All posts by Maica Ayuyao

About Maica Ayuyao

27. Christianity. Filipina. Complex yet very child-like.


October is my favorite month ever since I was a little child. It is usually chillier than the past months but it’s not rainy. I love that it is the Halloween and people are talking about the paranormal and people, especially cute little children, are dressed up in various costumes. I also love it because it is School of Saint Anthony’s Foundation month!

I’ve studied in School of Saint Anthony since June 1995 when I entered first grade and left on April 2005 when I graduated from high school so basically, it has been ten years since I graduated this year. Man, when I was studying there, I thought school would never end and after a snap of a finger and a couple of heartbreaks, a thesis, a civil service examination, two university graduations, a broken bone, a LASIK surgery, a bar examination, two job experiences, and a root canal, ten years had passed. It just feels unreal.

Suffice to say that ten years later, I cannot say that I am a successful person especially if it means financially. They said that heartbreaks, failures and empty pockets are the best teachers in life. I’ve met the first two before and now I have to deal with the third one now that I am waiting for my papers to be processed in a government office. It hurts me a little every time I see my money lessen and lessen each day even if I barely leave the house. I took a little pride that so far, I am the only person who is a member of the Philippine bar. Nonetheless, in five years, I am certain that more people from my batch would also be members and I’d gladly welcome them. But it’s not that a big deal. It’s only a title which the general public will admire and hate you for it. My batch mates who would eventually become lawyers would understand me better someday.

Ten years later, I know that my batch mates and I fully understood one thing: high school was not destiny. Or better yet, nothing is destiny. We evolve everyday. Our popularity or number of friends or awards received then does not make an impact on what we are now in our careers or even in parenthood for some. Our college degrees sometimes do not even have an impact on our current jobs now. This is specifically true for our batch as half of my batch mates were forced by their parents to take up nursing which was considered as the gold mine course back then. But I love how bullies became nicer and that people who hardly care for school earned their respective degrees and titles. I love seeing how time progressed and see that we evolved from being clueless of our future in slowly taking in charge of what is ahead.

Over ten years, it’s nice to see that my batch mates seem to be doing well. We are in a generation where almost everyone is searchable through Facebook and could get some news about your batch mates in the newsfeed. A handful is in abroad. Some started their own families. Some of my batch mates who were not even talking to each other in high school are now married. Some have their own businesses. Some people are already in their graduate studies and some did not finish college. But whatever the circumstances happened between high school graduation and now, we are all doing one thing: facing life as an adult. It is also clear to us that adult life is not everything we have dreamed of or our worst nightmare.

Sometimes, it could be both.

Good luck to all of us, my dear batch mates. Don’t feel old. We’re not even thirty yet!

Constants. When we were in elementary school, we were taught of a song in music class that goes, "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other one is gold."These two were already the goldiest gold. Beyond and carat. Priceless. Thank you Denise and Dianne. I'll forever treasure our friendship which stems even back from elementary. You are both two of the biggest blessings in my life. :)
Constants. When we were in elementary school, we were taught of a song in music class that goes, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other one is gold.”These two were already the goldiest gold. Beyond and carat. Priceless. Thank you Denise and Dianne. I’ll forever treasure our friendship which stems even back from elementary. You are both two of the biggest blessings in my life. 🙂

My Firm Life: The Interview

I have a friend who e-mailed to me these questions for her class. I decided to post it also here so that you could have a brief updated with what I am doing and why I can’t blog at all. Anyway, I feel so unfulfilled these days that I think, I’ll start releasing my stress through writing starting this week. I hope I won’t be so sappy or overly emotional.

