The Arki Files: The Fine Art of Losing


Dear Choir,

Here’s the nitty-gritty of it: losing.  It sucks.

As kids, we were taught how to win, to keep our eyes on the prize we hope we will get in the end; but we were never taught how to deal with defeat or how to recover from loss.   This, the fine art of losing, is something that we teach ourselves as we go through life with defeat and loss.  It goes without saying, then, that our lives have been, are, and will be riddled with events that will drag us down the pits.  It’s an equalizer of sorts, defeat is, because no human being, no matter how powerful or rich, has never been rejected, let down, or beaten. 

Consider art and our approach to it.  If losing is an art then our proficiency for it can be honed and deepened as well.  We start out with tentative steps and build our confidence through practice. In the beginning, we depend on the people around us to keep us moving but eventually learn to operate on our own, without prodding or encouragement.  

This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must endeavor to lose.  On the contrary, we must always strive for excellence.  However, the possibility of failing never occurs when we’re inert or complacent.  It is present only when we reach for the stars above or jump hoping our feet will land on safe ground.  The reaching and the jumping are the stuff that builds character, not the stars nor the ground themselves.   

The journey is more significant than the destination.

The Fine Art of Losing (and feel free to add to it):

  • Howl at the moon and let the world know your pain – then be still and make your peace. Wounds fester when kept under wraps.
  • Don’t blame. Not yourself; not others. But if you can’t help it, do it. Let it all out then shut up and know that there are things beyond your control and you are human.
  • Things can be sometimes unfair. Do something about it instead of yakking.
  • Loss and defeat are opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Remember: Losing means that you fought, and it’s always better to have fought than not at all.

And we fought the good fight, didn’t we? 

We lost.  We didn’t place.  We could have been last, for all I know.  I howled, you heard me, and blamed myself as I usually did, but then you kept me from sinking into the mire of regret.  You patted my back and told me, “OK lang yan, Ma’am”.  I saw you laugh and tell people, “Hi there, we lost” with all smiles.  You called after I texted and howled along with me then texted hours later that you still couldn’t believe it.  You squeezed my arm and sat beside me while I pondered.  You told me you looked forward to singing in Haraya, already looking towards our future together.      


Thank you.

I kept saying “3 weeks” but was recently corrected by my mother.  She was right: we only had 2 to learn 3 songs and sing them brilliantly, and jump over the hurdles of getting used to one another.  We did all that despite our rocky schedules and other responsibilities.  We are cut from the same cloth, you and I: as architects-to-be you don’t only have books to pore over when you’re through with classes.  You have plates to finish and models to construct, just as I have music to write and pieces to practice.   Isn’t it amazing that we were able to bond and sing together without asking world to stop turning until we accomplished our task?

I am proud of you: each and every one of you.  I will always thank the universe for leading me to you.   Let us keep making music together.  Let us continue fighting the good fight.   


Cabsy grace-and-me2.jpg


For a personal account of the UP Lantern Parade and more on losing the Carolfest (lol), click “Hi! We Lost!”: Losing the University Carolfest 2007.  


7 thoughts on “The Arki Files: The Fine Art of Losing

  1. Chris says:

    Your little motley crew looks like a winning bunch to me. 🙂

    That’s because they are! 😛

  2. Merri says:

    winning isn’t everything haha…dibale…manalo, matalo cute pa rin kayo! ^_____^

    Hopefully, At next year’s lantern parade, I could watch you perform na 🙂

    Bwahaha! Kanta ka rin!

    Cute kami! Rather, sila. Cute sila! 😀

  3. Grace says:

    Remember: Losing means that you fought, and it’s always better to have fought than not at all.

    I agree!! 🙂 Hindi man lang tumagal ng isang araw yung losing woes ko cos masyado akong masaya sa fulfilling na experience na to:) ‘Til next time, ms.Cabel! im looking forward in singing w/ you as the conductor!

    Ako rin. Nung tumugtog na yung mga bands tapos narinig ko kumanta ung mg choir members isa isa, nagfade na yung woes ko. 😀 Yehey! One alto down, many more to go. ;D

  4. Who could have thought that we’d all have such a positive outlook on losing? Hahaha. Maybe because of the positive experiences that went before it. It sort of cancels out the negative vibes of losing. Nyak, parang nagmath, hehe.

    “Let us keep making music together.” I think that pretty much says everything that I, and hopefully everyone else, would like to continue doing. 🙂

    I really like your mathematical hypothesis! 😀 Hooray! Kantahan na ulit!

  5. bitresa says:

    awww… you made me cry.. 😦 sniff.

    “The journey is more significant than the destination.”

    yep yep. as in all things like love, relationships, good and bad experiences, all that matters is what we learn from these and the people we got to know. I actually didn’t tell my parents we didn’t place. haha. They just watched the video and smiled. they forgot to ask me who won after the lantern parade. It just goes to show how they don’t pay much attention to me. wahahaha. rather, placing doesn’t really matter as long as i was able to do something for myself–something that made me happy again.

    This is the first time in a long time that i’ve tried to be part of something in arki, other than my org. It’s one of my best decisions ever. haha. (bola) but seriously, i still remember that one friday when we practiced at arki and i didn’t know why, but i couldn’t sing right and i was about to cry–right in front of ms cabel! i was more frustrated than embarassed. and, as how i usually am, i didn’t show ms cabel that i was about to give up. wahahaha. no chance for that… and i’m happy i didn’t give up. that i didn’t cry. that i came back, at the next practice, not thinking of how i wanted to quit.

    I’m just glad that i got to spend my time with everyone. You have no idea how much you guys have helped me, just when i really needed to find myself. i’ll never forget our magical moments (whee)the practices, the breaks, the moment right before the performance, and of course the performance itself. :))

    THANK YOU everyone, (((HUG))). -fae (ever dramatic)

    Fae (ever dramatic)! I remember that Friday well. I knew you weren’t going to give up because I saw the fighter in you. You were one of the most puzzling members there and I didn’t know how to deal with you in the beginning. But you were sassy and funny and, in the end, I really appreciated your spirit. I’m happy that the whole experience helped you find some part of you. In the end, that’s what musicking is all about, right? Maganda nga yung pagkanta or panalo nga sa carolfest pero wala man lang spiritual na learning — ‘lang kwenta.

    I hope you get to sing with us in Haraya even if you’re not an Arkaira member. We need the sassiness during practices. 🙂

    Thank you, rin, Fae, for making the carolfest memorable for me. 😀 (((hugs back)))

  6. Miki says:

    Merry Christmas to you, to your family and to all your friends from this wonderful blog!
    (I have been very busy ultimately, but we can perhaps restart the conversation about Music and Mathematics next year…)

    Thank you, Miki! Yes, let’s resume our conversation about Math and Music next year. That’s serious stuff (LOL)! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES! 🙂

  7. Jose says:

    I always knew you were too cool, but this puts you right up there with the best of the cool people. Even with lanterns on your heads. Well done, lady.

    Weee! You met me at my bleakest but now I’m back! Thank you for your encouraging words, Jose. It means a lot coming from one of the most rockin’ bloggers I know. Happy holidays to you! 😀

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