Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Teachers Day!

In early 2014 I made the big leap of shifting full time to work on education. I left what could have been a lucrative career working with developers and entrepreneurs. I probably would have been more known for what I would have done and would probably have easily leveled up in the ladder. It was not an easy decision and I fought with my VP so I could transfer to education. I had to cry so he would understand that it's what I wanted to do. He explained to me that he was just worried that my talent as a program manager may be overlooked if I followed that path.

It's been almost 2 years since I made that leap. The leap left a huge gaping hole in my heart since it meant I would not work directly anymore with devs and entrepreneurs. I miss a lot the friends I met when I was building those communities, but I have gained a gazillion new friends and all of them are educators! And as I work with them I cannot help but feel envious with the power they have -- the power to change lives, the power to make a huge impact on the lives of children.

Teachers have fun in Taiwan!

Last year I made a post to thank the many teachers that made a huge impact in my life. I can never thank them enough for helping shape who I am today. The only way I can really thank them is to do better at what I do and do more cool things that matter! And hopefully one day I will be able to join the academe once again so I can have the opportunity to teach again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Debut

I celebrated my debut last Saturday, 22 years too late. It was worth the wait though and was magically perfect.

Being an introvert I see-sawed between wanting to have a party and not having a party. There were days I'd be gung-ho at celebrating and there were days when I just wanted to hide in a hole on my birthday. I didn't actually want to be stressed out about worrying if people would actually go to the party and entertaining a lot of people in one go is just really hard for me. It was Boss (yes that's the name of my friend) who swayed me to celebrate. His winning statement was, "You don't just celebrate a birthday just for yourself. Your friends also want to celebrate it with you." And so I said yes and promptly emailed Jigs to book a room at AIM Conference Center.

A lot of people asked me, why at AIM? AIM is a core memory I have with my Kuya. When he was a student there I would hang out at the SA Store all day, decorating the window, selling stuff, generally being a nuisance at the school. I think I was just 10 or 11 then, but I spent a whole summer at AIM learning retailing and getting to know students and professors. I naturally chose AIM because it's a comfort zone for me and they already know what I like.

After booking the place I promptly left for Singapore and apparently left Sweetie and friends a lot of time to scheme for my party. You see, I was kept at the dark about what was going to happen at my celebration. I had no idea who was actually organizing the evening and I had no idea what was going to happen. Sweetie wouldn't even give me the list of organizers because I wanted to buy gifts for them. I managed to get a list though using Google Calendar! Sweetie forgot that his calendar is shared with me and so I saw the list of the mafia scheming to organize my party.

I wanted to be at the venue before 6pm because I wanted to welcome the guests, but Sweetie insisted that we come at 6:30pm. I kept tripping on my long dress on the way to the room and was nervous about falling flat on my face. I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at the room I saw familiar faces, all smiling and excited to greet me. I was welcomed by my Mom who exclaimed, "Are you really now 40? But you're still my baby!" Mom then hugged me tight and whatever nervousness I had went away.

I had no idea about the program so when I arrived I went ahead and went table to table to greet everyone who came. It was overwhelming to see all my loved ones in one time! When I finished greeting everybody I was ushered to my seat and the program started with a very beautiful prayer by Ate Edith. After that Ate Neysa and Harry did their rendition of some of my favorite Disney songs. Then we had dinner and a few speeches from my Mom, Sweetie, and Miguel (finally broke his silence!).

After that the Gaylas Filipinas  (Gab, Iosif, PX, Sephy, JK, James, JD and Philip + Rose) marched in and transformed me into a fairy (watch at 22:45 on the vid)! After dressing me up they did a fabulous 80s dance number. It was then followed by my best friend's, Darwin, speech (who I had a huge row with a month before my birthday). You have to watch his speech (at 27:55) to hear about his big revelation (we're good now, row forgotten). And then I was surprised with a sharing from my favorite brother, Kuya Jojo, who described by turning my name into an acronym. He made everyone laugh and cry and everybody thought he was on a live hangout (he was good at anticipating my reactions too!).

