It has always been my dream to become a writer, a journalist might be the proper term. To see my name in the prestigious by-line of the story that I wrote, would feel like I won a much-coveted Olympic gold.

I never knew until college, that Nanay (mother) shares the same dream. I should’ve figured through the old baby photos inked with her scribbled narratives of my tiniest beams or angriest screams.

And so I tried my luck, with my degree as my backpack, I tiptoed towards an unknown track. Then I found a good samaritan who lead me, guide me through the mountain. Together we climb journalism’s terrain. I can already see the peak, I can almost touch it. That’s when the corporate monster appeared to suck all my wit.

I fall briskly, painfully. But my dream’s too stubborn to abandon me entirely. So now I am working behind. Cloaked and hidden somewhere no one can find.

My mind thinks.
My fingers type.
My eyes read.
My mind edits.

The article’s done, but I don’t recognize the name on the by-line.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Unsplash

In response to dVerse‘s Let’s Kick it Up A Notch by Victoria C. Slotto.


Search your archives and choose a poem, even if it’s one you thought was already done, and see if you can add a little spice to it through the use of sensory description, replacing metaphor, or tightening up your word count. (If you write prose, maybe you could choose a paragraph and make it into a poem, still applying the prompt.)

Read Victoria’s own poem titled Death Imagined.:)


NOTE: Here is the original poem where this prose came from. 

(October 21, 2014)

It has always been a dream to be a writer.

A writer who can be able to see her name in the prestigious ‘by-line’.

But now, I have settled to write ‘behind’.

My mind works.

My mind thinks.

My fingers type.

I finish the article.

But the By Line’ isn’t mine.


Dear News: Three Sept*


Dear News: Three Sept*

I dreamed
of writing,
seeing my name
in front of

I read
election, war,
I can’t help
but just

dream snapped
like tulip
killed by winter.
Dear news, I
once loved

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Sergey Zolkin

In response to Daily Post: Snap and Napowrimo Day 16.


Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers.

Almanac Questionnaire:

Weather: Winter

Flora: Tulip

Architecture: Cave

Customs: Giving

Mammals/reptiles/fish: Rabbit

Childhood dream: Writing

Found on the Street: Cars

Export: Fruits

Graffiti: Bold

Lover: Dear

Conspiracy: Politics

Dress: Skirt

Hometown memory: Streams

Notable person: Mitch Albom

Outside your window, you find: Hummingbirds

Today’s news headline: Election

Scrap from a letter: I once loved you.

Animal from a myth: Phoenix

Story read to children at night: David and Goliath

You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Trash

You walk to the border and hear: Jason Mraz and Sara Bareilles

What you fear: Dead

Picture on your city’s postcard: Buildings


The Sept is a simple invented form patterned after the number 7.

The Sept is:

  • a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines.
  • syllabic, 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 syllables in each line.
  • unrhymed.

Read more of my Napowrimo 2016 poems here!


Writer’s Woe


I write
not because
it’s easy.

I write
it is what
I do

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Green Chameleon

During our media event last night, I encountered two senior Journalism students. I immediately saw my old-self on them.

They possess high hopes, high dreams for a bright ‘real professional world’.

But there is also tinge of anxiety and insecurity brought by the discrimination they experienced even before they step into the brutal concrete jungle of working world.

The issue is just like what I have encountered before.

I graduate with honours, but as I am surrounded with cousins and friends who took ‘harder’ courses, they just shrug the ‘honour’ off saying it’s usual because Journalism is comparably an ‘easy’ course.

That poem is my answer to those who BELITTLE the study and the profession of writing.

I don’t mean to put ‘writers’ at the top hierarchy of the professional world nor put down such well-respected and really hard courses.

I am perfectly aware that writers are NEVER on the list of BEST-PAYING jobs.

Seldom are WRITERS who really get RICH because of their craft.

And in a third-world country like the Philippines, the journey towards becoming a legit writer/journalist, let me tell you, is like a walk in Jurassic Park! There are publication editors and owners who will NEVER  HIRE a Journalism graduate from a public university (like me, for instance).

I am frustrated and hurt to hear that a lot of students and a lot of professionals still look at WRITERS as somehow a second-class career or profession.

It is not just unfair, it is degrading.

So why I am writing this?

Because I want you all to know, that writing is NEVER EASY. We may not be good in Math nor in programming numbers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use our brains.

I am hoping to not hear that phrase any more. This is not about me, this is about those youths aspiring to become WRITERS themselves.

Please let them start their career with a confident and brave hearts, ’cause the harsh world of Journalism will surely find ways to crush them.



A Eulogy for the Kindest ‘Promdi’ TorMENTOR

My plan for today is to write a book review for a novel that I have recently finished.

I was about to start when I opened my Facebook just to check what’s new.

I have seen a friend who changed her display photo with our college instructor. There are comments with sad faces. I looked at it and then scrolled down.

