Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Mid-January — I attend a creative writing workshop entitled “The Empty Notebook”. I sit down for the next two hours with 6 others. Introductions are made. One is a native of Florida, another is from New York and the rest are locals. “I’m from the Philippines and I am new here.”

Emily, our teacher, asks if we brought our notebooks.

Exercise 1: She reads to us a poem in a book from her Vassar College days, and then asks us to write down the first impressions after listening to the poem.

All I remember is a chilling cryptic poem about familial violence. The tough part comes — read out what you wrote.


I read the first two pages of my notebook — My mind is blank. I’m trying to focus on something I was, I’ve been passionate about. Leaving home seems to have robbed me of the rawness of emotions I used for nurturing something in me. I am sometimes lost in emptiness, living in a place that is so new, unfamiliar and so far away. I need to bring the fire back to keep me sane and grounded. Despite the emptiness, so much is in my head right now — it drowns me. Half of me is here, and half of me is in a place so impossible to be in. I can’t turn back. I’m trapped. I miss sunshine, I miss the exoticness of home, I miss the beach, I miss sand covering my feet, I miss the noise surrounding the walls of my humble abode.

Palm Desert

Bump and Grind Trail, Palm Desert, early February — My only brother brings me to climb a rocky path. In the next one and a half hours, we catch up with each other’s lives. I reminisce the younger days, how much I missed being with older siblings, childhood dreams, rough times, as well as happy times.

Like a second wind, there is nothing more consoling and liberating than the point of view of a brother. Novelist and poet James Joyce once wrote, “Men are governed by lines of intellect – women: by curves of emotion.”


My brother taught me more manly stuff like riding a bike. He inspired my love of adventure and the great outdoors. He always brought home beautiful photos from nature destinations such as Sagada and Mindoro. Little did I know that the Fuji film cam he gave me would kickstart a deeper passion for photography. (He took the photo below with the phone he and his wife gifted me for Christmas.)

Bump and Grind Trail, Palm Desert, California

We finish the trek.

I hear it from him, “Failure is not an option.”

If only I had half the grit of a man.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

Writing the Ilocos adventure story for Mabuhay Magazine

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Magazine October 2014

Life never ceases to surprise. I was asked by Mabuhay Magazine, the inflight magazine of Philippine Airlines, to write about my own turf. Though I’ve been writing little stories in the blog, writing for a magazine that goes around the world is a totally different ballgame — I was excited and confident. My timetable consisted of different shoots and interviews at five different locations. I traveled as far as Narvacan in the south and Capirispisan in the north, then I had to go back again to the south hoping to catch big waves in Cabugao. I trekked, baked under the red-hot sun, waited at plazas, rode public transportation (buses and tricycles) — for authenticity counts.

Mabuhay 3

The Mabuhay Magazine October 2014 digital copy is not yet up, but my own copy finally arrives. Thanks to my friend Alma. And then I receive another one from Eastgate. I like the photos they chose. The bike photo was a personal favorite. The zebra photo stood out even when I first posted it in the blog. And the photos of Kingfisher brought to mind the intoxicating scent of this particular beach. I enjoyed reliving the memories of the adventures. Thank you, Mabuhay Magazine!

MabuhayOn Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Magazine October 2014

“An environment advocate by choice and a travel and lifestyle writer by accident…”

Having to write a blurb about yourself is by far more inconvenient than having written the actual adventure story. About the contributor’s photo — I was required a hi-res photo and, of course, I wanted it current. I was fortunate that my good friend Marianne Gaces Pasion had time for my silly randomness. Behind the photo, it was awkward ‘coz I’m not used to being photographed for something like a profile photo and cool ‘coz a professional took my photo.


Taking this opportunity, once more, to thank Eastgate Publishing Corp., the PAL Mabuhay Magazine editorial team, Ms. Ira Inquimboy, Kingfisher Beach, Mr. Mon Manotok, Miss Zarah Chua, MJ Cahilig, Boyet Leano, Councilor Cherry Agtang, the Batibol Bikers, the Karyutero Bikers, Kido Cabasug, Surfing Ilocos, Althone Borja, the LEAD Movement, Reny Tan, the Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub, Lester Susi, Mr. Arthur Valente, Capt. David Luxford, Marianne Gaces Pasion Photography, Jana Siratranont and Alma Ajero for being part of the experience. And to you, lovely readers, who have made writing and blogging wonderful and inspiring.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014