for the hope of it all

Manila, 25 January—This is belated, because I’ve been watching Marie Poulin videos about goal-tracking on Notion, so maybe it’s not too late to layout some things I want to do for the year ahead.

January has always been a good time to look inward. I know, with how 2021 is slowly shaping up, it looks as if we’re gearing up for another year of being mostly home-bound, so might as well get comfortable in our heads and in our skins.

Anyway, how did you go vs your goals and targets for 2020? I must admit being a bit disappointed with mine, though I’ve cautioned myself to be a bit kinder. In my defense, those targets were pre-pandemic and were not adjusted accordingly lol.

This year, I’m probably going to keep the same targets (reading, writing, water) while everything else would be gravy. I’d been doing relatively well keeping to this newsletter’s schedule, so I’d (once again) like to try my hand on another semi-regular publishing project. Will this be the year I actually write more than once a week? Or properly organize an online commonplace nook? We’ll see.

Also, probably still not the year to get our hopes up about travel. I may have mentioned somewhere that I have not been much of a traveler, and that I do enjoy time alone, but it does make me sad, not seeing the beach for so long. (I don’t miss the plane rides, but I do miss Boracay)

A post shared by kate (@thegshift)

Some life updates: Quietly marked my fourth year at work and our mother’s 62nd birthday, though this year I’m not covering Sinulog—my last out of town coverage from January last year. I’d been doing it a couple of years in a row, and I was sort of looking forward to this year’s Sinulog coverage with our Cebu-based colleagues, but alas. =( Suppose there’s always next year.

Speaking of our mother, I came across this lovely Modern Love essay about a woman who rediscovered her relationship with her mother while under quarantine: My Unlikely Pandemic Dream Partner via NYT. I wonder sometimes how my mother would have fared given the strict quarantine measures covering senior citizens, though I feel like she’ll be sharing our temperaments and opt to err on the side of caution, always.

A brief esports interlude

Also this week: The pandemic has turned us into casually invested esports fans, particularly for Mobile Legends, and this week we tuned in to the MLBB M2 World Championship matches held in Singapore, where 2 Filipino teams Bren Esports and Smart Omega went toe-to-toe with champion teams from 7 other countries.

Both Omega and Bren did pretty well in the group stages, sweeping their initial opponents from Indonesia, Japan and Cambodia. However, both suffered overwhelming losses in their first Upper Bracket matches, with Bren falling to Myanmar’s Burmese Ghouls and Omega to Indonesia’s RRQ Hoshi. Eventually, Smart was eliminated in the succeeding round by another Indonesian team, Alter Ego.

Bren’s journey, on the other hand, was a true Cinderella story. After losing its first games to its opponents, Bren clawed right out of a 0-1 deficit to win successive Best of Three matches, scoring reverse sweeps versus Malaysia’s Todak and Alter Ego. It played against RRQ Hoshi in the Lower Bracket finals, winning the Best of Five match 3-1, to book a Grand Finals Best of Seven match with Burmese Ghouls.

After overwhelmingly winning over BG in their first two matches, Bren blew a 2-0 lead, but eventually managed to force a Game 7. After more than five hours of game play and a super intense do-or-die match, Bren became the first Filipino team to clinch a world championship for this game. It was so exhilarating, the shoutcasters were crying as they announced the results.

Looks like an even bigger year for esports ahead for Filipinos, if this win is any indication. Earlier, C and I were talking about how sad we are that we only became active spectators at a time when we could not join an actual cheering crowd—we’d just missed it by a year, we said, though I believe we wouldn’t have turned to esports had there been other sports to watch, like UAAP basketball, volleyball and football, which were my staple spectator sports before the pandemic hit. But now that we’ve begun following these matches, I doubt we’d be falling off once the other sports kick back in—we foresee this is going to be a regular addition to our fan diet from hereon.

If you’re interested, here’s that Game 7 between Bren and Burmese Ghouls—an amazing performance from classic tiptop shape Bren:

Recs from around the Internet

And of course, my favorite meme for this week:


Hope the week ahead is steady and bright. Thanks for making it this far.