An Open Letter to my Students

Hello. Good morning/afternoon, class!

It is always an honor to be part of your academic lives. I am thankful that we are becoming each other’s companion from my seven o’clock till 3:20 from Monday to Friday. You have become a part of my day-to-day mundane life and that is what makes my day extraordinary.

This is me looking back on the life I’ve had before—travelling down memory lane. Casting my mind to those darkest hours, it felt like collapsing. Sad things baffled on top of my head that used to dampen my spirit most of the friggin’ time. There were numerous moments in my life where I felt lost, I did not know what path to take, what career to choose and what kind of life to live. Before, I was wishful to have a job worth having—something I know I would grow, I would learn from and would be my platform towards development. So long, I kept on being rejected and trashed over the shredder. I felt that my world is at the verge of collapse. My mind was clouded with too much bitterness and incertitude. I was uncertain what kind of coffee I should pour on my empty cup. I was unsure if this is all worth it, or will I have a good career on teaching. Or honing the minds of high school students really the fate written in my stars. I was uncertain. I was in the midst of nowhere. Until this opportunity came.

This is me showing the real side of me. I am not your typical type of a teacher, the kind of teacher this society has ever imagined.  I am not a role model. You cannot look up to me. I might never be a good example to you. Yes, I should admit, I have flaws and weaknesses from which I cannot conceal. You’d hear foul words from me. I speak frankly. I do not sugarcoat words. What I feel would be transparent and I’d show it without hesitations. I play DOTA. I drink liquors. I still get home at midnight till dawn. I go chillin’ and (mid)night parties. And checking papers and writing lesson plans are pain in the ass.

This is me introducing my darkest side. I was not your typical excellent student before. I didn’t graduate on time, without Latin Honors. I haven’t been part of the Dean’s List. Like some of you, I cut classes. I sleep during class. I rely from internet sources. I would prefer sleeping than reviewing for my exams. I cram academic papers and researches. I often come to my classes late without even browsing my notes and getting caught by a surprise quiz. I never recite. I stumble from time to time. I procrastinate. I was oftentimes physically present but my mind would be found outside the class. I lack the confidence to face the public. I do senseless things over big matters. I would drink beers and rhum to escape academic problems. I get depressed so easily. This is me showing what kind of a student I was.

But this is me thanking you for being part of this new journey I have today. Thank you for staying with me as I venture the clueless road ahead of me and guiding me along the way. I must admit, I didn’t know how to start, where to begin at, who to talk to and all. I was a tabula rasa from the moment I began. Thank you for being the light that guided me in revealing the shore in this ocean of darkness.

This is me being grateful of all the stories you share. I thank the heavens for lighting up my everyday mood through the laughters we share in the classroom or at the milk tea shops. That the random thoughts and stories we’ve talked have deeper meaning to me. You’ve introduced me to the real social world, not only to the texts and articles I read over the news and tabloids. I am genuinely thankful–and I see it in your eyes– that you are very much willing to share your thoughts to me, your life experiences, your struggles, your jokes, your naughtiness, your predicaments, your burgeoning concern in some random things– with me. I enjoy the sagas we use to belabor. In that way, I felt like I am not only becoming a teacher. I am becoming your friend.

This is me apologizing for all the shortcomings I had. I might have shouted at you or spoke virile and bad words on you for the ill manners you’ve shown. I might have scolded you for speaking with your seatmate whenever I discuss in front of the class. I might have brought vexations among you. I might have thrown sarcasm over the senseless and mediocre things you spoke about. I might have pissed you, denigrated you or daunt you in one way or another. This is me saying “sorry”. For all those times I wasn’t able to attend our class for I was preoccupied by extra works and personal matters, this is me feeling guilty.  Believe me, I wasn’t wasting our time. You were always in my mind whenever I was not around.

This is me saying sorry for not memorizing your names too easily or even familiarizing your faces. I have a hard time recognizing faces and memorizing names of people I encounter. Time will come that I’ll forget about your name, your section, the subject I taught you and the moments we had shared. But this is me hoping that if we happen to cross the road, you’ll greet me with a happy face like you usually do today. This is me letting you know that those random times you say “Hi, Maam” or “Hi, Mam Maldonado” meant a lot to me. It is a subtle indication that I exist, that I am meant for something, I am worthy of the few seconds of your lives.

Many of you would find me “cool” for some odd reason I don’t understand. I sometimes need to assess myself how do the public eye looks at me. Or how do you see me as your teacher. The word “cool” would be hard to operationalize and would be harder to define. I am just being myself. What you see is what you get. Cliche as it may sound, however, that is the personality I should portray. This is me admitting that one of the best things I learned from life is to be real in whatever aspects. That the best things aren’t those we normally conceal just to be accepted by the society. It is, for me, better to show the darkest and deepest part of ourselves than to hide in someone else’s shadows.

This is me reminding you that all your efforts and sacrifices are all worth it. It is not merely by recording your performance tasks, quizzes, exams, and projects from the record book until I encode it to Microsoft excel. The moment you learn from it and see a glimpse of life from it, would be better than I ever hoped for. The best sorts of lessons are not recordable in the class record. But in life.

This is me reminding you that all those mistakes you’ve done will not forever be a mistake. There is no need to mull over the shortcomings we’ve done. Acquiring a mistake is a mean for us to grow. Much more maturely than before. And by being mature, we are starting to comprehend things profoundly. We deal with stuff in a more sensible way.  This is to remind you to never vindicate yourselves over the things won’t matter anymore. There is never a constant thing in this ever-changing world. Things are inevitable, and we must be accustomed to this changes. Change is not a capricious or nebulous process. Embrace these changes.

This is me hoping that the best for you is yet to come. You might have been given a failing mark, or a grade below 80. But trust me, that will never define you as a person. Your line of 9’s will never be your ticket to success. This is me hoping that the lessons you obtained from me would be more than what were written in the handouts I give or the random stories I share. Not even the identification and essay type of questions I bestow. I hope your learn from life and engrave in your minds that learning isn’t only confined in the four corners of the classroom. You’ll learn much more things outside the class. This is me reminding you to think outside the box. And remember that passing the course and learning the lessons are two different things. Fight mediocrity.

