Puerto Princesa Underground River

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The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a protected area of the Philippines that’s situated on the north of Puerto Princesa. It’s also known as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and is found in the Saint Paul Mountain Range. It’s just a short boat ride from the town of Sabang. You’ll be filled with wonder at the majestic rock formations, seemingly endless river channels, numerous caves, marine creatures and bats inside the Underground River. In fact, as of 2011, the Puerto Princesa Underground River has been named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature – along with the Amazon (South America), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Iguazu Falls (Argentina), Jeju Island (South Korea), Komodo (Indonesia) and Table Mountain (South Africa).

palawan underground river tour

palawan underground river tour

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palawan underground river

palawan underground river tourTourists are discouraged to bring food to the Underground River because there are snatchers here – monkey snatchers to be exact. The monkeys here have learned to open plastic wrappers and drink juice in tetra packs. So according to our tour guide – dont bring any food. During our tour there was one victim. And you can see the monkey enjoying the snack here >.<

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underground cave palawanPhoto from puerto-undergroundriver.com

Puerto-Princesa-Underground-River-–-Palawan-PhilippinesPhoto from newsnish.com

underground cave palawanPhoto from placesfortour.com

-Alex

Puerto Princesa, Palawan – City Tour

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The Toastmasters Discon was only two and a half days but Stef and I  decided to extend for another week to tour Palawan. On the last day of the District Convention, a city tour was scheduled for the participants who opted tour after the conference. (Some participants chose to take the tour before the convention started.) We were all loaded in one huge bus (all toastmasters!) and our city tour began.

First stop, LRC 908 Market Mall.

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LRC 908 Market Mall is located along Puerto Princesa, North Road. It does not look like your usual mall but rather like a cluster of stalls selling various kinds of pasalubong items such as tamarind candy, cashew nuts, cookies, Palawan T-shirts, bags and of course, pearls. Pearls are a lot cheaper in Palawan. They have 2 kinds: South Sea and Fresh Water Pearls. South Sea Pearls are more expensive. You can buy either those that have been set already or lose pearls.

Second stop, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa. 

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Photo by Ed FabonanImmaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa

Photo from Ed Fabonan

This century-old cathedral in various hues of blue is located at Barangay Liwanag along Rizal Avenue.It was built during the 1800’s and was a spiritual refuge to many during the war.

Third stop, Plaza Cuartel.

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Photo from palawantoursandadventure.com

Plaza Cuartel is located just right across Immaculate Conception Cathedral . It looks like an ordinary park but it is actually the restored ruins of an old garrison. At the middle is a triangular marker that symbolizes the 143 American prisoners that were burned alive by Japanese soldiers inside a tunnel during World War 2

Third stop, Crocodile Farm (Palawan Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Center).Crocodile farming is the industry of raising and harvesting crocodiles to create commercial products like leather and meat. Here in the Crocodile Farm, two species of Philippines crocodiles are bred: the Philippine saltwater and freshwater crocodile. Aside from crocodiles they also have a mini-zoo and souvenir shop.

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

palawan city tour crocodile farm

Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Fourth stop, Mitra’s House. 

This house is owned by the late Senator Ramon Mitra and family and is located on top of a hill. The view is spectacular.

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Fifth stop, Baker’s Hill.

20816_10153289273334931_7080767615446027609_nNow This is my favorite stop because Bakers Hill is where all sorts of yummy goodies are made.They have all kinds of breads, pastries and cakes.

bakers-hill-puerto-princesa-palawanPhoto from whatisspontaneous.wordpress.com

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bakers hill palawan

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Photo from girlslittlehub.com

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Photo from outoftownblog.com

Their special is the Palawan Hopia which comes in 3 flavors – ube, mongo and pork. On top of that the place is just picture perfect! I had to stop and take pictures of every corner. They have well-manicured gardens, life-sized statues, playgrounds,cafe’s and peacocks.

This was defnitely a great way to end our Toastmasters Conference!

