2014 goals.

The year 2013 has been a good one for me, and I’m eager to make 2014 even better. Now that I am resigning from my day job and pursuing life as a “freelance professional,” I intend to make up for the missed opportunities that flew by the previous year.

To be frank, I’m scared of giving up the security of my day job. There’s a certain peace in going to an office, bitching with officemates over overwhelming workloads, and getting paid twice a month. But this feeling of discontent is growing each day, and I feel that there are bigger things in store for me. I may be wrong, but I want to try and see what I can offer publishing.
Many people have resolutions, but I’d rather have goals. To me, resolutions are an after-thought, something people keep beside the lives they lead. It’s not something people take seriously, which is probably why they fail. On the other hand, goals are something we consciously work for and try to achieve. And I want to work for it, I want to achieve it.
Lately, I’ve been getting the creative bug. Suddenly I want to create things. I’ve been restless in 2013, 2014 is about taking risks and doing what I want. It’s a leap of faith, but a leap I have to take. I’m turning 25 this year and I don’t want to wake up and be 50 – stuck in a day job and wondering… what if?

As days go by and doubts start creeping in, I just tell myself: just fucking do it.

1. Watch 100 movies. I’ve also been hit with the film bug, and I hope I could watch more this year. I want to expand my taste in film and discover more visionary filmmakers. One hundred this year seems reasonable, no?
2. Read 50 books. My attention span has severely diminished, and in effect, the number of books I read. I think my attention span has fizzled out because of the number of things I have to attend to every minute, but I hope the free time I’ll have this year will keep me focused. Now it takes me days to finish a book; when I was a younger I could finish one novel a day (including the Harry Potter books). I think 50 this year is a safe bet. That would make it one book a week.
3. Write 10 stories. Many people do not know I write short stories. My stories deal with surrealist themes, and most have murder as a pivotal point. I stopped writing right around the time I started doing it for a living, but I hope I could still flex my creative muscles for a story or two. Ten stories a year means one per month, which sounds like enough time to flesh a simple fiction. I have something planned for these stories, which I will discuss below.
4. Control weight. Weight has always been an issue with me. I’ve struggled with eating disorders, failed attempts at the gym, and manic attempts to regulate what I eat. There was a point when I gave up and decided to enjoy life, thinking I’d rather be happy than a miserable stick-figure. End result: a bloat that developed through months of binge eating and “living the life.”
I want to finally take control of my weight and put a stop to the endless cycle of fat-thin-fat, so I decided to enroll at a gym. This time, I have a more realistic view of my body and where I want it to go. I don’t want to be stick-thin or be a musclehead, I just want to be healthy. In line with this, I’m taking a healthier route this year, with more fruits and vegetables, and less chips and desserts. This might be tough, cookies are my addiction!
5. Publish Voyeur. My friend Nikko and I have been building Voyeur for many months and while we’re about to close our first issue, we can’t finish it because of time constraints and unfortunate circumstances. But we’re passionate about this project – a series of interviews with passionate people doing things their own way – and we want to make this last. We hope we could do this quarterly.
6. Publish two literary zines. My craziest ideas come to me when I am in the shower, and I have this suspicion it’s because I’m Aquarian. My idea of publishing two literary zines came to me a few days ago. A few of my short stories get published in the occasional anthology (mostly student publications), but most never see the light of day. It has always been my dream to publish my own collection of short stories, but I’m realistic and lately, addicted to the DIY movement. So I plan to just collect it and self-publish it by June. I’m also planning to get someone to edit it and deflate my huge ego.
I’m also planning to self-publish another collection of short stories, this time with content from friends and writers I admire. It’s a great way of creating a community of creatives with a shared goal of good literature. This one I’m pegging for December.
7. Write more. I spend a lot of time in the office writing, but what I mean is to write more for the spaces I contribute for. I want to write more for The Philippine Star and When In Manila, and contribute to magazines and websites. I want to write more short stories, reviews, content for Voyeur, and blog posts. It’s sad that I have neglected so much of my blog, and I hope I could write more here. 
8. Surround myself with art. My growing interest in art began last year, and I want to expose myself more this 2014. I want to go out of my comfort zone and explore more artists and media, especially from the local scene. And by art I mean in a general sense: fashion, architecture, interior design, conceptual, and all its forms. Like my zines, I’m currently exploring the DIY movement through arts and crafts (which I’ll hashtag #artsandcraps). I started with a little flowerpot – which is really just using this dainty teacup I got as a Christmas gift and stuffing it with flowers – and customized mini-jars for my officemates. I could make at least one project a month.
9. Make more friends, and maybe get a boyfriend. I want to meet more people and expand my network. Having more friends means I get exposed to ideas, philosophies, and points-of-view that are different from my own. It might also mean that I don’t have to travel alone, but which I plan to do anyway. I also hope I could get a boyfriend, because 2014 would mark my fourth year being single, and I am finally ready to enter a serious relationship. I just don’t want to be that person who makes every man a potential partner. Being ready is different from being pathetic.
10. Be a minimalist. I had discovered minimalist in the latter part of the year. It started with fashion; I had decided to go for a mostly-black wardrobe inspired by Berlin grunge and the personal style of Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. This is a departure from my previous style, a messy collection of prints, both animal and geometric. A few days later, I decided to go minimalist instead, incorporating more colors yet maintaining that quiet and subtle feel. 
Research on minimalist fashion led me to sites on a minimalist lifestyle, and I was intrigued with the thought of living more with less. As a self-proclaimed hoarder, it inspired me to get rid of all the unnecessary clutter in my life, be it items, thoughts, and feelings. I’m taking it one step at a time, and I hope I can achieve happiness with living with the basics.

