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Excellence in the Workplace: Becoming the Best You Can Ever Be


It has been a week since I attended the Excellence in the Workplace conference in SMX Convention Center. Writing this blog just now would only mean that I have been mulling over it too long because applying what I just learned is harder than I thought.

The first speaker, Miriam Quiambao, willfully said, “Success comes from God.” The next speaker reiterated what the former beauty queen said but with more drive and power, “Believe we are designed for success and destined for greatness.” Anthony Pangilinan followed that grand statement with more mind-booster concepts but one particularly struck me the most. The chief disturber–that’s what he billed himself as although supported by logical reasons–asked, “Can you tell this to yourself: There’s no one else I’d rather be than me (inside and out)? That alone disturbed the ordinary cycle of my thinking. And lastly, Francis Kong, put a life long reflection on an even simpler note: Understand that I am unique.

I am 26 years old and for me, life at this point is full of confusing cross roads. I’ve been working for the past 5 years, jumping from one job to another, yet I am still lost. What am I really looking for? Two months in a new job, I am all excited and optimistic. The days that’ll follow, all I could ever see is a bunch of reasons to leave. “What do I get out of this job,” I would ask myself. There’s a whole self-centered universe going round my daily angst against life and my job. To me, labor is a curse.

Then I was hit exactly at the core of my disdainful heart. Francis Kong advised, “Change your vocabulary.I should love the fact that God gave me a job. I should love and appreciate the fact that I have a job. Miriam Quiambao offered a loving take on work and asked us, “Do I serve with love at work? What do I do for others?” It has been a long running concept but it rings truth nevertheless: We make life by what we give. What will turn this whole dilemma around is to think, and accept that God-love-life-work are interconnected.

I was fascinated by the fact that hanapbuhay (Filipino word for job or work) actually means to find (hanap) life (buhay). And the only way to actually find life is to find God who is love. And so, my prayer took a slight shift after learning that enthusiasm actually came from a Greek word which means to be inspired by God. It’s exactly what I need! Miriam wrapped up her talk with LIFE which we all should apply not only in the workplace but also at home or just about wherever God places us:

L – Love in action

I – Inspire positive change in people

F – Fulfill a vision

E – Engage and build relationships

Anthony Pangilinan shared with us tips on how to improve our gifts/talents:

M – mentor. Find a mentor.

A – apprentice

X – exercise. Keep on going, Keep on training yourself.

I – Investment. According to Gallup International, talent invested on is equivalent to strength (Talent x Investment = Strength)

T – Testimony. Share to others how God has nurtured your gifts. It is now your time to inspire and encourage others with the same inspiration and encouragement that God gave you.

However, to those–like me–who are at odds at identifying their gifts or talents, here are some key points that will help you in your discovery:

C – Contribution (Where do I have value? Am I able to contribute something good?)

E – Excellence (Can I excel?)

N – Natural ability (nature nurtured = #1; Where do I perform well while exerting less effort? What am I most productive at with less effort?)

T – Turn on (Does it give me joy?)

S – Spirit leading (Does it have God’s approval?)

News reporter Atom Araullo covered these plaguing problems of mine: complacency and attitude. I fail to nurture a culture of discipline for myself. I tend to be lax at doing things. In my head, as long as I was able to give an output, that’s the end of it–never mind the quality of my work or evaluating myself to pinpoint rooms for improvement. I love writing. I dreamed of becoming a writer but what am I doing to help myself do better at my next projects? I instead cower like an ashamed recluse and quit at life, at the world and change yet again directions. I lack focus.  Atom used the hedgehog concept to portray the effectiveness of knowing where I am good at and focusing my energy on that alone. I’ve also been meaning to try his tip on making a Stop Doing list.

Veteran inspirational speaker, Francis Kong, braved the stage with strong, inspiring statements such as: Blaming others is a loser’s game. There is no shortcut to success. Only Jesus can exalt you without making you proud and only He can correct you without making you feel like a loser.

I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend this conference. I do hope that I may be able to absorb all these and put it all into action. Job: this aspect of my life has since been a struggle but I know deeply in my heart that through Jesus Christ, I will come out of this renewed and stronger. I was almost in tears when this verse from Jeremiah 29:11, the first verse that I came to know as a child, was mentioned: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I long to be one with God in everything that I do because only with Him will I bear good fruits and have an abundant life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10


Extraordinary Yogi Morning at Yogi Fair

Here’s a tale of an extraordinary Sunday morning.

It has something to do with enlightenment. I supposed life is gifted with metaphors that I, most of time, fail to see. But today, with jumpy spirits, I woke up with a nudging feeling of wanting to make my friend happy. She’s one very promising cook. Just recently, she launched to the public her online food store which she aptly called, My Vegetarian Cuisine.

My Vegetarian Cuisine joins Yogi Fair.

My Vegetarian Cuisine joins Yogi Fair.

Other than gobbling delectable vegetarian dishes from My Vegetarian Cuisine, I was surprised to find myself in a threefold glorious experience which consists of food, arts, and yoga. Thanks to the bright minds behind the Yogi Fair.

Yogi Logo

Yogi Fair is this tastefully executed exhibition of  handcrafted and eco-loving products, ranging from (but not limited to) foods, beverages, crafts and accessories, soap, perfume, and oil, all of which promote the enlightened, holistic and balanced Yogi lifestyle.

Yogi means an enlightened person or it can also refer to somebody who is knowledgeable in Yoga. If I am not mistaken, most of the exhibitors conduct Yoga classes and some even have their own Yoga studio. The fair aims to reach out to the public and promote non-violence and a harmonious relationship with the environment through cultivation of inner peace within the self.

A growing segment of ARTrepreneurs showcased their handcrafted designs and their very own organic formulas proven to have helped ease stress and lighten up, say, a weary spirit.


Here’s a list of delectable vegetarian dishes from My Vegetarian Cuisine.


We tried the Pasticiatta&Korean BBQ. Both viands made us drool for more.


Vegetarian Barbecue


Vegetarian Caldereta


This vegetarian Palabok is a must-try!


A slice of egg-less chocolate cake perfectly sealed our enlightened brunch!

Last summer, I was really trying to work on my tan, but I completely failed. When I saw this, it made me miss my hometown, La Union. I feel sorry that I didn’t have enough money to buy this! Something tells me this is a more potent tanning formula!




To quench my thirst, I bought a bottle of Spinach, Cucumber and Mint mix from the Juice Barista. It was so beautifully refreshing! Plus, the lady and I had a short talk and I find her to be very enterprising.



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Though I was hoping to buy myself a pair of earrings, I decided to just settle with a really cute, red coin purse from Yadu.


Here are a few fragrant items that had me stopping to sniff for more 🙂




And lastly, as I have said earlier, it was a tripartite Sunday treat. A fair set on an art gallery was not only unique, but also a buzzing brilliant idea! The Yogi Fair was held at this little, cozy gallery called My Little Art Place.



Percussive vibes on all the gallery walls!


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So much around us that we don’t see. As I was off to go to celebrate our church’s 29th Anniversary, I discovered the so many themes that matched life at a certain point. And today’s theme wasn’t just calling for enlightenment, it’s all about friendship, culture and gratefulness working from within our souls.

Photographer: CJ Anter

My Vegetarian Cuisine


My Little Art Place


Yogi Fair


“What’s the Point of Your Point?”

Most of us gave our best in alluding emptiness. Some questioned the solitary life they have led. Some went on accepting the fact that most questions they have about relationship will forever remain under the covers of mystery, unanswered, incomprehensible. Others have gone astray, deceived by delusional tales of a love triangle or ménage à trois.

After all, how can we explore emptiness? How else can we learn to find a link that would connect us back again to a world where everybody gets to be happy for the thrill, fun, adventure of just being in love, if not, for the perseverance, otherwise, numbness and dejection we gain as we look for that cold, temporal light like the glow coming from a firefly?

Written by award-winning Japanese playwright, Suzue Toshiro, Fireflies succumbed not on the overly dramatic tendencies of staging dissatisfaction and pain. The continuum in the characters’ search for spiritual liberation was well supported by an ingenious use of metaphors and superb performances from the actors of Tanghalang Ateneo.

Having watched the play, I find the piece complements the Songs of Solomon I’ve posted before. Go on, click click 🙂

If I were Manila

Sunday, November 13, I had my new lip cream on, a beaded necklace to accent my simple tank top, and a gushing will to watch films showcased in Cinemanila Film Festival held at Market Market in Taguig.

Here are some of the films that got me wistful and interested (now heaving a sigh of ‘I wish I have leave credits):

1.    Siglo ng Pagluluwal (Century of Birthing) by Lav Diaz

Two great works Lav Diaz is respected and known for are Batang West Side and Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of the Filipino Family).

Siglo ng Pagluluwal, I supposed, has painted a thematic triumvirate on the roles of the artist, prophet, acolyte. I am looking forward to learn that its theme was treated with careful ruminations and artistic wisdom.

2.    Poetry by Chang-dong Lee

I can assure you that this is not some chic Koreanovela about a dainty princess who becomes a cockroach, hence an impoverished, not to mention, utterly handsome rescuer grants her the most exotic, wet kiss so they can live happily ever after.

