Friday, December 30, 2011

Nit-pick



Every passion is an obsession. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kissing in the snow


Her hands are freezing
Her soul is shaking
Is it because it's so cold
Or that racing heart that unfolds

The tension gets thicker
She nervously dithers
Is this really happening
As snowflakes start falling

He takes her lips
They kiss so deep
Under the lamplight
Lovers steal the spotlight

Wrapped in tight embrace
His caress is her fireplace
Under the burning glow
At temperature below zero

An eternal moment right there
All dissolves into thin air
She doesn't notice time just flew
He is her dream come true

They're kissing in the snow
He melts into her shadow
She gives her heart of gold
Love's a flame in the cold.

Fate



Ironically enough, it is when life is so random that everything makes perfect sense.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Painter

Every night I watch you paint,
A few seconds of calming rain
As you bring lightness to the dark,
Ravishing colors across the air shaft.

Might be a little voyeuristic of me,
After all, it is your work in progress I see.
A private sphere I am not proud to intrude,
I hope to keep away until you conclude.

But each night, I am fascinated
As your canvas gets animated
With every stroke of your brush;
Whoever said life is a rush.

Perhaps that is the beauty of it,
Not the end result but getting to it.
Enthralled by the process of creation,
It is the journey, not the destination.

Every night I watch you paint,
A few hours of calming rain.
The Painter is lightness in the dark,
Coloring life across the air shaft.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Snowflake


The person you think about the first time it snows is 
That One person you really want to spend Christmas with. 




In my shoes


The notion of time is only terrible for those who are waiting. The ones on the other side cannot possibly understand.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Strange melody

I wrote this poem in honor of Billie Holiday's song "Strange fruit" [1939] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXdnD39GYVU) It is one of the saddest, but most beautiful and powerful songs I have ever heard. "Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy." Dan Castellaneta

I had been feeling a little off lately,
It must be because of this strange melody.
Hearing it once sent an arrow through my heart,
The purest form of pain transformed into art.

A song that was written in a different era,
Each rendition of it revives the trauma.
Words you utter send shivers down my spine,
Between love and pain lies but a fine line.

Ensorcelled by this haunting melody,
No other song has had this effect on me.
I'm trembling inside in awe of your voice,
Hanging to every emotion as if I had no choice.

Blues is playing one note and it grabs you,
Music that is so honest it unglues you.
Cannot listen without a knot it my stomach,
The purest form of pain stuck in my heart.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Warmth of snow

Every year,
It is the same routine.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
   But there's something missing.

The city's lighting up
Christmas markets set up.
Quite a wondrous sight,
   But stars aren't shining bright.

Wham! is playing on the radio
The classics get their new version.
All might be in place,
   But it is the spirit I crave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Truth is,
I do not care much for Christmas trees.
Don't want any gifts on Christmas eve.
Not expecting a kiss under the mistletoe.
Never wrote a wish list for Santa Claus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What cannot be seen,
And only felt from within
 Decorate the heart
 With ornaments of light.

What cannot be seen,
And only felt from within
  Exchanging hearts
  On dark, chilly nights.

What cannot be seen,
And only felt from within
   Seal my heart with a kiss
   Locked in your abyss.

What cannot be seen,
And only felt from within
   When the heart doesn't wish
   That state of relish. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas is in the air,
When material things can't compare.
I'm on the outside, looking in,
What can only be felt from within.

The Christmas spirit grows,
I have felt the warmth of snow.
I'm on the outside, looking in,
A gift that can only be found within.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Should slang be suppressed in educational contexts?

I wrote this essay for one of my classes this semester.

Slang is a subject matter that has always been of great interest for linguists and teachers alike. While many might regard it as a distorted aberration of language, others are relatively pleased by the creativity and wit that are sparked by slang. In hindsight, it is commonly known that the younger generation will generate “a language of glitters and sparkles, of words that dazzle” (Dean 323) when they reach a particular age – which is profoundly influenced by friends, music videos and pop culture. And “like all slang, that of teenagers is language on a certain level, below both standard, formal English and colloquial speech, but above vulgarisms and illiterate usages” (Dean 323). Long have critics wondered whether slang puts adolescents at risk: can they still distinguish slang from the Standard variety? Does its ubiquitous usage prevent pupils from speaking ‘good’ English? Lastly, will their future be threatened by this tendency? (Barford bbc.co.uk) Consequently, the need for debate as to whether slang should be suppressed in educational contexts arose. Institutions like Manchester Academy were convinced that slang was indeed a damaging factor and banned the use of ‘street slang’ from their school grounds (Barford bbc.co.uk). However, we will discuss why such extreme measures are quite unnecessary and distasteful. Instead, schools must embrace the reality that slang remains “a second language within the school [that is] impossible to squelch and difficult to resist” (Heiman 249). More importantly, the usage of youth slang has quite a few advantages in other respects as well. Therefore, suppressing slang in educational contexts is clearly not an alternative that schools should opt for.

