2010: A year of great promise

Last week’s column entitled “My Christmas wish” received a lot of feedback from people who were able to relate to its message. Miguel Belmonte of PhilStar sent me a text message, saying it was good for me to point out the importance of greeting “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” since we are a Christ-centered country and the reason for our celebration is because of His birth.

Aside from the parties, it was also good to spend Christmas as a quiet time to reflect. In a joyful moment, one can be emotional. Maybe this is why last week’s column said it all.

Most people would say that Christmas went by so fast, it just slipped, or they hardly felt it. I guess it is an indication that we should slow things down a bit at this time of the year. You won’t notice time if you are still too busy this holiday season. Take time to be with your family, with your love ones, your old folks or sick friends and family members.

This is also the time when we realize our mortality. Even if Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year, we realize that we are getting old. When we were kids, we waited long for Santa. We never wanted Christmas to end. Now, as adults we are the ones who play the role of Santa Claus. Before we know it, all our children have grown so big and we don’t get to be Santa Claus anymore.

Our Christmas was different this time. My wife Marissa missed the presence of her dad who had been playing mother and father since her mom passed away. But, the annual children’s Christmas program had to go on, with the smaller kids initiated by having to perform. All these are great bonding moments. The funny part, in my case, is trying to look for a dentist to solve a toothache problem. Luckily, I was able to get painkillers to get me through the weekend. I then saw a dentist on Monday. Our youngest two-year-old, Isabella, is more aware of things now and has been excited as Christmas approached, especially as she opened her gifts from Santa and others. This is the same feeling we had when we were kids. Now, I guess that somehow wanes, as we get older and more emotional.

Among the gifts I received, my daughter Monica gave me a simple plaque. It was not an expensive gift, but it definitely made my Christmas day. It read:

To you my dad…

For being there to guide me and lead me to make the right decisions when I face crossroads in life…

For your hard work and sacrifices to support us in our moral and physical sustenance…

For your faith in God, which gives us light and makes our family strongly united in times of sunny days and rainy weather…

For continuously inspiring us and loving Mom so tenderly…

To you my father, I say thank you for all these and may the good Lord reward you for your devotion to your family and for being a responsible steward of the task entrusted to you by God.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. What is in store for 2010 is quite exciting as a new President by June will renew confidence on the economy even further, coming from a strong economic position. Definitely, the Philippines has progressed significantly. But yes, many more things are needed to fight poverty, the country’s biggest problem.

We will see commodities maintain more or less the same levels we had in 2009. I don’t expect to see an abnormal increase in inflation. Interest rates will continue to be low. The Peso will hover between 45 and 48 through the year. Our stock market will depend on the USA markets, which I feel is due for a correction, although the correction in Asia will not be as big. Overseas remittances will continue to grow and the Philippines will continue to benefit from the outsourcing being done in America and other countries. More and more people will consider starting their own negosyos, as we are receiving quite a number of inquiries. Investments will continue to come in and our tourism sector shall benefit from this.

We shall expect greater competition in all business categories, as many small and medium players will get to be empowered and as the market continues to be conducive, especially for new business models and innovative and better value-products and services. In the end, all of these will benefit the more demanding and discriminating consumers.

It will continue to be a challenge for us negosyantes, but it will depend on how good we are in spotting new market gaps and grabbing opportunities on how we can be more creative and innovate on our product offerings.

Yes 2010 will be an exciting year and a great year. It will depend on each one of us on how we make the most out of it.

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Let me share with you something from a proud daughter.

Hi Joey. My father (a miracle stroke survivor) enjoys reading your columns. He wanted me to share this passage with you. He wrote this after the onslaught of Ondoy. I believe it could serve as a simple yet profound inspiration to your readers. It is a great read for the coming New Year.

All the best,

Faye Fuentes Viray


by Ferdi Fuentes

Be the solution than the problem. Be an active player than a mere spectator. Be useful than useless. Be simple than complicated. Be a man of deeds than a man of empty words. Be busy than idle. Be a man of integrity than a man of dishonesty. Be a good citizen than an instant celebrity. Be a peacemaker than a troublemaker. Be a friend than an adversary. Be loving than uncaring. Be grateful than complain. Be a giver than a receiver. Be pro-life than anti-life. Be heroic than a coward. Be sincere than a hypocrite. Be authentic than untrue. Be better than good. Be a cooperator than a competitor. Be hopeful than hopeless. Be reading than gossiping.

Be right than wrong. Be competent than ineffective. Be a food producer than a consumer.

Be fair than greedy. Be early than late. Be better than good. Be early than late. Be clean than dirty. Be happy than sad. Inspire than discourage. Praise than criticize. Plant than cut trees. Reuse than abuse nature. Walk than ride. Smile than frown. Have less than more. Have a pure heart than material possessions. Serve than be served. Pray than waste time. Blaze a trail than stand still. BE A CHILD OF GOD.

Thank you Ferdi for supporting our column and for your great contribution. Happy New Year to you and to all Filipinos! May we all have one of the best years ever and continue to help those wanting to beat poverty. Thank you to my father, who celebrated his 78th birthday this Tuesday. Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us, your children. Maraming salamat. Manigong Bagong Taon.