Apart from their success in music, members of the OPM pop-rock band The Juans have entered the world of podcasting through Spotify.
In their podcast titled KwentoJuan, Carl Gueverra, Japs Mendoza, RJ Cruz, Chael Adriano, and Joshua Coronel have already talked about important topics in their first two episodes, namely the challenges they faced in 2020 and toxic traits within the self and the family, respectively.
The first episode, which aired on March 26 and trended on Spotify that same day, talked of RJ, Joshua, and Chael testing positive for COVID-19 and the entire band members shared their reflections about the situation.
For Chael, after testing positive for COVID-19, he chose to look forward to the future rather than dwelling on his sickness.
"All throughout that isolation, that quarantine, mas na-feel ko na kaya 'to kasi nandito 'yong mga tropa. Kaya maaga ko na-combat 'yong anxiety na baka lumala pa 'to, baka mag-worsen pa 'yong case ko kaya talagang nag-e-exercise pa ko, nagpapapawis," Chael said.
"For us, 'yong revelation na silence ain't lonely, mas diniin pa sa'kin,” Chael added. “Alam mo 'yong matatapos na lang 'yong year pero mas pinaalala pa sa inyo na [...] His presence is His promise na maraming p’wedeng pumasok sa isip ko noong mga time na 'yun pero mas pinili kong i-look forward 'yong araw na 'to na make-kwento ko siya in full confidence, in full details na kung paano 'yong deadly virus."
Lead singer Carl, on the other hand, pointed out the learning he took away from the situation, which is to ask the Lord for guidance.
"‘Lord, what are you trying to teach me? What is it you're trying to make me see or realize?’" he reflected. "Every pain, it has a purpose. Siguro, 'yong pinakamalungkot na p’wedeng mangyari is 'yong nakaramdam ka ng pain, nakaramdam ka ng challenges pero wala kang natutunan. You missed out the opportunity to learn."
He praised RJ, Josh, and Chael for coming out of their COVID-19 situation with a stronger sense of faith and looking forward to the future.
"That COVID-19 is not a joke,” Carl stressed. “Hindi talaga siya biro na sakit. People are slowly thinking na things are normal pero the risk is still there and, until na-vaccine na tayong lahat, the risk will always be there."
Carl also said that COVID-19 is not just about the person infected, but the people surrounding him or her, as well. He recalled RJ, Josh, and Chael's initial reaction when they tested positive wherein they immediately worried if they infected someone.
For Japs, he recalled reflecting during his isolation, after finding out that three of his bandmates tested positive.
"Sobrang dami ko ring realizations,” he shared. “Una is 'yong nahukay ko 'yong mga thoughts na 'di ko pinapansin dati. Meron ding mga bagay na di natin napapansin. Kunyari, 'yong mga issue natin sa sarili natin, 'yong issue natin sa relationship, sa family."
Japs’s immediate action was to take care of himself, to practice processing his thoughts, and to further improve on his music skills, which he says was God's calling for him.
"Hindi naman nasayang 'yong moment na nag-isolate...so, nakinig ako sa sinasabi sa 'kin ni God na gumawa ng music," Japs went on. "Kasi 'yong sinabi Niya sa'kin [na] gumawa ng music para sa brokenhearted para matulungan ko sila para ma-ease 'yong pain tapos i-lift ko 'yong mga tao na 'yon sa Kanya."
Chael added that he also learned to remain grateful in the situation.
"Maging grateful 'yong tingin kong naging take away because napansin ko din sa sarili ko na parang there are times, there are moments na parang lost ako doon sa mga ginagawa natin dahil sa sobrang dami, pero, now, I realize na every bit of what we're doing is worth celebrating," said Chael.
Josh, for his part, likened their situation to a pit stop in a racing competition.
"Kailangan natin ng pit stop," Josh mused. "Doon mo ma-re-realize 'yong mga bagay na na-mi-miss out mo dahil sa sobrang ka-busy-han mo, sa sobrang ka-busy-han ng mundo, eto 'yong parang sinasabi natin na si Lord na 'yong magbibigay sa'yo ng time para ma-realize mo sa isang bagay."
He also surmised that every blessing given by God is also a responsibility.
