Eight things I wish I knew before applying in a PhD programme

The following are eight things to consider when thinking if you should or should not pursue a PhD based on my reflections and experience. Please note that the context of these is based on my first year experience studying PhD in Politics (International relations and organizational governance) in the UK. Other programmes in other countries will probably have something else to say. In my case, I just want to share these advices to help one decide whether PhD is something they should take. 

Eight things I wish I knew before applying in a PhD programme: 

  1. Do it if you genuinely love to learn. There are many things to read if you are planning to do a PhD particularly if it is in social sciences. That does not yet count the 80,000 to 100,000-word thesis that you must write (about 50,000 if in the sciences).  
  2. Beware if you have existing mental health issues or other issues (i.e. marital concerns, financial issues). According to several PhDs that I have talked to and researches done, PhD aggravates existing issues you have with yourself and with others. So if you already have existing issues, be warned that it can get worse. 
  3. Do it if you want to contribute to answer a question (or discover something). You may be the person that the world has been waiting for so if you have an idea to solve cancer or world peace, PhD is one of those spaces that can help you discover things at a deeper level. Assuming you choose the right supervisor and school, you are in good hands to discover something that no one has ventured into. After all, that’s what they emphasize in PhD anyway – an original contribution to the body of knowledge. 
  4. Think twice of doing a PhD if you are planning to have a family or already have one. PhD is a demanding job especially in terms of time. It is a job more than a schoolwork, so it expects a certain kind of focus as if you are fully paid to do it. Though there are options to do it part time, you have to consider your capacity to juggle different things in your life especially if you have a family. If you can bear the idea of finishing the PhD around 3 to 4 years (full time) or 6 to 8 years (part-time), then maybe yes, you can still do a PhD. 
  5. Go for it if you want to build your character, skills and discipline. A PhD is more than the thesis that you produce at the end of the 3 or 4 years. It is character building since your research forms your beliefs and lens on how you view the world around you. It also forms your skills especially on research and writing. It also teaches you great discipline in managing yourself and your time since a successful PhD (the one which you finish with yourself intact) is really in terms about forming habits. 
  6. Do not do it if the intention is to impress. It will be hard to keep on going if your reason is to impress someone/people because you will be a doctor. Pursuing and surviving a PhD is more of an internal rather than an external drive. 
  7. Do it if you really want it. PhD will always make you question your life choices and why you decided to stay in the academe rather work outside. It involves a lot of self-questioning so if you are not convinced yourself that you want to do it, you will struggle in keeping yourself motivated to do your research. 
  8. You are taking it to get a better job opportunity. PhD is not a guarantee of a higher paying job or even a job after you graduate. Sometimes, it can even disqualify you since companies will think that you are overqualified or that you need to be paid more. 
  9. Push for it if your goal is to contribute to the society and/or saving the world. Research is usually neglected in the decision-making process especially in the development of policies. We are now at the verge of human extinction because our leaders have disregarded the researches related to climate change. Although not all PhDs have the mission of saving the world, it helps to have a bigger reason on why you are doing it. 
  10. Don’t do it if you are just escaping the world of work. Yes it might be frustrating to find a decent job so you go for a PhD rather than joining the work force. Well, guess what? A PhD is also work. Although it is flexible in terms of time, the amount of work needed is similar to what is expected when you work. Sometimes even worse cause you will keep thinking about it even while you are in the shower. It requires you to regularly read and write. You also need to teach, present your work and publish at some point. This is the reason why a lot of PhD groups are trying to push for benefits given to staff since we’re almost doing the same thing. 

The title says eight so why I have ten? Well, that’s what a PhD is, you end up with something different from when you started. Spare yourself from the constant doubt of, “why did I do this to myself?” Instead, have a clearer reason to why you think it is necessary to PhD. Hopefully, it is something more than gaining benefits for yourself but also for the betterment of the society.  


Yes, I am disappointed and I am also surprised. I am disappointed that our fellow Filipinos still voted for people who does not have a sense of accountability and guilt over what they have done to our country. I am surprised that none of those from Otso Diretso, event those who are popular, did not manage to get even a single seat in that 12 open posts. I guess I am sad because I have always believed that us Filipinos are capable of discerning what is right and wrong (we are a dominantly Christian nation, aren’t we?); that we Filipinos are smart enough to decide based on facts rather than their ability to dance over Budots music (Filipinos are considered one of the most hard-working and smartest people abroad); that we Filipinos have learned from our past (we already have a long history of being used and abused. Have we not learned?). I have always been hopeful. I have always believed in change. I have always loved the Philippines despite the many hurt. I cried.

