Posted in love

Tumigil 

Tayo dalawang buwan bago sumapit ang ating ika-siyam na anibersayo. Ang sabi mo hindi ka na masaya sa itinatakbo ng ating kuwento.

Umuulan noon, nung sinabi mong may iba nang nagpapatibok ng iyong puso. Kaya’t noo’y sinubukan ko pa ring ipaalala sayo ang mumunti ngunit makabuluhan nating alaala’t kwento. Saka ko lamang napagtanto na walang halaga ang lahat ng magandang kuwento sa taong nakahanap na ng bago.

Akala ko noon tayo na hanggang dulo. At totoo nga, dahil nagkaroon ng dulo ang salitang “tayo.” Kasabay nang pagbitaw mo sa ating mga sumpaa’t pangako, tumigil na rin ang pag-indayog ng iyong puso. Hindi na ako umaasa na may susunod pang kabanata ang ating kuwento, lalo pa’t hindi ko pinangarap na may kahati sa iyong salawahang puso.

Umuulan noon, nung sa huling pagkakataon ay sinubukan mong halikan ako. Ngunit hindi ka nagtagumpay dahil itinulak na kita palayo. Sa dulo, hinding-hindi ko nanaising magkaroon ng huling alaala mula sayo.

Tumigil ang mundo noong naging tayo. Ngunit pasensya ka na dahil hinding-hindi ito titigil dahil lang pinili mo sya kaysa manatili sa piling ko.

Ngayon bumabalik ka na para bang isang mababaw na sugat lang ang iniwan mo. Bilog talaga ang mundo dahil magda-dalawang buwan na pala noong sinabi mong iba na ang mahal mo. E, bakit ngayon bumabalik ka sa dating tahanan mo? Ngayon, sa tingin mo, kaya ko pa bang maniwala muli sa iyo?

Tumigil tayo dalawang buwan bago sumapit ang ating ika-siyam na anibersayo. Paulit-ulit kitang tinanong noon kung sigurado ka na ba sa desisyon mo. Patawad, sabi mo. Kaya’t alam kong totoong iiwanan mo na ako.  Masakit pero masaya ka, kaya’t pumayag na ako. Ngayon, bakit ka babalik kung kailan kaya ko nang haraping mag-isa ang mundong nilisan mo? Bakit ka babalik kung kailan natutunan ko nang mas mahalin ang sarili ko?

Siyam na taon sana natin ngayon

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Posted in love

Missed Call

Tumatawag ka na naman.

Ilang tawag pa ba ang kailangan mo, para ipaalala sa akin ang sakit na dinulot mo. Lima, sampu? Magbilang tayo.

Bilangin natin ang mga pagkakataong sinayang mo. Na halos lahat ng bagay at pangyayaring nakikita ko sa tuwina’y nakokonekta ko sayo. Na sa tuwing titingin ako sa ulap, naiisip ko ang mga araw na kasama kita, magkahawak-kamay na naglalakad sa kalsada, nagkukwentuhan at nagtatawanan sa mga bagay bagay na tayo lang ang nakakaunawa.

Na sa bawat pagbaba ko ng dyip, hinahanap ko ang mga kamay mo na aabot sa akin, para sa mga baitang na delikado at sa mga hakbang kong di ko lagi sigurado. Na habang nasa byahe ako at napapapikit sa umaga, hindi ko maiwasang ika’y maalala, lalo na tuwing pinapaalalahanan mo kong kumain nang tama.

Na sa tuwing makikinig ako ng musika, hindi ko maiwasang di mapaluha, lalo na’t bawat letra at liriko ng kanta, sa puso ko tumatama. Na sa bawat hawak ko sa aking telepono, mas mainam pang ‘wag ko nang alamin kung may nakaalala, dahil ikaw lang naman dati ang palagi sa aki’y nangangamusta. At bakit pati ang buwan, na dati’y sa akin humahalina, nalulungkot na akong makita, dahil sa tuwinang pinagmamasdan ko sya, wala na akong kasabay mamangha habang nakatingala.

Mahirap talagang tumalima sa mga gawaing nakasanayan na. Sa mga bagay na lagi nating ginagawa at sa mahabang taong ating pinagsamahan. Akala ko dati madali lang makalimot. Titingin lang sa malayo at hahanap ng ibang bagay na pwedeng magwaksi sa mga sakit at lungkot.

Isang araw, magiging maayos din ako. Balang araw titingin ako sa ulap nang nakangiti at aasa na lang sa darating na biyaya. Bababa ako ng dyip ng mag-isa pero maligaya, hindi dahil malinaw na ang aking mata kundi dahil masasanay na kong protektahan ang sarili at di na kakailanganin ang tulong ng iba.

Mapapapikit ako sa byahe pero ang paulit-ulit na lang na maaalala ay ang susunod kong gala, kung anong bagong libro mababasa, anong masarap kainin mamaya at kung sinong tao ang makikilala. Balang araw lahat ng musika,hindi na tungkol sayo at sa sakit na iniwan mo. Ang mga tunog ay syang magiging simula ko, ipagdidiwang ito nang malaya at masaya — paghuhudyat ng panibago kong kuwento.

