I’m Quitting Tinder

This essay first appeared on SubSelfie.com

The New York Times makes a big deal out of Tinder,” reads my own Tinder profile. After much egging from my friends, it was the New York Times that convinced me to download the app. It published Op-Eds, Modern Love columns, and Feature articles on the increasingly popular dating app, offering perspectives that ranged from psychological to political to just plain fuzzy.

A month ago, Modern Love’s Daniel Jones started publishing the winners of his college essay-writing contest — all of which centered if not, teetered around, Tinder.

Tinder was beginning to define my generation. I had to find out the fuss.

Continue reading

The Roles We Play

I was rejected by GMA News three times after graduation. Any other person would have just moved on, but this was my dream. I didn’t see any other option for me but to tell stories with an organization I trusted.

I have always believed that Journalism plays a very crucial role in society. And I believed that GMA had the machinery, and the principles, so Journalists can play that role well.

I bled for the job I have. I should be the last person to risk it over something that’s known to history as a long and draining battle, if not a losing one.

Continue reading

Trash for Home: The Mangyans of Puerto Galera

This report was first published on GMA News Online

Ciriaco Bibo is a name nobody knew before. Now every official in Puerto Galera, from its mayor down to the barangay tanods, are keeping a close watch.

Bibo is the fiercest opponent of the landfill project of the local government of Puerto Galera. His is the voice that has landed this issue on national dailies and blogs that have gone viral, when the government would rather have kept it quiet.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, on the contested land of Sitio Lapantay in Barangay Villaflor, Bibo climbed a mountian to show the school that the Department of Education built for their children. They waited so long for this, he said, and they are not about to lose it to a landfill.

Continue reading

The Ninth Coffin

Her death was set.

Nine coffins were brought to Nusakambangan island in Central Java earlier that day; they were to be filled with bodies of whom Indonesia considers the worst criminals.

So bad that they deserved to face a firing squad of 10 and have a bullet pierce through their heart, and then through the head at close range should their bodies survive the first blow.

Continue reading

Why We Go Away

The first time I paid for my own travel, with my friends, outside of the country, was in 2013. It was Bangkok, Thailand and I thought then that the main reason we go away is to learn about others.

Thailand looked exactly like the Philippines, except when it came to religion. Where we have our stone churches, they have their temples and pagodas. In Ayutthaya, their elephants roamed free, whereas our elephant is growing thin inside a poorly-maintained zoo.

My friend Toni told me of political backstories while in Thailand. That being a monarchy has instilled a strong sense of obedience in the people; they were disciplined, they followed orders, and respected authority, for which we can only say so much of our democracy.

Continue reading

Bantayan Island will never be paradise lost

This essay was first published on Subselfie.com

On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made its fourth landfall on Bantayan Island, the northernmost tip of Cebu. For days, the remote island had no communication to the world beyond the sea. The storm destroyed 90% of houses, including resorts and other establishments that sustained tourism in the island.

In the days that followed one of the most catastrophic calamity the world has seen, Bantayan Island was hopeless.

Continue reading

In Albay where things do not end

The sun over Legazpi Boulevard in Legazpi City, Albay is unforgiving at daytime. The sea breathes hot wind and the mountain beside it is not tall enough to cover you from the sun.

This is not the Albay Gulf that my friend, Ephraim, grew up to.

While we were walking under the merciless heat that Sunday afternoon, Ephraim told me to observe the hill beside the road. It is called the Sleeping Lion, he said, because of its form.

He used to climb it when he was a boy, overlooking the vast sea that twinkled so gloriously at that time of day. Except there were no roads, no malls, and no bar strips unlike what I was seeing.

Continue reading