-Alex

How I Conquered Table Topics

table topics winners 2015

(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

When I first joined Toastmasters, one of the scariest parts of the program for me was Table Topics, also known as Impromptu Speaking. I am better at prepared speeches because at least you can “prepare”. Impromptu Speaking just wasn’t my strongest suit. I would marvel at our other club members (like my club mate Mark Grageda) who could speak immediately only seconds after hearing the quote or question. I felt like my brain couldn’t function being put on the spot like that.

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(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

My fear of impromptu speaking is what pushed me to join the table topics contest. I wanted to rise above my fear and conquer table topics. I’ve joined the Evaluation and Prepared Speech contest before but Table Topics was way out of my comfort zone. Because the truth is, you never know what quote you might get.

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“If it doesn’t challenge you, it wont change you. “

I wanted to challenge myself. So I joined. I went from the Area Contest, to the Division Contest, to the District level. It wasn’t easy – it was pretty nerve wracking actually. Especially during the District level where you had to speak in front of around 300 of the most accomplished speakers in the Philippines. It’s a good thing my fellow contestants were really nice. We had a nice chat at the holding room while waiting for our turn. We even had time to do a photo op with PDG Vic Navales.

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There are 11 Divisions in District 75, so there were 11 contestants. I was speaker number 10. One by one, the other contestants got called by the marshal out of the holding room. Until…it was my turn. I was nervous but also excited. Somehow speaking in front of a crowd energizes me. The bigger the crowd, the more energy it gives me. Then the quote was read twice.

Success is 99% failure.

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Table Topics Perpetual trophy (left) donated by 2009 Table Topics Champion Khris Albano

When I heard the quote, I silently thanked God for giving me this quote. Because having failed many times, this was something I could relate to. As business owner, “failing” was something I was used to. Although I don’t really think of them as ”failures” but rather, learning experiences. I believe you never fail as long as you learn. You can only fail when you refuse to learn the lesson embedded in each experience.

table topics champion 2015

So how did I conquer table topics?

First, I decided to do it. When I made the decision to join the table topics contest, I started participating more in club table topics sessions and I began looking up quotes online. Commitment is backed up by action.

Second, be teachable. I started to look for mentors and asked for their advice on how I could improve as an impromptu speaker. There were a lot of people who helped me, most especially DTM Rolly Romblon and 2009 Table Topics Champion Khris Albano. 2011 Humorous Champion, Mark Grageda gave me a few tips as well.

Third, enjoy it! I just chose to enjoy the whole experience. Learning is fun!

I decided, win or lose I’m going to enjoy this! I’m definitely competing again – in another category this time.

This experience was bitter-sweet for me. Sweet, because I finally conquered table topics – or rather my fear of table topics. And bitter, because only two days before the competition, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly. On the same day, I lost half of my luggage at the airport. But God has just been so amazing. He gave me the strength to continue pushing forward. I can really say that He is my one true source of comfort and security. And as long as He is with me, nothing will ever keep me down.

True success isn’t about never failing but rising every time you fall.

I dedicate this win to my grandmother. I know you are in heaven now, lola.

Go live a truly wealthy life.

-Alex

PS

For those who missed the Discon, here’s a video of me during the contest. Thank you Coen Tan for the video! :)

 

Toastmasters District Convention 2015 – Puerto Princesa, Palawan

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If there is one thing I love to do – it’s to travel. And if I can travel and still learn at the same time, that’s even better. That’s why when I learned that the 34th Toastmasters District 75 Conference was going to be in Palawan, I immediately registered. First, I’ve never been to Palawan. Second, I wanted to go to Palawan! <3 Besides, Toastmaster Discons are always fun. And since I was going, I decided to compete in the Table Topics Contest. Talk about “sulit”.

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34th Toastmasters District 75 Conference Venue at Aziza, Puerto Princessa, Palawan

(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

For those who are not familiar with Toastmasters, it’s an international organization that helps develop your communication and leadership skills. There are different clubs all over the Philippines. A group of clubs form an area, a group of areas form a division. We have 11 Divisions in the Philippines and they form one District – District 75.

We have 2 conferences a year. The District Conference in April and the Midyear Conference in October. The highlight of these conferences are the speech contests.

There are 4 Speech Contest Categories in Toastmasters:

  • International Prepared
  • Humorous
  • Evaluation
  • Table Topics (Impromptu Speaking)

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Division F Toastmasters with our new banner from District 75

For this Discon, the 2 contests were International Prepared and Table Topics Speech Contest. The Humorous and Evaluation Contests are scheduled in the Midyear Conference. If you win the International Prepared Speech Contest, you get to attend the Toastmasters International Conference held annually every August for free. This year it’s going to be in Las Vegas, USA.

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 Toastmasters from Division F

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It’s basically two and a half days of learning sessions plus the speech contests plus FUN! We were so lucky to be able to listen to Ed Tate – the 2000 World Speech Champion share about his experiences and how we can be better influencers. We also had a host of other speakers including two of my good friends Sha Nacino and Coen Tan.

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Edward Tate 2000 World Speech Champion (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

District 75 officers

Lt Gov for Educ Boy Archie, Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy, District Gov Dotty Du, Lt Gov for Marketing Dulce Rañosa (left to right)

The Big 3 – District 75 Officers and our REP Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy

Here’s a summary of the learning sessions during the District Conference:

  • Keynote 1: Influence and Lead without Authority by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion, Trainer, Author

district conference palawan coen tanCoen Tan, DTM – Trainer Communications Coach

  • Plenary Session 1: How to Capitalize on your Speaking Skills to Turbocharge your Career by Coen Tan, DTM

district conference toastmasters REPJohnny Uy, DTM – Chief Ambassador, PIP (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 2: Revitalized Education Program by Johnny Uy, DTM

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 The REP Ambassadors of District 75 with our Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy

I was outside the room when the REP ambassadors got called on stage that’s why I’m just on the screen in the back. lol

DTM patrick district 75 district conferencePatrick Oie, DTM  (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 3: Taking the Leadership Challenge by Patrick Oie, DTM

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Edward Tate 2000 World Speech Champion (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 4: Story Finder: A Workshop on How to Create New Stories in Minutes by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion

district conference palawan sha nacinoSha Nacino, ACS, CL – Inspirational Speaker, Author

  • Breakout Session: How to Write and Publish a Book by Sha Nacino, ACS, CL
  • Keynote 2: Manage Things, Lead People by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion, Trainer, Author

Of course a Discon wont be complete without the speech contests. Here are the 2015 winners for the Table Topics and International Prepared Speech Category.

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Table Topics 2015 Contestants (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

TABLE TOPICS CONTEST

table topics winners 2015

Desiree Balota, Alessandra Zeta, Adrian Baloyo (left to right)

Photo by Ed Fabonan

Table Topics Winners

  • Champion: Alessandra Victoria D. Zeta (Iligan TMC – Division F)
  • 1st Runner Up: Desiree L. Balota (Queen City TMC – Division C)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Adrian Carlo P. Baloyo (Health Care Circle TMC – Division D)

INTERNATIONAL PREPARED SPEECH CONTEST

district conference 2015 prepared speech champion

Hyacinth Jade V. Malaca, Vincent C. Juan, Nedo L. Sasing (left to right)

International Prepared Speech Winners

  • Champion: Vincent C. Juan (Bench and Bar TMC – Division E)
  • 1st Runner Up: Nedo L. Sasing (BAVI TMC – Division L)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Hyacinth Jade V. Malaca (Cebu TMC – Division C)

Partying is also something that we at District 75 are good at. And it’s all in the name of good clean fun :) The Fellowship Night was scheduled on the first night and the Governors Ball was scheduled on the second.

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Fellowship Night (photo by Ed Fabonan)

For the fellowship night, we had to wear something neon. There was a lot of food, great music and exemplary company. Although the table topics contest was set at 8am the following day I could not resist staying till the very end.

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Governors Ball (With Toastmaster friends from different Divisions)

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The whole conference was a success! There was group of toastmasters who came all the way from Singapore to join the Discon and they kept on saying our Discon was so much fun! What can I say? It’s really more fun in the Philippines!

