Sabi nila, kaya tayo sinasabihan ng “Ingat” ay dahil hindi na nila tayo kayang alagaan. Kaya kinakailangan alagaan ang sarili kasi wala nang ibang mag-aalaga sa atin.

Kaya eto. Eto na. Eto na ang paraan ko.

Mag-ingat ka sa mga ipis. Alam kong hindi laging may nag-aabot ng Baygon at hindi ka laging makakalaban mas lalo na kapag lumilipad sila. Wag na wag kang sisigaw kasi mas lalapit sila kapag maingay ka. Kapag mas marami sila sayo – may Baygon man o wala – sinasabi ko sayo tumakbo ka nalang.

Mag-ingat ka sa mga holdaper, mas lalo na kapag may klase ka pa hanggang gabi at malayo pa ang iyong lalakarin para lang makauwi. Kahit magmukha kang ewan, ilagay mo ang bag mo sa harapan mo. Ilabas mo ang pepper spray na binigay ng tatay mo sayo noong nakilala niya ako.

Mag-ingat ka kapag umuulan. Alam kong ayaw mong nagdadala ng payong, pero kailangan. Gamitin mo ang naiwan kong kulay asul na payong sa bahay niyo, paborito mo rin naman iyon. Hindi lang iyan panakot sa aso; Ginagamit din iyan tuwing umuulan.

Mag-ingat ka sa lamok. Lapitin ka pa naman ng mga iyan. Maari bang magsuot ka ng mahaba-habang bestida o kaya’y mga mahabang medyas para hindi ka kayang kagatin ng mga lamok? Hindi sapat ang pagpahid ng lotion.

Mag-ingat ka sa mga umaaligid na lalaki. Hindi lahat ng lalaki ay gusto ka lang maging kaibigan. Hindi lahat ng lalaki ay gusto ka lang ihatid pauwi para ligtas ka. Hindi lahat ng lalaki ay mababait. Hindi lahat ng lalaki ay gusto lang pumatay ng ipis para sayo. Minsan may mga manloloko, at mang-uuto. Minsan ay nababagot lang sila at naghahanap ng karamay.

Mag-ingat ka sa manyak mong professor. Sabihin mo alam ko kung saan siya nakatira.

Mag-ingat ka kay Janice. Hindi ko alam kung bakit, pero pakiramdam ko hindi siya mabuting kaibigan sayo. Alam kong matalik kayong magkaibigan sa tagal ng panahon, ngunit hindi siya nagsasabi ng buong katotohonan. Sana dito ay mali ako at tama ka.

Mag-ingat ka sa mga alaalang hindi kagandahan. May mga panahong maaalala mong masaya ang nakalipas, at mararamdaman mong mas gugustuhin mong bumalik sa nakaraan – Huwag. Alalahanin mong medyo masakit rin ang nakaraan at madami ka nang pinagdaanan. Ikaw ay malakas at matapang, kaya mo nalapagsan ang noon. At mas kakayanin mong harapin ang kasalukuyan.

Mag-ingat ka sa mga sinungaling. Alam kong mahirap malaman kung sino nga ba ang nagsasabi ng totoo at sino ang andyan para lang lokohin ka. Alam ko minsan, ang tao mismo hindi na alam kung katotohonan pa ang pinapangako sayo. Minsan sasabihin niyang mahal ka niya, pero hindi naman niya maipakita. Minsan pinangako niyang hindi ka niya iiwang mag-isa, ngunit darating ang araw na kinakailangan kang iwan. Minsan sasabihing poprotektahan ka, ngunit siya rin ay hindi niya maprotektahan ang sarili niya sa sakit nang mawala ka. Minsan sasabihin niyang aalagaan ka niya, pero hindi naman pala niya kaya.

Kaya eto. Eto na. Mag-ingat ka, ha?


The Fair

He found his love at the fair.

Pass the Ferris wheel he was supposed to ride, he saw her at the middle of the fair commotion. Everyone was just passing by her beauty, while he marveled at her mere presence. He stared at her brown curly hair, her pretty purple dress and of course, her pink curved lips that showed her big but soft smile. He then, in return, smiled back. Even though the little boy gave her a long stare, she did not mind the obvious admiration.

He remembered how everyone had told him that people would not meet the one they would want to spend their lives with at such a young age. But at the age of 6, he knew she was the girl for him. He pictured himself at the fair beside the young lady and it didn’t bother him at all. But of course he did not know about the girl. He could only wish she felt the same.

Unfortunately, he awoke from his fantasies when he heard his mom calling out for him to go home with her. He didn’t want to leave, but then he needed to. Nevertheless before he left, he promised that he would come back soon. And he made her promise that she would be there.

The time he was free from school the next day, he went straight to the fair. He knew that if the girl weren’t there, it meant that she did not feel the same for him. But as he approached the place where he first saw her, he suddenly stopped from walking. He was struck by her beauty all over again. She was once more, sitting there where she was before, with her ever perfect smile. He then ran to her and gave her his big wide smile.


Every Friday after class, he would go to the fair and spend time with the young girl. She would always be still, not minding how long he would simply gaze upon her loveliness. They would not do anything there. They would only smile at each other the whole time, sitting perfectly still.


But after a while, the visits that he gave often became rare. News of accidents had been spread about the fair and the mom forbade the young boy to go there. As much as he wanted to see her again, he had no choice but to follow the orders.


He still fantasized about the young lady whom he recognized as the girl he wanted to grow old with.

He thought that the girl was probably mad at him for his absence after promising he would visit every time. He wondered if he missed her as well.


But a long while had passed, and it was inevitable to grow old of such dreams. He then accepted that his magical world of finding his true love at the fair, was in fact, just a mere fantasy of a young boy about true love.





The fair from my childhood was very old now. It didn’t look as inviting as it was ten years ago. As how I saw it, it now looks like a deserted playground.


But my little boy wanted to know where my favorite place on Earth was, so I brought him here. Who knows? Maybe he might find something good in this dumpsite of my memories.


We circled along the place where I usually spent my childhood. Then I let him walk around himself. I knew he wanted to do so since he wanted to be treated like a big man, as how he had put it to his mom and me. But I told him not to ride anything, because the fair was known to be dangerous. I then had a flashback of how my mom had emphasized to me as a little kid never to return here.


He said yes, and then ran away from me getting all excited of the ancient rides that made me happy so long ago.


I remembered the reason why I enjoyed the fair so much. It was because of this statue of a young lady. I could not remember what she looked like, but all I remember was she was beautiful.


As I was about to approach the vintage Ferris wheel, I sighed and smiled at the same time.


My memory was proven right – she was beautiful, even up to the present. ‘After so long, you are still here’, I thought to myself. I was glad she kept her side of the promise even through the time that had long passed; she was still here.


Staring up at the statue of the little girl, I saw my son with the same smile I had twenty years ago.


The Fair



We hear his phone beep. He takes out his phone from his front pocket and opens the text. “I HATE YOU,” it said. He rolls his eyes as he brings out a pack of cigarette and puts a stick in his mouth, lits it. He connects his neon green earphones to his phone before he pockets it again. We hear the steady beat of the bass starts.

“Inside your house, I feel the sunshine…”

We see a girl’s hand quickly stealing the stick from his mouth.We see Judith looking at us, looking mad and disgusted, and she tries to hold her laugh.

She takes the cigar and blows a puff, then throws it away. She grabs him by the hand. They run.


They come to a halt because of a stoplight; They catch their breath while waiting.

We see the stoplight counting down to 3… Close up of her eyes. 2. Close up of his eyes… 1. They run.

They run, hand in hand towards us. They run fast against the hectic crowd, towards the populated train station.

INT. TRAIN. – Continuous.

When they’re inside the train, she takes one of his earphones and wears it.

“Heart attack, it will be gone. If we just get along.”

She nods her head to the beat and starts dancing. But she gets wilder, dancing like a crazy person with no grace. She grabs both of his arms and makes him dance, as crazy as she does. He dances with her, the crowd looks but seems uninterested. The train stops at their station and they run again.

INT. BEDROOM. – Magic hour

We see them enter his bedroom. They look at each other, Judith lets go of his hand. She takes off her earphone and makes him wear it again.

“In your house, dark sets in around.”

He properly drops his bag to his chair as she circles his room in the background. She looks at his desk, full of books, papers, and other stuff from school. Judith looks at him, gives him a wry smile and nods. She pushes everything off the table. She tears of the reviewers he made full of highlight. Judith looks at the calendar marked of deadlines. She grabs a Sharpie and starts doodling Spongebob on it. He just watches in disbelief. She realizes he is looking, and hands him the Sharpie instead.

He looks puzzled. He laughs and starts doodling a Patrick.

He starts to tear off things off his wall as well – things that made him feel cornered in a world he does not want to belong to. He threw things out the window – things he knew he wanted to let go of but never did. He grabs his butterfly knife and slowly walks towards Judith.

She was busy doodling, sitting on the edge of his bed. We see the sudden gush of terror in her eyes when she lays eyes on what he is holding. She backs away as he lifts the knife – and starts stabbing his pillows. We see her laugh in relief. She stands on the bed and grabs the pillows, tearing it even wider, pouring the feathers all over the bed. They make a mess in the room and they seem happy.

They both fall tired to the bed, lying beside each other.

Judith suddenly climbs on top of him. She smiles.

She leans closer to his ear and we see her mouth the last lyrics of the song.

“There’s a lonely road to Sunday night.”

[Music stops]

We see him looking surprised. From his point of view, we see the bedroom ceiling.

He realizes Judith isn’t there at all. He sits up. He takes his earphones off and we hear ambient sounds. He looks around the room – all tidy and in order.







Alex is the girl you’re probably gonna look at the first time she passes by. You notice her in a room, but you won’t give a second look. She’s pretty, but not gorgeous. Her hair is a bit messed up. She’s smaller than average. Some people might consider her brash at first glance, but when she smiles at you – that impression will melt with your heart.

You go to the same school, in the same year and maybe even have one or two classes together. There’s a big fat chance you’re in the same party and you’re introduced to one another – probably by a friend of a friend.  You both realize you have more friends in common. You share a lot of laughs, maybe a drink or two. It gets a little too late in the night, and being the gentleman you are, you offer her a ride home. She politely declines and says she can hitch with a friend of hers. Don’t worry – she says yes the next time you ask.

When you see her around campus, she hands you a flyer and invites you to join her school club. You now often see each other on school days, and go to the same parties on weekends. When you’re not hanging out, she sends you video links of cute puppies swimming in the bath tub. She makes you listen to her favorite indie band. You sometimes invite her to come hang with your friends and she seems to fit right in. You imitate movie characters only you two seem to recognize and your friends seem to be quite happy with that. She gets more comfortable as you spend more time together. There comes a point when she asks if you can do an emergency grocery with her and you feel like she just asked you out on a date. And one night when you’re on the phone with her, she casually invites you to have lunch with her family. You try your best to casually say yes – But of course you panic. It is a big deal.

You come to a moment when you two are alone, and you look at her with awe while she shares her expansive dreams to you. You realize her childhood shaped who she is now and who she wants to be. How she was never allowed to have a dog so she collected stuffed toys instead. How her mom always told her she needed to comb more, and so she keeps a comb in her bag but never uses it anyway. How she dreams to make toys for a living because she never had anyone to play with as a kid. She offers her smiles and dreams so generously that it just makes you tilt your head and wonder why God seemed unfair to all the other girls – because she was more captivating than anyone else. You fix her hair away from her face so you can look deep into her eyes. And when she does look at you, you see the magic inside of her nobody else will find. In that special moment only you will ever know, you realize she’s even better than the girl from your favorite book. She isn’t a leading lady, no. She isn’t superficial, but she’s real. In a story that’s full of myths and whimsical twists, she seems to make sense in the world.

But after some time, you’re gonna forget that moment. After some time, you get into fights and senseless arguments you don’t even remember its starting point. After some time, you’re gonna think that she’s another problem to fix in your life. After some time, you start walking out from your bedroom and avoiding her in the morning. After some time, you’re not gonna see the magic in her eyes anymore. Because your vision gets clouded by some temporary anger and hate.

