Saturday, September 10, 2016

STRANGER THINGS | More of That Strange 80s Stuff #5SecReview

I just finished watching all the 8 episodes of Netflix's latest hit series STRANGER THINGS!

Of course this show deserves a second season but first here's what I think about the first one.

Stranger Things got a lot of awesome reviews everywhere and for good reasons too, but it is still incomparable to HBO's cinematic masterpiece Game of Thrones.

But here are some of the good points that made it one of the most watched series of 2016:
  • The story written by the Duffer Brothers pays homage to 80s most famous story-tellers like Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King. The over-all environment of the series takes you back to some of the masters' early works.
  • Aside from the settings, the music also captured that 80s feel especially "Episode 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street" which features some of my favorite 80s music and the score was absolutely perfect.
  • Winona Ryder! Need I say more?
  • Actually I have to commend Winona with her performance here as Joyce Byers, the mother of Will who mysteriously went missing on Episode 1. This is by far her best performance as an actress yet (in my opinion). Although appearing first as an actress in the late 80s, Winona achieved showbiz fame in the 90s.
The series bears a lot of similarities with films of the same genre made during the 80s and has "Steven Spielberg" written on the plot from the start. Even saw some parts of "Super 8" somewhere in there. Super 8 is a 2011 Spielberg film.

But the similarities are not an accident. And the show didn't appear as a rip-off! In a way, it honored the masters. Telling the millennials that these are the stuff of great imagination back in the 80s and that's how stories are supposed to be told.

So it's not original nor visually spectacular, but it is an awesome story worth telling over and over again.

Stranger Things also stars Milly Bobby Brown (as the weirdo 11), Natalie Dyer (as nancy), Finn Wolfhard (as Mike), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Noah Schnapp (Will), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper) and Matthew Modine (as Dr. Martin Brenner).

Season 2 is scheduled to come out next year (2017).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Evolving Team Rain

I would just like to say that I am the extremely proud parent of two very wonderful kids, and seeing them grow to become responsible and kindhearted young adults makes me so happy... and old.

I would suggest for them to 'not grow old so fast' but we all know that's not up to them, or us.

It's the law of the universe - people and all living things grow and change. And CHANGE is the only constant thing in this world - that's why I'd like to inform those people who used the slogan "Change Is Coming" in the last election that it's wrong because "Change is Always Happening" whether you shout that from the top of your lungs or not.

Now, the kind of change that happens is determined by the events or situations from which it was created. We can will for the change that we want but sometimes it just take its own course.

Anyway, I'd just like to share that my 12 year old daughter just got her period the other day.

I was actually worried because she was absent for two days in school and kept on complaining about a persistent headache and abdominal pains. We were going to bring her to the clinic but our family doctor was out on a seminar. So bummer.

And then it happened.

So I called her mom and asked her what to do because 'haleer' I have never experienced that and don't actually know the ABCs on that subject.

What this all means is that, as a father, I am gonna do a little bit more 'hawk-eyeing' on her friends! Boys will need to go over the Hulk first before they can talk to my daughter! It's gonna be a Hulk Smash moment for the poor kid that tries!

Now my 17 year old son is very remarkable!

He was a victim of bullying in school which really affected his self-esteem. He actually skipped a school year because of that incident.

That's one of the reason why I am really advocating for various anti-bullying campaigns.  But it's a complex matter since there are many forms of bullying and a lot of factors why it is happening. Reasons may be rooted to clinical, psychological or experiential but whatever the case may be, it must be stopped and the correct way of dealing with the problem is not to eliminate the bullies (the DU30 way of doing things - I suppose) but to address the issues on a case-to-case basis - find out what the cause is and treat the root of the problem.

When you see bullying as a sickness and the bully as a victim of this disease - you can always find a win-win solution to it. Treat the problem and not the person. (and that goes with other social issues like drugs, alcoholism, etc.)

Getting rid of a complex problem takes more than just simply getting rid of the symptoms. It's always going to grow back because the root of the problem is still there - just like a fungus. So there.    

But going back to my son, growing-up was very difficult for him (and for us) because he was somewhat emotionally incapacitated because of that, but seeing him right now makes me want to cry tears of joy.

During his last year in Junior High, we were able to actually see him on stage performing long lines confidently for a school stage play. A side of him that we thought we'd never ever see.

And then just last week he's on the stage again together with his classmates for a school presentation - he's in Grade 11 now studying at St. Paul University Manila.

In Pokemon Go lingo, I think I have already earned enough Sky Candies and Neo Candies to bring them to their second stage of evolution. I wonder who will they become in their next stage - and I hope that I will still be here to see it when that happens. :)

Go Team Rain!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


written May 2010

Here is a typical local job wanted advertisement box that you'll find on leading newspapers today and specially on Sundays:


Female Only

not more than 28 years old

with at least 1 year experience

What's my interpretation?

Female Only

Well, if you're a male you got no chance of getting a job there and believe me, majority of the ads that you'll find on newspapers these days prefers female workers than male for reasons that aren't so clear to me.

I'm going to generalize that this would mean that there are more job opportunities for female workers than for male these days. So probably, there will be even more 'tambays' in the Philippines.

Some people are quick to judge men of being just lazy but look at the present social structure that they are living in right now. I will bet my new pants that if you count and categorize workers today, a lot of companies will have more female office workers than males, and majority of the men are either drivers, maintenance people, messengers or security guards.

It's ironic though that MOST of the top management positions in many companies are still mostly given to male executives. And why is that? 

Not more than 28 years old

This could be the new standard age limit for most non-technical and semi-technical job opportunities which qualifies majority of the able workers here in the Philippines.

However, what about those who are 29 years and older? What opportunities do they have if after their 28th birthday and they aren't still successful of establishing a career or getting a stable job?

Majority of those in the bracket of 30 something are already settled down and with kids. How are they to support their families if there are no job opportunities available for them?

With at least 1 year experience

Now this is truly ridiculous, well if you're in the bracket of below 28 years old, most probably you'll still be looking for work experiences but majority of the ads I see requires job seekers to have at least a year's work experience.

A friend of mine commented saying:
"Langya' kaya ka nga nag-aaply ng trabaho para magkaroon ng experience tapos hahanapan ka ng experience."
What does this mean - well, if you've just graduated, this job is not for you and maybe majority of the jobs being advertised are not for you. What a bummer, finish four years of college and you still need an experience to get a job, but how are you gonna get an experience if no one will hire you in the first place.

What a dumb society we live in.

The Philippines has one of the most unfair employment requirements in the world. In other places it is illegal to indicate age or gender as a requirement for work, not unless it is DEEMED necessary.

My OFW friends once told me, that in the countries where they've work - and they have worked in many different places already - most establishments don't have any age or gender requirement. As long as you are fit and able and passed all the interviews you'll most likely to get the job.

The stupidest thing is that here in the Philippines, agencies who handle recruitment of workers for the same establishments abroad still adds the age and gender requirements.

Apparently, if you wanted to get that job and you didn't pass the age and gender requirement, you'll have to go to that country and apply personally because the agencies here are making it impossible for a lot of people to get in.

It's hard to get ahead in this life when there are a lot of systems of injustices and unfair practices prevailing in our society. Life is already hard as it is but other people tend to make it even harder for others.


written May 2010
"Eto na ang break mo... KAGATIN MO NA!"

I wonder how Robin Padilla got his big break in show business?

Actually, I really don't understand the concept of a "Big Break" maybe it's because I don't feel like anything like that has ever happened to me before.

Someone told me that "Luck is the event of being ready for an opportunity when it happens."

So, luck may also be called as a "Big Break"

And when you missed out on that "Big Break" that may be attributed to being "Unlucky" or having a "Bad Luck" or any other extreme phrases you can think of to express disappointments.

Well, if that's the case then I think I've had my share of "Big Breaks" as well in the past.
Sadly, 'Big Breaks' are not meant to last. They're one shot deals that disappears when taken for granted or when not fully realized (understood or accepted).

So maybe, it was really entirely my fault that my "Big Breaks" didn't last that long.

Let me cite some instances.

Two years of investing and putting into trial a lot of systems to find out what works and what didn't.. and after finally setting up a good system and was about to reap the rewards of all my hard work somebody shows up, inexperienced and incompetent and with all the wrong motives, snatches up your two years work and networks.

