2022: A roller coaster ride

I am thankful to be writing a post about 2022 with no worries and heavy heart. I am thankful because I am still here: present and surviving.

There’s one strong skill that I’ve learned this year, and that is to be adaptable. This year has taught me to be more adaptable to change. It has allowed me to experience new things that will make me stronger and capable.

I started the year slowly, yet relaxed. The first month of the year was full of quick food dates with Stowie, Ate Beth, and my college friends.

On February, I went out with Lola and Tyni. We went to Tanay with Stowie. That was a holiday, so we had a time to go out of town. This month was also about coffee shop hunting with Ate Beth. I also drank at new coffee shop with Stowie.

I tried to be healthy by walking 10,000 steps, but I stopped. hehe. I focused on rewriting my thesis. This month, I got a chance to give a talk to some seminarians in Calabayog City. Online.

I also gave a recollection (together with my other youth ministers) to some youths of Cardona, Rizal. This was our face-to-face recollection since the pandemic started.

In between fun moments were writing sessions at a coffee shop. I couldn’t just finish the revision in one sitting so I usually go out and finish my manuscript.

In February, I also had a quick trip to Cagayan de Oro for an ordination of my friend who who is a priest. We were only in CDO for 24 hours. I also had to go back to school for our onsite reporting.

March was about surprises. I had to adjust to our onsite reporting. This was a bit challenging for me. Commute in Manila was so difficult. I got tired real quick.

This also was the month of changes since I already resigned from this work. I had to apply to different schools which should be near my location. Also, in between my personal stress and career-related stress, I still have to revise my thesis and prepare the graphics I needed for my defense. Despite all these, I didn’t forget to spend time with my best friend.

I had a quick trip to Tagaytay as a short vacation from thesis writing. Thank God for the gift of resources? Also, this month was when my mom got home from Bahrain. There were times that we eat outside with here.

It’s summer time! However, this was also preparation time for my final defense. Still, I got chance to go to Batangas with my college friends. I also explored more coffee shops whenever I feel so stressed from my thesis. Despite these challenges, I still needed to report to school and rendered some time before my official resignation.

I had my final defense on April 29, 2022. Sadly, we lost our internet connection this day. I went to Stowie and stayed at his house so I can proceed with my defense.

A week before election, I was part of the pink movement who only wanted but clean and honest government.

May was so tiring. It was our first dry run of hybrid classes. This was so challenging because everything was new to us. Gadgets, devices, classroom management, etc.

Since my final defense was done, this month was also about applying the suggestions mentioned by my panel and critic.

Work adjustment + Thesis Defense = Perfect Combination

In May, we also find time to explore new cafes with our pets. May is also one of my challenging month because I was about to transition from employment to a freelancer. My last day of reporting in my previous employer is May 31. This was so difficult yet I survived. Thank you, Lord.

Hello, June. This was still a challenge for me. I am not used to a long period of rest. I managed to find some gigs (translation, and article writing). I survived the sad nights by eating burger and drinking coke? My shih tzu has been always with me so most of the time, I am feeling well.

On my free time, I was able to read a lot of books. I found time to do the things I truly love. I had time for a seminar in our church even though this was done on a weekday. I could also give webinars while I am at home, thanks to this free time. I could also explore cafes without rushing home.

What I loved most about this month was my free time, really. I got the chance to accompany my lola to doctor and buy medicine for her without thinking about other stuff.

June was also productive because it’s the month when we promoted my first book signing in Bulacan. I was able to sell a good number of books. I got to meet people of all ages. It was surely a fun experience.

However, it’s not always a happy day. There were times that I had to worry about my new projects and new work. Good thing was that God was really there for me. He gave people to remind me that He is always with me so I needed not to worry.

July was about saying goodbye. One of my friends flew to States. I also said goodbye my former colleagues and got my backpay. Gelaii (my college friend), and I said goodbye and our prayers to the father of our classmate who passed away this month.

Still, this month was also filled with new hellos.

This was the month when I got so active in our vicariate. We had a lot of activities that somehow allowed nine parishes to be more united. I met new people and friends in youth ministry.

I said hello to my new colleagues in the academe. I was able to meet them in flesh.

