Drawing lessons as stepping blocks to success

Joy Fernando had tried his hand in the military service, but realized it wasn’t for him. As a graduate of the John B. Lacson Maritime Colleges (now JBLMFU), he also found it hard to find a job as a seaman. Back then (circa 1979), aspiring seamen needed connections with the shipping agencies to be able to start sailing on the high seas. After two years in the Philippine Navy (with five months spent in the Spratly Islands), Fernando went to Manila to try his luck there.

The late Ruther Batuigas, a hard-hitting police reporter who also owned a security agency, hired him and assigned him at the Philippine Star owned by the late Betty Go-Belmonte. He was initially assigned on the night shift. And he started sketching with pencil and paper to ward off boredom. Fernando had no training in drawing; neither had he engaged in sketching before. “It was really starting from scratch,” Fernando said on my program, “Maayong Gab-i, Iloilo,” last Friday, July 13.

But what began as a way to combat boredom soon took root. His skills at portrait sketching improved, and he kept at it at every opportunity.  One day, his boss happened to notice some of his sketches when she passed by his guard post. She liked what she saw. Boxing champion Gabriel “Flash” Elorde was in his deathbed at the time, and the Philippine Star had prepared a special issue as tribute in the event he died.

“Ma’am Betty invited me to join the stable of Philippine Star editorial cartoonists to sketch the portrait of Flash Elorde to accompany the lead article,” Fernando said. He knew it was going to give him the break he needed, and set out to render what was ultimately picked by Mrs. Belmonte as the sketch for the article.

That was how Fernando’s career as a portrait artist and art teacher was launched.

Listen to his story in this video on Facebook Live.


Depression is a menace that can be treated

Mental health has assumed an importance equal to physical health, and everybody should be watchful for signs that somebody in the family could be susceptible to depression that might, if not given professional medical attention, lead to suicide.

This was emphasized by Dr. Daisy Chua-Daquilanea, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurrialo, Iloio City, in an interview on my radio program, “Maayong Gab-i, Iloilo” on Wednesday, June 27.

Dr. Daisy Daquilanea interview

Dr. Daquilanea said depression has reached alarming levels all over the world, and the celebrity suicides earlier this month — Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain — has made it important that we gain a better understanding of what triggers his mental health condition.

“It’s normal to feel sadness, as when somebody close to us dies, or we are separated from family members due to work,” Dr. Daquilanea said. “But there are those who are unable to cope with sadness or loneliness even after a lapse of time, and depression starts to set in.”

Usually, mild depression begins to manifest after two weeks or more, and an individual starts to exhibit irritation, quick temper and has trouble in his or her relationships in the home or at work, she said.

There are three stages in depression: mild, moderate and severe.

In many cases, mild and even moderate depression are just ignored, and this is the reason why people reach the point when they feel suicide is the only way to end their suffering, she said.

Dr. Daquilanea advised family members to bring anybody in the family who manifests symptoms of depression to a psychiatrist. Depression is a treatable condition, and the earlier it is given professional care and treatment, the better.

She lamented that one reason most families don’t bring somebody in their home to a psychiatrist is the fear that the patient will be labelled as crazy or “buang”.

But it’s not just those who are suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia who need professional psychiatric care, she said.

And depression can be harmful in many ways: relationships, in the work place, and even to the person suffering from it because it can lead to suicide and inability to function normally.

Dr. Daquilanea explained that it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain that leads to depression.

Sadness, especially when it becomes a prolonged emotion, lowers serotonin in our brains.

Because of this, part of the treatment involves giving patients medicine that helps raise the production of serotonin in their brains and restore that balance of the chemicals that control our moods.

Facebook lifts ban on Bitcoin: will this save the cryptocurrency?

Facebook is now allowing Bitcoin, to post advertisements on its newsfeed walls, and this has triggered expectations of a turn-around in the slump for this controversial crypto-currency.

Bitcoin has steadily slid to almost $6,000 during the last week, and forecasts of doom have already been sounded for Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies after its price plummeted from almost $20,000 in December 2017.