And as we always do in work events I run, we had a breakout session! Each table was asked to work on a craft project. I managed to read through and appreciate the projects made just before I left for Singapore. I'm still trying to figure out how I could best preserve and make the projects easy to re-read (haha). So I thought the evening was over with the craft project, but there was still another huge surprise -- a flash mob!

I was talking with TJ about crisis response when Gab pulled him away from me. And then I saw Sweetie approach me and he just suddenly started dancing (35:05 on the vid), the gaylas joined in and then almost everyone in the room was also dancing! It was a feast! I'm glad we have it on vid so I can appreciate the gesture again and again.

The evening capped off with me blowing my birthday candles. Jay really wanted me to use his 40th birthday candles but he left it at home (haha!). I just made a simple wish and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who tirelessly prepared for my birthday celebration (the list is very, very long!).

Thank you to all my family and friends who prepared to make this the happiest birthday I ever had! I've been working on this post for over a week now and I'm still very much overwhelmed, happy, joyful, galak, on cloud 9 (insert all happy synonyms here)... Thank you to everyone who travelled to come -- Marcus, Shirni, Andrew, Darwin, Mica, JR, Jas! And thank you for those who braved the traffic (and the INC protest) to come over, your presence was much, much appreciated!

My debut came 22 years too late, but I must say the wait was well worth it.

And now let's wait another decade when I become a golden girl.

Life begins at 40! Weeeeee!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Road to Four-Ever



Something I've been doing in the last few weeks leading up to four-ever. This is likely because I've been stuck in Singapore for a month already, by choice. My body has been telling me to just stop and rest. I've also been wanting to settle down and put in some roots and actually have friends to spend time with (aside from my family).

I started blogging ten years ago (on Friendster) around the time of my birthday and I remember listing down 30 special things I've done in my life (ugh but please don't read it na!), the last from that list is joining a search engine. The last ten years of my life has simply been extraordinary.

On Love

Ten years ago I was heartbroken, became an ice queen (Elsa isdatu?), eventually started dating again, kissed a few frogs and eventually found my prince (there is a lot of hope!). I had actually given up, but you know you just really need to trust God and allow Him to write your love story. How Sweetie found me was an extraordinary experience even though we met at an event and I ended up fan-girling when I found out that he was the founder of

Friendship though was key. We became best friends even before we thought about love (we were actually dating other people!) and things just rolled up nicely. We've been married for 5 years now and ten years ago I never even thought I'd eventually get married (busy sa career at bitter ocampo!). God would really find you the right (and the best) one if you allow Him to.

When God Writes Your Love Story (part 1)
When God Writes Your Love Story (part 2)
The Perfect Proposal
The Wedding Day

On Parenting and Family

Ahhh, one of the most difficult roles I play in life is being a parent. Ang hirap! It's really hard since there's no manual for it and each child is different from the other. I will not have it in any other way though and I'm happy that I over-achieved and had Miguel at the young age of 17 (while all my batch mates are slaving away for their kids I'd be retiring in a few year!). It's not been easy though since you really have to work on things all the time.

I realized that my family is quite small. I just have two siblings and they both live faraway. Lost my Dad four years ago and I've been feeling disjointed without him in the last four years. Tears always come to my eyes whenever I think of my Dad (and that happens everyday). After my Dad I also lost two of my uncles, so my family has been getting smaller and smaller. We realized though that we all have each other when needed. And I'm happy that we have a tiny boy in the family now, my grand nephew Jet!

On Friendship

The last ten years has been a struggle on staying in touch with friends. I've been traveling so much that I've lost touch with my "offline" friends and I miss then a lot. Some of them have just slunk away into oblivion, but I realized that I've made a gazillion new friends across the globe and they are just happy to be there when I ping them. I'm still much better though at talking 1:1 than being in a big group (hey I'm an introvert!), but I think most of those who stuck around understand and accept me for my quirks. I've learned to accept the fact that there are those who you try to stay in touch with but don't. It hurts but I realized there are other people out there who are willing to open their hearts for you.

On Working

Ahh, I've been working since I was a student. I started out as a student assistant at Yuchengco Institute, then worked part time as a writer at Pilipinas Shell. When I graduated I started work at Smart, left Smart when work conditions became weird (I knew early on I didn't really like sales), became an entrepreneur exporting furniture and houseware and then eventually joined the Cyan group of companies where I worked at One Hundred Services, the Yellow Pages and Dream Satellite TV. After that I spent some time doing consulting work for DMCI Homes while I was waiting for my papers to be finalized to join Google.

Looking back I never really had a break except when I had heart surgery and where I am today is because of all the hard work I do. The companies I joined were carefully picked because I wanted to learn as many skills as I could. I never said no to any project or task because I feel I should help whenever I can. I always also pray for guidance especially during tough times. I'm lucky now though because I have very nice and caring managers, my bosses in the beginning of my career are ones you would not want to have but I learned from them as well.

On Faith

Who I am today is complete because of my faith in God. I always seek guidance from him all the time and I am very thankful for all the blessings he continues to give me and my family. Thank you Papa God from the bottom of my heart.

To everyone in my life, my family, my friends, my colleagues, my friends in the community, thank you very, very much for everything! Love you all!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cranky and Averting a Crisis

I'm feeling really cranky today, so thought I'd vent on my blog to ease off some of the negative energy from my system.

I'm cranky because I didn't get a good night's sleep (which is apparently a requisite to my good mood and perkiness). Last night the haze in Singapore hit 99 PSI. Hitting 50 PSI is already a bad indicator for me since I have a heart condition. By 9pm last night I felt like being choked. I used the nasal spray my EENT gave me, but that only helped a little. I tried to calm myself down by quilting since one of my friends advised me that I should let my body adjust. It helped a little and I eventually fell asleep around midnight.

Part of the reason I'm cranky is stress. The last two weeks have been extremely stressful since I had to work on a crisis situation. I do enjoy figuring out how to get out of a crisis, but part of it includes getting stressed.

So how does one get out of a crisis?

1. Audit the situation - a crisis usually happens when someone messes up. It may be work-related or something in your personal life, but usually it's because someone did not fulfill their responsibility (on or off-work). Before diving in to solve a problem it would be best to assess the situation. Check who are involved, the status and know what needs to be done.

2. Listen and ask Questions - one of the beautiful things I learned from the coaching course I took was the importance of listening and asking questions. Before making any pronouncements listen to what people have to say and ask questions. Ask more what, how, why questions and you'd be surprised with the answers you'll get. (We were forbidden to ask yes/no questions at coaching class).

3. Ask More Questions - I learned that it's better to ask than to make assumptions.

4. Check Resources - as you listen and as you ask questions you will get a lot of information. Assess the data and counter-check available resources you may have. It's very important to get all sides so you can make the proper recommendation.

5. Make a Recommendation - with the appropriate data, counter-checking resources and matching these to objectives (and maybe adding more goals) you can then make a proper recommendation to make things work out.

[Hmmm... I think the above recommendation works for love as well].

Nothing like writing to make me less cranky. =)

Friday, August 14, 2015


Acceptance can mean a lot of things. It can mean it's suitable, adequate, tolerance, and perhaps to some it may mean defeat. I started thinking about this word when I read about a friend experiencing some health problems and he's been having a hard time about it.

Back in 2008 I contracted pneumonia which resulted in heart failure. I was constantly coughing for about a year because the water in my lungs just wouldn't go away. When it did my immune system had deteriorated a lot and all my allergies were activated. I couldn't eat chicken, chocolate, couldn't drink Coke and cockroaches (even their smell) made me feel like I was dying. There's no cure for heart failure but there are ways to help ones allergies. So I saw an allergologist, Dr. Canlas of Makati Med. Being the best allergologist in town the line was long and I waited for about 3 hours before I could see him. I thought I was going to pass out while waiting for him, good thing Sweetie was there for me and told me I would get better after I see the doctor.

So after getting pricked 40 times to test for allergies the doctor rattled off the stuff that would trigger my allergies. He said though that the first step to getting better was accepting the fact that I have allergies and that I would need to adjust how I live. I was feeling sorry for myself then because I was so weak, I could barely eat and I couldn't do anything anymore. I thought then that I was probably dying a very slow death.

That was the first and the last time I saw Dr. Canlas, but the advise he gave me on that day made a huge impact on how I live today. Acceptance doesn't mean defeat. It means that you can face challenges in a mature manner. It means being flexible and adjusting to what you have. I know I have a lot of limitations because of my heart, but it doesn't mean I cannot do anything anymore. It also means I just really need to be smart about the choices I make so I can still do what I want and like doing.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Top 10 Things I Learned in the Last 3 Decades

A few weeks from now I will be leveling up to the next decade of my life. One of my Kuya's told me when I sent my birthday invite was, "How time flies!" Indeed time flies so fast since I met him when I still an undergraduate student.

A few years from now I'll probably be having a mid-life crisis, or I may have gone through it early this year. I remember going through quarter life crisis quite early as well. A few years back I read a question in a magazine, it said, "If you were to relive your life, would you rather go back to your 20s or 30s?" My 20s was quite turbulent and things just stabilized in my 30s, so I'd much rather relive my 30s than my 20s.

Here are ten things I learned along the way:

1. Be content - the more you want, the more you get frustrated. Be happy with what you have.

2. Unload those baggage of expectations - if you do things with loads of expectations, more often than not there would be things that would not meet your satisfaction and you'll just be frustrated. See #1.

3. Save - and live within your means. Rainy days are sure to come.

4. Be realistic - you will never get everything you want. Manage your expectations and plan ahead (remember the 5Ps of preparation!).

5. Be flexible - I had to adjust to a lot of situations, primarily my health. There's a lot I want to do, but I can't anymore because of my condition. I've found ways to channel my energy to something I can do.

6. Listen - a lot of misunderstandings happen because you don't listen.

7. Love like there's no tomorrow - #there'sforever

8. There will be bumps in the road - life is not perfect and there will always be bumps in the road. Just take a deep breath and meditate and don't hesitate to ask for advise/help if needed.

9. Always pray - and meditate.

10. Enjoy - you live only once, so enjoy as much as you can too. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Live Life, Take Risks

"Life life."

"Take risks."

Today I bid goodbye to a friend who has been battling cancer in the last seven months. My friends told me, "Be brave" when I told them I was on my way to the wake. I told myself I should not cry (it's very bad for my heart). God sent an angel after I arrived at the wake, he accompanied me to see our friend. I was relieved to see that he was smiling and looked very much like the times we spent chatting during lunch and at airports.

I've had very meaningful conversations with this friend of mine. I miss my Dad a lot and chatting with him about politics made me feel that I was talking to a younger version of my Dad. We'd also talk about family and discussed his dream about building a very nice house for his family. He would excitedly share with me his plans for his dream house and he'd always say that he'd like to show me his house when it is finished.

He taught me how to dream again. And to enjoy living. I shared to him that I've been very prudent about spending, investing and just getting what I wanted because I want to make sure that if ever something happens to me (knock on wood) that my family would be cope and be financially stable. When I told him that he smiled and said, "But you are alive, you should just enjoy what you have now."

I only knew him for a few years and had these meaningful conversations at least once quarter. I'd bump into him randomly in the cafeteria or at airports. Unplanned. Unexpected. I can only hope that I provided some relief to him and for his family when he reached out to me to ask advise about what was going through. He swore me into secrecy and I kept it as he wished. I never knew though what kind of sickness he went through until yesterday. It was exactly the same disease my Dad had suffered through.

They say the people you meet, the people who become your friends come to your life for a reason. Life is so fleeting, but as my friend taught me. Live it. Take risks and enjoy your life and love, love, love.

Thank you Claro (Lalen to many of his local friends) for teaching me to live again.  It was an honor to be your friend. Pa-hug na lang sa Daddy ko ha.

PS Bakit nga ba wala tayong selfie noh?