For Papa


This is for you, Papa, for when you chose Mama to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how early or how sudden it was for both of you.

This is for you, Papa, for when you chose to leave the warmth and comfort of your home and work abroad, in order to provide for our family.

This is for you, Papa, for when you braved the loneliness in foreign lands yet you worked so hard you impressed so many people.

This is for you, Papa, for when you saw me for the first time—your first and unexpected grandchild—and you called me your angel.

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Canis lupus

A wolf the color of snow pads silently, leaving a trail in its wake. It is on the hunt. The ground is frozen white, with barely any hint of the vegetation underneath. A twig snaps in the distance and the white wolf lifts its head, its ears pricked. Even from a distance, it catches the scent of an outsider—someone who doesn’t belong to the pack. 

The white wolf shifts, its muscles tensing, ready.

It tastes the unmistakable metallic tang of blood in the air. 

A steady growl pierces the thick atmosphere and red eyes light up the gloom. From a thick cover of trees, a dark wolf emerges, its coat the color of coal. Out of place in these gray lands.

The dark wolf bares its fangs. Dark liquid trickles from its canines and stains the immaculate whiteness of snow.

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Two Days, Two Letters

Monday, October 7.

Dear A,

It wasn’t the familiar tone of your voice that did it. You looked at my diagnostic cast with such intensity I was worried it might melt. You were mad about the base which was so thick. You were pointing out that I’ve used too much gypsum. And then you told me that I shouldn’t waste anymore because I wasn’t the one paying for the materials.

If I can kindly point out: I bought a pack of gypsum in Quiapo. Precisely because I knew I was going to need more. And I also had some gypsum from a friend. I just wish you wouldn’t go about assuming things and hurting people in the process, especially when you don’t know the story. All I’m asking for is a little consideration,  a hint of kindness.

I might as well fail that subject requiring that diagnostic cast anyway.

Tuesday, October 8.

Dear B,

I fully understand the consequences of my actions. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it that way but whenever I found it difficult, I did so. But I never made someone else do it. I never brought my work home even though I wanted to because I needed more time. It never slipped my mind that I have an enormous responsibility to my future patient.

And now I feel like I have done all those things, like I have cheated on my future patient. Because you basically called us cheaters. Because you called us cheap for only wanting a grade. Because you told us that we didn’t deserve to be in UP.

I don’t think it was only the trust you had in us that was broken today. My trust in you also shattered. You were my favorite! I believed in you so much. You have words that can heal, words that can empower. Until you walked towards us with such disappointment in your eyes that it broke my heart. I can assure you I didn’t do it all the time. Still, you make me feel like I have. Like it’s the only thing that matters. And when you spoke to us, your words were different, foreign. You spoke in utter disbelief. And then you brought up the UP card, the condescending tone. And you told us things I never thought I’d ever hear in my life.

You broke me. I know it’s not enough, but I’ve tried so hard. I always thought it would count for something. I’m sorry I cannot reach the standard of perfectionism.

I’ve been trying to look for a reason to stay. Instead, I found one of many reasons to leave. This is the last straw.

I hope you only said those words because you were angry. And I hope nobody ever hears them again.

Never call a child a cheater. That is how you break a person. That is how you wreck the fragile capsule of a being.


I’m going through a lot right now. I just can’t believe it: two days in a row! I wonder what’s in store for me tomorrow. I hope the streak of this hell week would be broken.

I cannot go through Dentistry like this.

An Open Letter

An apology:

For acting like a living ghost lately, as translucent as glass, as thin as paper lacking substance.

I am currently under too much pressure: exams are deforming my life with differential stress.

I couldn’t find the midpoint, the center, the pivot, or whatever it is that would designate balance. I’m teetering at the brink of maddening anxiety, and the only way I could avoid toppling over to the pits of destruction is to get everything that needs to be done over with.

But just to tell you, in case I’m pulling this fact with me to invisibility, you are not forgotten.