Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#JusticeForEmJ

I fell asleep early last night and woke up late so I only got to open my social media accounts on the way to work this morning.

One of the first things I saw on Twitter was a farewell tweet to "Sir Pavia." I thought it was referring to a relative of Em-J so I went to his Facebook profile to offer my condolences if ever. I was not prepared to find out that it was him who got killed. 

Yes, KILLED. Shot dead. On his way home from Ateneo where he's teaching.

I met Em-J through HumbleBola. We've seen each other only twice probably, interacted online through Twitter and chat groups a few times, but I was super affected by his death. I still am. I keep on reading tributes about him and crying every few minutes here in the office. 

We've been hearing news of senseless deaths all around the world. I've been enraged by the terrorist attacks and the alarming increase in extra-judicial killings in our very own country in the past weeks. 

I am very affected because this particular crime, this particular senseless death hits close to home. 

This culture of hate. This culture of violence. It's saddening. It's maddening. And it's frightening. What should we do? How do we put an end to this? It seriously pains me to not know the answers.

"If we have the opportunity to be extraordinary, seize it, 
and never settle for anything less than giving our very best 
in whatever it is we do." 

I took this to heart today, Em-J. Thanks for these inspiring words.

I saved our conversations about Ateneo basketball so that I have something to remember you by. Man, I wish I got to know you better. I grieve with your family, your friends, your students, and all the many others whose lives you've touched.


Eternal rest grant unto Em-J, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
Amen.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

So happy for Paul Lee

This post was written for Sports5




In the middle of the crowded Araneta Coliseum floor, one man stood taller than everyone else. Finals MVP Paul Lee lifted the plaque that reflected his hard work and intense desire to steer his team to a championship, and gamely smiled in front of the cameras. It was not the typical Angas ng Tondo smile, in which his mouth curves upward ever so slightly and ever so temporarily. It was instead a huge, victorious smile that he couldn’t seem to erase from his face even if he wanted to.

It was a very different scene from the last four times that I saw him walk towards that stage. It was the same atmosphere, but the people celebrating on the court were not his teammates. In those four instances that Rain or Shine failed to get the crown, his frustrations were written all over his face, and understandably so. He would bow down, slump on the floor, and shed tears if he must, but he would immediately gather himself. So that when they would be called to receive their runner-up trophy, he would be able to walk with his head held high. Heart obviously breaking, yes, pero taas-noo pa rin.



Friday, May 6, 2016

Thank you, Alyssa Valdez

#PhenomOut: Alyssa Valdez ends her legendary UAAP career
This post was written for Sports5




Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez just played her final UAAP game, and even if Ateneo failed to defend their back-to-back championship, the Phenom still got the royal treatment that a player of her caliber deserves. Valdez only had five playing years in the seniors division, but her final stint sure felt like Kobe Bryant just dropped the mic and said “Mamba out” one more time. As they say, it’s like the end of a volleyball era.

How legendary is Alyssa Valdez?


Thursday, April 28, 2016

What a heartstrong comeback

Not today: Valdez lifts Ateneo to force a deciding match against La Salle
This post was written for Sports5.



When the newly-crowned three-time MVP Alyssa Valdez entered the press room after a hard-fought Game 2 victory against La Salle in the UAAP Season 78 Finals, the first thing she did was utter a joke and laugh. “Mami-miss nyo daw kasi kami eh,” she told the reporters gathered around her. But her voice betrayed her when she started recounting what happened – how Ateneo pulled off the mother of all comebacks, from two sets down to a dominant last three sets.

“Super bait lang talaga ni Lord na binigyan nya kami ng chance na makapanalo pa ulit,” Valdez said as she fought back tears. “Hindi pa tapos.”

It’s not yet over. It could have been the last game of Valdez’s legendary UAAP career, but she refused to let it end just like that. Not today.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Courageous Caitie

The story of 3-year old Caitlin Soleil Lucas, my college orgmate's niece who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, has been all over my social media feed for quite some time. How bravely she fought amidst the pain has inspired so many people.

There were times when I opened my Facebook account just to get updates on her situation. I religiously followed her journey and prayed for her recovery so that she may get the chance to live longer and enjoy more time with her loving family.

I hate cancer. I’ve seen kids suffer from it back when I was still a Kyther. I have a friend who’s battling it right now. I’ve heard several stories of people who lost their loved ones because of it.

How I wish cancer could magically disappear and leave everybody alone, especially little children, but alas, the world is not a wish-granting factory.

