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Filipino hugot culture has been ubiquitous for a while now. We always find meaningful ways to relate our personal experiences to mundane things. There’s a certain beauty in the togetherness our culture celebrates when it comes to relating to hugot.
Hugot roughly translates in English as “to pull from” or “to draw.” And if we can sum up the most essential purpose of hugot: it helps us relate and find comfort from the hurt of a breakup, a loss, or something that wasn’t even there in the first place. More than lyrics and lines from movies, hugot is especially found with the people we take comfort with, to help us regain the love we thought we lost for ourselves.
Moments after a fresh breakup, who do we turn to first for solace? Perhaps, you’ve thought about a specific person. Your best friend in the world. They know your heart more than anyone (maybe even better than past flames). Breakups are messy and can go right down from cringe to soul-crushing. If you’ve been through one, you’re either hurting from the memory or rejoicing that you have finally been done and over with it. But how do you really bounce back from a breakup?
Best friends Isa* and Riri* agree that moving on from a breakup is a difficult process. Amid the loss, they found healing step by step with the help of one another, and family, and taking in simple joys they found along the way.
For 25-year-old medical student Isa, it took her about eight months to move on from her recent relationship. “It was not easy for me to move on. It took about eight months of crying and grieving, and a lot of self-questioning before I realized I was healing and moving forward.” The physical distance that the pandemic posed, became a challenge for her relationship. Isa and her ex met in high school but crossed paths again in college and started a relationship. “We were very happy at the start of the relationship because we would be schoolmates again, but little did we know that there would be a pandemic, that’s why it was so hard for us to be physically together.”
Isa took a break from med school, adding she thought she will not survive without her ex-partner. During that break, she indulged in feel-good TV series, read books, and most importantly, got a pet dog. These things kept her motivated and contributed to her healing process. She added that her mother and Riri helped her get through the heartbreak, saying they never forget to remind her how much loved she is.
Riri, a 25-year-old law student, shared that her first official relationship was three months long. Despite the brief period, she had a difficult time moving on. “It was a first–I was just so happy that maybe after all my life struggles, I finally got a good thing going on for me. Now, I can barely remember the good parts until I see photos from it.” For Riri, what hurt more than the heartbreak itself was the thought of the relationship fading gradually. Calls getting shorter, dates going less frequently, she said. “I started feeling like a responsibility she just needed to check up on, like something on her to-do list she needed to cross out instead of checking up on me because she still cared.”
Riri had a deep period of reflection on her own. “I’m the type that processes internally before opening up to my closest friends so I spent a lot of time with myself, just thinking and feeling about it. It’s not exactly a good coping mechanism but isolating for periods helped me process.” Amid just feeling through it on her own, Riri did not discount the help and comfort of opening up to the people closest to her. “With my friends, I was able to talk about the break up in depth. It was my first one so it helped that I had people who knew what it felt like and what I can do to get over it.”
Riri’s friends urged her to go out more. She described having fleeting moments of happiness, which gave her hope that sadness was not going to be forever. However, at certain points, she would go home sad right after knowing she had no one who would ask her how her day went. Still, as she continued going out with friends, she felt hope. “The more hope I felt every time I went out with my friends, the smaller the pain became.”
In navigating a breakup, distractions can prove to be the strongest remedy. These best friends dedicated their time to searching for habits or activities to take their minds off their breakups. Isa franchised a coffee shop with her friends, and thanks to this feat, she felt accomplished and got herself together. “Having new hobbies will distract you, at least, from the sadness and pain that you are feeling, and eventually, you will realize that there’s more to life than the breakup.” She added that [you] go out as much as you like, do whatever you want as long your healing does not harm anyone.
Sometimes distractions come in bouts of wake-up calls and sometimes can be equally heartbreaking. Riri who is also in law school said the experience was made tougher with a relationship heartbreak already pulling her. “My dog died in the middle of my grieving too. I felt I was going through very hard times alone.”
While she is used to the fast-paced life of being a law student where rest felt optional, she found her consolation sitting on her rooftop in silence, admiring the skies. “I allowed myself some time to just be, without thinking about anything. I just looked at the skies. Taking time to just be–after a whole life of feeling like I needed to always be functional–it greatly helped.” Life comes with experiences and lessons. With heartbreak, you can learn so much about yourself and your surroundings. A “greater sense of awareness” Riri called it.
Isa thought, amid a heartbreak, you can find a sense of thankfulness because of unexpected opportunities that will come your way. You will get to know more about yourself, your friends, and your family, and eventually meet greater people. “The most important thing that I have learned about myself is that I am strong and capable of a lot of things. I honestly thought that that breakup would be the end of me, but I was wrong. That breakup opened a lot of doors for me,” Isa said.
In the same way, processing your feelings and acknowledging what you went through is a tremendous way of bouncing back. “There is healing in acknowledging that this happened to me,” Riri reflected. As she learned to process what happened to her, Riri learned that there is so much love for her coming from friends and family. “The people around me are not the most expressive and affectionate people in the world, but the heartbreak and the way they patched me up in their own ways was how I knew they loved me.”
Breakups are bad but maybe something good can come out of them if we let ourselves accept more kinds of love other than romantic ones. For Isa, finding self-love after a heartbreak can help pour a renewed kind of love into others who will help you build stronger connections that last. And while heartbreaks make us uncertain, the world is big enough to make space for growth. “There was so much uncertainty that I went through in that heartbreak but I know for sure that it did lead me to love,” Riri said.
Truly, love can break us but it can also make us stronger and even a much-deserved road to glowing up. Watch this Valentine’s season short film by Cream Silk starring Kyline Alcantara and Mavy Legaspi to reel in how much everyday self-love and self-care can lead to a better, stronger you.
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