Tuesday, November 20, 2007

didn't i just update?

engineer.ronjie.com has been updated yet again, this time now providing access to all publications. ronjie.com/photos is also scheduled for updating - the update should be done within today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are you more left brain or more right brain?

You Are 85% Left Brained, 15% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Lakbayan Grade is C! (still)

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

who is ronjie?

have i told you about this recently created blog? there are new posts there, too. find out, who is ronjie? :D

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

[Book Review] On Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This will sound negative, but I lay it down on the table here on my blog, hoping to generate some reactions and discussions. Oh but I've forgotten if I've said this before. But I wanted it "written down," so here it is.

During the first time I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I felt the same way I felt when I attended this network marketing seminar. The one similar thought that came to mind during each of those two experiences was: what if everyone was doing the same thing because the book or the network marketing company was 100% successful - everyone selling the same product, and so on. Who would buy? That's the problem, at least with some network marketing companies - they're almost nothing more than a membership shopping club.

In the stock market, those who know how to "play" it break some but make more. The rest, they base their decisions on emotions, "tips," the bandwagon, etc. Most of them do not earn from the market, or earn as much as they could. But, what if everyone knows how to play the market? It won't ever move, or it might move up or down so fast - emotions will start to set in again. Feelings of excitement, greed, hope come in.

So really, the question to ask ourselves is: which side of the market are you on? Is what I'm into really what it is? How do things really work around here?

Kiyosaki, as some might say, is not a personal finance guru at all. But certainly, Kiyosaki has been a spark plug in good and maybe also in bad. People love him or hate him. Me, these are the things he has caused me to think. I know now how to play the market. Now, I just have to do it, and learn to control my emotions. Yep, Kiyosaki has caused me to think that.

[sub-labels: CPC books]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions + Apologies, and more Decisions

[sub-labels: Being Christian, Christian and Catholic Faith, Love]

This post is more than three months too late. But the message, fortunately, is universal, in time, space, and culture. :-)


What about decisions and the need to repeat that word four times in the title of this post?

First, I had one friend confide in me. He basically was still being a friend and confidant to an ex-girlfriend, who dumped her for another man and who has now been ‘dumped’ by that other man. My friend said that it was difficult, that it was hurtful being a friend to his old flame who hurt him, and how he is still somehow wishing that they might still get back together or something like that. In our conversation, I think I brought up the word ‘decision.’

I think I asked him, why let yourself be hurt? Being the Christian that he is, he said he was just being a friend, a loving neighbor. And in this way, it was a self-sacrificing kind of love. He didn’t want to see his ex this way, hurt. I suggested, what if the more loving thing to do was to let her go completely, so that she might learn to let go herself, and that she might know although subtly that this situation was becoming hurtful also for him. Hopefully she may do something about it – something positive that is. And that’s when my friend said that that’s the problem, and that’s why he’s there – because she tends to go back to her old, not-so-good habits. By being there as a friend and a source of comfort, while it was hurting for him, that’s the bottomline, he was loving her. Maybe not in a romantic way – or maybe so, however you see it – but it was certainly in a Christian way. It was self-sacrificial.

To me, I told my friend that that is a noble decision. I couldn’t yet imagine myself in the same situation (cross the bridge if I get there). I think I’d let go, but I don’t really know. But the thing is, he made a decision, and I think either decision he made, it was a good decision. And for whatever he decides, it would be best if he gave his all into it. Of course, prayer is a very powerful factor in whichever decision was made. Also, depending on the outcome or the effect of his actions, he should be ready to change his decision. Again, with the help of prayer.

Second, I always recall Bo Sanchez’s “big decision,” which he wrote about in one of his books – I think it’s in “You Have the Power to Create Love.”

Almost his entire life until he was around or close to 30, he "knew" what he was going to do, and what he was going to be. He has been a preacher since the age of 12 (or is it 10?), and priesthood seemed to be the way to go. God certainly would want him to serve Him as a priest. And then he met this woman, for whom he had feelings that he kept to himself (or at least kept it from her)... Anyway, he went on a 7-day retreat, fasting, praying, and finally, deciding. Somehow he got God’s message that certainly, God wants all of us to be happy. Of course, this happiness we can find in following God’s will. But here was Bo, having to decide between two things – is one good and the other bad? No, he realized. You choose what would make you happy – except that for whichever you choose, the actions you take should be according to God’s will, and should continue to glorify his name. One of God's greatest gifts after all is our free will - to think and to make choices. Sometimes, it is between good and bad. Sometimes it is between two good things. (If it's between two bad things, better to choose none of the above.) Bo then, standing by the exit of the retreat house at the end of his 7 days there, called up Marowe and asked her to a date. They are happily married for years now, and have been blessed with two sons.

Isn’t that wrong? Bo was priest material, and there he was, defying what God might have wanted for him! But the thing is, it’s not all that God wants for him. He would certainly want that Bo serve him with joy. He gave him a choice. And sure, he’s not a priest right now. But he’s being an example father, husband, and still preacher to all of us. He still hasn’t forgotten any of the ministries he set up – the home for the abandoned elderly and children, his preaching ministries, his book writing, his online evanglization ministries, his many other publications. Now, he has a new ministry – his family, the very basic Christian church – to add to his list of ministries. I tell you, God loves Bo. God has given him free will to do what he wants, and he had two out of many possible paths to choose from that could make him happy and through either one, he still serves God. God gave us the same gifts as he did to Bo, and He could also bless us with the same good consequences depending on the decisions we make. Bo simply chose the one that would make him happier, but through either one, he makes sure he'll make God happy. I tell you, God loves you and me, too. The question is... What do we decide to do?

Third, the last two Sunday Gospel readings about the Good Samaritan, and Martha and Mary.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve planned this post titled “decisions, decisions, decisions” about three months ago. And yet here are two Gospel readings from the past two Sundays whose message we could relate to my originally planned post.

Let’s go to number Four first and get back to these two Gospel readings later…

Fourth, there is the “Love your Neighbour” commandment. I think I’ve mentioned already in the previous post – there are two parts to this commandment. Fine we all might know already what the “Love” in “Love your neighbour” means, or at least where to find its meaning. And then fine, we know who our neighbour is. The question is, do we really? One of my discussion group participants on the topic of this commandment suggested that “neighbour” is anyone other than yourself. So that includes our enemies. That includes people from other religions. People from other races, ethnical backgrounds, nationalities, genders, etc. That includes friends and family, whether we like them or not. That includes friends and family, even though they may be in a path going farther from God.

Some of us might be one of those who grew up in societies that laugh at darker skinned people, skinnier people, "wider" people, people with uncommon physical deformations, people with curly hair, smaller eyes, hardworking people, smart people, lame or clumsy people, and so on. We grow these attitudes towards other people through our childhood although not by our own choice, and then carry them through adulthood. But of course, we do know better now, being the mature adults that we are now. In fact, we now can decide on how to react to our "neighbors," even if we've been "programmed" when we were younger to think that they're our inferior neighbors.

The keyword here is "decide." It's tough to fight emotions, I'm sure we all know that already. How many times have we erupted out of anger? or jealousy? or hunger? and so on. How many times have we done "crazy"/wrong things because we are "in love"? or too eager? or too anxious? But each time, we have a choice. We have to decide. Which do we choose? What do we choose to do? Making the decision to love, to be patient, etc. is a daily battle.

A good friend told me a quote from a book (I think from "Prozac Nation") - happiness is an ongoing battle. I can only agree. With love all around us, we can only be happy. And it is a daily battle. First, to see all this love and all the blessings that await us. And then there is the daily battle to decide to go left or right, or right or wrong, or to wait or to not wait and take action by ourselves leaving God out of the equation. And so on. We make decisions every second of our lives. We therefore have every second of our lives the opportunity to love. Let us decide to. It's a decision towards true happiness. It's a decision towards God.

Let's go back to the Gospels.

Imagine you are at work, and there are two new hires, and both of them are super annoying persons. Her fashion style is annoying. Her manner of speaking is annoying. A lot of other things about her is annoying. The same is true with the other new hire, this time a male.

Imagine if he was doing poorly at work, and you recall that it was because he graduated from some unknown school in the provinces, oh and all the things you could think up as to why this person was such comes to mind. Do you help him? Or do you let him stay where he's at, because he's not at the same level as you, in terms of contributing to the company you're working for?

Imagine if she was doing great at work. Better than your next-cubicle, long-time friend and officemate. Your long-time friend and officemate is easier to work with, and the two of you get things done. Here was this new girl, who was getting things done all by herself. What do you do? Try to make her get along with you? Get your superiors to take action, maybe fire her or send her a memo reprimanding her for her actions/inactions? Or do you try to change yourself? Can you recognize that she is contributing to the company in the way that she can, just as you and your long-time officemate are? And anyway, that's what employees are supposed to do? Do you feel insecure that she's doing better - she's contradicting the established "two heads are better than one" quote? Or can you see that by what she has brought to the company, you have seen that there are areas for improvement in your own (and maybe also your friend's) career? That you could be a better person, a better employee, a better child of God?

