Wednesday, July 30, 2014







Culture is not static; it is not a given. As transgressive as this may sound to the unenlightened, culture is dynamic. Traditions, practices, and values do change and often should change -- especially those which reinforce (both subtly and overtly) feudalism, imperialism, patriarchy, commodification, and other forms of oppression.

However, to question, problematize, and dare to act differently from what the dominant in society expects is to risk more than just career and reputation. It's to risk being labeled and treated as a misfit and much worse. Even if one's views and actions are based on a rational and principled stance, too few will understand and many will cry out: "Why are you rocking the boat? Why don't you act in the proper way expected of you?"

Utterances based on solid evidence and honest assessment yet deviate from the cultural norm? Unacceptable. Assertions of one's agency and autonomy? That's not how things are done.

And to engage in critical discourse -- as you recently remarked -- is to "open up a can of worms no one wants to discuss". Women, in particular, are expected to be deferential and ever so compliant, for culture is clearly integral to social control. Still, to challenge this hegemony, whether openly or privately, can be liberating and refreshing, consequences be damned. But discourse is not enough. It is never enough.


*Some photos taken recently at different museums

Sunday, May 18, 2014


santa and bird house bougainvilla street mindanao avenue 051514

Your rose isn't red though, but it's quite fine.

For me, roses, have value even though it isn't Valentines day. The same way Santa Claus for me, exists even though it's not yet Christmas. Like, shouldn't we remember our moms and dads all year through and not just mother's day or father's day?


*Santa Claus and his bird house in the middle of glare of the afternoon sun.

Friday, March 7, 2014

At Hardin






You once asked me why there are no roses at Hardin ng Rosas. I replied that I had actually found one during my daily walks -- a rare rose that I would show you someday. Here it is along with more familiar sights of this quiet place. This garden of sorts in the middle of the city. The place where I recover.


Friday, February 14, 2014

red shade

tree with bouganvilla leaves topaz filter cropped resized 020814fixed

I decided to come back to you. It was a long walk but always worth it. I mean, getting exercise and visiting your beloved?

Along the way, I saw a tree topped with red bougainvillea flowers. I decided to take a break and rest in the red-tinted shade.


*red bougainvillea flowers giving lush redness over a leafless tree.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

for two

I thought of resting. All that walking tired me so I went to the mall to get some refreshments. Tray in hand, I saw this table and thought of sitting there. But the chairs weren't that inviting and the table was meant for two.

It wasn't for me. Not now though. I went on to look for another one.


*table with two dressed chairs at sm north.

Monday, February 10, 2014

look up

I eventually went down the bus, though, as I saw the conductor was not going to fulfill his promise. I continued my walk.

A lot has changed in our surroundings. Open spaces are becoming more and more scarce. Space has to be maximized. Filled up, it seems, with only consumerist establishments.

The story would always go something like this: a place was once just full of grass. Talahiban lamang siya, but now, there is a mall or a subdivision where grass once was. Progress.

I tend to look up a lot nowadays. To cherish the sight of the sky and the clouds. Clouds are the new grass now, fewer and fewer to be seen. The talahiban, the sky? Yes, the sky would soon be gone and filling it up, to maximize space, will be the condominiums.


*Chinatown roofs with a worker

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lalakad na

Well, that didn't take long. I found myself inside a bus, looking out the window, commuting again.

The bus conductor was an effective barker. He held out his signs and offered some promises: "Lalakad na." (It's gonna leave now.)


*bus conductor holding route signs at Roxas Blvd.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

pedestrian crossing

I think I don't have to wait for it. For now that is. Let me try walking, see what I can discover.

Of course, I'll tell you all about it.


*Hardin street, UP

Sunday, February 2, 2014

red light

Hey dear,

Still waiting for it to turn green.
Should I wait or just beat it to move on?


*North Avenue corner Mindanao interesection

Saturday, September 21, 2013

the long, open road

buko juice vendor with flag sando at morato

Yes, a long way to go. I think our country would soar if it would concentrate only on our flag's basic color meanings: white for equality and fraternity, blue for peace, truth, and justice, and red for patriotism and valor.

The sun, the stars, and their meanings are but unnecessary burdens carried by the people, if you ask me. Alas, they are burdens we are forced to carry. Government and geographical boundaries are important, even if they seem to be the root of all current conflicts.

jordan 092113

*Buko vendor with a sunless and starless Philippine flag basketball shirt, plying the roads of Tomas Morato on a gloomy, rainy day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013



Yes, the road to acceptance is still fraught with obstacles. When I consider my friends, relatives, and loved ones who are transgender, bi, lesbian, or gay, I am proud of them and cherish their being part of my life. However, when they encounter bigotry and homophobia, I grit my teeth in anger. For when homophobes insult my friends and loved ones, they are insulting me, as well.

I remain hopeful, though, that the tide is changing. And that history will not look kindly upon homophobes and their narrow-minded, hateful attitudes and behaviors.


Friday, August 23, 2013

a long way to go

helmets kissing at cherry 052313

True, Gay beauty pageants have been the grassroots venue of acceptance for our queens. Little by little, acceptance is coming. But a long way still we must go. Until two helmets can kiss each other in public and not be looked down upon, we must continue the struggle for acceptance.


*two helmets kissing while the owners return, looking displeased at the scene they find.

Friday, August 2, 2013




You mentioned chess in your last post, but it's a game that I never learned to play properly. I can barely remember what the Rook, Pawn, Knight, Bishop, King, or Queen are allowed to do.

Speaking of Queens, here are some who made this recent neighborhood fiesta in Manila all the more dazzling and brighter. From what I've seen, gay and transgender beauty pageants are as much a part of life here as most other traditions. And if that's a sign of acceptance and pride for LGBT Filipinos, then I'm all for it.


Friday, July 26, 2013

said woman, take it slow...

medieval chess set01 030813
It’s been ages since you last posted, with a deluge of images at that.

I have resigned myself to the idea that this dialogue of ours was no longer to continue. I say this without drama, only with facts that calm me knowing that, this may have ended, but something continues outside of it.

Yet you replied, made your move, in a chess game where the set pieces waited, gathered dust, cobwebs and all.

I make my move, and like the chess pieces, wait patiently.


*old chess set with medieval pieces.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013



"Do not measure in terms of time: one year or ten years means nothing. For the artist there is no counting or tallying up; just ripening like the tree that does not force its sap and endures the storms of spring without fearing that summer will not come. But it will come. It comes, however, only to the patient ones who stand there as if all eternity lay before them—vast, still, untroubled. I learn this every day of my life, I learn it from hardships I am grateful for: patience is all."

- Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

Thanks for your patience, dear. And sorry for the delay in replying to your post. As we weather storms and other challenges, there's still so much to be grateful for and to learn from. Even in these small glimpses of the everyday.


*Photos taken in Quezon City 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013


two headed lechon along pluto street 031013

sorry dear, but I got distracted by this tasteful symmetry, roasting just about right. you were saying?


*double headed lechong baboy being roasted along the pluto avenue sidewalk.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Burning bright


A rising tiger, they say? Sounds like hot air to me. I wonder how that translates for the ordinary man on the street like this vendor who survives by selling cheap balloons -- fishes, horses, cartoon characters, and tigers, as well. Dare one frame the "fearful symmetry" here, I wonder.


Friday, March 15, 2013

by the by

tiger balloon at telephone booth, session road, baguio

Speaking of growth, I've read somewhere that our country is Asia's new rising tiger.

I remember the days when he was just your regular tiger, floating around, trying to get by, still using a payphone in this day and age of mobile phones.

Have you heard from him? He hasn't been returning calls ever since the news came out. He might now be hobnobbing with the rich and famous for all I know.


*Tiger balloon at a pay phone along Session Road, Baguio

Monday, March 11, 2013






Growing, learning, adapting, and embracing.

Here's a bit of the "romantic-realist" (as you call it) view while walking around UP campus.


Monday, February 25, 2013

let love grow

Yes, let us leave the romanticism to the youth.

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And may they grow to be romantic-realists like us.

angeles city holyweek crowd

And on a side note, you also have yet to give me flowers during Valentine's.


*young and old couples amongst the crowd at Angeles City during last year's Holy Week.