Catching Up.

Hi, guys! Welcome back to my channel. HAHAHA feeling vlogger amput—

Si Ash pala ‘to, guest blogger ni Ate Elise. Kumusta na raw kayo? Miss na niya kayo. Miss ko na rin ako pero okay lang naman ako, Ate. Tenk yu.

Ah, si Ate Elise? Okay naman siya. Huwag daw kayo masyado mag-alala sa kanya. Alam n’yo naman si Ate. Minsan may pinagdaraanan kasi talaga siya at kailangan lang niya eh katahimikan, kapayapaan, hugs at potato chips. ‘Yun ang bumubuhay sa kanya ngayon. Padala kayo ng maraming virtual potato chips.

Sorry raw kasi hindi niya maharap ang Wattpad. Sabi ko ako na lang ang magkukuwento ng kuwento nina Kuya at Marlon kasi alam ko naman kung ano nangyari di ba? Ayaw naman niya. Actually, ayaw NILA lahat. Huwag daw ako makialam sabi ni Marlon. Ako na nga ang nagmagandang loob!

Kumusta na raw kayo sabi ni Ate. Sana safe daw kayo sa sakit at hindi matigas ang mga ulo n’yo na labas kayo nang labas kahit may quarantine. Except nga naman kung frontliners kayo, in which case, THANK YOU for your service. Mga bayani kayong tunay. Sana safe kayo at healthy, at sana ibigay sa inyo ng universe ang nararapat na reward ninyo gaya ng araw-araw na masarap na ulam.

Kaming pamilya at barkada? Okay lang kami kahit hiwa-hiwalay. Ako, si Mere at si Mace, dito kami kina Daddy Eman lumipat bago nag-lockdown. Si Kuya, inuwi ‘yung baby niya sa Makati. Si Marlon, nasa San Juan (wawa), kasi si Charles nasa kanila sa QC. Sa QC din sina Hank at Laura. Si Alessa, kasama ni Lester sa pamilya niya sa San Juan din. N’ung una pa lang na nabalitang may kaso ng COVID-19 sa BGC, lumipat na kami. Namiyenan na ako. 

Okay naman kami. Si Mere ang may trabaho ngayon. Hindi naman siya pumapasok pero madalas may meetings siya. Hello raw. Si Mason, nag-celebrate siya ng second birthday niya sa bahay. Marami-rami kami rito kina Dad kasi nandito rin ‘yung pamilya nina Kuya Midel, nanay ni Kuya Armand, saka pamilya ni Kuya Randy. Maayos naman kami lahat. Walang may sakit saka bantay-sarado ang mga junior at senior citizens. Hello, Manang Thelms! Bawal kang lumabas hanggang next year!

Madalas kami lumabas ni Kuya Midel at ni Kuya Lex kasi nagdidstribute kami ng relief goods sa mga trabahador namin na puwede namin dalhan ng pagkain. Ngayon lang namin naramdaman ni Kuya Lex kung gaano karami sa mga trabahador namin ang inaanak namin ang mga anak kasi linggo-linggong kahon-kahon ng gatas at diapers ang binibili namin kay Ate Kaye. Tinanong na nga niya kami kung may mga anak ba kami sa labas na hindi niya alam. ‘Tapos nito pang buwan, birthday nina Mace at ni Kuya kaya may pa-spaghetti pa kami bawat relief pack ng mga trabahador. Dito nga lang sa malapit ang nabibigyan namin kaya may pa-voucher na lang kami d’un sa mga nasa malalayo. Sila na lang ang bumili sa pinakamalapit na branches ng grocery ni Ate ng kailangan nila.

Ang paborito ngayon ni Mace eh ‘yung pag-uwi namin ni Kuya Midel, nag-hihintay na siya na may hawak na hose ‘tapos bobombahan niya kaming dalawa ni Kuya Midel ng tubig habang nakatayo kami sa garden. Tuwang-tuwa si Mason kapag gan’un! Kaya di ko sigurado kung gusto niyang maging bumbero o hardinero na mahilig magdilig ng mga halaman. Kung mahilig siya magdilig, aba, eh di mana kay Papa! Ahahaha Pagkaligo namin ni Kuya Midel, saka lang kami puwedeng lumapit sa bahay. Kaya wala kaming naiuuwing sakit.

Okay lang din ang mga biyenan ko. Masaya si Mommy Marianne kasi maraming tao sa bahay kaya marami siyang naaalagaan. Si Daddy naman, siya lang siguro ‘yung makikita kong negosyante ngayon na nakakangiti pa. Wala pa kasing empleyado sa lahat ng sites ng Balajadia Industries ang nag-re-report na nagkasakit. Hindi pa raw niya iniisip ‘yung pagkalugi, sabi ni Dad. Basta raw kaya pa niya magpasahod ng mga empleyado, okay lang daw ang kompanya. Eh kaya talaga niya kasi may Employee Assistance Fund ang Balajadia Industries. May garantisadong sahod ang lahat ng mga empleyado up to three months kung sakaling may ganitong pangyayari (pandemic, giyera, natural disaster, alien invasion, end of the world…) na walang trabaho at hihinto ang ekonomiya. Kaya okay naman sila sa kompanya.

