Tuesday, June 28, 2011


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


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 was born in Switzerland but I am originally from the Philippines" to "I am a Filipina who grew up in Geneva, Manila and Vienna." 

As the years went by and I had the opportunity to live in many other 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 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, length-wise at least, 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 find myself 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 and mesh with our environment; but at the same time, they made sure to teach us all about our cultural background, celebrate our traditions and honor the history and Greatest of our country. More importantly, if I were asked to name the one thing that 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 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 new generations who grow up abroad –– a lot of them are even cousins and good friends of mine -- do not speak the language. A few do not even understand it at all. I do not blame them because it is clearly not their fault. Notwithstanding, and 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 often 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 necessarily need to speak Pilipino." First of all, it is nonsense to think children will be impaired because they learn different languages at the same time, not to mention that it is underestimating their abilities. After all, it is at that age that one absorbs the fastest. The point is that the only way they can be taught Pilipino is through their parents and they will learn the local language by being around others anyway. On a second note, 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 the next generation is that parents simply do not care enough. Are they not proud of being Filipino? Or do they consider their children not Filipino because they were born and/or raised abroad? In any case, 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!) -- in the end (or rather, in the first place), it is your language as well. It should be passed on like genetic code. So I reckon that if parents do not push enough, then it will be the child's responsibility to make the effort. After all, it is never too late to learn a new language, even more so if it is your own. You might not have lived in your home country but it is no reason (or excuse) to forget where you come from. "He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination" –Dr. Jose Rizal.

Language is the doorway to acknowledging and understanding legacy – your identity. And the best thing about mastering the language is that people will praise you for it -- especially because you grew up abroad.

  • Best of both worlds

Naturally, one must admit that growing up as a Filipina abroad was not always all roses. It could be quite tricky at times. You are Filipino but you live here. And when you are in the Philippines, you are that Balikbayan (a Filipino visiting or returning to the Philippines after a period of living in another country.) i.e. not entirely from here. Then, you wonder who you really are and must find ways to define – describe – yourself. But in time and with experience, as mentioned above, I learned that it is truly by appreciating my origins i.e. my own language and culture first -- my forefathers' ––  that enabled me to create who I am. It all starts from there; and without a hint of a doubt, it will get you wherever you desire.

Meanwhile, I perceive what is so great and special about living in a foreign country: by exploring the country I grew up in and subsequently the places I have been to; I grasp that all these factors forge my entire being as well. Again, I am a proud Filipina but I am also beyond borders thankful for having been given the chance to be abroad. All these years I have spent in lovely Switzerland and every time I moved to a new city or country, I made sure to learn the language, get to know the culture and fit in with its people as well. It is equally important. In the end, I manage to mix both: I am Filipina and I blend in. Having the best of both worlds is a treasure, never a hindrance. Where do I come from? Lucky to be able to
give such elaborate answers. This diversity is the new breed of Filipinos and I will make sure to pass it on to the new kids on the block.

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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Still, without

I'm a singer without a mic
I'm a boxer when there's no fight
I'm a soldier without a gun
Still a shadow when there's no sun

I'm a waiter without a tray
I'm a hunter when there's no prey
I'm a poet without a pen
Still a listener when there's no friend

I'm an actor without a crowd
I'm a DJ when there's no sound
I'm a pilot without a plane
Still a player when there's no game

   I'm the answer without question
   Letter without destination
   A lesson when there's no mistake
   Lover when there's no heart to break.