Friday, September 28, 2018

Happy 20th Birthday Google!

The last 12 years of my life has been spent in this awesome company. I have stayed this long at Google because I feel my work is able to help other people and the company has been able to take care of me and my family. I am so grateful for the opportunity and that's why I always want to do better.

I have also met a lot of amazing people and have made a lot of friends. For five years I was essentially alone in a huge office -- my whole country. I never felt alone though because there were so many people who reached out and helped me. I learned a lot in those five years and will be forever grateful to everyone who helped me reach my goals.

I have spent the last 7 years in Singapore. I never expected my world would open up to so many possibilities and opportunities. The best thing about it is meeting many different kinds of people from all over the world! I have made extended family in all the countries I have been to. I am always happy to share my experiences and knowledge because I think it's the best way I can give back. I will never be physically strong, but at least I can transfer my knowledge and experience that may be useful for others.

At the heart of these twelve years are the communities I have had the opportunity to work with. They always bring a smile to me especially when I need inspiration. I'm happy to share that in the coming months I'll get to spend more time again with the community (yay!!!).

Happy birthday Google. Thank you for being a company that provides the opportunity for continuous growth and making an impact on things that's important to me. Cheers to many more amazing years!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Piano Guys and their Amazing Music

I practically flew to The Star Performing Arts Theater last night fifteen minutes before the concert of The Piano Guys started. In the afternoon around 4 pm Sweetie asked me if I wanted to watch The Piano Guys if he'd be able to get tickets. I was having another bad health day, but I said yes, of course, it's The Piano Guys. Bahala na si Batman.

So I went home around 5 in the afternoon because I was feeling unwell. I thought I'd rest a bit first since we weren't sure yet that we'd be able to watch. I had wanted to watch the concert since it was announced that they were coming to Singapore. I held off buying tickets because of my health. I was getting better already, but then I caught a nasty bug and my cough hasn't gone away.

Around 7 in the evening I gave up already since Sweetie said he didn't get the tickets. I settled down then to watch Suits while nibbling on my Auntie Anne's pretzel which Sweetie got for me the previous day. At exactly 7:30 in the evening, Sweetie confirmed that our date was on! I quickly showered, got dressed, put on some makeup and flew to Buona Vista. I was so hungry though so I had to eat first the chicken quesadilla got for me.

Managed to reach the door for our seats by 8:15pm just about when the host introduced The Piano Guys. And as we were about to enter the theater, they were playing this --

So I guess it was really meant to be. I have been listening to The Piano Guys for a long time now. They are one of my favorites and always in my Spotify rotation. I even have a couple of their albums, so I was really ecstatic that I'd be able to watch the show with Sweetie. The music of The Piano Guys is really different. It speaks to my soul. Steve mentioned last night that when you learn an instrument, it's really hard in the beginning, but with practice eventually you're going to feel like you are flying once you really learn. I know that feeling because it took me multiple teachers to finally learn how to play the piano. And at that time I was at my peak I felt like I was flying whenever I played the piano. It made me happy.

Something in me changed last night. I have not been feeling well since I had mild pneumonia last July. I was getting better, but then I caught a bug which set me back big time. I have been so annoyed at my body. My Kuya though told me that I should focus on getting well. He tried to reframe me, but there was always that nagging feeling that I wasn't getting well as fast as I wanted. Last night, the music of The Piano Guys seemed to reach my soul to bring out the fighter in me. It brought me back to those days when I would play the piano for many hours without a care in the world. The music bridged me back to that happy place. The message was made clear with this song --

Wow! What an amazing experience to watch The Piano Guys. They said they were just a bunch of dorky dads who we made rockstars that night. From my point of view, they are really rockstars. They are very talented and deserve all that they have now because of the happiness their music brings. 

Thank you Jon, Steve, Alan and Paul for being amazing human beings and thank you for an unforgettable night!

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?