Love What You Do?


Photo of Shem-shem Pablo

Why do people keep doing things that they do not love to do?

For example work at a place they hate.



About the Author: Ronald Colunga is a regular contributor for He writes his thoughts on his website at! , which he is about to relaunch (make sure to subscribe to his newsletter as well). He is also the designer of AMSDaily’s logo and is one of the authors of the book, “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.

Success Story: Luis Pedron, Filmmaker


By Alpha Miguel-Sanford


Someone mentioned to me a few years back that if you are an immigrant and you conquered New York City, (which means you’ve made yourself known in the industry you are in), then you are golden. That also means you have made yourself somewhat of a success. New York is a city where there are a lot of things going on. And, it is a destination of many people across the globe for something better. Thus, the competition in a given  field is huge. If you are talented and you have what it takes, you will still shine. You will carry on with your passion, your beliefs and your contribution to the community.

Luis Pedron, is not just another Filipino transplant in New York City. He is, along with a few of the people we have featured on AMSDaily Success Story, a Filipino in New York City who has made a name for himself; someone whose impact among his colleagues in the film making industry would make the Filipinos proud of him.

Luis is the co-founder of the International Film Festival in Manhattan, the co-founder and the producer of the Queens Asian Fest

Although I am a Filipino-American residing in Boston, I know, somehow that my friend’s statement regarding New York is true for Luis Pedron.

This is his story:


AMS:  Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.

Luis: I have a degree in Filmmaking from the University of the Philippines Diliman and a degree in Acting (Meisner Technique) from the School for Film and Television (New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts). I am currently the Co-Founder, Festival Director, Programmer of the International Film Festival Manhattan. I am also a professional actor, a member of SAG-AFTRA pursuing roles in NYC. I am also a film producer, my latest collaboration is “The Solar Champion” (Dir: Gerry Balasta) a light hearted comedy about the invention called the solar bulb.

AMS:  Tell us about how you become involved in your current project and its mission?

Luis: I was the Programmer of the Soho International Film Festival (2010-2011) and the Programmer of the Filmmaking Contest (2005-2006). In the midst of all the artistic projects I am involved, I figured I will jump in and go full time in programming thus, Co-Founding the International Film Festival Manhattan I serve as the Festival Director and Programmer. We did our inaugural festival last Nov 11-17, 2011 at the historic Quad Cinema in NYC and will be doing our next one this coming November 9-15, 2012 at the same venue.

Mission of International Film Festival Manhattan: “International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) is a group visionaries who believes in the possibilities of New York, the greatest city in the world. We have seen how film, as a powerful medium can make a direct impact on lives or facilitate change. We also have seen the unique diversity of New York’s culture and its people. The city’s appreciation for film and ability to make things happen.”

AMS:  What is your vision of these projects?

Luis: Vision of International Film Festival Manhattan “Our vision is to create an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their works in a movie house in New York and eventually on a tour within the US and around the world. We will support the filmmakers in finding their audiences and their voice.”

AMS:  Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?

Luis: I have covered different film festivals including NY Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival for years as a red carpet interviewer and film reviewer. I was able to obeserve the need of the filmmaker to be in a film festival as part of his or her journey. I have seen the nitty gritty of how it is to run film festivals as well. I said to myself eventually I want to be a Festival Director/Programmer of my own fest.

The person who got me involved in attending film festivals is my Uncle Domingo Hornilla Jr, who worked as the Comptroller of the Film Society at the Lincoln Center NY. In the beginning he gave me passes to the NY Film Festival and he told me “you have access to these films and directors, why don’t you write reviews about them.” After writing reviews for years, there was a clear calling for me to create my own film festival.

My business partner in IFFM is award winning director Gerry Balasta. He brings in his experience as a filmmaker in attending more than 20 film festival around the world for his film “Mountain Thief.”

Regarding similar events I have produced, I also have been a co programmer for a short film fest in Brooklyn in 2011 with programmers: Frances Lozada (Cinema Nights) and Aaron Ingram (Act Now Foundation). I also co-produce the Queens Asian Fest.

AMS:  What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?

Luis: The greatest achievement I have is surviving in NYC. But of course, that’s through God’s help. He has made me find my purpose in life and that is to support the community through promoting artistic endeavors. God gave me opportunities to do important projects within the fields of entertainment and film – in all aspects including PR/Publicity/Producing/Programming.

AMS:  Who are/were your motivators?

Luis: God has guided me in a lot of things I have done in life. He keeps me grounded and motivated. I am inspired by: Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” I am blessed to have a supportive family especially my parents Louie and Flor Pedron. They have advised me with everything I do.

AMS:  If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they?

Luis: In filmmaking, I always remind everyone, filmmaking is 10% filmmaking and 90% marketing. It’s the same thing in all businesses. The 3 tips I have for everyone are:

1) Have the Attitude of Gratitude: Be thankful to everyone who has helped you. Say thank you immediately, both through email and through greeting cards. Thank God for all your blessings. Always say Thank you to your family, friends, business partners and customers. They also are the reason why you are successful.

