whatever's clever


Cebu, Philippines.

Photographs, books and monologues.
Posted on 26, July 2014 July 26 2014 2014年7月26日 by kitcha


We stayed in a  house with a high ceiling at the end of the beach—-a house where a family once lived, but has since been rented out when they moved to the States. It was a nice quiet place and we shared a kitchen with the rest of the city kids out on vacation. The best part was that it was away from the main beach where college kids spent their time camped and passed out drunk in their tents. It was a beautiful place.

But that wasn’t what got my attention. It was this huge two-story beach house next door. Well, more like a beach mansion. It dwarfed all the tiny bungalows and cottages all around. I even wondered if it was some boutique hotel but one of the groundkeepers told me it was some businessman’s summer home.

And that’s why I never expected to see him there of all places.

I saw him first, skipping pebbles in the water. No scowl on his face, no black Chucks on his feet, no sweat from the 3 jeepney rides I take with him every single day. He was wearing a cotton shirt and some shorts and I tried to stifle a gasp as I realized who he was. But I guess I made some noise, or tumbled into the water somewhat and he turned to me. His dark eyes were large as saucers. I guess mine were the size of paper plates.

He recognized me. He was hoping he wouldn’t but he did. My hair was dishevelled from sleep and the huge sweater I was wearing was wrinkled. Too late did I realize I haven’t even washed my face or brushed my teeth. I was mortified to see him here, of all places.

When he seemed to have regained his senses he stammered, “Are—-are you stalking me?”

I managed to stifle a laugh and let out an indignant snort, “Totally.”


Hi, this is the first of my Trial and Error writing projects! Yey! They’re mostly stuff set in Cebu. I wish I could write in Bisaya but that takes mad skillz. Wa’y binuang. So, keeping it easy breezy and short for now and I’m enjoying it. Let’s see where this project will take us. I’m excited. I haven’t written this much in years! What do you honestly think? I’d love feedback. :)

Posted on 20, July 2014 July 20 2014 2014年7月20日 by kitcha


I used to wake up to the feel of my phone vibrating against my cheek. Somehow I always knew it would be you, sending your kicks to jolt me out of bed.

I never thought I’d miss the silly smiley faces you’d put at the end of each note, but I do. I’m sorry if I’d just realized it. Not that it would do us any good now.

See, here’s a secret:

It kills me when your eyes light up for someone else. When your eyebrows hitch up when someone’s telling you a funny story, or when you lean against someone else while waiting in line for the ATM.

It doesn’t make sense, I know. Because it’s my fault why I those little gestures don’t belong to me anymore. You said I pushed you away. Maybe you’re right.

So why does it feel like I’m on the outside looking in?

What do you think of this one? :)

Posted on 19, July 2014 July 19 2014 2014年7月19日 by kitcha


Maybe someday I’ll learn that love isn’t enough. Wait, that sounded better in my brain.

Maybe someday, it wouldn’t’ hurt so bad. Maybe one day, I’ll see you round a street corner buying fishball and kwek-kwek and I’ll smile and you’ll smile and we’ll forget how I tried to hold on to us when there wasn’t to hold on to anymore. Maybe someday, we’ll finally know what we want. Maybe someday we’ll stop looking for it at the wrong places.

Someday, I guess.

But right now, I kind of miss your hand in mine. I miss the feel of it, brushing a lock of my hair behind my ear. I miss the sound of your laugh whenever I say a stupid joke. I can wait for someday, I guess. But right now I need you and I miss how we used to be.

I’m trying to write. What do you think? :)

Posted on 19, July 2014 July 19 2014 2014年7月19日 by kitcha

Close Encounters of the International Bestseller Kind

Stephanie Perkins live in Cebu!


As in IN THE FLESH. And we were there! Let us henceforth and forever name July 6th 2014 as The Day I Hugged a Real Live Author or Close Encounters of the International Bestselling Kind. My brain is somewhat working now, but wow. I think this event just made my year.


Whoops. Trust me, we did our best to come in earlier.

Tip: If you want a FREE, SIGNED, ADVANCE copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After, do come early. The girl holding signing pass no.1 got herself one. A month before the release date. A MONTH. Dang, girl.


My sister Karling and her friend Honey wait excitedly for Steph to arrive. Yay to fellow fangirls!


Why hello there, Lola.

Someone from Twitter told Steph that Lola means “grandma” in Filipino. Her response? “OMG EVEN BETTER” Do you see why we love her, now?


Look, there she is!



Even Jarrod signed our books :)


We gave Steph a postcard of Bantayan. Because we’re thoughtful like that. :)


Me: Oh my gosh, you’re real!

Steph: Why yes I am! 

Haha, cool people zap your brain and reduce you to a bundle of spaz sometimes. 



Well, I can’t have her just sign it for me, right? So the entire Rule Kid gang gets it. :)


Happy panda face!

Having authors like Stephanie Perkins come to Cebu and do stuff like these has been surreal. The people behind this event has put Cebu—-my tiny island of Cebu—-on the map. It’s like sending out a flare to the rest of the world, saying “People love your work this side of the world too!” It gives avid readers a tiny spark of hope that the future of literature in the Philippines isn’t entirely bleak. It gives hope to aspiring writers, too, because once a upon a time, Steph was also struggling with similar challenges before she got published.

It was simply one of the best days of my life. 

Will they send Rainbow Rowell next?

Abangan! :D

Posted on 13, July 2014 July 13 2014 2014年7月13日 by kitcha


I’ll never forget the first time I ever went to Recto. Or more appropriately, ran around Recto in my 3-inch sparkly Figlia wedges.

It was the last day of classes, my first time in Manila after a decade and the cousin had to beat a deadline before sembreak kicked in. and I, the ever curious tourist decided to tag along. As I remember, Recto is not a street. It is a sea of people tangled in all sorts of things you can imagine—-bargain books, an assortment of clothes, merchandise, pirated dvds, pets—- all secured under a layer of smog and engulfed by the din of noisy jeepneys and bystanders and hagglers and sellers. More like your own personal Diagon Alley in the heart of Metro Manila, or, for Cebuanos like me, Downtown Colon. The only difference is that Recto is three times as huge and for the first timer like me, three times as nauseating and it’s enough to drive an island girl like me nuts with excitement or pollution or both.

It was complete culture shock. Forget about the easy Mactan island roads or even the paved streets of Makati: in Recto we were dodged people, stepped over wares, jumped over open manholes and even passed by a wake (as in with coffin and mourners and all) right there on the sidewalk. Anything went it. They could even make you an instant PhD in a matter of two days and a couple hundred bucks.

After a long run we survived and finally reached FEU. The project was passed. We had a snack. My face was sticky with sweat and dust and my feet burned. We took the train back home and had a dinner and I took a nice long bath to scrub out the day’s grime. The day’s adventure was amazing. Painful and dirty yes, but amazing. Recto is forever embedded in my memory.

My feet still cursed me the next day and I made a secret promise that I will never follow my cousins around downtown ever again. But then two days later we also walked around the Intramuros because someone said it was just a walking distance from SM Manila. But that’s another story.