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Wake me up when September 2020 ends

After half a year in quarantine, how much have things changed in the country? 

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Photo courtesy of Richard Reyes/INQUIRER.net

With the arrival of ‘ber’ months comes the cold response of the government to the nation’s major problems. While many cities and provinces have eased quarantine restrictions, the Philippines’ capital along with a few other areas have been placed under a month long general community quarantine. Yet, the country has still not achieved its expected results with millions of Filipinos hungry, unemployed, and financially struggling.

After half a year in quarantine, how much have things changed in our country? 

1. PH reaches more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases

Photo courtesy of Lalawigan ng Rizal via CNN Philippines

Despite having one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, the number of COVID-19 cases continued to skyrocket. As of Sept. 26, the country’s total leaped past 300,000 cases with more than 60,000 active cases, 230,000 recoveries, and deaths breaching the 5,000 mark. The health crisis continued to worsen not only in the country’s capital, but also in different provinces. Bacolod and Negros have both reported that their hospital and quarantine facilities are nearing their maximum capacity.

Last Sept. 15, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque called the Philippines’ testing policy “the best in Asia” since it has screened more than 3 million people in the country. However, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco of the UP-OCTA Research and UST Department of Biological Sciences disagreed, saying that the number of positive cases continue to rise despite the increased testing capacity and that, unlike the Philippines, other Asian countries who had robust testing policies were able to keep the crisis in check. 

Ironically enough, the following day, a petition seeking to compel the government to conduct mass testing was junked by the Supreme Court. This ruling cited the petitioners’ failure to exhaust administrative remedies to warrant the granting of a writ of mandamus. 

2. A holiday for a dictator

Photo courtesy of Rappler

The irony of events continued when the House of Representatives approved a bill to declare Sept. 11 as a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to honor the life and achievements of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. However, it was met with criticism from the public because the measure took only 44 days to be approved, whereas the act to provide free mass testing is still pending after 3 months. 

Sept. 21 marked the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Along with the strong urge to resist tyranny, Martial Law victims condemned the House’s decision saying it would lead future generations into forgetting about the atrocities that happened under the Marcos era. Many also found it ironic that the country has a holiday celebrating the revolution that ended the Marcos regime and a holiday dedicated to the dictator it ousted. 

Dear Congress, please, make it make sense. 

3. The passing of vlogger Lloyd Cadena

Photo from Lloyd Cadena’s official Instagram account

This month also saw the loss of an influential online personality to many netizens. On Sept. 4, the news of YouTube vlogger Lloyd Cadena’s passing came as a shock to many of his friends and subscribers. It was later revealed that the 26-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 and died of a heart attack. 

Lloyd, whose online journey began way back in 2011, became the talk of the town because of his comedic antics that brought joy to anyone who stumbled across his content. But behind the jokes, he became an inspiration to many by using his platform to pay it forward to his family, community, and even strangers. Prior to his passing, he went around donating relief goods and tablets to students and aiding families who were struggling because of the pandemic. 

Rest easy, Kween LC.

4. More Tigers leave the España streak

Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

Following the Sorsogon “bubble training” controversy of the UST Men’s Basketball Team, many notable names have chosen to depart the team. Last month, team captain CJ Cansino and players Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller and Brent Paraiso, bid farewell to the University after announcing their transfer to other teams. 

This month, three more members of the UST Growling Tigers followed suit and parted ways with their beloved team. Incoming sophomore Jun Asuncion announced his move to Mapúa University. UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy and teammate Deo Cuajao are now part of the Green Archers of De La Salle University. Former Tiger Cub Bismarck Lina, who was originally set to debut as a Growling Tiger, has completed his transfer to the University of the Philippines as a Fighting Maroon. 

5. Delight in dolomite?

Photo by Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin

Perhaps the center of this month’s events is the Manila Bay rehabilitation fiasco conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The supposed beautification project drew flak from many Filipino politicians, scientists, and citizens because of its use of dolomite as sand and untimeliness of the project itself. 

The rehabilitation of the capital’s historical site began in January 2019 through the efforts of many local government units and private sectors. After reducing the amount of pollutants in the bay, the Department of Interior and Local Government relocated more than 70,000 informal settlers from the areas surrounding Manila Bay in November of the same year. Based on these accomplishments alone, it seemed as though the project was not harmful at all.

The downward decline, however, began during the late phases of the project when DENR began to dump crushed dolomite along Manila Bay on Sept. 4. The white sand that now graces Roxas Boulevard was mined and exported from Cebu. Along with the fact that no permit for extraction was issued by the provincial government of Cebu, many scientists argued that dolomite is harmful not only for humans, but also for the environment in the long run. The fisherfolk group Pamalakaya urged the government to consider using the P389-million budget to plant mangrove forests along the coastline of Manila Bay instead as it has significantly better long-term effects in improving not only its aesthetics, but also in reviving its marine ecosystem and biodiversity. Vice President Leni Robredo also said that the funds could have been more efficiently used to strengthen the government’s pandemic response, especially in aiding the poor. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque came to the project’s defense saying that the white sand in Manila Bay will benefit the mental health of Filipinos. On the issue of the project’s timing and legality, he clarified that the budget for the project was already allocated long before the dawn of the pandemic. 

On Sept. 20, hundreds of people flocked to Roxas Boulevard after a portion of the beach was temporarily opened to the public. Photos and videos that circulated social media showed visitors standing shoulder to shoulder amid social distancing protocols. Rather than holding the parties involved accountable, the Palace justified the gathering as proof that filling the baywalk with white sand was a “right decision.”

Recently, progressive group Akbayan filed a motion at the Supreme Court seeking to cite DENR for contempt regarding their move to dump dolomite on Manila Bay. The 16-page pleading stated this act was a violation of the 2008 continuing mandamus, which entails the environmental department to fulfill its duty to protect, rehabilitate, and clean the said water body. The group recognized the need to save the bay, but they insisted that it should be done in the right way. 

On Sept. 25, DENR decided to suspend its mining operations after initial inspections by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) found fallen particles of dolomite on the seafloor near the town of Alcoy in Cebu. PENRO further reported that the minerals that covered the seafloor caused the dwindling of marine life and damaging of corals within 500 meters of Barangay Pugalo of the said town. At this point, it is very difficult to believe that the project still aims to “rehabilitate” Manila Bay when it is clearly being done at the expense of destroying another ecosystem.

6. Pardon for a convicted murderer

Photo by Lyn Rillon/INQUIRER.net

On Sept. 7, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. announced to the public that President Duterte had granted absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Permberton. In 2015, the American soldier was found guilty of homicide over the death of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude. 

Human rights and LGBT groups slammed this decision stating that it was an outright injustice to our national dignity and sovereignty, and disregard for transgender rights. Senator Risa Hontiveros called the pardon “an affront to the Filipino people.” Filipino netizens also expressed their dismay by pointing out how fractured the justice system must be to grant pardon to a convicted murderer, but not to those who have been wrongly accused and convicted of lesser crimes. 

Spokesperson Harry Roque, who previously served as Laude’s defense council, believed that the President’s move was tied to securing better access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from the United States. Locsin, however, denied the claim and stated that it was the President’s “unilateral decision.” In a televised address, President Duterte defended his decision saying that the country has not treated the soldier fairly in terms of computing his Good Conduct Time Allowance. The Laude family had appealed to the court, seeking basis for Pemberton’s good behavior knowing that he had been jailed alone in a detention cell in Camp Aguinaldo. 

Almost a week after he was granted Pardon, Pemberton flew as a free man back to his home country. Atty. Virginia Suarez said in a statement that the Laude family had no choice but to accept the decision. However, they still feel  frustrated and betrayed by the government’s decision. 

