Of Broken Hearts and ‘Tadhana’

It’s the weekend before the Valentine’s Day season officially starts in the country.
Once again, our social media timelines will be bombarded with a million and one images of #surprises, #gifts, and #truelove posts enough to make any sane single person go crazy.
But even before that so-called “love craze” takes place, one film went ahead in presenting love to Filipino moviegoers. Starring Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman, That Thing Called Tadhana was and the brainchild of writer and director Antoinette Jadaone.
Working with only P2 million budget granted by Cinema One Originals, the film was shown in select cinemas in November 2014 but gained traction on social media after movie theaters were booked with people clamoring for tickets online.
And that was when I personally experienced the Tadhana craze after seeing my friends and officemates search high and low for tickets during its first run (a commercial run is set this February). The craze continued when the same friends (Hi Jap, Juliet,Yla, and Roz!) quoted lines from the movie long after they watched it. Soon after, more and more posts appeared on my timeline causing a curiosity about the little movie that could.
The film revolved around a broken hearted girl named Mace (Panganiban) and Anthony (de Guzman) the guy she meets unexpectedly (ah, don’t we all love that meet cute story) on the way to healing her broken heart.
Sitting down with director Antoinette Jadone, I instantly asked her what sparked the inspiration for the film, “Pinaghalo-halo ko ang personal love stories, heartaches, and heartbreaks ko, ng mga friends ng friends ko, sa internet, sa mga coffee shop na malakas ang boses. I’ve wanted to direct a love story, and That Thing Called Tadhana has become that dream.“
She also admitted that finishing the script was quite easy because in sense, it was already pre-researched with 10 years of experiencing and hearing heartbreaks herself.
These stories of heartbreaks, which the movie was built upon, made connection to the audiences, no matter what walk of life they’re from.
“Tayo si Mace at si Anthony. Pwedeng buong buhay natin, o kahit isang araw lang, naging Mace o Anthony tayo. Maybe that’s why Tadhana is so relatable. I’m sure at one point or another in the movie, when you hear Mace or Anthony talk, you might probably say, ‘Sinabi ko ‘youn ah!’, only this time, it’s Angelica or JM saying it.”
She continued, “It’s nice to go back to that time when you were so stupid in love.
When that was happening, it was so painful—gusto mo nang mamatay—but years after, it’s just becomes a story na masarap pagtawanan. And I hope That Thing Called Tadhana can remind us of that.”
Suddenly, heartbreak didn’t feel like an isolation rather something that everyone could relate to thus making the film succesful i nthe big screen.
However, the director commented that that success was unexpected. She shared, “May hope naman lagi na sana maraming manood, sana maraming magka-gusto but I wasn’t prepared for the kind of reception that we got during its limited release.”
And the greatest lesson of Tadhana is that we should not run away from heartbreaks because in the long run, it would make us better. Just look at Direk Antoinette. Not only did she discovered her capability to write, she also produced a film that would help broken hearted people recover, or at the very least, laugh.
So what for her is the true healer of a broken heart? “Panahon,” she declared without batting an eyelash.
* * *
That Thing Called Tadhana hits theaters on February 4.

Beauty as Told by Laura Lehmann

Society, they say, is slowly changing its definition of beauty. Gone were the days when women were simply good to look at. Instead women these days are more than just what they look like. Many now are fully committed to create substantive lives that inspire other women to do the same.
For decades, beauty queens have inspired women to a certain standard of beauty. Fortunately, the essence of beauty queens (including our very own) has evolved over the years. One of those beauties is Bb. Pilipinas 2014, Laura Lehmann, who is also Ateneo De Manila University’s UAAP courtside reporter.
From the get go, one would instantly recognize Laura’s statuesque beauty but what truly sets her apart is the fact that aside from her looks, Laura is also extremely smart. The perfect epitome of beauty and brains, the 20-year-old took up Psychology, Neuro Science, and Spanish Studies in the Occidental College in California before joining the Bb. Pilipinas pageant. She subsequently pursed a modeling and hosting career in the Philippines.
A product of Assumption and International School Manila, Laura recalled being an extremely dedicated student athlete. She was part of the Philippine Team for Softball, representing the country in US and Europe while at the same time also dabbling in rugby.
Despite her love for sports, Laura grew up determined to do well in school in order to pursue her ultimate dream of becoming a doctor.
However, her life took a turn when she began entering the world of beauty pageant. Laura recalled, “I was in one of those Christmas family dinners and there were a lot of people and someone mentioned about Bb. Pilipinas. Initially, I said no because I felt it wasn’t for me. But then my mom and I realized why not, I’ve been studying my whole life, it would be nice to try something different.”
So Laura, with the support of her mom, joined the pageant “on a whim” in the hopes of gaining experience from the country’s most esteemed pageant. “That was in December and the pageant was in March, so I took a leave from school and thought, oh it would be fun learning how to be like a girl. I played so many sports in high school and this was my chance to be a girl for awhile. I was really in it for the experience,” she continued.
And it was experience that she had, “It was really different from what I expected it to be. Going in there were so many stereotypes and I was a victim of that. I thought there would be a lot of mean, catty girls who only care about what they look. But it’s more than that, it’s really a career and a skill. So many hours are put into training, like how to walk, talk, and the like.” At the beginning, she felt overwhelmed but it was through the help of her fellow candidates that she was able to not just adapt, but thrive as well.
She was also quick to debunk the myth that beauty queens just relied on their looks to succeed, “What made me adapt to it was the realization that it’s really a career and you have to be smart. It’s more than just looks because when you’re standing in front of 16,000 people on stage in Araneta and thousands more on TV and someone asks you a question, it requires grace under pressure. And I’m impressed at how quickly they think on their feet.”
For Laura, the pageant has taught her the perfect balance between beauty and brains and the understanding that you need to have both in order to succeed in life. When asked what beauty is to her especially in the age of social media, she was quick to say, “I think the most beautiful people are the ones who are happiest with themselves and the things that they are doing. We all have insecurities but once we as long you’re happy, that’s what makes you shine.”
Laura also says that kindness goes along way and it’s something that she learned from her fellow candidates, “Kindess instantly adds to your appeal.”
When asked what her advice is to young girls struggling to value their own beauty, she’s quick to say, “Don’t compare yourself to others because you’re always going to see someone prettier on you, you can’t avoid that so just focus on yourself. Also, find something that makes you happy and something that you love because when you’re happy with what you’re doing, it just radiates and that’s truly what makes you beautiful.”

Decoding the Artista Factor

WITHOUT a doubt, the Philippines is an artista-loving nation. Whatever walk of life you are from, you are not exempted to get that little jolt of kilig whenever you see celebrities in real life. And while others play it cool, most Filipinos squeal in delight, whip out their phones, and Instagram their artista experience immediately.

This phenomenon makes one wonder what it feels like to be in the limelight. Fortunately, young and promising actress Joyce Ching helped me understand what it’s like to live the dream.

Twenty-year-old Joyce started her career in GMA 7’s Bubble Gang Jr. in 2005, and soon the projects, particularly teleseryes, started flooding in. Known to produce some of the best teleseryes for TV, GMA gave Joyce lead roles in primetime shows like Anna Karenina, Paraiso Ko’y Ikaw, and most recently Strawberry Lane. These shows has catapulted her to be a household name.

When asked how she feels to be an artista, the sweet and unassuming Joyce replied, “It’s fun to be an artista in the Philippines because people get really happy when they see you in person. Whether you’re a big star already or just starting, they’re just really excited to see you. I love that I am able to make people happy effortlessly, seeing smiles on their faces is enough to make me happy.”

She also noted that just like any other jobs, hers also comes with challenges. She explained, “There are a lot of challenges. You don’t get enough rest or sleep, you always have to look good, people judge you easily, you have to play with your emotions during taping. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings just like everyone else.”

And with her typical humor, she added, “With all the sleepless nights, it’s hard to be glamorous!”

Joyce also shared that being an artista is prone to misconceptions and judgments. For example, people sometimes take her as mean or rude when she doesn’t take a photo with a fan. In defense, she explained, “That’s not true at all. There are really a lot of reasons: sometimes we’re in a hurry, or the venue doesn’t permit picture taking, or we’re really extremely tired that we didn’t hear you call our name.”

Having known Joyce personally for awhile, I can attest that snubbing is definitely not in her nature. In fact, she is actually “really shy” when away from the camera. She even wants to be a campus missionary one day.

When it comes to the temptations that are attached with her job, Joyce credits her faith in God to keep her grounded. “At the end of the day, I always go back to God. I always make sure that away from all of it, I live a simple and normal life,” she shared.

With family as her priority, Joyce often spends her days away from the camera pursuing her college degree, spending time with her family, catching up on social media like any teenager, and developing her other talents such as writing.

The sit down with Joyce made me understand that no matter how we see things from the outside, we could never truly know what a celebrity’s life is from the inside. After all, all we have our images based on our own perceptions that are hardly ever accurate.

The only best way to know is to ask and in asking, we realize that indeed, artistas are just like everyone else—human beings with strengths, weaknesses, and dreams of their own—despite our tendency to put them on pedestals.

Roaring for 2015

It’s the last Sunday of the year and as “Bianca” tradition would have it, I am listing down the most important things I learned this year. I’m grateful for the fact that this year instead of writing this on my blog, I am sharing it on a legit newspaper. So sending out my love and thanks to those who made it possible: Monica, Euden, and of course, the inspiring, Ms. Tessa. God is truly good and I hope that as you close 2014, you are also listing down things that made you happy this year.
Surround yourself with people who love you enough to tell you the truth. I used to be extremely insecure and this is the reason why I don’t welcome criticism of any sort. And while I understand that some people “hate” just to “hate”, they are genuine people who love you enough to tell you when you’re being destructive to others and yourself. Cherish the people who tell you the truth because they’re the ones who will ultimately make you a better person.
Love yourself enough to take care of yourself. For most women, myself included, the battle with our weight is never ending. However, the battle isn’t really with our scales or even our mirrors, but how we are on the inside. Winning the battle has nothing to do with winning over carbs or spending 10,000,000 hours in the gym, but in accepting who you are just as God made you to be and from there, choosing to better yourself in whatever way you see fit. You are loved, don’t ever forget that.
Welcome new people and don’t be afraid to discard friendships that make you feel bad about yourself. We’ve been told to not burn bridges, but if people are toxic or if you’re constantly trying to prove yourself to them, it’s wise to just let certain friendships and relationships go. If you’re not loved for who you are and if you have to look a certain way in order to be appreciated, then it’s best to walk away. In line with this, don’t be afraid to open up to new people. The most unlikely people bring about the best surprises.
You have a choice. It’s safe to say that 2014 brought about a lot of trials for my family and I. There was a lot of betrayal from people we trusted and loved and personally, a lot of rejection from people I’ve held in high esteem. However, these situations made me realize that life is a choice: I can choose to be angry, mad, and bitter or I can choose to find the lessons, apply them to my life, and move on without wishing them harm.
All things, whether good or bad, has a purpose. In line with the last point, this year proved that even though things are the worst they’ve ever been, there’s still something good that will come out of it. Cliché as it may sound, my darkest days (and boy I’ve had them this year) has produced in me a strength I never thought possible. God is good and never would he cause you harm, just trust Him through your dark times and you’ll see the purpose behind all of it one day.

Wishing you all a God-filled 2015 peppered with answered prayers, peace, joy, good health, and most importantly, miracles. The best is yet to come.

