Being Grateful

My 28th birthday this year would mean the world to me.

Not only will it be about turning another year older, or doing my literacy outreach for the 3rd consecutive time- but it’s about being so grateful and blessed for all that’s been and will come in my life.

True enough, God made sure that my last single birthday would be one I would never forget.

My Mom taught me well, and she taught me to follow my heart all the time. I know I’ve stumbled and took some detours along the way- but because God was very good to me, He picked me up and led me back to where I was meant to be. My Mom always knew I’d come home to Journalism and I’m so glad I did.

At this age, I’ve fulfilled my childhood dream of being a Journalist and fulfilled my parents’ and grandparents’ dream of being more than I wanted to be.

And God gave me the best gifts- my family, my fiance and my career.

“You’ve gotta follow your road… And maybe someday your road will take you far away…”

To those who hate me, forgive me if I seem to rub it in- but my heart is just overflowing with gratitude for everything I have now.

Just as what is written in an email Mom forwarded to me a few weeks back- it’s always nice to be thankful so that the universe smiles back at you and give you more.

Thank you,Universe! You make turning a year older something to look forward to! 🙂

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Unexpected Blessings

You know the saying when it rains, it pours? Well in the last few months it seems as if the heavens showered me a heavy downpour of blessings.

People close to me very well know how I never even dreamed of being on television. Yes, my childhood dream was to become a Journalist- but the dream was vivid to me that I merely wanted to be behind the scenes writing. This is why when I applied in RPN9, fresh from College Graduation, I asked for a writer position. But as they say now, the rest is history.

While I never imagined I’d ever be in front of TV delivering news reports, I always did my best when I was finally given the chance. Primary motivation in mind was not really to impress anyone- but to impress myself. I’m the type of person who would feel more ashamed knowing I didn’t do my best, than hear bad comments from other people. I feel I am myself’s worst critic. Like when I sing, unless I feel goosebumps hearing my own singing voice- I never stop practicing.

So what exactly was it on my mind when I tried out for the news updates anchor auditions? Simple- I just wanted to try it for myself, for the experience and so I won’t have any “what-ifs” on my mind.

So I went there donned w/ the basic makeup I knew, my red Eleksyon ’07 blazer for goodluck and the little confidence in myself. Of course, Eder was there to support.

Little did I know nor expect that I’d make it. The beauty of knowing you got something, lies in the fact that you didn’t expect it to happen. God truly works wonders.

20110605-105318.jpgApril 18,2011 GMANewsTV

20110605-105516.jpgJune 2,2011 Flash Report GMA7

To this day, while I’ve done anchor duties for NewsTV Live and Flash Report recently, I still can’t believe I’m doing something I never imagined I could. This was my father and grandma’s dream for me- and I actually made it happen.

I am humbled by the opportunity I was given and I pray the Lord guides me as I tread this path. The Lord has been so good,that I am lost for words to thank Him enough. ♥

Remembering (Of heartaches)

I still remember that day he walked out on me and the night he asked me to let him go. How will I ever forget the time he said goodbye- that hour when the world fell down on me.

While in my mind the memories of my heartaches remain- fortunately my heart has forgotten how badly it all felt.

Tonight I thank the heavens for helping me get to this point, when I can just look back and smile at all the painful and sad moments my heart has gone thru. Not everyone will be as lucky to happily remember, for one reason or another. I’m just grateful I’ve mustered enough strength and learned enough to get me thru.

Maybe I am writing this blog to remember what exactly I’ve learned- all these years.

When you go thru a heartbreak, it is true that you lose a part of yourself. You sometimes lose such a big part of you- that you end up thinking you can’t live alone anymore. But before you pity yourself, I will tell you that all of this is just in your mind. No matter how big it is that you lose when you go thru a heartbreak– you can always, always find a way to get up and move on.

When someone cheats on you, leaves you for someone else- you end up in pity thinking you weren’t good enough. Though you know in your heart you have all the right to get mad, you feel it’s still your fault he made that mistake. No, my dear. Don’t go blaming yourself and defending him. He cheated on you, he left you because he’s a jerk. Let it go.

Never believe that first love lasts a lifetime. You’re lucky if you’ve found that kind of love- but believe me it doesn’t happen all the time. So don’t give up everything all at once- don’t promise the stars. First love can die, and when it does and you’re lucky you can even bury it while you’re alive.

In this lifetime, your heartaches won’t always be caused by someone else. Often, you will be the reason for your own despair. Why go after people who don’t even see you? Why insist yourself on people who are already taken? Why destroy families? Why cheat yourself when you don’t want to be cheated? There will be times you will give up and call it quits. There will be times you will find someone else and love them even more. Don’t be scared to make mistakes. Even if you hurt yourself in the process, believe me these experiences will make you stronger.

And lastly, never hurry marriage. It’s one thing to think you want to get married because everybody is, and another thing to actually feel you want to get married. You don’t have to ride with the tide- marriage is never just a fad. Never marry someone who doesn’t know how to listen, or pushes you to be someone else. Marry someone you truly love, who truly loves you- someone whom you will never grow tired of loving, sleeping with and fighting with. Marry someone who never loses the spark of a first kiss. Somewhere out there, there’s that someone.

In my lifetime, to date my heart’s been broken twice, cheated on once and battered once.

But while in my mind the memories of my heartaches remain- fortunately my heart has forgotten how badly it all felt.

Not everyone’s lucky to happily look back. I’m just blessed to have mustered enough guts and strength to be one.

Wala lang.

Dati, akala ko pag sinabi mong love- nagbabago, kumukupas, nawawala rin ‘yan. Isang bagay na tulad ng maraming bagay, nauuso at nalalaos din pag nagtagal.

Sa dinami-dami na rin kasi ng dinaanan ng puso kong ito- kumbaga sa boxing, naknock out na ko ng ilang beses.

Maraming beses ng nagpakatanga. Maraming beses ng naisahan. Mangilan-ngilan beses na rin na naiwan.

Bugbog-sarado na, pero tulad ng marami- bumabangon, nangangarap na isang araw, darating yung isang klase ng love na magbabago ng tingin ko sa mundo.

Tapos dumating ka. Hanep sa timing.

Pakipot pa sa una, paayaw-ayaw pa. Pero dahil sadyang tinamaan lang talaga ako, ayun nagpakahulog ako sayo. Ang di ko na natutong puso, na-inlove na naman at naniniwalang eto na ‘yun.

Hindi mo ako masisisi kung wala akong kapaguran. Tulad ng marami, madalas kahit yung simpleng idea lang na may nagmamahal at minamahal ka- daig na nun ang kahit ilang milyong jackpot sa Lotto. Minsan, para sa iba, kahit yun lang masayang-masaya na sila.

Isa ako sa mga taong tulad nila. Mababaw ang kasiyahan. Makita lang kita, marinig ko lang ang boses mo, high na high na ako.

Ang hindi ko lang maintindihan, ay kung paanong sa sungit at moody kong ito- natatagalan mo ako. Pag tinotopak, nakikipag-away na lang bigla. Sa sobrang takot mawala ka, halos mamatay sa kakaduda.

Hindi ko akalain, na sa kabila ng maraming kapalpakan ng ugali ko, sa daming beses na sablay ako sa ‘yo, nakukuha mo pang mahalin ako.

Pwede pala talaga ‘yun- na may isang taong nandyan lang umaraw man o umulan. Na kahit anong mangyari, di ka iiwan. Posible pala na habang tumatagal kayo magkasama- hindi nagbabago yung kilig, yung lambing sa araw-araw. Pwede naman pala makakita ng tao na kahit anong gawin mo- hindi magbabago ang pagtingin sayo. Yung tipong kahit napakataba mo na, tadtad ka na ng tigyawat sa mukha o jologs mo na manamit- hindi sya mahihiyang ipagsigawan sa mundo na ikaw lang, ikaw lang ang mahal nya.

Bulag na kung bulag. Pero sabi nga nila, love is blind naman. E ano ngayon kung corny, ano ngayon kung baduy- di naman yan love kung hindi alinman sa dalawang yan ang nararamdaman mo pag naiinlove ka, diba?

Dati, akala ko pag sinabi mong love- nagbabago, kumukupas, nawawala rin ‘yan. Isang bagay na tulad ng maraming bagay, nauuso at nalalaos din pag nagtagal.

Buti na lang dumating ka. Buti na lang nakilala kita. Kahit kunin na nila lahat ng kayamanan at wala ng matira para sa akin– basta sa akin ka lang habangbuhay, ako na ang magiging pinakamasaya sa mundo.

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One year back at GMA7

For the first time in my life on Feb 26,2010- I had the chance to pray inside Quiapo Church. I was at an uncertain point then- felt lost in the midst of a big change I’ve just undergone.

While I was inside the Church, I silently asked the miraculous Black Nazarene to grant my heart’s desire. I left the Church with a very strong faith, that He will hear me.

The next day, I got the call I’ve been waiting for. I got accepted back at GMA7 that day.

Today, I marked my first year back in the job I love doing.

Yes, time went by so fast- and it’s already been a year since I was blessed with a second chance at doing what I love- my media work.

As I look back today at the last 12 months, I could not help but be grateful. I also could not help but be proud of how best I have survived all the challenges that came with the job.

Despite and amidst all the little disappointments and heartaches that come with any other job- I am thankful that God gave me this blessing. He alone truly knows what is best, and when it is the best time to answer our prayers.

In just a span of one year, I know I’ve started to bloom where I’ve been planted, just as I have planned.

I am now covering the Senate and enjoying my time while learning a lot on the job.

But the biggest change I’ve embarked was having to let my guard down.

I’ve allowed everyone-including those who have not been that nice to me in the past, a 2nd chance at building a friendship.

And I think it was one of the few things I did right.

Because apart from all the opportunities I have been given at work- such as being assigned to big stories, covering controversial personalities, I am happiest about the old and new friendships.

So let me say thank you to you, for all you’ve done for me.
Thank you Julius, JP, Steve, Ate Pia, Mariz, MarkS for the unwavering friendship. Thank you Kara for the one we’ve started to built. Thank you to all my bosses, the crew for all the good things.

Of course, thank you to my fiance and my Mom, for always believing in me.

Looking back now, no time was ever lost- because I’ve made the most out of the past year I’ve been back.

And yes,this is just the beginning of better things to come.

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How yellow and blue changed my life forever: On being a Theresian

(The following is the article I wrote for the 100th year anniversary of the ICM sisters, the congregation that founded St. Theresa’s College, my high school Alma matter. This was published in The Philippine Star on October 8,2010)

If I could only wear pink for all the days I went to pre-school, I would have done so. But because I studied in a very strict ICM school, I had to follow the rules.

That was my first taste of what it was like growing up in a Belgian-run school.

As I grew older, the rules spanned from wearing the proper Prep uniform, to the correct length of the trademark navy blue skirt, the no jewelry except for earrings and watch policy, to “don’t make your necktie a ballpen holder,” to “make sure all buttons of your high school blouse are closed.”

There were many boring rules we had to follow, and some even freaked the hell out of some of my more sociable colleagues — especially when we reached our teenage years.

Who went through high school without prom nights and soirees? We did.

Who went through high school without learning what CAT was? We did.

And of course there were the unique activities only Theresians like us knew about — such as the annual field demonstrations, the dance productions, song festivals and the graduation ball where our evening gowns were subjected for approval.

In St. Theresa’s College (STC), there were all sorts of Belgian nuns. From the sweet Sr. Yvonne, to the firm Sr. Pupe, the terror Sr. Tita and the always commanding Sr. Vicky.

The nuns seemed to meet our specific needs at specific times in our lives.

The sweet Sr. Yvonne always nurtured and spoiled us in prep. Sister Pupe disciplined the playful children in us in elementary, while Sisters Tita and Vicky made sure we acted like ladies in high school.

Must be traumatic for a kid growing up, right? But yes, I spent 11 of my best years in STC — in the company of nuns who restricted some fun, but drew out the best in each of us.

My Theresian education instilled in me the values of simplicity and humility.

The strict rules were meant to discipline us as we were growing up. Looking back now, I couldn’t be more grateful to my school for keeping us away from all the consumerism we now enjoy. We were allowed to enjoy and have fun — the way a child must. There weren’t superficial thoughts that the world was all beauty and happy, and that everyone was rich. We knew from day one that there were people less fortunate than us, and we were bound to help them in one way or another. We were made to realize that being a Theresian meant reaching out to them — sharing what little we have, even our time can already mean the world to them.

I loved Palihan days — that once-a-month day we devoted to visiting the slums, the orphaned, the elders. We as a batch would pray, help and make other people happy. And we sincerely did what we did, because it was the source of fulfillment in all the days we went to school.

We were taught that being simple and humble begins in one’s self — that you can’t be simple if you adorned yourself with all the fanciness in the world. To this day, I don’t go out for dinner or for any occasion for that matter, with more than a pair of earrings, a simple bracelet or a watch. A true Theresian will never be a fan of chunky necklaces, all glitter and gold.

We were also taught that simplicity and humility are core values you need to succeed. Compared to other schools, STC wasn’t as famous. In fact there were times I was asked where my school was in Quezon City. But yes, the fact that we were not famous as St. Scho or Poveda or Assumption at least during my time, we still managed to succeed. We never bragged about being one of the best exclusive schools for girls, although we were. We never bragged about being home to a number of famous women in news and film. We just let the rest notice us — if they must notice us, in their own sweet time

Translating that to us students, we were never too proud about ourselves, but we always believed in what we could do. When I was starting out in media, I didn’t really refer to my Theresian education unless I was asked. While deep inside me I know it would be an edge for me, I didn’t prod about it because I didn’t grow up in STC that way.

We never compared ourselves to others — because we were taught to always compete with ourselves. And that, to me, is the sweetest victory. I never thought I was better than other colleagues — because there will always be people that will come along that will be better than me. And so I have learned to push myself always to the edge, thinking I’m the only one of my kind — so that I am able to do better at what I do all the time. Yes, that probably is my secret for success — and that’s a fruit of being Theresian.

At 27, I have achieved little for myself financially, but I will not be ashamed to go back to STC because it will never measure me in monetary terms. Rather, my Alma matter will measure me in terms of how I have lived my life outside school, and how I have shone my light and become a blessing to others.

In my own little ways, I have blessed others through my stories and my outreach — but much is still to be done. Each day, I compete with myself for a better me, and a better opportunity to be the kind of blessing my Theresian education built me to be.

While I owe much of my knowledge to my equally good teachers throughout my 11 years in STC, I owe my values to the nuns who ran our school. I will forever be grateful for the gifts of simplicity and humility they instilled in me.

Yes, once a Theresian, always and forever a Theresian.

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Surviving Swimming

For someone working in media, it should be natural for me to be a risk taker.

Working in the field, faced with challenging situations every single day- one cannot be weak or too picky with which risks to take.

If you want to get a story done, you wouldn’t mind flying on board your military’s C130 plane to Jolo, or sail through the rough waters of Quezon at the height of a storm.

When I am at work, I always put on my confident self- one that looks credible, competent and authoritative. I try to always look like I can do anything, like there’s no battle I will ever retreat from.

But to be honest, it always takes a lot of guts and prayers before I take on a challenge and really jump at risks to get things done. Not to mention, that I have three of the simplest fears to conquer.

I have escalator phobia. I am afraid of heights. And I am hydrophobic.

When I first worked in GMA7 in 2007, I refused to take swimming class. I told myself, until the mere thought of taking a bath on a shower drowns me, I will never learn how to swim. So yes, I would go to the beach and stay near the shore, pretending to enjoy the water- while deep inside I’m scared as hell to die anytime.

Late last year though, all that was about to change because I again put up a confident face- I was half convinced I already wanted to learn how to swim.

My fiancé, who himself is a very good swimmer and has just undergone water rescue training cheered me on. To take the hesitations away, he went with me to the mall and was all praises at how good I looked on my pink swimming outfit.

On November 16, 2010, I finally took the first step and showed up in my swimming class.

Yes, that’s the pink rash guard my fiance bought for me.

My ticket to conquering my fear of water. After 20 + long, long years.

I warned Coach Sarie of how bad my hydrophobia was. Told her that I drown even in the shower, that’s why the good old tabo and timba have been my best friends.

LESSON 1:To help me get through the day, she asked me to get a feel of the water first by walking inside the pool. When I reached the deeper portion of the pool, I felt like drowning again. I had to walk back and forth, back and forth, six times I guess until I walked on water like I was just walking in the park.

LESSON 2: That same day, she taught me the proper way of breathing in water. I was too scared to try it and was making up every excuse not to put my head underwater. Ni hindi ko kaya ilubog ang ulo ko sa tubig, pano ko matututo? But because the clock was ticking and I was thinking I’m being such a brat, I followed her instructions. Yes, after getting water inside my nose and ears too many times, I learned how it was to breathe in water.

LESSON 3: But the highlight of the first day was letting myself float on water. When you’re hydrophobic and you’re finally able to float, that in itself is a huge achievement. Coach never got tired of convincing me that I can do it. She held my hand until The day ended with just me, floating all by myself. (I’m a natural floater, Coach said. Didn’t know some people were natural sinkers too)

Attending a two-hour swimming class once a week was tiring. I would always complain of getting tired just one hour into class, and would be very hungry when it’s over. Of course it took a lot of discipline too, to show up and swim (or float during the first few sessions) considering how scared I was to even try before.

On my third session I was already taught freestyle strokes, and one of my other coaches, Adrian said I was a quick learner for an adult. Many times they would tell me that I shouldn’t be ashamed that I learned this late, because there are others out there older than I am who are just starting to learn how to swim.

Yesterday on my final day of swimming class, Coach Sarie didn’t come with me to the water anymore. She just told me to enjoy myself. I was still scared to do it on my own, but I thought, if I have made it this far- what else can I not do in water now?

Proud of myself, I swam without holding on to any board back and forth the pool. Oh yes, I survived it all.

With Coach Sarie, on my last swimming class. (January 26, 2011)

Looking back now, I guess I will never get over this joy of achieving something so big for myself. I am so proud I pushed myself literally to my limits.

It is no joke, that after 20+ years of being scared of water, I finally saw myself swimming and enjoying doing so! I will always remember the first time I was able to float- and the joy of not seeing my feet underwater when I tried to check whether or not I really was floating already!

You wouldn’t understand how it felt, but while i was making that last lap last night -it felt like I was graduating from years of hard work in school.

Call it crazy, call it whatever. But if I survived this, hell yes, I know I can conquer my many other fears as well.

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