The highlight of my July is my graduation day! Finally, to graduate my masters degree has been in my to do list for five years. Thank God, we did it.

I spent some bucks for my graduation attire and recognition dress. Hehe. I also had a quick photoshoot with my family.

My book signing was also in July.

This month, I also gave talks onsite to the diocese of pasig youth leaders. Thank God for Stowie who always supports me whenever I have talks like this.

Hey, July was also for new beginnings! Our training in my new work started this month. I am so blessed to be with amazing people.

This was another challenge for me, yet we managed it.

August was the month for exploring places, again.

We went to Bohol for three days and two nights. This was scheduled because I believed I needed my well-deserved rest after all the thesis writing and defense. Full blog about this trip was already posted in this blog.

This month, I also came to realize a lot of lessons in life. While raising funds for my classmate’s cancer battle, I learned a lot of things. I posted here too.

I also celebrated the birthdays of the most important people in my life this month.

September was about catching up. I met Celine in Antipolo. I met my religious friend, too. I had fun with my other youth ministry fellows. I had breakfast with my Iloilo friends in Marikina, too.

We also went to Tagaytay for a quick staycation and breakfast there. This was one of another memorable trips because I was able to bring my work there.

I must say that this month was filled with formations, seminars, and workshops to some youth members in our diocese. I think, I am always out of town every weekend.

September is also MIBF month! So Ate Beth and I made sure that we buy books no matter how far MOA is from our hometown.

October is my birth month!

This month, I attended the book signing of my thesis adviser in UP Town Center. There were a number of vicariate activities that we conducted. There were xiao long bao days and quick coffee dates whenever Ate Beth and I feel stressed about life. I was so busy this month, but still, I celebrated my birthday with my loved ones.

November is a happy month because we went to Coron, Palawan. This has been in my dream destinations in the Philippines. Thank, God, for the seat sales, and cheap hostels.

This month (again) was also filled with workshops, and recollection. I had a chance to facilitate a recollection to the minor seminary of Antipolo.

We also have been attending a series of formation program in preparation for a big event this 2023. I am praying that this preparation will be successful.

For this month, we also revived our Saturday Bible Class with my friends in faith. We had a quick meeting, and one month preparation to raise funds for our Christmas Gift Giving.

I appreciate the little things that I can do this month. I teach Creative Writing to kids. I can meet my friends after work. I can read books without the need to review them or use it as my related literature. I get to enjoy coffee without typing anything on my laptop. I am blessed.

In December, my sister already opened her coffee shop in San Mateo.

Also, we did a lot of things for Disciplesheep Ministries Christmas Gift Giving. We bought the Noche Buena packages, we also bought toys for the kids. Lastly, we had a very quick outing in Taytay, Rizal, as a team building activity, in preparation for our big event.

I was able to complete the simbang gabi! Thanks be to God. I also had a chance to serve as a lector in our parish.

This month was filled with ten hours of sleep.


A weekend in Bohol

The last time I had a long vacation was in La Union. It was in December 2021. After that, I didn’t have enough time to go out of town again. This year started with a lot of deadlines for work, graduate school, personal life, and other hustles. No complaints. It was a ‘happy pagod.’

I intentionally did not book any long weekend trip because it wasn’t in my priority (source: my 2022 Planner). Hence, this Bohol trip was actually a graduation gift and birthday celebration at the same time. It was a reward for all the struggles, adjustments, and other trials I’ve overcome for the past months this year.

Day 1 – Chocolate hills and everything in between

We left Manila at 7:00am. It was one of the earliest flight. We arrived in Bohol after one hour. Then, upon arriving in Panglao International Airport, we were greeted with buses, and private cars offering their services. What we chose was the bus ride instead. We decided that for the first day, we’ll do mostly tourist-y things.

The travel time from Panglao International Airport to Tagbilaran City was about thirty minutes. We reached the bus station. In front of that was the Island City Mall. We ate our breakfast there. I didn’t have any booked tours yet so I looked on Facebook and sent a message to a Facebook page. We hired a driver/tourist guide for 2,900php.