This is me looking forward to having more memories to share with you as the semester reaches its end. This is me saying I love you and I do not regret choosing this path.

This is me. Your teacher, your adviser, your friend and your companion.

Class dismissed.

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I miss you when it rains

The weather’s kinda gloomy
Here all alone, feeling lonely
Things lately are becoming a little mundane
And I miss you when it rains

Your calls asking me if I arrived safely
Visiting me home just to see me
Little things I now miss, my life’s in vain
I still miss you when it rains

The cold breeze of the surrounding’s air
The warmth of the coffee that we share
Still linger beside me, make me insane
Yep, I miss you when it rains

Lying on my bed with nobody to talk to
Scolding me for the bad things that I do
Chatting moments way down memory lane
Then, I might miss you when it rains

Feeling empty without you by my side
Sad things dampen my spirit, I cannot hide
Uncertain if you feel the same
Because I miss you when it rains

Listening to the same old songs
Through this same white earphones
Until we fell asleep and call it a day
And I’ll miss you when it rains

Pluviophile, I love the sound of those beautiful drops
Music to my ears, hit like a pop
Times when with the water we play
I miss you when it rains

We used to cuddle under the night sky
Trying to find our hiding brave star
When raindrops kept on falling against our skin
I miss you when it rains

These raindrops are the tears in my eyes.
And you will always be my rain.

Twenty-two

A week ago was supposed to be a happy day. It was my twenty-second birthday. Too many thoughts kept baffling in my mind from which I couldn’t help but stare on an empty space and think of all these random thoughts bottled up inside me. I was happy yet feeling empty and cold at the same time.

I am glad that God has given me another year to conquer life. Another year to live. Another year to accomplish tasks, to strive for the best version of myself, to add rainbows and unicorns in my grayscale world, meet people and learn new things. From my each and every day living my monotonous life, I am glad beyond compare that I can now see my defined purpose. That, the things I was praying earnestly a year ago are now becoming pinches of reality. I am beyond happy upon seeing myself undergoing my metamorphosis. I am thankful for another year waiting ahead.

But that was my most sorrowful birthday. My Lola whom I fondly call Nanay passed away on the day I was hoping to be one of my best. It was exactly 1:00 in the morning when she sighed on her last breath. God must have heard my prayer the night before. I thanked Him for giving me my Nanay and that, I am more than blessed to have a grandparent like her. I prayed that if this is the right time for her to rest, so be it. I am letting her go. I know, she had lived a beautiful and meaningful life, after all. And anytime God wants her to leave this chaotic place, I asked Him to let my heart be prepared. That was my birthday wish. Hours passed and I didn’t notice I had slept. My mother woke me up crying and voiced out the worst news. Nanay was barely breathing and the whole family were gathered altogether. Tears streamed down my face upon looking at her suffer and subtly bidding her goodbye. I was thanking her for everything and that I am good and she can now rest. Memoirs kept on flashing in my mind as I was staring at her. From my childhood and carefree days, my high school years, the complex college life up to date. I was casting my mind back to those days and they all seemed so fresh. And those precious memories which used to be a source of my happiness were now the sad things that dampen my spirit most of the friggin’ time. It got me feeling out of sorts. I stared at Nanay, kept on memorizing her face, tracing every line, every fiber, every detail of her– the beautiful yesterdays. I will surely miss her. I was given another life to live as one was taken away. Unorthodox, it might seem. But hell yes, this is life.

But this. I am grateful that God has blessed me with people who lift me up when I feel down, people I can turn to in times of pain and sorrow, people who stay true to me despite all my imperfections and flaws. I thank my family for staying strong and to never giving up on me whatever it takes. I thanks the heavens that I have these positive spirits beside me to cheer me up when I feel that my world is at the verge of collapse. To my friends who stayed by my side and continue staying at the periphery cheering me on despite failures and rejections. You, guys are the real MVP’s!

I would also love to share my very first birthday surprise. My (very first) advisory class, STEM 4, threw a birthday surprise. That was a day after my birthday, same day with the Cook Fest. Three of my advisee students came to the faculty room, rushing, reporting that one of their classmates (Alex) was again hyperventilating. I was stimied for a moment. I even scolded them for wasting time going downstairs instead to bringing their classmate to the clinic right away. But that was no new to me. So I came up at the third floor, a bit panicky but still composed, so I can immediately respond to her health needs. And ta da!!

(can’t embed the videos, so here. Part 1 and Part 2)

I was not used getting surprises though I know that is one of my strengths. I have the flair to smoothly throw a surprise to my friends’ birthdays without them getting any hint. I was the one who prepare birthday surprises to my teachers and mentors and even to my closest buddies. And during my birthday, I felt how good and overwhelming it was. I thank God for having this beautiful moment in the midst of my life’s chaos. Thank you, STEM 4 Quartzite, my love.

I’d also like to thank my students from STEM 2 Slate, HUMSS/GAS Rhyolite and ABM 2 Obsidian, along with my 9-Bernoulli (Brace), 9Coulomb, 9 Dalton, 9 Erlenmeyer and 9 Faraday who greeted me that day. I love you, my dearest students! You are all blessings from above. My heart was overflowing with so much joy upon reading your letters and messages. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.

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ABM 2 Obsidian

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HUMSS/GAS Rhyolite

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20? meh

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Rhyolite babies

I am twenty-two, still immature and young. I know I have a lot of things to learn from life. Today, I realized that life must be fully-lived and every moment must be seized. C’est la vie! Life is never always a piece of cake and a cloud of happiness. There are moments I should embrace pain and eventually come up stronger. I have to let go of people not because I don’t love them but because this is what they need. This is their fate and God’s heavenly will.

