Wednesday, December 28, 2016

All New Revisions Available in Amazon

Got so very busy lately, polishing the chapters of my debut thriller/suspense novel, THE RED STAR TATTOO CONSPIRACY. It finally reaches the final stage and will be published in Amazon soon. Meanwhile, my two non-fiction books have all-new revisions.


TALES OF ROYAL TRAGEDIES, a book that retells the dark side of fairy tale. It compiles the most interesting tales of intrigues, controversies, scandals and tragedies that haunted the lives of the European royals down the centuries. Available in two editions: Paperback and Kindle. 

This book is also available in Amazon's channel of distributions, bookstores, online retailers. For those who are interested to place a bulk order for reselling, Amazon allows a direct order with special discounts. Thank you!

             You may place your order here:

                      AMAZON

           CREATESPACE E-STORE




THE QUIZ MASTER. A good source of knowledge and information. This smart quiz book allows you to embrace the world of trivia as one of the most effective ways to boost learning when you are tired enough to flip books. This is quite different from the usual quiz book you have read. The answer key is prepared in paragraphs as though you are reading a book of knowledge. It is an expanded version, presenting the detailed information of each answer. 

This trivia quiz book is spread into different categories: Business, General Information, Monarchy, History, Travel, Religion, Science and Technology, Literature, European Consorts. There's a bonus section included. Photo trivia featuring landmarks in the United States.

This book is also available in Amazon's channel of distributions, bookstores, online retailers. For those who are interested to place a bulk order for reselling, Amazon allows a direct order with special discounts. Thank you!

                                            You may place your order here:

                                                            AMAZON

                                               CREATESPACE E-STORE






Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Upcoming book: The Red Star Tattoo

I'll be publishing my debut novel soon.


The Red Star Tattoo is a thriller-suspense book primarily set in the state of Maine, USA. It follows the story of a woman who has been haunted by dark figures she believes the death squad of a shadowy group where her biological father was once a member. She believes that her red star tattoo has something to do with the haunt and her family's murder.

She moves from one place to another just to evade the death squad. In Portland, she marries a descendant of an aristocrat. Later she found out the marriage pushes her more to the center of the group's treachery.

In her quest to unmask the identities of her real enemies, she faces more layers of complications until she was accused of killing her husband. What happens thereafter are the series of events and layers of twists that will keep you to the edge.

This book is divided into three series and will be available for purchase in Amazon and Kindle. Please catch the updates on the upcoming release by liking our facebook page: The Red Star Tattoo Conspiracy

Thank you!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Let's Support Climate Change Advocacy

There's a dangerous environmental crisis that needs our attention. The global atmosphere is getting hot and the climate movement has drastically change. It seems the earth is heading to destruction.

Next to wars and hunger, global warming (the main cause why there's a massive change in our climate condition), is another problem of the world that directly affects humanity. It needs  an immediate action from world leaders. And citizens. There should be no excuses. Everyone should participate in this advocacy. 

Today, November 4, is the historic day where the Paris Agreement on Climate Change enters into force. Ninety seven countries already ratified the deal, except few countries, including the Philippines. 

What are the basic elements in the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement brings all nations to work on a common cause, that is to combat, if not, lessen the effect of climate change. It aims to strengthen the global response over the danger of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise into just 2 degrees celsius. This means that all nations must concentrate more and more on renewable energy rather than on nuclear and coal sources.

The agreement also aims to boost the countries' capacity to deal on the impacts of climate change. Appropriate financial and technological frameworks will be established to realize this goal, and aid vulnerable countries that lacked resources to implement and balance the deal. The agreement requires all parties/signatories to strengthen their efforts on nationally determined contributions. The agreement requires parties to regularly report their emissions and implementation efforts.

Climate change is a global phenomenon, therefore, requires the cooperation of all citizens. However, it is frustrating to know that some never actually care. What made things worse, there are individuals who are not even aware they have already contributed massively to the worsening condition of the atmosphere. 

The challenge to respond to the Paris Agreement 

As an ordinary citizen, how would we take the challenge to combat climate change? There are many ways, but as an individual, we can best respond to the challenge by understanding carbon footprints. We can't force the government to ditch the approval of coal plants or its efforts to support industrial revolution that consumes too much energy, but we can moderate our lifestyle.

Carbon footprints refer to the volume of carbon we generated/released to the atmosphere through our daily activities. Each action has a corresponding carbon footprint. The way we commute, the way we eat, the way we live. All these factors have a corresponding carbon footprint. 

How would we minimize our carbon footprint? 

Here are some ways:

1. Minimize consumption of dairy and meat products - Slaughter houses, animal rearing and dairy products processes consume too much heat and energy. It also produces tons of waste that contributes to the worsening condition of garbage disposal. All these activities release too much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

2. If the church, market, mall or any destination, are just a few distance, why not just walk instead of riding? It would not hurt if you just take few sacrifices for the sake of the environment. Walking, in fact benefits one's health.. Riding a bike is an excellent option. Or any cars that release few carbon dioxide. 

3. Conserve energy at home, or even water. Rainfall seeding has been popular in the past years. In our home, we have containers ready in case of rain. Utilize rain water on household cleaning, cars and gardens instead of metered water.

4. Always use environmentally-friendly products. And always recycle things in the house instead of throwing it immediately into the garbage. Use eco bags instead of plastic.

5. Avoid burning plastics, chemically-produced materials and electrical materials. It can cause damage to the atmosphere. 

6. Go organic and support urban farming. Grow vegetables and plants in the backyard, or in pots. This will help restore the coolness of the environment. 

7. Let's be aware with the classifications of products we used. Promote green products instead of chemically-produced ones. 

8. Avoid smoking in public. This is obviously dangerous to the environment, aside from the hazard it gives to everyone's health, smoking is toxic.

9. Utilize renewable/solar sources of energy instead of coal.

10. Minimize energy consumption at home and office. Go paperless on office transactions.


There are still tons of activities in our daily life that we can moderate to fight climate change. But the primary action is our awareness towards carbon footprints, this is an individual responsibility that should never be ignored.




World's Richest and Healthiest Nations

According to The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, these are the richest, healthiest, happiest and safest countries in the world, This list is based on their annual global prosperity index study, which ranks the most prosperous nations in the world.

The study ranked each country based on 89 variables, covering eight sub-indices that generally contribute to the country's prosperity: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, opportunities, education, health, safety, security, personal freedom and social capital.

