Wednesday, August 1, 2018

How to have 9 Lives

I think I'm a cat. My body has gone through several illnesses that have nearly killed me. Pneumonia and open heart surgery are both vying for the top spot. God though only gives us hurdles that we can manage.

I had pneumonia back in 2008 and my blood chem showed that it was from legionaire bacteria. It's one of the worst ones to get. It took a miracle for me to heal completely. Eversince I've always been careful not to get sick (that's why I always have a bimpo on my back).

A few weeks back I contracted mycoplasma. More commonly known as "walking pneumonia". My doctor explained that my immune system went down, possibly due to stress and very cold aircon in the office. I may have picked up the bacteria from traveling or in Singapore. It downed me anyway. What I didn't expect was it would be both physically and mentally challenging. Think friendly neighborhood Spiderman turned black Spidey. I didn't like it at all.

Things slowly turned for the better when I tried using essential oils. Slowly things came back into focus and I stopped turning into Venom. It also helped that I watched Gary V's interview. He had open heart surgery and shared the struggles he went through while recovering. He's back because of the love of his family and friends. It reminded me of what I went through after 2 surgeries. Recovering from that 5 years ago took me 6 months, so whatever I'm going through now shouldn't be as bad.

One of my classmates also reached out and suggested I watch videos of Dr. Joe Dispenza. I did and I learned a lot. My cardio told me 5 years ago that the only reason why I survived was because of my will. Dr. Joe Dispenza said that your brain can definitely heal your body and I'm living proof of that. I remember when I was in ICU my Dad was already there (probably to pick me up), but instead of calling his name I called for my Kuya. The next day my Kuya flew in and I heard him praying over me. I also kept telling myself my family still needed me. That was what brought me back.

I'm probably running out of lives so this last bout of pneumonia has been very difficult for me. I'm still finding my way out of the woods right now, but I'm sure I'll be back to normal soon. I'm just really thankful for all the support and love from my family, friends and Papa God. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Learning Japanese

A year ago I thought I'd do something new. I decided to learn a new language. My choice was to either learn Chinese or Japanese. I was keen to learn Chinese, but after a sample class where I couldn't get the right pronunciation of syllables I realized it wasn't for me. So I ended up enrolling in Japanese language classes.

It's hard. Constructing sentences is very different from how you do it in English. My sensei though says I have very good pronunciation. It's mainly because how we read Filipino words is more or less the same.

It's been years since I've been in school and I realized the importance of studying. When we were in school we had to study a myriad of subjects. At work you do have to study, but it generally comes with the flow of things you regularly do. Well there are times we have some required modules we need to do, but it's only about 15-20 minutes of your time. Taking a class is really different.

I have the best sensei in the universe because she's very patient and understanding. I know it's going to take years before I really learn to be fluent in this language. It's allowed me to have better appreciation of Japan's culture and its people. I know I need to work harder so I can finally have the courage to speak a little Japanese when I'm there. :)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Fifteen Years After

Time really flies. One of my former colleagues/friend from a previous company I worked for visited me today. I was trying to remember the last time I saw him. It's probably been fifteen years (or less), but I'm sure I haven't seen him for more than a decade.

When we saw each other the years just flew away and it was just like having lunch with him in Hungry Hippo. I know I went through a lot of pain in that company, but I surprisingly only remember the good times now. We were then a bunch of mid-20 something year olds working for a startup in Manila. The environment was certainly very different from other companies. It was a bit like Google because it empowered us to innovate. I remember I did a lot of experiments there and I am forever thankful for that experience.

Someone told me before that I'm not really an ambitious person. What I have achieved is because I worked hard for it. The difference probably is because my goal is to deliver well and not necessarily get accolades from the work I do. I disagree though with that person who said I'm not ambitious because I think I am. I just always try to be better at what I do. I never planned to be where I am today. I just left that to God's Will to bring me where I'm supposed to be.

Fifteen years ago I had just moved to the Yellow Pages. I don't know why they chose to move me there from the startup, but I took on the challenge. Adjusted. Adjusted a lot more. I was the youngest manager who got scolded a lot for having the most noisy section. A few of the executives took me under their wing though and I learned a lot from them. I will never forget the times Mr. Laig, the president, spent with me just telling me stories. The other execs also patiently answered my questions. When Mr. Laig passed away, I had Mr. Bautista, Dr. Ned, Mr. Diago and the other execs become my mentors. I absorbed everything they taught me.

I never really did those 5-year/10-year planning exercises. I guess I was just too caught up in the moment and just let things happen. Fifteen years ago I was heartbroken so I did the best thing for myself -- bury myself in work. It took years for me to heal, but I guess all the hard work and experience I got helped usher me to where I am today. Mom kept complaining that I worked too hard. I still do, but I think now I have better work-life balance.

If you feel that you are now in the bottom, don't worry. Just think that there is a lesson to be learned from what you are going through. Heat is what makes eggs harder and what makes potatoes soft. Whatever it is you will definitely be able to move on and lead a better life. I could have used that learning fifteen years ago. I'm just glad I survived.

Thank you to my friend for visiting today. I guess I had a silly smile all afternoon coz my director kept asking me if I was okay haha. It's really nice to remember all the good times. And thank you to Bunny and Mr. Amat for helping with the recommendation which helped get me in my current job. 

Friday, April 6, 2018


My managers never really had trouble motivating me. I'm a well-oiled working machine employee. My managers are also oftentimes traveling to faraway lands so I'm oftentimes left alone and they know that I'll be working. My Catholic-school upbringing takes care of making me feel guilty if I slack off haha. There are days though I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I know it's really up to me to put me back on track.

I think being inspired and motivated boils down to also being grateful. When you are grateful you are able to see more clearly all the blessings that come your way. And when you are grateful it's easier to recognize achievements. When you are grateful you also easily become happy for others.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed last Monday. I wasn't feeling too well and oftentimes when I don't feel well things tend to go downhill. I still got up though and started my work day. Ploughed through everyting I needed to do. Visitors kept me busy for most of the week and I used Meng's advise on how to still be at your best even though you're feeling anxious (see also "How to be Joyful on Demand"). And well it's also about being professional :)

Mid-week though I received really happy news. One of the schools from my home city achieved getting all their teachers certified. It is no mean feat and required a lot of hardwork across the school. The full commitment of the school and the hardwork of our partner that brought them to succeed. And it inspired me a lot. It inspired me so much I designed a program that would help others do the same. It's been three days and I'm still on cloud 9 after the news. I hope and pray they will continue what they have started since it will really help them develop each of their students.

Be grateful and be inspired :)

What about you? What inspires you?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter 2018

Happy Easter everyone!

Our family is celebrating Easter here in Singapore today. I have lost count how many Easters we have celebrated here. I miss Easter at home though. Visita Iglesia. Going to mass everyday. The washing of the feet which my Dad was oftentimes a part of. I most especially miss serving in Church. Since I was 14 years old I was part of our church choir and every year we would prepare for Holy Week. We also always had Easter egg hunting for the kids back then. It's been many years since I was able to be part of it and a lot of my friends have also moved to other places with their own family. I hope someday when I finally go home we'll all be together again.

I most especially miss Mom and Dad. I remember during Lent they would always encourage me to sacrifice something for 40 days. One Lenten season they challenged me not to drink soda. It was really hard because they would both drink during meals and taunt me haha. I survived and broke my fast at the dinner in the convento after the midnight Easter mass. My parents were also very active in Church so I was always in tow (Mom still does it whenever I'm home).

Me being naughty, running away with my Dad's slippers.

In my younger years we used to go to Bicol during Holy Week together with our neighbors. The biggest contingent was 12 families if I remember correctly. It was really fun although I was already really shy back then and preferred to play on my own. It was in one of those trips when my Dad and my Titos decided to roast a pig. They started around 9 in the morning, but since it was their first time it took them awhile to figure out how to do it. We ended up having the lechon for dinner hahaha. The hardest part of those vacations though -- no swimming during Good Friday! After those years though we've always just spent Holy Week at home.

What about you? What are your best Holy Week memories?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Japan's Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

I finally got the chance to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo in the beginning of the season. Last year I caught it only on the tail end. I wasn't able to visit any parks though, but was content with hanami (admiring cherry blossoms) from nearby sakura zones. Here are a few photos I took from the last few days.

There are over 600 varieties of cherry blossoms. Here are white ones from beside my hotel.

View from the office -

From the sakura zone beside my favorite hotel (they are more pink in person) -

I wish someday I can also have a picnic under a cherry blossom tree. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Why Yoda is My Hero

My Mom really doesn't understand why I have a fondness for what she perceives as "not beautiful". You see since I was a child I've loved ET, Alf, Mr. Spock, and of course, Yoda. I don't really have an explanation why, I just love them.

I started collecting Yoda toys because of Hadi. He started it because we had this competition at work where we had to decorate our desks. He had the idea of using Star Wars as a theme and dressed up my desk in Yoda green and decorated it with Yoda posters and of course a toy. After that Sweetie started to give me Yoda toys and other friends followed suit. Eventually I started to collect. I had parameters though -- must be small, not too expensive and not necessarily new. In fact one of the best finds was from Hobby Off, a pre-loved toy shop in Tokyo which Sweetie found. My friends are also so sweet since they buy Yoda toys for me and even send it through mail (hello Shin Yee!).

So why do I love Yoda? Let me count the ways...

1. He's tiny thing that packs a punch. Remember Episode 3?
2. Very differently he communicates.
3. He has so much wisdom!
4. Always very calm.
5. He's very chill and can be funny at times. Remember how he trolled Luke in Episode 8?
6. Yoda avoids fighting. He only does when really needed.
7. From what I've seen, he's an introvert.
8. Can only be bothered if it's really important.
9. I love his pointy ears (blame it on Mr. Spock too).
10. He's just really so cute.

Love Yoda, I do.

**I've yet to visit Yoda's statue in Singapore! I should do that soon!