Day 33: The Beginning, Part Two


Today marks the end of my second round of my 15 Days of Writing True Class. It is a beginning more than an ending, because my first one ushered in a daily writing habit which led to attending the Writing Room e-course and embarking on my own #The100DayProject. Today is also my thirty-third day into this journey. I am thankful that I never run out of topics to write about. Life has many experiences to delight, surprise, and move me. Even a recent traumatic event has led me to count my blessings and realize that yes, there are still plenty of reasons to say thank you for each new day.

I will soon be ending my three-year relationship with my diet delivery service. My workplace does not allow deliveries of food subscriptions without knowing when to expect them. The recent growth of the diet company has led to erratic delivery times, so I cannot have them delivered to my office. If I continue having them delivered at home, it will cause me to be late for my shift. It was a painful decision, but being with them has trained me to count my calories, practice proper portion control for my body's needs, and eat healthful options to address my unique nutritional needs. Having hypothyroidism AND keeping trim is difficult, but it IS doable. Embarking on this new chapter may seem shallow to most people, but for me, feeding myself without the aid of my diet service is a form of freedom. Of course, responsibility comes along with this, so I have to continue controlling my portions and choosing my food with care.

I am excited to commence writing without a writing class for the first time in over a month. I will learn to use my voice to highlight the good and keep it real in my online island. So instead of marking this last day of #15DaysOfWritingTrue as an end, I am considering this as a beginning. 

I cannot wait to write on the ordinary, the special, and the true!

Day 32: Daily WROTEin

Werking it even with sore throat!

Werking it even with sore throat!

I'm celebrating my second monthsary at work today! Being an alumna of the university where I work definitely has its perks, such as knowing the layout of the libraries by heart and knowing where to buy awesome brewed coffee based on my budget. However, my homecoming is not a single event. It is a daily routine which I am surviving thanks to willpower and prayer. 

The best part of my day is when I wake up. I get to thank my Creator for a new morning and say the The Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10 : “...Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”  This prayer has kept me grounded and blessed since I discovered it in 2006. I then wash up and workout for at least thirty minutes. Exercise is a must as I have hypothyroidism. I mix it up with different routines so I will never be bored. 

I take a shower, take my prescribed thyroxine dosage, and drive to my parking space. I cannot eat breakfast until forty-five minutes have elapsed since I took my medicine. I usually eat in the car, after it is already parked. I take the MRT or P2P to my stop, then walk to work.

My first stop in the office is always the chapel. It always fills me with awe that I am able to work and live a normal life despite my health condition. I then unwind with a cup of coffee and my morning snack. There is nothing more rewarding than a cuppa, which wakes me up while calming me down. It is a paradox which has never ceased to intrigue me. I randomly count my blessings, check my social networks, and respond to emails. If I still have time to spare, I return to the chapel to pray the rosary.

My work day usually goes by quickly. I like being organized, and I keep an analogue planner to take down notes and tasks. I listen to music while working, using a cheap radio and earphones which I regularly replace. I switch between pop and classical stations. During my downtime, I also update my blog and chat with my boyfriend. Lunch and coffee breaks are healthy yet filling. I am always focused on my fitness goals, and I know which food to eat and avoid. I also stay away from frappuccinos and calorie-rich desserts.

My commute home is a reversal of my trip to work. I enjoy light dinners, to help me sleep earlier and lessen bloating. I also stop by our nearby park to buy fresh coconut water. It aids in detox and re-hydrating me after a long day.

I end my day by writing on my Five Year Journal, a prayer, and a book until I drift to sleep. The next day is the same cycle, with the same willpower and attitude.

I will never be able to pull this off without the support of my family and boyfriend. I may not be earning much, but I have enough and that is what matters. I look forward to having a more abundant life and eventually, the chance to settle down.


Day 31: Living Mindfully and Helping Others

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

I prayed the rosary again after a long time. I used to pray with it everyday during my previous job. My old building was adjoined to a mall, which is a stone's throw away from a church with a quiet adoration chapel. My previous job was stressful, and this ritual calmed me down during my lunch breaks. I enjoyed meditating on the mysteries, and I never lied about going to the adoration chapel whenever I was asked regarding my whereabouts. I have always been proud about my faith, and this motivates me to look for ways to integrate my passion for prayer in my other love, which is social enterprise.

