Have A Mantra — Believe and Convince Yourself

Do you have a mantra?

“I know what I am doing!

I know what I am going to talk about!

So they should listen to me!”

Way back in college, every time I need to report on something, I would always go inside the restroom, and recite those lines to myself. I would turn around in place several times (with my eyes close) convincing myself that “I was good with what I was doing”. Convincing myself that “I had a good story to tell”. I would tell myself that “I had prepared” and “I was ready to answer any questions”.

I would turn several times until I felt that I was convinced and confident… about myself and what I was about to say.

Who would not need convincing themselves, if your college classmates were far more brilliant than you. Or, who were ready to pounce to point a better idea than what you were presenting. Of course, I always do my homework every time I need to report in front, so it was not really believing in nothing.

I remember that one major report in my Marketing class. I was part of the group who presented a proposed marketing strategy for “Vicks VapoDrop“. My classmates were hesitant to accept our ideas, so they started pouncing on our group. My group mates were looking at me because they knew that I would always face challenges head-on. So I brazened myself, pulled my tricks out of my hat, and addressed clarifications and suggestions the best way I could.

Our group did well…

We were advised that we got the highest grade for the class presentation in that project. Of course, it was a group effort. Kudos to the brilliance of my beautiful group mates whose names I will not mention. What I would like to point out, however, is that I was able to do my part well in that class project because I had convinced myself to believe (and be confident) in what I had prepared and what I can do.

Friends, in everything that you do, you will encounter people who will challenge your ideas and suggestions. This could happen at workplace, in your sports team or even your church groups. Don’t think that because you feel that an idea is good (after your research and analysis) everyone will deliver their agreement in a silver platter.

The world is not built like that.

We have different backgrounds or social context. We should expect that there will always be people who will question our ideas or even our integrity.

That is a given.

What you should do aside from preparing physically is mental preparation — BELIEVE IN YOUR IDEA. If you have doubts about your ideas, then ask yourself why and find the answer to your questions. Note that you can never totally remove your doubts, so if you have really good hunch about an idea, then CONVINCE YOURSELF.

Try reciting my mantra.  Or better yet, create your own mantra. Recite this before a presentation or anytime you feel the need to boost your confidence. It can really help. Believe me.

Challenges will be hard if you are not confident with your ideas or with yourself.

Important note: believing and convincing yourself about an idea is not a ticket to face opposition with arrogance and being dismissive. You have to tackle all politely, and be open to considering other ideas as well.

Do not look back! Look straight ahead!

“Walang lilingon! Sa harap lang!”. (Do not look back! Just look straight ahead!)

You will normally hear these lines during dragon boat practice. I oftentimes wondered what is the importance of looking straight ahead during training. How would it make us win races or become better paddlers?

Then, I met one entry in the book “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler,  which is “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize”. It shared about the talk of Dallas Cowboy coach Jimmy Johnson to his football players.

“I told them that if I laid a two-by-four across the room, everybody there would walk across it and not fall, because our focus would be that we were going to walk that two-by-four. But if I put that same two-by-four 10 stories high between two buildings only a few would make it, because the focus would be on falling. Focus is everything. The team that is more focused today is that team that will win this game.”

It shed a light on my question re the importance of “looking straight ahead”.

When you are paddling, there are so many distractions that would make you lose focus:

…floating human waste or decaying cat remains

…foul-smell of murky Manila Bay waters

…cute paddlers from other teams

One of the requirements, however, of this sport to get the team to the finish line as fast as possible is synchronization. When you are distracted, there is that big chance that you will most likely get out of sync with the drummers beat or cadence. And when you are out of sync, it will not only affect your performance but you will drag the whole team with you.

Similar in life, many of us let themselves be affected by the negative things happening around us. We let these “distractions” negatively affect the things we do, and even the people around us. Instead of us focusing on the things we want to happen in our life — say becoming a good public servant — we focus our attention on the consequences of failing.

Friends, for us to get our life goals, we should keep our eyes on the prize.

Challenges will always abound. Some of these could even hurt us physically, emotionally or even financially. If we, however, lock our attention to our goals, nothing can keep us from winning.

And that’s what you should focus on — WINNING.


PS1: In Dragon Boat, the drummer provides the beat or cadence for the whole team.

PS2: I am really encouraging you to get “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler. A really good resource for trainers and those who wants to get re-fueled.

Be Hungry! And Stay Hungry!

What runs in your mind when you think of your favorite food, and you’re hungry?

I’m sure that you sometimes imagine your favorite cuisine. The mouth-watering flavors rolling on your taste buds… The ambrosial aroma tickling your nostrils… Or, that just-right, brackish taste lingering in your mouth.


I’m sure that you would do what you can just to satisfy your food cravings.

For me, I’m crazy about anything with “seafood” — especially seafood pasta, spiked with Tabasco. (Just typing this article, makes my mouth water…) And, every time Wanna prepares one, expect me to linger a little bit longer in the kitchen (not even in the table).


Before, however, we get there, it usually takes a lot of strategic prodding to get Wanna to prepare her special pasta. I would also drive early in the morning just to get to the wet market to buy fresh seafood. I would also push myself to drive to the opposite side of the city to get scallops and clams from S&R. And, that is a horrible experience considering the traffic in my city and the number of shoppers at S&R. But of course, when you’re hungry and you want to be satisfied, YOU WOULD DO ALL.

This is actually akin to our journey in life. For us to succeed and realize our dreams — say become a successful IT Manager,  famous author or highly-paid event host — we need to keep ourselves hungry.

Some of you are probably thinking, what do I mean by this and how to do it.

What I mean is you need to have A STRONG DESIRE TO PURSUE YOUR PLANS. Unless you keep yourself REALLY motivated, then your plans would never materialize. Believe me.

Now, how to do it? I would suggest that you create a DREAM or a VISION BOARD.

Plan your journey, create your vision and collate pictures of your expected milestones — trips to US and Europe, the new Range Rover, or zero-debt status. Place your vision board in a location where you can easily be reminded of what you need to accomplish and what is waiting at each milestone stop.

This will keep you hungry!

Friends, we all plan great things. The problem, however, is that we don’t act because there is no (or little) motivation to go after these plans. If you intend, however, to wait for the motivation to arrive, then you are waiting for nothing. Create one! And, look at it everyday. It can make a difference in your journey.

Again, be hungry and (most important) stay hungry!

Let me end this with these words from Zig Ziglar:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

PS: I am highly encouraging you to read Zig Ziglar. Try his book on how to stay motivated.

Excuses — the Time Thief

“Yan ang sagot ng mga taong di aasenso!” (“That is the excuse used by people who will not be successful!”)

More than 12 years ago, I got a scolding from my mother.

I was studying then at a university in Manila. We had a couple-of-weeks break at that time. I decided to spend that in Masbate.

Before leaving for my province, I requested Mama to contact my preschool teacher. I wanted to interview her for my major project in my undergraduate degree. It involved looking at the feasibility of putting up a preschool somewhere in Rizal.

The minute I arrived and pecked on her cheeks, she immediately told me that my teacher agreed, and just waiting for my call. I just arrived then from a 16-hour trip from Manila to my province (via Pilar). I haven’t even dropped my bags. So I told Mama that I was tired, hungry and wanted to take a nap. Without batting an eyelash, she delivered that line!

So, I immediately stood up and reached for the phone.

I would never forget that. It was etched in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul.

My mother instilled to my brood the importance of KNOWING YOUR PRIORITIES and to NEVER PROCRASTINATE. She showed this to us not only by mere words but also through her actions. This, I guess, is one of the traits that helped her conquered her own challenges. I believe as well that we can also use that to overcome our own issues.

Friends, let us reflect on our lives.

Are you leading a life of endless excuses?

Where you are now and what you have are the results of the things you’ve done before (or not done) — not by your parents, not by your friends or your forefathers. Yours alone.

We all have our personal hurdles — say money.

When asked why we have that challenge, our mind (most of the time) would not stop conjuring endless excuses why our problem is money. But if you go back and take an honest look at the things you’ve done in the past, I’m pretty sure that you’ve done nothing different in your life to address the problem — except probably made excuses and more excuses.

Excuses made us lost time to work on our dreams.

If you really want to change your life, and solve the problems besetting you, then you need to stop making excuses. You need to do something different from the things you are doing now.

…pull yourself together.

…forget about your past (but learn from this).

…decide and commit to the change you want.

…start acting and never make excuses.

It might be difficult at the start. However, the journey would be fulfilling because you know that YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING to improve your plight. Believe me.

Remember, excuses are time thief. Don’t let it rob you of the time to realize the change you want. Start making time to really change your life. Right now!


PS1: My mother is really sweet and caring. She just love to pepper us with advice that she got from her experience and from reading the Bible and “Lakbay-Diwa”. Maybe soon, I’ll find time to share her favorite dialogue — JUST PRAY.

PS2: Try these great selection of self-help books. Unless you look for good tools to help you and just simply rely on yourself, then you might find it hard to conquer your Goliath.

Action — the distance between your Plans and your Reality

More than ten years ago, I had an inkling that I would have difficulty getting promoted.

I was good with the technical aspect of my work. From feedback provided, I was adept at doing the analysis and coming up with good recommendations. I could sift through subjects more efficiently compared to some. Some even dubbed me as the “Special Engagement Boy” because of the projects assigned to me. The problem, however, was that I could not string good sentences together in front of our clients — in English. That was a BIG PROBLEM because selling our services is the bread-and-butter of my employer.

I remember this one incident at a client’s office.

It was during a kick-off meeting for a project. My boss requested us to  introduce ourselves to the group where we have foreign participants. I planned a brief introduction about myself and my involvement in the project. However, it didn’t come out as planned in my mind.  It was a disaster!

I stuttered the whole time…

“Ps” and “Fs”, “Os” and Us”, and “Is” and “Es” interchanged…

English was my waterloo.

One thing about me though is that I never let difficulties stop me from realizing my plans. So, I immediately went to Google and typed “How to improve your communication skills”. And, top on the list was “Toastmasters International”.

I saw several contact information and sent SMS to the listed numbers. I got two replies. One texted back that their next meeting was two weeks from that day. Another one told me that they were meeting that night. And because I have my plans of getting promoted — and I didn’t want anything delaying that — I went to that meeting.

In that meeting, I realized that the group was composed of really good communicators. I learned that most of them were trainers. I couldn’t say anything when I was requested to provide feedback, except for one sentence — “You are all intimidating.” But I know how to handle fear, so I immediately signed up and volunteered to deliver week after that meeting my very first speech project. (The club meets weekly.)

Hard work and perseverance were two traits I got from my parents. And, I knew that our learning pace would depend on ourselves, not others. So without anyone egging me, I pushed myself to deliver projects, two to three times a month, until I completed all basic speech projects. Not only that, I knew that my weak spot was impromptu, so I looked for people in that group who could mentor me. Then, I tried putting recommendations given to me into practice. Also, I didn’t just rely on the weekly meetings. I would find time every day to practice by speaking on three impromptu topics in front of the mirror.

Let’s fast-forward to the future.

I still get cold feet when someone speaks in straight English before me. The only difference is… I am now better equipped. And, I’ve gained confidence.

My journey as a toastmaster not only helped me get that promotion. It helped me discover what I can do. It gave me a realization that I can go beyond my original plan… of just being promoted.

I joined several speech contests. And became an area champion for Table Topics (Impromptu) and Division first runner-up for the International category. I tried my luck with Humorous category where I lost in the area, and there were only two of us competing. LOL.

Career-wise… The skills I got from toastmasters helped me advance my journey as a professional:

…trotting the globe for seven years and being promoted several times.

…given an opportunity to conduct seminars to three big professional organizations in the country.

…served as a host to several national conferences.

…invited to provide consultancy service to a Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

…provided with an opportunity to serve ISACA as one of the board of trustees for three years now.

And now, serving as the Audit Committee Chair in the District 75 of Toastmasters International (the national level).

Friends, we all have plans. And most of the time, our plans are really big and generous because after all, IT IS FREE. Like probably, becoming a successful sales manager, get promoted as the next company vice president, or get our works published. The problem, however, is that most of the time WE DO NOTHING to make our plans a reality.

By doing nothing, however, our plans degrade to JUST FANTASIES.

I am encouraging all of you to not just plan great things. You have to act on those! And you need to START NOW — not tomorrow, not next week. NOW! Also, don’t waste your time by merely playing everything in your mind. Your plans would be more fulfilling if you are actually living them.

Why am I sharing this? Because I want you to realize the plans and dreams in your life…

Always remember that the distance between your plans and your reality is ACTION.


PS1: Try this John Maxwell book. This will teach you to not only communicate but to connect with people.

PS2: In highschool, I got 99 in Mathematics, 98 in Chemistry and 97 in Physics. For English, however, never mind… Further, in college, all my papers (in COMMUNICATION I and II) were almost red from start to finish from the corrections provided by our professor.

PS3: I’m still not really comfortable with impromptu speaking. At least now, however, I’m better equipped.

PS4: I-Connect TMC (my toastmaster club) 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. 

PS5: If you want, there are also available online classes that you can try. It can also help you improve your speaking skills. Click Here!

Imagination is the Beginning of Creation

“A little imagination is the beginning of big creation.”

I saw this line from a statement shirt last August 9. It struck me.

It was tweaked from George Bernard Shaw’s famous line.

My mind traveled way back to an event when I was only 14 years old. It was the Regional Science and Mathematics Competition held in Sorsogon, Sorsogon. I represented my province for the Regional Mathematics Olympiad.

I recalled this nerdy-looking guy and his entry in the Science Fair. Using a recycling mechanism he built, he shared that our non-organic garbage can have commercial viability. He did this by converting our garbage into a fancy and colorful sand using cryogenic freezing. Then this, according to him, can be used as construction material.

It was a real earth-friendly solution — garbage disposal and reduced quarrying activities.

When asked about his inspiration for his project, he shared that it was inspired by a movie of Arnold Schwarzenegger (I just forgot the title he mentioned). According to him, in the movie the villain was exposed to cryogenic freezing, then that person became brittle and got crushed to sand-like bits when hit by the main character.

It gave him a realization. He thought that it can be a novel way of disposing our non-organic garbage.

His project was awarded first place in that competition. Also, in the rumor that I got from my high school teachers, the project placed sixth globally. Wow! Imagine it went up to the international level, and was among the top ideas!

I’m not sure though where that guy is now or what happened to his idea. But my wild guess is that that Filipino, probably, is making big out there (most likely abroad because many of our streets are still peppered with non-organic garbage). And probably, some companies or scientists are building on the idea he started.

I Googled his idea, and searched for ways by which cryogenic freezing is being used in recycling. I found Cryogenic grinding of discarded tires. In here, the tires undergo cryogenic freezing, then being crushed to small particle size once it becomes brittle. Probably the idea was helped by the imagination of that boy decades ago.

Friends, we all have ideas hiding within us. Some may appear petty or ludicrous. We, nevertheless, should not hesitate pursuing our ideas however crazy it is. We should not be afraid to tweak and play with our imagination. It could actually lead to something new that can help solve our community problems. Or, it could actually serve as stepping board to help other people build their own ideas.

Always remember to not hesitate to share and work on your ideas… There are no idiotic ideas. But only unshared and wasted…

Don’t let yours get wasted… That could be the one idea that can change your life… our lives…

Let me end this with these words from Walt Disney:

Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.


PS1: Try reading Mistakes That Worked. Give this to your kids. It will surprise and inspire them.

PS2: Featured image is taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/10/11/21/18/sunset-485016_960_720.png

Chasing that Pokemon

The end does not justify the means…

I never imagined myself getting gaga about a game. I was never fond of digital games. I’m a book person. Except of course when I was young, bullying my siblings to give me unlimited turns at Tekken and Mortal Combat in our Sony PlayStation. Oh, I still can vividly recall the pitiful reactions of my siblings taking turns over one controller while I lord over the other one.

