We are the Yayas of the world

This essay was first published on Subselfie.com and was reposted on GMA News Online

It’s 1991 in the modest town of Moncada, Tarlac. Her husband just died. Her father followed shortly after. She’s 30 years old, a mother of two — the youngest just 6 months old.

And up until that moment, she has not worked a day in her life.

She could take over the family business — a small news stand at the town market. She could make good of her Communication degree. She could become a teacher like her older sisters. Maybe she could go to Manila to find her fate. Or she could fly overseas to clean bathrooms and sweep floors.

She chose to do the last, as many Filipinos would from 1991, beyond that, and the years after.

That year there were 615,019 Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs.

My mother, Lorina, became one of them.

Continue reading


Love Letter to Reading

(Originally written in Filipino two years ago today)

Reading is a vital part of my life. So much so that it’s a requirement when choosing friends. It has become a standard that if somebody doesn’t read, there is a 30% chance that friendship is off the table.

I grew up not doing anything but read.

There are no bookstores where I grew up in a dainty little barangay in Moncada, Tarlac. Unlike the other kids who grew up with Nancy Drew, I grew up with local comics.

Our family owns a News Stand, the lone news stand in our town back in the day. We are woken up at 2am-3am every day because of the loud thump of newspapers and comics being thrown over our gate and into our doorstep.

Continue reading