Will this save Bitcoin? Or is there something in the works between Facebook and Bitcoin?

There are rumors that Facebook is planning to acquire Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular exchanges of crypto-currency.

It’s possible that Facebook wants its own platform to use crypto-currency as medium of exchange for its 2 billion users.

If this acquisition pushes through, then Bitcoin will have regained its reputation as a legitimate medium of exchange, an image that was damaged in the wake of reports that it is being used for fraud and money laundering for crime syndicates.

Iloilo’s photocopier king

Francis Hinayhinay could have remained a mechanical engineer for the National Power Corp. and look forward to a comfortable retirement.

But he wasn’t the type who stayed put in one place, working in confined space. He always wanted to be on the go, roaming freely where his job could take him. He had worked for a local radio station, dyRP, right after he graduated from college and passed the professional licensure exams for mechanical engineering in 1985.

Shortly after a two-year contract with Napocor had ended, he talked with friends who were working with Bombo Radyo dyFM in Iloilo City about applying as a reporter. The manager wasn’t so encouraging. “What would a mechanical engineer do in broadcasting?” he was asked.

Reunion of bombo 2015
Hinayhinay with his former colleagues from Bombo Radyo in a reunion held in 2015.

Hinayhinay, however, was not to be easily discouraged. Napocor told him he could return to the power generation company a few months later. But he wanted to be in radio. Seeing his persistence, the radio station hired him after a few months.

For six years, Hinayhinay covered the police beat for Bombo Radyo. He also started writing a book of jokes with the title, “Langas-langas”. He had the book printed and personally delivered copies to book stores to be sold.

One bookstore which carried his book was the Diplomat Bookstore which then had a branch on the second floor of the Gaisano City Capital in Lapaz district. He had become friends with the manager who, one day, suggested to Hinayhinay to start a business in photocopying. Diplomat Bookstore allow him to occupy space at its store for free on a profit-sharing scheme.

“I asked for a few days to think about it,” Hinayhinay said in an interview on my radio program over 89.5 Home Radio, “Maayong Gab-i, Iloilo,” on Monday night, June 25. “It sounded like a good deal, and I saw there was a growing need for a good photocopying business,” he added. He took out his entire savings of P25,000 to invest in a photocopier machine and set up shop at the Diplomat Bookstore.

It was 1997.

“During those days, photocopiers still used liquid ink, which made them messy, especially when servicing the machines,” Hinayhinay remembered. He was his own service maintenance man.

Being a radio reporter gave Hinayhinay access to big businessmen. And he became friends with the mall manager of Gaisano City Capital. He saw that the area under the ground floor escalator of the mall was empty space and asked the mall manager if he could put up his photocopying business there. His request was granted, and Hinayhinay’s business thrived with the bigger customer base at his new location.

Soon afterwards, then City Prosecutor Efrain Baldago, who had operated a photocopying service at the Iloilo City Police Office station 1, told him he was giving up the business and invited Hinayhinay to take over his place. Hinayhinay didn’t hesitate and put up his own machine there.

Hinayhinay divided his time doing radio reporting work and his business. And the business kept growing. He saw a good market at the John B. Lacson Maritime Foundation Colleges in Molo with its thousands of students learning how to be deck officers and ship engineers. He opened a branch there.

Before long, with his business expanding, Hinayhinay was finding it difficult to work as a reporter at the same time. He was reluctant to leave his broadcasting work because he looked at it as a safety net just in case his business failed. But it reached a point that he had to decide to give his full attention to his business.

On August 16, 1998, he burned his bridges from a profession he had loved so much and devoted his time and energy to the photocopying business. He didn’t just operate photocopying shops — he also opened branches in key municipalities of Iloilo province — but also started selling photocopying machines and consummables. He resigned from Bombo Radyo.

His brand name was Copya Ilonggo. It quickly became the biggest local photocopying chain.

Inauguration of copya ilonggo branch
Hinayhinay at one of his branch openings for Copya Ilonggo.

His customer base grew in leaps and bounds. At first, he bought refurbished machines from a Manila supplier. “I started to hire technicians to recondition the photocopiers before selling them to customers not only in Iloilo province, but in the entire island of Panay,” he said. Photocopiers were still expensive, and refurbished machines were preferred by small customers.

Hinayhinay always made sure that his customers got the best possible service. “Even when I had hired technicians, I still was involved in cleaning and servicing the machines,” he said. “I made sure that the customers were able to achieve profitable operations, and after-sales service was vital,” he added. The core of his business has always been customer satisfaction. When customers’ businesses soared, so too did his own, Hinayhinay emphasized.

At the start, Hinayhinay owned an old Harabas AUV which had reached almost the end of its serviceable life. It broke more often than it was on the road for deliveries. Hinayhinay remembered one particular deliver when his vehicle conked out after making a deliver in Ajuy, Iloilo. “We had to push the car a long distance to make it start and be able to drive back to Iloilo,” he said.

But through the dint of hard work, perseverance and patience, Hinayhinay found his enterprise growing. His biggest break as a distributor of photocopying machines came about 15 years ago when a Filipino-Chinese businessman visited his office looking for ink used for a Riso duplicating machine. Hinayhinay had a drum in his bodega; it was phased out from the market, and he had no use for it anyway.

Hinayhinay handed over the ink drum to his visitor. When the customer asked how much he needed to pay for it, Hinayhinay said he can take it for free.

He thought nothing more about it until one day that customer called him up. The guy was leaving for China to attend an international exhibition for photocopying equipment. Would Francis want to go with him? the Tsinoy asked.

Francis Hinayhinay China Import Fair
Attending one of the many trade exhibitions in China.

“I didn’t know anything about travelling to China, so I asked him what I needed to do,” Hinayhinay said. The Tsinoy gave him a list of things to do so he could get a visa. After two weeks, both of them went to China for his first exposure to trade exhibitions and fairs that became a regular activity for him. “I travel abroad to China, Thailand, Hongkong and even the United States at least twice a year to attend these trade exhibitions,” he said. It was a good way to build contacts with manufacturers and keep abreast with emerging technology.

Now Hinayhinay lives in a comfortable home in Molo with his wife, Rose, and their two boys. He drives a relatively new SUV, a far cry from the beat-up Harabas he drove when he was just starting with his business.

Despite his success in life and business, Hinayhinay remains humble and never fails to express his gratitude to God. He also believes in helping others so that they, too, can achieve a better life. Already he has helped eight young men and women finish college. “When you give and help others, you are showing your gratitude to God,” he said.

Elephant ride with Rose in Thailand
Hinayhinay rides an elephant with his wife, Rose, in Thailand.

Looking back, Hinayhinay said he cannot believe how far he has gone. As a young boy in Leganes, he often had to work in the ricefields to remove weeds and also in the harvest to earn money for his education. “I know how to weed the fields and cut (“garab”) the rice stalks for harvest,” he said. He is living proof that poverty is not an obstacle to success, that a burning ambition can help one hurdle challenges in life.



Indi bastante ang talento o abilidad

Ang pagsigahum naton nga makaangkon sang “success” sa kabuhi, ilabi na gid sa aton profession ukon negosyo, matigayon kon may yara kita sang DETERMINATION. Indi bastante ang abilidad sang isa ka tawo agud mangin madilag-on. Sa akon nakita sa kabuhi sang kadam-an, may yara nga mga abilidadan nga nagakapaslaw sa ila pagtinguha bangud gid lamang sa kakulang sa “determination”. Ngaa? Ina tungod sa pagsugata nila sang gamay nga kabudlay kag pagtilaw, gilayon sila nagakadulaan sang paglaum kag madasig nga ginabayaan ang ila hilikoton.

