Thursday, August 11, 2011

UPLB Cooperative Housing

Part of my formative years was in college, not merely the education, but living within a community of young men and boys called the UPLB Student Cooperative Housing. It wasn't just a dorm; it was an experience. I will let my friend Jo Florendo, who entered UP Los BaƱos in the same year I did, describe it:

Hindi magiging masaya ang taon ko bilang bagong salta sa eLBI kung hindi ako niyaya tumira sa coop.

Hindi kumpleto ang edukasyon ko sa buhay kung hindi ako nanirahan sa coop. Kaya ko maglinis ng banyo kahit walang tubig. O mag aral kahit walang kuryente.

Hindi ako inabot ng gutom sa coop kahit ubos na ang baon. May inihaw na biik, nilagang talbos ng kamote , at ginataang sawa at bayawak.

Hindi problema ang kawalan ng plato o kubyertos. Natuto akong kumain sa kaldero, sa panakip ng kaldero, at sa palanggana sa coop.

Hindi ako makakaligaw kung hindi ko suot ang cowboy boots ni Ange. Plus 5 pogi points agad

Hindi ako naubusan ng mapapagtanungan sa coop. Lahat ng unit may henyong tatahitahimik.

Hindi ako naubusan ng kaibigan sa coop. Kahit na matapos na ako sa eLBi o kahit hindi na nakatayo ang mga unit na tinuring kong bahay.

Hindi lang panlalake na dorm ang coop. Kung minsan, pag biyernes, sabado, at linggo may mga unit na nagiging coed din...

Hindi sa iloilo ko unang natikman ang masarap na daing na pusit. Sa Isarog [a dorm unit].

Hindi ko natutunan ang chem 16 kay Pada. Kay philbert. Hindi ko natutunan ang algebra kay obungen. Kay arnie.

Hindi magiging makulay ang buhay kung hindi ako napadpad sa coop.

Salamat sa hindi nakakalimot.... Jojo Florendo

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thought Busters

I like the following article by John Maxwell on nurturing ideas.

Thought Busters by Dr. John C. Maxwell

The power of thought is indisputably great. For illustration, look at the life of Henry David Thoreau, a 19th-century Massachusetts philosopher.

In 1849, Thoreau, as a relatively unknown scholar, published his thoughts in a controversial essay about civil disobedience. The essay expressed his ideas about justice:

  • Not all laws are just.

  • A person should respect justice more than the law.

  • Without resorting to violence, a person of conscience is justified to transgress the law to protest its injustice.

Thoreau's thoughts, as the basis for nonviolent resistance, would end up fueling two of the greatest social advancements of the 20th century—Ghandi's struggle to free India from Britain's colonial rule and the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thoughts about Thinking

Thoughts never begin fully formed.

Have you ever looked through a microscope? At first glance, the image appears blurry and indistinct. However, after adjusting the lens, the image comes into focus, and you can see with remarkable clarity.

When thoughts enter my mind, they are hazy and disordered, much like the initial image seen through a microscope. I have to fine-tune my thoughts by dwelling upon them, and connecting them to other thoughts I've had. It takes awhile for me to wrestle with a thought before its merit becomes clear.

Thoughts take time to develop their potential.

I am not a naturally brilliant thinker. My mind doesn't overflow with out-of-the-box creativity. However, I do leverage experiences to stretch my thoughts. I have found that reflection turns my experience into insight. At the close of each day, I'll review important lessons I've learned. I'll mine failure until I've gained a nugget of wisdom, or I'll consider how the day's events validated or invalidated one of my ideas. Through time, evaluating my experiences helps my thoughts to expand and mature.

Thoughts take others to develop their potential.

Alone, my thoughts are shallow and unexceptional. However, I am able to polish and refine them through my interactions with other leaders. I enhance my own thinking by piggybacking on the wisdom of friend and colleagues. In conversations or observations of their behavior, I strengthen and confirm my own inklings about leadership and life.

Each of us is trapped inside our own perspective and limited by blind spots and prejudices. If we isolate ourselves, we diminish our minds, and our thoughts atrophy.

We are wise to seek out others to test our assumptions and sharpen our thinking.

Thoughts are very fragile in the beginning.

Gardeners know the delicate nature of a newly planted seedling. To survive, the plant must receive nourishment and be protected from harsh winds, weeds, or hungry animals. Until its roots take hold and its stem grows, the seedling is vulnerable.

Likewise, our thoughts are fragile at first. They are endangered by pessimism, busyness, insecurity, forgetfulness, and a host of other threats. In the words of Bob Biehl, “Ideas are like soap bubbles floating in the air close to jagged rocks on a windy day.”

In order to grow, our thoughts need careful attention and cultivation.

Thought Busters

Thoughts only reach their potential in a healthy environment. During my time as a leader, I've encountered the following environmental hazards, or thought busters, which threaten to destroy good thinking.


When leaders pay any cost to ward off criticism, they sacrifice their best thoughts. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, "If you have something others don't have, know something others don't know, or do something others aren't doing, then, rest assured, you will be criticized." In my opinion, thinking requires boldness, the courage to be second-guessed, and readiness to endure conflict.

Lack of personal commitment to thinking

Taking action is by no means a negative quality in a leader. However, when a leader is all action, it's only a matter of time until he or she falls behind, steers off course, and surrenders the reins of leadership. I like Gordon MacDonald's appeal to mental fitness:

"In our pressurized society, people who are out of shape mentally usually fall victim to ideas and systems that are destructive to the human spirit and to the human relationship. They are victimized because they have not taught themselves how to think, nor have they set themselves to the lifelong pursuit of growth of the mind. Not having the faculty of a strong mind, they grow dependent upon the thoughts and opinions of others."

As leaders, thinking keeps us in front. Before we shape the future, we must get our minds in shape.


"I don't have enough time," has been my most common excuse to avoid thinking. However, blaming time constraints is not a legitimate excuse. After all, a great idea is one of the greatest commodities a person can own. Besides, by taking the time to think, we invent smarter ways to expend our energy and resources.

"I'm not creative," has been another excuse of mine. Of course, blaming my lack of creativity is actually a sorry excuse for being lazy. Thinking well isn't easy. It takes concentration, focus, and, most challenging of all, the discipline to stop moving for a few moments.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries worldwide. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books that have sold more than a million copies.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hostage-taking at a Kid's Level

Yesterday afternoon, sept 5, my wife and I, with a bunch of young people, went to visit a friend in a hospital. Since I recall that there was a rule against small children visiting hospital premises, we left our youngest boys, Jojo and Jed, to play with schoolmates at the subdivision where our church meets to worship every Sunday.

Pagdating namin galing visit, dumating ang bunso kong si Jed na umiiyak. Napag-alaman namin na sinaktan daw siya ng kalaro niya. Mukhang away-bata lang naman at di dapat makialam ang mga matatanda.

Nang pinakwento na namin kung ano ang nangyari, nanood pala sila o naglaro sa loob ng bahay ng kaklase. Habang nandoon, biglang umulan nang malakas at matagal. Tapos, may baril-barilan pala ang kalaro nina Jed na naubusan ng bala. Dahil bawal lumabas ang kapatid niya (umuulan nga eh), pinalalabas niya either si Jed or si Jojo para bumili ng bala. Dahil umuulan nga, eh, hindi sila lumabas para bumili. Nainis ang may-ari ng baril. "Kung hindi kayo lalabas, sasaktan ko kayo." Eh, umuulan nga. So, kinuha niya ang remote at pinalo sa kamay ang anak ko. Noong time na yun, wala munang reaksyon. Pero nang lumabas na sila dahil pinatawag na namin, saka siya umiyak.

