August 26, 2012- Tribute to the Relentless Man – Jess Robredo

A friend reminded me that it has been three weeks since I last updated my blog.  I had been so busy the past few weeks, that I haven’t even watched The Bourne Legacy, Brave et al.   I haven’t been able to give some time for exercise and I kinda messed up my “work-life” balance, tilting everything to work.  Basically, I’ve missed a lot.

In short my life has been a mess- a little bit of ruckus, deadlines, larger waistlines and so I’ve got to fix it again.

Whenever I feel tired, I think about the other men who are relentlessly working.  They somehow inspire me to stop lazing around, get my butt off the ground, run some kilometers, skip a little more carbs, and have the energy to smile, work and still smile.

Below are just some of the stuffs I’ve learned from Mr. Jesse Robredo:

1.) I must say that desire and commitment far outweigh knowledge and skill. The latter can be learned. Without the former, your life’s work will be a profession and not a vocation. – Mayor Jesse Robredo (2003 Commencement Speech to Ateneo de Davao)

Read fully here:


Despite the difficulties, despite the limitations, despite the harassment, good governance is possible. By simply providing that inspiration, sometimes the subordinates are better than their leaders. In the case of Naga, I have done well not because I am smart, not because I am good, but because I have good people who discovered that they are better because they are inspired. The capacity to govern is not magical. It has to be cultivated over time. During the most difficult times of the city I stood for them. I work for them. I am the last guy on the street if there is a typhoon. I am the first guy who’s out to clean after the typhoon. I make sure everyone is home, and everyone is in their house before I decide to go back to my house. I always do what I say I will do, and I will not demand of others what I cannot do myself. Presence is important. I can say I am academically prepared and technically proficient, but I guess that’s not what matters. What matters is being accepted by the people as somebody who can lead, because you are not just a problem-solver, you are also an inspirational guide that they can go to.



Just 10 years after Robredo became mayor, Naga’s annual growth rate of 6.5 percent was among the most rapid in the country, its per capita income of P174,500 was 42 percent higher than the national average, and it had a lower poverty incidence of 19 percent compared to the Bicol region’s percent. Third degree malnutrition was practically erased from its 3.5 incidence in 1987 to only 0.1 percent in 1998. Government employees take pride in the city’s 72 day care centers that use the Montessori approach to child development. Naga City had 27 barangays and a population of 137,810 in 2000.


With the city’s highest official setting the example, employees are obviously motivated to do no less. For instance, Mongoso says it is considered a “mortal sin” to ask another city hall employee to punch one’s timecard, which is a common practice in many local government units and even private offices.


If online and offline media choose to cover Mayor Jess Robredo for an entire week and neglect any other news, as a tribute to his magnanimous contributions to the entire nation.  I think it is honestly fine.  You know why?

Because Mayor Robredo’s life, message, and work ethic is meant to be shared, tweeted, retweeted and told to many generations.    To keep it to oneself is selfish indeed.  Here lies a man who did nothing next to impossible.  He is an ordinary man who has done an extraordinary achievement in Naga City through hard work, and real strife.  It was never easy.  He had to set the highest example, so that his own employees would obviously be motivated to do no less.

Mayor Robredo is an ordinary man who strived to do extraordinary things.  He empowered his citizens.

While it is inevitable for the whole country to mourn for his loss, we should all live up to his expectations.  Each Filipino, each individual has a part to play.  We can always make the country a better nation.  If you think your choices are limited, expand your horizons.  I’m not trying to make Filipinos unrealistic in shooting for the moon and stars, but I’ve always believed that there have been great strides made by technology to increase awareness, education and economic wealth for the Filipinos who would want to take the opportunities given to them.

There’s no excuse blaming the government for the lack of jobs.  (Create one – be an entrepreneur – easily said than done of course.)

There’s no excuse blaming the company for the low salary. (Did you ever try checking to see how much you contribute in earnings, to demand a higher pay?)

There’s no excuse blaming anyone for one’s situation.

If you are in a tight place, try asking yourself what are the problems hindering you from achieving your greatest possibility?


Choose a different career if you have to.  Do what you love.  If you must support a family and postpone your real life vocation, then do so at your pace.  This is a world filled with many options.  Some may not be as practical and as fruitful, but do not let it hinder you from choosing that option, if that’s what you love.  There are many choices, and not everything will lead to a pragmatic lifestyle.    We can all fail, and repeat our failures, or we can also fail, start anew and learn from our mistakes.  As the cartoon “Meet the Robinsons” would say , keep on moving forward.

There’s nothing wrong with failing.  The problem is when we get stuck so deep and start thinking that we cannot solve our problems.  Truly, the only problem is when we lose the hope that we can even revive and start anew.

– Faceless Trader


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