Minutes later I received a message from Anjeline, a fourth year Journalism student and Mabuhay newspaper trainee whom I spend time during some coverages. She asked if I heard the news about our professor, and in just seconds, a sense of dread struck me.

I hurriedly check my teacher’s Facebook page and as I read the message of condolences I am caught off-guard.

My hands got cold.

My heart beats so fast.

I cannot believe what I am reading..

I just can’t.

“Ano Rose?!” (What’s up Rose?).

I never thought that that will be the last words that I will hear from him. If I knew, I would have said a lot, but because I didn’t, I just smiled.

It has been just Saturday, just almost two days ago. And now, according to his friends and colleagues, he’s dead and it is because of his heart.

Now, instead of writing a book review, I am writing a eulogy for a person I never thought I would write one this early. I may not have known him for so long because I am just one of his numerous students.

But he has indeed touched my life, especially my writing life, in a way that no one has and no one will ever will. 

Instead of stating the facts about him that everyone knows, I would like to share some personal memories that I, and my Journalism classmates, had with him.

As he is a journalist for everyone, he is an instructor for us first.

As a teacher, we like him a lot because his test papers are free. May it be a one-page exam or two to three pages, he will never get any portion of our monetary treasures.

We also love the side trips, especially during our Photo Journalism classes.

And more often than not, there are always snacks whenever we leave BSU grounds. He is really generous. 

As we are naughty students, we also love to take note how he pronounces certain words. During our PhotoJourn class, he used to say ‘blard’ (blurred) often. And in all our classes, he will say ‘bullsit!’ (bullshit) to express his anger with those crooked politicians and equally corrupt ‘haosyaows’ (hao shao) journalists.

I think he knows that we laugh because of those words, but he just ignored it. Maybe because he was also once a naughty student.

He is also a very supportive instructor.  

He willingly helped me when I can’t schedule an interview with the governor. He also said yes when I lobbied my articles in Mabuhay. Also, I will not forget how he pushed me ‘carefully’ in a lot of crowd during one of the Independence Day celebrations in Barasoain, just to have a yummy breakfast. (Food is one of the perks in Journalism that he instructed me to enjoy at all times.)

Our final and I can say best memory with him as our professor was during our Pre-Graduation Party.

Aside from the yummy lechon that he and Mam Carmela have for us, I have come to realize how much he loves us, the whole BAJ First Batch. Although we have disappointed him at times, cause he’s also strict, especially with deadlines, his actions and laughter expressed that he is proud of us. Because we are his ‘First Class.’

2 baj 4c


Sila ang mga kasapi ng ng unang batch ng BA Journalism class ng Bulacan State University na magtatapos sa Abril. “First Class” ang tawag sa kanila dahil sa sila ang unang batch na magtatapos. – Dino Balabo, March 15. 2012 (

2 baj 4d

PRE-GRADUATION PARTY.  Nagkakatuwaang nagpakuha ng larawan ang 1st Batch and BulSU-BA Journalism class sa likod ng inihandang litson sa pagsasagawa ng isang salo-salo sa Baliuag noong Marso 15. – Dino Balabo (

He also showed his ‘unspoken’ love for BAJ 4-A Batch 2012 when he went and took some photos during our graduation day.




BULSU CAL Honor Grads – Dino Balabo, April 12, 2014  (

Dinobels, (our nickname for him when he is not around), is not just an instructor for his ‘First Class’, he is indeed a ‘bully’ friend and father that we will all miss.

After graduation, I never thought that I will work for and with him because he is really a good writer and he has all the right to criticize my work.

It took me a lot of courage when I asked him if there is an available post for Part-time Writer in Mabuhay. And for a close to a year now.. I have been his colleague.

As what I have expected, he took no reservations in critiquing my work.

I think for him, an article is either good or crap. And because he is my torMENTOR, my once crap articles have gradually improve. I have become more keen to details, grammar, and ideas because of his constructive negative comments. He is indeed the torMENTOR who made me a better writer.

But what really struck me is that he believes in me.

Though he never praised me personally or never gratified me verbally, I have felt it. When he asks me to cover an important event because he’s not around, when he introduces me as a Mabuhay writer, when he said that he hopes my articles will fill more space in Mabuhay .. I know that he has believed in me.

Wherever you are Sir Dino… I am in awe of who and what you are. I am in awe of the things that you have fought for. I am in awe of how much you love your family especially Bethany. I am in awe of your passion and skills in journalism.

Hindi ko maiwasang humanga sa tanawin habang lumulubog ang araw, lalo na ang makulay na papawirin. – Dino Balabo

I would like to hate your heart because it ended your life. But, I can’t because it is the heart of a loving husband and father, a one of a kind Bulakenyo, a principled and unstoppable Journalist, a cool but strict instructor, and the Kindest ‘Promdi’ Tormentor that I will forever remember.

I hope I can be like you someday Sir. I hope I can make you proud.