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What does independence mean to you?

What does independence mean to you?

Today, the Philippines celebrates its 120th year of independence, but given the spate of depressing news about our sovereignty lately, we thought of commemorating it a little more personally. Celebrate the positives, even the smallest ones, right? So from emotional to creative freedom, we share what independence means to us, the process of achieving it, and the payoffs of experiencing it.

1. Taking full ownership of one’s work
As I get older, the more I realize that what has held me back from pursuing what (and who) interests me are mostly self-imposed limitations. Sure, having more time and money would always help, but that mindset that insists on having everything perfect first before doing anything is pretty insidious. So independence for me lately means liberation from these self-imposed blinders, especially with the news that one of my good friends has self-published a book.

We’ve actually done a story on how to get into self-publishing before, and Shadow Magic is the first title that Nazri Noor has released—a pretty bad-ass move, in my opinion. “I wanted to write something that was tied to who I am, not just as a writer, but as a bonafide geek, someone who has always loved fantasy, comics, and video games. And more than anything, I wanted to start building a legacy based on my name,” he told me.

Self-publishing is pretty much an independent creative venture, with the writer having no one to answer to in the beginning but themselves, and no other source of motivation except the drive to write and create. “The response to Shadow Magic has been stunningly encouraging so far,” Noor discloses. “Sales have been brisk, and nothing beats the feeling of being genuinely supported by my friends and family for wanting to excel in something that I’m truly passionate about.”

Understanding the difficulties of building something from the ground up on your own, and jumping in to do it anyway despite personal misgivings—that’s a pretty good definition of independence. It’s rolling up my sleeves and putting in the work, with the knowledge that “perfection” isn’t a pre-set but rather a possibility. It’s a very freeing concept, really. – September Grace Mahino, executive editor

Visit and sign up at Nazri Noor’s website to get a free e-copy of Penumbra, the prequel to his Darkling Mage series.


2. Letting go of what emotionally harms us
Independence for me means being liberated from something that has suppressed me, and I think there are many things in our lives where we do gain independence, even in little ways: no longer asking for money from our parents for everyday expenses, living on our own without help, finally doing that “talk” with an important someone, speaking out in public, and being free from inner demons saying we can’t do it.

It takes a process to become “free,” and there will always be things that will hold us back, but one of the biggest things that I have freed myself from after the longest time is getting over a toxic relationship. I tend not to get over things quickly, and I think that makes me miss out on a lot of good possibilities—not just in relationships but life in general.

Getting over that one person made me feel like “me” again, and I don’t get sad anymore whenever that person comes to mind. Fun and sad fact: It used to be that whenever I’m alone in public or about to crack in laughter over something funny, I’d think about that ex and my mood would immediately change. That doesn’t happen anymore, though. I can say that I’m really over that chapter; now, I laugh in public and don’t care who sees it. And that’s the next independence project I’m going for: not caring what other people—especially those I don’t care for—think about me, and being free from the confines of what is “okay” and acceptable in their eyes. – Jerico Villamonte, style and grooming editor


3. Paving one’s own road
Independence means the freedom to choose my own path. To take full responsibility for each decision I’ve made, from the safe to even the crazy, abrupt ones. To know that I am accountable for everything in my life, both good and bad. That to me is independence. – Quito Trenas, model and Garage guy

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4. Expressing one’s self freely
Independence for me is being able to express my creativity and artistry through my music. People in the industry try to confine artists by putting them in a box, and I think it’s our job as creative people to break away from that. Having the freedom to put out the kind of art that I want and the kind of music that feeds my soul without having to worry about what other people think—that’s independence for me. – Jason Dy, singer and Garage guy


5. Recognizing one’s responsibilities
Independence for me means determining my own schedule, values, and priorities, being able to depend upon myself, living a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle, and not having to ask for permission from anyone on how to live my life. It also means freedom to express my artistry through music and films, and exercising my freedom of choice without harming others, because my freedom should not interfere with others’. That’s what independence really is. – Yuki Sakamoto, music artist and Garage guy

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