Thursday, May 31, 2012

Window Of Opportunity

"I was told that the University is in need of instructors when I was introduced to the dean of the Mass Communications Department during the PUP College Entrance Test sometime last year. I accompanied my mother, 'Dear Matriarch' when she became a proctor. It was there where I expressed my desire to apply for a part-time teaching job. It took me a year of reflection to make good of this promise."

"My mentors then were Dr. Rosemaribeth Dizon of the PUP Open University and Mrs Corazon Tahil, who is now the principal of the laboratory high school. Under Dr. Dizon, I’ve learned that inspiring students to express their creativity pays off in the long run. Mrs Tahil meanwhile showed me the value of History and the beauty of writing. It is for this reason I took up Journalism at the University of Santo Tomas"

"At present, I have a full-time job at a call center. I maybe a supervisor and trainer, but my heart - as I am beginning to realize is into nurturing young men and women to become valuable and productive members of the society. Something within me tells that I should impart whatever knowledge I gained as a student of life."

"Enclosed is my resume detailing my education and work experience. I also included my other areas of expertise such as Social Media Management, SEO Writing and Blogging. I hope my other credentials on top of my newspaper experience qualify me for the position.

I look forward to a fruitful partnership with the University. Coming from a family of teachers, I will put my heart and soul into my craft.

Thank you very much."

The plan was to head straight to the gym, to lift weights and burn off some calories before going to the office to continue the project. But when my mother called, the itinerary took a drastic turn. She told me to go to the University instead. She was able to speak to the president, who was once her student. The university head told us to get my application from the Dean of the Mass Communications Department. 

He will review my credentials himself.

The president has already left when we returned. But the cover letter, and the resume - which were left under stacks of voluminous documents the whole summer is now at the desk of the big boss. I don't know where this path would lead to, but I have to say, this is the closest I've ever been to the doors of the academe.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dream Journal Twenty Five

I was crouching in a street corner. With my knees folded and my hands pressed against my face. Not far away is a dying man surrounded by a crowd. I could hear them saying, "lumalaki yung ulo niya o!" (his swollen head is about to burst!)  But I didn't care. So are my other two companions who were close by. Their backs turned away from the commotion.

And then without a word, someone wrapped a piece of cloth around my eyes. The stranger then asked me to stand up. I learned that I would lead the grieving procession to the hospital because I'm the only one who could wade through the huge crowd.

With blindfolds on, I started walking. Slowly, making sure not to trip or the heavy object on top of my head would fall. I could feel his coldness with every step, like a slab of metal left inside a freezer. After a few steps, I heard the crowd cheering. Suddenly, the man I was forced to carry regained consciousness and is now healthy and alive. 

The tide of rejoicing pushed me into a curb, while the now electrified crowd continued to carry the man away. I went back to my companions to check how they're doing.  While walking away, I even thanked one of them for healing the sick. (It was hinted in the dream that she's an angel) My friend, who is a dear confidant just smiled and said she didn't do anything.

"Ikaw ang may gawa niyan." (You did it yourself)

The three of us continued walking - me, my college friend and my World History teacher until we reached the main street where we all went our separate ways.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

For The Record

"Take him home...."

It was a bold call at O Bar, which I sincerely hope resulted in two less lonely men finding shelter and solace in the arms of one another, tonight.


Learned that my friend asked to be dropped home. Both men went their separate ways. (korny) Meanwhile, I was so drunk last night, threw up from 4 to 7 in the morning. Never felt the pangs of hangover, but I swear, I won't mix Jack Daniels, San Miguel Light and Tanduay Ice ever again.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Only The Best

It was ambitious and I did it because... 

A Hollow Passage

Sinful delight

Baabaa and the sky

Off we disembarked from the jeep in front of a hotel with a commanding view of the lake. I was able to book a room at half the price. To get a suite without the vista was a forgivable offense. After all, there is a king-sized bed, a flat screen TV and fast WiFi to compensate for what we didn't get.

It was Baabaa's birthday and he knew I was up to something. He told me earlier last week that if I'm cooking up a surprise, he would appreciate a modest celebration. Baler would come to mind. But lacking readiness, I chose to scrap the Pacific getaway for an intimate bonding in the highlands instead.

There is a thin line between modesty and elegance and what I had in mind was a whiff of indulgence. To be sure, certainty came at the last minute and even I didn't have an idea how to pull off the surprise.

There were many limitations to what we could do. Chief among them was the lack of wheels to show him around. We also left the metropolis a bit late and JC had work that evening. Gone are my dinner plans at Sonya's Garden, a visit to one of the convents dotting the ridge, and perhaps even a tour of the Palace in the Sky at the edge of the city.

But JC and I had a good time. I got to see a shooting star as it trailed across the sky - while having conversations with a dear friend who dropped by. I crossed the street, went to McDonald's and bought a Double Cheeseburger Meal for me and the partner at past 1 in the morning. And stayed until daybreak to make sure the beloved gets some sleep before our return to Manila later that noon.

And we get to learn each other's quirks too - Like me, bringing the blanket I use in bed, and him, getting distraction from YouTube to find that clarity he needs for work. These are some of the little things we only got to know because we went out of town, stayed overnight and lived like a domesticated couple for the first time.

It was ambitious, yes and I did it for that one reason all of us become the best.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I pray, not just because I'm scared.
But because I have pushed myself to the edge.
My body suffers from abuse in ways I can never tell.

Bumangon ako ng kama na walang katiyakan kung mag-aabsent ba o hindi. Maari rin naman kasi na pumasok na lang ako ng hapon, gaya ng paalam ng isang katrabaho na nag-beach at sumali sa isang Miss Gay Beauty Contest sa Bataan noong linggo. Subalit nagsabi nga pala ang officer-in-charge sa umaga na ito ay magwo-work from home. May sakit kasi ang kanyang anak at wala itong kasambahay. 

Kailangan niya itong bantayan.

Binalak ko sana dumaan ng Mercury Drug habang naglalakbay papasok sa opisina. Kailangan ko nga pala ng multivitamins para patibayin ang resistensya ng aking katawan. Pero sarado pa ito. Sa halip, nauwi na lang ako sa 7-Eleven para bumili ng Bacchus.

Hindi ako tatagal na walang tinutungga na energy drink.

Nagsimula ang shift na isa lang ang kasama ko - ang agent na naiwan sa pang-umaga. Nang dahil sa retrenchment at sunod-sunod na pagreresign ng mga empleyado, naubos na ang mga tao sa floor. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit gustuhin ko man humabol ng tulog at magpa-late ng dating, SOP na dapat ay may managing officer na haharap sakaling dumating o tumawag ang director.

Someone has to report and tell the things that are happening in his company.

Work starts na-pipikit-pikit ako habang nasa harap ng computer. Nandoon ang paminsan-minsang paglagok ng energy drink sa pag-asang ikatatagal ito ng aking pagmulat. Isang oras ang lumipas. Mabagal ang progress sa aking ginagawa. Mahirap magsulat habang ang diwa ay napapariwara. Matapos ang isa pang oras ay sumuko na ako.

"Ms. Judy, idlip lang ako ha?" Tumango lang ang aking kasama.

Hindi kaila sa mga agents, lalo na sa morning shift na garapal ako magpakita ng antok. Balot ng kumot, hindi ako magdadalawang isip matulog habang naka-recline sa aking upuan. Sa kalagitnaan ito ng pagiging abala ng lahat. Namana ko ang ugali sa kumpanyang dati kong pinapasukan. Palibhasa ay family business, walang issue kahit tulog ako sa oras ng trabaho.

Mga dalawang oras rin ang lumipas bago ko napagpasyahang bumangon. Tuloy-tuloy lang ang calls habang nagbabanta namang mag-alsa ang sikmura dahil sa gutom. Lumabas ako ng building at tumawid ng kalsada. Hindi malayo sa aking kinaroroonan ang isang vegetarian store na affordable at masustansya ang mga pagkain.

Pagbalik ng floor ay tumakbo muli ang oras ng hindi ko namamalayan. Dala na rin marahil sa trabaho at mga panakaw na tulog na inaabot ng kalahating minuto sa tuwing ako ay magbre-break. Nandoon rin na tatlong beses ako tumakbo sa banyo matapos humilab ang tiyan. Hindi yata nagkasundo ang Bacchus at vegetarian sausage na aking pananghalian.

Natapos ang weekly planning meeting dala ang pag-asang magbabago ang ihip ng hangin ngayong linggo. Samantalang sa aking project na usad-pagong pa rin ang takbo, nagbigay ako ng salita na submission will take place before I leave the workplace.

Ang mga agents sa morning shift ay napalitan ng pang-hapon. Umikot man ang buhay ng mga tao sa paligid ngunit tila napako na ako sa aking cubicle: Nagpaalam si JC na manonood ng Lady Gaga Concert kasama ang mga kaibigan. Habang nagkuwento naman si ex-girlfriend tungkol sa bago niyang crush, at bago matapos ang hapon, isang malungkot na balita ang pumawi sa ngiti ng aking mukha.

Isang kaibigan ang nagpaalam na ng tuluyan.

Bumalik ako sa aking kinauupuan at sinilip ang relo. Alas kuwatro. Isa't kalahating oras pa bago magsara ang bangko. Sampung items pa bago mai-transmit sa client ang kanilang pinapatrabaho.

Ganun pala ang pakiramdam ng naghahabol ng oras. Gusto mong gawin ang lahat kahit alam mong ito ay malabo. Kapag hindi talaga kaya, pinipili mo ang priority sa maaring ipagpabukas pa. Kung kaya naman, a little routine adjustment accommodates everything.

In my case, kailangan ko magbayad ng isang credit card dahil ngayong araw ang cut-off. Naroon rin na kailangan ko magplano para sa kaarawan ng isang minamahal. Ang body-building workout ay ilang araw ng nakakansela and on top of that, there's a deadline to finish, and toiletries to buy.

Paano ko nagawa ipagsiksikan ang lahat ng tasks sa isang hapon?

Submitting the project became the top priority. And when this was done, I went to BDO to pay my credit card. Turns out, they were open until 6:30. I was an hour ahead of closing time. I was able to transfer what remains of my salary to my savings account as well. After that, there's a Puregold nearby. Masuwerte lang, available ang sabon at deodorant na ginagamit ko sa katawan.

The work-out will resume tomorrow, and this time wala na atrasan. As for the birthday plans, I will leave it as surprise, even to me. Sa ganito naman talaga ako magaling, sa pagiging spontaneous.

Looking back, I was able to finish the biggest tasks I had set this morning. Despite being broken and defeated by my sleeplessness and fatigue. But most of all, this entry deserves to be written and published for one thing and one thing alone.

It is to acknowledge his presence, and to show my deepest gratitude. Kasi, I wouldn't have done it - all - if I didn't ask for help when all seems lost and crumbling.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crisis Intervention

A friendly reminder I found on Facebook this morning.

Meanwhile, the body follows a pattern of sleep. Experts call it the Circadian Rhythm. We call it the proper bedtime. And since my work hours drastically move from the afternoon to the morning shift on Mondays, I am forced to change my bedtime pattern in a single day - every week. That leaves my two days in the morning difficult to manage. 

My bedtime falls at 6 in the morning these past few days. When I attempted to get some rest last night after saying good night to Baabaa, I was stirred back to wakefulness less than 30 minutes after my shut-eye. Adventure Time and Camp Lazlo on Cartoon Network didn't help either.

I knew there was no going back to slumber.

So I start my Monday sleepless, drained and with a body suspended on a ruptured string. I promised myself that once I end this day in one piece, The first thing I will do when I get home is sleep and leave the world behind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


And so begins the grind, a day ahead of the work week. We expect more overtime. Frustrating revisions may pop out unexpected, and maybe even a dress down from the director if we royally fuck-up this side project. We try not to be eaten alive by the pressure, but we can't help it. Time is of the essence.

We will open the week, with the project three days behind schedule. And out of our desire to make a sub-light leap and seal that gap, we will move mountains to complete the tasks.

Given our penchant to make things possible in a unilateral fashion, we won't ask for help. We will try to deflect the pressure away from the escorts. In return, we will expect the unwavering compliance of everyone.

We confess that we're never used to long hours of work. And in paving a trail for others to follow. But with our untried skills, and resolve to respond to urgency, we will sink into the unknown with a lantern to light the abyss.

When this is all over. When the holy enterprise has been won, we will retire into our tiny corner knowing we have done things beyond our duty. 

And when the Patroness returns from her oceanside journey, we will once again send the emissaries: to seek new realms to settle, and perhaps reign over.

We go into the depths, knowing too well that we are approaching the climax. Because within the wordless chambers of our being, we read: 

The pages of this life's chapter is coming to an end.


Manang's Chicken Velvet Sundae

A fitness advocate seldom confesses his love for food. For it is a sin to indulge his senses to gustatory delights. He would never tell the sheer joy of exploring the culinary wilderness, and share what he knows with fellow famished pilgrims. 

It's been ages since Souljacker became a food blogger. And because I get invited by Garppy to tag along when he goes around the city to feature the newest feeding places, I join the feast by trying to write the entrees that pleased our bellies. To wield the pen isn't really obligatory. But a gesture of goodwill to our generous hosts who only wanted their fast-food temples get known the 'net over.

So here I am, writing an introduction. I'd be putting words to places my taste buds have been.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I go to sleep lately thinking about work. 

This is how preoccupied I am. I couldn't even let my mind cuddle in the arms of dreams. The habit shows my obsession. Given a responsibility, I tend to make it a calling. I wage a holy war when my heart embraces a task. It has always been my nature - to go beyond the extra mile to honor a word. Sometimes at the cost of my own well-being. 

The life-alteration campaign began a week before the rains peppered the sky with drops of water. The director got a word that we were being commissioned to do the necessary "additions" to a dating website and make it look more "active" in the eyes of its users. This website is quite notorious for making a name. "Life is short," its tagline says. "Go out and play."

While I don't agree with its principle, the project's essence lies in its potential to become our bread and butter. As the director explains, we have to "pad it" with "characters" before we start blurring the lines of "fiction" and "reality." Hopefully our work won't end there. In the long run, he wants us to moderate the dating site, and perhaps even take a chunk of its customer service arm. 

"It can be a thriving ecosystem." I mused.

"And I can't let it not happen."

You see, business is bad lately. I might even say that this is the lowest we've ever dipped in the history of the company. The Patroness is not around to see it, and so is the other manager who sought greener pastures when her account took a beating as well. Thus I am left to work and answer directly to the boss. A far cry from being a rank-and-file foot soldier just seven years ago.

I share the vision of my superior so I took the project like my own child. I was given two colleagues to work with and a timeline that is quite beyond our human capacity to follow given the tasks that lay ahead.

But we have already accepted the challenge. My strategic and charming skills will be put to the test.

And we began working on the project like our lives depended on it. Morale was high and I kept telling my men that we are the "future of the company." But along the way, we were being dragged by revisions that could have been avoided had the boss assigned a more experienced task manager in place of me. I on the other hand complicated matters by adding layers of job assignment, others may find redundant.

Along the way, the process too maybe slowing us down.

I would like to think our hard work will pay off: That we will overcome the difficulties by sheer hard work and dedication. I don't mind getting four to six hours' worth of sleep and spend twelve hours in the office, absorbed in front of the desktop. As long as the director stays supportive, and my colleagues still driven to finish their daily tasks, the self-doubts and questions I feel within won't hinder my resolve to see this project through.  

As for me, the grind goes on with tons of client revisions putting us further behind schedule. The blog, and my active presence on Twitter will have to take a backseat and so is my need for social interaction. Sometimes I even have no time for myself. Unused to this kind of fast-paced life (where idle time really means wasted money) the sudden changes leave me dazed and unconscious of my own surroundings.

On top of this gargantuan undertaking, the base account still needs my attention. Even though the agents themselves can work independently, being attached to the three shifts mean having to manage the movement of agents when their officers-in-charge are enjoying their weekly break. 

Having my hands full, I would like to think that ours is a necessary arrangement, given the delicate situation of the company. Lack of resources keep us from expanding - while the arrival of a much bigger client - that demands new set of skills and manpower has already taken the director's focus on my project.  

Meanwhile the core business is still shrinking, leaving our agents - who have been with the company for years - contemplating their fate.

I go to sleep lately thinking about work. For when I see what's at stake and the uncertainty that lies ahead. I would like to finish my project and move on  - to a place - where I have no need to think of other people's  lives and future again.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Show Me Love

Minsan, ang pagmamahal sa isang tao
ay hindi natutumbasan ng pera o kaya ng salita.
Ang oras na binibigay mo sa kanya
ay sapat na upang iparamdam
kung gaano mo siya kamahal.

Ermats, (paraphrased)
Quezon Memorial Circle, May 10, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I would always tell Bentusi, that she can count on me to write, but never edit my work. Grammar has always been my disability, given that I pay more attention to the story and not with its form. Only lately did I learn to exercise caution - and prudence. After all, some people size you by your language mastery. One slip and their impression collapses like a monolith built on soft ground.

But this doesn't mean I'm ignorant with the language. It's just that a creator will find it hard to spot the faults of his creation. Lapses always exist. That is why critics tend to crash the scene - and sometimes, even chip the artists' massive ego. 

It's in their nature; their way of pulling the artists' feet back on the ground.  

But when the artist is aware of his own mortality. That as a wordsmith, he too can commit mistakes, he takes caution when spotting other people's work - or thoughts. Especially when his opinion is not sought. For in your attempt to correct what seems to be trivial, there is a risk of invading other people's space. You may come out as the aggressor; the high and mighty, self-righteous grammar guru that is secretly loathed by everyone.

Because not everyone would like to admit mistakes.

So it won't come as a surprise that I actually don't find fault when reading someone's personal blog or tweet, or Facebook wall. Or if I get annoyed with his sentence structure, I embrace my thoughts. Unless that person actually promotes his ideas and use it to gain influence, it's the only time I would throw my weight around, and say my piece.

There is a universe of difference between consciously attracting attention, and letting your thoughts drift until someone accidentally finds it. The more it doesn't concern you, the better you take it as it is. An innocent correction can sometimes rub off a person the wrong way.

And wrong way it did.

Filipino Translation: "Magde-date kami ni Mama"

Maybe it's my own ego screaming - that it's not the right time to release her Nazi tendencies on me. The wall was written in good faith. It was meant not to malign anyone, not even wishing to court others' approval. I find it contrary to good taste to pay attention to its technicalities - when other people got the message


I left the comment, and my admission posted. To remind myself a lesson. So I would always remember to keep my grammar fault-finder in check, and to make sure never to post on other people's wall, especially in situations when their own frailty is exposed.    


It all began with a discovery. That I, Mugen the careless didn't pay attention to my credit card's billing statement. It took me a week to realize that I was way past the due date, and that, a heavy penalty was already forthcoming.

I paid the full amount the next day and called the credit card's customer service hotline to report my delinquency. At first, I said that I'm planning to cease using the card. Terminate it. But when they hit back and told me that I still have to settle the P600 interest, I toned down my rhetoric and begged for clemency instead.

"Kasi, I went to the province last Holy Week." I explained. "I only saw the bill yesterday." 

It was a creative ruse. 

"Baka naman puwede niyo i-reconsider. Kasi pag hindi na-retract yung penalty, ang babayaran ko next month ay interest lang." I pleaded.

"After all, I am a long-time and good-paying customer."

"I understand sir. Your request has been forwarded to our collections department" The agent said. "Let's hope they listen to your appeal."

"Sana nga."

"Is that all sir?"


The phone call ended.

