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If you stay true to your dreams, your dreams will come true. 💭

Unearthed the goals I scribbled on a post-it in August 2013. I was in Malapascua then, running a capacity-building workshop. I had forgotten about this until I found it wedged between documents while decluttering (read: Marie Kondo-ing) early this year. I tacked this on the cork board in my home office to remind me of my idealistic, goal digging, younger self.

Dreams have shifted in shape and form - I didn't graduate from Cambridge (I didn't even get in LOL), but I did get the scholarship, school, and course I ended up aiming for in London. I didn't get another unrestricted grant, but we received funding from the U.S. Embassy for the SEA Camp, Shark Shelter, and Haquathon, and from European-based organizations for Shark Shelter. I was hired by ADB as a consultant that same year, and have worked for it on and off since.

Malapascua still "isn't like Tubbataha" (I mean, nothing will ever be like Tubbataha except Tubbataha). Thresher sharks are protected through Sec. 102 of RA 10654, not an FAO. I no longer focus on threshers alone, but on all shark species by developing the national shark policy.

At ang bongga lang ng "decrease illegal fishing in the Visayas." Bakit ko kaya sinulat yon?! We've organized two coastal law enforcement workshops, but the outcomes weren't sustained due to political instability. I also worked on developing a scorecard for the amended Fisheries Code in 2016-2017 for Oceana, which was later on adopted by the DILG a year later.

To date, we've taken over 500 people snorkeling (70% of whom did it for the first time). We have a program on waste management/reduction called Waste Watch, and have taken more steps to work with corporations.

I've failed forward multiple times and burned several bridges, hoping they'd light a better way. I've hurt a lot of people, and a lot of people have hurt me. I've said and done things that make me cringe. There were - and still are - days when I wake up dreading work and being the Chief Mermaid. I've missed milestones of people I love: weddings, birthdays, trips, and the seemingly little things. The pursuit of dreams comes with a cost, after all. Always grateful for the ones who chased these dreams with me.

I'd like to think the 25-year-old me would be amused by these results, maybe even proud. 💕

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