Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Change of Heart: Vote for ALEX LACSON for SENATOR!

I try not to blog about politics. But there are some exceptions to my rule! :p

My Mom had been bugging me to vote for this dude named Alex Lacson. I've always been what the hell...shouldn't you be voting for someone you know? Or feel like voting because in your own opinion, they can "HELP" our country? But my Mom remained adamant in "converting" me to vote for Alex Lacson. He was already interviewed for Bandila in their HOT SEAT, but he never really made an impact during that time. Maybe because Ces and Henry only gave them 30 seconds to answer their questions.

As I said Mom had always been stubbornly for Alex Lacson. So this morning I check my mail and VOILA! I receive an e-mail about Alex Lacson from her. I thought here we go again with Mom's incessant campaigning for this dude I don't even know. But I gave the article a chance and read it. And it made me change my mind/heart about voting for Alex Lacson. And so I share with all of you, who get to chance upon my blog, the article written by Max Soliven.

By Max V. Soliven
The Philippine Star 12/19/2005

We keep on paying lip service to the catchword, "Faith in the Filipino." In this Christmas season of hope -
and also sadness - this faith and confidence in ourselves too often falls short of being justified.

However, here's one story which I must tell.

This incident took place last Thursday in the late afternoon. I was rushing home in my car, an X-5, from my
last meeting in Makati - already far behind schedule, since my next appointment, after a change of clothes,
was in Malacañang. My vehicle broke down in the mounting rush-hour traffic on the Paseo de Roxas, not far from
the corner of Buendia. There I was, frantically trying to hail a cab in vain while the avenue was crawled
alongside, almost gridlocked. My desperation must have been all over my face. I had fruitlessly attempted
calling my Stargate office on Ayala Avenue, then my associates and friends nearby. I needed a car badly to
rescue me from the corner where I had been stranded. But nobody could be contacted.

Then a white Chevrolet Venture pulled up to the curb. The young man at the wheel leaned over, his window
rolled down, and asked: "Can I help you, sir?"

I blurted out, "Yes - my car over there broke down. I must get home in a hurry! Can you bring me somewhere
where I can find a taxicab?"

The fellow smiled and said: "Hop in, Sir I will drive you home."

I scrambled aboard, thankful to the kind stranger, and God - and for my good fortune. In retrospect, I wonder
why it had never occurred to me he might be an armed hold-up man. I guess it was the disarming nature of his
smile, his earnest approach. Yet now could anyone be so generous as to stop in the middle of traffic, then
offer a total stranger a ride all the way to his home? He hadn't even asked how far away I lived; he'd made
the offer without hesitation.

When we were underway, I asked to shake his hand and asked for his name, "My name is Alex," he simply said.
'I'm Max," I replied, then fished in my pocket and offered him my card. He peered at it, then exclaimed: "Wow.
It's an honor! I read you every day!"

"Now. Alex, you owe me your card in return." I said.

Stopped at a light, he took out his wallet, got one and politely handed it to me. It read: Alexander L.
Lacson, above which was his firm's title: "Malcolm Law", underneath that, "A Professional Partnership. " By
golly, I had been rescued by a lawyer.

There you are. Somehow, when faith in the Filipino wavers, a Filipino comes along to restore your faith.
Restore it? So surprise you with his kindness and generosity. This is an experience - and a shining gesture -
I'll never forget.

* * * I finally told Alex I was headed for Greenhills. He grinned. "By coincidence, since I'm taking you
there, my destination happens to lie not far away - I'm headed for Wack-Wack subdivision to give a talk at a
Christmas party."

"Why?" I exclaimed. "In addition to being a lawyer, are you also a preacher?"

He smiled even more merrily and explained that he had written a little book. It was on the car seat beside
him, and I picked it up. It was entitled: "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country."

Alex had his little volume (108 pages) published earlier this year by the Alay Pinoy Publishing House in
Quezon City, and it had sold out in its first printing within three weeks. The second and third printings were
about to sell out, too.

No, he wasn't selling it through any bookshop, the biggest book shop (unnamed here) wanted too big a portion
of its possible earnings, but I told them I wanted the proceeds to go to a scholarship foundation for the

So, Lacson has been selling his book out of his office and out of his home.

