Monday, September 01, 2014


August 31, 2014, Sunday, I was so blessed upon hearing the testimonies of the 25 young people in the church when they individually narrated their individual experiences as they encountered the presence of the Holy Spirit during the Encounter Retreat held at the Destiny Center, Polomolok, South Cotabato for three days since Thursday night. I cannot stop my tears to drop when I heard and saw them so excited and filled with so much emotion telling how God was able to change them and their decisions in life. “I had decided to follow Him, for I know that His will for me is good and perfect” says one of them. “ I was so fascinated when I uttered tongues which I can’t understand and I cannot stop it, but I was feeling so blessed,” the other one noted. “I am sorry Papa, Thank you Mama,” most of them cried. After the Sunday service, they subjected themselves for water baptism...Oh what a “glorifying” experience and decision these kids had done to their young lives. It was Saturday morning, prior to that Sunday Worship Service, I attended the “Full Gospel Businessmen breakfast Fellowship held at Jollibee Highway in General Santos City. This group is composed of businessmen, big time and small time who honoured God in their businesses and activities. We had guests from Malaysia who also testified and shared the goodness of God in their lives, families and businesses. The main speaker who owned three big businesses in Kualalumpur and other countries stressed that his main partner in the industry is God. He acknowledges the major contributions God had done to his businesses. “I always see to it that my commitment to God is the priority one and my business transactions got the least priority,” he noted. “As God commanded me to work for His work and do my devotion for Him, my usual reply is, I will Lord. I will obey you while you are taking care of my businesses...and it always works. My businesses are expanding with God as the Chief Executive Officer,” he further stressed. Truly these life changing testimonies boasted me a lot and I always believe these are true. In the book of St. Matthew, Jesus strongly stated, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you...” well, I know that this is the true mathematical formula of a life changing testimony, victory over victories. When we are boldly choose God to be the first, His divine business is to take over us in all our undertakings. Well, if God runs our lives, jobs and the businesses, then who can be against us. I myself had proven this. God had empowered me to change. My perspective, my decisions and everything in me, I gave to Him. For I know that His word is a lamp unto my path, and a light unto my ways. It is not a myth. Jesus is real. His triumph in the cross of Calvary remains to be the hope and our victory. SHALOM.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Turning Point...My Journey to Financial Freedom, Part 2

It was on the month of December when a former schoolmate and a fraternity colleague in my college days initially contacted me for a meeting. Since I was so busy during that time, I told him to drop by in the office so we can talk over a cup of coffee. Reynaldo Avila (his name) and I had a few "kumustahan" until he started to tell me about a business concept where he was in for a time.I was really amazed because I remember him inviting me to join with him in the project since the year 2002 and he's still in. However, at this time, when I looked at him, I was so convinced as he delivered himself well.Deep in me, I know that something good is happening to him. It took several visits and meetings until I told myself to see a function and try to investigate the matter.

The Business Preview Experience

After my class, I rushed up to Dolores Hotel with my wife to catch up the business preview. I saw some familiar faces in the function who happened to be my co-participants and investigators of the business concept. I was not able to understand everything presented by Atty. Tiamson but was so amazed when few of them, including Rey Avila had testified on their reasons in joining the business. I was able to see Chito Zarate and Jessie Lozada who gave their testimonies too. My perception during that time was so ridiculous. I was thinking that those people were not telling the truth but only speaking lines that would hit us audience and join them. Chito Zarate set a follow up appointment with me but I denied to meet him for lots of reasons. Some were true but most were not. I left the function not so convinced but Beng started to see it differently. She started to saw us as one of the business leaders in the Philippine market. How amazing...

My First Home Meeting Attendance; The Convincing Point

I was so glad that Rey Avila did not drop me like a hot potato. He continuously visited me and one time, brought with him Armel Adanza, the planning officer of SOCOTECO II. In the midst of our conversation, I was struck when he (Armel) asked me about my dreams. At that time I can't gave him even one dream for I already stop dreaming, believing that God had already fulfilled His visions for me. I was reminded of the passage in the Bible which says "...when there is no vision, people perished". Oh my God, Am I dead? Why is it that I don't have any dream anymore? I MUST HAVE DREAMS LIKE OTHER PEOPLE LIVING.

That night I went to a home meeting alone in a subdivision near us. It was Pastor Rey Lu conducting a meeting. I saw Chito and Rey in the venue. I saw attendees who were "seamen" and their wives. These people expressed their desire to be permanently staying with their families if only given the opportunity. As I reflect, I had convinced myself that I had found a treasure that will bring me to financial prosperity... (to be continued)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turning Point...My Journey to Financial Freedom, Part I

I was already appointed as the Social Work Program Director when several professional opportunities came across. After my consultancy project with Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Tony Valencia, the COO talked to me and challenged me to take another step in joining Habitat to focus on fortfolio management works but to be based in Davao City. I was so blessed of their thrust knowing that my expertise is in Community Development but now being offered to manage the NGO's financial fortfolio. I was so hesitant for I know its not my cup of tea. However, after consulting my wife, she told me to pray so the good Lord will guide me in my decision. Few weeks later, DSWD Central Office called me up for an interview. The post is a leadership position to handle their nationwide disaster management program. AsSec Cabrera was so assuring for me to have the post being my former colleague in the Bureau of Emergency Assistance during our younger years (I am still young today by the way). She knows that I am qualified and is an experienced leader and disaster manager. I went back to General Santos City with my wife after encountering typhoon "Ondoy" in Manila for the sake of the final government required interview. I was then so confused since, if ever appointed, I will be staying back in Manila away from my love ones. Again, I waited for God's perfect answer. Few weeks later, Prof. Marlon Era, a friend and former colleague in DSWD, now connected with a University in Manila called me up and informed me that he had referred me to San Miguel Corporation's food security program. In fact after few days, I received several calls from SMC and set me for an appointment with the project head. I was so overwhelmed, on the way I was offered with several professional opportunities. I told my wife that whoever will call me up to report to the agency first, then there I will pray and decide. The options are good. One assignment will be based in manila for a nationwide project, the other two assignments will be based in Davao City for Mindanao wide project coverage. All of those opportunities however will bring me away from my love ones and family. God knows how I want to be based in General Santos because of my love ones and my passion to teach.

After the month of November, nothing happens. I received no calls, no emails, notices from the three agencies who assured of getting me to join their teams. I checked my feelings but no amount of disappointment and hurt is being recognized... (to be continued)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Are Women Equally Skillful with Men... or More?

The EU-Assisted Build for Peace in Mindanao Project expired last June 2009. Prior to the project ending, the staff and other stakeholders including myself came up with our sustainability plan on how the project will continue through the local stakeholders’ initiative…in the absence of the European Union program funds. As we traversed back to what had happened for the last year of the project implementation, our attention was brought back to how the project had touched the lives of women in the project sites. We admired that women aside from being the front liners of home management, they as well were able to show their capabilities in construction related undertakings where “mostly men are doing”. I remember that Gervy once had requested me to write an article about how women show there force given an opportunity for contruction related work. Hereunder please review what I wrote…

"The notion which was disproved several times that there are things that men can do that women cannot, was again proven wrong. This happened when mothers and daughters enrolled jointly in a masonry con jalousie installation training program spearheaded by the EU-Assisted Build for Peace in Mindanao Project of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines. The sub-project dubbed Angat Kakayahan ng mga Kababaihan or shortly named “Akay-Kababaihan” was organized by the Project Management Office of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines in support to the project deliberables.

Better than the charms of men, the project intended for women generated massive support from partners. The Building and Wood Workers, International (BWI) based in Metro Manila provided the funds for the Gender training component of the project while the National Union of Building & Construction Workers (NUBCW) funded the activity through the provision of training materials. Locally based supporters like the Alcantara Foundation (AF) sponsored the participants’ expenses on meals and transportation. The Kalinaw Sarangani of the Provincial Government of Sarangani extended their facilitation services in documenting the process and in identifying participants based on the criteria set forth by the Habitat for Humanity Project Management Office. The Municipal Government of Malapatan and the BLGU of Tuyan generously extended their internal facilities that served as the lecture and practicum avenues of the skills training. More of the exciting collaborative undertaking was the participation of the National Home Builders Association who extended their technical assistance in the training together with Mr. Ricardo Marin, a trainer from the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority. The women had also gone through a TESDA-standardized examination after the training and had received their certificates of competency.

The five days intensive skills training did not only made the women from Barangays Tuyan and Lumatil of Sarangani Province equally skillful with men on construction related skills, but likewise were empowered in decision making and community participation. Two decades ago, Tuyan and Lumatil were two of the sites of fighting between government and rebel Moro forces. The fighting contributed a lot to women in these areas became passive in participation and decision making. Further, among the Muslim and Blaan traditions, wives do more of the household chores than their husbands. Men do more the decisions. After their attendance to the training, they had changed a perspective. “Kung kaya ni mister, kaya ni misis (if the husband can do it, so can the wife),” said Annie Juan, one of the participants of thirty women from these two villages who were trained last November 10-16 at the Tuyan town hall compound. Mrs. Juan’s attendance to the training made her realized the essence of women’s participation as partners of men in development building.
The existence of the community center’s masonry and jalousie works in Barangay Tuyan are living demonstration of the skills they acquired. As skilled workers accredited by TESDA, women can bring in more income for their families. Habitat hopes to employ these women in their ongoing Peace Build and other future regular projects.

…well, given the appropriate intervention, in many instances, we have seen women are on the go. My salute to all women, especially to the three special women in my life… my wife, my daughter and my mama.

Likewise my salutation to President Gloria and President Cory. Today, August 1, 2009, President Cory died but she had proven her worth as a woman. She is dubbed as the Mother of Philippine Democracy Restoration. 'Til next time. SHALOM.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

RISK TAKING is Accepting New Responsibility Beyond Fears?

November 12, 2008 when I received the newest challege in my professional life. A month ago, I was always receiving congratulatory messages from my collegues in school and in the profession. I did not bother those messages, since I know it wont be appropriate to entertain something which I don't really know if a joke or real. Dr. Rodriguez, the school academic assistant called me up to see her in the office last November 12 in the morning. She asked me if I got the memo from the school President. She did not ellaborated her querry, but deep in me I knew what she means. Finally when I went down to the HR Office, the working student made me receive the memo from the College President designating me as the Officer in Charge of the Social Work Program.

Well, my first reaction was to think, if how I can handle the responsibility, being so responsible of many things prior to the appointment. How will it be possible for me to become fruitful College Dean as expected while having a consultancy work with the Habitat for Humanity holding a Regional wide project? How could I do my task in my new job and being on top with the GENSARSWAI Foundation with lots of projects in line? However, beyond these fears, I was able to see great opportunities and another avenue where I can share something beyond community works. I know that the Almighty God is with me and He will just stop me if seen overspeeding.

Risk Taking is an integral and intrinsic part of success or living a full life. Let me see how this will work with this new challenge i received. I am so greatly inspired with what the Bible says "In Christ, everything is possible". The apostle Paul further said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthjened me". I kow, I have to thank God for this.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stress Management in Every Opportunity: A Workplace Scenario

It is so worthwhile to recall that on November 2007 Pak Boyet Macorol invited me for the third time, to join his team in the EU-Assisted Build for Peace in Mindanao Project. This project is one of the contributions of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines in the peace build efforts in Mindanao. Considering that I cannot get away from my previous commitments, I assured him that I will join his team by December 2007. During that time, I was on the peak of our preparation for the Mindanaowide Social Workers' Convention slated last week of November where I volunteered myself to be the Convention Director (of course, I got no objection from my colleague social workers in PASWI-GENSARSWAI). I realized it was not an easy task, but I thank God; it was facilitated, not so well but accordingly, that was a great job for the first timers. Thanks God, I have with me the supports of co-officers and members of the organization. That was a great relief when we finished the convention hosting.

December 1, 2007 I reported to Habitat for Humanity Philippines-HBRC Mindanao to fulfill my commitment. I told Boyet that I cannot spare my 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to the project since I was holding several tasks even after the convention. To mention few are as follows: I was a part time social work professor in two big colleges; the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial College and the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University; I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of the GENSARSWAI Foundation, Inc. The Foundation at that time was preparing for the Caregiver training and had just started to reactivate its program and services with a very minimum operational fund; I was a newly elected Board of trustee of the Gensan Habitat for Humanity, Inc. I cannot also get out from my consultancy works that made me received my resources in order to live. Saturdays and Sundays I divided my time for my family and my church obligations as the Sunday School Principal and a Preacher in our church evening service dubbed "Gospel Hour". It was so great that God shared me His mercy, wisdom, strength and protection to enable me to handle all those responsibilities. Boyet agreed that I can't spare my full time and we started working together. On the second week of December, I started to realize that the commitment I entered into with Habitat cannot be facilitated with part time efforts. The job requires more that 8 hour a day and 6 days a week work. Deliverables are too huge given the remaining project time line of 14 months. Something should be done but since I was caught unaware, I failed to manage my stress and fall down in bed, spent my Christmas and New Year terribly sick. Again I realized that what had happened is an opportune time to spend more quality time to the source of everything, to my Creator and God.

The year 2008 was a good year of new revelations, to start every day communing with Him and talking to Him anytime of the day. Acknowledging my nothingness without Him and putting every molecule of trust in Him. Then… more blessings followed. In Habitat, more competent staffs were added and a new manager was in placed. The work became so light and well focused. In the family, communication gaps are slowly healed and physical health conditions are improving. Consultancy opportunities are growing. On May 2008, I received a full time appointment in my teaching career in the Social Work Program of Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges. In the Foundation, we started to launch three major programs and two Convention projects. Again, the more opportunities, the more pressures. However, to effectively manage our stress in this reality, we need to go back to our knees and seek His guidance and wisdom. We cannot get out of opportunities because these are blessings that we can use to also bless others. An opportunity is always an opportunity to serve Him and touch the lives of others. Col 3:23 says, "Whatsoever you do, do it as unto the Lord and not for men." An opportunity is always a benefit. God says in Isaiah 1:19, "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land…" Opportunities therefore are products of obedience, and if these are products of obedience, then He is always there to enable us manage our stresses.

It’s a great experience, realizing that even in stress, His enabling power is with us. Let us be His real children and inheritors.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Power of Partnership

It was 3 PM, April 12, 2008 at the Gensan Affiliate Office, 2nd floor, Yap Mabuhay Building, corner Mansanitas and Cagampang streets, General Santos City when the signing of MOA between Habitat for Humanity, SAO Phil., and the Mindanao Commission for Women was done. It was organized through a simple ceremony facilitated by the Gensan Habitat for Humanity, Inc., supported by the Habitat PMT. Jun Bibiolata of SAO Phil., Commissioner Evans de Pedro of MCW, Engr. Leonardo Teves of the Habitat Affiliate and Beth Quijano of Habitat PMT signed the MOA in the presence of Atty. Ariel Duray.

The MOA stipulated responsibilities that lessen the load of Habitat but pushing towards the gain of the home partners. Without the two other organizations I believe it will make Habitat do the swimming and sinking thing in fulfilling the deliberables of the Build for Peace in Mindanao Project. Given the partnership, Habitat will only focus to its core competency; building homes while SAO will do the savings mobilization and community organization. On the other hand, MCW will help in financing income generating projects for women and in other activities which will increase capability of the home partners. THAT'S THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP!