October 29, 2004

Misplaced Priorities Can Mislead A Nation

Looks suspiciously like an urban legend but I'm gonna post it anyway.

"He who can take no interest in what is small willtake false interest in what is great." John Ruskin

Jasmine Trias visited the Philippines very recently.Everyone was agog waiting to welcome her. The excitement was remarkable as the media and many of our"kababayans" flocked to the airport to see her. This scenario is typical of Filipinos. Sadly, it reflects our country's misplaced priorities.

Contest of the Mind. Another young girl came back tothe country just a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Faye (not her real name for very sensitive reasons). Unknown to her countrymen, this eleven year old girl brought honor to the Philippines. She represented the country in the Intercontinental Science Quiz Net inAustralia. Out of 57 countries represented, Faye garnered First Place for the Philippines. Germany came in second while the United States came in third.

In stark contrast to the hooplah extended to JasmineTrias, Faye's arrival did not make any noise. Not apeep.

In an earlier competition, "Mathematics for the YoungAsians" in Indonesia, Faye also came out in the Top Five. But just like the Australian event, this feat did not receive any recognition in our country at all.

Our interests seem to be set on other "priorities." We are more interested in promoting celebrity guests instead of educational and intellectual pursuits. Indirectly and quite obviously we are teaching our children that development of the external image takes priority over educational achievement.

Faye's story is inspiring. She comes from a broken family. Her father falsely claimed that he was unmarried when he married her mom. When her mom found out, she decided to raise up her daughter alone.

Despite the difficulty, Faye in no way used it as an excuse for complacency in her studies. In grade school, she was a consistent honor student. She took every academic requirement as a challenge. And she delivered. At one time, she submitted a project thesis in Australia that won "The Best Physics and ScienceAward". The award qualified the Philippines to be one of the top 10 countries that would compete in Australia, among the 57 countries that joined.

Considering her family's financial constraints, she and her mom asked help from our government for their trip to Australia to claim the "Best Physics" award and to join the Science competition. They saw this challenge as a rare opportunity offered to Faye and her country, considering that only two Asian countries qualified - Japan and the Philippines. Unfortunately, our government had other priorities.

Mother and daughter then tried to ask help from individual senators and congressmen. All turned them down except for one who was willing to help, on condition that Faye should give public credit to the senator for supporting her even in the earlier competitions she joined. Out of integrity, the mother could not accede to this arrangement. Thus no outside help was found.

Faced with this situation, Faye and her mom took outall their savings and went out of their way to secure by themselves the additional finances needed. The only driving force behind them was their desire to give honor to God and to the Philippines.

With the little resources they had, they went to Australia on September 17, 2004 for the competition. They claimed the trophy and cash award for the "BestPhysics" thesis Faye submitted in Sidney and then flew to Brisbane for the quiz competition.

No kababayan welcomed them in Australia except for a kind Filipina they met in the plane who assisted them. As they were checking in at a hotel, the "kind" Filipina who volunteered to help them disappeared, taking with her Faye's and her mother's bags, passports, and plane tickets. At that point, they literally had nothing left except for the few pieces of clothes and their faith in God. They had to sell the extra clothes left to be able to buy food.

In need once again, they sought help from some of theFilipino officials in Australia but to no avail. Oddly, the Filipino officials there were too busy withother priorities, not minding to help a young girl and a mother who had no other desire but to bring honor to our country.

Given a budget for only a one night stay at the hotel, mother and daughter had to check out the following day. Leaving their luggage on deposit and without money for transportation fare, they decided to walk two kilometers to the competition venue on their native Filipino costumes.

If walking a two kilometer distance was bad enough, how much more would be walking the distance on their native costume along the highways of Australia!

Upon arrival at the competition site, Faye and her mom were very surprised when they discovered that the delegates from each of the other countries were well supported by a band, a cheering squad, and a flag, while Faye only had her mother and the anxiety of lost passports and plane tickets. Worse, representatives of each country were required to decorate their booths.

With only the three-piece costume they had on, Faye and her mom were even more surprised when the organizing committee awarded their booth as "The MostCreative" booth.

In the early part of the competition, Japan, Brazil and Spain were eliminated. As the only Asian country left to compete against six Western nations, the Philippines was cheered on by Japan. Faye was encouraged by her Japanese cheering squad, but in her heart, how she wished that she had her own countrymen to cheer her on.

When Faye finally won first place and Philippine national anthem was being played, she prayed silently thanking God for making her a Filipina. Despite all the painful experiences she had with her country, her priorities did not waver. A Japanese diplomat was the one who helped Faye and her mom to secure temporary pass so they could return to the Philippines. The money they won was just enough for their fare backhome and their temporary passport. When Faye was relating this story before a crowd, she said, " Let us love our nation, for nobody else will."

Faye did not allow her painful experiences to tear down her loyalty to her country. She is not a celebrity but a servant out to serve her fellow Filipino.

A Small Way to Greatness. Our concept of leadership in this country is pitifully skewed. We mistakenly think that leadership is about "lording" it over other people. Christ corrected this distorted thinking when he said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you, instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all - Mark 10:42-44

Sadly, we are far from the precept of this truth. Itis no surprise then that we have a dearth of real leaders in this country-leaders who would set the nation's interests above their own. In the same way,our concept of citizenship is damaged. Those seeking for social good for themselves are never willing to grant the same good to others. Hence it is common for us hear stories of Filipinos who take advantage of their fellow citizens. We want to be served, but we are unwilling to serve.

We dream of becoming like Jasmine Trias. We want our children to be like her. We would rather spend on things that would make us look good instead of things that would make us grow in character. We prefer stardom glitter over service-oriented endeavors.

Quite the contrary, Faye spend sleepless nights studying to win the competition because she knows her priorities. Unlike Jasmine Trias, Faye did not receive a hero's welcome when she came back, but, young as she is, she keeps calling on Filipinos to love the Philippines because every Filipino is a valuable gift of God.

Life, really is not a matter of intelligence but amatter of setting our priorities right. The question is, what's our focus on "grand" things that make us superficial or on simple things that lead us to greatness?

Faye's story reminds us all to look within ourselves. This eleven year old girl could have complained to the media, but she did not. She went out of her own small way to bring greatness to this land.

Right priorities grant us wisdom. When properly set, priorities point us to the right people we need to invest in, the right use of our energy, the right resources to draw from, and the right endeavors to support.

From the words of Faye's mother, " We all wanted towin, but success is not measured through by merely winning. It is measured through our hearts, if it is truly attuned with God all the time. It is all that really matters for we have only an Audience of One. Whatever we have achieved, big or small, remember one thing: it is for God and God alone. The King of the Kingdom of a higher world.

October 27, 2004


I'm so tired. I've been up since five this morning. My manager gave me some work yesterday afternoon and I was so stupid to commit that I'll be sending it to him this morning. I planned on working on the presentation last night, so that all I have to do is send it to him first thing today. But I cooked last night and I was so busog. I decided to just go to work early today. Thing is, I realized that today is Wednesday, color coding day. Ayun, I have to leave the house by six.

I got in the office early. Kaya lang I was feeling so sleepy so I decided to chat for a while. Then came my 8am phone conference. Followed by more urgent emails. Then other phone calls asking for this and that. Until I totally forgot all about it. Then my boss called at three in the afternoon, asking for it. Buti na lang I was quick to make palusot.

Grabe, I just finished sending it. I hope everything is in order. I hope I didn't miss anything he wanted. I just want this sleep na.

But I can't go to sleep yet. My highschool friend is on vacation from the States and he's leaving on Saturday. We're supposed to meet at Eastwood, but I don't know what time they'll be meeting. Hay, buti na lang I'll be staying up late for a nice reason. I gotta get something nice to eat later. I gotta drink at least two beers and one 7&7. I think I earned it.

October 13, 2004


Lara: Hi lola! Sowee I wasn't able to change your reg screen. I was downloading this big file sa email kaya my connection to GSB's website was crawlingly slow.

Cecil: Nice to meet you! When are you going back to Quiapo? Hmm... baka sumama na rin ako. May mga digital camera ba na binebenta yung contact mo? Maganda ba mga epektos nya?

Lara and Cecil: Baka i-connect na yung DSL ko this Friday. Yehey! I can send you the MP3 nung desnudate song.

Ara: Hi! Yup, I got a blog. Welcome pow.

Beatlebum: Ang daming chicks sa site ko! Mwhahaha! Sana si Sandara mag-visit din ng blog ko! Let me know kung may makukuha kang autographed pic ha! Salamat talaga. Kelan date namin ni Pinky? :D

Next time na muna entries... daming ginagawa sa office eh.

October 07, 2004


This song has been rotating heavily in my playlist for the past couple of days. It's a Spanish ballad, but I have no idea what it means or who the artist is. Great song. If you want a copy of the mp3, email me.

by Ragazzi

Soy veneno que te arde en los labios
Veneno que derrite tu piel
Veneno que te inunda los sueños y que se adueña de ti
Poco a poco…
Soy veneno que se pierde en tus brazos
Veneno que recorre tu cuerpo
Veneno que navega en tus venas y que se mete entre tus sabanas
Que son de seda...

Porque soy veneno
Porque yo soy veneno
Y si tu quieres yo te quiero
Pero desnúdate primero
Que no se entere la ciudad...
Porque yo soy veneno
Y tú el antídoto que quiero
Igual que mato igual me muero
Sin ti no entro una vez mas

Y es que soy veneno que te embruja el sentido
Veneno que naufraga en tu vientre
Veneno que galopa en tus noches y que en tu boca se derrama... lentamente

Porque soy veneno
Y si tu quieres yo te quiero
Pero desnúdate primero
Que no se entere la ciudad...
Porque yo soy veneno
Y tú ya sabes lo que quiero
Ir dando vueltas por tu cuerpo
No necesito nada mas

Google translated the song for me and this is how it turned out...

I am poison that burns to you in the lips
Poison that melts your skin
Poison that floods the dreams to you and that is appropriated you
Little by little?
I am poison that is lost in your arms
Poison that crosses your body
Poison that sails in your veins and that puts between your savannahs
That they are of silk...

Because I am poison
Because I am poison
And if your you want I want to you
But desnúdate first
That the city does not find out...
Because I am poison
And you the antidote that I want
Just as I kill equal I die
Without you I do not enter once again

And it is that I am poison that bewitches the sense to you
Poison that is shipwrecked in your belly
Poison that galopa in your nights and that in your mouth are spilled slowly...

Because I am poison
And if your you want I want to you
But desnúdate first
That the city does not find out...
Because I am poison
And you already know what I want
To be giving returned by your body
I do not need anything but

Will somebody tell me in normalpeoplespeak what desnudate means? Bastos ba yun??

October 04, 2004


I celebrated Oktoberfest kickoff with my wife's friends. Finally, I'm putting faces behind the names, and what faces they have! My wife works for an anti-virus software company. Being one of the dotcoms left standing, they have a relatively young demographic, and they intend to keep it that way. For one thing, they have an unwritten rule of getting only people below 30. I guess they've proven that you can't teach old dogs new tricks.

Anyway, we all had a good time at
Tavern on the Square last Friday. Route 70 was playing. The band caters mostly to 70's and early 80's music. At first, we felt sort of out of place. But when they were soon playing a string of disco hits, aba, almost everybody in our table was up and dancing. It was good. Managed to drive back home after downing four Negra's and two 7&7's.

The following day, we went to the housewarming party of one of the guys we were out with the previous night. Want to have an idea of how good these guys are being paid? He just bought a house and lot in Cainta, a second hand Toyota MR2, and a Pajero. All within two years. Man, I want to transfer na!

It's nice to know that wifey seems to be having a good time with her officemates, inside and out of the office. I can't help but feel sorry for myself. I've been with my company for almost two years but I can't seem to make a connection with the folks there. It doesn't help that I spend more time with the suppliers than with them. Still, I miss having real friends among my officemates. Sometimes, I can spend all eight hours in the office without talking to anybody. Pathetic, isn't it. Hay...

On another front, my friends from ManilaTonight are ranting. I never attend our coffee eb's daw. To Sebyang, WrongWolf, Flirt_Lady, I'm so sorry. Promise, I'll attend this Friday's coffee meet. You know me naman, family first kaya I've been missing the eb. :-)

October 01, 2004


Just finished watching the first presidential debate this morning. If were an American citizen, hands down my vote goes for John Kerry. As commander-in-chief, Bush made a lot of mistakes in this whole war on terrorism. Who was the real target in the first place? Where were the weapons of mass destruction? Where's Osama bin Laden now?

Under George Bush, America has isolated itself with the rest of the world. They have lost a lot of integrity as a nation, especially with the discovery of prisoner abuse in Iraq. They flipflop on a lot of issues, like nuclear weapons proliferation. While they were so eager to invade Iraq to look for nuclear weapons, which they never did, how come they're not willing to pursue Iran's and North Korea's nuclear weapons with the same enthusiasm they did in Iraq?

This whole Middle East problem has taken the world's eyes off from what the real problems are. Worldwide poverty is still increasing. Job creation everywhere has ground to a halt. AIDS is still killing a lot of people. The United States is undeniably still the strongest nation on Earth, and it should be leading the rest of the world to work on these issues.