Norway has been consistently topping the list for the past years.
Photo credit: Visit Norway


For 2016, these are the nations that made it to the top 15 list:

1. Norway (Europe) - This beautiful Scandinavian country topped the prosperity index of the institute, ranking high on every sub-index.

2. Switzerland (Europe) - It has the second highest rated economy in the world among the 145 countries and ranked best in governance.

3. Denmark (Europe) - Ranked second best in entrepreneurship and opportunity.

4. New Zealand (Oceania) - Ranked best in social capital.

5. Sweden (Europe) - Ranked best in entrepreneurship and opportunity.

6. Canada (North America) - Ranked best in personal freedom and the most tolerant 
of immigrants in the world.

7. Australia (Asia-Pacific/Australia)- Ranked best in educational system.

8. Netherlands (Europe) - Ranked high in education, social capital and economy.

9. Finland (Europe) - Ranked well in safety, security and governance.

10. Ireland (Europe) - Ranked well in safety and security.

11. USA (North America) - Ranked best in health and economy but fell short in safety

12. Iceland (Europe) - Ranked high in personal freedom, entrepreneurship, opportunity, safety.

13. Luxembourg (Europe) - Europe's remaining grand duchy ranked high in personal freedom, health, governance and economy.

14. Germany (Europe) - Ranked 5th as world's best economy, it also ranked high in health.

15. United Kingdom (Europe) - Ranked high in entrepreneurship, governance, opportunity and social capital.


Source: The Express Tribune
Date published: May 28, 2016
Retrieved: 2016 Nov.4

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Message of Conflict in Aleppo, Syria


The face of war.

The ongoing tension in Aleppo, Syria ran havoc to the lives of innocent civilians. It showed us a picture how civil war could ruin hopes and dreams and robbed off the essence of childhood among kids.

Hopefully, those in power and those who are directly involved in the mediation and negotiation for truce can finally find solutions to end the hostilities.

The conflict already left thousands of Syrians homeless. Hundreds had died. Thousands are wounded, both physically and emotionally. Children suffered in a way we could never imagined in a civilized world.

Even just watching scenes in the news, I could not imagine the terror they felt every time explosion rocks their homes. They seem to be waking up everyday under the madness of bombs and deaths and fleeing.Too much!

It hurts to see photos of children with faces drenched in blood everyday. Their innocence had been robbed off. Their concept of survival might have been shattered now. What life awaits them in the future if the conflict continues? 

The picture of the devastation provided me with so many realizations in life. That I should not fret with the mishaps I encountered in life now because somewhere in this world, there are people who suffered too much more than the misery I felt. That I should not complain with the slight discomfort because somewhere had undergone a more horrifying ordeal.

Watching Syrian refugees fled their country and went elsewhere only to be shut off with doors made me to think what happen to humanity. Why others are hostile to them when they need badly our support? 

Watching children died, houses burned and city being bombed allowed me some moment of contemplation, not about myself, but about my mission in life. How can I contribute in my own little way to make their lives comfortable? How can I reach out to them and give them a message that despite everything, this world is still a beautiful place to live in? Prayers, yes, true enough, but I know there's more into it. They need direct support.

Now, I am hoping I will be given an opportunity to work on humanitarian causes. A volunteerism act to any UN-affiliated organizations perhaps. I want to help those children pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and motivate them that life is still worth living, that the world in general is not really hostile. That there's still hope somewhere.

Yes, there's a huge humanitarian crisis out there that needs immediate response.

As I mature, I realized that life is totally unfulfilled if we won't go out and help make this world a better place to live in. That itt's part of our mission to safeguard God's creation. That we are not born just to enjoy the vastness of the universe for our own satisfaction and happiness but God put us here because there's a massive mission to be taken to help those who are in gravely need, That serving others is part of our moral obligation to the world.

I've long been dreaming to study documentary film making because I want to make documentaries about the environment, humanitarian causes and other social issues. I want to develop a new voice, that sends a message of hope to everyone. That there are stories of social awareness waiting to be told.  

I am a huge supporter of environmental causes that promote awareness on climate change and global warming. I want to create a documentary about carbon footprints. Only few people are aware that we are massive contributor, individually, to the worsening condition of the atmosphere. Almost all of us did not know that our lifestyle has been the culprit of the proliferation of carbon dioxide. And yet, we continue to ignore this fact.

Now, I realized that, there's a more devastating crisis that needs our attention. The chaos in Syria and other nations torn with war. The plight of refugees. The innocent children. The displaced lived. They all need our immediate response of support and sympathy.

For now, I am still powerless to respond to the call of this humanitarian crisis other than offer my prayers. Me too is suffering from a certain form of misery :-) But I am taking effort, with the help of prayers, that hopefully one of these days God will hear all the desires of my heart so that I've enough resources to go out there, take the mission and reach out to those in need. And finally fulfill my long-standing wishes to take part actively on many causes that promote solidarity, peace and a more sustainable world, free from war, misery and misunderstanding,

Hopefully this won't take long. I am particularly in awe towards others, taking a mission to save the environment, promoting awareness on climate change, helping destitute people improved their lives. Someday, I want to do the same. Hoping I could travel around the world to motivate people and make a huge difference.

Praying for the people in Aleppo, Syria and those who have been displaced of war. May the\suffering they experienced right now will soon be healed and be replaced with comfort and joy. May God draw them to His consoling embrace. May peace finally reign in their lives.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Early Morning Idling

It's 3:00 AM! I just finished polishing the last 20 chapters of my book and it's quite fascinating that I still have enough energy left to surf the net :-D I'll wait until exhaustion compels me to jump off my bed.

While aimlessly clicking several links in the web, I came across a community where writers, agents, editors and publishers meet and share experiences, publishing stories and everything about the ups and downs in the writing field. I learned a lot from the stories and tips in honing the craft!

Then something hits my mind. Updating this site! It's been a while since my last post. So while I was gathering thoughts what to say here, I re-read my previous posts and the page section, and I am now cringing big time haha! 

Yaks! I've so many grammar blunders and bad feeling posts hehe!

Alright. When you are writing a blog post, the first thing that always comes in your mind is to tell a story, making it perfect (no grammatical errors) only comes second and most of the time, I would not mind editing it because I am always running out of time. One of these days, I'll go over it once more.

