Nov 26, 2012

Disappointments and Criticisms

I think I'm spreading myself too thin over a variety of projects that I end up disappointing some of the people whom I work with because I tend to forget things or do mediocre on the tasks that needs to be done. It's not my fault if I give my best and it still falls short of people's expectations, but it's a different level if after what has been done, I have that feeling of "I could have done better."

Over the years, I've also learned how to handle criticisms, almost on a weekly basis because of what I write, say or do. It's a choice that we took. It's different when your boss is the only one criticizing you, but when the public sees your actions and intentions, the scale becomes big and the situation is usually more uncontrollable if you commit even the most minor mistakes. Freedom of speech might have given the people license to say what they think even though most of the time it's baseless. I suddenly feel more misunderstood.

Between disappointing someone and being criticized, which one hurts more? For me it's disappointing someone. Usually, criticisms are focused on what you do, while the disappointments deals with what you do to others.

I've been bruised by criticisms and the feeling of disappointing others since Monday. Too much psycho torture, especially for someone like me who borders on the productive kind of insecurity. I just hope we can fast forward to the long weekend when I'll be taking a retreat. I still want to do a million things and this left me breathless. Maybe I need to take some time, relax and breath once in a while.

Dare to move!

Nov 24, 2012

#DareToMove in Photos

photos by Bjorn Manila, Jonard Palteng and Cecil Bautista

Nov 23, 2012

Dare to Move!

First of all, I'm very proud to announce that this is my 501st post in blogspot! I've been blogging since 4th year high over so I can't really keep track of how many posts I've written, but reaching 501 is another milestone and something to celebrate:D

Something that I'm more proud of today is the most recent conference that I was part of. Dare to Move is the motto of Manila Kid and for the first time, thanks to AIESEC - San Beda, my dream of communicating Manila Kid's vision to a wider audience through conferences has materialized. All of the speakers, except Bjorn and Zim, were featured in Manila Kid. Some of them I've only met that morning.

Guard in San Beda: Asan ID mo? No ID, no entry.
Me: Kuya look, ako yung nasa tarp! And sa poster (pointing to the one behind him)
Guard: (smiles and lets me and my brother/photographer-for-that-morning in)

Then I was giggling on my way to the auditorium because our tarp and posters were everywhere! I kept pointing at them and saying OMG and another OMG!

The event started late, but who cares about the time when you're in front of really talented and inspiring young people? Some highlights: Dave Mariano, founder of, shared a quote that really got me thinking - "the future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty." Nikki Viola of RX93.1 got kissed by a high school student! Bjorn Manila's topless wake boarding picture was shown:)) Kev Hernandez had girls lining up to take pictures with him after the conference. And Zim Kho, the president of AIESEC Philippines himself, will look for an internship for me in Czech! 

I felt like a small fish in a big pond. But that only challenged me to dare to dream bigger and  achieve higher! We're doing these conferences because we believe in multiplying inspired people ready to defend their dreams and go against the status quo, because we believe that age should not be a barrier to influence change on a national and global scale, and because we believe that 2011 to 2020 will be marked as the Dare to Move decade, when instead of having watchers, more and more people participate and act on the vision that they want to happen.

Dare to Move in San Beda will be the first of the many conferences which we are planning to do next year! A school and a university already expressed their intention to hold one.

As a last note, I'm very thankful to Mike Gallego VP for Comm of AIESEC San Beda and my friend for more than 6 years. Although you are tactless and rude sometimes, this event wouldn't have been possible without you! I'm really proud to be your friend and I hope you continue to make things happen!:D

Dare to move!

Nov 12, 2012


My college friends usually find it corny when I say anything about Days with the Lord or religion in general. One, because they think I'm a pagan / nature worshiper / still believes in a world where Greek mythology and fairies coexist / agnostic so anything involving Christianity and I sounds fake to them. Two, DWTL is a thing of the past which was left when they graduated from high school. 

I won't lie that there isn't truth to the first, at some extent. What keeps me praying is that I can be vulnerable and broken in front of Him, without being mindful of the image I'm showing him. DWTL made Christ more personal. Instead of appearing as a discriminating and detached being, the experience of going to that retreat made him felt like a brother.

Last Saturday, after doing some research in the library of Ateneo, I went to Intramuros to join DWTL's 46th anniversary mass in San Agustin church. It was presided by a Jesuit priest who was there when the retreat first begain in Xavier during the 1960s. 

Comparing this anniv mass to the ones I attended before, I can say that a lot has improved with our community in Don Bosco. We were occupying the first half a dozen pews unlike a few years ago when I felt like I was the only one (and a friend) who attended from our community.

Now that preparations are being done for the return of the high school DWTL, I feel more and more excited. Aside from my birthday and out of town trips, I have something to look forward to for this summer. Belette and Rex are the one leading this time so I'm confident that every thing will turn out amazing.

Nov 11, 2012

Why Social Entrep Makes Sense

Last Tuesday, I  gave a talk to business students in FEU Diliman on Social Entrepreneurship. Having finished a class on the subject in Ateneo School of Government last month did't guarantee that I'll be able to deliver the message I need to inspire them to be like one. "Good luck," as Joe Green, an eco-entrepreneur who also spoke in the same event, has said in an almost sarcastic way.

