Friday, January 28, 2011


I've had no trouble waking up early. I am a morning person and have been trained to wake up early since childhood. The only problem with this is that no matter how early or how late I get to bed, I almost always wake up early, usually around 5 AM. So in cases when I'd rather stay in bed, I just sleep again. And the bad thing about sleeping again is I end up waking up later than I when I want to. So I end up just lying in bed, eyes closed and waiting until I am ready to get up.

The only time I remember this routine being broken was during a trip to the US when, because of the time zones, my biological clock was interrupted and I took maybe 2 days to get back to my rhythm. Stints in Japan did not have any significant effects since there was only a 1 hour difference between PST and JST. Eventually, I would revert to waking up at 5AM but in JST, which meant I was waking up at 4AM in Philippine time.

I would still choose to wake up the same time everyday if I had a choice. It allows me to jump-start the day and as the saying goes, "catch the early worm." Reference to the worm notwithstanding, being early and keeping to the time has always been a characteristic of mine so much so that among my pet peeves are tardiness and meetings that don't start on time. I always feel equate these as wasted time and resources. So when people ask me about how I can do this and that and deliver or submit early or by the due date, I just smile and shrug it off. The way I manage my time is rooted on how I was trained, from childhood, to wake up early and maybe get ahead, literally, while others are still sleeping. And I thank my mother for this!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Early man, Reginsky and chess

I earned this tag during my college days when I continued as an early riser and arrived ahead of most people at the tambayan of our organization. I remember at the time and maybe even now, everyone had a pseudonym and early man seemed the most appropriate for someone who regularly came early to university ahead even of dormers and others who lived nearby.

Of course, there were other tags we invented ourselves but were used mostly in games or other activities mostly for fun. At the time, chess was a popular pastime for many organization members and this, I suppose, is due to many being competitive players at the college level. We even had 2 good female players who played against the guys. The organization, after all, had a very good reputation as a chess power at the College of Engineering, winning the Geoid Cup twice and back-to-back in its first 3 years of existence. We eventually regained the cup and successfully defended it before I graduated from university.

We had our chess nicknames recorded in the organization logbook where we wrote from the back towards the front. I even remember us recording games and results as if we were actual chess players. And, modesty aside, I had a very good record against most players at the time. In fact, I only had negative results against 2 players, one of whom was my close friend Val who was perhaps the strongest player among us. Some of the names that are now part of history included Filipcher, Fidocher, Randsky, Reginsky, Judith, and Valerie. Of course, all of us were GMs or grandmasters in as far as what seemed like a weekly tournament that we called the AggreCup. The highlight of each match was the asaran or kantyawan where in many cases it seemed like the spectators were the ones dictating the way the matches were played, to the point where they were already making the moves instead of the players!

I miss those days playing chess during our free time. I also miss playing chess at a competitive level at the Geoid Cup tournament during Engineering Week. I'd like to think I played my best then and had games my cousins and uncles would have been proud to watch themselves.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I am a morning person. I probably got this from years of being trained to wake up early and start my day before many other have. I am at my most efficient self in the mornings although through the years I have learned to pace myself and bring out reserves when I need them, especially during deadlines.

In my childhood days my mother used to wake us up early in the morning. There were 3 of us siblings and by the time we all were attending school, we had to follow a schedule that allowed us to eat our breakfast, take a shower and dress up before our school service arrived to pick us up. As the eldest, I was usually the first one up and I remember I preferred it that way so that I was first to the bathroom and first to take breakfast. This despite having my school service usually the last to pick me up (my brother and sister shared another school service).

It's about these services that the Clairvoyant and I fondly talk about when we encounter them in the morning at our village. We always wonder how early (if indeed) parents or yayas woke their children/wards every morning to prepare for school. We also wonder if the children arrive early, in time or perhaps chronically late for their classes considering that school services usually went around for other children as well. I remember that in some cases, the parents are not so cooperative with the schedules so that we often hit a bottleneck when we had to wait for quite some time before a child emerges from his/her house. It always seems unfair that they take the service but don't care that other children become late because of how they spoil their child.

When I was in grade school, I remember one school service driver, Mang Rudy, who was great in compensating for the lost time. He would drive like mad after picking up the last child. (Kulang na lang wangwang.) And we would likely arrive at school on time considering now the distance that we had to cover. I lived in Cainta and we had to go around several subdivisions in Cainta and Pasig before we proceeded to St. Paul Pasig and Lourdes Mandaluyong. Still, there are times when the aggressive driving of Mang Rudy won't be enough and I had one year when I had a lot of tardiness on me. Fortunately, I changed school service the following year and never got late again for the rest of my schooling at Lourdes.

I got used to waking up early and this I carried with me even when I was at university. I came to appreciate its benefits when I started commuting to UP from our home in Cainta. In fact, when I attended university I always chose morning classes in order to travel before the congestion along Katipunan set-in. Even back then, Ateneo and Miriam (Maryknoll) generated so much traffic that it was usually congested at the same hours in the morning as now. And at the time, Ateneo still had those big blue school buses providing service to their students. It is much worse nowadays when you see the traffic between 6:30 - 7:30 AM, when students arrive and converge at the school in mostly their own vehicles (of course, some are driven to school).

