Les Misérables: A Review

Les Misérables was the first classic novel that I read *on my own* accord (had to emphasize it just so you’d noticed that lousy word play I just made.)

It was summer after sixth grade. I was browsing through our shelves looking for a book to read, when I found our copy of Les Misérables. There was nothing fancy in the covers, nor even a summary for me to get a feel of what’s in there. Yet, I felt all the urge to read it. And fortunately, I did.

I was hooked the moment I started reading it that I basically breezed through the early chapters; all thanks to that precious and touching moment when Monseigneur Bienvenu granted Jean Valjean compassion and forgiveness just so he could grow into an honest man. From that point, I already had trouble putting the book down.

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Ten years after reading the book, Les Misérables remains to be one of my most favorite novels. So imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that they would be staging a musical production here in Manila!

Only, I was kind of hesitant at first upon knowing that Les Misérables would be held in Solaire. My previous experience in Solaire while watching Chicago was, well… suffice to say it was unsatisfactory. First of all, the level of seat rows in the Orchestra is flat; not the standard dome-type theatre we’re all accustomed to. Second, there is barely enough leg room, and this isn’t something you could just put up with as time passes by. And lastly, I found the stage poor in terms of size. I usually blame the size of the stage on why I thought Chicago was not able to deliver a spectacular set production. Hence, I was worried that, being held in Solaire, Les Misérables would not be as promising as it would be.

Boy, was I wrong! I am actually in awe of how wonderful and perfect the set execution was irrespective of the limited space onstage. Thoughts about how they would perform some of the scenes had crossed my mind before watching the play; like how the convicts would haul the ship into dock during the prologue; how Javert would commit suicide, how the revolution at the barricade would be like, how Jean Valjean would carry Marius’s body in the underground sewers. And when I did finally see these scenes, the execution has not failed to amaze me. Kudos to Cameron Mackintosh for a successful production of one of the best musicals in the world.

Jean Valjean, Javert and Fantine are characters which I have always been fond of and have sympathized with – not just from Les Misérables but from all the novels I have read (they share the title with the likes of Sirius Black, Jay Gatsby, Holden Caulfield, the Lannisters Tyrion, Tywin and Jaime, etc.) They are characters whose background and development have stimulated encouragement, vexation, grief, rage, and agony inside my heart; sometimes all emotions at the same time.

The actors who played Jean Valjean and Javert, Simon Gleeson and Earl Carpenter respectively, were promising and absolutely fitting for the characters. I loved Gleeson’s voice, and his performance was mostly remarkable. Although, the finale of Who Am I was not as fine as I have imagined it to be. Javert, on the other hand, never fell short of my expectations. Perhaps because I was comparing him to Russell Crowe, who was basically a disappointment in the movie.

As for Fantine, it was unfortunate that Rachelle Ann Go was not feeling well at the night that we watched. Instead, her understudy, Adèle Parkinson, performed on her behalf. Parkinson had her highlights onstage, but there were still some points where you’d see that she was not thoroughly primed for the part.


OOTD: Black and grey striped top from Cotton On. Black pencil skirt from Stradivarius. Nude heels from Rusty Lopez. And meet Elphaba, my first designer bag purchase, from Kate Spade.

To top off this post, let me point out how I find it timely that Les Misérables was shown in the Philippines just a few weeks before the national elections.

Jean Valjean served 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew. I am likening him to a Filipino offender out there who may be just committing the same crime out of necessity. Just like you and me, this offender has a life of his own. And however tainted his soul may be, deep within it lies the possibility of change which we just have yet to see. Who, then, are we to rob this man of the chance to change? Who are we to take away the life of a man, who has stolen thousands of pesos to survive in this world, a measly fraction compared to the millions/billions of peso which were embezzled by the corrupt politicians and businessmen in our country?

By supporting the virtues of this certain candidate, know that you are tainting your own hands by the blood of every Filipino “criminal” whose life was carelessly taken away, all because you allowed this candidate to rise into power.

Damn. This is how moved I am by the love-hate relationship of Valjean-Javert. Always a better love story than Cosette-Marius-Eponine’s.


Because #IWD

I am a feminist.

It does not mean I am a man hater. It does not mean I expect men to hold the doors or offer their seat for me. Nor do I expect people to treat me like a princess because “every woman is special.” It does not mean I think dress codes are sexist; and that I would put ALL the blame on men who shout lewd comments at me when I pass by in a mini skirt because “I should be able to wear anything I want.”*

I am a feminist for simple reasons.

I am a feminist because I fight for gender equality; for equal opportunities and equal treatment regardless of gender. I believe men and women should receive the same pay and benefits for the same quality of work. I believe women should get equal rights for an education, healthcare, expression, and protection in this world as any man.

I am a feminist because I am against violence and abuse inside our own homes. I am against women being forced into marriage at a very young age. I am against women being objectified at the expense of men’s pleasure.

I am a feminist and I should not be judged for swearing too much just because it isn’t “lady-like.” I don’t need to stop playing the sports that I love because they are too rough and they make me muscular. People should stop thinking that I am delicate and fragile just because I am a woman. I should not be defined for who I should and should not be based solely on my gender.

I am a feminist. I don’t need a man to fulfill my dreams for me. People should keep their unsolicited advice to themselves; I don’t need to be told that men would have trouble loving me because I am too alpha and that I can’t be controlled… that I should learn to be more dutiful and less dominating.

I don’t need a knight in shining armor to save me from my distress, or a prince charming to give me a happy ever after. Wonderful as it may be to love and be loved, I don’t need a man to make me feel better.

I wasn’t born unfinished. I am complete on my own.

And just like what Emma Watson said, “gender equality is your (men’s) issue too.” Men shouldn’t feel obliged to become the predominant, authoritarian, and powerful patriarch that “real men” are stereotyped to be. Men shouldn’t be ashamed to speak up when women are the perpetrators of abuse and violence. Male victims should not be labelled weak, less macho, or pathetic.

I am a feminist, and I believe everyone, male or female, should be able to embrace feminism. I fight for gender equality: women should not be treated any less than men; and that goes to say that the society and laws should NOT favor, coddle, and exempt women from the typical consequences that men suffer from as well.


*I am against rape culture. I believe everyone should know that sex without an ‘explicit yes’ is rape; and rape will always be unacceptable. But I am also aware that we don’t live in a perfect world where EVERYONE would just stop doing something because they were told that it isn’t right. So in this note, I’d rather get off my high horse, than expect that someday, everyone would act nonchalant if I went around wearing practically nothing just because it was properly disseminated that raping should not be tolerated.­ I’m pretty sure we are all taught that stealing and killing isn’t right; but no one in their right mind would go around parading their Prada or Louboutin’s in a dark alley with gangsters.



The surroundings came alive in the dead of the night. Crickets sung in the nearby distance, people loitered in the area, and cars passed by frequently.

And then, there we were, sitting on the benches outside a park, consumed in our own little word.

You were fidgeting, and I shocked, after you dropped the bomb on me.

I watched as you tossed the remains of the fourth cigarette you smoked during our conversation that barely lasted 15 minutes. And then we stared at each other, out of words and not a thing to do… until you wrapped your arms around me.

The hug lasted a few minutes, long enough for me to take in everything that was happening at that instant: the coldness of your hands resting on my back, the smell of your clothes that reeked of nicotine, the dab of hair wax which you failed to smear properly on that flawless comb-over of yours.

Slowly, we stood up, still holding on to each other as tightly as we can; trying to discredit theories of space and time, just to recall everything we shared in our fleeting time together. Perhaps the longer we clung as one, the more memories we could entrap in the little confines where our bodies aren’t touching.

You told me you were gonna leave… indefinitely.

That night could be our last.

“Or then again, perhaps not,” you said.

You don’t even know so, yourself.

Still, I had to say goodbye to the person who’s only been in my life for a fraction of time; yet whose impact is already incomparable.

And there I was, holding on to nothing, but the empty hope of what lies ahead.


7 Goals in 12 Months: The Aftermath

If you remember, last year, I made a list of goals that I would be aiming for during my first 12 months of working in the corporate world; and I swore then that after a year, I would go through what I have and haven’t accomplished during that timeframe. You may read here if you want a recap of what BS I’m talking about.

