The Summer Solstice

June 24, the feast of St. John, was one of the very few times we were allowed to bathe in the sea (the other time being Good Friday to ward off evil spirits). My grandmother, who was a survivor of a tragic sea accident, never loved the sea and always discouraged us from swimming. Now, a grown up, I don’t have a love affair with the beach, the sea, or the ocean. In fact, I fear it just as I fear heights. Listening to my grandmother’s stories on her ordeal (seeing the eyes of whales, and watching people die and disappear), it’s always at the back of my mind that when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath, no one will be spared. We are at the mercy of no one. So I fear the water. Continue reading “The Summer Solstice”


Small Town Girl Diaries: My Elementary School


I went to public schools for 14 years, from elementary to tertiary. I am from a small island in the Philippines named Siquijor, and I live in one of its town, called Lazi. I went to the public elementary school there. There was no private elementary school at that time. And even if there was, the education I got from my public elementary school was probably at par with, or even better than, the education I would have received in a private school there. My former teachers were dedicated school teachers and experts in their fields. The elementary school is located just across my grandparents’ house where I lived most of the time.
Continue reading “Small Town Girl Diaries: My Elementary School”

Papaya, and the Memories of Grandpa

There is a story of the papaya. My grandfather loved papayas. In 2005, he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and he died just months after the diagnosis. While he was sick, he did not want to eat a lot of things although he was a good eater when he was healthy. One day while he was confined at a hospital, he asked me to buy papaya. I walked so many blocks from the hospital to the nearest fruit stand I saw selling its last piece of papaya. Continue reading “Papaya, and the Memories of Grandpa”

Small Town Girl Diaries: Habits and Siquijor


We have habits. And we have favorite things to do.  When I have few hours in Dumaguete before riding a boat to Siquijor, I visit Robinson’s mall to eat lunch at Sans Rival and drink coffee at Bo’s.  Whenever I’m at Bo’s, I always drink the caramel latte, been drinking it since college.  If not caramel latte, iced tea.  None of those ice blended drinks with cream.  Today’s Holy Tuesday, and my cousin and I have been traveling from Cebu for 4 hours or so to get here.  We have a 4:30 boat ride to our home province where our grandma is awaiting her floral foam and flowers.  The day is hot, just like all the days in Holy Week.  If you are itching to go somewhere this summer, maybe you’d like to try Siquijor.  There are lots of wonderful beaches, good roads, nature trails, waterfalls, caves, and friendly people. (There may be a scarcity of good affordable food).

My favorite things to do in Siquijor — sleeping and reading books in bed.