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My Other Love Affair

In an attempt to keep myself warm on this cold spell, I am writing about my love affair. No, not that kind of love affair. Another love affair. But it is also the kind that gives warmth to my heart.

I am talking about my long standing love affair with the sea. As I start to write this post, I am beginning to see in my mind the sun shining so brightly on a pristine beach, enticing me to stay exposed to its rays a little longer so I can have a souvenir sunburn.

I used to fear the mighty sea when I was young, especially after the sinking of the ill-fated Doña Paz more than 21 years ago. Doña Paz, a passenger ferry plying the route of Manila/ Tacloban/ Catbalogan/ Manila/ Catbalogan/ Tacloban/ Manila, collided with an oil tanker. Within minutes, the tragedy claimed about 2,000 lives, including those of some of my distant relatives. The event has been dubbed as “the worst ferry disaster and the worst peace-time maritime disaster in history.”

But as the years passed by, my fear of the sea waned and I began to cherish a love story with the sea.

I treasure each day that I spend so close to the vast sea. In the morning, before the sun rises, I would head out to the beach for a walk, barefooted. I enjoy the gentle breeze caressing my face and playing with my hair. I love the feel of soft, moist sand between my toes. I would happily create a path with my set of footprints. And I would be delighted whenever a stroke of tide erases the marks I have left. I would often wish those marks were the mistakes I’ve done with my life.


If I get tired of walking, I would sit on the white, powdery sand and wait for the sun to stretch out its rays as if to announce that it already has awoken from a deep slumber. It is amazing to watch the sun rising up, little by little, from the horizon.


It is soothing to hear the sound of the surf. The distinct crash and return of the tiny waves becomes the laughter of loved ones. It rekindles so many moments I spent with family and friends.

The gentle breeze brings the salty taste of the sea, and almost instantly I see fishermen in my mind. They are on the seashore, pulling out nets from the sea. I see people waiting in line to buy fish, children playing on the shore, and small crabs frolicking in the now heated fine sand.



When the sun’s heat starts to hurt my skin a bit, I know it is time to head home. And again I would feel refreshed and renewed, and touched by God’s infinite blessings.

I never get tired of going out to the sea. It feels like the sea and I are one. I take the passion and drive from its waves; the hope, from the sun that constantly rises from its edge; the calm, from its white, powdery sand that never fails me; and the happiness, from the memories that it draws from my mind.

Each time I look out to the sea, I see my life laid out in front of me.


Now I feel a little warmer inside.

Have a blessed weekend everyone! Keep warm.

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 6:59 am.


My Gas, My Gas, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Paumanhin: This post is nowhere near being inspirational.

Kahapon ng  umaga, naubos ang gas namin na hindi pa ako nakakapag-init ng pampaligo. At dahil ako’y isang abang manggagawa lamang na hindi kayang bumili at magpakabit ng hot and cold shower,  wala akong choice kundi tiisin ang napakalamig na tubig. Sabi sa radyo, 9 degrees daw ang temperature kanina.

Extra challenge ang pagligo ko. Sa unang pagbuhos ko ng tubig, pakiramdam ko biglang humiwalay ang kaluluwa ko sa katawan ko sa sobrang lamig. Kaya itinigil ko muna ang pagligo at kumuha muna ako ng kaning lamig para idikit ang kaluluwa ko sa katawan ko hehehe. Effective naman po. Nakatapos akong maligo na hindi humihiwalay ang kaluluwa ko sa katawan ko.

Buong araw akong tumawag sa mga retailers at naghanap ng gas. Wala akong nabili. Ang sagot sa akin, baka sa Linggo pa sila makakuha ng supply. At wala pa raw masyadong kasiguruhan ‘yun. E alangan namang puro take out food ako hanggang magkaroon sila ng supply.

Kaya kagabi, kahit nagsasara na ang appliance center, humahangos akong sumugod para bumili ng alternative: isang de-kuryenteng kalan. Tiyak akong bubutasin ng metro ng kuryente ang bulsa ko dahil dito. Pero ito lang ang pwedeng kong gamitin sa bahay. No choice.

So sa mga taong nasa gobyerno at patuloy na nagsasabing walang shortage ng supply ng gas sa merkado, pakiusap lumabas kayo sa mga airconditioned offices ninyo at ikutin ninyo ang mga tindahan ng retailers para malaman ninyo ang totoo.

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 5:16 pm.


I Sing

turbulent sea

One day when I was about 8 years old, my father and I had to ride a motored outrigger boat to get to another town. It was a fine day. But a few hours after we left the shore, we noticed a sudden change in the way the boat was being rocked by the waves. I looked around us and saw no sign of land yet. Around us all I could see was the line where the sky and sea met. Above us the clouds swelled.

The boat struggled through the raging waves. But after a few minutes, it’s motor gave up. The boatmen tried to revive it but did not succeed. So we were left floating in the turbulent sea, praying for another boat to pass by while the boat was being pounded by strong waves.

I looked at my father. Sensing that I was becoming afraid, he smiled at me. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Come, let’s sing.” And we did, softly. We sang children’s songs, most of them in our native Waray. The other passengers joined us in singing and we made beautiful music together in the middle of a troubled sea.

The music we made perhaps reached the heavens and touched God’s heart. After a while, a boat passed by. Thankfully, it was not loaded with passengers but with a few sacks of rice. We transferred and were safely brought to the nearest town. The passengers who were strangers to each other when we left the shore of our hometown parted as friends after the storm.

I look back to that day in the middle of the sea with nostalgia. I remember how singing had changed the spirits of the passengers on that boat and how singing had turn strangers into friends.

So today I sing. I have always been self-conscious about my voice because I know I can’t carry a tune. Most of the time, I massacre the songs I sing. But I still sing. I sing even if I can’t come close to being brilliant at it.

Most of the time, I sing when I am alone. For my own amusement. For my own entertainment. I have never sung in public. I had once read a quote which says, one of the bravest things a human being can do is open his mouth and sing out loud. I guess I’m just not brave enough.

I sing when I’m happy. I sing when I’m sad. I sing when I’m troubled. I feel there’s something in singing that can’t really be found in anything else. It’s a relief. It’s a catharsis. It decreases my sense of isolation. It feeds my soul. It restores my bouyancy.

There is a fundamental human need to sing. It is primal. It is an expression of the human species. Players sing to celebrate after winning a game. A jilted lover sings to express his heartache. A mother sings to calm her baby into sleep. Singing weaves the content of human heart and mind, and it is its intimate form of expression. Singing is a blessed thing.

So I sing.

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 12:26 am.


Rainy Day Memories

It rained yesterday morning and I felt warmth in my heart upon hearing the sound of rain pelting down on the roof. I love rainy days. There’s something about them that releases certain thoughts and feelings that sometimes weigh me down.


I stayed curled up in bed a little longer. The rainfall started to form a curtain outside the window conjuring a liquid flow of memories—flashbacks of images of many happy times — which made me swell on the inside.

There was, for example, the inviting image of champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge.


It reminded me of my mother happily boiling pilit (sticky rice) and adding cocoa powder to give it a distinct brown color. Once cooked, she would serve the champorado to her five eager children, all ready with their spoon and ricebowl. As a child, I delighted in the champorado’s taste which filled my belly with goodness. Little did I know that cooking champorado was my also mother’s way of saving the family’s supply of rice.

Then, the image of little lakes forming near our window when raindrops would fall.


It reminded me of the “boat” race my siblings and I would engage in on rainy days. We would tie a string to our rubber slippers, throw the slippers to the little lakes, let them float, and pull them back towards us as if the slippers were boats on a race. This we did secretly through a window inside our small bedroom so we could not be seen by our mother, else she would definitely reprimand us.

For children like us in the neighborhood whose families had no extra budget to buy toys, our rubber slippers were as good enough as expensive remote controlled toy boats.

The first sun rays after the rain would disappoint us as we would watch the little lakes dry up and disappear. It meant the end of our secret boat race. But it also gave us a reason to look forward to another rainy day and enjoy another boat race.

Ah, happy rainy day memories of my childhood days. There were too many of them rushing in my mind, too many to write in here. For a moment the rain made me feel like I was a child again, rejoicing on the first raindrops hitting the ground and rooftops.


Thanks to Ate Sha for the permission to use her photo of champorado.

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 4:54 pm.



That is my new name. Selorm. It was given to me recently by my Ghanaian family. It’s an incredible feeling when other people treat you as a member of their family. Sa kanila pala, pinag-aaralan mabuti kung anong magiging native name ng isang tao. They had to ask me about my date of birth and about the day I was born before I could be given a name. At naaliw naman ako.

My Ghanaian family has been so kind enough to teach me many things about Ghana, a country in Africa, and its culture. I have been learning a lot from them. My Ghanaian sister, Selasi, has been really, really thoughtful sending me SMS and calling me whenever she can. Recently, she sent me a postcard and said that she is knitting a Ghanaian dress for me. I am thrilled! Na-imagine ko na how I would look in a Ghanain dress 😉

I just realized I now have many sisters from around the globe, including Kenya, Madagascar, and Ethiopia. Nakakatuwa naman!

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 9:32 pm.