Archive for the 'Reality Bytes' Category

Last week, I gave a confidence talk called #BeYourSelfie to a group of college students in Ateneo. What started out as an analysis of selfies and how we shouldn’t let other people dictate how much we like ourselves evolved into a discussion on happiness, self-worth, and using that happiness and self-worth to make others feel good about themselves, too. “The people you surround yourself with says so much about what you think of yourself,” one guy offered. Another guy talked about being brave enough to accept that what used to be his biggest dream now has to be set aside for something he can actually flourish in. One girl asked, “What if you know your worth but other people think you’re weird?” I told her the difference between a happy weird person and a miserable weird person is that the former has come to terms with her weirdness and grown into a version of herself that she’s comfortable with, even if it’s not what other people are used to. “It’s about owning all the parts of you that other people find strange, and being proud of what makes you different,” I told her. Of course, I had to cite my favorite adorable weirdo as an example:

Um, what do you mean I can’t go to work in my pajamas?!

I give workshops to students several times a year, but that talk has to be one of my favorites. I liked how everyone seemed to be listening intently, reflecting on their own experiences and recognizing that they are responsible for boosting their own self-esteem. I liked that everyone was so honest and open with one another, and so generous with their thoughts and words (as a closing GD, they wrote compliments on Post-its and stuck them onto one another). I liked that it made ME realize that although we are all so different, our hearts wanting and chasing different things, we all need the same thing: to be okay with who we are, and to know that if this isn’t the case today, there are still so many tomorrows ahead of us.

Do you have an inspiring story on confidence, self-worth, overcoming your insecurities, and getting to know yourself? Share it with us! Email me at marlaATcandymagDOTcom. I’ll be waiting. :-)


The other day, former Managing Editor Mimi (she’s now the EIC of Total Girl!) were talking about how I started with Candy. Here’s the story: I won a fiction contest on in 2003, became part of the Council of Cool in 2004, and was officially hired as editorial assistant in 2006. Back then I didn’t know I’d be staying this long–it was my dream job, sure, but the creativity has to run out sooner or later, doesn’t it?—yet I’m still here, and hopefully still churning out ideas and issues that make you girls happier, smarter, and better equipped to deal with that tough thing called adolescence. Mimi and I both freaked out a bit when we realized we’ve known each other for almost 10 years, but later that night I lay in bed and thought about how Candy has truly shaped me into the person I am now.

As both a thank-you and a trip down memory lane, here are 10 things I’ve learned from my almost-decade with the sweetest magazine in the world:
1. Don’t procrastinate. Discipline yourself to do everything you can today, even when there is so much you can leave for tomorrow.
2. …But at the end of the day, forgive yourself if you can’t finish everything you set out to accomplish in the morning. Do better tomorrow.
3. “Shy” is just a state of mind. Program yourself to be more open, warmer, and friendlier, and in time you’ll find that you don’t even remember what it feels like to to be the shyest girl in the room anymore. Start with smiling; it totally helps.
4. Don’t take everything personally. Know the difference between people criticizing your work and criticizing you.
5. Learn to laugh at yourself. Your mistakes make you complex, interesting, and vulnerable in a good way.
6. Show up. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re having a rough day. Never reach a point where you no longer feel bad for cancelling, flaking, or not being around.
7. Don’t stop writing. Don’t stop reading. Find the online home (a blog or a site or a Twitter page) of someone you admire and visit it as often as you can.
8. When the inspiration starts getting harder to come by, pack your bags and go away. Go some place strange. Go some place beautiful. Go some place you can lose yourself. Then come back.
9. Always say thank you. And please. And “I love your shoes/dress/lipstick/hair.”
10. Remember how lucky you are to be working at a job you absolutely love, with friends you genuinely adore. Remind yourself every day. Never forget.

Here’s my very first appearance on Candy‘s pages in 2004, as a Council of Cool member. Stop laughing.


Rainy days are slowly easing their way into our sunny days. Was lucky to have traveled to two islands this summer! Here are a few snapshots from my two trips. I can’t wait till I can go back and be by the ocean. It really is one of my happiest places on earth!











Where did you go this summer? Let’s swap travel postcards (you can upload yours on Snaps!). (:


What We Read: “Here”

by marla
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Posted in Love, Reality Bytes |


I won’t deny it: I spend way too much time online. Mostly I’m just stalking people on Facebook and Instagram, other times I’m doing something more useful like reading articles on style and teen sites as research for work. But once in a while I find gems that make me grateful that the Internet was invented, that we have access to other people’s wonderful words even when they’re half a world away, and that we are all connected through our online presence and the love and wisdom that somehow manages to seep into the cracks between useless rants and gratuitous selfies.

A young writer posted this poem called “Here” by Aracelis Girmay on Tumblr a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve read it every day since then. It reminded me of a photo I took early last year while on vacation with my family; in the photo my shadow is split, and it would take a while for you to spot the other half. But it’s right there, captured, and lately I’ve been thinking that life is a lot like this, too: It often feels like something is missing, but what we don’t realize is that our hearts are more full than they seem. You are already here, and so is everything you need.

Dive into Girmay’s full poem here, and let me know if you loved it as much as I did.


What Inspired Us: To This Day

by marla
Sunday, March 24th, 2013
Posted in Candy, Reality Bytes |

While I’ve never seriously been bullied (the most I got were dagger looks and a failed rumor-spreading attempt from a girl who thought I had a crush on her boyfriend—which I didn’t, and a few insensitive comments from seniors who seemed to have forgotten what it felt like to be a scared little freshman), I will always sympathize with and admire those who have actually experienced it. My heart breaks more than a bit every time I receive an email from one of you telling me about the mean girls in your school who give you a hard time, or boys who think name-calling is remotely cool. A few days ago I saw this collaborative animated video based on a spoken word poem by Shane Koyczan, made up of illustrations from over 80 artists with different styles and different stories. Its clear, strong message, that bullying is never ever okay—and the powerful way in which it was conveyed—completely blew me away, and I have a feeling it’ll have the same effect on you.

These are my favorite lines; I think they’re absolutely wonderful. Watch the video and let me know what yours are.
“if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit”


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Of Great Loves and Timing

by: guest, 2014-07-23

Lessons from She’s Dating the Gangster By Pepper Limpoco, Council of Cool 14 Going into the cinema, I expected what anyone would have expected from a Kathryn Bernardo and...



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