Huggybear's Lost Diaries

September 21-27 Edition

Jonathan Aquino's Journals

September 4, 2012

In almost every class I've taken in school and work trainings, I always had classmates who insist on showing others how brilliant they are. They seem so desperate to impress everybody. Like, they would absorb a lesson faster, and they act like they have become the experts. They don't seem to realize that, in displaying their intelligence, they inadvertently show how superficial it is.

They are called epal, a Filipino colloquial term that refers to those who want to hog the spotlight. (The word comes from papel, the local term for "paper," which can also mean "role," The idea is: they want to have a role in every scene.)

What I find equally pathetic are the others who try to be like them, wanting to show the world they are also elite, part of in the "in" crowd. I don't think they are better than me, for the simple reason that I don't feel inferior. But they never cease to amuse me

October 7, 2012

I make a difference by making myself happy. That means there is one less lonely person in the world. It's not about being selfish, far from it. I believe that "The greatest love of all is learning to love yourself." Think about it: Why do some people even go to the extent of making a fool of themselves just to gain the approval of others? It's because there's a feeling of emptiness so they need other people to validate their worth.

Me, on the other hand, go the opposite way. I make it a point to be self-contained and self-sustaining, totally free, as possible; I work hard towards it. I want approval, but I don't want to need it. There's a world of difference there.

Four things why I know I'm not insecure: I don't like gossip, I don't suck up to so-called authority figures, I'm not desperate to impress others, and I'm genuinely happy for other people's victories.

October 15, 2012

I got a couple of tips which I'm using. I'm writing it down so I won't forget. From a bodybuilding book while browsing National Bookstore in SM Manila, first it's taking creatine supplement (apparently our daily diet ain't enough for muscle-building protein). Dosage is 4 grams a day 5 days, then 2 grams a day for a month. Then stop for a month. Start all over. You can them per piece in most fitness shops; I got them from Tia Loleng (or sounds like it), a herbal store in Cash & Carry mall beside the South Super Highway.

Two gym buff friends gave me additional routines, recommended for beginners: dumbell lifts, 15 lbs, 15 reps, 4 sets = 60 repetitions. Muscles need to rest for 48 hours to grow, they say. For building muscles and burning fats on the sides: dumbell bends. Also, rather than daily alternating upper and lower, do it all in one go every two days. Okay, got it.

December 20, 2012

I sincerely doubt I'll ever be a vegetarian: I love pork steak, roast chicken and tuna sandwiches too much. My lunch on was giniling, a local Filipino dish of ground pork. I only had one order of rice; I have radically decreased my carb intake for optimal health. I now eat small meals throughout my waking period, rather than 3 big-time meals. Another thing: I don't eat while I'm sleeping.

For snacks, I eat mostly fruits: ponkan oranges are sold at 5 pesos piece at Alabang market, a real fruit haven. I also drink a tremendous amount of water to detoxify my systems and burn fat. I must have drunk more water this past week than most people drink in a month. I'm Aquaman. Coincidentally, the radio is playing John Mayer's Your Body Is A Wonderland.

December 27, 2012

I had an epiphany while having McDonald's lunch during my graveyard shift.

I had long ago noticed that some people criticize others with standards they don't apply to themselves. Then I suddenly realized that some people judge others but subconsciously basing it on themselves. That's why one lazy person I know couldn't believe that I would persevere in achieving a much better life than I had. He has dismissed all my efforts as just pure luck. I was just lucky, he's not, and he's fully convinced of that, justifying his self-limiting ways. God, he said, is unfair.

Earlier, at 8:28 p.m., I was sitting on the steps besides the office building, overlooking the Northgate carpark. I'd always have coffee and cigarettes before shift to empty my mind. Some guys were talking. One said he can't control his spending habits, and another guy piped in an agreement. It reminds me of what I always tell my students when I was a private tutor: if you say you're bad in math, then you will make it harder on yourself. Labeling yourself means never trying to change.

December 24, 2012

My call center shift is 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mondays to Fridays. When I get home, I'd do yoga and some dumbell workouts before breakfast. Then I'd listen to the radio. This morning, Alden Richards is guest at The Morning Rush with Chico and Delamar, Richards is one of the stars of The Road and the soap One True Love, which came after the now-defunct Makapiling Kang Muli. which I'd been addicted to because I have this big crush on Carla Abellana.

He was asked: If he's a Christmas food, what would he be? I can relate to his answer and really impressed by his wit: "I would be a fruit salad, a little bit of everything, and very creamy!"

December 28, 2012

I went inside a Starbucks for the very first time and what happened turned me off. On December 26, I bought two slices of chocolate cake worth 300 pesos, around 1 a.m., at the Northgate branch, for our office post-Christmas gift exchange. I was in a hurry and I just found out that there was only one slice of cake, when the recipient told me.

Too bad I don't have the receipt anymore. I haven't even tasted the darn thing, but it must be so delicious because the crews would even steal from their customers. I'm intrigued but, like the greedy-priced Dunkin' Donuts, I'd stay away from Starbucks Northgate from now on.

January 1, 2013

Stories on ancient civilizations like the Mayans and the Aztecs are closely linked with stories of aliens, like the Annunaki, featured on my blog 2Rivers. We human beings seemed blinded by our demands for empirical proof that we are placing science over God (except in private moments) and our real spiritual nature.

Are we so egoistic and narrow-minded that we refuse to accept even the possibility that we are not alone in this infinite universe?

January 4, 2013

Northgate Cyberzone is a campus-like call center hub in Alabang, Muntinlupa, less than 20 kms. south of Manila. As I write this, I'm renting a room in a quiet family compound in CENA village at the end of Northgate, a five-minute walk to where I'm a BPO workerbee.

Here is where I pass through going home, across the sprawling Wilcon Builders building, when I'm coming from Alabang. The vacant lot on the right is gone now: a blue fence has enclosed the construction site of another building.

Here is where I pass through every morning coming from work: the jogging lane at the back of the Bellevue Hotel.

This scene takes me back to U.P. Diliman, always reminding me of With Honors, set in Harvard, one of my favorite movies. The theme, I'll Remember by Madonna, is one of my favorite songs of all time.

My beautiful daybreak route always calls to mind Mornin', my favorite song from one of my all-time favorite artists: the jazz god Al Jarreau.

January 30, 2013
Follow-Up Notes and Replies To Facebook Updates

A basketball superstar was asked how he was able to concentrate with millions literally watching his every move. He said he just simplified the situation: "You only have to make one shot." The writer Bill Crowder didn't name the player but that passage for May 24 in the 2013 Daily Bread altered my perspective of everything. The reading for that day is (or will be) Matthew 6:25-34: "Do not worry about tomorrow..."

My favorite Diogenes story is when someone was taunting him with his not-so-squeaky-clean past. His reply was perfectly elegant: "What I was, you are now. What I am now, you will never be."

There was an opportunity for me to appear in those ST (sex trip) films in the 90s. No regrets that I was dumb enough to turn it down. My contemporaries would have been Marcus Madrigal and Gerald Madrid.

Richard Bach's short novel about a talking bird literally changed my life for the best. I gained the strength and insights to be who I am and become what I want to be. I am now free from the fear of being alone and being myself. I can fly, unchained from the expectation that I should conform to be part of the herd. 

I borrowed a study desk from my landlady but it doesn't have a cover. I'm in the midst of moving house. Again. I don’t know if I'll have a table in the next one, wherever that is.

            We are children of the universe, no less than Japanese cherry blossoms and the entire Alpha Centauri. We have a right to be here just like the aliens taken in Roswell and Halley's comet which is God knows where. “With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world,” it says in Desiderata. “Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Thank you my dear cousins and my long-time friends! Forgive me for crying but I really am touched. I care about you guys too! We are Care Bears!

February 1, 2013
Follow-Up Notes and Replies To Facebook Updates

I'm not here to judge, and it gives me comfort that I know that God listens to everyone without exception.

I'm not interested in meeting Satan but I find him intriguing. In the wilderness temptation episodes, he and Jesus seemed to have known each other a long time. The Devil also seemed to come and go in Heaven: he even made a deal with God, like he did with Faust. Or for that matter, with Jabez Stone, the doomed client of Stephen Vincent Benet's Dan'l Webster.

 Everything is a matter of choice, my friend. Sometimes our reflections can reveal what we're looking for, which organized religion cannot.

The song Ugoy Ng Duyan, with music by Lucio San Pedro, is undeniably a masterpiece. But chances are, Levi Celerio's lyrics scribbled on a boat stationery would have been rejected if Levi was not yet famous during the time. A lot of people judge merit based on external things, like resume and name-recall. That's why JK Rowling found it so hard and frustrating to get Harry into print: she was still unknown then. Publishers and editors who can recognize real talent based on one's work alone are rare.

February 3, 2013

I blazed my own trail, away from the paths taken by most people. My life has been one great adventure. I've jumped from fires to frying pans, and it's been one hell of an exhilarating ride. I can look at anyone in the eye and say, in all honesty, that I have never violated anybody's trust in me.

Equally, important: I have not done anyone harm, and I have never taken advantage of anybody.

February 4, 2013

Yesterday I ended a landmark chapter in my psychedelically colorful life. That adventure triggered contemplation on being a true leader: leadership is not about enforcing rules. It's about bringing out the best in people. Ultimately, it's about transforming them into team players while letting them express their own individuality. This morning, I inadvertently locked my personal ATM with the PIN from my payroll debit card from my last job. Hopefully, that will be my last source of income as an employee. It proves also I’m such an idiot.

I got into a situation where I had these thoughts on entrepreneurship: What makes you rich is not money but your mindset. I learned that from one of the best talks I've seen by my mentor Tony Robbins.

February 6, 2013

Continuing where I left off: I was offered to be part of a business by a friend from way back. That was the Saturday following my Friday resignation last week. We are supposed to market personalized gift items, specifically targeting politicians in the coming elections. It brought to mind Hamlet. He observes that too much thought and planning "lose the name of action."

A fired-up enthusiasm and grandiose plans oftentimes result in failure. Why? I had these thoughts on being in a position of authority: The critical factor in handling people effectively is their morale. People are at their best when you give them freedom, a sense of responsibility and a feeling of belonging. The fastest way to destroy their motivation is to stand behind them, criticizing their work and treating them as inferior because you pay their salary. They work to earn, but it's also a basic human need to want to be respected, to be dealt with without violating their dignity.

I admire, with some qualifications, goal-oriented people; as compared with those who live passively, bemoaning fate. I think people who have failed in all their business ventures in the past deserve second chances, like the people who want me to partner with them. I believe in redemption. I'm a risk-taker and I constantly defy my comfort zone. But there is something to be said about having a track record of abusing your employees, of having a reputation as someone to avoid.

I saw how lucrative the business can be, but given the work atmosphere emanating from the top, I can also see its inevitable end just around the corner. There was a buyer of a thousand pieces of personalized fans for a political party. My wannabe partners just began doing them that Saturday night, and I learned that because I just happened to drop by because I was taking care of some personal affairs in Manila.

They were doing heat press with a flat iron. I voluntarily helped with the labor as a favor. It was soon clear that it was impossible to meet the deadline by that method. I suggested doing silkscreen instead. Every suggestion from everybody is treated as a cause of aggravation: that alone defined the culture and revealed the handwriting on the wall.

By that time, I've come to feel responsible for the project because I've been associated with it. I was the one who went out to look for a silk screener. I found one who also became a friend. I forged the perfect deal. In short, the project was finished and the items were delivered on time. That positive result from the radical change in method is in itself symbolical of how to achieve success. And it also saved the workers, who slaved nonstop, from being fired and thrown out. And I'm even downplaying my role, at that. I had these thoughts on being proactive.

It's nice if people do their responsibilities without being told. But sometimes they seem not to, or they don't at all. I believe it's better to give them a soft nudge rather than remaining silent and backstabbing them. I know that from experience: I've handled people. If there's one thing I learned, it's that people would go the extra mile if he feels he's being appreciated.

One of the many reasons why I have inner peace, like I wrote in one my Facebook updates, is that I don't "reform" people; I just accept. I will now add to that, in the context of being in position of leadership: I feel peace because I'm always proactive. If I want something from someone, I would ask. Nicely.

            If you don't care enough to take initiative to achieve your goal, then you don't deserve it. It's as simple as that.

February 5, 2013

The world doesn't owe us happiness. Nobody is obligated to conform to our expectations. I learned from Tony Robbins that one of the keys to success is seeing things the way they are. "But not worse than they are." If your focus is the color red, you will even count maroon. Same way: If you're looking for happiness, you'll find it, even in places that you won't normally look.

The key is focus. My focus during my many life crises is to recover and follow my passions: writing and traveling. I did it, even though I have a thousand and one reasons to lose hope. Its because I had created in my mind what I want, and its so real that its compelling me towards it. I learned from another mentor, Wayne Dyer, that "When you change the way you look at things, the thing you're looking at changes."

One of the greatest lessons I learned in life is to take responsibility for my actions. I first heard that from Don Juan Matus, the Yacqui Indian Sorcerer from Carlos Castaneda's Journey To Ixtlan. That was further stressed by Wayne Dyer in Your Erroneous Zones, the book that radically changed my life by giving me the freedom to be myself and to express my own unique personality without having to depend on the approval of others.

Taking responsibility for my actions means not blaming anyone else for the consequences for the things I did or didn't do, the words I said or didn't say, the choices I made or didn't. Blame is seductive but destructive. That doesn't help any. It's about saying, "I did this" and "we can do something about it," like Renee Zelwegger's dialogue in Jerry Maguire in a different scene from when he had her at hello.

Real happiness comes from a sense of being complete unto yourself, with the connection to the Source. Happiness that depends on people outside of yourself will be fleeting. Still, I would enjoy myself in a blind date. I will just enjoy the moment. No emotional attachment. But if it leads to something that could last more than one night, I won't deny myself that shot.

There are no guarantees in anything, and I won't immobilize my present moment for imagined fears for a future that hasn't happened, a future that I have more control over than I give myself credit.

"Just enjoy the moment," Anne Curtis tells my idol Aga Muhlach in When Love Begins. "Just enjoy the beach..."

And yes, love begins with one hello.


"Can miles truly separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?"

~Richard Bach
"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

~Abraham Lincoln
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

~John Milton
Huggybear said…

"With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..."