film diaries, in my life

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
— Proverbs 18:24

“There’s a special place in my heart for the ones who were with me at my lowest and still loved me when I wasn’t very loveable.”
— Yasmin Mogahed

Constant. Just like the gravity that hold us down. We’ve always heard about people who come and go. Of people who have treated our hearts like doors to a room that they can just leave and come back to whenever they wish.  But there are also those who have stayed no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how messy the situation may be. Those who have shared their light and declared: we are here for you.

Photos from our earliest hike ever at Mt. Hapunang Banoi. Taken with Canon AE-1 and an expired Neopan Acros 100.


in my life, tiny stories

We both laughed when I read the statement on the paper bag:

Please enjoy this extraordinary act of generosity.

In our circle of friends, I am not bragging when I say that I am the giver among us all. When February rolled in, they have begun asking me questions like

“What gift do you want?”, “Are you sure you don’t want anything specific?”, “This is your last chance, what book do you want to receive?”

I can’t suppress my laughter when a friend told me how they talked about what to get me, or how to make up for what I did for their birthdays. Years ago, maybe I would have asked them to spoil me with material things, but maybe it comes with growing up that we learn to value more of the people around us rather than the gifts they give. But I do appreciate the efforts they went through to reciprocate what I’ve done for their birthdays (a letter with sincere words is more than enough for me).

Gift giving is something that comes easy to me. Maybe it’s something that I inherited from my mother. Or a trait that I can no longer shake off. I tried not do it once or twice, but I soon realized that giving gifts is one of my strongest love language. Although once, a scary thought dangled within me.

What if I no longer have to offer? What if companionship and time is all I can offer, would that be enough?

This year, I found out that the answer to that is yes. We’re growing up, and sometimes being together is enough. Spending time with each other amidst life busyness is enough. Time itself is a gift. Being there for each other is a gesture that says: thank you. I’d like to keep you. I’m here to stay.

Dear February, I hate to say goodbye too soon. We are always three days short. There were still days when I feel listless or without the desire to get up from bed (ummm…just like today). But thank you for letting me bank a lot of good days. I hate to turn the calendar over but we must keep moving.

Three days short but He has given me more than I expect – or ask for. The gift of friends, their efforts to give back, two places that I can call home, a safe place in the form of the truest of true friends, more appreciation for art, the chance to be vulnerable and accepted at the same time.

February, you’re a gift within gifts.

Tiny Stories is inspired by the book curated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt(bearing the same title) that says: The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories. This is my attempt to compile mine, something to push me to write even if there’s not a lot of words for me to grasp.


in my life




The weekend is coming to a close, but this one was stretched out to be enough. Not lacking for me to ask an extension. Not slow for me to cut it short. Just enough. For the mountains have called, and once again we headed to its direction.

After more than a year of not being able to climb, I finally had the chance of going back on track (or should I say trek?). It was a walk in the park, they said. But we’re not even halfway through and my lungs were already gasping for air. My heart seems to be doing somersaults inside my chest. Pain was also starting to grip my back, enough to make me feel older than how I truly am. To think that it was just a level 2 climb! It was supposed to be easier compared to my previous experiences.

Yet there I was falling behind, with a rusty body, weaker heart, and not-so-flexible knees (the injury I got from the past has taken its toll). My flesh just keeps on protesting for me not to continue. If I had been alone, it would have been easy to surrender, but having two friends along can make all the difference.

“Dee? Dee? Deeeeeeeeee! Yuhoooo…..Danielle!”

I hear them shouting my name whenever I am no longer within sight. It was funny how they kept on calling and I just kept answering them on my head. Wait. I’m trying to catch my breath. And if we’re going to count the times that I’ve given up, that was the first.

I lost count of the times that I wanted to stop. Was it five? Or ten? I just remembered that I kept on asking and they also continued pushing.

Can we just go back?

No, we can do this.

Can we just go down now and swim?

No, we can finish this trek.

Can you just go ahead? I’ll wait for you to come back here.

Let’s go! It’s near! Come on!

So we continue to soldier on through the heat. Fifteen minutes more. Just a few steps more and we’re nearly there. We knew we made it when the summit greeted us with the cool breeze. We lied down on the grass and it never felt so fulfilling than this.

How long do you think we can keep on doing this?

Maybe until we’re 28. Or 30. No, maybe 40.
Perhaps for as long as we can. As long as we have each other.