It was inspiring for me to see hundreds of thousands of people converging peacefully to call for changes in government. I was especially happy how people knew better to keep the streets clean, and keep the picnic peaceful ;-) . Thank you, my kababayans for showing ourselves that it can be done. ;-) 

I know what it’s like to share the energy, and share a space with thousands of people, sharing one advocacy. I know the feeling of “One-ness“. I could feel people’s energy and enthusiasm as people were expressing their solidarity with the call to #ScrapPork. Bless all who in who, in whichever form, express their stand in the PDAF issue.

I’ve been quiet for some time as I reflected about how I felt about these issues. I was inspired by an article shared by my friend Benj Santiago about a Korean’s view of the Philippines. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective for us to realize our blessings.

My message is simple. We want change? Let’s start with ourselves. 

It’s too easy to ask other people to make changes. How about looking inwards? How about thinking what we ourselves can change to make things better?  I did some thinking and here’s what I want to share.

Here are 10 concrete ways to help our country: 

1.) Follow traffic rules. Very basic. I learned this from Atty. Alex Lacson, author of “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country“. Following traffic rules means we are honoring the laws of the land. Red = stop, green = go, keep the intersection open, give way to pedestrians crossing on pedestrian lanes. As pedestrians, use the pedestrian lanes, cross at the right time. Simple.

When we honor our traffic rules, we pave the way for following the law on all levels. Follow traffic rules.

2.) Honor the traffic enforcer (or government employee). Never ever give a bribe. Ever! I admit, I have given bribes before. I didn’t like it, I acted out of pride, out of embarrassment. From then on, I made this promise to myself: I will never ever bribe. If I commit a traffic violation, I will own-up to it.

As a result, I’ve paid my penalties. After committing traffic violations (yes, a handful the past few years), I’ve gone through the *correct* process for reclaiming my driver’s license. Lessons learned. Be honorable to yourself and to others. Never bribe.

Question: When was the last time you gave a bribe? Honestly, can you make a promise with yourself to never ever give a bribe again? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

3.) Follow government transaction processes. Some people still think all government offices are difficult to transact with. Some people think they need to have “connections” inside to facilitate their government applications. Well, things are improving, get ready to be pleasantly surprised. :-)

At the Makati LTO office, you can get your car registration renewed within 30-60 mins. At the LTO satellite office in Ayala-MRT, you can get your license renewed in 30-60mins. Follow the process. Stop looking for loopholes, connections or fixers that will make you part of the corruption cycle. Follow government transaction processes.

4.) Commend good deeds. Sometimes people can get so noisy when something goes wrong in government. What we focus on expands. How about getting noisy when something goes right?

Did an employee serve you well? Did a government worker serve you well? Commend them, say so on facebook, tell the boss, write a blog about it. Did a traffic enforcer do his job well? Commend him, send a letter to the MMDA office, make a YouTube commendation, capture him in action. Commend good deeds.

5.) Be on time. Honor your word and be on time. It shows respect for other people’s time. It shows respect for yourself by honoring your word. It helps Filipinos create more value with time well spent. Be on time.

6.) Throw trash in the trash bin. Keep our environment clean. Want to do even more? Here’s a short story. One time I walked in an ATM booth and it was littered with receipts on the floor. At first I complained in my mind, completed my transaction then left. Did I improve the situation? Nope.

Here’s what I did the next time. I made my transaction, picked up a few littered receipts from the floor, dunked them in the trash bin, then left. I was now contributing to the situation, not just complaining. Are you part of the problem? or part of the solution? Enough complaining. Throw trash in the trash bin.

7.) Give to charity. Clear out your closet and give things away. I believe things are meant to be used. If you haven’t used an item for more than a year, honor the object by allowing other people to use it.

That yellow jacket — maybe it has sentimental value … but you haven’t used it since college. Give it away! Someone will have very good use for it. Give to charity.

8.) Speak well of the Philippines. I was at a wedding the other night. The groom’s family flew in from Canada, lovely white folks ;-) . Ambassador-mode on! :D . My wife and I welcomed them in a warm conversation. Asked them how their visit has been. Gave them tips of how to enjoy the rest of their stay. Speak well of our country.

Especially speak well of our country on social media. What *good* do you see in our country? What improvement can you suggest? What are you thankful for about the Philippines? Let that be your status message. Let your words paint a picture of our inner beauty, and of what else we want to become. Speak well.

9.) Improve yourself. Be happy for who you are. Be hungry for what you can be. Read a book. Attend a seminar. Interview a mentor. Listen to an audio book. Listen to your teacher. Watch educational and empowering YouTube videos.

Every time I conduct a training for our corporate clients, I always keep my participants foremost in mind. I always strive to give them the best I can, to serve them as much as I can. After every class, I write down the things I liked about how I conducted the program and all the things I can improve. This helps me serve my future students even better.

Ask your boss, colleagues or employees how you can do a better job. Grow. That way, you become a bigger asset to your company, your family and to our country. Improve yourself.

10.) Pray. I realized just the other day that I can still choose to involve myself through prayer. Wish people well, pray for healing, pray for success, pray for prosperity, pray for growth, pray for peace, pray for love. When we have good thoughts for others, for our country, we bring ourselves closer to our dreams and aspirations. Pray.

And, at the end of it all, Love. Love our country.

Each time I visit other countries, I come back home with a huge appreciation and love for our country. I’ve heard many of my friends say that when they visited India, they realized how blessed the Philippines is. When I visit more developed countries like Singapore, Australia, Canada, the US, I realize what our country could become if we built it up together.

Building #RescuePH
Building RescuePH, preparing for our next big storm

I am an online volunteer for #RescuePH and #ReliefPH operations during floods and storms. (By the way, we’re meeting tonight, to prepare ourselves to respond better for the next crisis). I love how our countrymen come together with one goal to help one another.

The hero is within us. The love for our country is within us. I wear my Pinoy Pride with a smile, knowing that God made us Pinoy and we are blessed.

Let’s change the world for the better. 

Let’s change the Philippines for the better. 

Let’s start with our selves. 

Tara lets!


p.s. Here’s one of my contributions to the country: . It’s an eBook series that guides Filipinos avail of government services. I’ve written about how Filipinos can make the most of SSS services the right way. Services such as access to benefits, loans, or making voluntary contributions as self-employed or as OFWs to avail of benefits. Download our eBook and read all about it at . 

p.s2. I’m updating our eBook. Very soon, I’m adding a section of how Filipinos can get an emergency loan from SSS and Pag-ibig in the light of the recent storm. You’ll find it at ;-) . 

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