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Why I Don’t Live With My Boyfriend

Today marks R and I’s fourth year together. We started off as a long-distance couple, then two years ago, he decided to move to the Philippines.

People are still scratching their heads as to why we don’t share a home. The question makes perfect sense since we travel and make major decisions together. So, why are we still living apart?

Why make this decision?

(Note: Let’s not talk about this issue with any religion in mind. This decision does not have anything to do with it.)

Before I go any further, let me tell you that I don’t mind my partner seeing my booger in the morning, or farting in front of him, or having to tell him that I need to spend quiet times alone. Let’s go beyond these surface-y stuff grounded on immaturity that magazine articles will tell you as to why couples choose to live apart.

It’s difficult to explain everything in speech. So, if you happen to be my relative or friend who keeps on bugging me as to why I made the decision, here are my reasons:

1. Establishing financial independence is important

Many people tell me that they choose to live with their partner to save money.

I find this reasoning very wrong on many accounts. For one, why would you have to rely on someone else to fill in the funding for your life? Secondly, why wouldn’t you want to reach a level of financial independence where you know you can stand on your own without someone backing you up?

Reaching that level is essential to me, and while I can say that R and I are now at this stage, we want to keep on saving until we are truly ready to share a home and to compromise on each other’s interests. For example, I like hiking, and R likes gaming. So, when we live together, R would have to agree to come on a hike with me, while I would have to agree with him purchasing gaming upgrades.

When I think about it, having these two interests together under one roof can be expensive. Instead of just thinking of myself, I also have to think of my partner, and then I have to learn to give, as well, to share with my partner’s interests. The art of giving and receiving can both be rewarding and costly emotionally, mentally, and financially, and so being sufficient with myself is important.

Right now, I am living with my parents, and I get to live alone when I’m on field assignments, or when I choose to spend some time alone elsewhere. R, on the other hand, is living with his grandparents and goes bird hunting (SAD!) and night hangouts with his uncles and cousins, and plays online games whenever he’s free from work. We call and message each other throughout the day, and meet every chance we get. We get to spend time with our families, and most of all, we get to save by living at home.

2. Why should I?

Why would I want to share my personal space with someone else this early in the relationship? Four years is anything but a number, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with how we, as a couple, should make a decision.

At this point, I don’t find an incentive to want to live with my boyfriend. Other than having lots of couple time, that’s only one aspect of the relationship, anyway. We’ve come to a mutual decision that while living apart, we will allow the other aspects of our relationship to grow.

Rairhey Date

R’s surprise dinner for our monthsary: complete with my favorite white wine and “brownout” candles!

Every chance we get, R and I make plans to see each other. It is like going on dates all the time. We dress up and strive to look good for each other on these dates. After four years, going out is still incredibly exciting!

3. I found my boyfriend complementing my personality

You know that common phrase where couples say, “We fit together like pieces of the puzzle?” It’s cheesy, yes, but I found that my boyfriend did just that. He complements my personality perfectly. When I am being my usual loner self, he would stand up and answer the phone for me. When he likes to splurge on things, I would remind him to be mindful. It makes perfect sense to live together with someone who’s a perfect fit for me, right?

Truth is, I got seriously scared when I realized this dynamic unfolding. It made me question, “Why?” I wanted to see for myself why and how R was complementing my personality, and what I can do to fill in those empty spots.

I know that every time R fits in my puzzle, I must look within as to why he has to do that job for me. Before I get to share the rest of my life with someone else, I must be sufficient within to do that.

There is no rush. Heck, if everything works out, we’re going to spend our future together, anyway. We will share a home every day, and every minute of our lives. So, why would I want to rush the process and show myself up for the next step prematurely?

Defining “maturity”

The thing with many people is they associate “maturity” with “living apart.” But isn’t it more immature to do something, thinking it’s okay, just because everyone else is doing it? I get to meet people who choose to live alone and are (super) proud of what they are doing. They have this air around them with a sort of invisible tag on their foreheads that say, “I’m better than you are.” I just find it funny. Why is there a need for anyone to prove something?

People have different reasons as to why they choose to live apart, but I think what sets apart the mature decision-makers is they know exactly why they want to do it, without finding the need to prove their decision.

Conclusion

Not living with my boyfriend does not make me love my partner any less. By staying apart, we are helping our relationship grow without having to resort to physicality to patch things up. Although sometimes we go to bed without sorting things out, we talk, talk, and talk until we again go through another learning curve.

