Unexpected Escape

In 2003, a teenage girl who was extremely shy (to the point that when at a fast food chain she would ask her sister to order for her) was trying to escape half a day’s worth of classes. She signed up for her first Impromptu Speaking Competition to be exempted that day. 


It was her first time in a speaking contest. After couple of contestants, the winners were announced and she took second place. She was surprised to have won and that was when she found out that she probably had a skill in speaking specially in coming up with reasons and stories. She never really took notice of it until 4 years later. 

After her first heartbreak, she would force herself to belong to the world of extroverts. She signed up for her first beauty competition in her hometown, Ormoc. There she got a feel of how it was to have spotlights and a huge crowd listening to what she had to say. Naturally while answering the final question, her introvert side kicked in and she started to lose focus on her speech. This mistake cost her the title and she settled for second best.

In 2009, coaxed by her gay friends, she joined Miss Cebu. Unprepared but curious she managed to be part of the finalists. It was during this stint that she found out about Toastmasters International. After two days of sessions, she felt a bit more confident about her speaking skills and considered joining the organization. This thought was buried overtime.

Fast forward to 2016, after a string of misadventures in Makati, she moved back to Cebu. Through Facebook, the thought of improving her speaking skills was once again ignited. This time around, she finally decided to commit to it. 

Yesterday, she joined their speech competition for impromptu. The fourth person to speak, she entered a tense room with all eyes on her. The toastmaster of the evening Nizz then said a quote by John F. Kennedy, ” The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. ” Caught off guard by the figure of speech she started to compose her speech. As she was delivering it, she noticed the crowd looked a bit discombobulated. A bit distracted she continued until she looked to her right and the warning light was already red. She quickly tried to wrap everything up. After the speech, she already set in her mind that she was already disqualified as the rule was strict about going beyond the allotted 30 seconds. After the scores were tallied the pronouncement came. Dranz was called for second place and she just cheered on for either Tin or Peter Paul then something unexpected happened. Her name was called. She shruggingly went on stage and accepted the recognition.

14 years ago, this girl would never imagine that she would be competing to speak in a prestigious organization and yet her she is, bravely walking into uncertain. Now at 30, others might think it is too late for her, she is not worried. She is confident enough to walk in her own pace. 

Do not get her wrong, she is still an introvert right down to the core but she knows words are powerful enough to help change the world. A world where her thoughts and words are put out for the world to hear and think of and have the potential to influence minds. 

In her attempt to escape, she found a new world where she can be good.

Monday Musings: I am a Filipino

Are you a Filipino?

What does it mean to be a Filipino? What is our role in our society? Who are we?

The Philippines has always been a melting pot of various nationalities which have blurred some lines on how we look and those that have conquered us before have managed to kill a significant part of our culture. Whenever I am disappointed by the masses, I remind myself of this literary work by Carlos P. Romulo.

I am a Filipino – inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future.

I sprung from a hardy race – child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope- hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children’s forever.
This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promise a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me.
By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof – the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals – the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world no more.
I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes – seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor.
That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gergorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst fourth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malaca√Īang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.
The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousand years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness.
I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I also know that the East must awake from its centuried sleep, shape of the lethargy that has bound his limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.
For, I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, being apart from those world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, there is no longer any East and West – only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are hinges upon which history resolves.
At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand – a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom and my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy.
I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad pass, of the voices of my people when they sing:
Land of the Morning,Child of the sun returning…Ne’er shall invadersTrample thy sacred shore.
Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heartstrings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out of the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of the crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge:

“I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance – for myself and my children’s children – forever.”

10 Best Gifts from 2016

Should I call it luck or blessing? 2016 definitely went by fast! I had a lot of meaningful experience but here are my top 10 ( in no particular order)

  1. Seeing three whalesharks in the wild.
  2. Meeting inspiring people fighting for our planet from different countries.
  3. Having constant supporters in work (A SPACE Tribe) and life (my family, friends and Lucas).
  4. Being given the chance to lead A SPACE Cebu.
  5. Meeting crazy and interesting people that break stereotypes during Geeks on A Beach and making them dance like no one was watching.
  6. Making a big dream come true for one girl and winning another crown for Philippines.
  7. Getting the chance to start a small green business.
  8. Meeting inspiring creators in science and arts.
  9. Getting the opportunity to talk and influence people to be better and to be brave.
  10. Despite finding out that I have stomach issues and a hiatal hernia, it was not a terminal diagnosis. I get to stay for 2017 and beyond!

Although a lot of negative things have happened across the globe, I celebrate these small victories for these remind me that there is still hope. Bright spots are here to stay long enough to make sure each day there is a reason to smile. 2017 I’m ready for you! ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Hero Journey

Confident. Obedient. Paragon of Awesomeness. These adjectives are typically used to describe a hero. Heroes are typically the protagonist of every story and everyone wants to be like them! However, today, ladies and gentlemen, I am not here to talk about heroes. In fact, I am here to talk about the dark side. Yes! The dark side, not because Rogue One is about to premiere, but because I’m a rebel who enjoys shattering the norms.

We always look up to a hero as the epitome of what a human being should be. According to one of my favorite American Scholar, Joseph Campbell who wrote “Hero With A Thousand Faces”, a hero goes through several stages: First he is introduced in his ORDINARY WORLD where he receives the CALL TO ADVENTURE. He is then RELUCTANT at first to CROSS THE FIRST THRESHOLD where he eventually encounters TESTS, ALLIES and ENEMIES. He eventually reaches the INNERMOST CAVE where he endures the SUPREME ORDEAL. He SEIZES THE SWORD or the treasure and is pursued on the ROAD BACK to his world. He is RESURRECTED and transformed by his experience. Finally, he RETURNS to his ordinary world with a treasure, boon, or ELIXIR to benefit his world.

As much as I want to have my life story built according to this, it will never fit in this mold. My story begins with regression. ¬†As a kid, I had a series of unfortunate life events from having a close encounter with death during the 1991 Ormoc Flood, discovering the lifeless body of my older sister who took her own life and witnessing domestic violence regularly. These life events, along with poverty, always made me feel inferior among friends. It led me to think that hiding all of these flaws and feelings would made them accept me. I created a world of self deceit and aloofness. I recall the teacher’s comment in my report card “She needs to be more sociable.” ¬†As a weird kid in a Catholic school, I was alienated from the group and even bullied because of my eccentricities. This pushed me further into becoming bad. I fought back by throwing frogs at classmates. Perhaps the worst thing I have done was in Grade 5 when I kicked a boy in his crotch and called him stupid in front of everyone. The unceasing reminder of my uniqueness turned into an internal program for constantly highlighting weakness. When I was about to finish Elementary school, I developed lust for every material possession and description people attached to a rich and ideal kid. I started taking things from the lost and found section at school, even stealing a girl’s Barbie doll at her house. I turned into a living contradiction. One day good, next day evil. I felt compelled to control things and people. When they refused to follow I would resort to violence, pulling their hair, throwing things or pushing them off. I evolved into a tyrant, refusing to bow down to my parents and questioning all their tradition and beliefs. It died down until I started university. Despite my seemingly normal student life, I was slowly shutting down from my humanity. I took advantage of my parents’ generosity spent my allowance haphazardly; my¬†compassion turned into¬†hatred for the world and loathing for life. My daily wish would that it would be the last day of my life. Although living in¬†paradise, I focused in the negative side. Creating ¬†a living hell in my mind. I could talk endlessly about my life story but this is not an autobiographical movie with hours to spare.

Anti heroes create the problems that heroes have to solve. And without those problems, there would be no revelations concerning the basic struggle between good and evil. Stories would be plain and lifeless. Without the actions of these negative forces, there would even be little stories, and the forces that motivated Hitler and other dictators would be forever a mystery.

How did I escape my anti-hero journey? I haven’t! Every now and then my demons visit me and they try to pull me back into the pit. I will never be completely confident, despite my experience in pageants. I am less likely to turn fully obedient, my blood just screams nonconformity and even though some people think I am a paragon of awesomeness (sometimes I like to think it is true), I am just a human being with flaws.

