Meet the Diamond in the Rough Squad: Friends You Often See In My Blog

Before my blog grew and gained followers, they were the first ones who supported my passion for free. They liked my posts, shared my blog and invited their friends to like my page even without me asking for it. It’s funny that even without me telling them, they would pause before eating because they know I will take photos of the food first, candidly saying to me “O picturan mo na”. They have been willing subjects of my pictorials, whether modeling for food or a place that I will feature on my blog. They are my photographers, models, editors, and artists. When I am with them, they will say “Ito friend, magandang shot sa blog mo” or “Ito friend, kunan kita dito”. They would even take photos on their own mobile phones and later send it to me so I can use them for my articles. Sometimes, they would speak to restaurant owners or tour guides to get the important details I can write for my blog.

These people know how much my blog means to me. Without them, I will not achieve my milestones in blogging. They are also there to remind me whenever I don’t have the mood for writing. They know my frustrations and joys and constantly encourage me to pursue my dreams. Realizing their huge contribution in my passion, I would like to dedicate this post to them. I call them the Diamond in the Rough Squad: people who may have same or different interests as mine; but are very supportive in this journey.

Jeremie Lorenzo (Jem)

Jem is my good friend since 2001. We met at the church and became close when both of us participated in the church ministries as new believers. She lives in Comembo which is near my place so we often go to church together. We are part of the F4 gang together with Jhoi and Karen. Jem loves the outdoors like me but she is more of the hardcore type who’s fond of climbing difficult mountains and skateboarding. What I like about Jem is that she has a good memory of our itinerary details. When I forget something about a trip, I’ll ask her about it. She is the quiet type of person but is a good listener. We have similarities in our personalities. I can to talk to her about anything under the sun and she never judged me for my actions or opinions. She is one of my oldest friends (not only in age and in our friendship tenure) that she knows me too well. We were supposed to go to Siargao last March, but it was cancelled because of the ECQ. Some of my memorable trips with Jem include Samar, Leyte, Batanes, and Caramoan. We both love eating pasta and Lugaw.

You can see Jem’s appearances on the blog here. Jem also owns the Superjlow Travel and Tours, a travel agency for your local and international travels.

Eileen Placido (Kit)

Kit and I have been friends since Grade 6. We are part of an all-female group called Kasintre (K53) together with our batchmates in CSR (Colegio de Sta. Rosa). We became really close when we communicated again after college. Kit and I are both family-oriented and we share the same faith. We also both love cooking. She is interested in Asian culture, particularly Japanese. She is good in directions and is a well-organized traveler. When we went to Taiwan, she took charge of the itinerary and directions. She has traveled to Japan twice and seems to master their language and culture. I admire Kit for being selfless and thoughtful. She finds ways to express her love to her family and friends, even in small things. She also reminds me of anchoring my faith in God always. Kit often brings me to the unique restaurants in Mandaluyong where we enjoy discovering delicious cuisines and amazing art. She loves conversing with the locals that helps me gather interesting information for my write-ups. We both love Japanese and Filipino food. Kit’s cameo roles can be found in these posts: Goto Believe: Gourmet Lugaw for the Win, Celebration of Food and Friendship at Nanbantei of Tokyo BGC, Taiwan Travels, A Review on Yayoi Japanese Teishoku BGC + Reunion with Kasintre, Ram N’ Go: Japinoy Street Ramen on the Go!

Catherine Redona (Cath/Ming)

Cath was my officemate in SB Cards and now in FactSet. We share the same birthday, August 16. We both love eating and traveling. In fact, she was part of my milestone in traveling as she was my companion in my first trip abroad in Phuket, Thailand. I cannot enumerate all our favorite foods but definitely, we love seafood. Cath transformed into a more refined, athletic person who engaged lately in hiking and fitness activities. Cath is the most straightforward in our group; she is not afraid to speak her mind especially if it shows her concern for you. I admire her for being resilient and adaptable to changes. She changed her lifestyle, improved her skills, started new hobbies, and investments. In my blog, you’ll often see her with me in the islands or beaches, or dining in restaurants. I also like her photography style so I often use her photos for my blog. She has the “eye for details” which I sometimes don’t have. My last trip with her was in Zamboanga where we attended the wedding of Fatma. In our long years of friendship, she already knows my preferences for food and travel. Funny, but she also considers if the hotel or resort we are staying has a bathtub or jacuzzi because she knows it’s my favorite. Our remarkable trips include Ilocos, Zamboanga, Palawan, Thailand, Iloilo and Gigantes where you can see her special appearances too. For food adventures, she was with me here: Cobalabamba: The Newest Fil-Mex Cantina in Venice, Bag of Happiness in Bag O’Shrimps.