And I shared so many disappointment in life here :-D. Yeah, that's what online journal is all about. To write it down to be relieved. It's crazy to think how I'd gone through with all those bad emotions. But it's normal, we all have to experience sadness, feeling of rejection and emptiness of all shorts, maybe due to biological cycle. But once I can spill it out through writing, everything becomes alright and I am very motivated again. 

As time goes by, and as I mature, I learn to find balance in life whenever emotional mayhem hits me. And always believe that today might be a bad day but tomorrow things will get better.

I am revising my two non-fiction books and this will take like ages. And I still can't commit one hundred percent, I am still editing my book. I've so many "to-do" stuff to accomplish!

How time flew so fast.

It's past 3:00 AM it's really time to take a break.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Literary Festival

One of the rarest occasions in the country where a festival for readers and writers is organized, but in as much as I wanted to attend I am stuck right now with tons of editing stuff for my debut novel. I need to finish this task before the end of this month so I am home-bound for the whole week :-D 

I am also working for the new editions of my two books, Tragedies in the Royal Court and Timeless Charm of Saigon and Vietnam, so it's impossible for me to go out even for one day. So sad to miss this very rare opportunity.



For everyone who may want to attend, Philippine Readers and Writers Festival will be held at the Raffles Makati from August 26 to August 28, 2016, admission is free. Registration is at 8:30 AM, Books of guest authors will be available onsite during the event. Hopefully, next time I can attend the event, not only as a reader but as an author :-D

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Navigating a Stormy Sea

...Is how I described my current life now.


But like most folks who bathed themselves with the sunshine of positivism, I am now seeing things differently, more on the brighter side of life. Life has twists and turns and it's impossible not to fail at something in life. And just like the old adage about "wine". We are tougher as we age. Positive people get better with age. So, I don't need to worry too much. 

I should not spend each day wondering why things turn out badly or why a certain aspect in my life is not as rosy as the sun-kissed beach in French Polynesia. Everything happens for a reason. I should not let negativism and failures ruin the prospect of success. There's always a perfect time of everything. There's no reason to be morose. It's time to rework things, rebuild shattered dreams and restructure plans. I know I am getting there. I only need patience. 

Catching the tide of success and fulfillment is like maneuvering a boat in a stormy sea, we have to constantly grip on the rudder to secure the boat and fight the windy ocean. The journey could be perilous but as long as we secure the rudder with our strong hands and faith, we would never be tossed away to the dangerous sea. And will arrive in the seashore unscathed.

Monday, June 27, 2016

That Big Hole

After years of undergoing too many snags, larger-than-life, heart-wrenching rejections and failures and defeats in almost all aspects, I still find myself stuck in the same winding route. And I am now on the edge of everything.

My life looks like a ball of misery. Like there's a big curse wagging somewhere in my journey. And as days progress, this big curse beginning to look like a huge hole. Like some sort of a circle, put somewhere, across the curve where the earth constantly rotates, and I have to pass at this big hole to reach a certain dimension of happiness and success. This big hole is challenging me to sprint under the blazing fire.

So while my journey inches me closer to that big hole, I am trying my best not to falter, not to turn back. Because there's no point to turn back, We all need to pass in that big hole. There's no way to go but cross that hole. So I have no choice but to keep moving.

Seeing all these dark patterns, I figured, the hole looks like an eternal agony, a never-ending terrain of a thorny trail and slush and strewn shrubs of mayhem. Everywhere I turn, I see nothing but jagged cliff and bluffs and steeped valley, dotted by winding path of failures.

This big hole of the earth looks like a battle field. And the ammunition I carried at the start of the journey were already fired long before I reached this jagged terrain of life, and now I've nothing left but a bare hand, an empty sack. And no one seems to offer a free hand to pull me from the slush.

I tried pushing myself to go on but it seems there's a wide hurdle blocking my way. Everywhere I go, things seem not doing well. No one looks at me the way I should be perceived. No one seems to care. And I am on the verge of breaking down. All my effort, my weapon, my confidence were crushed. My self-confidence deteriorated and I am at my worst.

Now I am gaping over to the big hole. It's perilous. But there's no other way but to go on,

I am trying to reignite my appetite in life. I should consider this huge hole as a test of my character, my strength, my stamina, to see how far I could go. I am taking my chances to restart my steps to overcome the hurdle. Because the rule of life is not to turn back.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Writing a Synopsis

Alright, it's Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday (yesterday, April 21). I should be writing something about Her Majesty in my ROYAL BLOG. She reaches the age in which none among her predecessors in the history of the British monarchy ever achieved. The closest was her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who died in 1901 at the age of 81. But the current British Queen is 90! Such a rare milestone! And at 64 years on the throne, the queen surpasses Queen Victoria as the longest-serving British monarch in history.

But haven't wrote anything about Her Majesty. I am too preoccupied with my own reverie. Pondering how to improve the first five chapters of my book, The Red Star Tattoo. So many aspects to improve and develop before re-sending queries. My brain is muddled up with so many ideas and concepts and scripts.

However, my time table for this project seems catching up with too many entanglements. First, I cannot seem to stick with my calendar.of research and submissions. Second, it seems I am stressing out myself too much, worries about my script, things that might go wrong, the idea of rejections. Third, I should be sticking with my priorities -- writing a perfect query letter and synopsis.

I am re-writing my query letter now. But seems could not find my momentum in polishing the synopsis. It's funny to think that after completing the 340 pages of the book, I've a hard time writing the two pages of the synopsis. Haha! 

Writing a concise synopsis that rocks seems to be the most tricky part in a manuscript submission. It should be written briefly and in style. It tells the direction of the story, the highlight of the book and the most interesting twist that hooks readers. Most often than not, it is where the literary agents judge your capacity as a writer, the flow of your thoughts and the value of the book itself. 

So I am carefully writing the synopsis of my book now, concentrating and pouring all my time, commitment and energy to this tricky part of the submission process.. I hope I can come up with an attention-grabbing piece. My book is now complete. I have so much fate for this project, I am confident this will leave a mark in the suspense genre. 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

A-Not-So-Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday. 

But instead of manifesting a rosy disposition, I sank into mayhem. Wondering why there seems to be an endless story of rejections and an overflowing stream of complications hovering in my horizon right now. This question "Where did I go wrong with my life plans?" has been all too present in my diary and I am sick and tired of it.

Failures after failures and rejections after rejections, it seems I could not find my rhythm how to keep my balance and lift up myself from adversities. As if something somewhere is always wrong and I ended up watching myself bowed to defeat. Heaven! What's going on with my life!

