BOOK NOTES: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In

My colleague Nim gifted me Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for my birthday last year. It couldn’t be more apt. I just turned 29, which meant I have just one more year on my so-called “twenties”. It is, indeed, a very good time to look back at the past decade of learnings, mistakes and whatnot, and move forward to a better, (hopefully)more mature me.

But after reading the book, what I immediately thought was, hell, had I read this years ago, I could’ve prevented some of the mistakes and negativity that creeped into me from time to time throughout my career. Books truly are mentors of a kind.

Which is why I then handed it over to my cousin, Raya. She’s not into books, but she just graduated from university and is out looking for a job. I thought it was worth the try to hand her the opportunity to learn the things I would’ve wanted to in my early twenties.

And for every body else (as well as for my future self), here are my notes and quotes from the Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, which is the first out of the 24 books I promised to read this year. Continue reading BOOK NOTES: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In

For you, this 2016: People You Want to be Like

A couple of years back, I told Jim Ayson, my late boss, that one of my personal laws is to surround myself with people that I want to be like. I was pertaining to him.

Before I met Jim for the first time, I had googled him extensively. I found, among many others, that he was labeled one of “The Internet’s 10 Most Influential Filipinos” by The Web Philippines back in 1999.

This was his vision for the Internet at that time:

He hopes for the Internet to be available not only among the upper classes, but to the masses as well. However, “I’m not part of an ISP, so I can’t do anything about bringing down cost. But I’m interested in sharing my talents with NGOs and the government sector to see how we can develop web sites that can effect real change and development, and thus indirectly make the Internet beneficial and relevant to more people,” Ayson added.

“For 1999 I am excited about developing two business-to-consumer e-commerce projects under the aegis of PhilMusic and WebMarket. These include PhilMusic Direct, which is a CD retail operation aimed for the overseas market – selling OPM CDs abroad – and CD Manila, which is for the Philippine market, taking orders for specialty imports and used CDs.”

17 years ago, way before he worked for a telco, he was already thinking about Internet access for all and e-commerce. He was also the Founder of Philmusic, a musician, writer, photographer – an all-around artist.

So yeah, I decided that I wanted to work for this guy. After our meeting (he was cooler than I expected), I stalked him again, pulled his profile photo from a social network, and pinned it on my vision board. Yes, I did that.

Fast forward to today, I still imitate many of his ways, in the hopes that “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”. Well he was a pretty grand tree. And I hope, that in my lifetime, I can be as grand.

I’m grateful to have chanced upon a such a great person – not everyone is as lucky. But the people we surround ourselves with is an ongoing choice. And so this is my wish for 2016:

Dear You,

This year, I hope you surround yourself with people you want to be like.

Maybe find a Jedi Master, or Harvey Specter, or Jim. It will do you good for the soul to have someone to look up to, who will listen when you disagree, or throw you into the wild to fight with the wolves when you’re ready.

In your everyday life, choose the friends, and family, and colleagues you spend time with. Be around people who are kind, who treat others with respect, and give you enough space to grow.

You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. So set that bar high.

Happy New Year. 🙂


Wishes from the past years:

VIDEO: Hiking Mt. Pinatubo

Is it nice in Mt. Pinatubo?

A lot of people ask me this question. Well here’s my short answer: I’ve been there thrice. Mostly to accompany cousins from abroad. I hope that answers it.

I recommend it mainly because it’s beautiful, but also because it fits the adventure and nature categories without much of the pain (i.e. it’s not as hard as other hikes and climbs).

In this video, I trekked with some eight relatives and friends on a private tour. You can check our itinerary at Travels with Pau and Raya.

The series of stories from my visit last 2012 can also be found here:

VIDEO: An Airbnb Birthday at Anvaya Cove

My birthday ideas for this year revolved around Airbnb listings. Seriously – a boat in Hong Kong, an island in the Philippines… There are a hundred extraordinary places to experience if you look around there. But finally, I thought, I wanted to spend some time with the family. And so I settled for something simpler.