I cried so bad. This is another heartbreak, an acceptable reason to leave the country and let it suffer for its choices. I am in a country busy with something else to do than be bothered over election matters. I have an option to stay abroad and bring my family out of the sinking ship. I will not be affected as much as other Filipinos who have no jobs or have nothing to eat. I can choose to ignore and not be bothered. But is that the solution? Is that what I want to happen? Do we always have to blame others over bad decisions? What have we really done to change this system?

Yes, there are a lot of reasons to hate the country but thinking about it critically, there are more people that us who have the right to give-up but they did not. Think of the thousands of government employees and NGO workers who have been working so hard to keep the country running despite the frustrations and low pay, have they given up? There are thousands of teachers who endured the hunger and sleep deprivation to support the elections, did they go home and not do their job? There are those community leaders and volunteers who walked the extra mile just to educate our fellow Filipinos to not sell their votes, even putting their lives at risk, did they stop? Who are we? Who are you who can read this online in an English language even think of leaving? Who are we, especially those who were given all the opportunities (education, job, and travels) even think of giving-up? We can rant but we must not surrender. There is much more to do.

As a scholar of various social science degrees, I think it will be selfish to just talk about this and not do anything. We already know that most Filipinos would choose personalities and artists over credentials. We also know that several Filipinos would still choose to sell their votes even if they are aware that it is wrong. We already know that Filipinos forgive and forget easily; that those who have money and power can easily tweak things to their favour. So what now? The easy answer is education. The harder answer is socialisation. Education refer to the awareness raising activities and other instances that we give people several information with the hope that they can have choose wisely. Socialisation is much more complex. It involves deeper understanding; the formation of shared values and beliefs; a deeper sense of connection; a compassion that transcends class and education. We do not have that in the Philippines. We are a divided nation. We call the poor stupid and the more educated ones elitist. We block or unfriend people who do not share the same choices as we do. We put up the wall of language, resources, and education to separate us from those we do not identify as us. We judge than we converse. We call people with other names that undermine who they are. We pull each other down. We talk more than we listen so we fail to socialise and education. Think about those strangers who preach religious verses to us, do really listen?

The change we want to see requires more than educating the population, it is building relationships…a unity rather than a division. Now that the election is over, let us rethink. What are those instances that we created a divide? How can we use our relationships, our families, our friendships, and the environment we are working to create the space for conversations? How can we better understand people different from us? How we as scholars, professionals, business people and ordinary citizens do something to change our country? Do a values check. Think what is important to you. Reflect on what you can compromise and what will make you uncomfortable. What is your dream for our country? When you realize what that is, share it to others. Create a common narrative. Agree to disagree but understand each other. Maybe in 2022, we can get better results. This is not the time to give-up and create more divide. We need to be more vigilant and work together better. This is not the time to selfish and create more divide. We need to be more vigilant and work together better.

Be sad but do not give-up.

P.S. I am thinking of mobilizing some human and financial resources to conduct a research on how to make political change using the key topics of my PhD research: learning, socialisation, and norm development. If you are interested to help out, please send me an email: j.censoro2@ncl.ac.uk.

Photo credit: GMA News Online #Election2019 #Halalan2019 #PhilippineElection2019 #SDGscholar #Doc4Devt #PhDiary2019

Working Together?

Figure 1. Status of Asia Pacific in achieving the 2018 targets. Darker blue refers to progress. Dark red refers to regression. Light dotted blue and red have insufficient data. (Source: http://data.unescap.org/)

A quarter of the 15-year global goal has already passed. The current progress needed to achieve the global goals in 2030 seems to be lagging behind its targets.[1] In East Asia Pacific, several goals are even regressing particularly on SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), crucial goals for a region which hosts 60% of the world’s population.[2] If this is the case, what needs to be done? How will the SDGs ensure that it will not leave anyone behind and not repeat the mistakes of past global agreements? The answer to these questions is already in the same Agenda 2030 document that countries already agreed upon in September 2015 (what needs to be done are made in bold font below). The world just needs to take it seriously and comply not just in meeting the targets, but also in accommodating the needed changes in the current system to make it effective.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are presented as a comprehensive, far-reaching, and people-centred set of universal and transformative goals that aims to “leave no one behind”. [3] It aims to end poverty without compromising the ability of the future generations to provide its needs – sustainable development. The goals contain urgent plan for action by and for all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.[4] Similar to other environment-focused global agreements, the SDGs rely on peer-to-peer pressure to ensure that countries that committed are able to comply. The SDGs do not have sanctions or formal mechanism that will hold entities accountable, thus making it complicated to delegate responsibilities, and demand for action (Bowen 2017). The peer-to-peer pressure is helpful, in order to address the soft nature of the SDGs’ governance arrangements that makes it hard to direct and scrutinize stakeholders who do not comply (Underdal and Kim 2017).  Creating rules in a global governance setting with varying capacities, national interest, power levels, and history of conflict will not be the best way to achieve the goals. Instead of formal legal rules that can only make arrangements more unequal, the SDGs can use learning and socialization. First, it needs to have a genuine cooperation in implementation that treats every one across geographic, economic, and political categories as partners. Second, learning from each other and from previous experiences on the MDGs that state intervention is insufficient to achieve the goals, should be a reminder that old ways will not work on the SDGs.

One important component of the SDGs are its emphasis on “Working together” towards sustainable development. The Agenda 2030 resolution emphasizes that the achievement of the SDGs will be a collective movement, with “win-win” cooperation among states and stakeholders as its central strategy for global sustainable development. It emphasises the interlinkages of each SDG and of all the stakeholders (government, private sector, civil society, etc.) that must work together in order to achieve the goals at all levels (global, regional, national, local, individuals). The “working together” also suggest equal responsibility towards developing and implementing solutions towards development.[5]

In the recently concluded Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) and Asia Pacific People’s Forum on Sustainable Development (APPFSD), the “working together” seems far behind the target as well. The quality and inclusivity of participation has been a recurring issue mentioned in both the APPFSD and APFSD. Various CSOs shared that meaningful engagement is still lacking in the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), a report that “aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” The idea of the VNR is not to become an intruding instrument but to be a supporting mechanism that can help “mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.” The regional SDG progress and country progress reports are lagging behind the targets since its reference is mainly the information from the governments. SDG work in the countries is clearly not just a government endeavour; hence, it is important that initiatives and accomplishments of various sectors are also reflected in the VNRs.

In the various sessions during the APFSD, governments still dominate the discussions. There are even governments who still debate about the importance of targets such as gender equality and importance of biodiversity conservation in achieving climate change. Among governments – high income, middle income, and lower income – there were also obvious tensions on what needs to be done since the financing remains to be a contentious topic. Across levels, it is still the national governments that are able to share their experiences more than the local governments. However, the most striking observation during the forum is the lack of plenary negotiation on the APFSD report that will be forwarded to the HLPF in New York.

This article does not intend to undermine the hard work of the UN in trying to bring together various stakeholders. This is meant to call out the powerful stakeholders to allow changes in the current governance system. It is also a call for CSOs and other stakeholders to remain steadfast in pushing for a more participatory, inclusive and empowering SDGs. The APFSD is already one of the best venue that opens spaces for dialogue, learning, and collaboration among stakeholders. International organizations such as the UN has an important role to play in ensuring cooperation and empowerment of other stakeholders in the SDG process. The CSOs even recognize the UN as the go-to partner when their governments are not listening. “Sustainable development is the only social contract that the world has and everyone needs to work on that” (Mikic 2019, panel on Missing Link at APFSD).[6] Democracy is only frightening when the leadership is not strong enough to share the power and voice to the less privileged. Governance of the SDGs needs to be challenged. At the end of the day, the survival of the humanity does not rest on the few, but in the ability of every human being to be less selfish and become a person for others. There is still hope if we work together.

[1] United Nations. (2018). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018. The UN Sustainable Development Goals [online]. Available at: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/files/report/2018/TheSustainableDevelopmentGoalsReport2018-EN.pdf [Accessed: 27 April 2019].

[2] Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network. (2018). Global Responsibilities: Implementing the Goals. Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards [online]. Available at: http://www.sdgindex.org/assets/files/2018/01%20SDGS%20GLOBAL%20EDITION%20WEB%20V9%20180718.pdf [Accessed: 27 April 2019].

[3] United Nations. (2015). Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. General Assembly 70th session. New York: United States.

[4] United Nations. (2019). Sustainable Development Goals [online]. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300 [Accessed: 27 April 2019].

[5] United Nations. (2015). Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. General Assembly 70th session. New York: United States.

[6] Mikic, M. (2019) Missing Link. Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development. Bangkok, Thailand.

Thoughts about RBH 15

Federalism is a topic in my comprehensive exam for master in public administration before. We were asked what we think of federalism and if we are in favour. My answer was, “it depends” on which provisions of the different versions are we taking in.

Our current government is based on the model that was established by the US which already made its own shifts, such as having a president and vice-president from the same party, which I think is a better setup. I also like the merit-based system of the federalism but I don’t think it should be limited to the level of education. I think you can have a congressman in Eastern Samar (mainly agricultural industries) with no college degree but has 25 years of agricultural management experience, but not a senator who has a college degree and only worked as an assistant of her politician father. WE NEED A JOB-SKILLS MATCH HERE.

I do believe in the idea of decentralisation and that our local governments are in the best position to execute the best plan for their area and their constituents. Unfortunately, the social, political, and economic environment in these regions are not at the same level and some politicians have been abusive of their power. Some steering from the national government body needs to happen to make sure that equity, monitoring, and regulation of power is observed. I don’t think it’s a secret that some local governments use their power to favour their allies and eradicate the opponents. WE NEED STRONG INSTITUTIONS THAT HAVE A CENTRALISED AND INDEPENDENT CHARACTER SO IT WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO BULLYING BY LOCAL POWERS.

I also think that we have a lot of oligarchs and dynasties that control the local governments so some form of regulation should be done by virtue of having an anti-dynasty policy (and even anti-epal bill) in the proposed version of the federalism draft. I’m sure my public administration classmates (mostly politicians too) will hate me for saying this but PHILIPPINES IS NOT AN EQUAL COUNTRY AND BY VIRTUE OF KEEPING THE PLAYING FIELD AT STATUS QUO, OTHERS WHO HAVE LESS POWER BUT WITH THE SAME PASSION AND COMPETENCY, WILL HAVE LOWER CHANCE OF GETTING A POSITION BECAUSE YOU DID NOT START THE BATTLE AT THE SAME LINE. WHAT WE NEED IS A JUST SYSTEM. GIVE OTHERS A CHANCE. IF YOU ARE REALLY GOOD AND POWERFUL, THEN TRY TO BUILD A MORE COOPERATIVE ENVIRONMENT.

The RBH 15 removes key provisions I am hoping they would keep – the Anti-Dynasty Bill. They also removed the limit for two-term and three term limit for senators and party-list/district representatives. They also removed the line limiting the participation of foreign investors in governing body entities.

If we really want change to happen, I think we have to step back, go to the ground, and bring the people in the conversation. As Acemoglu and Robinsons stated in their book, “Why Nations Fail?”, some countries fail and succeed because of their differences in the following: (1) being able to give power to the people through voice, decisions, and position, (2) making sure that resources are shared to the people rather than benefiting only a few, and (3) creating that supportive space where people can innovate and explore. If shifting to federalism will not help make that happen, to whom and what is it really for?

House approves draft federal constitution: https://www.rappler.com/nation/218632-house-3rd-reading-draft-federal-constitution?fbclid=IwAR2b1M23eUt1umg19WPd_1iwWaAKkF4YtTlss0sCTKyaXFPs20a9cLUeq7Q


The Kendo Kid

I’ve been doing martial arts since I was a kid. I first started off with Taekwondo which I did until college. Unfortunately, I got a bad injury from a sparring that bruised and dislocated my knee. I was forced to quit.

After college, being a very active person that I am, I tried doing other martial arts such as Aikido, Capoeira, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Judo but I didn’t really pushed through any given that they are also contact sports similar to Taekwondo. Apparently, I still have some fear in getting another bad injury from being punched, kicked or thrown.


In 2017, I met a Japanese lady who does Kendo. I got curious to what it is since she keeps on mentioning how much she loves it. I went with her in one of her practice and saw people who look like samurai warriors bordering Star Wars Jedi. I thought it was cool given that I am a fan of anime and science fiction so I did some research about it. According to my research, it was the descendant of the Japanese art of swordmanship (Kenjutsu). The martial art practices the “way of the sword” but uses a bamboo sword called shiai instead of a real samurai. I got interested in learning more about it so I observed in the practices and joined their events as a spectator. Lucky me, there are people in the Manila Kendo Club who have been very encouraging and supportive, giving a lot of information and favor so I’ll be enticed to join Kendo. My friend, who introduced Kendo, also gave special trainings which brought me back to my childhood memory of why I loved martial arts. After several observations, demonstration, and Q&A (and gifts), I got convinced to join.


In 2018, wearing the dougi  (kendo uniform somehow similar to what Kenshin Himura wears in Samurai X) that was given to me, I walked into Gatorade Hoops to join the beginner’s training. Since I already got some special tutorial before, I was recommended to move to advanced beginners. Like how it was in my special tutorial, the basic thing to master in Kendo is the foot work. It is so important that in Japan, the first year of training is only on foot works. Once you get a good handle of the foot works (which by the way hurts at the beginning especially if you are not used to gliding, stomping, and walking barefoot), the next steps will be less hard. Once you are allowed to hold the shiai  and eventually wear your bogu and men (body and head gear), the feeling will be different. It is like you are tasked to “save the world” so you get excited to hit something. Of course, that’s not the point of Kendo so you will need to be attentive on the proper way of doing things from standing to moving; from holding the shiai to hitting an exact point. There is much to learn and continually learn in Kendo so everyone is thought to remain humble and be open to be corrected. In Manila Kendo Club, the population is from around 7 to more than 60 years old so it tells you that Kendo is really a lifetime of learning.

Given my five months of training Kendo, I would like to share the 5 things that I learned from it:

  1. You build a discipline for learning. I am a learner and I learn fast so my thinking is that when I already know something, that’s it. But what Kendo thought me is that I should continually listen for correction and seek constant mastery. Even the older kendokas are learning so I don’t have any reason to say I know how to do things already.
  2. You develop a heart of gratitude. The senseis (teachers) in Kendo do not get any payment for teaching. They do it as a return of favor for also learning for free from their senseis. Teaching this martials arts is not easy since you literally need to check each one if they are doing things properly. I especially thank my senseis – Rika, Ian, Emerson Sy, Emerson Ingco, Ron, Matt, Adrian, Wally, Elvie, Inoue-san, Yuta, Akita, Morishima sensei, and the rest of MKC – for teaching me.
  3. You become conscious of doing things the proper way. Kendo, like other sports have rules to follow but Kendo is somehow different because it literally has a rule on EVERY LITTLE THING even in terms of how you fold your kendo-gi and hakama (uniform) and how you enter/exit the room. It’s that specific in almost everything that you eventually translate that practice in the way you live your life.
  4. You learn to be more humble. One reason why Kendo is probably not as popular as other martial arts like Karate or Taekwondo is because the practice itself is almost never showcased in public spaces. Part of doing the sport is to keep it at low profile with no intention to impress other people or show off. There was a move to include it in the olympics but the federation refused since they want to preserve the art and spirit of Kendo. I never heard or saw anyone brag about how they do Kendo. Every one, no matter how good they are, always act and speak very humbly.
  5. You gain friends. This is probably the icing on the cake when I joined Kendo. There are so many amazing and interesting people in the club that there is no way that you won’t make friends with them. The practice is also done at least once a week so even if you don’t force it, you will eventually get to know them. In some cases, there will also be dinner together or out-of-town travel. That is when things get more interesting since you will learn more about the profile of the people and why they also joined Kendo.

Bonus: Kendo will also make you look like an anime. So for those who love cosplay, manga, and anime, you will love this! ❤ ❤ ❤

To know more about Manila Kendo Club, visit: www.ManilaKendoClub or check out the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/ManilaKendoClubPhilippines/.  Follow us on Instagram: @manilakendo.

Beginners’ Training is every Saturday at Gatorade Hoops, Shaw Boulevard, from 6pm to 8pm. It’s FREE this June 2018! Join us! 🙂



What’s up 2016? Lessons from the year that was.

Another year is about to end again. This year, 2016, is far different from others mainly because of many events that shook our world – Brexit, US Election, Philippine Election, Marcos Burial, etc. This list does not yet include personal events that made most of us say, “What’s with you 2016?” To me, it is a very challenging in so many aspects. It will take another essay to tell all the happy, awful, and annoying things. But looking back, I think there are still a lot of things worth remembering like those simple smiles from the person you admire. Despite all that happened, there are still a lot of things and a lot of people to be thankful for.

Each year, I try to list down the top 10 things that I learned. I do this to help myself move forward and inspire others to grow. This way, I am also able to look at the past year positively by looking at its contribution to future growth. I usually put this in my year-end journal but I thought it will be useful to share this online. I’m sharing here my top 10 lessons for 2016 which I hope you can relate to:

  • If the need is presented to you, there is no better way to respond than to do something about it. We all have something to do. We all have our own limitation. But have you ever thought why of all people, the opportunity to help chose you? There is always a reason for everything under heaven as they say. You might be the angel this person in need is praying for. We are all angels who are meant to support each other. Help does not need to be grand. It can be as simple as taking/sharing a photo of their situation or offering a connection to someone who has influence. Your small act of kindness can go a long way.
  • Take every opportunity to inspire and teach others. You are blessed to bless others. This world gave you all those knowledge, talents, and opportunities to share it to others. Do not be selfish with your kind words and simple sharing of thoughts. A simple morning message of inspiration on your social media can go a long way than ranting on how awful your day is. Try to also teach others. This does not need to be a crowd. Even one person is enough as long as you teach the right thing.
  • Make a stand. Stop standing on the fence. If you know what is right, why prevent yourself from fighting for it? As the saying goes, “evil prevails when good people keep silent.” If you keep on just agreeing to both sides just to prevent conflict, aren’t you tolerating the very reason why there are oppression, inequality, and corruption in this world? If you want to make this world a better place, learn to get out of your comfort zone and be part of the uneasy work to make a change. No one gets anywhere by just sitting down.
  • Make time for important people in your life. Once work pops, it won’t stop. Life will always make you busy that you won’t even realize that time is over and you don’t have the people you value anymore. Make time for them. Set it as a priority in your things to do. Actually, don’t make the moments with them just part of your “things to do”. Don’t make your love ones a part of your checklist. Make every moment with your family and friends a requirement in your every day, every week, and every time. Allow your love ones randomly disturb you. Allow your family to take your energy. Let your friends mess up your schedule. After all, why are you doing all these things? Isn’t it for them?
  • Make a budget, stick to it, and be wise on your spending. You will never know when money will come running out. Sometimes, even if you have a job, there will be times that your pay will be delayed or will not be enough. There will also be times that there will be an emergency and you are not prepared for that thousands-worth of expense. This is why you have to make a budget and commit to it. Set aside 50% of your budget (if you can) for emergency fund, savings, investments, and other social protection expense. That way, you will have something to spend when the going gets tough. Two important things I learned on the year 2016 are: first, to never use a credit and miss paying all the expenditure on time; second, to use the budget intended for something else. Missing these two points will give you a headache.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Tell what you have to say. Mean what you say. There will be several times when we neither show nor tell what we have to say because we are so afraid on how people will react. If this will always be our mentality, we will never be happy because we hold ourselves back to possibilities. Be brave to face the consequences. When we show our true selves – what we feel, what we want, and who we really are – we experience freedom; we allow ourselves to be surprised to the price of being courageous. Fly butterfly!
  • Travel responsibly. When I mean travel responsibly, I mean going outdoors with care and going on an adventure without compromising your other responsibilities. I won’t talk much about being a “responsible traveler” because I think there are a lot of resources on considering the environment in your adventure. But just in case you forgot, PLEASE TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOS, LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS, and KILL NOTHING BUT TIME. What I really want to talk more is on being honest in the time and resources we use for travel. If we are supposed to be working then we work. Let us not use that “I am not feeling well” excuse to go to the mountains. Much more, let us be true to ourselves that when we travel, we really have the money for it than using our money for the monthly bills to pay for our trip. You will enjoy the beach more if the time and money you use is something that won’t worry you after.
  • Let Go and Let God. There’s a debate whether you should fight or hold on to what you think you deserve. For me, I think the best way is to let God. If it is for you and it is the right time, you will have it. Continually struggling to have what is not supposed to yours will just drain your energy and nab you from opportunities that are meant for you. You will never notice the other treasures around because you are simply “preoccupied” with your imagined “what ifs”.
  • Regret not the things that you did but the things you never did. Jump out of your comfort zone. Have fun! Life is short to prevent ourselves from enjoying the things that makes us happy. Travel to places you’ve never been. Say what you have to say. Dare to do the things that scare you. Try something new. Meet new people. Test your threshold. Be afraid but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do. Let go of that phone and experience more of life. If you were to die tomorrow, what will you regret not doing?
  • Be thankful even if it hurts you. Remember how a tree grows with more branches? It takes pruning. Remember how a diamond is made? It takes some intense heat and pressure. Life will not always serve you with cakes and lemons. There will be days that the sunny sky will be cloudy all of a sudden. When that happens, you hold on to the one who made everything. There is a lesson that is meant to be learned in the pain you are feeling. The strong warriors are those who have gone through the times. No pain will take forever. If you pass the test of tears, you will come out as a better person.

I’m bringing all of these lessons to 2017. I am looking next year with a clear vision that it will be better because I am more ready given the learnings I had this year. Again, thank you 2016 and to all who had been part of it. Dear 2017, let’s make new stories. I am ready for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

#IAmWarrior #Readyfor2017

Expert Moderators Training

A short but concise training on moderating panels was done last 21 October 2016 by Tim Ward and Teresa Erickson in ADB. I’m sharing here some of the materials that they presented. Please feel free to browse for your reference. You may avail their book, The Master Communicator’s Handbook in Amazon.

See materials here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BziYU_lXanWZOUFpVk9KYzQtR28

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the materials shared above. I just want to share what was learned in the sessions. Re-use of this materials for purposes other than personal learning should be communicated to Tim Ward and Teresa Erickson.

Isang kisapmata

Ikaw na di ko inakalang pupukaw sa aking mga mata
Ikaw na ilang gabi naring pumupuyat sa mahimbing kong paghiga
Napapangiti habang ginugunita ang gabing hinalikan ka sana
Pero di ko ginawa
Natakot sa posible nating maging “sana”.
Iba ka sa lahat nang nakaraang pagsinta
Di ka ‘yung tipong seryoso pero siguradong tagos sa pagsamba
Nakakatakot ang mahibang sa tulad mong isang kasipmata
Baka ngayon mabulag sa iyong halina,
Bukas wala ka na.
Pagsisisihan ko bang hindi hayaang malunod sa iyong agos?
Ano nga bang hinahon ang inaalagaan kung handa naman sa pagtatapos?
Ang piliing sumugod ay pagpayag sa pagkagapos
Posibleng masaktan. Maging martir.
Hahayaan bang magwakas ang nadarama na parang isang inutil?
Itong nadarama, lahat ng alaala, ating kisapmat
Ikaw ang pag-ibig na patutuloy na dudungawin mula sa bintana
Kung sakaling dumating ang araw na di makakapigil pa
Sana pwede pa ang ikaw at ako
Sana posibleng may “tayo” pa.
P.S. Masarap pala ‘yung sisig pasta sa Cable car.
Sisig pasta

Research and Learning Opportunities on Peacebuilding, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Security, Intercultural Dialogue & Human Rights topics.

Institute for Peace and Dialogue invite you to join the next International Winter Programs and 1 Year Visitor Research Program (VRP) which will be held in Switzerland.

During the Winter Program 2017, experienced experts of IPD will share with you professional and academic skills which will cover Peacebuilding, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Security, Intercultural Dialogue & Human Rights topics.

1) Winter Academy: 17-26 February, 2017 (10 Days)

The main goal of the 10 days Winter Academy is to strengthen the skills of the representatives of state organisations, business sector, INGOs/NGOs, education institutions, religious organisations, independent mediators and politicians through institutional global academic education in peacebuilding, mediation, conflict resolution, security and intercultural dialogue.

Deadline for Applications: 01 November, 2016

Program Link: http://www.ipdinstitute.ch/Winter-Academy-3-Month-CAS-Research-Program-2017/

2)  3 Month CAS – Research Program Period: 17 February – 16 May, 2017 (90 Days)

The main goal of the 3 Month CAS-Research Program is to develop the research skills of the participants and to closely acquaintance them with relevant Swiss state, public and private Institutes.

Deadline for Applications: 01 November, 2016

Program Link: http://www.ipdinstitute.ch/Winter-Academy-3-Month-CAS-Research-Program-2017/

3) 3-12 Month Visitor Research Program, VRP

The main aim of the Visitor Research Program is to improve research skills of the researchers through academic trainings, peer to peer education, visit to Swiss Organisations and reading materials.

Starting/Ending Research Time: Depends from the Researchers`schedule

Program Link: http://www.ipdinstitute.ch/3-12-Month-Visitor-Research-Program,-VRP/

Scholarship: IPD offers several type of scholarship support to reduction the participation fee amount for most needed potential participants from all over the world counties.

If you wish to request discounted participation fee amount, please write your request briefly via email before or during the application submission period.

Unfortunately IPD scholarship program do not cover all the participation fee amount and international travel expenses.

Participation Procedure Step by Step:

  1. Submitting filled application in WORD format, CV + scanned passport page till the Deadline
  2. Participant will receive Invoice to start the payment of the requested participation fee amount
  3. After receiving the participation fee, participant will receive the unconditional letter via email and if there is required visa application process IPD will send invitation letter by post and also to the relevant embassy by email or fax.
We strongly advice to the participants to submit the filled application as soon as it`s possible, who needs visa to enter Switzerland and who needs more financial documentation in the work place for his/her participation.


Partnership: We are interesting to receive group participants (5-20 participants) from your Institution and will be glad to discuss the partnership elements via email.

If you will be any more questions or suggestions, please feel free to write us by email to fhuseynli@ipdinstitute.ch

If you would like to be sponsor of our events, Please visit our web page to fill the application and send us your sponsorship request by emailhttp://www.ipdinstitute.ch/Sponsorship-Donation/

IPD Academic Programs: Theory – Practice – Research – Exchange – Networking – Contribute

We are looking forward to see you in Switzerland!

#TheHeartTruth: Ano ang Pag-ibig?

Love Series 1Pag-ibig – ito na yata ang pinakasikat at pinakapaboriting paksa ng mga kanta, libro, at iba’t-ibang obra. Ito rin ‘yung madalas na dahilan ng mga tao kung bakit sila sumasaya, nalulungkot, nagsusumikap at umaasa. Kapag may hugot o nakababaliw na emosyon, mataas ang posibilidad na dahil ito sa pag-ibig. Kapag sobrang ligaya at ang daming inspirasyon, tiyak dahil rin yan sa pag-ibig. Pero kahit ganito ang pag-ibig, nakakalito at mahirap ipaliwanag, ito ‘yung biyaheng hindi natin pinapalampas nakakahilo man at minsan di mo alam ang patutunguhan. Masaya kasi. Gusto mo. Masarap kasing magmahal.