At sa paghawak ko ng telepono, babati sa aki’y iba ng numero, sariling ngiti ang magiging bungad ko kasabay ng mga mensahe ng kaibigang totoo. At sa huli, nakangiti na kong titingin sa buwan. Katulad nya, alam kong kaya ko nang mabuhay mag-isa. Maghihintay sa mga bituin ng may yumi at pag-asa, katulad ng isang panibagong pag-ibig na dakila at mabubuhay sa magagandang alaala.

Tumawag ka na naman.

Pero pasensya ka na at di ko muna sasagutin. Hindi pa kaya ng puso ko ang magpatawad at umintindi. Balang araw, pag maayos ng lahat, ako na ang unang babati. Pero sa ngayo’y hayaan mo muna ang puso kong magpagaling. Makalimot. Makagamot. Sa mga alaala mong patuloy pa rin sa aki’y dumudurog.

Mahirap kalabanin ang isang pusong sinugatan nang malalim, at napagod nang maniwala na may totoo pang pag-ibig. Balang araw ako ang sasagot. Pero sa ngayon, hahayaan ko munang ito’y tumunog. Lima, sampu. Magbilang tayo.

Bibilangin ko ang panahon na magmamarka ng aking susunod na ligaya at pagbabago. Sasagutin ko, magbilang ka. ‘Pag kaya ko nang mag-isa nang hindi ka kasama. ‘Pag kaya ko nang umibig muli nang hindi ikaw ang naaalala. ###

Posted in love

Insomnia

You slept last night with a tear stained pillow. You prayed hard, asking the Divine to usher you to sleep even if you knew that sleeping at that moment will prove futile because you sleep earlier that afternoon for three straight hours. But you still force yourself to sleep so you close your eyes really hard and pretend that you’re dozing off. But of course, you’re not good at faking yourself.

So the moment you close your eyes, tears suddenly found its way. And the sudden flashback of your memories with him came flooded in. You still force your eyes to shut but then the picture changes and become visible – it was you crying, with the Creator comforting and hugging you. All of a sudden, you burst into tears and prayed hard to stop the agony you’re in and to calm your heart that is breaking.

Minutes later, you dozed off to sleep, this time, for real. Your mind transported your soul to happy things. You saw your old friends, talked to them and enjoyed having some time off. You looked happy then. You turned your back to the guy who you once knew, asking only if how fine he is, and then you walked away. You walked away with smile on your face and later join the guy who asked to walk you home.

You wandered peacefully to places unknown. It was a total relief. But reality strikes and the alarm clock signaled you to rise. And abruptly, the moment you open your eyes, the heartaches start to consume you again, piece by piece, painfully. Once again, you asked yourself what went wrong by reminiscing your good old times. You picked up the pieces, trying to find that one piece that will answer the reason of his sudden unhappiness and the valid reason of him leaving you, all of a sudden.

But there are far more reasons he won’t tell you, and the emptiness stuck inside you and you’ve tried everything to fill the void he created. You busied yourself, gotten yourself tired, and got in touch with your long forgotten activities. But that didn’t work. So you continue to search for something that will ease your mind just for a little while. But all you found are the things that remind you of him. And so you start again.

You start to find the “you” that has been missing since the day you’ve shared your heart to him. You start to look straight in your own eyes now and see what you’ve become since then. Have you evolved? Have you really gained or shared more love? Have you gotten stronger? Of course you do.

But this time, you have to continuously do that — alone. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s worth every effort because it’s for yourself after all. Repeat this to yourself: I’m strong. I’m beautiful. I’m kind. I’m capable of loving myself, so I will focus on other things and look after myself now. And gradually, you will find yourself capable of being happy again. It takes time but of course, you can. You’re brave, and believe it, because it’s true. You’re more than enough and you deserve a genuine kind of love.

You slept last night with a tear stained pillow, and wake up the same. But one day, when all the pain has subside and forgiveness has triumphant, you will wake up with a stronger heart and realize that you deserve a much better love — a love that is beautiful and stronger than the one you once had. ###

Posted in love

8:21

Alas otso disisyete ng umaga. Nakatayo kang nakikinig sa ispiker na nasa harapan. Nang biglang mag-vibrate ang cellphone sa iyong bulsa.

Unang vibrate. Hindi mo ito agad pinansin sa pag-aakalang ito’y isang text lamang. Hindi ka rin kasi mahilig maglagay ng message ringtone sa iyong cellphone at ang katotohana’y ilang linggo ka na rin kasing hindi nakakatanggap ng tawag sa ganoong klase ng umaga. Nang biglang pumangalawa ang vibrate. Alam mong tawag na iyon at napaisip ka na lang kung sino ang tatawag sayo ng ganoong oras.

