12 things

•September 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment
12_little_things_every_filipino_can_do

even the small things matter

1. Follow Traffic Rules. Follow the law.

2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, ask for an official receipt.

3. Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino.

4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country.

5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.

6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.

7. Support your church.

8. During elections, do your solemn duty.

9. Pay your employees well.

10. Pay your taxes.

11. Adopt a scholar or a poor child.

12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.

heroes all

•August 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Today as we celebrate National Heroes Day I look back at think about what it is to be a hero. In a blog article by Christian Mihai, he writes about superheroes and I agree with all that he said.

To borrow from another of my favorite heroes, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1 No. 203 “He’s not the kind of man who hides from his inner demons, he’s faced his pain time and again – and though he’s sometimes been beaten by it… he’s never been defeated. Not because he’s superhuman — but because he’s all too human. Because the people dearest to him have shown him, firsthand the redemptive power of love.”

andong-agimat

reformed

Locally we may at one time have been heavily influenced by our colonial mentality, that we even based our own heroes on them. But, in time new breed of writers emerged and with them a new breed of hero emerged as well, the reluctant anti-hero if you may, because he does not believe himself to be a hero, just someone doing what he does best. My personal favorite among the locally available ones being Andong Agimat by Arnold Arre, (sadly out of print) once a scourge of society, but given the chance to reform and do right, he did good. All that he really needed was the chance. And he was given just that.

preview-Trese-Book-5-cover

Super and Natural

We may have drawn inspiration from faraway lands, but slowly and surely we have also learned to detach ourselves from these foreign influences and create our own brand of heroes, and heroism as well. From Budjette Tan’s Trese series, set in the realms of the other worlds that co-exist with our own. Then there are also the ongoing exploits Paolo Fabregas’ Filipino Heroes League bringing heroism and patriotism to a whole new level. We have indeed come a long way.

Filipino Heroes League 1 cover

Real Filipino Heroes

And from the fictional pages of the comics, we also find inspiration among our real everyday heroes, men and women who quietly do their best in their chosen field and profession, finding satisfaction in helping others, without the fanfare and without expecting anything in return save that the good they have done be enough for now.

hero

True Heroes

And I guess an anonymous writer said it best when he said: “They say there are no more heroes any more. But they’re there. Walk down any street and you will find them. The mothers who work, the fathers who strive, the children who overcome. They aren’t larger than life, but they are larger than their own lives. Their names aren’t famous. But their virtues are. Hard work. Common sense. An unshakeable belief in themselves. If you’re looking for a hero, look around.”

 

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Update: reading the works of other WordPress bloggers, I happened to come across this article. Enjoy.

tax you!

•August 3, 2013 • 1 Comment

income-tax_1

To quote the great statesman and former US president Benjamin Franklin , “The only things certain in life are death and taxes” And since I’m on the topic of quotes and taxes here’s a few more:

“Every quarter, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus whenever the accountant calls me up and tells me what I owe in taxes. Not only do I pay 3% monthly, and then get 10-12% deducted in withholding taxes whenever I get paid by HMO’s or for my stints at the dialysis unit… I still have to pay an additional almost 20% in taxes every quarter. And they keep saying professionals don’t pay their taxes…”

Dr. Tennile Tan via Facebook

“We fight death, disease, fatigue, sleepiness everyday even when we’re home we still think of our patients. Sometimes at the expense of our family and own health. Yet people see us as blood sucking parasite that only cares about the money. The path we thread is just a hairline between insanity and just plain determination. Please BIR, we are paying more than we earn. Yes maybe workers pay more taxes than some of us but they are paid on overtime, we are not. They can have their leave, not us, no vacation. They have bonuses, us, no work, no patient, no pay. Lawmakers files bills to increase your salaries and benefits, they also file bills to criminalize our mistakes and limit our income. Just had to let some steam off after > 24 hrs duty. And still working.”

Dr. Manuel Quiambao via Facebook

***

Still on the topic of taxation, I once went to the BIR office to pay for my taxes. While waiting in line I overheard the following from a man speaking loudly on his phone:

“Dati kasi bibigyan lang namin yan ng pamasko ok na e. Kaso iba kasi ngayon ang mag tax mapping e, baka mahuli yung mga libro sa purchasing.”

Then there’s this other guy with 10 boxes of what seems to be an assortment of bread, also talking over the phone say “Musta na yung pinapaasikaso kong mga papeles? Talaga, pwede na bukas? May dala nga pala ako pasalaubong. So ano, iwan ko na lang dun sa guard tapos lagay ko yung pangalan mo ha?”

The aforementioned incidents happened about 5 years ago. Fast forward to today and there still seem to be not much change in the system for me to feel good about paying taxes to the government.

