How to Get the Most Out of Retirement


Retirement is fun.

Retirement these days is drastically different from a few years ago when it simply means to stop working, laze around the house entire day while living off a retirement pension.

Now, everybody wants to retire in style. They want to get the most out of it, i.e., spend their days the way they want to, engage in sports, travel, fine-dine at least once a week and, for singles, give love another go, and many others.

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How I Survived New Year’s Eve: A Lesson in Handling Loneliness

new year

New Year’s Eve – long enough to drive out the darkness

“Be bold,  be brave,” I kept telling myself. That’s how I survived New Year’s Eve.

Last New Year’s eve was my 69th. In short, I’ve had lots of it already, which I am very thankful for.

Oh yes, I ‘ve had so many New Year celebrations to reminisce about, from the time I learned how to pop a firecracker, through my adolescent years up until I had my own family.

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If Your Life is in a Rut, Do Something before You Rot


Are you in this rut?

Two weeks ago, I passed by a pick-up truck with this sticker on the back. I did not mind it until I was a few steps away.

So I hurried back and took this picture.

The message, at face value, is satirically funny. Yet it is laden with a deeper meaning for a lot of seniors like you and me.

It made me wonder, “Is my life like this? What a rut that would be.”

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Elder Abuse: Another Menace to Seniors

elder abuse

Never do it again, you hear?

The life of a senior is often like playing with a loaded dice – they lose each toss.

Not only do we face a myriad of problems, i.e., physical, mental, social, money, loneliness and many others, we are also easy preys to elder abuse.

For example, the U.S. Justice Department estimates that 1 in 10 seniors are abused each year. The figures could be higher if all cases are reported.

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How to Ease Your Loneliness



Loneliness – silent but deadly!

I am a live-alone senior but I am never lonely.

Why? Because my mind is always exploring ideas, wandering to distant places and new technologies, and how to get people read my articles. LOL!

I never allow my mind to dwell on self-pity, disappointments over past failures and unmet expectations. Yes, I grieved deeply when my wife died but I got out of it soon before it can ruin me.

In fact, I relish my lonesome moments because by being alone, I can have clarity of mind and the motivation to achieve my purpose as a writer.

But I cannot speak for other seniors.

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Why Gays Are to be Treated like Any Other


Gay couple – they are people, too!

I am not gay, but there is always one in every generation of my family.

When I was young, I was effeminate that my Mom wanted me to be a priest. LOL!

Maybe my consciousness revolted against the idea that I shed off that trait as I grew up. But my younger brother got that familial aberrant gene. And my nephew and uncles and cousins on both sides of the family.

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The Filipino Houses of Acuzar – a “Must See!”

Maranaw Houses – simple, elegant and extinct.

Nothing is over until it’s over- no matter how old you can be.

I found this out over the weekend in a place I thought I may never have the chance to see, feel and experience in my lifetime – the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (The Filipino Houses of Acuzar), a heritage resort in Bagac, Bataan, Philippines,  150 kms west of Metro Manila.

Through Google, I had a fairly good idea what to expect. But it was too far below from what I saw when we got there.

The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is not just like any resort. It is a resort with a difference – it takes you back to between mid-Spanish colonial times and early American occupation.

In a touch of insanely creative genius (and lots of cash), the owner, Mr. José “Gerry” Acuzar, an architect, built replicas or bought Filipinos houses of the era, dismantled them “in situ,”  and rebuilt them, piece by piece, into his 40-ha lot in the province.

The result is like a storybook that is seen and felt, not read.

Mr. Acuzar’s eye for perfection left nothing to chance – from the cobbled paths along each house, to the stone bridges that span the resort’s waterways, and the attire the staff wears – all are reminiscent of that important period of the country’s history.

And it has paid off. The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is now one of the Philippines’ most visited travel destinations and a favorite wedding venue.


Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar:

The food is great, but the interior is astounding (this is where we had lunch).


A tiny glimpse of the past (taken along the beach front) – how it must have looked in the mid 1800s, sans the passenger jeep.


