The Time Virus: Why is Tardiness Highly Contagious?


14-year-old me. I wore my green baseball shirt, black cargo shoes, and my favorite pair of Nikes. Best clothes for a special day. Our teacher had given us a group project to do over the weekend. As a high school student, nothing could beat the feeling of working another project with your classmates. The projects could be done quickly and easily. And because of the “materials” needed for the project, I had the perfect excuse to ask my parents for “extra” cash. In other words, I was looking forward to eating ice cream while walking around the mall with my classmates after this so-called project was done.

It was a typical Saturday in July that time, the end of storm season. My father had dropped me off at 8:10 am, 20 minutes before the agreed meeting time. My father loved telling me that punctuality is a sign of respect and professionalism.

If I remembered correctly, our teacher had assigned five members in my group. I sat on the stone benches parallel to the church’s windows as the cold wind brushed my skin. I might be wearing the wrong clothes for the weather.

I observed the church’s windows and attempted to count the spots with the chipped blue paint. This area was called the “side of the church,” and it had been the favorite meeting place. My watch told me that it was 8:35 am. My classmates were already late. But that could happen. The ground was wet, and due to the Philippines’ plumbing system, floods were everywhere, and heavy traffic had been a normal sight.

9:15am. No one arrived. I walked towards the school gate where a rusty payphone stood, jammed the coins into it, and punched our house phone number.

“Dad, we’re done with the project,” I said, holding back tears. “Please pick me up.”

“Already?” The surprise in his voice did not surprise me. These projects could last for about 2-3 hours. He generally picked me up after the sun went down.

I wasn’t labeled as the boy-who’s-always early because it was mandatory to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early from the agreed time. I guess respect was very common back in the 90’s. But how did late become normal?



Fashionably late. Better late than never. It’s Better to be late than to arrive ugly. Red carpet entrance. How many of these have we heard? The idea of being late seems to have evolved from being a sign of rudeness to being cool and trendy—a statement to make one’s self feel better about his or herself. Beck to 14-year-old me, our group leader (whom we will hide by the name Emit) called me upon arriving home. Emit was very apologetic, but I told her that I wouldn’t help on the project anymore unless I helped them over the phone. They weren’t late at the second meeting.

If you are reading this and you know me, before you scroll to the comment section and type “Kevin, you are a giant hypocrite,” let me explain. Yes, I used to be super late all the time too, but only because I was a victim of the Time Virus.



            Growing up as a teenager, I carried punctuality with me. I wasn’t one of the cool kids back then. And I still wasn’t one of the cool kids when I reached college. Huge breaks and free weekends were what I had in common with the cool kids and my friends. We were young, and time was all we had. One could say that the word hangout was the most popular word when I was in college. And I tried to be that 14-year-old boy waiting beside the church all the time:

  • Be at least 15 minutes early
  • Know that people could be sometimes 1-5 minutes late and that is forgivable
  • More than 6 minutes late is rude and unforgiveable

Unfortunately, that 14-year-old boy died. If you look at the death certificate of that punctual boy, you’ll see that the cause of death is has stopped tolerating late comers. If they can be late, he can also be late, right? It’s more convenient; you can leave anytime you want, the people you’re going to meet are for sure already there, and everyone will know that you have more important things to do other than being with them, right? You see, that kind of philosophy has had me fooled that I can be a better adult by being late all the time.



            Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, when I was in college, our idea of hanging out was the entire day. Our national anthem was It’s Okay to be Late Because We Have All Day. TGIF, right? No problem, because tomorrow is Saturday, and there’s plenty of time to do homework. Little did I know, that kind of thinking will not help me as an adult.

Meeting up with friends has become challenging and impossible. Friend A can’t have lunch with us because he should study for finals. Friend B must take her dog to the vet. Friend C wants to oversleep. And I can’t go because I have work. Little did we know; our national anthem has been keeping us apart. And it shouldn’t be like this. Friend A gets out of school at 1:45 pm while Friend B’s vet appointment is at 4:00 pm. Friend C can oversleep until 2:00 pm, and my shift starts at 4:30 pm. In other words, we can grab lunch or coffee near Friend A’s school from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. An hour and a half. This is where punctuality becomes crucial. If all can just be punctual, we can bond for about an hour and a half. In other words, meeting up with friends can be difficult but not impossible, and there are ways to do that.



            Being on time is not as hard as it sounds, especially if everyone is doing it. This 2017, my friends and I have come up with a New Year’s resolution to be punctual, especially now that we are all busy adults now. Here are some tips that 14-year-old me and 2017 me can give you to be on time.

