Try fishing…

You know that saying–

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

This is not about that saying. Big Bear, September of 2012.

…at Big Bear, September of 2012.

Ethan just loves fishing. I have no idea where he got it from but ever since he was a kid, he just loved to go fishing. And this was fishing in the province—in Peace Pond with one of his best friends Miles. Miles would make a fishing rod out of a long piece of stick and a hook and off they went.

So on one of my visits to the States, we looked for a fishing lake and there, Ethan learned how to properly fish. They had professional fishing people and they taught him everything, we got him a whole set of gears—the real stuff. He had his own tackle box and fishing rod with all the gadgets, it was great.

Then we went fishing on a Saturday. We were there at 6am because the professionals would go around and teach between 6-8am. So we were there and we learned a lot. This was at Irvine Lake, just 10 minutes from Tustin Ranch.

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That day, Ethan caught 8 fishes, that averaged 8 inches, they were not small fishes. Don’t ask what kind if fish they were coz I have no idea. See, Ethan fishes, I watch and learn alongside the kid.  Anyways, so there he was, catching one after the other and his tito Richard, a good friend of mine who is a camping expert would take out the fish and put it in our cooler. In the meantime, there were these two kids running back and forth from their campsite and they were astounded.  One of the kids was so astounded at Ethan’s catch, I didn’t know if his eyes would pop out, he was just freaking out. Ethan and I couldn’t stop ourselves from laughing at this kid.  So he ran back and forth and on the 8th catch, he tells us this really sad story—it was his birthday and they’d been there since this morning and haven’t caught anything and it was already mid-afternoon.

Ethan offered to give him a fish but he didn’t accept. We wanted him to catch something because it was his birthday but what could we do. What started out as a funny kid story became a sad one.

Our next trip was to Big Bear. We pitched a tent and fished. Richard wasn’t with us anymore, it was just Ethan and me.  We fished the whole afternoon till sundown. We didn’t catch any. The following morning, we rented a small boat and went out the lake. Nada. No fish.  But we were happy campers. I have to say the bonding experience is priceless.

This is why I don’t ever get to parties…

All this time, I’ve bashed myself at being a flaker.  Picture this.

Someone invites me to a party.  I say yes. And I mean it. I really mean it when I say yes. I’m actually excited to go to the party.

Party day comes, I’m still psyched.

As I’m doing my thing, I dress up and the heaviness starts.  But I do dress up.  Then I go back to whatever it is I’m doing– usually it involves my laptop.

Then I delay and say to myself “I’ll be a little late, it won’t matter, it’s a party”.

And then I start to take off my shoes. And then my socks. And then my shirt. And then at some point I say to myself “they won’t miss me, it’s a party, I should finish what I’m doing, I have to do this…”

Another party flaked on.

My new year’s resolution was just this– to attend every party I say yes to.  And last night, I flaked on one again.  And I wanted to go but I was fixated on this script I was writing, again.  And this morning, I read this article and it all made sense.  I’m just a selfish creative bastard is why.

My mistake is that I don’t say No.  And I should.  Hmmm.

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Rare: A family complete

7 siblingsEvery now and then you get a chance to witness a family coming together and ironically, as the world supposedly has become smaller, this has become rather rare.  This is the family of my mom. I took this in Lakawon island back in 2007 I think. These siblings haven’t been complete in 13 years until this time so this is one of those rare moments.

LA 2012

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Men do not learn very much from the lessons of history. And that is the most important of all the lessons of history.  (Aldous Huxley)

Accessories to the crime…

Gadget bag

Favorite pen, reading glasses, lens cleaner, thumb drive, earphones, keys to the house, power pack, videocamera, shades, card reader, highlighter, mosquito patch…never, ever leave home without them.

Now all I need are some plane tickets.

The one person I admire the most…Scot Harrison

Click HERE for video!!!

Click HERE for Charity:Water video!

There are plenty of people I admire: the late Steve Jobs, Stefan Sagmeister, Sugata Mitra, Ken Robinson, Pranav Mistry, Steven Spielberg, Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, my Tito Nene, my brother Robin, Ana Balcels, my most favorite couple in the world–Checcs and Jet Orbida, I used to admire JFK but realize I don’t know him that well, it was a time I can hardly relate to…

I realize that more than plain talent, it’s innovative ideas in making the world better or just plain excellence and extreme focus on whatever they did are what drew me towards these people.

But the person I can related to the most is this guy, Scot Harrison. Watch the videos!  One is an interview on him and the other one is about Charity:water, the NGO he put up.  Whenever I do something, I always think–what would Scot Harrison do and how would he do it?

My happiness project.


2010 to present, we’re still a small company and we like it that way. We get to do everything ourselves so it’s still personal.  Yeah, that’s our specialty, being personal with every project, every problem, every solution.

There is no fascination with the number 7.  It just so happened that all the short films I did back then unintentionally had a number 7 in their title.  And so it’s almost funny to stick to this number. Hey, maybe it’s my lucky number, who knows?

We started with this sharp mustard yellow Seven logo and went on to the softer non-logo branding “Let us tell your story”.

We’re still evolving but committed. I’ve grew up reading and hearing people reach their twilight years wanting to do what they’ve always wanted but never having done it…or some of them do it when they’re quite old.  I’ve always said to myself that I won’t live that way.  I will do what I want when it is clear to me what that is.  And so I chose to do films and work with NGO’s. And I’ve never looked back ever since.

I will always keep on making films and working with NGO’s.

I realize that happiness is when you’re where you want to be and you’re with people you want to be with. That makes me a happy man.

An NGO-service provider, we set up Seventh Films specifically to help them (NGO’s) do their work of advocacy… help them fix the world so-to-speak.

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A chance for a better life.

Click to watch my very first video for an NGO!

It was 2008.  Me and my sister went out to the farm and shot these two kids before they went to school.  No crew, just me, my sister and the twins. Yep, they’re twins and they love school.  We shot this video from 5:30-7am only because they had to be in school.  Brought the footage to Manila and Fiona Borres edited it.

It’s still one of my favorite videos even if it’s old because there was a simplicity to the whole thing. And it was all about “kids want to go to school”, period.




Must-read!  Outliers literally hooked me into reading. Loved Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Tipping Point but this was brilliant, I think.  I loved it so much, I searched for the writer’s email and wrote him asking when his next book will come out. And he replied.  He’s actually fun to watch on TED and his other speaking engagements which you can find on Youtube.

Talent Code is a must for parents and educators. It’s as brilliant as Outliers. When you’ve read both, it will give you a whole new insight into education, learning and achieving.

Talent Code



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