YoungBlood: Search for “The One”

NOTE: This piece came out in the YoungBlood section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 10, 2015. The first draft was originally published on Live Journal, 06 December 2014 @ 08:33 pm


 

Looking for a job isn’t easy, let alone that dream job. And neither is keeping one.

I’ve been out of college for more than a year now and at 21, I’ve applied for and gotten accepted in quite a number of writing-related jobs that i, for some reason, eventually deserted.

This is not something to be proud of, especially for someone who was raised in a society where work experience is defined by the number of years rendered in a company. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of status quo.

I stayed for only seven months at my first job in a PR agency. After that, I tried my luck in direct selling, which didn’t work out, so I ditched it and got into my college best friend’s company where I worked as a research assistant for more than a month. Soon after, I had an online reporter job at a New York-based online science news site for another month. And after that, I got a project-based writing stint at a local real estate company, which I think ran for three weeks.

Fortunately, after a rickety ride on a yet undefined career path—a ride that I unwittingly enjoyed—I finally found a full-time job in a local TV network. It’s another dream fulfilled. It’s actually quite a feat to be able to stay a while in this job (more than half a year now), considering its infamous reputation of a high turnover rate. However, as the months drag on (and as of this writing), I am somewhat reconsidering my stay.

“What?! You’re leaving uh-gain?” I can hear my parents and friends shrieking in chorus. “When will you learn to stay? You will never have a good resumé with what you’re doing!” I know they mean well, but at the end of the day I will still go for what my heart longs for.

Some 20th-century prodigies may find it easy to pronounce this risky affair as career suicide, and effortlessly label me a wishy-washy person in the workforce who can never promise constancy to a company. I understand that. Who in their right mind would accept someone who has been jumping from one job to another?

But, as someone who’s been in an industry where deadlines are a norm, I cannot easily ward off this unexplained urge to accomplish my goals before an undetermined deadline. I just have to do it, to look for that one thing that would make me feel satisfied, because at the back of my mind, there’s a loud ticking of the clock that’s reverberating throughout my soul.

Hold on a little longer, they say, there is not one job that promises a trouble-free journey. Everyone must start at the bottom rung of the ladder and everyone must learn how to survive the landscape of the real world.

I agree with that, and we all have to endure things at some point in our lives. However, we don’t have the luxury to keep holding on to almost everything. In the same way that life is not a buffet, we only have enough time and energy to do a number of draining sacrifices. That’s why I think I must choose pretty carefully: what is it that I really want to do that deserves all the effort?

I’m not generalizing; it’s more of a personal thing, perhaps another matter concerning passion versus paycheck or getting torn between prestige and realism. And in the course of over a year of searching, I haven’t found that one job that can make me feel that it is what I’m meant to be doing.

And so I quit.

I used to get disappointed with people who easily throw in the towel. I find it difficult to understand their decision to just give up in spite of the hundreds of applicants who would have killed for the job they decided to leave.

But then I realized that quitting isn’t all about being weak. It’s about having the strength to acknowledge one’s worth and to know what one deserves.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Sometimes I feel a little envious of my friends who are able to stick with their jobs. Some of them have managed to reach one year already. I do admire them, as well as my colleagues in my current job, because they’re still there, regardless of the obvious downsides of their work. Had I convinced my restless self to stay, I might have reveled in the same sweet satisfaction today. Maybe they have found their niche or may have been comfortable with what they already have. And here I am, still unsatisfied and searching for “The One.”

But just because I found a job that was not able to meet my personal criteria of happiness with work does not mean I did not perform well. Each step I took, I was pushed to give my best in terms of not only the craft I want to hone but also my attitude toward work. Each job drove me out of my comfort zone; each of them taught me how to deal with bouts I am not acquainted with. Sometimes I go an extra mile, insisting on putting myself in a situation that I could not control. Thankfully, I have managed, and I have learned a lot. So I don’t think it has been wasted time; I don’t think it is “not work experience.”

I think it’s normal for young adults of this generation to experience this kind of eagerness and restlessness to pursue dreams the soonest we can. We refuse to settle for less, and we fear having to regret that we have stayed for so long in a job we aren’t happy with just because we have to conform. It’s not a bad thing—but sometimes it’s not the ideal option either.

