All posts by Dane Valerie

About Dane Valerie

a writer from time to time, a reader a linguistics and literature graduate, a dancer a swimmer, a fighter a Filipino, a survivor :)

Summer 2017



I should have known that you
wished for good company.
I should’ve read between your usual
“It’s okay. I can manage,” lines.
I should have known that you
would have vivid thoughts
of what may happen
and how it would happen.
Alone, you got scared
Alone, you assured yourself
that everything you believed in
is true.
I should have known though
that you would want me
to reach out to you.
But you held back.
I held back.

Words may mean otherwise
but our eyes cannot lie.

Happy Birthday, Sister!

My roommate/bed-mate for a month

To the Beautiful Stick,

Happy 17th birthday~

Thank you for growing into such a smart and independent social butterfly. Sana masugo na ka puhon (which is unlikely, di man ka mutuo nako ever since).

No matter how tall you’ll get, you will always be the little girl who used to follow mi sa fiesta then napaso sa colored lights sa fiesta stage. Follow your dreams (not a man) and don’t forget to pray.

Enjoy your day! (and this mushy message kay panagsa ra ko mushy).



A birthday message to my twenty-three year old self.

My goal: to have this hairstyle again

It’s okay to have doubts – about yourself, about life, about your goals, about love, about work, about everything. As long as you don’t dwell on them for too long.

It’s okay to be different – to be silent, to be weird, to have your own kind of fun. You have lived long enough to know that to pretend to be something that you’re not is tiring. Be confident in your own skin.

It’s okay to lose people who were once around you – temporarily or permanently. But this should not stop you from meeting and trusting new people.

Finally, it’s okay to ask for help. Yes, you are a strong woman – but even Wonderwoman confides with her friend/sidekick. Y

So, congratulations for having lived this far (23 years!!!). Don’t doubt yourself and just keep moving forward – you’re on the right track!






It is a familiar activity. I grew up living in a compound whose swimming pool and beach are not only accessible (proximity wise) but is also free of charge. Our family would go to the beach every Sunday after lauds. My friends and I often spent our summer days at the pool. Eventually, swimming became my stress reliever. It also became my one and only favorite form of exercise. Doing laps gives me an exhilarating feeling. And, since most of my childhood memories were made either at swimming pools or beaches, swimming not only keeps me healthy but also reminds me of my colorful childhood.


This kind of skinship would really be awkward for me if I were not close with Keeshia and Ezra.

Disclaimer: I am melancholic. I am not comfortable of doing the following things:

  • saying “I love you”
  • doing any kind of skinship

However, I do acknowledge the soothing effect of hugs. Hugs are like special forms of communication. I need not to utter anything, and my friends and family somehow understand what I feel at that particular moment. By letting them hug me (or by simply hugging them), I am comforted. It’s as if a heavy load is lifted from my heart. No words needed, they would understand.


dane tangled.jpg
(c) to owner

I would be smiling right then and there whenever I hear Officially Missing You (any version), I See the Light (Tangled OST) and With A Smile (Eraserheads).

Obviously,  I am not a fan of pop songs, particularly American pop songs (I am an avid fan of Visayan pop and Korean pop songs though). Whenever I hear Eraserhead’s With a Smile, I feel comforted. It reminds me that everyone is fighting their own battles. I am not alone. Everything will get better ‘with a little prayer and a song.’ Tangled’s I See the Light ignites the romantic lover in me. If you have seen the animation movie (or just try to understand the song’s lyrics), you will understand what I mean. With the song, Officially Missing You, I like it just because… I like it. This song never fails to tickle my heart and imagination.


(C) to owner

Babies are really irresistible. Their large curious and innocent eyes compels me to make embarrassing face in public just to hear them giggle. I wouldn’t even care if people would think that I am crazy.

Most babies love me. Maybe because I wear eyeglasses (thus making me look motherly?). Babies (and toddlers) would peek from their mothers’ shoulders (and would hide, then would peek again). Then, I would play with them by making faces. And they would give me their cuuuuute and adoooorable giggles. And I would smile back.

