Sunday, December 28, 2014

Signs: Said and Seen

Singapore
Throughout the world, there are plenty of signs that you see. In a website, Engrish.com, one will see posted humorous signs of misspelled words and letters in some non-English speaking countries.

In other cases, nowhere in the Philippines where I can see a sign which says "Beware of Traffic," where traffic is almost everywhere.

Here are some of the shots that have caught my attention.


Location: Quezon City, Philippines. This occupies space of the dining table in the restaurant where I ate. I had to remove this to give way to the sumptuous Chinese food that I liked.


Location: Little India, Singapore. There could be some traffic here. However, during my stay, I did not see bumper-to-bumper vehicles just like what I see regularly in Metro Manila. I just smiled and remembered EDSA.


Location: Singapore. While buying for some presents to take home, I saw this sign inside the store. For a country full of discipline, the sign is posted inside a store with CCTV camera. I cannot recall the name of the street but it was opposite the Anglican Church.


Location: Malaysia. How I wish every fire exit sign is translated into English. Thanks to the symbol, it makes easy to identify that Keluar means Exit (or Fire Exit). When it was my first time in Malaysia, the first word that I memorized was "keluar."


Location: Fire Academy, Malaysia. The name speaks of itself. True to its completeness, the Fire Academy of Malaysia is indeed world-class.


Location: National Palace, Malaysia. The Malaysian Coat of Arms. Is there something British in it? Try to see in history, who invaded Malaysia long before it became the present Malaysia.


Location: ASEAN Garden, Malaysia. I wondered why there are plenty of hibiscus here. The tourist guide told me, it is the national flower of Malaysia. By the way, the ASEAN Garden is a garden wherein every ASEAN country has a masterpiece.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saint Florian Chapel (Laguna, Philippines)


I only know one chapel in the Philippines specifically dedicated to Saint Florian. Unless you know another one, let me know, and I am willing to visit it.

Saint Florian is the patron saint of firefighters. Florian (named Florian von Lorch, died on ca. 304) is a Christian saint. His feast day is on May 4. Florian was a Roman soldier, who trained fire brigades. His team used the bucket brigade to fight fires.

As patron saint for firefighters, the only Saint Florian chapel I know is located inside the camp. The camp where government firefighters are trained, Camp Vicente Lim, in Calamba City is home to the said chapel. The chapel is located inside the grounds of National Fire Training Institute (NFTI). NFTI is the exclusive training facility for Bureau of Fire Protection personnel. It is under the Philippine Public Safety College.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Keep Calm and Watch Movies

Photo source: Wikipedia
We aim for happiness from the things that we like to do and we  expect joy from the people we truly love.
Photo source: Wikipedia
I love science fiction movies and documentaries. Tron Legacy made me smitten. The wonder of technology that it depicts a modern-day IT-surrounded environment only to end up in a somewhat unbelievable reality - being taken by the system that the player himself has developed. I value the message of love between father and son. Leaving, finding, letting go and understanding revolved round a real familial love that technology should not take away from modern-day families.

Photo source: Wikipedia
Avatar made me realize that we may never be together in our lifetime. Chances are we could be transferred in another world without the awareness of the people we care about. We may undergo hardships but we have to rely on our own. Only a few will care and he who cares till the end bears the real love in his heart.

Photo source: Wikipedia

The Notebook made my eyes pour pails of tears. It made my worry about my future. I feared that I might end up settling down with the person I don't love at all. As a result, I have not yet settled down until now; and perhaps I may never will.

I almost thought of giving up watching movies because it gives a lot of pain in me. I thought that life should be easier, lighter, funnier, happier. Well, that is what scriptwriters, director and writers are made for. We watch movies and think about the real lesson that it portrays for us.

Photo source: www.nickjr.com/dora-the-explorer/
Now that I have a growing kid, saying "no" to watching movies and children's shows is a taboo. I have to watch cartoon characters. I ask questions like, "why did they allow Dora to leave her parents at a young age?" 

Photo sourcehttp://dragonballz.com/

I have to enjoy watching my favorite "androids" again in DragonballZ or laugh like what I did about 12 years ago as Sakuragi aims for that Slam Dunk . I also have to obtain a copy of the lyrics of that famous themesong of Frozen so that I don't end up like humming all the words repeatedly as "let it go..."

Photo source: Wikipedia

Movies became part of our lives. Screens - be it flat, touched, big, small - are like ingredients in our kitchen. We can live without them before or prefer a bland taste. However, why stay that way if we can spice our foods or make our lives more meaningful?

