Producing movies, writing stories, making films with excellent actors – these are what I imagine almost everyday when I think about where my life is headed to.

I can still remember how I jokingly told my mom when we were inside the cinema theater at Ali Mall that one day, she will see my name on the credits after taking part in my first movie. I think that was an MMFF season so it was around December or first week of January. That wasn’t entirely a joke at the back of my head. I knew I wanted to use art to touch others’ lives. I may not be sure how or what part I will be taking. I was just sure at that time that I wanted to find my small space in the film industry.

It was exciting at first. Thinking about walking on a different path makes my heart flutter. I often believed that corporate life isn’t for me (honestly, I’m now not sure about it. Or maybe I was just avoiding the future I am supposed to be in?) and taking risks in the film industry will make my life more meaningful though the success rate is much more unpredictable than staying in my corporate job. Back in 2017, I mustered all the courage I can get to enroll in a theater arts workshop at PETA. The early bird promo guaranteed a 10% discount so I grabbed the opportunity. I remember asking extra money from my mom because I was barely saving enough because I need to save for our house and live with what’s left as my allowance. She wasn’t supportive at first. The question that she asked me the exact time I asked for enrollment fee was: “Saan ka niyan pagkatapos?” – I answered: “Hindi ko pa alam.”

That’s the truth. I don’t really know what will happen next. I just wanted to jump and see where my feet will land. It wasn’t just a simple jump for me, it was a decision where I feared a lot of things. First, I did not invite any of my friends to go on that workshop with me, so I didn’t know anyone and I was so nervous on our first day. I’m not that good in making friends in an instant so I prepared myself to be a loner. Second, I am not sure if my body can take it. I have work on weekdays (3PM-12MN) and the Saturday weekend workshop starts at 9AM until 3PM. In the last few weeks, we attended classes on Saturdays and Sundays. I literally had no rest day for a number of weeks. Third, I am actually not sure if it was worth it. What if my mom was right? I know she wanted to stop me from spending money on things I am not sure of. And last, I was not sure if I was good enough. I do not know anything and I did not excel in any of the performing arts that I know of. I can’t sing, I can dance but not gracefully and I’m not sure if I can act. Basically, I may be throwing myself out in the ocean without any knowledge how I would survive.

But I still proceeded with my plan. I don’t know what hit me that time. I was just like “Bahala na, talon na kung talon.” – and I loved this version of myself. He was brave. He was afraid but he chose to do it.

When the workshop started around the third week of January 2018, the fears that I had slowly turned into realizations. And all those fears led me to think that my decision was actually fine. I may have lost time to rest but I won’t regret being in a group of people that I share the same passion with. I can still say that those were great moments of my life. We all came from different backgrounds, most of us had work for a living and treated the workshop as an escape to express ourselves and to free the artist in us. They were friendly. I felt that my social life then was defined by the moments I shared with my classmates at PETA. I wasn’t able to get in touch with my high school and college friends but I met new wonderful people that I will forever remember in my heart. It all ended with two final performances – one in the afternoon and another one in the evening. I had three tickets for each show but I only invited three friends for the evening showcase – Maridel, Carl and Mitzi. Maridel was my college friend and I was happy that she loved the show. Carl is still a good friend of mine and will forever be a “sizzy” to me and Mitzi who got me inspired when I first watched her show in UST as part of Teatro Tomasino.

Speaking of Mitzi, she invited me for a minor role in a student film. I enjoyed it. The main difference between acting in theater and in film is that all the rehearsals will come to waste if you don’t do well in the final performance in theater. In films or in movies, we get to have a number of takes before we can get the perfect shots. While reading the script, I fell in love with the idea of writing and making stories, characters that will represent my deepest thoughts, my beliefs and my aspirations. After that student film, I left my passion for acting. Because I can’t seem to find my niche.

Looking back, everything was worth it. I’m glad I took the risk. I would’ve not found what I wanted to do in my life if I did not expose myself to the world of performing arts. Now, I want to be a writer with hopes of bringing life to my stories intended to make people feel that they’re not alone. I have a very long way to go but I am taking small steps. This time, I’m still not sure where my feet will take me but the last time I did this, I had no regrets.

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