7. ‘Doktor Para Sa Bayan’ bill

Photo courtesy of GMA News Online

On a lighter note, Senate Bill no. 1520, also known as the Doktor Para Sa Bayan bill, was passed on its third and final reading on Sept. 14. Although long overdue, Senator Joel Villanueva said that the approval of the bill became dire due to the stark effects of the pandemic on the country’s health sector. Apart from that, this landmark seeks to encourage students to pursue a medical degree and improve the country’s 3 to 10,000 doctor-to-patient ratio.

Once implemented, aspiring physicians who cannot afford to pay for medical school can apply for a scholarship. The medical scholarship will cover tuition and miscellaneous fees, books, as well as transportation, dormitory, internship, and board review fees. Students who qualify will have to render 3 years of return service to their hometowns upon the conferment of their license. With medicine being one of the most expensive courses in the country, the bill became a breath of hope for many students and parents amid the pandemic.

8. No election this 2022?

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News

With the COVID-19 crisis in the country still unabated, Pampanga Representative Mikey Arroyo urged the Commission on Elections to consider postponing the upcoming 2022 elections as he believes that many fear being exposed to the virus. On social media, many netizens criticized this suggestion, saying that if Filipinos are fearless enough to flock the white sands of Manila Bay, then there is no reason to delay the elections. Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal added that such a measure would raise constitutional issues and that not anybody in the government, not even the President or Congress, can cancel the elections. 

9. A battle for the iron throne in Congress

Photo courtesy of CNN Philippines

Under the 15-21 months term-sharing deal brokered by President Duterte, House Speaker Alan Cayetano was expected to step down from his post and hand over the Speakership to Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco next month. Although Cayetano had previously announced that he will honor the agreement, the Alan vs Allan rivalry was reignited this month when presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte said that he would declare the leadership post vacant to give way for the election of a new Speaker as they continue to deliberate over the 2021 national budget. 

Cayetano’s allies added fuel to fire by citing Rep. Velasco’s inactivity in Congress and lack of numbers from other representatives. Buhay  Representative Lito Atienza, however, said that the present House Speaker must honor the deal otherwise, “Congress is doomed to fail.” The President later responded that it is no longer in his power if Velasco is not supported by the majority.  

In a privilege speech addressed on September 30, Cayetano announced his resignation as House Speaker. However, 184 lawmakers voted yes to the motion to reject his resignation offer.

10. President Duterte’s UN General Assembly speech

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications via One News

On Sept. 23, President Duterte, for the first time, addressed global officials at the United Nations General Assembly. He began by acknowledging the COVID-19 crisis as the world’s “biggest test” since World War II and extending the country’s gratitude to all frontliners. His speech also touched on a range of global issues, such as the plight of migrant workers, geopolitical tensions, refugee crisis, climate change, and even the implementation of a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to halt a possible nuclear war.  

In what might be the biggest plot twist since the start of his term, the President invoked the Philippines’ legal victory in the Hague ruling against China over the West Philippine Sea. Before a roster of global leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President asserted the country’s rights by stating that, “The [2016 Arbitary] Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it.” 

The degree of clarity and succinctness the President expressed was a far cry from his equivocal televised addresses to the public. While most senators commended the President’s stance on the dispute over the maritime area, the true question lies whether these strong words would be translated into action or would again concede in favor of other interests.  

Based on what transpired within the 30 grueling days of September, it seems as though it was another attempt of the government to bamboozle the whole nation and deflect their attention from more pressing issues that affect their lives, such as PhilHeath’s 15-billion fraud and the global pandemic itself. What makes their actions more spiteful is that they still choose to rationalize their mistakes and failures rather than to openly admit it. Apart from being at odds with science, they spend time pitting themselves against each other instead of working harmoniously to circumvent the unabated health crisis.

As we enter another month into the longest lockdown in the world, our job as citizens is to cooperate with protocols that safeguard our health, but not in a defeatist stance that makes us acknowledge the wrongs as mere peccadillos. As Lord Varys once said, “Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty.” Thus, the wrongs should beckon us to question and criticize whether actions being taken in the ‘new normal’ are done for the welfare of the Filipino people living in a time of uncertainty. 

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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.

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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 subcortex.com

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. 

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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.

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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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