  1. Don’t Trick Yourself to be On Time: Remember that you set the clock in the bathroom to be 15 minutes advance? This never works, for you know that the clock is not right. The back of your mind still reads the original time. To fix this, make your meeting time at least 15 minutes early. If you are going to meet your friends at 2:00 pm, tell yourself that you are going to meet them at 1:45 pm. Aim to be there at 1:45 pm. If you’re 5-10 minutes late (you arrive around 1:50pm-1:55 pm), hey the meeting time is at 2:00 pm, right?
  2. Thank Your Friends For Waiting: Never apologize that you are only 10 minutes early. But always thank your friends for waiting for you just in case they arrive before you. Thanking them is saying that you respect their time, and this will make them think that they also need to respect your time. Say, “thank you for waiting for me. How long have you been here?” It is also a good ice-breaker.
  3. Call Out Your Friends For Being Late: I do this, but I avoid being rude. Knowing the line is mandatory. If your friends are late, say, “I’ve been waiting here for 20 minutes. What happened?” By saying this, you are giving them a chance to explain. You can also give them the opportunity to apologize for being late. Tell them, “I’m glad that you’re finally here. I heard there’s heavy traffic on the 110.” Calling them out means you don’t enjoy waiting past the agreed time.
  4. Manage Your Time: Cliché? Yes, but it works. I ask one of my friends to scale their punctuality from 1-10 (10 being very punctual). One of them said that he was only a 6 because of bad time management. Traffic is the most common excuse for being tardy, but with the technology today (Google Maps, Waze, etc.), there is no excuse not to compute your ETA with or without traffic.
  5. Let Them Know You Are Going to be Late: You can be late too as long as your excuse is valid. Accident, family emergencies, illness. But that does not give you an excuse not to let them know. Give your friends an hour or more before the meeting time a heads-up that you are going to be late.
  6. Punish Late Comers: This is entirely optional, but it works wonders. For this to work, make sure that everyone knows and agrees to all the conditions. For my group of friends, we’ve all decided that every time we have lunch or dinner plans, all the late comers are the only ones who are going to pay the tip on our bill.

Punctuality is one of the most forgotten signs of respect. They say that you must learn respect first before others can give it to you. By learning to be on time, I’m pretty sure that everyone around you will start doing the same.







The Responsible ARC Reader

It is always a delight to receive an ARC (Advance Readers Copy) from authors, publishing houses, or just anywhere at all. I mean how are you not going to be happy? One, you can read a fantastic novel before anyone else does, and of course, it is free!

But are ARCs really free or we are missing our responsibilities as readers whenever we get our hands on those “free” books?

To be honest, I did not know the responsibilities that you have as a reader whenever you receive those ARCs until one day, I started receiving one. 

ARCs are not free. You need to pay the author and the publishing house who put that ARC in your hands. Do they need money? Absolutely not. However, they need more than money. They need your time and your honest opinion about the work.


Remember that ARCs give us an opportunity to read a novel before it comes out. As readers, we are responsible for reading an ARC before it actually comes out. The rule I follow is I should finish the novel at least 2 weeks before its release date. Once the actual book is out in the world, ARCs lose their value. 


The primary purpose of ARCs is not to give readers free books. Remember, publishing houses want to sell their products, but do not think of it that way. We have to see that we are helping authors that have given us amazing books in the past and will give us more amazing books in the future. 

So we have to make sure that we have to read ARCs 2 weeks before they come out so we can give them an amazing review. If you don’t like the ARC, that is okay, but give it a review. ARCs do not demand good reviews; what they want is an honest review. Remember, good or bad publicity is still publicity.

If you are like me, someone who always gives good reviews to ARCs, what I do whenever I do not like the ARC is I will give it a review saying who I think is going to like the book. I will not write about how I do not enjoy the book—I will write how others will like it.

It is always fun to receive ARCs, but we have to remember that once we agree to accept those ARCs, we, as readers, now have a big responsibility in our hands.

Me After Watching Me Before You: Me Before You Movie Review

Even though Barnes & Noble Americana (where I work) sells tons of copies of Miss Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You every day, I was not expecting a big crowd inside the theater for its opening day. It turns out I was underestimating Emilia Clarke’s and Sam Claflin’s fan base. The theater was almost packed!

For this review, I will focus on 2 things: what I like about the movie. This includes how the movie can stand on its own and the actors. After that, I will talk about what I don’t like the film. I will end this entry with my overall rating of the movie and why I believe it deserves that kind of rating.


Can The Movie Stand on Its Own?

What I like the most about the film is how solid the story line is. The creators focus on Louisa’s and Will’s love story. All the side stories are beautiful (and we will talk about that later), but the movie wants us to see from the beginning that the main focus is how Louisa and Will will find their different paths where their lives are headed while their hearts intertwine.

The Actors

I wish I could give Emilia Clarke a standing ovation right now. She is the main highlight of that movie. From mother of dragons to a bubbly girl in a small town, Emilia Clarke nails that performance. I believe she is born to play Louisa Clark. Me Before You is not a laugh out loud movie, but Emilia Clarke will put tears in your eyes in many ways. Sam Claflin is a good William Traynor too, and his chemistry with Emilia Clarke is something that I want to see again on TV and/or on the big screen. The growth of his character is visible by the way he talks and interacts to Louisa.