Kudos to Sucit, the Discon chair, and to the entire team for a successful conference. The next conference is going to be in Cebu and I’m definitely joining!

Discon 2016 Rates:

  • 4,500 php – early bird rate (1st 53)
  • 5,500 php – regular rate
  • 6,500 php – onsite registration

See you all next Discon!

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

Are you a Fan or Follower?

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 Photo from http://www.sportskeeda.com

Are you a fan or follower of Jesus?

I just finished a book entitled “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. In the first chapter, the opening question was, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” You may have been asked this question before. And most of the time, you say “yes” without even thinking about it.

Of course I’m a follower! I go to church regularly, attend bible study, listen to Christian music, serve in a ministry…

But really, are you a follower? Or are you just a fan?

Fan – an enthusiastic admirer.

A fan is someone who sits on the sidelines, cheering his favorite basketball team on. He knows all the players, the score, the stats. But he is not in the game sweating it out with the rest of the team. He is sitting comfortably on the sidelines. He knows of the players – where they’re from, their favorite food, how many hours they train… But he doesn’t know them.

Jesus has a lot of fans these days. People who sit in the sidelines at church cheering him on. People who admire Jesus but know nothing of the pain of following him. They know all about Jesus but they don’t truly know him.

Many of us won’t mind Jesus making little changes in our lives. But Jesus isn’t interested in making a few touch ups – he wants a complete renovation. We think tune-up, but Jesus wants an overhaul. When we choose to follow him, Jesus will turn our lives upside down. He isn’t interested in having fans, he wants followers.

Jesus wants us to define our relationship with him. Is it casual or committed? Fan or follower?

Matthew, a tax collector, was busy collecting taxes behind his booth. Now to be a Jew, collecting tax for the Roman empire, was the height of all sins. He wasn’t just a sinner, he sinned for a living! Even his own family wouldn’t touch him. No doubt Matthew was already so “deeply in sin” he wasn’t even trying to hide it anymore. So when Jesus stops by his booth to speak to him, no one would have guessed what he would say.

Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Now in their culture, a rabbi (teacher of God’s word) didn’t go on extending invitations. If you wanted to be a student or disciple of a particular Rabbi, you had to apply. Rabbi’s would screen their applicants and turn away those who didn’t make the cut. But Jesus didn’t choose his followers based on their family background or familiarity with the old testament. He extends his invitation to anyone who would like to follow him. It’s your call. It’s your choice.

Jesus says, “Follow me.”

Mathew 9:9 says:

…And Matthew got up and followed him.

For so long I realized that I’ve only been a fan. I say I love God but I wasn’t ready to fully commit to him. It’s similar to telling someone, “Yes, I love you but I still want to date other people too.” I still kept those parts of my life I knew wasn’t pleasing to him. I felt that following Jesus would mean I couldn’t have fun anymore. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jesus wants us to follow him so we can fully experience the joy of being with him. It’s only when we surrender our lives to him that we can experience true joy and real freedom. We don’t have to be sinless to start following Jesus. We can start doing it today.

What about you? Don’t cheat yourself out of the joy of knowing Christ. Commit to following him today.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Monastery of the Transfiguration Retreat

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For the Holy Week, I decided to go on a retreat with my partners from Truly Wealthy Realty – Stef and Chastine, at the Benedictine Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. I am, by nature, an extrovert. I love being with people. The nature of my job requires me to be accessible so that’s why I’m always online. But for this retreat, I decided to “unplug” myself – at least during the day. I switched my phone to flight mode – no facebook, instagram, calls or texts. It was a challenge to be sure but a refreshing experience.

The monastery is run by Benedictine monks and is famous for their pyramid shaped church and delicious Monks Blend coffee.

Cost: 850php/night

Inclusive of:

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals (buffet style)
  • snacks
  • unlimited Monks Blend coffee

For reservations, contact Dom Paco at 0929-586-0649.

bukidnon + monastery of transfiguration 6Dining Area

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Kitchen

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Prayer Room

The whole place is so quiet and peaceful. It’s the perfect place to go soul searching or write a book . I spent two days reading, writing, reflecting and praying.

