It’s almost the beginning of another year. Looking at it from where we are now, it would seem like everything has gone too fast, almost as if we didn’t go through anything at all, and nothing changed since last year. But when we begin to hop from one memory to another, recalling those days when we were at our best, those days that brought us down that we thought there was never going to be a bright tomorrow, and those days when we laughed and cried, got angry, or confused, let down or hurt – we realize that we’ve been through so much.
Those things that happened only a few months ago, felt like a year or two. But letting all the connections flow through our minds once again, well, that’s different. Those dates on our calendars will no longer matter. Another year will be a new chapter of our journey, another story to tell. On this year, 2012, my story gained more worth – there were more characters, more highpoints, and more insight. This is my Year 2012.
In The Beginning
I started the year feeling lonely, as usual. After skies of fireworks displays and a bottle of good wine on a New Year’s Eve, in three days, I was back to school, doing the same usual stuff an ordinary student would do – homework, exams, projects. But there was one subject I was particularly interested in during that semester, a subject that started to open my eyes to some realities, like what it’s really like to live outside the world that we’ve been raised in. I was at a phase of spiritual questioning at the beginning of this year, and lost my sense of religion in the process. I denied being Catholic for my disbelief in a god. And then I studied Buddhism for a while, but didn’t practice it or any religion. Didn’t feel like I needed to.
Not a lot of people know about me resigning from “faith”, not even my family. Even up to now, I still try to find excuses to not to go to church all because I couldn’t tell anyone that I can no longer digest the concept of divine intervention, not like the way I was years ago, when I was still an active church choir member.
On March 20-22, White & Blue conducted its 5th Luzon-wide cultural and journalism gathering, Lambakan 2012. It was my second time to be part of this event, and my first time to be directly involved in organizing it. At that time, our two Associate Editors-in-Chief were in China for a 5-month exchange study. Our Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Exchange Editor, and 6 Department Heads were left to manage the whole event – from getting all the supplies to contacting the speakers and delegates. Me? I was with the 30+ strong staff who carried tables, prepared food, and did pretty much anything the Heads told me to do. I also did some paperwork, which got me to several hotels and restaurants, and to some of the deeper offices in SLU.
This event gave me a little taste of fun in the middle of hardship. Although I didn’t see it at first, I enjoy this kind of activity that White & Blue does.
On the same month, some friends and I wanted to go to an adventure before our summer classes start on April. So we looked for a place that didn’t involve any money at all, and finally found a nice spot just around 13 kilometers north of Baguio City: Sabdang. There I experienced a steep hike down mountains, into rows of slippery rocks, three water falls, and almost spelunking entirely two caves. All that while wearing jeans, a white shirt, and slippers.
After a couple of days and a little stretching, we went to a resort in Bauang, La Union. When summer classes ended, I went resort hopping but still didn’t learn how to swim decently. For most of the time from June to September, I was going with some friends to various restaurants in Baguio, deciding which ones were good to write about in travel sites. By October, during the semestral break, my high school batch mates and I went to another resort, which already became our annual tradition for us to meet up.
Yes, I had failures, but I also had things to be proud of in 2012.
People know how extravagantly I spend my money, but for the first time in my life, I was able to save exactly Php 6,000 out of a 700-peso weekly allowance (plus bonuses if I get lucky) in only three months. Personal record breaker. Guess where I spent all that money on.
During this year, I also had so many opportunities to travel to other provinces and cities in the country. Unfortunately, during most of those travels, I had no camera with me, like the time when I went on a one-day solo trip to Pasay to…well, never mind why I went there. I went to SM Mall of Asia and ate lunch at BonChon, a restaurant well known for its spicy chicken. I was so frustrated about not having a camera that I just grabbed a BonChon tissue paper on my way out. When I arrived in Baguio, I borrowed a friend’s camera and immediately took a picture of the tissue paper – JUST TO HAVE SOME SORT OF REMEMBRANCE THAT I WAS ONCE IN PASAY.
Here’s the picture:
I also learned new programming languages: C# and Python, and I am currently learning Android programming, after finally buying my first Android phone last October. My Spanish mission did quite fine too, although I slowed down on Skype meet-ups with native speakers now. Oh, and did I mention that I’m already working on a novel?
Ending The Year Right
After the first semester, I already thought that I was going to end this year the same way I ended the previous years: lame. But something changed during that semestral break up to the second semester. I realized that I was hanging around the White & Blue office much more often than I have been since my freshman year.
On October 22, I was fortunate enough to join the White & Blue editors and heads in Inkblots, the 3-day journalism gathering organized by The Varsitarian of University of Santo Tomas. Something about our long and expensive taxi rides, our evening story-telling at a creepy guesthouse, our poorly digested breakfasts, and just simply everything that we did together opened my eyes to a brighter side of the organization.
I began seeing it as a family for the next weeks that came, enjoying every event that we held in and out of the campus. The best part of it was that I even got to be the happiest that I’ve been since ever while I was with them. On December 1 and 2, we put up our own fun booth during the Handog ng SLU sa Baguio, an annual fair done by the whole university at the Melvin Jones grounds. We sold dirty ice cream, chicharon, and taho with cleverly thought-of names. Our cartoonists did Henna tattoos and face paints that were mostly provided for free for the staff. Even I got a dragon tattoo on my right shoulder.
There was nothing else that I thought of during those two days except to be there. For a reason even I didn’t know, I felt truly happy at last. After the event, I was able to sleep without any doubt or anger in my head.
This year, 2012, I started out clueless about the world and all its wonderful opportunities. And then came people who were always there when I needed help. They were there to teach me things that I barely even knew about before. White & Blue taught me to become human, and it’s still teaching me so much more up until now. In it, I become a normal person – a person with feelings, with likes, dislikes, goodness, and vices. It’s a place where I can be myself, free myself of all the pressure and nonsense inside the classroom. In White & Blue, I have a life.
But then, everything has to end at some point. I know that my time with the people I care about the most is limited, and maybe I’m running out of time. But during this year, I learned that the future is uncertain and the past is out of our reach, so the only thing we can do is to become who we are now, live now, love now, and make the most out of it. This year 2012, despite the failures, the fights, and the disappointments, I can never regret the time when I first entered the White & Blue office – the time that led me to this, a life that’s constantly changing to become a better person than I was yesterday.