Category Archives: Friends

Five is just a number

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First Year

Rec Week, Freshman year. For a freshie to see all these orgs can be quite overwhelming especially when there are a lot of interesting ones. I’ve already joined AMS, my home org, and I think I can still join a few more. Instead of signing up alone for this other org, I decide to join my block mate in SPEED because at least I know one person there. It seemed interesting, anyway.

***

It was a Saturday and we were supposed to have our culminating activity in SOC to end the sem. Sadly, I woke up at around 10 and missed our 8am-call time. I tried calling our area head, Carlos, and said sorry a lot of times. I was really looking forward to it and would’ve wanted to spend time with the kids but I guess I could never win a fight against sleep.

I guess one of the reasons why I couldn’t wake up that time was the weather. Ever since I woke up, it was raining and it just got worse as the day went on. Eventually, all the Saturday classes got cancelled, warnings were given, and the waters kept rising. That was the day Typhoon Ondoy hit.

I later found out that they were in SOC for more than 5 hours; they got home at around 10pm because of the rain and therefore couldn’t really leave the area. They played cards and tried to assure each other and the kids that it will be alright. I’m not sure if missing the last area visit was a good thing or a bad thing.

Second Year

It goes without saying that Sophomore year was my lowest year; things just kept going from bad to worse. Yet, I’m glad how SPEED kept me afloat and gave me enough motivation to still swim. Instead of worrying about Accounting, I had long forms and program flows to settle as part of being SpFiesta’s co-project head, along with Steph. I know acads should’ve been the first priority but doing things for the org was what kept me going, enough to at least give me a reason to look forward to another day. At least I was waking up for something and for someone.

Finally, it was time for SpFiesta. All the kids and volunteers were all very happy from playing all the games we prepared, watching the performances, and just by spending time with each other. In the end, the project turned out to be a big success. I can’t say the same about my grades, though. Still.

Third Year

It’s already my third year in SPEED and I still haven’t been to one EvSem. I’ve been invited to attend one a lot of times but kept missing it since I always have a ticket home ready before I even know about the dates. This time though, I made sure to schedule it properly. EvSem was when I met a lot of new people. I initially thought Benjhoe was really quiet since he didn’t talk much on the way to the venue. I later found out I was wrong. Super.

Since I don’t usually hang out in the Sproom, it was a first for me to really get to talk to the other speple. For someone who doesn’t talk much, it was quite a challenge for me but it turned out really well. By the time we were back in Katip, I already knew how to play Werewolf, saved the phone numbers of male speple in my phone, and, most importantly, gained a lot of new friends.

That was also the year I finally decided to run for Spofficership. After long hours of discernment, I became the next VP for Advocacy.

Fourth Year

I thought I would be good at this since I’ve headed projects before but you’ll never know until you’re actually there, juggling different aspects of the project—and of the org—all at the same time so I was really glad that I could always count on Joni to help me, saving me from my tendencies to be disorganized or to panic easily. A student’s smile or hug, and even from the volunteers are enough reasons to remind me—us, the whole Advocacy Team—to keep doing what we do and how all the panic and stress is worth it.

Senior Year was also when I started going to the Sproom during my break, getting to know not only the welcoming atmosphere of the room (despite how it’s usually full of people and other things) but also the people inside it. I got to know their stories and I told them mine as well. I learned to go past my introversion and actually talked to everyone; I even joined Sproove. It was when I really found what it meant to be a Speple, to be in a SpFamily.

Like all families, disagreements are inevitable. It could have ended on a better note but there are things you can’t control. So we just move on and learn from them.

Fifth Year

I always have this feeling that my time as a Speple has just begun. There are always new people to get to know and talk to, official events and even random bonding moments to attend. I thought it would be a quieter year this year since most of the people I know have graduated but I was wrong (again). In fact, the list of Speple that I meet just keeps growing exponentially. There’s still a lot of things to talk about and bond over. More importantly, there’s still so much we can do for our students and for the advocacy. I haven’t even been to some of our areas but I intend to do that before this year ends.

I know the clock keeps ticking—there’s only two or so months left—but my five years in SPEED has taught me that you never really stop being a Speple. Although you may have graduated, the random kulitan and bonding moments will never stop. The advocacy will still be there and I hope that graduating and being in the real world will even drive us to do more for it.

