Thank You 2009!

I'm here in the booth, just finished my last show for 2009 and I just realized what a year this has been for me. Things didn't go exactly as I planned but I'm proud of myself for taking the steps in trying to make things happen. It wasn't a perfect year but I lived it to get to as close to perfection as I could.

Every year we set goals, but I realized that life is not all about accomplishments. It's about living it up and the little changes you make to better yourself each day. It's about not having people's opinions weigh more than what you want to do to get to where you want to be. It's about giving and not taking. It's a constant journey of self-discovery and working towards "being" love.

I've learned so much not by reading textbooks, but by living and wanting to live fully. My curiosity feeds it. My constant search for love drives it. By getting a whole new sense of clarity, I feel motivated to share and apply it. I want to be an example and see the simplicity of things. I equip myself with knowledge and experience to attack the days ahead. I want to awaken my imagination, set it free, and see where it takes me. I want to do so much, and as long as I keep this hunger, I know I'll go places.

People ask me all the time where I get my topics, the words of wisdom I share, and all the random thoughts I bring to my shows. You'll be surprised by how much you can learn through simple conversations, observations, and surrounding yourself with the right people. It's about creating that positive vibe and keeping it alive. 2009 showed me that and I always keep my ego in check. In the end, it's not about what you know but its application. Anybody can act like an expert about anything but it's only through experience that one gets a better understanding and appreciation of it.

2010 is just hours away. I'm looking to make it another memorable year. I don't think too far ahead, just enough to sense where I'm going. As long as I live the "now" I know it'll follow through well in the future. I realized that what made 2009 so worthwhile is that I did things MY way. I took my own path. I got what I could and blamed nobody for my actions. I realized that if I want something, I have to make it happen. I learned that belief is the most powerful weapon, and faith, in my opinion, is the highest form of belief. So as long as I have faith in myself, I can't go wrong. 2010, here we go!

- Pat Jamlang

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You may say I'm a dreamer.

Do you remember the time when you were 5 years old (or younger), and you had a dream? It was the very first dream you could actually formulate in your newborn mind and for you it was the best darn dream you could ever have. It was the purest of the pure, the absolute best. And if you think about it right now you'll probably realize that it was the most far fetched, craziest, most outrageous dream you've ever desired, yet in that moment, you believed with all your heart that you could actually really have that dream or be that dream. You could already taste it in your mouth and grab it by the hands as if it were right beside you. All you could think about was "Yup! One day, that's exactly what I'm gonna be."

For those who have read my previous entry: Someday ,you'll know that I am on my way to pursuing my latest dream: To become a great neurosurgeon. But I would digress if I talk about that. I'd like to tell you about the first few crazy ones I had.

When I was 5... I wanted to be a pop star.

I wanted to have a gazillion fans, a double, triple and all the "ipples" imaginable million peso selling album. I idolized Manilyn Reynes (I know what you're thinking! She was pretty big back then.) in all her...let's just say, singing sensation. But the real reason for wanting to be a pop star was because I loved to sing. I started singing songs by Jose Mari Chan during my 4th birthday. I sang "Please be careful with my heart" to my mum, and she cried like a baby.

Ever since then the mic was an extension of my hand.

As I got older I upgraded my pop star status to Broadway diva extraordinaire thanks to a fantastic character named Eponine from the high acclaimed musical "Les Miserables" and Kim and Ellen's "I Still Believe" from "Miss Saigon".

Until now musicals are my true love.

Still that wasn't my very first dream. This was my first...

When I was 2... I wanted to be a mermaid.

Go on...laugh it off. Done?

Come on! If you were born in the year of 1987, have watched "The Little Mermaid", and is actually a have got to admit that Ariel was way cool with her flaming red hair, green flippery tail, and her voice of an angel. PLUS, she was a princess! When did you not want to ever be a princess and a mermaid at the same time?! For the love of this mermaid, my cousins and I would pull our legs into the pillow case so we would have flippers as well, and we would pretend to be Ariel in that "rock scene" as the electric fan blew air through our hair. We loved taking baths just so we could use the bathtub and splash around while singing "Part of your World".

Another bonus about being Ariel was having Flounder as a pet. From then on I've always had fish for a pet, until I got older and couldn't stand the smell of them when they died.

My point is, we all have our crazy, fantastic, stellar dreams. Sometimes our very first dream is still what we want the most, but as we grow older, we realize that those dreams are actually really crazy and sometimes unachievable. I realized that I couldn't actually just sprout a tail and gills all in one night. It dawned on me that there were millions of other girls just like me who wanted to be in a band and be a famous pop star. I've accepted the fact that being a Broadway star would possibly take years to achieve. Yet these dreams remain in us and appear in small doses.

I've entered the real world and have decided to stick to my dream of becoming the worlds best neurosurgeon. Service and Passion for others. Although this is so, I still love to belt out a tune or two whenever there are parties, get togethers, and mini-concerts. I still pretend to win a Grammy when I'm in the shower (The shampoo bottle would be my Grammy). Most of the time I still catch myself daydreaming of singing on a stage to a crowd that draws close to a billion. I still absolutely adore the beach, and the bathtub, the rain and... basically water. Whenever I want to get away from the world, I still silently wish that I were a mermaid swimming into the depths of the deep blue.

It's good to escape the real world once in awhile especially when there's too much going on in your life. Remembering your first few dreams and ambitions gives you not just something to laugh about but something that will allow you to see how far you've come in life.

Ask yourself: What was the first dream I've ever conjured in my head? Then ask yourself where you are right now. More often than not, you find little joys in small things like these. And when you're really truly lost...sometimes you find yourself again all because of that crazy dream you had when you were 5.

Pursue your passion. Love what you do. Keep dreaming :)

-Trina Lorenzana

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The Most Important Person In The World

Who are you? A simple enough question—undoubtedly one you should know the answer to. I mean, how could you not, it’s a question about you? Surely no one could know more about you, than you, right? Yet, when you’re asked this question, when can you say you’ve answered it in its truest sense?

Who am I? Shit, I don’t know—well, not entirely anyway. We’ve been so well trained growing up, to look at ourselves from the outside in, instead of the other way around, that it’s only been recently, that I’ve been able to put the pieces together—well some of them anyway. It was a strange feeling to admit to myself that I didn’t know much about me at all. I marveled, at how so much could get lost in the seemingly simple process of aging. I’m just at the beginning of rediscovery. At 21, is that too late? I don’t think so. Shit, I hope not. As a kid, everything was so clear, the future apparent, and obvious. I knew what I wanted; it was just a matter of gaining the ability to do so. So off I went, submerged into the educational system, exposed to overwhelming media, and dictated upon by society. Slowly, as I grew older, what was once so clear started to get replaced by fear, other’s expectations, the reputation you want to uphold, the constraints of “reality”, and countless other factors. Before you know it, it’s all gone, replaced—until you find it again, underneath the fear, expectations, and constraints.

Getting to know oneself is a full-time thing. New pieces of information are given to you through various worldly interactions. It could be as simple as smiling back at someone, holding someone’s gaze, or laughing at a joke. Or it could be something more complex like, mustering the courage to kiss someone, refusing to adhere to common beliefs, exhibiting indifference towards terrorism, or fighting to live your dreams. If this was poker, where every betting round is a chance to gain more information, every check, bet, call, or fold represents new information about you. New information which helps us understand our character. How do I react under pressure? What do I do when presented with a lot of free time? Am I a man/woman of my word? Do I let external factors cloud my judgment? Do I stand up for what I believe in? What do I really want to do? All of these questions can only be answered through experience. As experiences with others shape your perceptions of them, experiences with yourself shape your understanding of you.

In this, lies another challenge. It seems people in general, have no problem in judging people around them—strangers, acquaintances, and even friends. But when it comes to judging ourselves, we tend to be either overly critical, or overly lenient.

There are some of us that just really have high standards, and continue to try to raise those standards whenever the initial standards are met. This is great for developing high-level performances, but has the effect of belittling achievements and playing down skills.

And there are some of us who don’t believe in our capabilities, and let our potential go to waste. It is great for living life with lowered expectations, where great things, are promoted to unbelievable things. Everything is wonderful, but everything is only by chance, and not from your own doing. That’s why it’s so important to go out and do different things—to experience life, act on instinct, get out of the comfort zone and test our limits. It is in this way that we learn about ourselves. Our true selves—not the selves we want to be, or the selves other perceive us as, just oneself.

After understanding the person that you are, another challenge awaits. What if who you want to be, doesn’t coincide with who you have observed yourself to be? It seems this is the battle that is most difficult to fight. Should we let our natural being take charge, or should my ambition drive my life? We are a contrast between who we are and who we want to be. The question is, which side are you leaning on? Is it possible to find equilibrium? Or should the question be asked at all?

Maybe there really is no side to lean on. Maybe it shouldn’t have to be so difficult. Maybe if we all just listened, and I mean truly listened, without bias or influence, we could hear what was once so clear when we were younger. We all know what we have to do in life. We all have that one thing or few things that we do that just embody us and fill us with mind-boggling satisfaction. There never was supposed to be confusion. We were made for this purpose. And we knew it from the beginning—we just forgot. Whether it’s to sing, to dance, to write, make music, design clothing, play basketball, to travel, go on adventures, or whatever it is that floats your boat—it’s time to remember what it is you’re here for. Forget the “safe” road, it doesn’t exist. Generation after generation have fallen victim to the system and conformed to suppress their desires in exchange for security and safety. And what has that led to? The world continues, in and out of financial crisis, war, and terror. Where’s the security, the safety? It’s time to understand that risks are inevitable and must be taken to live the life you always wanted. Go out, live your dreams. Stand up and do it. A wise man named Jason Mraz said, “Leap in, the net will appear.” Life is simple. Listen to your heart and follow. Everything else will fall into place.

We’ve lost ourselves over the years. Every year growing more and more interested in other people while losing touch of ourselves—becoming duplicates of one another. We’ve lived our lives in reverse, placing other people on imaginary pedestals so we can admire them. The most important person in the world isn’t Brad Pitt, Megan Fox, your boss, best friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, or even the United States president Barack Obama himself. That title goes to the person looking back at you in the mirror. That person is you.

- Jing

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