Posted in College, Personal, Relationships

#AmareEtServire: Pasasalamat

This post is written in a mix of Filipino and English. I apologize to those who cannot understand this. I really feel more comfortable writing in Filipino. You can ask for a translation, just post a comment,

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Itong blog post na ito ay produkto ng pagmumuni-muni kagabi, matapos ang Commitment Night.

Sa mga nakakakilala sa akin bago ako unang pumasok sa Campus Ministry (CM) Office ng Parish of the Holy Sacrifice sa UP Diliman, alam ninyong matindi at importante ang desisyon na kailangan kong gawin. Sa mga hindi nakakaalam, heto ang kailangan kong pag-isipan: kailangan kong megdesisyon kung ipapagpatuloy ko ba ang aking buhay kolehiyo sa UP, o lilipat ba ako sa De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. Tila hindi na kasi ako masaya sa UP dahil pinahihirapan ako nito nang husto. Hindi ako makapasok sa eskuwela  hanggang humahantong sa pagfa-file ng leave of absence (LOA) kada semestre.

Pakiramdam ko noon na wala akong direksiyon sa buhay, kahit na linggo-linggo kaming nagkikita ng mga kaibigan ko sa UP Campus Feast at araw-araw ay may kausap akong kaibigan sa Facebook. Tila hindi pa rin nasasagot ang mga tanong ko, na tila hindi pa sila sapat. Don’t get me wrong, mahal ko ang mga kaibigan ko. Kaya lang, parang may kulang e. Kaya noong inimbita ako ni Kuya Josh, kaibigan ko sa Feast, na sumali sa choir ng CM, sabi ko na susubukan ko. Inisip ko nang pagkakataon na iyon para mapapalapit sa Diyos, lalo na’t dumating na sa buhay ko na hindi ako naniwala sa Kanya. Tutal, pangarap kong mapabilang sa choir.

Noong unang araw ko sa CM, which was September 14, 2016, tinanong ako kung gusto ko ba raw magpa-orient. Sabi ko hindi ko alam, gawa ng baka nga lumipat ako ng eskuwelahan. Pero kahit hindi ako nagpa-orient, patuloy akong pumupunta sa CM. Naging ugali ko na ang pagpunta sa CMO, at nakibahagi ako sa mga gawain sa CM. Naging masaya ako CM, sobrang saya.

Dumating ang panahon na nagkapag-Commitment Rites (renewal of commitment para sa mga matagal na volunteers na) ako noong refounding anniversary ng CM. Sobrang saya ko noon, dahil noong weekend na yoon, Kerygma Conference din. Sobrang saya talaga! Finally, naka-commit ako. Ibig sabihin, hindi na ako lilipat ng eskuwelahan, gawa ng napagdesisyunan ko nang maging volunteer sa CM. Simula noon, napuno ako ng saya.

Ngayong enrolled ako, medyo nahihirapan pa rin ako sa mga gawain sa eskuwela. Pero nandiyan ang pamilya ko sa CM, pati na rin ang office (kung saan ako produktibo), para tumulong sa akin. Kaya lang, hindi ko na talaga kinakaya e. Kaya nag-apply na ako ulit ng LOA para sa semestreng ito. Halos wala namang nasayang sa mga effort ko, pero sayang pa rin. Kung hindi kasi ako mag-a-apply para sa isa na namang LOA, babagsak ako. Sa madilim na bahaging ito ng buhay ko, nandoon ang pamilya ko sa CM na pinapasaya ako, kahit na may kababawan ito. Kahit papaano, napapangiti pa rin ako.

Ngayong nakapag-Commitment Night (with the formal rites) na ako, sabi ko sa sarili ko na kahit anong mangyari, hindi ko susukuan ang UP. Mahirap ang buhay sa UP, kaya ang laki ng pasasalamat ko sa bago kong pamilya. Ngayon, alam kong hindi lang ako ang nahihirapan sa eskuwela. Pero kahit na hirap na hirap na kaming lahat sa eskuwela, natutuwa ako dahil nakikita ko ang commitment ng lahat sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa bayan Niya. Doon ako natuwa nang husto: sa commitment ng lahat. Kasama na rin ang pakikisama sa lahat, siyempre. Hindi perpekto ang mga pagkakaibigan namin, pero wala namang perpekto sa mundo natin. Lalo akong nauudyok na maglingkod sa Diyos tuwing nakikita ko silang nagtatrabaho para sa CM.

Sa pagmamahal at paglilingkod namin sa Diyos at sa bayan, lalong napapagtibay ang aking pananampalataya sa Diyos. Lagi ko na ring naaalala na hindi ako pababayan ng butihing Diyos. Lalo rin akong nahihikayat na aralin ang Kanyang Salita at ang mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa pananampalataya ko bilang Katoliko. Natutuwa ako na kahit galing ako sa Catholic school, marami pa rin akong natututunan na bago tungkol sa Catholic faith. Ang saya lang talaga. Ang karamihan, kung hindi lahat, ng kasiyahan ko sa eskuwela ay gawa ng CM.

Sobra-sobra talaga ang pasasalamat ko kay Lord at hinayaan niyang dalhin ako ng mga paa ko sa office ng CM, kahit na naagdalawang-isip akong tumugon sa invite sa akin ni Kuya Josh na sumali sa choir ng CM. Kahit na gusto kong mag-choir, parang ayaw ko pa noong mag-commit sa kahit anong bagay. Hindi nga ako noon naka-commit sa pag-aaral e, gawa ng naka-LOA ako. Pero gumagawa talaga ng paraan ang Diyos para mapabuti tayong lahat; tinutupad Niya ang kanyang pangako sa atin. Ang galing ni Lord, ano?

Ang laki rin ng utang na loob ko kay Kuya Josh, gawa ng siya ang ginawang instrumento ng Diyos para dalhin ako sa CM. Kaya Kuya Josh, salamat! Alam kong alam mo na sobra-sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa’yo, at hindi ako magsasawang pasalamatan ka.

Hindi kami perpekto sa CM, wala namang perpekto sa mundo. Kahit na malapit pa ang sinuman sa Diyos, may mga kapintasan pa rin ang mga ito. Pero dahil sa perpektong pag-ibig ng Diyos, nagagawa namin ang mga bagay na hindi namin inaakalang kaya naming gawin sa CM. Kaya labis kong nararamdaman ang pasasalamat ng lahat ng kasama ko sa CM para sa mga biyaya (at kahit pasanin) na binibigay ng Diyos sa amin. Sobra lang dn talaga ang nararamdaman kong pagmamahal ng mga kasama ko sa CM sa ating Diyos. Sa sobrang mahal nila si Lord, naglilingkod sila nang buong puso. Humahanga ako sa kanilang lahat!

Sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa Diyos at binigyan Niya ako ng pagkakataong paglingkuran Siya at ang Kanyang bayan sa pamamagitan ng CM. Ang saya ko dahil sa wakas, magagamit ko ang mga talento at kakayahan ko sa mga makabuluhang bagay. Ang saya lang, diba? Parang nakita ko na rin ang purpose ko sa buhay. O diba, two birds in one stone!

Ang saya na nararamdaman ko ngayon ay hindi perpekto gawa ng mga problema ko. Pero nababawasan ang lungkot ko talaga dahil sa CM. Sobra kong mahal ang aking mga kapwa volunteers. Hindi ko ma-imagine ang buhay ko nang wala sila.

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Ama, pinupuri Kita dahil sa Inyong pagiging butihing Diyos. Pinupuri kita dahil sa Inyong perperktong pag-ibig sa akin at sa kapwa ko. Pinupuri kita dahil dapat lang na purihin Kita, isang mabuting Diyos na alam ang aking mga ninanais at ang aking mga kinakailangan.

Patawad po sa lahat ng aking mga sala sa Inyo at sa kapwa ko. Patawad po, lalo na po sa mga pagkakataong nalilimutan kong nandiyan Ka, nagmamahal at nagbabantay sa akin. Patawad po para sa aking pagkalimot sa Inyo. Ngunit sa kabila ng aking mga pagkakasala, minamahal Niyo pa rin ako. Kaya Lord, maraming salamat.

