The Beginning

A man called Arthur, who wrote his post-course confession, told me recently he wishes he knew about ZFT earlier. I echo his sentiments.


It was late last year when it began. The market has a way of stripping us of our ego, and if one is an egotistical man, then he can wrongly be of the opinion that his dignity is removed with it. In a way, we seem to be under the constant need to prove ourselves worthy of our admission in such a highly-rewarding field, almost comparable to scandalous hazings of fraternities.

Somehow, we are brethren. The very few who were more courageous than the rest to pursue an unthinkable path.

Every one else hid their money, too afraid, perspective centered on every thing that could go wrong. Acting like preys, bowing their heads. They let life bully them into quiet agony but they tell you they’re fine.

Oh, but us! We have our eyes centered on what could go right. We’ve decided, one moment, that we deserve better than the 2 hours of commute we suffer to work, every day, five days out of seven. And still, if one day that thing happens, we won’t be able to look at the doctors straight in the eyes and tell them, “Do everything,  money is not a problem.

So we acted like the predators, hunting for a better life, hungry to succeed.

The statistics is overwhelming– Only about 1% of the population involve themselves in the stock market and 95% of that 1% fails.

Yet, we beat on.



1 AM and I was still awake. It was halfway through October. I felt the sheets between my legs and the only noise I could hear was the quiet hum of air conditioning. Light flooded my room from the streetlight outside.

I’ve been tossing and turning for hours now. I can’t sleep.

It was another bad day at the market. My head hurt from trying to find an answer. I was homesick, hopeless, and desperate. What else do I have to lose? I’ve lost my time working hard for that money and that money I’ve lost in the market.

The stock market was supposed to be my amplifier. My time warp. My boost pad in Mario Kart.

I called myself names. No one had to do it for me. I criticized and blamed myself until I was raw and trembling from all my self-hate.

Is this what my ambition gets me? Away from my family, physically exhausted, deprived and yet— for naught!

The fight is far from over but I found myself cornered with no doors to run to.

Until– An idea.

I unlocked my phone and let the blue-white screen blind me.

One last hope.


I won’t deny it. I didn’t like him– maybe even hated him— in the beginning. Who is this callous person who laughed while I suffered? But I respected him, even still.

He made it look like it was possible whatever it was that I was also trying to achieve.

Zee was trolling TAP a lot, along with some more ZFT. Back then, “The Maestro” didn’t ban them yet. They were there to tease and taunt at almost every thread. And I, unfortunately, was one of the newbies who held the worst of the talked-about stocks.

I felt like he was antagonizing my happiness and that he wouldn’t give me hope. He didn’t make it feel like I’ll be okay at all. Not then or ever.

It was that way for some time. It felt that way when he laughed about TAPET and specially for his posts against FNI.

Well, funny that, he who made me feel hopeless.

Because at 1 in the morning, he was who I thought about when I was down on my knees, heart torn open, desperately searching for hope.


DAY 1:

teach me what you can.png

I don’t remember now the agony of writing that message. Before that moment, it had never ever occurred to me that I can message his page. Not a hint. I don’t think I spent too much time, but I must have felt so emotional. I remember writing it in a hurry, sending it, and convincing myself to forget about it.

I comforted myself that I can just pretend it didn’t happen if I do get ignored or worse, rejected. I didn’t tell anyone what I did.

A few hours later, at 4 am, he replied. I was instantly jerked awake.

first of all.png

Zee went straight to the point. I didn’t know it back then but his first message was the embodiment of his trust issues. I, on the other hand, interpreted it as another one of his taunting.

We both didn’t trust each other. Him against a TAPper, Me against a troll. I told him I wasn’t there to bash TAP. I was very still very much under their illusion of guidance and camaraderie even if I was bleeding from their analysis and promises. I didn’t know the extent of how much I’ve been fooled. I wasn’t angry at anyone but myself.

I politely told him that I needed more ‘focused teaching’. That TAP was not about mentoring anyway but more of a community. I was trying hard not to offend anyone, scared he was baiting me to say something against them, and that he’d publish it.

I was the one naked with truth. He knows who I am, while he, for all its worth, remains masked.

what makes you different.png

I was stunned. He had accepted a lot and they wasted his time? Aside from those who went through subasta, there were previous charity cases?

An image of a man started to form in my mind. Someone different from who I first thought… Someone– best believe it– someone kinder.

His question made me feel the pressure. It was 4 am, I had no sleep, and I didn’t exactly prepare to be grilled. It was like accidentally walking into JP Morgan Chase in my pajamas for a job interview.

I immediately told him, “Because I don’t like wasting my time as well. You don’t know me yet, but you’re going to love me for my ambition.”

I started to explain my reasons or my Why as succinct as I could.

My poor heart is so guarded. Built with layers and layers of protection from people who tried to take what they want from me, and then leave. I was always suspicious and defensive with so many secrets to keep. My pain, my sufferings, my hopes, my dreams. All confined within. I didn’t want to tell him, because I rarely let anyone I know in– what more someone I do not know!

Even then, at this point, I was just glad he was still listening. I wondered if he was taking me seriously. I don’t know him and he could drop me anytime. But there I was, trying. He seemed intrigued enough to prod me on when I said I’ll spare him the personal drama.

At that time, for all it’s worth, I didn’t even think he had any room for understanding or pity. I didn’t even think he still bleeds.

It was going to take me a while to realize how wrong I was, and the man may seem complicated, but only because we see what he chooses for us to see.

It’s different on the inside. I promise.

Having said that, he didn’t budge. He replied after my message and said…

try me

And who else could tell a better story…

than me?


“Your loss isn’t so bad,” He said coldly. “I lost 70% of mine in the beginning. But you would have known that if you’ve read my entire blog.”

Uh-oh. He got me. I did NOT read his entire blog. Only bits and pieces. At this point, he has already agreed to help. Not fully, but in a small way that he could. I didn’t know what to say except, “Are you tampo? 🙂 Sorry na. I’m not competing with your losses though.”

“No I am not. Read all of it and when you’re ready, message me.”

That was the start of a long week. In between everything I was juggling, I started reading his every entry. Not a lot made sense to me then, but I tried.

He struck me as someone who has a lingering dark humor in him. It would be later on that I’d realize it was just the newblood in me. I didn’t realize how cold trading really was, and I was being sensitive to matters like the truth. He simply paraded the fact.

I even judged him for liking the human centipede movie and constantly referencing to it.

And then, suddenly, I see a religious post. Him thanking the God and offering himself. I was caught off guard. Who is this man?

Who is the real him?



wait wait

The day he made me purge my entire port in 30 minutes.

You all know about this story 😉

Approximately 270 days before DAY 1 of meeting Zee

Day 2 of joining TAP:

I spent quite a sizeable amount of time lurking TAP. Reading comments, weighing opinions, getting culture shocked, trying to understand the language. The whole thingummy.

On that day, I remember, one of the more prominent members messaged me. I’ve decided to call him PJ. He was trying to “mentor” me, without mentoring me. ‘What are you holding?’ ‘Good. Keep holding that.’.

As early as that, I was already aware of the number of people throwing stones. It was prevalent and it bothered me. Where is this smoke all coming from?

I asked him as painfully polite as I could, “Why is there so much hate?”

He answered, “A lot do not like maestro’s style. Where you sit and wait regardless of the price movement, but these are baggers,  I tell you.”

I was too innocent to smell the lies, but ever since then I kept an eye out looking for the fire where the smoke came from.

300 days of joining TAP:

Post-purge and hurting, I was awakened. I wrote my first piece that got enough reach: He calls himself The Orchestrator.

I wonder, what if Zee or any member of the House didn’t make any noise? Would I ever have learned that I was being fooled?

The very thing that made me hate him in the beginning was actually his the first gentle nab to save me. To save us.

If he took this sitting down, how many of us would have stayed the same way? Entranced by their charisma, a puppet of their lies, a victim of their false-promises?

How much more would I have lost?

Before I wrote this piece, Zee showed me some of the confessions he received. The messages, the blood, the pleading. Those whose family is starting to get torn apart because they became victims of hype. Retirement money of 30 years as OFW gone. Oh, the pain. I felt it, all of it. The loss, the despair, the anger.

I couldn’t just let it go. I had to do something… so I wrote.

This was almost Day 30 of knowing one another, the day I finally understood. He could choose to ignore, he could easily trade without giving half a pound of care for the others who get murdered on the street. But this, this was not fair, there are things in life that you must fight back. This was one of them.

And so he did in what ever way he knows about.

DAY 21 from The Beginning:


carry brand

The day Celeste was born.

Day 1:

reassuring things


Day 180:push lang


A hundred miracles and one. Bending towards each other, realizing we weren’t so different after all. How fascinating it is that things turned out this way. I wouldn’t even have imagined it. He turned out to be the opposite of everything I thought he was. In the beginning, we were secretly trying to prove ourselves right for the small portion of distrust we held on against each other.

Now, somewhere along the road, in between all the pictures of beautiful sunsets, delicious food, and midnight conversations, I found out that I don’t mind being wrong at all.

let that linger

I thought there was only one way of saving people’s lives. For some reason, even as a child, I wanted to serve and protect.

So I pledged my life to it.

Eventually, as I grew older, I realized life can kill you even before your body dies and that is one of the most horrifying ways to go.

I took pride in myself for being the only person in a room full of people who knew how to save a life.


And then, there he was…

Teaching me a new way how.


I didn’t imagine that one day I’ll be the one who needs saving but I’m glad it came when I reached out for it.

For every person who writes me a letter saying I’ve given them hope, I don’t care what you believe to be true, it is you who keeps me going.


Forever yours,



His favourite song. 🙂

8 thoughts on “The Beginning

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  1. Hi Celeste how are you?Gusto ko lang itanong regarding dun sa blog mo about the insider trading masusunduan pa ba yun?medyo nakakabitin para akong nagbabasa ng mystery novel and sobrang nakakaexcite lang hahaha. And by the way super galing mong magsulat nakakainggit hahaha.

  2. naiyak nman ako dito, kasabay ng walang humpay na malakas na ulan at hangin ng bagyo sa labas. Zeefreaks’ post brought me here nasa chapter one plang ako ng nobela 🙂

  3. Wow!!! Na inspire ako doon… Hayy very same problem, as a newbie trader and OFW… Gusto ko din ipadala sayo yung 1st message mo kay ZEE… newey thanks.

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