When you lose a baby via miscarriage

**WARNING: SOME TROUBLING, VERY DISTURBING BLOODY PHOTOS OF MY EXPERIENCE AHEAD***

I miscarried and had my raspa last Wednesday, August 15.

We lost the baby at 11 weeks old.

The heartbeat simply stopped.

We didn’t know until the 14th week when I started spotting. Apparently, our baby was already dead for 3 weeks.

We learned via ultrasound that our baby was dead on Sunday. My OB scheduled a D&C on Friday.

I “popped” on Wednesday late afternoon.

I felt a strong gushing of liquid. My pantyliner was so wet as if I urinated on it.

When I rushed to the bathroom, the panty liner was soaked.

I quickly placed a menstrual pad, but after 2 minutes, that got soaked too. My panty was so wet I couldn’t even wear the menstrual pad properly.

As I sat on the toilet bowl, blood and gunk started flowing from me, first in drips then in spurts.

Within 2 minutes, the bowl was full. Full of blood, and clot.

I flushed the toilet.

After I flushed the toilet, I still continued to bleed. Clots and all. Every time I would wipe, there was flesh blood.

I let the blood flow. I had to wait it out.

It was on this time I saw a grey matter on the bowl.

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It was a fetus, our baby, looking like an alien but with hands and feet perfectly formed.

It lay on top of the bloody toilet paper.

We gingerly collected it on a small white bowl.

Yup, that’s our baby.

At 11 weeks old, it already looks like a baby. Anyone who says they’re not aborting a baby is WRONG.

I felt sad.

But I was not done bleeding yet.

I bled, and bled, and bled.

My husband bought the overnight pads, but they got full quickly too.

I went through the entire pack of overnight menstrual pads and I was still bleeding.

My OB asked me to go to the hospital.

Fortunately, I had some adult diapers at home. As soon as I wore them, the blood flow continued and I felt menstrual cramps and was excreting blood clots.

The nurse said it was my body excepting the thick lining of my uterus.

The body had them to prepare my body for the baby.

Now that the baby is toxic, my body is cleaning itself of all remnants of it.

As soon as I arrived in the hospital, I couldn’t stand.

I felt the heavy diaper and it was overflowing. Blood was dripping down my leg to my slippers.

Fortunately, the guard has a wheelchair and wheeled me to the delivery room.

I cleaned myself when I arrived. The adult diaper was full.

I changed to a new one.

I quickly went through three adult diapers.

By this time, I had already lost 2 kilos of blood and funk.

They lay me on the gurney where they put a speculum inside me.

They removed even more gunk from me, all bloody and clotty.

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It was very discomforting and unpleasant.

My OB said the abortion would severely hurt, but my body didn’t let me feel pain. Just a lot of discomfort, especially since I couldn’t move anywhere because I was free flowing blood.

Whenever I would stand, I would bleed some more.

At 10pm, 3.5 hours after I first popped, my blood pressure dangerously dropped.

I started to cough, feel absolutely weak. I began to have chills all over my body and sweat bullets.

I think I heard the doctor say my BP was 20 over 40.

I felt really weak, my breathing long and labored.

The nurses panicked.

Up until this time, I was fine. Still joking. But when this suddenly happened, I was so weak and tired and couldn’t really move.

This was the time I felt that maybe this was the feeling patients had before they died.

Oooooh, so this is how it feels…

I never felt like this before.

By this time, I have lost 3 kilos of blood.

They gave me an IV and watched me stabilized. I had 4–5 nurses surrounding me.

My OB arrived upon my stabilization.

Despite me already excreting most of my body wastes, there was still some left since I was already at 14 weeks.

She scheduled a D&C at 12 midnight, 8 hours after my last meal at 4pm.

Apparently, you need to fast for 8 hours before a D&C.

They wheeled me in the cold delivery room at 12 midnight.

They gave me a spinal anesthetic to remove the pain.

They sedated me.

When I woke up, I was still in the operating room but I was finished.

They have removed the last part of my pregnancy: my placenta. It was Grey in color and looked sick.

They wheeled me to the recovery room afterwards. I was monitored until I could move a bit of my legs at 2:30am.

I was admitted to the room at 4am.

I was monitored closely.

The next morning, I was bleeding sparingly. The bleeding has almost stopped.

I couldn’t feel my butt until the afternoon. Maybe the anesthesia was so strong but I thought I was wearing a thick plastic diaper even though I wasn’t.

I was discharged at 4:30am and forced to rest.

When I went to work the next day, I was very pale, had chills and was shaking. So I was sent home.

I am on bedrest today. It’s my second day after the D&C.


I was only at 14 weeks when I had my abortion. Our fetus is as small as a little oyster.

It wasn’t my choice per se, but the body has to do its part.

Regardless on whether it’s your choice or not, it was a miserable, discomfiting and sad experience.

If your baby is bigger, I would expect more pain, more blood, and more discomfort.

It’s your body, and your choice of course.

But since we wanted to keep the baby, it was very sad when I was there at the delivery room’s recovery area, lying in preparation for my D&C, and just beside me are two mothers with their newly born babies recovering.

The irony wasn’t lost in me.

There I was, losing my baby. And there they were, just starting a new adventure.

The experience was interesting at best.

But I wouldn’t want anyone to lose 3 kilos of blood or more.

The body is not fit for an abortion.

It will always be a traumatic event.

It can be dangerous.

I chose to show our baby’s photo so you can see that what’s inside you is an actual human in process. It has five fingers and five toes at 11 weeks old.

I was lucky I didn’t have a choice on this abortion. My body chose to expel our baby when it was incompatible and unsuitable for birth.

The Lord has been so gracious we never had to make this decision.

But I can see how traumatic and difficult it may be for women who are still mulling over this choice.

So good luck. And may you make the right decision for you.

I survived my abortion.

It was like a birth. But it wasn’t. And it screws you up in many ways.

And I do hope I will never go through it again.

Posted in baby, Conflicts, Husband, Pregnancy, Reflections, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

When your Baby Dies inside You

The doctor called it a “missed abortion.”

I started spotting last Friday. It continued on Saturday. And I finally saw my OB today.

She asked me to do a pelvic ultrasound.

Petrified, we went this afternoon.

The result.

Our baby is dead.

It should have been 14 weeks old.

The ultrasound said the size of our baby was 10 weeks, 6 days.

Apparently, it has been dead inside me the last 3 weeks.

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Why did it die?” I asked. I think I shed a tear. This is a good time to be philosophical.

There was no heart beat.

The embryo just wasn’t viable,” the OB at the ultrasound clinic said. “Maybe there was a defect, or there was something wrong with the sperm and egg.”

We don’t know whether we should be happy or sad: We lost a baby.

It’s highly possible that the baby just wasn’t strong enough.

Maybe it was defective and the Lord just willed it to stop living.

If the baby wasn’t strong, would you still have willed it to live? Or was it just better for it to die this way.

I don’t know what happened, but this came out of my feed today:

Our baby is dead.

It’s not meant to be.

We will deal with Spud later on. We will try again in a few months.

But we will mourn it today.

Have a good week everyone!

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Mommy Guilt and Being a Bad Mother

When I see perfect mothers on the Internet, who fuss about how to correctly clean their baby bottles and sterilize their house, I feel a bit guilty.

As a working mother, I am usually pooped after work. After the stress of being in the office the entire day, the only thing you want to do is to hug your daughter, who has already been bathed, had her diaper changed, and ready for some love. I honestly do not want to bathe her after a hard day’s work. That’s why I’ve hired a good nanny, is to get my baby ready for me when I go home, already full, clean, delicious smelling, and happy.

You’re a bad mother,” my husband would chide me. “Most mothers would have changed their baby’s diapers a few thousand times after birth. You, on the other hand, has only changed her diaper less than 10x in her lifetime.”

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This is actually true. And I have only bathed her a maximum 3x since she was born.

There is no excuse. In society, a mother is expected to unconditionally love her offspring, and sacrificially cater to their every whim. You are to feed them, bathe them, clean them, change them, comfort them, play with them, clean up after them, and be their slave, until the time they closed their eyes to sleep.

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No wonder most moms lose sleep until their kid is 3 years old!

The funny thing is that society expects men to help out, but not to sacrifice to the extent that women do for their kids. My husband is already considered a great father just by knowing how to change her diaper.

Apparently, there is a double standard —- if a man does it, he is hailed a hero. If a woman does it, that’s because she’s just doing her job as a mother.

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I have always been taught how to work. As a child, my parents freed up my schedule so I have the time to study and excel in my academics. The logic is, if I have high grades in school, I can have a high paying job, and then, I have the money to outsource the most mundane tasks in life.

So that’s who I am — While I did my own laundry on my first year of independence, I have afterwards paid other people to do my washing and cleaning. My thought is, if I did it, it will take me 3 hours to hand wash a week’s worth of laundry. If other people did it, and given that they are good at their jobs, they can do it for 25% of the time, and all it cost me is Php 70.00 per kilo of dirty laundry.

The time that I save to do the laundry buys me the luxury of doing something I really want to do. Instead of cleaning the toilet, I can go out, window shop, and relax. Or if anything, I can always just lie down, close my eyes and sleep.

This is great when you’re single.

But not after having children.

And this is my dilemma — Once you become a mom, you are expected to shed your self, and embrace the most noble role of all, BEING A MOTHER.

When you think of a mother, you think of a woman who is there all the time.

Who is your counselor, ready to comfort and swoop in whenever you fall.

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A mother is the cook: Someone who prepares your breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner.

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A mother sacrifices. She gives the biggest slice of the pie to the father, and the next biggest to the kids, leaving few for herself.

Above all, a mother is supposed to look good. Think Stepford wives. Someone who does all the things in the household, and still manages to blowdry her hair and don high heels all for the service of the husband.

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I am far from being the perfect mother, and from being a sexy Stepford wife.

I have resorted to tying my hair in a ponytail to get it out of the way. I wear dowdy nursing dresses because it’s easy to comfort my exclusively breastfed baby. I have gotten rid of the high heels and have worn comfortable Crocs so I can walk faster.

Honestly, this is what society expects me to look like:

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This is exactly what I mostly look like every day.

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My husband is lucky I still wear makeup.

I also work the entire day. I have outsourced the daily basic care of my child to that of our yaya/nanny, and have compensated her properly for it.

I have given the responsibility of taking my daughter to and fro kindergarten to our nanny and driver, who takes her from my arms at 7:30am and gets her to school. The driver drives them, and she waits outside for baby to finish school at 10:30am.

When I wake up, my baby is already in school. I dress, and go to work and I am at work up until around 8:00pm. Since I manage our family business, my baby sometimes join us after her school and she watches Youtube and plays with the Yaya while occasionally coming to me to nurse.

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Otherwise, I pretty much ignore my baby throughout the day. The only time we really spend time together is during Sundays, my rest day, where my husband and I play and spend time with our daughter.

Yes, I am considered as a bad mother. 

I am a bad mother because I cannot wholly devote myself to my daughter. I am a bad mother because I have outsourced her basic care to a third party. I am a bad mother because I justify the lack of attention I give her by saying that I do this to work, so that I can help out my husband and provide for our family.

If that is the case, I am proudly a bad mother.

I know I am not perfect, and I know I should be more sacrificial and unconditional towards my child. I know that there are many other better mothers than I am, who really kill themselves fussing over their children and still look good while doing so.

But what can I do?

How can I look good if I don’t have the time. I have not cut my hair for over a year because I have no time to go to a salon.

How can I send my child to school at 7:30am if I am tired? The extra hour of sleep is precious to me, and if my yaya can capably do the job, why do I even need to be there to fuss?

How can I devote the time to teach my child if other things warrant my attention? That’s the reason why we have spent thousands in tuition getting her the best education. I know that education starts at home, but if the school can do it capably, then why can’t I trust them to do their job?

I know I have failings as a mother. I know that other mothers are far more capable than I am. And yet, I still feel comforted by justifying my actions by saying that while I fail in providing for her most basic needs, I can still capably raise a kind above average child by affording her all of life’s comforts.

Because I work, I can afford her the best schools and the best care.

My daughter’s kindergarten is expensive, but worth it. Her nanny is paid 3x the minimum wage. When it comes to academics and attention, she is never in lack.

Because I work, our time together becomes more valuable.

Despite my work, I still spend all my evenings and Sundays with her. My daughter patiently waits until her mommy finishes work, then she takes comfort that it’s already HER time. Then she really becomes sweet and makulit. Because she knows that time together is limited, my daughter does make the most out of it.

Because I work, she is more independent.

I don’t have a lot of time to deal with fussiness. I don’t like to hover, and will just naturally let her do her own thing. I think this is good for her. Since mommy isn’t always there to help her out, my daughter figures things out by herself. This makes her more independent, which is great.

Because I work, my knowledge of the world and of society has expanded. And she knows she is being raised by a smart mom.

I have so much knowledge to impart on her. If she comes to me for advice, my daughter can receive relevant information because I have stayed up to date with the news and trends. Actually, a lot of the mothers come to me for advice. What more my daughter?

Because I work, I help other people.

We employ around 40 people, and help out around 40 families as a result. My daughter will feel proud one day knowing of all the people we’ve helped. And even though we are not rich, she will take great comfort in knowing that we’ve made a difference in the lives of so many people.

Lastly, because I work, I have my own identity. And given that I have a daughter, I hope that she herself will be able to stand in her own two feet when she grows up, and feel proud of what she’s become.

When people see me, they don’t call me my husband’s wife. They don’t call me my daughter’s mother. They call me by my real name. They recognize me by the work that I do. And they know what I represent.

And while I am my husband’s wife, my daughter’s mother, I am fortunate that I do not merely identify myself as such, as if these are my only two identities. Instead I am proud that I have an identity to call my own, and proudly so.

As a second generation working mother — my own mother worked too — I feel proud knowing that I am raising a daughter who will grow up to have her own voice. If mommy can do it —- raise a family and work —- then I can do it too! And nowhere should she feel bad because she’s doing something for herself.

So yes, call me a bad mother if you want. Admittedly, I AM a bad mother on the most traditional sense of the word.

But bad or not, I know I am still on the right track. And what I do will eventually vindicate me and make my daughter proud of me. I know that my daughter wishes that I am home more often, but one day, she will see the light: That her mother did everything for her, for herself and for everyone else.

So instead of being ashamed on why I am not doing more for the child, let’s twist this a bit and see what I see. I have no time to be ashamed of being a working mother. Because of my work, I can raise my family comfortably. I can provide employment to more than 40 people. And I can feel proud for who I have become and what I stand for.

Given that, should I be ashamed for being me?

No, by that definition, I am proud to be a bad mother. And you should be too.

Goodbye mommy guilt!

Posted in Advice, baby, Family, Mom's advice, Motherhood, Parenthood, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Best Books for Babies (0-3 years old)

My one wish for my baby is that she will have the love of reading. That’s why, I’ve hoarded many books ever since she was born. We now have a growing library of books for her to read.

However, books can get really expensive. The more you buy, the more expensive it gets. I’ve also noticed how we would always go back to the same books over and over. It makes me think that I would have saved a lot of money if I only focused on the few book essentials, instead of buying every kiddie book I encountered.

Here are the top 10 books my baby loves to read. Maybe, if you are under the budget, you can just stick to these following books that you can read and reread over and over.

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Slide and Find by Eric Carle (USD 11.13)

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This is the first book my baby absolutely loved. There’s something about the repetitive structure of words, the use of vivid colors and imagery that has the baby engrossed.

A bonus? The slide function in every page!

My baby had a LOT OF FUN trying to open the slide. Please buy the one with the Slide Function. Do NOT buy the other book options.

Consolation Prize: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle – The book challenges kids to try to do the same actions as the animals.

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Overall, a fun book to read as the child imitates the characters in the book.

What Baby Learns: Animals, Colors

2. Where is Baby’s Belly Button Lift-a-Flap Book by Karen Katz (USD 4.19)book1.png

The vocabulary is so simple but effective, teaching my child the different parts of the body. The imagery is also so cute as well. My baby squeals whenever she sees photos of different babies. One of the best books for babies.

Note: The other Karen Katz books are not as effective as this one. Save your money and only buy this Karen Katz book.

What Baby Learns: Parts of Body

3. Dear Zoo: A Lift Flap Book by Rod Campbell (USD 4.71)

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Have you noticed that many of my baby’s favorite books are lift the flap books? I guess for babies, there is that element of surprise that lies behind every flap. And it brings them great pleasure to anticipate which animal that appears behind every container.

The Story is about a child who writes the zoo asking for a pet. The zoo sends the child a series of animals for pets, which is returned for many different reasons. Finally, the zoo finds the right pet for the child.

What Baby Learns: Animals, Animal Sounds

4. May I Please Have a Cookie? by Jennifer E. Morris (USD 6.17)

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It’s important for kids to learn some manners, and there’s no better way to teach manners than by a good story.

This book tells of the story of Alfie, who really LOVES cookies, but cannot find the right way to ask for it. The story ends with Alfie learning that getting what you want may be as simple of having the right manners and asking politely.

The rhymes, the photos, and the story all add to the charm. We absolutely love this book!

What Baby Learns: Using the word “Please”

5. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (USD 5.06)

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The story of Gerald as an awkward giraffe who cannot dance is absolutely endearing. Gerald wants to dance, but can’t. He is mocked by the other animals for his inability to dance. However, he later realizes that the beauty of dance comes more from his own self, and this increase of confidence earns him the praise of the other animals.

There is a rhyme to every page of the story, which makes every page a pleasure to read and re-read. There is also a lesson to be learned, and if done correctly, can increase a child’s self-esteem and will to dance in his/her own drum.

If you can, please buy the large hardbound version. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story sucks you right in.

What Baby Learns: Animals, the Different Dances, and the Importance of Dancing in one’s own Beat

6. How Do Dinosaurs Collection by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

We LOVE this book! There’s something about the way Jane Yolen and Mark Teague construct the story that teaches kids in a fun way on how to eat, how to see the doctor, and how to say goodnight. My daughter loves how everything rhymes and memorizes every page.

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The best books in the collection are as follows:

  • How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

  • How do Dinosaurs Eat their Food?
  • How do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

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The rest of the collection are meh. I have the How do Dinosaurs Learn Colours and Numbers? and How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?, but the rest of the books are no competition to the first three I mentioned. Save your money and just buy the three best books.

What Baby Learns: Proper Manners and How to Do the Right Thing

7. Potty by Leslie Patricelli (USD 4.00)

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A cute little board book, the story introduces the concept of a potty in such a safe and fun manner. It’s about a child who wants to go potty but is afraid to. However, after trying to potty and finding success, everyone celebrates.

I’ve bought the other books by Leslie Patricelli but nothing is better than this book. Stick to the best sellers, mommy!

What Baby Learns: Potty is our friend.

8. Press Here and Mix it Up by Herve Tullet

Not for baby but for a toddler, these two interactive board books are fun to read with baby.

For Press Here, it teaches baby to follow simple instructions, and the effect lie on the pages afterwards.

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Mix it Up teaches about colors, and how when they are combined, results on wonderful surprises.Mix.jpg

What Baby Learns: Simple Instructions, Directions (Left, Right, Straight), Colors, Color Combinations

9. My Big Book of Beginning Books About Me by Dr. Seuss

Out of all the available collections (which I mostly bought), this is probably the best. The collection of book features simple stories that rhyme and are just super fun to read. The book include the following stories so as you can see, if you are traveling and you need only one book to bring, this book is it:

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What Baby Learns: Parts of the Body

10. The Berensteins’ B Book by Stan Berenstain

My baby loves to read along. The story repeats words per page in such that it incites mastery. I love it when baby can anticipate what’s going to be on the next page. If you want your baby to increase his/her vocabulary, this is a great book to start.

What Baby Learns: Words that starts with the Letter B

Do you have another books to add? Please let me know! I would love to see if they fit my baby and I. Please comment below.

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BOOKS I FEEL ARE OVERRATED

No, I didn’t forget about these.

I actually have these, but they aren’t really that much fun to read. Maybe because the words don’t rhyme or the story drags, but I have no clue why these books are super popular. They honestly don’t do it for myself and baby.

I call them the Overrated Books: Nice to have but skip if you don’t have the budget. Please note that this is just for my personal reference, so I’m sorry if you love them and I don’t.

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – It’s great but I don’t really get the story of a caterpillar who wakes up and eats a lot of things everyday. A good story, but not best-seller quality.

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  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – Unimpressive illustration, dragging story. Yawn.

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  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

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  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sedak – I don’t like this book because it features a naughty, misbehaved child who becomes the King of the Wild Things. However, the story is brought to an abrupt conclusion after he misses his mom and returns home.

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  • Harold and the Purple Crayon – What a dragging book. Super long and blah. I couldn’t wait to get it done.

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  • Corduroy by Don Freeman – Great story about a lost bear in the shopping mall. But oh so dragging. Skip!

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Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, Book reviews, Early Learning, Education, Fun Stuff, Kid Problems, Lists, Parenting, Personal opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Problematic Bear

We found this cute backpack bear at the Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

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My daughter squealed with delight and wanted to take it home.

I hate finding random things. While other people may think they are lucky to find money on the street, I think the opposite.

I have a strong belief that what goes around, comes around. Hence, any luck that finds you will be cancelled out by some unlucky even that will follow. 

So I don’t like finding money on the street. I don’t like gaining fortunes that I did not work for. Personally, if I see something that’s not mine, I do NOT take it home.

But my daughter wanted the monkey, so my husband insisted that I take it home with us. To add insult to the injury, the bear is owned by a Brian Bui, whose telephone number was written on the bear.

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So now I know it belongs to a little boy named Brian. And I know his number. I am sure he does not live in the Philippines.

BIG FREAKING SIGH.

But baby likes it, so we take the monkey home. And I am now obliged to return the little monkey to Brian.

I’ve sent him a text. Hope he responds.

Have a good weekend everyone!

 

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8 Things I dislike about Pregnancy

1. The monthly prenatal check-ups and long waits outside the clinic

You have to go and see your OB every month.

My OB’s clinic is from 1pm to 4pm. We arrived at 12:30pm and was #10!

This is going to be a looooong wait.

3. You feel uncomfortable the entire day.

I don’t have any morning sickness or food cravings but I feel like puking at random times of the day.

I feel a shortness of breath everyday. Are these symptoms common for pregnant women?

3. The tiredness that comes in the afternoon.

While the baby is still forming, it inevitably saps your energy. Hence, you can’t help but feel it sucking your energy.

There will be days when you will feel tired. And you want to take a nap but you can’t because everyone is working.

My sister-in-law has a cot in the office to catch a few hours of zzzzz. I can’t and won’t do that. So I have to grit and bear it, drinking strong coffee in the morning to last through the day.

4. Food restrictions

I still continue to drink coffee since it’s OB approved, but I can’t really eat raw fish or sushi, which I love.

It’s frustrating to be in Taipei and not be able to eat all the fresh and delicious sushi.

5. Medicine Restrictions

I had an unfortunate bout of LBM this week but I couldn’t really drink Imodium since it’s unsafe for baby.

I’m sure there are a lot of medicines I can’t touch either. So the best way is to grit and ride the sickness through.

All for the good of the baby.

6. The harrowing diagnostic tests for defects, taken around the 11th to 13th week, and the following trimester.

Every parent wants a normal baby and it’s very scary when you find out pre-birth that your baby is abnormal.

I pray and hope that will never happen. No parent ever deserves to know that there’s something wrong with their baby while still in the womb.

My OB suggested I take the diagnostic exam today to find out whether my child has Down syndrome. Apparently, the risk increases after you reach 35 years old. This is scary for me, as I pray and home that our baby is normal.

7. The Risk of Miscarriage

Especially at my age, miscarriages can be quite common. My friends have at least 1-2 miscarriages behind their belt and it can be depressing for any mom to find out they’ve lost their baby.

I actually had a miscarriage before my daughter. It was just a month and I just started bleeding heavily after getting a positive pregnancy test.

I was surprisingly depressed afterwards.

The only comfort I had was that the baby was weak, and it wasn’t meant to be. We would’ve lost it anyway.

The baby I had now which followed was way stronger. She gave me no troubles at all from pregnancy till birth till after birth, so God really works out for the best.

8. The Prospect of Losing Work Time

Prenatal checkups is usually once a month, and usually takes half a day.

After I had my baby, I took a month off work to rest and have my gue lai. I gave birth in December which was the busiest season of the year, and I had to be content in staying at home and trusting that my team will carry us through.

They did —- thankfully.

After the birth, I couldn’t really travel overseas for business frequently. I was EBF so couldn’t really afford to be away from my baby for a long time.

As I’ve said, I have to work. A lot of people are depending on me. So yes, a baby does put a damper to work. Sorry.

Overall, I am just griping…

I’m still at the camp that babies are life’s greatest blessings and all of my complaints are petty in the face of an innocent little Me that’s coming weeks later.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful. And I am praying for a safe and painless delivery and a normal baby.

It’s just uncomfortable to be a bit pregnant. My husband feels no pity, and I’d like to hit him just to show him it hurts, but I know that this phase is God’s gift, and an experience I will not really have to go through all the time.

