It’s been months since my Lolo has passed, over a month since my Lola passed, and a few days since Mac Miller has passed.

Y’all probably reading that last name with a confused face, thinking, Mac Miller? She’s hit after his death?

Yeah, I’m fucking hit. I’m still hit. I cried AT work when I got messages in two group chats about him passing… He’s so young, so fucking brilliant. Only God knows where his career was going to take off (only God knows how heaven is rocking with him right now).

Death has heavily surrounded my life this year, (let alone these past two months) and I’m not too sure where my head is at, at the moment. I’m stuck between wanting to surround myself with my friends (and being completely content in our silence, as I more so want to sit in their presence) and completely isolating myself. You don’t even have to tell me because I already know that the latter is unfuckinghealthy. A few minutes or hours or even a day of solitude, fine, but not a habitual turned ritual state of complete isolation… Which is something I am trying to fight – and if it weren’t for work and its unruly hours, I wouldn’t have this problem. BUT STILL. (There are issues within these hours themselves but that’s for another chat)


I had spoken to one friend about how I felt after my Lola passed. I was numb, yes, but also in a space of already accepting her passing. After being flooded with messages of, “Are you okay?“, “Let me know if you need anything“, and similar consoling words, I was already feeling annoyed with having to repeat the same, I’m okay, I’ll be fine, I’m just riding the waves at this point to everybody, and I had told her that over dinner. I’m glad she understood where I was coming from because I just wanted to be left alone. However, I also understand where everyone is coming from. They were just doing what friends fucking do – provide love, support, and care. And I love them eternally for it. I do.

But now, after Mac’s passing [at such a young age], thoughts about my own death came in like a dam breaking. These thoughts first fruitfully came after my Lola passed. I was thinking about my passing. I started to think about the fact that my parents… I can’t even finish that sentence without freaking the fuck out. I was thinking about how I’d have to face what my mother once faced and what my father is now facing – losing a parent. I don’t know how my dad is taking it, but I remember a brief conversation with my mom the other day and she casually said that death was my dad’s biggest fear. This made me [somewhat] understand why he moves the way he does in terms of his caution and alertness – something that my sister and I tend to joke about. But now I get it.

I also get that no matter how cautious and prepared you may be, death always finds its way and wins.

I move like I’m so ready to die at any given moment because [I like to believe that] I’ve lived so much in so little time but I’m only twenty fucking three. I haven’t even scratched the surface of living. I’ve lived in my youth and I am now starting to live as a young adult. I’m confident enough to say that this shit I call living isn’t even living. Nobody prepared me for the struggles of adulthood, the loneliness of adulthood, let alone the strength that you have to constantly have just to push through adulthood. Oh, and then we die. Eventually. Ha.

I’m tired. I feel like I’ve psyched myself and thought my way into this white noise.

But really and truly, I am fucking scared. I’m really going to die in like 60+ years (if I’m lucky) and I am terrified as fuck. Life is moving too fast for me. 2018 is almost over like January wasn’t taking years to pass. We’re only getting older and time does not wait for anybody.

These are the thoughts that have been haunting me for the past month… And will still continue to haunt me.

There’s nothing well about a farewell – there’s always a fare involved in saying goodbye.


Letter to Lola

As you rest in power, I can’t help but to think of a string of apologies that I’ve kept at the back of my throat
The strength in holding them weakened my voice
So I apologize for staying silent for so long,
I’m sorry I’ve missed you

I’m sorry for my absences
I never thought my attendance would matter in the long run
I skipped quality time for time that ticks money
And now I’ll never be able to share my wealth with you
The times I’ve spent while away
While paying my dues
While making sure that I was okay, first and foremost
If there is one thing university taught me, it’s that skipping classes will have you miss out on key lessons – and most times they’re not from the textbook

