About Last Friday

“It was epic, nerve wrecking and just purely awesome”.

These are just a few of the best words the audience used to describe our group’s performance. “You should have been the champions!”. We are, in the heart of everyone.

The day started early for all of us checking on each other, making sure every props and costume are complete and all set. “This is it.” was the phrase of the day. I can feel everyone getting excited and tensed at the same time. In the morning, we had to do a run through and a quick rehearsal with the other groups. At the venue, we saw how beautiful and creative their props are. I heard their music and we knew that our only way to win is through determination, the existing love we have for our craft and talent we were gifted with.

Past 8:00 pm, the event started. You cannot imagine how great all the other contestants were. We were in awe. And then it was our turn.

Subli

I always tell the girls that they look really pretty in the costume because they are. It was colorful (doesn’t  look like in the photo, the light director used red light the whole time ), it was happy and festive. As a Batanguena, I am especially proud of this dance as it takes me back to my roots.

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Cheiftan and Banga/ Salidsid

A powerhouse, the dance originated from the Cordillera region. These are some of my favorites be it as a dancer or as the audience. I have been performing folk dances since 16 years old and this particular suite still sends chills to my spine.

The Banga Salidsid gave me the biggest fright of my entire dancing career. Something happened to my Banga that delayed my entrance and scared the hell out of me and my partner, Adrian. Someone tried to mess it up; they failed. In the middle of the dance, I felt light-headed, unfocused and purely scared. And then Ian whispered: “Alalay lang.” (Take it easy). The Banga was not properly stacked.

I can hear the people screaming, just as frightened as I am. But I can feel them thrilled and excited. The beat of the music went faster and so I stood up with the Banga on top of my head. I balanced, almost tripped but had to endure the fright I have in my chest. As I stood up and carried the precious Bange, the crowd cheered, shouted, whistled and clapped and it made me smile inside. “I can do this,” I told myself; and so I did.

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The Finale

I saw them, my co-dancers, all smiles and at ease. They, too, were scared. It felt really great to see and watch them dancing their hearts out. “We already won,” I said while listening to the audiences shouting, cheering.

We got the first runner-up award. Sad? NO. We are more than happy. We are delighted, we feel blessed and most importantly we felt like we are the winners. Very few of the audiences know us, probably 10, fewer even. But I know I heard a whole crowd clap. Yes, we did win.

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The opportunity that was given to us, the talent, the cheers of the crowd and each of our families who supported endlessly is more than enough to be thankful for. To dance again with my brothers and sisters (my sister, literally), to make every people in that hall happy, terrified and entertained, to show them the real culture of the Philippines; all of these are our main goal. We achieved it.

I would personally like to thank Sir Rodel and Sir Erich for the upbringing that they did to us. We are more than proud of you for making us love our culture. Thank you! We owe all of this to you. And to Former Mayora Anacorita Portugal for the beautiful costumes she let us use. Maraming maraming salamat po!

Hindi ito ang huli. We will keep on dancing. We are The Lahing Batangan Dance Troupe.

 

 

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Dear Love

You are so precious to me and all I can think of when I think of you is purity. Your heart and soul is just as pure as white. You are a blessing to everyone.

I can remember seeing you cry every time we leave to work overseas. I can remember your voice in the bathroom, singing while taking a  bath. I can remember you getting mad at people who bullies the ones you love and care for. I can only remember good things about you, my love. You bring smiles to us, and overflowing happiness and all the goodness the world don’t deserve.

Today, I am pretty emotional. Because the three of you are babies no more. And sooner, i’d have to let go of you one by one. Today, I want to thank you for understanding Ate Nini, for not asking too much and for being thankful of all the little things, for always being there for us no matter what, for standing for what and who’s right, for helping people and for forgiving. You have a very beautiful soul Ate Bebe and I can’t be prouder to be your sister.

Always remember that Ate is always here for you no matter what. I love you with all of me. And Ate is always at your back. Happy 18th Birthday my Love! I know the heavens will bless you for as long as you live. I wish that you get all your heart’s desire. 🙂

 

Love,

Ate

5 Things You Get From That Heartbreak

I have been sitting in this coffee shop for the past 2 hours trying to update our stores’ inventories, patiently switching between MS Excel and Teamviewer while listening to Mommy Josie and Miss Reeza talk about a ‘friendzoned’ guy, live on Facebook (talk about multi-tasking). After I realized that I have laughed and participated enough with the advice-giving, I switched my earphones to my current favorite song; “Beauty and the Beast” sung by Ariana and John Legend. It has been playing in my head for the 100th time since I had the song and I don’t know what magic this song has but it makes me happy; genuine kind of happy.

See, I just came from a not-so-great break-up (no break-up is ever great Malen!). I thought I was going to live the love story I have always dreamed of. There were a lot of struggles and heartaches and all these, though at the same time, there were a lot of fun, love and happiness. Nonetheless, it all still ended up. But it’s not all despair because I did learn a lot.

  1. You need enough amount of heartache to know that you are not in the right relationship. Yes. It’s part of the cycle. You fall in love without knowing if he/she is the right one. You lovingly sacrifice time and effort blindly hoping that everything ends well. Then destiny decides that you are not for each other. Well, it works just like that and sometime you can do nothing about it.
  2. After you get past the heartache, you realize it’s basically just a lesson you went through. And again, it’s part of the cycle. Learning. You will learn a lot like not giving  up everything for love, especially self-respect. You learn that love is a two-way thing where you should also seek for something in return and asking for enough doesn’t jeopardize the essence of ‘unconditional’ love. Because unconditional love is not suppose to kill you inside, instead, it should keep both of you alive. You will learn that loving should not hurt either of you and if it does, then you have to let go of it.
  3. You realize that you are worth so much more than you thought you do. Remember the red lipstick you wore he said doesn’t look good on you? Or the dress you wore on your date which took hours of decisions but he didn’t bother notice? Or maybe just the excitement of him calling you or dropping by at your place? All these has caused a lot of disappointment just because he doesn’t see you the way he  should. Now, you don’t expect anything from anyone anymore. Because you are now the owner of yourself. Because you do things for yourself and not for nobody. And because you know that if it’s true love, then every inch of you should be seen, touched and appreciated. Because you are worth all his stare, praise and effort.
  4. You get to know that you can do things you though you can’t. Like watching movie or having lunch alone on a Friday afternoon. You realize that you can do the sports you only dreamed of before and that you can go back to doing things you have forgotten for years. You might have been scared of doing them again but letting go will eventually make you recognize the freedom you never thought you needed for so long. This freedom will make you see all the potentials you didn’t knew you have when you were trapped in a love you should have not stayed with at the first place.
  5. You might stop believing in love. You have to. After all the heartbreaks I had, I still am a proud hopeless romantic. I still am in love with the idea of love. Because we all should, no matter how painful everything had been. One day, there will be someone who will never get tired of staring at you for no reason but love. He will give you silly things just because they remind him of you. He will make you believe that there is someone out there that God has made especially for you. Your soul mate. Your other half. And he, like you, is just waiting to be found.

I am no pro at writing stuff like this, but this list is from my own experience and I would be very glad to share it especially to people who have been scared to let go of a love that they have been holding on to for a while.

PS. Dear Love, if you are reading this, I wish you happiness in life.

To the Girl Who Stayed

Right now, i know exactly how you feel. I know exactly why you’re still around, hoping. I might say that a lot of the girls I know have been there. You are not the martyr type, close to it, but no. Because he was just good to you. I know that there are things that you just want to prove to him and leaving him will not be an option.

I know that you wanted him to be proud of you. I know that you wanted him to hold your hand in front of friends, his friends. I know that you wanted to hear him say those words all the time, or call you at lunch time, or any time just to show he cares. I know that you almost begged for his time. I know that you don’t need a lot but at least enough. I feel you.

I know that you are hurt most of the time and you wanted him to comfort you. I understand how you feel. I know that you prayed that he might, someday, fight for you when everyone is beating you down. I know that you just wanted him to be around when no one is. I know that you just wish he feels when you’re just deep in life’s shit. I know that you wanted to be yourself around him, or him to be himself when you’re together. I know that you hoped one day it will be like the fairy tale you have believed in since you were small.

I know that you are almost losing yourself. I mean, you are not the same person as you were before. You can’t just last a day without thinking of him. You lost weight drastically because you’re afraid he might leave you. You learned to cook just to please him. You do the laundry just to take care of him. You do things you never did before. You’re changing. I know how it feels.

I know exactly how it feels. I know how scared you are right now to lose him. I know the fear you’ve been hiding, the fear that one day you’ll wake up alone, or he might have found another, or worse, back with his past. I know that you are scared of crying again like you did before. I know that you’re scared to know that what they’ve been telling you is true. That what you’re trying to fight for is going to end up to nothing. I know that you’re scared of ending up to nothing.

But I know that you have your reasons to stay. That you want him to know that unconditional love exists. I know that you just wanted to be around him as long as he needs you. I know that you are still so eager to stay and at the end give them that middle finger. I know that no matter what happens you know you loved him and you will never regret the time you spent and it was never wasted. I know that you are strong enough to stand beside him or after he leaves. I know you’ll get and take more pain, but I know your soul. She smiles when hurt and learns to stand up every time. She struggles to fight for whatever she thinks can make her happy. And I know making him happy is what its about.

I swear I know just about how you feel. I want you to get back to your old self. I want you to be that strong-willed girl who never relied on to any man. I want you to start believing again. That you are beautiful. That you can stand up by your own and that he will just be there if he really loves you. Losing weight is not to show him or prove him anything. You have a dream, do it for that dream. I want you to dream again. I want you to get out of his shadow.I want you to go to place, with or without him. I want you to know that, if he loves you, you will never feel such pain. That if he really cares, you don’t need to beg. It does not mean that he doesn’t care, he might have different way of showing it. I want you to love yourself more. I want you to feel secure of yourself. I want you to know that I am proud of you and I think what you showed him is enough to be called love. Now, I want you to show me enough love for yourself. I want you to not cry anymore. And I am not asking you to leave, I just want you to stay happy.

love,
Your Old Self

I am NOT

I look big and so look like I’m unbreakable. I look like I can face anything. I look like I don’t fear life. I look strong and I look tough.

BUT I AM NOT.

I may laugh a lot, but please remember that I still cry. I may be strong, but I’m a woman, and like others, I breakdown. I may have stood up for the people I love but like them, I also need someone to back me up. I joke a lot, but when it hurts, it hurts. I may not talk when it does, but please know when to stop. I may have sacrificed a lot, and I’m still willing to sacrifice more for people I care for but it doesn’t mean that I can sacrifice everything. I try to make fun of myself but that doesn’t mean you can make fun of me too.

I have heard enough backstabbing and I don’t speak up or fight back, but please, I am human, and I can still feel. I don’t fight back doesn’t mean I can’t hate you. I always try to understand, but there is always limit to my understanding. I am friendly, that’s what they say, but I hope they don’t see it as a weakness. I seldom cry and when I do, it means I am hurt badly.

I am a woman. I may be simple, but I appreciate flowers. I may not need stuffed toys and chocolates but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve receiving some. I don’t ask a lot, because I’m waiting for what people can give or may be what they want to give me. I don’t ask too much but that does not mean I don’t wait for anything when I know I deserve it. I don’t ask, yes, but that does not mean that I don’t need. I don’t complain but please do not be abusive.

This goes to everyone for everyone who feels the same. Who can’t speak up. Who wants to speak up. Who doesn’t have the courage to speak up.

Isa Pang Yakap, Papa.

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Nung huli tayong nagusap, naaalala ko pa po ang huli nyong sinabi. “Hindi sa lahat ng oras andito si papa. Pag nawala ako, ikaw na ang partner ni mama.”

Hindi ko po kinakalimutan. At pagkatapos nga ng ilang araw, iniwan mo na kami.

Papa, hindi ko po alam kung nasa tamang daan ako. Hindi ko rin po alam kung tama ang ginagawa ko pero hindi ko rin po alam kung ano mang mali ang ginawa ko. Sinasaisip ko lang po ang bilin nyo.

Pa, kung andito ka magsusumbong po ako. Kung paano po ako nasaktan at nasasaktan. Kung anong hirap ang mga dinaanan namin at mga dinadaanan pa. Kung gano ko kagustong magsalita sa lahat ng nanakit kay mama at sa mga kapatid ko. Kung gaano ko kagustong baguhin yung buhay na naiwan nyo.

Pero hindi ko po gagawin dahil kayo din po ang nagturo saakin ng lakas ng loob, paggalang sa tao, pagpanig sa tama, at wag na wag ang sasagot sa mas matanda. Na huwag susuko, na pamilya muna, na walamg imposible sa nagsusumikap, na libre mangarap pero pagtatrabahuhan para makuha yon. Tinuro nyo rin po na tayo-tayong pamilya lang ang magtutulungan. Nakita ko po sainyo kung paano maging tunay na kaibigan. Tinuro nyo po na hindi pera ang sukatan, kundi ang moral, na dapat magpakababa sa lahat ng oras. Napakadami pa po. Dala-dala ko naman lahat.

Sa ngayon po, nahihirapan man kami ni mama, malayo man kami nina ineng sa isa’t isa, may mga taong maliit ang tingin saamin, may mga taong pilit na sasaktan kami, alam ko naman po na hindi susuko kahit isa sa pamilya naten, hindi ko rin po sila susukuan.

Pero, hihingi po sana ako ng pabor. Papa, isang yakap pa po. Yung mahigpit.