Take a Break When the Rain Falls


No matter how optimistic one can be, life is never a bed of roses. Rain can start pouring anytime. Sometimes you can barely feel it but sometimes every torrent pierces harshly. When that happens, it can be extremely stressful, lonely and painful. But just like time that never goes back, we should learn to carry on and to forge forward. But how do we continue living when everything seems to be in shade?

One thing I learned is that we, humans, need to take a break. Taking a break does not mean stopping. Rather, it means that we should live in the present. Inhale that fresh air and feel the morning sun. Recognize the small things around you and appreciate them. It could be someone who held the door for you, or that Starbucks barista who put a smiley on your cup. Stop worrying about the pressure that the future brings, the criticisms that other people speak, and the fear that stirs up in your head.

If you feel that you need more time, step out of your room and go on an adventure. Explore. Take it from me, whenever I go to new places, whether within the country or abroad, I see amazing things that I never imagined. I have seen heroic people, new kinds of animals, intriguing rituals, unique fashion statements and a lot of new friends. On top of those, you will learn more about yourself. When you go somewhere outside your comfort zone, that is when your most genuine self starts to show. You will start realizing things like how you deal with people who are foreign to you. You may also find your natural interests – just like when you see yourself hunting for museums or architectures, or maybe you end up trying as much local food as you can. Want to test your physical and mental limits? Climb a mountain and explore nature.

Traveling forces you to refocus your attention to better things in life. Soon enough, you will realize that you created your own shade when you were too focused on negative thoughts. Just the same, you can create your own light with a positive experience and outlook. Now, go out and let nothing dull your shine!

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To Fall in Love and Find the Heart of Things

Golden Gate BridgeLike every other millennials, this is probably the time in our lives when we somehow feel lost. Lost in the space between where I am now and where I want to be. This begins when you start lying on your bed, staring blankly at the ceiling, and asking endless life questions. What should I do? Is this something that I really want? Where will I end up in the next five years? Week-by-week, day-by-day this episodes of depression attacks more often until it finally consumes you.

Few years back, I wake up expressionless. I do my morning routine with my muscle memory – my body has a mind of its own and it knows what to do every single day. I wake up, take a shower and groom myself, have a health-curated breakfast and leave for work. I know there is no trace of enthusiasm as I drag my feet to work. After few months, there is a vivid look of discontent. After few more weeks, I feel like a boiling pot without knowing where the fire is coming from. Until finally, I express my desire to resign from work.

It is both a relief and a pain. It is a relief from the emotions that I have been keeping and a pain because I jumped the gun and had to figure out where I should go to next. This is the turning point when a wise man says: “You need to fall in love and to find the heart of things.

You need to fall in love and find the heart of things. What in the world does that mean? I experienced being in a relationship so I definitely know what it is like to fall in love – or do I not? I am in pursuit to find meaning to this riddle. There is one thing in my mind that I think I need to unlock this riddle. I need to change.

I jump to another career and have a different lifestyle. I emerge myself to a completely different world. I am more conscious of how I look. I invest on better clothes and go to better hair stylists. I start going out more often and meet new people. I do dates here and there. I spend my nights in parties and go home when the sun is up. My work is not that demanding so I can maintain this lifestyle. I splurge and squander to have fun – Y.O.L.O. so to speak. However, the same episode comes. I feel exhausted. This is not me.

At this point, I learnt from the changes I made but I am still lost in that space. Dismayed, dissatisfied, and discontented. The colorful lifestyle becomes pale and dull. Again, I resign from work. However, this time, it is just relief and no pain. I know, I just need to forge forward. As I brave a new chapter of my life, I started to unearth the meaning of what it is to fall in love and find the heart of things.

To fall in love is to find a motivation that will fuel you endlessly. To find the heart of things is to know the value of every single act that you do no matter how big or small it is.

To fall in love needs to unclutter the life you lived. This means to remove unnecessary mess and thoughts that are blocking your way. Keep it simple and focus on what is most important to you – it can be family, friends, or relationship. This will be the motivation to keep you going. I used to think that being on top is the most important thing in life. That I need to climb up the corporate ladder to find happiness. I was wrong. That can be my life goal but I cannot fall in love with that thought and let it be my motivation. How do I know? I asked myself a simple question: Will I be happy being a CEO even if I do not have a family, a friend or a relationship?

Recognizing the heart of things stirs up passion in your works. It gives you purpose. Know how every single action you do affects other people especially those who are important to you. Aim to channel your action to achieve bigger things and to serve others. Eventually you will see how others value you. If you do everything for your own benefit, what’s your worth to the rest of the seven billion people on Earth?

My experience tells me to do simple things to take oneself out of that lost space: to continuously move forward, to recognize what is truly important, and to honestly serve others.

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Teach a Man How to Fish

A friend of mine is a huge fan of zen pencils. Upon checking the website he sent, I came across this illustration. It may be a cliche to most, but it, indeed, tells the truth. It has a huge impact on me especially because I am a financial literacy advocate. I know I can do something to help out people in planning for their future. This is my way of teaching people how to fish.

If by any chance you are interested to save, protect and grow your wealth, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am your financial advisor from Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. Reach me at 0917 519 1287 or marvinpdegracia@gmail.com and let me help you.


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Beware of Credit Card Scams

Around 3:00 PM, while I was chatting with some colleagues, I received a call from someone – 0916 616 7986. He introduced himself as someone from EastWest Bank and was asking if he could speak with me. Since I am practically not doing anything else, I gave him the chance to do so. He started by saying that he tried to reach me through my business phone number. Apparently, I am out of the office so he resorted to call me through my mobile number. He also said that the call was being recorded and that it was online. That is to make sure that the quality of service is monitored. I said that it’s fine as I am aware that call centers really do that. After which, he expressed the intention of his call. According to him, I will be issued with an “EastWest Gold Travel Card” or something like that.

For someone like me who likes to grab every opportunity to travel, the sound of “travel” and “gold” made me a bit excited to listen further. I asked him how come I will be issued with such without me applying for it. His reason for it was that it is not necessary to apply for it because they just give it as a complimentary card to those who are qualified.

He continued by saying thathe must verify my information to have the card delivered. While he already know my full name, he asked for it again just like what a typical customer service representative would do. Then he proceeded with my card number by saying the first seven digits and asking me for the next digits. I told him the entire card number. He asked how long have I been using my credit card and up to how much too. Then, he stated the date of my card’s expiration and I confirmed it. He asked if it is VISA and I said yes.

After verifying the details in front of the card, he told me to look for the three-digit number at the back of the card. He said that the number behind states the order of approved applications. So if the number there is 143, I am the 143rd approved person of a specific batch. This is where my biggest mistake happened. I told him the three digits that was printed at the back of my card.

Right after telling him the three digit number, I suddenly had some sort of epiphany. I suddenly realized that I just gave out my CVC or Card Verification Code. The three-digit number behind the card is used to verify ownership of the card when someone tries to buy things online. I am fully aware of this because I do online shopping myself. Only the card owner should know that number. Before realizing that the call is a scam, I have already given all my card’s details for him to fully use it without physically having it.

At that very moment, I dropped the call and ran to the nearest EastWest Bank. I had an adrenaline rush and thought that I should have kept him on line longer to make sure that he will not attempt to use my details yet. I called him back and told him that the line was choppy because I am on the road. He just didn’t know that I am on the road to go to the bank. The caller reminded me that the call is being recorded so I should avoid the line being cut. Since the last thing I said to him was the CVC, he asked if he heard the right number. Apparently, he did. I tried to confuse him by changing a digit. Then, I stopped talking but I did not drop the call. I was just buying some time until I get to the branch.

When I reached the bank, I went straight to the counter and told the teller that I have an emergency and that I want my card to be blocked immediately. I told her briefly what happened with a panicking tone. Who wouldn’t panic, anyway? The teller was trying to relax me and asked me to be seated but I couldn’t calm myself down that time. I was walking back and forth. On my mind, the scammer could have used my card already and I can’t imagine how much he could have bought with the card’s credit limit.

Just few seconds later, another banker approached me to assist me. She called for someone on the phone and expressed my concerns. She handed over the phone to me so that the person on the line can be authorized to block my card. She told me that the card has been successfully blocked. I asked her about the last transaction that was made with the card. To my biggest relief, the scammer was not able to use my card yet.

I am very grateful for the speedy action that EastWest Bank – Rada did. They said that they will just replace my card and have it delivered.

Believe me, it is difficult to immediately tell that the caller was a scammer. He knows my name, my office number, my mobile number, the first eight digits of my card number, the expiration date of my number, etc. I am just lucky that I know that the CVC number works like a pin code. But it only occurred to me after giving it away. Also, the banker told me that the first eight digits on your credit card number is a standard. Therefore, the scammer just used to appear like he has the entire card number when he really doesn’t.

Help me raise awareness on this kind of modus operandi. Share this on your Facebook page and tag away everyone you know who owns a credit card.

photo credit: http://cdn-wac.emirates247.com/polopoly_fs/1.491933.1358744763!/image/786358654.jpg

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The Breadwinner

It is common among Filipino families that one member serves as the breadwinner. One who sustains the needs of the family. One who finds joy in fulfilling their wants. If you are the breadwinner of your family, this article is for you. If you are not, read on and be a change-maker to one.

Although your current earnings could be enough to cover your family’s day-to-day expense, nobody knows what will happen in the future. Knock-on-wood, you may suffer from illness that will displace you from working. If this happens, it will leave your family in trouble. They will not only be burdened in finding money to sustain their daily living but also be burdened of the additional costs for your medication. This situation brings in a huge chunk of responsibility on your shoulder. At the same time, it brings fearsome thoughts. If you are a single parent, it probably doubles or triples the burden.

You do not have to live with these fearsome thoughts. There is a lot of insurance companies out there who are willing to help you. I am actually quite bothered why not all people see the value of the services that these companies offer. Perhaps, the common notion is that it is just another unnecessary expense. I, myself, witnessed people pooling for money due to someone’s illness. Believe me, you can avoid this from happening in your own family. Make a wise decision. Not only for yourself but for your family.

Having an insurance helps in alleviating burdensome thoughts and gives you peace of mind. On top of that, it secures the people who you love the most. Do not live in fear. Live a bright future. Your tiny investments today will pay you and your family more in the future.

For those who are reading this, I would like to make an assessment. Do you or any family member have insurance policies? If yes, what kind of policy and how did it help them so far?

(photo credit to its respective owner/s: http://www.asian-central.com/stuffasianpeoplelike/wp-content/uploads/HLIC/837b5c197bacd3b92bc6d76acef50ca5.jpg)

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