Day/Night in Jeonju

Away from where I belong
Not knowing how can I last long
Months passed, I’m still not wrong
Not going home until I am strong

Jumped from place to place
Yet I’m here, unaware of my space
“People don’t take trips, trips take people”, they said
Jeonju, why did you take me and not others instead?

I stopped in the middle of a road
Took my phone wanting to write a note
I ought to express what I feel
But words won’t reveal what’s real

Heard stories waiting to be told
Saw people’s eyes shining like gold
Got some memories while I’m in the cold
All engraved in my heart ‘til I’m old

https://pin.it/DAEBo2l

Café in St. Gallen

Chilled with the cold breeze of air
Lost while roaming with a blank glare
Unfamiliar, far from home
Unusual, but calm to the bone

Looking past through the eyes of many
I saw similar souls wandering like me
Not lost, but not yet found
Though I’m okay, but not yet sound

As I walked in a street
I tried to smile with every soul I meet
I strolled until I tired my feet
Then I saw a coffee shop with one vacant seat

Lovely are my last seven days
Sadness can hardly be seen on my face
But I’m still waiting for my saving grace
Hoping that it will come to this place

https://pin.it/6YabLTL

How I chose to be Happy, now

These past few days, I drastically lessened my time on Facebook and Twitter. As for Instagram, I still view stories but I only scroll a little on my feed. I thought it’ll be hard but “Empress Ki” made it easier for me. Guys, it’s a good K-Drama and it has 51 episodes so it can consume your time immensely.

Why did I do that? I observed that I spent more time with my beloved phone and tablet since the lockdown. Well, what is there to do? And during our ongoing quarantine period, I looked into many lives. Social media is a world, an alternate world where everything seemed better if not close to perfection. And I don’t blame people. I don’t put my lowest points online. But I don’t also share my best times.

And I am different, as we all are. I saw people (mostly celebrities and influencers) sharing all those good stuff on their instagram pages. No, that’s not bad. “You do you, babe” – This is always my motto in letting people live their lives. But I will not hide the fact that I question my standing in society whenever I see how far others are going on with their lives.

Maybe it’s because of quarter-life crisis, I’m not totally sure. I remember comforting myself years ago that my life will be so much better once I start earning money for myself. That this life will definitely be more comfortable, that I can buy anything I yearned for. Fast forward to my current age – all of what I hoped for didn’t come true. I won’t give you the details but life fucked me harder as I grew older.

You know what it feels to know that your peers seem to live comfortable lives now because you have different circumstances? It’s both sad and fine, actually. It’s sad because you feel so far behind but it’s fine because basically, we are meant live differently. As you may have heard this a lot, life isn’t a race and we have our own timelines. I always think of it that way to keep myself going. If we are riding on the same boat, please think of it that way too. We’ll definitely get “there”, not just now. Not just the same time as them.

Now that I have changed the way I look into the realities of life, I took another step. I already mentioned it in the first paragraph of this blog post. And so far, I’m happy with my decision. There’s beauty in not knowing what others are up to. With what milestones they achieved today or with anything good that happens in their day. It’s not that I can’t be happy for them but because I want to live my life based on what my eyes see when I look around and not what I see through screens.

These are the things I learned so far: 1) I can spend my time with a number of ways other than drowning myself in social media. 2) My decision to watch K-Dramas is a good choice because I don’t always see the good. 3) I had time to rethink about how far I’ve come compared to where I was. 4) The inner child in me can already be happy.

Ending this by elaborating the fourth point that I mentioned – I’ve come across a post that shared “One of the ways to live a happy life is to not lose the inner child in you”. If I’ll recall what I wanted when I was a little boy, I’m proud to say that I can now give what he wished for. I’ve always wanted candies but since I can’t afford those expensive candies (and they taste really good) on a regular basis, I often dreamed of growing up to buy them all. You see, I said earlier that my life didn’t get better as I aged. I realized that it wasn’t entirely the case. It’s just that my desires now are different. I felt bad because I’m still unable to get what I currently want but I missed the point where I can now get what I longed for as a child. It may be silly and ridiculous to hear, but why question what a child wants?

https://pin.it/10xPaFe

are you free?