Each one of us has personal reasons and dreams that lead us to where we plan to go. Some may beg to differ and some may share the same thoughts. But there is one unnerving thing that we cannot deny at all: that life has an indefinite deadline. No one knows if we are meeting that “deadline” in 20 years, 10 months, or perhaps even less than a week.

As for me, I shall continue to search for that one job that would make me say, “Oh, there you are. I have been looking for you this whole time.” I cannot settle just yet. I just know it has to be somewhere. I may just have to keep going for a bit, hopefully finding it before my ultimate deadline. CV

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Peter Y. Ty is perseverance personified

NOTE: This is a profile story of the President and CEO of PTR Properties, Inc., a local real estate company based in Pasig. The piece was written in 2014 for the company’s 10th year commemorative magazine.


JUNE 2014 Everyone wants to rub elbows with success, but not all is destined to meet it.

The thoroughfare is filled with stumbling blocks and crossroads, and only those who are courageous and driven enough to exert a lot of effort in overcoming some strokes of misfortunes along the way would come out victorious.

President and CEO of PTR Properties, Inc. Peter Y. Ty is a living proof, who showed that while not everyone succeeds at first try, his hard work and unfailing persistence made it possible to keep it within his reach—and it has not left him since.

Fondly called by friends and colleagues through his initials PYT, he was born an entrepreneur with a soft spot for farming.

His entire 30 years of managing a business has not always been a smooth sailing ride, he says, and it probably would not be in the coming years.

But with his “positively stubborn” attitude—a characteristic he deems as his best weapon—fueled by his undying passion on his work, he is able to survive the wars that have been waged throughout his bold business adventures.

“If you really want something, you could just care less of the hardships that come upon your way because you know it’s just part of the entire process,” he says. “And they would never probably leave me at all, as long as I keep on reaching for that goal. In any case, I just have to keep going.”

True enough, throngs of trials as stubborn as he came with each of his undertaking, from his decade-long venture into the garment industry to a fish farming business that challenged his patience and strong will for another 10 years.

Even now that he is in the business of real estate development, which now marks its 10th year, PYT is still confronted by some setbacks.

However, he now finds them “relatively easy” to deal with thanks to the valuable lessons he learned in the past, while keeping in mind that the quality and the artistic value in each of his every output are still of utmost priority.

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Peter Y. Ty is the man behind PTR Properties, Inc. PTR stands for “Peter The Rock.”

 

Entrepreneur in the making

Though a graduate of Management Engineering at the Ateneo De Manila University, the then 21-year-old PYT found himself treading the entrepreneurial path. After all, he was born into a family that runs a clothing business that did not just carry run-of-the-mill brands.

Under the established name Robert Brown Childrens’ Wear, their family has been one of the major distributors of popular kids’ clothing in every SM Department Stores in the country. Its most notable brand is the Moose Gear, which would come later as the brainchild of PYT.

As the third eldest in the brood of six and the second son, it was rather expected of him that he would be its future overseer. His eldest brother went abroad, while his elder sister pursued her Accounting career. However, this responsibility would have to be put on hold as the older Ty had something to do for his son.

PYT’s first encounter with the real estate business came right after graduation, when his father him to put up 12 bungalow units in a lot they bought earlier. As someone who did not have any inclination with selling residential properties or any background with it, PYT met head-on his first house-selling challenge.

For his first attempt, he was only able to construct two of the intended 12 houses. While there were interested buyers, they did not belong to the targeted market niche of the business. Fortunately, he was able to sell the two bungalows to one businessman, who also procured the entire lot and shortly thereafter, PYT decided to focus on running the family business.

A natural innovator, PYT came up with his own kids’ apparel brand he named Moose Gear, chiefly directing the design of the adorable big-bellied brown Moose character.

Typically, the Tys would be accepting orders that came in hundreds from their original boysets designs, but when Moose Gear was introduced to the market, the purchase orders went by leaps and bounds. As luck would have it, in just a matter of five years, their annual total earnings significantly doubled and then tripled in numbers.

“I was really overwhelmed by the order. I cannot believe it,” PYT recalls. “Until now I can vividly remember that first purchase order of SM. The store ordered a whopping 8,000 pieces in total of the first four designs I made under Moose Gear. We’re only used to a hundred orders but when Moose Gear was introduced, it jumped to thousands. It was a very fulfilling venture.”