So might as well be thankful for what I have.

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Two Sports Games: One Uplifted the Nation, the Other Disgraced It

This week, there were two notable sports events that’s being heralded around the world.

There’s the exciting World Cup Match between Belgium and Japan last Monday. 

Apparently, people originally thought Japan would win, until Belgium made a surprise upset to win the game. This meme perfectly sums up the exciting match:

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However, despite losing the game, Japan was heralded as an opponent worthy of respect. They fought hard and lost, and yet managed to do so gracefully.

The audience were supportive, and yet, despite losing, cleaned up after themselves after the match.

 

 

 

Even the Japanese players cleaned up their lockers AFTER LOSING, leaving the place spic and span with a sweet thank you note for their hospitality.

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Despite losing the hard fought game, the Japanese team were lauded as good sports.

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Please note that not only was the Japanese proud of their team, but even the Belgians (and everyone around the world) was lauding on how the players fought fair and hard. It’s a wonderful thing to see just how sports brings people together.

It’s enough to make you shed a tear.

Compare that to the debacle that is the Gilas Pilipinas vs. Australia match at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan also last Monday.

Like Japan, the Philippines lost albeit horribly. However, unlike Japan, the Philippines were far from the graceful losers.

This was how the brawl unfolded.Please note that the blue uniformed players are from the Philippines team, while the yellow uniformed players were from the Australian team.

The fight started when some sponsorship decals was removed from the basketball court when the Australians deemed it as a safety risk since they were too slippery. That was already a bad start to the game.

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Manny Pangilinan is the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus.

What follows is a quick build up to the f*ck up. Here is the time-line of events.

During the timeout, moments before the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifier turned into a full-blown brawl, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes ordered his players to “hit somebody, put somebody in their ass,” after the tam trailed by double digits.

He later justifies this instruction as basketball talk. 

 

 

Come the third quarter, the fight boiled to a fever pitch when Australia’s Daniel Kickert accidentally or intentionally elbowing Filipino player Roger Pogoy.

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This was the chance the Philippines was waiting for. In reaction, Jayson Castro (Blue, 7) from the Philippines punched Kickert in the face.

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Jayson Castro then pursues Kickert off court, probably forgetting that he’s no longer 10.

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To be fair, the Australians fought back. Australia’s Thon Maker kicks Filipino player Andray Blatche, apparently forgetting that they’re not in a Street Fighter game.

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People from the bench joined in.

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Australian Christopher Goulding somehow ended up on the floor hurt because the Filipinos ganged up on him.

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There was a point when the Filipino players almost killed Christopher Goulding. The culprit: The Assistant Coach Jong Uichico grabs a chair and tries to hit Goulding’s head with it.

YES, YOU HEARD IT RIGHT. THE ASSISTANT COACH.

“There’s vision of Luc Longley, our NBA legend (and Boomers assistant coach) taking a position of an Australian Wallaby clearing a maul to actually get a significant number of people off him. That’s what we were dealing with.’’

Luc Longley might have saved Goulding’s life in Boomers brawl: agent

What’s worse, Gilas coach Chot Reyes after the game defended his players. He said you would understand if you were at the game yourself. He did not lambast his players for resorting to violence in the game, stating: “But the reality is that Kickert was hitting our players during the warm-ups. He hit Carl Bryan Cruz, he hit Matthew Wright, [Roger] Pogoy and he hit Calvin Abueva.”

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As if this would excuse their actions. If the other person was being immature, should you also join him and kick his ass?

 

In the end, the Australians won the game 89-53 when only one Gilas Pilipinas player was left.

Afterwards, the proud Filipino team takes a selfie.

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The Philippines is proud…. proud of being what?

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I don’t really care what you think.

You may agree with the Gilas players and say that the Filipinos are merely defending their nationalistic pride and defending themselves from the Australian racist *ssholes.

However, as a Filipino, I am embarrassed.

Why is it that the Filipinos are so quick to defend their shameful action? And yet do NOT see their fault in all of these?

The Australians called us monkeys. This makes them racists.

I called what happened as the act of dogs.

Very shameful and embarrassing.

This is NOT what good sportsmanship is like. We saw what good sportsmanship is like with the Japan vs. Belgium game. This is what sports is and should be.

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Not this.

I am Filipino. A proud one at that.

But oh, what a disgrace we are.

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UPDATE: This Rappler Article, Why Gilas Should Apologize” sums up my emotions perfectly.

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Random News, sports, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One of the Hardest Things to Do is to Do Nothing

My husband’s business is in a bit of financial constraints due to having too much expenses vs. lowered revenue plus operational inefficiency and some wastage.

The easiest thing to do is to loan his business money. If you have the money, why not? Anyway, loans are to be paid off, and if it helps lessen the financial pressure, then you help.

However, after loans have been piling up, my husband has resorted to having his credit card bills payable to 24 months at 1.99% interest per month. That’s a whopping 24% annual interest charge!

I knew about this problem last May. My husband tells me not to worry as he has everything under control.

The hardest thing to do is to do NOTHING.

And to trust that your husband really knows what he is doing, even though you do not agree with his ways and means.

It’s really difficult for me to do nothing though. People who know me know that when faced with a problem, my automatic response is to act on it and solve it.

With this issue however, the fastest band-aid to do is to just lend him even more money even if he still owes money. However, the logical part of me knows that lending him more money will sink his business more in debt, and I will just enable him in buying more inventory he probably won’t need, or to pay off people he shouldn’t really be paying.

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So I watch in the sidelines and worry.

At the end of the day, the credit card his business uses is under his name, and personally he is liable for everything he buys. “Keeping a business afloat using loans is the Filipino way of doing business. It is the easy way out and is not the correct way,” my father in law said.

I know, dad… but what can I do?

My husband tells me to trust him. And that he has it under his control.

My inner gut tells me this way is not a way to build and grow a business. Personally, the business I am managing is super tight with money and has built up sufficient cash reserves in just 4 years. My husband’s business has been there for a decade and has yet to build up any cash reserves.

I try not to interfere but it is hard.

I know if I interfere, I can help. But to interfere is to emasculate and belittle my husband, who is the leader of our household.

But if I don’t help, there might be impending doom. And it’s crucial that my husband’s business survives, as a man finds his self-worth with what he does. A man who is unemployed and has let his people down is a defeated man, and such a man is not a good companion for the house.

BIG SIGH.

I am not asking for pity. But I share this with you to say that even if everything seems rosy and perfect, we have problems as well. Honestly, this problem is between my husband and I and is something that must be settled together.

Well, let’s wait and see how he will handle it. He said to trust him and I will. So I will wait to see how he will solve his problem.

As I’ve said, one of the hardest things to do is to do NOTHING.

How about you? Have you ever seen a potential trainwreck to happen and stop yourself from doing something about it? How do you feel about that?

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Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Family Drama, Husband, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When someone doubts your integrity

One of my staff got paid her back pay today. The amount was about php39,000, about 3x the minimum wage.

Her backpay consisted of one month of wages. She had been with us for 3 years before resigning to get married. The backpay is released two months after the exit interview.

This morning, the agency emailed us. Apparently old staff was harassing and threatening them days before her backpay was released.

In Tagalog, the staff was telling the agency to be careful. “Make sure you give me every cent of my salary. Do not cheat me. I demand a complete breakdown of my backpay.”

The funny thing was, the backpay given to her was correct, irrelevant of her threat. Backpay is attendance + incentive so it’s pretty hard to cheat.

Since she’s been with us for 3 years, and have actually gotten rich with us all that time — she was paid well above the minimum wage — I don’t know why she is so paranoid. She has never been cheated on. Her salary is always paid on time. And she got more than her fair share.

So I feel that her defensiveness and paranoia are unfounded.

In fact, I am insulted that she would even think that we or the agency will cheat her from money earned. We have never cheated anyone, and we aren’t ready to cheat anyone now.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get.

Why are you bothered?” Husband asks me. “That’s how they are. They don’t have utang ng loob. Even after 3 years of getting the right pay, they still feel that you will cheat them.”

For someone who values her integrity and reputation, I am insulted when someone questions it. I am even more insulted because her full backpay was deposited even before I knew that she was harassing our agency!

I hope that when she sees her backpay, she will feel foolish. She will feel stupid for ever doubting us. But knowing her, she will feel as if she deserved every penny and how she owes us nothing.

That’s fine — I don’t think she will ever get that same level of compensation in any other company. Good luck to her and your career.

I’d still hire her though,” husband said. “Even with an attitude like that, she is still useful.”

I won’t.

And that’s how I deal with people who are ungrateful and defensive. Since I cannot change them, I will simply not hire them ever again.

How about you? What will you do in my shoes?

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I am Pregnant… Again!

I am pregnant again!

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A lot of thoughts went into my head:

I am still breastfeeding. How will my daughter nursing impact my baby especially since she’s very malikot.

Will it be a boy or a girl? A girl is cute, but a boy will be nice. At least, there’s someone to carry the family line.

I really hope he/she is a normal, healthy baby… what am I to do if he/she is not? I really hope that he/she is normal and healthy. No defects whatsoever.

How can I love both equally? One is already very tiring, but another one? How can you love another one especially since you’ve maxed out your love for the older child?

We have a family trip planned for Europe this November. How many months before I am still allowed to travel? Can I still make this trip?

How will it impact my work? I’d have to take another 30 days… another round of pregnancy feels and childbirth. Oh my, it’s going to be another wild ride…

I am now easily tired and short of breath. Is it because of the baby or just because I am getting lazier now that I am older.

Wow, a second child…!

How will a second child work?

I hope it still doesn’t hurt to give birth the second time around. God has protected me with the first, I pray and hope He protects me with the second.

Every baby is God’s miracle. What will I name it? How can we handle a second child?

I don’t even know if I am a good enough mother for my first child. And now, I will have a second? Wow, just wow.

He/she will be born on February 8, 2019. I hope I can give birth before February 5 so as he/she will still be part of Year of the Rat, and not Year of the Pig.

We call it Little Spud. Welcome Little Spud to the family!

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You guys are the first to know. Shhhh… we hope to keep this a secret until after the first trimester when the baby is more safe. 1.5 more months to go!

Let’s pray for a safe pregnancy, wohoo!

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, Family, Pregnancy, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What do you do if you hate your daughter’s boyfriend?

This question was posed to us earlier today, “What do you do if you hate your daughter’s boyfriend?”

My Chinese sister-in-law and her Australian husband shared that their strategy was to be open to their child so as to remove the “forbidden” aspect. I guess, they are just taking care that something would be as forbidden to be very appealing.

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In Tagalog, we say, “Masarap ang bawal,” or “What is forbidden is attractive.” My sister-in-law just want to remove that stigma and to ensure what is forbidden fast loses its appeal.

We will not discriminate against race,” they said. “We are color blind parents.”

To be honest, we are a lot less open-minded than our in-laws. Despite my 10 years overseas and having a lot of foreign friends, I still feel that race and culture are things to factor in when choosing a life partner.

This is a sour note for us especially since brother-in-law is WHITE.

So the white brother-in-law pointedly asked my husband, “What place are you willing to allow for God’s hand in preparing the husband for Daughter that may not match your box for her?” 

I will not impose my own view over God’s clearly communicated and supported choice, even if it clashes with my own preference,” he added. “This is the situation that Pop and Ma was faced with me. I was not inside their thinking for (Husband’s sister). If your family efforts had been successful to smash and bash me and get rid of me, then (Husband’s sister) and me would not be and neither would (Daughter’s name).”

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“So I react very very emotionally when I read your words,” finished off our Australian Brother-in-Law. “They stir me up.”

Brother-in-Law then continues to say he was thankful that my husband did not try to bash him up because my husband would have definitely succeeded and sent him away for a long while.


This conversation is particularly interesting for me because I have very clear views on the subject. More than the race, the bigger question is, How much would I Meddle in my Daughter’s Love Life?

MY ANSWER: IF I DON’T LIKE HIM, I WILL STOP THEM.

I wanted to react and say my piece, but my husband warned me off saying that it’s not a topic where there is a clear winner or loser, so one must best shut up.

However, I cannot help but add my piece here. I sincerely believe it.

At my current state, I will stop my daughter from making an obvious wrong choice.

I will not make it go too far and will stop it before it gets serious. In a way, I love her that much to let her hate me if she knew what I was doing. I hope and pray I will not be forced to do that to her, and that problem would be avoided if she doesn’t choose someone who is obviously wrong for her.

How do I know he is wrong for her? There’s that “kwa lang” (how to read people) skill which we hope to hone by the time Daughter is at marrying age comes in.

In fairness to Brother-in-Law, I don’t think Husband would have given you a hard time. There’s being a Christian, being sincere to Sister-in-Law, and seeing how beautiful she is inside and out. However, there are guys that are just plain wrong. There’s the drug addicts, the gold diggers, the sexual deviants, etc. If he is wrong, he is wrong.

If he is wrong for her, and you know it will be a train wreck, how can we let her make that mistake and do nothing? I will not stand by because she says it’s God’s choice for her. Maybe it’s not God’s, but actually hers pretending to be God’s.

Right now, I cannot stand it. I will try to stop it. But I will be there to pick up the pieces if she stubbornly insists her way and comes back crying, baby and all. But I will do everything in my power to stop her. Hopefully God is good and will protect us so such instinct will not come out.

I do not care if my daughter hates me for trying to stop her from pursuing the one she loves. If I really believe it’s the wrong choice for her, I will STOP her.

I have already told my husband how I will do so. And my conscience is clear while I do it.

I really just hope and pray that I will never come to the point where I have to show my hand and show my will. Anyway, if they fight for each other and the guy truly shows his sincerely, I get a better son-in-law who loves my daughter even more since he actually fought to deserve her.

I can always love him back one day. A mother cannot help but love who loves her offspring.

But if he just wants to break her heart, beware. He has this mom to contend with.

Have a good week ahead!

 

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Hiring in the Philippines

Girl A I hired two weeks before texted me the day before she was supposed to start to say she will no longer accept the offer she accepted two days before.

Girl B I hired last week came only for a day, and then didn’t report to work anymore. No text, no call, no nothing.

I hired another guy, Guy C, the next day.

Guy C actually came.

I hired another guy, Guy D, as a backup.

Guy D came in today.

To be honest, Guy C and Guy D came today and they are working. Guy C is in his second day, and Guy D is in his first day.

This is how hiring is done in the Philippines — Applicants don’t really have any word of honor, and you can never really know how good or reliable an applicant is unless you try them out.

Let’s see which guy will remain by the end of next week. The girl who resigned still has 2 weeks to train these two dudes.

But if Guy C and Guy D don’t show up, I will be interviewing again by the end of next week to hopefully get Guy or Girl E.

Whoopee-doo-dah!

 

Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Interview Chronicles, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Factors I Look Into When Weeding Out Job Applicants in the Philippines

One of our office staff resigned two weeks ago.

She’s 22 years old and have been with us for almost two years.

Reason for resigning: She wants to try out her luck working overseas in Abu Dhabi as a cashier, despite the fact that she’s earning a decent wage with us in the Philippines. If she moves to Abu Dhabi, her salary is a mere 12% higher than her salary here.

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But hey, who can stop someone from pursuing her dreams?

So I am using Jobstreet.com.ph and Indeed.com to find the right applicant for me.

The statistics was pretty bad. As of today, I have 265 applicants for the position of Office Staff:

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Out of the 265 applicants, I have automatically rejected 73 applicants (27.5% of the pool). As to why I have rejected them, here were the most common reasons:

1. They lived far away from our office.

If they lived in the province or outside Metro Manila, they are an automatic reject. Traffic is really bad in the Philippines and commute time can last for hours.

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A realistic commute is a minimum of 30 minutes per way, to a maximum of 1.5 hours.

Anything beyond that is ridiculous and can only last for short-term employment. An employee who lives 3 hours away from your office may initially accept if he/she is desperate, but over time, will still quit as the commute time is too long, or the money required to get to and from work is too high.

To save myself from the trouble of re-hiring again, I will not invite the person who lives far far away from the office to an interview. Waste of time.

2. They are asking for a salary way beyond the budget.

An office staff is a junior, entry level position. If the person asks for a managerial salary — which commonly happens especially if that person worked as an OFW before — then I don’t waste theirs and my time.

No, the fact that you used to earn Php 35,000 per month before does NOT mean I should give you that amount of money. It also doesn’t mean that just because you’re your family’s primary breadwinner or the fact that you have 5 hungry kids does not mean that I should give you the salary you asked for.

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This is also a problem with 20-year old fresh graduates with zero experience who are asking me for salaries higher than the minimum rate (e.g., Php 16,000 to Php 20,000). No, I don’t care how smart you think you are.

We will pay a fair salary based on actual contribution and tenure. If you ask for way more because of the budget just because you can or just because you’re hoping we will fall for it, I don’t invite you to the interview.

3. They don’t have any relevant experience to the job we are looking for.

I am hiring an Office Staff. This means, this person must know how to do filing, encoding, and use the computer.

If the person only has experience limited to being a cook, a waitress, or a massage therapist, he/she most likely will not have the detailed orientedness and organizational skills to do the clerical and administrative job well.

4. People who keep on changing their jobs until they’re well over 35.

This is a problem — If you take a look, this applicant have changed jobs multiple times over the years. Do note that this resume is only until January 2011. That means, she has changed even more jobs since then.

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This is a red flag for me: a) She has changed into different unrelated jobs during the years, and b) Some jobs, she’s only stayed on for less than 5 months. This means that the applicant is restless and always on the lookout for something better (And if that’s the case, there’s no satisfying him/her), and two, he/she keeps on trying to find the perfect job for her, but in the end, doesn’t really figure out what.

One day, the applicants wakes up and realizes he/she is 38 with a series of irregular jobs through the years. Sometimes, it’s the employer’s fault.

But many times, it is the Employee’s fault.

When an employee keeps on jumping from one jump to the other without staying very long, it usually signals a personality, attitude or competence problem for the Applicant. Best to avoid this problem and not invite the staff to the interview.

5. When the person badmouths his/her previous employer.

This actually happened. Needless to say, he wasn’t invited to the interview.

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Reason for not inviting: You may have some beef with your previous employer but a resume is not a place to air out your dirty laundry. Complaining about a previous employer just makes you insecure, maarte and a person who complains a lot.

I don’t like people who complain. It’s stress I don’t need. If they don’t like it, they should just leave the job. Please don’t offload your frustrations to me, especially if I don’t know you yet.

After I initially weed out those under-qualified, over-expensive but not worth it applicants, I invite those that suit the position. However, I continue weed out the people. How?

6. When a person asks silly questions before even showing up to the interview.

Sorry, but I am automatically annoyed when an applicant asks:

  • Is this one-day processing? Why I am Annoyed: This is more of an irrational feeling for this question. It’s actually a legit question. But I hate this question because I hire on the spot. So if I like you, I hire you the same day. If you have requirements, I will start you the very next day.
  • Do you accept even if I am an undergrad or graduate of two-year course? Why I am Annoyed: Because I already read your resume and invited you to the interview. I would not have invited you if your educational qualifications or age does not fit my requirements. Asking this questions simply shows insecurity. 
  • What are the office hours? Why is your Saturday not half day? Why I am Annoyed: I have actually indicated office hours and days on the job ad. This questions shows that you do not read. 
  • I’m sorry, what’s the job description again? Why I am Annoyed: They applied to my company. I informed them of the job description when I invited them to the interview. This shows they do not read. 
  • Is it far away from my house? Why I am Annoyed: I wouldn’t know. Nor do I care if it is far away from your use. Use Google Maps.
  • How do I get there from _____________? Why I am Annoyed: The complete office address is there in my interview invite. Please read. Then use Google Maps to look for it. 
  • I am sick / There’s a family emergency / It’s raining. Can we reschedule the interview? Why I am Annoyed: People usually ask this question on the day of the interview. Insert (Random reason) here. I get annoyed because I have blocked my time for the interview, and they cancel on the last minute. Usually, such reasons are lies. They are just not serious to come to the interview.

7. When they don’t even answer my interview invite.

If they have no decency to respond to my text, regardless on whether you have load or not, you’re crossed off my list. I don’t like people who can’t even bother to respond to my text.

8. When they actually confirm to my interview invite but do NOT show up or inform me beforehand.

This actually happened. And no, not feeling well and not having load to inform me are NOT valid excuses.

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9. When they have bad body hygiene. 

This rarely happens. But it happens once in a blue moon.

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Our positions require close proximity and hours of working together. If the person has body odor, he/she is not hired. Body odor is tough to remove, and usually, the applicant is unaware he/she has this problem.

To prevent this problem, we just don’t hire him/her, lest it causes future conflict.

10. And lastly, when the person has an inferiority complex.

I don’t care if you have a two year vocational degree, unless you think it’s a problem. It’s not a problem. But it’s a problem if you feel less intelligent because you don’t have a 4-year college degree.

I don’t care if you’re old and over the “age limit” so long as you can do the job. But if you blame your previous employers for discriminating you because of the age limit, then it becomes a problem.

I don’t care if you feel you’re short, dark and ugly. But if you keep on reminding me that the reason why you haven’t kept a steady job was because you’re short, dark, and ugly, maybe the problem is actually you. Not your appearance. Companies don’t like employees who are negative all the time.

I don’t care if you were fooled or scammed by your agency or previous employer. But I don’t like it when you’re overly careful and think that every employer is out to get and scam you. If you keep on citing all the bad things that happened to you before, then I won’t hire you lest you bring your complaining nature inside my company.

It’s a personal thing. I like employees to enter my company without too much baggage.

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There are many other reasons that make me weed out job applicants. But this is just a few of the things I consider.

Just for your information though, I did hire someone today.

Out of the 265 Applicants who applied for this position:

  • I rejected 73 applicants (27.5%)
  • I did invite 65 for an interview (24.5%)
  • 33 Applicants actually confirmed with me via text or email (50.7% of those I invited)
  • 11 tried to weed their way out of the interview citing family issue, emergency or whatever reason
  • 13 out of the 33 applicants actually showed up (39% of those who confirmed; 20% of those I invited)
  •  9 simply didn’t show up, or had the decency to inform me.

This is just for one position my dears. The statistics is worse for us on average. For every 31 applicants who actually come in for an interview, only 1 last for more than a month after being invited for orientation.

But that’s another story. Happy weekend everyone!

Posted in Advice, Business, Conflicts, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Question & Answer, Ramblings, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage Tip: Love Your In-Laws

A lot of people complain about their mother-in-laws (MIL).

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One mommy complained to her husband when her mother-in-law brought out her 3-month old baby out without asking for her permission.

It was raining!” she said in exasperation. “Do I have the right to get mad? Or call her out? I just need advice right now as I’m not thinking straight.”

Most of the mommies were very upset.

A common answer was to let the husband deal with it.

“Its understandable that you feel mad. Talk to your husband about it and let him do the talking to his parents.”

And….

“Talk to your husband so he can be the one to deal with it. Confronting you MIL is never a good idea. If you live with your MIL and you left your baby in her care, she probably felt it was ok.”

Others invoke the “I’m the Mother. It’s my baby. My baby, my rules.”

“If that would happen to me, yes I will get mad and definitely discuss it with hubby. Call me an OA mom I don’t care but I think I have the right to know where they will bring my child since I am the Mother. “

The mommy confesses that her MIL is very sensitive and can’t be told what to do. She is helpless on how to handle this problem.

I honestly think it’s a Perspective Issue.

Just to put this in context, I am actually the second wife of my husband. He was married in his mid-20s to another woman. That marriage lasted half a year, a lot shorter than the time they dated.

A point of contention was the parents-in-law.

Husband’s first wife hated her in-laws. She thought they looked down on her and was out to get her. When she was told or when she didn’t get her way, she pouted and touted my husband against his parents.

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One day, she has had enough. She felt that his parents were meddling too much in their business so she ran away from home. My husband followed her, and they rented a small dinky place in Quezon City.

The fights still continued, and the fact that they were already separated from my husband’s parents made one thing perfectly clear: It wasn’t the in-law who was the problem. She was.

Because she had an inferiority complex, she felt that her in-laws were out to get her. She never thought that she was at fault and always blamed them. In the end of the day, when she withdrew herself from their support, she fell.

When my husband went back to his parents, they facilitated the annulment. The marriage was over in less than a year. Her fears came true: When push come to shove, her support was weak, and she was cut off as soon as the husband grew tired of her.

I knew this when I married my husband. The only thing different was how I dealt with it.

For one, I tried my best to love my in-laws. Here’s my thoughts about this:

If it makes you feel better, I also get hurt and upset by something my in-laws may unconsciously do. But I always remind myself of my role within the family: Remember I entered their family, not the other way around. And I have to respect my in-laws and love them, just the way I love my husband.

Once you come from a position of love and respect, everything changes.

They are no longer your enemies. You don’t think of their actions as them trying to annoy you. Instead, you are partners in raising your child(ren) together. They become helpers, providers and counselors, instead of SOBs who are out there to purposely annoy you.