Agad mong kinuha ang cellphone sa iyong bulsa. At bumungad sayo ang pangalan niya — ang naghuhuling pangalang ninanais mong makita. Napaisip ka pa kung sino ang pangalang nabasa mo. Nagdalawang tingin. Nakalimutan mo kasing binago mo na nga pala ang pangalan nya sa cellphone mo. Nang sandaling iyon, hindi pananabik ang naramdaman mo kundi kaba. Kaba dahil iniisip mo ang rason kung bakit sya tatawag samantalang ilang linggo na rin kayong hindi nag-uusap.

Hinintay mo ang ikalimang tunog bago sinagot. Kinabahan ka. Naglaro na sa isip mo ang pinakamasamang senaryong maari mong maisip. Ang pinakamalala ay yaong naaksidente sya. Inasahan mong hindi sya ang makakausap mo sa kabilang linya. Hinanda mo na ang iyong sarili sa pinaka-nakakatakot na pwede mong marinig — sa posibilidad na kailangan ka nya, at sa opsyon kung tutulungan mo ba sya.

Kaya hindi ka muna nagsalita. Hinintay mong magsalita ang may hawak ng kabilang linya. Malabo ang unang salita. Hindi mo nabosesan. Kaya ang nasabi mo na lang ay “Ha?

Pinaulit mo ito. At sa pangalawang pagkakataon, doon mo napagtanto na ang kausap mo ay walang iba kundi sya. Nawala ang kaba mo. “Hello, good morning,” ang sabi nya sayo. Rinig na rinig mo ang saya sa kanyang boses. Sayang parang walang nagbago sa inyo. Sayang parang mali.

Naisip mo nun, nakalimot ba sya? Alam ba nya kung ano na kayo ngayon? Alam ba nya kung anong ginawa nya sayo? Natawa ka dahil muntik-muntikan mo na ring syang matanong kung lasing ba sya. Sino ba namang tao ang matutuwa kapag narinig mo yung taong minahal mo nang sobra pero sa huli ay piniling iwanan ka, na tatawagan ka isang di inaasahang umaga na parang nalimutang sinaktan ka pala nya, masayang-masaya ang boses na parang matalik lang kayong magkaibigan, na parang maayos lang ang lahat.

Kamusta ka?” ang tanong nya. Sa nagdaang panahon, yan na siguro ang pinakamahirap na tanong na pwedeng ibato sayo ng kahit sino. Hindi mo kasi kayang sagutin. At mas lalong di mo kayang marinig ang tanong na yan sa taong alam mong naging dahilan kung bakit hirap na hirap kang sagutin ang simpleng tanong na yan. Kamusta ka na nga ba? Kamusta ka na matapos nyang wasakin ang nananahimik mong puso? Kamusta ka matapos nyang itapon lahat ng alaala kasama mo? Kamusta ka? Napulot mo na ba ang nagkalat na piraso ng pagkatao mo matapos ang masalimuot nyong pagtatapos? Kamusta ka nga ba? Hindi mo talaga alam.

Bakit?” ang tugon mo. “Masama ka na bang kamustahin?” sabat nya. Ang daming bagay na tumatakbo sa isip mo noong sinabi nya yun. Masama ka nga bang kamustahin? Gusto mo syang murahin. Pero pinakalma mo ang iyong sarili. Kalma, puso. Kalma. At nasabi mo na lang ay “Di ko masasagot yan.” Pinipigilan mong magalit. Pinipigilan mong ibuhos lahat ng sakit. Alam ba nya kung bakit? Dahil mas pipiliin mong magpakabuti sa taong nakalimot maging mabuti. Mas pipiliin mong sarilinin ang sakit dahil sa huli, ikaw lang naman talaga sa inyong dalawa ang nasaktan. Sa isang paghihiwalay, hindi kailanman magpapantay ang sakit. Kailanman, walang dalawang puso ang nasusugatan ng sabay. Kailanman hindi mo pwedeng ibahagi ang sakit. Dahil ikaw yan, ikaw lang din ang gagamot nyan. Ganyan mo pinakitang matapang ka kahit na iniwan ka nyang mag-isa at nagtataka.

Hindi mo kasi ako nirereplyan pagchina-chat kita,” dagdag nya. Napahinto ka. Kailan mo pa ba naging obligasyon na sagutin lahat ng mensahe nya sayo? Ngayon pa ba kung kelan wala nang kayo? Ngayon pa ba na sa loob ng ilang linggo, halos araw-araw nyang ipinagdidiwang na wala na kayo? Yan ang ilan sa mga gusto mong ibato sa kanya, pero pinili mong ‘wag na, bagkus sinagot mo na lang ito ng “Ah.”

Sabi mo paminsan-minsan magte-text o magcha-chat pa rin tayo, pero bakit ganun, parang mas lalo kang lumalayo sa akin?” sabi pa nya. Gusto mo ulit syang murahin. Buti na lang di nya nakikita ang pag-ismid ng iyong labi habang sinasabi nya iyon.

