Saturday, December 29, 2018

Personal Notes Series 020 : Retirement

"The goal is to retire at 50."

I forgot where I originally heard the idea. I think I was 20 when I challenged the thought and myself:
"Why retire at 50 if you can do it at 30?"

But as time passed, I realized that we all have our own definition of retirement. Yun palang idea na nakuha ko na "retire at 50" roughly translated to:

"At 50, I won't be doing this job that I don't want anymore and will just live off my pension. And do + [Insert hobby here]"


So what should be the goal then?

"...we had among us, another part-timer. Here's a picture of him. We call him Uncle Bob since we can't pronounce his chinese name. Uncle Bob almost wasn't allowed to work last night since he reeked with smoke. I took a picture of him during our late meal at 12.15AM - we were tablemates then. I think he's over 70 years old."

These photos were taken in 2011 during my Practicum. Uncle Bob is from Singapore. The culture there when it comes to retirement and the old are different. I remember him saying in his Singaporean accent :

"If I retire ahhhhh, I die! Finissssssh alreadyyyyy!"

 Here in the Philippines when you retire or grow old, there's this culture of having your family take care of you. Not all families adapt to this though. But then what? Nothing! Once we start depending on your family for survival, we become weak. We are left to slowly decay and wait for death. But when you carefully think about it, aren't you already dead inside at this point?

Because what keeps us human beings alive is  


This is the very reason why we continue despite failure. Despite pain. And the moment we decide that we have reached our goals and the end, the moment we believe we have completed our why is the moment we stop growing. 

So seek God. Find your purpose, your big WHY, a never-ending cause you'll commit until your last breath. For the greatest tragedy in life, is living without meaning.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Personal Notes Series 019 : Beyond the Money

[That's our farm house in the middle left.]

As I was browsing through the places I've visited from 2017 to the present time, I realized It's been a long time since I last visited our farm house. I'm still adjusting to the concrete jungle living.
Sometimes napapaisip ako to just go back and live that simple life. No people to worry about, no politics, trade lang sa bahay, watch anime, play games and play with the pets, eat and prepare food from your garden. 

And when I feel like it, travel anywhere I want, whenever. Sarap ng ganung buhay and there's nothing wrong with that. 

But once you start reaching certain levels of success, it gets old. Money starts to become meaningless. There's truth to the saying "It's lonely at the top."

All that Hard Work you do and the Money that goes with it can buy you a wonderful farmhouse, that dream car, excellent services, the freedom to do what you want when you want. But what money can't buy are meaningful relationships.

If it's lonely at the TOP, then quit complaining and work to bring others with you!

One of my friends asked me some time ago: "was it worth it?"
Looking at the culture of ZFT now? Nakakapagod, but it's worth it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Personal Notes Series 018 : Prisoner of Truths

"No tips. No news. No rumors.
Just the charts and you!"

I'm sure you've heard me say this before. 

I still do.

Let me just say this for the Records.
Fundamentals work. It just isn't for me. Not yet at least.

Allow me to explain.

A few months ago, I was able to read Alexander Elder's Trading For a Living and Momentum Masters by Super Traders in the US. I got to hear and read about my peer's trading strategies - JC Bisnar (Imbang Klase) and Javi Medina (Taylor). I also had a series of conversations with COLFinancial's chairman Sir Edward Lee. And all of them had a common belief in one Fundamental Concept:

Company Earnings

Let me give you something to visualize on.

On May 16, 2018, FOOD released their earnings report for the 1st Quarter of 2018. The results were astounding! But not much movement happened, until 3-4 months later!

There's a lot more of these examples as I did my research. But I'll let you discover them on your own.

These events led me to re-evaluate my trading system. 

"With my current port size, do I now have to introduce fundamentals into my system? Should I start to look for youtube vids explaining funda for dummies? Where should I start?"

"Where do my beliefs come from?"

When I started out my trading journey, It wasn't a smooth road. The very first trading group I joined was a good support group. But it was not the best influence in terms of learning. We were all trying to learn from each other. But to be completely honest, it was just another case of The blind leading The blind.

We got linked and joined with "BIG" names in the stock market community. And eventually, we learned about the art of speculation, the power of rumors and of course, the dark world of Insider Trading.

"Rumors are good! Disclosures are bad! That's why it's called Sell on News!"

It was exciting.

Every time we got a fresh tip or bits of insider info, we felt that we were a part of the Big Boys Club! Before everyone else, we get to witness the details of these so-called game changers. We felt powerful. We felt like gods!

But I was wrong.

Even first-hand information from Company Owners themselves turned out to be curses for us. We held on to false hopes that turned our ports and dreams into nightmares. But that wasn't so bad - because we had each other. What turned me 180 degrees was the moment a few of our own in our group spun a story. It was all out of their heads. And we believed them. 

That fantasy cost me my 2nd [psychological] wipeout and my first trek to more than half a million pesos worth of losses. And after recovering from that Psychological trauma, I decided to purge some beliefs and stick to what I can control and understand.

"No tips. No news. No rumors.
Just the charts and you!"

Here are my other personal beliefs:

In the Philippine markets, there's a delay in price action towards "Good" Fundamentals and Earnings. I think Fundamentals work better in other liquid Markets like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) where there's a big chunk of market participants, who have significant buying-power, that believe in the power of Fundamentals and Investing.

I plan to trade US markets next year. By then, I think I would have integrated some fundamentals into my trading system. Techs would still have the final say in my trading decisions.


"Hindi ba magiging ineffective yung isang strategy if marami nang nakakaalam?"

This is a half-truth. 

Imagine a room with 100 traders. 99 of which believe that buying PXP on the next breakout would make them money - they all have P10,000 each. The last remaining trader, however, believes he should sell all his remaining PXP shares at the breakout levels for it is already overbought. He only has 100 million worth of PXP shares.

With this setup where there's an overwhelming belief in favor of the breakout, and only one person believing it is a sell, which side do you think is right?

Except for universal laws and truths, beliefs with people who have more power and influence get to decide over-all direction.

You may not agree with me. And that is OKAY.

For we are all prisoners of our own truths.

Now tell me, What are your truths?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Personal Notes Series 017 : The Empire of Hopes and Dreams

There are two kinds of Mentorships.

One is Transactional - where the mentor aims to transfer his knowledge and wisdom of a specific craft, to his mentee.

The other one is Relational - where the mentor not only shares his knowledge and wisdom but his life - his principles and the things he stands for.


Two days before the RiftMNL, I was able to have lunch with COL's founder Sir Edward Lee. We discussed many good things - it is always a privilege to learn and work with people who have abundant years of wisdom. 

I was able to share our goals in ZFT and some of the struggles we face. What happened next was something I will never forget.

"Loyalty? Wala yan!" He said. "You have to accept that. People leave." He then began to share that in the beginning when he was building the Empire that we know now, people left him. "Ang galing mo kasi magturo kaya iniiwan ka."

This made me reflect on myself and how I deal with people in our tribe. At that moment I realized I didn't want to have someone say to me "Ang bait mo kasi kaya iniiwan ka."

That meeting gave me a sense of urgency.


I would like to describe ZFT as the Free-folk in Game of Thrones.

"The name they employ makes reference to their society, which recognizes no inherent or hereditary political authority, except for leaders whom they choose to follow."

I never liked the idea of a leader imposing his will on his people or sending them to their deaths for the common good. I wanted to be a good example that people would choose to follow.

Many people admire us in the Tribe for our achievements, culture and our community (click here if you want to read the comments), But as I created the same survey for our people, I found out the true nature of our state. 

We still have a lot of improvements to make.


At the beginning of the 2nd half of this year, we have already become a Corporation. If we are to do good and reach out to more people, we have to do things right. We were just waiting for the right time to announce it. 

Setting up the corporation is just for formality and structure. 

It might trigger certain PTSD linking corporations to profit-oriented money hungry capitalism, but we assure you that is not the case. We understand that even if we do good-- but without due process-- we still aren't doing what is right. We cannot be leaders and role models on one hand while breaking local and/or international laws on the other.

We need to surrender to the process. No dream comes free without a price tag. Even at the cause of altruism.

Can you imagine that all this time, every event we do within and outside ZFT has been a labor of love? Even the mentoring! It's a miracle how people would volunteer without pay to do things in the Tribe. Of course, we understand that this isn't sustainable in the long run and we are doing our best to reward those who bring value to our family.

During the RiftMNL, we have publicly announced our vision as a company - That is to become the best mentoring community the Philippines has ever seen.

Of course, a vision without action is pointless.

So we have set the foundations of what ZFT stands for.
(click images to enlrage)

ZFT isn't just about me or the people within. 

It is a symbol of a culture, a way of life, and of hopes and dreams

If ordinary people like us were able to make it in the markets, then so can you.

We are building an Empire.

Join us! 
To God be the Glory.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Personal Notes Series 016 : Ancient Wisdom

There was once a young man who was appointed to rule over a great nation. A nation surrounded by many enemies and has had a countless history of bloody civil wars. The king before him was a great ruler and had many times delivered this great nation into order.

Burdened by the responsibility that rests upon his shoulders, the young man thought to himself: "Who am I but a child?"

Then one night, the Creator of the universe appears to him in a dream and says: "Ask of anything and it shall be given to you."

The young man requests: "Wisdom to rule and the ability to discern good from evil."

The Creator was pleased.

“Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings."

Born in 848 BCE, Solomon dies at age 52 in 796 BCE, ruling as King for 40 years -- the best years in all of Israel's history. He is known as chacham mi'kol ha'adam, "wisest of all the men."


All traders are kings. And if we allow it, the market lets us have a taste of the sweetness of riches, fame or power. These three are by no means evil - for they are mere enablers and magnifiers of their users. The problem lies when we see and pursue these three elements as the end result, rather than see them as the by-product of our character.

How many times have we heard of and from people who earned hundreds of thousands or even millions and in a few months or years, never heard of again?

The flow of money in the stock market is never consistent. An absolute result of a trade setup is an illusion. What can be consistent is our process -The rules we set and follow.

The stock market will tempt you in as many ways as it can. But as traders, we should fall in love with the process. Not the profits. 

*Ahem!* Is this person familiar to you?

If you wish to put a person's character to the test, give him Riches, Fame, or Power. A smart man will choose the greatest of them all. 


Monday, July 30, 2018

Personal Notes Series 015 : Next Generation Seeds

If you try to plant corn seeds from a different environment, there would be a high probability that the seeds would produce weak corn, as opposed to planting corn seeds that are natives of the land. It is not because it is weak that it grows as such, but because of its parent's "data implant" on the seed. This includes information on the pests, the weather, the soil, and everything else that would ensure the plant's survival and proliferation. 

Without proper cultivation and protection, the corn from foreign origins could face severe attacks from nature and die. But if it survives and bears fruit, it then implants adaptive data onto the next seed so the next generation will become better and stronger. And after several generations, it becomes a native.

"The Next Generation will always be better than the last."

...and humans are no different. 


But we do have issues when it comes to our culture and human nature. We, humans, have a tendency to be jealous and spiteful, instead of being happy for the talents and success of others - especially when it comes to the younger generation. 

"Masyado ka pang bata para jan!"

"Marami ka pang kakaining bigas boy!"

There have been many instances in my life where I was underestimated and ridiculed for my age even if I showed excellent results. And I'm sure everyone has their own version. But I had my bitter taste of this reality when one of the stock market personalities of my time who I looked up to, referred to me in a group chat [where I wasn't included] and said  :

"So young and yet so corrupt."

I always wondered why he said that - and why a lot of us wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing. Maybe because of the drive for significance and constant approval of others? Or the unpleasant feeling of becoming obsolete in today's society? Probably the inevitable realization that our golden time has passed and it is now another's?

I share this because of the success and achievements of my peers, my former students, and the new stars in the trading industry. I'm not getting any younger and it is inevitable that I be compared to others. That's just how society works.

"Sinong mas magaling?"

"Mas magaling na si ******** kesa kay Zee!"

I was born in a family of achievers. Both my parents, my brother, and sister, they all excelled in their chosen fields. I was the odd one. Growing up, I lived in their shadow - the expectation that I too, should be an achiever.

I hated it. 

I wanted to create my own path.

There will always be someone weaker and stronger than me. So I learned to move forward, accept and love who I am. And that I too am a master of my own talents - Striving to become the best version of myself in whatever I do. For we can never control how people see us, but we can control how we react and see ourselves.

Instead of spiting and competing with the next generation, why not admire and collaborate?
Instead of being jealous of others, why not be genuinely happy with their success?

Let us build the next generation. 
For they are not our enemy, but our legacy.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Baptism of Fire

There was this certain gentleman who messaged me one sunny afternoon. Let's call him John. 

The man started investing in the second half of 2009 when the stock market was starting to recover. It was the best time to invest. John was a fundamentalist and a farmer by profession and understood the concept of the seasons. He was taught that farming and investing are very much alike - That just like farming, it takes time before you can reap your harvest. It was the best time to buy long-term investments.

 Several years later, he was able to grow his investments from 6 to 8 figures. Now that's a lot of zeroes! But as he continued with his story, John said he was lost on his investments and needed help. He explained that in the past 5 years, his investments stopped growing and even eroded chunks of his profits. 

All these years he was loyal to his stocks, which has now become a big fund, and was rewarded handsomely. But this time, his loyalty was being tested.

John confessed to lightening his positions in the first quarter of 2018 to buy his new set of "investment winners." A few months later, he found himself in a slump - His fund almost halved.

"-40% na ako sir. Ano gagawin ko sir Zee?"

It was his first time to experience such a terrible thing in such a short amount of time. And to make matters worse, he took a substantial loan to add to the losing position. What happened? What was the cause?

As I started to probe, It seemed that John discovered Facebook Trading Groups like how Magellan "discovered" the Philippines.

And the rest was history.

This was the exact moment John knew, he f****d up.

He thought he was a fundamentalist. But he wasn't. He thought he was because he got lucky. He was a speculator but didn't realize it. Because a true fundamentalist wouldn't be fazed by bear markets.


Many traders who start out are like John. I was also like John. A few jackpot trades and we think we can trade for a living - until the season for bears come.

For those of you who seek the truth, here it is:

The market rewards us for the discipline in our trading system, not the loyalty to our stocks.

If you consider trading for a living, then you should ask yourself during a bear market when things are in chaos and the atmosphere is filled with fear. Not during times when the fields are green. If you can confidently tell yourself that you'll be alright with utmost certainty, then 




This is the ultimate "litmust" test. This is every full-time trader's Baptism of Fire.

 Because if you have the ability and the belief that you can build even in the harshest environments, then you will definitely thrive when the good times come.


It's a bear market. Are you ready to go full time?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Poker Night

In my several years of mentoring and observing traders, let me tell you two "secret recipes" to becoming successful in this field...
The first one is your immediate peer group - it is not enough that you trust and are good friends with your peers in this field. Without proper goals and direction, wala ring aabutin yung support group mo. You'll all just be there pag nag iyakan na kayo sa group stock nyo.

So find peers who have the same mission as you to become better traders. Wag ka humanap ng taong mag eencourage sayo to HODL your losing positions. Instead, humanap ka ng mga taong papagalitan ka pag hindi ka nagcut. True friends will tell you the truth even if it hurts.

Now, this still isn't enough. You need to build deep relationships. The kind where you can share your deepest secrets and be vulnerable to. Because let's be honest here, nobody wants to be in a company kung saan nagagamitan lang kayo for your own selfish reasons - trust me, this isn't sustainable. Been there, done that. Nobody wants to be a springboard. So choose your peers carefully and be in it for the long haul.

I've seen too many batches and support groups fade slowly because they didn't build deep relationships. So make an effort to meet up every now and then even in your busy schedule. Don't limit yourselves in FB messenger, Skype and Discord. Invite mo din sa Vikings or Kpub minsan.

Friendly Tip: Wag na wag mo yayain sa Starbucks yan, highly likely iiwas yan. "PAWER!"

The second is the hours you put into mastering your craft.
A week ago we had our coffee session after our RAK. There were at least 12 ZFT traders in the room, 4 different batches were present. I asked for a show of hands - who in room was able to catch the recent bounce plays? (MRC, NOW, PXP)

Only three raised their hands. Out of everyone, just 3. Not even half. How can this be? Everyone had the same training drilled into them. So I asked another question - how long have you been trading using the system? Some answered a year, and some answered a few months. And the 3 who were able to catch the bounce? 3 years. 2 were from the Zodiac batch Henry Tan and Palzer Co Gozon. 1 was from the Pilot Program of Project Seed, Park Kim Chee.

Let me shed to you a dose of reality in the ZFT universe.
Once a ZFT student finishes our program, they don't automatically become trading machines that make tons of money. In fact, the majority will most likely end up negative in their overall performance. And this is because they go through a tedious process of finding their niche, their edge, their unique identities in the market.

Trading is just like any other craft. Even if I put all my effort into studying all the principles and theories of body-building in a week, that won't automatically give me a sculpted body. And even if I apply all the things I've learned within that week, that STILL won't give me that ideal sculpted body.

So here's one thing I'd like you all to understand. You want to be great in this field?


If there's such a thing as a shortcut, this is the shortcut.
So please, #TrustTheProcess


Side-note : I guess we should make this a regular thing. Poker and Board Game night. Good game gentlemen.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Lessons Worth Millions

( credits to : )

I know I haven't written in a while. I've been on a journey of self discovery and much more - I'll reserve this for another time to give it justice.

What originally was a sharing of life lessons over lunch with some traders ended up with a glimpse of the future.

I have a certain stigma when it comes to brokers. But that changed today when i met people behind COL. Beyond the laggy servers, and all that money, are people who have a genuine heart to serve others. 

Thank you Taylor for introducing me to your family of traders in the 23rd floor - hope to meet and talk to everyone when the right time comes.

To the Lee brothers I met today, and to the founder Edward Lee, thank you for the wisdom you imparted.

If there's one lesson I'll remember until my grave it's this :

Purpose, character and being in the right community (culture) is better than being the best trader out there. 

What would you do if you're in the middle of trading high risk stocks and the founder of an established company visits you and starts imparting wisdom?

Would you choose your profits over a unique moment that will never happen again?

(took the screenshot before I was about to sell)


I lost a million worth of potential profits today and I didn't care. I'd even say it's the happiest million I spent. The snapshots above were before and after shots of my small port (check the time) - di pa kasama yung big port jan.