Gusto ko tuloy lumipat ulit sa kanila.

Joke lang.

Medyo.

Kami namang mga Montesines, si Ate Kaye lang ang may kita ngayon pero linggo-linggo kaming may grocery showcase galing sa kanya. Kami lang din ang puwedeng mang-hoard sa grocery niya myehehe pero kasi nga, binibigay naman namin sa mga trabahador. ‘Tapos mabait din talaga si Ate kasi marami siyang pa-discount ngayon.
Nagdala nga akong ID n’ung isang araw para bumili na naman ng gatas, bibigyan din ako ng discount! Natawa ako eh. Pinagamit ko na lang ‘yung discount ko para d’un sa tatay na sumunod sa ‘kin sa pila. Tuwang-tuwa nga eh. Anim daw kasi ‘yung anak niya. ‘Yung natipid niya, puwede daw niya ibili pa ulit ng gatas sa susunod.

Nand’un din silang lahat sa bahay, sina Mommy at Daddy, at ‘yung mga bata.

Si Ate Mari pala kasama ni Kuya Matt. Sa Coronado sila inabot ng lockdown.

Ang hirap ng buhay ngayon talaga. Nakakatakot na nakakalungkot na nakaka-iyak kapag makikita mo ‘yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap at nagugutom.

Kaya nga sabi ko rin kay Ate Elise, huwag na muna siya mag-online masyado. Kasi kilala ko ‘yun. Kapag nagsimula ‘yun mag-alala, pati mga issue na dapat eh mayor na ang namomroblema, proproblemahin n’un. Eh ilang buwan pa naman na siyang malungkot bago pa nagkaroon ng pandemic. Sabi ko sa kanya alagaan muna niya ang sarili niya. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi niya alam ang mga nangyayari. Huwag mo banggitin sa kanya na naniniwala ang gobyerno na may “flattening of the curve” kasi iinit ang ulo n’un. 

Nagsusulat siya ngayon ng manuscripts para sa Bookware. Gusto raw kasi niya bumawi sa publisher niya, at na magsulat na walang pressure o expectations ng immediate feedback. Nai-Premium na niya ‘yung tatlong dapat eh last year pa niya natapos, ‘yung SuJu Lees niya. ‘Tapos naka-tatlo pang Premium books na rin siya, at malapit na niya matapos ‘yung pang-apat.

Nag-so-sorry siya ulit na hindi niya maharap ‘yung Wattpad. Inaatake daw kasi siya ng anxiety kapag iniisip niya. Saka lumalabas daw sa kuwento ‘yung mood niya kaya binubura niya lahat ng nasusulat niyang updates. Hindi raw kasi gan’un ang gusto niyang mood at tono ng mga kuwento. Sabi ko Sentinels na lang muna isulat niya, o kaya ‘yung pamilya nina Aaron. Para puwedeng magpasabog o kaya mangain ng kaluluwa. Kung ako lang, kahit naman ikuwento lang niya kung paano mag-CR si Kuya Lex, babasahin ko pa rin eh. Pero ayoko rin naman na hindi siya komportable habang nagsusulat kaya sabi ko, siya na ang bahala. Magsulat siya sa Wattpad kapag masaya na siya ulit magsulat sa Wattpad. Kapag wala nang kaba. Nahihiya rin kasi talaga siya na ngayon pa siya dumaan sa ganito, kung kailan mas maganda raw sana na nagsi-share siya ng kahit limang minuto lang na katatawanan sa isang update habang madilim ang mundo. Sabi ko okay sana ‘yun kung okay lang din siya. Kaya huwag na niya problemahin. Makakabalik din naman siya. At nand’un pa rin ako, naghihintay na may hawak na popcorn.

Gusto niya rin daw mag-thank you sa mga nag-me-message sa kanya, sa mga nagpapadala ng mga DM sa Twitter, at special mention daw kay Ayie at kay Tin na textmates niya pag nakakapagpa-load siya imbes na ubusin ‘yung dala niyang pera na pang-load sana sa egg pie. Kahit di raw siya nakaka-reply lagi, excited siya makatanggap ng texts ninyo kahit one-liners lang. Sa kanya, mahigpit na mahigpit na hugs na raw ‘yung mga messages na nagpapalakas sa kanya.

Gusto lang niya malampasan ‘to na alam ko namang kayang-kaya niya. May mga  nalampasan na siyang mas malala pa.

