Use a compass instead of a map

In an episode of Workman (one of my favorite Korean variety shows), they went to a daycare and through that episode, I found out that they rearranged their education system for kindergarteners.

They adapted child-centered education wherein children are free to do and follow their curiosities in the daycare. They can play an instrument, play with toys available in the classroom, they could read a book, etc. Also, I don’t feel that “classroom” is even the right term for their space because it doesn’t look like a classroom at all.

This overall system promotes creativity as well as it builds up this confidence within the kid. In here, teachers do not say “sit still” or “behave”. Rather they encourage them to follow their desires and whatever they found interesting. They aren’t taught to score well during exams or be the best among the block. They promote communal activities (playing games with the whole class) and just being.

Honestly, even I think that kids as young as them should not take exams as soon as they have to go to school/daycare. They are too young to just sit still and I think the best thing that a school can instill in a child is to love learning. As they grow older and started taking exams, they will remember that how you do in a exam is not related to how much you learned.

I hope this could be applied to higher education as well. Personally, I am interested in psychology, biology, history, and journalism. I am currently in architecture program and I hope that there would be ways in which I could take up courses from other programs. Unfortunately, that does not exist yet lol

What I found interesting among a lot of master designers is that they integrates various subjects into their work. Some have took courses from other programs (ex. Steve Jobs), there are others who took up science programs but shifted to a design-related program, etc. Basically, they have knowledge on other subjects and that’s how they are able to design what they are designing right now.

In connection to everything I read, a few months ago this is what I started practicing: I used my hobbies, interests, and desires as my compass and disregarded the “map.” The map is pertaining to the pre-ordained life that society expects me to follow.

Since then, I never felt guilty of not following “the map”, I went my own path, following my inner soul. I read about psychology a lot, I read essays about creativity, I read novels, I read fiction and non-fiction, I write, etc. Anything that I found interesting or what I am curious in, I just follow it. And I never felt so happy and satisfied. Everyday I will learn something new. Gosh. If there is just any option to design my own curriculum, I would. And I would design it in a way that is filled with courses that I am interested in.

Srivinas Rao, author of The Art of Being Unmistakable, wrote about kindergartens and using a compass,

Kindergarten classrooms are utter chaos and true genius at the same time. The potential to discover a calling is available every single day. Then something happens. Somebody decided that you might stray too far off the beaten path, and gives you a map. They decide what is important for your future and these decisions become the destinations on the map.

….However, if I want to do interesting work, take risks, and see what I am really made of, I have to be willing to use a compass instead of a map.

Promoting self-learning and using a compass, allows each and everyone of us to just be ourselves. This is what I missed the most during summer breaks, it is when I just learn things without having to be graded for it.

And if you have been reading my previous posts, I mentioned this quote a few times now but it is amazing how each and every time I wrote this quote, I have something new to add. This is basically how curiosity starts, it starts as a small idea and over time as you search and search, you would have a lot of things related to it already and this is just basically it. This means that I am following my compasses very well.

Here is the quote from Austin Kleon:

“The lives of great thinkers teach us that learning is the verb of life. The trick to lifelong learning is to exercise your curiousity as much as you can and to let it guide you where it wants to go. To pay attention to what you pay attention to. To not worry too much about where things are going to lead. To learn for learning’s sake, not because it’s going to get you something, necessarily, but because you have faith that the things that interest you will help you become who you need to be.

Your interest and your desire and your instincts are your compass. They show you the way.

It’s a hard things to internalize, but once you do, it’s one of the most powerful things. It sets you free.”

Using Game Principles to Design Spaces and Products

Yuri Zaitsev mentioned in his talk entitled “Game Principle To Design Products For Fun” that there are several types of fun in a game. One of them is fellowship- the sense of community in a game. In other words, players working together towards the same goal.

I have been playing Working at a Pizza Place for an hour or less for a few days now. In this game, there are roles such as the manager, cashier, cook, pizza boxer, delivery, and supplier. Each role has a specific job. Any player can choose and change their role whenever they wanted.


You will be playing this game in real-time with other 11 players or less. Sometimes, some players will not do their jobs and just be idle but, thank Heavens, some players do their jobs. Altogether, everyone works well.


The main reason why I am so hooked at this game is that I feel that I have a purpose. In the game, everyone’s job is crucial similar to a real-life pizza place. The game makes you feel that what you are doing has a purpose because you are not working only for your gain. Other players in the server rely on you as well so that they could properly do their jobs too.

Fellowship is the type of fun that the designer of Working at a Pizza Place has incorporated in the game. I am someone who volunteers especially if it is something related to community building. Probably why I find WAAPP absolutely fun.

Moreover, once I had learned the different types of fun in a game, I began to look for examples in the real-world that incorporate the various types of fun.

But before that, here are the other types of fun that I learned from Yuri Zaitsev:

● Narrative – has a story to tell
● Sensation – uses various senses
● Fantasy – turns on your imagination
● Challenge – learning a new skill
● Discovery – discovering something new
● Expression
● Abnegation – a sense of peace or real one

An example is the Adventure Series™.

Pirate Adventure Theme. Source: GE Healthcare

Seeing first-hand how a child reacted to seeing his work, the MRI Scanner, like one big scary machine, prompted designer Doug Dietz to design the MRI suit in a human-centered way.

The Adventure Series™ incorporated the fantasy and narrative types of fun in its design. Kids enter the room and spend their session inside like they are the main character of a fantasy book. Operators follow a script that they need to narrate to pediatric patients throughout the session. Fantastical elements are painted from the walls, floor, ceiling, and even the MRI Scanner itself. Doug Dietz and his team were able to make the MRI session for young patients fun and memorable instead of something dreadful and traumatizing to some.

80% of pediatric patients sedated before to only 2 patients after the first year of Adventure Series™.

Is It Bad To Be ‘Jack of All Trades’?

This post is originally posted last June 2019 from my previous domain.

When I was a kid, I kept hearing the phrase, ‘jack of all trades master of none’, which means a person has a lot of skills yet has no mastery on any of it. As soon as I knew the meaning of that phrase, I immediately told myself that, “I cannot be jack of all trades.” Because grownups around me keep telling me to not be. Without even knowing why can’t I?

Until recently, I came by the book entitled The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance by Friederike Fabritius, MS, and Hans W. Hagemann, PhD.

In Chapter 6: Foster Learning, scientists conducted a study to exhibit the brain’s remarkable capacity for change. The participants are bus drivers and taxi drivers in London. The drivers of both vehicles had their brains scanned. Two years later, scientists were suprised by what they found out.

With each cabdriver, the posterior hippocampus, a region associated with spatial learning, had increased in size, while the bus drivers showed no similar change. – Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann.

In other words, a positive change in the brain of the cabdrivers has occured due to their constant route change. On the other hand, scientists concluded that because they travel the same roads every day, bus drivers’ brain remained the same. The change that happened in the taxi drivers brain is called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity can physically change the structure of your brain, increasing the size of particular regions and the speed with which those regions communicate with each other – Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann.

The cognitive region of the brain is called gray matter. Basically, it handles all our thinking, memory, etc. It’s the computer of the brain. While white matter makes the connections between regions.

People who acquire a variety of new skills—everything from juggling to meditating to ballroom dancing—show an increase in white matter as they become steadily more proficient. In other words, the ease and speed with which the brain’s key regions communicate gets better and better.

This is the reason why taxi drivers’ white matter increased in size. The brain is getting expanded as it takes up new information.

As University of Hamburg’s Arne May, told New Scientist, “It suggests that learning a skill is more important than exercising what you are good at already—the brain wants to be puzzled and learn something new.”

Going back, it seems that being ‘jack of all trades’ is good for the brain. You can learn how to play piano even if you don’t want to be a musician or be Mozart-like good. You can learn it because you wanted to hear beautiful melodies whenever you are tired. You can try to learn the things that you are interested in without even having a big reason like to “save the world”. It can just be as simple as, “I want to learn this.”

Maybe by trying out things outside your forte, you may discover ideas that could be fuse in the things that you already know. You never know which ideas would have a great impact if you dont put them into practice.

Lastly, I researched that the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ is an incomplete one. The complete version of it is: Jack of all trades, master of none is better than master of one.

This post is originally posted last June 2019 on my previous domain.

How Our Brain Works When We Are Confronted With Challenges

In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Carol Dweck shared that students who were given awareness of how the brain works performed better academically and in other areas of their lives.

Carol Dweck and her team conduct mindset workshops on how the brain works and one of the things they say in those workshops is this passage:

“Many people think of the brain as a mystery. They don’t know how much about intelligence and how it works. When they do think about what intelligence is, many people believe that a person is born either smart, average, or dumb- and that stays that way for life. But new research shows that the brain is more like a muscle- it changes and gets stronger when you use it. And scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn.

When you learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger. The more that you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow. Then, things that you once found very hard or even impossible- like speaking a foreign language or doing algebra- seem to become easy. The result is a stronger, smarter brain.” -from the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Lastly, author Carol Dweck wrote questions in the book that we can ask ourselves to get started on learning something new:

  1. What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me?
  2. When, where, and how will I embark on my plan?
  3. When, where, and how will I act out on my new plan?
  4. What do I have to do to maintain and continue the growth?

For more research studies related to our brains and psychology in general, I recommend Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance by  Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, and Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.



We Can Draw in 30 Days!

Last May 2020, I learned how to draw (again) with the help of Mark Kistler through his book, You Can Draw in 30 Days.


I was looking for resources about drawing and I discovered this gem. The book is composed of 30 lessons and each lesson can be completed in less than 30 minutes per day. If you do not have 30 minutes to spare then 15 minutes will do. I completed most of my lessons in less than 15 minutes (promise!). Turn your everyday into a seed.

“If you work on something a little bit everyday, you end up with something that is massive.” – Kenneth Goldsmith

The lessons are extremely beginner-friendly. Do not worry so much on being the best in the beginning. The main goal of the book is to have everyone overcome their fear of a blank page and a paper.

It’s hard to be “best” right away, so commit to rapid and continuous movements. – from the book, Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Here are some of my drawings in chronological order. Take a look at my progress 😭.

Lesson 1 – 4/29/20

Mark Kistler’s method is having his students draw simple shapes first like this circle. It doesn’t have to perfect. Just do it.

Lesson 2 and 3

Spheres everywhere. Noticed how my shading got better than the first lesson? And how my circle got better as well.

“The more you draw, the more you will really begin to see the fascinating details in the real world around you.” – Mark Kistler


Lesson 5 – 5/1/20

Starting Lesson 5, I began to write my thoughts beside my drawings.

Lesson 8 – 5/4/20

One of my favorite lessons! I grew up as someone who thinks that ‘drawing is just not for me’. Hence, being able to draw a koala is a massive achievement for me. I can’t believe that I got to draw an animal omg.

“Albert Bandura used the process of guided mastery— a series of small successes— to help people gain courage and overcome deep-seated phobias.” – from the book, Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley


Lesson 14 – 5/12/20

This lesson taught me how it is so easy to draw a flower. I will never look at a flower the same way again.

Lesson 15 – 5/12/20

I had so much fun doing this lol. As you can see, the lines aren’t perfect but that’s not the point. The point is to practice and having fun while doing it.

Lesson 16 – 5/12/20

When I was a kid, I always wonder how animators can draw this. Back then, I was wondering. Now, I am doing it!!

Lesson 18 – 5/14/20

Yay! #scrapbookideas

The quote written on the scroll is from the book, Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl, “He who knows the why for his existence can bear almost any how.”

Lesson 20 & 21

This drawings prove to me that I am indeed improving.

And Lesson 30 is the best lesson for me. Lesson 30 is how to draw a human hand. And why is it the best lesson for me?

A little background, last July 2019, as when I was just starting to (really) learn how to draw as an architecture student. Our professor asked us to draw our hand. Here is what I drew:

And now, this is the hand that I drew last May 18, 2020.

Woah. The progress that I made in less than 30 days. Also, in the book, there are drawings of other students as well, that will make you feel that you are not alone in this journey.

And I continued to draw more.

Mark Kistler has another book for those who want to draw more! It’s called: You Can Draw It In Just 30 Minutes.

Never be afraid to try something new. We never know what will happen in the future so let’s do the best thing that we can in the 24 hours that was given to us.

Lastly, I am grateful to Mr. Mark Kistler for his books. You truly had helped lots and lots of people. What I was given, I will share.

Likhaan Workshop: Paglalala ng Sombrerong Buntal

Likhaan Workshop: Paglalala ng Baliuag Buntal Hats. Source: Baliwag Buntal Enterprises Facebook page

Last September 2019, I had the privilege of meeting Tita Rosie Bautista, the owner of Baliuag Buntal Enterprises. Through a workshop held at Likhaan, center for the traditional arts and culture of the Philippines, I experienced firsthand how to create or lala a baliuag buntal hat.

A quote that is popular to Filipinos, “Habang buhay, may pag-asa. (As long as you are alive, there is hope.)” is the opposite of what Tita Rosie shared to us, “Kapag may pag-asa, may buhay. (When there is hope, there is life.)” 

When she shared her journey to us, I realized that the quote is her. The quote represented her journey.

Tita Rosie took over the Baliuag Buntal Hats Enterprise despite “not being good at numbers”. Years later, she joined a contest and won one hundred thousand pesos as a cash prize which she used to fund the materials that will be used by the inmates in Bulacan. She helped the inmates to earn and gain a new skill. The inmates were trained for a a few days on how to lala a buntal hat and started to create hats which earned them 500 pesos for each hat made. The program for the inmates ended after four years “with no reasons why”.

One thing that Tita Rosie emphasized is that the market for Buntal Hats is huge. The only problem that she has is the lack of workforce, especially young people on the workforce. She hopes that young people would be interested in creating Buntal Hals. Moreover, a lot of undergraduate students from University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas visit her in Bulacan for their theses. She mentioned that there were several times when she took leave of absences from work because students from Manila are coming over to see her. Tita Rosie firmly believes that she had to give time to the youth, “Dahil ang mga kabataan ay ang mga pag-asa ng bayan. (Because the youth are the hope of the country.)” She said.

She expressed her gratefulness towards Intramuros Administration and Likhaan for organizing the workshop and to us, for taking the time to come and learn. The workshop became an opportunity for all of us to recognize and discover Buntal Hats and experience making one.

Also, I am grateful to Intramuros Administration and Likhaan for organizing workshops that showcases the Philippine Arts and Crafts Industry. Everyone was so happy to learn something new and to learn about this craft that possesses the intricate skill of Filipinos. Everyone was proactive in learning and asking questions. For that moment with a sea of strangers, I felt that we became a community.

Currently, the Intramuros Administration offers live webinars about Philippine culture and history.

Notebooks #9-#28 Made Out of Used Papers

I am giving away these notebooks for free! If anyone is interested, please contact me on my email: Thank you!

20 notebooks!!!

What started as a project to make something of the used papers scattered around our home ended with the thought of giving something to others.

I made notebooks last year using kettle stitch binding and Japanese bookbinding. For these notebooks, I used Coptic stitch variation to book bind the papers.


“In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles…. and the most marvelous examples.” – Michael de Montaigne

I used the problems that I encountered in notebooks as a basis to the final products that I will be creating.

  • The ink of the ball pen seeps through the back part of the paper.

Personally, I think that the masses deserve better things that they can use. Notebooks that are sold publicly for 8-10 pesos have really thin paper thus, whenever they are writing, what they write imprints at the back as well as on the next page. I solved this problem by folding the used papers in half. The used papers are in size A4; folding it in half turns it into a school notebook size. With it being folded, the paper to write on is thicker and will not seep in. I learned this from Project Nowtbuks. They gave free notebooks out of used papers to every participant during the YSEALI IgniteMNL: Leaders’ Track 2019.

Used A4 Pages folded in half

  • The notebook doesn’t fall flat on the desk and it cannot be folded while writing on the left side and right side.

In my past projects, I mostly used japanese bookbinding and in the notebooks that I bought, they are bounded by a single string/ rope at the left side of the paper. What these notebooks have in common is that they cannot be fully folded when you are writing on the right or left side. At the same time, those notebooks don’t lay flat on the desk. After several trials (Notebooks #1-#8), I found Coptic sewing variation bookbinding technique that allows the succeeding notebooks to solve these problems.

  • Obstructions in the middle.

A common problem experienced by both left-handed and right-handed people. Some notebooks lie flat on the desk and can be folded in half with the help of a spring. But while it solves a problem, the spring itself became the problem. It became an inconvenience to users as it blocks the hand to be in ‘free flow’ while writing or drawing.

With only DMC threads used for binding, Notebooks #9-#28 completely solves this problem. Users are expected to experience free-flowing writing or drawing activity without worrying about the notebook itself.

Notebooks #9-#28 are the notebooks that I created using Coptic sewing variation and is ready to be used. This can be used for journaling, drawing, writing, scrapbooking, etc. In total, I upcycled 200 used A4 papers, each notebook is composed of 10 folded-in-half used A4 papers. I am grateful to Sea Lemon for sharing various bookbinding techniques and methods!

In Interior Design Masters S1:E6, the contestants were tasked to design the interiors of different retail stores. The guest judge for that episode, Thomasina Miers was asked ‘what makes a good restaurant?’. She answered, “It’s so important that the interior reflects what’s on the menu. In our restaurant, we really wanted to bring Mexico in our restaurant space, the customers are paying not just for the food, but for the whole experience.”

What Thomasina Miers said summarizes why designing is important. Designing is not about technical specifications, its all about the overall experience of the user while using the product.

I am giving away these notebooks for free! If anyone is interested, please contact me on my email: Thank you!