Pockets of Progress (A.K.A. When I Decided to Get a Life)

My life has undergone a 360-degree turnaround lately.

Let’s just say that just when medical school is about to end and just when I timed this to be my go-getter year, I ended up learning to let go and let ALL MY BEST-LAID PLANS unravel. Yes, simply UNRAVEL.

That’s the scariest thing ever for me. As a notorious hyperplanner and as an even more notorious WORRIER, I can’t stand it when things don’t go exactly the way I planned them to be.

Well, this year, with all the crazy things that happened, definitely taught me how to deal with foiled plans. But you know what? It’s not so bad, after all.

The despair over your own tight mold and cocoon being broken is gradually replaced by the wisdom that you’re…free. You’re back to zero, again, yes. But this is your chance to make a better path, to go on a detour, to meander and wander a bit, and then EVENTUALLY FIND YOUR WAY. This is the season I am in right now.

Hence, I am starting a series of blog posts called POCKETS OF PROGRESS.

What do you mean by Pockets of Progress?

a) Primarily, I want to feature places and experiences that make the inner me HAPPY. That’s why it’s called PROGRESS. Because I always want to go in a forward direction. For me, being happy is not an emotion we hope to catch every now and then, it’s an active choice. Hence, my goal this year is to always seek those which make me happy.

I call them POCKETS because I have a “day job” which practically confines me to this infamous hospital and its environment that very much simulates The Hunger Games. To move towards those things that make me happy, I have to use my free time (the time I’m off-duty, which means I sacrifice my sleeping time for a bit of exploring) which is very rare and hence is only composed of “pockets”.

b) Pockets of Progress can also literally mean forward-thinking spaces scattered about here in the Metro. I am a frustrated nomad. As a kid, I wanted to travel the world. I wanted a job that allowed me to hop from country to country. Instead I got the most “sedentary” job ever.

Most traveling I do these days are within the dilapidated corridors of this hospital. So, to make my reality in sync with that earnest childhood dream, I actively search for cute and quirky spaces in this city. It is my way of saying “Hey, discovery doesn’t end here. I am going to stimulate myself whenever I’m free. I refuse to let the hospital be my world.”


Discovering amazing little spaces in this crowded city is a quest for me because I want to believe that being a doctor in this developing country does have its merits and comforts.

See, I wanted so badly to go to the United States before and settle there. But while the glamour and gold dust associated with living in the First World lures me to daydream about it, I know that the cost in time, energy, and money for a Philippine medical graduate to get placed there is better spent on creating my own independence in this age.

Call me strange, a little too grounded or even getting too comfortable where I am, but the truth is, IT TOOK ME SO MANY YEARS TO GET TO THIS VIEWPOINT.

But my point is, since I’m already living in the hot, crowded, and hostile Manila area, I might as well get out and enjoy. My usual weekend “exploration sites” are those that transport you to other worlds. Those that let you appreciate beauty and clean, well-planned spaces that let me forget I’m an overworked medical intern in a Third World public hospital.

I would like to believe that progress, though in small doses, is happening, but you have to look really hard.  It is the mission of these new series in my blog to bring you along to these well-thought-out and interesting places.

Come along for the ride, it’s only a few scrolls away!


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