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Monday, December 19, 2011


Cold breeze blows,
Light and graceful,
Alluring, enchanting,
Tickling the imagination,
A key to another world.

An ethereal presence felt
By the window, as she looks
Outside, at the stars
Twinkling at the dead of the night
As the world stood still.

The blanket of sleep spreads
Across the city, but her eyes are open,
Thinking of you, where you could be
At that moment, laughing maybe,
As she sheds a tear or two.

Cold breeze blows, this time,
A harsh reminder slicing through
Her soft, delicate skin, and into
Her heart, covering it with
Numbing pain.

She reaches for a blanket,
Wraps it around her shoulders
To keep her warm,
For she can no longer fight the cold
In someone else's arms.

-Katherine Lopez
19 December 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cubicle Companions

I've mentioned before in a post that I love stationery. I love paper products, and when I see a pretty one in a store, I find it hard to stop myself from getting one. Like how I got this simple yet pretty memo pad:


I got this from Fully Booked. Our art director and I went there to look for books and other items we can feature. While we went there for work purposes, we both ended up buying cute finds from the stationery area. Haha! I couldn't actually choose between this set of two memo pads and another equally adorable magnetic memo pad. I wanted to get them both! But. I. Must. Practice. Restraint. Hehehe

I not only love cute paper products, but cute office supplies as well. I hate corporate-looking office stuff, because they look, uh, boring? Haha. They're just not... me. I like colorful things and quirky designs. And if they don't look office-y but they can certainly be used in the office, they get plus points from me. Case in point, these wooden pegs:


You might be asking, "What are those for?" Well, I use them in lieu of paperclips. And I find them more effective, especially when you stash clipped papers in a messy bag like mine when I'm in a hurry. A paperclip gets lost in the mess, while a wooden peg doesn't, so your papers remain grouped together. :) And aren't the Matryoshka Dolls lovely?

So there--some pretty things that perk me up. And they make for charming cubicle companions, apart from being practical. What's not to love? :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Iloilo Weekend Part 2

I woke up at 5 a.m. to take my medicine, so my tummy would behave the whole day. Aargh! It's really such a hassle when acid reflux is pestering you during a getaway. Anyway, after taking my medicine, I fell asleep once more, and woke up minutes before 7 a.m. - the time we set for everybody to meet up at neighboring Sarabia Hotel for our island hopping.

We rode a jeepney going to Ortiz, where the port is. Mel and Doc Bon talked to the boatmen, and after discussing a few things, we already had a rented boat! Woohoo! The boat ride was fun, with jokes and laughter from 17 people and picture taking here and there.

(left) Everybody. That guy with a huge, Close Up Confidence smile? That's Joel.
(right) One of the islands we saw.

One thing that I found amusing during the boat ride was the "store" in the middle of the sea. Our boatmen bought fish from another boat.

The Boat a.k.a Fish Store. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

The boat ride was long - approximately 30 to 45 minutes - before we stopped by a beach. I don't know the name of the island, but it was a beach and there were a few people swimming. Bino's family was there. A small group of what I think were teenagers was even having some sort of a lecture. We decided not to stay there for long; Turtle Island is just beside it. So we stayed at the shore of the unknown island while Bon and two others bought food for our lunch.

(left) U-Bloggers at the Unknown Island. Photo by John Laurence Patulan
(right) Jumpshot. Ang daming limbs ni Otep hahahaha! Photo by John Laurence Patulan

At Turtle Island came our Survivor Guimaras ordeal. As we approached the island, our boat got stuck because of the rocks at the bottom of the sea. The water was already too shallow for our boat to traverse. As the boatmen were figuring out what to do, we went into Survivor Guimaras mode. Bino even took a video of himself giving a "testimony" of what we were experiencing ("Naabisuhan na kaming walang makakain sa isla, pero hindi kami naniwala." In English: We had been told that there was nothing to eat in the island, but we didn't listen). The danger was evident in his tone of voice, but Leah, who was beside him in the video, was smiling. That was really hilarious!

Anyway, since the boat wouldn't nudge, we alighted the boat and swam to safety waded in the water to the shore. When we got to *ehem* dry land, I hung my things at a tree branch and swam a.k.a floated (I can't swim haha!). That was my most awaited moment! Haha! But before basking in the sun, of course, I made sure I sprayed sun block on my skin - the "uber waterproof, uber sweatproof" Beach Hut Spray!

(left) Commercial Mode: Beach Hut Spray. Non-sticky. Non-greasy. Non-eeww! Photo by Ate Roanne
(right) Me and My Dearest at Turtle Island, Guimaras. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

We had to get back to Iloilo City before 5 p.m. because U-blogger Mark a.k.a "Ang Poon" had a plane to catch. We were set to leave the island at 3 p.m., but because our boat was stuck, the boys had to help the boatmen do the legendary "1..2..3....PUSH!" But the boat was uncooperative. "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" and a whole lot more "1..2..3....PUSH!" About an hour or so, finally, the boat was pushed to a reasonable depth. The girls, Mark a.k.a "Ang Poon", and John followed, wading and getting scratched and wounded by the sharp edges of the rocks below. But none of those could rival the wounds the boys had gotten from pushing that boat. That was... heroic. And did I say legendary? It was more than an adventure.

When we got back to Iloilo City, "Ang Poon" immediately took a cab and bid us farewell. Some bought siopao. We agreed to meet at 9 p.m. for a videoke night at Smallville. So off we went to our respective hotels and showered and went to dinner. Ate Roanne, my dearest, and I went to Deco's to buy pasalubong (butterscotch yummmy yummy yummy!) and eat dinner.