Caseylyn Santillan (Cassie)

Just like Ming, Cassie and I met at Security Bank Cards. When she resigned, she moved to FactSet together with Ming. Cassie is very sociable and friendly, she knows how to relate to different kinds of people including my Dad, who is very strict every time I travel. She’s been my “gatepass” so Dad can allow me to go home late. I just need to tell him I am with Cassie. Cassie and I share the penchant for travelling but she loves going to the beach very much. She can stay in the water for prolonged hours without getting bored or tired. When we travel, she is reliable for directions. Ming and I also learned a lot from her in getting good angles when posing for photos. Cassie is also a dog-lover like me. As both breadwinners in the family, we share the sentiments of working hard to provide for the family’s needs. She is very innovative and resourceful when it comes to that, which I truly admire. Living away from her family since college, she has become very independent. Unlike me and Ming, she is picky when it comes to food. HAHA! She doesn’t like onions, spices, seafood, or Kimchi (just to name a few). But she is so meticulous about cleanliness. She likes cleaning our room after a long day of traveling. She is the balancing act between me and Ming. She also does not get mad easily and she knows how to weigh situations and react to difficult people. Cassie’s aura poses can be found here: Guimaras: More than Sweet Mangoes and Crystalline Waters, Sigayan Bay Beach Resort: A Sweet Escape More Things to Love About Iloilo City, Palawan Travels, Shawarma Bros: Not Your Typical Shawarma, Bro, The Untold Secrets of Islas de Gigantes Traveling Essentials for the Smart Backpacker, Birthday 2017

Helen Raguirag (Ate H/ Lodi)

Ate Helen is a churchmate and a good friend in BBTP. We got close through Jem, after joining them in weekly skate sessions and hiking. Ate Helen pushed me to do things I can’t do, such as skateboarding and hiking. Like Jem, she is into extreme outdoor activities. She has climbed some of the difficult mountains in the country with Jem. She is good in arts and music. She is a licensed architect who loves to draw and paint during her spare time. She knows how to play the guitar and piano, and sings for the church from time to time. Although she is blessed with multiple talents, she is very down-to-earth. She can dwell in any type of conversation, whether about family, travel, arts, spirituality, nature — anything under the sun! Our minds align when we engage in deep conversations about life. She was my mentor in hiking. I remember my first climb to Mt. Sembrano, it was raining hard and the trail was slippery, but she assisted me all the way until I reach the summit and go back to the jump-off point. She is a good sweeper, as some of our friends would describe her. We just diverted my struggle through conversations. She knows how to interact with different kinds of people from all walks of life that I am not surprised why many people in the church got sad when she left for Samar. Not only do I admire her for expressing herself in varied forms of art, I also look up to her disposition and positive spirit. My most unforgettable trip with her was definitely our trip to her hometown, Guiuan Samar. We explored caves, beaches, historical places, ate a lot and laughed our hearts out.

Her presence in my blog can be found here: Six Daily Steals at 8 Cuts Burger Blends, Birthday 2017, Never Too Late at Early Bird Breakfast Club, Food Trip and Scenery at Guiuan, Samar: Sea Quest Lodge (Formerly Tanghay View Lodge), Something to Love about Loveshack SM Aura Wrong Ramen Burgos Circle: Not Really Wrong After All

Jaieen Marasigan (Jaika)

Last but not the least, my sister Jaika. Do I really need to write a description for this? Kidding! Anyway, Jaika is the number one beneficiary of my blogging incentives. Whenever I get GCs (gift certificates) from my events, I see to it that I treat her. Why not? She is always my photographer, driver, and assistant. And like I said in my birthday greeting for her, she loves to make “palibre”. We both love cooking but according to her, she is the better chef. She is an accountant by profession and a very hands-on dog mom to our furbabies. She is quite a perfectionist especially with household chores. She is good in handling our finances, and is very frugal. But I can say, she has grown to be more responsible now. We rely on each other when it comes to paying the bills, running errands for the family, or making big decisions for the future. Sometimes, our personalities clash because I don’t like it when she bosses around even if she is the youngest. However, she knows how to apologize when she is wrong. What I admire about her is she is goal-driven and a good manager of the household. She does her best to aim for her plans no matter what it takes. We love to eat seafood, Ramen, Korean food, Filipino food and milk tea.