First of all, it is important to note that all distinctive groups, such as soldiers or police officers, will inevitably develop a language of their own. In other terms, it is a “natural human tendency” (qtd. in Barford bbc.co.uk) to produce slang to some extent. Needless to say again, adolescents are known to immerse in a group that tends to produce its own slang as well: they will come up with a personal set of words and sentences. Robert Beard, PhD of Linguistics and president of alphadictionary.com, assures us that slang is a “crucial part of a young person’s ‘coming of age’.” This form of language may differ from what is considered ‘proper’ English; nevertheless, youth slang should still be authorized in educational contexts because pupils should always be able to express themselves, even if that implies taking the liberty of using slang both outside and inside the classroom. As the slang expert Thorne observed, not only is this kind of language variety an inevitable phenomenon, but teachers must grasp that teenagers make use of slang in order to communicate with each other and express themselves. Dennis R. Dean, teacher at Palo Alto High School in California, states: “slang is language in which teenagers are demonstrably interested” (Dean 323).  If schools were to forbid slang, it would attack freedom of expression. Ultimately, slang is still an authentic way of expressing one’s feelings and opinions. Accordingly, institutions should never deprive teenagers of that right: banning slang from school property would mean  prohibiting students from speaking their minds.

Admittedly, some teachers fear that pupils might no longer be able to make a clear distinction between Standard English and slang. This is one of the main problems that teachers encounter with the usage of slang. In addition, they want their pupils to understand that slang is not appropriate at all times. Yet suppressing it in classrooms is not the solution that teachers should adopt in order to reach this goal. As a matter of fact, a number of educators are convinced that letting ‘slang’ enter the school premises will, on the contrary, help adolescents perfect their English. Elsa Russell, a teacher from Connecticut, wrote an article in the “The English Journal” in which she explained how she introduced a lesson on “slanguage” to her ninth-year English class. Russell instructed her pupils to submit a chart in which they would write down slang words and expressions they make use of on a daily basis. Then, they were asked to give their equivalent in ‘good’ English. Russell notes this was an exercise that caught the attention of her students immediately because “the class was obviously much more interested in the slang per se than in the equivalent King’s English expression” (741). Her goal was to make her students aware of these subtleties in language. In this regard, we can assess that, by acknowledging the nature of slang – instead of suppressing it – in educational contexts, pupils will be able to distinguish between Standard English and slang more effectively. Indeed, Heiman, coordinator of the English Department at the Monana Grove High School in Wisconsin, also says that “by recognizing [slang], analyzing it as English, and putting it to use, we might teach its users some things they may not know about the language, the way they use it, and, the way we would like them to use it. We may even discover that some of the excitement students exhibit in using a slang dialect can be transferred to their learning the standard dialect” (249). Both Heiman and Russell demonstrate that, by letting slang enter the classroom, pupils will comprehend the contrast between slang and ‘proper’ English better. It would even encourage them to improve their language skills. Hence, this is a further reason why slang should not be suppressed in educational contexts.

Another reason why slang should not be banned from school grounds is because teachers should also acknowledge the positive outcomes that this form of language engenders. Slang breathes creativity. It manifests the innovations of language. Not all slang must be thought of as a peculiarity. As a matter of fact, a large number of slang items and expressions serve a good purpose. David Crystal, who wrote “The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English language”, states that “slang is a way of being witty and different as well as adding earthiness to the abstract. It can reduce the seriousness of an occasion or take the sting out of a refusal” (qtd. in Watson The English Magazine). Green, who published “Green’s Dictionary of Slang”, the largest slang dictionary in the English language, in March 2011; also attests that slang is “vibrant, creative, witty and open to seemingly infinite re-invention” (Peters cnn.com). In this regard, we can recognize why slang has its place in educational contexts. Teachers should admit that youth slang is ingenious. Whether in speaking or in writing, a slang term or expression has the potential to add color, depth or humor to language. As a consequence, we apprehend why slang should be authorized in educational contexts.

Finally, youth slang on school premises should not be suppressed because it gives the opportunity to discover new or interesting terms. Eventually, these terms could become an accepted part of Standard English. Generating slang also offers a chance to enrich one’s vocabulary.  In his article, Heiman explains that a slang term generally follows one of these patterns: some words, such as “skidoo”, become widely popularized but die as fast as they were invented. Other terms, such as “booze”, are born but remain in the slang register. Finally, a term that started off as slang, for instance “walkie-talkie”, can eventually become Standard English (250). The fact is that language is always evolving: new words and coinages emerge. Some that were once considered slang are now ‘proper’ English items. Slang in educational contexts should be allowed because many items that the younger generation introduces could be kept in the dictionary. Furthermore, slang is a fun way of finding clever or amusing synonyms for ‘proper’ Standard English words and expressions. In 2005, the Teacher Training Agency in the United Kingdom launched a campaign entitled “Linguist. Would you like to learn new words?” and compiled an E-cyclopedia of emerging new coinages and words that could benefit adults as well (bbc.co.uk).  This example shows that youth slang has its advantages. If teachers allow slang in educational contexts, they will be able to learn a few lessons from the younger generation as well. As Elsa Russell claims, slang, “if carefully selected,  is the living, breathing expression of today’s thoughts and may become accepted and classic form of tomorrow’s” (744). Therefore, slang should not be suppressed from school premises.

In light of these arguments, we can conclude that youth slang has a legitimate place in educational contexts. Generating slang is a natural human process that enables new forms of expressions to be created. Moreover, slang does not hinder pupils from speaking Standard English. On the contrary, by understanding and investigating the nature of slang, students become more aware of ‘proper’ English and are able to process in which situations it is more appropriate to use ‘formal’ English. Slang breathes creativity and what is considered youth slang today can be in tomorrow’s dictionary. For all these reasons, slang should not be suppressed in songs because it has a lot of advantages. In the end, like poet Whitman said, language is “some vast living body, or perennial body of bodies. And slang not only brings the first feeders of it, but it afterward the start of fancy, imagination and humor, breathing into its nostrils the breath of life” (435).


Sources

Barford, Vanessa. “Mind your slanguage.” BBC News. 08 December 2009. Accessed 04 November 2011.


Beard, Robert. “What is slang?” alphadictionary.com, 22 March 2006. Accessed 04 September 2011.


Dean, Dennis R. Slang is a language too.” The English Journal. Vol. 51, No. 5, pp. 323-326. National Council of Teachers of English: 1962.


Heiman, Ernest. “The Use of Slang in Teaching Linguistics.” The English Journal. Vol 56. No. 2, pp. 249-252. National Concil of Teachers of English:1967.


Peters, Mark. “New Bible of slang is published.” CNN. 03 March 2011. Accessed 04 November 2011.


Russell, Elsa. “Slang – Face to Face.” The English Journal. Vol. 23, pp. 740-744. National Council of Teachers of English: 1934.


Watson, Margaret. “Slang is it good or bad?” The English Magazine. 01 June 2010. Accessed 04 November 2011.
<http://www.english-magazine.org/index.php/english-language/1090-languagearticle.html>


Whitman, Walt. “Slang in America.” The North American Review. Vol. 141. No. 348, pp 431-435. University of Northern Iowa: 1885.


“A lexicon of teen speak.” BBC News. 10 June 2005. Accessed 04 November 2011
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4074004.stm>

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All things change but us.


Life is so unpredictable and one is never certain what will happen, whether good or bad.
But sometimes, it is comforting to know that some things are lifelong constants.



Friday, November 25, 2011

My heart on ice and fire


You are the one I desire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Always in pristine attire
The one the sets my heart on ice, and fire.

As regal as should be a sire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

A dream sight like the shire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Shining eyes of sapphire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Character traits I admire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Your life stories inspire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Got everything I require
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

But at times a misleading satire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire

The cold look of a vampire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Throw my feelings in a mire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

Then some nights are quite dire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

But you are the one I desire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

From you I cannot retire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

My love for you will not expire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.

When will I acquire
The one that sets my heart on ice, and fire.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Slave to the immediate


Red light blinking
Message incoming
The custom nowadays
We read it fast
We get it now


Connected at all times
Not sending a swift reply is a crime
We have become so impatient
Slave to this second
Slave to the immediate


Delayed gratification
Once a fulfilling sensation
A strain to wait a while
Feelings at high speed
Feelings at a risk


All communications
A wave of indignation
The interval is too long
We count the limits
We count every minute


Time is on our side
Technology provides
But what we lose in return
It is timing we force
It is us we coerce


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking the curse


I know the lyrics to this song
Already had this conversation
Not the first time I wear this outfit
All the old doubts stuck on repeat

I sense a huge train wreck coming
Cannot help but have misgivings
Heart desires a bona fide ending
Cloud above my head to stop following

I have felt my smile slip away
Already awaiting such cliche
Sounds like I've heard and seen it all
Different journey, yet the same goal

I am bound to just rehearse
When does it cease to be a curse
Getting weary of this limbo
Ready to be the lead in my own show

     Be the one that proves me wrong
     The person with no trepidation
     Will I ever pass this exam
     Or am I to change who I am.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Say yes


When you are asking someone's opinion... Most of the times, you are not really asking;
You just want them to support the decision you've already made.




Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One


In a heartbeat, only one thing will suffice to outweigh all the bad.




Sunday, October 30, 2011

A million questions



Help me understand
Did I lose this hand?
Where did it go wrong?
Been patient so long

Help me get it right
Are we not alright?
Why are you so mean?
You were more than keen

Leaving me hanging
What's up with this thing?
Are there more reasons?
Hitting my buttons

Leaving me wondering
What am I missing?
And are you that vain?
You have to explain

I am still waiting
Why am I clinging?
Will you be a dear?
Nothing's crystal clear

I am still asking
Are you listening?
Are you worth a dime?
A waste of my time

You got me puzzled
Is it all canceled?
Why make it so hard?
Yes you disregard

You got me confused
Aren't you amused?
So is this the end?
Don't get what happened...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Drunk dialing


Calling you at this ungodly hour
Almost certain that you will be bothered
Apologizing for my drunken state
I guess this is how my feelings translate.

There's no way in hell I would have done this
In broad daylight, try not to reminisce
But what cold breeze on this dark autumn night
Slightly emotional after midnight.

Perhaps I had a little more to drink
Normally, my sorrows I do not sink
Although drunk dialing is not so smart
The truth is I am pouring out my heart.

Wanted to hear your voice right about now
Even if tomorrow, I'll raise an eyebrow
Aware that this is pretty much absurd
Barely coherent, I'm fairly hammered.

Miss you more than I will ever admit
It is like there's a hole in my spirit
You're still everything that I desire
The one that sets my heart on ice and fire.

I called you at this ungodly hour
Absolutely sure that you are bothered
Forgive me for my vulnerable state
Lost my heart and my mind, I can't locate.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Real masks


Putting on a mask is routine
Every day is Halloween
This flawless smile will mislead you
False tears have ways to seduce you

When are you really being real
Honest about feeling what you feel
Is there somebody here to please
Hindering you with boundaries

Society you cannot outsmart
Costumes are an integral part
Easier to be someone else
A personality that sells

In an alternate universe
Masks and sincere feelings diverge
What you see is what you will get
There's nothing here to simulate

When you are really being real
Honest about feeling what you feel
There's nobody but you to please
Lets you be without boundaries

Poison will eat you from within
If living in another skin
Real masks are not a solution
Rather scorned than an illusion

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some stories


Some love stories cannot stand on their own
All those nights I was waiting by the phone
For things that were unlikely to happen
Still, there I was wondering without end.

Some love stories need the hurdles and pain
All those days when I was going insane
Put pieces together that didn't fit
Still hoping that I was in for a treat.

Some love stories are this rapturous thing
All this time, loving him and suffering
But he's the sunrise that makes my heart sing
Still here, not trading him for anything.

Some love stories cannot stand on their own
They require the hurdles and the pain
The impossibility of it all
To be this beautiful, rapturous thing. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I thought you would understand


Nothing worse than still judging a book by its cover,
even after you've read it.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The beginning of things


You only liked the beginning of things,
When getting a call sent your heart racing
And the dates were less than predictable
A few days apart were hard to handle

We would be the best version of ourselves
Our conversations were rich and honest
Didn't mind kissing until the wee hours
Then, you would still surprise me with flowers

A time we were so afraid to fall short
Both you and I would put in the effort
We did not take a moment for granted
It was love in all its glory, splendid

    And all of a sudden, we stopped caring
    It was too familiar for our liking
    We were past the infatuation phase
    Realizing a love so sure betrays
 
    You only loved the beginning of things,
    When there was no jealousy or crying
    So we started to count our shortcomings
    When did the real thing become frightening?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PEOPLE


In my melting pot
Everyone has his slot
Some are like sugar in my coffee
Some make life a little more spicy

The days we spend together
Those adventures that brought us closer
You got that extra something
And talking to you became my thing

Whether I've met you only twice
Or have given me lifelong advice
I'm the kind that will value
In difficult times, I'll see us through

I won't forget the details of your face
No one ever leaves without a trace 
People are my greatest inspiration
Without each other, we cannot function

We all have a role to play
I'm keen on meeting you halfway
This is what you've done to me
Soul food I crave regularly

PEOPLE, PEOPLE
 Every relationship is fruitful

People manage to bring you back
When they've seen you go off track
People remind you who you used to be
And salute you when you've achieved so greatly
People who stay though seasons change
Love you even when you're acting strange

Never really far away
I am not going to let us go astray
You might be in a crowded space
But in my heart, you'll always have a place.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Non-fiction


Where's Waldo? was the game we used to play
Different setting each time, still the same chase
An impossible task to find a way
When my sole desire was to see your face.

It took us a while to reach this level
Like two angry birds who kept on failing
We couldn't overcome our obstacles
Until we found tricks to break the pattern.

The road to here was a little bumpy
So glad we're now more like Tom and Jerry
Catching you is not a small victory
We get to tease each other constantly.

I'm Lois Lane who got her Superman
Testing us allowed our bond to deepen
Never felt safer than in these strong arms
After troubled times came the happy end.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's you I see


Right here, right now
Turned into a flamingo 
That can fly
Standing in the middle 
Of a bridge, so high,
And I, so little...
With an open heart
I embrace nature
It's my soul you nurture

Beautiful days are felt on the inside
I'm whole again, it's you I see outside
Perfect, flawless face in the clouds
My love for you, I scream out loud

It will echo
In the mountains
Live on forever
Like a fountain
Through good and storm
Only you
Can keep me warm
Never far apart,
My morning thought, you start

Beautiful days are felt on the inside
I'm whole again, it's you I see outside
Perfect, flawless face in the clouds
My love for you, I scream out loud

Oh wonders surround me
Oh wonders within me
It's you I see
It's you I see



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Even before I met you


I have dreamt of you 
Even before I met you
Home to feature films  
And idolized in songs
Known in your own right
If only for your lights

Seems like I've been here
Even before it was real
Now following the beat
Walking down your streets
My eyes are hungry
Your spirit alone fills me

Iconic New York City
 Where dreams don't go to sleep
More than I envisioned
Exceeded expectations
My feet on the ground
I'm bringing my hopes to town


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Souls collide


I've written a love letter here before
Was the time I thought our future was sure
On my way to the eternal city
There, I knew that you were waiting for me

In the beginning, when everything's new
Driven by passion, it's mountains we move
Our souls collide, and the story we start
I was yours, you were mine - everything right.

So fate brought me back here six years later
The universe has a sense of humor
Us together, a distant memory
Buried someplace where my heart cannot see

In the end, when everything's forgotten
I'd lie if I said it's all forgiven
Chapter in the past, this love lost its spark
No longer you, no longer I - everything dark.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fourth coming


Sometimes, destiny takes detours -- 
But it never takes its eyes off the destination.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To whom it may concern


To whom it may concern
This, you have to discern
I'm not here to play games
True love is what I aim

I have been there, done that
The life of a wildcat
I'm in for the long run
I'll wait to be The One

To whom it may concern
My time, you'll have to earn
I promise you my all
For me, you should stand tall

Willing to take a chance
Go all in for romance
I'm ready for this change
One's up for the challenge

    To whom it may concern
    You have to be certain
    We must want the same things
    With my heart, no gambling.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The nomad


A nomad's home is the road
His favorite spot, the window.
The eyes wander constantly
Heightened by their vicinity.

