The Greed Trap

This is a story normally used by motivational speakers to inspire people to let go of their old perceptions.  Alternatively, it could also be used to show how greed could be used to tie up or trap people.

There is a kind of monkey trap used in Asia. A coconut is hollowed out and attached by a rope to a tree or stake in the ground. At the bottom of the coconut a small slit is made and some sweet food is placed inside. The hole on the bottom of the coconut is just big enough for the monkey to slide in his open hand, but does not allow for a closed fist to pass out. The monkey smells the sweets, reaches in with his hand to grasp the food and is unable to withdraw it.

The clinched fist won't pass through the opening. When the hunters come, the monkey becomes frantic but cannot get away. There is no one keeping that monkey captive, except the force of its own attachment. All that it has to do is open its hand. But so strong is the force of greed in the mind that it is a rare monkey which can let goy

You know why the monkey gets trapped? Because of its greed. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed, until he is captured; forever a captive of his greed.

Would this story be also true of people?
It is true of most of us too. Certain desires, ambitions, and biases keep us trapped.  Just like the monkey, all we need to do is "open our hands",  let go of ourselves, our attachments, and be free. What do you think?


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The Alarm Clock

alarm clock, bought from IKEA
An Alarm Clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The alarm clock is only useful if you follow what you wanted it to do for you,  that is, to wake up as soon as it rings. How you react to an alarm,  especially if  you personally set it,  is a reflection of your personality.

Designed to Remind Us to Wake Up

An alarm clock is designed to make a loud sound at a specific time.  These types of clocks are used to awaken people from their night's sleep or short naps.  They are sometimes used for other reminders as well. To stop the sound, a button or handle on the clock is pressed; but most clocks automatically stop the alarm sound if left unattended long enough. A classic  alarm clock has an extra hand or inset dial that is used to specify the time at which to activate the alarm.

With modern technology, digital gadgets have added the alarm functions to their capabilities. So alarm alerts are now standard features of  wristwatches and cellphones.  Many cell phones feature built-in alarms that do not require the phone to be powered on for the alarm to go off. Other cell phones feature the ability for the user to set the tone of the alarm, and in some cases music can be downloaded  to the phone and then chosen to play for waking.

But the way man interacts with the "alarm clock" remains the same, as when it was first used – to warn people about certain thing sthat they have to do once the alarm sounded.

So here the gist of the message I am trying to convey today:

We set our alarm clocks to a certain time before we go to sleep. We  want to wake up early enough so as not to be late for work or for our early morning rituals.

But waking up and starting to prepare for work or commencing our morning  routines are two different things.

When the alarm rings, we immediately push either its stop  or its snooze button.  We do not want to get up: we either want to go back to sleep or we just like to stay  in bed.  In some instances we even forgot that we were the one who set the alarm. And foolishly curse  it: saying it is still too early or  that it has goben off sooner than the time it was set, etc.  

But what most of us do is to re-set the alarm to a later time.   And when it rings again, we hit again the snooze or the stop button. And goes back to sleep beacuse it is still too early.

Yes, with the help of an alarm clok, all of us can really wake up early.  But waking up early does not mean rising up up from the bed early.

Because we seem to have a lot more time, if we feel lazy.

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The Sunset

I was in the Candaba Swamps in the afternoon of February 6, 2012. I was there to watch the migratory birds, but I got an added bonus: I was able to watch the sun as it was about to set.

Sunset at the Candaba Swamps February 2006

It was a most beautiful sight to see – a picture of tranquility, solitude and peacefulness.  I looked around to check  if the other people I saw working the fields earlier  were watching the sunset.  They were not. They were either walking  or  pedaling their bikes towards their homes.

Just like in Manila, I thought. We have a most beautiful sight of the Manila Bay sunset, but only a few people care to watch it. At the time the sun is setting, most  Manilenos are still at work;  are already on the way home from work; or, doesn't care about the sunset at all!

Manila Bay Sunset 2006

The sunset is not the only natural phenomenon suffering the same fate. The plants and the flowers in the forests are in the same boat. They grow, they die and they rot without anybody seeing them. The birds in the forests sing beautiful songs with no man being able to listen to their tunes.

So the next time you did something which you thought was outstanding but nobody praised you for it or even called your attention to it,  just remember the sunset and the plants,  the flowers and the birds in the forests.

Beautiful things and outstanding deeds are sometimes left unnoticed. But even then, they remain beautiful and outstanding. 


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Beauty Contests’ Q&A Moments

Beauty Contests Boo boos

It is during the Q&A portions of beauty contests that judges can ascertain whether the contestant has what it takes to win the crown. Oftentimes, it also provides a hint as to whether there is something between the ears of the aspirants.

Here are some amusing moments we noted during one of these beauty contests.

  • Host : If you had a foreigner friend, where will you bring him to showcase the beauty of the  Philippines?
  • Contestant : Bocaue.
  • Host : Bocaue. Why Bocaue? There are so many places in the Philippines? Why Bocaue?
  • Contestant: Because it’s a magnificent place.
  • Host : Which part of Bocaue?
  • Contestant: The Bocaue Rice Terraces.


  •  Host : What is your best feature?
  • Contestant : My graduation picture and also my baby picture.


  •  Host : What is you favorite motto?
  • Contestant : If others can’t, why can’t I!


  •  Host : What would you like to say to foreigners?
  • Contestant : Please come back or you shall return.


  •  Host : What is your typical day?
  • Contestant : I think Saturday po!


  • Host : If you were to describe the color blue to a blind person, how would you do   it?
  • Contestant : That is a very good and easy question but is hard to answer… He! He! He!


  • Host : What is your edge over the other contestants?
  • Contestant : My edge? I’m 21 years old, Sir!


  •  Host : What, in your opinion, is the ideal age for marriage?
  • Contestant: Thirty-five.
  • Host: Why 35?
  • Contestant: Because you are already old enough not to make any mistakes.


  • Host : How do you see yourself 10 years from now?
  • Contestant: I am now 18, plus 10… I’ll be 28!


  • Host : What is the biggest problem facing the youth today?
  • Contestant : Drugs!
  • Host : Why?
  • Contestant: Kasi it is very expensive na, Sir!


  • Host : What is the essence of a woman posing nude in magazines?
  • Contestant : Girls should be proud because when she is naked it is pleasing and essential to men’s eyes!


  • Host : What makes you blush?
  • Contestant: I don’t blush because I have a dark complexion.



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The Candle

Here is a story of a rich businessman who wants to retire and has to choose from among his three sons the one who will take over his business.  He decided to give it to the one with the best business acumen.

He called all three and gave each of  them a thousand pesos. He instructed them them to buy something that will fill up all the corners of his office. 

The first son bought a tree full of branches and leaves. He had it cut down and brought everything to his father's office. It filled up half of the room.

The second son hired a  laborer to cut as much grasses and bring it to his father's office. It filled up more than half of the father's office.

The third, bought a candle, went to his father's office, turned off the lights and then lighted the candle.

And the whole room was filled with light.



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An Easter Sunday Message



As we celebrate Easter, may we realize

  • the weakness of our body; 
  • the irrationality of our feelings;
  • the folly of human pride;
  • the ugliness of egoism;
  • the vanity of ambition;
  • the limitation of our wealth;
  • the finiteness of our knowledge; and,
  • the shortness of our breath.


Only God can fill the emptiness of our lives. Let us return everything to God – with sorrow for our sins, holy fear, humility, hope and joy.


Christ is Risen!


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