The dedication of the slim tome reveals his sincerity. It says: "To my Creator, who has blessed me with so
much, and to my Country, which yearns for love from its people."

As we drove up EDSA, Alex said: "I read your mother's book, 'A Woman So Valiant,' too - and I loved it!"

Can you beat that?

My mama had written that book of hers in longhand, on yellow pad paper not long before she died at the age of
81 on October 16, 1990 - and belatedly, we had published it last year. Astoundingly, it had been a runaway
bestseller, without publicity, and had sold out in the National Bookstores.

My sister, Mrs. Mercy S. David messaged me when she arrived from New York that the Japanese were now planning
to transcribe the autobiography into Japanese and publish it in Tokyo, as a chronicle of what happened to a
Filipino family in the war years (and during Japanese military occupation). The proposed Japanese title, "A
Valiant Mother and Her Nine Children."

But that's another story, far removed from today's inspiring tale about Alex Lacson's Christian spirit and
generosity. One thing Alex said demonstrated he had really read Mom's book. He remarked that the thing he
vividly remembered in Mama's memoirs was that, in spite of our poverty, she had determined: "I don't want my
children to feel poor." Thus, one of us or two of us in turn had been taken by her, on her meager earnings as
a seamstress, to eat at a good restaurant. The "classy" restaurant of the time, Alex recalled from its mention
in mama's book, was The Aristocrat. How lives intersect in this spinning world.

To get to the end of the "rescue" saga, Alex Lacson drove me to my home in Greenhills, and I noticed he never
broke a traffic rule. I was tempted, in my selfish agitation to get home and get my tuxedo for the State
dinner in the Palace, then dash over to Malacañang, to cut corners, such as push into the opposite lane when
stuck not far from the Buchanan Gate, in order to sneak into the Gate. But Lacson calmly awaited his turn in
traffic . Obey the law and obey the rules were obviously the bedrock of his "12 Things" credo.

In any event, getting to Malacañang in the end was only the bonus. Meeting someone like Alex Lacson was the
real miracle .

* * * Alexander Ledesma Lacson, it turned out, modest as he was in bearing, was a graduate of the University
of the Philippines College of Law, 1996, and took up graduate studies at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge,
Mass. (Good old Harvard Yard, by gosh). His wife, Pia Peña - it turned out even more amazingly - is the
daughter of an old friend, Teddy Peña from Palawan! She, too, is a lawyer - U.P. 1993 - a legal counsel for
Citibank. They established a foundation together to help underprivileged children through school, and are now
subsidizing 27 young scholars in different public schools in Alex's native Negros Occidental.

The reason Alex had been headed for Wack-Wack was the fact that the officers and employees of a company named
Resins Inc., after buying 1,000 copies of his book had invited him to give the "homily" at their Christmas
party. This was not a small group - the company had 600 employees, waiting for his "word" that night.

Alex, it struck me from our conversation, is an eloquent and devout Catholic. He believes God must have
destined our people for some great role - why, in all history, he reasoned, were we Filipinos the "only
Christian nation in Asia?" One thing is certain: He and his wife Pia practice their Christianity - and live

Four years ago, he and his wife had a serious discussion about migrating to the US or Canada because the
Philippines, as a country appeared hopeless since things only got worse year after year. They wanted to know
if their children (they have three, one boy and two girls) would be better off staying in our country or
abroad in the next 20 years.

Pia and Alex had asked themselves the question: "Is there hope for the Philippines to progress in the next 20

They reasoned: If the answer is Yes, then they would stay. If it was No, they would leave and relocate abroad
while they were still young and energetic. There were long discussions. One day, the realization, Alex
recalls, struck them: the answer to that question was in themselves. The country would improve, Pia and Alex
finally understood, if they and every other Filipino did something about it. Leaving the Philippines was not
the solution. As Lacson put it in his book: "The answer is in us as a people; that hope is in us as a people."

* * * When I read the book afterwards, I discovered that many important people had endorsed it.

But these encomiums are not needed. Alex laughed when I quipped that he must be one of the wealthy Lacsons
from Negros Occidental, like my classmates and schoolmates in the Ateneo. He cheerfully, and proudly, said
that he was "a poor Lacson." His mother, he pointed out, had been a public school teacher in Cabangcalan.

No, he's not poor - his richness are in his friends, and in the heart.

Here are, in outline, his 12 commandments:

1) Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.

2) Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.

3) Don't buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino. (Or, if you read the book, he suggests: 50-50).

4) When you talk to others, especially foreigners speak positively about us and our country.

5) Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.

6) Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.

7) Support your church.

8) During elections, do your solemn duty.

9) Pay your employees well.

10) Pay your taxes.

11) Adopt a scholar or a poor child.

12) Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.
These are the 12 things every Filipino can do to help our country. At first blush, they seem simple. When you
study them more closely, they are difficult to do. But all of us, together can do them.

Yes, there is a 13th: VOTE ALEX LACSON TO THE SENATE!

After reading this lengthy article, I couldn't agree more with my Mom and Max Soliven. LET'S ALL VOTE FOR ALEX LACSON ON MAY 10! Our country, our SENATE, our GOVERNMENT need people like him. He's such a breath of fresh air. And he's like the Filipino version of Joel Osment in Pay It Forward. I really think we should all give him a chance in our Senate! :)


Monday, April 19, 2010

AM Routine

1. Put things on table. Say hello to people who aren't busy listening to their headsets.
2. Turn on PC. Wait forever.
3. Open lunch box. Get coffee and spoon, then get mug.
4. Walk to pantry. Open faucet, soak mug. Close faucet.
5. Get dishwashing liquid and pour some into mug. Wash well, both inside and out.
6. Turn on faucet once again. Put mug under running water and rinse off.
7. Turn to water to dispenser. Put mug under cold water and add 1/4 into mug. Shake water in mug.
8. Turn back to sink. Throw water.
9. Rip off coffee to open. Pour contents into mug. Turn to dispenser and put in hot water.
10. Get spoon. Stir well.
11. Walk back to cubicle. Set things down.
12. If PC is already ready, go to Mozilla Firefox, type Google, Yahoo mail, and IMO URLs. Log in.
13. Click on new tab. Go to Chico Garcia's blogsite, then check Jiggy Cruz's blogsite.
14. Laugh and comment on stuff said.
15. Start working. OR wait for May to give projects. =)

For the past 5 months I've been working here at Solar, I just realized how much my life has become a routine. I haven't included my "waking up" process in this list. My gosh, I can make my own weekday guide book because it's the same everyday from Monday to Friday.

Is this even a good thing or a bad thing?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saying Hello Once Again To Glee!

The 11th floor here at our "circular" building has been buzzing with excitement since last, last week. Teasers have been showing on our two channels - ETC and Jack TV - NON-STOP! And the teasers did work, cos all we could ever think about was that.

And yesterday, the much-anticipated return of GLEE has finally come!! :) It's been what? Almost 6 months since the last episode (Sectionals), so I could really understand everybody's excitement for the return. I got in the Glee bandwagon a little later than almost all of my friends, so my waiting period wasn't as long.

We at ETC, launched Glee Episode 14 at Red Box. It was sooo cool! Photobooth-ing was the major must during the launch! Naka-2 beses ata kami! :p But tt was really nice to see a lot of media people come. Hope they wrote good reviews about Episode 14.

I've read some spoilers on the last half of Season 1. We have to see Madonna's episode, Lady GaGa song renditions, the return of Kristin Chenoweth, Sue Sylvester's Vogue rendition, Kurt's boyfriend, Jesse-Rachel-Finn love triangle, Mr. Scheu's relationship with Emma, and Quinn's baby? Hahaha! I'm just really excited! And hope that the other characters, like Mike Chang and "Shaft" (I forget his name), have longer speaking lines. They always look like "fillers" just so they could say New Directions has 12 members!

I'm sure all GLEEKS are very, very excited! I am one of you! Let's go GLEE!!! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Pros and Cons of "Cheap-ass" Vacation

This is my first time to do this! As a travel writer, I've been to resorts (both high-end and low-end) and it's been quite a thrill and I've been writing good reviews about the resorts I've been to. But this is my first time to actually write a negative comment on a resort.