This person was the anointed one.. the one baptized in a river and to whom the boss' finds favor (if you get my drift).

The opportunity here is to kiss the buts of the bosses and you get to stay in your place. BUT I am never that good at kissing buts - I am however good at kicking them.

To make the story short - I kicked buts and I got sacked. :)

Not very good playing with incompetent people, it usually makes my stomach sick.

If I did, I might still be there reaping. So... it was really my fault.

This incident happened to me twice.. my reaction was the same and I got the same result.

There must be something wrong with me! hehehe.

That's why I will never be able to make it inside politics. It's a very messy place and I don't like messy places. I can never condition myself to see a messy place and not do anything about it.

I will never understand the concept of a "Big Break" entirely but maybe I'll just have to hope that I will still get mine, someday. 

What's Your Greatest Achievement?

written on January, 2010

I was thinking about this routine job interview question in the internet that I found the other day.

"What was your greatest achievement so far?"

It caught my attention because:

1). It's like a question that would likely be addressed to Homer Simpson and then I laughed at some of his possible answers.

2). Because frankly, it's a question I haven't thought about yet.

So I paused and then contemplate on my answer. I imagined myself writing a lot of figures and references on the space provided but instead my answer came out like this:


I was able to accomplish all the projects and programs that I've handled with flying colors even if it is out of my league.

I was fortunate to have been a part and be transformed as an instrument for developing programs that helped a lot of people most specially the poor.

I was able to meet a lot of people and somehow made an impact in their lives no matter how little or how big.

These things did not make me rich.. but I am blessed with friends abundantly.

I may not have made a career out of the things that I do.. but the experiences and memories are worth more than any treasures in the world.


My Family.

I have been blessed with two wonderful and loving kids and a very understanding and exceptional wife.

I wouldn't ask for anything more.

(except for a house on a lot, a family car, trust fund for the kids, pocket cash for our family vacation around the world... hehehe) - of course I edited this part out.

The Out of the Ordinary Juan

written in December, 2009 

There are people that you meet in ordinary places and circumstances that seems to make your life a bit easier, more livable and more enjoyable – these people comes in different shapes and sizes but they are a bit extraordinary.

For example, this morning, there was this person who rode on the same Jeepney that Sky and I took going to her school.

He took the seat up front near the driver and was carrying two sling bags. We were seated at the opposite side and right in the middle of the bench.

He was about to pay for his fare when all of a sudden the passengers on his side of the car and almost all at the same time brought out their money to pay for their fares too. This person then reach out for the fares of all the other passengers one by one and with a smile each time. Not a single soul said ‘thank you’ – what would you expect, this is the City of Manila – but he just smiled anyway. When at last every single fare and change was delivered, he took out his money and pay the driver his own fare.

He alighted the at the Pureza LRT station along with most of the passengers and then a new set of passengers entered the passenger jeep.

The last of the new batch was a middle-aged woman carrying a small bag and she was trying to get a seat in the middle but the Jeepney was already full so she has no other choice but to get the seat up front nearest to the driver, the same place where the kind man was seated earlier.

She took out her cellfone and texted away. Then, the passengers from the back and almost all at the same time brought out their money to pay for their fares. There were people trying to pass the fares to her because she was nearer the driver’s seat but the woman just texted and texted not minding the other passengers.

The person next to her was forced to make long stretches just to bring the fares to the driver’s hand.

One by one the passengers went down and seeing that her side of the bench was already free the woman moved to the back. The only one left in the Jeepney was her, me and sky.

She then brought out her fare and then reach out to me and said “pakisuyo po” - of course I reached for her fare and then inched my way to bring her fare to the driver.

After seeing that her fare was safely delivered she then went back to texting again.

Realizing the irony of this trip, I suddenly missed the person who was kind enough to reach for the passengers fare earlier and began to wonder why everyone can’t be like that.

Maybe this small realization could become a guide for us in selecting the people that we want in our lives - whether a friend, a lover or even our next President.

We should select people that makes life easier.  People who are kind. People who goes out of their way to reach out and help and people you’ll miss when they’re not around.