Anvaya Cove is located in Morong, Bataan, and is about a 4-hour drive from Manila. It is a member-only resort, possibly the nicest one around that area. It is not my first time there actually, but I had a couple of qualifications for this particular trip:

  • A couple of hours drive from the city
  • Homey, comfortable and clean
  • By the beach, because I already live on the mountain
  • Spacious enough to fit the family
  • Not too costly

So this is what I found: A 2-BR unit at Anvaya Cove’s Sea Breeze condominium. 

And how did that go? Check out the video above!

TIP: For this trip, I had a hefty P2,500 discount available to Smart subscribers as part of an ongoing partnership. This promo is still ongoing so you can still avail of it for your 2016 trips! Here are the details for Smart and Sun.


Posts from my 2012 trip to Anvaya Cove:

VIDEO: Exploring Coron, Palawan


It has been a long, long while since I’ve written anything around here. At times I feel like adult life has been pulling me away from the part of my soul that likes creating things just for the heck of it. But no. Not today.

Two months ago, I “discovered” the GoPro. Of course I’ve known her a long time ago. She’s quite a pop kid in the sports and adventure scene. But this is the first time we’ve had an actual experience together, I would say. In Coron, Palawan. No less.

I traveled to Coron with Paula for her birthday last October. This is one of those places in the Philippines I’ve always wanted to go. It fits my personality quite well. We’ve been under the sun, the sea, the rocks, the huts, the shade of the boat. We’ve been mostly offline, all five days. Ah! The beauty of it.

In the past years, I’ve gone from words to photographs, sharing my explorations and experiences. Video is a new medium I am in the process of learning. I hope you enjoy.

For you, this 2015: Be Mindful

I had a good talk with Lucille over wine right before the holidays. And it mostly revolves around her 2015 resolution: mindfulness. It’s interesting because mindfulness is a word I have overused in the past year.

I have gone to such point that I’ve obsessed about tracking myself in an attempt to be more mindful of everything that I do. Take note: Daily. With graphs. I measured my sleep hours, food intake, steps taken, workouts, finances, computer activities, travel time… I have transitioned from the happy-go-lucky, don’t-really-care-about-anything backseat kid to the person who absolutely needs to be behind the steering wheel and taking control.

I realized that time cannot be stretched. It is not a train that can be stopped midway, and it will keep ticking, no matter what we do or say or feel. Also, our minds and souls and bodies have limited spaces and energy, and so despite our desire to consume the world, and to explore every beauty, and to be present in every event, we can only really fit so much within ourselves and throughout our lifetime. Continue reading For you, this 2015: Be Mindful

Just to Thank You

I wanted to write an elaborate note, detailing how the year has been and has not been and things like that. But then it’s already two days after my birthday and I haven’t said anything yet. I think way too much sometimes.

So I guess I should say it in the simplest way possible: Thank You.

To you people. For your greetings and thoughts and gifts and hugs. Especially the hugs.

And to the universe. For all the things that worked well. For all the things that didn’t work as planned. And for all the things that came afterwards. (Especially the things that came afterwards.)

The universe has remarkably odd ways of throwing pleasant surprises. And when they come, it is always worth the wait.

So I’m 28 now. And it’s probably just another piece of this huge puzzle we call Life. Another dot to connect the rest of my memories to.

Nevertheless I’m off to build my constellations. Open myself up to things unknown. And place bets. And be brave.

On Dylan Werner’s Workshop, Yoga, and Going Beyond Yourself

Dylan Werner
Photo from

This weekend was enlightening, to say the least. I attended my first ever yoga workshop led by Dylan Werner from California. It consisted of four classes spread in two days: Beyond Balance Vinyasa Master Class – 2 hours of flow that was so intense it felt like we were in a heated room, Strength, Balance and Core Stabilization Workshop – which emphasized how much we use the core in every movement and totally debunked the way I have always planked, Flexibility Fundamentals Workshop – 3 hours of techniques on how to be more flexible and how it is directly correlated to strength, and Get Acro Workshop – which was also the first Acroyoga class I’ve attended. Continue reading On Dylan Werner’s Workshop, Yoga, and Going Beyond Yourself

Life experiments on madness, poetry of movement, and the great perhaps.