Albeit being the shortest month of the year, February is surprising in its capacity to hold so many experiences in such a limited amount of time.

It’s so rare for me, a notorious homebody, to be outdoors experiencing things. I’ve been really stressed this February for a lot of reasons (e.g., pulling my grades up so that I can still get a full scholarship next semester, and generally trying to survive the Biology life—which isn’t rainbows and butterflies, I tell you). On top of that, I’ve been engaged in a string of sleepless nights, which was really terrible. The fatigue really hollowed me.

Beyond all the academic humdrum, however, life is unfolding. 21-year old me is very happy, and tired in a good way.

February is the month Roi and I became legal (in the sense that my family now recognizes him as my boyfriend, hurrah). It’s been a rocky, gradual process since last year, but I can finally bring him home. And I have been doing so. We also celebrated out first Valentine’s together, even though I kept telling him I don’t do Valentine’s (because it’s a cash cow), and we spent it at home watching bad television, talking, and playing with the dogs. As always, I am brimming with so much gratitude for him.

Being legal means going on official dates, and so we had quite a lot: a badminton date with him being his usual dorky, adorable self; errand dates, mostly to buy stuff for my upcoming ecological fieldwork in Mt. Mariveles; food dates, which, for February, includes Cheddar Burst at Lilac, Sano Ramen near my house, Snack Shack and Iskorambol in Diliman, as well as a host of guilty pleasures (i.e., Jollibee, etc).

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Sometimes the soul finds someone who reminds it that it’s whole.

As quoted by The Artidote:

“She was struck by the simple truth that sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.” —Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One

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With the UE teams. L-R: Fhil, me, Joi, Sir Luch, Elaine, Rizza, and Shyla

Another new experience: my first ever quiz bee. I didn’t really want to join because of all the studying that needed (needs) to be done, but I figured, might as well give it a shot. So we were sent to Ateneo to compete in the Ateneo Biology Cup. We didn’t win, but it was an overall memorable experience—especially the Survival of the Fittest round wherein 2 UP Manila teams faced off DLSU and UST. (I was obviously rooting for the former, because my heart.) They were very competitive and fun to watch; we were cheering in the audience while answering the questions that were being thrown in the match.

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Leaves against the sky.

It was my first time inside the Ateneo campus; I was in awe, to say the least. It was a very beautiful place, with brick buildings, sprawling spaces, and forested parts! Fieldwork dreams, am I right? No wonder they discovered a new aquatic beetle species there, which is Hydraena ateneo. (You can read the journal article here.)

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Forest, for rest.

Yesterday, we had our first ecological fieldwork in La Mesa Ecopark. We went hiking in the mini-forest, looking for trees (hello, Acacia sp.), measuring their diameters and distances. Our foray into nature included pushing away branches, walking into spider webs, and assessing the best access to the trees we were looking for. Afterwards, we followed the trail to wherever it would lead, while being very millenial and taking pictures along the way.

It was tiring to do all that walking, but it was a good breather—being away from the urban jungle. I realized I needed to get away from the buildings, the smoke, the drabness of city life. I needed that break; I needed nature: trees, sky, earth. I needed to see greenery and flowers I couldn’t name, to walk paths that were uneven, leaves crunching underneath my shoes.

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Not-so-secret garden

In all that green, I found respite and relief. There is so much yet to see.


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