Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Striving For The Same Things Again

Your list will probably look like a recycled version of the same set of resolutions of the previous years.  Same plans, same wishes, same targets.  And then you will also see these things on your friends’ Facebook posts. Let’s summarize all of these in just one sentence. We all want to succeed this time around.

But what success for you is most probably different from the others’ definition of it. I try to avoid using the word “success” because of this fact. For some, success is simple. But this simplicity is dangerous. They see it very materialistically. If a person has a car, a house, a good paying job, for them it’s already success.  Well it is. But it isn't and must not be “THE” success.

I listed here my resolutions, targets and plans. And I’ll try to make a list just once then I’ll never create another one for next year. I’ll just reuse it.  And once I’m done, then it’s up to you to call if it’s a success or not:

1.       Make the people that matter to me feel and realize that they matter to me.  Always.
2.       Stay healthy for myself and my family.
3.       Continue learning about anything for the sake of learning and sharing.
4.       Strive for less. I will decrease my engagements by dealing with only what matters.
5.       Leave a lesson or advice to my children (and some other people around me) that they might take which will make them remember me one day for its positive outcome.
6.       Prepare for the day when I’m gone that those who I will leave will not be very sad for long while thinking when and where they will get the money from to live by.
7.       Guiding my children on becoming good and sensible citizens of this planet.
8.       Prepare for the day when I’m gone that I’ll never be regretting the life that I lived.

I now have my list. I might add some on the following years but this will be the core. I am not a fan of doing a resolutions list but since I created one, this will be my “new year’s resolution” over and over again until I’m gone forever.  I also got tired of promising myself the same things so I filtered my list, pick up the essentials and put it back in here because even in our trash cans, not everything can be recycled. Some of them will get rotten and stink if you use them repeatedly.  Start picking up which are important and focus working on them. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Be Unrealistic and Dream the Unattainable

I missed a lot of my dreams already. You might say I'm still young to achieve them. If we're talking about being a professional athlete then I'm old for that. I dreamed of becoming one just like the other young sports fans. But the main problem that I had was I didn't know on which sport. Not that I excelled on many of them but I tried playing a lot and had been part of school competitions and represented our city once on one of them. I'm not really that good but at least, I know the basics. I played ping pong, track and field, basketball and tennis. I didn't became the best player in any of them though. So I just dropped the dream and went on with my life.

Most of us know the acronym SMART in relation to setting goals, plans or dreams. For the others who don't, it means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. I used this acronym a lot before. Sure, we need to have a specific, measurable and time bound life plans. We can't just wait for the time to come but we must make the time for ourselves to do what we plan for. And by knowing how to measure what we had achieved gives us an idea of where we are. And we must also be specific on what we want to do or happen.  But when it comes to being attainable and realistic, I started having doubts about it. 


Believing that there are only few things which you can attain is the same as limiting your capabilities and boundaries. Sure, there are goals which you can easily pick and say that these are the things which you think are achievable based on what you are now. You say so based on what you’re currently capable of doing. But how about those which you scratched off your list just because you think that they are unattainable on the same basis of measuring your current worth in terms of skills, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses? That’s almost the same of telling people to be realistic with their dreams. That statement itself is an irony. Dreams are supposed to be limitless and beyond the boundaries of reality. But telling people to become realistic and make attainable dreams is sort of discouraging them on their potentials.

Let’s say I have a time machine and then I’ll travel back to the days of a young Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Lebron James or any other living person who are the current biggest fishes on their respective industries. Then I’ll ask them what their goals in lives are. If they say that they want to become the most successful and on top of their chosen careers and make billions of money, how will it sound if I tell them to change their dreams? I’ll tell the young Gates that no, he must change that into something more attainable. Maybe he can be the best programmer in another company but never the owner of the biggest computer company in the world. And then I’ll also tell the young Buffett that he must not think that he’ll be the most successful investor of his time and he can’t possibly surpass the others who learned the business earlier and longer than him. But he can still dream of becoming a millionaire at least while managing funds of some people under a big financial firm. Then if I get to see the young Lebron and he tells me that he’s dreaming of becoming the best basketball player in the planet someday, I’ll tell him that it’s a great goal but at least try saving himself from disappointments by at most dreaming that he’ll be able to enter the NBA someday, get some quality minutes for his team and earn some bucks to save for his family and his future. And what if they listen to me?

Who are we to tell another person that his dreams are unrealistic and unattainable? If people really listened to other’s advice about their plans and dreams, what events, inventions and other great stuffs that we might not be having today? Airplanes? Television? Phones? Berlin Wall’s fall? Freedom of speech, religion or beliefs? Nations’ sovereignty? Human and robots landing on moons and planets? Antibiotics? Chocolate bars?

Tonight is already Christmas Eve. While everyone’s busy, most people are happy. My wife and I are also very joyous on this occasion as we are celebrating it for the first time as a family of four, my wife and I, our son Mik and daughter Kayla. I was not able to buy any gift for them. My 23 month young son easily gets bored with toys though. He rather enjoys having playtime with me or his mom. And our 2 week old daughter Kayla would be too young to appreciate the gift we could have given her. But I have a better gift for the two of them and that is freedom to dream and plan their lives in the future. We’ll guide them, that’s for sure. But I’ll never get in the way between them and their dreams by not saying they are unattainable and unrealistic. Imagine what they will become if they tell me they want to become a top rank professional athlete? Or a billionaire? Or a hero? Or a saint? What would they become if they fall short of becoming any of these? If they will strive harder, no matter how short they fall from becoming any of these dreams, they will still be found way up there.

Happy Christmas!

So for my son and daughter, Merry Christmas to you. For you two are the best God’s gift for me and your mom.  As you grow, we’ll always be here to help and guide you in utilizing and improving the potentials you two have. And once you both arrive there on top, please keep in mind the virtue of humility. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kung Panahon Sana Ni Ano Yan...

Sa kwentuhan ng ilang mas may edad sa tin tungkol sa pulitika, kadalasan nilang ibibida ang mga tungkol sa magagaling na mga leader daw noon. Na ito daw mga ito ay mga matino talaga, na inayos daw ang bansa natin, naging maunlad tayo, naging mas maayos at mas magaling daw ang mga ito kesa sa mga nakaupo ngayon.  Kung di daw sana ganito at ganyan, sana e mas maayos ang Pilipinas. 

Sinasabi nila ito kadalasan para bigyan tayong payo at para piliin din natin kung sino ang tingin nilang makakaulit ng nagawa nung sinasabi nilang magaling na leader noon. At madalas din na kung may isusuggest sila, yun eh yung anak o apo ng sinasabi nilang magaling na leader ang ipapasuporta sa yo. 

Pero kung iisipin mo maigi, yung resulta ng kung ano meron tayo ngayon ay bunga naman lahat ng pagpili na ginawa ng mga tao noon. At ngayon, gusto nilang ulitin natin kung panong pagdesisyon ang ginawa nila noon. Ito ba yung sinasabi nilang "history repeating itself"?

Bago maniwala sa sinasabi nilang ok tayo sa ganon, tingnan muna natin kung ano na ba ang pinagbubunga ng mga ito ngayon.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Public Transport Economics 101

Sa mga opisina, may tinatawag na "redundancy" at pag narinig mo yan, matakot ka na kasi may matatanggal. Ibig kasi sabihin, hindi na kailangan ang isang posisyon dahil nasasakop ang trabaho niya ng ibang tao na ginagawa na rin ang role niya.  Paniguradong may masisibak pag narinig ang salitang “redundancy”. 