I can only imagine how it will be to see the students again in a few years’ time and realize how much they have improved yet they remain to be the sweetest and best people to give out hugs. Those who stayed would’ve taken care of the org well and then there’d be new faces who, like me, were drawn to the org in their own way. Then, it would feel like I never left.

I wrote this article for my org’s Tumblr site (Check it out here). My org, Ateneo Special Education Society, caters to persons with special needs and we do weekly visits as well as organize various advocacy and fundraising projects for our students from partner and non-partner institutions. Looking back, I don’t know how I different I would be if I didn’t join the org. I’m going to miss it once I graduate (which is, hopefully, in two months). 😦

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Putting yourself first

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You should start putting yourself first before others.”

My friend just told me that after I told him how my friend also likes the same guy I like (sounds familiar, don’t you think?). I guess it really struck a chord with me.

Maybe you can point it to my “big sister instinct,” one I’ve had since I was a kid, after I got a little brother. I think acquired this thing wherein I let him do the things he wants just so my mom wouldn’t get angry at me. I’m not sure, really. I just have this thing wherein I let people have their way, where I put other people’s needs and wants before mine. I encourage and “support” them to go after the things they want even if that means giving up my desire for that same thing, too.

It has happened before: I happen to like a guy then I find out my close friend likes him, too, after confiding to me her feelings about him, worries and hopes included. Maybe, that’s why nothing “good” has happened to me.

I don’t go after the things I want.

Contrary to what I’d like to believe in, I don’t really pursue things. Sure, I decided to take the leap and shift to another course even if I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out. Yet, it’s in the Big Moments that I don’t know how to do the big jump. I chicken out. It’s like there’s this internal switch that tells me it’s okay to stay in this comfortable circle. This leaves me within my own confines while I go and watch other people progress.

And I guess I’m done with it. It’s my turn to be happy.

I’m sure she would understand if I would still pursue this guy, in my own little way. She called herself a “ballsy girl,” being able to ask a guy out on a date or even maybe tell him how she really feels; this somehow riled me up. Is it called cheating if that motivated me even more to be more direct?

I’m blabbering now, am I?

Point is, I’d still continue liking him. Love is a battlefield; some win, some don’t. I’ll just continue doing my thing, in the hopes that he’ll like me, too. Wouldn’t it be funny if he chooses none of us because he still likes that other girl? 

Press Rewind

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  1. Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy

It was her English. I hated it. Mostly, I think I just hated her guts.

We lived in the province. Bisaya mi dapat but Kaye almost always spoke in English—to her friends, to our teachers, to most people, in general—and I didn’t get why. None of us in the batch did, which is probably why we liked to tease her about it. I thought being classmates with her back in fifth grade, the first and last time we would ever be in the same section, would help me in figuring her out but it didn’t do much. Most days, I would find her with a book in hand, reading, lost in her own world. Sometimes, she would be drawing on her mini notebooks. But even without a book or a sketchpad, I knew there was something unique about her, speaking English as if it was the most natural thing in the world, not caring if people thought her weird. I found her weird.

“Kaye! Ayaw na pag-English uy. Unsa ka, Amerikano?” (Don’t speak English anymore. Who do you think you are, an American?)

“Why? What’s wrong with that?” she replied with a shrug.

Despite our mothers and brothers being friends with each other, that didn’t really translate well for us, at least at that time. While their friendship is one that has reached the level where they occasionally invite and visit each other’s house especially during fiesta, ours was one characterized mostly by banters and me bossing her around at times. It’s funny how things turn out in the end.

One way or another, writing somehow brought us together and became our common ground. When we both became part of the editorial board of our school paper in sixth grade, that’s when I knew more about her and found that, despite everything, we were more similar than what we expected. Our love for books should’ve served as a foreshadowing but it took us a year to realize it. We moved in different social circles yet we somehow found that we can make our own circle, one wherein we can talk about Fall Out Boy and how hot Patrick is even if he’s chubby (it must be his voice). I only knew about them since “Dance, Dance” came out before I got hold of more of their older songs. “Hey, I have all of their songs from their EP album,” she told me. Before I knew it, I was singing their songs nonstop. After that, we began to agree on more things—poetry, movies, and just about anything else. We talked about random things without judging each other and that’s what I liked most about it. Then again, the teasing didn’t really go away and I guess it will always be there. It will always be part of our friendship.

Before I knew it, she got to me. Hey Kaye, how’s it going? As much as I don’t want to admit it, at least out loud, frequent conversations with her eventually helped improve my English skills. I admit I was intimidated at first but it challenged me which was why I felt like I had to keep up. Now, I’m the one finding myself to be biting my tongue and eating my words, when I said people shouldn’t really use English in everyday conversations. Good thing Kaye didn’t stop her quirk when everyone else told her to.

“When we had our camping back in Grade 5, I woke up in the middle of the night and began to smell M&M’s. I was surprised when I found out it actually came from Trish, who was sleeping with her mouth open.”

Although Kaye practically embarrassed me in front of everyone during my debut, I can’t believe that was the thing she remembered the most out of all the four or five years we’ve been friends.

A few weeks before we were about to graduate high school, she told me her mom planned to send her to London, where some of their relatives are. Of course, she didn’t want to do it, at least not yet, so they agreed to hold it off until after she graduates college. Now, we’re already in senior year and she told me how her mom brought it up again, and that it might be happening for real this time. When she did, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “London is my dream place. I’m the one who’s supposed to go there first, remember?” But really, I think it’s just because I know I’d miss her.
2. Gemini – Sponge Cola

It was sometime between 2006 to 2007 when Hale, Bamboo, Itchyworms, and a lot of other bands ruled the airwaves—the golden days, the rebirth of Filipino band music. No matter what radio station or Filipino channel you switch to, you can almost always hear that heavy guitar riff coupled with the vocalist’s deep baritone or bass, depending on the song they are playing, leaving you as angry or as hurt as what the song’s lyrics are trying to say. Being the music lover that I am, it was probably one of my best times since I enjoyed Original Pinoy Music or OPM. Of course, I had my favorite band. My lucky pick? Sponge Cola.

To prove how much of a fan I was, I bought their CD’s and listened to them over and over again, memorizing their song lyrics as much as I could. I even joined their mailing list, read and occasionally left messages in the hopes of Yael, the vocalist, noticing them and actually sending me a reply. Mostly, I was just content with the thought of him at least knowing that I exist and am a fan of his band. Whenever my classmates would try and say something bad about the band, I would, as calm as I could, always try to defend the band and prove them wrong. Whenever they would come up on the TV, I would stop whatever it is that I was doing then and allowed myself to be drawn in by their performance. That was how much I was into them.

One of the things about living in Bohol was that it wasn’t as urbanized as its neighboring province, Cebu. Whenever I would see artists promoting their concerts and mall tours, I would almost always get disappointed since I knew they won’t go to our place. Just when I was about to stop hoping that it would eventually happen, out of nowhere, Bohol Chronicle, the Sunday newspaper, ran a full page advertising Sponge Cola’s show a few days after. Of course, I freaked out. Screw everything. I had to watch that.

After planning it out with my parents, I went to the mall a few hours before the show to meet up with my friends. Upon hearing that the members were having their dinner in one of the restaurants, we immediately went outside it to wait for them, as embarrassing as that may sound. When I saw a glimpse of the band members, I couldn’t help but panic. Then they started coming out, moving towards us. Ohmigod. OHMIGOD. Even if I tried to plan how I would react when I would finally meet them, my excitement took control over me, leaving me speechless as I just let my friends say, “Hi! Can we take a picture with you?” Click. Yael signed my CD and left. I was stunned. I was overwhelmed. It was just surreal.

Even if listening to CD’s is a great experience, getting to see and hear my favorite bands perform live is still a different experience entirely. It was my first time to be in a concert of a band that I love so I wanted to make the most of it as much as I could.

Come a little closer, flicker in flight.

They were just starting their second song, “Gemini,” when I received a call from my parents. They were already in the parking lot, waiting for me. “Pero bag-o pa man nagsugod.” (But the show just started.) As much as how hard I tried to plead with them, for them to at least let me stay until their next song, they insisted that I go home. I couldn’t do anything. Frustrated, I couldn’t help but cry, my friends asking me what’s wrong. With one last look at the stage, I left. It was a quiet car ride.

Looking back, I couldn’t help but think how ridiculous it all was. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Ateneo for college was because Sponge Cola graduated from there. Now, I almost see them perform everywhere—OrSem, Ateneo’s 150th celebration, and even during the Bonfire for two years straight. I don’t even need to push my way just to get a good view of them performing since it isn’t as crowded like in usual concerts. The front view is mine for the taking.

3. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling

Emmanuel. That’s his name. I can’t really pinpoint what it was about him that gave me butterflies whenever he would talk to me. Yes, he was tall but he wasn’t exactly what you’d consider good looking. He wasn’t even the kind, Boy-Next-Door type; we used to argue most of the time. Maybe it’s because he was part of the basketball varsity team back when we were in sixth grade, Team Captain at that, or because he can play the guitar. I remember him playing and singing to me, although a bit playfully, Christian Bautista’s song, “The Way You Looked at Me,” one lunch time and I swear I could’ve melted, if that were possible.

Even with that, it was always whenever he played The Calling’s song, “Wherever You Will Go,” that would always make me feel like there are butterflies in my stomach, as cliché as that might sound. He would be plucking the strings and producing the melody that I knew so well from early mornings of hearing it on TV every breakfast, a melody that I eventually learned to associate with him, his guitar, and, of course, his smile. Whenever Emmanuel played it on the guitar, I couldn’t help but notice how he had on a different look in his eyes, like he was doing something serious. For me, it was as if he was revealing a bit of himself whenever he’s working and doing something he loves. It’s the same look I see in him whenever he plays basketball. From being the playful guy I know, he becomes serious and turns into someone different; I liked that kind of different.

Maybe that’s it. I tend to like guys who can do those things—play the guitar, be good at basketball, and just make me laugh. In case you’re wondering, no, we did not get together. I wish, though. We used to hang out a lot and talk even during class but, as we were nearing our grade school graduation, he suddenly stopped talking to me. By the time we got to high school, we lost communication. He moved to a different school where, according to our common friends, he was still part of the basketball team. I also heard he found himself a girlfriend there. Huh. I wonder what song he plays for her on the guitar.
4. All You Need is Love – The Beatles

The thing about not being too affectionate as a family is that you learn to gauge things by feeling them, using your intuition of some sort. Receiving “God bless ingat” is probably an equivalent of “I love you” or “I care for you.” Likewise, my brother staying at my lolo’s house, which is just beside ours, must mean that my mom is angry and therefore should not be crossed, leaving us to behave in our best behavior as possible. We’re not the type to really prod about each other’s lives that much, so I have always wondered what my parents’ favorites and even peeves are. With my dad spending only a few months at home every year because of his work, I’ve always wondered what he was like the most.

Being the ate, I was tasked to at least clean some parts of our house, to wipe the dust off our cabinets every morning. Even though it seemed like a tedious task sometimes, it was how I discovered my dad’s collection of CD’s—AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and, oddly enough, Shania Twain. Except for the fact that those bands were metal bands from the 80’s, I didn’t know them that much. However, it was his Abbey Road CD that caught my attention the most. I knew who The Beatles was and so I felt that this was something I could relate to. I knew their songs, liked most of them, and it made me happy to know that my dad did, too.

As soon as I saw the trailer for Across the Universe, a movie musical which not only featured Jim Sturgess, an actor who I liked, but also featured Beatles songs, I knew I wanted to watch it and so I did, thanks to a copy I found off the dorm network back when I was in freshman year. Hearing all the Beatles songs, I couldn’t help but think of my dad. He would probably like this.

During that sem break, my dad was back at home, taking a break off work. It was one of those afternoons when the world just seemed so peaceful, the sun’s heat at just the right temperature, enough for us to rest for a while after having lunch. My mom and brother were sleeping while I, on the other hand, was on the bed, using my laptop, when suddenly my iTunes playlist played a random Beatles song off the movie’s soundtrack.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung

Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game

It’s easy

As soon as the opening lines were sung, I tried to maximize the player’s volume and tried to sneak a look at my dad, who was sitting on the couch. Just as I guessed, he recognized the song. I saw him humming along the lines of the song, gently tapping his hand on the arm rest. I watched him and marveled at that moment when I felt like I had him figured out. Even if we didn’t really get to see each other 365 days a year, I felt like I knew him that well. He eventually looked at me and smiled. Then, I scanned my playlist for more songs I could play for him.

