Better than a boyfriend

This entry is taken from the author’s creative thematic review for a class on Writing about Culture (Ateneo de Manila University – Communication Department). Written by Kara R. Santiago on October 11, 2011.

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A two-storey home in a nice subdivision, three children, a golden retriever and, of course, a loving husband. Life seemed so planned out and headed towards the goal you have been aiming for so long – until it self-destructs right before your very eyes. Yes, the devastating reality of a breakup hits you like an atomic bomb and you are left with no one but yourself to start picking up all the shattered pieces.

Being newly single can lead to a ton of emotional meltdowns that might eventually escalate into what I’d like to call the Bridget Jones’ syndrome. Falling into this trap only means three things: a tub of ice cream, All By Myself playing on loop and a sea of tears all over the floor.

But really, who needs that?

While getting out of a relationship you have invested so much on might seem like the end of the world, there are pressing consequences that a heartbroken woman could overlook. There’s her career, her beauty and her road of self-discovery, to name a few. Succumb to the tempting calls of depression to literally just forget the world and sulk, and you are surely in for a downhill ride from the top down to ground zero.

Read along and discover the steps you can take to finally stand up and start over. Unlike other inspirational pieces that just empower and repeat the words “It’s time to move on!” this piece will literally get you up and about.

Here are some tried and tested, better than a boyfriend and fool proof ways of saying hello to a new, improved you. And, when I tell you that I’ve been there and done that, you ought to trust me. 100% satisfaction guaranteed!

Stay connected 24/7: Globe Telecom’s Blackberry Social (P 300 for 30 days) 

Step one is going back to the people you have forgotten. The most common complaint a girl in a relationship usually gets is the lack of time she has for her set of friends. This problem does not really need a hard solution: Globe’s Blackberry Social is here! The service has been proving itself to be quite a hit in the market, especially with the growing number of Blackberry users in the Philippines today.

In the age where instant gratification fuels most of us, keeping one’s self updated with all sorts of information is definitely the way to go. For only P 300, one gets the luxury of unlimited Twitter, Facebook and the instant messaging platform that will change every Blackberry user’s life, Blackberry Messenger (BBM).

When you had a boyfriend, one of the many perks you have to it is the convenience of having someone who will always be there to listen to your incessant talking. He might serve as your personal Twitter: with rants and random ideas being shot at him from time to time, he is actually left with no choice but to take it all in. However, with Blackberry Social at tow, you need not worry about not having to have the same venting outlet for your explosive emotions because everything rests in the palm of your hand.

Being the social network addicts that we Filipinos are, the Twitter and Facebook features of this service are definitely instant come-ons. Although, the extra perk to heighten the excitement of subscribing to this feature lies in the power of BBM to make the world even smaller than it is.

With BBM, you will never cease to miss out on your friends’ activities whether here or abroad. As long as your contact also has BBM activated, you can send voice notes, pictures and files in real-time! BBM bridges the gap and makes staying connected even more interactive than before. It’s portability trumps over any instant messaging platform that are only usually available on a laptop or cellphone with an active internet connection.

An added plus, too, is the fact that you can track whether or not your messages get delivered and detect if your contact has already opened your message. This gives you no more worried attacks of anxiety when you wonder why he or she hasn’t replied and no more invalid excuses claiming: “I just haven’t opened your message, yet!” This, of course, stems from the experience of past exes who think they could get away with their lame cover-ups, a situation which I’m certain we’ve all already had a fair share of.

Globe’s Blackberry Social service helps you stay connected, thus addressing the difficulties of a newly single girl in coping with the loss of a ‘constant connection’. Blackberry Social will surely change your outlook in life one tweet, status update and BBM message at a time.

After all, who knows what the social networking scene could give? A budding romance doesn’t seem like a far-fetched idea at the moment, especially now that interaction speaks fluent virtual, in 160 characters or less.

Reward yourself: Farmer’s Market Bazaar @ Cubao, Quezon City

Having a boyfriend meant having to deal with all these “-saries” – monthsaries, half-a-year-saries and, of course, anniversaries. There’s a milestone for every single thing and that means a crying wallet every after each celebration.

It’s funny when you think about it, really, how one could scrimp on even the smallest things just to prepare for that perfect date or that wonderful gift, and lose all the cash in one instant. Oh the horror of seeing your handful of money turn into this gigantic and tacky stuffed animal that you’re either too embarrassed to carry around because of its size or because of the fact that you can’t seem to determine if it’s a giant elephant or an enormous rat.

Now that you have absolutely nothing to worry about but yourself, it is time that you rewarded the new you with a cheap thrills shopping spree. Located in the heart of Cubao, Farmer’s Market now houses a newly opened bazaar in their 4th floor. Aside from serving as a landmark for us to find Araneta during the UAAP season or being the link between MRT and LRT stations, why not stop by to check this place out before heading to your destination? It surely makes the commute less taxing and more enjoyable.

Fans of the eternal Greenhills Shopping Center may find that the Farmer’s Market Bazaar actually has more bargain goods than the outlet they patronize dearly. This bazaar gives you a mini-Greenhills set-up; complete with air-conditioning and ample aisle spacing, minus the hefty patong that Greenhills’ stall owners impose on their items to make up for the expensive rent they pay.

I discovered this haven while on my way to an internship interview. Before I could get to Ayala, Makati, the hem of my skirt got caught up in one of the bags of a passerby. With no money at hand (I only kept enough for the commute as to be ready for a possible hold-up) and a less than presentable skirt, I immediately went on a search for a cheap remedy. I came out victorious. I bought office slacks for only P200, with some money left for a quick lunch and the trip back to Katipunan. More than anything, Farmer’s Market Bazaar was a true lifesaver.

Some of the finds range from cheap second hand cellphone units, cute accessories, cardigans, tops and dresses that cost only P100-P350 and shoes that won’t go over to more than P400. Haggling is of course a widely accepted practice in this outlet, so there’s a higher chance for you to steal great bargains! The experience is pretty much like a Baclaran or Divisoria trip without having to worry about burning under the scorching heat of the sun. A rewarding experience, indeed, especially when you love the feeling of maximizing resources to come up with a look for less.

It definitely is time for you to give yourself the thrill of spending some of that hard earned and well saved money not because you should, but because now, you already can!

Develop a new craft: Photography — 50mm / f1.8 Canon Prime Lens (P4,635) 

An outlet for your emotions is a must-have when trying to move on. You are inevitably going to be swallowed whole by mood swings and PMS episodes that afterwards, wasn’t PMS after all. Hormones will be your enemy come this time, and you will need a battle plan to combat its after effects.

If writing, composing music or even painting is not your cup of tea, then picking up a few skills on photography is the way to go. With the advent of dSLR cameras made available for the consumption of the general public, meaning, prices are much more fit with their buying power, it isn’t so hard to get started on this hobby.

After picking up the basics and learning the tricks of the craft, a lens upgrade to expand your photographic horizons is the next step. Although a multitude of lenses are presented to consumers, only a few are actually user-friendly for the beginner level.

Canon’s 50mm / f1.8 Prime Lens is the perfect fit for the budding photographer in you. For only P4,635, you get to widen your perspective in seeing things and go beyond the art of simply capturing snapshots of precious moments. Compared to other lenses which are quite pricey, like say telephoto models that amount to up to P300,000, this little monster can do wonders.

From achieving the bokeh effect that is taking over the photography landscape today to getting crisp and ultra sharp images even after post-processing, the 50mm performs beyond what its plastic exterior seems to project. Boasting a lightweight composition, this lens is also perfect to bring along in trips and spontaneous getaways as it won’t be too much of a hassle to lug around.

Its limitation however, lies in the distance it can cover: 50mm. So without zooming properties, it is best to keep a kit lens close for those random moments you might need to capture something from a distance. Other than that, though, this baby is far more reliable than that douche who left you – helping you discover what more the world can offer through a viewfinder that makes everything a wee bit more beautiful that it already is.

Embark on a journey: Cebu, Philippines — Taoist Temple and Sky Experience Adventure

Getting to where you began before all this relationship mayhem could be a difficult feat for a fragile woman like you. It’s fine that you haven’t reached your ultimate zen place just yet because baby steps are all you need to eventually get to your end-goal.

However, before completely transforming from the past to the future, immerse yourself in a different setting where culture can be your best remedy to heal a troubled heart.

For your travel getaway, I suggest one visit sunny Cebu. For travellers who hate long periods of time to get to their final destination, an hour’s flight away from the Metro isn’t such a bad call. Couple that with a few promos from either PAL, Zest Air or Cebu Pacific and you’ve got yourself a great travel opportunity and a deal worth every cent.

Just like Manila, but definitely not Manila; here are two attractions in Cebu that you mustn’t miss out on: one that will unleash your inhibitions and one that will bring you back to your place of peace.

Located at the highest floor of the Crown Regency in Fuente Osmena Blvd., Sky Experience Adventure is a feat one with a faint heart should reconsider trying. Attractions include the Edge Coaster and the Sky Walk Extreme, among others, which will give you the strongest adrenaline rush you could possibly experience!

For only P1200 for the complete package inclusive of official photos, the Edge Coaster will blow your mind away. The ride, which literally takes you around the edge of the Crown Tower while seated and situated face down, will rattle all your reservations down to a zero. After one round, you are then led to the Sky Walk Extreme that is a tour around the edge of the Crown Tower in a glass platform with a width of only a meter. If the thought of seeing the entire city beneath your feet with only a single rope of a harness that’s keeping you from falling is not enough, then I don’t know what else is.

Apart from these death-defying feats that will make you realize that you can achieve more than what you give yourself credit for, situated in Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu is the Philippine Taoist Temple. This temple, which was built in 1972, boasts an elevation of 300 meters above sea-level. With 100 steps to take before reaching the main temple, a visit to the Taoist Temple could aptly be seen as a condensed pilgrimage in itself.

The temples are open for all practicing Taoists and people from other religions. The entrance to the place is free of charge and the Chinese management only asks for a minimum donation from each visitor, depending on his or her own generosity.

Kept clean and peaceful, the temple is a perfect place to reconnect with your spirituality and reflect on the future goals you may have planned out for yourself. A complete remapping of your next course of action may as well be made here, among the presence of the gods with their enamoring light hopefully transcending the lost soul in you.

Find comfort: Fox Entertainment’s New Girl 

Starring: Zooey Deschanel (Fridays at 7pm on ETC)

The heart of the matter is that you need someone to lean on to. When you get too annoying for your own good, flick the tube to some New Girl loving, because Jess Day will surely bring out the words you cant say, make you feel the emotions you have been hiding and make you understand that although a heartbreak can ruin us, we will always find a way back to who we were before.

The story revolves around Jess Day (played by Zooey Deschanel of 500 Days of Summer) who came out of a bad breakup with her long-term boyfriend. She then moves in with three other men in the hopes of not only a new place to start over, but also a new environment she could grow and call home.

Fox Entertainment made the smart move in casting Deschanel as Jess. Her persona embodies the character so much that her audience instantly develops a connection with the character. The supporting characters, Nick (Jack Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Cece (Hannah Simone), give every girl who’s going through the same thing enough proof that all you need is a realiable support system to keep you going.

The fresh plot twists and new concept ideas of going into the ugly side of relationships make this series an instant hit. Instead of going through the conventional themes of looking for love and finding the right one, this show detaches all the myths of love down to a realistic picture of what life should be.

You can move on and that’s precisely what New Girl wants to show you. This is a great production that should be watched out for in the coming months. The interesting turn of events will surely keep one up their toes, finding one’s self thinking about the realities of life and eventually coming to a realization that life simply goes on.

So put an end to your endless Adele sob-fest marathons in bed. Get up and try one of the few things mentioned above. If you’re feeling extra motivated, why not devote time to do all five? Because the hard truth is that you’ll never be better if you just wait on things to turn out for you. Take action and get instant results.

Better than a boyfriend? Hell yeah.

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