Here in the country, when a girl turns 18, we often celebrate it with a debut – a traditional Filipino coming-of-age celebration. When I turned 18, I never desired to have a debut but I told myself that I would want to have a similar party when I turn 30. For me, to be able to reach that age has some significance. I wasn’t sick yet at that time and I had no idea what lies ahead but I just felt that my turning 30 should be celebrated.
That desire never left me. I would often mention it to my friends, my cousins and my mom especially after my 29th birthday. I even daydream about it, visualizing how I wanted it to be. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not really wishing for a grand and luxurious celebration, only a memorable and fun party together with my family and friends.
When I realized that my brother, Maro and I are turning 30 and 13 years old this 2013, I felt more excited and inspired to make this party a reality.
“I told Kcat that we will find a way. For me, I never thought na gastos na naman. All I wanted is to celebrate and to thank God that Kcat has reached 30 despite of the difficulties she has gone through,” my mom said during the party.
We were also happy for Maro because he already has his own circle of friends. He wasn’t used to mingling with people and making friends before. When he was younger, he already knew his responsibilities at home and never failed to care for me and mom.
Even before I could raise enough money for the party, God showed me His greatness once again. It’s true that when God takes something away, it’s because He has a better plan, the best actually. Due to our constant medical expenses, I wasn’t able to save up. Little did I know that my friends and cousins were already planning it all along. My best friend Daisy approached my mom weeks before May and told her about their big surprise.
My cousins and GYA friends coordinated with each other and shared their support, effort and even the expenses. My cousin Marie, the chef and owner of Ulam Mart catering service, prepared the food for the event. My cousins Cathy and Mark of Timmy’s Oven provided not only the cakes but also the photo booth, balloons and decors. My cousin Paula, who has a lot of experience in managing events, took charge of all the details. My cousin Athan and Dave set up a mini cocktail bar and brought a yummy organic lechon. My friends Kathreen and Chrisjohn hosted the event. The rest of the GYA Peeps helped me prepare the materials I needed for the event and acted as the ushers and usherettes for the guests.
Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos allowed us to use the venue for free including the lights, sounds and electricity. The venue is called The Place which is located across Mandaluyong City Hall. It’s actually a private property, but anyone can have it booked as long as you’re a Mandaleño. It all turned out to be how I really wanted it to be like.
Instead of the usual 18 candles and 18 roses ceremony, I came up with 13 flowers from Maro and 30 words for Kcat. Maro gave each significant woman in his life a flower. My mom was his first dance while I received the last piece of flower. As for me, I asked 30 of my friends to come up with a word to describe me and explain it in three sentences.
Because of this, I have learned that the quote, “A true friend will not need any explanation as he will always understand” is indeed true because upon seeing each word they chose, I automatically knew their reasons for choosing it even before reading the explanation.
In my 30 years of existence, I am so blessed with a lot of friends and family who stayed with me in times of happiness and hardships. These special people in my life are another reason why I wanted this celebration to happen. I know this party isn’t really necessary but I wanted to show my gratitude to them by showing them how much I’ve gotten better – stronger and wiser but still the same. I even made a thank you card for each of them.
I believe that I have lived my life well. I enjoyed my childhood and teenage years so much that I never run out of memories to smile and laugh about. I have fallen in and out of love. I’ve been hurt but stood up again. I cried, I laughed, I learned, and I had so much fun. I made a lot of mistakes, but these mistakes became lessons. I have learned to never regret because everything has a reason. Life will show us the reason.