The following work was awarded the United Nations (UN) Environment Prize in the recently concluded 2020 13th Eco-Generation Environmental Essay Writing Competition, besting entries from youth all over the world and winning the top prize. (This was largely inspired by my experiences and Stories in the Mountains — #ParasaKatutubo.)

“Namumundok ‘yan (She goes up to the mountains).” A friend jokingly said, suggesting that I was rising up against the government, taking up arms, and fighting alongside the rebels in the mountains. …


It drove me crazy for a long time thinking and looking for a word that would encapsulate and describe what was bothering me for so long. I thought that if I had a word for it — like when I finally acknowledged and dealt with my anxiety — that I could manage it. I thought that if I had a word for it maybe, just maybe I could explain to people how I felt when it was all too much. I thought that if I had a word for it I could explain how I wanted to help so much…


Grief sucks. Grief sucks the life out of us and hits us in different ways and at different stages. After my mom passed away, I stopped writing. For someone that loved to write and found comfort in being able to process what she felt best through words, I just could not write anymore. At that time, I no longer wanted to write because I thought that I could not write anything more beautiful or as meaningful than my mom’s eulogy. I went about the next days, weeks, and months not writing anything other than my papers and academic requirements (just…


I still remember it to this day. How packed the auditorium was. How all around me were bright-eyed girls and boys wearing their assigned t-shirt colors for that day. How excited I was.

I remember sitting in the auditorium on my first day in law school filled with so much excitement — that, I was here, finally. I also remember, however, how instantly, my excitement turned into fear when the dean addressed the new batch of law students by telling us: “Look to your left, and then, look to your right. One of you won’t be here next year.”

I…


For someone that describes herself as expressive and being a “feelings” person — that is, one that wears her heart on her sleeve and lets her heart take the lead almost all the time, I would say that realizing that I had developed feelings for certain special people in my life took so long and a lot of unravelling. It was a whole process, which continues to this day, as I try to put into words and understand each of those chapters in my journey.

A few things that you should know at the outset: These are not really stories…


Not long ago, I was a freshly minted Political Science graduate, with latin honors from the school up the hill. I had been planning on attending law school since I was in Grade 1. I still remember how 7-year-old Billie drew herself as a lawyer — complete with a black brief case and her hair in a bun — when the class was asked where we see ourselves 10 to 15 years on. Others imagined themselves as doctors, engineers, and teachers, while I was certain that the legal profession was the path for me. I was determined not to defend…


A year ago, I made a bet with God.

There are a couple of things that you ought to know. First, I am not the type of person that enjoys making bets. In fact, it is not in my personality at all. Suffering from anxiety, I find it difficult to take that leap of faith needed in whatever it is that I am committing in — whether it’s betting with my younger brother on who will take the last shot with the game tied between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco and the clock winding down (I was right though — it…


Two to three percent. That’s the chance that a sibling or child of someone with Multiple Sclerosis has of developing the autoimmune disease. Although Multiple Sclerosis is not hereditary, the genetic risk is passed on, which means that I have two to three percent increased chance of developing Multiple Sclerosis. This is because my mom, who passed away in 2016, had and battled Multiple Sclerosis for almost 14 years.

“You should get yourself tested.” I still remember my aunt, my Mom’s older sister, telling me this in the months after my mom passed away, explaining that while the reason why…


Today marks more or less three months since I quit Twitter. That’s three months since I last posted a tweet and three months since I held the @_billieblanco account (which to just put it out there, no longer exists and as I will explain, will no longer see the light of day at least in the next following years).

Considering that I had spent four years on Twitter, posting what must have been over 5,000 tweets, and at one point, allowed it to take over my life, I would say this is a chapter in my life worthy not of…


Picture from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/153408-ambisyon-natin-2040-duterte-administration

Last Wednesday, 1 April 2020, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte addressed the nation entering its third week under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). In the televised address, the President stressed that “it was vital everyone cooperates and follows home quarantine measures, as authorities try to slow the contagion and spare the country’s fragile health system from being overwhelmed”, “warn[ing] violators of the coronavirus lockdown measures that they could be shot for causing trouble.” Mere minutes after the address, social media was ablazed with massive public outrage over the President’s “shoot-to-kill’ order, accusing him of inviting violence as a response rather than…

Billie Blanco

Pinipiling lumaban.

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