It takes a lot of heart and guts to deviate away from the traditional way of working in a big company to earn money. Those who are bolder may take the path of an entrepreneur but it's a whole new level to prioritize the social impact you're making than focusing on the bottom line - net income.

Some of the invited speakers aren't even social entrepreneurs themselves so they approached the topic by using what they learned from research. Although their talks were informative, it didn't come out as authentic. So instead of filling the room with theories and tips, I tried to tell them why social entrepreneurship makes sense. 

Each decade is marked by a certain trend - the flower power, the decade of angst & grudge, the Internet boom and the era of globalization. Where are we now? It's a time when the world has more doers than observers. It's a time when instead of relying on institutions like the government or corporations, people are forming groups to solve concerns. Instead of looking for jobs, more and more people are building enterprises that provide jobs. Now more than ever, the citizens of the world have dared to move. 

The time is right, and so is the location as Philippines is predicted to be the next breakout nation and 16th largest economy by 2050. Add to that a rating just below investment grade and more funds dedicated to funding ideas and start-ups. More on this during my talk in San Beda on the 23rd.

That piece of knowledge is especially directed for the young because they can afford to make mistakes, fail fast and recover with dignity. If we can direct their passion and what corporations usually refer to as "aggressiveness" into something more worthwhile, and add to that a nurturing environment of people ready to support them (like what we try to accomplish with Forza Publishing Group), then maybe we can multiply the army of change makers and make a difference even in our own country faster than ever. 

I hope one day, we'll be able to feature a student from the audience in FEU who will be challenged by the things we said to pursue what s/he really aspires.

Dare to move!

Nov 2, 2012

Bato at Ilaw

Went back to one of my favorite places in the world after six years! Though we only stayed there for 3 days, I still vividly remember the chapel where we got introduced, the dorms where we slept in bed assignments arranged alphabetically, the haunted common rest room and the equally haunted howls of the wind from our windows, the cafeteria where we ate and the corner where I cried (with some of my classmates) because the priest/facilitator gave this sort of simulation on what we'll feel when we die.

I think the place has not changed much since we left there. Or maybe time has played on my mind that I don't notice how the paint on the walls have faded, how much moss has accumulated on the red bricks in the garden, how the view in front of the mountain has less trees, and how empty the halls have been...

Though one thing has always remained. Don Bosco Batulao - bato at ilaw - has always been welcoming, for those who have taken their retreats there and for those who will create memories which we'll always want to re-encounter. 

Nov 1, 2012

Foreshadowing and Flashbacks

It's lunch time from work and I'm handwriting this article which I plan to post later. The recent long weekend has been "memorable" - one event gave a preview of things which will happen in the next few months, the other one brought back loads of memories from high school.

Saturday night, we had a closing ceremony for our Social Entrepreneurship Class which was held in Ateneo Law School. Distinguished guests include civil society leader Harvey Keh, presidential adviser Neric Acosta and founder of Hapinoy Bam Aquino. Dean Tony Lavina of the Ateneo School of Government was also there. Of course the event wouldn't be possible without our teacher for the whole semester, Atty. Arnel Casanova who's also the president of BCDA, the company that gave birth to Bonifacio Global City and Newport City among others.

I was seated with my classmates while other tables were composed of social entrepreneurs from previous SE classes. The room was filled with excitement and optimism as Project Boat-eh, a boat-bottle making competition, and the Philippine Social Entrepreneurship Club were launched. Here in this room, overlooking our country's business district, were like minded people driven by the challenge, as cliche as it may sound, to change the world for the better. This practical idealism will be the new reality one day. Our role over Forza Publishing Group is to inspire people to join this revolution and to make this campaign trend. Instead of just adding change makers, we need to multiply them.

I ended my night there with a ceremonial toast with my classmates. I realized that this will be the network which will propel us to stick to our plans. The road to change will be tough, but I'm thankful that the journey will include the support from people in that room.

I then went straight to my former high school to catch the highlight of a three-day retreat. For some settings/chapters, it happens more than once in a month, but for us, we only have it twice a year on the average. This event is a mini reunion for me and some of my high school batch mates. Though some have grown fatter, they have not lost that same sense of humor. Attending this event is an attempt to hold on to and relieve the past. I tried to feel like a participant again when everything was simple and carefree, but no matter how much I tried to bring back that same overflowing feeling brought by this retreat when I was 15y/o, it still felt dry. It's really a once in a lifetime event to be a participant in Days with the Lord.

Having that experience which felt so good and the inability to relieve it 100% again is the reason why we keep on looking, keep on serving, keep on sharing the experience with other people. Maybe that's why acknowledging that thirst, brokenness and emptiness is important. It's more honest. "When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change." Then the divine will work its way and do its magic.

To wrap it up, both the "foreshadowing" and "flashbacks" were fueled by an emptiness - for better solutions towards nation building and for the presence of the divine. There are two way on how one can respond to it. You can plunge into that emptiness and develop a black hole, sucking everything around you. Or you can be more pro-active, plunge forward and as we always say, dare to move.