Thankful Again


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The Minds Journal, an international online journal, featured my poem, “In the Name of the Mother”. Sharing the link here:

I am deeply honored. To God be the glory.


Art Fair Philippines 2018


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I had loads of fun at the Art Fair Philippines yesterday. My gorgeous friend, JP, dragged me there, and I sure am glad I went with him. We were like kids in a candy store and we were just all over the place. There were so many things to see, and such lovely, meaningful, breathtaking paintings and sculptures.

The place was really crowded, and it was great to see people of all ages admiring the art pieces. What’s so cool is that, you could actually get your picture taken beside the artwork you really like, as long as you don’t go beyond the allotted distance. Oh, speaking of pictures, I’d like to share some of mine with you guys 😊

Of course, the perfect way to end an equally perfect day was to have a Margarita with a good friend, and then sing your heart out 😘❤️🎶💋

The Banishment


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I am haunted by a ghost.
She sits by my side.
Whispers at my ear, all day
and I have to listen to what she says.
I carry her on my back,
side-splitting heaviness giving way to madness.
And she smiles at me, knowing
that I will never get rid of her.
And I will helplessly end up seeing
how she gives flesh to my heartbreaking fears.

She tortures me with her words,
a knife brutally stabbing me,
by smiling and recounting
how he smiled at her
whispered “I love you” to her ear.
How he moaned when they made love.
How he grabbed her breasts
and squeezed her hips as he plunged
roughly, sometimes tenderly into her.
She will laugh and slash out,
letting me know,
how he took her out on dates
drank wine and laughed at her jokes.
How afterwards they would share a kiss
as his eyes gazed at her tenderly
and his hands softly, ever so softly,
touched her face under the light of the moon.
She will purr softly to my ears,
as she cuts me deeply,
and tell me how his cigarette smells on her skin
and how she would dress up prettily for him,
as he says how beautiful she is
and how lucky he is to be with her.

Then, she will pull out the knife from my flesh,
hand it to me and say,
So, now you know. Come, sit, and think.
Do you think he loves you or me?
And blood bleeds from every word she speaks
and my flesh is torn apart at the seams.
Come, she says, do you think he’ll forget?
And my heart drops to the floor
numb, bloody, barely beating
as she picks it up and toss it around
like a toy that has no purpose or meaning.
Really now? She says, do you think
you could ever get rid of me?
When I am all that you would ever feel and see.
Here, she says, take the knife.
Use it on yourself, end the pain, and be free.

And so I stand up.
What did the poem say? Bloody, but unbowed.
Yes, I tell her, you are all that.
Beautiful, sexy, and meaty.
But I too can be equally feisty.
I took the knife from her hands.
Tell me, I slashed out at her,
Were you there during the difficult times?
When we were barely living on a dime
When he was nothing and no one
When he had no money in his pockets
No title on his head
No flashy car to go around in.
Would you have looked at him twice then?
I stabbed at her and said,
Would you have survived the days we had nothing to eat?
Only canned fish and vegetables, each day,
each passing arduous day.
Then go to work with holes in our shoes,
And yet smiling at each other,
drawing strength from the love in his eyes
that would somehow, I know, see me through.
I plunged the knife through her chest, and whispered,
Have you seen him at his darkest?
When he would breakdown and cry
and snap and shout,
when things didn’t work out.
Have you seen him go silent in one of his moods?
Yet I would embrace him, and accept his totality.
Without question, take in his reality.
I looked at her in the eyes and asked,
Are you the mother of his child?
Did he ever tell you that,
You are his life and his meaning?
That all he ever wants was to keep you happy and smiling?
She answered, softly and weakly, “No”.
I rose up to walk away, and I told her,
You can have him. You can go.
You have nothing I need.
Nothing I fear.
For I know,
at the end of it all,
I am everything. I am enough.
And it may take time, but I will rise again.
Made stronger, wiser, and better by this pain.


New Beginnings (A Renewal for the New Year)


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Perhaps we missed this
the simple bliss
of sitting down and talking
about life, about our meaning
to each other, the process of being
together. The stirring of coffee,
this solution, dissolving becoming one
creating something beautiful, strong, and new
out of something separated and undone.
Yes, perhaps we needed to remember
why we chose to pursue this path of forever.
And in partaking of this bread with you
under the fullness of the sun
may it affirm why we chose to remain one.

In the Name of the Mother


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I reclaim my mother’s name.
Syllable by syllable.
Letter by letter.
I reach out and lay hold of it.

This name was forged upon
the blood of women.
Generations upon generations
who stood on their own
withstood the fear of being alone
fought for their ground
for their right to speak and be heard
to own their soul and their words
to be wounded and stay alive
to bleed and yet choose to survive.
Yes, this woman, this name
forged in their blood
I claim with no shame.

And across no man’s land
I join my fate with them.
Now, I understand.

Hear me roar!

As I dig myself out of the pit,
you buried me in
to hide away your sins.

You fed sand into my mouth,
so I can speak only what you wish to hear.
Poured sand into my eyes,
so I will be blind to your affairs.
Shoveled sand unto my skin,
So I will be numb to my own despair.

But I say enough!
And now I rise.
Now, I stand.
In defiance against the burning sand
of this barren, unforgiving land.

Now, I speak
with the strength of women who bore me.
I refuse to fall victim, enough with your lies.
Now, I see
the truth with their eyes and enter the light.
I reject your snares and turn away from the night.
Now, I feel
the beautiful intricacies of my thoughts and feelings.
I welcome my broken self and the peace that it brings.

I am the daughter of women.
I am a child of their womb.
And with their help, I will not succumb.
I will pick up the broken pieces.
Sit down with them.
Listen to their voices across the age.
As I weave my story with theirs
within this circle
within this sacred space
of affirmed existence
I am finally reborn
to guiltlessly celebrate
my true essence.

Breathe to Be Free (A Reprise)


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One day at a time.
It will be fine.

The world spins.
The sun sets and the moon rises.
Night turns into day.
The city sleeps and awakens
and this heart that was once forsaken
will surely beat again, scarred but recovered.
Ready for life, ready to live, and rediscover.
I know, I’ll wake up one morning
smiling while thinking
that life courses along
even down avenues of former longings
where my old love is walking by.
And I will be happy,
that he is out there
laughing and smiling without a care,
that he is well and good.
And that in all likelihood
on that day, I too, will be doing well.
And I’ll turn my back and say farewell
to him and his memories.
I’ll probably remember our story,
but I’ll take a deep breath and exhale
for it will be okay, I have prevailed.

All is well ….
Now, I just need to breathe and cope.
And hold on to that vision of hope,
that on that beautiful morning
the sun will be gloriously shining.
Life in the city will be moving.
The day will be flowing.
My heart will be beating.
And I definitely, so definitely,
on that day
will hear myself singing.


A Spark of Stardust


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The rain fell on the car
on the ground, around us
like the beating of a hundred drums,
heralds of the spirits to come.

For today is the day of the dead
and the heavens opened up
to bless the souls
of those who came before us,
or perhaps to shed tears
for the mortal coils and fears
of those who still walk and taste
the dust of this earthly fate.
For in the end,
are we not all stardusts?
Children of the sun
glowing ever so briefly
shedding our light to those who need us
before fading into memory,
swallowed by the past
where moments are recalled from darkness
by the light of candles, so brilliant
burning for each life lived
sparks of consciousness
against the void of existence, defiant
dancing against the rain
standing tall and proud
in the midst of mud and dirt.
And when the wind blew
the fertile fragrance of earth
swirled around and filled me through.
It made me cry.
For in that moment
I remembered them in their glory
of celebrated flesh and vibrant lives.
Scent mingled with memories.
Memories turned into tears.
And suddenly, I felt the ties of generations,
the bonded weight of combined years.

The pictures were taken from various sources in the net. These images are not mine.

Waiting for Sunrise


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I walked with you again

last night

lost in the narrow streets

we once haunted

and the closed windows

eyed me balefully

even scornfully

as the wind howled across the sky

echoing my pangs of pain,

and the rain fell around me

embracing me like a lover

perhaps knowing full well

that his cold touch paled

compared to the the icy darkness

of a heart lost, undone.

Or perhaps he mocked me

letting me feel the emptiness of your promise,

what was it you said ….

– we will work on forever –

and I, longing for love,

eagerly clutched at dandelion words

unaware how they drifted

from one place to another

one heart to replace another

until I couldn’t chase after it

and forever was lost

in a fraction of a heartbeat.

But life continues

forever remains true

and this moonlit tears will dry

as night turns to day

my heart beats anew

and I know, as sure as the world turns

I will someday find a love that’s true.

And when that day comes

I won’t even remember you.

For my vibrant friend, JP, whom I admire for never giving up on love. Smile, dearest, your prince will come for you one of these days.

Just Like You (For Kian and Others Like Him)


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They said,
it is a happily isolated case
but the canal waters run red nowadays
and the stones where Kian lay dying
bled from the tears of seventeen years.

And his father cried
mourning his son
his heart reeling from their lies.
How now?
This boy, he raised
this same young boy
who dreamt of love
just like you
who laughed unrestrained
just like you
who cried at the fear of failure
just like you
who played and hoped
just like you
who made silly wishes
under the pale light of the stars
forever fixed, forever shining
in the darkness of the heavens.
Yes, the same stars who bore witness
as they dragged this boy, Kian
across alleyways he used to play in
with his friends, running and laughing;
the same alleyways that now echoed
with his cries
pleading, oh so pitifully begging
for his young life
for the chance to live his dreams
for the right to succeed or fail
just like you.
Yes, just like you.
But so unlike you.
For they took that chance,
thieves in the night
they stole his life
they destroyed his dreams
they lied about
how he lived and died ….

And Kian ran at their command
“Hold this 45 and run!” They said.
And young Kian ran while crying
ran with his heart hammering
fighting for hope, thinking
of his mother whose hands
nursed him when he was sick.
Of his father who toiled
under sun and rain
to give him a future
he will never attain.
Of the girl whose smile
made his heart dance in his chest,
the same heart filling up with blood now
the same heart faintly beating
the same heart that will never know love.
And the stars wept above ….

Unlike you,
Kian lies like a dog in the corner,
covered in newspapers.
An isolated case.
A statistic.
A story on your screen.
An article in print.
slowly rotting … for our sins.

The story of Kian:

Our son, Kian: A good, sweet boy

The family and neighbors of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos have only one question: Why in the world would police kill such a sweet boy?

Eloisa Lopez

Published 11:24 AM, August 19, 2017

Updated 2:04 PM, August 19, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Seventeen-year old student Kian Loyd delos Santos could have been a policeman, but the policemen who killed him made this dream impossible.

On Wednesday night, August 16, Kian was shot to death in what the police described as a shooting encounter in a dark alley near his house.

CCTV footage and witnesses, however, revealed that he was dragged from one alley to another, past a basketball court, and into a dead-end corner where he was asked to run with a gun – and when he did, was shot.

Kian died wearing a blue shirt and printed boxer shorts – his pantulog or sleepwear, his father said. His dead body was found in fetal position with a gun in his left hand. His father said in media interviews that this detail, alone, could attest to his son’s innonence, since the teenager was not left-handed.

Who was Kian?

The first night of Kian’s wake, an old woman who regularly bought pencils in the Delos Santos’ mini-store asked what happened, upon seeing a casket in what was usually a room filled with candy and school supplies.

Kian’s father, Saldy, said it was his son, the young boy who attended to you, that was killed. The news came as a shock to the old lady, who nearly fainted, as if she were a mother who just heard that her own son had been killed. The old woman asked, how could such a thing happen? He was a very good boy! He sharpened the pencils I bought so I wouldn’t have to spend for a sharpener!

The other night, a street child visited the wake to see Kian. The little boy said Kian would always turn up the volume of whatever he was watching so that the boy, too, could watch with him.

It was these little things that Kian did that has made his death a puzzle to his family. Why in the world would police kill such a sweet boy?

Kian, or Ian to most, was just like any other teenager. If he wasn’t in school or busy in the store, his eyes were glued to his cellphone watching the Funniest Videos on Youtube or blasting Fliptop battles as he sang along to the rap songs, to his father’s confusion.

Ano ba ‘yang pinapatugtog mo (What are you playing)?” he would ask like a typical parent.

The young man only had one vice: eating junk food. For breakfast, he would often have a cup coffee and a pack of his favorite cheese-flavored chips. For lunch, 5 pieces of fish balls, and a few pieces of kwek-kwek (fried battered quail eggs) would be good enough for him.

Often at night, Kian would ask his father if he wanted a massage, and he would ask for a massage in return. Many times they wouldn’t have efficascent oil, so they would use cooking oil instead. It worked the same way anyway, his father would say.

All 4 of Saldy’s children did not grow up in luxury. None of them had their own rooms – not even their own beds – at home. The family members slept beside each other every night until such time they are capable of living on their own.

Unlike many kids who spent their days running around the streets and playing with neighbors, Saldy’s children were trained to take care of the mini-store he built to support the family as his wife, Lorenza, toiled overseas as a domestic helper.

At 5:30 every morning, it was Kian’s task to open the store and man it until before noon when it was his father’s time to clock in, and Kian would prepare for school. The same way at night, he would close the store before he could walk around the block for some chitchat, like what he did that night he was killed.

Not once did the young man give his father a headache. Not once did he get money from the store to keep for himself. Not once did Kian display bad behavior in school or in the barangay that meritted a report to his parents. So imagine Saldy’s surprise when one night, while he was in their other house in Valenzuela, he got a call from his brother that the police had taken his son.

A few hours before he was informed about the incident, Saldy sent Kian a message to sleep early and be careful around the streets. “You know how it is in our street, it could be dangerous,” he said in what would be his final advice to his son.

Kian is your son

‘BE STRONG’. Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza, share a moment beside their son’s casket. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

It has been 3 long nights for Saldy and Lorenza since Kian was killed. Three long nights filled with cameras flashing from left to right, and microphones held to their mouths every hour. Lorenza could barely even be heard. Her voice had gone hoarse from crying and speaking to the media.

On Friday night, after most of the media had left, the couple share a moment beside their son’s casket.

Saldy embraces his wife and whispers to her, be strong, be strong. Rest now, but be strong.

Still, Lorenza insists on speaking to the media, when asked. She says even if she has lost her voice, when a question is asked about her son, she musters the strength to speak. She forces herself to shout. “I need to speak up for my son,” Lorenza says.

Saldy will remain restless until the men responsible for his son’s slay is punished. He says he’s been wondering himself, whether the men who killed his son had their own sons as well. “Don’t they think about what their sons would think? What would people say? Your Papa is trigger-happy.”

He thought maybe the killers were the addicts, seeing how it was so easy for them to kill.

“It would have been okay if they did kill an addict who had a gun, but they killed an innocent child. And to think, he wanted to be a policeman,” Saldy says.

Over the past week, at least 81 people have been killed in police operations all over the country. It has been the deadliest week of the so-called war on drugs.

On Wednesday, after 32 people were killed in police operations in Bulacan province, President Rodrigo Duterte praised his men and said it was “good.” Let it continue.

When Saldy is asked if he voted for the President, he can only give a long sigh. Finally he said, “Mali, ‘no (It was wrong, right)?” –


Result of Kian’s autopsy:

Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17, killed in drug crackdown

18 AUGUST 2017

Three police officers suspended as witnesses claim unarmed 17-year-old boy was framed by officials.

Police killed at least 94 in anti-drug operations this week [Erik De Castro/Reuters]

Philippine police are under pressure to explain the killing of a 17-year-old high school student, who has become the latest victim of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs.

Kian Loyd Delos Santos died on Thursday night in the capital Manila amid allegations that he was framed by three police officers, who witnesses said forced the teenager to hold a gun, fire and run.

CCTV footage from the Manila suburb of Caloocan showed Delos Santos being carried by two men to a place where his body was later found, raising doubt about an official report that said he was shot because he fired at police officers first.

According to the police report, Delos Santos ran when he saw the officers approaching him. He then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the policemen, who shot back.

Witnesses told local media that the teenager was unarmed.

National police chief Ronald dela Rosa said that if the Grade 11 student did not pose a threat, the officers who shot him on Thursday night would be held accountable.

“I will not allow any police officer to just kill a 17-year-old boy for no reason at all,” he told reporters. “Are they that heartless?”

Dela Rosa added: “Just think about it, he is just a kid. If that happened to your sibling? We will investigate it, I assure you.”

Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the three policemen involved had been relieved of their duties and an investigation would be launched.

Several senators, including known allies of Duterte, expressed outrage about Delos Santos’ death and called an investigation on Friday into a spike in the killings of drug suspects in recent police operations.

“The Philippine National Police, on its misguided war on drugs, is now terrorising our communities and collateral damage is unacceptable,” said Representative Edgar Erice.

“Killing the poor and powerless is not the solution to the drug problem when tons of methamphetamine are smuggled in,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.

‘Bloody week’

Police killed at least 27 people in Manila on the third night of a new push in Duterte’s war on drugs and crime, taking the toll for one of the bloodiest weeks so far to 94, according to officials.

Earlier in the week, 67 people were shot and nearly 250 arrested in Manila and provinces adjoining the Philippines capital, in what police described as a “One-Time, Big-Time” push to curb drugs and street crime.

President Duterte hailed the recent killing of 32 drug suspects in a 24-hour police crackdown, the highest death toll in a single day in his administration’s anti-drug war.

“That’s beautiful. If we can only kill 32 every day, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” Duterte said on Wednesday.

According to police statistics, more than 3,000 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte became president on June 30, 2016.

Source: News agencies

Click the link to access the interview of the witnesses and Kian’s father:

Discovering San Agustin Museum in Intramuros


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Here are the things I learned while touring San Agustin Museum (which is right beside San Agustin Church) in Intramuros. These tidbits of knowledge are not arranged in any particular order.

1) British raiders took the ivory hands of the 15-18th C statues, and according to our guide, rumor has it that these sacred ivory pieces are on display in some British museums.

2) Juan Luna, the genius behind the Spolarium, is entombed here. Hmmm … I wonder if he roams the adjacent San Agustin church at night ….

3) The ceiling design of San Agustin church was painted using a lost Italian technique. Yes, those designs were not really chiseled on there, and yet, they look like they were, right? How cool is that? You could see the same painting technique on some of the wall designs too.

4) The Zobel de Ayala clan, one of the most influential and powerful families in the entire archipelago since Spanish times, has their chapel inside the church proper itself. According to our guide, they believe that their souls will ascend to heaven faster this way.

5) The original vestments worn by the priests during the 18th C are also on-display here. These garments are so precious because they are embroidered with exquisite designs that were painstakingly created using real gold threads. Most of these historic garments were, again, unfortunately taken by British raiders. Our guide told us that these lost vestments even had precious gems sewn into them. Wow! Hey, shouldn’t they return those to us?

6) Now, this information kinda made my jaw dropped — Miguel Lopez De Legazpi’s earthly remains is enshrined inside the church. Legazpi is the first governor of the Philippines, and if I’m not mistaken, he had a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna. I knew he died of a heart attack, but I didn’t know that his final resting place is inside San Agustin church.

7) There is an underground passage connecting the church to Fort Santiago. Our guide also tells us that most of the major structures in Intramuros are interconnected underground via these old passages. I took a peek through the bars and it made me feel kinda creepy. It felt like someone was staring back at me from the darkness. Okay, moving on now 😄

8) The 18th C bamboo organ is still working and is being kept in the balcony, the same place where the choir used to sing during mass. The whole area was closed off during the time of our visit, and so I was unable to take a picture of it up-close. If you look at the picture below, you can see the organ at the right side.

9) A couple of 15th C Bibles in Latin with illustrations are being preserved as part of the collection.

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) One enters and exits the museum via the “Door of Love”. The guide pointed out the carved out heart in the middle of the door, which was impressive when you look at it closely. But wait, I just want to clarify though, I wasn’t really paying attention here, because I was so busy looking at other stuff, but I do believe the guide called it the “Door of Love”. If I’m wrong, pls don’t call me a moron, and just kindly correct me on this 😊❤️✌🏻❤️😊 I mean, spread love, right? ❤️😊❤️

My feet were killing me after an hour or so of touring the place, so I needed to sit down and rest. I wasn’t able to finish the tour ☹️ I’ve been told the whole church, including the seminary inside, measures 2.2 hectares. So wow, I definitely have to go back there again and check everything out. Anyway, I hope you guys found this informative. 😊