Anyhow, last August 6, early morning, I was annoyed listening to the animated discussion between my youngest sister and my daughter about catching Pokemons. So I told them off. Both, however, ignored me and enthusiastically shared to me “Pokemon Go”.

What caught my interest was my sister who is a couch potato was going around the condo unit with her nose pressed on her mobile. I told myself that this fad is worth looking into if it was able to excite my sister to get her butt off the couch. Thus, I downloaded the app.

I didn’t know that it was addictive.

I found myself together with my daughter and sister walking around our residence looking for those Pokemons. We started just within our condo unit. Then, we walked within the floor of our building. Then, we decided to look for more so I took my other phone and started a hotspot, where the three of us connected to. We now went to the other buildings because there were so many Pokestops near our area.

I was amazed when I reached the first Pokestop. There were a lot of other people (both young and old) looking for those Pokemons. The guard at the reception even shared to us that before our group arrived, there was a group of five people insisting to go inside the reception counter looking for those Pokeballs. (LOL) Then, I overheard two other people that they got three Pokeballs at the Deck, so we took the elevator and went 40 floors up to look for Pokeballs and Pokemon. We went to all the Pokestops nearby.


My journey didn’t stop there. The next day, I went driving (despite the warning against the new “Anti-Distracted Driving Act”) looking for Pokemons. I found a lot at Robinson’s Pioneer (try hunting there). After that I went home.

At home, I animatedly shared with my partner and daughter the new Pokemons I got. Then, my partner shared that my daughter found a hack. There was no need for us to actually walk, except for our avatars. So I got my phone out and tried it.

I was into it for the next two and a half hours.

I just realized, however, that it was not fun anymore. The excitement faded every minute I spent in the app using the cheat. Yes, I got so many Pokemons (mostly Rattata) but the enthusiasm to go after those Pokemons were almost gone. The hack took the fun out of the game.

This experience gave me a “light bulb” moment.

We all have “Pokemons” in our lives.

Pursue further studies… Succeed in our business… Trot the globe…

And in pursuing them, we usually tell ourselves that we would do whatever it takes to make all a reality. In our journey, however, we will encounter opportunities that would provide us with hacks or shortcuts (some are illegal). It is important though that we tread these hacks carefully, and never sacrifice our character and the quality of our experience in the process.

After all, what is really important is that when we catch all those Pokemons, we know that we did what we could. Without hurting anyone… Without sacrificing our integrity… And most important, without missing the fun in the journey.


PS1: I’m really bothered that we are infested with Rattata. Is our metropolis really that dirty that even in the Pokemon world rodents abound? =)

PS2: Pokemon Go lovers try this ultimate game guide from Jeremy Tyson. LOL. Let’s level up! Try the kindle (e-book) edition!

PS3: If you want to read the story behind this crazy 2016 phenomenon, get this book: Pokemon Go: The Evolution of a Generation (Pokemon, Pokemon Go, Pokemon Go Game, Pokemon Go Story, Pokemon Go Book): The Background of 2016 Phenomenon

Nothing is "IMPOSSIBLE"

“Impossible” is ONLY a state  of mind that serves as prison where many love to languish.


Years from now, what do you think will happen in your life?

Do you think you have financial freedom (as many of our “know-it-all” financial gurus would lecture us)? How much is your investment portfolio (to those who keep on ranting about their investing activities)? Or, are you living your American dream (maybe Canadian or Australian or …)?

Do you think these are possible? Of course!

But what if something happens that struck you unprepared, or you feel that you are stuck in a rut? Say you get really sick, your savings are depleted, and you don’t know how and where to start…

We all have our challenges. And sometimes, these challenges put us in a situation where we think that it is not possible for us to undo what is happening. We usually just accept what we have and where we are. This is true, especially for many Filipinos who are wrought to be contented with their lives. We see challenges as high walls vandalized with IMPOSSIBLE — written in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS, Bold Font and Underlined.

I remember the stories my mother shared to me and my siblings when we were young. Her father died when she was only 8 years old. Lola May, Her widow mother, had to provide to a brood of seven. (Her mother was not even able to finish her elementary education but was really hardworking and brilliant.) Some people they know would made fun of her family and what they had. Well, the truth was THEY HAD NOTHING.

She shared that she was envious of her friends… Their new clothes during birthdays… The fake jewelry they wore that came as candy freebies… Their new pair of slippers…

They cannot afford any of those (not even the candy freebies). She would always assure herself though that time would come for her to have those. Thus, she swore to herself that when that time comes she would wear the real thing…

Further, what they would able to scratch, they would STRETCH to cover everything.

I remember her and her younger sister gleefully sharing how their eldest sister would made them walk the extra distance just to look for a store where they can save extra cents for what they were buying. We would always hear this and many other funny stories during family gatherings.

I wondered, however, how my mother was able to unstuck herself from the life of poverty.

Me and my siblings grew up really comfortable. We had a number of good properties. We were provided with good education at really good universities. In short, we were not deprived. (Of course the death of my father plus the changing business environment in my province took its toll to the family, and it is another story that I will be sharing here some other time. That chapter of our life though convinced me that my mother is a “Supermom”.)

Going back to my mother, I would see POVERTY written all over them. I wondered how they got out of that situation. I got the answer from her daily litanies. According to her, she DREAMED OF BIG THINGS and NEVER INCLUDED the word “IMPOSSIBLE” IN HER VOCABULARY. She shared how she used as inspiration her family, her experience and her dreams in improving our lives. 

Inspired by things that she wanted to happen in her life, she left her job as a salaried nurse in our provincial government hospital, and tried her hands at retailing.

She told herself that she was not satisfied with receiving merely monthly salary which was not even enough for the family (together with my father’s meager salary). As an employee, she cannot also stay with her brood to take care of them — a major dilemma for her. Also, at that time she and Papa were just renting a small room, which is just a little bit bigger than the bathroom in my condo now.  Thus, she came up with that decision.

(My grandma would always say though, when she was still alive, that if she had known that my mother would not practice nursing, she would have not worked really hard for her to finish college. And my mother would always say that she just pursued her passion, which was influenced by my grandmother.)

From her stories, I deduced a formula — entrepreneurship and believe that all is possible.

She would look for items that people in our province would buy. (She started with a few pair of slippers.) Find inexpensive source of these goods. Distribute these in the province at a reasonable price. An important part, according to her, is to ESTABLISH GOOD RELATIONSHIP with people around you (especially your suppliers and customers). Now put all of that together… Add a dash of hard work and perseverance… Sprinkle with prayers every day… And, she was out of her rut.

(I think my cousins at my mother side of the family can relate easily to this formula. We all learned this from our parents.)

That formula must be really effective. My family led a comfortable life (until the new challenges that happened upon my father’s death when I was in college). But even if my father died, my mother’s inspiring stories (and the angels sent by God to help us) prepared us for the worst. Now, we are doing good. We are not filthy rich but definitely leading our lives with reasonable comfort.

Friends, one thing that I would never forget from my mother is to NOT USE the word IMPOSSIBLE as an excuse for what you have. According to her, if you think and use that word, then YOU LIMIT WHAT YOU CAN DO.

This is what I want to leave to all of you.

In our journey to realizing our dreams, we will be hounded with challenges that might give us pains. Sometimes you will wonder why you have such dreams, in the first place. You can tell yourself to just avoid the pain by ACCEPTING WHAT YOU HAVE and DO NOTHING. We should always remember, however, that there are SO MANY WAYS TO REALIZE OUR DREAMS. When we are confronted with the IMPOSSIBLE, just BE CREATIVE in finding ways to go around these challenges.

No challenge is too high or too wide to a persistent and creative mind.

So if you feel that it is impossible for you to grow your wealth and travel abroad, take a few steps back, look at the bigger picture and think again. You might just be missing on something.

I will leave this quote from Napoleon Hill for you to ponder.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”


PS1: I am sharing her story as a tribute to the woman who have done so many things in our lives. I hope that she’ll be able to touch your lives with this post, as she have touched ours. We love you so much Mama!

