Archive for the ‘Confessions’ Category

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 Рa 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? ūüôā 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. ūüôā


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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs misery ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď a Trojan horse ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere ‚Äď everyone has to protect themselves.¬†¬†A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from ‚Äď 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‚Äôre Dealing with ‚Äď 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‚Äô clothing.¬†¬†Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

Law 21

Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker ‚Äď Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons.¬†¬†The trick, is to make your victims feel smart ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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.

More pictures here: Traslacion De Nazareno 2015


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

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. ūüôā



Posted: January 25, 2014 in Confessions, Random

I promised myself I would do this in my blog. Here it goes. It’s a ‘post game’ from Facebook. Here are the rules:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, answer these questions. Tag FRIENDS you think may be interested in doing this. You cannot use the artist the previous person used.¬†Do not repeat a song title. Repost this as “my life according to (artist)“….

But what I planned to do is not only to put in the titles, but also to supply the media, music or video, and possibly the lyrics of each Goldfinger songs for each item. I am right now a little bit lazy to provide other descriptions or stories behind each of the songs… but I might add some any time soon.


1.Pick an artist:


– Why Goldfinger, you may ask?

This is why. Check my other blog entry here:   GOLDFINGER

2. Are you a male or female?


 3. Describe yourself:


4. How do you feel:


5. Describe where you currently live:


6. If you could go anywhere, where would you go:


7. What is the best way to travel?


8. Your best friend:

IF ONLY ¬† — ¬†this one for me is a hit!

9. You and your best friends are:


10. What’s the weather like:


11. Favorite time of day:


12. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:

DAD – this is a legit tear jerker for me.

13. What is life to you:

FREE ME – yes, it is an advocacy song for PETA

14. Your fear:


15. What is the best advice you have to give:

AM I DEAF? ¬†– one of their latest singles, released in 2013. Awesome message is awesome, for someone like me who’s in denial of getting old. Darn it.

16. How I would like to die:


17. My motto:

OPEN YOUR EYES / SPOKESMAN / SUPERMAN Рsorry if I had to repeat a couple songs. These two РSuperman and Spokesman are my favorites. But here, enjoy the vid for Open Your Eyes: 

All we need is just a little of it.

Posted: September 18, 2013 in Confessions

I think I am starting to forget how it is like to be patient.

With all the good things that’s happened in the past, and how easy they went according to my plans, I think I got used to that feeling that I could always have things run my own way. Recently, something has reminded me, that I have been so freaking lucky, and that the streak is not supposed to last a lifetime.

Problem is, there is this madness in me. This huge desire to conquer this feeling. I have been so afraid to do this step for a while, until only recently. I need to be reminded that gaining of momentum does not guarantee success.

Previously, all my undertakings have been a series of sure hits. No risks involved, and if there were, they were calculated, measured to be with high probability of success. It never involved getting patient. It never involved your brain and heart sweating.

I think, this time, it is going to be different. I managed to conquer something by doing what I feared the most – and I got past that stage. Now, I thought, it would be just ‘picking apples’ from there, and I never set my self a plan – simply because I haven’t really imagined myself getting past this stage before.

I need to get a hold of myself while I am at it. Or else I will be screwing it up again, and go back to the place where I most dread. A high risk, high reward situation. But I am going all in.

“Always make sure that the juice is worth the squeeze.”

The Girl Next Door Movie.


Posted: May 26, 2013 in Confessions, Random

Ever wondered how a jellyfish deals with its life?

It’s just there in the middle of the ocean… floating… living but like a lifeless organism.

It just goes where the where the waves bring it.

Let this post be a reminder of how my way of living is right now. Well, at least that’s how I see it.

A life full of nothingness. Just living to make it through the next day. Each day starts and ends like it’s in a ¬†vicious cycle.

However, for some reason, no matter how lost in the ocean of the fast life you feel like, somewhere along the way, a driftwood comes. You didn’t imagine one to arrive, nor did expect one to come in the scene – just right on time, but it does come.

(And mind you, they come in bunches!:)   Рthis one I added after a few things have transpired in the past week)

And before my mind floats away to bringing sense into this post, and ready myself to sleep, let me quote myself, from my yesterday’s wall:

To that person who always manages to knock some sense into me when selfishness tends to drive me out of line; my counterweight when I’m tipping off the edge.

Three points for you! :)))


You may not know it. But what you told me just recently helped a lot more than what you think.

Stay being you. No matter how much you think it sucks. LOL! ūüôā

Cold Summer Nights

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Confessions, Cryptics

(October 19, 2013 РDisclaimer: This was written several months ago. I can see the significant change that has happened to me in the past few months. As I have mentioned several times already in this blog, the emotions involved here, and the person that I was when I wrote this may not necessarily be reflective of my current state. I was actually planning of removing this post. I did for a time, put it in private, for I thought it would give a bad impression to whoever it is that is making me move right now Рmaking me live with a purpose. But I told myself why hide something that helped you make my self who I am right now? So there. You know who you are, if you ever happen to read this. )

I never imagined how cold I have already become, to everyone around me.

These new people around me have been telling me that I tend to be so insensitive every time I make comments about some people, that I sound as if I don’t even give a crap if some people would find them offensive or not. Mind you, I am really that straightforward, but really, I don’t really give a crap.

I used to kill myself thinking of what possibly might be the reasons when your guy friends invite you out, but now I couldn’t almost care less. I am sure that there would be other guys who are hitting on you, and you just go and entertain them. I am just wondering why I just don’t worry much. I don’t know why. The only reason that I could think of is that you are not really into being in a relationship right now, and you just want to have fun. I know, because you told me. And I might have gone too complacent because of that fact.

And you definitely are some force, for me to not desire wanting other girls – I would in a heartbeat reject the idea of wooing a girl who is far from your qualities. Aside from the fact that it would be hard for me to invest some good emotions again, I most of the time just see it as a waste of time.

And come on, honestly, like how many times have we spent time together since the year started? Two movies, an out of town, and a night of gazing at the heavenly bodies? Compare them to the things that you do with your friends, any of those that we’ve had won’t even be written on your calendar as an important event. But I have all of them saved. Both in my calendar, and in my memory. And they are all stored in my heart. Those were precious. Not because most of them were done the first time, but because all of them I did with you. Those were precious, no matter how they don’t seem to count as huge events in your life at all, at least that’ s how I see it.

Just recently, I had some serious discussions with my new colleagues about how to love one’s partner. I know you would believe me if I told you that they thought that I was really a jerk, for letting all those things happen to me, and he people involved, that thing from three years ago. I haven’t got any serious partner since then. Not because I don’t want to get anyone hurt, but it was more of I was traumatized by your rejection – I don’t want to try wasting my time and emotions and efforts anymore on some other girls who can’t even be compared to you.

I am still a bag of douche waiting to be triggered. The slightest touch on the trigger is all I need and I could become the baddest partner there is once again. But honestly, I would give all my love and my time and my faithfulness and loyalty and resources to, when that right girl arrives. Until then, I would stay as I am – playful, not minding what others are thinking. I am gaining a lot of weight and losing hours of sleep. I just don’t care. It might be just a coping mechanism. Still, I could not care less.

There is this drive, however, that keeps me going and helps me get through my everyday life. And that is, that there will come a time that I would get the chance to meet you again, hopefully more frequent than how we are doing right now, and that you will be able to see me at least as equal with, if not better than that guy whom you gave your heart to, but not entirely, because you are that kind of woman who does not want to get hurt. And then you would tell yourself that it’s worth the risk with me, the way that you once risked for the other lover of yours. I have been telling myself that I need to become a better man, and prepare for that moment. If it would come to fruition, nobody knows, but I would be thankful because you make me aim to be the better man.

And I am ending this entry again. My emotions are like the tide that ebbs and re-surges. It will come again a time that I will be so strongly thinking about you, and then, that strong emotion would just go away – and tell myself that I need to make myself a better man.

My emotions towards everyone already have gone bland. People tell me that I need to have more social skills (they just say that because I don’t practice it, but I just shake my head, shrug my shoulders and give them my cold smile. Hell, I have Neil Strauss and Robert Greene as mentors – anyone who’d tell me that I don’t have social skills definitely has not known me that much yet.) I’ve grown tired of trying to prove my worth to everyone. Because none of those efforts would not be in close comparison to how much I wanted to prove myself to you. It’s as if they don’t deserve me exerting my efforts.

I just want to hold you right now. I badly miss you. I wish I had touched your hand when I had that chance. I wished I had told you how important you are to me, when I had the chance. I wish I was able to give a fuck about me being the same sympathetic, romantic guy again, when we were dining, or wandering anywhere. I wish I had put down all my defenses. But that wound that you inflicted was just so deep, that I could not risk myself from having that wound opened again and be honest about my feelings for you.

Gaaaggh… In time, I would wake up from this make believe.


“It’s been three years since I’m knockin’ on your door…

and I still can knock some more.”

Waiting in Vain, Bob Marley