Millennial Mental Health

Okay so, this is an idea that’s been on my mind lately.
The mental health advocacy has been gaining a lot of traction lately (Ateneo’s Mental Health Awareness Week just ended yesterday, in fact). A good thing, definitely, but I’ve also always felt that it was symptomatic of something. I’m a psychology student, so maybe that explains why a number of friends and acquaintances have confided their depressive and neurotic tendencies – but I also know that it’s been a hot topic online and I also see how it’s become a central concern of this generation.
So I decided to run some queries, just check out what information is already readily available online.
And then I found this video (which my dad asked me to watch before but never got around to HAHAH sorry dad). I’ve known some of the information here for quite some time, but it gives you interesting insight when you put it all together (the beauty of knowledge ❤ ).
It’s a lot of things causing the rising mental health issues of this generation. The middle class parenting that got popular when we were younger. The instant gratification and immediate “connection” of technology. Capitalist, consumerist, materialistic society (it kinda stuck on my mind how professors [and students too] saw Holy Week as “a break so that they have the time they need to get work done). Success is driving us dry:
So how do you address this? Idk. Practice balance – not neutrality or passivity or numbness, but excellence (woot Aristotelian Virtues). Learn patience and inner silence and how to laugh at awkward and clumsy. See people as ends in themselves (yay Kant). Yes, these are just ideas, but they’re ideas that need to be talked about more.

How Would You Raise a Child Genius?

Technically this should be part of the Snippet Series, since it’s old, but I’ve decided to reserve that for more literary works. Practical works are timeless, in a way, so I don’t think I need to emphasize when I wrote them.

This isn’t very sharply hewn, but it was written to be a presentation, not a document.

So my mother tasked me with the job of helping her write a “lecture” about how to raise genius kids.

But I can’t write something like that on the spot, especially since I’m only the child and didn’t do any of the raising, and I don’t have much expert knowledge on the subject.

However, I can help out by saying that I think the way the topic is phrased is not properly focused. We shouldn’t be striving to populate the world with geniuses. There’s a Korean child prodigy by the name of Kim Ung-yong, who has the highest recorded IQ in human history. He speaks several languages, started being a guest student in a physics class at age 3, and worked for NASA at the age of 16. And now he’s just trying to live an ordinary life, and he’s encouraging others to do the same. There’s a long list of child prodigies who grew up normal.

Parents want the best for their kids. And the best does not mean being a genius. Nor does the best mean being an overachiever. It doesn’t matter how many instruments you’ve played, how many facts you’ve memorized, or how many medals you’ve garnered.

As Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” We can join the rat’s race and clamor after all the flashy things that the world wants. But that’s not what satisfies the soul, and that’s not what’s best for your child.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things shall be added unto you.” Don’t worry. Just don’t. Just train up a child in the way he should go, and everything will fall into place. Just like how the second circle in the 4 Spiritual Laws booklet shows a life that is orderly and peaceful because God is at the center, God’s centrality in the lives of our children will have the same effect. We need to trust that when it comes to our kids. What is true in our lives should reflect in how we raise our children.

Raise your child to seek wisdom, and he will be guided in the knowledge he comes across. If you value knowledge too much and wisdom too little, your child may acquire knowledge the way the world does, and he may fail to see God’s design in what exists, and the Truth may be taken from him.

Raise your child to value hard work, honesty, discipline and excellence, and not grades. This will teach him to persevere when he struggles, get back up when he fails, and to stand strong against the easy way out.

Raise your child to value respect, humility and teamwork, and he will know how to follow as well as how to lead, and he will see how the two are symbiotic and equal.

Most importantly, raise your child to love as Jesus loved – because, as Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love is the greatest thing we have, as Christians, as humans. It is the key to life, and therefore the best thing God wants your child to have.

If you raise your child up with the proper values and with the proper mindset, you won’t have just a genius. You’ll have a gamechanger. You will have brought into the world someone who honors, serves and loves God, and makes it known and felt, and that should be the greatest goal of any Christian parent.

Our God is the God of the impossible. He is the God who builds nations, heals the multitudes, and brings abundance to those who have few. He is our children’s God too. The sooner we help our darlings realize that the sooner miracles can happen. Our children are not called to success. They are called to service.

The world needs servant leaders, for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. The world needs harvesters, for the harvest is plenty. The world needs good Samaritans – in the fullness of the kindness of a stranger. The world does not need another prideful idol for its admiration. So pray, earnestly, for the Lord’s will to be done in your child’s life, and surrender, as Mary did.

Nation’s Due

Wrote this in 20 minutes. Sorry for typos and bad structure. Rushing to go to school.

So I read in the news (double checked, found the same story in Rappler and Philippine Star, because I just couldn’t believe it anymore) that Duterte is going to postpone the barangay elections. And you know what else he’s going to do? Fill up the vacant positions left by officials on holdover capacity himself. So he takes people out of commissions in the senate, in congress, and now even shifts power to his people down to local government units. Red flags everywhere. This is not how a democracy is run.

You know, I have this theory that Duterte is just one humongous distraction. There’s always drama going on, and it’s hard to keep up with any storyline – at this point, everything’s lumped up into one ugly mess, with Duterte smack dab at the centre of it all. Duterte’s name pops up on the news literally everyday – something he said, or something PresComm said, or something the opposition said about him. Doesn’t matter. The media eats it up, along with the captive audience that are the Filipinos (at least for those that actually bother with politics).

So, the media has its hairs split chasing the daily headaches Duterte’s administration has caused. No administration as a whole has ever acted with such lack of decorum, with such lack of consideration for the least of its citizens, with such pomp, with such a blatant disregard for the consequences of its actions, without any effort at all in at least appearing democratic and lawful (except when it’s convenient, i.e. I am never going to let go of his secret bank account or the Marcos burial. Of course. Classic). I’d like to argue that he’s messier than Marcos. After all, 3,240 people were killed during the time of Martial Law. And today? Close to 8,000. Marcos was in power for 20 years. This guy hasn’t even reached his anniversary. Don’t get me started on the falling economy and the tense foreign relations (even with China, who Duterte has been trying to suck up to, turned coat and is trying to set up house in Scarborough: There is literally no stability in this nation right now.

So what exactly are they trying to do, here? What is up with this blatant “I’ll just do what I want, the rest of you can go to hell” attitude? Is there some insidious master plan? Are we supposed to get mad? Will impeachment and revolution trigger us all into falling into their trap? Or was this paralysing paranoia the point – was this a ploy to shut us up lest we cause more trouble than good? What a way to abuse the enduring, pacifist Filipino attitudes. It can drive any rational person into madness.

I am reminded of a recent video I saw of the Trump administration. Apparently, while the media was gobbling up all his drama, bills were being filed in the senate – bills about removing their department of education, bills about Planned Parenthood, etc. Would it be possible to have a highly controversial bill passed without getting much attention from the media? Would the US be distracted from opposing something that directly affects the people? Could the same thing apply to us?

And isn’t just downright funny (in the absolute saddest sense of the word) that all of this is happening right now? The world has been thrown into chaos lately, 2016 events proved that. It almost makes you wonder if it was coordinated somehow, or if at least some of it was. What do these all have in common anyway?

Well. Us. The people. We grew afraid – the global economy recently fell and jobs have been a problem for a while now. Migrant labor competition only increases racism. Viral media only feeds impulses, and multiplies them across borders. Corruption cultivated what was planted in ignorance. We grew desperate, and someone stepped up to say all the pretty words we wanted to hear. Why or how didn’t matter. Nothing matters when all we think about is self-preservation.

What if at the end of it, this is the story we deserved? For not educating our fellowman, for not protecting the least of us, for being a cog in the machinery instead of an active agent? It’s so tempting to be overwhelmed and to turn away from trouble – to just focus on “doing your job.” Idk, maybe the worst of it would blow over, right? And then we’d be okay.

You’re incredibly numb for thinking you’re okay when the people around you aren’t.

No. Let yourself be hurt. And do something about it. Get creative. Get connected. Use your voice, mediate conflict, tell others. We should use that ability of ours while we still have it – far be it that it be taken from us… but it may.

I’m not pointing fingers anymore. I am a Filipino and I am responsible for my nation. Di ako aasa sa strong man na Presidente, di ako iiyak sa gilid. I have my own hand in letting this happen, and I have my own hand in fixing it. I know the responsibility isn’t mine alone, but I’m not going to wait anymore.

Ever since, my growth and ideals have been dedicated to you, my mother land. But as the days pass, I get more reasons to push myself in preparation to serve you. I deem it my moral responsibility, far deeper than quaint sentiment. Di ko ‘to ginagawa because I owe my life to you – I owe that to God and my parents. But you are undeniably part of who I am, and my heart aches even when you’ve grown numb. And my heart aches because it hopes. What gives hope to this heart is the joy of one day seeing you, knowing I had a hand in it somehow, liberated, to the glory of God.

8th of November

Written in response to the November 8, 2016 decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in the Philippines. The decision was publicly received with a mix of joy, relief and outrage.


Today is the 8th of November. The day the Notorious Nine ruled to bury the Dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It is a sacrilege to the symbolism of the national heritage site, a lambasting of the sacrifice of the generation before us, and a rehashing of the victimization of tens of thousands of citizens. The nation has been consumed into a numb slumber by its blindness, its humanity inverted by its twisted, conceited logic.

I don’t get why they said to “move on.” “Let’s be united,” they said.

Move on? Why should we? Were we even bitter before that?

We were making reparations, demanding justice for what was lost. Mali bang maghanap ng hustisya? Tinatamad lang ba talaga kayo? Gusto niyo bang mag-“shut up na lang” kami, which is exactly what Marcos wanted, and why so many journalists were killed in the first place?

So magpapaka-“good boy” kayo by saying, “Dears, let’s stop fighting. This is immature.” Don’t try to act all fudging holier-than-thou. Pareho lang ‘yon sa pagtatanggal ng boses namin.

‘Pag kinatay ang ama mo, ‘pag ginahasa ina mo, ‘pag trentang taon na nawawala ang bunga ng iyong sinapupunan, come right back at me and tell me this is immature.

Aksidente ba? Fudging no. Was it for a higher good? Don’t even go there. You know it was intentional, and you know what the intention was.

Kung may puso ka, hindi mo dedepensahan si Marcos. Kung tao ka, rerespetuhin mo ang kapwa tao. Kung Pilipino ka, may pake ka sa pinagdaanan ng kababayan mo. Kung may konsiyensiya ka, hindi mo masisikmuraing umuunlad buhay mo (which it actually wasn’t during the Marcos dictatorship, by the way) habang may namamatay sa tabi mo. And don’t you dare play Pilate.

We weren’t bitter and divisive before all this. Your blatant disregard for your fellowman is what split us up. It’s what drew the line.

Don’t try to turn the tables of who is causing the division, mmkay? Ikaw ang nang-iwan sa kababayan mong humihiyaw sa kamay ng militar.

We’ll be over here trying to fix this. You can come back when you’ve woken up.

Christians and Duterte

This post was incited by an online post that a fellow Christian made, and at this point I knew that I had to say something. This is an effort to correct in love, as Paul advised in Galatians 6:1 and 2 Thessolonians 3:15.

As a Filipino and as a Christian, I really, REALLY DO NOT want Duterte to win (the possibility worries me, since he seems to have a good chance of winning, according to recent polls).

First, he’s proud and ignorant. He makes promises he can’t keep (it is not possible to clean up a government in a matter of six months). He is ignorant of policy and the truth (or at least, he doesn’t show he knows policy and law in the debates or his campaigns. I know he served in executive, legislative and judiciary, but the fact that he isn’t showing his knowledge in these fields proves something about his attitude towards them regarding their importance in government procedures. And he hasn’t said ANYTHING concrete about what he plans to do once in his position, aside from slay all the wrongdoers. And he is closed to whatever other truth might come to light, i.e. lack of due process, his ignorance about Mar’s Wharton degree).

He has shown a great level of indecision (as seen in how he keeps promising things and then changing his mind when he was filing for candidacy. When he finally made the absolutely final decision, his reason was so that Grace Poe wouldn’t win. Now in the footage before the second debate aired, we see him sweet-talking her. His conviction isn’t just flawed, it’s inconsistent and flimsy).

Furthermore, he has no respect for women (as seen in the images of him kissing female supporters), and does not honor the sanctity of marriage (he even said he’d bring both his wife and his girlfriend to Malacanang).

But worst of all, he is a murderer, and unashamed of it. He ignores due process. He is without mercy and does not see the capacity of a human being for transformation.

It bothers me that there are so many Filipinos, even Christians, especially some I really look up to, who, despite all these terrible things, in full love for their country, still support this mayor. A mayor who has monopolized a city for two decades, a city which was only VOTED safest city on a non-prestigious site (Anyone could vote for this, and we don’t know the criteria used. And another thing is, people outside of Davao were ignorant of his administration until the “world” recognized us; the funny thing about Filipinos is that we only ever appreciate something about ourselves once a foreigner approves of it).

People believe that what he did in Davao, he can replicate on a national scale. But doing good in one city does not mean that you have the capacity to change an entire nation (much less in six months. He’s been in Davao for 20 years and things still aren’t perfect. It had the 4th highest crime rating in 2014). Didn’t we trust Binay because of what he did in Makati? And there’s proof that he doesn’t know what he’s doing as VP. Duterte is not a thief, but the result will be the same – he won’t know what he’s doing, either. I think Duterte means well – I vouch for the purity and intensity of his intentions. He’s not out there for power or money. I think he genuinely wants to do everything he can to help the Filipino people. But he will fail as a president, because the system does not work the way he’s used to it working. The Philippines is not Davao – the culture is more diverse, the needs are greater, more widespread, and more varied. And the president is not a mayor – the responsibilities are not the same, and the processes are not the same.

Then people would be so disappointed – either because he failed to deliver his full platform within his promised time period or from the suppression of freedom that they feel – and there’d be rallies and disorder. And Duterte being Duterte, he will react by killing off those who oppose his administration.

That’s what vigilante justice is going to end up looking like on a national scale. Isn’t this what he promised, to cut off anyone who comes in his way? Knowing his pride, he’d probably stick to it when things go awry. Slippery slope, maybe? But if you’ve seen how things can go viral, how people can be lit up aflame in excitement, how society can be overturned in a day, then I think you can say I have all the right to fear this.

Returning to Christians being avid supporters of Duterte – they’re entitled to their own opinions, sure, but I really don’t think Duterte should be given the Christian vote for the myriad of reasons I mentioned above (not to mention Duterte even badmouthed the pope in an unnecessary way, which I think shows how little reverence he has for spiritual figures, and perhaps even for God). It’s not something to be advocated. Yet I see these Christians posting Duterte support posts on Facebook. And I’m just like, is this consistent at all with Biblical teaching?

“Thou shalt not murder.” Exodus 20:13

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

There are a million other itty bitty verses and character traits I could nitpick on, but let’s stick with those monumental three. And here’s the biggest question of all: where is the mercy? Isn’t that what we are supposed to preach above everything else? Where is the love? We were saved by grace. We were supposed to suffer and die. THAT’S what we deserve, just as much as all the drug dealers and criminals deserve (Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”). But no. Our debt was cancelled. We have been made new. I can’t even begin to reference all the verses that teach this. This is the foundation of our faith.

Are we going to be like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35? We were given grace, and we should give grace. To do otherwise is to slap away the merciful hand of God when he reached out to us.

The Bible is clear. There is absolutely NOTHING in Duterte that a Christian should find attractive.

But this is what Christians are espousing, and this is what their followers and those in their spheres of influence see. Some people look up to them and rely on them for wise counsel and guidance. Is this really what our Christian brothers and sisters are going to teach them? To honor a murderer by giving him the highest position in the land? To call a man who cheats on his wife without remorse a man of integrity, even when he is unopen to the idea of divorce in the Philippines as seen in the debate last Sunday?

None of the presidential candidates lead quite like Christ leads, granted. Even the person I’m voting for, Mar, doesn’t. But Duterte’s behavior and morals are unacceptable in the Christian community, and I cannot believe that there are even Christian pastors who vouch for him. We are to involve Christ’s love in all that we do, even politics. Even non-believers can see the perils of his possible presidency and the fault of his character, why can’t we?



Written prior to my Philosophy oral exam, because I was panicky and I felt like I couldn’t say or do anything right. With some edits.

I’ve noticed that I am most literarily creative when I am stressed. I suppose this is sublimation at its finest. I’ve never realized that I sublimate – it seems to be something I do unconsciously. And I think I would have reveled in my unconscious – being aware of the comfort this brings me now almost saddens me. It is perhaps because I feel like now that I know about it, it is within my choice. Whenever I feel down, I can constantly run to it, thinking, “It has worked before, I can choose to do so again now so that I can get unstuck.” My writing will become my safe zone, and I will feel safe in my safe zone. My safe zone will always be happy, and I will always be safe. That’s where expectations come in.

And then, what if the day comes when it does not satisfy? When the expectations surpass the reality? What if my safe zone crumbles? And so I would choose not to do it, in order to preserve the beauty and liberty of what remains of my safe zone, whatever filmy ideal I’ve stretched from memory. I would choose not to do what had comforted me for so long… and so suppress the stress by conscious effort. Which, in itself, is unhealthy.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if there was no choice involved – then we could play deaf to responsibility. Sometimes I wish we could just be – be entrusted to the wind, which, by some strange coincidence, would continuously nurture us, like little babies who do nothing and have all their needs attended to.

But to do so would be to reject what makes us most human. It is hard to be human; but that is what it means to be an adult. To exercise choice and discipline, even if that is no simple matter.

And then at that point I was able to inspire myself enough to continue studying for my orals. Suffice to say, I think my professor seemed pleased.


This was a required essay for my social psychology class several weeks ago. Last night I suddenly remembered it out of the blue, and I just felt like I wanted to share it. So here.

How can one judge himself or herself? Every minute you already do. In planning what to do next, you judge your thoughts, your actions, your words – to be human is to be self-aware. In fact, Sir said in class that we have the only known system that is self-aware. But are we so aware of how we are aware? In this day and age, it seems we only make micro-evaluations of our actions, and, due to the hustle and bustle of life, we fail to introspect and look at the larger picture.

I would consider myself a rather reflective person. I deeply enjoy contemplating on my own experiences and looking into myself, and I enjoy sharing that with people, so this activity is actually a joy. I understand that the basic question of “Who am I?” has such an elusive total answer, but, as I’ve learned from my Philosophy class, the question and your journey in answering it is far more important than the answer itself. This is especially true in the case of human beings, since we are wont to change and are a myriad of inconsistencies. I don’t believe we’re ever really stagnant. Every day we either become more of what we already are or deviate from it.

Right now, I’m undergoing a lot more change and growing up faster than before, or at least that’s what it feels like. I guess life is really like that, always pushing and pulling us, perpetually molding us. I am 18, I am a junior, I am a Campus Crusade for Christ Key Volunteer, I am a Psyche officer, I am a dormer, I am an InTACT facilitator, I am a beginner in Aikido. I couldn’t say any of those things just four months back. Aside from these roles changing my routine, they’ve literally changed who I hang out with, how I relate to people, and, I suppose, who I am.

Because of these things, now, I am busy. I am far more disciplined with my time than I used to be, and I’m also in far more control of it, since I am staying at a dorm instead of at home. I start preparing for things earlier and I am beginning to stay up late (in the past, my friends would get surprised and/or worried if I was up past 10pm). Now, I choose to rest despite all the things I have to do rather than rest because there is nothing to do. I am beginning to appreciate my friends and loved ones more because I don’t always get to see or hang out with them.

I am stressed, far more than I was before, but honestly, through this, I’ve begun to understand life and myself a little better. I’ve begun to understand anger, especially my own – what gets me pissed, how I act when I’m pissed – and manage it better. I’ve begun to hold on to and be hewn into the value of grace under pressure. I’ve taken on many leadership positions, and I’ve discovered that I’m actually most comfortable leading rather than following (it just somehow comes more naturally, and the anxieties I used to have during group works have suddenly disappeared). I’ve begun to understand that being a leader is more than just taking initiative and managing things. It is also about being an ate (something I was by birthright, but had previously never really got into the role of), caring for those under your charge, and being the captain that goes down with the ship instead of running like a coward or pointing fingers. Leadership is about listening to the voices of others, but also never overlooking your own.

Am I proud of everything I am doing and learning? Definitely. I feel like I’m coming closer to reaching my potential, and how can I be ashamed of that? But these things have also humbled me in ways I have been praying for (I’ve always been pretty self-assured, almost to the point of arrogant hubris). I’ve learned that I know so little, and that I still make so many mistakes. I’ve learned to accept it when I’m wrong, and still be humble enough to try again and learn.

My latest example of this would be my recent MBTI result. I decided to re-take the test, which I have taken multiple times in the past. Lately, my MBTI has slowly been changing, one letter at a time. I used to be an INFP, then some time during the summer I turned into an INTP, and now I’m an ENTP. Changing from an INFP to an INTP was no big surprise or change for me, since my friends have always said I acted more like the latter (especially since I’m analytic and very argumentative). Changing into an extrovert from an introvert, however, shook me up badly. I’ve always been an introvert. Even when I was four and loud and shameless, I also “hated” people (I liked attention, but I couldn’t care less about actually communicating and connecting with them – I preferred to play alone). And really, I liked it that way. I liked the metaphorical arm’s length I placed between myself and others. I felt special, I felt like an individualist – independent and immune to groupthink and unaffected by unjustified criticism, an embodiment of agency. I liked solitude, and I was proud of the fact that I was never lonely, which somewhere along the lines I had translated as needy. Obviously, I was being very, very prideful.

But literally just yesterday, I stopped denying that it was a matter of pride. I acknowledged to myself that what scared me was that I was becoming exactly what I had “looked down on.” It was nasty having to admit that I was even being unjust in my views to begin with – I refused to think I was looking down at anyone. But I got over that and started looking into why I had become an extrovert. I had begun to value community very much over the course of these past few months. I had begun to look for and deeply appreciate solidarity and cooperation and looking out for one another. It seems that now, I am not only interested in individuals, but in groups. I have learned to love and respect not only a select number of people, but also groups. I have also formed deeper bonds with people, trying to honestly listen to them and be sensitive to not only what they think but also what they feel. I’ve learned to care and reach out more. I’ve become friendlier and warmer, kinder and more considerate, a little more empathic. I also handle rapport better, and have a more personalized approach to everyone I meet.

Through all of this, the greatest thing I’ve learned is that, to truly be yourself and be comfortable whoever you’re with, you have to be humble. The greatest confidence comes from a humble heart. And I am exuberant and endlessly thankful that I am learning this now, instead of later in life.

Knowing thyself, as the Greeks advised, is also only possible with humility. And I am again extremely happy and eternally grateful that I am undergoing these stretching, humbling experiences, as these test who I am and make me constantly choose who I want to be, and think about why.