One day, when you become a MIL yourself, you too will understand. And when your daughter- or son-in-law pushes their weight around just because they’re married to your child, you will be more appreciative of your own experience right now. Will you give way just because your son or daughter-in-law says so? I seriously doubt it! 😜

Change your perspective. See your in-laws in a better light. And I promise, once you respect them better, they will fight you less and appreciate you more, even when you don’t constantly remind them to do so.

When you start with a position of love and respect, everything changes.

I don’t think marrying a guy marks an achievement. It doesn’t mean just because I married the son, the parents-in-law should accept me immediately, without any or mediocre effort in my part.

Some women don’t get it. “But I’m the wife!” they’d scream. “I bear their grandchild(ren)!”

No, you being the vessel just meant that you managed to trick their son into marrying you. You haven’t done anything yet. It doesn’t mean that they should automatically love and respect you just because you are part of the family.  IF you managed to weasel your way in, that’s great. But it doesn’t mean they’ll have to accept you. You’re the outsider… not them.

I always imagine that there’s an imaginary emotional bank account for every relationship I have.

Every time I do something nice for someone, I put a coin into that emotional bank account. I may not see any immediate returns, but such good will increases that person’s positive feelings about you if they feel that your efforts were sincere and heartfelt.

Emotional-Bank-Account_mini-1030x796.jpg

I increase my emotional bank account to my in-laws whenever I:

  • Follow their instructions and advise
  • Force my husband to follow their instruction and advise, instead of pitting my husband against them.
  • Do them a favor without asking them for anything in return
  • Give them small tokens of appreciations once in a while
  • Among other nice little things I do without them asking for it. Just because I love and respect them a my in-laws.

When I do so, my emotional bank account with them goes up. Inevitably, their positive feelings for me go up too. When that happens, that cycle of goodwill continues, and I know that my husband’s parents are our pillars of support, especially during the bad times.

Here was my advise to the complaining mommy:

Think before you blow.

First, have you communicated to your in-laws that they should ask your permission about everything regarding your child? I know you may strongly believe that since you’re the mommy, your rules supersedes all, but the truth is, it takes a village to raise a child. And if you want people to help, you should cool it and trust them so long as they are coming from a place of love.

Remember, they raised your husband and he was FINE. Trust me, your kid will also be FINE. So before you accuse them of exposing your child to the rain, be careful first on what you’re accusing them of — The rain is not the issue here. It’s all about control and distrust. If you blow, you are accusing them of not being trusted to handle your child. How irresponsible of them to expose the child to such dangerous rain! How dare they?!

Chill a little bit. Breathe easy, mommy. There are many things that endanger a child, but your in-laws are not one. Trust your relatives especially if they love your child. Do you know the saying, “Wisdom is knowing what you can change vs. what you cannot?” You may tell your in-laws off, but you cannot change them completely. They were there before you even met your husband, so I doubt you blowing up will help, and will just make the situation worse. Hence, if you can’t stop getting upset and cannot stop picking fights with your in-laws, you will just create an environment of discomfort, awkwardness and negative energy between your families.

If it makes you feel better, calmly talk to them. Share with them your concerns. And if they brush you off, don’t feel too bad. Trust them. Chances are, they are right. A little rain won’t kill anyone, and I am sure an umbrella was used. They didn’t leave your child in the rain by herself. Relax. Your baby is only 3 months old. There are many more battles to come. And if you’re going to be upset with a little rain, it won’t be about the rain anymore. And you have no one but yourself to blame.

I think that we often misunderstand family relationships based on winning and losing. As daughter-in-laws, we want to win over our parents-in-law all the time. We demand their love and respect even though we give so little in return. We make them our enemies and pit their children against them. We try to wield our influence whenever we can, just to show that they should love and respect us just because we are married to their kids, or are mothers to their grandkids.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

They are our elders.

We need to love and respect them first.

Even when it’s hard, we have to be understanding of them.

As we love our husbands, so we should love them too.

And while that love and respect may not be reciprocated — for the rare case that our in-laws are truly psycho and bipolar — it’s fine. We have done our part and that is enough.

My in-laws love me as their own daughter. I think sometimes, I am better than their own daughter because I make an effort not to sulk or complain.

And therein lies the difference.

While my husband’s first wife tried to portray them as enemies, I saw them as allies. And I know I can count on them when shit hits the fan.

How about you? Do you enjoy a healthy relationship with your in-laws? Thoughts appreciated.

 

Posted in Advice, children, Conflicts, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Husband, Life lessons, Lists, Marriage, newlywed life, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Tip: Get a smaller house

When I was 22, I lived on my own in Taipei. I rented out a small studio unit close the the University that had its own bathroom for NTD 10,000.

It was a few streets away from school. I shared the unit with a few other rooms lined up in a dark narrow corridor. I usually never saw my neighbors come and go.

Once you open the main unit, you go straight to your room. My room was the first room on the left side.

Once you opened my room, my bed was on the left, and the small closet and bathroom was on the right. There was a shower area but no divider. In all sense and purposes, it was a dinky room. But I stayed there for more than a year after I took Chinese lessons at Shida.

I LOVED THAT UNIT.

It was small and manageable. I think it’s around 25 Sqm. It was big enough for me to jump rope in, which I did everyday, but small enough for me to clean every other day.

All I did was to sweep the floor and mop it using this:

It was a very simple and content life.

That’s what a home should be: Manageable. It fit all my things, had sufficient Aircon, wasn’t expensive and a place I called home.

I moved two other times when I was in Taipei. The second time was because I wanted a brighter room. The next and last time was for a more convenient location: I walked to work!

As I grew older, my house/unit was always still small but my rent just became increasingly expensive especially after moving to Hong Kong!

My most favorite place was my small 40 Sqm two bedroom unit at North Point. T was on one of the buildings on top of the public market and it felt luxurious:

This sofa was super comfy and I used to sit on it for hours while looking out the water:

The bedroom was kinda kinky. It has darkened mirror on the ceiling! I was afraid there was an earthquake, break the ceiling and kill me in bed.

It had a separate small kitchen and another room which I kept as a closet and study area. I was very very happy here and I was sad to let this unit go. I wish we bought it during SARS where property prices were at the lowest.

The cheapest I got was my subsidized dorm room when I was doing my MBA in Hong Kong. It only had a super single bed on the right (won’t fit two people!) and a study desk on the right:

The view was amazing.

It was still fun rooming with your classmates and we had a lot of bonding moments in campus. The school even had a bar! The room was small and suited my needs — a walk to school, fresh air, and a hub for intelligent discussions — what more can I ask for?

The most expensive was my room at St. John’s when I studied in London — this ROOM cost php 81,800 per month!

Here was my rent at that time in 2011:

The deposit is GBP 1350 (of which 600 is the balance to pay the landlord and 750 is the amount I advanced to her). That’s php94,500!

The first month rent to be paid in advance is GBP 1168.75 (php81,800). So in total, GBP 2518.75.

You don’t need to pay all 3 months rent at once. It’s paid each month in advance.

Until I married, I have always lived in smaller, very manageable units. They were reasonably priced for the area, located very close to school/work/subway, and easy to clean. Despite their small space, they were still comfortable and relaxing, a place away from the bustle despite being in the middle of the city.

After I married, my husband’s dad let us stay in a 271 Sqm place with three bedrooms! It was big and we only used two rooms — the bedroom and the kitchen!

It’s a lot harder to clean and gathers dust most of the time. Good thing new Yaya cleans it for us!

As I look back at all the rooms and units I’ve stayed in, I cannot help but wonder just how far I have traveled. Holy, I think I’ve moved 8 times when I was in my 20s!!!!

Through it all, I am just thankful for the memories. And if you have a choice, smaller units trump bigger units all the time. They are cozy and easy to clean. Cheaper too given less electricity consumption!

So who cares if you don’t have a mansion? So long as you have a house you call your own, then that’s the place you should have!

Posted in Education, Europe Trip, Hong Kong Life, Philippines, School, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When a Deal Falls Apart

Last Monday, I signed a one-year lease contract for a small unit my husband owns.

I have been showing the unit off a few times, and finally, I was able to lease it out with cash upfront. Of course, I was exhilarated.

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I finally closed the deal,” I excitedly called my husband. The amount wasn’t big, but at least, it’s one problem off our hands. The new tenants were very nice too.

As I was applying for a Move in Form to turn over the unit to the new tenant, I was dismayed to see the following in small font:

No unit shall be used as light industrial factories, industrial plants, manpower/security / janitorial agency, recruitment/training/teaching room, or similar crowd generating undertakings such as, but limited to, networking and direct selling including call centers (BPO) or 24/7 type of operations, nor shall the same be used for any offensive, unlawful and/or immoral activities.

Our new tenant was a up and coming security agency.

ohno

My happiness and excitement turned into alarm and trepidation. All I have worked for the last few weeks, from showing off the unit, to the signing of the contract and proper turnover, gone…. because of a rule that I was unaware of.

The fault was mine of course. I should have known the building rules.

However, I have been to the building admin multiple times, and they have said nothing about the rules. It is only in a small paper inserted on a Move-in Form that such rule was indicated, and I have only encountered it AFTER we have signed the contract.

I know what to do, but it’s so hard to do it. There were two choices:

  1. I can keep quiet about it, and hope that admin will not notice that our new tenant was a security agency, or
  2. I can inform the new tenant about the new rule, and adjust in a way that the building admin would allow them to move in.

Either way, if the admin doesn’t notice it, it will be harder for them to remove an existing tenant especially since the client has already moved in. Then, I get to keep the money. We can just talk about booting them out after their lease is up.

Honestly, I thought about whether I should just keep quiet about it. It is so easy just to keep quiet about it.

But it is wrong.

If I allow the tenant to move in, IF the admin does not allow them to come in, I would be acting in bad faith against the tenant. Because the admin will create trouble for our tenant the entire year since they are not following the rules. In a way, the tenant cannot fulfill their purpose of being a recruitment agency.

If I don’t say anything for the admin despite knowledge of fault, then it shows badly about my character. Sure, I get the lease amount, but at what cost? Integrity should be not worth just a small amount of money.

In the end, I talked to the Admin about it up front.

They told me they will allow the tenant if they will not aggressively recruit inside the building.

I then talked to the new tenant about it. They decided that if there is problems, it’s better that they don’t proceed.

I gave them the money back. They will return the keys tomorrow. I am left again with the job of finding new tenants for the small unit.

Did I do the right thing? The real question might be, did I really have any choice?

I think I did have a choice. I could have kept quiet and let leaves fall as they may. But at what cost?

It is better for me to find a new tenant than to act in bad faith.

So now, we are looking again. I have a viewing later this afternoon. I do not know if it will pan out or not. However, such is life. When a deal falls, try and try again.

Do you think I did the right thing?

 

Posted in Business, Ethics, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Bad Lucks

This week, we experienced three unfortunate events:

At the beginning of the week, two of our staff went AWOL (Absence without Leave).

Both were earning a good sum of money. However, one demanded she be transferred to a store of her choice. The other went drinking and cavorting with her friends and didn’t report to work. Both went AWOL the day after they received their payroll.

That same day, our new Yaya went crazy.

Apparently her Egyptian boyfriend was in town and demanded he see her. Without informing us, she went straight to the agency claiming exhaustion, alleged abuse and that our daughter was hard to take care of.

Please note she never complained the entire 39 days she was with us. She even repeated many times just how lucky she was to be with us since we were mabait (nice), the workload was light, and our child was malambing (sweet).

She even claimed her chest was tightening.

When I wanted to bring her to the hospital, she refused. She told my staff that in case she was actually ok, she might be liable for false claiming bad health.

She later recanted all her claims of abuse, saying that she only said that because she needed to leave that same evening. Liar!

Two days before, someone pickpocketed my iPhone 7 from my bag.

I was walking from the store to the restaurant in the mall. When I sat down, my phone was missing. When we called, the phone was turned off, proving that someone stole it.

I spent two hours in line yesterday getting a sim replacement. I borrowed a phone from the office. I was supposed to sign a contract but couldn’t find their number anymore.

So someone didn’t just steal my phone. They cost me money and time. I also have to figure out if all the photos were backed up.

It’s disheartening when bad things happen.

I didn’t care too much about the two staff member leaving but I was honestly depressed when old Yaya told lies and . tried to destroy my family’s reputation

My husband bought me chicken nuggets just to cheer me up. They are soft and delicious while hot:

Everything all ended well. Our stores survived a week and actually, it’s good that these two troublemakers left us.

Our agency replaced old Yaya with a new one and she seems nicer than the last. Our daughter nonchalantly introduced her as New Yaya to the janitors of our building.

I don’t know what good is there about the phone. But my mom said, “It’s good it’s your phone and not something else.”

In the Chinese, sometimes got takes something away in place of something even more valuable. I am still lucky that only phone got stolen. At least my husband, child and business health is still okay.

It has been an eventful week. But many weeks are so. Such is life.

Hope you all are doing better! How about you? How are you doing?

Posted in Conflicts, Updates, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s the Difference Between a Aspiring Entrepreneur and the Boring Employee?

A lot of people want to be in business to get rich. They feel that to be an employee, you’d be stuck working for someone else for peanuts for the rest of their lives.

I actually disagree.

For one, many corporate dudes work for extremely high salaries — high enough to support a demanding unemployed stay-at-home wife, and send four kids to the best international schools in the country, all the while staying at a nice pad somewhere in the city, with one or two maids in tow.

And two, the math somehow supports that being an employee is a good shtick to have.

There are two business graduates, Henry and Ben. Henry had big dreams and wanted to start his own business, while Ben found a job working for one of the largest multinational companies in the world.

The easiest business to get into is food. So Henry, upon seeing Potato Corner, decided to start his own french fries shop right in the corner of his place.

French Fries Food Cart.jpg

The capital required is not that great.

To start of his business, Henry had a contractor to make his stall and he bought some fries and powder from Quiapo. Overall, he spent around Php 50,000.00 to start his business — Php 25,000 he borrowed from the local loanshark at 20% per month, and the Php 25,000, he borrowed from his mom, who has worked for the same company for 18 years as a secretary.

The Php 45,000 was spent as follows:

  • His stall and equipment was Php 25,000.00 for material and labor.
  • His monthly rent was Php 8,000. Adding one-month security deposit, that’s Php 16,000 total.
  • Php 3,000 for the materials, and transportation to and fro Quiapo.
  • Php 2,000 for the local police and the local barangay to not give him any trouble since his is an underground economy.
  • He has Php 4,000 left for operating expenses.

To save on costs, he was the one who manned the store, waking up early till late, working from 9am till 11pm at night, saving himself at least Php 5,500 a month (Around Php 200 per day).

His location was okay. It was by his street so he sold fries to his neighbors. He operated five days a week, going to Quiapo and buying new supplies when he is almost out.

The money that he makes is poured into supplies, rent, and interest expenses since his Php 25,000 loan costs him Php 5,000 interest expense per month.

Technically, for all his efforts, he nets Php 5,000 profit per month for himself.

Unfortunately, being one of the first kids to graduate from college, he has carried the burden of being a breadwinner. The Php 5,000 he earned goes to paying for the hospital bills when his little sister got sick. Php 500 went to pay for the project of another brother. Life goes on and with every medical emergency and family need, what he earns is shared with the rest of his family.

So the money that he makes from his fries business is easily spent.

Two years later, he has the same stall, working 5 days a week. There is a Potato Corner that opened up a few streets away so his business went down further. He feels tired, dirty and exhausted. He wonders why his business has yet to earn him the wealth he so deserves since he has been working non-stop for 2 years straight.

Ben on the other hand started in the multinational company as a Management Trainee.

Conservatively, his salary as a fresh graduate is Php 15,000. If he had graduated from the top schools of Manila, his salary is at least Php 20,000.

His work is from Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 6pm.

Transportation from his house to work costs him around Php 150 per day or Php 3,900 per month and commutes 1.5 hours per day without traffic.

After being in the company for 6 months, he was regularized and started renting bedspace at Php 3,000 nearby. This cut his commute time and money significantly. That still leaves him with Php 12,000 money left.

Food is budgeted a day so that leaves him with Php 8,000 at a Php 15,000 monthly salary. Ben spends Php 3,000 on miscellaneous things like merienda, and saves the Php 5,000. In December, he gets his 13th month pay so that’s an additional Php 15,000, which he saves, so by the end of his first year, he has saved around Php 75,000, debt free.

His family expenses were around Php 25,000 for emergencies, but he still has Php 50,000 in savings debt free.

After a year’s time, Ben’s salary was increased to Php 18,000 (if he started at Php 15,000) and Php 22,500 (if he started at Php 20,000). Given his good performance and work attitude, Ben enjoyed increased responsibilities and salary.

And this is just two years off university. A man who spends years in his corporate life should gain a higher salary and benefits given increased responsibilities. The Philippine law mandates SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig benefits.

Hence, at the minimum for example, if you are part of the underground economy, if you get pregnant, you get nothing since you do not contribute to Social Security. If you work for someone else, you should get around Php 32,000 maternity benefit after contributing for at least a year.

So let me ask you — Who had it better? Henry or Ben?

Bonita, this is unfair! Of course, it is Ben (The Employee). But that’s only because you framed your example that way. What if Henry got lucky and got wealthy like Joe Magsaysay, the owner of Potato Corner? Is Magno not racking the riches now?”

That is correct, my friends.

It is unfair for me to summarize the entrepreneur life in such a manner.

If Henry was smarter, and somehow hired help and expanded his business to 10 stores around the area, he is on his way to being a Joe Magsayasay.

joe-magsaysay.jpg

But that requires several things.

For one, it requires more than enough start-up capital.

If you don’t have enough money to invest and expand your business, life will catch up with you and your business will end up efficiently run.

When we built our business, we took out millions of loans to build our store. It was a very bad time for us. I was always stressed whenever I paid the bills. But without risking ourselves financially, we would be stuck in a business limbo.

Two, it requires life to not throw too many curve balls at you.

curveballs.png

My mom and my brother already has enough money so they don’t need me to support them. My business is also not my only bread and butter. If I lose the business, my family does not starve.

It’s hard to be a businessman if your business is the only thing that sustains you. The pressure can be unbearable: Especially when someone in your family gets sick, or if you make a mistake and have to pay a huge penalty for it, the pressure is enough to screw your mind up.

For our business, a staff I trusted stole Php 200,000 from me. If you’re Henry, that’s Php 200,000 is enough to bankrupt you and put you in debt for years.

Lastly, it’s about being smart about it and to not invest a business if it is not viable.

My husband loves Gundam toys, and went into business with a friend/partner in making dioramas and repainting toys.

They were making around Php 1,200 profit in each repainted toy they sold.

gunpla.jpg

It takes around 4 days to repaint each toys because they are busy with many other thing. So while getting customers is not a problem, finishing projects on time is. At the height of their business, they had a 2-week backlog.

His friend used to earn Php 40,000 as a mining engineer. Given the profit of Php 1,200 per toy, that meant that they had to finish 33 toys per month just to make Php 40,000. And that’s just his friend. That doesn’t count my husband’s income yet.

They could only finish less than 10 toys per month given their schedules. As a result, the money they made was not enough to sustain their lifestyle.

Since his friend quit his job as a mining engineer to fulfill his dream, friend was constantly getting money from their business for his personal expense. The business was not big enough to give a salary, so he was forced to drain some money so that he can survive.

So no, being talented does not mean you are a good businessman.

Our friend is talented and can do a mean artistic Gunpla. However, he cannot do business. As expected, the business folded up in two year’s time.

Yes, I am bad. I should be more encouraging. I should be more positive, not more negative about entrepreneurship.

Don’t get me wrong — I AM supportive of entrepreneurs.

There are a lot of businessmen who I very much respect, who knows how to do business, and whose business, I would invest in if given a chance. They have built successful businesses through the years and employed hundreds even thousands of people.

These are the people I support — the ones who know how big a sacrifice it entails to do a business. Who operates their business hands-on and sets up the system so other people can operate their business for them.

The ones who will invest their own money into their business because they fully believe in it, and not just spend other people’s money with abandon.

The ones who are successful because they actually know how to make AND not lose money.

They are the true entrepreneurs.

Not just dreamers who want a quick get-rich scheme on their way to financial ruin.

What do you think? Do you agree or not? Comments below.

Posted in Advice, Business, Education, entrepreneurship, leadership, Leadership Series, Personal opinion, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why You Have to Love Yourself

There’s a saying that before everyone else can love you, you have to love yourself FIRST.

That’s the problem with sayings, you never fully understand them when you hear them at first. It’s like someone telling you some feel good bullsh*t and you just nod your head and you go on your day.

I have a daughter and I want her to have the best life she can have. And as I reflect on my own life, I can to a strong realization: Actually, I’ve always had guys I’ve dated follow me to do my biding.

Every guy I dated did my laundry.

One guy even picked my dirty clothes from my place, launder it, hang it, fold it and deliver it back.

He stuck around despite the fact he was my personal labandera.

One guy dated me for 2.5 years despite the fact that he was a super light sleeper and I was sadly the snorer.

He still stuck around. No wonder he was so exhausted all the time!

My husband still married me despite my crazy episodes. There we were in beautiful Santorini and I was bawling my eyes out and complaining to a random woman just because he wouldn’t want to accompany his wife to see the sunset.

We did see the sunset eventually. It was fine.

For every woman I know who walks on eggshells around their significant others, there was me who would tell her husband off if he’s being a complete ass who keeps on shouting at his wife.

Just the other day, I called him out because he refused to help out unless I ask him using the correct terms. He had a problem on how I phrases the question,

It eventually ended in an argument where I felt he was criticizing the question because he was too lazy at that time to even bother helping. I didn’t talk to him for an hour or too.

For everything that I dare do with my husband — like to drag him seeing musicals that I love even if he cares nothing for them — there is an equivalent woman who shuts up and meekly follows her husband even to the detriment of her needs and wants.

My heart breaks when I see this.

Women beaten.

Women cheated on.

Women who force themselves to be silent.

Women who demur their needs over someone else.

Women who are afraid of their bad tempered husbands.

Ladies, WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?

It boggles my mind when abused women do not leave because they are afraid of losing their men, their very source of fear.

I don’t understand why a woman will accept another person’s bad treatment, up to the point of being depressed themselves, just because they love him.

Ladies, that isn’t love.

Guys who love you don’t beat you up.

They don’t cheat at you because they know they will lose you when they do.

They don’t scream at you to submit and control your every move just because they assume you are cheating elsewhere.

Guys who love you shouldn’t scare you to death.

As I scan through my Facebook page, I saw happy photos. They were of my weird friends. The crazy ones who always followed their own beats and danced at the party as if no one was watching.

They were different — The way they talked, walked and ran their lives.

These weird friends had a great time just being themselves and didn’t give a shit on what anyone thought.

I honestly thought they would end up being single the rest of their lives.

Like seriously, who would want them?

More personally, who would want me?

The woman who spoke her mind all the time even if it was inappropriate.

The woman who snored.

The woman who placed her work above family.

The woman who hated doing domestic work and would let her laundry pile up for months.

The woman who refused to be wrong and will argue to you to death until proven right.

Everyone thought I would remain single.

Ironically, I ended up with someone who accepted all my thoughts and more.

Did I just get lucky?

Did I win the lottery?

Not really.

I think because I didn’t care too much of what other people think, by time and natural selection, I unconsciously filtered out those guys who wouldn’t like me until I found the guys who accepted and adored me and my quirks.

We are so afraid to lose the men in our lives that we hold onto them even if they make us unhappy.

Since I wasn’t too afraid to lose them, I ended up with guys who followed me and allowed me to be me.

And since they already know who I am on the get go, the men in my life usually lets me be when I do crazy things most women cannot get away with.

And since I am just being me, I am a way happier and fulfilled person.

I don’t sacrifice myself, my principles or my being to please anyone. I live my life fully at my own terms.

Unlike other women, I was single for years at a time. Most guys who met me scoffed and went for the meeker sheep who followed and serviced them all the time.

I didn’t service guys too much. They can get their own water thanks very much.

I turned off the very guys who would have made me unhappy. Because being with them meant I had to sacrifice my being me to be aith them.

So I ended up alone, until I met guys who thought I was the greatest thing ever.

They were the guys I dated, and one of them stuck long enough for me to marry him.

Why don’t other people be themselves more?

Are you afraid people will not like or care for you if you don’t?

If your friends cannot accept that, then why are you friends with them still?

If your boyfriend/partner frowns upon it, do you think you can tolerate such partner for the rest of your lives?

If your family can’t deal with it, who says you have to be with them 24/7?

My point is, it is very liberating to be yourself. To march in your own drum.

Loving oneself = Having the courage to BE YOURSELF.

You can be yourself and still be loved.

If other people don’t, that’s their problem, not yours.

Why do you not start loving yourself today?

Comments appreciated. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, First Days of Marriage, First Experiences, Husband, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Lesson: Your Business Loses Money if You Don’t Double Check

My husband loves cars. He loves his people. And he loves talking to his customers.

However, he HATES looking at bank statements, ledgers and statement of accounts.

Whenever he gets one, he gives it one look and tosses it away to accounting who handles paying it for him.

However, this habit has turned into a disservice.

I remember looking at one of his Statement of Accounts from a sintra and sticker printing supplier. The owner was a good friend of his, who is also his accountant.

sintra

The bill came out to Php 35,000.00 for a series of works.

I checked the SOA — it turned out that while several items were at market value, the supplier charged my husband 30% more of the market price for some other items!

When I talked to the supplier, he said that his staff was new and made a mistake and hence, overcharged us for the item. He corrected the statement and drastically cut back on the expense.

That was annoying — If left unchecked, my husband would have paid thousands more and these bills rack up.

Second story, my husband thought he has been paying his accountant Php 10,000 per year since the accountant was a friend.

Little did he know, after years of service, the accountant was charging him Php 40,000 per month!

He only found out after his father told him, after his father asked his son’s accountant. That was not only embarrassing, but also an issue since you really have to know how much your contractors erroneously charge you.

Last story, just last week, I looked through the invoice my supplier gave. There were more than 90+ SKUs that I ordered.

As I went through the 4-page invoice, I saw that the supplier made a multiplication mistake and added another 0. Instead of Php 7000, he overcharged me by Php 70,000. But since I was paying millions of pesos anyway for the billing, we have already paid him the total bill and was nowhere the wiser.

I snapped a photo and told him about it. He reluctantly returned me the Php 63,000.00.

If left unchecked, I would have unwittingly paid him Php 63,000 more than what he should have! Honest mistake or not, it pays to double check.

When you have a business, every little penny counts.

The money that you make pays for your bills and overhead, and money that is unaccounted for is a waste.

Either you lose it due to stupidity or pilferage (people stealing from you), the end is still clear — the business suffers.

And since the business is yours, as a business owner, you really have to do your part to double check.

So the lesson is: Always double check your bills.

Double check your bank statements. Your invoices. Double check everything.

check.jpg

Never take things for granted that just because people are sending you a bill, everything is correct and you have to pay it.

Check and double check.

And when you do, your business and your people will thank you more for it.

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Finance, Husband, Leadership Series, Life lessons, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I got into Business

A high school student came the other day and asked me about my experience as a businesswoman. His comments made me reflect on the decisions that I’ve made and why I actually got into business.

My parents were both businessman. My father was an engineer who never practiced while my mom was a calculus for engineering students for a decade before joining my father grow his failing business. When my mom met my dad, he was living with his mother and she remembers caged chickens inside his home.

My dad didn’t have anything when he met my mom.

He was living in a car,” she said. “All his belongings can fit one car. But I thought it was challenging so I married him.”

They tried to sell pencils and export bananas. They had many failed ventures and experienced hardship. When I was born, they got into a business which generated them enough income to give us a comfortable life and put me and my brother through schools.

Ever since I was young, my dad ingrained in me to be a businessman. No matter how high the salary, I should be a businessman to be considered successful.

If you are brilliant, why work for someone else? Why not be your own boss?” Said my father who has apparently forgotten his years of hardship and poverty.

Ironically, because he gave me the opportunity to go to good schools, I was trained to be marketable in the corporate world.

That’s what happens when you have good grades, held leadership positions in college and graduated from a good school — big companies like you.

The university I went to churned out graduates that were very hireable to the multinational companies.

I was active in leadership roles and had a very attractive resume. I already had a nice offer working for the largest oil company after graduation despite not applying for the job.

Life however brought me to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and London where my degree was useless.

I did however lucked out and was hired by another corporation, and did pretty well in the corporate world. Prior to quitting, I had a job that I loved in one of the best (at least in my own very biased opinion) companies in the world. My salary was a few hundred thousand pesos, enough to give me a comfortable life at a young age of 29.

I learned working for a company is not a bad thing.

My dad wasn’t really correct — I was earning a lot working for someone else. When I traveled, I experienced business class and five-star hotels. I loved my intelligent coworkers, and I was learning something new every week.

Even today, nobody has yet to beat my salary. Who can also beat 20-25 days paid vacation leaves per year?

Working for someone else doesn’t mean you’re a loser.

Actually a lot of senior corporate leaders earn a lot of money. Just check out some of the sweet salaries senior executives can make.

My boss had his four kids in international school and a beautiful stay at home wife with expensive tastes. He was doing well so long as he kept a job.

It was a great thing to be IF you can get it. Such a plush job is reachable if you study and work hard enough. Goldman Sachs and P&G will only hire you if you are the best in a top prestigious school.

If that is what you want, study hard, be on top of your class, join an organization and be the president.

Groom yourself to get the best corporate job there is.

You can do it. You just have to ensure that you prove it to the recruiter that you’re creme of the creme.

Ironically, I did end up in entrepreneurship.

Long story short, I got married to a family who gave us a business.

My husband’s parents offered us, and it was crazy not to take it.

It was small, kinda unprofitable, and I had no clue what to do. They kinda gave us lemons and to be honest, we were expected to make lemonade from it.

But I remembered my dad’s words, “It’s better to be a businessman than working for corporate.”

I did the math —- sure, the business could work if we could scale up. The roots were there already and most of the hard work of setting it up was done. All we had to do was to stabilize and grow it.

I got into business because I knew it could work. Not just because of my talent but rather because we had sufficient capital to grow it and outlast the bad days.

This is important guys — many people want to be in business so they can get rich.

I entered into business knowing I need to be poor first before I maybe get rich.

I computed it: With costs so high nowadays, to make a store required over a million pesos investment, most of it in security deposit and construction.

We doubled our number of stores, taking out loans. I was worried about money the first two years.

It’s payroll and rent season again,” I would complain to my husband as I’d get depressed. All the hard work we made went into paying our overhead and investing it back in expensive stores. I wasn’t rich because I had a business. We were rich with problems because we had a business!

But that’s business — Once you start, you can’t stop. Even when the going gets tough.

I worried a lot. Our strategy was working but I was worried it wasn’t good enough. I was scared of disappointing a lot of people, people who trusted us.

A few of our stores were duds. The profit I made in the first few years were used to pay off the loans that built those duds. We took a risk and we lost. We had to close some unprofitable stores.

But some became winners. Some stores had sales that were low but slowly grew.

Everyone worked tirelessly to build the company up. I shared with them the dream and many people helped.

Our business is now stable, more or less.

I worry less during payroll and rent season. The system is built and the team is more or less complete. All I have to do is complete the team and perfect the system.

I now have more time thinking about succession and other business. As the business grows, you need to pass it on to others. So that you will have more time in other income generating endeavours.

While the road was a bit long, I can now proudly say I am a businesswoman.

In a way dad is right. If you have the talent, be in business. Work for yourself.

But I think he forgot to mention why you should be in business.

People foolishly think that you should be in business to get rich.

Honestly, we are not rich yet.

I was actually earning more in a monthly basis in the corporate world than having my own business. In fact, my own salary now is a mere 8% of my salary then.

Yes, it’s that bad.

But as I look at my team and what we’ve accomplished together so far, I cannot help but beam with pride.

With our business, we are helping people.

I have more or less 50 people in my employ.

That’s 50 breadwinners supporting 50 families. All with stable jobs who can support their kids’ housing, food and education.

Sure, I make less now.

But the money I used to make is now shared with 50 different families and more. And the people I employ grows as the business grows.

So while I am poorer now, my heart is still rich. Because I believe creating jobs is as noble as teaching kids, and I believe that if we do this further, we can help even more people sustain even more families.

And hopefully, one day, I can get rich too. Richer than my corporate counterpart I hope.

So why did I become a businessman?

It started with my father’s dream.

Then fate brought me here when I married my husband.

But I get it now.

Being a businessman is my calling — To create jobs and to help others.

And if together, we can increase everyone’s income, then why not?

Do you want to be a businessman?

Please make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that your heart is in the right place.

Have a good weekend!

Posted in Business, Dad's Advice, entrepreneurship, Family Drama, Hong Kong Life, Husband, leadership, Marriage, Personal opinion, Philippines, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Danger of Discontentment

Our best sales staff decided to end her employment this April 2018. She was earning around php18,000-22,000 per month, an achievement especially since she was not a college graduate and has no special skills. She is only 26 years old.

We had an applicant applying for area supervisor. She has been employed in a reputable oil company but resigned after two years because she got tired of waiting for a promotion given her talents. She has been unemployed for 8 months and still looking.

My relative lives in a comfortable home in China. She has a stable job in an esteemed company and was recently promoted despite having flexible hours to make time for her family. However, she and her husband decided they would rather uproot themselves from China, sell their house, move to the UK and rebuild their lives again from scratch trying to sell yoghurt to the British.

A man has a happy family. He has four kids with his beautiful wife, and yet, risked it all for a more exciting girlfriend who has baggage of her own. He is now endangering his marriage in his chase for a more exciting affair. Of course, his affair is affecting his work life too.

I was 28 years old and was working with one of the best investment banks in the world. I was earning good money and loved my work. My co-workers adored me as well and I was their go-to person for my apartment. Then, for some reason, I felt discontent and quit on top of my game to pursue my MBA. I still count it as one of the stupidest decisions I’ve ever made.

Above are five different stories with something in common — they are all of people who already have a good thing going, got bored, and somehow decided to f*ck it up to chase for something more exciting and most likely stupid.

The heart is a trickster. It fools us into thinking that this is what God wants us to do. That this is our calling. That we really had to do this.

Honestly, I could’ve done without the MBA. But I was incredibly stubborn and insisted that I couldn’t do without. And I ended up poorer and sadder for it. A stupid decision is really a stupid decision no matter how hard you turn it.

The problem is, once we get comfortable with something, we feel that we deserve better. That maybe, we are happier and better off elsewhere.

This my friends is what I call false entitlement.

So even though we have a good thing going on, we still quit the good thing in search for something else.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have to guard our hearts from feelings of discontentment. Sometimes, there’s really nothing wrong about what we have or what we are doing. It’s just us that’s discontent, because we feel that the grass is greener on the other side.

My friends, before you quit, check and triple check to see if what you’re replacing your old crap for is really good and worth the switch. Because often times, after you’ve quit your job / sold your house and uprooted your life / dumped your family for your girlfriend, you finally realize that everything’s been just a farce and you’ve been fooled, replacing your millions with mere pennies.

Get rid of your heart of discontent. Be thankful with what you have. Sometimes, it really is the best you will ever get.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Posted in Conflicts, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, MBA / Studies, Personal opinion, Rants, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why We Brought our Toddler to the Dentist

This month, our 2 year old daughter cleaned her teeth at our neighboring dentist.

This is the third time she’s visited the dentist for cleaning. Luckily, she was docile and kept still for most of the cleaning.

Why would you bring her to the dentist?” my father-in-law scoffed. “All her baby teeth will eventually fall off!”

I know dental hygiene for babies may sound silly but here are four good reasons why I bring my daughter to the dentist.

1. This allows baby to get comfortable with the dentist.

Imagine never bringing your child to the dentist till he’s 5. He’s never sat on the dentist chair and some stranger has to tinker with his teeth. At certain times, it hurts…. a lot.

The child will scream bloody murder!

Who could blame the child?

Starting a child early makes him/her more comfortable and lets him/her see the dentist as the friend than a bringer of pain.

2. Prevention is better than the cure: General cleaning is better than complex dental work due to bad dental hygiene

It is less expensive and less painful to clean your teeth. Personally, I didn’t really have good dental hygiene as a child. So going to the dentist has always been a traumatic experience for me.

Everytime I go, it’s only because I have cavities or need to have my teeth pulled. Visits are expensive and scary since every time I go, more complex dental work need to be done.

I wouldn’t have such traumatic experience if I went more often. The dentist can work on my teeth before it gets worse.

3. Bad teeth = ugly child

I don’t want my child to get laughed at. But children will be laughed at if they have bad teeth.

I don’t want mu child to suffer from low self esteem. If other kids laugh at my daughter because of her bad teeth, this will make her think that she’s ugly or deficient even though she’s not.

That’s what happens when you let your baby teeth go, eventually, it is what the other kids remember and they will still remember that even when your baby teeth get replaced.

We don’t really wish our child to be ugly, so off the the dentist she goes.

4. I want her to feel that dental hygiene is important.

Habits start today. If we don’t start now, when will we start?

How about you? When will you send your kids to the dentist? Comments appreciated!

Posted in baby, children, Early Learning, Family, Kid Problems, Motherhood, Parenthood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we didn’t bring Little Pea this trip

We have been on a tiring business trip this entire week.

These 4.5 days is one of the longest vacations we have had without our baby. Husband and I cannot help but miss her a little and review some of her photos and videos.

It’s only when you have kids that you realise it’s not easy to be a working mother.

For one, you have to sacrifice time with your child.

Since we are going to a global trade show, we couldn’t bring our active toddler with us.

The crowds are huge and from people of all over. It is not a good place for a 2.5 year d child. See the crowd:

So Little Pea stays at home.

Two, kids are a bit of a drag and will slow you down.

Given our tight schedule, we had to act and walk fast. Just imagine, for the entire trade show, I was walking.

My abs hurt from walking.

My feet was sore from walking.

We can’t really do that when we bring our daughter. We had one more thing to worry about.

Three, it simply doesn’t look professional.

I saw some dudes wearing casual shorts. Some other attendees brought their small kids. So yes, maybe shorts and small children are permitted.

But they sure look unprofessional. If I am a supplier, I will not take them seriously.

Why should I?

If they cannot even make an effort to separate work from home, well, they probably aren’t too serious about my goods in the first place.

We do miss our little daughter though.

We left her with ama who’s having a ball taking her out everyday. It does warm our heart to see our daughter bring her grandmother much joy.

Can’t wait to see her later in a few hours!

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Questions to ask during yaya interview

I got a new yaya 2 days after the old yaya left.

I caught old yaya on Saturday, asked her to leave on Sunday, and interviewed and hired a new yaya on Tuesday. April 9 was a holiday so maybe that day doesn’t count. Still, it doesn’t hide the fact that I was blessed to find a new yaya quickly when many other mothers were still looking for one.

The last time I looked for a yaya, it took me half a day to find out. This time it took 2 days. I have been very blessed and lucky in finding maids so far.

As to why I can get a yaya so fast while others are still waiting?

1. I have a results oriented mindset.

If I need a yaya, I really NEED a yaya. I will not hee and haw about it anymore.

I will interview every candidate that comes my way regardless on who refers. I will go online and get my applicants on every Wanted Kasambahay facebook page.

My mother in law once told me, “Bonita, find a yaya who will not give me any problems. I don’t want a yaya who is mapili or maarte.”

She still has no yaya up until now.

2. I will hire on the spot.

After I set the interviews, I will talk to the yayas personally. I will tell them about the job and my rules. If they seem maarte or hesitant, I don’t hire them. But if they are okay with my policies, I hire on the spot.

No “Let me talk it other with my husband.”

If she is not okay, I pass. If she is okay, she starts that same day. That’s why recruiters love us. No wasting time.

3. I don’t scrimp on fees.

I paid more than php10,000 of agency fee from my last hire. I didn’t blink and complain that it was expensive. I paid for it after hiring yaya.

I didn’t pay minimum rates. I paid above minimum rates. The amount of money I pay yaya to take care of my child so I can work makes her worth her fee. So I don’t really have a lack of good options.

4. I’m actually a reasonable boss.

So when I lose a yaya, I don’t have a shortage of people to refer. They know that they won’t be embarrassed in linking us up. The last yaya stayed for a good 1.5 years and was able to get her eldest employed and got her two daughters to start schooling again. Not bad for someone who was kicked out of her house when she came in.

5. I’m open to agencies and recruiters.

They are my partners in finding a yaya. They help me find a yaya. I refer my friends to them when my friends are in need. So when I come a calling, they warmly welcome me.

I have compiled a list of questions to ask applicants this time around. I got my yaya on the first interview. Here are the questions I asked yaya during the interview. Hope it helps!

Questions in Tagalog because it’s catered for the yaya. These are some of the questions I used to interview:

SELF

• Love life and anak? Sino ang magaalaga?

• Anong kurso ang pinasok mo?

FRIENDS

• Inimbita ka ng kapwa mong yaya na kumain sa labas habang nasa school ang alaga, ano ang gagawin mo?

FAMILY AND BELIEFS

• Close sa tatay at nanay? Ano ang trabaho nila?

• Siblings? Ano ang trabaho nila?

• Anong pinaka importante na tinuro sa iyo ng magulang mo?

• Nagsisimba ka ba? Saan?

HOBBIES

• What do you like to read?

• Last book you read?

• Anong gagawin mo sa gabi pagkatapos ng trabaho?

PREVIOUS WORK

• Bakit ka umalis sa dati mong amo?

• What food she can prepare for my baby to eat?

Pag gising ang alaga, ano ang ginagawa with the kids?

• Alaga dati? How did they react nang paalis ka?

• Anong naturuan mo sa bata?

*Read one page article*

• Anong pinaka mahirap na experience mo sa buhay?

• Pinagsabihan ka ni lola? Papano na?

• May pinagawa sa iyo na hindi sa job description yon? Ano yon?

• Cellphone use: When pwede mag cellphone?

• Ok lang ba may cctv sa kwarto ng bata para masdan din sa gabi?

• Ok lang ba sa gabi mag mall?

• Pag may party at kasama ang bata, ok lang ba kasama ka din?

• May pagkain ka bang hindi kinakain?

• Anong trabaho ang hindi mo masyadong gawin? Laundry and ibon?

• Pinaka malaking halaga nakita mo or nahawakan mo?

• May kasama kang nagnakaw, ano ang gagawin mo? Paano mo siya isusumbong?

SAVINGS & FINANCIAL MINDSET

• Sapat na ba ang sahod na inaalok namin sa iyo? Kaya mo bang ibudget yan?

• Naka pagvale advance or utang ka? Ok lang sa iyo na hindi pwede dito?

• Magkano ang pinaka malaki mong nabili recently? Magkano po yon?

• Sahod mo: saan mo gagastusin?

DAYS OFF

• 2 days off monthly? If ever how you want to schedule?

• We cannot accumulate day off ok lang ba?

• Pag day off, saan ka pupunta? Pamilya, kaibigan?

• Give occasion na na late bumalik sa dayoff? Ano ang nangyari? Ano ang ginawa mo?

Posted in baby, children, Family, Family Drama, First Experiences, Kid Problems, Parenting, Updates, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bye Bye Yaya!

I decided to let go of yaya yesterday after catching her with her MMDA boyfriend last April 7.

On April 7, yaya asked for permission to go downstairs to buy snacks from MiniStop. This is not unusual for her so we allowed it. She went down at 12:30am.

At 1:00am, I was puzzled on why she hasn’t returned. I had a package in the lobby that I asked the guard to give to her so I found it weird that the package was not brought up yet. When I called the guard, he said she has yet to return.

Alarm bells were ringing then. What happened to her?

alarm.jpg

I went downstairs to look for her. The lobby guards pointed me to the direction she went to. Since I live in a business district, I looked for her at the nearby convenience store. She wasn’t anywhere!

I asked at the 7-Eleven staff close to our place if he saw yaya. He pointed me to the closed section of 7-Eleven on the second floor. I found yaya’s boyfriend sitting, while yaya hiding on the corner behind the chairs and tables.

Yaya and I went home.

When I asked her why she lied about going to Ministop and instead was meeting up with her boyfriend, she said, “It’s only this one time.”

It Actually Wasn’t the First Time

It was her second.

Last February, our yaya also sneaked out from our condo in the guise of going to MiniStop to buy load. On her way out, she told her BFF guard that in case we looked for her, to tell us that she is back in her room.

She was gone for 2.5 hours.

Another guard told us that he saw her riding her boyfriend’s bike close to our home. She insisted that she was only at 7-Eleven hanging out.

At that time, she was apologetic that she didn’t inform us properly where she went. “I promise I didn’t go out in a motorcycle,” she said. “While it was true that I was out for so long, I was only at 7-Eleven relaxing and thinking about my problems.”

Yes, the same 7-Eleven where I spotted her with her boyfriend the other day.

That’s not the only problem — when faced with the incident report, initially yaya denied it. She said that she wasn’t gone for that long. She was only gone for a short time, and she was reported falsely by the guard who had a crush on her.

However, after I told her that there was CCTV cameras recording, and if indeed the guard was lying, then we would fire him, that she recanted and reluctantly admitted that she was maybe gone for as long as reported.

lies.jpg

So this was the second time she lied on top of the many white lies she made over the last few months. And this was our yaya, the woman we trust with our daughter. Who cannot help but sneak behind our back and constantly lie about her romance.

What’s worse, the man she is seeing doesn’t seem to dissuade her. I saw him the other night with her in uniform. He was on duty and he was on a date.

A man who doesn’t value his work is not a good influence. Who knows? He may be dating yaya to get to our daughter!

So we decided to let Yaya go.

It was a conversation I hated to make, but had to. And my heart was sad as I told her that I could not tolerate her many repeated lies, as my family do not tolerate liars in our household. And while she is efficient to her work, I do not like the fact that she lies without guilt, remorse or consideration.

If you were caught once, stop.

Our yaya had the gall to get caught, then do it again another time.

This won’t be her last time,” my uncle warned. “This is already her sickness. She cannot stop lying.”

It doesn’t make it easier. This was someone we shared our home with for 1.5 years. Someone who saw us in our best and worst. Someone who have seen our daughter grow.

After our conversation, she packed all her clothes. There were 6 bags in all. How different was it when she first started when she didn’t even have shoes to wear, and her children were getting kicked out from their home because of rent non-payment.

I gave her what I could — some makeup, a small sack of rice, books for her daughter who recently celebrated her birthday.

I will call a taxi because I have a lot of things,” she said.

I gave her Php 500 for the taxi, not because I felt guilty, but rather, a consideration for all the stuff she had to bring with her.

As she left, she hugged and kissed my daughter. “Be good and listen to your mother,” she said.

She then went out to call a taxi. I asked her if she wanted to join us for dinner but she declined. “I don’t want to get home late,” she said.

My daughter and I ate dinner then worked at the office.

Almost 3 hours later, we came back.

We saw her stuff still in our condominium lobby, and her coming back. Apparently, instead of calling a taxi, she went to the mall and had a date with her boyfriend. When the mall closed, she came back, towing her boyfriend who will take her someplace else.

lies 2

I feel a bit vindicated for booting her out. Up to the very last end, she still lied. She didn’t call a taxi. She went out for a date with her boyfriend. I think I feel more sad about her departure than her.

The next day, I found out that the boyfriend was apparently married with a pregnant wife.

This was after she chided our driver for going after a woman despite having a wife who was pregnant last year. “I would never do what she did,” she said about the mistress. “May asawa pa, pinatulan pa!” (Even with a wife, she would still go for him).

Lies, lies and even more lies.

So yes, maybe it’s time for her to go. The Lord truly has been watching over us. I thank my lucky stars I caught her and her boyfriend, and while it’s burdensome to take care of our child, well… that’s our role anyway as parents.

Hope you have a good week ahead!

Posted in baby, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Men, Updates, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Lesson: Be Kind

When I was in Hong Kong, I learned how to be a bigger b*tch. Everything was fast paced and everyone was on top of their games. I worked with the best of the best, and loved it.

I worked from 7:30am until after midnight, answering queries from my Blackberry. I walked fast, thought fast and worked fast.

I learned impatience in Hong Kong.

When people blocked my way, I couldn’t hide my irritation. “Don’t they have anywhere else to go?” I’d puffed.

When people were incompetent, I’d think, “How stupid can you get?”

When people earned a lot less, I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth wouldn’t they just work harder and smarter like me so they’d earn more.

I lived in a bubble when I felt I was better than everyone else. In other words, I became a complete @ss.

When I came back to Manila, I was still an @ss. I thank my family and friends for tolerating my high and mighty attitude at that time.

What I learned after managing a business here for a few years?

Don’t be an ass!

Be kind to others!

For one, it’s in the Bible and God is always right.

And…

Two, Filipinos have a bad crab mentality. There is zero benefit in being arrogant and a show off in the Philippines. If you are too arrogant, people WILL put you down. Fact.

Everyone here loves a good underdog story.

There’s Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who was her family’s breadwinner and through poise and grace, became Miss Universe in 2015. She is the third Miss Universe from the Phippines after a drought of 42 years.

There’s Manny Pacquiao, a poor boxer who threw the Philippines into the limelight.

No matter how rich and successful you are, you cannot be an asshole in the Philippines. If you are arrogant, collectively, people will tear you down.

It is okay to do wrong things here if you do it with a smile. We call it pakikisama. It means to adjust towards the other person. If you want something done here, you need to know pakikisama. Many times, it’s not about right or wrong, but rather it’s about how you do things.

For example, you get caught by the MMDA.

You know most likely there was no violation and it’s most likely the officer is trying to fill his daily quota.

So you argue that he’s wrong and you’re right, and that you will report him to your friend who works for the city hall.

He is a bit surprised and becomes defensive. Both of your voices escalate and you still end up with a ticket and a stiff fine.

Compare it to being nice and considerate. When the officer flags you down, you roll down your windows and smile. You ask what is the problem and patiently wait until he tells you your violation.

Then you ask, “I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know. Can we talk about this? I am in a rush to work and my boss might fire me if I am late again. Can you let me go this one time?”

Surprisingly, if you ask nicely and talk politely, the MMDA might let you go.

