Working with Sec Dinky was never boring. In fact, it was the adventure of a lifetime.
My early forays into the real world involved being an executive assistant (EA) and speechwriter of a well-known and well-respected Filipino public servant — Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman.
I was lucky.
In October 2003, a strange job ad on an erstwhile Yahoo Group landed in my inbox. The subject line — Looking for a speechwriter — stood out. What a fascinating gig that must be, I thought. …
The bright stars in the forever war
In April of this year, US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan by September 2021.
This bit of news would have hardly struck a chord with Filipinos like me, whose country is far removed from that long-standing conflict. But because I support a global non-profit that empowers undervalued Afghan women, I found the news a bit troublesome.
My initial reaction was: how will the departure of American troops affect the tremendous gains already achieved by Ascend Athletics?
Ascend Athletics is a global non-profit that develops young Afghan…
If not, here’s how to get rid of it (hopefully once and for all)
“Get used to it!” Accept as part of your daily existence two or three — or more — hours sitting amid dirt, crammed against strangers, breathing foul air, sweating in summer, shivering in winter. Accept that you will be doing this for a substantial portion of every working day of your life, until you are old. “Get used to it!” One has to think about what those words, so casually uttered, really mean. One has to realize that the man uttering those words has accepted discomfort…
How do I deserve to be free
When the cause to do right I forsake?
When I choose not to carry
The cross for the country’s sake?
Blood after blood after blood
Has been shed
By those once worshipped like a god
For those they led
And the last stood, though grudgingly
Right where the bull could seize him
He knew this life of misery
And accepted it with no fanfare nor hymn
With his faith in the good and the bright
The corrupted briefly ceased to reign
But when the old guard lost its light
In one fell swoop…
‘A true democracy is consensus building’ — your words put flesh to my thoughts. Our people’s lives have been bettered by your sacrifice. Thank you.
— President Noynoy Aquino, in a TIME cover dedication for the author
I can still recall the first time we met. It was supposed to be a formal job interview, but I could sense, in all my nervousness when meeting a public figure, Noy’s effort to make the encounter as informal as possible. He asked light questions. He joked around. He made sure I was comfortable, even though that was impossible.
Then he hired me…
Adapt to remote work, we must.
Long before I went on my own, I had invested ten years of my life in public service as a speechwriter, executive assistant, and ultimately as Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff for Presidential Communications. In that high stress highly political post, I was a kid suddenly thrown into the snake pit.
I didn’t want to die, so the first order of business was to abbreviate my learning curve. …
You do not have to read this essay, just the books.
You do not have to read this essay. You only need to scan. At least, given so short a time on this planet to read all the books that I want, that is how I would do it.
But if you are still reading and likely curious about my reasons for curating what follows, you are probably a writer. You know how conjoined writing is to reading, how reading makes us better writers. …
Transportation issues are social justice issues. — Jody Rosen
When you have lived long enough in Metro Manila as I have, and have been forced to get around its mean streets for many years, you have probably developed your own commuter ritual that more resembles a guide for survival.
Regardless of your preferred mode of conveyance, you most likely leave for an appointment an hour in advance (or more) in anticipation of heavy traffic. You may even have gotten used to being the first person at your office to greet the guards.
You carry on your person a canteen of…
The most basic and probably the most effective strategy to prevent road traffic incident[sic] is to start with the most critical component in the road transport equation — the driver.
- Edgar C. Galvante, Assistant Secretary/Head, LTO
In a recent rendezvous with two expatriate friends based in Clark, Pampanga, we briefly touched on my “favorite” topic: Manila traffic. It is an instant conversation starter because one, every resident of Metro Manila and its outskirts surrender to it. Two, everyone hates it so you tend to empathize with newfound strangers in your strange land. …