Fantastic view from elegantly made stone bridges – taken from the back entrance of our hotel


Old but stately – El 82 – the hotel we stayed in. It belonged to the famous Ongpins of Manila.


Lola Basyang and children eager to hear her stories:

“Lola Basyang” is the pen name of Severino Reyes (February 11, 1861 – September 15, 1942), a Filipino writer and playwright and famous for his anthology of short stories that regaled children at the time.


Bridge of monsters:

Lola Basyang’s favorite evil characters, beautifully sculpted, attached beneath a breath-taking stone bridge (l to rkapre (ogre), mananggal (vampire), and the tikbalang (centaur)).


Hotel del Oriente – regal and colorful, then and now

Hotel del Oriente was a first class hotel in Manila and the entire archipelago built by Don Manuel Perez Marqueti in 1889.

If you missed it then, don’t miss it now.


The one and only – its plate states that it was the only red brick house during the period.

Then and now, it is still a sight to behold.


Want a ride?

Tourists having a field day in a horse-drawn colorful carriage. At the back is Casa Hagonoy.


The other face of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar:

As unique as this resort is, it is also unique in its facility to provide beach-lovers an unparalleled space to romp, play games, or simply bond – barefoot – on the sand.

Its beachfront is as broad and deep and clean (probably cleaner) than that of Atlantic City’s.


The beach – as long and wide as your legs can take.


Or bond with friends in the midst of sea, sky sand – the elements of a happy and contented life,


Or enjoy the spectacle of carabao racing.


And when the sun starts it journey to the far side and make today a yesterday, it is the best place for contemplation and gratitude for having lived a day that will soon become a memory.

As a writer, I pride myself with having a deep vocabulary. Yet, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, left me speechless. I can use all the superlatives in the English language, but deep in my gut is the nagging feeling that I have not described it well enough.

Note: All photos were taken from my new Huawei Nova 2i – courtesy of my daughter. LOL!




















5 Cool Ideas to Keep You Busy and Happy

DIY things

I can do this!

Have you ever mowed your lawn using not a mechanized or motorized mower, but the old mechanical, push and pull type?

A week ago, I did. It is one of those “do-it-yourself” things I love to do. This time, however, there was nothing lovable about it  It was pure hard labor I almost quit several times during the two-hour ordeal.

The problem was not in the mowing but of the thick grass cover of my lawn. Each push and pull of the darn, old clickity-clank of the mower was pure agony.

My stubbornness paid off. Not only was I able to make my lawn look fresh – again – I also kept myself busy with what could have been another lazy Sunday.

It saved me a few bucks and kept boredom away. Though dead-tired afterward, my self-esteem was given a big boost.

Of course, you don’t have to mow your lawn to accomplish what I did. There are several ways of keeping yourself busy and your self-esteem happy. Here are five super cool ideas to choose from:


1.  Wooden toolbox:
You can make a simple, yet elegant, wooden toolbox from bits of wood, a few nails, and a small tube of wood glue.Then you must have a hammer, jigsaw and a planer.

Of course, you can buy one from Costco or any other hardware store, but making it yourself is more fun and satisfying.


2.  Bacon candles:
A bacon candle is a candle made from leftover fat after cooking bacon. It makes your home smell like sizzling bacon long after you have washed down your bacon-and-egg breakfasts with brewed coffee.

You can learn how to do this from a short video tutorial at


3.  Knife from used saw blades:
I am a recycle and reuse guy but I have not tried this one yet. It is difficult to lay my hands on discarded saw blades. If you can, recycling them into kitchen or utility knives.

Small knives like this will be good for cutting or dicing vegetables of pruning small branches from your garden plants.

Detailed instruction on how to make this is shown at


4.  Paracord recliner:
If you want a comfortable recliner in your garden or porch, don’t buy. Make one.

All you need are a few pieces of wood, carpentry tools, and a parachute cord. It’s lightweight, elegant and you can move it anywhere you want to.

You can refer to to help you build one.


5.  Signature camera strap:
No, I don’t mean a camera strap from Salvatore, but something more personal, something that shows your personality – your signature camera strap.