Again, it’s not about being right or wrong here. It’s more about treating the person you’re talking to with respecy and not waving your wealth and authority around.

You see, while Filipinos are typically forgiving and tolerant of corrupt officials who steal from them, tbey are still ok to re-elect politicians so long as they don’t steal too much and still use public funds for the poor.

That was the problem of Mayor Binay, who threw his weight around when his son tried to enter a private subdivision. It was a big issue back then.

When the family may have used public funds for private means, nobody said a peep. But when they tried to bully their way into a private subdision and had the guards who were only doing their jobs arrested, everyone put up a ruckus.

Ay, lumalaki na ang ulo. Sobrang yabang nila!” People screamed.

It’s ok to be rich, popular and successful here, but don’t throw your weight around unless you’d want to be put in your place.

Horray to the crab mentality!

Three, the kinder you are to others, the more people will like and help you especially when it matters.

I try to make it a point on being nice to the people working around me. As a boss, I appreciate what they do, and if they’re efficient and have a good attitude about their work, then I try my best to show them I appreciate them.

On Christmas, I give them goody bags and red envelopes. On regular days, I always smile and greet them back.

I do this because I know I need them. They’re there for extra security and come the time something happens, I do want them to help. It’s hard to help when your boss is an ass, but when you are kind to others, they in return are kind to you.

In Conclusion

When I read stories of rich assholes, I can’t help but shake my head. There is no upside to being an arrogang bitch. Zero!

If you want to be successful, you need every help you can get. While you may have made your own money, you had to employ a lot of other people’s help to do so. It is easier and cheaper to get other people’s help if you are a nice person.

Succeas is already hard to get. So be nice and make it a lot easier. Because when you are nice and kind, most normal people will help you. And once you are successful, they will envy you less. Since you are nice to them, they are less likely to put you down when you’re already down.

There are so many upsides to being nice and kind. Why not be nice and kind starting today?

Comments appreciated below.

Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Hong Kong Life, Leadership Series, Life lessons, Philippines, Politics, Reflections, Relationships, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Lesson: Assign Responsibility to the Person to Increase Accountability

We love a hurrah story — A story when a group comes together in lieu of a single goal, working together cooperatively and achieving success.

A hurrah story is big picture.

It makes a great story, but when you inspect it more carefully, you can see that this hurrah story is made out of a bunch of less glamorous stories of people achieving a single task with excellence and focus.

What do I mean? Let me tell you a story…

An OFW father buys a car to his four kids.

car

I will give you this car for you to take care of,” he said. “With this car, you can take your mother out and use it whenever you need. I leave it up to you to take care of the gas, maintenance and scheduling on who will use it at what time.”

The kids thanked him for the gift and took the car.

Three years later, when the man came back home from his overseas assignment, he was surprised to see the car beat up and broken. The oil hasn’t been changed for three years, and no body ever took it for maintenance. It was a far cry from the brand new car he gifted his kids three years ago.

What happened to the car?!” he shouted at his kids.

The children shrugged. Apparently, everyone was so busy using and abusing the car, that nobody bothered to take care of it.

When they used it, they made sure that there was still enough gas to bring it home. Nobody bothered to fill it up because everyone felt the other person should fill the gas up.

When the car started breaking down and needed maintenance, nobody bothered to take it to the casa and have it repaired. They felt that it was somebody’s problem to have it fixed.

When one child dented the car, they just shrugged, knowing that they’ve had it dented too one way or the other. It was not their issue to have it repaired. Anyway, it was the family car, not their car.

I tell the story to open your eyes to human nature — When it’s everyone’s job to take care of the car, NOBODY TAKES CARE OF THE CAR.

Most people actually only take care of items they consider theirs. If it’s the group’s stuff, nothing gets taken care of.

As bosses, I always have to remind myself to assign responsibilities to a specific person and not as a group.

For example, I assign my staff specific tasks to keep the office clean — I ask A to wipe the table. I ask J to mop the floor. C is in charge of sweeping the floor and taking out the garbage. When you assign people tasks, things get done.

For job responsibilities, I make it clear who does what — L is in charge of inventory. C is in charge of hiring and making sure incident reports regarding our staff are properly filed. J is in charge of accounting and recording.

I don’t assign supervisors to take care of operations — I assign them to take care of specific areas, and operate independently of other areas. If anything gets f*cked up in an area, that area supervisor in charge of the area is accountable. She can’t blame anyone else.

When everyone is clear on their specific assignments, things get done more effectively. They know it’s their job and they are responsible for its output. They can’t finger blame anyone else.

So to you bosses, if you want business to operate smoothly, make sure you assign people to specific tasks. Don’t just wave your hand and say, “Do it,” without making it clear WHO should do it. When people are confused, there will be a lot of blaming and pushing responsibilities around, and nothing gets done… same way as nobody took care of the car.

Do you agree or not? Comments appreciated below.

Posted in Advice, entrepreneurship, leadership, Leadership Series, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apparently, I’m a boss b*tch

One of the hardest things about being a boss is making unpopular decisions.

I had one such experience last month.

One of my contractual sales staff had a personal emergency. The night before, she fought with a live-in partner and they almost got into a physical altercation. According to her, her boyfriend (and father of her child) tried to hit her and missed, hitting their 2 year old child instead.

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Just to add context, this sales staff is very dramatic, and this is not the first time she’s cried wolf. Usually around salary day, she pulls this stunt and threatens not to come to work. We didn’t think that this episode was any different.

The problem was she brought her 2-year old child to our jewelry store.

Earlier that morning, she asked her supervisor if she could, and the supervisor told her no.

Our company policy makes it very clear that external parties, including children, should NOT be brought to the place of work. They are distractions and are not a good sight to our customers wanting to come in to buy gold and diamond jewelries. What’s more, many of our showcases are made out of glass, so kids as well have no place in a jewelry store. It is not a playground. It is a place of business.

Regardless, the staff brought her kid anyway since it was salary day, and there was no one to take care of her child.

Consequently, the other two sales staff with her helped her take care of the child.

When I found out at 5:30 pm that a child was brought to my store, I was livid! For one, the mall has been opened since 11:0am, and nobody told me. My supervisor didn’t follow standard protocols of reporting. Despite saying no to the staff asking whether to bring the child to work, when she saw that the staff still defiantly brought her child, the supervisor didn’t let me know.

If I would have known that the child was there, I would have sent the mother and child home so that the mother could settle her personal issues.

As it turned out, this debacle created some negative PR for me.

To many sales staff, I looked like a heartless b*tch with no consideration for single mothers who had no choice but to bring in their children when they cannot find people to take care of the kids for them. For them, my reaction was an over-reaction. How wrong was it that a child was there?

To be honest, this represented a conundrum for me….

Ever since I’ve managed this business, I have been very clear about my rules from the beginning. Work is work. Family time is family time. There is 6 days of work, and one day of rest. If I hire you, I expect you to keep personal affairs in order and don’t bring it in the office. And to those who are good performers, the compensation is very generous.

In the Philippines, it’s not all about the money, Bonita,” my mother-in-law said. “You need to have a heart for all the single mothers . That’s why, many single mothers stay long with me, while your staff keep on leaving.”

You see, in my parents-in-law’s company, bringing children to work is okay if there was an emergency.

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They also own a jewelry company but are very lax with their policies. As long as you reach their quotas, you’ll be fine. Consequently, you can see their sales staff painting their nails, straightening their hair and yes, bringing their kids to work. It isn’t very professional, but actually, many Filipino companies are the same anyway. It is very chill to work in the Philippines, and so many things that aren’t allowed abroad, are allowed here.

It’s notable to say too that their sales has not been performing as much as it should. Since my parents-in-law are semi-retired, they have left the bulk of operations to their staff. As a result, things have become very lax and complacent, including their sales.

I later on realized that my parents in law didn’t know the gross regularity their sales staff are bringing their kids to work. While my mother-in-law only knows that the kids are brought during emergencies, little did she know, some of her staff bring their kids almost every day. One sales staff even bring her child in a stroller, and the stroller is always in the selling area!

Fact of the matter is, if you’re not hands on, a lot of hanky panky happens…

So as it turns out, my parents-in-law’s laxness shed light on how strict I actually was with my staff. As news trickled down to their staff, I once again strengthened the reputation of being a tough, heartless boss, a reputation one doesn’t really like to have.

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It’s a moniker that’s admittedly hurtful to me.

For one, I have been very clear of my policies from Day One. Upon interview and orientation, we ask applicants whether they’re okay with our policies, and through time and experience, we have learned to filter our people who cannot keep their professional and personal lives separate. I don’t think I should be criticized for executing through the rules of which I have been clear of from the first day.

Two, I actually think that the sales staff defiantly brought the child even though she knew this was NOT allowed. Defiance is NOT good for our business.

Since we operate a business, it’s crucial that we make decisions for the good of the entire company, and not just for a single person. If I had allowed her to bring her child, others will follow. This is the same story as my parents’-in-laws where they allowed one or two mothers brought their kids, only later on to find out that their staff bring their kids on a regular basis already, and not really when there’s an emergency.

I cannot make an exception with one person — especially since after analyzing her situation, I really believed that this was a false alarm and was not really a personal emergency (since she had the option of staying at home that day).

That is one reason too on why nobody called me when the kid was at the store. They thought that if this was normal for my mother-in-law, it was also okay for me.

Three, my business is a well-oiled ship. So far, we have more than doubled the number of stores since I started managing it. Sales has been positive and stabilizing. My staff are also performing better and lasting longer. Half of my staff have been with me for more than a year, a small accomplishment since I’ve only managed the business for 3 years.

So it is unfair to be criticized for carrying out policies I know that are good for business continuity and for the good of all.

Regardless, I am now known as the boss b*tch.

Fair or unfair, my reputation now precedes me, and the staff of my parents-in-law rue the day when I will manage them (as if it would happen!). They now think I am a heartless, hot-tempered, and unreasonable boss with no consideration of their personal lives.

The sad part of it is, it is true.

I actually have little patience with people’s shenanigans.

When I started managing this company, we were in the red. We had a continuous flow of people, many of whom have only been hired the week before. My then supervisor Claire would have one staff go AWOL and the next day, she would find another trainee to take her place, only for that trainee to go AWOL the following week.

If the company needed money then, my parents-in-law would bail it out and deposit another Php 100,000 that it needed to pay the rent or the payroll. Our rents totaled to half a million pesos, leaving us barely enough to pay for our stocks, our manpower, and our overhead.

When I came into this company, it was clear to me that we had no choice to make it work. It was to be my family’s bread and butter, and if you understand Chinese culture, you must know that failure is NOT AN OPTION.

As a daughter-in-law entering the family business, it is imperative that this company succeeded. There is no choice for me: If this company failed with me at the helm, my parents-in-law loses respect for us. That despite my stellar corporate experience and MBA, I cannot even bring this company to the red. If I cannot make this company work despite great odds, it showed that all of my past achievements was just for show, and I should be better off being a home-maker than being a boss.

So I had worked hard to make it work.

I strategised with my husband and aimed to double the number of stores to cover up our overhead. I hired, fired and then hired staff who can perform and perform consistently, and then rewarded them handsomely when they do well. The first time I gave my supervisors a bonus, they cried.

I set up the company rules and made sure everyone was in full agreement of them. People who disagreed with the rules were filtered out.

I made sure there was an effective system of inventory, hiring, accounting and the likes. It was imperative everyone did their part and helped me build a bigger ship. As everyone worked hard, our sales grew and the company stabilized. We continued to hire people and rewarded them according to their hard work. Gradually, as the company grew, the people’s lives became more and more stable. As their income became more stable, people can now start making long-term plans in staying with the company.

Now after 3.5 years, we are finally in the black.

Sure, we still have some loans to pay, but they are manageable. As long as the company continues to sell and grow, we can pay off these personal loans, money I took out myself just so that the business can grow.

Everything that happened to us the last three years is really a product of everyone’s hard work, good intentions, and talent. God has been looking out after us as well. Even today, I do not understand how we managed to build everything brick by brick. And how through time, we have allowed the cement to harden, solidifying our grip in our market.

So such criticism of me being a heartless b*tch is unfair.

Dude, I would not work this hard if I was a heartless b*tch.

I would just hire staff who I can order around, and then command them to work. I will try to lie, cheat and steal from my customers and my staff to get the profits. And I will not care about the company too much. If I was a real heartless b*tch, I wouldn’t care if the company lived or died. Why should I? I was set in life either way… by marrying my husband, I knew we would never starve.

No.

Being very considerate and letting your staff run your business is very irresponsible for a boss to do. It’s like having your kids decide when to play or when to go to school. You are the boss and the parent, and it is important that you set the tone, and guide people to success. Because the bigger the company gets, the more you can share with your team. And the more you can share with your team, the more people you will help.

How many families have we helped just by managing this company? Back them, we only had 15 staff members. Now, we have around 45 staff. That’s 45 families we are supporting, 3x the number of staff when we first started.

So say what you want.

I know we are on the right track.

And if this means I need to be unpopular, then so be it.

Because that’s what a boss is — someone who makes the right decisions, no matter how unpopular they are. Because if I’m not there to police my staff, then who will? And I would rather be an unpopular boss who people think is heartless, than a truly heartless boss wannabe who really doesn’t care about the future of her people and her business.

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Do you agree or disagree? Comments appreciated.

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, leadership, Life lessons, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Reasons Why You’re Still Single at 40

Yesterday, I asked the question, “Why would a beautiful 40-year old woman still be SINGLE?”

I’ve wondered this question and asked several friends what they thought. We mulled over whether it was the guys’ fault or the girl’s fault that she’s still single. At the end of the day, the consensus is clear: If she is beautiful and sexy, and there’s nothing wrong with her physically, then it’s the woman’s fault that she’s single.

Not the men’s.

WOAH!

Mindblowing!

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Here are 6 Reasons why it’s the woman’s fault if she is still single at 40, and she wants to get married before then:

1) Some superficiality was in play.

Some nice guy actually came a calling.

But she rejected him because he is short, boxy and dark-skinned.

The guy was ready for marriage and for a serious relationship. He was already in his 40s, and was keen to start a family. There’s no baggage except for the fact that he was single since he just came off from two long-term, long-distance relationships that didn’t work out.

It doesn’t matter: She still rejected him.

Because he’s not her type.

Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves. If he’s not cute, we’d rather be single.

That’s why, she is still single.

2) Because they think dating apps are for losers.

I met a 30-plus year old woman who wanted to find love, and asked her why she didn’t try dating apps like OkCupid, Tinder, eHarmony and the likes.

Oh, dating apps are for losers,” she huffed. “I’m not that desperate yet.”

My husband and I met via a dating app.

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So apparently, we are losers.

That’s why she’s still single. Close-minded people who shut off avenues even before they try it end up with limited options and no boyfriends. They’re stuck in the pool they already wallowing in over the last two decades. Those who entered the pool later on would rather choose younger, prettier and equally willing to commit women.

My friend went into 10 blind dates per year, for two years, before marrying the man she married. That’s like 20+ blind dates from hell, and a whole lot of stories, before finding her happily ever after.

 

If you don’t try it out with a positive attitude, don’t cry if you’re still single. There is NOTHING wrong with dating apps, and if you’re willing to scratch out this option because of a few bad apples, then you’re losing out.

3) Because they are girlfriend material… NOT wife material.

The Internet are awash with posts such as:

Top 30 Signs That Your Girlfriend Is ‘Wife Material’

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Apparently, a girlfriend is still different from a wife. They both start out the same way, but end out differently. While a wife can be girlfriend material, a woman who is just girlfriend material finds it hard to be a wife.

Reason being is, for some reason or the other, the guy shies away from proposing! He’s fine with just dating exclusively, and even moving in together, but when it comes to legalizing it, the guy balks and asks why things won’t remain the same.

I honestly think it’s because the woman in question is not wife material. Sure, she’s fun, adventurous and maybe the sex is good, but hey, she’s not really something you want to spend forever after with.

So the question is, what’s the difference between a girlfriend-slash-mistress material, and not a wife? Both are women and someone you’re intimate with. However, why is it that some women get married while others are stuck in dating limbo?

A wife material is someone who guys see as the following:

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Not enough?

I asked a guy friend what’s the difference, to which he answered:

With a wife, you think of forever. On whether she is a good fit to your life. On whether she can be a great partner to you in an out of the home.

You wonder if your mom loves her or not, and how she will fit in your family dynamics. If your mom hates her, then she’s purely just fun and girlfriend material. It will be awkward if you married someone whom your family hates.

You also want someone who has her head straight and who isn’t promiscuous or a flirtSomeone who dresses conservatively and doesn’t look like she’s going to the beach or the bar on a daily basis. Sure, it’s nice to marry someone who’s sexy, but you don’t want someone who looks malandi. That’s just someone you’d love to f*ck, not someone you’d like to start a family with.

Lastly, you also think whether or not she’ll be a great mother to your future kids. You want someone who is smart, emotionally stable and can balance you… not a drama queen who’s irresponsible, stresses you out, and incredibly stupid. They say the kids get their brains from their mother, and you don’t want stupid children.

It’s easy to be like a mistress: You’re fun and sexy and probably great in bed. But it’s not as easy to be a wife — there are so many stakeholders that are in play: Both sides of the family, the community, and the kids.

Usually, unless the guy is really head over heels in love with you, he’d rather wait until all ducks are in a row before getting married.

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4) Because you’re already over the hill, and they do want kids.

We had our chance when we were in our 20s, dating men one after another, trying to see who is a better fit for us. This continued on until we were in our 30s, when the pickings started to get thinner and thinner.

At 20s, all the guys from their 20s to 40s want to date you. When you’re in your late 30s, guys in their 20s see you as a MILF or cougar. Guys in their 30s want someone who is 20s and more fertile. Guys in their 40s come with baggage (and kids from their first marriage), or some psychological disorder.

What’s more, most men want a progeny. They want someone to carry their line. Many want a kid and a spare.

Case in point, when I first met my future father-in-law, he already criticized me for being old. I was just in my early 30s. At 32 years old in his humble opinion, I was no spring chicken, and was less likely to reproduce an heir.

He was wrong.

I did have a daughter. And yet, it’s not the 4 or 5 kids he envisioned to carry the line. But he is not unusual: Most guys in Asia do want kids. And they are more likely to have children if the woman is younger.

5) Because they are full of negativity.

I know women who complain about the dating pool, “There are so many losers in (Insert place here)! There are no good single guys out here! Only the asshole ones and those who are gay!” 

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Another woman who has a successful career at Goldman Sachs moan about the lack of good guys working there. After I congratulated her about working in one of the best investment banks in the world, she quickly retorted, “What do you mean? Here at Goldman Sachs, there’s NO GOLD, NO MAN, AND NO SEX!”

Sometimes, it’s the woman who is the problem. If guys keep on breaking up with you, then you’re not the problem.

Not the men.

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6) Because they do not face the reality: That men are a limited resource and sometimes, you just have to make a choice.

My mom told me a story of the building with many floors. Each floor has selections of men to choose from. If you choose someone from that floor, you can no longer go up another floor. You would have to marry that person and stay with that person ever after. However, if you go up one floor, you can no longer go down the previous floor.

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The woman went to the first floor and looked at the selection. These were the regular guys they met in school. They were nice, dorky and boring. They were good selections, but she still went up a floor because she wanted to see what the other floor had to offer.

The second floor were those she met in her first job. Everyone was inexperienced, excited and fun. They had limited money but had a lot of time socializing with each other. There were a lot of people on this floor. But since many of them were still wide-eyed and poor, she still went up another floor.

The third floor have less people than the second, but still had enough. These were people who now have 5 years of work experience under their belt. Some were now married to their college sweethearts but were looking for an affair, while others were single but are still in debt having taken their first mortgage on a home. The people on this floor were not yet rich and were still struggling financially, so the woman still went up one more floor.

The woman couldn’t find anyone from floors four to seven. The guys were flawed in their own way. They weren’t good, rich, or cute enough. Those who were cute were assholes, and those who were good were not cute.

So she continued to go up a floor, thinking that maybe, she will find someone better, because everytime she goes up a floor, she usually finds a guy who is.

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As she went up the eighth floor, she was surprised. There was nobody on the eighth floor. The room was empty.

And so she cried.

DO NOT BE THIS WOMAN!

In Summary

We often blame the world for our being single. And yet, while we blame others, we wonder how many other women who are less prettier, less sexier and dumber than us keep on getting married before us?

There is nothing special about her,” we would huff. “Why did she get married earlier than me?”

Maybe it’s because she settled, or have lower standards?”

“Maybe the guy is okay with someone dumber, and just feels pressure to get married?”

Maybe because they’ve been dating so long, and heck, it’s time.”

The questions mask the real issue here — Why them and not me?

And I think there lies the problem: We are so quick to blame others but never see our hand on our own mistakes. When we see others who have better luck than we do, we fail to see that it’s actually not luck as to why they are in situations they are in now.

Unless we look deeply in the mirror in front of us, we cannot solve the problems that face us.

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It is us who is the problem.

Not the mirror. Not Snow White. Not the kingdom.

And unless we face this reality, we will forever be single, and will watch the world pass us by. And while there is nothing wrong with being single, I hope that it is because of choice that we are. If so, wear singlehood with pride.

But if you are single at 40, and want to get married, then you have to wake up and smell the roses.

Open your eyes.

Stop being a b*tch.

Make an effort.

Start trying out dating apps.

Go out on blind dates.

Promote the fact that you are single and looking.

Give that nice guy a chance.

Stop complaining and start doing.

Be a positive ball of energy.

And for goodness sakes, CHOOSE SOMEONE.

How about you? Do you agree or not? Comments and thoughts appreciated.

 

 

Posted in Advice, Dad's Advice, Favorite Posts, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Mom's advice, Personal opinion, Question & Answer, Top picks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why would a beautiful 40 year old woman still be SINGLE?

My girl best friend bemoans the fact that she is almost 40 and still single.

My last single best friend is getting married,” she moaned. “And I’m still single and barren.”

My best friend should not be single. She is very pretty, sexy, has a shining personality, and never lacks suitors. She currently lives in Singapore, which is an Adventureland for single people. There’s a wonderful pool of men in Singapore.

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And yet, she is still single — No boyfriends, no kids, no nothing.

What is wrong with me?!!!!” she internally asks herself as one by one, her single friends get married and start having kids. My best friend told me she wants kids but is close to menopause, so she worries about that too.

No offense to my best friend, but we all reap what we sow.

If a woman is 40 and still single, is it really her fault? Why do you think a beautiful, sexy woman with a stable career is still single?

I will make a separate blog posts on why. But I would like to hear your answers first. Please comment below:

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Upbringing Makes a Difference

I talked about the Big Bad Wolf Booksale the other day. We were all having a ball scouring through rows and rows of books. My 2 year old daughter kept on putting books to the pushcart while my poor mother and her yaya was putting them back.

I had a small realisation: While we were so excited in finding good books for my daughter, her yaya was bored. Real bored.

This was so different during the Toy Sale when she was also scouring through the different offerings in the hopes of buying her 7 year old daughter the latest Barbie or teddy bear at discounted prizes. During the Toy Sale, she was even more excited than us, and even borrowed money just to do her purchase.

I realized how our priorities are different. Yaya was so gungho in buying her daughter the latest toys and gadgets. I pour the same amount of energies to buying books for my daughter.

Here is her bookcase months ago. She has a lot mote books now. Daughter is super spoiled when it comes to books.

I think it’s these little details that make big differences in a child’s brain. While one cannot control a child’s intelligence or personality too much (we can blame genetics for that), we can however guide our child to what we think is the right direction.

For me, it’s teaching my toddler a love of learning and reading. It’s to appreciate storytelling, expand her imagination, and for her to know that when it comes to books, her Mommy’s purse is open.

My daughter can identify letters from the age of 2. She can count from one to 20. Her vocabulary has expanded. I have her school to thank for that.

To be honest, I realised yaya doesn’t read. During her spare time, she listens to music, check Facebook or call her relatives. Consequently her daughter most likely doesn’t like to read too… not if her toys and gadgets are available.

I want my children to read. I want them to love the written world. I want them to go bonkers on booksales over toy fairs. I want them to treasure studying. That’s why I invest in books. In early learning. This is the difference upbringing makes.

These are the little things that make me happy. It also made me realize that parents must do our part to ensure our kids love to learn, and the way we do it is to expose them as much as possible to books and learning at a young age, so that they will welcome these tools with love as they grow up.

So how about you? Will you invest in a new ipad for your kids? Or books? Hope it’s the latter, because a love for the written word is one of the best things we can teach our child.

Have a good week everyone!

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, children, Early Learning, Education, Family, Kid Problems, Motherhood, Parenthood, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is the funniest story I read last week

The story of the couple who sells all their belongings, buys a boat to travel the world and somehow sinks it two days later.

Since their boat is below water, they are trying crowdfunding in the hopes of raising $12,800 to bring their ship back.

They are seeking $12,800 to rescue the ship, which sunk off the coast of Madeira Beach, Florida.

Ms Walsh said raising the boat alone will cost at least $8600.

“We have a lot of family helping us, but it’s hard when you’ve lost everything,” Ms Walsh told the Post from Jacksonville, where the couple is staying with loved ones.

