Undying Loyalty

Dear son,

It’s been five weeks since I last wrote you a letter. I’m sorry! I know I have no excuse. The world is spinning too fast, and a lot of things have already happened in the past month — both to you and to me. I like to congratulate you for finding a new job that is exactly aligned with your talents, hobby, and passion. That’s great! That job will never bore you.

In the mean time, I want you to cry. No, not that I really want you to cry. Actually, what I want is for you to watch the 2009 movie, “Hachiko — A Dog’s Tale.” For surely you will cry. I did when I watched it. Hachiko is a remarkable story of undying loyalty — one that is extremely rare to find among humans.

Dogs are incredibly loyal creatures. Once you create a bond with them, they will never break it. And if you do break that bond, they will remain your friend and keep their loyalty intact. Their body dies first before their loyalty. I learned it when I was five years old.

Forty Years Ago

We had a big dog named Boojie. It was my father’s personal pet, companion, protector, and friend when he was still in the army. We were in an area where rebels constantly battled with the army. So my father trained Boojie to protect not only him but also us: me, my mom, and my little sister, because he was always away — in the battle front line.

Boojie was an intelligent guard dog. I remember how amazed I was to see it following commands from my dad. When my dad tapped a table twice, Boojie would jump over that table. It would sit when my dad said so. And when my dad made a gesture to attack someone, Boogie would surely attack that someone.

One common experience among soldiers in the 70’s, was the reassignment of duties. One day, my dad surprised us that he was just reassigned back to the country’s main island, more than one thousand three hundred kilometers away from where we were at that time. And we had to move immediately. Since the only two options to travel was by plane or by ship, and dogs have their own fare, not to mention the clearances required to process to transport them, my father’s initial decision was to leave the dog. So we left Boojie alone.

pexels-photo-248273.jpegBut Boojie didn’t agree with the decision. He followed us as we travelled to the city from that remote mountainous area. My dad was tough. And I knew, he was trying to be tough that time as he was driving the old rugged car looking at the side and rear mirrors from time to time to check whether Boojie had given up following us.

Boojie steadfastly followed us for more than two hours, running in full speed in that very long and very rough road going to the city proper. It was my father who gave up. His toughness was no match to Boojie’s persistence; his strong heart was weaker than his dog’s loyalty.

He stopped the car and let Boojie come in. When I noticed its tongue to be unusually longer, I asked mom why. “Boojies has been running for two hours and he never stopped even though he’s very tired. He wants to come with us.” she answered me. My short 5-year-old arms weren’t enough as I embraced Boojie until we reached the dock.

In short, Boojie traveled with us in the ship back to the country’s capital.

Upon arrival, we went straight to my mom’s parents house and settled there for a couple of days. Then we traveled to my dad’s home to another province just to visit them. When we came back to my mom’s home four days later, Boojie was dead. My grandma told us that, “He won’t eat anything. I think he was so lonely. No matter what we did, he just kept on ignoring us. Maybe he thought you left him here. He just died yesterday.”

Almost forty years have passed, and I still remember the emotion that succumbed us all that moment. My mom cried. I did too.

The Why

Remember the first time I took you from your mom, to live with me? You were still in your fifth grade. When we arrived in your would be “new home,” I embraced you and said, “I missed you son!”

Then unexpectedly, you asked me a very innocent question, “What is ‘miss’ papa?” Apparently your young mind was not yet familiar with the concept of “missing a person.” I thought maybe because you haven’t experienced yet to have a bond with someone. I was  physically away from you, your mom was physically present but wasn’t caring enough for you. Maybe you didn’t know how it felt to be endeared by someone.

So I began a series of projects. First I bonded with you by being a friend more than a father at the time. Then I gradually gave you home duties that are solely yours so you would learn how to be responsible to what was expected of you. Years later, I taught you to grow plants and take care of them. Then finally, I inspired you to grow animals. First, the hamster, then the pigeons, then finally the dogs.

Before you went back to your mother, I noticed you have already learned how to bond with your beautiful dogs and cats. That’s a great thing son. That’s wonderful!

All those years, what I really taught you was the power of friendship. Because true friendship will always breed loyalty — the one thing that is so rare in our modern time, the one Hachiko demonstrated in the movie, the one Boojie taught me forty years ago.

Loyalty is so rare now, perhaps because people have forgotten how to become a good friend, a true friend, a trustworthy friend. They forgot that loyalty grows from true friendship alone.

My son, you are now becoming a father. It is no joke. You are not just growing a plant or a dog or a cat anymore. You will be growing another human being — another person just like you and me, with own body, heart, mind, and spirit. You will be growing someone who will be your legacy, and yet free to choose his own path. The one great way to do that is by being his dad — a father and friend rolled into one.

Now go, take a rest, and watch the movie. Learn as much as you can. Enjoy it!

I love you always son!

God bless you!



Approaching The Right People

Hello Sharon!

As promised, I am now reblogging this post of yours…

But first, let me say something. I chose this particular post of yours because I love the concept you are sharing here. Especially the H.O.T.S. people that surround us:

By process of elimination, I am sure, I am NOT a squirrel — for I’m very poor in details. On the contrary, I love the big picture!

Second, I am definitely NOT a hare, for I love to follow through, and I don’t easily get bored. Patience is one of my strengths.

I’m thinking if I am a bit of a turtle because I love “slow-but-sure” approach to life. But absolutely, I am not a naysayer — for I truly hate a naysaying attitude. Now that leaves me just one choice left.

Maybe, just maybe… I am an owl (although I have squinty eyes), because deep inside I know how much I love strategic planning, and I believe in the power of people-working-together-as-team.

So, to answer your question, I think, not all people are mean. Sometimes, we just go to the wrong person.

What I have learned years ago is that, if I’m going to embark in a very important journey in my life, I have to be very careful in choosing who will be going along with me in my journey. I have accepted the fact that not all people will be joining me. That discovery (and acceptance) somehow taught me how to choose the “right” people who will journey with me. When they do, I also do everything to make their choice (of joining me) worthwhile.

Thanks for your story!

Here’s your post…

Dear Diary,

I had a dream today…I was running through a field of money. I woke up to a burning laptop charger. I guess the energy emitted in my dream was manifested real life. I thought up a business idea today: wrote a business plan to top it all and submitted it to the two most important male figures in my life. Didnt quite go as planned. […]

via Are all people this mean?? — DIARY OF A MONEY MAKING ADDICT


3-Day Quote Challenge: Day 3

Day Three

Finally, the last day in my 3-day quote challenge has come! But certainly NOT my last “thanks!” to Kranti who dragged me into this — first time — wonderful experience! I just love this!


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

My Third Quote:

Sometimes it takes the worst to bring out the best in you.

The Best in You

When bad things happen to us, we tend to forget the good ones.

This quote reminds me that the worst is not the end of life, sometimes, it is the gateway to something great. Remember after the storm, comes the warmth of the sun. At the end of the tunnel, lies the light.

If we are a learner, no matter what happens to us, we always learn from it. And normally, the worse the scenario, the greater the learning. Now, imagine the worst. Sure enough, if we learn from it, the result would be our greatest learning. It is that learning that brings the best in us.

Now, let me summarize by connecting the three quotes:

  • Quote 1 is about the strong belief that no one can really crumple us without our permission. It’s our initial protection from the worst.
  • Quote 2 is about accepting the reality that the worst will come; making our heart ready when it happens; actually knowing what to do during the trial; and finally, holding on with the hope that miracle is coming.
  • Quote 3 is about the reward if we keep our part intact.

With that, I again give my thanks to Kranti for taking me to this wonderful 3-day journey!

My last set of nominees:


3-Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

Day Two

Again, I give my thanks to Kranti for this opportunity to participated in a 3-day challenge.