Red

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1. I donated blood today. Fainted a few minutes right after. Good thing SpOpen Mic Night was just across the corner.
2. Ken slipped, then had part of his chin torn open when he got up. I panicked, he didn’t; I was 16, he was just 7.
3. I heard my parents have sex once. From then on, I told myself to sleep early whenever my dad’s around.
4. Your favorite color was red and after we broke up, I told myself I wouldn’t like red anymore. I still do.
5. My friends tell me they can’t imagine me being angry. I tell them, I become a sailor.
6. It was a good thing it was a Saturday when I first got my period. I woke up with my shorts soaked in blood. Then, after cleaning up, I jumped three flights of stairs. Good thing they didn’t wipe my face with the stuff.
7. I first had a crush on someone when I was in Grade 5. I’ve always imagined us kissing in some room while everyone was out. We never did.
8. Yet, I first truly fell in love when I was in 6th Grade. I fell in love with how he always told me interesting stories, how he played basketball really well, and how he smelled really nice everyday. Then, he started avoiding me. It was like a sad love song stretched out for more than 4 minutes.

It’s inevitable anyway

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True story: After reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman last January (it was around New Year when I read it), I kind of began this paranoia that I would die soon (read: that night). I wasn’t able to sleep, or at least tried to postpone it, because I thought it would stop It from happening. At least, not until much later on in my life.

Crazy, right?

By Mikko Ona

By Mikko Ona

I just came from Mikko’s wake this afternoon together with the other Speple and I just can’t help but be overwhelmed by everything. I don’t really know her that much, aside from she worked on the Splayday poster which was awesome, but I could totally sense that she was a bright person, radiating her love and warmth to everyone around her. This was all based on the pictures and letters they put up.

Being the sometimes-emotionally attached person that I am, I managed to hold it in then I overheard this man talking to her dad:

Guy: What was her major?
Dad: ComTech.
Guy: So she wanted to be like you?

I dunno why, really, but I think that hit me. She could’ve gone on, have a career, and be like her dad. I wonder how he felt after hearing that. We only have 2 weeks until finals week and one more year until we graduate. Yet, she died. 😦 I’d like to believe that everyone gets to Go eventually–death is inevitable–but I guess her time was just too soon.

***

My overactive mind then tried to work its magic…

What if it happened to us? What if I died? What would my parents feel? What if my brother would die ahead of me? Will I ever be able to handle it and still stay sane?

I know I’m overreacting to this but I can’t help it. We’ve had our fair share of relatives or just people we know die before. We’ve attended their wakes, their funerals, and we think they’re enough to prepare us for Death. Yet, when it happens, we find that we can never be ready. We’re wrong. It’s still the same hurt and grief and sadness and maybe even regret that grips us every time something like this happens.

Then again, I wish I could be prepared.

StallingStallingStalling

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To do

Even with the multitude of things to do in preparation for Finals week (a.k.a The Week when I might die and/or lose my sanity), I still can’t find myself panicking or at least having the urge to finish them and get them over with before the deadline comes.

I wonder if I’m falling into a relapse, that period where I didn’t care about anything at all. There are just so many things to do that I don’t know where to start.

So I guess I should end it here and actually start doing them.

May the force be with me (and with everyone who are/will be having a loaded week ahead).

Coming clean

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One thing you should know about me is that I have serious trouble with expressing my emotions 90% of the time. And that I usually deny things, even with myself. I just don’t know how to properly express anger, or even love. Maybe because I’m used to keeping things to myself for fear of what people might think about me or that they won’t like what I’m doing. I’m not sure, really.

So now, here’s the thing.

I think I’m finally admitting that I like you. I like–maybe, love–spending time with you. I know it makes me stupid and pathetic but I like listening to your stories, of being the one you tell your problems to, even those about Her. I don’t always have the right words to say but I hope you realize that putting your feelings, your problems out there feels equally good, probably even better than having someone telling you things which could probably be out of pity or just because they feel the need to say something. Am I digressing?

So yes, I’d like to have more Starbucks “study” nights with you or even dinner. Anywhere would be good, actually, as long as you’re there. And I hope you’d consider. I’m not always good at reading signs just as how I’m not good at giving any. You told me it’s okay to give clues but I don’t think I’m that capable to do so.

So basically, I like you. And I hope you like me back.