Thursday, June 23, 2016


This was supposed to appear in the Urban Life section of the newspaper but it appeared in the Opinion page. So I'm placing here the article with the supposed photos. :)

To The Extremes

LIKE most people, I dream of travels–a lot of travels. And like most others, I try my best to save for life’s best adventures. While I can’t do them all yet, I continue to browse on my phone, social media accounts of nature trippin’, beach lovin’ and hiking adventures. I remind myself of the things I want to do if time and budget already permit.
Having gone through millions of posts on Instagram and Facebook, I found accounts with portfolios of rock climbing, mountain climbing, surfing and skydiving–basically, a lot of extreme nature tripping. As a kid, I’ve always been a fan of X Factor. I love the thought of adrenaline rush and euphoria. And I’d replay the TV scenes over and over in my head and imagine myself doing the bicycle stunts, the skateboard glides, the motocross jumps and the drag race turns. I’ve always loved the idea of being away comfort zones, outside nutshells and beyond ordinary.
While I am always awed by various photos in my social media feeds, I am more impressed that some people I came across with had already been into things I imagined myself doing. So I picked a few of them to cite.
Although mountain climbing has become ordinary nowadays–with a lot of groups doing diverse squad goals, nothing beats the passion of real mountaineers, who climb not just for the selfies and the groufies but for the rush and exhilaration it gives.
Ayen Chiong is a professional interior designer and a courageous mountain and rock climber. My favorites in her escapades are her Japan climbs: Mt. Fuji in Tokyo and Mt. Asahidake in Hokkaido, where she climbed them with an arm cast (yellow cast in the photo). Yep, you read that right. Not your typical mountaineer.

Why go for extreme sports: It’s a way of being much more alive. It doesn’t only challenge me physically, but also mentally and spiritually.
Who is your role model: Dr. Gideon Lasco, Philippine mountaineer, anthropologist, environmental advocate (
Skydiving has always been one of my dreams. I believe this is also top on the bucket list of most people. I browse travelling photos and I come across skydiving photos on Facebook.
Yam Otarra, 26, has since been a passionate traveller. From being around the beautiful Pilipinas to various international destinations, this young lady has travelled 35 countries (as of the moment). My favorites in her travel? Gazillions. Skydiving, surely is one of them.
What is your life motto: by Paulo Coelho: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
What are you looking for in life: Happiness.
Of all the things I wanna do right now, this one is it: freerunning. I’ve always dreamt of becoming a ninja, a martial arts guru, well, yeah, a freerunner in these modern times. And I’m so glad they have training in Manila already. So yep, someday, parkour.
Karl Bautista is a graduate of Architecture in one of the universities in Manila. He does parkour and climbing rooftop buildings is his hobby. And like all freerunners, the world is Karl’s playground. My favourite: his photos of roof culture.
Where did you learn parkour: I actually learned parkour in the monkey bars in UST. I saw some guys jumping and doing simple flips. With my basic gymnastic background, I decided to join them a bit, but ended up loving the whole experience!
What does it feel like: When I parkour, I feel free. It’s a form or art, in a way, because I can express myself through movement, just like how dancers feel. Except, rather than music, we use the environment around with our mixed training in calisthenics, gymnastics and add some creative flare to it.
Motocross and drag racing are just few of my childhood dreams. I get so excited watching exhibitions of motocross and car racers. Few months ago, I was watching Pilipinas Got Talent and lo, and behold, I found motocross racers as contenders.
UA Mindanao is a group of motocross performers from Kidapawan City. The group graced PGT Season 5 and like the PGT judges, I was stunned. My heart would skip a beat every time the riders would strike a pose. And in every jump, I imagine myself doing the same thing. And I was like, “I’m killing this.”
Me? Well, I’ve climbed Mt. Capistrano. I think that’s a good start. Haha! Skydiving? I’ll try freerunning first. I know I have been doing ordinary things and nothing like the episodes I watched way back in X Factor. But who knows, maybe in the next issues of Gold Star, I will be sharing with you how I am already into the extremes.

