Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas, lah!

The Manila Times
Business Times
Thursday, December 28, 2006

By Moje RamosAquino, FPM
Merry Christmas, lah!

WHEN I came back from a foray into a regular market here in Singapore, my son asked me how many new Filipino friends I made. I shook my head and said that I have been trying to spot them yet even after six days here.

Indeed Filipinos have the talent of a chameleon and more, lah. Until they speak in Filipino and in that loud manner, it is difficult to tell a Filipino from a local. They easily blend with the surroundings, lah. They take on the culture of the obtaining environment, lah. They acquire the accent and speaking habits of people around, lah. My son Adrian has been here for six months and when he speaks to the locals at the shops, he sounds like them, lah. Thus, we are able to get discounts on our purchases, lah.

Actually, there is no or very little bargaining because they quote you their last price. What you do is hop from shop to shop until you get an acceptable price. Electronic goods are definite bargains here compared to Manila, but everything else is expensive. One big plus is the clean restrooms in all malls with tissue paper aplenty.

Singapore is, indeed, very impressive. The infrastructures—physical, language and culture—are in place; thus, it is very convenient and comfortable to work, live and vacation here. What is more impressive is their attention to details. The nooks and crannies of Singapore are as well kept and tended as are the major visible areas. And Singaporeans are instructed to be nice.

I am pleasantly surprised at how Singapore celebrates Christmas in both spiritual and commercial levels. The emphasis is on “giving.” My son says Singaporeans are rich and are getting richer every day; thus, maybe, they want to pay back and what is more appropriate time than Christmas.

Singaporeans do seem to understand and imbibe the spirit of Christmas. The Good Shepherd Cathedral was jampacked during the midnight Mass. We noticed that the majority of churchgoers are Indians. There is no telling who are the Filipinos among the faithfuls, unless they speak in Filipino. There are lots of other nationalities too.

Hmmm, if Christmas is good for tourism and business, why don’t tourists come to visit the Philippines instead?

In Bangkok, although you hear Christmas carols all over the place, the Thais don’t really know what Christmas is. They see it as just another high point in their tourist arrival index and, therefore, mean more business. They are devout Buddhists.

“There are Christmas lanterns in some individual abodes and beautiful Christmas decor in big malls here in Singapore. There are all sorts of giant Christmas trees, even a pink one. They even have Christmas brochure entitled Blessing under a Star: Celebrate Christmas in Singapore.

Dr. Chen Tat Hon of Singapore Tourism Board writes, “Christmas is celebrated in a big way in Singapore. Visitors can enjoy the festive cheer together with local residents in celebration of this special season. Christmas in the Tropics has indeed become a huge draw for visitors. It attracts more than a million visitors from all over the world each year. One in five visitors surveyed last year said they had specifically planned their trips to coincide with the yearend festivities and 22 percent were repeat visitors. Orchard Road and Marina Bay transformed with festive street lightings and picture perfect opportunities for everyone to remember that special Christmas moment in Singapore.”

Rev Oh Beng Khee, chairman of Celebrate Christmas in Singapore says, “As Christians, Christmas is a celebration of God’s gift to man, the birth of Jesus into this world to die for everyone’s sins. Christmas brings forth this great and joyful news.”

Aren’t we the only country in Asia predominantly Catholics? The much ballyhooed Christmas street in Mandaluyong has deteriorated into one tiangge place with Christmas as an excuse for its being.

Again we are beaten in our own game, so to speak.

(Moje’s email is

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Celebrate - you, the person!

Learning & Innovation – December 21, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Celebrate—you, the person!

In many company celebrations—Christmas party, awards night/day, anniversary, Halloween (Yes, some companies observe this officially.), celebratory meetings, and others—notice that:
  • There is a special table/s in the center of the room for owner/s and family, executives and guests of owners and executives. The rest are called employees and they comprise the audience.
  • The tables and/or chairs are all facing a stage or what looks like one. There is hardly any eye contact or unrestricted opportunity to chat among employees.
  • The one who presides over the meeting or emcees the program is the star, even the God of the evening or day, and has the most exposure and airtime and seems to have the license to say or do whatever regardless of needs and feelings that abound.
Continuing from last week’s column, authors Terence E. Deal and M.K. Key (Corporate Celebration) identified the ingredients of great celebrations and the last two are:

  • “Family and affiliation: the collective experience. Affiliation is a means of survival in our species. It is also the underpinning of self-esteem—you are honored and affirmed by being accepted and belonging to a cohesive group.
Celebrations feature inclusiveness: I belong to a family, a team, other people. Celebrations help build interpersonal union by fostering common roots and traditions. They provide social support for being yourself and believing that you matter, that your talents are appreciated and used. Ritual and ceremony acculturate, give meaning to symbols, and help people learn a common language. Peter Block, in his book Stewardship, sees a vital need for personal connectedness in the workplace because the workplace has become the era’s new ecumenical cathedral, one of the few places where people congregate anymore. Marianne Williamson, in A Return to Love, also sees the workplace as a front for a temple, a healing place for people. Celebration knits individual psyches into a shared feeling of fellowship and family.
  • “Focus: every function has a functional payoff. Without a common vision or purpose, individual effort fragments into a grating cacophony rather than a pleasurable symphony. The result is a dangling discord, with almost everyone singing from a different song sheet or following his or her unique script. Celebration needs to have a focal point, a reason, a theme, which becomes the framework for expression. What we do for the sheer joy of it also helps an organization function at a higher level of performance—something we too often forget or ignore. Celebration creates and focuses the energy needed for an organization to produce results.”
Organization leaders and celebration organizers—usually the human resource unit--seem to be forgetting that a Christmas is meant for the whole organization as a family to celebrate the birth of Christ and our salvation. It is not a show. It is to share appreciation for every one in the organization through fellowship.

A company is nothing without its leaders and employees. No matter how well intentioned it is, how high tech it is, how beautiful and updated its machines, methods, furniture and fixtures are, how awash with cash it is, and how well-connected it is.

People—owners, leaders, employees, customers, suppliers, community—are the most important components of a business. All the rest are tools. Leaders and employees set up the business, plan it, produce products and render services—the reason for celebrating.

I am thrilled that Time Magazine has named You and Me as the Person of the Year. Indeed, the Internet will be nothing if not for the many websites and blogs of ordinary and not-so-ordinary people like you and me.

“Who are these people? The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.”


(Moje consults on business excellence and talent management. Her email addy is

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Here's a toast to my TMT family!

Learning & Innovation – December 7, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Here’s a toast to my TMT family!

There are some celebrations that we anticipate attending and there are those that we are forced by circumstances to attend.

Since I started writing for THE MANILA TIMES, I always look forward to our annual Christmas party cum Thanksgiving and the Columnists Meeting. It’s only once a year that I rub elbows with the bigwigs and wiglets of TMT and their family during the party. It is also the only time in the year that I get to talk face-to-face with my handsome editor, Arnold Tenorio, and busy-as-a-bee editor, Nini Yarte, and other colleagues in the Business Times. It is also the time of the year, that I get photographed by our chief photographer for my mug shot for this column. Except for the very first picture on my day one, I’ve never actually seen any of those photos. Nonetheless, my twice a year visit to the TMT headquarters becomes even more exciting because of this photo op.

I enjoy the games, the dancing, the raffle, the chitchats and the departmental presentations. With ease and glamour, our Lifestyle editor Tessa Mauricio is always the life of the party as the perky emcee. What is most delightful is to see the happy faces of hardworking reporters, correspondents, desk persons and support staff enjoying the once-a-year togetherness amid the how-have-you-been-lately chatters and children’s gleeful babbles.

The Columnists meeting is TMT’s way of telling us that they, indeed, value our personal opinions. Our Publisher Fred de la Rosa and President and CEO Klink Ang would take turns explaining what has become of TMT the past year and what could we hope for in the coming year. They outline the financial health of TMT and how we compare with competition. It is a very exhilarating and reassuring to know that our leaders and owners have a dream and plans for this paper and that they are seriously pursuing excellence in operations and results. They also talk about rules and regulations such as deadlines, etc. Most of all, they make us all feel significant and important to TMT.

Although, there is not much talk going around after the amicable hellos, we manage to engage in some small talks. The seasoned columnists and the sports columnists are normally the ones who engage in lively banter and exchange of information. I guess most writers would rather listen and write quietly than talk. Even my usually chatty friend Rey Elbo chooses to sit quietly in one corner. I am an avid fan of our own columnists and I look forward to celebrating with them our being “kapamilya.” When I gather enough bravado, I would really like to get all their autographs.

These are celebrations that make you look forward to more in the coming years and bond you with the company and your colleagues.

So, what makes a celebration successful?

Authors Terence E. Deal and M.K. Key write: “In an authentic celebration, people are willing to step out of their daily routine, drop their outer masks, and be fully present in the occasion being a part (we) and also being apart (me). In the experience of we is the collective of family inclusiveness, communion, belonging, connection, solidarity, a common purpose, vision, and values. We cannot be complete as individuals unless we are deeply involved in community and there can’t be a community without unique individuals. In addition to coalescing a community, celebration cultivates feelings of being valued for oneself, heightens self-esteem, and encourages freedom of genuine expression—fun, humor, and the creative aspects of life. In celebration of me joins the we.

