Lessons From A Brother

For a change, this blog entry won’t be about me.



When I was around 9 or 10 (?), I remember waking up quite early one school day morning. My second oldest brother Eric, had arrived from Japan.

My mom told me Kuya (older brother in Tagalog) had presents for me from his Japan trip. He was sent by his school to participate in a science convention (astronaut-related, if my memory does not fail me). Kuya Eric has always been an achiever so we weren’t that surprised when his school decided to send him off for Japan. After all, he was once a valedictorian and president of the student council.

I was so happy. I got a Japanese-style fan and my first ever tamagotchi! And it was from my brother, which made it more special.

After that trip, we knew that something had changed in Kuya.


My brother started to tell us about what he saw in Japan. Anime shown in local Philippine channels was my only portal to imagine this wonderful country.. until my Kuya’s stories. Kuya was only a highschool student that time so by the time he was in senior (or even junior) year, he was planning his future already by applying for college government scholarships here in Japan. Unfortunately, he applied for a really difficult course related to engineering through the Japan Embassy of the Philippines…. and he failed it. But that did not stop my brother, he applied for a one-year exchange student program and he got accepted! This is why he knows Kyoto well like a tourist guide. : )

I can still remember when we had a phone conversation and I asked him about snow and sakura, if he had witnessed those already, etc. He described his experience to me and that was my first time to want to go to Japan as well.

And, I really missed my brother that day.


I wished he was with us.. because during that time, my family was in chaos. I had quite a chaotic childhood and I am proud to say that I have already let go of that part of my life.

Nevertheless, Kuya Eric was still decided to reach his dreams even if it would be on his own feet. Even though he rebelled against my parents’ wishes, he probably felt that he had to do it for himself during that very time. At that time, I could not really understand him because.. I was too young. But now, I perfectly understand how he was soooo wildly driven.

He had a lot of ventures before getting a full scholarship here in Japan. He had to join contests (he won in a local amazing race-type of contest before) for the money. He described to me how freaking hard it was to pass the eliminations, like run a couple of miles or something like that. Then he got into different small businesses (just one: Japan-style hair-cutting! who would believe that?), some succeeded and some failed. Nonetheless, he made himself busy, inspired and focused. He tried and tried. Learned Japanese on his own, wrote a couple of English essays for numerous scholarships (he made me read those when I was also trying on my own), and developed his skill in being street-smart. During one of his rebellious days, he even slept in Luneta Park. I actually don’t know why but he must be probably soul-searching or something, haha.


And then… and then… he got accepted for a full scholarship in APU (Asia Pacific University) in Beppu!


But when he arrived in Japan, he only had little pocket money. He told me he went to Japan not knowing where to sleep! Crazy! I don’t know how he really survived that… and he was not that good in Japanese as well. :O :O

While he was a student, he taught English as a part-time job / “arubaito” . Worked in a recycle shop, lived in a mouse’s room,… bought discounted bentos for half the price for savings… He used to get stipends every month from his scholarship but he chose to keep himself busy.

A few years later, he established himself here. Built a company on his own, fell in love and got heartbroken (had to include this, sorry Kuya hehe), helped his family with whatever he could do…


.. and inspired this little girl named Kaila to do the same.

If ever somebody asks me what would be my favorite lesson from him, I would say “how to live life“.. no matter how cliché  it probably sounds.

He taught me that a person must not only exist, but to live… by chasing his/her wildest dreams. Even if you lose breath from running, you have to finish the race.

He made me realize that one must learn how to be independent (in this life of endless run for survival… wow how deep, haha).


And this is my way to say thank you to the person who believed in my capabilities by investing a lot of moral and financial support in me. I would have not graduated from college and enjoyed it without my brother’s support (aside from my parents’). I would not have experienced the beautiful  sakura and snow he described to me a decade ago.. if it weren’t for him. I would not be writing all of my Tokyo adventures here on my blog if he did not make it possible for me. I have probably failed a lot of times in chasing this Japanese dream of mine years ago but he caught me and taught me many things in life and business I wouldn’t learn from any professor, priest, or even a millionaire.


 Thank you , Kuya Eric.




Happy 20-forever Birthday. : )


(note: he’s thirty! haha)




Watch the video here.

My Birthday Present for the both of them  :heart:

19 thoughts on “Lessons From A Brother

  1. Your brother’s story is so inspiring! I don’t know if I could go foreign country with having no idea about where to sleep :x: Got to read this entry before scholarship’s exams to get inspired again!! And hope to get it :cute:

  2. Aw, Kaila. 😥 What a beautiful, sincere birthday tribute to your brother! I can’t even start to imagine how much hardness he had to go through by himself before. Not only him, though. You’ve been doing a massive hard work as well and he must be the proudest brother ever! I wish you two to live your lives in the best way you can, you’re both great inspiration to us. Thank you for the inspiring post and congratulations to your brother! It’s a new step in his life and I’m glad he can have you by his side. Hope you’re having a nice week. :blush3:

  3. What an amazing blog post, Kai. Sometimes I wish I had an older sibling that would inspire me this way, until I realize I have to be the one inspiring MY younger siblings as the eldest in the family. I wish I could be like your kuya some day and have the drive to reach for my dreams just like he did. And I wish that one day I will do something that my brothers will appreciate. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    And Happy birthday to your kuya! 🙂 :yay:

  4. i really really love this entry. so inspiring. :cute2: this entry has given me my very much needed motivation. thank you and happy birthday to your brother! 😀

  5. Kuya I admire your KATAPANGAN….. courage will lead you to places…..

    i admire the ocampo siblings… TRUELY inspiring 🙂 :heart:

  6. This was so great. I hope to be able to inspire my younger brother this way too. And also, that I will also be able to achieve my dreams as well. : )

  7. Happy birthday to your brother :3
    you’re so lucky to have him if it dosen’t for him, you’re dreams for Japan can’t come :3

    wish you luck for the both of you

  8. OMG. You’re brother is really a very inspiring person! i mean he survived and chased his own dreams. :cute: I really adore both of you!

  9. :fly: your brother is so inspiring… want to meet him in person and listen to all his adventures… you are so lucky to have a brother like him :love:

  10. I have always wished I have an older brother. 😥 It just seems amazing that when you have a kuya, you know someone would be there to protect, guide, and hold you… always. Yet, I am an only child. That does not make me sad at all since I have lived my life without one, although I am still wondering the feeling of having an older brother. :huh: But reading this entry made me feel that I have an older brother for once in my life. It was indeed a great feeling so a big thanks to you Ate Kaila. You never fail your bloggers talaga. :yehey:

    It was very cool that you listened to his advices and followed his steps because look at you now. Look at you inspiring other people as well, just like your brother. :heart: :heart: Now it’s other people turn (which might include me :nod: ) to follow you.

  11. :woww: you’re bro is really awesome! such an inspiration for everyone :nod: and he’s such an awesome big bro.

    p.s. he’s such hardcore sleeping in luneta park!! :))

  12. This is making me teary… Wow, I definitely envy people who are both dreamers and doers. For me, I still need a push. Hihi so amazed. Your family is sure a successful one ^^ Cheers!


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