Pia Wurtzbach Is No. 1 and 11 Lessons I Learned

Pia Wurtzbach and Ariadna Arevalo, Miss Universe 2015

Host Steve Harvey became the man of the hour when he erroneously declared Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutiérrez Arevalo Miss Universe 2015, and then later correcting the mistake, declaring Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach the rightful winner. Here are 11 lessons I learned at the recently concluded Miss Universe 2015.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach stunned.

1. Mistakes Happen

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

No one is above mistakes. We all have had our fair share, and will continue to make mistakes for the rest of our lives. Mistakes do not define us. It is what we do after making a mistake that defines who we are.

2. Taking Responsibility and Asking for Forgiveness

“Blaming others is an act of refusing to take responsibility. When a person can’t accept the fact or the reality, they blamed another person or the situation instead of taking accountability.” – Dee Dee Anther

I can’t imagine what it was like for Steve Harvey, the moment he realized he made a monumental mistake. As he slowly walked back to the stage, he had to carry the burden of his mistake on his shoulder.

In front of thousands of people, and nearly a billion people watching from around the world, he took responsibility and apologized, and then he did the right thing, declaring the true winner of Miss Universe 2015. No matter how hard it is, we always have to do the right thing.

3. Turn Negativity to Positivity

“Mature people take responsibility. Immature ones blame other people or situation.”

By taking responsibility, Steve Harvey turned an epic mistake into a positive one. He showed us how to be a class act, and doing the right thing.

As embarrassing as it was, I cannot help but see the positive side of what had happened. What he did was never easy. From personal experience, it takes a lot to own up to mistakes. If he could take responsibility, then you could, and I could.

4. Dignity and Respect

I feel for Miss Colombia Ariadna Arevalo. Imagine how it felt to be announced the winner of Miss Universe 2015 – the joy and the thrill of victory, and for all that to be taken away a few minutes later.

Her reaction? She showed dignity and grace. Later, she would say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Instead of bitching, she has people around the world sympathizing, and more importantly, respecting her.

5. Caring

On social media, I see the worse in some people. There were a few who were laughing at misfortune of Miss Colombia Ariadna Arevalo. Seriously? I now know some of the people in my connections, those who could not symphatize are not caring people, and those who actually laughed, are people I should avoid.

I would like to be with people who know how to care, rather than self-centered people who only think of themselves.

6. Failure Is Not a Failure

For Miss Colombia, failing to win the Miss Universe 2015 was not a failure at all. Ariadna Arevalo’s character was tested to the limits and she came out a better person. Perhaps the mistake needed to happen, for people to see her true character, and for that, she gained my respect and that of millions of people worldwide.

7. Believe and Keep Dreaming

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach being crowned.

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

The road to Miss Universe begins with the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe. In 2013, Pia Wurtzbach was the 1st runner-up. In 2014, she failed to reach the finals. This year, she finally won and became the country’s representative.

Remember ABBA?

I have a dream, a fantasy.” Pia had failed in 2013 and 2014, and had her detractors too, yet she held fast to her dreams.

To help me through reality.” The reality was, she was not going to win the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe, so says her detractors. No one person believed in herself more than she did. She believed.

And my destination makes it worth the while.” And through her failures, she persevered. Being crowned Miss Universe 2015 makes the challenges and trials she went through worth it.

8. Never Settle

In one convention I attended, David Wentz, the son of USANA Health Sciences founder Dr. Myron Wentz, said, “Never settle.” He said the time a person settles is the time that person will no longer grow.

If Pia Wurtzbach had settled in 2013, then she would be known today as the 1st runner up. Yes, she tried again the following year, and if she had settled, then today, she would be … no, people do not remember ordinary people.

She never settled, did she? Today, we know her as Miss Universe 2015.

9. Burning Desire

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

One of the keys to success, according to author Napoleon Hill, was to have burning desire. He says we have to have a burning desire to get what we want, otherwise, we are not getting it.

We now see how determined Pia Wurtzbach was to become Miss Universe. Fueled by a desire so great that she burned through all obstacles and challenges, to be who she is, today.

It’s something we all could use, as we ourselves, reach for our own stars.

10. Ask for help

In one event organized by XTRM 1-11, I listened to Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan talk about balancing life. One of the things she said was to ask for help.

No matter how we feel about it, there are times when we should.

Pia Wurtzbach did that, and helped boosted her votes. The point is there are people around us who are willing to help, if only we would ask.

11. Lessons Are to Be Applied

When it comes to lessons in life, we listen, we agree, we understand. The question is, “Do we apply life lessons we learned in our lives and daily activities?”

Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan’s Letter to Daughter Max

Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan’s Letter to Daughter Max

How many times have we heard this before, the rich gets richer? While most of the richest people in the world continue to expand their business empires, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, wrote a long letter to their newborn daughter, Max – pledging to give away 99% of their Facebook shares over their lifetime.

I was blown away after reading the letter and inspired by their vision of the future. Suddenly, I feel like I want to be like Mark! There is hope for humanity and may a lot more follow in their footsteps.

Here is the letter:

Dear Max,

Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future. Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.

Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.

While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.

We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.

We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.

But right now, we don’t always collectively direct our resources at the biggest opportunities and problems your generation will face.

Consider disease. Today we spend about 50 times more as a society treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place.

Medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years, and we’ve already seen complete cures for some diseases and good progress for others. As technology accelerates, we have a real shot at preventing, curing or managing all or most of the rest in the next 100 years.

Today, most people die from five things – heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases – and we can make faster progress on these and other problems.

Once we recognize that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part.

Curing disease will take time. Over short periods of five or ten years, it may not seem like we’re making much of a difference. But over the long term, seeds planted now will grow, and one day, you or your children will see what we can only imagine: a world without suffering from disease.

There are so many opportunities just like this. If society focuses more of its energy on these great challenges, we will leave your generation a much better world.

• • •

Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality.

Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be.

Can you learn and experience 100 times more than we do today?

Can our generation cure disease so you live much longer and healthier lives?

Can we connect the world so you have access to every idea, person and opportunity?

Can we harness more clean energy so you can invent things we can’t conceive of today while protecting the environment?

Can we cultivate entrepreneurship so you can build any business and solve any challenge to grow peace and prosperity?

Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities – regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.

Our society must do this not only for justice or charity, but for the greatness of human progress.

Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer. The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.

Can our generation eliminate poverty and hunger?

Can we provide everyone with basic healthcare?

Can we build inclusive and welcoming communities?

Can we nurture peaceful and understanding relationships between people of all nations?

Can we truly empower everyone – women, children, underrepresented minorities, immigrants and the unconnected?

If our generation makes the right investments, the answer to each of these questions can be yes – and hopefully within your lifetime.

• • •

This mission – advancing human potential and promoting equality – will require a new approach for all working towards these goals.

We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.

We must engage directly with the people we serve. We can’t empower people if we don’t understand the needs and desires of their communities.

We must build technology to make change. Many institutions invest money in these challenges, but most progress comes from productivity gains through innovation.

We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. Many institutions are unwilling to do this, but progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.

We must back the strongest and most independent leaders in each field. Partnering with experts is more effective for the mission than trying to lead efforts ourselves.

We must take risks today to learn lessons for tomorrow. We’re early in our learning and many things we try won’t work, but we’ll listen and learn and keep improving.

• • •

Our experience with personalized learning, internet access, and community education and health has shaped our philosophy.

Our generation grew up in classrooms where we all learned the same things at the same pace regardless of our interests or needs.

Your generation will set goals for what you want to become – like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. You’ll have technology that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus. You’ll advance quickly in subjects that interest you most, and get as much help as you need in your most challenging areas. You’ll explore topics that aren’t even offered in schools today. Your teachers will also have better tools and data to help you achieve your goals.

Even better, students around the world will be able to use personalized learning tools over the internet, even if they don’t live near good schools. Of course it will take more than technology to give everyone a fair start in life, but personalized learning can be one scalable way to give all children a better education and more equal opportunity.

We’re starting to build this technology now, and the results are already promising. Not only do students perform better on tests, but they gain the skills and confidence to learn anything they want. And this journey is just beginning. The technology and teaching will rapidly improve every year you’re in school.

Your mother and I have both taught students and we’ve seen what it takes to make this work. It will take working with the strongest leaders in education to help schools around the world adopt personalized learning. It will take engaging with communities, which is why we’re starting in our San Francisco Bay Area community. It will take building new technology and trying new ideas. And it will take making mistakes and learning many lessons before achieving these goals.

But once we understand the world we can create for your generation, we have a responsibility as a society to focus our investments on the future to make this reality.

Together, we can do this. And when we do, personalized learning will not only help students in good schools, it will help provide more equal opportunity to anyone with an internet connection.

• • •

Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the internet.

People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.

It provides education if you don’t live near a good school. It provides health information on how to avoid diseases or raise healthy children if you don’t live near a doctor. It provides financial services if you don’t live near a bank. It provides access to jobs and opportunities if you don’t live in a good economy.

The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created.

Yet still more than half of the world’s population – more than 4 billion people – don’t have access to the internet.

If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We can also help hundreds of millions of children get an education and save millions of lives by helping people avoid disease.

This is another long term effort that can be advanced by technology and partnership. It will take inventing new technology to make the internet more affordable and bring access to unconnected areas. It will take partnering with governments, non-profits and companies. It will take engaging with communities to understand what they need. Good people will have different views on the best path forward, and we will try many efforts before we succeed.

But together we can succeed and create a more equal world.

• • •

Technology can’t solve problems by itself. Building a better world starts with building strong and healthy communities.

Children have the best opportunities when they can learn. And they learn best when they’re healthy.

Health starts early – with loving family, good nutrition and a safe, stable environment.

Children who face traumatic experiences early in life often develop less healthy minds and bodies. Studies show physical changes in brain development leading to lower cognitive ability.

Your mother is a doctor and educator, and she has seen this firsthand.

If you have an unhealthy childhood, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

If you have to wonder whether you’ll have food or rent, or worry about abuse or crime, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

If you fear you’ll go to prison rather than college because of the color of your skin, or that your family will be deported because of your legal status, or that you may be a victim of violence because of your religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

We need institutions that understand these issues are all connected. That’s the philosophy of the new type of school your mother is building.

By partnering with schools, health centers, parent groups and local governments, and by ensuring all children are well fed and cared for starting young, we can start to treat these inequities as connected. Only then can we collectively start to give everyone an equal opportunity.

It will take many years to fully develop this model. But it’s another example of how advancing human potential and promoting equality are tightly linked. If we want either, we must first build inclusive and healthy communities.

• • •

For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do.

Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.

As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

We will give 99% of our Facebook shares – currently about $45 billion – during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.

We’ll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you’ll have many questions about why and how we’re doing this.

As we become parents and enter this next chapter of our lives, we want to share our deep appreciation for everyone who makes this possible.

We can do this work only because we have a strong global community behind us. Building Facebook has created resources to improve the world for the next generation. Every member of the Facebook community is playing a part in this work.

We can make progress towards these opportunities only by standing on the shoulders of experts – our mentors, partners and many incredible people whose contributions built these fields.

And we can only focus on serving this community and this mission because we are surrounded by loving family, supportive friends and amazing colleagues. We hope you will have such deep and inspiring relationships in your life too.

Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world.


Mom and Dad

How to Increase Your Chances of Job Promotion

How to Increase Your Chances of Job Promotion

I assume it is fair to say that for any employee, a job promotion is something to aspire for. Being promoted may come with new responsibilities, and for some, prestige. Above all, a job promotion means better perks or benefits and higher salary. We all could use a little more of that, don’t we – higher salary?

In nearly all businesses, there is a symbiotic relationship between the company and its employees, where needs each other. But the fabric that holds that bond between the two is fragile. Companies want to maximize the salaries it pays, while employees want to have higher salaries. Business may not be doing as well as in previous years, forcing a company to cut down on losses or increase meager earnings, which may be at the expense of employees. An annual increase in salary across the board may be too small, or with a growing family, the once-upon-a-time happy employee is now burdened by bigger needs.

While owners of stable businesses worry about maintaining and increasing profit, employees have more to think about, both short-term and long-term. There is the day-to-day living that may already be a burden, and then the increasing costs of living over the long term. I have interviewed many employees, especially the younger ones, those less than 30 years old, and surprisingly, a significant percentage have not thought of retirement and beyond.

For many employees, the burden is the necessity of working, and living a life with no job security.

Some companies offer great opportunities for promotion, while some do not. Others simply have no opportunity at all. For employees, one may think everyone wants a promotion. Surprisingly, there are those who are simply contented. I’d like to think they are resigned to accepting their life as it is.

So if you work in a company that do offer opportunities in climbing up the ladder, how do you put yourself in the best position to be promoted?

I took the liberty of asking a few of my friends who own big businesses this question:

How would you react if an employee approaches you and asked, “Sir, what do I need to do and learn to increase my chances of being promoted?”

Here are their replies:

Business Owner #1

“Promotion in our company usually depends on the years of employment and how much they care for the company. There is not much to learn in our company. An employee simply has to do their best on what is asked of them. We take notice of these employees.”

I asked, “What if someone does approached you and asked. Would you view that as a positive or negative?”

Business Owner #1 replied, “Positively, because it shows they want to stay with my company.”

Business Owner #2

“You don’t have to show me anything, because I will know if you take the initiative and truly work, rather than pretending to work hard.”

I asked the same follow-up question I did with business owner #1. He said, “For me, most employees in our country, however good you treat them, it’s good for only five minutes. After that, they forget about it. The one time you refuse to give them a favor, you are in trouble.”

Business Owner #3

“It is ok. In fact, I have promoted some of my employees because they asked.”

Here are my thoughts

A job promotion means new responsibilities and requires not only expertise in your current position. You need to be able to learn the tasks required of the higher position. I thought by asking, a proactive owner may give you tips on what you need to learn, therefore, shortening the learning curve, should you be promoted. When you put in the time to learn more, as part of your personal development, owners may see you capable of filling higher positions.

Asking, though, comes with risk. You do not want to ask the wrong person at the wrong time. You definitely do not want to ask the person whose job you are coveting, obviously. You certainly do not want to alienate yourself from co-workers aspiring for the same promotion as you do. You do know where I am going with this.

Care to share your thoughts? Please leave comments below.

EDSA Traffic Perspective and Opportunities

EDSA Traffic Perspective and Opportunities

Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the circumferential freeway in Metro Manila passing through six (6) cities in the National Capital Region of the Philippines is the most congested highway in the metropolis. It is 23.8 kilometers of hellish traffic during rush hour.

It doesn’t matter if you take a cab, bus, the Metro Manila Rail Transit System (MRT), or drive your own car. It doesn’t matter if you are driving a sports car, or any luxury car. Once you are on EDSA, everyone is in the same boat.

Occasionally, traffic on EDSA is made worse not only by weather (heavy rains and floods), but by protests such as the one Iglesia ni Cristo staged recently.

How do people react to the horrible traffic situation? Here lies the difference between people who will never see opportunities to those who do.

I think of the congestion as a good sign. Sure, the government should build more roads, but congestion is caused not only by buses that occupies two or three lanes, off-loading and loading passengers, it is also due to increased number of vehicles.

As the economy of the country takes off, there are now more and more people who could afford to buy cars. As salary increase, so is that market. Opportunity seekers are wise to identify that market and unleash their entrepreneurial potential.

Instead of accepting traffic as a way of life, instead of spending 2 to 4 hours in traffic, how can you take advantage of the growing economy? Are you going to be one of the nuts and bolts that build the economy, enriching your company, or are you going to jump in the entrepreneur bandwagon?

Earn Money Quickly and Easily: The Truth

Earn Money Quickly and Easily: The Truth

Lately, we have been having daily afternoon heavy rains. Now in some places, after a heavy rain, mushrooms in the hundreds appear the next day. So it is with all the investment opportunities being offered by countless companies and individuals. I have received severals invites to look into their offerings, mostly promising quick and easy money, guaranteed.

I have had the pleasure of talking to some of these individuals inviting me to join them and earn huge amounts of money with their too-good-to-be-true schemes. Here is what I have learned and I am sharing this with you all, the general public.

There are several schemes to choose from:

  1. Invest your money, invite other people to invest, and you earn money.
  2. Invest your money, do nothing, wait for the maturity and you get your money back plus your profit.
  3. Invest in gold, invite other people to invest, and you earn money.

There are so many companies out there, with more coming soon, and even if they offer distinctly different schemes, they are all the same. All of them offer fantastic returns with minimal work. Some may say they are a network marketing company, others will say they are an investment company. There are also those who say they are a system of paluwagan – an informal savings scheme practiced in the old days when banks were not common.

As one who is very much involved with network marketing, I am well aware of the distinction between what is a legitimate multilevel marketing (MLM) company or network marketing company, and what is illegal – the pyramid scams.

Often, when I am offered one of those illegal schemes, I talk to the person inviting me, and try to pass on important knowledge. My purpose was simply to inform them so they would not be victims themselves.

Here, is where it gets interesting. I clearly remember talking to several individuals who had said they were doing their business for the first time. After explaining to them the difference between what is legitimate and what is illegal, all of them had said they would stop.

I would go on to explain the consequence down the line:

Let’s say you are A. A invited B. B invited C. C invited D, and so on. Pyramid scams are unsustainable and could collapse in a matter of a few weeks to several years. When that happens, there will be a lot of people losing their money.

A is not really affected. Perhaps A had earned enough to stop re-investing, or maybe the amount invested is lesser than the amount previously earned. D, and all others though, would be the hardest hit.

How does A react? Think about it. If not for A, there would be no B, C, D, and so on. So people down the line who have real needs for money, which is why they invested, sinks deeper into debt.

Like I said, it gets interesting at this point. Some of the people I talked to, I would see them the next day, posting invites again, after telling me they would feel guilty for the people down the line.

One of them said it best. “I don’t care. I want the easy money.”

If you are one of the people involved in this pyramid scams, despite being told that you are supposed to stay away from negativities, this post is the truth. As has been often said, the truth hurts. Here is the truth for you.

If you knew nothing, if this is your first time, then yes, maybe you are a future victim. Now that you know better, and yet you choose to continue committing fraud, you are a scammer and a thief. You are a dream stealer, stealing away the dreams of people down the line. You are, in fact, affecting the lives of people negatively, not only the people whom you scammed, but also the people who depend on your victims.

Would You Like to Receive Incredible Job Offers from LinkedIn?

Would You Like to Receive Incredible Job Offers from LinkedIn?

Why are you here? Why are you using LinkedIn? Do you know what LinkedIn is? Do you know what LinkedIn is used for?

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service and is mainly used for professional networking. LinkedIn is all about making business connections. If you are one of those people who have a negative view of network marketing industry, prepare to be surprised, because this is exactly what you are doing here. You are here marketing yourself, making yourself visible for business and job opportunities.

There are basically four kinds of people here.

  • Business people seeking to grow their businesses by finding connections with prospective customers.
  • Business people and entrepreneurial employees seeking to establish connections to create new businesses.
  • Headhunters looking for candidates to fill job requirements.
  • Fresh graduates and employees looking for job opportunities.

Network marketing is all about making the right connections. As you grow and cultivate your connections, you are opening yourself to more opportunities. In essence, LinkedIn is all about opportunities – and that is why you are here.

LinkedIn profile page is a resume. On Facebook, where people tend to showcase anything under the sun, here, we showcase our profession. If you are one of those who think lightly of insurance, again, be surprised, because LinkedIn is your insurance for a better future.

Your LinkedIn profile is your investment for the future. Some people understand this and constantly update their profile. If you take a moment to look at my profile, I have to admit, it is not the kind of profile that gets noticed. Here’s the thing. I never graduated from college, nor received formal training in writing and doing business. Your profile should be better written and done than mine.

Understandably, some people pay to have their resumes done. It is a short term solution and does not increase your skill. Spend some time learning how to write your own resume. Besides finding resources using Google, take a moment to read the profiles of other members. Doing so is not a waste of time. Consider this an insurance that pays off in time.

A lot of people join LinkedIn and fail to maximize this great social networking service. Besides failing to create a beautifully done profile, they fail to cultivate connections. I suspect, more than a few have never bothered to log in again after a week or a month upon joining. If you feel LinkedIn is getting boring, or nothing is happening, consider it as giving up on the reason why you joined LinkedIn – connections for better opportunities.

In summary, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to have a well-written profile and keep it current. Grow and cultivate connections. The people in your connections today may not have a bearing on your career today, but they may know other people who do.

Think of LinkedIn as your investment for yourself. There are business people and headhunters who could be dropping by and offer you an incredible opportunity.

P.S. As clear as I was on my profile as of this post on my intention to leave the country, I was called up yesterday and asked about a job that fits my experience. I could not entertain that and did say I would refer one or two people. The headhunter promised to send me her contact details as soon as we ended our conversation. Today, I know who she could talk to with the right connections, and her contact details was not sent to me. Opportunity lost there. Remember, cultivate connections.

If you like this post, please like and share. This post is written for LinkedIn. You may also visit my LinkedIn profile at:


Inspiration from Mt. Manabu Peak

Inspiration from Mt. Manabu Peak

I have always been scared of three things – depth, height and speed. I conquered my fear of depth when I learned scuba diving and went on to become a dive professional more than a decade ago. This time, I wanted to experience something I never thought of doing – hiking. The more I listened to a friend sharing her experience on hiking, the more intrigued I was and finally, I thought this could be my way of conquering fear of height.

After some two months of contemplating, listening and asking questions, the date was set. April 18 was the day I would hike for the first time. Because the meet up time was 6am, I decided to go to Lipa City, Batangas, a day earlier. It takes two hours to drive from our house to Lipa City, and I didn’t want to wake up at 3am and not have the energy for what would be a physically challenging activity for me.

Not that I have that much energy for the hike, nor was in superb physical conditioning, I haven’t had a decent exercise for the last 12 years. Arriving in Lipa City late in the afternoon, two things reminded me of Metro Manila – the horrible traffic, and Starbucks near Anfa Royale Hotel.

I met my friend the next morning at 6am, and soon, we were on the way to the town of Sto. Tomas, where Mt. Manabu Peak is located. In this post, I will not do a blow-by-blow account of the hike itself, nor do a travel blog post where all costs and other information are detailed. You could easily find that elsewhere.

I was in a cheerful mood, definitely excited. Needless to say, we started hiking and passing by the first station, I could already feel the strain on my leg muscles and yes, I was huffing and puffing. We stopped for a moment for me to catch my breath, and there, I brought out my secret weapon – USANA Rev3 Energy Surge Pack. Everyone who knows me knows I am a big believer of USANA products and besides taking several nutritional products, I am also a very active USANA Independent Distributor. Rev3 is one product that was introduced in the Philippines recently.

I already understand the science behind why it is a superior product to other energy drinks in the market, but I need to use it personally to know. Simply, I put the powder in a small bottle of water and drank.

We continued hiking and pretty soon, it was apparent to me that in terms of stamina, USANA Rev3 worked better than I expected, but the strain on my leg muscles were now becoming a concern. Before reaching the camp site near the summit, we stopped at the last station and took a long rest.

After some 30 minutes, we continued and soon came to the camp site. Here, the summit, marked by a cross, could be seen. We continued up the narrow trail that looked steep to me, and unlike the previous trails, there were no trees to hold on to. I focused on the trail rather than look at the sides and the truth was, I didn’t want to see how high we were and refused to think about the consequence of slipping.

We made it up to the summit to see an amazing view. My friend was right. The moment I reach the summit, she had said, the difficulty of walking up the trails would vanish. We stayed there for 20 minutes before we started descending.

As my friend merrily went down the steep slope, it was then that I realized descending is much more difficult than ascending. Imagine my body weight that I need to lower on one leg at a time, slowly and carefully. Without anything to hold on to, images of falling down began to creep into my mind.

I went up to the summit again to gather my senses, and focused on lowering my rising stress level. My legs already felt numb and my left knee was hurting. I reminded myself why I wanted to hike. I needed to find an inspiration, and I did.

Suffice to say, it has been one month since hiking Mt. Manabu Peak and I am writing this post, which means I managed to go down that steep trail from the summit to the camp site.

I have always said that one of the things that stop people from doing certain things is fear. Fear could have frozen me and I would still be up there, unless bodily carried down by experienced hikers. But that’s the thing, staying up there was impossible, and no matter how scared I was, I still need to get down. Simply, it needs to be done, then it was done. I didn’t have a choice.

As we face new challenges in our lives, sometimes the difficulties can be suffocating. At times, we feel lost and hopeless. It is only a phase that we go through. If we are decided and committed, if we know in our hearts what we want to accomplish, then it will be done.

On the Way to Taiwan

On the Way to Taiwan

On the morning of April 24, I received a message from Taiwan that simply said, “Roger die. Call me.” It started a chain of events that led to today, having an even deeper understanding of the way the world works.

I was born to Chinese immigrants, hence, I am a Chinese citizen with native-born permanent resident status in the Philippines. Being one, I have an Alien Certification of Registration (ACR) I-Card. On top of paying a fee annually at the Bureau of Immigration (BI), I also need to have it renewed prior to expiry. This I-Card accompanies me wherever I go, especially when I exit and return to the Philippines.

On Friday, April 24, I sent my passport, I-Card, and other documents to a travel agency to have it processed for issuance of travel visa to Taiwan. I have been using my People’s Republic of China (PRC) passport for the last several years, and in my confusion had forgotten I still have my old Republic of China (ROC) passport.

I was with my sisters (who holds ROC passports) on the way to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO), think of it as the Taiwan Embassy, when I received a call from my travel agent. My I-Card has expired August of 2014.

I scrambled to get my documents from the travel agency and proceeded to the good office of Commissioner Fred Mison, BI. Asking around, I was given a checklist, with checkmarks on specific documents I needed to bring so I can have my I-Card renewal processed. I was also told I could exit and return to the Philippines, if I secure a waiver. Meanwhile, TECO extended courtesy by granting my sisters travel visas to Taiwan on the same day, instead of waiting for the customary 5 to 7 working days. Thank you, good samaritans who helped us.

On Saturday, phone calls were being exchanged. My brother was in a freezer, and as per the law of Taiwan, only relatives could sign documentations before any legal documents could be released to arrange for his funeral. We needed to prove we were his closest next of kins.

On Sunday, my sisters and I met again. We learned that the prosecutor in Taiwan would accept a TECO authenticated document of a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) authenticated National Statistics Office (NSO) certified true copies of our birth certificates showing that my brother and us have the same parents. We had to wait until the next day before those documents could be processed.

It is not easy waiting, that I can tell you.

In my case, one of the requirements of securing a waiver was to have a plane ticket. We decided to book our flights. My sisters would leave on Wednesday, I would leave a day after, on Thursday, as an allowance in case there are other documents I needed to bring to Taiwan. After calling the reservation, we proceeded to Philippine Airline’s office to pay for our bookings. It turns out, I needed to pay a minimal fee in the office since I was using Mabuhay Miles to purchase my fare.

On Monday, there were good samaritans who referred people, to assist us in securing the documents we needed. While my sisters still had to grind it out, they were able to get the NSO birth certificated we needed and had it authenticated by the end of the day.

I went to the BI to submit the documents needed to renew my I-Card, and instead, was given the same checklist, with more checkmarks. Here, my frustration started. I had waited for my turn, and had seen two people go straight to the person I was going to talk to, without waiting in line. One was accompanied by an employee of the BI, the other was a … let’s call these people ‘facilitators’.

On Tuesday, I returned to the BI, once again, with all the other documents needed. It took a long time to go through the process. The good news was, I finally had my I-Card renewed. I applied for the waiver, unfortunately, I ran out of time. You see, the BI closes at 5pm.

The next day, I drove my sisters to the airport in the early morning and was at the BI before 7am. At 7am, I was allowed inside and went straight to the specific counter to submit documents for my waiver. And there, I was reprimanded. “What’s the hurry? I have not even eaten my breakfast!” I was asked to sit and wait. After some 10 minutes, I was motioned to approach and my documents were processed.

Now some of you live in other countries where the system may be different. Instead of going to one counter and having documents processed and finished on the same counter, in the Philippines, we go to different counters at every step. Every counter, would have a line.

Needless to say, I finally got my waiver and off I go to TECO to get my travel visa.

TECO is located at the RCBC Plaza in Makati. I had always admired this building and this was the first time I went there. They have free valet parking in the basement and security was very tight. Apparently, there were other embassies in the building.

At the office of TECO, when my documents were to be processed, I was told using PRC passport could take time. Here, instead of waving you off, they asked me to sit down as they decided on how best to help me.

Finally, I was called by one of the Taiwanese diplomats, and interviewed. I was also told, if I used the PRC passport to enter Taiwan, I needed to sign a waiver that says I will never ever be issued ROC passport in the future. It was late in the afternoon, my flight departs the next day, and I have no idea where my old ROC passport was.

I signed.

It may not be a big deal. See, when my dad was alive, he was a very active supporter of the KMT party in Taiwan. We grew up knowing Taiwan was our second home. Signing that paper was felt like signing away a part of my childhood and a potential future in Taiwan. By virtue of my brother being a Taiwanese citizen, it would have been easy for me to apply for citizenship and reap the benefits… if I wanted to. I signed that option away.

I received my travel visa to Taiwan not too long after and went home to prepare for the trip to Taiwan.


I appreciate the people who had extended their goodwill in helping us during confusing times. On the time and lack of efficiency in the office of the BI, it is something that all commissioners have tried to improve. On the amount of time it takes to process documents, it is a given. 46 years, I know. Of allowing my I-Card to expire, that was entirely my fault. It was irresponsible. My frustration was on the urgency of our family situation. Were it not for the urgency, I would be one of the few people ignoring the long lines, the constant shuffling between windows and lining up on each one and actually find something productive to do while waiting.

Let’s Condemn MLM or Network Marketing

Let’s Condemn MLM or Network Marketing

On an app that allows for anonymous postings, I ran an experiment. I posted, “Anyone wants to talk about business?” I received severals replies mostly asking or saying my post was about networking, a popular term used to describe the business models of Multilevel Marketing or Network Marketing. When I was browsing through the posts made on that app, what I saw were posts mostly related to relationships, failed relationships, suicide, sex, etc. I suppose ‘networking’ is more repulsive than the other predominant topics.

There are many reasons why there is a negative sentiment on this industry. Unethical practices by ‘networkers’, unstable companies (typically the newer ones with products that do not offer anything unique from ones found in retail stores) that closes after a few years, companies operating illegally in the country, illegal business plans like pyramid scams, and so many other reasons.

Being one involved in the industry, I cannot help but agree with the negative sentiments. In fact, these illegal companies and those that do not have integrity must be condemned.

And then I could not help it too but be excited. These negativities are making me excited.


Whenever you eat in a restaurant and ordered food, there are times when the food served is half of what it was made to appear in photos. No one says, “Scam!” It is because this is nearly accepted by everyone. It has become a way of life.

Remember Michael Jordan? When he started playing in the NBA, basketball players wear ‘short’ shorts. Michael Jordan started wearing those baggy knee-length shorts and because it was a new idea, not a few players were criticizing him. Guess what, that has been the standard for well-over a decade now.

When I see how businesses evolve, I see more and more people accepting network marketing as a viable business. It is only a matter of time when network marketing becomes accepted that no one will say it is a scam, rather, more and more people will be educated enough to know and look for the best company there is for them.

It is only a matter of time and when that time comes, the industry is set to explode.

A Tale of Two People and Intertwined Lives

A Tale of Two People and Intertwined Lives

The following two stories were published on NYSE and I copied them here. At the end, I will write about how I felt when I first heard it, and my thoughts.

Story Number One

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”

Story Number Two

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942 , and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of WWW II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.

So what do these two stories have to do with each other?

Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

The first time I head of this story was when I attended the USANA Convention held at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum earlier this year. Kevin Guest, the president of USANA Health Sciences, told of this story.

When he said Butch O’Hare was the son of Easy Eddie (Edward Joseph O’Hare), I had goosebumps and was simply flummoxed. In the weeks that followed, I started reading up and have now gained a better understanding of the stories.

Easy Eddie loved his son, as most, if not all, parents do. I am sorry I cannot say ALL. There are people who simply do not deserve to be parents, but I digress. He already had everything money could buy, but he could not give his son one thing – a good name. He was teaching his son all the right things, and he could not be a living example.

So Easy Eddie did what he did, and he died. Butch became an ace pilot and on that day, saved hundreds of American lives… and in so doing, caused the deaths of others too.

Easy Eddie was a scumbag, but with one decision, he had left a legacy to his son that he would be proud of. A legacy that continues to affect the lives of people today. Think of those lives Butch saved, and those people now have families that live today. Everything we do, and do not do, affects lives.

The poem from a magazine clip was a poem written by Robert H. Smith. We do not know when our time is up. While the clock ticks, we should work hard to fulfil our purposes. We do it now, not a second later, because the time will come when the clock stops ticking for us.

Your thoughts?