Year: 2018

An American Dream—from the Heart of Manila

I first began thinking about studying abroad in my junior year of high school. In America, particularly. It felt like the safest option in terms of diversity and accessibility, and was entranced by the prestigious Ivy League dream (I knew about Harvard and Yale before most local universities, Western media influence and all).  One day, I brought it up to my mother and was pleasantly surprised with encouragement. If we can afford it, go for it. In 2017, Town & Country Philippines released an article called “The Best and the Brightest: Brilliant Minds From the Class of 2017“. Questionable title, they’re definitely not “the best and brightest” but the point on their international education stands. The universities mentioned in the list are all selective–they’re not those kinds of schools that accept anyone that can pay the full fee and boost their international student count, a metric often used in top college rankings. If you do a quick Google search for a school, you see their acceptance rates–or you know, you know that Harvard is Harvard because it’s …

a poem for the evening sun

I believe in God the Father Almighty, in false things and delusions; the tap water running to drown out the sound of the shivers at seven. In the quiet moments and the bare body on the camera or the lost prophet in the home and altar. Reciting His name again and again will absolve this household of sin, we believed.   I believe in emptiness, in ajar mouth and rewired brains. Tap dancing on the throe of loneliness and kicking bags over fences; the presence of smokescreen or radiation in June evenings–the same infallible empty. Like buckled belts and car crash memoir, weighing life for small games and chances and the redundancy of trying.   I believe in belief, in healing towards the dead. The picket fence and the turn towards atheism, boys equating running and late nights to freedom for the drone of the system to repeat itself again. Where momentarily my verse becomes a soldier, the escape or done vow to something again–the summer solstice and the painted moon towards revival of mankind …

to my dream

The truth hurts worse than anything I could bring myself to do. Oh, dream schools. I made this weird promise to myself. I held this weird sort of belief. If you take enough time to think when your minds are in that chaotic dearth, you see the sky clear again. You see the world rise once more. You see beauty against pain, reason to triumph over conflict, the light cascading and piercing through—symbolic of hope: in good mornings, fully-rested naps in the middle of the night, good food and the extra pound or two post-buffet, your heart tumbling, twirling, and fighting after the climax of a movie you’ve seen over and over, teenage freedom and believing that you are in love. What I mean to say is, there are many feelings that we believe are pristine and pure. Convincing ourselves these are unique sensations, looking forward to moments of happiness and sense in an otherwise bland and decrepit world. These are innocent reasons for our being, which I firmly believe are the ones that drive …

heart rates and gold

My idea of self-worth has often been defined by superficial things. For the most part, life has been a journey of understanding who I want to be and what I want to be a part of–grasping onto things that make me feel bigger and significant. Everything we live through is fragile and empty and I am daring to do something that would make me feel alive. This is a confession to you. This is part of the footnote, or perhaps the conclusion. This is something intended to be bittersweet, or something like that. This is something you would never read. … I am confident that humanity’s goal is to love and create. When I was a child, all that I could think of was to write. It was disastrous crayon-on-walls and pen-on-arm, but it was something that I was proud of. Happiness was the tangible stain of ink and the feeling of color flourishing through everything–as if wax would compensate for emptiness and loneliness. It was through the sun with shades on the corner and …

Vagrants (dream schools and whatever)

So, I finished my applications. I gave in and dropped one, so my Common Application list only reads (19) instead of that sweet, maximum (20). How did this happen? I told myself after clutching January 1 supplements that I am never, ever going to do that again. I’m going to finish my January 15 ones right away. Did that happen? Of course not. It’s a new year and I cannot remember the last time I’ve arbitrarily assigned something to be a form of renewal. Not new numbers, not clockwork, not time or dates or anything that can be quantified, really. My rebirth is in something far less tangible: in moments of realization while staring at the bedroom ceiling, in showers or the procrastination before one, in long drives home when I can’t fall asleep and instead feel the leather of the car seat tugging and marking my skin when normally it should be numb and I should sleep and drift off and feel nothing until that certain pattern of turns that I just memorize and wake up …