Gabriela Francisco. Avid storyteller. Educator. Sunset Chaser. Poodle lover. Photographer. Beach walker. SOAR (Survivor of Abused Relationships) founder.

RELATIONSHIPS

What to do when you discover your marriage is a huge mistake.

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*Readers, this article includes brief descriptions of drug use/addiction and subtle references to abuse.

Peter was a soft-spoken man. He was gentle and kind, the type that opened doors and carried groceries for me. Stingy with words, showering me with flowers and chocolates was his way of saying he loved me. Though he wasn’t keen on large gatherings, he enjoyed the company of my family and close friends.

Peter was always around me. He waited by our gate when I arrived home from work every day. He stuck by my side during parties and hung out with my brothers when…


Relationships

Our bed, so crowded, left no room for love.

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Readers, this article contains references to drugs, alcohol, abuse and rape.

Making love used to be an adventure.

We lunged onto a wild ride. Making love on the mountainside with the damp, soft grass underneath us. Watching the sunset high up on a steeple, as we experimented with the cold cement as our bed, swaying like bells above. Passionate play with unzipped pants, careening at full speed on the highway until our car almost skidded off to a ditch. Bouncing on a guava tree with the midnight stars as our witness.

Love manifested in a multitude of ways. Red roses spewing enticing fragrances as our living room…


I left him when I was prepared.

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I wrote the Nightmare Honeymoon That Revealed His Hidden Character. Among the many responses to this article, some people were wondering why I did not leave my husband right away when I discovered his true character.

I married my best friend, Peter. We had a great many adventures together in our youth, some of which were experimenting with weed. I soon grew out of that habit and became more serious with my studies and my career. However, Peter seemed to have been stuck in the drug world.

When we were ready to settle down together, Peter promised to stop his…


Satire

10 Possible Reasons Why They Vote for Trump

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We are puzzled, dumbfounded, surprised, shocked, amazed, bewildered and… sad that half of the American population would choose Trump for president.

I know many Americans, some of them are my dear relatives, that voted for Trump. They are smart, sometimes brilliant, and successful individuals. How would anyone with the right mind choose The One? To be fair, I must add, they are religious Catholics. But this does not de-mystify the reason for voting for an evil creature.

So I have my theories.

1. Republicans love reality shows.

Oh, the drama, the controversy, the mysteries that surface in every tweet, declaration, and press conference. The fiasco…


Mental Health

Before one dies, strange things can happen.

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There is a saying in the Philippines that right before you die, your ancestors will appear to usher you into heaven.

That is what happened to my kind, loving, cheerful mother.

Mom’s pneumonia ran amok through her body. Her breathing turned shallow and rapid. Her lips turned purple, indicating a dangerously low level of oxygen. Mom stopped eating and her inner organs were slowly ceasing to function.

Her doctor called a family conference to prepare us for her imminent passing. Funeral arrangements commenced.

But Mom had other plans. She refused to accept death as a prognosis and fought fiercely to…


It may have stolen the memory of her daughter, but her love remained intact.

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“Come closer,” my mother beckoned. “You look familiar.”

I braced myself.

I was warned before I visited my mother that she would not recognize me. It had been a year and a half since I last saw her. We had a Christmas reunion in her hometown to bid our farewells. Mom was so thrilled to see us, her health improved. She lived another 19 months.

Now, I knew death was knocking at her door.

Her frail body laid lifeless on the hospital bed, diminished into a sagging sack of bones. Her head, too heavy to lift, cradled jagged cheekbones and sunken purple-bagged eyes. Her breath bounced in shallow motion.


POLITICS

Proud to say my father was a “sucker” and a “loser” in World War II.

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I am proud that my father was a “sucker” to join the military.

My father, Brigadier General Oscar Rialp of the Philippine Army, was a “sucker” to fight during World War II.

He fought side by side the Americans against the Imperial Japanese Army as captain in the great Battle of Bataan in 1942, where 20,000 Filipinos and 1,500 Americans died.

I am proud that my father was a “loser” for he was captured and dragged into the Death March, among the 60,000 sick, wounded, starving military prisoners and 38,000 weakened civilians that marched from Bataan to Tarlac.

Japanese soldiers randomly tortured, beat, and stabbed captives. Hundreds were massacred along the way to…


PARENTING

This is the secret for healing.

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Monica was angry.

Very angry.

I had no idea why.

Monica was the kind of child that would hug her teachers and friends. The kind of child that would say goodbye with an “I love you.” The kind that would throw a sunny and encouraging word to her friends.

But, one day, she stopped showing affection to me.

Not much of a good night. No hugs. Certainly no “I love you.”

She was different when she was younger.

Monica used to cuddle with me every night. Being my youngest, she was the one I carried frequently, held close, and sang all…


POLITICS

At a time when lives depend on solidarity.

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The USA has never been more divisive since the Civil War.

A virus sweeps into the country, killing nearly 180,000 of its citizens, yet half of them say it’s a hoax.

If you drop a mask in the middle of this pandemic, half of the people will condemn it as a demon that takes away the God-given gift of breathing, while the other half will dive for it as a life-saving wand.

Thousands march into the streets, risking their safety and spilling their tears to protest Black Lives Matter. Others believe that the “terrorist” group, Antifa, is taking over the country, masking their agenda through violent protests.

Americans hire the best…

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