El Verdadero Yo (The Real Me)

 It was on the 9th day of November, 1991 when my mother, Cristina, suffered from her 1st time maternity labour. She cried a lot because of so much pain. At around 3:45 in the afternoon, I was born and brought up with the name, Janelle Catapang. The name that took joys, excitements, adventures, smiles and contentment in my 23 years of living. One of the best things in my life is my family. We are six in the family with my parents, Demeth and Cristy, me, my two younger brothers, Jerameel and Jan Demeth, and my younger sister, Jahziel. I used to be with my much-loved grandmother who took care of me since I was a child and even now that I’m older. I have met different kinds of people that contributed a lot and helped me grow. During my elementary days, I love doing stage plays which trained me to sing, dance and act. I always participate in the class especially in English subject for this is my favorite. I was one of the top 10 students who participated well in class in every grading period. Though I’ve never experienced become the highest, at least I was not at the lowest. I became a Rondalla member (group of people who plays stringed-instruments) when I was in my 5th grade. We joined competitions that lead to victory. We may not make every piece perfect but what’s important is that we did our best and never failed to crown the competition. We were honored as the champion. Being the first placer in every division made my elementary days unforgettable. I graduated with a smile in my heart because of notes, harmony and the people who surrounded me the whole time.

I entered secondary level at St. Joseph’s Academy which is the oldest catholic school in Sariaya, Quezon. I was just an ordinary girl who unfortunately cannot afford the expensive tuition fee at that moment. My 5th grade teacher recommended me to the school directress to avail any of the scholarships for she believed in me and my talent. We were 20 aspirants (if I’m not mistaken), only 6 students got the Local Government Unit (LGU) scholarship who had a consistent grade for at least 85% in the end of the school year. Luckily, I was one of those who were chosen. I had met my bestfriends. My high school life was the toughest. I struggled a lot in my studies but I didn’t give up. I was an average student throughout my academic life;   extra-curricular activities like writing poems, short-stories, playing my banduria (14-stringed instrument) and joining different kinds of competition like the English Festival and Musical Competition were my favorite activities to do during my school days. Yes you read it right, I was still a member of Rondalla (now the Quezon Rondalla), and we still join competitions in the higher divisions. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedules I did a very tough decision to stop attending as a member because I needed to focus on my studies. After leaving for a very long time, my instructor asked for me to come back. They needed me in the group because we had to join the national division where we will be competing with different participants in the country. We were not as active during our elementary days because we need to balance our time with our studies, family and the Rondalla. We won the first competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the National Competition in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), which was joined by 15 competitors from different places in the country. We were recognized as 5th placer, but life must go on. After the hasty competition, I stopped playing again.

I remembered it was the 3rd year of my life in secondary school when I enjoyed the flow of the class.  I enjoyed understanding and visualising the concepts more than just memorizing notes. When I was in my 4th year I joined the English Festival to compete and represent our class. We were 12 selected students during that time from different year levels. Fortunately, I got the 2nd place. It was overwhelming! After the completion of my schooling in secondary level, college life came, and I chose to be a Fine Arts student. It was a weird decision of mine that moment because my ultimate dream was to become a film director. I also dreamed to be a writer but as time goes by, I started loving this course not just because of Advertising (which is my major), but also because of my classmates. I really enjoyed their company that’s why I chose to stay rather than shift to another course. Today, I enjoy each and every single day and do not regret it at all. And now, I'm currently working as Graphic Designer in a Christian Publishing industry.

For the next ten years, I see myself as a successful Designer. From my sweat and blood, I’ll own my dream house and car, and help my parents experience wellness in life. While working as a Graphic Designer, I would like to be a writer in a well-known magazine.  Maybe at that point in time, I’ll already be happily married with my ideal husband who has been my boyfriend for a very long time. Living the fullest of my life with my husband and two children is worth dreaming for.

Art for me is like a note, without it, we can never compose a perfect harmony, like notes which has different counting values that help us determine when to sing the note sweetly or loudly.  It is something that plays rhythm to add enthusiasm in any of the pieces. In parallel, life without art is nothing. We would never feel that life is here with the absence of art. It is the best and only way to express ourselves not just to the people around us but also in our own consciousness. Art for me is my pain reliever and good comforter whenever I feel hurt. It is a touch that means a lot because it knows when to take its sweet or deafening parts. Art is something that adds spices and excitement to our lives, like a note, art plays important parts in my life harmoniously.

Like a film director, in every artwork that I construct, I’d see to it that there’s a story behind every work of art. I don’t want to just make it and that’s it. It’s quite ridiculous. Merging art and story is not that hard as long as you like it to happen.