A Quiet Birthday

Last year, I turned thirty quietly. Not noisily, not loudly, and certainly not "with a bang". And for years and years leading to my big 3-0, I have only imagined turning thirty, flirty, and thriving in monumental. Options include: an OPM party where my close friends will play and sing along, an overseas family trip together which we haven't done in years, or moving into a new space I can proudly call my own.


Not to burst your bubble (or mine?) but none of these happened.


Days before my birthday, I launched two small businesses (more about these in the next posts!) and it kept me unexpectedly busy... and almost sick. I say almost because I managed to combat the slowly, creeping virus by overdosing on vitamin C. Instead of flourishing into a full-fledged cough and colds, all I got was sore throat. Whew!


I have already lost count of the times I spent my birthdays sick and in bed.

When I was still in school, my birthday would usually would fall on an exam week, or on the last day before the holiday break. At times, I remember even trying to force myself to complete the Simbang Gabi (Dawn Mass), and the exposure of my bunbunan (a.k.a. the top of my head!) to nine mornings of hamog (moisture in the air) would only make my already weak immune system… well, even weaker.

Similarly, when I started working, my birthday would fall on the same day as the office Christmas party, which was a free pass for me not to treat my colleague anymore (or have a "blowout" as they call it in toxic Pinoy culture, lol).

I worked at an agency and in media, so we had the privilege of the so-called “Christmas break”, and during those times, the last day of work often falls on my birthday. This also means that the days leading up to my birthday are when we are cramming deadlines, rushing to finish projects, reports, managing all-nighters and commuting very late. It’s formula to getting almost sick, too.

Thankfully, I managed to escape a sick thirtieth birthday.


and The best part, surprisingly, was having none of my aforementioned plans come into fruition.

As opposed to any of the well-orchestrated and picturesque plans I've had in mind (young people now call it Instagram-worthy), I decided to keep it low-key, and had a very quiet time in the province the entire day of my birthday, from 12:00 to 12:00 the day after. I also saw only one person ever (my jowa) the entire time, save for a few strangers.

Instead of a banquet of all my favorites (e.g. liempo with rice wrapped in banana leaves, or Korean bbq), I had a basic pan de sal in the morning, and other average, non-typical birthday meals for lunch, dinner, and my two meriendas. I didn't change my profile photo, nor reply to the birthday greetings I got online or though text (except the ones from family!). And I only went online for work that really needed to be done, which I thought was a very fitting attitude for a mature, thirty-year-old. Lol.

In the evening, my jowa and I drove around town aimlessly, and to me it was one of the best drives ever. That relatively cold morning having pan de sal breakfast was also one of the best ones I'll always remember.

To date, it’s the best birthday, too.

Overall, I felt privileged to have been able to spend my thirtieth birthday in the most luxurious way I can now think of—quietly—sans the forced festivities, the attention, the change in profile picture, the birthday post-slash-essay, and all the traditional birthday things I've normally experienced in the years prior. I took zero photos, too. It was probably the most relaxing, hassle- and stress-free birthday I've ever had, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

In this day and age where quiet, personal time seems hard to get, and one can barely spend a day completely offline, I'd highly recommend hibernating on your thirtieth, too.

Care to share how you spent (or are planning to spend) your thirtieth birthday?


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