I am undergoing rejections of all sorts. No one wants to take me in or at least give me an opportunity to prove my worth. I felt so useless that I often spent the whole night in tears. What's wrong with me?? I've been brought up to always be on top and grew up very competitive but why I ended up in the basement of life? 

Although failures and disappointments have been part of human existence and people are set to endure all kinds of sufferings, my share of all these nuisances and frustrations has been overshooting the limit that my self-confidence is slowly disintegrating. I am on the brink of giving up. God forbids!

But then again, I have no reason to ask God why because He knows what's best for everyone. Everything happens for a reason. and His plans are better than mine. All I need to do now is hold on to my faith and look on the brighter side of life.

So I am recoiling in my station, trying to analyze the torrent of setbacks that's been gushing in my path, scrutinizing why things got out of hand, why I can't seem to find my momentum to get things going or why the flow of failures and rejections seems unstoppable.

I know that quitting on my dreams is the most insane idea so I need to be strong to endure all these mishaps. I also keep reminding myself that failures are temporary, it's not going to be like this everyday. One of these days, things change, the story of my life will change and I will see a gleam of light filtering through the chinks of this dark room I am currently in.

You know when failures and rejections of all sorts hit, it really hits big time and it takes a stronger heart or a different level of maturity to overcome these horrific trepidation. I know it's not yet the end of the world and I am not experiencing a quarter life crisis. I just need enough time to figure out what's the best option to formulate to overcome this barrage of failures.

What I appreciate about my maturity is my ability to adjust with the cruelty of time, with the hostility of the environment. I know discrimination is everywhere. It is massive. On age, race, roots, status, background, and I've been undergoing it which crashes my spirit but nothing will happen in my life if I will let myself succumb to self-pity.

People or even the whole world will discredit me or mock my capacity, but at the end of the day, it's still me who can control my life, so I'll steer it to where I need to grow as an individual. According to the principles of life, people are destined to experience a major setback once in a lifetime because life is a balance between sadness and happiness, failure and success, disappointment and contentment. How to endure it, will determine the person's toughness, emotional maturity and ability to cope up with life's dark ordeal.

I am tough and mature enough to overcome all these major setbacks. There's no such thing as too late or too old to begin something great. Everyone can make a  new beginning at any point in life. Age, race, roots, background, status never matter in the end, they have nothing to do with one's capacity to excel and make a big splash in life. What matters is the correct mindset and determination to make things happen.

So I am spending my birthday today in intense contemplation and self-evaluation how to get back on track with my plans. I need to stop grieving over lost opportunities or why such and such rejected me or why it seems no one wants to take me in. I resolve to just dismiss each blunder as a wake up call to improve my craft and keep myself better. Now, I began viewing those rejections and failures as tools to keep me grounded. 

Life has been very generous. Despite all the slip-ups that I've been experiencing the past years, I am very grateful that God has given me enough wisdom to broaden my horizon and remain optimistic. It keeps me more resilient and determined.

As the night falls, I am thanking God for giving me another year to live, to see the beauty of the world and appreciate His goodness and generosity, for giving me another chance to realize my goals, another opportunity to rebuild my lost hope and dreams and keep moving. 

Someday, my life story will flow into a nicer plot. Someday, everything will tilt into the right direction and the world will smile at me. Thank you dear God for another lease of life and for keeping me safe and healthy everyday. 

I am up for super big things this year, I am claiming it now. and I know it won't take long, I am trusting God's master plan because His time is always perfect.

Monday, February 29, 2016

5 Things I learned in Writing

Writing is hardwork and it does not make one an expert overtime. It needs focus and determination and practice, a lot of practice. And for everyone to succeed as a writer, that glowing desire and passion to write must be kept alive everyday.

It's not easy to extract thoughts out of the mind and convert it to words and paragraphs and without passion and determination to write, finishing a book or even an article could be a little harder.

I discovered my passion in writing long before I entered high school. Although my favorite subject in my elementary years was "araling panlipunan" (social studies and everything about geography), I find storytelling a delightful diversion. Books went on to become my favorite friends back in my younger days.

My love affair with writing emanates from my passion in reading books, literature and storytelling, until I got the hang of it. Then I started writing my first diary in grade six. I also tried rewriting the drama I heard over the radio into the kind of plot I wanted for the story.

In my high school years, I started writing manuscripts for school plays but it was not until I finished college that I tried writing fiction stories. It did not develop into finished books though because of my regular job, schedule was not comfortable. It was even difficult when I took up my masteral. Nonetheless, I kept the manuscripts.

I felt my writing ability still not fully develop and needed some improvement along the way, so I honed my skills through reading books related to writing and editing. I also did blogging to practice the craft and ventured into content writing online.

Finally, last year, I felt it was time to pour my energy into my manuscripts. I started writing my full-length novel, seven months later, my precious suspense book was born and ready to conquer the world of publishing. 

I felt a sigh of relief and while waiting for positive responses from the literary agents I queried, I am looking back how far I've gone in my writing journey and what are the things I learned from it. Rechecking some of those, I realized the following are the most important.

1. Write even when you're not in the mood

Sometimes my appetite in writing sinks and I don't feel like doing it. But writing is a commitment and entails a lot of self-discipline so even if I couldn't find my rhythm to write or seems not in the mood to put ideas into words I would force myself to extract my thoughts. I can find ways how to trick myself to keep things going. I'll get up and go out, fill my lungs with fresh air, do body stretching and dance exercise, drink green tea, eat pancakes. Then I would feel better and ideas started flowing out of my mind,

2. Fall in love with your story

In novel writing, crafting scenes can be very difficult. Sometimes I would find myself being stuck in one scene without any idea what to do next or where to bring my characters. But I found one trick how to keep things moving --- falling in love with the story. As I motivate myself where to go next and what scenes to write, my deep attachment toward the plot develops which fueled my energy to keep writing until  ideas of the succeeding chapters start to flow. 

3. Eradicate self-defeating thoughts

It is essential to criticize yourself because it's one way of improving. Constructive criticism I guess is necessary to give rooms for development. But destructive criticism is not healthy. Sometimes I would doubt myself (I'm not as good as Stephenie Meyer. My book sucks. No one's gonna accept this for publication), but I soon realized those self-defeating thoughts would never bring me anywhere so I tried eradicating those doubts and got up and told myself everyone started from the bottom and I am no exemption. 

4. Focus. Focus

While writing my book, I learned that distractions can be anywhere, both mental and emotional distractions. I was so anxious that the idea of failure was rampaging in my brain like a deadly hurricane. But I bounced back and told myself "At least I tried". So I diverted my attention learning my craft, improving it and continue polishing my book. And focus on my strengths and ability that I can make it.

5. Writing is a total commitment

Everyday, I would find time to write, not because someone is asking or expecting it but because I always feel that writing is a commitment and continue to be nurtured. A dedicated writer should write everyday to improve the skill more. So, whether it's a blogpost, an open letter to myself (for the things that went wrong) an article contribution or a plot scene, I always set aside few minutes of my day (sometimes at night time before I go to sleep) to write a short article or even two paragraphs describing my day, my feeling, my idea of a certain event or even a short review of a restaurant. Maybe because I love talking or sharing stuff. That's why I considered blogging as an extension of myself. Writing gives my soul a time to rest, so blogging is like a sanctuary, a hangout place where I could talk and be myself. I find peace and contentment in writing.



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Abstaining from the Social Media

How can we resist the lure of social media? It is already part of our daily routines and it feels like something in life is missing, as if we are a civilization behind, if we can’t open Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in one day.

And as the world continues to rotate in the orbit of modern technology, the social networking sites become a natural pattern. In fact, it is being utilized by others to connect with friends and love ones that if they can’t search you in Facebook, they will think you’re dead.

I find it very diverting too. Checking what’s going on in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram satisfies me. I saw an extension of myself. I can talk. I can share my knowledge through posting comments. I can follow my favorite celebrities and sports personalities. I can read freshest news.

Recently, I became addicted to Twitter (It’s more peaceful there than the chaotic world of Facebook) because I love it when I post a status update and no one is prying. None in my circle of friends seem active in Twitter.

It is also home to real people. I mean, yeah, world figures and popular stars utilized it to express their thoughts. In Twitter and Instagram, I can follow my favorite celebrities and athletes and read their daily updates. I also discovered the delight of adding arts to tweets, so I downloaded cool emojis to give life to my posts.

But moment by moment, I felt there’s something wrong with the way people treated the social media, specifically Facebook. Too much bragging, too much bashing, too much hates, too much annoyances, so much so that I felt my head is ready to explode with overwhelming information and nuisances.

Then my home page has been flooded lately with irksome news and status updates that thoroughly disillusioned me as it became the source of my displeasure. Often, I would end up my day in distraction instead of peace. As if my head is in so much chaos. Too much engagement in social media seems providing me with so many things to worry than the satisfaction I craved.

So I decided to go back to the basic, as if today is 1990s all over again, a decade where there was nothing to fuss online, where my creativity was at its peak, where school breaks and holidays were spent in reading, writing manuscripts and playing outdoor with friends, where lunch breaks were spent in conversation with office mates than browsing smartphones and tablets.

I need a break. My brain needs a space to think. My mind needs to be reset. My soul needs a moment of silence, to figure out what’s going on with my life. BREAK from everything. I want to recapture my lost dream, build it again and reconnect the dot of those shattered pieces.

ABSTAIN from social media. This is what I have decided after days of enduring down moments due to the news I read and the nuisances in Facebook and Twitter.

Curbing a social networking sites addiction is very timely because it is lent season, a period of sacrifices, simplicity and shunning off luxury and comfort. So I’ll give up utilizing the social media and resolved not to visit my accounts until Easter Sunday. Could this be possible? I guess. Let me see it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Adding Spice to the Spike!

It’s another season of intense collegiate volleyball actions in the country as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) has just kicked off its all new exciting season 78 volleyball tournament. 

The opening ceremony happened last January 31, 2016 with a highly charged opening action at the Filoil Flying V arena in San Juan, Metro Manila.The highlight of the starting day was a match between two powerhouse teams in the women's division, the Ateneo de Manila University and the National University.

This season will also mark the journey of the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles to a path of a rare circumstance in sports - clenching a historic 3-peat victory. The Katipunan-based squad won back to back championships for seasons 76 and 77 and determined to grab the title for the third time.

The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles 
with their coach, Tai Bundit. Photo credit: Leo Lopez of volleyball ph

Not just sexy and pretty girls but smart hitters too.
Maddie, Alyssa, Bea and Jho celebrating their win against NU. 
 Photo credit: Rappler

Watching the girls opened their title defense bid last Sunday, I could see how they maintained composure as a team amidst a slow run, manifesting their desire to snatch a third straight championship. The mark of a champion was evident, and after trailing behind the NU Lady Bulldogs in the first and second sets, they successfully bounced back and went on to sweep the game in 3 straight sets. 

I saw the massive improvements of two middle blockers, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag. Although Bea already proved her craft during the collegiate conference of the Shakey's V-League last year where she took home the second best middle blocker accolade, her swings and attacks recently developed perfectly. She can now unleash a powerful hard kill! Oh this cutie doll is simply stunning! 

Maddie is another charming hitter. She was a revelation during the opening day, she surprised everyone with her refurbished hard-hitting attacks and blocking prowess, so much so that she instantly earned a moniker, Mad-hitter. 

Alyssa Valdez, arguably the most famous female volleyball player in the country today, is always the phenomenal spiker in the Philippines, no doubt about it, she is alone in her pedestal at least for this time, and wherever spot in the court she whirls, she will surely release an atomic bomb spike. Amy Ahomiro, Jho Maraguinot and Jia Morado with Bea and Maddie, complete a picture-perfect wheel of the finest first six starters in the league. 

Unlike other teams where only 3 or 4 players out of their first six starters can pull a strong performance in every set, the first starting lineup of the Ateneo squad (Alyssa, Jho, Amy, Bea, Maddie and Jia) can deliver an awesome action right away in the first set, in fact all of them contribute in the scoring board each game. 

And well, everyone is aware that the lineup of the Ateneo women’s volleyball team is always filled with smart and pretty girls, which often left me wondering if good looks is an integral part of the recruitment process. Why Ateneo women's volleyball team is often composed of posh and beautiful girls? Someone should explain this. Haha!

The middle blockers alone, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, looked like cutie Korean dolls with their lovely faces, chinky eyes and flawless skin. How could you ignore such adorable cuties making a leap over the net? The cameras love them as well, they're so charming! 

UAAP's charming mannequins.
Bea De Leon (#14) and Maddie Madayag (#17)
Massive improvements in blocking and attacks but these girls are also known with their pretty faces and bubbly personalities. Photo credit to the owner.

The Ateneo Lady Eagles are not only known with their smart playing tactics but also with their unique charm and cuteness, but what caught my attention during the opening day as they entered the court was the sexy shorts! Oh God why the design so skimpy? I thought it was only a warm-up piece.

The Lady Eagles donned a new uniform in an explosive sexy fashion. Although the top jersey almost remained the same, the shorts (or was it a cycling short?) looked hot and seductive! The girls can unleash a deadly attack, yes, but oh boy the new sexy short really rocks! It enhances their allures, they appeared even prettier and hotter inside the volleyball court. ADDING SPICE TO THE SPIKE!! 


Last Sunday, February 7, they engaged in a challenging match against the UST Golden Tigresses, they struggled in third set, but the Lady Eagles pulled up their combined skills, displaying their smartness and strong character as a team during the fourth set. They went on to win the game, posting a 20-0 run since season 76, making them a formidable team in the league! Again, the sexy shorts added some sultry attraction. :-D

What made the whole thing really attractive is that the Ateneo Lady Eagles are composed of lean, tall and magnetic girls, with creamy complexion and fantastic body tone, so whatever fabric they will don in court, expect an enthralling appearance. This new uniform is just another spicy component of their stylish and classy look in the volleyball court.

Fly high Lady Eagles! Photo credit to the owner

On February 10, 2016, Wednesday, the squad will face another strong team in the league, the FEU. But I am confident they could pull a string for a classic performance again. Their appearance last February 7 against UST was not as near as feisty as they clambered way down their usual winning moves. But the squad has always been known with their highly intensified teamwork, and after making several adjustments, the Lady Eagles soared high, shutting off the door on UST to claim the fourth set and their second straight win for this season. 

This Wednesday, the ladies will once again show their winning form and I am wishing them all the best for this match. However, I am wondering if they will still wear the same uniform or will have another alternate design? I noticed, they wore the same jersey in two successive outings :-D and oh, the chic plum footwear of the girls also pulls attention.

More exciting volleyball actions from these gorgeous ladies as the tournament continues! I am hoping they can sweep the elimination round again. It might not be as easy as sprinting over the net as all teams have been stepping up, eager to knock them off from the top position but I know they can wind off the obstacles. Considering their strong character as a team, their resilience and ability to bounce back from a slow run and their burning desire to achieve a 3-peat victory, this clean sweep hope is not far behind. 

Shine Lady Eagles, fly high!


I have just finished writing a book, my debut novel, and already pitched literary agents in the US to represent this project to book publishers. I am dedicating this book to the Ateneo Lady Eagles. Although the story is far from being sporty as it follows a suspense genre, some of the names of the characters honored the Lady Eagles. 

The heroine's name, Isabel Beatriz, is attributed to Bea De Leon, while the name of Alyssa takes one of the interesting characters that will shape the thrill in the story. And Maddie's name also appears. Can't wait for this book to be published traditionally!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Climate Change Awareness through Carbon Footprints Reduction

Climate Change is often viewed as the result of the warming of the atmosphere, thus, also known as global warming. This phenomenon occured due to the increase in the average measured temperature of the earth's atmosphere and oceans.

According to several research studies, the warming of the earth's surface is the result of the massive presence of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Human activities, such as the use of fossil fuels (coal, crude oil and natural gas), irresponsible cutting of trees, deforestation and excessive energy consumption are the primary causes of climate change. Other contributors include population density, traffic, food production and transportation, 

In November 2015, world leaders,through the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris, France, came up with a global agreement on the reduction of climate change by keeping the world temperature below 2 degrees centigrade. This is quite ambitious considering that the world is inching towards a highly industrialized environment which demands more energy consumption.

However, as ambitious as it may sound, keeping the global temperature well below 2 degrees centigrade is doable as long as everyone will cooperate. It cannot be achieved alone by the government, it needs a full cooperation and support of individuals. 

We can do something to help the government completely achieve the Paris Agreement. Let's start with Carbon Footprint Awareness.

Carbon Footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases caused by any human activities, it can be committed by an organization, a product or individual. It is usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide. 

So to help reduce climate change, we should start reducing our carbon footprints. Let's begins with our mind set and lifestyle. Here are different ways how to do it:

1. Look for alternative to riding a car - if your destination is just around the corner or within a few distance, consider walking instead of riding a car, bike is another good alternative, just pay attention to safety. Transportation is one of the primary causes of carbon emissions.

2. Choose a low carbon vehicle - If you insist to drive a car, choose an environmentally-friendly car, or better, electric cars, especially those charged with clean electricity and solar panels, they emit no carbon dioxide.

3. Turn off lights/unplugged appliances at home when not in use -  The assumption that energy consumption is in full rest when the appliances are switched off is true provided the plug should be pulled off.

4. Consume organic food, if possible, the locally-produced varieties - Greenhouse gas emissions partially attributed to food production. Non-organic food productions contained massive fertilizers, and aside from the danger it caused to the human body, these are also fossil fuel-based, thus, organic food varieties are highly recommended because these are produced naturally. 

5. Cut on meat consumption - Meat consumption is not only harmful to the human body but also to the environment. It requires tons of resources to raise animals and its production is another contributor to carbon emissions.

6. Control water usage -  Everyday the environment depletes water for household or industrial usage, this creates havoc to our natural resources, thus, individuals must be responsible with their water consumption. In your home, try to install a huge water bucket/reservoir for rain water grafting, this can be utilized for cleaning cars, cleaning the entire household. .

7. Turn off computer when not in use - Or better consider using PC energy-saving technology.

8. Utilization of email - instead of printing documents in the office, send it via email to the recipients.

9. Grow plants in your backyard -  Everyone knows that trees and plants are vital in the preservation of our planet. It traps harmful gases from penetrating the atmosphere, it also reduces the warming of our environment.

10. Choose economy class for air travel - Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge made headlines when he decided to fly through an economy class accommodation, his reason: help reduce carbon footprints of air travel. Business class has more energy consumption than the economy class.

11. Be a green environment advocate - Let us support the green environment advocacy, this is the most practical way to reduce our carbon footprints. Following a green living lifestyle not only promotes a healthier life but also helps maintain a cooler, safer and cleaner atmosphere. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

People of My Year 2015

My sixth year of creating this list. 