So, ‘yun ang kuwento. ‘Yun ang pinagkakaabalahan namin ngayon. Sa susunod, baka si Kuya naman daw ang ipag-blog niya, sabi ni Ate. O si Marlon. O si Lester. Siyempre, sana ako ulit kasi ako ang peborit niya eh. Pero huwag mo sabihin kay Marlon kasi magtatampo ‘yung naglalakad na carpet na ‘yun.

A

Hi, guys! Welcome back to my channel. HAHAHA feeling vlogger amput—

Si Ash pala ‘to, guest blogger ni Ate Elise. Kumusta na raw kayo? Miss na niya kayo. Miss ko na rin ako pero okay lang naman ako, Ate. Tenk yu.

Ah, si Ate Elise? Okay naman siya. Huwag daw kayo masyado mag-alala sa kanya. Alam n’yo naman si Ate. Minsan may pinagdaraanan kasi talaga siya at kailangan lang niya eh katahimikan, kapayapaan, hugs at potato chips. ‘Yun ang bumubuhay sa kanya ngayon. Padala kayo ng maraming virtual potato chips.

Sorry raw kasi hindi niya maharap ang Wattpad. Sabi ko ako na lang ang magkukuwento ng kuwento nina Kuya at Marlon kasi alam ko naman kung ano nangyari di ba? Ayaw naman niya. Actually, ayaw NILA lahat. Huwag daw ako makialam sabi ni Marlon. Ako na nga ang nagmagandang loob!

Kumusta na raw kayo sabi ni Ate. Sana safe daw kayo sa sakit at hindi matigas ang mga ulo n’yo na labas kayo nang labas kahit may quarantine. Except nga naman kung frontliners kayo, in which case, THANK YOU for your service. Mga bayani kayong tunay. Sana safe kayo at healthy, at sana ibigay sa inyo ng universe ang nararapat na reward ninyo gaya ng araw-araw na masarap na ulam.

Kaming pamilya at barkada? Okay lang kami kahit hiwa-hiwalay. Ako, si Mere at si Mace, dito kami kina Daddy Eman lumipat bago nag-lockdown. Si Kuya, inuwi ‘yung baby niya sa Makati. Si Marlon, nasa San Juan (wawa), kasi si Charles nasa kanila sa QC. Sa QC din sina Hank at Laura. Si Alessa, kasama ni Lester sa pamilya niya sa San Juan din. N’ung una pa lang na nabalitang may kaso ng COVID-19 sa BGC, lumipat na kami. Namiyenan na ako. 

Okay naman kami. Si Mere ang may trabaho ngayon. Hindi naman siya pumapasok pero madalas may meetings siya. Hello raw. Si Mason, nag-celebrate siya ng second birthday niya sa bahay. Marami-rami kami rito kina Dad kasi nandito rin ‘yung pamilya nina Kuya Midel, nanay ni Kuya Armand, saka pamilya ni Kuya Randy. Maayos naman kami lahat. Walang may sakit saka bantay-sarado ang mga junior at senior citizens. Hello, Manang Thelms! Bawal kang lumabas hanggang next year!

Madalas kami lumabas ni Kuya Midel at ni Kuya Lex kasi nagdidstribute kami ng relief goods sa mga trabahador namin na puwede namin dalhan ng pagkain. Ngayon lang namin naramdaman ni Kuya Lex kung gaano karami sa mga trabahador namin ang inaanak namin ang mga anak kasi linggo-linggong kahon-kahon ng gatas at diapers ang binibili namin kay Ate Kaye. Tinanong na nga niya kami kung may mga anak ba kami sa labas na hindi niya alam. ‘Tapos nito pang buwan, birthday nina Mace at ni Kuya kaya may pa-spaghetti pa kami bawat relief pack ng mga trabahador. Dito nga lang sa malapit ang nabibigyan namin kaya may pa-voucher na lang kami d’un sa mga nasa malalayo. Sila na lang ang bumili sa pinakamalapit na branches ng grocery ni Ate ng kailangan nila.

Ang paborito ngayon ni Mace eh ‘yung pag-uwi namin ni Kuya Midel, nag-hihintay na siya na may hawak na hose ‘tapos bobombahan niya kaming dalawa ni Kuya Midel ng tubig habang nakatayo kami sa garden. Tuwang-tuwa si Mason kapag gan’un! Kaya di ko sigurado kung gusto niyang maging bumbero o hardinero na mahilig magdilig ng mga halaman. Kung mahilig siya magdilig, aba, eh di mana kay Papa! Ahahaha Pagkaligo namin ni Kuya Midel, saka lang kami puwedeng lumapit sa bahay. Kaya wala kaming naiuuwing sakit.

Okay lang din ang mga biyenan ko. Masaya si Mommy Marianne kasi maraming tao sa bahay kaya marami siyang naaalagaan. Si Daddy naman, siya lang siguro ‘yung makikita kong negosyante ngayon na nakakangiti pa. Wala pa kasing empleyado sa lahat ng sites ng Balajadia Industries ang nag-re-report na nagkasakit. Hindi pa raw niya iniisip ‘yung pagkalugi, sabi ni Dad. Basta raw kaya pa niya magpasahod ng mga empleyado, okay lang daw ang kompanya. Eh kaya talaga niya kasi may Employee Assistance Fund ang Balajadia Industries. May garantisadong sahod ang lahat ng mga empleyado up to three months kung sakaling may ganitong pangyayari (pandemic, giyera, natural disaster, alien invasion, end of the world…) na walang trabaho at hihinto ang ekonomiya. Kaya okay naman sila sa kompanya.

Gusto ko tuloy lumipat ulit sa kanila.

Joke lang.

Medyo.

Kami namang mga Montesines, si Ate Kaye lang ang may kita ngayon pero linggo-linggo kaming may grocery showcase galing sa kanya. Kami lang din ang puwedeng mang-hoard sa grocery niya myehehe pero kasi nga, binibigay naman namin sa mga trabahador. ‘Tapos mabait din talaga si Ate kasi marami siyang pa-discount ngayon.
Nagdala nga akong ID n’ung isang araw para bumili na naman ng gatas, bibigyan din ako ng discount! Natawa ako eh. Pinagamit ko na lang ‘yung discount ko para d’un sa tatay na sumunod sa ‘kin sa pila. Tuwang-tuwa nga eh. Anim daw kasi ‘yung anak niya. ‘Yung natipid niya, puwede daw niya ibili pa ulit ng gatas sa susunod.

Nand’un din silang lahat sa bahay, sina Mommy at Daddy, at ‘yung mga bata.

Si Ate Mari pala kasama ni Kuya Matt. Sa Coronado sila inabot ng lockdown.

Ang hirap ng buhay ngayon talaga. Nakakatakot na nakakalungkot na nakaka-iyak kapag makikita mo ‘yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap at nagugutom.

Kaya nga sabi ko rin kay Ate Elise, huwag na muna siya mag-online masyado. Kasi kilala ko ‘yun. Kapag nagsimula ‘yun mag-alala, pati mga issue na dapat eh mayor na ang namomroblema, proproblemahin n’un. Eh ilang buwan pa naman na siyang malungkot bago pa nagkaroon ng pandemic. Sabi ko sa kanya alagaan muna niya ang sarili niya. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi niya alam ang mga nangyayari. Huwag mo banggitin sa kanya na naniniwala ang gobyerno na may “flattening of the curve” kasi iinit ang ulo n’un. 

Nagsusulat siya ngayon ng manuscripts para sa Bookware. Gusto raw kasi niya bumawi sa publisher niya, at na magsulat na walang pressure o expectations ng immediate feedback. Nai-Premium na niya ‘yung tatlong dapat eh last year pa niya natapos, ‘yung SuJu Lees niya. ‘Tapos naka-tatlo pang Premium books na rin siya, at malapit na niya matapos ‘yung pang-apat.

Nag-so-sorry siya ulit na hindi niya maharap ‘yung Wattpad. Inaatake daw kasi siya ng anxiety kapag iniisip niya. Saka lumalabas daw sa kuwento ‘yung mood niya kaya binubura niya lahat ng nasusulat niyang updates. Hindi raw kasi gan’un ang gusto niyang mood at tono ng mga kuwento. Sabi ko Sentinels na lang muna isulat niya, o kaya ‘yung pamilya nina Aaron. Para puwedeng magpasabog o kaya mangain ng kaluluwa. Kung ako lang, kahit naman ikuwento lang niya kung paano mag-CR si Kuya Lex, babasahin ko pa rin eh. Pero ayoko rin naman na hindi siya komportable habang nagsusulat kaya sabi ko, siya na ang bahala. Magsulat siya sa Wattpad kapag masaya na siya ulit magsulat sa Wattpad. Kapag wala nang kaba. Nahihiya rin kasi talaga siya na ngayon pa siya dumaan sa ganito, kung kailan mas maganda raw sana na nagsi-share siya ng kahit limang minuto lang na katatawanan sa isang update habang madilim ang mundo. Sabi ko okay sana ‘yun kung okay lang din siya. Kaya huwag na niya problemahin. Makakabalik din naman siya. At nand’un pa rin ako, naghihintay na may hawak na popcorn.

Gusto niya rin daw mag-thank you sa mga nag-me-message sa kanya, sa mga nagpapadala ng mga DM sa Twitter, at special mention daw kay Ayie at kay Tin na textmates niya pag nakakapagpa-load siya imbes na ubusin ‘yung dala niyang pera na pang-load sana sa egg pie. Kahit di raw siya nakaka-reply lagi, excited siya makatanggap ng texts ninyo kahit one-liners lang. Sa kanya, mahigpit na mahigpit na hugs na raw ‘yung mga messages na nagpapalakas sa kanya.

