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La Union, where I currently reside, is brimming with genius. Countless artists have found themselves situated in this little surftown, filling the once void spaces with palpable creative energy.  This place has become home to musicians, type designers, writers, muralists, chefs, and more. And as I have observed, it seems that creating anything has become our source of fuel and outlet all at once.

Passion has become a driving force for all of us here, and the rate at which we are going goes to show that we are simply going, going, going. But still and all, this is work, too, is it not? No matter how exhilarating it is to breathe life into our dreams and visions, we run the risk of burning out. That even when it truly feels good to set fire to the things we truly love to do, it may not always be sustainable.

Photo courtesy of Strange Mercy

As I excavate through the deep tunnels of my mind, I have become a pure disciple of creating as the best form of release. But lately, I have found myself having to sit back and assess whether I am going too fast–inflaming the very thing that sets me ablaze: Writing. These are the moments I ask myself a throbbing question: What does it mean to go slow? 

When there is so much occurring in the world we live in, why is it that the only pertinent act is to slow down? Why, in both the absurdity and the beauty of the world, are we asked to sit back in silence and ground ourselves? 

I’m a panicky, anxious, 5-foot tall girl, who wants to scream, run, and cry. And scream some more, whether creatively or emotionally, or both. Yet what is truly sensible is to remain still. I’ll be honest: I cannot count the numerous times someone had asked me to try meditating as if I even know it by definition. I have been instructed to focus on my breathing and recenter as if all that could be done with ease. There, sitting in my loud thoughts is the profound struggle to stitch myself back together when I’m “all over the place.”

When you’re committed to something you’re truly passionate about, how do you go slow? When is it acceptable to pause, breathe, and take a moment when you’re faced with passing opportunities to do what you love to do? The questions pile up in my head, but the answers are nowhere to be found. To be zen, it turns out, is a lot more challenging than it looks.

At the sheer opportunity to be honest, BALBO Philippines has taken some quiet time to reimagine this space. And as we go through this perennial process, we also ruminate on the importance of crafting meaningful content as a brand. We desire to tell real stories, not just add to the noise. We crave genuine experiences to share with our audience, but without cluttering the digital sphere. It is quite funny to look back at the time we jumped headfirst into reviving this blog. Because today, we see to it that we tread lightly in reshaping this platform.

Photo courtesy of Slow Factory

Slow Factory said it best. Last June, the group of socialists and environmentalists, declared that they would take some time to become more mindful about producing content made for fast consumption. And in this brief course, they sought to look deeper and digest information carefully before cycling them across social media. It was a brilliant move, to say the least. And we only hope to emulate this mindset by going slow.

Now, in a town of the most talented local artists, we are all immersed in our passions and our work whether these are financially motivated or not. And perhaps to sincerely compose, produce, design, build, perform, and even speak, are all about finding the virtue in a deliberate creative process.

If you know how to remarkably “slow down,” we would appreciate some leads. Meanwhile, please register to vote for the upcoming 2022 General Elections–you literally have a few days left.



Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer residing in San Juan, La Union. Her career involves editorial work and scriptwriting for television and film. Currently, she is also the acting Editor-at-Large for BALBO Philippines. In her free time, she surfs, she reads, she runs a blog, and she writes fiction and poetry. Find her on Instagram at @2422.612.

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