Leap OFTEN. Stick the Landing.

Posted in Stuff on February 26, 2011 by Leonard

Almost EXACTLY five years ago, I happened into the dusty basement of Toronto’s Masonic Temple — the future home of MTV Canada.  It was a brand new start, a chance at reinvigorating my career and the opportunity to be a part of something big, shiny and new.

For five years, I worked hard, did some really cool things and racked up some cool stories.  Who else can say they’ve sat down to interview Ice-T, Ice Cube, Akon… Chuck D and Snoop Dogg?

Who else can say they pissed off Ludacris in an interview?

Who else has a clip on Youtube of them teaching Justin Bieber how to operate a live web chat?

I had fun telling people where I worked and for the most part it was great.  I worked with great people, it was high profile, I didn’t have to explain ‘where I worked’ after telling people where I worked.  People just knew.  After a while, something started tugging inside of me.

It’s hard to think back and isolate the exact moment when you realize that it’s time to move on. What was it that made you think “I need to do something else”?  Maybe we get bored.  Or don’t feel challenged.  Or worse yet, we’ve begun to hate our jobs and the people we work with.  Or for. Maybe we get on the wrong side of the office politics.  Maybe we can’t understand why the promotion train never seems to stop at our station.  Then again, maybe we’ve just lost our passion.

Maybe, it’s none of those things.  Maybe at some point… it’s just time.

Have you ever gotten to a point where you are so efficient at what you do that you yourself become invisible?  Taken for granted and assumed to always be there, never to leave?  You’re at the top of your game, delivering each and every day to the point that its no longer rewarded nor noticed.  They see you as ‘a lifer’.  “Oh, he’ll never leave.”  You feel undervalued, underpaid and under-appreciated.  The worse thing is, you’ve done it to yourself.  You’re a victim of your own success.  But, how do you fix things when the only thing that is wrong is that you’re too good at getting it right?

You leap.

You stand up.  Stand up outside of your comfort zone, swing your arms for momentum, throw your weight upward and forward… and you leap.  Leaps of faith don’t only have to come when you’ve been pushed to a cliff by circumstance.

Perhaps the platforms from which we leap are places that we have to look for with purpose.  It’s almost like identifying a mountain peak to conquer.  You point to it and decide to scale it.  It doesn’t “just happen”.  Opportunities in life are the same.  They don’t just happen cosmically.  We create the opportunity.  Like portals between dimensions, we have to look for the jump.  We jump into the unknown, because it is that feeling — the feeling of uncertainty, the weightlessness of chance and ultimately the power that comes at that split-second moment in the air when you convert falling into flying.  If you’re not scared, maybe you’re not truly living life.

Five years later, almost to the day… I’ll be walking, head held high — out of the place I walked into five years earlier, scared and uncertain if I made the right choice.  If there is one thing that life is teaching me, its that we need to leap and leap often.  We need to reach upwards and forwards — not once but many, many times.  We need to make it a habit.

Five years later, almost to the day… I’ll walk in to a new place.  I’ll be armed with five years of experience under my belt, ready to make ’em burn with regret at the last place because I’m just so excellent and they lost me.  Time to make em’ hurt and want me back.  Time to take pride in the fact that I made the choice of where I want to be, what I want to be doing and what I’m truly worth… all by taking my own leap.

The truth is, I’ll be just as scared as I was five years earlier, only this time it’s by design.  This is exactly how flying is supposed to feel.

I’m excited to be in the air again.  Time to stick that landing.

p.s. – Thank you Mr. Dressup and Friendly Giant.


La Trenchera: Alaminos, Laguna

Posted in Balikbayan Stuff with tags , , on March 19, 2010 by Leonard

You must turn right after climbing a long winding road from Calauan and reaching San Pablo to reach Alaminos. Alaminos is a small community lying on a plain, west of San Pablo de los Montes. It used to be a barrio of San Pablo, which then belonged to the Province of Batangas. The prairie community used to be a bamboo grove. A thorny variety of bamboo grows here profusely. It serves as a natural defense. Residents however feel unsecured because its location, at the easternmost end of Batangas, amidst a thick forest is a perfect hideaway for bandits. They roam all around, marauding villagers.

To protect themselves, they dug trenches around the village. Hence it was called “La Trenchera,” which means “the trenches” or bunker.
From a small community of Batangeños, La Trenchera grew to become a prosperous agricultural village. In 1873, prominent citizens felt their capability for self-sufficiency. The desire to breakaway from San Pablo and govern their own community grew stronger day by day.

Don Cirilo Baylon (a.k.a. Cabezang Eloy), the Spanish speaking Cabeza de Barangay of La Trenchera, took the opportunity of an inspection tour of San Pablo, conducted by Alcalde Mayor Juan Vivara de Alaminos. Here he led local residents to present a petition requesting La Trenchera to be independent from San Pablo and proclaim it a town. He then invited the alcalde mayor to visit La Trenchera. Vivara accepted the invitation. Residents of the village gave the alcalde mayor a grand welcome in La Trenchera. The beautiful sister of Cabezang Eloy presented him a bouquet of flowers and handed him the written petition requesting for the conversion of La Trenchera into a town renamed Alaminos, in honor of the alcalde mayor. The alcaldia chief executive was deeply flattered and promised to present the petition to the Governador-General in Malacañang

Two months later, the Governor y Capitan General granted the request. Alcalde Mayor Juan Vivara de Alaminos read the proclamation at a banquet given him by the residents of La Trenchera, which is now Alaminos.
The alcalde mayor appointed Cabezang Eloy as interim Gobernadorcillo and Capitan Constables del Pueblo.

After the revolution, the self-declared republic of Aguinaldo, and the brief Fil-American war, citizens of Alaminos again lived in peace. The American proclaimed government installed Don Nicomedez Flores, Municipal president of Alaminos. Rafael Baylon succeeded him in 1903 before Alaminos again become a barrio of San Pablo, which at this time is a town of Laguna.

In 1908, Alaminos regained its status as a town, but this time of the Province of Laguna. Don Nicomedes Flores also retained his position as Municipal President until 1909. The people of Alaminos reelected him to continue his term of office until 1913.

GMA has laser eyes!

Posted in Bone to Pick, News, Politics with tags , , , , on February 5, 2008 by Leonard

by Leonard Cervantes

This article also appears in Kapisanan Blog


In a speech she made today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) said she is “focused like a laser” on moving the economy forward, not on politics, in the wake of the ouster of her estranged ally, Jose de Venecia Jr. (JDV 2), as House Speaker in the NBN Scandal.

You might be asking yourself a few questions:

1. Why did GMA say “focused like a laser”. Man, that’s so corny pinoy it bothers me.

2. What’s this new NBN scandal again? Again!?!

3. Who is Jose De Venecia Jr. (JDV 2) and why was another person ousted from the government again?

4. Why in the blue hell are there SMA (so many acronyms)?!?!

Especially for 2nd-Gen Filipinos living abroad, navigating around the confusing and complicated world of Philippine politics is almost impossible. Even if you are brave enough to try and read an article from ‘back home’, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by all the names, terms, and system of government (or lack thereof) that so differs from what we have here.

That’s probably a good explanation why the majority of us aren’t aware of Philippine politics. How can we have an opinion if we don’t understand how it works, or how it’s supposed to work in the first place? What we need is someone to break it down.

Strap on your seat belt and concentrate really hard — I’ll do my best to make sense of it all…

Continue reading

My Coca Cola tastes Sour Today

Posted in Stuff with tags , , on February 4, 2008 by Leonard

by Leonard Cervantes

Today in Manila, they’ll celebrate the commemoration of the 109th anniversary of the first shot that triggered the Philippine-American War, which left at least 600,000 Filipinos dead.

Author and historian Ambeth Ocampo says the Philippine-American War is an event that young Filipinos should know about. Continue reading

Don’t es-STOP. Bel-EEEBin.

Posted in Arts & Media, Bone to Pick, Entertainment with tags , , on February 4, 2008 by Leonard

by Leonard Cervantes

This is old news, but just in case you already didn’t know —


Legendary rock band Journey has a new lead singer and he’s PINOY! If you don’t know who Journey is, you are probably:

a) a youngin
b) too cool
c) too cool for school

The members of Journey ended up flying Arnel to America for an in-person audition and they signed him on the spot as their new lead singer. It’s the ultimate Cinderella rags-to-riches story and would have been the perfect ending — if not for the racist reactions of some Journey fans.
Continue reading

Over-Romanticizing the Filipina

Posted in Bone to Pick, Politics on January 29, 2008 by Leonard

by Leonard Cervantes

amosolo.jpgWoman By The River – Fernando Amorsolo 

Today I saw one of my old college classmates on the subway. He’s a Trinidadian guy and we had fun at school talking about whatever things we have in common — not much actually, but we’re both island folk in our own way.  At one stop, a pretty Filipina girl got on the train and sat next to us, then got off a few stops later. Right after, my friend turns to me and says, “GUY. I LOVE FILIPINO WOMEN.” 

My first instinct was to pummel him and I didn’t know why. As soon as I snapped out of it, my over-critical, somewhat-political mind started to swirl between replies of “Yes, they ARE great.” and “But WHY do you ‘love’ Filipino women?”  Continue reading

Island Food – Filipinos in the Bahamas

Posted in Balikbayan Stuff, Food on January 25, 2008 by Leonard

Ya’ll people fan out like nobody’s business.”  

That’s what my buddy said as we waited for our order at Little Philippines Restaurant, in downtown Nassau, Bahamas.319906129_70d00cebe0_o.jpg

The proprietor, Lorna, was like an auntie but I don’t think she took me for a Filipino when I walked in. Maybe its because I was dressed a little different? Or because my friend was with me?

Anyways, I pulled out my ‘rough but still admirable-for-the-effort Tagalog’ to verify my card carrying-status. If my ‘po-smattered’ conversation didn’t give it away, then surely my order would. No foreigner would walk into a Filipino restaurant and say ‘PO’… Ok, well — No foreigner would walk into a Filipino restaurant period. But really, no foreigner would walk into a Filipino restaurant and put down the following order: – Dinuguan – Pinakbet – Pork Adobo – Kare-Kare – Caldereta ng Kambing Continue reading