Day dreaming when you’re not getting any younger…

Last July 28, I indulged El Presidente TMC by serving as test speaker and evaluator in their club contest. Of course, I always say “Yes” to the mother club of  my home club (I-Connect TMC). I delivered the very first speech I drafted in my whole life (with the assistance of a friend, Pabs Samson) – DAY DREAMING. I delivered it for my COMM 3 (Speech Communication class) as final project. Thank you El Presidente for having me.

It was fun listening to the evaluators. Imagine four feedback in one delivery, a dream for many toastmasters. One feedback that I like most is when I was told to include in the speech the impact of day dreaming to where I am now and what I do. LOL. Of course, I forgot that the speech was written more than 15 years ago. I should have updated the material.

Looking at myself now. Yes, I still find time to go back to my dreams. Every morning while jogging near my residence, I would think of the things happening in my life and the status I want to attain. Dream car… Dream house… Zero debt…

It provides me with catharsis – a temporary escape from my reality. It also gives me constant reminders not to settle with what I have and where I am. Though it scares me sometimes that my dreams are so big… Some might call these “unrealistic”. I’m also not getting any younger. I sometimes wonder if I’ll be able to realize all of these.


Whether you dream big or small… Whether you’re seasoned or not… What really matter is YOU KEEP ON DREAMING.



PS: I-Connect TMC meets every Saturday, 3:30pm to 5:30pm at Dome Cafe, Ground Floor, Shangrila Mall. Join us. Send me a message here – via comment and we will contact you. BTW, I won’t post your comments. I will be the only one who would be able to read this.

Fear is both IMAGINARY and REAL

“No one can make you feel insecure without your consent.”

That was the table topic given to me when I joined the Table Topics Area Contest years ago (where I was fortunate to have won as the Area Champion). I can recall vividly how I handled the topic. I touched on “Fear as both imaginary and real”.

We all want to reach greater heights in the future – top notch sales manager/marketer, trotting the globe, or writing our book.

However, as we take steps and more steps to realize our goals, we will be confronted with challenges left and right. These challenges are mostly unknown, will most likely surprise us and will CREATE FEAR. These may be fear of something small (like cockroaches),  something tall (like fear of heights) or something we don’t know (which can sometimes cross to paranoia).

There is something though that we need to realize when we talk about fear. Fear is both imaginary and real.

It is IMAGINARY because EVERYTHING IS IN YOUR MIND. Not in your friend’s or in your boss’ – ONLY YOURS.

It is REAL because it can STOP YOU FROM SUCCEEDING. It can stop you from reaching that sales quota, trotting the globe and publishing your work. It can even physically hurt you or the people around you.

Fear, however, is something we can (and we should) manage.

I remember more than 10 years ago, I was so comfortable with my job. Some people dubbed me as the “Special Engagement Boy” – because of the projects assigned to me. Time came when I wanted to explore outside. I was dissuaded by my superiors and was told that a bright future was waiting for me if I stay. Some even went the extra mile by contacting former employees of the company I planned to transfer to, and had them talked to me to change my mind. Honestly, I was so AFRAID TO MAKE THAT DECISION. I feared getting out of that “box” where I was already shining in my own way. Then, I TOOK THE RISK. I handed my resignation letter.

It was a decision that I would never regret. It gave me the chance to trot the globe (in business class flights and really nice hotels). It gave me the chance to add “international flavor” under my sleeves. It gave me know-how that I believe I would not gained had I not joined this company.

Then after almost 7 years, time came again when another opportunity beckoned me. Problem was that I was again so comfortable with where I was. I also felt that once more…  I was shining in my own way. Thus, I FEARED LEAVING.

Upon reflection, I felt, however, that the new opportunity will give me new insights that I would not gain from where I was (because of future plans). So I again suppressed the fear lingering inside me. I made that decision to LEAVE MY COMFORT ZONE despite the incentives being dangled in front of me.

At the new turf, I was so scared because a lot of THINGS WERE NEW to me. But then again learning and new experience came pouring in. I once again find myself enjoying the new environment.

Deep inside I keep on telling myself: “YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY to realizing your plans.” I’m still not there but I believe that I’m getting there…

We should not allow our fears prevent us from taking steps.

Here is my “take-away” for all of you.

When you feel that fear is creeping at the time when you are exploring an opportunity, you just do it.

Just jump to it…

Execute that plan!

Buy that ticket!

Start writing!

Fear can never cripple you, unless you allow it…

The President

I will eat my pride and confess – I now like President Digong (roughly 98%).

I remember last election, I engaged a lot of people, including my mom and Wanna, to heated debates. There were nights when I would turn my back at Wanna. I, most of the time, would poised myself ready to pounce if I hear anything irritating to my ears. I recall a friend jokingly said that I was sleeping with the enemy. =)

I was even outright rude (so many times) by imposing my opinion to other people online, as if I was the only one entitled to be heard. Sorry my friends, I forgot that freedom is not absolute – especially online. Thanks Manmie for the reminder.

Honestly, my heart generally loved Digong’s answers to questions thrown at him during his pre-election interviews. My head, however, said that the implications are scary. I feared that his unorthodox ways would shake and undo the traction made in the previous administration.

For some selfish reason, I would sometimes reflect on the possible scare his style would give to so many investors. I would contemplate on how it would possibly degrade my portfolio – as if I’m carrying hundreds of millions in my investment. I pondered and told myself, I would campaign in favor of Mar Roxas. (I believe then and still that Mar can use his brilliance to generate more traction for the country.)

Anyway, I reflected on what I am seeing now. PNoy gave the country back its confidence to the government. Digong, however, is bringing more than that. He might be really paving the way for the real change to happen.

These past days, I would sometimes try to cast doubt on him. I told myself that his unorthodox ways is shaking the status quo. But in the hindsight, something is saying that how can one create real change if you don’t shake the status quo. This brought to mind Wanna’s usual dialogue – “You have a change management issue”.

Then, I heard his SONA the other day. As expected he gave his litany of promises, same with the other presidents before him. What is different though is that deep inside my heart is saying that HE WILL DELIVER. Also, I noticed that he has this captivating aura – whatever he says PEOPLE GENERALLY FOLLOW.

It’s too early for us to say that CHANGE IS REALLY HERE. But this hard core RO-RO is willing to give him that chance, and work with him (in my own way) to materialize the REAL CHANGE we all hope to come. After all my loyalty resides not with the candidates but with my country.

PS: By the way, 98% only because I am not comfortable with the issues of summary killings and mistaken identity (and the fear of this going out-of-control) and the release of PGMA (totally not acceptable).


Always Bounce Back


“Cholesterol level dangerously high”

“You are at risk of a heart attack”

I was a walking time bomb ready to explode anytime because of my failing health.

I have hit rock bottom.

Fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon:

I heard those lines after my annual medical exam. I was suddenly struck by the realization that I might die young. In fact I was dying slowly. It hit me hard.

I suddenly remembered my father.  Gone at the age of 45, exactly a month after hearing those lines from his doctor. We were devastated financially and emotionally. I’m nearing that age… the nightmare of dying young hit me hard.

In my desire to have a healthy body, I went through 3 attempts:

  • I joined a dragon boat team. The discipline of waking up early and rowing passionately at the Manila Bay came to a sudden stop when a flesh-eating bacteria got into a tiny cut in my leg. I was hospitalized for 5 days and spent P110,000.
  • I did juicing. It was working for some time but my mind was bombarded with thoughts of delicious food which my body was craving to take. On my third day, I splurged on a hefty serving of steak and mashed potatoes.
  • I attempted running. I would run every day until I felt a searing pain from my back down to my left knee. I ended up having slipped disks. It took weeks for me to recover.

Three attempts…three failures…They all hit me hard.

I was on the verge of giving up and let nature takes its course. I needed a rope to hang on, to get me back… Suddenly my eyes drifted to the pictures of the two most important people in my life.

  • Yuni- my 12 year old daughter. I want to provide the best for her and be with her as she goes thru her journey in life.  And should the right time come… walk her down the aisle and enjoy the company of my grandchildren.
  • Wanna- my life partner. We have been through life’s ups and downs. We knew how it was to be left by our fathers and saw how our mothers raised family as single parents.  I want to be with her until we grow old and grey…to experience life’s challenges and surprises together. I want to serve her, make her happy and love her…. forever.
  • Jake- yes I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to actualize my sense of purpose in helping others be the best they can be.  I want to provide for my loved ones and let them experience the things they have not experienced in the past.  I want to continue being amazed by what life is bringing me.

“Overweight”, “Cholesterol high” “At risk of a heart attack”.  These words shook me with such fear that I know I will not stop until I know I’ve done all I can to shift to be a healthy me – a life ensuring that I can be around longer.

Fellow toastmasters, in a world full of choices, let us always connect to our core being in consciously making and acting on decisions that really matter.  Be it in our health, in our career, in our relationship, let us be guided by our life vision and mission.

So where am I now?

I’m a work in progress. Regular exercises, right food and making each time count.

Fellow toastmasters, has anything hit you so hard that your world seemed to have fallen apart? Has anything hit you just as hard that your very life was threatened?

Don’t let it crush or devour you. Take a long honest look at what’s hitting you. Listen, act and do something before it destroys you. After all, whatever life throws at us, we can always hit back.

Contest chair.

Note: This speech was the one I delivered during the 2016 Division A Contest in the International Speech Category (where I ranked first runner-up). Thanks to my TM mentors for their continuous support and feedback –   Edith Garde, DTM; Ida Sih, DTM; Lavi Penaverde, ACG; and Mylene Bass, CC. Original Title was “HIT”.

Set a Clear Goal

“Do you know where you are going?” or “How do you see yourself ten years from now?”.

We often hear these questions during a job interview. And most of the time we just answer what we think the interviewers want to hear from us. But who are you kidding. You have no idea where you will be two years from now or what you probably know is that “you are still where you are now three years from now, doing the same things that you do day-in and day-out”.

