To unfollow my dream. The beginning.

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I grew up believing that dreams do come true. I was taught that as long as you work hard, follow your heart's desire, do good, and pray to God, your dreams will someday come true. We were also taught that If you fail once, try again. And if you still fail, try harder. As they say, try and try until you die. Really? 

I just turned 40 last year and I guess there is a truth in the saying that life begins at 40. A few days after I turned 40, I took the time to assess the years that went pass me. I assessed my career, my finances, my family, and my life in general. I realized that the 40 years of my life was not that easy at all, in fact it was difficult and painful most of the time. Living in a third world country like the Philippines made it even more difficult especially for someone like me who was born in a family whose income is just enough to support our basic needs. As a child I enjoyed a little comfort and luxury. I grew up in a state where we do not have the means to buy comfort or even at least try some luxury. My parents are both educators by profession and teachers during my childhood (or maybe until now) are mostly underpaid. My parents' income are just enough to provide our basics.We do not have extra money to buy what we want, we only buy what we need. My father who is very frugal to the point that he will turn away from simple purchases and will do away with life's comfort so he can save portion of his small income. My mother, who I already mentioned was an educator, works multiple teaching jobs - mooning from one school to another. She works day, night and even during weekends. Her income also experienced the same fate, not enough to compensate her effort. Her only consolation is that teaching is her passion. Here in the Philippines, your passion is not enough to feed your family. Sometimes we have to give up our passion because it is the practical thing to do. And that was the philosophy I grew up with and honestly I hate it. 

When I entered college, I took a course that is practical. A course that will help me land a job that is why I took a business course and I majored in Marketing. At first, I am not that enthusiastic about this course but as we go along with the different subjects like Management, Business Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Organization and Marketing, I began to realize that this is the course for me. That was the time I envisioned myself that I will be a successful businessman and I will own and manage multiple companies someday. And from that day on, I was in hurry to finish college so I can already find a job and start saving my income so I can use it to put up my business. 

After finishing college, finding a job was easy but my only difficulty was to accept job offers because salaries for newly graduates was so low, it was just enough to pay for my transportation and for my daily lunch. I had no choice, I took a job with that kind of pay scale. I was unhappy that time for two reasons: first was my salary, how can I be happy with that. Second, since my salary was not enough to cover even my basics so how the hell can I save something for my future business? 

Day after day on my work, my enthusiasm towards my dream was slowly falling apart. Reality was slowly messing up my future plans of putting up my own company. With the amount of salary that I was earning that time it will probably took me forever to save enough to capitalize my future business. Thus, this is when it all began - when I started to drift away from my dream... To be continued

The Duterte Magic

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Honestly, Philippine President elect Rodrigo Dutere was my most hated presidential candidate. Aside from his barbaric and infested mouth, I am not a fan of his economic platform because most of it is either unclear or very impossible to accomplish. During the campaign period, I am very vocal on campaigning against him. I had shared a dozen or so of anti-Duterte videos and articles and posting provoking comments showing my disgust over Rodrigo Duterte's capability to run our country. I was one with the "silent majority" (referring to the supporters of Mar Roxas) who will do everything to discredit him and sway undecided voters not to vote for Duterte. Unfortunately, supporters of "Digong" have become fiercer and fiercer and the attacks thrown at their presidential bet only made them stronger. At the end, they won the battle and they won it big time.

This recent election , based on my observation, have caused so much divisiveness among Filipinos. I have felt that our nation is not just divided by waters among our 7,100 islands, but we are indeed a divided country in terms of culture, belief, and political views.  The poor economic conditions of some Philippine regions (specially those in Mindanao) have shaped the views of its inhabitants about our current government system and about our country as a whole in a negative way. Sad may it seems, but most of these locals may not academically understand and connect the future benefits of our current economic gains to themselves and to their families. For them, economic growth are those that can fill their hungry stomachs.

The Philippines still has a long way before it can realize its ultimate dream of becoming a full-pledged industrialized nation, but I am happy that we are slowly moving towards that direction. In 1986 we regained our freedom from the dictatorship of the Marcos regime, then we slowly established some social reforms during the time of Mr. Fidel Ramos. And finally we made some drastic economic reforms during the time of Ms. Gloria Arroyo and it was sustained by the current President Noynoy Aquino. The Philippines is no longer called the sick man of Asia. We are now a healthy country. Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte will inherit a far better Philippines as compared to his predecessors. It will be a much easier job for him to sustain the economic growth of this country because all economic fundamentals are already in place.