Today, everyone is in a hurry. Whenever I have to watch a movie, I am so tired of long queues. I had to exert lots of efforts before being able to finally decide on what film to watch. I surf the net and do a lot of questioning. I ask friends and office mates as if everyone becomes aware that I am about to watch a movie.

From mere online to mobile, transactions are becoming paperless.

Previews are important to me because these will serve as my deciding factor whether to watch a particular movie on that period of time. Inevitably, I had to open the net and so on. 

I thought it was only yesterday when I presumed that the world is becoming online. Then all of a sudden, being online is no longer enough. Nowadays, the trend is "mobile" and I say - everything is becoming "mobile."
Indispensable, my smart phone is loaded with apps including GMovies.

I do a lot of things through mobile now. I buy cellphone load.  I order and pay for products and services. I obtain coupons. I post updates. I browse my mails. I find my location. I post ads. I organize things from files, pictures to travels. I do all these through mobile already. That makes my smart phone so indispensable.

From needs to wants, everything is becoming mobile. Germany already offers a prostitution app, which is so intriguing to me. Booking for plane is now through an application. Catching up for a taxi is already mobile too. Then here comes a new experience worth doing. The first mobile app that allows me to begin my movie going experience anytime, anywhere. Well, that is indeed amazing. 

I am referring to GMovies mobile application. Previews will no longer be a problem to me then because GMovies makes the ultimate pocket app for my movie fix. 

Photo source: GMovies website

Why GMovies?

A first and the only one of its kind in the country, the GMovies mobile app features services that allows me to stay updated on the current and upcoming movie releases in cinemas nationwide, check daily showtimes, reserve the best seats and book movie tickets straight from my mobile phone.

What about the payment options? 

GMovies is currently in partnership with Ayala Malls Cinemas and offers payment options using MasterCard or Visa credit cards, GCash, MyRewards, Charge to Post Paid Bill for Globe subscribers, Promo Code and Ayala Malls' MPass card.

Time-Saving

For me who gets tired of long queues and surfing the net for the previews, GMovies will work at its best. I can now plan ahead my movie date without even setting foot on the cinema. This new experience provides convenience to anyone (including me) who dreads long ticket booth queues or running out of good seats especially during blockbuster openings. With GMovies, one can now just head straight to the movie theater's door, pull out the e-ticket from the app and present it to the cinema porter. That's simple as that!

Community

Still can't get enough of movies even outside the cinema doors? GMovies offers an avenue for both movie lovers and movie goers, and places the spotlight on you. In its belief that movies are shared experiences through the feel life and from this passion, their (GMovies') dream of creating a community of movie lovers by movie lovers sprouted and materialized. Both the app and GMovies official website, www.gmovies.ph, are online havens to anything and everything about movies and lets one voice out his musings, rants and realizations through the reviews section. Anyone can be a Greeler (pronounced as gri-lers) and be part of Gmovies' circle of movie critics, participate in exciting promos and grow one's network of friends through his or her love for movies.

Front Seat

A front seat awaits you. GMovies is a truly filmtastic all-in-one pocket app to satisfy your movie cravings and takes you to the front and center of the film entertainment buzz. With GMovies, one is being brought a click closer to the silver screen and given a voice in the movie scene.

Download the app and start the fun. Go to the AppStore or Google Play to download or text GMOVIES to 8888. To fully enjoy GMovies experience, follow GMovies on Facebook, Twittter, Instagram and Youtube.

So what are you waiting for? With the GMovies mobile app, you will always be updated. Enjoy to watch movies. Ask yourself the same question I asked myself: What movie did you fall in love with watching movies?

Sources: 
Nuffnang Blogpost on Keep Calm and Watch Movies contest
About GMovies from its homepage, www.gmovies.ph

Special thanks to Nuffnang Philippines

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ten Reasons to Retire in the Philippines



Why retire in the Philippines?

After writing something about a question on leaving for greener pastures abroad, I am sharing a page taken from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA). The texts belong to PRA while I put numbers in it.

Smile is Life in the Philippines. 
This is our (PRA's) invitation to our former Filipino citizens and foreign nationals to choose the Philippines as their second home. Famous for our vibrant culture, hospitality, friendly English-speaking population, natural attractions, and tropical climate, retirees can expect the good life in the Philippines at an affordable cost.

1. Geography. The Philippines is an archipelagic nation made up of 7, 107 islands spanning 1, 840 kilometers north to south. It is part of the Southeast Asian region and is bordered by Taiwan to the north, Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo to the south,  the South China Sea (or West Philippine Sea) on the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The three main Philippine island groups are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital is Manila. Time zone is GMT +8 hours.

2. Climate. Generally, Philippines has a tropical climate. March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy. November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78F/25C to 90F/32C; humidity is 77 percent.

3. Language. Understanding each other will not be a problem between the retirees and our people. Almost every Filipino can understand and speak some English. In fact, we are the third largest English-speaking nation in terms of population. Two official languages are Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango and Pangasinense.

4. Religions. Some 83 percent of Filipinos are Catholic. About five percent are Muslim. The rest are made up of similar smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.

5. Cost of living. The principal appeal for retirement in the Philippines is the lower cost of living. Housing, food and labor costs are quite reasonable. Global Filipinos and foreign retirees can retire in the Philippines and enjoy not only the lower cost of living but also the very favorable currency exchange rate.

The Philippines' monetary unit is Peso. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any hotels, most large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops accredited by the Central Bank of the Philippines. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Bank Americard, Master Card and American Express are accepted in major establishments.

6. World-class medical and health services. In terms of medical services, our facilities are comparable to the best anywhere else. Our highly trained medical personnel and caregivers are in demand all over the world not only for their competence and expertise but most especially for the care and compassion they show to their wards. Healthcare, a top priority of the senior market, is an expertise of the Filipino who is world-renowned for his excellent healthcare practitioners.

7. Filipino hospitality. Filipinos are naturally warm, friendly and hospitable. We have a ready smile for everybody and our religious background that is predominantly Catholic makes service to others an innate trait.

8. Telecommunication edge. Every retiree can avail of the country's continuously improving telecommunication facilities. They can keep abreast of what is happening around the world and keep in touch  with their relatives and friends back home.

9. Eco-tourism destination. Philippines can provide the retirees with endless choices of world-class destinations that will bring them closer to Mother Nature with clear air and beautiful sceneries. The white sand beach of Boracay and Panglao and the virgin islands of Palawan, often referred to as "the last frontier" are truly unforgettable places that entice the visitors to come back in the Philippines.

10. PRA service. The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) prides itself on the after-membership service that it provides to the retirees. During their stay in the country, they can consider PRA as their second family. PRA helps them to address their needs. If and when they encounter any problem, PRA is with them every inch of the way.

Thinking about retiring in the Philippines now? For more information, visit the website of Philippine Retirement Authority at www.pra.gov.ph


Source: Philippine Retirement Authority website

Greener Pastures Abroad: To Leave or to Stay in the Philippines?


We hear about the Philippines promoting the country as a retirement capital. We also heard about meteorologists of the government's Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) leaving the country in favor of high-paying jobs abroad. In the Bureau of Fire Protection, some firefighters leave in favor of public safety jobs (as firefighters too) in Qatar and other Middle East countries. What about you? What about me? Shall I stay or shall I leave the country for good?

I was once asked with a very powerful question" "if you will be given the chance to live abroad for life, will you be able to make it?" I paused for a moment before my reply. I answered: maybe....provided my family is with me - people so important in my life should be with me. Then I continued with...howevers. "However, I will always go back home and nobody can prevent me from doing that." My home is the Philippines.

Going back to the question, "if you will be given the chance to live abroad for life, will you be able to make it?", it is really a difficult one to answer. Yes, I may live in other countries but what about the pain of renouncing my citizenship in favor of another citizenship? My cousin left her Filipino citizenship in favor of citizenship in a North American country. She told me she was crying when she did it and then she had to cry a lot.

My cousin was a long-time breadwinner for her family here in the Philippines. She worked abroad for a very long time and had her dollars sent back home. She had lived in several countries as young as in her early 20's before finally choosing Canada. She shed her tears in bidding goodbye to her original country in favor of a new state to be her home. If she he had shed lots of tears, how much more for me? How much more for a uniformed officer like me who vowed my loyalty to the Filipino people? I took oath not just once but several times in my career. My oath says to protect and serve the Filipino people even if at the cause of my life. I vowed allegiance to the Philippine Constitution. 