Rest now in peace, beautiful angel. You fought a good fight. Thank you for touching our lives. 💔


Photo credit: Courageous Caitie


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

He's just not that into you

A few years ago, I made the decision to stop reading Thought Catalog (TC).

There was a point in my life when I got so addicted to it. The articles on the site are very relatable -- the kind that tells you that there are other people who understand what you're going through. Until I realized one day that reading TC articles was no longer helpful for me. Instead of giving me comfort, instead of telling me that "it's okay, you're not alone", I felt like it was reinforcing negative feelings that I didn't even knew existed or that I've long tried to suppress. There were moments when I was happy or content or generally okay, but then a TC article would suddenly remind me of things that triggered sadness. More than anything, it became a burden.

I've seen so many interesting TC posts on my social media feed, some of which were even sent directly to me by friends, but I refused to read them or click through the link. And to be honest, the decision to avoid TC was really refreshing.

Last night, however, I wasn't able to resist the temptation. I broke my self-imposed strictly-no-TC rule because the title of the article was exactly what I needed to hear: 


I'm a firm believer of that. I knew that love and commitment are two different things. I knew that a person who likes you may or may not pursue you. He may be fond of you, he may enjoy talking to you or being with you, but it does not automatically mean that he wants to be in a romantic relationship with you. There are plenty of reasons why people do not end up together. PLENTY. And I knew that. I guess I just needed that extra nudge, those extra honest words that would emphasize what I've always known to be true. Below is my favorite part.

"But think about the way you feel about him. How easy and natural and obvious it feels. How you don’t even need to question whether or not you should be with him, because it just feels right in your veins. How, even if you were scared of committing to someone or getting hurt or opening yourself up, you were still willing to do it, because your heart had already made up your mind. You wanted to be with him, so you were. The decision was simple. It really wasn’t even a decision at all.

"Now can you imagine feeling all those things but choosing not to be with him anyway?

"That’s why your heart is broken. Because he didn’t feel those things. He didn’t feel that same certainty that you did, deep in your bones. And you can’t change that, and you can’t fix yourself, and there’s nothing you did wrong. It’s just the truth. His heart didn’t make the decision for his brain, because his heart is in a different place from yours. And that really, really sucks. And you just have to accept it. And that sucks even more."

Things like this cannot be forced, and his decision to not be with you -- if he doesn't feel like it's the most natural thing in the world -- is also for your own good.

That overflowing love that you so badly wanted to share with him? Go ahead and give it to yourself first. You deserve it.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dear Badet

You are one of the funniest and bubbliest persons I've ever had the privilege of meeting. I will forever be thankful for that moment on the beach in Laiya, when we laughed our hearts out like we had no worries in the world. 

I am still in shock about what happened, and I cannot even begin to imagine how Dimples and your family are feeling. 

Now that messages on your Facebook wall are starting to pour, it's finally sinking in.

You're really gone. 

When I told Dimps that you instantly became my favorite after our "escape" trip, I wasn't kidding. I really wanted to spend more time with you. I really felt like we were meant to be friends, like we were supposed to do things together, whether in Berkeley, in Bulacan, in Eastwood, in Laiya, at the White House, or wherever, so long as there's alcohol and chips. Truckload of Coke's on you, of course.


Thank you for all the laughter, the stories, and the videos. Thank you for all the memories.

I can still see your wacky face and hear your sweet, little voice saying, "Screw you, everybody."

We will miss you, Badet. Let's drink to that.

*****

Eternal rest grant unto Badet, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace,
Amen.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Sports kilig moments

2015 was a huge year for me as a sportswriter (TBH, I'm still not used to calling myself this) and a sports fan. I've had so many personal milestones, and to help me recall, I reviewed my conversations with Enid and Izza, two of my friends whom I love fangirling with. They're the ones I always bother when I have sports-related news. I regularly bombard them with screenshots, links to articles, photos, etc. I hope they're not yet too annoyed because I have the tendency to make a big deal out of the smallest things. Haha!

Here goes my list of major sports kilig moments:

1. Invitation to write for Sports5

I got an e-mail from Jason Dayrit, my former editor at Kristn/TV5, where I wrote my first ever sports article (too bad I can no longer find the link). Sports5 was planning to put more content on its site so they're looking for contributors and he asked me if I was interested. I remember asking Enid, "what's a more decent reply than 'OMG THANK YOU'?" Haha. I was already writing for HumbleBola then and I thought the universe was really conspiring to pull me over to the sports world. 

2. Sports5 meeting

I went to the meeting without any idea who the other attendees were. I was pleasantly surprised to see Carlo Pamintuan and Polo Bustamante at the lobby. I tried to suppress my fangirl tendencies, but I couldn't help telling them inside the elevator on our way up, "Hi! I listen to your podcast." Haha, they were really nice! I felt like I didn't belong when I saw the other writers - Noel Zarate, Charlie Cuna, Chuck Araneta, James Velasquez, and our boss Sid Ventura. Until now, it still feels surreal to be in a Viber group with them and see my articles published next to theirs.

3. Getting media passes



It has always been my dream to watch games without having to line up for tickets. Hahaha. To be able to cover the UAAP/PBA is such a privilege. I also have an NCAA pass, but I never got to use it because game schedules were in conflict with my DepEd work.

4. First Sports5 piece

For my debut piece, I wrote about my first impressions from the UAAP opening weekend. I graded each team based on their first games. Seeing my byline in a sports website outside of HumbleBola was priceless.

5. Sports5 five-on-five

I was on vacation in Bicol when Sir Sid asked me to join that week's Sports5 five-on-five because the topic was UAAP finals. Who cares if I had to write in the middle of wakeboarding and surfing? I couldn't pass up the chance, plus I genuinely had fun answering the questions.

6. Kiefer appreciation article

I think the feature I made on Kiefer Ravena is still my favorite article to date. I was hesitant to volunteer to write it (because I believe it's always difficult to write about something that's very close to one's heart), but I really wanted to make some sort of a tribute piece for him. Before I knew it, I already churned out roughly 2000 words! So much for having a hard time. Haha.

7. Watching games with Carlo and Chuck

I know they're my colleagues, but hey, the first time we watched a game together, my fan mode was still on. I've lurked around their Twitter accounts/podcast for so long that hearing their commentary in person was kind of weird in a good way. Haha. It's only recently that I started getting used to it.

8. Photo with Kiefer and Alyssa

Too phenomenal for words! #KiefLy



9. Conversation with Paul Lee

When Paul Lee walked right in front of me near their dugout at the Philsports Arena, I gasped and said "Oh my god" out loud. SUPER STARSTRUCK. I asked for a selfie with him, but my selfie game is really weak. Huhu.

He walked past me again on his way to the court, and I mustered all the courage to ask him "Paul, kailan ka maglalaro?" He said, "Matagal pa eh." I knew I should have asked more follow up questions, but that's the extent of what I could manage at that time. Hahaha.

After the game, I got another chance to take a photo with him, and since I no longer trust my selfie skills, I asked for help from a random person. It's still not the best shot but this will do.



10. Text message from THE Mico Halili

This is the highlight of all highlights: Sir Mico Halili sent me a text message and asked me to write for SLAM. I was flattered and thankful that he gave me this opportunity. Grateful also to Carlo and Chuck because I think they were the ones who recommended me or at least gave my number to Sir Mico. The first article is already out (sabay #ShamelessPlug haha) and the second will probably be part of the next issue.




Of course, every time sports personalities or fellow sports fans follow me on Twitter, I still get kilig. It doesn't get old. Also when I get to exchange tweets with them, when they comment on my articles, or when they give me tips and advice.

Juggling sportswriting with my demanding 8-to-5 job is taking a toll on my body already, as I usually end up skipping meals and/or missing sleep to be able to beat deadlines. Sometimes, I seriously question why I do this to myself and why I haven't taken a leap of faith (i.e. find a less taxing day job or switch to sports full-time), but I need more time to process this.

Meanwile, I'm hoping for more kilig moments this 2016! 


Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 lists

Short-term goals:
- Travel to a non-Asian country || I had my most surreal adventure so far in Europe!
- Apply for MA || I really, really, really need to do this in 2016.
- Post at least 50 blog entries || I'm at an all-time low with only 15.
- Write sports feature articles || Thank you for the opportunity, HumbleBola and Sports5!
- Find a new hobby || I was supposed to do typography 'til I got too busy with sportswriting.
- Travel solo || I tried to minimize my travel expenses this year after Europe.
- Enroll in a dance class || I did not do any proper exercise... 
- Create a vision board || Nor did I do any serious life planning. 

Places traveled:
Jan 1: Tagaytay City
Jan 16-19: Laoag/Batac/Burgos/Pagudpud/Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Jan 31-Feb 1: Pico de Loro, Nasugbu, Batangas
Feb 22: Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo, Rizal
Mar 28-31: Paris, France
Mar 31-Apr 3: Amsterdam/Uithoorn/Lisse, Netherlands
Apr 3-7: Toulouse/Pibrac/Lourdes, France
Apr 7-10: Barcelona, Spain
Apr 10-11: Antony/Paris, France
May 16: General Santos City
May 16-17: Glan/Kiamba, Sarangani
May 18: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
June 6-7: Ace Hotel & Suites, Pasig City
June 12-14: Capones Vista Resort, Zambales
June 15-16: Hotel H2O, Manila City
July 16-19: Kuala Lumpur/Melaka, Malaysia
July 25-26: Angeles, Pampanga
Aug 8-9: Pico de Loro, Nasugbu, Batangas
Oct 14-16: Legazpi, Bicol*
Nov 15-18: Naga/Pili, Camarines Sur
Nov 19-20: Daet, Camarines Norte
Dec 20-21: Tagaytay City

Books read: 
- Love and Misadventures by Lang Leav
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- A Song of Ice and Fire: a Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- Lullabies by Lang Leave
- A Song of Ice and Fire: a Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

I can't believe I only read five books!!! What sorcery is this???

Movies/Plays watched: 
- English Only Please (2014)
- In the Heights by Ateneo Blue Repertory
- That Thing Called Tadhana (2015)
- Kwentong Komyut by ADHD Productions
- Romeo and Juliet by Manila Shakespeare Company
- The Theory of Everything (2014)
- Gone Girl (2014)
- Love, Rosie (2014)
- Birdman (2014)
- Reasonable Doubt (2014)
- The Spectacular Now (2013)
- All is Lost (2013)
- Ted 2 (2015)
- Inside Out (2015)
- Heneral Luna (2015)
- Into the Heart of the Sea (2015)
- Creed (2015)
- The Hot Chick (2012)
- Easy A (2010)
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Saddest songs ever

Earlier this week, I posted this question on Twitter and my Viber groups:

"What's the saddest song you've ever heard? As in ever. 
The crippling, tagos-sa-dibdib type."

I received diverse answers that led to interesting discussions, as one's choice of saddest songs is usually reflective of one's deepest issues, baggage, and fears. 

When asked why I thought of doing this survey, I said I wanted to compile a list, listen to each song, and select which ones fall into the "di ka na maka-function sa sobrang bigat" category. Way to end 2015 with a bang, right? Hahaha, kidding. It was just out of curiosity. 

The idea started one drunken night when we drowned our sorrows away by playing all the saddest songs we could think of. We were listening to Spotify for more than 12 hours straight - we also played happy songs at some point, don't worry - that when we finally decided to turn off the music (and get on with life), we couldn't take the deafening silence. Haha.

Of all the tracks we played that night, the winner for me was Your House by Alanis Morisette. The story, the melody, and the way it was sung -- ANG LALA.


Another one that pierces through the inner recesses of my soul (LOL) is Jealous by Labrinth.


But I always thought you'd come back, tell me
All you found was heartbreak and misery
It's hard for me to say, I'm jealous of the way
You're happy without me

Aaand the #StoryOfMyLife award goes to What If by Babyface.


My usual suspects will always be Avril Lavigne, The Script, and Adele. It's so hard to pick any one of their songs. But if we're talking about the most recent one that broke my heart into a million pieces, it's All I Ask by Adele, hands down. (The video below is a nice cover.)


If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I'm more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do
It matters how this ends
'Cause what if I never love again?


Here are some of the answers I got, in no particular order. I'll make a Spotify playlist, once I'm done checking out all 50+ suggestions. 

1. Nothing - The Script
2. You Could Be Happy - Snow Patrol
3. Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy
4. Tayo Na Lang Dalawa - Mayonnaise
5. I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
6. The Scientist - Coldplay
7. New York - Snow Patrol
8. In Case - Demi Lovato
9. Dying - Five for Fighting
10. Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri
11. Could've Been - Tiffany
12. Wag Ka Nang Umiyak - Sugarfree
13. Hold My Heart - Sara Bareilles
14. Dance With My Father - Luther Vandross
15. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
16. Everything You Want - Vertical Horizon
17. My Favorite Mistake - Sheryl Crow
18. A Sorta Fairytale - Tori Amos
19. Dreaming with a Broken Heart - John Mayer
20. I Wouldn't Be Here If I Didn't Love You - Belinda Carlisle
21. Sunrays and Saturdays - Vertical Horizon
22. When You're Gone - Avril Lavigne
23. The Planets Bend Between Us - Snow Patrol
24. Breakeven - The Script
25. If It's Over - Mariah Carey

Please add to the list and let's all cry together! Hahahuhu.


 
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