Dear J,

I stopped on the intersection of Cuzner and Capinpin just after Carabao Park to write these words on my phone.

It’s a start of a new school year at UP. Roads are jampacked once again. Yesterday, I saw parents (lots of parents) of what I can only imagine are thousands of new students coming in. It’s thst time of the year when I kinda wish I wasn’t living in LB.

Along Carabao Park, I read on a poster welcoming freshies that gashas UP cliche: Para sa Bayan.

As children, esp when we grew up with siblings, we were raised by our parents to always think of others first or at least to always care about what they would say. I could imagine this is even truer for females than males. But the reality of this was so true for me.

When I entered church life during puberty, this other-thinking was reinforced. Jesus died for humanity right? Is there anything that needs to be said about the matter?

And so when I entered UP, these words were not new. They only took on a different subject: the nation, the bayan, that ever powerful social construct. I never went into student politics until I was in fourth year when I left the church and looked for something new to channel my desire to help others. The first three years of college though was spent thinking about others, the Dead and how I could emulate Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude.

In short, I exited 17 years of schooling out into the real world with a very poor sense of Self. And I had to fight my way out of all these institutions to find that for myself.

That is to say, I had to fight to be someone who cares enough to write these words to you.

No wonder