Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mula ngayon

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Ala-ala ng lumuluhang kahapon
Dahan-dahan ko na ring kinakahon...

Monday, February 20, 2017


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by Yuan Chen

I daydream, melancholy at the windowsill—
memories I will never tell—

our passion is the late night hours,
our tearful goodbyes at dawn.

Mountains and rivers divide us,
I’ve given up hoping for rain.

Divided, I dream of you today—
I even embrace the pain.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Postcards from SHM*

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This is us in reverse.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Spaces by Arkaye Kierulf*

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Sad people read poetry. Today I found this:
She said: give me more space. I said: don’t you love me anymore? She said: give me more space. I said: why? Did I do something wrong? Is there something wrong? Is there someone else? When did you stop loving me? In what precise moment? In what room? What city?
I held her tight as one who’s about to lose his own life holds on. Then she said: give me more space. I said: no.
All these I asked, maybe in my head. I always thought I'll keep on saying no.

*Read the whole poem here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


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And so I begin 2017 with regrets and a broken heart.

It's crazy how we tend to write/think more when we're miserable. I could've blogged about our spontaneous out-of-town trips (aka kidnapping episodes), food discoveries, the first (and only) trip abroad, her newfound fascination with kittens. But here I am, writing about our last time together.

Sa dapit-hapon ng pag-ibig natin,'di kita kayang iwan.
To be honest, the decision didn't come as a surprise. There have been a couple of attempts in the past four years to part ways but we always talked things over, do something new, rekindle the fire. Looking back, I can't help but be remorseful because I was too absorbed in work, family issues, politics even, that I keep on forgetting to keep my part of the bargain. She has given me too many chances and I failed her every time. What surprised me was that I never pleaded her to stay this time, that I calmly let her go, and now I'm wondering if I made the right choice. Perhaps, subconsciously, I knew we needed a break. 

Four years. What could've gone wrong, she asked. I don't know love. It baffles me as much as it baffles you. Words seem silly now, and I can't yet go into full analysis mode. I will probably need a few more days to cry. I just hope that the friendship, love and tenderness we have for each other will never desert us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I'm still here

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So my last entry was exactly a year ago. So many things have happened since then and I don't quite know where to start. Then a friend asked about Batanes, and I found myself sending her the link to one of my entries and thinking of the many other things that I could have shared had I not been too lazy to write. 

I've read an article on the benefits of keeping a diary, among which is that it builds a bridge between our present selves and our future ones. While a blog will never be as honest as a personal journal, it serves a similar purpose. How different is the self that I was willing to share ten years ago from the self I am sharing now? A blog is also a good way of guarding your memory against the ravages of time. 

To start, I think a recap of 2015 is in order.

Started the year as an underbar associate in a law firm. My dad was so proud when he saw this on the firm's website:
I also made new friends, which is an achievement in itself hehe.
Sat next to Howie Severino on the plane to my first out-of-town assignment and scored a fansign for Nice. :-)
Hibernated in La Union with Mary while waiting for the results of the bar exams. Results were not released until a week later.

The first three weeks were spent coordinating a film project of one of the firm's foreign clients.
(TV background came in handy. Not.)
Took the Lawyer's Oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys.
Created a new Facebook account after a year-long hiatus.

Left the firm and started working in government again. 

Second half of 2015 will probably be posted next year. Hahaha.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thank you, Universe!

A lot of people were probably surprised I made it (mostly law professors and classmates who most likely remember me as the empty chair or the subject of the question “Is she dropping?”). I, too, was aghast when I saw my name on the list. I had to rub my eyes and pinch my cheeks to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. True story.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel euphoric. At the same time, the results left me feeling uncomfortable, that maybe some more brilliant/diligent/deserving examinee lost a spot because of me. But that’s the way it is, the bar exam is simply a matter of fortuity and perhaps I should just thank the stars for aligning properly. 

