Unconquerable Souls

Saturday Stories November 18, 2017

I'm forever grateful to the writers who have touched my life. There are books, such as Trevanian's Shibumi and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull, that are now a part of me.
I find great inspiration in poetry, like in Rudyard Kipling's "If" and Max Erhmann's "Desiderata."
And then there is "Invictus" by  William Ernest Henley which is special to me on a deeply personal level.
"Invictus" is also the favorite poem of Nelson Mandela whom I admire for his moral courage.
I still remember where I was while watching the live broadcast of Mandela's death over CNN.
I also remember thinking that it was a privilege to be living in the age of great world leaders like him and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, and our very own Cory Aquino of the Philippines – whom Mandela held in great esteem.
I have such profound respect for people like Nelson Mandela and Benigno "N…

Everyday Magic

Saturday Stories November 11, 2017

Somebody asked me some years back what my favorite word was.
I said "Magic" – and it still is.
I used to think that magic is something extraordinary, like when David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
As time goes by, I began to realize that magic comes in many forms.
There is magic in the simple things we take for granted, like a smile from someone you love, or an act of kindness from a complete stranger.
There is magic in unexpected surprises, like when I found a quiet boardinghouse and a laundromat within walking distance from where I work.
There is magic in finding a job that you enjoy, in a company you where you feel at home, with people you really like.
As I thought about the things I like about where I work, I realize more and more how lucky I am because it is so unlike the other companies I've been in.
I like my team-mates (in photo), the American co-owner, our HR officers, the people from other departments, and of cours…


Saturday Stories November 4, 2017

I found a witch hat in the office the day after the Halloween party last Tuesday. I also found all the food gone but that's a different kind of sorcery.

I tried it on (in photo), waiting if it will say "Gryffindor!" like in the Harry Potter movies. It didn't. But it didn't say "Slytherin" either so that's a good sign. Nothing. Not even "Ravenclaw" or "Hufflepuff."

Then I realized: you don't have to be in Hogwarts to have magic in your life.

Teacher's Digest

Saturday Stories October 28, 2017

I got my TEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certificate about a week ago. It means I can now teach anywhere they speak something else.
Since I now have more options, it made me realize how much I'm enjoying my life now so I don't want to change anything at the moment. I'm blessed because I don't have the need to make drastic transformations to feel fulfilled.
As I write this, I'm singing "Please, don't tell let this feeling end..."
Although I've handled an entire class when I was with TeleTech in the mid-2010s and really enjoyed it, I prefer a more intimate, one-on-one conversation. Like I told a friend recently, I'd rather be in a coffee shop with one person than in a bar with a crowd.
The first time I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) was in a South Korean school in Quezon City during the early 2000s. In most afternoons, I would always find myself at the Sunken Garden at the nearby U.P. …

Beginning Today

Saturday Stories October 21, 2017

An image of a farmer is on my mind. I feel like I'm standing over fertile soil, waiting for the rich harvest.
There is the anticipation of what is to come, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Perhaps this is how Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) felt in Field of Dreams.
"If you build it," said the voice, "he will come..."
I mean that as a metaphor, though I've lived on a farm in Bulacan in the mid-2000s. A friend took me there me because he was alone and lonely, which was ironic because when I go out into the woods, alone, I was so happy.
I wrote a poem while I was there, "Beginning Today." It was inspired in part by the Agot Isidro classic, one of my featured songs this week along with Erik Santos' version of "May Bukas Pa" – the theme of one of my favorite TV series of all time. 
For the first time, I was listening, really listening, to the beautiful melodies of the crickets and katydids as h…

To Last A Lifetime

Saturday Stories October 14, 2017

For the way my path is unfolding, I can only say "Thank You!" to God. My life is a smooth flow of wellbeing and a steady sense of moving forward.
I'm filled with gratitude because my lovelife, career, health, finances, and indeed, all areas of my life, are going extremely well.
I'm into a lot of new things right now, and I'm thankful to see progress and kaizen (continuous improvement) in all of them at the same time. Yet I don't feel pressured or overwhelmed – for which I'm also grateful.
I'm taking my own sweet time with some, like writing my new novel and studying for my international TEFL certification, because I'm enjoying every minute of it.  Others, like working out and using virgin coconut oil, are for keeps. But what gives me the most joy is the one I love, whom I love more than life itself.
If what I feel right now can be put into music, it would be from my beloved Jose Mari Chan:
"...We have more tha…

The Voices of Angels

Saturday Stories October 7, 2017

"Show me a waterfall. Thank you."
The first thing I did this week was to ask God for a waterfall. I wanted a sign from the universe that is meaningful for me.
Why a waterfall? I love water so there is a personal connection, yet I don't have any emotional baggage about it. In other words, there is no resistance.
It was Monday morning. I went to Perpetual Succor, and when I entered the lobby, I saw a line of people at the elevator. As I came near, the doors opened and we all came in together.
That was so cool. One of my mantras is "Clear path and perfect timing." So I almost laughed out loud when the place I was going to was closed with two minutes still to go – then I knew why.
I strolled around the corridor. Then I saw a large HDTV on one of the offices where "Moana" was showing. I saw through the glass doors as the young heroine ran through the paradise island – with the most majestic and the most breathtaking wat…