“We are so accustomed to the comforts of “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult” that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.” Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

When I think of challenges and opportunities, I take a trip down memory lane to that time when I was a young girl trying to establish a career.

I could have stuck with my Food Technologist position because it is my bacherlor’s degree. At twenty one years old, I was a Production and Quality Control Supervisor for a candy manufacturer, which you know today as MENTOS. I found myself struggling with Tagalog and finally learning how to speak it ( though broken) in order to communicate with the workers. The daily sampling of all the sweet and chewy goodies and meeting production schedules felt like clockwork. Doing the same thing, day in and day out, in my white lab gown was not challenging enough. BORING! I felt my mind needed to learn something new which I can apply to my job. I wanted to do something different from Food Technology.

A Masters degree in Business Administration was the in-thing among my peers. Will a Food Technologist make it? Though I had a few units in Business and Accounting, I felt it was not enough. “Think out of the box” was what I needed to come up with the more “creative” solutions for case studies. Armed with new skills and knowledge, I was ready for a different career path.

researcher for SME financing

In 1981, I shifted careers. I was drawn to developmental work . Working as a researcher/consultant for UP Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP ISSI) and Small Enterprise Research Development Foundation (SERDEF) was a dream job because I can use my knowledge to help the country’s economy. During those days, I only had pencil and yellow pad to write my research and a typist for drafts and the final copy. I literally cut my draft and pasted onto a new sheet of paper during revisions.

One project that made me cry was this World Bank grant on a “Study on possible widening of the scope of Planter’s Bank Financing Activities for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” in 1984. The WB was not happy with the study of the former Project Manager and I was tasked to revise it.

Yes, I knew how to research but I had zero knowledge about financial institutions. I called up my father who is a financial expert in Cebu and ranted that I had no idea what I was supposed to write. Just like any helpful father, he gave me articles or clippings about financial institutions. Daddy was my “internet” or source of information outside the library. Pouring over volumes of secondary data and analyzing the primary data, I finished the report. I re-wrote everything . With computers and the ease of printing these days, I cannot imagine how I came out with this study that consisted of so many pages.

research paper on financing for SMEs

Looking at my life 33 years ago reminds me that even at my golden age, I can move on to a new chapter. I kept this study as a trophy for myself, that I must always challenge myself. The only way to create change is by leaving your comfort zone. The only way for me to change my life and to change them for good is to relocate my comfort zone.

You can do it too. How?

You can change your life with repeated, specific action — the trick is actually going through with it all. Change your habits and sooner than you think you’ll find yourself within a new comfort zone — a comfort zone so far from your original comfort zone that you may have trouble understanding how it is that you were able to accomplish so much. And then you will have nothing but you and your inner drill sergeant to thank. Each of us has the power to change our lives. Most of us, however, rather remain comfortable.

I would have never attained a fraction of my potential if I stuck it out being safe and comfortable. As I embark on a new chapter of my life as a “Content Strategist” , I tell myself “you can make it happen.”

What have you done to go out of your comfort zone?

Those who wish to sign the “Bloggers for Freedom” statement can sign in this form http://bit.ly/bloggersforfreedom

“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on the freedoms over which we stand guard. Understand that we will see things this way. No, you will not be granted the impunity to make such attacks on ANY news outlets in the Freest Press in Asia.” –Alma Anonas-Carpio

The SEC order “revoking Rappler’s license to operate is the first of its kind in history – both for the Commission and for Philippine media.” It is obviously politically motivated.  I don’t always agree with Rappler.  When Rappler was new in 2012, I had initial misgivings. about their  “social media” branding.   But we learned along the way , learning to collaborate in social good projects. The recent actions  against Rappler is  an attack on freedom of the press. Granting Rappler violated the Constitution, where is the due process?

Many of my  blogger friends  remain vigilant , and stand with Rappler . We are out to defend press freedom.

That is why we are releasing a statement today.


Bloggers for freedom
Bloggers for Freedom

We concerned Filipino bloggers stand for the rights to free expression and to free speech. And our first responsibility is to protect these rights.
We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers.

We stand against moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.

Now is a time for making choices amid battles between truth and lies, debate and dissonance, democracy and dictatorship.

We sign our names here to tell everyone we have made a choice. We are bloggers for freedom.

1. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
2. Tonyo Cruz
3. Dale Bacar
4. Marcelle Fabie
5. Myk Mykapalaran Cruz
6. Rod Magaru
7. Ely Valendez
8. Alex Lapa
9. Tess Termulo
10. Zena Bernardo
11. Jover Laurio
12. James Romer V. Velina
13. Ramon Nocon
14. Flow Galindez
15. Helga Weber
16. Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan
17. Raymond Palatino
18. Loi Landicho
19. Saul de Jesus
20. Karlo Mongaya
21. Ricky Rivera
22. Mark Will Mayo Magallanes
23. Eyriche Cortez
24. Julius Mariveles
25. Yusuf Ledesma
26. RJ Barrete
27. Dino Manrique
28. Peachy Tan
29. Rhadem Camlian Morados
30. Julius Rocas
31. Jon Limjap
32. Markku Suguerra
33. Jam Ancheta
34. Estan Cabigas
35. Enrico Dee
36. Acee Vitangcol
37. Stefan Punongbayan
38. Jesus Falcis
39. Hancel Reyes
40. Czarina Maye Noche
41. JM Mariano
42. Reginald Agsalon
43. John Clifford Sibayan
44. Jane Uymatiao
45. Johnn Mendoza
46. Carlos Celdran
47. Christian Melanie
48. Jann Medina
49. Carlo Arvisu
50. Inday Espina Varona
51. Eugene Alvin Villar
52. Melo Villareal
53. Brian Ong
54. Fritz Tentativa
55. Fitz Villafuerte
56. Tina Antonio
57. Mykel Andrada
58. Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr.
59. Renz Daniel de Vera

Published on January 19, 2018, Black Friday.


Those who wish to sign the statement can sign in this form http://bit.ly/bloggersforfreedom


I admire the courage of TJ Manotoc for sharing his story, his struggle and journey with depression . My heart is full of admiration as I watched him speak from the heart and his willingness to help others that there is hope.

TJ manotoc

TJ Manotoc shared a significant part of his life through a video. It was a time when he went through depression and anxiety disorders. It took hinm about a year to put this project together with the help of some very close friends and family. He realized it was a bit of a risk to do this because reliving all the horrors might re-open some wounds. The so-called “Social Stigma” may also change the way some people see him.

TJ Manotoc story

I don’t think so. As I tweeted and shared on Facebook, I saw interest sparked from my friends. They wanted to know more about this project.

Let’s hear  TJ Manotoc’s story first.

27 years ago when I went through my first episode I met a man named Max. He went through hell much worse than I did and yet he survived and eventually lived a happy and normal life.

Max made it part of his life’s mission to share his story and counsel those who were in the dark like he once

As a journalist, I have lost count of how many stories of suicide and depression I have reported. I feel it’s about time it’s talked about not just in the context of someone dying but also in the context of giving hope.
Max gave me hope that I, too, one day could be like him, alive and well. This time, it’s my turn to pay it forward. Sharing my story in a very visual and dramatic manner may seem a bit much for some but I know in
my heart my story can touch some lives.

If I save a life or two in the process, it will be all worth it.

To sum it up, his message is clear, YOU WILL BE ALRIGHT.

Watch his video here:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

“One of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.” —US President Barack Obama in today’s State of the Union Address

“Wasn’t it just yesterday that I held your hand on your first day of school in pre-nursery?”, I kissed my daughter’s cheek on her first day of school. Nine years ago, my daughter went back to school, to take her Masters of Arts in Creative Writing. I hugged her for “good luck” to mark another milestone in her life. How time flies indeed.


If my parents were alive today, they’d crinkle their brows “What? A starving writer?”

Most parents in the 50s and 60s determined the college courses of their children. Just a few examples in my family. My mom decided that I should take Food Technology when I wanted Business Administration. Mom had a bake shop during those days, and having a food technologist could prove to be an asset. My sister, Lorna wanted to take Speech but mom said there is no money in that field so she dictated Hotel and Restaurant Administration. My younger sister, Myrna yearned to be a writer but mom said “take up Architecture”. Guess where we all ended up? I ended up in the field of business. Lorna is in marketing/public relations while Myrna is now the Mayor in a city in Califorina. Our UP education was not wasted, however, because we took along the discipline, determination and hard work in our respective careers.

My husband took up Law because it was expected of him, being the eldest son with three generations of lawyers in his family. Naturally, relatives probe my daughters, “so will you be a lawyer like your dad?”

graduate school

Maybe my daughter might have the makings of great lawyer but would she be happy enough to sustain a law career in her forties? She could have taken up Law because it is expected of her to do so but ditch it by the time she is forty.

I learned from my parents. When the girls consulted with me on their college degrees, I said “Do whatever you want. Follow your passion. Because if you are happy in the work that you do, there is no need for me to worry if you will be successful. You will be successful if you’re doing something that you love to do.

education quotes

Rewind. Before the girls went to college, I instilled four things:

    • 1.

Acquire skills

    • that will make you unique and competitive.


    • I enrolled them in non-academic courses or engaged them in extra-curricular activities that nurtured their talents. Such activities revolved on ballet , piano and voice lessons, fun science experiments, crafts, swimming, choir tours, computer and web development. I sacrificed on a lot of luxuries just so the girls could enjoy these activities.

2. Money Management
We know that the high income earning jobs are usually from Information Technology, Engineering, Business, Economics, Doctors which none of my girls are taking up. I believe that kids need to learn how to manage their money in order to gain financial freedom no matter their chosen careers. So even if they will turn out to be writers or a chef, they will know how to manage their income and expenses. Money management started when they were little kids. It meant that they couldn’t demand to covet the latest gizmos and gadgets. They knew our priorities and often understood our reasons. My kids never acted like spoiled brats when I told them “no, we can’t buy that right now. Maybe some day. Or let me save for it first.”

3. Do your best but also have fun.
Lauren was a gifted child early on and raked honors till her third grade. I am not sure what happened to her but her grades declined. Maybe a large, traditional school was not ideal for a gifted and sensitive child. Maybe I missed out on something in her development, but I told her not to be pressured to cough up high grades just for me. Their grades belonged to them. I believe kids shouldn’t be displayed as trophies to show off to relatives. A relative used to brag to my dad that her daughter raked so many honors, garnered this and that award and asked very tactlessly “So your kids have any honors?”

I did advise my two girls that to enter into a top-notch university, one needed high grades. It was a reality of life. It was their choice to get high, mediocre or low grades. In the end, I often said “just do your best without losing all the fun”. (Fun meant healthy activities, of course)

4. A life of prayer
Prayer is something that cannot be taught. Parents set that example. They have to see it in me. When the going gets rough, I just say to lift their problems and struggles to God.

“Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.” Ernest Dimnet