On Loving Your Own Skin

My dear Filipino friends,

Last year, I have received an email from one of our distributors containing an essay created by a Korean student studying here in the Philippines. My heart melted as I read the essay, thinking that this foreigner in the Philippine soil took pity and gave much love for this country. He emphasized that what the Filipinos lack is not good governance. South Korea, way back 1960’s was battered with war, corruption, and famine. It was once a very poor country. The South Korean President called back their skilled workers abroad to work in South Korea even for a lower salary. They immediately went back for the love of their country. And now South Korea grew to become a promising rich country in Asia. Instead of pushing their skilled workers out of the country, they pulled them in. In the Philippines, it is the other way around. After I read this essay of a Korean student, Mr. Jaeyoun Kim, Iagree with his opinion that the problem of the Philippines is the lack of love for the Philippines. I want to say something more about the Filipinos and the Philippines.

The Philippines is the first democratic country in Asia and the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia as well. It has abundant resources in agriculture, fishing, mining, resorts and versatile cultures. Filipinos belong to the top ten happiest people in the world. The Philippines was expected by most of the countries to be the best country in Asia after WWII. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way.

The most important assets of any country are its people, land and sovereignty. The Philippines has good, friendly, happy and hardworking people. It has beautiful land with abundant resources. It has its own sovereignty which those national martyrs sacrificed their lives to get it for the right, dignity, freedom and benefits of ALL their beloved fellowmen — the Filipinos.

Like what Mr. Jaeyoun Kim said, I admired the Philippines very much when I was young. I told myself I would go to the Philippines to see how great this country is. When I arrived in the Philippines two years ago, I was disappointed and frustrated. For the last two years, the Philippines had sent another few millions of its most precious asset, its people, out of the country as OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) to serve the people of other countries worldwide. Most of them are doing labour work. The Philippine economy relies heavily on the remittance of the OFWs. Even government officials started to call them the HEROES of the Philippines! I feel sad. I have travelled to many countries and I saw for myself how hard those OFWs work, how they live below their means, saving every penny so they could send home some money. I have heard so many stories about how they have been maltreated, ripped off and abused in those foreign countries. Every Christmas season, when we are celebrating the seasonal holiday with our families, there are over 10 millions of Filipinos outside the country missing their families, crying on the phone! Will they and their families have a peaceful and happy holiday? I don’t believe so! Who doesn’t have brother, sister, daughter, son, wife and husband? If they are OFWs, will you wish them be home with you?
There are many foreign investors coming to the Philippines and trying to get as much resources from the Philippines, especially its mining resources. Do they care about the pollution or environment protection? I don’t know but I do see the polluted rivers, lands and suffering Filipinos. There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines. Many of them are beautiful and considered among the best resorts in the world. Tourism can be a great resource of fortune for this country. It can develop millions of jobs for Filipinos and bring billions of dollars to the Philippines.

When asked about the governance and its lawmakers, senators and congressmen, 85 percent of those I talked to just said one word “corrupt”. Five percent gave no comment, 10 percent just conservatively smiled. I have met many Filipino businessmen, especially those in their mid-30s to mid-40s, who want to do something to help their country but couldn’t. I could feel their passion and, at the same time, frustration about their homeland.

Not far ago, many people gathered on EDSA to celebrate the anniversary of People Power Revolution. I asked many Filipinos, “Were there many OFWs during Marcos’ regime?”, “Is the corruption better than before?” The answers were negative. What does that mean? In the last few years, this country has sent few more millions OFWs out! The rate of poverty and people in hunger (26 million Filipinos don’t have daily 3 meals) kept going up. During this global financial crisis, the unemployment rate also increased.

I am neither a politician nor an economist. But my feeling is that if this country keeps sending its most precious asset — the Filipinos — out as the biggest labor supplier of the world, I don’t see much chance that the Filipinos’ future will go anywhere better. I can see that the position of Filipinos in the international society is low because most Filipinos working abroad are laborers and are poor. Why would other countries bypass the Philippines and rather go to other Asia countries to invest? One day, a respectful senior Philippine gentleman who loves the Philippines very much asked me “Why would the US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, bypass the Philippines when she came to visit Asia?” Many Filipino friends asked me “When we travel in other countries, why they despise on us when they knew we are Filipino?” We can’t blame anybody because I always believe that how others treat us is because we made them treat us that way! To keep on blaming others or ourselves will not help anything but only make things worse. Three months ago I asked this respectful gentleman who will he vote for the next president of the Philippines? His answer was “I am not interested and I don’t care any more!”

