Feminist Lens: What dreams are made of

I’m not the right person to talk about goal setting. I am just good at dreaming. I personally advocate to make your own dreams, follow your heart’s desire.

Dreams don’t only talk about the future but they also talk about our existing values, our interests, and our priorities.

I read an anecdote of a mother having a conversation with her son. Her son wrote in his homework that he wanted to be the driver of a train. The teacher corrected her son’s homework. She wrote : “To be a manager of the train station.”

Should the teacher correct the little boy’s dream? What if being a train operator is what the little boy really wanted to be?

I have heard many stories on how parents would like their children to be doctors, nurses, lawyers and how students struggle to finish a degree they don’t like.

If ever I become a mother, I will not insist my dreams to be my children’s dreams. They will be what they want to be.

This leaves me with a thought that we are not entitled to impose what people should aspire for. When people tell me what I should be and what I should want to have, I silently respond:
“Who are you to tell me what I should be?” “What do you know about my dreams.”

If I am not happy receiving unsolicited advice on how I should live my life, why should I do the same to others?


A month ago, I facilitated a short activity for a group of women in the community. In our activity Buuin Natin Ang Ating Mga Pangarap, we ask each woman to make a vision board. The group was composed of full-time mothers living in Brgy. UP Campus. They cut out pictures from magazines and newspapers and put them all together in a cartolina. Some dreamed of having a business, owning a landline, and serving good food for their family. I take it as a sign of hope that somehow they have aspirations that will eventually make them entrepreneurs in their community. As expected, everyone mentioned having a good life for their family.

If you belong to the first wave of feminists, you would preach that you have the choice to work outside home. Do not let yourself be confined to the four corners of your home. You can be so much more than be a mother and a wife.

I was supposed to end the activity with the women by saying, “Have a dream outside home, outside family. Have a dream that you can call yours, not your husband’s dream, not your parents’ dream, not you family’s dream. “

But I just couldn’t remember if I really said it. Maybe I did not say it at all because deep down I questioned my position to encourage women to aim a little higher and “dream for yourself.” I had some introspection. Maybe these things are easy to say because I am young, single, childless, and middleclass.

I have enjoyed my single life and perhaps my motivation of the things I do is to reach self-actualization. Like other millennials, I constantly question my purpose in life. Sometimes, I subconsciously equate purpose with profession, paycheck, or any validation from the society. And again my formula is about me and my dreams.

But for some people, family is a strong motivation to keep a job, to get a promotion, to start a business, to take risks, to keep your momentum and zest in life. I rationalize this by saying,
“You make the most of your ability when you know that there are people around you who depend on you, like a captain of the ship, like a pilot, like a CEO.” For me, that is a form of empowerment. When you are able to produce milk for your child, when all the members of the house are well-fed, when you ensure accessibility and availability of resources not only for your family survival but for the development of their capacities, motherhood becomes a serious endeavor that requires management skills, with targets and deliverables.

If we ask most mothers what they dream of, the answers will always be about family. Should we as feminists, dream of enhancing and strengthening our personal relationships? Should it be part of our agenda to make better mothers and wives in the world?

Without being too theoretical, feminism wants women to be their best version of themselves and that covers many facets of a woman’s life

The purpose of the vision board activity is not to promote a new set of values but to find commonality in our dreams as a women’s organization. Because within these similarities, we draw strength from one another to reach great heights.

From a Ted Talk quote:

“Coming true is not the only purpose of a dream. Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from, where passion comes from, where happiness comes from. Even a shattered dream can do that for you.” – Lisa Bu

Why should we deprive ourselves from the joy of dreaming? Whether it’s small or big,for work or better life, whether it comes from a selfless notion of motherhood,  a dream is a reminder that we can be so much more than what we are today.

Life Hacks: How to avoid being “Burara”

“Burara” is a Filipino word used to describe a person who is careless with his or her things.

I had a lot of moments looking for my eyeglasses, an official receipt and a deposit slip. When I was younger I’d asked my older brother to look for my lost things at home and he would ask me to pay him.

Prevention is better than cure and it applies on how you get things done. Just be organized, as what they say.


The struggle to be organized is real if you are burara like me. Slowly, I have tried to be organized. I have managed to combat my burara tendencies with a few tricks.

These tricks are very useful for those who are forgetful and constantly absent-minded.

