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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).




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.

Discovering Hong Kong

Our First Trip Abroad

I actually was planning to write a first-hand narrative of what happened. In fact, I already have four paragraphs. But the lazy bug bit me (eww, stupid cliche).

So, I will just post pictures and write cute captions or something. Teehee 🙂

Picture credits (because most pics aren’t mine) to Mary Joy MolinaKeeshia Joy San Juan, and Ezra Hilary Ceniza.

My travel buddies. We just arrived at the Mactan  Cebu International Airport.
My travel buddies. We just arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
I'm not in the picture. Hahahaha... I was sitting down on one of those metal seats on the side. I was thinking (because we came there at 4 AM), "Aren't we too early?"
I’m not in the picture. Hahahaha… I was sitting down on one of those metal seats on the side. I was thinking (because we came there at 4 AM), “Aren’t we too early?”
Oh, we weren't early. Gosh. I did not know traveling out of the country would be like that. Write down on papers. Pay here. Pay there. Questions everywhere.
Oh, we weren’t early. Gosh. I did not know traveling out of the country would be like that. Write down on papers. Pay here. Pay there. Questions everywhere.
But, after like an hour, we finally sat down and relaxed at the boarding area.
But, after like an hour, we finally sat down and relaxed at the boarding area.
Because I don't want to use the word "selfie." Oh, you know how Filipinos love to take pictures any time, any where.
Group selca. Because I don’t want to use the word “selfie.”
Oh, you know how Filipinos love to take pictures any time, any where.
Oh, I slept through the plane ride.  Joy, my friend, took this picture. Cool, uh?  Actually, minutes before we landed at HK International Airport, I eagerly looked outside the window.  It was a thrilling experience. All I wanted to see was how Hong Kong looked from the sky. But all I saw was a tip of the mountain and layers after layers of cloud. Hahahahaha.
Oh, I slept through the plane ride.
Joy, my friend, took this picture. Cool, uh?
Actually, minutes before we landed at HK International Airport, I eagerly looked outside the window.
It was a thrilling experience. All I wanted to see was how Hong Kong looked from the sky. But all I saw was a tip of the mountain and layers after layers of cloud. Hahahahaha.
Oh! I was amazed by their airport - carpeted floor, glass from top to bottom! It's a big WOAH! Because of that, shouldn't we take a group selca again? hahahaha :))
I was amazed by their airport – carpeted floor, glass from top to bottom! It’s a big WOAH!
Because of that, shouldn’t we take a group selca again? hahahaha :))
Have I already shared that their shuttle looked like a train cart? COOL! So we took a selca again :) We had to go through HK Immigrations. But, unlike in MCIA, it only lasted for 20 minutes.
Have I already shared that their shuttle looked like a train cart? COOL!
So we took a selca again 🙂
We had to go through HK Immigrations. But, unlike in MCIA, it only lasted for 20 minutes.
The airport was well-adorned for their week - long celebration of the Chinese New Year.  Those flowers and oranges behind us are real. Yes.  Those orange plants and fruits were in every store in Tsim Sha Tsui. Too bad we can't eat them.
The airport was well-adorned for their week – long celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Those flowers and oranges behind us are real. Yes.
Those orange plants and fruits were in every store in Tsim Sha Tsui. Too bad we can’t eat them.

We then checked in at Chung King Mansions. 

I did not expect our rooms to be small. Really small. It was different from the pictures on our online booking. It was like one third of a regular Philippine classroom. Well, because it was our first trip abroad, we decided to think positively. 

We booked in a travel budget hotel after all. Besides, even though the room was small, it had all we need – neat beds, towels, aircon, a toilet with heater, and even a hair dryer. 

After leaving our bags, we then expolred Hong Kong…particularly Tsim Sha Tsui –

The streets of Hong Kong






Oh, yes. We walked. We walked till our feet ached. 

Once again – group selca while waiting for the bus. (We also rode the bus.)34

The bus schedule.
Their buses were mostly double deckers. I loved it!
Selca on the second deck on the bus ❤

With Joy, the selca queen of this trip.
oooh! I take pictures everywhere. This was at a park near the Tsim Sha Tsui Harbor.
Average sized buildings.

We were amazed by a certain fountain in Hung Hom. It looked like a shallow swimming pool!

There, a series of group selca began. 



Then we took random pictures while we were exploring Hong Kong’s streets.

Me with a cute bear in front of a Japanese restaurant. I don’t know. I guess when it’s your first trip abroad, everything just seems interesting. hahahahaha

My feet were actually aching when this pic was taken. It was like walked through Hong Kong for a week already. But the Indian was irresistible.
We rode an elevator to reach this pedestrian over pass. Hahaha.. I guess we were really tired to walk up a set of stairs. And I think the steps didn’t reach 40. The experience was funny actually >< We enter the elevator on the other side. We faced the closing door. As we reached the top, another door from behind us (which we didn’t notice earlier) opened. Amazing. 

We then attended mass at a building for sailors (I forgot the name). Most of the mass goers were Filipinos. Hahahaha. I just found that amazing. 

After the mass, we stayed in the building for a while because it was raining hard. Of course we took selcas once again. 


Keeshia and I.
Ezra and I.
You know how I found so many things amazing? These flowers were so adorable! They said they only bloom and display these during Chinese New Year. These flowers not only look good, it has a wonderful scent, too.

We also visited the Avenue of the Stars. Since most of the stars there were Chinese, we only looked for Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Hahahahahaa. It was so cold. Fog was everywhere and the cold wind was blowing. 


Joy Joy~
Mommy Keesh~
Keeshia with Tita~
Ezra and Joy~

Do you know him/her? Hahaha… We just took a picture of a random star >//<

Group selca while waiting for the light show.
Isn’t this a replica of a junk ship from our history books? Isn’t it amazing?

More pictures at the Avenue of the Stars…


32 34




And of course… I should not forget to take my own selca ❤ :3

The Peninsula Hotel.

Pose pose at the hotel’s facade.

Let’s smell the flowers and check if these are real. And they were! Amazing! (That’s me, by the way…)
Joy loved the flowers, too :3

My late ‘I’M IN HONG KONG’ pose. We’re still at the Peninsula Hotel.

I forgot which day we took the following pictures…but we took these at a mall near Fa Yeun Street.  43




45.7 45


The guy’s looking weirdly at us. He didn’t know that this is the art of taking selcas. hahahahahaha 🙂 Selca pa more~

Fa Yeun Street is a well-known shopping district in Hong Kong. Since we shopped and haggled and carried numerous shopping bags, less pictures were taken. 



HUGE fishes in an aquarium at a store near the main road. AMAAAAAZING!

Keeshia bought these Japanese nibbles at a Japanese store in Fa Yeun Street. These were really affordable and delicious that we came back and bought more the next day. 🙂

Joy just loves to take selcas ❤



Our shopping bags were getting heavier. We got tired of haggling down. We all felt that our feet would go numb in any minute. In fact, I felt two large needles were piercing my feet. 

So, we decided to rest at a tea restaurant. 

It was a new experience. We bought new kinds of teas. Those which we considered as exotic. 

This was their best seller. I didn’t know why. It was salty. (I’m sorry) I did not like the taste. It was foreign. Too foreign. Keeshia, Joy, and Ezra didn’t like their teas, too. >//< But we had to finish our cups. So, we had a challenge. We documented it through a video. Secrets were spilled. Laughter roared. 🙂
Tired but happy shoppers ~

Group picture inside the tea shop.

Next stop – Victoria Peak.

We initially wanted to take the tram (the most popular transportation to reach the Peak). However, a long line welcomed us. =. =

So we rode the MTR (their train)…



…and a bus. 



I have to tell what happened during the bus ride. 

The road going up the Peak was a great zigzag. It didn’t help that my travel buddies were mostly not used to that kinds of roads. Also, the driver of the bus drove like he was filming Fast and Furious. 

Bragging aside, I’m used to zigzags and fast driving because I am from the province. So the drive up hill wasn’t a problem. In fact, I enjoyed the ride. It was great to see tall building nearly covered by the fog. it was also good to see greenery. 

So I was shocked when I saw how pale Keeshia, Ezra, and Joy after the bus ride.


Moving on.

Although we didn’t ride on a tram to go up the Peak, we had a picture with it 🙂



There’s a nature trail at Victoria Peak. Of course, we  went through it. It was great!

as you enter the trail, all you can see is fog. Fog everywhere. 










But somewhere along the trail, the fog lessens. There’s less fog that sun light passes through. 

I was soo happy when I took this picture! After 3 winter days, I could see and feel the sun! T.T
Did you notice that I wasn’t in most of the group pictures in the trail? That’s because I went ahead. HAHAHAHAHAHA I had my reasons. I’ll only say one – I love nature and I wanted to enjoy it ALONE. And I had fun. 🙂

I finished the trail first. 

It was already dark when my travel buddies finished the trail. They told me that they waited for me. 

I felt sorry. But that only lasted for a while.

Anyways… After that, we entered a mall at the peak.


This was the view from the top – A FOGGY HONG KONG WINTER.

Each of us posed with Bruce Lee, too. 





And before we left the Peak, we took a final memorial picture in front of our favorite ice cream shop.





We heard a mass in Chinese at a Catholic Church, Holy Rosary Church at Chatham Road. 

It was clean. Inside, there was a fusion of Chinese and Catholic traditions. 

The altar was simple yet fascinating. And since it was Lunar New Year, a pink tree with flowers and orange plants similar to the airport decorations were placed on the side of the altar.  

Hearing the mass in another language was amazing. And, I found it even more amazing when the Chinese attending the mass were so participative – they sang and responded with fervor and in loud voices.





The next pictures were taken at the Clock Tower near the harbor at Tsim Sha Tsui. 

This was after our ferry ride from the main Hong Kong Island. Although we had less pictures on the ferry, we (particularly Joy and Keeshia) took lots of pictures.

The ferry docked at a pier near the Clock Tower. We were lucky. We saw the light show and even bought more chocolates at a lesser price.  🙂









Finally, we visited two universities in Hong Kong. Actually, we went to Hong Kong to look for universities which could offer great master’s degree training in Linguistics. 

Walk. Walk. Walk.

Pose for a while.

I really loved the scenery. It made the long and tiring walk worth it.
The obligatory ‘We’re here at CityU’ picture.

Hello, CityU! (the picture’s blurry because I used a 2g phone >//<)

Their campus was nice. I liked it because it was huge. It was closer to nature than HKU’s Campus (which was located at the center of a tall building).
A lion. Of course! We’re in Hong Kong. And it’s the Lunar New Year!

Let’s go!

It’s really a clean university! We were really amazed.

This is a painting near the main building entrance. It was beautifully taken. But didn’t you notice that my smile is just too genuine? That’s because I nearly stumbled down. I did not notice that the floor was sloping down towards the pebbles near the painting. >//<
Their library. HUGE.
And they even have their own bookshop just across the library!! And with shelves full of published thesis from the floor to the top! ><

Unlike the Department of Linguistics in my university which is at the ground floor, the Department of Linguistics in CityU and HKU were on floors higher than the fifth floor.

Sadly, we were not entertained by the department. But, as we saw it, everyone was busy. It seemed that they had a meeting. Or ….

But we sent them an email three months before our visit. They didn’t reply. I guess they don’t entertain guests on a holiday. It was Lunar New Year after all. 

So, we just toured around and took pictures. 




Hong Kong University was different. It had it’s own MTR stop. And it was located in the middle of tall buildings.  106



I noticed that both CityU and HKU had Run Run Shaw Buildings and Halls. Hmmmmm… I just cannot guess what these buildings and rooms are for.






Unlike CityU, the Department of Linguistics welcomed us warmly. We didn’t even expect to meet half of the faculty. We had our talk inside a conference room. Four professors welcomed us – Professor Diana Archangeli (the Chair), Professor Cathyrn Donohue, Professor Kofi Yakpo, and Assistant Researcher Jon Yip.

My friends and I asked questions. The professors answered our questions enthusiastically. They were amazed with our great interest in linguistics. 

It was a rich and wonderful experience to talk with well-published yet humble professors. 

Group picture!

We actually toured their library too. Sadly it was strictly NO PICTURE TAKING ALLOWED. We barely managed to get inside because Professor Kofi was with us. 

Gosh, their library is AMAZING! Unlike my university’s library, their shelves are actually full of books from the floor up to the cieling! And I’m not even exaggerating. 

Professor Kofi toured us on the floor with the Linguistics books. 

BREATH TAKING. I could literally do my thesis there since most of our proponents’ and related literature are on their bookshelves. T.T

There were several interesting books and journals in linguistics, too. 

Hong Kong – was very memorable. It’s distinct smell, the Chung King Mansions, the shop owners with whom we haggled with, their large food servings, their double-deck buses, and finally the thick fog. These were truly unforgettable.

We only toured two Hong Kong Islands. But it was fun and fulfilling. 

We’ll come back next time. Whether it’s for leisure or for educational purposes – we’ll never know. 

Last group picture in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong International Airport. (taken a few minutes before our departure)
Back at Mactan Cebu International Airport.


Kong ang matuod ug buotang higala maila ta sa mga higayong mapait uyamut, ang matuod nga anak sa lungsod, maila ta usab sa higayon nga ang iyang Yutang Natawhan magaantus sa daghang mga kaguol ug kasakit….  Sa tanang mga gugma, ang mga gugma sa Yutang Natawhan maoy labing balaanon, mainiton ug mabaskogon.  Tungud kaniya ginasakit lakip ang kinabuhi ug, kong ang labing balaanon ug mabaskugon imong hingkalimtan, unsa kahay dangatan sa gugma nga imong ginahalad kanako?

If the true and abiding friend is known in very bitter times, the true son of the country is also known in times when the days we are now going through are just a test.  Of all loves, the love for the native land is the most sacred, the dearest and the strongest.  Because of her everything is put to the test, including life itself, and if you can forget what is most sacred and strongest, what indeed will happen to the love you offer me?

VICENTE SOTTO Gugma sa Yutang Natawhan (Love for the Native Land) (1901)


The short story revolves around a woman named Aurora, the daughter of a wealthy man named Kapitan Anoy. Just like most of the selections, this is a love story. What makes this story different from other love stories was Aurora’s choice.

It was 9 in the evening, and Aurora was reading the newspaper while waiting for her fiancé to come. Without her meaning to, the first thing that Aurora read was a news item about her fiancé, Octavio, who had just been appointed as Justice of Peace in their town.

Normally, a girlfriend would rejoice after hearing such kind of news. However, Aurora was troubled. Remember that this took place during the American occupation and aurora, an educated woman who knows something about politics, viewed the news as problematic. Her fiancé being the Justice of Peace was contrary to her beliefs which she somehow picked up from her father who was nationalistic. Even though Kapitan Anoy did not join the revolution, he held views sympathetic to the insurrection, independent beliefs which would not be swayed even under threat of death.

Aurora’s behaviour when her fiancé and his sisters arrived was not then surprising. Though she greeted them in her usual cordial way, when her fiancé Octavio shared the news of his appointment as justice of peace, Aurora listened to him with great coldness and less concern.

Hours after her fiancé and his sisters left, aurora could not sleep and was deeply engrossed in thought. She thought about how Octavio would soon be justice of the peace of that town; she thought also of the state of the native land.