A piece of me do feel sorry for the couple. After all, it is their life savings.

Another part of me also chuckles, as the story is pretty ridiculous. Lesson to self: If you decide to invest your entire life savings on a boat, also do some due diligence on HOW TO SAIL A BOAT.

It is easy to feel sympathetic, but that won’t help bring their boat back. But laugh all you want, the couple has already raised their target in their GoFundMe account:

Isn’t it great that in today’s world, stupidity is rewarded after all. So laugh all you want. But this couple was able to raise more money than they need to travel around the world.

Now let’s see if they will actually use the money to salvage their boat and finish their dream. I think not — it’s not hard for me to imagine that they’re laughing all the way to the bank — but hey, one can always hope!

Posted in Commercial Break, Fun Stuff, Random News, Travels, Updates, vacation | Leave a comment

The Biggest Book Fair in Manila is HERE!

The Big Bad Wolf Book Fair is now ongoing at World Trade Center from February 16 to 25, 2018. The fair is 24 hours and last continuously everyday until midnight of February 25.

Entrance is FREE and the venue is airconditioned. The only thing they don’t allow are food and drinks. Books are usually sealed but there’s often a sample book that’s available for you to browse. The fair does replenish titles daily.

Pushcarts are provided for shopping convenience and after checking out, they do have a helper to assist you in carting your purchases out. Cash, debit cards and credit cards are all accepted.

Parking is a bit of a hassle and bringing a driver is recommended. One can park across the street at Wensha Spa for php35 and walk a bit to the fair. Not a big problem if you ask me.

We went last Friday and boy, was it FULL!

Great thing there were 42 cashiers so lines were still manageable. They do have priority lanes for PWDs and senior citizens so bringing my mom was a plus.

According to the cashier, there were 2 million books on sale. And we had our fun browsing through different titles. They had books categorized into Architecture, Travels, Transportation, Cooking and Baking, Self-Help, Movies & Music, History and Biography, Business & Economics, Young Adults, Romance, Hobbies & Recreation, Fashion & Beauty, Young Readers among others. Half of the hall were Children’s Books!

Here were our purchases on the first trip:

Usborne Big Picture Atlas 370

Please 160

Thank You 160

Sorry 160

Mary Had a Little Lamb 230

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes 190

My Book of First Words (Kasia Bowowiejska) 160

Toddler Town Zoo 160

Hoot, A-Holesome book of counting 190

Young Learners Picture Dictionary 190

How do Dinosaurs Stay Friends 290

Frozen Puzzle Book 290

Big Book of Aesop Fables 390

Tall and Short, a peek-through Book of Opposites 190

Dino, a Cracking Book of Colors 190

Playtime Stories Campbell Baby 190

Cinderella, James Newman Gray 230

Little red riding Hood, James Newman Gray 230

Frozen Poster Collection 100

My husband also dorked out and bought these:

I on other hand built up my collection:

Yesterday, we came back and hulled the following books:

My Little World: Love, A Heart-Warming Book of Giving 190

My Little World: I Love my Daddy 190

My Enormous Book of Numbers 330

The Great Big Dinosaur Treasury – 390

Pompom Panda Gets the Grumps (Sophy Henn) 230

Ladybird Favourite Stories 350

We are Best Friends 230

Dora Look and Find 290

Monkey Not Ready for Kindergarten (Marc Brown) 190

My Book of Counting (Britta Teckentrup) 190

Freddie the Fish, Star of Show 160

Seasons Come Seasons Go Tree (Britta Teckentrup) 290

How I Did It (Linda Ragsdale) 290

The Mr Men Show Popup Book 290

Hoppity Hop Peekaboo 160

Princess Baby Night Night 160

Wolfie the Bunny 230

Can You Find Happy Cow

Fish Food Popup (Andy Mansfield) 190

Up & Down (Britta Teckentrup) 290

1000 Fantastic Stickers 190

Bad Kitty’s Tasty Treats (Nick Bruel) 290

The Almost Terrible Playdate 230

Julius Jr. Stickertastic 100

Pinkabella 2000 stickers 190

Super Animals 2000 stickers 190

My Big Wipe Clean Around the World 230

Doodle Numbers (Taro Gomi) 190

Alphabet Activity Sticker Book 230

Kimmidoll Junior Best Friends Sticker Book 160

The Triple Package (Amu Chua and Jed Rubenfeld) 230

The Patron Way (Ilana Edelstein) 190

Winning the Customer (Lou Imbriano) 290

How to Speak Money (John Lanchester) 350

The Moment You Can’t Ignore (Malachi O’ Connor) 290

Icons and Idiots (Bob Lutz) 190

I Love You More than My Dog (Jeanne Bliss) 190

Fizz (Ted Wright) 290

Habit (Charles Duhigg) 190

Running the Gauntlet (Jeffrey Hayzlett) 290

Fairness is Overrated (Tim Stevens) 290

A Bigger Prize (Margaret Heffernan) 230

The Mind of the Customer (Richard Hodge) 290

We also bought cookbooks and books for kids for my yaya’s daughter.

Overall, The Big Bad Wolf Booksale is a real treat for all book lovers. If you love books and don’t mind to go one time big time, this is a great show for you!

Posted in Baby Stuff, Family, Philippines, Updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Question: Should I marry someone even though I feel there might be somebody better out there for me?

I dated a guy who was great on paper for 2.5 years. He was smart, had a great job, was very responsible, and said he will love and take care of me for the rest of his life.He was also quite boring.

Or I think I was just bored with him.

Maybe it was his low energy, or his personality, but when we were together, time seemed to drag on and I didn’t really look forward to seeing him every time we met.

When we talked, we discussed which restaurants we would try next or which movie should we watched. We updated each other on our lives and our friend’s and we couldn’t go deeper beyond talking about what happened to whom and why.

I guess he felt the same way because he broke up with me when he met someone else with a more similar wavelength to his. I was admittedly crushed and felt that I may have lost my chance for marriage to a nice guy, and maybe this was the best I could ever get.

Boy, was I wrong!

I met my now husband online dating, and from the time we met, our conversation simply FLOWED. Minutes turned into hours and we were exchanging ideas, not information. We talked about movies and how it related to us. We hung out and yet felt a deep sense of comfort as if we’re at home.

Sure, we had our disagreeements. But it sure wasn’t boring. I looked forward to being with him and he does me. And since we’ve gone through our fair share of boring relationships, we tied the knot after a year of dating because we believe we couldn’t find anyone better for us and if we don’t get married, we’d regret it for the rest of our lives.

We spent our wedding night simply thanking God for leading us to each other. That’s how lucky we felt to have found each other.

So to answer your question, I’d strongly suggest for you to you wait.

Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen to be single than to spend the rest of my life with a man who I married so that I’d be a Mrs. I know I only married him to settle because I’m in a hurry, and will always be in the lookout for somebody better. I don’t think that would be fair to the poor shmuck, and honestly, it wouldn’t be fair for me either. Life is too short to be with someone who bores you out of your wits.

I’m glad I waited.

Or was forced to wait.

The love I have now is worth far more than any of my previous relationships. And I feel I’m the luckiest girl ever to have married my husband. Fortunately, he also feels the same way.

Good luck in finding that right person who’d let you feel the same.

Posted in Advice, Dates, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Matigas ang Ulo (Hard Headed)

I have extensive experience of multiple staff who are especially hard headed.

These are the people who intentionally try to circumvent the rules when they can, and pout when they cannot.

True Story # 1: 

My brother went on a family vacation and left me in charge. While he was gone, many of his staff went on sick leave without any medical certificate despite it being on the rules.

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I was livid.

If you do not present a medical certificate, then you cannot come back to work,” I said. I will not force anyone who is unfit to work to come back to work.  If they are sick, then the medical certificate is an easy requirement to get.

Rumor has it that many people grumbled.

To get a medical certificate requires Php 450 to Php 650,” they said. “We have no money to get a medical certificate.”

No, it is only expensive if the sickness IS NOT true,” I answered. “If you are truly sick, then there is the barangay center which will treat you for free, provided that you arrive by 3:00pm that day.”

That is the problem: People who are NOT sick but are pretending to be sick to go hooky. And then, getting angry when they are reminded of the rules. No, I will not admit them back to work without any medical certificate.

True Story #2:

I have a staff who is always late.

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Opening at 10:00am, closing at 12:00pm, and even when we invited her to a life improvement seminar, she was still late despite being housed on the same hotel.

We have given her a lot of verbal and written notices regarding her gross and habitual tardiness. She has written her apologies on every single one of them. We have warned her several times, and yet she is still constantly late.

This is a girl who has been with us for almost 3 years, and still haven’t improved. She has stayed in our company because she can moderately perform as a sales staff and at least shows up.

Who cares if she is 30 to 45 minutes late if she can ‘make up’ for it by selling well the entire day?” my husband asked.

It’s a problem — here is a staff who can perform and at least reliably shows up albeit super late. She knows there is a problem but refuses to change. No matter what we do, she is still almost always late.

When her supervisor left and was replaced with a tougher and stricter supervisor, the new supervisor tried to make her change. She made the staff promise not to be late, of which the staff did try for less than a week.

After a while she was back to her bad habit.

Can you stop being late?” my supervisor asked. “The rules state that you have to stop being late and you already have multiple warnings on this habit. We cannot tolerate it anymore because it’s not fair that we allow you to be late, but others cannot.”

I cannot stop being late,” she said. “I cannot help it. If you cannot accept it, I will just resign.”

So the supervisor accepted her resignation.

Despite her working for us for many years, in the end, it was her bad habit that did her in. She cannot correct it so she cannot stay and work for us.

A lot of staff are hard headed.

They’re not the easiest people to handle — They already know what the rules are but still do not obey the rules. They try their best to survive and stay despite knowing that they are disobeying the rules.

As their managers, we know what they are doing. In honest truth, I can more or less tell if the person is lying or not. When it comes to hard headed staff, most of the time, they are lying. They are not sick and actually they can change their bad habits.

But they refuse.

So we let them go.

Sayang ba?” you may ask. This translates to, “Do you think it’s a waste to let them go if they are still somewhat performing?”

To be honest, I am the saddest when I let someone like this go.

It’s really not easy to find staff who can perform. To find one good sales staff, we have to interview and orient 20 more. It’s a headache.

There is so much potential in them, and yet I have to let them go because they refuse to follow the rules. Given that we hire more than 20 staff, it’s important that the rules are followed because only then, the company can thrive and survive.

Don’t worry Ma’m,” my supervisor said. “We will just find someone better.”

It is easier for me to find and train a new one,” she said. “Than to keep this one person and risk the rest.”

I hope this is something we can learn for the new year.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Advice, Business, Conflicts, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, leadership, Philippines, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relationship Advice: Stop making your wife do all the work!

In marriage, it’s easy to push responsibilities to your partner.

“It’s the job of the mother to take care of the kids.”

“It’s the job of the wife to cook for the husband.”

“It’s not my job to keep the bathroom clean.”

“It’s not my job to change the diaper or bathe the baby. That’s the woman’s job.”

I realised that a big part of my being happy in my marriage comes in large part because my husband stops himself from pushing jobs to me just because I am a wife, mother and woman.

A lot of women complain about their husbands. As part of a huge Filipino Mommy group, I am privy to many women’s heartaches, many of which circles around the fact that their husbands do not help in the house or with the kids.

What’s even worse, many of these women work. And when they get home, things at home are still expected to be in their realm of responsibility.

What’s more annoying is that while women take care of the house and families, fathers are either…

Or doing this….

And then angrily say, “Can’t you see I’m busy!”

No wonder women are unhappy. Who wouldn’t be pissed if this is what happens at home?

So if you guys want to make your wife happy, do the housework. Don’t burden and leave her in doing all the childrearing and keeping the house clean. Then complain when things aren’t done your way. That’s really annoying!

As they say,

No need to buy the book. Just change the diapers, do the laundry and cook and clean once in a while and your wife will love you forever.

I know I love my husband! He’s the best!

Posted in Advice, children, Family, Filipino Men/Women, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Kid Problems, Marriage, Parenthood, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tale of Two Pregnancies

I talked about our driver who was na-kupit by the girlfriend. Despite having relationship problems with his needy and controlling girlfriend, our driver managed to get her pregnant, of which I believe is NOT an accident.

*The things women do to cling on a relationship, mutter mutter…*

He is obviously not too happy with what happened, and is just trying to muster a smile and look brave despite the additional bundle of challenge that will come his way. He already has a few kids with his first wife whom he is supporting. Trust me, he does not really look forward to having another child with a woman whom he wanted to dump last week.

Place the focus now to my brother, who happily announced that his wife of 10 months is now pregnant.

My mother called me yesterday saying that she was already pregnant. They asked me for OB recommendations which I sent via Messenger.

Guess what?

As soon as I sent the information, they immediately called the doctor and sped to her clinic. They were THAT excited.

Apparently, sister in law was already 5 weeks pregnant. Not even a trimester yet, but the couple was very excited and happy with the news that a new bundle of joy was coming. It’s like how these other dads react to the news — they were OVER THE MOON.

Compare the two pregnancy reveals which came a few days with each other, there was the reluctant new dad (our driver) and the over the moon soon-to-be father (my brother). How can one pregnancy be reacted so differently?

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I think it’s worthwhile to consider that there is actually a good and a bad time to be pregnant. It is also important to note that when a baby comes at the right time, there is so much joy all around. We must all strive to plan for babies, and do it at the right time.

When is the right time to have a baby?

The right time to have a baby is when both of you are in a good place relationship-wise.

The right time to have a baby is when both of you are financially stable, and can afford all the expensive things needed for a baby (e.g., monthly check-ups, vaccination, diapers, milk are just some of the basics).

The right time to have a baby is when you both decided BEFOREHAND that you wanted one. A baby is always great, but it should enhance your relationship, not be the bandaid to your problems.

The right time to have a baby is when you have the capacity and person to raise it. Most people ask their in-laws to help. Some struggle just finding someone they can entrust the baby to. What’s the point of having a baby if there is no capable caregiver around?

The right time to have a baby is when it will come into the world welcomed, loved, and cared for.

Otherwise, it’s NOT a good time to have a baby.

How about you? What do you think is the right time to have a baby?

Posted in Advice, baby, Baby Stuff, Husband, Pregnancy, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Debt is a Ticking Timebomb

My father-in-law warned me from being jealous of the very rich men in the country. He said, “Don’t ever think they are rich just because they say they are rich. You never know, they are even poorer than we are.”

What he meant was this, while many businessmen may be paper rich, they may be ultra-poor and drowning in debt.

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Debt is a wonderful thing: The money you owed can supercharge a business and make it grow exponentially. Through debt, you can open a large number of stores, increase your workforce, introduce a new product in the market, get a large endorser and increase your brand visibility, among others.

Debt can also kill a business. If overdone and the business cannot pay the debt interest, or if your debtors suddenly pull their support, then your business is dead, leaving you a pariah and poorer than you’ve ever been.

My father-in-law has a friend Mr. H who lives dangerously in the edge. He is known to be rich, and is active in the Filipino-Chinese business community. Weirdly, many other businessmen do not seem to respect him. Despite his high profile and wealth, this friend cannot muster respect from the Filipino-Chinese community.

When I asked my father-in-law why, he said, “It’s common knowledge that (Another Tycoon’s name) does not respect him.” 

Another Tycoon Mr. L owns a bank to which Mr. H owes money. Apparently, it’s a LOT of money, worth in billions!

Put it this way, if the rumors are true, and assuming that the bank rate is 5% per annum, Mr. H would have to pay a whopping Php 25 MILLION per month merely in interest payments!debt.jpg

That’s like buying one condominium unit per month.

No wonder Mr. L scoffs at Mr. H. Despite living in a very prestigious village and touting several businesses, even going as far as appearing in a social media show that highlights him as an angel investor, Mr. H owes a large amount of debt. In the end, all his wealth is in the brink of exploding.

debt-bomb.png

Which is why I can understand Mr. L’s disdain for Mr. H’s high profile lifestyle.

How dare you tout your wealth, lifestyle and riches, even to the point of giving advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to make money and be rich like you… only to hide the fact that you are deeply in debt and have to work your ass off to pay the interest just so that your debt will not explode to your face. What’s more, if you are already struggling to pay the interest, how much more can you afford to pay for the principal?

Most likely, this is a debt that can never be paid, and Mr. H is just paying the bare minimum per month (e.g., just the interest payments) for his business to survive.

When I asked my father-in-law why Mr. H took on such a large amount of debt, my father-in-law explained that Mr. H took that risky bet because he thought that the government would approve and buy his products. He thought that if his political bet won the election, Mr. Political Bet would take on his business and roll his product nationwide.

Alas, he bet on the wrong horse. Another candidate won the election and this candidate was a dark horse from the South who had no knowledge of what Mr. H was doing with the previous administration, and was in fact, against everything that the previous administration supported.

So despite already expanding his factory’s capacity to churn out a large amount of product that can be rolled out nationwide and investing millions in marketing his product to the government, all such investments didn’t really push through, leaving him with a large amount of debt with not enough revenue to pay for it.

Learning about this story, I do not want to be Mr. H anymore.

I would rather be happy with my small business enterprise and be relatively “debt” small (e.g., We do have debt but it’s something we strictly budgeted for, and we know we can pay in whole if needed be), than be like Mr. H, who I don’t know how he sleeps at night.

Debt can be a great or dangerous thing.

Before we become jealous to the rich tycoons who rule our land, first understand where they are coming from and if ever they are cash rich or debt poor. Because sometimes, all we see are their huge houses, cash thrown around and glittering TV show, when in fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, and truly, the man we think who is very rich is actually poorer than we are.

How about you?

Are you cash rich or debt poor?

Have a good weekend!

 

 

Posted in Advice, Business, Dad's Advice, entrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Personal opinion, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nakupit”

I asked my husband the English translation of the Filipino word, “Kupit.”

There’s actually no accurate English translation,” he said. “But it’s like getting pregnant out of wedlock.”

That’s actually not a good translation. For me, nakupit means to be caught in a net. To be deceived and as a result, was given no choice.

 

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This is what happens to so many men in particular.

They are casually dating a woman, having sex with them like rabbits. They don’t take this woman seriously, but still continue to see them because the milk is free.

I have a lot of friends like that.

When I ask him, “How are you and (girlfriend’s name)?” they will answer, “Oh, we are trudging along. We’re just having a good time.”

When I implore him for more information, he would say, “I’m just enjoying life at the moment. I don’t want anything serious… and she knows that.”

Half a year later…..

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SHE’S PREGNANT!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh.

This is the time we say, “Nakupit ang lalake.” 

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The woman tells the man that she is pregnant. At first, there is disbelief on how the heck she managed to get pregnant when they have been so careful in using protection.

Here’s some news for you, There’s no way it was an accidental pregnancy.

If the girl got pregnant, she knew she was going to get pregnant soon enough, and she did so in the hopes that makupit yung guy.

Women do this a lot. In Taiwan, women used to poke holes in condoms in the hopes of getting “accidentally” pregnant because she wants her playboy boyfriend to settle down with her. While women are still interchangeable when they are single, it’s hard to replace them when they are the mother of your child.

My friend M did that. She was dating a Filipino-Chinese man R and they have had an on-off relationship for months. M is a former model/escort while R was a man of means.

During their breakups and makeups, R cannot stop having sex with M. Stupidly, he believed that she was using protection and didn’t want to get pregnant. That was a laugh.

A few months of constant sex got M pregnant.

R was forced to house her. He bought her a DMCI condominium and had to take care of her while she was pregnant with his child. He still wanted to be free and date around, but technically he is stuck since he got his on-off girlfriend pregnant.

She gave birth last December and R is miserable.

He knows he is stuck but he doesn’t know what to do. In other words, “nakupit siya,” stuck with a woman who was supposed to just be a casual fling, but turned out to be a snake whom he cannot easily get rid of.

My mother’s driver E got his girlfriend pregnant. Ironically, his girlfriend also works in my brother’s firm.

Their relationship has come to the point that his girlfriend was so needy and controlling that E was feeling shackled. He wanted out from the relationship, and would feel irritated whenever he sees her calling.

Then she got pregnant.

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Here you go again.

Now, he’s stuck with her.

He can’t dump her while she’s carrying his child without looking like an ass. However, the relationship isn’t really working out and they’re fighting everyday, and yet, they’re now stuck to each other for life because of their child.

Big sigh.

The woman is the b*tch and isn’t a great partner. However he’s stuck now with her because he foolishly believed she won’t get pregnant by choice.

WRONG!

Sigh — so many men get caught with this mistake. And yet, they keep on making the same mistake over and over again. He deludes himself into thinking that if the relationship isn’t working, the woman would rather not get pregnant. He fools himself into thinking that she is smart enough to not want kids when the relationship in trouble.

Quite the opposite: When the woman feels that the relationship is ending, she gets pregnant to ensure its continuity. To keep a man, or at least increase the chance of keeping a man, get pregnant.

Which is why, there are so many pregnancies in the Philippines.

How about you? Do you agree with the concept of kupit? How do you translate kupit to English?

Posted in Advice, baby, Baby Stuff, Boyfriend, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s better to be an Employee than an Employer

Ever since I was young, my father has always instilled to me the wonders of being an entrepreneur. “You need to manage your own business, Bonita,” he said. “No matter how high up the corporate ladder you get, if you are an employee, you still have to answer to your boss. He makes all the money, while you get all the scraps.”

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Ironically, I actually ended up climbing up the corporate ladder.

I was fortunately hired by a leading IT company, which led me to switch to a leading investment bank. I didn’t make a lot of demands and had a great relationship with my boss and co-workers. Consequently, by the time I was 28, I was already making upwards of USD 100,000 per year exclusive of bonuses.

All I had to do was show up to work, do what I am good at, mingle with talented and competent colleagues and get paid a lot of money doing what I love. I had 21 days of leave which I can never finish and the respect of my co-workers around the globe.

What’s not to love?

Stupidly, I didn’t know how good my gig was until I quit to get my MBA.  To be perfectly honest, I still count leaving my wonderful job at investment banking for my MBA as one of the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

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After my MBA, life moved me to being an entrepreneur. When I married my husband, his family gifted us a small business enterprise, to which we’ve managed to develop and grow with much difficulty.

We started off with 11 stores and doubled it. We had just enough working capital to last us a month and a half, and depended on family loans to keep us afloat.

People we trusted betrayed and stole from us.

Applicants and suppliers lied to us on a daily basis.

Being an entrepreneur was not fun. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. In fact, people who do not have the risk tolerance and capital should NOT be an entrepreneur!

And yet, so many people want to be an entrepreneur. The interest of being an entrepreneur is enough that there is a magazine that tots the wonders of being your own boss and getting rich while you’re at it:

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This is how much it’s not fun being an entrepreneur is.

On the 15th of every month, I pay the rent. I pay around Php 30,000 to Php 80,000 per month on rent, and this amount goes up at least 10% per year. How anyone can afford rent nowadays is beyond me.

I also pay the office staff and sales staff twice a month. This doesn’t include remitting their benefits which can cost a pretty penny depending on the number of staff you hire. This by the way is fine by me since they worked hard for it and deserved every penny they get. But yeah, settling the payroll still hurts even though you know paying your staff correctly and fairly is right.

Business permits is around Php 10,000 to Php 20,000 per permit. Count the number of stores we have and that’s a pretty big number.

There’s still the income tax, VAT and all other business obligations that you still have to pay. If your business is legit and not under the table, this amount becomes very significant.

Cost of goods are rising due to the weakening peso. Gas prices are going up due to the excise tax and the weakening peso. That means, transportation expenses will climb significantly, but I cannot increase my product prices too much so there’s that.

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Competition is getting higher. As the years go on, more and more competitors join the race. Every time a new competitor opens, our sales go down a bit.

What’s worse is that despite all your sacrifices, you will still get staff complaints and customer complaints. Despite all that you do for them in paying them correctly, there are still some staff who won’t be happy and try to sabotage your business operations because they can.

In other words, it’s getting harder to be an entrepreneur. We can’t just quit halfway. We really have to keep on going despite all the challenges knowing that there are a lot of people depending on us for livelihood.

Back when I was in the corporate world, I would earn a lot of money just for being me. Like seriously, my salary being a corporate slave was 10x my current salary, and I earned that money day in and out without fail.

Sure, anyone can easily be fired, but I was then very competent and literally unfire-able. Of all people, I was not afraid of losing my job. My bosses love me.

Now, I am earning less money, deal with a lot more headaches, and have to constantly worry about my business.

Money wise, it’s definitely not equal. While my business earns more money as a whole, I had a lot more payables so only a little is left. Whereas in corporate life, my entire salary is mine to enjoy, the money I get here in business is still not enough to pay for my home’s association dues.

So entrepreneurship is really not for everyone.

Think very carefully before you cross that bridge. Because at the end of the day, you may think that you’re winning, only to find out that maybe, you’re really biting more than you can chew.

I can afford to lose money in business. My mother and my in-laws can still bail me out, and technically, we don’t have a lot of expenses.

However, not everyone can gamble their life savings.

