Category Archives: writing

The Top Ten Life Lessons Worth Learning



People have been saying that this is a lucky day since this only happens once in a millenia. No wonder lots of events are being held this very moment, cause this triple threat of numbers might serve as a charms for destiny to shower us with luck.

Now, if there’s one thing 10-10-10 had brought me, it’s the inspiration of creating this entry about the top ten life lessons that had helped me throughout the years: the ones that had helped me in facing my day, in surviving life’s challenges and in cultivating the maturity I thought I never have.

I would not claim and preach that you follow all of this because this might not be effective for all but these might be worth considering:

1) Cliche as it may sound, believe in destiny. Things happen for a reason, whether good or bad. We tend to question why such things happen to us, but have we ever asked, “why not?“.

2) Try to save money. Always save up at least 5%-7% of your salary and work around the remaining amount for all of your expenses. I swear this has been effective in helping me become frugal without the hassles.

3) It never fails to unwind with your colleagues after a weeklong workload. Trust me, it is a good stress buster. Whether a night out, eat out, videoke nights or lasertag, having your own social support at work helps you to survive the pressures from your work.

4) Though we are already settled in a certain profession, it doesn’t mean that you do not have the rights to pursue your avocations and passions in life. Being in a box up world of job descriptions should not stop you from pursuing your “other” interests in life. I am a counselor by profession, but I still pursue my love for cooking by joining culinary competitions and my passion for writing by blogging.

5) Always keep the virtue of goodwill and sharing alive. Share goodness and compassion among the people and the animals around you and the environment. even those who have hurt you! It brings that extra feeling of satisfaction in your life. Make someone smile. Donate blood. It’s up to you on how to make the world a better place in your own little way.

6) Remember and reminisce the past. You’ll never know how those nostalgic feelings would put a smile not just on you but the people around you.  Share stories and memories from the past. It is a good way of collectively gathering fun and happy experiences. The perfect sample? The #sentisabado sensation that rocked the whole twitter world by storm a month ago.

7) True friendship or other relationships cannot be established by a social networking site. There are bonds and interactions in life that tagging nor linking nor following can’t do.  Met someone over the net? Don’t get excited that much for it might lead you to heartbreaks and loss. The best way of building and maintaining a relationship is the face-to-face conversations. It makes you feel more secure and warmth than the networking site.

8) Expectation can be as tempting as an opportunity or as devastating as a failure. What to do? Just be wise and keen in handling one to avoid being pulled in the emotional drain in the future. Do not expect too much. The more you expect, the more chances you might feel hurt and get disappointed when things don’t go your way. Just take it slow.

9) The true essence of forgiveness is not by forgetting and later on blame the people who have wronged you and despise them for creating the emotional wreck you had become before but instead, thanking them  for the strength they had instilled in you.  I know it is hard not to hate someone but at the end of day, you will realize that yes, they might have hurt you before but the also had contributed n making you a stronger and better person.

10) Despite experiencing sufferings, hurt and heartbreaks, and being a victim of life’s bitchy ways, never dwell on self-pity. You are lowering yourself to others which makes you be unfair yo yourself. Despite the dramas we meet in life it is better to keep our head held up high, put on a smile and battle them face on rather than just quit and cry about it. It is okay to cry for a bit but NOT to the point that you think you are the victim of the world and you needed to be saved. Come on, we are our OWN heroes in this world and is up to us on how to overcome those hardships in life.

We are a work in progress. Everyday, we learn lessons from the world’s greatest course–life and classroom–our world.

We gain insights from the greatest teacher of it all–experience.

And most of all, wisdom is achieved by life’s day to day students which is, US.

But we have to remember that it is up to us if we are going to use the learnings that we have for our own advantage.

So what’s your top ten?


Dear Dean Lorraine

Dearest Dean Lorraine Villanueva, we miss you. Thank you for everything.

Dear Dean Lorraine,

I still remember that day—March 3, 2008.

It was my first day at a new job and I was sitting on the couch, anticipating the things that would happen on this new work of mine. Then I saw you approaching me and I couldn’t help but notice  your beauty and elegance shining through that grey corporate ensemble that you were wearing.

