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*E-numan* is also an option.
They always say that high school friends are forever. Having best friends in high school is sooo much fun, we agree. You have someone to talk about your crushes in school with, you share your baon with each other, you do projects together, ...
The year 2020 is full of surprises, indeed.
It’s safe to say that 2020 is a year full of surprises. As if we haven’t gotten enough yet, this fresh grad had another unexpected turn of events in store for her. For those wishing they had a second chance with a ...
All for love.
Surviving a long-distance relationship (LDR) is hard, but surviving it while in quarantine is harder. Luckily, Candy Rookie Thea Cuaresma has tips for you, as she and her SO have tried different ways to make their relationship work.Thea’s boyfriend is currently enrolled in a university in Thailand ...
Which ones have you met?
College life isn’t complete without the people you experience it with. Even if you’re not exactly Miss Congeniality material, you’ve probably still made a friend or two along the way.Some would say that college friends are the friends you’ll keep for life. ...

Sweet Karma by April Anne Nemenzo

Thinking ‘bout the days I feel so lonely and not okay. Then you came unexpectedly. Happiness comes out genuinely, for you are here already. The wind blows and I was carried away towards you. I’m a bitch, you are tender and sweet. It was dark but you gave the light. So many stars yet you’re the only one shining in my eyes. It was a dark afternoon when I heard a beep on my phone. You’re just nobody, I gave a little bit of my attention to you. It started in a simple word. Ignore you afterwards. Until I don’t have time for you anymore, cause I know there’s a lot more. I started ignoring the fact that you were there, I accepted a lot more boys. I don’t really care about you...but you change my heart.

Boys are everywhere, I know. Boys promise they won’t leave you at first, but believe me that was just in the start. As I always say “I won’t believe any of this boys anymore, they’re just ruining my mood”. I don’t believe in attachment. I don’t care about commitment. I fucking care only about my self after a while of realizing I don’t need anyone. Let them be my pass time. Let me hurt them, too. Just the way they squeeze my heart till it tears apart. Not until you came, your warmth give me hope. My cold heart can’t ignore that I like you being around anymore. You tried to get my attention again, you said “hello” and I said “hi” but we don’t really care what we’re going to talk about. You consistently talk to me for days, until I came to realize “this is not me anymore”. Instead of being my pass time, you became part of my life cycle. You made me feel that someone’s going to care about me. Someone is waiting for me. Someone will be there to hold me. I gave you a hard time understanding my personality but you never give up, showing not the same way like the other boys would handle me. All I know is I’m in pain and I’m alone, but you were at my back this time.

When I’m about to fall you catch me and let me stand. Believing that everything’s possible. You never let me down even at my hardest time. I tried to push you away, but never in your chance you showed me I wasn’t enough. You never promised, and that’s the thing I started to love about you. I don’t believe in promises, too. You were my second chance. I’m hopelessly lost. I’ve been bad. I treat people badly because I thought they deserve those since they didn’t care about how I feel. They deceived me, too. They let me feel I was the only one that they care about and they love to share their moments with me- but actually I’m just being fooled. They just played with my feelings. So I learned and play along. In times of my loneliness you held my hand. You make me happy, that was a big change in my mood. You showed me the real you, but I’m afraid you’ll know me deeper. But I give you my trust and so as you to me. I can’t imagine now without you at my side. You healed my heart in the shortest time. I’m not a showy person but you never forced me to do things I’m not. Instead, you remind me that there’s still a chance, a hope and plan to fulfill (together with you). You’re not the same as them. They are boys and you’re a man. I know you were sent by God. He sends me my sweet karma.

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It's all about respecting boundaries, tbh.
Have you ever had a really bad day, only to have your tears of frustration finally get triggered by something relatively small like tripping on your own two feet, or spilling food on your shirt? Don't worry, it happens to the rest ...
Pick your social media friends the way you do in real life.
With many areas still under quarantine due to COVID-19, people are spending so much time on social media just to stay connected and to keep abreast with what’s going on in the world. As expected, however, too much of good thing can turn ...

Different types of people I've met (or you've probably met too!)

In our lifetime, we meet different kinds of people who will make or break us. Be careful enough who to keep and who to let go.

1. The Encouraging One - they are those who wake you up when you're not in your senses. These kinds of people are encouraging enough to boost your low energy when you get tired while achieving your goals. Mostly they are in your age and also experiencing the same hardship as you. He/she has always a positive outlook in life even if they fail.

2. The Breaker - this type of people can be of many kinds: an ex-lover or a former friend. They are those whom you love so much, but ended up breaking and forgetting you.

3. The Parasite - he/she is the one who drains your energy. Bad-mouthing you is his/her favorite game but when they have the opportunity to benefit from you, they will become your instant friend.

4. The Generous One - Even if you don't need anything, they are always there for you. You forgot your slippers and you wet your shoes because it's raining? They can lend their pair for you! Or you woke up late and forgot to prepare your lunch? Don't worry, they got you! But they were often times taken for granted, that's why we have to be careful not to exceed the limit and be there for them too when they need help. :)

5. The Quiet One - they were often times misunderstood as cold or insensitive because of their silence. But mostly they are those who are observant and trustworthy.

6. The Achiever - this is nearly similar to #1 but the difference is, this kind of person, no matter what they do, they always hit their goals as if it's easy as 1, 2, 3!

7. The Checker - this kind of friend corrects you even if they may hurt you. As the old saying goes, "hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie" seems alive to them. They will not baby sit your dramas but rather will rebuke you — with love.

Have you met these types of people? Well, there are more to come as we grow older. :)

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Which one can you relate to the most?
If you’ve ever gone through a breakup, you’ll know that it’s never easy. You’ll go through all sorts of feels—from being hurt, heartbroken, in denial, and eventually (and hopefully), accepting and even thankful.Exes are people we once loved, so it's not always ...
"Singleness isn't an excuse to take a back seat on life but an opportunity to wholeheartedly pursue your own purpose."
Bakit wala ka pang BF/GF? Bakit single ka parin? Choosy ka ba? These are just some of the most common questions single people are tired of hearing—seriously, may deadline ba? As we've established many times in the past, there's nothing wrong with being single so no ...
Is it really just because they love you?
Often when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do (after checking your phone) is head to the banyo to pee. And if you live with a dog, you probably open the bathroom door and find a pair of ...
Karen Mei Caro Jun 13, 2020


It started like a fairytale. Surreal so it seemed. We were miles apart but we fell in love. Your best friend introduced you to me. You just came from a break up and you were still healing. You said you were not yet ready to be in a relationship again. We immediately became friends. And then, a few months later, we turned into lovers. You were sensible, amusing and sweet. We talked about a lot of things. We shared our thoughts and dreams. We even talked about our future together. l waited for the day to come when I could linger in your arms, to sit beside you and watch you sleep, to hold your hand as we walk on the street. How I wished to spend eternity with you. We were happy.

Everything was fine and I felt that you really loved me. You sent me chocolates and gifts. You even wrote a sweet poem for me. But then, I didn’t expect it to end that soon and it wasn’t like a fairytale that had a happy ending.

One day, I just felt that you didn’t really care anymore. You stopped communicating with me for how many weeks. I didn’t know if you were still there. I didn’t even know what you were thinking about. There were many things that I wanted to ask. There were many stories that I wanted to share. But you were not always around. I received a message from you. I was trembling when I opened it. And my instinct was right. You were saying goodbye because you were falling for someone else. You said you still loved me. But I knew that it wasn’t true – because if you really loved me, you didn't fall for that woman. If you really loved me, you didn't have to choose.

