Nick Tayag

154 posts


Nick is a multi-media writer. Name it, he's written it -- press releases, articles, literary pieces, essays, komiks, TV, spiels, speeches, radio-TV-print ads, brochures, direct mailers, song/jingle lyrics, corporate anthems, and website content. His special focus is scriptwriting for AVPs and documentary videos and writing think pieces. His most recent script for a bio documentary on Filipino master filmmaker Gerardo “Manong” de Leon entitled “Salamat sa Alaala,” was nominated for best documentary in the 2016 URIAN awards.    Trained in video production and educational media technology, Nick is currently the Creative Consultant of VPF Creative Marketing Communications. He also serves as a creative consultant to Chairman Arsenio “Nick” J. Lizaso of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.    As an advertising copywriter in the 1990s, he won recognition from the Creative Guild of the Philippines for ads he wrote for clients ranging from a resort company to electric appliances. The creatives he developed for a Pag-IBIG Fund and NLEX tollways management company have garnered Anvil awards given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.   He also won a UNICEF-PPI Award for Outstanding Story On Children.    He has also published an instructional book : “ Audio Visual Scriptwriting: Beginner’s Guide To Writing For Business and Promotional Videos.” He is currently working on a book on creative conceptualization as well as inspirational booklets. 
Nick Tayag

Late blooming is not too late

Modern society is in awe of young trailblazers. We idolize young founders who have started new high-tech companies, subsequently becoming multimillionaires and billionaires. In sports and entertainment, media fawn over young athletes and celebrities who have skyrocketed to the top of the food chain with their astronomical incomes.

Nick Tayag

A good medicine called ‘Remember’

One writer I deeply admire is Frederick Buechner, a novelist and a theologian. In one of his books that I keep, he advises us to reserve a special room in our heart: “The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”

Nick Tayag

Rent a companion, anyone?

The documentary I watched recently features the story of a decent-looking Japanese young man in his mid 20s who accompanies a comely office girl for a few hours as she goes window shopping, eats in a restaurant and just sits in a park. Then at the end, he gets paid around 10,000 yen for the service. I thought she was crazy to let a complete stranger chaperone her; it’s not only risky but also “cheapens” her since it’s a paid service.

Nick Tayag

Does honesty pay in the Philippines?

“Honesty store, launched by a cook in Rosario Cavite” reads one headline of an online news website that I saw just last month. As I read on, I found out that there’s this mini grocery store that has no one on hand inside the premises to receive payments for goods bought. It’s all run by the honor system. At the end of the article was the dangling question: “Will buyers be honest?”

Nick Tayag

When too much is not enough

IT wasn’t too long ago when out of the blue, a certain businessman was hogging the business news because he was on a roll, buying companies here and there, as well as getting actively involved in several big marquee business investments with investors from a foreign country. He was able to secure loans rapidly from banks, both private and government. All because he was reputed to be very close to the powers that be.

Nick Tayag

The nose knows more than we know

With their keener sense of smell, dogs are good at detecting bombs, drugs as well as following the trails of criminals on the run. At the height of the pandemic, trained dogs were put into service as sniffers of the Covid-19 virus in infected people. One persistent dog who kept scratching its owner’s chest helped reveal she had an incipient breast cancer and because of early detection, she was able to get immediate treatment that saved her life.

Rethinking Juan de la Cruz as our brand character

Nick Tayag

Just a few days ago, my friend PT and I had a lively discussion about our branding stereotype “Juan de la Cruz.” After taking a mighty gulp of his coffee, and putting down his empty cup roughly back on the table, he declared that it’s about time we junked that character because it has outlived its usefulness and more importantly because it never reflected our true values and aspirations.

Nick Tayag

Necessary spaces in our lives

Many businesses and work places are starting to re-open, and everyone is allowed to go out and mix with others, relatively unencumbered by health protocols. The question now is, are we willing to return to the fast-paced juggling, bustle culture, and the multitasking that seemed “normal” before the pandemic?

Nick Tayag

The science that can save mankind

I was a dismal student when it came to the sciences. I was dull in Arithmetic and Mathematics, Algebra or Geometry. I barely passed Physics and Chemistry. But if there’s one branch of science that sparked my interest, it was Biology, the study of living things. Plants, insects, animals—they were something that my non-linear mind could grasp, not abstract theorems, axioms or formulas.

Nick Tayag

‘Cluster of geniuses’ phenomenon

“Amadeus” is one of the films I would bring with me to a deserted island. In the closing scene of that film, we see the jealous Antonio Salieri being pushed on a wheelchair through a group of mad men and then he loudly declares: “Mediocrities everywhere. I am the patron saint of mediocrity. I absolve you. I absolve you all,” as if to encourage others to find glory in inadequacy and ordinariness when excellence is out of reach.

Nick Tayag

The arts as antidote to TikTok pandemic

IN June 2020, I became hopeful when a law was passed that makes it mandatory for Good Manners and Right Conduct and Values Education to be taught as core subjects from kindergarten to senior high school in both public and private schools.

‘Lolo’ caught inside a videoke bar

Nick Tayag

Where do seniors go while waiting for the final bell? What do they do as they face the final curtain? I know where some of them go. They congregate in a videoke bar in a mall somewhere in Mandaluyong City to sing their hearts out.

Portrait of a senior as an artist

Nick Tayag

Del Garcia is an artist and a good friend of mine. He is supposedly in retirement but for more than a decade now, he has been painting unceasingly against the dying of the light, so to speak. His eyesight may be weakening but not his passion. His mind is an overflowing fount of subjects and ideas that find an outlet in his paintings. Give him a flat surface, be it a cardboard or a cloth canvas, and he will paint something on it.

Nick Tayag

Reading the room

IN an educational institution that I’m involved with at the moment as a consultant, there is a mini disturbance that is going on in one department. It started as a tempest in a teapot but in the last few days, the tea has spilled over, turning the pettiness into a mess.

Nick Tayag

Masters of the lie

Fraudsters, scammers, swindlers, con artists, masters of disguise, whatever the right term to use for them, there are in our midst consummate performers of the art of deception. They are “People of the Lie” to borrow the title of a book by M. Scott Peck, author of several bestsellers.

Nick Tayag

The accompanist

Even now in her early 70s, Aurit, my wife, still plays the piano quite well, although her fingers aren’t as nimble and flexible as when she was younger. If truth be told, she had the potential to be an outstanding concert pianist. That’s what her teachers and even one acclaimed visiting foreign pianist told her.

The pestilence in us

I once came across a microbiologist who made an insightful comment about people:  that whatever we find to be gross, monstrous, parasitic, and chaotic in ourselves, we seem to project on to unseen microbes, creeping and crawling tiny insects and scavengers that we categorize as pests.

Invasion of the brain snatchers

‘Baby Theresa” was born without brains. She had a hollow head. She was able to live for 10 days. This was the gist of the news item I read. It’s a rare condition called anencephaly. She had a brain stem but no brain or skull. When asked about it, her mother was self-composed and stoically said: “I don’t feel sorry for her. She accomplished a lot in 9 days.”

And the winner is…A senior citizen

Recently, I was invited by a friend to a virtual event that was supposed to award 100 Filipinos on an online community called LinkedIn Philippines. At first I was hesitant because when I took a cursory look at the nominees, they were all relatively young.

A hunger for good films

After almost two years of being unable to go to a movie theater, moviegoers came out of the woodwork in droves. As the first film festival to open in movie theaters, QCinema was welcomed heartily by moviegoers that have been craving for the in-theatre viewing of movies. Any film will do, as one friend quipped, expressing the long-held deep hunger felt by movie buffs.

A new turning point for a former ‘Little President’

IN her two best-selling books, Passages and Pathfinders, author Gail Sheehy documents the roadmap of adult life through the stories of real people. Each time we go from one stage of our lives to the next, we face a transition or a turning point that she calls a “passage.”  The central point of the books is that our personalities need not stop developing. There’s no last passage even in retirement. In fact, she presents retirement as a call to make a creative change—to grow to our full potential.

Dreaming of a ‘bariotic’ Christmas

IF you belong to the XYZ generation, I urge you to take time to have a conversation with your aging parents and grandparents about their memories of Christmas during their childhood days. Most especially in the places where they grew up, such as the barrios.

No comedy like politics

One time, I came across this amusing news item: “In Pancho Cucamonga, California, two candidates are running for Mayor. But both are named Dennis Stout. Nobody wants to back out. So a third candidate has emerged hoping to profit from the confusion at the polls.”

Space in between

Years ago, I chanced upon an advertisement that advises: “Don’t just stand there doing something. Sit. Be still.”  It reminded me of a Simon and Garfunkel song called “Groovy” which had these lines: “Slow down, you’re moving too fast, you’ve got to make the moment last.” I have adopted them as my OM humming mantra to remind me always not to get carried away by the rushing flow of assignments. They help me ease on the gas pedal and pull up somewhere on the side road to reclaim the silence I need from the noise and haste and forward momentum of daily life.

Have digital TV, will travel

Have you traveled around the world and not spend a thing? That’s what I have been doing while seated leisurely in my comfort chair. If you’re a boomer, you must remember that old TV western series entitled Have Gun-Will Travel. Now, have smart TV, will travel.

Recollections of a closet poet

MY earliest connection with the world of poetry was during my boyhood. At age five, I used to declaim during our family reunions as well as social gatherings in our local parish. My Tatang loved to heave me up on a chair in front of everybody to display my prodigious prowess in the spoken word. From memory, with accompanying choreographed gestures, I would recite the poems of Amado Yuson and Jose Corazon de Jesus. People would never fail to shed a tear or two whenever I would recite lines from such iconic poems as “Ang Pamana” and “Ang Pagbabalik.”

The doubt of the benefits

According to psychotherapist and author David Richo, trust, which he calls “a reliance on reliability,” lies at the heart of all relationships, be it personal, professional or otherwise.

Juan en la Cruz: The price a Covid-hit family has to pay

Richard is a nephew of ours and he is now in the crux of a crisis. His wife got a serious case of Covid-19 while delivering their child. The infant has a serious physical defect and has been operated on. So far, she is infection-free. However, his mother-in-law and elder child are Covid positive and are in home quarantine. Poor fellow, he shuttles back and forth attending to the needs of the patients at the hospital and at home. His own mother can’t assist him because she too is watching over an 80-plus old grandmother who is also frail and sickly. Besides, as a senior citizen, she is not allowed to be in the hospital because of prevailing health protocols.

A taste of culture

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” These words are attributed to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer and politician, who, as the author of The Physiology of Taste, became famous as an epicure and gastronome.

Keeping up the persistence of memory

There was an article in Newsweek magazine sometime ago about an elderly man who was moving into his new apartment somewhere in Norway when he went out to eat and forgot to write his new address. He has been looking for his apartment for a month and staying in a hotel. “This is embarrassing” is all he could say,“ but I can’t remember the way back to my new home.”

Be a blessing

Two years in intermittent lockdowns. And you are still here. Safe at home with your loved ones while names of people you know are being mourned by their families and friends on social media. You can still breathe freely, meaning your lungs are clear. You’re not confined to a hospital bed or in the agony of waiting in the ER for someone to die so a bed could be made available.

The art of long looking

Speaking of surge, there is a tsunami that is about to overwhelm us. It’s the digital wave that is carrying us to another world and another kind of life, accelerated by the pandemic.

Preserving every hometown’s story

I have never been to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. I heard that it is one of the happiest places to live in. The locals are said to be warm and friendly. There are fine beaches, the weather is pleasant, the community is generally peaceful and best of all, cost of living is affordable. There’s a good balance of modern living and a simple, island vibe has long been. All in all, it seems to be a good place to retire or to withdraw from the hurly burly and hubbub of modern life and keep the world on hold.

Owning more books than one can read

MY overflowing bookshelves have been a constant bone of contention for Aurit, my wife, and me. “Why do you need so many books when you won’t be able to read all of them in your lifetime?” Ouch. And then to slam home her point, she adds: “The termites will devour them before you get to read them!” I can’t argue back because our house sits on a piece of land that happens to be a chomping ground of termites, which have already eaten at least two or three boxfuls of my books.

What empty nest?

IN the traditional scenario, at this stage of our life, my wife and I are supposed to enjoy a house that’s without kids. Our home should have become what they call an “empty nest.”

Going back to the wellsprings

With the unexpected death of a former president in his sleep combined with the demise of acquaintances who have succumbed to the pandemic, my mind has recently been occupied with intimations of mortality. This prompted me to pause for a while in my own life’s journey and do some reflections.

Shintaro Katsu’s ‘Zatoichi’ revisited

Old timers like me want to revisit old loves and past guilty pleasures. It so happened that during the long lockdown, as I was rummaging through my old DVDs, I was able to dig out my collection of Zatoichi movies and watched them again on my old DVD player. And then lately, I also discovered some Zatoichi movies are accessible on YouTube.

‘False positivity’

Thanks to this pandemic, we learned two new medical terms: “False positive” and “false negative.” When a test result shows that you are Covid positive, it may be false because another test done later might reveal the contrary. That’s a case of false positive result, which is what happened recently to a member of our extended family.

The other Murphy’s Laws

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong or its shorter version: whatever can go wrong, will. This is best known as Murphy’s Law. It is in fact the First Law because there are other Murphy’s Laws.

Lingering presence

Angelito, Eman and Hammy. Why can’t I seem to forget them? I never had a deep connection with them. They came and then quietly vanished from my life but somehow they still linger in my mind even now like ectoplasmic presences. They never greatly influenced my life. Or did they?

The star of your own biopic

One good thing I like about this pandemic is that it has dimmed the spotlight on the “self.” The obsession with “I, me, myself” is being put into the background, albeit for the moment at least. Although I wish that it would be part of the new better future after this whole thing is over.

The inner net

Dismaying, dispiriting, heartbreaking. Those are the feelings I get when I scan the news and the latest social- media buzz nowadays.

It may be so, I don’t know

There is so much happening in our world right now, and everyone has an opinion about everything. Right now, there are those who say Covid-19 is a hoax. Others say vaccines are dangerous. An anti-parasitic drug is touted as the cure for the virus in spite of a contrary disclaimer coming from the company that makes it. It now seems to have come to this: everyone is entitled to his own facts.

A listening heart for a suffering world

MY wife sometimes complains that I am too available, giving attention to almost anybody who wants me even those she deems obnoxious, toxic and discourteous. “All they know is ask you to do favors for them,” she carped one day after I took one lengthy call after another.

A listening heart for a suffering world

MY wife sometimes complains that I am too available, giving attention to almost anybody who wants me even those she deems obnoxious, toxic and discourteous. “All they know is ask you to do favors for them,” she carped one day after I took one lengthy call after another.

Of captions and subtitles

When watching any film or video, I automatically click on the subtitle option. Subtitles are written translations of a film’s dialogue or narration superimposed on the screen, thus allowing you to read along and follow the actors as they speak in their native language, be it French, Russian, Farsi, Spanish, whatever.

What Jesus can teach ad makers

One daily habit I picked up as a marooned senior during this pandemic is tuning in to online masses early in the morning before breakfast. While listening to some of the parables of Jesus during the Gospel part, I’ve come to realize they are really a form of advertising, conceptualized in a way that appealed to people of that time.

Optics is the word

IT was ludicrous. There they were, high government officials and the media all solemnly watching the boxes of vaccines being unloaded from a plane, then transferred to waiting freezers and then the procession of vehicles moved through the streets escorted by police cars with wailing sirens.

Of titles and entitlements

Day in and day out, we address people of rank who answer to various honorific titles such as general, colonel, judge, doctor, attorney, engineer, mayor, congressman, kapitan, and so on.

Lets make ‘edible’ cities

Living in the city doesn’t pay. It costs. A large part of this cost is the expensive food that you need to buy. A cynic friend pointed out to me: you can always buy junk food, which is cheaper and is available everywhere.

Gift from heaven

IT seems that in Metro Manila nowadays, consumers are increasingly becoming exasperated about the soaring prices of everything, specifically vegetables and pork.

Benny was his name

When I was in elementary, like all good Catholic boys, I put to memory the Guardian Angel’s prayer: “Angel of God, our guardian dear…” From time to time, I would reflexively recite it, especially in moments when I would be in risky situations such as driving at night through a storm, or walking alone in a dark street and similar situations. Do I believe in such invisible beings that look after our welfare on a daily basis? Why not? What do I have to lose?

Book titles as koans

Some book lovers are ensnared by the cover design. Me, I’m into titles. Catcher in the Rye, The Garden of Last Days, A Room Called Remember, Landscapes of the Night, God of Small Details, The Lost Slipper of the Soul. These are titles that catch my attention. Don’t you just love the words stringed beautifully together? So musically sounding, they should be pronounced “trippingly on the tongue” as Shakespeare advises in Hamlet.

Stay relevant: Let your age roam free

Act your age has been the traditional admonition. Today, seniors are told to do the same way in a subtle way. In many companies, they are given special titles but no functional responsibility. While waiting for the age of retirement, they are relegated to the background or margins.

‘Woke’ the talk of Christmas

This Christmas, as usual my cell phone would be swamped with well-meaning Christmas greetings and messages shared by friends and colleagues. Some would be well crafted, coming from the heart, a few would be gold nuggets of fresh insight, but most will be template generic recycled memes or quotes sent by others and forwarded to me.

The view from the treetop

IN my file of old clippings, I came across a news item about a woman who climbed a tree and stayed there for almost a month. Everybody incessantly attempted to persuade her to come down, but she just stayed there.

Puppetry: Animation without the huge expense

Long before I was able to have my first glimpse of Walt Disney’s animated characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Cinderella, I was already enthralled by a puppet character who could talk, laugh and cry, and even cuss, almost like a human being. I don’t really remember if he was called “Kiko Baterya” which was a popular puppet at that time. Maybe he was an imitation but nevertheless this one was a hit among provincial kids like me who trooped to the town plaza to watch it. The act was the highlight of a promotional activity to sell a product.

Unmasking our human moments

While the pandemic has forced us to cover our faces with masks when in public places, it has also unwittingly unmasked our hidden lives, opening the window into our privacy, little by little. Client, boss, colleague, officemate, business partner—they all have their human moments. Tao rin pala, katulad ko.

My personal ‘bakit’ list

Humankind has made enormous scientific and technological progress over the past century. And even though science has pushed our understanding of the living world to new heights, there are still many things that baffle us.

The monkey trap

There is a Filipino word for this: kapit-tuko. It is an affliction characterized by a great desire to cling on to power and entitlements being enjoyed.

A lesson in four letters

Classes in schools all over the country have officially been resumed, albeit virtually. But even those of us who are not in school anymore, the Covid-19 pandemic has a lesson for each of us. For me, it is the realization that we cannot control the universe. At any moment, something unstoppable can make the business of life stop so unexpectedly for all of us.  Suddenly, our lives are disrupted.

The Maskerade

‘Thanks to face masks, I see less ugly people,” I quipped to my wife recently. She just scoffed at my facetiousness. Seriously though, as the country fumbles its way towards full reopening, it looks like the face mask will now be part of our future.

Suffocating me softly

Many of us were shaken by the video in which a black man was kneed down hard by the police. And as he was gasping for air, we will never forget the three words the man kept saying over and over: “I can’t breathe!”

Closed to you

IN our childhood, two of the first English words we learned were “close” and “open.” In our more mature years, understanding the deeper significance of close and open can often make a difference in our relationships with loved ones and other people.

The times call for ‘kwek-kwek’ thinking

IN primary school, on our way home, a few classmates and I would often help ourselves to cheap street food to quell our growling stomachs. Our favorite was boiled eggs, which we would sprinkle with a little rock salt, and eat with gusto. It was just your commonplace boiled egg that looked like any other.

In the palm of our hand

Given the present predicament that people around the world find themselves in, it is only right to ask: Will the Filipino survive this epidemic? Will he come out OK?