Now Playing at the Music Bar below:

Selfish (Chillout Version) - Sunset Daze

Don't Fear the Reaper (Cover) - The Beautiful South

Clarity (Neon Sky Remix) - Zedd ft. Foxes

Alive in Paradise - Tiesto & Dyro feat. Krewella

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When the Norm no longer Exists

Ever heard of Kodak? Or you probably had a historic Kodak moment that was captured on film? It was the company who pioneered camera film rolls and the first digital camera. They ruled for over a century, where their films were even used in the Apollo space missions. Fast forward to the next century, due to the digital age Kodak stopped selling film cameras in 2004, they knew that things had to change and they quickly switched gears to digital cameras. But a couple of years later, things started to go downhill to the point where they filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
So what went wrong? They dominated for 100 years, they adapted to the new age, and yet, it failed.
Ever heard of the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. You have that certain level of complacency that things will be ok since you have been successful with how you do things traditionally or within the norm, that there is really no need to change the way things are or how it is done. You live in that state where you are in a bubble and inside you feel confident that you are protected, but outside, you have forces that can easily burst your domain and everything falls apart. But if you live outside that bubble, you are free to roam and do greater things.
We always say to ourselves there is room for improvement, we need to get outside of our comfort zone. But do we actually give space for it? Do we actually step out?
Nowadays you have to really be open to anything and be able to adapt by leaps and bounds. How I wish it was as easy as Keanu Reeves’ character in the movie The Matrix, where you can learn Kung-Fu in a matter of seconds. You can’t be stuck with “I’m sorry, this is what I only know”. Wouldn’t it be better if you could say, “Hold on, I will learn how to do it”.
Kodak had it going, but they were not doing it at the speed that was in pace with the innovative world we live in. They probably foresaw what was coming and yet they did not act on it immediately, thinking that they were a giant in this world and it would take a lot to take them down. But then again Goliath was dropped with a single stone, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall. So we shouldn’t sit back and wait to see if others act on things, the moment we see a potential risk, we need to quickly assess it and do what is necessary to avoid an epic downfall.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher quoted, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Everything around us changes every day. Especially in my line of work I always say that each day is a new day since I encounter something different, an out of the ordinary situation that keeps me thinking constantly of solutions on how to deal with these dilemmas. And the moment you stop, either you get caught off guard or get too far behind to ever catch up on things. So we better start learning how to eat change for breakfast.
The Norm is a lost land. And you would not want to get stuck in it. Let’s admit that there is part in us that is old fashioned and is at ease when staying within that comfort zone. That we may not need to change our ways in our lifetime if things are ok. But then why settle for ok, when you can do better, and you can do more.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Gladiator Way

They say that if you are not first, you're last. That championships defines success and excellence. That winning is everything. 

Not entirely true.

There is a lot to be said about the sport of basketball. How this team sport breeds and develops athletes not just physically but mentally. How the sport changes one's perspective in life and work ethic. A sport that unites and inspires others. And I am very grateful to have played basketball for at least a third of my life.

So what's the point if you did not win the championship?

They say that if you are not first, you're last.

True. If there are just two teams competing in that particular league. True. If indeed you are dead last and have not won any games at all. But if you have been in the finals for 3 consecutive years, in reality, I don't consider that being last. It's being competitive. This team climbed from being a 2nd runner up on it's first year, 1st runner up on the 2nd year, and became champions on the next. On our fourth year, after losing our first game, the team never looked back and streaked to the finals. It is unfortunate though that we lost to a better team. 

Take for example the San Antonio Spurs. They never won it each and every year (They've won a total of 5 back in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014), but their competitiveness never waned. Each and every year they won anywhere between 50 to 60 games out of a total 82 games. Would you consider the Spurs to be last?

That championships defines success and excellence, and winning is everything.

Indeed it is great to win them all. But it would be the greatest if you've won authentically and without shortcuts. To some, winning is everything, thus they would recruit talents just for the sake of playing. In the professional leagues, why not. But in a BPO industry; come on.  One thing I am very proud of this team is that the players are TRUE employees doing actual BPO work. 

