Tuesday, December 1, 2015

VOTE for Your Sons and Daughters, Your Nieces and Nephews and Their Friends

This is just short and I hope that you will read this!

This is a public appeal to all of you who will cast your votes for the National Election next year. 
Please VOTE for the future and not for what is at the present.
Please VOTE for your sons and daughters, your nieces and nephews and their friends.
 
Please VOTE for those who don't have a voice yet,
or who's voice not loud enough to matter to anyone you've ever met.
 
Please VOTE not to avenge or correct or make amends.
Please VOTE with your heart for the young people to defend.
 
If things you imagined, look and feel right at the time,
Remember that it might not really be the best for those you'll left behind.
 
So, Please VOTE thinking not of today but tomorrow,
Vote for our sons and daughters, and their future that we borrowed.

What feels right at the present may not be well and good for the future. 

History tells us that many people have followed charismatic leaders of the old world like Hitler and Mussollini. Many people felt at that time that these leaders will be their saviors, one that will deliver them from poverty and the injustices of the world.

Just like what a lot of Filipinos are looking for right now - a savior, the ONE leader that will deliver!

Guess what, the so-called saviors of the old world I've mentioned gave us World War II and a lot of dead bodies, many of whom are children whose future were stolen by the very people who have decided their fate through a single VOTE - their mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and all their adult friends.

So my friends, I would like to remind all of you not to VOTE wisely but rather to VOTE for the future. Not your own future, but the future of the next generation.   

Monday, November 30, 2015

CHRISTMAS IS COMING a Poem by Kirsten Sky

My daughter just finished writing her first poem about Christmas!

I love poetry and I'd like to share to you what she wrote, not because she's my daughter but because it is a very lovely and beautifully written poem.

The title of the poem is "Christmas Is Coming" - I copied the poem here without changing anything (no I did not edit or proofread her work). She wrote it in less than an hour while watching some Mine Craft show on YouTube.

My kids amazes me all the time!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING
by Kirsten Sky, 11 years old

If you ask me what Christmas means,
It is more than I have ever dreamed.
It spreads around to different countries and places,
and it brings joy and happiness to people's faces.

Christmas means getting together with your family,
it means enjoying with other people not just you and not just me.
It means giving to other family members,
when kids and adults will always remember.

It is when a very special man visits everywhere,
who has a very red suit and long white hair.
A man named Santa who give gifts to everyone,
he travels around the world until the job is done.

The meaning of Christmas is when a child was born,
a child named Jesus is truly formed.
We now celebrate his birthday on December twenty-five,
when Jesus was now part of our lives.

That is what Christmas means,
and it is more than I have ever dreamed.
So please do not worry, Christmas isn't a fright,
and I say to you all have a good night!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

FINDING GOD

There are places and certain situations in our lives where we find something which are almost MAGICAL. SPIRITUAL. UNEXPLAINABLE.

Ordinary experiences but with extraordinary meanings. A place where we almost feel like finding GOD, or should I say, where GOD finds us.

I have always thought of myself as becoming a little more of a cynic than religious these past years.

Faithless.

Maybe it’s because of the things I’ve seen and the people that I’ve met. The Philosophies of the modern world. The despair of the adult world.

But it was not always that way.

A Mentor.

When I was with the Knights of the Altar, I met this person who inspired me to be good. He introduced me to GOD for the very first time.

He inspired me to be CHRIST-like in words and in action. He taught me how to become a good follower, to be loyal and to be faithful. And that completely changed my life forever in every aspect.

His name was Bro. Dennis Paez, SDB (now a Bosconian priest)

A Mission.

I joined the Catholic Youth Organization in the Philippines (CYOP) National Secretariat Office as a Program Officer way back in 1996.

I am really not so sure about the job that was offered to me and if I will be effective in doing it but I applied anyway even if I am still connected to another company. I got hired and then left my previous job to do something that I don't know and earn a salary that is way below what my previous employer was paying me.

That is actually the mystery in that experience.

But as it turns out, the CYO job will bring me more than just a pay slip.

It gave me a backbone. A direction. A purpose in life.

My work allowed me to discover my passion and the special gifts that I possess. GOD-Given and meant to be shared. And that made the job even more fulfilling and my life worth living.

A Mother.

The Our Mother of Perpetual Help National Shrine in Baclaran is a very special place for me.

A mixture of chaos and tranquility. Of peace and contests. Of old traditions and technology.

A place of extremes. But it is a place where I have found peace.

I have worked there for some time as a multi-media staff. And before that I have been designing modules and multi-media presentations for the Shrine Team on a project basis.

I don’t really know why, but somehow, I will never forget my experiences there and the people that I’ve come to know.

The people there are different. And heir works are genuinely motivated by faith.

I have found GOD in their faces especially with their rector at that time Fr. Joseph Echano, CSsR and in almost everyone.

I envy them right now.

It has always been my wish to let others see the face of GOD in mine.

But right now, I can’t even find my own.

But It was not always that way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On The NAIA Tanim-Bala or Laglag Bala Incident

I agree with Roilo Golez.

This is with regards to his statement on his social media accounts about the alleged "Tanim-Bala" or "Laglag Bala" incident. Here's the full text:
"The solution to the "laglag bala" issue is quite simple. When a passenger is caught with one or two bullets, just confiscate and let the passenger go. No questions, no delay. Don't give the security personnel the power to decide. Just like what I have observed in other international airports abroad (San Francisco, DC), any prohibited article like liquids, small knives, are simply confiscated. I repeat: Don't give the security personnel the power to decide on minor stuff."
I have no way of knowing if there is really a syndicate inside NAIA that plants bullets on the bags of poor passengers, just to get some bribe money during interrogations.

But what is real is that the security procedures being  implemented now in airports are indeed very tempting and somewhat unreasonably rigid for a minor offense. 

Yes, it's for the safety of all passengers but we must also take into consideration - COMMON SENSE!

That's why I agree in what Mr. Golez said.

When security personnel have reason  to believe that you possess a bullet (one or two - not an entire magazine of course) in any of your belongings, here's what security personnel SHOULD do:
  1. Conduct a thorough search of all your belongings in the presence of witnesses.
  2. Conduct an interview, get your information, inspect your papers and do a background check.
  3. File a Report.
  4. Confiscate the Bullet/s.
  5. Let you go with a warning.
The ruling on the possession of 'a' bullet in NAIA is ridiculously unreasonable. Possession of firearms, drugs and drug paraphernalia is another matter.

DON'T GIVE SECURITY PERSONNEL THE POWER TO DECIDE ON MINOR STUFF!

INTERNET BREAK

Ilang linggo na akong walang REGULAR and STABLE INTERNET CONNECTION

Been relying heavily on smartphone prepaid data plans to go online kaso mahirap, kasi it's so unreliable and most of the time LIMITED access lang, kaya ayun, tambak ang mga post event RainCHECK blog articles ko.

A-NEY- WAAY... I'm connected now.

Having limited online access these past weeks however did have some positive effects.

For example, I was able to clean-up some parts of our unit, sort out my things and earn some money by selling my stuff through a rummage sale.

I was able to look at some old photos and all my different collections - coins, key chains and other memorabilia - and yes, I am sentimental like that.

I was able to JUST LISTEN to music, which I don't do much anymore.

I was able to sort my priorities once again and made some important realizations.

I was able to WATCH a movie or two - uninterruptedly.

It's like I am taking a break from WRITING STUFF. LIVING MORE but not as a self-appointed LIFE CHRONICLER.

BREAK IS OVER! :)

P.S.

But honestly, I just have to mention - internet connection here in the Philippines is not only very expensive but also unreliable! 

I hope I live to see the day where our government invests on the full scale development of our internet capacity.  WISHFUL THINKING - Sa AGRICULTURAL sector nga (which is our country's main industry) hindi ma-prioritize - ang INTERNET pa?

Oh Well! 

        

Monday, October 5, 2015

What Would You Do With a 10,000 Pesos Worth of Savings?

If you only have ten thousand pesos in your bank account right now, what would you do with that money?

Where would you invest it?

What would you do with it to make it grow?

This question is not hypothetical. You may answer.
10,000 pesos is really not much these days but it is still an amount that is very hard to raise for the majority of Filipinos. And having an extra 10,000 in your bank account is really a big deal. Well, it was an even bigger deal some 10 or 20 years ago but we beggars don't have the privilege to be choosers. :) 
 
It's hard to earn money but what's even harder is making that hard-earned money stay and grow.

I know someone, a good friend of mine, who won a million pesos in a noon time game show a few years back. After about a year, he was more broke than he was before winning that 1 million jackpot prize.

Of course, there were a number of reasons why that happened. He gave some of the money to family and relatives. He helped a lot of friends. He's very friendly, but after winning that jackpot, his friends became more friendlier. He invested some to land titles and investment groups and he got swindled. A lot of people borrowed money from him without giving the money back. He was able to put up a small store but sadly because of poor management it closed down.

But the main reason was, he was totally unprepared.

Here comes the 1 million - but what to do with that 1 million? - No Idea! 

Ever wondered why Aladdin got only 3 wishes from the Genie in the magic lamp?

This was the Genie's way of helping Aladdin to decide not with his emotion and to think things through and carefully before making his decisions.

With that condition, he was able to weigh his options, to think of the consequences of whatever decisions he will make, and to prioritize the things that matters most.

Sad to say, my friend got the 1 million - Genie not included!

So if you only have 10,000 worth of savings right now, what would you do with that money?

Thoughts on Being Powerless

Note: This post was originally written in 2009

Somebody asked me earlier if I was sour-graping.

My answer was:
"If I was, at least I have the guts to get my sentiments heard or seen in a channel where the powerful will not be able to use their power and authority over me. While on the other hand... you and your colleagues, sour-grape every single day but without expressing it because of fear."
Powerless.

What does that mean?

Well, it might pertain to the poor, the homeless, the prisoners, the minority, the out-of-school, the malnourished, the sick, the jobless, etc.

Or, it might also describe those who are rich but abused, people who are being misguided by charismatic leaders, the mistreated and demoralized employees who have nowhere else to go and those who seek justice but can't find it anywhere.

One thing I've learned from being a youth leader, is that when you are truly determined and focused on doing something, and you really believe in it badly, nothing will ever stop you. Not age, height, gender or education.

Unless, you allowed it to.

So being powerless is not the doing of the powerful. It is our own doing.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

We remain silenced because we choose to be silent.

We remain mistreated because we choose to be mistreated.

We remain to be powerless because we choose to be powerless.

So, I refused.

I refused to remain silent, I refused to be mistreated. I refused to be powerless.

I don't expect other people to understand or even emphatize with me and frankly I don't even care. This is what makes me an individual.
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, October 4, 2015

PACO on a Sunday Morning

We're starting a Sunday morning ritual today!

We used to attend mass in the afternoon.  But lately, we found it very difficult to attend the mass service together in the afternoon because of many unavoidable circumstances. And then, there's the heavy downpours that usually happens in the afternoon.

So starting today, we've decided to attend the Sunday early morning liturgical celebrations.
San Fernando De Dilao Parish
The crucifix at the center of the main altar of San Fernando De Dilao
Sto. Nino
PACO on a Sunday morning especially in the vicinity of the San Fernando De Dilao Parish (otherwise known as Paco Church) is bustling with church-goers, weekend shoppers and market vendors.

This the typical Pinoy church area setting. Where there's a parish or a chapel - there's also a school and most likely a public market in the area or within walking distance from the church.
The main gate of San Fernando De Dilao Parish - at the side is the Paco Catholic School Building
Fruits in season: Lanzones and Rambutan
It's the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi today and there's a scheduled blessing of animals after the 10am mass at San Fernando De Dilao. But as early as 8am, we've already seen some dogs inside the parish grounds as well as some stray cats congregating somewhere nearby.
After The Mass
McDonalds
Breakfast
After the mass, we had our breakfast at McDonald's located just in front of the church and then went home via the Paco Public Market area.

So I guess everything went well today.

Note: San Fernando De Dilao Parish is located at Paz corner Pedro Gil, accessible via Jeepneys coming from Taft Avenue, Pedro Gil or Faura and going to Sta. Ana or Guadalupe via Herran. The Paco Public Market is located at Pedro Gil near Angel Linao Street. Within walking distance from San Fernando De Dilao Parish.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thoughts on Power and Justice

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." The Dark Knight 2008

One of the questions I ran into at Yahoo Answers Philippines (YAP) was: 

"Would you approve of vigilantes? Or the works of vigilantes?"

