I kept my eyes focused on the details and carefully stepped on the rocks. I couldn’t see both side views of the trail because I was scared to fall. After few minutes, my feet started moving like it had a life of its own. Finally I gained little confidence and was able to look at a wider vision yet there were parts that’s still blurry. I tried to be fast but my heart was pounding. My legs were trembling but I kept them strong before it loses its momentum.


 She was working next door as a baby sitter. I see her every time I come home from school. I asked her name, she said she kept it inside a treasure box. So I told her, maybe she should bring it with her the next time I see her.
Then I saw her again, I asked her if she finally brought her name or else it would be disrespectful to pass by a beautiful woman every day and I couldn’t greet her by her first name. Finally she told me her name. It was ANA. I always saw her watched while I was studying at our window. You know women during the time when they like you; you can tell by the way they look at you. 

I remember my brother told me once when Ana went to the house to use the phone: ‘If you want to marry soon, You have to learn to stand on your own feet and make sure you know the kind of situation you’re putting yourself into’. I didn’t know he was courting her. I was 16 years old.

Once, I invited her to have lunch with me, but she wasn’t allowed to go anywhere out, so brought her food at their house. We enjoyed our conversations that we forgot about time. In the evening, she saw me saw hey being shouted by her employer and I knew she felt embarrassed so she left her job.

She stayed at my aunt and there was one night after they have been drinking with my cousins, one of them tried to sleep with her while she was asleep, she ran away and went to my house crying. She told me what happen so I went back there with her pretending I was her boyfriend and talked to my cousin. I told him what he did was wrong and disrespectful. 

The next day, I asked her if she likes me, I told her that I didn’t want to waste my time, and it’s going to end up there anyway so there was no use of courtship. She told me it was okay with her. I was still studying but we can get our own apartment. We rented an apartment for only 20 pesos then we bought 50 cents for a kilo of rice during the time. I went to work while studying and earning 350 pesos monthly salary for being electrician. I wanted to prove my brother that I can stand on my own feet. I saved money to start a small restaurant.

It was August when we had our first baby. We got married and had our baby’s baptism the same day. I finished my school, then afterwards we had 3 more children.

 I and my brother applied as a Seaman. After few days, the employer called me to discuss about the salary. He said he was going to pay me 350 pesos a month. I asked him if he could push until 550 but he only approved 350. 

I went home to my wife and told her about the job and that I’m leaving soon. She was crying. She had no idea that I was kidding. I wiped her tears off and told her I was making fun of her. I didn’t want to leave to earn three hundred fifty pesos. But then my brother told me I should work abroad to save money because my children are growing fast. I grabbed the opportunity but first I asked my brother to spare me 10 more days before I go because I need to teach my wife what to do. 

I couldn’t watch her while I let her do things with the kids alone. I told her to rest while I’m away and watch after the kids and I will take care of everything. We closed down the restaurant.

I worked in Saudi for 12 years until all my children finished college. I bought us ‘house and lot’ and also a Jeepney for source of income then I came back home. I don’t smoke and drink. I spent my sleepless nights talking to my wife. 

I saw my friends dating other women. I was there to remind them about those reasons why we were working abroad. What was our main reason? Our goal why we ended up abroad? It’s for the family right? I asked them how could they trade their family for an entertainment.

Temptations are only visible if you give them attention. Remember that once the trust is broken, it’s forever going to leave a mark. Think about your children, they are going to remember what you did to them.

When you’re married, you need to keep an open mind, self-discipline and lots of patience and utmost respect for each other. Never ever shout or hurt your wife. It’s normal that sometimes you give her reason to be sad but there should be more reason for her to smile. Think of the words before you speak. 

And before you get married, you have to make sure you know where you’re putting yourself into. If you do everything from the heart, then you will know the right things to do.   

 If you’re just going to stay at your parent’s house, you’ll never know how it feels to become parents. You will never figure out what your family needs the most. You must learn how to create your own home. It’s the most amazing feeling to become a father. 

 “I never hurt her. I still court her every now and then. She always laughs whenever I came home with flowers. When I’m at work, I call her to tell her I miss her. And when she’s angry, I give her time, I listen and then I will go for a walk and when I come home, she says sorry then embraces me.

Were together since we were 16 and she was 15 years old. 45 years of marriage and I still ask her out for dinner from time to time.

 RICARDO, Makati

The boy and the seed.

There was a boy who found a seed along the road. He kept it in his pocket and planted at his backyard. One day, the seed started to grow as he watered the seed everyday until seed turned into a strong and a beautiful tree. Just like the seed, the boy grew into a man and started to build a family. The tree began to bear fruits and he finally had to taste its fruits. The next batch of fruit, as he opened one, he then realized something and the boy became one of the richest man of his town.  

He began to get ill and in his pocket, he kept 3 seeds, one each of his children. He ask them to plant those seeds because it’s all they can inherit.

The tree died with their father and the 3 children parted ways. One of them did as the father say and two of them became very angry and both decided to flush the seed away as it reminded them of their father’s greed and selfishness. The youngest took care of his growing plant. After years, the 3 brothers built their own families and had children. The only difference is that, one of them became very rich and the two became a farmer. 

“Because the boy who planted the seed found out just like his father that the fruit bear golden seed on its second fruits”

The stranger. 

You’re right…

She’s not a gem

but find herself as a treasure.

She live by day to day,

Like tomorrow won’t arrive. 

She pretends she’s not thinking, but her head never stopped spinning. 

Her feet trembles when caged,

Her hand writes when denied. 

She pays money to look homeless 

and she never fixed her hair.

She never surf, never knew how to swim,

She learned to dive with fishes got tired to float on water. 

She would lay down on the sand,

Bare-skinned and kiss the sun.

She travels, she moves, 

she can never stay still. 

She smokes, she drinks, she dance,

sleeps when she gets tired. 

She’s not a keeper,

You’ll never like her, 

Your parents will disapprove her.

What’s next? Nobody can tell. 

She never have fixed plans,

Her head is her navigator. 

She’s busy, never take her out for dinner. 

She can’t text when she’s talking,

Cannot answer when she’s texting. 

She could never keep job steady,

She makes money by being creative and pretty. 

She wants to finish a degree, 

But can’t be in 4 walls in months of 3.

She never knows the time,

She never owned a watch. 

She’s strong and honest,

But deep and sensitive. 

She follows her heart. 

She treats her skin as blank canvass, 

Great stories are the ones with scars. 

She chooses to see goodness,

Talk to strangers, Kiss kid’s cheeks, 

Wipe old lady’s foreheads. 

She’s uncertain,

She’s unreliable, 

Indecisive and unstable.

She chose to be herself, 

And live with her own terms. 

She will never belong to anyone,

To no one but belongs to everyone.

—-The Stranger. Your truly, @jillybully  

 #poem #saltwater #stranger

Credits to @jannalachowski for this photo from Bulabog beach, Boracay Aklan.