Flower Power

So, as it happens, my latest obsession has been botanical art. This is partially due to the fact that some of my favorite artists are really into it as well. But I think that it’s also something that fits my personality well. While I do love creating loose, expressive watercolors as much as every other painter, most of the time I prefer to be methodical when it comes to most things. I’m still not 100% exact when it comes to botanicals, though. (Still too impatient for that.) But at least, it’s methodical.


Referenced from The Sweet Pea Book by Graham Rice

You can blame it on good old nursing school discipline, perhaps. Anything I do still follows the framework of assess-diagnose-plan-implement-evaluate. Yes, for everything. Even painting. And, as you may imagine, that’s not exactly something that flies when you’re trying to be loose and painterly. Basically, I have a stick up my ass. So judge me.


It’s taking forever to finish this one…

And while I do like getting messy with paint sometimes, I find planning and taking my time to put in tiny details just so meditative. This is probably why, nowadays, finishing a single piece takes such a long time. Painting is not any more about producing finished things to post online (although that’s nice when it happens, too). Instead, it has become about exploration, getting to know things in a way you never would otherwise. You can, after all, appreciate all the flowers in a parts. But drawing them helps you get to know every single leaf whether green or dry and every single hole carved out by a hungry insect. You don’t see flowers that are just white or red or yellow anymore. Instead, you get to know all the tiny little hints of purple or blue or deep gold. That’s the true joy of painting, I think.


In honor of R+L=J

And on today’s morning walk, I think I found myself my next subject. If anyone can tell me what sort of plant this is, I’d very much appreciate it.

Game of Thrones S7 Predictions (Part 1)

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I’m a crazy A Song of Ice and Fire book fan. Obvious spoiler warning for the show and the books.

I’ve read all the books once and the only thing that’s keeping me from reading them again is that, whenever I pick up the first book, I remember Ned’s death and don’t know how I can cope with being depressed about that all over again. Don’t even get me started about the Red Wedding.

I also haven’t seen much of the HBO TV series. Until now. Because of two reasons:
1.  If Jon didn’t get resurrected, I swear I would have staged an angry rally somewhere, complete with burning effigies.
2. I was so sure they would confirm R+L=J this season. And I wanted to be there at the exact moment it happened so I could scream in glee. Which I did. Every single time I rewatched that scene.

(On that note, D&D said in the Inside the Episode video that “Dany crossing the narrow sea with her dragons was the one thing we’ve all been waiting for.” And I was like, NO D&D. IT TOTALLY WASN’T. WE WERE ALL WAITING FOR TOWER OF JOY.”)

And so, alas, since we have to wait at least ten months or more to know what happens next, my crazy brain has been on overdrive thinking about the implications of everything that happened.

Most of these are probably not going to come true, but I need to vent my overexcited imagination somewhere and my blog is as good as any other place. Here’s Part 1:

– Dany sends messengers (Aegon the Conqueror style) announcing her claim to the iron throne and demanding that the houses of Westeros swear fealty to her or burn.

– Jon will probably reply something like “there is a greater threat beyond the wall, my lady” or something like that. I dunno. Littlefinger may sabotage the message.

– Cersei will probably butcher the messenger and send Dany what’s left of him in spite.

– Furious, Dany will launch a full-on attack on King’s Landing.

– Dany will have dragons but Cersei has wildfire. Both sides will be pretty much equal in the first few battles due to some cunning traps that Cersei lays to whittle down Dany’s armies.

– I expect Dany will have trouble with the Dothraki. It’s their nature to pillage and rape and steal, so she’ll have to deal with that.

– With Tyrion’s counsel and infiltration by Varys’ informants, Dany’s army will finally penetrate King’s Landing.

– I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but Cleganebowl is so on. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m placing all my bets on the Hound.

– Mad as she is, Cersei will order the destruction of King’s Landing in a “it’s either I rule King’s Landing or it will all burn” moment.

– As King’s landing is burning to ashes, Jaime finds Cersei as she flees King’s landing. Furious at what she’s done, Jaime will strangle her to death, fulfilling the prophecy.

– Jaime is probably going to die beside Cersei in the fire. I’m hoping he’ll be captured and that Tyrion will step in to save him from execution, though.

– I’ll even go out on a limb and say that at least one of Dany’s dragons will die during the battle for King’s Landing. Just to prove to us that Dany’s dragons are not the deus ex machina that will save the world.

– Dany will enter the destroyed throne room just like she did in her visions in the House of the Undying. Since winter has come, she’ll naturally find snow on the iron throne.

– We’ll get an obligatory scene of Dany on the iron throne, looking sadly at the destroyed city as snow falls upon it.

– After this victory, she and her army will then attempt to conquer the King in the North.

