Of Missing Mood

I still see you. I still feel you. I still hear you. I still speak of you.

I guess my senses will always perceive you even if I can no longer meet with you, cling on to you, listen to you or talk to you. It has been 14 years, but no one has ever taken your place in this quiet void inside my heart that continues to long for a friend who has all the right words to say, whose mere presence says everything that life refuses to give meaning to.

You were the only person who knocked on my heart, begging the monster that had taken over me to bring my old self back because you thought it was not like me to shut everybody out. To ask to be left alone. To just accept the fact that everyone was turning their back on me. You did not yell at me because I was being stubborn to accept my flaws. You wrote me a letter instead, opening it with the words: “knock knock? Is my best friend there? Can you please bring her back?” You just thought maybe I was just going through a bad day, menstrual cramps or whatever, and understood me completely. Then you waited for me to open the door. Of course there was no door. It was only a magic from your prose. And I will never forget that day. I cried hard in isolation because you all left me as I asked you to, but I was being stubborn, eaten by my pride, to come to you. That day taught me how to say sorry even if the why’s were vague because you needed your friends back and they won’t take you back until you destroy the walls you built yourself.

I was glad you knocked when all of them slammed the door on me.

From time to time, I still get consumed by that monster you thought to be eating me. Bad days do not last forever but they do come around, and they would, forever. I still want to be left alone on bad days. I still let people turn their backs on me when I cannot insist on them to embrace my flaws. I still shut everybody out when words run out, when all the talking is done and exhausting. And it gets lonely and tiresome at times. No one dares to knock anymore. There has been no one but you who could choose the right words to say that would tear me into pieces just so I could hem my tattered spirit back again.

And I miss you each time.

Whenever someone leaves me words on sticky notes or scratch pads: a cheer, a reminder, a quote, I am reminded of the many notes we used to pass on to each other, and the letters we used to send, that chronicle how our days had been, because we did not belong to the same class, and you were seated next to my crush and I was seated next to yours. We had to hide behind codes for the stuff going on that needed real-time updates, then when sms, pms, dms, tweets and statuses did not exist to save us from the trouble of getting caught. As we ceaslessly wrote to each other, it was the love for writing that bloomed more than the unrequited love we both waited for from our seatmates. You molded my way with words with your beautiful ways of saying things. You were always a pleasure to read. You showered me with quotes every single day, and I owe from you the adage that has become my mantra: Don’t just flow with life; make waves. Yes, you gave this priceless quote to me, and it shall ripple on.

Thank you for believing in me.

You were always the most thoughtful one. You always put me first in thought, in words, in feelings. Sometimes I had felt quite a burden to our friendship because you were always worried of me when I could not even take a second glance at myself. When I did not want to join the slumber party because I was too tired to plan out what to wear, you drew me on a piece of construction paper, with labels from head to toe as to how I should bring in myself to the party. From the way I should do my ponytail, to the top I must wear (with a naughty reminder to shave because you have chosen a haltered or sleeveless one), even the belt (because you thought plain jeans were boring), down to the footwear— I wondered how you had all the time in the world to memorize my lame fashion sense, the limited outfit I owned, and my obvious tendencies to avoid the party because I’d rather be sleeping. I can still picture that portrait that you had on me on some loose sheet of paper lying around the bench that day. High school was too long ago but I think I still get conscious on how I must do my ponytail because you believed that I look better when I wear it higher. I am forever grateful for your honesty, sincerity and concern. I was the ugly one, but you had made me see beauty in myself.

And I’m glad that I believed you.

Sometimes, whenever I come across a nice quote, a good book, thoughts on post-its, whenever I hear or read an unexpected little cheer, honest affirmation or sincere appreciation to my mere existence, whenever I am being looked after, cared for, worried about, I would like to believe you are trying to let me see you, feel you, hear you, or talk to you because you miss me too. Because I cannot stop missing you. Because there will never be anyone like you, but I can no longer run to you. Without you here, you still make me feel that I am worth all your while to be thought of.

What have I done to deserve your eternal and selfless love?

Just so you know, I still see you. I still feel you. I still hear you. I still speak about you. I will do, for all of my life.

I love you , Kate. Always.


