Category Archives: Straight from the heart

Nang tinanong ko si Ricky Lee, isang premyadong manunulat

Was in a book launching of Ricky Lee’s new book, “Kung Alam N’yo Lang.” Went there alone, from Montalban to Taguig (Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street). I just wanted to see him and have him sign my books he wrote. During the open forum, I took the courage of asking Ricky Lee a question: how he would handle it if he was my age and a senior told him na hilaw ka pa to be given more challenging tasks.

Just to give you background, I received a remark from a senior colleague that really bothered me. Labeling us the junior staff as “hilaw” or raw. And in my case, only good with one thing: documentation or writing reports. That bothered me big time. I mean, how can you say that’s the only thing I can do when we the junior staff are not given a chance to do more. Just observing her, she herself also needs some improvement. I know I should just ignore it, still, it bothered me. Of course, I did not mention this to Ricky. I just tweaked my question, making it general.

Here is the answer of Ricky Lee, turning it specific on writing:

“Hindi ako naniniwala na ang isang tao o ang isang writer ay dumarating sa punto na hinog na hinog na sya. O mahusay na mahusay na sya. I think wala syang katapusang journey. Hanggang sa mamatay ka na o tumigil ka na sa pagsusulat, never ka darating sa punto na “sobrang hinog na ako.” Lahat ng trabaho ko work in progress. I think ganun din ako, a work in progress ako as a writer pero never ako darating sa punto na hinog na ako o kumpleto na ako. The reason why I keep writing is because I feel na hindi pa talaga ako hinog. But on the other hand, ako lang magsasabi nun sa sarili ko. ‘Pag sinabi yan ng iba sa akin, hindi naman nya alam eh. Hindi nya alam kung gaano ako kahanda. So keber lang.”

The good news: Weeks after meeting Ricky Lee, I received a resolution that I got my promotion, my second promotion in my more than five years of tenure. God is good and I am grateful to people who believed in me. In my agency, if you are aiming for promotion, you have to apply for it. You have to prove yourself all over again. “With great power comes great responsibility,” unsolicited advice (or was it a warning?) from one of my bosses.

I know. And I am ready.

This is me, with Mr. Ricky Lee. Photo taken last July 2017.

“Dear Jezzamine, always listen to the wisdom of children!” ~Ricky Lee

“Dear Jezzamine, ang buhay at ang pag-ibig ay parehong gumaganda dahil sa mga tanong na walang kasagutan.” ~Ricky Lee

“Dear Jezzamine, to be a good writer, you have to love a good writer.” ~Ricky Lee



Birthday cake

IMG_20171119_012637Effective 22 November 2017, I am now 39 years old. And a birthday to me would not be complete without a cake.

This is Midnight Dream,  the cake I bought from Caramia/ Amici, a favorite, in addition to the spaghetti and lumpiang shanghai (my favorites from childhood until now) that I bought from Amber (my recent fave) which I shared with the two persons I am sharing a home with: my two siblings. I am not into big celebration. Gusto ko solemn celebration lang with my loved ones. Enjoying good food, while watching TV. This has been our family tradition while growing up when celebrating  special occasions. At least within my immediate family.


“Mag-asawa ka na!” was the instant reaction of a colleague/friend upon learning that I just turned 39. Sa tuwing naririnig ko iyon, pasok sa isang tenga labas sa kabila. And I just smiled. And I know she said that because she wants me to be happy, have someone to take care of me.

But if another person made that remark and the intention  is because it’s what everybody is doing, get married, or worse, so that there would be children or a husband to take care of me when I’m sick, I think that is more sickening for you’re after what you’re gonna get in a relationship.  The children aren’t born yet and they already got responsibilities before they even met you as their parent.  Having a man beside me is not an integral part of my being a girl. I can be happy just as I am. There are reasons why a single status is called “singleblessedness.” Being married is a gift, not a goal. To be a female and single in my 30s (this is, in fact, my last year to be in my 30s), it is hard not easy as many would like to think, because I’d like to believe that there is not much difference between being married and being single at all. We all go through the same crap, we all suffer. We all got responsibilities to fulfill: many bills to pay, persons with hangups that you need to deal with at home, on the road, and at work and must learn to tolerate and understand at the same time. And we all experience happiness, joy, and excitement. Walang less problem and the other got more problems. Walang ganun. Hindi yan naka-depende sa civil status You can be married with children but not one of them is there to take care of you. You can be single and there’d be people to help you, who is willing to care for you. In life, there are no guarantees.

But of course, who doesn’t like falling in love again? Who doesn’t like having his/her own family? But if it does not come, if it’s not for you, it’s not the only reason to be in love, to be happy about.  We can be in love with whatever we’re doing at the moment, like writing, and doing it wholeheartedly. We can be happy about many other things that life has to offer.

