Be BRAVE.

Brevity. It’s a form of self-love.

Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all. (Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston)

Don’t let people affect you, your life, and your life decisions. Whatever you do, do it for yourself, do it because it’s what’s inside you.

Don’t let anyone bully you. If someone push you down, stand up; dust yourself off; and move forward. If they come back, call them for it. Call the cops, the authority. You don’t deserve to get hurt. No one has any right to hurt you, whether physically or emotionally. Be strong and fight them as you should.

Let people look down on you. Let them judge you. At the end of the day, it’s not your business. It’s their choice to use their time, their life in finding what’s ugly and what’s lacking in other people. You also don’t have to reciprocate their “kindness” by doing the same to them. Use your time for better things.

Don’t let life mess with you too. It will try to over and over and over again. Nothing could stop it but you gotta be strong. Be inspired by the oldest tree you know; despite everything that’s happening in it and around it, it’s still standing, proudly standing as if the strongest hurricane could never faze it.

Be brave. Be strong. Your life depends on you. Be brave to find your happiness. Be strong to hold onto it so dearly.

🙂

1

Why be kind?

I was in the church. I happened to come early. The mass hadn’t started yet. I’d decided to observe people, just one of the things I do to find inspiration for my future stories and for living life in general.

At the first pew, I saw a dad with his daughter. It was not something you see every Sunday. Usually, it’d be a mother-daughter tandem. I thought of a reason why the mother was absent. Maybe, she is sick. Her husband and daughter regularly attend the mass to pray for her healing. They are drawing strength from God. They are keeping their faith despite a huge rock on their road.

At their back was a mother with his little child. The boy was walking back and forth their row. He even went to the aisle and ran there. The mom, pissed, carried the boy and sat him back to their pew. The boy cried and the mom looked even more pissed. Usually, I’d be pissed too because the mom could not manage her child; I would think, she should’ve not brought the child in the church.

But that day, I’d decided to put myself in the mom’s shoes instead. I was so tired. My child is a toddler, very active. He always wants to play, even late at night. I have a lot of things to do at home too. My husband is busy with his job, he couldn’t even help me take care of our son during weekends so I could properly do our laundry. And now, my son’s acting up again. I know I should have not brought him here but I have no one to leave him to while I hear mass. And I can’t pass the Holy Mass.

I smiled.

Then, I had noticed the guy beside me who was looking so annoyed with the noise the crying boy was creating. There were creases in his forehead. I’d also noticed that he had been glancing at his wristwatch over and over again. He was also annoyed that the priest was late, obviously. Instead of judging him, I tried picturing his situation in my mind, as well.

He may be a working student. At weekdays, he is at school doing his best to finish his studies. During weekends, he’s working to fund his studies and help with their expenses at home. His parents had been poor and their jobs do not help them get out of poverty and that’s why he’s working so hard. He wanted to finish his studies, work in a multinational company, and give his family a better life. He knows he needed guidance from above so he’s always attending the mass. However, he’ll be late if the priest does not come any minute now. And the little boy just makes his head ache even more; he wasn’t able to sleep early last night as he had to work overtime.

He caught me staring at him. I smiled. He glanced at his watch for the nth time.

1

I’d realized then that each of us is going through some struggles in life and we all need one thing-kindness. We all need a smile from other people. We need an encouraging nod. We need warmth and compassion.

Why be kind? Why not? We don’t know how a simple act of kindness can change one’s life.

Why be kind? Because the world and the people greatly needed it.

Why be kind? Because you want others to be kind to you too. So… Be kind.

*This a creative non fiction, a story based on true-to-life scenarios.

Is moving on a choice?

A wound. We don’t choose to get hurt by our wounds. We get hurt because they’re naturally painful. Even if we try to ignore it, the pain is there. We only stop hurting when the wounds mended, when they get healed. Is it the same with moving on?

Yes, we can do something to help our wounds heal faster. We can put on ointments, we can wrap them with bandaid, or drink medicines to cure them. However, there are certain factors that may still hinder the wounds from healing completely like our general well-being, what’s happening inside our body. For instance, wounds heal significantly slower if you have diabetes. There are instances too when wounds are permanent. Maybe I’m not only talking about physical wounds.

So, is moving on a choice? Could one really let go of the past when he chose to? Or time just does the job. After all, time heals all wounds.

These were just my bedtime thoughts. Or maybe not. I don’t know. Or maybe I do. Lol. I should be sleeping by now. Good night then.

Go with the flow na lang.

I’m happy to have written and finished “A Love Project”. Okay, aamin na ako. Inspired siya sa nabasa kong post ng isang Secret Files page. 🙂 Naisip ko lang what if gawan ko ng kwento ‘yong nagsulat no’n and that’s how I formulated the plot. I put myself in Mandy’s character. I’ve enjoyed writing it, especially ‘yong first parts. ‘Yong last parts, mas maganda ‘yong mga una kong naisip. Haha! Kasi naman nasa chapter 3 pa lang ‘yong kamay ko, ‘yong utak ko nasa finale na. Ba’t gano’n, Bes?

Hay…

Hay. Mainit na naman.

Hay. Ang init ng ulo ko kanina. Masama kasi ‘yong pakiramdam ko.

Hay. Matatapos na naman ang isang buwan.

Hay. Wala na namang nangyari. Pero okay lang. Sabi nga “Everything is as how it should be.” I trust God. Alam kong may plano siya para sa akin.

I had an invite for an interview days ago. Nag-confirm ako pero kinabukasan, nag-back out din ako. Bukod kasi sa masama ‘yong pakiramdam ko, hindi rin kumpleto ‘yong requirements ko. I already let it go. I just wanna mention it here, no biggy. Na-realize ko na kasi na wala namang mangyayari kung magsisisi ako.

Tbh, I’m optimistic about the future. I know may darating na opportunity sa akin, baka sa writing, maybe a business or an appealing job offer. Basta alam ko, hindi ako pababayaan ni God.

So, I’ll just go with the flow, be the happy-go-lucky, idealistic me. Wala naman kasing mangyayari kung makukunsume ako or made-depressed. Pahihirapan ko lang ang sarili ko kapag gano’n. Also, I’ll let people judge me. Judge me all you want, it’s not my business anyway.

Bes, this is me. Me is stubborn. I can be selflish at times and I know too that there are and there’ll be times na ako’y selfless for people. Naging mediator pa ako, ‘di ba?

I have my hopes. I have faith. I love me. I’m good, Bes. Hope you are too. ❤

“A LOVE PROJECT” Chapter 9 (Finale) | A Feb-ibig Series

CARLO

Patakbo akong pumunta sa garden. I stopped. My heart beats raised dahil sa pagtakbo, at dahil sa kaniya. Is she really here?

Tinitingnan niya ‘yong mga roses ni Mommy. There is a subtle smile in the corners of her lips.

“Hi!”

Lumingon siya. She smiled. “Sorry, I came in too late.”

Lumapit ako sa kaniya. “No, it’s okay. Nakabalik ka na pala.”

“Kanina lang.” She sighed. Pagod siguro. “While in Singapore, I met someone.”

“Okay, that hurts.” All my hopes died down. Siguro, we’re just destined to be friends.

She rolled her eyes at me.

I smirked.

“You know it wouldn’t hurt to listen to the whole story.”

“Okay, okay.”

Her gaze fell upon the roses again. “I met someone who met someone. She had to work with a guy, you can say out of whim. Alam niyang kailangan niya si guy to be what she always wanted to be and to show other people what she’s capable of. But just seeing the guy online, alam na niya na she may be in trouble. She believes that ‘prevention is better than cure’.

“Kasi, hindi naman talaga masungit ‘yong kaibigan ko. She’s nice to everyone kaya nga no’ng pinakilala siya no’ng guy sa mga friends nito, the friends were confused kung bakit ‘Sungit’ ang tawag ni guy kay girl. Sinusungitin ni girl si guy as a defense mechanism. Ayaw kasi ni ate girl na mahulog, alam naman kasi niyang hindi siya masasalo ni guy.”

She looked at me and I know, nakita niya ‘yong confusion sa mukha mo. “It’s hard to compete with a 3-year worth of memories, of love. And it’s so scary.” Binalik niya ‘yong tingin niya sa mga roses. “And then there’s the project, the project my friend’s was working hard to finish. Alam niya kasi ‘yon ‘yong key niya sa mga pangarap niya. Pero…” Tumingin siya ulit sa akin. This time, she turned her body towards me.

Humarap na siya sa akin. “Pero ano ba namang laban ng friend ko sa love? It hit her e, I’d say pretty badly. Kahit ano pang prevention ang ginawa niya, she fell, hard I’d say.” Umiling-iling siya habang nakangiti. “How stupid of her.”

Ngumiti ako. “It’s you, right? And not just a friend.”

Kumunot ‘yong noo niya. “Alam mo parang narinig ko na ‘yan or nabasa somewhere.”

Our first conversation. Nagpanggap ako no’n na kaibigan ako ng sender no’ng post sa XUSC. “Pa’no mo nga ba nalaman na ako ‘yong sender no’n?”

“Gut feeling.”

“Oh.” Tumangu-tango ako. Then, silence.

“Uhm, sige, I gotta go. Gabi na masyado.”

Tumalikod siya. I held her hand to stop her. “Pagkatapos mong mag-confess ng feelings mo, do you think hahayaan kitang umalis nang gano’n-gano’n lang, Sungit?”

Nakasimangot siyang humarap. “E wala ka kayang reaction diyan. Wala kang reply sa mga sinabi ko. Naiisip ko tuloy na na-realize mo nang hindi mo naman pala ako gusto.”

Hindi ko mapigilang mapangiti. “I just want to teach you a lesson para sa pag-iwas mo sa akin, sa pag-alis mo nang biglaan, at sa pagpapa-miss mo ng sobra. Alam mo bang plano kong sundan ka sa Singapore? Pumunta ako sa bahay n’yo one time and sabi ng ate mo na nasa Singapore ka na at ako naman itong si tanga, hindi man lang nagtanong. Nag-assume akong hindi ka na babalik. Mabuti na lang binabasa ko ‘yong blog mo.”

She smiled and laughed a little.

“Nakakatawa ba ‘yon? Ha, Mandy? Sobrang natakot ako sa thought na hindi na kita ulit makikita.”

Bigla na lang niya akong niyakap. “Silly,” she whispered.

I hugged her back. Hinigpitan ko pa. I don’t want to ever let her go.

“Don’t be scared,” sabi ko sa kaniya no’ng binitawan na namin ang isa’t isa. “Hindi naman sa tagal ng pagsasama nasusukat ‘yong pagmamahal e. Mandy, you taught me how to love again, how not to be scared to love and to give your all.”

Pinunasan ko ‘yong luhang tumulo sa pisngi niya.

Hindi ko na rin napigilang umiyak. “Grabe, ngayon pa lang nagsi-sink in ‘yong mga sinabi mo kanina. Ngayon pa lang nagsi-sink in na nandito ka na ulit.” I hugged her again.

“I won’t leave you again,” she said. Umiiyak din siya. “I’m sorry.”

“I love you,” I finally got to tell her.

“May ibabalik nga pala ako sa ‘yo.” Bumitaw siya. May kinuha siyang velvet box sa bulsa niya. “Carlo, ayokong maging best friend mo lang.”

Napakagat ako ng labi, nagpipigil ng kilig. Kinuha ko ‘yong singsing. Kinuha ko rin ‘yong kamay niya para isuot ‘yong singsing.

Binawi niya ‘yong kamay niya. “Ayoko ngang maging best friend mo lang e.”

Kinuha ko ulit ‘yong kamay niya at hinawakan ito ng mahigpit para hindi na siya makapalag. Habang sinusuot ‘yong singsing, I looked at her in her eyes. “Sabi sa description nitong singsing, you should give it to someone you cannot live without as a sign of your eternal love. It’s not a ‘best friend’ ring, my love.”

Sinamaan niya ako ng tingin. “You tricked me!”

“I’d do anything for love.”

Finally, ngumiti na siya. Tiningnan niya ‘yong singsing. “Thank you.”

I kissed her in her forehead and hugged her again. Bumitaw rin ako kasi may naalala ako. “Pa’no pala ‘yong book?”

“I’ll have a book but not your story. Ire-revise ko ‘yong manuscript ko dati. Sabi ni ate, may grasp na ako sa ‘realism’ kasi alam ko na ‘yong pakiramdam ng nagmamahal.” She smiled.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes?”

“Paano?”

“Ganito.” She stepped closer. Nilapit niya ‘yong mukha niya sa akin. She closed her eyes. Bago pa siya tuluyang makalapit, she paused. While still closing her eyes, she whispered, “I love you.”

Inunahan ko na siya. I kissed her, in her soft lips. She smiled. I did too.

**FIN**

Gamitin ang tag na “A Love Project” para maling basahin ang kwento dito sa blog (i-type mo siya sa Search box, bes). This story is purely fictional. Anumang pagkakatulad sa tunay na buhay ay coincidental lang. Maraming salamat sa pagbabasa!

“A LOVE PROJECT” Chapter 8 | A Feb-ibig Series

MANDY

Sobra akong napagod pero masaya ako ’cause finally, nakauwi na ako. I enjoyed my stay in Singapore with my kuya. I got time to think and unwind.

I was about to sleep no’ng may kumatok sa pintuan ng kwarto ko. Then came ate. She was carrying a cardboard box.

“Hey.”

“Ano ‘yan?” I asked.

“Carlo came the other day and gave this. Ito daw ‘yong mga binigay niya sa ex niya na ibinalik ng ex niya recently sa kaniya. These may help with your book, he said.”

Kinuha ko ‘yong box. “Thanks.”

Lumabas na si ate ng kwarto. I wanted to ignore the box that night. Gusto ko na sanang ipagpabukas ‘yong pagtingin ng laman ng box but then again, alam ko naman sa sarili kong hindi ako makakatulog hangga’t hindi ko siya binubuksan. So, I opened it.

I was greeted by letter, cards, three plastic roses, two teddy bears, a Baymax stuffed toy, a necklace with a letter C pendant and a heart, a heart pillow, and a velvet box. The last item took my attention the most. Kinuha ko siya.

“So where’s the ring?”

“What ring?”

“‘Yong engagement ring n’yo sana.”

“Binigay ko kay Mommy.”

Could this be it? I’m confused. Pagbukas ko sa box, may nahulog na papel. I looked at the ring, it’s definitely not the ring na ibibigay niya dapat kay Anne. I know that ring. Sinend sa akin ni Carlo ‘yong link kung sa’n niya ‘yon inorder online so I can describe it in the book.

I picked the paper. It said, “To Mandy”. Binuksan ko.

I’ll wait until you’re ready to accept me as a friend again. That ring is a “best friend” ring. Please be my best friend? -Carlo

Nabasa ‘yong papel. I cannot control my tears. Why did he have to do this, all of these?!

“Umiiyak ka na naman.”

Kaagad kong pinunasan ‘yong pisngi ko. I stood up from the floor.

Pumasok ulit sa kwarto si Ate Silvie. “I know, Mandy. I know that you love him too,” she said.

“I don’t,” mabilis kong sagot. “You know why I’m crying? I hate this complicated setup.”

“I don’t believe you. Kilala kita, Mands. You maybe confused right now. Siguro natatakot ka kung paano na ang mangyayari sa book mo, sa pangarap mo kapag in-entertain mo ang feelings mo para kay Carlo.”

There’s no point in denying now. “It’s not just that, ate.” Ito na, I was about to voice out my fears na. “I’m scared. What if he’s just making himself believe that he loves me para makalimot siya sa past niya? What if he’ll just use me as a rebound? What if hindi niya ako magawang mahalin ng buung-buo because of all the damages his ex caused him? What if masaktan lang ako? What if magkasakitan lang kami? Is it worth it, ate? Will it be worth it?”

