Of dreams coming true

I still don’t have a concrete reason as to why I chose this field. I just know deep in my heart that I am exactly where I am meant to be. To you, who’s reading this: Dreams do come true. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I believe that every tiny step, bump on the road, curve ball and chaos that has happened in the past, has led to this moment.

A week ago, I just graduated medical school. Yes, finally, after four years of sleepless nights, unlimited exams, a global pandemic, here we are. Med school is now over and done. Hooray! I have been patting myself in the back for God knows how long because (if you have been following this blog since its early days) I really never thought that this day would be possible.

To be honest, I don’t know what to feel. I am happy, grateful and relieved. I am happy because, at least the bulk of studying is temporarily over. I am grateful because of all the people, who made this caveat possible. I am also relieved because, it is now less exhausting, at least senior internship will not require me to go on duty for 36 hours.

Junior internship was exhausting albeit life changing overall. If there is a word that is more extreme than that, please tell me because as far as I know, I reached my limit in terms of overall exhaustion. Medical school was hard. Medical school stole so much time that I could have spent with the important people in my life, but aah why is this still so fulfilling.

This brings me back to one of the toxic shifts in the medical ward wherein I had an epiphany. When I was still in my undergraduate days in UP, I used to love watching Marvel movies. I would download and watch every character’s movie, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, etc. To be honest, I do not understand why I loved those movies, but for some unknown reason, I revel in watching Superheroes. 

Maybe because they give hope in impossible situations. They have principles that they try their best to live up to. They use their intelligence in thinking of the best strategies to combat the bad guy or to solve a problem that could lead to the annihilation of human race. I know it’s quite romanticized, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. They try their best even if it means giving their lives in the pursuit of the greater good. I love those storylines. 

Is that related to me wanting to be a doctor? Is that why no matter how hard it gets, I’d still do this anyway? I am not a superhero with special powers. I know for a fact that I am just a simple human being who’s trying to help out sick people. I’m just a random human who loves Science, and gets a high in making strategies that solve health issues of people. As compared to those fictional superheroes, I am boring.

I still don’t have a concrete reason as to why I chose this field. I just know deep in my heart that I am exactly where I am meant to be. To you, who’s reading this: Dreams do come true. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I believe that every tiny step, bump on the road, curve ball and chaos that has happened in the past, has led to this moment.

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. 

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.

Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay.

In this short life, why not stop living for the likes, but rather live for the things that make your heart beat a little bit stronger?

I know what you desire. I know that there’s one thing that you want, that all of us wants. You want to be happy. I mean, who doesn’t want that? You want your heart to feel at ease. You want to exist in this world with that spark and that fire. You want to feel peace and security. You want that heart of yours to have a warm and fuzzy feeling.

But let me break this down for you love, just like every other pursuit that we have in our lives, happiness takes work. Happiness will not be consistent, because in order for life to be interesting, sadness must be felt. However, the probability of your heart feeling at ease increases when you do the work. Let’s say I’m your soul doctor, what will I prescribe you?

I can only think of one thing, and that is, stopping yourself from wanting everyone to like you. We grew up wanting to please our parents. Maybe you bend over backwards just to make your partner happy. You may even not express who you truly are for fear that you won’t be accepted by your family. Maybe you’re pursuing a career that your parents want for you but your heart is nudging you to do an entirely different thing. You may show people that you are strong, smart, and perfect and never want even a drop of weakness to spill. Or maybe you created a persona on social media that does not reflect your true self. You post all these glamorous photos, when the truth is, you are dying inside.

Maybe you live for the likes, the heart reacts, the compliments, or applause. You may be living for the titles so that people can admire you because you’re a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer. But let me ask you something, does the superficial world create a warm and fuzzy feeling that sustains you to wake up and do the work every single day? Do you feel like you are living a life filled with gratitude and meaning? Or are you just waking up, working, achieving, and posting?

In this short life, why not stop living for the likes, but rather live for the things that make your heart beat a little bit stronger? Why not live for the moments that you will remember before your last breath? You need to start really living, now. You need to be who you exactly are. Stop chasing dreams for the applause. Just do things because it gives you joy and it serves other people. Be honest with yourself and maybe then, you’ll find yourself breathing lightly, and smiling, not because of likes on Facebook, but because you genuinely adore the person that you see in the mirror.

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.

Of big dreams and the boxes they put us in

You have every right to soar as high as you want, so don’t let anyone take away that fire because that has a reason for existing.

Have you ever been criticized because of how crazy big your dreams are? To be honest, us dreamers are often called insane. For a little bit of back story, I grew up as a small town girl surrounded by poverty. I often heard comments from older people, often relatives, saying “Masyadong mataas pangarap nyan (her dreams are too high).” I didn’t understand what was wrong with dreaming of a more comfortable life, one wherein you don’t have to worry whether there will be enough money to buy dinner or whether you will have allowance for the next few weeks. I just simply wanted a better life for me and my family. I clearly saw how opportunities are more available for those who have the resources.

I also wanted to help people so bad. I’d get really sad when I see kids who are begging for money on the streets and I don’t have even a penny to give them. I see farmers who work so hard but still it’s not enough to provide for their children. I even had insomnia as early as fourth grade because I couldn’t fathom how hard life is for us, and worse, for the people who don’t have jobs and education and money to afford food. I am often heartbroken when I think of how to help when I don’t even have enough for myself.

I figured out that the only way to end the cycle of poverty is to break free from the boxes that I was put in from the moment I was born, if I were to elevate the lives of others who are in need. Here are the ten boxes that I was put in and how I constantly worked and still am working to break free from them. If you can resonate, feel free to comment below.

1. I will end up like my parents who married early and so they became poor.
First off, I do not judge my parents for marrying early. If not for their eloping, I wouldn’t even exist (lol). Do I support those decisions? No. But, change it? I can’t because it’s in the past. Even as a young kid, since all of my siblings are girls, we have always been given the golden advice, “Do not be like your parents who married early.” “Do not get pregnant early.” Okay, that’s fine, I appreciate the concern, but when you’ve been told these unsolicited advice from the same people ever since you started thinking, it gets really old. It gets too repetitive and it annoys you. My parents tried their best. They made a mistake, but then went on with their lives, and so people should move on from that. Just because their marriage failed, it doesn’t mean that those things will happen to us. So if you’re kids of teenage parents, who have been constantly bombarded with this kind of advice, just keep studying and learning and don’t mind them. You have the power to live the way you want to and actively chase a future that you desire. And besides, even if you make mistakes, you’re the one who will deal with it, not them. Just because these stories are repeatedly said to you, that doesn’t mean that the same thing will happen to you.

2. Girls aren’t supposed to be too smart.
It’s good when you are smart, but when you are too smart, you will be bashed. I have an uncle who consistently smart-shamed me and my siblings. For instance, he told me that just because my siblings and I studied in a top university that doesn’t mean that we are good people. It’s so toxic, right? I was even surprised that this patriarchal uncle of ours would even bring that up just because I was defending myself when he was about to physically hurt me. He gets so annoyed whenever any of us kids speak up because children, especially girls, are not supposed to say anything when the oldies are talking. I never heard them be proud of our achievements. Actually, I never even cared, but of course when they do things that would harm us, we have to speak up, and tell them a resounding, “No, you don’t get to treat us this way.” When girls start speaking up when they’re uncomfortable in any situation, or when they achieve a lot and have a mind of their own, why do they get smart-shamed? Why don’t we honor the hardwork and persistence of girls? Why do some men get threatened when a woman slays? You can be smart, badass, confident, compassionate, and kind at the same time. You can be relentless in your passion. You can and must speak up when someone threatens your peace or shames you for being a smart and hardworking human being. You have every right to soar as high as you want, so don’t let anyone take away that fire because that has a reason for existing, okay?


3. I should wear conservative clothes if I don’t want to be raped.
There’s a reason why we evolved as humans. We have the power to control our carnal desires. Sadly, I haven’t met a woman who hasn’t been harrassed ever in her life. We start getting objectified the moment we were born. I couldn’t wear what I want because someone would always say I’m too fat, or my clothes are too fit or too sexy. I’m constantly told that I will be harassed if I wear clothes that flatter my plus size curvy body. Why is it our fault that some humans are just pure evil? I will not stop wearing clothes that express myself and makes me feel powerful and confident whether it’s a sweater or sexy shorts. We tell the world that we are stopping this whole story of women adjusting to the preferences of men. We get to choose our clothes. We dress for ourselves and not for men. Fashion is our creative expression.

4. I should downplay my achievements.
As women we work extra hard because we already have to prove ourselves based on the biological sex we were born with. I didn’t understand why when I was dating, everything would be magical until they learned about my achievements and deep passion for tons of things. I have been ghosted and cheated on just because I was “too much.” And for a while, I believed these men. I thought I should be shy and quiet because I’m a woman. Somehow, having achieved a couple of things worked against my romantic relationships. It took a while for me to understand that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just that society has set a standard that men should be dominant over women. Wives must submit to their husbands and so women aren’t allowed to achieve more than their partners, because their ego will be crushed. We were told to please men and adjust to their desires even if it goes against our values. It stops now. Honor your hardwork and be proud of your accomplishments. The right partner will be proud of you and won’t shame you for your intellect and power. The right partner will support you to reach for the stars. Never play small, my love. Take space.

5. I am not allowed to have opinions because I am young.
Wisdom doesn’t always come with age. Just watch the news and look at the political circus. These are old people who clearly are allergic to wisdom or feedback. You will see five-year olds throwing tantrums and worse, these people are leading countries. So the moment that I realized that there are amazing adults and there are just terrible ones, I knew that age does not equate to wisdom. So even if I was young in my workplace, I suggested ideas, and expressed my opinions with utmost respect. It was not up to me if they will listen or not, but I have to share my perspective, because who knows who might need it? Practice your freedom of speech, but in a kind and respectful way. You are allowed to think and have opinions and express them. Just note that whatever you say would have consequences and you have to deal with them. Be extra brave. The world needs more of that.

6. I should tolerate being abused.
This box has haunted me for so many years and until now, I am still healing from the wounds of childhood trauma. When people, especially kids, experience abuse, it distorts their soul. For a long time, I didn’t know that I was abused until I stepped back and totally disconnected myself from this person. Always remember that love is supposed to make you feel free and safe. No one deserves to be shouted at, thrown objects at, and get physically abused. If you are in such environment, please be brave and have courage to ask for help because there are people who will help you. If you find yourself walking on thin ice, and rationalizing abusive acts, that is your sign to walk away and do everything to make your heart feel at ease. There are safe places for you.

7. I should dream small.
Success means different things for everyone. To some, it would mean, tons of money or a thriving career. Others would define success as having peace and being with the people they love. Bottomline is, we have different definitions of success. However, one message that I heard as I was growing up was not to dream too much because you’ll end up disappointed when you don’t get them. I totally understand these sentiments. But please hear me out before you decide on not pursuing your dreams. You only have one life. Who knows what will happen to our consciousness once we’re gone. So, isn’t it exciting to spend that short life, chasing and living your passion? Would you be happy on your deathbed with a long list of what-ifs? So no matter how big or small your dreams are, that’s not the point. The question that we must ask ourselves is are we willing to be brave enough to work hard for that thing that makes you come alive? Always remember that you don’t need to have it all figured out to move forward, you just have to take one step and then another and then another. It’s also not about the end goal my love, it’s about the journey, and how you are evolving along the process. Spend your short life, wisely.

8. Medschool is expensive, a poor girl can’t do that.
This is a story that I have repeatedly told myself. If you have been following my blog, you would know that I gave up way before I knew what God’s plans for me were. Everybody said that it will cost a lot, and I realized that it’s true because our family’s drowning in debt, and I couldn’t just let them starve so that I can pursue my passion. I lived in a lack mentality back then. However, the moment that I surrendered control and just let things flow, blessings just kept on coming. I wrote a pact with the universe and it goes like this, “Hey universe, I have these big dreams deeply planted in my heart and for some unknown voodoo reason, I just can’t shake it off. But the thing is, there are bills to pay and siblings who are in highschool and college. I did my best already and I will keep on trying, so please, if you can’t stop this inner voice that wants me to be a doctor, then I’ll just trust that wherever you are taking me, is where I’m supposed to be. I’m okay with whatever the outcome is.” I prioritized our needs and just surrendered everything to a power that is way bigger than my circumstances. And just like that, the right people came. A person approached and volunteered to pay for my tuition fee and my siblings got in good jobs which is enough for our famiily’s basic needs. When people learned about my story, help just kept on coming, and that started more than two years ago. Again, I used to be a cynical person who didn’t believe in genuine kindness, and who grew up in a situation of lack. But my inner child just kept on whispering, and I now can finally say, “I do believe in magic.” There are stars which are seemingly to high to reach, they burn so bright and it will scare you. But good people exist, even in this unfair and confusing world, kindness and humanity exists. Medschool is expensive but a poor girl can do that as long as she keeps on working hard and trusting the process.

9. When dating, choose men with money.
Again, this belief is an effect of being in a patriarchal society. Money is a tool. It can buy you a house, some nice shoes, and a beautiful car. I was a big fan of working hard in order to get rich. Again, please, don’t get me wrong, I love money. However, I guess many of us women, have been taught that we should look at a man’s wallet when entertaining a potential partner. I think this is such a messed up belief. I think we should be a financially thriving woman on our own and if a man pursues you, look at his values. Does he respect you? Does he have goals? Is he lazy? Is he kind? Does he believe and support you not just in words but in action? Does he add more fulfillment in your life? Is he open-minded? Does he inspire you to be the best that you can be? And the one big question, “If I run into an accident and I become quadriplegic, will this guy take care of me?” Look at the end game. Choose someone that can weather the storms with you, someone who will not be disgusted to change your diapers when you’re old. Choose a person with a genuine soul because you can earn money through hardwork but you don’t just bump into good men. Treat men as icing on a cake. You are the cake, you’re sweet and yummy on its own, the icing and cherry on top just makes it better.


10. I am not enough.
Have you ever been to a family gathering and suddenly you hear an aunt say, “Hey, you got fat.” Maybe someone commented on your physical appearance, or how you dress. I know some women who are pressured to look good even though they are tired because of academics or child care. Maybe you’ve even counted calories to the point of insanity or tried fad diets that ended up making you sick. Why do we even do that? It seems like there’s a looming voice that tells us that we are not enough, that we need to buy this to look pretty or take this pill to lose weight. Where is this even coming from? It’s high time that we break free from the impossible standards of being a woman with a thriving career, a perfect body, a beautiful family, and all that bullshit of balance. We are enough just by being who we are and we are allowed to be a work in progress. We are allowed to look unpretty. We can admit that we aren’t the perfect daughters or mothers, or that we have it all together all the time. We are enough. You are enough. I try my best to be more self-aware in instances wherein I start retelling the story that I should be good at this by now, I should have done this. I should be prettier, smarter, or more balanced. I try my best to unlearn the stories that I have absorbed from the environment that I was born in. So, it’s okay. Being flawed is okay. You are amazing, exacly as you are.

Let’s break free from the boxes that we initially had no control over. Let’s trust that our heart is leading us to the right place because maybe when we are free,  that’s when we can move from a place of authenticity. I know that you probably have different boxes. But together, we can break free from them, or even better, forget that they exist in the first place.

How to stay on track when everything sucks

We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.

Sometimes shit after shit after shit happens. It’s like the cycle never ends. There are just those days when you feel like a joke is intentionally being played on you. And of course our natural response is to get upset. Even as adults we throw tantrums and lash out on people who have nothing to do with what’s happening to us. I am so guilty when this happens. Oftentimes, the people around me are the casualty. For us, personal development maniacs, we don’t want this happening. We always aspire to be balanced, focused, and on track. But life just isn’t like that. Nothing is and will ever be perfect. There are days when we can master our emotions but there will be times when it will just suck. How do we still stay focused and how do we get going even when the universe is seemingly against us?

I have two not-so-secret ingredients for that. These are gratitude and perspective management.

I know what you’re thinking reader. How on earth could I still be grateful when the bills are piling up, when there are deadlines to meet, kids to take care of, debts to pay, and a freaking pandemic? Just, how?


STEP 1. BREATHE AND SAY THANK YOU.
I want you to grab a notebook, and write. Write a list of things that you are grateful for. Seriously, if you want to stay true to your mission, do it now. I’m telling you, it’s impossible to not have anything on that list. Do you have a family or a friend who supports you? Are you eating at least three meals a day? Do you have the privilege of getting quality education? Maybe you have a pet who brings you immense joy or a plant that you are taking care of. If you have time to think about everything that’s going wrong, then you definitely have time to think about what’s going right. I want you to have as much as possible an objective and fair amount of positive and negative thoughts. So there’s a pandemic, it is a reality. The government is a circus, that is undeniably true. But please, even if so many bad things are happening, don’t fall into the trap of negative bias.


STEP 2. MANAGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
Now that you have listed the things that you are genuinely grateful for, do the work. Where are you right now and how can you make a difference in your own space? We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.



STEP 3. CREATE THE THINGS YOU WISH EXISTED.
So you want a better world? Then start off with being a better you. You want transparent leadership? Then be that leader that you wish to be. Sometimes we get overwhelmed because we think only big things can make the world change. But the truth is, big wins are built by small triumphs. Start where you are. If you want to help the impoverished, then focus on making yourself financially full, little by little. Start a profitable business so that you can finance others who are in need, slowly but surely. If you are drowned in debt, start listing all those payables, and prioritize paying them. Do what you have to do to raise money to pay them. Cut back on your expenses. If you are a trauma survivor then maybe you can be that person who listens to someone who’s in a lot of pain. If you’re having trouble with academics, then be creative and specific and work on your weak points. Be your own hero. Be your own role model. You never know how much influence you are making.