Bakit ako nagre-react nang ganito? Kasi nakita ko na na-hostage ang mga anak ko ng isang bata, at sa huli nag-snap ang hostage-taker at sinaktan niya ang anak ko. Bata pa lang naman. Laruan lang. Pero there are principles and lessons for life dito. Let me try to enumerate some:
  1. Kung ikaw ay may hawak ng kapangyarihan, ang pang-aapi ay kasuklam-suklam. Huwag abusuhin ang position of strength. Kailan ba tuturuan ang mga future presidents na absolute power corrupts absolutely? Saan kaya natutunan ng batang ito na mang-hostage?
  2. Kung ikaw ay pinagtitiwalaan, huwag mo namang abusuhin ang tiwala. Akala ng anak ko, friend niya ang kaklase. Hindi pala. Bully. Sabi ni Jesus, "It is better for you to be thrown into a lake with a millstone around your neck rather than cause one of these little ones to sin." If my son sinned in his heart dahil sa ginawa sa kanya, this other boy should be thrown into a lake.
  3. When you invite someone to your house and thus enjoys your hospitality, lumampas ka na sa nararapat kung sinaktan mo ang bisita mo. Ganyan ba ang trato sa bisita? There's a cardinal rule for hospitality that the visitor is safe in your house.
  4. Para naman sa anak ko, magtitiwala pa ba siya sa ibang tao? Trust is a precious thing, and trust abused is hard to repair. Unless you are gracious or a fool. So, alin kaya dito ang anak ko?
  5. Kapag inaapi ang kapatid mo, doing nothing is saying something. You are agreeing to a despicable situation.
  6. Abusers start small. Who knows what form of abuse will come next.
  7. Etc. I'm still thinking of some more.
I have had a talk with my sons about this. We'll continue over the following days.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Seven Wonders of the World


A group of students was asked to list what they thought were the present
Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the
following got the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student
hadn't turned in her paper yet, so she asked the girl if she was having
trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't
quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said,
"Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl
hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

4. TO HEAR."

She hesitated a little, and then added,


The room was so full of silence you could have heard a pin drop.

Those things we overlook as simple and ordinary are truly wondrous.
This is a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot
be bought...but are gifts from above. (James 1:17)

>From Mikey's Funnies at

Monday, August 17, 2009


for a writer and an editor, the following poem from Amy Carmichael is terrifying to contemplate...

Amy Carmichael

I cried and said, “O God, my words are cold!
The frosted frond of fern or feathery palm
On whitened window wrought
As near to burning are, as these my words;
Oh that they were as flames!”

God answered me:
“Thou shalt have words
But at this price, that thou must first be burnt,
Burnt by red embers from a secret fire,
Scorched by fierce heats and withering winds that sweep
Through all thy being, carrying thee afar
From old delights. Doth not the ardent fire
Consume the mountain's heart before the flow
Of fervent lava ? Wouldst thou easefully,
As from cool pleasant fountains flow in fire?
Say, can thy heart endure
Or can thy hands be strong
In the day that I shall deal with thee?

For first the iron must enter thine own soul,
And wound and brand it, scarring awful lines
Indelibly upon it, and a hand
Resistless in a tender terribleness
Must thoroughly purge it, fashioning its pain
To power that leaps in fire.
Not otherwise, and by no lighter touch,
Are fire-words wrought."

... “I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail.”
-- C.A. Beard

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frustrations of an editor

*Bible Bafflement *

My friend opened a ministry, using a snippet from the Bible as the name.
But he soon regretted his decision to order office supplies
over the phone. When his stationery arrived, it bore the letterhead
"That Nun Should Perish."

this happens a lot... ;-)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sagot ni God sa Crisis

Ruth 2:5-12; 15-16


Maraming OFW at Pinoy na nandito sa Pilipinas ang nakakaramdam ng crisis. Subsob sa trabahao at said ang lahat ng oras sa trabaho para kumita kaya wala nang time o pera para sa ibang bagay. Ganyan lang ba ang takbo ng buhay?