You promised that you would never hurt me but you did. Many times. You might think I was so tough but I just never let you see me cry. If you only knew what I had really gone through, then somehow, you would understand. I was so stupid, and at times, even pathetic. I still believed in happy endings. Yet, it didn't happen. But I never hated you. Not even for a day. Not even at all. It’s painful to see you leave but I had no other choice than to let you go. The healing was a long process. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen overnight. But I was thankful because I was able to overcome all the pains and heartaches. I learned to smile and to believe in love again. Yes, I had a broken heart but not a broken life. We saw each other when you took a vacation here. We even watched a movie about second chances. But it just ended there.

It was comforting to know that we still became friends. And I felt relieved because when I saw you, I knew that the feelings were no longer there. Many years have passed and a lot of things have changed. I can see that we’re now both happy with our separate lives. And I want to thank you for everything. Now, I understand why it didn’t work out with you - because God has already prepared someone better for me.

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Juliana Rebong Jun 5, 2020

"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Young adults today are wary of ~falling in love~.
In recent years, the dating scene has become more accessible thanks to technology. One swipe on your phone while you’re lying comfortably on your bed and you might just find your match. What comes after swiping (i.e. the small talk and getting to ...
Abegail Naungayan May 30, 2020

TITLE: Good night

It was the morning of May 5; I went to the ICU to take the morning shift. I peeked from the sliding door and saw a female doctor and 3 nurses probably making their rounds. Half asleep, I entered the room not realizing what was happening. I sat in front of my grandma’s bed, waiting for the doctors to leave. My aunt was crying from the corner of the room, I thought that perhaps my grandma was deteriorating. Then the monitor on the upper left part of the bed kept beeping, then the lady in white coat announced “time of death 8:50”.

Everything froze, I didn’t understand a thing. I saw my aunt hug our grandma so tight, shaking out of grief and desperation. I sat there frozen and speechless, it was so surreal I thought it was a dream. My sister who was sitting beside me took a few heavy steps towards grandma’s bed. She hugged our grandma and whispered words lost in between her sobs.

When it was my time, I held her right hand, the hand I used to wipe and hold. It wasn’t cold, it was still warm, soft and wrinkly. The bruises from countless injections she endured. I pressed her hand trying to wake her up, more tears rolled when she wouldn’t respond. “Inang! Agriing kan a, bigaten!” (Granma wake up, it’s morning already) I wrapped my hands around her, she’s the same Inang I used to hug but this time she isn’t hugging me back. I tried to wake her up a couple more times more desperate than the last. I wanted to see those little eyes open again and look at me. I wanted her to ask me “apaya nakkong?” (why my dear?) once more. How about calling me miss Universe when she forgets my name. I loved her and will love her even if she calls me the wrong name.

I still remember the night she held my hands so tight she said “ haan nak panpanawan a, ta nu matay nak ket haan ko nga maymaysa.” (Please don’t leave me so that if I die, I will not be alone “I hope I fulfilled my promise to her I hope she didn’t die lonely but happy. The room was enveloped with grief engraved in the cries we made but in the middle of the room, there she lies. She laid still, she looked so serene and peaceful. It looked like she was having a good nap. It was the first time in years that I saw her sleep so tight.

After all the restless nights she can finally sleep. I wiped my tears as I marvel the way she looked. It was a painful but beautiful sight. I wanted her to wake up but how could I ask that if she looked so peaceful now? After all the pain she endured she is finally resting. I couldn’t ask her to come back when I know she’s in a better place. She is free now, free from pain and suffering. I stop waking her up and held her hand tightly, in between my cries I bid goodbye. To my dearest Inang Nani, go on find the light. I know Tatang and Tito are waiting for your arrival. Rest well Inang, Good night.

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Fortress Two pillars that held my breaking walls

When I was in high school I knew for a fact that I was the trouble maker in our family. “Girls are supposed to be modest and calm” they said. I, the only daughter in a family of 6, intentionally broke that stereotype. I would go home late at night, lie to my parents and I would even put my friends first before attending family gatherings.

