me and daddy

it’s always a treat to see old photos of you as a kid. especially if once upon a time you were a really cute kid. which i like to think i was. hahaha.

you know what makes it even sweeter? seeing a very old picture of you and the father whom you love more than life itself looking at you like he felt the same way right at that very moment.

that, for me, seals the deal.

but i do have the greatest father in the world. it makes me ugly cry writing this right now but i’m very lucky to be blessed with such a wonderful dad (and mom too, of course) who now happens to be a wonderful lolo (and lola) to these kiddos.

the huge retro glasses might be gone and some wrinkles might have formed here and there. but that look in his eyes is the one thing time hasn’t touched.

daddy and adiaeva and adi


i can’t draw pretty things but i can now write pretty words


i thought it’s a dying art. i was wrong. nowadays, it seems like everyone’s taking up interest on calligraphy. and i just jumped on the bandwagon.

i’m on week 2 now.

2 weeks of re-learning how to painstakingly write every letter and every systematic stroke.

i feel like a child again. but then again, i was always that kid who was asking my mom how to write and/or spell this word and that. i’ve always loved writing so might as well improve my penmanship while i’m at it.

as geeky as i am about to sound, i find calligraphy very therapeutic. it’s the equivalent of watching fishes in the aquarium for ADHD kids. it literally shuts my mind up. mainly because majority of the time i’m too focused on making sure that each and every letter is perfectly written, according to how it should be written. so while it treats my existing psychiatric disorders, it creates another one: OCD.

you win some, you lose some.

while calligraphy is striving for perfection, it’s very forgiving to mistakes. and trust me, there are a lot of mistakes. i find myself congratulating and berating myself with every other letter because just when i nail one, i fuck up the next. it’s a cycle that goes on and on and i’m starting to feel okay with that. as long as i’m learning in the process, then it’s all good. =)

the one place my spirit always goes to when my body is asleep: what i wrote about at the creative writing workshop

if you ask me if i’d still wanna join another creative writing workshop, the answer is… i don’t know. probably. probably not.

the two-part workshop i attended the last two saturdays was nice. well, i didn’t exactly learn anything technical but then again, technicalities fuck up creativity to some extent. what i did learn was to appreciate this thing that i have going in terms of being able to come up with beautiful proses out of my love/hate relationship with life and all its dramas.

so, yeah, i paid $20 for people to validate my worth as a writer. something i always get for free from girlie and jeff. (god forbid they start charging me now.) but if anything, it was worth every dollar. everyone there was just really nice and encouraging. a lot of them were REALLY GOOD. and i mean REALLY GOOD. caps lock and all. and for them to tell me that i did great as well was definitely an ego booster. (i’m still shy as hell, though, so i’m probably the last person you’d see walking around with an inflated ego.)

now, the reason i’m kinda hesitant to join another creative writing workshop is that i feel i’m not really serious enough to want to write a book or get myself published big-time. writing is just something that i do and love to do and would continue to do and if it leads me to that path, then good. if not, then i’d still be here doing my thing, regardless.

i’m going to shut up now and share with you guys what i wrote, albeit nervously. (no kidding, i’m actually as nervous at the thought of typing this down as i was reading it at the workshop.)

here we go.

dear jan,

they say it’s one of the oldest houses in your hometown. your mother proudly boasts about the year it was constructed. 1935. an old yellow ancestral house with wooden doors and wide open windows that have welcomed several typhoons, as well as hundreds of guests over the years. while keeping the dark secrets from revealing themselves to the outside world.

it’s a nice house. you spent most of your childhood in it. surrounded by fruit trees and flowers your mom religiously watered everyday, you have grown to love it even when you hated the toilet, with all its shabbiness and lack of proper lighting.

the trains have long since retired. the train tracks that used to sit near the house have all been removed. some of the metal components, perhaps stolen. but it fascinates you to think about a railway station nearby. even when you never even witnessed it for yourself because the trains have long since stopped operating before you were even born.

the house, at one point, was shaped like a cross. your grandfather took it upon himself to renovate the house to shelter such a large family — him, your grandmother, your mother and her 8 brothers and sisters. he was a good man, your grandfather. a very good, talented genius of a man who built the first windmill in your town. when he wasn’t drunk. unfortunately, he was drunk pretty much every day of the week when his vices finally took hold of him and his personality.

funny, though, how he gave you your name even when he was already dead. his ingenuity found a way to break through astral dimensions and into your father’s dreams when your mom was still carrying you in her tummy. “name the child jewey,” he said. your father woke up and wrote the name down on a calendar that was hanging on the wall. he didn’t even know if you were going to be a girl or a boy. but he knew how to spell your name. your grandfather spelled it out to him as part of his instruction.

so now you wonder what that dream could mean. you wonder if you really are that special. well, you are. you don’t know how or why yet but like your father’s dream, it will come to you.

the house is still there now. broken. dilapidated. aging badly like a person who lost care in the world. but in your dreams, it looks just as good as when you were last living in it. almost all of your dreams have its setting there. as if you never left. as it it’s the one place your spirit always goes to when you’re sleeping.

ever since you came to australia, you don’t dream about the house no more. in your dreams, you are somewhere else. somewhere you’ve never even been to or remotely familiar with.

why is that?

