Friday, October 31, 2014

Thoughts of a Pinay at 23

I have written this blog entry because I have just read "Brain on 23" on Huffpost. Thus, my inspiration for this late night blogging. Time check, it's 3 in the morning, I am up. And yes, I am 23.

The article is super spot on for most 23-year-olds, including myself. It is true that at this point in my life, I know I should have been doing a lot of "more meaningful" things. A thing more valuable than just staring at this laptop screen typing out words for an article I'm not even sure anyone would read. Anyway, let me bring you to a 23-year-old Filipina's point of view.


I am 23. After adults have asked what my age is, their next question would be "May trabaho ka na ba?" (Are you working?). While it is true that we work jobs we aren't sure we want, sometimes we just have to. Filipino parents almost always expect their children to be "out and about" the moment they hold their diplomas in their hands or obtain their professional licenses. By that, I mean out of the house and about to get their own jobs and earn a living. According to one of the parents I know, his 'obligation' to his son ended the moment he graduated. I don't know exactly how to feel about that if I were in the son's shoes. Will I be sad because somehow it meant that my parents will stop giving me financial support and that I will be cut off of the privileges I have been enjoying all these years? Or should I be glad that finally my father has faith in me and that I am finally in-charge of my own life?

I am 23. After adults have known what my age is, some of them would follow it up with "Eh, nag-asawa ka na ba?" (Are you married yet?). Even if Wikihow has a handful of tips on how to deal with such a question, this would also throw a penny to our thoughts on the topic. And we couldn't just brush it off our shoulders. Why? Simply because some of our friends have been married, or engaged, and others already have kids. And while it's true that most of us 23s date people we aren't sure we love, sometimes we know we need to do it believing that among them, we will find "the one". We know there are online dating sites, but most of the time we meet people by way of common friends. And that's what makes break-ups worse. Either we see their activities on the social networks or we see them at our common friends' affairs. The latter usually happens. The birthdays, family-related celebrations, and fiestas surely wouldn't reduce the chance for that to happen!

Filipinos are big on marriage and families. We look forward to weddings and baby deliveries. That's what we celebrate. And I can't say 23 is too young for that (getting married or having a baby), nor will I say it's the right time for that. If I were put on that spot, my question for myself would be: Am I ready?

I am 23. After adults have known what my age is, some of them will say "Hindi na bagay sayo ang masyadong nag-babarkada" (Stop going out/partying too much). While it's true that most 23s spend hours drinking, whether it may be on the apartment floors or out on the bars or clubs, sometimes that's what we do to unwind, and most of the time, the only way we know how. It is true we have a few obligations and that we are often stressed. But we are not stressed because of work alone. We are stressed because once you're 23 and not in college anymore,the people around expect a lot from you.

I am 23. After adults have known this, they will start a financial lecture saying "Dapat nag-iipon ka na" (You should start saving while you're still young). This is actually one of the people's expectations from us. While it is true that we're officially done in school, working, and we don't have yet children or spouses, it is also true that we don't have secure jobs yet. Saving might be a priority for some, but most of us 23s don't really mind spending the whole paycheck on that designer shoes we've been eyeing for months now, or finally purchase the latest gadget out in the market.

Well, that's even better that other older adults saying "Tulongan mo naman ang mga magulang mong mapagtapos ang kapatid mo" (You should help your parents in paying your younger sibling's college dues). A known Filipino trait is our close family ties. And yes, part of that is actually giving our younger brother/sister an extra pocket money so he/she wouldn't be asking too much from our parents. Our parents do not really tell us to do this, but somehow it is given. In other words, "automatic".

I am 23, and I agree with Molly Sprayregen when she said that 23s worry all the time. Although we do, we still don't want to get older. And yes, we still want to be considered as kids. For the Filipino families, 23 is still considered to be in the youth zone. Our parents still want us around, although they wanted us to work, they would still look forward to holidays and long weekends so we can spend time with them. And as I have said, people expect a lot from us. We do expect a lot from ourselves too. We want to do so many things. We want to go to so many places. We want to meet different people.

We are 23 and we are hungry. We are hungry for recognition. We are hungry for wealth. We are hungry for success. We are hungry for love. We are hungry for happiness. And because we are not that young anymore, but still not old yet.. what we ought to do now is to enjoy. I just turned 23 and will remain to be for 11 more months. And I have decided to live the coming days with faith in my 23-year-old self. How about you? <3

*Thank you Molly Sprayregen for the inspiration :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What To See in DC

It has been a year since I had my one-of-a-kind travel experience to Washington, D.C. but the memory is still with me until this very moment. This proves that, that certain travel experience was superbly wonderful… truly unforgettable. And yes, I will be sharing my DC travel story here.

A week before the trip, my Auntie asked me what places I wanted to visit. I named a couple of places but the number one (#1) on my list is, of course, the White House.

photo from

I was set to arrive at the Washington Dulles International Airport after around 12 hours of travel time from South California. And of course, the dear lady is flying alone. I think I'm getting used to having solo flights/ solo trips already, which is actually kinda exciting. Also, it gives me a sense of independence.

On the day when we were about to visit the very residence of the President of the United States, I pulled off an outfit that was seemingly fitting to the occasion. Well, it isn’t very necessarily but a touch of travel fashion wouldn’t really hurt, would it? But there's actually a funny ending to this story, which you would know later.

Just one of the many, and I mean MANY tourists wanting to take photos of and with the most important house in the United States of America.
What you can see behind me is the First Lady's garden (as they would call it). And behind that is The House.
This is the House's frontyard.
After putting a checkmark on the number one in my "What To See in DC" list, we walked around the place to go see the other spectacular sites a tourist should check out.

Next on my list, The Washington Monument.

photo from
I actually didn't take that photo. But I chose that because the Monument absolutely looks amazing in it. And I know for sure that this photo was taken from the Lincoln Memorial angle, afterdark hours.

What's so interesting about the Washington Monument is the fact that you can actually see it wherever you are in the Central DC area (well, for as long as you are outside).

During my visit to DC, the Washington Monument was closed and under repair because an earthquake which struck the place last August 2011 caused cracks on the building. Not only was I unable to scale to the top, but there was also a massive construction scaffolding surrounding it, which I believe is already gone as of writing time (October 2014).

This is my own shot of the Monument. Notice the scaffolding I was telling you about.
Number three (#3), the United States Capitol.

If you notice, I'm already wearing slippers this time. I actually bought slippers at Macy's because my feet hurt after an hour of walking around with my new shoes on. In DC, especially around the National Mall, you will have to do a lot of WALKing.

Number 4, the Lincoln Memorial.

photo from
I have always wanted to visit this historical place of the Lincoln Memorial, as it always appears in movies. White House Down, starring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum is just one of the many movies where you can see this beautiful place.

Number 5, the Smithsonian Institute - National Museum of Natural History.

Well, I have decided to separately write about my visit to the National Museum of National History because it is surely worthy of another post, another story. It is just so fascinating how a lot of amazing things can be kept in one place.

Number 6, the World War II Memorial.

The World War Memorial is another beautiful place to see in DC. And not just see, if you're not in a hurry, you can just sit down and chill. You can enjoy the view around, just like what the people are doing in this photo.
Number 7, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.

This is another place to be, as it commemorates the September 11 terrorism that happened in Pentagon.

Number 8, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

I am a Catholic, so I included this religious place on my list. And I did not regret going here even if the place is kinda far from the central DC area already. There is so much beauty in the Basilica and I'm totally in awe of the art it has. I did not come to visit just to see the beautiful images but at the same time, to pray. I had the chance to hop from one chapel to another, and to pray to different saints. Plus, the place provides you with the serene ambiance which is just perfect.

photo from

There are more places to visit in DC, and so far I've gone to these eight places on my list. I have more stories to tell, because 1 post alone isn't enough for what I have to share about Washington, DC. Indeed, there are a lot of things to see in DC, but you shouldn't miss this eight! I'm glad I did go to DC and that i was able to visit the different national icons.

Wow, writing this feels so good. Till next post! <3