(left) My Dearest at the Entrance of Deco's.
(right) Ate Roanne, Me, and John Laurence. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

It was my first time to try Batchoy, which Iloilo is famous for, and I didn't know it was sooo good! The warm Batchoy broth was so comforting, with its sweet, savory taste. I tried the noodles from JL's bowl and it was delicious. Too bad I already got full from my bowl of Callos so I didn't get to try more Batchoy. When I visit Iloilo again, I shall order Batchoy with sotanghon noodles. Hehe.

After dinner was *drum roll please* videoke time! Woohoo! Another moment I had been waiting for. Haha! In case you didn't know, I love love love love love LOVE singing! Whether singing loves me or not, that's not for me to answer. Haha! Anyway, Ate Roanne and I went to Smallville for the videoke session. It was past 9 p.m., and for sure, it was going to last until a little after midnight. Never mind that my dearest and I had a 6.15 a.m. flight the next day, and we were scheduled to leave our hotel at 3.30 a.m. Never mind that I wouldn't have any decent sleep (again) before my flight. This is videoke time, and I wouldn't miss it. And most especially, this is videoke time with the U-bloggers. I definitely wouldn't miss it.

So there we were - five hours of choosing songs, passing the microphone, singing our hearts out, cheering at our scores, witnessing Bino's "The Voice", CJ's dance moves, Ate Roanne's impeccable "Weak" performance (hihihihi!), and a whole lot more. Music really is a great way to bond. The four walls of that videoke room were witnesses to how we, who just met each other in person for the first time, sang, danced, partied, and had so much fun like we've known each other for so long.

Then, the clock stroke 1.30 a.m. Time to end the videoke night. Time for the night's "last song" (how many "last songs" did we have? Hahaha!). Time for group hug. Time to say goodbye and head back to our respective hotels. And for me, time to get ready for our flight.

My dearest and I arrived at the Iloilo International Airport before 5 a.m. Because I just partied a few hours before, I comfortably lay down my tired oh so tired body on the chairs at the waiting area. Haha! With my shawl keeping me warm, I fell asleep, until it was time for us to board the plane.

I was still light-headed when we got off the plane in Manila. My body was so exhausted from the adventure-filled, two-day vacation with the U-bloggers. All I wanted at that moment was to crash on my bed (or on our couch 'coz I probably wouldn't make it to my bed hehe) and finally get some decent sleep. But even if I already felt like collapsing or something, images of the Iloilo trip still kept on playing in my head. That was really one of the most remarkable experiences I had this year, and now, two weeks have already passed, but the fun I had with the U-bloggers and with my dearest in Iloilo stays fresh in my mind.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Iloilo Weekend Part 1

It's been a week since I came back from Iloilo, and I can't help but look back and reminisce. I've been excited about this trip ever since I booked our tickets last August. When Ate Roanne told me about this trip with the U-Bloggers, I didn't have second thoughts about joining. I even went ballistic panicked when I found out that Airphil Express doesn't accept JCB, my credit card, for online reservations. Good thing Zest Air saved us from not being left behind. So while the others would be flying on Airphil, my dearest and I would go on Zest Air.

The trip was scheduled on November 4. We would be staying there until the sixth. When November 3 came, I was sooooo excited. Actually, I was already excited the weekend before November 4. As the days drew near, I couldn't sleep because of excitement. Haha!

November 4 came. My dearest and I went to the airport before sunrise, without any sleep! I probably had a half-hour nap or so, but it wouldn't qualify as a decent rest. Also, my tummy hadn't been so cooperative since the previous day because of acid reflux. I just prayed that everything would go well - from having a safe flight to none of us getting hurt or sick.

Finally, we arrived in Iloilo. Yahoo! As the plane was descending from the sky, I saw the green fields that were so picturesque when viewed from above. Too bad I wasn't able to take a photo of it. But then, I didn't have a cam! Haha! I only had my cellphone camera.

We were with U-bloggers Bon and Joel at the same flight. We met U-bloggers Cj and Bernard. Then, U-bloggers Leah and Mel, who both hail from Iloilo, picked us up at the airport.

Everyone was waiting for us at Mel's house. They had an earlier flight so they got to Iloilo hours before we did. After having breakfast, we got in our rented jeep and off we went for the city tour.

First stop was the church in Jaro. In high school, one of my friends told me that if it's your first time in a church, you should make a wish and it will come true. Ever since then, whenever I enter a church for the first time, especially old churches, I make a wish. Wishes even. And I pray for them. And I believe God will grant them in His time.

Next stop was the Museo Iloilo. There were artifacts - porcelain, old fabrics and clothes, fossils, jars, and santos - that form the history of Western Visayas. Contemporary artworks were also on display.

Of course, we wouldn't leave without taking a group photo.

(left) The U-Bloggers. Photo by Bon Talampas, Jr. of TARAGIS
(right) With Ate Roanne (thank you for lending me your shades ^__^). Photo by my dearest John Laurence Patulan

After the Museo, it was already midday. We went to our respective hotels, checked in, dropped off our things, and proceeded to Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood for lunch. We ordered quite a lot - chicken, fish, and that controversial valenciana, which made Bernard say this quotable quote: "Di ma-rationalize ng diwa ko. Parang pumuputok-putok na kendi sa bibig ko." (My mind can't rationalize it. It's like candies bursting in my mouth) My translation doesn't do justice to the original quote. It was really funny when he delivered it. Wahahahaha!

At Tatoy's. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

Next stop was Miag-ao, which was approximately forty-five minutes (or was that more?) away from where we were. Our driver drove so fast. The wind didn't just caress our faces; it messed up our hair! Hahaha! So much for "mahangin ba sa labas" (loosely translated as "is it windy outside?").

