Friday, April 10, 2009

Last few weeks

I really felt doing this in the last few weeks. Bang my head against the wall. Trying to squeeze out rational thoughts to come up with something intelligent. To convince my teacher that I was not spacing out during our many interesting discussions in class.

When I saw what I got, I run outside my office to let my feet and lips follow what my heart was feeling. To jump and put a big smile. All those late nights in front of my laptop. Those hours of trying to make coherent swirling thoughts in my head.

I go back though to God who guided me. Kept me healthy despite my lack of sleep. Gave me favor in my teacher's eyes. Granted me wisdom to come up with the right introduction, discussion and conclusion. Made sure I remained sane by giving me people who provided me my required fix of distraction. Gave me the wonderful cruise a bonus. Thank you Lord. You surprised me.

And now, off to the bigger challenge. Guide me still. Pretty pretty please.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I am learning: Choosing to be responsible

I’ve seen a lot of them. New graduates. After savoring a few restful months, they went to find that perfect job. Or settled for any decent paying job. Then they began enjoying the fruits of their labor. They bought so many needed and desired items with their hard-earned money. They paid for trips taken with other yuppies. They spent a lot for gimmick moments with chosen friends and colleagues. They became like any other employee. Lived the cycle or working, spending, working, spending, and so on and so forth.

I know because I did the same. I waited for each and every paycheck in order to spend them on bills, transportation and meal expenses, gimmicks, gifts, and travels. There was no need to worry. I was young. I had strength to work for many years to come. Then one day I realized that I didn’t have a lot to show for the many years that had passed. I had not saved enough. When I related it with my list of things to do in my lifetime and I was left with one question : how I am suppose to accomplish all these?

And so I began to study how others do it - Start with simple things. Save 10% of your salary (right after tithes and missions). Choose which bank services would yield greater interests. Spend only on the necessary things. Then try to build up an emergency fund which must be equal to 3 to 6 months of your salary. Build your insurance coverage equal to five years worth of your income. This is especially important to heads of families. To help your family’s survival in case the two sure things on earth happen to you: disease and death. Then learn to invest and let your money work for you. Later , move on to more proactive ways to earn money like running your own business or paying someone to run it for you.

I am a long way off from being financially independent. But I have learned to be more responsible in my expenses. I now try to plan on what little investments I could make right now that would yield better dividends in the future. For myself, for my family.

To the graduates and even to those who are already working, pray and list down the things you want to do for God in this life. Whatever it is, it would require financial resources. Lay down the groundwork. Save, invest, think, plan ahead. You’ll be thankful you did. Start small. God will bless it.

Be responsible.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sunday math

Palm Sunday + Communion = it's all about Him.

A very good day.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

7,107 Islands Cruise (Manila-Subic-Corregidor-Manila)

When my friend/colleague offered to bring me along to a maiden cruise of this specific route, my heart leaped. Wow! A cruise! Here in the Philippines? That was the first time I’ve heard of it. I learned that there is this new company called 7,107 Islands Cruise which offers sea travel and tourism to those interested to try out this mode of transportation to famous spots in the Philippines. 

I checked its website, my calendar and asked myself, am I ready to take another sea trip? The last time I was on a ship I got so dizzy I told myself that would be the last time. But the word "cruise" has magic in it. There is a promise of rest, recreation and most important, discovery. So I said yes and two days after, off we boarded the ship at Pier 6 (North Harbor)
There was nothing spectacular about the exterior of the ship but once I got inside, there was something different. The reception area (I forgot the ship term!) was full of warmth and welcoming air. Certainly this originated from the courteous manners and warm smiles of the crew. Their wonderful service from the start to finish was impeccable. 

We had a small tour of all the decks, dining rooms, swimming and massage areas, video room, etc. And the best surprise? I got a room all to myself at the Promenade , complete with TV and ref (though I did not use them), with a view of the sea. 

The entertainment was really great especially the first night. While the ship cruised Manila Bay, the crooning voices of Jun Pulistico and Andy Costello serenated our ears. The Music Ventures band did great renderings of famous songs. The second night was also special since Marco Sison brought us back to the past with his beautiful songs. 

The food was delicious though the desserts need a bit of improvement. I won't forget the tasty lamb and juicy shrimps. We ate to our heart's content. The bartender patiently explained the drinks in his drink menu. 

Watching the sea and sky was a balm to the confused soul of my friend and a renewal for my drained mind. The cruise was peaceful, bringing us the needed respite for a few days.

Trips require discoveries and adventures to be complete and unforgettable. In Subic, we took the hop on-hop off bus and saw the choices available to us: Ocean world, Zoobic Safari, etc. We opted for the something new, a communion with the forest. Then in Corregidor, I retraced the trip I did a few years ago and remembered the valor and sacrifice of men and women who gave their lives for our country. 

The cruise was not perfectly perfect. There is some things that need to be improved. Like coordination of the day tours, being on time, name tags for the food being offered, a little brochure that would have made everything more clear. I salute though those who had the courage and the will to open the cruise traffic in our country. The Philippines as an archipelago deserves to be discovered through the sea. Thank you for offering us this possibility. This is something that must be experienced once in a lifetime. 

Me? I plan to have another one! Maybe Coron in Palawan?

For more information, visit

For more pictures: visit here.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (