Have you ever felt you weren’t living the life you were supposed to be living? My heart carried that exact feeling for far too long, and one day without even knowing, I left New York City and aimlessly wandered the world in response to that calling, to start that personal quest that spoke only to me. Others didn’t — couldn’t — understand, because it wasn’t about them, it wasn’t for them: it was about and for me. To them, I was lost. And they were right.

I finally listened — much later in life, I admit — to that voice that whispered to me all day, every day for yeeeeears. It said: “I feel that this is right for me. I know that this is wrong.” And at long last, I answered the call; and here I am: Manila Bay Beach.

I had been a professional student (academia earned me a few undergraduate and three Master degrees; life earned me so much more), a writer, educator, basketball coach … and both an emotional and logistical drifter. Nobody and nowhere felt like home. And my heart constantly broke. 

Although I loved New York City, I felt something more glorious and beautiful was calling me, and that led to a rather unconventional realization: I wanted to try to make everything around me beautiful — I wanted that to somehow be my life. 

I wanted poetry, goodness and freedom. I wanted in my life the people who were desirous of absolutely everything at the same time, the ones who never yawned or said a commonplace thing — people like Jane; and whether true or not, people like I imagined the musical and literary heroes of my youth would be — and I wanted to be that person for others.



I’m part-Filipina, part pent-up gypsy — an imaginatively nomadic and free-spirited person who sees life as a magical gift, who recognizes and embraces the magical moments, and who believes every one of us carries that magic (not the witchcraft kind of magic, but rather something extraordinary and beautiful: a baby’s laugh, the moment you fell in love, genuinely connecting with another person, a shooting star, the gorgeous colors of the Manila Bay sunset … that kind of magic). I believe that experiencing life by the Golden Rule is the path to once again — for those of us who may have lost our way — it is the path to know, swim in and once again immerse ourselves in that kind of magic. 

Embracing the magic is all about reconnecting with our truest, most honest selves; it is about the return to our personal glory … and that pursuit aligns perfectly — as Joe has mentioned — with the return of Manila Bay to its former glory. 

See, we all start out knowing that magic, but often times, we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it disciplined out, spanked out, washed out, scared out and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow path and told to be responsible. We are told to act our age.

There is sometimes value in such action, such thinking — I won’t argue that — but once we realize that the people telling us this were mostly afraid of our wildness and youth (because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves), once we realize that, once we learned to internalize that, well, things … they start to change, don’t they? And that line of thinking somewhat aligns with the history of the Bay, doesn’t it? Because just like some of us, Manila Bay had lost its way.