Anyway, some weeks ago, I celebrated my 1st anniversary as an employee of Hewlett Packard Enterprises; so apparently, now’s the time to assess the aftermath of this sacred vow.


1. Stay in Shape

I have to admit, achieving this one was pretty tough. I’ve undergone quite a change in my lifestyle: from the stressful life in UP Diliman, where I burn calories unconsciously when running from building to building; to a white-collared life where I’m seated 24/7 in an air-conditioned room. I’ve already started to anticipate adding a few a lot of pounds on my first few months; though thankfully, I was able to avoid the inevitable.

Now I’m trying to live healthily now. I eat more protein and less carbs – no matter how much I find it hard to cut down on rice before. I force myself to drink at least 2L of water everyday. I’ve said goodbye to my beloved coffee, and replaced it with 2-3 cups of tea per day. And while I haven’t completely given up on coke, chips, fries, and fast food; at least I could now resist my cravings and limit my intake to a minimum. And lastly, I’m starting to eat vegetables now. Very scarcely and still too picky, but hey, it’s a start. This diet has definitely paid off and I’m now on my ideal weight – no longer the drunkard-and-meth-addict look I sported during college, nor the humongous-blue-whale I was when I first started working.

After N years…

Once I’ve truly gotten the hang of this change in lifestyle, perhaps I could add a low-maintenance sport or some sort of physical activity to my regimen. Running, yoga, or boxing are some of my ideas.

2. Learn something new

For someone who’s afraid of diving into anything deeper than five feet, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned to love water sports nowadays. A month ago, I got to try surfing when I visited Baler, Aurora. Then recently, I took a crack at wakeboarding yet again (not entirely new to the sport since I’ve already tried it in Cam Sur before, but trying to make it a hobby counts as something new). I’ve enjoyed both sports so much that I’ve decided to make them a regular thing. If I do intend to take both surfing and wakeboarding to the next level, though; I should first start learning how to actually swim.

After N years…

Even if I did learn something new, I wasn’t able to tick anything from the activities which I originally had in mind. So I’m still determined to learn how to cook, pole dance, and ride a bike in the coming years.

3. Rekindle an old hobby

I’ve finally picked up my guitar and replaced its broken strings. But I’m still the previous “intro-girl” who never actually finishes a song. I’ve also started reading and playing piano sheets again. Only problem is I couldn’t practice on an actual instrument since my keyboards has one broken key, and all I have is this Android piano app I’ve downloaded.

I also bought this cute notebook which I’m hoping to fill with daily random doodles. Nothing extraordinary, just something to allow me to catch up on my sketching and lettering.

And lastly, I’ve been really hands-on (sort of) with this blog, which has been a crucial instrument in helping me get back to my writing.

After N years…

Pretty soon, I need to buy a working set of keyboards. And learn to finish playing a song. I also need to make time to maintain these hobbies, including the two water sports I mentioned above. Plus, if I could just find other people to play with, I’m hoping to start playing basketball, ultimate frisbee, or football again.

4. Buy a designer bag

I’ve recently placed an order on a mint mojito Kate Spade Cedar Street Hayden. Haven’t gotten it, yet though. Had it shipped to my sister’s US address, and now just I’m waiting for her next return here in the Philippines so I could finally get a feel on my first baby.

What I love about this recent purchase is that I’ve put a lot of thought about it. I did not, in any way, just buy it for the sake of achieving my goal of owning a designer bag on my first year of working. I really love the bag’s design – both its efficiency and aesthetics. Plus, I got it on sale, so… absolutely NO regrets!

After N years…

I need to add a new baby to my collection so my Kate Spade wouldn’t get lonely. Perhaps my baby wouldn’t mind hanging out with a Versace Athena or Proenza Schouler PS1. (I wish, but yeah)

5. Start a personal book collection

Perhaps of all the items on this list, this one was something I’ve really put an effort into this past year. I almost never leave the bookstore without a pretty book in my hand. Now, I can’t stop going crazy over my book collection: I’ve got a leatherbound collector’s edition of The Hobbit, S. (by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst) which I have yet to read, and my pretty Barnes and Noble leatherbound classics. I actually placed 8 more orders from Barnes and Noble, ready for pick-up come November.

After N years…

I’ve started with nothing (almost), so all I need is to continue what I’ve started. With the right resources, there’s nothing really that would make me stop investing in books.

 6. Travel

Last June, I bought airline tickets to Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan; but it’s sad that had to pass up the chance at the very last minute (wasn’t even able to re-sell the ticket! Huhu). So aside from Baler and Puerto Galera, and the long road-trips to Nuvali, Batangas, and Antipolo, I haven’t really had the time to travel anywhere else these past months. Thankfully, plans to go outside the country with my sister before the year ends are already underway. I’m also planning to see the Calaguas Islands with UP friends in November! I just hope it would push through, this time.

After N years…

More travel destinations in Visayas (Siquijor, Bacolod, Iloilo) and Mindanao (Siargao, Cagayan de Oro). Also, I am more than eager to travel alone to a foreign land.

7. Save, save, save!

I was able to comply with the perfect ratio on saving, splurging, and spending (20%, 30%, 50% respectively). And more than that, I got to invest a portion of my savings on stock market. I’m more than happy I stuck to my motto until the very end, “Save and invest; delay gratification.”

After N years…

Invest my savings on a small-time business with minimum capital (Uber is an idea), in preparation for that big one which will be the source of my steady income come my late 30’s. Never too soon to plan for my early retirement!


Generally, I just intend to focus on my career at this point in my life. And frankly, I’m more than satisfied with the blessings that I received this year. *patting myself on the back* All I could ask for now is for the opportunities to keep on coming.😀



This is the second of a two-part love story. Click here to read Part 1.


It scares me how much I love him.

I’m afraid of him. This guy… who I’ve been spending most of my every days with. I’m afraid of how he makes me feel; how I always find myself wishing that every instant spent with him would last forever. That every time I’m with him, I just want to tell him how cute he is, or how smart he sounds when he talks, or how good he smells. I’m afraid of liking him so much.

Yet, I love how he is always there for me, whether I need him to or not. How he stays up late when I can’t sleep. That he would listen to me whine/cry/rant up until the wee hours of the morning, even on the most boring and petty topics like politics or heartbreak.

I love how he is someone who I could share my dreams with. Although he is always the first to laugh at all the flaws and naivety in them, he would still try to support me when he can.

I love how he could get me to bend the rules and break free from all my high standards. He was the nail and hammer that chipped away at the resilient stone walls I’ve been building around me for years; inevitably replaced into the supporting beams which I rather needed. Despite how meticulous I can be, with him, I become less uptight and more comfortable on so many aspects.

Sometimes, I get tempted to text him, “I can’t stop thinking about you.” I’m pretty sure he would want to know about it. And I bet he would have cracked a smile upon seeing that text. He would probably tell me how happy that has made him, or that he couldn’t stop thinking about me as well. But as much as I want to, I couldn’t send it.

I love it when he holds my hand. Those fleeting moments when his fingertips lightly stroke my knuckles as his palm inches its way into mine. I want to tell him how at that split second, I feel an infinite sense of joy around me. I’m sure he would have known how much I meant it. But I can’t let those words run out of my big mouth, so I do my darnedest not to.

I won’t tell him. I can’t tell him. Because then he’d know, and I’m afraid he might do something to fuck things up.

You see, a few miles away, someone who loves me is waiting earnestly for me. My man, who, through the years, continually made me feel smart, safe, and innocent.

And out of nowhere, this other guy who I’m so afraid of… jumped out and helped me live spontaneously, passionately, happily.

He mixed dabs of colors into my palette, while my man was just… well, a still canvas.

He was the wind that persisted even on the days I was reluctantly forcing it away – my man was the air that I’ve been so accustomed to, I have trouble remembering it exists.

I keep battling with the fact that this guy is so close to being mine – if we had only met on another time or place or universe, things would have have been different.

I want to tell him that I love him…

If only I met him earlier. If only I met him first. But I didn’t, so…

I shouldn’t.



I hate a lot of things about her.

Maybe it’s because she’s so different. And complicated. A challenge for anyone, if I may add.

She’s got this queen-bee attitude. Yeah, I think I hate that about her. She would never just sit around without getting everything (she thinks) she deserves. You can’t just please her with flowers on Valentine’s, or a candle-lit dinner on your anniversary. She would always demand more from you, push you to do better, because she would never settle for some semblance of mediocrity.

