Thursday, January 31, 2013

Of sense and meaning and purpose

I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson that “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have (life) make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Yes, we need to have a sense of purpose and live well. When you do what you are most passionate about and you find what you’re doing fulfilling then you’ll end up happy. I think this is the reason why people don’t stay long in companies. They simply go to work to earn money. Hence, my professor was right when he said that “This sense of meaning is evidently lacking in our society today.” People continually look for flaws and blame the corporate world for their discontentment and unhappiness but the reality is, they don’t get fulfillment because they’re working for the wrong reasons. Most people are successful with their second professions because their second professions are the pursuit of their real life dreams.  

However, while I agree with having a purposeful life and endeavor  it would be hard to convince every Filipino to live one. Having meaning would be easier to pursue for educated people (and just now I think I sound like the girl from the Amalayer video) but for millions of hungry Filipinos, I think basic sustenance is what they aim for. So now, we go to the vicious cycle of pin pointing who to blame. Why are millions of Filipinos hungry? First, miseducation of people. Filipinos are taught that the importance of family is togetherness even without food in their plates hence; couples would tend to produce more and more children who they can’t support. Second, our own Filipino character (or human trait) – we are self-centered. We want to be “successful,” ergo, rich and famous, even at the expense of other people. This is a common trait of most traditional politicians so they get the funding for their constituents but what’s really happening is; the politicians have ridiculously huge mansions while the people in the vicinity live in filthy huts.  So for these people who just want to survive everyday, it would be hard to instill the need for life’s sense. I am idealistic so I’m still hopeful that it is possible. We only need to have willful compatriots.

So how about balance of work and life? My professor says that "the reward for work is more work." I believe this is the mantra of achievers. It would be great if every person would have this mindset then there would be no work slippages and overall productivity would reach its all-time high. I agree with it if people are doing what they are most passionate about because if they are, then no amount of pain and sacrifices would be worth the fulfillment they get in return. However, some find success in development and achievement of others. For instance, a mother would have more sense of fulfillment if she sees her son or daughter receive a medal for academic excellence in school. In return, the mother would be more productive at work. In addition, I also know some successful people and they say that if they can turn back time, they would want to have spent more time with their families and see their children grow up. One professor even told the recent CPA exam board passers, “just do your best. The ‘CPA’ suffix is just a bonus. You will work hard all your life to end up relaxing in a villa with your family but when is that? – when your children are old enough and already have their own?” I believe in the end it’s not the accolades that matter but how you enjoyed your journey and how you make your profession dignified. Hence; for me, there should still be a balance, i.e., you have dignity and purpose in what you do, you enjoy the journey of your success story, and you have a support system of people who would endure the pains of your journey but would be there to celebrate your success.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The dawn of coolness

I learned about some cool people and stuffs this past week... I just wish to share...

So there's a lot of e-commerce sites all over the world. The Philippines is picking up as well. Over the weekend, I learned about two e-commerce sites. One is  It's a great alternative to Lazada and Zalora. The have digital, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and fitness products - a wide range that is. You can also pay in various ways - paypal, credit card, Globe GCash, Smart Money, cash on delivery, and direct bank deposit. Heck, they accept installment!!! 

Another e-commerce site is (and I'm personally more interested with this). sells a wide array of products that are not available in the Philippines. Ok so perhaps, you'd say that you can buy in Amazon or other international e-commerce websites so why choose galleon? Galleon has quick delivery considering that products will be coming from other countries. Plus - they have some really cool stuffs like raspberry pi. I don't know about you guys but I didn't know about raspberry pi until I saw it in galleon. Raspberry Pi is a small sized computer and when i say small it really is small... pocket sized!

I was privileged to meet the founder of both Kosmos and Galleon last weekend. One day I want to be as entrepreneurial as him. I also want to be as frugal which I highly doubt I could be haha

So another thing that I find cool is (thanks to my classmates). It's a cloud-based technology where you can store your files - any kind - share it easily, comment, and revise without downloading and uploading again. If you sign up, you have free 5 GB space. Sharing is also made available on mobile devices. Yes, you can use your smartphones. More and more businesses are availing of box instead of Microsoft's sharepoint. Aaron Levie is the founder of box and he came up with the idea because he lost his USB once, along with the files of course.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The difference defined by Rockstars

I grew up dreaming of becoming a rockstar. In my dreams, I am. When i was a kid, while my parents are busy cooking and my brother is playing, I would imagine our living room as an open ground filled with screaming rock fans, and I - I am rocking out like Freddie Mercury whose music I grew up with. I still "do concerts" to this date - in the bathroom haha it's just a little toned down since it's a small venue (I'm not kidding). Seriously, I have big dreams of rock music while I was growing up but all those dreams where put aside when I entered college. I have little conviction back then so I was dragged to travel the road most traveled - graduate from college, enter the corporate world, and well, people say, get rich and successful. So here I am the one person who never liked anything conventional, staying traditional and tamed like a puppet.

I felt hopeless and down right immobile that I can't do what I want to do. Worst, I feel like I really don't deserve to be a rockstar - that I can't do it. I love music so much but I think my skills are inadequate so I really have to give my dream but lately, I discovered inspiring people, in fact, inspiring rockstars. Do they sing? Nope! One is an interior designer while the other is an entrepreneur/businessman.

I've been watching the Antonio treatment for months now but 'tis the only time I blogged about it. The rockstar is Antonio Ballatore. He looks like any other stereotyped rockstar (massive face hair and tattoos everywhere) but he is an interior designer. He redesigns (more like reinvents) houses with a really cool rockstar twist. In one of the episodes, he tried to help a music teacher to transform his apartment to a rocking music studio. The coffee table was designed like the coffin-shaped guitar bag popularized by Slash and well, it really has a Slash-autographed guitar in it! He also smashed collectible guitars, including one of Lindsay Lohan's pink guitar and his own. He designed the wall with those smashed guitars like a Rock n' Roll hall of fame exhibit (i want my house to have one of those). There's also one family with a young boy. Antonio gave the boy a room that looked like a concert backstage. The boy's cabinet was designed like black equipment and cable boxes. One of my other favorite pieces was a chandelier that looked like intertwined swans, painted midnight blue and sprinkled with glittering (seemingly) sawdust. What I love about Antonio and the show is that it features non conventional interior designing. When I have a house of my own, I could imagine that it would look like one designed by Antonio (of course I won't be able to afford his services haha). In the Philippines, the Antonio treatment is shown in Lifestyle network while in the US, I believe it is shown in HGTV.  

The other rockstar I am gushing about lately is Sir Richard Branson. Yes people you call him SIR. The business magnate has been knighted by no less than HRH Prince Charles for his "services to entrepreneurship." Why? Well he owns an empire - Virgin records, Virgin Atlantic (airline company), Virgin mobile, Virgin train, Virgin Cola, Virgin Comics, and Virgin Galactic (provides sub-orbital spaceflights to space tourists). And these are just the famous ones. The Virgin Group is said to be comprised of more than 400 companies! He was #85 in the 2002 list of '100 Greatest Britons.' What makes him a rockstar? He isn't your traditional businessman. Virgin Atlantic's vision is "to grow a profitable airline which people love to fly and where people love to work." I seriously want to work for this knight. He was quoted to have said "I'm often asked what it is that makes Virgin different. The simple answer is - our people. If it weren't for a bunch of well trained, motivated and, above all, happy people doing their bit, we'd have never launched a record label, never mind a fleet of 747s." According to online materials, he asked his people with direct reports to spend a lot of time (and a great deal of money) with their direct reports. Tony Fernandez, the man behind Air Asia used to work for him. But now he's a testament that Sir Richard Branson is truly a people developer. He is also true to his words. He made a bet with Tony Fernandez that whichever of their teams finished lower in the constructors' championship in F1 would serve on the other's airline. Sir Richard Branson lost and now, he is planning to honor the deal and serve in one of Air Asia's flights in full stewardess outfit. I want to be in that flight! I heard that he has a book. Guess what it's called - Losing my Virginity... haha

I love people who challenges convention and who tries to rock the scene. I am truly inspired by these great people. Now, my rockstar dream has come alive yet again. I know that I can be one without having to front a rock band. Anyway, I always have my bathroom!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rurouni Kenshin: A Review

I am a certified couch potato. I can stay home all day just watching TV and listening to great music. I grew up watching hundreds of animation features, mostly Japanese. One of the best I've seen is Samurai X. Though the viewers  are still young, including myself, the story was well received and appreciated. That's why I was too excited when I learned that a full-length film version was to be released. I wasn't surprised it was turned to a movie because anime and comic characters have been entertaining us in the last decade or so via their real life 'reincarnations'.

The movie is entitled Rurouni Kenshin. It opened with the conclusion of Bakumatsu war, marking the dawn of a new era in Japan, Meiji era. Hitokiri Battousai, the legendary swordsman and man slayer, surrendered his deadly katana and vowed to never kill again. 10 years later, he ended up in a village where he was mistaken or rather sensed as the legendary Battousai. It was that fateful meeting with Kamiya Kaoru that led him to several adventures with the villagers, authorities, and mere onlookers, who are trying to find Battousai. Day after day, people are assassinated and the slayer identified himself as Battousai hence; everyone is looking for Battousai. It was in fact an attempt to let the real Battousai come out. The real Battousai hid his true self and named himself Himura Kenshin. His true self was exposed when he met the authority, Hajime Saito who tried to provoke him while in jail. Kenshin didn't give in. When the opium lord, Kanryu Takeda, learned about him, the former wanted to avail of his services as a bodyguard. Even then, Kenshin didn't give in. It was the time when he met a new friend, Sanosuke Sagara. Udo Jinei who belonged to the same faction as Battousai, wanted him to kill again. When both Jinei and Kanryu could not bring out the slayer in Kenshin, they attacked his emotions and good heart. The villagers were poisoned, and Kenshin's friends Megumi and Kaoru were held hostages. Kenshin almost killed Jinei who held Kaoru hostage but Kaoru stopped him. Kenshin merely made Jinei and a throng of opium workers incapable of physically fighting.

So how did I find the movie - GREAT!!! Firstly, the casting was excellent. The actors personify their anime characters. Sanosuke was comedic even from his face, which matches the anime character. Kanryu was vicious. Kaoru was fragile yet strong and beautiful. And Kenshin? He is just superb. Takeru Sato was a perfect choice to play Battousai - his height, looks, and commanding presence. The wardrobe and physical features of each characters were so close if not exactly the same as the anime characters. Secondly, the setting is also worth applauding. Historic Japanese setup is simply fantastic. Thirdly, the action sequences were made exquisitely. The bloods and sword fighting were made so realistic that even an old school mob/action movie fanatic like I am needed to close my eyes for a moment on some action sequences. Yet, I didn't find find it gross at all. It was artful.

Actually, there's really not much to say but "more" and "when is the next installment?" Rurouni Kenshin is one great movie. I hope that this would usher the golden age of Asian entertainment and that Filipino filmmakers could be inspired to develop similar caliber materials. If you haven't watched it, go see it. You won't be sorry...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Creative List

When I was younger, apart from listening to great music, I also watch great music videos. Back in college, I will always watch MTV and Channel V. I want fun and creative videos. These days, they are rare. Hence; I thought of sharing my favorite creative videos.

5. The Scientist - Coldplay

Alright, there are many videos that did the reverse sequence but I think Coldplay's "The Scientist" video was one of those that came with the idea first. The video showed Chris Martin alone. The story of how he became alone was told as the video progresses. The video coincides to the lyrics of the song, i.e., a relationship gone wrong and a man trying to go back to the start and right what went wrong. What made it amazing as well is that though the video is shown backwards, Chris' mouthing of the song's lyrics in some parts of the music video is exact and progressive. Go see for yourself...

4. Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This video is simply cool. Anthony, Flea, Chad and Josh were video game characters! Inside the video game, each RHCP member had an adventure. Anthony and Flea even rode a mosquito (or at least what I think is a mosquito). At the end of the video, they fell to the earth's core and transformed back to humans. Flying car driven by Anthony Kiedis, car submerged in water, and skateboarding in the famous Golden Gate bridge (my personal favorite). Creative? Check it out...

3. Coffee and TV - Blur

This video is all about the milk pack! The adventure began with the milk pack walking in a busy street, almost hit by a motorbike but not quite. He met a girl (a pink milk pack!) but she was stepped on and died - poor thing. He continued walking and survived near death situations until he reached the garage where the band is playing. He was picked... and emptied... and thrown to the garbage... How sad. When I first watched this video year ago, I literally got sad. I love the milk pack... creative? Hell yeah!

2. Somebody that I used to Know - Gotye

This is one of the very few recent videos that I think is really creative. It's about one naked Gotye. But that's not why the video is creative. Gotye is naked with body paint that replicates the wall. It's as if there's no person in there but the wall. In the middle of the video, a girl was shown with the same body paint and stuck in the wall. Slowly, the girl was stripped off of the body paint. It's a really creative way of telling the compelling, poignant message of the song - when a man and woman come together in a relationship, it's as if they build a different world together but when the relationship is over, one or both will detach from the world they created...

1. Pink - Aerosmith

This song is one of my all time favorites. It never fails to perk me up in the morning. I personally don't like pink as a color but this song is just so cool and so as the video. The video shows individuality in a variety of personalities and characters - skinny, not too skinny, tattooed, rocker, model, senior citizen, and even a dog. It was a play of characters. How do you like a little boy with Steve Tyler's grown up face and bunny ears? Everything flamboyant is in this video. It's fun yet creative. It's pink!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The power of digital

For the longest time, restrained myself from registering to Twitter. I always thought that Facebook is more than enough. In a day, I probably check what's going on for 5 minutes in Facebook, and I already think that since I check daily, I'm already "active." Two days ago, I signed up to Twitter. I think many people share the same sentiment and especially for the elders, most have security concerns.

However, times have been changing. Trends come and go. Over the years, especially in the recent decades, technology has changed our ways of lives. Technology has changed our lives. No matter how we negate the power of technology and social media, it is compelling. I am old enough to share that I was once a Friendster user. Yes, people before Facebook, there was friendster. You grow your network there and even provide testimonials to close friends. The power of networking was intensified by Facebook. You get to share with and be aware of your friends and acquaintances' lives through stories told by pictures, status updates and comments. One can still connect with friends who are miles and miles away. However, more than this simple networking, socially responsible individuals and organizations have used facebook to make valuable propositions and organize activities for a cause.

To give you all an example, last year a senior citizen (Lola Aurelia) lost her 78-yr-old husband due to intermittent memory loss. Lola Aurelia printed a picture of her husband and distributed it in every street she can reach on foot. A student found her and posted her picture on facebook. People who have seen the picture doubled and tripled. Sooner than later, Lolo Luis was found.

Social media also revolutionized advertising. Coke open happiness was one of the most successful local product advertisement made using digital channels. Here's the video. Why did it become viral? Because it's very personal. It hit the soft spots of Filipinos - family. The most important message was stated in the video - Filipinos love merry making but many families are alone during the happiest day in the year, i.e., Christmas. So, Coke chose 5 overseas Filipino workers to come home to the Philippines for free. Talking about open happiness, right?

Why was it an example of revolutionized advertising? The video, like many of the advertisements these days, do not directly promote the product/service, instead, they tell stories; they appeal to the people's emotions. Obama's first race to presidency was fueled by social media and a youtube video "Obamagirl."

In my digital marketing class, I learned that actors, actresses, and other famous personalities earn a lot not only through advertising the products or appearing in TV commercials but because of their tweets. So guys, when you see celebrities tweet about a product, more often than not, they probably are being paid to do just that...

I can give you a lot of other examples of how powerful social and digital are but I think one way or another, you are aware of it. Networking? Social non sense? Think again...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Promising Filipino entertainment

People who really know me understand that I am nationalistic. I have big dreams for the Filipinos and the Philippines but that would be another post. For now, allow me to start with a particular sector - Filipino entertainment. In the recent holidays, Filipino movies were allowed to be shown  without any competition from foreign films, via the Metro Manila film festival. I promised myself that inasmuch as I watch foreign movies, I should watch local movies. My family and I watched Sisterakas this weekend. I would honestly say that it wasn't the quality I expected from Star Cinema. I've been watching local movies, especially those of Star Cinema. However, if its sole purpose was to give the people a good laugh then I think it's just fair to say that it achieved such purpose. It felt like the characters were simply doing stand up comedy. Understand that people are providing negative comments about the movie but to me, I think Filipinos still chose it over the other movies because they wanted to relax and have a good laugh over the holidays.

John Lloyd-Bea tandem is always a hit but I learned that their latest teleseries is about to end. It didn't have a good run. This should be a realization to Filipino film makers and entertainers. We should try to reinvent teleseries and movies. I think we've been tired from watching dramatic soap operas. The story line would start differently but would end up in the same path as other soap operas - lead star and antagonist switched at birth, two guys chasing the same damsel in distress, antagonist reaching the height of violence to make it hard for the lead starts, etc. Filipino entertainers and filmmakers should learn from Asianovelas. Most of them have light story lines and with minimal violence. Their culture is also highlighted. Most Koreanovelas I watched are conservative. Filipino teleseries and movies would star bankable young stars and love teams. They would play the roles of characters beyond their real age; some of the themes are even too mature for these actors.

I believe that if we want Filipino entertainment to flourish like our Asian neighbors, we should be different. We should not copy our Western and Asian neighbors. We should stop doing revivals or remakes and explore other talents and story lines. We should also be proud of our rich culture and let it show in our movies and teleseries. We need to show the world the "Filipino brand" of entertainment.

I find great promise in plays and theatrical performances. I think we should support these shows. At the same time, producers should show local production as well. Some plays are actually local production of international plays like miss Saigon, phantom of the opera, etc. I think we should have more of Ramahari and other locally made plays.

If I was younger, I might not admit that I am watching local movies or shows. Why? Because some people associate watching local movies and shows as "jologs," and cheesy. You are not posh if you watch local shows. You are not intellectual either. I think we should also change this mindset. We should support our own. Yes, not all local movies and shows are great but not all foreign materials are great either. To make Filipino entertainment flourish, the effort should be the same between the Filipino viewers and the entertainers. The Filipino entertainers should provide quality shows and movies. The Filipinos, in return, should acknowledge and support local productions.