Us, but not just yet

This is my first time to write about you.

But not about us. I hope I would though, but not just yet.

It was scary to get into something like this from the beginning, because we met in the same manner I was reluctant to have welcomed someone in my life around seven years ago.

I know getting to know you was risky, but I took the chance. I knew it would be painful in the end, but I was never scared to invest.

After all, I think I had feelings to spare.

From then on, everything was a blur, and I don’t know how we really got this far. I’m in my happiest time in college now (as graduation is right around the corner), but being with you is like a cliché “double-edged sword” thing.

I wanted to leave, but the thought of you wanted me to stay.

Leaving would be really nice and liberating, but thinking about how I’d be around you as much as I can after uni saddens me.

I told you a lot of times now (since we started talking a lot) that I feel we have too much ground to cover, yet we have so little time.

It feels unfortunate to have met you at a time wherein I’ve set my eyes upon things beyond the university’s four walls. But, amid all the crazy shit I have went through so far in this last stretch– you were my best distraction.

Getting my hopes up was never an option for me, as this was the downfall of all the associations I’ve been in before. You have made it crystal clear to me that this was just plain “hanging out” and there’s nothing really romantic about what we have going on.

As you pointed that out, I did not know where I stood in your life, and where you should stand in mine.

I went all out too early on in this thing, I went all out too early for you. I am used to being like this, but why do I always convince myself that investing too much is okay?

Again, maybe because I had too much feelings to spare, and I thought you were ready for that.

Regardless, I hope I can stay in your life as much as I can, and as much as I will. I want to enjoy this exclusivity, because we both feel comfortable this way, and with you, routines felt new.

Being around you, I knew not all good things come in great packages. Your life was messy (as you think it was), but I enjoy being with you as you wade through your chaos.

I want to be there, because there, I have you (at least).


At the verge


I am writing this for the girl that I am now– unmotivated and extremely worried about the coming days.

I chose to go on this journey alone, and there have been times I have regretted thinking too highly of my capabilities.

For someone like me who was raised thinking crying was for weaklings, crying about something I knew I can’t control anymore felt like defeat. I am so used to having things done my way when fate suddenly decided to rule this out.

I was rendered defenseless.

In this ordeal, I am not alone. I know one too many people who are still thinking of how they are going to make it out alive in such a treacherous stretch of requirements and deadlines to beat.

A lot of us may be thinking where we went wrong, where our plans were reduced to mere predictions. I, for one, thought I’d finish up with this thing earlier on that I had expected, but, merely two days from the deadline, I just started on another aspect–and from there, I acknowledge things could go awry.

I am not ready to fail. I am afraid of it. I have been too cautious all along, trying my best to tread the path that I think is the safest.

I could continue to ask myself what led me to such state, and I could go on forever.

I am worried about the people who are sincerely rooting for me, for those counting on what I could become.

I am worried about not being able to feel as fulfilled as I should.

I am worried I am not giving this my best shot anymore.

I am worried, and it is pushing me to the brink of just giving up.

But,  I hope, from when I can read this again, I can look back at a time I felt helpless, unable to see whether I could accomplish and just get through with my thesis, just like everybody else did before me.

I hope, from when I can read this again, I’d feel better and relieved that I made it through.



A Shot at the Star

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and does not reflect that of the Philippine Star

Though it seemed impossible at first to even get near the Star, the universe seems to have conspired to get me in it.

As junior year ended, I felt pressured to get into a prestigious publication for my On The Job Training (OJT)/ Internship. We were required to get into the country’s print and online media companies and experience the real world, a year before we actually set foot in it.

With not much time in my hands, on top of the pressures to actually get into a publication where I can actually work and be read, I spent some time lurking around on the Internet, and later found out that I can get on board to still join the Philippine Star‘s PhilStar Boot Camp Batch 2. 

Without any doubts, I told myself I needed to chase the chance to get on the Star, and so I did.

On the 31st of May, I took the shot. It was nerve-wracking. After a written exam and an interview, we were good to go. Waiting for the results was even more agonizing. The anticipation I’ve built up in just a span of a couple of days wore on me a bit.

One afternoon, as I anxiously pressed F5, it has been confirmed– I was finally on board.

For two days, we underwent rigorous writing workshops that helped us prepare for what we can expect during our internship. From Features, to Lifestyle, to Crime Reporting and on to Investigative Journalism (even Photography!), we were told of how we should wade through the trade and not get lost along the way.

It wasn’t long enough until we had to choose our respective beats. We were asked to choose from Health, Education, Environment, Crime, General Assignments and Social Media.

I, together with my buddy (and best friend) Xave, chose the path no one wanted to take- the Crime beat.

It was an exciting time to report about crime in the country. When we started out, President Duterte stood firm in his remark that he will eradicate drugs, criminality and corruption– and based on magnitude of crimes and other police-related news I was able to report about– I’m pretty sure he’s set his eyes on wiping it off of the face of the earth.

At the Manila Police District (MPD), we were welcomed like we have been in the industry for so long. The veteran journalists and photographers at the MPD Press Corps were like parents to us, and the police actually took us seriously and with regard to our dedication as Rookie Reporters.

I found myself working side by side the journalists whose works I usually read or whose faces I usually see on TV. I found myself rubbing elbows with the men behind the stunning photos of daily newspapers. I didn’t expect to find myself in a new family.

During our internship, we were not limited to crime reports. I personally had the chance to cover two lifestyle events (both of which were related to fashion), the Metro Manila Shake Drill, and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Inauguration. All of which I enjoyed, of course, as it gave me chances to expand my writing capacities.

Being a journalist truly is a calling. When certain conditions demand you to leave your emotions at the back of your head and just face a story (breaking or not) head on, you just have to suck it up. Reporting about people whose basic social liberties could be withdrawn had me thinking, “What if I’m on the other side of this situation? What if I was the one being reported about? What if I am the news? What would people think of me?”

However, not all of the news spell bad intentions. We were given a chance to write about stories that give hope, one of which is the story of the Home for the Golden Gays, the group of elderly gay men who are still looking for a permanent place to call home. Though much of what they’ve went through has been known, telling their story once more surely goes a long way, especially in a time when more and more people struggle to get through life’s challenges.

And what better way to cap off an internship? A printed byline, of course! Though it was just a short stint, having the chance to be published in the Philippine Star is a *HUGE DEAL* especially if you’re one who’s still building up your journalism career. The feeling of seeing my name on the paper felt amazing, as it felt as if I was already cementing my name in an industry so fast– it’s either you go with the flow or be left behind.

As of the moment I am still hell-bent on answering the question if I am really going to pursue journalism as a life-long career. There’s a part of me that’s still hesitant, despite enjoying and loving everything that has happened in the past two months.

Nevertheless, I am deeply grateful to the Philippine Star, especially to the reporters and editors who took us under their wing, for giving me an opportunity to thrive in a world I once feared of entering. Despite my fears and hesitations, I still dream of getting on board the Star in the long run and be part of the continuing quest for truth, one story at a time.

Here’s a slideshow of some outtakes during my internship:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

P.S: I hope to post more updates of my life and other “kahanashans” through the weekend. Thanks for putting up with me, haha!


‘Til the next!

-Marla 🙂






The Trio in La Union

It’s been three years since I last went back to La Union (it was the trip that helped me launch this blog), and last June 10, I decided to go and get some R & R before I hustle for OJT and more mature roles (more of that in another post).

Originally, I was supposed to take my co-workers to La Union but due to unwanted circumstances, that didn’t push through. Luckily, I had Sam and GD to come travel with me. At first, it felt a bit unbelievable for the three of us since we’ve been planning to take a trip for so long, and now, even if it was on short notice, natuloy rin kami! 

I couldn’t wish for more, I was too happy to be spending time with some of the people that mattered the most to me.

Weather forecasts told us that we’d have to expect localized thunderstorms in the Northern part of Luzon, so we were really anxious that we may not have the chance to go to the beach. However, when we got to Pandan Beach, it was sunny and the waves were calm enough. It was as if everything went according to plan.


It felt so nice to be back there, thinking that things were a lot more different than they used to be from the last time. Last June, everything was a blur– senior year was coming up, my OJT loomed, my career is taking off in ways I never have imagined, and being in La Union with my closest family and friends felt like a reward.

Photo by Sam Somera

The trip was filled with road trips  and discoveries, as it was like rekindling an old flame. I never knew that in such a short span of time, La Union would progress this much and it would be better known now more than ever. La Union has been my secret gem, because it was a bit unheard of and low key. But looking at it now, La Union has bloomed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We explored Luna’s famed “Bahay na Bato”, a place filled with wonderfully-made rocks and rock sculptures by a Korean artist commissioned by the place’s owners. Everything was literally rock, and each work of art was unique and meaningful. I didn’t know that much could be done with simple rocks we usually find just hanging around the shores, but these rocks sure are an exception.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also went to the local weavers of Bangar. The local weaving of “Inabel” fabrics that are turned into table runners, place mats and blankets are usually exported to different parts of the country and even abroad. Most of the local weavers in Bangar have carried the tradition of Inabel weaving and they are passing it on to the younger generation to preserve the rich, skillful and intricate art of Inabel– one that is genuinely and proudly Ilocano.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, of course, who would forget about the great food I always *LOVE* to come home to every time I’m in #elyu? The infamous tupig, the fresh AF seafood (of course, at Bacnotan’s Riverfarm Restaurant), and many, many more. A trip to La Union definitely isn’t complete without eating to my heart’s delight

Though I may not know when’s going to be the next time I’m gonna travel up north, one thing’s for sure– this trip is definitely one for the books. It may have been just a 3 days, 2 nights getaway, but everything that I’ve done and discovered definitely would linger in my head more than it should.

‘Til the next!

-Marla 🙂





It’s been a while since I last posted here.

I always start of my posts like this. If I told you before that school was crazy, well, it has been A LOT CRAZIER now. It’s been eating up my time, my energy, my financial resources and sometimes even slivers of my sanity.

But the thing is– everything is rewarding.

However, despite the crazy levels of fulfillment this devil of a job requires from me, I cannot avoid to ask myself so many questions about my competence, about how I fair with all the other writers that came before and will come after me.

As someone who chose something so technical yet so practical of a job, I cannot think as to what extent do my readers view my capabilities as a writer. I feel out of place and out of league in the industry sometimes, maybe because I just can’t get out of the thought bubble that has clouded me ever since I started taking things seriously.

I feel like I’m a burden to my mentors. A burden to my editors. A burden to my writers. A burden to the people I am able to work with.

I feel incompetent. It’s greatest now more than ever.

I think that though I extend help I wouldn’t be able to get things right and make my superiors’ jobs easier, as the way it should be. I feel like there has to be some more pushing, some more drive, to get me out of this.

Which gets me to another thing.

It’s been 10 days since my birthday. And after 6 years, this is the only time you were not beside me when I blew that candle (or took that tequila shot).

Well, celebrating a 19th birthday doesn’t merit anything grand, anyway.

The mere thought of you, being able to remember me in the only day I feel celebrated was the only thing I asked for. It was my only wish- yet it didn’t come. Maybe it’s true that not all wishes are granted- regardless of depth and simplicity.

I cannot muster enough will power to even say that I’m happy for you now. I know you love her, the way I wish you could love me. I know this wouldn’t change anything, and it is a known fact that you will not be able to read this either. But I just want to let you know how self-destructing it is to still love the same person for more than a hand’s worth of years.

No matter what, no matter how crazy or pathetic it is, it is still you. The man behind the drive that drives me, the man behind the drive that drives me crazy. The man behind all these years of putting up a strong facade, the man that I think watches over my every move– wherever I go, thinking you’re someone so omnipresent that there’s not one thing in my life that I can not associate with you.

Maybe people’s hearts and brains get overused. And to me it proved to be true.


Thoughts I Can’t Allow Myself to Think Of, But I Still Do

It’s a crazy ride. 

Crazy in the sense that it’s fun, crazy in the sense that it’s quite exhausting. 

Everything just started and I’m feeling beat-up. I’m feeling scared.

I’m scared of the countless possibilities ahead of me, regardless of their nature or intent. 

I’m stable (or maybe I just convince myself that I am) but a lot of things have been making me uneasy. 


Marahas ang Maynila sa’yo, Mahal.

Marahas ang Maynila sa’yo, Mahal. 

Doon kay Maynila, lahat ay nakikipagsapalaran, lahat ay may kanya-kanyang pinagkakaabalahan. Bawat tao’y may sariling interes, at bawat tao’y mistula bang nagmamadali.

Lumaki tayo malapit kay Maynila. Kamakailan lang nang nakita natin ang isa’t-isa na hinahasa ang ating mga sarili para suungin ang pagsubok ng tinatawag nilang “real world.” Hindi kalaunan, sumabak na tayo sa malaking mundo ng urbanidad, sa malaking mundo na tila ba walang puwang para sa tulad nating mga bagong salta, tayong mga sanay sa kalinga ng maliit nating mga probinsya. Si Maynila ang naging daan natin tungo sa mga ito.

Labag man sa ating kalooban, bawat araw pipilitin nating harapin si Maynila. Pipiliting puntahan kahit ayaw, pipiliting paghandaan bawat araw. Gigising tayo na tila ba mga robot na may sinusunod na mekanismo. Pagsapit ng dilim, uuwi tayong pagod na pagod, at mabubuhay na lamang na hinihintay kung kailan magiging maamo sa atin ang marahas na si Maynila.

Subalit, kahit ganito si Maynila sa ating dalawa, may utang na loob ako sa kanya. 

Kung hindi dahil kay Maynila, hindi kita makikilala.

Kung hindi dahil kay Maynila, malamang ay hindi magku-krus ang landas nating dalawa.

Kung hindi dahil kay Maynila, hindi natin maihahanda ang ating mga sarili sa mga pagsubok na balak dalhin ng buhay.

At higit sa lahat, kung hindi dahil kay Maynila, wala tayong pagkakataong magkasama.

Hindi maipagkakaila ang dinulot ni Maynila sa kwento nating dalawa. Si Maynila rin kaya ang magiging panira ng istorya? 

Nakikita ka ni Maynila na nag-iisa. Ganun din naman ako. Alam ni Maynila na parehas tayong nahihirapan, pero pinipilit nating maging matatag. Bagamat mga dayo lamang, pursigido tayong maging matagumpay sa buhay. Maraming kilalang ganito si Maynila, pero wala siyang pinipili.

Marahas si Maynila sa lahat. Lalung-lalo na sa’yo, Mahal. 

Ilang beses ka na niyang pinagod, pinaasa, pinahirapan. Bumabangon ka araw-araw para harapin siya, umaasang gaganda ang trato niya sa’yo, subalit hindi siya marunong magpahalaga. Handang-handa kang manatili kasama siya, pero tila ba mas lalo siyang naging mailap sa’yo.

Minahal mo si Maynila, Mahal. Kailan kaya ako?