4 ways to weather time with grace and bliss

A fortune teller some years ago told pioneering motorcycle dealer Vicente N. Ongtenco that he should not expect to lead a long life. The gentleman turned 91 in June last year and has completed a book of annotations on the philosopher-teacher Lao Tzu. Until recently, he did not need a cane to walk, but now needs one due to a back injury. Such distractions, however, haven’t stopped Ongtenco’s days from being filled with activity. He is the sublime example of the concept that aging shouldn’t stop one from living.

• Exercise and diet. Thanks to my discipline of keeping to this regimen, I survived several life-threatening situations. Due to a bad back, I can no longer join the exercise sessions in our subdivision’s park, along with my neighbors, or do the trampoline. So, I now walk at least 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

• Do something creative. When Lucio (Tan) co-authored a book of annotations on Lao Tzu’s teachings and gave copies to the members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I got interested in this great philosopher. I found his teachings contained many hidden treasures. This inspired me to write my own point of view on his insights, which will be contained in a book. I hope that when it is finally finished, I can supply it to every library in the world – that’s my wish.

• Dream. It doesn’t cost anything to dream. When I was a small motorcycle dealer in the province, I dreamed I would do big things one day, and the business eventually grew to have over 500 branches and satellites all over the Philippines. I dreamed that every poor and deserving student could go to school for free. Now, we have our Global Reciprocal Colleges where 30 percent of our student population or about 1,000 individuals receive scholarships. When I spoke at the school graduation, I challenged the students to dream like I did. They can achieve things they dreamed about like I did, I told them. I’m still dreaming about an “anti-poverty bank” and a “sick-free world.”

• Believe in the natural order. Just observe the divine law or the universal creative forces, and abundant blessings will be yours.

(Vicente N. Ongtenco is the Chairman Emeritus of Motortrade group of companies)

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