Leaders, servants or just the plain out of the ordinary JUAN.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Winning the Lotto

*WINNING THE LOTTO, originally written May 2010 on

I am an on-and-off fan of the PCSO Lottery Game since it started. An occasional gambler so-to-speak.

I have not bought a ticket in months and then suddenly last Thursday I was drawn to the booth once again to try my luck on the growing pot - which was at 190 Million Pesos already at that time.

I have lost faith in lottery. Probably because I have never had the chance of winning an amount bigger than the usual 20 or 40 Pesos consolation prizes.
Lately, I’ve noticed that even if the pot was extremely high – the lines in various Lotto outlets are shorter.

Maybe, many people have lost faith as well on the government-run game of chance.

This assumption led me to talked to people who used to put in big moolas on lottery tickets but did not made any attempt to buy a single ticket during the last draw period.

They said that it is better to buy tickets for the draws with lesser pot money, the draws are more credible than the big draws where the prize will most likely be given to only one or two winners because the draws are rigged.

Of course there was no way of proving the allegations.

However, I was able to talk to some people who knew someone that actually won the lottery – so they believe that the draws are legit.

I have also talked to people waiting in line to buy lottery tickets.

Some of them said that they go for it because of the element of CHANCE even when they know that their chances of winning is almost near-impossible.

Can you imagine the number of combinations generated for the 6/42 game alone?

5,245,786 combinations! You actually get better chances of being hit by a lightning twice.

Some said they buy tickets but not as many as before because the times are hard and that they also know that there is a big possibility that the draws might be rigged.

I said, if you know this… then why take a chance?

Their answers: “Nagbabaka-sakali lang”

Whatever the case may be, all I know is that those people in the lotto booth line are people who have put a variable amount of hope and faith that lottery will change their lives - for the better.

Armed with hope on a piece of paper which to most people who join the lottery, is the most priceless item in their lives - until after the draw is done.

MINE, right now, is just another piece of small trash in our waste basket.

Friday, July 15, 2016


And the sign says "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
So I put my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that, huh, me working for you"

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs
Fuckin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign...

That was from a song way back in 2007 by a band called TESLA that talks about SIGNS! It was actually a revival from an even older band called Five Man Electrical Band who created the song in 1971.

Here's what the TESLA version sounds like:
Anyway, those were my kind of songs back in the early 90s - Posters of Tesla, Warrant, Skid Row and Motley Crew used to be all over my room's wall. Then Nirvana came, and I had to redo the whole set-up with a touch of Grunge.

That piece of personal history was brought to you by the song SIGNS, which is actually the main reason why I am writing this post.

Contrary to what the Tesla song is trying to imply, not all SIGNS are bad. Most of them are actually crucial for us humans as a society. Let's just say that WE ARE LOST without them.

And some SIGNS even go the extra mile by influencing our way of life. And I am here to talk to you about 5 SIGNS that has indeed made a lasting impression in mine.


This SIGN is on every institutions found here on the face of the planet.  It's like common sense already - if you have no proof of identity then people won't trust you to go inside their place.
We learned in school early that our name and face on a piece of paper and plastic, can actually give you leverage on many things. Well for one you'll have access to almost everything plus you automatically become part of a community that wears the same kind of paper and plastic.

When you get older, you'll find that having an ID is also a necessity - for work, as a requirement for various applications and a way to get more IDs. That's why, the more IDs you have, the more privileged you become.

So that makes me an indigent, 'cause what I do have on my wallet right now is an almost expired Postal ID. :)


You get the hell out of the neighbors well trimmed Bermuda because you'll mess up the landscaping!

But there's more to this sign than just aesthetics! It teaches us also about respect! Respect for other people's property. Respect for Nature. Respect for Life (however small or insignificant it may be).


I came across this sign when I first started working. This was actually part of a Japanese Workplace Organization manual that promotes order and discipline in traffic (people or vehicle) in and outside of the work environment.
The idea is very simple - always keep to the right side of everything. For example, in staircases, when you follow this principle, people going up or going down will not have any problem because everyone's on the right side (a space to the left is always made available).

However, I am not so sure if LRT and MRT personnels have been introduced to 5S because some stations are actually violating this basic principle by directing passengers to go left instead of right when going up the first level of stairs and then you decide which way to go (left or right) when you get to 2nd or 3rd level - Pureza LRT station is one of them.

