Friday, November 28, 2008

My Brand of Pain Killer

I'll do the miles tomorrow. I need to feel the wind on my face, gaze in wonder as the early morning sky welcomes the sun, and focus on the pain of each heartbeat as I run. There is no room for grief and disappointments in that place. It is in that place or moment where I draw the energy of life that is constantly being sucked out of me.

I still feel like a bird with clipped wings. I am delearning to fly. I am learning to crawl and trying so damn hard to forget the sensation of flexing my wings without fear. I have chosen my path for I continue to believe. No amount of sadness will erase who I am.

I will endure. I will survive. I will learn.

Pretty much like when I run.

Elevating the Elevator Experience

An elevator ride, for me, is not exactly an elevating experience. I'm just not keen on being in a place where my personal space is reduced to almost nothing. It could also be because I often find it ironic that people in such cramped places are creative in finding ways to avoid eye contact or any form of human interaction outside of the accidental brushing of shoulders.

Here's a funny take on some annoying things that could transform even the most mundane ride to an unforgettable one. Whoever wrote this list captured what probably a lot of people have thought of at some point.

Annoying Things To Do On An Elevator

1) CRACK open your briefcase or handbag, peer Inside and ask "Got enough air in there?"
2) STAND silent and motionless in the corner facing the wall without getting off.
3) WHEN arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act as if you're embarrassed when they open themselves.
4) GREET everyone with a warm handshake and ask him or her to call you Admiral.
5) MEOW occasionally.
6) STARE At another passenger for a while. Then announce in horror: "You're one of THEM" - and back away slowly
7) SAY -DING at each floor.
8) SAY "I wonder what all these do?" And push all the red buttons.
9) MAKE explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
10) STARE, grinning at another passenger for a while, then announce: "I have new socks on."
11) WHEN the elevator is silent, look around and ask: "Is that your beeper?"
12) TRY to make personal calls on the emergency phone.
13) DRAW a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers: "This is my personal space."
14) WHEN there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder, then pretend it wasn't you.
15) PUSH the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
16) ASK if you can push the button for other people but push the wrong ones.
17) HOLD the doors open and say you're waiting for your friend. After a while, let the doors close and say "Hi Greg, How's your day been?"
18) DROP a pen and wail until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream: "That's mine!"
19) BRING a camera and take pictures of everyone in the lift.
20) PRETEND you're a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the Passengers
.21) SWAT at flies that don't exist.
22) CALL out "Group hug" then enforce it.

Found here

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Cold One Just Got Hotter

I guess it's a blessing that I'm no movie critic because when it comes to Twilight, objectivity and logic escape me. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) literally took my breath away when he told Bella (Kristen Stewart) this ---> "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore."

Edward is totally the hottest vampire, ever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Which character are you from Twilight?

Looking for Value in the Haze

I find that one of the many simple ironies of life lies in perceptions and realities of a person's value. I think that knowing you're valued gives that extra push to achieve the seemingly unachievable. Being valued enables you to stretch yourself to an unimaginable proportion just to prove that impossible is a wall that can be scaled.

I have recently heard that smartest thoughts and strongest soul make for high performing individuals. I believe this is true. But what would that soul do when it keeps groping in a haze of the unknown? What would that soul do if it feels like a worthless appendage to the recipient of its commitment and efforts? When does valuing move from an unimportant part of the overall scheme of things to something that inspires?

As what's mostly true in life, you collect as much experience and disappointments hoping that in the end, everything will add to that strength that only you can truly nurture and develop. You consistently remember to acknowledge your worth. Then you just try not to be derailed by how tiresome things sometimes get - of that sad feeling of giving everything you've got to that something that consistently fails to acknowledge your value.

This is why it's not wise to put yourself in a box where your heart and soul wither. The box is a reality that you live with but it's neither a cage nor a stage to stand and be glorified. You see the box as something that you can easily reach out from because it's outside the box that the heart and soul truly lives.

Who knows, one day, you'll be surprised to know that you're valued outside the box. And you didn't even have to do much and lose yourself to feel it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

FISA/OS Technical Course for Rowing Coaches

November 19-22, 2008
Makati Sports Club/La Mesa Dam
Manila, Philippines

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts.Heart.Soul. ~ Lessons from Johan Flodin

Interesting insights I picked up from Johan Flodin during the seminar:
(Johan Flodin sharing coaching insights ~ Day 3)

Smartest thoughts & strongest soul ~ I love this. Johan said these are important especially for those who aspire to become high performing athletes. And the beauty of this is that, it's true in life regardless of what it is that we choose to do. At the end of the day, we can decide what to think then the strength of our soul will bring us closer to the fulfillment of our dreams.