And as if on cue, just this morning the first message on my phone is from my accountant reminding me how much I need to pay. Again. With the news about how some of our politicians used (and abused) the very same taxes we pay to enrich themselves, it just couldn’t get any worse.

living and existing

•July 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

In the opinions pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I read an article by Melissa Elsa P. Cruz who wrote about her husband’s experience during the 45th ADB meet last May. The article said that both husband and wife where actually actively involved in the Center for Family Ministries of the Ateneo de Manila University. He gave a talk to about a hundred street people, herded from the street and temporarily housed for the duration of the ADB meet.

He presented a talk “Buhay na Buhay Ka Ba, O Buhay Lamang?” (Are you Living a life or simply existing?)

When he asked his audience to tell him what are the hindrances to a full life, the top three answers were: hopelessness, laziness, greed.

When asked what would make your lives worth living? They answered “pagbabago sa sarili” (change of self) “pagtitiwala sa Diyos” (trust in God) and “magsumikap para may makain ang pamilya sa pang araw-araw” (strive and work to put food on the table everyday)

It only goes to show that sometimes all that people actually need is a helping hand and a chance at a better life.

Daily Prompt: Leaves, Raindrops, Friends

•June 15, 2013 • 5 Comments

in response to today’s daily prompt

The Last Leaf

refreshed memories

It was thirteen years ago.  There was a slight drizzle late in the afternoon, and I let myself get wet in the rain.

Flashback.

I remembered that I also did this some years back, when everything seemed so much different, sure there was always life’s constant decisions to make and they were as complicated as ever, but at the same time life’s simple pleasures abound. During the rain I caught a bamboo leaf just before it hit the ground, thinking that I have halted its descent back to the earth from which it came from.  Later I gave that leaf to a very special person and told her how I got hold of it. She told me she kept it. I don’t know if she has the leaf now years after, but to this day she still remains special.

Leaves, raindrops, friends. Rainy afternoons always seem to bring back these memories..

Daily Prompt: The Glass Half and Half

•May 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

today’s challenge at the daily prompt

half and half

200458043-001

pessimist. optimist. realist

The banker would say that the glass has just under 50% of its net worth in liquid assets.

The government would say that the glass is fuller than if the opposition were in power.

The opposition would say that it is irrelevant because the present administration has changed the way such volume statistics are collected.

The economist would say that, in real terms, the glass is 25% fuller than the same time last year.

The philosopher would say that, if the glass was in the forest and no one was there to see it, would it be half anything?

The psychiatrist would ask, “what did your mother say about the glass?”

The physicist would say that the volume of this cylinder is divided into two equal parts; one a colorless, odorless liquid, the other, an odorless, colorless gas. Thus the cylinder is neither full nor empty. Rather, each half of the cylinder is full, one with a gas, and one with a liquid.

The seasoned drinker would say that the glass doesn’t have enough ice in it.

[disclaimer: all rights belong to the original authors of the above post, whom unfortunately I can’t trace]

resilience

•May 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

the urge to quit.. I fight

It may not be news anymore now, but some time ago there was a young behavioral science student in a state university who took her own life using silver cleaner and allegedly because she did not have the money to pay her matriculation. And I feel saddened by the story and can relate to it not only because I believe that every life is precious, but because it reminds me of my own struggles when I was also a student.

Now I may not have been the product of the public school system, being in private school until my medical education, but please do allow me to elaborate. It was not without sacrifices not only on myself, but with the people around me as well. In a graduation speech I gave recently, I recalled the time when I came to school and had fifteen pesos for my daily allowance, half of that amount was for transportation.  The rest was for my food and other school needs. I survived this until high school. College was different altogether because my father had the foresight to get a college education plan, at 400 pesos a month for 5 years not much now, but back then, it meant he had to forgo a lot of other personal gratifications. The face value of the plan was 16,000 pesos. My tuition fee for the first semester alone was 12,000 pesos. But of course unlike before, I had to rent a place to stay, books to buy and other expenses as well. There was even a point in time when friends had to pitch in and sponsored my lunch (1 friend = 1 meal) for weeks on end to tide me over. I am forever grateful for them.

But survive college I did and earned my degree in Biology. I could have opted to take the opening at the soon to be constructed research lab, but instead took a leap of faith and substantial risk when I told my parents that I wanted to take up Doctor of Medicine. It took a while and a long talk with them. We assessed our situation: I still had 3 other college bound siblings. My father said he had some money for house restoration and he could still take out a loan if ever, but all in all, it would only be enough to cover one year of medical school. I said, I’ll take it. And after 1 year of medical school where I had to augment books borrowed from the library with the one from roommates and upper classmen, I was fortunate enough to be qualified for the school’s grants-in-aid. My other classmates sought more creative ways to earn. Like one classmate who taught Math and English to the growing Korean population then to see her through. And on my last year of med school, I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to be the first recipient of a newly funded scholarship grant.

Looking back, it was easy to have just given up. But in hindsight, I am thankful that I have been blessed with a good and ample support group in my times of dire need, not just financially but emotionally as well in those trying and difficult times.

 
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