Being Filipino

Full article also at

WHEN Filipinos make it big in the international realm, we say that we are proud Filipinos! When it’s everything about greatness, we go out and say, “I am a Filipino.” Most people would utter the words “Pinoy Ako” without really understanding the word Filipino.
It’s funny how people I know who say that they are all about being a Filipino are the same people I know shopping around high-end malls buying imported brands: Zara, Topshop, Mango, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy and other go-to brands in the metro.
It’s funny how I invite people to watch Tagalog movies and all they say is “Jologs, unsa man na?” or “Yuck, ga’watch ug Pinoy movies?”
It’s funny how I ask about OPM and local indie bands and all they know are songs on Billboard and the indie band from I don’t know where.
It’s funny how people would go crazy over buying luxury bags online or in actual mall stores even to the point of buying class A versions but are not able to patronize cheap Marikina bags.
It’s funny, how most of the time, we don’t really walk the talk. Well, in a lot of cases actually. The instance of being Filipino is one.
While a number of tourists go to various destinations for the local feel and the heritage the place brings, we are all about westernizing, bringing and adapting a lot of different culture in the country. While it is good to amuse ourselves with diversity, it is best to nurture our very core and uphold our values first. It is like loving and appreciating ourselves first, before loving other people.
We often try to learn foreign languages without even first polishing our own dialect. I believe we must hone first the Filipino ways before taking things into international streets.
Support Filipino brands. Endorse local tourism. Travel the Philippines. Interact with the locals. Feel and understand what it is to be Filipino.

Harambe and Humanity

SINCE the news about Harambe surfaced days ago, netizens have been pro-animals than ever. Watching the video, I can’t really judge if the gorilla was trying to hurt the kid, or I’m just protecting the gorilla too.
Point being, this incident reminds us of humanity and the decisions and actions that come with us. A number of citizens even questioned the existence of zoos and the like. I read somewhere: “The animals are not here for our entertainment.” Point taken. Humans as we are, we tend to look after our own interests.
We prefer our welfare, sometimes even at the expense of others. We want convenience. Through time, we have chosen to buy gadgets that are convenient for us. And in business decisions, we tend to make choices that will benefit us than the public good’s welfare.
Harambe, I believe, has now become more than just a gorilla killed by the management of the zoo or of the neglectful parents of the child, as perceived by many. He has become a representation of all the animals in Kindgom Animalia. I want to believe that the online petitions are not only movements for Harambe but for all the living creatures suffering in the hands of humanity.
Point now is to take this incident into a different light–for it to no longer be a case between the parents or the zoo’s management but a case of question and discernment on the actions of humanity. We have been blessed with such a beautiful world, and every single day we, in our own little ways, exploit it.
We have witnessed headline news and random news about how other people deliberately inflict harm against “Harambes” in the world. All we do is just like and re-share the photos and videos, without giving thought to our personal actions. So Harambe and Humanity, question really is how do we best co-exist?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Life After Graduation

Noone will tell you how it is after graduation
how it is to find an occupation
how going to school is sometimes better than going to office
how an overtime is way exhausting than a school event practice

That all the things you learned in school may not be applicable
That the thesis and other projects you worked on are only just theoretical
That good times with friends may not be as good as good times with colleagues
That it is some kind of survival-of-the-fittest world out there

People instead will tell you how beautiful it is to earn your own money
To be independent and free from all the house rules
To be able to go to places wherever you want
To buy things you have long been eyeing

They will not tell you that your bills may be greater than your wages
That your vacation leaves may sometimes be taken away from you
That getting sick during peak season is not an option
That you may not land a job aligned with your profession

Noone will tell you the life after graduation
the hesitations, the reality versus fiction
the deadlines, the distractions
the dramas, even the hefty obligations

Noone will tell you that there will be a whole lot of blood for perspiration
Disappointments, politics, even some depression 
Noone will tell you that there will be a lot contemplation
about the world, about life, about you as a person

Noone will tell you because it's up for you
to find the life after graduation

Kudos to the graduates! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What is Passive Income?

If you have accounting classes in college, you may have come across the term Passive Income. Or if you're eager to attend financial literacy sessions, surely this term will be uttered ten million times.

Passive Income refers to earnings without need of the individuals' thorough and intense active participation. If you're an employee who wakes up 6:00 AM everyday (or whatever time you wake up) to kick your ass off at the office, complete reports and submit them on deadlines, then I'm sorry to tell you that you are not earning passive income, but active income. Actively performing services translates to active income.

Now, how to earn passive income? Note that passive income requires a little effort as well. This income doesn't just come out from nowhere. There has to be little investment: time, money and/or effort before you can earn passive income.

Examples of Passive Income are:

1 Rental Payments
2 Royalties
3 Franchise Fees
4 Copyrights
5 Blogs
6 Stock Dividends
7 Stock Price Gains and
8 Mutual Funds

Notice that before you receive income from above sources, you will need to have an output first: building structure, items for rent, books, business, literary, music, logo, designs, initial deposits, etc. Nothing comes for free.

The only difference between passive income and active income is passive income does not require daily efforts and services for an individual to continue earning. Once you have written the book and published it, you will just wait for the royalties to keep on coming. Unless you decide to make a sequel of course, then you'll have to exert effort again on your second book. For as long as your work is being published and bought, you will continue earning for a book you may have written 5, 10 years ago.

There should be an initial step. That's number one must do's for earning passive income. The rest is just follow through.

Now, I am not telling you to be all artistic and smart and start writing books and composing songs, unless you have that talent, though. You can earn passive income with your bank deposits. Your savings account and time deposits earn passive income. If you happen to go over your passbooks, you will notice figures that you haven't deposited but are added to your balance. Those numbers you see are also called passive income.

You may have heard of stocks and mutual funds all your life but haven't gotten the chance to try it. So I'll be introducing mutual funds in my next article.

Keep posted! :)


me and my random lines

1 Sometimes, I think I'm pretty. Then I realize it's all in my head.

2 Don't complain about the choices you yourself made.

3 You've moved on when you just laugh about it now.

4 Struggle is there to remind us nothing comes easy.

5 Fries is good for the heart.

6 Love is when you still choose your partner after you met a more stunning one.

7 Life is never easy. It's a circus. Some rides give you great vibes. Some just give you goosebumps. But the whole experience is surely one hell of a memory to remember.

8 Marriage is when you decide to commit the rest of your life to that person you'd love to love over and over again.

9 Going to school is my best childhood memory. No responsibility. No commitments. Basically, no bills.

10 You are who you think you are. I think I'm Phoenix.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

3 Reasons Why You Should Pause Before You Speak

Most often than not, we let our emotions get the best of us - whether it be an air of excitement or a gast of anger.

Humans as we are, we get too giddy and overly excited to the point of divulging information we shouldn't be saying in the first place. Or we get so angry and vengeful in a conversation to the point of an unexpected outburst at the outset. Either condition, we end up sometimes regretting having spoken.

While it is good to share stories and ideas and vent issues and concerns, it is best to choose the proper way, time and venue to release all these. But if in an actual conversation, the talk begets an immediate reply, then inhale, exhale and pause a bit before you say another line.

Here are 3 reasons why:

1 For Coherence - You don't wanna end up mumbling. Organize first the thoughts in your head and ensure you will be talking sense and not just blabber around. Make sure what you'll be saying is indeed in connection with the topic. Know your points and know how to present them well.

2 Saving the Relationship - You don't have to be in a relationship to know that humans are social beings and in whatever place we're in, we may have a connection with any person we meet - citizen to citizen, brother to sister, teacher to student, colleague to colleague, customer to staff, passenger to driver, etc. You don't wanna destroy something that hasn't even started nor would you wanna destroy something existing for a long time.

3 Saving Yourself - At the end of it all, it's you who will benefit from taking a pause before you speak. Lucky if you emerge victorious after the talk but sadder than sad if you end up failing just because you insisted on letting your emotions get the best of you.

Really, the pause is for us to assess for a while if the situation really needs a piece of us - Are we the proper person to discuss this topic? Are we authorized to speak for the person? Is this a battle worth fighting? Should we stoop down to the level of this person?

Pausing actually gives us the time to analyze the situation and allows us to take matters at hand gracefully. I'm sure you don't wanna regret anything you believe your mind and heart seem to tell you at the moment.

Pause and take matters at hand, gracefully.

Friday, June 10, 2016

MUST WATCH: Code Geass

In the rank of one to Naruto or one to Sailormoon, I don't know where Code Geass is.

The first time I heard this, I was like, what? But to my own surprise, after having completed the series, I was like C-O-D-E G-E-A-S-S. Maybe I'd disappoint you with my review because you're an anime addict yourself. But nah, I believe in what I think about the series.

Code Geass is a Japanese anime, composed only of 2 seasons. Yep, 2 seasons and each with 25 episodes.

3 main characters (make it 4 for CC):

Lelouch Lamperouge - also Lelouch vi Brittania or Lulu is the 11th prince of the Holy Brittanian Empire. When in his normal school routine or everyday roundabouts, he presents himself as Lulu or Lelouch. But since receiving his geass, he disguises himself in his every appearance to people as "Zero".

Shirley Fenette - like every story, there is a love story. For Code Geass, it's Shirley Fenette. And like all other female animes, she's got this picturesque look of a lady matched with a bubbly personality. Shirley is also a member of the student council and the swimming club at Ashford Academy, where Lulu also studies.

Suzaku Kururugi - is Lulu's childhood friend, an Honorary Brittanian soldier and the son of Japan's last prime minister, Genbu Kururugi. Suzaku believes in fighting for the good, defending the people, and following the orders of his superiors. He is also the pilot of The Lancelot, a Knightmare Frame by Lloyd Asplund.