  1. Can you give a little background about yourself, your current position and the firm that you are associated with?
  • I am Maris Angelica Ayuyao, 27 years old and a graduate of the University of the East College of Law. I am a new lawyer. In fact, I only signed the roll of attorney this April 29, 2015. I am an Associate Lawyer in RRV Legal Consultancy Firm. It is a small law firm in 12 Scout Rallos St., Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City.
  1. Is this a small, medium or big sized firm? What is the organizational structure of the firm? What are the pros and cons of working in a ____ sized firm?
  • It is a small firm. It is composed only of my boss, Atty. Redemberto R. Villanueva, who is the managing partner, and three associate lawyers, including myself. However, we sometimes team up with other law firms in other cases.
  1. How did you apply for the position? How was the application process?
  • I sent my resume and they immediately scheduled me for an interview. Atty. Villanueva interviewed me and after a few days, his secretary then called me and asked me on when I can start waiting for them.
  1. Before joining the firm, did you not consider working for the government? If no, why not? If yes, what was the main factor that motivated you to join a law firm instead?
  • I actually considered working for the government; however, I felt that really wanted to practice law and most likely, I have to transfer to the province if I have to work in PAO which did not appeal to me.
  1. As a/an [position], what are your responsibilities? How long have you been working as a/an [position] and how is it so far (workload, stress level)? Is it rewarding? Challenging?
  • As an associate lawyer, my responsibilities include attending hearings and meetings for the firm and a lot of writing not only pleadings but also contracts, memorandum of agreement and demand letters. I’ve been working for three months now in RRV and I am telling you this, it is a lot harder than I expected. There is no fixed work hour of work. There is no overtime pay. My health is also faltering now. But so far I am coping and learning.
  1. Can you give us a sneak peek on how a day in the life of a/an [position] looks like?
  • There is no fixed schedule for a practitioner. There are days wherein you have hearings from two different cities and when you come to the office, there is a client waiting for you for a meeting. You also need to constantly check your firm’s e-mail for communication with your other clients. But whatever happens in your day, you must always give time to drafting your pleadings and legal opinions.
  1. Please tell us about your first case and client. Have you encountered any clients who are difficult to deal with? Or do you know someone who has encountered such a client? Any tips on handling those instances?
  • I do not have my personal client yet but I could probably tell you the story of the first case which I drafted the complaint. The plaintiff, Mr. X, told me that somebody owes him money but he cannot collect money from him because his debtor does not want to pay him. That’s all he told me. Then, he sent an envelope with documents. In there, I saw a lot of copies of bounced checks, promissory notes and some letter of demand. It was so overwhelming and it took me sometime to understand the whole story. I realized that clients just do not trust their lawyers, they expect you to know everything right away.
  • The clients which are difficult to deal with are the following: First, the greedy clients who do not want to compromise. I have now one who really insists on bringing to the court a twelve-thousand pesos penalty charge despite being a multi-millionaire. Second, those who do not listen to your proposed legal action and insist their own way. You have to talk to them clearly about the consequences of the actions they want to happen.
  1. Before joining the firm, what were your expectations? Have those expectations been met? Are there any surprises? Like, are you doing things now that you did not expect to do?  
  • A catch-all answer to all the questions above is this: practice is a lot different than what is taught in law school. The spoiler here is that we really have a very sick justice system. But this is the challenge for all new lawyers like me: whether we maintain our idealism or just go with the system. I choose the former.
  1. On what branch of law are you planning to specialize in?
  • Criminal law. I want to become a Prosecutor someday.
  1. What values or skills did you learn from working in a law firm?
  • Time management. You would need this the most in dealing with all your clients. Also, always be calm. Always have grace under pressure.
  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you see yourself climbing the corporate ladder and becoming a partner or forming your own law firm? Or would you transfer and work, say, with a private corporation?
  • I see myself as a humble public employee, working as a Prosecutor in Quezon City. I could also teach, if I have time. I would like to pay what I know about law, forward.
  1. With your experience, so far, in working in a law firm, do you recommend it to future bar passers? Why?
  • Yes, I recommend all future bar passers to work in a law firm in order for them to fully discern their career path in law. Most likely, you would be exposed to all types of cases in working in a law firm.
  1. What is the most important thing that you realized upon practicing law?
  • That learning does not end after you pass the bar. You still have to read, update yourself with the latest jurisprudence and make sure that you know the news. This is because after passing the bar, the law is no longer things you study for your own benefit. More than ever, you need to understand the law because it is now affecting the lives of real people. In practice, the law now means the life and property of your clients, the people who are asking for your help.
  1. To conclude, do you have any words for those who are considering of joining a law firm? What skills and qualities do you think one must possess if he plans of joining a firm? Tips/advice?
  • You cannot expect to be wealthy right away as an associate. In fact, you would be surprised on how little pay you are going to receive from your bosses, which are the partners. Do not think of this as unfair. It is really difficult to earn a name for oneself in our field. It takes years of hardship and prayers to be in their position. I talked about the skills needed above so I’d go right away to qualities. I think the best qualities one must possess in joining a firm is humility and obedience. Be humble that there are so many things you do not know yet and be obedient in following your bosses. Trust me, they know better than you.

What Went Right?: How I Passed the 2014 Philippine Bar Examinations

I am one of the 1,126 fortunate souls who successfully made it through one of the toughest Bar Examinations in history. Only 18.82% passed the 2014 Bar Exams. The only question that kept on going through my head was “why?”

I am not one of the most brilliant students that you would ever meet in law school. I am also not very studious. I am usually lax, doodling in my notes and with my head on the clouds during class hours. With some miracle and a lot of prayers, I managed to graduate last year from University of the East, took the bar and passed it altogether in my first attempt. Nonetheless, seeing my name on the list was a very bittersweet experience for me. After screaming and jumping for joy with my family and went back to the computer to check on my schoolmates’, co-workers’ and friends’ names on the list, I was devastated. To tell you the truth, within minutes after seeing the full list, I had an acid reflux, my head spun around and I want to vomit. The mixture of elation knowing that you passed and the feeling of sadness, desperation and hopelessness for your colleagues was a recipe for disaster in me. Then I felt the loneliness. It really is lonely at the top. The mere fact that I was originally examinee number 599 and later bar passer number 98 clearly demonstrates the massacre of the 2014 Bar Exam Results. And as I return back to reality the next day, I learned that for the 32 Bar Exam takers in our Office, only 6 of us passed it or 18.75% which mirrors the 18.82% passing rate.

So what went wrong? For weeks, I was figuring it out on my head. Then I recalled one concept I learned back in my college days: Murphy’s Law. Everything could go wrong in the bar preparations.  Worst, everything could go wrong on the night before the bar that would lead to disastrous results. Secondly, no success story in the bar is alike. My story could be a lot different from those people who said their success story in the bar from yours. Thus, I stopped counting reasons what went wrong to my dear comrades who are part of the 81.18% who did not make it.  Hopefully, they could learn insights that would help them pass the bar. These are the seven things that went right for me and helped me pass the 2014 Philippine Bar Examinations:

First, I trusted my law school education. I thank my two law schools—University of Santo Tomas (UST) where I stayed for three semesters of law school and to University of the East (UE) where I everything else in my law school happened. I thank my law schools for providing me teachers who really pushed me to my limits and at the same time helped me develop a passion and desire to really be a full-fledged attorney. Those nine semesters in law school are made up of my blood, sweat and tears; therefore, after receiving my diploma from UE, I am certain that I learned a lot from law school and that I am just one long quiz away from being an attorney. That being said, I am befuddled with my fellow law school graduates who are returning back to our thick law text books. When I saw a fellow bar candidate then reading the infamous J.B.L. Reyes’ Book I and Book II in Criminal Law, I felt squeamish. To all law graduates, remember that you have finished your law school. You got this. You do not need to go to the fundamentals over and over again for the bar. You are definitely wasting your time with text books! Do not belittle your 4-6 years in law school! Everything is already in your brain so please; do not dumb yourself back to who you are in the first year of law the moment you graduated from law school. Have more faith in yourselves!

