Tuesday, November 13, 2007

about courage


"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear."

~Mark Twain~



It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau~

helen keller


I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

~Helen Keller~

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Conversation with God

read the book.

enough said.

world without us

last Saturday, i went to my favorite bookstore and stayed there for a few hours until early evening.

after that, i went underground to take my train home.

there was no one there.

at first, i got scared.
feeling vulnerable that no one will help me in the event i get robbed (although highly improbable).

and then, my fear changed.
it was now a fear of the insane possibility or concept of being the last man on earth.

what if i was?

i love my introverted nature.

but that night, i missed having someone around - whoever that person may be.

it was sad being alone.
and it was scary.

after 15 minutes of missing anyone, a college boy appeared.

it was the two of us now waiting for the train.

then boarding the same one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

great quotes

Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving.

~Maxwell Maltz ~

"Inspiration, creativity, and growth come easier when you are in a peaceful atmosphere. Allow enough time to know yourself better. Be relaxed and, most importantly - be gentle with yourself."

~Thomas D. Willhite~
Living Synergistically

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~Mahatma Ghandi~

Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.

~Theodore N. Vail ~

The future depends on what we do in the present.

~ Mahatma Gandhi~

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

We don't live in a world of reality, we live in a world of perceptions.

~Gerald J. Simmons~

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

~John Lubbock ~

"I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process."

~Diane Nyad~

"We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else's idea of life."

~James Van Praagh~

"The ego problem is a result of a society that promotes exploitation. Being better than, prettier and smarter than, or richer than, at the expense of someone else, is an ego barrier. Only when a person confronts this problem, recognizes and admits where they are, will there be a possibility for constructive change."

~Thomas D. Willhite~
Living Synergistically

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

~Mary Ann Radmacher~

"Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; its when you had everything to do, and you've done it."

~Margaret Thatcher~

"Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality; they are also dress rehearsals, plans. All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination."

~Barbara Grizzuti Harrison~

When your fear touches someone's pain, it becomes pity. When your love touches someone's pain, it becomes compassion.

~Stephen Levine~

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.
~William James~

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

road to happiness

"The road to happiness lies in two simple principles; find what interests you and that you can do well, and put your whole soul into it - every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have."

~John D. Rockefeller~

Sunday, September 23, 2007

buddist prayer for peace

May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
be quickly freed from their illnesses.

May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.

May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending one another.

May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness - the children, the aged, the unprotected
- be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

Friday, September 14, 2007


"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

~Carl Jung~


I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.

~John F. Kennedy~

greatest mistake

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."

~ Elbert Hubbard ~

ashes than dust

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark would burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

~Jack London~

Sunday, August 26, 2007

what is the right path?

an excerpt from the book,
Teaching of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda:

Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.

I have told you that to choose a path you must be free from fear and ambition. The desire to learn is not ambition. It is our lot as men to want to know.

The path without a heart will turn against men and destroy them. It does not take much to die, and to seek death is to seek nothing.

For me there is only the traveling on the paths that have a heart, on any path that may have a heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel--looking, looking, breathlessly.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing dies nothing, has nothing and is nothing.
They say they avoid suffering and sorrow,
But they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live...
Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves.
They have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

-- Anonymous

Sunday, August 12, 2007

who is the next design star?

the title of this blog is the title of the reality show on HGTV.
it is like the American Idol for interior designers.

yesterday, i was extremely depressed and discouraged from pursuing fashion.
this was after reading a book called The Fashion Designer Survival Guide.
what i got from the book was the illusion that fashion is all about having the capital to pursue it.

while that was extremely valid, i never really used lack of money as an excuse in my past endeavors in life.

but somehow it did this time.

tonight, i saw a timely episode of this interior designer challenge.
the remaining contestants were each given 399 dollars to shop at a 99 cent store.
with only 2 days to transform a small white room, with a white table.
a blank canvas, if you will.

Tod, a relatively decent hunk in a non-hunk carpenter way, did a room that just shocked me out of my creative block and depression.

on the white wall, he painted a huge blue tidal wave that 'literally' smashed and drowned the furniture in the room.

it was completely unsafe and out of the box.
one that could have eliminated him for the impracticality of someone being able to live in that room in real life.

in the last minutes of the challenge, he was interviewed.
he said he did not want to play it safe.
what i liked about him was his complete confidence with the danger.
it was as if the risk was completely not taken into consideration.

he simply just wanted to be creative.

and he ultimately won the challenge.

here is the link to the actual site:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson, the filmmaker, represents another side of me.
my natural tendency to be philosophical and cool at the same time.

i like how he packages wisdom in a witty amusing way.
i do that also.
package spiritual truth in easy morsels coated with humor.

that is why i cannot wait to see his new film come September, The Darjeeling Limited.

set in India.
loaded with spiritual truth.
package as a independent comedy.
just like me.

his films did very well commercially.

he was true to his Creative Voice.
and he inspires me to do the same.

his concepts, i am sure, would not have passed the approving standards of mainstream Hollywood.
but he stuck to his guts.
and created a successful audience loyal to him.

just recently, i had a panic attack regarding my first menswear collection.
that no one will buy it.
or i have no way of financing its production or distribution.

on an episode on Charlie Rose, Wes Anderson was asked:
what type of audience watches your film?

Wes replied:

the true creative types will respond to my Creation and Creativity.
come to think of it, i just need to have faith.
that people, in general, not just an elect elitist few, respond to someone who is True and expresses a Truth.
people smell fakeness.
people miss those who are sincere and authentic.

this is what i am now banking on.

the most celebrated and influential works were also the most original.
and i choose to be original.

a letter to a good friend

below is an email to my best friend, francis:

dearest francis,

i wish to invent a quote:
We can only be human among true friends.
To the rest of the world, we appear courageous.

let me take this rare opportunity to be one... human.

i just finished making the samples of my first menswear collection.
and i am honestly shaking and scared.

it did not help that, today, i read a book called:
The Fashion Designer Survival Guide.

i was not the same after reading it.
as soon as i emerged from the library, i experienced this lingering fear that things may not be easy after all.

that fashion is really about money and having the capital to do it.
i have neither of the above.

i think i am having a panic attack.
my brain is bombarded by random thoughts.
as varied as they may be, they all stem from the fear that this may ultimately fail.

i am not sure if you have across this piece of wisdom yet.
but i read somewhere that each one of us is burdened by a Singular Dysfunction.
that when we reincarnated, there is this Most Important Lesson about Life or Falsehood that we must battle.

i think mine is INTEGRITY.
it is being true to the voice.
it is being absolutely unapologetically true to myself.

as scared as i am of this,
i decided to push through with it.

as a creative visionary, i silently believe that i am an ORIGINAL.
that i am at the forefront of something new and untested.

as i am writing this email, i know that i must have faith.
and, actually play a different set of rules to sell my collection.

i will have to create a new business model to distribute it and sell it to consumers.
i have ideas on how to go about it.
they are simply too radical.

the next time i talk to you about this will probably be next year when all the final samples are ready.
and on models.
and on photos and styled photo shoots.

i guess i am feeling this fear because i am actually playing in the battlefield.
and moved way beyond the talking and thinking and pondering whether to do it or not.
i did it already.
i started.
and this is how athletes who are in the game must feel.
a feeling that spectators of a sport never fully understand.
because they are simply witnesses.

now that i am touching my Greater Destiny,
i am shaking.

but i will move head on.

how is your journey so far, my friend?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

think small NOT big

i know, when you first saw the title of this post, it probably turned you off.

any reasonably self-aware individual knows that thinking big in life is the way to achieve Dreams.


but thinking small is the key to thinking big.

Thinking Big means being open to your highest potential and highest goals for yourself.