Our anti-hero story continues daily. It gives us clues on what we must do to be saved. Knowing our anti-hero story is not as scary as it seems. Coming to terms with our anti hero story helps us to come to terms with the dark side in ourselves. After all, darkness must exist for light to flourish.

Warrior Wednesday: Speaking Out

Globally, one in seven adolescent girls aged 15 – 19 are currently married or in union –¬†UNICEF global databases (2016)

1.1 billion girls exists in the world today, a powerful number that could shape the future of this planet. They hold so much potential and yet they face discrimination, violence and lack of equal opportunities killing their dreams and their future.

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Across the globe, rates of child marriage are highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 4 in 10 girls marry before age 18; about one in eight were married or in union before age 15.

 

I grew up in a quiet city, almost unheard of by most of my fellow Filipinos until one major flood happened. As a girl, I grew up accepting the norm that men should have the last say. My mother was in an abusive relationship with my father and even though she spoke out against him, it took her almost 25 years before she finally took the courage to end the relationship. Seeing this dysfunction at home plus going to a private school with kids from rich families deeply affected how I dealt with the world. I had to deal with a lot of internal conflicts as a child that back then did not seem to be significant. It finally developed into a wall to keep people away. I grew up introverted who was more comfortable of the thought of death than the thought of talking to people. When I reach my teenage years, I learned a bit of mischief on how to have an acceptable way of escaping classes. I joined school competitions until that one day where I ended up in an Extemporaneous Speaking competition. I placed second (or third forgot exactly) and almost had the chance to represent our school (I came late the day of the competition). That is when I knew that speaking out was not a weakness but a strength of mine.

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The struggle to speak out is never easy. There are a lot of girls today who like me are going through a lot of things. Thinking about my childhood, I still had it better compared to most of the girls now. I did not have to deal with child labor or child marriage but in developing countries (excluding China), one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18. This means the futures of 47,700 girls are derailed every day.

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Me with some of the Regional Ambassador for Girl Rising across the globe.

I joined Girl Rising and became one of the Regional Ambassador for Philippines because of this pervasive thought about my own childhood and the current number of girl child suffering each second because of the lack of education and empowerment. They are voiceless victims of abuse and inequality. No one is speaking out on their behalf. We cannot let this issue remain as an elephant in the room. I started the Girl Rising Philippines Facebook Page out of the hope of reaching out to the women and girls all over the world, to give them voice and courage so they can fight for their education.

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‚ÄúI was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Audre Lorde

Right now, I am working with the rest of the Regional Ambassadors for Philippines in putting up content and we are open for collaboration. I hope you join me in speaking out about this cause.  Feel free to comment here or email at girlrisingph@gmail.com

Monday Musings: Float, Trust, Enjoy

Sometimes all you need is to float, trust and enjoy!

I stare out of the window each morning and I cannot help but be fascinated at the sight of people passing by rushing through the day. 

As humans, we constantly have a need to control things, from the contours of our face to how others live their lives. 

We always crave for power over situations and yet we can never stop some things from happening. We want to constantly be captain of our ships but we know we will never fully be in the captain’s seat.

Most of the time I feel like the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, I worry a lot! Time, however, has taught me a good lesson on the importance of trust. 

Here is a good write-up, I’ve come across while doing my usual obsessive compulsive habit of reading random things online.

Muhammad said no one looks back and regrets leaving this world. What‚Äôs regretted is how real we thought it was!

How much we worried about phenomena and how little we considered what moves through form. ‚ÄúWhy did I spend my life denying death? 

“Death is the key to truth!‚ÄĚ When you hear lamenting like that, say, not out loud, but ainwardly, ‚ÄúWhat moved you then still moves you, the same energy. But you understand perfectly now that you are not essentially a body, tissue, bone, brain, and muscle. 

Dissolve in the clear vision. Instead of looking down at the six feet of road immediately ahead, look up: see both worlds, the face of the king, the ocean shaping and carrying you along. 

You’ve heard descriptions of that sea. Now float, trust, enjoy the motion.

Monday Musings : Q2 Insights and Changes

The earlier half of my 2016 is already awesome. Here’s why.