"'Yong mga blessings na hinihiling natin kay God is also a responsibility," he said. "Hiniling natin, pinag-pray natin na maging inspiration sa iba. Noong nag-positive tayo, p’wede naman na maging down ka na lang, wala ka na lang hilingin sa buhay, pero pinag-pray mo maging inspiration sa iba, e. So, ang kagandahan noon kasi 'pag hiniling mo 'yong mga blessing na 'yan, may hirap ganyan pero ang masaya sa feeling, pag napagtagumpayan mo na 'yong challenge na 'yon and 'yon na talaga 'yong answer sa prayer mo."
Japs went on advocating that we should all spend more time with our families and to be generous with our resources.
"Take time. Kunyari, kamustahin niyo 'yong mga kapatid n’yo, kahit five minutes lang. Nanay n’yo, ganu’n. Tas i-kiss niyo nanay niyo," he advised.
"Let's use what we have, our influence, para maging generous sa iba,” Japs went on. “Para maging blessing sa iba.”
Carl concluded the topic by that blessings and opportunities come from God.
"We're just stewards and we're just participating to the grand scheme of things that He's doing and napatunayan sa'kin ni Lord 'yon...and God just reminded me na 'You're not in charge, I am in charge and when I tell you to rest, you rest...Dahil your opportunities are dependent on me. If someone closes their door, I can open another one. If someone says no to you, it's because I'm saying yes to a bigger thing.'"
"Ang ultimate reminder sa'kin is to stop striving but to now thrive knowing that ‘the opportunities that are coming, the doors that are opening are because of Me. And all you need to do is to play your part,’" he added
In their second episode, which aired on Spotify on April 2, The Juans talked about toxic traits. For this, they had a special guest, Pampanga-based vlogger Jericho Arceo, who talked about the anxiety he went through due to pleasing people.
"S’yempre, kahit anong sabihin mo, it will impact a lot of people and, whether you like it or not, parang ipo-politicize pa 'yong sinabi mo and all that," Jericho opened up. "So, parang, in a nutshell, nag-ingat ako sa sasabihin ko para hindi ako maka-offend. 'Yon 'yong malaking part na nag-struggle ako."
Jericho began to realize that he lost his authentic voice, saying he only aims to please his viewers. This, in turn, affected his overall productivity as an artist and influencer as it caused him anxiety.
"'Yong normal functions ko, naapektuhan," he recalled. "Muntik na kong magself-diagnose. S’yempre sa mga Psych majors diyan, bawal 'yon 'diba? Parang napaisip ako 'Pambihira, disorder ba 'to? Ano ba 'tong pinagdadaanan ko?' Lahat ng self-help ginawa ko na. Exercise, eight hours of sleep, journaling and all. Ganu’n ako naapektuhan."
This prompted Jericho to halt posting online content, saying he felt burned out.
"It affected me, especially how I treat the people around me, sa pamilya ko. Kita nila paano ako nag-struggle, but sa awa ng Panginoon, unti-unti nakakabalik na ko," he reflected.
Jericho added that his people-pleasing trait may be rooted from his upbringing.
"I was trying to be excellent because I want to please my parents," he admitted. "So, nadala ko. 'Pag hindi ako naging excellent, I'm not enough. Ngayon ko lang na-realize [na] sobrang important din ng family, pero 'pag 'di tayo lumaki sa normal na family, there is hope. Again, this is my dealing na 'Wow. Kaya pala ako people pleaser kasi ganoon ako.'"
Jericho recalled that, as a kid, he was grade conscious because of the pressure of having family members who were educators and his parents admonished him to do better in school.
"Hindi ko naman sila sinisisi but I just realized now na, grabe, formative years mo crucial 'yan. How you decide, how you think," he went on.
The Juans and Jericho also talked about the career paths they wanted to pursue in their career.
"Noong bata ako, wala talaga akong in mind na gusto,” RJ looked back. “Like, for example, sinasabi ko lang, kunwari, na gusto ko maging doktor kasi, deep in my heart, 'yon kasi 'yong dinidikta na maganda.”
RJ went on: "If long term, naisip ko, parang wala...parang, same na nape-pressure in the sense na parang gusto ng mga parents ko kasi papa ko engineer, mga kuya ko engineer, so it's either ang gusto nila sa akin architect or engineer. Parang gusto nila 'yon sa'kin.”
RJ did not really want to pursue engineering, so he asked for any advice to people finding their purpose in life.
Carl said that parents just want what is best for their children.
"Minsan kasi, kaya 'yong mga recommendation nila, gano’n,” Carl pondered. “‘Mag-doktor ka, mag-engineer ka...’ Kasi sa demographics ng Pilipinas, etong mga trabaho na 'to, 'yon talaga 'yong umaasenso sa buhay and 'yong pinanggalingan na generation ng magulang natin, they all need to strive to prove something to the world, and they somehow feel like they want to pass it on to their kids.”
Carl added his analysis about the generational transition between the past generation and now. And that is, today’s generation has more options to choose from about what they want to do in life.
"Pero, at the same time, as the options increase, the more difficult it is to actually pick what you like,” Carl
pointed out. “Na merong mga tao na dumating sa point na sobrang maraming magagandang option, nahihirapan naman silang pumili ngayon.
“So, either way, may struggle kung ikaw 'yong klase ng bata na may struggle na pinipilit sa'yo kung ano 'yong kuhanin mo pero 'yong iba din naman na malaya, nagsa-struggle din kasi kahit sila na 'yong namimili for themselves, ‘Ang dami namang masyadong choices.’"
"So, either way, it's a battle,” Carl went on analyzing. “What you like and what other people like, or it's a battle between so many things presented to you and not knowing what to actually pick. And for those people who are in that [situation], kung may pinipilit sa inyo ang parents n’yo...ako, to be honest, ang opinyon ko diyan is kailangan natin pag-pokus-an at bigyan ng appreciation is ganoon nila tayo kamahal, na ganoon sila magmahal sa'tin na eager sila para maging maayos ang buhay natin.”
Carl, however, explained that there is a line for that, citing an example that 40-year-olds should have the say to what goes on with their lives.
"S’yempre, you have to draw the line and pick for yourself," he said. "There's a point where you can respect their opinion and their recommendations but there will be a point in your life where you will really have to pick for yourself kasi, at the end of the day, whatever choice you make, ikaw 'yon, ikaw 'yong mag-aaral ng course, ikaw 'yong pupunta sa school, ikaw 'yong mag-te-thesis, ikaw 'yong mag-e-exam. You gotta pick, but you also got to respect and understand your parents."
In the end, Carl says that like everything else in life, choosing a career is a personal journey. But what really matters is that whatever choice you make, always make it a point to also choose to be a good human being.
"Do not pin your identity to a certain job description," Carl advised. "Kasi, minsan, kaya litong-lito ang mga tao, they think that who they are is boxed within a job description na parang 'Magiging ano ba ko?' Mabuting tao! P’wede naman 'yon, eh. That's what you want to be. You want to be a good son, you want to be a good father, pero sometimes we define who we're gonna be to a job description, to a title...na para bang kapag hindi ka nakapag-describe kung anong trabahong gusto mo, somehow you're lost. But that's not really the case."
"The job that you pick is an important factor of your life, but that should not be the determining factor of how you define yourself," he went on. "So, discovering the job that you wanna do is a journey and it could change overtime."
"I don't judge people who would switch from, say, from being a Psych major to a vlogger. I will not judge that if that's where they find their passion, that's where they find their purpose, if that's how they're reaching out to more people, I really don't mind. Pero 'yong iba na you're being pressured because you don't have a fixed job title that you want to pursue, I'm saying don't. There are so many things that you can still work on with yourself, even without the job title. You can work on discipline, you can work on your fitness, you can work on your creativity, your skills, whatever that is. Your hobbies...
"Ang daming parte ng buhay natin na p’wede mo pang i-work out without being pressured to determine ano ba ko, doktor ba ko, engineer ba ko, anong course ba pipiliin ko? So, don't be too hard on yourself but allow yourself to journey through that," Carl concluded.
The Juans’ KwentoJuan podcast airs live on Spotify every Fridays at 8PM. Be sure to tune in to their third episode on Friday, April 9.
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