For Men

My list of threes for 2021: Bucket list items, books and films (Part 2)

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? - Alfred Vargas - Philstar.com
Alfred Vargas' family
The author with his children, Cristiano, Ching and Ari.

Here are the rest of my lists of threes for this year. Last week's lists were on milestones I want to reach, skills I'll work on developing and other goals I'm setting.

Three places I want to go to

1. Canada. After watching this Netflix documentary "Expedition Happiness," I suddenly felt the urge to have a nature-adventure trip in the Great White North. Coincidentally, I was recently invited to do a series of events in Canada once the pandemic is over. Two birds with one stone.

2. Bhutan. The happiest country on earth has sparked my curiosity for two decades now. My mother had been there. When she showed me her travel photos and told me amazing stories, I fell in love with the place instantly.

A temple in Paro, Bhutan.
Image by Unma Desai via Unsplash

Mom told me to make sure I get to go there even at least once in my life. I’ll definitely go, I just haven’t had the chance and time to finally push through with my trip. This is definitely my priority once the pandemic is over.

3. Tour du Mont Blanc. This is one of the most famous hikes one can ever do. It traverses the Italian, French, and Swiss alps on a 10-day itinerary. After doing the El Camino in Spain, this is next on my hiking bucket list.

Three reliable techniques to lose or maintain weight

Note that these practices personally worked for me. Ask your doctor first before you try it.

1. Intermittent fasting. I only eat between 10am and 6pm then fast the rest of the day. It’s not hard as most people think. I just have coffee for breakfast and have early dinner. I can eat anything in between. Sundays are my cheat days. I indulge with anything I want to eat.

2. Quit sugars. No more soft drinks and juices for me. Not even Coke Zero. I just drink water and my Dr. Berg’s wheatgrass drink every day.

Working out during the pandemic. Posted in July 2020 on Instagram.

3. High-intensity interval training or HIIT. I sprint all-out for thirty seconds straight then walk in place for forty-five seconds to rest, then do it all again, for a minimum of eight times. This is a real, effective fat-burning exercise for me that I do two to three times a week alternating with my weight training. If I get bored with sprinting, I do bear crawls instead. The idea is to get your heart rate up to the maximum that you can do then rest and go at it again.

Three books I plan to read in 2021

They say the best CEOs read 52 books a year. I think I read about 30 last year. I’ll scale up and go for 40 this year. Here are the first three I’m going to read.

1. "Benjamin Franklin" by Walter Isaacson

2. "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek

3. "Art Matters" by Neil Gaiman

Three shows to watch on Netflix

Netflix has been a staple in everyday life since the pandemic. Instead of date nights with Yasmine, we now have our regular TV series dates in the evening. Here are three that I plan to watch first.

Crime thriller series "Ozark"

1. "Ozark"

2. "Peaky Blinders"

3. "My Octopus Teacher"

Three items on my bucket list I'll cross out this year

1. Have my own service-oriented online show.

2. Produce another meaningful film that captures the heart of the Filipino.

3. Finally get my MPA degree.


Why are identifying goals essential? Why do we need to expand our knowledge? Why do we need to travel? It’s because we are human. We are social animals. Yes, we are just a speck of dust in the universe but we are one of the billions of inter-human nodes in existence who can affect each other and the greater world, may it be good or bad. We can change the world. This is our destiny as a race. This is the desire of our heart.

Last year, we put into focus our purpose, our mortality, the people who matter, the value of love and its expression, the essence of life. For me, the deaths of loved ones and hardships we encountered last year allowed us to deal with the abstractions of life, the concepts we believe in but don’t think about: love, purpose, meaning, destiny, faith.

These abstractions have to be broken down into particulars, which then have to be identified. And the list of threes gives us a sense of direction for the remainder of our existence. It allows us to prioritize while we traverse the road to our perceived destiny.

I know New Year’s resolutions are seldom achieved. But so far, since childhood, I’ve had a pretty good batting average in fulfilling my promises to myself. My father said, “You cannot keep promises to others if you cannot keep your own promises to yourself.”

Isn’t this the highest form of commitment? Shouldn’t this be what’s it all about this 2021?

We all long for love and happiness. And true happiness is fulfilling one’s purpose. And all of us have a common purpose, to be the best we can be so we can serve others greatly. In the long and short of life, this is our non-negotiable purpose. This is what our faith is meant to be.

(Check out Part 1 of my lists posted last week!)


Write me and share your 2021 list, too, in threes, at:







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