Second, I chose my materials wisely. My main memory aid is a copy of the 2011 UST Golden Notes which I used for years. What is great about it is you read faster because somehow you have recall on your materials. There are also some notes which I’ve written while studying all these years for clarification and updates. I suggest to those people who are still in law school to do this. Do not worry about the updates, your review centers would provide you hand-outs on that and even if you would not enrol in one, for sure, good souls would offer it to you or you could ask them for it. It is hard to be a clueless law student who would invest money on several sets of reviewers then get frustrated that he cannot read them all. There is no use in hoarding a lot of reviewers if you would not have time in reading it. After the bar, they would simply be scraps of paper anyway.

Third, I strategized. My unorthodox material was the UP Law Center Bar Questions and Answers from 2000-2013. The mindset that was instilled to me as an Economics major is that there is a trend for everything. I was right about the Bar. Through the years, the chief difficult issues that would be resolved in the Bar Exams are more or less the same especially when it comes to Taxation. Taxation is believed to be one of the most difficult subjects in the Bar but believe me, just read the aforementioned material and you would realize that the examiners kept on repeating the same questions again. I also read San Beda Red Book which also highlight the mostly asked bar questions as well as their predicted bar questions. Of course, I used other materials for the bar (mostly from the handouts that was given from my review center, UP Law Center and the law books that I’ve used as a fourth year law student) but I relied on these two materials for all the eight Bar subjects.

Fourth, I know myself. I know that group studies would be a disaster for me so I stayed alone in our old house for five months in order for to study well. I also know that cutting me off from the rest of the world would make me nuts so while I deactivated my Facebook, I retained my Instagram. I also watched all games in UAAP where UE is playing (yeah, last season broke my heart into a million pieces) and I watch 24 Oras almost every day. The thing is, I know that being a little distracted and taking a lot of breaks in between my readings is the key for me to retain the things that I am reading. The only difference that I made in studying in law school compared to me studying for the bar is that I usually wake up early to study for the bar and do not any more study at night. This is simply because the Bar Exam is from 8AM to 6PM, thus, these are the time where my mind must work best and not any more during 5:30PM to 1AM back in law school. Of course, I do not impose what I have done in my Bar preparations to anyone. I’ve told how I’ve studied to a lot of people and they thought that I was so relaxed. But my point is, this is how I managed through law school and eventually the Bar. I cannot just lock myself in a room and study for like 300 pages a day, seven days a week like some people who passed the bar claim that they’ve been through. I would surely fail because it would dry out my sanity and every brain cell I have. What I am pointing out to future bar takers is to remember how they made it through their law school and do it again.

Fifth, I learned how to answer the bar properly. My favorite law school professor would always be Atty. Manuel R. Riguera. I just love and respect him so much. He was my teacher in Remedial Law Review and he was an outstanding and passionate teacher. But besides teaching me Remedial Law, he also taught my classmates and I the now infamous Jurists Three-Paragraph Method. I would not go into details on how to construct the said way on answering the bar exams. I would just provide the link here. I understand that it feels that this method is too laborious if followed strictly. Nonetheless, this is the best way for you to really show that you know your law and you could argue like a lawyer. Also do not sound like a layman in your answer. It could really turn off your examiners. You must answer simply yet you must answer like a full-fledged attorney.

Sixth, I do not compare anything to my fellow bar takers. Do not ask me on how many readings I made. There is no definite answer. I made a schedule based on the schedule of the UP Law Center’s series of review session yet I did not follow it too religiously. For example, I finished Civil Law about five days from the calendar of UPLC so I went back reading Labor Law which I feel unconfident with. The same happened with my excess hours for Remedial Law which went to my weakest subject, Mercantile Law. I know that I am confident with a subject when I start feeling bored reading the same thing over and over again. I know that I do not know much about a subject when whenever I see new materials on the said topic, I feel like I am reading the topic for the first time. Do not be too rigid on the schedule that you have made and go address the areas wherein you need more help with. Also do not get pressured whenever your friends are telling you that they are already on their third reading when you hardly finish your first reading. Remember that the Bar preparation is a marathon and not a race. The tendency of those who read too much is that they would burnout easily come Bar Examination month.

Lastly, I have a great faith in God. I actually allotted time during my Bar Exam preparations to read the Holy Bible, read about the lives of some saints, attend the mass even during weekdays and lift everything to Him. I am telling you this, almost all the time while I am answering the Bar Exams with my right hand, my left hand is inside my the pocket of my red jacket, clenching into a Rosary given to me by my fellow church-goer in the Sacred Heart Chapel in FEU-NRMF which she claims was blessed by now saint, Saint Pope John Paul II. But to me, it does not matter if St. Pope John Paul indeed blessed the said Rosary or not. What matters to me is that I know that every word I had written in my Bar Examination booklets, I had written it with Him. And in the end, I am just His handmaid and that everything that I would be doing as an attorney would all be for His greater glory.