Categorically I answered: 

Well, it is never okay for anyone to hold such extreme powers, 'cause like all things with power, it gets abused.

I don't need to write a very long testimonial to prove this point, just grab any kind of History books that you can find and you'll know what I mean.

And then, I came across another question again at YAP that says: 
"Doesn't it embarrass Catholics that the Vatican didn't oppose Nazi Germany? Actually, the Vatican sent a letter of congratulations with the elected officials, and did nothing when the Nazi's rounded up and killed and shipped the Jews off to the concentration camps in clear view from the Vatican. That would bother me. Has the Catholic church apologized for this?" - she added.
My answer was:

YES, in fact they did apologized for this.

Actually, it was one humble and admirable man in Vatican who apologized for all the sins of all the clergies and Catholic leaders of the past.
The late Saint Pope John Paul II.
FYI. During that time, it was not only Vatican who turned a blind eye on the evil that was happening in the world. A lot of nation did.

History is written so that man would learn from the mistakes of the past and to celebrate mankind's achievements and not to dwell on it. Everything happens for a reason.

No one is immune to power. Even the inherently good can sometimes turn a blind eye because of power.

Priests and Politicians. Power has a way of changing the very nature of every person and history has a funny way of repeating itself.

Who would apologize for our mistakes then?

Another person overpowered by sickness?

Another one humbled by age?

Another one sickened by the hypocrisy of a bewildered society? - Where wrong is made right and the righteous, wronged because of self-serving agendas, pride and the lust for more power?

Who?

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Choose To Be Happy

"True happiness is found within, sometimes you have to dig deep inside to find it but it is definitely not found on the outside."

You can search and search the whole world to find it but you wont.

What inspired me to share this thought was a recent blog from a good friend of mine. Actually, I tried to drop a comment on her blog but I wasn't able to because I missed a field and all the things that I wrote there got erased. Hope she reads this, 'cause this will be like a very long blog comment on her post.

The blog was titled "I'll be alright" and there is one line there that says, "How can I be happy when the people that matters to me are not happy for me" - or something like that.

So, I thought for a second and with the Linkin Park song "numb" playing at the back of my head I began to wonder how we humans often based our happiness on what others feel or say about us.

I am 'Guilty as Charged' on several occasions.

So I guess it is human nature. But on the other hand, maybe, most of us do not fully understand the concept of happiness.
"True happiness is found within, sometimes you have to dig deep inside to find it but it is definitely not found on the outside."
People are happy when they are in love right? And when people are asked "who makes them happy" they quickly reply with the names of their loved ones. (their spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend, parents, best friend, siblings, children, or even their dogs or cats)
You can quickly answer the who, what, where, when questions of happiness and even the how. But how about the WHY?

Why are you happy?

You are happy.. not because a person makes you happy but because you chose to feel 'happiness' when that person is around you. So, regardless of what he or she does for you, you will always be happy with that person because you chose to.

You are happy.. not because your job makes you happy but because you chose to feel 'happiness' with the job you have right now. So even if it is, according to survey, a job that is very least liked by a lot of people, you will still be at your best and have a positive outlook on it because you chose to.
People, Jobs, Gifts makes you smile or drool or shout with ecstasy but it doesn't really mean that you are happy.

There are people who have almost everything - fame, fortune, success, etc., but still they are very much unhappy and there are people who have almost nothing but still they are happy, hopeful and thankful.

What's the catch?
There's no catch. It's just you and the way you see things inside and around you that determines your state of happiness. Here are some of the basic things I've come across that might help us condition ourselves to be happy despite of...
  • Learn to Appreciate. Appreciate people, the simplest things, the ordinary but meaningful, the goodness in everyone, the lessons learned from disasters and failures and in the effort of everyone.
  • Learn to Understand. Understand people and things as they are and not how you thought they or it should be. Understand that there are things you can control or influence and things that you cannot.
  • Learn to be Contented. Contented but not in mediocrity. Believe that Excellence is to humans and Perfection is to God. Believe that not everything that you wish for and willed to will be yours and will go your way and that whatever results there may have been to your effort is all but a rewarding and learning experience.
  • Learn to look Forward and not Backward. Forward is goal setting. Forward is doing things for a 'bigger than life' purpose. Forward is learning from the past but not letting yourself be haunted by it. Forward is seeing things on a positive outlook - it's seeing how closer you are to the goal. Forward is forgiving.
  • Learn to look Inward and not Outward or Sideways. It is seeing yourself for who you really are. What you are capable of, and the beauty and strength that is uniquely yours. Inward is not looking for approval or appreciation or recognition. It is the development of self-worth and pride regardless of what others may say. Inward is not comparing oneself to other people. We are all unique beings that is why we are called individuals. Those who succeed in influencing others whether in fashion, business, arts, sports or leadership are those people who are truly in touch with their own unique qualities.
  • Learn to say 'Thank You.' One great way to be happy is to acknowledge the things you are blessed with every single day. (a great weather, a nice talk with an old friend, a small note that is gibberish but was written by your 4 year old child) Things that matter. Things that are dear. Just say 'Thank you.'
One final note: Being happy requires oneself to be prepared to accept happiness. True Happiness will reside in ones heart when it is ready. When the heart is empty of all the bitterness and the impurities.

When you choose to be happy, you will be happy.

COMMUTING | It's More Fun In The Philippines

What's the difference between pinoy commuter cabs and foreign cabs?

Cab drivers in the US or in any other countries would ask you where you're going and then take you there if you have the money to pay for the fare.

Cab drivers here in the Philippines would ask you where you're going and will only take you there if they're headed that way too or if you're going to pay them extra.

That humorous analogy was not actually a joke but an illustration of one of the most known Filipino street culture. Did you know that there are many surprisingly intriguing things about the Pinoy commuting public and their day to day experiences in the street?

COMMUTERS

I belong to the millions of Filipinos who have no other choice but to look forward to commuting every single day of their lives.

Who would not be enticed by the fragrance of carbon monoxides and dangerous fumes emitted by vehicles 24/7. Who would exchange the negative feelings generated from a rush hour traffic on all the major thoroughfare in Metro Manila. Who would not miss the pushing, and the sweaty and smelly co-commuters inside the over crowded buses and trains of LRT and MRT.

Seriously though, (so long as there are no unreasonable traffic jams and heavy downpours) I would prefer to commute and use public transportation to get to where I'm going.

I love to travel. For me, it is a very relaxing and mind-enriching activity 'cause I love to observe things. This is one reason why I seldom sleep while travelling.

Commuting refers to people travelling, usually daily, to work places beyond their own town, cities or villages.

Here in the Philippines, If you are a commuter - it would generally mean that you don't have a car and that you are using some form of public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs, buses, trolleys and trains to get to where you want to go.

"Commute lang ako yaya, kasi sira yung car ko eh."

Commuting here in the Philippines, has evolved also into a branding mechanism for those who have and those who don't have. The rich and the poor. The upper class and the middle and lower class citizens. 

Whether we like it or not, cars have become, not only a mode of transportation but also a status symbol for the rich. That's why when the recent oil price hikes occurred, it somehow evens-out a little the margin that separate the classes. Cheaper cars were introduced, new lower rates were implemented and car dealers are now reaching out even to the lower middle class just to get a sale.

Hoorray for the consumers but very bad for the over-all Metro traffic situation! The volumes of vehicles out on the streets are just too much for NCR roads to accommodate. 

JEEPNEYS
I have been riding jeepneys all my life. I remember Jeepneys were so much smaller back in my Elementary days. I remember Sarao introducing the new bigger and sturdier models of jeepneys and now we can see Jeepneys the size of buses and Jeepneys with air conditioning.

The Jeepney is also considered as a Filipino National Symbol. (However, this contraption was introduced to us by the Americans during World War II)

They say, that a Jeepney reflects the Filipino culture. 

When you say PUJ... that is synonymous to the Philippines. So, let's see what it says about the Pinoys today.
  • Today, many passengers prefer to take the seat near the exit. One major reason for this is so that they will not be bothered with the getting and the passing of fares and change of the other passengers. The concept of passing the fares is the same as the "bayanihan system" which is a very wonderful Filipino value . It tells us how we Pinoys are fond of expressing neighborly love and concern for others. Hence, our famous tourism term "Pinoy Hospitality." Could the reaction of present day commuters be a sign that this most cherished Filipino value is becoming 'extinct'? Could it really mean that more Filipinos today are indifferent and uncaring?
  • Today, in almost all the densely populated corner streets of Metro Manila there are always certified barkers (noisy street tax/'tong' collectors) and unauthorized jeepney terminals which causes more traffic congestion. What do these observations tells us about us, Filipinos? Well, for one, by tolerating this kind of system we are already accepting the fact that we dislike orderliness (which is very much consistent with the way we jaywalk, beat the red light, vend at sidewalks, smoke inside PUV's). And just because we pay taxes for doing it, doesn't make it right or even legal.
  • Jeepney commuters invented the "kandong" system to save on fares and the "sabit" system for passengers who are in a hurry and because the ratio of Jeepney and commuters is 1:100. This is still being practiced today. Which means.. we are still in the same situation as when the system was introduced. We are still a third world country - if there is a fifth, I would place us there. We are still over populated despite the bills and all the UN-backed population ek-ek of the government. We still lack alternative modes of transportation because corruption goes first before the public interest. We still have a highly unstable, unreliable and unbelievable government. We still do not learn from our mistakes in the past.

TRAINS

Lastly, let me compare the pinoy with our PNR trains which runs from Manila to Alabang and sometimes as far as Laguna. It also has a long distance commercial train that can go up to Legaspi in the Bicol region.

It's under intense rehabilitation with the goal of being restored to its original glory. There are a lot to be done. Most of the trains are dysfunctional. Cleaning (inside and out) would take years and a lot of dedication.

I took a ride once in one of their trains. The train was completely a mess and the sight outside the train is anything but admirable. But while I was riding on that train I felt a real sense of nostalgia. It is as if I was riding on a piece of Philippine history, which I was.

So if the feeling is there, then, there must be some kind of hope into its restoration initiative.

The train, dysfunctional and rejected, still stands resilient. Like Pinoys are I guess.

And then I learned after alighting that I have lost my mobile phone while another fellow passenger lost his wallet.  With no security personnel to call and assist us with our predicament, we just left the station abandoning all hope.    

Monday, September 28, 2015

Things I Miss So Much

I miss drawing!

That was the part of me that fell off when I started realizing the realities and responsibilities of life. Somehow in the middle of the stressful 24/7 lessons of adulthood and trying to make a living, a large chunk of my carefree and creative energy was lost in the process.

I fell in love with drawing during my 5th grade at P.Villanueva Elementary School. Yes, it's a school named after a street so it's a very public school.

During my sophomore year at Sta. Clara Parochial School, my charcoal painting of St. Dominic Savio was recognized as the best entry for the category and my watercolor ‘canoe’ and ‘river’ was also specially mentioned. All three art works never made it back to my possession so I don't have any souvenirs from my very first 'masterpieces.' :)

My imagination went wild during my Junior and Senior years and have started making illustrated comic books on notebooks that my classmates would read during class. “Ryan (that's my name) is 4-E’s comic book maker” - was part of the description written under my yearbook photo.

However, college life closed most of the portals where I can express my creative energies, it was largely occupied by heavy school work and schedules, and of course the usual ‘Barkada’ gimmicks which involves parties, drinking sessions and outings.

If not for my organization in San Rafael Parish I will not have any chance to expand my creative abilities through singing, stage acting, directing, writing and playing music with my guitar.

I took nursing in college out of necessity and because it was not a decision that I had the privilege of making during that time – but of course it’s entirely my fault.. Even though I loved drawing so much.. pushing the skill forward through college never came to mind or was never part of my future plans. I actually didn't plan much during that time.

And now I really miss drawing so much.

Maybe that part of me is already locked in my childhood. A part of my history. Something to look back to and just remember.

I usually doodle during meetings, while talking on the phone, when thinking – it’s like a pre-programmed activity that I have. I still do this.

So, maybe it’s not entirely lost. Just like most of the things I used to love:
  • Humiga sa bubong at pagmasdan ang mga bituin kung di maulap ang gabi
  • Manggang hilaw at bagoong
  • Pag-gawa ng kanta kasama ang barkada
  • Tambay kasama ang mga CYO sa bahay nila Manang pagtapos ng service sa simbahan
  • Halo-Halo at Pancit Palabok sa ElyGloFan
  • Midnight Snack sa Harlem (Itlog na may sarsa ng mechado) 
  • Darts sa compound nila Mang Amado
  • Hanapan-Tao at Baril-Barilan sa hapon sa loob ng school (JRES) 
  • Kumanta kasama sa choir
  • Umarte sa taas ng stage
  • Pa-morningan na tambay sa P.Villanueva kasama ang JCs
  • Summer job sa M.Reyes kasama ang mga pinsan ko - 50 pesos a day na sweldo para magpasaway at may coke-all-you-can pa sa fridge.
  • Puyatan sa Family Computer.
  • Renta ng Betamax at VHS - ang laman ay mga recorded na palabas sa cable TV sa US na may mga commercials pa.
  • PX Goods - chocolates, sapatos at mga pabango na imported!  
These are just some of the things that I really missed so much.

It’s sad that everything’s different now but I am very lucky to have such memories with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to do it all again.

I miss drawing so much.

Would You Rather Be Wanted or Needed?

I came across a question just last week that really made me think hard... 

"WOULD YOU RATHER BE - WANTED OR NEEDED?"

Well after reflecting on that "chicken and egg" type of question and some other paradoxical situations that are ruling my life right now, I finally decided on an answer. Which, to my opinion, made me more human than ever before.

My Answer:

It should be both for it to be genuine. To be needed (in extreme situations may result to dependency) and to be wanted (may spawn obsession and over-possessive behaviors). Having both balances the equation and minimizes the negative effects of the two.

But if you needed only one answer from me, I'll choose to be WANTED. Being wanted is a more superficial feeling but nevertheless it relieves you the worries of not meeting the expectations of being NEEDED.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Best Answers | On Flying and Happiness

I'd like to share with you two questions from YAP that I've answered. My answer to these questions were chosen as the best answer by the askers.

Would you be willing to sacrifice your own happiness?
Let's say you're the breadwinner of the family. You're the eldest and got siblings who are still young and studying. And at some point you realize that its about time for you to settle down however you feel somehow apprehensive because you feel that you are tied with the responsibilities being a breadwinner. How would you deal with it? How self-less could you be?

My Answer:

First of all, I think no one is as self-less as anyone would think they are. Even martyrs and saints have their own very selfish reasons but we adored them for doing that.
For me, happiness is an inward thing, would you be happy if you abandon your responsibilities to settle down? In the first place, if I'm correct, nobody's forcing anyone to be responsible for their siblings, it is their choice and the choice was made because, even if we admit it or not, however burdensome it is, that responsibility is making that person indirectly happy and in control. To see his or her so-called "self-less" contributions to the lives of others becomes a contributing factor to that person's happiness.

Happiness, to my opinion, can't be sacrificed at all. However, a person may or may not choose to be happy.

If that's the case, my suggestion and my answer is, NO, I will never sacrifice my own happiness- I will find a better alternative, so I can choose to be happy, get settled and help my siblings grow up to be great individuals.

What would you rather be, a superhero that can fly or one that can run fast?
All imaginable superpowers included.

My Answer:

Running fast would be cool. I like flash better than superman. However, I live here in the Philippines, where there are congested streets filled with unregistered public utility vehicles, a lot of open manholes and poor and narrow roads. So I guess I'll choose FLYING instead.

I don't want to get killed while running and tripping in some kind of a road crack or manhole while trying to do my superhero duties. That would be too embarrassing.

What Would You Like To Be When You Grow Up?


My answer was… “to be a scientist!”

This was the most honest answer a very timid grade 4 student could give way back in 1984.

Science was my favorite subject.

Although we came from a ‘very’ public school, my classmates and I have very high hopes and dreams. One of my classmates wanted to be a doctor, another wanted to be an architect (even if he was not able to spell that word correctly), and another wanted to be an engineer (which is a very rare and prestigious profession back then).

Recently, during a leadership seminar that I gave for grade school students in a ‘very’ private school, I also asked them that very same question. And here are the top three answers on the board:
  1. Nurse – is the top answer!
  2. Singer/Actor/Model – is the 2nd top answer!
  3. Call Center Agent – yes! this came in 3rd!
If the boys were not out-numbered by the girls – being a ‘basketball player’ would come in third.

Of course, there are those who answered:
  • the next Philippine president (he’s got to start buying votes as early as this year though)
  • a business man/woman (they don’t have any idea and they don’t care what kind of business they would go in to just as long as it is very much profitable)
  • a computer scientist (so that they will be able to design more online games)
  • spiderman (yes, ladies and gentleman – the superhero bug)
There’s nothing wrong with their answers, they’re still very much honest just as my answer was 24 years ago. But there’s definitely something very wrong with the things that we value today.

Doctors and Nurses

There is something wrong when kids today wants to be nurses rather than doctors.

Don’t get me wrong, being a nurse is a very noble profession. However, when you are asked to dream, wouldn’t you pick being a doctor over being a nurse? Because in the hierarchy of things this is the most logical possibility?

Now why be a nurse? 
Because they’re the one our mature citizens adore right now because they have the greatest opportunity to make lots of big bucks abroad. They’re the one who are in demand. 

Now, what would you make of Doctors changing their profession to nurses just to get on that demand bus?

Actors

There is nothing wrong when kids today wants to be entertainers (actors, models, singers). Everyone wants to be a star. To have a shot to fame. To be an artist. However, 20 years ago it was not all centered on the star bandwagon but today it seems that our young people is being drawn to this, because of the false promises that our entertainment industry has promoted and fabricated through the different star searches and reality shows that proliferates inside our TV sets. 

The promise was:
  • That anyone can be a star (but selects one in over a million)
  • That the entertainment industry brings fame and fortune (but still, to a select few – those who don’t make it ends up doing other things or takes the bolder path to resurrect their careers)
What will happen to the millions of unfortunate young people that they have brainwashed to the ‘easy’ concept of stardom? To a nation of desperate it is very much easy to bring their hopes up because that is the only thing that keeps them moving forward. But, the entertainment industry should be sensitive and responsible enough to put some sense of reality in their promotion and not just all pure hype.

Filipinos are natural artists. They have hundreds of equally challenging opportunities outside the entertainment industry.

And besides, artistry is very scarce right now in Philippine entertainment – it is now being ruled by agents who plays popularity contests every single day to get the biggest talent fees and producers who favors advertisement-magnet shows over quality.

It is still all about the money.

Being a doctor and being an engineer 20 years ago is really a profitable career. But it was not perceived by the young people, however poor they are then, as just a money-making profession. They were perceived as honorable professions – an end in itself and not just a means to make money. It is something that is really looked up. An achievement. A title. A reward to the many years spent studying. Something that is priceless.

I think everyone should make this a challenge. It’s really a losing battle.. but maybe, just maybe, if we inspire the dreams of the young today to be more idealistic and driven by their passion and not by the amount of money that they’ll make. Maybe, we could raise a great nation in the future.

So, what would you want to be when you grow up?

I’ll choose the kid who said that he wants to be 'spiderman' any day.

Labor Pains

The bible tells us in the book of Genesis how God created the universe.

While this ‘hand-me-down’ story might be dismissed easily by skeptics as some kind of folk literature satisfying man’s need for a purpose for living, it is undeniable that the whole story presents life’s pattern as well. God creates and in some cases it may be called as labor and at the end of the day, looks at what he did and was pleased.

It’s a cycle

So how do these presents life to each one of us? Life gives us what we like to call challenges in life. A failed marriage, a broken family, a love one dies, financial problems, an overthrown career… call these things as labor pains.

Inside a labor room, you will see mothers walking around slowly. This will supposedly make the descent of the baby faster. It also creates a feeling of control among mothers and provides them something to accomplish so as to put their minds away from the delivery.

“Labor Pains” should not be faced sitting down or lying around. It will only make matters worst.

Some of us face our problems by dismissing the thought in our minds through activities that don’t really help solve the problems but makes it even worst.

Young people tend to find solace with peers. However, this may sound helpful only if your peers are not the type that drinks, takes substances and engage in activities that may cause harm.

‘Walking’ represents doing something that is within your capacity to make things work all right. You may not know if your baby will turn out just fine or if your delivery will have no problems, but at least your doing something. And this will give you a sense of control over the situation and the situation is yourself.

The situation is not the failed marriage, the broken family or the death of a love one. The situation is how you see these things. How you respond to these events.

So you walk one step at a time. Knowing that walking will help.

Sitting down on the problem and refusing to accept the situation will only prolong the inevitable and might present some unhealthy complications in the end.

Life, Labor and Joy

Pregnancy takes about 9 months. You get to watch your tummy go bigger by the month and you naturally experience a lot of emotional and physiological changes. Call it pregnancy nudges. You get a lot of aches and pain primarily because of the weight of your growing child. You have trouble sitting down, lying down, standing up. Even breathing takes so much trouble. There are a lot of things that you cannot take like junk foods and soft drinks.

But then you see your child’s first picture via ultrasound and everything disappears.

The unbearable pain and discomforts becomes bearable and acceptable. The joy of seeing the one your laboring for overpowers everything else.

It’s one of life’s basic formulas. You study all night – you get good grades. You work on weekends – you get extra dough for your date. You practice everyday – you win the MVP.

It’s an endless cycle of labor and joy. Some would call it reaping what you sow, which entirely puts everything into the hands of men.

A more extreme understanding of it would imply that there is no such thing as fate and that everything happens because man chose it to happen.

This theory sounds logical even to a great extent of worldwide conflict. The law of supply and demand, karma and relativity works in accordance with this theory.

But our universe is still a vast space of mystery and what if these theory is only partially true and that a deeper understanding of life presents itself to be more than just cause and effect but rather a great design.

A predictable pattern hiding a higher purpose;

A greater meaning;

A long-term goal;

Have you ever seen one of those bizarre pictures that are just series of predictable patterns of colors, shapes and lines but as you look at it closely and at a certain angle you see that this seemingly monotonous array of lines, colors and shapes make up one big picture.

Intelligence bureau might call this experience as basic subterfuge but we’ll call it as God’s ultimate design.

Labor Of Love

Everything starts and ends with labor.

I took up nursing in college. After our pinning ceremony, which is like a graduation rite after passing the battery exam, we went on to more serious nursing exposures like in hospital emergency rooms and maternity clinics.

It’s actually a midwife’s job to assist mothers in giving birth and as nursing students, we were there only to assist the midwives and observe how it’s done.

We thought that it was a nice break, especially for us guys to actually see things that people don’t usually see.  However, after my first hands-on maternity nursing experience all I could say was “…oh.”

Expressed in a tone that you make after receiving a gift that is totally different from what you’ve been expecting for the past 16 years - that kind of "...oh."

Believe me when I say, the experience lingers in your mind for a few weeks and you just can’t get rid of it right away like a bad dream.

After a few more hands-on, you begin to see things differently. You get the hang of it, so to speak. You don’t get stressed anymore at the sight of it and yell at the person giving birth, “Relax! Woman! Relax! Breath! Shh..Shh. Breath!...” and then pass out after seeing the head of the child coming out.

The effect of that experience led me to a greater realization and appreciation of both mother and baby. A greater appreciation of life and how a single moment may teach us most of the things we need to learn to live life effectively.

That beyond that magnificent life-giving moment is the true meaning of the words - LABOR OF LOVE.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

SELLING | Try, Fail, Learn, Repeat!

Article originally published in 2009

Whew!

I just finished uploading pictures and item information for more than 100 items I'm selling on ebay Philippines.

It's a very tedious process that involves taking digital pictures using my p990i then uploading it individually and listing and re-listing the items up on ebay. Of course there is a more efficient and faster way of doing it but doing so would cost me a few additional bucks. I'd go for the free and tedious rather than the easy and costly.

I started on ebay as a buyer and progressed to become a seller myself.
I used to buy entrepreneur magazines and VHS Tapes from other ebay sellers. Actually, I bought the laptop I'm using right now and the P990i on ebay as well. I was having so much fun on ebay that I decided to explore selling.

The first items I posted were my collection of magic cards and priced it at 100 pesos a piece. I thought I was pricing it right until somebody from ebay emailed me a comment saying "your price is ridiculously high." The person who emailed me was right 'cause nobody made a bid during the 10 day bidding period that I assigned on my items. After that, I stopped selling for a while. I have gotten busy with work - but that did not hide the fact that I was really a little bit disheartened.

Selling was never my forte. I always say this to myself and to every person I know. I am not a persuasive talker. I was never much of a conversationalist. I dislike having to present something so that other people will buy it. I don't like phones. I don't like talking to people on phones. I have trouble building up and keeping a large network of friends, clients, family members, etc. etc. I usually have trouble remembering names and faces. So.. selling stuff is definitely not for me.

If the subject of selling is taboo, how come I keep ending up with jobs that directly or indirectly requires to do just that?

Way back in college during the summer, I remember applying for a job at Filway selling encyclopedia - I didn't like it, so naturally I was not able to sell a single set but I do have a certificate for the one week marketing training seminar that I took to become a field agent.

I ended up working after college as a graphic designer for an industrial stamp making firm and then guess what, I got promoted to become an account manager selling their services to IT and Electronic Companies.

I soon applied for a job at an NGO program for the youth and sold their free drug abuse prevention training program to parishes and catholic institutions all-over metro manila and the nearby provinces - If I was being graded just like in high school I would have passed and graduated with honors.

In 2006, I started handling a scholarship resource mobilization program for the same NGO and started selling the program to the different schools in Metro Manila. Despite the many limitations, I was able to generate some substantial contributions to the program. I then raised some additional fund by selling ad spaces for their quarterly publications and also gathered support by way of material donations from different companies and organizations by presenting and selling the NGO's programs and vision.

Somehow, they all bought it.
We are here to learn lessons and the world is our teacher

I remember reading this passage in Andrew Matthew's Book: 'Follow Your Heart,' and ain't it the truth. The book also says that until we learn that same lesson will come back to us again and again until we mastered it.

I am not saying that my goal here is to master selling. My goal here is to make peace with myself in making conclusions about what I can and I cannot do.

In the 3rd grade, my math teacher would throw the eraser at me every time I fail to answer a problem. This was a very traumatic experience for me and I carried this trauma throughout my school life. I forced myself to not like the math subject because of this and dictated that I am not good with the subject no matter how hard I tried.

But when I stated working, I was forced by the different jobs I handled to use math - to make calculations, to remember formulas, to count faster and be more accurate. Slowly, I learn to appreciate it and one day I noticed that I was getting good at it because others would ask me how to do a work related math equation. I even learned doing simple accounting and a little bookkeeping.

We are not labeled and measured by the things we can and we cannot do, but by our enthusiasm and our determination to do the things we thought we cannot do. Our weaknesses will remain as weaknesses unless we make it part of our strengths and this will not happen if our mind is not set to make it happen.
There are people with disabilities who excelled in sports. There are cancer victims who triumphed in their battles. There are criminals who have made a complete turn-around and gained acceptance from the society and became successful in life.

I have jotted down four realizations from my experiences:
  1. Belief is a strong powerful ally. Do not bet against your own. Believe in something positive. Believe in yourself first - if you don't, then why would others do otherwise. 
  2. There are things which you cannot do. A limitation. But, how would you distinguish the things that you cannot do and the things that you can do if you don't even try. So, try and fail. Learn. Try and fail. Learn. 
  3. Do not concentrate on your limitations. Focus on your strengths. Let your strengths serve as bridges to your limitations. 
  4. Let other people become part of your strength and let yourself become part of theirs. For all you know, their strengths might compensate for your limitations.
I now have 32 positive approval ratings and feedbacks on ebay and have sold over 50 items to more than 25 ebay buyers. I just started selling again last month.

I tried. I failed. I learned.

My Dragon Scroll

I am now starting book two of my script "Hating-Gabi."

Book one is sub-titled as "Ang Pagtitipon" and book two will have the sub-title "Ang Alamat ng Pitong Agimat."

The very first thing that a writer sees before writing is a blank page. And sometimes this blank page can stay as a blank page for days, weeks and even months or years. We'll call that phenomenon as "writer's block". That's the reason why I'm here right now 'cause I have switched to another blank page. However, this blank page doesn't have the same curse as that other page.

Staring at that blank page earlier, I can't help but remember the movie "Kung Fu Panda" which stars the voice of Jack Black. I like Jack Black, specially in "Nacho Libre." I first saw black in a small role in the 90's with David Duchovny (who's been in rehab for being a sex addict) and Gillian in the successful sci-fi TV series 'X-Files.'
Kung Fu Panda is about Po, a clumsy, fat, son of a noodle maker Panda (Jack Black) who wants to learn Kung Fu and then becomes a master (dragon warrior) in the end. Actually, he just wants to be somebody else and dreamt of becoming more than just the son of a noodle maker.

In one of the scenes, Po finally got the chance to take a look at the legendary dragon scroll which was thought to possess great truth and power that only the 'dragon warrior' is righteous enough to possess. As Po opened the scroll all that he saw was.. (guess what) - a shiny golden blank page.

He trained so hard to have the right to possess the scroll and what he got was just a shiny blank page.

But then, in the course of the movie, Po suddenly realized the importance of the scroll. This was when his noodle maker father shared to him the secret ingredient of his secret ingredient soup. "The secret ingredient to my secret ingredient soup is..." His father told him. "nothing." - Because there is no secret to the secret ingredient soup. "You just have to believe it's special to make it special" His father added.

The blank shiny page of the scroll reflects the face of Po. Because there is no secret ingredient - there is just you. And you just have to believe in yourself.
Staring at that blank page earlier made me stop and take a backseat in my life. To pause and reflect on everything that has happened in my life. My triumphs and my frustrations.

And this is when I realized that I am right now experiencing that same writer's block but in a larger scale. Not only, in doing my 'book two' script but also in my career as a writer, a father, a friend, a husband, in everything. I was staring at a blank page and receiving no form of inspiration and in fact, I fear that blank page. I fear the frustration of writing and making mistakes. I fear the idea of making a false start. I fear the mysterious outcome of that blank page. I fear that I am not capable.

I fear the future. I did not believe.

But now, I do. I have to.

What we believe we become - I have been teaching this to kids in seminars and now I'm embarrassed to say that I have not become a disciple of my own teaching.

But it's not over yet. I am going to write that script. I am going to get it published. I am going to drive myself to get to my dreams. And I am going to be what I envisioned myself to be.

I am going to take a look at my dragon scroll every day of my entire life and keep looking because there is no secret ingredient, no special magic power. - It's just me, my dreams and my belief. I am going to make it right.

I am not the dragon warrior... YET!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lose The Battle - Win The War

"Failures can sometimes bring good fortunes."

Ever heard of that saying before? - Well, whoever thought of that saying is either being paid big bucks for losing (game fixers?) or just psyching up his mojo so that win or lose - no teardrops.

That was my line of thinking way back in high school. Well, I soon will learn (after trying hard not to fail and still ending up a failure for a gazillion times) that both of my brilliant deductions were not only wrong but ridiculous.

Failure, as a matter of fact, is the main ingredient to success. You will not savor the awesome flavor of success if you have not tasted a bit of failure every now and then.

But that doesn't mean that your aim is to fail. Your aim is to succeed and to not let your failures be just stumbling blocks. Let it fuel your dreams and your life-long journey.

Do you know that a failure can also mean success? - No, really.

ergo, the saying: "Failures can sometimes bring good fortunes."

Let me cite two movie examples based on the life of two famous persons who made a living example of this. Coincidentally, this two movies are connected to each other by another famous personality: Mel Gibson, who is both the producer and director of the two films i'm talking about.

The first, 'Braveheart'. This is the story of William Wallace. He was the driving force of the 1st Scottish revolution. His death ends a petty opposition but his bravery inspired other Scots to start a series of massive campaigns to gain their independence.
The second film is 'The passion of the Christ', this is a very convincing and very human version of the story of the most powerful and famous religious leader ever. His death on the cross, was in fact and as explained in the bible is the triumph of the mission of Christ here on earth. It not only brought about the rise of Christianity but has changed the way people think about justice, peace and love.
I have had my share of small victories but you see, the sweetest of all victories is the one that you derived out of failures. The pain and frustration of falling and failing is exceeded tremendously by the feeling of satisfaction and the great joy brought by your determination to learn from where you fall, to be able to pick yourself up, to come back and to finally win the battle - to savor it, if not by yourself but to see the fruits of your actions harvested by other persons and for some even more greater purpose.

A losing battle, a tragic ending or a failed attempt can be seeds to our successes and victories. So, what's the lesson here for us human beings: Do not take failures as something that should stop your dreams or stunt your growth. Be it in school, at work or in your personal or social life. For all you know, you might have succeeded already.

Remember: One might lose a battle and yet win the war.

So don't give up!

LIFE 101

There is nothing more complex than life and nothing more beautiful.

With all of life’s mysteries, we are given a blue print of how we are going to go through it. It is imprinted in the most basic and sometimes most obvious things, that is why we sometimes tend to overlook it.

Because we perceive life as unexplainable, we turn to science, religion and other things to look for its ultimate meaning.

But life has no ultimate meaning.

Life has meaning when it is lived. Life is not to be fully understood but to be fully experienced. Life is not meant to be predictable but to be discovered, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.

Friday, September 18, 2015

MEGA MANILA TRAFFIC | My Five KRAs For Better Traffic Management

PUREZA - MANILA | Took this photo last Monday
As far as the streets that I frequent to every day, surprisingly the traffic has improved a bit. So I guess the efforts of the government with regards to addressing the worsening traffic situation in Mega Manila is probably working?

So KAYA naman pala!

The traffic in Mega Manila is a perennial problem. The question is WHY did it take a long time for this government to finally wake up and do something EFFECTIVE about this.

Kung hindi pa nag trending ang pangkalahatang sigaw ng mga mananakay sa parusa ng traffic sa Mega Manila ay HINDI PA SILA GAGAWA NG MAAYOS-AYOS NA PARAAN?

The only time that traffic has gone well here in Manila was when Mayor ERAP implemented a TRUCK BAN. That was a real piece of road heaven that sadly didn't last very long though.

So if traffic is really improving right now, then there must've been some form of incompetence on the part of government officials who are supposed to take charge of this situation since it took them 5 years to realize that this is a high priority task - particularly in the DOTC, LTO, LTFRB, MMDA and DILG!

I don't want to name.. obvious names! So I'd use some hashtags instead:

#ABAYAForPresident
#TOLENTINOForVicePresident

Ultimately improving the traffic situation in Mega Manila and the rest of the country will lead to REAL PROGRESS!

In my humble opinion, I think the government should look at five Key Result Areas (KRAs):

  1. Vehicle Volume Management (truck bans, coding systems and phasing out of old vehicles)
  2. STRICT implementation of existing laws and ordinances (example.. NO PARKING)
  3. Development of highways and alternative roads (use of air and water spaces since subterranean projects will not be feasible)
  4. Invest in improving Mass Transportation Systems genuinely (Trains, Buses, Ferries.. and Teleportation Devices)
  5. And because I think they already know about the four items I've mentioned above.. I guess the last thing they'll need to focus on is to have the POLITICAL WILL to do the right thing for the good of all Filipinos and not just their own PERSONAL INTERESTS! STOP making the ordinary PINOYS suffer because of YOUR OWN selfish agenda! 
Mabuhay Ang Pilipinas!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Art Works | Paul Gauguin Self Portrait and Paper Puppets

I am truly blessed with two magnificently talented and artistic kids!

People say that they got their artistic talents from me but no, they have more creative juices in their blood than I could ever have or had. I am a true lover of the arts and have learned to appreciate all forms and I believe that my kids, given the right training and exposure could grow up to be real artists someday.

But of course, that is entirely up to them.

But for now, I am considering myself a big fan of their artworks however simple they may be.

Here's my Neo's imitation of a self-portrait of Paul Gauguin - he's in Grade 10:
Here's my daughter Sky's paper puppets. She's in Grade 6:  



My kids have a collection of artworks at home, but the images above are their most recent projects.