basangsisiw

We are each other's wandering self.

I Remember Them: Befriending Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Over a couple of years ago, I met someone online through my blog. He was a writer, an exceptional one. He writes with his soul and you could really feel his pain and his joy when reading through his works. For the longest time that I had been engrossed with the art, I never yet met someone who could make my tear fall in a single line of truthful words. Or maybe perhaps, I was just treading the wrong lane all my life.

Coming from a well-off family, you would not imagine Tim to be struggling to keep his sanity to find reasons to live. He had planned on cutting himself several times; went back and forth from his alcohol addiction; desperately drowned in medication just to relieve himself of the dilemma of living. Yes, there were countless times when he would say how he hated just to be alive. He would talk of death very often. And despite the help he has received, in spite of all the effort to keep him well, he would go back again and again to where he started. He never wanted to quit but he can do little to help himself. I could not exactly remember when he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, all I know is that he needs some special care and attention. I used to find it weird when his mood would suddenly change or how abrupt his mood swings can get overtime. But like most of those who were trying to help out, I had always tried to understand. And he would say to his readers, that was all he needed to make it through the tough day. And I was genuinely happy with that. Several months later, I quit from reading and following his blog for personal reasons while I was recuperating from my issues myself. Trying to help out when you know you are extremely wounded yourself would not help that person heal. So I stray away. But he didn’t know I would still check on him from time to time to see how he’s doing. Knowing that he is still into writing and is trying to finish his book, taking pictures of Point Judith or Narragansett, to me is a great relief. That way, I could help get my conscience put to rest.

Tim was not the only friend I knew who is Bipolar. One high school friend had been diagnosed with the same, about exactly the year that I met Tim. He is Teddie, 30 years old and was the smartest kid in our class in high school. He was always the one who garnered the most honors even without really exerting too much effort in studying. He was probably born a genius. We went to the same university in college. He took up Chemical Engineering and because we belong in the same engineering field, I would see him from time to time in the campus. We have always been friends. So that moment when the news broke out about Teddie having some sort of ‘mental disorder’ (which I still dread even mentioning now), was heartbreaking. Being one of the Cum Laude graduates of the BS Chem Eng department and one of its most priced student, it just broke my heart that something as devastating as being Bipolar could possibly happen. What I did not know was that the stigma of the disorder was more destructing than the illness itself.

Today, Teddie is still coping up. He has regular sessions with his shrink every two months and he is trying to come out so people would understand. He has not had a job after he quit his first job after college but I am always hoping he would find one in time. There is nothing much I can do to help except to let him know that I am always right here whenever he needs me. From time to time he would message me on Facebook just to tell me about some problems and issues he’s been dealing with lately. If in any way these messages are a cry for help, I hope I am doing the right thing to address that need. I do hope I am.

The Rise and Fall of a Seasonal Blogger

Perhaps some may have noticed that apart from the one I posted about an hour ago, this is going to be the first post I will be doing in almost two years that I was away from WordPress, but not entirely in the blogosphere.

Two years of isolation from the very first blog I used to love and maintain, but failed to keep. The blog I dreamed of keeping and will be working while I still have the passion to write, regardless of whether I was read upon by others or not.

Basangsisiw was my first baby blog. I used to have a lot of plans for it until such time I surprisingly lost the interest of keeping it updated and relevant. Like any writers (though I do not consider myself one), I also went through periods wherein I got tossed around in the never-ending cycles of getting up, wanting to write something but could not think of anything sensible to share to the readers. I got drowned in my self-imposed goal to write regularly and as often as possible, even if I was already in the pit of choking myself for writing things I don’t like talking, writing and sharing about. The countless drafts said it all how many times I reckoned with the want to keep my blog alive instead of wanting to give it life. The drafts that never got the chance to be published; the thoughts that most probably will end up in the trash bin. Lost thoughts. Wasted time. Hidden scribbles of things, people and moments I decided not to disclose here… and perhaps may never be known ever.

