Pinoy Blogger Shirt Winner Picked

March 3, 2012 1 comment


My daughter Yanna hand-picked (in a draw) the name of the winner of a cute Pinoy Blogger T-shirt from my Read And Lead The Race Today contest post from among those who got the right answer to my question.  Entries were supposed to have two right guesses to qualify.  However, since nobody guessed two, one right answer was accepted.  The three right answers were:

  1. Leadership Crash Course
  2. Managing Assertively
  3. How to Grow A Backbone

The winner is Mylo Bonifacio from Canada. Congratulations! I will send him a note and arrange where to send the prize.  To all those who supported and joined the contest, a warm Thank You!

Continue to journey with me towards personal growth and contribute to a better world! Feel free to contact me for comments and suggestions.

Enjoy your weekend and allow me to share these words of wisdom from a Chinese proverb:

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

Categories: Uncategorized

Copy The Jeremy Lin Success Story

February 24, 2012 2 comments

Jeremy Lin (photo from Wikipedia)

Like any other tale, Jeremy Lin’s rise to fame is beginning to be overwhelming and in a matter of time will have a cloying taste. Maybe not yet. Amidst the hype over his overnight success, Lin’s humble gestures even offer far better appeal to his life story.

Jeremy Lin is an American professional basketball player with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is one of the few Asian Americans in NBA history, and the first American player in the league to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent (Source: Wikipedia).  A few months back, he was fighting to be on the backup spot and was on the 12th to 15th in line to play on court . But like the fiction movie, he creeped into the limelight by surprise and there you go- an instant hero. Here’s what Kobe Bryant said of Lin: “Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It seems like they come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed.” ( )

What is Lin’s secret of success? Wasn’t he rejected by the big bosses? Surely we will all agree he proved them wrong. But it turned out that they were right. Lin, according to Dan Brown of, was thriving because he realized they were right. He reinvented himself.  One of his coaches said “That’s the lesson here: If you don’t like the way things are going for you in a sport, don’t cry about it. Don’t whine to the coach. Do something about it.”

Truly, the instant hit was not at all a quick fix. It was a fruit of hard work and perseverance. Lin struggled to perfect his weak points, correct his bad habits and wrong mentality. He struck the ghost in him.

What are the lessons we learn from this new star if we want to copy his lucky streak? There’s no failure- only feedback. We need to overturn that negative thinking whenever we do not achieve something. Is it because we need to push some more or is it because we’re not doing the right thing? Take setbacks as feedback. That will be a lesson for you to hop a notch higher to where you want to go. Like Lin, we should take the outcome of our efforts as something to learn by. Only then can we start the process and try again– but of course not doing the same mistakes we made.

Lin is an inspiration not only to many aspiring players but dreamers who still believe and hope that one day they will achieve their goals in spite of the challenges. How did you face the negative outcomes of your life in the past?


Interesting links about Jeremy Lin :

10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning (

Bay Area trainers helped make Knicks guard Jeremy Lin better, stronger, faster  ( 

Blog Hop Feature: Journeys and Travels- Don’t Read Or You’ll Die of Envy

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The presence of this blog is never unnoticed with his constant tweets.  But clicking on the link is worth it as you see breath-taking photos of lands “unknown” to us. I am talking about Journeys and Travels by Doc Wendell Cagape.

Upon landing on the blog, you will find the title like that engraved on a coffee table photo book “Journeys and Travels”.  Very inviting, a bit formal and -oh-something I will just see and dream about perhaps. Haha.

Pictures, pictures and pictures. Those crisp colors, clear images and crafted shots are just amazing.  It starts with the photo view just below the blog ID that encapsulates the passion for travel.  All over, the pictures will give you a true vision of where this blogger has been to.  And yes, what he’s enjoyed – the food and the company of backpackers.

