This is my writing story. I started dreaming of being a writer ever since I was a kid. I imagined myself writing fairy tales, legends, and simple kids stories at ages 3 to 5, enjoyed creating make-believe characters through the tales told by my parents, Yaya, and titos (eg. Habana and Iksina by Tito Teody Valdez), loved listening to storytelling sessions by Tito Vic Villacorte, Tito Uly Tumpalan, Tito Bong de Lima and others.
From 6 to 9 years old, I also imagined myself joining the campus magazine (Bakas). I tried writing poems and submitted one to the editorial team when I was in Grade 3. Thankfully, they published my poem entitled "Gift of God"!
At 10 years old, I was fortunate to have been accepted as staffer of Bakas (Balita at Kaganapan sa La Salle), with Sir Erwin V. Magnaye and Mrs. Myrna de Castro as our moderators. There, I've learned how to sharpen my writing to fit the elementary school audience. I've enjoyed attending workshops, learned the old-school styles of journalism (vividly recalling how we used to use Manila papers for the mockup/layout of the magazine), attending poetry reading, and other training sessions.
11 to 13 years old, I felt like my calling was indeed for the Literary Section. From Grades 5 to 6, I handled the Literary Section of Bakas, while when I was in 1st Yr HS, I was accepted as part of Stallion Pen, the Literary Folio (as Managing Editor). Those were the days! Writing poems, stories, and other essays proved to be worth the while. I've met National Artist Prof. Cirilo Bautista, Sir Fredevel Bruce Banaag and other campus journalists (who I did not know that time will be dear to my heart come College).
From 14 to 16 years old, I did not pursue writing in school that much. I thought that I'd be better off trying new avenues (such as playing the piano and joining the book lovers' club). True enough, I did learn new skills, met new students and teachers and found myself exploring my other talents and interests.
However, as College years went by, I realized that I did miss writing. And so I applied as a writer for Lavoxa (Lasallian Voices in Action), De La Salle Lipa's college school paper. There I met Sir Bruce Banaag, Sir Joe Macatangay and Ms Cherie Cabungcal (our advisers for some year(s)), together with other campus journalists. Together, we helped each other in honing our skills, learned core disciplines that journalists must possess. We competed against other schools, as well as with ourselves to come up with pieces that inform, inspire and move fellow students. The experiences we went through did not only contribute to our prowess in our respective fields, but more so helped us become well-rounded individuals... all through the help of the Lord, our mentors and our support systems.
Truly, writing, just like other disciplines, is not an overnight feat. We do not wake up realizing we're already pros. It takes determination, grit, life-long learning, perseverance, humility, and a lot more! Writing is not just about concocting recipes out of words for the sake of a byline; it is on preparing a meal for the family by pouring our hearts out through words that satisfy the soul.