A letter to all ambitious women out there

 Hi ambitious woman, I am so proud of you. I want to start this letter by patting you on the back for owning your ambition, for the courage to go against the grain, and declaring that you are a trailblazing woman. You have been called “too much” far too many times, too bossy, too know-it-all, too competitive, and maybe you’ve been told, “Who does this girl thinks she is?” I am so damn proud of you for standing up for yourself and following your own path.

1. You will go through a lot of challenges.
      Life will test you a lot of times. Sometimes it will hit you repeatedly on the face, on your gut, and you will fall down. Those who are so brave will get trampled upon, but you know what the difference is? Women like you do not know how to give up. It’s just not in your DNA. Challenges even energize you to be so relentless. You are not afraid to be vulnerable and fall flat on your face. Your mission is clear to you, hence no matter what hurdles come along, you will face it headstrong. 

2. You will meet amazing people.
      There are people who have come before you and will guide you as you walk your path. Learn from them and carve your own way. Every person that you meet has a lesson to teach whether that interaction is good or bad. I guarantee that you will not be alone in your ambition because there are lots of women who didn’t listen to the patriarchy, who decided that even if this world still doesn’t see men and women as equals, we are not bowing down to that belief. They will inspire you to proceed with whatever your heart wants and that women are here to take space and be awesome. 

3. You will ignore the haters.
      Those who decide to carve a unique path will be faced with so much hate. I think you know a thing or two about crab mentality. Some people can’t just process their insecurities hence they project it on you. When a tree is bearing fruit, that’s the time that a random person throws stones on those shiny and juicy apples. Productive people just don’t have the time and energy to hate because they are busy being so fucking amazing, slaying their goals and doing good for humanity. Ignore gossip and just do your shit. Haters are gonna hate because they are just so frustrated and insecure and they are not even brave enough to admit that to themselves. It is easier to badmouth people than to wake up every single day and do the hard work. 

4. You will learn so much along the way.
      All experiences in your life will teach you wisdom that you can’t have just by reading or watching motivational videos. You have to ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Every positive or negative experience has something to teach us, and our job is to listen to what the Universe is teaching. If you want to be a better person than you were yesterday, you have to be receptive to what life is teaching you. If you will be stubborn and keep on doing practices that aren’t good and working for you, then I hate to break it to you but you are not getting anywhere. You will be stuck because success requires growth and every season of our lives requires us to evolve. Who do you have to become to be the person you aspire to be? Do you need to be disciplined? Do you have to let go of limiting beliefs. Be a student of life. 

5. You will realize who are the people on your team. 
      There will be people who are good for you and of course there are those whose energy is just not good for your soul. Your job in this planet is to take of your soul because when you do, that love overflows and people can get the best of you. But if you keep on spending time with those who drain you, then how can you transform to your awesome self? Evaluate the energy that your friends emanate. Do you feel good after talking to them or do you feel insecure? Are your friends empowering you or are they discouraging you? Are they cheering you on? Can you rely on them during though times? Have a strong satellite for these kinds of people, and when you find them keep them close. 

6. You will fail.
      Surprise! Since you are brave, I would like to inform you that you will fail. Failure is a part of an ambitious woman’s life. You will not get that job. You will flunk that exam that you spent weeks studying.Your boss will not be satisfied with your work and the list goes on. But then again, every failure has a corresponding lesson, and that lesson will be the fuel to your success. If you do not fail then that means you are not trying. What matters is you get back up every single day, and as Brene Brown says, you go back to that arena, start again and fight. 

7. You will fall in love.
      Even if you are so focused on your goals, remember that love will be the reason why everything still makes sense. If you just keep on chasing money, fame, or success, but then your personal life is on the rocks, then will success still matter? At the end of the day, love is all that matters. So fall in love with life, with your journey, and generate the moments that will keep your heart on fire. Take care of your relationships and give it time. An ambitious woman allows herself to fall so deeply in love. 

8. You will realize what matters. 
      When you are too caught up with problems, we tend to forget the bigger picture. We get trapped in our “mini-me.” An ambitious woman takes the time to reflect and ask herself if this problem is worth the stress. At the end of the day we have to focus on our priorities, and on how we belong to the bigger scheme of things. This is a vast universe and our life as humans is just a tiny speck to its existence. Life is so short, so we have to be wise with how we spend this limited amount that has been given to us. 

9. You will have fun.
      Chasing your dreams is fun. The journey is what matters. You will realize that even if we live in this complicated world, we need to have fun. Enjoy the ride and actively search for things that make you smile. As I’ve said, the trip is short so it makes sense that we must have fun. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. 

10. You will thrive. 
      You will succeed, that is for sure. Maybe not in the timeline that you’ve set or in the field that you chose. Ambitious women succeed because they just keep on putting one foot over another. Eventually, you will experience flow and thrive. Inaction guarantees a stagnant life but a hardworking, driven, and purposeful person has a high chance of achieving their goals than lazy people. As Newton’s third law of motion states, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Whatever step you take will eventually bear fruit. You just have to be patient and headstrong. When trials come your way you can take a rest and then continue hustling again. 

Read this before dating a medical student.

Medical folk are probably one of the most incompatible professions in relationships. If you are the type who loves being smothered by attention or being around your significant other 90%  of the time, then I guess you have to read this. These people are always busy, and it takes a very mature person to date a medical student. If you are interested in someone who is in the medical field, specifically, a medical student, then read below. 

1. She is most probably Type A. 
      Medical schools have a rigorous application. They will take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT), undergo a panel interview, and make sure that their background has this long list of achievements in order to be shortlisted for an interview in a medical school. And you know what kind of person does that? A crazy one. Nah, I’m just kidding. But she is probably a bookworm, someone who’s had a lot of achievements, a perfectionist, and a person with high standards for everything that she does. It may make her look crazy to some guys, but to the right person, these qualities will be adorable. Who doesn’t want a woman, who knows what she wants, rolls up her sleeves and does the legwork to slay her goals? You will undoubtedly succeed if you have a woman like this walking beside you.

