Why an island in Luzon is important to Muslim Mindanao

On March 18, 2015, peace advocates went to Corregidor Island, off the coast of Manila, for the 47th commemoration of the Jabidah Massacre.

They unveiled the historical marker at the Mindanao Garden of Peace in the island which tells the story of the Jabidah Massacre.

The government, in 1968, secretly recruited young moros to create the Jabidah special commando unit. The plan was to takeover the Sabah territory from Malaysia.
Coming from impoverished towns in Muslim Mindanao, the young moros were lured with the promise of a monthly stipend and a better life.
When the plan went south, the government conspired to cover it up and killed the young Moros in Corregidor.

But one survived and exposed the massacre. He died in a vehicular accident in 2011.

You can read more about the massacre here.

To this day, some still say the Jabidah Massacre is a myth. But in 2013, the government finally acknowledged the gruesome incident when President Aquino spoke at the 45th commemoration.

Whether it really happened or not, journalists and historians still point to the massacre as what sparked the Muslim rebellion in Mindanao.


10 books

Expanded from a Facebook meme…

Post in your status 10 books that have “stayed with you.” Don’t have to be good, just memorable. Off the top of your head. Tag me and 9 others.

1. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This book felt like a raunchy telenovela with magic, a lot of death and incest.


I used to be grossed out by incest. This book sensitized incest for me.

I bought this book as gift to myself on my 19th birthday. Followed it up with another Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic, Love in the Time of Cholera, which was a slow-burn compared to 100 Years.

2. Elements of Journalism by Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach

Basic. Excellent reference on journalism and the ethics of the profession. It made me not want to be a journalist after reading. Too much altruism and intelligence required. Really considered shifting to another degree.

3. Elements of Style by E. B. White, William Strunk, Jr., illustrated by Maira Kalman

Our Introduction to Communication Research professor introduced us to this book, and the illustrated version. I thought, “Wow! A college textbook but illustrated!” Bought this together with Elements of Journalism. They were the last copies, so I had to snag them even though they were pricey.

I was really sold on the illustration. I like to think my writing improved after reading it, but I know better.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling

The story about the three deathly hollows. Genius. And how it’s been alluded to since Sorcerer’s Stone, really awesome.

5. Witch Baby by Francesca Lia Block

Got a hold of this book in my high school library. It’s second of a series that I never got to read. Magical realism, young adult novel set in L.A. I remember the troubled teen protagonist going on a road trip with a gay couple.

6. L’Amante by Marguerite Duras

Watched the movie adaptation in ‘Communication 100’ years before reading the e-book. The book, written in French, is less about the sex that was in controversial amounts in the movie. It was more about the love, the lover, the fast and dirty sexual awakening of a French girl within the slow and lovely demise to poverty and perversion.

7. a biography of Hans Christian Andersen written for kids

Read this on a break from binging on Goosebumps in my grade school library. I can’t remember the exact title and author. It was short and illustrated.

I learned from the book that Andersen was gay. Looking back, he kind of has to be gay to have written such a heartbreaking story as the Little Mermaid. I later learned he was actually bisexual.

8. Too Late to Die Young by Harriet McBryde Johnson

Harriet’s thoughts on euthanasia and death were inspiring.

A find from Booksale. Harriet had neuromuscular atrophy. She was not supposed to live beyond her teens. But she did. And she became an attorney. With a masters in public administration. (I’m such an underachiever. And it’s OK, I keep telling myself.) She also became perhaps one of the biggest activists for disabled people’s rights during her time. She died in 2008.

9. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The greatest love letter to New York.

This book was easy to feel while I was in Baguio and frequently took solitary walks in the cold city at night. Then I left Baguio and reality hit me. This is not New York. This is a tropical country. It’s hot and humid. And babies puke on you during long bus rides.

10. 1984 by George Orwell

Really terrifying cautionary tale, especially now with the Snowden NSA scandal.

A walk in the park

Photos from the #MillionPeopleMarch at the Luneta Park, August 26th.


I thought of a detailed recounting of all the shitty things that happened to me since Thursday (a number of vehicular mishaps, lost ATM cards and not a move on my big writing assignment).

Kind of like a countdown to the end of my Taylor Swift “youth”.


But then, Ice Cream. Hell Yeeeeah Ice Cream. The not too sweet and very cold kind. Exactly like how I like ’em.

* * *

Clearly I wasn’t getting any work today, even though I calendared it. Yes, I calendar my weekends now. I’ve been spending the last hours of this year watching season 2 of Will & Grace.

via FUCK YEAH Will & Grace Tumblr
via FUCK YEAH Will & Grace Tumblr – this quip’s from season 1 I think

This is the reason turning 23 was a big deal to me.


Amazing as it seems, I’ll be 23. I won’t always love what I’ll never have. I won’t always live in my regrets.

I’ve been occasionally singing this line in my head since 19, give or take. Not sure I’m there yet.

But I’m now exactly 23 years and 7 minutes old. The hospital said I was born 12:01. 🙂

Monsoon season

Rachel: …you are from the Philippines where it’s sunny every day!
Sunshine: Except for the monsoons.

—Rachel and Sunshine, Audition, Glee

Digging for bodies after Typhoon Pepeng (international name Parma), October 2009 | Credit: Chuck Tinte
Digging for bodies after Typhoon Pepeng (international name Parma), October 2009 | Credit: Chuck Tinte

The sky falls and the earth crumbles. It happens every year. Continue reading Monsoon season

The biggest way to thank anyone

The Golden Ticket: given this last minute, easily the most expensive ticket in 2007 at P25000 (about 600 in today's US$)
THE GOLDEN TICKET: given to us at the last minute; easily the most expensive ticket in 2007 at PHP25,000 a pop (about US$600 today), a small fortune considering I now only make a little over half of that amount every month… and we were given two.

(Note: drafted on June 6, 2013)

Some years ago, before concerts became a thing in Manila (a scene, they say), my mother and I went to see Josh Groban perform live. I have a lot of memories of that night (because it was amazing!) but one that would always come to mind was when he sang “You Raise Me Up”.

That performance was so amazing and powerful and moving that I literally cried. I thought at that moment that if I had enough money, I would pay Josh Groban to sing “You Raise Me Up” live, with full orchestra, to anyone who I’d want to show my sincerest gratitude to. It’s absolutely the biggest way to thank anyone if you ask me. Continue reading The biggest way to thank anyone

Try going under a waterfall

Taytay Falls at Majayjay, Laguna
Taytay Falls at Majayjay, Laguna

That is how you experience a typhoon in the middle of all this sweltering summer heat. More than going to the beach, southern Tagalog folk like going to waterfalls during the summer. And it actually makes more sense.

The water is running so it’s somehow more hygienic than the beach haha.

* * *

So, internet in this country sucks. The photos won’t upload yesterday here at home after several tries. Monday at the office was like a punch in the gut; we were having tech dilemmas, unthinking me made a suggestion that blew up in my face, at least the photos went up.

Rainforests are awesome.

Rainforests with cemented and fenced pathways are even better.
Rainforests with cemented and fenced pathways are even better. That’s my brother. He turned 15.

I’m too stressed now to think of a not cliché description of waterfalls.


Continue reading Try going under a waterfall