Word of the Year: FINIFUGAL – 2014 Year Ender :)

Another year done! I was looking for one word that would summarize 2014 for me. I dabbled with ‘fear,’ ‘indecision,’ ‘bad luck,’ etcetera, etcetera, but nothing clicked right. Until I saw this word: FINIFUGAL (thank you, other-wordly.tumblr.com.).

2014 year end blog


That was the best definition of this year. I think being finifugal relates to being scared of starting over, of new things, of changes (drastic ones, to be exact). A quick check of my year-ender the past years led me to one conclusion: I was, kind of, reliving my 2012 all over again, because the same quotes that I quoted still applied, the same complaints, the same worries, and a heartbreak (thankfully, a different guy this time, but jeeeez I never learn, do I?).

I would quote the same John Green quote in 2012:

“You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” 

–John Green, Looking for Alaska


Let’s kick off this 2014 recap, shall we?

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Soooo… on travel, writing, and living (a.k.a. a recap of why I missed some months on blogging)

Hello, hello! Welcome back! (?)

So I haven’t been blogging / posting much here because I’m busy doing three things, namely:

  1. Work, of course, which I recently found out need not take precedence over everything in life;
  2. Writing my contemporary romance novella, now with the title The Real Score for my #RomanceClass (more on this later); and
  3. Living. Actually living. 

In my past few months of absence on this blog, I went to exactly three places I have never been to before: Negros Occidental, Davao, and Bataan (at least the tourist spots that we went to). Traveling is fun – minus the grueling part where you wait for delayed flights and long trips on buses and/or cars. (On some days, though, I like the long trips because it helps me think.)

I went to Negros Occidental, particularly in Silay, Bulata, and Danjugan Island, because of a trip I won from work (see, hard work really does pay off). In Silay we did a tour of the ancestral homes there, and I learned a lot particularly at the Hofilena’s house because of Sir Ramon. Go there, and he’d make the trip worth it.

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After the trip in Silay, we endured this three- to four-hour car ride to Punta Bulata, which is virtually paradise, especially if you want to disconnect from everything. I say this because there is little to almost no signal in this area, which could work to your advantage as well. This scene welcomed us, which made me love the place:

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It has calm clear waters and white (or should I say coral-ly) sand. And to top it off: the place is a bit private. There were some families who do day trips to the resort, but during the nights, it was mostly us and a handful of other guests which is less than 30. It’s a happy place if you enjoy the peace and quiet. And sunsets like this:

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Honestly, I only thought sunsets like that existed in the wallpapers that came with laptops or in Boracay. I was glad to be wrong about this, because Punta Bulata has one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen.

The highlight of the trip was Danjugan Island, a marine reserve about ten to fifteen minutes away from Punta Bulata. Trips to this island need to be pre-arranged as only forty people are allowed on the island at a time. Since it is also a reserve, you are not allowed to take anything from the island (so no, if you’re like me who likes shells for keepsakes, hands off), and you also have to conserve the amount of freshwater that you use (one pail of freshwater per person). The waters too are gorgeous at this place, and Mang Ruben, our guide, is entertaining, fun, and informative. We also got to see the tabon bird, an eagle, and a couple of orioles. We heard bats, saw big crawling crabs right behind the cabana where we stayed overnight, and met a lot of mosquitoes (so bring your repellants aside from your sunblock).

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A (very) early morning at Danjugan

Beautiful, right? Continue reading

I miss you.

Ever heard a song, saw a movie, smelled a familiar scent, or saw a sign and then somebody immediately just popped into your head, and  you are overcome by this sense of longing for that person? And then you grab your phone, and you text, tweet or message that person and tell them: I MISS YOU. This is usually followed by “see you real soon” or “let’s meet up!”

Or if it’s in the case of you can’t tell that someone that you miss them because (a) you parted in bad terms or (b) you just grew apart and you haven’t contacted that person in such a long time that it’s going to be real awkward when you tell them you miss them without any follow through, you just sit there, wade through your (dark) pool of memories and then pray that somehow you get over that longing, that feeling of terribly missing someone (and admit that possibly, these feelings aren’t reciprocated).

Maybe it isn’t just the words “I’m sorry” or “I love you” that we take for granted when we say them. Maybe those aren’t just the phrases that we don’t mean as much even if we hoped we do. Maybe those aren’t just the words that we say to fill up awkward silences or lapsed time that we regret we didn’t capitalize on. Maybe they aren’t just the phrases that we can classify as part of our biggest lies.

Maybe “I’M SORRY” and “I LOVE YOU” aren’t just the words that require action after you say them.

Maybe I MISS YOU is also in that league, and we just can’t admit it to ourselves.

We’re gonna party like… well, it was 2012: Year-Ender Part 1

I skipped this out last year because it was a bit of hell. And it was just a strange year for me that I couldn’t think of how to sum up 2011. But this year, I’d say if I were to describe it in a word, it’ll be this: ROLLERCOASTER.

You know how when you get on a rollercoaster, it starts off real slowly as you climb all the way to the top, and then it drops you, and you scream and you raise your hands up to the sky to release all your emotions. Your heart is racing in your chest, and just before you catch your breath, you’re taken into another loop, another drop, another twist and turn, tugged in all directions—some of which you see and some of which you don’t. And then the ride slows and stops. At the end of it, you feel that satisfaction and relief—satisfaction that you survived such a tough ride and the relief that it was over. Those two emotions are almost immediately followed by excitement: when can I do it again?

That’s how 2012 was for me.

Since at the end of the year, there are tons of lists that come out (e.g., Best of, Worst of, etc…) and I love them, I’m making this year-ender entry of some sorts by lists. Please note that this will split my year-ender into two parts, because I’d like to save my favorite moments and my top lessons learned in 2012 in another entry.

FAVORITE ALBUMS: Order would be probably how they appeared in my iTunes or how I remember them. I will mark some of the albums as “2011” if they’re released last year, but I’ve gotten a hold of the album only this year or I’ve just learned to love it just this year.

  1. 21 by Adele (2011)
  2. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
  3. Overexposed by Maroon 5
  4. Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars
  5. The Lumineers by The Lumineers
  6. + by Ed Sheeran (2011)
  7. Red by Dia Frampton (2011)
  8. Pitch Perfect (Movie Soundtrack) by various artists (I really do suggest that you watch the movie too!)
  9. Scars & Stories by The Fray
  10. Some Nights by fun.
  11. Take Me Home by One Direction
  12. Up All Night by One Direction (2011)
  13. The Truth About Love by Pink
  14. Once Upon Another Time (EP) by Sara Bareilles
  15. Red by Taylor Swift

I wouldn’t go into favorite songs because I think I pretty much gushed about them here or on Twitter, or used them in my stories (check playlists in the Little Things fanfic). But I would add some notable artists that you may want to touch up on: MidWest Kings, To Have Heroes, Lykke Li, and Florence + the Machine. And oh, yup… check out Augustana too.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Tough. Asking a booklover to pick her favorite book is like asking a parent to pick his/her favorite child. Almost unfair but necessary. Below are my favorite reads this year:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Now, who doesn’t have this in their list, please tell me. I can lend you my book.)
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (TWISTED. LOVED IT.)
  3. Every Day by David Levithan
  4. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (2011) [LOVE this book. Easy to re-read too, and it’s got some sort of continuity because of the Twitter account.]
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999) [Please do watch the movie too. Absolutely frigging loved Logan Lerman there.]
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)
  7. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2011, 2012) [This landed a movie deal. SO EXCITED!]
  8. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (2011)

Notables: The Serpent’s Shadow, the last book in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, and The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore. For the rest of the books that I’ve finished this year, click here.

FAVORITE MOVIES: Gah, they’re too many! I think I may just be listing movies that have stuck in my head or I have watched fairly recently. To my movie buddies, please remind me if I forget a movie that we liked and I didn’t list here.

  1. The Rise of the Guardians
  2. The Avengers
  3. The Amazing Spiderman
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  5. Hunger Games
  6. Ruby Sparks
  7. Pitch Perfect

And for the record: I really, really think that Anna Kendrick is an underrated actress.

As for TV series, I think Once Upon a Time needs to work a bit harder (I’m still watching it because of Rumple and Captain Hook, but otherwise, it’s a bit tempting to drop it). Arrow’s a good watch, while The Vampire Diaries may bore you a bit in the first few eps, but it picks up the pace. Criminal Minds and Bones are still so fun to watch. Grey’s Anatomy is CRAZY! And Hawaii Five-0 is getting kind of good too. And yes, I need to get back to watching Glee.

Now, that’s with the first part of this year-ender. Tomorrow’s list will be made up of my favorite moments in 2012, and the top lessons / realizations I’ve had this year.

What were your favorite albums, songs, books, and movies in 2012? :)


Why do you write? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question. Default answer was always because it’s therapeutic. It’s a way to release emotions or thoughts that nag your head, all the time, begging to be put out in the open.

Another answer is that I write because I have so many ideas in my head–those alternative scenarios to actual events you’ve seen happen, or a reaction to something you’ve seen or read, or just that eureka moment when you thought you can own the world with something in your head. That one idea. 

So I write. And I put it out here for the time being, while I still try and try to finish my eureka idea and turn it into something worth publishing.

But you know what’s weird? Is that I write, and I post it, and I link up this blog to my Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, but still I get shocked when people would tell me they read my stuff. Actual people that I know. People I work/ed with or people I went to college or high school with. RELATIVES (this is the one that makes me panic the most). And when they tell me that, after that split-second bliss that hey, people still read nowadays, and I am one of the stuff that they read, is that feeling of privacy being invaded.

I know, I know–hey, I put them online, so whatever stuff I write is for the public to consume. But it just feels like they can see me, like see me kind of see me. That they already know a piece of my soul, that they have peeked into my deepest darkest secrets because they read the things I write. Like letter by letter, word by word, a tidbit about me is revealed to them. Like I’m there, laid bare in front of them, as they read each word, paragraph, and story. And I panic because I’m scared that they might not actually like what they see. And when they tell me that they read my stories, I want to hide. Or delete everything on my blog and then start a new one under a pseudonym.

HA. Weird, I know. Hashtag: me being me.

Used to it, but not enough to stop wanting the alternative

A couple of nights ago, my cousin asked me if I was going home to the province and I said yes. This was how our conversation went:

Cuz: Uuwi ka this weekend?

Me: Most likely yes.

Cuz: Uwi ka ng uwi!

Me: Habang may chance no! Wala naman akong gagawin dito sa Manila.

Cuz: Edi hanap ka ng lovelife haha

Me: Sus. Haha. Itutulog ko nalang! Haha!

Yes, friends, I value sleep more, mostly because I haven’t been getting much the past months. Plus, I don’t want to stress myself out into thinking “where can I find a love life?”

And then the next morning, on the way to work, I spotted this couple in front of 7/11 near the office, locked in this very tight hug. They were whispering into each other’s ears, but what struck me was the way they were holding each other. Like they don’t want to let each other go. Like parting is such heartbreak. Like they could stay that way, if they can, forever.

And then a thought tugged at me, nagging: I want to be hugged that way too.

You know that sinking feeling you get when you just want something, so bad, but you know it’s not easy to get? That it’s not just up to you, but a factor of a lot of things? That if it’s just about you, you would have done it?

To add salt to whatever this was, while writing in my quote notebook, I encountered this quote from Every Me, Every You by David Levithan:

I had gotten so used to being alone, but never entirely used to it. Never used to it enough to stop wanting the alternative.

It’ll be nice to feel loved by someone (again), to look forward to someone’s text message or call before you fall asleep, to know that someone is just plainly there for you no matter what. That kilig, those tight hugs, those kisses.

So 2013, please be way nicer on my love life than the previous years. Pretty please, because I want the alternative.

I need a dream interpreter. STAT.

I was there, with my suitcases and all, running. From what, I don’t know. From you, perhaps? Because you were running after me, calling me, with all variations of my name that you know of and our petnames for each other—all variations of them too.

But I wasn’t looking back. I wasn’t paying attention to you.

And then I woke up. And fell asleep again.

It’s quite rare that dreams actually have a continuation, but this time, the dream had a part two. And in the part two, you were holding me close—a far cry from ignoring you and running away from you.


Fast forward to Dream #2. I didn’t know whose wedding it was, but I was heading there. And the strangest part is I had to go to a tunnel to get to the wedding. And when I emerged from the tunnel, a guy who wasn’t familiar to me was there. He greeted me with a warm hug and a big peck on the cheek. Which is weird because I don’t know him at all. He told me some version of his not expecting me to be there.

I just smiled, and then went off to meet some of my friends who were already at the pews. And their greeting to me was: WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO HIM? You guys are already okay now?

And then I go: I don’t even know who he is. [YES. I actually don’t remember who you were. I actually thought you were some actor the first time I saw you.]

One of them reminded me who you are—or were—to me. And then it all came back, and then I started to hate you.

But before I woke up, I remember I was looking for you, and I saw you, and you hugged me like it was nothing and everything at the same time, and then I woke up.


So… I need dream interpreters. It’s a mixed signals kind of thing from my subconscious. I mean, I’m good with the forgetting part, because that’s what I am actually doing the past few weeks. But the hugging? The dreams always end with the hug or him holding me or something. WHY???

It’s already tough enough to forget him without the daily reminders, so why also appear in my dreams as well, huh?

Can’t I be truly just happy, a life rid of him?