In Miag-ao, we visited another old church: the Miag-ao Church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I don't know how old is the church, but I'm certain it's been there since the Spanish colonial period. It's been there for centuries. It was beautiful and... intimidating. I'm always intimidated by old structures, probably because they've withstood the test of time, and there I am, standing in awe.

(left) Inside Miag-ao Church.
(right) Me at the facade of the centuries-old church. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

After our visit to Miag-ao, we headed back to our respective hotels to shower and change clothes. We then had dinner at Freska and went on night life mode at Pirates. We basically had fun that night, dancing on our seats and singing to the tune of whatever song the band was performing. It was a looooooooong day, especially for me who didn't have any sleep the night before. Haha! But the good part was only starting, because the next day, *drum roll please*, we were going to the beeeeeeaaach! Woohoo! :D

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


They linger on earth,
Lurk on abandoned corners,
Cold and dark,
Of schools, hospitals, churches.

A gust of wind,
And goosebumps form
On the arms of individuals
Who huddle in fear.

Shadows crawl on the floor
Then dance on walls
With the flicker of candlelight
On a slowly melting wax.

Eyes are closed,
Hands are joined and
Prayers are uttered
So the restless may find peace.

-Katherine Lopez
01 November 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Bride

I wrote this short story for my Creative Writing class when I was a high school senior. I thought I already lost my copy of this story, until I found this in my now rarely visited account. Good thing that account is still alive! Haha! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story. Happy Halloween! :)


It was Sunday morning. Ana was still sleeping soundly in her air-conditioned room, when the alarm clock on her bedside table rang piercingly, breaking the silence. Ana covered her ears with her pillow, tried her best to go back to sleep, but the shrill sound of the alarm penetrated her ears. Irritated, Ana rose, turned it off, and went to the bathroom to wash her face.

“Bad day,” she muttered to herself. “Talk about waking up at the wrong side of the bed.”

Just then, the phone rang, and Ana got more irritated. “Who could that be? Calling me this early?”

She stomped her way to her bedside table, picked up the receiver and greeted the caller with an irritated hello.

“Good morning, honey,” said the voice from the other line. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, Louie,” Ana muttered lazily. “Just woke up at the wrong side of the bed.”
“Well,” Louie continued, his voice full of energy and delight. “How about a visit to St. Martin’s Cathedral? Let’s visit Father Miguel.”
Ana’s face lit up. “Alright. You’ll pick me up?”
“Say. . . at eight? Would that be fine?”
“Thumbs up! I’ll wait for you.”

Upon entering the Cathedral, goosebumps started to form on Ana’s arms. She shivered, and Louie felt that his fiancée was not feeling well.

“What’s wrong?” Louie asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t understand.”
“We’ve been here before, right?”
Ana nodded.
“Perhaps you’re just nervous about our wedding. That’s already next week.”
Ana nodded again. “Probably.”

They walked down the center aisle and genuflected when they reached the front. Just then, a white-haired priest appeared, and Louie approached him.

“Good morning, Father Miguel,” he greeted, and the two of them shook hands.
“Good day, Louie,” the priest replied happily. “I’m going to marry you on Sunday, but I haven’t seen your wife-to-be.”
“That’s why I brought her here, Father.” Then Louie turned to Ana and motioned for her to come. “Let me introduce to you Ana, my fiancée. And Ana, this is Father Miguel.”
Ana smiled. “Good morning, Father Miguel.”
All of a sudden, Father Miguel’s smile faded. Nevertheless, he greeted Ana. “Good morning.”

The priest looked at her from head to toe, then looked closely at her face. Ana felt cold, so she squeezed Louie’s hand tightly. Louie thought that Ana was acting so weird. She seemed so scared, yet there was nothing to be afraid of.

“You look familiar,” Father Miguel broke out, looking at Ana. “What’s your name again?”
“I’m Ana, Father,” Ana answered courteously. “This is the first time we’ve met.”
Father Miguel narrowed his eyes. “Yes. It’s just that . . . I thought you’re someone I know. You resemble her.”
“Who is she?” Louie asked.
“Oh, no need. That’s not important,” Father Miguel answered, changing the subject. “So, are you ready for your wedding?”
“Of course, Father!” Louie exclaimed matter-of-factly. “In fact, we’ll go to the jewelry shop later to get our rings.”
“That’s nice,” Father Miguel replied. “And I think you better do so now. Remember, time is gold.”
“Alright, Father. I think we better go,” Louie said, and shook hands with the priest. “Thank you for your time and have a nice day.”
“Have a nice day, Father,” Ana repeated. “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye. Louie, take care of your fiancée. And congratulations.” And with that, they bid each other goodbye.

Father Miguel watched them as they strode along the aisle. The priest felt his heart beat fast and he shivered in fear and nervousness. Then, in his mind, he uttered a short prayer. “God the Father in heaven, take care of this couple.”

Louie opened the car door for Ana. When they were both inside, Louie looked worriedly at his fiancée and held her hand.

“Honey, is there anything wrong?”
Ana shook her head. “I’m not sure, Louie. I don’t understand myself. When we entered the cathedral a while ago, I suddenly felt nervous. Louie, I’m scared.”
“Scared of what?”
Ana shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Louie brushed his fingers through her long, black hair. He touched her face and said, “Honey, listen. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just relax.”
Ana showed him a sober smile. “I’m okay.”

When Louie started the car and began to drive, Ana glanced at her window and saw a lady in a bridal gown following her with her eyes. Ana freaked out, and let out a short but sharp scream. Louie was startled, so he asked her what was wrong.
“I…I saw a lady there, looking at me,” Ana answered in a trembling voice, and pointed at the yard where she saw the lady.
“There’s nobody there,” Louie replied after looking at the yard. “Ana, perhaps you’re just stressed out with the wedding arrangements. Let’s relax.”
Ana and Louie, after getting their rings from the jewelry shop, had lunch together, strolled in the mall and spent the day with each other. They enjoyed every single moment of their company, and thanks to this, Ana forgot about the lady she saw in the cathedral yard.

It was past dinnertime when Louie brought her to her apartment. Louie offered to take her to her place at the fourth floor, but Ana refused. She reasoned out that Louie needed to go home and rest, and that she could go to her room by herself. Louie no longer insisted, and with a good night kiss, he left his fiancée and drove off.

Ana pressed the number 4 button in the elevator. When the door opened, nobody and nothing was inside, except for a bouquet of white roses lying on the floor. Ana’s heart thumped, but she overcame her fear. She took a deep breath and calmed herself with the thought that someone may have left it there.

When she reached the fourth floor, the door opened and she saw a lady in a bridal gown trailing towards her room. In horror, Ana remained glued to where she was standing. She could not move; she could only stare in shock. She did not know what to do, whether she would go to her room or not. And out of this reverie, her cell phone rang. Her hands shook as she reached for it in her bag, and she answered the call with a trembling voice.
“Hello, Ana,” the caller said. It was Louie. “You’re in your room now?”
“Y… I’m on my way,” Ana answered. “I just got out of the elevator.”
“I just called to check if you’re okay. Good night, honey. Sleep well.”
“Thanks, honey. Good night.”
“Good night. I’ll hang up now.”
“Wait,” Ana broke in. “Louie, I…” Then she paused for a second and seemed to change what she was supposed to say. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Ana.”

Ana took out her keys and opened her door. Slowly and nervously, she entered her room, with her eyes on the lookout for the appearance of ghosts. After turning her lights on and removing her shoes, she stretched out her arms and threw herself on her bed. “I need to relax,” she thought. For a few minutes, she closed her eyes and took deep breaths, and eventually, she felt calm inside. But when she opened her eyes, she gasped in horror, for the bouquet of white roses, which she saw in the elevator, rested beside her. Like a bolt of lightning, she jumped from her bed and headed for the door. But when she opened it, the more she was terrified, because the lady wearing a bridal gown stood before her, looking at her straight in the eye. She had nowhere else to go, and she could not do anything, but to let out, at the top of her lungs, a shrill and horrified scream.

The next day, when she woke up, she was surprised to see herself lying on her bed. “How could that be?” she thought. “The last thing I remember was I was standing at the doorway, seeing the lady. I was screaming. How did I get on my bed?” However, she did not let these things linger in her mind. Instead, she set aside her mystified thoughts and got ready for the day.

During the days that came, everything was normal for Ana. She did her routine the way she was accustomed to do it. Also, she was so busy with the final details about her wedding – finalizing this, double-checking that, making sure that the invitations were already sent – that her mind had no more room for thoughts about the bride she saw lately. And everyday, Louie would call her to check if she was fine, and Ana would relate how excited she was with their nearing wedding.

Then on Thursday night, Ana arrived at her apartment, bringing her bridal gown which she picked up from the dressmaker on her way home. She was so anxious to see it, so she sat on her bed and opened the box. Just then, she felt a sudden need to go the bathroom. When she came back, she saw it on the floor and her wedding gown had got out of the box. She bent to pick it up, but the moment she set her hands on her gown, her eyes widened in terror, because the bouquet of roses was inside the box. Her heart thumped. Her hands shook as she quickly fixed her gown and put it in its container. She focused her eyes on what she was doing because she was afraid to see the lady the moment she turn her eyes. But when she stood up, she saw the last thing she wanted to see, because the lady wearing a bridal gown stood at the other side of her bed.

Ana panicked and screamed. She ran out of her bedroom to her living room and quickly dialed Louie’s number. Hot tears ran down her cheeks. She felt her knees weaken and her hands were so cold as she held the receiver tightly. At last, Louie answered the phone, and before he could even finish his hello, Ana broke out.
“Louie, take me. Take me away from here.”
Louie was bewildered from what he heard from his fiancée. “What? What’s happening to you?”
“Just take me away from here!” Ana blurted out. “Take me quick!”

Ana no longer heard what Louie said, nor she had the chance to put the receiver down, because when she turned her eyes, a beautiful lady, with a grave face, wearing a bridal gown, was sitting next to her.

“AAAAHH!” Ana cried.

She wanted to escape. She wanted to hide. But she did not know where to go. She tripped over the leg of the center table, and like a thin blanket dropping from the clothesline, Ana stumbled and fell to the floor. Her knees hit hard against the tiled floor, and went black-and-blue. She struggled to get up, but it was difficult. And then, things became worse, because the moment she raised her head, she saw the lady looking down at her. Ana kept on screaming and shouting, her heart pounding so hard that she found it hard to breathe. She held her chest and ran to her bedroom and paved her way to the bathroom for refuge. Ana hid in the shower area with the curtain as her shield. She prayed that the horror would stop, and that the lady would leave her alone. She closed her eyes tightly and drowned herself in prayer.

Ana did not know how long she stayed in the bathroom. She did not care, for the only thing she was thinking about was to stop the lady from going near her. Ana cried out of fear and hopelessness. Every minute seemed eternity, and every second brought her torture.

When she heard the bathroom door open, Ana’s prayer stopped and she trembled in fear. When the shower curtain was swung open, she screamed so loud that she did not realize that it was Louie.
“Ana! Ana!” Louie called, his voice filled with worry. “What’s going on?”
“The lady! The lady! She’s here!” Ana cried out.

Ana almost went out of her mind. Louie carried her out of her apartment to his car. This calmed her down, and little by little, Ana stopped crying.

