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December 2020: Silent nights, cry for me

Little did we know that December would not be the year-ender we all anticipated filled with merrymaking.



(Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb)

Little did we know that December would not be the year-ender we all anticipated filled with merrymaking. Its bittersweet and low-spirited events infused with unjust prejudices have made it burdensome for us to endure and enclose this year’s final month. 

We’ve been immersed in real-life Black Mirror way too harshly after being placed against a multitude of dark and unfortunate series of events, month after month, and week after week. The mental and existential dread has left us at the final pinnacle of the year. Here is a round-up of the events that December offered, in which we wished the good could have at least outweighed the bad for one last time. 

1. The illegal arrest of Amanda Echani, fabricated stories and injustice on Human Rights Day

Photo courtesy of Anakpawis



As we divulge into the first hollow days of December, Amanda Lacaba Echanis, daughter of NDFP Peace Consultant and Anakpawis Chairman Randy Echanis, was illegally arrested with her one-month baby in Cagayan by the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, and CIDG. With falsified claims and warrants of illegal possessions of firearms followed by prevalent red-tagging, this perpetuates the immoral yet normalized incidents of planting ‘evidence’ towards activists and the marginalized. Additionally, this is a manifestation of the collateral damage propagated by the Anti-Terror Law through arrests and red-tagging with no due process from a broad and unclear legal basis the same event that happened to Reina Mae Nasino and her child, Baby River, earlier this year. 

Photo by Kathy Yamzon

Amidst Human Rights Day, another incident of impunity and abuses continually rose as the PNP arrested six trade unionists and a journalist for the alleged possession of illegal firearms, which are conventional charges held against activists. Without due process, the fabricated allegations and charges were held against Journalist Lady Ann Salem, Unionist Dennise Velasco, Unionist Mark Ryan Cruz, Unionist Romina, Raiselle Astudillo, Unionist Jaymie Gregorio, Unionist Joel Demate, and Unionist Rodrigo Esparago. The progressive publication of Journalist Salem was also red-tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Activists and progressive groups have since condemned the arrests. 

The atrocities and impunity brought by these abuses must not be romanticized as Filipino resilience to eradicate accountability and impartiality. Rather, these events serve as a wake-up call, demanding for vigilance, solidarity, and justice towards standing with Filipinos, who continually resist and fight for our democracy even when they are challenged. What transpired is a byproduct of the normalized and glorified macho-feudal culture of the administration, fuelled by the enablers and the protectors of the unjust system. Hence, we must continually uphold vigilance and demand for accountability.

2. Report on post-holiday surge

(Photo by Krizjohn Rosales/PhilStar)

In retrospect, we’ve seen how the recent months gradually eased the safety protocols by leniently opening establishments and events. As we put our face shields down, clinking our glasses in the local coffee-shops for that Instagram story, we must be aware of the possible upbringing of the consequences brought by our actions. 

After meeting with scientists and mathematicians, health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire warned that a possible post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases may emerge due to the gatherings and festivities. Accordingly, the Department of Health has coordinated with several hospitals and regional health offices in order to increase the capacity of hospitals. 

However, these contingency plans are not tantamount to the lack of manpower and the deteriorating health sector. They discouraged family gatherings and events that rendered possible virus transmission through crowded areas. Hence, we must continually and responsibly practice safety protocols for the welfare of the collective good, as preventive measures remain unmatched to the cure. With COVID-19 cases ceaselessly increasing, what more if we fail to lessen viral transmission at the expense of the medical frontliners and the vulnerable? 

3. Enclosing the rivalry of love teams in ‘Start-Up’ finale

Photo courtesy of ‘Start-Up’!

So, how many times have we seen gifs of Han Ji-Pyeong on our feed everyday? A source of solace and anticipation has always been embedded in Korean dramas. For the past few months, ‘Start-Up’ has been the most anticipated feel-good K-drama on Netflix, which tackled the youth conquering the ups and downs of starting a business. Amidst the bizarre energy held between the two male leads, Nam Do San and Han Ji Pyeong, the contrast in their characters were factors to the show’s well-deserved anticipation. 