We went first to Chocolate Hills. It was a bit rainy but it was a fun experience. We took the usual photos like what the usual tourists would do.

Chocolate Hills on a rainy morning
Your usual touristy post at Chocolate Hills

After Chocolate Hills, we headed to Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area. Another tourist spot in Bohol. We saw some tarsiers which reminded us of our shih tzu, Tyni.

Sorry for waking you up, Tarsier.

Then, we went to man-made forest.

Our tour guide said that the trees here were planted by some boy scouts who were assigned here.

After some time in this forest, we ate lunch at Loboc River. There were lots of foreigners here. This was one of my dream destinations. Now it finally happened. Thank You, Lord.

Loboc river after rain
Day 2 – Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

We woke up a bit late. We took our time because we both agreed that this trip would be a slow travel. Slow yet relaxed. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’d remember how enthusiastic I was before when it comes to ticking places to certain destinations. But now, I promised myself not to rush and take my time whenever traveling. So that’s what I did!

We took the van ride going to Loon. That was about 90 pesos fare. It was more than an hour trip going to Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol. The travel was worth it. We were able to see this church near the sea.

Front view of Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

The church was said to be built by corals. It was destroyed during the war, it was reconstructed by the National Museum later on. Luckily, we saw the sacristan mayor. We talked to him, and he toured us around the church. We even went up to the kampanaryo–which was so amusing. We were able to see century old bells. Bells that survived a war. Wow.

The altar of Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

We were able to see (close up!) some bells owned by the church.

One of the bells in Our Lady of Light Church in Loon, Bohol

Aside from Miagao church in Iloilo, this was one of my favorite churches I’ve seen so far and I thank God to finally visit here.

Day 3 – Panglao, Bohol

After roaming around Loon and Tagbilaran City, we headed to our next destination which was Samadhi Resort Panglao. My friend recommended this place to us. Her recommendation is superb. This resort is so relaxing and great.

It was so relaxing that we didn’t spend time taking photos. We were mesmerized. Period.

It’s me trying to be instagrammable.

After leaving our places in Samadhi, we headed to Alona Beach. We stayed there for a while. Look at the view. Eat kwek-kwek and barbecue. We also had our dinner there. The view was so nice. However, we didn’t try the island hopping. Budget constraints!

We instead had a tour in Panglao. This cost 1,000php. Basically, we went to another church, a cave, and Bohol Bee Farm. Everything was so nice and worth-trying. Pictures were uploaded in Instagram instead. Hehe.

This is my favorite photo from this trip. Our third day in Bohol was the steadiest among my trips. We spent our time at the beach. We looked at the beautiful views. We had our dinner here. We get to listen to kids singing using their natural voice.

We basically just look at the horizons and wonder if God will allow us to travel more.

Our trip ended on a Sunday. We were happy. We were recharged.

I hope you, who’s reading this, will also find the rest and happiness you deserve.

Finally, an MA degree.

Sa dami ng nangyari, nahihirapan akong magsulat ng isang katanggap-tanggap na blog post tungkol sa mga araw na nagdaaan.

Sobrang hirap ng pinagdaanan ko talaga para matapos ‘tong MA ko. 2016 ang student number ko, pero 2017 talaga ng second semester ako nagsimula. Natapos ko, sa wakas, ang mahabang paglalakbay patungo sa MA matapos ang limang taon.

Isusulat ko pa rin nang kompletong detalye lahat para may babalikan ako pagdating ng araw. So, tara?

Paano nagsimula

Secondary Education ang course ko, Major in English. Ang MA ko naman ay Master of Arts Malikhaing Pagsulat. Sa tingin ng madla, magkabaligtad ang English at Filipino, pero para sa kurso ko, halos kaunti lang naman rin ang pagkakaiba. Iba lang ng babasahin, pero parehong may teoryang binabasa, kritisismo, pagtuturo, at may isusulat pagkatapos. Siksik ang kurso namin dahil may Filipino at English readings.

Bakit Filipino MA mo? tanong ng marami. Ang lagi kong sagot, Bakit hindi? Kung walang kukuha ng MA sa Filipino, sino na lang matitira sa bansa?