Of Science and Faith

“You won’t find faith or hope down a telescope. You won’t find heart and soul in the stars. You can break everything down to chemicals, but you can’t explain a love like ours.” -Science and Faith, The Script

Sometimes I wonder how my biology, my chemistry and my physics will ever be superior over my basic human knowledge, or at least be a healthy match to my common sense. These so-called branches of knowledge always keep me up at night trying to make sense out of things I could not even figure out. How could I live a life of accuracy and balance when I doubt the sincerity of symbiotic relationship, when I do not fully trust the strength of covalent bond, and when I cannot fully embrace the law of inertia?

I do not speak the language of science, but science speaks to me on a daily basis, making me think immensely of things that matter in a scale that my faith finds too deep to fathom at times. My science moves with me every single time, and no matter what complexity it brings and leaves me arid for answers, I could not last a day without its sweet torment of making me resort to thinking and question everything that transpires over the day, the month, the year, even the minutes and the seconds.

Symbiosis is a good thing, but sometimes I feel like it is just a lame excuse for some people to make up for the limitations that they are too naive to surpass. Reliance as a virtue becomes corrupted, when people take advantage rather than work hard and earn justly their spot in this planet. 

Similarly, most people promise they have your back, only to realize in the end that they have your back to stab. You bleed for them anyway, because you believe that you still have to be human, until you bleed to death for betrayal that you have become a monster yourself. 

If this is how tragic dependence or having someone to rely on turns out, why do I have to help keeping a balance? 

I cherish mutualism anyway.

There is strength in unity, inspiration in reaction, and joy in interaction. These realities seem divine, like the power of an atom. Still, to keep a bond, you have to be necessarily strong. This is where I feel insecure about bonds, and I hope it is just normal to feel this way. 

I guess no matter how hard you try, at some point, you will wear out and get consumed. If not you, others would. We do not have the monopoly of power in this world. When times like this come, it will almost feel impossible to hang on or even find a string to hang on so the bond won’t snap. Eventually bonds do break. No. Matter. How. Hard. You. Try. Well this is life: you lose some, you gain some, you share some. That is just how it is. 

Knowing there will always be bonds is a nice deal after all.

I hope my high school physics memory serve me right that inertia has something to do with the fact that something not moving will never move, and something moving will continue to move, unless something else (a force maybe) affects it. How I wish life was that simple! Or is it really? As if we have a lot of choices in this life to wait for a force to get us moving or keep us moving. I hope I am not the only one believing that this life is unfair, because it is. 

Who would not want to stay in bed all day? To not set the alarm for the next day? To not think about tomorrow? To not have plans? And yet make life happen? Physics does not work accurately in most lives I’ve known. You have to move and keep moving even if there seems to be zero motivation to get going because life will not stop for you. It is just how it is.

 With or without a choice, with or without force, we all have to get moving. Being stuck is just an illusion. Keeping pace is a mere diversion. Being ahead on track is but a dream. This life is all about moving and that is all. 

The good thing though is, there will always be somewhere, and that is beautiful enough to look forward to.

My science sustains me, no matter how messed up it can be. Just like faith, it reminds me that there is more to life, to existence. That is why thinking is good, even if thinking exhausts you, keeps you up all night, frightens you, saddens you, confuses you, challenges you, weakens you, kills you. If I were not to think, what will I ever do to the endless questions that my mind generates? It is not like I have the power to make the birth of questions stop. I barely have answers in this lifetime. Faith, however, assures me, that there are answers; some answers just take time. My science is probably a mess. Still I am grateful for I have faith.

I guess I will continue to get by in this life with a little reason and a little wonder.

Confessions of a Christmas Grinch

I am not a Christmas person. I used to be, but bad memories have made me more at peace with myself for the past 10 years or so if I let the Christmas season and every Christmas-ey thing and holiday feeling slip. Bad memories of Christmas depleted me of whatever merry the season ought to have. 

For quite a while, Christmas trees do not give me joy, Christmas lights do not amuse me, and Christmas songs do not entertain me. I used to take time for a Christmas countdown and send everyone greetings, come up with themes for the Christmas tree and sing along with Christmas carols, and, dress and look nice on Christmas eve. For quite a while, I struggle for meanings why I should even bother with the mainstream stuff when there are deeper and more important matters that need my time and attention. 

Bad memories remind me of the many times I could not afford to fake joy because there had been no presents to give, food to share and lights to hang, so even if I could actually find joy in them now, bad memories are monsters that chase the joy of the season away.

