Call me corny, but I do like this Max Ehrmann prose-poem, Desiderata (roughly, “desired things”). It’s probably because the message reflects my attitude or what I want to be attitude in life. It’s a good guide in dealing with people, the world and adversities.

Don’t laugh, but I am serious. There are people who have taken Desiderata as a passing fancy, even scoff at its pretensions to being a poem. I don’t. I have a copy of Desiderata pasted on the wall of my cubicle to remind me of its message, or more appropriately to guide me. Why? Read on.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
I often am in a noisy environment, in work and sometimes at home. In the office, deadlines dictate our pace. That’s why I cherish the peace provided by silence. 

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Being on good terms with some people, we can do that, but with all persons, and without surrender? A mighty task, but good for the spirit.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Yeah, right. That is why I hate people who believe they have a monopoly of knowledge and look down on the less educated. Living with the peasants for some seven years, I have learned many things abnout life from them. And they don’t have doctorates in philosophy. 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
There you go. If you find me steering clear of opinionated people, blame Desiderata. No, even before I read this poem, I have long detested the loud and the too aggressive.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
This takes away the stress of being overly-competitive. I know people who believe they are superior than others, then cry a river when they end up second best. Only God is all superior. So we just have to accept that while we are sometimes better than others, in other times others could be better than us, too.                                                                  

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.    
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
This is especially true in the Philippines where jobs are hard to come by. I may just have been fortunate that I am in a work that I love. So I am trying not to squander the opportunity.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.  

Have faith in people, that is important. But be wary too. Its a difficult balancing act, but it can be done. 

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
If there is any attitude one should watch out, it is being pretentious. If I don’t like somebody, I steer clear of him. And I am always confident I can find love everywhere. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
It’s accepting that we are but mortals. Age gracefully.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
I have always been a worrier. That’s why I always find this a timely reminder.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Wallow in the belief that we have a purpose in being here, that we play a role in this world we have. 

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

Yes, don’t forget God. I did when I was younger. Since then I have realized that we need God for our guide, someone to hold on to. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Optimism is the better approach.

–Candido O. Wenceslao, August 25, 2007


24 Responses to ‘Desiderata’

  1. harold says:


  2. Ray J says:

    It’s decorating my office wall now. Thanks

  3. lito says:


    I don’t know if the poem has a Cebuano version, but below is a tagalog translation by Pete Lacaba, whom many of us know is the author of “Days of Disquite, Nights of Rage.”

    It would be more inspirational reading/hearing it in Cebuano.


    Salin: Pete Lacaba

    Lumakad nang mahinahon
    Sa gitna ng ingay at pagkukumahog, at alalahanin
    Ang kapayapaang maaaring makuha sa katahimikan.

    Walang isinusuko hanggat maaari,
    Pakitunguhan nang mabuti ang lahat ng tao.

    Sabihin ang iyong katotohanan nang tahimik at malinaw;
    At makinig sa iba, kahit sa nakayayamot at mangmang;
    Sila man ay may kasaysayan.

    Iwasan ang mga taong mabunganga at palaaway,
    Sila’y ikinaiinis ng kalooban.

    Kung ihahambing mo ang sarili sa iba,
    Baka yumabang ka o maghinanakit; sapagkat laging
    May lilitaw na mas mahusay o mas mahina sa iyo.

    Ikalugod ang iyong mga tagumpay at saka mga balak.

    Manatiling interesado sa iyong hanapbuhay,
    Gaano man kaaba; ito’y tunay na ari-arian
    Sa pabago-bagong kapalaran ng panahon.

    Maging maingat sa iyong negosyo;
    Sapagkat ang daigdig ay puno ng panlilinlang.
    Subalit huwag maging bulag sa kabutihang makikita.
    Maraming nagsisikap na makamit ang mga adhikain; at sa
    lahat ng dako,
    Ang buhay ay puno ng kabayanihan.

    Maging tapat sa sarili. Higit sa lahat, huwag
    Huwag ding libakin ang pag-ibig:
    Sapagkat sa harap ng lahat ng kahungkagan at
    kawalang-pag- asa,
    Ito’y lagi’t laging sumisibol, tulad ng damo.

    Tanggapin nang mabuti ang mga payo ng katandaan,
    Buong-giliw na isuko ang mga bagay-bagay ng kabataan.

    Pag-ibayuhin ang lakas ng loob,
    Ito’y pananggalang laban sa biglaang kasawian.
    Subalit huwag ikaligalig ang mga haka-haka.

    Maraming pangamba ang likha ng pagod at pangungulila.

    Bagamat kailangan ang sapat na disiplina,
    Maging magiliw sa sarili.

    Ikaw ay supling ng sanlibutan.
    Katulad ng bituin,
    May liwanag kang taglay.
    At anupaman ang iyong gawin,
    Itong sanlibutan ay narito
    Sa paligid mo.

    Kung gayon, pakisamahan ang Panginoon,
    Anuman ang pananaw mo sa kanya.
    At anuman ang iyong pinagkakaabalahan at minimithi,
    Sa maingay na kalituhan ng buhay,
    Pakisamahan ang iyong kaluluwa.

    Sa kabila ng lahat ng pagkukunwari, kabagutan, at
    gumuhong pangarap,
    Maganda pa rin ang daigdig.

    Mag-ingat. Sikaping lumigaya.

  4. cebuano says:


    thanks for sharing Pete Lacaba’s translation. I’ll transfer that to the main page of this blog later on.
    you also gave me an idea. suwayan natog binisaya kun makaya ba.


  5. thanks for reminding me, sir bong. i used to memorize those lines when i was still a freshman but i forgot some of the lines now. and i think i have to start memorizing it back all over again. i love that poem..but never mind of the tagalog translation heheheheh… just kidding

  6. nebo says:

    Mr. Wenceslao

    Desiderata is such an inspiring poem….
    i hope that more students like me be able to read this article of yours…hehehe…

    i would also like to ask for your permission for me to be able to post this article of yours on our campus freedom board…..
    i think computer science students will appreciate most out of it…. it would be a good mind set for us….. thank you po.. and more power…

  7. Rowena says:


    Its lovely….

  8. akopo says:

    “Be Cheerful” or “Be Careful”?
    There is some dispute regarding this phrase near the end of Desiderata. See discussion near the bottom of this page:

    Pete Lacaba’s translation used “be careful” (mag-ingat) but I personally believe that “be cheerful” is the correct version. He might consider changing the ending to “Maging masayahin at sikaping lumigaya.”

  9. kram says:

    di ko pa masyadong naintindihan pero,ito ay maganda….

  10. Lucy says:

    I am on vacation but I found a computer here so I can post a comment. I love this poem, it is decorated on my wall. I want to show this Renie Pacifico. I always have this poem since I was in high school.

  11. Lucy says:

    I only have a smaller poster of this poem but I am thinking of getting a big one … one that is beautifully decorated on the edge and letters. I want to put this on our inside entrance wall.

  12. Pete Lacaba says:

    Check out kapetesapatalim.blogspot.com for an updated translation, following the recorded version with the sung refrain.

    If memory serves, the recorded version uses “Be careful.” I personally prefer “Be careful.” Parang redundant iyong sinabi mo na ngang “Be cheerful,” pagkatapos sasabihin mo pang “Strive to be happy.”

  13. Renato Pacifico says:

    Hi! Lucy, how was your road trip?

    It’s a coincedence I love DESIDERATA, too!

  14. cebuano says:

    I am honored to have one of those i look up to, Pete Lacaba, visit this blog. I have also visited kapetesapatalim.blogspot.com and encourage visitors of this blog to do so, too. By the way, I am currently translating “Desiderata” to Cebuano. Wait for my own version of that poem in this blog.

  15. Lucy says:

    Hi Renie,

    My road trip was good and 2 weeks after we came back we left for Cebu too. We stayed at the marriot Hotel for a week then we were supposed to leave for Amoritas resort in Panglao Bohol but there was a typhoon signal number 1 so no ship was permitted to leave Cebu. My husbnad was upset because he was excited to see the Dolphins there and snorkeling. We ended up canceling our reservation in the Amoritas. We went to Shangrila hotel but there was no room so we went back to the Marriot and stayed there for another 3 days. We stayed in Shangrila Hotel for 4 days and now I am back in the US.

    When we were in the the Marriot and Shangrila we visited my family sa kabukiran.

    Pagkapuno na gayod sa Cebu. Daghan na kaayong tawo. I went to Sto. Nino church but I could not concentrate much with my prayer kay kutas man kaayo tungod sa kainit og sa kadaghang tawo. Renie please do something about how you can impact a bill on population control. The congress should pass a bill about limiting the number of family household. I believe that Babes and Bong can do this too. The Catholic church should also be convinced about the importance of limiting the number of people. We need to do something kon may mahimo ta.

  16. pinoyapache says:

    Desiderata’s message is still applicable even today. It is timeless. Beautiful…

  17. […] Tis is easy as 1 – 2 – 3. Ang pasumbingay sa Desiderata, palihog basaha sa blog ni Sir Candid O. Wenceslao OF CEBU! . Si Sir Candid of CEBU…mao ang manunulat sa blog titulo: RebelMind. Siya usa sa mga […]

  18. tagaato09 says:

    Dear Dako nga mansanas. Unsa man gayod na kadako?

  19. darbs says:

    Unsa kadako ang unsa? ah, ang mansanas. Well, depende na lang sa imong imagination…o depende na sa result sa imong research…hinaut natubag ang pangutana ni tagaato09.

    Truth be told:
    Ang dakong Mansanas translation lang na sya sa Big Apple.

    Ang New York City man gud gibansagan na sya og Big Apol. I-google na lang nganong giang-ga-an sa maong pangalan.

    May syudad sa Amerika nga gibansagan of “Sunshine State” Naa pud “Windy City” . . .

  20. arman says:

    ah… basin ka nga mansanas large na kay dako man…
    so iya ngalan large mansanas…im not sure ha ..

  21. arman says:

    ah… basin ka nga mansanas large na kay dako man…
    so iya ngalan large mansanas…im not sure ha ..

    ah… basin ka nga mansanas large na kay dako man…
    so iya ngalan large mansanas…im not sure ha ..

  22. darbs says:

    Bay arman ang tubag, Desiderata lang gihapon ta…Nganong dili gud kung dinha nahimoan ug sense ang atong paglawig ning walog sa luha… nga diin ihilak mo nalang sa tago aron ug tapuson kini sa “Daw dahong Laya”. Okey na kaayo.

  23. mylz says:

    Thanks for translating this poem in Tagalog version! This is absolutely awesome! Desiderata has been my favorite poem since when i was in high school. I’ve been looking for a tagalog version of this for a long time. Please allow me to post this at friendster blog. Please let me know if i can, thank you much!!!!!

  24. nowwhatsmyname says:

    paborito ni nako… salamat sa mga hubad!

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