Election is over and Mr. Duterte is our new leader. I have no more reasons not to support him. Change is indeed coming and I know the Duterte magic will pave way to a better future for all Filipinos in the next six years and beyond.God bless the Philippines.

A Review of our May 2016 Presidentiables

Philippine election is just around the corner and in a matter of few days we will have a new president. Never in my life that I have been this vocal on whom I will support for the presidency. This election is different for me maybe because I am already in my mid-life and I consider the remaining years of my life in this beloved country so precious that I do not want a lousy government to ruin it in the next six years. The Aquino administration did a great job stirring this country in its current economic status but in my opinion, half of the good harvest that this administration is currently enjoying is also a product of the economic reforms that the Arroyo administration imposed during her term. Some of those reforms like the imposition of new taxes are actually keeping our government's coffers very healthy. This on the other hand helped boost our credit rating, making our country attractive to creditors and ensures our interest rates from our borrowings very low. As a result, businesses are booming as they take advantage of the cheap cost of credit which they are using to fuel their expansions. Banks are also spreading the low interest rates by making it very accessible to their retail consumers in a form of personal loans, housing loans, and auto loans. No wonder you see constructions of high-rise condominiums here and there and lots of new cars on the road. I also believe that employment is booming. Because of the extra cash of the Aquino government, more roads, bridges, and other infrastructure are being built throughout the country. Construction workers are happy now a days because of this. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps is another way the Aquino administration is spending their extra cash. This program provides certain cash value plus social services to the poorest household throughout the country on a monthly basis. Though this program has many loop holes as claimed by others, the government has already spent more than Ph 27 Billion as of August 2015. 

Believe it or not, our economic standing is so far one of the best not only in the world but also in our Philippine history. The numbers will prove it and numbers do not lie. But I cannot argue with those who do not believe in our economic success. In fact, I agree with them in some ways. For instance, how can you feel economic growth if you are a victim of the horrible Metro Manila traffic every day. You may have food on the table, you might have extra savings on the side, but how can you enjoy those things if you have no time to enjoy your food with your family or you are too tired to spend your extra money. The situation in MRT and LRT, the long lines outside the terminal and the bo-boos of their trains on a regular basis, is that what you call economic growth? How about our airport congestion, the tanim-bala program of our NAIA airport personnel? Is that what you call matuwid na daan? And how about the daily crimes that is flooding my Facebok and Twitter feeds every day? Is this government really solving it? 

Economic growth should make our lives comfortable. Yes, we may have extra cash in our pockets but how can you have a comfortable life if your energy is being eaten by the daily 3-6 hours of traffic ordeal and how can you say that you have a comfortable life if you are scared to leave (or stay in) your house alone. How can you say that there is progress if you see social injustice every day? This is the reason why most Filipinos do not believe in the economic numbers of President Aquino. This is also the reason why Mar Roxas, the chosen presidential candidate of the Aquino administration, despite his credentials and experience as a public servant is not a favorite presidential candidate according to the surveys. The frustrations of the Filipinos who voted for Noynoy Aquino are hitting back on Mar Roxas. Poor Mar. He can be a good president though.  

The frustration of the Filipinos with this current government are being used by other presidential aspirants to zoom up their ratings. Jojo Binay was the first to ride on these issues and he was an early favorite in the surveys. But his attacks in this administration back-fired on him when his corruption activities while he was still a mayor in the financial district of Makati went viral. Now, his popularity is going down the drain. So long Mr. Binay.  

After Binay, was Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of a famous action star - Fernando Poe Jr. who by the way also ran for President but died later on after his heartbreaking lost with the former president Arroyo. Grace Poe was also an early favorite but she was initially disqualified because of her citizenship issue. She left the Philippines and then she became an American citizen. For whatever reason, she came back to the Philippines, held a government position and then she renounced her American citizenship (though it is still not clear which came first, her holding a public office or her renouncement her American citizenship). Her being a "natural-born Filipino" is also being questioned. The Philippine Constitution clearly states that any individual running for president should be a "natural-born Filipino". Mrs. Poe, a "foundling" is one indication that she might not be a natural-born. Unfair it may seem, but law practitioners consider a foundling who cannot identify the nationality of their real parents, are not considered natural-born Filipino, that's the law period. But wait! The Supreme Court of the Philippines reinterpret the Philippine Constitution and allowed Mrs. Poe to run for president. This was the turning point for Mayor Duterte. After declaring many times that he will not run for president, he finally blew his top when he heard the news about the decision of the Supreme Court. He said that he will not allow an American (referring to Mrs. Poe) to be the next president of the Philippines. And there goes Mayor Duterte. He is everywhere, and Filipinos love him even if he say "putangina" in an audience with children, he simply does not care. In fact he even cursed the Pope. He is proud killer of criminals because according to him there is a law that allows killing of criminals in certain situations (really?). He jokes about rape despite the admission of his daughter that she was once a victim of rape, poor girl. Where was his dad when that happened? His rape joke towards an Australian-national who was raped and killed in Davao was very funny in fact all of his audience that time was laughing. When that video of him delivering that joke went viral, his supporters violently defended him. Scary. And after that rape joke, his rating shoot up even more. That's very scary! 

