Holding It In

larawan ng isang panulat at isang keyboard ng computer

These chiefly consist the arsenal plus the imagination./ writesmart.com


It is International Human Rights Day as I sit down to write away this text that will supposedly tell you, guys, a little about me. About me, hah! Does anyone really bother? Does anyone really care who I am or what I’ve been through or what I intend to do for the next week, next month, next year, next five (5) years or next ten(10) years? Hah, just posing the irritating question and trying to be confusing at the same time. You see, I can’t help but stand up for the reason for being of this blog – cynicism.

It’s a little old and tired word, really. It had its time very much like such words as superpowers, negativity, transition and the likes. Cynicism has been adopted, propagated, popularized and used up, sadly, just like everything else that could be put up on the counter, sold and then consigned to the corner, awaiting the time when it would be cool to reuse and to recycle. Am afraid it’s no longer fashionable to be cynical and that is why am putting it on hold.


Three years ago, as I was being interviewed in ad agencies, as copywriter or as researcher, I noticed that the bywords in that part of the world were a mixed lot. Push! (a rather old one, if you ask me), 360 degrees (didn’t know till then that Trigonometry could be all that invasive, haha) and the last one is a sentence – There are no stupid questions (only stupid responses?).

I was unnerved and impressed at the same time. I mean, where could those people be getting their positive energy, their zest for life, their happy projections for the future? Could they be taking different sets of vitamins? Could there be a special well where they draw revitalizing water from?

Regretfully, I never found out as I was not chosen for any of the posts. But I was shortlisted in most of them and for a good while, I was breathing the air of pride from having hobnobbed with the artsy-fartsy set – those who invade our living-rooms (via the tv sets), our view of the highways (via those giant billboards) and our peace and quiet (via our near and dear gadgets). Those gifted and artistic souls, bless them, why did they not take me in?


So, other than to tell you that I have artistic inclinations (hey, the word is inclinations, not endowments) let me also enlighten you to the fact that I am female (at least, biologically), Filipina, a college graduate and wonderfully single when I should have been fetching a kid of my my own from the grade five gate, had I chosen to take that track. Here, I will not argue for the cause of single-blessedness as I have heard that so many have tried but very few have succeeded. Also, I suspect that my hormones are not tuned in anymore to the demands of causes or advocacies, be they worthy or not.

Suffice it to say that I write for a living. That is, what would pass up for a living. That’s hard to tell these days, actually. With a little borrowing from siblings, a little scraping here and there and some attitude that one day I’m going to get things right, Β I do manage somehow. I mean, writing and in the Philippines at that, has its upsides and downsides.


One of the upsides is you get to do research. And boy, research could be fun sometimes, despite the long hours and the stiff neck you get afterwards. Another is, you get to use the vocabularies you have accumulated over the years. Also, you get to impress people for a good two to five minutes, especially those who are Google-dependent. Hey, that’s about the length of time it takes to view or to listen to a YouTube entry. These days, you can’t ask for more.

The downsides are aplenty and I suppose you are familiar. For one, there isn’t much money. If ever there were, they’re not going your way. For another, there’s no security of tenure. A writer is hired on a per project/per campaign/per demand basis. You could, of course, enlist yourself in certain politicians’ payrolls but the most you’ll get in any of them is a co-terminus post. But that’s okay. The position usually pays for the groceries and the fancy coffees you drink while waiting.

Waiting – that’s another downside of the trade. It’s a regular feature in this field. You wait around a lot – for the board meeting that will say yes to the proposal and the funding, for the stamp of approval of whatever public or private body that has seen fit to commission the writing and for the nod of the boss – the one who is connected to the important bodies or institutions. Guys, you get the pic? By the way, you also wait for the documents or information needed for the write-up and for people who happen to be in possession of those important materials.


The plight of the writer has been dramatized in Amy Tan’s work, The Joy Luck Club. In the opening scene of the novel, the lead character was meeting with her cousins who are all better off than her, economically and socially. I do not exactly remember how the novel ended but that fiction is deemed by many as autobiographical. What I know is Amy Tan became famous on the strength of that work and the novel was made into a movie – a very good one, too.

Virginia Woolf said that what made writing easy for her was her inheritance. That, and a room of one’s own. I have had a room of my own for the last 15 years and both parents are gone now, but no inheritance has fallen my way. Am wondering if Virginia’s recommendation is technically a hard and fast rule.


I would have liked to end on an affirmative note and say that life has been good and I have been fair. Alas, no such luck, just yet. Am still waiting. Still holding it in, so to speak. All I can say is it has been an interesting, trying and challenging ride (that’s an understatement). Twice, I have tried to get off and make time for either staring at the ceiling endlessly or smelling the flowers. As with my many and conflicting undertakings, I have failed there just as miserably. And oh, the flowering plants in our yard could really use some tending.

From what I heard, blogging does not make any promises. But here, neither am I making any. I will write away my experiences, my viewpoints and my opinions. If anybody will consider it worth his while to revisit or come back for a second helping, I Β would gladly oblige. I am actually capable of being nice sometimes. Also, in real terms, there are a couple of brave hearts who dared to make me their friend for life.


To be able to write down one’s thoughts without worrying what would the boss, the funder, the client, the expectant public would say, without having to worry whether you’re gonna get paid or not and with no deadlines to beat – that is the ultimate writer’s dream. I bet you’ve heard of that. And when one comes to think of it, it’s a little higher than the basic human rights. I guess nowadays, Β it’s classified under perks. In the old days, it was called privilege.


56 comments on “Holding It In

  1. nadia says:

    This is the most complex “about me” page I’ve ever read! πŸ˜€

  2. ahaha! am simple in real life. remember the 2nd law of thermodynamics? there… hello, nadia! πŸ™‚

  3. juyjuy says:

    The real about me! Not just about the basics. Gonna comment later, I’m at work! ^_^

  4. juyjuy says:

    Nakita ko na ung gravatar mo. Philippines pala talaga. :))

  5. marrymhey says:

    “To be able to write down one’s thoughts without worrying what would the boss, the funder, the client, the expectant public would say, without having to worry whether you’re gonna get paid or not and with no deadlines to beat – that is the ultimate writer’s dream. I bet you’ve heard of that. And when one comes to think of it, it’s a little higher than the basic human rights. I guess nowadays, it’s classified under perks. In the old days, it was called privilege.”

    i agree with this.. a lot.. ^_^

    ang gawin kung anong kinahihiligan.. ang magsulat.. ng walang iniintinding deadline.. gusto ko yun..

    at pag naiisip ko, parang gusto ko ng mag-resign.. ahahahah

    hello po ^_^
    nice meeting you.. i mean your blog
    Godbless πŸ™‚

    • hello, marrymhey,

      salamat for dropping by. ahaha, sa blog lang ‘yon. sa totoong buhay, maraming deadlines, hihi…

      ah, hwag mag-resign. one thing a writer needs is money, no kidding. that’s virginia woolf’s advice – when one is economically secure, s/he could churn out better works daw. ^^

      even nicer seeing you. hope you can come back. πŸ™‚

  6. Mars says:

    Hello again dear! Yes someone cares to know because you are interesting, and we all have raw stories to share. Sorry but you failed to confuse me by simply posing that question. Lolwhat!

    This probably is the longest, twisted about me page I have ever read. And I say that in a good kind of way. I remember when my editor was lecturing me about writing style…the linear, the circle, the square, the everywhere. IDK how to explain it really but I guess you are the everywhere one he was talking about–that good writer who can take a lot of turns, left, right, up, down but doesn’t get lost along the way. Wish I could also write for a living…but I’m no good in writing 😐 Here’s to wishing that life gets kinder by the days and weeks and years to come. And if it doesn’t, I pray that you be wiser and stronger to take on life’s bumpy road. It’s usually a rough ride, I heard, but always interesting. Cheers!

    • Hello, Mars! There’s nothing like reading kind words to fend off the effects of a real hot day. Thanks! ^^

      Ahaha, I had a mind to change this About Me page two months ago. Sort of make it a bit more cheerful, bring in a little more Filipino readers… But then, I remembered that the reminder in blogging is try to be as candid as possible. So, why make things simpler and lighter when in fact, they’re not? I have to draw the line somewhere between being simple and being simplistic, I guess. So the page stays, hehe… ^^

      Oh, I’ll try harder to confuse you the next time. And hey, it’s not much of a living, I suppose. ^^ If life doesn’t get kind by the days, weeks and years, I don’t have much of a choice except to be kind myself, haha. That isn’t a very good prospect, hoho. But then, I could say that life gave me a good beating. πŸ˜‰

      In the Chinese tradition, to wish a person an interesting life is a curse – have you heard? Sometimes, I wish I were rich and famous instead, haha.

