I’ve waited for this day to post this specific TGBoL chapter. Chapter 5.1 is all about the people who inspired you. It’s not about Descartes, Churchill, Coelho or any other inspiring thinkers whose quotes flourish the internet and the social networks. No, this chapter is about a list of real people, unknown (or almost) to the world who had a real impact on our life.

As for me, it’d be:

  • God, inspite of failing him most of the time, He never failed me
  • My family who are my great source of strength and inspiration
  • My college professors who pushed me to my limits, for they knew we were meant to grow
  • My treasure box of friends- my high school bffs, my college buddies, my “UTODIAN” friends, my favorite love-birds (Rinabel & Red)


But the one I really want to talk about is a very special person. We call her, Ate Jungie. More than being a  good friend, she’s the Ate (big sister)- all of us in the group- we wish we had. Here’s our once upon a time…

Ate Jungie
The Ate I wish I had


I once wished to be the woman that she is— to have the courage to confront life’s struggles and confront her demons, to walk the streets unafraid and with pride, to speak with wit and candor, to have the nerve to talk to strangers and make friends with ease, to breathe with unyielding faith, and to have a clear vision of the future. Just everything that I am not.

It all started on the first day of class. I was a hermit thrown in the vast ocean of different species and there she was sitting quietly with her this-is-a-classroom-not-a-playground kind of air. I instantly knew we could never be friends. Days turned to months and I grew timid around her for I found her personality too strong to handle. You can’t tame her with sugar-coated words for she speaks her mind. You can’t idle around her for she’s hard-working at everything. You can’t have a fainted heart for she’s born a leader. You can’t just make her sit around for she defies conformity. And, boy, you really have to take college with all seriousness.

Months turned to years and my timidity turned into awe. I started to realize that this woman, so independent and singular, have been through a lot of tough times too. She’s been through circumstances that are far more grueling than mine and she has shed more bucket of sweat and tears than I could ever fill. Her life story broke my heart into shards but more than that—it shed light into my once dimmed life. I have found that behind her stern look hides a faithful soul, a loving heart, a smile wanting to escape, and a voice of genuine sincerity. That despite the torment of being an outcast and once a subject of childish gossip, she remained a good friend and a shoulder to lean on. That despite the lack of resources, she remained an eager chaser of dreams. That despite the long list of misfortunes and hard luck in life, she never lost her smile. She never lost her reason. She never lost her faith.

I once wished to be the woman that she is but she taught me something more important. She taught me to be the best version of myself that I could ever be. Four years after college and we remained very good friends. She’s one of my most treasured people, a very special gift from God. And on this day, her very special day, I wish her all the blessings that she deserves. May she continue to be a beacon of light in other people’s lives and be a joy to the world that she is.

Happy, happy birthday Ate Junj! From me and your UTODIAN family. ❤ ❤ ❤