They say that one does not have to experience
everything to feel the totality of life. There are instances in our lives when
we have no idea in finding the right way, the true way, and yet with a hopeful
heart we face the life we know so little about, we face an uncertainty that
will not dissipate, an experience that might not turn-out to be what we
expected it to be. And yet, we still continue; we still find the courage to
take the wheel and drive onward.
I was one of those participants who did
not have an exact reason to join a contest. This was a first time, and I was
very willing to partake in it, which I credit to my professor and mentor, Prof.
Delos Santos, who gave me the opportunity to participate in the 10th
Annual Cesar Tiangco Literary Awards. On the rules that he gave me, there were specific
topics included for each category. My inspiration must have been the cultural
phenomena that shook the nation’s shoulders and made it fall in love again
every day: Al-dub, Pastillas Girl—and how direly these kinds of shows might affect
our youth’s perspective of society, how they see life in general, and how they would
become aware of their actions are some of the problems that I’ve seen
manifested for the past couple of months. And so, after finishing the first
draft, I quickly submitted it to Prof. Delos Santos, and after a few more
revisions we had successfully passed the article through our college dean, Dr.
Valdez. From there on, I hoped and daydreamed that my paper would be read by
the judges; and even if I didn’t win, at least I joined something new to me,
and that was a nice experience.
Two months had past and still we had no
news, but I still clung to the waning hope that it had been read. So I gave
myself, deep, silent moments of surrender and acceptance—I told myself that it
was okay if I didn’t win because I know what I’ll need to improve and hone when
I join other literary contests. And then, one silent day, a text message came
from my mentor, telling me that I won the contest. And I was more than shocked after
I heard it, but it soon dissipated. Because of this event, happening so
unexpectedly, I was able to commune with myself and realize that there are
things that are beyond our control, like the general behavior of the youth towards
fast information and digital media.
is not just the youth who is often lost, but surely, in some way or another all
of us have experienced being lost, but have we listened to the inner voice
that’s calling us to go back, not just to the real world as you perceive it to
be, but as a new onlooker with new lenses and greater perspectives. Despair
does not have to exist in one’s lost heart if one is sure of one’s goal—and my
goal was to deliver a message to the youth.
and after we received the awards, for student and mentor awardees, and
generally, for the school as well, there were these moments of silence—and in
these silences we were able to evaluate, reassess and remodel our actions. In
these silences we got lost in different thoughts and ideas, and in the end, we
come back a changed person.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the organizers
of the Cesar S. Tiangco Literary Awards, for honing the skills of young writers
like me. This journey has given me the hope that there are people who still put
their best efforts in their writings, their pieces, out of intrinsic motivation;
not to perfect the art, but to deliver a message is our goal. And the Cesar S.
Tiangco Literary Awards has been a great vehicle for that endeavor. Thank you
to the English faculty of University of Makati, to my classmates, to my family,
for supporting me. And to all young writers, let us remember to enjoy the long,
arduous, but fun drive of writing.