Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 in Q&A

Same year-ender Q&A I've been accomplishing since 2007. View last year's answers here.

What did you do in 2011 that you’ve never done before?
Drive on my own, travel solo, undergo a surgery.

What countries did you visit?

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I want to be more goal-oriented and driven.

What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 20-24: I can't say why, because what happened in Boracay should stay in Boracay.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving SGV audit, which I should achieve again in 2012.

What was your biggest failure?
I haven't made major, long-term decisions for my future. So much for 2011 being my transition year.

What was the best thing you bought?

Whose behavior merited celebration?
My BFF Inah, SEDPI family, Jin, the Ateneo Blue Eagles especially Kirk Long (I can't believe I didn't blog about the 4-peat championship).

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No one.

Where did most of your money go?
Travels (read about a few of them here).

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Most of them happened in July: UAAP, Harry Potter 7.2, Singapore trip.

What song/s will always remind you of 2011?
Not all were released in 2011, but they remind me of this year nonetheless: SUPER BASS, DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again, Dynamite, The Lazy Song, Someone Like You, Before It Explodes.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
My one-month projects, read books, blog, hang out with old friends.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Did you fall in love in 2011?
Maybe a little...

What was your favorite TV program?
How I Met Your Mother.

What was the best book you read?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

What did you want and get?
More like "who I wanted and got." Hihi. #partialCHOS

What was your favorite film of this year?
Black Swan.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I went to Australia with my mom for the holidays!

What kept you sane?

What political issue stirred you the most?
CGMA arrest.

Who did you miss?
Bro. Jan Jan and the rest of my JVP batchmates.

Who was the best new person you met?
Jin. :)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Not all things that seem wrong are wrong. They can even turn out to be the best things that could happen. This 2011, I learned how to take calculated risks.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Was it you who spoke the words that things could happen but not to me
Oh things are gonna happen naturally
Oh taking your advice and I'm looking on the bright side
And balancing out the whole thing
Oh but at often times those words get tangled up in lines
And the bright light turns to night
Oh until the dawn it brings
Another day to sing about the magic that was you and me

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season of giving

Every Christmas Eve, we go to my cousins' house in Quezon City. On the way there, I noticed that a lot of people were still out in the streets. Some of them were working - taxi/jeep/tricycle drivers, vendors, security guards. The others were on their way to somewhere. I found myself wishing that they were headed home, to eat noche buena with their families. 

I feel sad for those who spend Christmas away from home. What more for those who spend every single day away from their loved ones?

* * * * *

Last December 15, SEDPI hosted a Jollibee Christmas Party for street children from Virlanie Foundation

Playing funny bones

Crystal as mini-CherrylSi

Super cutie pie Kevin

SEDPIps in blue

The kids in orange

Feasting on Chickenjoy

Happy happy! :)

We gave the kids toiletries and school supplies as gifts. It warmed my heart when at the end of the party, they giddily opened their plastic envelopes, brought out their notebooks and pencils, and asked us to write our names on the first page as remembrance.

Many people have come and gone in their lives, spending just a day or two with them, but how many of those well-wishers do more than that? I remember when we organized a party for the elders from Golden Acres Home for the Aged, I promised myself right after we left that I will try to do more for the Lolo's and Lola's I met. Four years after, I still haven't gone back to visit them.

Stories such as those of the street kids and abandoned elders are moving, to the point that we feel somewhat obligated to help them. Hosting a party may be good, but with its effect being short-lived and temporary, I can't help wondering... what's the best way to really help them? 

* * * * *

I did not do any Christmas shopping this year. The money I would've spent to buy gifts for family, relatives, and close friends, I donated to the Ateneo DReaM Team and Philippine Red Cross instead, for the benefit of Sendong victims. It's the least I could do to help affected families celebrate the holidays amidst the tragedy.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steps in moving on

These are the usual pieces of advice that I give to friends (and to myself too) who break up with their boyfriends or pseudo-boyfriends.

Step 1: Focus on the reason.

This first step is very difficult, especially when there was no proper closure and you didn't discuss in detail why you broke up. What you can do is list down all the probable reasons why the relationship didn't work out. You have to understand why the break up had to happen. Otherwise, you will keep on wishing and hoping that you would eventually patch things up.

The reason may be any of the following: he couldn't accept your flaws, he's leaving the country and not coming back, he cheated on you, he abused you, you're too different, you can't see your future together, your life plans do not match, your personalities clash, he makes you feel bad about yourself, etc. In my opinion, making you feel bad about yourself is the reason of all reasons why you really have to move on from someone. A guy should never, ever make you doubt your worth. 

Once you've identified the reason why it will be a bad idea to have him back, FOCUS ON IT. It's inevitable to also remember the good memories that you had together, but you have to block off those positive things - at least in the meantime - just so you can let go. I've always said that it's easier to move on from a jerk because he gives you enough reasons why you don't deserve him in your life.

