Why I Think I Couldn't Eat Chocolates Anymore

A lot of times, I see myself whining and complaining about what I don't have and what I could never have. I did not come from a rich family and I do admit that there are moments when I would look at others enviously, wondering why they have things I don't. During the worst time, I even blamed my parents for not working hard enough to give me the most comfortable life they should provide me and my brother with. It was beyond stupid, I know, and I regretted that.

But I regretted that even more when I watched the Road for Hope documentary of KBS World featuring Jung Yunho. The program showed clips of the pitiful situation of the children in Ghana, Africa. Lives of the kids there were featured and I would be lying if I say their stories didn't touch my heart.

The picture above shows Mamichi, a 7-year old girl who suffers from Buruli ulcer, a disease that affects the skin and bones. I was mostly moved by the scene when Mamichi told Yunho that the worst part of the treatment is during the changing of the bandages; and just then, the nurse came to change hers. Yunho was beside her and I can say that I think I felt how he did seeing the little girl suffering, without screaming. He just held her hand tightly, hoping that he could give even the slightest bit of comfort.

The whole time, I wished I was there to hold her hand too.

GUNITA: A Blessed Opportunity

I wasn't supposed to be a part of this. I thought I would just be on the side supporting Luwi and Kuya Marvin as they take part in this ambitious (in a good way) activity. But everything dissolved when I received a message from A.D. Acebedo, the head of the organizing team, to design the official poster of the event. I did, and everything began.

To my surprise, Kuya Marvin announced my being the 'official photographer' of the event. Well, I promised to be there for the opening but I never really thought of having that title since we never talked about it. But as I came to realize, God really must have acted out His plans that I ended up taking the responsibility. It wasn't that difficult anyway since photography is really my passion, but it felt an honor nonetheless. 

To be a part of something this big is like a manifestation of the huge blessings God is constantly bestowing upon me. In the three days I spent with the group, I felt like I wasn't even worthy - especially that I don't own an image; but that was thrown aside when I look back to the recent past and realize that if I'm not worthy, would I have earned the trust this people gave me?

It's beyond amazing how God worked His magic again on me. Prior to this stint, I was doubting my abilities. I was feeling so lethargic, tired and burnt out. I wanted something new that would take me off the usual things in my life. And this happened and I am really beyond grateful.

I don't know if it's okay to partake on it, but when it was concluded that the exhibit was a success, I felt so proud of myself and the group. Frankly speaking, it is not easy to find people who knows what they're doing and what they're doing these kinds of things for. I mean, not everyone knows what these images are for exactly, right? But these people do; and I'm glad that I learned a lot from them. Fr. Ron said before that it is already a good thing when there's even one person whose faith was strengthened through this activity, and looking at my own self now, I think a good thing just indeed happened.

A while ago, I was talking to my friend when she told me that my mom was rather amused at how I was the past few days. Normally, she would go crazy over the fact that I am always in a rush, that I'm always leaving the house and I always go home late, and that I seldom get to help in the house chores. But as we were preparing for this exhibit, Mama told my friend that it's amazing how I seem to enjoy it despite the sleepless nights and endless panic. That's when I knew that Mama is beginning to understand my way of service. That's a blessing. 

And I have this event to thank. :)


"In my quest for wisdom and creativity, I concede and surrender to the supremacy of God."

The Beautiful Side of Regrets

People are funny most times. They do things and then regret it later on. They wallow in self-pity thinking about what-ifs and blaming themselves for being stupid in the past. They are consumed by their guilt and frustration over their past actions and are these hinder them from being authentically happy and contented.

At one point in my life, I have fallen on the dirty traps of life and like many, I was depressed over the issues of my yesterday. It was dark times - like I'm jailed inside an invisible prison that won't let me see the beauty of the outside. I fed on negative thoughts, letting it all overpower my whole being.

Until I decided that it was enough.

Talking to a friend a few nights ago, I was quite astounded to hear myself talking about handling regrets. I couldn't believe I said those things at all actually - because surprisingly, it all made so much sense.

Regrets are like one of the most painful things our minds had ever created. They are memories that constantly remind us of things we so want to forget. They are life's greatest weapons in trolling us all - because they bring us back to the times we never want to look back on, back to our mistakes, back to the times when we were terribly imperfect.

I'm not saying we can be perfect. It's just that we have to understand. If we are to look at the positive side of things, what exactly are regrets?

Regrets are painful memories that mock us consistently; but I have learned to see them as the greatest factor that keeps people grounded. Reminding us of our ugly parts and mistakes, regrets are our biggest reminders that we are imperfect and are bound to make mistakes.

In short, regrets make us human. That's the truth.

I don't think there's even one person without regrets. Even despite people's YOLO attitude nowadays. I don't think there's anyone in the planet who doesn't ask his/her own what-ifs. No one will ever understand the essence of YOLO unless he experienced regrets. See the connection?

My friend asked me how to erase it, and for a moment, I couldn't quite answer. For a moment, I really thought of how to do it. But then, I realized that there's no way you can delete your regrets because that requires you to forget your past. And no one forgets his/her past (unless you get on an accident or a disease and you lose your memories).

If you're familiar with the Expecto Patronum spell in Harry Potter, it pretty much shares the same logic with my formula of defeating regrets. We need to think of greater and better memories that would overcome the dark aspects of our past. If there's none, then create. Because as I told her, happy memories are always the most powerful.

But in the end, it all boils down to the determination of the person to really get over his/her regrets. Dealing with it is easy if only we really want to. One needs not to be overly dramatic in engaging with these thoughts, because that's all it's going to be.

The past is important, but it's all it is: past. It hones us. It guides us. But what's more important is the present and the future that lies ahead. We need to learn how to focus on that if we want to move forward.

My Best Trait

Finding beauty in the most uncommon places is probably my forte.
I make sure I look beyond what the naked eyes see.
I make sure I comprehend what only the heart can.
It's not about being positive, actually...
But about giving chances.

What happens to a world which positive side is taken for granted?
What happens to people who couldn't see the good things in each other?

It is totally interesting when I try hard to find something others can't see.
Because when I find it, it gives me an edge.
It makes me feel different.
Perhaps, that's the root of this all.
I want to be different so I find the difference.
Easier said than done, but possible.

Plus, it makes us better persons;
this world, a better place.

Slow but Sure

Over and over again, I have to remind myself to take things slow. And sometimes, it gets tiring and frustrating that I couldn't seem to develop the virtue of patience. It annoys me often that I couldn't seem to focus on one thing alone, perhaps because I've been trained hard to multi-task.

But for the nth time, I will concede on the necessity of learning how to live life slowly. I have learned a long time ago that doing so allows me to see what exactly makes living worth it. Like when walking in the park, it allows me to see and experience all the beautiful things which I don't think I can pay attention to if I'm rushing. It makes me appreciate everything more.

Also, slowing down allows me to have more time to think of my actions. I also have the tendency to be very impulsive and sometimes, it does me no good. Whenever I take things slow, I get the time to think of the possible repercussions of my every action; and I think that for a person who aims to never regret, this is clearly a necessity.

Lastly, slowing down leads me to actually finish things. I get to follow my to-do list and really focus on what I have to do. This gives me the chance to master my crafts; and it's probably the best thing of all, considering that being a Jack of All Trades but a Master of None kind of depresses me.

Over and over again, I have to remind myself to take things slow. And I think everyone should do so too. Life is too short, so as they say; but that's exactly the point. Life is too short so why not cherish everything that's worth it? Remember: Life should not just be about trying everything just for the sake of experiencing it. It's about figuring out what and where you're best at so that you can have at least one thing to be proud of.

And you cannot do that when you're in a rush.

Enjoy the Trip, Tado.

photo from rtmoratin @ Tumblr

As I am the type of person who goes for humor and intelligence than looks, such preference carries on to my choice of artists. And in the Philippines, there is only a few celebrities I look up to - people who I see are not just sincerely devoted to their chosen craft, but are sensible enough to last in the industry.

That is why it took me by surprise when I learned of what happened to Tado Jimenez. A bus fell off a ravine in Bontoc, Mountaine Province and unfortunately, he is one of the casualties. According to reports, he died on the spot and his body was identified by the police after seeing his identification card.

Apparently, Tado, or Arvin Jimenez in real life, was on his way to Bontoc with some friends from the industry (Gerard Baja & David Sicam). I don't know if it's for work or for an adventurous vacation, but on his last post in Instgram, it was evident that he's excited for this 'long, long trip'.

And it turned out that it's indeed a long trip they're going to.

