Tag Archives: keren grace tandico

Insights of an Employee of the Year

I won best employee! Okay, sorry if this post seems so 2016. I’d intentionally refrained from posting this feat to avoid being branded as a boastful brat. But good things are really worth sharing, right? Besides, I deem it better to share this with insights rather than merely tweeting a shoutout. So, allow me to wrap up 2017 and start this year by sharing this learning, hoping that in one way or another it may ring true this 2018.

1. Success is a bad teacher.

When I heard this quote, I was 100% sure that it defines exactly what I experienced. The whole quote says, “Success is a bad teacher. It teaches you that you cannot be beaten.” In daily life, there are wins and losses. It doesn’t matter if you are Employee of the Year, Popular Girl, Miss Congeniality in the office, or whatever title you may hold. Just because you are titled doesn’t mean you are always right and you are entitled to everything you want to achieve. Humility, humility. Nothing turns people off more than blind arrogance.

2. Your work is your integrity.

A trophy is something you receive onstage, but a testimony is something you have to live out each day. Some people mock the thought of awarding someone as best employee, because they know every single person in the office has imperfections. But once you realize that your work reflects who you are as a person, you’ll do your best each day. You’ll keep doing better because that is you. And you don’t have to keep pressuring yourself to live up to the title.

3. You cannot please everybody.

Some people will like you because you’re excellent, but others will hate you even more. Haters gonna hate, they say. Haha! While it became tempting to believe that it is possible to get everyone’s approval, it just isn’t possible. I learned to be comfortable in my own skin, because “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.”

4. Teamwork is not cliche.

And the thing is, just because it is one of the most discussed topics doesn’t make it easier to achieve. Our team, for one, is made up of at least four different personalities with different perspectives and priorities. There were times when we misunderstood each other and ended up bitter toward one another. If we don’t agree to disagree, we’ll all end up exhausted. I am proud to say that despite our differences and petty fights, we are able to work together and produce creative (yes, creative) output and outdo our previous accomplishments. Our team was the set of people who overlooked my crazy moments, believed in my abilities, and encouraged me to keep doing better in new grounds. For the Best Team Ever, I am truly grateful.

They say you can find family wherever you may be. We tend to agree with this when we look for people who will nurture and support us all the way. But when these same people check on us and correct us, we reject them. One of the insights that struck me most is the truth that the victories we win, we achieve with the help of people around us. The more we gain momentum, the more we should humble down and listen to the people who helped us. These are our mentors and leaders in life. They deserve our respect, trust, and admiration. Because they give their best to lead and manage us, we can do better. And we certainly can do even better as we honor them by continually achieving works of excellence — with or without the title.

I find it energizing to work for a boss that is fun-loving and generous. Onstage with our CEO, Sir Maynard, my boss Mam Leah, and our HR manager, Mam Cindy.

Keep You Proud

I used to think tears would keep falling every time the 22nd of August comes around. But then I realize, what is there to keep grieving for? It’s not the number of years that matter after all. A life that had been worth living is a life worth celebrating. Even if it has been cut quite too short, it nevertheless leaves an impact on people who had been a part of it. So, in remembrance of Mama, despite some sadness and deep longing, I give emphasis on high esteem and due recognition.

I have always admired you for being strong and passionate, Ma. You have stood firm beside Papa. You had always been his solid support. You could have been the best pastor’s wife. It is my prayer to be as loving, dedicated, and goal-driven as you are — as a mentor, a teacher, a wife, and a mother. Thank you for investing in my education, for making me the kind of person that I am. I’ll always be proud of inheriting your wit and your genes. I will always keep on making you proud.

Not Another Heartbreak 

On an outsider perspective, I believe people who manage to get through heartbreaks are amazing. I’ve watched it in movies, read it in books, and saw it in some of my friends. I can only imagine how painful it could be, and how much courage it takes to accept reality and move on. I think I will not make it if I would have to go through it. At some point, I believe no one really has to.

While I was reading for the 90 Days Challenge, I came across love stories in the Bible. Adam called Eve the bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and she became her most suitable helper. Abraham loved Sarah, no matter how long it took her to bear him a child. Isaac loved Rebekah and married her; she comforted him through his mother’s death. Jacob worked 14 years for Rachel, but to him it seemed only days, because he loved her. As I pondered upon these stories of old, I realize that God must have been the Author of the best love stories ever told. I know He still is in the business of doing so today. And if so, He must be busy hands on with mine.

There are days when I can’t help but think about the person He is preparing for me. What does he look like? How does his laugh sound like? How would it feel to be his one and only? Ever since I was young, I’ve been dreaming to meet the person I’ll be spending the rest of my life with — my better half, my beloved. Through the years the dream lingers within. It feels like a destiny waiting to be fulfilled.

Life goal: to be as elated as Papa and Mama on their wedding day ^.^

But as my mind wanders about such things, I’m always being brought back to the starting point: God. He is the originator of it all — the Author of life, the Author of love. Without Him, there is no life, no love, no love life. The moment we realize that perfect love comes only from God, it fills us and changes us. Then it overflows to others. That’s why we can love unconditionally — because Christ has shown the example by loving us even when we were undeserving.

That is why I can love. Because He first loved me, I am healed. I am whole. I am set free. And so, I can love unconditionally. No matter what challenge or shortcoming or failure, I can forgive. I can overcome. There is no need to fear, to reason to be insecure. No reason for my heart to be shattered in pieces. Because He shows me what true love is, I’ll know it when I see it coming. Because His is the standard, I’ll know when a love is worth keeping and when it should be let go.

For these reasons, I choose to place my heart in God’s hands. Because if it is God who holds my heart, I can rest assured that He will only entrust it to the man who has His heart, who will value me like He does and will love me til the end like He would. I am assured that when I give my heart, it will not be just another heartbreak.

Of Love and Bravery

They say a real friend can sing a song back to you when you have forgotten the words. I say, a true li’l bro can quote a movie back to you when you’ve forgotten the title. I really love the fact that I can last a day just chatting or running movie marathons with my younger brother. He is amazing like that. And more. So when he pushed me to watch Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, I know there would be some treasure in that movie. I could never be more right.
Here are some of the gems that I got from this movie:

1. “Try and try until you succeed” doesn’t mean doing the same thing again and again.

When Major Bill Cage (Cruise) tried to outdo the tragic end of the battle, he relived the moment more than a hundred times, with each moment working out a different tactic. He tried every single tactic combination to get through the situation and have both him and his love interest come out alive.

In life, things don’t always go as we wanted. Life is tough as it is. But we can always choose to be tougher, and persevere. Wisely.

2. You only get one life.

The problem that Cage faced was complex because it was unfamiliar. But figuring it out and planning to defeat it was easy because he can keep on repeating the scenario from the top by “dying”. He can just keep on “dying” til he gets the answer. But the moment that new blood was transfused into him and dying no longer meant restart from the top, he became more conscious of his steps and definite with his sacrifices.


This life is the latter. It is a one-take shot with no cuts or repeat from the top. We can’t just “die” when we feel like giving up, and start all over again. One shot is all we got, and we have to make it matter. No matter how pissed off or stressed or worn out or broken we are, we need to learn to let go and move on.

3. Courage comes from knowing what you’re fighting for.

Cage was a coward, and he counted the cost of staying that way. But when he met Rita and got a deeper understanding of the global situation, his motives changed. From barely surviving, he trained and fought to defeat the powerful enemy — and save Rita the entire time. He learned to fight not just for the sake of self, but for a significant other. He did not care then about the world at first. But he cared deeply for Rita.

Rita, on the other hand, was the hero. The angel of Verdun, she endured the battles in place of her brother whom she loved dearly. She was fighting for family. She also took a vow to protect her bigger family from an extraterrestrial enemy. This bigger family is the world.

Some people find courage in defending a cause that scales multitudes of people and impacts the whole world. This is amazing. But some people draw their greatest courage when faced with a challenge that concerns one single person that matters most to them — a friend, family, or a loved one. Whatever the underlying force, the principle remains: courage is not fighting blindly without fear. It is what happens when you value something so great it overpowers whatever stands in the way.

Courage, they say, is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it. I say, courage is the proof of a powerful love winning over fear.

What makes you brave? Whom are you fighting for?

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Courageous Kimmy

Does friendship end over two lost concert tickets? Well, it could have been.

I was astonished when one of my closest friends sent me a text message telling me that it is her goal for our relationship to level up this year. I thought, are we not that intimate enough? Didn’t we just practically spend almost our entire college life together? Then I realized that yes, there is more space to grow in our relationship.

Apparently, on the day Kim and I lost two expensive (well, this adjective is relative considering that at the time we were stretching our personal budgets) tickets to a local concert, we almost lost our patience on one another. Almost! And that’s when I saw clearly that there is still more to know and to love about this beautiful lady that we fondly call Kimmy.

aug 9 2011 kim and keren
Our first picture together, taken around 2011 (or I think around an earlier date?)
Second picture together (just the two of us!) taken around 2012. Is the rule one photo a year, Kimmy? 😉

Before plunging into the depth of what I still have to know about Kimmy, let me tell you a few of what I know–and like–about her. Well, she was born on the Day of Valor. At first, I took this fact for granted; only lately did I realize that maybe, God has indeed given this person a gift of courage worthy of inspiration.

Kimmy did not want to celebrate her birthday with many people. Lately, she preferred spending Christmas and her birthday alone at home in her room–spending time meditating on her life and her relationship with her God. It was a little astonishing at first, but on a deeper level it shows how she takes life seriously and not just play around. It shows how grounded she is in her faith in God, and how that faith directs her life on a day-to-day basis. I know a lot of people experience a lot of pressures from different sources each day. And I know it takes courage to accept defeat today, but striving to be better tomorrow. I believe that Kimmy has this kind of attitude. Kimmy has the inner strength, that inner courage, to face each of them head on, determining to know each difficulty in detail and overcoming it.

I remember what I wrote on the college yearbook for Kimmy:

One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears, says Dean Rusk. Kim knows this best and proves it by what she does.

Kimberly Giel Joanne Fiecas is known to be a silent person, but deep inside is a person worth knowing, and worth cherishing. A listening friend, a persevering student, a reliable person, she knows where to invest her resources: her time, her effort, and her words. Kim treasures her family as priceless; she treats her friends as family; she considers her teachers her friends. People who see her in school perceive her as a silent, serious, and structured girl, but aside from her academic life, she has got a fun, social life too. She loves parties, sleepovers and movie marathons. She always aims to balance things up in her life, and knows it’s not always a score of perfect one. Life in UP means both victories and struggles, but Kim has decided to learn from both, and with every failure she is determined to rise up again and do better, all for the First Love who has given His life so that hers would be meaningful.
Life in UP ends so soon, but life itself continues, and for Kim, learning, living, and loving keep going on, as long as there is one soul around her left for her to love.

This beautiful, strong lady might be going through tough times lately, but I believe that she will make it through and emerge stronger after all the trials. I believe that in her silence is her strength. In her silence is her dependence on God. There is so much more to know about Kimmy, but one thing’s sure: deep inside this person is someone worth knowing, and worth cherishing.

I miss you, Kimmy! Hope to see you soon. We’ve still got a lot of pictures of ourselves to take! 😉

This year's goal: more photos together! And a level up in our friendship, of course. :D
This year’s goal: more photos together! And a level up in our friendship, of course. 😀

This Scary Thing Called Fear


It’s been a really long time since I last blogged, and now it’s 2013! So much had happened in those past three months that I didn’t even have time to blog about them. Anyway, I hope you had a great start for 2013. 🙂

colorful 2013

For me, I had a great bonding moment with my siblings and relatives on the side of my father. We spent the first day of the year swimming! There was so much fun. It was like I was relieved of all my worries back at home and at work, because I was with my second fathers and mothers, and my siblings were there enjoying with me. Wish I could have more of that this year! Haha. Cousins were just fun to hang out with. And it was then the Lord started speaking to me. He told me what I needed to know to get this year right, on the 1st of January.

So it was fun. But I was there, afraid to learn to swim, afraid to try the BIG slides. I heard myself saying, “Hey, Keren. What’s the big deal?” Trying hard to swim, gathering all my strength just to try one slide down that colorful-yet-scary-structure at the end of the pool, I realized once again that I’ve got so much fear overcrowding my little heart.  Even fear in the small things take up so much space in my heart. God was telling me there is no way I could face 2013 with all this heavy “fear” baggage. I needed to unload them. He asked me, “Child, what are you going to do now?” Of course, other than braving myself up that big slide and learning from my youngest sister the basics of swimming (what a shame for me!), I had to do something with this scary thing called fear.

You can be sure that when God asks a question you can’t seem to answer, He will show you the answer. In the following days, He showed me that for so long I have been living a sheltered life. I grew up in a Christian family, went to a Christian school all the way from nursery to high school, had selected friends in college, and took minimal risks even during my teenage years.

It might be really cute, but at one point, being sheltered and just sleeping like a baby is boring.

Maybe it is one of the reasons He took Mama and Papa so early–so I would learn to break out of the shell, and stand on my own feet.

The answer became ice clear when I read Bishop Oriel Ballano‘s slogan for this year: No Boundaries. This was the main theme for the preaching he spoke at church on January 6. The key context was in Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

The message is clear. Forget the former thing. Clarify your focus. Commit yourself to God’s plan. This year, the Lord has greater things in store. He has new miracles to do, newer victories to give, and fresher tracks to lead me in. To be able to receive these, all I need to do is to let go of my fear, go beyond my personal border, and see myself fly.

This is the answer, clear and simple.

Now, I believe I can make it this year.

What about you? Are you done moving on from your failures and victories in 2012 toward a more glorious 2013? 🙂


Shelving “2” and starting anew with “3”. 😉

Perfectly Imperfect: Cyborg Girl

Oh, the power of foreign movies.

In the past two weeks I’ve been sleeping late because of a Japanese movie and a Korean drama series that Ate Michelle lured encouraged me to watch. The movie is Cyborg Girl by a director-writer from South Korea named Kwak Jae-yong.