Step 2: Keep yourself busy.

Idle time invites endless thoughts. Keep yourself busy, not only work-wise. Do things that you've always loved doing or you've always wanted to try, may it be traveling, writing, cooking, working out, enrolling in classes, reading. Anything to distract yourself from merely thinking about him. It's true that at the end of the day, when you're in bed and about to sleep, all the thoughts that you tried to escape from will all come and mock you in the face. That's normal. It's actually healthy to just let the thoughts flow every once in a while. But you wouldn't want them to torture you all day long, right?

Step 3: Surround yourself with family and friends.

Now is the perfect time to spend quality moments with people you probably neglected while you and your guy were still dating.  This will lessen your longing to have your ex by your side, and make you feel that you are not alone. You need support from people who are willing to lend their ears as you rant and offer their shoulders as you cry.

* * * * *

Most people are successful in doing steps 2 and 3. You usually don't need to instruct yourself to follow these steps. They just occur to you naturally. 

I firmly believe, however, that you won't be able to completely move on if you skip step 1. It's crucial to know deep in your heart why you should let go. Otherwise, you might find yourself temporarily forgetting, but still blindly hoping. It's unhealthy, tiring, and oftentimes depressing to be stuck in that situation. 

You may follow the three-month rule or the half-the-time-you'd-been-together rule, but there's no clear-cut formula on how long moving on could take. It's something that you need not hurry, in the same way that "befriending" your ex is something that you need not force. It would be more helpful if you give it ample time before you communicate again.

I experienced spending YEARS trying to move on from someone. Looking back, I realized that I never took the time to identify the real reasons why we had to part ways, which may have caused me to dwell on the past longer than I should have. Now I'm glad that I know better.

Moving on gets less difficult after the first major heartbreak. If on the first time you felt that it's the end of the world, the next time you'll feel that it's just the end of an era. It will still hurt, and it will still tear your heart in pieces. But at least you already know that you would eventually get over it, just like the first time. 

We can only hope that one day, we'll find someone whom we won't need to move on from. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011


What Typhoon Sendong did to Northern Mindanao is devastating. I get teary-eyed when I see photos, news articles, and video clips of the typhoon's aftermath. The death toll has reached over 600, and it may continue to increase since rescue operations are still ongoing. So sad.

Amidst all these, it's heartwarming to see the same bayanihan spirit that Filipinos showed during and after Typhoon Ondoy two years ago. Instead of buying more gifts this Christmas season, maybe we can consider donating to affected families. Below are some ways to help, which I got from Facebook and Twitter. Please click on the links for more details.

1) Xavier University's Bagyong Sendong Relief Operations

For cash donations:

Account Name: Xavier University
Account Number: 9331-0133-63
BPI Main Branch

2) Ateneo de Manila University's DReaM Team

The Ateneo de Manila University through the DReam Team (Disaster Response and Management Team) is making a call for donations on behalf of the following groups: Gawad Kalinga-Ateneo (GK-Ateneo), Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), and the Office of Social Concern and Involvement of the Loyola Schools.

A booth will be open from 9AM to 1030PM at the Xavier Hall to accept all donations. 

The Loyola Schools Bookstore will also be open from December 19-23 and 27-29 from 8AM to 5PM. All net proceeds during this period will be donated.

3) Philippine Red Cross

Donate via text:

Text RED AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

You can donate these amounts:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500, or 1000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 200, 300, 500, or 1000

4) LBC Foundation

Drop off your donations to any LBC branch nationwide. FREE delivery to affected areas.

Personally, I find this sweet. Good job, LBC! 

5) Jesuit Volunteers Philippines

This is an effort of the Cagayan de Oro Local Chapter of the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines. Mitch Suazo, the contact person in the poster, is a JVP alumna from CDO. Cash donations will facilitate the purchase of needed relief goods.

For other ways to help, view a more comprehensive list on My Little Ways.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Me, Myself, and I

Most people want to try traveling solo at least once in their lives. I've been wanting to for so long. But I guess I was waiting for good enough reasons to actually push through with it. 

The waiting ended last month. Let's just say my reasons could be summarized with these three phrases: "moving on," "burn out," and "life directions." 

Soul-searching slash camwhoring

When you're a solo traveler... 

1) You have to master the art of self-timer shots. Self-timer jump shots are extra challenging.

2) People will give you freebies out of sympathy. Free food, free tour, free ride. Or maybe I was just lucky. 

3) You will be told that you're brave and daring a lot of times. I think it's unusual for them to see a girl who looks like a student travel on her own.

4) People will ask you "why is your boyfriend not with you?" Kapag mag-isa, boyfriend agad ang hindi kasama? Hindi ba pwedeng barkada muna?

It was liberating and refreshing. I'm sure this won't be the last time. 

Read about my alone time experience here and here.

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