Friday, March 18, 2016


For the last several days, my strength has been drained by folks who are without hope and because they have none, choose to see the bad side of things. I nearly lost myself. 

They have, in my opinion, a different definition of hope. Maybe because this world has always accepted hope as wish or as some spell you speak to keep the bad at bay. Sad with this sort of view is that bad remains the focus and where you focus is where you will soon find yourself.

A good friend once gave me this quote: it is so difficult to soar like an eagle if you are surrounded by turkeys.

Hence a promise to myself. 

If I walk out in the middle of your angry discourse, it has nothing to do with bad manners but proper choices. If I am silent over your concern things might go bad, on my side of the fence might go bad does not exist. Will be good, however, forever blooms.

Life is too short to be spent on things that will break the heart. And because of that, true living becomes a quest for all that is good in spite of. 

Indeed, being alive is about hope and hope, I believe, is the confident expectation of good.

Thank you Alex, Mike, Anthony and Armin for helping me gain my bearing.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Home School is...

(A guest post by Mikaela Angelika G. Jaluag)

Catholic Filipino Academy Homeschooling for me is priceless!

I have learned a lot of great and amazing things here. Who said we homeschoolers do not have any socialization practices? Well you got it all wrong and this video speaks for itself.

These are our weekly interactions, our Wednesday Classes, our weekly fun-time bonding. We really enjoy every second, minute, hour that we are together for here we have fun while learning. Here we have our academic lessons, interactions, field trips, recollections, retreats, outreach programs, camping, educational-formative talks and a whole lot more. We homeschoolers, enjoy what every student in a big school gets to enjoy. Maybe even more.

So whenever class is suspended, unlike regular school students, we feel really bad missing and failing to attend this weekly date. Class suspension is, for me, missing the one day that gives us real joy.

There were pressures and challenges too, YES! But thanks to our parent-advisers, teachers and our parents for being with us in this wonderful journey. Through their love, support, motivation and patience we learned to work as a team and, importantly, as a family.

Timid as I was before, I have learned to explore new things here; my love for God, my family, my friends and my talents as well. How to be independent and responsible is one big move for me, too. As a homeschooler, we are taught how to be good leaders and successful entrepreneurs. My school have very warm, friendly and spiritually-motivated staffs, parent-advisers, everyone making you feel welcome and accepted. So come on and join our team of homeschoolers and be part of it. I promise you, not only will you learn a lot, you will be having a whole lot of fun.

Credits to Tito Bo Sanchez. You are not only a genius but a blessing to us and our parents for putting up the first Catholic Homeschool provider here in our country. Not only did you help mold us spiritually with your very uplifting words, you also helped us realize that there is much more to learning, that education can be fun too! Thank you for making homeschooling a fun way to learn.

Homeschooling is truly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!

Friday, March 4, 2016


…. is how the world prefers to see and label late 50’s like me. And nowhere else this rings the loudest than in my chosen sport. For many, I am too old to be riding those roots and ruts and drops on my mountain bike that me and Carmella lovingly calls Tracy. Yes, for many, I am ancient.

But is it I and the ones like me who are ancient? If the view comes from they who believe I should be counted among those who limit their life adventures to morning walks inside the Manila Memorial Park,  followed by round (or square) table discussion of current events from the free newspaper they get for having breakfast at McDonald’s, then ancient belongs to them. 

Me and my ilk would rather see our limits, hear our breathing, and define for ourselves how brave is brave. We would rather live our life and live it to the fullest. We would rather mount that bike and ride that dangerously off-cambered path leading to the trail head, pedal like crazy up that cursed uphill, leaning your bike towards to that tight single track turn, in the attack position every time.

Oh yes, we are ordinary mortals. Like the Manila Memorial Park Morning Walkers Inc., we do round (or rectangle) table discussions. In Bebe’s along Victoria Avenue, we talk about our steeds, not to boast about our treasure for that belongs to the poseur more than the mountain biker, but anything that levels you up from the ordinary is always hot topic and worth discussing.

