What I know for sure at 26?

The day of my 26th birthday had me contemplating about all my past experiences. The journey from childhood to early adulthood is really quite a ride- though not that bumpy, I had my shares of detours and dead ends. Thankfully, one road leads to the other and the journey goes on.

At 26, there are a number of things that I think I know for sure and that’s what I would like to share to you.

ON FAMILY

  • Admit it or not, part of our personality is greatly influenced by the people close to you. My dad has his way of words and is known to be short-tempered and narrow minded. When I was growing up, I found myself easily adopting his ways and the way he use to hurt people with his words. After careful reflection, I decided to be better than my dad and shape a better personality of my own.
  • Your real brothers (and sisters, if you have) are the ones who will stick with you through thick and thin. Maybe because we are bound by blood and we have no choice but to help each other during crisis. But because of this invisible bind, you feel that your sibling’s failure and success is yours to live with. I entered a brotherhood and have close people who I call as brod and sis. We thought we would be real brothers bounded by our “fraternity-constitution”, but as life goes on, we all had our separate paths to take and everyone moved on with his/her life. Slowly and unnoticed, we lost hold on each other. In contrast, wherever I go and whatever happens to me, I know where and what is happening to my blood brothers. I consider myself lucky to have two brothers despite our differences.
  • Always honor your father and mother. Yeah, I’ve been on that stage- being a rebellious teenager and thinks he is smart enough to deal with the world. But I was wrong then, I still needed my parents not just for financial support but for emotional as well. Our parents will always guide us and lead us to where they think is best for us. Among all the people around us, its only our parents that wishes the best for us genuinely. 

FRIENDS and RELATIONSHIPS

  • Without great friends, one can easily loose his sanity. There was a moment in my life where I went into a extreme depression. I never told anyone not even my family about my personal struggles and problems. I tried to wear a mask that everything is alright and well. Suddenly, I loose everything and have greatly affected my performance at work. I just can’t bear and its getting out of me. Luckily, a friend came to visit me in my province and “counsel” me on things. After airing out all my negativity, I felt that I regain my sanity and back on the road. From there, I stood up and continue my life’s journey. Without this dear friend of mine, I might just gave up on life that easy. Looking back, I can say that depression is a serious mental and emotional status and can hit anyone.
  • Friends are investments. You spend time opening up yourself to them, sharing memories and thoughts. Just like investments, some can be toxic and some can be productive. It takes a lot of wisdom to differentiate one from the other. Again, just like investment, slowly get rid of those toxic ones and keep the productive ones. Can’t figure out the difference? Well, start by evaluating which of your friends brings out the best and in you and which of them merely exhaust your energies. 
  • Stand by those productive friends whoever and whatever they are. I’ve seen people who easily abandons their dear friend when the first high wind comes along and I pity that guy. And if you happen to know someone who can’t standby with you no matter what, might as well keep your guard and never expect something from them. Don’t expect so that the pain will be easier to bear in the future.

WORK

  • Value and love your job. Accept all the things that comes with it. Don’t fret about how demanding the job is, you signed up for it  then value it.
  • Guard your integrity no matter what. Its inevitable that someone really wants to destroy you in front of your boss. Speak your truth silently and prove them wrong. 
  • Always do what is right and proper for the job. Start by thinking about your role in your company and how careless action can lead to serious disaster.
  • Learn from people and if its good for you and your job, adopt it wherever you go.
  • Always stay on neutral sides in times of conflict, If you can’t atleast appear staying and taking no sides.
  • As much as possible, keep your negative thoughts about others to yourself alone.
  • Know who you are messing with and assess your standing in your company. Never pick a fight who can easily drown you. 
  • As much as possible, Cultivate a positive aura that everybody wants to be with and work with. Easier said than done eh? Just try!

 I know at 26, I have a lot of things to learn. I will meet a lot of people and have lots of dead-ends and detours again. Though I’m wary of making mistakes but I’m not afraid of it. Its the fascinating thing about our human experiences, we all have the chance to correct everything and rise above the challenges. Life’s roads are not just made for travel but a journey to enjoy. 

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My Canvas Debut

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“Weeping Willow Tree on a Sunset”

This is my first painting on canvas: The “weeping willow tree on a sunset”. I found a tutorial video from youtube of a woman painting a beautiful weeping Willow tree. Upon examining her techniques, I figured that doing such is easy, and so I decided to pour in some hard-work and patience, and boom! here it is! Though, I can’t manipulate my brush the way I wanted it to for my “weeping leaves”, I managed to make a version of my own making it in some extent original. The background should have been a tinge of brown but I decided to make it a sunset at the last minute.

I am hoping to improve my painting and make some figurative paitings in the future. Painting is indeed for all. For a guy like me who doesn’t even know how to draw, this simple things make me feel good about myself. Painting isn’t limited to artists, as long as you have an eye that knows how to appreciate colors, then you can paint. As simple as it appears, a painting is still a painting, and if you love what you have done, no negative criticisms about it can shatter your ego. (the last statement is a smack to my roomie)

Diversity is good

“What would the world be like if people are like you?”

 

I always reflect on this question posted on my “reminder board” whenever I am having rough emotions towards another person. My understanding on people always operates by asking myself, “If I were in his/her situation, what would I do?” “If I were him/her, what would I say?” – and if the action done doesn’t meet my expectations on those questions, then expect me to get frustrated.

By doing so, it seems that I am forcing people to be like me or at least think like I do. I know I don’t have the best ideas nor the best strategies to different situations, but I often feel that my insights are the best. (though sometimes I realize its not).

So I came into a deep reflection about the question above. What would the world be if it were to be filled with people exactly like me? It would be a world full of insights kept to themselves, a world where people tend to mind their own business and not care on how other people are doing. A world where everyone thinks than feels. In short, it would be very boring and a complete disaster.

There is always good in diversity. With diversity requires a lot of respect. And by respecting each one’s idea and differences, the world will be filled with supplementary benefits- and thats what make this world a good place to live.

So, I should always remind myself of this before judging others. We may not think, act and feel the way others do, but our differences makes the necessary connections we needed to survive. 

25th Birthday

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I wanted to spend my 25th birthday simpler and only with those people who really are close to me. But, with a growing network of Filipino friends in Williston, a simple dinner became a mini party of sort.  I am lucky to have great friends like Gilbert, Thereza, Emeline, Lilian and Rolly who put some effort to make my first birthday in America a memorable one.

Thereza always brings the idea of preparing or doing something for my natal day. We had occasional talks about how I perceive my birthday should be. I constantly told her that I am settled with a simple dinner or a picnic with her and the rest of my close friends at the PineView apartment. She, by the way, cooked an amazing breaded pork.

Emeline, my newly found yosi-friend, prepared an Italian pasta. Im not sure If she calls it that way but it tasted more of an Italian. She topped it off with cheddar cheese and some herbs that she pronounces with class (I honestly forgot what that was). Lilian brought some brownies that served as my “cake”. I saw her hurriedly driving to the nearest convenience store to buy some nuts for her brownies. She gave extra effort to sprinkle a personal touch to a ready-made, oven baked brownies. Lilian’s husband named Rolly fried the perfect friend chicken, thanks to the $3 wok he bought from a rummage sale nearby.

Unexpectedly, Janice and Elinito made a vinegar-dipped-raw-yellow-fin fish salad o known as “kinilaw” in my local language. The kinilaw made a perfect compliment to the El Hombre tequila and Coor’s light beer. They also lend me their videooke that made the mini party a lively one.

My newly found best friend Gilbert made the night possible. We did the celebration at his apartment and helped me buying all the stuffs that we needed. He was the “jukebox” king of the night and his voice is solid all throughout the night.

Personally, the greatest highlight of the night is when my housemate Winckle approached me and opened up about our slight differences. We are both Virgo-born individuals so I knew he thought of what I thought too. I didn’t see that coming really and he joined me for a couple of times during my yosi breaks with Emeline.

ON CELEBRATIONS

As we grow old, birthdays have become an ordinary day. I am not that kind of person who wishes to be treated special during birthdays. I even want to make my birthdate as discreet as possible; wanted to celebrate with only those who matter. Giving an in depth contemplation on the first statement, birthdays have become like ordinary days the moment we become independent individuals and have stepped out of the shadows of our parents who makes birthdays magical. Having such thought is a sign of maturity.