Ang cheesy pakinggan, pero nag-aral uli ako dahil gusto ko talaga mapahusay ang pagsusulat ko para sa Diyos. Kasagsagan kasi ng 13th Prayer ko na libro na nailathala ng St. Paul’s.

Sa totoo lang, wala sa isip ko ‘yung kumuha ng MA dahil sa ranking, sa points, o sa technical na aspeto. Gusto ko lang mag-aral. Gusto ko lang mapahusay ang pagsusulat. Personal ko lang itong dahilan. Wala namang problema kung anong trip ng iba. Hehe.

Sa pagsusulat ng thesis

Noong nakaraang taon lang, natapos kong depensahan ang proposal ko. Isang taon ko ring binuno ang pagsusulat ng thesis. Ang dami kong gawain at ganap na hinindian dahil sabi ko sa sarili ko, hala ka Kim, kailangan mo na ‘tong upuan.

Tungkol sa Panitikang Pangkabataan ang thesis ko, dahil nga ang background ko naman sa pagsusulat ay Wattpad na hindi ko naman kinahihiya at proud ko pang sinasabi sa school. Bakit ko ikakahiya. Ang saya kaya noon.

Ang output ng thesis ko ay isang nobela tungkol sa isang kabataan na may halong tauhan sa mitolohiya ng Pilipinas. Ito na ata ang pinakamatagal na kwentong naisulat ko. Habang sinusulat ko ang blog na ito ay pinag-iisipan ko pa rin kung ipapasa ko ba ito sa publisher o hindi, o babasahin ko muna uli para masundan ng book two. Trilogy kasi ang ganap nito.

Hindi talaga madali lahat

Mahirap magsulat ng thesis. May trabaho ako full-time, may ilan ring side line (dahil breadwinner ako at ako lang may maayos na trabaho sa amin).

Kasagsagan ng pandemya noong nagsusulat ako ng thesis. 2021-2022. Ang daming nangyari noong taong iyon. May mga araw rin na kailangan kong mag-report onsite sa trabaho. Ang hirap ng biyahe.

Pero syempre, hindi naman ito nakikita sa social media. Ang makikita lang talaga ay ang tagumpay, hindi ang hirap sa likod nito.

Kapag nahihirapan ako, lagi kong binabalikan ang mindset na, gusto ko naman kasi ang ginagawa ko, kaya tuloy lang.

‘Di ba kapag may gusto tayong gawin, lahat gagawin natin magawa lang ito kahit mahirap? 🙂

Limang beses kong inulit ang thesis ko. Ang dami. Kung makikita niyo lang yung printed copy ng thesis na sinuri ng thesis adviser ko, maiiyak na lang talaga lahat pero tears of joy.

Birthday ko noon, pero tanda ko na nagrerebisa ako ng manuskrito. Pero syempre, hindi ito makikita ng lahat.

Mahirap at matagal magtapos sa UP

Sa totoo lang, napakahirap is an underestimation. Pero di ba, lahat naman mahirap. Pipiliin na lang talaga natin kung alin ang paghihirapan natin.

May semestre na halos isa o dalawa lang ang subject ko. Kaya napakatagal kong matapos lahat ng academic requirements.

Sa kabila ng lahat, masasabi kong sulit. Nakakilala ako ng mga kaibigan, natuto ako mula sa iba’t ibang napakagaling na propesor. Hanggang ngayon, baon ko ang GITING AT GALING na pinapaalala ng unibersidad.

Walang pagmamadali sa loob ng unibersidad na ito. Ang mahalaga talaga sa lahat ay ang pagkatuto. Ideal pakinggan, sa totoo lang. Pero ito naman talaga ang point ng akademya, ang makapag-aral upang makapagsilbi sa bayan. Serve the people, ikanga.

Ano na pagkatapos?

Siguro magpapahinga muna ako sa pag-aaral. Magbabasa na muna uli ako. Magsusulat pa rin sa Facebook page ko. Babalik sa dati, pero mas magiging malay at mulat na sa nangyayari. Gagamitin ko ang natutuhan ko upang maging kapaki-pakinabang na mamamayan ng bansa. Wow.

Patuloy ko pa ring pahahalagahan ang mga ordinaryong araw.