Louie gave her a bottle of water. After drinking, her tension was a bit relieved, though she was still panting for air.
“Ana,” Louie began, looking at Ana straight in the eye. “Tell me what happened.”
Ana shook her head. “You won’t believe me.”
“No. Honey, I promise. I’ll listen. And believe.”
Ana took a deep breath. “Okay. Last Sunday, when we left the cathedral, I saw a lady wearing a bridal gown, standing in the cathedral yard. She was looking at me. That night, when I rode the elevator, I saw a bouquet of white roses. I just ignored it, thinking that someone may have left it there. But when the door opened at the fourth floor, I saw the same lady walking towards my room. When I lied down on my bed for a few minutes, and then I opened my eyes, I saw the same bouquet. I freaked out so I ran to the door. But when I opened it, she was there!”
Louie held her hand. “Ssshh. Everything’s okay now.”
“And then,” Ana continued. “That lady haunted me tonight… a while ago… that’s why I called you…”
“Ssshhhh. Honey, no more of that now. I’m already here.”
“What will we do now?” Ana asked, and she burst into tears. “I’m so scared, Louie. I’m so scared.”
“We’ll go to my place. And tomorrow morning, we’ll go to Father Miguel.”
“But…” Ana was hesitant.
“Ssshhh,” Louie said, and put his finger on her lips. “You’ll be fine.”

Louie drove to his place where Ana spent the night. She slept on Louie’s bed, and Louie slept on the couch. Ana could not sleep; the images of the lady in the bridal gown still haunted her. Nevertheless, she snuggled beneath the covers and dozed off.

The next morning, the two of them came to Father Miguel. The priest was still having breakfast when they arrived. Father Miguel, ever so warm and accommodating, invited them to join him at the breakfast table. Ana and Louie could not refuse, so they heeded the priest’s invitation and they drank coffee with him.

Ana told Father Miguel about the lady she had seen when they visited last Sunday, and how she haunted her in her apartment. Father Miguel listened very carefully, analyzing every single detail that Ana spoke about.
“What does she look like?” Father Miguel asked.
“She’s all made up for a wedding. She’s beautiful, but she has a very sober expression.”
“Does she look like someone you know?”
Ana paused for a moment. “Father, I know this might be weird and unbelievable, but she looks like… like…me.”
Father Miguel raised his face. He looked at Louie, and then shifted his gaze at Ana. “I knew it!” he exclaimed. Then, in a low voice, the priest told them a story.
“Five years ago, I was about to marry a couple. The bride’s name was Carmina. Her groom didn’t show up at the wedding. When Carmina arrived here, her groom called, telling her that he was about to leave with another girl. Carmina was dumbfounded, and she fainted in shock. And right then and there, her heart stopped beating; she probably had a heart attack. She died. And since that day, I know, I can feel it, that Carmina still lingers here in this Cathedral.”

After Father Miguel’s last statement, the breakfast table shook, the chandelier swung and the lights turned on and off. Ana’s heart raced.
“What’s going on?” she screamed.
Louie held her hand. “Don’t be afraid, honey. Just relax.” Then he turned to the priest. “Father, what’s going on?”
Father Miguel stayed put, and replied. “Probably, it is she. Carmina is coming.”
“What?” Ana and Louie gasped in unison.

Just then, there was a gush of cold wind, the door opened, and a lady wearing a bridal gown entered. Ana and Louie stared in horror, as the lady raised her head and stared gravely at Ana.
“What are you doing here?” Carmina asked. “I’m getting married.”
Louie ran to Ana’s side. “What are you talking about?”
But Carmina ignored her. She did not take her eyes off of Ana. “Why are you here?”
Ana did not know what to do. She gulped, and answered in a trembling voice. “I… I’m getting married.”
The ghost almost flared up. “You’re not going to get married!” Carmina snapped. “That face – it’s mine! I’m the one getting married!”
“No!” Ana cried.

The ghost walked to Ana’s back. She seemed to examine her physique, and in a snap, Carmina pulled Ana’s hair. Ana groaned in pain and begged Carmina to stop it. Louie wanted to protect Ana from the ghost. He shoved her, but his hands just ran through Carmina’s “body”. Louie kept on trying, but the ghost stood still and did not move an inch.

Father Miguel froze in terror upon witnessing the encounter between Carmina’s spirit and the couple. He had never seen anything like that before. He couldn’t think; he did not know what to do. But he held on to his faith, and in a snap, Father Miguel stood up and faced Carmina.
“In the name of Jesus, Carmina, please leave them alone.”
Carmina did not listen. She went on touching Ana’s hair, and then her face and shoulders. As her cold “hand” brushed on Ana’s smooth skin, goosebumps became even more evident on the arms of the bride-to-be.
Once again, Father Miguel tried to stop Carmina. “Carmina, rest in peace now.”
Upon hearing that, Carmina stopped what she was doing. “I’m not dead.”
Father Miguel shook his head. “You are. You died five years ago, in this cathedral, on your wedding day. Remember?”
Carmina paused for minutes. She could not believe what she had just heard. Turning out, she did not know that she was dead, and because Ana resembled her, she thought that she was still going to get married. Carmina was so bewildered with what the priest told her. Her previously grave face became a picture of confusion.

Then, Carmina realized that Father Miguel was right. She was already dead, and she was no longer going to get married. Crestfallen, Carmina fell to her knees and wept.
“I’m dead! I’m dead!”
Ana stood up. “I’m sorry.” Carmina did not answer. She just wept and wept.

Then, Father Miguel suggested that the three of them pray for Carmina, that her soul be quiet and that she may rest in peace. Holding each other’s hands, Ana, Louie and Father Miguel circled around Carmina and prayed. After that, a beam of light entered through the ceiling. Carmina looked up and slowly, she rose from the ground.
“Thank you,” she said softly to the three people in the room. “Ana and Louie, congratulations. And best wishes for you, Ana.”