I’m sorry for being selfish
It was so hard for me to see you suffer
I watched you carry my sister, my younger cousins
As I am sure you have carried me, Chris, Jas, Kuya and Ate too
Your arms spread like Nike’s wings, you carried us to victory
Up until you no longer could
Up until we ourselves learned how to fly on our own
And had to look down to see you laying with all of your strength confined to your bed
It hurt to see you incapable
It hurt to fly without you
I promise the clouds will comfort you more than your bed ever has

I’m sorry for letting go too soon
For the times I’d see you and not hold your hand long enough
For not constantly reminding you who I was
Who I am
Anak si Pidong. Anak si Meren. Capatid si Melissa.
I will never forget the smile that shone when you remembered
It was the brightest 10 seconds before memories faded back to black

I’m sorry for not being by your side in your last moments
But I promise you I celebrated life
Especially yours and its freedom into eternity
I felt the supernova of your soul touch the atmosphere
Maybe that’s why it was scorching outside that day
I felt the heat of your steps catching every beat
I swear you were with my friends and I
You let me know that you can walk again
That you can sing again
That you remember who the fuck I am

And I know you can see and hear me better now
But I’m sorry that this is not in Ilokano or Tagalog
Though I recently developed a craving for it
I still yearn for my mother tongue
An opportunity for a seat at the table
An opportunity for a seat with you
I wanted to know your story
To capture the beginning of as far as I knew the Toquero’s ran
The start of Tita Rose’s crawl
It was the beginning of us being rooted to you
We are the fruits of your neverending labour
Though we are not your end
Your legacy will transcend generations


edit: the de(a/p)th of us

We hold onto unfamiliarity
clutching onto its very existence
I wonder if you feel it too
the heartbeat of the unnamed
the breath of something that is very much so alive
for the moment

I realize I have never reached this depth
a surface I had always wandered but never cracked
chipped but never broken
I only knew the surface level
an intimacy only skin deep, I longed for the profound
wondered but never explored
I wanted to get to the core

Scratches on the surface are a collection of failed attempts
patterns turned my pain into a masterpiece
memories fragmented of a rotten past
nightmares persist within the same frame
an endless rerun of a shadow leaving
I never remember the shape
but I know they always leave

But continual efforts of a deeper expedition render me confused
we reach an untouched fraction of the same surface
I am on foreign grounds
I have never been here before
yet flashbacks of shadows pry into my mind
a paranoia of you soon disappearing
questioning if your intent was to leave
questioning if your intent was temporary
questioning your intent, period
I’m sorry

Our grip on the unknown tightens
holding onto a sense of knowing it was never there in the first place
we never intended on the descent
yet we lay six feet below the ravaged surface
deeper than the skin we lay in, we’ve left that behind
the complexity of being bare
maybe we should have left that too
but I sink deeper, my doubts multiply
though I can still see the light pierce through the now peephole
I can still feel the warmth

I grew fond of an embrace that loosened over time
a habit that turned into desires
I can only feel my hands now
they clasp onto the mystery of something we knew was once there
irrational thoughts flood my attention

I can never seem to focus on the fact that you’re still here
an apparition manifested into reality
yet I still look for your shadow
even when you’re standing right in front of me
I still look for your shadow because
I don’t feel your presence anymore
even when you’re standing right in front of me
I still look for your shadow because
I can feel you leaving with the sun

The ambiguity of falling to the depths of the unknown
my hesitations tend to win sometimes
I never mean to scratch you with the surface
unnecessary battle wounds render you fatigued
you still stand in front of me, chest high
you still stand in front of me, soul low
you still stand in front of me

Why are you still standing in front of me?

My hesitations tend to win sometimes
I question your ubiquitous ability
an exhausted you prevails, rupturing the surface that I spent years of scratching
you are now everywhere and nowhere
another place for you to stand
yet you still stand in front of me, tattered
you still stand in front of me

Why are you still standing in front of me?
Holding on like my body never took the space or time
I am everywhere and nowhere
like fog
I am everywhere and nowhere
in your arms

But I still feel your heartbeat
I still feel your breath

and I will still hold on