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Elmer Borlongan

She said

Priceless lessons from women

Elmer Borlongan

 

When I was growing up, my mother would give me P20 every day as baon. Nanay Dolly would always say to me, “Use it to buy food and snacks and nothing else.” Those words stuck in my memory so every time I would earn my own money, I would value it and only buy essential things that are important to me. —Elmer Borlongan, painter

My wife Kat told me, “Follow your heart because from there flows creativity, love, kindness and compassion. And then we contribute to making the world a better place.” —Milo Naval, industrial designer

When I was much younger, I thought that in order to have more friends and be liked and accepted by many, I should be accommodating. I tried to please others by always saying yes even if at times I felt I was being treated unfairly. People started taking advantage of my kindness. And then I met my aunt’s friend who would become my mentor. She taught me to say no when I felt uncomfortable, when things don’t feel right or when I simply don’t agree. She taught me to put my foot down and not allow people to manipulate or sway me. Over time, I learned the value of self-love and became more confident. I now have a better sense of self. —Patty Betita, model

Marina Benipayo and mom Neni

My mom told me, “You can lose everything, but never lose your sense of humor.” She was the only one who gave me advice and that’s the one I remember the most. —Marina Benipayo, model and actress

I learned from my sister in Christ, “Sometimes it is more important to be kind than to be correct.” —Fr. Jem Guevara, SJ, priest

My mom would always tell me and my sister when we were little girls: “Whatever you do, give it your best shot. If you’re a janitor, be the best janitor you can be. Be happy; be kind. Life is beautiful!” Now that I’m older I realize this was her way of reminding us that we should live with passion. More importantly, she wanted us to remember that everyone’s role is significant, and our aim shouldn’t be to rise to the top but to be of significance to others in whatever way we can. —Dr. Geraldine Zamora, rheumatologist

I have always admired Oprah Winfrey. She uses all her power to uplift, inspire and educate people. An aunt quoted something Oprah said which made me relax and be less anxious. “Learn to laugh at yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, you won’t fall apart when you make yours. Others will be drawn to your humility, and every stumble becomes another chance to learn.” —Pauline Gorriceta Banusing, Iloilo-based restaurateur

Most everything I know I learned from my mama. She taught me by example the joy of working, loving and living. She showed me every day that one of the keys to being efficient is to put things in their proper place. So at night, before I go to bed, I make sure that everything in the house is in order, all tables are clear, nothing is out of place. —Malu G. Lindo, general manager of Azuthai, Cirkulo, Milky Way and Tsukiji

Shelly Lazaro

At my 18th birthday party, when my mom was called on stage to say something, she told me that while the choices I make, good or bad, from then on will follow me for the rest of my life, there is that one thing that I will never regret: being kind. That there’s absolutely no reason to be mean. That hurtful words can cause irreparable damage. This advice has lived with me way past my teenage years. It’s the first lesson I taught my son Aiden—to always be kind to himself, to others, and to the planet. —Shelly Lazaro, TV host and social entrepreneur

My mother-in-law taught me that in relationships, sometimes it is better to loving than to be right. —Maricar G. Urgino, owner of Dance Plus by Maricar’s Dance Studio

I remember my mom would always tell me, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” I always keep this lesson in mind. Whenever I feel drained or too tired about work or life in general, I always go back to this statement. —Trix Catly, PR practitioner

That sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone is to just listen to them. As a person whose first instinct is to always go, “OK, how do we solve this problem?,” this was a huge revelation. Knowing this sooner would have avoided so many misunderstandings. Thanks to this, I have become a much better listener. Now, when someone is sharing their problems with me—man or woman—I make it a point to ask before they start, “Do you need me to listen, or to find a solution?” and we go from there. —Ian Carandang, sorbetero, Sebastian’s Ice Cream

I have a group of close girl friends and from them I learned that standing up for yourself doesn’t just benefit you. Doing so also paves the way for other women as well. I remember this every time I run into nasty, misogynistic men. It gives me the strength to fight back and call them out for their behavior. And I’m proud to say that every time I’ve done so, I’m able to beat them back with their tails between their legs. And I’m able to score a win for both myself and other women around me! —Odette Potenciano, owner of The Sunny Side Group

