Monday, August 27, 2012

A Unique Breed of Leader

 This is a compilation of newsletters of then Naga City Mayor,  now late Secretary Jesse Robredo. I have kept these copies of best practices in my hard archive for almost eight (8) years now. 

This month of August, we honor our nation’s HEROES. Anyone can be a hero just by showing love for his country, or even just by simply becoming a responsible leader himself. Just recently, a certain good leader bids in a heavenly realm. I rarely admire anyone, much less high-ranking officials with whom I have no affiliation at all. However, this man was a cut above the rest. He stoked the flame of public service in my heart. Then I was just a young, career public servant. In 2004, I attended a conference in Manila where I heard his name. He was then Mayor of Naga City. I was amazed by his achievements, much more so when I read about all the work he had done in the interest of public service.

This man won my silent applause. From a distance, I became his fan. My adulation for him grew even greater when he was chosen to lead the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). I told myself, “This is it! Innovations will surely follow!” However, when I read the news in my twitter account that DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash, my hopes that this country would still excel in good governance were dashed. I started to contemplate and figuring out the core of this incident towards public service and good governance. Why this man, and why this early? And after careful analysis and viewing things in a different perspective, I realized that this incident brought out the real essence of public service, as it was sensationalized by mass media. His death was a plea for us to renew our commitment to the people we serve. His legacy imparts an altitude of 180 feet deep meaning to the word leadership. Then, I rephrased my questions: “Who will be the next to follow his footsteps? Are You the One?”

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thy Will Be Done

A very expensive birthday gift that I received from my nephew, Jonas.

My Precious Gem -  My Family. This was taken during  my mother's birthday celebration. Happy birthday to my loving Nanay..

When I woke up one particular morning several years ago, I told myself I should stop making deals with God. I prayed : “LORD, I lift-up my life to you. Take my hands and lead me wherever YOU want me to go. Thy will be done. Just give me clarity of mind & courage to carry out Thy Will.” In time things unfolded & everything fell into place.  I eventually landed where I got & get what I ever dreamed of. It was such a hard struggle since so much of me wanted to do what I wanted to do --- to realize MY own plans, to organize MY future, and to make MY decisions. But situations would arise to put me back to where I am now.

God shattered my plans and replaced them with something so much better! Too frequently, things have happened to me to teach me to align my plans for myself to His. Whatever plans I have for myself now, I always tell myself, "Thy Will Be Done"..

One of my happiest birthday celebrations was spent with my Team. I honestly appreciate all their efforts to make my day special. Thank you, guys, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

God moves in a mysterious way...

So many things have happened and so many blessings have been received to be thankful for this month of July. Just last week, my team went to a certain “battle” where my “orders” were disputed. Words were exchanged. It seemed like I was fighting a battle using disoriented soldiers. I presumed everyone understood what we were fighting for. This was a costly mistake on my part. Because of this mistake, we were not able to reach our goals. However, just like a soldier, the more I got wounded, the more I became aggressive to try to turn the tide of battle. However, I needed to draw another tactical plan that would lead my team to victory.

 This scenario put me in a difficult situation where I had to decide whom to choose to come with me to continue what had been started. So I asked the intervention of the Most Powerful Soldier on earth to guide me in my decision. This time there would be no room for mistakes. Any mistake might cause bigger problems and might even complicate the present scenario. I whispered to Him, “Lord, give me a sign. Lead me to the person who can help me to bring out the best in my team. Help me to come out with a win-win solution.”

Then one Saturday morning, a knock on the window of our convenience store called my attention. As I opened the window, I saw a young man in his early 20's pleasantly smiling at me. He asked if I could give a little time to listen to the words of God. He carried a small bible in his right hand and a long, black umbrella and a black bag portfolio in the other. Despite the heavy rain, he was so patiently giving away a very expensive offer for free! As I glanced at him, I saw he was wearing a checkered-white polo, black trousers, and a pair of mud-covered black leather shoes. Suddenly, he reminded me of an Electrolux product-demo representative and of a certain line in its TV commercial which goes like this: "I'm gonna knock on your door, ring on your bell, knock on your windows, too!”. Kidding aside, he had the looks that every woman of his age would admire. Anyway, I assumed he was a member of a certain religious group that regularly conducts house-to-house bible study. I simply responded and said; "Go ahead," because that time, I really needed it most. He read with me a short bible verse that was spiritually enlightening. The image that follows this article gave me the sign that I asked for. It helped me to support my course of action.

Now I know that in order for me to come up with a win-win solution, I must first submit myself to further self-evaluation. Maybe it was I who needed to change. My decision should affect our goals in the long run.  There are times when we need to accept the fact that even though it hurts, parting ways sometimes is the best recourse to terminate a relationship that does not work. This is in order for those affected to grow wiser, to become more productive, and to strive to improve their personal and professional life. This decision will surely interpret negative impression to those affected especially on the part of the decision-maker. However, upon deeper analysis of the situation, this could be the best time for those affected to grow as a person and to do their best while working outside of their comfort zone.

