Health versus Economy

The human mind has three states: the reasonable mind, the emotional mind and the wise mind.

The reasonable part of our mind is where we use our logic and opinion.  We focus on what is right and what is wrong.  We use facts and details but it doesn’t consider other human qualities.  I worked many years as a corporate guy and I have met several people who are stuck with a job they don’t like.  The common reason they don’t leave is because their job allows them to put food on the table and meet their other basic needs.  It is logical and it is right.

The emotional part of our mind is the voice of the emotions we are feeling.  Our feelings can be happy, sad, fear, doubts, angry, fatigue, lonely, etc.  People who act based on their emotions are very easy to read because they tend to process less mentally the situation.  We need to veer away from making decisions when we are emotional because emotions are inconsistent and do not consider facts.  Today you can be bubble, tomorrow you can be sad and melancholic.  That is why you will see people who are emotional driven are unreliable and impulsive.  Many of my blunders in life were a result of impulses and pure feelings.

The wise mind is the balance between the reasonable and the emotional mind.  You are wise when you consider the feelings yet you are able to consider also the rational aspect.  The wise mind focuses on truth, understanding and objective.  These are people who are reflective and insightful.

We are in a precarious situation.  Ever since COVID19 hit us, there is this constant debate between health versus economy.  Many look at this issue as Life versus Money.  Some even go to the extent of quoting the most misquoted verse in the Bible which is the ‘money is the root of all evil’.  In this perspective, the issue becomes Good (Life) versus Evil (Money). To tackle this issue using this pattern of thinking is a recipe for disaster.

The wise way of tackling this issue is:

One, you need to get the facts straight.

First, money is not the root of all evil.  The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.

Second, health doesn’t pertain to just physical health. It also include mental, emotional and spiritual.  To be very specific, COVID19 is supposedly just a physical health crisis.

Third, economy is not just about money,  Economy creates jobs, jobs that allow people to put food on the table, to bring their children to schools, to buy things for their loved ones.  Isn’t it that is what life is all about?  We often times equate work or economy with money, which is wrong.  Work or Money is not life, but it is an enabler.

If you consider these facts, it is unwise to even consider looking at this issue as Health versus Economy.

The problem for us now is everyone is looking at the increasing number of cases of COVID19.  No one is keeping tabs on the number of people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional health concerns.

Two, I understand the plea of the doctors and medical frontliners.  What we need to understand also is everyone is exhausted. Everyone is hurting.  Thousands of companies have already closed.  Millions are unemployed and increasing.    Millions of families are or about to be displaced because they don’t have money to pay for rent or pay for their mortgage.  We have to consider also the pain of these people.  To send people into lockdown, prevent them from working and give them nothing to eat is murder.

Three, If we could have defined this problem properly, we could have managed this and isolated this problem as just a Public Physical health Crisis.

We did not use our wise mind and dragged our economy with this issue.

Looking in hindsight, was it even possible to deal and manage this crisis in isolation and not drag our economy with it?  I believe it was possible.  The problem was, we did not even care to consider it as a possibility.  We just acted on impulse and followed other countries.  Countries that are different and have more resources than us.

I believe in the Philippines that someday it will rise as a nation with character.  We just need to elect more wise people to lead us.

(Photo credit:

Careful not fearful

With 16.6% of the population living below poverty line, with more businesses closing down, with more Filipinos losing their jobs, with increasing foreign debt – how much really can our economy hold on before it collapses?
Paranoia has a cost. We cannot compare our country with other countries that implemented total lockdown for months. They have vast resources and their economy can take the hit. Ours cannot. A rich man can afford to shut himself down from the world and hibernate in the woods for years, but an ordinary laborer with mouths to feed cannot.
It is not a choice between public health and economy. Both are important. Both have the same focus – human life. It is catastrophic to choose one over the other. Media has focused so much about this virus to the point that many people are now living in fear in spite of the precautionary measures that have been handed down.
We have to take responsibility to help our country fight this virus AND our economy recover. We just need to be careful, just follow the guidelines, don’t be reckless in going out… but we need to go back to work. We need to help our economy start running again. Help the businesses recover because behind those businesses are people with families.
Everyone has been affected by this crisis. The poor, the middle class, the rich, fresh graduates, those in retirement, business owners, employees, Catholics, Muslims, pagans… everyone. Everyone is struggling. Everyone is in pain. Now is the time, more than ever, to think and care for other people’s lives not just yours. Life will have no meaning if after all this, you are the only one who survived.