I have previously used cheap plastic rosaries and jewelry-type ones from pilgrimage sites such as the Vatican and Lourdes. All of them were easily broken due to daily wear and tear. I have never been dainty, so these rosaries never appealed to me. I only used them out of necessity and because they were presents and purchases from important places of prayer. I have constantly been on the lookout for a durable rosary, because I believe that prayer is a tactile experience. I depend on rosary beads to guide me along the way. If the beads are too small and the gaps between them are practically non-existent, then it will make prayer less of the soothing ritual which it was meant to be. Thus, I have been accustomed to replacing my rosary annually, which became a pain because I do get attached to things especially if they have memories connected to them. 

Usually, the crucifixes are the first ones to break. The cheap plastic ones cannot withstand the pressure of daily commuting, which is not pleasant because I do not enjoy seeing the representative image of Christ cut into half. For those with metal links, the chains would get disconnected. Having them repaired is an obvious choice since I do have experience in bead work, but it already dampens the enjoyment of prayer. As the years have gone by and the handmade movement grew along with the internet, I have discovered options which finally meant having sturdy rosaries for less heartbreak.

I bought a chotki rosary from Caritas Manila a couple of years ago, and it has served me well. It was handmade by an inmate from Bilibid Prison. It is sturdier than most rosaries I have owned, and it still works until today. It has began fraying though, as the string they have used is fibrous, so I am already seeing the signs of wear and tear on several areas. I will still recommend this though, for it is a good conversation starter and it is for a good cause.

This has then led me to the search for a new rosary. My boyfriend and I are going through challenging times in our personal lives, so we need a spiritual weapon to inspire us to renew our faith and pray more often. I have ordered four rosaries from Rugged Rosaries, an artisanal social enterprise in California. They make rosaries by hand using military-grade paracord, beads, and components. The two full-size five decade rosaries have been carefully selected to represent our personal faith journeys, while the two one decade clip-on rosaries are for everyday use and commuting. I am excited to receive them and road test them once they arrive from the US! I am also happy that part of the proceeds from my purchase supports a team of artisans who promulgate the faith through beautiful rosaries in America, and provide rosaries and MP3 New Testament Bible players to the troops.

My faith has led me to support social enterprises and the handmade movement. My advocacy is my biggest means to help others, and I look forward to doing so by shopping meaningfully, sharing the products on my blog, and living mindfully. I also want to keep on praying, because it is a meditative practice which lets me focus on the positive.

I hope that your passion will lead you to support an advocacy with minimal effort and true joy!

Day 29: Trust Issues

Me in 2007

Me in 2007

I feel dismayed because my workspace has been violated for two consecutive days now. Yesterday, my traveler's journal was closed the wrong way, resulting in a loosened garter. When I got to my cube at 7:15am this morning, I found my top drawer open. My drawers do not have a lock, and these incidents may seem petty. But if you think of it, it is not petty at all. I work in a university, so files are all pertinent to educating students and upholding the corporate ideals of our community. These past two days have proven that it is possible for trust to be broken in an admirable company. Small items like my traveler's notebook may not seem much, but it is full of my art journaling and lunchtime sketches. I am also dismayed because I always psyche myself to get excited for each work day. These instances disappointed me, and it will take some time before I can regain my bearings. 

I have already filed an incident report, and I have updated security regarding this morning's incident. I know that they are doing their best. My cube is not covered by the CCTV, so there is no way to catch the suspect on video. I am praying that this gets resolved soon.  

I am also thankful to still be employed and that nothing was lost or stolen. I would not wish this on anyone else. After all, I was a student of this university ten years ago, and I do not want to disappoint my college self by being derailed by negativity. I just have to keep moving on.  

Day 28: Sammie 2.0


The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be its staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, it still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice makes eating sandwiches in this country a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and it is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Just let me be.

Day 27: Dear Diane,

With Diane, 2007. 

With Diane, 2007. 

I wish I texted you more after we finished college. I remember 2008 as a busy year, with me preparing for the World Youth Day in Sydney and you preparing for your first semester in Ateneo Law. I was also jobhunting, with my frequent interviews becoming more like a reason to dress up in corporate attire. I recall the anxiety and anticipation of waiting for follow-up interviews. It was daunting, since I wanted to embark on my first job as soon as possible. I did not know how to tell you all of these, because you seemed so put-together, like you had everything figured out already. I felt like a kid next to you. Talking to you always felt like being with an adult, and in many ways you were the designated grown-up in my life. I hope you understand now that I was not avoiding you before your death. I was figuring out how to grow up so I could step up in life, which you seemed to master effortlessly.  

It is ironic that in your death, I realized that my life was only beginning. My first job happened shortly after you passed away. I was handling tasks beyond my Humanities training, and my role had a steep learning curve. It kept my mind away from the pain of losing you, but it seemed to help me find myself too. It was in my finance job that I realized how much I love to read for pleasure. I can never give up on myself and what makes me who I am. The pain of your loss made me delight in this finding. 

I am returning to you on your thirtieth birth anniversary. The pain has never left, but I'm more stable now. I am working in the academe just like you, and the funny thing was you told me before that I am a perfect fit for this industry. I am still learning the ropes, but I'm liking the seas I'm sailing on. I hope I can make you proud. 



Day 26: Lay Day

Whenever I feel uninspired to write, I find ways to entertain myself. I eat out, go on a coffee run, listen to music, play with my art journal, and window shop. I also visit my friend Diane from time to time in her vault, where her ashes have been laid to rest. I sometimes bring a book so I can read with her, because she was a well-versed bibliophile when she was still alive. As the one who was left behind, I make sure to be updated with what's new in bookstores so I can read and continue my favorite hobby.  

I also like going out on errands, such as updating my pixie with an obligatory trim, getting my legs waxed, and buying my monthly toiletries at Human Nature. I usually browse through social enterprise pages too so I can see if there is anything new to buy and support. 

I am a believer that boredom is a reason to learn something new. I enjoy going on workshops to brush up on my watercolor skills and meet artists. Book fairs are also good venues to pick up new novels and ideas.  

I like beginning and ending each Lay Day with a cup of coffee. There is nothing more comforting than a cuppa and a book, and this combo inspires me to live beyond the lure of mediocrity.  

Day 25: There Has To Be A Word

Today is Diane's 30th birth anniversary. She was the closest thing I had to a best friend in high school. She's the one on the left (in red) in this pic taken during my birthday in 2006. 


I miss her everyday since her passing from a car accident in 2008.

This one's for you, Diane. 

1) There has to be a word for missing someone in random moments, and anyone still alive can never replace someone who passed away because she was the best person to give spot-on advice.  

2) There has to be a word for realizing that you should make the most out of this life because your late friend is no longer here to experience new stuff in the present.  

3) There has to be a word for the friendship that binds you and your high school girls, and one of the things that bring you together is a late friend who was everyone's soul sister. 

4) There has to be a word for falling in love with someone whom you introduced to your late friend back in the day.  

5) There has to be a word for a friendship that goes beyond someone's passing

I ❤️ you Diane! 

Day 21: Monday

I wrote a poetic tribute to my Monday (even if it's already Tuesday)! 

 My cube is bright

Sunshine dances on my shelf

I felt gloomy but The Beatles held my hand

So I did not let The Carpenters build me down

I have a white table

With watercolors and a charging cable

But first, let me finish my coffee

Before it turns artificially cold

From recycled air

And Monday work fare

Day 18: Why I Don't Write

I'm writing this entry as I am enjoying a cup of halo-halo! The definitive Filipino summer delicacy is perfect for this sunny day. It is also a sweet way to usher in ROUND TWO of my 15 Days of Writing True!  

I have learned in design thinking that repeating a process albeit in a different iteration fosters creativity. I chose to repeat my class not because I failed, but because I want to see how this journey can be taken differently. How can I enjoy a trip with another perspective? There is only one way to find out and that is by taking it all over again.  

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 


I am here at Human Nature for their beauty fair! They have released a bronzer, lip miracle (sunflower oil-infused lip balm) and cheek tint! I have personally tested them and they are perfect for sensitive skin and everyday use. I also adore this brand as they are a social enterprise that provides employment to those who need it most. 


I can't wait to see how Round Two turns out. For now, I need to finish my halo-halo and shop for sustainable makeup. 

Day 16: Writing To Live


A lot of people ask me how I balance my full-time job with my blog. I am surprised to get this a lot because many bloggers do this while working. I guess it is the frequency of my posts that makes people wonder how I get things done. I am currently taking a couple of online classes to help me with content and improving my technique. Classes cannot teach discipline though, so it is up to me to develop that. I have learned in a goal-setting course that I have to schedule my plans in order to see them come to fruition. I use my workbook for that class religiously, because if there is one thing that I must believe in, it would be the validity of my goals. Right now, my passion project is my blog. I did not ask help from anyone in IT or the blogger community in setting it up. I bought a domain name and annual subscription for website hosting using my hard-earned money. If there is something that motivates me more than anything, it would be the fact that my savings paid for this blog, so I have to maximize it. I cannot just sit around waiting for inspiration to hit me. I have to hit inspiration until I sit down and write.