Regardless of which love team you’re rooting for, it finally aired its final episode, enclosing the end of its captivating and meaningful lessons and stories on youth, love, hard work, and friendship. 

4. Senate panel approves SOGIE Bill

Photo courtesy of SunStar

The blazing pot of gold gradually casts a rainbow of validation after the difficult thunderstorms brought by this month and the year 2020 in general. On December 9, the proposed Anti-Discrimination Act sponsored and passed by the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros was finally approved by the Senate panel. 

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality (SOGIE) Bill aims to impede the marginalization, discrimination, and violence towards sex characters, gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. Moreover, this fortifies its formal and institutional recognition by providing equal access to healthcare and public services and the right to employment and education. Penalizations include encouragement of stigma and discrimination on educational mediums and perpetuating violence or sexual harassment against any individual belonging to the SOGIESC as it extends equal rights through programs, communities, and workplaces. 

This is a manifestation of the masses’ resistance towards equality, inclusivity, and diversity as we continually pushed its approval as a law with the power of our voices. We are valid, you are valid. 

5. Taylor Swift releases sister album, ‘evermore’

Screengrab from Taylor Swift’s Instagram account

After Taylor Swift released her album, ‘folklore’, in July, we thought that was enough to satiate the abrupt sorrows and difficulties that ensued in 2020. However, on December 11, she surprisingly released her 9th studio album, titled ‘evermore’. As the artist added how they couldn’t stop writing songs, she tackled folkorian core and escapism, delving into the dreamscapes and imaginary tales. Listeners found that these songs in the album reflected the melancholy, dread, and isolation felt during the entirety of 2020. 

As Swift enters a fresh and unconventional era, devoid of her usual forte of pop and previous rebellious concepts, she imparts her versatility through her artistry as she allows us to feel the desolation and emptiness brought by this year.

6. ICC finds basis for Durterte’s notorious war-on-drugs as a crime against humanity

Photo from AsiaPacific

Justice gradually emanated as the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the reasonable basis for the crimes and killings committed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Bensouda reported that the Office believes that crimes against humanity were committed under Article 7(1)(a) for murder, Article 7(1)(f) for torture, and Article 7(1)(k) for infliction of severe physical injury and mental harm as other inhumane acts were committed in the Philippine territory between July 2016 to March 2019 years that propagated the War on Drugs. Additionally, she noted that the formal investigation phase may be ushered due to restrictions on the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nevertheless, the prevalence of the atrocities committed by the administration has concerned and alarmed international institutions to a global scale, in which intervention for mediation is necessary. Where international laws provide more protection in delivering justice than the country’s own laws and enablers, it is time to remind leaders that they are meant to serve us, not their self-interest. 

7. Weeping as TWICE releases single ‘CRY FOR ME’

Photo courtesy of CJ ENM

As more artists have helped us get through the last days of 2020’s finale, TWICE released a new song during the Mnet Asian Music Music Awards (MAMA), entitled ‘CRY FOR ME’. After releasing ‘Eyes Wide Open’ and an English version of ‘I CAN’T STOP ME,’ fans were once again surprised with the fresh, dark, and astonishing performance and concept delivered by the members, as its musicality and style strayed away from their usual and iconic cute and colorful concept. 

Their beautiful growth, versatility, and artistry in this performance manifested a newfound era for TWICE. ‘CRY FOR ME’ perfectly encapsulates getting rid of the toxicities we’ve been entangled with, especially in 2020.

8. Duque drops the ball to secure vaccine and its prioritization towards several cabinet members

(Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler)

Just when vaccines were finally being reproduced and disseminated, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III failed to file an important document that would have secured 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines. According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, the vaccines have been disseminated to Singapore instead, while the narrative of Secretary Duque begged to differ as he stated that he failed to submit the documents because the process of coordinating with Pfizer was still ongoing. 

Following the distribution of vaccines in other countries, uncertainty surged as new COVID-19 strains began to emerge within England. It was reported that the mutated virus is 70% more contagious. The first cases appeared in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. 