Not much of a big deal to some but it's quite confusing especially for a society that has been trained to Keep Right.  


This is an unusual sign, but one that is very important.

I used to work for a NGO and we have this canteen that has this sign posted on the wall. What this means is that dining customers will need to free or clean-up their table after eating.
It's not because the concessionaire lacks the manpower to service its dining customers but it was more like a way for the organization to train its volunteers, workers and visitors the value of taking full responsibility for one's action and self-reliance as well.

Good values is always worth all the trouble!


You'll see this sign usually on Libraries, Hospitals, Retreat Houses, Recording Studios and Churches.
It's a sign that teaches us to respect the rights of other people.

But what it actually does is that it trains us to have more self-control. For many, a silencing activity would prove to be a difficult task but once we've mastered the art of being silent - we can now claim that we have full control of both mind and body.

This skill will be one of the most important tool that you can use to face life's many challenges.

Self-Control, Self-Reliance, Order, Respect and Identity. Just some of  the things that SIGNS have taught me over the years.

For all those who have questions about this post or this blog in general, please read the sign below:

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Naranasan mo na bang maipit sa loob ng Jeepney?

Naranasan mo na bang magbayad ng pitong piso habang nakaupong dalawang piso?

Masakit po lalo na sa binti. Yun tipong tuwing pe-preno ang sasakyan e inaantay mo na madulas yun pwet mo sa pagkaka-upo at malaglag ka ng tuluyan. Well actually di ka naman talaga naka-upo in the first place.. nakadikit lang ang tumbong mo doon sa upuan.

Gustuhin mo man sanang sumabit na lang e hindi na pwede dahil puno na rin ang lugar na pagsasabitan.

"E bakit ko naman ginagawa sa sarili ko yun?" - you might ask.

Bakit hindi na lang ako lumipat sa ibang jeep para makaupo ng matiwasay? Kokonti lang ba ang mga pampasaherong Jeep?

Naku hindi po, sandamakmak po at nagkalat ang Jeep sa buong Pilipinas. Ang byaheng Escoda-Pandacan na nga lang sa Maynila e halos pila-pila na sa kalsada sa sobrang dami kaya kahit napaka-ikli lang naman ng bya-byahehin e umaabot pa ng kalahating oras o higit pa dahil napakabagal ng usad at bawat kanto e humihinto at nag-aabang ng pasahero.

So ano talaga ang problema?

Una sa lahat kung sasakay ka sa pila, punuan po talaga yun at hindi aalis ang jeep hanggat hindi nakukumpleto ang dami ng pasahero na itinakda dito.

Halimbawa sa sukatan, nagpa-upo si manong ng 10 maninipis na tao at nagkasya kaya sasabihin sa konduktor na sampuan siya.

E hello, hindi naman lahat ng pasahero mo e maninipis na tao. Paano kung may sumakay na foreigner, German, sin laki ni Arnold Scharzenneger? O isang tao na ang pants size ay 40 pataas? Paano?

Adjust-adjust din sana dapat sa bilang kaso ang kadalasan nilang pinag-aadjust ay mga pasahero. Kaya yun iba, stomach in - chest out na lang para magkasya.

Meron din style na alternate positioning na tinatawag. Yun isa sa bandang loob habang yun kasunod ay nakaupo na bandang palabas. And so on and so forth - para lang magkasya.

E bakit nga ko hindi na lang lumipat?

Ginagawa ko talaga yun, lalo na kung di naman ako masyado nagmamadali - kaso po gawin ko man ang paglipat e andun pa din po ang problema at malilipat lang po sa ibang tao ang pagsasakripisyo.

Parang yun sa school ko lang yan dati nung college - sabi sa amin nung administrator, "Kung di n'yo gusto ang patakaran dito sa paaralan e lumipat na lang kayo,"

Ang galing di ba? Parang no choice di ba?

Siguro ang mas marapat natin pagtuunan ng pansin ay kung paano kaya maso-solve ang problema na ito.