We all know that any country’s economy is the extension of its politics. Recently, there are debates on which one should go first, anti-corruption or anti-poverty? My opinion is neither of them should go first but anti-selfish and anti-greedy! Selfish and Greedy are always together! Are Filipinos selfish and greedy people? I don’t think so because basically friendly people are not selfish or greedy either. Under the long depression and pressure from corruption and poverty (the gap between the rich and the poor is too big), people want to get what they can get and get it soon for themselves and their families. Many Filipinos became near-sighted and no long-term vision. Like Brother Bo Sanchez asked: “How can we as Catholic and Christian go to church every Sunday and said to God that we love HIM but left those 26 million poor Filipinos behind in hunger?”

I came to the Philippines in 2006. During my stay, I traveled to many places, from north to south. I met many Filipinos and I fell in love with Filipinos and the Philippines. Within me grew a passion and desire to do something to help make the Philippines as the best country in Asia as it is supposed to be.

For the last two years, I have found and learned that other than love Filipinos and love the Philippines, we need to be united, too! Unity is power! Let us be united. Let us help and support each other. Let us work together on an economical movement instead of political movement in 2010 to improve the economic situation of the Philippines! Let us create US$24 billion to US$50 billion revenue for the Philippines! Let us bring all our OFWs home and build the Philippines as the best country in Asia as it should be.

Is that possible? Yes, I believe it’s possible if we love each other and unite ourselves.

India, the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1.17 billion people, became one of the fastest growing economies in the world after their economic reforms in 1991. India will replace Japan as the third economy of the world by 2032 and will replace the United States of America by becoming the second economy of the world by 2050. India started to build their IT industry — they develop and export IT products, support and services, not labor!

Can Filipinos and the Philippines do better than India? Yes, I believe we can as long as we love Filipinos, love the Philippines and stay united! To solve the poverty and hunger, it’s simple and easy, as long as we unite and love each other!

Do we love the Philippines? Do we love our hometown? Do we love our family? Do we love ourselves? Are we willing to love each other as God commanded us? If our answer is YES, please join hand in hand and work together! This is the best timing and opportunity for all of us! Let us build an international business and bring fortune to all Filipinos and the Philippines. We can make it happen! We can create a historical miracle! Please tell everyone you know (families, neighbors, friends, classmates, colleagues, OFWs, government officials, congressmen, senators) and let’s love, support and work together for the bright future and prosperity of all Filipinos, the Philippines, and even the whole world!

My dear friends, if ever I have offended you, please forgive me. God bless and I love you all!

Sincerely Yours,

Joseph T. Ho


Sneak Peak: Woman of Strength

A strong woman works out everyday to keep her body in shape… But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape… A strong woman is not afraid of anything… But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear… A strong woman will not let anyone get the best of her… But a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone… A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future… A woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them… A strong woman walks sure footedly… But a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls… A strong woman wears  the lack of confidence on her face… But a woman of strength wears grace… A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey… But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong… (borrowed from the Art of Being A Woman notebook :])

Are you a strong woman or a woman of strength? You wanna know more about this? I’ll be sharing a lot of learnings on the art of being a woman in today’s world; pursuing true beauty; pursuing purity; pursuing excellence; and, pursuing undivided attention in the following days. You better watch out for it, it’s gonna be fun. Promise. :) well, i’ll do my best to give justice on sharing what I learned from the last Saturday’s Single Women’s Encounter entitled The Art of Being a Woman and Other Lost Virtues. You better hang out with patience with me on the Share-What-You-Learn Department, orayt? Haha.

Know what God has planned for you. Be blessed. Cheers!

It Just Gets You

Growing up, never did I feel that I’m the prettiest girl in class nor I’m the beautiful princess at home. I never believe that I’m or will ever be attractive at all *coz I’m really not*. And that’s probably the biggest insecurity I’ll ever have. I’m telling you, it s*c*s sometimes. 

My mother is not the typical mother any child would have–the type that would tell his/her child he/she is handsome or beautiful, she’s not like that. I think she too is not convinced that I’m *at the very least* pretty, even. Yeah. What a support team?! Haha. But I wanna believe that she’s just not too vocal about how gorgeous I am and so. Haha. Kidding. 

Other people tell me that I need to learn how to take care of myself now, coz I’m not getting any younger. That I need to fix my hair, buy this-and-that for my face and do this for my body. There are others who just simply say that I don’t look good or I look old or I don’t look my age.  All those kinds of advices, and yes, even unpleasant thoughts. You see, my language of love is Words–hence, for me talking with grace is a major plus point. You can tell me I’m ugly and all that, but, sandwich it with some positive attributes so it won’t hurt that much. However, one cannot expect to receive that kind of treatment for always; there will be people who are very straightforward–forgetting grace and all and you just have to deal with it. 