Succeedingly, some Cabinet officials and militants have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, ahead of the multitudes of suffering medical workers. This only reveals to us that those with the upper hand only aim to protect and maintain their position on the status quo, regardless of the innocent and irreplaceable lives placed on the line — to them, the end justifies the means. 

Despite the evident history of the lack of urgency of the DOH, headed by the incompetence of Secretary Duque, and the calls of the masses and medical frontliners for his resignation, stagnant and inadequate change still prevails. At the expense of sacrificing the lives of the Filipino masses countless times, we once again witness the normalization of heinous practices in the administration. 

9. Briones notes opportunities for face-to-face classes in January 2021

(Photo by Henz Austria/Senate PRIB)

Despite the unsatisfactory and insufficient actions of the DOH in coordinating and securing the vaccine, Education Secretary Leonor Briones emphasized that children are more likely to contract the virus in their home than in school. However, experts argued that it was too early to determine whether it was safe enough to go to school. 

Recently, President Duterte cancelled the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes next year due the mutated virus strain and traveller from the United Kingdom that tested positive for COVID-19. While neighboring governments reimposed travel restrictions, Secretary Duque stated in a live press briefing that travel bans would only be implemented once a case of the mutated virus has been detected in the country. The same lack of urgency has caused and damaged irreplaceable lives against the Filipinos last January. We can no longer repeat the same mistake as we can only handle so much. 

With the ongoing call of the masses for a #LigtasBalikEskwela, the government must first ensure that the safety and health of the masses would be prioritized through the equal and inclusive dissemination of the vaccine. 

10. Glowing screens in UST’S Virtual 2020 Paskuhan

(Photo by Ralph Rainell Estrella/TomasinoWeb)

In this silent night, we concretized our hollow sorrows through our screens. The warm shades of yellow that illuminated the campus orchestrated with the flowing music have been replaced with empty stadiums, fields, and a glowing tree that stood alone. Little did we know, we’d be jamming not side by side with our friends, but alone in somber silence. 

This year’s Paskuhan held a virtual “Concert for a Cause” on Friday night, which featured wonderful pre-recorded performances from Lola Amour, Brisom, MilesExperience, Magnus Haven, The Ransom Collective, Callalily, Spongecola, and Ben&Ben. A UST Minecraft Tour was also held, which was nostalgic of the Christmas Paskuhan spirit the campus had evoked. 

Regardless of the circumstances, we should still be thankful for the stakeholders who made Paskuhan 2020 possible. It was a cathartic event to remember how to breathe after everything that had transpired. What a silent night, indeed. 

11. Devastation struck by Typhoon Vicky and earthquakes on Christmas week

(Photo by Erwin Mascarinas/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Another natural disaster hit the Philippines as Typhoon Vicky strengthened on December 19, causing devastations of flood and landslides within the vicinity of Visayas and Mindanao. This damage has caused thousands to evacuate, displaced families, swept shores, and left nine people dead. Additionally, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Batangas on Christmas morning, at 7:43 am, with the epicenter within the vicinity of Calatagan.

The mental and physical state of the Philippines has not fully recovered, even after the devastation imparted by Typhoon Ulysses. We must not leave our fellow brothers and sisters behind, especially in the middle of a pandemic. The government must redirect its prioritizations on addressing and strategizing climate change and fund the natural disaster risk reduction sector. Donation drives and advocacy groups continually heed for our help and assistance as we arise and stand together. 

12. Glorified police brutality ensues as police shoots innocent mother and son

Photo by the Philippine National Police

TRIGGER WARNING: Mention of murder

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Streaks of bloodshot red wrongfully painted this month of Christmas. Situated in Parañaque, Senior Master Jonel Nuezca unjustly shot mother Sonya Gregorio and son Anthony Gregorio in Tarlac after a property right-of-way argument. As the heated dispute escalated, an infuriated Nuezca directly shot Sonya, who embraced her son, Anthony, in her last moment. He then shot the son twice and fired again at Sonya who was already on the ground. According to a witness, the cop held no remorse as he took his daughter with him. 

The video has surfaced online, causing angered individuals, groups, and politicians to criticize the abusive catastrophes ironically caused by those meant to serve and protect us. Nuezca was then arrested and charged with double murder. However, it was not tantamount to the psychological trauma that ensued for the innocent victims, their families, and even his daughter. 

