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Marah, 21, braver. 💛

VLOG: Life As A Working Student

When I was still in school, my friends would always ask me how I manage my time and keep myself productive because I’m still working at the same time. So today, I decided to share my version of a day in the life of a working student. Also, I thought of sharing a brief talk about my personal experiences while juggling school and work. Hopefully, I would get to inspire yall through my story. Enjoy! :)

Today, I dated myself. I commuted alone. I discovered a new cafe. I smiled at strangers, talked to them. I strolled around a museum and let myself be amazed by the arts around me. I walked to the mall and bought myself a leggings. Conversed with God in the most random places and situations. Gained experience. It’s so liberating and it feels great 💛 #lifewithmarah


This is a long overdue blogpost. In fact, this has been on my draft for over two months now. I don’t know where to begin and how to tell this story. However, today I decided to try again; hoping that I would be able to give this story justice. 

I could still recall how frightened I was when I finally took that leap of faith and decided to enroll with Massey University and study my dream course last year. I took Diploma in Arts (Media Studies). It’s one year full time course that provides understanding and exploration of every facet of media industry. I have so much love for the arts. I know this is where my passion lies. This is where I can completely be myself and grow. And this is where I feel most alive. 


This journey is definitely not a walk in the park. But I’m grateful for a year and a half I’ve had with Massey. I was able to experience almost all the things a regular college student (with four- year-course) experienced—commuted to school, met new people from all walks of life, depend my energy on coffee, pull an all-nighter, dealt with difficult people and group projects, endured all the frustrations, met deadlines, was a crammer, made wrong decisions, did research and some more research, adjust my social life, study for extra hours, had straight A’s, and failed a paper. Throughout this journey, I have also done things I never thought I could/would. I never thought I was able to study first year to third year papers in one year and a half. I never thought I would ace most of my theses, work with people I barely know to produce a short film, and make my own. Lastly, I never thought I would be able to finish this course, but I did. And I’m marching on November to get my diploma! Nelson Mandela is right—It alway seems impossible until it’s done. This adage, my faith in the Lord, and the love and support of my loved ones were the reasons why I was able to conquer what I thought was impossible. And for that, I am grateful. Despite the short amount of time, I knew in myself that I made the most of this opportunity to grow as an artist and ultimately as a person. It’s definitely a year and a half of ups and downs, winning and learning, going out of my comfort zone, knowing myself better, and growth. 

Now, I am often asked by people: What’s next? Why didn’t you pursue your degree? Why settle with only diploma? And I thought: Why not? Circumstances, perhaps growing up, made me realize that there’s more to life than having a degree or being in school. School teaches us how to be good at something, to be qualified and achieve a particular profession—to be a doctor, teacher, or an engineer; but school of life teaches us simply how to be human—to be a good friend, a good daughter, sister, or even a stranger. Don’t get me wrong, I am very passionate about studying and I will always be an advocate of education. I am still open about pursuing a degree, but for now, I believe I will grow more in what we call “the real world”. To experience life at its finest. To see places I’ve never been, meet people I’ve never met and learn from stories I never thought existed. To learn. To grow. And gain wisdom. 

Aaaaaah I still can’t believe I’m finally done with school, for now at least. One great goal off the bucketlist! I can’t wait to tick off more!! :)

Last week of being twenty. Wow. Where did the time go? Lord, let’s make the most of this week. 💛👊

The Power of Kind Words

Back in high school, I was fortunate to be a member of our school’s theatre guild. I was so passionate about acting (I believe I still am); and that led to amount of praises. I didn’t know how to handle them so well, thus I ended up keeping them in my head instead of heart, resulting to unwillingness to learn and grow. I really thought I was great enough and knew everything I needed to know. Little did I know, I still have SO MUCH to learn. And I’m just glad that even before I succumbed to being arrogant, I was able to learn my lesson. 

Now I have found another passion, which is to inspire people through my imperfectly perfect life, I am blessed to be appreciated by others. But I’m no longer the type of person who puts too much weight on compliments. I have learned to use them to push myself to be better. Of course, I am beyond grateful every time I receive kind words from family, friends and especially from strangers who I never thought would appreciate me. It’s just that I don’t feel the need of posting them online.

I have mentioned in my past blogposts that the last few months had been a struggle; and I am still trying to get back from that setback. But the last week has been extra kind on me. Surprisingly, I received a number of sweet words from family, friends and strangers. I never thought that my decision of finally changing my perspective comes with many surprises—surprises that are made by words from people and meant to touch my heart. So today is an exception to my no-posting-of-compliments-rule. This is not to brag nor to show off, rather, this simply is an expression of gratitude for these folks that inspire me more to become a better version of myself. 


