I made it happen. #Puso

I ‘m on the third row right from top. :)

At the President’s Elite Awards Night of Johnson & Johnson Philippines held last February 24th, the photo above is my only attendance due to, sadly, chicken pox. I was diagnosed when I was already in the hotel where the activities were held at. (PS: You better go to healthway clinic in Shang Plaza, just across the hotel, because the consultation fee is so so so expensive!!)

Anyway, my first year in pharmaceutical selling went well. Thanks to my (previous) boss for helping me achieve my numbers despite all the hardships and hurdles. He knows exactly how my first year started and how I was so depressed getting negative feedbacks from the big bosses. Thankfully, my boss kept his faith and trust to me allowing me to dig deeper to find out the kind of salesperson I am and therefore letting me soar higher.

I remember last year, I wrote about my goal of exactly what really just happened now entitled ‘Make It Happen‘. It was after our kick off meeting in Cebu where the whole team was then complete. We were all positive that we will make an impact and through cooperation and team work, we will make our goals a reality. Suffice to say, the entire team made it!

We made it happen!

For this year with the new boss and new teammates, I am optimistic that I will deliver the number with another siginificant growth. I know hardwork pays off and although I started the year falling short, the end is still far from reality and I am positive that it will turn around in my favor, of course with enough effort, determination and dedication in everything I do.

Although I have admitted how I hated the doctors as customers, I still look forward to  a better customer service for them. I know I am so palpak in terms of customer service but it is something I am working very hard to improve on and develop. I should deliver a better service because the patients need a product like mine – best quality, highly effective and safer than the rest. This year, I just wanted to focus on my potential patients through my doctors. And will work really hard to develop patient-centered approach in dealing with the customers.

This year, it’ll be all about touching lives, as the context of our credo – concern to patients, the doctors, and countrymen by delivering a product best for them. Sabi nga ng Gilas Pilipinas, “Puso!” 

Trip to Bukidnon and how we landed to a place where everybody is afraid of

It was a sunny beautiful morning of February 19, the start of the year in Chinese calendar, when I, Cy, Jen, Henry and Vince decided to had a road trip up to Bukidnon’s Mutuan Peak in Maramag. It was eight in the morning when we traverse the BuDa Road (Bukidnon-Davao Road) to have our first stop at the Seagull Mountain Resort and have the ‘Suman’ (Sticky Rice) and native hot choco for our breakfast, just perfect for the foggy weather which I believed is at around 15 to 20 degree celsius. (But, no suman is available by that time). It was 9:00 in the morning, then. After having a little mobile signal, wazed calculated another an hour drive to Maramag Mutuan Peak — so we decided to go on.

It was all our first time to traverse the road to Bukidnon. Usually, I only reached up to Seagull so we really have no idea what’s on towards the road. Because of that, we made fun of the place of Mamasapano as resemblance to where we currently are. And you know what’s next after that. Regardless, I drove and we all witnessed the beautiful mountainous sceneries of Bukidnon. (Apologies for very few shots here because I was the one driving and maybe, was the one who truly appreciate most the nature in the group). I was personally in awe after passing by portion of Mindanao that is truly rich and raw. At around 11, we saw a DPWH-sponsored overview structure in Quezon, in which we had the chance to see on top the wider scenic of Bukidnon as in the picture below.

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We thought that we were near Maramag and so we kept on looking for a place, a meadow with mountain ranges on the background, to have our lunch. But it took us another 45 minutes before we had our lunch and not in any place we thought we should have been but in a spring resort named ‘RR Family Spring Resort’. We never had the chance to see Mutuan Peak due to our miscalculations in travel time. Instead, at 1:30 in the afternoon, we just stayed in the spring resort and had our happy time. Overall, we travelled at least 150 kilometers from Davao City with travel period of at least three hours scraping the stopovers.

Thinking that it will only take us another three hours to go back to Davao City, we left the resort at around 3:30 in the afternoon drunk and ‘crazy’. Though a little sober, I drove at 80-120kph to ensure that we’ll be back before twilight because at the peak of Buda Road is zero visibility. Plus, number of accidents have been recorded in the past few months where recently was a heavy-loaded truck sweep off of the lane cliff hanging. (PS: I was actually more excited to see the sunset on the road).

The five of us were really having a good time traveling back, traversing the same path we earlier passed by. I did overspeed while my friends record a video of our ‘Good Life by One Republic’. On the hype of that, I was trying to overtake the truck in front of me when, with no signaling at all on their side, the truck leaned on to its right where I was fast approaching at 120kph. All of a sudden all of us where awoke from somberness. We were safe, shocked but still manage to calm down. At that moment, I know my friends were already in their normal state of mind. So do I.

We thought that we could continue the ‘good life’ we were on that ride until I started to notice the goldenness of the sceneries we were passing by at around 4:15 in the afternoon. It was truly like a paradise. It was very peaceful and very few people are in there. I kept on telling my friends that we should have stayed there for lunch. There are meadows with clear views of down below valleys and plains. The rays of the slowly setting sun shed the whole place into a golden haven. If not only because of constraint on our time, we could have approved a one last stopover. The roads are concrete yet we are the only vehicle present at that very moment. Only us.

We now wonder, ‘have we ever been in this place?’ In my thought, the place is far way better and more beautiful than any road trips I ever had. Yet, how come we were on that place if we’ll just cross the same road we passed by from Davao to Bukidnon? We started to doubt ourselves.

At 4:45 in the afternoon in a seemingly remote town of Kibawe, we asked a local if we were on the right way to Davao City. There is good and bad news in her answer. The good news is she confirmed that we are towards Davao City, however, traversing the Bukidnon-Cotabato Road, thus the bad news. It was a bad news for all of us because it was North Cotabato where we all thought the MILF, BIFF and other Bangsamoro anti-government groups established their territory. It was a bad news because most of our phones were drained. It was a bad news because mobile signal was weak in the area. And it was ultimately a bad news because the sun was already setting.

If we go back to Bukidnon, we will travel over a dark place on top of the mountain, most likely a zero visibility due to thick fogs. Otherwise, we go on and take the chances of hitting the town of Kabacan before twilight. Finally with an hour left before six in the evening, our plan was the later to avoid being trapped at night in the mountainous area. I remembered driving at 100 to 140kph to made our goal. For a moment, nobody was talking. I was making myself calm because I was the one driving and should not show nervousness to my colleagues so there’s no mutual feelings. I tried to escape what’s deep inside by enjoying the awesome paradise we just lost at. There, I realized how truly beautiful Mindanao is. I might not have photographs with me but I can clearly imagine what my eyes perceived throughout that journey.

The light from the sun has been dimming when we reached a beautiful bridge over a river, connecting the town of Carmen to Kabacan. There’s nothing to feel than be amazed with how beautiful the rays of the sun painted the bridge and the wide river and how the fire sky reflected in the clear water. It was totally an unforgettable experience to pass by that bridge at that very moment. I then learned later that night that the river we just passed by was Rio Grande, the second largest River in the Philippines next to Cagayan River of Luzon.

Few minutes before six in the evening, we reached Kabacan and have ourselves a quick pee break and to pee out as well the tension we all felt. But it isn’t over yet. We have to reach Kidapawan City the earliest possible time passing by the town of Matalam because we actually don’t know how the city is at night. Some of us have been there but not experience a life at night. Later, we reached the towns of Makilala, Bansalan and Digos. Only after hitting Digos City when I totally told myself that we were way safer now. Thirty minutes pass eight when we finally, safely and peacefully reached Davao City. That was more or less a five-hour drive of more than 250 kilometers – it’s actually an additional of 100 kilometers over the original route, plus breath-taking suspense. Below is the map of our long and winding road trip with blue lines as our en route to Bukidnon and the red where we lost our way.

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Indeed, it was a very long day for the five of us. It entailed a roller coaster feeling of happiness, enjoyment, craziness, excitement, shock, tense, nervousness, fright and all others in between. After all, we all have the badge like a Guinness record of traveling Davao-Bukidnon-Cotabato in all same day.

After that day, we’d like to think that it was God’s way of shifting our route to a ‘safer’ one knowing what great risk it could have been driving in Buda road following simultaneous tragedies. On the other hand, it was a way for us to see the beauty unfolds in North Cotabato. It’s actually unfair as well to not appreciate that paradise only because it has a name Cotabato. Just like how we appreciate it before we realized we were lost to a place we thought was a zone of danger. After that journey, it made me changed my perspective about the place. While it’s true that there are anti-government present in the said province, we cannot underrate the fact that it houses a paradise.

The hope we see in our Pope

In a pre-dominatly Catholic societies like the Philippines, 2015 has started by declaring it by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as the ‘Year of the Poor’. Indeed, ever since Pope Francis became a Pontiff, the care for the poor and the needy has been the subject of his missions – and that includes his visit to the Philippines especially to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban. His experiences from the past has truly shaped his life centering to the poor and the marginalized. And that way of life has been inspiring many lives all over the world regardless of religion, class, and race.

It’s kind of unfortunate on my part to haven’t seen the Pope in person while I am outside Manila. Worst is that I can’t focus watching the live streaming of the entire 5-day visit while doing my work loads. It’s either I left my work for a moment, which I have done often, or missed this historic moment in the Philippine soil. So definitely, I depend my observations through the social media. And the warm crowd all my countrymen has shown from his arrival up to his last mass in the Rizal Park has brought back my faith in humanity of the Filipino people and brought back hope that the Philippines can do become a better society.

The moment I saw Pope Francis in the window of the Sri Lankan Airline that brought him safe in the Philippines, I started to feel amazed and wowed. Tumayo balahibo ko and even more when he went down the plane and started his short journey that tremendously changed so many hopeless lives of people.

I know many of us have felt the same way too. His presence gives a lighter feeling that we almost forgot our shortcomings. In his motorcades where pope mobile drives at around 20kph, I have read facebook posts and tweets saying that all their waiting is worth it even though they just saw the pope in more or less 3 seconds. People felt blessed seeing the Pope. So do I. His closeness to the mass and to the children and elders, his simple gestures of hugs and kisses shows his very sincere care to the people, to God’s people – calling him the People’s Pope.

Many of the people have come from different walks of life. Every people has their own unique stories to tell. Pope’s meeting with the families, the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, and the youth have testified God’s greatness to the faithful. Their stories have inspire many to never lose hope especially those who feel weak and abandoned. Even Pope Francis sees hope to all of us when he says that…

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The Pope wants all of us to keep the faith to God and continue the hope lit on fire. His visit reminds us that God never left us. We may have faced so many trials in the past years and have questions left unanswered but God’s faithfulness to us have never vanished. Pope Francis reminds us that just like him, many people still care for the people who have already lost their purpose to live, those who are burdened and felt abandoned.

And as people find hope in him, I found hope that collectively, little by little, people will discover their ways to help themselves. Little by little, the government will discover their ways to help the people in need most. And little by little, each of us will discover ways to help in the society and contribute for the greater good. And soon, Philippines will be a better place.

Credit to rappler.com for the photo.

Medrep Confession #1: I am the worst salesman ever!

Aside from selling medicines, in my opinion, pleasing the customers, specifically the doctors, is part of a medical representatives duty. However, I have grown living a life that does not please other people. If I think that somebody doesn’t like me, I don’t push through making them like me. I don’t please people or even impress them. And for me, that makes me the worst salesman ever.

I know that my job is oriented to customer service which includes but not limited to taking the doctors out for dinner, or driving for them to somewhere, or bringing them some foods and gifts, or sponsoring their personal agendas, or the likes. However, I truly believe that there is more to customer service than that; something I can do that puts more value to my job and to the business I am into as much as giving the customers the value they deserve. Admittedly, I am in a different side of customer service than what the norm is that made me pleases nobody.

Although I envy some of the medreps who easily befriend their customers, I still don’t put efforts to do the same because I know I am not being myself and I know I cannot sustain the effort in case I tried for the first time.

I will understand if for some of the sales people in there will question my ability as a salesperson. However, I cannot do more than what I can and what I am now. That is why in simple words and in the industry I am into, I am calling myself the worst salesman ever!

I opened my first trading account in BPI Trade

Before the 2014 ended, I applied for an account in BPI Trade so that by start of 2015, I can start trading in the Philippine Stock Exchange. For some of you, BPI Trade is the branch of BPI that takes hold as the brokerage for some avid investors in the stock market. Amongst the 30 plus only licensed brokers (which took me by surprise that only few were really licensed to operate), I chose BPI Trade because of two things: Convenience and trust to their customer service.

I found BPI convenient because they simply maximize the use of available technologies to meet customer satisfactions. Their online accounts truly make you work ‘in cloud’ with very minimal need to get in touch with physical beings. As such is their money transfer to anyone, real time updates, credit card and retail payments and then, of course, Stocks Trading. In BPI Trade, there are much information the users can have to analyze and make decisions more sound and credible. It actually helps me to decide which company to buy stocks and to which I should not. Though I haven’t tried to buy stocks yet because I am still on the process of studying my prospects but as I said, the informations in there greatly helps. Plus, there is no minimum amount to invest. Interested investors only need an active BPI account to start trading.

On the other hand, the people (or probably most) who works in BPI are truly customer-oriented employees. They are very accommodating, patient, polite, kind and have that smile in their face always. They address concerns immediately and guide clients to next steps of what needs to be done. And because of that, I trust that in anything I need assistance to in terms of my trading experience, they will help me with it just as how they normally do with their clients.

I am truly excited to finally come up with the companies I will invest at. But for now, I must study harder to make risk a little lesser and to make profit sound.

It’s been a great 2014

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In a few hours, the year will end and another one will give new meaning and hope to most of us. To some, new year is like a reset button which give them a fresh start and a clear mindset. While to others, the year to come is a bridge to new chapters of their journey towards their dream.

To me, 2014 has been a great year. Indeed, the best one yet. And what 2015 means to me is the hope of achieving my financial goals and my personal aspirations which God has already started showering upon me this year. The gifts and blessings I received is a whole year of Christmastide. And I believe these are, as well, opportunities I should not let pass by.

Anyway, here are some of the stories of my year 2014.

Career. My first full year in the pharma industry has been a blast. I am totally thankful for the opportunity that was given to me by JNJ. Truly, I never expected to be in selling because I believe I am poor at it and I admit that ever since I started in this job, I am the worst salesman ever! But then my luck pushed me in and now I consider this as a training and learning experience for my future plans. Although I have a lot flaws and disappointments, my prayers were still stronger than the strongest obstacle. Thank God for making me deliver the numbers for the year. His plans are indeed greater than ours. Thanks also to my boss for continuously believing in me when everybody already ceased. Thanks to those who ceased because it made me still believe.

Personal life. 2014 has also been a favorable circumstance to me in terms of my personal endeavors. And the greatest amongst is my independent life in Davao City. The first few months of my stay was really difficult. The choices of where and what to eat, how to do my laundry and the chores, who will wake me up in the morning, what to do on weekends, who shall I be with, are only few of the little problems I encounter that turned out to be big. Indeed, the beginning is always the hardest. However, just few months ago, I absolutely believe that I have totally adjusted. Yes, it took me so much time before I adjusted to this new life.

But this unprecedented experience taught me deeper about myself; that I can do things I never thought I could and that I am more than I thought I was. Indeed when you’re alone, your true self will show up and you’ll realize that it doesn’t matter what people knew about you. Instead, it’s how you know yourself that matters a lot. It’s another way of handling and accepting rejections, especially in the kind of world we are all at — where everybody talks.

On a little less serious note, the year took me to some parts of Mindanao to see what it has. The amazing adventures I had influenced me to explore it even further – from the wild river of Davao, the white beaches and clear water of Samal and Talicud Islands, the mesmerizing sunsets, the adrenaline booster extreme rides and sports, the Baguio of Bukidnon, the wide landscape of General Santos and Saranggani Province, the spots of peaceful places, to surfing the city of Mati upnorth. Plus, the adventures in Gigantes Islands in Iloilo, the Ruins and a lot more in Bacolod, and down to the Queen City of the South, Cebu. All these things made the year less than difficult.

Financial Freedom. The year also opened my mind to the idea of financial freedom. After reading the first collaborative book of Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump, Why we want you to be rich, the unending possibilities and opportunities knocked in. It was like reaching the deepest of the sea; It made you discover the things you didn’t see and unknown. In five months, I have read four more books because it made me thirstier to learn what financial freedom is all about and how will I get there. In the same year, I officially committed myself to my journey towards it through the launching of my Green Lights Ahead page (Currently, I have 3 pending entries that I will finish by early next year). It is where my financial decisions, learnings, and success stories will be posted.

The year has truly blessed me in terms of finances. To some of my colleagues, they would often advice me to reward myself such as buying my own stuffs. However, it’s not my thing, shopping is something I am not interested at doing. I am an economical shopper, not impulsive, who buys something only when I need it. The kind of reward I understand is making myself out of the situation of majority – work for money. That is why I committed myself to pursuing financial freedom. All the luxury and lavish lifestyle is after the journey. After all, it should be the upshot of this commitment.

2014 will end with absolute gratitude. It helped me reshape perspective and discover a better purpose. It introduced me to the unbounded world of possibilities. I know that I should not let this pass by just how the wind swiftly disappears. I look at all of these as opportunities for the better. It had me taste the life I wanted. It should not be vomited. Despite all of these, I trust that the best is still yet to come.

To God all the glory and praises. Happy new year everyone!

The lazy song for me

‘Today, I swear I’m not doing anything. I just wanna lay in my bed.’ This song is just really perfect to describe what I am this day. The week after my 5-day vacation last week just gave me ‘holiday’ sickness. In fact, I’m kind of not in the mood to go to work or talk to people or even see all of them. Kind of a weird feeling but, hell, I just wanna lay in my bed the whole week!

On Saturday, I attended the Kerygma Conference in SMX Convention. It was my first and never thought that it would be that exciting and fun than I first expected. The whole day (8AM to 9PM) was truly worth it. I just missed taking a photo with Bo Sanchez whom in a rush for his flight back to Manila due to the typhoon and his Feast in PICC. Anyway, the day was really really really spectacular.

The next day which is today, my sore throat worsen. However, I just can’t stay at my room because I have to do my laundry and look for my 70s-inspired outfit for our Christmas Party this coming Thursday. Seriously, I have no eye for fashion and it’s not my thing so I’ve had a hard time thinking of what to wear and where to look for it. But gah, I just wanna lay in my bed. So therefore, I have not accomplished what to wear for that day. I’m just wishing now that somebody will come over my room, knock, and bring me what to wear. #LikeABoss

Since I knew, just a while ago, that I’ll be doing nothing for the rest of the day, I planned of finishing my blog post for Green Light on highlights of FJC’s book. But, kablam, I’ve done nothing.

I just wanna lay in my bed.