You have to stay connected to your purpose and know that your mission in this world trumps every setback and every heartache. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Always remember the things which are working out. Create the things you wish to have existed and follow through. This is how you change the world, by first and foremost, changing “you.”

How to be certain that medschool is for you

Envision yourself ten years from now. Will you be okay with not becoming a medical doctor? Can you see a career path that resonates more with your soul?

Career paths are tricky. When we are young, it feels like we are being pulled from a million different directions. There’s the expectation of your parents, the unsolicited advice from the extended family, and sometimes we forget the very subtle whisper. What do I mean by the whisper? I heard this ever since I was young. It is that voice that makes you want to do something that to others may not make sense but to you, it intuitively does. I can’t even find words to articulate this whisper, but I guess it’s a result of being in tune with one’s soul.

That is so far, the best description that I could construct about my reason as to why I chose medicine, and why I’ll keep choosing it even if it can be excruciatingly hard. One major purpose behind this blog is, as a kid, I needed a person who could have guided and told me about the medical world. In my brain, I knew that it was hard, but what I didn’t know was the depth of sacrifices and the waves of uncertainties that comes along with learning how to save someone’s life. So please allow me to be your guru for a few minutes, if you’re contemplating about becoming a medical student. Here are questions that you must take time to ponder on.

1. Do you love learning?
You’ll be reading tons of books. Your college books are nothing compared to medical books. You must have a genuine love and thirst for learning if you want to become a doctor. Education isn’t even over when you graduate medschool my dear. You will still learn new information since science and medicine are rapidly evolving disciplines. If you are the type of person who devours learning, then you’ll have the stamina to digest extremely technical scientific information. Being a bookworm and science nerd is a good indicator that you will last in this game.

2. Do you love helping people?

Helping is the nature of the job. Your goal is to ease people from sufferring. If you are on the more selfish spectrum, this career might not become fulfilling for you. If your motivation is money, don’t go to medschool, there are tons of easier ways to do that. Remember that you will be handling patients from all walks of life and your sworn duty is to help them inspite of whoever they are, so you should have a sense of altruism. It doesn’t matter if your patient is a philantrophist or a criminal. If a human needs medical attention, you must help. It must be innate in your heart so that treating patients will be in line with your personality. Plus, patients will feel it if you are genuine.

3. Are you willing to compromise?

You will see your friends moving forward in their careers and travelling but you will be stuck with your books for the next five years of your life. Time with family, friends, and your partner will be significantly reduced. If deep within your heart, you have this knowing that the sacrifices will be all worth it, then that’s great. It means that you can withstand the long years of studying. But let me tell you in advance that, there are many birthdays that you can’t come to, weddings or anniversaries that you can’t attend, and concerts that you won’t be able to watch. Financial freedom will be put on the side. Date nights will get cancelled. Know what you are getting yourself into.

4. Are you willing to fail?

Getting in medical school is a caveat by itself. You will get accepted because you’re a diamond in the rough. The admission committee saw that you can survive and thrive even in adverse situations. They know that you are smart and resilient enough for this path. However, you cannot be a jack of all trades. Unless you’re one of the select few geniuses who won the IQ genetic lottery, you will most probably fail exams. Plus, life’s challenges won’t stop just because you’re a medical student. Your parents might get sick, sometimes there will be death in the family, your mental and physical health might plummet, or financial meltdowns might occur. You have to remember in these moments that, no matter how many times you stumble, you will definitely rise. If you are okay with setbacks and failures, and if you have a fast move-on rate, then this path could really be for you.


5. Can you imagine doing anything else?

Envision yourself ten years from now. Will you be okay with not becoming a medical doctor? Can you see a career path that resonates more with your soul? If you can, then try that first. I did that because I wasn’t that sure when I was younger. However, I was faced with a fork in the road. I couldn’t unhear the whisper. I can’t imagine living a life of what-ifs ten years from when I was 23. If you can’t think of a reason as to why you must not study medicine, well, at least give it a try then. Go for it, if you can’t imagine doing anything else. And if you end up not liking this path, well at least you gave it a shot. You chose to be brave and that’s something to be proud of.

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this whether you’re a premed, med student, or a practicing medical doctor. Let us help each other out so that there will be more doctors who are in it because they consciously chose this path.