For Tito Joe…

This coming Monday, I will have been in New South Wales, Australia for exactly a month. And in the past few weeks, because of all the new places and experiences that come with moving out of the country, I find myself having to be selective about the things I want to remember about home. How I want to remember the things at home. 

Some things and some people will always be a part of your memory, always cherished, because of how much they meant to you. My godmother’s family are a few of those important people. Last night, her father, my Tito Joe, passed away after being hospitalized for nearly a week. 
My godmother’s family has always been there for mine, especially during my own grandmother’s hospitalization. So at this time when I cannot be physically there for them, I will instead remember Tito Joe, who was funny and warm and kind. Who I didn’t know very well, but who will always stick in my memory and be part of my heart because of his endearing presence whenever our family got together. Who told me to make sure to visit him and his wife if I ever came back to the Philippines, and who I assured that of course, I would.

To his spirit, and to the family he leaves behind, I send peace and love, and many thanks for having known him in our lives.

Tito Joe (seated) holding Baby!Sab, with Mom behind him and Ninang Sharon (my favorite godmother) standing on the right.



I’ve been hungry before. I know the dull emptiness in my stomach and the dizziness in my head that comes from it. I’ve been hungry for most of my teenage years.

But I’ve never starved.

When I eat, I eat till I’m full. I finish as much as I take. There’s always enough, or a little more than enough, for second or third helpings, to share, or to leave for tomorrow. Most times I have a meal, I leave the table satisfied. I’ve never starved, yet for some people starvation is all they know. For some people, even in the rare moments when you have enough for everyone, you live in the fear that it won’t last. And that starvation will come again.

I don’t know what that’s like. I’m glad I don’t.

I have known disappointment, disgust, regret, rage and grief. And awful as those things may seem, it could be a whole lot worse.

I’m just thankful that I’ve never starved. 

Fiction: Driving Through the Rain

She wakes up. It’s cold. Dark outside. Rain spatters against the car windows.

Beyond the soft rumble of the engine beneath her she can see empty fields and trees, other headlights cutting swaths through the light fog, a long row of street lamps extending into eternity down the road that never ends, the road soaked now by softly falling rain.

“Dad, are we there yet?”

He doesn’t take his eyes off the road, but his voice is reassuring. “Not yet, go back to sleep.”

She doesn’t.

She curls up in the corner between seat and door and rests her head on the cold window, wrapping a blanket around herself. And watches the rain.

Watches, as they roll down the street, past a brightly-lit diner that offers a glimpse into the other lives of people at 11 pm. She sees a woman leaning on a man’s shoulder in a booth seat near the window. Warm and full on greasy hamburgers and cold ketchup. 

That’s their version of happy, but this is hers– and her father’s (hands on the wheel and eyes on the road), and her mother’s (sleeping in the front passenger seat with her head tilted and a road map splayed open on her lap). In the cold and the rain and the leather smell of the inside of their car. It is oddly comforting. The concept of staying nowhere and thus belonging everywhere. They are headlights on the road, they are stars in the sky. 

They drive on through the rain but they cannot escape the moon, which always seems to follow them, like a lamp seeing them through the darkness. Or one half of a warm chicken pot pie. Or a lemon chaser someone has left on a table in an empty bar because they ran outside, hiccuping with laughter, after their friends, scarves trailing reckless and ragged like jet trails in the cold night. 

She is drowsy but she cannot sleep. If she closes her eyes now, she feels there will be no tomorrow. No, she has to see the night through its transformation into day, and only then can she be sure of the future.

Lights flicker by, passing her present and fading into the past. Only the moon follows. 

An experiment in creating atmosphere. This scene is set to/inspired by the mood of ‘Missisippi’ by Train. Try playing it while reading the piece:

My Story?

Back when we first met,

A friend once asked me


What’s your story?’

I’m not sure what she meant,

Or what she was expecting

I am, you see

A prism of different tales

An anthology of half-started lives

I didn’t have a definite story

Not yet
I guess that was my cue to make one


Wearing a watch

(I hate it)

Reminds me

Of how inherently different

I am–

Because I wear it on my right wrist

And way too high up

And never past the third hole

Because my arm’s too damn small

And I’m not the type

Who cares so much about time anyway

And that’s why I don’t wear a watch 

Sometimes I’m Torn

Sometimes I’m torn between

this is only as much as you do for me so that’s only as much as I do for you


this is only as much as you do for me but I will do much more for you

Because I’m the better person