You won’t make her feel the luckiest girl alive, but you leave her with a feeling she is never enough. After some time, she asks herself where it went wrong and sadly, she starts blaming herself. After some time, she even forgets her own worth. After some time, you’re not gonna see the magic in her eyes anymore. Because her vision gets clouded with loneliness.

When you suddenly get tired in the middle of an argument, I hope you stop. I hope you stop and remember the night that sparked it all. The night she shared you her dreams and you wanted to make them all come true for her. Remember her laughs that she doesn’t seem to laugh anymore, the smiles she used to give so very often and not as much today, the magic that seemed to spark yours too. You have to remember that it’s not just your world anymore but hers as well. And when you listen to me and you do stop, make sure you fix her hair away from her eyes, and find that magic inside of her, once again.



“It’s gonna be a good day,” I celebrated to myself. My spot just emptied at the exact moment I opened the door to the coffee shop. I dropped two of my three bags to reserve my table, and went to the counter to place my order. “One tall mint chocolate frappe for here?”, he asked with his ever consistent smile.  I returned the smile to my favorite barista and said “Yes, thank you DJ.”

As I took a seat with my drink on hand, I saw that the customer before me left her unfinished coffee sitting on my table. I didn’t mind it as I was focused to start my work urgently. I needed to write a story and send it to my boss come end of day. I was eager and determined not to mess up my first job as a writer. I just had to impress my boss.

But with only sheets full of childish doodles and only fragments of nonsense to be told, I got nothing worth of a story. With four unopened emails from my boss, an empty cup of my drink and only three hours remaining, I still had zero inspiration to write. I stared hopelessly at my coffee-table-turned-work-desk desk that felt too cluttered yet totally empty, just like my mind. Suddenly, my eyes studied the half-full cup of Caffe Americano on my table. I stared at it blankly, wasting forever staring into something that wasn’t even mine to begin with. I managed to snap out of my daze when I heard someone said, “Want me to take care of that?” I watched as DJ took the cold cup away from gaze.

Noticeably, the cup had already left brown, mild stains on my table. How familiar it looked for me. I suddenly remembered how it felt to always have a cup of coffee in my hands. All the things I got to do, with the feeling I was unstoppable. The rush and charge running through my body was magnified. I felt powerful and relentless. The feeling was ecstatic. Motivation and inspiration was never a problem. I was on top of the world and nothing could bring me down. I didn’t want it to stop. I was in love with the feeling it gave me.

But it reminded me why I stopped drinking coffee. It became an addiction. I relied on it too much, I couldn’t write without the bitter taste hanging on my lips. It became so bad it kept leaving stains everywhere. When I tried to remove the stains in my life, I couldn’t wash them all away. How it had left stains on my writings – my words, my echoes of thoughts. My health, my thoughts, my heart all depended on reliving the past over and over. But I couldn’t fool myself into thinking that. I had to accept that I needed to move on. I needed a good grip on reality without the help of anything else.

A napkin suddenly fell on my table. DJ started wiping the stains away. “There, like it’s brand new,” he said smiling. As he left, I looked at my spotless table. I took out a white, clean sheet of paper and clicked on my pen. I started to write.


In Between

In this world, people strongly believe that not getting everything you want is a good thing, and this includes the people you meet. Everyone respects and follows these little light bulbs on everyone’s heads because you’re not supposed to meddle with fate, and there are signs that lead you to “destiny”. The little light bulbs all generate varying colors that are supposed to make it easier for you and me to identify people’s roles in our everyday lives, and who’s there just to make it worse.  A person lights differently for each and every person. When people follow these signs, the world becomes a less complicated place.

There are people who bring good in your life, the ones who have the green light and say go. These are the people who can teach you, make you become the person you’re meant to be, or basically just great friends you can hang with. To put it simply – Imagine getting a match at Tinder. There are also those who you are supposed to meet, but not right now. These are the ones who glow yellow. Think a potential boyfriend but currently in a relationship so you have to wait a bit more to avoid complications. And of course, the people who you’re just not meant to meet at all – the ones who have the red light. People with the red light could be generally bad for the public, or just bad for you.