Today, I still prefer to go to school (this time to work) early. And the Clairvoyant usually chides me for this as she is not a morning person - unless of course, circumstances required her to wake up early like when she has a conference call that's scheduled based on their overseas offices' schedules. And then of course there is the number coding scheme that requires us to leave early or leave later during the window period.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Zodiac?

In the news today are the findings of a group in Minnesota stating that due to the gravitational pull of the moon on the earth, the positioning of our planet has changed. The change over the last 2,000 years meant that the observation of the stars (more like constellations) by which western astrologers have based the zodiac signs have also changed. As such, a new Zodiac sign is being introduced or suggested - Ophiochus. The new sign is the name of another constellation that has actually been here all this time. Only, it was not among the set of stars observed by astrologists and used to predict futures.

From what I've read so far, due to the adjustments being proposed, I would now be actually under Aquarius when before I was under Pisces. The Clairvoyant meanwhile, will now be under Sagittarius rather than Capricorn. If we are to believe the interpretations for these signs, then there would be significant implications and perhaps even consequences for these changes. But change or none, I guess I would prefer to being a Fish though the Water-bearer carries some enigmatic appeal I seem have derived from a song I commonly hear and associate with the hippie era - "Age of Aquarius."

Now, I wonder if the Chinese will also review their astrology and conclude whether there will also be changes in the Chinese zodiac. Under the Chinese calendar, the Clairvoyant and I happen to be the same Rat. Maybe we'll become different beings? Abangan!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Change - again

They say the only thing constant in this world is change. I agree with this concept and have accepted a lot about change that has affected the way I live including changes in people and the environment around me. One thing I can say about change that is also similar to what others have found about it is that it is unpredictable in the way it affects us.

Take for example the change in government after the elections last year. After 9 years of working with officials of the previous government and getting familiar with their work styles and tendencies, we now start from scratch with many new officials. Often, we have to replay efforts undertaken in order to get on the good side of these officials and perhaps influence the way they make decisions if only to propagate our advocacies. Never mind if there are those who believe they are entitled to their positions and assume they know better. Never mind if some happen to be recycled and do not have new ideas to also help bring about change that is good to a sector that reflects a country's situation.

Take also the example of persons having children. Indeed having a baby and raising a child is a tremendous game changer. A mother's life is forever influenced by her child starting from when she bears the child in her womb until probably when she passes away, assuming she does before her child. Life would be too unkind if parents or a parent would have to bury his/her own child like what has been experienced in places where there is unrest or chaos.

Parents' lives will have to revolve around their child and yet there is tremendous joy that is derived from this. A child's laughter alone, I can imagine, brings so much happiness in the hearts of parents. And I have seen this and shared in this if only with my niece and nephew. And perhaps I also long for this feeling if only it can be realized and soon. But that, of course, is another story.

We are mostly uncomfortable when people around us change. We are usually forced out of our comfort zones and try to bring order by playing the control game. Often, the struggle for control is manifested in a power trip. Other times, we just tend to shut down people and block communication lines. And this is a sad thing when communications are impeded or cut altogether. It is when people stop talking to each other and friends opening up to share what is inside them and what concerns them when stress enters such relationships and as the Filipino saying goes "nagkakalamat ang pagkakaibigan."

We are all guilty of observing change around us and interpreting such change in a way that is relative to ourselves. We think that the change in other people affect us as if we ourselves do not change and affect other people. That flawed assumption that others change but we don't also brings about the struggle for control and a tendency to attempt to impose our own will and standards on others. And this is a sign that we have not accepted change and that we have not opened ourselves to such changes so as to transform what seems to be negative into something that is positive. This is a challenge that will continue as we live and interact with other people, and hopefully we do learn to embrace change, adjust and open ourselves to its positive outcomes rather than dwell on its disadvantages.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First day of the year

It was quite appropriate for the priest to mention in his sermon last night that we should be happy on this new year because we are starting from scratch. When we look back at the year that was, we always try to analyze what we did and what we should have done given certain situations. In certain cases, we regret our actions and the magnitude of this regret extends so much so that we feel a sense sadness over it.

The new year is a gift from God and allows us to start anew. We should be happy because it is in a sense (and for the newer generations) an opportunity to reboot and perhaps proceed by using the wisdom and knowledge from the experiences of the past years to improve our lot and perhaps make amends where it is necessary. The new year is also an opportunity for reflection and making a commitment to follow the Truth, the Way and the Life rather than creating our own truths (which may actually be lies disguised as truths as we want it to be), charting our own paths (without a guide to keep us from wandering dangerously) and living recklessly without regard and respect for our fellowmen.

The potential good of this young year will surely be ours if we choose to live by a principle guided by the Light provide to us by the Almighty. And we should do our darn best in keeping this light alive in ourselves, in our hearts so as to prevent ourselves into plunging into the darkness and, borrowing from DC comics, the "blackest night."