At an early age, PYT was already reaping a bountiful harvest. However, he felt something was lacking. It may be doing him good, but running the children’s wear business is not what his heart was looking for. Ten years later, he left the family business to his younger brother and went to the province to start his own farm.

‘Battle-scarred soldier’

PYT is a self-confessed enthusiast of animals and plants. His childhood was cheered up by his pets from the farm, such as cockfighting roosters, aquarium fishes, and dogs, as well as some orchids and ornamental plants that brought out his green thumb.

“I wanted to breathe in that distinct smell of the rice fields, that whiff of fresh air in the province. It gave me a sense of freedom and I was badly craving for it,” he says.

He settled on fish farming, which demanded a lesser capital than his original plan of putting up a piggery, and there PYT learned how to rear tilapias in his hatchery in Calauan, Laguna and grow them in his fish cages in Taal Lake.

Raising tilapia was not an easy feat. For one, PYT had to go out into the lake and feed the fish every morning, up to six hours a day, while in the hatchery, he had to immerse in the murky and cold waters of the pond with his men to select the breeders and collect plenty of fry, or the newly-hatched fish. He was very hands-on with his farm, making sure that all of his tilapias are well fed and in good physical shape.

His farming was going well, that is until nature unwittingly turned the tables for PYT. In just one week, two super typhoons swept over the country and PYT’s fish farm was not left unscathed. He endured two more of these typhoons in the course of ten years.

Dito talaga ako nasubukan,” PYT recounts. “In just two to three hours, nawala na lahat ng mga alaga ko. I just cried in my room. When the storm stopped, I went out and there was flood everywhere. Napakasakit makita na ‘yung napakatagal mong pinaghirapan ay mawawala na lang sa isang iglap.”

As if it were not enough, PYT also took his own share in life’s comedy of errors. One time, the truck that delivered heaps of his tilapia to Navotas tipped over, spilling out PYT’s hard-earned harvest. There were people living along the highway who gladly came to help, but when PYT and his men reached the busy markets of city, roughly 400 kilos of fish were found to be missing.

“It felt like I went into a lot of wars in this business. Here, I was molded into a marine, a battle-scarred soldier,” PYT shares. “Every time there’s a misfortune, I would fall really hard but eventually I would dust myself and stand up. I cannot give up without a fight. It was never an option.”

In spite of everything, fish farming was the happiest moment of PYT’s life. He reveled in the times where he had to feed the fish in Taal Lake, with the sun’s rays touching his already tanned skin and the gentle waves splashing and gushing between his limbs. On top of it all, he enjoyed the breathtaking view of the mountainous Tagaytay and the magnificent Taal Volcano.

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PTR Properties, Inc.’s decade-long journey in the real estate industry is best summed up in its commemorative magazine title “From the Ground Up.”

 

Concrete dreams

In the early 2000s, when his mother brought up the idea that she would like to have a commercial building for lease, PYT decided it may be ripe for him to be in real estate business again.

During the construction of the first building now known as the Grand 21 Place in Pasig, PYT received a seemingly better idea from a friend, who told him to give developing a try.

Being the daredevil that he is, he took the challenge right away despite having to learn again the whatnots of a yet another unfamiliar battleground. He was not satisfied in the business of merely having to wait for the payments at the end of every month; he wanted an adventure, something that will excite him.

In what seemed the advent of a milestone, PYT again reinvented himself and made a difference by going into developing and selling real estate properties.

Clearly, PYT’s chock-full of experiences in the last 20 years proved to be his best teacher. He learned the nooks and crannies of his ventures on his own, all the while learning to get up and recover from any humiliating slip-up he would come across along the way.

From time to time, he would also seek some help from references he would jestingly tag as “foreign consultants”–these were American businessmen Warren Buffet and Robert Kiyosaki, a few of his favorites.

“Whenever I need to have a quick check on something, I have my foreign consultants with me who are always available 24 hours. They are just sitting quietly in my bookshelves,” he wittingly quips.

Today, PTR Properties, Inc. has established four condominiums in Pasig and a sprawling exclusive subdivision in Lipa City, Batangas, with upcoming projects slated to roll out in the following years.