“Hindi ba ang love parang pag-inom ng beer? You take risk. You have to try to drink it para malaman kung talaga bang mapait and then you drink some more para masiguro mong mawawala ang pait or ma-realize na hindi pala. I read the first draft of your story, Mands.”

“That’s the thing with people. We give advices because we don’t use them. Hindi ko alam, ate, kung kaya kong mag-take ng risk,” I told her honestly.

“Okay then.” Inangat niya ‘yong kanang kamay niya na parang may hinahawakan siya. “Here’s your bottled water, clean. It symbolizes your dream to be an author.” Inangat niya naman ‘yong left hand niya. “And here’s a can of beer. Sinisimbolo naman nito ang feelings mo para kay Carlo. Take them both.”

I sighed in frustration. “I can’t.”

“‘Yong story ni Carlo na sinulat mo, it has potentials. ‘Yong hinahanap kong realism, nandoon. By realism, I mean real feelings, Mandy. Naramdaman ko na rin finally ‘yong nararamdaman ng mga characters mo. I would love to publish it pero alam kong magiging awkward ‘yon kung magiging kayo ni Carlo. So, I’m publishing one of your old manuscripts instead. And that’s why I’m giving you this bottled water.”

“Ate…” Hindi ako makapaniwala sa sinabi niya. Finally, she’ll help me reach my dream.

“Now, I’m not asking you to pick one, Mandy. Parehas ko nang ibinibigay sa ‘yo. Still, the decision is yours. Tatanggapin mo ba silang dalawa?”

Naiyak na naman ako. Tears of joy, na-touched ako sa ginawa ni ate. Tumango ako and kinuha ko ‘yong kunwaring hawak niyang imaginary tubig at ininom ‘yon. I did the same with the imaginary beer. Then, I hugged Ate Silvie. “Thank you, ate. You’re the best.”

“So, ano pang hinihintay mo?” she asked pagkatapos naming magyakap.

I nodded. “Pupuntahan ko na siya. I’m taking a risk. He’s, after all, worth it.”

She smiled. “Good. Go na!”

Tumakbo na ko. Parang nawala ‘yong pagod ko. I was so excited to see him.

“Mandy!” Tinawag ako ni ate bago ako makalabas ng bahay. She put the “best friend” ring in my hand. “I think kailangan mong ibalik sa kaniya ‘yan.”

I smiled, nodded, and ran onto one of my realest dreams.

****

Gamitin ang tag na “A Love Project” para masundan ang kwento dito sa blog (i-type mo siya sa Search box, bes). This story is purely fictional. Anumang pagkakatulad sa tunay na buhay ay coincidental lamang. Abangan ang huling kabanata…

“A LOVE PROJECT” Chapter 7 | A Feb-ibig Series

CARLO

“Hay nako! Heto na naman tayo mga, brads! Inuman na naman dahil sa babae, ‘no, Carlo?”

“CJ, pre. CJ,” pagtatama ko kay Japs. Kina-Carlo na naman ako.

“Pre, hindi ka naman makaka-move on sa ganiyan e,” sabi naman ni Joshua.

Ang daming alam talaga ng mga ‘to. “Wala nang dada-dada. Inom na lang tayo, mga pre! Woohoo! Ang sarap ma-broken hearted! Grabe!”

“Walang hiya ka talaga, brads! Parang may mangyayari sa inom, ‘no?”

“Meron talaga! Mamaya lang ng onti, makakalimutan ko na silang lahat!”

Maya-maya…

Kukunin ko sana ‘yong phone ko kaya lang tinampal ni Joshua ‘yong kamay ko.

“Huwag mo nang tawagan, pare.”

Ngumiti ako. “Brads, I miss her.”

Napailing-iling na lang sila. Kinuha ko ‘yong phone at tumayo na ako. “O, sa’n ka pupunta?”

“Uwi na.”

“Ingat.”

“Sa bahay ang diretso ha, Carlo Jan!”

“Aye, aye!”

Pinahinto ko ‘yong taxi at nagbayad sa driver. Pagkatapos, bumaba na ko. Teka, hindi namin ‘to bahay a. Really, Carlo? 

Dinukot ko ‘yong phone ko mula sa bulsa at tinawagan siya. Gaya ng dati, hindi pa rin niya sinasagot. “Tang-”

“Don’t say bad words.”

“Agh!” Sinubukan ko ulit siyang tawagan, paulit-ulit gaya ng dati. Pero wala, wala talaga. I texted her.

Nasa labas ako ng bahay nyo. Hindi ako aalis dito hanggang di mo ko kinakausap.

Bumukas ‘yong gate nila. Finally. The same short, curly hair. Her irritated expression.

“What the hell, Carlo?!”

I smiled. That voice.

“Umuwi ka na.”

“Mag-usap naman tayo oh. I miss you, sobra.”

Napasimangot siya. “Are you drunk?”

“No. Nakainom lang but I’m not drunk.”

“Ba’t nandito ka? Did you drive?”

She’s concerned. “No, nag-taxi ako.”

“I’ll call you a cab, umuwi ka na.”

Hinawakan ko ‘yong kamay niya para pigilan siya. “I’ll do that later. For now, let’s talk please.”

Ngumisi siya. “Sige nga. Ano bang gusto mong pag-usapan natin?” Tumawa siya. “You ruining everything? No falling in love, that’s in the contract.”

“Kaya nga e. Kaya nga sana, bumalik na lang tayo sa dati. Handa naman akong maging kaibigan mo lang. A friend who’s always there for you. ‘Yong hindi ko kaya ‘yong ganito. ‘Yong ayaw mo na akong papasukin sa buhay mo.”

“Sino bang nauna?” pasigaw niyang tanong. “Sino bang unang umiwas? ‘Di ba you want to ignore me until you forget me? Then, stick with your plan, Carlo.”

I smirked. “Kung kaya ko lang e. Mandy, hindi ko pala kaya. I can’t live without you. I am not asking you to reciprocate my feelings, ang hinihiling ko lang is pumayag ka na maging magkaibigan tayo ulit. Please. Please, Mands.”

Umiling siya. “The thing, Carlo, is you can. Kaya mo. Kayanin mo. I have a dream, I have plans. Please, don’t ruin them. Good night.” Pumasok na siya sa loob ng bahay nila.

I smiled.

****

My Trip to SG

Hi, readers and onlookers! 🙂 I know it’s been a while since I last check on you. I’m in Singapore right now, visiting my brother. While spending good times with him, I’m also exploring the country a bit. There are some photos below that you may enjoy. Talk to you again soon. xx, Mandy.

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Bro’s Engagement

I am super, super excited!! Another reason why I flew in Singapore was to help my brother with her proposal to her then, 5-year girlfriend and now, fiancée. I really could not contain my excitement, guys!! My smile’s from ear to ear.

I was in tears when Ate Ja said YES. All our hardwork in planning and organizing the proposal was worth it! Congratulations, Bro! Below are some photos and the details of the proposal.

I’ll be posting more about my trip in SG once I get back to the Philippines, that’ll be very soon. Take care, guys! xx, Mandy.

****

“Carlo, may bisita ka,” sabi ni Mommy. Dali-dali akong bumaba. Is she back?

“Carlo.”

“Anong ginagawa mo dito?” It’s not short, curly hair.

“Gusto ko lang ibigay sa ‘yo ‘to.” Tinuro niya ‘yong box sa tabi niya. “And gusto ko lang mag-sorry ulit. I’m really sorry, Carlo.”

Tumango ako.

****

Gamitin ang tag na “A Love Project” para masundan ang kwento dito sa blog (i-type mo siya sa Search box, bes). This story is purely fictional. Anumang pagkakatulad sa tunay na buhay ay coincidental lamang. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…