If you’re not familiar with this world, you would probably find the light bulbs very distracting. Walking in the busy streets, each person walking alongside, there are differently lit bulbs on top of each of their heads. But after a while you just get used to it. Whenever I see the green lights, I assume I already know the person I pass. Being 25, I’ve more or less already met most of the people who glow green for me – the guy who helped me with my Calculus assignment, the HR who passed me to the final job interview, the lady who helped me cross the street when I broke my leg. Whenever I see people with the red light, I just avoid them at all costs. Aside from a being a fate-believer, I guess you can call me a scaredy cat as well. I try to avoid possible serial killers whenever I can. The ones who glow yellow for me on the other hand, is quite rare. And that was why I noticed him instantly.

I remember the first time I laid eyes on him it felt like magnets. Atoms inside my body were just drawn to him like it has found the object to orbit around to. I didn’t even notice I was already following him. As my body felt like it knew where to go, my mind wondered who this man is and who he will become for me. How would I even meet him? Suddenly, I came to an abrupt halt and realized I shouldn’t have been doing it. I shouldn’t be doing something in the present to unfold what is not to happen yet. I had to stop it and remind myself today is not the day. With a hopeful smile I whisper, “Not today, not yet.”

There are times that I would see a yellow light, and without a doubt I know it’s him. But I can only admire him from afar, knowing that what I long for is something I can have indefinitely. Everything that reminds me that it will be worth the wait, is just making me more ill at ease. I always have to make him pass me by, as I try to steal a little glance of him to keep for my dreams.

In a sea of stops and go’s, I don’t understand why we need to stand in between. I want to know him. I want us to talk. I want to know why we shouldn’t know each other yet. Why not now? Why not just never? Are the signs supposed to keep us safe, or keep me waiting for nothing?

But one day, it’s different. I felt different. Once more, I see a yellow light. And I can see the yellow light is coming nearer. With a rush of emotions and with no sense of thinking, I run towards it. I run towards him. Screw the signs. F*ck destiny.

As I run nearer to him, I catch him by surprise. He was startled. I try to catch my breath and my thoughts as I realized I didn’t plan this out. Slowly, I walk towards him. Slowly, he walks towards me. Slowly, we look at each other. Slowly, I feel nervous, and enraptured, then struck dumb, jittery – And then all at the same time. Slowly, very slowly, we look above our heads.

We don’t talk. We just look at each other’s eyes and I know. I know.

My eyes say, “Won’t you stay?”

But his eyes say he’s sorry.

And as I watch him walk away, slowly – very slowly – the little light bulb turns red.


In Between

Three In The Morning

Good morning, your alarm clock wakes you up
You rub your eyes and try to make the buzz stop
You look at the ceiling and stare to think
Why you suddenly remember me.
You try to get up and take a look at your room
Everything feels in and out of zoom
Little trinkets around remind you of what used to be
When you get up, you still remember me.

You go downstairs and get ready to leave
But you first think of getting something to drink
You look back at your kitchen and think of my coffee
And once more, you remember me.

You go out and look for a cab to ride
A shiny silver car passes you by
You laugh at yourself because you agree
It’s silly of you to remember me.

You recognize the DJ on your favorite station
Telling about two lovers that are never shaken
You suddenly recall of our own history,
Also the fifth time that you remember me.

You sing out loud with the top song of the day
But then you hear the song we used to play
You sigh and decide you have enough memories
You have enough to remember me.

You get out of the taxi, thank him for the ride
It starts to rain and all else runs inside
But you see a couple enjoying what they see
Of course, you again remember me.

You see your friend who brags his new phone
You see it’s the same as what I own
You look up and wonder really
Why with everything else you remember me.

It’s time for lunch, it’s time to eat
You think of the place across the street
But the last time you ate their best seller spaghetti
Again you remember, you remember me.

The places, the songs, the things that you see
Somehow everything points out to me
Your lips tremble, and your eyes get blurry,
You just can’t help to remember me.

You have me in your mind from morning ‘til noon
You wonder when it will all be over soon
But still you reminisce, quickly and slowly
Still, however, you remember me.

It was your choice to end all of this
I hope there are no regrets on things
But I do hope, this way, you’re still happy
Give it time, you will soon forget me.
Three In The Morning