2018 was a very difficult year for me. It had its share of bright moments, but most of it were low points. I’m still battling my inner demons as I speak. But since we’re ushering in a new year, I will try to be optimistic for once and list down the things that I wish to do or accomplish in 2019.
1. Travel more.
I had the opportunity to rekindle my love for travelling in 2018 with my trip to Fukuoka and Hokkaido in Japan. It ignited that passion that I sort of neglected the past few years because I was busy with something else. In those precious five days in Japan, I felt alive and well again. For 2019, I’m placing at least two overseas trips on my bucket list. Japan is definitely on that list.
But to accomplish that list, I should…
2. Focus on work.
It has now become a policy at work that, unless it’s an emergency, we cannot go outside the country until we finish all the audit reports due in the first semester of the year. In my case, I’m not free to leave until August of this year, at the earliest. Therefore, to accomplish my travel goals, I should finish all 40+++ reports on time. Such task requires immense focus, which I lost a lot in 2018. (In my defense, I had a very difficult first semester in 2018 and family matters got in the way. Not that I’m making excuses…)
3. More opportunities to practice photography.
4. Go back to active blogging.
Taking photos is my only contribution to any fandom I’ve been into, and now my opportunities to practice it are near-extinct. I think my skills are getting rusty, plus more and more talented photographers/photo-hobbyists have taken over the reins.
Proof that I lost my enthusiasm with taking photos: my Christmas bonus is still intact because I’m not keen on checking online stores for a new camera that will most probably just end up taking space on my closet. This is so NOT me.
As for writing, I simply am on an extended writer’s block. One minute I thought it’s back, but once I load my blog editor my mind comes out blank. Considering that I’ll have to renew my domain and webspace this year and I’ll be paying quite a sum for it, I should decide ASAP if I still want to continue blogging.
My heart seems unready to let Agent P’s Headquarters go, though.
I need to bring my mojo back. Maybe travelling will help? Or a change in environment?
One of the things I gained before 2018 ended is that I was able to reconnect with old friends whom I kinda lost track of in the last three years or so. During the most difficult times of my life in 2018, they showed to me that they may not always be visible but they’re just there, waiting for me to reach out. It’s always nice to know that there are people in your life that always trust you and believe in you and will accept you no matter what, without expecting for anything in return.
I think I need to re-connect with me, as well.
I know this blog entry doesn’t sound as optimistic as it normally should, but hey. At least I know what I want, right?
We interrupt the Japan blogs for this special entry.
Prologue: My family has always celebrated my Mama’s birthday with a family bonding staycation. My Papa planned it every year. During his birthday, or their wedding anniversary, only the two of them would go off somewhere only they know and we would only know where they went when they come back the next day. But for Mama’s birthday, we’d book a villa at Fontana in Clark and the entire family would bond for two whole days. I think it’s because Mama’s birthday falls on November 3, which coincides with the All Saint’s Day holiday(s). It would be feasible, schedule-wise.
My father passed away in February this year. It’s the first time that Mama will be celebrating her birthday without Papa. Truthfully, it was a challenge for us. Will we still continue with our yearly tradition?
The answer was given by Papa, himself. We usually plan Mama’s birthday celebration around August every year so that we can make our bookings as early as possible. Back in August this year, Papa would appear in our dreams in various scenarios that would point to one thing: continue with the annual tradition. Due to her health condition, Mama wasn’t up to it as she’s not comfortable with travelling long distances. I just made bookings at nearby Seda Vertis North for November 2 to 3 instead of going to Fontana again. Besides, that place had too many memories with Papa. We’d all probably just bawl our eyes out for two days if we go there.
A bit of a segue for a backgrounder: Mama is never a fan of any artista but for some reason, she adores Alden Richards. For the past two years, Mama has been asking me – jokingly, but I think she’s a bit serious – to invite Alden to her birthday. Of course, it’s not that simple. I did manage to ask Alden for a couple of video birthday greetings, which totally made Mama’s day.
Mama had a stroke (her second in 15 years) at Christmas last year due to stress from worrying about Papa’s condition. Her memory was affected and she couldn’t remember a lot of things, including her husband’s name. The one thing that she never forgot, and would always tell me about it, is Alden. She would tell me to ask Alden to visit her at the hospital. I’m such a wuss, so I never had the guts to ask him or his manager if he could drop by to see Mama.
Sometime last month, this idea came into my mind: since it’s just within the vicinity, we can have lunch at the Quezon City branch of Concha’s Garden Cafe after we check out from Seda before going home. And then maybe, just maybe, I could ask Alden to drop by in between his commitments since you know, it’s his restaurant, after all and he usually passes by Concha’s in between Eat… Bulaga! and Sunday Pinasaya rehearsals. All I have to do is grit my teeth and have the courage to ask. It looks simple, but people who know me would know that I would need to draw a lot of guts for me to do that. Even asking for video greetings take a toll out of me; how much more if it’s a huge favor like inviting him to my mother’s birthday?
Still, it’s for my mother. Any child would do anything for her mother. So I took a deep, deep breath and asked Alden’s manager Madam Carlites for this huge favor, which she gladly obliged. The only problem would be Alden’s availability. His schedule has been nothing short of INSANE these past few weeks.
Weeks passed and it’s not confirmed yet. I was close to giving up. Who can compete with a schedule?
October 30, with still no final word, I worried about it before going to sleep. I closed my eyes thinking about Alden, but it was Papa’s face that popped into my head. What the…? I had to shake it off. It’s like, 1:00am.
October 31 around lunchtime, I got my answer. Alden is a go.
Is this what you were trying to tell me, ‘Pa? That you got this?
November 1. Mama told me that for this year, she doesn’t want a video greeting from Alden. She wants to see him and have a photo with him. It took a lot of self-control for me not to spill the beans on her that Alden is coming. You see, I decided to make it a surprise. I only told my siblings and my niece that he’s coming so that there’ll be someone else manning the cameras to take footage. This is one moment that I want to be sure that will be documented for our memories. Mama and the rest of the family didn’t know.
November 3. Mama’s actual birthday, Concha’s Quezon City. Mama has been feeling melancholic all day because it dawned to her that we’re celebrating her birthday without Papa. We did our best to console her, but it’s just not enough. The only time she finally smiled was when the crispy pata was served.
Long story short, it was nothing short of EPIC when Alden arrived.
THAT SMILE. Truly priceless. We couldn’t contain our happiness seeing that from Mama. My family also couldn’t get over the fact that Alden is the nicest, most polite celebrity they encountered. They were astounded when, without any prodding, Alden himself picked up Mama’s cake to bring it closer to her to blow the candle. They were even more dumbfounded when Alden said that he will be doing solo photo ops with each and everyone of us. Frankly, we’ll be more than happy with just a solo with Mama + group photo with the fam. Even I got a little bit confused when he was directing us to where we should do the photo op. I can’t share the photos in public, though. Trolls everywhere, you know, and I still have a target on my back.
Lastly, Alden passed by our table one last time before leaving Concha’s to say goodbye. Which artista does that? Only him. Only Alden.
Side note: I’ve always loved Alden’s trait of looking at the person straight in the eye and giving his full attention to anyone he talks to. It shows his sincerity. This guy has nothing to hide, contrary to what his bashers are saying.
It’s been a day and my family is still gushing over what they experienced yesterday. I’m pretty sure that the conversations will still continue once we’ve all returned to work/school this week. I’ve been witnessing Alden’s off-cam moments for the past three years and I still couldn’t get over how different he is from other celebrities I’ve encountered. Mind you, I’ve already encountered a lot.
I wish more celebrities would be aware of this special gift that they have wherein a simple gesture can bring so much happiness to so many people. I think Alden is aware of this. The great thing is that he always willingly shares this gift to everyone, regardless of who those people are. That’s why he’s so blessed.
To Alden and his management team, from my family and all those who know my Mama and truly appreciates what you did for her: we are eternally grateful. MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT.
I made a K-pop comeback last weekend and realized something:
I miss the innocence of being a fan.
You know those times when you’re just starting to be a fan of a certain artist that every little thing that happens bring you so much excitement and joy? When you’re not jaded about all the fandom politics and not paranoid of the people around you? When you have little to no expectations, thus, everything you experience is a pleasant surprise?
Yeah, it all happened last weekend. And I realized to myself how much I missed all that.
As we were roaming around Mall of Asia grounds to get to the concert, I witnessed all the fan projects and activities and saw how everyone gets so excited at just receiving a small photocard or whatever memorabilia they could get. At first I was like, “I used to do that in my first few years as a Cloud; when my room got so cluttered, save for original merchandise everything went to trash afterwards.” But before they ended up in the trash bin, they made me really happy. I could feel what the young Carats were feeling that day and had a pang of nostalgia.
When my niece received a simple gesture of recognition from a Seventeen member, she was so ecstatic that I literally felt her whole body shaking from euphoria. I remembered the time when a simple moment like the idol noticing our FC banner felt like we won the grand lotto.
Everything was so simple then.
I asked myself: When was the last time I felt the pure bliss of innocent fangirling? I couldn’t remember anymore.
For the first time since I started this blog and has been posting an annual retrospective of the year that passed, I am at a loss for words.
To say that 2017 was a roller coaster of ups and downs, both on my fangirling side and my personal side, is a total understatement. On the fangirl side, I started the year with a bang (a TV appearance) that quickly turned to a whimper (I got bashed into fandom oblivion and I haven’t recovered since). Midway through the year, I entered a new phase: the no-group phase. I was on a fandom limbo of sorts, which quickly turned into non-limbo. I’m not making sense, am I. What I’m really saying is, I thought my fangirling days with Alden Richards was over, but it wasn’t. It just went underground. Where it’s more fun. Haha!
Then, towards the end of the year, certain events ruffled the entire fandom and it made things much more interesting. I’m quite curious as to how things will pan out (which we might find out in a few hours, when Eat Bulaga resumes its live broadcast). Who knows, I just might go back to mainstream fangirling again. Not that anyone else is interested…
On the other side of my fangirling life: my Korean ship went total Titanic and they got married in 2017… to other people. Fortunately, I’ve already moved on to other things when it happened. It became much easier to accept.
On the personal side, my career – as in my day job – in 2017 ended on a very high note with the unexpected promotion that I received on the last quarter of the year. But that last quarter also proved to be difficult as my family faced a very tough challenge, ie. both my parents getting seriously ill at the same time. I nearly spent Christmas and New Year at the hospital taking care of my mother (my father was hospitalized the week prior to that) but by the grace of God, we were discharged two days before New Year. Both of them are now recuperating at home and while they still have to undergo therapy and continuous medication, the fact that the entire family was able to welcome 2018 together at home is already a huge blessing. I truly thank the Lord for that.
The final few days of 2017 sent me a clear message: life will throw us challenges and adversities, but if we are steadfast in our faith and never give up, everything is going to be fine. It’s time to face the new year with a heart full of hope and positivity.
For someone who’s at a loss for words, I certainly wrote a lot, ‘no?
I’ve been on a roller-coaster ride since the latter part of 2016. I guess it’s just fitting that my birthday this year is like a roller-coaster ride, too. Heck, it’s the day after my birthday, and I’ve ridden a roller coaster of emotions the entire morning until noontime. I hate my job. Sometimes.
As I reflect on how the year has been, I realized that everything that has happened to me particularly in the last two months comes with a lesson. That being, to borrow a line from a certain phenomenal star, not everyone who approaches you is true to you. I had to learn it the hard way, but I guess lessons like that really must be applied harshly to get the maximum effect.
The great thing is, I learned in the past few days/weeks that despite the growing number of people who seemed to have learned to dislike me, there are also more people who love and care for me regardless of who I am and what I have become, with some of them I haven’t even been in touch with for the longest time. They’re just there, waiting to welcome me with open arms. All I got to do is holler.
And to those who judged me, well… I can’t do anything about that. I say what I say and do what I do and I take full responsibility for it. Your understanding and perception of what I do or say is all yours.
Since I celebrated my birthday by being, once again, a trending topic on socmed because I took a selfie with Alden in public I just want to say a few things before I end this blog entry:
1. I’ve never talked about it openly since I didn’t feel the need to, ie. until recently: I am no longer a part of any Alden Richards fan club. I haven’t been one since the latter part of May 2017. I now fangirl on my own.
2. Since we’re on the subject, I’d also like to clarify that I was NOT, and never have been, a founder or main admin of any Alden Richards fan club. I am merely a member who was always designated as the ‘on-camera talent’ since none of the other FC members wanted their faces to be publicized. As this round face of mine has been on camera before in my previous fandoms, I am sort of the default choice. So again, quit referring to me as that person who formed that FC for whatever purpose.
3. And while we’re on the subject, may I just ask: why do some people keep on looking for me at Alden United? I am not, and never have been, a part of AU. Don’t look for me at any fan club, for that matter. I personally know, and are still friends with people from different FCs, but I am no longer a member of any of it.
4. If anyone thinks that those nasty comments that were posted on IG about me yesterday made me mad or sad, well sorry guys. I haven’t laughed like that for the longest time, and that comment thread was my source of entertainment during my long travel time to and from work yesterday. So I guess I owe those people for keeping me amused?