Haiyan’s 1st Anniversary

It’s November 8 again. I know there will be a surge of posts and reminisces (pun not intended, but acknowledged) of the typhoon that struck the country a year ago, and although I’m not entirely up for competing with the tide (again, pun not intended) of Haiyan posts, but I’d still like to share a little thought with everyone who takes the time to read this.

What tugs on my heartstrings the most is the fact that everything before the storm was so forebodingly calm. Though the news kept reiterating that everyone should be ready for a massive storm, nobody really believed they wouldn’t get through this storm like they did every other storm before it. Everything felt normal.

I remember just the week before, me and my friends were having sleepovers at each other’s houses; a few days before, we were saying goodbye to each other because most were leaving for school to start the new semester; and just the day before, on November 7, we were chatting on Facebook telling each other to be safe.

It was November 8, 5:31AM when the power went out—it was happening. The wind ripped the city, the water came in, houses came down, families groped for survival, and lives were lost. The communication lines were down, there wasn’t a connection in Tacloban—people were running around panicking. Both ends were feeling hopeless. I felt like our wholes live were shattered in the space of a few hours of wind and rain. I honestly thought that the entire country had gone back 50 years, I thought that everything we had was devastated in the storm.

The roofs were torn, trees were bare, the shoreline was dotted with debris from houses and scattered people—living or dead. It felt eerie to look at everything, like it didn’t feel like you were in the same place anymore. And it rained the same night, nothing scary, just a light rain. I think it was meant to wash away the pain and tears that ran down people’s cheeks as they found loved ones taken too soon.

It took days to clear out the roads in our neighborhood, they said we needed to get clean water and food if we wanted to survive. And I may have done some things I can’t talk about on the internet, let’s just say that you think and feel vastly different during and after. There is only one thought in your head, and this is not an overstatement, SURVIVE. In everyone’s panic, everything became chaos.

The nights after the storm were filled with waking at the sound of crunching metal, footsteps that felt out of place, or voices outside. ‘Sleep’ was laying on the floor staring at the ceiling, waiting for something to happen, and keeping a weapon near your hand.

Then the signal started coming back, calls were coming in from loved ones who were elsewhere when the storm happened, promises of help were made. Happiness, sadness, grief, despair, anger, relief, fear—a walk around the city and you’d see all sorts of emotions painted on people’s faces. And the dead—the dead were everywhere. The smell after a few days was an inescapable presence—it became like a cloth that wrapped around your nose and mouth, surrounding you and choking you.

And this is where my memory fades, I wasn’t in Tacloban too long after to tell the rest of the story. I remember close to nothing on the ride to Manila, just that the rest of the city was worse than I thought it would be, also that I get dizzy too easily on road trips. It took a while before I started feeling sane again, but I knew my sanity was coming back inch by inch, it felt like it was creeping back into my mind each time I laughed a little too heartily, I felt a little too loved or when I slept a little too soundly. But a little bit would get knocked off again when I remembered what I’d left behind.

It’s been a year since, and I think I can say I will never go back to being the same person again. We have forever been marked by this memory and normal will never mean the same thing again. It sounds overrated, but this storm changed a lot of people. Others more pronounced than I, and I will forever view Haiyan as having both a positive and negative impact on my life—and all the same, it was a life-changing event that forced too many people to grow up too soon, myself included.

Dorks, All of Them

So, I told my Facebook friends I would give them a real TBH post if admitted on Facebook that they were dorks. So, since I put too much effort in spreading the truth, I’m putting them on WordPress.


Vea. I fell in love with you (in-a-friend-kind-of-way-because-I-dont-roll-like-that) when I heard your voice that time you auditioned for chorale. And like, oh my GAWD, you are so nice! I guess you already know how pretty I think you are, I must have gushed about that before I graduated (I won’t go further because you hear that shit a lot, it’ll be the same story anyway (I swore but yeah like wuut)). When I think of you, I see an incredible young woman with the potential for whatever the fuck it is you wanna be. This must sound like some weird inspirational message we get from our teachers, but yeah, I’m cool like that.

