On Gratitude & Choices


One of the things I am thankful for in my training is that it gave me the opportunity to work with undergraduates. It was the closest thing to my work back in the Philippines. My undergrads here taught me, among other things, that gratitude is indeed universal.

I went to work today and found no more undergrads waiting for the lab to be opened (summer is over and the fall semester started). It felt quite lonely (not that I’m not used to it since my close friends moved out, but, oh well, that’s life! Gotta learn to dance with it!). So I entered the office, dropped my bag on its usual place on my desk, and was suddenly surprised to find a gift on my table from my student! I never realized how much I missed that feeling of surprise. In DMMME, we would almost always have a little surprise on our desk every month. A thank you note, a random memo pad, a chocolate from someone who attended a conference abroad, a slice of cake, etc. And then this morning, I saw this! Oh, my heart was rejoicing! For a moment, it felt like home. :’)


Thank you also to whoever watered my plant, Trisha. I was expecting her to be all dried up after one week without water (our entire group was away for a conference). But to my pleasant surprise (again) this morning, she was very much alive (with moist soil)!

I know I’ve changed from who I was before I left the Philippines last year. I don’t know yet if it’s good or bad. I can feel that more changes are on the way. I hear so many voices in my head nowadays, especially at work, so much so that my time alone in the lab this morning was just priceless. I was there on my bench, working, while everything was silent. Then in the afternoon I played Mozart on speaker and those beautiful notes filled my area in the lab. It was beautiful. Very peaceful.

My work in the Philippines may be full of challenges, but those challenges I’m willing to struggle for because we somehow struggle together in DMMME. Our department is not perfect, but we’re family and I will be forever grateful to be a part of that family. Some may find it hard to understand why I still choose to stay in my country. I just can’t bear to leave it. At least at the moment, I can’t. Our ancestors died fighting for our land’s freedom, what right have I to flee it for good?



Do what makes you feel alive.

The world may distract you by showing beautiful things that society dictates as acceptable. But do not forget how simple life can be–a life without the intricacies of changing who you are just to fit in.

Remember that it is only ourselves who can stop us from reaching our goals; of doing what makes us feel alive. So continue dreaming big dreams. You might fail, but there is also that chance that you might succeed.

Do not let circumstances rob you of your life. Your heart may still be beating, but a life without vision is a life not worth living. If you lose sight of where you are going, stop for a while. Check where you are right now, at this moment. Ask around. Shut down the world shortly and listen carefully to that soft, tender voice inside of you. It always knows where you should go.

Take care not to stop for so long, though. Time might leave you behind. If you should move, move forward. Slowly, but forward. You may look back, but keep moving forward.

Then one day, I promise you, it will be okay. Nothing is permanent in the world. Whatever you are feeling right now, it will go away. In the mean time, while the clouds have not parted yet, find time to smile and be grateful. You are still alive. You are still breathing. There is still hope.

Time will come when you will feel alive again. Everything will be okay.

Now go and continue living.


by jmanapat


I hear it in writing.
Letters appearing quietly,
To form words,
To form thoughts,
To make sense of things
The mind is desperately trying to organize.


I feel it when my heart is at peace.
When it is confident,
That the Universe will always provide
Enough reason for the heart to continue beating,
To continue loving.


It’s when I sleep at night,
That moment when the music just ended,
And am about to close my eyes.
Sometimes tired,
Sometimes hopeful,
Sometimes too excited to rest,
But always,
Grateful for everything.
The laughter,


That moment when I wake up in the morning,
Opening my eyes,
To let the first rays of light,
Illuminate the magic of a new day.
Another day of making choices;
Of deciding whether or not to be happy,
And grateful.


He said it was difficult to be happy.
I don’t want to believe that.
What if,
It is only ourselves who makes happiness difficult to achieve?
What if happiness is not difficult to achieve?
Maybe we just have to open our entire being to it;
We need to believe we deserve it.
We need to believe,
Everyone deserves it.
Because we all do.


In each moment of silence,
Choose wisely.


I am now approaching my third month away from home and the Universe is very kind to have blessed me with friends who are more like my family here in Cleveland. It never fails to amaze me how quickly we got along with each other!

The past two days, though, I have been feeling weird. My constant enemy has been attacking again: fear. People probably don’t have any idea how fearful a person I am, especially when it comes to my friends and family. With people coming and going in the lab nowadays, I can’t help but think that the time will come when we will have to part ways as well (oh my, so dramatic! Lol.) But seriously, these thoughts started to come in and I fought back fear again as I always did so many times before. Being selfish is something I would never want to be. So if they have to leave to finish their project, search for greener pastures, or whatnot, then I will be happy to see them thrive. I, too, will be leaving at the end of the year anyway. I guess there’s no use fighting the inevitable.

The transience of all things really make life more meaningful. It makes us appreciate every single moment. I felt the same when I left DMMME last year, but I no longer feel fear for that because I know that my DMMME family will still be there when I go back home (gaaahd, I miss you guys!). :’)

Anyway, I don’t know how else to show my gratitude so I guess I’ll just say it through the video below. THANK YOU guys (you know who you are). Where do we go next? :D


“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?” ~ Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Writing for Therapy

I had this practice before of writing in my blog the little things that made me smile throughout the day. It reminded me to enjoy the simple things that we might be taking for granted because of the insanely fast pace we seem to be living our lives today. Since I’m currently feeling weird (happy, sad, pressured, tired, excited, and a bit frustrated all at the same time), I’m hoping that writing the little, but significant, things would help brighten up my mood somehow. Here we go!

1. Waking up at 3:30AM with six hours of sleep – my average sleeping time for the past few weeks has been three hours so waking up today as early as 3:30AM with six hours of sleep (SIX HOURS!) just felt really A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

2. Lunch with MMM family – the conversations, laughter, and company always put a smile on my face. :) Plus there was very tasty spaghetti today that made me, especially my stomach, very happy! Salamat Sir! Haha.

3. MatE 198 thesis proposal defense – I saw great improvement on how my advisees crafted their PowerPoint presentation. As they were presenting, I was smiling because this time there was a story and their slides supported that story. I did not notice any bullet points, and most slides contained only images. Their delivery will surely get better with practice. I was happy because even though I did not let them present in the first round of proposal defense, they somehow proved that they know how to listen to constructive criticisms and advice given to them. Keep it up!

4. Seeing and greeting Mars in the lab – there are people whose aura are just so positive you can’t help but feel happy as well. ^_^ Thank you, Mars! And happy anniversary to you and Ray! Yay!

5. Seeing and greeting Ryan on my way out of the department – I used to see Ryan very often before because I was the one testing his UTM samples, but there was a period when he wasn’t able to come to UP as often as before, probably because of work (he works in Los Banos, so far away!). So I was really delighted to see him on my way out of the building. As usual, he was mocking me again! Haha.

This is all I’ll write for now. Thanks for reading! I have another lecture to prepare for tomorrow. Please pray that I may finish it early without sacrificing quality. Thank you!


P.S. Here are some of the posts I wrote before. These made me smile even more. :)

22 July 2009 – What made you smile today?

8 August 2009 – “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile

5 January 2010 – Live Each Moment


by jmanapat

I never would have guessed,
That you have gone through such a test.
The smile you wear on your face,
Never left a trace.

You cared so much for people around you,
My lonely heart started not to feel blue.
We shared music, books, and poems you’ve written;
I swear I thought I was falling again.

But now it is more clear to me,
Perhaps you’re there just to let me see
That my heart can open up to another;
Who he is,
I am still left to wonder.