Thinking Small is the process to fulfill those Big Dreams.

to explain:
it means a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

start somewhere.
make that small move.
start from point 1.
followed by 2.
then the next.
pretty soon, one thousand small steps will lead you to the finishing line.

this was huge for me.

i always think of life from a big perspective.
while that part is good, the accompanying tendency to get anxious about how to get there, was bad for my sanity.

so when Wayne Dreyer (a self-help inspirational speaker) was featured on an PBS episode and started talking about the Tao Te-Ching, i knew i had to listen.

he was giving a talk about his new book...
i think the title of his book was Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.

so today, i finally ended my mental block and my procrastination.

i finished the first draft of my first ever menswear collection.
not just sketches.
but the actual physical samples.

and they look promising.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


i just saw the film, A.I., two days in a row on television.

and the last parts still had the same emotional impact on me.
i seem to gravitate to films with emotional and profound messages about love and existence.
and this film has both.

there were some parts that i still did not comprehend.
so i did a search on Wikipedia to figure out the plot.

following is my favorite part on that Wikipedia mention:

In a review for The New York Times by A. O. Scott, A.I is described as the "best fairy tale — the most disturbing, complex and intellectually challenging boy's adventure story — Mr. Spielberg has made." He comments on the film's ending:

... For the second time the movie swerves away from where it seemed to be going, and Mr. Spielberg, with breathtaking poise and heroic conviction, risks absurdity in the pursuit of sublimity. The very end somehow fuses the cathartic comfort of infantile wish fulfillment — the dream that the first perfect love whose loss we experience as the fall from Eden might be restored — with a feeling almost too terrible to acknowledge or to name. Refusing to cuddle us or lull us into easy sleep, Mr. Spielberg locates the unspoken moral of all our fairy tales. To be real is to be mortal; to be human is to love, to dream and to perish.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Intelligence:_A.I.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

my Testimonials on Friendster

i like the Testimonials aspect of Friendster.
it is a space where people share how they feel and what they really think about you.

these are things they do not normally say.

below are my favorite ones...

from Carlo, my younger brother:

Carlo Inigo
Posted 03/03/2007 06:32 AM

My brother, Kuya Kris. He doesn't want to be called a genius but I do call him that behind his back. I even tell my friends that his intellect is beyond us mortals. That is to say that I'm so proud of him and being his sibling that I brag about him to others.

These are not empty praises. He really thinks differently and has motivated me everytime I speak to him. I have run to him during the few crossroads in my life and has provided the only advice amongst many that I have followed.

I admire and envy his accomplishments , making me strive harder in my own tribulations.

from my ex-co worker Jon:

Posted 09/07/2004 08:12 AM

All day long, Kristian sits behind me, his calm, pleasant voice wooing customers and calming angry callers. I am so pleased that my own clothing choice has made a blip, albeit minor, in his ever-active radar of cutting edge fashion critique and design. Some day, when Galliano and Dior are only shadows of the House of Kristian Cruz, I'll say I knew him when... For now, I'll be pleased to work with such a charming, upbeat, introspective lad with mainly impeccable movie taste. His interest in culture and art serves as an inspiration to me, as we commisurate over our continued quest for knowledge and creativity.

from my ex-boss, Francis:

Francis xavier
Posted 07/22/2004 8:56 PM

I had always believed that Kristian is destined for greater things. Just look into his eyes and you will see the passion of doing the impossible. I will surely miss our talks over mango shake, pita bread and shawarma-- about life, about our dreams, or even about "Klasmeyts." I surely hope to see his fashion empire in the future. He has always regarded me as his "guru" but I also learned a lot from him. He is a complete person, sharing his completeness with the universe. I know the whole universe will conspire to make your lofty dreams a reality. God bless.

from a former classmate at French 2 class:

Posted 07/04/2004 12:50 AM

Grabe, bow ako sa creativity ng taong to! A true artist! Di ko pa rin makakalimutan ang pinagawa nya sa grupo namin sa French class nung college. Pina-avant garde fashion show ba naman kami wearing self-designed apparel made of black trash bags! :) Hanggang ngayon, sabi ni Mademoiselle Ventanilla, pinaka-da best pa rin yung group presentation naming yun. Pero me kajologan din tong si Tian eh. Hehehe. Spice Girls fan to dati. Peace! :D

in 5 days, i shall delete my whole Friendster profile.

may i never forget how important I am and how important i was to people.

my Friendster profile

i made an announcement.
i am deleting my Friendster account.

below is a copy of my profile:

i was reluctant to join Friendster for fear that i'm too much of an introvert.

most of my friends are here though which is incentive enough to give it a try.

i exude an air of extreme arrogance, yet in reality modest in most aspects. with a seeming air of aloofness, though sociable and charismatic when the trust is established. extremely serious but crazy enough to be called the life of the party. known to ponder on life's meaning too intensely but really grounded enough to enjoy a brainless TV show.

being authentic is extremely important to me. more than being liked by people. but, i believe authenticity must be balanced with kindness.

to sum it up, i am true to myself and try to be kind to other people. the other details will have to be supplied by what others will write about me :)

as a shortcut, you can watch the film, Garden State, and think of the lead guy as an extremely accurate portrayal of my character tone.

Who I Want to Meet:

i'd love to meet entrepreneurs and creative visionaries here. i have great admiration for people who want to start their own business or those with enough vision to change the world for the better.

and... the Dalai Lama. wisdom will always be the new black.

with the recent addition of: Oliver Heath (creative genius !!!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

it's my fault

the break-up was my fault.

this was my painful but much needed epiphany after casually browsing the book,
The Life You Were Born to Live.

it said, upon analysis of my Life Number,
i expect betrayal in life.
and because i secretly expect it, it ends up happening me.

the guy i loved dumped me without me knowing it.
and was having another relationship, again, without me knowing it.

the reason he gave me:
because i was always elusive.

it is painfully true.

while we can argue that he was an asshole,
i think it is an easy cop out by putting all the blame on him.

any self-aware individual knows that we are responsible in creating our circumstances, either on a conscious or unconscious level.

according to the book,
i expect betrayal because i secretly distrust the universe.
and, this is of course rooted within, a secret distrust of my self.

and because of this distrust, i withdrew from him.
afraid of exposing my shadow self, the things i did not trust and like about myself.

i should have trusted him with more of myself.

but, it was too late.

the break-up did open my eyes to a greater truth.
but it came at the expense of that relationship.
although i seriously doubt that it was relationship in the first place.

it was my fault.

so now, the next stage of healing can finally begin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

the Bag

today, my Dream was attacked.

or, at least i perceived it as an attack.

a senior co-worker of mine joked, for the third time, why i had such a big everyday work bag.

it was a fashionable bag.
but maybe not so common for men.

the fashion editors at In Style magazine loved it.
i guess the straight men do not.

everyone was at the elevator.

and i walked in.

and that was the first thing he joked about.

i defended it, of course.
in a detached manner at first.
then, with humor.

now, i regret not attacking more.

because, he attacked my dream.
and no one has the right to do that.

Friday, June 29, 2007

lessons for the next

my friend Cherrie's first child, Jade, just turned one.
and she had a great concept for a gift.

her closest friends (and me being a godfather) would fill up a Life Questionnaire for baby Jade to read when he grows up.

here are my answers:

The three most important things you should remember in life are:
1) you are responsible for and literally capable of creating and shaping your reality beginning with the power of your thought
2) do what you love and money will follow
3) your life will either expand or contract depending on your courage

20 yrs from now, I wish Jade…
1) will take his self-awareness seriously and take the time and effort to know who he is, his talents, the best career for him, where his happiness lies
2) will be happy, wealthy and successful on his own first before entering a relationship
3) willl remember life is short

To impress a girl that you like …
1) be yourself and nothing else… because it will be harder to sustain a lie in the long run
2) be happy with your own life first… the day you can say ‘ I Love my Job’ is the day you are ready for a healthy relationship
3) is to ask if she is happy with her life, if not, stay away

The most important lesson I learned in life is …
1) I am responsible for the my life and the reality I am in… both the good and the bad… and I have the power to change it
2) I need to be happy, complete and successful on my own first before entering a relationship
3) I have the right to say No

Falling in love is …
1) the best sensation in the world, completely unexpected, definitely powerful, although extremely overwhelming
2) a phenomenon that brings out all your insecurities and demons, hopefully you’ve healed them before that time
3) a feeling that is seasonal, the one you love has the right to leave you

The things you need to consider in choosing a career are …
1) Natural talents – do you have the inborn skills to do it and be great at it? Yes, things can be learned. But genius and excellence cannot.
2) Natural joy – do you really like doing it? If not, you are wasting years of your life
3) Evolution – will it make you a better person? Better world?

on the day of my death, these are the same things i will utter for the current generation as well as the generations after that.

2 songs

i am obsessed with two songs right now:
1) Requiem for a Dream
2) The Chairman's Waltz

i've been replaying both on YouTube.

Requiem for a Dream song, via the trailer of the film, The Fountain as well as the trailer of the film of the same name. Both films are by a brilliant director i've almost forgotten about... Darren Aronofsky.

it makes me want to return from my exile from film.
if i am to direct a film in the future, it will be as emotionally visual as his work.

