Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Listening Leadership for Baguio City

A very strange thing happened today.

I had just reached town, intent on doing my errands and groceries, walking up the pedestrian overpass, only to hear some kind of political rally going on.

And I thought to myself, I'd love to hear Ret. Gen. Benjie B. Magalong speak, for I truly never heard him speak before, plus I wanted to know about his platform. The general was running for mayor's office in Baguio City, a place where I grew up in.

As is often the case in this writer's life, things get cosmic.

I often seem to be in the right place, at the right time.

Soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, knowing I will have to maneuver my way through the thick crowd, I heard the host announcing that the next speaker was the mayoralty candidate, General Magalong.

Of course, it was all so perfect for me.

I did request his wife, Mrs. Arlene Magalong, to inform me of any future talks he'll be having and there he was, the next speaker.

It was too awesome that I shucked all other errands for the moment and started taking photos among the crowd.

I took a photo of the general and the other candidates but it was not an excellent photo as I had to raise my phone high above the crowd. It was going to be a hit-and-miss photo. Nevertheless, here it is:

The photo doesn't show the TV crew on both sides, the layers of people in front of me, and the huge crowd behind, but it shows the general at the center giving his talk, and to his right are his fellow candidates.

I'm glad I got the general "live" and "fresh".

He spoke of transparency and accountability and his voice sounded clear, strong, calm, and confident, exhibiting a solid sense of self sans the ego.

Of course, I wish he could have spoken longer but it seemed all the candidates were only given a three or five-minute chance to talk.

Fortunately, I have the general's flyer and this is his program on "Core-Ideas for Good Governance":

-- Speeding up government action.
-- Revitalizing the environment.
-- Innovating peace and order condition.
-- Aggressive traffic management.
-- Responsive education program.
-- Empowering the youth.
-- Expanding health and social services.
-- Responsible tourism.
-- Enlivened culture, arts, crafts, and heritage.
-- Market modernization.

Reading his flyer, he also wrote:

"My public life has been with the Philippine National Police, where I humbly ascended the ladder of command responsibility. The last three assignments I served are: Regional Director -- Cordillera Police Office; Director-General of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group; and Deputy Chief for Operations until my retirement in December 2016. As a private citizen, I served Steel Asia, Inc. as Senior Vice President for Operations up until November 1, 2018 for a possible re-entry into public life."

A soldier's life is a tough life as he follows the chain of command. If sent to battle like the general has been, it tests your abilities, wits, courage, discipline, and presence of mind. You are found among your men and your ability to lead is sorely tested through the most crucial moments.

I had written a previous article about my first encounter with the general's wife through this link.

This other link reveals more of the general's life as a soldier.

Another beautiful quote from his flyer speaks of the form of leadership he wishes to offer Baguio City:

"I offer a listening leadership with great and healthy respect for everyone. Rest assured your voices will be heard."

It's like a jackpot for me today.

Here I was wanting to hear the general so much and there he was, right on my path.

His wife's visit up our driveway on 4 April 2019 was also a cosmic event and I went out to meet her, something I very rarely do with most anyone, but something told me to meet her and write about her and the general at that exact moment. 

Guidance from Spirit is always precise, at least in my own experience, and I'm a very good listener.

If you believe in Divine Right Timing, these two instances of meeting the General's wife and being there just AS the General was about to speak, truly spoke volumes. I document such "synchronicities" and they populate my life for sure.

The general spoke briefly at the introduction of mayoralty candidates today and I thank God I had a chance to have heard him. I could not help taking a photo of the crowd as I left.

(All photos by author.)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Towards Healthier Families, Homes, and Communities

I've been a health and fitness advocate and writer since 1989 and was understandably thrilled to have discovered this U.S.-based online health site a few days ago, for which I have become affiliate.

Having come from a family of doctors and an energy healer myself, I feel it's important to share that site with you.

I haven't really seen a site such as that which has all the healthy options for self, family, home, and community.

It's all part of my program of policy change -- to promote companies who care about our well-being and environment.

Here are a few products included on the site:
-- Almonds
-- Aloe Vera
-- Baobab Fruit
-- Cleanest Chlorella
-- Organic Coconut Milk Powder
-- Organic Coffee
-- Dairy Alternative
-- Essential Oils
-- Laundry Detergent
-- Lentils
-- Maple Syrup
-- Miso
-- Monk Fruit (sugar substitute)
-- Organic Mangos
-- Probiotics
-- Rice Bran Fiber
-- Skin Care
-- Shampoo
-- Spirulina
-- Superfood Beverages
-- Vegan Protein
-- Vitamin C
-- Water Filter
-- Weight Management

You will be pleased to know these foods and health care products are USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Glyphospate-tested, Kosher, Low heavy metal, Gluten-free, and Free-trade.

If you wish to view the whole site, please click this link, thanks!

Here's to a healthier and more energetic us!

(FREE shipping until 30 April 2019 when you spend $79 plus within the 48 contiguous U.S.)

Friday, April 5, 2019

3 Qualities of a Good Leader

What do you think are the qualities of a good leader?

Is it important to be a great leader?

I've been doing a lot of research and soul-searching and have come up with but three (3) qualities I feel make a good leader. There's no need to complicate things.

In truth, a leader is a "helper". He only leads because he wants to help. But you only help if your help is actually needed or has been asked for. It's all about respect and free will. Give people a chance to tell you themselves.

And yes, we meant "good" leader, for there is no need for self-aggrandizement.

Only God is great.

We imperfect humans can merely aspire to be good.

If you're ready to listen now, then here are the three qualities or goals I feel a good leader must have:

1. They lead themselves well.
2. They care about others.
3. They remain humble.

To lead yourself well
You can only lead others well if you yourself have led yourself well. Are you happy with who you are? This blog is all about change from within. You must first start with self. Govern and discipline yourself well and you can lead others well. That will make you a good leader.

To care about others
You cannot know what's good for others unless you first listen to them. Hear them out. What are they really trying to tell you? Encourage them to speak simply, honestly, and from their hearts. Do you have real love for them? That will help you create something real and useful for them.

To remain humble
What happens after you become a leader? Do you remember those who've helped you? Are your people happy? Are they content? Are they safe? Peaceful? We humans can be good leaders. We can do our best. That ought to suffice. Our work will have to stand on its own merits.

How do you know if you've led others well?
Your people reflect your own brand of leadership, even as they still carry their own basic personalities. Like begets like -- you only attract who you are. What vision do you have? What kind of people do you wish to help or to lead?

Only you know the answers to those.

Search your heart.

Your deepest intentions will shape the quality of your leadership.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hope For Baguio City

I knew today was going to be a very special day.

I just felt it in my bones after noting something on my computer before turning it off earlier.

By "accident", even as there are no accidents in my life, I noticed it was 4/4/2019 today.

The number four is very dear to my heart. In American Indian mythology, four signifies completion, for it refers to the four directions: North, South, East, and West.

You will see the significance of this particular number as my story unravels below.

And who do you know would drop by our area, thanks to my alert Mom's instincts?

It was Mrs. Arlene Magalong, the wife of Ret. Gen. Benjamin B. Magalong. The good general is running for Mayor of our beloved Baguio City, a city where my father, Dr. Cesar B. Casusi, chose to start his esteemed medical profession back at Baguio General Hospital in 1959.

The photo above shows, left to right: Mrs. Magalong, my Mom Lida Casusi, and Baguio gentleman Marvin G. Herrera who is running as City Councilor.

It was actually a cab driver who informed me about four (there again) days ago that the Ret. Gen. Magalong is running for Mayor.

He was especially excited at the prospect the general win at this election and he made no reservations at suggesting his passengers give the general their vote.

Like I said, nothing in my life happens by accident. It is all by design. Why else had I started this "Policy Changer" blog last 29 March 2019?

I knew what I was on to.

I wanted change and it had to start inside me first.

I honestly believe God led the kind and lovely Mrs. Magalong and her able group up our path so we may all connect and so I can write this article.

I have been ready for sometime now for something really worthwhile to write about. My whole life has led me to this particular day.

Everything was so cosmic and so perfect today. You know that thing about Divine Right Timing, right? Now I know it is all going as planned by our Creator for He knows my heart and of those He led up our path today. There is always great power in such "accidents".

God led up our driveway the very person my family and I liked, for the General was also a colleague of my late brother, Engr. Francisco V. Casusi, back at SLU Boy's High School. Mrs. Magalong spoke of how the general remembers my brother to have been good in painting. Eventually, my dear brother became a civil engineer.

Ret. Gen. Benjie Magalong was born 15 December 1960, only two months after my brother's 10 October 1960 birth date. I can imagine my brother celebrating the fact Mrs. Magalong and her efficient group were led up our path today. 

And perhaps, my late father and brother's hand are in this wonderful turn of circumstances today. If you have taken the path I have, of being in constant awe of things that somehow unwittingly connect, you will always welcome such turn of events for they carry much treasure in them.

And if my father was alive, I'd know exactly who he'd vote for. He likes truth, honesty, hard work, strength, courage and perseverance. The general would have gotten his vote.

I have chanced upon the general a couple of times before and he was always walking alone, always with a ready smile, so very quiet and humble, not calling attention to himself. But I knew he was the General Magalong my family knew. His rise as a public figure seemed almost meteoric, but of course, no one would know all the hard work it entailed. Only he, his family, and his men would know.

Another significant thing today concerning that 4/4/2019 date which beckoned its particular importance to me is the fact that Ret. Gen. Magalong honored the "fallen, but not forgotten SAF 44", but let him say it in his own words here:

" My greatest test as a leader came when I served as Chairman of the PNP Board of Inquiry on the Mamasapano Massacre. Despite strong pressures for us to spare some names from culpability, my colleagues and I remained steadfast and stood our ground for our people to know the truth and seek for justice to the fallen, but not forgotten SAF 44. Knowing that any further career promotion would be set aside, I calmly accepted the consequence, recognizing that I stood by the truth."
   -- Yours for a better Baguio,
(#5, "Marangal, Magaling, at Magalang")

To emphasize further the significance of this magical number four, it will interest you to know that it's been four years after that Mamasapano incident.

What other proof would you need of this cosmic and magnificent day of spiritual connections?

The "Warrior of the Spirit" path is the unpopular path I have taken to further the cause of my soul. I know the challenges at stake but I do not succumb to popular or peer pressure. As a journalist and independent thinker I purposely design my own life no matter the odds against my favor.

I write only things of worth. This article is a gift to the Magalong Group, given with all my heart and knowledge, and guided by Spirit as always.

 --If you wish to vote for Ret. Gen. Benjie B. Magalong as Mayor of Baguio City, he represents ballot #5.

-- If you wish to vote for Marvin G. Herrera as Baguio City Councilor, he represents ballot #28.

-- If you wish to vote for Ted Tan as Baguio City councilor, he represents ballot #45.

Facebook page of Team Magalong #BM4BM.
Soldier of Truth article by Apa Ongpin.

As a fitting end to this article, allow me to share a group photo of this hardworking Magalong group with my Mom.

(All photos by author.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"Warrior of the Spirit" Book Freely Given!

After nearly 10 years, I'm ready to share with you this "Warrior of the Spirit" book I wrote from my heart. When you work with Spirit, warriorship is defined differently from the world's concept of it.

Written on 7 June 2009, this book's passages are here for you to read freely now. Each four sets of five passages each depict a particular Angel image that called to me as I began sharing the passages on this blog. Everything just easily fell into place.

Please accept my gift right now and be forever changed and transformed in your heart. There is very powerful, sacred knowledge here. Know a gift when you see it.

You may click the links here:

Passages 1 to 5
Passages 6 to 10
Passages 11 to 15
Passages 16 to 20

"Warrior of the Spirit" (Passages 16 to 20)

16. The Warrior of the Spirit communicates clearly and lovingly. He is not after cleverness or recognition, much less adulation. The Spirit's instructions are clear and loving -- serve God above all. Only those who have aligned themselves with the Spirit of God, fighting His Cause, can hear the True Message.

17. The Warrior of the Spirit delivers the Message of Love faithfully. He does not embellish The Truth, for God's Truth stands on Its Own Light, Right, and Might. It is nourishing, healing, and empowering -- the Strength of All Strengths!

18. The Warrior of the Spirit has a wonderful relationship with God. He becomes his child-like self, secure in God's Love for him. The Father sees through his heart. The joy at His faithful creation is boundless! It is true that He has created many Aspects of Himself, but this one loves Him so!

19. In the end, all roads lead Back to God. That tiny pinpoint of light you see in your mind's eye as you close your eyes at night is the Light at the end of the tunnel, guiding you back to Him. He is the One, Solid Goal. There is no fear; only LOVE.

20. Our Warrior goes through each day with delight and serene knowing. He is loved! He is trusted! And he is ready! He is in the service of his soul. He knows at the end of his days, there is a place in God's Home for him. That is all that truly matters. There is nothing in the world that can take That Place -- right beside God.

"Warrior of the Spirit" (Passages 11 to 15)

11. He knows that God is the Absolute Truth. But how many know this? He is not one to force his truth upon others, even if it be of God. He speaks his truth quietly, reverently, sincerely, and allows others to speak their own truth as they have come to know it. He is certain, as he is certain of God, that like-minded souls will always seek each other. He takes comfort in this sweet knowledge.

12. He knows that truth speaks gently. God whispers very gently upon his soul, respecting his spirit and free will. Imagine the Very Creator doing that! The Truth will be given but it is up to him what to do with it. He has the constant Support of Heaven in his most difficult task as he seeks the Path of Light, Love, and Truth.

13. The Warrior lives simply, quietly, kindly, and compassionately. His strength and energy are supremely devoted to spirit, thus, he makes intelligent use of his resources and abilities. He is always aware of where he puts his energies and simply flows with it, confident in the Path Taken.

14. The Warrior of the Spirit knows that God's Absolute Truth is LOVE. It is all that His Son came here for. It is all that other Teachers of Light have taught. It is All There Is. True peace and wisdom lie in acceptance of this supreme knowledge.

15. The Warrior walks through life gently, walking reverently upon Earth -- his mother -- his host. He has been given stewardship of this planet he treads upon every single day. He can only find joy in caring for Her for she is good to him. Without Her, where would he alight upon? She has served and nourished all. There can be no greater love.

"Warrior of the Spirit" (Passages 6 to 10)

6. He is a faithful man of service. He has laid his heart bare for God to see. He knows the world will constantly judge him but this doesn't bother him at all. He only answers to God at each moment, at how he is expressing that Spirit of Truth.

7. The Warrior seeks the Path With Light. Even in darkness, this tiny pinpoint of light guides his soul. In his mind's eye, he sees that light whenever he closes his eyes and allows himself to look deeper. There is truly a universe in that mind -- in that tiny pinpoint of light that urges him to keep going, telling him that the Path Taken is the right path. And so, he keeps on, this faithful Warrior of the Spirit.

8. The Warrior of the Spirit lives for the Laws of God, the Laws of the Earth, the Laws of the Universe, and the Laws of All Creation. He keeps an eagle eye over the laws of humanity for these do not speak his truth. If anything, they can mislead or derail him. For the Warrior, only God speaks The Truth. Only God can fill his heart with true joy and divinity. Only God can fill his longing for Absolute Truth. Up until such time, he waits.

9. He has chosen the most difficult path. But it is the only path that resonates well with his spirit. It is surely the path to take for it nourishes his spirit, his whole being, and his grateful heart bows in acknowledgment. He has chosen the Ablest Guide of All, and with that comforting thought he goes through each day filled with love, joy, peace, and excitement. There is nothing like the Path of the Warrior of the Spirit!

10. He has no patience for half-truths. He is a seeker of the Absolute Truth. Only God, and the men of God, those one with the Spirit, can give him that. But he has to exercise compassion, for he knows his dear brothers and sisters are doing their best, too, given the truth of their being at each moment. He knows that one day, all will be One.

"Warrior of the Spirit" (Passages 1 to 5)

1. A warrior is not beholden, nor attached, to the dogmas of the world. He listens very closely to the truth in his heart, aligning himself to be one with that truth. For in that heart is God, the Spirit he speaks of. This is the God of his life. This is the God that gently whispers infinite truths we have always known.

2. He seeks the highest knowledge. And he measures the voices and wisdom being given at each moment. He did pray for this wisdom. But again, the world carries many vibrations, many frequencies, many half-truths. But the faithful Warrior of the Spirit cannot be derailed from his task. He seeks God's Truth alone and sleeps many quiet nights of the heart.

3. The Warrior guards his thoughts closely. He prays constantly for truth and discernment. He wonders if there is absolute truth in this world. In his heart, he knows there is, and that he seeks willfully and tenaciously. It is this truth he lives for. The Truth of God in his heart. 

4. A Warrior keeps a quiet heart for he knows the world seeks to overcome such a heart. He guards his words, speaking not out of eloquence, or even cleverness, but just simple truth as God would have him.

5. The Warrior of the Spirit is a peaceful man. He is not the warrior of history. Those battles have been fought, won, and lost, but it has cost too many precious lives of man, woman, and child. Oftentimes, the blood of innocents. He has chosen the Path of Peace. He lives for peace and love alone. The focus is pure and steadfast, impervious to the winds and whims of war.

What Would You Be If You Lost Everything?

Have you always had everything you needed in life?

Or was there ever a time you practically had nothing?

Did you start with nothing, or have you had something when you started?

I ask these questions because understanding -- really deep understanding -- comes from contrasts, the polarities.

The light cannot know it is light unless there's darkness to shine its light upon.

The dark doesn't know it's dark unless there's a light that shines somewhere and reveals its own darkness.

Life can be humbling sometimes.

It's a cycle, with its ups and downs.

One day you're up there; another day you may find yourself down.

If you had not stepped on people while you were up there, the coming down won't feel too hard or humiliating.

You will merely consider it one of those things and make the necessary adjustments.

Your soul and strength are intact.

You cannot be beaten that way.

But if you have been impoverished, please don't grieve too much.

One day, your time will come, given the efforts you do each day to better your lot, and you shall rise again, or at least experience some comfort.

We see many people around us who seem oblivious to the plight of others.

Or perhaps, they give out of guilt.

Others give freely because it really comes from their heart.

They ask for nothing back.

It's give and disappear.

They don't want accolades or any such nonsense.

The fact they've lightened the load on another suffices.

They have not held the other person in need hostage in any way whatsoever.

I actually have something very significant to write about banks and holding you hostage but that will be for another article. It will trigger remembering in you, especially if you have been under their mercy.

Realize that poverty can lead to true awakening.

You begin to see who your real friends are.

You see who really cares for you.

You see who remains with you through your hardships.

People's faces and manner reveal much of themselves when they're with their unfortunate brothers and sisters.

Yes, it's true, we may not have been in their shoes.

They may not have much to show for their lives, or so we think.

For there are people on the streets who were once lawyers and wealthy people at one time.

I especially celebrate when people are able to rise up from the ashes like the wonderful actor, Djimon Hounsou, who I first saw on the movie "Gladiator".

Hounsou was once homeless for two years but fortune finally favored this most talented actor who has such great screen presence.

As another friend told me today, hardships don't define him.

That's who that friend is, then, when facing such difficulties himself.

People have been mean to him for a long time now, rude and vengeful, but he remains standing.

That deserves a lot of respect, for it shows the spiritual fiber of his being.

Always remember you were created in the Image and Likeness of God, how can you be less?

How can anyone make you feel less?

Wealth is of this world.

Spirit is of God.

Love others no matter what.

You are not defined by what you have in your bank account, by how important your work is, by how many cars or homes you have, or the current success you are now experiencing.

Bear note I purposely wrote the word "current", for fortunes are not set in stone. Everything is temporary, just like the shifting of the tides.

You only have to see Wall Street and educated economists.

No one can predict where the market will go, unless they themselves have rigged it in the first place.

But all things being equal, by ourselves we are everything.

We are everything in God's Eyes.

I really love how Christ was -- how He carried Himself everywhere and taught and healed all kinds of people, with no pomp or anything.

He had no possessions, no earthly titles, no gold rings for people to kiss, even as He was the Son of God.

That's very powerful knowledge.

He asked for nothing but that we LOVE God and each other.

How very very beautiful!

And sublime!

What a magnificent thing to emulate.

Spirit also made me write something a long time ago, something very powerful and significant. She said:

We came into this world with nothing.
We leave with nothing.

Monday, April 1, 2019

12 Vital Books One Must Read Now

In the course of my life, and with the volume of books I've read, sold, and shared, I've found that these are at least 12 of the most important for all of us to look into -- in no particular order -- for they tend to positively influence our heart, mind, body, and spirit. They provide good perspective and balance to things, especially with the nature of people and our world right now. It is vital we read them. Perhaps it will give us all a better chance at life.

1. Farmers as Shareholders

2. On the Wealth of Nations

3. Mr. Blue

4. The American Revolutionaries

5. Healing the Heart

6. Leadership and the New Science

7. The World is Blue

8. Jesus CEO

9. Embraced By the Light

10. Illuminations

11. The Bible (King James Version)

12. Keys to Scripture Numerics

According to the 12th book, the number 12 signifies "GOVERNMENTAL PERFECTION".

We shall leave it at that.