Night Prayer

I made a wish upon a star. The darkness was too much to take and the cold air lingers in my room. I shivered. My emptiness turned into salted water, staining my cheeks and the bed that yearns for warmth, a company. I held out my hand into the darkness, waiting. Like a child, I pleaded. “Make it stop,” I cried to no one.

And so I asked the stars, the moon and the wind. Let my feeling be gone, disappear into the night, like a stranger passing by.  Yet I hold on to it, so tight my hands started to bleed, my whole body shaking in fear.

Let it go, I know I must. Just open your hands and let it fly. Just turn your back and walk. Keep on walking, ‘till you can’t feel it anymore. Let the cold wind settle the fire in you. Let the darkness show you the truth. Let the silence of the night quiet your worries and the lies you’ve been told.

Hush. There is peace in the night. Cry to the moon. The wind will carry your  woes, echoing through the fields of dismay. Sleep under your thick blankets and hear the lullabies of the crickets, slowing down your breathing, calming your distressed heart. Pull tightly—breathe. The stars are answering.


Kaya Pa Ba?

“Kaya pa ba?” Tinanong mo sa akin.

Inisip ko kung ano ang ibig mong sabihin. Kaya ko pa bang bumangon? Kaya ko pa bang tumayo? Kaya ko pa bang huminga sa bigat ng aking nadarama?

“Huy, kaya?” dahan dahan mong sinuklay ang buhok ko gamit ang iyong mga daliri. Tila mapanuya sa tigas ng iyong dila. Ang lambing ng iyong mga kamay ay tutol sa magaspang mong pananalita. Hindi ko tuloy alam kung anong paniniwalaan.

Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit ako pumayag. Hindi mo naman ako pinilit, kusa akong sumama. Marahil ako’y umasa na baka magbago ko pa ang iyong isip. Suntok sa buwan ang aking hiling.

 Iyon ang aking pagkakamali. Dahil minahal kita sa pag-asang mababago ko ang iyong isip. Ang iyong pananaw na hindi naman lahat ay may paalam sa huli. Dapat minahal kita kung sino ka, hindi ang nais kong maging ikaw o yung inasa ko na maging ikaw
Kaya ko pa ba? Kaya mo pa ba? Kaya pa ba nating dalawa?

Ang Pagkakataong Umibig

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umibig
Nung una’y hindi ako makapaniwala kung gaano ako katanga
Na sa maliliit na bagay tulad ng simpleng tingin
Ang araw ko’y buo na

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong lumigaya
Isang hakbang, dalawang salita lang ang kailangan
Kaya kong bilangin sa isang kamay
Pero lakas ng loob ay tila wala

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong masaktan
Dahil sa pagibig, kasama naman talaga yan
Pinili kong mahalin ka ng malayuan
Kaya ang puso ko’y di mo naramdaman

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umasa
Sa bawat oras na wala ka sa tabi niya
Ngunit ang kamay, loob at isip ay sa iba na
Hinding hindi na mababago pa

Nagkaron ka ng pagkakataong umibig
Lumigaya at palaging ngumiti
Marahil ito’y sapat na sa akin
Kahit ang dibdib ko’y sumisikip

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umibig
Umasa’t nasaktan, tumawa at lumuha
Gayon pa man wala akong pagsisisi
Kailangan ko mang magpaalam sa aking mahal

I Wonder If I Should Still Be Here

I talked to a friend yesterday and she told me about the recent deaths in her lives and the pending, inevitable end of one good person who is loved and respected by many. She has stage four cancer.

I’ve been contemplating about death recently, mine to be specific. For weeks now, I thought that dying is not the worse thing that could happen to me now. If I were to talk to my mother about these thoughts, she would tell me to think about the many people who would want to be as healthy as I am now—to have a perfectly enabled body and mind.

So when my friend told me about Karen (not her real name) and how she’s been fighting for her life every day, only one thing came to my mind: I wish I could give Karen my days and health.

Another friend of mine lost a good friend to pancreatic cancer. Bill (not his real name) was a good, highly driven and humorous person. When he discovered that he had stage four pancreatic cancer, he opted for alternative medicine and sacrificed his body for the sake of looking for a new cure. I wish I could give Bill my life.

If it was up to me, I don’t want to die on a bed surrounded by white walls, waiting for the cold clutches of death to take me. I want to die protecting someone. That’s not a bad way to go. At least in my last moment, I can be useful. At least I can sacrifice my life for another.

This is not a cry for help. These are not suicidal thoughts. But death, right now, is not the worse thing that could happen to me. I don’t have the strength to commit suicide, but I’ve been praying for my life to end. If  there was a way to give my life span to another person like Karen and Bill, I would gladly volunteer.

But there are things I wish I could do before I go.

I want to see the beautiful temples in Japan and practice my Nihongo. I want to have a beer in a pub in Ireland, see the castles in Scotland, visit the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien, see the northern lights in Iceland and southern lights in New Zealand.

I want to tell him that I love him and thank him for giving me a moment of hope and happiness.

I know that this is not something I should think. I’m trying my best to find a purpose and something to hold onto as I sink further and further down. But everything I hold crumbles through my fingers.

I tried fighting, but I keep on getting defeated. I wonder if I am still supposed to be here.

Thoughts in the Midst of My Midnight Panic Attack

I remember the first time I had the opportunity to win a gold medal in a judo competition. It was my first year in the sport and after a series of heartbreaking losses, I finally had my moment. As I was preparing for the match, I asked myself, “can I really do this? Can I really defeat this girl?” I had my doubts even before I stepped on the mats.

