Monthly Archives: January 2012


The man sat at the bench. Smoking.

I could see how his heart was pounding. He was thinking deeply, oblivious of the passing people, their noises and their stares. The sole of his shoe totally killed the dying light of the cigar. He lit another.

I would always remind him to quit with his vice. I know I had only a little of a convincing power. He got away with it. Not until now.

He sat there. Legs crossed. His views remained focused to nowhere. I was there; a few feet away from him. A handkerchief in the right hand. I squeezed it hard. And I almost cried.

He sat at the bench. And I sat beside him.

“The air’s freezing you should have worn a jacket.” My voice hung in the coldness of the night and of the park showered by colorful lights. My voice hung in the air. Unheard.

We sat there for a couple of minutes. Talking about nothing. No, not even talking at all. The silence was unusual. He continued smoking while I covered my nose with the hanky. The only thing I’d be keeping from him.

Sorry, he finally said. He’d thrown the stick and turned to me.

Sorry, he repeated.

I smiled and looked away. I thought the skies were crying. But I was wrong. I was the one crying.

I have always expected this thing to happen. We both were. We both knew there could always be an end.

Before we decided to see each other that night, I have already prepared myself to anything that might happen. I have heard of the talks day before. But I never heard a word from him. The questions I had were asked in silence. And that night, he also answered them in silence.

He hugged me and I could feel the warmth I have always yearned to feel.

I could feel his tears falling. That made my sob audible.

I stood up and handed him a letter. I had written the things I could never personally tell him. He stared. His tears continued to fall. I wiped mine and smiled.

Best wishes, I said without looking at him.

He reached for me and said, “I love you Miguel.

But I walked away. Saying nothing. The tears fell like it wouldn’t stop. My heart bled. It was squeezed. I ran like a child with the audible sobs.

I wanted to shout how much I love him too.

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In the amber sand

They built their castle

With hopes at hand

With worries too little

They began to create

Their blissful dreams

With much to anticipate

From their childhood realm.


In the amber sand

They played along

Held each others’ hand

While singing their song

They watched the waves

Meet the shore

The beauty it gave

They thought would endure.



In the amber sand

They made their promise

And that fairyland

Was their sole witness

To be together

Was their solemn swear

From once upon a time

Till forever after.


In the amber sand,

She waited for him

Darkness swept the land

But he never came

She let out a cry

And tears were shed

While he went by

With words unsaid.


Time had come.

Time had gone.

And there he stands

In their amber sand

Full if regrets

For he didn’t forget

The girl she left

With words unsaid.


And there she is,

She had fully grown

Feeling complete bliss

While singing their song

She builds a castle

With worries too little

Holding some other’s hand

In the amber sand.

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There could be no surprising beauty than that of a hidden paradise.

The hundreds of steps were worth it.

Before I actually got to the place, I didn’t have a single clue what to imagine. Others’ words and stories were all fantastic but I also thought tongues could be exaggerated, of course. The fact that I haven’t seen the movie where KC and Sam had starred also added to my own uncertainties. I would love to see waterfalls but it never crossed my mind how magnificent the views would be.

I am not really fond of traveling, let alone visiting places from one to another but the people I’ve been with were so much filled with excitement so I thought I also have to feel the same.

There was something with the name “Tinago.” I assumed the place was merely situated in the chest of a jungle of Linamon, Lanao del Norte. But alas, it meant literally hidden. It was hidden under a long swirling stairway. I had to tire my feet and shake my knees before finally reaching the spot. And after the last step, I was welcomed with a nature’s beauty I have never seen before. I thought I was just imagining. The falls was too beautiful to be true. A paradise, indeed.

The rushing current of waters through the big rocks was so relaxing to witness. I beheld a river of blue. The milieu was simply panoramic; the kind of beauty our eyes would never want to miss.

Looking through the faces of the people who bathe themselves in there, I could see how satisfied and fulfilled they were. The sound of the current was so inviting. I have witnessed how people seemed to embrace the beauty of nature as they jump off, swim and sail through the raft while enjoying the priceless scenery. I sat on one of the big rocks facing the waterfalls and have closely seen the magnificence of it. At that moment, I still could not believe everything was true. I could not even believe I was actually feasting my eyes on a scenery from Mindanao. It seemed I have unlocked a mystery. It seemed I have never really known my place.

I know the moment was just short but everything was encompassing. I loved the beauty for beauty loved that place. I left the spot gasping – had almost my lungs pierced while climbing up the ladders. The palpitation of my heart was rhythmic with the rustle of waters that was left in my ears. It was indeed a long walk but the exhaustion was never tantamount to the experience and the actual beauty of the place. Every step was worth it.

It had been a walk too long but it had been a walk too beautiful. I will be coming back Tinago!

Knowing Sharmaine

The last time I saw her was like three years ago.

We constantly plan through text of seeing each other again. I so much wanted to hear from her how it is like to study Development Communication in the University of the Philippines – Los Baňos (one of my greatest frustrations). I miss how we would trade our books and talk on endless things about our favourite authors. Like me, she also wanted to be a journalist; this is what we always want to talk about aside from the people we have met and we would like to meet. I know how she would itch to make comments on my write-ups or talk about Sam Concepcion, of love, of places, and of people she hates on the TV.

Sharmaine Alisa Basinang is my best friend (one of them) during high school. And though we stay too far from each other now, we still find time to know what’s going on each other’s lives. We share a lot of common things. We love to write, read, and speak of things other people would never listen to. We love to critique important personalities and talk of even nonsense things like the few anime series she would watch over and over again.

I do not really remember when I last saw her but I would never forget the first time I did.

She used to be the Miss nobody-would-dare-touch during our first year in high school. The class was indeed intimidated, with her beauty perhaps. She just stayed at the corner of the classroom, scribbling something most of the time, seems creating her own very world while the rest obliviously locks their own. I remember how I never wanted to talk to her; she was not approachable. Her words were limited. Before, I thought of the folly that maybe it was because her braces sometimes cause mispronounced words. But, she was just reserved and timid – the girl who just sit straight on her place while calculatedly tossing up the bangs that would cover her eyes.

Sharmaine learned to break her shell as we went along our high school years. She was still the self-confessed Maria Clara descendant but with a few loosened screws (she knows when to fix them, of course). We could already hear her laughing over others’ cracked jokes on a small group. She learned how to disclose herself with some of our classmates and she became the Sharmaine we never thought we’d know. Most importantly, she got away with her nanny who used to be with her while we were having our classes.

She completely devastated the walls and exceeded our expectations when she started joining beauty pageants. We never thought she would join on contests like that but we were happy as her when she bagged titles. She was hailed Miss Esperanza 2007 when we were on our junior year. Months after, she joined the search for Bae Naliyagan 2008 (Miss Agusan del Sur) where she was crowned the first runner-up. During our last year in high school, she represented the school to the Search for Miss STEP (Student Technologists and Entrepreneur of the Philippines) 2008 where she bagged the title for the division and regional level and was hailed the 2nd runner-up in the national competition. A year after, she became the Mutya hong Butuan at the age of 16; her greatest achievement as she considers.

Having participated in a number of beauty pageants, she realized that she have the potential to communicate well with other people. Thus, she pursued her degree majoring in Community Broadcasting.
“I would like to pursue a field in which I could utilize this potential, not just for personal development but as well as for the advancement of the institution that I may be involved with in the future,” she said.

She believes her course would help her hone her skills in writing and broadcasting. She was a campus writer since she was in grade three. Aside from being the Editor-in-Chief from 2004 to 2005, she had also delegated twice in the National Schools Press Conference for Editorial Writing and won as Butuan City’s best feature writer on 2005. She served “The Narra,” Agusan National High School’s Official English Publication for four years as one of the Managing Editors.

I have been a witness of how well she writes. I was teary-eyed when I read her note about her father’s death.

“I had mixed emotions. Of course devastated, but I was also thankful to God for my father’s life and for allowing him to share it with me for 17 years. I accepted the fact that he’s gone; though his loss was the worst pain I have ever felt,” she said.

Sharmaine was the only daughter so it was really hard witnessing her father struggling for his last breath.

“It was excruciating to loss someone you heavily depended on but no crying or no amount of blame would bring him back,” she added.

At present, she and her mom are recovering to the demise of their home’s pillar. She wants to reach her dreams for the father he lost and for the mom she ardently treasures. With how I know her, I know she’ll land to the fulfilment of her dreams someday. She’s never just beautiful; she’s talented, intelligent, a good friend and a loving daughter.

I am looking forward to seeing her broadcasting. The braces were gone, so she wouldn’t have to fear mispronunciations, of course. She had totally come out of her shell to effectively communicate with people and foster development. She had long deserted her own world; she’s working on extending it to others’. She had completely transformed into a stronger woman now but some things never changed. She’s still the intellectual seatmate I used to know; still my best friend who’s always willing to listen.

She still believes that destiny is not a matter of chance. It is not a thing that we hope for. It is a thing that we work for.

It’s been three years since I last saw her. But now as I write this, I see her differently and realized I have never really forgotten a thing about her. Until our roads would cross again. Until then, I would never stop knowing her.