We Are the Yayas of the World

It’s 1991 in the modest town of Moncada, Tarlac. Her husband just died. Her father followed shortly after. She’s 30 years old, a mother of two — the youngest just 6 months old. And up until that moment, she has not worked a day in her life. She could take over the family business —…

A Nation of Broken Hearts

I think I have a broken heart, literally. I’m back at the University of Santo Tomas, my Alma Mater — not at the plaza or my old building or even the walkways I spent endless hours in college just burning time, but at the hospital. I’ve never been inside the UST Hospital before. I never…

Kristel’s Battles

Dear Kristel, I have no right to write about you. Most of us never had a chance to know you. We have no idea what you went through; there is no way we can ever understand why you decided to take your own life. But I remember that day. It was a Friday, March 15th, 2013;…

Why Manila Is Better than London

My editor asked this question right after I went back to work: “Bakit umuwi ka pa? (Why would you want to return?)” The Executive Producer of a morning newscast asked me the same, with additional input: “Something is very wrong with you.” This was not the first time I heard these remarks. I have just returned from a two-week vacation…

Where Shakespeare Lived, Loved and Died

Editor’s Note: Last June 21, 2014, Lian Buan visited Stratford-upon-Avon in England. This town is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the celebrated bard and wordsmith. His grave is also here. Today is the longest day of 2014, the start of summer. It is the midsummer day and I luckily experienced it here in England, where the…

Love Letter to England

I lived in England for a year in 2003, went to school here and have been coming back every two years since. This is now my fifth visit after leaving and deciding no other place could replace the Philippines as home. But that’s not to say I don’t like it here. I love England and the…

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder

There is something about Siem Reap, Cambodia. When dusk falls, a warm, salty air hits your face; wind that probably comes from the stream that stretches in the middle of the road. The yellow light from lamp posts bounces off the water so as you ride a tuktuk, the flicker skips from the corner of…