So before you take that leap, think very carefully. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone, so do pray hard before making that gamble.

Have a good week ahead!

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How can you tell if someone’s lying?

The wonders of a lie is that it’s usually not perfectly thought of…

That means, when a question was asked, the lie was blurted without much thought whatsoever. What’s more, if other fellow liars are involved, there is not a lot of discussion involved aside from answering the question.

This makes it easier to catch people in a lie.

How?

By asking increasingly detailed questions over and over.

For example, my staff will usually tell me that she was sick, that’s why she didn’t come to work.

What’s your sickness?” I would ask.

I had a tummy ache and was vomiting,” she answered. “I had diarrhea.”

What time did you have your tummy ache?” I asked. “Tell me the sequence of events on how it lead to the tummy ache and diarrhea.”

She will answer it was after she ate bad food. Then I would ask her if she went to see a doctor.

If she said she did see a doctor, I will ask her the name of the doctor and to which hospital she actually visited.

Once I get the name of the hospital, I will ask for the clinic number and what the doctor prescribed.

I will ask for a medical certificate or prescription if she visited, evidence that she should have if my staff really visited the doctor.

If she didn’t see a doctor, I would ask why not especially since her sickness was serious enough for her to miss work.

I will ask many questions and go over her answers over and over until I get to the bottom of it.

Remember, people who tell the truth can justify every single detail of the story. People who lie cannot and make up the lie as they go along. It is in this making up phase that you can catch them give inconsistent answers and unreasonable logic.

This is how you catch a liar.

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How My Friend Got Away with Infidelity

My married friend learned that her husband was flirting with other women behind her back. Given that he needs to be based in the Southern area and their child studies here in Manila, they have spent many days apart per month despite flying back and forth to see each other.

The last time my friend caught her husband flirting, it was on Facebook with him liking and messaging sexy car show models.

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Note: Image taken from the Internet to illustrate just how tempting car show models can be. Doesn’t mean friend’s husband is flirting with any of them.

It went unnoticed to the point that the husband was already having friendly chats with the model. Then he was caught.

After some groveling and a hesitant promise not to message these models on Facebook again, he’s back at it, this time befriending a mall cashier.

The worst part is that the friendship so to speak has been going on over the last 1.5 years. My friend’s husband has met this cashier at least once as admitted in their text conversation, and goodness knows what happened next, especially since they have continued their flirtatious relationship afterwards.

I don’t think anything happened when they met,” my friend cried as she shared with me this story. “Right?”

I am not naive.

I will not delude myself into thinking that after months of build-up, nothing happened. Especially since the guy has gone on to invite the woman into his family apartment and stay in his room. But heck, why pour salt into the festering wound?

My friend was beyond herself, and her normal prim and proper demeanor was broken when she started to cry.

I don’t know why he’s doing this again after promising that he will stop,” she moaned. “It is unbecoming for him to go out and date the cashier especially since he and his family are trying their best to keep a good reputation in the community. Why throw it away because of a piece of trash?”

To be honest, I don’t think the man was thinking of his family or his reputation when he eyed the cashier.seduce.jpg

Put it this way, guys are very simple: He came, he saw and then he conquered. To hell with everything else. So his reaction was a very primal, carnal thing.

So the wife had her suspicions. Given the wife’s intuition is very strong, she woke up one day from a bad dream and looked over her husband’s phone.

Her blood ran cold —- She saw a message pop up just as soon as she looked. It was from another woman, and the text was a text that only a girlfriend would send. Something similar to this…

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Dismayed, my friend accessed her husband’s emails, Facebook chats and phone messages. To her dismay, she saw that they’ve been messaging for over a year!

She carefully screenshot all the incriminating messages to confront him later on. Then she took a Valium and cried herself to sleep.

One week later, their love was strengthened and they are back together again.

Now a lot of you would ask wWahy. Given that the husband was already caught cheating, how the hell did he get away with it? Here is what he did:

1. Upon finding out that he was caught —- the maid told him how distraught the missus was — the husband kept calm, deleted all the incriminating messages, and waited for the wife to confront him.

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There’s no point to keep any messages as further evidence. Delete every message you think your wife will frown upon.

2. When your wife confronts you, first deny everything. Do this so that she will show you what type of evidence she has on hand.

Wait for your wife to confront you. She will, you know? And she will ask you all the questions you don’t want to answer but should.

She needs an answer so give her some, but not all.

Answer questions to the goal of finding out what evidences she knows about, and which instances she does not know about. That way, you will know what exactly are the charges against you.

3. When you find out which evidences she has on hand, only begrudgingly confirm those she has evidence of. DENY EVERYTHING ELSE.

Yes, we have been talking on the phone. Yes, I know it was wrong and I am very very sorry.”

“Yes, even when we met, swearing on the life of our child, NOTHING HAPPENED. We didn’t sleep together. All we did was meet, and that was it.”

No, I didn’t give her any gifts. I actually was just joking with her, but to be honest, no gifts were exchanged.”

4. Admit you have a sex/porn addiction and admit that you need her to help you overcome it.

Every woman wants to “save” a man. Let your wife “save” you from your sins. Even offer to go to church to show sincerity to change.

5. Promise her that while you made a mistake, you realize just how important she and you family are to you, and that while you screwed up now, you will not do it again.

6. Check out if there’s any crack in her armor. When she starts to laugh or let you touch her, then you’re almost scott free.

When after confronting her, she allows you to touch and make love to her, all is forgiven. You have now escaped with nary a scratch.

7. Do not make the same idiotic mistake of getting caught. Either sincerely change to be a better man, or if you cannot, be better in hiding your affairs next time.

Love makes us idiots.

My friend did not want to admit that her husband was a cheater. As I’ve said, this is not the first time he’s cheated.

However, for the sake of the family, everything is swept under the rug. And all is forgiven.

It only took a few hours in an afternoon for the husband to make amends.

Now, do you think he’s really changed and stop cheating, or did he just try to save his sorry ass from his angry wife?

I really hope that it’s the former. Unfortunately, I think it is the latter.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Friendship, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Philippines, Question & Answer, Rants, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we still don’t have our second kid?

Let me approach the elephant in the room — Bakit walang kasunod ang anak ko? 

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In English, it means, “How come we have yet to have our second child?”

Our daughter is already 2 years old. We just recently celebrated her second birthday. How come I am not pregnant with the next one?

Here are the real and practical reasons:

1. We have a lot less sexy time since our daughter was born.

My daughter and I co-sleep since she was born. She is also exclusively breastfed. My daughter follows our schedule and sleeps late.

That’s why, we have less sexy time than when before daughter was born.

Before she was born, we could still schedule our time together. Now, we cannot anymore. We have to wait till she is asleep, and she sleeps very late.

That’s why, there’s no baby #2.

2. We have gotten older, a lot busier with work, and our body is not as good as it used to.

Blame husband on being lower energy. We work hard during the day and apart from daughter sleeping late, he is more tired during the night.

My body is not like what it’s used to,” he admitted. “Before, I could party the entire evening and still be awake the next day. Now, that’s no longer the case.”

There are times when I want to do it too, but I’m just so sleepy that I would doze off before our show is finished. So, we would just think, “There’s always another day, another time…”

That’s why, there’s no baby #2.

3. My baby might hurt my other baby.

My baby is breastfed and actively moves around. Just last night, she stepped on my tummy because she keeps on frolicking around the bed.

It hurts.

Wah, imagine what will happen if I was pregnant with another child? I would suffer a miscarriage if that happened

4. We are already happy with our child. The pressure of having a second child is a lot less than not having a child yet. 

Our baby brings so much joy that sometimes, it’s easier to forget that we need to make another. There is always the fear that maybe, the second child may not be as good as the first.

We do not want to not favor the second child just because she is a lesser performer than the first. No matter what you say, a parent will always favor one child over the other.

My husband is adamant, “Pea is my favorite,” he said. “Nobody is better than her.”

I personally have to favor our only child. So I do not honestly know how to deal with the second. It has always been my prayer that we will be blessed with a wonderful second child. But we also know that it depends on luck, and God’s blessing and wisdom. Sometimes, it’s scary to risk because you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

5. The real reason: God has yet to bless us with another.

Despite the lower frequency of sexy time, we are not using protection and we do still hope that I can get pregnant again. Anyway, I am nearing my 40s, and it’s better to have a second child sooner than later, IF we are still having one.

Alas, we have yet to be blessed with another one.

I was so disappointed the last time I had my period.

Oh so disappointed.

I didn’t think I would be THAT disappointed but I was.

So it’s not that we aren’t hoping. We would welcome another addition to the family, but there is yet another one. I am just not pregnant yet.

And I don’t know when I will get pregnant again despite our best hopes.

I know that husband and I should do more to ensure my next pregnancy but we are too tired and busy to make one. We are lucky when we find time to do so, and can only hope that I can conceive despite the lower frequency.

Anyway, these things are best left to God.

And that’s why we still do not have Baby# 2.

 

 

 

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If you don’t watch your staff, don’t be surprised if they go and party!

My father-in-law tells me about a janitor who works in his Association’s building. Since he was the Association President that year, he was the one who interviewed and oriented that personnel before hiring him.

The janitor was good. He has initiative,” he shared. “He would come in on time, mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, and even change the light bulbs when they need changing.”

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“Even though I wasn’t there everyday,” he added, “I would see the janitor happily working.”

When my father-in-law’s term was finished, he turned his duties over to another administrator.

One day, this administrator called him to complain about the janitor.

Apparently, the janitor would time in at 8:00am, disappear, and then work a little before timing out on time at 5:00pm. The administrator felt that the janitor was not working well, and was asking for advice on how to handle him.

My father-in-law told me, “When a personnel stops doing their job, it’s usually not the personnel’s problem. But rather the supervisor’s problem.”

Then he paused and looked at me. He wanted me to learn the important lesson.

I smiled.

I got the lesson.

To be a good manager, you have to constantly monitor and supervise your staff. 

If they do the right thing, you have to praise and compliment them. You need to show them that you are invested in them and care about how they are doing their work.

If they know that you know that they are doing their job, then they know that you will not forget them come bonus season. Of course, if a staff is doing their job, you will have to compensate them accordingly. So it’s crucial to show the staff that you know that they’re doing their job. That your eyes are wide open and you see their faults and their successes.

At the same time, you have to catch them as soon as they make a mistake. THEN CORRECT THEM ON THE SPOT.

One of my former supervisors would always bring erroneous documents back to the head office. When asked about them, she would say, “I don’t know. Ask the staff. It’s their hand that wrote in the receipt.”

Therein lies the problem — the former supervisor does not take responsibility for her task in spotting and correcting her staff’s mistakes.

The former supervisor did not check the staff’s work at the store. Instead, she brings them — wrong and all — back to the head office to inflow the items. Consequently, the staff feels they are doing the forms correctly, and keep on making the same careless mistakes. This makes the supervisor’s job harder, because she needs to constantly correct her staff.

Compare this to another of my supervisors: She is a perfectionist.

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Even from Day 1, she would look at her staff’s work and correct them immediately when they make a mistake. The supervisor would tell the staff how she wants things to be done, and does not want the staff to deviate from her instruction.

As a result, her work is easier because she has had the staff complete the forms the way she wants it, file the papers by date, and write the forms on her outflow book for her checking. She doesn’t have to waste too much time re-organizing and refiling the papers. The staff already does it for her.

So when she goes to the store, she only needs to check the forms if they are in order and stapled properly. Every time something is wrong, she will correct them immediately so that the staff does not do it again. Then she signs the logbook and brings it back to the head office.

This supervisor is highly respected by the staff. She is very strict with them, but her staff likes working under her because they perform better. When I talk to them, they say, “I am very thankful for (Supervisor name here). She motivates me to work harder, and hence, my salary is higher with her.”

The other more lenient supervisor has very little control to her staff.

Her staff always circumvent the rules and bully the former supervisor. I let her go last week. While she is a nice person, she cannot supervise staff properly.

What’s the Lesson Here?

Everyone wants to be happy with their job.

When they are happy with their job, they are motivated and would like to please their bosses more. But staff always need to know that their boss are watching them. That the bosses care about their work and well-being as much as them.

So I understood my father-in-law’s lesson — It is our job as bosses to make sure we watch and correct our staff. If we do this properly, we will have happier, more productive workers. If we are too lose, our staff will think work is a joke and will not work as hard.

The problem with the administrator,” my father-in-law ended his story, “Is that she is too lazy. She comes in way after 8:00am call time, does not really monitor the janitor’s work and expects him to work.” 

Then she complains about him that he’s not working,” he added. “When the staff is not working, it’s because the administrator is not working as well. She is lazy and just coasting and expect that other people will do their work without any effort from her.”

“Do not be like the administrator,”  he concluded.

How about you? What is your management style? Do you agree with my father-in-law?

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Family, leadership, Life lessons, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Know it’s Christmas in the Philippines if….

The malls are full, even at 11:00pm


There is laughter in the air, and traffic everywhere….


Christmas cantatas in the park, simbang gabi after dark…..


Gastos sa gifts, no need for balik…..


Gastos din sa employees, 13th month pay, bonus and Christmas party….


Time with families, handaan sa bahay (dinner at home)….


Hay…. Christmas na naman. The happiest, most tiring, most expensive time of the year. How are you celebrating this Christmas?

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“Hindi Pwedeng Hindi” (Never say Never)

When I worked at a prestigious investment bank, I asked my assistant to DHL a very important time-critical document to one of our largest clients. It was her visa, which will allow her to fly to Taiwan that Sunday for a very important two-day conference that following week.

My assistant couriered the document to our client’s office.

And while it was the correct office, he managed to stupidly send it to the wrong country! Instead of mailing it to her where she is residing in Hong Kong, he mailed it to their satellite office in Singapore.

The document arrived on Friday evening at the client’s office in Singapore. Her assistant called me to inform me of this huge mistake.

My first reaction was to kill him. Like, literally, throwing him off the building.

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So to calm myself down, I locked myself in the room and immediately called my counterpart in Hong Kong to calm myself down. I started screaming in frustration and didn’t know what to do.

Put it this way, this was one of our top-tier clients, and we have already arranged 16 one-on-one meetings for her for the conference. If she couldn’t arrive, then we would have to cancel all the meetings, and this stupid boo boo can cause us to lose millions in commissions.

How do you think my boss could explain this to her? “Sorry, but my girl mailed your visa to the wrong country?”

There’s really no way to get out of this. There is ZERO way we do not deliver the visa to her.

The problem is that DHL do NOT courier documents on a weekend. If the assistant sends the visa to her that Friday afternoon, the visa will already arrive on Monday afternoon at the latest, causing her to miss one whole day of meetings.

She would have to change her flight. This will cause major embarrassment both for us, since the people whom she worked for, and the companies she is meeting will know the snafu we got ourselves into.

In other words, such boo boo was UNACCEPTABLE.

And despite the fact that it was my incompetent assistant who couriered the visa to the wrong office, it was still ultimately my responsibility to fix the problem. I was his boss and I had to take accountability for his mistake.

So what did I do?

My partner and I looked into the bank’s travel network to see if there were anybody in the company who will be traveling from Singapore to Hong Kong on Friday evening or Saturday.

Thankfully, our company database was state of the art, and we were able to find ONE match.

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I think the Lord was really watching out for me.

Another blessing was that we actually knew who this person was — This guy worked in the institutional equity sales desk in Singapore and knew just how critical this client was, and how important this task was for us.

He was also a super nice guy, who immediately agreed to be our mule to bring the visa from Singapore to Hong Kong.

The second problem was how do we get the visa from our client’s office to him, so that he could bring the visa to Hong Kong? By that time, it was already evening and the client and her assistant has gone home.

The visa at that time was in their office. There was no work the next day.

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So we racked our heads again for a solution.

Once again, we tried to ask for outside help. Since this problem is bigger than I was, I escalated the problem to my boss, the Head of Equities.

I calmly told him the problem: that we made a big boo boo, but that we have a solution. We informed him that Garett would deliver the visa from Singapore to Hong Kong the very next day (since he departed at noon), but needed help to get the visa from the client’s office to Garett before his flight.

I told him that I’ve already booked a driver in Singapore, but wanted help on how we can get the client’s help to inform their Singapore office assistant to go to the office early Saturday morning and give Garett the visa.

Thankfully, we were once again able to find a solution.

One of our equity sales staff was married to a senior analyst who worked for that client. He was more senior than our client, and was able to ask their Singapore assistant to get out of bed on Saturday morning, get the visa from their office, and deliver the visa to Garett on time before he leaves for his flight.

Of course, the driver was on OUR expense. I booked our most reliable in Singapore to pick the assistant up, take her to the office, and then to Garett’s house before taking her back home.

I also asked Garett to buy her a big box of Godiva chocolates and flowers, so that when she came with the visa, he had a token of appreciation for her hassle in getting up early Saturday morning. Garett was in sales and was a charmer.

And while there was some grumbling in the Singaporean assistant’s part, the moment she met cute Garett, she was charmed and happily accepted her flowers and chocolates.

Garett flew from Singapore to Hong Kong that afternoon and hand-delivered the visa to the client.

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Oh my gosh — you can never imagine just how stressful everything was. Honestly, even up until today, I really don’t know just how we pulled it off. It took an entire group of competent people to save the account, and save it we did.

This just proves that no matter how problematic an issue may be, there is always a solution IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT DEFEAT.

And I think this experience gave me an invaluable lesson —- Shit happens. Shit happens all the time.

However, we cannot take these experiences in defeat. If shit things happen, then we face the problems and solve it.

Now that I am managing my own business, this is a lesson I try to impart to my staff — Never accept defeat. Hindi pwedeng hindi (Don’t say NO or never).

If people give you a problem, still do not accept no as an answer. Always find a way to solve the problem.

Three weeks ago, I have asked my supervisor to get the necessary permits to start operating a store. She brought all the relevant documents to the mall for feedback and approval.

Then she called me, “The Operations team said we do not have all the documents to open our store on time. They said that they will not allow us to ingress unless we already provide the necessary permits on hand.”

The issue was, I have already talked to the mall earlier in November to ask them to waive the requirements because the year was already ending. My email was delivered but remained unanswered. So, I assumed that their answer was no problem since we never really had any issues regarding permit applications when opening a store in other malls.

However, the week when we were going to open the store, the Operations Assistant informed us that she will refuse us to start operations unless we come up with the necessary permits.

I was livid —- I had no problems regarding getting the permit. But I had actually informed them earlier that I was requesting for a waiver on permits since it’s year end. If they had an issue with that, they should have replied to my email.

As it turned out, the teams in that mall were poorly coordinated. And while it was okay for one team for us to proceed without a permit, the Operations Department had a different view.

Consequently, the Operations Department had her running around in circles.

At the end of the day, I had to step in, go to the mall, and ask the Operations assistant myself, “Ultimately, what do you need from us so that we can operate on time?”

After we talked, I got the minimal list of requirements she needed to allow us to operate. It was doable in a one-week period but will allow us to operate with a few days delay.

Would you penalize us for not opening on time especially since our delay in getting the permits is honestly not our entire fault since we were only informed this week that such permits were non-negotiable?” I asked.

Yes, we will not charge you until you start operating. We will allow you to ingress your store but not operate until you give us the necessary documents.”

We opened with a two day delay but with zero penalty.

There was a lot of takeaways from this experience —- At work, we will encounter many issues. People will inform us why we cannot get what we want, and usually, it’s easier to just shrug off our shoulders and say, “Oh well, that is life.”

But a company with people who merely accept defeat is a company who will not be there in the long-term. In business, tasks need to be done on time, and unless we insist that they be finished in time, there will be a lot of heeing and hawing and nothing will get done.

This is unacceptable.

That is why, hindi pwedeng hindi. If you want to get anywhere, do not accept no for an answer. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

 

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My Daughter is Raised by a Community

I have never prided myself as a Supermom.

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The first time I bathed my baby was when she was 13 months old.

That was also the time I cleaned up my baby’s poo.

My husband was absurdly hurt, and I was left to clean and bathe her while he was having his bleeding hand stitched in the Emergency Room.

During the daytime, I have our maid bring her to school early in the morning. The babysitter comes in our room at 7:15am to bring her to the nursery in time for class at 8:00am. The driver drives both of them there.

My mom’s driver picks her up at 10:00am and takes her to lunch, where she is then sent to another playschool at noon till 3:00pm. Then she watches sing-along videos in the office till 7:00pm.

The only time I have time for her is after work in the evening.

In the daytime when I cannot be a proper mother, I have hired the babysitter, the driver, the nursery teachers, my staff, and even asked for the help of my own mother to take care of my own offspring.

I do this without shame — as I find it impossible to earn a living and raise my daughter at the same time.

Thankfully, despite my lack of motherly competencies, my daughter still adores me and still gives me a big smile when she sees me come home.

It is because of my lack of time, energy and experience that I’d have to say — My Daughter is Raised by a Community of People who Adore and Love Her.

If she ended up reasonable and sane, it is to their credit that she turned out okay.

That’s why, I thank yaya for waking up early and bringing her to and from school. I know that a lot of other mothers do this, and I’m sorry I do not. But I try my best to be there for daughter on very special occasion and performances, and hope that yaya’s constant presence at school bring my daughter comfort that at least there’s someone looking out for her while I am gone.

I thank her teachers for being patient with her. It warms my heart to hear them comment on how my child is doing, and how she refuses to sit for long periods of time. The teachers are extra pairs of eyes who watch over my child and teach her the right and wrong way. They are the reason why she knows “burger,” “pail,” and “pack away,” words that I know she learned in school.

I thank my mom for adoring her only granddaughter. Since we aren’t super rich, my mother has been such a blessing for us. She has bought for us Pampers since my daughter was born. My daughter has never been in need for any material things because of my mom. For this, I thank you. That, and for doting on my daughter whenever she can.

I thank my in-laws too for taking care of my daughter in the evenings. For feeding her mango and for letting her use the iPad, especially since she can’t do it when I’m not around.

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I thank my staff for entertaining her, feeding her, watching over her, and for obliging her when she is in the office. I hope that she learns all of the best things about you guys and see you as her extended family.

I thank the Lord for always watching over us. For keeping us safe. And for keeping us relatively healthy. We are blessed a thousand times over, and none of this is possible without God’s watchfulness.

My daughter is now two years old, and is raised by a community.

She is the ways she is not because of me and her father alone, but rather, because of a slew of people who helps us in raising her and ensuring she is well taken care of.

She is never lacking of love, care and attention. Even when I am not around, they compensate for my absence, and the accumulation of all of us produces what my daughter is today.

So thank you to the community who raised her.

And thank you to the daughter who brought us so much joy.

Happy birthday, little pea!

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Why I celebrate my daughter’s 2 year old birthday even though she’s too young to remember

My husband thinks I’m crazy.

Why do you even need to celebrate her birthday party? She’s only two,” he said. “She is way too young to remember.”

He sees me buying stuff for her lootbag. I am very happy with my purchase:


From left to right, I’ve prepared a small cute sling bag, ball that lights when it hits the floor, a large coloring book, a Big Book of English Words, a spill proof tumbler, a set of 8 jumbo crayons, plastic letters and numbers, and a spoon/fork/chopsticks set. Basically, stuff I’d like to gift my own child. 

It’s always been a pleasure for me to share life’s blessings. I’ve always prided myself as a good gift giving person, so in a way, preparing all of these for my daughter’s classmates/friends also give me joy. 


I also bought a simple chocolate cake and took out McDonald’s Happy Meal for the class. Even though they’re still very young, they’re never too young to munch on french fries and drink pineapple juice.


I know that at 2, my daughter may be way too young to remember. However, I still celebrate her birthday because of the following reasons:

1. I want her to remember that her birthday is a day of joy, and she’s worth to be celebrated.

Even as I near mg 40s, I still make a big deal out of my birthday. No matter how husband insists that I not make a big deal out of his birthday, I have always insisted that he makes a big deal with mine. 

This reinforces self worth. 

You may or may not agree with me, but for one day a year, it’s my birthday, and I get to selfishly celebrate it however I want. Any other day is a non issue, but come my birthday, I want my loved ones to make an effort to celebrate my birth.

So husband makes plans even though he’s more of a spontaneous person. 

I get a nice gift that I don’t get everyday.

I eat a nice dinner with people I love and get to choose where to go, with less thought on budget. That’s why I scour blogs looking forward to that one restaurant I can try and splurge on during my birthday. 

And I feel very very special at least one day a year.

I want my daughter to insist that her significant other make a big deal out of her birthday too. I don’t want him to take her for granted. So now, while I still can, I will make her feel special on her birthday. So that when I am gone, she will also insist that such tradition is continued.

2. Yes, I want her to feel equal to her classmates.

When I was young, I used to be jealous of my classmate’s new pencilcase. I wanted to hold it because I didn’t have one. At thay time, these types of pencil cases were so damn cool: 

1980s babies would know why these were a big deal back then. 

No matter what you say, schools can be very cliquish. There are kids who have the new pencil cases and the kids who are looking yearningly over the pencil cases.

There’s always those kids who gave the best parties and the nicest loot bags. We don’t really care who they were, but we waited in anticipation for a birthday invite because we know attending it meant the coolest prizes and lots of nice games.

