Year-end Thanks 2017

The year went by in a blur. Looking back at my 2016 post-breakup self, I have become a better person in 2017 – a woman with clear vision and goals. I found my mini journal from 2016 where I only had one very depressive entry about lost identity and purpose. I listed the things I wanted to try, what I wanted to learn, places I wanted to go, and then left the journal forgotten in a drawer. When I chanced upon it a few weeks back, I was surprised to find that I’ve done most things in 2017 and more:

  • travel to Japan
  • volunteer with an NGO
  • be a resource speaker in front of youth leaders
  • improve social skills and meet new people
  • enroll in graduate school
  • get certified for freediving
  • go canyoneering in Cebu
  • own a business
  • do the sardine run in Moalboal
  • surf in Siargao
  • join a grants competition for the community

This year had been a year of learning, new experiences, and finding myself. I can only smile at the emotional wreck that I was in 2016 after ending a 7-year relationship and losing my purpose in life. What began as a path to self-discovery by writing down the things I want to change in my life, ended in a new beginning – a new me.

1st MAD Camp in Zamboanga

When I wrote down in October that I wanted to enroll in graduate school, I didn’t think that the chance would come as soon as November and my wish to volunteer somewhere came true in January. I used to dread coming back home to where most of my friends have left already, a place where I felt most alone and unhappy. But I guess the universe works in mysterious ways. I’m not religious but I prayed that whatever the universe has in store for me, it will guide me in the path where I can do my best. And it did. The opportunities came right after the other and meeting the right people opened more doors for me.

After the proposal defense at Hiroshima University

This year I traveled the Philippines (Manila, Davao, Baguio, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Siargao, Baler) a lot and did the following advocacy-related activities:

  • Ideaspace Startup Competition (February-March 2017)
  • HiPeC-Bm DSS/HET (May/July 2017)
  • I am M.A.D. Camp Zamboanga (June 2017)
  • Miss Zamboanga (August-October 2017)
  • International Coastal Cleanup Day: Hugot Dagat – Game of Trash (September 2017)
  • Zamboanga Flooding Donation Drive (October 2017)
  • Ampalaya Monologues: Two Is Bitter Than One (October 2017)
  • Angat Kabuhayan (October 2017)
  • #nowPH x ASEAN (November 2017)
  • ASEAN Youth Engagement Summit (November 2017)
  • Empower 3.0 Aquatics and Ecotourism Camp (December 2017)
  • Ideas Positive Run 8 (December 2017)
  • M.A.D. Convention (December 2017)
  • DepEd Gawad Siklab Search for Outstanding SSG & SPG (December 2017)
  • Tuklas Innovation Labs (December 2017)
I am M.A.D. Zamboanga Team with Keep Hope Alive

This year I met so many people who eventually became my good friends and partners in advocacies:

  • Yuppies for Peace Zamboanga group
  • Meryl and Vince
  • Riks Mondia
  • Friends I met during travels: Marianne, Hannah & Hannah, Kuya Winston
  • I am M.A.D. (Making A Difference) group
  • HiPeC-Bm & Young Mindanao Professionals for Peace group
  • Triton Divers Group Zamboanga
  • Miss Zamboanga staff, sponsors, partners, and supporters
  • Ampalaya Monologues and TAP
  • #nowPH x ASEAN group
  • AYES group
  • Empower x Keep Hope Alive group
  • Tuklas group
Meeting Meryl again after 10 years, and meeting Vince & Zjhay for the 1st time.

It’s amazing how meeting one right person will lead you to the right people and opportunities. In my case, I met Meryl again after 10 years where I met the rest of my Dream Team (shoutout to Vince, Zjhay, Chooky, Damhar, Venus). I met Kuya Maco from I am M.A.D. and this youth-led volunteer NGO became a major part of my 2017. My enrollment in MPA at ADZU led me to meet my classmate Aljid who told me to apply for HiPeC-Bm from which I made a lot of friends all over Mindanao.

Dream Team with Meryl & Vince at Ideas Positive Run 8 Live Screening

With the Dream Team, we applied for a lot of individual scholarship/fellowship programs and applied for project funding as a team. We succeeded in some and got rejected in so many. But we always push forward and keep on applying to more. #ApplyNgApplyUntilYouFly as we often joke about it. We made 2017 our year of trying and establishing ourselves, and we will make 2018 our year of winning.

Meeting these people who are mostly youth leaders inspired me to do more for the community. Thank you all for being part of my 2017. You have made me a better person and I will continue to work hard in 2018. I’m still no good at expressing my thanks, but I hope the message gets through to you. Here’s hoping to further our advocacy work and inspiring more youth to be part of the solution…

#SGD2030 #ParaSaBayan #SocialGood #CommunityDevelopment #Empower

Why do we risk the beautiful photo even if we know it’s dangerous?

P.S. – In 2017, I fell in love unexpectedly. I fell hard and broke my heart in the process yet I feel no hate. The process of coping is the most difficult considering we didn’t have a lot going on. It’s my first time to feel like this and it scares me. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the capacity to feel so much because the pain becomes physical to me like electricity coursing through my body but I also know that this is my strength from which I get the passion to volunteer and find solutions for my dear Pilipinas. To you, please be kind to me in 2018 and just kill my hopes once and for all if you believe there isn’t a chance that you will love me back the way I deserve to.

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