P.S. I saw that first comment but no hate mail because it wasn’t on long enough for other people to see.

Love always, the AWESOMEST ALUMNI EVER (maybe not, but you get the point)


Hey dork!

In all honesty, I was scared of you that first time you were introduced to me as one of the cadet officers. We went through some things together, that may have not been too personal but I still feel like I betrayed you too many times that I’m reminded of every time I see you in the hall. I may smile and laugh and make it seem like it was nothing, but I feel like a disappointment to you. Although, I regret nothing, I can’t help but feel a little sadness about this every now and then.

Okay, no more feels. UHM, I like it when you smile because I feel like, even for a second, you’ve put enough trust in me to let me see the side of you I am rarely ever obliged to. I also admire you for choosing the path you’ve chosen and telling me a little piece of that story. That’s basically all I can think of and P.S. I do not like your shorts EVER. I also want to see you in a dress, this is a TBH anyway.


Hey dork!

I don’t remember how it is we became friends in the first place, I only remember how we bonded over singing sessions in the bathroom. I always saw when the boys were bullying you (they were bullying me too but fuck it) and I never really could do anything about it. We were forever classmates but I wasn’t too much of a good friend.

I like your hair, the way it falls down your shoulders so effortlessly. I like it when you talk about your family because it’s always so interesting to hear you go on about your sisters and about how they got this or they got that. I don’t like it when you spend too much time not studying. I don’t like it when you don’t come with on trips or hangouts because I never want to leave you out.

In all honesty, I miss you. I miss how we were.


Yo dork!

In high school, my friends were your friends and I was kinda pulled in one day when they were asking you for libre and it was so awkward for me when sinama mo rin ako sa libre. Ahaha, thanks though because I’m no ingrate.

Hmmm, I love your smile and the personality that goes with it. You have such an easy smile and an open personality. I haven’t gotten to know you too well, I do know however that you like books and I feel an instant connection has been made simply because of that fact. I would have loved to become better friends with you but I guess I’m too far gone to still get the chance. I guess lower class high school peeps will always have a place in my heart, with no matter of the situation.


Hello dork.

In high school, I saw you and I thought, “Pffft, feeler na naman ‘to.” And to tell you the truth, too many of us thought that about too many of your classmates. But we got over that soon enough as we got to know you guys better. I think puberty did you good, because apparently a lot of people are whispering about how good looking you are now. I’m sorry, but I can’t see you in that light because I feel like it’s incest LOL.

Also, I know I’m FC pero I guess I brought you into becoming FC with me too. So since it’s mutual, we probably are close na. OMG, do I even make sense?

Hmmm, what else? I always thought you were <i>silahis</i> (yes, italicized), and I’m still not entirely sure if you are one or not.

P.S. I refuse to PM this to you. The internet is forced to read my opinions bc we are a democracy! LOL

Krist Jan

I hated you in elementary. I basically hated all your friends in elementary. And yes, I know it was mostly my fault and, no, I haven’t forgotten what a shit person I was back then. But this is my truth for you.

High school came and I still hated you and your friends because I was still a social pariah. With my personal growth, I learned not to hate as much people. I think you and I only really became friends in senior year, when all of us were starting to become clingy. I don’t even remember how it is we became friends, but we became friends nonetheless.

What I did remember instead, was how funny you were, how easy you were to hang out with and how good a friend you are period.

OK, so fast forward to college. I cross-registered in Diliman and well, I’m still illegal but you know what I mean. Ever since then, you have become especially suffocating, which I am very opposed to as a free soul. Don’t ask me how, ask yourself how. I know you feel obligated to do what you do, but please loosen up a bit.

P.S. I don’t think we’ve had a heart to heart convo.

P.P.S. Cheater! But I’m giving you a TBH anyway bc I love you bae. EW.