The story tells of a lonely man named Jiro, celebrating his birthday alone for years because he has no family, until an almost perfect girl came from seemingly nowhere and made his 21st birthday unforgettably magical. But then she had to go. One year passed with no single trace of her. His waiting was rewarded when exactly on his 22nd birthday, she came back–with a message from the future.  She was everything to him. The beauty that left him dazzling. The perfection that made him feel everything is alright. The color that altered his boring life. The strength that rescued him from tragedy. She was everything… but real. She was a cyborg from the future. He loved her, cared for her, revealed his heart to her. But, she could not feel.

The story ended with a literal happy ever after (which I am not going to spill over here). But if you wanna know the story in detail plus the sought-after ending, you can check one good review here. You can find another review here where the movie is analyzed comparatively with the other films directed by Kwak Jae-yong.

I didn’t get the ending at one viewing so I had to re-watch it twice. After it dawned on me, I couldn’t figure out my emotions. But because I tend to over-absorb whatever movie I watch, I reflected on the movie and eventually two questions crossed my mind.

How much do we want to control time, and consequently, life?

Probably like Jiro, it’s a boring life we live today or a sad situation we do not want to be in. Maybe it’s a broken past that keeps on haunting us and affecting every day that we breathe. Or yet, maybe it is a part of the future which we couldn’t wait to know. These are the moments we wish we could control time and twist it the way we wanted.

How much are we controlled by our emotions?

Many times our decisions and actions are determined by our emotions. Be it anger, bitterness, love or any sort of emotion, it has the power to drive us, to determine our lives. Jiro lived the rest of his life building the love story he hoped would last–and it changed the course of his life forever.

This beautiful movie has a lot of implications–on philosophy, time travel, infinity, and many more. It is a launching pad for many to air their personal beliefs. But one insight I gained here is the significance of an All-knowing Being who orchestrates this universe and everything else within and without. Apart from the context of the perfect will of that All-powerful Being, everything is chaotic. Everything is a confusion. Every quest is a search for an answer, to an end which only leads to another quest for what could be.

I am just thankful. With the truth that a loving Creator wonderfully made me to live with Him towards perfection, I am at peace.


Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.”

Job 42:1-3

It is so striking whenever foreigners speak good things about our country, the Philippines. This is because many Filipinos fail to see the privilege they have as heirs of this beautiful nation.

Kiva Stories from the Field

Anna Cleal, KF10, Philippines

1)    How to smile

At the moment I am working as a Kiva fellow with the field partner organisation Community Economic Ventures (CEVI), based in Bohol, Philippines.  Here there are some of the most fantastic smiles I have ever seen.  It’s the real face lit up, all teeth accounted for, glowing beam that can spread far and wide.

Lesson: Plain and simple – Smile! Remember to smile as much as possible because everyone knows that smiles are contagious!

2)      How to laugh

Another one of those contagiously good qualities – people in the Philippines can’t help but laugh.  I’ve worked in 5 different offices over here with one thing in common, LAUGHTER.  It is very easy to become disillusioned into thinking that your jokes are getting funnier, but in actual fact it’s just that the audience is ever so partial to good ole chuckle…

View original post 794 more words


When the person with the most reasons to be discouraged give out encouragement…

When the most stressed employee walks around to help others see life’s bright side…

When an overwhelmed man talks about strength  to overcome…

the inspiration simply resonates.

Photo from Jonathon L. Jenkins (JLJFOTO)


That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Cheers to planning for a wedding!

But not mine, of course. 😉 I’m just so excited about the upcoming wedding of my friend-slash-officemate-slash-roommate. Yey! Have I told you that I was fond of weddings? I enjoy reading about it, hearing about it, seeing photos of it, and even writing about it. If you haven’t chanced upon my blog about wedding, you can check it here. I bet planning about one will be so great, and for sure I’ll be doing it years from now. So that’s going to be quite a long wait, right?

Anyway, the other day I got hooked reading one of the blog posts of our dear American intern Josiah. It is really amazing how he put into words his first and might be last participation in a Filipino wedding! Imagine a clueless, young American being part of the processional of a traditional Filipino wedding, putting the cord over the wedding couple, and mingling with other guests for photo-ops! How about that? 😉 Well, Josiah’s blog is pretty long, but his writing can lead to more realizations than you could ever think the first time you read it. So here’s a few insights I got from his latest post:

  • Filipinos LIKE photos
  • Feeling “essentially useless” can be a good thing–if it leads to you realize that all you need is to rely on Christ
  • Your ONLY value lies in Christ
  • God is the Lord of all timezones
  • Present mindedness: focusing on the present and living fully in the present

And the most striking insight I got today:

Do not be so familiar with the need you see around you that you become numb to it and learn to live with it. Avoid desensitizing yourself to the need. Rather, know the need and meet it. How?

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

P.S. Congratulations to Josiah for being engaged to Emily today! Yey!