I hope and wish that when the time comes that we cross paths once more, they could humbly say, "Thank you for getting me off your team. Because of that, I have become more confident of myself, and now I am one of the most successful businessmen in town.” If that happens, I will consider myself a fulfilled leader.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Boracay Vacation: I'm a Beach Girl.

Life always gives us the opportunity to prove our strengths in every given situation. This is to test our endurance and skills in handling challenging circumstances.  Fear can hold us up, take away precious time to move forward, and hinder us from experiencing life’s most thrilling events or activities. Bear in mind that the chance to fully experience and explore the beauty of life is not equally given to all for some reason.

When my doctors put me on a certain edge of physical limit…I told myself, “We’re only human and we all exist in this world to breath for a living. We can only guide people on what to do with their life, but not to just put them in a box wrapped with imaginary fears and anxieties.” Confront whatever it is you're afraid of.  Just relax and control your emotions. Never panic. The tricks that work for me might also work for you, so try them. Remember, just because you're afraid doesn't mean you're a coward. But doing something that scares you because it's important or necessary is bravery. And you surely are brave if you have decided to face your fears. Just keep in mind that God never puts us in trouble without protection. We just need to assess our physical and emotional endurance. I am a beach lover so for me summer 2012 will not end without splurging on the coast. We only live once in this world, so make the most out of it! To my dearest and loving friend, thank you for always giving me a big boost of self-confidence!

Jet Ski - Riding a Jet Ski in Boracay is one of my unforgettable adventures. It was my first time to experience this extreme activity and I loved it!  At first, I was hesitant to drive in full speed because I was afraid that the waves might topple me over. But the second time around, I pushed the accelerator to maximum speed and it was a hell of a ride. I just needed to remember my driving skills.

Fly fish- A speedboat throwing an inflatable craft out the sea isn't a good sight, especially if it's me on the fly fish craft. It could be exciting, yes, but can I survive it?  When the speedboat started to accelerate, almost my entire group where thrown out and I was the only one left! I told myself, “I made it, Yahoo!” But on the last run of the speedboat, my luck did not hold out wasn’t go on my side as I full off myself on the grip and fall to the shore, and the excitements begin!

 Helmet Diving- This is one water activity that scared me the most. Why? This water activity really measures breathing stamina. I honestly told the helmet diving guide that I had some heart issue and I was currently having an asthma attack. Still, I insisted that I really wanted to experience this water activity.  Maybe they got irritated with me, so they gave in! lol. It was a great experience, and I survived! I love it!
ATV- When I heard the word “Boracay”, I thought it was just all about island hopping.  There was another fun and exciting activity, riding an ATV and going hell bent for leather through the island with a short stop in Mount Luho – Boracay’s highest peak. If you want to do something that will make your pulse pound and your mind fill with excitement, this is it!

Zorb- It is a giant, inflatable bouncing ball usually made of transparent plastic rolled down the hill for the purpose of recreation and I rode on a hydro zorb.  This is an Uphill to downhill ride. I had back pains the next morning! But the experience paid - off!

Zip line- Boracay Mount Luho Zip line relies on gravity. Like a fast roller coaster down the mountain, you can really feel the G-force unlike other zip lines that operate on machine-driven pulley systems. I’ve been to Tree Top adventure in Subic, Zambales so this experience wasn’t as exciting compared to the other activities I did in Boracay.
Speed Boat- the first time I got the opportunity to ride a speedboat was traumatic. That was when I was rushed to the hospital due to asthma attack. But in Boracay, riding a speedboat was a great, relaxing experience as the boat captain always tried to make turns that made us yell out loud!
Beach vacation will not be complete without food galore! My doctor strictly advised me not to eat seafood’s while having an asthma attack, but who could resist eating sumptuous and mouth-watering foods in D’ Talipapa Boracay where a fresh line of seafood’s invites everyone for a taste! I had a fully loaded pack of anti-histamine with me anyway. I took steroids this time so my appetite really drove me crazy! This is my third time in Boracay and I could say that this is one of the best Boracay experiences that I've ever had!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cervical Cancer Prevention Awareness Month

I'm trying to conquer my fear! The man in the middle is our Local Chief Executive- Mayor Joet S. Garcia together w/ our City Health Officers.
The four sacrificial lambs together with Ms. Beauty Titlist Abbygale Arenas-De Leon, model and anti-cervical cancer advocate of the cervical cancer society.
There is always a reason to be joyful and feel blessed by just being a woman. This especially when given priority over others for certain health reasons.  Just two weeks ago I was given a dose of anti-cervical cancer vaccine, being one of the lucky beneficiaries of the City Government of Balanga’s program to fight the second leading cause of death among women in the country next to breast cancer.

So thankful for having leaders who are greatly concerned about their employees’ health. 

Three doses of anti-cervical cancer vaccines were given to female city hall employees. Payments are on a staggered basis. What made us the envy of other LGU’s was that the last dose was FREE of charge. Isn’t that amazing? This is big savings on the part of those beneficiaries whom cannot really afford to have it all done on their own pocket.  What makes it funny is, I was chosen to be an advocate of this program initiative, and at first I was really hesitant for I am so allergic to any public exposure but when I realized the objective of this program, I told myself, at least I was able to help and connect to others to let people know the significant of this project to every women’s life.

Please follow this link from PIA WEBSITE for a more comprehensive report.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Special

There’s no word that can perfectly describe or illustrate a woman who has prepared the best of everything for her child.  Being a full-time Mom is the greatest role that a woman can play to at least claim that she has lived up to the real essence of being a woman. Lucky are those women who are given opportunities to enjoy both motherhood and a great career at the same time. My mother plays a big role in my life as she has always guided me to become tough in my chosen field. I am what I am now because of her. She prefers to sleep beside me every night for fear that I might have sudden chest pains. She prepares my food and my clothes, even though I wanted to do it myself. She’s a very sensitive, but loving wife, so thankful for having a very patient father.  We both have the same hobby- cooking and gardening. She doesn’t have any diplomas to present because at certain times in her life as she was growing up, she had become the breadwinner of their family. During those times, almost all members of her family looked up to her for support. What makes her amazing is that despite the difficulties encountered, she was able to help my father to put us in school to earn our degree. A very simple and kind woman whose only desire is to serve her King and Princesses. Now it’s my turn to repay her for all the sacrifices she has gone through for us so that we can find our own place in the sun, guided by her principles. I owe everything to my Mom and I love her so much. Hope she gets to read this. Don't let the day end without making your Mom feel that this is her special day. Para sa mga Dakila at natatanging Ina…Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Confronting Mortality

When you were a kid, did you experience being afraid of seeing coffins? How about staring at a dead body inside the coffin? Did you react fiercely when someone teased you about seeing you walking headless?  Then would you knock on wood three times believing that doing so would prevent the bad omen from being realized? Those were just situations that really measure our courage in facing our own fear…the fear of death.

Death can be terrifying. Death in any recognizable form is inescapable and unpredictable which makes us incredibly vulnerable physically and emotionally. This contradicts our instinct to remain a living, a breathing organism. So what do we do? We try to manage this fright. Generally, when reminded of our mortality and when the potential to experience existential anxiety is heightened, we are extremely defensive. I myself even ask those silly questions. Am I ready? Then why do I feel afraid when I experience sudden shortness of breath? Why do I panic when I experience sudden palpitations, or asthma attack? Just last month I was diagnosed with having a minor heart disorder. Based on the result of laboratory test administered to me at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), it was discovered that my heart’s muscle is thickening, particularly the wall at the lower chamber on the left side of the heart (the left ventricle). I also have Premature Ventricular Contractions or (PVCs), or premature heartbeats originating from the ventricles of the heart as explained by my doctor. (Premature ventricular contractions are premature because they occur before the regular heartbeat.) I was again given another medicine for maintenance. My doctor told me that I could live and grow old with it provided I take extra precaution. Any form of infection should be treated right away; especially those, which affect the head and neck since they are, body parts nearer to the heart. Antibiotics should be taken prior to any dental procedure to eliminate possible infection. Now I need to increase my emergency fund to six digits in preparation for any untoward incidents. Stressful bodywork out is limited, but a 3-5 minute walk done regularly will be fine. I don’t want to run out of time so given the chance; I will live my life to the fullest until such time my body succumbs to rest.  I try to leave all my worries behind. Only God knows when we cease to exist. Take care of your health to enjoy life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I could say that the previous year was full of hardship and mediocrity. It taught me how to value life more and trained me to appreciate things regardless of how they affect my way of life. It told me that in my life’s journey, more humps along the road means more chances to slow down. I believe those are the best times to view my horizon before proceeding to a new leg of my journey. As I move on to a more challenging path in my career, reality sinks in. When you embrace the virtue of public service, there is no turning back. I must start to learn and practice new things in order for me to cope with the real scenario of managerial leadership. In proving one’s self to be a leader, one must learn how to be prudent for him to reach his goal. Work trends nowadays are like a competition --- no one wants to lose. Commitment and dedication is the key.

For the past year, my life had been routinary. I don’t know if it is fate or it is just the result of being too distant. I think it’s the latter. To the people who thought I do harm and not good, my sincerest apology. I am just living by my principles. For now, I just want to keep my ideals. I may not be a doer in many ways, but at least I try my best to do things right.  I just want to welcome the year with positive thoughts in mind.

God has all the mercy.