“Notice the mirror effect of me and we, if we place one on top of the other, the letters m and w are reverse images.

“People simultaneously want both—to be apart, me, and to be a part, we, in celebration. The mirror images of me and we interplay and fuse as one inviting unself-conscious participation that eliminates fear, satisfies basic psychological needs and connects everyone in the creative flow of true community.”

Enjoy your Christmas celebrations and don’t forget the reason there is Christmas. And share those tidbits of celebrating with us through our email

(Moje consults on business excellence and talent management.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Celebrate good times, come on!

LEARNING & INNOVATION – November 30, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Celebrate good times, come on!

If you think that your organization’s competitive edge in today’s dynamic, competitive global business environment is technology or structure or strategy, you might be heading for doomsville.

True, your strategy (vision, mission, values) provides the impetus for success. Yet, this strategy needs to be translated into rituals and ceremonies to form the core of your organizational culture. On the rational side, you need to implement, measure analyze and compare your strategy according to actionable plans.

Let me clarify that when we say “celebrate” we don’t simply mean corporate get-togethers, parties, food, drinks, decorations, accoutrements, entertainment, games, toasting, speeches, raffle, picnics and outings, dancing, programs, and the like, that are seen as artificial, humdrum, meaningless events, albeit waste of time and money and manipulative. In these occasions employees are forced to attend, listen to boring speeches, endure boring programs and get through with it with a lingering aftertaste. The day after the get-together, people compliment or complain about the food, the program, or anything that is not to their expectations. Employees talk about anything, but the reason for the togetherness.

Starting tomorrow, December 1st, Christmas celebrations will be held everywhere in all forms and of different magnitude and importance. Committees are formed to take care of details, budgets are set and the mood is set. When I asked some people why there is a need for an office Christmas party, the common answers are: it is a tradition, it is an opportunity for employees to get reacquainted, it is budgeted, and everybody is expecting it though some wish that management might just divide the party money among the employees and do away with the party and the potential expenses to the employee. In one company, the lunch conversation at the cafeteria was about “What are you going to wear? What will be the prizes for the raffles and games? Who will be the guest entertainers?” In one organization, the one highlight for the party is an exchange of gift worth Php250.00. There is no talk about the significance of the occasion or even how it impacts the bottom line of the company. Gift-giving is done as mere social obligation or as “pagtanaw ng utang na loob.” Programs are predictable and repetitious.

Whatever, we need these parties. It is when employees reflect and connect. It is when we get away from the daily routine, shake off the drudgery and stress of work, forget the usual shop talk, do away with our corporate mask or personas, enjoy camaraderie and fellowship with our work community, celebrate our survival or successes for the year and affirm the presence of God in our work area.

When we say “celebrate” we mean symbolic events that are timely, well-orchestrated and suited to prevailing situations. Writers Deal and Key (Corporate Celebration) assert that “celebration is not add-ons; it is the center source, the spiritual fuel that ignites performance and propels a culture forward.”

When we celebrate, “there is a fundamental power in this traditional ceremony that stirs the psyche and kindles deep emotions. It brings up core values. Pride exudes for whomever can let the ceremony’s spirit overcome adversity and embrace what is good about life and humanity. Celebration is vital to the human psyche. All of us have an emotional craving, a deep-seated need to participate in ritual and ceremony. Most everyone can recall a celebration where he or she felt truly significant, important, full of emotion and meaning. Our chests swell with palpable feeling connecting us to our inner selves, to others, and to the enduring human spirit.”

I am sure you still have memories of your graduation, Boy or Girl Scout achievement, sports championship, Independence Day, and many other rituals and ceremonies in our life. Next columns let us discuss the attributes that make these celebrations so powerful. Please share with us how you celebrate the special occasions in your organizational life.

As Kool & the Gang sing, “There's a party goin' on right here. A celebration to last throughout the years. So bring your good times, and your laughter, too. We gonna celebrate your party with you.”

(Moje could help you in your journey to business excellence and in celebrating the human spirit. Her email addy is

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The distinction between a job and real work!

LEARNING & INNOVATION – November 16, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

The distinction between a job and real work!
(NOTE: This appeared on November 23, 2006 in the Manila Times)

There’s a lot to celebrate about life if we are in the habit of counting our blessings. They’re endless. Every day brings new blessings and new reasons to celebrate.

In the workplace, there are more reasons to celebrate. Taking time to celebrate is part of doing business. They represent a cultural high point and play a central role in the company’s success. Happy people are happy workers. Happy workers are more likely to be productive workers. Happiness is also infectious.

Tragedies, crises, calamities, likewise, make people gather more tightly in the depths of despair and uncertainties. People seek out healing events during desperate and difficult times. Not a time to celebrate, but a time to grieve through rituals that mend broken hearts, dreams and relationships. Sad people are sad workers. Sad workers can not focus beyond their miseries and might become unproductive workers. Misery loves company and before you know it you have a bunch of sad, sometimes angry, workers.

Simplistic, yes, but let’s dwell on that. Ours is a celebratory society. Our life is a big party waiting for a reason. Authors Deal and Key (Corporate Celebrations) asserts that celebrations infuse life with passion and purpose. “They summon the human spirit. They reattach us to our human roots and help us soar toward new visions. They touch our hearts and fire our imaginations. They bond people together and connect us to shared values and myths. Ceremonies and rituals create community, fusing individual souls with the corporate spirit. When everything is going well, ritual occasions allow us to revel in our glory. When times are tough, cere4monies draw us together, kindling hope and faith that better times lie ahead.”

The problem with our business leaders is that they are focused on the bottomline—profit and more profit. So we pamper our employees with out-and-out monetary rewards that feed their greed and self-indulgence. There’s this company who makes their employees work for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with only one day off each month when the whole company shuts down. One vice president says, they love the pay because they are able to buy things ahead of what they need. Gosh, these are young mothers and fathers with infants and toddlers left at home with a maid or an older relative. They are like OFWs because they are away from home most of the time. I suspect that when they are home one day in a month, they spend their time resting or sleeping to prepare of another month of long-hours of work. What kind of children are we raising here? What values are we transferring to them? These are the next generation Filipinos

Deal and Key write, “Workers feel used; bosses are burned out. Those who work for a living don’t always find their immediate situation quite so funny. According to authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner, the disciplines of credibility are sorely lacking, for example, appreciating constituents, affirming shared values, developing capacity, discovering your own self, serving a purpose, and sustaining hope. What has become of the human side of doing business? All businesses are people-driven and to tap their full potential, people need more than a paycheck. For too many people, work just isn’t fun anymore.”

People need meaningful work and work relationships. David Whyte, in The Heart Aroused: Poetry and Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, finds the experience of joy in work so incredibly rare that when we experience it, we’re not used to it. “Joy is a vulnerable state, fleeting, a corollary of loss. Loss is manifest in grief, in the daily struggle, at the price of family and personal time. Our personal lives are sacrificed on the altar of drab, joyless workplace. And we can never give enough. Organizations often demand more effort without creating more meaningful, motivating work. The prevailing equation is: Business = busyness.”

In The Reinvention of Work, Matthew Fox draws a crisp distinction between jobs and real work. “Jobs, meaningless work, derive from a mechanical paradigm—piecework where people perform a well-defined task purely for economic gain. They check their heads at the door, do what they are told, and eagerly await Friday’s paycheck.”

Let’s celebrate! Share with us how your organizations celebrate corporate milestones and the human spirit and send them to

(Moje is a management consultant on business excellence and human resource development.)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Christmas is just around the corner

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, November 9, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Christmas is just around the corner

So let me be the first to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

As is our wont as early as September 1 my assistant, Virgie Senarillos, and myself already put up our Christmas tree and started sprucing up our house. Somehow the spirit of Christmas is strengthening each day and spreading cheers all over our house and ourselves. We decorate the tree piece by piece each day, hanging one décor at a time making our tree new each day and by Christmas Day, it will be full of Christmas mirth. This year, as in the last two years, our Christmas tree theme is stuffed toys, big and small.

I wish, though, that there are little toddlers dancing around them. (Hint, hint, hint for Adrian and Ronjie, my two bachelor sons.)

It is not that we put up our Christmas décor only at this time. Actually, it is always Christmas in my house. I believe in keeping Christmas every day of the year, physically and spiritually. I celebrate the reason Christ was born and the thought that he will live again.

So I am always in a celebratory mood nowadays. So are many Filipinos here and abroad. Every Filipino is talking Christmas this early, I am sure. However, talks have gone into the commercial and material route—bonuses, 13th-month pay, shopping, gifts, vacations, parties, what to wear, what to eat, where to go, etc.

Coming from two holidays (’Id al-Fitr and All Souls’ Day), people are still reeling from the expense and effort used to commemorate such significant occasions. Yet here we are now excited about the next holidays. Some are even preparing for a Thanksgiving feast as they do in the US of A.

