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How to Polish It Off in Front of the Camera Without Really Trying


Going viral recently is an interview of this famous sexy actress turned senatorial candidate by a veteran journalist. Reading the transcript of the interview was not as awkward as watching the footage of the exchanges between the actress and the journalist. It makes people think: What kind of candidates are we exactly getting?

While I have never ran for public office, it is my personal view that candidates should NEVER attempt to face the cameras without keeping in mind a few pointers:

  1. Remember that journalists may not be forgiving when they punch in the questions, so be prepared to take (hard) questions. Study if you must!
  2. Politics is not acting. You can’t fake it (or you can try to, but it will show). Have personal views on political and social issues. These are one of the most often asked questions by journalists. Mean it.
  3. Draw up your platform. Journalists will always ask this because this is what constituents need to know. Know what your political party’s platform is (of course, Philippine political parties don’t really have an ideology or strict political platform to base their stance with, but that is a different issue altogether). You just cannot show up on the boob tube and radio and simply say you have the heart and willingness to serve. Is this idea still selling with the public?
  4. If you get stuck in a question, just eat humble pie and be simple. Do not look like you are squirming in your seat trying to find the answers. Be straightforward. You the owe the public some decorum for watching you on tv. Try to look smart at least. Study how seasoned politicians like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama respond to sticky situations.
  5. Talk to the viewers, not just the journalist. In interviews of veteran politicians, you will find them responding to the reporter but are actually talking to the viewers. It’s the whole package—the response, eye contact, and body language. One running for a high public position should exude this confidence and aura of reaching out to the public. You are not just explaining your views to the interviewer; you are presenting yourself to the public.
  6. People are SMARTER now.  The public may be forgiving, but be prepared to become the butt of jokes for weeks.
  7. PRACTICE public speaking PLEASE! Rehearse anticipated responses to common questions. Some candidates get an image counselor and spin doctor for this. If you belong to a political party, see how your party can help you develop this. If not, get help from professional public speakers.

Let me just capture some of the funny remarks on Twitter.



Hope we don’t find a lot of these in the months to come.  No offense to the candidate, but what was she thinking?


Meeting with Friends: Making Meaningful Relationships

(Source: Anchor.Org website)

(Source: Anchor.Org website)

During a recent wake, I’ve reminded of a wake I attended a few years ago, also with a batchmate. It was even made sadder by the fact that she was a dear cousin of mine, who succumbed to cancer. She was a close friend of mine in high school, and over the years I would see her and we would chat occasionally until the news came that she was deathly ill. I was with her during her last few days at the hospital.

From that time since then, I’ve had schoolmates and friends who have passed on to the next life. It’s sad to meet friends only during wakes and funerals. You talk about the memories you’ve had with the deceased in the past—as in long PAST. It’s the same even with classmates who are still alive. You meet to attend a wake and talk about the good times. After spending a few hours talking, you go home, exchange numbers, and then WHAT? Almost always, it takes weeks and even months before you send a message to your classmate, if at all. That’s it.

I have to ask myself this question: Why do I have to attend reunions like this because somebody’s dead? Why can’t I meet more friends under less depressing conditions?

That changed my perspective. Why meet up with friends just because somebody’s dead? Why not find the time to meet more, during fun times, and make a connection?

It’s so easy to be blinded by deadlines, workloads, and chores at home and at work. One could easily be so caught up with all the world’s distractions. But if we just take a day’s off to bond, to simply touch someone else’s life with our presence, then that will make a whole lot of difference to you and your friend. It doesn’t have to take a whole day to just chat with a friend.

And so it has become my own conviction to reach out, connect with old friends, create new ones, and make these relationships MEANINGFUL. And this means going out more to mini-reunions and other activities. Some may or may not welcome it, but that’s their problem, not YOURS. If you have a family and guilt over the feeling that you are choosing friends over family, why not make it a family affair? The key to all of it is finding balance.

So reach out and touch a friend. He just might touch yours.  You’ll never know until you make that move.

A Christmas Ghost Story

This happened a few years back when my son was just 4 years old.  He is now 10.

We had an old neighbor who just enjoyed talking to my son when he was a toddler.  He was an old man who didn’t have a family of his own and stayed with a niece and her family.  He was a kind man with a gentle demeanor, and every time my son was out to play he would be waiting on a bench outside his home, chatting with his young neighbor who was still babbling with his words then (he had a sort of baby talk that sounded cute).  Maybe because my son was cute and bubbly and the old man (Uncle Fred, he was called) liked him a lot.  We liked him back because apparently, my kid also liked talking to him.  We were new settlers in the village, and Uncle Fred was just one of the first neighbors who welcomed us in.

My son loved to play outdoors, and every time Uncle Fred was out he would just watch the kids and chat with them.  Despite the fact that Uncle Fred’s niece had quite a large family to keep him company, me and my husband could sense that he was in fact lonely most of the time.  Going out of the house was an escape, and once he was outside it took him a lot of time before he went in again.

 (Source:  Throw Yourself Like Seed)(Source: Throw Yourself Like Seed)

In a way, Uncle Fred was my kid’s playmate.  He’d show his toy or ball to the old man and Uncle Fred would ask him questions or tell him stories.  This is what I knew from my kid’s nanny at least.

The Catholic that I am, I’ve been always taught to pray for the souls in Purgatory.  These are souls that have been saved by God’s mercy but have to undergo a place of purging, or Purgatory as we’ve been taught.  I’ve learned somewhere that it is during Christmas time when most of the souls are released.  So, it has always been my habit to say a prayer for them, especially for the people who are to depart from this world tonight.  Creepy as it may sound, I do that every time.

Every Christmas morning, my husband, kid and I would go to my in-laws to spend the whole day with them.  As I try to recall now, it was an early drive (about 6:30 am) because nobody seemed to be up in the neighborhood yet.  As our car passed by the corner where Uncle Fred lived, we were met by the kindly old man.  My husband slowed down the car and opened the window.  We greeted him a Merry Christmas and he greeted back and waved to my kid who was seated at the back.


(Source: Flicker)

(Source: Flicker)

Uncle Fred was his usual gentle self, dressed in white shorts and sleeveless shirt.  We wondered how such a kind man would choose to remain a bachelor.

So that day was spent in revelry and merry-making.  We got back home late and my kid’s nanny recounted how her day went at home.

“You know the old man at Ate Vicky’s house?  He died this morning,” the nanny said.

I was slightly surprised and saddened by the news.  “Really?  He looked strong and healthy.  Was he sick?  What time did he die?”

“Ate, he died at 4am this morning,” was the nanny’s startling reply.

My husband shook his head in disbelief.  “That can’t be.  Maybe you mean 4pm?”

The nanny looked at both of us and answered straight away.  “No.  He died this morning at 4am.”

It was my turn to shake my head, explaining this time our refusal to believe.  “We just saw Uncle Fred this morning.  He greeted us, we even opened the car window to greet him.  He was flesh and blood.”

The nanny was stunned, her words seemed to be shaky.  “What did he look like?  Did you notice anything different about him?”

Come to think of it, we did.  We noticed he was dressed all white.  There was nobody else on the street that morning.  He had the kindest face in all the years that we’ve seen him.  Did that prove that what we saw was a ghost?  Your guess is as good as ours!

To this day, I still remember Uncle Fred, and continue to pray for the souls in Purgatory especially at Christmas time.

A Blessed Christmas to All!




Let Me Be









Let me be alone in this world

And find the abode of my Self

Let me be with all the creations of the world

And let these be my wealth.


Let me be like a bird flying high

Reaching the heavens with my wings

And, like a prayer soaring in the sky

Let me praise beauty when I sing.


Let me be the gentle rose

With petals as red as blood

And let there be beauty in a prose

As subtle as a flower bud.


Let me be like air that I breathe

And drift a-swift in the land

To carry with me wayward seeds

And paint the ground a-grand.

My Funny Journal Entries

Sifting through the diaries I’ve accumulated over the years, I found it amusing that some of my thoughts and aspirations before didn’t turn out to be as what I had thought then. Like the time I thought I was going to be a ballet dancer, or when I wanted to join the military or had a certain infatuation who I believed was destiny. Reading the entries made me realize only one thing: the naivete and tempestuousness of my youth. Ha!

I’ve selected some journal entries which I found amusing. I believe most of us journal writers have our own funny stories to tell, and I’m sharing mine.

“Mama said I can’t get a dog for Christmas. I hope it dos (sic) not mean I’m getting a dal (doll) this year.”

I wrote this entry when I was 4 or 5 years old. Mother never allowed any pets inside or even outside the house. She had acquired terrible skin allergies from fleas during the early years of her married life where she stayed with in-laws who kept dogs in the house. From then on, she vowed never to have any pet inside her own household, much to my extreme disappointment. So I enjoyed my youth with just my brother and my toys.

And because I was such a tomboy, I hated dolls. You know, the kind of dolls that had eyes that open and close? I found these toys freaky and never played with them even as my parents gave me these presents. Even then, I was too polite to say “no thanks”. That probably gave them the idea that I loved the dolls, or looking at it from another angle, they wanted me to get the idea that little girls played with dolls and not Matchbox cars.

More feminine now, do I like dolls better now? Nope, thank you.

“Papa says working in an airbase is a tough job. He cannot sleep when he is on the job or he might push the wrong button and kaboom!”

Papa worked inside a US military base in Wake Island, and in his correspondences he had always told us how hard it was working inside a base. He worked in a control room where the deadly buttons were, and if he so much as pressed the wrong button or key it would have been the end of life as we know it. That’s what the “kaboom” is for. I don’t remember if I already knew the word “explosion” then.

I couldn’t imagine how it must have been difficult for Papa to work on shifts and manage to stay upright and lucid on these shifts. I imagine him gulping cups of coffee one after the other in the effort to stay sane. No wonder Papa was a light sleeper.

“Papa won’t let me go to a party tomorrow. I’m 14 years old! I can handle myself!”

This entry puts a smile to my face every time I read it. When kids hit their teens they think they know everything, and this entry captures it.

I learned to party as soon as I hit 13. I wasn’t into the fast lane, but just the clean dance-till-you-drop kind of thing. Blame it on Madonna for her pop songs. I didn’t learn to drink alcohol until I reached college. But at this age, I felt like I can do anything and remain safe. It was my period of independence. Mother hated it, I reveled in it.

“I hope he didn’t see me look at him! Embarrassing ever!”

Yeah, another funny phase in my teen years—high school crushes. It’s the time when you have crush on the coolest and cutest guy in school. I fell for that phase.

As one gets older, being cutest isn’t necessarily a good thing as being smart enough to make a living. As for the cute guys in high school, they realize that a good-looking face won’t easily capture a woman’s heart if they don’t feed their brain (and maybe pockets) real soon. Remaining in the high school past won’t get them anywhere.

That’s a hard fact, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

“Teacher said I should lose more weight to dance. Why can’t I be a heavy ballet dancer AND dance?”

Why on earth did I ever thought of dancing in the first place? Because I really love to dance and sing (not in that particular order). I hated ballet before, but my ever loving Mom thought it was a good thing for me to learn the discipline so I took a shot at it until I caught the bug. When I decided to dance seriously, that’s when I began to diet in the effort to lose excess weight and lose the boobs.

Glad I snapped out of that one.

“Away from home at last! I will learn to clean, do laundry and cook. My life will be just like ‘A Different World’”.

I loved Lisa Bonet’s “A Different World”. She was Bill Cosby’s TV daughter in “The Cosbys”, and after the series ended Bonet went solo to have her own TV show. It was her experience as a college student, away from her family and in a big university.

Studying away from home was my big ticket to independence. I came out of the big shell my mother used to shield me and my brother from the world. It was a whole new world for me. I was reeling with excitement.

My whole college experience was a big turning point in my life. Life wasn’t exactly like Bonet’s character, but just the same I had all the joys, drama and pains of any regular college student. Did I learn how to do my laundry? Yes, a little. Cook? Maybe. Clean? Better now that I have my own family. But the learning was the best. I learned to live on my own.

“I took a 12 hour trip from Baguio to Manila just to get my allowance.”

An inkling of my tempestuous youth? I was a freshman when Mt. Pinatubo erupted. The aftermath made the usual 6-hour trip to Manila twice longer. Why did I take the arduous trip back? Getting my allowance was just an excuse to watch the latest movie in Manila. Hahaha.

“Flying home tomorrow in a plane! Mother doesn’t even know I am. If the plane crashes, mother will kill me!”

I would always tell my mother, no matter what, what I would be doing or where I would be going for the week. There weren’t any cell phones then, so calling long distance was my lifeline to home.

For this particular trip, she knew I was coming home by ship after competing in a swimming event. Upon the prodding of a good friend, I was convinced to ride home in a C-130 plane. And since there wasn’t a telephone in sight and I thought it was a good adventure for me, I grabbed the chance, refunded my ship fare and rode the military plane! Woohoo!

Despite my excitement, I was worried that the something might happen to the plane and my dear mother would never know what the hell happened to me. The plane was experiencing mild turbulence and the plane was loaded with military men who hopped on board with us. I remember praying to God: “Oh please Jesus, don’t let this plane crash or my mother will never know what happened to me.” Besides a bumpy ride, I was safe.

“Could this guy be another jerk?”

Who likes a jerk? Nobody does. And getting older, we want to be as far away from jerks as much as we can. I wasn’t any exception.

“Tomorrow I’m marrying the guy who I thought was a jerk!”

Luckily, the last guy I met was a guy I knew way back in high school. I thought he was just another one of those guys who was a jerk. He wasn’t, so I married him. We’re still married, and life has been great.

Have you tried checking your journal for funny entries?

Keep on writing!

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A New Reading Campaign – Where It All Started

Working on a small project for our community in Cavite.  In the village where I live, children play at the run-down clubhouse that has become a favorite hang-out for plays, dances, and what have you.  A small half-court basketball is also available for the bigger boys, but for the young, it is really the clubhouse that has been the favorite venue for plays.

Inside the clubhouse are two restrooms which served as a dressing area/wash room for the nearby swimming pool – now converted to a multi-purpose play area for volleyball or badminton.

Since the rooms have now been virtually abandoned and unused, why not turn it into a LIBRARY AREA for children?

A closer look at one of the dressing rooms of the cluhouse. Take note, the door has been torn off!

So this is where the idea began, and the I DARE TO READ campaign was conceived.

Still in works, plans are now underway to knock down the dingy walls and convert it to an area where children can borrow books to read.  A book drive will be conducted village wide where residents can donate their old books.  Everything’s still a work in progress, but with sheer determination and support, this baby project will push through.

The clubhouse interiors

Hitting a Writing Stumble

Finally, I am back to writing my blog.  More than the demands of my day job which kept me tied to doing paperwork is the seeming threat of writers’ block everytime I faced the screen.  Truly, not until I decided to take on a journey to a writing career did I experience this… sentiment.  Before, I never run out of ideas and topics for my materials.  Now, I even need to have a small notebook for my moments of inspiration, or else I simply forget everything.  I really must take more multivitamins to feed my neurons better (pun intended from the words of a most distinguished senator in the Philippines).

Anyway, a temporary block is not really bad.  On the contrary, it allows one to compose his thoughts coherently while allowing one to step back to take a look at what he has already done so far in his work.  Most writers – especially those that have to beat a deadline – panic frantically.  Personally, I could never think of writing as a job, since I love writing and realized it early on that this is a passion that is heaven-sent.  So I think of these momentary pauses as an opportunity to recoup my senses and make mental notes of what I’ve done so far.  It’s no different from St. Ignatius Loyola’s “Spiritual Exercises”. 

To writers, stumbles and pauses like these should be embraced.  No reason to worry.  Relax, step back, and review.  It is in these moments that you get a second wind to write better with a vengeance.

Challenges in Setting Up An Online Publishing Business

Challenges in Setting Up An Online Publishing Business.

Challenges in Setting Up An Online Publishing Business

It has been a few months since my last blog.  How time truly flies!  And time is definitely a luxury I do not have, especially since I decided to start my own e-publishing business.  Evenings are now spent in timeless editing, formatting, and checking out new ideas  –  all these excluding ocassionally doing my son’s homework, projects, and family time.  Imagine balancing the daily 9-6 grind with my personal business. I had to give out finishing the last subject of my MBA degree to make way for other projects I have lined up in the next couple of months.

Not that I really complain.  Setting up a publishing business has always been a dream for me, besides becoming a swimmer, writer and a lawyer.  Swimmer I’ve already become, finishing law (though still underbar) was a feat, and writing well… it took a backseat until much later.

Deciding to finally do publishing was a big leap.  After much consultation and debate, I went on with it.  Thankfully, hubby gave his support.  So we started thinking of a name that would describe the business we are in, and BUKLATIN came to mind.  For foreigners, “buklatin” is a Filipino term meaning “to open”, as in a book.  You open a book, or “buklatin ang libro”.

When you open a book, you open yourself in a world of ideas, whether it’s fantasy or fiction.  And this is what we want to do with the business  –  open everybody to a world of ideas.  So we decided this name is it and change the spelling to BOOKLATIN PHILIPPINES.

But this is not just to open ideas.  BOOKLATIN aims to open readers to new and aspiring authors.  We want to give newbies a chance to showcase their writing talents before they go mainstream.  I have met a lot of good authors who would love to give a shot at having their works publlished but never had a chance to do so.

In this kind of business, you need to have really good partners.  One is having a really good and supportive WEB DESIGNER.  In my personal experience, this I admit is one where I really had the most challenge and disappointment.  With limited funds, I thought I found a web designer who will do  the job promptly and eagerly.  It started out fine, but cracks started to open up.  My web is still a work in progress even after constant follow ups and visits.  Good thing I already started BOOKLATIN with a Facebook account.  It would never have gotten on the Internet without it.  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Word Press are very important tools which are my anchors to launching the site.

Next thing to work on is looking for WRITERS and an ARTIST to work on the cover designs.  Actually, this is the most fun part, because I get to meet people and not just be holed up in a room.   It becomes time consuming when the manuscripts start coming and I need to read everything.

You need to get a realiable PAYMENT FACILITY that will receive your payments as orders start rolling in.  There are a lot of them in the Internet which you can choose from.  Select the best that will suit your needs.

Finally, you need to have a BOOKKEEPER and ACCOUNTANT to keep tabs on expenses and prepare the financial statements.  Unless you’re a one-man team, you can’t manage a business on your own without these babies.

That being said, publishing is all hard work and time consuming as in any kind of business.  But it is a business of my choice because I love the written word, and there is no other way I want to do this.


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