Day 25: 01.25.17

It’s preparation time for our school’s 100th day of school! The whole week, we have been doing activities that has something to do with 100 counts. Basically, the 100th day of school celebration is an acknowledgement of the fact that the students in a class has grown 100 days older. As fours, part of their developmental goals is to be able to count up to a hundred. Some of our kids still struggle with it, mainly the non-English speakers, but a dominant of them are already confident with their counting. YEY!

We made cookies this afternooon. 100 of them! Actually, there’s around 50 of excess, so that will be for the teachers.

There’s still some things to fix for tomorrow’s event, hopefully everything goes according to plan. AJA!


Day 24: 01.24.17

Well, the bosses are asking for our commitment plan for the next school year. Will we continue with the school or we wont? I’m 100% sure I don’t want to have the same boss the next school year, but at the same time, I don’t want to embark on another job-hunt.

Job hunting is stressful and costly. It’s stressful browsing through an array of job postings then sending your CVs with cover letters, waiting for replies from companies/schools, scheduling interviews, picking an attire for the interview, going through interviews, waiting for results…STRESS! Moreover, once you get into a new workplace, it’s a whole new process of getting into the social group, getting a hang of the system and the work which, based on experience, can really take time.

We have until the end of the month to pass our forms to the council. What will you do, Michelle?

Day 23: 01.23.17

Dear Michelle,

Opportunities have come and go, so for the next ones that will your way, don’t just open the door to peek at it, open it wide, let it come in, and have a conversation with it. Don’t be afraid to take a stroll with it. You never know, it might be the one for you. Good luck!

This was a letter a wrote for myself as part of the weekly writing prompts of my 2017 planner. I chose the topic of opportunities because I feel like I’ve let a lot of opportunities come and go. Some I’ve freely let go due to circumstance or cowardness, and some I probably did not even recognize as one.

This afternoon, the mother of my tutee and I got into a conversation which rounded up to future plans and my fascination with Japan. It turned into a mention of job for their start-up company with Japanese employers. They asked me to give my CV for their partners to evaluate.

There are some conflicts with my current employment, but when I thought about it, wow. Is this the opportunity I was asking for? I was suddenly in the face with it and enticed. If I really want it, I think I would need to sacrifice a few things that could end up hurting others.

I still have time to think about and there’s no assurance I’ll be picked as I am only an applicant for now, but I do hope it pushes through. I do hope this is it.

Day 22: 01.22.17

Challenge: Write about 3 places you would really love to visit.

1. Kyoto (Japan)

Traditional Japanese culture at its finest. I think I would fangirl the whole time I would be in Kyoto. I love almost everything that has something to do with Japan, and it’s old tradition is at the top of the most intriguing for me. I imagine being in Kyoto as similar to time traveling with its streets and architectures preserved in it’s traditional image. I believe they try their best to use the same old materials for its maintenance. I can’t tell more because I’m sure Kyoto would love to tell me more about itself personally when I get there.

2. Osaka (Japan)

Dotonburi! Seriously, the main reason Osaka made it to the top of my Japan destination is because Dotonburi which is like a small alley that has rows of food stalls. We have that in the Philippines of course, but this is Japan, this is Osaka which is called the “kitchen of Japan”. Osaka dialect also fascinates me to pieces. I would love to master talking in Kansai-ben. Bari bari ee yan!

3.  Cebu (Philippines)

After our Sagada trip, it convinced me that the Philippines is really a wonderful place to explore. On the top of my head, Cebu is one of the places I’d really love to visit. The historical sites, the beaches, the city landscape. I’m not sure. I’m sure there are better places to visit, but this one calls loudest to me.

Day 21: 01.21.17

Challenge: Write about five things you really miss.

1. Writing fiction
There was a time in my life that I wrote several hours a day without even noticing the time. There was a time in my life that I would be in the toilet doing what royalties do when a muse would kiss me (yes, in the unexpected of places) and I’d be able to turn those ideas into images using words. I had notebooks full of unfinished stories, notepad files of story ideas, and an actual folder of collected, accomplished stories. Getting lost in the mind of a character I created was pure bliss. I always miss writing. I felt like I left my heart somewhere, I got lost, and I still cannot find my back to it. I wish that there will come a time that I’ll be able to create a new world in words again.

2. College life
Many people cherish high school life because they say it is the most exiting time of love, friendship, and dreams flourish. College is the time when love, friendship, and dreams are faced and tested. I enjoyed high school, but I was most myself during college. I met like-minded people. My batch mates in high school branded me as weird, but in college, in our small Lit class/batch, weird was a standard. We were all cool being in weird, and we grew in weirdness together. My perspective of life, culture, and society widen during this time. I still cannot fathom how I was ever able to graduate with all those subject requirements and the thesis. Sleep was a privilege during these years, coffee, photocopies, and the library were my non-living best friends. Life was so crazily busy in college as we try to make sense of what we’re learning and figuring out what we can do after, but it was one of the most vibrant point of my life. I miss my university, University of Santo Tomas (UST), especially the library. Haha! It was also these times that I had three intense crushes on someone. One, I even blogged about here. I miss the FX ride home with my best friend Joanna when we discussed about topics in our Lit classes, especially in Queer theory. Such intellects we were, weren’t we? Haaaaaaay.

3. Biking
There’s something about the feeling of riding a bike that is so liberating. The feel of the pedal under your foot and the glide of the tires against the pavement, smooth and seemless is just pure bliss. I used to bike to work in BGC and I never felt so cool in my life! Why did I stop biking? It’s just a bit inconvenient. Haha! My bike is also a bit heavy, so I’m gonna save up to buy the foldable one so that it’s much easier to use for my weight. Hihi.

4. Giron Family get-together in Las Pinas
The families on my dad’s side used to be very close. I believe we have a strongly established family connection towards one another, it’s just that we are not physically able to now. As I grew older, a lot of members of the Giron family flew abroad. First it was my cousin Ate Ivy to Canada, my dad settled in LA, my Tito Monching, Tita Grace, cousins Raymond and Regine were petitioned to San Franciso; Tito Rod and Tita Digna stayed in Canada with Ate Ivy in the last three years and I think they will go back; next would be my cousin Boom and possibly my youngest brother going to the states. The kids who used to play video games and cards together till the wee hours of the morning in one house in Las Pinas while the parents drank and played cards to their pockets’ stretch were a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the new generation cannot continue the legacy of those fun family gathering anymore; not with almost everyone leaving the country already. We used to go there almost every weekend to sleep over, to swim at the nearby club house, eat together, go to the mall, etc. It was just a lot of fun with my extended family around. Ahhh, the good ‘ol times.

5. Reading books
Last year I failed to finish even one novel and I don’ feel that bad about it. I should feel bad about it, right? Yes, I should. My degree is in literature, for goodness sake, what’s wrong with me?! Oh, but there’s just too much to read for the new work and school that I just could not get the time. Too much to read already that my leisure was targeted to videos. I think I didn’t even have a manga phase last year, what the heck. Anyway, I miss reading books, novels to be exact. I’m not a wide and fast reader, but when I have the novel-reading phase, I really drop reality to enter a new world. Probably one of the easier explanation to my lack of fiction writing is because I don’t have exposure to good writing, as well. My writing has become rusty, too. My year shouldn’t be too busy as I skipped a semester, so one of my goals is to read at least five books this year. I used to challenge myself to at least 15 to 20 books in a year, but I’ll be more realistic now and stick to five. My books are getting dusty as they wait for me to pick them up. My Kindle’s battery just dies down without me even using it. It’s so sad. Come on, reading phase! Come here already!!!

Challenge: Write an open letter to a friend you haven’t talked to for years

Dear Ate Aubrey,

Hello! How are you? It has been a long, long, long time since we last talked. I remember receiving a letter and gift from Korea when you went there and then I think that was it.

How we met was quite like how it is in the movies. I forgot to log-out my blog, you wrote in my comments section about it and then we started talking. You apparently also like manga, anime, and books. We even met to talk about various ways we can go to Japan through the university. We were in different buildings, but we would meet to sit and chat about things we like. I was very happy to have a sempai in you.

For some reason, we lost communication. It was probably my fault because I wasn’t able to reply to your messages online or give you a return letter to Korea. I tried talking to you in Facebook especially when I learned you got married, but you didn’t reply back. It’s okay though. I don’t feel bad about that, but I did wish you’d say hi.

Anyway, I wish that you are safe with your family and I want to say a big thank you for being a big part of my college experience despite the short time we were friends. 🙂

Day 19: 01.19.17

The challenge today is about five misconceptions about me. My, my! What a really nice topic because I think there are quite…a lot. Alright, let’s try this out.

Misconception #1: Michelle is a gangster. Like, I will punch a person in the face if they happen to piss me off.

Alright, here’s the deal. Nowadays, the term “resting bitch face” (RBF) has become popular, right? To be honest, I had always been perplexed as to why people easily assume I am a scary person–especially when I’m walking. I admit, my gait is that of a guy and I never bothered to correct it, plus this resting bitch face is not something I can fix unless I get surgery. I don’t deny that I have this “boss” side of me because I’m comfortable leading, I can be frank when the need arises, and my reflex of hitting someone when I’m surprised or too happy makes people scream in shock or pain, but I am far from ever being harmful.


Until second semester of my first year in college, a lot of my classmates were quite distant with me. Later on I found from two classmates that I looked too serious and apparently scary when I introduced myself in class. Even my hard-built, judo-member classmate felt like he was walking on eggshells when interacting with me? WTF?! HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

THE REAL DEAL: The RBF protects me from harm especially when coming home late. I figured this was helpful to me as soon as I enjoyed hanging out until late in the night with friends. However, when you get to know me, I like smiling and laughing the most. If I like you very much, I’ll be laughing a lot with you.

Misconception #2: Michelle is a lesbian.

I’m not. I think the best definition I can give myself is Bisexual. I don’t get easily attracted to girls, but I believe that falling in love with one–if ever there would be one–is entirely possible. However, I know I lean towards men 70% of the time.

The misconception probably rooted from me, too. When I was in grade 5 or 6, my best friend was a butch. I guess my “boss” demeanor easily fitted with the other guys, so they became my crew along with my best friend. I always preferred the comfort of loose clothes, so I started imitating the fashion of my older brother which–around 2000/2001–was all about big shirts and baggy pants (EEEEWWWW AHAHAHHA). I think I gave my best friend a shock when I told her I’m not a lesbian. Eventually, I realized I’m just a tomboy, but I didn’t want a girlfriend.

In high school, I really liked one of my female friends. She was pretty, but there were prettier girls in the room, yet I was attracted to her personality. Later on, I think I fell in love with my female best friend. I’m not sure if it was just a very strong attachment because I really really treasure how we fit so well, but when I started having urges to kiss her, I knew I wasn’t so straight after all.

At 28, I dress more feminine and I even enjoy make-up, but there’s no more blurring of which court my heart will go. It can go anywhere.

Misconception #3: Michelle likes to drink and smoke weed.

For the love of the universe, I really don’t. I’m beyond legal age to drink whenever I want, but even at the cusp of curiosity and rebellion (eherm, puberty), I could not connect with alcohol. I tried, of course. Why say no to something you haven’t tried, right? I do drink, but I prefer skipping the liquid and just get to the tipsiness which is awesome! Though awesome, I don’t crave the high of intoxication, I can get that elsewhere. So yeah, despite my tough demeanor, I’m more of a coffee, tea, and juice person. :3

With the weed thing…I admit that I am damn curious of the high that weed can deliver, and I guess it’s the safest of the uppers family, so I want to try it at least once. I want to try it mainly to write about the experience. However, I think there had been two or three people who immediatelt concluded I smoke weed. WHY?! Is there a certain image to it? I smoke cigarettes, but not weed.

Oh yeah, if needed to choose over two vices, I’d always smoke than drink.

Misconception #4: Michelle is a snob.

Back in second and third year high school, some of my classes had a “first impression” activity. Each student will have a paper with two columns containing the words “Good” and “Bad”. I remember reading the word “snob” over and over again though I seemed apparently kind. This is connected to item number one.

THE REAL DEAL: At 28, I’m more outgoing than I ever was especially in my job as a teacher, however, I can still be awkward especially with people I’m not sure I can bother to chat when they don’t seem to. I can talk and make jokes with strangers, yes, but I can be extremely awkward at social situations, too. Add this inner awkwardness to my resting bitch face, people think either: “She’s pissed off, don’t talk to her” or “Her face says she’s not going to talk to us ever”. So, I’m not snobbing anyone on purpose. I don’t talk, initiate a conversation, or smile at times because I’m mustering courage at the situation.

On the other hand, I can be a snob when I see people I know, but I believe we never had a real connection before. We can pass as strangers, so I purposely avoid them. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but that’s part of avoiding awkwardness with someone.

Misconception #5: Michelle cannot possibly be an introvert.

Yes, I can! And yes, I am an introvert. Partly.

Is this a legit word? Ambivert. I read somewhere that ambiverts are people who are both introverts and extroverts in different situations. However, if this is the case, aren’t we all ambiverts at some level?

Anyhow, I can be extremely outgoing, impulsive, risky, and adventurous given I am extremely comfortable at the situation and the people with me. Once my friends got past the wrong first impression, they are able to pull out the extrovert in me.

On the other hand, my introvert side is apparent in my comfort with being alone. Some extroverts cannot stand being alone, but I actually love it. I’m used to being alone, but it really doesn’t make me lonely. I am most honest with myself being alone and writing is one hobby I developed from this comfort in social isolation. I’m a house-person, meaning I prefer staying in on weekends rather than going out with family and friends. Of course, I go out when there are meets, but I cannot handle going out continuously for days. Traveling is fun, but I’m more of the destination than the journey. I love observing and reflecting from a standpoint. I don’t like clubs because they are too noisy. Karaoke and dancing in friends parties are fine, but clubs have too many strangers, alcohol, and I can’t have a decent conversation with someone without shouting, so no thank you. Another introvert side of me is that I keep feelings to myself. There are only three people in my life that I can share my inner most feelings with, but if I can handle it, I’d rather write in a journal or blog about it. Facebook is a no-no because I don’t easily welcome people meddling in my personal business, especially when it involves feelings.

PHEW! This is probably the longest post I have of 2017 yet! That was an interesting reflection.

Day 18: 01.18.17

What is a perfect day for you?

Hmmm…That’s actually a hard question.

One, I don’t believe in perfection. I believe that in every very happy day will come a very bad day. So I’d rather refer to this as a “very good day” rather than a “perfect” one.



Shucks…this is…challenging.

Probably, a really good day would start with me waking up with no alarm clock from a 7-hour sleep. I will wake up without a struggle from bed despite the coldness of the day, and my sheets bidding me to spend time longer. I’ll grab coffee as fine as the one we drank in Sagada’s Yogurt House, eat pancit canton with hard boiled egg and hot dogs or peanut butter and cheese or egg sandwich with it. I’ll bring my breakfast to bed to start with a romantic-comedy movie.

The movie will end and my mom will call me for lunch. We’ll watch a local TV show, have a lot of laughs and have our commentaries at the side. I’ll stay for a bit longer for dessert, until I go upstairs to my room to rest for the afternoon.

A very good day always includes a dreamless one-hour nap in the afternoon, waking up to the rays of the sun from the window.

In a bit, I’ll wake up, check my office for things to do and attend to them without distractions. I’ll finish at least half of my “to do” list around night time.

My best friend will message me to hang out in a cafe nearby and spend the rest of the night for dinner, stories, reflections, and laughter. We’ll say goodbye around 9 or 10 PM.

At home, I’ll check my phone and discover really nice updates from my current fandom, but I won’t get so carried away that I will still sleep before 12 midnight.

So…there. Haha! It’s really a whole day! My very good day is not as uneventful as it probably be for others like traveling or going on a date, but these are the things that I’m not able to do on a daily basis (sleeping early, being productive), so if they will all happen in a day, that would be my definition of “a very good day”.