I used the word ‘hope’ more than I should have. Hope is different from actually doing it. And I will do it.

The year that was: 2013

Like clockwork, my family gathers every year at my aunt’s house in Katipunan for our New Year’s Eve party. It has become a yearly tradition for all of us to be together on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and it’s always something I look forward to since I don’t get to see my relatives that much.

This year, we gathered for a hearty dinner over drinks and conversation, a few rounds of karaoke, games with the kids, and the lighting of fireworks. I don’t really appreciate the fireworks bit and would just peek outside for a few minutes and go back inside to have a few glasses of wine and dessert. This year was different, though. I was out the whole night, mesmerized by the colors, sounds, and smells of the street and the pyrotechnic display. There was something about the noise that comforted me. I had thought of fireworks as a way to drive evil spirits away, now I see it as a way of celebrating the year that was and welcoming the next year with a literal bang.

Recently, I have complained that my 2013 wasn’t good. I practically gave up my social life the latter part of the year and focused on my career, spending my free time at home to sleep. I missed many opportunities, there were regrets, and there were other aspects of my life I couldn’t focus on because work was taking so much of my time. But as I reminisced the year over the fireworks crackling in the dark and smoky sky, I realized that 2013 was a good year.

Below is my list of the year that was, a year that allowed me to experience new things, meet new people, travel, and find myself. It was a year of self-discovery and I believe I left 2013 with a better picture of who I am, what I can do, and who I could become.


1. I became a copywriter for a PR agency and my eight months there felt like a lifetime of experiences. It was overwhelming at first, having to do so many things at the same time, but I think I developed into a better writer and all-around human being.

Last year, I told a story of how PR found me. It was a series of missed connections and eventually, I heeded the call. I believe in the saying that opportunity knocks but it does not beg, so I finally joined the agency that would serve as my home for most of the year. A similar story is happening right now. Opportunities are rising, this time in publishing, and I feel like it is time to close a chapter in my life and start a new one.

Last month, I formally submitted my resignation in PR. It was hard, because I would be giving up a stable career working with some of the brightest minds. But things are leading to me finally doing what I want, and I want to make the most of what is being offered to me right now. And there are many.

I’m scared. I’m scared of going out of my comfort zone, which is the corporate world, and entering the world of freelance writing. It is a leap of faith, but I don’t want to wake up at 50, wondering “what if?”

2. This year I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Hong Kong and Malaysia. My trip to Hong Kong was my first solo jaunt, a sort of reward for myself. I went in August and I could best describe my five-day stay as cathartic. I learned to be independent and live in a country where people had different laws, views, and language. Since it was my second time to visit Hong Kong, I had seen most of the tourist attractions, so I spent the time walking around, eating, and sleeping.

My second trip was in November, where I flew to Malaysia for a press event E! was hosting for KPOP superstar Jay Park’s E! News Asia Special. There was a performance at the legendary Zouk, followed by a press conference and an intimate interview the following morning. It was an overnight trip but it was still an exhilarating experience because it was my first time there.

3. The latter part of the year was focused on work and sleep, but I managed to squeeze in a few parties, events, and shows. Some of my favorites were: the TEDxADMU talk I attended, the Heima design talk, the Manila International Book Fair, the Proudrace design talk at the Ayala Museum, UP’s Live AIDS, the Extrapolation album launch at SaGuijo, Brixton Block Party, the Panty Monsters anniversary at TodayxFuture, and the 10A Alabama Fair. I also got a boyzilian, another first.

4. This year I had the crazy idea of starting a business. I thought of Nikko as my business partner because he gets me on so many levels. Our first venture was a shirt business, and we sourced samples in Divisoria, thought of designs, identify artists we could tap, and went as far as developing a marketing strategy. It eventually fell through, but we quickly cut our losses and moved on. It might have been a good idea not to push it since I have zero business acumen and I wasn’t completely sold to the idea.

But the itch to create something grew stronger, and I felt that if I were to start a business, I would have to go back to my roots as a writer. And then it hit me: why don’t I start a zine? And that’s how Voyeur started. It’s a series of interviews with people who break the rules and do things their own way, and each issue will have a specific theme.

For a brief time, I also ran a fiction blog called Hot Mess / Big City, something I wrote when I was at the lowest point of the year. I recovered after a few weeks, but at the expense of the blog. I’m working on another zine this year, though.

5. I took an interest in art in 2013, and I was lucky to have seen many exhibits. It was also a good year in art because of burgeoning art events like Art Fair Philippines, Art in the Park, ManilArt, the Ateneo Art Awards, and Bloom Arts Festival (and its extended show). I went to Art Fair, Art in the Park, and the Ateneo Art Awards and it was a great showcase of Philippine contemporary art.

The year was welcoming to artists seeking to mount their debut exhibits. I was able to see Tokwa Penaflorida’s Hypnagogia, Soleil Ignacio’s Exalted Souls, and Everywhere We Shoot’s Foods. I also got to see Leeroy New’s Monstrosities, the Soler Santos-curated exhibit The Mona Lisa Project, and the collected works of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, lent to the Ayala Museum by the Camachos.

6. I was able to attend my first wedding as a grown-up. This was between my ex-officemate Rhea and her boyfriend of 12 years, and it was a breathtaking experience being part of a freshly-made bond. It was made even more exciting by the fact that they have been together for over a decade. I also witnessed my first proposal, this time by an officemate in my PR job. I didn’t know how tense a proposal would be. She said yes, and it was a beautiful moment.

7. A battalion of musicians came, but I only saw a few of them. It was quite the experience seeing Azealia Banks and Grimes perform live, and I wish the musicians I like would come next year. Am I reaching for the stars when I say I hope Madonna would come?

I was supposed to watch Tegan and Sara, and I had VIP tickets, but the concert coincided with my arrival from Malaysia, so I had to give that up. A shame, since I love their music and I heard they had a great concert.

8. I also saw a few plays. I saw Sa Wakas (brilliant) and Himala at the PETA Theater (it was okay), The Addams Family at the Meralco Theater (hilarious), and Mind’s Eye (intelligent). I’m getting into the theater scene and I hope to catch more productions this year, starting with PETA’s Rak of Aegis and Red Turnip’s Cock.

9. My love life took a sudden nosedive. My normally colorful state of affairs dwindled into two guys in the entire year, one of which went only as far as a first date. I dated the other guy for a few months but it didn’t work out and we agreed to be friends. I’m not sure what happened. I might have been busy with work and my many projects. I dread to think there was something wrong with me.

10. There was a point in 2013 when I felt really down. This was around the time I went out with first-date guy, and my self-esteem took a massive beating. I felt fat, ugly, and unwanted. I was sad, but I realized that there are things I can’t change, and things that I can. So I decided to enroll at the gym. Since then I have never looked back.

The year that was: 2012

2012 wasn’t as productive as my 2011, which was a year of many firsts. I appeared on TV, in a magazine, and I started work for a national broadsheet. Perhaps the lack of excitement for 2012 was because I got a day job, and I spent most of my time in the office, becoming a corporate slave. I resent the idea of locking myself to a desk, but I have to pay the bills – bills being my passions, luxuries, and extravagances.

So yes, it wasn’t as exciting, but I’m here, about to regale you with the year that was, and all its memorable events. I’m hoping 2013 will be  a year of more firsts, more risks, and more fun.

1. My day job. I’m now a recruitment assistant for a call center in Alabang where I handle the complete recruitment process from application to orientation. Getting a day job was my mom’s idea, who couldn’t get used to my freelance writing gig. She wanted me to get a regular job, and in a way she was right. I was gaining a lot of weight, and getting a regular job meant a credit card. My journey towards becoming a corporate slave began when I applied to become an HR staff for Zara (which I mentioned but did not name).  I think they liked me, because they refused to accept my application as HR staff and were asking me to get an assistant manager post for Massimo Dutti, a more upscale label. I didn’t want to work weekends and I wanted to also focus on Star, so I turned down the offer, even though it was extremely tempting.

I also applied at C3, a call center in BGC. I really wanted to work in the Fort because it’s becoming the center of the social scene. I went through one interview and was instantly offered a job (HR assistant). However, since the company is still building its brand, the department is working overdrive to get the needed manpower. And they had work on Saturdays. The recruitment manager decided to cut Saturdays off my schedule but I still turned down the offer because of my commitment to the Star.

Right now I’m here at American Data Exchange I was recently regularized, and I love it here. I get to maintain my section at Star, add another writing gig to my plate, and still manage to go out. The hours are long, but the people are great and it gives me a sense of purpose. I made a lot of friends and even briefly participate in the Fun Committee, a group composed of managers that aims to make employees stay longer.

I had a lot of business opportunities this year but no matter how hard I try, I couldn’t add more. Now, I’m pretty much happy with my three jobs. I think it’s more than enough. But I’m about to start a small business with Nikko and I’m hoping it goes well.

2. My social life. Because of my three jobs, I couldn’t get into more projects that would require too much attention. But I still did get to go out and have fun. In fact, I went out every weekend in 2012. I went to art shows and exhibits, musical plays, film festivals, seminars, premieres, launches, and parties. Some of my favorites were seeing Picasso’s works at the Met, Art in the Park (which I wrote for the Star here), Carlos Celdran’s Livin’ La Vida Imelda, Gay Pride, Cinemalaya, the launch of The Manila Review, the Manila International Book Fair (where I got to buy most of Jessica Zafra’s books and got to meet Alex Gilvarry who wrote From The Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant), the Bloom Arts Festival, and seeing Mamma Mia!, Battalia Royale (on its first production!), and Bona.

Photo from Calme de Gracia Calmerin

3. Erratum. Two years ago, I started Erratum, the annual journalism seminar of the student publication in my alma mater. It was a success, and I was happy to hear that the next editorial board decided to make it better. And they did. They got a bigger venue and more established speakers (my favorite being Rogue‘s Raymond Ang). I am proud to say that the second run was a lot better than the first, and I was touched that they tapped me to give the “inspirational speech.” My message was that you don’t need to come from a big school to get into publishing, but that it helps if you know people in the industry. As much as I wanted to inspire future journalists, I didn’t want to baby them. I’m not sure if I did well, but I got a shirt and some money, which I blew off the following day.

