Illustrations by Trisha Carpena
Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb” has never sounded more true than when you’re actually climbing. It's my climbing jam, along with a few One Direction songs in my playlist. Now while Miley's song can be interpreted overcoming an obstacle in life or a journey but to me, the song is about literally climbing a mountain and here are my stories.
Just recently I climbed Mt. Tibig and going up, it was really steep early on which made it even more tiring to climb up the rest of the way. Somewhere along the halfway point, there was a clearing and our guide pointed out the summit and I thought, "oh my god, I'm gonna die. That's too far. I'm never going to make it there alive" But guess what? An hour later, I made it. Every climb I do, I've heard myself go: "I can't do this" "I think I'm dying" "I can't believe I agreed to do this. Again."
Now I'm not saying I'm a pro or anything like that because I'm not. My first climb was Mt. Pinatubo in 2009. Back then I didn't know the extent of what we were going to do. I thought it would be an easy climb. It wasn't. My next climb after that was February of this year. Even now, 5 years later, no climb is an easy climb. My only form of exercise is going up and down the stairs in my house to eat my meals. But you don't need to be fit to climb a mountain. My dad always tells me whenever we climb, "it's all in the mind." If you think in your mind that you'll make it, you will.
The Philippines is full of places to explore if you know what you're looking for. This year, my cousins and I promised ourselves we'd climb one mountain every month. And so far, we've stayed true to that promise. Before our climbs, we research mountains we'd want to go to and plan our trip going there. Usually our climbs would be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on a mountain's difficulty and since we're beginners, we take mountains that are at most 4/10. (Find out more at www.pinoymountaineer.com)
The most rewarding and my favorite thing about mountain climbing for me is seeing the view at the summit. I usually take a minute to rest after reaching the summit and just take in the view in front of me. I always get awed by nature’s beauty. I’d think that just because I’d be climbing a mountain in the same area of another one, the view would be different but no, they’re not. It’s always different to me. Each mountain has its own quirks like one would have this amazing view of a lake or another I’d see a mountain range going as far my eyes can see. I love feeling like I’ve gone into a different world where nothing about the real world bothers me just like how I feel whenever I read my books. I'm unplugged, just me and the trees and the view around.
Peace out and keep the faith.
- Ana Matti
Illustrations by Trisha Carpena
We’ve all had our fair share of reading or knowing about people living somewhere far from the city or even country they were born in; such as how they cope with being homesick, how they make new friends, and how they deal with long distance relationships. In a certain way, you get to know what it’s like to pack up your belongings and leave everything behind indefinitely. That is, from their perspective; but what about from the perspective of those who were left behind?
Through the years, I’ve formed friendships with a lot of special people. These are the ones that I felt really close to and that I truly cared about. They all come from different backgrounds yet somehow they all have one thing in common: they eventually move somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if they moved to another school or city or country. Every person I treated as a really close friend (and an almost best friend) always coincidentally left me in the past. Of course it had nothing to do with me, but it is weird that it has always happened.
However, I did move on eventually. Some of them I’ve lost contact with completely. I guess I’ve found better friendships to care about every time. But, what if you’ve found the best friendship ever and they ultimately decide to move to the other side of the world?
I met my best friend in sixth grade when we sat next to each other in class. I soon found out she was as obsessed with the Jonas Brothers as I was; and that’s when our whole friendship started. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other everyday in school and we realized we have a lot of things in common. That subsequently led us to establishing the fact that we’re going to be best friends forever. Before graduating elementary school, I found out that she’s possibly moving to California soon. Just like any other friend who bore me that same kind of news, I cried. Maybe not in front of her, but I cried. A lot. Even if I’ve gone through this several times before, it still doesn’t change the fact that it saddens me every time.
Fortunately, her moving was delayed for about two years. Unfortunately, I took it for granted. That is the thing I regret about our friendship the most. I started becoming busy because of high school and whatnot, but I admit, I had several chances of spending time with her. I just didn’t prioritized it enough. It was the first time I actually brought a friend to the airport so that she could leave the country possibly forever and it overwhelmed me so much. I somehow realized that I’m always the one being left and I’m never the one leaving. I don’t know which one’s worse but at the time, I felt like I had it really bad. When she finally left, I was a complete mess for a period of time.
I remember coming home from the airport and my mom asking what happened. I just ran straight to my room and locked the door so I could cry myself to sleep. I had school the next day and I didn’t even bother to shower before class. I was still in the sweater I wore to the airport.
I didn’t talk to anyone for a while and I preferred to be alone most of the time. My parents started worrying about me and they tried to make conversation for the most part, but I always ended up giving one word answers under my breath. I couldn’t even look anyone in the eye. My best friend and I did talk online, but it still wasn’t the same. Especially when you live in different time zones, it’s not that easy maintaining a long and straight conversation because eventually one of you has to go to bed.
It’s also hard not being jealous of your best friend who’s living in another country. Just thinking about the amount of cute boys she could encounter made me envious (petty, I know). Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to live somewhere else other than my own country. I sadly wasn’t the one who got to live that dream.
Just like previous times, I moved on.
But not “moved on” in a sense that I found a new best friend, but in a sense that I finally accepted it because both of us know that we’ll still remain best friends even if we’re far apart. Maintaining a (platonic) long distance relationship isn’t that hard when both of you know and understand that you don’t need to talk everyday to keep the “best friends forever” status healthy and alive. I used to feel the need to talk to her everyday just to keep up with everything that’s happening to her, but I realized that both of us needed to give each other time and let the other talk only when they can or want to.
I’m not going to tell you how to maintain a long distance friendship because no two friendships are the same but of course, you need to put a certain amount of effort. I won’t give you tips on what to do to stay in touch because those things are solely up to your discretion. I will, however, tell you that when you find that one true best friend, you’re not going to worry about the amount of distance between you two. Friendships are not about how physically close you can get to someone, they’re about the love and care you feel for that person even when you’re miles apart.
And don’t worry if you’ve never felt like that towards someone just yet. Sometimes the best people you will ever meet can enter your life by surprise.
- Reign Gonzales
You know them as the most popular group of girls in the school. They consist of the girls that are the most talked about in the entire student population. They are royalty. They are the clique. They dominate all social hierarchies present in the student body in every possible way. All except one.
There was a time in my pathetic elementary school days where I would crave attention. Where all the eyes would be on me and people would pass through whispers praises on my style, my adventures, and all the other aspects of the ideal image I was projecting. I also wanted friends with the same perfect style and perfect body and perfect houses and perfect perfect perfect social life. I wanted to be part of them. I really did. And then came reality like a huge slap across the face after watching enough Gossip Girl and Glee and all those sitcoms directed to young girls like me. Those TV shows told stories of the most popular girls in school and how messed up their lives were. They were the most talked not only because they had things that people coveted, but because there were things that were worth talking about them. Bad things. And soon enough people would zoom in on every aspect of their life and end with a two sentence criticism that could make you cry. That is why I also very much respect the popular girls in school since they could more or less handle all of this shit being said about them behind their backs.
By the time I reached high school I realized that popularity is full of bullshit. Who gives a shit if you went to this club that one night or if you have this extremely new dress? And honestly, who would want to go through all that social anxiety that comes when people talk about you? I have a good group of friends. We all would make adventures worthy of the future and when we look back at them, we wouldn't feel regret or sadness. That one thing that popular girls lack is true friendship. They cling to each other for the sake of their social status, not for themselves. If one of them were to dare exit their ring, it would be one of the most controversial topics of the school's history.
I am not popular. But I do get a long with mostly everyone in my class. I have a good group of friends. I do believe that that is more satisfactory than getting 156 likes on Instagram for that one selfie or getting 50++ retweets or favorites on Twitter.
- Anna Cayco
It's that time of the year again! No, I'm not talking about last week's Thanksgiving; I'm talking about the day after that! With all the holidays we celebrate every year, I noticed that this is the only holiday where people go beyond mad trying to get the best purchase. People actually line up outside stores days before so that they can be the first one to enter the shop and hopefully be the first one to find the much coveted item. These lines may or may not extend to the next block as well.
But it's the cyber age so who wants to move, right? Internet shopping has been all the rage this year and the beloved Black Friday sale is no exception. Instead of lining up for hours, people now make sure that their internet connection is secure and have their credit card numbers memorized before they stay in front of their laptops/PCs, immobile, waiting for the clock to turn a certain hour before they start clicking away!
Most people prefer online shopping than actually going out there in the battlefield also because Black Friday sales mostly apply to American stores only...so that means the rest of the world will have to settle with online shopping...that includes me.
I know it's not the healthiest way to de-stress myself, but shopping heals all wounds when it comes to me. Looking through endless racks of clothes and shoes and books, especially thrift shops, just makes my heart flutter like there's no tomorrow so that means the Black Friday is a holiday I definitely look forward to.
Last year, I went through a rough patch around Thanksgiving week so of course I had to do some window shopping (that is my alternative therapy when I'm broke - and I'm broke 80% of the time). I didn't have that much ca$h and I haven't gone shopping in months so I just had to convince my parents to allow me to shop (under a budget of course.) I didn't really know how to do the convincing but then this commercial went on the TV and it showed a kid who tried to convince his parents to buy him something through a PowerPoint presentation; I though hey, why not? So I made one too!
My dad just laughed at me. But that didn't stop me. I talked to him more; I told him how the band merch I wanted to buy were limited edition and all that shebang and after a while, it was another mission accomplished. I was able to purchase them. From that moment on though, I learned to save my money so now I have an Online Shopping Fund Jar which is definitely better than bothering my parents for their credit card numbers.
This is one of my Black Friday stories. How about you? What's your crazy Black Friday story?
- Marian Plaza
P.S. Shopping is definitely one of the best things ever (all their consumerism agenda is definitely working!) but shopping or simply buying the things you really want will feel 101% more worth it if you actually saved for them. Go start your own fund jars A.S.A.P.!
Before I had my first period, I've always imagined it happening in the safety of my own home; where I could be free from embarrassing myself in front of people and free from the torment I could receive if I were in a public place... but I guess the universe didn't want that to happen. In fact, what occurred was the complete opposite of how I wanted that experience to be and it has scarred me for life.
As a ten year old, I had other things on my mind rather than thinking of or anticipating my period. I never thought that I would hit puberty in a somewhat early age so obviously I couldn't care less about waiting for it to come. I remember I was in a car on my way to somewhere when I felt my stomach aching, then I asked my dad if we could stop over to his office so I could go to the bathroom to relieve myself. When I finally sat down on the toilet and pulled my shorts down, I saw blood everywhere (Note: I was wearing cream colored shorts). I knew then what was happening but I still felt so confused as to why it happened at that certain time and at that certain age. I panicked and started rubbing off the blood with toilet paper but it was no use; so I did what I had to do, I yelled. Please remember that it was in my dad's office so that meant the place was full of people working. My dad came rushing in the bathroom and when he saw me there almost covered in blood, he ran back out. Thanks a lot, dad. After a few minutes of sitting alone wondering where my dad had gone to, the office’s secretary comes in with a pad in her hand (this is where we all start cringing). As if it wasn't embarrassing enough that she was seeing me that way, she had to wash me. You know what that means? The office’s secretary had touched my punani.
I had to wear my mom’s yoga pants the whole day after that and when we met with my mom, you know what she said? “Congrats”. Basically, I will never forget how I got my first period.
P.S. I seriously want to know if there are worse situations than mine, so leave a comment!
- Reign Gonzales
Everyday girls with not so everyday lives and weekly inspirations for the soul.