2018 is the year to be (more) real

2017 was an eventful year. It was a year where I broke barriers, stepped up a little bit more, and spoke my mind a bit real and I realised that it was okay to do it.

2017 was the year I started looking at life using the communication lens. IT was the year of communication, whereby it made me realise what a powerful tool it is. It could break, unmake, shape, and reshape beings, values, cultures, and worldview. It deconstructed me big time. It made me question of how I will perceive the world from now on. That is how powerful it is that it made me drawn to start reading a bit more about it, alongside other literatures. 2017  was the year I realised I was lost, and what a beautiful mess my mind was.

2017 was the year I broke barriers; I broke myself. I allowed myself to be broken to be reconstructed. I crossed some lines, which, in the past I thought I would die, but I am still alive.

And I realised I needed to cross those lines to know who I am. To know what I am made of. To know how far I can go. And I realised there are so many society ideals I do not want to believe anymore.

2017 was the year I said I would put the past behind, but a few minutes before 2018, as the year came into vignettes of montage, I realised I just can’t leave it all behind because the past, the present, and future are intricately woven altogether into a unique pattern I call “my life.” My life has a unique identifier. There could be no double kind of life that will exist in this lifetime. I am who I am and uniquely I am. I also realised that what I have it tough love for myself. I love myself a bit more, but there’s the tough love.

So in 2018, I carry with me these new principles that I guess are grounded too much in reality that could cross the line of being cynic. I know it’s bad but I am unapologetic.

  1. I will not need the people who do not need me in their lives. Life is too short to impose that they are important to me that is why I am reaching out. I am so much done with it. I think I have proven myself through these years how they matter to me, and how I value the importance of nurturing relationships, by giving what I perceive as an ample attention. My MS thesis is about drawing meanings from patterns of interactions and that if, according to Saussure’s arbitrariness of signifier and signified, then this is how I would attach meaning to certain pronounced interactions, heightened by lack of communication so that certain actions will not be prone to misinterpretations.
  2. Communication is the key to my heart. I realised that I love communicating, and I am most vulnerable when I am too much open or too much closed. So it matters to me if communication is closed, I will perceive it that the person does not want to engage in a meaningful relationship with me. Social exclusion means friendship over.
  3. I will debunk the notion of misunderstanding. I was  only having limited understanding in the fringes. There may be misinterpretation, but distortion will be restored by open communication.
  4. I will continue to do things with fervour and passion. I have this notion that I am not one of the most brilliant communication practitioner out there, but my passion and dedication as a practitioner will enhance my mediocre confidence.
  5. I will be responsible of what I will become but I will not be apologetic because I was reshaped by what was perceived as social norms, defined normal through the abnormal. I have quirks and I am done with hiding those only because it was perceived to be uncommon and unacceptable. I will speak my mind, but remain respectful.
  6. Lastly, I remain faithful. I remain hopeful, despite and inspite of it all. I only have God to lean and depend on and I still believe in His perfect timing and trials that I needed to overcome (or choose not to). I still pray for strength, I still seek His wisdom, and bask in his loving embrace when I just got to roll the punches while the going gets tough.

It’s time to be real and raw. Let’s roll the punches.


Quiet comfort

I was discussing work stuff with my colleagues when I learned one colleague of mine suggested about the extension platform I am working on was taken up during a consultation meeting among different partners of the Department of Agriculture.

And the stakeholders agreed that it is a good opportunity to try it out.

I just feel happy.

For three years,  I have tried to tirelessly work on promoting this process, not sure who is listening out there; wrote a lot of news and feature articles that would enhance the message of “working together” and “non-linear extension.”

I was assured na, may nakikinig naman pala. That somebody stopped listening and started acting meant a lot already. It means the work was heard pretty well, and more importantly, the listener believed in the promise and translated it into action. As I always say, participatroy process takes time, but when stakeholders imbibe it, expect change to be a meaningful one.

Chasing the unfathomable

It’s kind a kind of feeling that never settles.

It’s a gray between your shades of darkness and light. Happiness and pain.

A silver lining that is known to exist, but refuses to reveal itself, so you begin to wonder its existence.

I am like a “scientist,” tracing and chasing uncertainties.

I am floating. Neither happy nor sad. Neither feeling triumphant or a failure. Neither a hero or a damsel in distress.

Just. Floating.

Social media as advocacy tool

Today, I was veryyyyy fortunate to participate in Rappler’s “Social Media for Social Good” campaign. I have been (super) wanting to attend this workshop , but, I end up not attending (either due to work or something else).

The workshop emphasized how we can make us of our social media accounts to promote our cause. In our case, it’s promoting rice-based researches all over the world. There were a lot of takehome messages. The bonus is that, Maria Ressa was one of the speakers and it was such an joy (an early Christmas gift, if I may say), to hear her deliver a talk/presentation. It hit right into my gut. Everything she said and the rest of the Rappler team said were very useful for us, as Science Communicators and enthusiasts (I’d rather fall on the latter category).

One of the key things mentioned in the workshop is that “Advocacy communicaiton starts with YOU.” It means you would be a communication tool to get the institute’s message out there. So it is very important that your purpose is aligned to the organization’s vision in order for you to say things effectively– that caters to the mind and to the heart.

One question, however, is “Are you ready to merge your personal life with work?” After all, we were told it is best to have one account name for your all social media accounts. In my case, I use my real name on Facebook, but my pseudonym on the rest of my social media accounts. This is because I want to keep my narcississtic tendencies to myself. I am like, opening a Pandora box out there, opening my heart to multi-million online readers.

If I merge my Instagram, Twitter, and other accounts with my FB account,that means increasing the use of my social media accounts for work, and less narcissistic bouts for me. I am still wrapping my head around the idea, but I think, in a couple of weeks, I would find it doable.

Kids invading the workplace

Today, we were invaded by some six to seven year old children, who had their field trip at IRRI. We always entertaining visitors from all walks of life, but this is the first time we handled children—and not just children, from a kindergarten class!

Imagine a horde of 20 plus, infinitely curious kids who could be rambunctious, ferocious, and naughty. We even role played that I would be the strict elder sister who would just shout “Quiet!” to children.

But then, all of these imaginary “terrorist” attacks dissipated the moment these children walked into our ordinarily quiet space. I was actually feeling nervous as they came in closer to our office. I remember our professor in Scientific and Technical Communication class, Dr. Tere Velasco, asked us, her Development Communication graduate students, “Choose a scientific theory and explain it to an eight year old child.”

I forgot what I have written in that exam, but now, I am more nervous because how the heck can I explain Postharvest process, or machines for that matter,to children, when the last time I was able to babysit a child was ten years ago? (Students, take your Graduate School exam questions to heart).

But then, I was fortunate to have my engineer colleagues with me, who happens to have children (well, one of them. The other is a bachelor, so we felt a bit intimidated with kids. Yeah, we’re that intimidated). Being a parent is quite an advantage because you would have the explanation how to explain an abstract concept to children. What would make them feel interested the most, but to let them see how rice is polished? So, my officemate showed the children how it’s done, and I feel pleased how curious children were. Quoting an Entomologist I recently interviewed, that sometimes, it’s more fun to teach three to six year old kids; “You just have to know how handle their erratic attention span.”

Kids, are always cute, and they are even cuter if they are curious. I hope that the children who visited us today had fun (I heard they planted rice), and learned a lot.

We’re thinking of switching on the laser leveling to reveal the beam it emits (for sending land leveling signals), so we could earn more “COOL!” expressions from the kids. I sincerely hope one of them becomes an Agricultural Engineer, or an Agriculturist someday. For now, I feel contented that they had the time of their lives to climb up a mini tractor and pretend they could drive it (If I have my own child, I would be really thrilled for him/her).


Kids are forever adorable to me. 

On lessons that are 2015 and promises that are 2016

new year

Another year begins. Another 366 days of happiness, triumphs, celebrated failures, lessons learnt, and a lot more to look forward to. Surprisingly, I did not consciously make a list of “New Year Resolutions.”  For what 2015 taught me is that I knew myself better than I did the past years. While there are still mysterious boxes about myself that needs to be revealed, I know I am at this stage of my life, at least, that I know what I am made of.

  • I am still single, and I don’t give a sh*t (well, sometimes, I still do, but it’s becoming seldom now)
  • I am becoming more secure about myself, unafraid of what I don’t know, and feel okay with it (because, it’s okay not to know everything).
  • One of the most beautiful feeling is to let go of things that you cannot change. Acceptance is the key.
  • That you can’t love unconditionally. You need to feel loved to refill your tank. And it’s not called “expecting,”  you just simply deserve it.
  • That in cases when you don’t feel that “love,” you think you deserve, sometimes, you need to love yourself first (‘yung buong-buo ka. the kind of love that makes you not become hard on yourself. Not to that extent).
  • Nothing can beat kindness and humility.
  • Prayer, hard work, perseverance, and dedication gets you through your seemingly difficult assignment.
  • In difficult assignments, you just have to close your eyes and take the leap. Pray and believe that this, too, shall pass.
  • Be in a company of good-natured colleagues, who share the same core value that you have — right science with humanity.
  • It’s okay to assert your opinion.

And with these, some promises I made to myself for 2016:

  • To never forget my dream. For now, it looks blurred, but I need to search for it again.
  • To remember that there are a million paths to trudge, but God’s path is the one that will work best. Pray even harder for discernment
  • To not feel afraid to celebrate failure. But be sure to learn from mistakes.
  • To be brave enough to take risks.
  • To open up a little bit more; trust enough to let people take a peek of your heart.
  • To find ways to reignite passion.
  • To remember that love comes in all forms and inspirations.
  • To think more before I speak. But do not forget to be spontaneous.
  • To not forget the little prince that resides within me. And always go to my Asteroid B-52.
  • To no purge my friends list, but maybe put them back into “acquaintance list.”A fresh start.
  • Give back, in the best way you know how.
  • To remember that love for thyself is not equivalent to complacency.
  • To remember my uniqueness is the reason why I am here and this will take me further
  • To reflect on what is essential in the next 10 years… and remind myself to plan for 2017 (before my contract ends).

Happy New Year to me. I will turn 35 this year and I am not dreading it. I’m claiming it will be a special year.

Throwing in the towel?

Whenever I feel this kind of wall closing in, Sarah Kay’s “Point B” comes to mind, where she breaks out into a song “There’ll be days like this, my mama said.”

It’s hell week at that the University. Everyone’s cramming for their final paper, defense, and what-nots. Then, at work, we’re into the homestretch, too. Three review planning meetings, writeshops, due articles, are like, raining like a pet store (pun intended).

And we all know this. For the past few months, we tried to hold on. We tried to be at our best, thought of all the most optimistic thought, the juiciest reward you’d give yourself, once this is over.

But there are also moments, that, into the homestretch, there’s the “almost-throwing-in-the-towel” ceremony.

Yes, that moment you know you’ve stretched yourself too far, and you need to stretch a little further, and it’s starting to tear you apart. Everything’s falling apart. You’ve got the strength, but you’re losing the willpower. It’s like the torturing last half of a marathon.

I am still in the hustle of trying to stay afloat, and while there, I am reminded by this verse that my bible study leader mentioned to me.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

I am glad that despite the challenging situation, I can still hear God’s voice guiding me, providing me wisdom. I can see how he slowly reveals himself to me, whispering little reminders like “Learn to listen. Listen to learn,” “Be strong in the grace.” It is true that little prayers help, and through this, we find miracles everyday, and with this, we should be grateful. Sometimes, it is difficult to comprehend, but God has a plan for us, and “All things work for good” (Romans 8:28). There is a reason for everything. I am being taught a valuable lesson, that’s why this is the trial I am facing now. I have to learn to rise through this, through God’s grace, and seek God’s loving embrace in our moments of weakness. Only in that situation, we should be our strongest.

But since, there are rainy days like this, let me soak myself into tears just a little while and seek refuge in God’s embrace. I need to regain strength to face the challenges of tomorrow, which may not get better, but me becoming stronger.

Lord, tonight, I surrender my cares and worries into Your hands. I know You handpicked me for a purpose. I may feel down today, but please grant me the grace to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You. Please enlighten my soul and erase these insecurities I feel, and that I may concentrate on utilizing my spiritual gifts to please You and serve my brothers.  Amen.