family, people, travel

Returning to Baguio


We left the city by 4 in the morning with no concrete plan.

We only had the road ahead of us and each other.

We would go to wherever our hearts would gravitate to when we decide that it’s time to rest.

And we found it in a place where the three of us went to together some 10 years ago.

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Drowning in grass in Mt. Talamitam


My first hike was on a whim. It was a short one too. We were driving in Sedona, Arizona, after we visited our cousins in Phoenix last December 2014. Before going to Prescott to visit my Tita Tess, Tessa, and Paffy too (and their cats!), my cousin Ouel decided that he, my Mom, and I should climb Airport Vortex. Tita Mila and Tito Manny stayed in the car, while we went up Airport Vortex even when there was still snow on the ground! We didn’t carry anything at all, and we weren’t even in proper attire. My Mom was wearing boots when we climbed! She also conquered her fear of heights when she bravely took on this challenge. I’ll always be proud of her that time she decided to carry on when we were about to reach the top and she didn’t want to go anymore. We encouraged her, we believed in her, and eventually, my Mom reached the top of Airport Vortex to revel in the view of the whole of Sedona and its red rock formations, peppered with snow here and there.

The second hike I had was with my Dad and cousin Jango last May 2015. It was in Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, Nevada. The climb was easy for me as I didn’t have the responsibility of carrying a backpack or our water bottles. My Dad and Jango did the carrying, while I was free to walk and climb without the burden of something heavy on my shoulders and back. Because I have asthma, I can’t really carry heavy weight as it might trigger an attack. I will always be thankful for my Dad and Jango for understanding and carrying the things we needed.

On our third hike, I was also with my Dad and my cousins EJ and Jammil with their pet pug, Tofu (who is a patient climber if I may add!). We climbed Mission Peak in Fremont, California. This hike was, if I’m not mistaken, two days after Red Rock Canyon. Comparing our two experiences, this was a tougher hike, as the trail we picked was all uphill! Also, my Dad and my cousins were the ones carrying bags, while I was free again to just carry my Dad’s camera around. But still, it was a difficult climb for us, while my cousins breezed through it. I remember my Dad and I only being able to take small steps, because our legs hurt.

But on March 5, 2016, yesterday, it felt like I was climbing a mountain again for the first time.

This was my fourth hike, but the first in three aspects: 1) it was my first with my colleagues and superiors; 2) it was my first here in our beloved Philippines; and 3) it was my first time I had to carry a relatively light backpack (relatively light, because when I travel back to our home in the province, it would be heavier due to the books I bring!), because in the first two, my Dad and cousins would be carrying the heavy load.

So yes, I needed to trust God more on this day when Mt. Talamitam beckoned our team to have it as our first climb together.

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faith, family, life

Home for the Holy Week



It is always a long drive when Holy Week comes along. For this year, my Mom and I left the city at 12 midnight and arrived in our humble town in the province of Zambales at 6 A.M. We plopped down on the couch in the living room, where we always are most of the time, and slept. We were sleepy during the drive, but my Mom was sleepier than I was. (I think I need to learn to drive soon!)

The entrance to the SCTEX was filled with cars and buses. Even the NLEX too and the gas stations we stopped by at and passed. It made the world feel smaller as lots of people were traveling during that time. Back to their homes in the province or to have a vacation somewhere near the beach or high up in the mountains up north.




Holy Week. My Mom and I would spend this time at home every year. We would join the procession on Wednesday and on Good Friday. We would just be at home. To some, that might feel boring, but to me it is not.

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She is Home



I cannot recall where I have read the line “Do not make homes out of people.” I do not make homes out of them but perhaps I may have in the past, for I used to depend my emotions on others, which made me dangerously attached to these homes.

Attachment is different from commitment, I have learned.

At this point in my life, albeit still at the mark where I am in a transition from an ignorant child to the person God wills me to be, I have known what home feels like, how it is different from what I viewed back then.

I always thought that home was exclusive only to places, to houses, to buildings, to rooms. But take away the person who inhibits those places and all you’ve got is emptiness. A void. A repository of memories which is of course nothing compared to being with that certain person.

A house is just a house after all without the light within.

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Chasing Sunsets with Clouds in our Eyes

A climactic instrumental song played all throughout our drive down the area where we would have a spectacular view of the sunset. The clock was ticking, the path was surrounded by clouds, the sun was in a hurry to go down. I thought we were able to see it better when we were on a higher altitude, but my Dad told me otherwise so we drove down the mountain relatively fast to chase the sunset.

The sky was pink. The song’s tempo was telling us to go faster. When we reached the area we spotted during the day, we only saw the light coming from the sun, which was hiding from a line of dark clouds in the horizon.


Chasing sunsets with clouds in our eyes with a score from the Life of Pi trailer playing in the background. I felt like Pi when he witnessed a thunderstorm at sea.

It was December 2012 in Baguio City, Philippines.

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The Art of Returning


Waiting for an hour for the 2PM bus on a hot and humid Saturday is nothing to get frustrated or impatient about, because I know what comes in the next few hours. For me, waiting doesn’t seem dull and boring when you have something to look forward to. Or should I say, when there is someone you are thrilled to see again after quite a long while of just being by yourself.

I say the latter. Happiness when shared is what I’m working hard for from now on.

The past weekend for me, even though the activities may seem ordinary to some, was very special.

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