Resilient amidst devastation

My country, the Philippines is located in the so-called Circum-Pacific belt of fire and typhoon thus making it within the bulls-eye hit of catastrophic natural disasters and calamities, e.g. earthquakes as high a magnitude of more than 7, storms, floods, typhoons, and droughts. In a span of 3 days in 2013, the strongest and deadliest typhoon claimed 6,300 lives and left a staggering Php90B worth of damages.

In the deluge of misery amidst devastating losses, our people have been brought down to their knees and cried in overwhelming despair and hopelessness. The aftermath, e.g. harrowing pain of losing their loved ones, their properties, everything that they have worked for reduced to nothing, etc. But with their strong faith in God’s unfathomable mercy and grace, our people’s despair is only temporary.

Their resiliency never completely destroy their resolve to stand back up strong again, picking up the pieces from what is left behind. Nothing, oh nothing will ever break the indomitable spirit of our people. They are blessed with the gift to adapt and quickly recover from every crisis that they are confronted with. They strive to overcome the aftermath of cycles of natural calamities & disasters, even man-made conflicts such as war, facing these challenges one day at a time. They remain resilient in their ability to adjust to prevailing circumstances.

The world is in awe of the resiliency of our people, wondering how they can still manage to smile and laugh even when half of their bodies are plunged in devastating floods. Our people’s courage & heroic service to their fellow men, helping others in need when they themselves need so much assistance have touched the world, and have put a human face to being resilient amidst devastation.

On Wanting, Shame, and Artistic Ambition

On Wanting, Shame, and Artistic Ambition

Thank you for your blog; I read it at a time that I don’t want to write eBooks anymore, as my previously self-published ones (4) are languishing on Amazon! You wrote so eloquently, I could relate to every word you’ve written. It takes enormous courage to keep going when there are only disappointments. As Leigh Mitchell Hodges (1876-1954), journalist and poet says, “Failure is often that early morning hour of darkness which precedes the dawning of the day of success.” With your inspiration, I pray that my writing will become alive again, that my desire & enthusiasm will get fired up soonest, and that persistent thought of giving up will stop being “a sword of Damocles” hovering over my head!

Sonya Huber

You didn’t get the grant that would have affirmed your talent and promise. You don’t have a book to hold in your hands that would make all this flailing on the page real. You have been immersed in a deep well of inquiry and making, which is sometimes lonely business, and you want to share it for sense of connection it brings, but it’s not ready yet. Some things are deep underground in these dark days, in the process of becoming. Other things out in the world are wicked and wily. To add to the overall sense of doom, the words you love so much are being flung and twisted for the sake of harm, threat, and injury. The world says no.

I have been thinking about ambition, wanting, and rejection—and shame. And I noticed my brain doing something this morning that I had to talk myself out of, so…

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Merry Christmas from Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas from Bethlehem.

I was blessed to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land twice. This experience will remain to be the most unforgettable. To walk the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ is a blessing like no other.

On this day of celebration around the world, I reminded that a few years ago I had visited the supposed birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem.

Visit Palestine, a sign in a café in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014. Visit Palestine, a sign in a café in Jerusalem. The sign was a reprint of an old historical sign. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014.

Kilometre Zero. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014. Kilometre Zero in Jerusalem, the heart of Christianity, Judaism and a Pilar of Islam. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014.

Geopolitical map of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Bethlehem, Palestine, 2014. Geopolitical map of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Bethlehem is only 5 km away from Jerusalem, but the other side of the Separatation Wall in Palestinian Territories. Bethlehem, Palestine, 2014.

Legend of the Geopolitical map of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Bethlehem, Palestine, 2014. Legend of the Geopolitical map of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Bethlehem, Palestine, 2014.

Street situation in the old Jerusalem not far from the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014. Street situation in the old Jerusalem not far from the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014.

A prayer in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the center of the Old Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014. A prayer in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the center of the Old Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014.

Scene of devotion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem, Israel, 2014. Scene of devotion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre…

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Millennials, Millennials, Millennials, who are they anyway? The term was first coined in 1987 by William Strauss and Neil Howe and has since stuck. It describes people born between 1982-2004. I love millennials and their need for immediacy. Their irreverent view of typical American culture. Their uncompromising right to assert their beliefs even when it is absolutely irrational. I find this generation fascinating. They are also affectionately known as Generation Y, Generation Me, Me Me Me Generation. They have also been called digital natives because they are the first generation who have not experienced life without the internet. I affectionately love to credit them with the surge of “the microwave philosophy”.  For millennials everything must happen with immediacy and instant alacrity. In their minds the world revolves around them. This generation seems to glorify diversity of thought and philosophy as long as it fits with their personal philosophy. Some studies have shown a large percent of…

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Vigor, love, and doses of laughter!

Upon retirement, we initially thought that our life has become a challenge. However, everything changed when we discovered digital technology, e.g. eBook writing, social media engagement to promote our eBooks, learn coding programs to create websites, application of multimedia widgets to enhance the looks of our eBooks, etc.).

It is a good life after all; so much to be grateful for.

Ours is a mix of writing & technology, a good combination. It is doing something together without so much fuss. I read & read, write & write; my husband takes care of the technology side. With digital technology, my husband is the relentless learner. He has developed a passion and goes deep into it in great abandon. Thank God he is a quick learner, with a career on the technical side before retirement. He gobbles up every free tutorial lesson offered by legitimate websites on web design and code programming. He created, builds-up, enhances and maintains our website

So far, we have already self-published 3 eBooks via, with our 4th eBook soon to be released via Apple iBooks.

Our life is about pursuing the delights to learn new things, be open to change and embrace it. As retirees and empty nesters, we now have plenty of time to read books voraciously, either print books we have accumulated through the years (torn & tattered, dog-eared, unread or barely read or half-read, or even forgotten books). Whichever way, it’s good to revisit those books, enjoy them at our leisure, no deadlines, etc.

Those authors are awesome, putting their life’s experiences into a book for our reading pleasure. There is so much first-hand information and knowledge and so much to read if we want to keep up with, and be inspired by successful leaders. The best & brightest in every industry read a lot. Documented success stories of distinguished persons throughout old & modern history show that reading is a huge part of their success.

There’s power in the written word. I’m a blogger and an eBook writer because I discovered that I’ve always loved to write from childhood. I always have a way with words, which was my pillar of strength in the corporate world for many years.

Before the advent of computers and digital technology, books were the only way of storing information. They will always have a distinctive place.

The Internet has loads of interesting information, we just have to be selective and know how to filter out damaging, negative opinions and destructive information. Information which is wrong, unhelpful or misleading which can make us disheartened, lure us to depression, thwart us down with negative and restrictive mindset must be discarded, rejected and never to read it again.

As naturally as a cat meows, a dog barks, a singer sings, a painter paints, a crafter creates, a chef cooks, etc. It’s the same with us, a Senior couple reads, learns, writes and creates with love, vigor and large doses of laughter. We argue, even fight, stumble, fall and rise back up again in our learning process. Our mantra/byword is never, ever give up in our 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, etc!

Harness your Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Skills

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is defined as “the capability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations”. It is the ability to function effectively in different cultural situations.  In today’s multi-cultural/globalized world, being ‘culturally intelligent’ is an essential skill for expatriates to develop and nurture while living and working in any other foreign land. It is more than being smart or intelligent, emotionally mature, and/or having good general social skills.

A ‘culturally intelligent’ person goes the extra mile in being culturally sensitive and aware to function in different traditional settings. This is the first step but it goes beyond that. Being culturally intelligent means a person is not only aware but more importantly, he/she can also effectively relate with people of diverse nationalities across different cultural backgrounds.

We can develop cultural intelligence by the following:

  • Be knowledgeable:
    • Learn about the culture of the country you are going to by doing a lot of reading newspapers/books.
    • Search the Internet about its history and read up on the main issues that are on the people’s minds.
    • Do not simply rely on news sources for this specific information.
    • Acquire first-hand information by actually living and working in a foreign country. Interact with its people with their different culture.
    • When you arrive in the country, be observant, listen more and talk less. Optimize this learning process by embracing or observing closely what is distinctive about this culture, discovering its uniqueness and thinking how you can utilize this specific knowledge to your advantage in the near or far future.
    • Never criticize or play along with the locals even if you hear them criticizing their own country & behavioral habits.
  • Ways to develop and enhance Cultural Skills:
    • Nurture your interpersonal skills and learn to enjoy talking/interacting with people from other cultures.
    • Ensure you have the virtue of tolerance (patience to accept or embrace sudden and unexpected changes in an intercultural interaction).
    • Be adaptable and flexible to change your behavior according to the cultural demands
    • Have empathy by putting yourself in a culturally different person´s shoes and imagine the situation from his/her perspective.
    • Be sensitive in understanding other people´s feelings and ability to interpret subtle meanings during intercultural interactions.
    • The best way to develop your multi-cultural skills is through first-hand experience and practical application of these skills through trial & error.
  • How to develop a cultural mindset and awareness: 
    • Have self-control over your own thinking and interpretation of cultural experiences and strategies.
    • Observe others´ behaviors and your own, analyze situations and reflect on how you react.
    • Pay attention to how the other party acts and reacts to you in different scenarios. This serves as the foundation for evaluating whether your behavior has achieved your desired goal. Based on this analysis, you can then decide what action you wish to take next.
    • Reflect on successful as well as unsuccessful intercultural interactions and write down what knowledge and skills you have used during those interactions. Are there any clues you missed or misread? Was there any word or behavior you did not know how to interpret? What would you do differently in a similar context?
    • Again, this learning experience will be optimized if you already have some cultural knowledge and cross-cultural skills. For example, if you can relate to your counterpart and are able to put yourself in his or her shoes, it will be easier for you to interpret his or her behavior and plan for your next move.

Developing your Cultural Intelligence (CQ) will surely make a difference to ensure that you are able to navigate smoothly across cultural boundaries when you live and work in a foreign country.