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)


Exclusive to Inclusive Relationships: ADB’s Use of Social Media

This love month might make you think that this post is about romantic relationships but it’s not. This is about how ADB opens its communication lines to build relationships with more people, making development more inclusive through social media and blogging. It starts with changing what’s inside.

Three days before Valentines, Intermedia in partnership with ADB conducted a social media and blogging training for its staff and consultants. The learning program involved a lot of tips and tricks on how to use popular online tools to engage the public on what ADB is doing. Currently, ADB has a Twitter account (@ADB_HQ), Facebook page (AsianDevBank), and other several accounts that it uses for communicating to the public. Posting to these portals have so far been limited to the official communications team of ADB. What Intermedia suggests is for ADB people to have their own account in these platforms and be able to share their thoughts/insights/knowledge in a more personal manner.

When Professional becomes Personal
Using personal accounts to post something about their profession is encouraged as it adds more emotions and ingenuity to what was posted. Facebook and Twitter users with most followers are those who put a personal touch on what they most, meaning the name of the account is the same person who uses it.

The issue with most people, especially for the older ones (youth nowadays are more open to share themselves to be honest), is the issue of privacy.
Certainly, there are parts of our lives that we want to keep in ourselves and some which are not meant to be shared especially if you are a public figure. This is the reason why there are several tools that are we can choose from depending on what we want to share and what is the purpose. Here are they:

* Twitter is for broadcasting to the general public. It you want to get more attention from a bigger group – may they be your friend or not – use this.
* Facebook is for easy connection to your network. This social media apparently gives you a captured audience. If you want it to be seen by more than your friends, you can choose to post something as public. Otherwise, there are filters that you can choose from to make your post visible only to certain group of people. Of course, this means you need to group your friends in categories.
* LinkedIn is for creating a professional network. Use this if you want to find and build relationships with people in your field. This is the best place to update regarding your professional experiences.
* Youtube is for video sharing. It is ideal for creating online campaigns or for broadcasting your message in a more creative way.
* Blogs are most of the time public. Use this if you wish to share longer posts.

Using Social Media
Four most popular social media that a serious communicator should use by now are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Use of these platforms vary for each individual but these 5 tips and tricks will surely boost ones reach.


* Tweet with pictures to get 18% more clicks, 89% more, and 150% more retweets
* Put 1 to 2 #hastags to get 55% more chance of getting retweeted
* Keep your tweet characters between 100 to 150 characters
* Include “Please Retweet” to get 51% more retweets.
* Best to tweet around lunch, or Thursday and Friday after 4pm

Cool tool: http://post2015.unglobalpulse.net/


* Use pictures. Videos are even better.
* Add a call to action. Be obvious. Rather than “Do you agree? Click if you like!”
* Inspirational and famous quotes gets a lot of shares
* Put emoticons in your posts to get 33% higher share rate and 57% higher like rate (Amex Open Forum Study)
* Best time to post is between 1-12pm or after 7pm to get more shares. Best to post every Thursday, Friday, and weekends to get more shares.

Cool tool: LikeAlyzer


* Best days to post is Tue, Wed, and Thur.
* Most click and shares is between 10am to 11am
* Include link in your posts to engage 200% more people
* Include pictures in your posts to 98% more comments
* Put a picture in your profile


* Tell stories. Inform your audience. No boring lectures
* The more videos your post in Youtube, the higher you will appear in the search results
* Use Youtube’s DONATE button. You can use that to get support in your project.
* Tell people what you want them to do.
* Think about the thumbnail image. People click based on what they see there.

More tips: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/youtube-channel-optimization/

Using Blogs
Blogs are ideal for voicing out more details but not necessarily long messages. To maximize the use of this platform, here are 8 interesting points which might interest you:

* Take responsibility for promoting your posts. Share it in forums or in social media. Start creating a mailing list.
* Make easy for your readers to share by putting easy sharing icon
* Blog should be easy and quick to write and read
* One idea/insight/innovation per blog
* Popular post topics has something to do with the following:

1. Lists
2. Rants
3. Case Studies
4. Anniversaries
5. Interviews

* Think of good titles which has something to do with the following:

1. Original, unique or quirky
2. Ask a key question
3. Reveal a startling fact
4. “Top-ten” – style lists

* The rocket formula for blogging:

1. Topic
2. Main idea
3. Specific examples
4. Connect to audience
5. Conclude

* Use simple words. Avoid jargons or complex words.
* Make your post interactive by posting a question, inviting a dialogue or making a request.
* Make sure that your blog is understable by human terms. Check its readability here: http://gunning-fog-index.com/. Your score should ideally be around 12 or below if you want to be read by most people.