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What I gained from my retreat was:

  1. Time with God. I was able to spend time with God without any distractions (my cellphone is my biggest distraction). This time I got to worship and pray without getting distracted.
  2. Time alone. Even though I’m a very sociable person, I have found that it’s still important to take time to just be alone. I took this time to pray about my direction in life, reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and strategize about how I can improve.
  3. Peace. It’s not that I wasn’t at peace before the retreat, but going on one allowed me to come to terms with what I couldn’t change and do something about the things I could change. Also, it gave my aching muscles time to recover. Ever since I started CrossFit, my muscles seem to be permanently sore.

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What about you? When was the last time you went on a retreat? In this fast paced world of ours, it’s great to take time to be alone with God. It’s like diving in a pool of cool water in the middle of a scorching hot day. You’ll come out feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world again!

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

The Last Stretch

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Photo from blog.sourcemetrics.com

Do you give up too soon?

Just recently I started doing CrossFit at CGYFit. CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program that incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, plyometrics, weightlifting, powerlifting and gymnastics. It’s a pretty brutal combination that is designed to push you to your limits.

I’ve been going to the gym regularly for almost 2 years already and although I enjoy it, CrossFit is a whole new ball game. It tests my endurance and pushes me to the next level both physically and mentally. In CrossFit you are given a specific time frame to complete the WOD (Work Out of the Day). As soon as you finish the workout, you yell out “time!” and your time is recorded. Most WOD’s are just under an hour. So it’s fast, its furious. And you get to rest only when you are done. It’s often difficult to finish the whole cycle within the time allotted if you are new – unless you are already in excellent physical condition. The coaches are pretty strict with form too. If you execute it incorrectly it’s considered a “no rep” and you have to do it again. CrossFit not only allows you to compete with other people but also with yourself. Because every workout is timed, you get to track your progress.

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What I learned by doing CrossFit is that the last minute counts even more than the first. On the last minute, the coaches don’t allow you to give up. They motivate you and do everything to keep you going. You have to keep on pushing until the clock stops ticking. It’s easy to keep going when you are still starting out – when you still have the enthusiasm and energy to fuel you. But on the last minute, when you just want to collapse because you are already dead tired, that’s when it counts the most. It’s no longer strength that drives you, it’s heart.

Success is a lot like CrossFit. Before you can achieve success, you have to put in a lot of hard work. You have to endure hardships, face different trials and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But if you don’t give up, you will reap the reward. Many start out strong, but so few finish the race. Why? Because most people give up on the last stretch.

 It’s always too soon to quit.

The last stretch is where it counts the most. This is where you do your best and give it your all. The last stretch is what makes the difference. It’s what separates the winners from the losers.

 Always make your goals and dreams greater than your discomfort. – Gary Ryan Blair

According to Gary Ryan Blair, every person who has ever been legitimately successful has formed the habit of doing things that others don’t like to do. This includes pushing yourself a little bit more when you feel like giving up. And this is why an epic life is achieved only by a minority of people – 5% of the population. So few people stretch out of their comfort zones. They prefer to live life on the sidelines – safe and secure. Living an epic life requires an enormous threshold of discomfort and inconvenience because of the many sacrifices involved. Living an epic life requires that you stick it out till the end.

Everyone is running a race. How are you doing with yours?

Don’t give up no matter how tired you are. Rest if you must but don’t quit. Finish the race. The last stretch is where it matters most.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

 

 

The Power of Commitment

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 Photo from wisdomtimes.com

The ability to commit wholeheartedly – this is what separates the achievers from the dreamers.

We all want to achieve something. But so few actually do something about it.

What is commitment?

It’s about trying again one more time after getting rejected again and again.

It’s about waking up early on a Sunday even though you’d rather sleep in to serve at kid’s church.

It’s about meeting a client even at short notice because you want to provide excellent service at all times.

True commitment inspires people and attracts them to you like moths to a flame. A person committed to a cause will attract loyal followers. Why? Because people buy into the leader first before they will buy into the vision.

Commitment always comes before success and it is mainly tested through action. It’s easy to say something but doing it is another story. When you are committed, you will not only say it, you will also follow through.

In the early 1950’s, a man named Corbin Sanders was forced to close his once-successful restaurant due a change in circumstance. At 66 years old, he was forced to live on his Social Security check of $105 a month. Then he had an idea. He had a delicious chicken recipe that everybody loved. He would sell his chicken recipe to restaurants and in return, he would ask for 5 cents for every chicken sold. So he got into his car and traveled all over America to meet up with restaurant owners. His recipe was good but he got rejected again, again and again. In fact he got rejected 1,009 times! On his 1,010th try, he finally found someone who agreed to buy his recipe. The rest is history. He eventually opened his own restaurant and today, the  restaurant he founded, now has 18,000 outlets in 114 different countries. The name of his restaurant is KFC.

If C. Sanders was not committed to his goal, he would have stopped after one or two rejections. Had he done this, KFC wouldn’t exist today. This is the power of commitment. First, you believe in your product. Second, you act. Third, you keep going.

Many people are afraid to commit to something (or someone) mainly because they are afraid they wont be able to follow through. But if you don’t commit, you wont be able to achieve anything worthwhile. The most successful people I know are also the most committed.

According to John Maxwell in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, there are 4 types of people.

  1. Cop-outs. People who have no goals and don’t commit.
  2. Holdouts. People who don’t know if they can reach their goals so they are afraid to commit.
  3. Dropouts. People who start toward a goal but quit when the going gets tough.
  4. All-outs. People who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.

Now the question is, which one are you?

Every time you commit to something and follow through, you build your sense of self-esteem and self-worth. That is why it is also important to choose which causes to commit to. Know what you really want to fight for.

You have to be uncompromised in your level of commitment to whatever you are doing, or it can disappear as fast as it appeared…  Excellence isn’t a one-week or one-year ideal.  It’s a constant. There will be days when you don’t feel on top of your game, or meetings in which you aren’t at your best, but your commitment remains constant. No compromises. – Michael Jordan

What do you want to commit yourself to this year?

Choose wisely. Then follow through.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Let Go and Let God

 

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Photo from twosixmag.com.au

There is true freedom in surrender.

Too often in life we are tempted to want to take control of everything, especially for those who are “doers” like I am. I am the type of person who can’t sit still for an extended period of time (unless I’m reading a book). I always want to move around and do something.

One thing God has taught me this past year is to be “still and know that He is God.” There are times when the best thing to do is nothing. For some, doing nothing may be easy. But for me, that’s a challenge. Waiting and doing nothing does not come easy to me because when a situation arises, I immediately want to do something about it.

It was only last year when I realized that waiting is not only about being patient, it’s about being faithful. God will reveal to you his perfect plans in His own time – and not before that.

 We are here not to be successful but to be faithful. And if success comes with your faith, then praise God. – Mother Theresa

I’d just finished reading a book entitled Unstoppable – The Incredible Power of Faith in Action by best-selling author and speaker, Nick Vujicic. Nick was born without limbs. And yet that did not stop him by living life to the fullest and sharing God’s amazing love. I look at Nick and marvel at God’s incredible grace, at how He has used this man to inspire millions of people around the world to embrace life and accept Jesus. There are many people who have a complete set of limbs yet they wallow in self-pity and focus only on themselves. I look at Nick and am amazed at how much he has done for others. However, he wasn’t always this way. There was a time in his life when he tried to commit suicide because he didn’t want to burden his parents anymore. It was only when Nick finally let go of his doubts and insecurities that he started being able to inspire people and make a difference. God used an imperfect man (a man without limbs!) to fulfill His perfect plan.

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Photo from mayashope.org

 

Sometimes we focus too much on ourselves that we fail to see God’s amazing plan for us. Had Nick focused on his “disability” he wouldn’t be the amazing author and evangelist he is today.