I have learned that mindfulness helps in keeping me focused, especially when i am on the lookout for experiences to write about. Rather than just killing time, I make sure to live through each moment. I can turn a simple meal into a blog post or a personal anecdote into a story. I have also learned to write as it happens, and it turns out that I am a pretty efficient one at that.

I have also realized that having a passion project elevates the mundane into an art. Living just for the sake of existing does not equate to a balanced time here on earth. Rather, I prefer to live meaningfully, because if I am not thankful for the experiences I am going through, then life is just a pointless journey to oblivion.

I hope to continue this writing journey to enrich each day that I have. I hope to end each one with a prayer of gratitude and the promise of a new day.


Day 15: Writing Chuva


I am a fan of Chuvaness because I dig her acerbic wit. She is lifestyle blogger with a Japanese street style aesthetic and an obsession with immaculate bathrooms. Reading her blog for years has given me a good grasp of her voice. For today's Writing Room assignment, I was tasked to compose an entry using another blogger's voice. I did not have to think twice and chose Chuvaness as my reference. 

 Chuva Commute

My car broke down today and my driver is on leave. It was a last-minute pandemonium. I had no choice but to take the MRT to my meeting in Quezon City. Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I consider anything north of Megamall to be out of town. Good thing my meeting was set for lunchtime so I had the luxury of skipping the rush hour crowd. 

My optimism was dashed the moment my Uber driver dropped me off at Ortigas station. The sidewalk was so narrowly barricaded that only one person can pass through it at a time. The elevator was not working as well so I had to take a gazillion steps to the top. By the time I reached the ticketing area, I was met by an intense queue. The people looked exhausted and I immediately felt the same way. It was hot and not well-ventilated. This was already 11am, but the crowd is still major. My Margielic ensemble could not handle the heat, the inefficient ticketing system which mixed both Beep card top-ups and single journey purchases, and the telenovela  running on the TV screens. I mean, why? It did not even have subtitles. Is this a reference to the daily drama at the MRT?

By the time I passed through the turnstiles, I did not feel like a worldly, efficient commuter anymore. I felt tired. I walked to the far end of the platform to reach the designated area for women, children, expectant moms, and seniors. I stayed in the women-only area and ignored the people around me who did not seem to understand the system of properly queueing for their turn to ride the train. The platform was hot and humid. Not Chuva-approved. 

The train arrived after an eternity, and it was just timely that the air condition was down. Great. This is summer and Manila. The train moved excruciatingly slow. I prayed the rosary to Trinoma. I asked for patience. And a miracle for Manila. 

Day 14: Letter to Self

Today, I covered Writing with Poetry in my Writing True class. I was tasked to come up with examples for different figures of speech, as well as accomplish a couple of sentence reversal exercises.

My Own Examples of Figures of Speech

I rode the MRT this morning and we were packed like sardines inside the train.

My breakfast is my arsenal.

I have an eternity to love you.

I failed Calculus but I worked in Finance.

Piping hot pour-over. Random run. Horrendous heat.

My notebook is insisting that I write. The cardio punched my gut.

I workout to relax. I work to enjoy my time.

I ate my breakfast and my hesitations.

"Insurance policy" for my college degree
"Compass" for inspiration

"Blog" for a website. "Minds" for thinking employees.

I wrote my blog entry. I wrote my day. I wrote my present. I wrote my future.

I will never quit my job. I enjoy my job. I will fight for my job.

School is theoretical, work is the real world.
Many can dance, but few can endure.

Never let your worries burden you or your burden worry you.

Converting straightforward sentences into poetic ones.
I woke my sleeping heart with coffee and poured chamomile over it afterwards.
I am wiped out and as famished as an uncharged smartphone
My phone dissolved into thin air.
Conquer this house and establish your kingdom.

Converting poetic sentences into straightforward ones.
We are not together, but I want to fall in love with you.
I would like to be with you even if I have to be the one to adjust to you. 
I want many things but I can only have half of those in reality.

 Final Task: Letter to Myself

(Written yesterday, May 15, 2017) 


Dear Sam, 

I am proud of how you worked out this morning, starting with your ab routine, then a HIIT workout, and finishing off with three rounds of moves for your glutes and thighs. I was thrilled when you told that rude man in the MRT to stop occupying your space because he has more than enough already for himself. You practically told that man to stop grabbing your handrail and stop leaning on you. No one in the MRT had the guts to do that in your section and I could tell that everyone was watching you. You did not let this stop you, and you continued telling the man to move until he did. Well done also for the way you pushed that man when he tried blocking your way as you exited the train. He tried one cheap move, but you responded with a silent clapback. I am pleased with how you stood your ground this morning and how you kept your composure in the office. I am proud of your poise even when you felt like hunching. You did well, and you were a class act. Not to mention that you can walk in high heels now and you even own the aisle with your strut. 

I hope that you will never lose your swagger while keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground. I hope that you will continue working out so you can sculpt your abs while eliminating the need for the second cup of coffee due to all those calories burned. I'm excited to see how your sassy comebacks will move you forward. Never let go of your grace, but always be sharp with your wit. You got this, Lucas. The Force is strong in you. 



Day 13: Finally, Speakoutsam

Task for Writing Room: Introducing Myself


My name is Sam, and I was born on the 13th of August. I am 30 years old now, but I feel a lot younger than my years. I started blogging again after attending a goal-setting workshop. I realized that writing is my lifelong love, and my passion project is to have my own website. I rediscovered my voice through the #15DaysofWritingTrue and Writing Room classes. I also have my own 100 Days Project, which is my personal commitment to publish a blog entry everyday for 100 days. Of course, I want to continue my writing journey beyond that time frame.


I want my blog to showcase my advocacy, which is social entrepreneurship. I am also passionate about mindful living, and I am dedicated to enjoying food, books, and experiences more than material things.

I am currently a Program Officer in a university in Manila. I am an only child, and in a serious relationship with my best friend from college. I am addicted to The Beatles, classical music, and coffee.

Finally, it's time to speakoutsam!

Day 12: Writing Efficiently


Once again, my Writing Room class has taken me out of my comfort zone. Writing efficiently is easier said than done for me, since I love being detailed to a fault.  Here are the shortened versions of my mini stories on feelings. They have been scaled down to ten words or less. 

He hugged me longer than usual and held my hand.

He hugged me longer than usual and held my hand.

I kissed him goodbye, then I alighted the bus.

I kissed him goodbye, then I alighted the bus.

They sipped lattes as their parents worked in cramped cubicles.

They sipped lattes as their parents worked in cramped cubicles.

A vial of blood could make or break my summer.

A vial of blood could make or break my summer.

The MRT had insufficient trains for the rush of humanity.

The MRT had insufficient trains for the rush of humanity.

In closing, I was also assigned to edit my first entry for this class and rewrite it in a concise manner.


Writing never felt like a chore to me because I have befriended words early on in my life. I learned how to read at the age of two and this led to a lifelong love for reading. I eventually developed a love for writing, and I contributed for our school paper and occasionally, for
national broadsheets. I also became a public speaker.

Blogging became a natural hobby as I became a habitual writer in university. I have recently started blogging again after joining The 15 Days of Writing True e-course and beginning my 100 Days Project, which integrates my output for another class I am taking, the Writing Room.

Day 11: Feels


My Writing Room classes continue to challenge me by assigning a one-line story for each of the five emotions: joy, sadness, disgust, fear, and anger.

I chose personal topics for my mini stories. For joy, I am talking about the second time I had coffee with my now-boyfriend Allan. For sadness, I wrote about a bus ride we have shared before. I then speak about students who waste their parents' hard-earned money in disgust. For fear, I describe my state of being before each check-up with my endocrinologist (I have hypothyroidism). Lastly, I describe my daily ordeal at the MRT for anger.


In closing, I was asked to write about the last time I felt sad...

Longing for Ella

Hear me roar! Errr, yawwwwn!

Hear me roar! Errr, yawwwwn!

There are many dogs in Barkin' Blends, my favorite dog cafe. I can only have one favorite, and Ella will always have a special place in my heart. She is a black chiweenie, a curious mix between a dachshund and a chihuahua. I fell in love with this girl because 1) she is small enough to sit comfortably on my lap, 2) she lets me read and sip on my milk tea as she takes a nap, 3) she lickes me a lot and chooses me among the other humans, and 4) she's sweet and always recognizes me whenever I visit.

I am only allowed to stay in the cafe for a couple of hours at a time, and every time I have to conclude my session there, it is always difficult to say goodbye to Ella. I cling to her sleeping, furry body until it's time to go. I wake her up, kiss her head and tell her that I will be back soon. I then hand her back to the staff and go home to my family, who are all allergic to dogs.

I will just have to visit Ella again.