Category Archives: Excellence

Celebrating Diversity

Judging people by physical appearances distracts us from serious issues. As one politician put it, physical appearances can be used as a sign of solidarity with those who share it. By ridiculing politicians for their physical appearance, we elevate them to a moral high ground, even as physical similarities can mask glaring differences between politicians and their constituents. Finally, and more importantly, this kind of “bullying” reinforces a culture that overvalues physical appearance.1

With the 2016 elections less than a year from now, we need to desist from attacks on the physical appearance of politicians. Journalists in particular should be mindful of their power to dignify certain discourses. We cannot be distracted from the more relevant parameters with which to hold politicians to account. We cannot gift them with ‘persecution’ that gives them a moral high ground while it conceals and absolves their moral and legal failings. More importantly, by casting politicians physical features in a negative light, we are perpetuating a culture that over values physical appearance, upholds certain standards of beauty and renders harm to our countrymen who share these features. Indeed, if we are to elevate Philippine politics to a certain measure of dignity, if we are to make people proud and respectful of the ways people look, we must spare the physical appearance of our politicians from ridicule and verbal abuse.1

**Though the piece above is angled on Philippine politics, the typical Filipino’s tendency to judge people by physical appearances goes beyond our politicians. Our intolerance for those who don’t share the same physical qualities (skin color, height, etc.) are monstrously contributory to our stunted growth as a nation. If we want to be more and do more for this country, its high time to put an end to these destructive prejudices.

On culture:
I cannot celebrate independence when I can be so casually told in public that I am less of a Filipino or a person solely because my grandparents were (Chinese) immigrants. Do we subconsciously insist on defining patriotism as an accident of birth instead of a lifetime’s conviction? How can we continually decry mistreatment of Filipinos overseas yet tolerate such vitriol at home?2

**If we want our OFWs to be treated well abroad, don’t you think it’s only fair for us Filipinos to treat expats and Chinese immigrants with the same decency and respect we ardently expect? I would like to live in a country where everyone is welcome. Where there is a sense of community and where an expat can call my country his home. Families, economies and countries thrive because its foreigners (as well as its residents) are able to work together and make their country of residence more prosperous since they first arrived.

On social status:
I’ve also been quite vocal about this with friends: You’re poor? I don’t take it against you You’re rich? I don’t take it against you either. Bottom line, does it really matter? In the grander scheme of things, it’s the heart of the person that counts.

Too idealistic? Not at all. On the contrary, a realist clearly sees what needs to be improved in order to make communication lines easier and effortless, thus laying the ground work for straightforward and uncomplicated relationships (business or otherwise) for us to live better and to a greater degree, thrive.

For quite sometime now, I’ve been practicing going beyond what my eyes can see, and rigidly looking at the character of the person. So far, this methodology of making friends has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

I encourage you to be more accepting/tolerant/forgiving of people’s differences, may they be physical appearances, race, culture, religion, social background, etc. In the digital age, the world has become smaller and our neighbors more accessible than ever. As a nation, we have more to gain if we embrace, rather than shun, this reality. There is strength in diversity, if only the Filipino can look beyond himself.

“I can imagine nothing more terrifying than an eternity filled with men who were all the same. The only thing which has made life bearable…has been the diversity of creatures on the surface of the globe.”
― T.H. White

References:
1 Philippine Daily Inquirer. ‘The politics of physical appearance’. Gideon Lasco, June 15 2015.
2 Philippine Daily Inquirer, Opinion. Sisyphus’ Lament, ‘Anti-Chinese-Filipino slurs are visible’. Oscar Franklin Tan. @oscarfbtan

Ariana Grande: The New Face of the Young Feminist

I immensely enjoyed the feminist-charged open letter music star Ariana Grande made on social media. Apparently, the singer/actress has had it with the double standard women are still experiencing to this day.

arianna grande feminist rampage
Ariana Grande’s open letter on social media.

This standard, as she points out in her letter, is the significant disparity women are (knowingly or unknowingly) being thrown at today such as: sex, dating, relationships, and being valued as men’s property/conquest/trophy. She mentioned that she has so much better things to talk about other than who she’s seeing (or not seeing). At only 21, this young woman who is rising as one of the most watched out artists of her generation, is on the right track to empowering herself (and consequently, her young female fans as well). Brava Ariana!

For a woman who is much older than Ms. Grande, I’m glad that younger women today are beginning to sense that one-sidedness and becoming vocal about it. I applaud her for bringing her thoughts out into the open. However, young as she is, she has more to learn from her much experienced sisters. With that said, I would like to take the time to point out her seemingly contradicting letter vis-a-vis her current professional situation.

In an industry where sex sells, Ms. Grande will have to take a firm stand against the kind of lyrics that degrade women. In her recent hit ‘Love me Harder’, you would know immediately that this was a love song. However, there are ‘love songs’ and there are ‘love-making songs’:

“And if in the moment you bite your lip
When I get you moaning you know it’s real
Can you feel the pressure between your hips?
I’ll make it feel like the first time…”
– ‘Love me Harder’, Ariana Grande

From the lyrics above, the listener of the song immediately gets a mental picture of what the song is about. In my humblest opinion, if she were really adamant in battling this double standard, then her principles should reflect in her work as well. The young Ms. Grande should go beyond what normally ‘sells’ in her workplace.

In this day and age, there are still so many female singers who continue to make songs that sexually degrade both women and men. With young female artists like Grande who are now perceptive to that kindle of consciousness, they will be setting the tone for the kind of music young people will be listening to years ahead, which eventually translates to future culture.

I’ll try to cut her some slack on her lyrical choices for now. But hey, I’ve got to hand it to the girl, she’s on the right track.

Bleeding Passions

I bleed every time I write.

When I say bleed, I literally mean exhausting every ounce of energy in me. Whenever I’m in the zone, I can’t be bothered ‘lest I look at the nuisance with murderous eyes. Inspiration comes in bursts, and seizing those moments are critical in the writing process.

I am done with sitting on the computer all day long and drawing blanks. It simply does not work for me. What works though are solitary walks, being with nature, exercise, reading, music. Just taking a good time out from the ‘job’ of writing.

So don’t be surprised if some writers you know are pretty sensitive when it comes to their copy. Each end product that comes out of every endeavor is, after all, a summation of their energies, all poured into a piece of paper.

With years of doing this for a living, some writers such as myself, are now more open to suggestion and criticism. Growing up means being open to improving your craft. But there will always be the problem of getting inspiration. Finding inspiration is the constant struggle for every single project I accept, not the criticism, nor the deadline.

How I wish that by simply accepting money and automatically churning content were that easy. It’s much more complicated than that: I need to know if the copy is worth my time, if the owners are worth my energy or if their business goal and passions are meshed with how to improve a particular system.

Obviously, being your text-book systems builder, I like to improve things. And this translates to how I work as well. If the copy that I churn from my fingertips help a business or a friend in improving a particular system, culture, business, etc. then I go for it with all my might. Nothing done in halves. A project/vision/team/person should be worth my energy, my ideals, my passions. Otherwise, I turn it down.

A few weeks ago I’ve been distraught. I haven’t been able to create. There were days of crying spells. I couldn’t eat and sleep. I felt like I was loosing my mind.

Then, unexpectedly, a family concern came up. The timing of it all. I’ve just successfully inked a major project with a very important client, when personal concerns such as hospitalization comes up. Two nuclear bombs on opposite ends. How lovely.

But surprisingly, during those days in the hospital, I’ve been able to write excellently given the dire situation I was in.

I wrote in the cath lab, the patient’s room, brainstormed on the nurses station while blatantly questioning the nurses’ competence, the timing of the patient’s food, the ambulance MD who hit on every single female nurse (and had the death glare of his life when he tried to get chummy with me), the billing clerks at the hospital…every angst I had during that hospital stint, I took out on the hospital staff and put in my writing. I had laser-like focus.

The hospital distraction helped me construct, compose, create. I was argumentative, fiery and passionate: the best recipe for creating, for writing.

I still have to finalize and close the current project, but the momentum has now resurfaced. Sometimes, it takes a life hurdle to shake you senseless and tell you ‘Get a grip! You got this’.

I may have bled buckets the past few weeks but every drop was well worth it.

Have you gone through the same dry-spells? How did you get your groove back on track?

Pope Francis on Power Play cover, features Solaire’s Sky Tower and Theatre

Gracing the cover of Power Play Philippines, Pope Francis provides a ‘fresher perspective’ on faith.

“Pope Francis is taking a different road towards the same destination. His is more people-centric, more leadership-by-example; in modern parlance, the Pope “keeps it real.” – Lester Gopela Hallig

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis graces the cover of Power Play Magazine's issue 1, volume 2.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis graces the cover of Power Play Magazine’s issue 1, volume 2.

Also inside this issue are two of Solaire’s most-talked about developments in the leisure and luxury lifestyle industry: the Sky Tower and the Theater.

Get a glimpse of what transpired during the last quarter of 2014 and why the Philippines could be the next gaming and tourist mecca.  For an excerpt of the stories, please click on the pictures below.

In line with becoming an integrated resort, Solaire Resorts and Casino invited international act and Broadway sensation Chicago to open their much anticipated Theater. For more of this story, please click on this image to direct you to the full excerpt. For any suggestions or verification of data, please get in touch with the journalist responsible for this story. http://powerplayphilippines.com/powerplay-sexy-satire/
In line with becoming an integrated resort, Solaire Resorts and Casino invited international act and Broadway sensation Chicago to open their much anticipated Theater. For more of this story, please click on this image to direct you to the full excerpt. For any suggestions or verification of data, please get in touch with the journalist responsible for this story. http://powerplayphilippines.com/powerplay-sexy-satire/
“The Sky Tower elevates Solaire yet another step higher into the very top tier of world-class integrated resorts, and is a tremendous game-changer in providing best-in-class guest experience,” Mr. Thomas Arasi, Bloomberry Resorts Corp. (BRC) President and CEO. For more of this story, please click on this image to direct you to the full excerpt. For any suggestions or verification of data, please get in touch with the journalist responsible for this story. http://powerplayphilippines.com/powerplay-reach-for-the-sky/
“The Sky Tower elevates Solaire yet another step higher into the very top tier of world-class integrated resorts, and is a tremendous game-changer in providing best-in-class guest experience,” Mr. Thomas Arasi, Bloomberry Resorts Corp. (BRC) President and CEO. For more of this story, please click on this image to direct you to the full excerpt. For any suggestions or verification of data, please get in touch with the journalist responsible for this story. http://powerplayphilippines.com/powerplay-reach-for-the-sky/

Now available at all leading bookstores nationwide, this issue can also be downloaded at all your favorite mobile devices: Mac iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows8 and Samsung.

Solaire Eyes International Gambler through Integrated Resort

After the huge and much talked about opening a year ago and being the first new property in Entertainment City, Solaire Resorts and Casino has experienced a year of overwhelming popularity, adding to this growing popularity is its recent October 16-28 2014 World Poker Tournament®.

In a mutually beneficial five-year relationship with World Poker Tournament®, Solaire Resorts and Casino will be playing hostess for a country long regarded as one of Asia’s poker hotbeds, the Philippines. With a destination designed to match international luxury resorts across the globe with world-class gaming facilities, Solaire Resorts and Casino’s recent World Poker Tournament® was a smashing success with over 58 Million Pesos awarded during its two week Poker festival.

Solaire’s Senior Vice President for Casino Marketing, Cyrus Sherafat recounts what went on during the festival, who Solaire is eyeing to play on the felt and what Solaire will be in the following months to come.

Solaire Hosts 1st World Poker Tour in the Philippines,  Eyeing to Attract International Gamblers through Integrated Resort
Solaire Hosts 1st World Poker Tour in the Philippines, eyeing to Attract International Gamblers through Integrated Resort

For more of my interview, please grab a copy of Power Play Magazine’s December 2014 issue with Rustan’s Chief, Amb. Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Sr. on the cover.

Out now on all leading bookstores nationwide.

Featuring the legendary and iconic Rustan's,
Featuring the legendary and iconic Rustan’s Chief, Ambassador Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Sr

For more information about the magazine, please check out their online properties below.
Power Play Magazine Official Website: http://www.powerplayphilippines.com.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PowerPlayPh/
Twitter page: @POWERPLAY_PH
Instagram:  @powerplay_ph