Whenever I have to go out of the country to represent the Philippines, there is always that very strong sense of pride in me. That makes me remember that I should be at my best always just like making my mama proud. Every Monday during our flag raising ceremonies, I always have that unexplained feeling whenever Lupang Hinirang is being played. There are times when I noticed my teary eyes after lowering my hands from a salute rendered during the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. I suppressed tears when not so long after singing Lupang Hinirang, a part of a following audio visual presentation gave a tribute in honor of our fallen government firefighters who lost their lives saving children in the middle of typhoon Haiyan (Philippine name is Yolanda). Indeed, there is honor in serving this country at the cause of our lives.

It is the pride that keeps me going - of serving our people, of serving the public in my own little way as an officer. I feel that pride that of the the millions of Filipinos looking for jobs, I had landed in the government. Not everyone deserves to be here and not everyone is destined to be here. For me, I have the honor to serve my country with dignity and pride. I should do my job amid the noise of government issues. I always feel the urge of helping the Filipino people - though in my little humble way. 

There is a growing "unimaginable opulence that can be found side by side with poverty." We always thought of a better life. Who else does not want it anyway? We sometimes think of greener pastures outside the country. Literally, there could indeed be greener pastures outside than here in our country nowadays when our forests are denuded, where mining is allowed, where land use conversion is unavoidable, when peat lands are opened. However, why  seek for lands greener than ours? To reach financial freedom. To have our ends met. To get away from poverty. Many other reasons. What about the many Filipinos who are poor and live below the poverty line? What about the shrinking middle class? What about us? 

For the beginning and end of riches is charity; let us not forget to serve and help others in our own little (or big ways), whichever we can, whether we choose to leave the country or stay here in the Philippines for good in our lifetime.


Special thanks for some quotes: 
Rev. Fr. Philip Bernabe for his talk on The Holy Use of Money
Merriam-Webster dictionary

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mammo-You, Mammo-Me

Self-check in the shower

Fighting breast cancer, one bath at a time.

Those words carry the latest advocacy of Human Nature as it unveiled its latest product yesterday, the MammoMe Natural Body Wash. Gone are the days when we just have to buy anything that we need without its attached advocacy. Now, natural products of Human Nature, where I am a dealer, carry every now and then a cause that deserves to be supported for. 

From building houses in Gawad Kalinga villages to increasing income of farmers in Camarines Norte, there are lots more of advocacy that HN brings. How I wish one day they can carry our fire safety advocacy too. This time, I appreciate and support the breast cancer awareness carried with the new MammoMe Natural Body Wash.

As I attended yesterday's Magalogue Turnover, the new product, which is MammoMe, brings its care for Filipinas in their fight against breast cancer. There are three main reasons why MammoMe cares:

First, it cares for your skin. It moisturizes and soothes skin with natural glycerin and aloe vera.

Second, it cares for fellow Filipinas. A portion of proceeds for the purchase of every MammoMe Body Wash will go to the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care (Kasuso Foundation) which helps provide treatment for indigent women with breast cancer. 

Lastly, it cares for your health. At the back of the MammoMe Body Wash bottle is a step-by-step reminder to do your breast self examination while you bath, thereby helping you detect the early signs of breast cancer.

Fight cancer. Self-check in the shower.

To learn more about the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care Inc.'s advocacy, you may visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kasusongpinay

To know more (or order) about MammoMe Natural Body Wash, visit HN website at www.humanheartnature.com/buy/index.php/

References: HN website, HN June-July 2014 Magalogue

Monday, April 28, 2014

Oriang: Her Two Marriages and the Katipunan

Dambana ni Oriang, dambana ng Katipunan.
A room inside Bahay Nakpil-Bautista where Katipuneros would meet.
Oriang is the nickname of the wife of Andres Bonifacio. From Caloocan, her real name is Gregoria de Jesus.

Oriang, Gregoria de Jesus, hid under the name Lakambini.
Oriang helped organize the women's sector of the Katipunan. Her first husband was Andres Bonifacio. Their wedding took place in Binondo Church in March 1893. A week later, they were married according to Katipunan rites. After the execution of Andres Bonifacio in Cavite, Julio Nakpil offered protection to Oriang. Nakpil was the composer of the Katipunan's music. They were married in Quiapo Church in December 10, 1989. That was Oriang's second marriage.

I may not be able to recall anymore a lot of our Philippine history but thanks to the Bonifacio Artists who ushered me to Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo, Manila. I recalled history as if it was fresh again. I learned more about the said rape of Oriang and Bonifacio's sister by the then Aguinaldo men. Oriang, like Tandang Sora, played a great role in the Katipunan. As wife of Andres Bonifacio, she had the "Sampung Tagubilin sa mga Kabataan" (Ten Advice to the Youth), while her husband had the Katilya ng Katipunan.