Take a photo of important files, notes, announcement and others

The purpose why cameras are built on mobile phones is not only for selfies, foodporn,
Instagram, and Facebook. Use a camera phone to document not only life’s important events, but  other things you need to remember such as your enrollment form, your tax certificate, contact details of VIP, your course syllabus, announcements, advisory, schedule, and other documents that you will find useful in the future. Think of your phone as an instant notebook and planner when you don’t have a pen and paper. Papers are disposable but your phone is the one thing you will never leave behind. I also take a photo when  I’m trying to be familiar with a new place. I take a photo of landmarks as I travel.

Always have soft copies of your documents

You should  have a soft copies of your files such as your live birth, passport, ID,  ticket, research paper, letters. Scan or take a photo. If you have poor organizational skills, keeping back-up files will prevent you from painstakingly finding and arranging files. The best thing about soft copies is that you can always use the search button of your PC. Instead of manually looking for a file, let the mouse do it for you.

To be more secure, send soft copies to your own email  address. Remember someone might snatch your mobile phone and your laptop might crash down.

Use stickers as markers for your black objects

Stickers are not only cute things but they are small organizers. It’s hard to find gadgets inside a large black bag.


Use rubber band for your earphones, charger and other cable wires


Bring some paper clips in your wallet

A paper clip is a time-saver. When you are submitting documents for school, employment, and business, it helps to have a paper clip so that your paper requirements do not get messed up.

And when you need to separate your paper bills, receipts in your wallet, paperclips can be very useful.

Lesson learned: No matter how small you are, you can make a difference. Just like a paper clip. Small, simple but make great things possible. harhar

The Space Between Us

There’s  a difference between loving from afar and loving too close.
They say proximity measures affection and relationships are defined by intimacy and commitment

When you are too near, you can hear the person’s breathing next to you.
Even the sounds that are not of interest, they catch your ears
like how someone snores and that repetitive surprise fart
that is intimacy. that is live performance

When you are miles apart, you define intimacy
by private messages and phone conversations
they are always private and people will always think you have a quiet time with your boo
but in your head, it has an overflowing passion, as perfect as a sonnet

Sometimes some things are beautiful from afar.
I can invent our life together in photoshop, in wonderland
I can’t see pimples nor trace the rough edges of your face.
They are replaced by a flat screen and a smooth surface.


But as I make a reality check, it is mundane, just like one of the stories

When I pat you on the back, I am patting a pillow or a pet
when my hand is reaching for your hand, it is reaching for a phone or a mouse
when I crack a joke, I can’t hear you laugh
the decibels of your laughter, and the stretch of your lips
are replaced by three letters, LOL
Going to a cinema meant going to a website
Your voice over the phone sounds like the best customer service
Your mass weight and body mass are shrunk into text, jpegs, and emoticons


You can spend hours staring at the camera, but there is nothing more awkward than staring at someone face to face
I miss the awkwardness
which leads to losing a taxi ride, forgetting our itinerary, losing our cash.
Sometimes I feel like gadgets are living things too, I cuddle them to sleep.

Face to face, silence is a beautiful and meaningful pause.
It is an opportunity to take a deep breath for the arms to extend or the fingers to lock
and for my eyes to find your eyes
There’s a space between us
and between us is a black hole where all the warm hugs, teardrops, and long gazes, are trapped
And the airwaves can only send   “hahaha” and “hehehe”


Happy Hearts Day to all girlfriends and boyfriends in long distance  relationships! 😀

Photos taken in Sky Ranch, Tagaytay

Dear Cebu

Dear Cebu,

When I think of you, I think of seaweeds, and receding beach line,

I think of boho and YOLO

but you are such a city that never takes a nap.
You don’t have an insomia yet but please have a lunch break and rest when you can
The streets are never bare
that I cannot sing “On My Own” or think about about my lover across the sea
For it takes a lot of time and presence of mind just to cross the streets.

I thought I was beautiful in Cebu
because everyday there was always a man offering me a motor ride.
But then I found out it was not a free ride at all

Even the driver’s most dashing smile comes with a price
That’s when the moment I learn I shouldn’t depend on any man for a car or a ride
Sometimes it’s better to walk alone
than to pay 40 pesos just to be home.