“Managing a business in real estate developing is relatively easy now, compared to what I have gone through in the last 20 years,” he remarks. “This one is not as complicated as my previous ventures, perhaps because I learned how to reinvent myself constantly.”

In the same way artists take pride in their masterpieces, PYT sees his properties as a work of art. He considers the view from above while riding an airplane a “very rewarding and priceless moment” as he can see his fruits of labor standing tall and proud amid other buildings, just like viewing an artwork in a gallery.

Seeing a coincidental pattern that completes the basic necessities of a human being, PYT hopes to end his entrepreneurial journey with PTR Properties, Inc., an undertaking that was originally far from his mind.

Just like building a house, PYT’s positively stubborn attitude, ardent passion, and bittersweet experiences served as his sturdy foundations to prepare his mind and heart for PTR Properties, Inc.

Beginning with a barren land, he was able to turn realizations into concrete testimonies one piece at a time, and now that he is up from the ground, he is set to continue building more in the years to come.

Perhaps PYT could get a nod from a 19th century writer and reformer named Amos Bronson Alcott who said, “Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.” CV

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It was a privilege working with the most hardworking and straightforward executives in town. Words are not enough to express how grateful I am for their trust.

Reaching for the stars

NOTE:  This was published on May 15, 2012 during my internship at the Manila Bulletin’s Students and Campuses section.


 

Just when they thought dreams that reaching the outside world were far-fetched, three people were ushered into the path to a great future.

Lordnico Mendoza, Rhayan Coronel, and Frank Kelvin Martinez are the first graduates of the BS Astronomy Technology that is only being offered in Rizal Technological University (RTU).

Mendoza was already set to pursue Nursing in college but decided to take an exam in Astronomy Technology merely for experience. “When I was in high school, I indulged myself in published journals and articles on the Internet. I also had a book on Astronomy which I loved reading,” Mendoza recalls.

Martinez, on the other hand, took up the course to answer questions that have long been in his mind since childhood.

“When I was still a kid, I had so many questions in mind about celestial objects especially the planets. I grew up curious and wishing to take up an astronomy course,” says Martinez.

Unlike Mendoza and Martinez, whose passion for astronomy has been rooted since childhood, Coronel admitted that he learned to love the course as he went along studying and discovering its ins and outs.

Habang tumatagal, lalo ko siyang nagustuhan. Kakaibang karanasan at kaalaman. Ang sarap ng feeling,” shares Coronel.

Admittedly, they all feel that the pressure is on.

“To be the first product of this course is a big responsibility,” says Martinez. “At the same time, we are apprehensive because we do not know what is in store for us. Pero sana suportahan kami ng gobyerno since kasama naman sila sa gumawa ng course namin and sigurado naman gagawin namin ‘yung part namin.”

Their dreams might not have materialized if not for the yearning of the some of the proponents of the Astronomy course with whom they all share the same sentiments.

How it all began

The five-year-old program was the brainchild of RTU president Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Space Administration (PAGASA).

Dr. Torres himself has a strong penchant for astronomy. During his time, he recalls, no course in astronomy in the Philippines was offered. When he became a professional, his undying enthusiasm drove him to buy his own telescopes and books that eventually led him to the path towards astronomy and made him one of the Filipino members of the International Astronomical (IAU).

The proposal for an astronomy course in the Philippines began rolling when Dr. Torres, then RTU vice president, presented his 15th volume of work about deep-sky object observations to his friend Dr. Bernardo Soriano, former chief of PAGASA’s Astronomy Geophysical and Space Sciences bureau.

“Dr. Soriano said that they were offering the possibility of the course to another university but the said school did not want it. So he suggested to me if RTU could take up the proposal and be the one to offer the course,” says Dr. Torres.

A committee, consisting of multi-sectoral groups like PAGASA, RTU professors, and even business people, was created to weave a curriculum flexible enough to provide adequate job opportunities to its students.

“We were concerned on the possible jobs these students in this field will have after graduating. So, we came up with a hybrid program combining technology with astronomy concerned primarily in applied science,” explains Dr. Torres.

Dr. Torres says that they primarily focused on applied science because focusing on theoretical aspects alone could make the course less flexible. The curriculum includes major astronomy subjects, physics, mathematics, general education subjects, and selective engineering courses.