In English, I am sharing Oriang's Ten Advice to the Youth, which I obtained from Bahay Nakpil-Bautista. These pieces of advice were written by Gregoria de Jesus in November 5, 1928, can be considered universal and still applicable until today.
  1. Respect and love your parents because they are next to God on earth.
  2. Remember always the sacred teachings of our heroes who sacrificed their lives for love of country.
  3. Do not waste time so as not to serve as a bad example for others.
  4. Acquire knowledge diligently in the line or field of work for which you are best fitted so that you can be useful to your country.
  5. Remember that goodness is wealth.
  6. Respect your teachers who help you to see and understand, for you owe them your education as you owe your parents your life.
  7. Protect the weak from danger. 
  8. Fear history, for it respects no secrets.
  9. Great honor will be his who avoids doing evil.
  10. Promote the union of the people and the country's progress in order not to retard its independence.

A treasured piece of furniture where Rizal, Mabini and Bonifacio used
when they formed La Liga Filipina.
For you to know more about Katipunan and Gregoria de Jesus, visit the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista at 432A Bautista St., Quiapo, Manila. You just have to cross the street using Lacson Underpass if you are from Quiapo Church. It is just about two houses or establishments away from Barbosa Police Station. You can also visit bahaynakpil.org

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Taking Action on Climate

This is my little way of contributing to the forthcoming Climate Change talk by the United Nations, Climate Summit 2014. I am sharing United Nation's tips on making a difference with climate change together with UN's images on the Summit. You too can do your part by sharing these images and tips. Most importantly, we can do something by looking into the tips and observing them as much as we can.

Let's start by declaring that "I am for climate action." It starts with "me." 


Know your carbon footprint.

Find out how much CO2 your lifestyle produces and the amount of resources it takes to live the way you do. Once you know the impact your lifestyle causes you can start to make adjustments and monitor improvement. Encourage others to do the same. United Nations recommends this link in calculating CO2 emissions resulting from air travel.


Tips at Work and On the Go

  • Print double-sided or not at all.
  • Always use reusable cups, knives and forks.
  • Think before you travel. If a video conference call will suffice, spare the hassle and expense, and CO2 emissions.
  • Avoid traffic jams and decrease your personal carbon footprint by walking, bicycling, and using mass transit whenever possible. Consider carpooling with friends, neighbors and co-workers.
  • Taking the stairs can sometimes be faster than waiting in long elevator lines. In addition to saving energy, taking the stairs gives you a mild workout which will help keep you healthy.
  • Have your business join the UN Global Compact and become part of the solution for two of today's largest scale environmental issues - Climate Change and Water Sustainability.


At Home - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
  • Buy minimally packaged goods.
  • Recycle, paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Reuse, mend and repurpose things to save money and divert waste from your local landfill.
  • Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency.
  • Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer.
  • Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs.
  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm water.
  • Run dishwashers only when full and don't use heat to dry dishes.
  • Eat less meat, poultry and fish.
  • Plant trees - enter tree-planting pledges online, then plant indigenous or locally appropriate trees where you live.


Remember that "a healthy climate is a healthy economy."


...and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon believes so.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Definitely Japan. Definitely Kojie.san.


There are lots of skin care products in the market today. You see plenty of them in big supermarkets, in flea markets and even in corner stores. Filipinos always get influenced by the Western world which makes them look for branded products. Sad to say, some branded products end up being copied and sold in the market at a lower price. 

Counterfeit items may pose hazards to health of would-be users. Soaps may not have the original contents because chemical components maybe replaced with ingredients unknown and not tested. Who knows those components contain chemicals that are harmful to health? In an aim to look beautiful or maintain youthful beauty, people fond of beauty products may end up suffering from skin disorders or worst, ireparable bad skin condition.

Kojie.san is the first kojic acid soap to be commercially available in the Philippine market. Definitely Japanese, Kojie.san earns the impression of being of good quality. Making it available in the market, you can already obtain your desired beauty soap within your fingertips without the hassle of shipping costs from overseas or worrying your relatives abroad to send you one.

When it comes to your skin care, it is important to use only the original kojic acid soap. Do not buy cheap skin care products when you know that these are fake. Buy only original without compromising your youthful beauty.