(The participants)

The quality of inner dialogue separates the best performers and low performers. ~ I think that this is connected with the first one. I do believe that we can only learn and absorb so much from training, or from life for that matter. But if it comes to that moment when we need to decide to hang on tight and give ourselves a fighting chance to get what we truly want, how we talk ourselves towards holding on would provide that shift in favor of what we chose.

(Maricon, me, Johan, April, & Carole)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Keep It Simple

"If you can't do it easily, you can't do it at all."

November 19-22, 2008
Manila, Philippines

The first day felt like a reunion of sorts with some of the Rowing and Dragon Boat vets. I was at Makati Sports Club early to meet James because we needed to prepare everything for the seminar so I had the chance to do some catching up.

I was really happy to see that quite a number of athletes I've known from both teams are still actively training and competing until now. But it's also nice to see newbies especially in Rowing and learn that they've done quite well in their competition in Hong Kong just recently.

The rowers who competed in the HK Championships won two (2) golds, two (2) silvers, and two (2) bronzes. This is indeed happy news for me, and I'm sure for the rest of the Philippine Rowing community as well because it means the sport is still thriving despite the challenges that we face in terms of promoting the sport. It's a daunting task to promote a sport that has the murky waters of Pasig river, plus the barge/ferry traffic, to offer since La Mesa Dam allows only the national team to train on its pristine waters. This recent win is just proof that Rowing truly has also its share of potentials here.

Johan Flodin, an international rower with merits from World Championships and Olympic Games, arrived to conduct the seminar. Johan has a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology and in Sport Management and he's one of the most successful coaches in Scandinavia. He's currently the Head Master of the Swedish Rowing Gymnasium.

It's a good experience to learn from an expert. The past two days have been filled with great coaching insights. All of us attending the seminar agree that we're lucky to have Johan conduct it because he makes everyone understand even the most complex ideas.

It was more than a decade ago when we had the Level I FISA Coaching Course. Only a handful of us are now taking Level II. Most of the participants now are new and haven't had the chance to take Level I yet. We're lucky that Johan made Level II easy to grasp because even those of us who took Level I needed our memories refreshed.

We're now halfway done with the seminar and I must say it's a very gratifying experience. I'm glad I took the time to help Mr. Ramos, Steve, and James organize this. I realized that I do miss the sport and the people. It also made me determined to get back into shape. And more importantly, it made me determined to help develop the sport further here in the country.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making Room In My Foxhole

Reading this and this prompted me to think about my own list. For someone who has seen and experienced so much in the trenches, I'm still sticking to the simple things that are deeply rooted and strong enough to weather the complexities of love.

1. is self-aware
2. knows what he wants in life
3. has a self-assurance that is unshakeable in adversity
4. quietly strong and determined
5. can listen to my musings without judgment
6. is capable of surprising me with little gestures that resonate in my soul
7. holds my hand every chance he gets
8. is not self-absorbed but rather, capable of deep compassion for others
9. can make me laugh
10.encourages me to pursue my interests and hobbies someone who's open to experiencing the things I do someone who would love to go running with me
13.likes to read as well
14.someone who I can talk to about so many things
15.lean and fit willing to understand my quirks
17.knows how to take the lead in situations when I would expect him to take the lead
19.has convictions that I share and/or respect strong in faith
21.loyal to the end

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sabi nga ni Bob Ong...

Salamat kay Irene for compiling these Bob Ong quotes. Mas lalong gusto ko na tuloy bumili ng libro nya at spend a day doing nothing except magbasa.

1. "Kung hindi mo mahal ang isang tao, wag ka nang magpakita ng motibo para mahalin ka nya.."
2. "Huwag mong bitawan ang bagay na hindi mo kayang makitang hawak ng iba."
3. "Huwag mong hawakan kung alam mong bibitawan mo lang."
4. "Huwag na huwag ka hahawak kapag alam mong may hawak ka na."
5. "Parang elevator lang yan eh, bakit mo pagsisiksikan ung sarili mo kung walang pwesto para sayo. Eh meron naman hagdan, ayaw mo lang pansinin."
6. "Kung maghihintay ka nang lalandi sayo, walang mangyayari sa buhay mo.. Dapat lumandi ka din."
7. "Pag may mahal ka at ayaw sayo, hayaan mo. Malay mo sa mga susunod na araw ayaw mo na din sa kanya, naunahan ka lang."
8. "Hiwalayan na kung di ka na masaya. Walang gamot sa tanga kundi pagkukusa."
9. "Pag hindi ka mahal ng mahal mo wag ka magreklamo. Kasi may mga tao rin na di mo mahal pero mahal ka.. Kaya quits lang."
10. "Kung dalawa ang mahal mo, piliin mo yung pangalawa. Kasi hindi ka naman magmamahal ng iba kung mahal mo talaga yung una."
11. "Hindi porke't madalas mong ka-chat, kausap sa telepono, kasama sa mga lakad o ka-text ng wantusawa eh may gusto sayo at magkakatuluyan kayo. Meron lang talagang mga taong sadyang friendly, sweet, flirt, malandi, pa-fall o paasa."
12. "Huwag magmadali sa babae o lalaki. Tatlo, lima , sampung taon, mag-iiba ang pamantayan mo at maiisip mong hindi pala tamang pumili ng kapareha dahil lang maganda o nakakalibog ito. Totoong mas mahalaga ang kalooban ng tao higit sa anuman. Sa paglipas ng panahon, maging ang mga crush ng bayan nagmumukha ding pandesal, maniwala ka."
13. "Minsan kahit ikaw ang nakaschedule, kailangan mo pa rin maghintay, kasi hindi ikaw ang priority."
14. "Mahirap pumapel sa buhay ng tao. Lalo na kung hindi ikaw yung bida sa script na pinili nya."
15. "Alam mo ba kung gaano kalayo ang pagitan ng dalawang tao pag nagtalikuran na sila? Kailangan mong libutin ang buong mundo para lang makaharap ulit ang taong tinalikuran mo."
16. "Mas mabuting mabigo sa paggawa ng isang bagay kesa magtagumpay sa paggawa ng wala"
17. "Hindi lahat ng kaya mong intindihin ay katotohan, at hindi lahat ng hindi mo kayang intindihin ay kasinungalingan"
18. "Kung nagmahal ka ng taong di dapat at nasaktan ka, wag mong sisihin ang puso mo. Tumitibok lng yan para mag-supply ng dugo sa katawan mo. Ngayon, kung magaling ka sa anatomy at ang sisisihin mo naman ay ang hypothalamus mo na kumokontrol ng emotions mo, mali ka pa rin! Bakit? Utang na loob! Wag mong isisi sa body organs mo ang mga sama ng loob mo sa buhay! Tandaan mo: magiging masaya ka lang kung matututo kang tanggapin na hindi ang puso, utak, atay o bituka mo ang may kasalanan sa lahat ng nangyari sayo, kundi IKAW mismo!"
19. "Pakawalan mo yung mga bagay na nakakasakit sa iyo kahit na pinasasaya ka nito. Wag mong hintayin ang araw na sakit na lang ang nararamdaman mo at iniwan ka na ng kasiyahan mo."
20. "Gamitin ang puso para alagaan ang mga taong malalapit sa iyo. Gamitin ang utak para alagaan ang sarili mo."
21. "Ang pag-ibig parang imburnal...nakakatakot kapag nahulog ka, it's either by accident or talagang tanga ka.."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Allergic Reaction

This is partly inspired by JC's tongue-in-cheek comment that he's allergic to books and that he doesn't like spending time in bookstores because he get's this weird reaction from the smell of books. Now, I have a huge respect for JC despite the usual banters and often garapal na pang-aasar namin ni Badette sa kanya. But I think I never really believed what he said to be even remotely possible. I just thought of it as one of his barber's tales.

Two days ago, though, I seriously began to think about the statement. Not that I'm beginning to believe that he's actually telling the truth, but just the possibility that outrageous and unbelievable reactions can be true.

What triggered this weird thought was that unfortunate meeting last Thursday where I literally felt I was suffocating and choking (while fervently wishing that I wasn't showing it) when the discussion zeroed in on methods.

Don't get me wrong here, I have absolute faith in methods and for someone who delivers results (or tries to anyway), I'd say I'm not really lacking in focus or organization skills. But, and that's a big but there, I'm not a fan of plan everything in detail and make sure you do it as you said you'd do it.

I haven't paid much attention to my reactions before but now that I look back, I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable when I'm asked to do it. Worse, I feel that I waste so much time agonizing on how to do the planning that I actually end up spending more time on it than doing what I'm planning to do.

It's not that I don't believe in it but I don't think I'm good at it. And there lies the constant challenge. I seriously think I need help here. I'm contemplating buying a software to help me manage all these project management plans and stuff. I'm not just equipped with the right skills and knowledge on what's the best way to produce plans that look professional enough to merit some measure of trust.

I won't shy away from this challenge, honestly, I won't. I just wish to admit it to myself that this is something that really bothers me. I'm not good at this, at the moment. I'm sure I'll be good at it when I set my mind to it. For now, I'll just have to bite the bullet and get on with it. But that's just for the nice-looking plans I need to make.

On another note, I learned this morning that I'm not a gofer. Stephen R. Covey defined Gofer Delegation as "Go for this, go for that, do this, do that, and tell me when it's done". And that is exactly the kind of paradigm which, unfortunately, tends to trigger all these weird reactions from me (*thinks allergy*).

According to Stephen Covey, there's another approach which is Stewardship Delegation. He posits that in stewardship delegation, the focus is on results instead of methods. He adds that it "involves clear, up-front mutual understanding and commitment regarding expectations on desired results, guidlines, resources, accountability, and consequences".