At last, she decided to break off their engagement by through. She could not love a man who does not stand true to his words. before the Americans came, octavio took up arms and expressed, both in writing and in speech, his love for his native land. Now, just so that he can become Justice of Peace, Octavio renounced his ideals.

In short, Aurora cancelled off her wedding plans with Octavio because of his treacherous act. He was disloyal to his ideals and to his love for his native land. In the end, octavio was abducted and killed because of treason while Aurora was married to a prominent land owner.

Now, how did this piece touch me? How does this relate with my life, you ask?

Well, first and foremost, I also have nationalistic tendencies or ideologies. Today, I wanted to share about my love for our country, particularly my deep appreciation for OPM and VISPOP and contrast it with my KPOP fascination. But then I thought, though not all know that I love OPM and VISPOP, everybody knows I love KPOP. Alkansi ang first speakers. They shared so much about themselves. So I had to dig deeper.

A person purposively pushes some memories to the unconscious because these are unpleasant. However, these memories would always return, like a boomerang. I wanted to bury those memories again but well, I have to let it out. Not because of grades, but because I never really have acknowledged those memories ever since.

As John Green once said, “Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.”

I was never really a woman of a few words before. Expressing myself was not really a problem. I was as talkative as Ceska, as jolly as Mary Joy and Mae Lynn and as bright as sunlight. However, something happened when I was in first year high school. No it wasn’t really traumatic for a normal person. I don’t really know why it affected me so much.

Words. Words are very powerful. These can uplift people. Or these can break them.

And I was struck. I did not understand how I allowed myself to be broken by abstract things such as words. Words which were so plain. Words which literally came from my own mouth. I was the class secretary and we were planning for our Christmas party.  The class was rowdy, uncontrollable. It was already getting dark, so I shouted, “Unsa man jud? Di mo ganahag BYOP? Sige, nagsabot na ta ganina, ang dili mubayad walay apil sa Christmas party.”


You have no idea how I wanted to forget this incident. Maybe what hurt me most was the fact that those words were so simple yet it made so great an impact. First, my classmates who didn’t want to contribute complained to our homeroom teacher. Then, our homeroom teacher, I don’t know if she was annoyed or frustrated with the disobedient class, took my words literally. She did not attend the Christmas party even after we pursued her and said sorry several times.

I completely lived like a hermit for three months. My room was my home. Sleep was my activity. Silence was my companion.. I could remember my mom silently peeking through my door. I could presuppose her question: What happened? Why are you like this?

I could not understand why I couldn’t express myself anymore. I really wanted to tell her what happened. She’s my mom after all. But words, those lovely creations which I loved and effortlessly used before, suddenly would not come out. They would never dare to come out. I felt the words claw against my throat but I stop them. Basin unsa napuy mahitabo because of my words. Basin mausab na pud – my own words would turn against me, like a boomerang. No, I would not let that happen again.

I abandoned my hermit life to ease the worry lines off my parents’ foreheads. A new Dane came out – tight-lipped, pessimistic. Matud pas akong mga amigo, weird na daw ko. Hilomon na daw ko. Mu-smile ra daw kog kalit bisag ako ra usa. Magduko daw ko maglakaw. I just awkwardly smiled it off. But often times i thought, basin wa ko nagchange. Maybe this is the real me. Or basin autistic ko sa?

During those times, I tried to appreciate the joy of being alone. Pero matud pa nila, no man is an island. Soon enough, I was longing for someone to talk to. No scratch that. Someone who is willing to talk to me without me even talking.

I tried to hangout with my group of friends since nursery but somehow, even if my best girl friend was there, I felt out of place. Sometimes, I’d even get jealous of some of my friends because my best girl friend preferred to tell them her secrets first before telling those secrets to me. I couldn’t blame her. How could she tell me a bubbly thing such as the crush she’s having on my seatmate kung akong aura dark kaayo? In short, sayo kayo ko nag midlife crisis. The cause of that crisis was so plain, murag third world problem.

Then someone came to my life. Aside from God, who I was always happy to be with during that time. It was a guy whom I used to bully during my optimistic days. The outcast. Kay lagi he acts different. I don’t know how it started pero we just clicked. Remember how I yearned for someone who’s willing to talk to me without even me talking? God answered my prayer.

I could still remember the day when he became my best friend. I don’t know why it was already dark but we were already walking homewards from school. And for the first time after the absurd life-changing incident, sincere words, though a few, flowed out of me.

“Naunsa na bitaw ko? Wa na ko kasabot.”

Then I choked, cried and shook. And he did what I wished he would do: he didn’t give any comment, he remained silent, looked at me for a while, and continued to walk beside me towards home. Our friendship started there, and evolved to short talks and exchanging letters where we openly express ourselves and promised that we will be best friends forever. Childish sa?

After opening up to him, I was starting to be jolly again but not as jolly as before. I would talk with my friends, laugh animatedly, tell jokes, visit my friends’ house and even play games. How happy my parents were at that time.. matud pa nila, “di na ko anti-social.” I was so comfortable with my group that I forgot about new found BFF.

Until a day came when my group of friends came across my new bff and bullied him. They would always bully him. That day, I happened to be with them.

Ang mga adlaw, nga karon atong ginalatas, maoy usa lamang ka pagsulay.  Karon gibiyaan mo ang imong mga mithi; karon gitalikdan mo ang imong Yutang Natawhan aron lamang ikaw mahimong maghuhukom sa kadaitan (katungdanan nga, sa pagkatinuod, wala mo kinahanglana). 

Now, you have forsaken your ideals, you have deserted your native land, just so you can become justice of peace (a position which, truth to tell, you don‘t really need). 

What did you expect that I do? Reprimand my friends because they were harming one of my best friends? That was what I wanted to do. Pero matod pang St. Paul

I do not understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very things I hate.  (Rm 7:15)

I did not stop my friends. I did not help my new bff either. But I smiled whenever my friends made fun of him. And I knew that hurt him. Just as Octavio had forsaken his nationalistic ideas and his love for his native land just to become Justice of Peace, I renounced my words of being his best friend just to save my face from being known as a friend of a loser. Stupid, just plain stupid. Pero matud pa sa short story by Vicente Sotto, I didn’t have to do that. I should have acknowledged him as my best friend. However, that sense of belongingness thing made me deny someone who listened to me. I deeply regret what I did. But I kept doing nothing anyway whenever I’m with my friends and they bully him. And I kept on regretting.

So, did I end up dead like Octavio because of treachery? I almost did.

But as I said,

Words are very powerful. These can uplift people. These can break them. These can also mend them.

It was really hard for me to say sorry. I felt like I didn’t have the right to do that. And I didn’t know how to put it into words. I was afraid of putting my regrets and apologies into words. But I have to. And you know what, kung buang ko kay I was shattered because of simple words, mas buang siya because he accepted my apology. I literally only said sorry and broke to tears afterwards. Buang buang ming duha.

Vicente Sotto’s Love for the Native Land, aside for depicting a woman’s great love for her ideals and her country, it basically is about being true to your words, through gladness and misery. After my new bff accepted my sorry, I tried really hard not to be ashamed of our friendship. Yes, there were times na sungogon jud ko, at first – “Ngano nakigmigo man kag loser?” I just shrugged and smiled it off. Eventually, he was accepted by the group. After all, we “weirdos and losers”, though weak in expressing ourselves, are great listeners. In the end, the bully did not have to be ashamed of her friend whom she used to bully.

Finally, I end this talk with a light heart. I have unearthed my burden. I have rediscovered that I have a wonderful family. And a great herd of friends, particularly those who I’ve been with since kindergarten, She whom I talked crushes with, and he whom I used to bully. Words still cut my throat. But I have to get them through. All I need to do is a simple thing. I just have to talk.