There’s a lesson in here, somewhere. There’s just got to be.

No way will I be going through this endless back-and-forth motion of “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” and be all for naught.

The epiphanies have been clawing at me for a while now. Only they’re not exactly epiphanies just yet- more of…possibilities.

Possibility #1: I learn that loving what you do; living and leading a life of passionate work you truly, madly, deeply believe in (hello there, Savage Garden reference) should not take a backseat to getting far in life. What good will it do to be so high up but empty?

Possibility #2: I learn that life will just keep on pushing you and pushing you wherever it wants you to go and you’ll best be off learning how to roll with the punches; just stick it out for a while and eventually (maybe) you’ll get to figure it out. Professionalism, they call it.

For weeks, months even, I’ve been at odds with myself. I thought I knew what I wanted and technically speaking, I do. In fact, I know which two things  want: happiness and stability. Unfortunately, to gain stability would mean potentially subjecting myself to people I don’t even know what I think about, and to be happy means experiencing it alone, with others whispering, hissing about my choices.

Maybe I’m paranoid. Maybe I’m not.

What I know for sure is what I do not know.

Indak by Up Dharma Down

Makikinig ba ako sa aking isip na dati pa namang magulo
o iindak na lamang sa tibok ng puso mo
at aasahan ko na lamang na hindi mo aapakan ang aking mga paa

"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

Though the origins of this quote are uncertain, it brings about an air of finality.

People die every day for a variety of reasons. Fatal crashes, natural calamities, crimes, natural reasons, and sometimes, self-inflicted. Regardless of the cause, there is always a sense of loss and emptiness that follows.

Those who are left behind are wondering if they ought to have been left behind. Others start to think about their own mortality and choices. Thoughts of “That could have been me” do come into consciousness.

More than feeling a sense of loss, confusion, and sadness over the immediate news of knowing someone who shares a lot of things in common with you deciding to take the way out, the feeling of outrage over an article describing what had happened with such poor taste and in a condescending manner emerges.

But I’m getting carried away.

I am not here to criticize a writeup. I am here to try to make sense of what had happened though I know I probably never will. I am here to try anyway.

It’s silencing to think that the casual acquiantance you saw once a week for an entire school year, the one you always saw as being the nice guy with abig heart, would just one day decide that it’s all too much and ended everything with one blow. 

Just how wrong could you be about a person’s situation? 

We’ve scoffed at people who we’ve unfairly written off to be snobbish and shied away from those we assumed to be better than us (see: perfect). But we’ve also been wrong.

That girl you labeled as snobbish a few months back turned out to share your interests and helped give you a few pointers and words of encouragement when you needed them.

That guy you saw as intimidatingly “perfect” puts you at ease when he introduces himself first in the group and isn’t afraid to make fun of himself, making him so much more approachable than you originally thought.

We get people wrong at times. We’ve judged them before we’ve gotten to know them and now we take back what we said. We get people wrong at times and in the end, it’s better than we did. 

But then there are those times when we are wrong in our views of people, and how we wish that we weren’t.

That friendly nice guy you casually knew? The one who seemed to handle life’s curveballs better than others? The one who pulled wacky faces for photos but also helped out whenever he could? Gone. And by his own hand.

The discrepancy between who we think people are and who they really are is, in this case, numbing.

The disbelief stays with you longer than you want it to. Then it leaves. And then it creeps back. 

You begin to wonder “what happened?” 

You share a common history with this person. Roughly the same age, similar socio-economic backgrounds, mutual friends, a common class. This could have been you or anyone else you know. The reality that this could have been the choice of anyone else who is so much like you, completely opposite you, or even you, yourself sinks in.

Perhaps those who are left behind will never fully understand what drove indiduals to take their own life, even with an explanation or note prepared before the act. There are usually many factors that push a person to their end, with some factors greater than others, but these never seem to be explanation enough for those left behind.

I don’t think any of us saw this coming, Brian. But I do hope you are getting the strength and the support you need up there. We’ll be praying for you, your family, and everyone whose lives you have touched. Rest in peace.

In Memoriam


This is the only way I can describe the last day of 2013.

Every other December 31 can be described as so, but this December 31 is truly bittersweet.

Just the other day I found out a batchmate of mine, Troy Carbungco, caught bacterial meningitis. Later I learned she was confined in the ICU and in a coma.

A quick search led me to the signs, symptoms, and complications of bacterial meningitis, and it was, simply put, daunting. But I heard she was fighting it with everything she’s got.

Other batchmates’ reported how she would really try to blink, raise her left arm and leg (for her entire right side was paralyzed) when they spoke to her. I was amazed at Troy’s continuing strength and, like everyone else, I too prayed for a miracle, for her full and speedy recovery. 

Come earlier this morning, we found out Troy had gone.

There is no one word that could possibly encapsulate the bevy of emotions one feels upon learning someone you’ve known for years, someone who has walked the same halls and done the same homework you had, had passed away.

There’s always disbelief. The bargaining. The anger. The sadness. The numbness. The guilt. This is the unmistakable bitterness that accompanies the last day of the year.

But there was also the hope. The gratitude.The inspiration from having known such a strong, talented, determined, and passionate individual. 

Posts of “I miss you” and “I love you” peppered my newsfeeds. But it was the posts of “You inspired me to do this” and the “Thank you for being so friendly/happy/game for anything” that showed me just how sweet December 31st can be. She and I were never that close but I can say she deserved all those kind words and more.

Troy lived her last few days the ways she’s lived her entire life: with an unmatched zest and determination. 

She was a theater star and an aspiring model. I have seen the fruits of her labor, and her efforts do show. She chased her dreams. Took bold and solid steps to achieving what she sent out to do and rightfully so. 

She is a star. Not just in the theatrical sense, but also an astronomical sense. Like a true star, she may have gone out but her light still shines for all of us to see. And that, I think, is the ultimate goal of every person: to illuminate and inspire even when physically gone. Being true to her passionate and determined self, she got there ahead and so will her light shine longer and brighter than anyone.

Rest in peace, Troy Carbunco. Thank you shining your light on us. I know you will continue to do so even when you’re up there. 

Some people’s personalities are so easy to fall in love with.

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)

This 45 minute film is beautiful and sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Its art is beautiful. Its plot is seemingly simple enough. Its characters are endearing and would definitely grow on you. Though it deals with some supernatural elements (mountain gods and spirits, anyone?), the emotions you’ll feel are as real as can be.

Hotarubi no Mori e is one of those films that hits you bad but since its so beautiful and touching, you can’t not see it again. Its story definitely stays with you for a while.

Photo credit: Nippon Cinema 

Somewhere between the casual introductions, the many casual conversations, that one night out, and the confession, something went amiss.

The popular notion of lack of physical interaction leading to a decline in feelings toward a person may have initially been thought of as the reason for the lack of mutuality but I disagree. I think the feelings started waning earlier on, perhaps they might not ever been there at all.

The importance of open communication in any relationship cannot be stressed enough but the power of self-love cannot be denied. In fact, it should probably be a pre-requisite for romantic relationships specifically. Like they’ve said: You cannot save anyone, you can only love them. 

Unless both people in a relationship can accept or work through their personal problems first, I don’t think it’ll work out. The idea of one person loving “more” than the other bothers me. How is that love if it isn’t fair? 

Of course, this is where our own manifestations of our loving comes into play. Compatability and likemindedness have more bearing than one would think. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable with people doing favors for you, chances are you’ll feel awkward being given random presents that took a lot of time and effort to put together. That inner struggle you feel between being grateful but “undeserving” of such a gesture eats you up and eventually, you think it’s best to cut ties.

What a cruel twist of fate life turns out to be. Too much of a good thing can really get to you if you don’t know what to do with it.

If I Never Knew You by Mel Gibson and Judy Kuhn

During the last few weeks of classes (which are now officially over for the semester!), I was searching for some Disney love song playlists on YouTube to keep me company as I worked through the numerous late nights I went through, which is how I came across this gem.

The dialogue and lyrics are a little cheesy but I love this track.

My mother taught me this trick: if you repeat something over and over again it loses its meaning, for example homework homework homework homework homework homework homework homework homework, see? Nothing. Our existence she said is the same way. You watch the sunset too often it just becomes 6 pm you make the same mistake over and over you stop calling it a mistake. If you just wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up one day you’ll forget why.
— Repetition by Phil Kaye
(via petuhl)

(Source: myheartgoesbumbumbum)

The “why” questions are the most important questions of your life.
— Dr. Onofre Pagsanhan