And so we ride. Like Dan and Demjur who are also in their late 50’s, we ride. For no experience reminds us we are alive better than being on our bikes and hitting the trails. Clip in!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Miracle of the Spicy Beef Noodles

Maybe it’s midlife crisis, though I am well over that. Return to childhood? Perhaps.

At the beginning, it was just my Epiphone acoustic guitar needing a preamp. With its passive pickup, the sound just does not come up well even when plugged in an amplifier. It genuinely needs pre amplification. The best value for money I saw was an ADI 21 by Behringer. It’s an Acoustic Amp Modeler/Direct Recording Preamp/Direct Injection Box all rolled into one. It’s what I need.

And then I saw Mike’s amPlug2 from VOX. It’s what he uses when practicing with his bass. I thought it would be a better choice, being small and can easily fit into one’s pocket. When I told him about it, we both got excited and I was already making plans of getting one the following weekend.

But the weekend seems so far out into the future. Sooner than I imagine, I found myself at Audiophile in Alabang ready to purchase my very own amPlug, only to find out the model I was after was not available. Undaunted, I continued on to other shops to check if they carry what I wanted. No joy in that. In fact the other music stores I visited never heard of an amPlug. I wonder why they remain open.

It took several days for my frustration to ebb. But as if that agony was not enough, I was also scouring the net for a guitar that would fit the amPlug I was planning to buy. Supremo Natural from D&D Custom Guitars looks the business. To think I only wanted a preamp for my Epiphone, now I am planning to buy a whole different set of caboodle. I really went crazy last week.

And then this mid day encounter with Luk Yuen’s Spicy Beef Noodles. Yes, this fire starter of a noodle soup can shake one out of his reverie. A few sip of this potent reddish concoction can bring one back to reality, as it did to me. Am happy to report that I am now a hundred percent back to my senses.

You see, what I have is an acoustic guitar. It does not need a mini amp but an honest to goodness acoustic amplifier, if my intention is to cause havoc in our complex or to perform in venues like the SM Arena. On its own it is already loud.

Mike’s bass guitar, on the other hand, needs an amplifier. The only means to avoid a neighborhood uprising during his solo practice is to use an amPlug connected to an earphone.

I never imagined things will go out of proportion. I am so relieved I came out of this maelstrom without any purchase for if I did, it will, for a long time, remind me I am several thousands of pesos poorer because I allowed my brain to take a holiday.

Midlife crisis? Nah, something more bewildering. 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Last Sunday, my friend Harry entered his very first multisport event. A milestone for him since it was also at the inaugural event of the Power Man Duathlon Pilipinas which some say is more difficult than the Iron Man series. There is no better way to launch one’s self into multisport, if you ask me. If I have to aim for a goal, I will aim for the highest. Harry did.

He started the arduous journey into becoming an international level athlete just a month and a half prior to the event. He was never a runner when decided to join. He literally started from scratch and he persevered.

He finished the 10km run/60km bike/10km run in 4 hours and 13 minutes. He placed 12th in his age category and 74th overall. We all were over the moon when he crossed the finish line. It was an awesome victory for him and for all of us who supported him. His mentor and coach Val Arciaga was very satisfied with the performance of his mentee. August Benedicto, a 3 time Cobra Iron Man Elite Champion and who grew up with Coach Val, was so impressed with Harry’s time. According to him, 4 hours and 13 minutes for a rookie is beyond expectation. Coming from a champion, his words lifts all of us.

But it was not all cheers that met Harry on his road to victory. During the pre-race briefing the night before, members of the organizing team were very vocal with their opinion that this race belongs to those who have several multisport races under their belt, trivializing those who have none. I am not sure if it was their idea of branding.

And the week before, a lady owner of a multisport shop in Sta. Rosa was sardonic when she learned Harry was joining the inaugural event. Faith in the human spirit, it seems, have been replaced by cynicism and an elitist attitude appears to have owned this sport.

Coach Val told me the 11 who finished before Harry in his age category have been in multisport for years. Harry making it to the same level as these athletes in less than 2 months from square one is greater than amazing.

