8 Things I Learned in Kansai

Here are a few things worth noting when visiting what is dubbed to be the cultural and historical heart of Japan that is the Kansai region.

Magnetic Hill: The Bus Tragedy of Tanay, Rizal

For millennials, a selfie is not special anymore. Every waking moment usually has a corresponding picture. Most uploaded images in Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook even disappear after 24 hours. But here is a particular selfie that will not be forgotten anytime soon. For some of them, it was their last. Aftermath of the Accident The students…

Sa Wakas: A Realistic Finale

A boy meets a girl. They go through a series of dilemmas and may even be separated for period of time, but they would still eventually end up together. This has been the typical formula for cliché love stories — no matter if the film is foreign or Filipino. But this is not the kind…

The Music Scene of UST: What Needs to Happen (and to Every Other Music Scene, Too)

Before becoming the national favorites, they were artists in their infant stage. Your local bar’s stage entertainment. Your performers at campus events. The competitors in your barangay battle of the bands. The undervalued, underappreciated and underpaid life-force of music. The local artists. As with everything, music needs a sustainable environment to survive. With little incentive…

Care Divas: An Important Story in These Trying Times

To celebrate their golden anniversary, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) re-staged the award-winning musical hit “Care Divas,” a story about five gay Filipinos working as caregivers in Israel and doing drag shows as a sideline. Without divulging much of the plot, let me attempt to explain why you should watch ‘Care Divas’ and take away with it…

Maxine Medina: More than the Terno

“Maria Mika Maxine Medina, Philippines!” Confident and laced with strong words of conviction, Maxine Medina stunned the hometown crowd with her performance during the pageant preliminaries. She is no longer just a woman with the elegance of a beauty queen. She now has the tenacity of a beast too — dominating, ruthless and savage with a will to become more…

Q & A: The Psychology of Beauty Queen Blunders

The question and answer portion is a much-anticipated part in beauty contests. It is an opportunity for a contestant to convince the judges that she deserves the title. But this moment can be frazzling for candidates. More so, if they are expected to eloquently answer in a foreign language. I, too, had experienced the pressure…

To the Boy Who Lost His Father to the Drug War

It was eight o’ clock in the evening along Taft Avenue in Manila when a street child was going around each store to ask for food, if not for some coins. He was thin, muddled, and soaked in the rain. He approached me with the usual demand, “Kuya, pahingi naman ng pambiling pagkain.” (Older brother,…

Year of the Rooster

Hudyat ang bagong taon ng simula ng panibagong siklo ng pag-ikot ng mundo sa Araw. Natuldukan na ang mapanghamon at madalas malupit na mga araw ng 2016, subalit entrada lang ang mga iyon sa mga paparating pa ngayong bagong taon. Bukod sa kapalaran ng bawat isa, o ang kahihinatnan ng tambalang KathNiel, JaDine at iba pa…

Only Suman

It was a bad night for father as he woke in the middle of the night screaming and drenched in sweat. He kicked me off the banig (a woven sleeping mat) and only then that I shook him to wake. He is emaciated that I only noticed it for the first time. He used to be very…

Little Angels in Need of Hugs

There are many reasons for every baby’s cry. In that moment I witnessed however, I was quite sure it was because of pain. The child lay on the crib face down, with a white cloth wrapped like a chain binding his two tiny hands. It kept him from scratching and bleeding his skin, which was…

Christmas In London, Finally

The story starts at a high end hotel on Drury Lane in London one summer day in June of 1997. Regina ‘Regie’ Laborce, then 31 years old, was scrambling to get in contact with someone she knows in the United Kingdom. If they don’t answer their phones, she has nowhere else to go. The fancy hotel was…