Occupation: Freelance writer
How did you find about the Philippines?
I was born here – in gritty Quezon City.
What Philippine locations have you visited?
Manila, Baguio, Cagayan Valley (both my parents had lived in Tuguegarao), La Union, Pangasinan (delicious milkfish!), Bataan, Baler, Rizal (memorable for its being artsy-fartsy), Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Davao City (though I still cannot stomach durian), Cotabato, Maguindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula (most of the time I had spent there was in Metro Ipil), Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte (in Iligan City, specifically), Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon.
What are your opinions on the following things about the Philippines?
The beauty of the Philippines lies in its nature; the cities’ common trend towards high-rise modernity is just a necessary and messy cosmopolitan sprawl.
Our food? Well, it’s certainly not as good-looking as that of other countries in Asia or in Europe (think dinuguan), but as I’ve been raised to eat it, I have no worries. My parents are very good at preparing Ilocano dishes. Several expat friends, though, are pining for greater variety – they encourage me to move past rice and good ole’ Jollibee.
It’s a mix of the old and the new, of Oriental and Western, of the religious and the irreligious. The arts and culture scene here is something that I have come to love, albeit schizophrenically. But I think the music is fantastic.
Strong and stubborn, we are. And I think that with our own personal versions of faith we’ve gained more than we’ve lost.
What do you dislike about the Philippines?
Traffic. Conservatism. The government, too, perhaps.
What do you like about the Philippines?
I’ve lived here all my life yet the Philippines still continues to surprise me – and pleasantly.
Your favorite place/s in the Philippines.