Here we don’t only observe Christmas and other public holidays, we also have special holidays—working or non-working—local holidays, religious holidays, school/office events and many others. Good or bad, we have that holiday mentality. When there is something going on—bad weather, coup d’état and state visitor to mention a few—the first question of most employees and students would be, “May pasok ba?” (Are our schools/office open?)

So for the next columns, we’ll discuss about the central role of celebration in reinvigorating and re-inspiriting organizations and individuals. This is part of our continuing Journey to Business Excellence using the Balanced Scorecard. Remember that the enabling factor for excellent business results is learning and growth and that people are very much part of the financial success of an organization.

How best do we use play, ritual and ceremony to restore elements of fun, zest, joyfulness at work for people to become motivated to produce desired results, to help in their personal transitions and promote goodwill in times of organizational crises and calamities?

In their book Corporate Celebration, authors Terence Deal and M.K. Key write: Having the right strategy and appropriate structure are very important. But all corporate activity requires human energy to succeed, and human energy is fueled in large measure by ritual and ceremony. To excel, captains of industry must now become champions of celebration. Deep down, many would probably rather manage things than people. Things are predictable, efficient, and relatively easy to control, and require only mechanical maintenance.

“People are whimsical, political and distracted constantly by emotions and pressures both inside and outside of work. People require leads of emotional support, and want meaningful work as well as a bountiful paycheck. Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines, once remarked, “A friend’s wife called me just after he assumed a top corporate position. She complained that he was spending 80 percent of his time on people issues. I told her that he must have landed a real cushy job. I spend 95 percent of my time dealing with people.”

“At the end of his career, quality guru W. Edward Deming reduced his fourteen points for leaders to one key idea—the human spirit. And to us, the human spirit is summoned majestically in ritual and ceremony, celebratory side of life at work.”

Join the fun! Please, share with our readers your most cherished corporate special events and how your organization celebrates them. Let’s spread good cheers around.

(Moje is a management consultant on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Putting down the betrayal dragon

Learning & Innovation – November 2, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Putting down the betrayal dragon

My favorite taxi driver remarks, “Tayong mga Pinoy nagiging makasarili habang lumalaon. Kanya-kanya tayo, walang pakialam sa kapwa o sa kinabukasan.” (We Filipinos are getting more and more self-centered. We simply act as we want to without care for the other person.)

Sad, but I agree with him entirely. This happens in the street. Pedestrians cross the street anytime they want unmindful of the red traffic light. Public utility vehicles stopping anywhere to pick up or drop off passengers, even in the middle of the street, without regard for the chaos that they are initiating and without thought about the safety of their passengers, other vehicles and their own passengers. Their reason is an uncaring attitude, “nagtatrabaho ako, eh ano ngayon?” (I am working, so what gives?) People using the sidewalks for purposes other than for pedestrians to walk safely on —store, restaurant, beauty salon, garbage depository, parking, garden, and cock-breeding among others.

This is also evident when businesses operate as if there is no tomorrow, as if resources will be available for as long as they are needed, as if profit is the end all and be all of business, as if they operate in a vacuum, as if their operations do not affect the environment, as if downsizing or bypassing someone for promotion is in the best interest of the long-term health of the organization, and the list goes on.

Last column we discussed several examples of betrayals in the workplace.

Can you think of other kinds of betrayal that you see and experience in your organization, team, (family, social) or individual relationships? “What happened? What story do they tell about you? (Your organization? Your family? Your friends? You, as a Filipino?) What did you feel—emotionally, psychologically, spiritually? What did you do about the situation? How did you respond to the experience of betrayal? What short-term and long-term impact did the experience have on you? What key insights, critical issues and areas of vulnerability do you read from them?”

Other than these questions, authors Dennis and Michelle Reina writes in their book, Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace, “we betray others when we are absorbed with ourselves. In our absorption, we lose sight of others. As a result, when we betray another, we first betray ourselves.” Being self-centered and selfish are acts of betrayal. They happen when decisions and are made and acted upon that affect other people’s lives without awareness and sensitivity to their impact.

“When we have been betrayed, we often feel helpless and hopeless. We feel as though we have no control over what was “done to us.” We indeed do not have control over the behaviors of others; however, we do have control over how we choose to respond. We may choose to remain angry, bitter, or resentful or to assume the posture of a victim. We may even choose to betray in return to get back at the betrayer. We may choose to embrace the pain of betrayal. We may seek to understand it and to work through it to heal, to deepen our understanding of our relationships with ourselves and with others.

“Betrayal is often not a result of what happened but rather of the how it happened. Experiencing betrayal is like experiencing a death. We have feelings of loss—of plans, jobs, dreams, relationships, trust in others and in ourselves. Our hearts ache, our capacity to trust may be bruised, and our innocence tarnished. To get over these regrettable experience, we need to go through a grieving and healing process.”

The Reinas recommend seven steps for healing: 1. Observe and acknowledge what has happened, 2. Allow feelings to surface, 3. Get support, 4. Reframe the experience, 5. Take responsibility, 6. Forgive yourself and others and, 7. Let go and move on.

And may I add, do something to rectify the wrong or to prevent it from happening. Alexander Lacson did just that when he wrote his book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. MMDA Chairman is cleaning up the sidewalks of squatters. Businesses are becoming more aware and doing something about corporate governance e and social responsibility. What do we do with jeepney and bus drivers? What do we do with our politicians? Next time around, how will you respond to a personal betrayal?

(Moje is a consultant on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Build trust, build a competitive city

Learning & Innovation – October 19, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Build trust, build a competitive city

Tomas “Jun” Aguilar, planning and development officer, talks about Marikina, its leadership and its people with fondness and pride. He has all the reasons to feel that way, his city has been reaping awards and accolades by national and international award-giving bodies.

Jun says that “previous administrations had laid down the foundation on which we can build our future and shape our city’s landscape. Former Mayor Bayani "BF" Fernando has built a house and the incumbent Mayor Maria Lourdes C. Fernando will make it a home.” This was evident in the more than 40 awards that they have received so far. Initially they achieved excellence as cleanest and greenest town, best local government unit and recognized for their effort to save Marikina River. “We believe that discipline and values formation are the foundations of a great city. And because water offers many opportunities to people, it has to be considered when planning a city. We shall ride on the crest of rehabilitating the Marikina River. Like Singapore’s Clarke Quay it shall become Marikina’s signature image—a picturesque place for sports, leisure and entertainment.”

Leaders need to be purposive and have a bias for action to be trusted by their constituents. The first step the leadership of Marikina undertook is to craft a master plan. They first did a SWOT analysis and humbly acknowledged the many weaknesses of and threats to their city while they rejoice in their strengths and possibilities. Then, “In our desire to push our city into higher level of achievements, we thought of coming up with a vision of making Marikina a Little Singapore. There are those who ask, Why Singapore? And we answer back, Why not Singapore? We know it’s a tall order but we take cognizance of the fact that Rome was not built in a day; and, in the same vein, Marikina River was transformed from its battered condition years ago into what it is today when hardly anybody believed that it could be done.

“In line with this vision, our mission is to plan and facilitate the physical development of Marikina into a Cosmopolitan City of Excellence. We shall adopt a careful, sensitive and advance planning to guide our cities physical growth. We believe that nothing just happens it has to be planned.”

Recently, they were cited by World Bank as one of the four model cities in infrastructure in the the world. Other awards are WHO’s Model Healthy City in the Philippines, AIM’s Most Competitive City, Konrad Adenauer, Philippine Quality Award (Silver), Galing Pook Award (Hall of Fame) for Innovation and Excellence are recognition of excellence of their governance and various worthwhile projects geared at making Marikina the next Vancouver in 2015 and giving Marikenos a place not only for living, work and business, but also for history, socializing, entertainment, arts culture, tourism and sports, education and religion.

They have adopted English as their second language to make Marikina attractive to business investors in order to keep their human resources stay put and not to prepare them for jobs abroad. Making the city a home means keeping families intact.

Some of their other notable projects are relocation of squatters within the city so as not to uproot them from their studies and jobs; water faucet in every home; networked bikeways; clean food; free medical and health services; quick emergency response team among others.

Sidebar: BF used a firm and resolute hands, not iron fists, and a lot of patience and psywar. Jun shares the story of this influential judge and his neighbors who appropriated the sidewalk for their cock-breeding business. What BF did was talk to all the residents and home owners in that stretch of road and requested them to remove their personal properties from the sidewalk explaining the project for an orderly Marikina. The street and sidewalk were clean and clear in no time at all, except the one in front of a powerful person in authority. After a while, when this person noticed that his is the only place with obstructions, he voluntarily removed his cock and other paraphernalia and tidied that portion of the sidewalk.

Clearly, Chairman BF and Mayor Marides are doing great things for Marikina and Marikenos. They are worth emulating.

Call Jun Aguilar at 02-6829571. The business community, as well, could learn a lot about governance and performance excellence from the experience of Marikina.

(Moje consults on organization and human resource management and development and could be reached at

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lack of trust in government keeps families apart

Learning & Innovation – October 12, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Lack of trust in government keeps families apart

At the Seminar for Developing the National Consulting Industry, participants were asked to do a SWOT analysis of the current state of the consulting business here. It is with pride that the participants identified proficiency in English as one of strengths that differentiate us from consultants in the region, in particular.

In the same breadth, there is sadness in the fact that we are fast losing that important competitive edge as our neighbors in the region are scramble to learn English as their second language. There was also a side discussion about the tens of thousands of Filipinos around the region, and even in the USA and Europe, teaching English in schools and special training programs.

In the same vein, do you wonder why our electric current was not immediately restored after Milenyo? Where have all our linemen gone?

Meralco has set up an Accelerated Lineman Training Project Team headed by Marlon Manaois under their Human Resources Development Department. Marlon says, “Meralco linemen are being pirated by foreign electric companies. There was just an increase this year, and most of them went to the USA, but it was just for a 10-month contract. Most of them are back now here, but not with Meralco. We have no right to hold them so we made this new team that I now head and a new training camp beside EL Development Center in Sumulong Highway, Antipolo. We don’t really have a shortage of linemen, only a lot of restoration work was necessary.”

Most of our mining and metallurgical engineers are everywhere in the world except here. And there are very few enrollees in that department even if our mining industry is now in operation.

I finally watched the Kapamilya TV show, “Deal or No Deal” last week. One contestant said she is taking up Nursing because she wants to go abroad and earn big money. I have this romantic notion that you take up Nursing or any medical course for the altruistic privilege to take care of your fellow person in need of tender loving medical care. Hindi pala.

Are all these things happening because of globalization? Or is the world really, really now recognizing the Filipino talent and work ethics. Or do our English skill and “bahala na” attitude embolden us to venture out of the country for the proverbial pot of gold.

This brain drain is hurting all of us. And it hurts the OFW and their family even more. Has anybody calculated the enormous social costs of mothers and fathers leaving their spouse and the care and development of their children entirely to the hands of one parent or relatives, or friends? I bet the cost will far exceed the money they earn.

One of the favorite work stations of our OFW is Taipei, Taiwan where they enjoy good pay and the esteem and respect of their employers. However, these OFW are complaining about the substantial “broker’s fee” that they have to pay their recruiter here and in Taipei every month for three years which is about their contracted work tenure. They say that this fee represents about a third of their pay. Seeing them lugging those overweight baggages to bring home to their loved ones here brings tears to my eyes. You know, everything is expensive in Taipei, even those goods made in China are much cheaper here. They do a lot of sacrifices and manage their money very well while in Taipei so that they could send more money and bring home pasalubongs to their family and friends. On Sundays at church, they just sit down there and cry their hearts out missing their family so much.

Do they really need to work abroad? My favorite taxi driver has the last say, “Wala pong pag-asa dito sa atin ang mga katulad naming mababa ang pinag-aralan at wala ring puhunang magnegosyo. Wala na po kaming tiwala sa gobyerno. Talaga pong itinutulak kaming palabas ng bansa.”

(Moje consults on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Typhoon brings peace and quiet

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, October 05, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Typhoon brings peace and quiet

DID you notice that during the past four electricity-deprived days caused by Milenyo (in Sta. Mesa, we got back our electric power only on Sunday morning) people were more laid back and seemed to speak in low decibel? It was blissful, a rare treat. Luckily for us, there was continuous water supply even if the water was a little murky.

There was total peace and quiet. During the day, you don’t hear the usual simultaneous blare of radios, televisions and music boxes. Even the malls were silent, as in no competing and pestering promotional noise among vendors and the salespersons seemed subdued, despite the many shoppers who couldn’t wait for brighter times. Families were finally facing and talking to each other—no TV, no light to read with, no computer, no Internet, no cell-phone connection—no excuses for avoiding each other. Neighbors were huddled at their gate or fence, not just making conversations, but renewing friendships and sharing stories over the aftermath of a really powerful typhoon and other burning and no-brainer issues. Notwithstanding the heat and the bugs, people slept peacefully and easily adapted to the situation.

At Vasra, Visayas Avenue, they got back their electricity supply as early as day after the typhoon. My friend Gigie was thrilled that her entire family, including her two married children, Jek and Iya, with their spouse and own children who live in blackout areas, were together in her house for four days. She says that her house was like a hotel and they all enjoyed familial intimacy for four days.

Another friend, Bert Tato, had a problem with his grandson, Migs, who was always craving for “food!” Unfortunately, they use electric cooking machines and most fast-food outlets and restaurants were close for a couple of days. They survived using a makeshift coal stove.

These bring back recollections of Taipei. There, they don’t need a blackout to live in peace and quiet. Taipei is never noisy. The shops never play earsplitting music or deafening come-ons. The one week that I was there, I never heard the sound of a car horn. Looking back, even their motorcycles quietly work. You could walk the streets of Taipei and not be jolted by any clatter at all. Everywhere you go, you could carry on a conversation or do some thinking undisturbed. Even the anticorruption rallyists are restrained and disciplined. They wore the color red to express their protest.

In Taipei and other parts of Taiwan, there are no palatial houses or shanties. There is no visible demarcation between the rich and the poor. Everybody lives in medium-rise apartments (we refer to them as condominium here.) The high-rise buildings are for offices. I looked hard, but I did not notice any flashy or expensive cars around. Taiwanese don’t seem to like the exterior of their vehicles gleaming clean.

Taiwan is vulnerable to typhoons and flooding. They are also in the earthquake belt. And, therefore, they have preventative and disaster preparedness measures in place. Life goes without worries.

Taiwan is a preferred workstation of our OFWs. Taipei is only 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Manila; the pay is better than in other countries; and the Taiwanese admire and respect the Filipino talent and work ethics. There are OFWs there doing executive functions; holding managerial positions at all levels of business organizations; sharing their professional, management and technical expertise; as well as working as caregivers and househelps.

Congratulations to the all-Star Cebuana Lhuillier Softball Team who won second in the 2006 7th Asia Taiwan International Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament held in Taipei in September. The team headed by playing team owner Jean Henri Lhuillier, with playing head coach Lan Perez, gave their rivals from countries Japan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Dubai and host country, Taiwan, a tough fight to the finish. Bannering the team are national mainstays Apol Rosales, Jasper Cabrera, Oscar Bradshaw, Fidel Moncera, Mark Rae Ramirez, Manolito Binarao and Anthony Santos.

Moje consults on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Trust brings in tourists

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, September 28, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Trust brings in tourists

Ni Hao. I just came back from Taipei, Taiwan, where I presented a paper on developing supervisors and teambuilding at the Summit of Globalization of Human Resources 2006. It was hosted by the Taiwan Ministry of Labour Affairs, Executive Yuan, and organized by Tze-Chiang Foundation of Science and Technology. It was held at the beautiful Taipei International Convention Center on September 22 and 23.

The convention was a definite success, with more than 600 delegates from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, England among others. From the Philippines, there were Manuel Sy Peng, Jr., president of the PMAP Bulacan Chapter; Noli Tibayan, HR director of Roche Philippines; and Marybeth Monies, HR manager of Ortigas Group of Companies.

But what I am most impressed about is Taipei and the Taiwanese people.

Even from the airplane, I was very impressed with what I saw. There is no idle patch of land, no matter how small, in Taipei and in adjoining areas. All lands are functionally used for buildings, farms, gardens and others. There is this teeny-weeny patch of land in front of the world trade center adjacent to the convention center and Taipei 101 along Taipei’s main road in the middle of the financial district and there was this couple who was tending the small garden of kamote, sugar cane, okra and I don’t know what else.

The places we visited—Taipei City, Taipei suburbs, Nanya Coastal Trail and Chiupen Village (an abandoned gold mine which has been converted to a tourist shopping area)—were very clean. The only litter we saw was the fallen leaves. Maybe, every kilometer, we saw a solitary cigarette butt, only if we really looked hard to find them.

The streets are wide and lined with trees. Until mid afternoon, the whole city smells of fresh plants. It was only during the afternoon rush hour that we smelled the fumes from exhaust pipes of vehicles. From the balcony of my room on the 16th floor of Pacific Business Center, I’ve never seen any trace of smog at all in the early morning. It is so encouraging to walk the streets of Taipei. There’s also plenty of room for pedestrians—wide and well-paved sidewalks. You could stroll along the sidewalks of Taipei blindfolded and not trip on any obstructions whatsoever.

The food is super. I am not a fan of Chinese food, but I really dig the way Taiwanese prepare their food. Save for the typical smell, I really enjoyed one week of Chinese food.

What is more impressive is that we felt safe walking the streets of Taipei at any given time, day and night. There is no need to clasp at your handbag tightly. They say that you could leave something valuable anywhere and when you go back, it will still be there or you could retrieve it from the Lost and Found. Wow! We saw thousands of motorcycles and bicycles parked in designated areas everywhere and they are left there just like that—not chained to any post or what.

The one that wins my highest esteem are the Taiwanese themselves. At the conference, they maintained a very respectful silence (you could hear a pin drop during the sessions). They talked to one another animatedly, but they were mindful of people around them. They were time conscious—all the sessions started and ended on time. The Taiwanese walked briskly everywhere they are. Hats off!

They listened attentively during the sessions and asked thoughtful questions. They are very eager to learn. By the way, the language of the conference was English because the Taiwanese are trying very hard to learn English as a second language to be more competitive in the global market.

They are also very helpful. Everywhere we asked around, the Taiwanese did not only answer our questions, but actually showed us the way. For example, at the train station, the ticket clerk (only one clerk at every station) gave us very good direction, got out of his glass office to show us how to use the MRT card and walked us to the stairs leading to the loading area. Sometimes, we’d rather not ask because we didn’t want them to drop whatever it is they are doing just to help us.

Oops, don’t be turned off by the personnel at the Taiwan Consular Office. I find it easier and more convenient to apply for a Visa at the US Embassy. My experience with them is the wart in my otherwise flawless experience in Taiwan.


Moje is a consultant on human resource and organization development and is accessible at

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Listening builds organizational trust

Learning & innovation – September 21, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Listening builds organizational trust

Dr. Toto Estuar does not just say that he practices “open communication,” he actually makes it happen. Every Thursday, his door is wide open to anybody who wishes to discuss with him any topic under the sun. No need for an appointment or permission from his secretary or to knock at the door.

That is one reason Dr. Estuar is a trusted leader. He listens attentively. No wonder that he was able to turnaround the badly bleeding Maynilad Water Service during his first year at its helm. No wonder that wherever Dr. Estuar goes, he is warmly greeted by friends and employees, past and present, he meets.

In his talk to various sectors of the Lopez Group of Companies, David Spong, retired president of Boeing Aerospace Support Program shares the Operating Principles they practiced. How do you continuously and uniformly communicate with 12,303 employees in 131 USA and offshore locations? Please take note that all of these principles entail a lot of listening and not much talking. Some of these trust-building principles are:
• We insist on integrity, first and foremost
• We tell it like it is
• We communicate openly and candidly in all our dealings
• We respect, honor, and trust one another
• We work toward consensus
• Disagreement is healthy and encouraged, but once a decision is made,
we proactively support it
• We have one conversation at a time
• Our silence is consent
• We actively listen and question to understand
• We do not attack the messenger
• We identify clear objectives and expectations for our meetings
• We praise in public, we coach in private

No wonder that under his leadership the two Boeing Companies he led both won the prestigious and much-coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Boeing Airlift and Tanker Program won it in 1998 and Aerospace Support won it in 2003. Indeed, a unique feat to win the award for both manufacturing and service business sectors in Baldrige Award’s 19-year history.

What’s the similarity between Dr. Estuar and Mr. Spong? They make listening and preserving the trust they give and earn part of their leadership habit.

Unfortunately, many of our experiences in our own organizations are variations of these examples:

 Boss comes in and mumbles something (sounds like “Good morning”) without looking at anybody in the room.
 Boss seems to be talking to us, at the same time to two other people and might even be doing some math in his head. He calls it multitasking (read faking listening) because he is pressed for time.
 Boss seems to be listening, but his responses to our discussion are way off tangent; not a response to what we said, but what he wants to say on the subject matter.
 Boss pretends to listen while looking over some papers and affixing his signature on a few.

Listening and building trust are leadership contact sports. It is something you do, with your whole body, heart and spirit. You don’t fake listening, you’ll soon be found out. Some of its dire consequences are low trust, low morale, low productivity; high turnover, high wastages, high repeat jobs, and more of the same uncaring behaviors.

Condolences to the family of Dr. Jose Lirag Lapeña, 84, UPCM, who peacefully joined his Creator last September 13, 2006. His bereaved wife, Dr. Rosa Fabella; children, Joey and Josie Isidro, Cynthia and Deke Amador, Elmer and Agnes Lorenzana, and Corinna and Francisco Llorin; grandchildren, Melay, Ro-an, Jica and their mother Maeyet Guanzon; Kitt, Bian and their father Elmer Rueda; Justin, Lian, Meimei, Jeremy, Ricci and her father Jobbee Baens; and great granddaughter, Shibby, and her father JP de Guzman; brothers; and sisters request relatives, friends and the pious readers to pray for the eternal repose of his soul. Dr. Joey Lapeña (ENT) can be contacted at 0917-9137258.

(Moje consults on business excellence and can be contacted at

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Listening builds customer trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, September 14, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Listening builds customer trust

“Ganyan na talaga iyan, eh.”
“Policy kasi namin ganyan.”
“Wala akong magagawa, empleyado lang ako dito.”
“Bibili ba kayo?”
“Hindi puede.”
“Punta na lang kayo sa ibang tindahan.”
“Mahal ’yan.”
“Kung nabibilisan kayo sa metro ko, sakay na lang kayo sa ibang taxi o sa jeep para mas mura.”

These are the outright answers to some simple questions or remarks that customers ask of salespersons: Mayroon bang ibang kulay o hugis o kopya o sukat? Puedeng tumawad? Magkano ito? Puedeng humingi ng extra table napkin o ketsup? “Kada 100 metro na ba pumapatak ang metro?” “Bakit parang may sira ito?”

Worse, these salespeople give you a cold shoulder, a blank stare or a shrug of the shoulder or they immediately shift their attention to another customer or start chatting with a fellow salesperson. Worst, they are texting while talking to you.

These attitudes are not only uncaring, but downright insulting. You know that they are only interested in making a sale, not in satisfying your needs. You don’t trust these people to give you the products or service that you need because they don’t listen. Rather, they focus on their “selling points.”

The Baldrige Criteria for Excellence emphasizes the importance of listening to grow customer satisfaction and loyalty. Some of the questions asked under the Category on Customer and Market Focus are:

• How do you listen and learn to determine key customer requirements, needs and changing expectations and their relative importance to customers’ purchasing or relationship decisions? How do your determination methods vary for different customers or customer groups? How do you use relevant information and feedback from current and former customers, including marketing and sales information, customer loyalty and retention data, win/loss analysis, and complaint data for purposes of planning products and services, marketing, making process improvements and developing new business opportunities? How do you use this information and feedback to become more customer-focused and to better satisfy customer needs and desires?

• How do you keep your listening and learning methods current with business needs and directions including change in your marketplace?

• How do you manage customer complaints? How do you ensure that complaints are resolved effectively and prompt­ly? How do you minimize customer dissatisfaction and, as appropriate, loss of repeat business? How are complaints aggregated and analyzed for use in improvement throughout your organization and by your partners?

When you have and are able to implement all the processes to address all the above issues; then, you are on your way to becoming globally competitive. When you listen to your customers and use their inputs you are able to manage and improve your processes and grow your business.

Listening, though, is very hard to do. That is why most salespersons have developed ready scripts to handle customer inquiries and complaints. Most of the time they are not listening; they are simply faking listening. They are just waiting for the customer to stop talking and then they deliver their memorized lines. They are not paying attention—they are faking listening.

Customers do not just want to buy things; they need to be listened to and given the undivided attention of sales-people. When they have the gift of your listening, they give you their trust and their money. Otherwise, they go to another store, restaurant, salon or take another taxi or whatever. And they pass the word around.

Malugod kong binabati ang aking kapatid na si Dr/Prof Jess Fer. Ramos sa kanyang nakamtang Gawad ng Pagkilala mula sa Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino dahil sa mahalagang ginampanan niya bilang propesor, manunulat at editor sa pagpapalaganap ng Wikang Pambansa. Ang ibang pinarangalan ay sina Ariel Dim. Borlongan, Dr. Lydia Buenafe Liwanag, Mabuhay Singers at Advanced Filipino Abroad Program ng Unibersidad ng Hawaii.

Ang Komisyon ay pinamumunuan ni Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco, Ph.D. bilang nanunung­kulang tagapangulong komisyoner. Ang Gawad ay ginanap kaugnay ng pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa.

Moje consults on human resources and organization development. Her e-mail address is

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Wussup, doc?

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, September 7, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Wussup, doc?

Let me talk about a different level of trust.

I just received a distress call from Dr. Joey Lapeña of UP-PGH. He said that they have 25 residency positions in their department every year. This is a four-year program. In previous years they were swamped with applicants for residency slots at the UP-PGH Department of Otorhinolaryngology, as many as 40 applicants for seven positions. They used to have the leisure of choosing the best and the brightest.And this is happening all throughout the UP-PGH system.

They never thought they would suffer from this. After all UP-PGH gives the highest pay among government training programs and, generally, more than what private programs give. Not bad in terms of remuneration that they would get for the amount of and quality of training they could derive from the residency programs at UP-PGH, where they get the greatest number of patients and a variety of cases.

Dr. Joey said, “This year, in fact, we had 12 applicants and six of them UP graduates. They were supposed to report for the pre-residency evaluation where they actually go on duty.

“When the actual day arrived for them to begin, only six showed up. This early, one quit. Only five decided to push through with their application. Where have all the other doctors gone? As we all know, some have decided to take up nursing and we know why.

What worries me about all these is that UP-PGH is the hospital of “last resort”—so-called, in the sense that people who can no longer be treated elsewhere end up at UP-PGH. Of course, some who could afford seek medical care abroad. Those who come to us do so mostly because of financial considerations and partly because of the available expertise. Given that scenario of what is happening to us in terms of the number of applicants it seems UP-PGH might not be immune from the mass immigration/doctor drain infecting our healthcare system. Unfortunately, other smaller hospitals especially in the provinces have closed down or are in the process of doing so because of lack of doctors and nurses.

“Some fields are equally important, like anesthesiology. When the anesthesiologist leaves, what happens to the surgeons, obstetricians and other surgical fields? They can’t do anything.

“What is alarming is that otorhinolaryngology is a high-profile field, a very desirable profession, almost an elite subspecialty; but there are now very few of us here in the Philippines, only 400 board-certified. Yet, there are not enough doctors and the remaining are not interested in our field. In the USA, it’s very difficult to get into otorhinolaryngology.

“Among the top 10 diseases in any age group are a few that require ENT specialists. The World Health Organization lists ear infections among the top five childhood diseases. The other four are diarrhea, fever, respiratory infections and convulsions. Respiratory infections also involve ENT doctors.

The very young and the very old are especially vulnerable and could suffer when we lose our otorhinolaryngologists. They treat everything that could go wrong with the ear, nose, oral cavity, throat, head and neck.

Wussup, doc? Dr. Joey Lapeña and UP-PGH trust that you would heed their call. I trust that you will honor your Hippocratic Oath and serve us, your fellow Filipinos, here.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

We are healed by doctors we trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 31, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
We are healed by doctors we trust

MY younger brother, Dr. Prof. Jess Ramos of UP Diliman, recently escaped death on the basis of trust. Late June he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and tumor in the colon. His right kidney, including some parts of his artery, was found diseased and only 20 percent of his left kidney was working. He was given a choice of three months to live or take a chance at surgery (he might go while under the knife or shortly thereafter or he might live a long healthy life afterwards).

We—Jess, our youngest brother Jing, myself and our mom—had several discussions. Jing wanted him to have surgery. I simply told Jess to pray hard and ask God what He intends him to do. Jess said that he feels he could trust his doctors and is willing to take the risk. He didn’t know Drs. Antonio Comia and Dennis Serrano previously.

Jess said that when he talks with them during their rounds, they seem to be very knowledgeable and genuinely caring. (Unlike one of his doctors who, one rainy day, immediately ordered a dialysis for everyone in the Infirmary Ward. If it were a joke, it was a sick one.) Two months after his surgery, Jess is recovering beautifully with one kidney intact and a clean colon. Jess is profuse with praise and gratitude for his doctors and the nursing staff at UP-PGH. Plus the moral support of relatives and his fellow faculty at UP-Diliman College of Arts & Letters, who contributed not only cash but also prayed hard in his behalf. (May I ask our pious readers to include Jess in their prayers.)

Indeed, a doctor-patient relationship stands solidly on trust. (After all it is He who heals us, but uses our doctors to do the job.) I remember a time in the past when my mother tearfully begged me to transfer her to another hospital or get another doctor because she didn’t trust her doctor. “Whenever he visits me, he greets me without looking at me; pokes at my body with his instrument; mumbles something to his assistants; writes on my chart; then leaves without saying anything to me. He is not a good doctor. I don’t feel safe with him.” Her favorites are Drs. Josie Isidro and Joey Lapeña of UP-PGH.

Two doctors I personally trust my life are Lourdes Hospital’s Dr. Michael “Pogi” Carandang and Unciano’s Dr. Merriam Quirante.

Who is your doctor? Who is your children’s pediatrician? Why and how did you choose them from among thousands of other doctors? Charles H. Green, in his book Trust-based Selling, writes, “Most people will choose the pediatrician who seems to care as long as he or she is within an acceptable range of expertise. And, they will frequently use the word trust to describe their decision.

“The pediatrician selection process is not unlike the decision face by a corporate buyer charged with selecting a law firm, an enterprise software vendor, a reinsurance company, a construction firm, an automotive die-cast supplier, a tax accountant, an audit firm, a telecommunications network or a financial advisor.

“In such cases, trust plays a key role. Specifically, trust is used to ‘cut through’ otherwise enormously complex issues. Given the luxury of choice, such buyers strongly prefer to buy whatever it is they have to buy anyway from someone they trust.”

OK, sometimes we buy on the basis of purely technical specifications, or price or, occasionally, one seller is overwhelmingly superior in the technical realm.

Charles continues, “As buyers, we tend to give at least four levels of answers to the question of motivation in buying: the product and its characteristics or features, a solution to a problem, a good business partner and a person we can trust. The first three answers are purely rational and impersonal—and they assume a relationship with the seller that is somewhat at arm’s length. The fourth—a person we can trust—is far more powerful. This level is personal, not purely rational, complex, involved with the seller, sometimes even messy—in short, human.”

Moje is a consultant on human resource and organization development. She could be reached at

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trust brings back Balikbayans

Learning & Innovation – August 24, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Trust brings back Balikbayans

We have had several relatives and friends on nostalgic trip back here as Balikbayans very recently—Jennifer Aquino, Delia and Awe Aquino, Auring de la Rhea and Venus, Bobby, Jordan and Jason Tiamson, among others. A dear friend Edith Cabalu just left to accompany her Balikbayan granddaughter, Camille, back to California.

When Balikbayans come here, they are always brimming with joy at the prospect of coming home and their luggage is crammed with pasalubongs. And when they go home, they usually carry only a small piece of luggage because they have given away most everything they brought in, including some of their personal belongings like clothes and shoes and cosmetics.

While here they are interested mostly in reuniting with long-time-no-see relatives and friends, visiting interesting sites and memorable nooks and crannies of their childhood or salad days, and pigging out on Filipino foods.. They do go shopping, especially at the Duty Free Shop, to buy more goodies for their friends and relatives.

I notice in recent times, that many Balikbayans do real shopping here. Meaning, they shop to bring home back to where they now live. Most Balikbayans now go home with packed luggage. They used to bring home delicacies like dried fish and squid, dried fruits, especially mango, atchara and mango chutney (yes!), Choc-nut, Chippy, patis, bagoong and other native delicacies. They also bring home bags and sandals made of local materials like abaca.

Of late, Balikbayans have discovered Boy Bawang, Nagaraya, Tiendesitas, Market Market! and 168. And have rediscovered Liliw in Laguna, Greenhills, Tutuban, Ylaya, Ille de Tulle (Ilalim ng Tulay in Quiapo, Manila) to their hearts and pockets delight. A new item in their suitcase are tons of prepared mixes for cooking Filipino food with that distinctive Filipino taste—sinigang sa sampaloic, sinigang sa bayabas, sinigang sa kalamansi, kare-kare, etc. Our kababayans abroad might look and talk like their neighbors, but inside, they are very much Filipinos. As Dr. F. Landa Jocano would say, at the end of the day when the Filipina removes her make-up (Lancome powder, O’real eye make-up, Estee Lauder lipstick), the real Filipina comes out. They speak very good English outside the home, but inside most Filipino homes abroad, the lengua franca is still Filpino or Cebuano or Ilocano.

These products are available in Asian and Filipino stores abroad, why bother to buy them here, lug them thousand miles back to their adopted homes, hurdle stringent customs and security restrictions?

The answer is “trust.”

After being away for 15 years, my niece Jennifer was delighted to find a variety of quality products here at very low prices. She brought home two suitcases of clothing items, Boy Bawang, Nagaraya, banana chips, dried mango and food mixes. Where she now lives in Berkeley, California, independent of her parents, Gemma and Joven, her neighbors would resent her if she cooks tuyo and daing, so she skipped those. But she had a fill of them while here. She particularly enjoyed dining at Gerry’s Grill and Dencio’s.

Edith says her daughter in Los Angeles, Joyce, have asked her to buy a long list of things from here; some of which are even made in the USA, yet are sold cheaper here

Mommy Auring had a Barong Tagalog for her son, Anthony, and party dresses for all her grandchildren in San Diego tailor-made here. She said, “there’s nothing like a dress made especially fit to your measurements. Tailor-made clothes are not so affordable there; they normally settle for off-the-rack ones.

At the base of all that is “trust.” Our Balikbayans are coming back again and again because they are willing to invest their trust in our country and people and because we, who choose to stay here, are doing our part of the trust equation by coming up with quality products, beautiful and livable communities, authentic communication, and upholding our Filipino traditions.

(Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rain, rain, please stay

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 10, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Rain, rain, please stay

THANK God for the continuous downpour that is cooling the air especially at night. My trees are also looking fresh and the jackfruit tastes even sweeter.

The downside is that the pitter-patter of rain and the cool air is always making me drowsy and lazy. Rather than miss a column, let’s have some laughs from favorite misquotes of Mary Rau-Foster.

“I have opinions of my own—strong opinions—but I don’t always agree with them.” —Political Leader

“Not only is he ambidextrous but he can throw with either hand.”—Football coach and sports analyst

“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?”—Former CEO of carmaker

“Please provide the date of your death.”—From an Internal Revenue Service letter

“I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version.”—Military officer in hot water

“Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.” —One time novelist

“The road of good intentions is paved with Hell.”—An optimistic person

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”—A philosopher

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”—A brilliant lawyer

“Antidotes are what you take to prevent dotes.”—An aspiring doctor

“Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly.”—Batman Costume warning label

You can subscribe to Mary’s essays for free weekly e-mails at http:/ every Monday. These essays are also good for your bulletin boards. Mary’s book Motivating Moments is a guaranteed morale booster, as well as thought provoking and inspirational.

And more misquotes from

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”—Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” —Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”—The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

“But what . . . is it good for?” —Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”—Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”—Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”—David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.”—A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”—H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”—Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in Gone With The Wind.

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”—Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”—Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”—Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at

Thursday, August 3, 2006

The enemies of trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 3, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
The enemies of trust

“WE have all seen individuals fight lonely battles of truth in otherwise corrupt organizations only to leave in disgust when the final cards were being played,” write Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau in their book, The Trusted Leader.

“You really can’t be a trusted leader in your organization, or in your part of larger organization, unless an environment of trust exists beyond your office walls. Sure, you can be an island of trust in an otherwise untrustworthy world, but what good is that? If you’re the last bastion of open, honest communication and the free flow of information, you’ll quickly become a target. Your position, while just and heroic, just won’t hold.”

Who or what are the enemies of trust? These enemies—and they are many—are individuals consumed with ambitions to move upward while flattening colleagues or undermining teamwork. They are organizations where the culture punishes dissent, hides conflict and kowtows to hierarchy. They could also be situations like crises and systems such as a compensation system that inadvertently reward unproductive behaviors.

So, specifically who or what are these enemies?

Galford and Drapeau identify them as inadequate communication, misbehavior and situations not remedied or addressed. Specifically, they are:

• People with unhealthy levels of need for promotion, power or recognition
• People whose personal agendas are at odds with those of the organization
• Volatile personalities and/or class A Jerks
• A corporate history of under-performance
• Pulling a “bait and switch”
• Behavior of controlled vengeance
• Inconsistent messaging
• Complicated situations
• Unintended consequences
• Endless management reorganizations
• Rapidly changing situations
• Misplaced benevolence
• False feedback
• Elephant meandering undisturbed in the parlor
• Inconsistent reactions or standards
• Excessively strict or inflexible standards
• Scapegoating
• Taking away part of the everyday
• Paralysis in the face of difficulty
• Incompetence, perceived or actual
• Failing to trust others
• Your own sweet self

Organizations will always experience exciting or exasperating times. Sometimes, though, some seemingly simple decisions that are left hanging give rise to a host of “rumors” that complicates things. Employees hate a vacuum, especially in communication. And so they start to speculate to fill in information that is not there or without anything solid to grab, employees will over-read into any shared information they find.

Mergers and acquisitions, though they bring positive changes for the organization, could spell trouble to some employees. They start fearing for their jobs and make decisions based on those fears, rather than on what is good for business as a whole.

In many organizations I consult with, one thing that employees complain about is the seemingly never-ending reorganization. When I ask for an organizational chart for the organizing part (remember POLC? Planning, organizing, leading and controlling) of our Supervisory Development Workshop, for example, nobody could provide for an updated organization chart. They say that an updated organizational chart is their own continuing science experiment.

“Change in and of itself has no direct link to the level of trust in an organization, but the way in which change is viewed, handled, communicated, and positioned does.”

To attend the Taiwan Summit on Globalization of Human Resource 2006 in Taipei this September 22-23, please go to or email for details.

Moje consults on human resource and organization development and could be reached at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trust is contagious

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, July 20, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Trust is contagious

TRUST building is at the core of the work of a leader. Establishing trust is an important step to enabling you and everyone in your entire organization to take more physical and emotional risks.

According to authors Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau, leaders who cultivate a culture of trust reap identifiable advantages. Some of which are: trust frees people, fuels passion, provides focus, fosters innovation, gives people time to get things right and lowers costs.

The other benefit of trusted leadership is that it is contagious. Everyone in your organization knows it when they are trusted and they are bound to trust in return. The internal trust helps build more of it up and down your supply chain, from vendors to customers. Trust inside builds trust outside.

Trust is empowering. Frontliners, particularly, need all the trust they could get from their leaders to serve customers best. Frontline leaders, likewise, need the trust of higher management in order to serve their subordinates better.

I really like to shop, for example, in a place where the salespeople could make decisions on discounts, returns and others without having to call the manager or cringe in fear of consequences of their action. These critical incidents tell me how much trust management has on their service providers.

When there is no trust, you can be certain the owners/leaders of the establishment have not gone on vacation even for a single day since day one of their operation.

According to Galford and Drapeau, “trusted leadership helps recruit people who are on the same wavelength. When people are genuinely enthusiastic about where they work (because they are trusted), it is much easier for them and for the organization to engage with prospective employees and convey exactly what the organization is about. Trusted leadership helps make the right match between people with great experience and skill and your organization.”

Corollary, trusted leadership helps retain great employees. “Whenever someone leaves one organization for another or to pursue independent work, the move is usually motivated more by issues of personal and organization trust than it is by issues of compensation or title.”

It is often said, because of our labor laws, that you could simply mark time until your retirement; you don’t need to be a great contributor to the success of your organization. But you could get fired anytime or fire somebody readily because of lack of trust.

People join organizations; they leave leaders they don’t trust. Remember it costs more to recruit, hire and develop new employees than to maintain great ones.

The implications are enormous according to the book Trusted Leadership, “Consider the average tenure for employees has decline in the past 20 years. People in every single age group, 25-64, spent less time with the same employer. In some cases, the median tenure with employers dropped by as much as two years a person. If most of the people who shift jobs are doing so because of trust issues, they’re naturally moving on more cautiously. They’re jaded, suspicious going forward, less likely to extend trust in their next work environment. Lack of trusted leadership has potentially broad societal and cultural, psychological and emotional impact that are genuinely frightening to consider.”

Finally, trusted leadership improves the quality of work. “With trusted leadership, there is teamwork. With teamwork, people help one another do the business of the company; improved quality is a natural byproduct.”

Trust is vital in establishing an atmosphere of safe, honest participation for people to become contributors.

Again, Taiwan is inviting to their Summit on Globalization of Human Resources 2006 in Taipei this September 22 and 23. Please go to for details or e-mail to

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., could be reached at

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Best choice is to trust

Learning & Innovation – July 13, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Best choice is to trust

Previously we were discussing why we need to stick our neck out and simply trust people, the system, the organization and others. Do we have a choice?

Maybe, there are people and organizations with less than decent or virtuous motives—e.g. those who swindle people of their lifetime savings through pyramid business schemes or those with vicious mindset—maybe. Still in our day-to-day social and business life, the people we meet or the organization to which we belong or the system and conditions under which we operate are meant to support us fulfill our goals and objectives. Tell me, how many of the people you know you could trust? Otherwise, you wouldn’t even throw them a glance or give them a thought.

Leaders, especially, need to trust and earn trust. Authors Robert Galford and Anne Seibord Drapeau tell us why in their book, The Trusted Leader. The first three benefits are that trusted leadership frees people, fuels passion and provides focus.

Likewise, trusted leadership fosters innovation. “When people don’t feel that they have to analyze every last little thing through a lens of distrust, they can spend time, instead, exploring new ways to solve problems or to take the company forward, without fear that their won actions are going to be misperceived as wasteful. At some companies, that kind of exploration is built into the job descriptions, and trusted leaders allow it to happen. People can tinker and they often emerge with great results.”

In our personal dealings, trusting leads us to creatively and jointly solve problems, instead of blaming. We focus on what we could do and do differently, not on collecting excuses for failures.

Trusted leadership gives people the time to get it right. “As you can see, all of these benefits of trusted leadership are interwoven; they feed upon and build upon one another. When leaders do not encourage freedom and focus, people tend to make decisions too quickly; they want to produce results so that the spotlight can be off them and on to the next person as quickly as possible. They pass the ball and pass the buck and just get out an answer—any answer—so that they can claim closure. With trust, it’s OK if the buck stops at you for a while. People feel free to say, ‘I need more time to get this right.’ They don’t just get it done; they get the right thing done.”

When we personally trust or be trusted, we allow people to do right without rushing or constantly checking on them. A sense of urgency is important, but we allow those we trust to use their time judiciously and take extra time when needed. We don’t simply go around accusing people of slacking. Lack of trust make people pretend to be busy without real accomplishment.

Trusted leadership lowers costs. Trusting relationships, personal or business, work at improving their communication process and style. There is nothing better than discussing and ironing out kinks from the very start, than argue all the way to an unseen ending. Nobody ever quantifies the cost of having to argue about some things all the time. Trust allows people to clarify and agree of expectations—deadlines, resources needed, quality standards, etc.

I trust that you will read the next column for more on trust.

Taiwan is inviting to their Summit on Globalization of Human Resources 2006 in Taipei this September 22 & 23. “Our goals for the summit are to raise competitiveness of the diverse global interests of business executives and HR professionals, to enhance greater participation in international exchange and cooperation and, by doing so, to promote the Human Resource Development movement locally, nationally and internationally.”

Please go to for details or email to

(Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp, could be reached at

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How do we trust?

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 29, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
How do we trust?

LAST column we shared the view of writers Valerie Nellen and Susan Wilkes in The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Teambuilding Tools. They wrote that trust comes from a three-part foundation composed of competence, consistency and care. We discussed the first two.

The third piece of foundation of trust according to Nellen and Wilkes is care. “When a person demonstrates that he or she cares about our well-being and is willing to put our welfare ahead of his or her concerns, we feel safe. We willingly risk being emotionally, financially, or otherwise vulnerable with a person whom we trust to look out for our needs and keep our secrets.”

When all three centers of trust are found a relationship, “we can say that we trust the other person. When one element is missing, we may trust the person in a limited way, but we do not fully give ourselves over to the other person.

Indeed I have a very good friend who trusts me with her deepest secrets. As her husband would even say, “Moje knows more about my wife than I do.” This is because my friend knows that her secrets are safe with me precisely because we are best friends and I care much about her. These secrets are not exactly shocking or dark or embarrassing. They are everyday things that good friends share with each other. They are really feelings, not much facts and figures.

Sharing feelings and emotions are much more fragile than sharing mere details of facts and figures. Feelings are not easily shared. Sharing feelings and keeping what is shared to oneself is what makes for trust between best friends.

Same things happen in the work situation. Generally, information is easily obtainable. But reactions, conclusions, consequences, next moves are the ones kept under wraps until the proper time. Woe to the ones who make these public. Many a manager lose their job because of “lack of trust.”

How about you? Who do you trust and why do you trust? Do you ever feel vulnerable and dependent on others? How do you define trust? How is trust achieved? How is trust encouraged? How can you build trust in a setting in which risk and vulnerability exist? How can you build trust in everyday setting? How do you deal with breach of trust?

Here’s a reaction from Ernie Cordero: Let me share with you an actual experience of one of the oldest multinational pharma companies in the Philippines (late eighties) when the full field force’s trust crumbled in an instant.

This company was once headed by an old and expat president and CEO who inspired trust and top performance from the entire workforce. The formula—he is treated like a father, an old sage, a very dependable, reliable, generous man. Every year is a triumphant banner year and every member of the organization was so happy until he retired.

Consequently, a new administration came into the company. The supposed bright team laughed and ridiculed the former expat CEO’s style (very Filipino approach) as an example for bad management. This Filipino CEO immediately assumed the position and started to rock the boat, but never reached any quota for his whole stay in the company until he was replaced.

The original field force were either retired, fired or put to oblivion. The new CEO introduced bright and up-to-date management concepts and philosophy. He even called himself “the guru’” to highlight his role and significance to the company. Alas, the whole field force was suspicious of him and gave bad performance.

PERSONAL. My term as Rotary president is done. My signature project “Accelerated Learning Workshop (4 days) for Public School Teachers” is highly appreciated by the 700 teachers who have attended it. Therefore, I intend to continue this project and spread it all over the country. I need your help to sponsor teachers to the Workshop. We need our teachers to be competent, consistent and caring.

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp, can be reached at

Thursday, June 22, 2006

‘I trust you’

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 22, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
‘I trust you’

WHAT does “I trust you” mean? You know, you often tell that to your children, spouse, subordinates, peers, bosses, friends and others you relate with. What you are really saying is “Look guys, please spare me the worrying and do as you are expected to do.”

Saying “I trust you” really means making yourself believe that that person will do and encouraging that person to do what was said to be done. Trust is believing that words mean what they appear to mean. It is seeing action that is consistent with the verbal or coded or written message. It is doing what is promised to be done.

Trust is not simply making others believe that you’re something that you’re not or you’ll do something that you won’t. This is “con.” Trust is not believing anything that anyone says is automatically true. That’s being gullible.

In business, we express trust in many different ways, e.g., “walk the talk and talk the talk.” Trust here is carrying out the advertised “image” your organization presents to the public, internal and external. It carries with it a dollop of respect and confidence. For example, your customer buys your product because of the features and price that you attach to it. When the product is sold at a higher price or bogs down immediately after the warranty lapse, then trust is destroyed. Your customer could easily buy another brand of the same product. So trust is synonymous to branding. Let’s talk about branding in another time.

Trust seems to be an elusive concept to define. So when we talk about trust, we talk about themes, attitudes, behaviors and actions that build or undermine trust. When we talk about trust we also talk about issues that pertain to relationships, issues that are within or beyond our control, issues that only other people could address and issues which are beyond your team’s control and not likely to change. Building trust means focusing on issues that both parties can control and resolve.

My personal conclusion is that trust is a feeling, an emotion, an expression of confidence in and willingness to act on the basis of the words, actions and decision of another person. Elaine Biech, editor of The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Teambuilding Tools, asserts that trust includes the very important element of allowing oneself to be vulnerable, based on the assumption that the trusted person will provide protection. Employees, for example, willingly join an organization and do their job that they could not have done alone, trusting that their bosses would see them through successfully.

Where does trust come from? Why do we trust? Biech explains that trust has a three-part foundation. “The first is competence. We are all more likely to trust someone who demonstrates an ability to perform whatever task is at hand. We rely on the ability of the other person to do what he/she says he/she could do.” In work situations, trust is the basis for delegation. When bosses know their subordinates could do the job, they trust them to do bigger responsibilities and more complicated tasks; then leave them alone to do the job without checking up to make sure that the work is being done properly.

The second piece of foundation of trust is consistency. We are more all inclined to trust someone who demonstrates consistent behavior: telling the truth, demonstrating integrity in word and deed and honoring commitments. When someone is consistent, we say that we can count on or depend on him or her. We place faith in the statements or consistent people without independently verifying their actions. This level of behavior predictability is vital to trust.” We tend to trust others who are consistently correct and are consistently doing the right things.

The third basis for trust is care. We’ll discuss that lengthily next ish.

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., could be reached at

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Trust described

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 15, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Trust described

OVER the weekend while in Davao, I researched on the concept of “trust” and found that there is not much material directly discussing the matter. In some books on teambuilding, there are a couple of exercises on building trust, but not much discussion. So I looked up a trust in and this is part of what I found.

As a verb,

Trust—have confidence or faith in; “We can trust in God;” “Rely on your friends;” “bank on your good education;” “I swear by my grandmother’s recipes” rely, swear, bank

Believe—accept as true; take to be true; “I believed his report;” “We didn’t believe his stories from the War;” “She believes in spirits”

Credit—have trust in; trust in the truth or veracity of

Lean—rely on for support; “We can lean on this man”

Depend, bet, reckon, calculate, count, look—have faith or confidence in; “you can count on me to help you any time;” “Look to your friends for support;” “You can bet on that!;” “Depend on your family in times of crisis”

Trusttrust—allow without fear, be confident about something, expect and wish; “I believe that he will come back from the war”

Entrust, intrust, confide, commit—confer a trust upon; “The messenger was entrusted with the general’s secret;” “I commit my soul to God”

Commend—give to in charge; “I commend my children to you”

Anticipate, expect—regard something as probable or likely; “The meteorologists are expecting rain for tomorrow”

Wish—hope for; have a wish; “I wish I could go home now”

Countenance, permit, allow, let—consent to, give permission; “She permitted her son to visit her estranged husband;” “I won’t let the police search her basement;” “I cannot allow you to see your exam”

Hand, pass on, turn over, pass, reach, give—place into the hands or custody of; “hand me the spoon, please;” “Turn the files over to me, please;” “He turned over the prisoner to his lawyers”

Consign, charge—give over to another for care or safekeeping; “consign your baggage”

As a noun,

Trust—certainty based on past experience; “he wrote the paper with considerable reliance on the work of other scientists;” “he put more trust in his own two legs than in the gun”

Certainty—the state of being certain; “his certainty reassured the others”

Trusttrust—the trait of trusting; of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; “the experience destroyed his trust and personal dignity.” Also, complete confidence in a person or plan etc; “he cherished the faith of a good woman;” “the doctor-patient relationship is based on trust.” And, a trustful relationship; “he took me into his confidence;” “he betrayed their trust”

As trait—a distinguishing feature of your personal nature

Belief—any cognitive content held as true

Credulity—tendency to believe readily

These descriptions tell us how to trust. Next ish, let’s talk about the absence of trust.

I am part of a team from the Department of Tourism that trains tourist police. I handle values orientation. In Davao, there are 70 tourist police entrusted with the task of “protecting foreign tourists.” I say that we equally protect our fellow Filipinos, especially our women and children, from these tourists. Unfortunately, many of the kind of tourists we attract are not necessarily trustworthy as some come here for reasons other than to appreciate our country and people. Look around Boracay, Manila and others.

Likewise, when we say, “protect tourists,” my question is: “from whom”? Do we discriminate against our fellow Filipinos to please tourists? We are overdoing things again.

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., can be reached at