(One last thing: I do not know if this will help you but my family, especially my father, was on full support for me during the night before the Bar Exams. So much so that they would come with me to Manila Pavilion, where the Bar Examinees of UE were housed, and would stay there until the next day. I think it helped me in the sense that sleeping beside them helped me sleep faster. It is just difficult to me to sleep in a place where I am unfamiliar with like hotels. Having some good five-hour sleep made me refreshed for the Bar Exams the next day. I highly recommend, no, MANDATE all bar examinees to SLEEP the night before the bar. Eight hours of non-stop writing and thinking no joke!)

That’s it. Sorry for this lengthy post. I just want to cover everything that happened to me during the Bar preparations which lead to my victory. I just want more and more law students to achieve their dreams of becoming a lawyer. Being part of the 1,126 persons who had passed the bar might seemed so cool from the start but when you realized how many of your friends and comrades had fallen to desperation, uncertainty and shame that people are thinking that they are not smart enough to become a lawyer, then you would lose the joy that you are feeling for yourself knowing that these people also worked their asses off just to finish the four Sundays of the Bar Exams.

To all people who did not make it, if you are still up for your dream on becoming a lawyer, then still go for it. Identify your mistakes in taking the bar and humble yourself enough to make changes. You can do it. Just go on trusting God and trusting yourself. To my fellow 2014 Bar Exam passers, please keep your idealism alive and let us help our country for its betterment through the workings of justice. We are 1,126 new lawyers who are called to make a difference to our country and we must stand up for that challenge. With all that being said, see you all in PICC on Friday.

– 98. AYUYAO, Maris Angelica C

Nang Biglang Natapos ang 2014

The Politician
The Politician Smile. Naalala ko na tawa ako ng tawa nung una kong nakita ang larawan kong ito. Nung bata ako, pinangarap ko maging politiko. Presidente pa nga ng bansa eh! Pero nung nakita ko ito…naisip ko, parang hindi naman bagay. Haha! Pero hindi pa ako nagsasalita ng tapos. Abangan ang mga susunod na kabanata.

Dahil 2015 na…marami na namang ‘magpaparamdam’ for 2016 Elections. Kaya eto…for the sake of wala lang, nilalatag ko na ang picture ko na malamang nasa 2016 na kalendaryo niyo.

Seriously, no. Wala po akong balak takbuhan na posisyon kahit sa pagiging Tanod. At utang na loob, WAG niyo iboboto sa 2016 ang mga nagpaparamdam na mga taong ganito. Hindi nila mahal talaga ang bayan. Papasok lang sila sa politika dahil at gagawin itong negosyo. Inilagay ko lang ang larawan ito dahil napansin ko lang na never ko pala inilagay ang grad pic ko dito sa Facebook. So sa mga taong naghahanap ng grad pic ko, here you go…

Ang bilis lang. Patapos na ang 2014. Sa totoo lang, wala ako masyadong alala sa taon na ito. Wala eh. Boring talaga. More than half siguro ng taon, nagtatago ako dahil sa Bar. Maliban sa pagtatapos ko ng kurso ko, pagkuha ko ng Bar at pagkakaroon ko ng isang tunay na trabaho, wala na akong maituturing na “highlight” ng taon ko. Boring, ‘no? Kaya naman puro tanong lang ang naiwan sa akin.

Gayunpaman, nagpapasalamat ako sa taon na ito lalong-lalo na sa pamilya ko na binigyan ako ng walang hanggan na suporta; mga kaibigan ko sa pag-intindi na wala akong gaanong magawa sa kanila ngayong taon; sa Pamantasan ng Silangan sa pagtuturo ng lahat ng kinakailangan ko para sa bar; at sa mga katrabaho ko sa Kagawaran ng Repormang Pansakahan sa pagtulong niyo sa akin.

Isa na lang talaga ang hinihiling ko ngayon: hindi na sana muli mangyari ang 2014 sa buhay ko. Ayoko na danasin ang lahat ng sakripisyong iyon. Ayoko na ng pakiramdam na pinuputol ko ang sarili ko sa mundo para lamang sa pag-aaral. Gusto ko na ng pagbabago. Gusto ko na makatulong sa bansa para sa ikabubuti ng sistemang panghustisya. Gusto ko na rin na tumulong ng malaki para sa aking pamilya.

Kaya naman sa lahat ng Bagong Taon, ngayon ako pinakanasasabik. Sana nga lahat ng pagbabago na hinihingi ko ay matupad sa 2015. Hindi na rin ako bumabata. Sa darating na taon ay dalawampu’t pitong taong gulang na ako. Kaya naman parang awa niyo na…isama niyo lagi sa dasal niyo na maipasa ko ang Bar Exams.

Bago ako matapos ay sana, wag lang pansariling bagay ang ihiling natin ngayong taon tulad ng sana magkapera o pumayat. Hilingin natin ang mga bagay na magiging kapaki-pakinabang tayo sa kapwa natin tulad ng sana mas masigasig ako sa pagtatrabaho, mas habaan ko ang pasensya ko sa pamilya ko o sana mas galingan ko sa pag-aaral ko o sana mas maging mabuting Pilipino ako. Ito rin ang taon para laliman natin ang pananampalataya natin sa Maykapal. May nabasa ako na iniisip ng tao na magiging masaya lang siya kung siya ay magiging matagumpay. Pero ayon sa isa pag-aaral sa larangan ng sikolohiya, baligtad raw dapat. Magiging matagumpay lamang ang isang tao kung maligaya siya sa ginagawa niya. Kaya para sa lahat, ipinagdadasal ko ang kaligayahan niyo ngayong taon. Manigong Bagong Taon sa Lahat!

P.S. Hindi ko ito inilagay sa Facebook account ko pero may isa akong resolusyon: na makapagsulat ako ng marami pa sa susunod na taon. Patawarin niyo ako sa hindi pagsulat halos. Maliban sa abala ako ay hindi ko alam kung saan magsisimula pagkatapos ng Bar Exams. Hanggang sa susunod na taon!

What’s the Fuss with #Thinspiration?

I posted this image in my social networking sites with the caption: My realistic #thinspiration, ♥ ;). Good morning, my puffballs! :) Credits goes to Marbee's owner. Follow her in Instagram as @bunnymama
I posted this image in my social networking sites with the caption: My realistic #thinspiration, ♥ ;). Good morning, my puffballs! 🙂
Credits goes to Marbee’s owner. Follow her in Instagram as @bunnymama

Now, I posted that image above in my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just for laughs. I mean, for the past months, I see my girl friends in those social network accounts posting about their #thinspiration which were composed by the almost unclad Ellen Adarna doing exercise and a bunch of super thin girls with their ribcages saying, “how do you do?” Then I realized on thing: #thinspiration cannot be searched in Instagram and Facebook as well as in another social network, Tumblr.

When I searched ‘thinspiration’ in Google, everything was so clear to me. There are so many images of girls that are so thin they are obviously anorexic with captions such as, “Because the pain of looking in the mirror hurts more than starving” or “Everything looks good on skinny” or the hilarious, “Pizza or hip bones?”

Mind-boggling Choices. Here are the images I've seen in Google/Tumblr. Somebody in 9gag clevery stitched them together.
Mind-boggling Choices. Here are the images I’ve seen in Google/Tumblr. Somebody in 9gag clevery stitched them together.

(Any normal person would say, “Pizza, duh.”)

I cannot be the spokesperson of both being fit because obviously, I’m overweight or some body-loving warrior because there are days wherein I loathe my body. My weight just yo-yoed for years. I’m just a girl who struggled with weight all her life. I was born chubby. When I was in my preschool days I was sickly, hence, a thin child. My parents got worried and they made me drink a medicine that boosted my appetite. When I was about the age of Ryzza Mae Dizon, I had exactly the same body as she does. When I was in middle school, I grew faster than girls my age that people called me fat. I believed that until after college where I stuffed everything in my mouth not caring what other people think only to realize years later that I wasn’t really fat until before college based on my pictures. In law school, I immediately gained 20 pounds just after two semesters from stress eating. I lost everything when I went to gym for two months and eventually gained everything plus some more as the years go by. I was in my heaviest about a year ago and hit the obesity mark for the first time in my life. Because of my gynaecologist’s advice, I took everything in moderation and today I weighed 20 pounds lighter than the year before.

And yes, I do want to lessen my weight so much more because come on…I’m ageing. I’ll be 26 years old in a month’s time and while those chronic, deadly diseases caused by being overweight have not become a threat yet for me, they might suddenly come knocking on my doorstep soon if I don’t change my lifestyle. But probably I’d concentrate on that after the bar. I’m sorry that I have no heart to post exactly what my weight is today but to give you an idea, my BMI is 27.6.

So, I understand almost every girl’s wish to eat without gaining anything. What I do not understand is why you need to starve yourself for something that cannot be usually seen in normal clothes like hip bones, collar bones…and come on, I have never heard of a man saying, “Hey, I dig that chick. She has gap between her legs!” We, women, are our worst critics. But believing and wanting these things for your body is very unhealthy for you. While obesity kills, these pro-ana or pro-mia (short for pro-anorexic or pro-bulimic) equally does the same thing which is to kill you eventually. I cannot really judge girls who still believe in these pro-ana or pro-mia beliefs. But if you are not loving and accepting yourself for who you are, chances are no one else will. Also, recognize the fact that anorexia and bulimia is not only characterized as an eating disorder but also a mental disorder. With everything that we do, always ask yourself the question, “Why am I doing this?

We all cannot be those women in the glossy pages of the magazines. As a matter of fact, those women cannot be those women they perceive as they are in real life. They are airbrushed heavily and any more imperfections like their body shapes could be resolved by Adobe Photoshop. They aren’t real but you, my reader, are. In life we had no choice to be but one person, ourselves per se. Anything less than that would not make you happy. Somebody would be thinner, prettier, smarter or kinder than you. But nobody in the world is like you.

There is nothing wrong with trying to lose weight. But losing yourself is.

Heart to Heart: My Open Letter to the Single People this Valentine’s Day

LOVE. A simple, one-syllable and four-letter word had a multitude of meanings for all of us. It seems like a word of abstractions yet we could all attest how real and how solid it feels to all of us. We also have many stories about love. There are stories that have some with passion and happy endings. There are stories about getting back together. There are stories with bitterness and pain. There are stories who mistook it for obsession or complete submission.

And then here comes Valentine’s Day.

What actually dreaded me is that after Chinese New Year, single people started posting on how sad and sappy they will be on Valentine’s Day. Others curse that day. Others are just overemphasizing that Valentine’s Day will just be an ordinary date in their calendar. In short, bitterness overloads.

Photo credits from:
Looks familiar?

For the love of God, just stop this.

I understand where the bitterness is coming from. Again you will go on thinking what the hell is wrong with you being so alone amidst the couples whispering sweet nothings, the bouquets and the red hearts on the street. There are questions on whether you are unattractive or not. You would also have that hatred in your past love or how show-off these happy couples are in social media. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to your poor self-esteem.

English writer, John Lyly, famously said these words, “All is fair in love and war.” True, there are some girls who have countless of admirers because of their beauty and there are also some guys which the girls dream about because of how handsome they are. However, that is not love. Probably, it is some sort of sexual appeal or lust. The best love stories do not origin from the most attractive persons. In fact, there are a lot of stories on divorce or annulment of marriages from our celebrities. If having a beautiful face or an attractive body is what you think the key to an everlasting love, then please do think again. Also, I know of someone who is not attractive at all by at least in my country’s standard. He is dark-skinned and a short man. However, he has a fantastic sense of humor and he seemed to be kind to all. Then we discovered that he have six kids from six different women. I can’t really react after hearing that especially because he is my friend.

Then, what is the key to love? I honestly do not know. If it would all boil down to attitude, I really do not understand why men love bitches and women love jerks. If it would boil down to one’s wealth, why do I hear polygamous relationship among the poor? I really do not know what makes one, well, loveable. All I know is that love is the most powerful force in the world. It transcends age, race, religion and anything else under the sun.

Thus, there is no reason to be bitter. I know that in one point of our lives, love will come, as long as we will be true to ourselves and will leave an open heart for it. But in the meantime, can’t we be happy for the people in love? In this great vast world, having someone who will love you for you is a miracle. It is something worth celebrating. And also, just like you, my single friend, they were also once single people, but look how love changes them.

In the meantime, love yourself first. If you cannot do that, what are the chances that someone else will love you first? Engage in activities. Meet new people. Make yourself a better person every single day. And who knows, maybe by April, you will be some love-struck idiot who can’t wait for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

The “Chinita” Problems

I have a problem that should not even be a problem: Ever since I was in college, somebody often greets me “Happy Chinese New Year!”

You would probably reply, “So, what?”

The problem is how do you exactly respond to such question properly?

You see, it is true that I have Chinese blood. I think it is obvious with my physical traits: almond eyes, round face,  sallow complexion and thin lips. But to how much am I Chinese, the answer is I don’t know. My grandparents from both side of the family are all mestizos or mixed blooded.

That is why I could say “Thank you very much! Same to you!” However, that would also feel so wrong. The reason: I grew up not practicing any Chinese tradition except eating tikoy or nian gao in Chinese New Year. I think all Filipinos are now doing it now, though. Worst, I do not know of any relative who could actually speak and read Chinese.

However, if I said, “No, I’m not a Chinese.” A part of me feels like I’m lying. It is like I’m denying my Chinese ancestors who probably braved through the stormy seas on the West Philippine Sea from China just to be here. Also, how can I explain my physical Chinese traits? How would I also explain my surname which sounds like a decent from the Chinese.

But of course, my body has some other stories to tell because of my other bloodline coming from Spain. First, I am considered a tall girl in the Philippines. I am only 5’5 but you see, most girls here are only 5’0. Also, my body frame is unusually large if you compare my bone structure to other girls. However, the weird thing about having a large frame is having unproportioned hands and feet. People I know wouldn’t believe that my shoe size is only 7! My face is round but you could also notice how prominent my cheekbones are. I have this wavy hair that has a mind of its own. I colored my hair into creamy, light brown now but my original hair color is chestnut brown, another unusual trait for a Filipina. Also, my eye color is almost in the shade of honey; however, regular Filipinas have black to very dark brown eyes.

So who am I?

I am a Filipina.

I don’t think that we are still living in an era where the true Filipina beauty are solely confined to those ladies who are brown-skinned and large expressive eyes.  The Philippines now are considered one of the biggest melting pots in the world. We can now see people that are seemingly from different parts of the world in our school or neighborhood.

Also, we must not discriminate others. Nobody now has the right to look down on others just because one looks different from the others. We must embrace our uniqueness. We are the colors of the rainbow if only we could be one.

I am indeed happy living in an era where we are having this openness in the subcultures of our society. We no longer have classes during the end of Ramadan to give respect to our Muslim brothers and sisters. And now, we are also in vacation for Chinese New Year for us to join them in their most joyous occasion.

Yes, it doesn’t bother me any more being called Chinese or looking like a foreigner in general. I am like a product of the Philippine history by my mixed genes. I am a Filipina purely under these unique traits. And I’ll forever be proud as one.

So, tikoy, anyone?

In Red. My mother used to like some Chinese-inspired clothing like the one I’m wearing above. This was taken some years ago. That top was unfortunately destroyed by the typhoon. It does suit me well or does it? 

My Five Guidelines for a Happier Year

Happy 2014, everyone! Sorry this greeting and post are weeks late.  Life has been complicated for me this 2014 and this is just the thirtieth day.

How are your resolutions going? This year, I did not make any concrete resolutions, only guidelines. Nonetheless, I am sharing these because I believe that it is beneficial for everybody. Also, tomorrow is Chinese New Year. I do not consider myself as Chinoy or Chinese-Filipino though I have Chinese blood. Then again, this is a great day to do some changes in your life.



Face it. We think that our lives are a bore or some people live better lives than ours. This is especially true now when a lot of us record happy aspects of our lives in the social networks. But you see, those are the highlights of our lives. We do not usually post things that make us upset or our argument with our parents or our significant other or days where we practically did not do anything special at all.

That’s why if you’re a law student or medical student or taking up other courses which requires a long period of staying in school and feel that you are missing out so much in your lives, stop feeling that way. “Living to the fullest” does not mean frequent travels or having romantic relationships or giving in to that pressure of having a family by mid-twenties. Living to the fullest is giving your best every day in the path you choose so that someday you will be able to fully share the world your purpose. Besides, you can never be overdressed or over-educated.

Then again, it doesn’t hurt to reward yourself every once in a while. There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us that,

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;



Well, of course, we could all agree that vanity is a sin. I seriously started giving in to makeup and skincare products on about the last quarter of 2012. I’m practically broke every single week because I spend them mostly in Korean beauty products. I also do not return the changes in the bills of my parents because I malverse them as extra money for the said products. Yes, do not dare do this, ladies. The rule of thumb is act your wage or in my case, act according to my allowance.

I’m wiser now. I do not buy new makeup until I almost fully consumed it. I also stopped shopping for skincare products and this act rewarded me. When I went back to the simple cleanse-tone-moisturize routine, my skin became visibly healthier. I hardly had any new zits.

Yes, I will still continue in investing myself. After all, I only have one body and I need to maintain my health because I have so many dreams to concretize. By the way, this is the year I’ve been waiting for all of my life. I’ll take the bar this year. Nevertheless, I will keep it simpler this year. Cleanse-Tone-Moisturize. Add some makeup. Do not forget some sun protection to prevent wrinkles. That’s it. Also, do not forget…



There are so many ways of media that tells us we are not pretty and that we are not good enough. They tell petite people to wear higher heels. They make fun of every acne and scars we have. They convince everyone that they are fat by keeping their models unhealthily thin. They also tell us that we do not have enough clothes, shoes and makeup. But the truth and in fact, every one of us is made uniquely beautiful in our own ways. We do not need any validation from others. Feel free to express yourself. Do not wear shoes and clothes that do not feel comfortable to you.

You do not need to be in the trend. You just have to be you.



True, the ‘selfie’ generation had become a part of us. I love how it made some people in a way empowered to face the camera and share a part of them in the world. Honestly, this wasn’t easy for me in puberty years and pretty much the whole high school. I have looked at myself as a very, very, very ugly person. I hardly look at the mirror and when a person brings a camera with them, I immediately volunteer myself to take the picture. That is how disgusted I am with myself.

However, this ‘selfie’ generation also made some people too self-centered. I hate people who always begin speaking with “I” and end their paragraphs with “me”. Sometimes, I hate reunions or meet ups with some people I know who are so self-centered. They often complained about how stressing their work are, how their bosses bully them, how their co-workers gang up on them, how their family suck and basically how they play as the victim to every aspect of their lives. It’s almost they are implying that the people who are listening to them have no problems of their own. On the other hand, if we are not talking about how life ‘victimizes’ them, they are starting to badmouth some people we know and often gossip on their matters which details they do not know firsthand themselves.

I admit that sometimes I am guilty of saying those things, too. And when I started hearing myself saying nothing but complaints about my life or badmouthing some persons, I know that something is so wrong with me. It’s either I am tired of my life or I am very insecure or jealous of some people I know. That’s why I learned to listen to myself in order to assess the person I am becoming into. Always reassess your words to reassess the person that you are evolving into.

No matter how hurt you are, do not turn into a person you hate.

Always remember the wise words of my favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.



It’s generally easier being a child. We have adults to take care of our money and ourselves. We have our innocence to easily identify the right from wrong. We are beginning our lives that is why it is easy to build a dream.

However, when adulthood creeps in, we realize that the world is not that huge playground that we first thought it was. We get frustrated. We are told we are not good enough. We are told that we are not talented enough or smart enough. Then, we just see ourselves just battling every day to exist and not anymore to live.

I am not saying that you cannot change your dreams. You can. But the beauty of childhood dreams is that they give a mission and vision right away in our heads because back then our innocence is there and our intention for the world is always pure and good. For example, a lot of children want to be a doctor in order to help people. Maybe you have thought that you are not suited to become a doctor but the reason why you feel so empty now is because you are spending everything you own to yourself and not in helping people which you initially perceived as you mission here on earth. Or as a child, you could dream that you want to become rich in order to buy a house for your parents because you were living on the streets before. But now that you achieve your dream to be materially rich, where are your parents? Did you fulfill your promise or are you wasting your life in vices and practically isolating yourself from everyone you know?

When I want to give up on law, I remember my first year high school math teacher who defended me from the person who bullied me. I always thought that for thirteen years, I’ve been battling my bullies alone. It feels so good to be defended by someone that is why when I grow up I will do everything in my power to protect the suppressed through the power of their rights vested in them. Unfortunately, my math teacher died in 2012 at a tender age of thirty-five because of esophageal cancer. But I will offer to him my license to practice law as soon as I get it next year.


Well, there you have it. Have a great 2014 and life ahead. Feel free to share some life guidelines to me as well!

Sky Lanterns. I edited this photo of mine in an App called Moment Cam and used it to greet my Chinese-Filipino best friend a Happy Chinese New Year. It turns out that the Chinese do not make Sky Lanterns fly in their new year; there is a separate festival for that. Nonetheless, I am always fascinated with sky lanterns (as if it is not obvious in my blog’s name). It reminds us that in letting go, beautiful things are coming ahead of us. That is why, let go of all the heartaches, the past, the what ifs and embrace the life’s surprises coming for us. 🙂

2013 in review

(Wow…thank you for all the people who viewed my blog. I know that majority of my viewers come from the Philippines and United States but I was surprised that after those countries, I have many visitors from FRANCE. Merci beaucoup!

Happy 2014 to all of us!) stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013: A Year of Life Lessons

I had high expectations in 2013 mainly because this is my “silver year”. Yes, folks…this girl grew from that awkward teenager to that still awkward, twenty-five years old adult. (It both amuses and baffles me whenever someone still thinks I’m still halfway through college). Anyway, there was a trending topic in Twitter a few days ago, #My2013InFiveWords. I described mine as ‘a damned roller coaster ride’. But now I thought that how I described it has a negative undertone to it with the word ‘damned’. Sure, 2013 had a lot of downs but it also has a lot of ups that cannot be compared to yesteryears.

So, I’m changing it. My 2013 in five words would be: A year of life lessons.

Definitely, if I have to enumerate everything what has happened to me this year, I would not be finished before the New Year starts. So, instead of doing that, I will share the top five lessons that 2013 taught me.



Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones. This year, I said goodbye to a close aunt of mine. She was sickly all her life and this year, she was bitten by an insect which made her bedridden for weeks. When we thought she was about to recover, we received a news that she had died.

There are two more deaths that affected me although I personally do not know these people. First, my father’s former boss died days before Christmas. My father used to be a medical representative when he was in law school. That boss of his is like a father to him. His boss was obese and diabetic for years so we all expected that the cause of his death was diabetes or some sort of heart attack. But, no…that did not kill him. What causes his death is a canker sore aggravated by some sort of virus. For my Filipino friends here, canker sore is our regular singaw. According to my parents, who were there yesterday in his burial rights, his wife, who is with him every single day after his retirement, is still in shock and could not accept the fact that her husband already left her.

Second, the fifteen-year old brother of my twin school bus mates back in high school died. Actually, I don’t know the cause of his death because her sisters refused to talk about it on-line. Nonetheless, I know that it was a very sudden death based on the tweets and statuses of her sisters. At fifteen years old, that boy is about to graduate high school. I also know that he was a CAT Officer, a violinist and a very smart boy. I really have no words for the twins because just thinking that my younger brother is hurt breaks my heart.

I just know one thing. This is the day for you to express love, say sorry, kiss, embrace and laugh with the people that matter to you the most. Tomorrow may be too late.



My Facebook account was deactivated for almost half a year and I only reactivated it a month ago because the holidays are coming and I want to see all my tagged pictures in Christmas parties. Anyhow, I just realized that I have 843 friends but only a handful really matters.

I used to comment on significant moments on the life of those 843 ‘friends’ and make sure to greet them in their birthdays. I also kept in touch with some people I do not like and secretly labelling them as my ‘frenemies’. But now, I do not care with those excess people in my life. They do not do me good. I just waste so much time and energy with those people. I do not ‘unfriend’ people though. I simply ‘hide’ them from my timeline. Out of sight, out of mind. I now keep things easy for myself and do not take hurtful comments personally now. I only put my time and energy to the people that really matter.



There are so many times in this year where I feel depress and I had no motivation to do work or anything at all. I simply stare on my tablet or computer monitor for hours tirelessly and let the time pass. But really, for 2014, this is the lesson that I must keep on remembering. The bar exams would probably be on October and I feel like there are still so many pieces of law unclear to me or is not yet interlocked with many concepts. That spells trouble for me. Anyway, UE cursed/blessed me to stay in class for this semester. It was compulsory yet it was free of charge. I really cannot explain much the details because it was also a clear as mud why I’m still in school but I’m taking it as free bar review for me.



When we were still in school, life was simple to us. If we are in first grade this year, next year, we are looking forward to become second graders next year. But starting college, life does not go on as planned. Sometimes, you have to stop school because of lack of funds. Or you have to transfer schools because you did not reach the maintaining grade.

However, after college, it is worst. Those classmates of yours in college and high school are now earning big while you are still in school. They are also having their dream-like weddings and starting their family. You, on the other hand, just gawk their happy pictures in social media while taking a break from your long readings for school.

But I realized that I could not afford to have a relationship now, much less a family. Again, there is a bar exam waiting for me next year. Also, with all those jerks running around the world victimizing one girl after the other, I thank God for saving me from them. I have faith that someday, I will marry the man God planned for me. I will bear our beautiful children and live in a big house while at the same time being a successful career woman.

I remember nine to ten years ago, our teachers in high school repeatedly asked us to draw what we vision ourselves ten years from now. I just thought that if all my classmates’ dream came true and I could see almost every one of my classmates as nurses abroad earning dollars. Fortunately for some, halfway through their nursing courses, their parents gave in and let them choose their preferred course. Unfortunately, some stayed in limbo here in the country, having very little opportunities for them.

Life does not turn out how we plan it, especially if you let others decide the dream for you. But even at this age, do not hesitate to start again.



When people ask me what kind of lawyer I want to be, I always answer that I want to be a family court lawyer or at least a lawyer who handles civil cases only. I really do not want to be stressed dealing with criminals. Also, I thought, handling a civil case is ‘easier’.

But then before the year ends, my parents decided to buy a new house. After having a deal with the price, my parents and the vendor executed a deed of conditional sale and my parents gave their down payment. In the deed, full payment would only come after she leaves the house in two weeks. However, it turns out that the vendor is one with the worst personality in the world. She spent all the money we gave her and she demanded for the full amount before leaving the premises. She also made my parents look bad to her father, who is my father’s friend, and her ex-husband. She made stories of us harassing her. These cause sleepless nights to my parents, especially my father. The amount paid to her is huge and without it, we just could not buy a house anymore most especially because my sister is just starting medical school. Also, my father retired from work this July. I would not go into details anymore because somehow, they had an agreement in the barangay level. Let us hope for the best. I do not want to take this to court any more.

Nevertheless, this taught me empathy to my future clients. I now know the feeling of losing such a big amount of money and therefore, I will do all legal remedies in order to protect my future clients’ interest.


So, that wraps up my 2013. I am not looking forward to anything in 2014 except the bar exams and perhaps moving in to the house we are trying to buy. Also, hopefully, I could get a job right away after the bar exams. After all, I passed my Civil Service Exam this year.

Goodbye 2013 and hello to the biggest and boldest stepping stone of my career, 2014. Yes, I’m ready for you.