Encore Syndrome is real.

I posted a Facebook status update on Encore Syndrome and was surprised at the interest that it generated. I first heard of it from a Psych professor back when I was still in college. I thought then that it was merely psychobabble from a new professor who wanted to impress wide-eyed freshmen still reeling from the aftermath of actually attending a class at a prestigious university. She had described it as a condition characterized by a need to follow up one success with another, which is what happens during curtain call, when actors are taking their bows, and the audience screams “Encore! Encore!” (which has now been layman-ized further into “More! More!”)


If I could only cite names–which, for ethical reasons, I choose not to do– I would’ve come up with enough material to prove that Encore Syndrome is indeed real. If you ever decide to Google it and find less than satisfactory results, one reason is that it now comes with many names. For authors, they call it “The Second Novel Syndrome,” recording artists “The Second Album Syndrome,” and so on… My own experience digging through Google has led me to similar descriptions under various names, such as Success Depression (seriously!), Success Syndrome, and Encore Anxiety.

It took some time for me to realize that I, too, have fallen victim to it. After earning a college degree and not landing my first job soon enough, I felt that I had to do something “worthwhile.” So I enrolled in a Master’s program. When I did get my first job, I had to transfer to a different graduate program that was more aligned to my profession. Before realizing it, I was job-hopping and hoarding certifications in my personal quest for success. And after attaining one goal after another, I found myself asking “What’s next?”


At a job interview, the HR recruiter asked me, “Would you consider yourself successful?” I felt that it was a trick question, which I answered anyway. I failed that interview. Years later, and hopefully much wiser, I felt that I could have answered it better. It depends actually on how you view success. If one considered success as having one’s goal met, then a person has every chance of being successful at a given point in his or her life. The problem with this, however, is that everyone would be chasing one goal after another in an endless pursuit of success. Like being the hamster on a wheel.

In one of my readings, I came across this story about a lecturer asking the crowd “What is the richest place in the world?” Responses varied. Dr. Myles Munroe, in his book, The Principles and Power of Vision wrote:

“The wealthiest places in the world are not gold mines, oil fields, diamond mines or banks. The wealthiest place is the cemetery. There lies companies that were never started, masterpieces that were never painted… In the cemetery there is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential. There is a treasure within you that must come out. Don’t go to the grave with your treasure still within YOU.”

He said further that everyone was born with a purpose, but it takes vision to fulfill it. Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish. Vision is when you see it in your mind and begin to imagine it.”

I took that lesson as a challenge. I began to make intentional choices. I made the decision to find out what purpose I was born with, and channeled my time and resources toward that purpose and only for that purpose. I asked myself the following questions:

  • What are my key strengths? Are there areas where people and myself are in agreement that I’m truly good at?
  • What are the things that I find joy at doing that I could do it even if I had to do it for free?

That’s where I started to overcome my encore anxiety. While I am still a work in progress, I do find myself living more peacefully now. Also, I take comfort in the scripture that says,


This is God’s Word on the subject: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (The Message)

Encore Syndrome is real. But what Dr. Munroe had said also holds true, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” So no more meaningless, tiring chasing after the wind.

Have you found your personal purpose? You may share your insights by posting a comment below.

teacher diaries

How I Became A Glorified “Yaya”

***Blogger’s Note: First, the disclaimer. This entry is not a put-down to our beloved yaya (or babysitter), but the tell-all–yes, down to the goriest details–of a college professor turned pre-school teacher.

When I left the university after earning my Master’s to return to my hometown, a professor told me (with a grimace, I must say), “But you’re too cosmopolitan! Are you sure you’re not gonna regret it one of these days?”

In the last 8 years since that day, I have not had any regrets. Especially not with the Manila traffic that I get to watch comfortably from my privileged spot on a beige, reupholstered Cleopatra at home. But this week, I came really, really close.

Armed with a suffix to my name, I have worked my way from a part-time instructor to a college professor at a university in my hometown. I think that I have made some impression, as I eventually received an offer to teach at its MBA program.

“Wow. I’m made,” I thought.

But then came a time when my mother, happy as all retirees should be and running an elementary school that she’s built from her retirement money, decided that she missed being employed (though I cannot imagine why) and accepted an offer to become high school principal at a big private school.

That’s where my transition began. Being the daughter that has a more “flexible” life plan, I was a convenient stand-in.

I started as a language teacher, because at one flexible season in my career, I have trained and worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor.

Then, because proficiency requires paperwork, I needed to study Education as a second degree, which of course is still not enough. I had to take the LET (Licensure Examination for Teachers) for which filing an application at the PRC Regional Office was a test in itself.

For 4 months, I have not had a weekend to myself. I would wake up at 6:00 A.M. on Saturdays and Sundays so I could earn a front-row seat to review lectures on the Principles of Teaching, the social dimensions, etc.

Fast forward to January 2017. I am now among the first batch of teachers who gets to add LPT (as in Licensed Professional Teacher) to my name. Wow, another suffix!

“Hindi ka na colorum!” as a friend puts it

For all my troubles, I get to mop the floor each time someone spills Yakult that makes the air-conditioned classroom smelling like vomit the whole morning. I get to punch straw into juice boxes with my right hand and pick up an errant ball with my left. My daily cardio consisted of refereeing 5-year-olds who suddenly morph into midget Paquiaos and think “Stay in your seat” is French for “Let’s all go crazy together.” And then there’s the stash of snot-laden tissues and the disarming aroma that tells you what happened in secret before one brave child could say,

“Teacher, may tumae! And I realize the tests never stop at the board exam when somebody poops the watery kind in his pants.

But I didn’t come close to regretting my life choices still. Until about a week ago.

I received a complaint about two of our teachers. And it was from that kind of parent.

13These are the ones you cannot explain to. And who’s to start explaining when every point made is responded with, “…and our child never lies.”

Even our school’s CCTV footage becomes questionable as if there’s a syndicate of teachers who would take the time, in between grading papers and writing daily lesson plans, to alter the clips.

One of the teachers asked me, “Teach, I was just thinking, what’s our protection?”

For the first time in many years, I could not answer a question.

So I thought back to the yaya. If I were a mischievous child, and I made up a story about what Yaya did to me. I win. If Mommy believes me, and she always does, I win. If Yaya tells her side of the story, when in fact there’s no story to tell, no one will believe her. Because I’m a child with rights and protection, and she’s an adult who is always to be treated with distrust, I win.

Fortunately for Yaya, she can always go home or move to another employer. Unfortunately for me, I’m the employer.


That Kind of Girl

I’m the kind of girl who carries one of those microwaveable takeout containers in her bag filled with kibbles–yep, the dry dog food variety, because I like to feed strays.


Say hello to Kawkaw, my first rescue pup

I’m the kind of girl who would actually spend half an hour prying an errant house lizard off a rat glue pad, dousing the reptile with cooking oil as a final rite of freedom.

I realize that in most of my lifetime, especially these recent years, I have been kind to animals but cruel to myself.

I have been a pushover.

While most of my family will disagree, my eldest sister especially, I am actually a pushover. Though I agree that I probably am the most opinionated of the lot, I have actually done myself a great disservice by allowing all types of obligations–corporate, family, and otherwise–to subjugate my personal dreams and aspirations.

Animals, stray dogs especially, have earned a special place in my heart, because they are desperately in need, and when you fill that need, they’re grateful. They don’t have any other agenda and power to return the favor, and for that reason, showing them kindness becomes a noble act in that you don’t get anything in return. No flattery and accolades. The work is unheralded yet rewarding.

It’s different with people. There’s always a hidden motive behind every action. They suck you dry. Somehow, it has dawned on me that while I am the kind of girl who wants to help out in whatever way she can, I also want to be that kind of girl who shows kindness to herself.

illusions, passions

Coming Full Circle

It’s 2017. It’s been 12 years since I started this blog and 4 years after I took a leave. Though the hiatus was long, I want to come clean by saying that  I didn’t really stop blogging. Within the last four years, I have created numerous blogs dabbling in fashion, relationships, dream projects, prose and poetry, and even Internet memes all in an attempt to find my own special place under the sun.

I took to the books and did what I was told–find your niche. The books say further that to do so, I must have an attractive platform with an engaging interface, and though I must say that I have managed some visually appealing blogs, none of them was met with success.


In hindsight, I must admit that I wrote for the wrong reasons. What topics are trending? Will my post meet SEO requirements? I posted lengthy content, but my heart was not in it.

Cyril Conolly was right when he said, “It is better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.”

And so I’m back where I started. If you ever stumble across this blog and are diligent enough to scour through 12 years’ worth of post, forgive me for inconsistencies. Old posts are all in the past now, and just like the people who write them, ideas and opinion change although a part of their hearts remain the same.

I’m done meeting expectations. I’m tired of bending backwards to please an audience. Now I’m just writing for myself.


No explanation necessary

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23)
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)

My blog, gonegaga in the city, like my other blogs, will be on indefinite leave effective, uh, today.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV

To my writer friends, I give you full assurance that I am not stopping from writing. This is just a season in which it’s extremely crucial to have something special and sacred left to guard and protect. For God and for my husband-to-be. Until then!

“To unveil our hearts and put all our secrets on display is to open ourselves to enemy attack. Our Lord is pleased when we reserve an “inner vault” of our lives to hold His treasures.  To “tell it all is to traffic in a world of superficiality.” ~ Chuck Swindoll, Living Beyond The Daily Grind

illusions, passions

gonegaga is STILL in the city

Photo credit:

I thought that in the next couple of months, I would have to create a new blog with the address So when I finally got the much-awaited news last Saturday, my heart should have fallen. It should have been broken from the fall. None of this happened at all, and it’s God’s grace I must give this credit to.

I am still. I am still standing.

… stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

I’ve felt the tugging and the stretching within my heart within the last month before the final result of my application was out, but I had purposely pushed it aside, not wanting any “double-mindedness” as I stepped out in faith. Receiving the news was sad and disappointing, of course, because I really invested emotionally and spiritually in that dream. However, I was amazed that my reaction was only to shrug my shoulder twice and smiled (I videotaped it, in case you were wondering) even though it was a door closing. Right now, I still don’t understand it. God had placed that desire in me. I committed my plan to the Lord. I believed. I obeyed. I persevered. But you see, things don’t have to make sense. God is sovereign, and I choose to put my trust in Him alone. Was it a door closed for a season, and I just acted on my faith in the wrong time? Was it a door closed, and God’s telling me “I’m taking you there through a different door”? I DON’T KNOW. And there’s peace in knowing that I DON”T HAVE TO KNOW. As long as it’s God closing the door. If I had understood everything, then believing will not be an act of faith but just an investment. Because walking with the Lord requires faith… trust… and courage especially when God doesn’t make sense.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

So, looks like you’re stuck with me for a while, Roxas City. 🙂