Year: 2023

Starry, starry night

Written on May 10, 2023, Huni Sicogon Tonight, I saw so many stars my neck hurt from looking up. The last time I found the night sky twinkling like crazy was in Siquijor, nine years ago, on an anniversary trip with my now ex-husband. It was so long ago, I realize now, like so many things. On this starry night in Sicogon, I was taking a quiet walk on the beach and relishing the joys of solitude when a voice broke the silence with a passionate rendition of Ella Mae Saison’s “Till my heartaches end,” a staple in every videoke bar in the Philippines. Who the hell would sing that here?! And I laughed. How very Pinoy this is. Away on an island, you think you’re free from the neighborhood videoke queens and kings, but here they are. I remember the last time I sang my heart out in a remote videoke setup: I was again with my ex, shuttled off to another island in the middle of the Sulu Sea for an exclusive travel …

My Sioribi

Dec. 27, 2022. I find myself alone in a retro cafe where just two hours ago there had been a full house. I passed this place earlier, on my way to the Yayoi Kusama Museum. It was packed, and I thought I’d just come back for it. So I did. Now I’m sitting here with an americano (500 yen), listening to this haunting music that’s suddenly making me tear up. I’m watching life unfold from my window seat: people finding their way to somewhere (home, most likely); walking, cycling or driving; watching lights and crossing streets; carrying groceries; doing what they do on late December afternoons like this. And then it dawns on me how perfectly content I am in this moment: alone in Matsumoto, hot coffee in my cold hands – not knowing anything, not wanting anything but to stay in this calm, unburdened space. Free to to cry or laugh, safe in anonymity. I recognize the extraordinariness of such times. When you’re a grownup doing grownup things, it is a luxury to be …