on creative writing

okay, so i joined a creative writing workshop last saturday. i thought it was about time i improve on my writing skills and maybe learn a trick or two on how to write creatively.

however, no tips or tricks were dispensed that day. instead, we were asked to write a letter to ourselves describing the place we live. a writing prompt that gave us 30 minutes to exercise our minds and purge out words from our pens.

i never really had any trouble writing it. just as i didn’t have any trouble defying the instructions. because while i started with “dear jan,” i followed it up with sentences and paragraphs describing a house i have not lived in for 12 years.  i don’t even know why i chose that as my subject. i guess i’ve never really been a stickler to rules.

as we were all just sitting down, it wasn’t my knees that were shaking when i read my writing out loud to an audience of strangers. it was my voice. funny how the words flowed smoothly while i was writing it but when it came to actually reading it for other people to hear, the words somehow became unreadable and all i heard was the beating of my heart clashing against my thoughts silently screaming “omigod, why did i even volunteer to read this crap?”

somebody in the group must have uttered “wow!” because that was the first thing i heard when i finished reading my last sentence which wasn’t really a sentence because it ended with a question mark. either that, or i was hallucinating. but they all thought it was really good and i was just in disbelief as i still am now. like, really?!

fiona tuomy, the coach, said it was a creative piece of work. jeff, who’s very creative himself, thought it was brilliant when i read it to him later that night. (bless him, he is such a wonderful and supportive husband.)

so now i wonder, WHAT (REALLY) IS CREATIVITY?

but more importantly, why can’t i see it in myself when i can so easily and clearly see it in others? weird.

el2 in melbourne

i excitedly called her last monday to tell her zoe and alex are still together.

“you called just to inform me that the couple you didn’t like in married at first sight are still together?” she asked in a tone that could’ve easily said, “that’s it?!”

“no. i also called to tell you that ayden and jess won in reno rumble.” i said matter-of-factly, proud to be the bearer of such good news.

in case you don’t know, married at first sight is this tv program my sister and i got hooked on, but then she had to leave for the philippines before she saw the ending. the concept of the show is kind of like couples going on a blind date; set up by a group of psychologists and dating experts who match the couples in terms of personality and compatibility. except that they don’t go out on a casual date. they get married right then and there and see how far they’d go in their relationship.

side note: yes, it’s true i didn’t really like zoe at first because she seemed so distant during her wedding. but as the show progressed, she seems like a really genuine person who doesn’t put her heart on the line straight away. she kind of reminds me of me when i first met jeff, actually. hahaha.

reno rumble, on the other hand, is a show about renovating other people’s houses. my sister loved that shit. she used to hang around on the couch waiting for the block. this one time, we were having dinner at jeff’s mom’s house and she was getting antsy. she wanted to go home as quickly as she could because it was “almost 7 o’block!” lol.  sometimes i don’t know if she was into it because of the home ideas or because she fancied some of the chippies and the tradies.

anyway, point is, i kinda miss having her around.

and i realized i still have heaps of photos of her that i have yet to post during her 2-month stay here in melbourne.

like that time i took her to flinders street station so that she, too, would experience what i felt the first time i saw the light and the busyness of the city upon exiting the station. suffice it to say that i’m the only one who ever gets emotionally poetic about these kinds of things. #loser

flinders street stationflinders street stationmelbourneflinders street station

as hosier lane was just a stone’s throw away, i took her there as well. because she’s into art.

hosier lanehosier lanehosier lanehosier lanehosier lanehosier lane

as well as into posing like a fashion blogger for her instagram too, apparently. tee-hee.

on infidelity

for the record, i love TED talks. either by stumbling upon them on social media sites or being referred to watch them, i love them all the same.

this one in particular was girly’s recommendation. or should i say, forceful prodding?

“listen to it sometime. it will change your life. or not.” she said.

that was last saturday. two days ago, she vibered me again. “have you watched it yet?”

i felt an oncoming panic attack as i hurriedly scrolled up, up, up through our viber chat looking for that damn link she sent me 6 days ago. 6 days! if you know girlie like i know girlie, she’s relentless. if she so much as tells you that you watch a video or listen to a podcast that she feels would definitely make a cosmic impact on your life, you better stop playing candy crush and do it, mate. because she will not stop until she squeezes an input out of your own personal realizations.

that’s what i love about her. the fact that we can both philosophize shit together while simultaneously discussing the best way to cook humba (braised pork). she’s a really good writer too. she has a private blog where she writes with brutal honesty it’s both soothing and heart-wrenching at the same time.

so, anyway, she told me to watch this video about infidelity. and i’m glad i did. i think you would, too.

assuming that i understood everything that i heard correctly, i think that the whole point of the talk is to stare at infidelity in the face and look at it objectively. be scientific about it, even. ask the right questions. formulate reasonable hypotheses.

but i’m not gonna lie: it fucking scares me.

But then we have another paradox that we’re dealing with these days. Because of this romantic ideal, we are relying on our partner’s fidelity with a unique fervor. But we also have never been more inclined to stray, and not because we have new desires today, but because we live in an era where we feel that we are entitled to pursue our desires, because this is the culture where I deserve to be happy. And if we used to divorce because we were unhappy, today we divorce because we could be happier. And if divorce carried all the shame, today, choosing to stay when you can leave is the new shame. — Esther Perel

a day in the life of melbourne’s city streets