I was never courageous. I was born and bred in a small town called Guagua, in the province of Pampanga, where my father made his keep by farming and tending fishponds. I went through my childhood like any other child born in the farm fields, climbing mango trees, running around the rice paddies. I never knew another life aside from the quiet, simple life I led in the comfort of my home.
I never thought I would end up here now, in Manila, on my own.
I made the difficult decision to study in Manila because I wanted to pursue my dream. I was an idealist, understandably. My parents were skeptic about my decision, because I rarely go out of the house. They asked me endlessly, “Are you sure you can make it in the city?” And I said I was, to convince them, when I said it more to convince me.
I was terrified of the thought of living in Manila alone, with no parents, no sister, no one to help me. I knew I only had myself to ask for help and that didn’t comfort me. I was scared of commuting alone, of pick pockets which I heard were all over Metro Manila. But I wanted to prove something. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could do it. That the timid, shy me is really going to study in Manila, alone.
So I went. I went ahead and took a Bachelor’s course in Journalism at a State University in Sta. Mesa and will march for my diploma this May.
It was hard, believe me. I didn’t know if I could adjust to a life so different from mine back home. All those days of home sickness, of the frightened feeling that I was alone, and all those doubts of how could I make it?
I missed my parents who were always there for me in a whim, and I realized how much I took them for granted. I missed all the comforts of home, where there was food waiting for you when you woke up in the morning, where you could drink hot milk in the middle of the night.
There were times when I doubted if I could finish my degree, because everyone is so competitive, and intimidating. I wrote for our high school paper, but there were times when I asked myself if I could really be a journalist.
Looking back now, I learned so much that I never once regretted my move. I went out of my comfort zone, and it paid off. I took a chance, a risk, and it was everything and more than I ever imagined. I have more confidence in myself now, my shyness is almost gone. And somehow, I’m ready to face what life has to offer.
And I realize that now, I made a bold move by moving to Manila. That yes, I am courageous. I am a Filipino.
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