Indi kita mag-isol kon may kabudlay nga makasugata sa aton negosyo o trabaho. Dapat may yara kita pasensiya kag kaisog nga padayunon ang aton hilikoton maski daw imposible nga matabo. Ibutang pirmi sa pamensaron nga sa pihak sang dalagko nga balod matawhay ang dagat.

wright brothersIsa ka ehemplo diri ang Wright brothers nga amo ang una nakapalupad sang eroplano sa kahanginan. Wala gani sang tinun-an ang mag-ulotod bahin sa engineering. May negosyo sila sa pagka-ayo sang bisikleta. Ugaling handum gid nila ang pag-imbento sang eroplano nga makalupad sa kahanginan. Adlaw-adlaw wala untant ang mag-ulotod sa ila pag experimento. Adlaw-adlaw pirmi sila ginsugata sang kapaslawan.

Kadungan sang mga Wright brothers si Samuel Langley, isa ka kilala nga scientist didto sa America. Ginsuportahan si Langley sang dako nga kapital sa iya hilikoton kag ginbuligan sang pinakalagting nga engineers kag scientists sa America. Kon lantawon lang sang maski sin-o, dawa sigurado gid nga si Langley ang maka tigayon sang pagpalupad sang eroplano.

Pero sin-o ang nangin madilag-on?

Ang Wright brothers.

‘Scam’ ang Bitcoin kag iban pa nga crypto-currency

Wala lang nabalahuba sa media pero madamo na nga mga Ilonggo nga biktima sang mga scam gamit ang Bitcoin kag iban pa nga crypto-currency. Madugay na ako nagapa-andam nga maghalong sa mga nagatanyag sang dalagko nga ganansya kon mag-invest sa Bitcoin. Sang Deciembre, gulpi lumagapak ang presyo sang Bitcoin kag madamo ang nasapwan nga hangin na lang ang ila gina-uyatan. Nakabawi ang presyo gamay, apang ang saka-panaog sang presyo sang Bitcoin nagapatimaan gid lamang sang ginatawag nga “volatility”, ukon indi masaligan kag mapaktan, nga giho sang presyo sini.

Sa America kag iban pa nga pungsod, madamo nga mga bilyonaryo ang padayon nga naga-pakamalaot sang Bitcoin kag ila ginatawag nga pangtonto. “Scam” ang tinaga nga pirmi ginagamit. Kag sining nagligad lang nga inadlaw, may isa ka kilala nga negosyante sa Amerika ang brutal nga nag-tawag sa Bitcoin nga alagyan gid lamang sang mga kriminal sa ila malain nga hilikuton.

Harris+1Basahon ninyo ang article ni Bill Harris nga founding CEO sang Paypal kag Personal Capital kag anay CEO sang Intuit: https://www.recode.net/2018/4/24/17275202/bitcoin-scam-cryptocurrency-mining-pump-dump-fraud-ico-value

See the bagel, not the line

One reason many of us don’t achieve our goals is that we often see the obstacle more than we can focus on the prize. We easily get discouraged by the seeming difficulty of the endeavor and don’t take the first step. We come up with excuses, and ultimately, the goal gets forgotten.

Simon Sinek told a story to illustrate this point: He and a friend had just ran a foot race, after which the organizers gave free bagels to the runners as a treat. They agreed to go for the free bagel. However, a long queue had already formed. Simon Sinek CROP

Sinek’s friend had a change of mind. “The line’s too long,” the friend said. Sinek told him there’s free bagel at the end of the line. The line’s too long, his friend repeated. Free bagel, Sinek insisted. And this went on and on for a while until the issue was resolved. Sinek went to get his bagel and his friend didn’t.

His friend saw the queue as an obstacle. Sinek’s focus was on the bagel. He simply looked at the line as a series of obstacles to be overcome. Often, we exaggerate the difficulty posed by obstacles. But we discover that once we start to traverse the path, the obstacles are not that big. Our mental picture of obstacles make them look tougher than they are.

This is great advice for people who want to achieve success. Keep your eyes on your goals, not the obstacles that lay in your path. Boldness in taking the first step is all that we need to begin the journey. Nothing is achieved by just staying put where you are, and grousing about how hard it is to reach your goal.