A nomad adores people
To his travels, they're fuel.
Differences is what he seeks
A common ground is what they'll reach.

It is a nomad's addiction
Have this world leave an impression.
He will get smitten with a place
Set off, but not without a trace.

It is a nomad's prerogative
To venture, for him, is to live.
Memories in his suitcase
New experience, he'll embrace.

     This nomadic life he chose.
     Globetrotting is a purpose
     For a nomad, it never stops
     There ia no such thing as enough.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The virgin diaries

When I was in the Philippines a few weeks ago, while we were driving from Makati to Las Piñas, I happen to listen to a radio show that caught my attention immediately. The show, like any other typical "Doctor Love" session past the witching hour, had a male caller complain about a certain issue he recently had with his girlfriend. He courted her for more than a year before they became a couple; and they were going strong for the last two years. He loved her simplicity, her shyness - and her "hard-to-get" ways were, in his opinion, worth all his time and efforts. More importantly, what attracted him in the first place was her virginity. She prided herself in the fact that she wanted to wait - and he was more than willing to. 

But like all zealous men in their twenties, he looked forward to taking the relationship to the next level and even though she rejected his advances quite a number of times -- after two years together -- she finally gave in. Unmatched, their first time was going to be beautiful. It was going to be spectacular. Yet, instead of it being the new experience he had long hoped for; he was in for a bad surprise -- because right after they had sex, he found out that it was, actually, not such a new experience for her. Indeed, he was not her first. She had been touched before - and this sudden revelation, completely and utterly, destroyed him. 

But as the male caller explained his story, I, like the host of the radio show, could not clearly identify what his real problem was. Undoubtedly, it was wrong for her to lie about her virginity -- and no one in this world would judge the poor guy for being so cross at her. But as he went along, I could not help but sense that he was much more upset about the fact that she was not a virgin than the fact that she hid the truth. Above all, he could not get past the reality that since she was, indeed, not a virgin; then why did she let him wait an eternity for sex? Finally, he seeked advice on whether he should break up with her or not. The host then raised two important questions: "Do you want to break up with her because she lied or because she was not as pure as you thought she was? And if it is the latter, does her non-virginity truly make her less worthy of a woman now?" The caller hesitated for a while before admitting that he contemplated on ending their relationship because of the latter: because she was touched before, and not because she did not tell the truth. He even confessed that if he knew she wasn't a virgin to begin with, he would not have bothered to date her at all. I was furious -- and so was the radio host because she said "Actually, I strongly believe that she should be the one breaking up with you, and not the other way around. You do not deserve her -- or her love since you are judging her based solely on her (non-)virginity. It is like saying that all her other qualities do not count. It was definitely a mistake for her to lie about it -- and whether you forgive her or break up with her because of that false information should be the real issue. Having said that, maybe she did not tell you because she knew you would react the way that you are right now? And she was right - you are being a fool. In the end, did you truly love her or did you fall in love with her virginity?"


One's virginity - surely a person's most precious possession - has always been a very sensitive and long debated subject, especially in more conservative  societies where even discussing it is a huge step. Sex before marriage, contraception and protection, teen pregnancies, sex within cultural and religious differences - these matters related to sex have indeed raised awareness, questions, and eyebrows throughout the ages. As early as our teenage years, we learn that having sex for the first time will be an important happening in our lives -- and it is of course better if we wait for the right person to experience it with. Some people will get to have their fairytale story while many others will think of losing their virginity as a horrendous event.

Without doubt, one's virginity is something that should not be taken lightly and it is a fact that a woman's purity, in comparison to men's, has always seemed more of a serious matter - for women and as it appears, it is at times even more of value for men. It is perhaps a double standard that is arguable and unfair on so many different levels -- but a social truth nonetheless. Moreover, we can concede that this subject is closely connected to what will (eventually) become a woman's sexual and/or romantic history - which will honestly matter for many men when they meet someone. Of course it would be wonderful if one is lucky enough to live his/her true love with one person alone, but we live in world today where opportunities and options have widened. Consequently, women are incontestably more liberal about sex - embracing their sexual prowess as much as men do -- which was not the case only a few decades ago. And so it becomes a reality that a lot of a woman nowadays will have more than one partner in her lifetime -- whether she is proud of that fact or not. The consequences are of course both negative and positive: women gain more experience and confidence, but they are also somehow labelled because of such practice. And so we can ask ourselves: does our sexual history define us? Does it become a factor that will weigh on our dating life? And ultimately, is it right to judge a person because of where he/she has been before?