I was born and a life was taken away in the moment when a great soul awakens out of the protospirituality of ever-childish humanity and detaches itself from the mantle of the earth. A from from the formless, a bounded and a mortal thing from the boundless and enduring. It blooms on the soil of an exactly definable landscape, to which plant-wise, it remains bound. At twenty-two, I am that plant wandered around, seeking for the ray of sunlight.

I honestly did not know what to feel during my birthday. Even my feelings were uncertain. But there is only one thing I am sure of right now. I am hundred percent sure I am deeply loved.

Life is (still) good. Happy birthday to me.

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First Step to the Real World

I was a star lost in the dark. A star that gradually eradicating its brightness as time passes away. A star so distant from the light of the moon. Unsparkling. Losing. Vanishing

I am uncertain if this is worth posting. I just want to share an experience of mine how I was hired for the first time after (finally) leaving the university life and making my initial steps to the “real world”.

The Human Resource Department of Laguna College sent me an e-mail two months after my application. (By the way, Laguna College is my family’s Alma Matter.) I have known that they prefer UP, Ateneo, La Salle graduates and their alumni in the workforce. That was a relief. They were inviting me for a job interview (1st week of April). I immediately responded to their e-mail and showed up on the day they have set. It wasn’t really an interview. It was more of “little talks” about my life. Simple questions were asked and I did not encounter the typical interview questions we normally see and observe. I was just asked light questions like my family background and the school/university I graduated from. I was really chilled and there were no butterflies in my stomach that time unlike my experiences in the previous companies I had interview at.

They called me after a day or two and invited me to conduct a teaching demo. I confirmed and did the actual thing. The thing is, it was the same presentation I demonstrated at Mariwasa where I got my very first rejection. (If you keep on following my blog, might as well, you know the reason why.) However, I somehow modified the slides and made it even better since I will be discussing the topic for more than one hour. The topic was about conspicuous consumption and I focused in the Philippine setting for it to be more interesting. I felt confident presenting the topic to the SocSci (Social Science) class under Professor Calix (unsure of the spelling). The students came from Accountancy and Education division/department. There were five professionals in the panel including Miss Baldrias, the dean of the Education department and Miss Lazado, the Vice President of the university.

Since the topic was about conspicuous consumption and I merely had to magnify it in the local setting, I gave examples near to their hearts– consuming products that are not really necessary but were rather consumed because of the status they bring. It was a fun discussion though, as I saw it, since they were all attentive and enthusiastic as we went along. I gave first an ice breaker, a Logo Quiz, to set up the mood on a hot yet placid afternoon. The consequence was, the losing group should throw a joke or a knock-knock joke at the end of the session. It was followed by an interactive discussion and an evaluation/assessment. I found it hard to think of a way on evaluating or assessing them what they have learned within that particular hour. I hate quizzes– that was really old school and I felt that there was a need for certain kind of innovation. So I ended up conducting a mini pageant since many of us still can’t get over the recent Binibining Pilipinas. I found it quite relevant so I adopted the Q and A portion. I grouped the class into pairs. Each should pick a question from a box and answer it within 30 seconds only. They, I guess, were excited of it. The questions I prepared were light and the answers should come from their hearts. I mean, opinions and reflections. I assessed my students subjectively rather than pressuring them objectively.

And it was all a success! Yay! I did my ALL– more than my very best. I was praised for my job well-done and the panel congratulated me. That moment, I was inch by inch adjusting to the class as I was presenting and it was kinda weird that I didn’t felt any nervousness at all. (Nux! Haha) unlike the feelings I had when I was standing in front of people whenever I report/recite in class. Nahh, it’s just I learned to trust myself more than I trust anybody else. And there can be nothing greater than doing my best in all the things that I do.

Teaching is really a great profession. It makes all other professions possible. I have lots of family members who are in the same profession. And another, it is my passion to engrave knowledge to others whilst continuously learning every day. This is something I look forward to when it comes to finding my job. My first job is really a big deal to me and I want this to be something I know I would love and something I am passionate of. Yes, I never excelled during college. I didn’t even aced an exam. I never belonged to the dean’s list and honor roll. I was just passing my courses. I was just a commoner barbarian kid in UP.

When I applied as a Training Officer in a company, I was really eager to get the job. Because, being a trainer means getting involved with the students- or in that case, workers- and bringing impact to their professional lives. That is something I would like to do, to teach, to train and to lead. The proximity of the work will only fall as a secondary consideration. Thinking of it, this is ideal. It would also be great if I will have teaching in the academe as a good platform for me to venture the real world in a clean slate.

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It just came all of a sudden personal realization that I am not weak and my presentation was not that bad. I mean, it only should take the most suitable people to appreciate and see the best in my work. It’s not that the panel I used to present before wasn’t that great, they are, actually. But I suit better to the people I stood up with for the second time around. I mean, it is not me who was lost and unable to see the right track. It’s just, I have to find the best kind of people whom I can grow and nourish more professionally.

Here’s the thing. I kept on being rejected from different companies I applied for. I applied to so many companies and it’ll take forever if I’m gonna mention ’em all. However, after being interviewed and evaluated, they will end up sending me regret messages and even, not sending follow up messages and results of the interviews and screenings. There were also calls inviting me for an interview yet I didn’t respond. It’s just I felt damn tired waiting and giving myself false hopes over and over again. I felt broken and I bled on the inside. I was too exhausted seeking the best path for me.

For some, they might think that I was thwarting opportunities. Yet for me, it is the other way around. Those “opportunities” kept on putting me on the shredder. For so many times I did try, I wasn’t accepted. I thought it was me who doesn’t fit to the standards they have set. But I now know it was not that. I am not weak. I am not incompetent. I am not unskilled. It’s just I fit to better roles where I know I can further improve. I don’t hold grudges to companies who rejected me. Aside from being so used to such feeling, I still thank them for letting me tackle a better path; for letting me know that I can be stronger than I am today and the day they said “no” to me.

With these, I have nothing and nobody to hold on to except the mighty and benevolent  powers of God Almighty. I lifted everything to God. I cried and prayed earnestly that I may find the light in paving the path I should take. I asked Him to drive the car of my life and I will be passenger sitting on the front seat trusting Him without any doubt, without any words.

Despite the optimism I see from myself, there are still people negating my decision. They keep on asking me why I “fall down” to teaching. That– I should’ve pursued Education as my degree; Teaching must be the ONLY thing I can do. I kept on hearing (and reading) “Sa pagtuturo ka din pala babagsak.”;  “Bakit ka magtuturo, di ka naman teacher?”; “Akala ko ba ayaw mo magturo?”;  “Sadyang wala na ba ga talagang mapuntahan?” and the likes. Thank you for the derogatory words! But hey, I am not belittling them but why can’t they think that teaching is far too better than what they do with their jobs– stapling papers, picking up calls, photocopying and scanning? But geez! I always choose not to ruin my each and every day so I better get rid of all those kinds of persons in my life. Instead of questioning my decisions, why can’t they just get a life instead? And (again), it is myself who would do the job, at the end of the day.

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For quite some time, I felt like giving up and thought of sulking myself in a corner and just quietly bleed. There was a pivotal point between me being a happy person and me having a divided spirit. I temporarily wallowed in pain and shut myself from the world. But still, there were no harvest of barren regret during the moments I’ve tried. Because God wants me to realize deeper things in life and I am sure that He will never left me hanging and let me live my life out of nowhere. I kept on being rejected because God is directing me to a better and clearer path. Cliche as it may sound, there is always something greater waiting as we lose another.

I thank those who see the best in me despite all my weaknesses and downfalls. Those who–in one way or another– believed (and still believe) in me despite the failures I get in life. Thank you for waiting for my right time. I mean, you all never changed. You are still the same friends I have in the whatever hype of my life’s roller coaster ride. You da real MVPs!

And to everyone who I failed, I am not sorry. It is you who put all your expectations high on me and I was this kid who still strove for the best of who I can become. I see that you are only with me during the “up” times. Whenever I achieve something, I pass licensure examinations, pass hard core subjects and get awards. You were there for me during my successes. You were the ones who stood along the peripheral road cheering me on. And I thank you for that. But it was quite disappointing that you were not there with me during the dark times. And you were the ones who slap me with my weaknesses instead of making me feel good, better and more inspired. Your words cut down as hell and it felt like it stabbed me in the back. But yeah, thank you! I know now who I should keep and those I should get off of my life. I am now drawing the lines between us.

I decided to drive my own life and conquer the path I would love to tackle. I will not be this pawn of the system people have designed. I am now brave not to heed the dictates of my fears and listen to my heart this time. I know I should’ve done this long time ago but everything still turned good and it seemed to be my sweetest downfall. Everything still happens for a reason.

It was a smooth week for me. But since I am a newbie in the department and is one of the newest faculty member, I am still adjusting myself– from my daily routine, the culture they practice, my fellows, the students and the kind of work I must perform. Several of the faculty members came from UPLB, some from Ateneo, PNU and Laguna College. It was nice to see fellow alumni from UP.

First week

Monday. Orientation and there was nothing that we did except that we (newly-hired faculty members) were introduced to Grade 11 students in the gymnasium.

Tuesday. I was designated to be the adviser of HUMSS/GAS along with Mr. Flores. Meeting students from both Senior and Junior High was somehow exciting. New faces, new experiences.

Wednesday. I am now the adviser of STEM 4. I alone. And it was a challenge for me. I am inch by inch adapting to everything and I need time to fully understand how it is to be an adviser. I let my students write a letter to their 25-year old self and hoping to give it back to them after n years. I do not know how but let’s see what I can do.

Thursday. The struggle is real. It is. Having fully loaded with seven classes a day is a pain in the arse. Discussing concepts would be good yet the stamina I have preserved for the whole day is gradually losing. Junior high is quite challenging than the seniors.

Friday. Last day. Yayyy! I only have two classes during Fridays. And a three-hour vacant in between. Classes are both in the Junior high. And the only thing I am challenged of is the way I should handle them. They differ (a lot) from Seniors in many aspects. Well, I am still adjusting and I let myself take the adequate time I need.

I do not even know why I am writing this and how should I syntax every fragment. I do not have to let other people know who am I and there is nothing I must prove. It is just, I am tired of explaining myself to people who won’t bother understand. I am just being myself and this is my humble beginning.

These are just few initial steps of the long journey I will going to explore. And along the road, I will keep only the positive people and might as well leave others behind who will hinder me as I move along. This is the real fight and I am now ready to conquer you, real life!

I was a star lost in the dark. Not knowing that a star shines more brightly during the darkest hour.

UPLB Sablay 2017

“Congratulations, Mhae.”  Most beautiful words that seemed music to my ears. I just graduated from UP last Saturday (June 24, 2017). Cheers!

I am celebrating my success. After the n years of hardwork, tears, joy, doubt and fear, I am now here. I have officially graduated from the university that used to be my second sanctuary– the home where my heart grew and my soul bloomed.

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I can’t help it but mesmerize all the memoirs and gather all these thoughts on top of my head after reaching for this success. Going back to the first days I’ve stepped my foot in the university grounds, to the day I became its student, to the day I’ve stepped out of UP, thoughts kept on baffling in me.

I’ve known the existences of University of the Philippines Los Baňos back in 2008. I was in my Second Year back then when one of my high school teachers, Mam Alice Maligalig, let me join a scientific gathering among the seniors. I was once a mere observer that time. I was with the senior delegates from our school competing for their Science Investigatory Project. I can still remember, that time, Mam Maligalig told/asked me: “Ang ganda dito, ano? Ikaw, gusto mo dito pumasok sa college? Galingan mo lalo.” I just smiled. I have no idea how does it seem to go to college. I was thirteen.

I took the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) on August 7, 2010 not because I want to but because my mother, Ninong and cousin wanted to. So, I did. Bahala na kung papasa o hindi. Feeling ko naman hindi kawalan. I didn’t even review for the exam. I just do not want to get my hopes up for only to be let down. I even submitted my UPCAT Application form three days after the deadline. Power! I did not have any concrete plan before where to go to college, what course to take or whatsoever. I was savoring on the last year of my high school life and that’s it. Guilty to say, but I didn’t care about my future. All that matters to me is today.

It was January 5, 2011 when I heard the good news. I passed UPCAT! Ate Joy texted me and sent me her congratulatory messages. I checked it online. And legit! Pumasa nga ako. I can still recall from my memory how my mother jumped into joy upon hearing the best news– so far. She was extremely happy and was excited to enroll me to the university. And so enrollment came. My parents were beside me in each and every moment. From falling in (very long) lines, filing/submitting documents, Campus tour, looking for dorms and all. I can no longer ask for more. They are the best parents one could ever have.

Living my parents and relatives’ dream for me was something I’ve earned to adopt to. As I go on with my (pointless) directions in life, I unconsciously learned to love UP, the life here and the dreams I started drawing in the constellations of stars. I dreamt of becoming a doctor. I loved the biological sciences. But as time passed by, that dream gradually vanished. *sobbs* I then found my interest and passion in the social sciences. And even dreamed of becoming a lawyer someday. This little reverie of mine still hung in the air, but it would never be more than a few golden memoirs and a bundle of “what if’s”. 

I shifted course, from BS Mathematics and Science Teaching major in Biology and took up BA Sociology. The road wasn’t and will never be easy. From my day-to-day life in the laboratory, mixing up chemicals, dissecting organisms and classifying microscopic life has transformed to skimming and scanning bulk of reading materials, going to and fro the social field, interviewing people in all walks of life, listening to multiple narratives, statistical analyses, transcribing and writing and presenting technical papers. But I never harvested a barren of regret upon making this brave decision back then.

Surviving the UP life was a matter of life and death. Studying a number of topics in a day while attending classes, gathering data and writing papers and manuscripts– name it! I will not mention all the instances when I felt that my world was about to collapse. It might take forever to cite all. My body was squandered, mind was deteriorated, fingers were calloused, soul was tormented and my heart was broken.

Life got real hard for me. I didn’t had lots of friends and that felt strange. I used to be someone who knows numerous people back in high school. Anywhere I go, anywhere I cast my eyes at, there is someone I know. Someone I am friends with. All of a sudden, that changed. I was alone most of the time. I can count my college friends in my fingers. I didn’t have barkada I can turn to in times of sorrows and despair. I never knew how to conceal this discomfiture I was feeling. I missed home, too. My family, childhood friends, my bed, the noise, the chirping of the birds and all. The university was once a toxin absorbed by my whole system. I always wanted to escape from that cold unforgiving ground and discover an abyss and find my way home. Oftentimes, I wallowed in pain alone and wanted to shut myself from the world. I was the only one who hushed myself when I couldn’t do anything but cry all the pain and worries in my heart out.

But no matter how hard and tumultuous my university life was, I still found massive joy in my heart. Here are few reasons why I found my UP life worthwhile.

  1. I learned how to be independent, that I can never depend on others all the time. It is myself whom I can solely depend on. And it is always a mean for me to be stronger.
  2. I also realized that I cannot keep everyone. The day-to-day reality that I was with different persons in each every class is a subtle indication that people come, people go. And you cannot wish them to stay. Only the true ones will remain and others were meant to have a mere cameo-appearances in our lives. Maybe we need this to see ourselves grow and discover more things as we venture along.
  3. I found my brave heart in UPLB. I learned to be bold and take risks. Cause only those who would risk can possibly determine how far can they go.
  4. I found a home in UPLB. That no matter how strange and difficult life gets, I can always get home, take a rest, breathe and fight again.
  5. I got to know what the word “patience” meant more. It took me 5.5 semesters to graduate. And from that, I realized that graduation is not a race, never about who came and finished first. There is no timer set for success. It is more of learning things in life whilst enjoying the picturesque view of the race.
  6. Lasty, God has always a better plan. Cliche and overrated as it may sound. But factual. I kept the faith in my heart and prayed most of the time. In best and worst time, I talk to God. He knows all that I keep in my heart even before I compose and say the words. God will never left me hanging. There He is, no matter what I go through in life.

Learning isn’t solely confined in the four corners of the classroom and the function halls. It traverses all across every line. It is even possible to learn from the both ends of the rainbows and the multi-colored unicorns. Learning may come from a hurricane. Learning comes from north to south like it does from alpha and omega. But the best thing I’ve learned from my mundane UP life is to learn something from failures and success. Learning is the foundation for survival and determination is the foundation of success.

*so fast forward to graduation day* *plays aida march by Harmonya UPLB*

June 24, 2017. University Graduation.

T’was held at DL Umali Freedom Park. I can sense its solemnity. I dunno but I felt that the place radiates positive vibes. I felt excited to receive my (fake) diploma. The event’s call up time was 1:30pm and the procession started at exactly 3pm. I arrived few minutes before 2pm. Waiting for more than an hour with 5-inch heels on was a pain in the arse. #TiisGanda But G lang! Ngayon pa ba ako susuko? I and my coursemates/collegemates got inside the tent early since we came second among all the colleges. But that was not a good thing! That meant standing all throughout the processional march until all the 2500-ish graduates finally get in. And we were standing until 5pm. Imagine my sore legs.

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Senator Dick Gordon arrived few minutes after 3o’clock via chopper. Meaning, he must leave the place on or before 5pm. But since the procession ended at around 5pm, there was nothing he can do but to wait and deliver his speech afterwards. I was impressed by him– the way he delivered his speech, the message he conveyed, his accomplishments and his patience during the processional march. I’ve seen him a couple of times and must I say, he is one of the best politicians we have nowadays. (See his speech’s transcript here.)

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The names of the graduates were then called. Good thing, we were the second college to receive our diplomas next to College of Agriculture and Food Sciences since it was alphabetically arranged. But since our college (College of Arts and Sciences) is the biggest college in UPLB and has produced around 700 graduates, we remained standing until the last person under CAS has been called. Hello, sore-r legs! What was only good during that time was, I get to have selfies with my friends/fellow graduates while waiting.

(Forgive me for the oily face. Haggard na ang lola mo!)

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With too much fatigue, muscle cramps, hunger and dehydration, the commencement exercises ended at around 11pm. It officially ended with beautiful fireworks to light up the sky after we sang UP Naming Mahal where I got to experience goosebumps. But imagine a deprived self who has last eaten her meal at 10am. I thought I was about to pass out too. Some graduates needed medical attention since they passed out during the processional march. Good thing I brought a tumbler of water. I kept myself (a little) dehydrated.

But here. Let me thank all those who have been part and parcel of my success. Despite all my imperfections and shortcomings, I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude and sincerest appreciation to those who- in one way or another- made my college journey full of sugar and spice. Cheers!

To my Inay, Tatay, Aan and the rest of my loving family, thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you for constantly loving me through all these years and for always believing in my spirit. Thank you for picking me up when I’m down. Thank you for never giving up on me. You were the person who stood by me through all these . In constant pain, in temporary happiness, in failures, success and every little achievement. This success is really for you. I love you to the moon and back.

To all my friends in all walks of life, batchmates, colleagues, Narralites 1011, I am also sharing with you this success. Thank you for cheering me on whenever I feel that I am about to give up. Thank you for showering all the unicorns and rainbows in my grayscale world. Kampay!

To all the friends I found in UP, thank you! It was nice seeing us conquering the battles not only in the academic arena but more of in life. Our sleepless nights and hard work has paid off and is paying off. Fight for Sablay. Padayon!

To Mam Lei Pangilinan, and the rest of the DSS Faculty, thank you so much! I am very honored and privileged to have great mentors like you. I learned so much from the discipline. I never and will never regret accepting the ‘invitation to sociology’.

To my former teachers and advisers since pre-school to high school, thank you so much for the best foundation. I owe you every little thing I’ve learned before I begin stepping my foot at UPLB. Thank you for your patience and constant understanding. I hope I made you all proud. 

To Ninong Edwin and Ate Essel, thank you for forcing me to take UPCAT. I wouldn’t be here if you did not drag me to take the exam.

To every Filipino taxpayer, salute! Tax is mandatory but I promise to serve the people in my own little ways. Serve the country!

To those heartless creatures who doubted me, thanks to you still. You boosted the inner courage sleeping in me. But I surely won’t need you in the next chapters in my life.

To everyone who supported and cheered me all the way through- from day first until the day I finally get my Sablay- those who sent me simple text messages, tweets, comments, facebook messages, I greatly appreciate those little things. Thank you all so much!

To UP Naming Mahal, thank you for everything! You are my home away from home, my serendipity and my sweetest downfall.

To myself, you did it with flying colors! You summoned all the flecks of courage in you like little zaps from somewhere in your bloodstream. You wanted to conquer the world but you’ve done better as you conquered yourself. Best things are yet to come. I am so proud of you! Congratulations, self!

And to the Greatest Sociologist above all, thank You, Father for giving me strength and fiery determination. Thank You for all the stories of failures and success. You are the reason why I am here and the reason why I exist.

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Saludo po ako sa inyong lahat!

Recalling Mam Alice’s words back then, “Ang ganda dito, ano? Ikaw, gusto mo dito pumasok sa college? Galingan mo lalo.”  I now know my response. “Opo. Maganda po ang UPLB. Madami ako natutunan, hindi lamang sa loob ng klasrum, kundi mga aral sa buhay. Ginusto ko po dito at muli’t-muli ay gugustuhin. At alam ko sa sarili kong ginalingan ko..” Graduate na ako! Must I say, THAT WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

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Signing off

Sunday Serenade |04

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It’s been a while. How’re you doing, guys? Did we all bid summer goodbye? Some already get back to “life’s reality”, missed schools and universities. Some of us are enjoying vacations still, some may be planning to go on a trip or the likes. But anyhoo, here’s a set of life songs I made so we’ll all have a more inspired (and even better) day. I am also spreading all the good vibes I am radiating within myself. Y’know, I will be receiving my graduation rites two weeks from now, yihaaaa! And I cannot be more excited than this. So here, I hope you’ll enjoy.

  1. Fight Song – Rachel Patten

2. Masterpiece – Jessy J

3. Defying GravityGlee

4. How Far I’ll Go –  Diamond White & KHS version

5. Brave – Sara Bareilles

6. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia

7. Invisible Hunter Hayes

8. Superheroes – The Script

9. BreakawayKelly Clarkson

10. The ClimbMiley Cyrus

11. Roar – Katy Perry

12. Scars to your Beautiful

 

Life is good. Happy Sunday!

To every mom all over the world

For all those years you raised us with love
Unconditional, never-ending, helped us survive
Your womb was our most tranquil home
Where our little selves were initially honed

For all those times you dragged us to school
Made us educated so as not to be fooled
You inched us closer to better tomorrow
To live in peace and never in sorrow

For all those moments you read us fairytales before we sleep
We imagined how beautiful life in your every flip
We traversed all the ages a thousand times
And imagined ourselves as characters of the story line

For every morning you woke us up with your nag
Starting the day shouting us out so loud
You taught us that each day is a brand new hope
And seize it with the best things we can think of

For all those days you held our hands when we felt weak
You were the strongest person beside us to stick
You held us captive and again lets us stand
No matter how many times we fall on the ground

For all those times you wiped all our tears away
Stayed with us when things go astray
When pain and heartbreaks seem inevitable
And the dreams we built starts to fall

For all those times you became the best cheerleader in town
Never left our side whether we’re up and we’re down
Proudly raises our fists like a champ
Ever supportive, we’ve never felt like a dumb

You are the strongest person we know.
You deserve this world’s ever glow.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Blurred Lines

There is this one person in my life who stayed with me and caught me after my very first heartache several years ago. He has been there when I was picking up the stubborn little pieces of my broken heart. He made me happy in so many ways which made our friendship got even stronger. We shared laughters, tears, sorrows and even the most random stories we have for a day. Though we haven’t seen each other more often than before, I am certain that he is still the same person I’ve known. Nothing has ever changed.

A random day on a summer night back then, he mustered all his courage to confess his “love” for me. He said he was in love with me and asked my permission if he can court me. Having the broken heart, I cannot say yes. I still love the person who has had my heart torn into pieces. Plus, I still see him as a very good friend than my man.

We had the same kind of friendship for years already, even if I know that he has special feelings for me. We remained the same old friends we have been since then. I was there for him and so he was. We tease each other, tell random jokes and stories. Hang-out once in a while since we have lots of common friends. Everything was always smooth between us. For most of the time we are parted by the oceans, nevertheless, we are always united by the same blue sky.

Until I’ve known that he was with someone else and I was left in this cold unforgiving ground. All of a sudden, he drifted away. Without me knowing, he bid his subtle goodbye. Weird, but it felt like I was broken as if we had this kind of social romantic relationship. This is the goddamn rude moment in my life that I came to realize that one does not need to engage into a romantic kind of relationship to get hurt and eventually know what it means to live in this life, to see how love can change a person, to feel how love can badly hurt.

I do not have the right to get mad and let this fury out of my system since there is no comittment between us. I do not know where I should stand and what should I think of. This feeling which wormed to the very core of my heart is quite familiar. I have encountered this one from years ago and it’s somehow cruel that I still feel the same way. Same drama, same pain, same fire but with a different person now. I felt cheated. I felt stabbed. And it kills like hell. I felt all the tiniest pain that overwhelmed my shattered heart. Every time I look at the sky and the clouds, I used to think that this person will make a significant change in my day-to-day monotonous life. That he’s gonna be someone who will bring a magical impact to me in one way or another. But today, the silver lining of that cloud is the fact that he is now gone. But yep. It is not his fault, any way. It is my atrocious mistake to think of such thoughts and expect those to become a reality out of the virtual world I created. My expectations towards this person caused me to crash and burn into disillusionment since it didn’t pan out.

And now he’s coming back. Very timely when I am now used to this kind of rejection and I have already accepted deep in my heart that he’s gone, figuratively. That he is now into someone else and he is genuinely happy at the moment. I really do not know what am I gonna do or what are the best words to say. Or should I ignore whatever it is that I think and feel? Or should I confess? Or what? Will I be agonizing the pain? Should I take the risk of falling in love and set our friendship aside? Cause it feels like I am just becoming his rebound just to get back to the floor again. I do not know either. I do not know how to conceal this discomfiture I am feeling. These thoughts are all in disarray, heading to nowhere and leading back to my mind. The whole thing just started bouncing off the wall over and over again. There are a lot more baffled thoughts I have on top of my head. And the more I think, the more questions are hitting me. And every blow, I helplessly take while tossing and turning endlessly on the cold bed that I would never get to share.

I want him to make efforts and take risks. I am now over patiently waiting and settling for less than I know I deserve. That, love alone is not always enough and it is too overrated. Truth be told, I am also after the personality of the person. I want someone who will fight against all odds just to prove that I am loved. I want someone who will make sacrifices just to be with me and will believe that every sacrifice will never go astray. I want someone who will make the little efforts to seize every moment with me. C’est la vie! I want someone who will offer me the entire galaxy when all I ask is a single planet. Someone worthy letting my walls down for.

I am not closing any of my doors and I am uncertain what’s going to happen next. I am trusting the plans of the Lord as to whatever He intends for the both of us. But I thank that person sincerely, for letting me feel whatever it is.

I am still after your happiness. I want you to pave even the most crooked path you need to take if it will make you happy. I do not know if I love you already or am I this selfish to own you this time. I am uncertain of myself, and the world. Nonetheless, I am still and will always be here for you even if we have this kind of blurred lines between our hearts.

Scarlet Love

Fate has brought us together in this cruel world
I was nothing but a drop of the oceans unfold
You were the heaven that mirrors the water’s delight
But I can only reach you through my eyesight

Love has made our parallel paths cross
Not knowing that we’ll meet with a purpose
You gave meaning to my mere existence
By just letting me feel your entire presence

With you, I don’t veil grudges and contempt at all
Unconsciously knowing our hearts will eventually fall
I wasn’t scared to love and get a little too deep
I was just wearing my heart upon my sleeve

You fought for the love we strongly held
I fearlessly stood up for the two of us so brave
But no matter what we do, the world always contradicts
Uncertain of this life so unfair, couldn’t mitigate deceit

I set you free and we began to quietly drift away
Without any single word to say
But I still waited for the day you will arrive
To the moment we’ll be together again, I did strive

I held you captive at the back of my mind
Distinctive memories that wafts by my side
Your smell forever haunts my nose
Even the howling sound of the wind as it blows

Answered prayer, we again met at the end of the road
My love and longing for you is still in a stronghold
Slowly gleaned at each other straight in the eyes
Reached each one as if we’re walking on a thin ice

That was the last farewell I could ever bid you, my love
I have to gently lose you for us to survive
We veer from each other away, threw everything
Sadly, for us, there is no such thing as happy ending

This isn’t the world where our hearts shall not be in pain
But I’ll traverse all the time and ages to meet you again
There’s the piece of your memoir I’ll forever keep in my heart
With open arms, I’m gladly accepting everything, if this is how we part

 I’ll be yours until my dying day. You were my scarlet love.

Fangirling: 10 People I Admire

Been seeing much posts of my Facebook friends sharing photos, videos and other sorts of things featuring the persons they love doing fangirling at, or those they find doubtlessly amazing. I am joining the bandwagon and I am sharing this post to every fan girl all over the world. Here’s ten amazing people (in no particular order) I am looking up to. #Fangirling101

1. Inay and Tatay. The best persons I know. Well, it is given that every parent would do and pursue for the best-to the fullest they can ever be- for their children. And it’s a big fact to my parents. They did more than they could ever do for me and Aan. They’ve done more than enough to raise us, give us quality education, feed us and doubtlessly give everything we need to us. In this world, I might only need a single planet, but Inay and Tatay gave me the whole galaxy.

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2. Dr. Nicole Curato. I admire her personal views and opinions. She has a very excellent way of expressing her thoughts and a special skill in integrating these to the field of sociology and social issues. She has excellent analytical skills that she shares to everyone, especially students, but not bombarding them with too much sociological jargons which might alienate people not inclined to social sciences. Dr. Curato has a very good way of embarking lessons, thoughts and critical analyses that can, in one way or another, challenge one’s thinking. I have witnessed few of her talks- in UPLB, in television and have read some of her articles printed and online. Such a very intelligent agent of sociology.

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3. Emma Watson. Who wouldn’t admire her beauty and charm? With such a perfect face, body and wit, guess everybody would have a feeling of jealousy towards her. Her eyes are jewels, sparkling and forbidding. Her smile is a beacon, beckoning us to speak. She’s an epitome of success too. She is a quintessential woman. A breath of fresh air for 90’s kids who believed in the magical spell of the red rose. She’s got an extraordinary appeal that traverses all ages and social brackets. She’s my Belle.. everyone’s Belle.

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Hirap pumili ng picture, mga bes!

 

4. Prof. Aňonuevo. He’s Sir Augut, a senior faculty member of the Department of Social Sciences in UPLB. He was my professor in few of my major courses back in college. And I might say, he is the best professor I had during my stay in the university. He is intelligent, considerate and very passionate towards his craft. He teaches really well and demonstrates Honor and Excellence. Here’s a confession: Sir Augut was the only faculty I gave straight perfect scores during SET (Student Evaluation fro Teachers). For my friends outside UPLB, I’d like you to know that in the university, students are given the “right” to evaluate their teachers based on some criteria that should fit the university motto “Honor and Excellence”. It comes in Likert scale, assessment of self, description of how the course/s is/are being taught and a space for suggestion/s in further improving the course.

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Couldn’t find a solo picture of Sir Augut. So I’m grabbing this photo from Ate Amanda, an advisee of Sir Augut cause I really love this letter. 

5. Lang Leav and Michael Faudet. I am (and will forever be) in love with the words of Lang Leav and Michael Faudet. Their my favorite poets and I take time to read few of their beautiful works whenever time permits. Unfortunately, I haven’t got any of their books. (Sad life) Friends reading this, I will be receiving my graduating rites on June 24 and (ehem!) if you’re thinking of a present, their books would be best. Haha!

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6. Sen. Miriam Santiago. I featured her already. If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you might have read my article about how did I get the chance to see MDS. She will forever be in my heart and I believe she is always an inspiration to many Filipinos especially to the youth. I don’t have to reiterate why do I admire her. Her existence as a full-fledged woman of character and strength is a journey that has been available to the public eye. Not much words to feature her. Simply I can say, she’s an awesomely excellent public servant! … and the best president we all never had.

Miriam-Poe

7. Sir Eli Iňigo. Sir Eli was my recitation instructor in PI 10 (Life and Works of Rizal). He’s really cool teacher. He has a peculiar way of engaging the students to the course. Sideline story: I feared history back then. I was never into it during high school. I didn’t appreciate any of it during those days years.. not until I took PI 10 (naks!). Back in high school, we were bombarded with too many names of people, places, dates and a lot, lot more that we need to memorize to pass quizzes and exams. Too tell everyone honestly, I am not really good at memorization. I am frequently mentally blocked. memorization sucks and it kills like hell. But Sir Iňigo’s approach was quite different. It was not memorization per se, it was more of understanding and getting a sense of thought from the topics.

He can also memorize the names and even the place of birth or the birth dates of his students. Yes. Imagine! He had several large classes but he’d known some of the details of his students’ profiles. I have encountered two faculty members who can do that thing- Sir Eli and Mam Galano, my PSY1 instructor/professor.

Moreover, Sir Eli has been very generous when it comes to giving points/grades. He made too much bonuses for the class to… *clears throat* survive.

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The story behind this ID photo. Haha

8. The Script and Coldplay. The beats of their drums, the electrifying sound of the guitar, and their voices sway me in so many fascinating ways. The lyrics come across from a corner to another and the melody of their songs pulsate now in my veins. Equally excellent. Whenever I have long travel (which I love to do) alone, I always put my earphones on, escape the world and just listen to the songs of The Script and Coldplay. Music has always been a reliever of my stress.

Coldplay will be having their concert days from now. Urgggh! Wala akong ticket, di ko afford! </3

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9. Pia Wurtzbach. Queen P is more than a pretty face that could launch a thousand ships. She is more of an epitome of an empowered woman aware and cares about current social issues and has the confidently beautiful heart for the youth as the strength of the universe. What I also admire about Pia is that, she keeps her dreams and aspirations on a stronghold. They say, timing is everything. And this couldn’t been more true to Pia. Despite facing a couple of rejections, she is a woman on a mission. She doesn’t give up things she is passionate about and pursue them with all her might.

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Mas maliwanag pa ang kilikili ni Pia kaysa sa kinabukasan ko.

10. Sec. Gina Lopez. I admire her for being courageous enough to stick to what she believes is right. It is a good manifestation of a brave Filipina- someone who stands independently on her beliefs and does decisions based on empirical facts and considers the sake of the many. I salute her for having the heart for Mother Earth, not as a call of duty alone, but trully an advocate of nature.

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Salute y’all! I am your fan.