More than anything, I felt relieved that I don’t have to go through those five months of review again. The bar is a huge gamble. You invest time, emotions, and resources and there is no guarantee that the efforts will pay off. (Side story: My mom sold a heifer to finance my last month of review. Buti na lang hindi ko binigyan ng pangalan yung baka kaya walang emotional attachment. Lols) 

Of course, my parents’ reaction after learning of the results is priceless. For a long time, people from our barrio have had the idea that I’m a hotshot lawyer from UP, and my mom always had to correct them by saying that I’m still a student/I have yet to take the bar exam. Seven years. Ha! My elder sister had a banner made, and mom wasted no time in putting it up by our gate. Even relatives I haven’t heard from in ages called and kept posting congratulatory messages on my siblings’ Facebook pages.
One proud momma!
I know no amount of thank you’s will be enough to thank everyone who helped me through the ordeal. My study buddies at the Lounge, for keeping me sane and for sharing their review materials/food/coffee/knowledge/optimism/company. Patty, Gian, Golda, Donna, Aika, Raj and Girlie for the awesome goodie bags, brain tonic and that miraculous substance, essence of chicken.  :-) Schola Juris Vespertina and the BarOps Commission for putting up with our demands. Friends who acted as prayer warriors and compensated for my non-believer status. (Reyann said she went to the Pink Sisters to pray for my success. Twice.) People mentioned here. My girlfriend who was exceptionally patient with me, thank you for the random visits, quick lunches, hugs, kisses, for rubbing my back while I wept profusely out of frustration over Tax, for that anniversary getaway after my first reading, for taking me to UST on Sundays. My younger sister/roommate for waking me up when I ask her to and for cooking my bar exam lunch. My mom who insisted I should not worry because a manghuhula said I will pass the bar. My dad who said I should relax (naku, kung alam mo lang Pa hehe) and “huwag mong masyadong dibdibin yan anak. Kung bumagsak, e may next time pa naman.”

And now, after the euphoria has died down, I try to resign to the idea that maybe getting into the legal profession isn’t so bad and that those long and torturous years in Malcolm Hell is the universe’s way of helping me find what I’m meant to become.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Road to Ninjahood: Gauntlet Classes at the Ninja Academy

Our parkour adventure continues with gauntlet classes. Gauntlet, in common parlance means ordeal or challenge, but it has a slightly different meaning in the parkour community. According to Ninja Academy’s website
“gauntlet is an intense series of workouts that will utilize the student’s whole body as he maneuvers through the course.” 
Basically, a gauntlet session has two parts – the high-intensity interval training (HIT) to improve endurance and the obstacle course to enhance parkour skills.

Day 1.
The HIT was comprised of three rounds of the following exercises: jumping jacks, push-ups, planks, crunches, and pull ups. It was not as hard as I imagined (perhaps because I used to do seven-minute workouts?). Then Coach Cruz taught us how to go through the obstacle course. First we went through it one by one to familiarize ourselves. Next was the stealth round, where we did the course as a team. But there’s a catch. Since ninjas are supposed to do things quietly, if a team member makes a noise while going through the course, everyone would be punished with jump squats or burpees.

Day 2. 
If the HIT in Day 1 was manageable, Day 2 was grueling. Each round was composed of eight burpees, ten kettlebell deadlifts, lunges with 20-kg weight discs, walking tiptoe with the same weight discs and “suicides” or modified sprints. It was suicidal. My legs were shaking at the end of first round and we had to do AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in seven minutes. It didn’t help that we had dinner 15 minutes before the session so we all felt sick even before traversing the obstacle course.

Coach Habi and Coach Vince designed the course to highlight upper body strength and balancing. We learned (or tried to learn) to cat leap and Mary conquered the monkey bars for the first time ever. :-)

There was no stealth round this time. Instead, there was perfection, where we had to go through the course without touching the floor. The consequence if you do? Revert to the course’s previous leg.

Day 3
Law school buddies Tin and April joined us for our third go at the gauntlet. For the HIT, we were made to do three rounds of torture these exercises: burpees, jackhammers, planks, crunches, Russian twist, Australian pull-ups, and sprints. It was intense! (Langyang jackhammers yan!!!) For a while I was worried Tin would declare our friendship over. LOLs. Fortunately, we had an extended rest period while waiting for the next batch of gauntlet goers to finish their HIT before negotiating the course.

There were about a dozen of us in the gauntlet class that day and half of them were regulars so it was a bit intimidating. I worried that my clumsiness would cause the group undue stress during the stealth round (burpees galore!) but I think we did okay.


