My Ninja Training

March 15-21 Edition

Slice of Life
Sleepless In Cebu
Going Radical
Ninja Assassin

Slice of Life

February 2, 2014

This is my text message to my friend R in Manila

I live on a quiet side street near Cebu's business district. It was cool and shady when I bought a packet of Bear Brand Swak at the store just outside the gate near noon.

The sun was blazing down on the main street a few yards away. The milk went along with the boiled bananas I got from the talipapa market earlier.

I'm trying to gain weight while trying to avoid protein-starch combinations so I had mongo, chopsuey, canton and rice for breakfast.

I also bought some ponkan oranges - wet because they sprinkled water over them to retain moisture.

"What's this, orchids?" I joked.

It's my day-off from my call center job. I thought about going out to watch Jack Ryan and I, Frankenstein but the scorching weather made me want to stay indoors all the more.

Just when I'm getting emotionally detached from work so it wouldn't control my life, I got an award for one of the most outstanding trainees or something like that. That was nice but it doesn't mean anything to me. Aside from what I earn and my buddies there like JC (who's leaving for Canada), CB (who's leaving for Manila) and NJ (who's leaving for Malaysia), the most important things in my life are outside the office.

I'm spending this day to rest, re-reading Herman Hesse's Siddharta for the nth time.

"For a long time Siddharta lived the worldly life, the life of pleasure, without ever becoming a part of it," writes the great German mystic Herman Hesse. "Much that he has learned from the shramanas, from Gotama, from his father the brahmin, remained with him for a long time - moderation in life, pleasure in thought, the habit of meditation, intimate knowledge of the self, of the eternal self which is neither body nor consciousness."

Of course there's my music: spinning the FM dial. I always use earphones because I don't want to anybody else to hear what I'm playing in the same way I don't want theirs. As I write this, the radio is playing Carol Banawa's Iingatan Ka. I remember Arnold saying he wanted to do a duet with her when we were in Chowking Philcoa near U.P. in the late 90s. I also remember it was Arnel who taught me to appreciate Tagalog music, especially when we went to his hometown in Baliwag, Bulacan. I prefer Ronnie Liang's version even if I can't relate to the mother part because I never had one. But it's a nice song.

Iingatan Ka
Ronnie Liang

"Buhay na kay ganda,
pangarap ko na makamtan ko na..."

Sleepless In Cebu

February 19, 2014
3:39 p.m., Wednesday

"Time management is life management," as I wrote on my magazine article on life coach Cheryl Richardson.

If there's one thing I want for myself the most, it's the ability to fall asleep and wake up refreshed at will.

This is my text reply to a friend asking what time I'll be at the office

I always come early. Never late. Ideally I'd watch cable movies first on the 12/F pantry before shift. But lately I can't sleep even if I feel exhausted. I'm trying to find out why. I know it's a manifestation of something not yet conscious though significant. Oftentimes I'd finally get some shut-eye just a couple of hours before shift and I have to struggle to be alert. I've lost all my mutant powers. So I don't know what time I'll be there tonight. 

Going Radical

February 16, 2014,
Sunday Morning

"Consider the radical than the gradual."

I really love that advice by Ardy Abello, a life coach and guest co-host of this morning's episode of Chink Positive on Radyo 5.

Classic example, of course, is quitting smoking. Rather than decreasing sticks, it's better, he says to stop cold turkey.

I'm thinking about other things where I will apply that lesson. I believe the right mindset wins you half the battle.

I'm getting mentally ready for some things coming. Then it's going to be radical.

I can relate to how Ardy went on diet regimen during the holidays when everybody else was gorging themselves so their New Year's resolution would be to work out-for a week or two.

"Do it at a time when it's most challenging," he says. "That's when you will test your discipline."

"Poise is a choice."

I like that sound byte from guest Abigail Arenas De Leon, model and image consultant. It comes from her new book 88 Things Every Professional Should Know (Or Else). Composure "separates men from the boys," she says. It's about branding: managing how other perceive you. Which, in turn, is how your value as a professional is measured. I agree, jadedly, that this is the "Me Generation" where millennials have a "sense of entitlement," as she says.

Personally, I feel overwhelmed by the many young people I've come across lately who are superficial social climbers. They can freeload in other people's Wi-Fi for all I care. But making fun of others is like part of the local culture. I also agree, this time tragically, that "Proper decorum" is still "important" she says. I couldn't agree more. But I've noticed it has now become practically obsolete.

Just to give one example among the many I've seen, I can't help but have the impression that elevator etiquette is an alien concept here in Cebu. It's really consistent: they won't bother to press the doors open even when they see somebody coming. I've seen a lot of birdbrains in all my travels, but there's a lot of people here who think an elevator is a stage where the audience is impressed by the wet-market way they show their sophistication: inadvertently showing their glaring lack of it.

On Ninja Assassin

February 3, 2014

This is my text message to my friend G in Las PiƱas

I've always been fascinated with Ancient Japan.

I somehow doubt I could have been a Shogun or even an Emperor in a past life because I can't imagine myself as the Establishment.

It would be more in character had I been a Shinto monk or a ronin samurai who performed seppuku under the cherry blossoms of the sacred Mount Fuji.

Or maybe I was a ninja.

I've been watching Ninja Assassin film clips and Rain's training while uploading my Sinulog footages for the past week. It's one of my favorites from our almost daily movie marathon last year. I remember our regular trips to Puregold Almanza for grocery, then we'd rent DVDs from VideoCity across Pilar Village where we went to high school - which I continued somewhere else. I'm now using some of the techniques when I'm in the gym.

Rain's Training for Ninja Assassin 

Just last Friday, I was doing the abdominal exercise with my back to the floor while raising the upper and lower parts of my body. I was almost screaming in agony. I would collapse, grunting in pain which strangely sounds positively orgasmic. I realize that I really need to get my own place so I can do the headstand over a bed of nails.

Ninja Assassin

Raizo is a victim of child abuse. He grew up in fear and absolute obedience. His only friend was a young orphan girl. One day, he saw her in the garden clipping a bonsai. He told her that's forbidden, looking around fearfully. The other students were in the courtyard, practicing. Nobody saw them, but everybody knew they were an item. She explained that all living things has a heart - a heart that yearns to be free.

"I don't," he says.

"Yes, you do," she says. "It misses you." 


“When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it.”

~Stephen Richards
Think Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free
"As you perceive something, you give birth to a thought, and this thought now thinks. Now that it exists, now that it has been conjured, now that it has been focused,now it vibrates. Now, by Law of Attraction, other thoughts that are vibrationally same will come to it. So it begins its expansion immediately."


(Excerpted from the workshop in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, October 15th, 1998)
“Always have an air of expectancy.”

~Stephen Richards
Cosmic Ordering Guide