Monday, September 2, 2013

An Open Letter to my 10th Graders

Dear 10th Graders,

First of all, I’d like to congratulate you all for exerting the best of your efforts during the First Quarter. I know that, for most of you, the recently concluded grading period was a battle that you fought for. I am fully aware of the struggles that you went through and I would like to let you know that I did my best to come to blows and win the fight with you in meeting the expectations set by your parents, the school, your teachers
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and the society in general.

We started the quarter with a lesson on functions which, for some of you, was an alien term that was trying to invade your teenage imagination. Yet, I am glad that many of you still embraced the lesson with enthusiasm and optimism that you will eventually get through the entire chapter fully understanding what this mathematical term is all about. I was happy to see you climbing one stair at a time understanding the mathematical concepts and mastering the mathematical operations involved. Although you had a bit of difficulty figuring out the range and domain of a function, you were able to prove among yourselves that there are always ways in getting the correct answer and coming up with the correct solution. Finally, you were able to determine the graph of functions in general and you were ready to proceed to the simplest form of functions, which is, linear function.

I know. I do fully know that another set of challenges blew your minds as we ventured for first degree functions. There, we encountered slopes, intercepts as we tackled the graphs of linear functions. You learned about the applications of linear functions in the real world and started to apply the knowledge you’ve gained to a more useful real-life situation. The output that I asked from you might be more dreadful than what you have expected but I did it not do it to give you more burdens but to let you learn better in a more engaging and evidenced-based way. I know that some of you thought that you couldn’t do it but, once and for all, you have proven to yourselves that you are more capable than what you have imagined. Those moments when you told me that I was wrong. Those moments when you asked me why a positive number became negative. Those moments when you expressed your expectations for me – I value all those moments. Those moments reminded me that there is an individual within you that is hungry for knowledge and is waiting for explanations. Those moments reminded me that you are all capable of learning at a certain point and at a certain time given the support that you need. Please continue to let me know what your expectations and frustrations are for I am here to respond to those and not act against those expectations and frustrations.       

I encourage you to play with your imagination and go back to the time when you first stepped the welcoming doors of your first schools. I know you felt excited to learn something new and meet new friends. You entrusted yourselves to your teachers and gave your full admiration to them for teaching you the things you never learned before. Back then, you did not let the lessons you had define yourselves but you defined every lesson you encountered the way you see it and the way you see the world. You were not worried about your grades and about you learning too much. All you had to do was grab every learning opportunity and be happy about yourselves. In the end, you learned a lot and gained new perspectives of the world you live in. Apparently, you all made it to high school without much of a thought on what the world would think about you and what your grades would look like.

Then you grew older and started to define the world not as how you see it but as how other people see it too. You became so worried about your grades more than your own learning that you started to think of strategies to get through the system. There were times wherein you thought of using tactics that would even compromise your long-term benefits and, worse, your values. You became more concerned about what your friends would think about you rather than what you think about yourselves. 

As you embark another journey of your last year in high school, I hope that you will not forget to revisit the goals that you have set for yourselves. I hope that you will not forget the very reason you have had for coming to school. I hope that you will not waste the last year of your high school by failing the expectations of your parents who work harder than what they could probably do just to provide your needs including the best education that you could ever have. Of course, do not forget to have fun. As much as I would like to see you seriously taking your learning, I would also like to see you making the best out of your last year in high school. After all, you only get into this stage but once.

We’ve been together in this institution for less than two months but, honestly, I am very happy that I became part of this academic institute and your life as a learner. We have three more quarters to work on before you will finally say goodbye to your school and I am hoping that this will be one of your best years in this institution. I am looking forward to a more fruitful knowledge exchange with you. I would like to reassure you that I am going to do my best to end the game hitting our class goal: SUCCESS for EVERYONE. However, I can only be as good as your frequent feedback. Tell me what works for you and we will work on it together.

Teacher Phil     

Friday, March 15, 2013

Let's Join the First e-Commerce Summit in Cebu

What was the first thing I bought online? I think it was a plane ticket and it was named e-ticket.

Apparently, the e- prefix has been attached to almost every conventional noun we have today and not to mention, e-Commerce. With e- being attached to almost every word we could think of, such is a very compelling reason to attend the first e-Commerce Summit in Cebu this March 23, 2013 at Diamond Suites and Residences, 8 Apitong cor. Escario Streets, Cebu City.  

The said event will not be exclusively helpful to business people engaged in online trading but it is going to be equally beneficial to consumers who would like to gain awareness on how the electronic commercial landscape works. With topics ranging from online freelancing to some legal parameters in online trading, every participant will surely gain helpful insights from the prime movers of e-Commerce in the Philippines. If you would like to take a look at the line-up of speakers for the event, simply browse through the e-Commerce Summit 2013 events page HERE.

As thriving online entrepreneur and social media advocate, I am personally interested  with the talks of Jack Madrid and  Atty. JJ Disini. Jack, being the country manager of one of the Philippines' biggest social media platform,, will elaborate the State of e-Commerce and Digital Marketing in the Philippines. I am excited to hear some enlightening words on the current condition of e-Commerce in the country knowing that knowledge of such will help every aspiring digital entrepreneur to gauge strengths and weaknesses (if there are any) of online businesses. Atty. Disini, on the other hand, as technology law expert, will take up Data Privacy and e-Commerce with emphasis on what every merchant should know in the light of legal aspects. I know you have interests of your own so browse through the roster of speakers for you will surely find your niche in this one-day educational event.

For details, join the Facebook events page HERE or direct HERE to register.


Sunday, February 3, 2013


It's been one year already since our beloved mom passed away which was a result of organ complications brought by her diabetes that she has been sustaining for over a decade. I wrote this piece of memoir almost eleven months ago while waiting for my flight from Cebu to Manila. I wanted to keep this piece secret in my laptop but recently, I decided to share it in my blog in time for mama's first death anniversary.

It was an ordinary day in Cebu. I did not feel any complaint from my usually clattered pad so I did the usual routine of putting myself to bed after a long day at work. As I brought myself to sleep, I had a sudden gaze at my phone which was lying near my books on a corner of my pad. Not the usual thing but I checked my almost forgotten gadget which I seldom bring when I head to the office for work. My phone’s look was enticing on that day, so I checked for messages. A couple of messages were left unread so I decided to check what’s up with the world. It was my sister. I needed to go home for the weekend as Mama was rushed to the hospital. 

I thought, that was not new because Mama has always been in the hospital lately due to a couple of health complications brought by her diabetes which she has been sustaining for over a decade already. The last time I was with her in the hospital, she has been so weak although she stayed positive. She was occupying a bayside private room in a hospital in Bohol which she would always mess about because she thought it was somebody’s home or she was in a hotel. I would usually end up kidding or even bragging just to take away her worries on the hospital bills. Such confinement led to the amputation of her only foot but the good thing was recovery became brighter after the operation. In fact, she has been telling us that she already wanted to go home as air is fresher there. After almost a month of stay in the hospital, she was eventually sent home for further recovery and I stayed positive on that. On the day I went back to Cebu for work, I told her that I am going to see her the following month and I was emphatic when I said that she should be better during that time. We had a deal!

Knowing Mama, I knew she could make herself better that’s why I did not worry that much when I learned that she was rushed back to the hospital. I thought, things just needed to get better and it was good   for her to stay in the hospital again for further medication. However, I was wrong with my foresight. I was so devastated to see Mama helplessly and unconsciously fighting with the doctors who were trying to insert tubes in her mouth. I wished I could take her place and seize all the pain she was experiencing at that moment. I stood up in her front clueless of what I wanted to do. Should I hug her? Should I kiss her? Should I tell her how much I love her? No words and actions ensued – only tears which started to flow down my cheeks. I wanted to stay positive but I could not be optimistic watching such a dreadful situation of Mama.

Then I talked to her. She would not respond but I knew she was listening – Mama was a very good listener. She used to stay late listening to my absurd plans and ideas. Even if she could no longer relate sometimes, she would still listen. Such thought made me feel better. I continued to talk to her and took her back to what we agreed on before I left for Cebu for work. She tried to grasp my hand and held me tightly. She tried to move her legs showing that she did her best to be better. Then I and my siblings started to recall fond memories which compelled Mama to speak but she could not utter any word. She only tried to open her eyes to let us know that she was listening.

After few hours, we needed to bring her to the radiology department for brain scan. I was on her side telling her that things should get better and assuring her that we will do our very best to bring her out from such agony. She opened her eyes again and gazed at me. Tears started to flow from her aging eyes. I knew she wanted to tell something. That was the last time I saw her eyes open. 

The following days were emotionally challenging. Mama could no longer respond. She could not feel any pain. She could not move any part of her body. The only hint that life still went on for Mama were the figures shown in the machine attached in some parts of her body. Without those machines, we would not have any clue that life was still good for her. Doctors and nurses visited from time to time to tell us the real situation – it was almost hopeless. I drew some positive impulses from my brain and tried to convince myself that hope has never left us. I wanted to tell those medical practitioners that they were wide of the mark. Everyone was telling me to let Mama go as that was the only way her suffering could be ended yet I could not. Even though I tried, words would never come out from my mouth but tears would flow instead. The pain was almost unbearable seeing Mama in such a situation. That time, I was in the verge of believing that I was only waiting for the moment that those figures in the machines attached to her body would tell me that Mama could no longer be with us – FOREVER.

The following morning, I had a heart to heart talk with Mama’s doctor. I was telling her what kind of fighter Mama was. I was asking him if they could still pull things off and do something to save Mama. I got a positive response from him. He talked to all of us. He assured us that a specialist would come in few minutes to discuss the options left. However, Mama could no longer wait. She stopped breathing before further medical options could be discussed. I thought that was not fair but I had to accept the reality no matter how hard it sucked. Doctors tried to save the last few breaths of Mama but they no longer could. During those last moments, I could not say anything but the word “MAMA” – the very word I first learned to utter when I was still a young boy cuddled in her arms and probably the last word she heard from me. January 31, 2012 is a day that will always be engraved in my heart for it was the very day I lost an endearing mother who knew no other good but my and my siblings’ own good. 

That same word I continued to utter on the day of her funeral. MAMA sounds so endearing to me. Even if I could no longer hear any response from her when I call her with such a sweet name she taught me to speak, it is still relieving to appreciate that I had and will ever have someone I could call Mama. I always presume no response but I know that Mama is still with us because she lives in our heart.