The Chairman's Waltz, via an episode of the dance competition / TV show So You Think You Can Dance. The one featuring 'Jamie and Hok, Jazz. (when typed on the search field).

i remember how great i was choreographing interpretative group speeches and dances.

so, with two songs, i touch two of my passions that are so different from each other: film and artistic performance.

both come from the same core:

i am Creative.

The Fountain

just watched the end of the film, The Fountain.

i cannot say that i understand the film completely now.
but i found it extremely emotional.
it's like, i can only understand it emotionally.
and not meant to be understood intellectually.

just like what i think the film teaches:

you cannot understand life.
nor control it.
nor consume it.
nor prolong it.

you can only live Life.
and you live it by valuing every moment.
and the precious memory each moment gives us.

all we have is the Present Moment.
right now.
right here.

it is the flower in front of you.
the smell of the grass.
the sound of leaves slightly moved by the wind.
the face of your infatuation in front of you.
and the unexpected hug from an ex.

right there and then, that is Life.
so stop and feel it completely.
because in an instant, the second and minute hands move.
and the moment is gone.

hopefully it was pleasant.

kindest gesture

i had a fight with my best friend yesterday.
i was convinced that he was dumb.
and i mean that in a mental capacity kind of way.

then, as i was watching TV, i remembered that i would not have a TV in the first place if he did not give me one.

four years ago...
during my first job at an American company, i was severely mistreated.
like i was a third class citizen.
my job description was that of a Marketing Assistant.
but, in reality, i was doing the chores of an underpaid low-class errand boy.

maybe to make her conscience clearer, my boss gave me a used TV one day.
mind you, i started in the US with no television.
i was that poor.

yes, now i realize that a victim is only a victim by choice.
he becomes one when permission is given to his victimizer to treat him unjustly.
we consciously or unconsciously teach people how to treat us.
but during that time, i have not learned that lesson yet.

when i finally took control of my life and my power and my Voice, i resigned.
on the same day i confirmed i was accepted at another job.

that stupid woman boss somehow felt taken advantage of.
i heard she was furious upon learning of my resignation.
what a fucking warped sense of reality, really.
to think she is under the impression that she was the one abused here.

she was at her posh country home when i resigned.
she heard about it from my immediate supervisor, a fat man with no spine who kissed her ass.

over the phone, she instructed my supervisor to tell me to return the TV.

so, right there and then, full of anger, i left the office and went home.
got the TV she gave me from the alleged kindness of her heart.
paid for an expensive cab ride back to the office.
handed it to my immediate supervisor.
said goodbye to my co-workers.
and left.

for 3 days after that, i did not have TV again.
then out of the blue, my best friend calls me.
he made a surprise drive to my area.

announcing that i should go downstairs to help him with something.
as i approached his car, from the trunk, i see him take out a brand new TV.

back to the present, out of the blue, i called him to thank him for his kind gesture 4 years ago.

i am sure he felt warmed by that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

here we go again

i am so affected after reading a few more chapters of Veronika Decides to Die.

when it started talking about Impossible Love.
and how we fantasize of lost loves and, like a movie, review and rewind memories of a love that used to be sweet.

although i have gotten better about it,
what the book said still hurt.

then i encounter a quote in my Yahoo Inbox saying the following:

It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.
~Richard M. DeVos~

which was so timely since i was hesitating from taking an opportunity to get a higher position and better paying job.

i feel my life is moving forward again.
and that scares me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Veronika Decides to Die

so my friend Crissy is staying with me.
and before she left for a quick trip to Washington DC, we had one of those talks.

in summary, she talked to me like no one has talked to me before.
we were not really close in the past.
but she pointed some things about me that only a true friend could:

1) that i needed to go out more and stop being so serious about everything
2) that my world (and my life) is a bit small
3) why my existence was so lonely, despite my defense that it was self-imposed and motivated by business focus
4) that i was always stressed
5) and she was afraid that i'll end up being lonely

of course, i listened to it defensively.
because i know i understood myself better (being self-aware and all).

but two days from that discussion, i found myself bothered by everything she said.
because her suggestions made sense.
because she was correct.

then the day she left for Washington, i found her book in the bathroom.
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho.
i read it the night before she left and told her that the first chapter hurt.
and only things that contain wisdom and truth can hurt me this much.

it was thoughtful of her to leave it for me for the time being.

i read it on my way to work.

and early into the book, the lead character talked about conforming to the normal life expected of us: that begins with an alarm clock, going to work, eating your lunch sandwich, going back to work, hanging out with friends after work, going to bed, to wake up to the sound of the alarm clock, and repeat cycle.

i've been struggling with a career dilemma recently.
whether to start looking for jobs that are higher in pay.

i am happy with my current job right now.
completely peaceful, non-stressful, they leave me alone, the pay is more than reasonable and i still get home with enough energy to dream.

i do not know how i feel about this career move yet.
but i intend to be more careful... not to get into the vicious cycle of a life ruled by the alarm clock.

hopefully, there will come a point when i do wake to do the sound of my alarm clock, i will be happy for another day ahead of me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


this quote sums up my motive behind why i do the things i do:

I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.

~John F. Kennedy~

Saturday, June 16, 2007

great quote

"Be yourself,everyone else is taken."


who are you not to be?

Favorite quote.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"

Marianne Williamson

Friday, June 15, 2007

dance seductively

i was at my friend Issah's wedding last Sunday.

it was so much fun.
actually, it was the most fun i had in years.

i surprised myself:
apparently i can be completely carefree and capable of joy.
and not give a shit about what other people think.
and be completely irreverent for the sake of a good time.

i was so convinced that i was an extreme introvert.
but as soon as the dancing started, i was one of the first on the dance floor.
and danced seductively in front of a gasping crowd made up of the older generation filled with an equally old set of inhibitions.

i knew i had charisma and magnetism.
but i did not expect to have that much.
enough to thaw even the most shy and introverted from the crowd.
enough to prompt them to start having a good time.

something happened that day.

i now find myself more carefree.
days after that Sunday.

may i never lose this personal freedom.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Made in China

i am still bothered by a PBS documentary i saw 2 hours ago.

i believe the title was Brutal Work.
a documentary chronicling the life of a Chinese girl working at a jeans sewing factory.
it begins with a glimpse of her life in a rural province, then...

leaves home, journeys to the city, applies for a job at a sewing factory, gets accepted, learns the ropes, struggles, fights for the wages due her, then ends with her conscious decision to continue working there.

it was difficult for me to see because i own my own company.
i too create products to sell here in the States.
produced in Asia... but in the Philippines, not in China.

which made me question this whole culture of consumerism and consumption.

people here in the States spend so much money on fashion.
fashion that will inevitably become disposable.
since we tire of fashion so quickly.

i just feel bad that we can easily tire of a garment that someone sacrificed so much to create.

not just that.
so much money spent for that same garment.
and so so little paid to the person who made it.

last Christmas, i told the printing factory who printed our gift wrap paper to hold a party for everyone, thanking them for all their effort and help with the year's production. i wired money to my Mom and she threw a party filled with food and gifts for everyone. i checked with my parents also whether the workers were treated fairly. according to her, they were.

i do not know how this behemoth of Chinese manufacturing can be stopped.
i am not even sure if it can be stopped or whether it should be stopped.
it would be hypocritical for us to call for its halt considering we benefit from it so much.

i just hope someone out there can devise of a model that will make it a Win-Win situation for all 3 parties: the company outsourcing the production, the factory manufacturing and finally the employee doing the actual labor.

as much as i want to, my spiritual mission and talent are not in the field of global politics, management and economics. nor is my life one that is marked naturally and inherently by an activist nature.

someone out there must surely know how to solve it.
may he or she wake up to this mission sooner than later.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

last question

this Sunday morning, i woke up early thinking it was Monday.
that i was late for work.

thankfully i realized my mistake.

my first instinct was to open the television.
despite my need for more silence in life.

i chanced upon the movie, Serendipity.
prompting me to quickly change the channel.

romantic films annoy me.
maybe because they reveal my loneliness.
or, maybe because they unearth the pain from a breakup two years ago.
or, really, perhaps because they simply are corny and inaccurate representations of falling in love.

so, several channels later,
as i was surfing mindlessly through several buttons,
i encountered Serendipity once more.

this time, it was ending.
so i thought about seeing the last parts of the film, for the humor of it.

the male sidekick was consoling the lead character about his choice of calling off the wedding.

the sidekick said:
the Greeks do not have obituaries.
but when a person dies, they only have One Question.
did that person have Passion?

after that,
the sidekick gave the lead a letter.
then their paths separated.

over a voice-over,
the contents of the letter were revealed to the audience.

it was composed as an obituary:
here lies a man who died pursuing his soul mate.
but, he utterly failed.
and died of a broken heart.
but in the last moments before his death, his friends described him as having a certain clarity.

you must watch the movie.
this voice-over in the last part was so good.
and definitely better than what i am trying to paraphrase.

and so,
if the Greeks were to ask me this question before i die.
if i did have Passion?

i would say, Yes.

how about you?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


today was a rainy Spring Saturday.
extremely unfortunate since, after a long work week, i needed this weekend to be exceptionally special.

i invited my business partner / best friend to tour an emerging area of Brooklyn with me.

we drove to DUMBO.
it is the neighborhood Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass.
meaning, under the bridge connecting the cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

imagine several abandoned warehouses and factories converted into lofts and hip boutiques. with cobblestone streets. redbrick decayed buildings. overlooking the river.

on this rainy day, the area was fairly abandoned.
maybe it was the rain.
or maybe, regardless of the rain, it was still not as busy as i expected it to be.

hence, the beauty.
so much silence.
and so much emerging beauty.
amidst all the decaying architecture.

that is why i like fashion and design so much.
because of their Promise of Renewal and their Reminders of Beauty.
amidst all the ugliness of the world, a person confronted with a beautiful piece of clothing or design will see God.

later that day, i saw a white zip-up jacket from a store i've never visited but always passed by. called American Apparel.

i walked in with my friend.
and there i saw a low-priced unique white jacket made from Tyvek paper, the same durable and tear-proof material used for postal envelopes.

for just 28 dollars, i experienced God.
for Joy is a slice of God.

and i never would have seen this jacket if i chose to see the same things in my life all over again. and if did not decide to venture into neighborhoods that were new to me.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

thom browne

i took my lunch break from my day job at a top magazine...
and walked along my usual route - Rockefeller Center.

on my way to Barnes & Noble,
i saw Thom Browne.

he is, as of the moment of this writing, the most influential menswear designer in NY.
he was wearing his signature aesthetic - a formal men's suit cut unconventionally and unsafely short.

imagine pants cut shorter - with one's socks and shoes definitely showing.

i wanted to ask for his autograph.
but, unfortunately, this was the only day that i did not bring my red pen and journal.

so here he was,
my omen - walking in real life.

an Omen of my dream walking away from me.
and so i followed.

abandoning the possibility of gaining an autograph,
i followed him as far as i could.
and basked in the moment and the experience.

before letting him go,
i told myself that i was on the right path.
in my belief that my next step in life is menswear.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

films that made me cry:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Garden State
Brokeback Mountain
The Queen
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Namesake

by the way,
i am listening to the song, Such Great Heights, as i am composing this list.

the song feels so sad, authentic, sincere and hopeful all at the same time.

pretty much like the films listed above.
that is why, despite my passion for men's fashion, i don't think i will ever lose my quiet love for film as a medium.

films are big omens in my life.
the right film always comes along whenever i feel lost in life.
mostly whenever i need to heal a certain pain.

only film has the power to make me cry.
the only other thing is a broken heart.

i now honestly think that we cannot heal a broken heart from a failed relationship.
no matter how much we move on or tell things to ourselves to help us move on.

i now believe that, as bad as it may sound, only a new romantic relationship can cure a previous pain.

not that we need to jump into a new relationship immediately after the dissolution of a previous one... just to heal a current pain...

maybe it is just me,
but some pain from my ex still hurts whenever i hear a sad song.
or see a romantic film or tv show.

i am mentally over it.
and my life has not stopped just to grieve about it.
nor do i put my life goals on hold while waiting to get over it.

i am now doing my dreams in life.
it is just sad that the relationship had to end just so that i can evolve to be a better person... so i can be ready for my dreams in life.

a friend told me that the key to getting over someone is to imagine the scenario as if the relationship still continued even if things were extremely rocky and negative.

i thought about it...

and concluded that even if our relationship survived and continued,
it would be so emotionally difficult for both my significant other and myself.

because being an emotional mess during that time,
i would have been a burden to him.

and he would be a constant savior to me.
and i would never have learned to stand on my own feet.
and come to my own as an individual.

so my friend was correct.
imagining this scenario was helpful.
because it gave the conclusion that the break-up was best for both parties.

my friend added that one must question whether the break-up was beneficial to the evolution of the parties involved.

in my case, yes.
i just wished that he was still around to experience my better self.

i asked for a second chance during that time.
and he said no.

as sad as it may be,
my better self perhaps is meant to be reserved for the next one.

best dinner

so this is the last night that my television and internet are cut off because of non-payment

to pass the time,
i went to a nearby McDonalds to grab a late-night dinner.
this was after a trip to the bookstore (also to pass the time).

i went to the cashier.
and an African-American woman behind the register immediately asked if i was going to get the usual, a medium iced coffee - vanilla.

after ordering the same thing from them several times, and her being the cashier most of the time... i must admit that her gesture (her remembering what i liked) warmed me deeply.

it dispels the judgment that African American folks are rough, rude and impolite.
people like her is what their community needs to uplift their tarnished image and reputation.

it is nice to see a genuine act of kindness from a place where you least expect it.

my happiness is simple.
a bucket of Kentucky's Fried Chicken.
McDonalds iced coffee.
creative men's fashion (no matter how cheap).
a good film,
a good TV show.

and this girl valued my happiness.

i do hope that someone will value her happiness too.

i ate my dinner there alone.
but felt comforted by the fact that there are other people around me.
i am an extreme introvert.
and value being alone.
but this whole time of being alone in an apartment with no television and internet broke my heart.
even though the silence was beneficial, considering all the life insights i've gained...
it was still a rough 4 days.

and the strangers around me,
that i usually hate for being too loud,
somehow felt welcome.

amidst the silence of being alone at my table,
i viewed the people around me with detached fascination.

a few tables occupied at 10:30pm.
and here we all were.
perhaps we all felt lonely at our respective apartments.
and just needed to get out of the house and establish some form of human contact.

in front of me were two old women eating chicken nuggets.
chatting sparsely.
shallow conversation mostly.

i hope i do not grow old alone.
and hope that i still have people in my life, decades from now, to share a meal with.

which makes me think:
maybe this is the reason why most of my aunts are grumpy.
a mixture of anger over lost opportunities, wrong life decisions and finally, a looming but hidden fear of growing a lot more older alone.

it is indeed a scary thought.

hopefully i remember to be more compassionate to them when i wake up.

my future film

even though fashion is my next path.
the poet in me begs for some expression in film.

i have long solved this dilemma of focus in life.

i used to be afraid of becoming a cliche:
Jack of All Trades and Master of None

as well as fearful of the constant reminder of society:
that to be successful, one must choose to focus.

i agree with the need for focus.
but only as a method for pursuing goals.
meaning, focus and execute one goal at a time.

but i disagree with the need to focus on only one path in life.
paths in life change.
and we are obliged to honor our spiritual evolution.
evolution comes first.
so if life asks us to change life directions in an effort to make us better, happier or more meaningful individuals, i feel that we must do so.

i have tons of film ideas.
but 2 come to mind when i am ready to do a short film once again.
both are very emotional concepts.

which really mirror what my creativity is all about.
be it fashion, film, writing or packaging... all are essentially creative, personal and emotional at the same time.

i can be edgy.
but it must be personal and emotional.

i can be humorous and irreverent.
but it must be personal and emotional.

i had an omen recently.
as i was going through an interior design magazine,
i came across a feature on Laura Faggioni, the set designer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind... one of my all time favorite films.

the editorial page showed elements of both fashion and film.
so this was too coincidental ... hence an omen in nature.
love the fashion the model was wearing.
and love the set design.
and love what was written about Laura and her work on the film.

which reminded me of who i really was as an artist.
creative, extremely unique but personal and emotional.

this reminder was so timely.
because my full-time job was increasingly changing me into a corporate robot.

as if that was not enough,
i encountered an article about a men's fashion designer i admired.
from another magazine.

this designer closely paralleled how i thought about fashion and life in general.
the editorial wrote something about the designer's personality.
he said that his friends had difficulty with him because he took life and everything else so seriously.

this was important for me to read because recently i experienced more and more isolated.
as if i was going through something so difficult that no one could understand.

the editorial continued with the designer saying that it was ok with him.
because Meaning is more important than everything else.
that he needed to make sure what he is doing has meaning to him.

