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.  

Image Source: Wikipedia

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.

Climate change. Time to change.

Yolanda is a name that brings painful and tragic memories not only to the residents of Tacloban but also to all Filipinos around the globe. Typhoon Yolanda also called Typhoon Haiyan, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated the Visayan Region in the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing more than 6,000 Filipinos. 

Yolanda is a direct effect of climate change. Because of the destruction of our ozone layer due to air pollution, planet Earth is warming up, melting our Arctic and extremely heating our ocean. This combination usually give birth to powerful typhoons. Since the Philippines is a group of tropical islands right at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, it is also favorite path of typhoons during the rainy season. Because of global warming, new typhoons visiting the Philippines are getting stronger and more destructive.

After typhoon Yolanda in 2013, other destructive typhoons visited the Philippines which claimed innocent lives and destroyed billion worth of properties. When will this stop? 

I believe that climate change and global warming is here to stay, we can no longer stop it but we can only minimize its effects. We should learn to adopt and we should always be prepared. Awareness is also a key, we should do our share not to further aggravate the situation. Let's try to minimize our waste, stop polluting our air and our waters, let's preserve our environment, preserve our trees, do your share and let us influence others to do the same.

Now is the time, time to change. Begin today, start with you.

Your future is in your hands

Another Filipino was found dead in Hong Kong just recently according to a report in Hong Kong News. 

The victim according to the report is a 47-year old domestic Filipina helper from Leyte and it was believed that the Filipina committed suicide. The news report also said that this is the fifth suicide case of Filipino in Hong Kong for this year.

Despite the Philippines' continuous economic growth, Filipinos are still flocking to unfriendly and dangerous working environment abroad just to earn a living. This makes me wonder if the economic growth being bragged by our economic leaders is really being felt by ordinary Filipinos. I myself is not convinced that there is really an economic boom in this country. Yes, I see a lot of new skycrapers here and there, and news of businesses booming in most parts of our country. Our government has been very generous in reporting economic data to prove that our country is indeed in the right track to industrialization. I believe in their numbers, but what is the meaning of these numbers if the benefits of our economic boom is only felt by the few? In my opinion, businesses are really booming, most businessmen are benefiting in our current economic growth. But their gains are not being properly shared to their workers, though there are some businesses who share their wealth to their employees in the form of salary increases or bonuses. But unless there is no mandate from the government to share their profits, it will never happen. 

The government should have been instrumental in the proper distribution of wealth in the form of proper tax collection. However, because of our crazy tax system, it only discourages profitable businesses to pay correct taxes.  This is coupled with the inefficiency of our Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the collection of taxes and their ineffective manner of catching big time tax evaders. Our BIR is only good at bullying SME's and salaried employees. Small time tax payers are being penalized with lesser take home pay because of tax deductions while big time earners and profitable business have more profits because they can get away evading taxes. Though we should also commend our BIR since they are more aggressive now in terms of tax collection and prosecuting tax evaders as compared to the previous administration, but they still have a long way to go.

Poor safe keeping and spending of collected taxes is another issue why wealth is not being properly distributed in our country. Most of the taxes are being stolen by corrupt public officials. Corruption in our local government is rampant and this is no secret. But despite that, these same corrupt governors, mayors, and even barangay captains are being elected over and over again. 

Most of us are already disgusted with this system but we cannot do anything about it. We have no one to turn to and there is no government agency whom we can trust or has the political will to fight corruption and prosecute thieves in our government. This is the reason why there are still Filipinos who prefer to leave this country and look for other countries with fair social system because ours is very unfair.

I feel sorry for that 47-year old Filipina domestic helper in Hong Kong and I also feel sorry for all the Filipinos who feel no more hope in this country. Election is just around the corner, and before you fill-up the ballot, think of the hardships that we have to endure to survive in this country. Think of all the pain and sorrows this government has given you and your love ones. Think of the all crimes and fighting in Mindanao which killed innocent people. Think of the traffic, corruption, flood, garbage, and crowded shanties in Metro Manila and other cities of our country... This will help you decide on who to elect this May and whom you will allow to rule our country and your future. Our country's future depends on your vote. Please vote wisely.


How to Survive Family Bankruptcy

Image Source: Wikipedia

We all want financial stability in our family. We all wish for a stable job, stable income, and enough savings to secure our family’s future. But not all people are fortunate enough to invite financial stability in their lives. In fact, there are millions and millions of individuals who are already exhausting their credit limits of their credit cards, taking cash advances from one credit card to make monthly payments on another, getting calls from collection agents about delinquent accounts, and drawing on their savings to cover daily expenses. If you are in any of these situations you know where you are heading.

Financial experts have identified many reasons why people fall in to these situations. Common causes of such are:

  -Spending beyond your means.
  -Poor management of money and poor financial objectives.
  -Resorting to loans for every financial dilemma.
  -Compulsive behavior like addiction to vices, drugs, gambling and shopping.
  -Unexpected life events like death or sickness of a family member.
If you’re already in the bleak of bankruptcy, financial experts' advice that you follow these steps:

    1. Examine your household spending. The best way to solve any problem is to find the source of the problem. The reason why most people become bankrupt is because they are spending more than what they are earning. By examining your expenses you can actually eliminate unnecessary purchases.

    2. Avoid another loan. As much as possible, refrain from using your credit cards or resorting to another loan just to cover-up your mortgage payments. This may satisfy your immediate requirement but in the long-run, it will only burn your pockets even more.

    3. Force yourself and your family to save. Define your financial objectives and inform your family about it. If one member of the family saves and the rest spend inconsiderately, your efforts to financial stability are useless. Challenge yourself and your family to save a little, in any special way, on a daily basis.

    4. Talk to your creditors. Tell them your situation; show them hard facts so they will understand your financial dilemma. Most creditors will offer special deals like reduced interest rate, longer amortization and other special package to help you around.

   5. Pay, pay, pay. If your family’s saving activities paid off and actually resulted to extra cash in your budget, allot it immediately to your loan payments so that your loan balance will become lesser and will surely lessen your interest expenses.