Navigating through the blog, here’s what caught my fancy: The ABCs and Lessons of Backpacking. It is a masterpiece post- written with simplicity and honesty- no pretensions. I thought the ABCs would talk about the how-to’s.  Nevertheless, it introduced me to Doc Wendell’s backpacking adventure.  It looked to me like he’s travelled practically the world over- and to find out that he’s only just begun- makes me feel- well I want to start doing that too!

An adventure-loving backpacker is never too killjoy to wear  Samurai costume for a shot. Neither is he too simply after the good shots for the sake of it but he also shared his disappointment, in photo, about Virgin Island in Bohol.

My favourite pictures in this post are the serene Lake Apo ( Makes me dream about living in a house “beside the lake”) and the beautiful boat posing on the beach.

Lake Apo: Sets mood for meditation

Yeah, it's true- it's more fun in the Philippines!

A cliffhanger- he met a “beautiful girl” but he never got her contacts. Too bad.  But a backpacker will always have a next time. 🙂

Blogs like this- is a must read for everyone who dreams of travelling. Why not try the backpacker route?


Pictures from – published with permission.


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Categories: Blog Reviews, Travel

Read And Lead The Race Today

February 12, 2012 10 comments

I have yet to finish reading three books on this shelf. Can you guess two of them?

Many years ago, there was this campaign on Philippine TV on “Read Today, Lead Tomorrow” that struck me.  I could not agree more as I was already a bookworm then hatching to be a bookmonster – haha.  I raved to read and create my own world of sorts. Don’t get me wrong.  I was not having illusions and voices on my head.  It’s just that reading brought me to different places and met many great people.

Old books and magazines that would have found its way early into the garbage, got into our house from different sources.  We were lucky to have this paradise of books not because we were rich but because there was treasure in the hand-me-down books.

I appreciated the campaign because it encouraged us kids then to read instead of spending time watching endless cartoon or playing video/computer games.

Fast forward to 2012, the slogan is still relevant with a different challenge: tech gadgets. Since I acquired my IPhone in January 2011, my habits changed.  I have slowly put off my reading habit until I broke it.  My IPhone was too hard to resist. How more can Facebook and Twitter become irresistible when they are just a tap away?  In spite of the social networks’ saturation, I still get tempted to check, check and check.  IPhone is too small for reading other stuff anyway.  Looking back, it has been more than a year and I regret breaking the habit.  I purchased a book early last year and it’s still waiting to get its last page say “fin”.  As a realization, I have put it back in my work backpack and started reading it on the train.  Oh what an effort!  I look around and see people all glued on their IPhones or IPads- not reading but doing something else.

With all the tech gadgets around- Kindle, IPad, Tablet and what have you, the challenge today is not about reading hardbooks.  It is about finding time to make a serious reading of some relevant books- hard and electronic books alike.  Most of the tech gadgets have functions other than ebook reader.  So, who’s reading books in those tablets? Most of us would probably be tempted to check our friends’ social network status or play Angry Birds. I’m not saying don’t do it.  I’m just sending the message from the Book: R E A D  M E…

Did anybody tell you why reading is important? Here’s my own answer as I could not find a quick one on the net:

1. Enhances knowledge. While almost all information can be picked up on the internet, all the details are not complete.  Nowadays you do not need to buy a book to learn how-tos.  However, you will still need to pick up the book for the details and the fulfillment of getting the hard information and facts from the source.

2. Stimulates the brain. This is another obvious reason that comes out of the exercise of reading. Surely games do stimulate but it does not add knowledge.  So between a helpful stimulating game and a book that adds knowledge- which one do you choose first.  Ultimately, it’s a matter of priority. You can still have the game 🙂

3. Directs your focus on the important things. When you develop the habit of reading, you also improve your attitude towards important and less important things in your life.  You learn to give up crap for the more useful things.

4. Feeds your passion. When you read books that interest you, it works like the air that ignites the fire in your passion.  It keeps the love burning and moving forward to something beneficial. It keeps you from stagnation or complacency.

5. Brings you ahead of the race. Who is reading nowadays?  Not so many people.  This then you in a better position because you have more knowledge, more focus, and more passion.

So need I say more? Start to develop or rekindle your reading habit. There’s no other way to do it if you want to lead the race.  Visit the bookstore or Amazon and find something you can read either with a hard book or with your tablet.  When was the last time you were excited about reading a new book?


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Categories: Self-Help, Success Tools

Economic Growth's Not Catching Up In 2012; How About Us?

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I crafted Yanna's dreamboard with her nod. Simple and clear.

Last weekend, I read about the speech delivered by former finance secretary Roberto de Ocampo on the Philippines’ economic outlook via Rappler in the Arangakda Philippines forum held last 26 January.

My takeout was that the economy is not going to grow twice as fast realistically but we need to move twice as fast anyway.  How the government will respond to this remains to be seen.  In the meantime, how such a vision will impact Filipinos is something each and every one of us should be thinking about. We’ve always complained that economic growth never trickled down to us.  Now, how about a predicted slowdown?  Are we about to give in to the excuse that this is what our fate will be for the rest of the year or blame the President for our condition today?  I would like to pose the question to all of us: Can we go twice as fast to catch up with our personal targets? None of us have control over the economy or the external factors that affect it.  What we have is our own choices and actions. That is we can take hold of.

Learnings from the Past

Let us look back at 2011, and ask ourselves what we did great and which areas did we fail.  There is no point crying over spilled milk.  What we want are facts about what we did, did not do and why. In this way we can get some closure and move on. Make your annual review.  It’s not too late.  May I suggest this free resource from  Get Busy Living Blog – an annual review sheet.

Have a Game Plan

Nothing serious is done without a plan.  You can’t play a sport without a strategy; You can’t start a business without a following a business model and doing some feasibility study.  What is more serious in this whole damn world than your own destiny?  Overwhelmed? Let’s talk about this year first, before going beyond.

1.  Set priorities.  You have to set the order of priority based on what’s important to you and why. Your ultimate dream could be “financial independence”.  But how do you get there? Does that mean you resign from your job now? Nope.  You need to take steps one at a time.  Focus on 2012 by identifying the:

– (i) Urgent ones- examples: fix your life out of a shit problem; find a job; get a raise or promotion; break a real bad habit  OTHERWISE you will get in real trouble, you will get killed  or your loved ones will suffer

– (ii) Important but not urgent– examples: hone your skills; develop a new skill; get into a healthy lifestyle; break a bad habit OTHERWISE you will delay a better job opportunity; get passed for a promotion; or get deeper into addiction WHICH will eventually result into #i consequences.

2.  Be realistic.  Don’t set standards that are not at all realistic.  If you want to be a recording artist, check if you have the talent.

3.  Be accountable. Going back to the Dream Board challenge, share your goals to someone you trust, so that you are bound to show them your accomplishments. You need to have an “accountability partner” from among your family or friends.  Add to that someone who also shares the same “dream come true” challenge from a support group or an online community.  I am making this blog a community and as such the first point of building this is sharing ideas and point of views.

4.  Find your “niche”.  Philippines needs a make over. And so do you! Either you already identified your X factor or you are still groping in the dark.  Time to make a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. You need to find out for the long term, what works for you and what does not- this can be in the area of career or something else.  Depending on the area of concern, this is something you need to think over and not something necessarily urgent.   I would like to cover this separately in detail but you can already start thinking about it.

The future still looks bright.  There are a lot of opportunities out there.  You have to make a plan. Spell it out, talk it out and move. Arangkada Pinoy!

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Categories: Dreams, News, Self-Help

First School Day Anxiety Strikes!