C2 - is from the Order of Geass. She was taken out from the research laboratories but was managed to be saved by Lelouch Lamperouge accidentally when he was at the site. C2 also known as the Immortal Witch, Pizza Girl, and Zero's mistress, among others is crucial to finding Lulu's long-sought answers.

Since the death of Lulu's mother, her sister Nunnally (6 years old then), who witnessed the death of their mother, suffered trauma leading to blindness and half-way down paralysis. Lulu somehow blames his father, Charles vi Brittania for Nunnally's disablement and the death of his mother, Marianne.

C2 holds a certain power of Geass. Geass refers to the certain supernatural ability originating from the Order of Geass. It may differ to each individual, depending on the person's inner desire and personality. When frequently used, the power of Geass increases and should the person lose control of himself, the power of Geass has the tendency to consume the person.

Suzaku being mighty and noble (and charming) became one of the Knights of the Round, the goal of which is eliminating Zero. Charming, I mean, noble that he is, Suzaku became the knight to Princess Euphemia, 3rd princess of the Brittanian Empire.

Lulu, in his quest to find answers for the death of his mother, finds the Island of the Geass. And there, his ultimate battle begins.

Please don't judge that I only love this anime because of Suzaku. I swear, he isn't the reason. You gotta believe me.

I mean, this?

Certainly not. Code Geass for me the best episodes put into 2 seasons. Good plot. Great series.

But I don't think you'd want me spoiling more of the anime series. So go, decode Code Geass!

Photo Credits:,Arthur+(CODE+GEASS)?p=3

Monday, June 6, 2016

Finding Ourselves

 #postLent #latepost

It’s again that time of the year when most people repent, reflect, and recreate their spirituality.

For most people, it’s the 3Rs. For others, it’s only the 2Rs: reflect and recreate. While some are in retreats and/or recollections, others are in Batanes, Camotes Island, Busuanga or Hinatuan – pretty much across the country (sometimes, across the globe). Wherever everyone may be, we all have one common goal: finding and reconnecting with ourselves.

A minimum once-a-year reflection and recreation is actually good for our hearts and souls. It allows not only our physical bodies to rest but our hearts, as well, to take a break, set aside sadness and disappointments, feel the summer breeze, enjoy the scenery, treasure the present and dream about the future.

Life is a constant turn of the wheel: a series of ups and downs and a mix of happy and sad. When we forget to pause or hit the breaks, we overspeed, drunk drive, cross one-way streets until we find ourselves at a dead-end, in the middle of who knows where.

In life, we need to take note of stoplights, road signs, and traffic enforcers.

When I was a kid until I graduated college, my family always had this Holy Week tradition of visiting places. No, we don’t do just the 2Rs. We do the 3Rs. We do processions, retreats, recollections and abstinence.

When I started working, I got lost twice. And it wasn’t just a bump in the road. It was more like a dead-end. I even asked God, “Where am I?

So come this season of Lent, let us pause, hit the break and do the 3Rs.

Let us spend Lent, away from the internet – most of all, away from our daily routine. Let us challenge ourselves to abstain from technology and commune with God and appreciate the beauty of God’s creations around. We may realize that for the longest time, we needed to be found. Now, is that time.

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

Friday, June 3, 2016

5 Steps To Overcome Depression

There could be tons of ways to overcome depression, or maybe just one. But I'm citing five.

Change the term to boredom. Negativities beget negativities. The more you say you are depressed, the more you will be depressed. And depression is such a heavy and gloomy term. So lighten things a bit by saying "I'm bored". Then try doing things you do to relieve your boredom.

Consult your friends. Before consulting doctors, psychologists and whoever medical and psychology practitioners, talk first with friends. The reason sometimes for depression is isolation. You are alone because you isolated and shut your doors from people who can actually be by your side through it all.

Think happy thoughts. Stop watching sad movies or listening to sad music, it will drag you down more. Play upbeat songs. Think of fun times and little things like bubbles, rainbows, Easter eggs, cotton candies, comics, or childish pranks.

 In as much as I want to cite this as the first way to overcome 'boredom', I believe people would least likely do this. Because the first thing I did, was escape. Then I ran back and accepted the fact. So for you, stop running away. Accept.

Choose to overcome it.
 Best-selling authors and random people could probably tell you 100 great ways to overcome 'boredom' but if you do not make that choice to overcome it, you will probably would never overcome it. So choose. Choose to let go and start over. Leave that trash behind, put it in a garbage can or burn them rather so you can see ashes and embers be blown away and never be seen again. (There’s no need for an actual trash bin. You just need to throw those thoughts away. Burn them in your mind or whatever.)

If there's only one tip to this, it would be: choose to overcome it.

(Origin: Change the term to boredom – Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Ricky John Goyeneche)