Author Archive

No introduction needed. Here’s the Youtube video:

And here’s the full text of his speech straight from his Facebook Page. I wish you could pick out some lessons and inspiration from him.

President Faust, Board of Overseers, faculty, alumni, friends, proud parents, members of the ad board, and graduates of the greatest university in the world,
I’m honored to be with you today because, let’s face it, you accomplished something I never could. If I get through this speech, it’ll be the first time I actually finish something at Harvard. Class of 2017, congratulations!
I’m an unlikely speaker, not just because I dropped out, but because we’re technically in the same generation. We walked this yard less than a decade apart, studied the same ideas and slept through the same Ec10 lectures. We may have taken different paths to get here, especially if you came all the way from the Quad, but today I want to share what I’ve learned about our generation and the world we’re building together.
But first, the last couple of days have brought back a lot of good memories.
How many of you remember exactly what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard? I was playing Civilization and I ran downstairs, got my dad, and for some reason, his reaction was to video me opening the email. That could have been a really sad video. I swear getting into Harvard is still the thing my parents are most proud of me for.
What about your first lecture at Harvard? Mine was Computer Science 121 with the incredible Harry Lewis. I was late so I threw on a t-shirt and didn’t realize until afterwards it was inside out and backwards with my tag sticking out the front. I couldn’t figure out why no one would talk to me — except one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it. We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook. And that, Class of 2017, is why you should be nice to people.
But my best memory from Harvard was meeting Priscilla. I had just launched this prank website Facemash, and the ad board wanted to “see me”. Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out. My parents came to help me pack. My friends threw me a going away party. As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friend. We met in line for the bathroom in the Pfoho Belltower, and in what must be one of the all time romantic lines, I said: “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.”
Actually, any of you graduating can use that line.
I didn’t end up getting kicked out — I did that to myself. Priscilla and I started dating. And, you know, that movie made it seem like Facemash was so important to creating Facebook. It wasn’t. But without Facemash I wouldn’t have met Priscilla, and she’s the most important person in my life, so you could say it was the most important thing I built in my time here.
We’ve all started lifelong friendships here, and some of us even families. That’s why I’m so grateful to this place. Thanks, Harvard.
•••
Today I want to talk about purpose. But I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We’re millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively. Instead, I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.
One of my favorite stories is when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon”.
Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.
You’re graduating at a time when this is especially important. When our parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community. But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Membership in communities is declining. Many people feel disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void.
As I’ve traveled around, I’ve sat with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told me their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an after school program or somewhere to go. I’ve met factory workers who know their old jobs aren’t coming back and are trying to find their place.
To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge: to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose.
I remember the night I launched Facebook from my little dorm in Kirkland House. I went to Noch’s with my friend KX. I remember telling him I was excited to connect the Harvard community, but one day someone would connect the whole world.
The thing is, it never even occurred to me that someone might be us. We were just college kids. We didn’t know anything about that. There were all these big technology companies with resources. I just assumed one of them would do it. But this idea was so clear to us — that all people want to connect. So we just kept moving forward, day by day.
I know a lot of you will have your own stories just like this. A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will.
But it’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.
I found that out the hard way. You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that’s what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we’d build.
A couple years in, some big companies wanted to buy us. I didn’t want to sell. I wanted to see if we could connect more people. We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this, it could change how we learn about the world.
Nearly everyone else wanted to sell. Without a sense of higher purpose, this was the startup dream come true. It tore our company apart. After one tense argument, an advisor told me if I didn’t agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life. Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so every single person on the management team was gone.
That was my hardest time leading Facebook. I believed in what we were doing, but I felt alone. And worse, it was my fault. I wondered if I was just wrong, an imposter, a 22 year-old kid who had no idea how the world worked.
Now, years later, I understand that *is* how things work with no sense of higher purpose. It’s up to us to create it so we can all keep moving forward together.
Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.
•••
First, let’s take on big meaningful projects.
Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks. But we have the potential to do so much more together.
Every generation has its defining works. More than 300,000 people worked to put a man on the moon – including that janitor. Millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. Millions of more people built the Hoover dam and other great projects.
These projects didn’t just provide purpose for the people doing those jobs, they gave our whole country a sense of pride that we could do great things.
Now it’s our turn to do great things. I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam, or get a million people involved in anything.
But let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.
If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook.
Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started. Oh, you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? No one writes math formulas on glass. That’s not a thing.
It’s good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.
In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.
So what are we waiting for? It’s time for our generation-defining public works. How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels? How about curing all diseases and asking volunteers to track their health data and share their genomes? Today we spend 50x more treating people who are sick than we spend finding cures so people don’t get sick in the first place. That makes no sense. We can fix this. How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online, and personalizing education so everyone can learn?
These achievements are within our reach. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.
•••
So taking on big meaningful projects is the first thing we can do to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.
The second is redefining equality to give everyone the freedom they need to pursue purpose.
Many of our parents had stable jobs throughout their careers. Now we’re all entrepreneurial, whether we’re starting projects or finding or role. And that’s great. Our culture of entrepreneurship is how we create so much progress.
An entrepreneurial culture thrives when it’s easy to try lots of new ideas. Facebook wasn’t the first thing I built. I also built games, chat systems, study tools and music players. I’m not alone. JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before publishing Harry Potter. Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get Halo. The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.
But today, we have a level of wealth inequality that hurts everyone. When you don’t have the freedom to take your idea and turn it into a historic enterprise, we all lose. Right now our society is way over-indexed on rewarding success and we don’t do nearly enough to make it easy for everyone to take lots of shots.
Let’s face it. There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.
Look, I know a lot of entrepreneurs, and I don’t know a single person who gave up on starting a business because they might not make enough money. But I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.
We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.
Every generation expands its definition of equality. Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.
We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things. We’re going to change jobs many times, so we need affordable childcare to get to work and healthcare that isn’t tied to one company. We’re all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. And as technology keeps changing, we need a society that focuses more on continuous education throughout our lives.
And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it. Many of you will do well and you should too.
That’s why Priscilla and I started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and committed our wealth to promoting equal opportunity. These are the values of our generation. It was never a question of if we were going to do this. The only question was when.
Millennials are already one of the most charitable generations in history. In one year, three of four US millennials made a donation and seven out of ten raised money for charity.
But it’s not just about money. You can also give time. I promise you, if you take an hour or two a week — that’s all it takes to give someone a hand, to help them reach their potential.
Maybe you think that’s too much time. I used to. When Priscilla graduated from Harvard she became a teacher, and before she’d do education work with me, she told me I needed to teach a class. I complained: “Well, I’m kind of busy. I’m running this company.” But she insisted, so I taught a middle school program on entrepreneurship at the local Boys and Girls Club.
I taught them lessons on product development and marketing, and they taught me what it’s like feeling targeted for your race and having a family member in prison. I shared stories from my time in school, and they shared their hope of one day going to college too. For five years now, I’ve been having dinner with those kids every month. One of them even threw me and Priscilla our first baby shower. And next year they’re going to college. Every one of them. First in their families.
We can all make time to give someone a hand. Let’s give everyone the freedom to pursue their purpose — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because when more people can turn their dreams into something great, we’re all better for it.
•••
Purpose doesn’t only come from work. The third way we can create a sense of purpose for everyone is by building community. And when our generation says “everyone”, we mean everyone in the world.
Quick show of hands: how many of you are from another country? Now, how many of you are friends with one of these folks? Now we’re talking. We have grown up connected.
In a survey asking millennials around the world what defines our identity, the most popular answer wasn’t nationality, religion or ethnicity, it was “citizen of the world”. That’s a big deal.
Every generation expands the circle of people we consider “one of us”. For us, it now encompasses the entire world.
We understand the great arc of human history bends towards people coming together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations — to achieve things we couldn’t on our own.
We get that our greatest opportunities are now global — we can be the generation that ends poverty, that ends disease. We get that our greatest challenges need global responses too — no country can fight climate change alone or prevent pandemics. Progress now requires coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community.
But we live in an unstable time. There are people left behind by globalization across the world. It’s hard to care about people in other places if we don’t feel good about our lives here at home. There’s pressure to turn inwards.
This is the struggle of our time. The forces of freedom, openness and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism. Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration against those who would slow them down. This is not a battle of nations, it’s a battle of ideas. There are people in every country for global connection and good people against it.
This isn’t going to be decided at the UN either. It’s going to happen at the local level, when enough of us feel a sense of purpose and stability in our own lives that we can open up and start caring about everyone. The best way to do that is to start building local communities right now.
We all get meaning from our communities. Whether our communities are houses or sports teams, churches or a cappella groups, they give us that sense we are part of something bigger, that we are not alone; they give us the strength to expand our horizons.
That’s why it’s so striking that for decades, membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter. That’s a lot of people who now need to find purpose somewhere else.
But I know we can rebuild our communities and start new ones because many of you already are.
I met Agnes Igoye, who’s graduating today. Where are you, Agnes? She spent her childhood navigating conflict zones with human trafficking in Uganda, and now she trains thousands of law enforcement officers to keep communities safe.
I met Kayla Oakley and Niha Jain, graduating today, too. Stand up. Kayla and Niha started a non-profit that connects people suffering from chronic illnesses with people in their communities willing to help.
I met David Razu Aznar, graduating from the Kennedy School today. David, stand up. He’s a former city councilor who successfully led the battle to make Mexico City the first Latin American city to pass marriage equality — even before San Francisco.
This is my story too. A student in a dorm room, connecting one community at a time, and keeping at it until one day we connect the whole world.
Change starts local. Even global changes start small — with people like us. In our generation, the struggle of whether we connect more, whether we achieve our biggest opportunities, comes down to this — your ability to build communities and create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.
•••
Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It’s up to you to create it.
Now, you may be thinking: can I really do this?
Remember when I told you about that class I taught at the Boys and Girls Club? One day after class I was talking to them about college, and one of my top students raised his hand and said he wasn’t sure he could go because he’s undocumented. He didn’t know if they’d let him in.
Last year I took him out to breakfast for his birthday. I wanted to get him a present, so I asked him and he started talking about students he saw struggling and said “You know, I’d really just like a book on social justice.”
I was blown away. Here’s a young guy who has every reason to be cynical. He didn’t know if the country he calls home — the only one he’s known — would deny him his dream of going to college. But he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. He wasn’t even thinking of himself. He has a greater sense of purpose, and he’s going to bring people along with him.
It says something about our current situation that I can’t even say his name because I don’t want to put him at risk. But if a high school senior who doesn’t know what the future holds can do his part to move the world forward, then we owe it to the world to do our part too.
Before you walk out those gates one last time, as we sit in front of Memorial Church, I am reminded of a prayer, Mi Shebeirach, that I say whenever I face a challenge, that I sing to my daughter thinking about her future when I tuck her into bed. It goes:
“May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us, help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”
I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing.
Congratulations, Class of ’17! Good luck out there.

 

This is not a bike review. This is my first hand account of being a beginner biker: from how I ended up loving the chains and sprockets, and the people who had common interests in living a lifestyle of our own. 

I consider myself as a jack of all trades, and yes, probably, really must be a master of none. I explore anything I can, try to grasp a thing or two to experience how it is, and then just like that, I am all good and over with it. It’s either I decide to stay in a hobby or call it quits, and earn experience points along the way, and be satisfied by the feeling that I know the do’s and don’ts in case I stumble upon the same thing in the near future.

But recently, there’s one thing that got me captivated. Something I thought I’d never be able to do. Something I thought was just a simple hobby, which turned out to be more than just that. It’s a lifestyle. It’s what keeps you… rolling. Biking.

Yes, although I don’t consider myself a hardcore guy when it comes to biking, because come on! I am a very stingy person and we only got our gear from thrift shops where common pickers flock for the oldies but goodies stuff.

A few months ago, I got to know a person by the name of Wally Contento. The name may ring a bell to you. He’s known in the biking circle as someone who likes to collect and restore classic bike models, and rides them in a very cool fashion. My friend actually caught a picture of him riding his Mini Cooper cruiser while wearing a fedora, a pair of alfombras and a 70s inspired polo shirt. That friend of mine actually wondered how on earth Wally was able to ride in with so much class and appear to be without even dropping a single sweat.

Wally, to the musically inclined, used to be the lead man of the band Stella Ruiz. And when given the chance, we would jam in his place like good old men that we are, and fly away with his music. I could write about his awesome Beatles collection at home, but it would veer us away from biking, lol.

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Here is Wally’s 1960s Huffy Cruiser, US made.

Back when we were still office-mates, Wally would always bring his restored pieces in the office, and never spend a single centavo on his way to and from our office building. His bikes were head turners, and we always get that “wow” look whenever we ride with him. I managed to engage him in a chitchat and I told him that I was also planning on buying a bike for myself for economic purposes. Without any hesitation, he told me to come with them to this place, and they would help me buy my own piece.

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One of the bike shops in Bangkal, Makati city. Unless with a trained eye, you’ll never know what treasures are hidden within the pile of old bike frames, tires, etc.,.

And there we went to a Malvar Steet, in Barangay Bangkal, Makati City. It was my first time to go there, and my eyes were up for a surprise. The entire street was filled with bikes — all kinds of bikes, ranging from foldies, fixies, mountain, cruisers, single speeds, you name it, they have it! Most of them are second hand’s, however, but who cares?

So I went there, on a cab, while Wally and Paulo, another office mate who rides a fixie, introduced me to the shop owners. A few seconds after the niceties, they were already like men on a mission. Their eyes roamed just about every where looking for a nice piece. They told me they weren’t looking for anything specific, but they always say “I’ll know what I’, looking for when I see it.”

Where I was there left in the middle. It’s like a kid left in a car shop, wondering what else to do aside from be astounded by the volume of frames and tires and sprockets surrounding me. I only got out of trance when Wally told me “ano, pili na!”. I was shy to admit that I actually didn’t know what to pick, and how to pick what’s best for me, when they were out there, looking like expert buyers already, trying to pull out any frame that catches their eyes, anything that looks interesting. I had zero knowledge about bikes, and during that day, I was hoping they’d guide me on how to pick for myself, but they just let me there alone as they were busy trying to find their own ‘treasure’. So I decided to pick a folding bike, thinking that I could bring it inside the office, and it’s light and easy to handle. My qualifications for buying sound like so mediocre compared to their standards.

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This was the first project I bought – a Japanese surplus Jeep Wrangler folding bike.

Polding, the name I gave my first ever bike, was old, but it could still have a few miles in its belt. I told myself I would invest a few hundred bucks to have it restored and make it look and work as if it’s brand new. I spent P2.5k for the old model, but replaced some parts, did some tweaking and adjustments, to bring it to its optimum appearance and hopefully, performance. The entire project cost me some P6k more or less.

We’re fond of naming our bikes in a funny way. Wally has the name Tirso, for one of his cruiser bikes. Tirso Cruise… get it? 🙂 Paulo, on the other hand has Temmie, for his black fixie. Temmie-for “itim”. We got a lot of TVJ influence going in within the group. Blame these two old timers for that. Lorenzo, another biker has his bike named Benzo. And for my foldie, is Polding… it’s a giveaway. Polding bisikleta, come on!

From then on, I realized that biking isn’t just a simple hobby. It becomes your lifestyle. It’s like owning an upgradable toy but with its practical uses. You get to love your piece the more you try to restore it, and add more and newer pieces in it. And for some reason, you would not mind shelling out a few hundred bucks here and there just to make your bike look and feel good when riding, when you used to hold on to your bucks like it’s the end of the world. The local bikers call that “upgraditis“, derived from the word “upgrade” and the commonly heard medical suffix “-itis”. Some bikers consider unnecessary upgrading as a mild addiction.

Unfortunately after about two months, Polding got stolen. After all I’ve spent trying to upgrade the bike, someone took it from our own apartment compound in broad daylight, when I fell asleep and forgot to chainlock it. It was such a bummer and I hope whoever stole it never got a good use of Polding and sell it to feed his vices.

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This was the last picture of Pol a few days after it got stolen. That backdrop is the old Escolta, btw.

So, I bought a second folding bike, cost me just about the same amount including the upgrades. I still have it at home and was using it to go to work, or elsewhere whenever I choose. It even got inside a hotel!

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Tim. Short for Itim. My second folding bike.

Me and my biker friends call ourselves the “Chain Gang”, first coined when we rode together one morning before sunrise, looking for some place to have our “lunch” (we work graveyard’s shift), and our office-mates would see us like we’re funny thugs wannabe in the middle of the street. It was cheesy and hilarious, nonetheless. It’s a group of friendly people who ride different types of bikes. The group is not exclusive for just one bike type. We embrace diversity. The group has a foldie, a couple of fixies and cruisers, a mountain bike, and now, I have a mini velo to add to our group.

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Meet Biki. Short for Biki Velo. It’s a Alterna mini velo with 6-speed shifters. My third project.

As Chain Gang, we would go riding anywhere within the Metro, from the Circuit, Makati to as far as the SM Mall of Asia. Again, we are not hard core cyclists, so we just ride for fun and leisure, MoA is already a far location for us. But our favorite spot where we ride to is the Old Manila. From Binondo, to Intramuros, Escolta, Rizal Park, the Paco Cemetery, to that secluded, still to be developed portion behind PICC – we call it the Echo Beach, after Wally discovered that an echo is created when you stomp your feet or shout from the center of the circle. After the ride, we feed ourselves with food from Binondo or in Malate’s famous Erra’s Ramen House. Or whenever hunger strikes, we stop over and eat at any carinderia we find.

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This “Echo Beach” is really the Paseo Palisoc Circle. It is located behind the Tanghalang Franciso Balagtas and The Coconut Palace, and is a part of the development under the NCCA, or the National Center for Culture and the Arts.

I used to just think of buying a bike for its economic uses. To save money and time going to and from the office. Also, it improves your health, and mind, as you remove yourself from the stress and hassle of the daily commuter’s traffic and ride on two wheels powered by your own two feet. These are given.

But little did I know, it would introduce me to a different world that I’ve never expected to see myself in back in the day. I used to wonder why bike shops are opened in about every barangay in my city, until I realized that the biking community in the Metro is that huge. It took me a while to get used to riding in the middle of the Manila traffic, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not as horrific and terrifying as you thought it would be. Unless you’re going to find yourself pedaling in the middle of EDSA where deadly buses don’t even respect their fellow drivers, what more is it for a biker like me? You develop your self discipline and be a defensive biker on the road, and greet with a smile or a friendly wave of a hand a fellow biker that you pass by.

I swear I could write a lot more stuff about biking as a hobby, but I have yet a lot to explore about it. When you’ve got a ton of support from your friends and workmates, when you ride with people who share the same interests as you do, when you meet and greet and find new friends along the way, biking will always be just riding like a breeze.

***UPDATE (February 28, 2017): Thanks to Wally, again, I have explored and expanded my network more and participated as the official photographer for their bike group, the Baywalk Beach Cruisers (BBC) during the PhilBike Expo 2016 . Click the link to see the photos.

I also got to know Mr. John Bercic, a Canadian national who has put up a bike business here in the Philippines, the PhatKatBikes. He and Wally are both members of BBC. I met him at the PhilBike Expo and we ventured on a tie-up project. He invited me to create a vlog for his PhatKatz Flipflops. Here’s the vid. Hopefully, he opens the market in the PH right away.

It also was an honor to have joined him and the BBC in the outreach program that they did for the kids at Hospicio De San Jose, in the City of Manila. Please click the link to see the photos.

Here’s my gf’s vlog. I’d like to give a shoutout to my girlfriend, Bae, (Yes, that’s a part of her legal name, not just an endearment), who helped me with the project. Bae is also a blogger, and a vlogger, and together, we have created a few travel vlogs, in her page, The Bae Blogs. I hope you guys enjoy the video:

Here’s a link to my FB Album featuring Polding and Friends:
Polding and Friends and Bicki and Friends.

Check out my Bangkal album, too. 🙂

It was during a lesson about Principles of Political Science in college, when our Polsci Prof, and then Department Head, Mr. Jerry Buraga started writing on the board all these 48 items. His usual practice is that he’d start a day with us doing a quick Q&A about anything before going directly to his lectures. However, on that very day, he sort of dedicated a very long moment for this portion. From that day on, I decided that I’d buy that book the soonest that I get the chance to. And, after 5 years, I finally had a copy. An ex gave me one. I lent it to another person, and lost it. Bought one again and lent and lost it again. This third copy, I just keep in my shelf, together with two other books from Robert Greene : The Art of Seduction and The Mastery; and Neil Strauss’ The Game. The other Greene books I have yet to buy.

The 48 Laws of Power is my guiding principles in life.This is my personal Bible. People wonder why I want it so much and ask me “Do you thirst for power? Are you a megalomaniac?” and then follow it up with comments like “You are nerd.” You are weird.”

I find their words shallow. They try to see only the superficial value of the words in there. There is a lot more that you can learn from the book aside from grabbing power. It teaches you to understand how people think and behave in the society. It teaches you how to detect the ones who are capable of wielding power in their hands and those who are only going to squander it. It gives you an insight about society and leadership that not ordinary people would understand and appreciate. It improves you. Only if you understand that the book is like the Force in the movie Star Wars, you have to know how to handle and use it to be always on the upper hand. You have to acknowledge the fact that it has good and bad sides and it would depend on the reader how you would use both these sides to your advantage. Couple it with the other books from Greene, one can easily take the challenges in the society like it’s a walk in the park.

The book is about being selfish. It is brutal. It teaches you the cleverness that not everyone would accept. In the vernacular, it is the book for “Paano Manggulang 101”. It will churn your stomach and turn it upside down if you are that kind of person who is morally upright, or a religious devout. It goes against the current of morality. It is after all, about grabbing power in its strictest sense.

But as I was explaining to them. “to know and to understand something does not mean you need to always put it in practice.”

Here are the 48 Laws, and some short descriptions about them. Straight from Robert Greene himself :

The 48 Laws of Power  – by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers

Law 1

Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior.  In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity.  Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

Law 2

Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy.  They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove.  In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.  If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.

Law 3

Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions.  If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense.  Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Law 4

Always Say Less than Necessary

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control.  Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike.  Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.  The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

 Law 5

So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life

Reputation is the cornerstone of power.  Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides.  Make your reputation unassailable.  Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen.  Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations.  Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

 Law 6

Court Attention at all Cost

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing.  Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion.  Stand out.  Be conspicuous, at all cost.  Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

  Law 7

Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause.  Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed.  In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.  Never do yourself what others can do for you.

 Law 8

Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control.  It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process.  Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack.  You hold the cards.

 Law 9

Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory:  The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion.  It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word.  Demonstrate, do not explicate.

Law 10

Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease.  You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster.  The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you.  Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

Law 11

Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted.  The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have.  Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear.  Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

 Law 12

Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones.  Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people.  Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will.  A timely gift – a Trojan horse – will serve the same purpose.

 Law 13

When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest,

Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds.  He will find a way to ignore you.  Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion.  He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.

 Law 14

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

Knowing about your rival is critical.  Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead.  Better still: Play the spy yourself.  In polite social encounters, learn to probe.  Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions.  There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

 Law 15

Crush your Enemy Totally

All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely.  (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.)  If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out.  More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation:  The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge.  Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.

 Law 16

Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

Too much circulation makes the price go down:  The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear.  If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired.  You must learn when to leave.  Create value through scarcity.

 Law 17

Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions.  Your predictability gives them a sense of control.  Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable.  Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves.  Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18

Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves.  A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target.  Better to circulate among people find allies, mingle.  You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.

Law 19

Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way.  Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge.  They are wolves in lambs’ clothing.  Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.

Law 20

Do Not Commit to Anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides.  Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.  By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

Law 21

Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons.  The trick, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are.  Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.

Law 22

Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead.  Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane.  Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first.  By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him.  Make surrender a tool of power.

Law 23

Concentrate Your Forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.  You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.  When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

Law 24

Play the Perfect Courtier

The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity.  He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the mot oblique and graceful manner.  Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.

Law 25

Re-Create Yourself

Do not accept the roles that society foists on you.  Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience.  Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you.  Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

Law 26

Keep Your Hands Clean

You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds.  Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.

Law 27

Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following

People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something.  Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow.  Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking.  Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf.  In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.

Law 28

Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it.  Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution.  Timidity is dangerous:  Better to enter with boldness.  Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.  Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Law 29

Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything.  Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.  By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop.  Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

Law 30

Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.  All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed.  When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more.  Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions.  Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

Law 31

Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice:  Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets.  Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose.  Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.  Put them on the horns of a dilemma:  They are gored wherever they turn.

Law 32

Play to People’s Fantasies

The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant.  Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes for disenchantment.  Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert:  Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.

Law 33

Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall.  That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure.  Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Law 34

Be Royal in your Own Fashion:  Act like a King to be treated like one

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you.  For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others.  By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

Law 35

Master the Art of Timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time.  Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually.  Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power.  Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.

Law 36

Disdain Things you cannot have:  Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility.  The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it.  It is sometimes best to leave things alone.  If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it.  The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Law 37

Create Compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them.  Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

Law 38

Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

Law 39

Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.  You must always stay calm and objective.  But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage.  Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

Law 40

Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation.  What has worth is worth paying for.  By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit.  It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence.  Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

Law 41

Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after.  If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them.  Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making:  Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

Law 42

Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill.  If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence.  Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable.  Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them.  Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

Law 43

Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you.  You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction.  A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn.  And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses.  Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear.  Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

Law 44

Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy.  The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact.  By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson.  Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.

Law 45

Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once

Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit.  Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt.  If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things.  If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

Law 46

Never appear too Perfect

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.  Envy creates silent enemies.  It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.  Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

Law 47

Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.  In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat.  Do not allow success to go to your head.  There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning.  Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

Law 48

Assume Formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack.  Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move.  Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed.  The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order.  Everything changes.

Pardon me if I tried hard to make the title sound as politically correct as possible. Hurting religious feelings in my country might have me end up in jail, you know. This entry by the way, to explain the redundancy, is all about my online posts about Pope Francis and his visit in the Philippines. I collated all of them and put it here.

I must say, I am blessed for having part of the two of the biggest events for the Catholic Church in a span of two weeks. A week before the Pope’s visit, I was lucky to witness the Translacion De Nazareno. I thought of putting balance to my ideas about the Creator, that I decided to watch the movie The Theory of Everything, in the hopes of having Stephen Hawking and his theories bring me back into my agnostic and pragmatic self.

And knowing who I am based on my previous posts (kindly refer to the articles: Atheism According to Red Tani : a Blunder of Biblical Proportions, and My Lenten Reflection , I couldn’t still fathom how The Pontiff made me do all these.

The failed trip to his mass at the Manila Cathedral forced me to just wait at the corner of Roxas Blvd. and Quirino Ave. for his motorcade; but I still failed to have a glimpse of him because he was on-board the enclosed van and not on the Pope Mobile due to the rain.

I waited there for more than an hour and I had an idea of how it feels to be in there, along with the crowd, media personnel and other photographers who are all excited to see just even his face for a brief moment as his motorcade passed by. It was thrilling, and fascinating at the same time.

A couple of days after, me and other volunteers got a special access to be as near as we can get for his concluding mass at the Quirino Grandstand. The experience is really different when you’re in there, versus the feeling that you have when you watch the Papal activities on TV. Both of which are solemn and holy, of course. To see Pope Francis that close is definitely priceless.

It is an awesome experience overall. This is one of the most memorable events in my life, a bucket list worthy of an event.

As Morgan Freeman said in the the movie Bruce Almighty “If you want to see a miracle, be the miracle.” Well, guys, Pope Francis has done it during his visit. I am really thankful to have been a part of this momentous event.

My Facebook Status: January 19  –  

“We Survived 15+ hours while at the concluding mass of ‪#‎PopeFrancisPH‬ at the Quirino Grandstand, I only had one single pack of Graham crackers and small shots of water to drink for my fuel – while having the most difficult time in my volunteering experience in finding the way around the Rizal Park to get in with the call time as early 3AM and having entered the are only at 630AM (and yeah, the mass started at around 3PM; and ushering thousands of overly eager pilgrims and guarding the Blessed Sacrament; and standing under the monsoon rains for more than 7 hours while at it. But if you ask me if it was all worth it? I’d answer YES in a heartbeat.”

And as I was reposting a GMA Network Online article, I added:

“I really have to give it to this guy. I only saw snippets of his homily in Tacloban. And then a few clips showing how the Taclobanons prepared for him. That is one big display of resilience and faith. Amidst the threatening strong winds and rains by Typhoon ‪#‎Amang‬, The Pope did not fail to give the Yolanda Survivors HOPE.

I hope he lands back safe to Manila.

And then some ninja sliced some onions nearby. ‪#‎PopeFrancisPH.”

And this, for a Manila Bulletin article online by Reina Reyes :

May he be the catalyst for our social healing. I hope my fellow Filipinos use this momentum to change how we behave as a nation. From the way that the Filipinos showed their discipline (as it appears on all news cameras, but being with them in the grandstand is entirely another story), to how both believers and non-believers of the Catholic Church showed respect, admiration, and fascination to The Pope. This religious euphoria may stay with us and leave once The Pope goes back to Vatican, but let’s not end it there.”

“I don’t believe in God, but I want to believe in Pope Francis. I want to believe that he is sincere and genuinely open to dialogue, reform, and accountability. I want to believe that he has the necessary political astuteness and goodwill to usher in structural and spiritual reform in the Curia, if not throughout the Church. I want to believe that it is possible to change a fossilized dysfunctional organizational culture in the course of a lifetime. Because then, maybe-just maybe-it can be done here, too.” – Reina Reyes, The Francis effect : An atheist takes a no-biased, non-deified look at the rockstar pontiff the Catholic Church is in love with.

Go check the videos and read the one I did below this first one:

#PapalVisit2015
#PopeFrancisPH

Visit more photos here at :

The Papal Visit 2015 Experience

More pictures here: Traslacion De Nazareno 2015

 

I also want to share to you these amazing works by none other than Mr. Fung Yu:

http://www.360journals.com/360/Nazarene/2015/nazarene2015.html

And a commentary about Traslacion by Sir. Xiao Chua:

A lot of things may be said about this festival. Most of them I do not want to touch and discuss anymore.

One thing is for sure for me. The devotees of the Black Nazarene showed their force of faith. A combination of beauty in chaos, solemnity, resilience, that have spanned decades in practice.

What it did for me? It satisfied my curiosity. I went there not as a devout Catholic (for I am not a devout Catholic). I came there as an observer, and a fascinated one I was.

As much as I would want to give an explanation and my comment as to how this undoubtedly unique Filipino festival is being held, I can only give you pictures and let them answer your questions for me.

As what my colleague Berniemack Arellano, the man behind Habagat Central had put it, it had a “Gradual increase, a bursting climax at the Poon Nazareno, and then a sudden drop of energy towards solemnity, then cleaning up the mess. It is an interesting anthropological study to look at on the procession’s nature opposing that of Cebu’s solemn and lengthy foot and fluvial procession.”

It was surreal. We waited from 8am at the balcony of the National Museum, and people were already walking to and fro the Andas, incessantly. We were lucky enough to be allowed to have our station there as it offered the best vantage point that day. The Padre Burgos Street was so full of human activities. We had at least a couple of short snacks, one full lunch, and a few combined bottles and glasses of energy drink, coffee, water and soda before we saw the head of the Andas at around 1pm.

And then that beautiful chaotic moment came. You can’t help but have goosebumps, as people wave their white towels, clap their hands, shout their faith. Some devotees are climbing up the Andas with full fervor and determination to at least touch a part of the image, but some were even luckier to kiss the cross, or touch the face of the Jesus Nazareno.

When the Andas reached the part of the street where I was directly standing at, time seemed to have stopped. I was staring at the Andas, and it captivated me for an ample number of seconds before I realized that I am holding my camera and had to shoot photos.

True enough, as what the broadcasts have mentioned in the previous years, I saw how solemn the rear part of the Traslacion is compared to the very chaotic scene at the front where the rope pulling the Andas is being held by the devotees. For almost an hour, you will see what seems to be a complete disorder and confusion. Ocassionally you could hear the devotees shouting “Viva! Viva!” as if doing a warcry to rally their spirits whenever they get tired. And everytime the Hijos atop the Andas blow their whistle three times as their signal, a wave of devotees from the back run straight toward the Andas like a mini stampede to push it forward.

And then right after, when the Andas has already moved forth, you’ll see a few meters back from the Andas, the females, young and old, together with some elder males, and children who could not be in front due to their frail physical conditions, are praying together. And it was magical. The Andas will bring your adrenaline out, and then leave you there just like that and will make you wonder just how on earth did that kind of silence follow the rowdy crowd in front? Imagine watching a firework display that just goes out just when you are about hyped up and ready for the finale – but in a good, solemn way.

The entire Traslacion covered the streets from the Finance Rd, going straight to Padre Burgos, and it took almost two long hours before it reached the part of the City Hall. Kudos to the MMDA street sweepers for their good job of making sure that the streets where the Traslacion is passing through are kept clean after.

I always tell myself that I am an agnostic. Probably because that is what is convenient for me. But at that moment, when I was witnessing with my very own eyes the devotion of my fellow Filipinos, I told myself that this is the best time to go out of my comfort zone, feel the vibe and savor the moment where one’s strongest faith is displayed. A spiritual pat on the back, if you may.

Call it what you want. A miracle. Fanaticism. Display of faith. Craziness. For me, it was just surreal. I cannot judge the people who do the “Panata sa Nazareno”. Neither can I say that being in there made me a little bit more holy. But I have satiated my curiosity. And I think I’m good with that.

Some even say the event itself is over-hyped by the media? Now, that’s another story. You’ve got to experience it for yourself. 🙂

#Traslacion
#Nazareno2015
#HeritagePH

Another speech of one of the greatest comedians that have ever lived. I have always loved Jim Carrey movies. And while it’s been known that he portrays quite unusually unique characters in his movies, it never dawned on me about this side if his persona. I love his exceptional performance in The Truman Show, a movie which influenced me a lot during my high school years. No one could have done it any better than him.

One thing I like about commencement speeches is that the giver of the speech not only shares a portion of him/herself to the audience, but he/she gives his/her entire life story – to reveal, to be judged, to inspire, and the very least, make himself be boastfully admired. And the fact that the giver of the speech always has to be a prominent individual, an expert at his/her field, you have always looked at the person with sheer admiration that you’d convince yourself that he/she is one anomaly in the universe that no one would ever achieve what he/she has in his/her life. However, in spite of that stereotypical image that we see from them, very seldom do they show that they are just like us – in the way we think, the things that we fear, the passion that we have, the wondering that we’ve always had. This one, like the previous ones I have already posted about  people like them, is also very exceptional.

Notice how the words of Jim Carrey is a lot similar to those that Steve Jobs and Conan O’Brien also mentioned in their commencement speeches on how they thought they feared the lives ahead of them, and realizing that it’d be a much more meaningful one if you had just let go of your fear and enjoy the ride. Insert hastags connecting-the-dots, and what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-stronger, followed by but-it-almost-killed-you here.

This speech, highlighted the journeys that you may have gone through in your life, and how along the way, you make a lot of realizations about yourself – some you think no one would have ever thought about themselves, but all those you hear from Jim right here, which makes it more ridiculously amazing.The best one word to put it – enlightening.

Enjoy the vid, and the words. And oh, the awesome painting! 🙂

Official Commencement Address Graduating Class of 2014

from Maharishi University of Management, May 24th, 2014
by Jim Carrey

Thank you Bevan, thank you all!

I brought one of my paintings to show you today. Hope you guys are gonna be able see it okay. It’s not one of my bigger pieces. You might wanna move down front — to get a good look at it. (kidding)

Faculty, Parents, Friends, Dignitaries… Graduating Class of 2014, and all the dead baseball players coming out of the corn to be with us today. (laughter) After the harvest there’s no place to hide — the fields are empty — there is no cover there! (laughter)

I am here to plant a seed that will inspire you to move forward in life with enthusiastic hearts and a clear sense of wholeness. The question is, will that seed have a chance to take root, or will I be sued by Monsanto and forced to use their seed, which may not be totally “Ayurvedic.” (laughter)

Excuse me if I seem a little low energy tonight — today — whatever this is. I slept with my head to the North last night. (laughter) Oh man! Oh man! You know how that is, right kids? Woke up right in the middle of Pitta and couldn’t get back to sleep till Vata rolled around, but I didn’t freak out. I used that time to eat a large meal and connect with someone special on Tinder. (laughter)

Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. How do I know this? I don’t, but I’m making sound, and that’s the important thing. That’s what I’m here to do. Sometimes, I think that’s one of the only things that are important. Just letting each other know we’re here, reminding each other that we are part of a larger self. I used to think Jim Carrey is all that I was…

Just a flickering light

A dancing shadow

The great nothing masquerading as something you can name

Dwelling in forts and castles made of witches – wishes! Sorry, a Freudian slip there

Seeking shelter in caves and foxholes, dug out hastily

An archer searching for his target in the mirror

Wounded only by my own arrows

Begging to be enslaved

Pleading for my chains

Blinded by longing and tripping over paradise – can I get an “Amen”?! (applause)

You didn’t think I could be serious did ya’? I don’t think you understand who you’re dealing with! I have no limits! I cannot be contained because I’m the container. You can’t contain the container, man! You can’t contain the container! (laughter)

I used to believe that who I was ended at the edge of my skin, that I had been given this little vehicle called a body from which to experience creation, and though I couldn’t have asked for a sportier model, (laughter) it was after all a loaner and would have to be returned. Then, I learned that everything outside the vehicle was a part of me, too, and now I drive a convertible. Top down wind in my hair! (laughter)

I am elated and truly, truly, truly excited to be present and fully connected to you at this important moment in your journey. I hope you’re ready to open the roof and take it all in?! (audience doesn’t react) Okay, four more years then! (laughter)

I want to thank the Trustees, Administrators and Faculty of MUM for creating an institution worthy of Maharishi’s ideals of education. A place that teaches the knowledge and experience necessary to be productive in life, as well as enabling the students, through Transcendental Meditation and ancient Vedic knowledge to slack off twice a day for an hour and a half!! (laughter) — don’t think you’re fooling me!!! — (applause) but, I guess it has some benefits. It does allow you to separate who you truly are and what’s real, from the stories that run through your head.

You have given them the ability to walk behind the mind’s elaborate set decoration, and to see that there is a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that’s going to eat you. (laughter) That may sound like no big deal, but many never learn that distinction and spend a great deal of their lives living in fight or flight response.

I’d like to acknowledge all you wonderful parents — way to go for the fantastic job you’ve done — for your tireless dedication, your love, your support, and most of all, for the attention you’ve paid to your children. I have a saying, “Beware the unloved,” because they will eventually hurt themselves… or me! (laughter)

But when I look at this group here today, I feel really safe! I do! I’m just going to say it — my room is not locked! My room is not locked! (laughter) No doubt some of you will turn out to be crooks! But white-collar stuff — Wall St. ya’ know, that type of thing — crimes committed by people with self-esteem! Stuff a parent can still be proud of in a weird way. (laughter)

And to the graduating class of 2017 — minus 3! You didn’t let me finish! (laughter) — Congratulations! (applause) Yes, give yourselves a round of applause, please. You are the vanguard of knowledge and consciousness; a new wave in a vast ocean of possibilities. On the other side of that door, there is a world starving for new leadership, new ideas.

I’ve been out there for 30 years! She’s a wild cat! (laughter) Oh, she’ll rub up against your leg and purr until you pick her up and start pettin’ her, and out of nowhere she’ll swat you in the face. Sure it’s rough sometimes but that’s OK, ‘cause they’ve got soft serve ice cream with sprinkles! (laughter) I guess that’s what I’m really here to say; sometimes it’s okay to eat your feelings! (laughter)

Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear.

So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it — please! (applause) And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. It’s party size! (laughter)

My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. (applause)

That’s not the only thing he taught me though: I watched the affect my father’s love and humor had on the world around me, and I thought, “That’s something to do, that’s something worth my time.”

It wasn’t long before I started acting up. People would come over to my house and they would be greeted by a 7 yr old throwing himself down a large flight of stairs. (laughter) They would say, “What happened?” And I would say, “I don’t know — let’s check the replay.” And I would go back to the top of the stairs and come back down in slow motion. (Jim reenacts coming down the stairs in slow-mo) It was a very strange household. (laughter)

My father used to brag that I wasn’t a ham — I was the whole pig. And he treated my talent as if it was his second chance. When I was about 28, after a decade as a professional comedian, I realized one night in LA that the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, like my dad. When I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion, “The Church of Freedom From Concern” — “The Church of FFC”— and I dedicated myself to that ministry.

What’s yours? How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are about to go do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. (applause)

Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Look where I am — look what I get to do! Everywhere I go – and I’m going to get emotional because when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me — I did something that makes people present their best selves to me wherever I go. (applause) I am at the top of the mountain and the only one I hadn’t freed was myself and that’s when my search for identity deepened.

I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me? What if I showed up to the party without my Mardi Gras mask and I refused to flash my breasts for a handful of beads? (laughter) I’ll give you a moment to wipe that image out of your mind. (laughter)

But you guys are way ahead of the game. You already know who you are and that peace, that peace that we’re after, lies somewhere beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, beyond invention and disguise, even beyond effort itself. You can join the game, fight the wars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace, you have to let the armor fall. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory. (A sheet drops and reveals Jim’s painting. Applause.)

(Re: the painting) It’s not big enough! (kidding) This painting is big for a reason. This painting is called “High Visibility.” (laughter) It’s about picking up the light and daring to be seen. Here’s the tricky part. Everyone is attracted to the light. The party host up in the corner (refers to painting) who thinks unconsciousness is bliss and is always offering a drink from the bottles that empty you; Misery, below her, who despises the light — can’t stand when you’re doing well — and wishes you nothing but the worst; The Queen of Diamonds who needs a King to build her house of cards; And the Hollow One, who clings to your leg and begs, “Please don’t leave me behind for I have abandoned myself.”

Even those who are closest to you and most in love with you; the people you love most in the world can find clarity confronting at times. This painting took me thousands of hours to complete and — (applause) thank you — yes, thousands of hours that I’ll never get back, I’ll never get them back (kidding) — I worked on this for so long, for weeks and weeks, like a mad man alone on a scaffolding — and when I was finished one of my friends said, “This would be a cool black light painting.” (laughter)

So I started over. (All the lights go off in the Dome and the painting is showered with black light.) Whooooo! Welcome to Burning Man! (applause) Some pretty crazy characters right? Better up there than in here. (points to head) Painting is one of the ways I free myself from concern, a way to stop the world through total mental, spiritual and physical involvement.

But even with that, comes a feeling of divine dissatisfaction. Because ultimately, we’re not the avatars we create. We’re not the pictures on the film stock. We are the light that shines through it. All else is just smoke and mirrors. Distracting, but not truly compelling.

I’ve often said that I wished people could realize all their dreams of wealth and fame so they could see that it’s not where you’ll find your sense of completion. Like many of you, I was concerned about going out in the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself! (laughter)

My soul is not contained within the limits of my body. My body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul — one unified field of nothing dancing for no particular reason, except maybe to comfort and entertain itself. (applause) As that shift happens in you, you won’t be feeling the world you’ll be felt by it — you will be embraced by it. Now, I’m always at the beginning. I have a reset button called presence and I ride that button constantly.

Once that button is functional in your life, there’s no story the mind could create that will be as compelling. The imagination is always manufacturing scenarios — both good and bad — and the ego tries to keep you trapped in the multiplex of the mind. Our eyes are not only viewers, but also projectors that are running a second story over the picture we see in front of us all the time. Fear is writing that script and the working title is, ‘I’ll never be enough.’

You look at a person like me and say, (kidding) “How could we ever hope to reach those kinds of heights, Jim? How can I make a painting that’s too big for any reasonable home? How do you fly so high without a special breathing apparatus?” (laughter)

This is the voice of your ego. If you listen to it, there will always be someone who seems to be doing better than you. No matter what you gain, ego will not let you rest. It will tell you that you cannot stop until you’ve left an indelible mark on the earth, until you’ve achieved immortality. How tricky is the ego that it would tempt us with the promise of something we already possess.

So I just want you to relax—that’s my job—relax and dream up a good life! (applause) I had a substitute teacher from Ireland in the second grade that told my class during Morning Prayer that when she wants something, anything at all, she prays for it, and promises something in return and she always gets it. I’m sitting at the back of the classroom, thinking that my family can’t afford a bike, so I went home and I prayed for one, and promised I would recite the rosary every night in exchange. Broke it—broke that promise. (laughter)

Two weeks later, I got home from school to find a brand new mustang bike with a banana seat and easy rider handlebars — from fool to cool! My family informed me that I had won the bike in a raffle that a friend of mine had entered my name in, without my knowledge. That type of thing has been happening ever since, and as far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it while letting go of how it might comes to pass. (applause)

Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head and when the doors open in real life, just walk through it. Don’t worry if you miss your cue. There will always be another door opening. They keep opening.

And when I say, “life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way. You’ll come up with your own style, that’s part of the fun!

Oh, and why not take a chance on faith as well? Take a chance on faith — not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire. Faith leaps over it.

You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world and after you walk through those doors today, you will only ever have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.

Thank you. Jai Guru Dev. I’m so honored. Thank you.

Personally, #selfiEscolta is, yes, one significant hashtag. I got the chance to be a part of this ‘huge’ project, work with very brilliant, talented and committed young and old people alike who share the same passion and love for heritage. Here’s a shout out to the following groups who coordinated with the Heritage Conservation Society – Youth in making this event successful:

ESCOLTA REVIVAL MOVEMENT: Escolta Commercial Association Inc.; Heritage Conservation Society-Youth; 98B COLLABoratory; International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). (You may check their profiles on Facebook for more details)

This event foretold in my previous blog :  I can say, working at the ground control and getting in charge of all the activities happening at Escolta Street during that day is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying moments of me being involved in public service and heritage advocacy – no matter how tiring it was. The last time I have been in charge of a big event like this is when I became the head of the Organizing Committee of our High School Alumni Homecoming, in November 2011. I remember posting a blog a few years ago about the things that I want to do in life.  My Daydreaming entry, which I published exactly two years ago, says how much I wanted this:

This was during one of my early solo visits in Intramuros years ago. I used to sport long hair back then. 🙂

Join a force that cultivates peace, people empowerment, anything for the good. I’ve done some ‘kawang gawa’ in the past and I think I got addicted to it. But I never want to belong to any radical activist group. I’d like to have Kara’s job (I so envy her!), but I fear that too much curiosity with the people from that profession, of being a rebel for a cause, would cause me to have my thoughts inclined to the ‘dark side’ so to speak.

Be a Tourist Guide. I am a Carlos Celdran fan. Well, at least of his job. I used to fantasize about me guiding the tourists of Intramuros and Fort Bonifacio, while I share with them the stories behind the history of the place. I am a Rizal fan, and for some reason, I only want to be a tourist guide for Fort Santiago, Intramuros, and Luneta. Sure, I would like to be a tourist guide all over the country, but if given a chance to choose, I’d choose the places that I’ve mentioned.”

I don’t know if I subconsciously made the Law of Attraction work for me and let the Universe conspire with all my desires, or maybe it’s really destined to be, but becoming a member of HCS-Y is definitely gave me the chance to get closer to my daydream. 🙂

So what actually is #selfiEscolta? I won’t be posting more of my own pictures now aside from these two. Instead, I will ask you to search the net using the hashtag #selfiEscolta and discover on your own how netizens participated.  🙂

The filtered image of the tram brings back the old glory of Escolta

The tram used to have its regular route passing along Calle Escolta during the street’s golden years.

The vintage Buick adds to the nostalgic feel of the event

This vintage Buick is such a camwhore. 😀

 

One of the most memorable photos of the night. That feeling of being there as a fan, and as part of the organizers of the event that they have participated at the same time is worth more than any talent fee for me – another reason why I do stuff like this pro bono, aside from the fact that you are doing this ‪#‎forloveofheritage‬. A lot of new and upcoming performers participated in the event as well. Franchize also hyped up the crowd with his rap skills last night. I grew up listening to the songs of these Tres Marias: Bayang, Cooky and the legendary Lolita Carbon. Man, that period when they were playing their set kind of gave a second wind to my already tired body after being in charge of the ground control for more than 15 hours. Makes you feel like just closing your eyes and absorb the good, relaxing, nostalgic music.

 

However, since all you will see are #selfiEscolta pictures only all over the internet, I decided to post here, you guessed it right – vids. Credits to the respective news networks and advertisers that shot their videos featuring Escolta that I have collated. Videos. Para maiba naman. 🙂

Feaures on News Networks: 

1. 24 Oras: Vintage items, tampok sa Saturday Flea Market sa Escolta / Mar 9, 2013

2. State of the Nation March 28, 2014

3. Escolta Paandar May 15, 2014

4. Travel Thursday: Bringing Escolta Back To Its Former Glory, Solar News June 19, 2014

5. State of the Nation Paandar / Jun 27, 2014 (announcement that the event is postponed)

6. State of the Nation Paandar / July 5, 2014

Also, here is a music video from the up and coming singer, Quest, which was also shot mostly in Escolta:

Lastly, TV Ads! 🙂

Coffee-Mate 2014

AMA w/ Daniel Padilla 2014… err… okaaay. 🙂

Coke w/ Nikki Gil 2009 — this is just classic.

Penshoppe 2009

We promised that this is not going to be the last. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg. To revive Escolta and the rest of Manila, a lot of work still needs to be done. It will take a lot of volunteer efforts, led by people with the burning passion and desire to see the Queen of Manila’s Streets rise again.