Maraming salamat dahil noong nawawalan na ako ng pag-asa, dinala niyo ako sa Campus Ministry. Muli akong nabuhayan ng loob sa CM, at muli akong natutong mangarap at maglingkod. Lord, salamat at binigyan Mo ako ng mga matitiyaga, masisipag, at mapagmahal na pamilya. Maraming salamat at dinala mo ako sa mga taong makakaimpluwensiya sa akin na paglingkuran Ka at ang Iyong bayan. Maraming salamat, dahil hindi mo kami pinababayaan sa CM. Lord, ako ay nagpapasalamat para sa itinanim Ninyo sa amin na pagnanais na maging lingkod Ninyo. Salamat sa mga pinahiram Ninyong mga talento at kakayahan para magamit namin sa paglingkod sa Inyo. Maraming salamat sa lahat, Lord. Hindi ako magsasawa sa kakasabi ng “thank You” sa inyo.

Sana po ay patuloy Ninyo kaming mga lingkod Ninyo sa CM gabayan at biyayaan ng pagpapasensiya, pagmamahal sa kapwa, at paghahangad na ialay ang aming mga sarili sa Inyo. Lord, gabayan Ninyo kami sa aming mga gawaing pang-eskuwela, bilang na sa kolehiyo na kami. Bigyan Ninyo po kami ng lakas ng loob na harapin ang bawat araw na may pusong puno ng pag-asa. Tulungan Ninyo rin po kami na ibahagi sa buong unibersidad ang Inyong kabutihan at pagmamahal, kahit ito man ay sa simpleng pagiging mabuting tao lang. Tulungan Ninyo po kaming maging masunurin sa Inyong plano para sa amin. Sana po ay ituro Ninyo sa amin ang mga kagustuhan ninyo para sa amin. Sana po ay lagi Ninyong ipaalala sa amin na mahal Ninyo kami, maging ito man ay idaan Ninyo sa amin bilang isang mensahe, isang biyaya, o isang tao na makakapagpabago sa aming mga buhay. Lord, gabayan Ninyo po kami lagi sa araw-araw.

Maria, aking ina, ibulong ninyo sa inyong butihing Anak ang aking mga hinaing at hiling. Tulungan niyo po akong magdasal, Ma.

Ang lahat ng ito ay hinihiling ko sa ngalan ng Inyong Anak na si Hesus, kasama ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Ama namin, sumasalangit Ka, sambahin ang ngalan Mo. Mapasaamin ang kaharian Mo, sundin ang loob Mo dito sa lupa, para nang sa langit. Bigyan Mo kami ngayon ng aming kakanin sa araw araw. At patawarin Mo kami sa aming mga sala, para nang pagpapatawad namin, sa mga nagkakasala sa amin. At huwag Mo kaming ipahintulot sa tukso, at iadya Mo kami sa lahat ng masama. Amen.

Aba Ginoong Maria, napupuno ka ng grasya. Ang Panginoong Diyos ay sumasaiyo. Bukod kang pinagpala sa babaeng lahat, at pinagpala naman ang iyong Anak na si Hesus. Santa Maria, ina ng Diyos, ipanalangin mo kaming mga makasalanan. Ngayon at kung kami’y mamamatay. Amen.

Luwalhati sa Ama, sa Anak, at sa Espiritu Santo! Kapara ng sa unang-una, ngayon at magpakailan man, magpasawalang-hanggan. Amen.

Posted in College

Lantern Parade 2016

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Here is the Campus Ministry-Catholic Students Community’s lantern for UP Diliman’s Lantern Parade 2016. For those who are sure what it is, it’s an angel!

 

The annual Lantern Parade in UP (Diliman) is a showcase of the creative minds and artistic skills of the students of each of the participating colleges and organizations in the university. This year, I got to participate in the production of the lantern of UP Diliman-Parish of the Holy Sacrifice’s Campus Ministry. I also joined the parade on December 16 (Friday), which is why I didn’t see the other lanterns. It’s alright though, not seeing the other lanterns. Why? Well, I actually worked on a participating lantern, and I saw it on the parade. That, I think, is a far greater experience that seeing all the lanterns.

Why did we decide to make an angel anyway? Well, I think it’s to remind the community why we’re celebrating Christmas. I hope we were successful in sharing that message. Now, back to the lantern(s)!

