Pen Strokes

January 1, 2011

Raju Mandhyan’s “The Power of Desire, Selflessness & True Belief”

Raju Mandhyan giving a speech at the BEST Workshop

I got one of my best Christmas gifts early this year and it came in the form of an article by my friend, Raju Mandhyan; and yes, the article was about me (and my public workshop, B.E.S.T.). So, I asked Raju if I could recopy his article for this blog.

You guys might be thinking that I’m just doing this because Raju wrote about me, right? Well… yes; however, there’s another reason. The lessons he points out in this article are truly valuable. Besides, I found it gratifying that I could actually impact others the way I had apparently impacted Raju. And, since I hold Raju in very high regard, that gratification I felt was indeed boundless!

Okay! Enough talk for me. Enjoy the article… (more…)

May 7, 2010

Jay Gatchalian’s “The REAL Dick Gordon”

Last May 1, I read a commentary in the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled, “People call me Dick” by Patricia Evangelista. In her commentary, Patricia said the she “won’t vote for Richard Gordon because he is Richard Gordon.”  Frankly, I find this statement – along with her entire article – more subjective than objective.

I wanted to write a response to Patricia’s commentary, but I couldn’t find the time. Then, just a few hours ago, I came across a “note” on Facebook from a certain Jay Gatchalian responding to Patricia Evangelista’s commentary.

At first, I thought that it would just be a bitter response by a Gordon supporter to the commentary; but as I read through the “Facebook note,” I actually found it very inspiring. So, I asked permission from Mr. Gatchalian if I could re-publish his note in this blog, and he agreed. This is a “must read” folks!

Jay, thanks for letting me re-publish your message…

The REAL Dick Gordon – A response to Patricia Evangelista’s “People call me Dick” - by Jay Gatchalian

Richard "Dick" Gordon

Patricia Evangelista spoke her mind and revealed her personal dislike for Dick Gordon. She’s entitled to voice her opinion. Dick Gordon is not her cup of tea. That’s fine, it’s a free universe. I’m sure there are people who share her disdain for the Man Who Would be President. You are entitled to your thoughts.

Now let me share mine. First, for the sake of public disclosure, let me say that I was a former volunteer and assistant to Senator Gordon during his days at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). I first met him as a college student at a presentation at the George Washington University in Washington DC back in 1997. I was curious to see what he and his team created in Subic and Olongapo. He asked me if I wanted to help my country and I said yes. Good! he said, come out to Subic, volunteer and we’ll get to work. That being said let me share my thoughts and impressions of my former boss and his persona/temperament to lead a country of millions of Filipinos. (more…)

June 1, 2009

Losing it, Learning from it, Loving it!

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Me, giving my contest speech

My views of the 2009 District 75 Annual Convention

I left for Davao with high hopes of winning the International Speech Competition; but I came back empty-handed… I lost… and had a great time losing! That’s right; I didn’t even “place” in the International Speech Contest, but I had a blast! So how could I have had a great time?

Well, before I give you my thoughts on the contest, I’d, first, like to tip my hat to the DISCON organizers for a job well done! Not only did they come up with a fantastic event, they also helped arrange tours for us to enjoy the wonders of Davao. This was very considerate of them. One of the reasons we hold events in different places is for us to discover the beauty of that place; and our organizers were gracious enough to realize this. Not only that; all the contests were spectacular! They lived up to the hype and much more! The Youth contest, Table Topics, Humorous and the International Speech contest were amazing! This was the best series of speech contests I have ever witnessed. (more…)

April 4, 2009

An Open Letter to Chip Tsao (The War at Home)

Chip Tsao, Author of "The War at Home"

Chip Tsao, Author of "The War at Home"

Dear Mr. Chip Tsao,

I believe that washing Chinese toilets and doing Chinese laundry are decent jobs. Unlike some Filipinos, I am not insulted by the term “nation of servants”.  I believe that being of service to others is a very noteworthy endeavor. Having been an OFW myself, I have nothing but the highest regard for my countrymen who have given up a lot to be able to save their families. However, I do not believe that, just because we serve you, we should just keep our mouths shut when we are wronged! Yes, you read it right… when we are wronged!

You have errantly mixed two issues that are totally separate and should not even be considered in the same light. The issue of our domestic helpers in Hong Kong and the issue of our countries’ claims over Spratly Islands are worlds apart! (more…)

December 8, 2008

I Create Excellence! (BNT’s Return to the MSE Penthouse)

Finally, near the end of the year, we’ve returned to our usual meeting venue at the Penthouse of the old Makati Stock-Exchange (MSE) Building! While this venue was being refurbished, we have had to hold our meetings on the 4th Floor of the same building and in the, now famous, Rocci Café! Though I will miss our alternative venues, somehow, it feels right to be back here!

Our theme for the night, “I Create Excellence”, couldn’t have been more appropriate! Not because we had a perfect meeting… we all know that this particular meeting was far from being perfect… but because we witnessed once again how every member was eager to make this meeting another memorable and fun BNT meeting! The great artist, Michelangelo, once said “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” Our eagerness may have been the cause of some of our little mishaps that night; but we aimed high; and we still had one rockin’ BNT night! (more…)

November 11, 2008

A Hundred Thousand Swans

Cancer could not rob Jette of Life!

Cancer could not rob Jette of Life!

September of 1988… It must have been around 5:00am when we heard it; loud thumps and banging coming from my sister, Jette’s room! Noise loud enough to wake up everybody in the household! Naturally, we all rushed to Jette’s room to see what was happening; and what we saw would send a chill down my spine…

Jette was banging her head against the concrete wall of her room! Blood was oozing out of her ears and nose! Blood was everywhere! She had been complaining about migraines and headaches for the past several months but the doctors we consulted with found nothing wrong with her. But if there was nothing wrong with her, why was she banging her head against the wall?

Without wasting anytime, we carried Jette, screaming and kicking, to Dad’s car and took her to the hospital.

At the hospital, doctors ran several tests and procedures on her but found nothing. Finally, the MRI Result came out and indicated that Jette had a tumor the size of a one-peso coin wedged between her skull and her spine! She had Cancer! She had cancer? What? I started to worry about a lot of things! I worried about Jette! She was so afraid of pain! She would cry at the slightest hint of pain. And what about Mom? How would she cope with this? She worries about everything! And me? I didn’t want to lose my only sister! But in the midst of all my fears, one thing worried me the most… My Dad! (more…)

November 7, 2008

Through My Father’s Eyes

My Mom and Dad with my youngest daughter.

My Mom and Dad with my youngest daughter.

I think that I was just 9 years old when I first saw it… A handwritten sign taped to the upper right-hand side of my Dad’s medicine cabinet mirror. I remember just two words from that sign… “Discipline” and “Dream”…

I didn’t really pay that much attention to that sign since, at age 9, you don’t really pay much attention to those stuff. But, for some reason, the words, “Discipline” and “Dream”, stuck to me. It wouldn’t be until I was much older that those words would have a clear meaning to me and help me to understand the man behind the legend… that was my Father…

He was born Nunilon M. San Agustin in the shanties of Ilo-ilo City (Southern Philippines). But his Father, my Grandfather, gave him the name “Nene”, which meant “little girl”, because, as a toddler, he would often cry for even the flimsiest of reasons.

My Dad was also smaller than most boys his age.  The fact that he was small and that he was named “Nene” made all the other boys in his neighborhood pick on him… That would be the biggest mistake of their young lives.  For, you see, though my Dad was viewed as a “little runt”, he was one TOUGH LITTLE RUNT! (more…)

Why I became a Fan of Geneva Cruz…

This will shock most of you…

Those who know me, know that I’ve never been a fan of Actors or Actresses, Foreign or Local.  But recently, I came across a note on Facebook that gave me a different perspective of a certain Singer-Actress. Her name? Geneva Cruz-Miller! The perspective? A very human and humble perspective! It takes a strong yet humble person to write this note. Maybe you should read the note and and judge for yourself (By the way, I got permission from Geneva to post it here)…

Geneva and Family... and don't tell me you don't know her husband!

Geneva and Family... and don't tell me you don't recognize KC!

A letter to my fellow Filipinos

Facebook Note – Friday, October 3, 2008 at 6:53am
by: Geneva Cruz-Miller

“I WANNA LEARN TO BEAR THE ACCIDENTS OF LIFE WITH DIGNITY AND GRACE, MAKING THE BEST OF MY CIRCUMSTANCES, LIKE A SKILLFUL SOLDIER WHO HAS GONE TO WAR AND BACK IN THE ARMS OF HIS LOVED ONES.”

I must admit that I’ve made some wrong choices in life. I’ve forgotten who I really was for a long time- I was confused, distracted by the trials and changes in my personal life, but most importantly, I have forgotten to take good care of my voice.

I would like to apologize for my mistakes, my wrong doings- the foolish words that I might have said on T.V. and radio in the past and how I acted in public at times when I was at my most vulnerable phase in life, and for being confused and for temporarily forgetting who I really was.

I would also like to thank my followers as well as my critics for opening my eyes to what was really going on with me as an artist, the problems were staring right at my face but I was too blind to see. I truly am sorry. (more…)

November 4, 2008

Preparing a Powerhouse Speech…

8c44As Toastmasters, giving speeches is inevitable; which means that learning to prepare your speech is a crucial skill to have. However, I believe that PREPARING SPEECHES is not just a Toastmasters’ skill… it is a Life-skill. It helps us hone other skills like… for instance… WRITING… which is a handy skill to have in everyday life. It also encourages us to READ… especially if our speech is technical in nature or requires research. And… a well prepared speech builds our SELF-CONFIDENCE… and isn’t self-confidence the main ingredient in LEADERSHIP?

In my case, I not only prepare speeches for Toastmasters’ meetings or contests; I also prepare speeches for a living. Allow me to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned when preparing speeches. I certainly hope that what I share will help you in Life… and also in Toastmasters! (more…)

November 3, 2008

Absolutely Nothing to Say…

Ah! The freedom of senseless talk!

Hmmmm… This is harder than I thought! I actually can’t think of anything to say! Not that I’m used to thinking; but there must be something senseless for me to say!

All I can think about is Alvin’s “Old Rubber Shoes”! There I go again! THINKING! I should keep reminding myself that thinking is too dangerous an act for me. SO WHAT DO I SAY??? Why can’t I think of anything to say??? (more…)

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