Kojie.san has micro peeling effect, which makes it a potent whitening product. The company makes sure that its products are carefully tested to ensure its positive effects to the user. Its micro peeling effect makes the skin tight and younger looking after every use. With its continued use, results may vary when everyone tries to be you.

Kojie.san soap does not contain any harmful chemicals. It contains antioxidants and 100 percent all natural ingredients. With these, a user is sure of a safe beauty habit. Using only the original kojic soap will make it a passion for one to have a younger looking skin. Indeed, "definitely Japan, definitely Kojie.san."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Watch 24 Oras #TheWayYouWantIt!

You will tell me that I would not be needing Skycable just to watch 24 Oras, a primetime news program of GMA Channel 7. To a news-hungry person like me, watching 24 Oras the way I want it will not be enough without supplementing it with news programs from other channels here and abroad.

News is like food to me. To maximize my involvement in our society, I must be informed. 24 Oras is the basic and most important television program to me.

I was born to listening over the radio. In a typhoon-belt area where my family reside, radio was indispensable. Nowadays, thanks to value-added wonders of television - it made news more realistic not just to the ears but to the eyes as well.

Had Skycable been available in our place, I would have chosen the show for kids. My kid's favorite show must be my favorite too. However, unfortunately, my long wait for several years to have a cable line in our street still remains a waiting time until now. My kid still watches VCDs, carton shows from GMA and of course, 24 Oras.

I am based in Quezon City where I work during the day and retreat alone in the same city after work. It is like living a dual citizen - of a city and of a province, where my heart belongs. In the famed City of Stars, who then have not heard of Skycable? It seems everybody knows the brand name already.

Only in Skycable gives one a world of limitless possibilities with its widest selection of channels and different ways to enjoy it. The following four amazing features of Skycable will suit the needs and interests of its user.
  1. Enables you to take control of your TV viewing with iRecord.
  2. Add channels and packs that you like to your basic plan.
  3. The most number of standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channels.
  4. Get access to special shows and events through Skycable Pay-Per-View and Free View.

A cable company may mean nothing without a television screen.
The third feature best fits me. It reminds me of my travels to Agusan del Sur and the rest of CARAGA Region. I visited the newly established Talacogon Fire Station in 2013 and our firefighters are watching over a black-and-white television. The then noon time show may not be too good to be seen but the laughter reverberates to on-duty firemen as they serve the people of Talacogon town some miles away from their homes. With Skycable's wide-range of TV channels, a cable company have no meaning without a television screen.

Thanks to Skycable's most number of SD and HD channels. I can watch 24 Oras the way I want it. Television time is more fun with more news to watch for.




Friday, February 7, 2014

Of Pork and Being Famous

Perhaps pig turned out to be the most famous animal in the Philippines as the year 2013 ended. It was because of the pork barrel fund scam amounting to about 10 billion pesos. Parody here and spoof everywhere made Miss Janet Napoles to be associated with pig image.

As I visited the Farmers' Congress dubbed as INAHGEN 2014, pig is among the center of attraction together with other farm animals like cattle  and chicken. Of the pig-related things that had caught my attention, I can say that pigs are indeed famous with the following three hits of mine:

Pork in the Barrel booth
1. Pork in the Barrel. A contest in a booth sponsored by Quinomax wherein a guest is given the chance to pick among the toy pigs in a barrel. Every pig in a barrel has an equivalent prize, whether major or consolation. It is one of the pork-related booths that caught my attention when a lot of people queue in for the contest that was fun.

Hair-on pig native leather, Bureau of Animal Industry's exhibit.
2. Hair-on Pig Native Leather. I thought it was a hanging bat. I understood it as a work of art in the first glance. When I got closer, it is a pig - a hanging pig with its face. It is a hanging native pig's leather with hair. Beside it are derived fine leather made from pig skin. 


3. Animals on guard on a seat. With pig always on the scene, a seat is decorated with animals. I also saw real pigs - boar for sale - in the said congress.

Leather derived from pig skin

A pig turns out to be famous always. I eat its meat - pork. People talk about it through the pork barrel fund scam while Percy is the famous pig of Marks & Spencer.

FMD-free certification

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Am Grateful


During my college days, I can only buy second hand paperback for my leisure reading. After 12 years, now I can already buy a brand new book,  a health magazine and Reader's Digest. Time has changed and I am grateful. I still buy used paper back including children's books until today. I am indeed grateful.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?

