Hi all,

I just wanted to link you all to my latest project blog.

“Balikbayan” is a Filipino word referring to an individual who lives outside the Philippines returning for a visit.  It is a composite word comprising of the word ‘balik’ meaning ‘to return’ and ‘bayan’ meaning ‘country,’ ‘community,’ ‘village,’ or ‘my house.’   (more…)

***To take a bit of a break from some of the heavier subject matter I’ve been posting, here’s an old travel story from my very first trip back to the Phils in 2001. It’s an email I wrote my friends. I was less than a month into that Asian trip, a trip that would last almost 2.5 years. I read this and I remember a younger me…

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Monday June 11, 2001

I have come to realize that the psychological aftertaste of testicle lingers far longer than the actual physical flavour… but I am getting ahead of myself. Please let me restart from the beginning of the story. (more…)

This is the alleyway that leads to my Lola’s (grandmother’s) house.

Manila mostly smells the same.

When I first returned here in 2001 I immediately noticed that though it smelled much like the other capitals of underdeveloped countries I had visited (mostly that of diesel), it also had that a faint smell of sewage. Basically, if you want an idea of it I suggest running your car in the garage with the garage door open just wide enough so that you don’t die, and have a bucket of open sewage water at your feet.


As Northwest 71 prepared to land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a wave of quiet fear crept over me.