When I started Truly Wealthy Realty with my partners three years ago, I was focused solely on becoming a successful real estate broker. But when I started attending bible study and church service at CCF, I realized that there are things that are more rewarding than financial success. Of course, I don’t discount that. I still fully intend to be financially successful, but that desire has now come second to serving God. He will always be first with me. The moment I decided to let go and let God, tons of blessings seemed to pour into my life. Truly Wealthy got an exclusive contract with a developer to market a project in Iligan, I became Top Broker of the year for 2014 and this year, I’m finally starting my own bible study group together with a good friend from church.

I’ve never been more inspired and in love with God as I am today.

God + 0 = more than enough

God is more than enough for me and all I will ever need. Everything else is just a bonus.

What about you?

Do you feel like you are always striving to achieve an ever-elusive goal? Do you feel like you’ve been working hard but nothing is coming out of it?

Action is important. But there comes a time, when we have done all we can,that we sit back and let God move. The ability to let go and let God, allows our faith to grow. We need to fully trust in His plans for us for they will always be good, pleasing and PERFECT.

Let go and let God.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Where Does Your Money Go?

money jars

Photo from athoughtfulplaceblog.com

In this day and age of consumerism, money can so easily slip through our fingers like water. And if we are not careful, our hard-earned money can disappear in what seems like an instant. Commercials, magazine ads, the internet, billboards…they all tempt us with the promise of instant gratification.

Buy this, and you will be happy. Buy this and you’ll become more beautiful, or smarter or healthier. It’s only too easy to slip into the habit of spending all our money and then some. This is why, I’ve decided to be intentional in the way I manage my finances.

Most people use this formula in spending their money:

Income – Expenses = Savings 

Then I came upon this formula while reading the book Think Rich Yuppies by one of my good friends (who happens to be an amazing author and speaker), Sha Nacino.

This is her formula:

Income – Savings = Expenses

If you spend first and save what’s left, there won’t be much left to save. So instead, save first. And then spend what’s left. This is called paying yourself first. To some, this maybe a new idea. How can one “pay” himself? The answer is, through saving.

Investing starts with saving.

You can’t invest if you don’t have any money saved up.

Think about it. When you receive your salary, you pay Rustans (when you go grocery shopping), you pay Globe, Jollibee, the tuition, electricity bills….the list is endless. But what about you? The one who earned this money? Don’t you deserve to be paid for your efforts as well?

Saving money is hard mainly because we feel like we never have enough to begin with. But it’s something we all need to do. My mom instilled in me the discipline of saving in grade school. Whenever I received my allowance for the week, I would immediately set aside a portion of it to be deposited in my bank account (yes, I had my own bank account in grade school).

Today, as a real estate broker (of Truly Wealthy Realty), I receive income in bulk. So I have to really discipline myself not to splurge and spend everything at once (no matter how tempting it may be). As I don’t have a regular salary, I need to find ways to make my money last.

Here is what I do with my money:

  • 10% tithe
  • 10% tax
  • 20% stock market
  • 20% forced savings (when this accumulates, I then invest the money elsewhere)
  • 10% education fund
  • 5% giving account (gifts, treats for my family)

I basically live on 25% of my income. Now if you are not accustomed to saving, you can start on saving 10% of your income every month. Then you can increase it to 20% later on. According to studies, to achieve financial freedom, you need to invest AT LEAST 20% of your income. That’s the minimum. So that when you are 60 years old and can no longer work for a living, you won’t have to rely on other people (like your kids or relatives) to support you in your old age. If you save 20% of your income and invest it in the stock market, bonds, mutual funds or other investment vehicles, you will have 10 million by age 60. You will have money to buy gifts for your grand children, medicine for yourself, maybe go on a cruise once a year… Now this is the life! But you can only have this life if you discipline yourself to start saving NOW.

Most of the yuppies I know look at me like I’m crazy when I say “I’m saving and investing for my retirement.” They go, “You are too young to even think about retiring!”

But the best time to invest for your retirement is NOW. Not in some far off future, not tomorrow, but today. Time can pass by swiftly. It’s better to prepare as early as possible so we can have the future that we want. Let’s practice delayed gratification. Let’s start paying ourselves first.

What about you?

Are you investing for your future now? There is no time like the present to start doing so.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

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