Na habang naririnig mo sa kanya ang salitang paglayo, gusto mo syang duruin sa mukha at sabihing ang kapal kapal ng mukha nya. Na sya pa talaga ang may ganang magsabi nyan? Nasaan ba sya nung lugmok na lugmok ka? Na bigla-bigla ka na lang napapaiyak sa dyip papunta sa opisina o maging pauwi sa iyong tahanan. Nasaan ba sya noong panahong basang-basa ka ng ulan pero wala ka nang matawag na sasaklolo sayo?. Nasaan ba sya noong alas-dose ng gabi ka na nakauwi pero nagmatapang ka kahit takot na takot ka sa dilim dahil alam mong wala nang sasalba sayo. Nasaan sya? Ayun, araw-araw masaya. Ayun, piniling panindigan ang kasinungalingan nya.

Pag di ka na busy at di na rin ako busy, text o chat tayo,” dagdag pa nya. Sino ba talaga sa inyong dalawa ang abala? Bumalik kayo ilang buwan o linggo ang nakaraan. Bumalik kayo doon sa panahon na humihingi ka ng konting oras sa kanya. Na halos nanlilimos ka na ng atensyon kahit konti sa kanya. Bumalik kayo doon. Naisip mo, bakit ngayon pa sya magkakaroon ng oras samantalang ang tagal mong inasam na mapansin ka nya noon. Bakit ngayon nya sasabihin ang mga katagang yaon, samantalang wala nang kayo. Na sa tinagal-tagal ng panahon, bakit magtatayo na naman sya ng isang simula samantalang kakatapos lang ng isang nasayang na kabanata.

Ang nakakatawa pa, gusto mo sanang itanong sa kanya kung bakit bigla syang nagparamdam. Kung anong posibleng dahilan bakit biglaan ka nyang tinawagan. Bakit, binasted na ba sya ng kanyang nililigawan? Busy ba ang bago nyang pinag-iinteresan kaya naghahanap sya ng ibang paglilipasan ng oras. Gusto mo ulit syang murahin. Hindi ka pampalipas oras. At hindi ka na kailanman magpapalinlang sa taong katulad nya. Walang kahit sino ang nagnanais ng tira-tirang pagmamahal. At walang pagmamahal ang magtatagal sa pulos kasinungalingan. At mas lalong walang pagmamahal na magtatagumpay kung nabuo ito sa pagsira sa isang matatag sanang pag-iibigan kung wala lang sanang umeksenang iba na nagpapanggap na may pusong dalisay pero sa huli pusong nag-aabang lang pala ng pagkasira ng isang relasyon at katapusan.

Alas otso disisyete ng umaga. Nakatayo kang nakikinig sa ispiker na nasa harapan. Nang biglang mag-vibrate ang cellphone sa iyong bulsa. Pero sa huli, mas pinili mong ikaw ang maunang magbaba ng linya. Na ikaw ang tumapos sa usapan ninyong dalawa. Tulad ng pagtapos nya, isang linggong umuulan, sa kuwentong matagal nyong isinulat dalawa.

At sa apat na minuto at labimpitong segundo pinili mong tapusin ang inyong usapan. Winakasan ito sa salitang “sige na” at “paalam,” sabay ibinaba ang telepono at pinaalala sa sariling tama na ang katangahan. ###

Posted in poem

Kamusta po

Ito ang huling mensaheng
natanggap ko mula sayo,
Matapos mong wakasan
Isang linggong maulan
Sa loob ng aming tahanan,
ang humigit kumulang
siyam na taon
Nating pagmamahalan

Kamusta po?
Hindi ba’t kawalang pakiramdam
Ang tanungin mo ako
Ng isang simpleng katanungan
Na kayang dumurog
Muli ng aking puso’t isipan
At magbalik ng mga alaalang
Pinipilit ko nang kalimutan

Oo, paanong paulit-ulit
Na tumatakbo ang eksena
Isang Miyerkules ng umaga
Matapos ang ilang araw na
Hindi mo man lamang
Pagkamusta
Tinawagan kitang kakaba-kaba
Tinanong kung asan ka
Dahil umuulan noo’t
Nagmamaneho ka

Sinagot mo ako
Na ika’y nasa opisina
Pumatag ang loob ko
Atsaka ibinaba ang linya
Walang “mahal kita”
Bagkus ang sinabi mo’y
sige na, bababa ko na.”

Makalipas ang ilang minuto
Nakatanggap ako ng mensahe
Galing sayo
Ingat ka,” ang sabi mo
Usap tayo sa tamang panahon.
Ayoko na ring pasakitin pa
Ang kalooban mo,” dagdag mo.

Ganito ba tinutumbasan
Ang isang pag-aalala
Ganito ba tinutuldukan
Ang isa sanang
Magandang istorya
Kung paanong noong
Isang linggo lamang
Kayo’y masaya’t nagtatawanan
Kinabukasa’y
Puro sakitan at pag-aalinlangan

Kaya siguro may takot ako
Sa sobra-sobrang kaligayahan
Dahil alam ko isang araw
Gigising ako
Na ang babati na sa akin
Ay si kalungkutan

Kamusta po?
Paano ko sasagutin
ang tanong mo
Kung matapos ang
Ating pinagsamahan
Mas pinili mo kong bitawan
Kaysa piliing ipaglaban

Siguro nga
mas madaling bumitaw.
Dahil ang pagbitaw
Ang pinakamadaling paraan
ng paglaban
Lalo na kung wala ng pag-ibig
Lalo na kung di na ikaw
Ang nagpapasaya
Sa mga araw
na hindi kayo magkasama.