he said it so perfectly.
that i began feeling comfortable with who i really am.
quirks and all.
because the article implied that he, after all, meant well.

a GAP coat holds the key to Happiness

today, i got a green but artistically edgy GAP winter coat.
the weather is warmer.
but i still got it.
it was a coat i've been silently desiring for some time.
but in the past decided it was a bit expensive and not really essential considering the price of 98 dollars.

yesterday, i saw that it was on sale.
the price went down to 25 dollars.
that made me ecstatic.
but unfortunately the size was too big.
only 6 pieces were left and all of them were XL.
i decided to buy one.
despite being disappointed by the size.

back at home, i decided to give it to my business partner who dropped by for a visit.
he deserves more gifts in life.
he is one of the kindest souls on this planet.
and kind souls deserve more incentive to continue to be kind.
so i gave it to him.

the next day,
i decided to return a pair of pants, same place where i got this coat.
throughout the whole trip, i resigned myself to the fact that i would have to buy this coat on eBay, where i saw my size (Extra Small) being sold for 70 dollars.
the only one left with my size.

surprise of all surprises,
i see the same coat, Extra Small, 3 remaining pairs on a coat rack.
with the discounted price of 25 dollars.
i of course purchased it without hesitation.

after several days of experiencing no television and internet at my apartment (because i did not have enough money to pay the bill for the month - see previous blog entry)...
i needed this miracle.

throughout the silence of an apartment with no sound,
i sifted through thoughts about my next step in life.
fashion is definitely next.
but it does scare me a little.

and with this GAP coat in the bag,
i knew i was being nudged towards this direction.

i went home.
and immediately wore it.

unlike many social-climbing fashion elites,
i sincerely am a happier person when great fashion is experienced.
at a very deep creative level, life gains meaning when i see a piece of men's clothing artfully done.
the best way of describing it is like seeing God for the first time.

i wore it the whole night.
and am still wearing it as i type this blog entry.

the rawness of my body reaction to this coat indicates what is truly obvious.
that i love men's fashion.
and what i authentically love is what should be authentically pursue.

seek your Joy.
all omens remind us of this.

turn the phone off (as well as Life's ringer)

so i blew my budget to help out a friend at a crossroad in her life
she snapped emotionally
so i pulled all the stops and used my remaining budget to offer her comfort

she will never know the consequence of what i did
and have no intention of boasting about it to anyone or to her directly

needless to say,
i had both my cable TV and phone bill suspended because of that financial help.

and i am typing this blog entry without going online.
composing instead on my desktop sticky note program.

imagine a world without television and internet for four days.
trust me, it is hard.
i am thankful to my business partner who kept me company for two days.
he dropped by around 9pm and offered me a bite to eat until 12 midnight.
for 2 days only.

it is now the midnight between Thursday and Friday.
and had no form of media since Tuesday.
missed all my favorite TV shows for the week.
as well as my favorite websites.

yes, i took my television and internet for granted.
but that is not the core realization.

the core insight is:
i've been hiding behind all this Noise for a long time.
unconsciously afraid of confronting certain thoughts in my head.

the peak of the pain happened the first night of forced Silence.
inside a white walled apartment room, in 3 hours, i thought of every possible regret and shameful experience left unexplored.

from my ex.
and what went wrong.
and what i did wrong.
and how, even if i ask for forgiveness and a second chance, it will never be.

to an intense fear of what is ultimately going to happen next in my life.

in between were thoughts so random.
and so varied.
and so fleetingly quick in succession.
around 2 seconds in duration.

like a window view from a speeding train, passing by a dark sleeping rural town.

that night,
most of my thoughts were dark.
nothing suicidal.
but definitely filed with intense despair, fear and doubt.

what i found strange was the lack of anger directed towards anyone.
but rather, an intense anger directed towards myself.
which makes me wonder,
could all human anger be mere projections of anger towards one's self?

in my case, it was.
i was so angry at myself for being less than ideal.

for being an emotional mess during the time i met my ex.
for being a cruel person to the significant other i am currently dating.
for being hormonally depressed.

so i sat there on my bed, giving all these thoughts and emotions the chance to run their course.
they deserve the light of day after all, considering the prison they've been in.

around 2am,
the height of all that darkness just lifted.

it was as if nothing else was left to purge.

what followed was not peace.
nor goodness.
nor light.

what followed was so neutral.
it was Silence.

my mind was finally silent for a full 30 minutes.
there was nothing more to Think.
every possible scenario (false or real) was sufficiently chewed and digested.

so i just laid there on my bed.
enjoying the silence that was so rare in my life.

i then noticed a light peeping from my bedroom window.
peeping from a small exposed corner left unblocked by my yellow window curtain.

it was a sliver of light from a full moon.
this can make you puke, i am sure.
don't worry, this is not meant to be romantic or cinematic.

but this event carries so much significance to me.
because the moon has been a life Omen to me since i was young.
and only made an appearance three times in my life.

i remember being 9 years old.
inside my dad's first car.
he came home one night, in our very first rented apartment.
announcing that he finally got a job.
that came with a company car with it.
and we took our very first ride.
went out for dinner.
on the way, i saw the Moon above, on a clear night sky.

and noticed that the Moon was following us.
i asked my parents:
why was the Moon following our car?

no matter where we turned,
it was there.
my parents never answered me.
but i kept on looking.

the second time was the peak of my depression after quitting my first job.
i just resigned from the biggest film company in my home country.
because my boss (together with all her bosses) did not treat me with respect.
and i felt that i deserved to be happy in life.

after quitting, i honestly thought the Universe will conspire to help me focus on my dreams.
it did not.
i did not get the film grant that would have allowed me to be an artist and create something beautiful.

so what happens after both your True Dream and Manufactured Dream (read: professional career expected of a college grad) dissolves?

one questions everything.
then, one falls into despair.

so after not knowing what to do next in my life,
i just snapped.

one night,
inside my bedroom, located in the attic of our new house,
i suddenly felt angry at God.
no words uttered.
in my head, i told him he was a piece of shit.
because he does not reward people who are brave enough to pursue their dreams.

after all that intense anger and blasphemy,
i somehow started crying.
a quiet but very deep-seated sob.
i told God that i just needed a break.
that i deserve to be helped.
because this world needs people who are in a niche where they are happy.
and where their talents are expressed and appreciated.
because only then can they be of service to others.

i told him that all i needed was a job that i can be creative.
and one that did not force me to wake up so early.
i added that it must be something to do with brainstorming creative ideas because that was something easy to me.
although i was pretty sure that there was not a job out there that paid someone to just think.

apparently there was.

a month after that drama,
i got a call from an ex-colleague.
he said the TV station that owns the film outfit where i resigned is forming a Creative Think Tank.
composed of 10 young individuals whose only job was to think of new shows, films, media ideas, etc.

after an initial interview, i got the job.

and that was the happiest two career years of my life.

now i am in the US.
my new home.
and from my bedroom window i see the moon again.

this is not a story about converting you to believe in God.
rather, a story about a God-like experience.

this latest appearance of the moon as an omen is very comforting.
i again felt safe in this world.

the days that followed were not easy.
the same mental demons tormented me.
and they will continue to do so as that is my burden.
until i am able to generate my own mental peace.
and not wait for the moon to do it for me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

omen: Day After Tomorrow

i know i've been writing more personal insights about life and less on the omens that i encounter.

but, this time.
i have an Omen encounter.

