A Letter To My Fellow Adulting Millennial

Behind the story: This article was originally published on Rappler on July 18, 2017 but I actually wrote it months before supposedly as contribution to a 2017 planner. I decided not to push through with submitting it for the planner because 1) It’s too long for a page, and 2) It might not reach as many people–and, well, that was my goal.

I wanted to inspire at least one millennial out there who is in the place of uncertainty and probably self-doubt. I was hoping it could be some sort of a metaphorical group hug to my fellow millennials who experience the pains of adulting but continue to soldier on.

It’s a combination of everything I’ve heard from my peers in our life talks. And while it’s always scary to be this vulnerably honest, the fear is always outweighed by the potential impact it can make.

A Letter To My Fellow Adulting Millennial

Dear FAM,

I hope it’s cool with you that I’m writing more than 140 characters this time. I just want to talk about something you and your squad have surely discussed in your recent meetups (or in your Facebook group chat if your planned cocols remain…planned).

Let’s start with me guessing that you just got out of college and that at first you were so, so sure about who you wanted to be. It seemed logical to find work related to the course you took up. Because you planned for this, right? And your parents are quietly waiting. (Plus, admit it, you just couldn’t wait to post about your employment status on Facebook. That would be a major event.) So off you went and applied for your first job.

Fast forward to saying yes to your first job offer, meeting your first boss, slaying your first month at work, and treating yo self after getting your first sweldo. Yasss, gurl. This is what it feels like. And this—this is you now.

If your mind were a Twitter profile, the pinned tweet would be a banner showing your job title in glittery text and matching confetti. Suddenly, your work becomes who you are, and you begin to see others through that lens.

So, what’s the problem now? Well, not much, other than sometimes finding yourself staring blankly at your computer screen (at night, at the ceiling) thinking what the hell this is all for.

Then again, should you really be surprised?

You knew it was going to be like this. This is the world your professors warned you about in the same way that it is the world you’ve always wanted to be part of. You’ve always admired those working girls wearing pencil skirts on a daily basis just ’cause they looked so chic and so sure of themselves. Your older friend who once excused himself from a hangout “because I have work tomorrow” sounded so cool when he said it. This is what the 16-year-old you would have wanted.

But now? Now, all it offered you is a welcome gift of never-ending work and taxes to pay. Now, it dawned on you that there are no more certain summer breaks and sem breaks to speak of. From the moment you entered the office on your first day of work, you were automatically registered to play in a game called Basically Showing Up At Work Because What Else Can Be Done With My Life And Then Just Doing This Until I Decide To Retire And Eventually Die.

Welcome, player! Would you like to continue?

Press play for a quick mini game called Asking The Big Questions That Make You Uncomfortable!

Are you just settling for this job? Why are you browsing Jobstreet when you barely need it? Is this all you can do? Why aren’t you happy? Or maybe you are. Wait, are you? How can you be sure?

Time’s up! Let’s compare your score with your friends’ through their social media accounts, shall we?

Look, it’s your ex-blockmate Dani who seems to be having fun in Singapore. (She even created a personal hashtag for her trip, because, y’know, the trip wouldn’t be legit if it didn’t have one.) And, gurl, Rachel is glowing up! Makati office life really suits her. Oohhh, that ramen looks so good beside that…cactus. Wait a minute, what? Your classmate in highschool just got engaged?! You couldn’t even say hi to your crush.


You glance at the bowl you’re holding. Yep, you’re eating noodles again. It’s still two days before the 15th, so you have 48 hours left to endure first world-level deprivation. No fancy cafè dining for now, meaning Jollibee = heaven. No biggie, though. You’ve been doing this for almost six months ’cause you’re the kween of living paycheck to paycheck.

Wow. Six solid months.

You realize that half a year of working in the same position does start to feel routinary afterwards. “Everyday is just a series of not quitting,” you’ve been telling yourself as some sort of motivation since Day 1, yet now you’re toying with the idea that probably anytime after six months is the perfect opportunity to go out there and experience something else.

But where to? And what is it that you want to do anyway? The crazy thing is that you don’t even know anymore. And nothing sucks more than finally having freedom to achieve your dreams yet suddenly not knowing what those dreams are.

But here’s what I’ve learned from all the bookmarked articles that I’ve (thank God, finally) read about finding one’s passion and purpose: It’s not supposed to be that hard.

Simply put: You do you, gurl.

Do the thing that makes you light up when you talk about it with another person because you’re that excited about it. Do the thing that makes it so okay for you to pull an all-nighter and just laugh it off when you suddenly realize, “Luh, umaga na pala.


Some people forget what used to make them feel this way. If that’s you, then dear, please remind yourself of all the wonderful stuff you are capable of. Remember the very reason you were excited to go out and conquer this so-called real world.

I’m pretty sure there’s something you’ve always wanted to do—better yet, something you have been doing so effortlessly well that it didn’t occur to you that its other name is passion.

And, man, you have the rest of your life to figure that out.

Until then, continue to act like a real responsible human being. Learn not to hate Mondays that much, try to wake up before your alarm goes off, and never tolerate mediocrity in your work. Stay woke. Deserve your wildest dreams.

And if asked to describe this generation, let your response be: “We’re not the lazy, entitled screenagers you expected us to be.”

Slaying this game with you,
Your FAM

Link to the  original post: http://x.rappler.com/x/rosebarroga16/1500377214593-A-Letter-To-My-Fellow-Adulting-Millennial


Make-up: An Attempt At Flash Fiction

Behind the story: First of all, let me emphasize that this piece was only an attempt at writing something remotely related to journalism. The idea of writing flash fiction never came to my mind. I never even knew what it meant until our then Retorika professor, Mr. Eros Atalia, decided that our final requirement would be to recite a dagli—with feelings—in front of the whole class and before panelists Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin and Joselito Delos Reyes.

Really, no big deal.

Now, here’s another thing. For the topic of the dagli, we were supposed to pick an issue of social relevance. And the title should be double-edged. And  please avoid the surprise-the-boy-is-gay kind of story.

If I remember it clearly, most of my classmates dealt with the topic of sex. I think it’s because they thought that creative writing required one to be fearless and open-minded, hence, be able to talk about supposedly taboo stuff.

Alright, fine. I was one of them. And somehow I kind of twisted the forbidden surprise-the-boy-is-gay story into something else. I also tried to *wink* make up *wink* for any possible faults in the story itself by providing a double-edged title, as requested.

And then all I had to do was deliver it. With confidence.

Here’s the piece I had to perform. *disappears into a void*


“Boom-boom-boom!” say ko habang nagpapahid ng foundation sa kutis kong pang-mega star. Pulang-pula na rin ang kissable kong lips. Feel na feel ko ng very much na ako ang pinakabonggang sirena sa balat ng universe!

Finally, mapu-push na ng very hard ang pinakauna kong show boulevard dito sa bar. Siguradong hiyawan nanaman ang mga papa sa’kin nito. Umakyat ako sa highest level ng aangkinin kong stage. Nagkagulo ang kalalakihan. Shet, iba alindog ko, beh!

Nagsigawan dela cruz pati ‘yung dalawang pogi sa bandang likod. Lasing na pareho. Nalasing yata sa beauty ng lola mong feeling girl.

Nilapitan ako nung isang kuya mong boy. Sugod kung sugod naman ‘tong si pogi. In need yata ng bagong motor. Sinama niya ako sa kuwarto, saka siya dali-daling nagpaputok.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Nabingi ako sa sarili kong ungol.

Sunod kong nalaman, nakahiga na lang ako rito sa malasutla at makitid na kama. May flowers. May kandila. May salamin sa ibabaw.

Wala nang mas kakapal pa sa make-up ko ngayon.



A Kiss From Papa

Behind the story: This short news feature article was originally published on Inquirer.net on January 19, 2015 and it was the first story I ever wrote for a national publication, or news website for that matter. God knows how overwhelmed my 18-year-old self was when I was told via email that the story would be forwarded to the news desk. And so when the link to the article was sent to me, I opened it immediately, saw my byline, felt really funny about it, and then just did the most mature thing. (Hint: I jumped up and down and cried “oh my god” for about three times.)

Now let’s talk about how physically draining that coverage was. Haggard took a-whole-nother meaning as I found myself going home with a bad headache, damp hair, wet clothes, and the squishing of my soaked shoes.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t come home feeling miserable. Instead, I felt like my heart was full. And if only I wasn’t bound by physical limitations, I would have stayed longer.

I think that’s how you know you’re in the right place. Or maybe that’s just the power of a first?

‘Mom ecstatic over her baby getting kissed by Pope Francis’

Carrying only hope and hardly any food, millions of Filipinos waited for hours behind blockades—with many of them even sleeping since the night before—all for only a glimpse, however distant, of probably the most-loved man here in the country–Pope Francis.

But in the case of Jon Dell Naguit, hours of waiting was spent not only for a glimpse, a wave, nor a smile. It was for the moment of euphoria—when the Pope himself planted a kiss on his forehead.


Photo by Rio Deluvio for The Flame

Measured up to everyone else’s encounter with ‘Lolo Kiko’, Jon Dell’s meant a lifetime of blessings for him and his whole family. Not to mention, of course, that he was able to experience this only three months after he was born.

Certainly, this brought tears to the 30-year-old woman carrying him in her arms.

Siyempre masayang-masaya ako! Walang enough words para ma-explain ko talaga ‘yung nararamdaman ko, (Of course, I feel so happy, There aren’t enough words to explain what I feel),” said Jon Dell’s mother, June-Joan Naguit, who was still stuck in absolute happiness right after she saw the Pope in the flesh.

Parang sobrang pambihirang pagkakataon na ‘yung isang tao malapitan niya, mabuhat niya, mahalikan pa niya,” she adds. “Kaya sobrang masaya ako para sa anak ko.” (It’s really a rare opportunity for him to get near someone, carry him, and kiss him. That’s why I’m so happy for my child.)

Listening to every word and chant, June-Joan and her family stayed all throughout the liturgy at the University of Santo Tomas on Sunday led by the Father of the Catholic faith whom they longed for and will keep on admiring.

Perhaps, up to this very moment, June-Joan still could not believe that the baby she carried in her arms will himself carry the burning hope that will forever inspire everyone who surrounds him with their love.

This inspiration will carry on until the day Jon Dell grows old enough to wait for the coming of yet another Pope—where he might say the exact words his mother uttered: ‘Thank you, Papa! I love you!’

Link to the  original post (with photos): http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/666537/mom-ecstatic-over-her-baby-getting-kissed-by-pope-francis#ixzz4OhD7tAlm