Quirks. Bad jokes (ugh). Common opinions about everyday stuff. Bickering. My dad’s driving. And that pressing on the brakes that makes the car rock. My mom’s penchant for messing up a room that’s just cleaned (which I inherited hahaha). Farting. Funny dreams.

But instead of freaking each other out, the quirks actually drive them together. They burn together. I love that about my parents. And anyone can see that they are as in love (or even more) than the day they were married–not that I was present then.

Lord, thank You for giving me such wonderful parents. Thank you for choosing the best family. They are the best people I’ve ever known.

Note: I have to cut it here, because the prayer leads to an entirely different thing. 

Living a Legacy

Last Monday, we cried our eyes out–I’m assuming I’m not the only one hahaha–as we reminisced stories of people who left such an impact on our lives. We discussed their strengths, their weaknesses, their experiences. We discussed the legacies these people imprinted on our hearts.

Then our teacher bounced the question back to us: What kind of stories might our children or our grandchildren tell about us, were they to do our Ancestor Exercise fifty years from now?

Once again, I was rendered speechless.

Our LTS teachers ask very good questions. Really.

I put this entry off for as long as I could because I found it so hard to answer. How on earth could I put my story on par with the heroism of my parents, of my classmates’ parents and other relatives? I grew up in a comfortable environment. Everything I wanted was in reach. I did not experience savoring a meal because there was no money left to buy the next. How, then, can I compare?

But I think my story starts there. I was raised in a comfortable environment, in a loving Christian family. I had parents who were very willing to shield us from the darkest, scariest monsters of reality. I lived more than half of my life on the other side of the continent. Buying gadgets, clothes, books… money wasn’t much of an issue.

What more could I ask for?

Therein lies the rub.

For some reason, I wasn’t contented. I measured my life against my classmates’ lives and I found myself lacking. I strove so hard to act like them, to be like them, but my efforts were never enough.

I was built differently, so I broke myself. I tried to rearrange the blocks to fit their mold, but I only ended up hurting myself. I took the pieces they offered me and jammed in my heart’s gaping hole, but they don’t seem to fit. They poked at all the wrong places. They forced me to rip myself even more. I lashed at the people who tried to help me: my parents, my friends, my teachers. After so many years, I concluded that I was too broken. Damaged goods. A big failure.

NOTE: This is one morbid story. Hahaha. But I promise that I did not physically hurt myself during those years. My sense of self-preservation still prevailed. Hahahaha.

When I entered college, I was separated from everything familiar. Living in a different country, immersed in a different culture. It forced me to reassess myself, my principles: Why am I like this? What happened to the happy girl I used to be?

I started to miss the people who tried to help me. I reconnected with them. Little by little, the wounds started to heal. During this time, I realized that I was filling my heart’s hole with all the wrong things. It was a God-shaped vacuum. Letting God in was the first step to my revival. I now can hear that satisfying “click” when the pieces fall into place. I’m now stronger than ever.

To my future children and grandchildren: I think it’s easier to hold on to yourself, to your principles when the world is falling apart than the opposite. I know what it’s like to have everything and yet feel nothing. It’s simply a matter of perspective.

God loves you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are not mistakes. Don’t let society ever tell you otherwise. The world is full of voices screaming at you, but you can choose the ones you’ll listen to. Someone told me this last February/March, and those words changed my life. I’m passing them on to you.

I’m still young. I’m a few months shy of turning eighteen. But I’m already thinking of my legacy. I’m testing out my theories and working outs the kinks. I’m trying my best to live a life that’s worth emulating. I’m trying to write a story that you’d love to share over and over again.