I will be blunt and harsh on this. Other teams employ half of it's lineup and puts them in a department that needs very minimal office work or none at all. I know because we've done it in my previous employer. And believe me, when we won the championship, the feeling for me wasn't authentic. We took the short route, we guaranteed victory by getting an ex-professional player, collegiate athletes and a couple of amateur league players. For others they even brought in an import.

Really? These guys do BPO work? They go on a graveyard shift? They clock in 9 hours doing actual office duties? Is that defining success and excellence? Sure, sure. 

So how come we have ex-collegiate/amateur players in our roster you say? Let's set the record straight. These guys walked into our doors and applied on their own free will. And I am very proud of these two employee-athletes, who have shown much dedication and commitment, both with the sport and with work.

Rhey Mendoza and Danny Pribhdas for me are an excellent example of an employee-athlete. In the past 3 years these two were the heart and soul of the team. But despite being that, they have been unselfish and as true leaders they trusted and believed in their team mates and helped to make them better.

Rhey used to play for the NU Bulldogs and was named part of the Mythical Five and Danny played for the UST Growling Tigers in the UAAP. How much effort they put into the sport is the same level as to how much they exert their effort at work. Rhey is an OJT (On the Job Trainer) who helps new hires during their training period. Danny is one of our high performing employees and is now assuming an assistant team leader role. Regular night shift hours, high stress levels, and yet they deliver both on the court and on the job.

As captain of the team, Rhey said, "Even if we lost this year, what's important is the winning culture that we have. We will come back stronger and better as always."

Winning may not be everything, but the culture that you instill to breed the right attitude and behavior towards work and play, for me is more important. Never give up and strive harder.

That is what defines success and excellence.

That is the Gladiator Way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kian Turns 7

It amazes me how 7 years have passed and how much you have grown since then. Whenever I attempt to carry you, it isn’t an easy task anymore. Although, whenever I try to explain things to you, it is easier nowadays because you understand and analyze things better. (Looking back at how I could just cradle you in my arms when you were just weeks old.)

I can no longer escape or talk my way out of certain things such as the price of apps in the Apple iTunes store. (Apparently you discovered my currency converter app and is now able to compute for the converted dollar price to pesos.) So I frequently hear you say, “Dad, one dollar and 99 cents is just like 90 pesos. I have one hundred pesos, I will pay you”.

It surprises me how you remembered that I promised to open a bank account for you when you reached the age of 7. How you keep reminding me to check the Manila Observatory if you can look into the big telescope. (I hate to bring you the bad news but they don’t have the telescope anymore, but don’t worry, they told me they will let me know when they have stargazing events.)

It amuses me how you love collecting toys just like your Lolo Johnny who collects die cast model cars, like your Tita Nan who collects Lego, and of course me, who collects pretty much everything that I missed out on during my childhood days. From your model planes, to your Kuya’s Nerf gun armory, and your Minecraft Lego (The living room right now is a Minecraft village and has now extended to my room.)

Though it saddens me a bit, that I may have not given much attention to other things. Such as being able to help you with your homework, bring you to the cinema to watch the movies you wanted and just settles to watching it on DVD, and accompanying you to play basketball or ride the scooter at the park. Thus, the reason why I keep saying that each time I get, any free time that I have, if you ask for me during those times, I will be there.

You have grown into the boy the way you should be and not the way that is forced upon. I don’t mind having you to choose your own destiny as long as I guide you along that path to what is righteous and God inspired. I may have not been there all the time, but for each time spent with you is definitely with full sincerity and affection, and never less. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I'm a Tourist: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Having some final getaway before classes start for the kids. Thank you to my cousin for the huge discount on the rooms. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan is about 3 hours away from the Metro. (Took us about 5 since it was our first time so we took a wrong turn somewhere.)

But worth the travel to this heritage hacienda by the beach. Although the place was still under construction or under restoration for some parts, it was still a sight to marvel upon. Most of the houses were actually knocked down from their original locations and brought to this place to be restored. The rest were replicas. 

Not much activities yet available, but the tour was worth while as we learned a few things about history that were probably not taught in school.

So much detail on the structures.

The main reason for this, the joy on the faces of these two.

Will definitely be back here once everything is 100% completed.

Check out their website:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Joys and Pains: Are You Busy, Dad?

"Family is not an important's everything." - Michael J. Fox

We go through life with much joy and pain, whether alone or with someone, situations and events that we experience on a daily basis, and at the end of the day you are either full of joy or in deep pain.

People often take HR work for granted. Thinking that it is any easy task that all we do is manage cases and do payroll. When in fact HR practitioners stretch their limits to cater to hundreds and even thousands of employees. We give in to almost every demand and have to say yes to each workload. We are selfless and committed. Which made me realize; if I could dedicate my time to each and every business need without much hesitation, looking after thousands of "children" in one site alone and making them happy...what reason is there for me not to do the same or even more for my own kids?


It pains me that when I'm home and my kids go to me, they would ask me first, are you busy? Are you working? I know I brought this upon myself the moment I decided to bring home my work. But it is inevitable. HR functions 24/7 in the industry that I am in and I chose this profession. It just pains me to tell Kian and Julia, "Sorry, daddy is talking to the office." or "Wait a minute, I'm just doing something on my office computer, let me finish first", where it came to a point that my 4-year old daughter tells me, "Dad, you're always working".

That is why no matter how tired I am after my graveyard shift, every chance I get to bring Kian to school in the morning, I grab it. Because these are moment where I can make up for lost time and no matter how painful the traffic may be, it brings me joy when I have these morning conversations with Kian about how he keeps telling me to buy a tank so we can run over traffic. How he would ask updates from me about his Clash of Clans and Boom Beach. These are games on his iPad, since he cannot use it during school days; so he gave me the task to upgrade his troops and townhall. And when I fail to do so, as any boss would do, I am asked why didn't you do your job. If I can stay up for anything, that definitely includes this.

Julia would often ask if she could watch cartoons in my room. Although it pains me knowing that if I say yes, I wouldn't get any sleep. And it pains to see her face when I do say no. And whenever I do fall asleep she gets irritated and tells me to stop snoring because she can't hear the TV. That is why no matter how many times she wakes me up just to tell me to stop snoring, I don't mind the pain since it brings me much joy to know that she is there not just watching TV, but watching over me.

Some people can debate all day that your work pays for your salary so you should put more focus on your work and not your kids. It is true that your children don't have the financial capability to pay your wages. But the Ultimate Boss, God, gave you these gifts, and you are tasked to take care of them "pro bono". (Try asking God for wages, when He actually paid for our sins.)

A couple of years ago a good friend and neighbor of mine passed away. His father hugged him one last time on the coroner's table. And when the coroner asked him to stop already, he simply asked for more time since he did not get the chance to hug him that much when he was younger because he was busy.

More often than not we make sacrifices for the greater good. We take risks, we push ourselves to live up to our commitments. And no matter how painful it is, physically or mentally, we get the job done. Because the joy that it brings us can never be measured. So the next time my bosses would ask me if I am busy....

"For you kids...Dad is never busy."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

When Rules Apply, We Don't Comply

I remember a scene in the movie Devil’s Advocate where Al Pacino’s character was explaining to Keanu Reeves’ character on something about rules and it goes; “Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow”.

And for some reason, we sometimes touch, we taste, and we swallow.

Or as the late WWE superstar Eddie Guerrero used to say...

I often think, here are Ten Commandments that are written in stone, and yet there are those who commit sin against it. Written in stone. By definition it means it is fixed, it cannot be changed, and you can’t have a workaround for it. If this can happen to something carved unto stone tablets, what more to rules, policies and procedures that are only set on paper.

I’m no saint and I had my small share of rebelliousness. One of them would be during my 1st year in the BPO industry, the IT team for the company I worked for kept raising a concern about me for always enabling the internet connection in my PC, which obviously was not allowed. It came to a point where they escalated me to the Senior Operations Manager already. So one day, he approached me and simply said, “JPP, you have greater things to do than just break rules. Do you think you can do greater things?” He was right. I am not a better or greater person by simply disobeying protocol and showing how cool I am that I can browse the internet during work while others can’t. 

So what drives us not to comply? How difficult is it to follow a simple set of rules?

Take for example this new “No Contact” apprehension policy of the Metro Manila Development Authority. Why should we fear this if we are confident that we are really following the prescribed traffic rules? There are roads signs, and we are pretty much familiar with driving etiquette. But we know that there is this habit within a person where we think that it’s OK to violate the rules because no one is watching, so we go ahead and do it. So it begs the question again, what drives us not to comply?

Is it because others are doing it anyway, so should you? Are we so forgetful that it slips our mind every now and then?

There is such a long list of things that we do that don’t conform to the norm. Whether we feel that following rules is so bureaucratic or much of a hassle, we are in a hurry or trying to cut corners, when we feel that we are the authority and we can do whatever we want so rules don’t apply. Rules, no matter how simple they may be, are there to guide us and remind us of the right thing to do. There are even rules that are not written and are simply part of the natural habitat or environment. People with common sense can easily comprehend to this.  

Other say that when you play by the rules, you get left behind, you lose. My take on it, if I play by the rules so damn well, I can actually bend them without breaking it. As the saying goes, “The pain of discipline is not as great as the pain of regret”.

But I guess there are some idiots who have a high threshold for pain, and can take huge amounts of regret. 

Well, it’s their rebellious life…I have greater things to do.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kid's Garage: Ferrari 575 GTC - Red Variant

Boys with their toys. We love collecting stuff. And for me, one of them would be HotWheels / Matchbox cars. It came to a point that I sometimes buy the same car already. So my son gave the idea that I should take an inventory of them to avoid duplicates. The collection actually started with him when he was younger, but as he grew older, it seems that the kid grew and the dad didn't.

(Finally found the red variant.)

Ferrari 575 GTC (Red)

Team 575 GTC

Still searching for the other variants:

Actual Car:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kid's Garage: '71 Mustang Mach 1 - 007 Diamonds Are Forever

Boys with their toys. We love collecting stuff. And for me, one of them would be HotWheels / Matchbox cars. It came to a point that I sometimes buy the same car already. So my son gave the idea that I should take an inventory of them to avoid duplicates. The collection actually started with him when he was younger, but as he grew older, it seems that the kid grew and the dad didn't.

'71 Mustang Mach 1
Used by James Bond in the movie "Diamonds are Forever"

Actual Car:

It's Not All About Skills

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them…a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali

When friends ask me what I do, it comes as a surprise to them that I am in Human Resources. How did that happen? Being a hot-headed, short tempered teen, an introvert and anti-social young adult; took up Computer studies and landed my first job in the airline industry. It’s just not HR material. And yet, here I am.

When someone questions your ability and skills in getting things done, my simple answer was; 13 years and counting. That’s how long I have been in this profession. It’s true, I may not have the degree in Psychology or Business Management, or whatever pre-HR course there is, and yet, here I am.

When circumstances presents itself and tests your capabilities, it begs the question, are you skilled for this? 

Every time this comes up, I remind myself of the story of Rudy Ruettiger, who played college football in the University of Notre Dame. (His story was made into a movie back in 1993, “Rudy”)

Rudy dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame, but he was never built for football. He didn’t have the size nor the skills for it. But he did have the heart. And in the movie, Coach Parseghian said, “I wish God would put your heart in some of my players’ bodies.” Rudy trained hard more than anyone else in the team, and eventually this earned him a shot at getting a chance to finally play. So on November 8, 1975 against Georgia Tech, Rudy played for the first time, on his senior year and his last game. Rudy only played for a couple of minutes, but in the end he was one of the only two players in Notre Dame history to ever be carried off the field.

Having a degree doesn’t guarantee that you will be 100% successful nor does it ensure that you are hiring the best talent. If the individual does not have the work ethics for it, that degree will be wasted. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. What do they have in common? College drop outs. And where are they now? They are visionaries. They built a new age empire. They are PIMPED.