Photo entry 1Ayon sa Facebook post ni Pastor Erwin Balanay, “Ang magmahal at mahalin ay isang napakagandang karanasan na pwedeng mangyari sa isang tao. Eh bakit maraming umiiyak sa pagmamahal?” Tinalakay niya sa #TheHeartTruth series ng Victory ngayong Pebrero ang ilan sa mga problema kung bakit maraming umiiyak sa pagmamahal. Ito ang ilan sa mga nabanggit niya:

  1. Mahal mo pero may iba na siyang mahal

Bakit ba kasi ginugusto pa natin ‘yung pag-aari na ng iba? Di ba nung bata tayo, tinuruan naman na tayo wag kukuha ng hindi atin? Kung mahal ka niya, ikaw dapat ang pinili at patuloy na pipiliin niya.

  1. Iniwan ka

May mga pagkakataon na iiwan tayo ng mahal natin para ikabubuti natin. Pero iba kapag iniwan nila tayo dahil sa sarili nilang kapakanan. Hindi mo deserve ang tao na ipinagpapalit ka. Sapat ka at karapat-dapat ingatan.

  1. Di ka pinapansin (o pwede ring friendzoned ka)

May mga bagay at tao na magiging atin sa tamang panahon. Mangyayari ang dapat mangyari. Wag mong ikulong ang sarili mo sa iisang posibilidad dahil baka di mo makuha yung nakatakda para sayo.

  1. Mas mahal niya ang sarili niya

Ang dahilan kung bakit maraming problema ang mundo ay nauuna ang sarili sa iba. Bakit di mo baguhin ‘yung ganung sistema?

Sa kabuuan, ang dahilan kung bakit umiiyak ang mga tao dahil sa pag-ibig ay dahil mas nangingibabaw ang kagustuhan natin tumanggap kaysa magbigay. Hindi ba kapag may binigay tayo, kahit papaano ay umaasa tayo na maibabalik ito sa ibang paraan? Hindi ba kapag gumawa tayo ng mabuti at nagpakahirap, umaasa tayo na kahit papaano ay masusuklian ito sa isang paraan na matutuwa tayo? Sabi nga ni Pastor Erwin, kapag ganito ang tingin natin sa pag-ibig, ang tawag dito ay “sense of entitlement”. Nasasaktan tayo kasi hindi natin nakukuha ang gusto natin. Ang totoong pag-ibig ay pagbibigay.

Photo 2Sabi nila, ang hirap daw ipaliwanag kung ano ang pag-ibig. Kapag ganito ang pagtingin natin sa pag-ibig, para narin nating sinabi na ayos lang kung anong matanggap nating pagmamahal kasi depende naman yan sa kung ano ang alam ng nagbibigay. Kapag ganun, mahirap lalong umasa sa totoong pag-ibig kasi hindi mo tiyak kung nandun ka na dahil walang tiyak na batayan. Pwede mong sabihin ngayon na depende sa tao. Kung ako tatanungin mo, gusto ko ‘yung tiyak at totoo.

Magkaiba ang pakahulugan ng mundo at ng langit pagdating sa pagmamahal. May tiyak na depinisyon ang pag-ibig kapag binalikan natin ang teksto sa 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Ito ang pag-ibig na wagas, totoo at walang hinihinging kapalit.

“Ang pag-ibig ay matiyaga at magandang-loob, hindi maiinggitin, hindi mayabang ni mapagmataas man, hindi magaspang ang pag-uugali, hindi makasarili, hindi magagalitin, o mapagtanim sa kapwa. Hindi niya ikinatutuwa ang gawaing masama, ngunit ikinagagalak ang katotohanan. Ang pag-ibig ay mapagpatawad, mapagtiwala, puno ng pag-asa, at mapagtiis hanggang wakas.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)

Love Series Photo 4Kung susuriing mabuti ang teksto, sinasabi rito na ang pag-ibig ay ‘yung nagbibigay na walang hinihinging kapalit; ‘yung nagsasakripisyo; ‘yung masaktan man ay nagmamahal parin; ‘yung nag-aalay ng sarili para sa iba. Kung ang pagtingin natin sa pag-ibig ay ginhawa at saya para sa ating sarili, patuloy tayong masasaktan dahil hinahanap natin sa iba ang pagmamahal na dapat nagsisimula sa atin…sa kung anong nasa puso natin.

Ayon sa turo ni Pastor Erwin, ang tunay na pag-ibig ay galing kay God. Ang pagmamahal ay dapat nakasentro sa kanya, ang dahilan ay siya, at ang naisin ay siya. Si God ang pag-ibig. Kaya kung may totoong pag-ibig ka sa puso mo, masakit man, mahirap man, nakakalito man, gugustuhin mo parin kasi si God inaasam mo. Hindi na ito tungkol sayo. Hindi na ito tungkol sa mararamdaman mo.

“Makapagsalita man ako sa mga wika ng mga tao at ng mga anghel, kung wala naman akong pag-ibig (God), para lamang akong kampanang umaalingawngaw o pompiyang na kumakalampag.” (1 Cor 13:1)