Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dear Survivor

Dear Survivor,

The pandemic hasn't been easy on anybody. Everyone has gone through their fair share of trouble in the past year, be it in terms of career, health, or relationships. For you, it was your mental health.

Being a mild schizophrenic isn't easy, but you're still here. You've survived. I know how hard it was for you to adjust to pandemic life when you spent so much of your pre-pandemic outdoors and socializing. It's how you had to deal with your mental illness, after all. Since all of your triggers were at home, you dealt with it by leaving home, hanging out with your friends, and doing things that you love to get your mind off things.

Unfortunately, when the lockdown came into place, you were stuck at home and disaster struck in your head. As the pandemic continued, I remember how intense the paranoia was - a "side effect" of your illness. You couldn't go out even when other people started to because you were always worried that you might get COVID and infect people at home. But how could you escape your triggers if you were stuck with them every day?

I still remember how you lived day after day in mental anguish. The torture was so real that you contemplated suicide more than once a month. Since nobody in your household cared or even acknowledged your illness, nothing was done to keep these thoughts or feelings at bay. It took a few months of barely surviving that way, but I'm glad you got to a point where you decided that I had to leave that place: for your sanity, your peace of mind, and your survival. Literally.

Of course, it wasn't easy. You had zero savings, your daughter's tuition to pay, and a job that had to let go of half of its workforce due to the pandemic. You could be next any second. Enter more paranoia.

Still, the resolve was real. I still remember when you started having dreams of what peace could feel like. That's what triggered the motivation and made it even stronger. I still remember you starting to look for other jobs in the most random places; and by God's grace, you are so blessed that He gave you the talents, the patience, and the stamina that you needed to succeed at everything that you tried your hand at. From voice acting to tarot card reading to social media management, you took it all on and you did so gracefully.

By the end of 2020, you had eight full-time jobs and enough money in the bank to allow yourself and Syrena to live comfortably in a new house. More on that here.

I remember how tired you were every single day. I remember how dates were thrown out the window. I remember how friendships survived by the bare minimum. But I also know that is absolutely no regret in your heart. You did what you had to do to survive, and that's really all anybody can do right now.

Keep moving forward. Keep hustling. Keep doing you. Keep praying. And keep surviving. People said I would never do it, but here I am. Alive. Happy. And at peace.

This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.

Fun Online Games to Reduce Stress During the Pandemic

The pandemic hasn't exactly been easy for a social butterfly like myself. I was the type of girl who would go out every night and spend time with her friends to reduce stress and get away from home. But all of that changed when the pandemic hit.

Fast forward to when I moved out of home last month and to when my dad asked to have Syrena stay with them until school starts, and you're stuck with a lonely version of me who is usually lost in her own thoughts and feeling sorry for her lonely self.

Fortunately, with moving out comes better Internet and I am now able to play online games without lagging or getting annoyed by the Internet cutting out. 'Mobile Legends' aside, I have discovered a new website full of online games to enjoy when I need a break from all of the stress at work and life, in general, and whenever boredom strikes: offers hundreds of games across every genre you can possibly think of. There are so many to choose from and the best part is that they're all free of charge. You don't have to download any apps, either. You can just play directly in your web browser for the utmost convenience.

Here are some of my favorite ones that you should try out:

Tetra Blocks

I was a Tetris kid, so it makes sense that this is on my list. I used to have Tetris marathons with my dad and this nostalgic game brings back all of those childhood memories. I love the colors, too. It adds a pop of cuteness to make my day brighter.

Endless Siege

This is a game I've never played before, but I find myself constantly coming back to it. It's an easy game that you can play mindlessly and is perfect for those days when you simply want to clear your mind. You won't get bored playing it, either, because there's always a fun new map and challenge to try out every day.

Zombie Typing

This is going to sound so nerdy of me; but if you know me well, you'll know this is true: I love to type. In fact, I can type 200 words per minute without mistakes. So when I saw this game, I knew I had to try it. And my gahd, it is the utmost stress reliever for me. If typing makes you as happy as it makes me, you need to try out this game. The clackity clack of a mechanical keyboard will make the experience even better if you have one. And oh, did I mention that they brought zombies into the mix? Even better! It's great for kids who need to practice how to type, too... which is what I think it was originally intended for. :p

Check out the rest of the games at here!

Monday, June 28, 2021

The WitcherCon Show Schedule is Here

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how a WitcherCon was coming up!