You can see more of Jaika here and in these blog posts: A Birthday Staycation at One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites Amacena Restaurant at One Tagaytay Place Hotel and Suites Coffee, Desserts and Nature at Bag of Beans Athena, Tagaytay, Fab Airbnb Staycation at Wind Residences Tagaytay RSM Lutong Bahay: A Culinary Legend of Tagaytay, Cebu Travels, Celebration at Racks: Why is it a Family Thing up to the Present Another Story: The Story of a Whimsical Restaurant in Alabang Top-of-the-Line Staycation at Sofitel Philippine Plaza

Also special thanks to Chris, who’s been very supportive of my endeavors in blogging. He keeps me grounded with reality and not expect too much; but still do your best in everything. Thanks to Fatma, that even if she is working abroad, she is also my number one fan since high school. Thanks to my mom – without her I won’t be as articulate as I am now. Thanks also to my brother, Vince, for his huge fanbase 🙂

These people made huge impact to my blogging journey. Whether big or small efforts, they have shown their support unconditionally. As the quote says “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are”. Now that you’ve read about my friends, what similarities do we have?

What about you? Have you thanked the people who’ve helped you become a better person in your passion?

42 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve been thinking of blogging about my best buddies, too. But I worry about their privacy. I don’t have too many close friends in the blogging industry as well. Maybe I can share on my next post my best friends who just opened their online businesses? What do you think? Hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds a great idea! Was thinking of that too to promote my friends’ businesses. Me too only a few friends in the blogging industry. Do you also wonder why? =) most of them are short acquaintances.

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      1. Hmm. Maybe because I don’t spend a lot of time socializing online. I can’t attend to events and invites, too, because of my corp job. How about you? What do you think?

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      2. Am not sure of this but I guess there is a silent competition for events and media exposure that’s why. Haha but it’s just my opinion. Anything with material incentives involved may sometimes affect the relationship. But we should not think of it that way. Let’s do our passions and make good relationships 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I feel it on some bloggers/vloggers as well. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced it first hand. Good thing we’re too busy with our own businesses. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicole San Miguel says:

    It’s nice to meet the people behind Diamond in the Rough! I’m also thankful to those people who’ve helped me since I was starting back in 2012 up until now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nicole 💜 more power!!

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  3. I am so happy to you have solid support from your friends. Sharing the same experience too, a lot of my close friends helped me on my journey as a travel blogger (hobbyist). I remember when they themselves are giving me more content ideas or even motivating me to produce more articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I couldn’t agree more! They are the first ones who’ll push us for a better content. Are your friends travellers too? 🙂 me, majority!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many of them are travelers too. And some are influenced to explore the Philippines also.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Therese says:

    I would seriously love to meet Ate Cassie and your sister Jaika 💗 I have a few similarities with them, personality-wise. Reading this made me realize that. i am truly grateful for the people who kept on pushing me to make blogs as well. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be motivated right now. Thank you for sharing these wonderful people behind your successful blogs! God bless 💗✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading🤗 Yes, never forget those people who were there with you when you’re just starting small 🙂

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  5. theaoctavo says:

    Wow these are the types of people we should keep in touch with! You have really great friends and it’s nice that you’ve dedicated this to them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading 😘❤️

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  6. Nakakatuwa naman na may mga friends ka na suportado ka sa passion mo. May mga friends naman ako pero iba iba kami ng hilig at ako lang yata ang meron persoanl blog at fangirling fb page na yung mga iba di alam na naggaganito ako. Pero hopefully mailagay ko yung mga travel/bonding ng barkada para mapromote ko sa kanila yung blog ko. Di kasi sila makarelate sa pagiging fangirl ko. Hahaha… At sana maka-meet din ako ng new friends sa blogging industry… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Misskhae says:

    You’re very lucky to have friends who supported you when you started blogging and it’s sooo cute that you get to write about them. ♡ They’d be a big part of your success in this industry kasi it’s really nice naman talaga to have people as your backbone to continue writing and creating more contents! I also have a few people with me and I thank them as much as I can. Unfortunately, they don’t understand what I do but I know some of them are there to support me :)♡♡♡

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  8. karlaniiinz says:

    After reading this, parang gusto ko rin gumawa nang ganito. Actually yung mga friends namin ang nagsuggest na gumawa ng blog and page eh. So super thankful talaga kami sa mga friends namin. This is so sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diba! Ang laking tulong nila 🙂 and hindi rin naten mararating kung nasaan tayo without them hehe

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  9. Hi Danica, I can relate with this haha. I started where my friends were the ones whom my critiques before on each blog post. Kamusta naman yung F4 Gang, K53??? HAHA. You are very lucky that you have these bunch of people with different types of personality whom are going to support you every step of the way. Found mine too btw ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SB&Mi says:

    Super love ang mga #supportfriends! Sila yung nandyan para sayo. Na kahit may meet kang ibang tao, iba pa rin kapag sila ang kasama mo.

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  11. It’s always nice to be surrounded by supportive people who are as well not waiting for anything in return. They are our treasure that keeps us motivated and reasons to continue what we love to do. They deserve to be known.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed! Kaya minsan ako nanlilibre sa kanila

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  12. they are rare as diamond dear! aminin natin ang iba eh hindi talaga ilalike ang posts mo hahahaha! it feels great to have friends like this in your life!

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  13. Polly Amora says:

    Aloha Danica! I can totally relate to this article. I have friends who knows I’m into blogging and supports me by promoting my post and encouraging me to do better with it. Some even suggests topics and interact via social media. You’re lucky/blessed to have these wonderful people around you! ❤️

    PS: goodness I think I found my twin —-> Cassie

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  14. Dianne says:

    So sweet of you to dedicate an entire blog post for them. They soo deserve it! I love it when friends genuinely support what you do. They are gems!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Awwwww. All of your friends sound amazing and supportive. It’s obvious that they believe in you and love you so much. You are truly blessed to have these people in your life. Looking forward to more blogs with your friends!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. blair villanueva says:

    Lovely meeting your squad! You guys should launch a YouTube Channel as a squad, and share your stories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You are so lucky to have them po. They are really for keep. Friendship really do last whatever it takes.

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  18. momsshoutout says:

    it’s so nice to have kind and supportive friends… worth to thank for their support in your passion

    Like

  19. Neri Ann says:

    I also have friends who I always include on my blog/vlog. Ang saya lang na they are the ones who supported you first. At lage din sila nauna sa mga ex deals products ko minsan. Hehehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I can relate especially sa xdeals! Saya diba to share your blessings lalo na sa friends

      Like

  20. jayneglezelle says:

    Nice to meet your friends! Theyre the real supporters! Alao sila din minsan ang taga picture natin and what makes gala more fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha oo magaling pa nga sila sakin mag picture eh =)

      Like

  21. jayneglezelle says:

    Nice to meet your friends and theyre our real supporters. Minsan sila taga kuha pic, some great ideas and more importantly… making the day fun!

    Like

  22. mumshienica says:

    How sweet of you, featuring your friends here in your blog. It’s nice meeting them kahit dito lang. Ang sarap sa feeling na full support ang friends mo sa passion mo ano? Thank you for this! Parang I want to write articles na din featuring my friends and family. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You are so lucky to have found real friends that support you in your passion. In my experience, bihira yan.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wendy says:

    what a thoughtful tribute to your supportive friends. and they pose beautifully, too! lucky one!

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  25. It’s so nice to see that you have very cool, outgoing, and supportive friends who share same passion as you! I have friends but unfortunately, they’re not into blogging and stuff… Anyway, you are lucky to have them:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thank you. Yep they are not into blogging too but they understand my passion

      Like

  26. Janella Herrera says:

    Feels good to have friends like them! I actually do not have a lot of friends because people say I am too matured for my age and hobbies are for oldies. Medyo nakakasad din that I only have few to rely to pero they are the best! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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