In the dating scene, many people fear that their history will haunt them because many things in that box could either be shameful, repulsive or even just crazy. And in spite of the fact that we are pushed to believe that we are able to learn from the past, many souls remain persistently judgmental on someone's (sexual and romantic) background. He/she has the history of... makes it seem close to impossible to leave it all behind. But, once again, although it may as well have that major impact -- it simply is not right to let it overshadow our whole being. If a man, like the male caller on that radio show, is not willing to take a bigger chance on a woman just because she's not as untouched as she should have been in his eyes, then he surely is not worth the bother to begin with. The past becomes a part of someone, but it definitely does not make the person. Love is loving it all: qualities, flaws and everything in between. In the end, the thing about virginity is that it symbolizes something new. And when we fall in love, for the first or nth time, aren't we always starting fresh? Of course that is the case -- and some worthy man will know the difference. And like Madonna once said, "I'd been had, I'd been sad and blue. But you made me feel shiny and new. Like a virgin, touched for the very first time."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Osmosis


Nothing but the sound of the waves
Feeling the warm wind on my face
Close my eyes just before I dive
I have never felt more alive

Millions have walked here before me
Still, this moment belongs to me
When my footprints will wash away
In my heart you are here to stay

The island's whispering to me
Overwhelmed by your energy
Everything in sudden osmosis
A harmony I'll surely miss

-Written in BALI, INDONESIA


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pebbles

One of my dearest once told me that life is like drawing a line on the floor; and every event -- no matter how big or small -- is a stone that is gently placed on that line as we go on our journey through life. 

Some incidents are as light as a pebble. Without any major impact, they are often forgotten as soon as they occur - left to rest in the back of our minds. Other stones are indisputably more significant - special, perhaps even pretty exceptional. When we take a look at them long after the moment has passed, it brings out a smile, a chuckle or even triggers a long, loud laugh. Some of these special episodes, naturally, have the opposite effect: capable of making our eyes roll, see red, shed tears and at times, they even make the whole body cringe. And ultimately, there are those events that are rock hard - real big, really heavy. Life-altering, they either make us - or break us. This type of happening usually compels us to question or even change our outlook on things, it molds our being in more ways than we sometimes wished for - and we know, to the core, that we are never the same again.  

Life - a line filled with stones of different shapes, colors and weight; and only God knows in what order. 

Exactly five years ago today, something monumental happened to me and if I may, I would definitely say that this kind of event belongs to the last category: rock hard -- real big, really heavy. It made me question, it made me change my outlook on things and it has truly mold me in more ways than I often wished for - and  I know, to the core, that I will never be the same again. Thing is, many days or events become but fragments of our past and memory -- but some have, to our liking or not, colossal implications. Like a huge rock seen in broad daylight, its shadow lingers -- the consequences of the event, much bigger than the event itself. 

Long have I wondered what I learned from such a massive experience and in truth, it is plenty. Once again -- and I reckon I will never repeat it enough since it has had a huge influence on my writing  -- I am grateful for the fact that I now get to appreciate the smaller things much better than I used to. I know what it feels to be extremely lucky. I found out that there is eternity in a moment. Whether we see it right away or not, people come into our life for different reasons -- all good ones. There is no age limit for learning... or fun. And I am sure that the best love is the "no-matter-what" one. 

Furthermore, I've learned the true meaning of patience - especially because I know what it is not having any. I also believe that although we may not be able to control our feelings sometimes, we are still able to get through them as long as we have the people we love by our side. It is extremely important to work our strengths, but let us not be so hard on ourselves because of our weaknesses. Adjusting ourselves, to a person or a situation, is undoubtedly one of the hardest tasks in life, and there is no way out but through. After this incident, I also came to realize that normal does not exist. Finally, we must keep the faith that turning plans into reality will always be possible - no matter our shortcomings and numerous setbacks, no matter how long it takes. Small steps are indeed frustrating, but we continue to walk the line nonetheless. Many of us live our lives with the belief that only special or stepping stones truly matter, but in the end, maybe the greatest lesson I have learned is that even the smallest pebble can create ripples.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Innocence of it All


I would write your name on a piece of paper
Add little hearts and a whole lot of color
Then, the mere thought of you was enough for me
I would get a hello; my heart raced quickly.

Beauty of young love lies in its purity
Ephemeral, untainted eternally
A time when possibilities were endless
Love seemed simple - and the heart knew nothing less.

Once older, bruised from a crushed romance or more
Left space for cynicism to take over
And I wonder if it can happen again
Could I love like I have never been in pain?

Innocence of young love is indelible
Now, even forgot the mirth to just giggle
Would like to think there's naivete like before
Love is simple - and this heart knows it for sure.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Zigzag


We could reach the same destination though we may take different paths.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anti-crush


It is the forever longing that makes me forever want you.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blue clouds and a white sky

Blue clouds and a white sky
Another year goes by
And now I'm twenty-six;
Grateful to add new bricks.

Live my life in full swing
Finding joy in all things.
Each moment leads to now
Dodge bullets without frown.

Thankful for who I am
In deep waters I swam
No remorse since my youth
My heart still searches truth

I love wholeheartedly
Beauty surrounding me.
Forever in a day,
Extremes like all the way.