The Parable of the Sower

In Mark 4:3-9, Jesus gave us the parable of the sower.  The story goes that a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

We all want to be the good soil.  So the question is how.

When you receive a package from the courier guy, you don’t criticize how he looks or even the wrapper.  The courier guy probably must be all drenched in sweat and the package may look dirty because of the handling.  But we don’t really care about how the courier guy looks or the how the package is wrapped. We know that he is just a messenger and he is there to deliver the message.  What we are interested in is what is inside the package.  So what do we do?  We accept the package, open it up, and use it.

In contrast, when we attend Mass, we sometimes criticize the priest, the choir or even the church itself.  Granting that there are priests who deliver great sermons and others do not, they are all messengers.  What is important is the Word of God.  We listen, we absorb it or learn from it and then we make it part of our life.

Priests are not the only ones who are the messengers of the Good News.  You and I can carry them (that is why we are called disciples).  The Good News is often wrapped in deeds, stories or simple conversations.  They are often not referenced to a particular verse in the Bible.  The stories may not be told to your liking but nevertheless, the message is there.  This is where the difference lies whether you represent the rocky ground, the thorns or the good soil.  It is how we discern the events that we see and hear.

I remember my nephew Geosch when he was 6 years old was asked how he defines happiness.  He said,”doing the things you love with the ones you love.”  It is one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard and several times I used it in making critical decisions.  And I got it from a 6 year old kid.

When President Duterte delivers his midnight advisories, usually he makes many side comments.  And many times these side comments become the focal point of discussions in social media.  Then people ridicule him.  People mock him.  He doesn’t deserve it.  It is like mocking the courier guy for how sweaty he is.  It’s cruel.  I understand it is easy to be caught up by the noise of self-righteousness.  But can we just forgive the man of his imperfections and focus on the main message?

The Word of God is everywhere.  Let us humble ourselves and be open in receiving it and applying it to our life.  Let us not blame the messenger for how it is delivered or focus on the dirty wrapper.  Let us keep our eyes glued to the message.  Seek for the Word of God.  Everyday.


(Photo by Jun Ynion)

Who are we

One of Etan’s favorite this lockdown period aside from dinosaurs and insects is Moana.  He particularly loves Maui singing You’re Welcome and Tamatoa’s Shiny.  He would play those clips over and over again while dancing on the couch.  Etan is my four year son and he has the potential to be a great performer.

Moana is a lovely movie and it is a perfect reminder to all of us.  The people of Motonui had a decent life in an island until their fruits and plants started to decay brought about by a terrible curse incurred by a Demigod Maui.  The Chief didn’t know what to do and the people were scared.  Moana’s grandma suggested to look for Maui, take him aboard the boat, sail across the ocean and restore the heart of Te fiti.  Moana responded to Gradma’s call and sailed beyond the reef to look for Maui.  With the ocean’s help, she finally found Maui but they came up short and were beaten by the lava monster named Te Ka.  When Maui gave up because his magic hook was broken, Moana took upon herself to make things right and she was able to restore the heart of Te fiti.

Life is filled with barriers that make us afraid to venture beyond the reef.  Life within the barricade can be decent.  There is food, some shelter and wifi.  The world labeled this as a simple life and that we should remain contented.  We don’t need to go beyond the reef because everything we need is right here in this island.

This crisis taught us how vulnerable we are.  A simple curse brought by the irresponsibility of some folks in Wuhan is taking a toll on our ‘simple life’.  We have been removed from our normal life for three weeks now and it is threatening our health, both mental and physical.  We dream of a demigod to save us and when there is no food left, we become monsters destroying and killing everything we could get our hands on.