"Every second of volunteering, every peso, every drop of perspiration counts. But no matter how much we give, there is always a feeling that it does not seem enough. There is a dream to give bigger and to make a difference."

In January, Globe Telecom gives an early gift to bloggers for an opportunity to express what they think of under #GLOBEProjectWonderful2014. It seeks to answer the question:

"If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?"



In my own little way, let me answer the beauty-queen  question. However, I do not have to be a beauty queen to be able to answer the question. I only have to be a simple working single mom to dream of impossibility of giving a huge gift for the Philippines as what foreign countries had given for Yolanda victims. I only have a dream that you too might dream of one day in the future.

If there is one thing that I can give to the Philippines, that is an insurance policy contract for every family's breadwinner from a reputable insurance company. Sounds funny? I don't care but that is my dream.

To be able to have a solid financial foundation, one must have healthcare and insurance. Insurance serves as replacement in case the breadwinner is gone. Unluckily not every sane Filipino is aware of the importance of insurance. Others are simply cynical about it including my most beloved brother. 

While each breadwinner is striving to work, earn and increase cash flow;  he or she must be protected by insurance. Thanks that the government have a healthcare program for every Filipino under the Philhealth. However, not every family is protected by Philhealth because not everyone is employed - others, underemployed or unemployed. 

I, for myself, am employed which makes me and my kid qualified for Philhealth. Since I cannot have my parents as among my dependents then, I had to pay monthly voluntarily their premium for Philhealth. For this year, the premium has increased and luckily, I paid it in cash until the end of December 2014. While having this as basic protection, it is never enough. The rest, I have to prepare for an emergency fund for obvious reasons - emergencies.

Insurance seems like a wheel chock lock in case the breadwinner dies. On the other hand, while rich people also buy insurance, there are more reasons for the middle income earners like me to obtain an insurance policy. If the middle income earners have to leave for their family a parcel of lot, who will pay for estate tax? Good if the breadwinner is protected by insurance.

We have a lot (or few?) financial advisors in the land. They keep on saying that we should have insurance. Have you read Pisobilities: Gabay sa Buhay Pinansyal by Francisco J. Colayco? Written in Filipino, I find it as the cheapest yet most comprehensive practical guide to financial planning. Or have you heard about a maid or family driver who invests in the stock market? There is one like that, ask Bo Sanchez about it. 

Supposing someone have five thousand pesos, wants to invest in the stock market and then he opens an account. Yes, it is good to invest and at the same time buy shares in mutual fund companies and reputable companies that trade with the Philippine Stock Exchange. Yet it is not good to sell shares when the market is down. What if after six months of investing, the investor breadwinner dies of an accident, what will the family receive? Isn't it five thousand pesos? Had he bought an insurance, his or her family will receive not just five thousand pesos but more than that. 

Photo source: Rappler (see full article here)

"...and if according to my fate, I am to lose my life
please bless with your protecting hand,
my loving family from strife." - Fireman's Prayer
I for myself have more than three life insurance including an accident insurance. However, these are not yet enough to serve as replacement for my income in case I die too soon. Aside from that, while others may think that being a member of the Red Cross means sharing a part some money, they may not be aware that each member is already protected. Apart from helping the needy, a Red Cross member is at the same time protected by insurance.

From having protection of healthcare and insurance, one can move forward to getting out of the debt trap. I thank those banks for disapproving all my application for credit card. It taught me to live a life of cash and e-purse - not a life of monthly credit card bills. With debt management, it is good to set aside emergency fund and then proceed to investment.

We invest for long term or short term reasons. For long term purposes, my ultimate reasons are retirement and child's college education. Others belong to want list - brand new car or house and lot.

With all these things in mind, financial freedom is a dream. Having a solid financial foundation is a key for having peace of mind. Ask me more. If I'd have a dream, I would dream that every breadwinner in every Filipino family be protected by insurance. If there is one thing that I can give to the Philippines, then that gift would be an insurance policy for every person who earns money to support a family.

We may have distinct roles to play in life. You may be a mother, a father, a daughter, son or a single mom like me. You too have dreams that you want to achieve. Having goals in life does not limit your imagination to aim high and dream once for your native land. It does not hinder you from doing little acts of thoughtfulness that contribute to massive acts of love for our country. What if confronted with the same question: if there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?

Can a hotel look like a factory?

While gathering for the kick off ceremony of the Manila Bay rehabilitation at the Quirino Grandstand, I was surprised to see this.  ...