Den: The Accidental Friendship


My good friend, Den, got hitched recently. While looking through the photos she uploaded on her Facebook account, one photo especially grabbed my interest. It stirred something within. My eyes started getting moist. My lips quirked upwards and transformed into a happy smile as I silently uttered “She finally did it!”

Serbia: 2019. Den, an hour before getting hitched
Photo credit: Ceara Mari

Let me share how Den and I accidentally became friends for life. She already blabbered about me seven years ago. My turn.

Meet Den. 30-something who quit being a corporate junkie (a year after I quit) to mend a broken heart. She might kill me for the things I’m about to spill here but I know she likes me too much I can get away with it all (evil laugh).

Den and I used to work in the same department from this defunct BPO company. I decided to move to a different account later on. She stayed. But before the move, we had our different circle of friends. Where she was a newbie, I was already comfortable with my existing circle. I can no longer recall how she was back then. One thing’s for sure, I didn’t exert much effort to get to know her. Her personality was too strong for me.

Quitting in 2010 gave me the opportunity to lead a location independent lifestyle. So when another friend and I decided to go on a backpacking trip to Siem Reap and Bangkok, I was surprised to learn that Den would be joining us. I was very hesitant at first as our union could make or break this trip. No one wants a stressful travel experience with the wrong set of travel companions.

Bangkok: 2011. Feeling close, but not quite yet…

Den quit her job at that time due to a heartbreak. She needed a breather. She thought she had everything figured out and invested in a house ready to plant her roots with her ex-fiancé. But the uneventful happened. Throwing caution to the wind, she decided to leave the country, probably her coping mechanism to mend her heart, and was on her way to China in a week or two to work as an English teacher. Prior to her big move, she used her remaining free days to go for a last hurrah to shake things off before embarking on a new chapter.

We flew separately on this trip and met up at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Honestly, although it seemed like it was just yesterday, I can no longer recall my emotions during that first meeting. I’m thinking more of me being silent and assessing the situation whereas she was being her self – perky and talkative.

Bangkok: 2012. Reunited after the 2011 backpacking trip

To say that Den is a blabber mouth is an understatement. Kidding! We were complete opposites. Read her article about me to know what I mean. I seldom speak, especially in the presence of new company. She, on the other hand, was loud. Well, not too loud. Just the right amount. I don’t know how I would have survived being with her. But all thanks to our dear friend, Ed, we both managed. I think she got smitten by me. She’s a great talker and I’m a great listener. A perfect match it seems. And that’s how our accidental friendship started.

China didn’t work for Den and she found her feet exploring job options in Bangkok instead. Bangkok became her second home soon after. That opened up opportunities for me to crash at her place whenever I travelled to Thailand.

Cambodia: 2011. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

What’s the most memorable trip I had with Den? Probably our trip to Pai. I travelled solo to Chiang Mai on Songkran season and she arrived a few days later. We took a van and endured a long and winding ride to get there not knowing that we will both fall in love with Pai. The trip going there (or was it back?) was where I first experienced smelling second-hand smoke from weed while inside a van. Imagine the two of us laughing like crazies during that van ride. This quaint town was also where I was officially inducted as her wingman. Just an hour after arriving in town, while on our way to find late lunch food, she effortlessly met a new friend. Den’s wit and charm can easily disarm anyone, even the most unlikely ‘creatures’ you see. So she needed a wingman of some sort.

Without realising it, that backpacking trip in 2011 paved way for our beautiful friendship. Throughout the years, Den and I managed to keep in touch. Whenever I get the chance, I visit her in Bangkok or she visits me in Cebu when she goes home to visit her family in a different province. I guess I’m also her (pro bono) web support specialist for life, fixing all her website issues for her. She has no patience to learn all of those stuff. She’d rather spend time looking and then munching on food than tinkering on her website or laptop for that matter.

Bangkok: 2017. Will do anything for food

Den is a multi-talented artist. She is fearless and have have big dreams. What I admire about her is she knows how to chase them. I am blessed to have a few circle of successful friends and she is one of them. To me, she’s a superwoman as she can accomplish anything when she puts her mind and soul into it. In fact, I truly marvel at her courage and determination to work in far flung places of Africa. Only a few would risk travelling to those places where you are forced to live outside of your comfort zone. Her trip to Sierra Leone had me worried but laughing hilariously with her at the same time.

When it comes to matters of the heart, Den is a hopeless romantic. I know she has fallen in and out of love over the years. Each time she falls, she manages to rise up in her quest to find love. Lazy is not in her vocabulary where love is concerned and I truly applaud her for her unfaltering pursuit of love. The 1st photo on top made me teary-eyed knowing that Den found her forever perhaps with sheer luck and determination.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coehlo

Looking at her wedding photos make me immensely happy for my dearest friend. Her quest has finally ended. Finding love was a roller coaster ride for her and I know she found a wonderful man who is capable of loving her completely, flaws and all. It was undoubtedly a well-deserved gift after finishing her masters in Europe.

Her quest for a brighter future won’t stop that she has finally settled down. That’s certain. I’m looking forward to hear great things from her soon. I’m sure she’ll be unstoppable most especially with love always by her side now.

Cebu: 2018. Den and her Branko

If you want to get to know more of my quirky and unique friend Den, please visit her website at

PS. Den made the logo for my site 😉


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