New York was deluged by rain for 30 hours straight.
gusty winds, flooding and complete darkness.
quite scary.

made even scarier with the film i was watching.
that climate apocalyptic film called Day After Tomorrow.
which i found surprisingly entertaining.

i don't know why.
but i have a thing for films of an epic and global scale...
which most of the time had an apocalyptic flavor.

there was one scene showing the leading lady risking her life to rescue a mother and daughter pair (complete strangers to her) from being flooded in a door-locked cab.

this was the omen part to me.
i think the world will be better if people performed more acts of kindness.
even just small ones.

then i started pondering on it deeper.
maybe the world is populated by small acts of kindness.
we just do not know about it.
since the news media is convinced that negative topics do better in the ratings.

i've helped my share of strangers here in NY.
and i have, in turn, helped by them.

so if someone tells you of a dream of his,
hope you have some time to spare to check if you can assist him fulfill it.
because there is no greater trophy than a person who achieved his True Dream, partly because of you... adding one more positive person on this planet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

finding love

i am not here to tell you how to find it.
but if you are searching for it or wish to understand what healthy love is all about...
read The Path to Love by Deepak Chopra.
he definitely can explain it better than me.

after watching so much television on this storm-ridden Sunday,
i realized that perhaps the reason people go after the most handsome or beautiful individuals in their search for love was because they make good trophies or arm candy.

there is nothing better for your ego than introducing a hot guy or girl to your friends as your current flame.

because by doing so, it elevates your worth.

i am an idealist.
i definitely want the best for myself.
best job.
best business.
best significant other.

i do not like selling myself short.

but then i think about a significant other i currently have in my life who goes against the grain of who i am usually attracted to.

this person has a good heart with values that jive with mine.

let me tell you, finding that chemistry is better than any trophy.

and besides, human beings are not trophies.
they have feelings too.
so it is highly unfair to date someone because he or she looks good on you.
that person equally deserves someone who likes him for the real and right reasons.

dreaming while the bills are piling up

so i emailed my younger brother of a great website idea.
it was a concept with so much uniqueness and potential.

he said he wanted to do it but unfortunately he does not have enough energy left after his work to be in the mood to do it.

i told him that it was no problem.
i was just sharing the idea with him, knowing that the concept was something close to his heart and something that will definitely make him happy (as it was related to his passion / hobby in life).

here is an excerpt from the email reply i sent him:

as for work,
i know it is hard.
and, trust me, i can relate.

the key things to remember are the following:

1) work is but a means to an END ... you need to know and be aware of that Future Goal as to why you are working:
ex) saving for school, saving for the capital for a business, saving to buy something, saving for a trip to Europe
- bottom line, you must know why you are earning a salary and know how money will benefit you or in the future

2) you are obliged to take care of yourself emotionally and spiritually...
ex) after work, you must do something that GENUINELY makes you happy
- most of them take the form of rituals such as drinking your favorite cup of coffee after work, i go to my favorite fashion stores or bookstores after work

3) on the side, you MUST simultaneously work on your TRUE dream
- you can always argue that you do not have either enough time, enough energy left after work, or enough money to pursue this dream
- while these are real conditions, the key is to start taking small and FREE steps to work towards a future goal
ex) i do not have capital yet to launch a fashion line... but after work, i surf for websites that inspire me about fashion advertising, i google search looking for tailors to sew my samples, i surf the fashion collections of my favorite designers, etc
ex) i dream of buying a condo in manila ... once i started surfing locations in manila, economy of manila, etc.

4) start a dream map or collage:
- after work, go through magazines or websites containing things you DREAM about: either want to buy or want to accomplish
- i realized that most of the pictures i posted on my apartment walls came true in my life
- it inspires you to achieve and looking at one's dreams reminds you why you are working, what your money will be doing for you and how it can be linked to your happiness

sugar or salt?

one of my lowest points in my life in New York had something to do with poverty.
i believe it was my second year here and i was at a dead-end job.
working hard at a full-time job but still did not have enough left after bills.

i remember one weekend...
all i had was a cup of coffee and some food from a relative.

the coffee needed sugar.
and the food needed salt.

and both condiments were out.
and after counting my coins, i had enough money left to buy just one of the two from a nearby deli.

so i had to choose between buying sugar or buying salt.

sugar and salt are not things one usually struggle with.
i am sure we always take them for granted.

now that i have enough money in my life.
and my financial future is finally increasingly positive and accumulating...
i am proud of the fact that i continue to value and feel grateful for everything i currently have, no matter how basic.

so whenever i see sugar or salt on a restaurant table,
i am reminded of my journey,
i am reminded of my perseverance,
i am reminded of the capacity of every human being to turn the bleakest of life situations into something significantly better.

i am proof of that.

Friday, April 6, 2007

dreamers who only dream

i am severely disappointed that a friend of mine simply continues to dream but not do anything to achieve it.

this person complains that his day job is no longer fulfilling.

but when given a chance to do something he is passionate about,
i was shocked to know that several weeks had passed and not even the first step was accomplished.

so if this persons complains to me again the he is no longer happy with his job...
i will tell him he deserves his suffering.
and to refrain from whining to me from now on.

people dream all the time.
but unless you carry that dream into the Waking World, that dream remains simply a dream.

i seriously cannot believe it.
i even did the dirty work to help this person start.
and he still was lazy enough to simply build upon what was already started for him.

he does not deserve his dream.
his Dream should abandon him.
and go towards the more proactive and ambitious ones.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

is it integrity?

so, i had a big fight with my best friend last night.
the thing with very good friends is that both tend to be very comfortable with who they really are.
no more need to use the polite and rehearsed personas we use in everyday life.

i have a big pet peeve with people.
i hate repeating myself.
because my logical brain does and explains things so methodically, think in bullet form on Microsoft Word, severely itemized like a Thesis Outline.
simply put, i say it in Step 1, Sub a), Sub b) , etc.

so my friend did not get it.
so i had to explain it again.
seriously, it was not that hard.
just two forms.
one to be signed by you.
one to be signed by the lawyer.

he still did not get it.
so i repeated it for the Third Time.
i asked if he got it this time.
he said Yes.

10 seconds after,
he asked how many forms again were we talking about.

that is when i blew up.

i find it extremely rude when people do not listen intently.
not only that, this repetition has happened before.
and a fight always follows that.

so, in the past,
i set a fair Ultimatum.
because i won't change.
because he won't change.
then we either:
1) find a compromise to make the friendship work.
2) we give it up completely.

he violated the compromise on his part.

so i asked him again.
i said:
i cannot do this.
and fight with you.
and get upset.
and be angry every time we talk.

so, i posed the question again:
while it is unfair to ask people to change,
i said that it is better to dissolve this friendship because it causes me anger and negativity.
that it is better if he gets out.
i will miss the good times and the good that our friendship is equally capable of.
but this repetition is extremely rude to me.

so the question was: how important is this friendship to you?
if it is, he must try harder and is only allowed two repetitions. that's it.
if he cannot do it, then next time, it is over.

sounds harsh, i know.
but my life is too important to waste on being angry.
and i do not expect to get along with everyone.

as a good quote once said:
those who do not mind, matter.
those who mind, do not really matter.

Monday, April 2, 2007

great quote

"If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions."

~Chinese Proverb~

Friday, March 30, 2007

good definition of creativity

this was emailed to me on my Yahoo account.
one of those Thoughts for the Day.

this may sound cheesy,
but in the past, these email quotes either saved my ass from self-indulgent feelings of despair or pointed me to the right attitude in life, eventually leading to the right step to take next.

so here is a good definition of creativity:

Most people go along and never experience their creativity. They run on old programs or follow the "normal" way of doing things. Creativity is not just painting a picture, writing a poem or doing a modern dance. It is a way of life. Every activity can become a creative experience.

~Thomas D. Willhite~
The Book of Consciousness

by the way, on an interview, Alanis Morrisette pretty much echoed the same sentiment.

this is exactly the logic behind why i encourage people to become Creative.
i cannot explain it.
but somehow doing something Creative makes ordinary life a little magical.
because as we transcend the dull to create something beautiful, in turn, we transcend our dullness and vicariously become reminded of our beauty.

i often hear the excuse, I am not creative.
maybe not in the interior design sense.
nor from a fashion stylist's opinion.

but i am sure there is a hobby out there that you like doing.
that unlocks little actions of creativity while tinkering with that hobby.

my mom, for example, puts garnish on a plate of a mundane piece of fried fish.
on top of a white place, the brown ugly crispy fish is complemented by small strategically doses of orange via artfully cut carrots.

the eyes see the orange first.
even if you look at the brown-ness of the fish,
you will never see it alone.
and will always see it in your head as being combined with the orange carrots.
never the singular.
now a beautiful whole.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

the purpose of life

there is no purpose in life...
the one that was set by God, for you to uncover...
one that if not followed, will doom you.

God is not that harsh and masochistic.

the purpose of life is to find your Joy.
to follow your Bliss.

this will lead you to what you need to do in life.

if your Joy changes,
then a new Purpose in life has awakened.

in summary, the Purpose and Meaning of Life ultimately relies on you.

the above premise was discussed by Neale Donald Walshe, author of A Conversation with God. (also discussed in the film, The Secret)

for a person who has sought the Purpose and Meaning of Life for so long,
i can now rest and end my search.

a favorite quote

Be humble for you are made of earth.
Be noble for you are made of stars.

- a Serbian proverb

your fear will take you there

i once attended one of those self-help seminars while i was still in manila.

the basis of which was the premise:
what you think is what you create.

that, i got.

the reason i went there was primarily for Direction.
i did not know what my Calling / True Career was.

did i get a realization about what my Ultimate Occupation would be during the seminar?

and no.

because during a writing exercise, i had a vision of what that Calling in life would look like in concrete form.
miraculously, this is what i am doing now.

because the form it took continued to be general.
meaning, it did not specifically say which among the various permutations and options i must pursue first.

during the last day of the seminar,
the speaker shared a quote.
something to the effect of:

What you fear will point you to the direction of what you need to do next.

this was uncomfortable to me.
because if i followed its suggestion, it would take me so out and beyond my comfort zone.
the stakes were too high.

a year after that seminar,
i did face my fear.
except that when i finally made a decision to face it and do it,
i was surprisingly calm.
even brave.

this is what wise men spoke of.
it is called Decision.
when the soul is ready to make a decision,
it does it.
and it is final.
and it has power.

it has been 5 years since i left everything behind in Manila.

and i survived and thrived in New York.

i do not like Dr. Phil's nastiness as a self-help talk show host.
but he said one thing that changed my life for the better.
he said (to paraphrase):

Life is Managed, not Cured.

life will never be completely okay.
nor stable.

one success leads to another goal that must be accomplished.
human beings and their journey is about a progression of goals.

i've accomplished several important Life Goals in New York.

now, i come face to face with another one.
one that i've evaded in Manila.
that is now confronting me here in my new homeland.

i know this is my next step in life because pursuing it scares me too death.
and i ironically cannot stop thinking about it.

i know i must confront it once and for all.
because if not now, when?

my next business venture is so close to my heart.
every time i open my notebook to start writing my ideas, my heart literally palpitates.
my creativity is blocked and i know it is because i unconsciously do not want to confront it yet.

today, on a Sunday, i am determined to open my notebook again.
and here i am evading it once more.
by writing a post on this blog.

after this post,
i will take a shower.
and after that shower, i will finally open that notebook again.

today is the day.
let the journey towards a Dream begin once again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

wisdom from the weird

so i went to a bookstore to unwind.

a bookstore, like creativity, must be explored with an open mind.
as much as i am used to the aisles holding design-related materials,
i sometimes force myself to wander to other shelves that i normally would not due to lack of interest.

2 days ago, i went to International Travel and read about Dubai.
yesterday, i went to the New Age magazine section and chanced upon a Sedona magazine (March 2007 issue i think) with a cheesy tabloid-ish cover.

you know, those tabloid covers that say Predictions, Crop Circles and Spirit Guides.

my body reacted tensely.
knowing that this will be such a waste of time.

but, i held true to my New Year's resolution and reminded myself that a bookstore, like creativity, must be explored with an open mind.

so i opened the book.

there was an article written by a Spirit Guide through the channeling of a female medium... stuff about the magnetic poles, magnetic DNA, etc.

ok, nothing shocking.

i must admit, i have an affinity with metaphysical and supernatural ideas because of the intense imagination it offers... appetizer for a creative thinker.

i browsed through several articles, judging their worth on the merits of their titles.

one made me stop:
it was a question asked by a writer to a Spirit.

the writer asked,
How do I get more financial abundance in my life?
I always seem to have little money left after bills.

the Spirit said (to paraphrase),
You begin by revising the question.
And changing the word, Financial, into Joy.
so, the Question should be: How does one get more Joy in one's life.

according to the spirit,
Joy equates to the energy of money.
one must find that activity in life that he/she finds joy in.
something she truly and authentically enjoys doing.
once this activity is found, the activity can be used in service for others.
and once other beings partake of the service you offer, they will notice the joy and happiness that you put into your service.
not only will they notice your enthusiasm for it, they too will notice how good your service is.
for an activity done with joy increases the quality of the act.
and because you are doing such a good job with the activity/service you are performing, people are willing to both come back to you again and even pay you more.

whoever this Spirit is,
i completely agree.

in summary, just like the title of one book:
Do What You Love and the Money will Follow.

Monday, March 19, 2007



Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful.
Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Sunday, March 18, 2007

American Beauty

my omens usually appear on a weekend.
maybe because my mind is more relaxed hence more open to free-wheeling thought and day dreams.

so on a lazy Sunday afternoon, i chanced upon the film, American Beauty.
i remember seeing it 5 years ago.
loved it then.
still love it now.

this time, what captured me wasn't the scene about the plastic bag dancing with the wind...
rather a song that played in the background of one of the scenes:
Don't Let it Bring you Down (as sung by Annie Lennox).

i am bad with lyrics.
i am not one of those people who listen intently on the words.
my natural approach is to feel the song in its entirety with maybe my Unconscious Mind grasping what the song is saying.

for such a sad song, i found it so optimistic and uplifting.
it was as if i've been sad for a long time but did not really know it.
then, suddenly hearing the song made everything better.
as if everything was forgiven.
with a scene in my head of a person wiping the dust off and picking himself up from the ground.

i am so obsessed with the song, enough for me to scour You Tube for any rendition.
found one sung by amateurs but not the one sung by Annie Lennox.

if i were to make a film, it will have the same feel and technique of American Beauty.
it was directed with heart and not with slick camera movements.
and this sums up who i am as a filmmaker and an artist.

today was such a good Sunday because not only was i reminded to honor my Unique Voice as a filmmaker, i also happened to read a magazine compiled by several artists in honor of a comrade/photographer allegedly killed by a drunk driver.

i believe it was the March or April 2007 issue of I-D magazine, a special called Safe + Sound.
in it were inspirational stories submitted by fashion designers, artists and other creative types.

one of them was simply a page posting the whole text of the Desiderata.
which i will post in a separate blog entry.

the Desiderata had the same effect on me as the song from American Beauty.
to not let things bring me down.
to be brave.

unfortunately it takes a death for us to celebrate our Voice.

what makes a good leader?

strangely, i was always nominated for leadership roles in high school.
falsely associating good grades with good leadership.

i was such a bad leader then.
poor logistics.
bad temper.
my only redemption was my creative talent.

in time, i got better.
both in logistics and management of people.
what changed was my newfound capacity to delegate tasks to more qualified people.

but is good leadership rooted only in good management?

apparently not.

the last page of Fast Company's April 2007 issue tackled an ex-CEO's take on leadership.
it was such a fascinating interview of Bill George, a professor at Harvard Business School.
former CEO of Medtronic Inc.
and author of True North.

to paraphrase, he said:
leaders who fail often fall prey to the pleasures and seductions that come with power.
their egos, greed, craving for public adulation and fear of the loss of power overtake their responsibility to build the institution they were hired to manage.
authentic leaders are those who serve others and are there to bring everyone together toward a common cause.

according to him:
it is very natural to get caught up inside our heads - to think more about how people are perceiving us than about what we need to do to realize our goals.

this last phrase is key.

for the struggle happens not only in the office but in Life as well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the absence of small talk

i have a problem:
i seem to have lost my capacity for small talk

don't get me wrong, i can do it
but i no longer have the desire to do so
nor even try

when i meet someone for the first time
i am impatient and wish to discover the main essence of a person immediately
i surprise a lot of people with questions such as:
are you happy with your life?
what are you up to?
what are your goals?

i guess we are in a society that brainwashed us to focus on financial survival
instead of a meaningful life
by the way, who said a meaningful life inevitably meant poverty
it's been surveyed that most millionaires happened to be in professions/careers that they genuinely loved
they did not get into their endeavors with money as the main driving point

the best book i've read was a book whose title i only read:
Do What You Love and Money will Follow
no need to open the book and read it
the title was enough for me

so, why do i need to chat with you about the weather
and gossip about our peers who get themselves into dysfunctional romantic relationships
they are a complete waste of time

someone told me that small talk is a social lubricant
to keep human interaction and the process of meeting new acquaintances less shocking

this is just me.
call me socially-awkward.
but it is more important for me, during our brief time to meet, to make sure your essence is on the table.
that Who You Really Are is engaged, because i am sure it is not normally engaged by your daily life and your daily circle of peers.

life is short.
let's cut to the chase and make sure you are on the right path.
while it is not my place to find it for you.
you can begin the search by waking up to the fact that you do have a higher journey and a Bigger Picture.

tell me your dreams briefly.
then let's see if i can help you or know someone who can help you or at least point you to a reasonable next step to further your cause.

such a deep conversation takes 15 minutes.
small talk averages between 30-45 minutes.
who would have thought?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

a quick way to find yourself

Oprah Winfrey has increasingly introduced practical spirituality to her audience.

a trend i definitely welcome.

i remember 5 years ago, before i moved to New York, still living in Manila,
i chanced upon an Oprah episode.

an audience member asked her: (to paraphrase)
Oprah, you keep on telling us to go for our dreams.
But what if you do not know what your dreams are?

good question.
i am sure it is a question that plagues a majority of humanity right now.
after all, when surviving financially is enough of a burden, one cannot practically waste his or her time with abstract matters such as finding oneself.