To ease my worry, I reminded myself that even if I lose, I still get a silver medal. I still get to be on that podium and I have something to celebrate for. “I can live with that,” I convinced myself.

Lo and behold, I lost the match—and yes I cried. Not because I lost, but because I knew, deep down, I already accepted defeat before the match started. A massive feeling of regret loomed over me. I worked my way up to the finals only to back down because I was afraid of wanting something so much and have it slipped through my fingers. I didn’t fight for it. I could’ve gotten the gold, but I settled for silver instead.

I didn’t believe in my own strength. I didn’t see myself as someone who can win the gold.

After that day, I vowed to always keep my eyes on the prize and that no matter what happens, I will not let my fears and doubts get the best of me. I will give it my all so even if I lose, I’ll have no regrets. And that’s what I did for the rest of my judo career.

I wonder what happened to that high driven girl. It’s been four years since my last judo competition. Somehow, somewhere, I lost that mentality.

See, one of the harsh lessons I learned outside the safe walls of my university is that, you can’t get what you want all the time because you worked hard for it. True, there are inspiring stories and people that overcome the trials of life because of their determination. It all starts there, right? Work hard for it and don’t stop.

But there are many variables that you have to account for—and you can’t control all of them; people’s perception for one thing. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you go at it over and over again, you can’t just win. And it’s hard to admit, but sometimes hard work is not enough. I tried again and again, and again and again, I failed. Miserably.

“Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.” I kept telling myself this throughout my judo career because I didn’t have the talent. The athlete that I am is all because of passion and hard work. Somehow, this mentality is failing me now.

So I started questioning myself. What am I doing wrong? Am I not enough? Is my best not enough? Have I peaked back in college and it’s just all downhill from there? Will I ever be good enough to be employed in a good company? Will I ever be good enough for my dreams?

Right now I am chasing a dream. I dropped everything because I don’t want to give a half-ass effort. I wanted this so badly that I want to dedicate every moment of every day into making this happen. Again, I know I don’t have the talent or the resources, so I am depending on the one thing I am good at; my fucking determination.

Just like my first gold medal match, I started questioning myself. There are nights, like tonight, I wake up in the middle of the night from a panic attack.


I can feel the cold hands of fear all over my body and I shudder at its touch. I fight for my breath as I try to save myself from the drowning feeling of uncertainty.

The future is so hazy, and I feel lost in a maze, taking all the wrong turns.

Perhaps I am making another wrong turn.

There’s a voice in my head asking if I am good enough for this? What if I fail to get this dream? What if I am not good enough for this? What if I do get it and then I realize, it’s not what I really wanted? What if I sacrificed everything and it’s all for naught? What if I’m leaving behind my true happiness because I am a selfish person who thinks she can get something better in this life? What if I am just an ungrateful person who is never satisfied?

What if all of this was a mistake?

Whenever you have to take a big leap, whenever you know that a lot is at risk and you’re chasing after your heart’s desire, doubts and fears will always be part of that. I don’t face my demon, I carry it with me. And I think it all boils down to whether you will give in to that fear or have the strength to carry it with you and believe more in your strength. I don’t face my demon, I carry it with me.

Yes, there are times when I will fall, and carrying this fear will weigh me down. But here’s the thing, I forgot I wasn’t alone. The future might be unclear, but I am not treading down this road alone. I have a family who will always be there for me and a group of friends who are not afraid to tell me the things I need to hear.

I don’t know if I am making the right choice. I don’t know what lies ahead. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next month, let alone next year. Maybe, just like in competition, I should focus on one match at a time.  I don’t know what will be the outcome. Maybe that’s why we need to believe in our strength and hard work.

And if I fail again, I can say that I didn’t settle for silver.  I went for the gold, and I gave it my very damn best and more.

The Small Change That Rippled The Peaceful Water

I just wanted something new in my life, that’s why I went to that place that day. I did something that wasn’t part of my routine and you were there. I wanted change, and boy did I get it.

We both had no idea what we walked into when we entered that room. You sat at the other end of the table. We barely made eye contact and nodded politely at each other. I had no idea, and if it was just that one chance meeting, I never would’ve glanced at your direction twice. But that meeting became two, and then three and then more and just when I thought it was over, you came in through those doors again and again.

Don’t you think it’s funny? We went to the same university and seven years ago, we might’ve sat next to each other at the library. I might’ve stood behind you at the cafeteria. I might’ve been in the same class as you. We might’ve passed each other in the hall a hundred times. And we might’ve looked at each other for a split second and then moved on. We were just another face in the crowd.

And now you’re not just another person. You became the highlight of my day. I glance at that door waiting for you to say good morning. When you talk to me and when you slightly lean forward just to try to catch the things can’t say out loud, I can just feel my face turn red.

And sometimes even if I don’t say anything, you understood what I meant.

And you may not know this, but it’s been a long time since I felt this way about someone. Five years to be exact. Not the slightest feeling for anyone for the past five years, and the most unlikely person came in and brought to life everything I thought that was gone for good.

I was happy, scared, excited, nervous, giddy,  anxious—it was a roller coaster of emotions, a  ride that I was and still am afraid of boarding. But you made me feel these things, nonetheless. You brought up a side of me and more. I was too young when I first felt this way and the second time around, I still didn’t know what to do. I was still scared, but you were worth the risk.

Then the story ended.

It was inevitable. We both knew it was coming. We parted ways in the most casual way. Kinda anti-climactic. But I have nothing but good memories.

The past months have been the best months so far, of my adult life.

All I wanted was a small change, and He gave me you. It may not have ended the way I wish it would’ve, but nonetheless, I am grateful.

Maybe for now, or maybe for good, we have parted ways. But you will always be the man who brought me back to life.