A Review of Floy Quintos’ Grace by Natalia Go

They believed. And I did, too.

A review of Grace by Floy Quintos, directed by Dexter M. Santos.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

Last night, I watched Grace for the second time on its supposed last show date, and it was as marvelous as the first. The final masterpiece of playwright and director Floy Quintos. 

With a skeletal set, barely any props, and almost nothing but pure talent on and off stage, this piece was an unexpected treat for me—an atheist. That I enjoyed a religious drama says a lot about this production. It did not change my beliefs. It did not pull me back into the Catholic church but brought my faith back to the arts, perhaps again. Perhaps I lost it somewhere along the way as an actor and director who has been in the audience seat for far too long. 

To be honest, the heavy narration put me off at first. It started with an exposition of the supposed apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the Carmelite sisters in Lipa, Batangas, and a series of monologues about the fictionalized events. I was almost certain I would fall asleep. But then, the magic happened all too soon. There was an unmistakable genius in Dexter M. Santos’ direction of this play—from manipulating the barebones set through masterful blocking, lights, and music to the complete trust in the cast’s ability to tell this story with what little tools they had and the delicate guidance of a virtuoso. And I was in awe, as was every audience member on both nights, with a full house and standing ovation. 

The story revolved around and ended with a shower of petals from the sky—rose petals that healed, absolved, and converted. Was it a trick? The work of the devil? Or the result of an “overactive imagination,” as the men of the church accused Sister Teresita, the Carmelite novice who brought upon these divine mysteries through the Mother Mediatrix of All Grace? I am not inclined to draw conclusions as a non-religious. 

I am prepared, however, to recommend this play to anyone who wants an out-of-this-world experience of the performing arts, with no reservations. Grace by Floy Quintos has been extended until June 23rd at the Power Mac Center’s Blackbox Theater in Circuit Makati. 

See it for yourself, and I guarantee you will believe. 

Tourists in the City of Spirits

We climbed the narrow stairways
to the city of spirits
with the winding alleyways
of little shops and rooms filled with teas.
The sky was blue, but above us
were bright balls of red
lit with gold and yellow lights
that glowed across the roads and spread.
My feet were sore, but up we went
to more flights of stairs,
and on the landing, we were read
our fortunes by some unknown friends.


Familiar tunes played, and all around
were faces we have seen
from stories we have known together
on the big and little screens.
By twilight, we were comforted
by soft, frozen sticky treats
topped with peanuts to the brim;
we were far removed from grim.
And all the little huts were filled
with trinkets, trims, and gems.
We wanted them all in our luggage home,
and take we did and on we roamed.


The moon was peeking at the turn
to the colorful emporium
where music played for weary tourists
who wanted a piece of the magic.
As we picked our last keepsakes,
I saw you smiling with your eyes.
Grief was far, and in my heart,
you brought me right back to the start.
It was quiet on the bus
as we looked out to bid farewell.
And even now, we see it all;
by and by, we’ll heed its call.


Tourists in the City of Spirits
February 24, 2024

Every Sweet Return

Sometimes, passion is wrapped

around silence.

And fervor is weaved into the veins

of steady breathing.

There is music in the stillness,

and love

in quiet conversations

about the affairs of the day.

The comings and goings

of the familiar,

and the multitudes

of sighs, grunts, and huffs

about the world outside. 

Broken only

by the divine moments

of little pecks,

an embrace so tight

until the other dozes off. 

Afternoons of nothings

with the beloved

are adventures into the realm

of their thoughts.

We travel through connection,

learning how they want their sheets

draped around their body;

the exact volume

of white noise

that makes them comfortable. 

Merrily, we swim 

into the waters we learn

to call home,

where we drop our anchors

in every sweet return. 


Every Sweet Return

October 26, 2023

If I Could Bottle the Entire Universe

If I could bottle

the entire universe

to show you the magnitude

of your touch’s impact

on everything that breathes

when it lands on me,

perhaps you will understand

how the colors

in the visible spectrum

came to be, 

and how

those still unseen

somehow appear

in humanly wavelengths

when you smile. 

🌏

Who could name them

but the angels

who witness their nature;

how they collide and form

new hues

yet unknown

each time a sigh

escapes your breath?

And how the warmth

from your body

creates life

in dying soils. 

They told me the name

by which they call you,

known to no other. 

🌏

But the universe

and all the colors—seen

and unseen

in the physical spectrum

would not suffice

to show you how your presence

creates the ripples

of love

undulating in the tiniest

quarks…How necessary,

how urgent

your heartbeats are

to hold the world

as we know it

together. 

🌏

If I Could Bottle the Entire Universe

September 28, 2023

Garden of Dreams Is Now on Kindle!

My second poetry collection, Garden of Dreams, is now available as a Kindle eBook! You may place your orders via the link below. Your copy will be delivered to your Kindle device, tablet, and/or mobile phone.

I appreciate your support!


Natalia Go’s second poetry collection, Garden of Dreams, talks about resurfacing from the thick, menacing silence of a well, past the cold, damp walls, and into a garden where light meets dreamers. It includes sonnets and poems turned into songs. 

Because the World Has Learned Her Name

She gave me two little bow ties

topped with pesto;

from her fork to my mouth,

it was delightful

and fragrant

like her hair after a shower.

I giggled

and she laughed, not knowing

how much that gesture meant to me.

For it was then time stopped

in our little corner

against the wall

of the Italian restaurant 

we both adore.

It wasn’t the first time

she fed me so sweetly

her food and soul.

It wasn’t the first time

the crowd froze

as we gazed 

ever so briefly

into each other’s eyes.

But it might have been the first

I’ve confirmed

what my heart already knows

of what her heart knows. 


Beyond words; beyond 

sweet nothings 

and late-night conversations

about everything moving and still

around the planets and the stars. 

Beyond truth

is truth

of the highest kind. 

The kind that makes you certain

a laugh is not a laugh,

but a confession

of words coveted 

but said

in the profoundest of fashions. 

Like a cappuccino 

that needs no sweeteners

for the cup is pure. 


She is the North Star

not of my own decisions

but of the universe’s. 

Her smile governs

the obedience and alignment

of masses big and small

in the sky.

They expand because of the years

she has yet to share

with this pale world,

to keep time stretching 

beyond its limits

and keep objects in check

of their shapes and forms. 

And every particle

knows its name and identity

because the world has learned hers. 

Because I learned hers. 


Because the World Has Learned Her Name

July 2, 2023

An Uninvited Guest

I sat on my desk with Grief and asked what it wanted from me. Why it even visited me at a time when I was supposed to finally be free. I said I thought I’d be excluded from its list of patrons. I never signed up for its services, yet there it was. But it just sat there, looking at me as if I was supposed to come up with the answer on my own. It said it wasn’t there for anything other than to sit with me. 

“Who sent you?” I said. 

“No one.”

It said it had no control over where it went and when. It was as confused as I was. Yet it knew it was in the right place at the right time. 

“What purpose do you serve?” I said. “Whom do you serve?”

It didn’t know. 

“Don’t you have more important homes to visit?” I said. 

Again, it was silent.

“When you’re here, all the colors turn grey, and it rains. You are not a pleasant companion.”

But it took no offense and said nothing. 

“You have to go,” I said. 

It almost obeyed. 

But as it stood up, I felt a rush of anger overcome me.

“Is this what you came here to give me?” I said. “And you’re just going to leave me with this?”

Finally, it talked. 

“I come and go only as you please. If you send me away, I have no control over who replaces me. It might be Joy. It might be Peace. Or it might be utter silence. But it could also be that which is here right now. Or fear. Or others with whom you are more familiar.” 

“But when they come, do you leave?” I asked it. 

“Only if you dismiss me. Am I dismissed?”

“Where do you go?” 

“Elsewhere,” it said. “But you must know I am, in essence, all of them.”

“You are dismissed.”

It walked out the door, and I sat, waiting for what comes next. 

“Do you ever go away?” I said to no one. 

And a coldness hung in the air waiting. Waiting for me to reach for warmth before it descends. 

Altar of Love

It started with a trickle
of words on paper;
a couple of poems, a few
rhyming phrases we’ve exchanged…
until it rained.
Flowers and sweet dew
filled our garden
where I’d find you every morning
reading letters I’ve laid
onto blank pages,
my altar of love
to honor you
and your living soul
that keeps transforming this universe
into the wonder that it is.


To this day, we speak
this language,
accented only
by touch and gaze
in which we reach for each other
beyond skin and flesh.
Your eyes speak poetry
when they glisten
at the sight of mundane joys;
a piece of bread, a line
of song lyrics.
When you laugh,
the prisoners of hell can’t help
but play heavenly music,
an orchestra of tortured souls
getting a taste of what it is
to be pure.


Altar of Love
April 21, 2023

Chocolate Dreams with Trickles of Cream

I remember my first soft bite
into chocolate eclairs,
how my tongue glided
onto fondue
and digged into the oozing
lava cake,
sometimes topped with strawberries.
How it shook as I licked
the sweet taste off my lips;
how I sucked the last drops
from the frosted Boston cream.
Breathless,
I surfaced back to Earth
where everything’s repainted
suddenly
with edible flowers
growing in the corners
of my mind.


You said you were never much
of a baker;
never made cake.
Yet your pastry is puff
with just the perfect warmth,
always gracing my mouth
with bursts of flavor.
I’ve never seen chocolate
turn pink
until your cheeks glowed
from kisses I’ve blown…
and oh, how you breathed them
in…
How majestically
I swelled
in your embrace.


And when the air became visible
around me,
that’s when I knew
I’ve been breathing candy
since you came along.
The breeze is streaked purple
and sunsets always triple
their beauty
when I watch them with you.
And the dew trickles
down my fingers again
and again…
each time I touch
the most fragrant parts
of you.


Chocolate Dreams with Trickles of Cream
March 31, 2023

Blue Moss Floating Atop Fine Rock Floors

You enter the white city through double doors

On blue moss floating atop fine rock floors.

Gilded wings gliding along gilded winds

When pink skies settle dancing ‘round the bend. 

Smoke gathers out of your mouth as you breathe 

To ease fierce fears fretting that love may leave. 

For fine rocks aren’t solid enough to hold 

Your feet when fleets of waves clash upon the fold. 

When touch is scarce while scares abound in heaps,

Battalions of sorrow as bards prayed heed. 

While you try to hide from plain sight to weep,

There is no escape from eyes though they sleep. 

So out in fog and waiting for the morn

To once again wash what’s feared to mourn.

Tears fall one and two and in the moment, all;

Hoping when the sun shines, you wake to my call. 


Blue Moss Floating Atop Fine Rock Floors

March 14, 2023

Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan, Philippines