2. Understand that medicine is her calling. 
      We are dreamers and doers. We dream deep. We want to take good care of our patients in their most vulnerable state. Whatever the reason is for us to enter med school, it is probably a genuine one because we wouldn’t study for almost a decade and not have a reason that will make us stay. You have to bear with this vocation and love this caring and passionate side of her. 

3. She will reschedule and reschedule. 
      This is one of the downsides of dating a medical student. We may try to be present in your life and we will work hard to give any relationship the time it needs, but understand that rescheduling and cancelling dates will happen. This will not be our fault, it’s just that we want to spend the little free time we have to sleep. We just do not have the energy, or our schedules shifted in a whim that’s why this is happening. If you are not mature enough to understand this, then don’t date a medical student. Never ever take her calling against her.

4. She genuinely cares. 
      We may not have the luxury of time but know that when a med student spends time with you, it means you are important. She probably has cases to learn and tons of books to read, but if she chooses to even spend an hour or a few minutes just to see you, it’s because she truly cares and that you are special.

5. If she doesn’t respond to texts, she’s most probably studying.
      Stop that jealousy whatever. If she doesn’t reply she’s either sleeping, studying or watching k-drama. Do we even have time to chat with other people? We can barely manage our lives. lol. We don’t have time for fights and more complications in our lives. Our plate is just too full. 

6. She will often fall asleep when you’re together.
      If you’re watching a movie, she’ll fall asleep. If you’re just sitting on the couch, she’ll fall asleep. Get ready to spend time with a narcoleptic person, just kidding. We’re just exhausted. You are not boring. It’s not you, we’re just sleepy. Please do not take it into against her too. She’s just tired from a 12-hour study session.

7. Medicine comes first, you are second. 
      We know our priorities well. Our calling will always come first. When we become doctors, our patients come first. Don’t even dare date a medical student and expect that they will spend every hour of everyday with you. It’s just not happening. 

8. She needs a supportive partner.
      A superhero job needs a superhero partner. That is the bottom line of it. She chose a demanding life of service and that means you have to be onboard with that. Doing simple errands, driving, and even doing chores would mean the world to her. We often fail at taking care of ourselves, and when someone willingly does this for us, we just appreciate it. When she sees that you are with her in every step and that you would go out of your way to give any kind of support, she will definitely love you.

9. Respect her timeline.

She graduated college, will finish meds school in 5 years, probably do residency, then fellowship and the list goes on. She may or may not choose to have a family because of these demands. If you really love her, you will have to respect her timeline and not take this against her. This is the life she chose, and so you are either onboard or if you’re just gonna cause pain, get out of her life while it’s still early.

10. She will work hard. 

She is a hard worker, not just in her career but also in her relationships with family, friends, and significant other. She understands that anything worth having needs work day in and day out. If you choose to be with a woman like her, you are in it for a ride with a team player, a doer, and a believer.

Antidote to frustration

When the pandemic started I plummeted on a spiral of negativity. I got disappointed, more than I usually am, with almost everyone who’s handling this pandemic. I understand that COVID is a monster virus but I also know that this could have been handled better. More than a year after the first lockdown, and yet, here we are, experiencing a pandemic in a third world country, which could possibly be the worst place for a human being to be in. I was depressed and demotivated to study because the system is just too broken, but luckily, I was able to crawl out of that tunnel. How do we make peace with a shitty situation that is mostly out of our control?

1. Acceptance
      I discovered that the more we resist the situation that we are in, the harder it is to take the steps to solve problems. Accept that in this moment, these are the cards which we have been dealt with. You are in the Philippines, a country that has been colonized by three big countries for hundreds of years. This is where we are and we have to make peace with this fact. Maybe in another life I’m from Canada or Australia, but in this one, you are born in the Philippines. Accept that monsters exist, that the culture of corruption is a staple here in our nation. There are so many starving kids and sick people who are dying due to the poor healthcare system. Accept at the moment, that we live in a very flawed government, that not all leaders take their job “public servant” by heart. Recognize that not everyone has the same heart as you and your environment is pathological. Right now, this is your life situation. 

2. Gratitude
      Even though these are the realities that we must face on a daily basis, I still believe that we have to acknowledge what we have been given. It is unfair to just focus on the negatives. You are lucky that you are alive, especially since COVID lurks around the corner, and yet, here we are, still surviving. If you are reading this, it means that you have the privilege of being able to access gadgets and the internet. Having food on the table, getting an education, having a safe home to live in, and being with your family in these difficult times, are all things that we have to be thankful for. Being grateful doesn’t disregard the numerous flaws which are still present, but don’t we owe it to the Universe to be happy about what we have? For the past five years, keeping a gratitude journal has kept me aligned with what is important. Even though heavy and difficult things arise, I know that the fact that I am still breathing means that there still is a fighting chance for whatever that we are waking up for.

3. Decide that you can do something.
      Maybe you think that I am so naive for even imagining that I can make a difference. But come on, if everyone accepts that mediocrity and injustice is the norm, then aren’t we helping perpetuate these crimes to humanity? I refuse to give up. I refuse to say that this is all there is, that dying people will be the new norm. I know that even if I am just one insignificant human, I can make a difference. Know that you can do that too. We are intelligent species filled with thousands of neurons with connections that has allowed people to fly to the moon and discover the other galaxies in the sky. How come we think that we are so limited? We are not. You are not limited. You can make a difference wherever you are as long as you are brave and aren’t afraid of the legwork that living purposefully entails. Your existence matters. Make a decision that you will stop playing small. 

4. Stay in the moment and offer it the best you that you can give. 
      A lesson that I have learned from Oprah and Eckhart Tolle is to be present. This might seem a little woo-woo to others but, our present moment creates our future. We have to be fully present with the task at hand, the conversations we are in and the relationships in our lives, because when we are, that’s when the magic happens. People feel it when you genuinely care. There are people who will see how authentic you are. So if you are reading a book, give it your full attention. If you are bonding with family, stop using your phone. When you are talking with clients, don’t multitask, focus on them. Even in activities such as doing the laundry or washing dishes, stay present. That’s when you deliver quality work, and when that accumulates, someone will always notice. You owe it to what has been handed to you.

5. Be the role model you wish you had.
      Some people are lucky to be born with parents who are conscious enough in raising children, but most of us I guess didn’t have that. I think we have to take in to consideration that our parents didn’t also know better. I kept on looking for role models as I was growing up, but I found it difficult to find one, so I decided that if I can’t find one, then I’ll be one. I am frustrated with our leaders, so I decide that I will start by leading myself. Try it too. Be the mother, father, sister, best friend, mentor, leader, that you wish you had. Work hard on becoming the best version of yourself. Align your actions with the solutions to your frustrations. Stop waiting for things to change and start with you. Make a difference in the space that you are in and try to expand that culture of authenticity and humanity in the biggest scale that you possibly can, at your own pace. 

6. Be kind.
      We are not perfect. I am guilty of being impatient and cranky especially since I am in the medical field. But I try my best to be as kind as I can be. When I fall off the wagon, I also forgive myself. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to be the person who cannot forgive slacking off. When there’s a group project in college, I expect all my groupmates to perform at the level that I do, not meeting deadlines is non-negotiable. I get mad at my groupmates who aren’t sending their parts for our lab reports on time, up to the point that I was becoming a very toxic person. I became unkind. It is their  responsiblity after all. But when difficult things happened to me, that’s when I realized that, I don’t have an idea about what is happening to another person. I don’t have a clue about their situation at home, their finances, or if they are eating at all. So I can’t be unkind, because as the quote goes, “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.” I’m not yet as kind as I want to be but everyday, I try my best to be as mindful. 

7. Live a life of service.
     I am not sure when what I want to do has become crystal clear to me. I like leading, managing projects, and learning ever since. I also like seeing that what I do has a contribution to even a single creature. I’m not saying that I am aiming to be Mother Teresa, but seeing others win and do great and humane things for others makes me smile before I sleep. Isn’t that beautiful? When I learned that service and a hunger for learning keeps my soul alive, I knew that I wanted to be or at least try to reach for that MD. Here I am, about to start fourth year, I still have a long way to go but I have come far. Even though there are hard and painful parts, I would still choose this. My service is my offering to the universe. I hope and pray that you reader, are living a life filled with purpose.

8. Create a solution for people’s problems.
     One of my dreams is to create a business that will allow people from my hometown to live comfortably without leaving their families to work abroad. Writing in this blog is not just for creative expression. At the back of my mind, I want to offer clarity to my readers and in a way, help them maneuver challenges in their own lives. My efforts may seem futile, but even if only one person reads an entry, and somehow learns something or thinks differently after reading, then I would be most thrilled. That one person has friends, family or colleagues that they can influence. I want to make more good in this world. That is how I make peace with my disappointments. Find your art or an avenue  for your activism.

9. Educate, don’t hate.
     Since the advent of social media, I noticed that opinions are getting more polarized. Friendships die because of different political beliefs. There are more facebook comments filled with attacks just because of opposing views. Offensive words are like a staple. You just need to look at the comments section and you’ll see so much lack of respect. What if instead of trying to win arguments, we focus on understanding the other party and offer education instead of shaming them? What if we choose respect? We can’t control other people’s thoughts but we can manage how we respond to them. We can engage in a healthy discussion and if the other person attacks, leave. Making a point is never the point. Enlighten instead of winning.

10. Live each day as if it were your last. 
     When I get caught up in the craziness of this world I try my best to remember that today could be my last day. Will I choose to live with anger and negative thoughts? How do you want your last day to be? Draw a picture of your last day on earth. Live that. Focus on what matters. We only have one shot in this life after all. Live fully. 

Finally free

Too often we dream about doing great things, reaching for the stars, going as far as we can go. Maybe that’s why we are consistently exhausted. Keeping up with the speed of the world can be really taxing. I am having this existential crisis of wanting to shine, to be something, or someone. It has lessened in intensity, but I’lll be honest, I want all this to go away sometimes. I just want to be happy and contented with where I am.

I used to like being able to do it all, to be the person who can do this and that. I am the quiz bee girl, the dancer, the singer, writer, public speaker, top employee, class president, a good teacher, a soul who revels in adventure, and all those other things. I am happy that I can do all this, but I admit, I did so many things and trained myself to be good at a lot of things, until the light burned out.

What is left of me, if the light has burned out?

What I saw was who I really am. I am this simple person who looks forward to quiet mornings while sipping ginger tea. I like reading books that keep my heart at peace. I love talking to God and conversing with my Dad in heaven. I like cuddling our dogs. I love lazy afternoons with my boyfriend. I love playing with my baby brother at five in the afternoon. I love endless talking with my sisters. I enjoy so many things other than being at the spotlight and performing all those skills that I could do.

Maybe this is me getting old. Or maybe, I am just unveiling who I really am in the first place. I am not a competitive person anymore, but instead I aspire to be really competent in the line of work that I chose. I love listening to my body and giving it what it needs, to the best of my abilities. I am not as neurotic whenever things don’t go according to plan. I give grace, when people come short of their responsibilities, because, the world is toxic on its own, why should I add up to the mess.

I honor my lazy days, but I do my best to be as productive. I forgive myself more often. I choose love, as often as I could. I am happy, just by honoring who I am at the present.

Comparison Island

You wake up and start your day. You scroll on your newsfeed and saw an endless gallery of milestones. You started out the day good, but ended up feeling inadequate because you have been trapped in the dark tunnel of comparison. We know that being stuck there is an absolute poison, but preventing ourselves from feeling envy can be a herculean task since browsing at other people’s profiles is just at our fingertips.

I admit, I have been trapped in the ‘not good enough’ vortex, far longer than I should. There are just times when I feel that if only I have this or that, I would’ve achieved more or become more. However, thinking that way won’t do you any good. You will just feel bad about yourself, and feel bad about feeling bad.

The question now is, how do we get out of this funk? Here are few of my practices which have saved me so many times. I hope that these may help you as well.

1. Sleep.
Sometimes you just don’t have enough sleep that’s why you feel snappy. Sleep allows your body to recalibrate and recharge. Biologically speaking, your cells regenerate and toxic metabolites in the brain get cleaned out when you sleep. If you have a good night’s rest you’ll be a more loving person, you’ll be fun to be around with. Sleep makes your skin glow better, and it amps up your focus. Maybe you’re not envious, you just need sleep after all.

2. Get off of social media.

I’ll be honest with you. I feel extremely lucky that I grew up in a pre-digital era. Internet wasn’t that accessible and not a necessity back then. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram wasn’t there to pressure me to have a feed worthy life. I don’t have easy access to nose around other people’s lives. These times are more challenging because, we can just scroll and then end up feeling bad about not having those highlights. Most of us aren’t conscious enough to realize that social media is an illusion. Practice being aware of your feelings. If you tend to compare yourself to these people who have seemingly perfect lives online, just pause and uninstall. Dedicate healthy boundaries with the internet. I have deactivated my twitter account for almost two years, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I also uninstalled facebook on my phone, so that I won’t have easy access to it. Check how you feel when using a platform. If it makes you feel like your life is so bad, get off it.

3. Prioritize happiness.

As an extremely busy person who needs to schedule everything, I often forget to do things that make me happy. I made a pact with the universe that I will choose happiness and make space for more of it to manifest. I rest when I need to, or even just carve 15 minutes of pleasure reading. When I schedule happy time, I become a better person. I don’t tend to compare myself with anyone, because I am busy having fun. So I go for a walk or listen to music. I make sure that I still write on my blog and journal. I watch even just one episode of Modern Family. I eat meals with family no matter how busy I am. My boyfriend and I would still go on dates. I still play wih our dogs or catch up with my best friends. At the end of the day, I feel like I am living my most authentic self, and not sacrificing my happiness for my ambition. I don’t feel the need to compare when my offline life is just awesome.


4. Go back to gratiude.

I will repeatedly tell you readers to always list everything you’re thankful for. A gratitude journal will keep you in perspective and help you not lose sight of your own path. When we compare, it is a sign that we are not using our gratitude muscles or fully appreciating what we have. The mere fact that you are alive, is a blessing by itself. If you are eating and have a decent home, then express that. Write it down first thing in the morning. That attitude of gratitude will elevate your energy and set you up for a more positive day and help you avoid negative thoughts.

5. Write.

When you write, you’re giving yourself a chance to process your feelings. If you are jealous of somebody else’s success, write it down. When you do, you are eliminating the mental clutter that is poisoning your mind. Do not judge yourself for feeling envious, but rather take steps that will move you forward instead of keeping you stuck in the negativity. My personal practice includes writing on my journal about what happened yesterday. Then I write on my blog about ideas that I am passionate to share. You don’t have to be a good writer, because you are doing this for yourself. You can also come back to your entries and actually find it fun to reflect on how you think and perceive in the past. You’ll also recognize that eveything that you used to worry about actually has a way of working out.

6. Use jealousy as a compass.

Jealousy isn’t bad overall. It points you to the aspects of your life that you need to work on. If you get envious with a friend who has a brand new car or who’s getting married, maybe the universe is just showing you the things that you desire or maybe the universe wants to teach you patience and humility. Transform that emotion and energy to your productivity. Maybe it’s time to double your effort or restrategize on your financial and personal goals. Maybe you have to work on your personal growth. Maybe you need to work on having more meaningful and fulfilling relationships. Be unapologetically honest with yourself. Do not be guilty about your ambitions and be relentless in chasing your dreams. Be you and let your surroundings guide you.

7. Do yoga.

I am serious when I say that yoga is magic. A human being has several aspects that make up their existence. You have to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and professional health so that you will have a centered life. I have always struggled with my physical health and found it hard to make peace and have a loving relationship with my body. Yoga has helped me respect and take care of my body in ways that I have never imagined. The focus that it requires elevates your level of awareness about yourself. I absolutely became a better person. I make better decisions and I have learned how to listen to my body and choose my thoughts. When a jealous thought arises, I can choose to see things in a different way. I can also easily walk away from activities that cultivate my jealousy and insecurities.


8. Reframe your thoughts.

When I was still working in customer service, I remember one thing that our trainer taught us, it’s perspective management. To quote also one of the greatest mentors Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” You have the power to level up your self-awareness and catch yourself before you fall in the wormhole of comparison. Always reframe. When a jealous thought arises, choose to see it differently. When someone does better than me even though I worked extra hard for it, I tell myself that it’s just not my time and that I am meant for something far better than I could have imagined. This practice absolutely works and it prevents me from feeling shitty. Repeat this mantra “I choose how I feel.” This statement gives you back your power.