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

My Second Quote:

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

KnotI love the sense of hope this quote gives me.

It was during my high school years when I visited my auntie in her church that I first encountered this quote. I saw a big photo frame on a wall of the lobby of the parsonage. There was a hand holding at the end of a rope. It gave me a mental image that because the rope had a knot on its end, the hand that was holding it wasn’t sliding downward. It just kept on hanging for as long as the fingers were locked. At least that was the imagination triggered in me by that photo at the wall.

There are four things that I’m reminded whenever I read this quote:

  • WHEN — the quote begins with the word “when” and NOT with the word “if.” In this context, If indicates, a possibility; when indicates inevitability. For me, it means, that difficult times will surely come to us. It’s just a matter of time — a matter of when. Therefore, this quote reminds me that I should not be surprised, but instead be ready when it happens, because it will happen.
  • TIE — this is what I shoud be ready to do. It means a little effort on my part. If I fell because I didn’t tie a knot, I am the only one to be blamed. This is about responsibility.
  • KNOT — this is something — a person, a thing, a dream, my faith, sense of purpose — or anything that I can focus my mind on in times of difficulty in order for me to not to give up.
  • HANG ON — this is the part when I have done everything else, but still refuse to give up. It means hope. Just wait a little longer. Have faith.

They said that men can survive 40 days without food; 4 days without water; 4 minutes without oxygen; but only 4 seconds without hope. That’s how important hope is.

Difficulty is part of life. There are times when we feel that everything else fails and that We’ve done everything we could, every solution possible. Yet still, nothing seems to work anymore. We feel tired, frustrated, and hopeless. But let’s not give up. Not yet. Let’s just make a little more effort of picking up on something dear to us, something we can hold on to — like a knot at the end of a rope — and hope for a miracle.

My Second set of nominees:


3-Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

Day One

Because I was taken by surprise, let me just follow my nominator’s path on my first day. My quote will also be about life being precious.

Thank you Kranti for this sweet friendly challenge! I appreciate it a lot!


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

My First Quote:

You never lose your worth. No matter what life throws at you.

One day, a young lady came to me crying. She said,

She humiliated me in front of my classmates, throwing baseless accusations after accusations. Now, I’m losing respect in myself.

It happened about seven years ago while I was still working in a state-owned academy. The young lady was a second year college student then. She was talking about her lady professor. This professor was one of those who have completed two Master Degrees and a PHD, and a numerous high-profile trainings. So by looking at her credentials, she is supposed to be a highly respectable person. But people — just like this young lady student who came to me, weeping in shame, anger, and emotional pain — in the academy believed or experienced the exact opposite of respect.

Follow me.

I said to her, after listening intensely to some details of her story. Then, she followed me as I walked out of my office toward an open space just outside the building.

When we reached a shaded place, I pulled out my wallet, took a 100 peso bill, and asked her..

If I gave this P100 bill to anybody, do you think, they will accept it?

Yes sir, of course! No one will reject it!” replied the young lady.

Then I crumpled it with my right hand in front of her, and asked a follow-up question.

How about now that it’s crumpled? Will people still accept it?

Yes sir. Of course, they will.

This time, I threw the P100 bill on the ground then stepped on it with my shoes, as if grinding it with force. Then asked another question, after picking it from the ground…

Now that its totally crumpled and dirty in your eyes, do you still believe people will accept it?

Of course sir. It is still P100.

That’s it! That’s exactly it! I exclaimed.

She looked at me with confused eyes, still with some tears welling up. Then I smiled at her, and told her slowly, with a soft reassuring voice.

“You are precious. Just like this bill, your value won’t change just because they crumpled you in the outside. You are still the same you — charming, always smiling, happy student.”

“Actually,” I followed through, “it is yourresponse to those kind of experiences, that will determine your worth. To cry for such a painful experience is okay. That’s part of a normal person with normal emotions. You have already cried. That’s good. Now it’s time to get up. I am reminding you of your worth. And I hope that you will go back to your lady professor with a stronger heart, knowing that no matter what she throws at you, your value as a person doesn’t change. You are still precious.”

She burst into more tears after I said those words.

Not knowing what to do, I just stood there, watching her as she cried, silently praying that my words would at least give her inner strength.

After a minute or two, she rose her head, looked at me with a sweet smile, as she was wiping all the tears in her face… and said,

Thank you very much sir. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I smiled back at her with a relieved heart.

Then she followed-up with a rather unexpected request…

Sir, can I have this bill as a souvenir?

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Well, that’s it. That’s my quote, with a short personal story.

I was still in high school when I encountered a story similar to that. Decades later, I was in the position to relive that story, with me as one of the characters — the one who was giving the strength to a damaged person. I’m glad I was given a chance to share the experience to that young lady student.

When she graduated from the academy, years later, she came back to me, and thanked me again for that P100 bill encounter. Maybe she still has my money now. Maybe she doesn’t anymore. It doesn’t matter. What important is that she remembered how precious she was — and stayed that way.

Again, thank you Kranti for this opportunity.

Now, my nominees:


Fatherhood: Response-ability

Dear son,

My last letter to you was about fatherhood’s two faces: responsibility and opportunity to grow. I told you that responsibility is about the ability to respond to what’s expected of you. And then you asked me how in the world are you going to meet the super high, unbelievable, and most of the time, unreasonable expectations of people around you who claim to be your family but actually don’t care for you and Hannah, and your incoming baby.

Fatherhood Images
Two Images of Fatherhood

Well, my quick answer is a resounding NO! You don’t have to meet their unreasonable uncaring expectations at all. But that would be another topic to discuss. Just ignore them for now.

What I was talking about was God’s expectations from all fathers. Now that you are going to be a father, you need to be aware of these things. Because after reading this letter, you will jump from theory to practice.

Let’s begin…

Father’s have many responsibilities. We will not talk about all of them; instead, we’ll focus on just four basic duties expected of a father.

  1. Protection — You are expected to protect your family from all kinds of harm. In order to do that, you need to assess your environment. Are they safe from physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual harm?
    • physical harm is easy — is your house safe from diseases, thieves, physical pains, and unnecessary accidents due to poor household arrangements? Check it out. Do a general cleaning if necessary
    • emotional harm — how close is your family (you and Hannah) from people who constantly criticise, condemn, insult, and belittle other people including you and Hannah? If in case you are living among them, how do you prevent or at least neutralize those emotional harm that may cause your family unecesasry emotional pain? Figure it out. But don’t engage in war!
    • mental harm — attitude is very crucial to success, but it has two characteristics that may cause you problem: first, it is very contagious, second it is difficult to change. Now if you are surrounded by people with very negative attitude, how do you secure your family from being infected? Because remember, once you and your family is infected by the negativity of those around you, it would be very difficult to change and go back to your original mental state.
    • spiritual harm — attitude are just outward manifestation of an inner belief. If the people around you do not believe in God or do not believe that there are universal, timeless principles that govern us all, that may pose problems. If they believe that they can control the universe, and that they can control you, that would be dangerous. If your surrounding dont believe in the virtues I taught you — virtues like honesty, discipline, forgiveness, patience, faith — that may create conflict. But if their belief is far different from ours, DON’T ENGAGE IN ARGUMENTS. That won’t help at all. Arguments dont convince people, behavior does. 😉
  2. Provision — Again, as humans, we have four dimensions: body, mind, heart, spirit. Those four dimensions have different needs:
    • the body needs food, clothing, and shelter; the mind needs to learn and satisfy its curiosity; the heart needs love and acceptance, and the opportunity to love in return; the spirit needs meaning that comes from a higher being (in our belief system, it’s God, not money), and the priveledge to serve other people.
    • Now, as a father-to-be, you need to start thinking how are you going to provide those things directly or inderectly.
      • Food, clothing, and a decent shelter is the easiest part — but this one requires money.
      • Mind comes next. Providing education requires financial sources too. But teaching your son the right attitude, doesn’t require money. And that’s even more important than any bachelor degrees, MS, and PHDs this world can to offer.
      • Many fail in the “heart” part (have you ever heard of fathers who cant forgive their sons or daughters? They failed in the heart part of providing for the family) Let’s continue this in number three below.
      • The “spiritual” dimension is probably the greatest dillema in our society now. Very very few fathers provide spiritual guidance to their children — the world has become too busy, that its fathers choose to prioritize money and status above all else. When I was younger, I also made that mistake to you. I prioritized “everything else” in my life, and forgotten what is expected of me as a father. Now I’m catching up. I hope I can.
  3. Love, Encouragement, and Forgiveness — All these three have already become Where Elsevery very rare now in our modern dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest, “matira-matibay” society. But these three are essential. If your own family cannot find these three in your own home, where else can they find them? Nobody offers them anymore for free! Well, of course there are few exceptions out there. But when I say it’s “very very rare” its really very very rare. I seee people everyday whose parents cannot offer them love, encouragements, and forgiveness, so these poor people demand those essentials from false friends, strangers, drugs, and alcohol. The result? Chaos! Pain! Regret!
  4. Belief Foundation — Did you know that our first image of God comes from our first image of our earthly father? Yes. That’s why when you told me few years ago about your doubt on God’s existence, it almost crashed me. Because I knew, that I failed on this part of my responsibility as a father: I was not able to provide you a clear image of God. First, we fathers, do that by setting examples, by our behaviors, by the choices we make; second, we reinforce those behaviors with words of explanation. If we fail on our examples, no amount of explanation will compensate.
    • So prepare yourself on how are you going to give David the best image of the invisible God.
    • Another things is your overall belief system. In my 13 years of working with “so called leaders” I observed that most of them don’t have an intact belief system. They don’t know whether or not to believe that integrity is an imperative in leadership. Because of that, they compromise everytime, they are not consistent in their decision-making, and because they dont know what they believe, they don’t know how to respond to difficult situations. The result? People stop trusting them! As a father, one of your responsibilities is to establish that belief system in your family that is intact — a belief system that cannot be esily shattered by arguments, and cannot be swayed by painful experiences.

Example Failure

There are many more responsibilities waitng for you as a father. We haven’t talked yet about discipline and specific instructions and training, and about how to treat your wife. We’ll get there later. For now, I want you to begin thinking about these four basic expectations you need to meet. If you have noticed, I began from the easiest (protection) part, to the most difficult one (belief foundation) to make it easier for you to apply them. The last two responsibilites are just an expansion of the “heart” and “spirit” issues in both the protection and provision responsibilities.

I pray that you find this helpful. May God bless you and comfort you, and give you streght as you put these teaching into specific observable actions.

I love you always son!



31st Week: Creatively Pregnant

Dear Hannah,

Have a great day today!

Last time, we talked about being intentional in your every move — knowing that the baby in your womb has already started picking up and responding to most activities you take. And that by being intentional, you are showing your care to him deliberately, instead of just relying on the automatic systems of your body. I also promised you that on my next letter, we’d talk about why doing creative activities will prepare you better for the future of your mother-child caring interactions.

So, let’s jump forward to that near future…

Flash Forward

When David comes out — 9 weeks from now — he will begin his journey to discovery and growth. He will do it in stages. Every stage is different. As his mother, you will join him in this journey, one step at a time. As he learns new things, you will learn with him. As he grows, so are you.

Here are the first three stages of his life.

  1. Newborn — the first 3 months will pass by very fast or very slow. Depending on whether you are enjoying your son or you are frustrated because you can no longer do the things you’ve been doing before you became pregnant. Here, David’s life will be plain and simple: eat, poop, pee, cry, and sleep. You will observe him and learn his cycle and timing. Here, cry is his only language.
  2. Infant — months 4 to 6 are his infant days. Many things have already changed by this time — both for you and your little one. You are now accustomed to it, or more frustrated. Here, David will be interacting with you through smiles, coos, and laughs — not just cry anymore. He will have learned a lot of movements too. He will be crawling slow, sit by his own and begin learning how to use his hands.
  3. Baby — after his sixth month birthday, he will be officially called a baby. This will be his journey from 7 months old up to his first year birthday. Here you will find yourself running around the house chasing your little David as he crawls in the bed and at the floor, climbs everywhere, and picks everything in sight in order to put it in his mouth. Another approach is needed here.

Have you noticed? David will make significant changes every three months. So your approach in caring for him will also change. And in order for you to cope up with that constant change is to be creative in many things. If you are fixed with your first learnings, and not become flexible in changing your style, you will easily get frustrated.

Here are some specifics:

  • Beginning on his birth, he will ASK FOR MILK every two hours. If you have breast milk, you will feed him alone. And you will get tired, and will have sleepless nights. If you don’t have breast milk, then that means, you and Jonathan will go alternately preparing bottled milks for David every two hours during night. After 3 months though, David might be asking milk every 3 hours. Now, your Creativity will help you adjust during these months.
  • BATHING the baby will change dramatically as he grows from newborn to infant to baby. On his newborn months, you will bath him while he’s lying flat on a nursing table. You will do it very quickly so your baby won’t get cold by being exposed to water and air for longer minutes. During infancy, that will change. You will no longer be able to bath him lying on a flat surface because by that time, he is already able to sit and crawl. During bath time, you will sit him comfortably inside a baby tub. Of course that will require another set of skills and timing. If you are not flexible in learning, you and David will struggle during bathing time. When he reaches 7 months old, David will be fast in his movements, can crawl quickly and can grab a lot of little things in front of him. It will be difficult for you to bath him alone. Again, you need to be creative.
  • Changing his diaper after he poop will also need creativity. The first 3 months will be easy. But to change the diaper of a crawling baby who doesn’t understand the word “stop” yet requires creativity. If your are not prepared for this. You will get irritated, annoyed, or frustrated. If you are prepared, it will be fun!
  • As your baby grows, he will change his needs. Therefore you will change his SURROUNDINGS in order to cope up with his needs. Newborn is the easiest. All he needs is a warm embrace, milk, and clean diaper. But when he begins to crawl you need some soft barricades so he won’t fall off the bed when he wakes up while you’re still sleeping. When he learns to pick objects — small and bigyou need to rearrange your things within the house. You will not deprive him of his desire to grab objects, otherwise he won’t learn to use his fingers and his hands. But you also be careful on what objects he may pick to avoid any accident. Be creative in rearranging your things, and everything in your house that will get in contact with the baby.

These are just a few examples to give you a glimpse of what’s going to happen in your journey together. It’s going to be fun or frustrating — depending on whether you are creatively prepared or not. I’m telling you this because I have observed a lot of first-time mothers who were extremely frustrated because they never anticipated all these small things when they were still pregnant. They forgot to prepare, they thought everything will be automatic. They were not deliberate on their care. So they paid the price. But what is worse, is that their baby paid an even higher price.

I don’t want that to happen to you and David. And I’m sure you don’t want it to happen too. So practice your creative mind now while you’re still pregnant. When you practice doing creative things now, even if it’s not yet related to the baby, your mind will be equipped in using creativity to solve problems. And when your little one arrives, your creativity will help both of you.

As your baby journeys to discover life, you will discover a lot of things too — things about yourself, about Jonathan, about your little baby himself. And of course about life in general. But believe me, with a prepared mind and a ready heart, this journey will be the most exciting and fulfilling journey of all.

‘Til next time my dear daughter…

God bless you always!

Kisses to my grandson-to-be,