Cebu, you are like my first love and last love.
too familiar and ignored that I buried in my 2-gigabite memory
Like last love, everybody tells me they want to grow old with you
they build a house for retirement, they build a home, they make love, they make choices

You are mixed. You are flavored. you are the home of my taste buds
I like how you take my hands and let them explore the flavors of the sea.
I thought I wanted to be a mermaid because I had no fear of depths
But when I met you I wouldn’t want to be mermaid ever
I will trade my fins and be human again
because I am always a pescetarian, who cannot swim for her life

You are not too quiet. You are not too noisy
You are funny. You are friendly
You care. You smile.
You excite me
But just like any other city, you become predictable, commercial

You may mean business
but t it will be my pleasure to meet you in odd circumstance
in serendipity, in suit and tie, in slippers and loose jeans

and unlike other cities of the world, you welcome transients to stay forever


The woman who fell in love with a Cebuano



I feel homesick. No, I am not homesick. Manila is not my home. To me, Manila is the local New York filled with spectacle, glitz, and noise. It’s amazing how our ideals in life change. We change our preferences in life: the jobs we want to have, the people we want to follow,  and the way we spend our money.

When I found out I had to leave Manila, I had mixed emotions. I was happy because I knew my life would be a lot easier moving to a smaller city but at the corner of my eyes, tears were building up. I was overreacting but leaving a place where I spent significant amount of time could be very daunting. The idea that I might not come back scares me. As I rode the bus, I was nostalgic as if I was breaking up with a boyfriend and I was trying to reminisce everything. I thought of my friends, my awkward moments in college, my surprisingly enjoyable master’s degree, the malls, the city routes I learned to be familiar with. Then again, I was just being myself, the overly sentimental and emotional self.

Someone told me, “How much more if you’re leaving abroad?”

I joked,”Yun nga eh. Aalis ako pero local lang ang lilipatan ko”

I definitely don’t miss the traffic of Manila, the five-hour bus ride, nor the 30 minute MRT ride. It was suffocating to live every day of my life chasing, worrying, and waiting. And I think I have adapted that kind of mindset, that panicky and restless girl. My sense of distance and time changed when I started working in Cebu. How far is far? How near is near? How heavy the traffic is?

On a lighter note, I like the food here. I realize my taste buds are really Bisaya. I get to eat my favorite food all the time, kinilaw or Ceviche (for a classy word) and guso and lato , the seaweeds.


I told one of my former work mates: “I think this is a place where I want to grow old”

“Emo(tional)kaayo ka,” she replied.

Walang forever as what they say

But we don’t try things because we necessarily want them forever.

We try because it’s worth the risk


Let’s be transients forever!

February Diary

DSCF0734I am surrounded by gloomy weather. I am trying my best to think of fondest memories to cheer me up. This brings me back to an interview question from an executive, “What makes you happy?”

For the past few months, I was preoccupied with so many twist and turns in my life and my thoughts are clouded with many premature plans, and grown-up errands that I cannot pinpoint what exactly makes me happy. I cannot even think of happiness in its simplest form.

I just try to look back which month I was happy or at least a month that I never thought of being sad.


“They like you,” the teacher said after I had an hour teaching English.

That was my first day of an ESL (English as a Second Language). My depleting funds pushed me to get a temporary job while I was finishing my MA.

I did not know what I was going to teach. I did not have enough time to prepare. Then there were three boys who were waiting for me. They looked older than me (haha!). They probably thought I was close to their age. As days went by, my group class grew bigger. Sometimes, I had ten as maximum number of students but my regular group class consisted of five students. And I had one-on-one classes on of top that. It did not really sound a part-time job.

They were Turkish students who chose to pursue college education in China and spent their vacation break in the Philippines all for the sake of studying English. My students were very polite and kind. My student would get me some tea and bread.

On my first day, one student asked: “Teacher, is this your first time teacher?”

He continued,”For a first timer, you are very good.”

I also had this one funny student who kept reminding me that I was too old and that I should get married. He was kind enough to give me a special offer: “When you reach 30 and still single, I will help you find a husband. My dad owns a jewelry shop. He has many friends.”

He made me laugh in so many ways. He said: “You… get married…. impossible but me, go to Harvard possible.”

I did enjoy my short-ESL-teaching stint because it was filled with fun and light moments in class. We were always laughing and talking. I felt a certain sense of fulfillment when I witnessed my students progressed and when they showed gratitude. I got the weirdest remarks “Teacher , you look like my grandmother because she’s short and dark.” And the winner: You look like a Bollywood actress” (haha)

Maybe in the future, I might go back to teaching. For one reason, I like the feeling of being young. I like to laugh. I like to talk. I like to smile. And it gives space for introverts like me to be with people. Maybe that’s my version of living a teenage dream – young and happy.



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