I saw the photos of the other lanterns just now. Of course, it’s a little inevitable for me to compare the lanterns. I can’t decide on whose lantern look the best, but I think the Campus Ministry (CM)’s lantern was the greatest in its simplicity. Although some details weren’t executed, it was still beautiful. Although our lantern looked plain, people still took photos of it. Some even posed with the lantern, and some recognized that it was the parish’s lantern (since our banner said “Parish of the Holy Sacrifice”). It was a beautiful lantern, the most beautiful lantern in our eyes.

It took us 48-72 hours, I think, to make the simple lantern. I was in charge of doing the angel’s wings, and boy I worked on most of it. We also had help from other members of the Catholic Students Community. I had fun, and that’s the important thing about it. We had A LOT of struggles while making the lantern, but the biggest problem we had was lighting up the lantern.

Lighting up the lantern was so epic: from buying the lights, testing them out, working on the electrical stuff, working on how to put the lights, making the lantern light up, and keeping the lantern lit up.

On the morning before the parade, my friends in CM were trying to make our power generator work. In was already 3pm, and it still won’t work. So we decided to borrow a power generator. It took a while to get one. As we were putting on the final touches, our friends from Emmanuel School of Mission (ESM) Manila came and helped us, especially in putting the lantern on the carriage. Everything was a struggle after finishing the production. But the most remarkable experience is how we managed to light up the lantern during the many times the generator went off DURING the parade.

Every time the power generator went off, we would pray…and refill it with fuel. We would rejoice every time it our angel would light up! But then I grew so tired and so hungry, so my friend MJ and I left to eat. We were not able to join the rest of the CM team to present the lantern during the main program. That’s quite sad, but hey, at least I saw the spectators’ good response. MJ and I headed back to the CM office and found our friends resting there. Then, we played The Resistance: Avalon, and the rest ate. We had a good bonding experience before everyone goes home to their provinces.

Light…oh light. I never knew that keeping light on could be a struggle.

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This year’s Lantern Parade was the best for me, so far. It’s not just because of the lantern itself; it’s more of the bonding experience with CM, the experience of helping, and the productivity. I wish for more opportunities like this. 🙂

PS: I think this looks a little rushed. :/

Posted in Education, School

Going Home

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Top to bottom: 8-Samal & 8-Manobo, 8-Bagobo, 8-Mangyan.

Last December 13 (Tuesday), I was given the chance to talk to my sisters in Miriam College Middle School. I spoke to some Grade 8 students and gave them tips on how to write their first ever term paper…in Music class. Yes, a term paper in Music class! It’s a little weird, right?

Why a term paper in Music class? I honestly don’t know! But maybe it’s because the Music subject area supervisor wants to introduce the concept of research paper writing to the students before they enter high school, and they want the students to have an “easier” and “enjoyable” time while doing the paper. It’s one of their first research papers, so I think that having interest in what they’re writing on is very important. They’re taking baby steps in the field of research, so they should enjoy.

But enough on why the subject area supervisor wants them to write a term paper. Let’s focus on my experience!

I came a little early for my call time. I was so excited, I guess. The idea of giving a talk to “kids” scared me, honestly. When I was in grade school, I was a listener of talks, whether the topic was interesting or not. But I didn’t know how other students behaved when someone else was talking in front of a class. But this talk made me a little excited because of some reasons. One, I get to go back to my first home away from home. Second, I get to share what I do when doing the important stuff. Third, I get to go out of the house. But honestly, it’s really reason number one!

I wanted to go back to where I grew up, and it has come to the point when I want to give back and teach in the school. But maybe enough of that for now. So yeah… I really wanted to go back to the school because I wanted to see the school, see the people learning in the school, see the people teaching in the school, see everything and everyone in the school, actually. I just miss the simplicity of the overall environment. Something just draws me back to the place, and I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the memories, or maybe it’s the long time I spent in the place. I don’t know, really. But hey, I loved every minute of my short four-hour visit.

The classes I spoke to were really diverse: some students asked questions and actively participated in my talk, while others seemed to be shy. That affected my talk in a way, but hey, at least I was successful in delivering my message. And more importantly, I was able to able to share some helpful tips on how to start research.