I know I’m lucky to have a partner who is also more than willing to explore the “Why” with me. And I know I’m lucky that I– we– get to choose when and how we want to be in it for the long haul.

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Why It’s OK to Leave Your Camera Behind

Early this year, my friends and I went to Tingloy Island, Batangas for a two-day-one-night trip. We had the chance to catch up on our lives and to talk about our plans. And more than anything, we also spent time basking in the serenity of being away from the mainland.

It was quite a long trip, with a one-hour bus ride to Batangas Grand Terminal, a one-hour drive to Mabini Port, and a one-hour boat ride to Tingloy Island. It was quite a spur-of-the-moment trip where we planned our entire trip just one week before.

The unexpected hike

My friend J and I decided to walk around the area after lunch, while my friend M stayed along the beach to read a book.

From a view of a calm and waveless sea, we were greeted with rows of lush rice fields, freshly made bamboo huts, and Eurasian tree sparrows ready to dive for grains. It was such an awesome feeling to be caught in between the sea and these beautiful rice fields without having to compromise on which path to choose. We were there, in the middle of it all, allowing ourselves to enjoy the best of both worlds.

As we walked around the area, we decided to explore further afield and set our eyes on this gentle peak, Mt. Mag-asawang Bato (The Couple Rock Mountain). My friend J was wearing a dress and flip-flops, and I was wearing my swimwear and flip-flops, too.

I was a bit wary at first since we didn’t have a guide, having left all our things behind including our money and– gasp!– mobile phones. At this point, I have never experienced hiking without being ready, so this is a first. But then I thought, I am with my friend anyway…

Hiking without a working camera in tow

So, we hiked without anything else other than the clothes and flip-flops hugging our bodies, our water bottles, and my friend’s defective camera. At first, I felt incomplete without a camera in tow. It would have been nice to document our little adventure. How I wish I could take pictures of these views, and replayed these thoughts in my head over and over again.

But as we continued with our hike, I did my best to simply let go: to let go of my needless wants and self-doubts. Although it wasn’t easy, I chose to take a closer look at the views I see. I never thought it would be THAT difficult to remember something so beautiful. It was way easier to just let a camera capture things, rather than me making an effort to make sense of the moment.

Savoring the view

As we reached the first peak, I learned, for the very first time, to try to remember everything I’m seeing. I don’t have a pen and paper to guide me, nor a camera to capture the moment. I only have my sense of sight, smell, hearing, feeling, and taste to guide me.

Weeks after that camera-less hike, I could still picture in my head many memories of that hike, to that moment that we reached the first peak, and up until the time we reached our friend M back to the shore. Surprisingly, what initially felt like “nothing” now turned into “everything.”

Mt Magasawang Bundok_Anthroonfoot.jpg

Mt. Mag-asawang Bato, one of Tingloy Island’s many iconic peaks

Looking back, I’m glad for that off-the-grid experience. Albeit short, it gave me an idea as to how liberating it feels to get face-to-face with nature. Although I cheated with bringing my water bottle, it was my first time to hike without a mobile phone and camera, and I intend to do it again.

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Why I Left My Online English Teaching Gig

I got accepted at Rarejob in November 2014, at a time where I realized I needed to spread out my risks in the midst of the recession. I had friends and relatives who got laid off from their jobs around this time, and so I wanted to have a “back up” in case I lose my job, too.

English teaching-min

Teaching English while cross-legged on the bed

I’ve enjoyed the flexibility of this online English teaching gig. I could punch in the hours depending on my availability, and I can have enough time to review lesson materials before the class. I had the chance to meet a range of students across different backgrounds, from teenagers who want to study abroad, to the elderly who enjoy working as volunteer tour guides, to professionals who are working in international environments. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet these people, albeit virtually.

Low pay, but…

The pay was low (during my time, it was at $2.50 per hour), but since it is an additional source of income, I find no reason to complain. I am not obligated in any way to follow a certain schedule, or to report to a supervisor at the end of every day. So, on weekends, instead of oversleeping or watching TV, I would log in to the Rarejob portal and teach through Skype. It was a nice way to spend some hours of my weekend, and I learn something about Japanese culture along the way, too.

Why I left

I left this online English teaching gig not because of the pay, but because of lack of trust within me. I am not a native English teacher, and I am not even close to being someone who can translate Filipino documents to English, so why am I here, teaching English?

I realized this when I was looking for a French teacher online. I found it funny to find non-French, Canadian, and African teachers who were offering their services, too. I even saw a Filipino who marketed herself as a Filipino, English, and French teacher, when her English wasn’t even that good (mine is not good, too, but hers had serious grammatical errors).

I thought, I will never want to be taught my target language by a non-native speaker. Although many non-native speakers can speak, write, and understand the language on an advanced level, I still find inconsistencies with how non-natives understand their second language. Just like me, I still have to check for my prepositions every so often, and I’m not that confident just yet in speaking English.

So, why would I bother getting a non-native teacher when I can get one who grew up using the language?

Reality in the age of political correctness

In this day, my stance may be deemed racist.

Everyone should have equal opportunities! If others can do it, we, in developing countries, can do it, too! Why should our race dictate what we can do?

And the discussion goes on and on and on.

But I’m just being real here. Why would I choose a non-native speaker for a language teacher, when I can get a native teacher even if I have to pay a bit more? And can I really trust the knowledge of someone who only knew how to use the language for the last two decades? Of course, I want to put where my money has its worth, so I will not think twice about learning French with someone who grew up speaking, writing, listening to, and understanding the language.

This one, though, is absurd: Students don’t trust lecturers who aren’t native speakers. I can only speak for language classes, and not for anything else.

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Why Work Gives Me a Sense of Purpose– And I Think It’s Kinda Wrong

Imagine a world without work.

Can you take it?

Can you see yourself being in one?

What do you do (for a living)?

On any party that I go to, the first thing that people ask after asking my name is, “What do you do?” It is not like a question of “What do you do?” but, in fact, of “What do you do for a living?” So, imagine people’s surprise when I told them I was unemployed a month after graduating from university.

Of course, there is this “saving face” sort of attitude ingrained in Filipino (and Asian) cultures; so, instead of asking me the question of “Why,” people would go to my parents instead. These inquisitive souls would then bugger my parents, and my mom and dad, unfortunately, had the sore role of wanting to be in my defense. “She is still job hunting,” was their usual answer. And I was being blatant with saying, “Yeah, I’m unemployed.” I did not want to explain myself because, really, what was there to explain about? I just got out of university, and it is unfortunate that I did not think of applying for jobs before I graduated.

Thankfully, after that one month of unemployment, I got a job– as a freelance writer. So, here we go again, people asking me the same question of “What do you do?” When I tell them I am a “freelance writer,” the reaction I get is even worse than telling them I am unemployed. Going freelance always has its share of misconceptions, and one of them is this being another way of saying that, indeed, you are unemployed.

Anyway, after five months of doing writing gigs on Upwork, from writing theses, online articles, and e-books, I got my first legit office-based job at IRRI. IRRI, with all its standards and good name, pulled me into its fame, too. All of a sudden, people stopped probing me and bugging my parents on the question of “What do you do?”

(Side note: But to be honest, I had the least stressful life during my time at IRRI. I had a lot of free time to go to the library, with permission and encouragement from my boss since there was not much work to do. In fact, I was more agitated during my freelance days.)

Impostors galore

I used to be so agitated when I have free days on a weekday, or when I have short work days. I used to feel useless to be sitting and reading when I know I should be working. Even though I usually finish my work before 5 pm, I will not go out, afraid that people will think of me as “unemployed.” I used to bother because I cared so much about others’ opinion. I didn’t want to be probed any longer, so I would rather wait until 5 pm when all working people are out so I can join in the pack. I thought I will not stand out so much.

Utterly stupid as I look at it in retrospect.

Work? What Work?

After all the hustle and bustle in finding flexible work, I am now happy to say that I got what I’ve always wanted: work that will not control my time, and the opportunity to choose what I want to do with my time. I only achieved this recently (to be exact, this January 22), when I got a better post in my current jobs. All my work is now deliverables-based, so I am not constrained by time to accomplish what I have to do.

Surprisingly, I now work even harder. I don’t want anything like this to pass my way, so the more I treasure and enjoy it while it lasts.

This schedule is still taking me a bit of getting used to since I never before had the chance to be in full control of my day. I would occasionally rummage through my list of tasks and do my work in advance. To be honest, I felt a bit iffy at the start to be having this much time in my hands. But the more I live my every day based on my own terms, the more I choose to let go of my fears and to just embrace everything in my way.

And what has this new schedule brought me? Weekday hikes, weekday birdwatching sessions, weekday running sessions, time to clean the house every day, and time to learn new skills. I haven’t felt this time-strapped than I’ve ever been, but now, it’s the sort of “busy” that I choose to be in. I put “busy” in open and close parentheses because I’ve always hated the word; but now, I want to use it because, well, I want people to leave me alone 😛

Superblood moon-min

Enjoying the sight of the super blue blood moon with a glass of wine. Thanks to R for the photo.

… So this is what it feels like when you feel like a kid again enjoying this new-found freedom!

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Why I Deleted My LinkedIn Profile

I used to check my LinkedIn profile at least once a week, scanning for updates and looking into connecting with people I might have good partnerships with. It was like an “adulting Facebook” sort of platform where people did not post their recent vacation photos, but their updated work status, certifications, training, awards, and projects.

What headline?

It’s all good until I realized I missed putting a headline on my profile. The headline is what people see first when they view my profile. I can put in anything that I want, but usually, since this is a “professional” site, it is in my best interest to put my current position.

I thought long and hard about what to put here. Am I an anthropologist? Of course, no. I haven’t spent at least one decade on one field site to proudly say that I am. Am I a researcher? Sort of, but not really, because I also do writing and editing, and the term “researcher” usually connotes someone stuck in the office doing online research. Am I a writer? An absolute no. Everyone is a writer in their own way, and to say that I am one means I can assert that I could write for a living which, unfortunately, is not the case. I’m not good and if anything, I am only most comfortable with journal writing. Am I an editor? Sometimes, but I can only edit specific articles, and I absolutely do not have the confidence to proofread academic journal submissions.

Where am I good at, really?

I’m not very good with labels, and it’s hard for me to assert that “I am this and that.” Although I do apply anthropological, writing, editing, research, and entrepreneurial techniques on my work, I cannot say that I am this “-ist” or “-or” that can be that sort of authority in these fields. In reality, just like any of us is, I am forever a learner of this world who is constantly on the lookout for what, where, when, and from whom I can learn from. Therefore, I find it uncomfortable to force upon a single title when I know there is no appropriate title to write in the first place.

My solution

So, what did I place instead? Simple: Human Being. This is the most appropriate title that I could think of and sums up everything that I want to say about myself. I am no anthropology practitioner, writer, editor, or researcher. I know I am more than these titles, and to say that I am a “Human Being” was the most comfortable thing that I did on this platform.

But why did I delete my profile?

As straightforward as my headline sounds, I deleted my profile because, simply, I find no use for my account any longer. Sure, I have contacts that I’ve built over the years, and I’ve put in a substantial amount of time and effort in completing my profile. But why must I insist on pushing my way into something that does not make sense anymore?

In the past, I used to feel bad about saying goodbye to things that I have started. It makes me feel worthless knowing that I haven’t followed through with my decisions. But I’ve realized that the reason why today is different from yesterday, and tomorrow is different from today and yesterday, is because the world allows us to think and feel as human beings. This opportunity to grow is what makes us evolve in a way that is full of resilience and free of hang-ups that can be hard to say goodbye to.

So, today, I don’t doubt myself anymore if I want to turn my back. I have found a different meaning to the word “closure,” and with my LinkedIn profile down, I again feel another baggage coming off my shoulders.

Plant growing

What a relief to now watch this grow instead of my LinkedIn contacts. (Thanks to my friend G. for the photo)

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Why I Don’t Lend My Books Anymore

Reading has always been a part of my life, and I thank my parents for encouraging me to enjoy it with the encyclopedias, comics, and short novels they left hanging around the house. I admit I was a bit slow in catching up compared to my elementary friends who were reading The Prince and The Pauper when I was still stuck with Sweet Valley Kids, but I kept on. I had a dictionary in tow to help me out with words I didn’t understand. And I kept on reading although that meant missing out on my favorite after-school “merienda” (snack) time, or sitting by the beach when everyone is enjoying their swim.

My collection of books

Through the years, I’ve kept books that made a significant impact in my life, and I’ve given away those that I’ve outgrown (so, yes, I gave away my Sweet Valley Kids collection a long time ago). The book that I’ve kept with me the longest is The Handbook of Dog Care, given to me when I was eight years old by my piano teacher. I was also handed the Elementary Spanish Book, published in 1901, owned by my great-grandfather. I’ve won a small trinket back in grade school because of this when we were asked to bring the oldest book we have at home.

I have the complete Harry Potter collection, with every book bought year after year as each is released. I remember the third book, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, as a “pasalubong” (souvenir-ish) from my dad from Manila. It was special in that it was the UK edition when all my classmates had the US version. Price-wise, there was no difference. But it was nice to be asked around in school where I got it from. For that one week since the book was released, it was nice to be that “popular kid” with the “other edition” in hand.

HP books

My Harry Potter collection, with the first book bought back when I was in Grade 5 (1999).

I’ve also collected nature-related books through the years, starting with my mom’s Geography book when she was in elementary, a geology book, astronomy books, bird watching books, and, as any aspiring pseudo-archaeologist would have, a dinosaur encyclopedia.

Books that have helped me thread through my darkest moments include Reviving Ophelia and Generation Me, which both allowed me to understand as to why I feel confident yet vulnerable, entitled yet broken.

I have collected language and travel books that have gone passé these days with the rise of language and travel apps. However, I still keep them because I have notes written all over the place. And in time, I intend to give them away to travelers who would want to keep on adding to these notes.

I also keep my law books although I did not even go through one full year of study. I just can’t throw them away because it’s my first biggest investment in my life, and I failed miserably by realizing too late that law school is not for me. I kind of wasted all my savings from my day job by enroling, but every book is a reminder that, thank God, I did not continue pursuing something “just because.” It was a costly “just because,” but so far, it is the last “just because” decision that I’ve ever made.

The value of lending and borrowing

I used to lend my books to family and friends without hesitation. I was happy in doing so since I value the book borrowing-lending dynamic more than the idea of simply purchasing the book. There was one event, though, as you will see below, that changed how I viewed lending. It made me realize that there are memories, emotions, and histories attached to borrowed and lent books. And so, if I know it is an important book for someone else, I must purchase from a store rather than borrow. The responsibility is heavy if taken seriously.

I was once an I-don’t-care borrower

I learned this the hard way. I have a friend, K, whom I’ve borrowed George Orwell’s 1984 book from. This copy was her mother’s. It was torn, sinking in yellow, with pages so brittle they can get scary to touch. I still borrowed the book although I knew at first glance that this copy went through so much. I was still in high school then, and I wanted to have something to read through the Christmas break.

Fast forward to the start of classes. My friend was asking for the book back. I got shocked because I totally forgot about the book. I told her I was not yet through with it, but I was scared as hell. I had no idea where I placed it. It took me weeks to find it, and I found it in our house’s laundry area. Apparently, I left it in my canvass bag, the bag was washed, and the book was placed somewhere “dry.”  The book was torn into pieces, and the cover was missing. My heart sank, and I seriously did not know what to do.

The next day, I gave the book back to my friend. I apologized and said that I will replace the book. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was along the lines of “You must not worry about it because this book can never be replaced.” She looked disappointed, for sure, but as a good friend, she tried to understand me.

Karma getting back to me

In college, I have a friend who borrowed a collection of my favorite books. She wanted to read through the summer break, and so I allowed her to choose books from my shelf. She borrowed all my Ayn Rand books and a treasure trove of other copies. Basically, she borrowed all of my favorite books. I did not hesitate one bit because I knew she will take care of these copies as much as I took care of them.

Six months later, she told me my books got infested by termites. There is no way my books can be saved, and she had to throw away everything. I was left in pieces. I did not know how to feel, but I knew I was not angry. I just knew that the experience left me sad because I value every underline and every note I’ve written on those pages. It made me sad, too, to know that there is no way for me to spring back to life these copies ever again.

Why I now hesitate to borrow books

These experiences made a lasting impact on my life. It made me realize that a torn and yellowish book, while an insignificant piece for me, means the world to others. I may not appreciate its value, but if I respect its value beyond its materiality and what it means to me, then, for sure, I will never even think of borrowing something that I choose not to be accountable for.

A book is a collection of memories, and it holds personal value beyond what its owner can express. For every page, there seems to be an experience that falls into place once I revisit the copy– a blot of ink, a drop of oil, or a splash of water. These things make a book completely my own, and indeed, no other copy in the world can replicate that.

And why I now don’t lend my books anymore

The experience of my favorite collection being lost forever was traumatic for me, and I’ve since hesitated to lend my books. I had personal attachments to my copies, and I was afraid that the borrower will not hold much value on my copy as much as I give value to it.

In time, though, I saw beyond this attachment. I may have stopped lending books, but it’s not because I’m attached to them anymore– it’s because I choose to take control of my decisions. I know that it takes two in the borrowing-lending dynamic, and if I allow someone to make the decision for me, then I’m allowing myself to thread along the consequences of saying “Yes.”

So far since I’ve gone beyond my attachments, I’ve only ever lent my books to my grandma and brother. I don’t consider this “lending” per sé since I get to check on these copies in my grandma’s home and my brother’s shelf.

It’s been six years since I lent my copy of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake to my grandma, and four years since I lent Elie Wiesel’s Night to my brother. The former hasn’t been read by my grandma and is currently stuck on her shelf, and the latter is nowhere to be found. But do I feel regretful? No. Because I’ve chosen to lend these books, and with this decision, I’ve also decided to let them go.

It’s weird that I have been using the word “lend” all this time when, in fact, it is not appropriate any longer. I don’t lend my books anymore because I choose not to “lend.” I now choose to “give” and “share.” Books and their memories are impermanent, and I’ve since chosen to keep it that way.

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Why I Started Unfollowing My Favorite Travel Bloggers

I used to look up to travel bloggers. How can they amass such a large following, given that all that they do is travel, eat, drink coffee, and take photos of their adventures? I would scour page after page of travel blogs, drooling over the places that these lucky few get to visit. How I wish I were like them, I thought to myself. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world for work, right?

Where it went downhill

But as time went by, I noticed the trend of brand hashtagging, wherein as the blogger is soaking under the sun (with sandy toes in tow!), he/she will thank the sponsor with the brand’s hashtag at the end of the post. I noticed this trend on almost all social media influencers, and then I realized how mainstream this strategy is.

Turns out, as I read this article, partnership with influencers is now a new marketing tactic that many companies have started exploring. It works in many ways, although how to determine its reach is still being fine-tuned, so companies do not end up losing their investment.

Travel bloggers, therefore, had to upsell themselves to companies for an exchange in the form of products, services, or a fee. It can work both ways: (1) If you have already established your brand online and you’ve gained lots of followers, companies will approach you; or, (2) You will approach companies and market your brand.

Going into this partnership takes a lot of responsibility from the blogger. Can you really stand up for the brand? And do you agree with how the company operates? Some influencers may take ambassadorship lightly, but there’s a whole lot of responsibility that goes with this role.

I used to look up to these travel bloggers, and how I envied the lifestyle that they had. However, many bloggers these days do not offer anything of value any longer. Many simply talk about the things that they did for the weekend, thanks to XYZ company; or how they celebrated their birthday, thanks to their hundreds of sponsors.

I used to love reading these bloggers work, but advertising has increasingly taken over. Not only do brands overpopulate their blogs, but more so their social media platforms.

I don’t mean to judge bloggers for being at the mercy of brands. We all have to make money somehow, right? I respect the fact that it takes a lot of courage for these bloggers to do the things that they do. I can never in a million years flaunt my body and pose in front of a camera. So, the level of confidence that they exude is just incredible.

However, I still believe in the value of a blog, which is, simply, a journal. Anyone can put up a blog these days and share whatever they feel like. If the blog gets too staged, though, I unfollow immediately because I’m so overfed with advertisements online, on TV, on the radio, and along Philippine highways. I see a blog as an extension of the blogger’s self, so to get even more ads on blogs I follow is something like irony when all I want is to detoxify my online life.

Why I choose to keep my blog the way it is

I have been keeping a blog since 2011, but it is mostly for personal use. I don’t do for-profit brand ambassadorships and marketing. I simply write, edit, and hit publish. Thanks to WordPress’ auto-post feature, I also get to automatically publish my posts on my social media pages. I don’t have a wide readership, and it’s in my wildest dreams for companies to even consider approaching me.

Raizel in Ilocos

The perk of blogging for myself: I don’t have to pose for a brand. I can simply choose to be me. (Taken while traveling around Badoc, Ilocos Norte)

I admit I’m also guilty of this brand partnership trend when I accepted affiliations from Booking.com, Languages 101, Onlinejobs.ph, and Zalora and started blogging about them. At that point, I wanted to get brownie points from these brands so I can reach the point of where I can get invited to their events, or I can start receiving more other than from commission links. But it didn’t feel right, and I stopped doing this immediately.

I see this blog as an extension of myself. I only wish to share what I see, smell, hear, taste, and feel. Even though I don’t receive as much compared to other bloggers, I don’t get the pressure of doing this and that post for a company that I am not sure I would want to speak for.

I foresee this blog staying as a personal one for a long time. And in the end, my only readers may only be my family, friends, and their friends. But that’s fine. In this online world full of BS and false advertising, at least I know I can still speak from the heart.