Plus, she’s obsessed with being right all the time. And she’s got a big mouth. Two ingredients you just can’t put together… with her, especially. It makes her feel opinionated and smart. She would just delve in deep conversations – going on and on about religion, history, politics, and sociology – to the point that she makes me question my own beliefs and ideas. I hate that she outsmarts me on many occasions.

I hate that she’s always too ambitious. She’s already got her whole future ironed out, the life and dreams for her and all the people around her. She doesn’t even realize that not everyone would be there to stay; that something or someone’s bound to leave or change. And I hate that this naivety of hers just keeps breaking her heart.

I hate it when she cracks a smile… at practically anyone who comes her way. Does she always have to share that piece of herself to the rest of the world? How could she make it so easy to enthrall everyone with a mere smile?

I hate how she could make me feel this quiver of emotions inside me. How she always has me head over feet when we spend the entire afternoon together… then leaves my heart suffering from hypothermia with all the cold-shoulder the moment right after.

I hate how I always miss her… for every minute and every second spent apart. I hate it even more that she has never reciprocated that feeling.

I hate how she always makes me fall asleep with my phone in my hand because I am always, ALWAYS, desperately waiting for her text – even when I know it will never come.

I hate that she’s wrong for me on so many levels, yet I still have her on a pedestal.

I hate that despite all these, heaven decided to make a foolish jape out of me by granting me the unfortunate fate of falling in love with her… at the most inopportune time.

She’s not even supposed to be that big of a deal. I mean, I should just get on with the next girl, right? Find someone who’s not already tied to another man.

But I couldn’t.

I hate the fact that seeing her happy with him crushes my heart. Because then my mind would start making up these silly fantasies that I should have been the one beside her, and not him.

But I hate it even more when I see her crying because of him. Had I been the lucky guy, I would never, ever, let those tears run out.

I hate that her hurt hurts me. And it kills me knowing that she may actually want us together just as much as I do… something just keeps her holding on.

I love her, and would do anything to keep her in my life.

But she has already chosen someone to spend the rest of her life with. And I hate the fact that even when the whole universe already knows, I still can’t accept that I’m not that man.


This is the first of a two-part love story. Click here to read the second one.🙂


My Life Sucks

I have just finished the fourth installment of A Song of Ice Series…and I hate it.

By it, I don’t mean the book per se, but the feeling of finishing it.

For the past few days, I’m being a little more mindful of the fact that books have started to ruin my life.

Reading has always been my first resort when I’m in need of a recreational or therapeutic activity. Opening a book feels like being pushed into a vast, dark, and fathomless pit. And as I fall deeper into the endless hollow, the world I am in disappears, only to be replaced by a realm far more fascinating and marvelous. In a mere second, I see myself transform from a boring young adult, to a three-feet tall hobbit on a quest to slay Smaug the dragon in order to reclaim the hidden treasures of Lonely Mountain.

And yes, I’m well aware that eventually, I would have to leave that world of make-belief. I would have to close the book, and the wand in my hands while I was fighting the dark lord seconds ago would be but an old hairy brush. I would open my eyes and look around, only to see that I am back in my room, stuck with the harsh reality of having to live my normal, boring life again.

And then everything would start to sink in… my pathetic life would never be any better. I would never be able to ride off the back of a hippogriff. My billionaire ex-lover with shady connections, one who went through the lengths of bootlegging and throwing extravagant parties just to catch my attention, would vanish into thin air. I would lose my Florian, and the knights who have crowned me Queen of Love and Beauty would be nothing but a vague dream.

Ironic, isn’t it? You pick up a book to enjoy and revel in, yet ultimately, it becomes the catalyst for you to feel worse about yourself.

I hate this feeling.

I hate the denouement of it all.

I know Harry Potter’s life pretty much sucked before, too; but at least he got a way out when he received his Hogwarts letter when he was eleven. Meanwhile, here I am, still lying on my bed at 3 in the afternoon, eating leftover pasta, and waiting for my long-overdue letter for around a decade.

Perhaps my owl just lost its way? I do hope so.