On a Continuous Search for More

In these past few months, I realized how much I want to seek for something more. Something magis, noun, a Latin word that directly translates to "greater," the philosophy of doing something more for Christ, thereby doing more for others. 

I often believe that I fall short in various aspects, thus bearing the question over my capacity for magis. But in these times, I have become fairly convinced that this is only a sum of the usual peaks and valleys of college. After breezing halfway through my stay in university, magis, to me, connotes growth after failure marks and persistent effort; tears and altruistic service; and constant support for peers and for others. 

The journey does not end; there is always an epiphany of hope. After nearly a year, here I am with many stories and adventures to share, of tales on how I have been in my relentless search for magis. 

Recent Literature

Today I am currently reading Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan that I borrowed from a college friend because we both love to read. A Filipino book written in the English language, Smaller and Smaller Circles is a detective novel about a Jesuit priest, also a forensic anthropologist, and his protégé, who look into the murder of a boy in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Manila.

I also finished the following:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi / 
I decided to read this book last month after a college friend taught me to balance studying and leisure reading. This easily broke my heart, winning a spot as one of my favorite nonfiction books that I've read. Here, the author shares his final thoughts before his passing, drawing me into awe as to how he embraced death as something as integral to life as birth. Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, also wove together the importance of the arts and sciences, how one discipline cannot survive without the other. 

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows / 
After having my e-book copy sitting in my Kindle for too long, I finally got myself to read this book. The story was delightful, playful, and humorous, though the writing did not capture my heart in the same manner that other stories have. How the authors played with history in this novel was something that I found so charming and wonderful. I am still considering if it is worth continuing the series, though the story isn't exactly a high favorite.

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson / 
For my English Literature class, I read Winterson's The Passion, which I had to speed read for a long objective test. Although this book sat outside of my usual genres of interest, it was interesting for its manner of approaching LGBT relationships, self-discovery, and a passion too great beyond control. Winterson masterfully crafted historical fiction and magical realism together in a manner so poetic and beautiful. I loved the writing, but the story gave slight impact, hence the 3 stars.

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay / 
By reading this novel, I finally felt represented for the first time because I encountered Filipino characters. What I loved most about this is its portrayal of Philippine President Duterte's war on drugs, an anti-poor campaign with a shoot-to-kill order. I'm glad this book brought attention to it, as I feel that these issues demand critical thought and discourse.

Where I've Been

(My dad took this beautiful photo in Switzerland, all in pure blue.)
  • My family and I visited Europe for our Christmas vacation together. We went to Switzerland and Spain around December to January way before finding out about the coronavirus outbreak in China.
  • I have become an active member in my university's student government working in two units: first, as a literary editor for our Commission on Mental Health, where I transcribe interviews  and projects for our online mental health initiative; another, I work as a deputy for research and inquiry for our university's local business school.  
  • I am also a news writer for The GUIDON, where I cover important campus events and write articles concerning our school community.
  • I watched Nana Rosa with friends, a Filipino play based on true events of a Filipino comfort woman during World War II. It was very disturbing to me as a woman because it heavily affects me, but I believe it's worth talking about.
  • I turned 19 years old last October, now on my final year before entering my 20s.
  • My dog Ginger gave birth to four new puppies, all black-and-white shih tzus, all beautiful. They are all safe and healthy at home.
  • I joined a 3-day immersion in San Felipe, Zambales, north of Manila, as a requirement for my National Service Training Program and Theology class. I managed to make friends with my foster family, and still in contact with them until now.
  • I was promoted to Assistant Vice President for Project Collaborations as part of my student assistantship work in the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila. Every week, I join meetings with other student officers and manage school events and partnerships. 
  • I am considering purchasing a domain for this blog in hopes of encouraging myself to post weekly or monthly. What do you guys think?

  • I got in touch with high school friends inside and beyond my university. We often keep in contact through Facebook or video calls during home quarantine, and it's always been a great time.
  • My classes in my university got suspended. After transitioning to online learning within a week, our online class also got suspended. It saddened me, seeing that this was largely due to poor WiFi connectivity for some people at school who returned to their provinces, islands away from our city. (More on this on a future post soon!)
  • Lastly, I am on home quarantine and today marks my 17th day. Manila has been put on enhanced community quarantine. I pray that you all stay safe.

Things I've Learned Along the Way

  • Every night, before bed, is always a great time for quiet prayer.
  • It's possible to have food delivered to your classroom at 6 p.m. even when the professor, or her substitute, is right in front of you.
  • When there is a difficult exam, go to the library at 8 a.m. Bring friends, a thick jacket, and a cup of coffee.
  • Go outside when the sun begins to set at 5.
  • Always make time for a coffee break.
  • llao llao drenched in choco hazelnut will always be heaven in a cup.
  • Pray not for more blessings but for the strength to be more kind and more generous.

Stay safe and take care! Tell me about your day, your routines at home, and your current read. I would love to hear from you.

jillian etc.