An Ebe Dancel fan for life
It was the year 2015 when I was a freshman in college and I went with a friend for the first time to a worship night right beside our school. It was there that I heard a cover of a song that sooner changed the course of my life from that day on.
“Bawat kanan at kaliwa, kung timog man o hilaga, ang bawat daan ko ay patungo, ay pabalik sa'yo.” — Bawat Daan
Taking down mental notes until I got back to the dorm I was staying in, I searched the song up and that was the first time I discovered the name “Ebe Dancel.” I streamed his songs on loop on Spotify and found out eventually that he was also the former vocalist of the band called “Sugarfree.” I streamed and fell in love with their songs just as much.
To some tracks such as Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak, ironically, I cried but I found hope to cling on to. To other tracks such as Bawat Daan, my heart smiled as it found reason to keep going for another day. Struggling personally with a mental illness is never an easy battle but there are a few people, such as Ebe Dancel, who live as a reminder that you are always stronger and all the more braver than you believe yourself to be. Some days may still be harder than others but help is just a conversation away. It’s never a weakness to reach out but a strength. I took this source of inspiration throughout the rest of my three years in college and Tito Ebe proved to be right, that I am not defined by the challenges I face, after I graduated with honors.
“Ako ang iyong bangka, kung magalit man ang alon ng panahon, sabay tayong aahon.” — Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak
Each of his songs have become like a friend that sits beside you through any emotion you feel. To comfort you, to celebrate with you, to move on from a heartbreak with you, to give you a high-five, to cry with you, to say “it’s okay” or “it’ll be okay”for you, to help calm the noise in your head before falling asleep, and most of all to reassure you that you are in a safe space for even a few minutes.
I believe this is one of the countless reasons why Ebe Dancel has been blessed with the opportunity to play for 20 years and counting. From cassette players to digital platforms, his music has and will always be a part of the playlist of our lives. His songs have become the perfect kinds to listen to whether on a full volume of 100 on speakers and there you are screaming “Ako ang hari ng sablay! Ako ang hari ng sablay!” or lying quietly in your room with earphones on to the lines: “Sa dapithapon ng pag-ibig natin hindi kita kayang iwan.”
I might not have grown up with these songs unlike other fans but I’m definitely here to stay until the end of the road. I miss the shows. We all miss the shows. The first time I saw Ebe Dancel perform was two years ago at BGC for a Valentine’s Day concert and it was one of the two most memorable concerts in a sense that I went through lengths just to be able to watch. Two hours before it started, I went to the venue without tickets. I needed receipts worth 2,500 pesos but only had 600 pesos worth with me after a friend gave hers. I spent the time later on walking around, picking up receipts with shoe marks at the sidewalk, those left at cafe tables when the guard turned away, and went into stores just to look at the floor in case anyone dropped theirs. Ten minutes before the ticket booth closed, I ran and I made it. I found all these to be worth it at the end of the day since I had the chance to hug Tito Ebe after the show, thank him for everything with a shaky voice, take a slightly blurry photo with shaky hands, and gave him a banner I worked on the night before. He asked if he could bring it home as he gave me his guitar pick.
That day has gone down in history in my book. “Hangga't pag-ibig ay panig sa atin, kumagat man ang dilim, ‘wag mangamba dahil liwanag tayo ng isa't isa.” — Lakambini It’s one of the best feelings to be in a room with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of fans who may be different from one another but share a common love for one artist in between.
I’ve gone to more than thirty shows since 2018, even blessed with the chance to tell my story in front of the world at one, and as cliché as it sounds, this feeling still keeps me alive. Along the way, I was able to create the first community on Twitter and on Facebook later on for the fans of Ebe Dancel called the Ebengers, we are the Avengers but for Tito Ebe. Hehe. It has given me the privilege to help connect fellow fans, offer them a space to also tell their stories, and find friends in a few of them who I still talk to from time to time even during this lockdown.
