Category Archives: Maica

Dekada

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. 🙂
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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.

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?

Cheong
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.

 

WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY MATTERS MORE THAN WE DO EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE

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;

 

INVEST IN YOURSELF

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…

 

MEDIA CALL US UGLY TO SELL US SOME SHIT

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.

 

LISTEN TO OTHERS…AND DO NOT FORGET TO LISTEN TO YOUR OWN WORDS, TOO.

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.

 

WHEN YOU ARE LOST, REMEMBER YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAMS

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!

ggg
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: 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.

 

LIFE IS SHORTER THAN WE THINK.

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.

 

BURN BRIDGES IF NECESSARY.

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.

 

MOTIVATE YOURSELF—AT ALL COSTS.

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.

 

TIME WORKS DIFFERENTLY FOR ALL OF US.

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.

 

HAVING A LEGAL DISPUTE, EVEN A CIVIL CASE ONE, IS MADDENING.

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.

My Reply to Ate Wendy (and to the World)

yes, your intuition is telling you something. i’m glad you listened and took action. 

i know i get those too. i think that’s also my reasons for doing yoga, it helps for me. having period sucks and mine’s irregular so i don’t know when it’s coming. and eating proper nutritional diet helps too and of course less stress.

i’m happy to see that you have your 13 units to graduate. before you know it, it is time for graduation. just keep doing what you are doing. you are doing great! 

yes, christmas in the philippines is wonderful. i know your aunt and uncle will have a fabulous time. how i wish to be there especially during the holidays. sigh…

well maybe sometime in the future you can get enrolled in a gym. are there other ones that are cheaper? in my case, i always look for better deals or no cost at all to register. i’ve learned where and how to budget income/expenses and make it work somehow. meditation practice, i volunteer. yoga and tango, they go by donations but i give what feels true to my heart when i give and i also see the benefit and importance to the practice.

food, that’s where i invest the most. it is a difficult process and i try and educate myself on all different kind of foods out there and what works with my body. so far i am having fun experimenting and trying out new and different kind of vegan/raw/vegetarian recipes out there. i am beginning to like making breakfast food and desserts. wow, so yummy and healthy ones too. i can’t resist desserts. must have sweets. aw.. thank you! you are too kind. i think my main intention/ingredients to my sorcery is i try new things and keep doing that makes me happy and and to have appreciation & gratitude on the little things in life! 

alrighty! it’s a gloomy day out here for a summertime in san francisco. but i’ll make the most out of it. i hope you have a good day and talk to you soon! how is the weather out there right now?

luv,
wendy

 

Hi, Ate Wendy!

Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been busy lately because of school and helping my family finding a new home. Last Friday, Daddy finally retired from work and now he has all the time in the world to find a new home for us. I am with him on his quest during my free time. It isn’t easy finding a new home and we have tight budget, too. All of us are still studying and sending my sister to medical school cost more than we estimated. But I’m happy that she’s doing her best despite the fact that she is now losing her mind with homeworks and quizzes given to them almost every day.

In the meantime, pray that God shall not send extraordinary rains in the Philippines. The reason why we are looking for a new home is because whenever the dam near our place overflows, it submerges our home. It happened to us twice. Once in 2009 because of the typhoon Ondoy. The flood was so deep that almost half of our second floor was submerged in flood. Almost everything was broken in our house including a lot of irreplaceable things like our parents’ wedding videos and pictures of us growing up. Anyway, we hoped for the best and decided to stay here. However last year, a very strong rain flooded our house again. It wasn’t as bad as the first one, however, it did submerged our first floor and damaged things there. But nobody really have the time to search for a new house then. Also, part of us didn’t really like to go. We love Fairview. The air is cleaner here compared to the rest of Metro Manila. People are nicer. Also we live near our cousins’ house. It is also near Le-Anne’s med school. I also don’t want Daddy to waste all his retirement money for us. I mean, that guy started working ever since he was 13. Throughout college, we was a working student. He even managed to send Uncle Ding to medical school. Lastly, he retired without any of his children helping him with some expenses in the house because all chose long courses in college. I somehow feel guilty about that.