What would you do if you, a Christian, see a Moslem who has been beaten up by non-Moslems?

What would you do if, for example, Bo Sanchez is coming to your town for the first time to give a talk, but the only problem is your mom is in the hospital and needing attention and company? Will you be attending Bo's talk, maybe because you can learn how to pray better for your mother's healing? Or will you stay with your mother at the hospital and attend to her? Or, will you think of other ways you can both listen to Bo's talk, and yet make sure that your mother is taken care of and that you won't be gone too long from her?

Decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions. We make them everyday. Let's make the Good ones.


If you notice, I also put "Apologies" in the title of this post.

I apologize because (relating to the Fourth item above, about loving your neighbor) that I have not completely loved my neighbor, and thus if it is not a complete love, it was a failure to love.

In my earlier posts, I have somewhat, although perhaps indirectly only, "criticized" others' beliefs. I may justify that I am only responding to their critiques of my beliefs, but, I think I should instead focus less on (what I think is) the wrong of others, and focus instead on what I think is good and right. I think that is the most loving thing to do. That is what my Church and my God does also.

They clearly state what is good and what is not, but ultimately it is for us all to decide to accept them or not.

For example, showing "more skin" inside the Church during (Sunday) masses. The Catholic Church obviously is against that, it is a quite clear rule (and logical even, I don't think I need to be told once I think about it) , but still, Church doors are open to all.

So for now, I do hope that I make and follow through with that decision to focus more on our beliefs, on God and His great love for us, so that we too may focus less on the not-as-important things, but instead focus more on how we can love God and others.

May God be praised!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

[Movie Review] [Blog Review] Transformers (2007)

(This is a reaction to a critic of the movie at http://mikeabundo.com/2007/06/28/optimus-prime-was-robbed/)

I’m a Transformers fan, now in my 30s, and I liked this movie very much, because it is very 2007. And yeah, I’m just an ordinary guy who loves movies, like the rest of us, and I’m no movie/film critic like you are because to do that is difficult. I just give thumbs up or thumbs down or thumbs sideways to movies. I just either say, “I like the movie,” or “I don’t like the movie,” or “it’s an ‘okay’ movie.”

This is now one of my (personal) favorite movies. But I’d have to watch it again (on the boob-tube), because the original Transformers The Movie of the 80’s doesn’t feel as high-impact as when I first saw it. Maybe because it’s the 21st century now.

From your previous posts, it seems that you dislike Hollywood and its creations. I think one thing (not the only thing) that Hollywood is about is business and making money by providing entertainment, and here they are with a movie that will enable them to do just that. In that sense, they are going to achieve their goal and are thus successful with this movie, and kudos to that. I think it is unfair to look at all Hollywood films with the same eyes we use to look at an art film or paintings and so on at an art gallery. We’re free to do that, but I just personally think it’s not fair.

I also noticed the product placements and I see (and have read) that this is the future (read: 2007 and beyond) of advertising. I don’t see nothing wrong with that.

I did not notice how much more of the humans were shown, more than the Transformers. But I personally don’t find anything wrong with that. That’s what they wanted, they (the producers) risked money to do that, and again we’ll see if it was worth the risk - which will be determined by the “vote” of the millions who will watch the movie and buy the DVD in the future. Plus, I think it’s also a ploy to make us want to see more of the Transformers - and it seems it’s working - and they already actually have plans for a sequel.

Optimus Prime getting robbed? Again, I don’t see nothing wrong with that. I think Optimus Prime beating up Megatron and sacrificing his life to save mankind - that’s so Transformers cliche and I think that’s what we all expected. So Sam “saving” Prime and the world was a twist, and perhaps, the twist of this 2007 movie. Was that insulting to Cybertronians? Well, I wish I could actually read minds of Cybertronians, but I can’t.

My concern right after the movie was - because I so want to see a sequel - is… what is going to be the story in the sequel? And who’s going to be there? Is it going to be as interesting as this one? When is it going to come out!?? It ought to be better, of course, because it’s the second one. Actually, I want them to create a series! But, that shall be their decision. Maybe if I had money, I can tell them what to do and not to do.

By the way, what Hollywood-produced live-action movie of comics or cartoon origins has been faithful to their original comics or cartoon characters or stories? I’m not good with movie trivia, but right now, I don’t remember any.

My overall thoughts on your comments: Welcome to 2007.

Oh, and I congratulate you, because your post is so controversial - that’s how to make money on the web with blogs. I wonder now if that was partially your intention? If so, congratulations! I honestly dream of writing my own controversial blog post in the future myself. :D

[sub-labels: CPC blogs, CPC movies]

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Local Practices, We are What We Eat, What is Love, Un-Christian, Jokes, My Confession

[sub-labels: Being Christian, Christian and Catholic Faith, Love]

I haven't missed the last two Sunday masses, but my schedule's been so hectic, I wasn't able to attend mass at the parish (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine) where I usually attend.

Two Sundays ago, I was in Cagayan de Oro, and attended mass at the "Xavier College" chapel, now I think the "Ateneo de Cagayan University" chapel. One new thing I re-discovered - and I make a lot of these "re-discoveries" or things I've learned long ago and starting to remember them or see them in actuality now - is that each locale could have slightly different practices even under the same mother organization, which is in this case the Holy Catholic Church.

In Metro Manila, we are all palms up or holding hands during the Our Father and during the Our Father alone. (We were not holding hands during the SARS or bird flu scare.) In Cagayan de Oro, being the Manila-grown kids we were (me and my friends/travel companions), we pulled our hands back down after the Our Father, and to our shock, everyone's hands were still palms up or still holding each other's through the "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever..."

I remember in the US, specifically in California and Nevada (the only two states I've stayed at least one night in), they kneel there at a slightly different schedule within the mass compared to here in the Philippines, where we kneel during the Consecration, and just before Communion. If I remember correctly - it's been a while (6+ years) since I was last there - once we knelt during the mass, we didn't stand up anymore through Communion. Well, I've forgotten.

In Metro Manila, specifically in our locale in the University of the Philippines - Diliman and Katipunan Avenue / Loyola Heights (Quezon City) area of our lay Christian group for singles, the CFC Singles for Christ, we have slightly different practices than in Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong / Pasig, or in Cebu City (Visayas / Central Philippines) when we conduct our Christian Life Program (CLP).

The Gospel two Sundays ago was about the Multiplication (of the bread and fish). Two weeks is too long for remembering the whole homily of the priest. I do recall I learned at least a thing or two. I remember just one thing the priest said, and I do not remember how he related it to the Gospel: we are what we eat. The priest said, if we eat junk food - we are.. junk? (No, the priest didn't say that.) If we eat healthy food, then we become healthy. Then on the evening after that day (we attended the anticipated mass on Saturday), we ate Roasted Whole Pork (Lechon!). The usual things associated with "Lechon" came to mind: we are Fat, we are Pigs, we are Cholesterol, we are a Filipino delicacy, we are yummy and delicious, and so on. I suggested a more 'subtle' description of who we are based on what we were about to feast on: we are "to die for." Funny! ..in some way, but you could look at it more seriously and we could come up with a whole new blog post / essay about it.

Anyway, the Wednesday after that, was Talk 6 of the CLP we were conducting. The topic was Loving Your Neighbor. During my emceeing, I mentioned then that it was my favorite talk of the CLP. I don't think I mentioned though that it was because I grew up in a broken family, and that I have been searching for the answer to 'what is love?', and I was surprised then when I first listened to this talk that the answer came from the Bible itself: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Or really, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 is the whole text:

From the 1st Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 13:

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 - Or languages
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 - Some early manuscripts say "body that I may boast"
-- Taken from the New International Version, on BibleGateway.com

Beautiful. And how true. It's in the Bible. I just wonder how many more I can learn about life from the Bible.

Anyway, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after that CLP Talk 6 on Wednesday, I was out of town again. Coming back to Manila, my flight was delayed and I was not able to attend a "party" I was supposed to attend on Saturday night. Instead, I went straight ahead to an after-party thing at a restaurant. And there I was, I found myself... saying things that, although unintentionally, hurt someone.

Fine, that someone has said one hurtful thing to me before, and I reacted a little bit too harshly, telling that person "I was hurt" in a raised voice. Which in turn, puzzled and perhaps hurt also that person. And on Saturday night, after my very tiring week, here again was that person, in that same 'mode' that that person was during our 'first encounter.' I wasn't trying to hurt that person or anything, but I was trying to suggest alternatives to the 'this is what I want to happen' statements of that person. And then, the person 'erupted' and said, "you always dis me and contradict what I have to say." Anyway, again that was not my intention. I think the person said "Don't talk to me anymore because you always dis me and contradict what I have to say," and I willingly obliged and did not talk to that person anymore. Apparently, I think that that may have confirmed in his mind that I was indeed dissing him and contradicting him. But again, no, that wasn't my intention.

Was I wrong? We could look at it from two different points of view: from the Christian point of view and the non-Christian point of view. To put it simply, I may have had my point from the non-Christian point of view. There was that person again, bringing about the personality that he has, that can be... domineering for some.

But from the Christian point of view, yes you guessed it right. :)

From the verse I quoted above, "Love is patient." In a sense, because I was not patient with that person, knowing very well that that was his personality, I was unloving, and therefore un-Christian. I could have reacted more lovingly. I could have just gone silent, or said "we'll see," instead of reacting with something like "that is not acceptable" that could hurt him (and did hurt him).

Anyway, that was not the whole story, and definitely there was something that I said that hurt him. It was supposedly a joke, but now I laugh at myself as I look back at the times when some group of people I know (say group A) made jokes at another group of people (say, group B), and I demanded that the group A people apologize to the group B people. The group A people said, "that was only a joke, and it's their problem they took it too seriously." I thought then that (and told the group A people) that the point is, you hurt other people (the group B people) with what you said, and joke or not, you have to apologize.

And as I said, I laugh at myself as I was in the same position as the group A people, making a joke that, well, hurt other people. But I did apologize for that joke I made, and I did not intend to hurt anyone with it or any "joke" I make.

Anyway, again the story is longer and much more complicated than that.

I listened to a talk given by Frank Padilla on that same CLP Talk 6 topic, loving your neighbor. He talked about the very situation I was in: what if there was someone you care about (say, a friend, a loved one, a relative, etc) who had an attitude that was not easy to handle? Frank Padilla's talk and another more mature friend told me: we tell them their wrong in the most loving manner (it's not what you say, it's how you say it), we pray for their 'conversion,' we also pray for more patience on our part, we pray that if it is in God's will we can become part of their 'conversion,' and then since we can't change others but only ourselves, we try to be more patient, and we try to forebear, to persevere through the times while our friends and loved ones are "difficult." "Love is patient... Love perserveres..."

Anyway, so there I was, I've spoken of love, I've spoken about God and Christianity and good deeds, I lead groups of people in prayer, but I was nothing but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I failed to love. I have been un-Christian. I am nothing.

I am my own student. May the Father make me patient, and more loving as Jesus himself.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Lakbayan Grade is C!

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

problema grande

i am getting this error whenever i edit the template on ronjie.com, and now also on ronj-blog. i suspect it's system wide. maybe i have too many blogs on blogger? i hope this gets resolved soon...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

new blog!

i created a new blog that is all about... me! check out the new, "who is ronjie?" blog.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

On The Blessed Trinity

[sub-labels: Holy Trinity, Jesus as God]

Today is the feast of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity. Last week, it was Pentecost Sunday, before that it was the feast of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, and of course, there was Easter, and Lent, and Christmas, and Advent before that.

I do not recall if this is like so even back when I was in a Catholic high school - maybe it was and I was just not paying as much attention. But if I didn't go to Catholic school, here was a series of free Catholic Catechism schooling! It just really meant paying attention. But unlike in Catholic school, there are no written exams every two and a half months, four times in a span of a year, and no two-month "summer" break. This is real life, and the "exams" could be given anytime by anyone.

A charming person from another religion may come into your life, influence you much, and ask you to consider changing faiths. Or, one time, you might be forced to face a panel of two or more people, who are very well read with the Bible or a version of it, and question you about what you know. Or, a young man may suddenly come up to you and ask you, "Why believe in the Trinity when it is so much simpler to stick to the conviction of our God?"

One such man asked one such question to Fr. Stephen Placente, SDB, he writes for the Sambuhay publication (of St. Paul's, Philippines). How prepared are we for that "surprise exam" in life?

I must say that I am not 100% prepared... not even 75% prepared... or not even 50% prepared. And that is already considering I was in a Catholic school for 10 years. Because really, there is much to be learned and one life time may not even be enough. That of course, shouldn't also ever discourage us. But if you just try, and keep on trying to learn, that is well and good.

In Sunday's Gospel reading (John 16:12-15), Jesus says "Everything that the Father has is mine..." If God owns our lives, and everything we have, then Jesus says he owns them, too. He also speaks about the coming of the Holy Spirit of truth.

Right now, I am writing this a day after Sunday, and note to self - it is difficult to react and reflect a day after! At this point, I recommend you to read Fr. Stephen's write-up printed on Sunday's Sambuhay publication:

"The question of a wise man has half the answers," Professor Maman of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem often reminds his class. The rabbinic saying came back to me once when a young man threw me a question, "Why believe in the Trinity when it is so much simpler to stick to the conviction of one God?" Read between the lines: he has half the answers.

The teaching on the Trinity is not an invention of the Catholic Church, as some skeptics would like people to believe. Rather, it is a fundamental faith that leads us back to the preaching and witness of Jesus. In other words, we would never know this much about God if Jesus had not told us so. Surprisingly, there are Christians today who cannot bear Jesus' revelation. In one television program, a Christian pastor tried to earnestly prove that the belief in the Trinity is heretical. As one plus one plus one is equal to three, so too, according to his computation, the Trinity would make three gods. But the pastor misses the point. When you reflect on the Trinity, you throw your calculator away, for faith in the Trinity is not mathematical, but relational.

As in any human bonding, relationship with God deepens in the passing of time. When I met my best friend for the first time, the little I knew about him was his name, Ken. But as we matured, we discovered a lot more about each other apart from our names. Getting to know God takes us beyond knowing his name, YHWH. God tells us more about him as far as we are capable to receive his revelation. Students of the Bible are all too familiar with the phrase "progressive revelation." It is like baby Jeremy who starts learning a language, not by poring over Sionil Jose's novels, but by uttering his first loving words, Pa and Ma. We, too, learn about God step by step, from exclaiming his name to accepting him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Understandably, the revelation of God does not stop with the composition of the Bible. It is narrow-mindedness to think that God speaks and reveals himself to us solely through the Bible. If that were so, God's mouth would have shut up sometime between 100-150 AD when the last book of the Bible was written. Yet God is still actively speaking to us today as he did in the past. Jesus affirms so: "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth" (Jn 16:13).

What is the point of God baring his life to us in a deeper fashion? We find a hint in John's affirmation - "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16). God is Trinitarian because God is love. Love cannot be alone. Our experience tells us that the first impulse of love is to go out of oneself. A person who claims love but only has oneself to love must be egotistic. But God is love since God's love is the Son, and the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. If you think that God should be "so much simpler" than this, ask married couples who live faithfully through the years whether an inch-deep meaning of love is ever possible.

Thus, behind the doctrine of the Trinity is the flame of God's passion leaping up, warming both heart and mind, of God and man who hold less secrets and share more love. When we believe in the Trinity, we become part of the love story that has neither beginning nor end. The teaching on the Trinity is a doctrine with a soul as it stares us in the face with a glaring truth: "God wants the heart" (Jewish Talmud, Sanhedrin 106b).

-- Fr. Stephen Placente, SDB

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Welcome to the launch of the "who is ronjie" blog!

This blog will contain all things about Ronjie... Who is Ronjie? Read the posts. Note: all who-is-ronjie types of posts originally at RONJ-BLOG have been moved here. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Holy Spirit, and Being Christian

[sub-labels: Being Christian, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity]

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, a celebration of that event in the Bible when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Jesus' Apostles, fifty days after Christ's resurrection (7th Sunday after Easter Sunday), as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

In my understanding, the Feast of the Pentecost in fact has been celebrated in Jewish tradition even before this said event, under a different name, in some circles to commemorate the giving of the Law in Mt. Sinai. Under Christian contexts, this feast commemorates the giving of the Law in Mt. Sinai, and The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, as well as symbolizing Judgment Day. Please correct me where I am wrong.

Anyway, yesterday I was happy to have been able to attend mass. I had a whole-day event thing yesterday, and I failed to attend Saturday's anticipated mass or the early 6:00am Sunday mass due to some unfortunate circumstances. Alas, I was able to attend the 8:00pm mass at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, University of the Philippines - Diliman Campus. I was happy during mass, and I don't know why - maybe because I was able to attend mass (and I so wanted to), or maybe that whole-day event thing I attended was fun, or maybe occasions within the past week has etched a smile inside. In any case, I learned new things again this time.

First, the priest opened his homily by saying the three most important events that we Christians celebrate are: Christmas (God sending his Son), Easter (God the Son overcoming being human, and resurrecting from the dead), and Pentecost (the giving of the Holy Spirit and its gifts). I thought, "Cool!" I didn't know that. I mean, Christmas and Easter - fine. But yeah, Pentecost.

Second, the priest wears Red on Pentecost. As of now, I haven't yet read the reason behind this. But anyway, in the past few weeks, I have been doing "emcee-ing" chores (acting as an MC or Master of Ceremonies) in this Christian Life Program we're organizing. I don't do the speaking/lecturing; I do just that - emcee-ing, which is simply leading the opening and closing prayers, and giving an introduction to the topic and to the speaker. (Well it's not that simple for a first-timer... The nerves can get to you. :D)

One of the things I was doing for my "emcee-ing" was wearing a shirt color that was somewhat significant to the session's topic (I got these ideas from a CLP I attended elsewhere). For example, when the topic was "God's Love," I wore RED to symbolize love. When the topic was "Who is Jesus Christ?," I wore BROWN to symbolize wood, from which the Cross on which Jesus was crucified was made. When the topic was "What it means to be a Christian," I wore WHITE to somewhat symbolize cleanliness, purity, holiness, etc. For the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking of what to wear when the session topic is "Repentance and Faith." I have thought of wearing VIOLET (or PURPLE - I don't yet know their difference) because from memory I know that the colors of both Advent and Lent are VIOLET. (I checked elsewhere and this seems to be true, except on Gaudete Sunday or the third Sunday of Advent where ROSE is the theme color). In fact, the priest wears a vestment of such color (violet) during Advent and Lent. I thought, this is cool.

I distinctly remember two homilies by two priests (both I think were bishops) in two different masses. One said during a Christmas day mass something like: "We Christians ought to be the happiest people on earth... because we know very well of God's great love for us, particularly manifested in his giving of his only Son, Jesus Christ, to eventually die for our sins and save us." The other said during a gathering of a religious group something like: "To be Christian means to be Holy. To be Christian means to be a Saint." Again, these two messages say that "Christians are Happy," and that "Christians are Holy." I associate being "Happy" with the season of Advent, the eager waiting for God's Son coming down from Heaven and being born to live among us here on earth. I associate being "Holy" with the season of Lent - a time for repentance, a time for reflection on Jesus' suffering because of our sins. Of course, Advent is also actually a time for repentance.

In any case, I thought, this is cool! I will wear purple on the "Repentance and Faith" session - the same symbolic colors of Advent and Lent. Because Christians are Happy and Holy.

Third (going back to Pentecost Sunday), I remember the priest talking about the Holy Spirit - how one will act if he is filled with the Spirit. He first reminded us that we have received the Spirit during our baptism, but to use the gifts of or from the Holy Spirit is altogether a different thing. Essentially, the priest said (from my memory) that, when one is filled with the Spirit, one does things in the will of the Father without question or hesitation, and with humble persistence. He gave examples - for example, John Paul II's persistent message to his fellow countrymen in Poland, even from his pre-Pope days, to give up communism, and how the rest of eastern Europe and even Russia (or USSR) followed suit after Poland. The priest said the late John Paul II was filled with the Holy Spirit. He gave probably two other examples, but I'm sorry I have forgotten them already.

But I guess this is the priest's most important point of all. That is the Holy Spirit. You allow it to work in your life, and you will do great things in the eyes of God. How do we do that? I believe we do that by being clean and holy (i.e. by repenting if you are in sin), and then by having faith in Jesus, in his promise of salvation, in God's will, and in what God can do for us through his Holy Spirit, and in what we can do with the Spirit in us. Repentance and faith. Essentially, we should first make ourselves as immune as possible (and if possible, totally and completely immune) to evil spirits, so that indeed we become more open to the Spirit. And then when the Spirit enters us, we do great things - from the simplest of things on a regular and constant basis (e.g. being patient with "difficult" people), to the greatest of things to serve God (e.g. going on evangelizing missions to Africa, the Middle East, and in communist Asia and other non-Christian countries).

Because being Christian is not just not sinning. After all, there is a saying that goes, "if you try to not do something, you will tend to do that something." That "something" maybe failure - "if you try not to fail, then you may not succeed." Because being Christian is not just about attending mass or attending service or praying. And so on. But while all of those are part of being Christian, they do not solely define what it means to be a Christian. We are also called to service (to serve), to be saints.

And then there's the Holy Spirit. It's there, it's waiting for us, ourselves, to use God's own good and powerful works here on earth.

It's not easy? It certainly is not. But with the Holy Spirit in us, it is very easy.

It takes getting used to; it also takes mental conditioning. Because the Enemy, Satan, can be very deceitful. Satan might sometimes make us think we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And so, when you are really filled with the Spirit, you will see this. Of course, it is also wrong (and even in fact an unforgivable sin) to think that the work of the Holy Spirit is by the devil.

In any case, a path to being a true Christian, to being holy and to being truly happy, is with the Holy Spirit. So one other thing we can start doing right now, is to pray for the Holy Spirit in our own lives. We can start to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit also.

In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul lists nine (9) gifts from the Holy Spirit. These include wisdom, knowledge, healing, discernment of evil spirits, speaking in tongues, and understanding of tongues. In Catholic contexts, there are seven (7) gifts of the Holy Spirit which include piety and fortitude. Please don't confuse the two, and please don't think they are the same and contradicting. They are two different things. I (personally) use gifts from and gifts of to differentiate the two. I would think that the 9 gifts are like tools we can use, while the 7 gifts are results.

Is the Holy Spirit God but a different person from the Father (and from the Son)? I say, yes. I am no C.S. Lewis, but here is my own personal explanation. I am human and I have a body and I have a mind and a soul. I know I have a mind because I think I do. (I think therefore I am?) But I also believe I have a soul (a spirit) because I believe when I die, there is this spirit that will continue to live on (hopefully to go up to Heaven) - and that is still me. My body and my mind may die, but I know I will still have that spirit. For some, their bodies are still functioning but their minds cannot remember. Still for others, their bodies are not functioning but their minds still are. Someone might "hypnotize" me or influence my mind, to cause my body to do something bad, and if ever I maybe imprisoned for that bad thing that forensics might prove I (my body) did, but anyway, it was not me completely - it was not really my mind.

Anyway, so I would like to look at myself as three persons myself: my body, my mind, and my soul (or a four-person self, with the heart included*). And that is how I see God. God is the Father who has made himself human (Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father - all of us humans being his children) and who has made himself available to all of us humans (through the Holy Spirit).

We know that we were made by God the Father in his own image and likeness. What is the Holy Spirit like? Is it also in a human shape of - maybe just that - spirit, air, untouchable by the human touch, can pass through walls, can fly, etc? Or is it a dove-like thing? I do not know. But I know God the Father is in heaven, and he works through us here (since sending his Son who has since ascended to heaven) through his Holy Spirit. I think the dove is a great symbol of the Spirit, because there can be many doves (or some other bird) which can be in many different places on earth at the same time.

But I also think what shape or form the Holy Spirit is in is not so important. The thing is, by being a spirit, God can manifest himself and his power to anyone, anywhere.

The important thing is, again, that we ask for the Holy Spirit to enter (and even dominate) our lives. That is the easy path to being a Christian. Sometimes, we may not know that it is there already or that it has already worked in our lives, or sometimes we may think it is there but may not yet be. When we say God is in our presence - that is the Holy Spirit. But again, let us be true Christians, let us be happy and let us be holy. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I would like to say that this post and perhaps most or all posts in this reactions+reflections blog reflects mostly on what I have read or understood so far to this point. I am very much welcome to any and all of your comments.

* I think that the "heart" is really a cross between the body and the mind. Or it can be viewed as the compassionate, human side of the mind, with the "mind" as the logical, rational side, and thus in this case, when I say "mind" I actually mean "heart and mind." In any case, this is a separate discussion altogether, and I shall not expound here any further.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

r+r moved

the reactions+reflections blog has now been moved from blogspot to ronjie.com :-)

reactions+reflections moved

the reactions+reflections blog has been moved from blogspot (http://reactions-reflections.blogspot.com) to its new space on ronjie.com (http://ronjie.com/blog/reactions-reflections.html). of course, the blogspot address still exists and still points to the new address.

has something changed? just that, essentially... but being hosted on ronjie.com has serious advertising consequences... however they are, in the google tradition, "not evil" and clearly under "sponsored links," rather than just simply under "links"...

enjoy them! :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

happy 2nd anniv

to ronjie.com! i think it was on this day in 2005 that ronjie.com was born.. of course before that, ronjie.tripod.com existed, and it still does..

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Christian and Catholic Beliefs - Idolatry, Mother Mary, and more about Jesus

[sub-labels: Christian and Catholic Faith, Jesus as God, Mother Mary, other gods]

I was treated to two relatively new "ideas" about the Christian and Catholic faith within the past 48 hours.