It took them four days to reply. I called the same hotline twice before I got an answer. And when the agent delivered the outcome, their decision was a disappointment.

"I'm sorry sir but your appeal was rejected." 

"Ganun?" My hand was squeezing the phone's headset. "Hindi ba masyadong unfair na mas mababa pa sa singkwenta pesos yung utang ko, tapos ang interest eh six hundred pesos?"

"I'm sorry sir, but that's our card's policy." The agent's response was cold. Almost unsympathetic. "If you want, we can conduct a further investigation, this time involving the person who delivered your bill."

My head was screaming. I can't believe the credit card company would waste that much time and resources for a P600 profit. To a fault, I thought it was pathetic. I'm not that desperate to fight over something that's been my fault in the first place.

But I know how to hit where it really hurts.

"Okay. Please write this down." I calmly said. As an officer who requires to know something about customer service work, I'm certain that the agent handling the call is required to take notes, especially in escalation cases like the one he's about to face.

"Tell the one who reviewed my appeal that his decision was a big mistake." I said. "I will cut this card, as well as my Visa." 

"I can't believe that this is the price of my loyalty."

Three weeks had passed before the new billing statements from the credit card company came. The first thing I did was pay the five pesos balance, for me to be able to cancel my Visa. It was a sweet vengeance I tell you, especially when the escalation officer called. She tried to bargain - convince me to change my mind by way of scrapping my membership due.

"Revoke the penalty on my Mastercard and I'll keep my Visa." I commanded.

"I'm really sorry sir, but my superior said it can't be done."

"Well then, goodbye." I said, smiling. "It was fun doing business with you."

With the Visa gone, the next thing I did was to return to the bank a few days later and pay for my Mastercard. Seven hundred pesos. That's enough cash to dine my mom in a restaurant, or have a movie date with Baabaa. And it will all go to waste simply because some wise corporate drone thought he'd get rewarded for bringing money to Metrobank.

Unfortunately, he forgot. Long-term earnings rest on the customer who uses the card.

"Hello Metrobank, my name is Mugen. Here is my account number."

"What can I do for you Mr. Mugen?"

"I'd like to know if my payment yesterday has already appeared on my balance?"

"Yes. You have zero balance left."

"So wala na akong utang sa inyo?"

"Wala na po."

"Very well, I'm terminating my card."

I'm sure, the person on the other end of the line was caught unprepared. After all, most people call to ask their balance so they maybe able to purchase more items on credit. Once again, my concern was escalated.

This time, my mind is set. There is no turning back.

I used to think credit cards define status; so people would know that you are rich, and that you have been privileged to spend without using cash. It was Metrobank who first placed their trust; my first credit card was Visa. I bought gifts for loved ones. Slept well at night, knowing I have emergency funds. Went to opulent places without stuffing my wallet with cumbersome cash. It even guaranteed my online acquisitions as Paypal uses the card as monetary substitute.

I could have kept one for sentimental reasons. But with a P600 penalty charge and a feeling of betrayal clouding my judgement, I decided to cut both.

I do not know if the message got across, or whether the inconsiderate bastard would ever find out the outcome of his decision; of how we tend to lose more because of our short-term vision.

As for me, the dissolution of two cards meant a permanent cash-flow problem resolution. Credit purchases will significantly lessen. I will be forced to spend within my means. In the long run, the absence may turn out more beneficial than what I have foreseen. For instead of my earnings being eaten by bill payments, whatever money I receive will now go directly to the bank.

At long last, I will have my savings back.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pump Without A Sound

A two-pound drop should never be a cause for celebration. A fact that should serve as a reminder for someone to be more realistic with his work-out goal. My biggest fault was not backing the campaign with a plan. On top of the shoddy execution, I was undisciplined, complacent, even less motivated as the final week approaches. 

I did not create a meal plan, like I used to a few years ago. Part of my diet consists of high-calorie, salty meals eaten in fast food restaurants. I am still fond of letting my bowl of rice and breaded chicken sink in thick layers of gravy. I still can't resist the smell of French Fries. It's crispy, starchy goodness leaves me spellbound and salivating.  

My gym routine was erratic. I would arrive in the morning one day, the next I'd be working out at past midnight. There was an unplanned, five day rest. A hiatus, which could have been prevented had I never felt lazy (and sleepy) at the sight of an angry sun. 

I didn't follow my program the way it was written, and didn't add exercises that could have aided in muscle growth. I quit easy when the weight of iron plates strained my muscles, and whined when doing the leg-torturing foam rollers as warm-ups.

The result was plateau. 

Summer's over and nothing was gained.

Or didn't you?

As far as I recall, a feared wardrobe overhaul never happened. As all your clothes, even the medium-sized ones could still dress your bulky frame. 

People stopped telling you that you got fat, perhaps because they have gotten used to your girth and expects that you would really grow - big, because of your slowing metabolism. 

And even though you didn't lean, deep down, you are still satisfied with the results: Broader chest, bigger arms, smaller tummy. Not bad, even when the physique remains "beach unready."

But since you didn't hit the goal; an accomplishment, that will never be yours. Consider this photo a consolation, Mugen.

You will not get the music player you've always wanted.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I have never been a fan of Mathematics. Not with numbers. When I was still in school, my intellect was measured by the number of times a line-of-seven grade blotted my report card. The glaring dip, a few notches away from a flunking grade was because of that wretched subject. I was seen less, not only by my teachers but my family as well. And instead of being praised, or at least commended for my high grades - in Reading and Sibika at Kultura, these accomplishments were often ignored. When I get a scolding, the elders tend to zero in on that one subject, which I dreaded more and more the closer I get to college.

The animosity was mutual. Instead of putting some effort to understand the harmony among numbers, there I was, creating a name and a fine impression - in subjects that don't require formulas. There was even a time in high school when my name was called during the flag ceremony. I was recognized by the principal for receiving the highest grade in World History. I even upstaged the geniuses of our batch - to everyone's surprise. Unfortunately, I was late that morning and the parchment was given to me by my adviser, who happened to be my Algebra teacher as well. 

"Congratulations..." He said, almost indifferently before handing me the paper. The nonchalant reception was understandable. After all, my grade in his subject was 72. The lowest, perhaps in the entire batch.

Being a graduating student, I was aware of the consequence should my grades remain in dismal state. My parents didn't know I flunked Algebra and not even my 90s in History, Entrepreneurship and Literature could provide a counterbalance and hide the stain. Improvement was seen during the next two quarters. And I owe the turnaround to the student teachers. They were less scary in front of the class, and more generous in grading a student's performance. 

I was able to graduate. But my relationship with my adviser has remained frozen ever since.

I was thinking of ways to tell that I failed my work out goal last month when I was reminded of how my academic standing was summed up by Mathematics. 

Because of this perception - or preference to see the weak side rather than someone's potential, nobody really thought I could become the 8th placer in the NEAT exams in class when the result was tallied by our Homeroom teacher.

Same perception also barred me from writing in the school paper in high school. There was a grade requirement and since I performed poorly in Math, my name didn't appear in the shortlist. The real result was, nobody knew I could write entire paragraphs with ease. Except one, and the irony was, she's not even my English teacher. 

She was my mentor in World History.

And after all the less-than-lofty judgement, I guess, I have grown accustomed to being seen more of a potential, than an actual achiever; that I tend to shine, either by giving off a steady pillar of faint light or remaining a late bloomer in every chapter of my life; that I thrive in subterfuge; by revealing my best while remaining incognito.

Sometimes it pains me, but this is how I grow.

Failing the work-out goal aside, the contemplation takes place at a time when my calling at work is needed more - than before. With a pet project already assigned for me to lead, and another big one at works - on top of my other duties such as ensuring the smooth operation of the workplace, I would have to understand, and sometimes even accept my place.

Even when my moment to shine happens at the twilight of this career chapter.

For when I fail to see that I perform best when seen underrated - when I get chosen after everyone else saw me as merely average, the bitterness of the wasted years would haunt me for the rest of my life.