As a beach lover, I've been very keen on resort details, I'm not hard to please, but I just hope that the price justifies the service/amenities. All I need is the basic stuff, like a nice bed, a decent and clean bathroom, aircon (not really a must), and a nice beach. But sometimes, when you find all of these things together in a resort, it usually results to a very pricey vacation.

But Coconut Hills Beach Resort in Bauan, Batangas, tested our patience. Mariko and I were able to find a very affordable beach resort despite the influx of Holy Week road warriors. Since Batangas is such an easy place to get to, we had a hard time finding vacant rooms. Mariko and I researched on the resort, and the pictures and the website offered really nice information. It was almost-perfect because of the amenities, or so we thought! Before I get on the bad stuff here are pics of Cocounut Hills Beach Resort, so you guys could understand how disappointed we were of the place.

The view from our window

The pool and the other rooms

The beach

The Fish Sanctuary

Nice isn't it? But it's just that. It's pretty cool for taking pictures, actually but the service, on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a -5. That's how bad it is, here's why:

1. The website gives this map, for those who've seen it, it seems so simple. Or so we thought (again!). The drive going to Bauan was pretty smooth. But we kept getting lost because the people in the resort can't even give us freaking directions. It was weird because they're supposed to be from there but they can't give us clear directions. The getting lost pat was pretty bearable, although I was quickly losing my temper. The bad part was the resort missed out on information, crucial information on what you and your friends/family would have to pass through before getting there.

When Mariko talked to the resort owner she said we'd be passing through a HILL. But when we got to the HILL, it was really a mountain with super narrow and winding roads. Matarik. I don't think there's a direct English translation for that. My poor baby Huey had to endure that ride. Finally, we saw the end of the HILL, and we were able to park.

2. Bad comment 2. The room was cute. It was like an "attic" type of room. It's got two beds, good enough for 2 if you guys aren't the malikot type. But like 10 minutes after arriving, power shut down. The excuse they gave us was that they had to switch generators because it would overheat. Ok fine! One power shut down is fine, but it happened several times within our stay. It's ok if it was a cool day, but the heat was just too much to take, and not having aircon was just the shiznit!

3. Bad comment number 3. Dinner time, we were starving. We swam in the pool, and the last time we ate was lunch time at McDo at the town proper of Bauan. So we were all hungry. Mariko, Tita Mavic, Ate Lemar, and Peggy all ordered inihaw na manok. I ordered carbonara. Because we were talking and just lounging around, we didn't notice how long it took for the food to arrive, at first. But then day turned into night LITERALLY! It took about 2 hours for the food to arrive and it tasted like crap. My carbonara was salty, and their inihaw na manok was hellah small. It was like we waited for THIS! And the price was over the top. The inihaw na manok cost P190 and my carbonara P180. For P190 we could have had McDo and ordered 3 cheeseburger meals! Mahal na nga ang tagal pa ng antay! Nakakagalit talaga!

It's a good thing their breakfast was really, really good! I had an American breakfast with ham, toasted bread, and egg. It was delicious. Had we known that their breakfast was way better than what we ate the night before, we would've ordered it for dinner!

4. The next day we were preparing for our departure. Since they wanted to take a dip at the pool first, I decided to go ahead and take a bath already. So I got my stuff, but then when I got to the bathroom, THERE WAS NO WATER! I opened the sliding door, which serves as a "balcony", overlooking the pool, and I shouted at Mariko who was at the pool: "KOKS WALANG TUBIG!". I talked to the staff and they said they were going to send someone to take a look at it. After like 15 minutes of waiting, I asked another staff and she said that someone had already knocked on our door. I was inside waiting, no one freagen knocked! Mariko talked to the owner and she said that the tank will take time to get filled up with water because people had started checking out all at the same time. Not wanting to wait for the tank to fill up, me and Mariko decided to shampoo our hair at the poolside shower.

5. This last complaint is not about the resort anymore but the parking area. It says on their signboard that for an overnight stay you'd have to pay the attendant P100. So I gave the lady P100 but then she asks for P50 more. Her excuse was that it was already 1PM. Overnight lang daw, so she had to take it literally.

I know this is a lot to take in. But if you guys decide to go to Batangas, I suggest you go to Laiya or the usual beach spots there. It's a good thing we had fun! Although I must say the FISH SANCTUARY was absolutely beautiful. There were lots of fishies! That was the highlight of our overnight stay. It's a good thing Mariko rented that boat.

Oh and a tip with regards to the boat, don't ask the resort about an island hopping tour. Just go by yourself and look for boatmen. It's still a bit pricey, but at least it's much lower than what the resort offered. Mariko said that the resort offered like P2800 for a group of 15. When we talked to the boatmen, they gave P1500 with unlimited hours.

So yeah, there are more cons than pros. But hey! At least we were able to swim in the sea and see fishes. It was an ok experience, it's a good thing I was in good company or else I would've flipped.

To Coconut Hills Beach Resort, please fix your website, your service, and your resort. Mariko was saying it had promise, because it did have promise. But if your staff isn't as ready to serve people, and your generators conk out on you, and your tank can't keep up with people taking a bath all at the same time, then you won't have a great business. Actually, you won't have business AT ALL. Tell people about that ridiculous climb up that mountain. Inform them that they should bring a 4x4 and not a regular sedan. If you offer really nice service/amenities, no matter how hard it is to get there, people will come, and COME BACK. But with what we experienced, there is NO WAY IN HELL I'm going back there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Can Manny Pangilinan be more nakakahiya?

It's like an unwritten rule: La Sallians and Ateneans will FOREVER and EVER LOATHE one another. It's like the moment you step inside DLSU or AdMU, you'll feel hatred for every blue-/green-blood you meet. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I've always noticed how La Sallians and Ateneans take pride in their respective schools.

I am one of the millions of DLSU alumni who feel this certain aloofness towards Ateneans. I can't stand them. But don't get me wrong I have a lot of Atenean friends, but sometimes they just make me feel blah. Anyway, both schools have always been proud, but sometimes the pride just turns into yabang.

I have always chided my Atenean friends that it is their kayabangan that gets them into a huge heap of trouble. I'm not saying La Sallians are spared from this nightmare, there are a lot of mayabang La Sallians, who like their Atenean counterparts, also get themselves into trouble. But statistics would clearly show 10-3...10 being Ateneo.

Let's take for example MANNY V. PANGILINAN. The pride of THE ATENEO. Mr. Expat who did so well in the international business sector when he was still young, and cunning (despite the gayness I guess it takes a whole of cunning-ness to excel). ANYWAY! He can't even write his own God damned speech. He had to copy-paste and tweak some of those paragraphs he "borrowed" from Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, and would you believe CONAN O'BRIEN!

Here's the complete speech taken from the Inquirer:

(Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of the speech delivered by Manuel V. Pangilinan before the School of Humanities & School of Social Sciences at the Ateneo de Manila University on March 27, 2010.)

MAGANDANG hapon sa inyong lahat. I want to thank Father Ben and the Ateneo community for the honor of this doctorate. And congratulations to our Law School for having 7 of the 11—10 topnotchers—in the recent bar exams!

Father Nebres, Father Magadia, trustees, faculty and staff, parents and siblings, graduates of 2010, many congratulations. Thank you so much for this gift of fellowship with the sesquicentennial class. You’ve earned your diploma from a great learning institution, and you have every right to be proud. I have wracked my mind and heart with what I should say today. The weeks of fear and worry at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight [taken from a speech of J.K. Rowling], and sleep. And I’ve asked myself, what I wish I had known at my own graduation day 44 years ago.

The sad truth is that I don’t even remember who the speaker was at my graduation, or a single word that was said. So I begin these remarks with the expectation that I will soon be forgotten.

I’ve been cautioned that on an occasion as this, graduates are only thinking one of the following thoughts: One, I hope these ceremonies finish soon because I can’t wait to take my vacation. Two, inspire me, please. There aren’t too many doing that these days. Three, if MVP stops talking before I stop listening, I’ll give him a big applause. Four, if you hand out free tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert tonight, we’d give you a standing ovation. Yes, I’m happy to say that Smart will be giving away four free tickets right after this ceremony!

Now that you’ve been sufficiently humored and bribed, let me earn my honorary degree, and turn thoughtful and traditional. More to do, more to achieve. I come here today with the thought that despite what may seem to be the culmination of a successful life with this honorary degree, there’s still much to do. I come to say that one’s title, even an honor like this, says little about how well one’s life has been led—that no matter how much you’ve done, or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to learn, more to do, more to accomplish. So I want to say to all of you, that despite your remarkable achievement, you too cannot rest on your laurels.

Some graduating classes in the past have marched into this place in times of peace and progress. In those easy times, we could have called on you to keep things merely going, and not screw things up. But we’re gathered here at a time of trial and transition, not only for this country but also for the world.

Our economy slowed down last year because of a global recession—the result, in part, of greed and irresponsibility that rippled out from Wall Street. We continue to spend beyond our means. We avoid making the tough, unpopular choices. And in 44 days, we will elect a new set of national and local leaders.

For all of you, these challenges are felt now in more immediate and personal terms. You will soon be looking for a job—struggling to figure out which career makes sense in this economy of ours. Maybe you have loans, and are worried how you’ll pay them down. Maybe you’ve got a family to help. Maybe you’re asking how your siblings can have an Ateneo education like you had [taken from a speech of US President Barack Obama].

Against these issues, you may be tempted to fall back on the more visible markers of success—by chasing the usual brass rings. How much money you make, a fancy title or a nice car. Being on the roster of the rich and famous (or the most invited) guest list. But the choice of form over substance, fame over character, short-term gain over long-term goal, is precisely what your generation needs to end.

Defining success

Coming from the Ateneo, I know that the pressure to succeed is immense. In fact, your biggest liability is the need to succeed. And your biggest fear must be the fear of failure.

But first, let me define what success is.

Let me tell you, money’s pretty cool. I’m not going to stand here and tell you that it’s not about money, because money is sweet. I like money. It’s good for buying companies and things—and for putting up a few buildings here and there for Ateneo. But having a lot of money does not totally make you a successful person. What you want is both money and meaning. You want your life and your career to be meaningful. Because meaning is what brings real richness to your life, to be surrounded by people you can truly work with—because you trust and treasure them, and they cherish you in return. That’s when you’re really rich, that’s when you really succeed [taken from a speech of Oprah Winfrey].

Fear of failure

Let me now deal with failure. On this wonderful day when you stand on the threshold of what is called real life, it is—ironically—the best time to talk about failure.

Nobody’s life is seamless or smooth. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. If things go wrong, you hit a dead-end—as you will many times in your life—it’s just life’s way of saying, time to change course.

Now, I cannot tell you that failure is fun. Periods of failure in my life were dark ones. I’ve had a lot of success. But I’ve had a lot of failures. I’ve looked good. I’ve looked bad. I’ve been praised and criticized. And it hurt like hell. But my mistakes have been necessary [taken from a speech of Conan O’Brien].

I had no idea how far the tunnel of failure extended. And any light at the end of it seemed more hope than reality [taken from the speech of J.K. Rowling].

Now let me tell you about some of my biggest failures.

In 1995, First Pacific invested in telecommunications in India at a time when the industry there was just getting started. Under the laws of India, foreign investors are allowed to own not more than 49 percent of a local telco. So we invited an Indian partner to hold the 51-percent majority. You all know how capital-intensive the telco business is.

To our utmost regret, our partner could not provide the counterpart capital. The relationship soured, and we had to sell the business. Since then, India’s telecoms industry has grown exponentially. So we lost significant value by divesting. If we had managed to retain this business, I would not need to make a living giving graduation speeches.

But I have had personal failures as well.

I will now let you in on a well-kept secret. I was in fourth year high school in San Beda College, and was in contention to be valedictorian that year. It was an open secret that the majority of my classmates were cheating—changing answers from true to false, ironically, in our religion exams.

I felt I had to do the same to protect my grades. Several of us were caught, pero ako ang pinag-initan. I knew I was wrong, and deserved to be punished. Indeed, San Beda stripped me of all my honors.

Finally, with the suspicion about rampant cheating, I was asked by the principal to name names. I refused. I disappointed my parents deeply. It took many years for the pain and bitterness to heal.

Several years ago, I thought it was time to free myself from the rancor and memory of that experience. What better proof of reconciliation with San Beda than the three NCAA championships for the Red Lions?

Failure taught me lessons about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had imagined: I also found out that I had parents whose value was truly priceless.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you can be secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. And so rock-bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life, my career and, most importantly, my moral values.

So graduates, always remember this: Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts. MVP’s lessons for life, as I come near the end of my remarks, let me wrap up with some old-fashioned, feel-good graduation advice.

First, hug and kiss those who helped get you to this day—parents, grandparents, friends, teachers. If you’re too shy or uptight to do that, please do the old-fashioned handshake thing. But I recommend a hug and a kiss. Don’t let the sun go down today without saying thank you to someone.

Second, don’t forget that you have a body under your toga. Take good care of it. Engage in sports. It’s fun, and it is a laboratory for victory and adversity. How an athlete celebrates his triumphs, or overcomes defeat or injury, how he deals with a hostile crowd or a critical media, reflects what life is all about. Indeed, sports offers a richness all its own—it is a metaphor for life.

Third, remember you have brains under that mortarboard. You’ve been running it like crazy for four years, whining about all the books you’ve had to read, the papers you’ve had to write, the tests you’ve had to take. Yet thanks to that versatile, gigabyte hard-drive of yours, and a million Starbucks cups, you made it today.

Fourth, give P1 for every P10 you earn. I saw my mother pass away eight years ago, and she left this world without anything. Which means you’re not the owner of what you think you own. You’re only a steward, because everything’s on loan. So pass some of it on. If you don’t, government will just take it anyway.


As today’s door closes softly between us, those are my parting words. But there will be other partings and other last words in your lives.

But today will not be complete without acknowledging what Father Ben has done for the Ateneo these past 17 years as the university’s longest serving president—the new Loyola Schools, all the new buildings, the UAAP championships and the bonfires. It has been a pleasure working with him. Thank you so much, Father Ben.

I do have one last word for you, if I may. This was a gift when I graduated at the age of 19—the gift of friends with whom I sat on graduation day, who remain my friends for life. So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you will recall those of Seneca, one of the old Romans I met in search of ancient wisdom: “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” [taken from the speech of J.K. Rowling].

I will now let you go. Through God’s providence, may each of you travel well that precious journey called life. And may your future be worthy of your dreams. My deepest thanks for the courtesy and honor you all have shared with me. Many congratulations. God bless you all. Good day and good life.

Notice those in "[ ]"'s the paragraphs he "borrowed" from Obama, Rowling, and the rest. He can write a speech all by himself, but the copy-paste is just ridiculous!

Let's all learn from this. I am speaking directly to the La Sallians, who like MVP, are at the top of their game. If you are given a chance to address people, not necessarily graduates, please! For your own sake and kahihiyan, make your own speech. I'm sure you've encountered and survived a lot of hurdles before you reached the top, so just share that. I'm sure it will be very inspirational. At least you guys put a lot of effort and sincerity in your speech. Like what Sarah Geronimo told John Lloyd Cruz in A Very Special Love: "Write from the HEART". :)

To the Ateneans, you have given me another reason to be soooo disappointed. Actually bilib naman ako sa inyo, I do not fail to see that many of you are really, really good in what you do. But sometimes, you guys just forget to think about your actions and the consequences, and that's the most basic! I remember reading Bianca Gonzalez's blog entry, the jist of her blog was that you are all Ateanans, you were all educated by what you all call THE ATENEO WAY, but Bianca's surprised that not all of you seem to value that integrity your school has been protecting for 150 years. Is THE ATENEO WAY cheating? I think not!

Like Bianca, I too am greatly surprised and saddened by that thought. I know what if feels like to be proud of your educational attainment, especially if it's as grand an institution as THE ATENEO. So protect your school, don't give any reason to embarrass them.

Manny Pangilinan: I really think you should resign as Ateneo trustee. After this stint you pulled off, delikadesa na dapat ang pairalin.

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