Faithfulness To The Book

I love how the movie focuses on the love story alone, but one of the reasons I actually love the book is the side stories are phenomenal! Treena’s struggle to get on her feet again after having a baby is what I want to see. Mr & Mrs. Traynor have their own struggles too, especially about their relationship, but it is not on the big screen. I love, in the book, how these efforts from other characters make the main love story stronger and more meaningful. I understand that the movie will be more than 8 hours long if it wants to be 100% faithful to the book; those struggles are inside the film, but you need to pay careful attention to know that they are there. In other words, you need to read the book to know they are there! For example, Mrs. Traynor’s problem with Will is he could kill himself any minute. Mr & Mrs. Traynor talk about it in the film really quick, and there is a scene where they focus on Will’s scarred wrist. The scenes are quick, and they can easily be missed, so pay attention carefully if you haven’t read the book and want to get these messages. 


Me Before You deserves a 10/10 rating. The first reason is the film delivers a message about different meanings of life and how one can live boldly. It shows that we can have a colorful life, but life can get stuck sometimes; we can put our life on hold, but we must remember that it needs a second chance. I love how Louisa and Will have different views on life, but they manage to meet each other halfway and fall in love.
Some of the non-readers might not get the subtle hints the movie is giving, but I believe it will still get at least a 7/10 rating from them because the film will really touch your heart in a way that will make you change the way you see the world.

10 out of 10 Stars


Most Anticipated Books of September 2015

Summer is ending. What a bummer. 

But I don’t see that as an excuse to stop reading books. I know school is coming, but here are the 6 books that are coming out this September that I want on my hands right now. I will arrange them in order of release dates.

  • Click the book for the synopsis.
  • The release dates of this books might be pushed back from the day I publish this post.  

 Queen of Shadows by miss Sarah J. Maas

September 1  

18006496Seriously! If you are not reading this series, you are missing a lot of stuff. This series is full of action, romance, and vibrant characters that will surely find a special space in your heart. 

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by miss Jennifer E. Smith 

September 1 

23369370Miss Smith write books that are very simple, yet full of colorful emotion that will surely hit you. What intrigues me the most is the story of this book all happens in just one day. Miss Smith’s books tend to be slow, but they are very addicting. 

Stand-Off by sir Andrew Smith 

September 8 

20662291I actually regret reading the first book of this series really early this year, because after finishing that book, I had this sudden urge to spaz like a crazy hyena in my reading room if I did not get the book immediately. The main character of this book gives a genuine voice of a teenager. It is full of laugh out loud moments, but the book actually tackles a very important issue. 

Sweet Temptation by miss Wendy Higgins 

September 8 

22428712Fourth book of the Sweet Series! I don’t really like angel books, but this series is one of the exceptions. Miss Higgins knows how to write romantic scenes and the mythology of this book is very addicting. 

What We Saw by sir Aaron Hartzler

September 22 

20922826Rape is one of the most serious issues in the YA genre. Ever since I read the preview of this book from the YAllWest sampler, I’ve become very excited to read the full book. Sir Hartzler‘s debut Rapture Practice gave me the experience what it is like to be inside the book because the characters are so relatable. I am hoping to actually get the same experience. 

Six of Crows by miss Leigh Bardugo 

September 29 

23437156Magic and action. Are you ready for that? This book is set in the same world in The Grisha Trilogy, so how cool is that? It means if you are not ready to leave the Grisha world yet, then this is the perfect book for you. 


Brave Reading 2015

LogoWhat’s your New Year’s resolution for 2015? If your answer is to read more books, you really are a bookworm, and one of the things we, bookworms, love is we embrace challenge. We’re like Tris, jumping down into the unknown– with no guarantee of a safe landing. Does this mean adding extra 50 books to your usual 100 books in Goodreads account? Probably! Brave Reading, however, is not like that. Let me tell you how to be a brave reader of 2015.

I am part of a book club called Book Club Without A Cool Name for a couple of years now. One of the fun that my book club do every summer and winter is to make a reading list. Not an ordinary reading list. Each members would write on a piece of paper what kind of “theme” he/she would like to read; the more random the theme, the better. Here are some examples:

  • A book with something yellow on the cover
  • A book from an author with “Alex” on his/her name
  • A book with a smiling emoji on the cover
  • A masquerade theme cover

After that, we’re going to find titles that would fit in our chosen theme.

What makes my book club fun?

Finding the books!

Sometimes, we would find out the book that we’ve listed is out of print, and it could only be found from a far away library. Sometimes, it’s not available in libraries, but Vroman’s is carrying a single copy. Getting it before the other members is like The Hunger Games That is why I jump to my greatest delight when I saw this list on my Facebook newsfeed.

Reading Challenge 2015

The list is very similar to what my book club has been doing for a long time now. Some of the books on the list are easy to find. As a matter of fact, they are already in my library. But others? A book written by an author with my same initials? Book set in my hometown? Not so easy. All I can say is good luck to me finding those books. But this is what makes it fun. The adventure! Getting those books will make me feel like Indiana Jones holding a rare relic. And I know you will also get the same feeing.

So dive into 2015 with this list. Challenge yourself. After all, reading is an adventure. Before you find a book from that list, I will tell you what Veronica Roth writes beside her autograph.


Books Featured:

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth