I agreed to help a good friend, Bia Catbagan, with a passion project of hers. She was thinking of putting together a documentary and she asked to help. It involved interviewing people and she is calling the project Letters to the Future. I interviewed a whole bunch of people and that’s as much as I am going to say while she’s still on the final part of the project — the truly messy and maddening part of post-production, when she has to put everything together and make it fly.

an unintentional photo taken of me during the interview process of "Letters to the Future"

an unintentional photo taken of me during the interview process of “Letters to the Future”

I woke up at seven in the morning, yesterday, after an early night of karaoke (I sang The Rose and Under the Pressure, amongst other things), and then headed off to Makati where the crew had come in earlier to set up. As one of the interviewers, I didn’t have the same call time as the production. I needed to preserve my energy. The work I was going to be doing was going to be intense. I thought it would be but it didn’t hit me until I realised what it was we were going to be doing exactly.

This is Bia’s project and I’m just helping her out. On paper, Letters to the Future seemed simple. I knew what was needed of me and I knew I could do it — but as I began interviewing people and I started to realise the context of exactly what we were setting ourselves out to do, it became amazingly clear to me the grand scope of what we were trying to do with this documentary.

Interview after interview, as my energy levels kept going up and down with inspiration and exhaustion, my mind and my heart was growing and growing.

I guess there is something to be said about being generous of your time, skills, and effort whole-heartedly for a friend and/or a really good project. As with many passion projects, this was done with a very shoe-string budget and all of the work was done pro bono; all helping out a friend with a dream and hopefully, in the process, we get better at what we do and we fill our time doing what we love, individually, and making someone else’s vision come to life.

Because it isn’t always about us. And because what we give — be it to others or to the universe — we ultimately give to ourselves. And people will give back to us, in the future, and in another form or another.

Everybody was so on point and on the ball and unwavering in their commitment to making this project reach its full potential. That energy, and the energy from interviewing all these people, carried me through an exhausting day, and made me feel something I haven’t felt in a long while.

Not everything is about us. Not everything is done for money. Not everything that makes us feel whole and complete and useful and important should have a price tag. I would’ve done it again, after everything that has happened, after knowing what I know about the project, I would have done the whole day again. I probably just would have worn a more comfortable shirt and pair of pants.

It was such a powerful and intense experience… in the best of all possible ways.



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