An Open Letter to the PUP Freshman

Dear PUP Freshman,

You made it.

You’re finally there, sitting on that chair you almost lost to your fellow desk foragers who seem to be playing a game of musical chairs with everyone else. Despite the terrible heat and unbelievably long commute, you somehow managed to still arrive in one piece. For that alone, you deserve my congratulations.

But, my dear freshie, this is just the beginning.

University life is different. It puts you in your place, pins you down, and changes you. Never have I seen a PUP student go through college without leaving unscathed. In fact, I believe that academic scars are the hallmark of a true isko and iska, and no financial compensation in the world can ever top that.

But do not let the promise of pain deter you, my dear freshman. You have the best years of your life ahead of you. Success is always around the bend–please do not give up until you find it. I’ve learned during my four years in university that PUPians are some of the best people in the world. They’re a genuinely nice crowd with a passion for change like no other. The PUP experience will liberate you from all your fears and misgivings; please do not try and put an end to it. Live in the moment. Cherish it while it’s still there.

Allow PUP to transform you for the better.

College is not a walk in the park, but it’s not all rocks and bumps either. Remember, you are in charge of your life. Your decisions always matter. Make time to have fun, feel free, and meet new people. Try everything in the North, East, and University canteens. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help. Do your best in class–not to impress your professors, but to prove that you are worthy of the Filipino taxpayers’ money. Serve the people and be a light unto the nation.

Congratulations, my dear freshman. Even now, as you hurry to class every single day, unsure of what lies ahead, I salute and honor you. Though we may not know each other, I still believe that you have the true mark of an isko and an iska: perseverance, a thirst for knowledge, and an endless pursuit of excellence.

So stand straight, move forward, and be anything you can be.


Your Ate Iska


To My College Senior Self


Dear College Senior Me,

Things are always tough this way.

I know how it feels to be unsure of what lies ahead. Sure, your friends may seem pretty confident and optimistic about their future, but you must always keep in mind that you are not them. Tomorrow is never promised to anyone. It’s okay to ask many questions, to feel a little scared, to be human. Never let the pressure of fast and easy success get to you. The world doesn’t work that way.

Always remember this: It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s never wrong to want something that you know will make you happy. Send countless applications. Don’t be afraid to apply for a position that you really, really, want. And when you get rejected, (trust me, you will) don’t be too hard on yourself. Keep following your dreams. Never, ever settle for anything less than you truly deserve. The world will offer you seemingly reasonable choices: that stint your friend keeps talking about may be enough to support you and your family, but it can never make you happy. It will be an endless torture, and you will always be pelted by your nagging ‘what ifs’.

Strive to become better at your craft. Don’t be afraid to publish your work and have it critiqued by your fellow writers. Finish that novel you keep putting off, revamp your blog, attend seminars and workshops that will help you become better at what you do. Never forget to read. Always make time for your library. Do not despise continuous learning.

Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. People will sometimes fail to understand you, but don’t let that be a reason to push them away. Get out more. See the world and let it liberate you from your seemingly endless fears. Dare to do things you’ve never done before.

Do yourself a favor and never stop dreaming. It is through your ability to dream that you are able to conquer greater heights. You are what you make yourself to be.

P.S.: Yes, we still like that boy. I don’t think that’s ever gonna change.

Yours forever,

The Corporate You

To The Girl Who Always Loves From A Distance


You have always been in love for as long as you can remember. You, the girl with the bright smile, the young lady with so much love and affection to give. But when you love, you choose to do so from a distance. For you, loving is nothing more than an act of faraway admiration.

How many times have you fallen for someone but were too scared to get close? How many times have you avoided him in fear of revealing your true feelings and not be loved back? It saddens you that you cannot even be friends, but you believe that staying away is always for the better–this way, getting yourself hurt will never be an option.

But you were wrong because it still hurts. It hurts so much.

It’s funny because having a crush is not supposed to leave a lasting effect on you. Falling towards the deep end is not in your plan, and you always try to stay away from the L word until your little crush fades. But the sad thing is that it does not fade at all. It never goes away. Instead, it grows into something you can never control, a monstrous behemoth that takes over your life.

You always end up falling in love. And boy, what a roller coaster ride it is.

You were never the kind of girl that one finds in cheesy Korean dramas–innocent, playful, never been hurt. You have had your fair share of heartaches because when you fall in love, you tend to go all-out. But you never really get past the ‘daydreaming’ phase. You still admire him from afar, always hoping for the best.

But the best doesn’t really come, does it?

There are days when you feel brave enough to actually message him instead of staring at that cute little green circle beside his name. And then there are days when you don’t. There are times when you write him long, emotional and heartbreaking messages, only to delete them seconds after you finish typing. You are constantly pelted by your what ifs, asking yourself if this kind of love will actually be worth it in the end.

Ah, the end. You obsess over it, go crazy over its unpredictability, and wonder if  it will actually come. Will he find someone else? Will I grow tired of loving him? Is he going to move away? Will he finally realize that he loves me and that everything he knows in life is just a lie? Everything about it is a mystery, and sometimes you wish you just knew how it will happen.

Does absence make the heart fonder? You always wonder if it actually does. What if you actually spent time with him and ended up not liking him at all? Maybe it’s better if you just don’t talk to him at all. This way, you can still see him for who you made him out to be, and not for who he really is.

Because love, like a star that’s billions of light-years away from the earth, is always safer when admired from afar.

To the one who stole my heart

There you were, in your powder blue shirt, smiling quietly as you watched the people milling about. Your friend said something and your smile grew wider. It was the most beautiful thing I saw all day.

There you were, holding a young boy by his small hands, carefully guiding him as you watched our friends get married. You stood in a corner playing with this boy, gently cradling him in your arms.

There you were, inching closer to your friends, smiling brightly for the camera. Whether it was you who touched my shoulder on that group photo or not, I’ll never know.

There you were, on the cocktail table, drinking blue lemonade, making small talk with the people around you. I said hi and asked how you were. You responded with the enthusiasm of a cat on a lazy day. I looked at your face, riveted, not noticing that my glass was already overflowing with blue liquid. I hastily turned away, my cheeks flaming with embarrassment.

There you were, sitting on a table with your friend, waiting for the summer drizzle to stop. Everyone had left the garden to seek shelter from the impending rain, but you did not. You stayed. And when the sky cleared, you sat there, your face illuminated by fairy lights, your features handsome even within the shadows.

There you were, talking to my dad, laughing at a joke that he probably told out of his excitement. Knowing my father, it was surely an embarrassing one, but you smiled at him nonetheless.

There you were, affectionately calling my female friends by the names you made up for one another. I cringed as you exchanged lengthy pleasantries with my best friend. I wanted to blend in the background and disappear unnoticed. A part of me, the one that has always longed for you, ached once more.

There you were, saying your goodbyes, shaking numerous hands, nodding at the people passing you by. I looked at you and bowed. You gave a short nod, your eyes fixed on something–or someone–else.

There you were, dashing as always, never hesitating to extend a helping hand to others. The burden, no matter how big, is always lightened whenever you’re around.

And finally, there you are, so near… yet so far.

I wanted to be close to you, to hear you laugh, to listen to your dreams and aspirations. I longed to know more about the guy I have been pining for the last four years of my life. I wanted to watch sunsets with you, eat pizza while watching movies we don’t even like, explore the beauty of this country, dance to a cheesy song, meet new people, go on road trips, and belt our hearts out on karaoke.

I wanted to be the person you talk to when you’ve grown tired and weary. I wanted to share your victories, your losses, and your grief. I wanted to be there for you and be your best friend.

But you, like everything I else I sought after in my childhood, was nothing more than a want. You are all the things I cannot have and more. You are my Eiffel Tower, my Big Ben, my Great Wall. I can only look at you from afar and hope that one day, I can see you for who you really are and not who I made you out to be.

There you were, the guy who stole my heart, the man who gave me another reason to look forward to each new day.

There you were.

An Open Letter to the Twenty-Something Who Wants to Change the World

antoinette jadaone, filmmaker, manila, ph

An Open Letter to the Twenty-Something Who Wants to Change the World
By Antoinette Jadaone

Dear Fresh Grad,

I think I saw you yesterday along Makati Avenue, clutching a brown envelope—inside are your resumés, right?—,wearing the most smart casual attire your closet will allow, waiting for the traffic light to change to red. You looked a little flustered. Why, did your job interview not go so well? It’s your fifth interview in six weeks, I hear? Don’t worry, they always say “don’t call us, we’ll call you” to almost everybody. Hindi ka nag-iisa. Oh, your best friend nailed her interview on the first try? And your other ka-barkada too? Well. Good for them. Wag ka lang inggitera.

I know, I know. You’ve already imagined yourself in your dream job immediately after graduation, getting paid—and a lot at that—doing what you love to do, so “it doesn’t feel like work at…

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Signs that you’re not a student anymore (Filipino Edition)

In the Philippines, graduating college = moneymaking time, baby. This scene is all too familiar: after your graduation, you return your toga (I did), don your most professional-looking suit, and brave the oh-so dangerous concrete jungle that is Metro Manila, praying that the MRT won’t break down while you’re on your way to your countless job interviews and/or exams. However, what most people fail to see is that not everyone who finishes their tertiary education is keen to get a job, and even the others who actually search for ones aren’t even ready for the real world. But I’ll save that for another entry. Taxes, anyone?

And while earning money for your family is great, the luxury of time that you once had in your hands has now finally turned into dust. Who knew having a job is this cringe-worthy?

Here are some of the signs that you’re–gasp–finally turning into one of those grumpy-looking, coffee-swinging beings we call adults:

1. Your mornings consist of heavy traffic, rude jeepney drivers, and long lines.

When you were a student, you were the epitome of ‘chill’:  Even if you were running late for class, you knew that it takes six absences to be dropped from one, and you’ve only used two of them. Besides, it’s not your fault that the jeepney driver chose to refill his tank just as you boarded his vehicle. It’s totally not.

Happens way too often than you'd think.
Happens way too often than you’d think.

Now that you have an 8-5 job in one of the biggest central business districts in the country, being okay with (heavy) traffic just doesn’t work for you anymore. Ever heard of habitual tardiness and salary deductions? You might want to avoid those. You leave the house at five in the morning, only to find a god forsakenly long line at the MRT station. And when you finally do board a train, you get squished by people who, like you, just want to get over with today’s challenges. Ah, what a great time to be alive.

Oh yes, the struggle is VERY real.
Oh yes, the struggle is VERY real.

2. Food prices are insane.

Want some #truth? Student meals are the bomb. Not only are they wallet-friendly, but you also have a variety of munchies to choose from. In the mood for sisig? No problemo! For less than fifty pesos, you get a full meal, sometimes even dessert–it doesn’t get any better than that!

CBDs are not exactly the places to go if you want affordable food choices. While there is a bit of variety in most of them, the promise of economical alternatives are pretty close to nil. If you want to save up on food costs, the only option is to bring your own food–this way, you control your expenses, and you get to eat healthy as well. Buuut if you’re a late riser like yours truly, cooking food early in the morning will be the punishment you deserve for your poor life choices.


3. You drink coffee not for recreation, but because it keeps you alive. And kicking.

Review sessions are intense, but all-nighters can be pulled off easily with the right combination of caffeinated drinks and a bit of determination (#careergoals, y’all). After the semester, you kick back and celebrate by having your favorite overpriced ice concoctions–after all, you deserve a treat for nailing that thesis defense!

Now, COFFEE is the building block of your corporate existence–without it, you will go mad. For sure. Your morning coffee, no matter how bad, is the one thing that keeps you sane after you’ve endured a horrifying three-hour commute from your home to the office. It also gives you an excuse to spend a few precious minutes in the pantry while stirring your self-made ‘brew’ and staring into space.


4. Weekends = sleep, glorious sleep

Back when you were a student and your energy was comparable to that of a fully-charged smart phone, the weekend was a time to enjoy the youth that God has bestowed upon you. Partying, movie marathons, sleepovers, and food hunting–basically enjoyment of the social kind–were the highlights of your weekend fun.

Fun, fun, fun!
Fun, fun, fun!

After getting a job, ‘fun’ can now be translated to ‘sleeping until you can sleep no more’. The need for some decent shut-eye is real, you guys. While social events are still part of your ‘weekend fun’ list, the option to get some RnR can sometimes outweigh your desire to see your friends.

This is you, doing what you do best.

5. Holidays are precious gifts of God to humanity, designed to keep your sanity intact.

When you were in school, a one-day holiday in the middle of the week is considered a disgrace. Any kind of holiday that does not fall on a long weekend is disappointing. You suddenly miss GMA and her very agreeable ‘holiday economics’. PNOY should have taken lessons from her!

Having a job means that summer vacations, Christmas breaks and end-of-term whatnots are now erased from your calendar forever. So when a special non-working holiday pops up, you jump with joy and thank the heavens for granting you with a treasure like this. Hooray for the holidays!


6. Work is not as glorious as you thought it would be.

During senior year, you looked forward to the ‘bright future’ that awaits you–a job that you actually love, with lots of opportunities for growth and a very likeable working environment. Also, the promise of getting your first paycheck makes you giddy inside. Oh, the things you will buy with it!

#RealTalk: Entry-level positions exist for a reason. Companies all over the country want competitive people to work for them–talents that actually have the experience to prove it. Also, finding a job that you LOVE and that PAYS you to do it is kind of rare, especially if your passion is not what corporations demand from people. If you’re lucky, you might find a company that offers a tad more than what is given to fresh graduates, but more often than not, you will start small. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s part of growing up. Getting a job is a new beginning, after all.


7. You see new people, get in touch with your professional side, and do tasks you’ve never done before.

As a friend once reiterated, being in school means that you get to be on the receiving end of everything–you were taught things and you do your best to remember them. You were there to learn and practice what you were taught. It was more of a molding experience, and your contributions, no matter how difficult, were very minimal.

At work, people expect you to be a professional. You are given assignments that probably have nothing to do with what you’ve learned in school. Your boss gives you all sorts of challenges that makes you rethink your decision to work for that company–it is, after all, not your first choice. But what makes it all worth it in the end is the feeling of accomplishment you get after every project, the occasional pat on the back that you earn from your superiors, or even that single ‘thank you’ from a grateful co-worker for helping her with something that doesn’t even bother you that much. Work, no matter how stressful it is sometimes, can also give you a great feeling of being alive.

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I could go on and on about these ‘signs’ (I still have a few lined up in my head, haha), but honestly, I don’t think you need to read more. Transitioning from the academe to the corporate world is not easy, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not fulfilling in any way. Work is, after all, an experience that all of us should have (even if you’re the heir of a billionaire and can go on years without having to work a single day of your life). It gives you a chance to grow and become a better version of yourself.

So go ahead: do what you love, and love what you do. But make sure that you it’s what you really want–otherwise, you’re just going after some good ‘ol self-inflicted torture. And I tell you, pain that you heave upon yourself is the worst kind, because you have nobody else to blame for it but you.


DISCLAIMER: Not everything written in the entry above applies to all Filipinos. We are a diverse bunch, and while majority of us go for office jobs, there are still others who opt for field careers and other kinds of work areas. What you just read in this post are my personal observations and some experiences shared by a number of friends. Please don’t generalize! 🙂

A Language Teacher For Google

As most of you know, I am currently residing in the Philippines (always have), and am also a Filipino by blood. I have never been abroad and the farthest place that I have visited is Palawan, and even that is just an hour away from where I live when travelling by plane. So much for wanderlusting.

Anyhoo, more about travel on my upcoming posts. What I am about to post today is pretty funny, though I think you would appreciate this more if you understand (or speak) my native language, Filipino.

I was cleaning my work PC of some stuff when I found this screenshot in my Pictures folder.




Here’s the ACTUAL translation, though:

My Dear Google,

You are not adept in translation, my dear. Please study more on the subject. What is this I am reading? I have tried my best to make it simple, and yet you still fail to understand? And you expect us to learn from you? What will happen to the future of our students if this happens?

Hey, you finally got it right. (The translation on the other panel was correct)

Oh, I guess not. (Google translate got it wrong again, LOL)

Please study more, Google. You’ll learn a lot from the Filipino people.


A state scholar (iskolar ng bayan = a student enrolled in a state-subsidized university or college. However, the term is more often used to refer to a student from the University of the Philippines)

Pardon the translation. Even I am not highly knowledgeable in this area.

I know that Google translate is not perfectly crafted and it is bound to make mistakes, but I was really bored at the time and I ran out of fun things to do. Besides, perfect translation or not, I am still giving credit to the developers of this surprisingly entertaining app because they are always introducing new ways to improve it (I think). But as of now, it will remain as an occasional source of lolz for me and my grammar-conscious friends.

Way to go, Google. Way to go.

Drowning In Your Ocean

Sometimes, when you are in a room filled with people, you find yourself scrutinizing anyone who crosses your path. You unconsciously perform a thorough scan of the place, sizing up certain personalities and wondering what brought them there.

But when your gaze finally lands on what you’re looking for, everything else is forgotten. You leave your guesswork hanging in the air, and your mind begins clearing a huge amount of space to make room for that one.. thing.

And no matter how many times you lose sight of it, you will still search for it among the crowd. Giving up is never an option. Even if the night is over and done, your eyes will still be glued to the place where it once was, hoping it would come back.

Sometimes it does.

But more often than not, you realize that it doesn’t.

As you ponder on this, you are transported back to where you started, hopelessly dreaming for the impossible.

If you ony had the right words, then being an onlooker wouldn’t be your only option. But there would never be proper statements, right? Just carefully worded ones.

And just like that, as the night grows old and dies, the cycle repeats itself. It repeats continuously and never ends. Ever.