It’s a big birth­day for me this month. On the eighth day of this eighth month of the year, I cel­e­brate the big 5-0. Of course when­ever these ma­jor mile­stones come around, I start think­ing hard about whether I’ve been mak­ing the most of my un­planned life. For decades I’ve been go­ing wher­ever the wind takes me and have been trust­ing God to guide me down the right path. So far, I’ve been okay.

When I turned 30, I had a pretty cool job do­ing the news on Bloomberg TV, had just made a down pay­ment on my first home in New York, and was giddy to be in a new re­la­tion­ship.

Ten years later, at 40, I was heart­bro­ken and just out of a re­la­tion­ship. But I had a fun job writ­ing and edit­ing food and restau­rant sto­ries, and had my first pub­lished chil­dren’s book, also about food.

And now, at 50, I no longer have a home of my own, but am back in Manila sur­rounded by the peo­ple I love most. I have a spe­cial some­one who makes me smile ev­ery sin­gle day, a mag­a­zine job I truly en­joy, plus, I get to write books—over a dozen so far—a child­hood dream ful­filled.

There have been ma­jor bumps and heart­breaks along the way, and way too many deaths, but for­tu­nately my fam­ily and I have man­aged to pick our­selves up each time.

I live on a jour­nal­ist’s salary which isn’t very much, my an­kles and knees creak, and I have crow’s feet around my eyes, but as a whole, life has been good. Here’s to an­other half cen­tury.

For this month’s is­sue though, we cel­e­brate the next gen­er­a­tion. Bril­liant, bright-eyed kids on the cusp of adult­hood, thrilled yet slightly anx­ious about be­ing sent out into the real world, many of them on their own for the very first time. It was won­der­ful spend­ing time with these young peo­ple who have their whole lives ahead of them, so many op­por­tu­ni­ties for them to use their tal­ents to help make this world a bet­ter place.

There was a par­tic­u­larly earnest young man named Rom­nick who bub­bled over with en­thu­si­asm telling us about the 1,500 trees he has planted in his home­town in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. That past week­end, he said, he and other school friends had planted 300 more.

Yes, he has been ac­cepted into the Ivy League, but he was much more de­lighted to share how he first plans to travel around the Philip­pines to share his story, hop­ing to in­spire other young peo­ple to dream big and reach for the skies.


FuLL cIr­cLE clock­wise from top left: yvette with a group of this year’s best and bright­est grad­u­ates; yvette al­most 50 years ago; her first home in new york; haluhalo Espesyal, her first pub­lished book; with rom­nick Blanco.

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