youth leaders summit

This is my 2016 Letter…

To my parents

Thank you. I’ve appreciated you more this year for all your hard work and love for us, your kids. I’ve loved you more when I had nothing and you were there for me. I loved you more when I had my biggest heartache and you supported me. I know I’m not anywhere near where you’d hope for me to be, but I know deep inside I’ve made you proud this year. I’m sorry for all the disappointments and problems I’ve caused you. I may not have sound decisions for 2017, I might make a lot of mistakes for the coming year, but know that I am not stupid enough to ruin my life and I hope that after everything, I’d still have a home (or two) to go back to. You will always be my permanent address. I love you and my siblings more than anyone.

To my siblings

One of you might not understand this yet (we all know which sibling it is). I haven’t been the best ate since forever but I realised I have to do my best and keep trying to be one. I may not be financially present (for obvious reasons) but I’m always open to your stories may they be petty and childish. Despite the distance, I hope we can still communicate and be closer. And when I come home, I hope we can have more pillow fights and laughter. Our family is the best thing that ever happened in my life. Lablab forevs.

To my friends of ten and six years

In good times and in bad, you’ve been there for me. I will always be grateful for your company may it be by the beach, at YDH, in my house, over short lunch meetings (B, ugh), late night and random calls where I cry at the end of the line, over coffee, tea or beer, and sometimes smoke, and many more. I know I’ve been spacing out a LOT for the last couple of months and I’ve been having my emotional sudden outbursts, but you’ve been extremely patient with me and my madam tendencies. You know how important you are to me. Thank you for letting me suck the life out of you with my sad stories and annoying hugots. Please please please be patient with me a little longer. Of course, I’m also just here to listen to your problems and most likely judge you because that’s what I do. You know I love you.

To my extended family and generous friends

I will be forever grateful. When I was struggling for funds for SSEAYP, I did not expect to get a lot of positive responses from you. You did not only support me and my batch financially, but you’ve helped springboard our careers and our future.

Thank you: Nanay and Tatay, for everything; fave Kuyas for driving me around the jungle that is Manila and for listening to my stories and for sharing yours too, here’s to more beer nights for us; aunts, uncles, titas, titos, and other relatives for the enormous support this year and; Ninang Jo for the unwavering encouragement and annual pasalubongs.

My success is your success too. I pray to God that He would return the blessings to you a thousand folds more.

To the new people I’ve met

2016 has been a struggle for me. I quit my stable job where I had potential. I became an accidental “writer.” I’ve changed a lot over the past six months. I’m usually not as anti-social, philosophical, and dramatic. I hope we’ll forge stronger friendships in the coming years. I hope to get to know you better. I hope you’ll know me better too, the real (and happy) me. I never knew that I’d meet people who would end up to be really important in my life this year. I’ve realised there’s much more to do in the community and in the field of DRR, shoutout to my AYVP and DG 3 family. I realised just how big the world is thanks to SSEAYP and the 300+ people I’ve come across with. I’ve learned to love the Philippines even more thanks to the twenty eight people who showed me their unique cultures. I’ve learned that I can be friendly to others without being fake. I was surprised at how patient, more tolerant, and accepting I’ve been for the last six months. I’ve rekindled my love for music, arts, and photography. I found love in the form of surfing. I learned that I can write well! I’ve strengthened my will to travel more and explore this small yet big world. I am now more inspired thanks to your stories about life and your encouragement. I look forward to more bonding moments and getting-to-knows. Above all, I hope we’ll stay in touch.

To the one great love I’ve let go

In life, there is love. In love, there is pain. After pain comes acceptance. Acceptance leads to freedom. I will always remember these words that you said to me: I hope you get what you truly deserve. I wish you the same too.

A friend once told me that some people are blessings, others are lessons. You, to me, are both. While there are so many things I wish I could share to world about what happened and how it happened, there are things that are meant to be left unsaid. It is safe to say that I have no regrets but that I will always have a special room in my heart for the love that we’ve cultivated for the last four years. All that I wanted and needed to say, I’ve already sent to you.

To the people I lost

There are people who are meant to stay in our lives but there are also people who are meant to leave or fade. Some friends I regret losing, others I don’t. I’ve learned to close doors but not to lock them. I also learned that nothing is final until it is truly the end. Burnt bridges can be rebuilt, trust can be earned again, and wounds can always heal.

To the person whom I’ll love next, may you be a friend or a “lover”

I am nowhere near perfect. I have my sudden outbursts and zone-out moments. I like to do a lot of things and pursue many of my passions. I am extremely impulsive and a (wo)man of action. I have my selfish moments but I also have better days. I don’t enjoy “shallow” conversations any more because I love talking about deep shit in life more. I enjoy doing different things at the same time but knowing that we’ll both be in the same room, comfortable of this kind of setup. I often like being with company without having to utter a single word. I want and need some alone time, but I’m also very afraid of being alone (for the rest of my life). If I meet you this coming year (or who knows if I’ve already met you), I hope you won’t get tired of listening to all my bullshit and drama. I hope you’ll be the type of person who’s game to climb a mountain, surf, eat lots of food, play music, and exercise with me. I hope we’ll get to enjoy every day as if it was the last. I hope, above all, that you’ll choose to stay in my life.

To the people who judged me and those who do not know me

I do not live to please you but I am obliged to pray for you. I understand that you’ve judged me based on what you heard or saw. And I also understand that you do not know me well enough to see past what is on the outside. I have no room for hate or for people who do not and should not matter in my life. I do not owe anyone an explanation. There is so much good in this life and that’s all I want to focus on.

To myself

Where will I be in 2017? Nowhere and everywhere. I’d like to consider 2017 as my gap year, my YOLO year. I plan to travel the Philippines as much as I can. I now only have a four-digit balance in my bank because I will use my extra cash to pay for my tuition this coming semester. Yes, I still plan to finish my masters degree because I’m responsible like that. Moreover, I have no plans yet to look for a stable job, at least for now. Neither do I have plans to ask money from my parents (hopefully) or anyone else. I’m looking forward to doing odd jobs, continuing my online tutoring stint (which happens to be my best backup plan and safety net since college), and living by the day. Isang kahig, isang tuka. Bahala na si Batman, basta, dahil, datapwat.

I do not want to say that I’ll be “soul-searching” or “finding myself” because those two phrases have been quite overrated this year. I want to say, rather, that I want to learn more about myself and this big world we live in. I want to meet more people, make new friends, and form stronger bonds with those who share the same passion and depth as I do. Ultimately, I want to be free. Free from anxiety and fear over being alone for the rest of my life; free of the all the pain that came about for the past year; free of self-doubt and insecurities. I just want to be happy. I will choose to be happy.

To end this letter, I would love to share two of my favorite Paulo Coelho lines.

Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest.

Happiness doesn’t only come knocking at our doors. Happiness can come in the form of a new book, a vacation, a new pet, a lover, or even a problem as a disguise. Happiness is a choice but a choice that has to be fought for over and over. I learned from another friend that I am too focused on the idea of being “happy” and it was when I realised that happiness isn’t a final destination but a never ending conquest.

Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.

Here’s to a new year! Ciao for now.

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