P.P.P.S. OMG JannMarc please don’t judge me, I used bae, I am so sorry.


Erik! I didn’t know you back in high school because our paths never crossed because you graduated the year I went in (tama ba?). And basically the first time I met you was just before enrollment week of this year when we crossed each other in the hallway in front of the College Secretary’s Office. The very first thing I saw about you was how much of a KPop fan you are and how it wasn’t just a superficial fandom because you were actually helping out at a Korean base in the area. You’re funny but you’re kinda awkward. I don’t know why, I just think so. I love that I got the opportunity to know you because I’ve found a valuable brother in you.



Yo dork!

We met serendipitously, when you and I applied for COQC training, which we both gave up on. We haven’t seen each other much since then but I can’t help but notice how much you’ve grown. I used to think you were the type of person who couldn’t hold out in too many things but I’ve since changed my opinion about you. I can’t say far too much because we haven’t gotten the chance to bond over so long.

P.S. I like your geniality.


Garcia! Dork ka man!

Ikaw man ngani ghap di napapost ha timeline, yak, masubad. LOLJK.

Hi! Yes, I remember that day in R213 of Yakal Residence Hall’s Girls’ Wing. But that is not the day you and I became friends. You and I became friends a few days after when you found yourself in my room because you were sad about a certain someone and I found myself treating you to a McChicken Sandwich Meal™. Then I don’t know, we just bonded over the randomest things, boob moments, Math moments, McDonald’s moments, and GAWD, a lot of other shit.

I think it’s safe to say, I love you, but EW. Ahahaha.



Hey dork!

You first came into my noticeable world when I found you and your friends singing on Star Maker! (I guess) in Vinzon’s and I swooped in and sang an song with you. I couldn’t help but notice that you sang well. But you went out of my mind as easily as you went in.

I fell in love with you that day we walked together down Roxas Ave, flanking PHAN as we went along our way to Vinzon’s. I love hearing the way you put words together in a sentence because every word moves into the next so seamlessly, with you, it’s a conversation, and never a discussion. I feel like talking to you isn’t an effort and I haven’t found that too often outside the confines of my high school friends because I don’t feel judged for my words with you. I’ll treasure the privilege of calling you a friend and I only wish we could have had more conversations, and I wish more that we could have late night talks about love and life and lust because I think you’ll vibe with my personality.

P.S. Your smile is an inviting one and I don’t wonder why so many would love to get lost in it.



So the first time we met was when I handed you a piece of paper while we were standing outside NIGS in the 9AM sun. The first things I noticed about you were your eyes, then your eyebrows, then your smile. I thought you seemed to be high-maintenance but I got to know you better and I saw how sweet you were and how you loved(with a passion) all the cute things in the world. I love that I’ve gotten the chance to know you because I couldn’t see living life in Diliman without you there every now and then. And GAWD do I remember the Christmas Party of ’13.

We’ll get more time to get closer and I await each of those moments eagerly.



Ok, so the truth you probably don’t want to hear anymore: It was the first day of freshman year and we were all sitting in our chairs waiting for our adviser to arrive. You were probably like a few chairs away from me and I was taken aback by how gorgeous you were (and still are). I realize now that I don’t want to call you handsome anymore, I guess the perfect word for you would be FABULOUS.

I love how we’re friends, especially when we’re being crazy like themotherfuckers we are and I miss the days when we would just lie around doing nothing, all of us, just in your house doing what lazy people do.

I know sometimes you don’t feel too appreciated by too many people but I want to tell you that I admire you for so much that you are and that you can do. Being friends with you taught me so much about being able to be there for someone when they needed someone to talk to.

Truth is, Joshie, I <3 you down to the core of my central nervous system and I’m too far gone to put you out of any picture I envision my life with friends would be.


We met when we were both still in grade school, at a review center for PSHS. You were the only other girl in the room with curly hair and I instantly fell in love with you for that mere fact.

You have a spunky personality and an outrageously gorgeous (may I say daring) fashion sense. You talk a lot and are great with strangers and your smile is a little too enveloping. Too long, I always thought of you as ‘Danica, that other curlyhead chick.’ but I’ve come to understand the deeper meaning to the personality that you are. I know that you genuinely care about me and I’m sorry that I’m basically a haphazard social experiment about to explode but thank you for trying to put me in check every math class (ahahaha).


Hey dork!

I first met you in Robinsons, that day you asked me to do something for you (I don’t remember what though). First thing I thought was, “Wow, isn’t she gorgeous!” ‪#‎nolie

I like the way your cheeks come up to your eyes when you smile and the way your lashes just graze the top of your cheek when you laugh. It’s funny to watch become jumpy about something because you always grab hold of other peoples’ arms and squeeze hard.

I guess I’ll say I’m up for getting to know you more, especially the deep, dark, juicy secrets (because these are always the yummiest). We have, what, like another few years of college for that. And, yes, I am guilty of a few things for which I say sorry for a thousand times over.

We have so much to say to each other, so much time to spend together, and I want them to happen soon enough.

Love always, Fatima Grace, the best ever



In all truth, I never remembered you back in grade school nor did I remember you all too well in high school. I guess you were the popular-with-your-friends kind of guy but you weren’t an out-there dude, you feel? Yeah, I don’t really think I make sense either.

But well, you asked for a TBH and my TBHs always come with a smack to the gut.

So when you came into my viewable world, it was weird that I didn’t know you better. I realize you may not be as open as I am about feels, that you always have a sharp comeback to any quip and that the smirk on your face is one I want to slap off but it was a pleasant shock to come to know that you were a sweet, good friend (‪#‎ew), and kinda clingy, under all the teenage boy you are. So I haven’t known you well for too long but I know you because we vibe with each other (most of the time and #EW again). I don’t want to go further kasi I’ll sound too ‪#‎ewww so how about I just end this with a :*

Hey nerd/dork (you still are one even if you didn’t comment it)!


Hi Krissy!

First day, freshman year. You were the shy girl with glasses—I thought you were at least. If I remember it right, you were one of the girls who never EVER put their hair down. What we shared in high school were, chocolates, braids, stories, secrets, corpses, you know the basic stuff. AND UGH, the long, long drives from and back VSU—and that one where we almost died in. LOL.

Hmmm, you were the craziest personality I didn’t expect, you with you’re random uncontrollable bursts of anger and gigil moments.

Now for the hard truth. I miss you.

I miss how we were and it feels like I want to keep putting you in the picture but we’ve grown too far apart to need each other’s company every day. I’ve seen you grow up and most of our friends still want to live in our immaturity.

I can’t remember how long it’s been since we actually hung out but I’m sure it’s been a while. Looking forward to reliving long ago with you. Love always,Fatima Grace.



In all truth, you are one cray cray person. What I miss the most about you is your loud, loud, laughter and the way your entire person just laughs with you, and basically how you make everyone else laugh. I love the personality that you are and how it envelopes everyone into loving you because you have so much love to give. I remember when you cried that time we had spent some nights at the Perez mansion LOL, when you cried because our friends brought out a birthday cake for you. I love to witness how touched you are by the smallest yet sweetest of things. So many people care for you and it’s just all a ball of love and GAWD so much laughter.

You’re an easy person to talk to because I never feel like you’re secretly judging me in your head. You were among the first people that brought me out of my hate and into the friendship that I’ve fostered with so many of Class 2013.

You taught me to be a better friend, and you taught what acceptable humor was. Years will pass from today, but I want you to know that I you mega-level, bitch. It’s like I can’t even.

Love always, Fatima Grace, the cat



High school. We became friends over I don’t even remember anymore. It’s just that we did. And you started coming over for dinner and sleepovers and we were, like “Hey, let’s be like total friends!” And UGH, they say it’s easier to write something for someone you’re closer to, and yeah it was like that for most of the TBHs but you are a different story.

