What it feels like turning 25


“Tumatanda ka na nga,” my cousin quipped after I told her how I spent my first day as a 25-year-old: at home, watching movies and television shows, eating pandesal and taho and home-made spaghetti from the friendly neighborhood karinderya.

This year, all I wanted to do for my birthday is rest, because it has been nonstop since 2016 kicked in: elections, opening of classes, and the start of the Duterte administration.

I am in desperate need of rest, and my body says so too. For two months now I’ve been coughing like there’s no tomorrow, and I’m just really, really tired.

I should’ve taken a birthday week leave (Kai beat me to it!), but I wanted to keep my yearly tradition of taking a week off every August. I wonder if this cough will get any better by then.

On my birthday, I found time to rest and just be grateful that I am one year older, and only because the Lord willed it so.

I told my best friend Carlo that turning 25 feels like the most natural thing.

I realized that the so-called quarter life crisis people keep talking about is the least of my worries now. I’m not worried about where I should be at this point in my life because I have eternity – not the world’s timelines – in my mind,

And as far as eternity is concerned, where I am right now is exactly where God wants me to be, and where He will use me for His greater glory.

For the past months, the Lord has been teaching me two things: patience and courage. Patience, and to wait upon the Lord and His promises. Courage, and to fear nothing but God, as I grow more in love with Him every day.

How apt, because the best years are still ahead me. And that’s why turning 25 excites me.

Here’s to another year of daily surrenders, and “relying on God…as if nothing had yet been done”.

Smiles and Promises 2.0: Week 4

Oh, I’m on Week 4 already!

July 10: Met with my best friend after Sunday service to catch up, supposedly over coffee and movie, but we had Japanese dinner and ice cream instead. It was a spontaneous “Tara, coffee?” thing – pretty much how our friendship has always been all these years.

Would’ve wanted to watch Finding Dory too, but it was a short meeting. Next time, we’ll get coffee, and go to National Museum or catch a Cinema ’76 movie – any will do, doesn’t matter. It’s the company that counts.

To be honest, if you asked me back in 2012, it would’ve never crossed my mind that he would be my best guy friend after college. Life and its surprises.


July 12: Back at the Supreme Court to cover the historic ruling of an arbitral tribunal on the Philippine case vs. China. Took this photo because Naoki and Kuya Roque stood out with their blue jackets (it was just drizzling!).

supreme court

July 13: Housewarming (Aika and Raisa’s) and birthday (Nile) party with Rapplers!


Photo c/o Nile

July 14: I was interviewed by two different groups of students for their communication subjects. The first interview was on HIV reporting, the other, on how I got started in journalism. The simple gift below was from the second group of students.


I attended a workshop on persons with intellectual disabilities that day with Buena, Raisa, Alecs, and Patty. After the workshop, all of us save from Patty watched during the gala night of Pauwi Na, directed by Paolo Villaluna.

July 16: Dinner with Kai and Mayel kickstarted my birthday week (ish)! We met at Subspace first and stayed there for an hour or so, then had dinner at Yedang and talked (while eating) for 4 hours non-stop.


Just some of Subspace’s unique decors

I always lose track of the time when I’m with these two. I love it.


Smiles and Promises 2.0: Week 3

July 4: Missed* the first Sunday of the month to attend the dedication of my 3rd** inaanak, but I still got to bond with Honeylet and Ione for a quick UP run after service. Tito Leo and Tita Heidi also brought Ione and I along for a dinner after the run. Yey!


July 4: It’s my day-off and I spent the entire day bed-resting my cough away. I’m still coughing as I type this, but here’s to hoping I got at least a little better huhu.

But I wasn’t holed up at home all day. I went out for dinner with Sir Mario, Roda, her sister Oan, and new friend Mariel. Apparently there’s a running joke at DepEd that Roda, Mariel, and I are “sisters” because we look alike. You judge if it’s true!


Photo c/o Sir Mario

Usec Mario, see you around!

July 5: Went to Iloilo for a day-trip coverage. It was a jam-packed day so the only tourist-y shots I have are of those from the plane – clouds, sunrise, and sunset. Not bad. That quick visit piqued my interest of the city, though. I’ll be back, Iloilo.


July 8: Slept over at Buena’s place. She was my original running buddy, back when she was still based in QC. I left her place with a Myers-Briggs Personality Type (ISFJ), two books, and many stories to get me through until the next time we hang out again.:)


*Was able to stay and finish praise and worship time led by Ione, though.
**There’s an inaanak I don’t count anymore simply because I have no idea where he and his family are currently. They used to be our neighbors back in Biñan.

Smiles and Promises 2.0: Week 2

June 26: Started this new week on a good note: Brickfire and Headquarters in Katipunan with my favorite crew.

Photo c/o Johnmer

Look who’s back, though!

Be good, last week of June. Be good, please:)

June 27: And because we’re a clingy group~ CRC’s Young Adult group had an almost complete attendance (We missed you Kuya Fer!) plus Tito Mamer, and Kate and Johnmer’s friends:)


Photo c/o Betsy

June 30: The last (half) day of the Aquino administration was extremely tiring. Our team covered from the Times Street where now former President Benigno Aquino III resides as a private citizen.


The Aquino administration will be memorable to me since it’s the first administration I covered as a reporter. Below is a photo showing the closest I’ve ever been to Aquino. Despite everything, thank you, Mr. President.


To the first Cabinet secretary I covered: Thank you, Bro! It was not smooth-sailing covering you and your department, but here we are.


Thank you, too, Asec Rey! You were very forgiving to my newbie self 3 years ago, and I will always thank God for the grace you extended to me from then until now. See you around:)


July 1: #ChangeHasCome now that I’m covering a new beat. I’m still covering DepEd and DOH, but here’s a new challenge right here. Let’s go, DENR~


Met Saab after her band Cheats performed a few songs for Rappler’s Live Jam. Watch that here!


Then Karaoke Friday with Rapplers! Sang – what else? – Total Eclipse of the Heart for my only solo song~


Photo c/o Elize

Here we all are having fun during Naoki’s rendition of Mula sa Puso.


Photo c/o Elize

Didn’t take photos that night because I was having too much fun, so snatched Elize’s photos instead (hope she doesn’t mind hehe). Love this girl so much so I’d use the photo below even if it’s super unflattering (for me, she’s still gorg) huhuhu don’t leave meeeee~



Smiles and Promises 2.0: Week 1

Reviving this series because I really need to be reminded that life is good and that everything’s just a matter of perspective.

I did this series (weekly) back in 2011/2012 when I was nursing a broken heart. Today, I find myself in a world that’s harsher and angrier. I’m really not sure if the world has always been like this and I just grew up. Maybe. But most days, I don’t like myself and the world I live in.

This time, I’m going to keep updating the post with everything that made me happy/hopeful throughout the week.

June 22

7:20 am – Today I didn’t have to wait long for the Comet e-jeepney – just 5 minutes for a much cheaper alternative to my lazy self’s usual Uber/Grab ride. I’ve grown impatient over the years, and now I dread commute time which I used to enjoy before. But waiting is always rewarding in the end. Besides, life is filled with waiting anyway – it won’t adjust to my impatience and laziness.

It’s 7:50 am, I’m now at the LRT waiting in line. I’m still an hour and 10 minutes early for my coverage. I was happily surprised with the new bag inspecting machine – is that what it’s called? The lines here are not as bad as I imagined. See? It’s not that bad, Jee. Patience.

June 23


Ok, I didn’t take this photo. My best friend Carlo sent this to me at 5:57 am. He was at the Los Angeles stop of his US trip, and remembered how much I love Paul Rudd. He remembered me while on his US trip! This really, really made my day.