I wrote this journal for my 30th birthday last year. I kinda like it so I’m publishing it again.

Jul 18, 2011 by

About a year ago, I thought I’d celebrate my 30th birthday in Melbourne, Australia as an immigrant. Some plans have been drafted and the future seemed curious. I wondered what was in store for me. I told some friends about the possibilities and they all cheered me on. Not for the green pasture that Australia offers but perhaps for all the kangaroos that can kick me while lawn-mowing or the exposed torsos of Ozzies doing the groceries. Either way, the prospect sent me a bit electric.

Then the electric went out. Recession decimated most of the favourable policies that I was banking on and everything was put to freeze. My immigration lawyer, a very good one at that, was honest enough to advise me that things are uncertain and that she was considering a course to make me feel consoled about the situation: a refund. I thought I’d feel bad, after all hopes had been pinned on the land down under, but upon hearing the news, I actually felt nothing. I thought I am living a good life here. A blessed one. A life I couldn’t really complain about except for occasional stupidity of people around me. If Oz was not in the mood to open its doors for me, I thought I’d go look for another door. Maybe it’s just around the corner. Maybe it doesn’t really have to be a door. I mean, I can settle with just a jook joint as long as I can fit myself in it.

In my 30 years of sordid transparency, I have learned a great deal of things that many of you have already known 30 years before me. So there’s really no need spelling them out for you. Simple things. Wanton things. Things that puzzle. Things that enlighten. I have found friends. Keep the fancy ones. Treasure the real ones. Display the shallow ones. Drink with the wandering ones. Danced with the soulful ones. Ignore the redundant ones. Play with the sport ones. Listen to the insightful ones. Argue with the challenging ones.

And the list goes on.

I always look forward to the day when I celebrate not myself as the birthday boy, but the one who brought me to this earth. I celebrate my mother, because she has turned me into the person that I am that you probably adore (or loathe). I celebrate my siblings because they are a part of my formation and the ones who truly know who I am beyond my skin. I celebrate my one and only niece whom I fall in love with more and more as each day passes. I celebrate my father, who for the first time isn’t going to be here with me for my birthday. I’m sure that wherever he is, he must be holding a big party on my behalf. I could only think of my other uncles and grandfathers binging on what they binge best: alcohol. Think what fun a party it must be. I look forward to celebrating my day knowing that my family has remained solid amidst all the trials we had to go through.

I guess you all know how much I love life. I love life as it is. I know I sound as if I’m dying with cancer or something, but I only get to be this serious when I’m about to mark another year of my existence. So just let me. And for all what life’s worth, we all have reasons for loving it. And mine would be life’s mysterious ways of making us live and let live. Or maybe it’s not just about living. Maybe it’s also about loving.

While I was pondering on these profound things, I received a notification on my email. It’s coming from my Oz immigration lawyer telling me about good news on my pending application. We have set a meeting date and coincidentally, we agreed to meet on my birthday. For breakfast at Greenbelt. Weird how things work. All I can do at the moment is keep doing what I am doing here at home and eat, pray and love. Until that damn visa is given to me. Ha ha ha!

Happy 30th birthday to me on August 2nd. Manila friends, see you on July 31st. Iloilo friends, see you on August 7th!

And because this was last year, photos of the party in Manila have been developed:


My Manila crew. Missing everyone!


L-R: Jae Ronco, JP Santos, John del Rosario and myself, Bobby Rodriguez

Christopher John de Villa and Vince Pilien

Kevin Piamonte, Niccolo Cosme, ze Birthday Boy and Odj Manusig

With Jay Marquez

June Poblador, myself, Sam Fogg and Kevin Piamonte


Christian de Lima, Vinnie Tan, Helen Gallaza, Dulce Ong and Eugene Velete


I’m turning 31 this coming August 2nd. Time for my annual self-assessment.

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