We were together on this rainy afternoon
Talking deeply, laughing, hoping not to end soon
Hours went by and we checked the time
And then we went home, wanting for a next time

As I lay down on my bed, I checked my phone
Eager to send a message, “are you home?”
It was a nice day, I should say
Because I spent it with you, needless to say

I looked at the calendar and it looked the same
But something’s weird in this waiting game
I remembered that our worlds are different
Maybe that’s why I’m being impatient

You live in a world where free time may be at any day
And I live in a world with weekends as my free days
It sucks that I can’t have a regular date with you
But it’s also nice that maybe later, I could be with you

I chose to have it this way
Being uncertain, but always worth the wait
I want you to live your life as it is
And I’ll be here, being happy with what this is

With my morning coffee and a phone in my lap
I was patiently waiting for your name to come up
I am ready for today, hoping you can show up
I was about to stand and then my heart stopped

My day would’ve been happier
As it was every time we miss being with each other
Our day could’ve been better
If you had free time for us to be together

https://pin.it/2hkKeQd

No, No, No, Yes, No.

I had this one hour conversation with a colleague where I was able to open up some of my rejections in life. And I realized how these rejections shaped me to face many more “no, not this time, not yet” in life. Since I feel generous, let me share two of my experiences that you may not know yet about me.

Let me start with my Pia Wurtzbach-like attempt in politics. No, this is not the politics that you may think of. This is just a simple high school student council experience. I’m not sure if I remember the positions I went to run for but as I have mentioned Pia, I tried three times. The only year that I did not run was in freshman year. Then after that, I tried my luck in popularity. I will use the term popularity because I don’t think politics is the right word – I just feel that it’s too heavy considering how I remembered my high school environment.

Guess what? I did not win even once. When I failed twice, I went for the “representative” positions in my senior year because I think I had more chances of winning since two will fill in those positions. But I was wrong, I still failed to win even the second spot. If I’m not mistaken, I finished second to the last. Maybe I wasn’t clear with my prayer – I wished to get the second spot – and voilà! I got the second spot at the bottom. So, please be specific wth your prayers and wishes. Lol.

Back then, I did not wallow that much on my third loss. I went on to focus on my studies and other extra-curricular activities. I was aiming for at least a good finish academically so I can get a scholarship and study in UST. And thankfully, I ended my high school as the class salutatorian. That time, it was an amazing second spot. The one that I felt God has answered my prayers for. And without any bias, I felt that it was sweeter. The last memory of my high school life was me graduating as the second highest ranked student and not the one who got the second to the last number of votes in the student council elections.

(Right now, high school achievements are just good memories. Not much of a help in the real world.)

Next that I will share is joining muliple essay writing contests and again, never winning one. I honestly can’t recall what were the topics that guided those contests but I just remember not winning even a third place at all. I was even quite teased by some of my classmates for joining multiple times and they comforted me by saying that maybe I’m always at the fourth spot. Usually, the top three contestants were given recognition.

This is quite ironic. How come I paid for having a wordpress account to write in this blog when I have all the reasons to give up? I had a few reasons but the best one is that I knew I am doing this not because I want to win or get noticed or receive any rewards. I am now doing this simply because I want to. Back then, I joined those writing contests because even if I don’t win, they’ll count as part of my extra-curricular activities. I ran for those student council positions because of the same reason. I wasn’t driven by the right reasons. Maybe that’s why I failed so hard. And I‘m telling you, I can laugh at them now but it’s not easy to face people when you lose. It’s much harder to keep people when you’re a loser.

After graduating from college, I can barely remember how many times I received a “no”. But I’m sure I got more of it than a “yes”. Real world is more harsh – adults always say this to us but obviously, we don’t understand yet – you need to brace yourself for the all the possibilities of getting a rejection despite doing everything in your capacity to make things happen. This blog post is not to suck all the motivation you have in your body but to remind you that life is life, it is not fair for everyone and shit happens.

So, whenever you do something, do it because you have a deeper purpose why you are doing it. Your “why” must be solid, it must not be something that can make you give up after a single failure. When someone says no, accept it and be tougher. And remember that rejections can also mean redirections. How you plan to get where you want will not always be the way you will get through. (Maybe I lost the elections in my senior year because I needed to focus more on other areas that can help me achieve my goal.)

If you recently got denied, cry for a day but live your life the next day. Take a rest and a few steps back if you must, but always move forward.

Note: I finally won last May 2020 with my poem entitled “Next Chance”. It was a sweet win because I had the right purpose. I did not join the contest because I knew there were prizes to be given. I just submitted my work because I loved what I did.

I Have No Dream

This has hit me the hardest this year. Whenever I ask myself what do I want to be or where do I want to take up space in the society, I can’t think of an answer. And the funny thing is, I usually find it shameful if someone can’t even think of one dream. Like it’s one of those free things in the world. How can one have none of it? Well, I should laugh at myself now. Lol.