Poetry is one of my top picks so I watched it. 66-year-old Mija, diagnosed with an early stage of Alzheimer’s, struggles to write her first poem. Through the course of her struggle to find a ‘poetic inspiration’, she discovers the crooked ways of a patriarchal society and a crime that decides the fate of the family she loves most.

3.    Sun-Beated Path by Sonthar Gyal

How can Nima forgive himself after accidentally killing his own mother, that I wish to learn if I ever get the chance to watch this Chinese film.

4.    Sakay sa Hangin (Wind-blown) by Regiben Romana

I’ve kept my unremitting adoration on Philippine’s rich culture. For every passion, a definite mission must be on its way to fulfillment and this might prove true as Sakay sa Hangin tells the story of a tribal musician who ventures to define his cultural identity with the help of those inspired and healed by his music.

5.    Agos (Waves) by Samantha Lee

I am from La Union and surfing has always fascinated me. If given the opportunity to escape my daytime job, I’d be happy to watch a female character portrays the role of a surfer on a film that permits us to see beyond the superficial surfing lifestyle. Based on what I’ve read, we can take more than the coolness of being a surfer since the film also explored on values like perseverance, simplicity and passion.

6.    Leaving Home by Epoy Deyto

The Philippine rock music scene is a telltale lie without the former rock music station, NU 107, which had just closed last year. Leaving Home is a short documentary that mainstream or indie music lovers and fans would be interested to watch.

7.    Menenaya (Waiting) by Richard Legaspi

A kapampangan film in Cinemanila?! A kapampangan with permanent residency in La Union, I’d proudly walk down the cinema hall and watch this with or without knowing what the movie is about.

8.    Buena Noches Espana

A romance (could be) and a journey of a young man that breathe through the mystique of teleportation, drugs, TV, painting – media arts plus teleportation – the combination of these factors welled up my imagination.

9.    Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

A cabaret theater artist shares his life’s story and glory set in Nazi-occupied Paris. This is the first time I’ve read of a musical drama that is actually included in a film festival like Cinemanila.

10.    Mapang-akit (Alluring)

Mapang-akit follows a story about an elderly woman suspected as one of the creatures of the night, that transforms from their human to predatory form to savagely hunt humans and eat their innards; in the Philippine lore, these creatures are called aswangs.

11.    The Joy

Where reality conflicts with the imagination and imagination rules over reality, I’m for it.

For more information, you may visit http://www.cinemanila.org.ph.  Ticket price is 150 PHP.

Under the Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry

Friday. I had to rush out of the office so I can finally attend a poetry reading event, and listen to Lourd de Veyra. Pester my good friend, Paz, I must, for I will not be able to edit those advisories and leave the office just in time for the second leg of .mov International Film, Music, and Literature Festival.

Ayala Museum. The second to the last row looked decently inconspicuous for a late comer like me. It gave a good perspective of the stage too.  The volume of my psychological noises went down a little, then gone, as I beheld, listened to Michael M. Coroza’s poem, Magnanakaw (Thief). And my engagement to his dictation, the invisible scheme of his voice that matched the theme of his creation, became a solid round of applause. Here’s some excerpts from his poem:


“Ginigising tayo ng alinsangang

dulot ng kaniyang pangahas

na hininga ngunit dagling

naglalaho siya sa pagmulat ng ating pangamba.”


We’re startled where his warm

breath dares,

but quickly he darts

off even as our trembling

stirs,  its eyes wide open.


“Malaking puwang sa ating

loob ang iniiwang bakas

ng kaniyang pagdalaw sapagkat

tinatangay niya pati ang liwanag

sa palad nating binutas ng bagabag.”


A gaping void he

leaves within

when he comes visiting,

taking even the torch.


And I just have to add how igniting, burning, gorgeous the Filipino language is and kudos to those who have the love-lust to use it.

Then, came Marra PL. Lanot to read her poem, Ina. She asked the audience not to mind her guttural voice but it did give her reading an unusual effect. It made one good point that stings my mouth – and you’ll understand why of all my body parts, my mouth gets the spanking.


“Ako ang ilaw ng tahanan

na korteng kweba, kubo, katedral,

na mistulang parke at paaralan.

Ako ang gatas sa labi

sa halip na maasim na tuba

o mapait na serbesa.

Ako ang unang ngiting nasisilayan sa duyan,

ang mangkok na pinagbubuhusan

ng iyak ng mga anak

pagkagaling sa eskuwela,

ang batyang pinagbabaran ng galit

ng asawang napagod sa pabrika.

Ako ang yero sa pagbilad ng luha,

ang langgas sa sugat,

ang puntod ng dalamhati.”


I am the light of the home

shaped like a cave, a hut, a cathedral,

that appears like a park or school.

I am milk on the lips

instead of sour coconut wine

or bitter beer.

I am the first smile seen in a cradle,

the bowl into which children

pour their tears

when they come home from school,

the pail where the husband soaks his anger

when he returns from the factory.

I am the iron board where tears are dried

the  cure for wounds,

the tomb of grief.


“Sa kaunting init ng ulo,

sa malaswang galak,

sa sukdulang kamalasan,

sa silakbo ng damdamin,

bakit ako ang minumura,

ako na ina ng mga ina

at ng mga ama at diyos-diyosan?

Bakit, paano

sa labi ng musmos

naging puta ang ina?

Paano, bakit

sa dila ng mundo

palaging puta ang ina?”


At the slightest hot temper,

in a malicious joy,

in an extreme bad luck,

in an outburst of anger,

why am I being cursed,

I, the mother of all mothers

and of fathers and false gods?


Why, how

on the lips of children

did mother become puta?

How, why

on the tongue of the world

mother is always puta?


Jose F. Lacaba’s Tagubilin at Habilin and Pia Montalban’s Saleslady and my anxious desire to just hold the book while listening to the readers got me into buying the book – this is after all a book launch of – Under the Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry. It’s original price is at 800 PHP. I got it for 600, launch price but had I pre-ordered, I would have gotten it for 400 or 450 bucks (bad memory). It’s the first Filipino poetry book on my book shelf. It wasn’t that long before my attention was back again to the reader in front. This time, he was not only a reader and a poet, but also a ventriloquist. Ronaldo Carcamo blew me away with his laughable repertoire afore his candidly written poem, Ha-ha-ha.

Vigo enveloped the museum with their uncanny music which then readings from music and TV personalities followed: Mercedes Cabral of Ligo na U, Lapit na Me, Rox Puno, Ketsup Eusebio, who just recently starred in Rakenrol. The group, Why Not, gave a strong performance to cap the night. To thank and invite the crowd to the event’s after party, Khavn dela Cruz gallanted the stage and called this maverick event full of oeuvres a night, that I shall note as an unforgettable one.

4th .mov International Film, Music, and Literature Festival

Last night, after a boring day in the office, I went straight to Podium and became this estranged woman among the famous personalities socializing with each other, and among the random names of guests posted on each chair, who happened to be film magnates. I heaved a dreamy sigh of ‘I wish I’ll become one of them too.’ There I was, at the 4th .mov International Film, Music, and Literature Festival.

I saw Nityalila Saulo, an officemate from the previous company where I used to work before I got into ABS-CBN. She’s a singer-songwriter, a true-blue artist, whose Dad owns a cool shop in The Collective: Yadu. Bags sold in Yadu have this eccentric and ancient stroke of designs: ethnicity, tradition, and a humble cloud of modernity.

BUT. We aren’t really that close so I had to wade off the awkwardness so I munched some free food and observe what is there to observe. The program started around 8 P.M. I could only remember the consul general of Slovenia addressing the crowd and commemorating Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc who were murdered two years ago. Unfortunately, their case hasn’t been resolved up to date. I wish I knew them. They spoke about their passion on Philippine cinema that I achingly wish I, too, have: that same rush of endearment towards something and an impeccable taste on arts.

Khavn dela Cruz and Alexis’ sister sang Sapat Na. I didn’t know Khavn could play the piano so well. The song accompanied by the grand piano is a creation on the bosom of subtle grandeur, which lyrics painted a sad longing in me. That simplicity of having to love and care for someone, the littlest thing from waking up in the morning and kissing your loved ones to hearing them say those three precious words, I love you, gave me that elusive Thursday repose.

The Brocka’s also did a number where Khavn led Alexis’ The Letter I Would Love to Read to You in Person into one revolutionary stint.

I’ve read the letter just now as I write this entry. It had such prowess. And I would like to read and read and read it again to remind me where my stance is, how his passion for film, for arts, has gouged deeper into my heart. I never actually tried to understand why I download and care to watch films, classics, indie, those that are most likely perceived by everyone as boring and weird, but the answer, or rather, that fact has really been there all along. I wasn’t just curious enough to understand the dealings of my own.

Quoting from Alexis,

“The first impulse is always one of love,”

I didn’t know that the world of film, music, and literature has a small area dedicated for someone like me, and in that small space where I marvel at the magnificence of such creations and bask in the unmistakable presence of the artist’s ardent passion, I find contentment and beauty in being a keen spectator.

“One thing has slowly progressed into another and, what began as a simple curiosity pursued with sincerity, has evolved into a commitment. “


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