Published Work

Wiping that smile off our faces Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 2021

It’s always the same story: LGBT+ people, caving under the weight of minority stress, confront these microaggressions with a smile and a whimper. We all know that one gay classmate who was frequently bullied because they were too effeminate, or that they walked with a limp wrist, or that they refused to join or cheer the basketball team at school. There’s always that one lesbian cousin who our titos would joke is only a dick away from straightness. Fighting is futile: that only invites more bullying. So we smile at our suffering instead. READ MORE

Will our LGBT+ mentors please stand up? Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 2021

I think it is reductive and unfair to judge a person’s worth by what they’ve done for you, but with Brian having given so much to me, both personally and professionally, I valued him more in my life. 

He went out of his way to not just be a teacher, but a confidant. I realize now how rare this experience is for our community. A few nights ago, I was talking to a friend about how we didn’t have a lot of LGBT+ people to look up to. There are other LGBT+ leaders, without doubt—but a lot of them—no, a lot of us—feel distant and untouchable, either too immersed in the work that we do or unable to find ways to connect with the younger crowd beyond the online spheres we’re in. READ MORE

The Magical Force of Our Names Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 2021

Names can be limiting, that is true. The moment you’re labeled, a fence is built around you, as if to say: these are the boundaries you’re supposed to respect. This is the limit of who you can be.

But also, our names can help us define clearly the parts that we play in the world. It makes us visible. It makes us valid. When we claim names with conviction, they stop being prison walls, and instead become the bricks that allow us to climb up, transcend. READ MORE

You don’t have to be a drag queen to prove you’re not a rapist Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 2021

While drag’s subversion of gender role expectations (that men have to express themselves in a non-feminine way and vice versa) may be taken as an act of solidarity and liberation for both gay men and women who are often the most disenfranchised by the patriarchy, could it also be doing us a disservice in this instance?

Does camp and drag as arguments (as flippant as they are) for the accused only distract from the seriousness of the matter at hand? READ MORE

History repeats itself: This pandemic hurts our people the most Rappler, May 2020

I argued with someone that the only reason most developed countries can mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19 is because they have the resources to do so – resources which they took from the countries they colonized and the people they abused.

“Every civilization was built on the back of a disposable workforce,” says a quote from Blade Runner 2049. 

But as a Filipino saying goes: bilog ang mundo. READ MORE

These Delicious Vegan Dishes Can Be Delivered To Your Doorstep, May 2020

In 2005, the only vegan option one would likely get in a restaurant would be The Saddest Salad Ever™ (lettuce, tomato, onion, drizzled with some form of sludge which waiters had the audacity to call “vinaigrette”.) 

But that’s all in the past. READ MORE

Shooting Down the So-Called Truths of Catholic Group CFC-FFL
Esquire, June 2019

The homophobic zealots are at it again. 

In case you’ve managed to steer clear of the bile and vitriol from the pearl-clutching oldies of the Couples for Christ-Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL), we’ll quickly run down the facts (promise, this will be even quicker than the carnal congress of those people):

On June 19, the CCF-FFL unleashed a statement against “One Big Pride,” an event held back in March by the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, to celebrate the institution’s progressive move toward greater SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) inclusion and acceptance. READ MORE

To All Young Creatives: Don’t Let Your Creativity Die
BluPrint, April 2019 

We live in a busy world. And while that sounds like a truism that you may find posted as a caption on a run-of-the-mill influencer’s Instagram post (and would likely drive my strategic planner mentor from my internship days at McCann apoplectic, for its lack of groundbreaking insight), we have to admit that our busyness has reached its boiling point, all in the pursuit of creative success.

It gets overwhelming–this on-demand, hyperconnected age. Left and right, we are constantly bombarded by texts, emails, calls, and messages from friends, family, romantic partners, bosses, colleagues, even random strangers we met at a trip once and has now decided to reconnect so they can sell us insurance or real estate. And this constant stimulation is driving extinct a key ingredient for creativity: boredom. READ MORE

The Pinoy vegan’s essential guide to surviving the holidays
Rappler, December 2018

There’s something oxymoronic about being Pinoy and being vegan, especially around the holiday season.Having been vegetarian for more than a decade – and finally, a full-pledged, card-holding vegan, I’ve seen the pained looks on my family and friends’s faces come Christmastime, as they try to magically whip up something that doesn’t contain chicken, pork, beef, lamb, fish, crustaceans, eggs, dairy, honey – and yet somehow, fulfills my macronutrient demands (high protein, complex carbs, and preferably non-saturated fat) and doesn’t get me running to the toilet, or worse, the emergency room.

(A vegan enjoying noche buena with his committedly non-vegan family: now that is Christmas miracle.) READ MORE

Paying the Price for Representation
2nd Opinion, September 2018

83.9 million dollars. That’s how much money Crazy Rich Asians has made, as of this writing. If there was any doubt that an all-Asian film can pull in the money, it has since fizzled with the massive success of this romantic comedy that follows the triumph of The Joy Luck Club, 25 years after the latter was released.

​Over the weekend, I caught the film together with some friends who found the film undeserving of the hype. To be frank, I understand their lukewarm reception. At a superficial watching, the story is quite simple: girl meets the boy’s family; boy’s mom thinks girl is not and will never be enough; girl proves her worth; true love wins. READ MORE

Being Single–In the Age of Blocks, Seenzones, and Swipe Lefts
2nd Opinion, July 2018

A disclaimer: I am, by no means, a dating expert.

Truth is, if there is one thing that makes me happy about being in a relationship, aside from having a constant person who will gladly remind me that I am gaining a few pounds and that I should say no to that extra slice of cake, is that I don’t have to wade anymore through that morass people call dating.​Admittedly, I can’t help but feel for my single friends who fret and frown over this convoluted game of filtering potential partners—yet another task to juggle with one’s many adult responsibilities.

Recently, I was watching online this “social experiment,” where a girl supposedly pretended to be a bystander, to see how safe Manila’s streets were. Out of the five people who approached her, four turned out to be predatorial dickwads who tried to get her to come with them. Despite how a lot of people speculated the video to be scripted, one can’t help but think about all the creepy men out there waiting to pounce on unsuspecting women, desperately attempting to get in their pants. READ MORE

A Cycle of Change
Catalyst Asia, March 2017

To get to school, Joebert Malnegro could either take the bus or walk.But when he didn’t have enough money for the bus fare, he had no choice but to walk. That meant waking up early to get to school before it gets too hot.However, on days when he overslept, Joebert has to shell out money for a bus ride so that he won’t miss classes. READ MORE

These Young Filipino Leaders are Changing the Philippines–One Classroom at a Time
Catalyst Asia, November 2015

Kung gusto mong makilala ang Pilipinas, magturo ka sa public school. (If you want to know the Philippines, teach at a public school.)”​

For Mikee Garcia, a training specialist at a popular restaurant chain in the country, her experience in Teach for the Philippines, a non-profit organisation which enlists young Filipino leaders to teach in public schools for two years, was nothing short of an eye-opener.

While she graduated with a degree in Psychology at Ateneo de Manila University, a well-known private school in the country, Mikee understood how the public education system works, having studied in a public high school. Teaching was close to Mikee’s heart, and she found it natural to pursue it after college–a calling of sorts. READ MORE

On Creative Careers: I’d Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That–For Free​
2nd Opinion, September 2015

Sometime in July, I was invited by Ana Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, founders of Writer’s Block Philippines, for the organization’s annual workshop, “Jumpstart your freelance writing career.”

During that Saturday afternoon at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street while facing the large group of aspiring, starry-eyed writers, I was suddenly reminded of my younger, inexperienced self.Back then, all I wanted was to see my name in a newspaper—driven by a maddened desire to affirm my worth as a writer.

A bit of context: while in second year high school, my ego was hammered into smithereens by a journalist officemate of my mom (she works for international news agency Agence France-Presse as the Administrative and Financial Manager). The surly officemate opined, after seeing my articles that not only was my grammar atrocious—my insights were also juvenile, incoherent ramblings. (That also was a rude awakening that some people will not hesitate to crush a young boy’s self-esteem, if only because it’s fun to see the world burn.) READ MORE

Are You Gay for Pay?
2nd Opinion, September 2015

Discreetly, the campaign came up on my news feed.

I don’t remember who posted the article. A friend who works for the online magazine maybe, but I can’t find it on their timeline, so I’m not so sure now. I was fleetingly scanning through Facebook, so it could’ve been anyone.

What I remember seeing that day when it came out was that Bench released its new ad, in time for Valentine’s Day. Across four images depicting various relationships—grandmother Gloria Romero hugged by her grandson Chris Gutierrez; actress and model Solenn Heussaff being embraced by her fiancé Nico Bolzico; creative director Vince Uy holding hands with events organizer Niño Gaddi; and makeup artist Ana Paredes being squeezed from behind by her girlfriend interior designer Carla Peña—were the words “Love All Kinds of Love.” READ MORE

How Millennial Professionals Define Work
e27, October 2014

With work and life becoming more blurred, Millennials prefer working for themselves over large organisations; it’s their way for a more meaningful life. READ MORE

What is the Future of Work for Millennials?
e27, September 2014

In Southeast Asia where the youth are five times more likely to be unemployed than adults, ILO likewise does not paint a very rosy picture: “On current projections, the regional youth unemployment rates will rise from 13.3 per cent in 2013 to above 14 per cent by 2017.”

Despite this, Millennials continue to hold very strong opinions about the work they do, the company they work in, and the future of employment in the world. READ MORE

Love in the Time of Tinder & Skype
e27, Feb 2014

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we need to ask: is love—as traditionally viewed—fast becoming obsolete, thanks to internet, dating apps? READ MORE

Will you create the next Flappy Bird?
e27, Feb 2014

Thanks to the internet, anyone—whether they’re in the US or Vietnam—can turn their ideas into reality.The resources to pull it off are readily available. READ MORE

The internet after the storm: Jobs for typhoon Yolanda’s survivors
e27, Jan 2014

It may take years to rebuild businesses destroyed by typhoon Yolanda. But, with a computer connected to the internet, Filipinos can begin rebuilding their lives. READ MORE

27 Things I’ve Learned At 27
ThoughtCatalog, August 2013

Speak your mind when you must. The world often gives way to people with agendas; being passive is like laying a red carpet for bad people to walk on. READ MORE

Freelance Whales: Music & Its Animals
Status Magazine, Nov 2012

While Manila is lamenting the so-called demise of the local music scene, on the other side of the world, FREELANCE WHALES’ Chuck Criss muses over the oversaturated New York music scene and how their ragtag indie band made it big, with a bit of geographical luck and a lot of support from big-name brands. READ MORE

Ed Castrillo: Icon & Iconoclast
Philippine Star, April 2012

His name might not ring a bell to the younger generation of Pinoys too dismally, almost xenocentrically, immersed in foreign pop culture, but artist Eduardo Castrillo remains a force to be reckoned with in the local — and international as well — art scene.A prolific sculptor and designer, Ed was once touted as a rebel for refusing to associate his work with western ideals. In an interview during his younger years, Ed declared that he has never been greatly influenced by any western artist. And as the John the Baptist of the local arts scene — a voice crying out in the wilderness — Ed’s past statement still reflects his present artistic direction, even after more than 40 years of creating works that are as incomparable as the character that he is. ​ READ MORE

Everything is Illuminated
Status Magazine, October 2011

Had this life been a show where the world must end in a cataclysmic bang (in a fit of cosmic irony, perhaps), My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden’s haunting voice singing “Something of an End” (And then the earth started shakin’/ and yeah it was crazy/ and heaven and hell came crashing/ It was beautiful and terrible/ so beautiful and terrible) may just be the perfect background music for the closing credits.  READ MORE

The Joos On The Beauty Trade
Status Magazine, August 2011

Perhaps, the reason why casting director and style blogger Natalie Joos has an eagle eye when it comes to spotting gorgeous people is that she is, herself, a sight to behold. Then again, to say that that is exclusively the reason why she’s so good with what she does is unfair—Natalie, after all, holds a Journalism degree from Belgium’s University of Ghent, with her final thesis on “The Ideal Standards of Beauty and the Influence of Mass Media.” In this interview, we asked her thoughts on fashion, blogging, it girls, her casting job, and, well, her love for cats. READ MORE

The Beginner Vegetarian’s Guide
Manila Times, January 2009

So you’ve decided to go vegetarian.

The calendar already marked, you’ve made the choice as a New Year’s resolution. The reasons might be any of these: health, the environment or animal rights. Finally, notwithstanding raised brows and disbelief, you’re resolute. Admittedly, vegetarianism is a daunting lifestyle for lifelong omnivores. READ MORE

Lessons From the Farm
Manila Times, November 2008

It is definitely not like the stereotypical, “happily ever after” fairy tales. But in C.M. Woodhouse’s introduction to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, he defends Orwell’s choice to subtitle the book that satirized totalitarianism as A Fairy Story: “The point about fairy stories is that they are written not merely without a moral but without a morality.” READ MORE

Her Winding Maze of Enchantment
Manila Times, October 2008

Katrina Pallon’s art reveals the beauty that is waiting to be found. The 22-year-old visual artist’s first solo exhibit entitled A Labyrinth of Blooms: A Prelude to A Masquerade, currently on show in Halo Organic Store and Café at Cubao Expo, Quezon City, lures you into a realm of romanticism, beauty and wonder.  READ MORE