Gusto lang niya malampasan ‘to na alam ko namang kayang-kaya niya. May mga  nalampasan na siyang mas malala pa.

So, ‘yun ang kuwento. ‘Yun ang pinagkakaabalahan namin ngayon. Sa susunod, baka si Kuya naman daw ang ipag-blog niya, sabi ni Ate. O si Marlon. O si Lester. Siyempre, sana ako ulit kasi ako ang peborit niya eh. Pero huwag mo sabihin kay Marlon kasi magtatampo ‘yung naglalakad na carpet na ‘yun.

Anyway, ingat kayo lagi. Huwag muna kayo lumabas kung hindi kailangan kahit pag i-lift na ang quarantine ah. Hindi porke wala nang quarantine eh ibig nang sabihin wala na ring COVID-19. Buti na ‘yung safe pa rin tayo. Huwag muna kayo lalapit sa ibang tao. Laging magsuot ng mask. Laging maghugas ng mga kamay at mag-alkohol at sanitizer. Kita-kita tayo sa new normal at sama-sama tayong mag-adjust.

Muli, sa mga frontliners natin, sa mga doktor, nurses, lahat ng health workers, hanggang sa guards at mga service masters ng mga ospital, sa mga pulis at mga sundalo, sa mga nagtatrabaho sa mga groceries at food industry, sa mga riders at drivers ng delivery services, sa mga garbage collectors, basta sa lahat ng mga nagtatrabaho sa kalagitnaan ng krisis na ‘to, maraming, maraming salamat.

Hanggang sa muli, mga bata! Ito po si Kuya Ash na nagsasabing ang batang makulit, kung saan-saan naiipit! And I… thank you! Paalam!

(Sana pala nagpatulong ako kay Alessa sa intro at outro. Iba na kapag influencer eh.)




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Back to Writing

Last 2019, I took a loooong break from writing. I only submitted one book, The Mansion, which is still available to read for free on Wattpad, a translation job, and a couple of editing jobs. I managed to update my Wattpad stories a few times, and wrote a few journal entries every month, but mostly I just stepped back from writing.

That was probably a mistake.

Because it’s so hard to get my writing groove back! 😭

Why did I stop in the first place? It wasn’t a lack of things to write. I have five on-going Wattpad stories. Six if you include IB2, and I pretty much know where all the stories are going. I have three manuscripts that I asked my publisher to hold back because I was going to expand the stories. I have the next three books for that same series lined up, another four-book series, Alpha Squad 5 and 6, Unico Hijos Book 3… and those are only the books that have been on my to-write-like-right-now list because they’ve been in my to-write list for YEARS!

And I have a lot of other manuscripts lined up too. Paranormal romances, more military romances, YA, NA… so yeah, it wasn’t a matter of not having anything to write.

So what was it? Why did I stop?

The simple, honest answer is… I got tired. *gasp*

No, I didn’t get tired of telling stories, I just got tired of… typing. I’ve been writing professionally since 2007. (I’ve been writing sing 1988 but that’s beside the point.) I took an early break in 2008 and finished only two books that year, but I was employed then and barely had time to write. When I decided to write full time, I wrote for the next nine years, non-stop. I’m not as prolific as other writers but I averaged about 8 books a year. And really, I thought I *needed* that break.

I also kinda lost motivation for a while. Those are more personal reasons, and while I’m open about the state of my mental health, some things are better left unshared over the Internet. Especially if they involve other people who have no idea that they’re involved in my personal issues. Heh.

But I love writing. I love making up stories, telling stories, living in made up stories. I will NEVER give up writing though I know now that I do need to take breaks. So while I don’t regret my hiatus last year, I regret how long I took to get back to writing.

I’m slowly getting there. Or at least I think I am. I spent the first week of January writing journal entries, 2020 plans, plots and manuscript outlines, just so I can get used to writing again, especially writing manuscripts. I wrote on Wattpad last year and all of my stories there are written in the first person POV. Adjusting to the 3rd person POV proves a little more challenging than I expected.

But I’m on day 4 of manuscript writing today, and for the first time this year, I wrote more than 2K words for a manuscript written in the 3rd person POV, AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT SUCKS!

Doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, just that I don’t feel like it sucks. I’ll get to the point where it actually doesn’t suck eventually, but for now, I’m contented.

Hopefully, I can finish this book tomorrow because I only have room for one more chapter (roughly 2,000 more words). Then off to the next book…

I did say I was going to take a break after every manuscript, but I can’t with this series because this was supposed to be released last 2018. My publisher has been really patient with me with this. Also, these manuscripts are not new. I only have to add scenes to them because I asked if they can be released as part of the Premium imprint rather than the regular 20K-word books. I didn’t have to start from scratch.