After speaking her last words, Carmina vanished along with the beam of light. Ana and Louie embraced each other, and Father Miguel blessed them.

Sunday came. It was 9:50 a.m., and the guests had arrived in the cathedral. They were all enthusiastic with the wedding, and everyone could not wait for it to start. At last, the bridal car came into view, and the guests cheered as it approached the cathedral. Then, Ana came out, and like a flock of sheep being tended by a shepherd, the flower girls, the bridesmaids and all the other participants in the entourage formed their line.

Before Ana took her place at the back, she looked at the altar and saw Louie waiting for her. Ana smiled; her beauty radiated even more. When she went at the back of the line, her eyes wandered through the cathedral yard, and she saw Carmina standing under a tree. Carmina’s face was no longer grave, for it was full of joy and gratitude. She waved at Ana, and the bride waved back.

At last, when the clock stroked ten, the church bells rang, the organist started playing, and the bridal entourage strode to the rhythm of the “Bridal Chorus.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


How does it feel to be 23?

I don't know exactly. Not much different from being 22, I guess? Probably because when I turned 22 last year, it was my first birthday with my dearest beside me (since in my previous birthdays, I was single hehe), so I was so excited to celebrate my birthday differently. I had the whole day to myself to do what I wanted, and I spent it watching a movie and eating at Bigoli (pasta woohoo!) with my dearest. My 22nd birthday was a Saturday, and Saturdays are my me-days, so it was perfect.

But this year, my birthday fell on a Sunday and coincided with the celebration of my grandparents' birthdays. My grandmother's birthday was October 5, and my grandfather's was September 30. My mother and her siblings decided to celebrate their birthdays on October 9, Sunday, which was my birthday. At first, I felt a little upset because I had plans on how to celebrate it, but of course, we all had to be there at my grandparents' birthday celebration. But maybe it was God's way of telling me not to be selfish. Yes, it was my special day, but it wouldn't hurt me to share it with other people. So from morning until afternoon, I was with my relatives celebrating my grandparents' birthdays. After the party, my dearest and I watched a movie (last year, it was Eat, Pray, Love; this time it was Friends with Benefits haha), just like I had planned.

So what did I learn on my 23rd birthday? To not be selfish, and to appreciate my family more - from my parents and sister to my aunts, uncles, and cousins... and counting. To take time to interact with them and share stories, even if sometimes, those stories have already been told a thousand times. Having lots of people around you may sometimes be annoying because you feel you can't do everything that you want, but hey, it's a blessing. My whole family may not be wealthy, but we always have each other.

So how does it feel to be 23? I feel a little more mature. I also feel that I'm a year closer to my goals. I know that God has lots of good things in store for me in the future, and with each birthday, one door leading to those is unlocked. It would be a waste of a special moment if I would choose to frown just because things didn't turn out according to my plan.

My cousins surprised me with a little cake while I was hosting at the party.
Thank you. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


On this site will rise
A tower of dreams
Storeys upon storeys
Of months and months
Of labor.

Men excavate deep
For a solid foundation.
Steel and concrete marry,
Giving birth to a sound structure
Of ambition.

Spaces are partitioned
Into shoebox square meters,
But hey, it has the prime address
And pure luxuries at the press
Of the elevator button.

At last, it’s turned over
To those who’ve paid the price
Of reaching the sky,
Rising above the city,
Untouchable by mere mortals.

-Katherine Lopez
08 October 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some Books I Read While Away from This Blog

I'm back, dusting off the cobwebs that have formed in this blog from a long hiatus. More than two weeks of being away from this blog made me miss my online home, but I don't regret disconnecting for a while. Because while I was away, I read books that have been figuratively gathering cobwebs in my shelf.

I finished reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I've been reading it since May (yeah I'm a slow reader). I didn't know it was political. Haha. I thought it was just about magic and stuff. It was an allegory. Although the characters and story were fictitious, they represent our world today - the presence of a ruling class, and those who are trying to change this setup find themselves in total danger.

After that, I read Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone. I've been reading it since the early part of this year (or was it late last year? Haha can't remember), but after three chapters, I put it aside when I decided to read The Hunger Games Trilogy. So after Wicked, I started with it again. It's a novel about how people become slaves of power, fame, and fortune, and how once they have those, they yearn for more. Sounds cliche, but I think novels tackling that theme are always worth reading. They're a reminder for us not to focus all our energies in our careers or in being the best in the expense of our relationships - something we know perfectly well but somehow, along the way, manage to "forget".

My only problem with reading Coelho is sometimes, his characters' philosophical musings or conversations seem to come from nowhere, like they're somewhat off in the current situation described in the novel. For example, the film distributor Javits Wild, one of the characters in The Winner Stands Alone, is having lunch at a party, then all of a sudden, he blurts out to one of his bodyguards, "What does being normal mean?" Before that, there's the narration about what's going on in Javits's mind, how he seems to already have everything and what more can he possibly want, and then, he pops that question. For me, it could've been better if Javits was talking to someone about, say, his status in life, or the Cannes Film Festival (the novel's setting), then gradually, the conversation is driven to a pondering tone, where his question wouldn't be off.

And another thing, I think the theme is overstated in The Winner Stands Alone. Like, yes, it's about people being slaves of money, fame, and power, but does he have to say that over and over throughout the novel? I'd rather that this be shown through the characters' actions rather than being shown and stated at the same time. Nevertheless, The Winner Stands Alone is a good read.

Now, I'm reading Samantha Sotto's Before Ever After. I've read more than half already, but I'll keep my comments to myself first until I finish reading it.

*Photos from Google Images

Monday, September 19, 2011


I haven't posted a new entry in two weeks, partly because I couldn't make time for it due to my busy schedule (it's that time of the month in the magazine where everyone is really busy), and partly because I chose to get a bit disconnected from the Internet.

I cannot totally disconnect myself from the Net because I use it for work, but to give myself a break, I can limit the time I spend being glued to the PC or Kaylie, my netbook, when I'm at home. I feel that I'm missing out on something when I'm constantly connected to the Internet. While I'm logged on to Facebook or Twitter, there might be a good movie being shown at that moment on HBO or Star Movies, which I would just miss because I'm busy checking my friends' updates. I could've been flipping pages of books instead of waiting for web pages to load.

The other weekend, I started to do the disconnecting, and it felt liberating. I finished reading Wicked, which I've been reading for several months already. I started reading a new one: Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone, which has been in my bookshelf since the start of this year. I was able to chance upon the Pinoy comedy Kimmy Dora on Cinema One, and had a good, laughing Sunday because of that. Last Monday, I watched the 9/11 interviews on National Geographic when I got home from work instead of aimlessly surfing the Net to kill time.

I'm still busy at work, and will continue to be. I'll still post entries in my blog, of course, reply to comments, and read other blogs. I love blogging, and I love the Internet. But like in a real relationship, parties need space. Hence, a bit of disconnecting is necessary, lest I become disconnected from other spheres of my life, and miss out on something great.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Iced Gem Biscuits

One of the things that remind me of my childhood is this: a pack of Iced Gem Biscuits.


They're tiny biscuits decorated with solid icing on top. They're sweet, and I loved munching on them when I was young. I guess the fancy look of each biscuit makes them so appealing, especially to little kids.


Whenever I chance upon a pack of Iced Gem Biscuits in one of the food places at the ground floor of our office building, I take the opportunity to buy one and reminisce the days when I was little - days marked by playing with my dolls and tau-tauhans (toy people) when school is out and reading storybooks at night.

Other junkfood snacks that I enjoyed when I was a kid were the tiny, football-shaped Goya chocolates, Serg's chocolate bars, that P1 lollipop whose brand I can't recall (I'm not even sure if it has a brand), Zip orange juice that are placed inside triangular cartons, Hansel cookie sandwich, and Tivoli ice cream. Now, only Hansel cookie sandwich is sold in groceries and sari-sari (variety) stores. The tiny Goya chocolates have evolved into Goya chocolate bars, which are also yummy, but I miss the bite-size, football-shaped ones. I miss Tivoli ice cream. I miss licking that cheap lollipop (I loved the strawberry flavor). I miss being a kid.

Good thing I get to munch on Iced Gem Biscuits once in a while. And Hansel cookie sandwich, too (I love the mocha flavor). They make me feel like a kid again, and it's really good to feel that once in a while.

How about you? What reminds you of your childhood?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My First Poem

This is the first poem I ever wrote. Maybe not the very first, because I remember, when I was in second grade, our English teacher then asked us to write a poem about Jesus. I wrote something with "Jesus, King of the Jews" in one of the stanzas, but I didn't have a copy of that. It was a school activity. The poem I'm going to share with you is something I didn't write for school. I wrote it because I wanted to.

A Tree, A Friend

A tree is a friend
A friend that never end
Giving us fresh air
Here and everywhere.

God created a tree
For you and me
For us to share
That fruits that it bear

Trees that God made
Trees that give us shade
A shade that can make us cool
So the leaves, please don't pull

Let's take care of the trees
Make them increase
Let's take care of nature
For the better of our future

I wrote the poem when I was 10. I wrote it because I love Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees, which we memorized and recited individually when we were in third grade for Reading class. Actually, back in third grade also, our Language teacher made us write a poem on trees. I wrote the first stanza of this poem in third grade; I submitted a two-stanza poem. And then, when I was 10, I decided to add stanzas to my poem on trees. I kept the first stanza, changed the second, and added two more.

I submitted this to our elementary school paper when I was in fifth grade. It didn't get published. I tried again the following year, and it had the same fate. When I was a high school freshman, I tried again, but it didn't see print. I decided to just keep it.

Reading it now, I'm laughing at myself for the grammatical errors I'm seeing. Comparing it with my more recent works, this poem pales in terms of choice of words and style. And let's not forget grammar. Haha! But still, I treasure this poem. I thought I've already lost this. So imagine how happy I am when I found it as I was rummaging through some old CDs.

When I wrote poems back then, I wanted them to have rhyme. Hence, this poem's rhyming last words. I also wanted them to convey messages, like a call of action or something. I hope, despite the limitations of this poem, it did impart an important message: that we must take care of nature. After all, as Joyce Kilmer had written:

"Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Adam and Eve

In the beginning,

Man and woman were welcomed
Into the Garden of Eden,
Where richness thrives
In the fruit-bearing trees,
Fresh, cool water from the springs,
And sweet-smelling grass.

All those were theirs to enjoy.
Nothing was scarce.
They would know no famine or drought
In that paradise of a garden.
Except for one condition
That sounded so simple.

That man and woman should not touch
The fruit from the Tree of Knowledge
Of Good and Evil.
Lest, they be banished from paradise,
And face each waking day with hardships,
And struggle for survival.

What a price to pay for awakening
To what is true, to what is real.
What god was it to make man and woman
Follow so blindly, and take away
Their means of knowing.

And so they heard a voice,
A voice that was different
Saying something different,
"Eat it, taste it. The fruit
From the Tree of Knowledge.
Take a bite, and you'll see."