Sa tagal ko na namamasahe at sumasakay ng jeep, naisip ko, na siguro ang solusyon lang dito ay ang pagkakaroon ng isang maayos na regulation na magsasabi o maglilimita sa isang pampublikong sasakyan sa dami ng tao na pwede nitong isakay.

Halimbawa, dapat may sticker o karatola ang jeep na nakalagay kung ilan ang maximum na pwede nito isakay sa magkabilang upuan. Pag nakalagay ay 10 eto ay sampuan. At maaaring magreklamo ang pasahero kung lalabis dito ang isasakay ng driver.

Dapat ay sa simula ay may maayos na batayan ng pagsusukat. Isang standard na kinokonsidera ang laki ng bawat mananakay.

Dapat pagmultahin din ang lalabag sa panuntunan na ito. Parang sa Ayala, Makati lang di ba, bawal magsakay at magbaba kung saan saan - kaya natin yun ipatupad.

Malamang ay hindi eto 'applicable' sa mga probinsya at sa mga lugar na kakaunti lang ang pampasaherong sasakyan - subalit dito sa Metro Manila... matagal na sana eto nagawa.

Ang isa pang problema ay ang mga nagmamadaling mga pasahero na gagawin ang lahat para lang makasakay at makasabit sa pampasaherong Jeepney. Alam ko na sa maraming lugar ay ipinagbabawal na rin ang pagsabit - subalit hindi rin eto naipapatupad ng maayos dahil sa mga kadahilanang:

  • Welcome sa mga drivers ang sabit dahil eto ay dagdag na kita, kaya kahit bawal e go lang ng go.
  • Wala naman mga traffic enforcers na naninita - wala kasing malinaw na batas ukol dito.
  • Kagustuhan rin naman eto ng mga pasahero.      

So ang tanong: Kaayusan ba para sa mga nakakarami o pagtanggap sa nakaugalian na para sa kapakanan lamang ng iilang mga mananakay.

Siyempre magrereklamo din ang mga operators kasi mababawasan sila ng kita. Dahil nakatulong naman eto para pagaanin ang kalagayan ng mga mananakay, siguro naman ay hindi naman tayo magrereklamo kung may dagdag na kahit piso lang sa pamasahe.

Kapalit naman nito ay kaayusan at ginhawa ng bawat mananakay.
editorial cartoon by Jess Abrera

Friday, January 8, 2016

DOTC Launches New MRT - LRT Fitness Program

With barely six months of office work left, the big bosses of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) launches its new fitness program for all Metro Manila commuters through the MRT and LRT train systems.

Here are the main features of the said program:

  • The fitness activity starts with a healthy walk UP and DOWN the train stations since almost all the Escalators and Elevators are already rendered unusable and not safe to use. For beginners,you may choose to start with LRT which is a slightly shorter climb compared to MRT. For experts, try the Shaw Boulevard and Quezon Avenue stations.
  • Another great activity in the said fitness program are the long lines. A long line going up the stations, one more long line to the ticket booth and finally one more long line to get inside the platforms. For non-beginners you may choose not to get the BEEP cards for longer waiting periods. The activity is said to help strengthen your legs, improve stamina and PATIENCE.
  • For Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts, get your game on by riding the trains during Rush Hours. Improve your blocking, balance and defensive techniques especially when getting out of the trains while other passengers who are racing to get inside tries to prevent you from coming out.
  • For those who enjoys a little more challenge.  Join the advance program by riding the trains that usually breaks down in between stations and add walking on the railway as part of your routine.
  • You don't need to enroll in swimming lessons to improve your breathing. Ride the trains again during Rush Hour and see how long you can hold your breath. Other passengers who either forgot to take a shower or brush their teeth will motivate you to meet your targets for the day.
  • Finally, get your excess fats off fast and easy by riding the LRT and MRT everyday. Choose the train sections that has little or no air conditioner. The old trains usually have these as a special feature. I've experienced it first hand and it is way better and cheaper than sauna or those fancy hotbeds and steam baths.
Old folks, pregnant women and PWDs are DISCOURAGED to take this program.

So that's it!

I am so glad that this government and its Daang Matuwid program is taking the over-all fitness of the Filipino people into consideration and a PRIORITY by setting-up a lot of ways to make us SUFFER (for our fitness goals)!