On The Voices in My Head

Some people say that staying busy is a way to distract ourselves from issues we have within us. I believe that is true.

Last year, 2016, was a mixture of extremes. Extreme luck for being chosen by the government as a visiting researcher for their 3D printing program. Extreme sense of belonging in a co-op housing filled with amazing people who would really make you feel at home. Extreme challenges, psychologically, that literally pushed me to my limits.

I will no longer expound on things of the past, but my experiences in 2016 catapulted my activities for 2017. In 2016, I felt I didn’t have a voice to speak my truth. So when I came home, I made clear what I wanted and made sure that the world will hear. In 2016, I felt like a prisoner while working. So when I came home, I pursued what I wanted, not allowing anyone else to ever tell me again what I should do with my life, be it in career or personal decisions. In 2016, I was crushed and rebuilt only to be crushed again so many times by someone I considered my friend. So when I came home, I felt distant to people I considered very dear before I left (except my family). No more writing of letters. Hiking trips together no longer became priority. I would reach out or allow them to come through my “wall” from time to time, but there was something in me that preferred not to be seen. Not yet. I was, and probably still am, running away from 2016. Maybe that is one reason I feel comfortable in my “new” environment. Technically, no one knows me in this new project. I have never worked with anyone of them before. It was my way of starting anew. I can be my (new) self without being judged based on who I was before.

I needed to drown out the voices of 2016. Voices who told me I was weak and unworthy.

Now I have started a movement in our university and gained support locally and internationally. I am fearful, yes. But better be afraid working for something I know will give me meaning than to feel safe while living someone else’s life.

At the end of the day, I will still choose to be grateful for 2016. It has molded me into who I am today. Cracked here and there, but stronger and with more will power to leave a mark in the world by creating positive impact together with people who share the same vision.


Unsolicited Career Advice Ateneans Will Ignore — HACK THE DIASPORA

Very good read! All 5 lessons are true. Couldn’t agree more.

By now, you might have seen the infamous post about an Atenean’s ranting about his/her less than favorable job prospects. Actual quote: “We’re more worried about the fact that Ateneo is a top university, so why aren’t its graduates getting snapped up like lechon at a fiesta?” Maybe because everyone knows lechon isn’t always good for […]

via Unsolicited Career Advice Ateneans Will Ignore — HACK THE DIASPORA

On Learning How to Fly

“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”
― Kobi Yamada

It’s actually happening. When the first speaker pubmat was published this evening, when I read the answers of the people who registered for the event, when I looked at the HEED Facebook page and saw that the posts are reaching thousands of people now. I didn’t know how to feel. I stared at my computer screen for a long time. I couldn’t believe it. It was real. Suddenly, I found myself in tears. I cried because I was so grateful and happy and scared and excited all at the same time. 6 years. There is overflowing gratefulness in my soul right now.

I am grateful to the Universe for giving this opportunity. For giving me patience and stubbornness, because without these I would have given up on this advocacy a long time ago. When I was laughed at in front of 120 people for pitching my social enterprise. When some people close to me thought I was crazy for prioritizing community service over the more “prestigious” side of engineering. The Universe granted me stubbornness when I couldn’t find anyone (yet) with the same passion to support my idea of establishing a humanitarian engineering program in our beloved university.

I am grateful to UP students. They were the first ones who listened and took notice of my advocacy. It was my students who showed genuine passion for the idea of service-learning and humanitarian engineering. They showed their passion through fearless action. For every project they showcased to either a public high-school student or another college or the public, I saw how they went the extra mile by doing things beyond what was required of them. They owned each event. They owned each project. Even if the challenge was huge and it was their first time doing it, they faced it. And seeing that fearless passion kept me going. They gave me hope that HEED had a chance of becoming a reality.

Now, the tide has finally turned. The University heeded the call by granting us money for HEED 2017. A college (hopefully two colleges by next week!) heeded the call by endorsing the event. And of course, two student organizations also heeded the call, showing that signature Iskolar ng Bayan passion in making this event a reality.

My adventures for the past 6 years flashed back as my tears fell this evening. The long boat ride to Culion and its neighboring islands that opened my eyes to a harsh reality. The long bus ride to Penn State, the long train ride to D-Lab, the first GHTC conference I attended in Seattle, every interview I had with anyone who has done or is doing humanitarian engineering work to get whatever knowledge I can from their experiences. Every letter I wrote, every proposal crafted, every email sent. I remember how I used to do technically everything on my own for HEED, to protect my idea from being laughed at again. To prevent people from telling me to forget about HEED because it was too idealistic. But now, as I looked at each pub that comes out, each message in our HEED FB group, I tell myself, “It’s okay. You no longer have to do this on your own. You can share HEED with others now. There’s a big chance people won’t laugh anymore because circumstances have changed. Trust that they will listen this time.”

I know that we are just starting and there is still a lot of work ahead of us after the Symposium. It actually scares me a lot, what happens after the symposium. But seeing how HEED learned to fly when it took a leap 6 years ago, and with the people supporting it now, I am confident that it will continue learning to fly higher and farther as more people join the movement with fearless passion for action. :’)