But unlike in the past where I mostly honored the people in my circle, for 2015, I created a different list to pay tribute to the extraordinary people I admired and whom I was in great awe for the most part of 2015.

I hardly know them (except for Pope Francis because he is the head of the Catholic church I belonged) but I drew inspiration and motivation from their awesomeness, providing me enough reasons to be grateful about life, to smile despite the roller coaster ride of struggle and to look back at 2015 as the year of discovery, learning and amazement. Each of them possessed admiring qualities that set them apart from the rest of the people I stumbled in the news or saw on TV.

POPE FRANCIS

He brought lights to every room he entered. Indeed, the Holy Father is a man of compassion.

He is a man of deep humility and love, and his message of mercy touches the tenet of Christianity, that benevolence is the most basic embodiment of a Christian life.

His modest lifestyle and effort to maintain a poor church raised eyebrows from critics. As Head of the State of Vatican, his role tied with perks, privileges and luxury but he made sure early on that he wanted to emulate the life of St. Francis of Assisi whom he attributed his regnal name. St. Francis was a rich man but he gave up his wealth to serve the poor and the church, he thoroughly became the great reformer of the Catholic church.

The Roman Pontiff shun luxury and chose to live in a simple quarter shared with visiting priests instead of taking residence at the luxurious Papal palace. He also declined to wear the red velvet Prada shoes traditionally worn by Popes (a decision he shared with Pope John Paul II who also refused to wear the same shoes during his tenure in the Papacy) because it signifies luxury. He also installed shower rooms within the Vatican wall for the homeless.

His first priority during the first year of his reign was to bring back the trust and respect by Catholic believers to the church marred by controversies. He exhausted effort to reform the Roman Curia haunted by corruption issues and began investigating the allegations of abuses committed by priests and bishops.

The pope is also known for his concern toward the environment and often heard urging world leaders to work together for environmental causes. His social encyclical about Climate Change was so influential it paved the way for powerful government leaders to come together and craft a committed goal to fight the hazardous effect of the global warming, ultimately framing a doable agreement during the COP21 in Paris, France.

He had visited the Philippines in January 2015 and it was a heartwarming experience. I attended the Papal Mass on January 18, 2015 at the Luneta, shoving against the sea of people and sprinting over the barricades just to reach the Quirino grandstand. Luckily, I emerged unscathed from the horde of people. It was a moment of personal healing, tears, joy and celebration, motivating me even more to establish a stronger relationship with my faith and with God.



PRINCE PHILIP, THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH

Those who are following my Royal Blog are aware that the Queen’s husband is my favorite British royal. I like his strong character, his ability to handle criticism and his devotion to his role as prince consort.

Critics would claim that the Duke of Edinburgh lacks refinement because of his sharp tongue. He has been known of dishing off-beat comments in public. His humor often rankled the liberals and the conservatives and misinterpreted his outspokenness as invasive bordering arrogance. 

For them, he is a bit of a character, but for me he is the amazing Duke of Edinburgh who spent his life protecting the reign of his wife from scandals and controversies. I like his openness and sense of humor, it makes him more totally connected with the modern world.

He never flinched. He stroke back like a thunderbolt when confronted. In an effort to become a productive prince consort, Prince Philip has taken his role to the extreme beyond wave, smile and nod, thus, often touted as the hardest working British royal.

His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh is not your ordinary man. He was born a royal prince, HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and was sixth in line of succession to the Greek throne when he was forced to relinquish his royal title to marry the then Princess Elizabeth.

A grandson of a King (George I of Greece), a great great grandson of a Queen (Victoria of England), a great great great grandson of an Emperor (Nicholas I of Russia), Philip is more royal than the Queen. He is also a decorated war veteran (a navy officer at the outbreak of World War II), a staunch defender of the firm (the royal family’s term for the British monarchy) and the longest serving British prince consort in history.

He is the last true-blooded European prince to marry into the British royal family (coincidentally, the last true-blooded European princess to marry into the British royal family was his first cousin, Princess Marina, the wife of Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent). Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are third cousins through Queen Victoria and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. Most royal families in Europe are their cousins through the intermarriages of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX's children.

In 2015, he had taken more public engagements than the outsider, Kate Middleton, endearing him more to the royalists. At 94, Prince Philip is still sprightly active, mentally and physically able, gracing official events, attending ceremonial functions expected from the prince consort and taking official tours with the Queen. Despite his age and some health issues, the prince showed no signs of slowing down. Long live Prince Philip!



MARCO LOBREGAT

One afternoon, while watching Real Talk (CNN Philippines), I saw him seated as one of the guests. At first I thought he was a foreigner, sort of a Latino cutie, because he looked like one of those Mexican hot boys I saw in Latin soap operas. 

As minutes progressed, I changed my mind and concluded he could be a Greek businessman promoting some ventures in the country. He was dapper in his suit and the contour of his face resembled a Balkan hunk.

But he spoke with an American twang and in some instances, looked like the younger version of Wolverine, a.k.a Hugh Jackman. So I finally stopped guessing his nationality. Then Gizelle Sanchez teased him if he could speak Tagalog. Duh! He is after all, a Filipino (laugh!).

He smiled. And it felt like the Southern Hemisphere had tilted to an alarming angle! It was like “My God he’s so charming!”, he flashed a wide grin, I mean that glinting boyish smile I rarely noticed in dapper men. The last time I appreciated that kind of shimmering chuckle was when I saw James Franco twirled in the building in Spiderman and landed in front of MJ flashing his breathtaking smile.

Then things got so utterly awesome. He discussed issues/topics closest to my heart – awareness on farming, organic living and health and wellness advocacy. As a nature lover and a green environment advocate, green living is something I always take seriously. I rarely eat meat. I prefer whole grain products than any other food varieties.

And he is a mushroom farmer! 

With the exemption of Prince Charles, the future King of England, himself an environmentalist, I have not heard anyone in Marco’s caliber (gorgeous, privilege, rich, highly cultured, always on the go) expressed so much interest in farming, it seems men in the modern world care nothing but urban living and gadgets. Hearing a glamorous guy taking interest in farming and the country living crusade is absolutely awe-inspiring!!

Coincidentally, I love mushroom since I was a child. My father, an environmentalist, never used MSG when cooking food, so we consumed mushroom a lot, because, just like seaweed and tomato, mushroom has a natural component that enhances food taste. When I was still working in Davao, I cooked mushroom concoctions every weekend.