Also, I missed writing. I missed working. I missed getting lost in a story that I have no idea that the movie I’ve been playing in the background had looped, or what time it was when I surface, or that I haven’t had lunch or dinner because I was busy. I even miss the pagod, and the backache, and the aching wrists. I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of feeling all the aches and pains because I spent a minimum of four hours in front of the laptop.

At the moment, I’m cautiously happy that I’m getting back to it. I’m looking forward to that time when I can write The End at the last page of a manuscript again. I’ll do that soon, I promise.

Thank you to every one who has sent me words of encouragement and love on my social media accounts. I really appreciate the support. I’m motivated and made to feel confident, and it means a lot to me. Thank you!

Anyway, I’m going back to work. Maybe I can squeeze in a few more words (or a hundred) before I need to go to bed.

I hope you get to rest! Sleep well and good night! 🌙

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NaNoWriMo 2019

It’s Halloween! 🎃👻 But because I don’t celebrate Halloween like other people do, the end of October means something different to me. It means NaNoWriMo! 😱

I just signed into my NaNoWriMo account and it said that I’ve been NaNo-ing for the last 8 years. I’ve won a few times, lost a few times… but every time had been a fun experience that I wish I can do every month of the year.If you still don’t know what NaNoWriMo is it’s National Novel Writing Month which is every November. It’s when writers all over sit down with their computers, phones, typewriters, pens and papers, tablets (both electronic and stone if that works for you), and any and all writing instruments to write their hearts out to finish 50,000 words in 30 days.

The first time I tried NaNoWriMo, I wrote 50K words in a month. I didn’t finish the novel then, but that’s actually not the goal. The goal is the 50,000 words. I did, eventually, finish the book at 75,000+ words. It was a Harry Potter fanfic, if I remember my NaNoWriMo novels correctly.Last year, I also finished my NaNo project, The Mansion. It’s still up on Wattpad at the moment but it’s been accepted by my publisher so yay, me! I didn’t finish it in November either but I did finish the 50,000 words within the month. It ended up being an 80K-word novel that I finished a few months later.

This year, I’m excited to finally start a romantic historical fantasy novel that I’ve actually conceptualized a LOOOOONG time ago. Like more than twenty years ago. I found my old notebooks where I wrote plot ideas when I was a teenager, and when I read the plot idea for this, the story just reshaped itself in my head.The original story was supposed to be set in 15th century England. You know, with castles and knights and stuff? But while I sat there, notebook in hand, it just started to rewrite itself.

img_20191031_0816283590417982396589499.jpg

I’ve decided to start the story in 18th century Pasig City instead… at least as of my planning stage. I’m calling it This World Where You Exist which is actually taken from my favorite SHINee song, 君がいる世界 (Kimi Ga Iru Sekai, The World Where You Exist).

I still consider myself a Pasiguena even though I haven’t lived there for more than half my life already. My father’s family is from Pasig. My great grandmother who was born in the 1800’s (She died at the age of 103. She was amazing.) had lived there all her life, and my relatives still live in Pasig. If I had a choice and a chance, I’d move back.Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but as of now, the main character is about eighteen years old, and the book will be written from her point of view.

I’ll be posting it on Wattpad anyway so if you want to read it, you can read it from there, but I have to warn you that my NaNoWriMo novels only get the barest edits in November. Again, my goal is to write 50,000 words. It doesn’t matter if they make much sense. So in this book… be prepared for fillers! Historical fillers! BUWAHAHAHA

I’m really excited to start this book, and really nervous as well, but I know I’m going to enjoy writing it. I’ll also be writing for me first. If you find any errors or something sounds wrong, please comment about it and I’d take note, but I’d come back to fix it in December… or if/when I finish the book.

I need to finish writing 1,667 words a day for the novel but I won’t post every day. I’d post after every chapter is finished. My chapters can be as long as 5,000 words so… Just don’t expect to read an update every day. Parang di n’yo naman ako kilala. 😅

I’d also have to remind you (and myself) that along with this novel, I still have to update Marlon’s, Lex’s, and Obie’s books, AND finish my Lees (tentatively title Soju Sessions Series) book. Tbis means I’m probably, hopefully, going to be offline a lot of times except for research. If you see me online please tell me to get off Twitter to write. 😅

Sooooo… wish me luck!

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Hello, My Loves

When I was in college, I’d commute to school from my dorm, hoping to hear a Westlife song on the radio. For me, a Westlife song meant I’d ace a quiz, or not get called by a professor when I didn’t know the answer to a question, or I’d know the answer to a question if a professor calls on me, or I’d see my crush during the course of the day. Back then, hearing a Westlife song meant I’d have a good day.

After I graduated and started job hunting, I’d still wait for a Westlife song to play on the radio during my commute to job interviews. It meant it was going to be okay.

