The Moth and the Flame

ate marlaBefore stepping into college I fell into an illusion that I was good enough to enter a university I had set my eyes on ever since.

But, that illusion came to an end when I failed its famous admission test. I felt like a failure, not just to myself but also to the people counting on me, especially my parents.

Little did I know life had different plans for me.

Like a young moth, I started wading through the options that I had left: I evaluated my strengths and weighed the practicalities of all the things I could do to atone for what felt like my life’s biggest blunder.

And then I got in AB.

Still, I shifted my curiosity around the dazzling things I thought I was good at: singing, writing poetry, hosting. Yet again, I failed.

Until I found the Flame— and have stayed there since.

I knew nothing and I was the moth who circled around the flame endlessly– curious, a bit scared, and ignorant of the risks and dangers I could face should I choose to immerse myself in it.

But still, the Flame had a certain pull, and I experienced the fate of the young moth Doña Teodora warned the young Rizal about.

And as that young moth, I regret nothing.

In the process, I found other “moths,” wiser ones than I am—who have helped me circle around the Flame that bound us together.

These “moths” went out of their ways to do their duty: to keep their readers’ intellectual senses ignited.

There were days allotted for meetings, discussions, workshops and legworks, preoccupations we had while passing time in between classes and other things we attended to.

Like moths, we were also nocturnal, as we spent long, sleepless nights dedicated to telling stories, capturing moments, and putting ideas to life.

As we circled around the Flame, we have had our fair share of setbacks and misunderstandings, but nothing that good communication could not settle.

Though the story in Rizal’s fable had an unfortunate ending, I knew we were moths that were able to talk, more so, moths that were able to warn as we were around the Flame—we became the mouthpiece of students, an avenue where our readers could breed discussion.

Yes, sometimes we were disobedient moths, but this stemmed from our passion to serve our purpose, even if it meant getting burnt sometimes, but none that we cannot handle.

In the Flame, we dared to go where our instincts took us, where stories rarely talked about were brought up. We dared to go nearer the light, and being unfazed by its glare allowed us to get our messages across.

I hope we were really able to do so.


At this point, as the story references get harder to sustain, I would extend my appreciation to the people who aided me in the “metamorphosis” that is college. From here, let me flutter to you one by

To my parents, thank you for finally “de-sheltering” me and supporting me all the way. I hope I can give you the life you have given me, more so now that you are getting old. Though I may fear of what is ahead, I am assured for I have you two.

To Gaea and Meg, where we are now as a publication would not have been possible if not for your efforts and expertise. The job was hard, but we made it through together. I am proud of the both of you.

To my #IssuesStronger team, thank you for putting in all the legwork and perseverance into all of our stories. I have found a family I can always count on, and I believe I will leave it in good hands.

To my mentors, thank you for equipping me with the skill and grit to make it out of j-school alive. I hope I survive outside of it.

To my 4JRN1, we are stronger than any episode and any challenge we may encounter. I hope we stay in touch, regardless of where we are in the future.

To Xave, Karl and Tovy—my buis— thank you for being the best siblings I never had, and for being there when I cried over spilled soup. College would have been crappy if it were not for your great company and unwavering love for Jollibee, Angkong and Garaje.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to all the sources I have contacted through four years in j-school. Your insights—even your silence– spoke volumes, and I am grateful for the sound bites of knowledge you have shared into my stories.

Looking back, much of what transpired in my college years circled around the light of the Flame, along with the wisdom that I have picked up along the way.

By now, as I plunge into the oil that may lead to my demise (hello, real world), I am assured that the Flame will remain circled around by moths that will be left, and it will remain as thought-provoking and as intriguing in the eyes of those who watch it carefully.

And to borrow the words of our country’s foremost national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, “The light seemed to me more beautiful. It had grown more dazzling and more attractive. I knew why the moths circled the flame.” F

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