Many months ago, when we were still starting to date, I told you that I didn’t believe in The One. “There are 7 billion people in the world. How can there be just ONE person for you?”
You weren’t bothered by my realistic(?)/cynical remark. “I think being The One is something you have to prove everyday,” you replied.
For the last two years, you have done just that. There have been no grand, cheesy gestures (BUTI NALANG!!!) but a million little ones: picking me up from the airport and bringing me home so we could have at least a couple of hours together over a span of three weeks; helping me scrape price tags out of 100 whiteboards for a press kit until midnight; and bringing me flowers just because it’s a Wednesday.
The list goes on: when I had my wisdom tooth extracted, you made this contraption of sorts which allowed me to put an ice pack on my swollen side without using my hands so I could continue writing. Oh, and that time you learned how to crunk from a YouTube video and tried teaching me. I laughed so hard, I got dizzy. I will never be a candidate for the Girlfriend of the Year, but I’m confident I could win Luckiest Girlfriend of the Year.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still a lot of things about you that drive me crazy. Like your stupid autocorrect and how you still confuse their/they’re/there when you’re being careless. Or how you insist on wearing undershirts that are full of holes (“It’s the original ClimaCool technology,” you explain.). I get on your nerves too, when I (can’t help but) correct your autocorrect and when my moods change drastically without even so much of a blink.
But these things, they are workable. What keep us together are our shared values and principles, like our passion for learning, science, and integrity, and love for country.
We met two days after I co-founded Save Philippine Seas, which means our relationship is about as long as my commitment to marine conservation. Both have grown in ways I didn’t even think were possible. After all, our first date was a DISASTER. Good thing a few weeks later, you accompanied me to run some errands in Quezon City and we ended up having dinner in Pino. Among our table topics were bioluminescence and past relationships. I remember driving home thinking, “Wow, I can talk to this guy for the rest of my life.” NAMAN. AGAD AGAD?!?!
And you know what? I still get that feeling after every date.
I am a better advocate because of you, questioning parts of my project proposals as I write them, and supporting activities when they finally unfold. Thank you for understanding that the Philippines is and will always be my Great Love.
Happy 27th birthday, Ike. It’s a privilege to see you chase after your goals, from climbing the corporate ladder on pure merit to becoming an ~award-winning underwater photographer. There are many more, and I have no doubts you will attain them all :)
 And when I remind you that my house is in Cavite and yours is in Quezon City, you always say, “It’s on the way!” To… Laguna? :))
 Even if my mom told you that pizzas make better gifts because they’re edible while flowers just die.
 in Anilao, on a diving trip, when I was so drunk I couldn’t even see properly. I only talked to you because you were holding a bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream and I really, REALLY wanted to eat.
Play hard, work harder.