Last Friday, I listened to a speaker who gave a talk about the heart of a servant. He said there is this saying that what is in your heart reflects on what is in your mouth. And, that God looks at what is in the heart. He then casually mentioned about other Christian groups who question the Catholic practice of praying in front of statues and so on. But the thing is, he said, that we know that when we (Catholics) are praying in front of that statue of Jesus on the cross, and so on, God knows from our hearts that we're not committing idolatry, that we're not praying to that statue, and that we really are praying directly to Jesus and to God. My reaction: my thoughts exactly - almost! I didn't really get equipped with the right words if ever a non-Catholic Christian friend asked me about my Catholic faith of praying in front of a statue and similar things. Now I do.

Some might then say, there's no need then for these statues and images and the like. I don't have the perfect answer for that, but to me, I'd say, what's wrong with that? To me, if you personally do not prefer praying in front of an image or a statue or the like, then don't. But to give up on your Catholic faith altogether? Of course every former Catholic must have had many reasons why he or she has changed religions or religious practices. Refer to my lessons learned later in this post. For now, a good question to ask (particularly for those considering to do the same), "Is there something I do not yet know about the Catholic faith and other religious beliefs, and is that why it feels wrong to practice Catholicism?"

Some groups also condemn the Catholic practice of "praying to" Mother Mary. But to me, we actually don't pray to Mary. Instead, we ask for her help, we ask her to pray for us. It is like asking an elder Christian brother or sister to also pray for my concerns - what is wrong with that? A prayer of two is worth much more than a prayer of one. But then again, most of my Christian brothers and sisters aren't Mothers of God. So when we ask Mother Mary to help us in our prayers, the treatment is a little bit more special. She bore Jesus Christ for 9 months anyway, and took care of him in his youth, and so on and so forth.

Some groups would say that praying directly to God the Father is enough, and that there is no need to ask for Mother Mary's help. The thing is, saying the Our Father is enough, as Jesus said. But again, the more we pray, the stronger are our prayers. Likewise, the more of us pray together, and if Mother Mary as well as all other angels and saints are also praying for us, our prayers become stronger than strong.

Is there something wrong when we recite the Hail Mary? When we say the Hail Mary, we are simply echoing what is already written of her in the Gospels. I believe, speaking words from the Gospels is even something to be desired.

Of course, there are many Catholics who are not as learned as some of us who have gone to Catholic schools for 10 or more years, or who have joined Catholic renewal communities, and so on. And attending Catholic schools or renewal committies (or even joining a seminary, towards priesthood) doesn't necessarily make the best Catholic scholar. But if they have unacceptable practices (like they are actually praying to something else, and not anymore to God), then we're on the same boat. Those are also unacceptable practices in the Catholic tradition.

Today's Gospel presents that moment when Jesus was "taken up to heaven." (See Luke 24:46-53.) This moment, called the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, is one of the basic beliefs in the Christian and Catholic faith.

The missalette publication, Sambuhay (Filipino for "Life as One"), today first talked about this "assault" on Christian Faith in general, in the form of "recent discovery" that "Jesus" was buried in the same tomb as his father "Joseph" and mother "Mary," and with his wife "Mary Magdalene" and their son "Judah." This then basically contested key elements of Christian faith: Jesus' resurrection and ascension, Jesus not being married nor becoming a father, and the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to heaven. Essentially, this was also indirectly attacking Jesus' divinity.

This "recent discovery" was featured as a documentary film in one popular cable TV channel, creating the impression that it was true and valid. Unfortunately again, most reputable historians and Christian or Biblical scholars alike have invalidated the study. But no one has made a documentary film about that.

Lessons learned?

First, let us study our own faith first. When we're down, when we're least prepared, and particularly when we're least prepared to answer questions about our own faith, that's when people from other religious practices swoop in and promise to take us to more abundant lands, and indeed they take us to these places, they show us how to be happy, and they tell us, "Look, you're happy because of God, you're happy even without practicing your Catholic beliefs." And yes, that might be true at that time. And that might be the reason why we join these other groups. I guess it's a leap of faith, but I don't see it as a leap for the better. Maybe there's nothing wrong, but it is not necessarily the more correct path.

Second, let us be responsible. Responsibility involves learning first - the first lesson learned I've mentioned above. But this also applies to when we are the ones in the position of educating others. This applies particularly when we are in the media, when we are public servants, when we are leaders, when we are parents, and so on. Sambuhay emphasized on the responsibility of the mass media to educate. It was them who made and featured the above-mentioned documentary film. But showing only a one-sided film is not responsibility. When we are parents, the way we act and speak makes a huge impact on our children. And so on.

A corollary of these lessons learned is what the priest at the mass I attended today said in his homily: when we know our faith, and when we have accepted responsibility, the next step is really to educate - or really, to evangelize. Bringing a fellow human being closer to God is a great act.

For many of us, there are more to learn. So let us learn. For what we know and what we will intentionally or unintentionally impart on others, let us be responsible.

site updating

and you may also notice a lot of links not yet working. the site is continuously being updated! check back soon! :D

Saturday, May 19, 2007

total overhaul

as you may have noticed, ronjie.com looks new! it is! enjoy and have fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

new thoughts

i posted a new thought at the thoughts blog. check out ronjie.com/blog/thoughts.html

How are you, Ronjie?

I asked this same question more than three years ago. In fact, that was exactly 3 years and 1 month ago.

Is there that kind of a cycle that happens in everyone's lives? That "roller coaster" thing about life? Of course, not everyone's life roller coasters are created equal; some have very high highs and very low lows, some have little highs and little lows. But that's beside the point. The point is I'm at a low right now.

And I just recently received my masters' degree three weeks ago, although I unofficially submitted all requirements 5 months ago. I haven't been employed for 24 months of the last 26.5 months. Does that have something to do with this?

Talk about LOST. I'm at an intersection of three major highways. Do I take Highway 1, Highway 2, or Highway 3? If I take Highway 1, do I take the northbound side or the southbound side? If I take Highway 2, do I take the eastbound or the westbound? If I take Highway 3, do I go northeast or southwest? Where do I go from here?

Suddenly, I don't believe in these graduate programs anymore. But I guess it's not that. Somewhere along the way, I sort of lost interest in what I'm doing, although it's something I'm good at, and it's something I've loved and still love doing. But I guess as you grow old, new priorities come up.

You might be playing basketball every Tuesday and Thursday night with your buddies, and it's something that you absolutely love doing. But when your mother becomes ill or when you get married or when you now have a child, you will need to alter your Tuesday and Thursday routines, and your life certainly will change drastically. But it's not to say that you don't love basketball anymore, or that you love basketball less, or that you don't like to spend that much time with your buddies anymore. It's just that, there are new cards that have been dealt on the table.

For those of you who might be getting ideas... No, my mother is not ill (thank God), I am not yet married nor getting married soon nor am I having any child within the next couple of years, adopted, unplanned, or otherwise.

So what's wrong? Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining. In fact, I think that having these numerous options in my career is such a big blessing. How many people in the world see only one option for their careers? I do believe we all have choices, we just need to see them. And here I am, I'm fortunate enough to have accepted the gift of sight. Now all I need is to know how to harness the power of the gift of wisdom and discernment.

So I believe that we all have these different gifts, and it's our choice if we'll use them or not. Of course, we might have been brought up by our parents in such a way that our brains automatically choose to not use a certain gift. For example, we may all have innate skills in entrepreneurship, but if we were brought up to study hard and get a safe and secure job with benefits, we might think being an entrepreneur is too risky.

Anyway, the point of this post is really, what do I wanna do? What should I do? I wish I have the answer right now. But I know I do, I just can't extract it from my mind just yet.

To do that, I planned on taking this exercise that I got the idea from Jim Collins' bestselling book, "Good to Great." By the way, it's a great book. (Reminder to self: post this also at the Coach Potato's Corner and create links to Amazon)

Anyway, Jim Collins talked about the "three circles" - three questions that executives of the "Good to Great" companies continuously asked themselves and their peers, and on which practically all their major decisions towards directing their business were based on. I am therefore looking at my individual self as an individual company, which I think is nothing new, although I do not recall if Jim Collins said that you could do something like that in his book.

Question 1
First is, What can you be the best in the world at? Oh, this answer is difficult to answer, but that is if by "world" we mean, the world. If the Philippines is my world, then sure. We have a few answers to that. Maybe even just one. I can be the best in the world in Structural Wind Engineering. I can also be the best in the world at English, or writing, or even in lecturing. Maybe I can write a book on Structural Wind Engineering, and practice and teach it also. So why not do those? See my response to the Question 2.

But, I can also be the best in the world at... business, or at software design and development, or at web design and development, and maybe a couple of other things, for as long as I will take time to study them. Oh, and I mean time. I'm looking at half a year at least upto one year to study any one of those, plus I'll need experience. In contrast, I have studied practically for 10 years to learn (some) Structural Wind Engineering and practiced practically 4-5 years of that whether in design or application, or in research.