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or an amateur one, maintaining the momentum to keep your blog as alive and working as possible is a great task. Furthermore, keeping your reader’s interest is an utmost responsibility for every writer, not to mention an exhausting war one must wage against and win over. If you get lucky, you’ll increase readership. If not, you’ll face the winter season of blogging and most probably, like me, would acquiesced and raised the white flag to commence defeat. Yeah, to be honest, I had given up this blog years ago. I did fight, once. Then I decided it was time to let it go completely. But perhaps, not that completely after all. I am glad I was born hardheaded. If I wasn’t, you certainly would not hear from me or read my senseless thoughts once again.

So here, welcome back, my baby blog! We shall rise and fall like the crest and trough of a wave but we will never completely disappear. We’ll keep coming back. Again. And again.

We Grow By Age and Experience

A Letter To My 30-Year Old Self

If you still remember, I was scribbling this when you were 70 days-shy of your 30th birth anniversary. So by the time you read this, congratulate yourself for making it to this day. So how are you feeling now, little fella?

You see, there are so many things that we need to talk about—goals, work, dreams, people, feelings—life, in general. But where should I start?

In 30 years, I’ve seen your ups and downs. I’ve witnessed you rejoiced in your successes and cried with you when you faltered. Darn, if you’ll get a counter to keep those moments counted, I’ll have nothing else to do other than watch the figure ticks. I was there celebrating with you (silently) when you get to hit beyond your target. I wailed and howled with you in the dark corners of your room when you got it ten days before Christmas in 2011. I was there when no one else can be there all the time. While you find hands to hold you from falling, I scoured the world for reasons to keep fighting.

The choices you made through the years had got you where you are now. Truthfully speaking, you’ve not moved quite far from where you started. Knowing how you like to tread another path instead of the one you are painstakingly heading is one heck of a battle, I know. But I am proud, nonetheless. Why? Because regardless of what you do and how these endeavors made you feel right now, you always look for the brighter side to your every struggle. You always find the heart to be grateful for every new beginning and the inevitable endings that came along. But most of all, because you respect the truth that people are people. Riches, power and glory will fade, but people will always be people. You like them. You treasured them. In fact, a lot of them. You kept them in a special place, just like every lessons you learned in life.  Some may have challenged your convictions, but you know deep inside, when the dark sinks in, we all are the same breed of creatures— we laugh; we cry; we dream unimaginable things; we aspire for a chance to wake up the following day to see the light. While some would curse the heavens because of a sudden misfortune, some would close their eyes and thank God for the storm. That’s how unique people are made. What we see as flaws in others are front to hide their broken selves. And you respect that truth. Even if sometimes they became subjects to your unceasing rants, when you close your eyes at night, you say a little prayer for them with all hopes for an enlightened heart in the days ahead.

You don’t have material things to brag about, but you find your most-priced possessions in the bond you made with everyone who crossed your life. That is why for you, memories are priceless. The same reason why you keep walking down memory lane to relive lost moments. You fear that letting go of memories necessitates getting rid of the people who had been a part of it as well. And you know you cannot do that. Well, I would like to tell you that it doesn’t have to mean that way. You see, there are countless wars worth fighting in life, but there are some when the loss are more satisfying than the victory itself. You must learn to determine which war requires the need of your strongest battalion and armory. And the lost ones? Learn from them. Forgive yourself and then move on. Even if your life is flawed, it is still too beautiful not to be lived fully.

In life, you get too many complaints about how you seem so distant at people, why you always kept away from the crowd. Some people may not understand why you seem to shut people out and refrain them from getting pass to the door of your life. Well, I know why. It is not that you intend to estranged from the rest of the civilization on purpose, it is just, you were designed that way. If people would only look intently, they’ll see that you love observing and learning from them. You are born that way. You love looking at people’s eyes. And everytime you do that, you tried to read and reveal their very soul with every random glances they do, the blank stares at the open spaces they are subconsciously making or the fake happy eyes that conceal hurts hidden deep within. Actions, mannerisms, body languages, gestures, facial and eye expressions, you are subconsciously drawn to it just as how you were drawn to the mystery of the universe. You are easy to empathize. Whilst happy people makes you happy, lonely people makes you as well, terribly lonely. You take joy in silence, in serenity. You are drained by noise, by clutter. You loved seeing happy faces that is why you always take time to smile at people, even at random strangers. And you take emotions too seriously. That is why you are most of the times, a cry baby. It’s fine. Cry if you must, but always be thankful for the reasons of your shedding. In the end, it will make you stronger.

Lately, I was quite disturbed by how you were feeling— physically and emotionally. I know you are fighting and I am always proud of that. Despite how you like teasing people about something they don’t wanna talk about, you kept telling them anyway. Because since the beginning of time, you have embraced a fact that which others tried to shy away from. And you laugh at it when people cringe or spank you or even hit you for saying those. Because at the back of your mind, you are in return, doing them a favor. They may not understand it now but in time, they will. There were moments when I saw you slumped at a corner crying over some things you were not sure exactly why you had to. You must know, I cried with you in silence. As a loner, I have witnessed you befriending solitude in exchange for peace. I have seen how fragile you have been all this years. But still, keep fighting the good fight, fella—the Good Lord is with you.

So now that you’re reaching this stage, I could see how your hopes had skyrocketed. Bravo fella! I know it did not wane actually, you were just waiting for the right moment to come. On behalf of your broken-to-a-gazzillion-little-pieces-self, let me thank some fellows for rekindling the warmth you thought was lost. You must know that you drowned her. But she was drowned in the best way possible. Unlike before, it no longer scares her if she gets to be thrown in a throng of strangers because she knows she won’t be lost. Someone will come looking for her eventually. And she is always found. She is for the third time putting hers on the line. She knew the risks but she’s open to everything. She knew how it feels to be wounded in the battlefield so what else would scare her now? She had once seen the love fading into nothingness walking past studs in that ground where she first and last saw him. She waited eight years for it to vanish. It did. It’s true, time is a magical healer. I remember that day fully well til now. And then that fateful day again when she had to leave to let someone live his life. That was the moment when I am proudest at her. She broke down for months but she get to let lose a battle which defeat is clear in the end, even if she gets to win officially. Despite the harrowing consequences that transpired thereafter, she was able to fight her demons and defeated them. Again, congratulations. Not everyone may understand this now, but say it anyway.

Things are now slowly converging into something you have dreamt for so long. Well, I could sense some excitement in the air, you know. It might not be the exact dream of lying in a rolling hill in Batanes under the night sky while listening to the gush of Pacific waves whistling from a distance or the dream to walk above the clouds one sunrise on top of Mt. Pulag. But it’s equally overwhelming. God really has His own way of revealing the truths of your existence in the most unexpected of ways. Gotta love that, fella. You have been waiting for the rain to come and now it has started to pour down rainshowers of long-awaited wishes. You do not have everything still to be totally happy but you have enough of everything to keep the joy in your heart, now and always—family and kins, friends and acquaintances, work that never ceases to drain your mental juice and challenge your growth, feelings of content and gratitude for every life who have come at the crossroads of your life. Keep that joy and love in your heart and nothing will tear you down. If in case something will dare hurt you, talk to God about it, as you always do. And everything will be alright… as it always does.

And always remember, no matter where you are in the world right now or wherever you are at the moment, always remind yourself that in the greater scheme of things, you are just a tiny speck of dust in this ginormous universe. The world will not revolve around you but how you live your life right now will affect at how the world will spin…at any given moment. Try to do good each day and the world will be a happier place to live.

And never forget to love unceasingly and unconditionally…

Keep loving no matter how pained you are. Keep smiling because that’s the least thing you can do to lift a hurting stranger. Keep extending your hands even if others had rejected it. Always keep your ears open to hear out people. And trust that your little acts of love can do great wonders in the lives of those who most need it.

Here’s always hearing you out today and the rest of your life,

Your 30-year Old Self

This was a letter I wrote to remind myself that despite every shortcoming and imperfection I had, life is still sooo worth living. It still is and will always be. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while. In more than three months, I shy myself away from jotting (well, let’s say pounding) my thoughts on my keyboard due to reasons I cannot disclose as of this moment. Honestly, I thought I would not return to this side of the web, making my little world known to strangers and acquaintances alike, but as you can see, I am right here again, welcoming myself back!

What brilliant way to restart another life at blogging is to join the Weekly Photo Challenge. (Seems like a desperate move? Hmm, I’ll leave that to you. Lol!). Anyway, I consider it really a timely post for me since green, is my favorite color.

Green for me, is the color of life. Look behind you, around you and you’ll see a lot of greens. Trees, leaves, grasses, while some would change color overtime are predominantly and naturally green in nature. Nature. I am a lover of nature. But more than that, I fight for nature. I am an Eco warrior. Yeah, if I weren’t born from human parents, I would believe I am an offspring of a natural living creature, maybe from a tree or a spore. (And yeah, I have the resemblance, you know).

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Yes, these plants are mine. (Oh well, what can I say, I have  a green thumb). And no, most of them are already dead right now. :(

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basangsisiw:

From Edwin’s words himself, there’s a first time for everything. And I owe the man my first (cameo appearance) “mention” in a blog. Hehe! Thanks AwkwardList! :)

Originally posted on AwkwardList:

How do you greet people?

I high-five, smile, wave, hug, shake hands, bump fists, secret handshake, kiss, dance, or I just don’t greet and move on straight to the first topic of conversation.

How do you say goodbye?

For some, it goes along with them. How they greet or how they say bye is a bit like their Catch Phrase, or catch “action” like basangsisiw mentioned. I say bye differently to many people. Some I hug, some I do the little hand gun gesture to, and to others I high five.

But what do you do when you haven’t established such a gesture with someone before?

As you may obviously not know, unless you follow me on Twitter, I try to go to the Downtown LA Art Walk every month. If you’re around, you should definitely go next time! Anyway, I was there with a few friends last…

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This is my place. Love it and hate it.

This isn’t the place I was born. Nor the place I would have chosen to be raised had I been given the choice. This here, is the very place where I have spent almost twenty-eight years of my bittersweet existence. For almost three decades of being alive, this spot became the cradle of my existence. Taken to here while still two moths young, raised til I grew up today, this is the only place in the planet where I can muster the gut to walk close- eyed… and still keep the confidence to go on walking.

This is my place. My home. Barely a mile from the National Highway, situated on the foot of Canghambay, City of Naga in Cebu, rests my humble home and nearby community. Plain rural living. With some parts blessed with panoramic view while on the other, the not-so-good scenes of families living in utter poverty. From time to time, you get a handful dose of views enough to keep you human, reasons for you to keep grounded. Not everyone has the opportunity to be as close to the seemingly abandoned souls of the society as what I, we here came to witness in this place, day by day. Enforced or unenforced child labor is rampant. Kids voluntarily do things that only adults should be allowed to do but because it’s the only way to help their parents put some food on the table, these little workhorses endured the fatigue and the temptation of letting go some chores and tasks so they could let themselves just be–kids. A number fortunately are taking education seriously while a majority took the other way out. Either they’ve stopped because parents are incapable of sending them to school or they have opted to leave school to look for easier and quicker ways to help the family. Either way, it’s never a comfortable sight to be looking at.

The greatest consolation is to hear and see young people’s laughter regardless of what they are going through in life.
(Note: The kids shown here aren’t necessarily who I’m referring to, maybe only half of them).


Children’s population is skyrocketing in this area. And you need not see the actual statistics to realize how it  has spiked up these past few years. Anywhere you go, you will see children, little kids on the streets being watched by their older siblings, who are young children themselves.

I’ve seen fathers and family bread winners who pulled off everything they got to sustain their family; such respectable act to behold. Yet, I’ve also bore witness to disgusting leeches relying, feeding on the hardwork of another member. Pathetic! The problem with poverty is only temporary as there are ways on how it can be addressed but laziness as a behavioral problem is a different thing. Plain housewives are widespread as the children are, especially very young ones. I am at awe at the kind of adjustment these young women had to go through for choosing married life at this point in their lives.

With the place itself, I feel blessed having lived in a house where my privacy is well taken care of. People can come near us only when allowed because aside from the German Shepherd roaming around the perimeter, it’s fenced, not gated though, but to those who have known us since a long time ago, knew and respected that what surrounds our home belongs to us as a privately-owned property. Somehow, I wished we were secluded just so I could keep myself from seeing things I no longer want to see. However, there are things I do wanted to keep for my own fancy, like watching the view from the back of our house onto the crystalline blue waters beyond the towering twin chimneys of Salcon Power Corp. Urgh! If there could be a way to uproot those two view-blocking structures of the power plant, I would kindly volunteer myself.


These monstrous Megawatt power plant has been here for as long as I could remember. As to my Nanay’s recount, the area which now supports the other gigantic newest coal-fired powered plant of KEPCO was used to be part of the sea. It was in the 70’s when massive reclamation was done to give way to the new project. Regardless of the roaring noise and air pollution it created from time to time, I still love this place. With all its sickening excrescence, it is still a wonderful place.

These among others are usually what greets me every morning. These certainly aren’t the kinds that will make your day but who am I to grumble? After all the years I have lived here, even with the fact that I would not opt to live in this place if I did had the choice, somehow upon seeing what life was for many of those who I came to co-mingle day by day, I’ve learnt that this here, is my very place. Every waking moment is an opportunity to get closer to my very own humanity in a more personal way. And I wouldn’t need to live or go  somewhere else to realize that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

Shielo, Me, Mahin and Gogi

This is one, if not the only photo I have of my college bffs where all four of us were present. Thanks to Mahin’s hubby, Wilmore for the rare shot and for the memento I hold so dearly til now.

These girls were like my sisters; odd sisters I must say. We became friends not because we share same interests nor follow the same tenets in life. In fact, we are so different in many ways that most often than not, we ended up biting each other’s tail. Yes, it’s common for us to head-but one after the other, refute one’s opinion and take side with another but no matter how oddly unique we are as persons, we stick and consider this gang of four not-so-ordinary females, each other’s friend.

We’ve been friends for eleven years now and though we led separate lives making a living in separate places, I know the tie that binds our friendship together cannot be separated neither by time nor distance.

Me and Shielo

Mahin and Gogi with the (Telly)hubbies

Just this morning, I got the time to browse my friend’s albums. Well, they looked genuinely happy in their photos. And I am as equally happy for them for the kind of life they are making with their own families. They looked a bit older though (hope they don’t mind this) but prettier nonetheless.

To my four bffs (including my high school bestfriend Julieta), Shielo, Alma and Gogi, I wish you good health and genuine happiness. I miss you guys! Love lots!

PS. See hi to my alter ego, Julieta!

Yes, she’s one of the dearest friend I have. And no, I’m not sure what exactly she was doing here. You guess! ;p

Disclaimer: All images that appear herein except for the first one above is not mine and was just accidentally reproduced, copied, edited and stolen for personal purposes only. The owners are prohibited to seek any legal actions in relation to the rightful usage of said non-copyrighted materials, or else

Look, stop and listen!

I wish I wouldn’t be the one affirming this, but I’ll keep modesty aside and for once acknowledge myself as a listener. I’ve always believed that every person born in this planet falls to a certain class of a co-existing role, that of being a listener or a talker. Certain elements and factors could affect someone’s ability of being a good listener or a good talker and whichever category one may fall into, his interactions with other people are governed by what role the person has been made to portray.

Code Talker

Code Talker (Photo credit: Chris Corrigan)

Dropping by at Random Olio’s post Do You Listen 100%?., a realization came to mind about what category I could count myself to suit into and how I was shaped by the role I’ve played.

Fortunately, my being a listener in a way aided me to become who I am now. I am who I am because I have been an intent listener, and anyone who knew me can attest to that (or I can force one to make the attestation). Not that I hate talking or something. It’s just that it feels good when I listen to people and feels way better to let them feel that I am listening. I get amazed about other people’s views and opinions so much. Plus, the learning that comes from listening is  more than fulfilling. It’s unimaginably emotionally moving.

Being a listener cannot be achieved overnight though. It is, nevertheless a long process which sometimes demands genuine self-examination to grasp fully how it is and what it means to be a mere listener and why it’s important to stay as such.

Wanting out a proof as to my being a listener, I tried out Quibblo’s “Are you a talker or a listener test” and here’s my result. Notice that I intend to have my proof derived from a third-party entity (if you can call a personality examination site as one) to prevent impartiality.

You are deff. a listener. You like to talk and share your opinion  sometimes, but you rather listen to what others have to say. When something is bother a friend, your always the first person they go to so they can let things out and for advice. (that your good at giving!) You are always concerned about the people you care about, and always know what somethings up with them. You also listen to everyones problems, even when your not in he best mood. Sometimes you tend to keep things inside though. Try letting things out and talk to someone when somethings bothering you. This may build up stress. Next time somethings wrong, talk to a close friend or a family member, they won’t mind trying to help you out. After all, your always there for them!

And oh, I don’t mind if the site isn’t legit to conduct such test or if it doesn’t proofread nor check its contents before publishing (not that I try to make excuses on the site’s behalf for the lack of using any proofreading tool. Hihi!) because that would be beyond the context of this post since I’m only after here for the proof. Ha!

Being a listener nonetheless is a self-gratifying task that propels learning of others and of yourself but it may also has its negative impact. Stress! Because of the role you play as the listener, most often you end up being overly affected by what others has to say and share to you. Trust me, I’ve been through a lot of mess because of trying out fixing other people’s mess and minding their problems as if they’re my own. It sometimes becomes ugly and physically exhausting to allow something like that to alter your mood and disposition when at the beginning they do it unintentionally not thinking that it will have a bearing on you at all. Thus, you can forgive them on sharing their frustrations, hopes, joys or more specifically their lives since it is done unconsciously if not for the end alone of sharing it to someone in the hope that they will be listened to, consoled or empathized…if not by a fellow talker, then most probably by a listener.


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You Beach! You’ll See!

Oops! Not that I’m cursing or something. It’s just that I hate lazing around here, spending days on sedentary mode when I could be doing something else, like strolling in the beach, watching kids build sand castles or just simply adore what beauty the ocean there is.

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Guanzon Beach (Langtad, City of Naga, Cebu)

But since the wet season has just started, getting that wish done will be far from being real. I’ll see you soon beach! If I’d be lucky, maybe not for long! Wink!

Memoirs of My College Graduation

I cannot imagine how many times I have retold my college graduation story to someone. In fact, not just that fateful time of college merry-making but also those times of struggle I had while studying, every time when the need to retell it arises.

While people may have think it doesn’t need an ounce of nerve to have my story being listened to again and again, deep inside it kills me to recount back what experience, the good and the not-so-good ones I have to muster to get through some of the tougher times of my life. And everytime I came across with someone who whines and grumbles over little things because they seem not to suit his/her pleasure, when in fact they could be the very same thing someone out there may have wished in life to have, the urge to do the solemn task would rise in climactic trend. And so, in the following moments, I had my mental pages perused, dog-eared at the most dramatic parts, scanned for what lesson I could impart to those who listened, and are willing.

The war is over, at last!

Graduation day is a day of victory for students. Victory because after the years of battling over the professors assignments, projects, theses to pull through despite the financial, emotional, psychological or a mix of these odds one faced, finally the end line has come. No one except yourself can withdraw from the chance of having to walk the red-carpeted isle of the walkway towards the center stage where you’ll get the official nod of the school administrators that you are legible to graduate; unless the school finds a genuine fault like when computing grades that will hold back your momentary spot among the thousands of students vying to leave the school premises after graduation, you, as how your siblings, parents, relatives–near and distant– neighbors and the community expected you: a graduate–fresh, idealistic, with guts tantamount to a hundred political trapos, they say.

The onslaught of the year-end dilemma

However, graduation days sometimes had its flaws. Sometimes the very essence of graduation gets marred by what graduates aspire to be– how they will look like, what dress and shoes to wear on, jewelries to flaunt and what matches which, who will do the make-up, etc. Waste of time. Not to mention, waste of money.

Or perhaps, I was just being cynical about it. Because first, I never had any nor got the chance to be how I would have wanted to appear in my college graduation day. No wonder why I cannot take my graduation picture out of the album where it had been hidden since 2006. It looked totally not the kind I hoped it is but had been. Regrets? Perhaps. But to where shall I put blame to? My parents for not providing me the whims a graduate would want to have in exchange for the diploma I and them can now brag about? My parents, who despite our financial incapability had stubbornly made us pursue schooling? These two people who had to break their backs, turned night into day working, securing for ways on how my siblings and I can still go to school the following day? Then, perhaps it wasn’t them who played Grinch  that caused my bittersweet college graduation memories. I believe I caused it myself.

I remember how on the vesperas of my graduation, I strolled the city and Tabunok with only 300 Pesos on my pocket, wishing, hoping I could find something to wear for my graduation day (one for the Baccalaureate Mass in the morning and for the graduation proper in the afternoon) with that considerably tight budget. Sounds almost impossible. And it was.

Hoping from one mall to another, I no longer expected to find a valuable dress since the price of most graduation dresses especially during their peak season, were not even twice the amount I had on hand. Precious hours passed. The search continued. Luckily when I got to a Chinese Mini-Mart in Tabunok, I finally found what I had looked for, my  cheap graduation dress. Yes, it was cheap. (It actually just cost P200 or about $5 then). That was all I could afford to have; all that my parents could humbly provide.

Bittersweet, it always has been.

Graduations aren’t always about confettis and garlands.

While everyone was busy figuring out which wardrobe to wear at each occasion on that day, since I only had one option, I spared myself of the dilemma. What I wore during the Baccalaureate Mass in the morning was the same outfit I had in the afternoon during the graduation proper. Moreover, while most female graduates at that time may have hired someone to do their make-up, I did mine… alone (to think I’m the farthest thing from being a woman as I don’t wear make-up at all). The overall outcome? Well, I was just as happy as everyone, at least.

The whole graduation ceremony only produced me two photos (these two I’ve kept in the album). Both from the official school photographer. Since we didn’t have a camera at that time, that two memoirs are the only visual proof that I did attend my college graduation ceremony. At least I have two. In my high school graduation, I never had even one. Sad. Haply.

Caprices and whims by itself aren’t all negative. When you’ve done something great and you want yourself rewarded for it, even if others would think it as a waste of resources, so long as you won’t step on someone’s foot in so doing, then by all means, go for it.

“The most important things in life aren’t things.”

 Anthony J. D’Angelo quotes

Now, do I wholly feel deprived with what I experienced? Partly, I was deprived but of my whims. Eventually, I realized that those aren’t the most essential factors I will need to start the new chapter of my life, in the real world–the one which is about to begin– the kind of life when dear old me will be tossed, scorched and pounded into the mold to be shaped to who I was destined to become . That is why I feel blessed I was able to graduate. That in itself, shall be a cause of merriment. I’ve even known some well-off friends and acquaintances who in spite of their money and capabilities failed to finish their college education. Perhaps they don’t consider it a threat to be an undergraduate considering the amount of wealth their families have provided for them. This just goes to show that it’s will, not wealth that will take you further and farther. After all, “a person with big dream is more powerful than the one with all the facts”.

The commencement of learning

Yet with or without the fancy things one would aspire to have had, I managed to surmount the odds. It’s the best consolation I got during that fateful graduation day in 2006. And it was the best gift I have given to my parents for painstakingly enduring the hardships of letting me finish my education. They could have chosen to let me stop, but they did what they think was best and will be best for me. I may never had everything in life but what else would I be asking for when I have the most determined parents in the world. If they, the workhorses of my life had nailed their trust that I would make it, then who am I to disappoint them? I am just the fruit of my parent’s labor afterall.

Had I not gone through the kind of life I’ve had or if circumstances had been different, maybe I won’t be scribbling here this slightly tormented journey of mine or even share it to you but for the hope of imparting what learning I could affect, I willingly yield to that intent.

The experiences one goes through are what defines a person. Good or bad, these strength-boosters are there to either make or break you. Thus, your fate, as the free-willed creature that you are, is governed by what choices you make. Either to stop or continue, to lay frustrate or bounce back, to aim for the win and be at par with the greatest or to be content being second. Whichever one chooses to go after, one must not forget that life is fleeting. And while it is best to live life to its fullest sense, it is likewise just as important to note that whatever goal we set ourselves into, no one other than the grass below our soles gets stepped on. Because, life is for me, is a ‘soul’ matter.

Experience is not what happens to a man.  It is what a man does with what happens to him.  ~Aldous Leonard Huxley

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