Your serene aura calmed my jittery nerves and the moment you started talking to me, all my remaining nervousness and anxious thoughts gradually faded away. I could not explain how or why it disappeared but maybe it is because of your soothing voice or your elegant expression or maybe your motherly stance.  There was no clear answer in my head at that time but I was able to know your name. You were Dean Lorraine Villanueva.

As days passed by, I began to know you better. I was able to learn about your life, your works and your experiences. These three words best explain it all: Careerwoman, Educator and Mother.

As a careerwoman, you have various accolades, achievements and accomplishments in your career. Throughout the years, you have been involved in sharing your expertise and knowledge in the Hotel and Service Industry by becoming an educator in UP Diliman, providing lectures, seminars, training programs and consulting engagements around the Philippines.  You also have allocated some of your time in occupying various positions in different organizations in the Philippines such as a board member post in the Philippine Women’s Association, a UP College of Home Economics Secretary post and the most prestigious of it all, becoming the President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educations of the Philippines (COHREP). COHREP is an organization that is committed in developing and improving the Hotel and Restaurant education in our country and you were at its helm for two years.  Your latest career milestone was you became the Founding Dean of Enderun College, an educational institution that offers international hospitality management and business administration courses.

Despite all these glories, you were still able to continue your educational pursuits. You finished a MBA degree and a PhD in Communication in the University of the Philippines in 1982 and 2008 respectively. This reflects how you give importance to education—that no matter, how many awards or success a person receives during his professional life, the continuous quest for educational formation should not stop after we received a bachelor’s degree.

This leads me in your second quality, the Educator. During the times that I was with you, I have seen how passionate you are in educating the future hoteliers and restaurateurs. Your thirty-one years in the Academe is a proof of your dedication as an educator. From 1978 to 2006, you taught in both graduate and undergraduate classes of the University of the Philippines. You then went to Enderun Colleges and became its dean. You were there during the early stage of Enderun and with your guidance as its academic head, you were able to accomplish lots of great things within three years! With your leadership, Enderun was able to get its Commission of Higher Education (CHED) accreditation in just two years after it was established. You were also instrumental in developing its curriculum and recruiting some of its educators, ensuring that the students will receive the utmost learning they need.

You were the driving force behind the academic success of the school. Together with a small team, you faced countless pressure, stresses and challenges in order for Enderun to become a formidable management school and you triumphed over those hindrances. Who would have thought that beneath the calm demeanor there was this strong-willed woman who stirred the ship into its goal.

Despite becoming being a dean, you never forgot your love for teaching. You still taught in Enderun. You were respected by your students for sharing your knowledge about the hotel management industry and they cherished the way you teach because your approach was different. You were warm yet unyielding, considerate yet prudent. You were their teacher yet you became more of a mother to them.

And this leads me to your best quality, being “the” mother. If there was one thing that binds both of the employees and students on what we really admire about you is your motherly approach. There are lots of personality traits out there to select from but this encompasses all the qualities we have seen from you. You were a friend, mentor, confidante, counselor, inspiration, protector, supporter and motivator rolled into one. That is why we cannot help but identify you as Enderun’s mother figure because we see those qualities with our own moms.

You were the mother of Enderun from the students to its employees. Though technically, you only have three beautiful children, we were sort of the self-proclaimed adopted ones and we count for more than a thousand! But you did not mind it and instead welcomed us with open arms, and boy, did we savor those privilege. In fact, we fondly call you Mommy Dean.

That is why you became endearing to us. You were different among the usual supervisors and heads.   You are humble, accommodating and nurturing. You were the breath of fresh air in a work riddled with day-to-day challenges, stress and pressure. Seeing your smile or just simply hearing your oh-so soothing voice is enough for us to get on going for the rest of the day. You also have those moments where in we see how unassuming and humorous you are. There was a time you helped pushed a stalled van and just laughed about it. You were relatable and we loved you for it.

But what made us treasure you the most is your tireless effort of believing in each and everyone of us. You put faith on our abilities, believed in our talents and encouraged us to never stop pursuing our dreams. May it be a student or an employee, you were always there to guide us and support us in your own little way.  You made us believed in ourselves even more and be motivated to pursue our aspirations no matter how difficult it is. And we will forever be grateful for that.

I thought those feelings will continue for years but it all changed during that fateful month of May. You told us you would take a leave of absence and would be back by June or September. Like kids being left alone on a rainy night, we anxiously waited for your return, but as fate would have it, God had other plans.

Fast forward to the month of September and we found ourselves like zombies. Staring vaguely in the air, walking with heaviness in our hearts, we felt incomplete. We tried to figure it out until we painfully realized that the woman who brings the fresh air, the lady who has the inspiring smile and mother who radiates with the guiding light was already gone.

And it hit us. We would not be seeing our second mother. We would not be hearing that gentle laugh and calming voice. We would not be able to feel your reassuring embrace. There would be no words of wisdom for us to ponder on. We felt orphaned.

The feeling of loss is heartbreaking but we comforted each other by celebrating your legacy, the numerous simple ways on how you have touched and inspired countless lives. Those helped us to gradually accept your passing.

I wrote this letter as homage to you and for what you have done. This is my way to show the world that you might not be the popular politician, the celebrated social worker nor the patriotic achiever but you changed my life and everyone else around you, and that is enough for me to say that you deserved to be recognized.

I still remember that day—September 20, 2009. It’s the day you said goodbye to your family, friends, colleagues, students and to everyone you love and love you back.  It’s the day we felt the utmost sadness yet, we are comforted by the thought that you are now in a place reserved for the very best of us.

Yes, I remember that day. The pain, the tears, the fears and the emptiness I felt with your passing. But somehow, I was still able to put a smile on my face because I surely know that it is also the day heaven gained a new angel.

One of your adopted sons,

Mark Ibo

(Postscript: This article is an entry that I submitted in a journalism contest way back last May. Though I wasnt able to win, I’m still proud that I made this and in commemoration of Dean’s passing, it is fitting for me to share this to everyone who loves and cherishes her. Cheers Dean Lorraine! You will be forever loved by us! )

Woody, Marky and Me

DISCLAIMER: this is one of the few chances that I divulge my romantic life. I guess I just need an outlet to somehow let the world know my pains in life and probably understand why I am feeling and acting this way. All the 2,117 words are Sincere.  Just bear with my lengthy entry, but I have to do this for the better. Hope you have the patience to read this.

Every now and then, I couldn’t help but identify myself to different tv and movie characters. Given how much I am into pop culture, I have realized how I progressed in relating myself to the different personas of the tube and reel. During my elementary days, I thought I am like Uncanny X-Men’s Beast and Power Ranger’s Billy. Those were my geek days, where study hours were imposed by my mom, where getting high grades are the standard for them. When I was in high school, I was Pokemon’s Psyduck, an odd and spacey Pokemon who is always misunderstood. College time I was a Survivor castaway, trying to control things in my life, trying to make the people around me go along with my plans. Early 20 to mid 20s was my Ugly Betty mode, where I begin to question my real purpose in the field of work, friendship, family and romance. And recently, just recently, when I watched Toy Story 3, I realized that I am like one of the plastic toys who crave for attention and affection. A plastic in a form of a sheriff. A sheriff named Woody.

uncanny x-men's the beast

Billy the Blue Ranger



While watching and crying during the screening, my mind was telling me “oh f*ck, if  I were a toy, I must be like Woody”. Yes, I was like him, I am VERY much like him. And when Andy told Bonnie that Woody wouldn’t give up on you, I bawled like crazy because as if I have seen my self on that tiny plastic figure. He perfectly encapsulated the best and maybe the worst trait of mine. Just like Woody, I never give up on people even if rejection has to come with it.