Collecting Moments

The Christmas season has always held a special place in my heart for reasons unlike that of others. Christmases of my childhood were not grand celebrations. From an early age, my brother and I have known that there was no Santa and that there were years when presents did not pile up under the tree. There were no December 25thmorning traditions and gifts were given days before because they were often the clothes we would wear to Christmas day reunions.
Our unconventional holidays, however, did not take away the glimmer and whim of the season. In fact, the simplicity of how we celebrated Christmas in our younger years made it even more meaningful and significant. Because even if there were no Baby All Gone or Hot Wheel presents under the tree, my brother and I were sure of one thing: mom and dad would be there no matter what. That no matter how difficult the year may have been for my parents, they made sure that Christmas was celebrated with a certain glee in our home: table filled with our favorite food or a day filled visiting places we adore. The gifts we appreciated the most were not found in the material possessions but rather in the effort placed to make the holidays significant.
Through these simple gatherings, my younger brother and I knew from early on about the things that matter the most. However, as one grows older and ventures into the world, the meaning of the holidays can significantly change. Having your own disposable income can make you a bit materialistic in the first few years of having a job. It can make you chase after gold and glitter while discarding the gift that matters most: time.
Christmases past visited my thoughts while I spent a good part of my Sunday morning waking up my brain for something to share for my first ever Christmas article. It’s the third to the last Sunday of the year and while things should be slowing down, they’re not. Instead, moments leading up to Christmas have become increasingly busy due to the never-ending Santa list of things to do, people to see, and gifts to wrap. As I caught my first breather in a week, I have come to remember that the most significant gifts I have received have not been the most expensive. In fact, the best presents I have gotten were the simplest ones. Presents become special when you realize the effort placed by the person giving it, and there’s effort in choosing gifts, wrapping them carefully and delivering them. The mere handing over a gift is enough to make one smile.

The holidays often turn us into grinches because we’re on the edge trying to give the “best” gift while at the same time staying within budget. While these are bested with noble intentions, we often forget in the hustle and bustle that what makes the holidays significant is the time we spend with the ones we love the most. For what is the point of all things that shimmer when we couldn’t share it with the ones we love the most? So more than spending time in the mall and bazaars, spend time with the people you love. Laugh over the year that was, be grateful, collect moments, not just mementos. And as you enter into the chaotic final stretch of the Christmas rush, I wish you moments that will make you smile in the years to come: moments of laughter, joy, peace, and most importantly, love. 

Daydreaming with the Daykeeper

It’s that time of the year when the weather is a bit cooler, when Michael Buble is played endlessly on the loop, and when strangers next to you in line at your favorite coffee shop asks, “Are you going to use that sticker?”
Ah yes, you know that the Christmas season has begun when you see people from all walks of life carrying around their sticker cards with a look that can only be described as “extremely caffeinated” in jam packed coffee shops. And the craze is quite understandable especially for coffee lovers like myself, I mean hello, you get a nice, shiny notebook to tote around while enjoying coffee? Sign me up please.
The traditional coffee planners were more than enough to jot down meeting notes, endless to-dos, and maybe a quick quote or two but the old soul in me longed for the diary I’ve kept in my younger years. And while some people would be quick to say that this is an outdated tradition, there’s still something different about holding a pen in your hand and seeing your thoughts transform into paper.
This is the reason why I’m grateful to have stumbled upon The Daykeeper. If you’re wondering what it is, The Daykeeper is yes, a datebook where you can stuff your to-dos and appointments but what sets it apart are the photos and blank pages inside that inspire you to see life beyond your checklist.
The Daykeeper is the brainchild of 24-year-old Katrina San Juan, a simple country girl from the south who is quickly making a name for herself not just for her one-of-a kind datebook but also because of her photography skills. Katrina’s love for life and passion for Jesus comes to life in The Daykeeper.
She says, “It’s designed to make you see your life for the grand adventure that it really is, to remind us to make our individual and unique stories count for the good. We lose a lot of things in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but the little things that make up most of our days, the magical moments that are disguised as mundane, are the moments that shape our lives. The Daykeeper is a journal that hopes to make us more aware of these moments and more intentional about being grateful.”
Its photographs are meant to inspire people to look beyond the busyness of everyday and to simply enjoy the beautiful world God has created for all of us to enjoy.
It is this kind of optimism that makes The Daykeeper different among the rest. I don’t know about you, but welcoming a new year can be quite nerve wracking, but Kat, through the photographs of her travels and verses tucked away in the datebook / journal reminds you that 2015 could truly be your best year ever.
In a world that is uncertain, we need to constantly be reminded of the good that is in the world and that is what Kat hopes The Daykeeper will be for those who purchase it, “It really is intended to foster a spirit of love and gratitude for the lives we live. We are sometimes overwhelmed by our daily troubles and momentarily concerns, but if you actually sit down and take time to count your blessings, you’ll see there is so much beauty, adventure, love in our day to day lives- all we need is a thankful heart, grace and a fresh perspective.”

For more about The Daykeeper, please visit
www.facebook.com/thedaykeepernotebook. For more on the author, please visit her blog www.carlabiancaravanes.blogspot.com.

Distilling Life with Olan Ventura

IT is safe to say that on a daily basis, we see Instagram images “filtered to perfection” from celebrities to the ordinary folks around us.
It is this filtered to perfection culture that has made my visit of Olan Ventura’s Unstilled Life exhibit at the Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace all the more intriguing. In a world where we work day and night to show the best part of ourselves, in the best angles possible, Olan’s latest exhibition shows us that there can be beauty found in perspectives otherwise ignored.
In this exhibit, Ventura used ordinary objects, fruits in particular, to depict the message mentioned above. By using ordinary fruits, he distilled and peeled layers of what seemed like ordinary objects and turned them into thought provoking works of art.
His exhibition shows a different spin on subjects that we have all gotten used to such as the produce we use everyday. In his work titled “After and After,” Ventura unhinges what could be ordinary cherries and showcases them wrapped and partially unwrapped thus allowing an individual to see them from a different perspective.
Ventura, who’d rather have his work speak for himself, also says that in order to see beauty in all things, one has to accept that beauty can also be found in other perspectives and angles. Such can be found in “Cream of the Crop,” “perfect, unbruised specimens over-ripe in their realism and then dissected.”
The thought-provoking exhibit has had me, an art novice, thinking about life and how we see situations, things, and people around us. Most of the time, we’re dead set in our own ideals and how we wish for things to be, thinking that this is the only way to live without realizing that sometimes, all it takes is a change in perspective or quick turn of the angle to see that even if life is not what we have always wanted it to be, it’s still a gift and it’s still beautiful amidst the chaos.
All it takes is a change in perspective.