Celebrating birthdays is not a show off or just having a fun party but it is a celebration of life. Given with another year to live is worth thanking and celebrating.

SIlliman University

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The so called “Silliman Spirit” lives on… being a Sillimanian, I can attest that such thing exist. Well, care to ask me how to define “Silliman Spirit”…hmm… honestly, I don’t have exact words to say…what pops out from my mind are various pictures, experiences, laughter, people, places etc. I’m doing this entry to honor my Alma Matter on its Foundation day.

During my high school senior year, Silliman was never an option. I’ve heard about the school but her name doesn’t make an appeal to me.

I took entrance exams for quite a number of Universities applying for an engineering course. I was then settled to enroll at the University of San Carlos in Cebu and slowly was preparing my move there. One night in May 2005, I had this “serious” talk with my Dad about my career options and my plans for the future; he seemingly implied to me that being an engineer doesn’t suit me based on my personality. (He knows how I hated to be under the heat of the sun and how I easily get irriated when I feel hot). He then persuaded me to take any medical course since according to him, I look better in white and working in a hospital would give the people an impression that Im an “intellectual, refined-gentleman”. To cut the story short, two days after, I went off to Dumaguete and took the entrance exam for the medical technology program.

FIRST DAYS in SILLIMAN

I was living in a dormitory called the “New Mens Dormitory”.  It has a reputation of housing the “rich kids” and the “mind-gifted” men of the school. A good start to build a reputation huh? (laughs.) During my first night in the Dorm, I felt sad, and overwhelmed. Sad because I need to make new friends; overwhelmed because Im entering college and Im on my own.

I was told that usually for a newbie like me in the Dorm, there this thing they called “initiation” to be accepted by the veterans. I heard that there was a night scheduled for that but no one even bothers to wake me up and bring me down where that location was. Maybe because I have a strong aura and I never gave them the chance to make them feel that they are superior over me or maybe they know that If they wake me up that night, I will never bow down to them and will never give them the authority to do the things they did to others.

On my first walk to the grounds of Silliman, my impression was “wow…..this school is really BIG” I saw people with cars, walking and dressing simply but with class. The first thing I appreciated with Silliman is its “greenery” feel, its just a feeling of being one with nature as you walk down the school.

Every freshmen in Silliman would agree to me saying that the first skill we need to hone is to walk…and to walk fast whenever needed. During my first year, my schedule was tight and I have to be from one room to the other in five minutes or less, not to mention they are on separate buildings at a fair distance. I even wished for a tricycle inside the campus then.

Days went on and slowly I was able to immerse myself with the community…that’s the time I declared myself as a Sillimanian.

TOP 10 MEMORABLE HAPPENINGS in SILLIMAN

1. Entered a fraternity and have undergone the gruesome process….a thing that I never regret of doing.

2.  Become more open and sociable to people

3. Have overcome my insecurities towards myself and towards life in general.

4. Have lead my fraternity and made it to the top 10 list of organization in Silliman.

5. On one our fraternity meetings at the Amphi theatre, I sobbed and cried after all my fraternity brothers and sisters confronted me on the way I lead the group. I was like a dictator back then. (My first time to cry in public).

6. I did embarrass myself by filing an intent to run as President of the whole Student Government for the following school year, only to withdraw my bid a week before elections after considering my chances of winning and the party support.

7. Unexpectedly, became the president of the Medtech Society and rank 6th on the top 10 student organization that school year.

8. I ran as a Medtech representative to the student government and saw before my eyes how politics works.

9. I accused the president of the Silliman University College of Nursing student body of allegations which I cannot prove.

10. Made community based projects as a student leader and was able to balance my studies despite the demands of the medical technology program.

I really had a great time in Silliman University. I met friends whom I made memories with. Experienced things that made me smile and learn life’s important lessons.

Silliman might not be as famous a the University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila nor De La Salle, but She still stands tall and has her prestige in her own rights. She imbibes the Silliman Spirit that lives on from generations. Loyal will I be to Silliman…. Happy founders week Silliman University!