Hello. Happy New Year.

First of all, let it be noted that while I am not the guy who blogs his blessings, I also am not one who doesn’t count them. The following list contains most of the things I am thankful for last year, 2013. These are not stories of success; nor are these things the ones that made me happy. What I’m sure of is that these things made me really grow holistically and all-inclusively. These things aren’t necessarily the things that satisfied my delight, nor are these things ‘fun’ in every sense of the word, but these things made me a much, much better person — kind of the things that I wanted myself to be, as well as the things that sets me into who I further want to be.

To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid, keen world:

1. Have a new year

Of course you’re laughing at me right now, but really, a new year gives you a new chance to grow. That’s the simplest thing I am truly thankful for each day, that God actually fills these new years with reasons to live on.

2. Have a family

I am thankful that my family is still there, despite the fact that I am trying to be independent. They’re not really your heavenly, perfect family–the kind you see in movies with happy endings just right before the credits roll–but they are the family who nurtures me and makes me a better person — be it in ways I like or not.

3. Safe from Harm

The Lord really is kind. He has His own purpose for things. As for me, I can see why He keeps me safe: For me to just open myself to Him and let Him do as He wills. That’s really how I see it–or how a person with God inside of him should see it.

4. Faye and I finally had closure

Faye Perez, the leading lady (and the star) of my previous blog, talked to me again, around January 3 of this year. It was the first time she went first to talk to me since around a year ago (back then), and it was the first time I felt absolutely nothing but peace and friendliness inside of me. I think she found the same in her heart, too. For the first time, we exchanged laughs about whatever happened in our 11 months of being together, be it good or bad. We had a chance to apologize, and to tell each other how we still thank our stars for bringing us together for that time, despite the fact that it ended badly and we didn’t exactly end up the way we envisioned it. We thank God that through each other, we have learned how relationships work and how they don’t as well. We may not want to end up with each other again, but our experience together was one worth keeping, not only in the next relationships we’ll be having, but also in our lives as individuals.

5. Performed in DL Umali Hall

Dioscoro L. (D.L.) Umali Hall in the University of the Philippines Los Baños is that university’s main auditorium. Performing on it’s (I believe) sacred stage made me finally feel that I am not limited — that I can perform art beautifully despite the fact that I am a scientist. I love how I feel like I am performing alone as I see no one in the audience. I remember the day I said “I can’t do it anymore”. I remember that that was the day I was totally and irrevocably wrong.

6. Having friends like Maraiah Garcia and Aristotle Martinez

Well, I believe they are my only close friends in the University (Kara is an all-different matter, okay?). They have been with me through thick and thin, and I could say that because we are practically together in everything we do. They make my lonely Saturdays very happy weekends, and they acted practically like my parents in university. They are one of the few people who can laugh genuinely at my–well, weird–sense of humor, and we have spent so much time and memories together than we can see right through each other. We mostly share the same values, and they really make me hold on to my values a little bit stronger. They are friends I can never lose, and with friends like these, who needs armies?

7. Helped many people in NSTP 2

It is a required subject, yes. But I felt that my help was so genuine whenever I crossed rivers, stepped through mud, and knocked at their doors. It was the pure spirit of volunteerism that I first touched during those times, and their happy, grateful smiles made me realize how simple my deeds could be in order to help out people.

8. Being of help to my freshman friends in university

That ‘kuya‘ spirit never left me. If there are a few abstract things I would love having, they are these:

  • Responsibility
  • Trust
  • Duty
  • Being able to help others

And these freshmen, by letting me help them, made me realize that I could have those things in my hands — in the right place, rat the right time.

9. Being in the CAMANAVA Young People’s Conference in Amadeo, Cavite

It is a Church conference, bringing me back to the sweet experience of our Lord Jesus. If I wasn’t in that conference, I’d probably some guy pursuing everything for himself, attaining success and goals in vain. That 3-day conference made me realize that being rich isn’t the top enjoyment; having a good life should never be my sole priority; Instead, gaining Christ should be my top resolve. It made me grow spiritually, realizing that Christ is more important than anything else in the world–or the world itself.

10. Being in one Culminating Meeting of the Full-time Training

Relating to the above, I saw how the trainees there were filled not by religious doctrine, but by the sweet love of Christ. This is because they did not study the Bible there, but they enjoyed Christ every day! It strengthened me, thinking that in what I do, I should gain Christ.

11. Have met Sir Jason Obrero

I consider this person my mentor in university, and I am so thankful that I have met him. We have been quite close recently, and this instructor taught me a lot of things I have to know, in and out of the classroom. I consider this man a blessing, for without him I would really continue becoming an average joe in my field — or even have left it already. Besides teaching me more knowledge about my craft, he also completely turned me around from being desperate to leaving my field to pursuing it further.

12. Revived my interest in flying/aviation

As you have seen in my blog posts before, I dreamed of becoming a pilot since I was a kid. Now, despite the fact that I am planning to become a full-fledged web developer, I still look up to the skies now and then. I realized that nothing actually changed — I might not be on the track of becoming a pilot, I am still, in fact, flying; I am still free to command my own destiny. Still free to fly into greater heights, and still free to land right into the aerodrome of success. After all, every pilot in heart could still taste the freedom of the skies in their own ways.

13. Started a new hobby

Yup. it’s cameras. I built a pinhole camera out of a matchbox recently, and I’m glad it works. It’s not really something of a deep realization in life, but I’m just thankful that I have learned something new and enjoyable.

14. Be part of the first Open Data Hackathon

…In the Philippines, that is. We may not have finished the #KabantayNgBayan event, but we surely were part of history. I actually hate that my groupmates actually threw themselves in the backwater and threw in the towel too soon, but the fact that I hate them proves that I still have that fighting, competitive spirit in me.

15. Learned how to cook (a little)

Learning how to cook is a big part of my life, and I would like to thank Maraiah Garcia and Aris Martinez for this essential part of living. Learning this craft got me one step closer to the vast valley of independence and self-reliance, and, while I am still learning now, it proves that I can rely on myself in almost every way.


For this, I would like you to read this blog post.

17. Realizing that I want to excel on my field

While I broke my excessively strong defenses down in the previous point, I did not break myself — my desires, my goals. I realized that I don’t want to be a so-so student–and eventually a so-so person–by remaining inside my comfort zone and doing things just for the sake of working. I want to be good at it–useful, efficient, excellent, and I am not doing this for anything or anyone. I am doing this so that I can become useful to others through my field.

18. Became a team leader

Team leaders affect progress, serve by duty, and take responsibility. It’s practically everything that I wanted. I am a person who loves being responsible (and having responsibility), and being a team leader is another God-given chance to prove myself. Sure it doesn’t end there, but it’s a good start anyway.

19. Met (again) Kara Lane Zurbano (yup, it’s time you, dear reader, know her name)

I met you again, Kara. This time, I met so much of you. I thank God that you continue to break my walls and continue to build me up. You’re the only one who seem to do it so perfectly, without offending me. Thank you for always being there and making me feel that I could count on you. You can count on me, too. Know that. I thank the heavens that I could totally be myself in front of you without even being judged a single bit. I promise to return the favor by being here, too. I miss you.


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