Life Lessons from the Corner Office

Without batting an eyelash many would be quick to say that company bigwigs are intimidating figures in any workplace environment. They look stiff, don’t smile, and are difficult to deal with, spending their work days hidden in their corner offices.
Francis Flores, however, breaks all those stereotypes. When I met with him recently, he projected a youthful and engaging image. One wouldn’t think that he holds a very critical position in one of the country’s most prestigious companies. Yet, 38 year-old Francis is the Vice President and International Business Head for Mainstream Markets of world-renowned Jollibee Food Corporation. Francis and his team are in charge of bringing the Filipino favorite fast food chain to overseas markets with large populations but small Filipino communities. In the past two years, Francis has helped establish and create a solid following for Jollibee in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and China.
Before his current position, he was the General Manager for Greenwich overseeing the brand’s marketing efforts and operations. He brought a youthful vibe to the brand with unforgettable and funny “barkada” ad campaigns featuring actor John Lloyd Cruz (remember the sobrang cheesy campaign a few years back?). Under his leadership, Greenwich not only won awards for its compelling ads but also became the second favorite fast food restaurant in the country, next to Jollibee.
An overachiever while growing up, Francis is a product of the University of the Philippines education system—having studied there from pre-school until college—graduating with a degree in Business Administration and Management.
At 20 and straight out of college, he worked for Unilever as a Management Trainee and soon became the youngest Area Sales Manager at the age of 23. It’s safe to say that at this point, he was on the road to a really fulfilling career, but right before he turned 30 and while holding the position of Regional Brand Director at Unilever, Francis found himself questioning his purpose.
While he was extremely comfortable and happy at his job and his career path, a nagging sense inside him couldn’t help him wonder, “What can I do to give back?” At 29, it wasn’t enough that he was passionate about his work; he realized he needed purpose as well.
He realized his life’s mission in, of all places, an airport in London, when his flight was delayed. “Being in that international setting, I concluded that Filipinos are the best Asian marketers. We’re good communicators, very creative, and strategic.
So it made me think, if we’re good marketers, why don’t we have brands that are successful globally?
Francis knew right then that the best way to give back to the country was by creating a global brand that will help fuel the economy. “Jollibee could be a good global candidate.” Two months later, he received a call from a headhunter saying that Jollibee needed someone for a new position that would help Jollibee go global. Instantly, Francis found the purpose he had been longing for.
Purpose is what fuels Francis every day. “What drives me is that it’s not just a job, it’s a mission. I feel like I’m on a mission that’s aligned with my personal mission and at the same time (my desire to be) nationalistic. My mission is to make Jollibee a truly global brand that everyone can be proud of.”
He also aims to be the kind of leader that develops others to be the best versions of themselves. “It’s important to have the right mindset of what a leader is. A leader is not there to be served, but to serve. When I first became a general manager for Greenwich, my former boss, Ariel Fermin, told me, ‘You only have two roles as a leader: lead them to the right direction; and take care of them.’”
This servant leadership mentality has developed leaders within his team and he is quick to say that nothing brings him greater joy than seeing members of his team accelerate both at work and in life.

He also strongly believes in eliminating politics in his team, with emphasis on leading by example—which he does through transparency and calling out negativity the moment he sees it.

When asked for his success secrets, he was quick to point out the importance of marrying one’s passion and purpose. “The first thing is to know your passion. That requires a lot of self-awareness. The earlier you have self-awareness, the better for you. That includes being honest about what you want and what you don’t want. Number two, you have to work hard; there’s no substitute for that. I always tell fresh grads, being in your twenties is crucial. Sayang yung time because at that age, you can still afford to make mistakes. But you have to invest time and energy, especially in your first few years at work. Think of it as depositing in your own personal bank account. And when you fail, learn from it. Be humble enough to know that you don’t know everything. Always go beyond what’s expected of you. Always aim to exceed.”

Francis adds, “Attitude goes a long way. Honestly, in the long run, your intellectual capacity or your intelligence is not enough. It’s attitude and character that make you succeed.”

Francis is a devoted Christian. He believes that without God, none of his successes would be possible. He believes that everything that has happened in

his life, both good and bad, are for a purpose. This is the reason why, despite his success, Francis remains grounded, not lost in the trappings of position, power and material possessions or luxuries.

“Everything I have, including the title, and the position, is from God, pahiram lang; and if I don’t use it well, He will take it away. He gave that to me to not use in the wrong way. For me, leadership is a position of influence where you can make a difference in the lives of people.”

And with that, Francis’ life is definitely one that will leave an impact beyond the four walls of his corner office, out to where it matters most. 


“You were a feminist even before Beyonce sang about it,” this was what my younger brother quipped a few weeks ago while I was mindlessly dancing to Beyonce’s Flawless. The rise of the culture saturated by the Taylor Swifts, Lena Dunhams, Beyonces, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Poehlers has increased the debate what it’s really like to become a feminist.
Merriam Webster defines feminism as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” In simplistic terms, it simply means that we are all treated equally, regardless of gender. Today, women fight day and night in order to not be confined by gender roles.
Growing up, I have seen my parents commit to equally important roles in our household, no one was more important than the other. My dad, who hails from a male dominated field, also never felt the need to impose that the “male” had more power in our home. Without realizing it, I have applied these principles to the way I lived my life. In school, I wasn’t afraid to compete with the boys in class whether it was for a spot on the student council, during debates, or even in sports. My high school didn’t have a girls’ basketball team so I practiced with the men’s team for about a month before they said it just wasn’t working. It’s safe to say that I was raised to think that there wasn’t such a thing as the “weaker sex”.
I was also fortunate enough to be raised by a man who does not expect me to get married to get ahead. There was none of that talk in my household. From the moment I watched my first Disney movie, my dad told me that I was to build a life of my own and not depend on men to build one for me. Since then, I aggressively went after my career and chose possible partners based on their intelligence, humor, and kindness, but never based on their jobs or social standing. There was no way that I was going to go after someone for his money or fame. I am there to encourage and support my partner and his achievements but never take credit for it. My dad frowns upon the idea that his daughter was just going to be “someone’s wife”.
And it’s good to see that more and more women are taking the stand. Today, women are not simply stepping out of “gender roles” but also recreating them. Personally, I think being a feminist doesn’t mean your anti-men or anti-marriage or anti-motherhood, but it means that you’re comfortable enough to make decisions that are right for you and no one else. It means you believe in your decisions and strong enough to fight for them.

It means you no longer allow people to put you inside a box. It means taking a stand for those who are bullied and not letting men define your worth. It means you’re living a life that you chose for you – not one dictated by society and definitely not one dictated by who you’re in a relationship with. It means being courageous enough to love who you see in the mirror and most importantly, it’s putting into good use what you have been blessed with.
At the end of the day, I believe that the most important part of being a feminist is doing something to make the world a better place. That this equality that women before fought so hard for has to make a dent in society, we have to be the kind of women who strive to make the world a little brighter than when we found it.

Because if it’s not for serving others, what other purpose is it for?

Instagram Isn’t Real

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” – Mark 8:36
Everyday, we are bombarded with social scorecards brought about by the rise of social media. Today, we often rate our social standing by concrete numbers: likes, followers, retweets, blog views, and so on. Due to the phenomenon brought about by Friendster, MySpace, and eventually Facebook, everyone, even ordinary, everyday human beings with the right filter and angling instantly become mini celebrities.

While social media has definitely helped us to stay in touch with friends and family and has opened up the world us be educated about what’s happening with the rest of the world without having to leave the comfort of our homes, the negative side effects of it can also be damaging.
Very different from the time when we were all still learning the ropes of social media, today, we are likely to create an “Instagram” world vs. our “real” world. According to Huffington Post, “Perception is everything, especially in the world of social media. In terms of perception, we all have an ideal self.” And as we engage more and more in these platforms, the more we are driven by competition to project a lifestyle that is quite different from the ones we live daily.  The gap between our “social media persona” and our “everyday persona” widens and often we are entrenched in creating a double life of filtering, angling, and editing. While these skills are useful in creating young teens that are multi-hyphenated, it can easily corrupt a soul and take away the focus on what’s important in life.
Human beings, in general, are always in a constant search of approval and validation. We used to derive this from real life human interactions but have now settled for the approval of our little blue screens.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I crave for the likes and the follows too. But then I realized, what kind of validation am I searching for?

Has the “look at me” culture of social media turned me into a heartless, social media vulture? Am I hollow on the inside? Am I obsessed with doing things in order to have something to upload on my social media sites? Do I upload things to prove to the ones I’ve had outs with that I am living a good life? Am I constantly working out and dieting in order to look good in my #selfieshots?

Has this translated into my daily living, only concerned about what’s happening on the outside disregarding things like kindness, love, and service? Have I created a life full of glitter and gold on the outside without placing importance in how I’m adding value to the lives of others?
Has this social media behavior translated into my everyday life? Have I cared too much on looking beautiful without taking care of the core of who I am?
While I may not have concrete answers, I do know one thing: no matter how beautiful you are, or how lovely you Instagram feed is, at the end of the day, it all doesn’t matter if you don’t have a compassionate heart.
A “for show” life has no value if I don’t respect my parents, encourage others, or put others first.  These realizations have reminded me of what’s important in life: the reality that it’s really not about me at all. We weren’t sent on earth to constantly be served, but to serve, love, and most importantly, be kind.