These Dreams: Three years and counting

Three years. Three long years. Three exciting years since that day. That wonderful graduation day. The day I welcomed the life outside school. Three years and this I say, is true—that the kind of memories we leave behind yesterday, the kind of things that we can look forward to tomorrow, all depends on what we choose to do today.

Serene Sky

Just a brief halt from my 365 Dream marathon… Buko Salad Dreams turns three today. Yay! Three years. Three wonderful years. I only wanted to share to the whole world the beautiful journey I had at the Land of the Morning Calm—South Korea. It was a dream come true for me. In fact, the first time I realize that yes, dreams do come true. And three years later, I’m now collecting dreams, sending a shout out to the universe—these dreams, yes, these dreams, let them fly. Set them free. Make them come true.

I don’t have extravagant plans for today. Only that I’m listening to this soulful song, I hope you do too. Remembering the first time I ate Kimchi and the letter I made for him. That thai movie I loved and that bus ride going north. This liquid dreams and and this very first post. They’re all memories now, immortalized by my Buko Salad Dreams.

I wonder, how come nobody asked why it’s called that way? Maybe people understood. I may not know how, but maybe they understood. I’ve been understood, has always been. I just found it difficult to accept this reality because I have been stuck in this cloud of senseless dreams for so many years. I’ve gotten used to them.

It’s been three years, or maybe even more. And I guess, it’s about time to wake up, turn these dreams into a series of coffee breaks, into countless mornings and sunsets, into never ending tales of love and misadventures. It’s time to rise and shine, Joan.

Because happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is. –Mandy Hale

I’d like to give myself a tap on the shoulder because 206 posts later, I know, I feel, I’ve become a better version of me. I’m still ambling the rough road. But I know deep inside, Joan version 2.0 is there, waiting for me to arrive.

Cheers to Buko Salad Dreams. And allow me to welcome… The Pinay Weekender. Soon. Let’s love weekends together. This October.



2013 Highlights

Every new beginning is always and always some other beginning’s end. No matter how much I wanted 2013 to end, I can’t help but give thanks to the year that has been. At the least, the odds weren’t in my favor this year. But as I take a glimpse outside my dorm’s window, all I see in my mind’s view is a year that has given me a book full of colors, vibrant, bittersweet hues.

I kissed a stranger. I danced my heart away. A dear friend of mine passed away. Someone made me sad. My hometown was devastated. My family was at risk. I questioned my job. I questioned my happiness. I gained new friends. Got to know some of my worst. I climbed a mountain. I’ve seen my evil version. But not really. I nearly broke my heart. I lost my story. Accomplished some major projects. Met some big people. And yes, I am thankful.

To 2013: you made me cry, you made me hate myself, you made me worry, you made me seek peace in the dark, you made me angry, and yet, you light up my life. I know 2014 will bring me greater challenges. But with all the things I’ve been through this year, I know, yes I know, I’ll only get better, happier. So once again, thank you 2013. Here I come, 2014, I’m going to rock you!

No more skinny love


Chocolate Genoise Cake and Coffee, Tsokolate – Zamboanga City

Chocolate Genoise Cake and Coffee, Tsokolate – Zamboanga City

I guess I have been cold far too long, I have become numb. I only get the warmth from my coffee, sweetness from a piece of cake. But now, I am much willing to get used to this: people asking, genuinely concerned, sincerely worrying—yes, for me. I am alone, but now I know I’m never lonely. Thanks to the August rain. Thanks to the queries. Thanks to the Almighty Son. But it will take a while. I have been cold far too long. Yes, I have become numb. And wary. And indifferent, maybe. I struggle to find sincerity. And perhaps, even honesty. But I know, yes I know. I’m almost there.


Customized Choco Lava Flow

Customized Choco Lava Flow

A question. It’s such a lovely word. Hovering above every human’s mind. Lingering patiently by the parking lot. Sitting beside us as we wait for the next train. Falling in line inside a coffee shop. Walking side by side along the beach on a humid mid-summer’s day. Eating breakfast on a Sunday morning. Looking outside the window of a brand new taxi. Standing by the door. Seeing the empty seat of a table for two. Gazing at us as we do nothing but wait. Wait for the answer left unsaid.

Your death was my wakeup call

#JusticeforJustineRaphaelWee – Photo courtesy of The Hungry Giant

The moment I learned that you were shot by a gunned man while you were just buying your dinner one Saturday night—what could have been just a trivial event in your everyday routine—I was stunned. When many of our close friends have viewed it as an act of injustice, you being another victim of the senseless killings in our city, me, on the other hand, have viewed this situation in an entirely different context.

For the past few months, I have been wasting my time. First because I was having a bad financial behaviour, still don’t know how to manage my pay. Thus, spending my weekend solo every other week, trapped in my bedroom of white walls and orange curtains. Then, there’s this sin called sloth. Even if I allowed myself to be stuck in this white, lonely room, I still could’ve done thousands of other things. Like write my novel. Like clean the room. Or, even if I only have one five peso coin quiescently tuck inside my purse, I could’ve still went outside for a walk and appreciate the towering buildings along Ayala Avenue. I could’ve lost a lot of calories without spending a peso. Instead, I lie down in my small bed, swarmed by dozens of things that could have made each minute worth it, and stare at the empty ceiling. That was what I was exactly doing before gathering the strength to check my phone, only to read series of messages, announcing your tragic departure.

I was stunned. At first, I felt rage, fury. Nobody has the right to steal a life. Everybody will soon die, I know, but not this way. It’s unacceptable. It’s ridiculous. That gunned man made a tremendous mistake of choosing you as his victim. One tremendous mistake. We will not let this go unnoticed. Then I broke down.

Suddenly, there was clarity. Your death has sent me an underlying meaning. Your death, your sudden death, was my wakeup call. It’s a grave sin to waste precious time God bestowed as a gift. I was supposed to value my time, value my self, value the people who care, value my life. God has been telling me this for the longest time, even maybe since the first time I felt I was having a miserable life. Nobody knows when my time is up, but I’m alive and I am to live life in his image and likeness. I’m not merely existing. I’m alive. I have a life to live.

So thanks Jad. Back in grade school and high school, even in college, you were always the one who’s been so supportive of my crazy dreams. You even call me Direk Jo B and I saw how proud you were when I bagged the Best Director award of our department’s Film Fest back then. They say we can only make our dreams come true, if we wake up and stir things. Your death was my wakeup call and I will make sure I will never spend my days sleeping around, lying in my bed, staring blankly at the empty ceiling. I don’t want you to haunt me you know. Laughs. Rest well, Jad. Until we see each other again.

Word play, tongue tied

Southern Living and F&B World Magazine – Hinge Inquirer Publications

Time and time again. I fear words as much as I love them. I did not know when it all began. Maybe one Sunday morning, when I was alone and troubled and needed a helping hand. Or maybe when I stopped drinking coffee and the like, caffeine running in my veins—gone. Maybe when the rain started falling in June or when the summer sky has bid me goodbye. I wanted to wonder why. I wanted to know. I needed to do something. Something needs to be done. But all I end up doing is stare in the open afternoon air. Rainy still. On a June Wednesday. Will it ever end? This fear? This accord. This advantage. This closure. This ability?

Strangers in the night

When two best friends talk about love life at 10 in the evening. – Ayala Triangle


The trees, the building, that bench and the walk way—everything seemed to have their favorite black and white hue. As if the street lights are more vibrant with grey. As if the dogs barked more in shadows. As if the wind blows through the white clandestine sorrows of the night. It’s a serene slate of choices.  Like his yes and her now. Like my today and your vow. Maybe love is indeed, both mournful and bright. Free and tight. Love at first sight. Black and white.

Lost in translation

It’s an office hour. A time dedicated for making my way through my work, addressing each and every writing assignment I am supposed to complete within the day. Yet, here I am caught up with my playlist, having a hard time immortalizing the words i needed for our magazine. Instead, i am lost in translation. Astronomic melodies kept on looping inside my head.

Yesterday once more. Underlines The Carpenters. Yesterday, I just got regularized. Officially. For my dream job, as someone who wanted to begin in the publishing industry. Editorial Assistant. Yes. I am editorial assistant. I am now taking the road towards my childhood fantasies. To see a by-line with my name on it. To see it printed in a publication. To see that I’m part of the staff box. Of a magazine’s staff box.

F&B World Magazine Staff Box

Don’t speak. Commands No Doubt. I sing the song that first comes into mind. Don’t speak. I know just what you’re saying. So please stop explaining. Don’t tell me ‘cause it hurts. I am about to change my address. New room. New place to stay. But more than the change in scenery, it felt like entering the next chapter of my life. The first time I came here in the big city, I was comforted by the fact that I am embarking this uncertain future with people who has been with me during one of the most important part of my life—my high school friends. I spent three months with nothing but my laptop and bed and the notion that somehow, the people I’m living with believes in me, believes that I would be able to make it through—genuinely or not. Now, in a few days, I will be moving in with my officemate and my newly found friend—someone who is now a part of my “new world”. New people. New environment. And hopefully, new me.

No woman, no cry. Everything is gonna be alright, sings Bob Marley. Made my mom happy once again. Doing fine with my job. Doing fine with friends. Though still going through thick and thins with money matters, somehow, I truly believe I would be able to survive it. Just one crucial thing to address—my love life.

And as I sing the songs I sing, I prep myself up for my brighter than the sun moment. Embracing change at its finest. Embracing a fresh beginning. Embracing the notion that I am about to leave the wasted and broken me. Cheers to the one who got away!

When I say I’m Depressed

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed. When you get what you want, but not what you need. When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep. Stuck in reverse. And the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste. Could it be worse? Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones and I will try to fix you. And high up above or down below. When you’re too in love to let it go. But if you never try you’ll never know. Just what you’re worth.

Yes. It’s Coldplay’s “Fix You”. No song could ever embrace my current state but this. I needed somebody else to fix me. I was expecting a different entity, some kind of a somebody. But there came nobody.

I have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since 2013 came in. Ever since January 1. Ever since Easter Sunday. I told my God to help me achieve three goals this year:

  • emotional maturity
  • delayed gratification
  • active receiving

And now I’m on an emotional high. Been struggling with emotions. Though deep inside this weary heart of mine, I know my God is just fulfilling my wish. Or this is certainly a part of my life’s story.

Damn it’s difficult. Myself is the most difficult opponent. There are times when I feel like I have lost my self-control. Thinking I was the captain of my ship but then felt like I’m a lost sailor. I have never felt this miserable before. I think I have. But this is the worst version.

I still find solace in eating junk food. I find my stories in watching movies. I find comfort in my bed. But damn you know it’s not what we call living. And I wanted to live life to the fullest. Felt like giving up.

You’ll know something is definitely wrong when you start typing depression in google. And I just did. You’ll know something is bad when you stare at Facebook and your mind goes blank. And I mean blank. Empty. Nothing. Then a friend pops up on your notification and you go visit her page and then find this. And you’ll know that everything will change because of it.

It may just be another inspirational video on the web. And it will mean just another nothing if I will still not do anything. But I badly need change. I need change more than ever. Positive change. And I need to do it. NOW. Or else.

My Birthday Greetings

It has been 28 days since I turned 23. And yet the feeling of being 23 did not sink in still. I couldn’t erase the moment when I went to our company rest room and cried my heart out while making sure nobody will hear me. I couldn’t forget that aha spark the moment I changed my mind. It was a split of second. It was a nano-moment I’m so thankful it has registered in my mind forever.

I was planning to let this day go by. Pass me without the hesitation of ever letting me feel that I just turned another year older. Nobody knew my birthday here. Facebook didn’t even have a clue. Only a few remembered. My closest friends are quite busy during this time of the month. People who made my day special last year was the very same people that made this year’s…uhm…quite miserable. Because they forgot. They forgot my birthday. I was trying to understand why.

But then I got tired. And gave up. That’s when the aha spark happened. I approached one of my closest friends in the office. Asked her what would be the best blowout I could give for the entire group. She and another friend went down with me. They knew then something was up on my sleeve. “I just turned 23,” I said. And the rest, as they say, is history. But not for me. Because that was the moment when I finally understood that it was my day. It was a special day. And that whatever reasoning I gave myself to justify my want to spend it quietly is not reason enough to make myself miserable. Because at the end of the day, it is you, it is me who decides how to spend our birthdays. Not other people’s memory. Not even Facebook.

It was almost six in the evening, one more hour before our office time comes to an end. It was almost too late. But nothing is too late if you really want to make things happen. I was pretty much sure that I didn’t want to end that day with nobody giving me my birthday greetings. And so I bought pizza for everyone.

Nothing can describe the internal struggle I was going through at the time. People all around stopped whatever they were doing and came to our department. I knew they came for the pizza. But my birthday greetings came along with them. I was happy. I was contented. After all, it was all I really needed—my birthday greetings.

People back home may have forgotten it, but I’m glad the new ones were there to spend my special day with me. And giving me my birthday greetings. I thought I would sleep that night, still crying with misery. It was my special day after all. And special days are ought to be spent with two boxes of monstrous pizza. Yes. Because you write your own story. You write your own once upon a times and happy endings. You choose how your day will end. And how your year will begin. And this year, I choose to be happy.

When my birthday greetings were given to me by my Hinge Inquirer Family.