Sa kwento ni Boaz at Ruth, makikita natin ang isang utos ng Diyos sa kanyang bayan tungkol sa pag-handle ng harvest ng trigo at iba pang pananim. Basically, sinasabi ng Panginoon, kung magha-harvest ka, magtira ka ng konti para sa mga mahihirap na sisimot ng tira-tira mo. Anong lesson ang mapupulot natin? Based sa Leviticus 19:9-10, inutusan ni Boaz ang kanyang mga tauhan na hwag gambalain si Ruth sa pamumulot. Marami pang favor ang binigay ni Boaz. Pero nag-ugat ang lahat sa utos ng Diyos tungkol sa pakikipag-ugnay sa mga foreigner, kawawa, at api.

3 mensahe ng Diyos para sa Cristianong manggagawa:

  1. “Magtira ka naman. Ako ang may-ari ng lahat.”

    Ano ba ang mahalaga sa atin? Hindi naman tayo farmer. Pero meron tayong sweldo. Meron tayong oras o panahon. Sabi ng Diyos, “Magtira ka. Kasi may paggagamitan ako dyan.” Hindi lahat ay pwede mong gamitin para sa gusto mo lang. Atsaka, hindi tayo ang may-ari. Steward lang tayo.

  2. “Ako ang magpupuno sa kulang kung magtitira ka.”

    Sa dami ng needs, hindi talaga sapat ang ating kita. Totoo yan. Alam ng Diyos yan. And yet, sinasabi ng Diyos na pwede tayong magtabi ng konti o proportion ng ating resources para sa kanyang purpose. Paulit-ulit yan sa OT at NT. Sa Malachi 3:10, magbigay ka raw ng tithes at sisiguruhin ng Diyos na hindi mapepeste at masasalot ang ating mga pananim. Sa Matthew 6:24-35, hinahabol ng mga pagano ang pangtustos sa kailangang kainin, suutin, tirhan, etc. Hinahabol nila ang panggastos, kaya wala nang panahon sa ibang bagay. Sabi ng Panginoon, hep, hep, teka muna. Unahin mo ang agenda ko. Kingdom ko muna at katuwiran. At lahat ng pangangailangan mo ay masasagot. Pero ito ay laging step of faith. Hindi ito mapipilit sayo. Mapapatunayan lang ng nagtitiwala sa Diyos pagkatapos ng hakbang ng pagtiwala at pagsunod.

  3. “Mas unang priority ang glory ko kaysa specific needs mo.”

    Parang negative. Pero, kung titingnan sa tamang perspective, sinasabi lang dito na makukuha at matatanggap ni Lord ang glory at honor na para sa kanya whether masagot ang needs natin, hindi masagot ang needs natin, o masagot nga pero sa unexpected na paraan. Hindi natin pwedeng ikahon ang glory ni Lord in terms ng ating needs and concerns. Mas malaki, malawak, malalim ang purpose ni Lord. Sa pananaw ni Lord, pareho lang opportunity na maka-receive sya ng glory at honor whether we live or die, be healed from sickness or succomb to it, become rich or become poor. Gusto natin ang ating definition ng magandang kapalaran. But sometimes, God gets glory in something we don't like.

    In the end, God will get glory. How we respond to needs and worries determine if we join in giving glory to God or not. Katulad ng love story ni Boaz at Ruth, nagsimula sa personal needs and concerns. Pero sa mas malaking story, part sila ng history ng pag-save ng Diyos sa sanlibutan. There were some negative aspects of their lives that we can point out: old bachelor si Boaz; foreigner na byuda si Ruth. Mahirap lang si Ruth and Naomi. Maraming tsismisan. However, they were people of faith, and they trusted God, and obeyed God. They gave glory to God. God received glory, their needs were met, at natupad ang purpose ni Lord sa kanilang buhay.

    Mangyari din sana sa atin.