      Glad you dropped by, dear. Been trying to finish my post in the last three days but the heat always gets the better of me. Hope things are well on your side. πŸ™‚

      • Mars says:

        You’re welcome. And no, let it be, this is you, your raw brain and that’s what I think personal blogging is about–letting that complicated side and whatever sides of you shine!

        Challenge accepted. (Please be gentle with my mind Lol) Totally agree about drawing a line between simple and simplistic. I’ve always try to live by my pledge of making things simple, not simpler. Oh well. Really? I didn’t know and thanks for the additional information. But I didn’t wish you an interesting life because I know that you are already living an interesting one. I did wish you strength and wisdom though πŸ™‚

        Glad I did. Things are going well on my end. Cheers! And hope to hear from you (in blog posts) soon!

      • Hello, Mars! How’s weekend, dear? Pardon me for not responding to this at once. I suppose I didn’t know how to answer the things you said, ahaha. Well, I’ll try now… ^^ Yes, my brain is raw and melting from the heat, hehe.

        Hmmn, personal blogging is letting the different sides (including the complicated) of a person shine, huh?! Well, I suppose that all persons have both simple and complicated sides to their personalities. If one is able to get them across to the public at large through blogging is another matter, I think… It depends, I guess. It depends on one’s perception of his or her audience in blogging and how he or she intends to reach them. I’d say that generally, the public is impatient (wants things fast and chewable) and fickle-minded (prone to following trends) and more inclined to establish relationships with the old faces and names (unless one is an established public figure, one’s blogs are considered flavors or novelty pieces).

        Thank you for your wishes, kapatid. I wish that for myself, too, haha. But you don’t sound simple yourself.^^ For somebody that young, you’re too articulate and too sensible, haha, peace! And I sense way too much feelings there – layers upon layers of stories in a single circumstance or lone encounter, haha. What to do, eh? ^_^ Have a good Sunday, Mars! πŸ™‚

  7. Mars says:

    Hello dear, I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you can check this link out when you get the luxury of time (http://hereismars.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/making-milestones-memorable/) I wish you more joy and success! Hugs from this side of the world πŸ™‚

  8. Hello, dear. OMG! Salamat for making me part of this memorable point in your blogging life. Really appreciate it. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I’ll revisit your site soon. Hugs, left and right, ahaha. πŸ˜‰ Have a good weekend ahead…

  9. hi, thanks for dropping by my site. your blog is amazing πŸ™‚

    “To be able to write down one’s thoughts without worrying what would the boss, the funder, the client, the expectant public would say, without having to worry whether you’re gonna get paid or not and with no deadlines to beat – that is the ultimate writer’s dream.”

    yes, just keep writing and expressing your thoughts. that’s what i just intended to do when I started blogging til I met friends who since then frequently drop by to exhange comments, ideas, or simply say hi/hello though we have not met in person.


    • the honor and pleasure is mine, ms. GBP… so cool of you to drop by and take a peek. yes, blogging gives us friends and kakampis, across the universe, hehe. cheers to you, too! πŸ™‚

  10. I like you. πŸ˜‰

  11. I’m impressed that you write for a living. I can’t say that. I don’t know if I’d like writing as much as I do now!

  12. Oh, it’s not much of a living, really. In the Philippines, writing isn’t a profession yet (haha) in the sense that it alone will sustain you. Usually, one has other works or engagements or sidelines to be able to write. Or, if one’s devoting more time to writing instead of other works or sidelines, he or she must really be prepared to tighten belt and to borrow, from time to time. It isn’t stable. ^^

    As I said in one of my recent posts, I wasn’t proud of it, for a long time, haha. Blogging has helped a lot in making me accept that writing is enjoyable and somehow honorable? Hahaha. πŸ˜‰