Oprah said something to the effect of:
go to a bookstore.
whichever aisle or book/magazine category you find yourself drawn to,
chances are it is a reflection of your passion.
a key to unlocking where your dreams lie.

so, if you find yourself getting drawn to magazines about fishing,
maybe you need to be a fisherman, pursue hobbies about fishing, be a marine biologist or a fish entrepreneur that gives lessons about fishing.

so, after the Oprah episode, i started thinking about the aisles that consistently caught my attention.
these were:

interior design
creative window displays of retail stores
biographies of successful businessmen
biographies of successful creative types
product design
books about creativity in the business world
clever and creative advertising

i was a film major
and was working for a major TV station back then
take note that film was not one of the aisles listed above that drew me in

10 years from that Oprah moment,
i now call myself a Creative Entrepreneur,
creating businesses around my creative ideas

not finding a career out there in the world that fit me
i decided to simply invent one

i've struggled with this Film vs Design career for so long
and wasted so much time in my life procrastinating and weighing the pros and cons of each
instead of just being real with myself and follow what the bookstore aisles were gently telling me

you see, passion cannot be faked
you cannot force yourself to like something
you cannot manufacture enthusiasm
either you are joyful doing something or you are not
the day that you stop enjoying something, then it starts becoming a Job
instead of a Calling

by the way...
issues do not end when you start anew in a faraway country
people go to new lands for a fresh start
but rarely do they mark the end of questions that beg to be confronted and answered
to arrive at this path of Creative Entrepreneurship,
i had to go through the same questions in Manila here in New York

so i studied briefly at New York University, the aspirational NYU.
a certificate course training one to become a media executive in the film/tv industry
excelled at it
got an A as a final grade
was bored the whole time

studied briefly at the Fashion Institute of Technology, popularly called FIT.
loved every moment of it.
i was in line during the application process.
behind me was a girl wearing her funeral-inspired outfit.
and knew back then that i was home.

the things we are passionate about can change
or maybe the things we used to be passionate about (in my case, film) are parts of a bigger whole, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle called our Calling in Life, our Life Purpose, or the Real Job that we are meant to do on this earth.
or maybe, we are composed of different passions (which is an equally difficult dilemma) that, when properly mixed together and understood, point you to a new occupational genre.

this last premise was my dilemma.
i still possessed my passion for watching films, but realized later on, that i hated making them.
i loved fashion, but hated sewing.
i loved entrepreneurship books and for a time, confused me if i need to be a Wall Street stock broker.

what i did right was take my passions seriously by testing the waters of each
only then did i discover which specific aspects of each passion were relevant

and more importantly:
i realized that life is NOT an Either-Or question.

you can be many things
you can love many things
you do not need to choose if you genuinely like everything

i understand that Focus in life is hailed as the main ingredient to be successful
i would say Yes, but not always
for others, it is easy because they are genuinely passionate about only One thing
some are blessed with only one specific talent, and they are aware of it, and they pursue that path successfully

but what if a person is as complexly layered as i am
blessed with different aptitudes

i am good with science
i am good with math except geometry
i am good with the arts

so i was forced to become logical with my search for Myself,
(a search that i've always taken seriously by the way)
and realized i needed a different approach
applicable to those with authentically varied interests and talents

like any good researcher, i checked what was already written about the subject
browsing through both the Self-Help and New Age aisles

there were exercises that asked me to write down all my talents on one column
followed by a list of possible manifestations of those talents as careers (like the example i gave above re love for fishing as translatable to a fisherman, a fish entrepreneur, a biologist, etc.)
then, a final column listing the things you wish to spiritually advocate, the positive change you want to impart to society, etc. (such as to eradicate poverty, save the fish, etc.)

several self-help books later re finding one's purpose,
i finally arrived at Creative Entrepreneurship.

i now realize that my previous media background was not a complete waste
i am grateful for my film degree for opening the door to the Path of Creativity
i owe my sense of drama and beauty from emotionally-brilliant film scenes

ultimately, my film experience unearthed the Poet in me
and to be on the Path of Creativity, one must embrace the heart of a Poet
and admit that you have something substantial to say, that is both beautiful and transcending

Sunday, March 11, 2007

a broken heart challenges enlightenment

so i was struggling back and forth with a broken heart from 2 years ago.
i blamed myself for my ex leaving me behind for someone else...
for not being enough or doing enough and worse, for not being as good as the replacement

this is a long discussion
which i've discussed with myself at length
i've blamed myself for many things
too much perhaps
although some were valid

i was a different person back then
and i must admit, i was an emotional mess
i was not as lovable perhaps
or was difficult to love because i was preoccupied with unhappiness with my job, with poverty and being overwhelmed with the visa process

so my ex found someone else with none of these complications
my ex deserves someone better
all of us do

there was one situation that kept on replaying in my head
he was sick in his apartment
and i did not go to his rescue
i almost did
but was doing overtime at work

i kept on telling myself after the break up that if i did do that
perhaps i could have cemented the relationship deeper
maybe not
back then i believed in the former:
that maybe it could have increased the love and proof for love

it dawned on me that i was a different person back then
i was a mess
and ultimately not ready to love properly

it also dawned on me that if he really did love me
and if he really considered the relationship valuable
whatever shortcoming i did
would have been overlooked
because love and the big picture of the relationship will logically be more valuable

as painful as it is to admit
i did love him more than he did me
because, despite my being unlovable and a mess during that time,
he made a decision to leave
again, he has every right and motive to do so
but, bottom line, he left.
a testimony to the lack of interest to pursue things further.

i do that sometimes
project ideal pictures on situations
and always put people on a good light
these did not serve me on this situation though

suppressing my emotions about this caused me to still be not over it for 2 years
so now i will say it
i still miss him
the only thing that changed is that this time, i no longer blame myself solely for its downfall
and that changes everything

he was not the perfect man that i idealized him to be
or maybe it is not that he fell short or was flawed
or maybe it is
or it can also be as simple as he was not right for me

gradually my mind and heart are now able to remember pieces of that painful memory
and start admitting certain things
a wise man once said that the reasons there are victimizers out there is because there are people who agree to be victims

looking back,
i could have fought for my needs and expressed them clearly
i should have walked away as soon as it was no longer a Win-Win situation
being an emotional mess back then, i lost my personal power and my voice

i promise not to do that in my next relationship
even before reaching that, i am now determined to fix my life first and not be an emotional mess
only by fixing my life first will i have the luxury to share love to another person
not out of need and dependency
this time out of a sincere need and capability to share a part of myself and my success

recently, i allowed myself to confront 4 painful things about the break up that i suppressed for 2 years:
1) he broke up the day after Valentine's Day, which really was a spit on the face
2) he broke up via email
3) he lied by saying that the reason he was physically absent for a month was because he was traveling ... after confronting him about it, the truth was that he was already seeing someone else
4) the most painful thing is that before he allegedly left for this alleged overseas assignment, he claimed that he loved me and that he wanted to take this relationship to the next level by planning long term ... which of course is a lie because of number 3

it does help to take an objective look at the facts of the case, together with the spiritual dimensions and lessons from it

bottom line: he was an asshole
my spiritual core is telling me that this simply means he was just a flawed and human like me
but allow me to be angry and be real for once and simply brand him an asshole with no backbone to even break up properly

i wasn't the only emotional mess after all
but somehow this does not lessen the pain of a break up via email

i've since fixed the 3 problem areas that caused me to be an emotional mess in the first place
too late because the relationship already ended
if only he waited for me to get my shit together then things would have been different
but he did not

i deserve someone who loves me enough to give me second chances
someone who does not abandon another when the times get rough, not out of obligation but out of a deep affinity, concern and friendship

unfortunately, i fixed my life too late for my ex
but fortunately, i fixed my life enough to be a better and equal partner for the next one

he was not the right one for me
and that relationship was not ultimately good for me
and that i deserve better treatment
and that a relationship, like any, must be a Win-Win situation for both parties

so the question is:
why does it take so long for some of us to get this objectively?