I am a poster child for rejection especially when it comes to romantic pursuits. If there is a pedestal for isolation and being left out, I might be gloriously standing there. And for you better understand what I am talking about let me give you a brief timeline of my “affairs” and the people involved with it that stuck in my memory like a crazed stalker:

  • Clothing Tech Guy  (September  2008- December2008)– he’s from UP and we met in a networking site, after a couple of dates we became a couple. I had a blast with him. Since he is into fashion, he “experimented” on my looks and helped me find clothes and costumes that is suitable for me. We had volleyball, UP, coffee dates and so on.  However, we disagreed on one thing, our dreams in life. His course from UP was his second degree and he decided to not use his BA degree in UST to fulfill his passion in clothing. I admit I was kinda annoying him –like telling to find a job etc but we managed to resolve it. One day, after a whole day of date and shopping in Galleria, I thought we were going strong. Until the next morning, I received a text from him, saying we were over. Just like that, without any clear explanation at all. The worst part was, it was just a few days before Christmas the season of merriment and loving. I was crushed.
  • Advertising Guy (Jan 2009- March 2009) – he works in an ad agency and was a common friend of my colleagues at work. We kept our “bond” a secret. I was there when he has problems, trying to help him out to solve it. I was motivating him when he feels down. Though there were no romantic inclinations in it, I was ignorant when he told me that he loves me when he drunk dialed me one night. I told him we were better off as friends. We agreed, and we continued to be good friends, Until one day he just drifted away and suddenly acted as if he didn’t know me at all. I was shocked.
  • Barista Guy (March 2009- June 2009; August 2009-December 2009) – this one was close to my heart.  I also met him online, exchanged digits and started the days of lengthy texts, calls and chat. We had plans and shared our every thought to each other. I even lied at work to do half-day just to had a date with him. Our communication continued and I admit I was clingy to him, but with his help, I tried to control it. Then one day he texted to stop our “communication”. And the worst part? it was just a few days before my birthday. Friends of mine told me he was a jerk, but I hanged on and told them I knew deep inside he’s a good person. I defended him though he hurt me. Suddenly he resurfaced, and I told my friends I was right. It again ignited my excitement for him. Just like before, we texted, called and even visited him at work in QC (considering that I live down south). I thought it would continue then all of sudden he stopped communicating with me. Until I learned that he already has a partner. I was hurt.
  • Engineer guy (August 2009) –I met him during the death of Pres. Cory Aquino, what started as a fling went into hours of calls and texts, but just like the others, he drifted off.  I was perplexed
  • Future great educator (September 2009)– I met him I anew wholesome networking site, and since I am an educator, we clicked and had an adorable or shall I say adorkable moments, like having breakfast date, watching Kimmy Dora and doing groceries. I was never expecting anything, but we loved the sweet tension between us. And when he kissed me from out of the blue, I was taken aback. That kiss lead him to decide that we were not meant to be. And that hurt me so much. Well fortunately, we became good friends. Somehow, I am satisfied.
  • Lawyer (October 2009) – I met this guy through the site of chirping birds, and just like what happened to me in the past, it began with short status messages which lead to texting then calling. We then dated at Greenbelt. He was not familiar with the place so I kinda became a tour guide. At first it was awkward (some of my students caught us eating at Cold Rock), but as date progressed he had a mutual feeling of enjoyment. We didn’t stop communicating. We called and still texted but again one day, he suddenly became cold, never responded to my messages and I realized, my dream for a romantic possibility is over.

That was time I told myself, to stop and not entertain possible romantic liaisons cause I don’t want to end up getting hurt. Being a bum eventually helped me somehow, because I focused on finding a work rather than have new dalliances. Then recently it all changed. Because of this guy:

He who shall not be named (June 2010-July 19, 2010) – This guys works in a sales and  marketing division of a food conglomerate. I met him in the site of chirping birds(again) but the difference is that he was the one who made the first move when he saw my blog and marky (check my other posts). It then led to twit flirtation and to my surprise, he even gave his number). He’s charming, witty and smart, so eventually I got interested at him.. And again , I went to the zone I tried to avoid: the countless calls, conversations, texts and simple disclosure of our lives. We eventually planed to meet up and watch Toy Story 3. And I have it planned out. I would surprise him by giving him chocolates (which is his favorite), give him a facial mask and a spa certificate that I won (because he is so stressed out with his work). I got excited again. And it made me feel giddy all over since it has been months since I had this moment and I got attached to him in a snap. My day was not complete without hearing his voice. I admit that I became a bit clingy but I told him I would try to avoid it, which eventually I did. I was feeling and enjoying the moment, but beneath that, there was this worry that he might be just like “THEM” but I let go of that and told myself he’s different.

But days before the planned movie date, he called me up and he said it was postponed because he was busy. He told me that I should not call or contact him anymore, and I should not be dependent on him. But I was sensing a different  reason.  So I tried calling up, and to my disbelief, a guy answered saying, “This is ___________ and I’m He who shall not be named’s boyfriend. And then suddenly, my world crumbled in front of me.

I was devastated because I thought he was different, but maybe he was just like them. But I have to compose myself because later that week was a culinary cook-off that I need to take part of. So I just kept my focus on that. I eventually made a blog entry about it, as my catharsis.

Later on he called, apologizing about what happened. According to him ______ is just a good friend, so I believed him and somehow we had a “truce”. I kept promised that I wouldn’t be clingy, by not calling nor texting him that often, and somehow, a glint of hope resurrected in my heart. I believe that we might still have a chance. Last Sunday, I got  text from him, and he was inviting me to watch a UAAP game together,  so it made that glimmer a bit brighter.

Then yesterday, I accidentally read __________ ‘s blog. And there was it there: the truth. The hurtful truth unraveled in front of me. I learned the real score, why he cancelled our movie date was because he met ________ a few days before our plan and in an instant , he had forgotten me. They went out that very weekend, the same day I was supposed to go out with who shall not be named. The entry also provided details of their succeeding dates and their possibility of being in the future together. And what hurts me the most is that during that during their dates, I was there without knowing the real score, still hoping and holding on and not giving up.

So I called him last night, and to cut it short, we had some sort of “closure”. But it still stings. I had wished that he shouldn’t gave his number because my life was relatively peaceful before he arrived. Now, it’s hard to gather and pick up the pieces that broke me once again.

Lots O Huggin Bear aka "LOTSO"

That made me think, should I stop valuing people and finally give up on them? I’ve been through countless heart breaking experiences and though it was painful I was able to rise on it and continued on putting faith with the people I meet. But based on what happened recently, I am tired. Maybe I should stop being a Woody and become more of a Lotso. At least I would be spared from the emotional aspects of relationships. Maybe I should lessen the faith and valuing that I give for less heartbreaks—just like what Lotso mentioned, “No owners means no heartbreaks”.

Throughout my life, I have encountered people, gained new friends, lost a lot of drifters. One thing I can proudly say is that, despite the fact that I was hurt by these drifters I never bore a grudge among them, instead I still have faith that someday, we’ll meet again and befriends and sing Kumbaya together. Stupid as it seems, I never give up on that dream.

So for the guys I anonymously mentioned above, if ever you chanced upon this, thank you for making creating a smile on my face, sculpting a memory on our moments together and by giving me a bolt of excitement in my heart.

yes, lola FU pa

FU, on breaking my heart though.

Kidding aside, I can’t and won’t be angry to all of you. That is not just me. In fact I should be the one become angry to myself for being the romantic dreamer, romantic fool and believer in happy endings.

So probably, what I should do first is kept my “Woody” in a cabinet and I’ll just open it once there is a rightful owner who would come along.

But remember, even if Woody is tightly locked in a dark, dingy cabinet, he or shall I say, I still I would never give up on you.

On all of you.

woody, mark and me

Finding the Good in Goodbye

An uneventful thing happened to our household last Tuesday night. Our pet kitten—my soon to be favorite pet—got ran over by a car in front of our house. Fortunately it wasn’t the pisak type mishap but more of the internal injury type, so my father was still able to pick up our hapless kitten, carried it to us and let it breathe its last in front of our very eyes.

Immediately, my heart just sunk. My throat tightened as if there was a big lump in it. Though there were no tears that welled up in my eyes, I felt the sadness and instantly mourned the death of our kitten. He could have grown into a fat, snobbish, adorable and rambunctious cat. But he won’t. He would never will. Thinking of that made me had this feeling of pain, which I know will be here for a while.

Then all of a sudden, flashbacks of goodbye came crashing in my mind: the time I witness another kitten being ran over by a police car, significant others drifting away, opportunities lost, tv series being cancelled and beloved individuals passing away. The pain started creeping in and I realized, I never said goodbye to saying goodbye. I realized I’m bad with goodbyes.

Saying goodbye is my weakness. Maybe that is why I’m much of a wreck when I am faced with the time that I have to part ways with someone, something or some place. I’m a mess when it comes to goodbyes but aren’t we all?

Goodbyes are not easy to handle especially the aftermath. All of a sudden, we won’t be having what we used to have. We won’t be seeing what we used to see. We won’t be feeling what we used to feel.

In a snap, we are all in this zone of emptiness and loneliness. We feel vacant, we feel lost, we feel afraid. But we have to face the fact that ironically, the concept of goodbye is only the one that won’t say byebye to us.

Let’s face it. There is no moving on and letting go in terms of goodbyes. We just get used to the feeling of not having those “familiars” in our lives. No wonder, no matter how much we’ve said goodbye and thought we were finally over on things we have cherished, time will remind us of them and it would still sting.

The pain never really ceases. When someone leaves our side, we are heartbroken by the emptiness brought by it. When we let go of an opportunity, we are anxious if there will be another chance that will be given to us. When we leave a certain place, we are afraid that we will be forgotten if ever we return to that place.

Those things make us question, if there is really good in goodbye. But if we learn to sift through the pains, the fears and the tears, we would see that positive thing can come out of it.

Goodbye can mean new beginnings, where we can start all over again and be wiser in our actions. Goodbye can be new lessons in life, wherein we learn from our mistakes and be a better person. Goodbye can be a gift of cherishing and appreciating what we have in life. Goodbye can be a source of strength which would inspire to us stand up after the pain of loss.

It is really challenging to find the goodness goodbye really brings, but it is up to us to challenge ourselves to rise above the pain and sadness it brings.  We just have to realize that yes, goodbye can be painful but after all, when things come to an end, we have to smile because certainly new beginnings will come after.

Postscript: let me leave you an inspiring quote from an episode in Ugly Betty wherein it revolved around goodbyes:
“I’ve had to say good-bye more times than I may have liked, but everyone can say that. And no matter how many times we have to do it – even if it’s for the greater good, it still stings. And although we will never forget what we’ve given up, we owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward. What we can’t do is live our lives afraid of the next good-bye because chances are they are not going to stop. The trick is to recognize when a good-bye can be a good thing – when it’s a chance to start again.”

Tongue Tied.

The title says it all. 

It is very apt that the title of my very first blog entry is also the title of my blog. It’s like a tribute. Some sort of a tribute to my efforts to finally having a blog.

It has been my dream to make my own blog and after countless days, months, years of procrastinations, I decided that for this year I’m gonna start to have an online diary of my life, where I can share my thoughts, dreams, frustrations, romanticism, cynicism, criticisms, fantasy, hopes and all other stuff that comes out of my brain.

2010 will be a perfect start for me to pursue one my passions in life which is writing. Countless instances have appeared to my life telling me that maybe, just maybe I am a born writer. or maybe just a frustrated one.

My love affair with writing started when I was in the 6th grade when I was assigned to write for the sports section of our schoolpaper, which is funny because I never been a sporty guy. I’m more of a geek than a jock but I was able to prove my worth when I was able to win different journalism contests for the sports category.

It continued when I was in high school. I was assigned as the class diarist and I was the official “documentator” of the what’s going ons of our section. My adviser even praised me that I write well. Well enough about this self-fulfilling prophecy. Though broadcast journalism was my first career choice in college, it didnt happen because of some parental issues and the abu sayaff.

My passion hibernated during college but once in a while it resurfaces. I did joinessay writing contests, did manage our departmental journal (which became a big running  joke to my batchmates). Then I started working and taking up my masters.

Once in a while the need for me to write arises (except for research and case study requirements, which is a drag!). So sometimes, i write poems, post some compositions in the different online networking sites, but still it’s not enough.

That’s why i decided to do my blog  this year. For the past years, I have been doing the other in my passions in life–counseling (i work as a counselor) and cooking (yes, im frustrated chef, i even joined a culinary competition), singing, acting and even dancing! So now, as some sort of a resolution, it’s time to get back to my first love. The love to write.

So now, im rekindling my writing love affair, and yes, it’s burning with the utmost passion.

And this time I’m ready.