Well, Netflix and CD Projekt Red have finally released the show schedule for the upcoming global virtual fan event, which is the first-ever multi-format event dedicated to The Witcher universe. All Witcher fans unite!!!

The full lineup includes a number of interactive panels, each of which also holds a host of exclusive surprises from The Witcher live-action series and forthcoming anime feature.

The event, hosted by Julia Hardy, will also be studded with special short-form content, giving never-before-seen insights to the production and creative processes behind the Witcher universe.

The schedule of panels is as follows:

The Witcher Season 2: Deck of Destiny

Panel Guests: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan, Mimî M Khayisa, Paul Bullion 

The cast and showrunner of Netflix's The Witcher will draw cards from an enigmatic deck of fan questions that will determine the path of the panel and the immediate fate of the guests. These are no ordinary cards, though. Prepare for surprise reveals, backstage insights, and a dash of chaos as the panelists take us through their journey of filming Season 2.

CD PROJEKT RED’s Memories from the Path: Stories Behind The Witcher Games 

For over 13 years, the Witcher series of games has captured the imagination of gamers worldwide. Now, the developers behind the games discuss how they brought their immersive stories to life — before revisiting old memories, uncovering forgotten artifacts, and reminiscing about their favorite moments from the franchise.

Geralt of T-Rivia

Panel Guests: Błażej Augustynek, Philipp Weber, Declan De Barra, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

It’s a meeting of the Witcher masterminds as key creators of the Witcher games and The Witcher Netflix series team up to test their knowledge of the wider Witcher universe. In this pub quiz-style game, behind-the-scenes tidbits and spoiler-y sneak peeks are prized just as much as the correct answers.

CD PROJEKT RED’s The Witcher: Beyond Video Games 

Panel Guests: Rafał Jaki, Bartosz Sztybor, Łukasz Woźniak

From detective noir to dark horror — all the way to the Old World and beyond, prepare to experience The Witcher’s expanded universe with the latest details on the upcoming comic books and board game inspired by the franchise!

Tales from the White Wolf: A Spotlight Conversation with Henry Cavill, hosted by Josh Horowitz

To close out WitcherCon, fans will hear from Geralt of Rivia himself, Henry Cavill, who will sit down with moderator Josh Horowitz (MTV & Comedy Central host) for an in-depth conversation about fantasy, destiny, and the wider Witcher Universe. The White Wolf may even have a surprise or two in store…

Available on both Twitch and YouTube, WitcherCon will first air in the Philippines on July 10 at 1AM. The second stream, which also airs on Twitch and YouTube, will begin on July 10 at 9AM.

Who else is super duper excited for this?!??

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Home Sweet Home

It has been a month since we moved into our new home. When we ran out to get dirty ice cream and excitedly took TikTok videos and explored the vicinity. When we took turns sleeping on our new rugs on the floor. When I struggled to hang up curtains and build shelves and really felt how much of a single mom I was.

So much has happened since then, it feels like a lifetime ago. Despite all of the tears I've shed, the pain I felt in my heart, and the challenges God threw our way these past couple of weeks; I find myself completely at peace and happy with this decision.

I wake up in the morning at peace even if I didn't sleep much the night before. I sing and dance as I do my chores - and I can do so as loudly as I please. I go to bed every single night with a smile on my face even though nobody owns my heart. I feel no dread, no ill will, no anger, and no hate. I am where I'm meant to be.

Sure, Syrena and I argue every now and then - almost daily, really. But we never let more than an hour pass before we apologize and hug and everything is alright in the world once again. She helps with the chores. She offers to cook. She reminds me to eat. She takes care of me when I'm not feeling well. And she showers me with hugs every few hours. Best of all, she tells me at the end of every single day that she is happy. Out of nowhere. As if to reassure me that I made the right decision. As if to tell me that I shouldn't feel guilty or bad for choosing this life. She does this every day without fail.

And my friends? My goodness. I haven't felt this much support and love from friends in my life! My friends have been coming over to help me find furniture, build stuff (coz God knows how lazy I'd be otherwise), and really turn my house into a home. They're constantly on call when I'm feeling lonely and need someone to talk to; and most importantly, God has blessed our lives with someone I honestly can no longer imagine my life without.

Everything has fallen into place. I am content, calm, and at peace. And although there have been dark days these past couple of weeks, I have never felt so blessed and so alive. And I just feel the need to let the world know that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A WitcherCon is Finally Happening!!!

My Witcher senses are tingling!!! In case you didn't know by now, I am a massive fan of 'The Witcher'. How I got into it is actually quite the funny story. Basically, there was this guy who asked me if I had ever played the games before and when I said I hadn't, he went into this super passionate tirade. He went so far as to offer to buy me the game for my Switch just so I would understand why he was so passionate about it.

I ended up buying the game the next day and fell in love instantly. When I learned that they were based on books, I looked everywhere for them - which wasn't an easy feat since the series wasn't out yet and it wasn't exactly an in-demand book at the time. The books? They were even better! I couldn't put them down! It's something I can't really put into words, to be honest.

And then Netflix released the series, and I even got to meet the showrunner, Lauren Hissrich, and the Henry Cavill in person. To end my geeky sharing session: I've cosplayed Yennefer and I even have a Witcher tattoo now. :p

As such, it should make perfect sense why I am now hyperventilating after CD PROJECT RED and Netflix have announced the virtual fan event, WitcherCon - a global online celebration of 'The Witcher' franchise.

The announcement of this first-ever multi-format event dedicated to the Witcher universe was teased on Twitter:

WitcherCon will take place on Saturday, July 10, 2021 and aims to bring together old and new Witcher fans who love the video games, books, and/or TV series.

Here's what we can all look forward to:

- Entertaining and interactive panels with the people who brought 'The Witcher' to life in-game and on-screen
- Breaking news, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and never-before-seen reveals from across the franchise
- Intimate looks into the creativity and production behind CD PROJEKT RED's games, including the upcoming mobile game 'The Witcher: Monster Slayer', comic books, and fan gear, and Netflix's live-action series 'The Witcher' plus merchandise and the anime film 'Nightmare of the Wolf'
- Expert explorations into the lore, legends, monsters, and origins for the Continent

It is important to note, however, that CD PROJEKT RED has no new Witcher game to announce at WitcherCon, so don't get your hopes up. :(

Still, I'm hella excited to get some Witcher geekery in my life once again. Available on Twitch and YouTube, WitcherCon will first air on July 10 at 1AM. A second stream will air on July 10 at 9AM in case you're not a night owl like me. :p

Who else is super duper mega excited for this? :D

Saturday, June 12, 2021


Things have been good since I moved out - so good, in fact, that I never felt the urge to write anything emotional on this space of mine. So good that I found myself waking up with a smile on my face and basking in the peace that I had created for myself. So good that it felt unreal almost.

I've always hated feeling happy. I've always believed that people constantly search for happiness but never really attain it. And I used to always prepare myself for the sudden drop into oblivion. But I didn't this time.

This time, I just let myself be happy. And so, I was caught completely unawares when I found myself unexpectedly going to our home in BF to learn that my dad was bedridden because of what looked like another stroke.

Not gonna lie: I was angry. Angry that no one had bothered to inform me. Angry that my dad was lying in his bed instead of in a hospital. Angry that I wasn't there when it happened. Angry that I had left home knowing full well that this could happen.

And angry that it had happened so soon after the last one. My dad used to get minor strokes every few years, but this one came a mere four months after the last one. And it is a more serious one. There is nothing minor about this one.

Days have passed and my dad is still in the hospital. He goes through therapy twice a day. He is unable to clean himself. He can't stand. He can't walk. And he still can't speak properly. My dad. My rock. The man who, after I had moved out, would send me messages every few hours just to check on me, to say good night, to make sure I locked all of the doors and windows, to ask for help with his laptop or Grab deliveries, and to ask me to send him food.

He is stuck in the hospital and due to the pandemic, I am unable to do anything more than run errands for him and update immediate family members on his current state. I feel helpless, lost, and alone.

And while I used to joke with my friends about how clingy my dad has gotten since my move, I find myself staring at my phone wishing he would ask me to send him banana bread in the morning or just ask me to come over because he's excited to see me.

I hate that my last memory of him prior to seeing him bedridden was of him in an online class as I tried to fix his laptop. I hate that I didn't knock on his door every time I dropped by to pick up some of my stuff. I hate that I was so caught up in this road to freedom, that I decided to finally put myself first during such a critical time, and that my worst nightmare actually happened.

And yes, I blame myself. I have been blaming myself every day. And if he doesn't recover, I don't know how I'll ever bounce back.