Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When I was a child, I had this lofty and indefatigable dream of becoming a sales representative. It’s not that I think I am persuasive at people nor I am crazy of the idea to take advantage over someone else’s gullibility, all I wanted is a job that will bring me to new and distant places. On that scenario, work is just going to be a leisurely play. I have already this unrelenting notion that a routine job is tantamount to living in utter banality.

Dreams do come true. Last week, I had my rejuvenating week-long stay in the whole unimpeachable picturesque province of Panay.

Let my recounting commence in Estancia, a municipality of fisher folks. It was like turning back the hands of time where you can see the eclectic and gaudy designs and shapes of fishing boats in multi-colored hues. The placid sea was a flabbergasting reflection of the azure skies painted with the chaste cottony clouds. From the vantage point of the sea port, one can gaze the promising island of Cicogon as if coaxing everyone to step on its fertile land waiting in seconds to be mesmerized and enthralled.

The City of Roxas has an impeccable green environment. It is a city to be envied by everyone who's frenzied of living the hustle and bustle of big cities. People were generally warm and welcoming. Famous for its copious seafoods, one should visit the coastal restaurants and have a blast of its sumptuous, mouth-watering, fresh "talaba".

Kalibo is one serene and peaceful city at night. At seven in the evening, you can hardly see people wandering around. It's one perfect place to be in solitude with yourself, literally and metaphorically. It is also one suitable place for voluminous reading as there are no sound distractions near and far.

Miagao is historically and culturally fertile. Their litter-free surroundings is very glaring and conspicuous that deserves special commendation. The Miagao church in its brazen statue that stand so stately and grandiose in its site is one landmark for visitors. It is also proud to be the home of one of the campuses of the premier academic institution in the country, the University of the Philippines-Miagao Campus.

One week was over, but it seemed like it was just yesterday. Til now I am still captive of its beauty and charm. No, I think that is an understatement! I now rest my case.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


There is nothing wrong with my title. It’s no typographical error. Dare to fail! I am articulating! But, this is not to prove my being a non-conformist.

Who wants to fail? Nobody! Who wants to succeed? You’d say, that is a dim-witted question. I am talking of a general perception. In debate, it’s a non-issue. There’s nothing to debate. It’s being truistic that over the time, the notion becomes nonsensical and trivial.

It took me sometime to gather my strength and have the nerve to deliver this 10th speech. To think, I should have hurried so that after, I would become Competent Communicator. Hmmm! That’s quite a big deal! I know it’s being arrogant! But no. I realized that it’s not getting the title that’s of paramount importance, it’s deserving the title. In the same manner, I remember a very striking quote that I read now carved in the recesses of my mind, “It should be the work that should validate the PhD and not the PhD that should validate the work.

We grew up with an indefatigable idea that success is all too nice a thing and that failure is a scrap. The mere thought of failing makes us anxious, pathetic, or even ailing. In our society, the measure of one person is how successful he can be. That way you can etch your name and your story in history books. That has become the standard or the norm they call it.

Growing up, I mean, being a grown-up, I did realize I should not in any way shun away from failure. It is not taboo to talk about failing. Contrary to normal perception, achievers actually fail more times than non-achievers simply because they try more times than non-achievers. One thing that we should realize is that every success story is only one side of the coin. The other side is what we call, failing! Consider the following real stories.

Woody Allen – Academy Award-winning writer, producer and director flunked motion picture production at New York University and the City College of New York. He also failed English at New York University. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process. General Douglas MacArthur might never have gained power and fame without persistence. When he applied for admission to West Point, he was turned down, not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.

According to Dr. Robert Schuller, “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means you haven’t succeeded yet. Failure does not mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been a fool to try. It means you were brave, you had nerve, you had courage; be proud of your self. Failure does not mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take longer. Failure does not mean you’re finished. It does mean you have a chance to start all over again, try something new. Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean He has a better idea. So it is true, failure is never final.

Yes. Failure is never final. When we try and fail. There’s no stopping us from trying again. It is when we fail that we learn and we learn best when we learn the hard way. It is when we are pressed hard, pressed to our limits, pressed beyond our comprehension that we realize our worth as an individual.

Kites. I never thought that my leisure activity as a child teaches a lesson. My fond of flying kites in the sweltering heat during windy days can be thought-provoking in a way. The kite must fly and soar up high. The higher it stays in the sky, the more amazing and thrilling it is. Not to mention how envious my playmates could get! Now, here’s the lesson. How does a kite soar higher and higher? It is by going against the wind. The stronger the wind blows, the higher the kite soars. When a strong wind comes in our life, it is when we develop that firmness of strength and character in us.

Trees. They are simple living things that because of their ubiquity and familiarity, we don’t care much about them. But wait. Trees just like kites teach us a lesson. The lesson lies in the question, which tree is the strongest. The strongest tree is the tree that is hampered by the strongest wind. The strongest tree is the tree that has survived innumerable storms. Because every storm that it survived, is a root grown deeper into the ground.

Diamonds. We all know them. They are symbols of beauty. Charcoal. Yes, charcoal are those black matter we use in cooking when the LPG runs out. Diamonds and charcoal. Unbelievable it may be but they are actually the same in terms of what it’s made up of. I am not in any way bluffing. Both diamonds and charcoal are made up of Carbon. But why is it that diamonds have luster and sparkling while charcoal are flat and unexciting? It’s the extreme heat that makes charcoal turn into endearing diamonds. Yes, it’s the extremely hot environment that transformed these flat, unexciting charcoals into beautiful and precious gem we recognize as diamonds. So when you felt like giving up because life seemed to be so hard, put up a good fight and come out shining like diamonds. They are forever.

I would have opted to stay being a toastmaster. It’s too risky to become Competent Communicator. The pressure to be brazen. The pressure to be superb. The pressure to be at par with iconic toastmasters.

But life is too short to be always on the safer side of the battlefield. Time and again, I should take risks and dare to fail. Just like the kite, I must go against stagnation for growth as a public speaker. Like the tree, I must be faced with every speech project there is to make my foundation as a toastmaster grow deeper and stronger. And like the charcoal, I must be exposed in red-hot-glowing-fire-incessant-evaluations that I will come out polished and shimmering in the pinnacle of every toastmaster’s journey, like Greg Vallejera, a DISTINGUISHED TOASTMASTER!