I may live alone, but I never feel alone as I’m blessed with family and friends who always make me feel loved, accepted and supported. And I feel moved to honor my closest friends in this piece. I have nurtured these friendships through various phases of my life, and this is going to be a sort of trip down memory lane.

I met Patricia in DLSU-College of St. Benilde about 14 years ago, where I taught some Communication and Journalism subjects, while she taught Literature. Pat is like an “Ate” or big sister to me, whose conversation and company is always a source of grounding, clarity, good vibes and comfort. My friendship with her has seen her finding the French love of her life, and has even endured a seven-year break, resulting from an unfortunate rift that didn’t get resolved until that many years after. I honor Pat for her depth, loving nature, sensitivity and wisdom, especially when it comes to seeing people for their essence.

Chingbee and I are military brats — our fathers were “mistahs” from PMA Class ’54. Interestingly, we became friends as fellow reporters in a national daily even before we found out about our military dad connection. We fondly and jokingly call each other by our real first names — hers is Isabel, mine is Imelda

— and we are both practically “mini-mes” of our fathers in both personality and looks. I don’t see or talk to Chingbee often, but when we get together, it’s always like no time has passed. I appreciate and honor her for being an oasis of calm, being so good-natured, intelligent, and ever entertained by my stories and jokes, as she was with my dad’s.

Sparring partner

Ria was like my sparring partner when we were both members of Opus Dei, the one who loved to sing and dance as much as I did, and whose personality just naturally jived with mine. We both ended up leaving the organization — me much sooner than she did — and resumed our friendship while I was still in print media and she worked in public relations. She is now a hypnotherapist, even as I have become an empowerment coach. I honor Ria for her honesty and frankness, being a no-fuss, quiet goal-getter, and being reliably there for the people in her life as needed.

Tricia is my quintessential millennial friend, and our friendship has been somewhat of a slow burn. We met when I interviewed her for a magazine post, worked with her in that capacity, bonded because of the most memorable of start-up magazine experiences, moved on to working together in other publications, until we “parted ways” work-wise, and then became faster friends over time. Trish is a gifted writer, a globetrotter with the proverbial itchy feet, and it turns out, a kindred spirit in many ways. I honor her for her integrity, brilliant writing, and for always trying new things and pushing herself to her limits.

I have these high school besties that serve as my solid little motley crew — we were seven in high school, but time and distance eventually whittled as down to five, and then quite recently, we got in touch again with our sixth member who has been in the United States all this time. Our gang is proof that childhood friendships can well grow into adulthood. We lost track of each other after high school and through most of college and beyond, but social media brought us back together, and we’ve become a regular source of fun and respite for each other in the past eight years or so. I honor Mari for being a wonderful multi-tasker, juggling career, motherhood, and everything else with her signature poise and pleasant disposition.

Relationship pains

I honor Julie, or Jeck, as we call her, for her thoughtfulness, finding her anchor in prayer, and being devoted mom to her children, beloved cats, and plants. I honor Maya for staying as sweet as she has always been when we were kids, and her strength in undergoing relationship pains and family heartbreaks and coming out ever positive and smiling. I honor Rita for her knack of just enjoying life and making things work for her and her daughter, in spite of life’s blows and challenges. I honor Jijie in the US for remaining an achiever, and now raising her relatively young family with characteristic elegance and balance.

Oh, but I have many other wonderful good friends, so here are my best one-liners for each one… I honor Ditas for having the utmost integrity, for being one of the best and most responsible journalists I know. I honor Melanie for her sense of gratitude and optimism, devotion to her family, and beautiful soprano voice and theater chops. I honor Auing for her eternal sense of fun and humor, intelligence and big heart. I honor Kristy for being the responsible “Ate” in our group (and, I imagine, in any group she belongs to), and dogged determination when going after her death-defying goals. I honor my college bestie Maffie for her loyal friendship, humility and love for family and God. I honor Kyla for her hard-earned self-love and confidence, keen business sense and independence. I honor Asha for her strength and discipline, and her artistry and impeccable taste. I honor Doreen for her self-awareness and self-assurance, smarts and adventurous spirit. I honor Rosan for her boundless energy, big heart to serve, and how we can all just live vicariously through her many unique and amazing adventures.

And then there are the many cool friends I get to hang out with from various groups, like dance, kundalini yoga and improv, all of whom make my life more fun and meaningful through hobbies and activities that keep me joyful and sane.

It is said that friends are the family we choose. I must say I’ve chosen pretty well.

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