I want you to know that you are the very first person that brought me out into the social sphere. Yeah, I was crazy enough earlier, but you were the friend that taught me I needed real friends to live an actual life. And I thank you so much for that, because without you I wouldn’t have had the same level of connection with a lot of the friendships I treasure today. We joke about how I won’t go to something if you didn’t go, but that is one truth that will remain one for the next several years.

And about us being so far away, every day, is a growth I need to get through. You taught me about trust and reliance, and I love that you’ve given me yours. Sometimes though, I feel like I don’t deserve it.

I want to keep putting you back in the picture but we’re growing too far apart, too soon, for me to be able to keep that happening.

Becoming a Fame Whore—Not Entirely a Bad Thing

With over 2.8 billion people on the internet and over 300 active social networking sites(excluding dating sites), fame has become easier to achieve. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or YouTube, everyone has a piece of their own little fame on the web. It’s so hard to not love the attention when someone Liked/Favorited/Thumbs Upped/Plus 1’d that post about whatever it was you were doing just a few minutes ago. This is the era of the “Me Me Me” Generation, with so many of us posting selfies and paps, and tweets and opinions, we get lost in a sea of words on scroll-down screens, our short-lived happiness depending on the number of likes we get or the comments from the opposite sex confirming how attractive we are.

I am a fame whore—not on Facebook probably (because my family is there), but on every other site I have an account on—and that’s a lot of sites. I am not embarrassed to admit that. After school, it’s Facebook, then Twitter, then WordPress, then Tumblr, then SoundCloud, then YouTube, THEN study. Yeah, but I’m not necessarily a bad student, though. Most days, I stay away from my laptop so I can study. I am like every other teenage girl on the internet; I am probably a single bubble in a tide of personality. Every now and then, though, I feel the need to express my individuality. And the only way to do that nowadays is to stop reblogging and to make interesting and original work. And obviously, in the beginning of all this, I didn’t know how to use any other site other than Facebook, I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, or do photography, or videography, or how to edit audio or a lot of other skills. I learned that if I wanted to achieve my piece of fame, I needed to learn how to be original.

I don’t mind being part of the whole Me Generation thing. So yes, we are a self-interested, very ambitious generation but that only pushes us to want the best for ourselves. I’ve learned too many skills—that I can actually put on my résumé—to be part of the hate group.

Taking It Down a Notch

I have a very strong personality. What that means is, I do what I want, say what I want, when I want. And since my friends and I basically have the same opinions, we accept whatever it is another might be.

Today, though, I was reminded that there aren’t too many people used to the things I’m used to. And I forget that time and time again. A few months ago, someone told me to grow up because they thought I was acting like a child. I was shocked, because the people I usually hang out with all act the same way—or at least to some degree. We all think it’s socially acceptable to be this or that, that I forget what it’s like outside my circle of friends.

Some people don’t like the way I act, I get it. And I really do appreciate when someone tells me straight up—I really do. But I can’t help feeling sad about it. We tell ourselves to stop caring about what other people think, but now I think Screw that! because we are living in a world full of other people. Learning to live for yourself is learning how to deal with other people—I’m not saying we should be what other people want us to be, I just want to say that we have to remember where we are and that we affect other people.

I don’t want to change who I am, because that’d be suicide. But if I keep acting like this around other people, I become a social nuisance. What I’ve learned to do, instead, is to put people into categories in my head. There are my friends who belong in the “Be Yourself” category, people in my school go into the “Take It Down a Notch” category, the formal acquaintances in the “Business” category and the rest of the world who go into the “Hide Yourself” category.

Thing is, though, when I’m at school, surrounded by too many friends, I forget that I am also surrounded by people who don’t understand me, or like what I do. I don’t remember who’s in what category anymore, I forget I have categories in the first place, then I just go all-out crazy. I need an attitude adjustment program that doesn’t kill the fun, I just need to lose being crazy.

