oh…n to the next one! sneak peek of ‘the day i found me’ as featured in coming of age


coming of age cover


I was holding an ice cube with the hand of a girl on top of it.

Okay, let me give you more context, it was my first soiree. Even though the word sounds fancy, it’s basically just a bunch of guys from our class that invite a bunch of girls from another school to a party.

To help guys like me who have very minimal experience interacting with girls, we had to play icebreakers. Hence, the reason why my hand was going numb from holding an ice cube. The premise of the game was to talk to the person you’re “holding hands” with until the ice melts. I’d never met the girl I was holding hands with before, but I knew her. It’s very difficult for someone that pretty not to be well known.

“So, this is fun,” I said.

The girl looked at me with her eyebrow raised, “This is weird.”

It was weird, but when you’re doing something weird, you’re not supposed to point out the explicit weirdness because it just makes everything weirder.

Dre then called out, “All right everyone, new rules to the game! Whoever’s ice isn’t melted yet has to go in the closet for seven minutes.”

I looked down at my hand and saw that there was more sweat dripping down my forehead than there was water from the block of ice.

Dre lifted my hand and winked at me. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” He proceeded to shove me and the girl in the closet and before I knew it, everything around me was pitch black. My hand was still tingling and we were so close together, I could hear her breathing.

But her breathing sounded a lot different. I covered my ears and tried hearing myself inhale and exhale, and hers was definitely different. “Hey, um, are you okay?”

“I’m…” her voice cracked. “Fine.”

She was crying! God, what do I say to a crying girl when you’re trapped in a closet? Should I pat her back? But I couldn’t see anything. Who knew what body part I’d end up patting…

“My boyfriend is cheating on me….again,” she whispered. “I saw him kissing some girl and she’s there outside probably thinking that I’m such an idiot…” I heard her sniff and scoff, “And I thought this stupid soiree would make me forget about him.”

Coming up with words is not my strong suit. I have this knack though of thinking of good movie quotes as responses. At that point, I thought of the Gone With the Wind quote, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” which is perhaps the most inappropriate string of words I could’ve said at that moment.

So thankfully, I said instead, “Why are you still with him?”

“Because… I keep hoping it’ll get better…because there’s nobody else…”

Right then, I thought about all the couples who stay together because they think that’s as good as it’s going to get. I think about how many people are like the girl in front of me who loves a boy who doesn’t treat her right because she thinks she doesn’t deserve any better. Why does it become easier to love the wrong person than it is to love yourself?

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked her.

There was a long silence and I heard her take a deep breath. “I just wanted to tell somebody… and I guess it’s easier to tell your secrets to someone you don’t know.”

Maybe it was because of this statement or because she’d just confided in me this huge secret. Maybe it was because I’d never met this girl before or that I couldn’t see anything in that closet. Whatever the reason, I then told her something I had never, ever said out loud.

I learned something new that night. When you spend seven minutes in a dark closet telling your deepest, darkest secrets, it’s impossible to leave without finding your new best friend.

oh em gee – you’re invited!

TADAAA -sprinkles glitter and confetti in the air-

I know everyone has heard the warning that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the very first thing I look at when I shop for a book is…. well, the cover. So I’m extremely psyched that my work is associated with this gorgeous image designed by the awesome Tania Arpa. So now, I give you full permission to judge my book by its cover. 

If you’re not doing anything at 3pm on Saturday August 8, 2015, I would love for you to drop by ‘The Year We Became Invincible’ book launch. It’s going to be in the ground floor of the National Bookstore in Glorietta 1. You can grab your copy of ‘The Year We Became Invincible’ and I will be there to answer any of your questions (or at least try to) and sign some books. Aside from that, there will be a short program where the very talented actress singer Gab Pangilinan will be hosting and the amazing MAJAM sisters will be performing! I can’t wait to see all of you there.

Oh hi! here’s a sneak peek of my upcoming epistolary book ‘The Year We Became Invincible’

Hello Hi Dear future partner,

It’s pretty funny how we may be complete strangers right now. It’s even funnier to think that we may not be strangers. I read somewhere that 80% of the population would have met the person they were going to marry by the age of 18. Considering how large 80% is and that I’m turning 18 next year, there is a huge probability that we’ve already met.

‘Why am I writing to you now?’ you may ask. I don’t have a direct answer for you, but I guess everything that happened today got me thinking.