“‘Pag nag-40 ka na, ang tawag na cougar,” says a superior, sharing a fact of life. Cougar, spinster or matandang dalaga, or whatever, these are just labels. Kasi at the end of the day, what’s important is what’s going on inside me. What’s important is that I love or have loved. At the end of the day, I am a person who has longings and feelings and most important of all, alive. A childhood neighbor and friend recently passed away more than a month after he celebrated his 39th birthday. I just turned 39. I just want to live in the present moment and not worry too much about the future. Besides, the future is right now for we never know if we’d still be alive tomorrow. Except recently where I made a request from God for a friend, I am now at that stage where the only words that I say to Jesus when I pray is thank you.



Voltaire version 2


This is Voltaire ver. 2. He’ll be turning one month old tomorrow and he just lives next door. I would visit him and his mommy dog Carla whenever I find time because it’s always heartwarming holding a puppy. I just hope he lives for years like his half-brother Douglas, my dog, who is among the first batch of Carla’s offsprings. Voltaire ver. 2 is the fifth batch. He’s only one, though. Unico hijo. The second, third, and fourth batch didn’t get to live beyond one month. Either they got sick, they’re too many to be taken care of (my neighbor’s an informal settler), or ate something they’re not supposed to eat. I still miss Voltaire, my dog Douglas’ brother, who my neighbor gave away early this year. I heard he passed away already after eating something. I don’t know, my gut tells me that is not the real reason knowing that my neighbor likes to tell white lies, something that I do not understand about her. My neighbor took her almost a month to think of a name. I suggested “Bernard” because the puppy looks like St. Bernard. That’s when she said, “Voltaire na lang. Bubuhayin ko na lang ito. Isa lang naman sya.”  I got excited hearing that.

I’m still missing Voltaire. For no two dogs are alike. Just like humans. But life has to go on despite the sadness. And oh, here’s the closeup shot of Voltaire ver. 2!




“The trick to being truly creative, I’ve maintained, is to be completely unselfconscious. To resist the urge to self-censor. To not-give-a-shit what anybody thinks. That’s why children are so good at it. And why people with Volkwagens, and mortgages, Personal Equity Plans and matching Lois Vutton luggage are not.”

~A quote from Linds Redding’s blog. Linds Redding was a New-Zealand-based art director who worked at BBDO and Saatchi and Saatchi who died last month at 52.


When feeling down, read this

“As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.”

– Author Unknown

Building… For whom?

Sabi nila, mabuti pa daw noong panahon ng rehimeng Marcos, maraming naitayong buildings at tulay para sa mga tao. Halimbawa na lang yung San Juanico Bridge na tinaguriang the longest bridge in the Philippines that connects Samar and Leyte.  Ayon sa IBON Foundation, oo nga’t may naitayong mga tulay kagaya ng San Juanico Bridge pero kung titingnan ito, wala itong naitulong na pag-unlad sa mga nakatira dito. Mahirap na probinsya pa ring maituturing ang Samar at Leyte. So sino ang nakinabang? Yung mga big companies na nag-construct ng mga naturang buildings at bridges. Ang taxpayers’ money at yung inutang na pera ay napunta lamang sa bulsa ng mga makapangyarihang businessman. “At kung umutang ka and it didn’t produce income to pay back debt, dyan nagkakaroon ng debt problem,” sabi ni IBON executive director Sonny Africa.

Umattend ako ng 2017 Midyear Birdtalk (Economic and Political Briefing) ng IBON Foundation last July 19 which was held at the UP College of Law and this graph showing the value of infrastructure projects versus the poverty incidence is the thing that bothered me the most.  Kung saan pinakamababa ang poverty incidence, which is the NCR, doon maraming infrastructure projects na ginagawa. Kung saan may pinakamataas ang poverty incidence, which is ARMM, doon halos walang proyekto of infrastructure na ipinapasok ang gobyerno through the years, under different administrations.

For Pres. Duterte

Midnight Dream

Did it ever occur to you when the world seems to be against you, when you encounter misfortune after misfortune and it all happened in just one day? But then the next day, because you did not let the humiliation or degradation affect you so much and regard the new day as a new beginning, the world became so beautiful again with a sweet surprise: friends left something for you in the fridge, a chocolate-flavored cake called Midnight Dream from Caramia/Amici. I’ve tasted this a lot of times before but because of an experience, it tasted differently now. The most delicious of all cakes. Try this, too.

Best Ad

Made me laugh when I first saw this from a billboard years ago. Years later, this still amuses me.

Goya Dark Almonds

I was falling in line to the cashier.  It was just a short line but I quickly got bored. And then I saw this among those displayed before the Cashier counter: GOYA DARK ALMONDS. I’ve always been a patronizer of well-known imported brands like Reese’s, Hershey’s, Snickers, M&Ms, etc. For local, I like the Chocolate Mallows, Hiro from Comfoods. But Goya? Just a brand that I’d usually ignore.

But not at that particular moment. When I grabbed a pack, opened it, then tasted what’s inside while waiting for my turn to the cashier, my perspective changed. RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. I’m now a believer of Goya Dark Almonds. 🙂