January 21, 2012 1 comment

All smiles on the bus

New school year just started this month and the most anxious would be parents of the preschool kids. Yes, it’s us.  It could be because we are first time parents, or simply because kids as young as two or three years old is much more vulnerable than any other age.  We do not want them to be hurt, physically or emotionally.  She would be the little baby we saw inside her mum’s tummy, the one we watched sleeping soundly, the one we excitedly held as she learned to walk and the one we patiently taught to speak.  While I think these kids should be enjoying the free time of this phase in their life, we had to send her anyway so she could learn to mingle with other kids and be at par with kids of her age.  I just do not think she should be be too much pressured at her age.

I was looking at my blog stats the other day and someone landed on my blog with the search that run like “not happy with playgroup”.  Well, that’s probably another nervous parent trying to find a way out of the playgroup due to the first school day anxiety. A year ago, we had less anxiety as my girl’s playgroup was just walking distance from our block.  While her first day last year did not end up with cries, Yanna took about another day or two to realize she was being left in the school with the teachers before she got those anxious “don’t leave me” plea (Flashback: January 2011).

Back in the first week this month, we felt our heart wrenched seeing Yanna ride on the school bus for the first time.  She cried like we would send her away! Aaargh. Worse is that we learned she would be the first to be picked up, the trip is going to take like an hour (because the bus had to pick up other kids of course) and the pick-up time was 1 1/2 hours before school time! Who would not be stressed by that?  It was mind boggling if my daughter would ride a bus and uneasy for more than an hour! The school bus arrangement was rather odd as we did not get the details until the first day of school.  My wife called me and was thinking of transferring her to another school. Well, I am concerned but not not in panic as she was.

We sent her to Damien Center, which was the ultimate choice we made because it was the most reasonable in terms of cost.  There was no other school nearby and besides, it was run by the same church we went and it was in the same compound.  That was sufficient trust among other things we took into consideration. We have registered and have paid all that was needed including uniform and stuff.  Now my wife wants to transfer her!

She eyed on the next school option we had which was in the walking distance of our block but was like SGD 200 (per month) more expensive.  We were close to deciding on that.  She asked the current school of our plan to transfer due to the school bus arrangement and distance which we did not realize in the beginning.  Fortunately, as I was expecting, the school offered an alternative school bus that would pick up our daughter 45 minutes from school time; would reduce her travel time to about 30+ minutes and would not be the first to be picked up which will perhaps make her feel better to see other kids on the bus.  That pacified us.  So far, she’s doing good.  I’ve seen her picked up and brought back to our block by the bus and I feel relieved.

I am sure a lot of other parents have fallen trap what I call the FSDA (First School Day Anxiety).  Well, relax. With a playgroup or preschool, there is much more flexibility and therefore making rush decisions should not be taken.  This  will definitely going to be at the expense of your child’s peace-of-mind. I am sure you have taken some thought about the school before enrolling them there so deciding to transfer impulsively is not a solution.  Take it easy. Here’s some tip to make you think clearly:

  1. If it’s not a matter of life and death, sleep on it.
  2. Talk it over with the teacher or school management.  Raise your concerns or clarify doubts. Is it about the safety of the children? Did you notice the school premises to be health hazard? Any question can pop-up and if you do not get the facts, you will be the loser.
  3. Look for alternatives regarding your issues.  In our case, as we did not like the first bus arrangement, we could have opted to just bring her to school ourselves.
  4. Outside of the current school, think what options you have.  Why think of transferring the kid to another school if there seems to be no option?  Is the option affordable? Is it favorable to you geographically? How sure are you that you would not have the same issue or other issues if you transfer your kid to another school?

Keep in mind that there is no perfect world.  I am not saying you lower your standards about concerns regarding your kids.  Just be reasonable enough. Take a balancing act.  Everything will be fine.