I was surprised to receive this message from one of my greatest friends, Eva. I wasn’t even complaining yet she apologized for being busy and not being able to find time to catch up. And this I truly appreciate. This message simply reminded me how blessed I am to be friends with people who know to value friendship despite the long distance. 


The only thing I want for my birthday is for my lovedones to remember me, and here is a great friend reminding me of my special day two weeks in advance. image

Here’s unexpected message from one of the women I look up to. Isn’t just so sweet to be randomly remembered by people? It’s one of the things that makes me think that maybe I am really doing something good with my life. 


I sent Ate Isa a birthday greeting. I was only expecting a “thank you” as a respond, yet my most favourite writer in the planet sent me this in reply. How could I not be encouraged to live rightly? 


In times when I was doubting my capability to do greater things, Alve, my partner in Love Letter Project, unexpectedly sent me these kind words. 


And here’s Miguel tirelessly reminding me my worth, constantly believing in me and never giving up on me, especially in my worst. 


And even before the week ended, a fellow blogger Danielle Bueno, sent me a link to her blog and found this short but sweet feature. How could I not feel grateful? 

There were times I looked at myself as weak and inferior. I doubted myself for being a good person so many times. But these messages simply reminded me that I am more—stronger than I think; braver than I can imagine. smarter that I may seem; and better than I believe. And with that, I just want to say with full sincerity, thank you for believing in me. Thank you for reminding me my life mantra—life is beautiful regardless of its flaws. You inspire me more than I inspire you. Your words made my heart happy more than you know. Y’all blessings! ♥

I really find it amusing how powerful words can be in terms of empowering people. And I know that there are so many people like me. People who need comforting words to remind them their worth. So I encourage everyone (myself included) to spread kind words everyday, because we never know the kind of change we’re doing for others! :) And I want to start today!!


Gusto kong umiyak. Isa lang naramdaman ko ng nabasa ko to. Yung puso ko. Ang lakas ng tibok. At duon, alam ko, nabuhay muli si Rizal. Ang tagal ko hinintay maramdaman ulit to. Akala ko hindi ko na siya mahal. Pero solid to. Bawat letra nagpa-alala sa akin kung gaano ko kamahal ang Pilipinas. Salamat Sir Nikko Ramos! Isa kang henyo!

Through fun times and flatlines, mabuhay ang Gilas

By Nikko Ramos

Buong buhay ko, ang best friend ko, yung lolo ko. Si Rizal. Magkasama kami sa kwarto, sabay kami namamalengke, magkasamang tumatakas para kumain ng McDo kahit bawal sa diabetes niya. Pati yung nineteen-kopong-kopong niyang Mitsubishi Lancer sabay naming kinukumpuni. Silver yun eh, well at least nung brand new siya, silver daw kulay niya.

Nung high school ako, naging mas makulay pa sa outfit choices ni Kuya Germs yung auto. May green kasi minasilya, may black kasi butas, may blue kasi may nagasgas siyang sasakyan na nakaparada sa mall. Oo, hinit and run ng lolo ko. Pag matanda ka na daw kasi, minsan di na nag-aapply sayo yung batas, and apparently, common courtesy. Isang araw, pinagising niya ko. May solusyon daw siya dun sa pagtulo ng ulan papasok ng kotse mula sa mga gilid ng windshield. Pinalabas niya ko tas nakita ko siyang sobrang saya sa tabi nung bulok niyang sasakyan. May hawak siyang duct tape. “Bakit ba ngayon ko lang to naisip? Perfect diba?” Take note, award-winning engineer yung lolo ko. Ilang building na naitayo nun. Pati airport natin. Tapos ngayon tuwang-tuwa na kakulay ng duct tape yung kotse. Ibang klase.

Hanep kasi sa kulit yun eh. “Burjer” ang pag-pronounce niya pag hamburger. As in “hamburjer.” Pero pag cheeseburger, tama naman, nagiging “cheeseburger”. Pag naghuhugas siya ng kamay, ipapagpag niya yung tubig sa ulo mo. Sabay tingin sa kisame. “May butas yung bubong!” Everytime. Walang palya. Habang tumatanda ako, marami akong pinangarap na career: basketball player, piloto, english teacher. Pero isa lang talaga yung gusto kong maging: katulad ni Rizal.

Kaya nung namatay yung lolo ko pagkatapos ang maraming taon ng malubhang pagkakasakit, para akong nabunutan ng tinik sa tagiliran. Tapos sinaksak ulit. Paulit-ulit. Walang humpay. Walang katulad.

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