2) Social Networking: Be sure you have a list: start building your Facebook friends and twitter following. Do not wait until you have a big project. Start now so when you are promoting your project, you will already have a captive audience.

3) No Man in an Island. Attend offline networking events, conferences, conventions, churches, clubs (ex Toastmaster, Lions, Rotary), organization parties, school reunions, film festivals, street fair, etc. Having a network online is not enough. You have to meet people live as well. Remember in finding collaborators, you need to check out their likeability factor. You only see this to meeting your prospects in person.

AMS:  What are your next goals for yourself?

Luis: After IFFM NY in Nov 2012, we will be doing IFFM goes to Manila in early 2013. Gerry Balasta and I (with our other collaborators) will be finishing our film “The Solar Champion”!/solarchampion. Our group (same as the IFFM) by the way had a successful Kickstarter campaign for our finishing funds werein we raised $15,000 online. (Historically, in Kickstarter only 41% gets funded)

AMS:  What is your definition of success?

Luis:  Success does not equal only money. Success is when you have reached a point in your life wherein everything you do is what you were dreaming of when you were little. Success is when you can say you are happy with what you are doing. Success is when you can say you have a purpose in life.

My special quotable quote:

“Enjoy the Process.”



About the Author: Alpha Miguel-Sanford, is the founder and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed. She is also the author of the book “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.You can contact her at, follow and like her on Facebook Page AMSDaily and be friends with her on Twitter @identitysolved.


Culturally Special Families


By Alpha M. Sanford and Charm Damon


In honor of Multicultural Day, typically celebrated in October or early November, we collaborated on sharing with you a few glimpses of what happens in our own culturally rich and biracial families.  Below, we describe the beauty of having two backgrounds, and how different cultures blend together in our respective families.


Alpha M. Sanford

I love my family! I think it is a wonderful combination of two worlds with different culture, languages, and beliefs but with the same values. You see, I am Filipino by birth and I am married to a great American guy, whom I adore! Everyday is never dull for us, as we do everything with two sets of eyes. If I say, I want to eat rice, he says he would like to have some baked potatoes. If I say, 10:30 – what I truly mean is 11:00 whereas, he says 10:30 on the dot. If I say, I feel cold he says the opposite.


Well, this is the grandeur of life! And what greater it is than to have two different yet not conflicting views on some things to form a family. I know mine is not that uncommon, but I know deep inside me, it is special. Truly special, as our daughter would show it through her eyes, nose, her complexion, the color of her hair and the way she talks. She does not have my accent, nor does she have my husband’s ability to drop the letter ‘r’ out of his daily discourse. She is not afraid to ask for rice and hotdog for breakfast at times or bread and butter, the next. She knows how to scream when Manny Pacquiao wins the belt and cheers when Tom Brady has a touchdown.


But, one thing that keeps us together is the set of values that we have.


We value life, peace, respect, love, nature and happiness.


We value differences and the uniqueness of everyone.


We know who we are as a family and what makes us happy – and that is the most important thing to have.

Charm M. Damon

In our biracial Asian-American family, we could say that we are quite blessed with a rather harmonious blending of day-to-day cultural practices from both worlds.  Having said this, I believe that our non-traditional “culturally” rich family seems to be an exception to many stereotypical biracial families in which cultural differences are obvious, equally representing two solid cultures, but at times also creating conflicts among its members.  Fortunately, our four-member family, especially my husband and I, have not had any major cultural conflicts because I met my husband after living in the States for about five years, so I was more accustomed to the American culture and practices.  Additionally, I lived, studied, and worked with individuals from around the world, so I’ve learned bits and pieces of “world culture” enough to understand and celebrate differences and similarities, respectively (although the learning never stops there).  And my husband reminds me every now and then that Filipinos such as myself are really a multicultural group of people with Spanish and American influences, to name a few.


In our household, I am guilty of not being the most explicit ambassador for learning about cultural richness, especially with my little ones at home.  I wish I had more time and opportunity to expose them to the Asian culture more, especially the Filipino and Thai cultures that I hold dear to my heart. On the other hand, the implicit approach I use to expose them to these cultures probably serve them best at their age, so as to avoid bombarding them with unfamiliar practices.  For instance, I enjoy cooking international dishes, and I could say that my children have been to various places through food and the stories I tell them when we share them (or cook together).  So, let me share with you our daily family story through the food we enjoy.


For breakfast, our whole family looks forward to my homemade liege waffles, which we first shared last year at a Belgian waffle stand during one of our local family outings.  Through this experience, my husband and I are able to tell our son that these waffles are special because they were originally enjoyed in a place far, far away.  Being able to taste them for the first time, and now having mommy make them for him and his sister at home to enjoy for breakfast many mornings makes them his own, and gives him a piece of a place we could someday visit and create more memories as a family.


For lunch, my children and I typically enjoy leftovers from dinner the night before.  Some of the most popular lunch and dinner dishes in our family are beef bulgogi from Korea, caldereta, tocino and adobo from the Philippines/Spain, soft tacos and chili from Mexico that are also now common American favorites, massaman chicken from Thailand, teriyaki salmon from Japan, and Daddy’s New York strip steaks (yes, our three-year-old loves his steaks!) Through these dishes, we are not only able to taste the world, but also reminisce and celebrate my husband and my histories growing up in two different places, inevitably shaping our values in life. The beauty of such differences, however, is that we experience various cultures through food with our children, hence creating our own “history” and “culture” unique to the Damon family – the history and culture, not to mention experiences, that work wonderfully for us as a biracial family.  And hopefully one day soon, when the kids are big enough, we are able to travel around the world together, so I can in turn introduce my children and husband to the same amazing individuals I once shared the same great food and memories with while living abroad.  Until then, cooking sessions and stories serve our family just as great and ever so deliciously.


If you have a biracial, multiculturally rich family, what daily routines do you have that celebrate the beauty of your special family?

6 Powerful Ways to Self-Care


By Liz Scala


As I’ve shared in previous articles, I am a nurse and health coach.  Having part-time jobs, owning my company, contributing to nurse and coaching associations, and studying to advance my education all contributes to how I am a very busy nurse; much like we all are!

Early last year, I had asked nurses what their biggest challenge was when it came to self-care.  The majority of responses had to do with “time.”  This was something I’d been told before; however lately this “time” concept continues to evolve even further. I also venture to add- everyone struggles with having enough time- not just health care professionals.

Recently nurses tell me they just don’t have time for “self-care”; in fact they are sick of hearing about it.  They’ve share with me that they know what to do, they have the knowledge about health and wellness, but they just cannot fit it in!  I understand.  In fact, I have started to see a shift in my own thinking as it pertains to health and wellness coaching.  I believe there might be a step before we are ready to set-goals; a space and place to prepare for self-care.

So what can I say to you if you are struggling with this very dilemma?  You want to be healthy, you desire to change behaviors, but you just cannot fit anything else in and are feeling stressed about the thought of it.  Here are some easy, time-friendly, and practical tools to get you started:

  • 5 Minute Breath Work: Sit quietly for just five minutes each day.  Observe your breath.  Let go of thoughts.  If a thought comes into mind; acknowledge it, but let it go without judgment.  Just focus solely on your breathing.  You can do it.  Five minutes; that is all that I ask!


  • 10 Minute Journaling: Writing is a fantastic way to get scattered thoughts, unsettling feelings, and conflicting emotions out onto paper.  Journaling can be an outlet for creativity, a source of goal-setting, and a way to spend time in quiet alone.  It is just another way for reflection and relaxation.  Don’t overdo it… which will make you stressed, ultimately abandoning the project.  Set a timer and just do it for ten minutes before bed.


  • Build Healthy Habits into Your Day: I have seen this time and time again; lines of people at work waiting for the elevators or cars jockeying for the front parking spot at a store.  Why not choose the healthier option in your day-to-day routine?  Instead of sitting and posting on Facebook during lunch; why not eat your lunch and then head off the unit for a brisk walk?  You can achieve self-care easily if you just build it into your routine!


  • Revisit your Priority List: This bullet point is about shifting your mindset.  If your excuse to not partaking in self-care modalities is “I have no time;” look and see who is getting your time or what you are spending your energy on.  Also, observe who your number one priority is.  Is it you; as it rightfully should be?  Or do you have some rearranging to do?  You have to start caring about your own health; no one else is going to do that for you!


  • Cut out Time Wasters: How much “time” do you spend on the internet or watching TV?  I know; the common rebuttal to this is “That is my way to unwind.”  While some TV or interactions on Facebook are healthy and wonderful for keeping in touch; I want to caution that this is done so in moderation.  Spending all of your free time on the couch in front of the television is time you could be spending in self-care activities.  Get off your rump, get out there, and get moving!


  • Self-Care in a Group: Make a healthy habit of doing things with friends, co-workers, and colleagues.  Instead of always going out to a Happy Hour or a restaurant to catch-up; why not take a brisk walk in a park or go do something adventurous!?  Making it a group activity will bring in the social aspect, but it will also make time fly… as you will be having fun.


Realize that you are a wonderful, beautiful, and worthy person.  You deserve self-care; you deserve time for you, time outside of work, time for your life.  Using these suggestions you can find a way to take part in healthy habits… in no time!   Enjoy…

I welcome comments/questions:


About the Author: Liz Scala writes about Health and Wellness monthly for AMSDaily. You can visit her  blog at Living Sublime Wellness to read more on these topics. She is also one of the authors of the book, “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.

Worrying about Grades


Worrying about grades?

G uess

R andomly

A nd

D evise

E stimated

S cores?


Oh no!


G ive

R ecorded

A nd

D eserved

E valuation

of S tudents




G reat

R ewards

A re

D ue (only to the)

E arnest, enthusiasic, empowered

S choolers!


Happy grading! And I wish for you happy :) )) grades!





About the Author: Buenaflor Laoang-Rosete finished Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and an awardee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Philippines in 2001. She is a mother, public servant, teacher. Her Lifenotes tell of a “once-a-wretch-now-fully-blest” life story, inspiring the advocacy of living simply, fragrantly and richly. She is a Filipino and is happy to be one.