The world has it’s own ways of defining what beauty is and definitely I don’t fit into it’s standards. We all feel that every once in a while. I’m just ever grateful though because I don’t belong to the world. I belong to the King of Kings; I’m a Royalty; I’m a Princess. Saying this, it boosts my confidence up 100times a notch. Although, being tempted and going back to my insecurities is always there. Like now. Some people can simply talk and discourage you in the process. When this happens and it happens every time, you’ll always have two choices: let them win and bring you down or let them realize that they won’t bring you down. It’ s a struggle to go over the latter coz it’s easier to throw out a Pity Party than being one Miss Bulletproof.

Actually, one can’t really face those giant monsters in their closets alone. That’s where the royal bloodlines come in. I can never do it alone–put a face in my insecurities and letting them all go and don’t affect me. Praise God, I have Him with me always. Even I got this major struggle with Beauty–funny, but yes I do, He always assures me that I’m more than what the world thinks I am. He thought of me as precious and sacrifice-worthy. He loves me. Even I burp like an ogre or I look like one. He’s just amazing. AWESOME!

I don’t give up on being one pretty girl. I know at the right time, I will be, but not because I followed the ways of the world. But my beauty shines inside out–the beauty of loving and serving my Big Daddy. I wanna achieve that first, for then, physical beauty will follow. Oh yeah!

So with this, a quick shoutout I give to my God’s Best: wherever you are and if you can even read this, I’m still a work in progress. I’ll do my very best to be the Someone God wants me to be for I know you’re doing the same too. I’m excited to meet you but I pray that when we do, you’ll see my efforts as I’m gonna see yours. Let’s do this for the glory of the King. :) orayt!

Live high. Live mighty. Live righteously. Cheers!

Since You Want More

Here he is one more time. The Acoustic Version of Somedaydream’s Hey Daydreamer Music Video. Drool! Haha, gross! :)

I say my opinion only, this is a lot better than the first vid that came up last May 1. Winks;)



Real big thanks to Mister Rez Toledo.  My blog got lotsaaaah views because of my SD posts. Oh well, I guess this is for the Dreamers! Like me.

Divorce – Boon or Bane?

The Philippine laws uphold the family as an inviolable institution.  However, under certain circumstances, when a marriage did not work out, the Philippine Law approves a couple to file for annulment or legal separation. Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place. Legal separation, on the other hand, the husband and wife agreed to live apart but their marriage is still binding.

Data from the Office of the Solicitor General reveal that the number of annulment cases had risen from 4,520 in 2001 to 8,282 in 2010. This means there are 22 annulment cases filed everyday. Sixty-one percent of those who seek for annulment are women, mostly on their 20’s, the remaining 39 percent were men whose age range from 20s to 40s.

Separation through a divorce is never allowed in the country. MaltaandPhilippinesare the only two countries in the world that bans divorce. But recently,Maltaopened up and legalized divorce.  In thePhilippines, several versions of Divorce Bills have been filed. Lawmakers favoring divorce claim that spouses who have irretrievably broken marriage be given the freedom to remarry. Legal separation does not grant the legal right to extricate themselves from the broken marriage. Proponents also raised that the existing laws on annulment are anti-poor, given the high cost needed to pursue a case for annulment.

Those against the legalization of divorce argue that the human rights of the innocent spouse are violated. The guilty spouse in the divorce case is allowed to abandon or neglect his obligation to provide company and care of the innocent spouse and the children. Catholic Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz stated that if the absolute divorce proponents really want to deter present marriage maladies, they instead propose very realistic and severe penalties for the crime of infidelity, abandonment, parricide attempt and the like, rather than rewarding the criminal offenses with a bill of freedom to remarry.

The discussions and debates at the House of Representatives continue as there are many questions left unanswered.

Pray that:

  • The Church, government and non-government organizations intensify its program of enriching marital relationship through education and counseling to help marriages in distress.
  • The government will make all efforts to uphold the family as inviolable institution
  • The lawmakers, whether favor or against the Divorce Bill, will make a careful study on this issue before enacting a law

Personality Focus

Senator Pia “Compañera” S. Cayetano

Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations

Senator Pia Cayetano is the youngest woman elected in the history of the Philippine Senate. A lawyer, triathlete and mother of two, she is continuously proving that there is no limit to what Filipino women can do and achieve. At present, she is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations that deals with youth, women and family relations.

Hon. Rogelio J. Espina, M.D.

Congress Committee on Population and Family Relations

Hon. Rogelio Espina is the Representative of Biliran, Lone District and appointed Chairperson of the Congress Committee on Population and Family Relations, which tackles matters relating to population growth and family planning, population census, family relations and care of the elderly.

Pray that…

  • The Chairperson will conduct in-depth studies about the issue that would help in making sound decisions for the benefit of the nation and its people.
  • They will educate the people about the full content of the bill and its status as it is being critically discussed in the Senate and Congress.


Nation Watch

A Service of Christian Convergence for Good Governance

June 2011