There are many things in life that you go through alone.  Being born, surviving the death of a loved one, duties at work, your thoughts, your emotions, writing your own paper…authentic happiness, getting sick… death.

It is so amazing that amidst the billions of people in this earth, no one else goes through the same thing as you.

(Terminal, Ecoland, 05.09.15)

—- unfinished


Off My Foot

So I met a slight mishap a couple of nights ago causing extreme pain to my right heel whenever I take a step.  At first I thought it was just a bruise… but as I kept on walking, it became more painful everytime my heel touches the ground.  I ended up not going to work the day after the incident and went to the doctor for a check up.

Turns out my foot got traumatized with the impact as I alighted from the moving jeepney.  If the pain won’t go away by Friday, I’ll need to have an x-ray just to rule out calcaneal spur… or what the doctor explains is an extra bone under my foot.  [This said bone got the impact as I landed… can’t exactly explain the pain.]

Therefore I’m under medical orders to be off my feet with my medical certificate stating “Traumatic Rheumatism”.

Geez… such a mouthful.  And so medically-sounding. Lol

Anyway, now I’m literally and figuratively off my feet.  Still a bit ambiguous as to how I should feel about it though.  On the one hand I get to rest from work (although it’s only been less than a week since the start of school) on the other hand it sucks that I can’t do any physical activities that involve my feet (walking, jogging, biking) and missing out on a number of activities slated over the weekend.  Being a couch potato isn’t as appealing as before.  Living alone isn’t exactly easy when you can’t walk.

At least I get to sleep during the day, catch up on series reruns, and put my feet up.

I just hope the pain goes away.  It would be a bummer to walk on my own for my xray.

Oh well.  Challenge accepted!

Bugsay Mindanao 2: Paddle for Peace

Not too busy this Saturday?  

Head down to Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao on May 16, 2015 to watch different dragon boat teams of Mindanao as they compete at the Bugsay Mindanao 2: Paddle for Peace Dragon Boat Competition.

Witness visiting teams from CdeO (Liceo Dragonoids of Liceo de Cagayan University), Butuan (FSUU Blue Dragons of Fr. Saturnino Urios University), Iligan (Team Bakunawa) as well as local Davao teams such as the Dragons del Sur, Base Camp Davao Dragons, and Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw paddle for peace… For one Mindanao!

Race day activity starts at 6:00AM.  Free admission.

Hope to see you there!  Please support my team, Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw as we slice the waters with purpose… For the love of the sport, for peace, for the environment, and for one Mindanao!

Kindly visit and like our Facebook Page for updates by clicking the link below:



[A failed and an unfinished post last October 24, 2013]

My life in one word.

Everyday.  It’s a struggle.

I so badly want to detach.  To just scream and shout.

But that’s not me.

I’m not depressive.  I brood instead.

It’s been a habit to stay tough.  To put up a thick front.

My days are currently bombarded with tons of pressure from all sides.  I find it difficult to concentrate.  Whenever I try to work on a specific task, I end up losing focus… thinking of the other things I need to work on.  By the end of the day… I can’t accomplish anything.


Focus on What We Can Control

I posted this on my group’s Facebook page almost a year ago (last April 25, 2014 to be exact).  I don’t remember anymore the exact situation that was happening then… probably had something to do with boat training… A lot of frustrations from a number of members were thrown out here and there, slowly dwindling in our steps and our desires for the team… getting discombobulated…

Fast forward to the present day.

After having our own training boat, a change in training, joining 3 dragon boat competitions, the lose and gain of members… It still feels a bit surreal to have reached passed our one year of existence as a team.  Still, a we have such a long way to go.

Regardless of the may issues that may arise, allow me to share this one again (as apt as it may seem st this time).

With all that has been happening since the start of the training for the neophytes in dragon boat racing, it may seem like we’ve been taking one step forward and two steps back.

A lot of things are out of our control.  So allow me to urge each and every member to be “Proactive” (Stephen R. Covey).  Let us all channel our energies and efforts in things that we can control (e.g. Continuous training, our relentless spirit, and channeling our energies to more important and productive things).

Because, just as any other mythical creature awaken after decades and centuries of sleep, we begin our rise disoriented and at a loss.  So I think we’re all in the same boat (pun intended) when I say the road to success is never easy.  But like most greenhorns, we learn to adapt.  We may not yet have the right instruments but we persevere with an unwavering drive and make use of our resources.  We are steered by our goal and set our minds and heart to it.  And in turn, it leads us to where we all want to be.

Dreams aren’t meant to be easy.  For if they were, then it wouldn’t be worth the effort.  The beauty of reaching for dreams is that constant struggle in achieving it – its elusiveness as we grasp for it.  Remember… A caterpillar does not become a beautiful butterfly without struggling from its cocoon to show to the world it’s transformation.

Let us be reminded why we chose the name: Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw.  Hiraya – the offspring of our dreams, hopes, and aspirations; Minokawa – an icon to represent our dragon boat team that calls attention to our awakening spirit; and Dabaw – representing our land.  In short, we aspire to be an inspiration in our advocacies and that “out of nothing, we become more than something.”

Someday soon we’ll all look back on these struggles and reminisce the moments we’ve experienced during our rousing.  How, from being an ignored and forgotten entity, we soar above diversity united and surpassed our trials through being agents of change by checking our form (our stand), knowing which stroke to use (the route to take), and to always move forward and ride the waves in life.

So chin up, claws down.  Paddle up!  Attention… Ready… Now! 🙂

I guess I’m not graduating from my Masters this coming graduation…

Another missed opportunity.

I don’t want to make any excuses or reasons.  There’s just no point in elaborating why.

I just need to push forward… somehow.

For now, I’ll wallow on the sorrow that seems to be burgeoning inside.

Christmas Musings

Christmas Eve is just a few hours away.  Pretty soon the quiet will settle and I will have the house all to myself.

A couple of my friends have been incessantly inviting me to spend time and have Noche Buena with them.  Repeatedly telling me (and others) matter-of-factly that I’m spending Christmas with them.  However, I politely declined each offer.  I have such great friends who are so sweet, so giving, and so loving.  I know they mean well and they don’t want me to be on my own for Christmas.  But I don’t want to be an imposition.  And frankly, I prefer to be at home for this season.  To be closer to the memories of my parents.  Where I can be myself. (Put it this way, it’s easier to treat this season in a normal note rather than be reminded of things that have gone.)

When my parents were still alive, we didn’t have any Christmas traditions (the must-have foods like what’s commonly commercialized on TV).  As long as there was food on the table, and we went to the Christmas Eve mass that was already enough.  It was just like any normal day at home.  So I guess our celebration was just downplayed.  I guess as I grew up and we all grew older, Christmas was more celebrated in solemnity rather than being a party.

For someone who’s sometimes tagged by friends as a “social butterfly” in most occasions, I honestly prefer the quiet of my home during this Christmas.  I guess the past few years (since the time of my dad’s first hospitalization) I’ve lost my moxie in holiday preparations, cheers, and even spirit.  But then again, my Christmases were usually spent at my grandma’s house with my relatives.

Wow… I forgot about those memories…

Anyway, now that I’m currently on my own I should start on making my own traditions.  Maybe go out and ride my bike, turn up the volume on my music, visit my neighbors, play dress-up, map out my lifeplans… Lol. Well, whatever I may have planned, it’ll be something of my own.

To my bffs, if you’re reading this, please don’t worry about me.  It’s cute (and annoying!) that you’re constantly monitoring me but I am totally fine being on my own for this season.  I know (and you keep on reminding me) that I’m not an imposition and that I’m practically part of your family but I can’t help feeling like a spectator from the outside-looking-in.  And there are some seasons I have to celebrate on my own.  You guys enjoy your own traditions while I celebrate (for now) .  I’ll see you real soon!



Bugsay Mindanao with Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw

It’s the middle of the week and I’m still on a high from one of the most memorable weekends I’ve ever had.  My last Facebook status read like this:


Remember a few months ago I posted that I took on a new sport?  Dragon Boat?  Well in case you forgot, you can read it here.

My team, Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw (HMD), decided to join the Bugsay Mindanao, the 1st Northern Mindanao Dragon Boat Race once we knew about it.  Aside from being able to put into play what we have practiced, the event’s advocacy was right up the alley of our team.  And since the race was just in Mindanao, traveling concerns would be easily handled.

The race was hosted by Liceo de Cagayan University, the home of the Liceo U Dragonoids.  Other dragon boat teams from all over Mindanao also joined the event.  Iligan City was represented by Team Bakunawa, Butuan City by the Fr. Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) Blue Dragons, and 3 more teams from Davao: 1. Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw; 2. Dragons del Sur; and 3. Base Camp (Dragons) Davao.

I don’t think my words can do enough justice to the hype that was going on during those moments, so I’m sharing some photos instead.





other side!

other side!

photo op!

photo op!

Some race photos…

Blue Dragons

Blue Dragons



Team Bakunawa

Team Bakunawa

The Heat is on!

The Heat is on!

Women: Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw

Women: Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw

Base Camp Davao

Base Camp Davao

Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw

Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw

The Heat is On!

The Heat is On!



Heat up!

Heat up!

HMD Lady Minokawas Wacky Poses

HMD Lady Minokawas Wacky Poses

1600m Men's Open

1600m Men’s Open

1600m Mixed HMD

1600m Mixed HMD



Cool Down

Cool Down

Still Cooling Down

Still Cooling Down

It was truly a memorable experience!  We won as Overall Champion with the following awards in our name:

200m Men’s Open Category – 3rd Place

200m Women’s Category -3rd Place

200m Mixed Category – 1st Place

1600m Men’s Open Category – 2nd Place

1600m Mixed Category – 2nd Place

But aside from the awards we won, and the medals, plaques, and trophies we received, it was the feeling of being one with all the other paddlers who joined the race… uniting as One Mindanao!  Aside from promoting the sport, the advocacy of safeguarding the river and promoting the conservation of the environment and being part of something positive and life-giving makes all the muscle pains all worth it!  Not to mention the bonds we’ve forged with other dragon boat teams in Mindanao.

Always slice the water with purpose.

If you want to view more photos, you can also check our Facebook Fanpage here.

I’m also sharing one of the most memorable moments during the whole event.  The coolest cool down ever.


Thought I’d share the eulogy made by my godmother which I read during Mom’s interment.  It still moves me to tears whenever I read this.  I thought I’d honor my mom by sharing this to everyone.



(My godmother’s eulogy for Mom – her best friend)

Shakespeare once wrote,

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

But this Rose is not just a name. Like a Rose she is sweet, attractive, smart. Her character foundation is strong as the stem and has thorns that can prick you back if you have been unjust.

 Rosalie as a friend was always available when needed. She cared for and accepted her friends as they are. She maintained her friendships all the way from high school.

 Rose, as Mario’s girlfriend was fiercely independent and loving. I had the privilege to know them both before they married. One time, the Davao torrential rains created puddles on the road, Mario carried her on his back so her feet won’t get wet. When she wanted to be mobile, he taught her how to drive. Rose drove her tiny Minica with the fervor or a race-car driver. She could run from 10 kph to 50 kph in two seconds, that is, while backing away from the garage.

 Years ago, Rose reported for work at the Ateneo de Davao High School, went straight to Fr. Ricky Lalana’s office (who was then the principal) and told him, “Father, I’m sorry I’m late. I got married this morning.” Rose is a very practical woman.

 As a teacher, she was strict, bordering on being a martinet. If you pass by the typing room, you’ll hear it loud and clear, “fingers on the home keys.” Ma’am Rose was one of those who knew zero tolerance before it became a corporate strategy. Her diminutive figure packed a powerful personality.

As a friend, she was true. I met Rose during a very painful period in my life. I just got separated from my husband and had two little boys to raise. I was previously teaching at Maryknoll College in Quezon City. When the separation happened, I lost almost everything, my husband, my home, my job and spirit. Given my flair and verve, I had a difficult time adjusting to a slower pace than that I had in Manila. Everyone was a new friend and a new critic. Rose had a great heart that embraced me from Day one. She saw the simplicity behind my facial war paint, she perceived the unfathomable pain that weighed my heart, she listened to my sorrowful stories and laughed at the jokes that I bravely projected to hide the broken heart. Rose was available. I just had to walk into the typing room and she was ready with tissue to wipe tears. She brought me into her circle and I met her high school friends. From the outside, it may seem that she had a sharp retort for anything. Having spent so much time with her, I marveled at her way of looking at things. She doesn’t say bad things behind a person’s back. If I give a negative comment about anyone, she would respond with, “hayaan mo na, ganyan talaga siya, eh.” (Leave them be, they’re just like that.)And she took me that way as well. When asked, “Paano mo napakisamahan yan si Bel, ang arte-arte niyan.” (How are you able to get along with Bel, she’s so picky.) Her response, “Hah? Eh ganyan talaga siya.” (Huh? Well that’s who she is.)

Nothing was more exciting for her than when she found out she was pregnant. Of course, nag-ninang ako and Mitz was the cutest one ever. One time I dropped by, Mitz was around two years old, she sat on a small stool and was eating. Rose said, “Naa o, nanginabuhi.” (There. Supporting herself.) Mitz was practically eating on her own, as fiercely independent as her mother.

As a wife, she let Mario do his thing. He wanted to sing with a band and he was always out at night. Rose made everyone around her be the best they can be.

As a widow, she was still practical. When I called her to condole with her loss. She just said, “Wala tayong magawa, ganyan talaga ang buhay.”

During one of my trips back in Davao, Mario was still around then, we had dinner in Victoria Plaza. Due to our excitement, we forgot to pay for our meal. It was good that the restaurant personnel knew them from frequent visits. After Mario passed away, I had the opportunity to have time with her. We had a sumptuous lunch and we talked about her retirement career. She wanted to open a sari-sari boutique in her carport area. It now stands half done with a few books for sale in shelves.

Two years ago, I asked her to have lunch with me again and she said she wasn’t feeling well. I told her I will go and see her and she said, “Ay, huwag na. Hindi ko naayos ang bahay. I’ll rest lang.” (Oh, just don’t.  The house isn’t fixed.  I’ll just rest.)  When I came over again, I insisted that we go out. She said, “Hay, anyway, malalaman mo din. May sakit ako. Cancer daw.” (*Sigh*  Anyway, you’ll know.  I’m sick.  May be cancer.)  I asked what treatments she was going to undergo and she said, “I have decided to go for a natural way of healing.” We had a long discussion about homeopathy and the natural way of healing the body. “Sus, ngayon puro gulay yung kinakain ko, hindi ko naman kilalala yang mga broccoli, ngayon yan na ang binibili ko.”  (Jeez, now I’m just eating purely vegetables.  I didn’t use to know about broccoli, now it’s all that I buy.)

In another conversation, she said, “Help me pray na gumaling ako. When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you. I will make more lakwatsa now and just enjoy myself.” (Help me pray that I will get well.  When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you.  I will travel more and just enjoy myself.) She never got to go to visit me.

Two weeks ago, I called to tell her that I was going to Davao in mid February. She said, for the first time. “Sige bisitahin mo ako.” (Okay come visit me.) I asked how things were. She said, “I’m in pain.” “Dali na…” (Hurry…)

Tuesday last week, I was dead tired from a series of talks and meetings. I got a late night call from Naxxie Ebarle. “Bel, let’s go and see Rose. Tomorrow maybe too late.” We went to see her before midnight. She was already in a coma-like state. I talked to her. Through misty eyes, I talked about the moments of craziness. During one of the faculty retreats, Fr. Randy dropped by my room and Rose. Before we knew it, talks went around that he was in my room late at night. This miffed Rose. “At ako, nandoon din ako, ah.” (And me… I was there too.) She didn’t want to be left out. Since her students constantly forgot to bring bond paper for typing she would sell them one or two pieces. When pay day was coming and we didn’t have much, we would dig up her box of coupon bond coins and get out “plete” (fare) to tide us over till end of the month. Through the challenges, we laughed. We did look funny together. Me, in my high heels, swaying gait and short skirt and Rose with her purposeful strides and practical shoes. We accepted each other. We shared rooms during retreats, we ate lunch together, shared stories I dare not write about now. We were and are, great friends.

I flew back to Cebu Thursday and Friday morning, Mitz sends the dreaded news. Now I grieve, over the loss. Shed tears for times gone by, for times that will never come and the few days I would have wanted to spend with her.

Mitz, you are your mother’s pride and joy. She was happy whatever made you happy. Rose’s body is gone but her spirit lives in you, in me and in all of us.

I love you Rose. Wherever you are, I will see you one day.



Thank you Ninang.  I miss you, Mom.

2014-02-22 11.05.59

2014-02-20 22.12.33

photo 4

Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw Dragon Boat Team Recruitment

Contrary to news circulated by people who do not seem to have the proper command of the communication arts, my dragon boat team, the Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw (HMD) is still very much intact and have not been exploded/destroyed/dismantled/broken (I don’t know which to use since the Visayan word released was “bungkag” – a word which I believe is normally used for objects.  To be more precise, I googled its translation as such: dismantled \disassembled \knocked down \taken apart \scattered parts).  So take your pick.

Again, I would just like to state that our team is still here to stay.  There were a number of members who decided to leave the group out of their own volition and with reasons that they can only justify with.  In life, it would be unfair if we would hold back people from their happiness.  As long as they are happy, we support them.

Now that the issue has been cleared, the HMD is continuously promoting the dragon boat sport to the Davao City community.  Being part of the group, we are eager to accept individuals who are interested in our sport.

We train during weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) from 5:00AM – 8:00AM at Bonguyan Beach Resort (at the extreme left side where our boat is currently located).  To be continuously updated, please visit our Facebook Fanpage:

Some of our recruitment ads:



Thank you for your unwavering support.


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