The master’s degree program in Astronomy came in 2006, years earlier than the bachelor’s degree. It has produced a graduate, a physician and astronomy enthusiast Dr. Armand Lee, who graduated last 2009, making him the first Filipino to acquire an MS in Astronomy.

The boons of Astronomy

According to Dr. Torres, graduates of Astronomy never run out of opportunities. They may go to astronomy entrepreneurship, where they could conduct observing sessions among students for a fee, or even build observatories.

Graduates may also go to Astronomy engineering-related fields and work as engineers in the operations of telescopes.

Or they could go back to school as teachers.

But, the big question in anyone’s mind would be: is it possible to go to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA? Dr. Torres is optimistic.

Puwede. But actually, NASA is not really involved in astronomy. They are more on rocket constructions, aeronautics. There is an RTU graduate who is working in NASA as an engineer,” Dr. Torres explains. “The graduates can work in the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in the US, which have observatories in Arizona, and in many places where they can work as operators of telescopes.”

More than just studying the stars

Grueling computations related to theories, like astrophysics and relativity, greet students every day, but they look at their course as more than just an effort to clinch a degree.

Aldrin Gabuya, an incoming sophomore student in BS Astronomy Technology, says, witnessing astronomical phenomena are the best parts of being an Astronomy student.

“It’s what these learning experiences that you don’t get from other courses that matter,” Jerome Paul Java, an incoming third year student, adds.

Their observation trips are something they look forward to. For instance, they travel to far-flung places, free of light pollution, bringing with them the necessary telescopes to conduct observations.

For Jerome Felicidario, an incoming third year, these observations create the bonding among students in his course. “The new discoveries like Quantum mechanics and celestial mechanics, which I think we can use in the near future are what I appreciate most,” he shares.

“If they want to study Astronomy they must be good in Mathematics. Ang daming Physics and Math subjects. Pero napansin ko, kahit hindi masyadong marunong sa Math, basta mahilig sa astronomy, nakukuha. Kung hindi masyadong mahusay sa Math, naku-cover up nung kanilang passion,” Dr. Torres observes.

What’s next

RTU’s Department of Astronomy’s new building is undergoing renovations with plans of putting up a planetarium on the rooftop. The place’s celestial ambiance stems mainly from the large framed photographs of nebulas, stars, and galaxies. The building houses two classrooms, a mini-library, a mini-theater, and a room exclusively fore telescopes and other astronomical equipment, which are all funded by the university.

“We will [also] have our observatory telescope very soon. Talagang malaki na. I think it’s going to be the second biggest in the country. The first is PAGASA’s 20-inch telescope at Diliman. RTU’s [will be] a 14-inch telescope Schmidt Cassegrain,” Dr. Torres explain.

The observatory will be established in RTU Pasig which will probably be designed by the first graduates of Astronomy.

In the next few months, the department plans to review its curriculum as well. Dr. Torres also says that RTU has recently approved to offer BS in Meteorology.

Astronomy, not astrology

Perhaps, the dearth of familiarity with astronomy will be one of the challenges the three graduates will have to deal with in the near future.

“Astronomy is not very popular in the country. People tend to confuse astrology with astronomy. Halimbawa, sa TV, kapag iniinterview kami, kunyari alignment of the planets or may astronomical phenomena, laging tanong: ano ho ang epekto nito sa kapalaran ng tao? We answer with scientific answers and sometimes, the reporter gets disappointed. People want something spectacular,” says Dr. Torres.

There are times, he recounts, that they meet people who would even offer their palms for a reading, asking for a prediction.

Hindi mawawala [‘yung pang-aasar na gano’n]. Kasi napaghahalo nila ang astronomy sa astrology. Gusto naming mawala, ‘yung confusion sa astronomy with astrology,” Mendoza adds.

Reflecting the possible jobs Dr. Torres had enumerated, Mendoza, Martinez, and Coronel all plan of pursuing a teaching job after graduation. Another possible work would be at PAGASA.

If ever sa PAGASA kami tutuloy, sa Observatory kami mapupunta, [which is] more on astrophotography and documentation of special astronomical events like eclipses, meteor showers,” shares Mendoza.

There are also plans to go abroad to strengthen their foundation in hopes of getting in NASA. CV