The psychological effect of the macho-feudal culture that tolerates fascism and imperialism was evident throughout the video, in which the daughter, who proudly claimed that her father is a police, watched him shoot the innocent mother and son in broad daylight. This is a manifestation of indoctrinated mindsets instilled in children in glorifying authoritarian and patriarchal figures as a way of submissively respecting parental and institutional entities without questioning it. 

Without the video, this event would merely be buried alongside unrecorded and unreported incidents of the killings by the police tagged as “nanlaban”, or had planted evidence. With the PNP discouraging the public from recording evidence and publicizing it online, what does this tell us about? This wake-up call urges the masses to continually demand transparency, reforms, and justice for the system. How many more Filipinos will we sacrifice for the realization to dawn upon us, that something has to change if we continually tolerate impunity and selective justice?

There is no lie that the past events have made it difficult for us to see the silver lining this final month of 2020. As we connote the month of December for flickering hope, reminiscing the memories of the past year, undoubtedly this year’s merrymaking will be less merry. In a year where chaos seems to grow ceaselessly, hitting us from the most inevitable directions, we recollect the sentiments, books, shows, and people that made this year at least a bit tolerable for us, especially those who reminded us that we don’t have to endure everything alone. 

So, is there meaning and purpose for still clutching onto hope and justice, after everything? 2021 will not be perfect. However, we must continually cling unto that courage and grit that allowed us to ride out the year 2020. More than ever, we will gradually climb from the depths and holes of 2020 as we demand change, justice, soar, and fight for hope. 



How ‘Attack on Titan’ revolves around the compromise of freedom and revolution

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed.



Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed. 

Through one of my major classes, I grasped the role of diplomacy and foreign relations as I slowly began to outgrow prejudices I’ve had with my own country and other countries. When we see our coexistence with the world, we see how we’re not different from the rest. How catastrophic would that be if we chose to resist openness and turn a blind eye to see both the good and ugly realities of the world?

Questioning morality and freedom is perfectly contextualized in the immaculate storytelling of Isayama Hajime’s ‘Attack on Titan’. First released in 2009, the highly-acclaimed fantasy-action shounen manga and anime has drawn many fans on an international scale, living to its hype and success through its consistency in fusing elements of action, fantasy, horror, and thrill. The plot circulates over Eren Yeager, who vowed to save humanity by killing all the Titans, the gigantic humanoid antagonists that have devoured humans, and his mother. However, as the story progresses, its archetypal shounen narrative of simply defeating the Titans shifts towards significant themes of politics, war, philosophy, and history intertwined. 

It tactfully combines emotionally-driven arcs paired with music that enforces ferocity, nationalism, tragedy, and despair. Each frame and panel is gracefully animated with precision, reflecting the artistry and dedication of the creators in cultivating the series’ magnificent world-building. The abundance of subtexts and relevant themes is portrayed through allegories, symbolism, and critiques of humanity’s adverse upbringing. Fair warning: anime spoilers ahead!

*Trigger warning: Mention of violence, human experimentation, and trauma

Historical Revisionism, Racism, and Fascism: The Tragedy of Reiner Braun 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

As we perceived the world through the universe of Paradis, we’ve rooted for the Eldian protagonists left to save the last of humanity within their walls. We were introduced to the Marleyans, who presented themselves as a larger enemy than the Titans. Unbeknownst to the Eldian protagonists, the entire world ostracized them as the “devils of the Earth” after their ancestor, Ymir Fritz, gained the power of the Titan through a deal with the Devil and propagated the grim Titan war. Oppressing nations through the Titans’ blood lineage and ethnic cleansing for decades, the Eldian upheaval was successful when the Marleyans finally conquered the world by obtaining 7 out of 9 Titan shifters the ability to transform into a Titan and a human. 

Due to indoctrination and Marley imperialism, relentless hate and discrimination were spewed primarily against the Eldians within the walls of Paradis. Weaponizing the Titans for world domination, human experimentation, and slavery was a pervasive punishment for the Eldian refugees to atone for their ancestors’ sins. 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

Reiner Braun was an Eldian Titan child soldier that was a victim of the Marleyan propagandistic mission that sent off candidates to infiltrate the Eldians of Paradis (they deemed as the Evil Eldians) to obtain the Founding Titan, the supreme ability to take control over the Titans. In a horrifying betrayal, it was revealed that Reiner and Bertholdt Hoover were the traitorous Titan shifters that nearly annihilated humanity years ago when they breached Wall Maria. Being disguised as a Survey Corps comrade has resulted in Reiner’s split personality, causing him to be torn with guilt between his soldier and warrior persona. After realizing that the Eldians are just normal as them who faced the same human conflict, and not the ‘devils’ the Marleyans made them be, he struggled with being a double-agent. He was just another victim of the fascist propaganda that brainwashed children to bring victory to their nation. Regardless, you want someone to be held accountable after they have slaughtered bloodshed and exterminated irreplaceable lives. If the Eldians would have won the war, would they have made themselves the heroes that have slain the evil as well? If so, which historical narrative is right? Who do we side with? 

As it highlights the damage of the glorification of military and fascism, ‘Attack on Titan’ performs a penetrating and coherent approach in alluding to the complexity of prejudice and war, the importance of history, and understanding different perspectives through Reiner’s narrative. 

Military Censorship, Class Struggle, and Corruption: Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith’s Enigma

Screengrab from Attack on Titan

As the Marleyans thrived in power, domination, and technological advancement, our protagonists faced boundless struggles of gloom and melancholy due to endless casualties and issues within Paradis. The three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina, divided the lower class, upper class, and royalty. While the Survey Corps zealously dedicated their life to saving humanity and protecting the royalty, the Royal Government put a premium on protecting their positions in the class hierarchy while being apathetic towards the lower class and refugees. Here, corruption was rampant as they were gatekeepers of true information on the outside world and resources. Their misuse of funding has resulted in class struggles and the impoverished seeking refuge in the Underground City, a crime-ridden district where Levi Ackerman was initially from. After his mother passed away, his uncle Kenny raised and taught him the essential defense and knife skills. Though he was groomed as a notorious heist member, his skills were put to good use when Commander Erwin Smith recruited him in the Scout Regiment. Levi and Erwin helped overthrow the corrupt regime through a coup d’état and emancipated progressive change with recrowned Queen Historia Reiss when they created an orphanage for the Underground citizens with proper allocation of the Royal Family’s budget. 

Despite their quintessential role as revolutionary soldiers and leaders, the series never fails to humanize their characters, representing their emotional state in the face of powerlessness and helplessness. In Levi’s troubled background, his misdemeanor has transformed into one of the most significant developments of someone who replaces apathy with care and respect by defending the collective masses, pulling the destitute from the rear end of the class hierarchy, and placing his comrades before himself. Even on the brink of death, Erwin zealously places his life on the line in upholding utmost leadership, eradicating military censorship, and practicing dignity in fighting for humanity relentlessly. 

Morality and Freedom: Eren Yeager and the Axiom for Freedom

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

“If we kill our enemies on the other side, will we finally be free?” He asks, aimlessly staring at the ocean. 

The one-dimensional persona of Eren Yeager as the main character was continually challenged from his linear ideals of attaining freedom and revenge to learning the complexity of the world on the other side of the walls. From tormenting events of betrayal, trauma, and dehumanization, his aphorisms of vowing to kill the Titans to save humanity and using the Titans for his extremist ultimatums of freedom have displayed his development as the protagonist and antagonist of the story. His moral ambiguity allows him to accept that he is only special and significant because he has Titan powers. Disappointed by the existence of other humans and civilizations beyond, all he could think about was the enemies on the other side as he reached the ocean he once longed for. The innocent look of a simple boy that gleamed with a hunger for discovery and justice is now a cyclical, manipulative, and mass-murdering enemy, with all the hatred the world has thrown upon him. 

I find it dramatically complex and beautiful when the disruption of loyalties and ideologies are placed on a threshold when former enemies and friends turned their back on him to save the world, while he turned his back on the world to save them. 

