Reach for the Star

It’s been over one year now since I started writing for the Philippine Star and until now my colleagues can’t believe I write my own column given my schedule. I have managed to write a weekly column partly because of my Blackberry which my wife and kids keep complaining about. Sometimes, she thinks my mistress is my Blackberry and my executives hate it as they have no reason to escape from my emails and sms messages. Nevertheless, I have grown quite fond of it because it allows me to communicate effectively 24/7.

I never really planned on being a column writer for the Philippine Star. I never thought I had the capability to write well. My English and Communications subjects in school were average and at times even below average. I guess writing from the heart is what makes the articles come alive and more interesting.

In a way, the Ask Go Negosyo column has indeed inspired a lot of people to have a different perspective in life. People get inspiration from the column even if they do not own a negosyo. The column also hopes to instill in its readers the importance of having the right mindset and approach in life. As I said in my previous column, we should not have a bahala na attitude or blind faith and instead continue to have hope and become masters of our own destiny. We should never cease to dream and must always aim to Reach for the Stars.

This is sometimes easier said than done especially if one faces a great crisis in life. My father-in-law Jose Orosa who has colon cancer and has undergone so many operations and chemotherapies still continues to have the right attitude in life. Of course God is key to this, but what is important is how we accept and make the best out of the challenges that life throws back at us.

Last week, I was invited to be the keynote speaker during the graduation rites of the Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment (ATRIEV) Center. Its founder is one of our awardees of the Most Inspiring People with Disabilities (PWD) Entrepreneurs, Mr. Antonio Llanes.

ATRIEV is a non-profit organization that provides visually-impaired persons access to post-secondary education, mainstream employment, and similar opportunities thru the use of adaptive technologies. ATRIEV also pioneered and institutionalized a computer literacy program for the blind through ATTRAC or the Adaptive Technology for Training, Resource and Access Center.

During their graduation rites, I was deeply touched in seeing a young child using the computer. With the help of IBM’s General Manager Jajo Quintos, ATRIEV uses a software that allows the blind to use the computer. While the young student was doing the demo, I got inspired because these people who have been born blind could have given up easily but just like Mr. Llanes, they decided to make something out of their lives. They continue to live and strive to become a productive member of our society.

During my talk, I mentioned how I pity on the other hand those who have no physical disability but seem to have a handicap, in terms of having a negativist attitude. I pity those who always harbor negative thoughts and feelings, which more often than not, lead to their downfall.

Last night, the Philippine Star was recognized by Go Negosyo, together with PCE Trustees Tony Tan Caktiong, Nanay Coring, Harley Sy, Myla Villanueva, Vivienne Tan, Gov. Lray Villafuerte, Dr. Rolando Hortaleza, and representing PGMA was MSME Council Chair and PMS Director General Sec. Cerge Remonde. The Philippine Star has played a big role in providing balanced reporting, not hiding the problems that this government may have but not to the point of exaggeration that it creates a pessimistic society. The Philippine Star has also been instrumental in spreading the Go Negosyo advocacy and in helping build the future stars that will save this nation from poverty. These are the entrepreneurs or negosyantes.

The Star has projected in its front page the inspiring stories of entrepreneurs from each of the different Go Negosyo caravan destinations and has frequently featured Gawad Kalinga, a group led by Tony Meloto who is trying to give hope and help Filipinos have a decent home to live in. Go Negosyo and Gawad Kalinga share the same objective. While both organizations are still far from attaining its goal, significant progress has been achieved and both organizations continue to rekindle the hope of every Filipino that they too can one day become a self-made person with the right mindset.

Life is short, and for those who have achieved great success, it is time to start paying back and build their intangible treasures in their next life. This Christmas and the coming year, maybe it’s time to stop calling ourselves “the sick man of Asia” as we are not. Instead, we are now heading to become the Shining Star of Asia.

Thank you Philippine Star and thank you to all the entrepreneurs who have been part of this advocacy. Let us continue to reach for the star and see this nation of ours move forward in solving poverty in this country.

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Last Monday, I was invited to the book launch of my sister-in-law Peachy Garcia-Concepcion entitled “Hold on Tight”. The book is for light reading and has good quality printing. I would say it is something all parents will be confronted with as our children gain their independence. Letting go is sometimes difficult. But if as parents you have been with them and have mentored them well enough, you can be assured that they have already developed the attitude and values you have instilled in them. Hold on Tight will be sold in all National Bookstore outlets and I encourage everyone to get a copy.

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For those who want to know more about ATRIEV and how you can help, you may contact their office at 927-6185 or email at [email protected]. Let’s support people who want to make a difference especially those who help others move up in life.