On the drive back to Manila, Harry’s exemplary effort made me look at my own goals and my current state of sustained indolence. For so long now I have excused myself from doing two things I love: writing and biking. I describe it as being in the doldrums but in reality, is one among those silly excuses I have collected as a way of explaining myself in case somebody asks. I really need to get back my flow.

Like Harry, I need to push myself and aim for the highest. I need to listen to that voice that, in spite of the pain, urges me to watch my breathing, my cadence, my stride. Like Harry, I need to follow through even if it means having to do that lung-busting uphill stretch over and over. Like Harry, when the going gets tough, I need to whistle with my coach as we climb Southpeak in San Pedro, to take my mind off my labor. Like Harry, I need to believe I am good and that all will be well.

Thanks for that one, Harry! And once again, congratulations brother!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Day I Lost My Song

She was God’s greatest gift to me. She was my joy. She completed me in so many ways. She was my strength. She was my dream fulfilled. Viewed from the eyes of my heart, she is God’s best creation.

Last February, this wonderful gift named Cecille went home to the One who loves her even more. Fighting cancer to the very end, her Maker and Lord finally told her to stop. She fought a good fight, she finished her race, and she had kept the faith. Her battle was finally won.
I love to write and the real spirit behind my writing has always been Cecille. She saw my gift, was so proud of it and always believed it was given for a higher purpose. When my story reserves are low, she was there to launch me. She keeps me in tune. She is the best.

Cecille was the music on which I weave the words of my poetry. That music, which hums all that is good, has now stopped. Last February 23, 2015, I lost my song.

I miss her. I miss her laughter. I miss her hugs. I miss her cooking. I miss being in love with my true love. Now I struggle to find my voice.

But sing I must. Even with cracked voice I will sing. She may no longer be here to remind me of my gift, how proud she is, and what I have is for a higher purpose. She may no longer be here to keep me in tune or stir me to carry on. But she will always be my song. Her love and the universe that her beautiful love brought forth will always be my theme.

While there will be echoes that will remind me of the void in my heart, I will continue singing my best. The melody that will waft and fill this vast empty space will be the continuing story of a love that will never leave, a love that will never cease.

I love you, babe! Forever here, forever here!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Value Added

I agree with my preacher.  For him, one of the best places to experience real service is at a five-star hotel. You do not have to book a stay, just ask where the men’s room is (or the ladies room, for that matter) and expect to be escorted to your purpose. They do not merely point the way, they lead the way.

I would like to add that there are supermarkets staffs, rare they maybe, with the same 5-star attitude. I am not only pointed to the aisle where the dried Kafir lime leaves are but am actually led to them.

I love being treated this way. It makes me feel like royalty. It feels good to be seen as a person and not merely a number or a prospect.

Sadly, this type of thinking is grossly missing in most businesses these days. The focus is at ramming as much and as many products as possible, needed or otherwise, down the customer’s throat. No time for relationships, no time for connection, nothing personal only business.

Lucky for mountain bikers like me, there is one company that believes on seeing their customers as persons. Not only did they pioneer a product that will allow mortals like me enjoy the benefits of a mechanical upgrade only the mega rich can afford, they went further by investing on engineering research aimed at addressing issues that comes with innovation. They led the effort.

It is rare for a company to develop a well engineered add-on to improve the performance of an already good product and then included it as a freebie in their subsequent deliveries. More than good, now the user has something better. And never wanting to ignore early adapters, they offer the add-on at prices nearly half their competition. As Stitch would say, “No one gets left behind.”

Importantly, they welcome technical opinion from people keen on elevating the sport, whether they buy from their catalog or not.

This practice creates one important impression: the customer is king. It makes the loudest marketing noise and fosters brand loyalty.

Seth Godin once issued a challenge: rather than find people who will buy your product, find products people will buy. One company rose to the challenge.

What makes me brave the trails more than personal skills are the parts I chose to install. Knowing fully well heart and foresight was involved in developing my equipment, I climb that hill with confidence. I know things will never fall apart, thanks greatly to that company who never saw me as a number but as king.