For Better or Worse, His Girl Friday


I made a list yesterday of all the things I want to do with my life right now. I realize I was much more vocal about this sort of thing when I was younger. Film, I said, at one point. A non-profit design cluster, I said at another. Some dreams can’t live in this world anymore: the boutique I wanted, someone already executed a similar concept. (And failed. But that’s another story.) The sociology and anthropology fieldwork, I never did. The photojournalism, I still don’t have the skill or credentials for.

But til the landslide brings me down, in order:

  1. Urban/city planning. The one I’m most keen on, because I do feel like this will challenge me the most and best.
  2. That app. And to design it myself. Front and back ends, of course. I shouldn’t’ve left my web design obsession from my childhood pass. Things are so fucking complicated now.
  3. Historian / archaeologist for Philippine history, of course.
  4. Journalist / photojournalist. Still a contender.
  5. Novelist / essayist. Some things just don’t die.

I don’t see design hotel on the list. But it’ll happen too.

For Better or Worse


I turned 24 the other week, and I zipped in and out of that birthday with flying colours.

My birthday is usually such a painful ordeal. I’ve created superstitions, suspicious, and various unfounded accusations from the visceral depths of my being aka turning a year older has always come with a slew of mommy issues, daddy issues, friend issues, kuya issues, etc etc. Last year, I spent my birthday off the radar– I was in London, and every phone call coming in from Manila made me cry. I couldn’t answer any of it. I ignored even the ones from my parents, and I still can’t forget that I did. I think I thought that if no one would greet me a happy birthday then it wouldn’t be my birthday, that I’d become a different person by default. Instead, I just realized how easy it was to be forgotten.

But this year, I turned 24, and that was it. My boyfriend– and I hate to be the girl that tells the world how amazing her boyfriend is, but– just got it. It was so simple, but I don’t think anyone had ever understood me that way before– or showed that they did– and it was scary and overwhelming that he did. I cried, of course, like a dumb shit.

Growing up is strange. The more I was aware that I was doing it, the more distraught I became.

But one year later, and I’m okay.

I think I’m done hiding.



i have nothing to write
but film reviews and store openings and product launches
and book releases and features and interviews of people doing,
just like every other news outlet of the 21st century intelligentsia.

i learned to read and write (but not spell)
i went to high school
i went to college
i went to advertising
i went here
an online curator of luxury-related ideas and words and thoughts and— basically, actually— stuff
but i don’t write. i don’t know how to write except what i’m told to.

where are my thoughts on storm windows
and the trauma of my molestation
or ridiculous prose on my ridiculous grandmother?
where are my poetic misspellings and mispunctuation
or my made up words and beautifully tragic friends?

nothing blunts the mind like opportunity—
growing up with it, having it, still having it, exploiting it—
and eventually becoming bored by it.
my sentence structure is pretty good.
my punctuation is below average experimental.
and this poem should rhyme,
i think.

i cannot complain, really
except for that i have nothing to write.



I haven’t even left for New York but I hate it already. I already hate Luke’s Lobster, and its perfectly buttered brioche. I already hate the New Yorker Festival, and all the people I can’t wait to see. I already hate NYCC, and the prints that will be rolled up in my poster tube on the way home. I already hate Forbidden Planet, I already hate the subway, I already hate Williamsburg, I already hate the clothes I’d had bought and made and mentally set aside. I hate Glossier and Sephora and Charlotte Tilsbury and the Carole King musical and Chanel slingbacks and walking a thousand blocks at night drunk and wishing I were holding your hand the whole time.

I will hate forgetting you, and remembering you, and not knowing which one to do each time. I will hate the time difference, and how you won’t reply to any of my messages, and seeing what I changed your name to on my phone. I will hate every kitten I see, and every child with thick rimmed glasses.

I hate New York. I can’t wait to leave it already.



The first warning sign should’ve been when I began to tbink that the intense, massive love I’d always imagined wasn’t real. I guess I just didn’t want to admit that I’d made a mistake all along.

I believed in forever at one point. But there’s really nothing left to say other than that I don’t anymore.


Sweeping generalizations on the difference between fashion and shopping

A lot of people always think I’m a fashion girl— abreast of all the latest trends, nodding in agreement when a “new” look is declared to have “returned,” constantly side-eyeing those who have the audacity and ignorance to wear Cèline when clearly we are over Cèline and it is now all about independent London-based designers and their instinctively frayed denim. Plus, I work for an international fashion title. That fact can’t hurt.

But I’m not a fashion girl. My knowledge on trends has always edged very close to zero, even when I first began working for L’Officiel Manila. I could write more for our lifestyle section than our fashion pages—and it’s pretty evident on, which I’m Online Editor of, that I have a stronger hold on the former. Because the very real truth is, I don’t care. I don’t care if something is “next season,” or “of the moment,” or “straight off the runway.” There are people who I do; I’m just not one of them. I mean, they’re clothes.

Which brings me to another very real truth: I’m a shopping girl. I learned about Vetements because pieces slowly started making their way onto SSENSE, and I loved their much-too-long sleeves with cuffs past the fingertips because that’s exactly how I liked wearing my shirts. I know what designers’ signature elements are because they’re the ones that are figured most strongly on a product page. I can spot a Rachel Comey Legion pant versus her Brunswick one in real life because I’ve read the product descriptions again and again trying to figure out which one would suit me best. Whatever knowledge I have gained and accumulated of fashion is, really, from a consumerist approach. Which I suppose is why I still get as much pleasure from a silk Marni coat dress I got at 70% off on Totokaelo as the panda socks I picked up from a bazaar three years ago. (In fact, I’m wearing them both right now, as I write this.)

And why not? Fashion is not art, no matter how many collaborations are forged in the visceral depths of Fondazione Prada. From where I stand, fashion is a business. A multimillion dollar one, as is oft repeated, that everyone on some level participates in. If we’re speaking on terms of supply and demand, the economies of fashion are explosive.

That includes, of course, fashion magazines. No matter how beautiful it is, a magazine is generated by both creative desire and ad revenue. I see retail websites as an extremist form of a fashion magazine—a higher level of curation without the subtlety. Magazines will always have the advantage of narration and the power of inspiration, but they will also always tell you something is luxurious and beautiful and in season. With retail websites, it will already be luxurious and beautiful and in season, so you’ll have to do the thinking for yourself.

I feel that people always forget that despite what the editors and elite say, fashion is a democracy—there are just people who are more well-informed. Whenever people tell me they can’t write fashion or they don’t know anything about it, I always wonder how, then, did they get dressed this morning?

And: how the hell did I land this job?

Photography, Singular Adventures

The eye

I read before that someone takes your photograph the way they see you. I’m inclined to believe that’s true.

Olympus Stylus, 35mm, Lucky 200