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.

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.


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.

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.


“I 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.”
― 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’s regretted is how real we thought it was!

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

“Death is the key to truth!” When you hear lamenting like that, say, not out loud, but ainwardly, “What 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.

    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.
    With my table mates!
    Intramuros Tour with the other leaders
    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.

    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.

    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.

    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!

    life on earth
    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.

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!

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.

Why I Write?

I write because I have a lot of things of in my mind.

I write because written words are easy.

I write to free my mind, to connect with people and to find a common ground in this vast space.

I write to free people, to tell that impossible can be done and what is is not what should always be.

I write to have my thoughts travel from my mind to others, hoping that in some way, I am bridging the gap that I am unable to fill during my anti-social moments.

I write to bring people to places they have never been and to think of ideas they have never thought of.

I write because I love words. Words that can change a person’s life. In this cruel world, words of hope are scarce. I want to bring across the small silver linings that go unnoticed and unappreciated.

I write because a lot of people speak daily and only a few are remembered days after.

I write to record my life and those moments that are vital to my existence.

I write just because the act is a form of contributing to what is and what is not.

I write because I think.

I write to challenge my mind and the other people’s mind.

I write because it is easier than speaking.

I write because I am open to judgement.

I write so I can see the journey that my mind has been going through.

I write so that I can remember those thought provoking moments.

I write so I can forget those repetitive mental reminders that disrupt my functioning.

I write because I want to be better at writing.

I write because I want to one day be good enough to publish a book.

I write because words last longer than me.

I write  to not be forgotten.

I write for the love of expression.

I write out of frustration.

I write because I am human enough to crave significance and needy enough to seek connections.

I write because I’m part introvert and sometimes what I think is easier to express through words than to speak out.

I write because it makes me happy.

I write because I can.

I write because I am a lover of words and thoughts.

I write because I am free to do so.

I write to rebel against monotony and predictability.

I write to be heard and to hear.

I write to see and be seen.

I write for the sake of expression and non conformity.

I write to continue the art of writing.

I write to improve my style.

I write to find new and alike minds.

I write to console the hurt.



3 Goals for Happinas

I have fallen once again into the pit of procrastination. I am now committing to achieve these three goals for the next three months.

  • Publish three times a week during the next two months.
  • Spend two hours each week visiting my followers’ blogs, reading, and commenting from now until the end of July.
  • Gain 20% more followers within three months.

When starting a new habit, it is such a struggle. Now I have to acquaint myself with the habit of publishing in my blog. How about you? What are your goals for your blog?

Monday Musings: Light and Darkness

Overwhelming information, useless noise and complicated lives, this is what we face daily. Bombarded by social media that creates a false reality and sense of connectivity. We are more at a disconnect that we ever were before. More than ever, we feel strongly that the world is all black or all white, that there are no grey areas. Nature, however, reminds us that this is not true. If we go back to the basic, we will realize that everything is connected.


As much as we want to escape one side, we should not completely close off from it. Imagine if we live in a world that has no darkness, will you be able to appreciate the beauty of the constellation? If there were no defeat, how can you truly savor triumph?

The movie “Inside Out” also reminded us of this last year. What is joy without sadness? This is life and understanding the significance of duality reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture. The world is not just about us. We are part of an intricate phenomena, essentially one with the universe.

In all of these examples, I think, we should start making the light out of darkness, and use the darkness as a canvas — like the visual artists do, like Edward Hopper in this painting. I think that there is a lot of suspense in this painting. I think, when I see it, I start to think, who are those people? Where have they come from? Where are they going? What just happened? What will be happening in the next five minutes? And it only embodies all these stories and all this suspense because of the darkness and the light.

Rogier van der Heide

Watch the full Ted talk to understand the idea in a visual manner.



Monday Musing: Fighting Thoughts of Uncertainty.

How often do you doubt yourself?

Today is World Poetry Day! Back in the days, I would spend time writing on my diary and trying to be a poet. I love words and enjoy sulking in their meaning. To celebrate this day, I went through my old blog site to search for past entries. I used to write a lot of free verse on my frustrations in life. To be honest, most of it made people depressed so I decided to shift.



Here is a free verse I wrote on August 4, 2012:

Standing in front of two eternities, sadness and happiness accompany me.

Trying to hold on to the dusts of yesterday, losing grip of what used to be.

Confused with the now as future is pounding at my door.

A bleak promise of tomorrow awaiting outside.

Fears and worries prevent me from moving further, for thoughts of you still linger. Time why do you change things?

Weak and weary but I will trudge on.

Now is my only possession, for the past is dead and tomorrow is unborn.

I sometimes I end up worrying too much about things that it temporarily freezes up my life. As humans the idea of not knowing everything always bothered us. The fear of not being totally in control of our life is an ongoing disease. Sometimes I resort to emotional eating or running. Oftentimes, I run away from uncertainty. After accepting the fact that the unknown will never stop bothering me , I confronted it and welcomed reality.

Having peace within one’s self is never easy. As social beings, we tend to use others or things to solve problems. It takes a lot of strength to fight our own demons and as you might all know, there is nothing more debilitating than self-doubt.

Fear is one of man’s formidable enemies. We do a lot of things that tend to be destructive to ourselves, to others and to relationships. You should not let a shadow consume your entire life. Decide to be positive and pro-active. I chose to do the same. We are all given the opportunity and time to make the best out of our lives.

The most freeing thing you can do for yourself is to hold on to your own abilitie. Believe in your capabilities and know that things happen for the better if you will it.

Do you have these moments too? How do you get over them?