I don't personally know Tado, nor have I met him before. But he's definitely one of the people in the industry who managed to earn my respect. His humor was natural and I think that's quite rare among comedians today. His ability did not even lie on the way his looks nor the way he speaks. He made people laugh through his statements which were always an enticing mix of humor and sense.

What I admire most about him is talent in making people laugh and learn at the same time. I may have known him a little late than others but his radio program Brewrats had been my refuge after grueling Thesis classes during college. Alongside Angel Rivero and Ramon Bautista, Tado definitely brought be entertainment and knowledge and expanded my vocabulary. Their trio introduced me to a brand new kind of radio entertainment which I thought had long been forgotten.

Another thing I liked most about Tado was his dedication to making a difference in this world. He was an activities for so long and he didn't deny it. He even admitted once that he used to cover his face just to attend protests without being recognized. Later on, he decided to run for baranggay councilor position though I have no clue if he won.

The more important things though are his campaign for changes in the society. He took part in movements for the preservation of nature, of our culture, and the reinstatement of values among Filipinos. He supported protests against corruption and inhumane (sorry for the word but I mean this!) government norms that leads to sky-high lists of social problems. Just recently, he even spearheaded activities to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

All in all, he was an instrument of change, and not all people would bravely step out in the open to do that.

I'm not saying Tado's perfect. He certainly wasn't. He had his own shares of controversies too, but I think his simplicity and humility prevailed more. And for that I am proud to call myself his fan.

Now that he's gone physically, his legacy will begin to high for sure. He had served as a good example to everyone, particularly to the youth; and that - I believe - is what totally matters. And I know that even when time passes by, he will never be forgotten.

Because there can only be one Tado. Definitely.

Lost Soul No More

For quite a long time, I felt depressed. Though I have been working as a writer for almost four years already, and I had supported my family all throughout these years, it still frustrated me a lot that I really couldn't picture out what I wanted to do with my life. It bothered me so much that my future seemed so bleak. Because somehow, it felt like I don't have direction. I just take steps - most times, reckless - but I have no definite destination.

A college friend once told me that he experienced the same, and he managed to find out why. According to him, it's because we lacked in the dreaming department. When we were kids, we were always asked what we want to be when we grow up. Back in those days, we usually answer that we wanted to be a doctor, a teacher, a fashion model, an engineer, an architect, and in my case, a cashier. But as we grow old, we got focused on other things that we ended up forgetting what we were supposed to be.

Of course, choices vary and interests change. But I know some people who used to say that they're going to be doctors and they are indeed doctors now. So I think the 'forgetting' part just applies to some, and sadly, it does to me.

When I was still studying, all I wanted to do is to finish college and earn a degree and make my parents proud. but after I received my diploma, I didn't know what to do anymore/ Sure, we enjoyed the course; but the thing is, we were too immersed on the act of studying that we forgot that we were supposed to just study for something. I guess it's the pressure of school that made me forget what that 'something' actually is. That's why when I graduated, I couldn't remember it anymore. I took Communication Arts but obviously, my interest on it wasn't too strong to pursue.

From that, I realized how much I missed out on my life. Just when I thought I was working hard for a dream, it turned out that there was no dream to work hard for at all. Ridiculous, right? That's why for almost four years, I've been wandering around - aimless.

Good thing, I was awoken up to the truth that life requires constant dreaming. I have discovered my purpose and just recently, I've finally figured out a dream.


It might be funny to some, but it has always been a childhood dream. Back in high school, I have been tagged as 'Maria Korea' because of my fascination towards the country and it continued 12 years after and will probably continue until the next few decades? What I'm trying to say is I don't think I will ever get to get over my love for this country and with that, I'm basing my dream.

It's not different from traveling the world. It's just that I'm limiting my scale into just one Asian country. And you know what? It felt like magic when I finally decided that yeah, this has to be the dream I will work for, because instantly I felt like I've found the path to take. It was like a divine intervention, but really, everything just finally became clear.

Now, I find it easier to do things; because while it's great to know my purpose, it's even better to know that I have a dream to fulfill too - something that involves me and my interests alone.

I guess that's a great driving force that people should understand. If your purposes in life consists your family and friends (like in my case), turn something that you've always enjoyed to do into a realistic dream, because that would push you to be more determined and motivated into becoming a better person.

Right now, I am more convinced that I should exert more effort in learning Korean. Furthermore, I am more determined to save up and start a business that would help me get there. I know that these decisions are not a joke, but I think it's gonna be easier knowing that now, I can see where I'm headed.