And lastly, there is Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the most educated, wise, and dignified among all the Presidentiables. At the back of our minds, she is the most worthy of our vote. Unfortunately, she is down with cancer. I am not sure if she is healthy enough to become our next president. Even if she is healthy, she is the likes of Doy Laurel, Gilbert Teodoro, Jovito Salonga, Dick Gordon, and Mar Roxas, who are qualified to become a president but the masang-Pilipino's unmellowed philosophies will find them unattractive to be their president. 

One presidentialble is promising change. We do not need a new president to change. Change should start from us. Vote wisely.   

Contentment is the key. Don't lose it.

 I am not really a fan of boxing. But as a Filipino, I have no choice but to listen to boxing updates every time there is an upcoming Manny Pacquiao boxing event. And during the actual fight, I am glued on my TV and I am one with the nation praying for Manny's success. The hype of every Pacquiao's fight is so intense that every Filipinos even in the remotest areas in the Philippines are tuned in to the live telecast of Manny's fight. Whether its from a free pay-per-view  set-up in a town hall sponsored by a local politician or simply in the comfort of their homes via delayed telecast from a local TV station, Filipinos from all walks of life are always cheering on every punch Manny gives to his opponent. And for every victorious fight, the nation celebrates with Manny. But his last fight with Tim Bradley was totally different, Filipinos were not excited anymore. Somehow, Pacman already lost some of his charms. Maybe it all started when he entered showbiz, he became an actor, a comedian, a variety show host and a recording artist. Then, he entered into politics as a congressman and now he is running as a senator. He even changed his religion and replaced his Catholic faith. More than 80% of the Philippine population are Catholics, and they were not happy about it, including his mother - Mommy Dionisia. Most of his supporters started clamoring for his retirement after his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on November 2012. Pacman's followers believed that he is no longer focused on his training due to the numerous functions he entered other than boxing. True enough, after his fight with Marquez, he lost his two consecutive fights.
This was the start of his downfall. Even his much awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather (which he also lost) was not enough to put him back into the spotlight. And the poor viewer turnover in his last fight with Tim Bradley just recently, even if he won,  was a clear sign that he is no longer a Filipino icon. So sad that he will be remembered this way.

I have no right to judge Manny, he may have some strong reasons why he kept on scheduling fights even if he already have the fame, the title, the respect, and the money. We do not know what his reasons are, why he is still not contented despite of all the blessings. There is a saying that he who wants everything every time will lose everything anytime. We humans are like that, we are not satisfied with what we have, we long for more. We have no contentment. Mahatma Gandhi once said, Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.  

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We are blinded

When we were young, we look at success at a different angle. We define it based on society's expectations and norms. Success for most of us is all about fortune, fame, and power.  We push our limits  to be ahead in our career. We devote most of our time working to earn money and end up sacrificing our time for ourselves and our family. We motivate ourselves to accumulate money and associate savings as security for our retirement and buffer for our children's future. We are successful in the eyes of others if we can afford luxury and comfort but the price that we have to pay for such is our exhausted physical bodies. In return of these material pleasures, we have no more time to pause and enjoy the air that we breath and we have no more energy to admire the beauty of every rays of the sunlight. We are already tired to embrace the cold evening breeze and our eyes are already weary to be mesmerized by the twinkling charms of the evening skies. Because of our addiction to success, we forget to live our life, to live our moment. And when time comes when we are already old and about to die, we will surely regret the small things that we have taken for granted because of our desire to become successful. 

To fully understand what I mean, I would like to share with you the last words of the famous and successful Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs’ Last Words:

I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world.

In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.

However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.

At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of God of death drawing closer…

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth…

Should be something that is more important:

Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days ...

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me.

What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.

That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.

Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.

What is the most expensive bed in the world? - "Sick bed" …

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.

Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – "Life".

When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – "Book of Healthy Life".

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.

Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends...

Treat yourself well. Cherish others.