The stories of our life

Everyone has a story.

There will always be drama and comedy, poignancy and fairytales, love and fantasy in each of our stories. After all, only we write them.

In life’s twist and turns, the outcomes may be in our favor and considerably be rewarding. Other times, life is unfair.

We are all bad stories in other people’s life. Some people won’t own up to reality and issues that they create. No matter how laid back and cool one is, there will always be that one person who doesn’t like you for no reason.

I write this to remind everyone that we should also have understanding and empathy and sympathy with our fellow men. After all, we are all actors in this life. And each of us have a version of life’s story.

In the local mini series Maalaala Mo Kaya (Can you Remember), the stories of our lives are weaved, remembered and recreated. This mini series is a beautiful reminder that we make our own stories in our lives.

Appreciate where you are in your journey even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season serves a purpose.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

Let’s make sure we write it well. Edit often. And celebrate it!

The Autumns of our life


In the Philippines, we only enjoy two seasons – wet and dry. For other countries that enjoy four seasons in a year, October marks the start of Fall. When the hues of the leaves begin to change, revealing true colors as they prepare for their decay in the march to the Winter season.

October is about trees revealing colors they’ve hidden all year.

People have an October as well.

– JM Storm

It has been nine months since I began to write for you. With almost 20,000 views to date, I am humbled with the following.

This month with feature stories on the autumns of our life. A somber take on life and hope.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

The story of truth and lie

In 1896, French artist, Jean-Léon Gérôme painted La Vérité sorta time du puits armée de son martinet pour châtier l’humanité.

(Truth coming from the well armed with her whip to chastise mankind).

The painting was suggested to be an expression of Gérôme’s hostility to impressionist movement, to which he was violently opposed. The expression is a translation of the aphorism of the philosopher Democritus, “of truth we know nothing, for truth is in an abyss”. The nude model refers to the naked truth.

In the 19th century, there was a legend created based on the painting.

Truth and Lie meet one day. Lie tells truth that “it’s a beautiful day today”. Truth looks up to the skies and sighs. For truly, it was a beautiful day.

Truth and Lie spent the whole day together, exchanging stories and having fun. During their stroll, they reach a well. Lie tells Truth, “the water looks very nice. Let’s take a dip together.” Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that indeed, it was very nice. They undress and start bathing.

Suddenly, Lie jumps out of the well and puts on the clothes of Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find Lie so she could get her clothes back.

The World, seeing Truth all naked, turns it’s gaze away, with contempt and rage.

The poor Truth returns to the well and disappears forever, hiding therein, it’s shame.

Since then, Lie has traveled the world dressed as Truth, satisfying the needs of society, because the World, in any case, harbors no wish at all to meet the Naked Truth.

According to Gérôme’s biographer, Charles Moreau-Vauthier, Gérôme slept with this painting above his bed and was found after his death with his arm stretched towards it, in a gesture of farewell.

Since 1978, it has been part of a permanent exhibition at the Museé Anne de Beaujeu in Moulins, France.

(Thank you to my classmate Noel Tanglao for posting this story in our Viber group. This is a modified version.)

Get the point?!?

An 86 year old man went to his doctor for his semi annual check up.

The doctor asked how he was feeling, and the old man replied, “things are great and I’ve never felt better! I now have a 20 year old wife who is pregnant with my child! What do you think of that doc?”

The doctor considered his question for a minute and then began to tell him a story.

I have an older friend much like you, who’s an avid hunter and never misses a season when hunting for beavers.

One day, he was setting off to go hunting and accidentally picks up his walking cane instead of his rifle.

As he was approaching near the lake, he came across a very large beaver sitting at the water’s edge.

He realized then that he forgot his gun at home and so he couldn’t shoot the magnificent creature.

Out of habit, he raised his cane, aimed it at the animal as if it were his favorite hunting rifle and shouted, “Bang! Bang!”

At the same time he shouted, miraculously two shots rang out and the beaver fell over dead.

“Now what do you think of that?”, the doctor asked.

The 86 year old man replied, “logic would strongly suggest that somebody else pumped a couple of rounds into that beaver!”

“My point exactly,” the doctor replied.

The Italian Son

An old Italian gentleman lived alone in New Jersey.  He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, because the ground was hard.  His only son Vincent, who used to help him was in prison.  One day, the old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling depressed lately because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year.  I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot.  I know if you were here, my troubles would be over.  I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.



A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa

Don’t dig up that garden.  That’s where the bodies are buried



At 4AM the next day, the FBI agents surrounded the house of the old man and local police arrived and dug up the entire area but found no bodies.  They apologised to the old man and left.  The following day, the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead an plant the tomatoes now.  That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you,


Humor me

They say that laughter is the best medicine.

I thought of sharing some of humor this month hoping that it would lighten the various darker (and difficult) moments we encounter these days.

Laughter is one of life’s simple joys. Laughter releases the feelings of anger, tension, anxiety, fear and guilt. It is that reason that even for a moment, humor brings back the relative joys in our daily grind.

The daily grind often puts too much serious sh*t into our daily lives that at times it becomes not only stressful but depressing too. Notice that after a hard days work or even at the office, our burden feels lighter when there is humor, smile and laughter.

Comedy even in its most slapstick format and while it is humor at its worse still provides laughter.

So this weekend, instead of watching those stressful dramas, kick off your shoes, relax and grab some dose of comedy shows.

As they say, a good laugh relieves a lot of hurts. Laugh when you can. Smile when you should. Be kind more often. Enjoy life. Because it’s the only one we have.

(NB. The humor posts for the month are not original. I am rewriting some of them, and posting it. If you like it, share it with some friends today and make someone smile.)

My pet peeve stories

We all have pet peeves. And I’m sharing mine with you. I’m quite sure that some of you can relate to these.

We all have our little pet peeves. It’s that tiny corner of our lives that annoy us completely. But it’s not wrong to be annoyed when there is reason for annoyance.

For example, when basic etiquette isn’t observed or when someone abuses your kindness or simply watching someone from the sideline make an ass of himself/herself. Yup! Sometimes, there are just situations where you see people who are full of themselves.

Like have you ever been in a queue and someone suddenly cuts the line? Come on! We’ve been in line for the past 45 minutes as well! Or you’re in a elevator and the guy beside you has his headset pumped up to maximum volume and is gyrating his head to the “noise”! Or you’re in a hurry going up an escalator and the couple front of you are standing side by side chit chatting nonchalantly and when you say “excuse me”, one of them gives a dagger eyed look at you. Or the keyboard warrior whose grammatically wrong all the time yet bangs away when writing or commenting in a public forum.

So I’m sharing with you with my little annoying peeves. Because they are disturbingly rude or wrong! Etiquette and common sense play an important role in daily human interaction and we need to lead by example. Color, race, sex or status in society do not matter. Courtesy and discipline differentiate us as a people in society.

Hopefully, you will enjoy (or hate) and share the other side of my writing this month on #PetPeeveStories.

The parable of the hollow blocks

There were three workers in a construction site who were busy putting up hollow blocks in the middle of a hot sunny day. The foreman passed by and noticed that they were working at different paces. While they were all placing the blocks one on top of another, their energy levels differed.

The first worker was slowly putting one block on top of another at a slow pace and grumpily cursed as he went along his chores. The second worker worked slightly a bit faster and was doing it quietly, while the third worker was placing the blocks at an amazingly timely motion and was humming a tune the whole time he was working.

The foreman asked the first worker why he was working at that pace and sans energy. He replied, “because I have to work on a hot humid day”. When the second worker was asked why he was working at that pace, but slightly faster than the first worker, he replied, “because I need to finish my work early and earn my pay.” When the third worker was asked where he gets the impetus to work harder with a happy disposition, he replied, “because I am working to finish building a school which many children can use when it is finished early”.

There are many versions to this story, with the kind of building (a church, home, or hospital) being built in the end, depending on the story teller.

Today’s blog post is inspired by Fr. James McTavish during his talk at the recently concluded Philippine Pediatric Society’s Annual Convention held at the PICC. Fr James talked on the topic “Wounded Healers”.

As a people, we are wounded in various ways. From relationships to the workplace or school, we’re broken in some form.

I’m taking the cue from Fr. James (who happens to be a pediatric plastic surgeon) on the healthcare professionals to share my thoughts on being wounded healers.

Taking care of patients in general is not an easy task. There’s the patient and his/her family we need to understand. People think that as doctors we are infallible. I’d like to believe that we all remember why we became healers in the first place. While a few of us (like me) took this road out of serendipity, we are all bound by a Hippocratic Oath of first doing NO HARM.

Most of us in the profession take the higher moral ground of being true healers rather than doing this because of the financial remuneration or the prestige of being called a doctor.

Not all of us took the road of private practice. There are the unsung heroes who serve communities and the government because they know that their roles would make a difference and impact by serving the less fortunate and the needy.

It does not, however, mean that those of us in private practice, the academe or in research look at the practice of medicine in a different light. We create our own passion at addressing the wounds of healing. The academician labours at his/her dedication to teaching and creating better doctors for our future generation and the researcher engages in doing studies aimed at advancing medical science and information. Those in private practice create programs in hospitals and organizations for improving their specialties and health programs in the community.

We are ALL Health Warriors. Every patient is not just a statistic or a case report. We feel the pain and misery of patients whose lives we care for. We are patients as well and we know what it’s like to be sick and what it’s like to face death as well.

Albert Einstein aptly puts it well when he said that we should “strive not to be a success but to be of value”.

And touching other people’s lives through healing and serving with love and dedication with passion like the third construction worker in the parable is the key to healing all wounds.

Healing our wounds will always be our source of joy.

When every day can be a good day

Being challenged in life is inevitable. But being defeated is optional.

The other night, my mom and I were watching our nightly telenovelas and we jumped into the topic about her being incapacitated. We really never talk much about her deteriorating inability to ambulate. Except that night. She talked about the days when she could walk without difficulty and the sudden deterioration in walking, her feeling useless and being a burden, her self-pity, and my father who had passed away almost 24 years ago. And she shed some tears. And was fighting back mine.

She turns 81 this year. And I can completely understand her situation because of her condition. I could only comfort her and told her a story.

I chanced upon the story of a young boy who had a whole life ahead. At 17, while on a vacation with friends in Portugal, he met an accident. It would change his world. His life, and that of his family & friends, would never be the same again. The terrible accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. His youth and his future had been taken away from him that fateful day.

In spite of his condition, this young man fought his daily battles. He gathered strength from believing in daily miracles. Not in regaining his strength and motor faculties from his disability, but in harnessing whatever faculties he had left from his disability.

Almost a decade later, this former rugby player displays one of the most incredible dispositions in life. In spite of his paraplegia, he now paints with his mouth with a special stylus and easel and engages in public speaking.

In his Tweeter feed on Aug 3, 2015, he says, “we’re all too busy wishing something was different in our lives to realise that most of what we have is good; great actually”.

And as he rebuilt his life, there were trolls who continued to put him down. Until J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to praise this young man’s resilience.

In 2017, he published an inspirational memoir entitled “The Little Big Things” with a foreword from Rowling.

His name is Henry Fraser.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, life will never be fair all the time. It’s how we make out of what we have that matters.

I told my mom that she has all her faculties intact and that her ambulatory challenges should never serve as a hindrance to her. Our stories never end at an age. Her disability is just a setback. Not a death sentence. Even at 80, she should make the best out of everyday because everyday can be a good day.

Everything happens for a reason. That reason causes change. Sometimes it hurts, but in the end, it’s all the best.

And as long as I still can, I will see her through every day as a good day.


Once upon a time in a kingdom far away lived a king who was loved by his people.

The kind king was an inspiration to many of his servants. While he was loved my most, there were a few who wanted the king to abdicate his throne.

As the kingdom grew larger, the king appointed two jesters. One who would provide wisdom, the other would foment dissent. It was natural that because the kingdom was a large one, the king had to listen to both jesters, as he divided which part of the kingdom each jester would oversee.

The jester that provided wisdom was well respected and appreciated. The other jester that created division was full of greed and vile. Over the years, the kingdom became divided. Soon, only intrigue and rumor mongering governed the land. And more people began to dislike the once wise king. Even the jesters became at odds with one another.

A small tribe on the south of the king was watching patiently. Waiting for the moment when people in the kingdom would be disgruntled on how the king ruled. The small tribe took the opportunity one day to use the weakened morale of the people to conquer the kingdom. The king had to eventually abdicate his thrown after an uprising led by a small tribe.

What is the moral of the story?

It takes people to build a kingdom and the same people to take advantage of its weakness and destroy the same kingdom.

People are what make a kingdom rise to great heights. Treat them right and justly. Because it is also the same people that can bring the kingdom down.

The strength and weakness of every organization or city or country lies not in leading with an iron fist but with a kind and understanding heart.