I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, this was just an emotional vent-out. Okay, I’m going to class in a while. Catch up again soon.

To the girl in my class who might be getting a little too sick of me, I’m sorry. I am genuinely sorry for offending you, and thank you for telling me what I did wrong. I won’t change myself, though, I guess I’ll just have to remember to take it down a notch in class.

Lunch Break

It’s a hot school day again and after my first period is a looong lunch break. I usually hang out in the school library where there’s air conditioning and wifi (that you have to hunt for), but today I went home because I wanted to get out of my clothes and take a cold shower. Right now, I’m lying around the house in my underwear (not meant to be sexual, it is just so humid).

I’m posting this because I wanted to talk about how much I hate hot, humid and sticky school days. First of all, if it isn’t summer, it means there’s a storm coming (I hate typhoons). Second, any amount of clothing is ‘too much’ clothing but you can’t really go to school naked (UGH). Third, too many people are sweating and sweaty-elbow-bumping in class is so not cool (I am not in the mood to share pheromones).

I’m also home because the food is better here. So yeah, catch you after lunch! :)

Let’s Eat!

I also just finished designing another logo for a friend and it’s kinda relevant to the lunch break situation so bear with me. :)

It’s Taking Too Long

Every day I tell myself to save money, so every day I save whatever little is left from my allowance. But after a week or so, I buy something new and my finances are back to zero again in the blink of an eye. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have a big allowance and save up a lot, to tell you the truth, my allowance everyday is 50 pesos (I’m from the Philippines, convert the currency so you better understand what 50 pesos means). It’s an okay enough deal for me because I go home after every day so I basically only need to spend on transportation and small fees like handouts and the like.

The thing is, though, that after I started going to college my mom would always tell me to save up and use my own money when I asked for basic needs like shampoo or tampons. Yeah, okay, a lot of parents do that but I don’t get a lot to start with. After a day at school, I am left with 10 pesos or less—and you can’t buy much with 10 pesos. When I ask for extra the answer is always, why can’t you save money like a responsible person.

So, right now, what I’m doing is saving up money—this money goes into a glass piggybank that everyday I am tempted to break open—so I can start a new bank account. One that only I control and one that my mom can’t get into. I’m waiting until I’m finally 18 so I can get a part time job tutoring younger kids lessons I learned ages ago and getting paid through a bank so there’s never any cash on me. Some of you might tell me to get part time now, but, let me remind you again, I’m in the Philippines. There aren’t a lot of part time jobs for underage students. It’s like a requirement or something.

Then there’s the subject of med school. Remember every Christmas when relatives send you envelopes full of cash, well that’s a serious thing here. My parents told me that all the money I get from aunts, and uncles, and godmothers, and godfathers will all go into an account my mom set up for me when I was a kid. She said ten years down the road, this will be for your college tuition. It’s been twelve years and I haven’t even had a wiff of that account again. I asked about it, she asked what I was talking about. Knowing my mother, it probably got used to pay off some debt from god-knows-when. I’m waiting until I can get a part time job to actually save money so I can go to med school then I can finally make bigger money so I can get out of this life. WOW, that was a long-winded sentence.

I want my freedom—financial and otherwise. I won’t mind if a lot of hardships come with it, I just want to call something my own. When am I finally going to be legal 18?

A Day in a Life

I wake up very morning to the sound of my mother shouting at me to wake the fuck up.

As I pull off whatever I slept in to reveal my cold skin I can hear my mother’s morning speech from across the house. Through the bathroom door she tells me to hurry to school, to get good grades, to not fuck up, to not get pregnant, that I am worthless without her, usual stuff.

So I leave for school and I listen to my teachers, laugh with my friends, drown out the anger inside with smiles and hellos and fleeting moments of serenity. But that can never last and I make my way back home to where the only people I ever really talk to are my dad and my aunt.

The times when my mother and I do actually speak to each other is when she’s reminding me that I’m too fat, that I’m not pretty enough, that the clothes I choose are shit, my hair is shit, my skin is shit, basically whatever small detail that can possibly be shit is shit about me.