I want to believe that this is just a phase. See, I’m turning 25 this year and I can say that I’m going through quarter-life crisis. I am feeling the disappointment of not measuring up with the expectations that I have for myself, I feel like I’m not achieving what I should be achieving by now and this is in no way related to the organizational reshape that the company I’m working for is executing right now. Suddenly, I don’t know which path I must take. What I’m doing right now is just walking slowly and stopping by to think where I’m really headed to.

I know you might be thinking that I’m comparing myself with others on social media – but no, even if I have so much time to kill on social media, I don’t feel inferior to anything that I see. I just know that we all have our own fair share of struggles. And I use social media for inspiration/motivation and not for self-destruction.

This time of the pandemic is not helpful at all. I tried this method of trying so many things to figure out what I want and what I don’t want but it required money. I need to pay fees and as we all know, building your emergency fund is of utmost importance amidst covid-19. Maybe this calls for a time to do something else that won’t cost me so much. Maybe. Hopefully, I’ll have the energy to figure out.

I suddenly remembered “Reply 1988” while writing this. I actually referenced the title to one the scenes of Deok-sun chatting with her dad. She told him that she has no dream. And she felt shameful that day. But if you watched that drama, she became just fine with a work that pays enough money for her family. I want to believe that just like her, I will be fine. I may not have a dream for now, but I’ll be fine as long as I keep going. And just live life.

We are in a new year. But there’s nothing new with what I ought to do. I just plan to survive and be healthy and live for the future that’s waiting for me. It’s hard to see the light because of what’s happening here in our country but we need to survive for our loved ones. And as what you can already tell, I’m living aimlessly now. But I won’t punish myself – I’ll go through this phase and take all the lessons and experiences so I can help someone someday.

Oh, and if there’s one thing that I wish to happen in the future, that is to thank my past self for hanging in there.

If I have another chance, I will surely love again

I didn’t expect to watch the best film for me in 2020 just a few days before this year ends. The movie is entitled “Your Name Engraved Herein”. I decided to watch the first half before I slept today and continued the next half before my work shift started. And it sucked all of my energy. I actually forced myself to finish an episode of a K-drama that I’m currently watching to make my heart feel lighter. But I thought writing would give more comfort and what I felt after watching the movie is something that I want to document here in my blog.

I would interpret the story based on my own thoughts and feelings so feel free to have different views. The story is about two guys falling in love with each other during a time when same-sex relationships aren’t talked about. Just imagining that thought would trigger unfavorable reactions from almost anyone in Taiwan. So, the actions of Birdy seem reasonable. If I were to live in their time, I would probably be so afraid and would think that there’s something wrong with me because I like men. That’s why I admired Jia Han. Who wouldn’t relate to the points he raised especially now that we are living a relatively more comfortable life for LGBTQ+ community? I know we have a long way to go but what we have right now is so much better than before.

Here are some of Jia Han’s lines that made a mark to me (They aren’t the direct translations as I just based them on my memory):

What is difference between the love of a man to a woman and a man to another man?

I want to go to hell because you say all homosexuals go to hell, maybe there many would understand me.

That’s right. Why is there a question of validity when it comes to same-sex love? I honestly don’t see anything wrong unless you present to me verses from a holy book. Which I would not argue because we have different beliefs. Why do we need to go through phases like hiding it first from people, hiding it from our families, seeking approval from others, and coming out? Why can’t we have a world where we view love in its rawest form?

The second line struck me deeply. I struggle to find words on how I felt after hearing that line. That is something that can be said only by a person who goes through so much pain. Imagine not wanting to live here and not wanting to go to heaven because neither of the two understands you. The place where everyone wishes to avoid seems to be the place you would find comfort.

(Spoiler alert) As you may predict, their love did not flourish. Birdy did not want continue what they have because he thought that they will surely end up in trouble. After their lovely day at the beach, they did not see each other again after more than 30 years. There was this one scene when Jia Han called Birdy and asked how he was (those who watched the film can easily point this tearjerker telephone scene). And then he made him listen to a song which he told Birdy that it was written by one his seniors (this was a lie, Jia Han made it). That was a painful scene. The lyrics will hit your heart. No lines needed from the actors. Just their tears and the music will make you feel many things. Please see the YouTube video below. Make sure to watch the movie first then watch the video. You’ll understand me.

Their lives went on. Birdy married Banban and they had a child. But they got a divorce. Jia Han knew this after coming to one of their reunions. And there was this one line from Banban that broke my heart (the whole movie broke my heart so expect me to say this more than once) – “If I had known [that homosexuality was innate] I wouldn’t have tried so hard. It has ruined my life, and his.” See, this is why we are living a luckier life now. I may not know Birdy’s rationale but he seemed to force himself to live a perceived normal life. It saved him from society’s judgments but he was not able to save himself. He hurt three people – himself, Banban and Jia Han.

The last part of the movie showed the older versions of Birdy and Jia Han. They met at a coffee shop in Canada when Jia Han visited Father Oliver’s grave who died in 2020. This priest played a huge role in Jia Han’s life when he was in school. He goes to him when he feels confused. But little did we know that even Father Oliver was also not straight and that he advised Jia Han to have a straight life because he doesn’t want him to suffer like he did. After meeting each other after thirty years, finally Birdy explicitly admitted that he loved Jia Han. During the course of the movie, Jia Han was the more vocal one. He was more fearless in expressing what he feels. It’s too late but I’m glad that it happened. The movie ended with them walking together. They also discussed how they can freely say who they are in this time compared to their younger years. It was an open ended film which I would like to assume that they will give their love another try.

The ending credits is a must watch. That is where you will see Birdy’s love for Jia Han and how he expressed it in ways that are equally powerful as words of affirmation. Throughout the movie, you will most likely see Jia Han’s perspective and how he treasured Birdy. The last five minutes showed Birdy’s younger self showing how he truly cared for Jia Han and I’m fully convinced that they are each other’s love of their lives. But I read in one the reviews that there were a lot of hidden messages in the film which I agreed. Those two guys showed love in different ways but one does not make the other less meaningful.

If I will immerse myself fully to the story, I would say that the moments they shared together were so precious. Yes, we are luckier at this time as they did not have smartphones. The technology wasn’t advanced back then. Now, we can use video calls and communicate easier through social media. What they had before were moments when they were physically together. And not to mention, they need to stay away from the public eye and love each other in secret. As much as I want to understand Birdy, I feel so much for Jia Han. How did he survive all those years? Not seeing your true and great love because what others will think and feel seemed to be more important. That was one heck of a painful blow. But who am I to blame them? They lived a different time.

Closing this by sharing with you one realization that you have already read in this post – I consider myself lucky being born at this time. I suddenly felt extremely thankful for the freedom that I have. I hope we won’t live backwards and be more inclusive as a society. May we see love as a right of everyone and may we all have the courage to let every person feel free to love whoever they want.

I am now going back to Netflix and move to a new world. I experienced so much pain in their story and I just need another movie/series from those two main characters. But please, have a happy ending and explore the rom-com genre – just to make us feel better.

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eXpanding

If you have read a few of my works here, you would probably notice that I write at midnight. I just think my brain works harder during this time of the day. I’m not entirely sure of what I want to tell but I just realized that I feel more authentic writing in English. I tried making a draft in Tagalog but I felt foreign after reading my own work. Not that it’s entirely bad. I also think that it can be a way for me to apply Roland Barthes’ concept in his work – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_the_Author

Now that I am having this blog for months already, I like to expand the purpose of making one. At first, I thought of this as my online journal. This may sound creeepy but it can be a way of leaving a legacy when I’m gone. People can read my works and it will always be on the internet. But now, I’d like to use this platform to make people feel that they are not alone. To be honest, that is is my ultimate purpose why I wanted to be a writer for films. How nice will it be when people can personally relate to the movie that they are watching through the screen?

Anyway, that is still a gloomy possibility in the future for me. I just shared it so I can go back to this post if the universe aligns the stars for me. Three more days and this gruesome year will end. I want to let you know that this wordpress account has been my safe space. I will be here for a very long time, that’s for sure. I hope we can all have calmer 2021. And I promise to write more next year.

Advanced Happy New Year!

blanket

For giving a safe space to be myself, I am deeply grateful. From being there to support whatever dream pops out of my mind to being the person I can go to whenever everything falls apart, I really am thankful.

Today is your birthday. You have loved me so much and cared for me for more than two years now. Time flies! But the feelings that you had for me didn’t change a bit. I still feel how thankful you are for my existence. I’m amazed how I can still get you giddy with my corny lines. I know I’m not perfect. I made mistakes in the past. But seeing you stay by my side makes me want to ask God why did I do to have you.

As you turn a year older, I wish I can still make you happy. I may not be good at showing my love, but dear, I will continuously try to be better. This quarantine isn’t easy. Before the pandemic broke out, we normally see each other once a month. And we haven’t seen each other since March. I miss how we enjoyed watching movies inside the cinema theaters, how we enjoyed playing in timezone, how we happily ate chicken wings (or should I say I enjoyed it more?) and how we strolled around the malls since that’s where we usually go to. I badly wanted this pandemic to end for all the valid reasons we may think of, but for us, it’s because I wanted to the same things over and over again. With you.

Since we can’t do so much now, I feel like saying the things that I really wanted to do. First, I want us to go to Baguio. Not for the activities, but for the calmness that place brings to me. I want us to go to places where we can relax and just be together. It may sound boring but that’s romantic for me. Second, I want to travel to South Korea with you. I want us to eat everything there. Not vegetables for you because I know you hate them. I also want to go to the filming locations of some of the k-dramas I fell in love with. And lastly, I wanted to enjoy the weather there with a cup of coffee and me beside you. Third and last, I want us to spend time in our house. This is the best choice. Nothing’s more wonderful than being at home with the person you love. We will order pizza from Papa John’s, chicken wings, and anything that you want to eat/drink. We’ll watch movies, sleep together, talk about anything under the sun, and just lay down in bed.

But those that I mentioned are for the future. Now, I have sent you the link of our play way back 2018 when I had my workshop with PETA. I have never watched it. I never liked watching myself act. But since I love you, I thought that video would be a great gift. Next, I know it would be hard to convince you but I hope you use my credit card details to order anything that you want. I sent you those messages while you’re asleep. I hope it can make you smile once you wake up.

You may wonder what’s with the title. Well, you’re like a blanket to me. You keep me warm. You comfort me when I feel like the universe is not aligning the stars in my favor. You give me the feeling of being safe. And you give me peace by knowing that I have you to get me through the night. Thank you for being my person since June 2018. If there’s anything I’m proud of, is that I chose you every single day since the day we met.

Happiest birthday, my love! 🤍

(Originally posted on July 29, 2020.)

….just like you, bts saved me

I never thought I would be making something like this. I must admit, I was one of those who laughed at K-pop fans years ago. I’ve always questioned how you guys enjoyed their music when you can’t even understand a thing?

But when I knew about EXO, I started appreciating their art. The intense trainings for aspiring K-pop idols show results every time they step on stage. I never did understand any of the lyrics from “The Eve” and “Love Shot” but I am smitten with the way their bodies move and how they were coordinated as a performing group. After quite some time, I temporarily stopped watching videos related to K-pop. It was until this year that I was influenced by my two college blockmates with this famous group called BTS.

I don’t need to put on many words to describe how talented they are. It’s a given. With a hefty number of awards here and there, there’s no doubt that they are the big shots right now. But from a fan’s point of view, what is it that I liked about them apart from their singing & dancing prowess?

First, their personalities. They don’t seem to be far-fetched as an idol. You see, army can relate to the seven of them one way or another. Their interviews both show their quirky side and their serious selves with us finding quotable quotes from them.

Before I move on to the other two that I loved about BTS, I would like to share these words from Seok-jin, “You’ll lose what you want to do if you try to satisfy everyone else.” —- how nice, right? It may be something that you’ve already heard a gazillion times but for me, it still sounded relevant. In the society that we have, isn’t it true that we fall into the trap of getting validation from others at some/many points in our lives? If not, good for you but if yes, it’s fine. It’s perfectly normal in this day and age of social media’s peak. But always remember what I shared, don’t lose your core source of happiness from doing what you want because you put the opinion of others before your own.

Second, their art. I’m a sucker for artists who put weight on meanings as much as on aesthetic value. In their songs, I loved how they incorporate different messages that tackle relevant topics such as mental health, women empowerment, life, and many others including self-love. As much as catchy melodies and beats are important in making music, putting messages is also a brilliant idea. You may have made people happy with catchy music but you’ll never know how you can touch people’s hearts with a message embedded in your song’s lyrics.

Third and last on my brain (I honestly think that I can give more but it’s already 2:47 AM and my brain cells aren’t working that much) is their cuteness. Their charm. They’re like kids most of the times when they’re playing around. And I swear, they are fun to watch! Many from the army would agree to me that sometimes, just seeing their cute photos make our mornings good already. They make our hearts flutter without doing anything. And this is something that’s close to magic. Nothing much to explain and nothing to complain about.

As I end this blog post, I also thought about their friendship. This is the group that I want to see growing old together. They are each other’s soulmates. As much as I would like to use reasons but it’s just beautifully weird that I am smiling while typing through my phone just by thinking how BTS made my year feel lighter. And in this difficult time, having something to look forward to every day makes a huge difference from a life just waiting for this pandemic to end.

This won’t probably reach our boys but yes… just like you, bts saved me.