I was so intrigued and enthralled that right after watching Real Talk, I began googling him, my God, so silly! haha! I discovered that, well aside from having a girlfriend, he has a TV show, Green Minds, on Lifestyle TV every Sunday night. Terrific! Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch it because I am so poor and our TV is still medieval. I’m finding ways now how to catch up with the past episodes, still contemplating if youtube is the best option J

I admired Marco not only because he is smart, charming and irresistible but because he’s a man who has a big heart for the environment. I like his advocacy. I always admired people who express so much concern and protection about the mother earth, the significance of green living, health and wellness and who take extra mile doing important causes for humanity.  So rare in today's generation of  sophisticated men! Godbless you Marco!


BEA DE LEON 

Bea is one athlete that is so loaded with tons of charm and cuteness. This gorgeous Ateneo Lady Eagle is not only pretty and a beauty queen material but also a powerful hitter in the volleyball court.

In a sport like volleyball where physical toughness is required and where women are not supposed to act like ladies but expected to dive, leap, spin, gallop, lurch, shove here and there, break cartilages and do other daredevil stunts over the net, it is very rare to see female volleyball players maintained an aura of prettiness while the match is broiling. But Bea is an exemption, she still exudes loveliness  even during the crucial game. I often dubbed her as a cutie Korean doll, like other Ateneo Lady Eagle, the charming Maddie Madayag.

One of my wishes is really to meet both Bea and Alyssa and have a sweet conversation over food. Someday, I hope the orbit of our world will finally collide. And due to my fascination toward this stunning hitter, I named my heroine in the suspense book, The Red Star Tattoo, after her. I already sent queries to literary agents who could possibly represent my work to a publisher and hopefully I can receive a positive feedback one of these days. 

Bea De Leon is a rising star of volleyball in the country and, granting her skills and devotion to the v-ball sports, I am confident she could reach the pinnacle of her career as a volleyball player. Her star continues to shine and will be at its brightest comes the UAAP season 78 WV. Can’t wait! 

Click here for More about Bea


ALYSSA VALDEZ 

The phenomenal volleyball player in the Philippines! No doubt about it. Alyssa, the current team captain of the Ateneo Lady Eagles, raised the bar and elevated the popularity of volleyball in a country dominated by basketball. Her mastery as an outside hitter is almost in no-match as of the present time.

She is always a breather and a game changer. During game 1 of the finals of the Shakey’s V-League season 12 Reinforced Conference, Alyssa surprised everyone by showing in the second set.

Her presence was very crucial for the Ultera. Down by two sets and struggling in third set, the team’s hope to seize game 1 was bleak. But Alyssa became explosive, in a nail-biting fashion and a skill unique only to her, she displayed a heart-stopping performance that sealed her fate as the country’s phenomenal volleyball player.

Hurling three powerful attacks and two aces, she crawled the set to a stretch, forcing Army to flinch, thereby giving PLDT a chance to snatch game 1, and it happened! It was so astounding I left quivering in my chair! She went on with her monstrous kills until game 2, awarding her the MVP of the finals. Alyssa is so awesome!! And before I forgot, I also honored Alyssa in my book, The Red Star Tattoo, by naming one of the characters after her.

Trivia: The only love team that can really make me go back to my teenage days is KiefLy :-D Every time I see them (Kiefer and Alyssa) together it feels as though the world is made of love, and romance is everywhere. I can't stop giggling. :-P


PIA WURTZBACH 

For a major beauty tilt like Miss Universe where judges seemed looking for something that’s not visible to the viewers, winning the crown sounded like taking an adventure to the moon.

In 1999, I thought Miriam Quiambao could finally end the drought, but Miss Botswana was announced as the winner. I was flabbergasted. Why on earth she won? (don’t criticize me :-P), she gave a confusing answer and her gown was outmoded. 

In 2012, I was thoroughly convinced that the Miss Universe organizers detested the Philippines. Janine Tugonon was better than that Olivia Culpo, at least in my senses, she displayed wit, charm and grace and she wore a fabulous evening gown and yet she was only first runner up. Strange! It was as if something was happening somewhere.

Fast forward, December 2015. Another moment, another hope for the country. But when the jurors were introduced and showed Olivia Culpo as one of them, I was skeptic (Holy cow! Steve Harvey appeared so gallant and responsible I never imagined he would do such an epic announcement). She had surely read the angry comments thrown by those who were disappointed in 2012 and I thought she would strike back at Pia.

Then the final three! After scrutinizing their composure, charm and wit. I predicted that Pia would be in a close fight with Miss USA for the crown. Olivia Jordan exuded charm and acuity and although Pia was a picture of loveliness and her final answer was the best among the three, I was afraid that the judges would throw their sympathy to the home delegate, thereby, repeating the 2012 disaster.

Honestly, I ditched Miss Colombia out of the equation. Her stage presence was not remarkable (Miss Australia was even better) and the English translation of her final answer was not earth-shaking.

When Miss USA was announced as second runner-up, I thought “finally after 42 years!”. But history always has its own way of spewing disaster, and Steve Harvey became the instrument. When he announced that Pia was the first-runner up I was stunned, wondering if the judges were taking a catnap while the three finalists sashayed on stage and gave their final answers.

I turned off the TV while Miss Colombia had her moment, waving, smiling and tossing a flying kiss to the audience. I took a bath, had my lunch, opened my laptop and started working on my book. By 1:00 PM, I was perhaps the only human being in the world who did not know that somewhere in Las Vegas, a monumental gaffe had just taken place.  

I flipped my phone and opened my FB to check if the planet earth shared my frustration over the Miss Universe unbelievable result. But the first image I saw was Pia wearing the crown haha! I was like "hello! what's going on?". But it was Christmas season and everyone should be in a joyous mood. I recovered quickly from the jolt and shared the happiness felt by the entire nation over Pia's victory. 

Despite the historic blunder, I never heard Pia criticized the host or Miss Colombia. She handled the tension with grace and politeness and had not seen sulking in annoyance for denying her the moment of thrill. Indeed, an epitome of class and decorum. 

I am also in awe with her resilience and ability to make things happen, such a strong-willed woman. She thoroughly inspired me not to give up on dreamsHurray! Congratulations Pia and thank you for the motivation.

How about you? Do you have a list of people that left an interesting mark in your life in a particular year? Please share your thoughts.