Begin with the end in mind, so says best-selling author Stephen R. Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Success guru Anthony Robbins starts you on your journey by asking what is it you really want?  The Silva Method uses previsualization to imagine desired results.

In other words, each of these life mentors focuses first on the goal as their launchpad for success.  Only when you know what you want will you be in a position to get it so goal setting, therefore, cannot be underestimated or taken for granted.

It is a lesson that partners Stephanie A. Cabanes, Winnie C. Tiosejo, Blossom Santiago, Gabbi Buencamino and Bea Lasala  wished to impart when they established Goal Central last year, a tutorial service center that's slowly making a name for itself.  We sat down with Stephanie to find out more. 
GLBF    Tell us how Goal Central came about.

GC    Coming from the academe, we saw that many of the students needed intervention or further academic assistance; we realized that it was high time that the tutoring service become professionalized in how and where it is delivered.

GLBF    How did  you come up with the name?

GC    When we were crafting our mission/vision, we found that our individual visions for giving academic assistance were all centered and geared towards the concept of goal setting because every success starts with a goal and that became our tag line.

GLBF    What can parents and students expect from you?

GC    Goal Central commits to strengthen the personal academic performance of each student through knowledge-based innovative learning.  We commit to build character through a goal-oriented approach to teaching and learning.  Furthermore, we commit to provide a nurturing environment for the students through highly qualified and dedicated educators.  Finally, we commit to sustain our partnership with parents to cultivate a deeper understanding of the student's needs with the goal of effectively addressing them. 

GLBF    What is your scope and what are your activities?

GC    We have one-on-one tutoring for students who are just beginning to read and do math all the way to college-level students, and we also have group tutoring; we have daily homework supervision; we teach English as a second language; we have Internet use courses for adults and senior citizens; and we also have Comprehensive College Entrance Review starting this April for which we are giving discounts if they pre-enroll.

GLBF    What is your staff like?

GC    We have three partners who serve as full-time tutors--two are licensed teachers while the other one, though not a licensed teacher, has nine years experience as a high school and college academic tutor.  The two managing partners have a combined experience of 53 years in the academe, having held various teaching and supervisory positions in leading private learning institutions.  Our regular tutors are all college graduates and undergo regular intensive in-house personal and professional training.

GLBF    How has it been so far?

GC    It's been very, very encouraging!  After only three months of operations, we already have 65 regular students.  The parents are happy, but more importantly, the students are happy so they are more responsive to learning.

Goal Central

What is it with animals that arouse a primal fear in humans? Maybe we can trace it back to our evolutionary history and survival.  

Psychologists Vanessa LoBue and Judy DeLoache conducted a study that showed adults and children are adept at detecting the presence of snakes and spiders whether they fear them or not, not out of an innate fear of these creatures but maybe from "experience or learned bias."

However another research showed that it is not so much an evolutionary response as it is a natural fear by the inexperienced.  Indeed, my close encounter and observations at the Kinder Zoo seem to support this conclusion.

Last Saturday, The Pergola invited the Kinder Zoo of the Manila Zoo to showcase some of its animals at the mall.  The Zoo brought over Julia, the meter-long, full-sized adult caiman whose jaws were taped shut; Snikee, a very active 7-foot Burmese python; Pig-Ibig, the sleepy Vietnamese potbelly pig; Mols, the dancing Moluccan cockatoo, who feasted on sunflower seeds and grapes; and Boji, the Sulcata tortoise, who moved relatively fast for his size.

This was only the second stop of the roving Kinder Zoo after a three-month stay at the SM North and the enthusiastic response overwhelmed the organizers.  

It helped that we got lucky with the weather.  Coming at the start of the rainy season, the Man upstairs must have a special love for children and animals because He made sure we had a sunny afternoon to make this event a rousing success.
As soon as the animals were let out of their cages, there was not a moment's rest as they attracted wave after wave of parents and children who were by turns curious, shy, tentative, terrified, amazed, , delighted, exhilarated, and entertained.  

Given the chance to mingle with the animals, they began to relax and interact with them.  But not all children did; there were one or two who adamantly refused to let their natural wonder overcome their fear.

It did not seem to border on agrizoophobia, the fear of wild animals; it may have been more of a fear of the unknown for these children.  It may surprise them that many wild animals have a natural fear humans borne out of the fear of predation.  

But just as exposure to animals can make people lose their fear of them, so do animals lose their fear of humans after constant exposure to the human world.  However, this leads to dependency and ultimately conflict.  So fear on both sides serve to protect us both from upsetting the balance of Nature.
I had my own chance to face my own fear of the snake at the Crocodile Farm in Davao City.  Dars challenged me to pose with a Burmese python--whose circumference was probably as big as my thigh--and have it wrap around my neck as was the case with everyone else.

Oooookay.  Piece of cake--except for that instance when I felt its powerful muscles moving as I held its length in my arms and my heart just stopped momentarily.  Let's just say that's why I prefer to be behind the camera.

When I was a child, I had nightmares about being eaten by a tiger.  It was not so much the thought of dying that terrorized me--I had thought that that would be the end of my soul too, and then I would cease to exist forever.  

Isn't that how the native Indians of America also felt towards the camera?  It may well have resembled an animal in their minds, ready to devour their souls if their pictures were taken.  Fascinating objects of wonder these are, animals and cameras alike.

See Picture Gallery here.