This year has been generally generous to me, but really, it was a year of momentous ups and terrible downs. 2017 was the year of pursuing my heart’s desires, of learning to give up and to accept life’s crests and troughs. Little did I know, these lessons lead me to realize the things that matter.
|Campus' maiden issue|
2017 was the year that Philippine Star Campus was born. From vision to fruition, seeing it finally come to life was nothing sort of spectacular. Seeing the first prints of this awesome page felt like giving birth — and yes it has its fair share of pains. Handling this section was difficult, but it gave me more reasons to love my job even more.
|Philippine Star's /Social Team|
My work life in the paper (as an editor and social media head) just got tougher, but it became more interesting. Seeing how the industry works in two different perspectives (traditional and digital) made me more aware of the current business situation. It opened my mind to the challenge of reconciling these two platforms and make them coexist for varied markets, and it wasn’t really easy. I can’t say I did a nice job, but I can say that I did what I have to do.
Also because of work, I was able to see Coldplay, the band I love for more than a decade now. I was tasked to cover their concert, but to my surprise, Entertainment Editor Ricky Lo tagged me along for the exclusive interview with some of the band members. Guy Berryman and Will Champion were assigned to us, and at that moment, may nanalo na.
|Will Champion, me, and Guy Berryman|
Perhaps one of the highlights of my 2017 was the day I became a professor. This year, I was invited to teach journalism subjects at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines — Manila, and I never hesitated to say yes. To teach was my biggest dream, let alone teaching in a public institution. As a student honed by public schools from Nursery to College, I knew I have to give back. On my first semester, I was given four 3-unit classes: two Online Journalism classes, a Media Laws class, and a Visual Journalism Class.
|One of the first classes I handled, Batch Halimaw (because they're online journalism beasts)|
Being a millennial educator, I had one goal in mind: to make my students love the industry. I want them to embrace the world they will soon be part of. I want them to understand that journalism isn’t only a concept, but a practice. So, as much as possible, I intertwined current events and trends in my class, so that they’ll realize that the industry is ever-evolving, so are the writing process and style. To receive good feedback (through evaluations, where I got a “Highly Satisfactory” remark) meant I was doing a nice job.
This year, I was invited to tons of speaking engagements where I met a lot of good friends who share the same passion as mine. I met other young journalist-educators like Ramon who travels the Philippines to teach and train aspiring journalists; Rupert who also juggles his full-time work and being in the community of campus journalists; and Ced whose work is aligned with social media but still manages to once in a while join the group of trainers. Seeing young, passionate people like them sharing what they know give me hope for the future.
|Ramon, Rupert, and Ced|
2017 was also the year I was able to travel abroad. To leave the country for the first time gave me a lot of worries and fears. Cultural and language differences were only two of many challenges I faced, but I was able to survive the journey, thanks to Timothy, the guy I met from Couchsurfing, who really took time and effort to bring me to his country’s best places.
|Tim, the friend I made in Taiwan|
Tim the Taiwanese allowed me to couchsurf in his family’s home — and to make me experience authentic Taiwanese culture was just an extra. His family was so generous and genuinely nice, and I saw how at some point — their culture was similar to ours. Tim and I kept in touch, and I consider him as a really good friend.
This trip opened my eyes to the beauty of other cultures — something I never thought I’d really experience. It made me understand other cultures on a personal level, and I know it was just the beginning. This 2018, I am bound to Kota Kinabalu, and I am more than excited to immerse in another foreign country’s customs and traditions.
There were so many things to celebrate, but there were also moments of losses. They’re pretty much big, and they shattered me to pieces.
Jarem and I broke up on my birthday. After a year and three months, the good ride came to an end. It wasn’t a good breakup, to be honest. We ended the relationship through text and Facebook messages, and hell, it really devastated me. I loved him so much that I did everything for us to stay. But good things come to an end, really, but I just wished we ended up in a different way.
|The friends who "saved" me. I love these guys so much!|
This breakup, however, made me see how many friends I have — the people I seemed to ignore because I was high of love. They were there, my various circle of friends, to console me and make me realize that it is over for us, but it’s not over for me. My good friend, Royce, put it to words: I lost myself in finding him; I gave my all and left myself with nothing. So the few weeks after, I focused on knowing my worth and leaving the heartache behind.
|My last photo with Nanay Angela|
Life has its way to hurt you more, and there is nothing more hurtful than losing a family member. Nanay Angela, my grandmother from my mother’s side died last May 21. After battling a lot of diseases, Nanay surrendered to the Lord and left us. It was the most devastating point of my life, because Nanay Angela was one of my closest family member. She was there since I was young, and she was the one who supported me in all my endeavors. I don’t think I have fully moved on from her loss, but knowing that she is now okay in the hands of her Creator makes me feel better. Nanay Angela, I know you’re up there and reading this, and I just want you to know that we love you so much. Today’s the first New Year’s eve without you, but in our hearts, we celebrate with you.
We lose some, we gain some.
After weeks of moving on, I knew I was ready for another relationship. It was first of April when JD and I first met in Bellini’s in Cubao. We talked about a lot of things, and we realized that we have a lot of mutual interests: Indie music, indie films, the love for the law and human rights, among others. We really had a good talk, and I think we were both interested with each other. After quite some time, JD courted me, and I gave my yes last June 1. (Special thanks to Jeka Dela Rosa, a good friend from Chef Laudico Guevarra’s for helping me put up the best way to say yes! I love you, always!)
|June 1, the day I said yes to JD.|
JD is a great person. His intentions are pure and his actions showed how serious he takes relationships. That’s what I liked about him: He will show you how serious he is that you will never second-guess his intentions. He made me feel that I can also receive love and affection. He constantly reminds me of his love, and never falters to do moves that will make me happy. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but all I know is that he’s giving me the best days of my life.
|Our first month together, and he surprised me.|
This year, I also did a big move, that is, to live with him. It was actually not a big deal for me, but surprisingly, living in with your partner was a big thing for others. Don’t get me wrong: I thought of this decision over and over again, but hell, I wanted to be home with the one I love the most. JD is my home, my comfort, my constant reminder of how things can possibly go the right way.
Our relationship was far from perfect. We have a lot of ups and downs. But our decision to live together made us realize that problems are easily solved when you are together to talk about it. We don’t use escape routes and leave the problem hanging because we both value conflict resolution. And I think that is the key: constant communication. Constant reassurance that all is well.
This year was a year of knowing the things that matter.
I realized how important family is. They are my constants. And no matter what happens, they are there to pick me up and make me understand that it’s okay to fail.
This 2017, I saw my friends who will be there on my victories and defeats, and they will never sugarcoat anything just to make me feel okay. They will always tell the truth, no matter how hurtful it is, but they will also offer their advice and words of wisdom when they feel I need it.
I also realized that someone who values you will always make you feel that you are worthy of the things you have. That person will never tell you you are not enough. He will make you feel that you are appreciated and valued.
I realized that there are always better things along the way when I take a step forward in the right direction. And along the way of pursuing what matters, I realized that I don’t have to look far because I matter, too.
Thank you, 2017, for a great ride.
|"Along the way of pursuing what matters, I realized that I don’t have to look far because I matter, too. "|