It is really quite easy and cheap. All you need are an old polo shirt, a frayed belt, belt and an old leather boot.

Detailed instructions are found at

DIY things may require some effort, probably a stiff learning curve. But that’s the challenge – to flex your mental muscles a bit, test your resourcefulness and ingenuity.

But the feeling of having done something is very exhilarating; it makes you feel superb, gives you purpose.

I take pride in what I do. It is evident in my writing. Yes, writing keeps me busy. In fact, I wish I can stretch the hours a little more so I can do more learning and writing.

Try it. You will never regret it.

Please share to encourage other seniors the beauty of self-satisfaction one gets from DIY things.



Are You Growing Old

Celebrating life each day at 73!

Next year I will turn 70. Not only am I old, but I am getting old(er). LOL!

I don’t know what it would be like to be 70. What I know is that I will be doing the things I am doing now and keep on doing them as long as I can do them – just like this sidewalk vendor.

She’s 73 yr-old-widow with 9 children and as many grandchildren (some of her children are not married yet).

She has to commute more than 10 kms/day, lugging her basket of green mangoes to sell them on the same spot I met her in one day.

When asked why she’s still doing it at her age, with a toothless smile, she said, “Because I can still do it. I love doing it.”

She lives alone, despite the urging of her children to live with them, because she doesn’t want to get into their lives – as she puts it with a smile. 

“Aha!” I said to myself. Now I know how not to grow old. Or do I? Do you?

Notice my sleight-of-hand use of words – rather than “get old” I used “grow old” because they are different. To “get old” is an inevitability, while to “grow old” is a matter of perspective.


Getting Old vs. Growing Old
Getting old means having more years added to your life yet, at the same time, you lose some of your hair, some of your eyesight, hearing, balance, appetite and a lot of other things in exchange.

Growing old, on the other hand, is a way of thinking, a mindset.  You can be old even if you are young in years, or young even if born after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It is how you look at life. And that’s what I would like to look at myself next year when I turn 70. And you should do the same.

Look at life through the eyes of your youth, your vigor, your thirst for excitement and adventure.

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius

I always believe that at this age, I have more freedom to do as I wish – even to be freaky at times. And I am not alone.

A new national survey done by the Pew Research Center shows that:

Most adults at 50 feel at least 10 years younger than their actual age…one-third of those between 65 and 74 said they felt up to 10 to 19 years younger, and one-sixth of people 75 and older said they felt 20 years younger.

In other words, if you start sucking a lollipop right now, there’s a good chance that some people of your age will start doing the same.

No, you don’t have to go that far to prove a point. But Paul Tayler, Pew Research Center’s executive vice president and author of the study said it succinctly, “…you are never too old to feel young…”

I never dwell on my age. Instead, I dwell on the experiences I’ve accumulated over the years, and the people who helped shape my life.

At my age, these things are worth celebrating.


To be Old is to Start Anew:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Oliver Sacks, a New York University professor of neurology, upon turning 80, wrote a piece for The New York Times. In the first paragraph, he wrote:

“My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective…”

So never let the effects of old age affect your vim and vigor of life. Rather make use of them to remind you that time is fast running out and you should make the most of what is left.

If you are like me, maybe most of the kids you grew up with are either dead, too sickly to hang out with the boys, or indisposed for one reason or another.

That your not one of them, isn’t that worth celebrating?

Nobody at this age hasn’t had his share of life’s problems, i.e., money, relationship, children, career, etc. They are very traumatic experiences; they scarred you for life, maybe even made you cynical and pessimistic.

But would things be any better if you dwell on them? They won’t. In fact, they will just make you miserable. They will put blinders over your eyes making you fail to see the beauty of being old and alive and experiencing things that we totally sci-fi during your time.

Discard your past, Put on fresh clothes, comb your hair, look your best and say, “Old age, here I come, the new kid on the block.”

Then just dig in and have fun.

I am sure you have not lived the kind of life this mango vendor has lived hers. Yet, her heart is fuller with joy and contentment than yours.

Please share with other seniors so they, too, will know how to grow old.








Health Secrets


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