Jim Collins also said something that struck me. He said something like, if I was very good in math let's say back in high school or in college, it does not mean that's what I could be the best in the world at. And that's precisely me. I was best in math, and best in physics back in high school. I was tutoring my classmates back then... Sure, there was passion there (see my response to Question 3). But is that really what I could be the best in the world at?

Unfortunately, I didn't know any better about what I really wanted to do, and so I somewhat accepted my parents' advice: study Civil Engineering. It made sense, I was good in math and physics, and engineering was about math and physics. Unfortunately also, I didn't know a thing about Civil Engineering, but yeah that's what I was going to college for. But no, what I meant was I don't know anything about the Civil Engineering profession. I didn't know they got paid less than people in other fields (this is true here and in other countries). And well, back then, I didn't know that I wanted more than what I could get from being a Civil Engineer. I just didn't know. So here I am.

Question 2
Question 2 is, What drives your economic engine? This question really means to ask, what thing, what single denominator has significantly coursed a company's growth and/or profitability towards previously unrealized highs?

I am stuck at this question, really. I do not know.

I used to look at this question to be similar to "What are your goals? What do you plan to achieve? What is your target monthly financial inflow?"
I'll be honest. I want to earn at least P180,000 a month if I have a family of four (me, wife, and 2 children). I started at ~5% of that, and in 6 years, I can make ~17% of that from a certain employment opportunity. That has been so far a 2%-of-target annual increase in income per year. At that rate, I can reach my goal... Oh about 40 years from now. [sarcasm on] Great, I'll only be 70 by that time. Not bad, some people retire at that age. [sarcasm off] But really, with the annual inflation rate between 5%-8% in that past 6 years - can you see how much poorer I've really been? One other problem is, that P180,000 now will only be worth around P25,600 in today's value 40 years from now at 5% annual inflation rate. So really, to be there, I should be earning P1,267,000 a month at the value 40 years from now.

Of course, the good thing is, I have been able to set my target monthly income. Not a lot of people have actually done that. They earn X a month and spend practically X a month. They get a raise and now earn 2X a month, and then spend practically 2X a month. That's not how I would like to be. Sure, I can choose to have just X a month for years, if I can reach my target of 700X a month in so many number of years.

Anyway, that's not the question. What could drive my income generating power? Do I go and stick it out with that structural/wind engineering job? Right now, that is my sole income generating power. It can bring in the dough month in and month out. The problem is, I won't be seeing Question 3.

Anyway, now the follow-up questions are: Should I just change my target? Or should I look at other things that could drive my economic engine? But if I go in that direction, what about Question 1? Do I try to change that? Should I study and be the best in the world at something? Can I create something, an invention maybe, that I could be the foremost expert in the world at? Ah, here goes the options again. But hmmm... Things are clearing up. If I invent something and it becomes very profitable for me - that would be the greatest thing. I like "creating" things. Inventing things. Improving things. Creating something from nothing. Making things move, making things work. Solving problems. Or just simply, providing solutions.

So that is the problem, how do I make something profitable? And can I create something that can be profitable? I guess this is the direction I should take. And it's probably the one thing that I could be the best in the world at. I will need to study though, how to make it profitable.

Or I can hire someone to do that for me. Or I can find a business partner who can make my idea profitable for the both of us. Gee, that really is the point.

Question 3
Question 3 goes, What are you deeply passionate about? Sure, I have some passion for math, for programming, for engineering, for saving lives. But those are my basketball passions. I now have my new-baby passion: earning money.

By the way, I hope you don't look at me as some very money-hungry, very greedy guy. I do intend to donate to charity a significant portion of what I will earn. In fact at my target monthly income, I can donate four homes a year to four very poor families. That is still small, but if I do exceed my target monthly income, then I can give even more, because I do not intend to live a life much more luxurious than what my target monthly income can give me.

And again, it's not that I don't love my basketball. It's just that, I have aged. I have a new passion, which I did not see coming when I was younger.

Once I have found my economic driver, which also actually drives what I am deeply most passionate about at the moment, then I can address my other, basketball passions. And what am I the best in the world at? Thinking. Creating ideas. Creating solutions. And so on. And perhaps that's why I've been good at engineering.

Do I now have my answer to my original question - "How are you, Ronjie?"

Jim Collins also said that companies also ask "What am I not the best in the world at?" Right now, business and entrepreneurship and networking are things I am not the best in the world at. So I guess that's why I should find someone who is. After all, it's the WHO that should come before the WHAT.

So that's the question I should be asking... Who? With whom?


Anyway, how about throwing this back into the mix: I haven't worked for 24 months in the past 26.5 months! I need money, now! That's the problem... I guess that's the answer to the question, "How are you, Ronjie?": "I don't have income right now."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Who is Ronjie now?

I took that "test" back in April 20 (see earlier "Who is Ronjie now?" post). I took it again today, and I got the same results. Cool! Wala lang. :-D

Visited countries!

Countries I've visited! But actually, I've been on only 3 states in the US, just at the US-Mexico border in California, and only in Hong Kong in China...

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Old age

"Old age is not a license to disregard the law or the requirements of decent behavior toward others," a man said talking about an 80-something granny who was convicted for harrassing her neighbors, for shouting at them and "beating them up" with her walking stick.

There is this place I know where I've seen this violated time and time again - people in their old age getting or actually demanding extra special treatment, at the expense of other people. Those in their old age usually refer to one of the Ten Commandments, "Honor your father and your mother." Or for whatever they do, they might "request," "Can you forgive an old man (or lady)?"

Friday, May 4, 2007

Jesus' claim as God (Part 1)

[sub-labels: Christian and Catholic Faith, Jesus as God]

This is part of the "Jesus as God" series in the R+R (reactions+reflections) blog. It seeks to identify passages in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, wherein Jesus himself is either directly or indirectly claiming to be God, or one with the Father, or where other personages identify him as our "Lord." The collection of these passages may establish a fundamental tenet of the Christian and Catholic faith.*

One way of showing how Jesus is God is by asking the question: is Jesus a Liar, a Lunatic, or our Lord? Is he a Liar; that is, he knows he is not God and yet he claims to be God and speaks and acts like he is God? Or is he a Lunatic; that is, he clearly believes he is God and is totally out of his mind to believe so? If he is not lying and he is sane, then is he for real, is he really the Lord?**

The Bible translation from which these passages are taken from is primarily the New American Version, or the New Revised Standard Version.***


This reaction+reflection is taken from the Gospel readings during Thursday's and Friday's Catholic mass (May 2 & 3, 2007), which is from John 14:1-14.

In this passage, Jesus says the following:
  • "You have faith in God; have faith also in me."
  • "In my Father's house, there are many dwelling places... if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be."
  • "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
  • "No one comes to the Father except through me."
  • "If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
  • "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? How can you say 'Show us the Father'?" in response to Philip asking him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
  • "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?"
  • "The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves."
  • "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father."
  • "And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."
In the second to the last item above, Jesus also speaks about the "works" that he does. These are obviously the miracles he has performed sometimes with thousands as witness. The question might be, is fulfilling miracles a sign of being God? It could be that Jesus himself was just simply calling out God's name so that these miracles are realized.

Jesus asks his disciples to just simply believe and have faith in him, because he says he is who he says he is, even without seeing the miracles he has performed. This is somewhat a call to all of us who has lived after Jesus' time, to all of us who has not seen Jesus himself in the flesh. He asks us to just believe in him, to believe in Jesus, that he is in the Father and that God the Father is in him, and because it is him; it is Jesus.

If they can't do that, if we can't do that, to just simply believe in him because he asks us to believe in him, then we should all just look at the many miracles he has performed. The list is long, and these shall be defined in a different series (i.e. the "Jesus' miracles" series).

And then Jesus tells his disciples - including us - that we all could perform these miracles if only we ask it in Jesus' name.

Questions you can ask for your own reaction+reflection are:
  • Why did Jesus say these things? Who is Jesus Christ? Is he a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord?
  • Have I called upon Jesus' name in prayer for a certain miracle, whether for myself or for others? What happened?
  • Have I read enough about the Bible, its origins, and its many different versions? Is it accurate? Is the translation accurate? How do I look at the Bible?
  • Have I read enough in the Bible, including the Old Testament? Have I identified passages there that might refer to Jesus as the Messiah?

I welcome all reactions, comments, suggestions, corrections, and critiques, good or bad. Please post them here, or contact me by email.


* Later on whether in this series or in another series, a reaction+reflection on why Catholics and some Christian groups alike refer to the Bible as truth, and how it is not the only truth, shall be discussed.
** Note that in earlier versions of the Bible and also in other Christian writings, pronouns referring to God and Jesus are capitalized: e.g. "He", or "Him." However, in more recent publications of the Bible and more recent Christian writings, this is deemed as not necessary anymore. Of course, it is also not wrong to still use the capitalized pronouns. The words Lord and God are still capitalized when referring to the Lord, our God.
*** Other translations/versions of the Bible are thought to be written such that they expressly do not show Jesus to be God, or some other commonly held dogma in Christian and Catholic faith. A reaction+reflection on this issue shall perhaps be posted in the future.

new reaction+reflection

i have a new post at my reactions+reflections blog. check it out!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

[Blog Review] Yet another review on a Couch Kamote blog post (about the Filipino culture)

first, read this article, entitled "(Mis)leading by example":


and then here are my comments:


yes, i really think anywhere in the world - countries, companies, families - it all depends on the leadership. we are all bad (or good) citizens, employees, or children, because we were brought up that way, intentionally or not, directly or indirectly.

so really, we can't do anything about our leaders or our past. let's just make sure that we do not commit the same leadership mistakes when we become politicians or government heads, CEOs or supervisors, and father or mother.

by the way, why the POA? because we were programmed that way. read this:



hmmm, i think this should be in the thoughts blog.

[sub-labels: CPC blogs]

[Blog Review] Reaction to The Coach Kamote's blog post "How Pinoys Retire"

Are you Pinoy? Read this article:


Here is my reaction (supposedly a comment i will post) to that article:


hi. i've forgotten now how i came across your website, but i thought of searching for "couch kamote" again to find your site, because i was interested to see if the ideas of "coach kamote" and my "coach potato" have any similarities. and through some clicking and clicking, i came across this blog post of yours.

my comment: ditto! i can truly relate to that. right now, although i am a little bit confident that my mom and perhaps my brother and i will be able to pay off this debt we have to acquire this certain property, i really thought that something else could have been done with the money that has been put into paying off this debt and the huge interest.

robert kiyosaki's philosophy come to mind again. save money, invest them in "assets" (real estate and/or businesses and other investments that can give you regular income), then use the earnings from your assets to buy your "liabilities" - your doodads, big toys, luxuries, and homes.

anyway, a friend said, "i think it's in their generation also - the post-war-born generation that experienced martial law and repression while they were in the prime of their youths."

alas, i myself am "stuck" with my mother who is expecting me and my brother to take care of her when she retires (approximately 5 years from now), and more than that, she expects me (and my brother) to shoulder her future around-the-world traveling expenses.

and so i am practically in the same predicament as you, except that i haven't yet "escaped" into marriage. i am looking at my potential salary (when i get work; i am presently "in between jobs") - and it will not let me reach my goals. of course i can change goals but... right now, let us just say that that is very difficult to do.

and yes, like you again, i would like to not become dependent on my (future) kids when i retire. for all i will give to them, i will not expect them to give back to me when i'm retired. i want them to enjoy their own lives even if i have retired, and they will most likely be married by then.

so what can i do? kiyosaki's philosophy is to not just depend on a salary. because with the salary, you stop earning when you stop working. the same is true when you're self-employed. he suggests saving money to go into business, stocks, real estate, and other investments that could yield higher returns than just saving in the bank. he actually suggests not saving in savings deposits because the interest rate is lower than the inflation rate, and thus you are actually losing money when they stay in the bank.

i am at the verge of doing that jump from employee to entrepreneur, but unfortunately, i don't presently have an operating system that makes me capable to go into business. i've been programmed to be an employee. plus, add to that the mixed messages from my mother. she herself has not been so greatly successful in entrepreneurship, but it's not that she is not a successful consultant. she would tell me to go into business, but when an enticing employment opportunity comes up, she asks me to consider. throughout my youth, my mom, not being really an entrepreneur herself, has given us fish, but has not really taught us how to fish.

anyway, my task right now is to talk to my mom, and convince her to support me going into business. i have these ideas already that are financially sound and potentially high profit-making. if not financial support, i really only need her moral support (i.e., hopefully she will not disown me or tell me "i told you so" if ever i should fail). and then i do hope that she can also live my lifestyle of delaying gratification. that is, you know, waiting for the chance to eat ice cream and to play the toy, if i can wait not playing with the toy just yet.

on my part, that is the difficult part. my mother has earned money through her consultancy business, and has spent it and lived the corresponding lifestyle. her philosophy is, when there's money, we spend. when we don't have money, we thrift. her money is hers, after all. and then she also has some sort of mentality that she's getting old, and she might not be able to enjoy the money that she has earned...

oh anyway, i've said too much. good luck to us all, and may we be able to provide ourselves and our own familes, as well as our parents, with what they need and want!

[sub-labels: CPC blogs]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


By the way, I have a new post at RONJIE.COM/blog. Are you Filipino? You should read my latest post at RONJIE.COM/blog. :-)

Are you Filipino? Read this!

Go to this webpage: http://www.counterpunch.org/gray10052005.html. It's a website I encountered a couple of years ago pa, and the article itself was written/posted on 10/05/2005.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

cheap web host

RONJIE.COM is actually Hosted By hosted by PowWeb, with 300Gb disk space, 3000Gb monthly transfers, free YourName.Com, and more, for only $5.77/month for the first year. A promo for RONJIE.COM fans! Great value for money. Host your Web site with PowWeb!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

even more

And even more new posts are finding their way to the RONJ-BLOGS. Check out Coach Potato's corner at RONJIE.COM/blog.

I left my <3 in SFO

I came across the blog of an old friend, and I just had to react. My friend had other interesting blog entries, but like I told her, her topic was what probably struck me the most. She was talking about having to leave the San Francisco Bay Area where she stayed for 2 years, I think. And there I was reading that blog entry, just a day after I "re-visited" San Francisco and Berkeley courtesy of Google Maps (also through Google Earth). Here is how my "conversation" with my friend went.

That blog entry:


It's great to be home but I miss my home away from home.
It's great to be with family but I miss living alone.
It's great to be with old friends and loved ones but I miss small talks with friendly strangers and learning about other cultures from new friends.
It's great to be in familiar territory but I miss taking trips around the bay area and seeing new places.
It's great to be sheltered and secured but I miss the adventure of exploring...

I hope I can find my place... where I really want to be.


I Left My Heart in San Francisco

- Cory George C. Jr. / Cross Douglass

The loveliness of Paris
Seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome
Is of another day
I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
And I'm coming home to my city by the bay

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars!
And the morning fog will chill the air

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me!

My reply:

As you may already know, I've been visiting the Bay Area since '89 for an average of 2 months each visit (from short 2-week visits, and my last one, a 4-months break back in 2000-2001).

It's also actually my relatives there who are so loving that's why everytime I "come home" to the Philippines, I would find myself going boo-hoo on that long 12-hour flight, or even during the next few months back here.

But really, it's also the place. During those 11 visits there, we've stayed in Berkeley mostly. And Berkeley alone pa lang is something.

Thank God for Google Earth or Google Maps na lang, I sort of get to revisit Berkeley, the places, the parks, downtown Berkeley, its neighboring towns/cities (Albany, Emeryville) and then I get to cross the Bay Bridge and go around downtown SFO and even further down south hanggang the Boardwalk, and Monterey, and so on.

And then there's music from the Counting Crows and Green Day who are from Berkeley (or Oakland, I think) and whose music keep reminding me about the kind of place they're from. Well anyway, so I've been more of an East-Bay-er.

She then replied that she really misses the place, too, how she has to commute 3 hours just to "escape" from the very suburban Palo Alto to the livelier San Francisco and Berkeley, and how she misses the "independence" she experienced while living there (as a full-time grad student).

I then added:

I'm a suburban person - but i don't know how suburban Palo Alto is. Hehe. I thought that Berkeley is suburban. or at least that place where i lived in Berkeley.

Anyway, me, i didn't really get to experience full independence while in the Bay Area thanks to my relatives there, except for having to do my own laundry, and for my few trips by myself to downtown SFO, downtown Berkeley, and nearby towns of Albany and El Cerrito from where I lived.

I did get to experience "full" independence while in Japan. I did like the city where i was (Atsugi), and i think because it generally is suburban. Downtown atsugi was kinda high-tech na din though (i.e. lots of neon lights, shops, people, among others). I'd spend my weekends going places, mostly to Tokyo - which was around 2 hours commute by bus and train from my apartment in Atsugi.

I could really feel the "independence" when I was still stuck in Tokyo, and I needed the fastest ride back to Atsugi so that i could catch the last bus, and I have to choose between the express train (very few stops) that leaves in 20 minutes, or the regular train that leaves immediately and just transfer trains somewhere. I felt like I was in the amazing race.

Anyway, one thing I realized a few months ago was that I like suburban. I'd rather live in a quiet neighborhood and all that stereotypical suburban setting. But, I would also like to be conveniently just a few minutes away from a hustling and bustling downtown, ultra-urban setting with tall buildings, high-tech facilities, and huge malls with lots of shops to choose from. That's Berkeley and Atsugi for me.

Here in Manila, living in them private subdivisions or villages could give that effect, so long as the street you're on is not along a busy, major road. Here's to working towards that goal of owning my own home at one of them private villages or subdivisions.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

himala! (a shocking surprise!)

I have a post. Albeit short, almost worthless. But at least I have a new blog post. Check it out at RONJIE.COM/blog ... :-D

[Book Review] [Blog Review] More on "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

As I've mentioned in my earlier post, there is this review of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" (Site #4) that I really like, compared to another one (Site #1) which was so biased and full of hate.

Anyway, I was the first to comment on that review (Site #4), and here is what I had to say. This essentially provides my review of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but mostly, it is building on top of the review in Site #4. So go read Site #4 first.


Hi Trent. I would say, you wrote a great review. I like that you pointed out the good, the bad, and the ugly. I agree with everything you said.

Sometimes one person might be the holiest person in the world, but if he does one wrong thing, he gets all the crap in the world. The thing is, I did find “the good” in Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad (and in his other books and even games), but I would like to think there is no perfect book or any other product. Rich Dad Poor Dad has its many flaws, and considering that not everyone can see them as flaws (some may see them as inspiration), I guess that’s the really ugly thing about it. To me, I just take the good lessons, and leave out the bad.

Now if I may add something… The first time I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, I also got inspired. But at the same time, I felt like I was in an MLM (multi-level marketing) seminar all over again, where some guys who only held high school diplomas told us college and master’s degree holders, “You don’t need a college degree to get rich. Look at us!”, almost implying we’re stupid to even study in college. And in that same MLM group, there was also this one guy with a Lamborghini saying “I got this car after just a year working for this MLM company!”, implying that we’re stupid to be working for some other company, and not their MLM company. And did I mention, we were “fooled” by a friend who told us that seminar was just going to take an hour, and it took three hours?

Anyway, I guess that part of the book that made me feel like that, is that part you refer to as “the ugly” part.

And then in this book, Kiyosaki also suggests to go into MLM. Overall, while I was inspired by this book to do something, I had some questions that lingered in my mind. I did think I was definitely still not going into MLM, after all that insult I got from them.

If I may say something about MLM, it is also flawed in a way. It’s about selling, and expanding the network, the larger your network, the better your sales and commissions. But what if everyone became part of that MLM network, who will buy and who will sell? And who will become rich? The answer to that last question might be, the one who produces the product. So again, there’s the lesson that you also pointed out. Create a product or profit from your intellectual property.

But fine, I forgot if it’s in Rich Dad Poor Dad or in his other books, Kiyosaki somehow says that if there’s one good thing about MLMs is that, they could teach you how to sell. And I agree with him that business is all about selling, whether it’s your product, your service, your self, the business itself, and so on. And if there’s one thing that I am not good at, it’s at selling.

And fine, I might consider entering into an MLM just so I could learn how to sell (as opposed to, say, working for a company like Xerox). So I guess that’s his main selling point for joining these MLM companies.

In Kiyosaki’s last part, as you mentioned, he suggests to do some further reading and education. And then he somewhat recommends his other books, and his Cashflow games. His other books cost twice as much as Rich Dad Poor Dad (back when I first read it), and his Cashflow 101 game costs US$200 (US$300 here in my country)! Back then I thought, “This is a scam!” But I also admired the fact that it was such a great marketing tactic for his company, for himself, and for his other products. Rich Dad Poor Dad was written somewhat to appeal to many (who were not one of them “hamsters”), and it was also written to sell his other more expensive products. He indeed was a “bestselling” author, not a “best-writing” author.

Now I re-read Rich Dad Poor Dad just recently, and only because I’ve met actual people who are now earning significant passive income, courtesy of them getting inspiration from Kiyosaki’s book. But it was not without problems or risks, and without help from experienced friends and lawyer- and accountant-friends.

In fact, these guys are now doing something with practically no-money-down deals on real estate via this one technique that Kiyosaki himself has never mentioned (as far as I know). One of these people is someone who is a famous spiritual/Christian leader, and together they’re professing that God wants to bless us abundantly, that God wants us to be rich and to be able to handle being rich, and that God wants us to be rich so that we could have more to give away to those who need it more. This spiritual leader I’m talking about has goals of giving away up to 90% of what he’s earning to the poor.

So anyway, that’s them. The thing is, there are some people who are now earning more in passive income thanks to inspiration from Kiyosaki’s book. And they’re teaching and inspiring others also, they’re expanding their own network also. They have dreams of helping make 1 million millionaires in our country by 2020.

They took the good from Kiyosaki’s book, and made it even better. They did not anymore look at the bad or the ugly side; they must have just tossed it aside.

And that’s how I look at Kiyosaki’s book. And I guess thanks to this review of yours - and again I think it’s a great review - I don’t have to re-read Kiyosaki’s book all over again (except if I want to re-read his “parable”), plus I could easily see which is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because for me, I just take the good, and leave out the bad, and the ugly.

Again, thanks to this review of yours!

[sub-labels: CPC blogs, CPC books]

[Book Review] [Blog Review] All About Robert Kiyosaki, and his book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

I've recently read three blogs/articles talking about Robert Kiyosaki. In the order in which I read them are:

1. John T. Reed's analysis of Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad
2. Thinking About Money - commentary on Kiyosaki
3. The Simple Dollar - deconstructing Robert Kiyosaki
4. The Simple Dollar - review on Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Site #2 (Thinking About Money) actually provides a free download of an e-article which contains his review of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. He sells the e-article for $1.99, but you can download it for free.

Anyway, I recommend reading Site #1 (J.T. Reed's site) with an open mind or hopefully it can open your mind. By the way, it's a very long article.

But I really recommend Site #2, and I agree with their review of Kiyosaki's book.

I like Sites #3 and #4 (from the same author) because it is a much shorter read than Site #1, but also because it presents both the good, and the bad, plus also the ugly.

I wrote a comment on Site #3 which follows.


What this site has done - is sell - using controversy! Okay, somebody just made that point a few comments earlier.

The end product of this website/webpage is a virtual forum on Kiyosaki. That John T Reed guy won’t even post everyone’s comments on his main Kiyosaki-is-Evil page. He just selectively picks comments that would support his arguments.

So before I talk about that other website (johntreed.com) again, I should say that this site or this page I guess has done something good, although I doubt that it was its primary purpose.

So now I’ll talk about another website. I like how the website looks at Kiyosaki’s books. I agree with the website owner. Like the website owner, I don’t care about Kiyosaki, or whether Rich Dad is fiction or non-fiction - the thing is, what did I get from reading his books? What could I use and not use? So visit that website and compare to the post here (thinkingaboutmoney.com).

And finally, what about those people who failed miserably after reading Kiyosaki’s advice? There are three things (I think).

First, they MAY have not understood all of Kiyosaki’s (few) points.

Second, they possibly just jumped into business without getting really prepared right after reading Kiyosaki’s book/s, and related to the first point, did not really get that part about Kiyosaki’s message.

Third, Kiyosaki says you make THAT decision to go into business, you don’t expect to (as in my second point) just throw a pair of dice and get double sixes right away. You could get lucky on the first shot, but if you don’t, you should eventually get your double sixes. The thing now is, considering the odds of getting the double-sixes, the best (or “educated” or “smart”) thing to do I think is to determine first how much money are you willing to lose, do your best within the budget you’ve set, hope for the best, and expect the worst - and manage through the worst. It’s all about management. If a business fails, it’s not the fault of the business (it doesn’t make the decisions) or external factors (duh, did you really think the world will conspire to help you out?). It’s the fault of the manager. If a car can’t bring you from point A to point B, it’s because the driver may have overlooked something, or overdid something.

Anyway, can someone really lose so much after reading Kiyosaki? He’s also told us about practically making money without using any money! I know someone who has made money - a steady monthly cashflow of close to $400 (here in my Asian country) with no money down! It just took efforts, guts, preparation, psyching up, SELLING skills, and listening to a mentor who has succeeded herself.

Well, what could you do, it is a fact of life that some people fail and they blame others for their failure. The thing is, for anything we should do, we should be prepared to do them!

So I guess I should answer the big misconception about Kiyosaki’s books: can Kiyosaki help you prepare for business? No! Kiyosaki himself professes getting more financial education, or business education, he says buy his next book or buy his game - fine you learn a few things. But really, it takes more than one book. It takes more than Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And no, the second book doesn’t have to be Cashflow Quadrant, and the third doesn’t have to be Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing. Ask a friend-slash-business-expert for advice, or ask him what books to read. Of course, experience is the number one way to learn. If you failed real bad, and got nothing left, give some thinking to what you could next to actually profit this time, and get a job (or keep your job) to keep putting food on the table.

I’ve said too much!

[sub-labels: CPC blogs, CPC books]