Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Sixty-one long years on this planet... now I can say that I know what it is and should truly mean. But so do you, he does, and everybody too. But... that would depend on how you look at success -- how you have experienced it.

Some equate it with higher education and knowledge, fame, fortune, titles, top positions, circle of prominent friends and people, a mansion or a dozen houses around the country or the world, and a thick fat bank account. Yup, those too can be called 'success' but I am not referring to that kind! Nope.

Success, the one that truly matters in my book, is that which springs out from the very best in people.... from the core of their being – where the good resides. I like that definition and that is what I look for in every person I meet. It's not the fine clothes or jewelry, nor the gorgeous houses and expensive cars, nor the titles he or she attaches to his or her name -- these are not the things that my eyes seek out. Although such things can sometimes be so distracting irresistible awesome and overwhelming, that’s true -- But too appreciated in its own set context and purpose. Some people have indeed worked hard half of their lives to achieve that and should be given due credit for.
Unfortunately, this gem within a person is often buried deep down within by a mound of garbage gathered up and accumulated by that person’s journeying through life. Internal garbage, that's what it's called. It's the negativity some people tend to absorb without a fight or the least bit of resistance. Greed, envy, dishonesty, anger, cheat, malicious gossip, tyranny are but a few of those negative influences or forces in our lives. These things push down to the bottom the good that’s there but which isn’t paid attention to. Whatever 'success' may be derived this way as it can be used too to further ambition or goals (some people do it)... will be of the kind that will attract similar warped attitudes and beliefs. No other. It leads nowhere. It’s just a vicious cycle which turns over and over and over. That's sad.

To my mind, the thing or things which stand out in any event, circumstance, or situation is that or those which reflect the goodness of heart. The one true underlying reason for the giving of one's time, effort, energy, talent, knowledge, and even resources -- is none other than the intrinsic good which resides in a person's heart. This is what I look and search for, appreciate and admire tremendously, and value deeply. And if a person is capable of doing it at any time-with any people-under any circumstance --- To have achieved God’s blueprint for his or her life… to be a good human being not only to one’s self but to others as well – THAT then, I think, is the true valid authentic SUCCESS in any language form or interpretation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


There was this party sometime back but which memory cut back to my mind when I chanced upon this quote…..

"A person's worth is contingent upon who he is, not upon what he does, or how much he has. The worth of a person, or a thing, or an idea, is in BEING, not in doing, not in having." -Alice Mary Hilton

The other guests at my table were all strangers to me. Apparently they were a 'group'. So I was the stranger. I would have preferred sitting with my buddies three tables away but I came late and this was the only available seat in the room. My buddies were motioning me to move over to their table but I motioned back that I was just fine where I was. That was a lie of course. Anyway I didn’t want to call attention away from the proceedings up front (which was just a table away from me) – the presentation of the 18 roses. Yeah, you guessed it right – a debut. Further I felt that it was the polite thing to do to my fellow table mates (not that they would mind if I did).

Anyway although I was following the trail of speeches onstage, my ears were actually turned in like radar to the conversation going on around me at the table. Eavesdropping? Nah, they spoke in loud voices maybe to drown out the noise caused by the merriment …thus were much in hearing distance to most tables near us. One can’t help but hear what was being said.

So then in-between the long boring speeches and the ear-splitting music I gathered snatches of their conversation…

‘Hey look at that, they’ve invited Mr._____. Did you know that he owns two sugar plantations in Bacolod?’

‘I hear that his wife makes hefty donations to local charities. She’s with an MBA, speaks French, and travels to Paris every year.’

‘Oh, I see Gen. _____ is here too. He’s very close to the big guy at the top. Not smart to cross swords with him.’


I could tell you the rest of it but everything seemed just a repetition of what was said by the first person with just a bit more of embellishments.

So what’s the big fuss bout people holding big positions, is acquainted with prominent personalities in social circles, holds a huge bank account not in just one but several banks, makes frequent trips out of the country for shopping sprees…. What are these but simply icing on the cake. I don’t think that those things will make a dent for the perfect gauge of a person’s true worth. Accoutrement, trimmings, frills – these simply work or serve to make the image more attractive, enticing, alluring, beguiling, fascinating, intriguing to the onlooker… and sometimes will mask the real person within, good or bad. Just like icing is to the cake.

I love cakes but even if the icing is so temptingly delicious and attractive I would make serious effort in trimming it off my piece of cake. The real test of a cake is in the cake itself and not in the icing.

It’s the same thing when I meet people… I am not easily impressed by what they have or do although I do recognize and appreciate authentic good deeds. Mom could always cut through that flimsy curtain of appearances. It is quite easy to put up appearances to suit some need or hidden agenda. In like manner one cannot conceal true intent no matter how much one tries. It simply slips through in some unguarded moment when one thinks nobody is looking. Well, frankly one can easily separate genuineness from show. Just trim off the frills ---then you’ll see the real person inside.