Anyway, I bought a DVD on basic yoga yesterday. I’ll check it out next week perhaps. I hope I could like it. Maybe after I take the bar, I could resume gym. I don’t want to ask for any more additional expenses from my family. Nonetheless, ever since I resumed school, I decided to count calories of what I am eating. I shed few pounds ever since I did that with some Zumba. I really want to lose some weight so I will look better in my graduation photos. Hahaha! And also, truthfully, I gained about 30 lbs in law school. Can you believe that?! Well, I’m trying to lose weight for health reasons, too. I mean, I do not have any disease that developed yet because of my being overweight—yet….but why on earth should I wait for something bad to happen to me before I take action? There are people who have the same age as me and are thinner than me but they are now suffering hypertension, diabetes and gout! So there, I’m now limiting the food but at the same time I give some treats to myself. I also love sweets so I eat some dark chocolates occasionally and only with one serving’s worth of it. I know this sacrifice will bloom to my betterment.

It’s a surprisingly sunny afternoon in Quezon City now. I hope it will be like this all this rainy season. Then again, with some rain. I love the rain…but not too much. You know what I mean.  🙂

See you soon I hope. Who knows, you might come to the Philippines really soon.

Love,
Maica

Our US Trip FAQs and Facts!

If you were following me closely in Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, you know that I went to the United States just a few weeks ago.  What you probably didn’t know is that it’s my second time there. I first went there when I was 16/17 years old. What’s with the 16/17 part? Well, I first went in when I was 16 years old then I celebrated my 17th birthday in Disneyland. Best. Birthday. Ever.

But now that I am 25 years old, I realized that United States is not all about Disney or the cool weather or the land overflowing chocolates we, Filipinos, imagine it to be.

Before we go deep with some details, let me answer the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that me and my family encountered from Filipinos in and out of the country.

First, why did we go to the United States? Answer: To meet our relatives that we have not seen for years. You see my parents are both very thrifty individuals. Everything they do has dual purpose. For example, if they decided to take a leave from work to watch my siblings or myself perform in school, they will also use that leave to pay off the bills or call someone to fix some things in our car that day. Thus, since 2005 (our first US trip), we never really had a vacation except some swimming trips with their officemates or staying overnight in a hotel in Pampanga on December 31st. What’s with December 31st? Well, my parents want us to have a refuge from all the smokes our neighbors make on New Year’s Eve because one time when we were children, we all welcomed the New Year with bronchitis.

Anyway, two of my mother’s siblings were there together with their respective children and grandchildren. Also, my Dad has super close cousins who migrated there.

Second, how did we obtain the Unites States multiple-entry tourist visa? Answer: We applied like any ordinary persons applying for visa. The secret for our approval, you ask? Candidness. Americans appreciate candidness. Be calm. Answer their questions politely and directly. Do not show documents that they did not ask. You will only look suspicious in their eyes. Also, make sure that you send to them the message that you are willing to return to the Philippines after your vacation. That’s all.

And hey, America is a very beautiful place to visit. I’ve been to California and Nevada for this trip and I really want to see more. It’s a rich and progressive country with so many places to see, cultures to immerse with and people to know. I want to explore more of California and I want to see the West Coast next time. Yes to New York and Florida! Also, we met an Australian tourist. She claimed that Alaska is so beautiful. I want to see more of that but I guess I must practice to get used with the cold. Oh and do not forget that Hawaii is also part of the Fifty States! I know I sound ridiculous and ambitious with my future American itineraries but hey, a girl can dream.

Third, do you have any business in the United States? Answer: None. That’s why it hurts my parents’ wallet a lot touring there because they earn nothing but peso. Yup, it also means nobody will petition us so we’ll be Filipinos for the rest of our lives! Haha! Also, I noticed that prices of the goods there severely inflated compared to the first time we had been there. Probably because when I computed the gas prices, their price is just a few centavos cheaper compared to ours and diesel there is more expensive. Also, it is obvious that their economy is just starting to pick up again. The news of retrenchment from fellow Filipinos there are common, too.

That’s it for this blog entry. I’ll continue writing more about it in my next blog entry. I decided to put in some of my favorite pictures from the US to end this post. Let the pictures and some captions give you the gist on what happened for our two weeks in there. 🙂

Paris
Ooh la la, Eiffel! Just Kidding. The infamous Las Vegas Strip (which is surprisingly NOT in Las Vegas City) is home to  beautifully themed hotels and Casino. That is Paris Las Vegas
New York
The City That Never Sleeps. Yet another faux famous landmark in Las Vegas Strip. This is from New York-New York Hotel and Casino
MGM Grand. Of course as a Filipina, I'm a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao. It is an honor to walk in the place where some of his most unforgettable matches were held
MGM Grand. Of course as a Filipina, I’m a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao. It is an honor to walk in the place where some of his most unforgettable matches were held
Happy Accident
Happy Accident. My Dad and his cousin, Rolly, were BFFs when they were in college and later in their adult life. But Uncle Rolly found out that he was a US Citizen later on in life because his father worked in the army. Anyway, I first met him 8 years ago when we first went to their house in San Jose, California. But it was unbelievable that they were in Las Vegas the day we were there. And get this, although Uncle Rolly and his family was staying there for 20 years, it was also his first time in Las Vegas!
Reunions
Reunions. My uncle was petitioned by his daughter when he was 61 years old by her daughter who was working there for ten years. It was quite a surprise for us. But it seems he is happy. Anyway, this is in Ventura, California. There aren’t many Filipinos here and it isn’t a famous places either but the place is so beautiful and clean. There are many clean public beaches and also we even had campfire in the backyard. I’m telling you, Ventura is California’s best kept secret.
Happy Accident
We Made It. My cousin Rony, who is working as a seaman (chef) in that luxury cruise ship “Grand Princess” messaged me that his ship will stay in Pier 35 for a few hours. His wife found out in Facebook that we are in America. My parents were hesitant to go there first because we have to commute all the way from our place (South San Francisco) to San Francisco. But it was fun! I love riding in the BART.
Blessed.
Blessed. My family with my cousin Dino’s children. I love then all so dearly. I’m glad that I am their aunt.
248170_10200766478271647_1948335526_n
Sunset. This is the beach near my cousin’s apartment in Pacifica, California. Yes, they named their beach after the Pacific Ocean. I think this is my ideal place. After a long day’s work, I will stop by the public beach and meditate. It is kind of difficult in this beach, though. It is freezing! But you see how wonderful it is. It is also bittersweet to think that that this big body of water is the only obstacle of us, Filipinos, to America…
Old and New
Old and New. My father was able to meet his closest cousins in the US. We were able to meet their children and their children’s children. Some of them for the first time in my life. Yes, Filipinos have many, many cousins. Haha!
Cousins
Kinship. I was close to my cousin, Marian, before they left for the States. It’s surreal to see her again. She is also is with her brother Michael. Michael was a very little boy when I last saw him. Anyway, he is now an incoming sophomore in the renowned Columbia University in New York taking up Biomedical Engineering in full scholarship. Just wow. I’m so proud of him.

The Ayuyao Monday-Happiness Paradigm

“Do you like Mondays?”

It is really annoying whenever I wake up on a Monday. Often time, the first thing I do in the morning is checking my phones for text messages and my Facebook (I have to activate it again for academic purposes), Twitter and Instagram accounts. I’ve noticed that some persons, especially on Twitter and Facebook, would complain on one thing: It’s Monday again and I hate it.

Personally, I do not have a favorite day. I love every day. I love waking up in the morning grateful of whatever I have and at the same time, unsure of what new things I will learn today or who will I have new conversations with. One person commented that my life is boring going to school and house all my life. But hey, I chose this life. I want to become a lawyer and this is the only way I’m working towards it. Nonetheless, I love how every once in a while, I meet up with my friends from high school and relieve our happy and sappy moments as teenager. I love it when I suddenly meet a friend I haven’t seen in a long while. I love that sometimes, I am forced to watch a movie to keep my little brother happy. I enjoy my shopping days with my mother. I like talking secretly with my secret amidst a boring class. I like it when the whole family goes grocery shopping on weekends. I love when my classmates and I share dreams together. I like learning. I guess it is really a blessing that I easily get happy with the little things life offers me.

But I don’t really get it why people complain much on Mondays. Life is not about having all fun and games. Life is not only about partying. Life is not dozing off on weekends. Life is mostly about work because by working we are able to fulfill our purpose in life. With our work, we are able to serve others. It is our opportunity to help, to inspire and to make the difference that you always wanted. To the people who are like me in your early to mid-twenties, remember that roughly ten years ago, our elementary or high school teachers told us that question, “What do you want to be ten years from now?” Yes, this time, you’re living your vision as a child or teenager. Is it very much near to what you perceive your life to be?

I guess I could say now that the happiest people in the world are those who could say, “I love Mondays!” These people are compassionate and are very much driven to their career path. They grow tired but could hardly feel it because they really like what they are doing. They still emanate that certain glow which is so noticeable even if they have eye bags because of lack of sleep. And at home, they are still very much energized that they are still very much eager to share how their day went with their family or loved ones.

Therefore, I am telling you. If you hate your job, quit it. Find another one that could really bring out your talent and skill. Find that one you could excel in and would make you feel that you’re always doing the right thing. If you don’t like to take further studies anymore, take a break first next semester and think that it is the right course for you. You may want to take another field. Do not live the lives dictated to you. We are young and we have the energy. We are too young to feel so old, bitter and weary in this world because we are not liking what we are doing.  This is the perfect time to find who we really are, our purpose and our aspiration. It is not an easy road ahead but if you like what you are doing, what is difficulty?

Monday is always associated with new beginnings. Nothing is ever easy when you are beginning something. However, with new beginning is the start of something you have always wanted. Why don’t you take a shot to your new dream this beautiful Monday?

Happy Monday. This Monday is also the 17th Birthday of my baby brother, Gio. Greet him a happy birthday! :)
Happy Monday. This Monday is also the 17th Birthday of my baby brother, Gio. I love him because he is a perfect example of what happiness is. He like what he is doing. And although he is busy and an academic achiever in Engineering school, he always makes time for me and you will never see him stressed. He always inspires me! Greet him a happy birthday! 🙂

A Letter to my Fourteen-Year Old Self

Dear Fourteen-Year Old Self,

If ever time machine will ever be invented, I’ll immediately go to your dimension. I miss our carefree days. I miss how it feels when the world spins so slowly yet every day was worth it going to school. It is funny that for the first time in my life, I received the “Best in Attendance” award. It’s funny that despite doing so many things, I was never sick. Maybe it is youth. Maybe it is something else.

I miss those days when the world was not gadget-dominated yet. Only some people have cellular phones. I did not have one until shortly before I go to college and so does my friends but for some reason, communication was better then. Yes, we were tardy at times but we make sure we do everything to arrive on our meetings. It breaks my heart now how some people simply send a text message just an hour or two before the meeting and say they can’t make it. I love how we felt cool when we are chatting with our classmates in Yahoo Messenger as soon as we arrive home (even if you were chatting with them all throughout your break times) and even play with them IMVironments. Now, Yahoo Messenger just feels empty. There are very few people on-line but you don’t feel like talking to anyone of them. The worst thing is that it seems only the spammers care about you there as they are the only ones messaging you. Also, you and your friends exhaust your time making fan fiction of your favorite anime and book characters. Now you look back thinking how crazy that was but then again one part of me is starting to draft another Sakura-Syoaran plot at the back of your head when I think of all those happy times.

Although I like who I am now, I sometimes miss your carefree attitude as well as you being a simpleton in many things. I am broke most of the time because I put my money on cosmetics and skincare products and on the other hand, you don’t even know what is prom then. Every single day you just wake up, take your breakfast, take a bath, put on your thick granny glasses and that’s it. You don’t even apply any facial cleanser (and thus your acne were numerous) for your skin and pressed powder on your face. Your eyebrows are not bushy but grow all over the place. I’m sure threading and plucking are Pig Latin terms for you. I’m also sure that you understand mascara as something worn on masquerade parties. But still, I’m a little sad for you because you hardly look at yourself in the mirror and refused to have your pictures taken because you believed and perceived yourself as tad ugly. But you are not. Every girl is beautiful, including you. Also, spoiler alert: you are going to wear braces for two years to tighten the gaps of your teeth.

Well, things are really different now after ten years. For example, to tag in your time is to play tag with your friends on the quadrangle or the corridors before class but now it’s a complicated term that when someone uploaded a thing on Facebook it’s either that person wants to show something about your or something interesting that he has seen. I want to tell you that Facebook is just like that defunct Friendster but at that age, Friendster was also unheard of. Anyway, ten years seems to be a very long time but it wasn’t. The world spun faster as soon as I reached sixteen where everyone was talking about high school graduation, future careers and yes, prom. People come and go in my life. But you know, the people who stayed with me as my closest friends are our classmates during your time. They grew up to be beautiful people who are bravely struggling now as members as the working class and at the same time, battling quarter life crisis.

I have changed but I am still you. I will always be you. I laugh hard on the plainest joke. I am still compassionate on life and achieving our dreams. I still love chocolates. I still like the arts and history. I still love those intelligent and quirky conversations. I am still a very awkward dancer—okay, I still cannot dance to save my life. I am clumsy and disorganized. But maybe I’m just a little more confident now. I guess that is the only change in me.

You will always be part of me. You will always live in my memory.

Love,

Your Twenty-Four Year Old Self

Find Me. I am in the class of II-Malvar under the supervision of our beloved adviser, Teacher Ailene Tamayo
Find Me. I am in the class of II-Malvar under the supervision of our beloved adviser, Teacher Ailene Tamayo

P.S. I saw our very first crush last week. He is still as cute and as gentlemanly as ever. It’s a good thing that I was wearing makeup then because he didn’t see me blushed naturally when I first saw him. See, some things never change.