Most of us honestly don’t know where we are heading. We lead our lives thinking that what we do in the present will result to something worthwhile in the future. Some of us calm that guilt feeling by randomly doing major activities such as joining a famous organization (like toastmasters) or perhaps taking further studies (getting a masters degree). And it is as if these will give them free ticket to an early retirement.

We most of the time fail to realize that success is never accidental, it is always intentional.

What do I mean? You want to trot the globe in five years, then plan and work for this. Assess what you have or where you are and try to find if there are gaps you need to fill. Say you want to do this by joining global organizations, then by all means start preparing an enticing CV. Check if your credentials in your CV is something that would entice a global organization, then attend training and seminars to bridge the gap. You know that you have problems with speaking skills, then join a toastmaster club. What I’m saying is you need to plan specific activities that would help you trot the globe in five-year time.


We should not expect God to just drop in front of you a sack of money just because you pray for it. Remember a lot of people are also asking for His help. (Yes, convince yourself that He will let you get that 100M in the PCSO 6/49 lotto.) You gotta help yourself too. And the first thing that you should do is by setting a clear goal.

Know where you are and where you want to be and the rest will follow. (Of course, prayer will give your plan a really good boost so never forget this.)

What’s wrong with us?

I’m really confused.

I can recall vividly how many of us would go out of their way, and mocked Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in our daily conversations during her term as president. During that time there was no confidence in the government. Many of us would see and hear bad events transpiring and react to this passively as if these were expected. We regularly hear of PGMA’s and her family’s corrupt ways and how they plunder the coffers of the nation. We used to accept these as given.

I still can remember how bad it felt to live during those days in the Philippines. And, people would always talk that there was no hope for the country. I recalled my regular discussion with my partner and how we were planning to join the exodus out of the country. Deep inside our hearts we are shouting – “There has to be changed in the government. President GMA had to go.”.

Then PNoy came. He was elected by a resounding millions of voters. PGMA was arrested. It felt that there was hope being rekindled. Trust in the government came back. This time voices from all sectors would like to be heard. All were wanting to have his/her say. He was endeared to so many people.

There were issues that came out during PNoy’s term, some of which were suspected to be instigated by PGMAs cohorts. And part of the country (those biased against the Aquinos) once more used these to place PNoy under the bad light. Anyway, some of the problems arise also from how PNoy reacted to these. Then PNoy’s term ended, and President Digong came (who are liked by many including me).

When PNoy left the palace, he left the country its voice. What confuses me though, is that why the voices seem to be quiet now that President Digong is using his popularity to hide in the shadow the worsening summary killings and PGMA’s sudden release.

Are we really that mesmerized with the unorthodox ways of President Digong that we seemed not be able to find our voices and turn a blind eye on things? Are we not realizing that the promises made during the election are gradually being tweaked to undo some of the progress we have realized the past years.

Traction was made. We just need to follow through and be consistent regardless of who our patrons during the elections were. (Rumor has it that PGMA is President Digong’s financial backer.)

Anyhow, I agree that we should give our new President a chance. But we should also remember that it does not mean giving him free ticket to gradually destroy what was built. We should not wait until we are back to how things were.

Let us open our sentiments for these to be heard. These will give him gentle reminders as he work on his promises.

What Makes You Tick?

What makes you do what you are doing?

Have you ever asked yourself why you are doing the things you are doing now – work, study or lovelife. I’m sure you did gazillion times. I did, too.

I would sometimes wonder why I need to work my ass really hard just to provide for my family. Why do I need to pay for my siblings education? Why do I need to pay for a hefty condo amortization? Why do I need to be ready to lend extra money when my mom or siblings need assistance? Why do I need to pay my mom’s loans?

There are so many WHYs. My mind can’t stop conjuring them.

It felt like being a tiny gear trying to move a really huge gear. And, sometimes it seems that the huge gear is not going to the direction you want it to go.

I would most of the time dream of me staying at home doing nothing except reading my books and watching YouTube videos. Sometimes, I would dream of amassing riches beyond my dreams just for me to stop working and do nothing. I even regularly try my luck with PCSO lotto hoping that it will provide means by which my dream would come true.

Anyway, one long weekend I took a long honest look at my life. I told myself that I was getting tired. If I could just bear it, I would like to just drop everything, turn my back against my life and while my time doing nothing. I want to be selfish and just think of me. I was really decided on this.

But then reality struck me. It is my family that I will be turning my back to. And, I can never abandon family. My love for them is much greater than the negative feelings eating me within. I went through our memories. The smile on the faces of my partner and daughter. The words of gratitude from my mom and siblings. How they look up to me. The tight hugs of my siblings.

I can never and will never abandon those.

Also, I realized that my siblings and my daughter are better citizens because of the guidance I extend to them. They are responsible and loving. Well, this I cannot realize without my partner (which I will share some other time).

It dawned on me that when we are confronted with challenges, we always just need to connect to our core being in making decisions that really matter. Be this in our career, in our health or in our relationship.

In a world full of choices, we will be hounded with issues and doubts left and right that will make you want to stop ticking. Let us always connect to what keeps you moving and reflect on why you should take steps and more steps in your life. Don’t let it stop you.