Kamusta po?
Ang huling mensahe mo sa akin.
Ok lang po,” tugon ko sayo.
Dahil gamay ko na
Ang pagpapanggap.
Magpanggap na
Ayos lang ako
Na di ako nasasaktan
Na di ako iiyak
Na tanggap ko
Na mas pinili mo sya (sila)
Na kaya kong mabuhay
Ng Wala ka.

Kaya kong magpanggap
Ng ilang ulit
Sa kahit anong paraan.
Pero hinding-hindi
Ang sabihing
Di na kita mahal.
Dahil ang tunay na nagmamahal
Hindi agad-agad susuko
Bagkus susubok,
Lalaban.

Kamusta po?
Ito mahal ka pa.
Pero wag kang mag-aala
Dahil unti-unti
Makakalimutan din kita
Dahil ang mabisang paglimot
Ay ang pag-alala
na hindi talaga kayo
para sa isa’t isa
Na sa huli,
Sa lahat ng iyong nagawa,
Ang reyalidad ay
Bibitiwan ka lang pala niya.

###

Posted in love, Personal Experience

The things you forget

One. You said you love me but you decided to end this. You said you have to figure something out for yourself, that there is something you need fixing. You said it’s unfair for me if we’ll continue this relationship when you have lied to me. Far beyond what I want, I heeded your decisions because I know you need time.

Two. I believe in us and so I waited for you to come back to me, to come to your senses, to retract what you’ve already decided. I’ve hopefully waited for you to be with me again but all my hopes were in dire because you chose to be with them more than to be with me. I don’t know what I have done wrong. I chose to believe in us but that doesn’t mean you have the same belief as I am.

Three. I came to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, you really wanted to be with yourself. I let you be. You need fixing, right? I stopped bugging you. I never bothered to wait for your good night messages, too. But I won’t deny the fact that I still look at my phone from time to time hoping to receive just one good text from you. But like all other hopes, I learned that waiting has also limits, I’ll wait for you, sure, but do not expect me to wait for you for too long.

Four. It’s the second week that you never bothered to ask me anything at all. You didn’t even bother to remind me to eat on time like you used to before. And I’m still hoping to receive just one text from you, that’s how naïve I am to the fact that maybe, just maybe, I can still find pieces of your love stored somewhere in your heart. But of course, I failed. And now I realize that I need to detach myself from you, little by little, even it’s hard, even it hurts the same.

Five.  I’ve been wondering if my heart was induced with some kind of medicine to forget. I somehow managed my weeks the way I live it before. But still, from time to time, I’m thinking about you, hoping you’re okay, hoping you’ve already happy to the choice you made. I’m becoming used to not talking to you. I’m getting used to just being on my own, feeling again the little world I created before. I’m getting used to your absence. And in getting used to that feeling, all I have is myself now. That your absence taught me that I can cure my sadness with my own presence.

SIx. You failed to look me in the eyes like the way you used to. You don’t bother to look through me and see that even after all the pain you brought me, I still cling to you. You’re still the one who gives light to these eyes. But of course, that’s overly distant now. Because now, all I’ve witnessed is how yours drifted as time passed by. You never cared to look at me intently now, ‘cause you’ve been busy eyeing someone else. Look but never understand — maybe you look at me for quite some time, but in the end, you miss the opportunity to understand us and see what we’ve become.

Seven. I’m beginning to accept the fact that time can change things. And memories are best remembered when it is all you’ve got in the end. I probably miss how you find time waiting for me in my jeepney stop and you’re all smiles looking totally excited as I stepped out, and you’ll reach out to me, taking my hand and interlocked it with yours. Together, we’ll walk hand in hand or sometimes your arms around my shoulders, to my next jeepney route. Again, waiting for me to safely get a ride home, and while the conductor is busy filling up the transport, we’ll stare at each other, murmuring repetitively words of affection and we’ll not break our stare even after the jeepney makes it move. Funny how simple that was but it’s your habit after all, making me feel wanted, making me feel that you cared at all.

Eight. But affection, just like love, can fade through time. I don’t know what really happen. We’ve been happy, right, and the next thing I knew, you’re suddenly drifting away. You keep on telling me that you’ve been fed up, tired of all my endless dramas, tired of the habitual things we do. You stop posting our sweet nothings on your social media, and every time I ask you to, you’re ready with your well-crafted reasons. And so I stopped. I stopped bugging you. I let you be. Probably you have your own reasons that I, probably, could not understand  because you could not tell me what it is. And so I was left with questions I don’t know how to answer myself.

Almost nine. It was an exciting almost nine-year we had. I can’t thank you enough for reminding me how braver it is to let go than to hold on. As soon as I can accept the reality that the man I used to know is not the one I am facing right now, I will still looked for you – in distance. I thank you for being with me in my best and worst mood, for being my map when you know I’m the worst navigator. I thank you for being true, for telling me you are tired of us, for being the one to end this, just because I can’t.  If love is not possible in this lifetime, it probably be real in the next. We may not end our story beautifully but know that I still hold on to the beautiful beginning we once had. In the midst of forgetting all of these things, I hope one day, you will remember how we built something beautiful – in the process of loving and hurting at the same time. But for now, it’s time to bid you goodbye.

###

Posted in food

Gift Avenue Cafe: A mix of food, arts, and creativity

There is this adage that friends who eat together, stay together.

This rings true as late Wednesday night, my friends and I explored Cubao leading us to this cozy and artsy place called Gift Avenue Café.

I must say that the place was a real haven for me. It’s the fact that I love seeing arts and crafts mixed with good food and drinks that I’ve totally enjoyed staying in this café from 7:30 in the evening up ‘til their somewhat closing.

Here, my friends and I decided to try different dishes so we can taste different flavors, as well to distinguish what’s savory to eat and what not. From the various choices, we tried:

  • Rosemary burger steak

  •  Sweet and sour fish fillet 

  • Salted Egg Shrimp

  • Adobo Flakes

The rice meals are all good and taste unique. We also did not waste the opportunity to try their frappes and shakes. We ordered:

  •  Almond Macadamia Frappe (I originally wanted the Black forest Frappe but unfortunately it’s unavailable)

  •  Mocha Frappe

  • Choco Banana Shake

  •  Mango Shake

With these comfort foods, we’ve got to enjoy our endless talks and stuffs. And I can say that though the price is a bit pricey, it’s still worth it.

Aside from their exquisite food and drink choices, this café also vends art materials and amazing handmade stuffs and products from online sellers.

With its comfortable ambiance, Gift Avenue Café is also a perfect venue for art enthusiasts and alike to convene and share each other’s talents and passion.

From time to time, customers may opt to book workshops here. The café allotted special place for such events and meetings.

Overall, I can say that we’ve enjoyed our time here and we’ll probably come back soon (actually, we were not able to roam and see everything the area holds because we forgot to check the time, and was surprised to know that it was then, super late). But our experience, generally, was superb! T’was fun and relaxing.

Gift Avenue Cafe is located at the Ground Floor, Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.

To know more about them, feel free to check their website or you may opt to call them at +63 925 599 5889 or via email for inquiries.

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Posted in travel

On flying and southern discovery

It was my biggest dream to fly. I often imagine myself with wings, not the angel type, but one like those of butterfly. I always dreamt of touching the clouds. Crazy as it may sound, but that is the real reason why I wanted to fly. It so easy to achieve that, one might say, but at my age, honestly speaking I’ve never been into airplane, not until recently, when I got the opportunity to see the stunning Davao.

My flight to Davao was both an exhilarating and thrilling experience. As a first timer, I can’t explain the joy of seeing the clouds up close, especially when I was lucky enough to have a seat beside a window. For the first ten minutes, I was in awe. I was amazed by how these big buildings and houses appeared like tiny dots when you’re up in the sky. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed the ride to Davao minus the turbulence from time to time because it makes me dizzy for a while.

We travelled for almost two hours. Upon takeoff, my eyes readily wandered from one point to another just to see how Davao is far different from Manila. We were greeted by the organizer of the event and they took us to sumptuous lunch of seafood and other Davao delicacies.

From Davao City, we head on to Island Garden of Samal, Davao del Norte. But to reach the said place, we had to take a 15-20-minute ferry ride. The ride was awesome, I’ve got to relax and breathe in the cool air and be one with the calm sea.

After some time, we, then dock to the coastline of Club Samal Resort.

Club Samal Resort offers breathtaking ocean experience, along with its warm swimming pools.

One can opt between plunging in the sea or to drench in their pools.

What I love most during my stay here is my morning walks in the beach.

I’ve got to enjoy the white sand in addition to the crystal clear water of the ocean.

Though I missed the chance to swim in the beach, I was still glad to be able to dip my feet in its cold water and be mesmerized by the beauty it possessed.

We also got to meet some Davaoeño kids during our stay here and we are fortunate enough to listen to their life story.

During our last night in the island, we were able to enjoy the live band performing that day.

We just listened and jived in their music from time to time. It was soothing.

Our last day was spent wandering in the city of Davao. We were shown places to buy pasalubong and souvenirs. First stop is Aldevinco Souvenir shop.

Every stall in this place offers variety of Davao products like bags, t-shirts, malongs, and pearls, to mention a few.

Aside from durian, Davao is also known to be the Chocolate capital of the Philippines.

Different cacao products can be seen in this side of the city.

And this is the part of the city tour that I liked most. I’ve got to taste different variety of chocolates for free, and it’s delicious.

Tranquility – this is what Davao made me experience. For four days, I was able to commune with nature and see that every place has its own beauty that needs to be appreciated.

My first flight was a remarkable one, not only because I’ve experienced what it feels like to be up high but because, just when I needed it most, I found solemnity in the beautiful city of Davao. ###

Posted in Uncategorized

Parting

Eyes lit up, both hands holding up my face, you gazed through my inner soul. Succumbing the place unknown, the world turned blurry — only the two of us recognizable.

I thought, this is what I dreamt of. It is you, I dreamt.

The next thing I knew, you were on your knees, extending your arms carrying a beautiful, glimmering treasure.

I was surprised, my eyes in tears. Of course, I do. Oh, yes I do. And then you carried me up and dance in the rhythm of the wind. This is what true happiness means, it’s what you said to me.

This is how I remember us. The happiness circling around us the day you asked me if you can spend your whole life and make me happy.

But truly, what I remembered most about us is this way — with your eyes lit up, both hands holding my face, you ripped my inner soul, destroying the once unknown place and leaving me standing in the chaos of the love I thought I’ll never have.

I thought, this is what reality means. It is the reality of you leaving me.

The next thing I knew, you were on your feet, walking farther and farther away from me.

I was shocked, my eyes covered with tears. Of course, I can’t. Oh, no I can’t. And then you carried all your baggage and stepped in the coldness of the wind. This is what desolation means, it’s what I’ve repeated myself again and again.

This is how I remember us. The once happiness circling around us the day you asked me to be your lifetime then disappeared.

I stayed and you leave.

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Posted in travel

Unspoiled Beauty of Apayao

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.” – William Least Heat Moon

I never thought I would be traveling far north anytime soon.

A last minute invitation turned not-so-sure if-it-will-be-pursued-vacation (due to work related issues) turned c’mon-let’s go-escape-the city was worth all the frustrations and uncertainties of this superb and momentous escapade to Apayao.

Located in the northernmost part of Luzon in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Apayao is a 13 to 15-hour drive away from the Metro where one can enjoy countless picturesque scenery which are totally stunning and interesting.

And so last April 27, friday night, my pal and I decided to join his grandmother and cousins, along with his sister to visit their province, which is of course, Apayao. They usually visits their province every year for summer vacation, but it is only this year that I was able to join them. I remember how my pal keeps on asking me to go with them whenever they go home but due to personal matters I always keep on declining. But this year, yeah, I made it so.

By 5:30 in the afternoon, we headed on to RCG Bus terminal going to Junction Luna in Abulug, Cagayan which is located in Sampaloc, Manila to make it to the scheduled departure of 6 p.m. I don’t know why, but it took 7 p.m. before the bus was able to depart. The fare costs us P700 per person, one way ticket only.

I can say that the long drive going to Apayao is tiring but it’s worth it. Good thing that we chose the last scheduled trip just so we can enjoy the night without getting uncomfortable over the heat of the daylight. It’s just that it is hard to find a comfortable spot to sleep except to sit uneasily for long hours, and I am just so blessed that I have beside me, my pal, who serves as my pillow. Lol! I also want to remind others to bring along with you a jacket and pillow because it’s really cold inside the bus especially if you’ll be traveling the same hour as we did.

From time to time, we were awakened to attend to our personal needs during stopovers. But then I realized that the reason why it took us 14 long hours before we arrive to our destination is probably because of these stopovers. But of course, I’ll put it aside because I know, just as how exhausted we are, how much more is the person driving, right? And to make the bus story short, we arrived at Junction Luna in Cagayan, with the sun at its peak, by 9:30 in the morning.

After we brought down our luggages, Nanay (my pal’s grandma) rented a tricycle that will take us to their home. As I’ve heard, the tricycle trip costs P200-250. And another hour and so was spent on the road before we arrive in our sure destination – the fishery farm of Nanay’s family in Brgy. Imelda, Pudtol.

And so, this is what life in the province truly is – smell of green grasses, the relaxing sound of overflowing water, and breathe of fresh air. I grew up not having a province to visit to. This is why I am excited to know what it feels like living far away from the noisy and busy metro. And Apayao didn’t fail me. I love it here.

 

The first thing that struck me as we alighted from the tricycle is that the place is full of fish ponds with varieties of tilapia in it.

We were also asked to catch tilapia for our lunch and I find it amusing, as a first timer, to have caught a fish in a pond, and it was an achievement for me.

And what I loved the most was the sight of what they called Vietnamese Roses in blooming colors of white and pink alongside the pond. It is really beautiful. And from that moment, I knew this will be a great adventure.

We then rested for a while and then decided to pay a visit to their respective relatives nearby via walking. Yes, walking. Though I’m not really a fan of walking especially if it will costs me over 10 minutes of using my feet, I’ve enjoyed the walk, honestly. Why? Because I was able to walk with green grasses everywhere, the bluest sky I can see up above and the peak of mountains standing proud. Amazing, isn’t it! What a beautiful sight!

We were able to go to Brgy. Alem, where their aunt and uncle resides. And there, I have seen another sight of fish ponds. And without hesitations, I was able to take a nap in their made-up kubo because the cool air makes me do it so. After some time, we asked their uncle to tour us around the province in the afternoon and we then bid our goodbyes. (What I realized as I go around the area is that various flowers bloom here and there, that’s why I asked aunt if she can give me some flowering plants as a take home.)

In that same afternoon, just as decided, their Uncle toured us around the province using his tricycle. (Another realization: Going to and fro other places here takes 30 minutes to an hour. It’s best that you have your own vehicle while traveling here because the only mode of transportation here, as far as I know, is a tricycle.) Our first stop: Lusok Cave and Underground River.

This multi-chambered cave is one the most sought-after destinations in Luna, Apayao and it can be reached by riding a banca for P120.

We were accompanied by a tourist guide who pinpointed to us, using her flashlight, the decade-old stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave and of which features different imagery.

I was amazed by the beauty of the cave and river.

But unfortunately, we were not able to go spelunking because we did not make it to their cutoff time which is 4:00 p.m. and so we just resort to picture taking.

We also had the chance to walk in their makeup bridge, the access to our way out.

From above, you can see the stunning green river flowing with the magnificent view of the cave.

After which, we headed to the Apayao Ecotourism and Sports Complex located in Payanan, Luna Apayao. This (more than) four-hectare sports complex features an Olympic-sized pool, a 400-meter track oval, club houses and a gallery, to name a few. This venue was developed in 2012 for the 2013 Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) meet.

But actually, I was saddened by the fact that this tourist spot is not properly maintained. But then, I was still happy to see blooming yellow daisies in the area.

We were also able to see the center of progress in the province: the Apayao Capitol and City hall.

Our tour ended with the sun already set and so before we go home, we decided to try Apayao’s specialty: Mami. This soup made up of homemade noodles with beef and egg, simmered with delicious vegetables is really one of a kind. It was indeed delicious. And up ‘til now, I can’t forget the taste of it.

We got home with the moon peeking on the sky. And because I’m still too full to eat dinner, I decided to just lay in bed, ready for another adventure the next day.

I was awakened by the sound of a pig being killed. Apparently, here in the province, when someone from faraway destination came to visit, they make it a point to prepare specialty foods. Moreover, I was also blessed to see the sun shining so bright outside, telling me it will be another good day ahead.

We, then, decided to take a morning walk. And even just for a brief time, and in his best capacity, my pal taught me how to ride a bicycle. But of course, with my weak balancing, the lessons prove to be futile.

And so we came back to the house to have our breakfast. Lolo also picked us fresh buko and we drank it savory.

After which, we were told to feed the fishes. Yes, I have the opportunity to see school of fishes eagerly wanting more foods.

From time to time, they will come in numbers with their mouth sprouting in the water. It was an undeniable sight.

Then, my pal’s sister invited us to go with them in the river they used to take a bath every time they come here. We spent more than 30 minutes walking with the sun at its finest just to go see it. We’ve walked in lands surrounded with fields.

And from time to time, I chose to walk barefoot because my slippers make it uneasy for me to walk in the muddy land.

And at last, we came to the beautiful spot they’re talking to.

From there, I saw vast of green fields in addition to the beautiful morning sky. I’m at peace, literally and emotionally. We then soaked readily in the overflowing river because we were told that we are going to go swimming in a beach. And so hurriedly, we rushed back home.

As expected, we spent our day at a beach in Ballesteros. It was fun. The waves are so inviting and so I played with it. Big waves came rushing and it is what makes it exciting. Though the place was a bit crowded, I was able to enjoy spending time here. My sunburned body is the living proof of how I am pleased to be here, being one with the scorching sun and the cool breeze of the sea.

And just before the sun sets on the horizon, we travelled back home. I lay in bed still feeling the waves pulling me deep. It was the smell of sea salt in my hair and my body that yanked me to sleep.

Our third day was another set of hellos but more of goodbyes. It was our last day in the province and we only have half of it to spend because we’re travelling back to Manila in the afternoon.

For our last tour, uncle decided to let us see the Apayao dam. We were able to see splash of water in it though it’s hard to see the whole place because of the brightness of the sun.

 

After which, he drove us in a river where we took our last swimming opportunity. The river is an extension of Karayan Malunod or most popularly known as Cagayan River.

Here, we were able to plunge in the clear water where locals also use to do their laundries.

The water is cold and underneath are different stones of sizes.

It took us some time before we decided to head home.

Back home, we visited another relative of my pal and then I picked up some Vietnamese roses along with its root just so my mom can plant it when I got home.

And then we took our last lunch overseeing the fishpond. I ate fresh tilapia and it’s truly delicious compared to tilapia being sold in metro’s market. Then, my pal’s family decided to swim in the made up bathtub in the fishpond, but I decided to just rest before we go home.

We traveled back to Manila at two in the afternoon.

I never expected that traveling to Apayao will be an unforgettable experience. I was amazed by the hospitality of the residents here and how gifted this place is with all its rich biodiversity, natural wonders and cultural aspects. Long hours of going here will be worth it. It’s easy to fall in love with such a lovely place like Apayao.

And I admit it — one summer of 2018, with the sun shining so bright above, with the sound of birds chirping, and the symphony of clouds marching in the sky, I have given my heart to Apayao. ###