Either way, it risks someone’s life and ends in pain, which can be similarly contextualized with the philosophical dilemma of the Trolley problem. Will you push the lever, saving the five and killing the one? Or will you simply watch the train continue on its path, hence killing the five?

Illustration by Jesse Prinz on

Before it surfaced as a meme, Philippa Foot sparked this influential question in 1976 and was commonly raised in moral ethics and psychology. While the majority chose the “greater good”, professors made each prompt more personal and emotion-driven by exemplifying someone we were close to on the tracks. In this sense, Eren chooses to save who he is closest to, in order to be truly free and end the curse of endless chaos, rendering the death of millions. But can we blame him after the whole world celebrated while the Paradis Eldians endured monsters and hell inside the walls and were denounced as the enemies? 

The fallibility of identifying the true heroes and villains leaves the audience with an overwhelmed sense of uncertainty, as different perspectives and layers are presented.  But maybe, that is Isayama’s genius discernment — to make us think. The character’s different upbringings, environments, and ideologies show that there is neither a good nor bad guy. Every act is justifiably done for what they see as the common good in their eyes like two sides of the same coin with a different definition of justice. However, is it too late to change and find the midpoint? 

Although humorous yet unfortunate, the ongoing pandemic made several people compare the Titan serums to the contention of the elite getting the cream of the crop of the COVID-19 vaccines exclusively while the underprivileged get the short end of the stick. Even in the face of the most abhorring adversity, plague, or monsters unleashed from hell, it is the frailty and corruption of our human nature that turns us into our own enemies, winding in a repetitive cycle of chaos — to keep moving forward until our means meet the end. 

From the Game of Thrones to the Walking Dead, we hope that ‘Attack on Titan’ won’t fall into the same hole of critically-acclaimed series that eventually slump into a dissatisfying finale. As anime watchers howl in excitement for every action scene, manga readers anticipate for things to fall into place. Watch Eren’s Declaration of War against the Marleyans and the world in the ongoing season finale! Will he finally achieve freedom or be a slave to the pursuit of freedom?

See you, when this sublime and unmatched tale is engraved in history, 2000 years from now. Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro


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Why new year’s resolutions don’t always work out

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 



Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Whenever ancient Babylonians crowned or asserted their loyalty to their king, they promised to the gods that they would pay their debts or return things they borrowed. If they keep their end of the bargain, favor would be bestowed upon them. This pagan ritual is said to be the precedent of our annual New Year’s resolutions.

A new year calls for new beginnings. With everything we’ve gone through last year, it’s no strange fact that we all badly want to turn over a new leaf. At this point, our social media feeds are most likely filled with ‘New Year, New Me’ posts along with dozens of resolutions that claim to be effective and easy. But no matter how realistic we set them to be, we still end up bouncing back on old habits. 

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 

1. Your goals overwhelm you

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves this year. Not only do we set the bar too high, but we also set too much for ourselves. By the time we attempt to begin some resolutions, we tend to give up after a few tries because we have too much on our plate. We have so many things we want to accomplish, yet we have so little time, which can be stressful rather than rewarding.

Your goals don’t have to be as many as that of a grocery list. Prioritize setting resolutions that are sustainable despite how few it may seem. These can include waking up early, cleaning your room once a week, or having a 20-minute study break. Also, instead of carrying out your resolutions all at once, try to divide them into weekly or monthly goals. Just because you wrote them on the first day of the year, it doesn’t mean you have to start them right away. Working at your own pace would greatly help in escaping the stress of having to do so much in one day to the point that it feels like a chore. Remember, quality over quantity. 

2. Your resolutions are too restrictive

Whether it’s trying out a fad diet or limiting your shopping expenses, they are both goals that bar you from things that satisfy your inner psyche. Sure, you may end up sticking to it for a few days or weeks. But once you begin to feel that void of serotonin, the next thing you know, you’re checking out items from your cart in Shopee or Lazada’s monthly sale. 

Restrictive goals tend to be unsustainable because they alter our normal behavior, which is why we inevitably break them. Instead of imposing limits on your habits, try to make them more inclusive. Having trouble maintaining your weight? Take the healthy route and choose foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Losing weight doesn’t have to be quick and easy. Feeling guilty about your purchases? Splurge on items that will actually benefit your daily lifestyle such as space organizers and home essentials, not those decors that will only end up gathering dust in your room. Believe me, you don’t need a mini statue of an astronaut cat. 

3. You do it alone

Most resolutions tend to fail because we lack motivation or commitment in achieving them. It can also be difficult when you try to change habits on your own and the people around you have lifestyles that work against it. One way to prevent your goals from going down the drain is having someone to share those goals with. As they say, two are better than one. 

Changing for the better with others promotes a mutualistic relationship where both parties equally benefit from each other. Together, you can keep track of your goals and make sure that you don’t end up cheating your way out of it. Having that boost of encouragement from others would definitely increase your chances of success and make activities even more fun. So if you’re still crafting your resolutions for this year, reach out to a friend or two. If not, try joining support groups on Facebook. Who knows? You might find people who share the same goals as you do. 

4. You are not the problem, your resolutions are

When writing down our resolutions for this year, we tend to focus on goals that would help enhance our physique such as exercising everyday or sticking to a strict diet. These will surely appease all the fitness gods, but in reality, we still find ourselves eating junk food while watching Netflix or cooking pancit canton at three in the morning. 

More often than not, we find ourselves setting goals that focus on what we should be doing rather than what we want to do. We tend to set our resolutions based on other people’s expectations like getting that post-quarantine body or having that aesthetic lifestyle for the sake of bragging about it on Instagram and TikTok. So, instead of being better versions of ourselves, we only end up creating another manufactured persona for everyone’s liking on social media. Talk about real-life ‘Nosedive’, huh? 

If you know exercising at the crack of dawn is not your cup of tea and you’d rather want to spend those hours bundled up in your bed, then go ahead and don’t do it. The only thing stopping you is your own urge to conform to other people’s standards. 

5. You only focus on one side of the coin

Typical resolutions focusing on finance and fitness are materialistic. Some may argue that having tangible goals is better because seeing it unfold before their eyes leads to greater satisfaction. However, they merely encapsulate our attempts to pursue happiness indirectly. 

Cliché as it may sound, gaining happiness directly through simple actions outweighs all the taxing and tedious goals we try to set up. 

Start by being more grateful. Remind yourself to say thank you for the simple things and to the people you meet. To the security guard who opened the door for you, say thank you. To your friends who made an effort to reply to your messages, say thank you. Better yet, take time out from your busy schedule everyday to write a few things you are grateful for. It can indeed be difficult to stay optimistic considering the situation we are in right now, but a simple gesture goes a long way in benefiting your mental health for the better.

Resolve your worries by forgiving. In the past year, we’ve all had things or people that really tested our limits as a person. Carrying that grudge throughout this year would not only be burdensome, but would also take a great toll on your well-being. It may seem difficult to do but it can go two ways: forgiveness towards those who wronged you and forgiveness towards yourself. While working out enhances your physique, forgiving improves your self-esteem and relationship with yourself and others. We’ve already had our fair share of toxicity last year and the last thing we want is for it to persist and make us feel worse than we already are. 

We all have high hopes for the new year and our resolutions are a reflection of that. As we gather in prayer circles, we manifest that 2021 would finally free us from the desolation and anxiety that the past year held us with. With that said, I think that one of the best resolutions we can write for ourselves is to get through this year safely and healthily. May this, along with all the resolutions we wrote or are about to write, allow us to step out as improved individuals for the better. 


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New Year’s Eve Playlist: House Party

It’s time to bust out your dance moves.



Artwork by Patricia Jardin

It is finally time to bid adieu to 2020. Our current circumstances may have put our usual new year traditions to a halt. But being able to conquer all the ups and downs we’ve been through this year is enough reason to still celebrate.

Whether you’re leaping into the new year with your loved ones or cuddled alone in your room, you’ll need a soundtrack to close this year. Release all your worries and wishes as we welcome 2021 with hope and positivity.

It’s time to bust out your dance moves.

From all of us at TomasinoWeb, happy new year!


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