The essence of a person lies in his being... who you are in the core of your heart is truly what you are regardless of your titles or millions or what you do with it.

I want my cake simple and people authentically honest and real. The best things in life are just that – simple and true.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


A quartet of beautiful male voices sang this song on a late show on TV last night. It was lifted from a Broadway play ‘Les Miserables’ (1998). I was glued to my seat listening to the lovely voices, the song, the music, and the lyrics. These lines particularly stuck to my mind long after the music was gone.

“There are dreams that cannot be and storms we cannot weather”

We have plenty of dreams in life, perhaps even more than we can count with our fingers. We start young with building dreams – ‘I want to be a doctor, fireman, teacher, movie star, model, rich and famous, popular, influential, build my dream house, travel round the globe, start a business, fly to the moon…’ and many more. As the years go by some of those dreams are discarded and replaced with new ones. Some are shelved temporarily. And some pretty soon will be forgotten. But the dreams which hurt us the most are those which can’t be.

Well, this is when we don’t decide its fate. This is when we are up with the stark realities of life and living--- just to name a few - poverty, culture and tradition, incompetence, circumstance, location, feasibility, resources, dearth of opportunities, influence, and competition… and that when we are told that our best effort is not good enough and that pot of gold is given to another guy. Pursuing a big dream takes a lot more than just talent and desire. So much like cooking a pot of stew… one puts in a lot of ingredients to create a good dish, not just a spice or two. Translated into the world of chasing dreams when several essential factors are absent from a situation, that dream might not see the light of day at all. From this one can say that there are some dreams that truly cannot be. That’s just the truth about it.

But then --- There is still something one can do.

That is to draw from the well of the innate adaptability and flexibility of a human being when confronted with the tests of life. Change gear, change idea, change plan, and change the dream. If one dream cannot be, pick out another which can. There’s a lot you can choose from—that is, if you haven’t let go of dreaming.

Life storms can be truly nasty. I know because I’ve been through several of them throughout my whole life. But who hasn’t? It’s one other thing besides death which is the leveler of men. It hits upon the learned, the rich, the beautiful, the healthy, the young, the old, the poor, the ugly, the sick, the good and the bad, etc. etc. And as there are certain storms in life which we can quite handle gritting our teeth or clenching our fist or simply by being stoic about it quite successfully … we can still get those of which nothing that we ever do would make it budge and move away. Nor ride it through.

We are born survivors; it’s a built-in ability since the day we were born, so we’ve been often told. But sometimes it just isn’t so. Sometimes that particular storm hits hard like a mean tornado crashing everything that stands in its way blowing them away to smithereens. That’s what it does to us – blows away our firm resolve, uproots our beliefs in self and life, destroys what we have carefully built in hopes and dreams, and takes us down on our knees defeated and beaten. This is one storm we cannot survive in one piece nor ride taking the bull by its horn. It’s stronger and much fiercer than our tenacity to beat it.

But --- there is something we can do…still.

We can try wait out the storm. That’s different from gritting teeth or clenching fists or being stoic. Neither is it a do-nothing resolve. Rather it is an active calm kind of waiting born out of an understanding that all things have a beginning and an end. You see not all action require a flurry of activity or energy. Sometimes all that one needs to do is sit and wait. This kind of waiting, I know, is calm expectation and anticipation for far better things to come. The mind grinds away making new plans even as the body remains still and steady waiting out the storm. This storm will pass –as the sun rises in the morn and ends with the moon at night -- as a humble seed grows into a tall proud tree… and when rain ends up with a gorgeous rainbow in the sky. New beginnings – that’s what life is made of... what life is all about. Am trying one for myself. Amazingly.

Ciao for now; more in the next –ish!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Oh yes, I was the one for that long line of qualms, misgivings, regrets. Fact is, I’m well acquainted with those words having them as constant companion for some years. Well, nobody told me then nor bothered to pass on some bit of wisdom off their own experiences that those were sorry unproductive negative words... along with the attitude that went with it. Well, I guess they too were wrestling with that themselves--- And if I were to venture out a guess – quite unsuccessfully. Well, I had to learn the same thing the hard way with a baggage of experiences which practically knocked-me-down, gave me sleepless nights, anxiety, stress, and deeply furrowed brows. But the nicest thing that came out of that though is ---I am now qualified to tell friends who would care to listen… to please junk that stuff!

You don’t need it, believe me. That language belongs to a person who stops trying at the first sight of difficulty or comes face to face with failure --- How absurd that is – giving up when the going gets tough – when you don’t even have the slightest inkling now whether you’ll make it or not? When you can’t even be sure what the next day will bring you? Not even fortune tellers can correctly tell you what the future will bring. Isn’t that something exciting to look forward to? Don’t you want to be surprised by it? Don’t you ever wonder how God is going to bless you? It's like the trees (You) in that poster above seen as blocking the lovely rays of golden sunshine (God's blessings). Isn’t that the challenge being posed to you at the time of struggle or strife? The challenge to make you trudge forward resolutely believing that at the end of the long dark tunnel is success and achievement waiting just for you? Hard work and perseverance never fails anyone, you know. And if perchance you might fail at one…. You could always try another and another and another. Blessings abound where hope and faith reside. But if you don’t… you’ll be forever riddled with the unhappy baggage of ‘COULD HAVE’ ‘MIGHT HAVE’ and ‘SHOULD HAVE’. Regrets always come at the end, so they say.

So why not try, give it a good try – if you fail at least you could say that I gave it my best shot. You can’t be faulted with that. And then move on to the next challenge.

"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.
The saddest summary of a life is: could have,might have, and
should have." -- Louis E. Boone

Sunday, February 3, 2008


There is always something that we can do for what comes into our life. It may be in small or huge measure but no matter -- still something we can do. Many of us think that to do some good it has to be in such a grand or dramatic way or presentation. Well, some are lucky to have it that way but most of us are not that lucky. In our small world we do small things..BUT with a big big heart. That in my book is a grand thing to do.

A stranger not even a friend came to the wake of my late husband and came to me and said... 'I am just a small woman living a humble life but your husband has been good to me.. giving me a job and good advise on coping with my family problems. What I can only offer you is my prayers for his journey home to God and for God's strength to carry you through.' Then she went back to her seat and silently sat there for how long I didn't notice. But when I gazed at her face (as I snatched a few minutes away from the flurry of other guests)... I noticed and believed she already had began her prayers. Prayers -- that means all the world to a grieving family. Prayers which storm the gates of heaven in behalf of someone is all that God awaits for Him to pour down His grace and blessings and even more. Bless her gentle soul.

One good friend of several years came on one of the other nights there and without further ado wrapped a warm knitted shawl around my shoulders and said... 'it's cold here, this will keep you warm'. It felt like her heart wrapped itself around me. How I needed something like that in that rare moment.

A group of nuns, about 8 of them, came one night. They were acquainted with one of the community projects of my late husband. Their spokesperson stood up and said to me that they would like to offer a song. They did. They sang a beautiful song with angelic voices that tugged at everybody's heart I could sense and see... as it did mine. Music is indeed the language of the heart and soul.

A new friend doctor of my youngest daughter did something grand and quite unexpected... something which he needn't have done and yet did when we were at the hospital then. I mention it here now because it deserves to be here. And I know when he sees this blog he will know what I mean. ----My youngest daughter's ninong came and without any fuss gave her an envelope as many of them did that night all through the wake. A tradition of our culture. But this was a small gesture which generated a huge bang... and I mean BANG! When we opened the envelope late that night after all the guests had left... lo! a check gazed us straight in the eye in huge numbers. I felt my eyes grow big yet my heart melted with deep joy appreciation and thankfulness. ---- Love comes from the most unexpected places.

People have their limitations. We all do. There are things which we can't do even if we wanted to for reasons real and perhaps necessary. But if you persist to do what you feel you should or must despite restrictions or limitations...because it is what your heart dictates.... then you have succeeded to stand 10 feet tall and reached the skies with your heart. And there you will see a very pleased God smiling back at you. Oh what I mean is this.... that a God smiling at you and what you do or did is felt in your heart.... always. It is a wonderful feeling!

Do not let what you cannot do
interfere with what you can do.

-- John Wooden

Friday, February 1, 2008


I have quite a good number of young people in their twenties as online friends in my blog. They’re wonderful people ambitious with dreams, hopes, and aspirations in making it big and good in life -- Typical of the young and restless. There’s no difference between the young then and now whether rich or poor, educated or not. Ambition and dreams are equalizers of men. The only difference, if it be called such, perhaps is in the size of their dreams. Some dream small, others dream big. Whatever its size though dreams will always take them on wings of flight, grandeur, magnificence, adventure, quest, experience which they would certainly be missing if they simply chose to stand on the sidelines content with their lot. You can’t reach for the stars on your butt.

But to those who do, they should also be reminded that ‘haste makes waste’. The surest thing to breaking a dream is to pursue it with impatience and anxiety. They should know that a good thing needs correspondingly good nurturing. Nurturing isn't a hurry-up thing but a slow steady consistent stream of care diligence and attention. And that takes a bit of time or lots of it. Yet it’s getting there that provides the learning, thrill, adventure, and satisfaction. …Sometimes even more than when you have reached your goal.

Pursuing a dream also may go in two different directions – you either make it or you don’t. It’s either success or failure. This will separate the the men from the boys. How success or failure is handled defines that person very well. But you know what, even if you don’t reach the stars at all… when you fail and fall --- you’ll still be falling among the starry firmament. What better company could you ever get?!! – a company of star chasers, go-getters, dreamers, big minds and big hearts.

"When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but
you won't come up with a handful of mud either."

-Leo Burnett, American Marketing Expert

So go for it; don’t let anyone stop you.
Aim for the stars; it's worth the chase and journey...and the dream!