And they did, and they saw
That they were naked.
Hid themselves in shame.
But what was there to be ashamed of?
That they were standing in their bare glory?
Or was it because of fear?

Alas, man and woman had to pay
For what they did, for opening their eyes
To what was being concealed.
With nothing in their hands,
And nothing on their bodies,
They walked away from paradise.

-Katherine Lopez
22 August 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bad Dream

Last night, I had a really bad dream. There was an aswang right outside my bedroom. And I was SOOOOOOO scared because it wanted to get inside my room and probably devour me. My mom and I were in my room, and we were praying the rosary nonstop. The aswang was just at the other side of my door, and I leaned on it with all my strength so the aswang wouldn't be able to open the door. I was praying the rosary, reciting the mysteries and prayers out loud. The aswang didn't go away, and I could hear its screams and ghastly sounds, but it couldn't enter my room because of our prayers.

In my dream, this battle with the aswang lasted for a whole night. I could already see the black sky turning gray, but the battle wasn't over! How weird because aswangs are afraid of daylight, right? Just like vampires. Anyway, in my dream, I already finished praying five mysteries of the rosary (couldn't remember if I prayed the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous), but the aswang was still there. So I held my rosary more tightly and started praying another set.

My mom went out of my room to go to my sister's room. I opened the door a bit so she could go out, and closed it quickly so the aswang wouldn't enter my room (wasn't it weird that the aswang was only after me? It didn't attack my mom even if she went out of my room, right where it was). While my mom was out, I kept on praying out loud. I peeked under the door and saw the aswang's ugly, gray, monster-like feet. I inserted my rosary underneath and waved it left and right. The aswang stepped back, while letting out ghastly screams, so its feet wouldn't touch the rosary. When my mom came back, I opened the door for her, but just a bit so the aswang couldn't enter. She quickly came in and I shut the door immediately. I leaned on the door and prayed and prayed and prayed....

And then I woke up! Finally! It was probably around 5 a.m. The sky outside was gray, and the lights from the lampposts outside were already being turned off. Whew! How relieved I was that it was just a dream. I prayed to God for this great relief and for guidance and protection.

What does my dream mean? I don't know. Maybe the things that bother me manifested in my dream in the form of that aswang. Or maybe it's just a reminder from The One Above about the power of prayer. That through prayer, nothing is impossible. And He'll always be there for us as long as we constantly communicate with Him. Maybe He's just calling on me to pray more. :)

Anyway, I'm really glad that it was just a dream. I don't want to dream of it again. From now on, I'll remember to think happy thoughts before I sleep. And to pray.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beautiful Ballet and Some Thoughts on Art

Last night, I watched a ballet performance in a theater for the first time. My dearest and I watched Encantada, Ballet Philippines' season opener. It depicted man's relationship with nature in the context of our colonial history. During the pre-colonial times, the Filipinos were in harmony with nature, worshiping the deities who reside in the different elements, like earth and water. When the Spaniards came, they used religion to colonize the Filipinos. They submitted to this religion, but they were abused by the colonizers. A man sought refuge in the arms of nature and was cradled by the diwatas (deities). He was healed of all his wounds, and had a good life with them. But the Spaniards found him, killed him, and destroyed nature. They thought they had won, but nature got back at them in the form of calamities. In the end, the diwatas won; Mother Earth prevailed, and harmony was restored between man and nature.

It is a simple story but it holds so much truth and meaning. Destruction of nature has begun centuries ago, and now until the years to come, we will be reaping the consequences. The calamities aren't nature's way of being vengeful; calamities are our own doing. They are the results of raping Mother Earth. But I believe, a tinge of hope, no matter how tiny, still remains. If we change our ways, it won't be impossible to restore our own harmony with the environment.

I was really excited to watch Encantada, not just because it was the first ballet performance I would be watching in a theater, but I was looking forward to the beauty and talent I would be seeing on stage. I wasn't disappointed. Even before the curtains were up for the first act, the music already sent shivers down my spine. When the curtains were lifted, I was in awe with the set on stage and dancers' formations. When they started dancing and depicting nature, I was completely blown away. When you look at how they move, their steps seemed easy, or maybe, they made it look so easy and simple even if they really weren't, but they were so graceful and powerful. Their arm movements symbolized tree branches, the wind, water, and the healing hand of nature. I particularly couldn't forget the scene when the man who fled from the Spaniards came to the diwatas' lair. He was unconscious, and seven ballerinas rolled side by side, with him on top of them, and made it look like he was floating on the river. Amazing!

There were quite a lot of scenes when I didn't know where to focus my gaze on the stage, because they were all so good. Sure, there was a principal dancer, who danced the main part, but those playing the supporting roles were also grabbing my attention. Everything was well-choreographed, especially the fighting scenes. The dancers were all so beautiful and they were all so good.

The diwatas after the show

When the performance was over and they were all bowing for the curtain call, I felt like giving them a standing ovation. I wish I could've stood up, but no one else was standing up, so I kinda felt awkward. But maybe they were just waiting for someone to start it, so now, I regret not giving them a standing ovation. They deserved it.

I was also happy because my dearest enjoyed the show, too. It was also his first time to watch such a performance. He said he was inspired to draw and paint more diwatas, and he will now paint them dancing, just like what he saw on stage. During the 15-minute intermission and after the show, we were discussing the show, talking about the message, the story, and the way the cast danced. It was a lovely experience.

I look forward to watching other ballet performances. I look forward to seeing more of the Filipinos' artistic talent. And I hope, more people will get to appreciate it. Art isn't only for the rich, the elite, or those who can afford it. It's supposed to be for everyone. It represents our culture. It's a tool to raise consciousness. More than a form of expression, art speaks of what we are and what we can offer to the world. So let's go see how talented we are.