  13. 100kpinoy says:

    hmmm, i just got curious and wonder…

    if you may care to lay across and expound, some explanations through your research and experiences…

    about this;

    a worthy business idea still embedded deep on the intricacies of one’s mind, yet to manifest but yearning to be sown on the fertile fields on the best opportune time.

    how can colluded minds, that met by faith or by chance… be able to mastermind, to invite further collusion of more able and willing minds to initiate and implement such worthy idea that would benefit the greater mass of fellowmen in accordance to the greater purpose?

    i hope i’m not asking for too much.

    just wishing to have a piece of your mind…

    • hello, 100kpinoy,

      hmnn, your question has something to do with promoting sustainable agriculture that pays and advocated by more farmers, is this correct? as far as i’ve heard, there are many espouses and advocates of organic and yet profitable agri in the Philippines already. personally, i have come across several papers on this – some are already being implemented, some are still executed on pilot bases and others are still awaiting approval for funding. there are those forwarded by individuals, some by organizations and others, by institutions related to increasing farm productivity, microfinance and rural development.

      since you did not mention what particular agricultural product you want to advance or what particular know-how you want to propagate, am not sure I can discuss this at length here and make any sense, lols. i don’t know… usually, the problems in the area of agri (whether sustainable or not) are financing, insurance and education (training and seminars) of farmers. i hope this helps. thanks for asking my opinion on the matter. actually, i hardly know anything, ahaha… πŸ™‚

      • 100kpinoy says:

        in a way, agriculture is just part of the masterplan.

        what i am thinking now is a built-in community with sustainability and recreational approach that is unique among the rest i have seen.

        i wish to brainstorm it with, and if possible start a partnership.. and then let’s see where we can take it from there.

        just email me if interested πŸ˜‰

  14. ah, no problem. just email me whatever rough plan or outline you have there and probably, i can pitch in an idea or two (hopefully). let’s see if the plan is viable and what it would take to get it going.

    ahaha, am afraid it’s too early to register interest in a partnership, 100kpinoy. i am not well-versed in community planning (more on theories ang sa ‘kin) but i would gladly help if there’s something i can contribute.

    btw, have you read Jesse Robredo’s Integrated Sustainable Plan for his city in Bicol? that one is rather commendable. it’s available via google search, btw… regards! πŸ™‚

    • 100kpinoy says:

      there we go… the ball starts rolling πŸ™‚

      you already start participation by giving me some reference links. that’s a good start! i value your keen sense of connecting to people.. that will be a strong focal point to having our objective be known to many πŸ˜‰

      time is on our side, i will not rush this thing up.
      i will prepare the draft and forward to you later on.

      as for financing, i will initiate of course and we’ll also try offering this to fellow OFW’s. i have 2 OFW brothers for a start. our church members are also good prospects… and so, the funding sourcing is boxed within limits of our imaginations.

      most important is that, we need to develop a business model that will give something of greater value to the investors and the betterment of nature and fellowmen in return to every investing penny that will be generated… that’s the main essence of the masterplan. and to that tune, we can do further research in the meantime.

      cheers to our future success!!!

      • ahaha, sige, i’ll wait for that email. hey, you sound like a man with a plan, haha. a mission… πŸ˜‰ i rarely come across people that purposeful, hihi. cheers! πŸ™‚

  15. 100kpinoy says:

    i have made an initial concept scheme. pls check it on my “home base” blog πŸ˜‰

  16. 100kpinoy says:

    awwww… deadline before 12MN horas sa pinas?! 1 hour nalang pala. bago ko pa mahagilap mga tagalog words at ma compose ang emote emote ubos na oras hahahaha! next time nalang. join kaba sis? goodluck! all the best!! πŸ™‚

    • haha, what happened was, in the afternoon, i read and took peeks at other participants’entries and still had none of my own. by 8pm, i jot down some words, left the house to walk the dog and get shoes from the repair shop. went home to dinner and just began typing a few sentences by 11pm. ang saya lang, di ba? ayon… oh, well. πŸ˜‰ thanks for the well-wishes…

  17. chilledhoney says:

    Hi, thank you for visiting my site and liking my blogs… πŸ™‚

    You are very welcome sa aking hardin πŸ™‚

  18. J. Kulisap says:

    Hahahaha. Parang ang punto eh ganito, gusto mong magsulat kahit talaga namang manunulat ka.

    Eh di tayo na’t umariba.

    Dito sa blogworld, kaniya-kaniya pero makakahanap pa din tayo ng mga gusto nating balik-balikang bloghay.


    • hello, kulisap… salamat sa pagdaan, kapatid. πŸ™‚ ah, kasi, pag nagsusulat outside of blog, one doesn’t get to write about what she really wants to write about, ayon…

      isa pa, ang karamihan sa writers, pinakamalalaki ang insecurities pagdating sa writing, as in… worse than an amateur blogger ang fears nilang di magustuhan ng babasa ang mga isinulat, as in… ^^

      ah, oo, may nakita na akong ilang bahay na nakakaigayang balik-balikan. iyong writers’ community na sinasabi, hopefully, mahahanap rin isang araw…
      salamat sa pagsilip, ha… cheers! πŸ˜‰

  19. Personally, I think a healthy bit of cynicism is largely underrated… It keeps us on edge, makes us strive for better. I’ve been indulging in the TV series MadMen (on DVD) of late. It’s become a bit of an obsession – and plenty of cynicism to go around there. But it’s sublime.

    Anyway, happy to meet you – thanks for coming by my blog. You’ll notice some undercurrents there, though I do my best to disguise it πŸ˜‰ Gonna take a look around now…

    • hello, Alarna Rose… so cool of you to have dropped by. ahaha, am seeing your gravatar at sir RK’s site. hope you don’t mind that i clicked it eventually. i have not seen Mad Men although i hear a bit about it. now, am gonna look for a DVD copy, thanks.

      i guess am cynical because i happen to have a hard life. somehow, i see things a bit differently, i suppose. am happy that some people like you seem not to take it against me, hahaha. thanks.

      i have only browsed through some of your posts. but so far, am very interested in what i’ve read. your writings conjure up images and scenes. am grateful you came around to have a look. have a seat, regards… πŸ™‚

      • Of course I don’t mind you finding me from RK… that’s what its all about πŸ™‚ Always fascinating to know how people stumble on you, though… Have a great day πŸ™‚

  20. Jnana Hodson says:

    In response to Brooke’s Sister’s nominating me for a Super Sweet Blogger award, I’m extending a nomination to you as well. You’re free to decline, of course, or to add it to your list of kudos. Should you accept, there are five requirements. Either way, thanks for all the fine posts you’ve been sharing. Tootles!
    1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger who nominated you.
    2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions. (See below.)
    3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post. (It’s the cupcake illustration.)
    4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.
    5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.
    1. Cookies or Cake? Both?
    2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
    3. Favorite Sweet Treat?
    4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things the Most?
    5. Sweet Nickname?
    Here’s hoping you accept.

    • hello, sir Jnana… thank you very much. it’s an honor – you dropping by, leaving a message and being nominated in your Super Sweet Blogger Award – awww. πŸ™‚ i really admire your writing skills, your musings and takes on issues and how you’ve prodded on, ahaha. ^^

      i proudly accept, sir. give me two weeks to work on the list, if you may. i have to ponder on the descriptions of the sweet bloggers, hehe… just the same, am really glad to be noticed and cited by you, one of happy happenstances in this blogging life. πŸ˜‰

      enjoy the rest of June and warm, kind regards… πŸ™‚ ~san

  21. Pat Cegan says:

    Ah, yes, now I remember where you are from. Your style of writing makes me sure that we would have a fun and interesting chat if we were ever to meet. Hugs, pat

    • hello, Ms. Pat… you must pardon me for not seeing this. am so glad you passed by this end. happy to make your acquaintance, Ma’am. i so love reading your poems, quotes and musings. wishing you and your loved ones well… hugs back πŸ™‚ san

  22. Dear San…are we breathing out yet? πŸ˜‰ Hope this finds you well all the way over in 2014!

  23. Thanks for viewing and following my humble blog πŸ˜€

  24. rey & lyn says:

    This is probably the best about page I’ve seen. I know I have written something like this on another blog but this is way better! More power and keep on writing! πŸ™‚

  25. You did say you would be back … missing your waves and words

  26. So – ARE you back now? Hoping for more than clicks – a few words from the uncynical one, perhaps? X

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