Monday, July 28, 2014

Is this the link you are looking for?

I'm not sure if this is the link that you are looking for but I'm sure you are interested to know that Carlo Aquino is back with a bang after his great performance in last Saturday's episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) which features the story behind the viral video dubbed as the “heartbreaking wedding” of Rowden Go, a 29-year-old patient diagnosed with advanced stage 4 liver cancer, and his girlfriend of four years, Liezel who was portrayed by Kaye Abad.

It was also touching secene when they had to rush tying the knot while groom was confined in the hospital. Indeed, eternal love still can blossom even when your beloved’s days are numbered.

The longest-running drama anthology on Philippine TV features the story of Rowden Go, the cancer patient who married his girlfriend before he died. Rowden was diagnosed with cancer in May this year and exchanged marital vows with his long time girlfriend inside his room at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila last June 11.

Ten hours after the wedding, Rowden died at the age of 29.

Well, while watching the episode, I saw that it was trending in Twitter along with People Bediones. 

Below is the video of the wedding.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sweet Endings with my Cadbury Barkada

Linda Greyson, an American artist, once said, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it’s a friend with chocolates.”

For me, friends are like life’s treats. They can be sweet, colorful, can make us smile, give some tootache, can be messy sometimes, and most of all, we long for them from time to time. Just like a bar of chocolate. Make it a Cadbury Daily Milk to be precise.

Now, here’s an out of this world question I love to ask my barkada the next time we meet: "If you’ll be given a chance to tour the galaxy, what kind of friends will you bring to be part of the crew and why?"

Well, it’s a no brainer for comic book fans like me. I’ll be bringing my barkada who I can actually compare with Marvels’ Guardians of the Galaxy. 

I have a friend who is like Star-Lord, a chick magnet whose charm have been very useful  in getting some free passes on events and extra scoop of ice cream.  If I have him in my team in the outer space, we can sweet-talk our way out in case we meet some alien invaders.

We also have a Gamora who’s beauty can be deceiving. Some people thinks that she’s all good looks but she’s actually smart and has a mean one-two punch for bad guys. She’ll be an asset to melt the hearts of mean space dude then break their back, literally if she wishes to.

To complete the crew, we’ll be bringing a tough guy like Drax the Destroyer to warn extra-terrestrial bullies, shape-shifter Groot to blend and introduce us with beings outside our circle, and machines and gadget specialist Rocket who is our geek-on-stand-by case the going gets tough during battle of the brains. These guys will make us a barkada to watch out for. So don't put your guard down.

This might be one dream that can be considered “unreachable” or “suntok sa buwan.” Speaking of going up, one activity I love to do with my family and friends that makes us feel a step close to high heavens in going to church every Sunday.

After connecting to tha MAN from above, we do a little bonding either going to the mall or dine in a restaurant for some food trip bonding. One Sweet Ending we did recently atter going to church was to share bars of our favourite chocolate. Indeed, a  sweet ending with my Cadbury Batrkada! 

So what's your Barkada Sweet Ending? Share your own stories and don't forget to use the hashtag #CadburySweetEndings. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Astig Recipe: Spicy Black Sea Nangag

How do a male squid ask a female squid to make out with him?  

The male squid will hug the female squid from behind and whisper to her ears, ‘Hold my hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, oooohhh baby!’

Well, I can't think of a nice segue on what to do to leftover adobong pusit from dinner. I hope my joke was able to squirt some joy to you.

I am sharing my very own Spicy Black Sea Nangag recipe that can absolutely perk you up in the this weekend. All you need to do is to check your fridge for other ingredients like leftover fried fish, pat least 3 pieces of siling labuyo, garlic (which I doubt if you have), and cold rice (Yup, that's kaning lamig for you).

Saute the garlic, put the fried fish that you slaughtered into tid bits and then the chopped sili. Put the cold rice then after 5 minutes of mixing, pour in the leftover adobong pusit goes to the wok. Stir, mix and shovel the black sinangag and when you sense that it looks okay to go, turn off the stove and serve it to your waiting wife and son in the dining room.