Try this guys. It’s a great stress reliever.


dane convo.jpg
Taking a break from a meaningful convo (thesis)

I really am no big fan of small talks. If I can, I would use another route whenever I see someone I know walking towards my direction before he/she notices my presence.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love having deep conversations. But I’m afraid that I’d just bore them out. I usually don’t like to talk about the latest trend or even about my life (unless we’re close). I usually like to talk about future plans, ideologies, light politics – smart talk as one of my friends say.

Only a few people initiate these kinds of conversations with me. But I really cherish these kinds of conversations – I get the chance to share and listen.


Off we go to CUHK.

Traveling quenches my curiosity. Maybe because I started travelling (with my parents) even before I started walking. I also remember travelling with the whole family as a child. We would ride ships, buses, cabs and planes. We would also be carrying lots of luggages. And my favorite was the basket full of food.

My siblings an I would tour around the ship. We would stay longer on the roof deck to watch the waves splashing down below and the shore lights disappearing.


Camera 360

I see myself as a romantic. I love nature. For instance, the sound of rain drops falling on the rooftop calms me down. The cold laid back atmosphere that rainy days bring makes me relaxed.


Thesis break!

We recently moved to a new area after my father resigned from work. Almost everything is new – the neighbors, the rides, the place, and even the house. I can easily adapt to new environments but it really thrills me whenever I see someone familiar. Friends whom I haven’t seen from a long time remind me of my childhood and my birthplace. And I am more confident talking with them for hours. We could talk about the past, our plans, our latest activities in life and more. Oh how I wish I would meet and catch up with my friends soon.

9. OPENING A NEWLY BOUGHT BOOK (books from Booksale included)

(c) to owner

I am a certified book lover. In fact, when I was just Grade 3, I would wait for our school library to open. I really want to log my name first in the borrower’s log.

New books signify new adventures and new friends. And of course, nothing beats the smell of new book pages and the thrilling curiosity a story’s plot gives.


(C) to owner


Smiles are really contagious. One genuine smile from a complete stranger can uplift me.

I am fully aware of the other people’s first impression of me. They say I am strict, unapproachable and snobbish. I usually wear a poker face and would avoid eye contact.

Thus, when a person genuinely smiles at me, it means a lot to me. It means, for me, that the person wants to share his/her happiness to me.


Unspoken Protest

Screenshot_2015-07-23-13-01-00 Screenshot_2015-07-23-13-00-43 Screenshot_2015-07-23-13-00-34 Screenshot_2015-07-23-13-00-21

I guess it runs in the blood.

Being silent. Secretive.

Enduring it alone.

Protests written in places where we think nobody can access.

But I knew you weren’t okay, too.

Heck, you’re in more pain than I am.

This is too much for your young mind.

Then again.

because we think alike…

I’ll keep these thoughts to myself, too.

Until you ‘accidentally’ discover them someday.

PS Lil Sis, the way we think is similar. I just hope you voice them out instead of keeping them in. Keeping heavy things in is tiring. I know, because I do that. Don’t be like me. -Ate


BTOB – It’s Okay (괜찮아요)

This song and your voices is somehow helping me get through this tough part of my life. Thanks for saying, “It’s Okay.”

pop!gasa - kpop translation lyrics

Are your shoulders heavy?
It’s not easy to put down heavy baggage
Someone said that when feel your dreams are getting far away
You should take a break

Are you struggling because of the same things every day?
Who is that for?
In the end, you’ll fall down anyway
When you’re struggling and feel alone
Listen to this song

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At last, Vispop 3.0 is here!

I have been waiting all summer for this year’s VISPOP!

If you are not familiar with VISPOP, it is an annual songwriting contest which encourages people from the Visayas to write songs in their mother tongue or dialect.

VISPOP’s debut last 2013 was a great hit – with its champion song Balay ni Mayang still played and loved by people.

For me, VISPOP’s second year was not that great. (Don’t hit me, that’s just my opinion >//<).The songs were so-so. Of the top 6 songs that VISPOP released on their second year, Kasikas was my favorite.

Now, after a year, VISPOP is back. And they came back gloriously. I love the songs! These songs were much better than the songs last year >//<

VISPOP, as always, released the top 6 songs which underwent strict scrutiny. This year’s set of songs are composed of four (4) love songs and two (2) “slice-of-life” songs.

Pangandoy, written by John Stephen Cadelina and Irving Ladanan Guazon and performed by Daryl Leong, is a courtship song.

Bok Love, written by Felipe Anjelo Calinawan and Therese Marie Villarante and performed by Therese Marie Villarante and Kurt Fick, is a cute song depicting lovers who grow fat together. Why? Because their dates mostly consist of eating. Hahahahaha. That is so true nowadays. But still, this song is cute. :’3

LQ (Sige La’g Away) [written by Adam Niel Corvera and performed by Eugene Corpin and Julyann Uy] and Buwag Balik [written and performed by Lourdes May Maglinte] depict the reality among lovers – they often quarrel to the point of breaking up but in the end, they make up because they realize that they love each other. Hayyy, the mysteries of love. I’m sure a lot of lovers can relate to this song.

The song Tug ta Tug, written by Earnest Hope Tinambacan and Jerry Angelo Catarata  and performed by Earnest Hope Tinambacan, is a song which will make you groove with its beat. Na-LSS pa gani ko. Still, it illustrates a reality – when you’re so tired of waiting for someone, when you’re so angry, when you’re bored…just sleep those off. Well, this is just one of those stress-free and love-free songs.

Finally, Brgy. Blues, a song written by Andy Calope and performed by Earl Andrei Ornopia. I think it is a bit satirical (I don’t know). It tells of a man who tries to be good, whenever he drinks alcohol, well, he becomes “Dionysiac.” A fun song actually.

I really am glad that VISPOP is back. I like their advocacy (or am I making this up?) – encouraging the youth, especially the youth from the Visayas, not only to share their talents in singing and songwriting but also to use and love their mother tongue or dialect.

By the way, the final judgment for these songs will be on Friday, June 26, 2015 at SM Cebu Cinema One, 7PM. For more information, visit VISPOP 3.0’s facebook page.

Which song will be this year’s VISPOP champion? Waaaah. I really don’t know. I like all those songs.

SigePaminawon na pud nako’g balik ang mga kanta >//<


Great Waves

Darkness is surrounding me

Splash! Splash! Splash!

I’m desperate.

I want to reach the shore.

But the dark waves are so great.

They obscure my vision

Leaving me cold

Leaving me aimlessly floating.

My feet laboriously tread the water

My hands exhaustingly push the water down.

Anxious of my fate

I started to shout

and ask for help.

But great waves choked me up

Salty liquid filled up my mouth

Making my throat sore and dry.

Just as I felt my life floating away,

Just when my weary body surrendered,

A strong hand lifted me from the waves

“Just rest. Don’t worry. You are now safe.”


Musing Over the Past

Lately, my father has been asking me questions which I dread the most.

His questions made me anxious. And filled with this anxiety, I ended up searching for things in the cupboard inside the stock room. There, I found my boxes full of memorabilia.

Boxes full of letters, journals, keychains, and KPOP albums
Boxes full of letters, journals, keychains, and KPOP albums

To escape from reality, I decided to dig in those boxes. Boy those boxes were heavy.

Inside these boxes were papers, pictures, key chains, and every other thing which holds a memory of my youth.

A song composed by my friend, Quinn Ivan Tacmo :)
One of the memorabilia inside a box – a song composed by my friend, Quinn Ivan Tacmo way back 2008.

I read both journals. Most of the entries were rants, confessions, and narrations of what happened during those days.

Proof that I have seen the whale sharks at Oslob, Cebu together with my uncle.
Proof that I have seen the whale sharks at Oslob, Cebu together with my uncle back in March 4, 2012.

As a grammar nazi (and as a Linguistics and Literature graduate), I was amazed. I didn’t I write so well before. In straight English. Hahaha. My entries nowadays, if I ever write, is a combination of English and Cebuano-Bisaya.

And as I read on, I thought, “Whatever happened to the happy-go-lucky and goal-oriented Dane in these journal entries?”

Moving on…

There were papers tucked at the cover of the journals. I was amazed (sorry for the lack of a better word) to see unfaded pictures of my classmates, Rachel and Quinn.

The unfaded old pictures of some of the class officers on my fourth year in high school.
The unfaded old pictures of some of the class officers on my fourth year in high school.

If I remember it well, these pictures were part of the classroom decorations. When we were in fourth year high school, our classroom decor included a corner which presents the class officers (both name and pictures).

Proof that I was once an achiever.
Proof that I was once an achiever.

Then I saw some colored papers. I thought these were empty. To my surprise, these were merit cards. Hahahahaha. I thought I threw them all away.

These merit cards are equivalent to the certificates our Dean gives to students on the dean’s list during an honor’s assembly. Mmm, these merit cards are far more numerous than the certificates I have from the Dean. Oh well.

As I continue to walk down the memory lane, I saw this exam permit.

MSU-IIT Exam Permit -Proof that I once thought I could be a Metallurgical Engineer.
MSU-IIT Exam Permit -Proof that I once thought I could be a Metallurgical Engineer.

Oooh yeah. I took a college entrance exam at MSU-IIT. (I passed, btw.)

I remember that I had a hard time choosing between Linguistics and Literature and Metallurgical Engineering. In the end, i trusted my strengths in grammar and the languages – I took the Linguistics and Literature program in the University of San Carlos.

Having just earned my bachelors degree in Linguistics and Literature last March 2015, and seeing this exam permit once again today had me asking myself – “How would my life be today if I took the Metallurgical Engineering program in MSU-IIT?”

I shrugged that question away. Taking up the Engineering program would be an arduous road. I am not good in math. And heck I am lazy when it comes to analyzing problems.

And how could I not forget telling you about these letters?

Letters - Immortalized memories with significant people in my life.
Letters – Immortalized memories with significant people in my life.

Woah, some of these letters were written in as early as 2003. Amazing!

I remember the time when the internet was not yet a fad. I think it was when I was in Grade 3 (2003?). My friends and I used to exchanged letters. I even remember using white bond papers with designs I drew myself as letter papers because I didn’t want to waste my precious stationeries. Hahahahaha…

I should have kept those letters. Ugh. But I was a sloppy keeper when I was a child. However, I shouldn’t be sad. I still kept a lot of letters – from my mom and dad, my sister, friends, acquaintances, and even teachers. Hahahaha.

Tears flowed and laughter echoed inside the room as I read those letters. Most letters were secrets, encouragements, and thank yous. But there were some letters, those from my regular senders (Rachel and Alvin), which are just simple conversations – of how are yous and what-happened-today narratives. It reminded me of my carefree days and of those days when I was still expected to make mistakes. –Sigh

Nowadays, I feel really lost. I feel like a coward.

I already had plans after I graduated – to work, to get a masters degree, and so on. But after graduation, I bummed out. I literally was a couch potato.

Musing over the past reminded me of who I am. Or of who I was. Or whatever.

—–     —–     —-    —–     —–     —-    —–     —–     —-     —–     —–     —-    —–     —–     —-    —–     —–     —-

Since I do not know how to end this post, I’m leaving you with a excerpt  from one of the letters I received from my friends.

 “You are a very lovable person. You have your own set of charms that make you as such. You are unique and I hope that I’ll get to know you, the real you, the one you are hiding beneath that smile.”
“You are a very lovable person. You have your own set of charms that make you as such. You are unique and I hope that I’ll get to know you, the real you, the one you are hiding beneath that smile.”

I just want to extend my gratitude to this friend. And, friend, I hope I get to know the real me, too. I’ve been hiding my real self too much that I have already forgotten the real me.