NY Literary Magazine Poetry Contest Finalist

I am proud to share that I am a finalist in the recently concluded FLAMES Erotic Poetry Contest by the NY Literary Magazine. I was one of thousands all over the world who submitted their work. I submitted multiple poems and wasn’t expecting much, but one of them made it!

It still feels surreal, like a wish-fulfillment dream I could wake up from any minute devastated because reality is far from it…but it is REAL.

And it’s enough motivation and encouragement to continue believing that yes, I AM A WRITER. And I will continue writing. Cheers!

My poem and other finalists’ poems will be published in the December 2017 issue of NY Literary Magazine.


Weekend Halo-halo

I love vintage photographs, so this was a feast for the eyes. These images are some of the world’s first color photographs at the turn of the twentieth century. And I learned that the Lumière brothers (Auguste and Louis) were the pioneers of color photography. They invented a technique called the Autochrome Lumière, which became the precursor of Kodak, the very one most of us born before the age of digital photography are familiar with. Ah…those were the days.

Here are a few of my favorites. Just look at them, the colors are so gorgeous and vibrant!

Sisters sitting in a field tying roses together (1911)
Christina in red (1913)
Young girl amidst Marguerites (1912)

* Marguerites are also known as Paris daisies.

Sisters dressed in robes (1908)
Girl with a parasol sitting on a bench (1908)
Girl in a green dress in the field (1909)
Two girls on a balcony (1908)


This piece on Why We Love Ourselves But Care More About Other People’s Opinions is so true. I’ve been baffled by it myself since I’m also not immune to it. I just have to take these wise and comforting words to heart: “Be good and kind, but also take pride in your own unique perspective on the world. It’s okay if it’s different; there’s no right or wrong in the realm of opinion. Your voice should just be as valuable as any other in your mind.” 

Or maybe I could just channel badass Sansa and not give a f*ck! That would actually work in some situations.

And I just realized that this wisdom can be applied to writing too. Cool.


I know this article is already old, but since I’m crushing on Dan Stevens right now, this made me see him in a new light post Downton Abbey. English lit major, Cambridge-educated, smart, sensible, handsome intensely blue-eyed dreaminess (and ripped too!), with a bit of a bad boy history. Wowza! What’s not to love?


How exciting it must’ve been to curate a modern feminist bookshelf in an old, historical British mansion (ala Downton Abbey). That was brilliant. I would love to curate reading selections as well, some day. Perhaps a selection of the best, most comforting and influential children’s/YA books I’ve read, or my own essential feminist readings.


Here’s two of my favorites in a documentary: JaneAusten and Lucy Worsley! I watched this last Sunday with my sister, and we loved it. I love anything about Jane Austen, and Lucy Worsley is simply the best and the wittiest female historian/TV presenter I know. I just discovered her documentaries in YouTube this year. And they’re so much fun to watch. That cheeky Lucy Worlsey!


And oh my god how exciting…a new Game of Thrones season 7 trailer is here! And it’s epic. I like this blooming badass Sansa, and how her lines at the end set up the mounting tension for the most crucial battle they’ve yet to face (sorry for almost spoilers!). I feel it’s going to be an epic season, and I don’t want to miss any episode.


As a true blue introvert, identifying myself as an INFP, I can relate to most of this. I do find that being an introvert in my 30s is easier, and comes more naturally than it did in my 20s simply because I am finally at peace accepting my introverted self. There’s no more constant pressure to put on a likable “extrovert mask” and “perform” for others: “You just don’t care as much about what other people think of you. You’re generally okay with having a quiet personality, and living a calm introverted life.”





Weekend Halo-halo

In this situation one can say Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method put the spark back in a marriage and saved it: “Dusting is meditative. Boiling the fridge relieves PMS. Making the bed is my cardio, because to make a bed properly, you have to circle it like a shark. And all the while, I listen to audiobooks I would be embarassed to be caught reading.”



Marie Kondo talks about how “sparking joy” can be applied to other aspects of our lives beyond the material stuff: “Continually assessing whether the belongings in your life sparks joy allows you to hone your judgment. Over time, your ability to identify what is worth keeping will extend from your home to your career to your relationships. You will be able to discern what makes you happiest and most content in other aspects of your life.”


Mornings are sacred for me, but I know I also need to maximize the hours that I have and be more productive. This article has been so enlightening: “Whatever your situation, protect your mornings!”


I’ve had a newfound appreciation for Lauren Graham after reading this interview. Now, she went beyond just being quirky, quippy, quick-talking Lorelai Gilmore for me. She’s a smart, interesting woman, she loves being a Gilmore, she’s a writer, and she has read The Handmaid’s Tale. Enough said: “As much as the show means to me, it possibly means even more to the people who love it. They’ve re-watched it many times, they’ve taken it with them to a different age, they’ve shown it to their kids…You can’t ever escape it, and my feeling now is that you shouldn’t try. I don’t know that I’ll ever have that kind of connection to something again. I don’t know that I’ll ever be part of something else that means so much to people, and that’s okay–I’m glad I just got one.”


I want to be a Book Fairy. There doesn’t seem to be anyone from my country yet. When I do get my paraphernalia, I am going to leave copies of Jane Eyre, The Little Prince, and an English translation of Noli me Tangere in the MRT. If I could manage to squeeze in, that is. Haha! We’ll see.


Want to get a vintage classic book for free? Books of Yore mails copies of classic books all over the world for free to encourage love and appreciation for the classics. Seems too good to be true, but hey, free books! I’m gonna ask for Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.


My bedroom is currently undergoing a makeover and I want to hang either this gorgeous Henri Lebasque art print, which I imagine is what a young, Vestal virgin looks like reading a book in Vesta’s temple:

Girl Reading by Henri Lebasqueor a Birth of Venus poster on my wall. This Sandro Botticelli painting is my favorite classical painting. Either way, the blue undertones would go well with my new pale blue walls.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli Also, I’m not above considering this Beauty and the Beast painting ala Vincent van Gogh Starry Night style just because this movie makes me so, so happy.

It’s just as Emma Watson says, “unapologetically romantic”. Mmm. I’d love me some more of that in my life, please.


s-l1000Have a happy weekend!


Weekend Halo-halo

Hail to my first Weekend Halo-halo! FYI, halo-halo (literally “mixed together”) is a traditional Filipino dessert which is a medley of sweet ingredients that include boiled sweet beans, coconut strips, fruits, brightly colored gulaman (agar jelly), sago (tapioca pearls), and tubers topped with milk and shaved ice. Now, I may be biased (because I grew up eating it) but I think everyone should try it at least once in their lives. But this isn’t actually a post about food.

The weekend is also my time to catch up on a medley of articles, quotes, videos, and other interesting reads that I also want to share. Hence, the Weekend Halo-halo, folks! Happy weekend!

Recently joined Our Shared Shelf community in Goodreads aka Emma Watson’s feminist book club and excited to join in the discussion on May-June book which is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.


The Handmaid’s Tale on PBS News Hour and author Margaret Atwood on “a totalitarian gets serious the moment it fires on a protest crowd”. Chilling, and so true. Plus, how awesome is Elizabeth Moss in her “Je suis une suffragette” shirt. A feminist after my heart.


Alain de Botton on infatuation and why it’s intoxicating: “its imperviousness to disappointment, for it is rooted entirely in the chimera of the other, enshrined in the illusion of perfection”. 


On what life as a Vestal Virgin in ancient Rome was really like. Jeez. 30 years of your life keeping the temple fire from going out or else, the entire Roman empire crumbles. Either that or you’d have been a virgin sacrifice.


On why Beauty and the Beast has always had a feminist message: “It’s a story written and published by a woman, with a strong female character as its lead, who is very reflective and intelligent and she makes her own choices, which is not something you saw in French literature or in French society at the time.” 


On why adulting also means becoming a better friend to yourself: “Having kids doesn’t make you an adult. Facing yourself and understanding what’s acting on you, and knowing for certain, what you want your life to look like: That’s what makes you an adult. Asking for what you want. Expressing your gratitude to the people who are good to you. These things make you an adult.” 


On discerning between true friends and false friends: “If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means…” 


Why wasting time without feeling guilty also has its advantages: “Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering.” 


Why saying “No” is empowering: “The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life.” 

Books by women you should read before you die

I love book lists and reading lists. And lately, as I’ve been doing my own library inventory, it just dawned on me that around 90-95% of the books I own or have read were written by women. When scouring the shelves in a bookstore, I’m more likely to give a book another look and read the blurb at the back in greater detail if the author was female. I know there are a lot of great male authors out there, and I have nothing against male writers, I promise. It’s just that at this moment in my life, I consciously pay more heed to a woman’s voice. I am after all, a woman, and I am more drawn to the female perspective–how they describe the world around them, their innermost thoughts, and experiences that mirror my own or are unique to them. I want to feel a connection with the women I encounter in my readings. I get to live many lives vicariously through them, and I emerge a stronger woman, a richer person out of it.

So imagine my excitement when I came across this list of recommended books to read written by women.

Here are the ones I’ve read so far:

  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) – my favorite!
  • A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
  • Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – I have a copy of this, but still haven’t finished going through all of Emily Dickinson’s poems.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)
  • The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – currently reading
  • The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
  • The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)
  • We Should All Be Feminists (Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie)

Those on my to read list:

  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
  • Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
  • Bad Feminist (Roxanne Gay)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)
  • I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai)
  • Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)
  • Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
  • Obasan (Joy Kogawa)
  • Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
  • Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)
  • Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir)
  • The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
  • The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
  • The Death of the Heart (Elizabeth Bowen)
  • The Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan)
  • The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
  • The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  • The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu)
  • Tipping the Velvet (Sarah Waters)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

Some day


Some days I wish I could write the way I used to before

back when I wrote those poems of you,

back when I was full with longing and driven by need.

But I know I will write again someday

and not just about you

maybe it won’t be about you

I’ll write about red nail polish

and biting into apples ripe with truth and knowledge

I’ll write about the sea–

one part calm, one part stormy

and oh, how I thrive in both,

how I am both,

that I would continue to be both.

Maybe I could write about you someday with no regrets

And finally lay these bones of longing to rest.