This crisis is telling us that life within the barricade is decent but debilitating.  It is debilitating because it makes you forget who you are.  We don’t live just to eat, breath and put some shelter above our head.  We live because we need to give love.  We love less because we are afraid.  To overcome fear all we need is to restore our heart.  We don’t need a demigod to restore it, you and I are capable of doing it ourselves.

We need to remember who you are.  And who are we?  This poem by Marianne Williamson best describes who we are.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.



Life Stewardship

People work hard to acquire the things that they need and want.  Work consumes most of our time to buy properties for our family, cars so that we can go to places we want to go, we build businesses to create wealth, etc.

We take pride on the things we have but the truth is, none of these we can bring when we die.  This makes us stewards not owners of the things and wealth that we created.

I find this fascinating because the more I understand this concept, the more I understand that we have nothing to lose.  If we have nothing to lose then why are we so afraid in doing the things we need to do?

By accepting that we are all stewards, the focus shifts to management not on ownership.  If we think in terms of ownership, we tend to keep it to ourselves, put boundaries and barriers.  But if we think in terms of management, we will think of optimization, rationalization, sustainability, and succession.  We will ask questions like: how can I take care of the blessings that have been entrusted to me?  How can I use my time, talent and treasure in order for those who are in the dark will see the light, those who are hungry will be fed, those who are insecure will have confidence, those who seek for love will realize that they have been and always will be loved.

We all came into this world naked and we will all die naked.  We are all passers by.

French-born American missionary, Etienne de Grellet, once said, ” I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.  Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Don’t wait for tomorrow to come.  Today is a great time to be a brave steward.


The Four Thieves of Happiness : Fulfillment and Happiness Part 2

I was an unhappy child. God gave me a lot of blessings and yet I was unhappy. I was unhappy because I allowed the four (4) thieves to steal my happiness away. Who are these four thieves and why should you guard yourself against them?

The are four thieves of happiness are:


Life is not supposed to be weighed in terms of having material wealth, talent or the resources we have. It will not always be equal. There will always be people richer than you, more athletic than you, and more good looking than you. When you compare, you will soon find yourself not appreciating the blessings that you have. Then you plunge your way to misery as nothing is going to be better for you.

Don’t be caught by peer pressure. Always remember each one has his own story. When you see your peers having a great life because you see them able to buy the latest gadgets and constantly out on travel, don’t panic and start hating your family because instead of buying the latest iPhone, you are obligated to pay your little sister’s tuition fee.

Don’t be caught up by the standards of the world. You need to look at life in terms of purpose. If you are helping your parents get your other siblings finish college, you are receiving the gift of responsibility at an early age and what a blessing that is.


The second thief is competing. Competition should exist only in the Olympics and when you are playing a game. Other than that, don’t compete. The problem with competing is it moves your focus to your competition, not on delighting your customers or your family. Keeping up with the Joneses is a familiar phrase. When your neighbor buys a new car, even if you don’t have a budget for it, you will also buy a new car and sometimes you will buy the higher model. Think about it and how egoistic it can get. When you have this mentality, you are allowing your competition or other people dictate your path in life.


All of us are capable of dreaming. What God did was to give us the tools to reach our dreams. God did not give us the fruit, He gave us the seeds, water, soil and the ability to grow the plant so that eventually there is abundant harvest. Most of the time, we are impatient with the process and we don’t see these tools. They are right under our noses. We just don’t see them because we are busy looking for something that is lacking. We also complain why the process is slow. A well-known chef once said, ‘Good cooking takes time. If you are made to wait, it is to serve you better, and to please you.’


I urge you to always see the glass half full. In an article in Forbes, research has found that seeing the glass half full not only makes you happier, it also makes you healthier and wealthier. When you see life that way, you expect good things to happen.

Train your mind to start looking what is good about people or the situation. When I play basketball and my shots are not going in, I would tell myself, well I can still play defense or at the very least I was able to break a sweat.

No matter how bleak the situation can become, believe that God has a bigger plan.

Those are the four thieves of happiness. Guard yourself against them. Some of them maybe living in you as a permanent resident, it is time to evict them.

(To be continued. Please leave your comments below. If you like this blog, please share to your friends.)

Fulfillment and Happiness

For many of us, there is nothing special about eating french fries. It’s a staple, it’s so ordinary. But not for my son, Etan. Everytime he eats french fries, it’s like his first time to eat it. He would sway his head as he eats them, he would dance, he would do all sorts of crazy moves while he devours the oily potato.

If you are a parent, I’m sure your kids do that too. I believe children behave joyfully because happiness is built in. You do not pursue something that is already built in.

There was that movie ‘the Pursuit of Happyness’ that perhaps made a lot of people think that they should pursue happiness.

Happiness is a choice that you can choose anytime, anywhere. It should not be dependent on anything, more so to something that you are not in control of. Many people would require things to happen before they tell themselves to be happy. You will only be happy when you get a promotion, when you close that big deal, when you travel abroad, when you have a fat bank account, when your crush smiles at you, etc.

If you have any of these as a requirement to be happy, I urge you to stop because you will never find it. You will forever be in a vicious cycle of wanting it more. This is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people are miserable.

Happiness is in the journey, not the destination.

I used to have this mentality and it really ruined me. When I was growing up, right at time when I was in college and at the start of my career, I was hungry for attention and validation. I would beat myself to work, learn this, learn that and constantly looking for ways to be validated as a human being. I was driven, I am still driven. But the difference between then and now is the why. Then, I was driven because I was seeking for pleasure – I want to buy things to make me happy. But now, I am driven because I want to help people have better lives. I have so much love to give because God loves me so much. I can’t really help it. I am bursting with love that I am compelled to help people see and feel the love of God.

Instead of pursuing happiness, what we need to pursue is Fulfillment.

Fulfillment is growth seeking. We grow in maturity and character when we pursue fulfillment. Pursuing fulfillment makes you look at the future with faith as opposed to pursuing happiness which is anchored on fear.

(To be continued. Please leave your comments below. If you like this blog, please share to your friends.)

Eat My Flesh

I am a big fan of Michael Jordan. I watched hundreds of Bulls games in the 90s and even taking a leave at work just to watch the Finals. I watched all his documentary films, read books about him and copied some of his moves especially the turnaround fadeaway jump shot that I perfected. Swish! Nothing but net. So when I step into the basketball court, I think and act like Michael Jordan. My game tremendously improved when I started copying his moves. In terms of basketball, I ate Michael Jordan.

In living, you need to be careful on what you eat because you become what you eat.

Physically, if you eat junk food, processed food, and lechon regularly then you become unhealthy, overweight and susceptible to all sorts of diseases. But if you take care of your body and eat the right food, then you become healthy and strong.

Mentally, what type of thoughts do you entertain? What books do you read? What films do you watch? Who are the people whom you listen to? Take note of these things. If you watch trash news, pornographic films or tambay ka sa kalye (you watch the world go by along the side street), then you are essentially feeding your mind with trash, vices or just plain nothing if you are tambay sa kalye. Our mind is like a computer (well computers were patterned after the mind) – garbage in garbage out. Check your actions, how do you respond to this and that, and check the words that come out of your mouth. Reaction is an inside job.

Spiritually, what are your beliefs? Do you believe in God or do you see yourself as the center of the universe?

When Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him”, Jesus was inviting us to follow Him and to be like Him because whoever do so will have eternal life. This is the symbolic meaning of the Eucharistic communion that we feed on Jesus allowing Him to penetrate into our lives.

Fr. Domie Guzman said it best, “The perfection of Christian life is to be another Christ.”

I have been following Jesus more intently for the past five years now and I must say that my life has become infinitely better.

People are always looking for answers. Everyday, we look for answers to improve our finances, to mend a broken heart, or to fix a relationship. Kung saan saan tayo tumitingin ng sagot (We look for answers elsewhere) wherein the only answer to our problems is to follow Jesus.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I must admit that I never understood this passage before. Now I know and I am a living witness to His awesome glory.

If you are not yet a follower of Christ, I invite you to be one. Following Christ takes time. Following Him doesn’t even promise that you will have lesser problems or lesser stress. But you will experience enlightenment. Your perspective will widen and you become better in handling problems and stress. In following Him, there will be times you have doubts and entertain giving up. When this happens, just be comforted by the thought that you are following the right Way.

The Boring Stuff

Millions of people love American Football. Two years ago I was in Moscow, Idaho to visit my sister in-law and in one of those days in that trip, the local team was in town and was playing the Washington State. Boy, you can feel the love and enthusiasm of the people for the sport because everywhere you go, the people are tuned in to their TV set or to live streaming.

Another sport that is very populat is Cricket, national sport of India. I’ve been rubbing elbows with Indians for the past three years because of my engagement in a software implementation project and everytime we find ourselves in a casual talk, they always insert in the discussion how this team won the Cricket game. They share the story as if they literally watched the game and without regard whether I am a fan of the sport or not.

You see, no matter how interesting these sports are, how many people would even die for their favorite teams, I find these sports boring. I find them boring because I don’t understand the games and how they are played. There is nothing wrong with American Football and Cricket, there is something wrong with my understanding.

For many years, I also found the Holy Mass boring. I used to question why we always pray the same prayers, why do priests (except for a very few) give boring sermons, why do we need to eat the bread, and so on.

In later years as I studied the Bible more often and understand what it really means to be Catholic, my world just suddenly opened and learned how rich the Catholic faith is. I learned that there is nothing wrong with the Holy Mass or the priests are not boring, there was something wrong with my understanding. Now, I always look forward to attending the Mass.

If you find somebody or something boring like the Holy Mass, maybe you just need to take time and understand it well, or if it is a person, take the time to know the person more. In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Habit number 5 states that we shall seek first to understand, then to be understood. There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.

Life is so (raised to the nth power) abundant and rich just like the Catholic faith. There is so much you can do. Take a pause from the daily grind, open your eyes to the richness of life and you will find out that there is no way life can be boring.

Do It Afraid

I started reading voraciously when I was in college, some 30 years ago. A little bit late based on the standards of many. I read books on biographies, psychology, history, self-help, finance, marketing, business and other non-fiction books. I have four courses under me – Accounting, Advertising Arts, IT and Supply Chain. All these wealth of knowledge and information for years, I just kept it to enrich my life. But at the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to share what I know. What prevented me from doing it were the fear of rejection and the fear of making mistakes.

Before, I used to think that you have to be an ‘expert’ in a field before you start sharing. To be an ‘expert’ in a field means you need to have Masteral and Doctorate degrees, amassed riches, or authored books and spoken to thousands of people.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer like my father and my brother Rommel. I admire authors and their works. I like the idea of how they are able to communicate and inspire a lot of people. To be a writer, I figured then that you have to be effective with the use of your language of choice and your grammar must be impeccable. I looked for clues if writing was for me. Back then, I didn’t have any references that could push me to pursue writing. In school, I didn’t do well in Grammar and English, I wasn’t part of the Newsletter Club and nobody really encouraged me.

I had all these requirements in mind.

Then I heard the story of Bro. Bo Sanchez and how he started as a preacher. He started preaching when he was 12 years old. He also shared that during time, he wasn’t a good preacher. He started with only 20 people in the audience, most of them were his relatives. But as he honed his talent and skill, he got better and better and better. Now, Bro. Bo preaches to thousands every week and millions are following him to hear him speak.

When the disciples of Jesus travelled by twos and started preaching the Word of God, they were still afraid. But they did it anyway.

It is good that you need to prepare before you take the plunge. You have to do your homework. But don’t overdo it. I have learned through the years that nothing happens if you don’t act on it.

I started writing and sharing what I know because I feel this is what God wants me to do. Occasionally, I am still haunted by the thought that my grammar may not be impeccable, my use of language may not be effective. But now, I am comforted by the truth that perfection in form is not the point why I am writing.

I am writing to share with you how God is working in my life. I am a work in progress and will always be.

I am still afraid every time I publish my blog. But I do it anyway because I realized life is not about me. If I have inspired just one soul because of something I wrote, then I have fulfilled my “why”.