In one of the leadership summits that I attended, they shared with us how one should be PIMPED:

Passionate, Inspired, Motivated, Persevering, Energized, Dedicated.

Hiring someone who is PIMPED but not too skilled has a higher probability of making wonders for your company. Technical skills can always and easily be injected into someone. But getting them PIMPED is exhausting if their behavior is not even up to it. Try hiring someone who is highly skilled, but lacks the will…let me know how that works out.

On the other hand, no matter how daunting the task, no matter how tired I may be, no matter what other people say that I am not skilled for it…
I am PIMPED and I’m gonna RUDY it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year in Ilocos 2016

After an 11-hour trip with all the stopovers, finally made it. (Good job Toyota Innova) Thank you also for the new TPLEX highway, which probably saved us about 2 hours of travel time. Although not really my first trip; (Ilocos Revisited) this was the longest drive I did in my life; 450 kilometers. Will be more prepared next time...about a liter of Barako coffee maybe.

First attraction: The Suba Paoay Sand Dunes


No fear from Kian as he took the sandboard ride on his own.

2nd attraction: Playa Tropical Resort & Calle Crisologo in Vigan

Final attraction: La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc

What's a vacation without the usual food tripping;

Street foodies in Batac, goodies and home made cooking.

The best part of the trip, the kids enjoying life without the iPads...

When Everything is Not Enough

I'm pretty sure each and every one of us have already experienced at least once in our life the feeling of exhaustion when you come to a point where you thought and believed that you have done it all and yet you don't succeed; you have given it your all and yet you lose; you have thunk of every solution possible and yet problems still arise; you have devoted most of your daily lives to what you normally do, and yet it still demands more time.

You then ask yourself...wasn't that enough?

Man does has its limits. But we have always pushed ourselves beyond. We knew that doing that extra mile to our customers pays off, and eventually feel fulfilled. We knew that spending those quality time with our family is priceless, and eventually feel blessed. We break the limits because we are not asked to do so, but because we want to.

And this where our problem lies.

I recall the time when I loved playing basketball so much, that I played 4 straight games in one day. The energy and desire was at it's peak. Especially when my first 3 teams lost, and I injured both ankles already, I came into my fourth game still having that drive to play. Not because I had nothing to do that day nor was I asked or paid to win, but because I wanted to win. But in the past 2 years, the wanting and the desire seems to have dropped a notch. Either I no longer look forward to the next game, play sub-par, and sometimes even passes on it.

The same way can be said about our jobs. (It is no longer an expectation but a fact; 100% guaranteed, whether scientifically, socially or professionally proven fact that our jobs have, are, and will always ask for more.) Thus, you have to really want to do your job, otherwise, when you lose that desire and commitment, the exhaustion will now come into play. We have to admit, we sometimes tell ourselves, "What am I complaining about when I know this is what I do. This is what my profession requires of me and even if it is not part of what I normally do, I know that my contract states that I may be tasked to do work that is beyond my job description."

And so that is where our fault is evident.

A good mentor of mine once said, "We can't just sit around and say, that ain't my job. If you see that something is wrong, call it out. Or better yet, if you know how to fix it, then make it happen." Which makes a really good point. We all work in one company and is geared toward common goals, so even if it is not part of our job description, if you really want to help the company succeed, you would want to make things happen.

Make it Happen.

That really stuck to me for the past 2 months. To be given that empowerment to see things in a different perspective and make changes to benefit the organization. Look at it this way, instead of treating demands and requests to do things outside your scope as added work, why not view it as people seeking your expertise and execution on the problems they encounter. You are a subject matter expert, you are a role model, you can make it happen.

There is also no question when it comes to your family. You just have to give it your all. And I am sure we always end up giving everything and more. Because for me, family is everything.

Indeed everything you do may not be enough, because the things that happen in our lives never stops. So for 2016 and beyond, instead of feeling exhausted, we should feel invigorated and make things happen.

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