Category Archives: Reflections

#WalangHiya: A Promise to Heal

I didn’t want our love to be political. It wasn’t radical or revolutionary—it was just ours. I refused to write our relationship as an allegory for oppression, for colonization. But we didn’t exist in a vacuum. We were not magically in love, off in a fantasy world. Rather, we were the perfect allegory for the colonizer and the colonized. Eventually, I wrote a poem called “White Man’s Love,” a nod to Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” (which was actually about the United States and the Philippines), in which I wrote, tongue-in-cheek, I just happened to be brown, and he just happened to be white.

Similarly, this poem, “atonement,” nods to the first song my ex wrote about me, in which he co-opted my mental illness and suicidal ideation as his own pain. Continue reading

Living #WalangHiya with Brown Courage // Tapaang Ang Loob Ko

[Before you read this post, I highly recommend that you watch the video first.]

I gave this presentation  last year during a TED talk-like event at my school. I was in graduate school working to obtain a Masters in Mental Health counseling. This presentation was a first step for me in living, claiming and embracing #WalangHiya. As a Filipina, it takes a lot of courage for me to speak my truths into the world even about something that seems simple like makeup. Continue reading

The Challenge of Living with #WalangHiya

As much as my parents like to deny it, I am who I am because of them. The home they created for the three of us were my initial grounds for socialization, the space that sparked my faith, spurred my love for music and the outdoors, and where I developed my conflict coping mechanisms.

I always aim to publish my weekly blog posts over the weekend or Monday at the latest — but as you may (or may not) have noticed, this week’s post is late. I planned to write about my parents’ immigration narratives — a feeble attempt to articulate the historical and personal factors that contributed to their decisions to forfeit the lives they knew in the Philippines, sprinkled with quotable remarks made when the stories were passed orally to me and painted over with a broad historical lens. Continue reading

Taking Up An Unlikely Space

🎧 To the spaces in between our faces
The most beautiful places in the world
Don’t waste it, I could almost taste it
The most beautiful places in the worldMint by KAMAU

I’ve been listening to this song non-stop this week. The hook has me hooked and thinking about space — the types of spaces I choose to inhabit, the types of spaces I stumble on and most of all how I take up space. Continue reading

The Call for Emotional Labor

I’ve spent half of my week sick in bed: chugging fluids, downing Vitamin C, closing my eyes while drowning out the world with music and Bob’s Burgers. My friend, Mary had gotten sick the day after the Womxn’s March but miraculously, I felt a hunnid. I thought I had managed to steer clear but turns out, the one day I didn’t wear my poncho scarf, is the one day the rain pours, the wind roars and germs are rampant.

But I do think there is more to me getting sick than that scientific explanation.

Last year, when I was a Jesuit Volunteer, the combination of being away from my home, friends and family, living with white folks whose unchecked entitlement made me feel inhuman, and working at a job where black and brown staff particularly womxn were taken advantage of at every turn – I got colds more frequently than normal. Despite my best efforts to self-care by journaling, making music, talking with friends, going to mass or just getting out of the house, the stress of my life would get to me and I would end up stuck in bed with a bad cold.

Now, it’s the combination of… Continue reading