– On the way North, massive numbers of Dany’s army are likely to perish in the cold. We’re talking about Dothraki and a big group of Southerners here, after all. We all know that Stannis’ men were a bit of a joke to Northern soliders. They will also have been weakened by yhe battle for King’s Landing. The dragons can probably help them light up fires and stuff, though.

– I’m not sure if Jon and the Crannogmen will bother to hold the Neck. But it will be interesting to see how the Southerners get past it.

– Their forces considerably weakened, Theon will volunteer to talk to Jon and Sansa.

– I suspect, though, that Littlefinger will try to prevent an allegiance between Jon and Dany. Or that he will orchestrate fights between the men of the North and the South, hoping that Jon and Dany will kill each other, giving him a better chance of claiming the throne.

– On that note, I should say that while reading the books I never imagined Littlefinger ever desired to be the face of power in Westeros. Considering the fate of the last few kings, I thought he’d be smart enough to just manipulate Lords and Ladies in the background. His declaration that he wants to sit on the iron throne with Sansa as his queen was a bit off to me. (And considering that she’s just Cat 2.0 for him, it’s also fecking creepy. ) 

– Littlefinger will sow tension between Jon and Sansa. But considering Sansa is aware that “only a fool would trust Littlefinger” and that she genuinely seems to like Jon despite her misgivings, I doubt he’ll be truly successful on this front.

– If Sansa has truly learned the game, she’s going to manipulate Littlefinger into trusting her (possibly orchestrating tension between her and Jon) and lead Baelish to his undoing.

– If the line of communication is open between Jon and Dany, he’s likely to insist that the bigger threat is up north beyond the wall. But Dany’s not about to stop now.

– The wall will fall, which may or may not be Bran’s doing (I don’t think it will be, but who knows if being “marked” has any implications.) And I pray to the gods, both new and old, that the 999th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Dolorous Edd (first of his name), will survive. He is such a breath of fresh air (har) in the story and… he’s just irreplaceable.

– I expect that the Others will show up as the two armies are in the midst of a battle. Confused and overwhelmed, they’re going to begin to fight the Others and fail. This will naturally give the Others plenty of zombie-fiable corpses. Dany and her dragons will show up, scaring the Others back.

– This will result in an allegiance between Dany and Jon to fight against the others. Dany might see here that Jon has no intention of claiming the iron throne. He didn’t intend on claiming the title of King in the North either, so…

– I look forward to the reunion of Jon and Tyrion. It will be quite the contrast between the one between Tyrion and Theon. It’ll go something like: “The last time we met, you were an unwanted bastard and I just a dwarf. Look at where we are now. You, a King and I the Hand of the Queen.”

– I’m not sure how Arya’s story will pan out. There’s not much left to cross off her list, to be honest. Mel did say they’d meet again. She may also meet with the Hound, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Nymeria’s wolf pack. Maybe even Gendry. Either she spirals into a destructive thirst for revenge or she realizes she wants to meet her family up North. An Arya-Jon-Sansa reunion will be interesting to watch.

– Not sure about Bran, either. He might go South. But when Meera asked him “are you sure you’re ready?” when he touched that weirwood, I got the feeling that he’ll literally take root where he is. With his magic, he may forge that area with new spells to make him undetectable to the Night’s King just like the former Three-Eyed Raven did with his cave. In any case, he’s going to take a good look into the past, present and, possibly, the future and find out more about the story behind the Others.

– We’ll also probably get an obligatory vision of the Others reigning supreme, just so we see what will happen if the Westerosis fail.

– I feel that Jon’s identity is central to the story. I feel that there’s something about him and, possibly, Dany that is key to bringing peace to Westeros once and for all.

– Bran may send Jon dreams, telling him of his location beyond the wall. Jon will come to him and Bran will reveal his identity and what he needs to do to destroy or, possibly, make peace with the Night King.

I still have a few more thoughts but I need to get them organized before I write a Part 2. In the meantime: What do you think will happen in the next season?

Lookie, I was at the First Cagayan de Oro Writers' Workshop!

Where to Next?

(bits and pieces of the past two months because I’m so far behind with blogging)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself so far this year, it’s that I’m super restless. I have a chronic need to always have a plan, to learn things, to make things, to have a purpose. And so I immerse myself in pretty much anything that sparks my interest. Which is probably how I end up places, wondering how on earth I’ve gotten here.

That’s pretty much how this year has gone so far.

Oh, and most of it is recorded in this really nifty planner which I have turned into a visual journal.

Where to Next?

(As a side note: It’s obvious that this photo was taken on a really stressful day. There are very few occasions in which I’m willing to buy both dark chocolate and a cappuccino to calm my spirits.)

“Where to Next?” I like that. It implies a sense of completion and, at the same time, excitedly moving forward to the next new thing.  Oh, and the great thing about this planner is that the pages are, for the most part, unlined. So I had a bit of fun documenting my life in small doodles inspired by the work of @naomi_zz_kuwa.

A Visual Journal Page

Sketching stuff I’ve eaten, and memories of a twice-a-week zumba dancing session I’ve been going to. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve really danced but it’s always nice to get the feel of your own body.
A Visual Journal Page

We spent the Holy Week at my father’s home town. So one day we went out to visit some relatives and they didn’t say we would be going to the beach afterwards. So I didn’t bring any beach stuff and so, instead, sketched the beach people.

A Visual Journal Page

Some more things I’ve eaten, running at Pelaez Sports Center, a Calligraphy workshop (which we’ll get into in a bit), and brush pens I bought on impulse after a tip from a fellow art supply addict.


I’ve also taken to sticking receipts, labels and movie tickets in the pages. Just so I know what I’ve done that day. Here, I bought a pair of sunglasses because of the goddamn summer heat.

And also: vandalizing unapologetically on the photo pages with a white ink pen. I am so in love with white ink right now.

White ink on a photo pages of the Where To Next Planner. White ink on a photo pages of the Where To Next Planner.

(Poem credit to Nayyirah Waheed, who writes the shortest but most heartfelt poems I have ever seen.)

By the way, this one is a travel planner from Where to Next? which my boyfriend gave me (after claiming that he was keeping it for himself.) Admittedly, most of it is still blank because sometimes I’m too preoccupied with things to spare time for a doodle. (Or, more accurately, I tend to doodle pretty much everywhere and I forget to doodle on this one.)

So, those calligraphy classes I mentioned? Now, I must admit first that my writing has always been horrid. I was THAT kid in class whose papers got sent home with a footnote to “please improve your handwriting” much to the dismay of my mother, whose handwriting is pristine.

After a workshop by @sheilaleng, however, I’m convinced that if they had taught us to write with dip pens back in elementary school, my writing would be gorgeous af.

Calligraphy Workshop in CDO

Nobody ever said that calligraphy was so addicting, but I couldn’t stop for a while until I ran out of paper.

Calligraphy Workshop in CDO Calligraphy Workshop in CDO

Calligraphy Workshop in CDOI’m hoping I can snag a slot in a brush pen workshop during the summer, too.

Earlier this month, I also got a chance to be a Fellow at the first Cagayan de Oro Writer’s Workshop, which was so refreshing and eye-opening that it deserves an entire blog post of its own. Maybe soon. (Although do note that I have a habit of promising blog posts about something or another, and then forgetting about them.)

The First Cagayan de Oro Writer's Workshop

All that is just the tip of the iceberg of what happened in the past two months. I hardly believe it’s only been two months myself!

OK, so the reason behind this seemingly random, patchwork blog post is that I just wanted to get caught up with blogging. There are so many things I still need to write about but I figure I needed to kickstart it a bit.

Hopefully, I’ll be posting more frequent and more organized entries in the next few months. There are so many new, exciting things happening and I can’t wait to tell you all about them.

In the meantime here’s a photo of my dog to distract you from the fact that I’m not sure how to end:



Why I Write

So I decided to apply for Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa CDO, a local writer’s organization. Among the questions I had to answer was, “why do you write?” I decided it might be worth sharing my answer here:

The easy answer to this question is that I write because I can. It comes as naturally as breathing. When I have an idea, a thought, a feeling or an experience, my first instinct is to record it sometimes through a sketch or a photograph, but most often through the written word. I like to preserve moments that I know will pass and fade away. This is not because I cling to the past. Rather, it’s because I forget easily and like to remember.

I write because it is the best way to express myself. The spoken word can be influenced by social pressures, or the awkwardness of a situation, or the burning desire to be liked in that very moment. The written word, for me at least, is the clearest, sincerest form of communication that I can manage. (Read: I have poor social skills.)

Finally, I write because words are immortal. Or, more accurately, they will last longer than I ever will. Don’t get me wrong: I have no desire to be immortal or even to be remembered forever. (I prefer to be a wallflower, really.) But I do believe that so much wisdom, so many stories, lessons, opportunities and innovations, can be lost forever if we fail to pass these on. Therefore, I write because it is our survival. I write because it is our responsibility.

Creation (sketch)

The Fact of Fiction

It’s interesting how written fiction can often be more real, more human than written fact.

Over the past few years, I’ve been writing feature stories as part of my work. Lately, I’ve also started a little experiment: was it feasible to support med school, at least partially, with freelance writing jobs? So I’ve been taking in random writing assignments for an hour or two after work, recording how much time and effort they take.

At the same time, I journal and write short poetry on the side. I also participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last year, producing a rough novel far longer than everything I’ve ever written before. It was then that I realized that I sorely missed delving into a world that is entirely made up, molding characters and watching them interact in my mind.

Basically, I’ve been writing both fiction and fact. And it strikes me as odd, sometimes, how the fiction can be more sincere. Continue reading