The reason behind those decisions were petty fights I found myself in between me and my parents. I remember seeing their way of teaching me morals and values as oppression and abuse when I was a kid. They managed to make all my brothers obey them, but no- they didn’t get their so-called-princess to comply. I somehow told myself that they were in the way of my character development so I was so eager to look for my identity outside my home. After high school, I moved to Baguio for college. The surrounding was new, the people were foreign and there was no one holding me back. It felt new to me, but in a good way. Little did I know that living alone was a nightmare. Dad wasn’t there to cook for me, Mom wasn’t there to clean the mess in my dorm and what I oddly missed most, is washing the dishes pre-cleaned by my mom.

Days when I got sick were worse, I cried myself to sleep one time not because of how high my fever was, but because whenever any of us got sick, my mom would lay next to us while we were sleeping and whisper a prayer asking God to heal us, but that time it was just me, my tear-soaked pillow, and to make myself more emotional, a picture of my parents in between my hands. I was homesick almost everyday. So I made it a part of my routine to call my parents every single day and I would make “tampo” whenever they hang up saying “may trabaho pa ako anak”.

Come to think of it, I hate myself for saying I love you to my parents more through texts and calls than in person. In the span of my first semester in college, I realized how dependent I was on my parents without knowing it. Whenever school works got rough, no one could comfort me better than my parents. The sound of their voice was enough for me to continue fighting. It was difficult for me to adjust to college, and I broke down easily. My emotions were as beaten up as a punching bag. I was mentally and emotionally tired. Every. Single. Day. What kept me together, were these two pillars. One I call mom and the other I call dad. I can’t say moving to Baguio for college was a mistake, in fact it was a life changing decision for me. It made me realize to value my parents while I still have them.

I realized that when I turned my back on my parents, I forgot the good things they did in my life. Because of them, I have brothers who I can wrestle can with as well as those who mess with me at the same time. They brought me closer to the cross and protected me. They sacrificed so much that it makes me want to live my life to the fullest, for them. Ma, Pa, in this world full of chaos, I cannot be more happy that I found my fortress in your love.

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This is a story of a clash between a super heroine and the world's most dangerous serial killer.

As a super hero there should always be a power source, and on August 28, 2000 her power source was born. That power source gave her a lot of strength like she can already do anything. She persevered, and defeated a lot of villains because as a super hero she would not let anybody steal nor destroy her energy. So she did everything to protect that power source however that source became her kryptonite.

In 2013, she undergone her checkup because she was enduring pain in her breasts a very long time ago. That time her doctor already diagnosed her with Stage 1 Cancer but she hid it and chose to endure the pain by herself because she does not want her family to worry about her condition. She did her medication by herself, she took the prescribed medicine of her doctor. A year had passed, 2014, she went again to Lorma Medical Hospital for her follow-up checkup and her inner world was wrecked hopelessly because of the doctor’s findings. Her cancer already stepped up to Stage 2 and soon enough will progress to Stage 3. She took a lot of medicines both synthetic and herbal that rumble and change her whole system in a bad way. In the hope of getting better, she decided to undergo chemotherapy.

After her 8th chemotherapy, she saw her power supply, telling her that she should fight more and harder thus she used her super strength and continue to fight the vicious villain, breast cancer. She finished the 10 sessions of chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells but this session also killed her self-confidence due to the loss of her crowning glory. This made her cry and feel hopeless. As days passed by she saw large amount of her hair falling which eventually made her bald. That time she already realize the disease she was suffering from cannot be cured anymore and anytime of the day or the night she might die. Due to her desperate for healing she also tried different quack doctors that does not guarantee or even helped her lessen the pain.

After few months, of 10 sessions of excruciating pain because of chemotherapy, her doctor advised her to have a surgery. The aforementioned procedure aimed to cut her breasts so the cancer cells would not spread all over her body. Her sadness doubled up, for she realized that there are many things taken away from her by the illness she was enduring. Her hair, her freedom to choose what food to eat, her work, and soon one of the important part of her body that distinguish her to be a woman. The surgery went well and incline with this numerous medications are prescribed to aid her fast recovery. There are too many medicines flowing in her bloodstreams that time but the cancer cells was so strong and still manage to hang in her system. She later try another method or her last weapon against cancer, it is the radiation treatment in Villaflor Hospital at Dagupan, Pangasinan. This process aims to burn and put the life of those cancer cells in hell. She completed a lot of sessions of radiation treatment, the doctors already told her that she already defeated cancer but that news was just a big façade. The news is given to ease temporarily all of her sufferings because of the large scar made by the radiation treatment.

She still wanted to fight, she tried, she cried- a lot. Bibles are found everywhere around the corner of their house, a novena in the morning and different prayers to different saints especially to Saint Padre Pio at night. Even though she was already religious before her fight to cancer; she became more - religious, in the hope of the Almighty God will set her free from all the discomfort she was feeling, to make her better. Yes she succeeded defeating cancer but as the story of superheroes, there are full of villains doing anything to kill or eliminate the protagonist.

In September 28, 2015, her husband rushed her to the nearest hospital since she said that she cannot breathe. The next day the doctors told the family that there is no chance for her to survive Pneumonia, but still her family her number 1 fans chose to continue her fight. They even considered it as their own match and did not surrender. They, especially the power source of the heroine decided to put her in I.C.U. or Intensive Care Unit. The energy source saw how they treat her. How they put different apparatuses inside her mouth like a pig or a specimen in an experiment. It is maybe because the doctors already predicted that anytime the heroine would not be able to battle with the new enemy that just arrived. In addition, even though she was still alive with her one by one breath an agent of a funeral service -Pinnacle was already there holding a rosary, watching her while praying. September 30, 2015, around 9:30-10:30AM, she died. Yes, she defeated cancer but Pneumonia took her life.

It made a big impact on the lives of the family, the number 1 fans and supporters especially to the power source since 80% of his life was all about the heroine. She also left a 5 year old avid fan that still does not know what is happening around him, not even realizing immediately that his super heroine will fly away and will never be back again. The heroine in this story is caring, cheerful, talkative, supportive, have patience, lovable but that is not all. She is way different in a good way, because she’s just like a best friend and at the same time a mother of two.

There are people who truly loves their moms and few people who despise their moms. I believe that everyone should be thankful enough that they still have someone that knows everything about them clearly, someone who can give them advices at certain problems, and most of all someone who they can call mom. They are just lucky that they still have their moms, because I already lost mine. Every people should cherish the moments with their parents, since people have limited time in this world. Life is so short and regretting something is not advisable. So be good with them, before it is too late.

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Sana all!
Have you ever tried admitting your true feelings to a crush? Nineteen-year-old Syljan Sison just did that by curating a Spotify playlist. The thing is, she likes him but she realized she needed to stop talking to him. “I thought he still ...
Angel Aguila May 14, 2020

Life doesn’t come with warnings. This is the thing that I learned last May 8th, 2020 – the day that my mother passed away.

Before that tragic day, I still remember every conversation that I had with her as she laid on her bed. We talked about my graduation, the law school I should take into account when I finally finish my undergraduate, the color of nail polish that she wants me to put on her toenails, how she cooks our favorite food and so many more.

The days prior to her death – she looked happier, even healthier when her illness started to take a toll on her. I could see the glint in her eyes; her precious smile and hear her small yet infectious laughter. She could even recount every memory down to the smallest details of it whenever we showed her our childhood pictures. She never showed any sign that her time was coming to an end. Until we rushed her to the hospital and I was there, staying by her side and hugging her cold body.

She had cystic mass, ovarian in nature and it was hurting her so much. Due to the pandemic, we had to take precautionary measures before we were able to send her to the ER. While my father was talking to the authorities, I was inside the car with my mom. She was moaning in pain and I remember feeling so helpless and useless because I could not take her pain away. Yet, I asked her, “Kaya mo yung surgery diba, Ma?” and without hesitation, she nodded eagerly.

My mother was the strongest woman I know. Even when she started to get severely sick, she never once cried. Even when we were inside the car and I was holding her in my arms, she did not cry. She probably knew that if she did, then all of us would fall to our knees. So, even in her last moments, she was a mother through and through – she fought but not all battles are won.

When the doctor told me the news, I didn’t know what to feel. I cried like I have never cried before. My father, who was with me when the doctor told the news, held me as I cried and told me that I had to be strong. That I did because after that, I had to set aside my grief and work on several paperwork. I couldn’t feel the exhaustion; I couldn’t even feel the heat. When we got home after we sent our mother to the funeral home to be cremated, everything felt so different. It’s so crazy how the place I have been calling “home” for the past twenty years don’t feel like one anymore. Suddenly, it feels empty. Suddenly, it feels cold and it feels lonely. Yet again, I don’t have the time to grieve my mother because there are academic works to be done. Before writing this, I even had my finals in one of my subjects.

Its hard losing someone you really love and you are really close with. It feels like you’re in a limbo, unable to do anything. Even speaking is so hard to do. Suddenly, there’s no one nagging at you for sleeping in so late. There’s no one you’re going to come home to and rant to. The nightly trips to buy my baon for school (even when I am already in college) will be a one-man job from now on. The only consolation that we have now is that we know that our mother is in a better place now. She’s not in pain anymore and she’s with our lola and uncle, finally. Thank you, Mama, kasi kahit sa huling sandali ng buhay mo lumaban ka para saamin.

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Jessica Bonifacio May 13, 2020

To the guy who ruined my eyeliner:

December 25

The final hours of December twenty-fifth drips down in form of rain. The day was fine, all fine, except today I redid my eyeliner three times. The intricate dark lines on my eyelids are weak against old memories, pictures; and most importantly, wet lashes. You cannot imagine how frustrated I was the third time I had to redo them, all because of you. It was five days before Christmas when you told me you no longer wanted to be with me. Cruel, entirely cruel; and in the first few days after that I was begging you to come back. I was a mess and rightfully so. I did lose two years. I did lose your voice in the morning. I did lose the person I love the most.

But during the first two days after our breakup, I could not bring myself to put on eyeliner, as such I had nothing to fix except an empty void in my heart. It was only after three days when I started to regain my will to do anything other than cry. I put on good music, threw on my favorite clothes, and finally drew the lines on my eyelids. The perfect black lines that said, hey, I'm taking care of myself. Hey, I deserve to feel pretty. Hey, I'm moving on. And the entire day, it felt like I was.

December twenty-fourth started with that same, sane energy. I was going to be better for myself, I said. But that Christmas eve, I only felt dead. I slept at nine and woke up some minutes after twelve o'clock. I had missed Christmas. There were no fireworks, no chatter, no lively noche buena. There was only silence. No message from you. I could feel your absence because it weighed too heavily in the air.

You had always been my Christmas wish, every year fulfilled, until that night. I cried then, until the morning of the twenty-fifth. In the afternoon, I tried to get better. Another set of makeup, to cover up the sadness beneath. I went up to my room after, and tried to get some sleep, but I only cried. I redid my makeup. And then cried again, and again. And it was tiring having to redo my eyeliner multiple times, when it was so easily erased by the wetness of my eyes and the old, fading memories. You broke me apart on Christmas and I was obsessed with getting better. I cannot say that I won't cry again, or I won't miss you again, but I want you to know that I will get through this, one stroke of a black line at a time.

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Venise Cruz May 10, 2020
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You love them, but sometimes, you just can’t stand them.
In case you stopped keeping track, it’s day 45 of the metro-wide quarantine. At this point, you’re probably getting a little weary due to the fact that the only other humans you’ve been interacting with are the members of your family. Unlike ...
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Katherine Go A day 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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