Did it taste good? Yummy right?

Watch out for more Astig recipe here as soon as I can remember where I placed our slotted turner.     

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Fable of the A$$hole

Ever wonder why sometimes a$$holes become leaders? Why they are on top when they are supposed to be down there?

Read this short fable and this could be the answer to this life’s mystery.

Habang natutulog ka, alam mo bang naguusap ang ibat-ibang parte ng iyong katawan? Minsan na nilang pinagtalunan kung sino sa kanila ang tunay na pinuno mula ulo hanggang paa.

UTAK: Sa lahat sa atin dito, ako lang naman nag-iisip. Kaya dapat sa akin kayo makikinig.

MATA: Hala! Eh, pag lasing ka diba kung ano-ano pumapasok sa kukute mo? Ako dapat ang lider dahil ako ang nakakatanaw ng magandang bukas para sa ating lahat.

TENGA: Excuse me… tama ba ang narinig ko?  E may time matapobre ka diba at madalas magbulagbulagan lalo na pag malapit sa iyo ang nagkamali. Ako ang dapat tinitingala sa atin, magaling akong making sa mga hinaing ng nakakarami.

ILONG: Sundutin kaya kita dyan, tenga. Nagbibingi-bingihan ka kaya kapag hindi mo gusto ang nakikiusap sa yo. Bakit di mo ko gayahin, madali akong makaamoy kapag may masamang balak ang tao. Ganyan dapat ang pinuno.

BIBIG: Well, well. Pasakan kaya kita ng bulak, ilong. Minsan nga di mo makita ang sarili mong dumi, iba pa ang nakakakita.  Nakakahiya ka. Ako ang magsasabi kung ano ang gagawin. Isang ngiti ko lang tunaw na kayo.

PUSO: Magtakip ka nga bibig. May baho ka din naman itinatago ah. Ako ang mamumuno sa atake ng grupo dahil sa lahat ako ang tunay na mapagmahal sa tao.

KAMAY: Naku, di ka pwedeng lider puso. Sakitin ka e at ambilis mong mahulog ang loob lalo na pag in love. Ako dapat ang humawak sa ating lahat. Tuturuan ko kayo ng tamang pag-alalay sa mga nangangailangan ng tulong.

PAA: Sipain kaya kita dyan. Minsan kaya malikot ka, kamay kaya napapahamak kaming lahat. Ako ang masususunod kung saan tayo pupunta. Siguradong sa bawat hakbang ko ay lalakad tayo patungo sa paraiso.

PUWET: (boses ipis): Tumahimik kayo. Ako dapat ang maupo bilang pinuno ng grupo!

LAHAT (sabay-sabay, parang taong bayan ang peg): Huwat? Ikaw? E tagalabas ka lang ng dumi e. Hahaha! Tumahimik ka nga dyan. Ambisyoso ‘to.

PUWET: Tumahik pala ha? O sige. Tatamihik ako.

Mula ng araw na ‘yon nag-impit si puwet. Isinara niya ang kanyang butas. Wala siyang pinalabas na dumi o maging hangin. Makalipas ang tatlong araw, nagkasakit ang lahat ng parte ng katawan dahil sa pananahimik ni puwet…

LAHAT (sabay-sabay, parang taong bayan uli ang peg): Puwet, parang awa mo na. Bumuka ka na. Hinang hina na kami at di makakilos ng maayos.

PUWET:  Uuuuuu… uuuuu…

LAHAT: Sige na, ikaw na ang pinuno naming.

PUWET: Talaga?!!!

Hindi ko na ilalarawan kung ano na nangyari nung bumuka si puwet. Imaginin nyo na lang. Basta ang sure e siya ang naluklok sa trono.

Lesson: Sometimes, the leaders are those who can make the greater damage.

And that’s the story why a$$holes become leaders.

This is a modified version of a story narrated by Atty Jospehus Jimenez during a meeting with his staff.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dare to Ask Sandy: My one-on-one interview with the PDI President

(This exclusive interview was conducted in 2008 for the cover story of the People Manager magazine July 2008 issue. Some information were updated.)

Majority of Filipino households are characterized as extended family which consists of parents, children, and other close relatives, often living in close proximity.   For Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) President and CEO Maria Alexandra “Sandy” Prieto - Romualdez, her family includes all the members of the management and staff of the no. 1 newspaper in the country today.

“We kinda built already a sense of mutual trust and respect through the years”, Sandy explains how the PDI family maintains the harmonious relationship among their employees with the kind of pressure and demand in the broadsheet industry.

At home, Sandy loves to read inspiring stories like Trophy Newbery’s Charlotte’s Web to his three sons.  The same way she imparts lessons from American author, speaker and leadership expert John C. Maxwell to her people in PDI.  Call it a mother’s love to her children.

The Road to the Top
Sandy describes her entry to PDI as “merely accidental.”  Tragedy struck their family in 1994 when her brother Louie, the president of the company then, met his untimely death due to a motorcycle accident.  Her mom Marixi Rufino-Prieto who was the PDI’s Chairman of the Board that time asked her if she’s interested to join the company to represent their family.

Sandy is a Sociology graduate of College of Notre Dame with a Masteral degree in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) but had little background in managing a newspaper. 

But she considered the fact that her mom was not a media practitioner when she joined the Inquirer.  “My mom got into publishing by chance”, Sandy narrates.

Marixi was into the real estate business until a friend asked her to invest with PDI.  The Prietos are not newbies in the broadsheet venture.  Sandy’s grandfather Benito “Bibelo” Prieto is the former president of the Manila Times and brother-in-law of then publisher, Chino Roces.

Her other three siblings were already practicing their professions in other fields --- interior design, medicine and banking. 

It was not an easy decision but Sandy accepted the offer in the end with the belief that she can combine her management skills and passion fro social progress.  When she started with Inquirer, her first position was as the Executive Assistant to the President. 

Other family members eventually got involved with PDI.  Sandy’s sister Tessa Prieto-Valdez and cousins Ria Francisco-Prieto are now lifestyle columnist and Beauty editor, respectively.  Her brother Paolo is the President of PDI’s website ( while cousin JV Prieto works as the Editor-in-Chief.

Sandy became the Executive Vice President first before became the PDI President in 1998 at the age of 31.  It was the same year Joseph Ejercito Estrada became the country’s Chief Executive.

Through Thick and Thin
The year was 1999.  An advertising boycott was felt by the company when the Inquirer started publishing critical stories about the administration.   Backed by the PDI Board being chaired by her mom, Sandy personally rallied all employees to keep their “Balanced News, Fearless Views” mantra despite a drastic drop on their ad revenues.  And at the end of the war, Sandy and her battalion won the fight.  PDI’s circulation rose by 15%.

“What really gets me going is this… when I can see that because of a story that we could come out, something positive happened”, Sandy put in plain words what drives her to continue despite of all the difficulties she have faced in her profession.

Sandy is also grateful for the fact that she has very competent people to support her.  She describes her job as the one who “handles the business side.”  She wants to keep the editorial as independent as possible but with the assurance that what would be written are fair and accurate.

“Operationally, I don’t sit with the editors.  I don’t choose the story that goes on the front page.  But I am part of the editorial board”, she added

Sandy conducts an editorial assessment meeting once a week where she could make her views on the items that were published the previous week.  She also makes sure to regularly meet with the supervisors of different departments to know their needs and get some feedback or ideas.

“Ideas are not the domain only of the executives and management”, she said.

She believes that having good communication with employees and sound people management contributed to the remarkable retention rate of their workforce.  40% of the 440 PDI employees today have worked with the company since its establishment in 1985 when it started publishing with less than P1-M in seed money and a maiden issue that sold only 30,000 copies.

People Management
The Inquirer takes pride on being one of the few companies with a profit sharing scheme as part of the benefits of their employees.  This is just one of the privileges that the management generously offers to their deserving staff as part of the landmark collective bargaining agreement that the PDI union and management signed in 2007.  It was the seventh CBA package in the company’s history.  It was also considered a historic one because for the first time in the Inquirer history, the CBA negotiations were concluded after just five meetings.

Sandy said that it is a compelling proof of the company unity.  “People have stayed because of the sense of family (in PDI)”, she added.  “Some even found their spouses here.”

PDI also offers a lot of “extra” things to their hard-working manpower.  Sandy worked hand-in-hand with the HR department headed their manager Reggie Reyes in designing their Employee Services Development Center.  Today, they have different clubs for those who finds interest in badminton, running, arts and other recreational activities. 

They even have a daycare center where the children of their employees can spend time while the parents are working.  This idea, Sandy confessed, was conceptualized seven years ago when she saw a female employee breastfeeding her baby inside the comfort room.  It was also timely because she just gave birth to her first child that year.  She admitted that such idea should have been thought a long time ago.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) encouraged companies and corporations to put up day care or child care centers in their workplaces to form part of non-wage benefits for workers and their families.

DOLE said that putting up childcare facilities benefits employers, especially in those with more women workers, in terms of sustained efficiency and productivity of workers who would no longer be saddled by family and economic pressures in looking after the welfare and safety of their young children while they are at work.

DOLE commends companies like PDI and other firms who have shown their social responsibilities to their employees with programs like this.

PDI extends their social responsibilities to the community with advocacies like the Inquirer Newsboy Foundation that helps poor but deserving students get a good education.  Their Corporate Relations Office partners with different NGOs like The Children’s Hour, Hands On Manila. WWF, Habitat for Humanity and others.  Sandy believes that PDI is more than just a newspaper.  It has a mission. And in Sandy’s words, “The mission is the soul of the company.”

She is proud to say that this passion is being shared by the whole PDI family.  She considers sharing a common passion play a key role in the working relationship in their company.  Almost 50% of their employees are active volunteers of different foundations. A good communication line has been established in their group by conducting regular sessions.  And if there is a decision to make, she wants it to be consensus ---but with a deadline.

How we do it
More than 90% of the businesses in the Philippines are family-owned.  PDI is one of the known family businesses that have survived the test of time and still growing.  Sandy shares some helpful tips to other companies, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises, how the Inquirer reached the top and maintains their position up to now.

First, Sandy advices all family ventures to have a clear company vision and mission that should be imparted and practiced by heart by both the owners and workers.  This would create the direction that the company will take to achieve success.

Each family member should also know their responsibilities, abilities and limitations.  This will result to a harmonious relationship not only in the family but also in the workplace.

She also added that things should not be automatic in a family business.  As an example, she said that being a Prieto should not be a guarantee for a position in PDI.  A Prieto should prove first that he/ she is competent and qualified to hold a position in the company. 

Communication is also key factor in the success of the business.  The family should work doubly hard in this aspect.  One should know when and how to deliver topics especially if it relates to a family issue in order not to influence the outcome of a business decision.

Embrace complains the way you accept suggestions.  “Complains mean it’s time to improve your business, if not your competition will grab your patron.  Take time to listen”, she explained.

Stay open to new ideas.  Sandy still gets some advice from her husband Philip Romualdez, President of Benguet Corporation, the oldest mining company in the country.  Their workplace may be different but their principles in business and people management may also bring good results if adopted in their respective fields.

And the simplest but best advice from Sandy, “Love your company”

When asked how she sees the Inquirer in the years to come.  Sandy gave a big smile, paused a little and answered, “PDI will stay with the Prieto family.  It connects very much with our values as a family.”