When I was sad or I was going through a rough time, Westlife music was my comfort music long before I discovered SHINee. To me, it was like a hug, telling me that everything was going to be okay.

When they split up in 2012, I was devastated because I never got to see them live. I wasn’t a concert-goer so when they came to Manila at that time, I didn’t make an effort to watch their concert. I had no idea it was going to be their last. Maybe I cried a little. Konti lang. I said I would always have their music anyway, and their songs will always be that comforting hug that got me through tough times.

So when they announced their Twenty Tour, I was estatic! As in ‘yung tuwa ko, iba. Sabi ko hindi ko na talaga papalampasin ‘to because, hello! Okay lang ako?

Na-excite kami ni Rozz, one of my now-official concert buddies, who is also a Westlife fan. Unlike me, she did see them during their last concert in Manila. We talked about going to see the con together, and I volunteered to get our tickets for us sa Megamall when the selling period starts. Okay na di ba?

But on the day the tickets went on sale, na-late ako ng gising. I’ve been on the nightshift for forever so mga 4 or 5 AM na ako nakatulog n’un. If I want to get to Megamall before opening, I had to leave the house before 8:30 AM which means I have to be awake at 7 AM. Mga past nine na ako nagising. So I was at Megamall before 11 AM.

Chill pa ako kasi it was Westlife. All the kids were crazy for Kpop so I thougth di naman siguro gan’un kagulo ang ticket selling. I was thinking about the last EXO concert na talagang nag-iyakan sila kasi ang bilis na-sold out. This was Westlife. Titas like me were chill.

When I got to the customer service area in SM, I went to the counter to ask where I could get a queing number. The harried-looking ate looked at me and said, “D’un po sa dulo. Pero, ma’am, kung Westlife tickets po, sold out na po. Pa-isa-isa na lang po ang available.”

Huwaht?! Nawala ang chill ko!

I hurried to the ate guard to ask for a number (sixty-nine na ako) then I sat near the counter with a group of other titas waiting to see if we could still get tickets. Nagchikahan na kami about when we started becoming fans, where we wanted to sit, how surprised we were because there was a guy sitting with us who was probably only a baby when Westlife debuted but he was a really huge fan…

Medyo naging Bingo na ‘yung ticket selling because the ate at the counter would refresh the website, call out available seats–“VIP po, dalawang magkatabi!” or “Isa pong lower box! Meron pong may gusto?” or “Dalawa pong upper box pero magka-iba pong sections.”–‘tapos sisigaw ka ng BINGO! kung gusto mo ‘yung seat. Joke lang. But anyone who wanted the seat would go to the counter to grab it because the ates at the counter would only hold it for the branch for a few minutes before they refresh the page.

After a while I needed to go to the bathroom so I had to leave even if I wanted to stay in case two adjacent seats would suddenly be available pero mukhang malabo na kasi. I talked to Rozz at siyempre super disappointed kami kasi ticket na naging Bingo card pa! Nagpipigil ako ng iyak sa Snacks section ng SM. Nakita kong nilapitan na ako ni Manong Guard kasi baka akala niya iniiyakan ko ‘yung M&M’s sa harapan ko. Umatras lang siya kasi narinig niya ‘yung “sold out na” kaya naisip siguro niyang “ah, malungkot ‘to kaya mag-ho-hoard ‘to ng chocolate mamaya”.

I didn’t. But I wanted to.

Ayie and I met up that day, and she ended up wanting to go to so when they announced a day 2, ay sus! Ayie was online early in the morning and snagged our tickets for the July 29th, one day ahead, day 2 show!

So, this tita will get to see her boys who had been her source of comfort for nineteen years for the first time.

I’m so happeh!

•••

On the day of the concert, Ivy and I woke up late because we both slept at about 4 AM. We booked a Grab to Gateway, had coffee at Krispy Kreme, and dinner at Taco Bell while waiting for Rozz and Ayie. (I’m currently obsessed with tacos but that’s another blog post.)

It was raining so I was pleasantly surprised na mabilis ang mga biyahe naming lahat, although Ivy and I left the house at 5 PM for the 8 PM show. Everybody was at Taco Bell at 7:30, and we were at the Araneta Center at 8 PM on the dot.

I was really giddy, and nervous, and seriously, the tacos in my stomach wanted to come back out because of my excitement. Buti na lang at di sila nag-Hello, My Love bago ang show.

The concert started late but as soon as the lights were off, I was screaming! Nineteen years of my life flashed before my eyes, memories when I was listening to Westlife, talking about Westlife, writing fanfics about Westlife, specifically, Mark, my labs, collecting travel books about Ireland, trying to learn Gaelic (I really did. I have an Irish Gaelic-English dictionary), and generally just being happy because that was what Westlife meant to me, happy.

Then they were there on stage. Nicky. Kian. Mark. Shane.

And we were on our feet and I was singing ang screaming and crying and laughing and jumping ang laughing and crying again and dying because of their Irish accents and being resurrected because of their voices and singing and crying again.

Every song was familiar, something I sang in my head and in my heart hundreds of times in the last nineteen years. And I was with people I adore who were so obviously happy to be there, too. I rarely take videos during concerts so I took about four short ones during this one, and on all of them you can hear me and Ivy singing at the top of our lungs, not caring how we sound.

It still feels like a dream a week later.

In bullets…

• It felt like a huge karaoke party to me where everyone was happy.

• Mark’s voice, OMFG, Mark’s voice! I fell in love with him because of his voice (and his eyes in the Flying Without Wings MV), but holy sheet, hearing it live! Markus Michael Patrick Verdon Feehily’s voice!

• That Queen medley was amazing! I realized that I will cry at We are the Champions no matter who sings it.

• You Raise Me Up made me cry.

• I was waiting for Flying Without Wings because THAT is MY Westlife song. Yeah, it made me cry.

At the end of the concert, I just had to give Rozz, Ivy and Ayie a huge group hug, I was so emotional.

The boys said that they’re releasing a new album and that who knows, they might go on another tour next year. HELL, YES, I’d be there again! Hopefully mas maaga na ako magising for the ticket-selling (or hello, Ayie? Lam you!), hopefully with better, closer seats, and hopefully with the same people.

Thank you, Rozz, Ivy and Ayie! Until the next concert!

Thank you, Westlife, for an amazing, nostalgic, special night and for being a huge, positive part of my life. Grá go deo.

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Of Cats and Dogs

I got up at a little before 9 AM earlier and went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I still had my eyes closed as I waited for my water to heat in the microwave when I suddenly heard a commotion outside. May nag-aaway! Nagising ang katawang-lupa ko kasi narinig ko ‘yung galit na sigaw ni Otap.

Now, in our house, we couldn’t care less if we hear neighbors shouting outside, but when we hear an angry cat cry, you bet we’d drop anything and everything to check which cat it is and what happened. So I hurried to the door, pulled it open, and saw… a concert?

We have our cat enclosure for Ikho and Cash just outside the front door. They stay there because they used to be indoor cats at my sister’s old place and they can’t be let out without supervision because they’d most likely end up being hit by tricycles if they go beyond the gate. We let them out as much as possible but we don’t let them out without being watched so that’s where they stay. Anyway, when I took a peek outside, our three strays were sitting on top of that enclosure, looking down at the side where I can’t see. All five cats were howling and growling and seemed pretty agitated. So I opened the door to go out and I finally saw why.

May stranger pala! May di ko kilalang barako cat na nanliligaw kay Cash!

When he saw me, he ran… straight into our dog… who is only a bit bigger than the cat.

Cat is almost as big as Munch.

I was actually more afraid for Munchie so I shooed the strange cat away who ran again… straight into Otap. In fairness to my big baby, he stood his ground. I guess the other cat was just too distracted by, I dunno, hormones? To fight Otap so he didn’t really attack. They just growled at each other on top of the washing machine, and the strange cat just jumped up to the roof of the garage when Otap took a swipe at him.

I’m just relieved that it was just that. I don’t know that cat. He’s not one of the cats that roam our street. Kanya-kanya kasi silang teritoryo rito. There’s a different male cat near the end of the street. About three houses down until our house is Otap’s territory, and there’s a different male cat who “owns” the territory further down the street. Our neighbors have adopted them too but I think Otap is the only stray here that’s actually neutered. Ikho is too but since he only stays in the enclosure (he’d go out to get hugs, then flop down at your feet because he’s too lazy and well, overweight, to go far), he doesn’t count. Ngayon ko lang nakita ‘tong barakong ‘to, and visions of fleas, parasites and, rabies came to mind.

Anyway, he’s gone now but I know why he was out there. We have two girl cats. And Cash is in heat, the poor baby. We haven’t had the chance to get her spayed yet, and aside from the fact that we can’t really afford more cats so we don’t want her to get pregnant, two of our boys are neutered and Tommy, the baby who, technically, can already mate, is more interested in food, so there’s no relief for her in that aspect unless, I don’t know, set up a cat Tinder or something. But really, getting her spayed is the next priority because that’s the responsible thing to do.

I gave them their second breakfast already and treats because I know it’d been a stressful morning. And because Otap and Munchie had been heroes, they get extra Whiskas and Pedigree pouches for lunch. And because he’s the bunso, Tommmy gets to stay with me until my allergic rhenitis kicks in.

It’s quiet now, and I can get back to my (already cold) coffee. But at least all my outside chores are done, and I’m getting kitty, tuna-scented kisses and everyone deserves tuna-scented kisses in the morning.

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