PS2: Try the book “No Such Thing As IMPOSSIBLE: From Adversity To Triumph”  by JAIRO ÁLVAREZ-BOTERO. It is about his triumph in conquering the IMPOSSIBLEs in his life. His journey is another great story of winning against the impossible.

The kindle or e-book edition is really handy.

PS3: I would really like to hear your thoughts about the things that I share. Let me hear from you.

PS4: I love listening to the stories of my mother and her two sisters. They are really good storytellers. When they share stories, it felt like you are actually witnessing the whole events unfolding.

On Your Deathbed – Are We Ready?

Last August 2, I was rushed to the emergency room at the Makati Medical Center (MMC).

My eyes were blood-shot.

My face, neck and chest were red.

I had palpitations which felt like my head was about to explode!

I had heaviness in my chest.

My mind was telling me to call for the company nurse, but I didn’t want to create hysteria. I thought I was about to die.

All these happened 20 minutes after eating grilled blue marlin, which  I bought from my favorite “Jolly Jeep” stall. It felt funny but I was not about to waste my money, so I finished it.


Fortunately, the symptoms subsided after the meds was administered to me. But my head felt like being hacked after. Not sure though if that was from the poisoning or because of the meds. =)

Anyhow, before I was rushed to the hospital, I had a sudden thought that I might die. I suddenly recalled one entry in one of my favorite books — “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler, which is “Get on your deathbed“.  The book asked you to “clearly imagine yourself lying on your own deathbed, and to fully realize the feelings connected with dying and saying good-bye.” (I highly encourage you to get a copy. Get one at Amazon.)

While my entire body was throbbing hard from the palpitation. I tried to imagine my family, my unpaid debts, my unfulfilled dreams, and asked myself: “What have I done these past years to not prepare for this?”

My brain imagined and traveled to what I thought to be Palawan. I told myself that me, Wanna and Yuni have never been to Palawan, and I was about to die.

My mind recalled the promise I made to my mom that I will travel with her abroad – Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe… I was about to fail her.

I remembered the millions of debts that I’m going to leave Wanna and Yuni… Also, who would go to the market? Who would scrub the toilet? Would they be able to carry all these burdens by themselves? (Of Course! No doubt about this!)

So many “WHATs” and “WHYs” flooded my mind… I was about to die, so I told myself.

It brought to mind what my mom used to nag us every lunch, that in our deathbed, people would be talking about our ATTITUDE and RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS – not aptitude or money.

I asked myself if those who I thought to be friends would go to my wake. It made me wonder, if I would be able to see all of them. Jokingly, I even thought that I would give an unwanted visit to those who will fail to visit my remains. I imagined what would they be talking about me. I also thought of my enemies, and what they would be talking about me also. Would they be celebrating my demise?

I told myself that there are so many things I wanted to accomplish in my life. Looking up, I tried to tell God that I was not ready. I was not sure if He would welcome me into His kingdom. I asked myself, if I’ve done enough for Him to let me in.

My chest was getting heavier every second…

I imagined that the end was really near. I assured myself that I did my best. Whatever happens, I don’t and won’t care because I know that I did my best. So I closed my eyes and assured myself — I was ready…

Then, suddenly, I overheard a conversation about a colleague who they are about to bring to MMC because of eating grilled blue marlin. I immediately stood up and requested them to bring me as well. Their reactions amazed me. They looked really scared, and I was told that my appearance was far worse than my colleague’s. But I didn’t care. I was smiling because help was already there.

LOL. And, here I am sharing that scary, crazy experience.

I guess we can all learn from this. Here are my personal take-aways:

  • Death is the realization of Life.
  • Live your life to the fullest! Live as if you will die tomorrow.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Help is always available. You just have to ask for it.
  • Spiritual relationship is really important. Find time to connect and re-connect to our Heavenly Father.
  • And, if you feel something is different with your food, don’t be a glutton. Your LIFE IS FAR MORE VALUABLE than the PhP60 you are about to waste.


PS1: There were five of us who got fish poisoning. I met the other three at MMC. One is a colleague, while the other three were from different companies. All from eating the same grilled blue marlin from the same food stall.

PS2: I am really encouraging you to get “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler. A really good resource for trainers and those who wants to get re-fueled.

PS3: I was told by our Danica that if I waited longer, there is that chance that I could have died. In rare cases this could happen, according to Wikipedia. =)

Road Rage: Pride and Apathy

Who do you think are the real victims of road rage in the case of “Vhon Martin Tanto” and “Mark Vincent Garalde”?

I had a discussion with my partner — Wanna.

I shared to her that upon reading the accounts of eyewitnesses, I was under the impression that Tanto probably had a “period of temporary insanity” that night. It was triggered by the beating he took from Garalde. Also, Garalde’s provocative words, as shared by some eyewitnesses, may have really pushed Tanto’s sanity beyond its limit. Not that I am justifying what happened, I am just analyzing what transpired.

Wanna, however, countered that getting a beating and being provoked is NEVER A LICENSE to take another person’s life. She is absolutely right.

It brought to mind an incident that happened around April this year.

I was driving along the stretch of Boni Avenue. At one point, I stopped to let jeepneys cross the intersection. I didn’t notice one biker squeezing its way near me. So when the traffic was about to move, I stepped on the gas. The car moved for around two seconds, when I suddenly heard banging so I stepped on the brake. The biker was banging at my window. According to him, I almost hit his foot.

A shouting spree ensued. He would shout at the top of his voice, “Anong gusto mo?” (What do you want). Then I would retort at the top of my voice as well, “Bakit ano din ang gusto mo?” (What also do you want). It was a non-stop heated exchange of words. We were disrupting traffic.

At the hindsight, my mind was saying that it was WRONG. But my pride was saying to GO AHEAD and DO NOT LET HIM BEAT YOU. So listening to my pride, I continued shouting at the top of my voice. At that time, I can’t even recall why we were having that heated discussion in the first place. And how it started seemed to be not important anymore, as long as we were shouting at the top of our lungs.

Suddenly, an enforcer approached us. He requested to move our vehicles to the sidewalk. At the sidewalk, he gave us two options – (1) He will let us kill each other and he will just call an ambulance after, or (2) We will apologize and forget that the whole thing transpired. He then shared his personal accounts as traffic enforcer. He shared scary stories involving road rage. Then to cap it all, he asked the two of us if we want to become part of the road rage statistics or we will let things pass. (He must have been a toastmaster — gifted in storytelling.)

His stories made the two of us laugh. We both extended our hands and exchanged apologies. It made us realized how petty the reason behind our squabbling. We actually took off laughing at the whole thing, and thanking the traffic enforcer.

By the way, I made a personal note not to mention the incident to Wanna fearing her reaction. Then after a couple of weeks, when I thought it was safe, I shared this with her. I was wrong. BOOM! I got another scolding.

The case of Garalde and Tanto is an addition to the rising road rage statistics. I, however, believe that both are victims of what happened. I think that the real culprits in the whole mess are (1) the pride of the people involved and (2) the apathy of the onlookers.

For the people involve in road incidents, keep your cool. We should LISTEN to our logic and NEVER LET PRIDE TAKEOVER. Apologizing will not strip you of your manliness. It will actually make you a better person by teaching you to control unwanted emotions. And, most important is that it can keep you safe and alive. We just need to change our attitude and break our habits. (Sometimes how we react to certain situation is brought by our habits.)

For the onlookers, I know that we are fond of watching movies, and street squabble is providing us with the same satisfaction. It would help all of us (including the onlookers as they might get hit by stray bullets) to stop the fight. You don’t need to do it yourself. You can call the attention of persons of authority, such as “barangay tanods” or traffic enforcers. They can stop the whole mess without reaching the point when one of the persons involved (or one of the onlookers) get shot. Apathy is an offence we are all guilty of.

The number of road rage statistics is rising. I believe that we all have roles (personal and the community as a whole) to stop this from aggravating. We just have to ACT BEFORE IT DESTROYS US.

And please to our civilians, you don’t need to own guns… (This is my view because I have painful stories about this. Maybe next time…)


PS: You want to break your habits? Try this habit busting program.