I’ll admit it, I’m sure I wasn’t that interesting. It’s my first time to give a talk. I did try to engage with the students. I was successful in one class, since they were really active. I’m pretty sure that the others got bored. I got a little hurt, since it’s my first time speaking in front of students. But hey, I didn’t let that get in the way of my happiness. I just tried to understand that not all students are like me: the “good student”. Oh well, that’s the reality that I have to learn to accept, even if that’s not the ideal.

Despite the lows, I still had fun. I mean, this is like training for me, since I plan to teach in the future. Dealing with students who pass notes to each other right in front of you is a sad reality. This is painful for sensitive people, but some are already immune to this. I’m clearly not immune to this, and it will take a long time for me to accept this. 

Even if there were inattentive students, I knew that some of them were interested in what I was saying, and that drove me to finish the talk. Students like them are the reason why I want to teach; students who are eager to learn for their own sake are my inspiration.

And so I ended my “lecturing” day with some of the “signature” food from the grade school/high school canteen: quail egg siomai and twister fries.

My day of reminiscing had to come to an end at around 2:30pm, since I had nothing to do anyway. I left MC with a smile on my face, ready to go to my home in UP.

Posted in Media, Music

Just “Right”: My YT Experience

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I was never comfortable with being in front of a video camera. I’m okay with regular cameras that take photos. But when I am being recorded, I get extra conscious. I get conscious because I feel like when I speak, my mouth doesn’t look “right”. I also feel like my body doesn’t look “right”, or that my actions aren’t “right”.

…What’s with me with looking “right”?

Maybe because I always want to look good, look presentable. But hey, I guess that’s normal. So yeah, I’ve never been comfortable in front of a video camera.

But hey, there has to be a day when I have to conquer my fear of being videotaped, right?

So today, I decided to take my song cover-making to the next level: YOUTUBE.

I did a cover of the song “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur. And man, I LOVE THE SONG! So I told myself that I should sing it and make it public. If it were a regular day, I’d do an audio recording. But since I wanted to make myself extra happy, I recorded my cover with my laptop’s built-in webcam (and mic). I don’t know why seeing myself (with a little makeup) sing made me happy. I guess it gave me a little validation; validation that I can look good and sound good at the same time.

It wasn’t a perfect cover, but I’m really proud of my work. I hope I get to make more YouTube videos soon. 🙂 MAYBE I CAN DO MUSIC VIDEOS OF MY ORIGINAL SONGS! Hihi. Okey na ako. 

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I hope you guys continue to visit my SoundCloud page for my audio (only) covers. Also, do subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Click HERE for my cover!

Posted in Cloie's Kitchen, Food

Hello, Cupcake

So I tried baking some Devil’s Food Cupcakes yesterday. They weren’t perfect, but they tasted so damn good.

It was the first time that I used the hand mixer my parents gave me for my birthday. I asked for a hand mixer because our ancient mixer doesn’t have a whisk attachment. I need the hand mixer for cupcake icings, so I’m very glad that they gave in to my request. I still used the hand mixer even if this recipe didn’t call for icing.

It was my first time to bake cupcakes, and girl I learned A LOT! I learned not to put too much batter into the cups. Or else, this would happen.

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I was convinced that the cups weren’t 2/3 filled, so we added for batter. Well, I was wrong. So my mom scooped a little less than what I scooped, and this is what happened.

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So I learned to trust my mother’s measuring skills that night.

I also had icing (or ganache) topping dilemmas with the overflowing cupcakes, so only the properly baked tray had nice tops. Anyway, they were delicious.

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What an experience! I hope I can bake the other cupcake recipes I have. And, I hope to share my cupcakes to everyone! Once I perfect my cupcakes, I hope to sell them along with my caramel bars and revel bars.

Check out Cloie’s Kitchen! Click here!

Posted in Family, Personal, Relationships

Snail Mail = Sweet Mail

In the age of email and instant messaging, receiving letters leaves a giddy feeling in my system. Just like most millennials, I rarely get snail mail. By rare, I mean one letter/postcard a year, or even none. But even if I don’t get a lot of mail, I feel grateful to those relatives who took their time to actually write me something on paper. Sure, I appreciate my friends and family’s efforts through instant messaging, but getting mail is just special.

I’m having a great day, so far. I did wake up feeling “meh, it’s another boring day”. I went through my morning “routine”, feeling a little excited for the day, but everything changed during breakfast.

While eating an egg and a piece of pan de sal, my aunt comes in, and she handed me an envelope. She told me that I had mail. I took the envelope and looked at it. Well, well, well, it’s from Ohio!

I’ve never met my mom’s first cousin (therefore, my aunt) from Ohio, but she’s been very supportive of me. She’d often react to and  comment on my Facebook posts, even more than my relatives here at home would do. She might be one of my ka-vibes (same vibes) aunts, if ever her family hadn’t migrated to the US. She seems to be so cool, and she seems to be kind and nice. I’m happy she’s reaching out to her extended family here in the Philippines. It just means that she’s not forgetting where she came from, and the family that’s left here. It’s a bonus that she can understand my posts in Filipino, given that my mom said that her sisters don’t really speak the language. I’m loving this aunt of mine so much, and I very much appreciate her snail mail.

She wrote me a letter full of support and encouragement. She told me not to let my bipolar disorder get in the way of my dreams and goals. She also shared some stuff that I can apply in my social life. The things she said in that letter were simple yet beautiful, and they are some words that I needed lately. After all the ups and downs of my personal life (not school issues), here comes a letter from my aunt who I barely knew but who cared. It’s like the arrival of the letter was so timely! Indeed, everything comes in God’s perfect time.

This letter really made my morning, even my day. It really made me excited. It’s like I want to send mail to my friends now. Going back to old practices isn’t bad after all, like sending snail mail. It is more personal, and at this day and age, it’s really special to receive mail that’s not your monthly bills. Lovers, friends, and family used to send snail mail, and they feel happy and special upon receiving mail. Snail mail is, indeed, sweet mail. I hope more people send old-fashioned letters more often. It’s not a waste of paper, given that that piece of paper is full of love.

To my Tita Marissa, thank you so much for the letter. I really appreciate it. I hope I get to meet you someday!

Posted in College, Education, School

College: Woes to Goals

Getting a college education is very important to me. Without it, I can’t be a high school teacher, and I wouldn’t be able to broaden my knowledge. The idea of going back to school gets me giddy, so I enroll. But as a few weeks pass by during the semester, my anxiety brings me down. This has happened three time already, and I don’t want this to happen again. So, I’ve decided to transfer to another school.

Deep in my heart, I did really want to be a UP student, even if I chose to go to UP out of practicality. I wanted to get to know the real world, meet different people, and discover myself. But when I made that decision to study in UP, I didn’t know I had Bipolar II Disorder. I didn’t know that my depression back in high school was just the tip of the iceberg; I didn’t know that it could go worse. After a semester of only 12 units, I enrolled three times, and applied for a leave of absence (LOA) three times. I felt like I wasted the money of my parents and the tax payers, but health first, right? If I hadn’t left, I might be dead. By dead, I mean six feet under the ground.

I’ve been thinking about transferring schools since the first time I was on leave, but it’s only this time that I thought seriously about it. At first, I wanted to go back to my alma mater. Then I wanted to try open university. After that, I considered transferring to either of the remaining schools in the “Big Four”. Now, I’m considering moving away from Manila just to study.

Why am I transferring, anyway? Well, I just couldn’t take the system of everything in UP Diliman. From enrollment, to the academic requirements, to the social environment, to how students are treated, to how the politics in school go, to everything. Sure, UP is a microcosm of the Philippines and maybe the world, but for a student with a psychosocial condition, UP may be a little too much to handle.

I’m not making my condition an excuse for me to “give up” or anything. Everyone is different, and everyone has different needs. What I need now is a school that will help me cope up with my anxiety. I’m not putting UP down, either. I believe that UP is the best school in the country, and everyone who graduates from the university is an armored, strong, well-rounded, nationalistic, and competent individual. It’s just that, I think I need to focus on building my armor somewhere else.

News about my school options’ admission rules broke my heart. One doesn’t accept transferees for their education program. The other one doesn’t have my ultimate favored course. Another required me to finish another semester in UP. I broke down after getting that email from the last school that updated me. I told my mom, “Can I not study anymore?” through Facebook Messenger. I later on tweeted, “Can I just die?”. I was so depressed — I just wanted to die doing nothing. But then my mom told me before that water sort of helps ease depressed feelings. So I took a shower, and I felt better. I told myself, “wow, was that miracle water?”. But that feeling didn’t last. I grew frustrated (not depressed) in the evening because of doing my nails. Then everything followed.

The next day, I called my last school option, and boy I was so happy. This school is said to be a good school for students like me. It also offers my favored course. And guess what, the school accept transferees even if they’ve only finished one semester of schooling (provided that they have not failed)! Well, isn’t that good news? Well, the not-so good side of this is that the school is miles away from home. But hey, THAT’S OKAY! I’ve always wanted to explore other places, and I also want to know how it feels like to live independently. Nothing is final yet, but I have a strong feeling on this one.

When I was on leave, I kind of thought negatively of college. All I thought of was it was mental and emotional torture. But seeing happy college graduates added a little positivity on my perspective. Now that I have a school in mind, I am pretty much convinced, again, that college is a good thing. After all, not everyone is privileged to receive higher education. So I consider myself lucky. I’m lucky that I have a chance to change my life through education, and that I have a chance to change the lives of others through my education.

Posted in Education, School

For the Love of Peace (Education)

A college classmate interviewed me about the peace education I had in elementary school. I discussed with him the basics of our peace education and peace efforts in the exclusive Catholic school I attended for my basic education. During the interview, I cannot help but feel nostalgic about my school life. But aside from that, I missed all the ways I helped, in my own little way, to promote peace.

My school is very active in promoting peace. Our college department even has an institute dedicated for studies about peace. We have basic peace education in elementary school, but that was not enough. In high school, teachers incorporated our school’s core values (truth, justice, peace, and integrity of creation) in our lessons and projects. They often focused on peace, even if our society needs all four values. Why? I guess it’s because of our partnership with a school in Mindanao.

In Cotabato, where our sister school is located, chaos and armed battle is always present. Thus, our school is very active in helping our brothers and sisters, whether Muslim or Christian. Our school encourages its students to participate in the school’s efforts to provide aid to the sister school. We would have our annual “Lugawan Para sa Mindanao” (Porridge for Mindanao) in all of the institution’s units to raise funds for financial and other aid for the sister school. The project is a yearly success, trust me. How can a student of our school say no to our delicious “lugaw”?

When we had Peace Education back in seventh grade, we had a letter exchange program with the students of our sister school. When I read a letter from one of their students, I was really humbled. My pen pal described her life to me and my classmates, and I was teary-eyed. Then I realized that I was fortunate to be living in Manila, where there were no armed battles, even if Manila isn’t peaceful. I was humbled on how lucky I am to be living my life, even if I had my own problems. Besides, I’m not stereotyped as a terrorist. But, that letter exchanging experience made me realize that those stereotypes were just stereotypes. My pen pal seamed to be nice; she even wanted to be text mates with me and my classmates (too bad, we weren’t subscribed to Talk ’n’ Text. She said she wanted her text mate to be a subscriber of TNT).

The Peace Education I received changed me, even in the little ways. It taught me how to manage my anger (well, a little bit), and to appreciate the peace and order in my family and local community. It also taught me to have peace with myself, since back then, I had conflicts with myself. As I said in the interview of my classmate, the Peace Ed I received also sparked my passion and advocacy for peace. In fact, the class sparked my desire to teach about peace and my desire to help give justice and peace to the masses.

It wasn’t really effective to some students, but at least we learned about our rights, equity, some history, and iconic people who promoted peace. If I were given the chance to improve the curriculum, I would. But hey, enough of changing it. I think it’s good enough. At least my school had Peace Ed. 

I wish the Department of Education would look into adding Peace Education in the new K-12 curriculum, if it isn’t included yet. I mean, I think this is basic. I think everybody deserves to get this type of education; everybody deserves to know and experience peace. After all, we NEED peace on Earth. If DepEd has no plan in doing this, then it would be a great loss.

Education is the key to growth, and Peace Education is the key to unity. I hope the authorities realize this statement.

Posted in Mental Health, Personal

Anxiety: The Eating Machine

I missed another doctor’s appointment today, and I feel bad about it.

Three weeks ago, my psychiatrist told me to read and answer some pages of a workbook that would help me in dealing with anxiety. Today, I realized that I failed to do my reading assignment. And for that, an anxiety attack came. My knee started aching and I got nauseous.

I started tearing up when I texted my mom and my doctor’s secretary about my current status. I really felt irresponsible and weak. I just wanted to stay home and cry in a fetal position. My mom came home and told me that my doctor will be fine if I go to my appointment without doing the assignment. But I still didn’t go. Anxiety ate me up already.

Anxiety will always be a part of my condition, and it’s been haunting me since childhood. It’s like anxiety is my sickness. I get anxious over the little things and the big situations. Will my classmates like me? Will my professor accept this late yet mediocre paper? Will everything be okay tomorrow?

Fear and anxiety will haunt me from time to time, and I’m sure about it. It’s natural for living beings to feel scared and anxious. It’s just for some people, fear and anxiety will completely consume the person for the time being. Sure, we can surpass it, but it will take some time, and a little (or a lot of) effort too.

It’s hard to learn how to manage anxiety. Trust me, this is the second time I’ll be learning about it. It really takes time for someone trying to manage anxiety to learn “techniques” on how to be stable when anxious. After all, it’s not easy to unlearn old habits.

When you have anxiety, everything becomes complicated; everything may a negative meaning, everything may be awful in your eyes. It’s like you have the whole universe on your shoulders, and sometimes, you just want to give up. But remember this: there is hope. Anxiety may just be a part of you, but it is not you.

If you think you can’t handle your anxiety alone, go out and seek help. Don’t be afraid, others will understand. If they don’t, it’s okay. You can feel bad about it, but not for forever. Take your time to regain strength, and go out to seek help again. If you get anxious, it’s okay; it’s normal. Rejection brings anxiety, but try not to let anxiety consume you. It’s always good to have a little hope in the bottom of your heart after all.

Anxiety is a part of human nature, but it can be managed. Don’t be afraid of it, you’ll get more anxious.

Posted in Media, Personal

Me After “Me Before You”

Yesterday, I watched a movie with my brother Kyle. We watched the movie adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel “Me Before You”, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. I caught myself crying in the theater once or twice while watching the film. The hopeless romantic in me reacted to the film right away, but then the critical PWSN/PWD in me was outraged once I got home. Here’s why:

Will (Claflin’s character) is paralyzed from the neck, down to his feet. This is due to an accident involving a motorbike. He rides a wheelchair most of the day, doing nothing exciting and worthwhile. He sees himself as someone who is better off dead. Then Lou (Clarke’s character) comes into his life, and she fills his days with sunshine. Despite his happiness with Lou, Will goes to Switzerland for assisted suicide. In the end, Lou is left with a bank account by Will; he left her money to start a new life and to “live well”.

I took out the romance of the story in the summary I wrote up there, because I’m not here to talk about how love can affect (or not affect) one’s decisions. I’m here to talk about the message of the film. I don’t know what the message is, actually. The only thing I got from the film is that it’s okay to kill yourself when you feel worthless. And that message is NOT a good one.

I know how it feels like to be in Will’s shoes. I, too, am a person with disability (I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder a year and a half ago). I felt useless more than once in my life, too. I attempted to commit suicide, too. But here I am, writing this review/rant essay. See, even if I’m different than “normal”, I still chose to live.

I get it, it’s all about choice. But to show the message that suicide is the solution to your woes to the public as a movie isn’t really a brilliant idea. Many PWD organizations have reacted negatively to this film due to Will’s fate. These people want to let the world know that even if they are differently abled, they can still live life to the fullest. Thus, the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia. Their message is this: all can live boldly, no matter how or who you are.

I totally agree with the PWD organizations. I do believe that everyone has hope in making their lives worth living, and not merely existing. Whether you are fully-abled or not, we all have a shot at being happy. Being “disabled” is not a hindrance for achieving happiness and self-worth. I just wished Will had realized that. Losing everything is not the end of the world.

And so I want you, yes you who are reading this piece, to know that you are loved by many. Many people have your back. There may be reasons to die, but there are always more reasons to live. Live life to the fullest. Love yourself. Love yourself. Life is precious. Don’t waste that gift.

In the end, “Me Before You” was an okay movie, if you want to cry. I just wish the film raised awareness for PWD welfare and mental health awareness instead. The world needs that, not more negativity.