4. Writing gigs. I’m still with the Star, and I celebrated my one-year anniversary last November. I have a new section called Supreme Picks, where I highlight the events people should be going to during the weekend. I have a new writing gig for When In Manila, the online magazine. I’m not as active as I want to be because of my two other jobs but I’ve gone to several fun events, such as the launch of Book Below Zero, a TOMS event, Miss Resorts World Manila, the launch of SM Accessories’ new line, the launch of Parker’s new collection, the launch of Ingersoll’s new line, a MUNI event, and on several critiquing trips with Nikko to some restaurants.

I also managed to get myself into Fantastic Filipino Fiction, a collection of horror stories to be published by Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu. My story was about cannibalism.

5. Thailand, Baguio, Ilocos, Subic. My year wouldn’t be complete without travel, and this year, I was able to complete my goal of going to four cities. I went to Thailand with the folks, and it was such a magnificent experience that I vowed to visit every year. Bangkok is a city steeped in culture with touches of modernity that it’s fun to explore the contradiction. Plus the shopping is intensely cheap and fun. So far, it is my favorite foreign city.

Of course, the one picture that had to survive was an unflattering one. Taken from Nikko’s Instagram

On a whim, Nikko and I went to Baguio for the weekend in June. We really didn’t do much, just walk around and check out bookstores and shops then go home and eat. We spent much of the weekend just eating and shopping. But one of the highlights of our trip was visiting the BenCab Museum, which was in itself a work of art. Gorgeous, gorgeous. I didn’t blog about my trip because sadly, I lost my camera a week after at Enchanted Kingdom.

I was slated to go to Capiz in late October but cancelled because of the fear of aswangs (I wasn’t afraid, but people pressured me not to go). I was disappointed so imagine my joy when Nikko invited me to an all-expense paid trip to Ilocos. It was for a feature for When In Manila and he tagged me along. Ilocos has been one of my dream destinations and I got to see Laoag (empanada!), Paoay (sand dunes!), Pagudpud (beaches!) and Vigan (longganisa!) I had a great weekend just disconnecting from the real world through historic and nature trips and early nights in.

My last out-of-town trip was Subic with the folks. We checked in at this beach hotel for two days and spent the time gorging on delicious seafood we prepared ourselves. The beach was pretty standard but the company (and the food) was absolutely divine.

Photo from here

6. The Born This Way Ball. I was one of the first few people who found out Gaga was performing here (the perks of working in a newspaper – I also got news of One Direction endorsing Penshoppe months before it came out) and I was really excited to catch the show. I didn’t catch The Fame Ball Tour in 2009, but she’ll be promoting a lot of songs for The Born This Way Ball so it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I watched with Nikko and it was such an experience. I felt that Gaga finally stepped out of Madonna’s shadow and is making her individual mark in the industry. The show was dark, a little strange, but original and full of energy. I found myself dancing to many of the songs – my favorites were Born This WayScheiße, and Marry The Night. I screamed myself hoarse that night, but it was exhilarating. In true Gaga form, she empowered the outcasts, the gay community, and those who ever felt different. You can feel the sincerity in her cause, and it made me proud to be who I am, flaws and all.

7. My love life, or lack thereof. Like last year, my love life hasn’t been exciting. This is my third year to be single, and I don’t feel bad about it. I once had a feeling that I wouldn’t have time for boyfriends as soon as I graduate from college and I was right. I’m busy with my three jobs that I don’t even think about entering a relationship. I go out on dates, have fun, hook up, but nothing else. Sometimes I feel lonely and wish I was in a relationship, but I haven’t met the one guy who will sweep me off my feet and make me go gaga.

8. Getting an iPhone. I’m not really a gadget person and was really happy with my beat-up Nokia phone. I thought about getting an iPhone but quickly dismissed it, thinking I would eventually get bored with the apps. I’m happy with whatever that can text and make calls, so I never got one. That is, until my mom got me an iPhone 4 as a Christmas gift. I think she didn’t tell me she was going to get me one because she knew I was going to say no, after what happened when she offered me an iPad for my birthday this year.

I’m addicted to it. I can’t get enough of the apps, which has one for absolutely everything. I love Viber, Grindr, iBooks, and the apps for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Blogger. My current addiction is the TED app, where I can have access to all the talks. I must admit, life has become easier and more convenient with the iPhone, and I can’t believe it took me this long to get on the bandwagon.

9. Relatives coming over from the US. This year was extra special because my relatives came over from the US to celebrate Christmas. In September, my grandmother and my cousin arrived; my grandmother will be staying here permanently, while my my cousin stayed for three weeks for his break. His family arrived for Christmas and stayed for two weeks, where we shuttled from our house, Katipunan (aunt’s house), and Antipolo (uncle’s house). It was a pleasant kind of pandemonium having our family semi-complete (the only one missing is an uncle who didn’t come home from the US due to work), and the Christmas and New Year’s parties were beyond awesome. They haven’t been here for five years, and I’m hoping it won’t take another five years for us to meet again.

The 50 Things I Want To Do Before I Die (as of August 16, 2012)

Three years ago, I wrote a list, detailing all the things I want to do before I die. Three years have passed and I’ve done some of them, while many are still dreams, waiting for me to have enough courage or in some cases, enough cash. Interestingly, some of the things here are no longer priorities, and some made me wonder why I even included them in the list. Example? Number 32’s see a fart.

The years have come and gone, and I’d like to update the list to see where I’ve come, where I’m headed, and where I am now.
  1. Write a book. I will be a part of a horror anthology but I still dream of publishing my own book.
  2. Produce a painting and see it in a gallery. I still haven’t caught the painting bug so I don’t think this’ll happen anytime soon, but I would enjoy seeing my works next to Louie Cordero, Romeo Lee, or Carina Santos.
  3. Work in a publication. I’m now a regular writer for The Philippine Star, where I maintain my own section in Supreme called Best of the Week.
  4. Live alone. Still a dream.
  5. See the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. This will always be a dream, as well as see other parts of Europe like Germany, Russia, and Italy.
  6. Gamble. I had a brief addiction to gambling, but I wasn’t as lucky as I thought, or knowledgeable in statistics, so I didn’t win much. Fortunately, I don’t have an addictive personality so I grew out of it after a few weeks.
  7. Work in a mental ward. I interned at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong and it was one of the best parts of my college life. Honestly, I felt more at ease around those with mental disorders than those we call “normal.”
  8. Go on a cruise
  9. Go to the zoo. I’ve been to the aquariums, zoos, and insectariums in other countries but I haven’t been to the Manila Zoo. Recently. If I were to base this on the Manila Zoo, perhaps I shouldn’t get my hopes up?
  10. See the Great Wall of China. I made the mistake of going to Shanghai instead of Beijing. I vow to return to China and see the Great Wall.
  11. Spend the day in Chinatown and eat the food. One of my more realistic dreams. I must get this done soon.
  12. Get married
  13. Have a baby girl
  14. Play the piano
  15. Drive a car. Not my thing.
  16. Skydive
  17. Be surrounded by penguins. What was I thinking?
  18. Write a moving poem
  19. Learn a foreign language. I regret not taking my Chinese and French seriously.
  20. Stargaze
  21. See Intramuros
  22. See the pyramids. Along with my dream Eurotrip, I long to travel and see the world.
  23. Solve a crossword puzzle
  24. Be in/famous
  25. Win an award. It’s not exactly the kind of award I wanted but I got a co-curricular gold medal for leadership for my work as the editor-in-chief of the campus paper back in college. 
  26. Get a job. I did marketing and now I’m juggling my time between writing and doing HR work for a call center. I plan to shift careers and get into copywriting. Soon.
  27. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Or other festivals. Local or abroad.
  28. See the Coliseum and the Parthenon.
  29. Go to the senate. Scratch this.
  30. See the National Museum. I only got around to doing this this year. Believe it or not.
  31. See a tarsier. Perhaps I could change this to traveling around the Philippines?
  32. See a fart. The fuck?
  33. See the sun rise or set. I watched the sun set every day I was in Boracay and Puerto Galera. It was gorgeous.
  34. Have an authentic British tea party with finger sandwiches
  35. Eat croissant in the streets of Paris. In Lanvin.
  36. See Macau. Macau doesn’t really interest me anymore, though I won’t mind going around the fake canals.
  37. Ride a gondola in the Grand Canal. And maybe re-enact Madonna’s Like A Virgin video?
  38. Eat halo halo in Baywalk. Now that Baywalk is a sad strip devoid of establishments and a basic wall (and general cleanliness), halo halo in Intramuros is good enough.
  39. See Tokyo and meet a geisha. Generally, geisha are located in Kyoto, but I have this sudden itch to go to my home country and explore Tokyo, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Okinawa.
  40. See a New Orleans festival
  41. See a supernatural creature. I’ve had several experiences already.
  42. Witness a “Your Mama” showdown. No.
  43. Fly a kite. I participated in a shoot involving a giant kite but I’d love to actually fly one.
  44. Watch a musical. I’ve seen Rent (a local production), Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Caredivas, and Mamma Mia!
  45. Live in New York
  46. Plant a tree
  47. Graduate. Took me six damn years.
  48. Learn the ghetto language. I don’t think so.
  49. Teach. But only until a certain age. I want to be a young teacher.
  50. Fly to Peru and see the lines at Nazca. The world, baby. The world.

The year that was: 2011

2011 has been a crazy year. It went by really quick – but I reached so many milestones that I could say it’s my best year so far. Here are some of the highlights of the year that was. I could only think of 11 (lucky, because it’s 2011) but these 11 are really big events, in no particular order:

Me and my mom during my graduation

1. Graduating. This is by far, the most important milestone. Of course, who wouldn’t like to graduate and be out of school? It took me two schools and six years but I finally made it, with a gold medal for leadership to boot. I got my degree in AB Psychology and frankly, I don’t know what to do with it. Right now I’m working in an industry where my degree is totally unrelated, but I might pursue a more relevant career in the near future. School was really great, and now that I’m a working boy, I can say that work is a lot easier. Maybe it was because I handled the paper in my senior year, but I found myself less stressed when I got a job. I might take up my Master’s for Abnormal Psychology (which is still my first love), but I think I’ll enjoy making money first.

My calling card of five months 

2. Getting a job. Honestly, I had a tough time looking for a job. At the beginning, I vowed never to use my or my family’s connections, but I realized that when it comes to your career, it’s never what you know but who you know. I tried the “normal” way of getting a job, sending my resume via e-mail and all that, but unfortunately, no matter how good and qualified you are, if they’re not looking for anyone, you can’t do anything about it. I looked for jobs in PR, but it didn’t work out so I accepted a marketing executive position at Colorpoint, a printing press / photography studio who did our school’s yearbook. The president saw me talk one time and he hired me as soon as I graduated. Things didn’t go well at the company and I only stayed for five months, but I earned a lot of money and spent a lot of it, too. Currently, I’m unemployed but I have a sideline project going on.

Me awarding a certificate to Mr. Rick Olivares, one of the guest speakers

3. My editor-in-chief position. I was awarded the editor-in-chief position last year, but the paper has made a lot of headway in 2011. We started Erratum, a journalism seminar and we invited renowned practitioners from Business Mirror, ABS-CBN, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer to speak. We’re turning it into an annual tradition and they invited me to be the ‘inspirational speaker’ this year, whatever that means. We also started the Perpetualife, a year-ender magazine that was well-received by the student body. In fact, all our issues for the school year were well-received and I’ve been told a couple of times that my year was the best yet.

4. The yearbook. I was part of the yearbook committee as the literary editor. It was really tough going through the process, having to deal with lots of people, but I got to work with an incredible team. There were a lot of issues attached but everyone made it with no missing limbs. My first job was with the company who did the yearbook so I took it with me but when we finally closed the book (after so many months), I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I don’t have a picture of the actual yearbook because I haven’t picked it up yet. I’ve seen it everyday for the past year so I’m not that excited.

My feature at Chalk magazine

5. Chalk magazine. I was briefly featured in the March issue of Chalk magazine. It was very short, three sentences only, but a statement I made regarding not graduating on time appeared with my picture. An online friend of mine, KB, is an editor for the magazine so she managed to squeeze me in with other late graduates.

With hosts Aida Sy, Lourd de Veyra, and Joey Reyes

6. Tayuan Mo At Panindigan! In the same month, I was a guest for Tayuan Mo At Panindigan!, a talk show on TV5 with director Joey Reyes, radio personality Aida Sy and media fixture Lourd de Veyra as hosts. We talked about graduation and what my plans were after college, and I mentioned writing. I never got to see the episode, but my friend Skate, who is the talent coordinator, said I did good and direk Joey was impressed by me.

My debut article for The Philippine Star – Supreme

7. The Philippine Star. I mentioned a while ago that I’m doing a sideline project. It’s writing for The Philippine Star – Supreme. I make weekly contributions by writing the Best of the Week section. I’ve been part of the team for over nine weeks now and have met the team once, including Tim Yap, the editor-in-chief when we did a group feature for SM Megamall. It has its down sides but I learned to swallow my pride and just be grateful my works get included in the Star. I’m planning to branch out by contributing to other publications in the near future.

Kylie Minogue live in Manila

8. Kylie Minogue. When news broke out that Kylie Minogue is performing in the Philippines, I just had to get tickets. I’m a huge fan so I was thrilled. I was lucky to be employed the time she came, so I was able to afford good seats. I danced, sang, jumped and cried, it was such an overwhelming experience. So many musicians are performing here this year, but I’m looking forward to the day Madonna will come. I will buy front row tickets, no questions asked.

A photo I took while biking with the folks

9. My love life. My love life for 2011 isn’t as colorful as 2009, but I did go out on several dates with several guys. One was with an ex who wanted to rekindle a bad romance, another that took two years in the making, with two guys who are friends (I dated them separately), two colleagues, a schoolmate, and one straight guy who I’m not quite sure if we dated or not.

Me with Nikko, Roi, and Jan, writers from the school paper

10. Nikko. Nikko has been one of the best parts of the year. He was a writer who applied when I was editor-in-chief. He was one of my favorites because he was assertive, creative, and ambitious. His passion for writing was inspiring and he greatly helped make my tenure one of the best. On top of that, we became good friends and he has a thirst for life that I admire that we ended up doing new things like watching plays, eating new food, and going to new places.

At Boracay

With family and friends at Puerto Galera

At Xintiandi, Shanghai

With friends at Batangas

11. Boracay, Puerto Galera, China, Batangas. This summer was the best, with the most trips. Normally, I go out of the country for a week during the summer and that’s it, but this year, my family and I went to Boracay, Puerto Galera, and China, then my friends and I drove to Batangas for a day. I’m not really much of a beach person but Boracay changed me. It was so beautiful that I promised myself to go to the beach (preferably Boracay) every year. Met some friends there and even hung out with Don. And just when I thought my 2011 beach trip was over, a family friend invited us for a trip to Puerto Galera. We stayed at this island resort called Aninuan and it was so great having an island to ourselves. A week later, the folks and I were off to Shanghai to spend a week. I had such a blast even though the language barrier made things a bit difficult. But China is a majestic country and I can’t wait to go back, this time to Beijing.

Resolutions for 2010

2009 is officially over. Honestly, I’m glad it is because we can now put the year that was behind us and start anew. With the start of 2010 comes an opportunity to change ourselves (and our country) for the better. Here are some of my personal resolutions for the year:

1. Lose weight. I gained so much that many of my clothes are starting to feel a little too tight. Made a deal with my mom to prepare healthier food with less beef and pork (which I’m hoping will lead to the complete annihilation of meat from my diet). I’ll also cut sweets and junk food to focus on fruits and vegetables. So far, it’s going great. For lunch today I had chicken and vegetables (with a slice of watermelon for dessert) and oatmeal with apple chunks for dinner.

2. Start exercising. Because a diet overhaul is not enough.

2. Be more thrifty. Must avoid shopping impulsively. I’m getting rid of my habit of buying books by the bulk without checking to see if they are any good. That annoying habit ended up with me drowning in books I haven’t read, and preventing me from reading the books I want to read. Now, I’m faced with the formidable task of giving them away to friends, which is tedious because I have to make sure it’s the kind of book they’d enjoy.

3. Read more. Because it pays to be intelligent.

4. Focus on writing my book. As my 21st birthday is slowly approaching, I’m drifting away from publishing within the confines of youth. Frankly, I don’t want to be an established author when I’m in my thirties because by then, my priorities would be bills, bills, bills.

5. Be more.

I know that new year’s resolutions are never fulfilled (I make a list every year, to no avail). But that was because I wasn’t focused and willing to change. Now that I know how important these five resolutions are, I think I’ll be able to do it. Wish me luck!