It is half way through August and as you guys have probably noticed, I haven’t done a great job at posting new content in July. I initially drafted this post last month but I could never get my mind in one place. I have had a lot of things going on in my life and I am still struggling to create the habit of consistently writing. Anyways, I am sharing new life challenges and changes for the first half of 2016.

  1. My temporary contract with Rare ended. I said goodbye to the non-profit world to take on new challenges that will further develop my skills in putting ideas to reality. I had a lot of good memories the full 8 months as a Temporary Associate for Partnerships. It was a good experience to be part of an international non-profit organization. Last January, I was lucky enough to be part of the Sinulog Grand Parade as a participant and not merely a spectator. It was my first time to also watch the competition. During my last week, I joined the first site visit to validate the information sent in by the municipality. I learned about the plights of the local fishermen and how deep corruption goes. As I left the organization, I had mixed feelings because I was leaving the people that I have been with for months. They were hardcore workers that are really dedicated to helping the locals protect our oceans. Unfortunately, in life not all stories last and this was one page I had to close to open the next one.

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    Me and my awesome workmates from Rare during the Sinulog Grand Parade.
  2. Ever since I met my boyfriend, Lucas who is equally in love with the ocean as I am, I have been diving more. It is definitely great to find someone who is also into the same sport. As of now, I have already logged in 61 dives! I have started counting down seahorses that I have seen and so far I have seen only 2 pygmy seahorse and 4 regular size ones which makes me closer to crossing this off my life list. I have visited more dive sites and I have had more close encounters with sea snakes. I am looking forward to getting my Rescue Diver License later this year (fingers crossed) since I did not get to do so last year. This goal would mean more focus on saving my pay unless I suddenly find me a sponsor (maybe you know anyone willing?).   61dives13082704_10154070688978329_4043091711850212282_n
  3. Luckily, I was one of the chosen Filipinos to participate in the first Climate Reality Leadership Training in the Philippines which was headed by Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore himself where I have met countless of inspiring people from different parts of the world sharing the same passion for the environment.
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    With my table mates!
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    Intramuros Tour with the other leaders
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    Inspiring stories from different countries.

     

  4. ¬†I was appointed as Miss SCUBA Philippines National Director, which I fully accepted even though I know how huge of an undertaking it is. Making me currently the youngest pageant national director in Philippines. I am happy that I will contribute to a lady’s life changing moment the same way I did for Cindy. I am positive that we can have back-to-back win for Philippines in Miss SCUBA International 2016. Luckily, SERALCHO, headed by Mr. Charles Lim, is supportive about my passion in promoting diving among ladies and marine conservation in the country. There will be selections all throughout the country and I am certain the next Miss SCUBA Philippines will be a woman of substance and action.

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    Me with Mr. Lorenzo Tang, GM of Belmont Hotel, Miss SCUBA International/ Miss SCUBA Philippines 2015 Cindy Madduma and Charles Lim of SELRAHCO during the Press Launch
  5. A SPACE Inc. decided that I was good enough to be Space and Community Deals lead for their first branch out of Manila. Now working hard to exceed their expectations and to have the best coworking space in Cebu. I am admittedly turning into a workaholic working for more than 8 hours per day and even having dreams that are work-related but it all pays when you see the spacers happy and the space slowly morphing into an awesome masterpiece.

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    Blending in with the participants of Angelhack Cebu challenge.
  6. I have ran farther and faster than I used to during university. I have stuck through my resolution of being more healthy and I have already accomplished much. I survived my first 12km run and made it in the top 10 finisher. I also have recently increased my speed in 10k and earned my first Sub1 10k medal.

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    I have always been into short distance running but I never knew I could be as good, if not better doing long distance.
  7. I went back to public speaking by delivering a talk on marine conservation during the Instameet organized by I Luv Cebu. It was weird to be the older person in the room as I was surrounded a lot of teenagers but it was a good test on how I could package my talk in a fun but a bit alarming way. Although, I think I scared them more. Plus Lucas and I ended up in this page of the local newspaper!

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    Photos during the Instameet Event
  8. I reached a milestone with Lucas, he surprisingly survived my craziness for a year! I have learned a thing or two from him when it comes to relationships. I am never the best person when it comes to controlling emotions. Since I do not do mediocre, I am either all in or nothing in a relationship. Managing this stereotypical girl behavior of over analyzing and over acting is never easy but I am getting better at it (I think). He is very thoughtful and always reminds me that we are a team. I got so used to being independent that I usually forget that I can ask for help. I have never been happy in a relationship.  He is not only a boyfriend, he is also my dive buddy and co explorer! What more can a girl ask for right?
  9. I recently found out that I have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Hiatal Hernia, making my diet a lot more complicated. I cannot have any acidic food which means I have to avoid tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine and gas forming foods too! I am still adjusting and to be honest, it is not easy at all. Being vegetarian is already complicated in a meat loving country. It just decreases my food choices. I was reminded that even if I workout, I should also take the time to take care of the other part of my body like the stomach. We often do not care about it. Each organ is vital to us and all should be treated equally with great care.
  10. I went back to short hair and fringe! While it is not such a big of deal, it is quite liberating. The last time I had hair this short was right after I finished university which would be 9 years ago. After having to keep my hair long for years because the modelling and pageant industry demanded it, I feel more empowered these days and it has lifted my confidence. Helped me channel the rock star in me.

What will happen next? I can try to analyse and think of the things to come but I will never completely know what to expect. One thing I know is that this is my last year to be part of the 20ish and I will not let it drift by in a boring manner. I will continue to push my limits and break current boundaries. Just as how living should be.

How is your year so far?


 

Monday Musings : Accidental Shifts

How a series of accidents led me to finding my voice and confidence.

Most people who worry, hide from the world. They are often too scared about a lot of things. Instead of opening their arms to welcome life, they hide in caves filled with doubt. I too worried a lot, from reliability of the mall to other mundane stuff. As I child, I knew one thing well and that was to run. Run away from people, experiences and opportunities. It wasn’t until I stumbled several times that I realized that I should stop.

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Survived swimsuit + Q&A with the help of chocolate

I was quite an insecure child who had little passion for anything school related except for English and Science. It was in my last year when I grew tired of attending classes (Hi Mom!). I was a bit of a smart ass (or that is what I thought then). I figured if I joined most of our school competitions, I would not be questioned for my absence in classes. I joined a lot of school competitions, from slogan making to a Bible quiz (where I surprisingly won first place and made my mother extra proud) but there is one incident that changed me.

One morning, I noticed the poster for extemporaneous speaking competition so I signed up thinking it would be another valid reason to not go into my classes. I remember the question was about Overseas Filipino Workers. I didn’t think through it but I just spoke my mind. It was a first for me to speak up my mind in front of judges. With my friends I go all out but¬†I rarely spoke in a crowd ( only when my teacher called me to answer) so when they announced that I won a place, I was in shock. This incident, made me think about my speaking skills. I pushed it aside after that and went back to my introversion.

2009, I was already 22 years old and going through my first heartbreak. Despite my sensitive feelings, I did not want to be the loser. This thought led me to go on what I thought was a suicide mission. Perhaps you thing what an exaggeration but for an introvert it really felt like that! I told my mother that I wanted to join a beauty pageant. I figured winning a crown would be an ultimate slap to the ex boyfriend’s face. My mother was supportive specially because she had already been asked by her friends way back when I was in high school to let me join one. She asked her friends to do a major makeover!

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Survived swimsuit + Q&A with the help of chocolate

I was so keen on having the best revenge that I worked hard to train in heels. Unfortunately, the first pair of heels¬†broke because I was so stiff! I traded rice for oatmeal and did 200 crunches in the morning and another set in the evening. From boyish, I went through a major transformation (think Princess Diaries levels except I don’t have a queen for a grandmother and was surrounded by gay guys).It was the first time I wore two piece swimwear and performed a talent in front of a huge crowd. June came and it was already the finals night, I ended up winning first place and it was after that I realized that in the process of getting revenge, I have recreated a bit of myself. From super awkward girl to somewhat a more confident one. This led to my career in the beauty pageant industry and gave me the chance to compete and win a place internationally.

Accidents happen around us on a daily basis. We usually try to avoid them but life just brings it to us. I am not talking about car accidents but those life experiences that we do not usually plan out. If I closed off from unfamiliar experiences, I doubt that I would be as happy with myself as I am now. Let us not close out our selves from these because these unplanned moments usually turn us into someone better.

My First 90 Days in A SPACE Cebu

If someone would ask my 10-year-old self if I would take the role of leading the start of a branch for a company, I would say “Impossible!”. However, I am not that 10 year old kid who is scared of the world anymore. I have changed beyond 180 degrees from who I was, that is why when I heard about A SPACE Inc., I thought to myself that it would be me break to hone my skills in leadership. A perfect opportunity to grow and allow myself to experience a different kind¬†of work culture. Luckily, they are nontraditional risk takers and our founder, Matt, decided to take a chance of me.

It is different when apply for a job just for the sake of being employed and it is another when you are hired and given a huge responsibility. I was at first flattered but later on after realizing the gravity of the position I accepted, I was challenged and a bit terrified. As a perfectionist, I always want to build a solid reputation in delivering results promptly and efficiently.

My first week started off with a training in our headquarters in Makati. There I was introduced to the people, standard, tools and work culture. They were the secret to A SPACE’s flourishing company. Unlike most companies that give tasks to employees, we were given responsibilities and the freedom to take on projects that were needed to bring out the results that were expected from us. It was a bit of an information overload for some of my colleagues, my geek side was happy with all the new learnings.

Second week came by so fast and this was when I had to put my ideals and countercheck it with reality. Usually, most companies are already established when they hire employees, it was not the case for us. We were a team of three with multiple roles. I was given the responsibility of managing the space and deals something, although I have had some experience as an associate, taking the lead is another ripple to take on. I arrived in the location of what would be our coworking space. It was all cement and dust. I would be one of the first few who would be witnessing the transformation. I had to deal with contractors and partners. My projects included sourcing furnitures and materials, managing finances to leading a team. I had to be tough! I was never close to that. People see me and they always think nothing is wrong with the world. I learned to balance nice with firm to get results.

As 30 days approached, I had to bring out the artisan in me, not literally but in finding ways to get what needs to be done from creating sourcing itineraries to finding better ways to manage finances and people. Despite being a multi-tasker, the projects I had were above and beyond my usual scope and capabilities. I was my own devil’s advocate but the reaffirmation from my workmates made me secure on what I can do. Sometimes, you need a bit of a lift to go farther than usual.

After my first 40 days, I started doubting my abilities as a leader and as a project manager, a lot of things were not going my way and it seemed for a while that I was helpless. Thanks to the mentoring of our Space Lead in Manila and learning by doing, I managed to improve. I learned slowly how to harmonise with my colleagues. Day in and day out, I would spend more than 10 hours to get my projects done. I did not went through each project mindlessly, bringing out the philosopher in me, I thought deeply of each decision and the repercussions on our operation. I have never reached this level of drive until I started to work for A SPACE Cebu.

Since I left the non-profit organisation, I also started to wonder if I did the right decision. Was I selfish to go back to the private sector? I asked myself that couple of times but once we had our soft launch, I was reminded that it was not. Our company is private but we help build communities and empower those starting to breakout into their own industry. Rockstars! That is how we all treat our coworkers (we call them Spacers). Each time I go to the office, I am reminded about those moments when no one believed in me and I am relieved that the coworking space where I work in does its best to motivate people to always push further. It makes a difference once you feel that others think of you as someone destined for greatness and indeed, I can see it in them. I am happy that we are not only giving them a space to work but an outlet for them to be themselves and connect with others.

As we near the completion of our space and I am past my first 90 days, I feel that I have reach a higher level of me compared to the one who started last March. I am not only more confident of my skills as a leader but also happy to be part of a passionate team with a love for giving a high level of customer service and a sense of community. I know I still need to improve, no one ever stops learning after all. My next challenge is making sure all the standards are embedded into our practices and break current standards of quality service. With all that said, the most important lesson I have learned is that anyone is capable of leading. It is in our very core as humans and just like any seed if given the right environment combined with passion, it is very possible to flourish in your own industry.