Key to success: master your craft

Robert F. Smith was a shy chemical engineer from Denver, CO who made the shift from his profession to becoming an investment banker, and then founded what is now one of the biggest private equity firms in the United States. Early in life, Smith already embraced the concept of mastery of his craft as a key to success. This is how he managed to gain a foothold in the private equity business and managed an estimated $26 billion in capital.

Robert Smith

“There is no substitute for becoming an expert and being the best in your craft,” Smith said in a conversation with black students at Columbia Business School on March 25, 2017. For Smith, this meant always gaining more knowledge and information on his trade, especially when he started looking for new sources of capital in the Middle East in the 2000. He said this involves “building a learned capability” to gain the confidence of investors and the market.

Indeed, almost nobody achieves success in his or her profession or business without an expert or being the best he or she can be. In war, business, sports, academe, the arts, mastery has been identified as the common denominator among the outstanding men and women in their fields of endeavor.

In his book, “Mastery”, author Robert Greene studied the lives of great men and women to find out what made them tick. “I had noticed that many of these successful people, historical and contemporary, shared certain common traits. They had a way of thinking that was exceptionally fluid; they could adapt to almost any circumstance; when confronted with problems, they could look at them from novel perspectives and solve them. They could do all of this with surprising rapidity, as if they had developed an intuitive feel for their work. The icon of this would be Napoleon Bonaparte,” Greene said in an interview with Forbes Magazine.

robert greene
Robert Greene

His conclusion: “what tied all of this together was that these types had mastered their field.”

To achieve mastery, one must be willing to devote a lot of time perfecting his craft. Perhaps there is no better icon in basketball than Michael Jordan, who changed the way millions of basketball fans looked at the sport. Jordan’s work habits were legendary. He would hit the gym before the crack of dawn. And, at the end of basketball practice, he would still stay behind and shoot hundreds of free throws and other shots from different positions on the court.

Fortunately for those who want to pursue this path toward mastery, the secret about how to achieve it is no longer that much of a secret. “The secret ingredients are desire and time. We all know how much more deeply we learn when we are motivated. If a subject excites us, if it stirs our deepest curiosity, or if we have to learn because the stakes are high, we pay much more attention. What we absorb sinks in,” Greene said.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book “Outliers”, hatched the “10,000-hour rule” which postulates that to achieve expertise in any field, one needs to devote a minimum of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. On average, that entails being engaged in a craft or sport in “deliberate practice” over 10 years. There is no overnight express package for mastery; you have to devote long hours of practice before you reach that point.

An American photographer, Dan McLaughlin, tested the rule to find out if it works. In April 2010, McLaughlin quit his job as photographer to devote his time to learning how to play golf. He started by putting from one foot from the hole, and progressively moved farther from it as his skills improved. He hit his first drive 18 months after he started. After spending 5,000 hours, McLaughlin was already a handicap four player. He proved that the 10,000-hour rule did work.

Dan McLaughlin, from beginner to 4-handicapper in 5,000 hours of playing golf.


Paying it forward

Yesterday, January 7, 2018 was the 83rd birthday of our mother, Linda Pichay Mejorada. In the past, she celebrated her birthday by giving away bath towels, shirts, blouses, bath soap and chocolate bars to poor neighbors in our ancestral home in Barangay Inzo Arnaldo, Roxas City.

Mommy had always been a generous person. She loved giving stuff to family, friends and the poor. She never expected to be repaid for her generosity. But God certainly knows how to reward her for her kindness and generosity. At the age of 83, Mommy is still sprightly and strong, always eager to explore places for as long as her legs could handle the terrain. Mommy has had two surgeries on her legs and knees, one to reinforce broken thigh bones after she suffered a bad fall in the U.S. But otherwise, she still walks a lot even if she feels pain from her surgery.

Indeed, Mommy is a model for the principle of “paying it forward.” She helps people with no expectation of any returned favor. She loves to give for its own sake: helping people and making them happy.

She broke tradition yesterday. But still, her principle of “paying forward” was at the center of it. This time, she asked family and friends who came to celebrate her birthday not to give her gifts. Rather she appealed for their generosity to help a science teacher from the Capiz National High School who is scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant. And they did respond with overflowing generosity.

My sister, Jocelyn Welsh, who organized the fund-raising part of the celebration, had hoped to raise P50,000 to be given as financial assistance to Gilbert Ca-alam Galagate. The total amount chipped in by the guests and even those who were not able to join the party reached P49,500. Jocelyn pulled out another P500 from her purse to top it up at P50,000.

gilbert ca-alam galagate
Science teacher Gilbert Ca-alam Galagate poses with our mom, Linda P. Mejorada, my sister Jocelyn Welsh and myself after receiving the financial assistance of P50,000 raised during the mom’s birthday January 7, 2018

Our family didn’t know Sir Gilbert before. But the value of generosity taught by our Mommy made that an irrelevant issue. This is now about saving a life, a life made more precious because of Sir Gilbert’s passion as an educator. We are sure a successful kidney transplant will allow Sir Gilbert to continue teaching and helping produce more intelligent young boys and girls from the CNHS. By helping him, we are contributing to Sir Gilbert’s own ability to shape more young minds, which is perhaps the best contribution he can make to society.

In our lives, we should embrace this principle of “paying forward,” of giving more than taking. In his book, “Give and Take,” Wharton professor Adam Grant has shown evidence that “givers” tend to succeed better in life, in their careers and become richer than “takers”. In our younger days, we heard that “it is better to give than to receive.” It is not an empty phrase.

Jack Canfield, the best-selling author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” believes strongly in tithing. He advocates giving 10% of our income to our church or charity. And it’s not just money that we can give away. Time, too, in the form of service to others is a good way to practice this principle. “The best way to ensure an ongoing flow of abundance into your life is to share with others the wealth you receive,” Jack wrote in a guest column for Evan Carmichael’s website.

Tony Robbins, one of the world’ most popular motivational speakers, is actively pursuing a mission to provide 1 billion meals to poor families by 2025 as a way of giving back. His program called 100 Million Meals has already given 240 million free meals on just its third year.

Indeed, when you give and help without thinking about getting it back, God makes sure that you will be richly rewarded. In our own way, we have seen this happen to our family, especially our Mommy. At 83, she is still oozing with energy for travel and joins her children on tours around the world. She is blessed with an amazing life because of her kindness and generosity.


Bag-ong tuig, bugana sa manggad

Sa pagsulod sang Bag-ong Tuig 2018, sigurado nga tanan kamo napuno sang paglaum nga mas mangin bugana ang inyo pangabuhi, ilabi na guid sa kwarta. Indi naton malikawan nga kwarta ang talaksan sang manggad bangud man nga madamo sang kinahanglan ta sa kabuhi ang sarang ta maangkon kon may kwarta kita. Wala ini nagakahulogan nga materialistic na kita kon nagahandum sang kwarta. Ang matuod sina nga kon damo kita kwarta, mas makabulig kita sa aton pamilya kag sa aton man isigkatawo.

Importante nga matun-an naton ang positibo nga panghuna-huna sa aton adlaw-adlaw nga pagpangabuhi. Kon si Jim Rohn, isa sa mga bantug nga motivational speaker, pahambalon, yara sa pagbag-o sang aton “attitude” ukon panan-awan sa pangabuhi ang una nga tikang padulong sa pag-angkon sang manggad. Dapat kita magsalig kag magpati nga masarangan naton nga maka-angkon sang madamo nga kwarta.

Napamatud-an na sa madamo nga ehemplo nga kon ano man ang ginapatihan naton, sarang ta man mahimo ukon ma-angkon. Dako guid ang influence sang aton pamensaron sa nagakatabo sa aton kabuhi. Kon sa aton pagpati, indi ta masarangan nga himuon ang isa ka bagay, sigurado guid nga mapaslawan kita sa aton ginahandum. Sa pihak nga bahin, madamo na sang makatestigo nga ang positibo nga panghuna-huna ang lyabe o key sa kadalag-an kag manggad.

Gani sigahumon ta guid likawan sa tanan nga tini-on ang negatibo nga panghuna-huna kag bayluhan ini sang positibo nga panghuna-huna.