The year that was: 2009

As the year draws to a close, it is only appropriate to publish a review of 2009. I originally planned on writing a Christmas wish list, but I think it would be insensitive to list down the things I want while a lot of my countrymen are still homeless due to typhoon Ondoy.
If I were to describe this year in one word, it would be dramatic. I know of two other bloggers who share this sentiment but events have proved that the word dramatic could even be an understatement. So much has happened this year (and about to happen, I.e. the Mayon Volcano), such as the Amapatuan massacre, the typhoon that ravaged the country, the Obama administration, the sinking of M/V Baleno 9, Octomom, and the deaths that for some reason have become so plenty that many Americans refer to May to August of this year as the summer of death. There is King of Pop Michael Jackson, actors Farrah Fawcett, Brittany Murphy, Patrick Swayze, former President Corazon Aquino, media heavyweight Walter Cronkite, and others.
On a more personal note, there have also been plenty of drama in my life. If 2007 was the Age of Parties, where weekends (and sometimes weekdays) were spent partying and drinking; and 2008 was the Age of the Boys; 2009 is the year when I grew up and matured. I learned a lot of things this year, and I have to admit I learned some of them the hard way. I made important realizations about the world I live in and about myself. I know more about myself now, thanks to a little thing called reflection.
It has been a tumultuous year. Arranged here, in no particular order, are some of the great moments in my life this 2009:
1. This may be the Age of Reason, but it still wouldn’t be complete with a peek into my love life. It has been a colorful year, although none of them lived to see 2010 with me. It has been so colorful that when I looked in my date book to list down the Boys of 2009, I saw that I went out on a date with a certain Dru on May 19. Who Dru is, I have no idea.
2. Attending two prestigious journalism seminars. The first was Pressplay, hosted by the official student publications of both La Salle and Ateneo, and Inkblots, the annual journalism fellowship of the Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST. I got to listen to renowned mediamen such as Sandra Aguinaldo, Cesar Apolinario, Ernie Sarmiento, Ruel de Vera, among many others. I even got to meet my fellow student journalists and see Winnie Arboleda and F. Sionil Jose. I was also able to interview JC de Vera in the Feature writing seminar.
3. My nomination for Best Personal Blog in the Philippine Blog Awards. I didn’t really expect to be nominated, I submitted my blog on a whim and forgot about it because my computer broke. I felt honored to be one of the twenty finalists around the country vying for the Best Personal Blog Award. It was a huge deal for me because I have never been nominated for anything my whole life. Jim Paredes from Apo Hiking Society won but to be on the same playing field as an Apo is validation enough. I was also invited to attend a Manny Villar blogger’s convention but I responded a day late so I wasn’t included in the official list of participants.
4. Finally growing up. I made my first major purchase ever, a new cellphone, which was quickly followed by two others until I was satisfied with my Nokia E61i. I also bought a camera and recently, a laptop computer. I became independent after hanging out with my friends, who are all older than me and living on their own.
5. The movie adaptation of Substitute For Love, a short story I wrote three years ago. Looking back, there were a lot of errors in grammar and it could have been written better, but it was good enough to raise the interest of a Mass Communication student friend of mine, who wanted to film it for the school’s Art Film Festival. It didn’t win any awards, but I was proud to say that that was my story. Another friend offered to film another story of mine, Eat Me, for next year‘s competition.
6. Becoming associate editor of The Perpetualite, the official student publication of my school. I was supposed to be editor-in-chief, and there was an altercation that followed which included me walking out, but I accepted defeat and congratulated Anna, the current chief. I’m happy to say there is no bad blood between us, even though I scored the highest in the editorial exam. She won because of seniority but in hindsight, I’m glad that Anna won because she is a better leader. I consider my term as associate editor as training ground for next year, when I will be the most senior staff member. Here’s to hoping!
7. My weight. My weight has been fluctuating my whole life and until now, I’m still not satisfied. The pinnacle of my weight loss was this year, when I weighed in at 150 lbs. My diet was pretty radical, with eating only a pack of crackers a day, but it was worth seeing myself skinny. I gained a lot of weight but after New Year’s, I vow to lose the added 26 lbs.
8. My party at Ascend. Because it was awesome.
9. When Ondoy struck, it devastated the entire country. Pictures and video clips of atrocities shocked the nation. I was surprised to hear that our house in Quezon City was flooded up to the second floor, considering the gate is really high and the house itself is elevated. All the cars were ruined and Georgia’s puppy died. But this was nothing compared to what happened to other people who lost their homes and loved ones. Because I was blessed that all my loved ones are safe and our Las Pinas house escaped the wrath, I donated old clothes to Red Cross and volunteered to pack.
10. The discovery of sleeping pills. Valiums have been around since I was in high school but I only realized their potential this year when I took them to fight my chronic insomnia. It worked like a charm and I have tried others since then, from Mogadons to Acetaminophens, to Sleepasil and Sleepwell.
11. Finishing my P.E. course. It took me five years but I finally did it. It took a while because I avoided it like a plague, never liking the idea of changing to itchy clothes and sweating. I didn’t pass the two P.E. classes I enrolled in UST, dropped two in Perpetual, until I was forced to take them so I can graduate next year. My last sport was swimming, which I didn’t like because of issues with my weight, but I ended up liking it. I suddenly was looking forward to waking up at 7 in the morning to wear my trunks and join people I didn’t know in a pool that only reached my waist on both ends.
12. The Mass Induction of officers. I attended the Mass Induction last year as the secretary of the Psychological Society Student Council, which was a bore because I was with people I didn’t know much. This year, I went as the associate editor of the paper and being one of the most important organizations in the school (and having the second most important position), I requested five extra seats to bring in my jolly junior staff members. We had a riot that night. Because Anna didn’t attend, I had to go up on stage to represent TP in the oath taking. I was the first to be called and spent five minutes alone on stage because there was a confusion about who to call next. I basked in the spotlight, without forgetting to check if my zipper was closed.
13. Psychological Testing class. We had this course last semester and it deals with the anatomy, history, administration, and interpretation of psychological exams. One of the fun things we did was to group ourselves and administer all kinds of tests to the class. What did I find out about myself? That I have a tendency to be schizophrenic and aggressive. I swear psychopathy appeared twice in my Draw-A-Person test. In terms of intelligence, I found out that my IQ falls under Average (Test of “g’, Culture Fair), to which I was surprised. Thinking it was a fluke – I think of myself highly that way – it was soon backed up by the Raven’s Progressive Matrices and the Purdue Non-Language Test, who went as far as describing my reasoning ability as Below Average. However, I got a Superior Rating in my Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (an Achievement Test), as well as a Very High in my SRA Verbal Form. To express the irony in our professor’s words (the class volunteered me to be an example in writing psychological reports), I’m smart, but I’m not supposed to be smart. Touche.
14. My internship. My internship for Industrial Psychology began this semester and I was soon thrown into the world of Human Resource. I was assigned to Generika, the firm that makes generic drugs, and I am loving every single minute of it. First of all, it’s so refreshing to be wearing dress shirts instead of my school uniform. I had to dig into my closet for them (which was gathering dust because I haven‘t gone out in a while) and it’s so much more comfortable wearing Oleg Cassini and Courreges than my old uniform. In fact, I’m detesting the dress down Friday rule of the office where we can be more relaxed with our fashion choices. I also love the process of Human Resource and how applicants call me sir that I might just pursue this after college. Armani sure does make you feel powerful.
15. I said that the list isn’t listed in any particular order (and it isn‘t), but I wanted to save this for last. My biggest moment in 2009 was when I drafted my life plan, the path I’ll take after college. It took me five years because I was still debating what to pursue after college, whether it’s Journalism or Psychology. I love both fields but there has to be one thing. I could minor in the other, like be a journalist and apply what I learned in interviewing people or be a psychologist who occasionally writes columns or maintains a syndicated blog. Both have its merits so everything was hazy. But I finally decided that I would pursue… Psychology. One of my majors this semester (and so far my favorite) is Abnormal Psychology, and it renewed my passion for the field. It’s the reason why I even enrolled in the program. It made every psycho killer film I watched since I was a child a “case”, as well as the profiles of serial killers and psychopaths I voraciously read. Because the class inspires me so much, I have taken to reading mental disorders outside class. So what I’m planning after college is to work in HR (this is where my love for Industrial Psychology surfaces), and after earning considerable money, enroll in a graduate school – preferably Ateneo – to pursue Psychopathology, the study of the development and nature of psychological disorders. And while I study the mentally unstable, I work on the book I’m hoping to publish and maintain this blog.
So that’s it. It has been a crazy year, but it has been productive. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but that is the purpose of welcoming 2010, to clean the slate and start anew. It’s time to take control of our lives and gear it for the better. What would the new year bring us? Only we could answer that question.

Gene therapy, retail therapy, semen therapy

I heard this thing about smearing semen on your face to make it soft and smooth. I think I heard it from Nip/Tuck and after further research, I found out ancient Egyptians did the same thing to make their faces supple.

Last night, while drinking with my friends, a guy friend and I discussed the merits of smearing our own semen on our face. It was a disgusting topic, but we were laughing the whole night.

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