© 2020 by Dan Albert S. de Padua

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The Long Lunch


October 5, 2016

Can we believe what we read online?

That’s not an idle question. According to a study conducted this year in 26 countries by the University of Oxford Reuters Institute, over 80% of the respondents said they get news from online sources. Social media in particular, which is just a subset of online media, was a source of news for a whopping 51%. For every group under the age of 45, online news is now more important than television news. And here’s the biggie: more 18 to 24-year-olds rely on social media as their main source of news than on television, radio or print.

There’s a lot of good content online, to be sure, but more and more of us are getting the information upon which we base our decisions from so-called “news feeds” that are sha...

September 28, 2016

Take a look around your office. Unless you’ve already made it to the top job, and often even if you have, you are competing with all the other people there. You’re competing for higher pay, the more powerful position, the office with windows or for funding for your pet project. You may be the best of friends, drinking buddies and confidants, or you may not even know who the hell those people are, but you must establish your superiority over them nonetheless because you deserve your fair share or you need to hold on to your job. You don’t have to become paranoid or hyper-competitive like that kid you hated back in school, but you should realize that even the richest company does not have unlimited resources, and your boss knows it.


September 21, 2016

Dedicated to my (much) older friends on the verge of mandatory retirement and my younger friends contemplating optional retirement, as well as anybody else thinking of disengaging from corporate life even just for a while, that they might benefit from my experience.

The first anniversary of my early retirement is fast approaching. Has it really been one year since I watched Bridge of Spies? It still seems fresh and intelligent on TV. Come to think of it, I’ve seen dozens of movies since then, usually at noontime on weekdays with my senior citizen friends sleeping in the other seats. Last Thursday I saw Sully and Train to Busan back to back and felt no guilt whatsoever over spending an entire afternoon watching movies. So yeah, I guess i...

August 24, 2016

I can eat alone in any restaurant. No problem. I might even prefer to be by myself, truth be told. I realized the other day, however, that there is nothing lonelier than sitting at the family dinner table at home with food laid out as usual, but with only one place setting.

As I sat there listening to myself chew, I wondered how many times Mom had to eat alone. The guilt that overcame me weighed on my chest heavily, physically like a slowly developing heart attack. Or was it a memory of indigestion? Mom was always so happy when we were home for Sunday lunch, she’d prepare or order all our favorites; and when we spent hours around the table, she’d smile as if she’d won a silver medal at the Olympics after years and years of solitary stru...

August 3, 2016

My dad bought me a bicycle when I turned eight years old because, he said, I was a big boy already. Since then I’ve seen a million movies where the father holds the back of the bike, runs behind, and then secretly lets go and watches his son triumphantly learn to ride. This is a father-son moment I never had. Instead, my dad told me he was going to the office and if I couldn’t ride the bike by the time he returned, he would throw the brand new bike down the ravine into the creek behind the house.

He was a tough father to have. I don’t blame him though. After he left Basco, Batanes, in short pants, to study in Manila, he didn’t return home or see his father again until his senior year in college when his Papang passed away; and even then...

July 27, 2016

Are you a Feelennial ? Are you over thirty-five years old yet driven by a sense of entitlement to the verge of insubordination? In other words, “feeling millennial”.

Or maybe you have a mild case of Peter Pan Syndrome. You’re an adult based on the number of birthdays you’ve celebrated, but you want to remain a boy forever with no worries, no stress, no responsibilities, no commitments. You keep going to the Palace Pool Club even if everyone there calls you “Tito”.

Perhaps you think you’re having your mid-life crisis. Trouble is, you’re in your fifties, which means that if this is the middle of your life, you expect to live to over a hundred.

Certainly you know precocious kids who play the piano like pros, who read above their grades or wh...

July 13, 2016

Nobody arrives in the big city carrying a tampipi anymore. Newcomers don’t wear floral camisa de chino, and they generally leave their wide-brimmed buri hats at home. 

When we came to Manila we had overstuffed knapsacks instead, and we wore plaid shirts like everybody else. Maybe the shirts were a little more colorful than usual, but we got away with it. We blended in. We studied hard at a top university, one that at least shows up in the global rankings. We found Manila girls who laughed at our jokes and married them. Our sons studied at The Ateneo, De La Salle or the other expensive school nearby, and our young daughters can proudly call themselves Old Girls or whatever. We worked diligently and rose to positions of power. Now we almo...

July 6, 2016

“Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep”

Believe me, I know the value of not giving up the fight. When my mother was about to give birth to me at the FEU Hospital in December of 1960, the doctors said only one of us could live—either my mother or me. I don’t know what the problem was, but it was serious. My sister, then four years old, went to the chapel and prayed for us, reciting the only prayer she knew, her nightly prayer at bedtime.

The rational decision should have been to prioritize the young mother. She had a life, a family, and there would be other opportunities to have children. It was my uncle, my mom’s older brother who later became a cardiologist in New York, who insisted that the doctors fight to save bo...

May 11, 2016

Change is here.

The boss is gone or on his way out. Someone has to take over, but who should it be? If you are not familiar with the acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones, it is time to set aside your pirated copies of Downton Abbey and binge on something less civilized. GOT is full of sex and murder and magic, just like real life, and its six seasons have swirled around the question: Who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne? In our own corporate games of succession, all we need to do is look around at the possible candidates and let GOT be our guide.

The first contestant for ultimate kingship is Tommen Baratheon, ostensibly a direct descendant of the deceased king but privately whispered to be the bastard spawn of incest committed by t...

May 3, 2016

Once you pass the XXL stage, you become a victim of a terrible, nearly unbreakable vicious cycle: You need to exercise to lose weight, but you can’t find any shorts that will fit you, so you gain even more weight until only sumo wrestler gear fits, then you eat a lot of ramen and put on more pounds, etc. etc. etc. You might be able to ignore the high blood pressure and high blood sugar, but you have to do something when your neck size exceeds 18 inches because you simply can’t buy shirts anymore.

This is not a how-to-lose-weight piece because I’m still fat. I can tell you, however, about some of the things I’ve gone through, and maybe you will learn something. Please consult a physician before attempting any of the stunts described belo...

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In my mind, this is still how I look.

The photo wasn't really taken that long ago, but admittedly a lot has changed since then. For one, I retired and wrote a column that appeared weekly in

BusinessMirror and many of the articles here were edited and published there. Oh, and I have some gray hair now.

January 16, 2020

November 4, 2019

April 19, 2019

February 25, 2019

December 14, 2018

September 6, 2018

November 27, 2017

December 28, 2016

December 21, 2016

December 13, 2016

November 30, 2016

November 23, 2016

November 16, 2016

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