Blue clouds and a white sky
God hears me laugh and cry
My soul paints a picture,
A life filled with rapture.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Borderline

Sometimes, I think we go too far
Chatting about things off radar
A place we shouldn't wander to
Makes me revise my feelings for you

Draw a line between you and me
That's the only way it can be
There's no need to plant this garden
Don't want me falling for you again

We're joking, but I am smitten
I wonder if you too, are lightened
Some things should remain off limits
Drawn to you once more is illicit

Have a line between you and me
That's the only way it should be
If we were to have each other
In our lives, it comes with a barrier

Took us years to be where we are
Loving you was going through war
We've passed all that without good-bye 
And now you are my closest ally

Need this line between you and me
That's the only way it must be
I am mixing oil with water
Each time my love for you is triggered

Aren't we borderline flirting
Once we get into that talking
Tiptoeing on dangerous ground
In this ocean, I know I will drown

Keep this line between you and me
The only way that works for me
If only this could stay frozen
Because I can't fall for you again.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Flying kiss


Loving you from afar is as close as I'll ever get to you.




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Never without you

"He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish." - Dr. Jose Rizal


Growing up as a Filipina abroad can often feel like being a contestant on a quiz show. Yet in comparison to those kind of shows where the participant is required to give one exact answer only, I sometimes need to think twice before answering the very simple question: "So, where do you come from?" My replies, depending on the situation, range from "I am from the Philippines" to "I am a Filipina who grew up in Geneva" to "I was born in Switzerland but I am originally from the Philippine Islands."

As the years went by and I had the opportunity to live in different countries, the answers became more and more elaborate. I am a Swiss-born Filipina but lived in this and that country for a certain period of time and I am currently residing in... People either get very intrigued or tired, depending on the conversation, by the time I finish the second sentence. It would be nice to keep the answers easy and short, but the bottom line is that I feel like I must mention every single detail for people to really understand who I am.

Despite the fact that my explanations frequently varied, it dawned on me that something remained the same all this time. I am Filipina. Because no matter which destination I have been to, where I am right now and wherever my feet will take me; I always took pride in my heritage and my ability to share where I come from with people around the globe.

In truth, it is because of my wonderful family -- in particular my parents and my grandmother -- that my roots play such an immense role in shaping and defining my identity. My parents quickly understood that living abroad could make things a little complicated since my siblings and I were going to grow up abroad. Of course we needed to fit in with our environment but at the same time, they made sure to teach us our cultural background, help us remember our traditions and know all about the history and Greatest of our country. More importantly, if I were asked to name the one thing I am so very proud of, I will definitely say that my family did us right by teaching us Tagalog.

  • The importance of language
One of the most significant topics that Filipino parents who emigrate must deal with is the importance of language. They stand before a crucial decision: Will we teach our children Pilipino? This question might appear trivial to some but it is a harsh reality that a number of parents do not go the extra mile to teach their children Pilipino. Indeed, many of the next generations who grow up abroad -- a lot of them are cousins and good friends of mine -- do not speak the language. Some do not even understand it at all. I do not blame them because it is clearly not their fault. In any case, to be completely frank, I find that fact abominating and simultaneously, I cannot fully grasp why this occurs. Usual reasons -- or dare I say excuses -- I hear are "My children could get confused if they speak French, German, Swedish or Russian at school and Pilipino at home" and "They do not really need to speak Pilipino." First of all, I believe it is nonsense to think children will be confused because they learn different languages at the same time, not to mention it is underestimating their abilities to learn. The point is that the only way they can be taught is through their parents and they will learn the local language by being around others anyway. After all, children are gifted and fast learners. Secondly, how could people feel like their children do not need to learn the Pilipino language? What happens when they fly back home and wish to communicate -- in particular with elders who do not necessarily speak English? 


The only valid reason I can find for not educating youngsters is that parents simply do not care enough. Or is it maybe because they are overwhelmed by their own yet 'complicated' language? Are they not proud of being Filipino? Or do they consider their children not Filipino because they were born abroad? I feel strongly about this subject not only because my family taught me just how important it is to be fluent in Pilipino but because I, myself, assume it is a pity to not even speak the language of your parents (even if it is only your mother's or father's!) -- it is your own language in the end. I reckon that if your parents do not push you enough, then it is your responsibility to make the effort. After all, language is the doorway to acknowledging and understanding your legacy. It is something you can take pride in, it is an asset you must value with your whole heart. The best thing about knowing the language is that people will praise you for it -- especially because you grew up abroad. Once more, you might not have lived in your home country but it is no reason (or excuse) to forget where you are from.


  • Best of both worlds
On the other hand, I must admit that growing up as a Filipina abroad can also be quite tricky at times. You are Filipino but you live here. You wonder who you really are and must find ways to describe it. But in time and with experience, I learned once again that it is by appreciating your origins i.e. you own language and culture first that enabled me to discover who I am. "He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination" Dr. Jose Rizal. Meanwhile, I perceive what is so great and special about living in a foreign country: by exploring the city you grew up in and the places you have been to; you grasp that these factors forge your entire being as well. Without doubt, obviously, I am a proud Filipina but I am also very thankful for having been given the chance to be abroad. All these years I spend in lovely Switzerland and every time I moved to a new city, I made sure to learn the language, get to know the culture and fit in with its people as well. I am assured that it is equally important. I am extremely lucky because I manage to mix both: I am Filipina and I blend in. Having the best of both worlds is a treasure, never considered a hindrance. In the end, this diversity creates the new breed of Filipinos.


 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love from my shades


- Love from my shades - 
a poem by Nicole Bataclan  

I used to have this song on repeat.
It brightened up my day, and it followed me to sleep.
Like a child that picked his number one candy,
I adored it; eating from the palm of my hand, word after word.
And as I hummed the melody, I hummed...
As if it were the only existing, most beautiful sound in the world.