Categories: Schooling

It's Also Fun If Our Kids Speak Filipino

January 16, 2012 2 comments

Bilinguals tend to perform better than monolinguals on exercises that require blocking out distractions and switching between two or more different tasks. (

Parents living overseas contend with raising their kids speaking the language where they are based. The practical reason is survival. On the contrary, is it really necessary to give up teaching the parents’ mother tongue to their kids if only to ensure that the kids learn the local language (where they are based) more effectively?  It has been a general perception that teaching kids two or more languages early in their childhood can confuse them.  However, many experts have challenged this belief.  The Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington D.C. even claimed that there is no existing evidence that hearing two or more languages in the environment can become a cause for delay or disorder in language acquisition.

In the Philippines, growing up as a child, I learned Tagalog first and later English- partly by media exposure and education.  It was not difficult to learn the language then, given that English was the medium of instruction and the official language.  Furthermore, I grew up watching English cartoons (as there were no Tagalized cartoons then).  I was also int he environment where grown-ups watched local news in English as well as English TV programs.  From the different parts of the world, we know of Spanish-speaking kids growing up in the U.S. or Chinese and Indian immigrants speaking their native tongue elsewhere in the world.  So why in the world are many overseas Filipino parents afraid to teach their kids the Filipino language? When I say teach the language, I mean to speak and write proficiently.  And not just mediocre “marunong ng konti” (know a little bit).

I would not be wanting to “attack” the guilty parents. I do not think anyone intended to abandon the native tongue for their kids intentionally.  I understand that the easiest route to do is to teach their kids the local lingo.  I can guess that most of these parents did not have the awareness of what is possible.  That was why, I have posed the question months back: Should we raise our kids as bilingual speakers? I asked this for myself and for all the overseas parents out there.  For one, I am not an experienced parent myself, for I am just in my first three years of the journey as parent.  I could only try and see what other expat colleagues have been doing.  And there are two basic things I have learned:

1. It is possible to teach kids more than one language early in their childhood.  A former Indian colleague has a daughter who can speak Filipino, apart from Hindi, English and Chinese.

2. Give the kids some borderline in order not to confuse one language for the other.  For example, a French colleague speaks to her daughter in French and leaves the nanny to speak to her in English.  This way, the kid clearly knows what is French and what is English.

My wife and I have started to speak to our daughter in English and therefore have learned to speak using the language.  In the beginning she could utter some Filipino words picked up from our conversations.  But eventually, she learned to speak with English.  When we have seen that she was already stable in expressing herself in the first language, I started talking to her in Filipino and eventually teaching her to try some first words.  To apply #2 above, I exercised her in the native tongue at a certain time of the day only- in the evening before we sleep. She started learning the language using the conversations of the evening such as about sleeping or the things used for sleeping such as bedsheet, blanket and pillows.  As our daughter Yanna liked bedtime stories, and repeat the same ones all over, I started to say this in Filipino.  In no time she started to ask me to tell her stories in Filipino, “Tatay, kuwentuhan mo ako tungkol kay Dorothy”.  Interestingly, she started picking up the native words and started to speak on her own albeit some grammar lapses- of course.  Now, she can easily pick up some words and start talking in Filipino. Although it is too early to claim success, I am confident that she will be able to speak (and eventually write) proficiently in our mother tongue.

I think that learning the language does not all come by just merely teaching.  As we spoke in the vernacular in the house, she somehow understood the conversations such as when she would panic when she felt we would leave her to the nanny.  I guess that’s the start.  For many of us, this is also the beginning and it should not stop there.  I think that when we start encouraging and teaching kids how to speak a new language, they gain confidence in doing so and become bold enough to try go further.  I believe this is part of the process of learning any language.  Even among adults, we only start learning a new language if we speak among those whom we know are supportive in this exercise and so we do not hesitate to make mistakes and be afraid to be corrected.  I could only see why this works with kids as well!

With the continuing diaspora, we cannot care less about preserving the Filipino identity. Let us be proud of our heritage.  Let us teach our kids our culture, values and our languages. After all, it’s more fun speaking in the native tongue.

Categories: Language, Living Overseas
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