The nights I used to spend at gigs alone are now nights I spend hours with these people talking about music or anything under the sun with a can of beer until the show starts. Nothing like a friendship built from a love of an artist.
“Tulog na, mahal ko,at baka bukas ngingiti ka sa wakas At sabay natin harapin ang mundo.” — Tulog Na
For two hours, we are all in this intimate venue to escape a world we are looking to take a break from, to find solace in the music, to feel the happiness of singing along to tracks you repeat everyday with the artist himself standing right in front of you, and to later on leave with a heart so full, more than enough to carry on this good memory to the next day and to the rest of our lives. We live for these memories. Memories we would kill to create again as soon as this pandemic is over.
This is a song that I composed, I asked a friend of mine to sing it since my voice isn't good enough for the crowd. I'm Isha Macario (Makkenchiz)
Too dark, in the middle of the night Not one star is found within the skies And then, I took one glance at you You changed my world, perspectives were changed all through I wish you were here by my side I wish you were here while I stumbled in the darkest nights They do say your love is a game They do say it'll hurt the same way They do say that you'll leave me behind But dear I believe that you'll stay by my side I wish you were here The skies are so clear It wouldn't be a shame if i called for your name I wanted you then, and I want you right now I'll wait for the day that we'll make our vows I wish you were here by my side I wish you were here Ohh I wish you were here while I stumbled in the darkest nights
Nineteen is a rather unremarkable age as it is not as celebrated as the age before it nor is it considered as much of a turning point as the age after it. However, this is the time when you find yourself smack in the middle of enjoying your teens and worrying about becoming an adult.
More often than not, you'll start to wonder whether you made the most out of your teenage years or whether you're ready to take on the responsibilities of being an adult. This constant dilemma will leave you anxious and confused. But, don't beat yourself up because this is the beauty of being 19.
You are no longer the foolish teenager who thought he/she was the center of the universe because now, you are old enough to start thinking like a grown up who understands that you are but a tiny speck in the whole solar system. It doesn't mean that you are insignificant but rather, that you are part of a colossal existence. This realization will enable you to make the right choice. And as you navigate the remaining days of your teens, don't forget to look back on the lessons you've picked up through the years and look forward to what lies ahead of you in the future.
BUWAN (Reverse Poetry)
Isinulat ni: Zamira Ariola
Ang liwanag noon
Nagsilbing gabay ngayon
Ang nagpapanatiling buhay
Sa pusong pagod
Sa pusong wala ng laman
Sa pusong wala nang nararandaman
Ikaw ang nagdala
Bakit nga ba?
Ikaw ang minahal
Ikaw ang ginawang mundo
Para magkasilbi ang buhay ko?
Bakit ikaw ang nagdala ng liwanag?
Ikaw ba ang buwan?
[Basahing muli paitaas]
"The paradoxical idea of attaining a happier life and how to withstand these beliefs."
The Revolting Truth About Happiness by Theserenefae
If people ask you about your vision of a happier life we automatically envision ourselves having more money, true love, a better job, Instagram-worthy vacations, etc. But let me break this to you this, According to Dr. Laurie Santos, Professor of Psychology at Yale University and the voice behind The Happiness Lab podcast, "Most of the goals we think would make us happy do not really make us happy." And why is that? Simple, being happy is all in our minds. The human mind ploys us with these lenses on how we envision ourselves and our lives to be happy. The perception of "having" or "gaining" is the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. So how can we really be "happy"?
• Seek happiness inside you. This is a quintessential reason for our vision of happiness: misconceptions about having a lot of money would make me happy; owning this and that would make me happy; entering a relationship would make me happy. This is not the case, if you want to be truly happy with your relationship, you have to be already happy on your own. If you want satisfaction from others, you have to be satisfied with yourself. And so on.
• Fill that hole righteously We all have that tiny hole inside our hearts, tampering it with temporary band-aids. Fill this hole with purpose. Have you ever heard about The Three "M's"— Master, Mission, and Mate? Define who will be your Master, is it God? If that's so, your Mission could be following his words and will. Mate would be the last for they will be the best companion to fulfill your mission. Now hear me out, it is important to do this accordingly. We often times jumble it or invert it which can lead to failures.
• Give gifts to others. The wonderful grace in giving. There’s nothing like the rush of pure joy when you get a chance to give. However, this may not be something that we're used to. But apparently, openhandedness is our soul's true shape. As Eugene Peterson put it, "Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born." This doesn't necessarily mean we have to give away our stuff but we can also present love, kindness, gratefulness, etc. in our own simplest ways to anyone such as giving time, encouragement, helping hand, or even forgiveness. Try giving and you'll receive inconceivable gifts in return.
• Savor moments. Savoring deeply intensifies our positive emotions while doing something that we love the most by simply stepping outside of the experience to review and appreciate the moment. You can practice this by having a delicious meal, reading a good book, or any activity that you enjoy and love. It can also be enhanced by sharing these experiences with others, appreciating such amazing moments, or staying present the entire time.
• Choose to Love Deeper Today's society relentlessly pressures all of us to have this "perfect" lifestyle such as pursuing careers that drain you, finding value through virtual world and purchases, letting achievements become your whole identity, and yet after all that you still feel empty and failure inside. Consumption is just skin deep—a shallow perception of happiness. Deep life brings the best out of us and others. It is about nourishing what you already have, focusing on the relationships than material wealth, becoming vulnerable at times, and being self-aware.
• Understand that Sufferings and Pain are part of Human Being. Always remember that loneliness and sufferings are inevitable. That is completely how life goes. You may be happy for a moment or a month but sooner or later great tribulation will start to kick in. Combat despair with graciousness. Count all the blessings that you have (and will have in near future, claim it!) by writing it down on a piece of paper or typing on your phone. Viola! an instant boost for happiness. We all know the fact that this superficial happiness won't work, but why do I keep on wanting? I already have all this wisdom about how to be happy for ages, but why can't I apply it to my own life?
First, you have to understand that simply knowing doesn't change your behavior. Care to realize that all the tips that I have mentioned are all verbs? Because at the end of the day, it is all about how you choose to be happy and initiate actions towards success. Know, reflect, visualize, believe, and do something about it. All of these are Actions! This is the secret of all the happiest and most influential people in the world—actions. Furthermore, do know that some of these tips do not work instantly most of the time. It requires a lot of time, motivation, consistency, and effort. I do know it's easier said than done. Take each of them slowly, one step at a time.
If it wasn’t for pain, I wouldn’t be alive. It may sound contradictory, but it’s true. Pain reminds me that I can feel, along with other emotions. Pain reminds me that I can heal, just like how I did in the past. Pain reminds me that I am strong and I can do better. It reminds me that life can be bitter, and it is up to us to make it a little sweeter (or saltier, depending on what the person wants).
With this epiphany, I take pain in a positive light. It’s normal that it can break me and make me want to stay in bed all day, but having someone or something remind me that there is hope is enough. It’s normal that I cry my heart out, but it’s important to remember that there’s a calm after the storm. If it wasn’t for pain, I wouldn’t be who I am now. It has shaped me and how I look at things. It has changed the way I approach circumstances that can challenge me and my beliefs.
Pain, back then, made me cower in the dark. Pain used to be my biggest fear, and I used to do my best to avoid pain. However, I realized that avoiding pain is like avoiding life. Because of how I wanted to protect myself, I closed myself off to people and opportunities. I used to tell myself that “this will end badly”, or “this is going to hurt in the end”. I always focused on how much pain I might endure in the end that I forgot to enjoy the process.
It’s inevitable, you see? Endings, most of the time, may hurt. It’s natural for us to grow attached to someone or something, and their disappearance might bring us a lot of pain. However, one should always remember that the pain is a reminder of how close you became, how many memories you had. If it wasn’t for pain, life would be pointless. If it wasn’t for pain, we would be nothing.