Day 1: 01.17.17

It’s DAY 2 of my 7-day writing challenge from my 2017 planner. So this topic is not as out of the blue compared to the mundane topics of my everyday blog posts.

I’m going to list things that I am proud of (mind you, it’s going to be a long one). Hmmm…let me scavenge my 28-years of existence.

(No particular ranking)

1. I’m proud that I have two mothers. One I fondly call “Mamoy” and one I just call “Tita” with no name after it because she’s the ultimate Tita who is also ever a mom o me.

2. I’m proud that I am a middle child. As much emotional and mental damage being in this position with siblings, I’m proud to be able to experience being an “ate” and “bunso” at the same time. I believe this taught me to always try to understand both sides of a coin before judging. Knowing how to be the older and the younger person also allowed my personality to be flexible with older and younger people than me.

3. I’m proud that I’ve been to three different countries using my own money. It’s hard to travel internationally when you’re the bread-winner of the family. I pay for almost everything in our house. My mom tries her best to contribute to the expenses, but 95% of house expenses is shouldered by me, including extras not included in the monthly budget. Travelling abroad is expensive. Traveling, simply, is expensive–international or domestic. Thus, I’m proud that there are certain points in my life that I was really able to discipline myself and hold back from spending to save up. That’s an achievement since I’m such a spendthrift. Despite setting aside a lot of extras for traveling, I don’t forget my responsibilities at home.

4. I’m proud that I’ve been teaching for six years going on 7 now. Although from time to time, I question life as to why I’m in this profession, but compassion urges me to continue again and again. Though I’m not the best teacher I think I can still be, I hope to have brought differences in the lives of my students, even just a bit.

5. I’m proud that I’m able to provide for my family since 2009. My mother had a very early retirement and I had to step up as the breadwinner. It has been difficult and the pressure is heavy, but I’m able to do it. I never thought I’d be able to live life comfortably while carrying such a heavy responsibility on my shoulders.

6. I’m proud that I’ve won a writing contest at least once. I didn’t rank, but at least it was an honorable mention. This was university-wide, so hey! My messy writing was still recognized.

7. I’m proud of having parents that raised me to be independent. It’s sad for a 2-year-old girl to lose her family because of spouse situation, but we survived. For this, I was raised to stand on my own two feet as soon as I could because the situation needed it. I’m not afraid to make mistakes because my mom taught me that as long as I can correct it or make up for it, I don’t need to be ashamed of it. This independence allowed me to meet different people, to have various experiences in different places, and build my own pace in processing different perspectives.

Alright, I’ll stop here for now (because I’m sleepy). I hope to come back to this list and update. I’m proud of a lot of things, as a matter of fact, but given it’s late and I have a growing headache, I might as well cut it here.

Day 16: 01.16.17

Dear 30-year-old self,

Boss! Ano boss ka pa rin ba? Baka naman mas madam ka na ngayon. Humi-heels ka na ba? Ngayon nga nag-eenjoy ka na mag-kilay, mascara at lipstick eh. Totoo, enjoy. 

Sana by 30, you would have made come true the only definite dream you have for yourself: to live independently abroad. 

Sana nasa Japan ka na, enjoying the culture and exploring more of life and learning more about your weaknesses and strengths. If not Japan, somewhere else. Somewhere safe, but equally thrilling. 

I hope that you would have had a better relationship with your younger brother and father. They drain the fuck of your energy and patience, but you love them the same anyway. Sana mas open ka na with your family. 

Sana may love life ka na! Haha! Isang kyembot nalang finish line na ng kalendaryo talaga eh. Pero kung wala naman, just keep happy. Focus on the now and build compassion towards all the people around you. 

You’re not a very nice person, nor are you bad. You’re imperfect and that’s fine. Keep improving yourself. If ever you hit a wall, basta di ka pa patay, just back pedal and reroute. Ganyan lang ang life. 

Keep strong, 30-year-old, Michelle. Keep smiling. 😁