For a first-timer, April did really well. She was able to do a wall run (see first part of the video) and was able to jump from Pride Rock’s highest point into the foam pit after the gauntlet class! Grabe, kahit non-law school endeavors bibo. Haha.

Atty. April Lacson. 2012 bar topnotcher. Ninja.

The road to ninjahood may be rough and rocky, but for ninjas-in-training, it’s definitely worth taking. :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

To my heart, on Sunday

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To my heart, on Sunday
by Wislawa Szymborska

Thank you, my heart:
you don't dawdle, you keep going
with no flattery or reward,
just from inborn diligence.

You get seventy credits a minute.
Each of your systoles
shoves a little boat
to open sea
to sail around the world.

Thank you, my heart:
Time after time
you pluck me, separate even in sleep,
out of the whole.

You make sure I don't dream my dreams
up to the final flight,
no wings required.

Thank you, my heart:
I woke up again
and even though it's Sunday,
the day of rest,
the usual preholiday rush
continues underneath my ribs.*

* From Poems: New and Collected 1957-1997
Photo credit: Google

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So, you want to be a ninja?

I first heard about parkour years ago when I saw guys jumping and rolling in UP Diliman’s Film Center being featured on TV. It looked fun (and easy) and I listed it as one of the things I want to do after law school but law school being what it is, I promptly forgot about it. Then one day in June, Mary asked me if I want to try parkour. I said yes, we purchased Ninja Academy vouchers on Ensogo, and I forgot about it again. There had to be a moratorium on extreme activities until the bar exams are over. Baka ma-amnesia pa ako eh. 

After several postponements, Mary, her sister Liz, and I finally went to Ninja Academy, the country’s first indoor parkour facility, to redeem our vouchers and begin our journey to ninja-hood.
Well, not this Ninja Academy. Hehe.

Parkour 101
Parkour aka freerunning is an art of movement, a discipline which involves going from one place to another in the most efficient way possible. We commonly see it in chase sequences of action movies, where the heroes run on rooftops and jump from one building to another. We didn't have any of that, of course, as we have to start slow and low.

For our initial visit, we got a free coaching session from Ninja Academy’s Coach Habi who taught us joint activation exercises to warm up and a few core and leg strengthening workouts. 
That's me doing QM or quadrupedal movement.
Then he drilled us with these basic techniques:

Precision Jumps – As the name suggests, this involves jumping with precision (haha). The goal is to jump from one place to a precise landing point as quietly as possible with the balls of the feet directly on the target. In our case, Coach Habi used pieces of wood a couple of inches high, so we’d learn not only to land accurately but to balance as well. 

Parkour Roll/Safety Roll – Another parkour essential is the roll, which is used to diffuse impact when jumping from high places. It’s called the safety roll because it minimizes the contact with the spine and distributes the impact from the right shoulder to the left butt cheek.

It looked pretty easy but it proved to be the bane of my existence that day. Waah. I still cringe when I think of how frustrated Coach Habi seemed to be after spending extra minutes teaching me to roll when Liz and Mary have perfected theirs. When I finally did a decent roll (I’d still get lesions on my head if I was doing it on concrete, but that’s what the foam is for hehe), we moved on to the next technique. 

Vaults – Vault is the general term for getting over obstacles quickly and efficiently. There are many types of vaults for different speeds, directions, or types of obstacles. Coach Habi taught us the three basic vaults – safety vault, lazy vault, and the side vault. This was my favorite part of the session because it felt like I was a kid again playing luksong tinik with the neighborhood kids. (Here’s a nice how-to of these three beginner vaults.)

After the basics, Coach Habi made us go through an obstacle course which involved vault boxes, jump targets, and a mattress where we got to apply what we learned in the past two hours. It was simple enough but I forgot the proper rolling form again. LOLs. I finished the course in 24 seconds the first time and 20 on my second try. Liz did slightly better, posting something like 22 and 17 seconds while Mary did insanely well at 14 seconds on her second attempt (can't remember her first but I'm sure it's less than mine).
Parkour is a fun way of staying fit and strong, plus Ninja Academy is way cooler than ordinary gyms. We’re definitely going back for more.
Thanks for your patience, Coach!
Ninja Academy is located at #155 Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue, Pasig City. For more information on rates, schedule and other classes being offered, visit their website.