Bad memories kept me away from forgiveness and stuck with hatred. Bad memories kept me away from faith and stuck with worry. Bad memories kept me away from hope and stuck with despair. Bad memories kept me from making new memories, keeping me stuck in the horror of not being able to vindicate myself from how unfair everything had turned out because I continue to cling to the bad memories I can no longer change.

I do not enjoy being a grinch, though. I wish to find myself back to being a Christmas person again each year. I have failed for so long, but I am trying my best to create new memories this time in an attempt to turn everything around and make me delighted once more on all things Christmas-ey.

I may not be a Christmas person but I could never hate Christmas. I do not hate Christmas, for the record. I just happen to have limited supply of joy for the season perhaps. However, year after year of having to avoid the joy of the season has allowed me to search for the things that truly matter. Clichè as it may seem, truly it is never about the material stuff; it is about the gift of presence and the gift of faith, that no matter how rough times may seem to be, what truly matters is having someone to share the joy with and having the hope that joy can be eternal if we wish it to be.

Today, somehow I have gathered enough wisdom to have allowed light to pass through the cracks and make me believe in the power of my wish for this Christmas to come true. I am not ready to exchange Christmas greetings just yet, but as I watch the Christmas lights perform before me at the moment, I guess I am ready to be a Christmas person again.

End Point

I had two options after high school: Creative Writing in Silliman University or Mass Communications in UNO-Recoletos. 

I landed in neither.

To make the long (funny and confusing) story short, I was stuck with a degree in Education bound to end up falling more deeply in love with Language and Literature. However, my muse of being a writer never gave me a rest. They say I take after my father who was a newspaper man and a broadcast journalist. I wanted my dad, the late Satch Conta, to believe that as well, but he was the one who talked me out of walking down his path because he said “you learn journalism from the streets.” I thought back then he was only trying to discourage me from pursuing Silliman University because he had no money to send me to college (he even threatened to disown me if I insist on studying away from home—not like I had inheritance to look forward to after all), or he was only trying to let me see the piercing reality that we were indeed poor because there is no money in journalism.

To make another long story short, I did not fight for my dream to be a writer. To be a journalist.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to a year after college graduation, I entered UNO-Recoletos High School and met Starlight. At first it was like high school all over again, writing and competing for the school publication. Yet, as I spend year after year with different set of editors and writers, I was given the opportunity to reconnect and rediscover the muse buried somewhere in my heart: it was still wielding a pen.

Year after year with Starlight, I have been constantly reminded to come to terms with the realities that my father had wanted me to face about writing and journalism. Each year has been a journey of unfolding passion and truth. Year after year, dreams and aspirations have come alive. For 13 years, I have been a mother to a growing family of writers voicing out their unique truths and expressing their rare passion. This must have been the “journalism from the streets” that my father was talking about, or maybe he was really talking about the raw realities taking place  in the streets at the turn of the clock.  

To me, Starlight has been “my street” from where I have learned a great deal of unexpected realizations.

Being with Starlight has never been about merits, although achievements came naturally for the many Starlight writers who have poured their heart out in constant commitment to developmental and responsible journalism. As I always tell them, “it is never about winning but in believing you have done your best to give justice to your craft and to your truth.” 

This has made Starlight more than a publication. Starlight is home. Starlight is family. 

It is a home that makes you remember more the horror story of “The Feather Pillow” or of “The Decapitated Chicken,” and the inside joke of “Snow White and the 7 Dwarves”  or “Cigarettes,” rather than coming home from the regionals empty-handed. It is a home that imprints in the memory more of the pigouts in Breakthrough and takeouts from JD rather than the unexpected blow of facts from the competitions back in Punta Villa. It is a home to my symphonic snore and sweet sarcasm. It is home to convos and critiques that came with fact sheets, shutter, literary folio and tabloid. It is home not only to unmet expectations and deadlines but also unsurpassed loyalty and love. These are just the few things to be missed with my life with Starlight.

I believe I have enough memories to last a lifetime to remind me that some dreams never die. I once dreamt of being a writer; I ended up taking part in the dreams of hundreds of writers I have spent with my journey through campus journalism. For this, I am forever thankful.

Being considered one of the best advisers in Western Visayas for three consecutive years is my only token of gratitude to Starlight and all the writers who have been part of it during my term as adviser. Thank you for believing in writing, in your truth, in journalism, in Starlight. Thank you for allowing me to realize that I do not have to be the one wielding the pen in order to be a writer. I am beyond blessed to have been behind the ones who are wielding the pen as they speak their truth because it is in the honor of being a mentor that I have been able to hold dearly my own truth and passion.

Thank you for the honor of being your adviser. Thank you for speaking your truth. 

Loqui tui veritati, always.

Of Neighbors

I must be blessed to have lived my lifetime (so far) to have friendly neighbors. They are the type of neighbors who gives you coffee before you ask for it, on a day when you believe not even coffee could plaster your broken heart together. They are the type of neighbor who offers you a ride even if you were our of route, on a day when you are running out of time to waste on public transport. They are the type of neighbors who watches out for your house or your kid even on short notice, on a day when you could not be in two places at once. They are the type of neighbors who simply passes by to exchange random stories and queries on matters like the school educational system, on a day that you are dying to have someone to share your suppressed points of information about exactly the same issue. Thanks to my friendly neighbors, this unfair lifetime is half a burden to keep.

Another Note to Self

Where are you now?

If your life were “measured in coffee spoons,” perhaps you are soaked in your 23, 725th cup of coffee, still wondering if coffee beans truly were magical to have kept your cracks sealed for quite a long time. You have been your own blend of coffee-hot or cold, instant or freshly brewed, black or creamy, for here or to go-but still stuck in a room for a caffeine fix. It seems like you have been doing a good job embracing your imperfections.

I know you are running out of metaphors and oxymorons, sarcasm even, to put your realities bluntly, but I know too that no matter how much you hide behind either your vagueness or your wordiness, you would not let your points go unplotted. You are probably somewhere in between grid lines of a map of thoughts and feelings that mean the globe to you, figuring out where your words may find their home.

I figure out you are in bed, still making yourself believe that “there is no such thing as too much sleep.” You think the only sanctuary for your lost realities is in your dreams, but you know too, that is not true. Putting rainbows and butterflies around monsters in your head only turns nightmares into bad dreams, and never sweet dreams. You are very well aware of that but you slumber anyway, because horror to you is farce. I must say I am proud of how you always see hope flickering in darkness.

Are you running off to detours and roads not taken again? I won’t be worried of you getting lost at all because you are a natural in getting lost. You will eventually be found if you decide to be found, and stay lost if otherwise. I guess you have gotten familiar with just about enough road signs and pit stops to conquer the roads you are about to wrestle the dust with. Directions won’t be necessary because you know exactly where you are and where you are going. You always say running away narrows the distance, and I don’t know how that works still. I am putting my bet on finding a home in all the lost places.

Where are you now?

You are right on spot. You are where life has taken you. You belong where you are and where you are going to be.

I shall say this again: you are okay and you are still in the position of being the best thing that has ever happened to me; you are okay and I will constantly be happy to be YOU, for what it is worth.

It has been 35 years, my dear self. With you is where I belong. I am proud of you. Don’t ever lose your ground.


Allow me to give thoughts a thought, because I just might have been taking thinking for granted lately. Soaked in my own murky thoughts, I might have missed a million messages brought by the wind that could have saved me from countless worries. Too saturated, my mind keeps on missing signals that could have led me to a better train of thoughts. I guess it is really possible to get lost into one’s thoughts.

Most days, I prefer the haste, so my mind won’t have to dive into thoughts that I might find myself unable to surface out from. Some days, I choose to let my mind wander off and allow my thoughts to be lost in confusion, because confusion eases me more than clarity does. In days when I choose to be challenged by my tangled thoughts, I take the long road and find pleasure in wasting time trying to free each caught up strand from each other. The moment I liberate intertwined strands of complexity from wrapping unto each other, only then that things become clearer to me. 

This is what I meant by being tamed more by confusion rather than clarity. If all things were clear to me, why would I even take time to analyze how realities come to be? 

Most days are like travelling on a bullet train. I do not have the time to see the sights or give life a thought. Most days I refuse to think. Some days, I feel like taking a joyride and take in the scenery by every breath. I feel like giving every detail about my existence a thought. This is how my thoughts are. This is how I would like to think.


All the time, it is a constant decision whether to sink or swim. All the time, it is a sea of thoughts I cannot fathom.

This is just, well, another thought.