Friday, July 13, 2018

"Power of Emphatic Humanity"

Alex Magno in his The Philippine Star column "First Person" this 10 July writes about the heroic humanity in saving the lives of trapped Thai football players. It is the kind of message we need to read to enable us out of apathy.


"Surviving against the odds for nine long days, with no hint of a comprehensive rescue effort ongoing, is remarkable in itself. These are a brave band, summoning some heroic to survive.

Extracting them, however, proved to be a great challenge. One trained diver has died in the effort. Meanwhile, oxygen was running thin where the boys are trapped and forthcoming monsoon rains threaten to flood the cave even more. The best divers from several countries are on the scene, putting their own lives at risk to rescue fellow human beings.

More than two weeks after the boys entered the cave, four have been successfully extracted. The rest, we all hope will be saved.

We will wait in great suspense. This is an effort that would nit have been possible at all without the best equipment and the best technical divers there are. Still, the effort has to beat the odds, win the race against time in a most hostile environment.

If this massive effort is successful, it will be a dramatic tribute to the compassion we can muster in the direst of times. That will stand in stark contrast to all the callousness and crassness that seem to have pervaded modern societies these days.


Should this massive effort end in triumph, the real heroes will be those who thought nothing about risking their lives to save another human being. It will be a reassuring story about the power of emphatic humanity."


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

L.A. at the UB? Vietnam in C. M. R.? #youniversitysuites


Walking along the pedestrian walkway from Loyola st. to Legarda st. along CM Recto Avenue in Quiapo, my attention was caught by a modern building with a unique entrance, giant oak fountains in between two known outlets, Watsons and The Coffee Beans. I was drawn inside and spotted an atrium that is about 5 stories high. Above it is an airplane hanging from the ceiling.

This structure is the retrofitted Laperal Building now converted into a student dorm with all the amenities. Now named YOUniversitysuites, its main attraction is the food court with concept restaurants spread out at the three floors of the suite.

Patronizing the food court are mostly students and young professionals presumably working within the vicinity.

Times indeed have changed. Decades ago, only school canteens provide food service to the university belt population. Then carinderias sprouted at the side streets offering tasty and affordable meals. The UB also witnessed the proliferation of fast food chains occupying the preferred real estate locations. Catering to the majority of workers are the food providers selling ulam in plastic packs daily. In keeping with combining function and concept, glamorized carinderias called cafes and bistros earned their niche in the district.

When entrepreneurs are willing to invest in capital costs, the consumer always wins. A structure built as massive as YOUniversitysuites is an indication of the changing landscape in Quiapo, the emergence of a more discriminating student consumer and an untapped gold mine in the university belt.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How easy is it to get back to grind?


  I’ve stopped watching games since the MICAA days after I concluded that whether it is Yco or Ysmael or Utex that wins, viewing the games over black and white TV elicits thrill. Victorious if it’s a win, pain for loss. The rivalry between Crispa-Toyota years after validated the see sawing emotional reactions of a victory and defeat. To avoid pain, don’t get involved.

Recently, through the intercession of a professional colleague, I was asked as an enterprise trainer to provide input in designing a bonding session to a collegiate basketball team.

That exposure led to a series of interactions making me ask, how easy is it to get back to the grind these days in the digitals’ and millennials’ era?

The teams are professionally run. There is science to their play. Strategies are in place and clear to all. (1) Teams are supported by a clear organizational structure. (2) Routines are in place and managed. (3) Stats are systematically and digitally derived for key results management. Resources are not the player’s concern. Roles and responsibilities are formally and informally clear. Processes are respected. Skills development is given importance. (4) Rewards are great with sanctions for non performing players. (5) Productivity is always looked at for enhancement.

Watching the games in venues other than Araneta Coliseum is pleasant. Sound and lighting systems are excellent, officiating is fair and the energy is high care of the large cheering crowd.


What reinforces the learning process which is unique in this era is the emerging of young annotators providing not only statistics and highlights but an analysis of the games from their perspective as spectators, ex-players, or sports enthusiasts. Responses are posted real time in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

When you get home, you review the games in a large high definition screen reinforcing appreciation. Scenes you want seen can be viewed repeatedly.

How easy is it to get back to the grind? Easy these days especially if friends sit you at the VIP area to watch the opening game. How easy is it to transform a performing team to a high performing team? That is the challenge. As one coach said, even if the elements are in place, there is a competing team. “Bilog ang bola.” (The ball is round.) What is universal is there is pain in loss, joy in a win.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Images of Tagbilaran 2018


The central Visayas city that has held on to its roots resisting the pressure of urban influence.

Churches are well preserved. People move in habal habal with stray dogs still in downtown’s city streets. Crossing islands over sea surface main transports in sea vessels and fishing boats.

They proudly connect with their rich and unique language, their version of Bisaya.

But soon, the people's value of faith, tradition, for family and community centeredness, kindness and honesty will be replaced with entrepreneurship, ownership, speed eventually letting go of its heritage.

Unless its hold for simplicity is stronger than the force of convenience, keeping up and complexity.

Leaving Bohol, I thank you for your unique and warm hospitality.






Perfect Escape out of NAIA 3

The perfect escape out of NAIA3. At the arrival area, proceed to the extreme right where buses park. Wait and board the bus bound for Airport Loop and Baclaran. Fare is Php 20.0. Get off at the EDSA/Taft intersection. Choose MRT, LRT, bus, jeep or taxi for your next destination. Keep safe. Secure your chip protected cards with RFID blocking bag and wallet.


  • Only for the daring, patient and intrepid traveler
  • Particularly helpful Mondays AM, Friday PM when the queue for regular and yellow taxi is long

Sunday, June 10, 2018

First Moment of Truth in revisiting places

Decades after the last memorable visit to a place and goes back for a short stay, how does one brace himself for the re-visit?


Using the "First Moment of Truth" model where personal impressions are created from the first few seconds of interactions with various touch points (entrance, surroundings, guard, reception, other people, facilities, process etc) the sights, sounds and experience trigger reactions.


Depending on how the moments of truth appeal to our senses, emotions, values and memory, reactions can either be positive, negative or simply neutral.


Conscious of this process, I allow the feelings to surface validating, reinforcing or refuting the outcome.
How was it when you picked up your luggage? When you look for a ride to the plaza, who were offering and at what price? When you reach the highway, what messages were intruding?
After finding your bearing, what images register and form an impression? Attractions like the plaza, church, bridge, public market, restaurant, hotel, local flavor and the people. Store them as a benchmark for the next visit.

The 1st few seconds of the moments of truth are precious as their impressions last.
Capture to document and to share. Not to forget to secure your pack.

The thrill of discovery when traveling adds to the enjoyment.



Sunday, June 03, 2018

Spain in Negros. Europe just South


There are specialty cafes influenced by Spain's cuisine. Buildings have European look. The wide avenues remind you of France. One need not travel far to get away.

The place of the landed few. So different from where you and I live. Yet welcoming to transients who stay there only for a while.

But only a ride away towards Libertad, there's a place where the majority are at home. Serving grilled food appreciated by everyone regardless of status.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Writing like "36 Hours"

How does one develop a unique writing style on travel?

It starts with going out, documenting what one sees, living the moment, getting insights and linking them all for a memorable and an impactful close.

So far, I only went out and documented some field testing an Android phone. Ideas just popped in mind while roaming, eating or simply gazing making me conclude, 

"Returning back to Negros, global has gone to the region. Yet, the region maintained its distinct heritage. The town, city and province are still distinctly theirs."

To realize this though, it took me more than 36 hours. I would have wanted to stay longer.