Today I finally found the definition of a Waray-Waray word I keep stumbling upon.

kamíngaw: tigngaran (noun), tigtulidong (modifier). loneliness; silence; stillness; nostalgia. (Oyzon et al. 2013)

My excitement at finally deciphering a mystery was immediately eclipsed by an unusual sensation of understanding. I mean here a sort of understanding a word specifically in a place where it is used. Every time I had heard this word, I realized, someone was likely talking about a profound moment. I felt connected to their experience of loneliness by my own experience of loneliness here as a visitor to this place.

Kamíngaw: Now, I think of a time I went to MacArthur Park. It was a beautiful Saturday, and high school kids were gathered on the grass together, singing along with a guitar under the shade trees. I stood at the back of the MacArthur Landing monument, looking out to the sea, and failing to imagine what that historic moment might have looked liked. It exists so much now on reverence.

In that space there, alone–apart from the tourists, apart from the high schoolers, apart from feeling the significance of history, and facing an open sea: kamíngaw.


Oyzon, V. Q., Fullmer, J. M., & Cruzada, E. C. (2013). Syahan nga Usa ka Yukot hin mga Pulong nga Agsob Gamiton ha Winaray: Pagpurulongan nga Winaray-Inenglis para han mga Magturutdo ha MTBMLE. Commission on Higher Education with National Network of Normal Schools (3NS) and Leyte Normal University.



Whenever I spend New Year’s Eve in my family’s hometown of Monterey, California I tend to end up at Point Lobos State Park on the first day of the year. I’m back here now in Monterey in between stretches of field research at in my new home base of Tacloban, Philippines. As I look out across the Pacific ocean today, I imagine that I am looking in the direction of Tacloban, but it seems like everything earthly drops out of view after several miles or so. So, I imagine reaching the end of that point on the horizon only to look out again and again and again until I finally see land. I imagine what it would be like to arrive at Tacloban after a thousand turns over the horizon.

Somehow, over the years, I have lost my sense of distance in the places I am traveling in the world. Distance for me, is on the Priceline screen and an accounting of hours spent inside the cabin of an airplane. Looking at the ocean today, I wonder if a thousand turns over the horizon would even get me to the Philippines. It is a distance that I can hardly fit into what I know. I would have to chase the curve of the earth until I reached night. And not that night fell upon me, but that it was I who arrived upon a foreign day there in another spot in the Pacific, and entered it against the current of expected arrangements.

Second Time Around

Derailed Line

It’s my second trip to the Philippines after living here for 9 months in 2012-2013.  I always think it’s so interesting how a travel experience changes when you visit a place for the second time.  All the magic wrapped up in stepping foot onto a foreign place is gone the second time around.  It’s been replaced instead with a measure of comfort and strange sense of foreign home.  For me, several emotions defined my initial trip to this country.  First of all, I am half-Filipino and half-American, so this first trip was something of right of passage I’d been waiting to take for a decade.  I was in anticipation for all sorts of questions about myself and my heritage to be answered.  Second, the fear of the unknown on my first visit became a major contribution to my experience at the time.  I spent so much time scrutinizing maps, yet…

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Blue Ocean

This is a poem I wrote a couple years ago.  It’s about love and stuff.  New relationships and misunderstandings.


Blue Ocean

Like water your worries build to
and run across my body tumbling
me off your bed off your arm
you I am pulled to deep sea
peaks sweep beneath.

A Moment of Clarity

I have actively been working on my writing for the past year now, and every now and again the process of balancing experienced advice with actual ground work drives me into a moment of clarity.  I’ve just had one of those moments:

  • It’s vital to build your vocabulary, but not always the strict necessity that others advise.  Sometimes knowing that you don’t have quite the right word is enough.  A thesaurus can do the rest.

What’s On the Shelf

This blog is part doodle paper and part journal for my creative writing.  This is the poem that The Bending Bookshelf comes from:

Sags into its own bending boards
The bookshelf
Drapes its middle
Studies frail book spines
The bookshelf
Reads its own careful countenance
Refolds the dog-eared corners
The bookshelf
Packs itself away

I have another blog that’s less creative, but more imaginative here:

Derailed Line // a perspective in travel culture and design