Happy Andrada

My mom taught me to be a go-getter and to believe in myself. You can do anything you set your mind to. Follow your dreams and passions. Work really hard for it and never give up. Never forget how hard you worked to get to where you are today but at the same time be kind to everyone and stay humble. —Happy Andrada, fashion designer

When I was still in the corporate world, “hustle” and “grind” were an understatement. I loved what I was doing and so I worked even on weekends. I stayed up late at night to check emails and do reports. It came to a point that it was wearing me out physically and mentally. That’s when I decided to take cycling classes to break my routine. It was my first ever class. It was a room full of women. By the end of the class, the female instructor said something that struck me: “Always listen to your body.” It’s so simple yet so empowering. It’s a great reminder that while it’s true that our bodies are stronger than what we think, we should not abuse it. —Lesley Guevarra, marketing manager

The best advice I received from a woman was from Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, the founder of Rags2Riches. We had a conversation about the challenges women face, and how important it is to raise strong daughters and empower women to fight against inequality. But as a mother to two young boys, she added a great perspective: Teaching our boys to be kinder, sensitive and free from gender stereotypes is equally important. Until we teach our men that equality is not just a woman’s fight, they will always be the missing link in what’s meant to be a shared mission. —Ceej Tantengco, journalist and podcaster

Nicole Limos Morales

I grew up in a female-led household since my dad tragically passed away when I was a toddler. I learned best from my mom not when she tried to “teach” me but when she was what I needed to learn. I grew up seeing my mom hustle and succeed as a corporate honcho, which allowed us the life we enjoyed when we were kids. It’s a true woman power story with her raising three children all on her own. But what I feel she’s taught me best in hindsight is how, amid success, one should always be anchored on something deeper—God. I’ve always been a prodigal daughter, and I think the foundation of my faith that my mom has helped build is what always keeps me going back. —Nicole Limos Morales, beauty journalist and founder of @thebeautyedit.ph

From a banker client: “Use your heart when you’re giving your love and use your brains when you’re deciding.” From a socialite mom, also a client: “Anybody can love like a woman, even when you’re gay. It’s how you present and show your love.”—Lourd Ryan Ramos, celebrity hairstylist

My mom, Tessie Tañada Yam, taught me to always have God in the center of my life. In every hardship there is a silver lining and we must never give up hope. Everything happens in His perfect time. —Chris Yam Daez, PR head, Fully Booked

Sometimes the best thing to do is just take that leap and believe you will make it. My mom has always been so fearless while I tend to overthink. She reminds me to get past the worry and face concerns head on.—Angelina Legaspi, PR and marketing manager of a luxury brand

Best advice I got was from my mom. She said this to me before I left for another country to work: “Be brave and be kind.” —Dan Mejia, head of communications and press, H&M Philippines“Anyone can buy luxury but not class.” Also, “A great design is where it would speak for itself.” These were both from my grandmother. —Neil Felipp San Pedro, bag and jewelry designer, Neil Felipp

Tessa Jazmines

My mother said: No matter what you become in life, basic skills in cooking, cleaning, dusting, laundering, ironing, gardening and darning will prepare you for multiple challenges in various situations. And never forget that life is always happier when you have pets to share it with. —Tessa Jazmines, sports columnist and journalism professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman

My mom and my grandma were my first teachers. They were definitely instrumental in molding the person I am today. They taught me that being kind should be at the core of my principles. No matter how successful or famous I become, the choice to be kind remains. They also always reminded me that I should never let hate or anger take over. It is best to build light, not darkness. With the willingness to let God rule my life, everything is possible! So it’s best to let faith lead me always. —Tim Tam Ong, jewelry designer, Tim Tam Ong, and cook at @saffronmommas

A dear friend sent me this quote, “Some things break our hearts but fix our visions.” It’s one of the important lessons I’ve learned these past few months. Reading that strengthened my conviction that everything God allows to happen in our lives will always be for our good and His glory. God was never after our comfort, He is always after our character. We may not see the good in it now or even sooner, but one day we will. —Cha Mendoza, fitness instructor

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