I was happiest in Diliman probably because I was far enough from her. So I go to school again, to learn from other people what it is to be a normal person. I go to school so I can get a job, so I can leave here, so I can be free. And that freedom is not an overly-exaggerated concept to me. For me, freedom is where I can let myself be myself. I am least myself here.

In grade school, my teachers always said to bring the etiquette we had at home into public life. They said that we put up no walls around ourselves when we were home—this was a time when kids were taught to be au naturel. If I did that I would have been the quiet kid in the corner no one would talk to.

Because when I am home, I turn into a little ball of space. I don’t want my mother looking my way because whatever it is I’m doing is probably wrong for her again. And I succeed most days, especially when she doesn’t come home for a week or so.

So I sit in this space which I supposedly call home and yet I feel like I never belong. When I close my eyes at three in the morning to get three hours of sleep I realize it’s days like this, when I have too much shit to do and don’t know yet how to deal with it, that I think of all the reasons why I should finish studying get out of this mediocrity.And this is a day in my life.

What it is to be a friend

I used to think that friends were there so you had someone to hang with, to laugh with, to do crazy stuff with—they were there so you wouldn’t feel lonely.

After years of, what I believe to be, personal growth, I realize friends are there because you have a level of connection. Maybe it’s an inside joke only the two of you get or an experience you’ve shared, whatever it is, there has to be some kind of glue that holds you together. The more shit you’ve gone through the gluey stuff keeps getting stronger.

So why is it that friendships can still fall out?

Honestly, I always thought that we had each others’ backs but I guess we were too young to know what it meant. Sometimes I remember the days we’d laugh at the most random thing we could think of but I don’t feel pain or sadness. All I feel was that I wasted too much of my time being there for you even if you could hardly do the same.

So yes, I never asked for anything and maybe you thought I didn’t need you to be there, but that was just because you never made me feel like I could ask. It never even felt like you would be able to help me.

I don’t see those years with hatred, like I said, all I see is wasted time.

I do know why it was we were growing away from each other, and it was that first time I said no. It must have been so shocking for you, hearing me say ‘No’ to you for the first time in years. You never said so, but I knew you were angry the next few days.

We’d met other friends, made other connections, I guess I wanted you to help yourself so I stopped doing everything you asked—and you asked for so much and always so sweetly. I wanted you to learn that you wouldn’t always have someone that would do your homework for you.

And I grew up.

You said I’d changed, that I didn’t seem like the same person, that I liked different things. I saw that too—I didn’t like studying just a day before the exam anymore, I didn’t like too much gossip anymore, long nights of staying up watching anime when I could have been studying seemed a bad idea. I grew up and I wanted you to as well. But you wouldn’t let me help you that way.

I wanted to teach you how to work things out yourself, you wanted me to just do the work. And then I wouldn’t help because I wanted you to learn. It was a vicious loop.

I understood nothing was working and I snapped one day. It was so sudden, years of friendship ended in one moment. There was nothing after, we’d gone from calling each other best friends to acting like we never met in a day. The next day we saw each other and looked away.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what your eyes looked like. I feel like I’ve never really looked at you. And yes I still hang out with my friends, laugh with them and do the craziest shit together but I don’t miss them when I feel lonely—I miss them in the middle of the day when the world is going through my mind, I’m surrounded by too many people and I am having the greatest time, they pierce into my thoughts and I say to myself, “This would be even greater if they were here.”

My Diliman Story

Since typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, I’d like to believe I’ve grown up and matured at least somehow. Sad truth is, though, that I haven’t; I am still the same indecisive, easily-swayed, misinformed teenager I was before the storm. I thought that after over six months in Diliman of decisions, grinds and experiences away from my family, I would at least learn something—saving money, acting around people, when to study-when not to study—that my parents always reminded me about on a daily basis. But no, here I am, seven months later, rethinking my stay in Diliman and regretting why I didn’t make the best of it.

Before the typhoon I already had plans of transfering, simply because I felt that I didn’t deserve ‘just UP Tacloban’. I thought that, “Hey, the courses I applied for in Diliman were really cut-throat, I guess if I applied for the course I have in Tacloban now, I would have totally gotten in.” And so all of the first semester was an effort to get great grades.

But then the storm happened.

Funny thing is, I wasn’t even scared of the storm on November 7. I was on the internet laughing about farting goats and not even giving the slightest shit about Haiyan. But God, when the water was coming in, all I could think about was my education. The first thing I tried to save were my school records. After swimming to safety, my family was crying about the house, our relatives, our lives; I was crying about not going to be able to go to school on Monday, not going to be able to transfer to Diliman, not graduating, not getting a job. I was so scared, I just sat on the concrete and cried. I cried the kind of tears that just keep streaming down the sides of your face—no noise, just tears. The type of crying people do when everything just seems hopeless.

The next day, I went to Robinsons Tacloban alone; I took what food and necessities I could. Then again to Robinsons with my cousins to take more food, more necessities, some clothes, some luxuries. Another day passed, I slept with a knife in my hand, scared at any noise the fence would make.

A day passed, I brought home a sack of rice from a warehouse in San Jose. I cried when I got home; there were too many dead people.

A day passed, I couldn’t sleep, I was staring at the fence.

A day passed, I refused to eat so my parents could eat more.

A day passed, my cousins and I looted a pharmacy. We took a lot of antibiotics.

A day passed, I slipped and a piece of torn roof cut my skin.

A day passed, I coudn’t bear to look at my room.  Everything was covered in mud.

A day passed, I thought I heard something outside. My father brought out his gun. It was just a stray cat.

A day passed, I bought a loot phone from a stranger. God, there were so many messages from unknown numbers.

Ten days after the storm, my brother called, he said they were arriving in four hours. He told me to pack so we could leave for Manila.

Twenty four hours later, I was in a van cutting across Bicol. The trip took two days. We didn’t stop the whole way except for gas thrice. I was in Manila by the 20th.

The internet told me that the entire university system was open for cross-registrants from UP Tacloban. That moment I thought, “Here was my chance. I’m going to Diliman!” I did everything I needed to do to get in with a smile. Even if I didn’t bring a lot of clothes, money, or valuables, I was happy because I was where I wanted to be.

AS was bigger than I thought it’d be, freshie walk was a pretty as the pictures, Melchor was as intimidating as I imagined. The amount of elation I was going through that first week was probably enough to power a Happy Factory for depressed people for the next year—I was over myself with ecstasy. This would have been a perfect story, but then there would be no point in writing this if that were the case.

I’ve made too many mistakes in Diliman.

I didn’t work hard enough for my grades, I was too caught up in useless thrills. I didn’t get to experience a university life because, when I wasn’t caught up in useless thrills, I was wasting away on the internet. I spent too much of the charity money on things that made it obvious that I didn’t deserve a charity. In three minutes, I made a decision that would demand my life’s time.

I fell in love with someone from Diliman. :)I hurt myself and this person. I fell out and in and out and in of love for this person. But it wouldn’t work.

Long story short, I wasn’t able to live out the Diliman life I truly wanted. I can’t transfer because of something I did and wasn’t able to do. Despite all that, I loved  every moment of the experience. And even if I’m probably never going to be able to repeat it I can’t bring myself to not be happy. It feels as though I’m leaving a huge part of my soul in Diliman and yet I’m smiling through the pain because at least a part of me can be here.

I’m leaving for home on June 25th. This is my message to everyone—whether we met or not, whether or not we’ve crossed glances in Casaa, whether or not our hands touched and we felt that spark that everyone looks for—whoever you are, I want to tell you that you were instrumental to the rollercoaster ride of emotions, to the experience that was my Diliman story.

Thank you.