Pagdating naman  sa mundo ng kalakalan, alam natin na kapag ang supply ay sumobra kesa sa demand, nagmumura ang presyo nito. Yan ay dahil sa kailangan nilang makabenta at kumita kaya bababaan nila ang presyo para sila ang piliin ng mga mamimili. Lamang talaga ang mga consumers kapag mas maraming kumpetisyon at pagpipilian.

Pero ang mga batas na ito ng ekonomiya at kalakalan, para bang hindi applicable pagdating sa kalsada at transportasyon sa ating bansa.

Noong July 2012 pa ito, EDSA-ORTIGAS Flyover (photo from Inquirer.net)

Sa kalsada kasi, ilang mga linya na nga ba public transport ang redundant na ang mga ruta?  Andaming mga bus o kaya mga jeep pa nga na hindi na halos napupuno at nag-aagawan tuloy sa pasahero ang mga tsuper. Agawan at kararehan ang mga kawawang drivers at marami tuloy ang nauuwi sa aksidente. Kailangan kasi makaboundary at mahihirapan sila kung hindi sila maghahapit makakuha ng sasakay sa kanila. Kaya talagang unahan at agawan. Pero sa kabila ng redundancy na ito, parami pa rin ng parami ang mga prangkisa na inilalabas ng ahensya ng gobyerno dito. 

Sa kabilang banda, yung mga ruta naman na kulang na kulang ng sasakyan ay patagalan naman sa pagrelease ng prangkisa at makikita ang haba naman ng pila ng mga kawawang pasahero. Tulad sa lugar naming na ang mga shuttle na colorum ang naglipana papuntang Makati dahil sa tagal at mahal ng prangkisa. Kaya normal nang makita sa umaga ang milya milyang haba ng pila ng mga pasaherong papasok sa trabaho. At ganun din sa pag-uwi at talagang nakakapagod talaga. Tila hindi pinag-aaralan masyado (o hindi talaga) ang statistika pagdating sa pagrerelease ng prangkisa ng public transport.  

At eto ang Dec. 2013 na naaksidente sa Skyway Yes, imbes na maiwasan yung una, mas lumala pa ngayon. At same bus line ito. (photo from Inquirer.net)

At pagdating naman sa law of supply and demand, kahit pa sa mga lugar na marami ang sasakyan tulad sa lugar namin na ang tricycle ay naglipana at nagaagawan na sa pasahero, sila pa ang malakas na maningil ng mataas na pasahe. Kahit mag-isa ka lang, dalawang tao o isang byahe na ang babayaran mo. At konting kembot lang ng presyo ng gas, nagmamahal na agad ang pamasahe.  Dahil hindi raw sila kumikita. Pano nga kasi, andami nila kumpara sa pasahero. At release pa rin ng release ng prangkisa. 

At nagtataka pa tayo kung bakit magulo ang trapiko sa Pilipinas? Yan pa lang ang napagusapan natin ha, at marami pang iba.

Monday, December 16, 2013

5 Answers To Usual Remarks I Get as a "Pro-lifer" Dad With a New Born Kid

"You are pro-life, right? If that's the case then I wanted to see you have more than just one kid."

It's  one of those friendly(?) remarks I was getting from people who are aware of my stand regarding the RH bill. I rarely want to put a tag on myself but yes, I'm adhering to what the  pro-life people are believing and following.  But it's not surprising that being pro-life is oftentimes misunderstood by many. We're being accused of just focusing about people being born safely but not caring for the quality of life that these babies are facing in the future.  Pondering on that, it is what exactly meant for us. Being pro-life is a holistic approach of caring for what's good for a person physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and economically. And I think that's what I'm trying to practice.  Maybe one way of doing that was  how my wife and I have waited and planned for some years before marrying and starting a family and having our own kids.

My wife gave birth to our second child exactly a week ago. Mik now has a younger sister. We are so blessed and happy for our growing family. We are also getting a lot of warm greetings from family and friends which makes the occasion doubly special. But as a pro-life dad, based on the comments we are receiving from some people, I can't help myself from thinking how much the mindset of the people changed about pregnancy, fertility, planning and most especially, however ironic it may sound to some, respecting other people's "choice". I am not angry at those who have said these words since most probably, they meant well. Either that or they are just joking. But then I think I have to make this list to clarify, to inform or simply to put these things off my chest and mind.

Meet our newest family member, Kayla.

1.  "So your wife's pregnant again?" - Emphasis on the word "again". Yes, she was. This question usually has follow ups like "how old is your eldest kid again?", "that was quick...", "are you kidding me?!" which went with surprised looks like it's unusual for a married couple of more than 3 years to have 2 kids already.  And we're both 31. I don't really get what's surprising about it.

2.  "Did you plan for it?" - Yes. But even if we did and if it wasn't meant for us, it wouldn't happen.  And we're so thankful that it did happen. And for the people who don't know us for long, maybe you can consider these things like how my wife and I finished our studies first, got stable jobs, worked on our finances and ensured that we have a home we can call our own before marrying after 10 long years of being in a relationship, a "plan". But amazingly, there are still those we know for very long who still ask this question.

3. You're already on "quota"  - This is a common joke among Filipino families. We have this term "naghahabol" for parents who would love to have kids of the two genders. And some families grow big because of this mentality. There's nothing wrong with this especially if they can support them and the parents can always strive harder. But when I'm being told of this "quota" for the reason that we already have a pair, a boy and a girl, I can't help but feel sad for our next kid.  Is this where the "unwanted" term came from? And no, we currently don't have thoughts about having a third kid. Not now, not soon, not yet. Besides, it's a very personal decision between couples so I reserve my rights ot to speak with finality about this matter and also to ignore opinions of people regarding our own family's plans in the future.

4. "Is your wife getting ligated after this?" - Why aren't you not circumcised yet? When are you getting your new dentures? When will you get married? Is that a wig? These are all personal and sensitive questions. And to the person being asked, these are all so annoying. Just like this question regarding ligation. Alright, first let's throw my being pro-life away for the mean time. Still, the same question does not sound well. And it's not as if my wife's healthy fertility is something that needs to be addressed.

5. "You're fine with two. Life is more difficult now" -  I agree that life is more difficult now for a lot of people. Just imagine that some years ago, a hundred pesos for a cup of hot coffee is scandalous and 40 pesos for a piece of doughnut is way too much. But now, you even have to line up just to get those. And the competition on buffet restaurants are stiffer than ever. So regarding our family's size being fine with two depends on the perspective, just like how difficult life is. You might have some good points to share, but my perspective about my family is first hand. Besides, my wife and I are now enjoying the fruits of being both born to a family of 4.  I'm the eldest in the family while she's the youngest in theirs. Both of us can't imagine how hard life would be without our siblings around us. And we can't let that hardship happen to our kids at this point or in the future.

There are other varieties of these kinds of remarks but most of the thoughts are the same with these five. And I'm not innocent with these. I also blurted some of these words before. But now that I'm in the position of the one being told or asked, I realized that there's something wrong about it. Or let's just say there are better ways to say these things. Maybe we can be better off being "pro-choice", but NOT the way pro-choice people wanted it. Not the way they force people to think and act the way they wanted by using laws. Not the way they are getting other people's money thru taxes funding other's way of life that is against their own will and belief. It will be  better if we just leave the choice to the family on how they would protect the health and dignity of our fertile and pregnant women keeping in mind that literally, the future of this world lies with them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Now is NOT the RIGHT Time

There was a time that I had been so paranoid. This was when I became sickly. I was always thinking that I would die anytime soon. Then there were news about bombings everywhere. And I frequently saw those pickpockets doing their thing just in front me. One time, I was a riding a fully loaded bus from Greenhills going to Cainta. I was standing. Then I saw this short fat guy in front of me trying to take something from the bag of a lady who was standing beside him. 

He noticed that I was looking at what he was doing. Another middle-aged man just beside him who I thought was with him gave me the stare trying to warn me to stay quiet. But I didn’t. I did make some noise and movements to take the attention of their prospected victim. I was successful and they were not able to take anything from the woman. And I was stupid doing that since I didn’t know who else was with them or what they might have done to me. 

Ingat sa Mandurukot

Good thing there are other people on the bus that seemed to be vigilant as well and probably they felt that. Unsuccessful, they shouted at the driver to stop. I helped them by saying “Ma, para daw”. And they left the bus quietly but not without another stare at me while saying “wala na tayo magagawa dyan”. They were angry. And I was smiling at them while I was facing them as they walk towards the bus exit. I was also nervous since they might do something like poking me with a knife or anything to hurt me. I was prepared to defend anyway. I put my big bag in front of me and positioned my leg for a quick kick if ever they tried to go near me. But they didn’t and I was lucky. I could be dead now.

Moving forward, things didn’t change that much. I’m not that sickly anymore but I can’t say I became healthier even though I’m trying to. The news is still the same or even worse, actually. And we hear more bad elements roaming around preying on innocent people. Same stuff. Worse stuff. One thing that’s better though is I’m less paranoid. I try not to think of what might happen. I just savor and enjoy what’s happening. Since now is what’s important. Now matters. Now is real. Now is NOT the RIGHT time but it is the ONLY time. What might be is just all in the mind.

Start With The Obvious

Our brains seemed predisposed into always looking for the secrets, the conspiracies, and the hidden. And often that we leave out the obvious. And we can observe that people are more and more becoming gullible on the things they see, hear and read. No matter how outrageous some stories are, they will quickly react and won’t even bother to verify the information. And then share it. Satires make rounds and you see people accepting them as truth. Funny at first. But once seeing a huge number who do the same, it’s not funny anymore. Comedy becomes tragedy since it affects the society in general.

Your brain is always looking for this.

More often than not, the important details are found on the obvious. But these are also the ones that we miss a lot. We try to look for the hidden behind the walls, under the table or inside the circle that the essentials staring at our face are ignored. We love tickling our brains with the stealthy stuffs. The sad part is that a lot of us make choices because of the unverified which usually appeal more to the emotion. And we tend to disqualify the important details and statistics that could have helped us make a sound a better judgment.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Living Together in Loneliness

We all know the feeling of being alone. It is a natural human emotion that all of us experience, some at a specific point in time while some are lonely most of their lives.

Sometimes, you want to do something different from what the others are doing. You may also have an idea contrary to what the majority thinks. And you know that in all angles, nothing’s wrong with your idea and what you’re trying to do. And you understand the thing very well while the others don’t. But you will find people who just don’t want you to continue and to go on. They will attack you, your idea and your action. They will try to embarrass you in public trying to expose how stupid you are to think that something in contrary to what most people believe will work. 

They will drag you and push you down. They will force you to change your mind. They will try to make you act and think like them.  For them, you can’t be serious in thinking opposite of what they are.  

But most of the time, these people are lonely. Not just physically. It’s something deeper. And they are not aware of it but their action speaks louder about it. They won’t let other people move away from them, much more think or act differently. They feel safe and secured with others thinking and acting like them. They get angry and emotional when you say something different. They will not try to understand. They won’t understand. They are lonely and emotional. Behind the anger is the truth that they want to be beside you, to hug you and to kiss you that you’ll be with them forever. And that you will live together in loneliness.

Would you join them?

They want you to be lonely just like them. Knowing that other people do the same as they are creates an illusion of togetherness. But in the end, all of them will end up feeling reclusive while just doing and thinking the same thing. You may not be doing just like them. They may insult you and speak you harsh words for being in contrast with them.  But it’s a choice that you can make. That is deciding to finally feel the warmth of being together with the things and idea that you truly love.


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