This stewardship idea looks infinitely attractive from where I'm standing. The expectations seem straightforward and I don't think that would prove to be much of a challenge to a committed person like me. But then again, I could only wish so much in a day. Everything in due time and everything happens for a reason.

In the meantime, I'll have to work double-time to equip myself with the right skills and tech-savviness to produce kick-ass project management plans.

Enough Could Mean Almost Anything

Okay, I admit, little persistent me doesn't find it easy to let go. I find it easy to come up with crazy thoughts like *I think I've had enough of this shit. I'll try to go off-course for a bit and test the waters. Who knows? A change of course may just be what I need.*

But I'm such a sucker to obligations that I tend to end up not doing anything about my decisions. Then something happens that just makes me do things without thought or reason. It's when I stand up, go, not look back, and not feel anything but absolute freedom and lightness. More importantly, I feel the bliss of overcoming extreme reactions to things that pushed me to the edge.

I like it when I'm in that zone. That's the place where nothing else matters except what matters to me. Sometimes, enough simply means: step back and breathe. This makes me think really hard now, how often do I say enough? And what do I really think about saying enough? Does it mean I cop out? Or is it just a reminder to consistently find time to step back and see if the course is good to continue on or a little veering off is needed.

I've said enough last week. I even challenged myself to do things, most of them I routinely do before anyway, just so I'd wake myself up from this stupor I'm in. Still, after seven days, I haven't even started doing most of them. I didn't even thought much about them. Until last night when I suddenly and strongly felt I've had enough. It was in that moment that without any conscious thought, I called it a day and went home much much earlier than usual.

Enough doesn't mean I'm copping out. Enough is not being irresponsible. Enough is just a temperature check that could mean almost anything. Now, what I do after I've indulged myself with all these enough business is another story. And that should be enough fodder for my blogs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Coaching Seminar

Organized by the Amateur Rowing Association of the Philippines (ARAP) under the auspices of the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and Olympic Solidarity.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Dare Me


  • Wake up at 5:00am everyday.
  • Get back to running at least three times a week.
  • Run at least 3K per running day.
  • Pay more attention to what I eat.
  • Do something new and something difficult every day.
  • Avoid overstaying at work.
  • Read at least two (2) books per month.
  • Watch a movie at least twice a month.
  • Visit a salon more often (once a month is a good start).
  • Go back to the habit of reading newspapers.
  • Always remember Upward Bound.
  • Work on lessening my carbon footprint.
  • Inspire others to embrace carbon neutrality.
  • Learn, improve, excel as a FISA Umpire.
  • Go back to Sanshou training.
  • Join dragon boat training on weekends.
  • Write more.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends.
  • Make it a habit to smile even to strangers.
  • Live a life of gratitude.
  • Count my blessings.
  • Keep the passion burning.
  • Always believe even when things get tough.

Safety Measures Bordering On The Absurd

Now, this news report could be funny if I could get past the absurdity of it. It seems that Vietnam's Ministry of Health recently proposed to introduce a driving ban for small-chested, too short, or too thin people.

If you have ever been to Vietnam, it wouldn't really be much of a surprise to hear such an outrageous proposal. It's easy to imagine the dangers those motorbike drivers and the pedestrians face every day. I have never seen that huge number of motorbikes on the road and the utter disregard for pedestrians anywhere else. I can still remember my constant fear of crossing the roads in Ho Chi Minh. I don't think it was intentional on the motorbike drivers' part but there's no obvious concern for pedestrians whose main goal is to just cross the street and get from point A to point B. Clearly, in HCM and I believe in most of Vietnam, the motorbike drivers are the kings of the roads.

It's easy to understand, really, the challenge of looking after the safety of these drivers and the hapless pedestrians. However, to prohibit small-chested, too short, and too thin people from driving motorbikes is probably the closest brush to the absurd that I can think of. Isn't that a discrimination of sorts? Why would people's "perceived handicaps" become the criteria if they can drive or not? Aren't there more important measures or guidelines that the government can focus on?

From what I recall, some of the drivers there don't even follow the most basic rules like respecting the pedestrians right of way (geez, that's what those pedestrian lanes are for). I can still remember that one truck driver that I saw who wasn't even looking straight ahead even if there were people attempting to cross. What's up with that? It made me think that there were no existing rules at all. But I guess that was just me struggling with my innate fear of crossing roads and placed in a most challenging situation of learning survival skills in the streets of HCM.

But despite those memories, I still think of HCM as the most quaint and wonderful place to visit. I like the people there. I was amazed of how "healthy" they look to me. In all my twenty-one days of stay there, I haven't seen any obese Vietnamese. So I can easily imagine the effect of this planned proposal should it see the light of day. I wonder how many would be left to legally drive motorbikes there.

I would be very interested to know how this plan pans out.

Photo from: