This is not something I would like to share on social media because it involves family members. He’s my first cousin, in fact. My mother took him in when they were in need.

His father died at an early age. He was a teenager when he started living with us. He was my brother’s age, so they were very close.

The first incident happened when I was five. We were playing a game, him, me and my other female cousin. He would hide a small token in a room and ask the me to find it while he “played” with my cousin in the other room. When he was done with her, he asked us to switch. She went to the other room and he asked me to lie next to him.

He started touching my vagina and asked me “what it this?” he just kept on touching and asking the question over and over again.

The second time it happened, I was alone with him in our house. I was seven. I came home from school and took my afternoon nap. When I woke up, he was just there. He asked me if I wanted to play a game and if I win, I will win a prize.

He asked me to stand at the end of the room while holding a bag. He wanted me to walk across the room and we will cross paths. “Simple, right?” he said. I just wanted the prize, so I agreed. When we fake bumped to each other, he touched my vagina and squeezed my small private part in his big hand. We did it for a few more times. Nothing felt wrong at that time.

My uncle, who happened to be my godfather as well, kept on asking me if he could take me out for lunch alone. He said it was his gift since he missed a lot of my birthdays. I kept making excuses and saying no. it didn’t feel right. Was that messed up? I wonder.

It was only after a few years later that I realized what it truly meant, how messed up the whole thing was. I can’t say that it messed up things for me. I don’t really have a sob story to tell how it ruined me, because I think it didn’t. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, or maybe I am messed up too. I don’t shy away from guys. I don’t shy away from their touch. Whenever I grapple with guys in judo training, it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. I guess I am doing fine, despite what happened.

But whenever that whole family is together, I try to stay as far away as possible from him. I avoid being in the same room with him and whenever he spends the night, I lock my door.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes if what I feel, the uneasiness with him is justified. It happened a long time ago, and it was too late when I realized what really happened, what it really meant. He did the same thing to my cousin and she’s fine with him. I wonder if she remembers. I wonder if he remembers what he did to me.



He Will Always Be Fourteen

Young boy, I wish your life was taken from you from the first stab. I pray that you didn’t feel the other thirty merciless wounds on your young, frail body. I only hope they taped your head after your life was taken. I wish you didn’t have to fight for your breath.

I can only wish you didn’t have to die a painful death.

I hope you didn’t suffer long. I could only hope. Because you were alone in the hands of merciless monsters. You were probably too young to understand, yet it happened to you.

And when I look at your picture, a young wounded body, head covered in tape, many faces replaces yours. Familiar faces, faces I wish I would never see on such picture.

I do not know you, and you do not know me. But in the gruesome way you went, you touched many. In the closing of your eyes, you opened many others.

Say his name. Say his name out loud and let it not be forgotten.

His name is Reynaldo de Guzman
He was a boy from Cainta, Rizal.
Yesterday, his body was found at Nueva, Ecija, with 31 stab wounds
He was fourteen years old.

He will always be fourteen.



You want to turn the heads of the many

Have your own spotlight when you walk in

Hush the room with your ways

And all the boys down on their knees


You’re probably tired of being invisible

Set to the sidelines and ignored

You watch from the shadows and watch them sway

Blending into the background and forgotten


You wish to be just like her, so you eat less

And run until nothing is left

Still, you can’t get your size down to two

And the spotlight is still not on you


There are so many things you want to change

Your hair, your weight, and your face

You don’t see how beautiful you are

I wish you can see through my eyes


The twinkle in your hair

The smile that reaches your eyes

The blush on your cheeks when you’re shy

Oh darling , don’t be shy


And when you finally open your eyes

You want to be loved, not admired

You don’t need all the boys after you

Choose the one who will give his heart to you


And soon, my sweet, you’ll realize

You’re the only who who can turn on your light

And when you finally see how beautiful you are

You’ll shine like the stars in sky

I Am Not Yet Done, Not Today

I have thought a lot about it. I thought about simply dropping everything and simply not give single damn. Caring too much can be so burdensome.

I thought about simply closing my doors, locking and staying in my house for a week. I thought about cutting my lines, turning off my phone and simply live in solitude for a while. Maybe I’ll gain a different appreciation of the world outside.

I thought about buying a ticket, flying to a place, anywhere, where nobody knows my name. Perhaps there I can find a fresh start. Perhaps I can finally leave everything behind.

I thought about forgetting a lot of things in my life. I thought about cutting ties with a lot of people. I thought about ending everything sometimes. And sometimes, I can’t even tell why.

There’s a darkness in me, perhaps in all of us, that we cannot simply explain. Dark thoughts that looms over our heads, some can silence it, some listen and act on it.

I’m still trying to save myself. I am trying. I am trying to make something good out of this pain and sorrow. Don’t call the lines just yet. I am not done fighting.

Kian Didn’t Have to Die

Can you imagine his confusion when  men in uniform came rushing in? He was alone, unarmed and vulnerable.

Can you imagine how he felt, when they handed him the gun? Can you feel it? The fast beating of his heart? The cold feeling of fear taking over? Can you imagine his freezing realization of helplessness? The tears that ran down his youth, begging for his life?

Can you imagine his fear when they told him to take the gun, run and start shooting?

Can you imagine how he  felt when he realized he was about to get killed?

Can you imagine? Can you imagine if this was your son? Your brother? Your friend? Your neighbor? Can you feel it? Can you feel the pain of knowing an innocent life was taken? Can you feel that gut wrenching pain of seeing their lifeless body being dragged like a slaughtered pig? You  birthed him, loved him, fed him, worked to raise him and he was taken away unjustly.

Was it worth it? Was it necessary for him to die? Why must he die? Why did you take away a life of a seventeen year old?

He was a boy and they killed him like an animal.

Kian Lloyd Delos Santos did not deserve any of this.




My love, you don’t have to cry anymore

Learn to forgive, take a step forward

Too afraid? Take my hand

I promise I won’t let go.

But if you feel like you can’t just yet,

That’s okay.

At least for now let me stay with you

Until you feel like you don’t need me anymore.


My love, you have nothing to fear.

I am clumsy, but I am strong.

I won’t promise that I won’t hurt you

But I promise to make you happy.

If you just let me.


Will you open your doors for me?  Will you let me in?

I will not tear down the walls you built

I will let you decide when the time is right

For you to step out into the light


You’ve been in this darkness for too long,

Carrying too much, you can’t let go

Will you let me give you a hand, a home and a heart?

Together, we can wander down this path


My love, it’s okay. I can handle it all

A life without you will be unbearable.

How can I convince you not to fall?

Hold on, my love, hold on.

Understanding the Struggles of My Teenage Years

There is a lot of news going on about 13 Reasons Why. It tackles major issues such as mental health, bullying and suicide. It has become highly controversial for many reasons.

The digital media has made it easy for everyone to voice out their opinion about an issue and be heard. Everyone makes a good point, which is the point of a discourse.

You have to understand that not all teenagers are capable of dealing with school bullies or pranks. Not that they are not raised to have a sense of humor or to be strong enough to handle such situations. Some things and some people will break you and you will fall.

Not everyone is capable of just shrugging things off. At the age of 26 I still get affected by what other people think of me. But then I will process things internally, learn if I should take your opinion to heart and then I will move on. A lesson you learn as you grow old, especially when you have dealt with a bully—but for teenagers, they’re still learning. In fact, we never stop learning. As we grow older, we deal with more difficult problems and more are expected from us. People might think that as an adult, you should already know what to do. You should already know how to level your head.

So keep that in mind. In our teenage years, we were still learning not to care about everything. We were still learning how to filter the things that should bother us.

So let me tell you the story of one of the most damning bullying I’ve ever experienced.

A little background. I went to an all-girls catholic school run by Good Shepherd nuns. We were sheltered and we don’t get a lot of interactions with other schools and boys. Every year our class gets shuffled. You meet new people and you make new friends.

I was thirteen at that time and an incoming sophomore. The friends I made the previous year weren’t in the same class. I just happen to live quite close to 2 of my classmates and this one girl who’s always with them. They’re quite popular. Pretty, cheerleaders, liked by  a lot of people. So when they started hanging out with me, I am not going to lie, it made me feel quite good about myself.

I treasure my friends deeply. I tell them all my secrets, all my insecurities. So one day, I told them about this crush of mine who lives in our neighborhood. He had a girlfriend back then, a friend of my sister. It was a stupid crush. Again, I didn’t really see find myself attractive and had very low self-esteem so I never really entertained the idea. But they encouraged it, told me I had a shot and should just go for it. But I never acted on my feeling.

Then one day, I got a letter. It says open your Friendster and I’ll find a message there. And so I looked, and there was a message from an anonymous sender. In the letter, the sender pointed out how ugly I was. Every single thing I was insecure about was written there; my weight, my skin color—this person just went on and on listing everything that she found ugly about me—things I didn’t know I should even be insecure about.

By the end of the letter, she warned me about my intentions to make a move on my crush because he was her boyfriend. If I do, she will post embarrassing things about me and my friends online.

From an adult’s point of view, the logical way of looking at it is to simply delete the message and ignore it. But for a teenager who lives in a world where status is a big deal and self-esteem is as fragile as an egg-shell, this is pure destruction.

I’ve written a reply, I can’t even remember what I wrote. And this anonymous sender sent another one. It went on for a while, until one day, one of my so-called friends broke down and admitted that they were behind the letter.

My sister saw me crying the night I found out the news. She was furious and asked me how could I be friends with such horrible people. It didn’t make me feel any better. It made me feel stupid for not seeing it.

I became cynical towards everyone who tried to get close to me. I thought everyone was horrible, even the guidance counselor who had nothing better to say but “believe in yourself” and that I shouldn’t be affected by what other people are saying about me.

What a load of crap. It didn’t help me whatsoever.

And do you know what’s crappier than that? After their apology, I started hanging out with them again. I endured months of a toxic friendship before I finally gave up.

I let go. I wasn’t the person I am when I was with them. I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t sexy. I wasn’t girly. I was awkward and brute.

When I finally did, when I finally embraced the true me, I found people who accepted me for who I am. 11 years later and we are still the best of friends.

What am I trying to get across here? We were all young once. We were fragile and we were trying to discover ourselves. We all encountered bullies, and we had different reactions. Some are fortunate to have a good support and others have to find their own way. Not everyone is built to shrug things off and walk. Some needs more support. So just because you were able to walk away fast, just because you are able to care less than others, doesn’t mean everyone can.

It is important to listen and to show genuine support. I think more than anything, at that time, I needed someone to tell me that what I was feeling was valid and it was okay that I was hurt and angry. I needed someone to listen.

I didn’t get any of that. I had to stand up for myself and find a way to get over it. It wasn’t easy. That feeling of isolation and wanting to belong, yet too afraid to trust and open yourself to someone is not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

All I wanted was to get out. I wanted everything to stop, but I couldn’t. I know that the world will not stop just because you did—the people that surrounded me certainly showed me that.

In a way, I was lucky that there was a competitiveness in me. I wanted to show that I can get out of this hell hole and live my life the way I want to. I wanted to show that this will not get to me. In the midst of that struggle, I discovered the strength in me. This is something I hope I could help others with. Whenever someone comes to me with a problem, I take their every word seriously. I try to be there for them as much as I can and listen to what they are trying not to say.

Pay close attention to the unspoken words.