9. Practice self-forgiveness.

As a Type A kid, I blame myself when things don’t go according to plan. This habit became pathologic, up to a point that I feel like I cannot live with myself anymore. I tend to beat myself up even for circumstances that I couldn’t have predicted or that were out of my control. I read somewhere that we should talk to ourselves the way that we talk to our little sister. Mind you, I will never talk to my younger sisters in the harsh way that I talk to myself. I only reconciled with the inner child in me when I finally practiced consistent self-forgiveness. When you do this, you feel as if you are enough, just by simply existing. You love yourself even if you know that you are imperfect. You will accept that even if someone will always be better than you, it’s okay because no one can ever be like your own weird you.

10. Let go.

Expectations are just futile. Do the work and keep on striving for your goals and let go of the outcome. Stop the comparison and just stay on your lane. As long as it’s your best then that will always be good enough.

(Photo shows my family, what I’m immensely grateful for.)

Now is all we need.

There are just times when I get so scared,. I’m recently scared because I’ve been seeing flashes and floaters in my eyes more often than usual. I am so scared of losing my vision. I mean, how can I live in darkness, and what if I have a retinal tear or diabetic retinopathy, and all the other worst case scenarios playing in my mind. Inhale. Exhale. Right now, in this moment, everything is okay. I am okay. Everything is okay. We are okay right?

That is just a sneak peek of what’s inside my mind. I somehow find it challenging to be at peace with the present moment. I tend to worry about a lot of things. I feel like the responsibilities are too much and that my plate is filled with so much more than I can handle. The constant feeling of not being good enough and of something bad happening is almost always lurking in the background.

However, I learned recently that worrying does nothing other than increasing my cortisol levels. As I am filled with anxiety, I tell myself this:

You are doing fine and everything will be alright. Just focus on the present moment. You are writing on your blog, on a cold Tuesday morning. You hear the chirping of birds as you lay in bed next to your three lovely sisters. The sheets are warm, the dogs are now playing outside, and the smell of fresh morning air makes its way through every alveoli of your lungs.

Isn’t it a blessing to just spend this quiet and serene moment?

Who ever told you that peace is in the future? It is indeed with me, now. I am at peace, now.

100 Lessons Learned in 2020

As 2020 ends, a lot of realizations come to mind. It has been an admittedly chaotic year. All of us, to a certain degree, are traumatized. I wish I could say that I was on cloud nine but let’s be realistic. More than a million worldwide deaths due to a pandemic is heavy. In fact, I am in awe of how human beings can still handle everything, probably because we don’t have a choice, but, from the farthest corners of my heart, I am proud of all of us just for surviving. Here are the lessons I learned this year. I hope you create a list of your own too.


1. There is magic in spending time with family.
2. Despite the odds telling you that you can’t, you absolutely can.
3. Do not look for what isn’t there, appreciate and be grateful for what you have.
4. The love that is for you will not be forced, it will come as a surprise.
5. Make the first move.
6. Have a power passe.
7. It’s okay to not be okay.
8. Take life one moment at a time.
9. Get a pet.
10. Be mindful of what you consume (social media, news, tv).
11. Yoga does wonders.
12. Meditation will keep you sane.
13. This is not the time to be harsh on your body.
14. Listen to your mentors.
15. When you’re sad, watch Kdrama.
16. If you weren’t productive this year, it’s okay!
17. Quit coffee.
18. Write on your journal.
19. Keep writing on that gratitude list.
20. Watch more movies with your little brother.
21. Think twice or thrice before you post.
22. Stay true to your goals but be flexible with your methods.
23. Communication is key.
24. Everbody’s having a hard time, exude grace.
25. Stop overworking, nothing is more precious than your health and wellbeing.
26. When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.
27. Keep on doing your art.
28. Accept what is.
29. Feeling shitty? Take a bath.
30. Do the workout that is fun for you.
31. Spend time with nature.
32. Stop waiting, start doing.
33. The government, the economy, or any external situation won’t change. Do what’s good for you.
34. Social media is a myth.
35. Structure is key to pandemic anxiety.
36. Keep your study table sparkly and sacred.
37. Stop counting calories
38. Comparison is poison.
39. Honor your body.
40. Drink lots of water.
41. Make an effort to call your family.
42. Everything takes time, especially worthwhile things.
43. Alcoholic beverage is a no no.
44. It’s okay to not be the best.
45. Music is therapeutic.
46. The pain of loss will always be there, but you will learn to live with it.
47. Savor the present moment, you never know when it’s your last day.
48. Make time for your art.
49. You can adapt even in the worst of times.
50. Say I love you.
51. Give yourself a treat, watch netflix.
52. Meditate upon waking up instead of scrolling on your newsfeed.
53. Give yourself a self-care day.
54. Create a schedule.
55. Invest in a good planner.
56. Trust the process, even if the path isn’t clear.
57. You don’t need to follow every self-help guru.
58. Microsteps are powerful.
59. Invest in high-quality content books.
60. Cleaning relieves stress.
61. Just have three goals for the day.
62. Pause and breathe before you react.
63. Be kind to yourself.
64. Breathe.
65. Keep on learning.
66. Stick with the study methods that work for you.
67. Any negativity goes down the drain.
68. Talk about ideas, not people.
69. Focus on what you can control.
70. Are you feeling angry? Put your rage on a page.
71. Have a consistent sleeping schedule.
72. Spend time with nature.
73. You don’t need to add that item to your shoppee cart.
74. Eat less.
75. Learn from every person you encounter.
76. Understad another’s point of view before criticizing.
77. Stop the hate language.
78. Say goodbye to expectations.
79. Be the change you wish to see.
80. Wear your mask.
81. Engage with life. Don’t be passive.
82. Eat meals on time.
83. Prepare for the worst during a typhoon.
84. Recovery takes time.
85. Volunteer.
86. Stop keeping things that you don’t need. Give it away.
87. Honor your pain but don’t dwell.
88. Stay curious.
89. Pray.
90. Trust that the universe has your back.
91. Stop weighing yourself every damn day.
92. Do your best and fuck the rest.
93. A person’s rudeness is a reflection of their own pain. It’s never about you.
94. Maintain boundaries.
95. Unfollow any influencer that makes you feel shitty about your body.
96. Be patient.
97. Choose love.
98. Have faith.
99. Keep going.
100. Surrender.

How to stop stopping yourself

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.


“But what will other people say?”

Let me guess, you have been plagued by this repetitive question for a long time, am I right? We ask this to ourselves when we’re deciding what to wear, how to speak, making career moves, or starting a business. This question gives you a disease with a bad prognosis which is, “soul paralysis.” This will make sure that you will live a boring existence. People won’t have anything to talk about in your funeral because you lived such a safe and sheltered life. Let’s be real here, do you really want that? I bet you don’t. The mere fact that you are reading this blog means that you are someone who has a message to spread in this world.

So how do we open our hard shell and start exploring the world and expressing who we really are? The first thing that I will prescribe to you is, you must let go. Here are three things that you should let go of, if you want to bring the amazing you on the table.

1. Your toxic environment.
I am speaking from a place of truth and experience. We, as humans have to learn how to adapt to any situation. We cannot control the initial environment that we were born into. You are lucky if you were born into a family who genuinely love and support each other. But what if that’s not the case? What if turbulence was the norm in your childhood? What if you grew up in chaos, or in a place swarmed by backward thoughts? You can’t just go with the flow. If you recognize that your environment is taking a toll on your soul, do your best to get away. You can control your reactions and how you perceive things, though that’s challenging when you’re still on your formative years, but as long as you’re staying in a place that doesn’t serve you or contribute in your evolution into becoming a better person, then get out as soon as possible. You can only know your true self and be at your best by detaching from the world that you used to know. You will discover your likes and your passions. You can do your hobbies and express your art without thinking about what the neighbors will say. You can make your own mistakes without people giving comments about how you have to live your life. You can be you. Will detaching be easy? It won’t. Getting out of your comfort zone will not be a walk in the park, but it’s going to be worth it.

2. Your “friends” who are not into goals.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I forgot who said this but, in a way I do believe that this is true. If you keep on spending a lot of time gosipping, partying and drinking, do you think it will propel your soul forward? You don’t have to be all judgmental with your friends. Most people have this stage in their lives, including me. What I’m trying to say is you have to be more conscious of how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Why? Because any amount of time you waste, can never be taken back. You know that life is short, anyone could die at any moment, so choose people who will help you take one more step towards living an authentic and passionate life. Choose to be with people who inspire you to be better. I’m not advising you to abandon your friends, but rather, I’m encouraging you to spend more time with creative, genuine, and goal-driven people. This is initially hard, but it is necessary. This doesn’t mean that you hate your friends who drink a lot, this just means that you love yourself enough. Look for people who are changing the world, if there are none around, watch videos on youtube of people who inspire and motivate you. Curate your newsfeed by unfollowing people and pages that don’t stir your soul.


3. Your old self.
We all have phases. You probably are an entirely different person from who you were ten years ago. If you want to evolve or be successful in whatever aspect of your life, then you have to get rid of your own clutter. It is difficult to admit that we have our own unhealthy behaviors. We may get defensive about certain beliefs and values that we hold on to. I used to be an extremely emotionally numb person. I built my own fortress and stopped myself fom getting too close to anyone. It helped me cope in the past, but right now, it’s not helping me anymore. I used to be a neurotic perfectionist which has made me achieve a couple of things but did I feel good along the journey? To be honest I didn’t. When I became crystal clear about how I want to feel, that’s when I took on the task of cleaning my mental and emotional space. I grieved every phase that I had to let go of. But on the other side of that humility and constantly working on myself, was the true me, that I am genuinely proud of. So please, let go of the little you. Every stage of your life will require you to change, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.

Permission to be


I have been ambitious for as long as I can remember. Heck, I wanted to be the Mayor of our town when I was like three. I even remembered saying that I want to be the President of the Philippines in gradeschool. I wanted to soar as high as I can and be the best in what I do. That is how full blown ambitious I was.

But of course that was just the little girl in me talking. I just want to emphasize how being ambitious was ingrained in my DNA. I have been its epitome way before I understood what that word means. I just laugh when I remember all those things I’ve said. And then I grew up.

I started to get scared of the world. I began watching the news and became anxious to death about almost everything. I became afraid even in walking alone, being embarassed, and making a mistake. I became fearful even of the good things ever since I got exposed to the dark side. The fire died. It was like someone poured a huge bucket of water to the blazing fire in my heart. Sometimes it still flickered, but most of the time it died.

Thankfully, this world has angels. They gave me the space, the extra nudge, to be who I was meant to be. They pushed and inspired me to be the game changer that I truly believe I am. Now, I can say that it’s back, and although I’m not as fierce as I used to, I am now more stable and calm. The fire knows when to burn so high, when to slow down, and most importantly how to get the fire back up.

Let me just dedicate this blog post to the people who gave me the permission to be unapologetically myself, to grow, heal, survive, and thrive.

1. My second grade teacher: You are smart.

Thank you ma’am, for opening the door to learning. You are beyond amazing. Because of you, I discovered and believed that I am smart. You opened me to the world of short stories, cultural music, public speaking, and dance. You made me feel seen and heard. You were the first one to ask me to host a school event. Because of you I just felt so seen. I believed that I was special because you had your way of making kids feel like that. Until now, I’m still ever curious and inquisitive. I still love music. I still love learning. For the doors you opened, I’ll forever be grateful.


2. My bestfriend C: Be creative and bold.

Oh wow, the road we travelled C. I can’t imagine life without you as my partner in crime. You influenced me to be creative and bold. You were my playmate, the person I told hilarious stories to, the one who influenced me to be so imaginative, my mentor and inspiration. We dreamed of a lot of things together. We’ve been through so much together. Because you are so brave, I felt and still am feeling that I can give birth to the great things that I am dreaming of because you inspire me to be bold and relentless in my passion. Thank you for being my sister from another mother. Thank you for the listening ear, for teaching me Buddhist principles, for treating me as family. I am so excited about what we are going to accomplish in this life.


3. My siblings: Love

Thank you for being the fuel of my engine, the wind beneath my wings, and the reason that I am still living. You are my army and my foundation. You teach me love, patience, and bravery. Because of you, I want to do so much good in this world. I want to be a good example to you my younger siblings. I want to be in a good financial standing so that I can provide your needs. I want to take you to Disneyland. Know that I am forever grateful for you five. I love you so much.


4. Mommy Oprah: Heal and live with a purpose

Ever since I watched your Harvard graduation speech, everything has changed. I was blown out by how amazing you are. You have gone through a traumatic childhood but you never let that experience beat you. Thank you for telling your story. You made us feel that even if there are so many challenges in your life, you can still heal and thrive. Because of your teachings, I managed to find my way to healing and be in alignment with who I am. You are the mother that I never had but thankfully there’s youtube and social media. I now can say that I am living my life on purpose and you played a big role on that.

5. My partner: Kindness, patience and unconditional love

Hi boyfriend. Although we see each other almost everyday I just want to flex you in this blog. You were a big part of my healing. Your presence consistently taught me that being kind and loving is not just something you feel and say, it’s something you work on every single day. I learned to be more kind and gentle even in really challenging situations. I also am learning about this partnership thing that we have. With you, I realIzed that love is a choice, and that we are teammates even if sometimes we are so pissed with each other. Thank you for reminding me that having patience is a must, and that it takes time for good things to come into fruition. I truly believe that you are God’s gift for every good that I did in my life.

6. Beyonce, Ashley Graham and all the curvy girls out there: Beauty

If I could have dime for every instance that I said, “You are fat and ugly,” to myself, I’d probably be a millionaire. Like, seriously, I hated looking at myself in the mirror because of society’s flawed beauty standards. I grew up thinking that I need to be skinny to be loved and called beautiful. You can even check my 2015 blog posts about that. But when I saw Beyonce and Ashley Graham slaying, I knew that my body is just not being represented a lot more in media. Thank you queens for representing us curvy girls. Now, I feel more free and confident to wear what I want to. I am proud of every curves and edges and I am now being kind to my body. I take care of it and speak kind words to it. We are all beautiful. We don’t have to be tall, skinny, and white to radiate that beauty. It starts with our heart.

7. Papa: Passion and Bravery

Hi Papa. You and basketball are two peas in a pod. I knew what passion looks like through seeing you play and teach basketball. I knew what genuine love looks like because you consistently showed that to us when you were alive. I know that every step needs bravery, even when you have to make unpopular choices. I understood being passionate and brave at a young age, so thanks for that Papa. I am who I am because you were such a good example to us. Now, I am so dedicated to my goal because it’s very clear to me that service is my passion.


I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am without these people who gave me permission. How about you? Who are your heroes and how did they influence you?

100 Things to Expect Before you Enter Medschool Pilipinas Edition

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PARA ALAM NIYO KUNG ANONG PINAPASOK NIYO.

It’s true what they say, taking the first step is easy but staying is the hardest part. Now I’m writing this because I know that there are people who are patient enough to read my long posts on dreams, tips, and tricks on this roller coaster that we all are trying to figure out. So yeah one year, a year of Guyton, Junqueirra, Lippincott, Gray’s, and etc. To the incoming first year medical student or anyone who’s thinking about becoming a medical doctor, here’s what to expect and a lot more:

1. You’ll realize that there’s just a lot to do. Five hours of sleep is gold. Goodluck!
2. You will learn the art of setting ten or more alarms or else you’re doomed.
3. You will probably sit on your bed after a long day and be surprised to find out that it’s already the next day. The nap turned into a full blast sleep.
4. You’ll develop your own way of coping with stress.
5. You will hit pause on some of your hobbies.
6. Your college textbooks will seem basic. Yup, you can now devour alien medical jargon better. Congratulations, you’re not as clueless.
7. You’ll thank yourself for having friends from higher years. They’re angels.
8. You’ll probably establish a routine.
9. Family will start asking you about medical concerns. They think you’re a doctor already. (No no no, sobrang layo pa po).
10. You will ask yourself why did you even think of punishing your 20s. Believe me it’s normal.
11. You will panic and end up studying anyway.
12. You will transform into a tita. Your bag will have tissues, katinko, ibuprofen, hair tie, sanitizer, crackers and all other stuff cause you just need ’em.
13. You will stain your white uniform once or twice.
14. You will switch to comfy although less stylish shoes.
15. You’ll have your go-to coffee that keeps you alert enough to understand everything. (Caramel Macchiato hello).
16. You will regret not doing your laundry or ironing on time.
17. Your room will turn into a jungle on exam week.
18. You’ll learn how to choose your battles when things don’t go your way. There are some things you let slide so you’ll have energy for what’s important.
19. You will learn how to run away from negativity. You just don’t need that.
20. Hopefully, you’ll have a stronger faith. (Sometimes nadadaan mo ang exam sa tiwala lang. 😂). Paano?
21. You’ll accept that your time is limited. There are birthdays you can’t come to and graduations you can’t attend. 😭
22. You will forget most of what you learned.
23. But hopefully remember what you need.
24. You’ll learn how to take on more responsibility than you could ever imagine.
25. You’ll feel guilt from time to time cause unlike your friends who are productive members of the society, you’re still studying.
26. Your family will be supportive and extremely proud. They will introduce you as the child or sibling na “nagdodoctor.” (At nakakapressure siya.)
27. You’ll be really grateful for your family. Without them you can’t face this.
28. You’ll have better leadership and management skills.
29. You’ll have better communication skills.
30. You’ll probably have better note-taking strategies.
31. You’ll learn how to extract blood (if you’re not a medtech).
32. You’ll learn how to take a blood pressure (if your premed is not clinical.)
33. You’ll learn how to take a patient history way better than when you entered medschool.
34. Your classmates will teach you a lot of medical stuff. This will be useful for nonmed premeds. 
35. You’ll have a destressing activity. (Roaming around bookstores. 😍).
36. You’ll have your favorite stress relief drink ( Biggs’ MANGO GRAHAM).
37. You’ll know where the best coffee shops are hiding.
38. You’ll know when your best study time is.
39. You are probably following a YouTube channel that teaches you tricks and helps keep you sane. (Med Insider, Aura Azarcon, Cathy Gonzaga).
40. You’ll have destressing buddies.
41. You’ll have study buddies.
42. You’ll have your favorite spot in school.
43. You will handle overwhelm better.
44. You’ll be more accepting about people’s shortcomings because you have a lot too.
45. You’ll learn how to work with a team.
46. You’ll learn how to be productive even in mini breaks.
47. You’ll learn how to adjust to abrupt schedule changes.
48. You’ll probably be more persistent than you used to be (because you don’t have a choice!).
49. You understand people more. Community immersion will teach you where people are coming from.
50. You will probably rant on Twitter .
51. Sometimes memes will be your only source of happiness.
52. You will look for motivation posts.
53. If you were previously working, you will miss earning money.
54. If you used to travel you will miss it, a lot. But treating this as a new adventure will do the trick.
55. You will doubt yourself 99% of the time but you’ll still push through anyway. Giving up is not an option.
56. You’ll feel like a badass when you can finally understand a concept by heart.
57. You’ll probably have a clue what specialties you MIGHT like.
58. Or might still not have a clue, and it’s okay.
59. You will feel like you gave your all but it still wasn’t enough.
60. You’ll be proud of yourself for trying.
61. You’ll thank God for the gift of friends who are always there during your breakdowns.
62. You’ll have great friends.
63. You’ll be a better teacher. 
64. You’ll give time for family even if it’s just a quick chat.
65. You will learn how to establish boundaries so that your safe space and sanity are still intact.
66. You will learn to celebrate your wins and work hard so that you won’t repeat your losses.
67. You’ll thank your past self for loving science. Because when you’re still curious, you’ll keep on wanting to learn.
68. You’ll learn that consistency is key, not motivation or inspiration.
69. You’ll meet amazing Doctors and ask yourself if you’ll ever be like them.
70. You will accept that medicine is your life and what’s worth having never comes easy.
71. You will still procrastinate even if you don’t want to.
72. You will know what kind of learner you are. (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or mixed).
73. You won’t entertain toxic people because guess what, you don’t even have the time. Lol.
74. You will discover new friendships, and see how amazing your classmates are (even if you’ve seen each other’s toxic side haha). Because yeah we’re humans and that’s what we do. We try to be better.
75. You will need your best friend.
76. You will probably got the hang of how your school gives tests.
77. Sometimes your brain will shut down because it needs rest. Let it.
78. You’ll learn how to be kind to yourself especially when you are coming short of your goals.
79. You’ll know that you can’t study everything but at least you tried your best.
80. You will be humbled by how much you do not know.
81. You will be grateful for the chance to learn more.
82. You will learn how to maximize any opportunity for sleeping. (Yung tipong makadikit lang ulo mo sa pader, tulog ka na.)
83. You will thrive in some subjects and be astounded by how dumb you can be in other areas. 😂 But it’s okay.
84. You’ll learn the value of commitment. It’s hard to commit to this profession but if you love what you do nothing will stop you from hustling.
85. You will make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes you’ll feel like a walking mistake hahaha. But that’s how we learn, and you’ll learn to accept that.
86. You’ll get jealous. Because your friends are getting married and having babies. But, you’ll realize that everybody has their own story. And this is yours, it may be different but it is yours.
87. Discomfort will be your comfort.
88. Anxiety will always be there. But you’ll know that you are bigger than the negative whispers in your head.
89. You will say a lot of sorry’s for flaking out on appointments because you are just too tired to go out.
90. You will feel how much your friends love you because they will understand.
91. You will meet your idols. (Doc Gia and Doc Fortun yieee thank you Anatomy Teaching Learning and Academic Society!)
92. You will learn way more than you thought you ever could. What you study in undergrad for a semester, you’ll study for a week. Surprise!
93. Music will be your best friend.
94. You’ll have developed tricks to keep you awake when studying. Even something as weird as speaking in a British accent while memorizing cranial nerves.
95. You will attract people who are like you.
96. You will be braver and stronger than you ever thought. You’ll realize that medschool will not care about your personal problems, you will still take exams no matter how shitty you feel.
97. You will be extremely grateful for every person cheering you on.
98. Your cats and dogs will be your sanctuary. You will miss them a lot. Hays.
99. You will get sick but you’ll handle it aka superhuman ka. Haha.
100. Once you’re done with first year, it will probably be more clear for you if this is the life you want for yourself.

It is an eternity of studying. If you’re one of the fools, you know that it still is. ❤️

Feel free to add more in the comments so we can guide future MDs.😊