I once dreamed of a Carlos Palanca award. It's one of those things you knew you really wanted but somehow didn't believe in so much until one day you forget that you once secretly hoped of having. I used to write in my high school paper for sheer expression of myself, nothing more. Until one day our paper's adviser, Sir Serrano chose me to represent the paper in the Feature Writing category. I won in the division level. I felt it was pure luck as our province, South Cotabato is quite small. Then I won in the regional level. Well, I thought again maybe the other writers were novice. And came the National Schools' Press Conference. We were asked to feature the El Nino phenomenon. I got the second place in the whole of Philippines as a Feature Writer. Only then I started to believe I had the talent. My heart started to beat more for writing.
But life got in the way. Well, who gets to earn much as a writer those days? I pursued medicine because I passed the seven-year medicine program of the U.P. College of Medicine and everyone said it was so great an opportunity to be ignored. So I got busy with med school. And when I was in it, I only had one goal in mind: to graduate at the top 30% of the 160 students. Everything else came second. Or should I say, nothing really came after it. Med school became my life. The need to devour heaps of information made writing almost impossible for me.
Two years after graduation from med school, I am confronted with the need to reassess what I really want out of life. Like what almost everyone else dreams: apart from having a stable job, I want to have the time to do things that I love. And then came another question, what do I love? It seems that after all these time, I've been too preoccupied with work that I forgot what I really enjoyed doing most.
And then I remembered that dream of having a Palanca. I know it will remain a dream because through time, my skill in writing has deteriorated it wouldn't even pass for an A+ grade in a high school essay requirement. But the reason why I'm writing again isn't to impress, rather, it has now become a source of tranquility in this world that can sometimes drive us crazy.
I'm glad I'm writing again.