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From Our Readers: "I Lost Myself and I Found My New Self"

I was able to get out of darkness.
PHOTO Park Shin Hye | ART Clare Magno

There was a time when I felt lost—not in this world but in my own world, which was more terrifying. I often heard familiar sounds that pull me back to in, that haunt me and stop me from moving forward. They scare me. I did not know then if I was the only one who went through that kind of self-tragedy, but one thing was for sure then; I told myself that I will refuse to stay in that dark room, no matter what happens. I will find my way out. I will find myself again.

I did not know when that feeling started. I just woke up feeling alone and empty, as if I was dead inside. It felt like a huge part of me was missing. I knew something was wrong, but I was too tired to look for it. I also didn't know where I should start searching, looking. Should I go right or left, upward or downward, out there or within me?


Then I found myself crying until there was no more tear left to shed, until I just sat down quietly, until I stared at nothing, and until I felt sorry for myself because I thought I was defeated, a coward.

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I had these questions battling for their own space inside my head. They all demanded answers, but I was way too empty to be able to answer all of them. I did not know how to find myself again and how to find that lost part of myself.

Until, a flicker of light sparked inside me. I think it was what we called hope. I remember it now, clearly. It was something I could hold on to. It was something that led me to believe in something again and decide to be strong. I allowed to be pulled out of this hole by a hand strong enough to get me out. It was familiar, scarred but strong—a hand that was my own.


For a while, I was lost. But now I am found. I was able to find the person I lost by allowing the new me to pull it out of darkness.










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Katherine Go 2 days ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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