From the Frontlines of Marawi

The siege was already on its ninth day when my cameraman and I flew to Marawi. It was an assignment I was anticipating since the day firefight broke out in the city. Our defense reporter rode a C130 on the second day, and I was asked by the desk to replace her after a week….

Three Days in Benham Rise

May 5, 2017—It was a dry and humid day in Infanta, Quezon. I wandered around the fish port, quietly observing the locals. I would occasionally glance on my phone, snap a shot, and try to post it on Facebook. But the entire town is practically a dead spot, making it extremely hard for us to…

Understanding the Angry Christ

I am no theatre critic, but I’ve seen every single production of Dulaang UP since its 33rd season—that’s more or less 30 plays. There were hits and misses, but hands down, Angry Christ easily ranks as one of the most enigmatic and beautiful. I would admit, for each Dulaang UP season, it is Sir Dexter…

Sulu: A Lost Paradise

Berwina Timbang, a grade six student in Sultan Jamalul Kiram Elementary School in Maimbung, Sulu, was diligently listening to her English teacher when I first saw her. I was in Sulu then for a one-day news coverage. Occasionally, she would glance outside the window, her eyes innocent and her face hopeful. In a class of…

Backpacking Bohol

I rarely go out of town during the Holy Week, as I grew up in a devout Catholic household. But my birthday coincided with Maundy Thursday this year. It’s been my tradition to travel on my birthday week partly to escape office pizza requests. But mostly, I find it romantic to turn in a new year on…

The Risks I Took to Be a Reporter

My hands were shaking as I handed my resignation letter to my bosses. My thoughts were all incoherent as I explained why I was leaving GMA News. The only rational thing I remember telling them: I was a millennial seeking to explore the bigger world outside the newsroom. My bosses were shocked because I didn’t…

Of Rape and Other Demons: The Story of Anria Espiritu

Anria, my second cousin, it’s such an irony how I only got to know more about you now that you’ve passed away. We lived in the same barangay. Our houses were no more than three kilometers away from each other. You were just four years older. We could have made more childhood memories together. But we…

Ten Ideas I Never Learned in College

Many Filipinos spend their youth in school. With the new K-to-12 program, college students will be more than twenty years old upon graduation. By the time I become a senior citizen at age 60, I will happily recall the first two decades of my life as a student. In college, we have been bombarded with so much lessons,…

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Man

Opening Act The curtains rise, the music plays, the backstage hushes stop and the house lights dim. You step onto the stage and the spotlight is on you. That moment, you’d feel infinite. It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of theatre. At any given point, you could be anyone or anything. You could be a king, a peasant,…

Nude Photography to Abstract Paintings

My second greatest fear, next to not fulfilling my greatest dreams, is not being able to create something artistic that hasn’t existed in the world before. It can be anything — maybe a culinary experiment, a new chair design, a sketch, or even mundane things like doodles or comic strips, as long as it has…

Conquering Pico de Loro

I never liked the whole idea of climbing mountains. But I ended up on top of the Pico de Loro monolith in Cavite. How and why I got there? It’s a long trek but let me walk you through my journey. Early this year, I found a new (and rather eccentric) hobby: mountaineering. I have climbed…