WOL #003: Finding Your Dream Team

In every Final Fantasy game, the main hero always meets a group of allies who will embark on an adventure/mission with him to brave through challenges and conflicts. The protagonist cannot save the world alone from the chaos wreaked by his archenemy; he needs to have a team of trusted allies and dear friends to fight with him. I also have mine, in real life. And, I would never ever forget the day when I found my own dream team.

It was way back when I was studying in my university, the time when I was still a loner thinking that I could survive the academic challenges on my own. I enrolled myself in a major subject class (ergonomics). The professor assigned in that class section turned out to be the master of the field. Thus, it should be expected that this teacher would be insightful yet surely tough and would show no mercy on her students. The class was obliged to form groups throughout the term for this subject.

“What group should I belong to?” I wondered anxiously.

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WOL #002: The Beauty of Death

I wish life is like a game where you can have multiple lives, revive people or just hit restart. But the sad reality is death is a painful, uncertain, inevitable and irreversible gameover. It is a fact of life that even though we don’t want to accept, we have no choice but to do so.

In this journey of my life, I lost many people along the way: family members, friends, teachers and, just recently, my last living grandparent. However, even though the idea of losing someone dear forever is soul-devastating, death can teach and/or remind us of these important lessons in life:

Challenge yourself to take chances.

Death is uncertain. Young or old, wealthy or poor, man or woman, healthy or with no vices or disease, careful or reckless, when your time is up, your time is up. We just have no clue when but death reminds us that we all have a deadline. And that reality should propel us to live in the moment, to leave our fears and inhibitions behind to grab every opportunity we can enjoy and, ensure ourselves that we will collect more good memories than regrets.

Choose to live.

Whenever I feel I’m losing my will to live, I just have to think of my departed loved ones… How much did they desire to live longer if given the choice?

I believe that more than being present in the wake and funeral of the departed and praying for their souls, the best way to honor the dead is when someone makes a decision to live life truly and fully in their stead.

Back in my high school years, I lost a very dear friend. She was young, optimistic and full of spirit. And, I know her greatest dream was to enter in an art school and become a graphic artist. I knew back then that we shared the same dream yet I chose a different path.

I studied engineering but right after I graduated, my heart’s calling to embrace my true dream grew strong. That sudden career shift was scary and risky, but the thought of having to live out the dream my friend and I shared gave me the courage to take that leap of faith.

Thus, by appreciating the time and opportunity that the our late loved ones lost but yet still being given to us and continuing their good works, we can add meaning to their death.

Cherish what really matter.

They say that people who were on their deathbed did not look for their wallets with money and cards, proofs of their honorable achievements, keys of their cars and mansion door, expensive clothes and jewelries, etc. The first thing that dying people always yearned for are seeing and holding their loved ones beside them.


It only goes to show at the end of the day, people still matter more than material things. We maybe alive now but no one can tell if the same goes for your parent, your sibling or your friend today or if they will be still around the next day.

Whenever I have hesitations in expressing my love for someone, I just ask myself, “What if this will be our last meeting? Have I said what I think that person needs to hear from me? Did I make him/her feel loved enough?”

Is there beauty in death?

Though scary and paralyzing when we overthink about it, death, if we accept it as part of our life cycle, can push us to dream, live and love in the best way we can as soon as now. The beauty of death is it continues to remind us to appreciate how short yet precious life is that it should not be wasted and taken for granted every single day. Everyday is a second chance; let’s begin living our lives meaningfully.



Warrior of Light Journal is a category under ARTMARK – Life Blog that features retelling of inspiring real life stories and/or tackling relevant issues with the aid of my childhood heroes in their action figure forms. 

My mind is open to any ideas so be free to share your reactions, feedbacks or questions in the comment section below. I would love to hear them and discuss them with you.


WOL #000: Depression Can Be Defeated: How I, a Victim, Became a Warrior of Light

My dear friends, this is my story…

I’m Mark Maliwanag, a witness and a survivor of the chaos caused by this daemon called depression. I had serious recurring random encounter with this daemon since I was 15 years old and even later on when I turned 20s. The darkness that I went through at that time was overwhelming. It almost paralyzed me to move, drained all the life force I had, poisoned my faith in humanity, silenced what my heart truly yearns to do, broke my connections with my loved ones, stole almost all my reasons to live and blinded me of my purpose in life.

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Crazy Me ~ Didache Youth Reflection

This is my reflection article on 2 Corinthians 11:1-11 featured in Didache Youth book for June 22, 2017.

They say I’m crazy. I graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering from a prestigious university. But after allowing myself to be tortured by our Math subjects for almost five years, I made the craziest but also the boldest decision in my life…

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Idol For Life: Michael Gallardo

Full Name: Michael Vincent Gallardo

Birthday: June 10

Words to Describe:

M – an-Gentle.

I – ncredible/Impeccable/Initiator/Involved

K – aibigan. For me, the epitome of the word friend.

E – xpressive in his own way and pace. Hahaha! 

First Meeting:

It was only in our 2nd Year High School that Michael and I became classmates and has been an awesome friend of mine ever since.

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Tourists ~ Didache Youth Reflection

This is my reflection article on Acts 16:11-15 featured in Didache Youth book for May 22, 2017.

I’m blessed that, at a young age, I have already traveled to several countries, like Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore, with my family. But one thing about traveling in foreign lands is that I can’t help but feel these three L’s:

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#MayForever ~ Didache Youth Reflection

This is my reflection article on Mark 16:9-15 featured in Didache Youth book for April 22, 2017.

#WalangForever #NothingLasts. It’s funny how people comment with these hashtags whenever they see photos of couples #sohappytogether or observe a pair on the street #HHWWPSSP (Holding Hands While Walking, Pa-Sway-Sway Pa). Did I just hit someone here?

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We Will Rise Again ~ Didache Youth Reflection

This is my reflection article on Luke 20:27-38 featured in Didache Youth book for November 6, 2016.

According to the world’s current death rate, over 150,000 people die every day, or 6,380 deaths per hour or 107 per minute or 1.78 or almost 2 deaths per second. Should we fear death? For me, death is not something that people should look forward to. But when I think of the resurrection that comes after it, I worry less.

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