Street Food on the River Bank

© Moira G. Gallaga

Oh! The aroma is ever tantalizing

the freshly baked cakes

at this street food corner

Feeling pity for those

Feeling nausea at the sight of such heavenly delight!

It is a crime to watch what we eat anywhere we go, as cuisine for our family is a cultural endeavour.©

Smiles are contagious here

The boy wipes the stool for me smiling each time

I sat on it looking at his mom when she looks back to me smiling

We never talked as we cannot understand each other!

Why should I bother when her cakes talk

On our behalf.

Exotic food/
arouses the tongue/
and pleases the empty belly.©

Attending a party tonight

On the other side of the river

A fancy restaurant, spreading its evening glitz

I will miss the freshly baked cakes, the aroma and

Yes! The smile!

04 June 2021

The Ship – A Villanelle

© Moira G. Gallaga

The ship sails soon
Either climb aboard or stay on land.
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

You may fear being a buffoon
If you sing and dance with the band
The ship sails soon.

It is scary to balance atop a shaky dune
But how it feels when you can stand
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

This Azure Window in Dwerka, Gozo was the setting for Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding. It’s where we’re also introduced to Jorah. – Game of Thrones (Island of Gozo, Malta)

Should you ride in that balloon?
It is not even manned
The ship sails soon.

To truly live in the colors of June
Or only see in shades of bland
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

Will you stay in your cocoon?
Or live a life that’s big and grand?
The ship sails soon.
It is nine o’clock.  The ship sails at noon.

01 June 2021


Holding Out for a Hero

©Moira G. Gallaga

Our Earth is a damsel in great distress,
enchained by shackles of iron-gray smog,
only tatters of her once-lovely dress
cover her body, surrounded by fog.

Since I stopped working full time, I tracked the changes in nature as avidly as I do with world news. (Atlas Mountains, Morocco. For this view, we hiked along the Atlas Mountain range, setting off from Setti Fatma in the Ourika Valley in Morocco. The massive mountain range stretches from Morocco through Algeria and Tunisia.)

Where are her knights, her saviors, to rescue
their maiden from the villains of this tale?
With time running out, how can they get through
the downpour of acid rain, faces pale

Whenever there tends to be an ecological imbalance, Mother Nature has ways of letting us know about it. (Porto Moniz, Portugal)

against the polluted sky? Bravery,
cunning, and dedication, refusal
to let their world lapse into slavery
at the hands of corporate ritual.

We’ve all experienced how scary it is when Mother earth is making herself felt. (Jardim Estrela, Lisbon)

The princess is choking in her tower,
she needs fresh, clean air to help her flower.

30 May 2021

Be Kind to Yourself

© Moira G. Gallaga

It is hard work being an adult. There are constant demands on your time, energy and emotions from many different people. Your spouse, your children and your boss all want to be the focus of your attention at all times. While it is important to do your best and live unselfishly for others, there is another side to this coin.

It is impossible to live life to the fullest if you are not kind to yourself. You cannot give 100% of yourself to others if you have not been nurturing your personal life. The list below shows you some ways that you can carve off some private time and treat yourself right.

Rest. Relax. Recharge. Refocus. Not a luxury – it’s a necessity. (Prague, Czech Republic)

1) Schedule Personal Time – Everything of importance in our lives has to be scheduled in. If you do not set a time as if it were an appointment, your personal time will never happen. You do not need to set aside much time, maybe just 15-20 minutes to read a book, play an instrument or take a nap.

2) Join a Group – Consider joining a club or taking a class on a subject you love. It may be a book club, a diving group or a pottery class. This is a great way to get away from it all while doing something productive at the same time.

3) Get Up Earlier – You may not enjoy setting the alarm 20-30 minutes earlier, but you will be surprised at the result. Those few moments of peace and quiet before the rest of the family gets up will become your favourite part of the day.

Slow down and be kind to yourself. The results are worth it.

Nature recharges our minds and bodies. (Lillehammer, a town in Norway where a Mossad hit team killed an innocent man by mistake in the early 70s)

15 May 2021

Diplo-Tales: Dupont Circle Roundabout – Merry- Go-Round from Hell

©Moira G Gallaga

(Note: A blast from the past during our diplomatic posting at the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. I wrote this in 2011)

After three years driving the same roads every week you would know your way around, correct? Well, I don’t.

Like I need any more “idiot me” moments, right? However, in my defence, I’m referring to a particularly nasty piece of road known as Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. Anyone who has ever driven in it would probably understand where my confusion and distress comes from.

The Bermuda Triangle of Roundabouts

Whoever decided that a roundabout with ten—read that, ten!—exits was a good idea should be back in school, relearning how to design roads. There are also two segregated lanes in the roundabout, just in case you decide you don’t feel like getting off the Merry-Go-Round for a while and instead want to kick back, relax, and listen to the music.

If that weren’t confusing or challenging enough already, the centre of the roundabout has a nice little park with trees and a fountain. It is also full of people and has got a number of crosswalks. So while navigating the maze that is Dupont Circle you must be on the lookout for pedestrians as well as your intended exit of that roundabout. I get this sense that in their eyes are looks of mirth, as if they know I’ve travelled this road every week and still have to call my husband for directions because even my GPS is befuddled by Dupont Circle. At least I’m not the only one.

I work at the Philippine Embassy, WDC. As if I’m not already late enough, I have trouble navigating the roads outside the Embassy. There’s this one time I saw Resty, a colleague of mine, and then I realized “Oh, God! This is already near the Ambassador’s residence.” A second and closer look at the surroundings confirmed my belated realization. This was the other side  of the diplomatic enclave called Embassy Row. Our Embassy was in the opposite direction across Dupont Circle. I was supposed to exit Dupont Circle towards the South but ended up going North, the merry-go-round from Hell had got me disoriented again. Needless to say, I don’t tell my colleagues about my fights with Dupont Circle. I’d never hear the end of it. The forthcoming jokes would have been relentless.

My husband offers a chuckle every time I call him. Those chuckles were sounding a bit forced after a while, but there’s nothing I can do. When my mechanical GPS fails me I must turn to my human GPS. He’s gotten used to it, and he would say the same thing every time. I think he had the directions written down, a little sticky note in his wallet. He’s used to communicating with people and being patient as he tries to reach a consensus on difficult issues. In this case, garnering his wife safe passage to work.

While I’m driving in circles trying to figure out the right exit again or how to get back to the proper lane within the roundabout, peering at the roads that all look the same with their asphalt and sides of buildings and trees and cars, my fingers hit the speed-dial. My husband had learned to anticipate my calls in that he always picks up on the first ring and automatically asks which building I’m near at to serve as a reference.  I describe it and he tells me the next time I pass it to go a certain number of exits in order to get out of the right one. I haven’t the faintest idea how he knows which exit I should be taking by my less-than-impressive building descriptions. I have a hard enough time recognizing the building for my next loop around the Merry-Go-Round.


I don’t know how Washington D.C. locals do it. Dupont Circle isn’t the only roundabout in Washington D.C. It is the worst though. I guess once you’ve conquered the worst of roundabouts the others are like mere pebbles on a pathway.

16 September 2011