Now, hidden in the dark, far from daylight; my heart breaks.
It takes me by surprise every time; God knows I cannot fake.
I close my eyes slowly, it all starts to feel heavy.
Every stroke on the guitar, the bass remains steady.
Can you hear the drums, and how Anthony perfects it?
The rhythm revives the used-to-be, reminds me it was not meant to be.

Sing for me, please, play it once again for me.
I listen, chords and words. And it is finally dawn, sunrise becomes me.
Pain, it brings no more. Sad tears, I ceased to accumulate.
I am not bitter: to this song, him, I no longer associate.
Lyrics and melody, Red Hot memories; from this day on,  intertwined with mine, only mine.
I see love from my shades. Created a new memory; untainted, bright like sunshine.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Red Cup



Once upon a time, in a … Have you heard this one before?


The story behind the Red Cup goes back a number of years ago. It all begins with a young woman – this full-of-life yet sensitive, quite edgy young woman, who decides to spend the summer of her eighteenth birthday in a small town called Magallanes, situated in the beautiful province of Cavite, Philippines. Although she had never resided in Magallanes, she had been to this familiar place countless times before: it was, after allthe hometown. But little did the young woman know  that this stay was not going to be quite the usual. In fact, everything about her whole world was about to make a little more sense
The ingredients of that summer were very simple: waking up every morning at five a.m., feeding the poultry, working in the bukid, time to read or/and watch a little television, lunchtime, afternoons were spent visiting relatives and neighbours, going for a walk in the bayan; and/or the siesta always worked magic. five p.m. was again the time to feed the poultry; followed by dinner while watching the evening news. Finally, it was straight to bed…. very early. Every day the same, every day… the same. Although one would agree that this vacation was not filled with the most exciting activities, which, in fairness, was the case, this 18 year-old had the best of time simply being in the company of her favorite person on earth, her idol and mentor, the woman of her life: none other than her beloved grand-mother. Indeed, there were no spectacular occasions and none was actually needed, the young woman found peace and serenity just by participating in her grand-mother's everyday life.
It was between (and during) all these activities that something quite marvelous happened. As soon as the young woman, Nicole, and her grand-mother were about to share a cup of coffee, she would hear all about her grand-mother's experiences. They didn't follow a specific chronological order: some stories were hilarious, other made her shed a tear or two. A few of them she had heard before, on the other hand,  new details were added to those already known  stories; and there was always something new that made this young woman smile deep, deep inside. Talking and listening carefully to the stories of her grand-mother, retracing her steps was like walking in history.
Every time they reached for a cup of coffee would also be a lesson for Nicole to remember. And more than  often, it was the most simple and frank, yet best advice one could ever get -- on life, love, failure, health, money, pride, family values, fear and what one should strive for in life. So when her grand-mother fell in love with the Nescafé red cup they saw on television, young Nicole knew right there and then, that she needed to get it for her. For no reason. For all the reasons.
Unfortunately, the cup her grand-mother desired did not exist anymore and was not going to be reproduced in the future… So they said. Nicole could not believe it. Her grand-mother then told her that it was no problem, that it was okay. But it wasn't: it was out of the question for Nicole to give up. How could she? She then promised her grand-mother that whatever it takes, she will find the red cup, and bring it back to her.  Nicole promised.


A few years went by and every place Nicole visited and lived in, from Stockholm to Berlin passing by Vilnius and Tallinn, it became very difficult as she could not find it... anywhere. Frustration was taking over slowly,  the shops kept closing their doors as well as Nicole's hopes. They always sold red cups, never Nescafé red cups.  Could they make one especially for us? No, of course not. 

It was only while visiting Rome again that fate would strike. She ordered coffee -- yes, as usual, but to Nicole's biggest surprise, they served it in the infamous Nescafé red cup: the one she spent years looking for, the one her grand-mother wanted! She could not believe it. But it was true, Nicole was holding it tightly in her hands. She inquired, and requested where she could get exactly this one. Luckily enough, Rome still loved Nescafé red cups, and the smile her grand-mother gave her the second she received it turned into one of the greatest highlights in Nicole's life, and that image will remain in her head as vivid as ever. In the Red Cup history was written, in the Red Cup  history awaits. The Red Cup symbolizes the reason why the present is a gift and it is a token to the bright  future Nicole could -- and will -- never give up on, the future her grand-mother promised her. The Red Cup is love and joy. The Red Cup is hers... and mine.
Now every time I set foot in my grand-mother “Lola”’s house – which in this case, has been more than four years (that is way too long, undoubtedly)— but every single time I do, something quite marvelous happens. It's nothing fancy really, but it is the one place in the world where I feel totally secure and whole, where everything makes a little more sense. For one, I know that if I ever feel lost or broken, I know that her life experiences and  lessons can keep me grounded. And more importantly, I know why retracing her steps -- not only by remembering them -- but actually walking in history with her marks why  the story of our lives is so important to understand our own, my very own identity. All paths of my life lead back to where I come from: where my roots are. Lola, I never forget the Red Cup, I will always hold it tightly. Wherever I've been and the next destinations I will get to, the incredible and strong person that you are, your awe-inspiring life, your wise words and unconditional love: our Red Cup is forevermore my most precious possession. Pour me a little more coffee, will you? Salamat po, Lola.