Today was my older sister Lea’s birthday and she brought her boyfriend Martin over for dinner. They’ve been going out for a while now. Martin dresses really well. I remember that he wore yellow pants the last time he came over. He was the kind of guy who could pull off yellow pants.

“How’re your parents? Please tell them hi for me,” Mom would always say.

“How’re things going in the office?” Dad would then ask.

My mom calls Martin “perfect.” “Perfect” is not a simple word that can be used to describe just anything. It takes something or someone special to be called “perfect.” I wonder what made Mom decide to call Martin ‘perfect’. After we had dinner, Martin gave Lea a fancily wrapped box. Inside was a bracelet with shiny charms dangling from it. My little sister Nikki and Mom squealed. Dad smiled in approval. Lea said she loved it and kissed Martin on the cheek.

Later that night, as I was going to bed, I looked into Lea’s room and saw her put the bracelet in a cardboard box.

She saw me and asked, “Do you want it?”

“I don’t really like flashy jewelry.”

“Yeah, same here.”

I saw that there were lots of other similar gifts in the box. She put the lid back on and slid it under her bed. I thought that telling Martin the truth would be easier than having to hide all that stuff. I guess my sister thinks differently.

If I’m with the person that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, I would want him to know that I didn’t like jewelry. I want to be able to tell him what I didn’t like and mean it when I say, “I love it.” So I’m writing to you now, future partner, so that you could get to know me – the real me. Hopefully you wouldn’t like me less after reading all of these letters.

Looking forward to meet you,


oh, look – the crazy good julie ulip recreated ‘flight to the stars’

Late last year as I was diligently writing my paper, (otherwise known as spending countless hours on social media) I received a message on the Flight to the Stars Facebook page. Julie, a student from FEU, asked me if she could do her thesis on relaunching Flight with new illustrations. I took about .0001 seconds to ponder about this and typed “yes”, but in my mind it was more, “HELL YA!”. My only condition was that I get a copy if she had any extras.

crazy good julie presenting her crazy good thesis that show her crazy good illustrations
crazy good julie presenting her crazy good thesis that show her crazy good illustrations

When I came back to Manila for Christmas break, I met up with Julie and she showed me her illustrations. It was her first time meeting me so I tried to act all nonchalant but inside I was freaking out at how good these were. Here are some of my favourites:

Make way for Mike Perez, here to whip yo ass
Make way for Mike Perez, here to whip yo ass
“I, Luke Dizon, take you Suzanne Perez, for my lawful wife always and forever until death do us part.”
completely nailed the Anton hair-combing and Sapphire's wonderful sass
completely nailed the Anton hair-combing and Sapphire’s wonderful sass
if i had to translate 'The Purple Box' into one picture, this would be it.
if i had to translate ‘The Purple Box’ into one picture, this would be it.

And you know.. typical Julie…she didn’t stop there! She also had these ideas on how to advertise the book if ever there would be a relaunch. She thought about having airplane giveaways, bookmarks, and my personal favorite: a purple box invite that opens into a star! Here are pictures of me geeking out over them:

Taking my flight to the stars... (sorry, the pun had to be made)
Taking my flight to the stars… (sorry, the pun had to be made)
You think it's a purple box...
You think it’s a purple box…
But it's actually a star!
But it’s actually a star!

All jokes aside, thank you so much Julie. I am very honoured that you used your crazy good skills on Flight to the Stars. Congrats on graduating and I wish you a great future and career where you share your crazy good talents! I’m also very sorry for overusing ‘crazy good’. You would think that someone who wants to write for a living would come up with more creative adjectives.

oh, why hello there!

First of all, welcome and thank you for being curious enough to click the link to see what’s on this site.  This is my official writer blog and in here, you can find details about my past and upcoming works.

To give you an even bigger welcome, here's a picture of me and my not creepy looking friends from the Hundred Acre Wood
To give you an even bigger welcome, here’s a picture of me and my not creepy looking friends from the Hundred Acre Wood

For the past five years since Flight came out, I’ve been occupying myself with being confused about my future, watching reruns of Friends and Gilmore Girls, and all the wonderful blah of growing up. Although one thing that has remained constant through the years is my love for writing.

To the people who have supported and read my stories, you guys have changed my life. I can’t wait to continue this journey with all of you.