In short, I don’t want her to be a loser kid.

I want her other classmates to still give her some recognition and to remember that on her birthday, daughter gave her something nice as a token of friendship.

3. It’s also a way of thanks for a year of friendship.

Related to what I mentioned above, I want my daughter to show her appreciation for a year of friendship.

These are her classmates who see and play her everyday. Most of them will eventually be her friends. 

On their birthday, my daughter gets a nice lootbag from them, also lovingly painstakingly prepared by the parents. Sometimes, when the parents are there, she also gets some special treat.

My daughter’s birthday celebration is a way for us to give back for everything she’s received the entire year from others. A sort of thank you for everything they’ve done for her. Now’s our time to give back. 

4. It’s precious time with my daughter I won’t be able to get back.

I work so I’m mostly very busy in the daytime. Usually, I only have evenings reserved for my daughter.

On her birthday, I make time for her.

I wake up super early to prepare everything. 


And while other mothers do this every day, I can’t so I take time on her birthday to celebrate it with her and make it a big deal. 

She smiled widely when she saw me. 

I know she is happy and surprised when she saw me in school.

Mami,” she said as she grabbed my hand. 

She doesn’t let go of my hand. She’s very happy to see me there. 

And that is why I am there to celebrate her birthday. Because no matter how busy we are, we still make time for those special moments. 

5. This is one way I show my love.

I may be the most dense and useless mother you may know. But in these moments, I take the time and effort to show her I love her. 

This is one of those times. 

Happy birthday my love!

Posted in baby, Early Learning, Education, Family, Kid Problems, Parenthood, Parenting, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Be Boastful When Mad

My husband screamed at me today.

Two days ago, he asked me to help him to transfer money overseas. My supplier gives me better rates than his, so he asked for my assistance, which I timely gave.

Today, his supplier said he received the money but he wants us to send the money to his personal account instead of the company account. It is a ridiculous request since he was the one who gave my husband the bank account details in the first place.

It is not our side’s fault that he asked us to transfer money to the wrong account.

However, it becomes my problem when he asked us if he could return the money back to us, and we transfer the money back again to the correct account.

As I’ve told you, it’s a mess. It’s a big hassle and a mess.

So of course, my supplier got upset on why they have to correct an unnecessary mess. I expressed the frustration back to the husband on why his supplier wants us to correct his mistake.

My husband then got mad at me for making a big deal out of the situation.

You wanted me to correct your supplier’s mistake and of course, I will make sure it’s done,” I said. “My supplier said this is the last time they will do it for us anymore. Of course, I am upset because it is MY relationship that is placed on jeopardy.”

My husband then got mad because he doesn’t understand why my supplier got mad on such a simple request. “I don’t think they will not serve you anymore because of this. I want to talk to them and ask them why they are making a big deal out of this.”

“Why? If we give them a million bucks of business, would they say no?” he arrogantly continued. “They are not the only supplier in town. I am quite happy to pay more and use other supplier if yours are making a big deal out of this.”

My husband is a lovely guy, but sometimes, he has no empathy. Technically, it’s his side that made the mistake, not mine.

He should be mad at HIS supplier, not at MY supplier.

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And when a man gets mad, he starts to make boasts like this.

Why? Do we even have to use them?” he said. “I’m okay with paying Php 5,000 bucks or more to my more expensive supplier. Why do I have to use your supplier if that’s the case?!”

I’ve had enough.

My supplier gives us favorable rates and charges me less. Every single savings add up. They are fast and give me no trouble. I have been dealing with them for years.

If you want, then I’ll fend for myself!” he boasted. “I’ve been doing fine for years. Why do I need your supplier?”

Let me count the ways:

  1. Well, first, he only needs to email me the transfer request and it gets done the next day. He doesn’t have to do anything except to email me the instruction.
  2. The savings can get really big depending on the transfer amount.
  3. I actually advance the money instead of him paying in cash.
  4. He gives a blank check to the other supplier which is very risky. The blank check is deducted straight to the company account so if the blank check falls into the wrong hands, bye bye.

But heck, a man’s arrogance creates even more problems for him. Who am I to correct my husband? Let him do the work his way.

So let us learn from my husband: Take care of your words when you are mad.

Sure, you may feel that you have “won,”  but such victory is empty.

At the end of the day, instead of having someone else do the work at a favorable rate, you have to do it yourself.

I apologized to my supplier for the hassle and the relationship lives another day.

Husband on the other hand refuses to apologize to me after getting angry and telling me to shut up, and will now handle most of his transfers.

Who is the bigger loser?

I don’t think it’s me.

So watch your words when you are mad.

Sometimes, words that are said in a fit of anger can offer a lifetime of regret. And if husband can’t stop to watch his words, then he will find less and less people to help him when he needs it.

Posted in Advice, Conflicts, Marriage, Men, Rants, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein is a powerful Hollywood producer.

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He is also a man who raped and sexually harassed many women. Weinstein used his position to place women in compromising positions and sexually abuse them. Here are just the impartial list of women that Harvey allegedly abused:

After the Harvey Weinstein story broke in the New York Times last October 2017, a flood of women and men started to complain about sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood.

All of a sudden, sexual abusers became uncool, and everyone who had a long term grudge can come out and say that they too were a victim of sexual abuse. Here are the impartial list of people who have something to say.

Harvey Weinstein is not alone. Even Kevin Spacey was thrown in the mix.

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The sad part is, Harvey Weinstein’s misbehavior has been an open secret for YEARS.

We all knew that Terry Richardson was a predator, who objectified women and treated them like sh*t. There was a lot of exposes about him. Here is one example that came out in 2010 about how much of a jerk Richardson was — Meet Terry Richardson, the World’s Most Fcked up Photographer.

Here he is with Barack Obama.

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And Vogue only cut his contract after the shit hit the fan.

What I am saying is this, in this day and age of fast Internet and the spread of information, nothing gets hidden for too long.

Gone are the days where people can kill and get away with this. Take for example this blind that alleged that the naughty Bill Clinton did something bad before he was President.

The biggest lesson is this: Don’t ever let your sense of power and entitlement get to your head. 

That’s the problem with having authority.

Sometimes, we take our position for granted. We forget that with more power, comes more responsibility. At the end of the day, everything catches up to us and we have to be even more accountable with the power.

The problem with powerful figures is that we forget that authority can be fleeting.

Take for example Robert Mugabe who has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987, whose power is threatened this week via a coup. That’s 30 years!

Over the 3 decades of power, Mugabe stole from his countrymen and amassed so much wealth at the expense of his countrymen. He may have lied, stole and rampaged his country for YEARS.

Now, if he is removed from power, there is a day of reckoning. Nothing gets hidden forever, and we have to face the consequences of our actions one day.

That is why, I try to remain humble and level-headed.

It’s really hard.

Many times, I feel other people are lazy or stupid or beneath me. Sometimes, I don’t understand why people cannot get it even though the answer is so obvious in mind. There are times as well that I am tempted to do the wrong thing just because I know I can get away with it.

I guess, that’s human nature.

But the Harvey Weinstein scandal and those that follows show that nothing remains a secret for long.

If you are a jerk, you will be found out as a jerk later on.

If you are a liar, time will tell and show the real depth of your character.

No matter how much you hide your stench, later on, the door will burst open and everyone will know what an asshole you really are.

So why even try? Why even try to open the Pandora’s box?

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That is why, we need to live our lives as if people are watching.

Not for their benefit or for their approval. But rather, because we are decent human beings and it’s not right for us to do evil things just because people aren’t paying attention.

Because you’ll never know if people are watching and recording, or when shit will hit the fan.

Kevin Spacey’s career is now over.

While he is a phenomenal actor, Spacey will find it hard to reboot his career. It’s too bad. He doesn’t have to step into too many toes to be excellent. He is already a great actor as it is.

Too bad it got into his head.

 

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Na-Basted! 

My friend J, who I have talked about in this post, “When a man chase after a woman and he’s not that cute,” has been busted by his potential lady love.

Long story short, the woman said she only wanted to be friends.

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Of course, the man was heartbroken.

At 42 years old, he wanted to settle down and start a family stat. He thought that this beautiful, sexy and smart woman was his last hope.

Unfortunately, the woman just didn’t think he was her type.

I guess, women are picky when it comes to looks. The “I don’t look cute but I can love and take care of you forever” spiel did NOT work on her.

Hence, friend was depressed.

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He changed his Facebook profile and cover photos, resigned from his post, and stayed at home and cried.

Loss is a powerful feeling.

To be honest, J did not really know my friend.

If he knew my friend, he can easily see just how incompatible they were.

She was indecisive and flighty.  He wanted to settle down.

She was still busy dating around and enjoying the company of men. He was already tired of going from one shallow relationship to the next and wants to start a family ASAP.

She was unsure of her future and is thinking of switching jobs for better job security. She lives in Singapore but is working with a work visa. He is happy where he is here in the Philippines.

And yet, he cried for her.

Because loss is a very powerful feeling.

No matter how incompatible we are, we react violently when that something gets removed from us.

It’s the same when I broke up with my last boyfriend. In fairness, I didn’t love or appreciate him as much when we were together. I didn’t treat him as good as I should if I truly valued him.

However, when he broke up with me, it was as if my world shattered. I didn’t know what to do. And I wanted him back, even though consciously, I knew we were not meant to be.

Funny how our heart does one thing, even though it knows it’s not the best thing for us.

Same with my friend.

He wanted her even though they really weren’t meant to be. If they were, she would have been more accepting of his love declarations.

That’s why, this is a lesson for us: Feelings are not the best indicators on whether we are a good fit for another person. Feelings can still fool us. In the end, we have to see through time and actions if the person is a good fit.

How about you? Have you lost something and made a big deal from it even though you know it’s not the right decision for you?

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Posted in lovelife, Marriage, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

When a man chases after a woman… but he’s not THAT cute

A man in serious like/love, who is ardently pursuing a woman, is a man on fire.

My friend, who is pursuing my female best friend, is such a man.

Since she lives in another country, when she came to visit, he picked her up from the airport even if her flight arrived at 5:00am.

He spent a lot of money accompanying her and her friends in Palawan.

When she came back to Manila, he accompanied her shopping and took her to nice restaurants. Two restaurants for dinner per day just for her to taste Filipino food.

And on the last day of the trip, he drove her back to the airport as if he was her personal chauffeur.

A man in love goes far and beyond to get the woman he wants. He spends so she is comforted, and tries to keep in touch so that she can get to know him.

He keeps on texting me and telling me what’s going on with his day,” she said. “It’s kind of weird.”

It’s true — when I was in Taiwan and Hong Kong, guys do not just randomly text you to tell you about their day. They do not stick to you like glue and want to be in your company wherever you went.

Actually, the last guy who did that… I married. As they say back, “Kung may tiyaga, may ginhawa…”(There’s success with perseverance).

Back home in the Philippines, where people aren’t particularly tall, guys get the girls with an outpouring of attention, charm and personality.

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Filipino guys are not particularly handsome. Their skin is usually mocha colored. They are not particularly tall and given our fatty pork diets, there’s almost always a belly.

But a Filipino guy is usually very charming sweet talkers. They know how to shower a woman with attention and to make her feel loved and cared for.

I asked my staff if they would give a man hope when he is in pursuit of her. They all answered, “Yes, if he will love and take good care of me.”

Filipinos are romantics, what can I say?

Unfortunately, my girl best friend is NOT Filipino. She is Taiwanese. Taiwanese women can be very practical.

And may be a bit superficial…

Since knowing my best friend, my husband has seen my friend get her heart squashed by multiple cute guys.

She briefly dated a cute young doctor whom she met in Boracay and had a passing fling. He lived in Los Angeles and she tried to keep in touch with him. In the end, he let her down by telling her he already had a girlfriend. JERK!

She dated a clean cut Korean consultant who had commitment issues. They broke up when she moved to Singapore.

In Singapore, she dated a New Zealander who kicked her out of his house for not cooking his dinner on time. In the end, it was his anger issues and their incompatibility that did them in.

Now, she’s dating around. Unfortunately, most of the guys she’s been seeing are a decade younger than her who don’t take her seriously. Older guys see her as too old. So she’s in a dating limbo where there doesn’t seem to be any better options out there.

Given the slim pickings, husband and I are betting on whether our Filipino friend will succeed in wooing my Taiwanese girl friend.

On one hand, she may not like him because he isn’t particularly tall (he is just my height) or slim. He’s not fat by any chance, but he’s not tall and slim. So if she is particularly superficial, she won’t really like him.

On the other, she is nearing 40 years old and has had her fill of tall yet arrogant assholes who don’t care about her. She’s already had a merry go around of men in Singapore, and the pickings for nice guys are pretty slim. She may give Filipino friend a chance just because he’s a nice guy who sincerely care about her and wants to take her seriously.

And while he lives in Manila and she in Singapore, his job can be remotely done and his talents are more in demand in Singapore than Manila. In short, it can work IF she wants too.

He has booked his flight to visit her in Singapore this November 2017.

Two days later, he’s changed his cover photo and profile photo to the following:

Profile

Uh-oh,” I called husband. “It seems our friend is busted…”

Your friend is kind of superficial,” my husband concluded. “Maybe it’s bad news.”

Apparently, friend couldn’t sleep the entire night last night because girl best friend was slightly discouraging. For men, chasing after women is a challenge, but only if there is hope. Maybe she has discouraged him from going?

Anyway, the story continues…. who will prevail?

Are women as superficial as we think?

We shall see…

 

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Friendship, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Bottlefeeding at almost 23 months

My baby is exclusively breastfed ever since she was born.

Despite me overstocking various brands of milk bottles, daughter refused to drink from the bottle. I had to sell all our surplus bottles just because she refused to drink if not from the breast. 

But surprise surprise, last week, she began drinking from the bottle!


Apparently, peer pressure comes at a super young age.

Our 22-month old daughter saw her classmates using the bottle, so she herself wanted to use the bottle too! 

And that is how, after almost two years, our stubborn daughter who refuses to drink anywhere but my breast started drinking from the bottle.

It’s true what they say: The child is ready when the child is ready…

Have a good week everyone!

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When husband calls

My husband calls me. 

He says he is hungry.

I look at my desk. Actually there’s still a lot to do. 

I find it a little bit unfair has the free time to roam around the mall while I manage the business. 

Our business. 

But I stop thoughts of negativity. Was it not also my choice that he takes care of our little girl so I can get things done?

So after a few minutes, I make a conscious choice of packing up some work home and leaving.

He is hungry after all.

And in times like these, we prioritize the husband. 

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My Yaya’s Key Performance Indicators

My baby has a yaya (nanny) who’s already been with us for a year.

Now, I’ve never really been too sensitive regarding dust or dirt, which is why I’m not too upset when she doesn’t really clean our living room. Anyway, her main job is to help us raise my daughter. Not clean the house.

But to make life simple, I have made official the three key performance indicators (KPI) I gave my yaya:

  1. Huwag mong patayin ang anak ko. 

In English, this means, do not kill my child.

Specifically, you have to watch over my kid and ensure that she enters no danger. You have to make sure she is safe at all times, and she doesn’t end up dead.

It only takes a few seconds of carelessness for a child to be damaged permanently. Her job is to ensure that my daughter is safe and protected at all times.

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2. Huwag mong walain ang anak ko.

This means, do NOT lose my child.

Whatever she does, she ensures that my child is returned home safely. This includes making sure she gets to school on time, gets home safe after school, and is looking after my child especially in large public places like the park or the mall.

3. Patabain mo ang anak ko.

This means, fatten my child.

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She needs to feed my child timely and with the correct nourishment. My child should not look as if she is starving, and should be well fed at all times.

How about you?

What is your yaya’s KPI?

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When Your Baby is a Picky Eater

Karma really is a b*tch…

Last year, people were asking for advice on what to do when their baby is a picky eater.

My baby, who was super fat at that time, did NOT have this problem. Just by exclusively feeding on my breastmilk alone, baby was considered obese and was scaling at the 96th percentile in terms of weight.

So, my haughty advice for fellow mothers was, if their babies don’t want to eat, then they could just let the babies be.

Anyway, babies being babies will NOT starve to death. When they are hungry, they will find food.

In other words, if baby don’t want to eat…

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Ironically, as soon as my baby started to eat solids, her appetite and her weight started falling down.

All she eats now for example is corn, nuts, beans, and a little bit of noodle/pasta.

She refuses to eat when fed. In fact, she would rather be self-fed.

We oftentimes have to convince him to eat or we turn off her TV.

In other words, what I used to chide other parents with, are now the same problems I deal with. Karma is truly a bitch, is it not?

Ha ha ha. Now the joke is on me.

Baby is still alive now, albeit thinner.

Till then, we will just serve her with what she likes. Good thing she likes brocolli!

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Will you compromise just a little bit if you’re not a spring chicken no more?

When I was dating my now-husband at 32 years old, my future father-in-law chided me, “But you’re not a spring chicken anymore!”

Spring

I wasn’t insulted as much as I was amused.

In the end, I had the last laugh.

I married his only son at age 33, had a child by the time I hit age 35, and still happily married at age 37.

My best girlfriend is encountering the same issues as I did. At 39 years old, she is gregarious, super sexy, easy going and yet very single.

So why is she still single, you ask?

Maybe it’s because of bad luck? She wasted a lot of time dating a string of idiots who was totally incompatible to her.

One was a Korean IT consultant who had mother issues and disappeared every time he felt stressed. Every time they would fight, he would literally disappear until weeks later when he would text her again to say hi.

The other was a Hong Kong teacher who wanted a housewife. He asked her to be at his beck and call, waking up early to go to the market to buy the freshest vegetables, cook for his lunch during lunch break, and then be waiting for him until he got back from school (work) to once again cater to his needs.

When she moved to Singapore, she dated a Kiwi dude with serious anger issues. He was stressed and anxious all the time, and wanted to be in control. Every time he wasn’t, he would shout at her. At one time, he told her to get out of his house, leaving her outside his apartment door crying, just because she got back late to cook him dinner.

Apparently, being late to cook him dinner was such a serious offense and is considered as her not caring enough for his health and well-being.

I would have dumped him right then and there — I am not a dog you tell to get out whenever you want to.

She spent an extra 6 more months with him.

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Now, she has another suitor.

Unlike her other boyfriends, he initiates contact and accompanies her when she goes shopping. When she was in town, he tried to spend as much time with her.

J makes me fat!” she would complain as he takes her to another nice restaurant.

On other days, she asked me why J was texting her all the time.

What does he say?” I ask her.

Well, he tells me about his day…” she replied. “As if I want to know that he went to a car club meet or to the gym.”

She must be the densest woman on earth!” my husband said. “She should know by now that J is interested.”

That’s what ligaw or courtmanship is here in the Philippines.

If a guy is interested, he will try as much as possible to get to know the woman. He will try to spend time with her and shower her with attention up until she agrees to be his girlfriend or break his heart.

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Most girls eventually give in if the guy is sincere enough,” my mom scoffed. “It’s just about enough time and effort.”

I don’t know…

Superficial as it may seem, J is not as tall or as fair. And he’s a bit stocky.

He snores…. LOUD,” my friend complained. “I’m a light sleeper so he keeps me up at night literally! I can’t sleep!”

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I wonder if heavy snoring is a deal breaker.

As a heavy snorer myself, I too have worried about finding love. I dated a dude before who was a light sleeper and he didn’t get enough sleep for the wrong reasons. Maybe that was why we ultimately broke up.

I hope not as J might be the last chance she has for a decent guy who truly wants to be with her for all the right reasons. Will she let her superficiality get in the way of true love?

He will go and visit her in Singapore this month (of November).

We shall see if she will welcome him, or will she turn him away.

At 39 years old, she is really no spring chicken anymore. And yes, because she is still pretty and sexy, she still gets a lot of male attention albeit more and more from guys who are 10 years younger than her.

We hope that she can find the love of her life. The only question is, is J it?

Abangan ang susunod na kabataan…

 

Posted in Friendship, lovelife, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Tips in Traveling to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat

We were at Siem Reap last weekend for my birthday. Here are some takeaways from our trip:

1. The flight and temple tickets were expensive. The rest were not.

We booked a direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap via Cebu Pacific. The flight was 3 hours long and we left on Saturday at 7:30pm, arriving in Siem Reap International Airport at 9:30 pm. We then departed Siem Reap back to Manila at 10:30pm arriving Manila at 2:30am on Wednesday, missing only 2 days of work for a 3-day vacation.

The airfare was expensive given a budget airport. We paid Php 18,000 net per pax. I understand we can find another place cheaper than Siem Reap, but hey, since Bali’s Mt. Agung volcano was rumored to erupt soon, we had to change plans and settle for Cambodia instead.

Ticket for a 3-day temple tour is at USD 62.00 a pax. However, aside from these large ticket items, visiting Cambodia is still relatively cheap.

2. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency at the airport or anywhere else!

In Siem Reap International Airport, you can exchange USD to Cambodian Reals at 3,850 Reals to 1 USD. Outside, the exchange rate in MOST restaurants is 4,000 Reals to 1 USD. Truth be told, the currency exchange in Siem Reap is making a lot of money.

Everyone in Siem Reap accepts USD. Actually, they prefer it. You will also get Cambodian reals as change when you purchase/buy something. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency.

3. Hotel rates in Siem Reap are relatively cheaper. Book a hotel with free breakfast. 

We stayed in the Suorkear Villa & Resort in a 2-storey villa with private pool, paying USD 420.00 (Php 20,000) for 3 nights and 5 adults. This is still cheaper than a 4- or 5-star hotel in Manila.

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The bedroom is nicer in the photo, but the service is warm and attentive, and the public pool is as beautiful as the photo. It’s a bit out of the way and requires a USD 3 tuktuk ride to town (Note: The resort does provide free tuktuk rides to town up until 10pm), but if you would like to stay in a relaxing place, Suorkear Villa & Resort is a nice reasonably priced hotel to book.

We really enjoyed our breakfast and free coffee refill. They served a variety of Asian and Western dishes which include Asian fried rice, Khmer curry noodles, Asian stir fried noodles, Cambodian noodle soup, pancakes, french toast, American breakfast, among others.

Suggest you try out their Asian fare than their Western’s. It’s more sulit!

4. Shopping in Cambodia is cheap.

Even inside the temples, shopping in Cambodia is cheap if you bargain carefully.

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We bought 3 pcs of t-shirts for USD 5. Pants were only USD 2 a piece. A drum that was marketed as USD 15 was let go for USD 6. To be fair, shopping is a joy in Siem Reap if you like their loose backpacker style.

Personally, I appreciated the products available.

Cambodia is VERY HOT and we went through at least 2 changes of clothes per day. We brought enough clothes to last us our 3 days but went through them by the first day of tour. Being able to shop for a cheap change of clothes was a godsend, and the products weren’t bad for the price you paid for!

5. That said, the weather in Cambodia was HOT!

We were sweating like pigs the whole time.

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I sh*t you not — my husband changed clothes 3x. He usually doesn’t do that in Manila.

Siem Reap weather is a lot like Manila’s — hot, humid but less air circulation. So you feel like you’re in a hot oven with nowhere to cool off.

Restaurants are open air and not a lot of establishments have aircon. We ate at several establishments but none of them were airconditioned. I guess, they take saving electricity seriously.

If you go to Cambodia, bring a change of clothes. Better yet, buy clothes in Cambodia!

6. Our 3-day itinerary:

USD Price
Saturday
7:35 PM 5J 257 Cebu Pacific Departure from Manila T3 to Siem Reap
9:30 PM Arrival at Siem Reap International Airport
Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort        410.40
Angkor High School Road, Sangkat Sala Kamreuk, Siem Reap Cambodia
Tel: +855 60 999 882
Check in: Oct 21, Check out: Oct 24 (1pm)
Sunday
Breakfast Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort
Can swim a little bit and enjoy private pool
Lunch Lilypop Restaurant (10am to 10pm) 717 Reviews
#20 Taphul Road, Siem Reap 17259 Chicken amok, spring rolls, lok lak, khmer curry,
Tel: +855 86 879 255 papaya salad, smoothie
Try Me (8:30am to 10:30 pm) 292 Reviews
Taphul Road. It’s the road beside Caltex Station Amok fish, Lok Lak, Cambodia Curry, pesto pasta
Tel: +855 17 419 343
After Lunch Meal Fresh Fruit Factory Fruits on french toast, ice mountains (mango+passion fruit)
#155, Taphul Road, Siem Reap
Tel: +855 81 313 900
Afternoon Cool Sense Spa
60 Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Magic Four-Hand Massage With Warm Herbal Linen USD 25 for 90 mins
Traditional Khmer Massage (60 mins) USD 10, USD 14 for 90 mins
2-Hour Specialized Package USD 25
http://www.coolsense-spa.com/
Free Pickup from Tuktuk
Dinner Spoons (11:30am to 10:00 pm) 521 Reviews
#142, Group 5 Pave Road, Wat Damnak Village, Mackarel, coconut chicken, beef skewers
Salakomreouk Commune, Siem Reap
Tel: +855 76 277 6667
Old Market Area
Between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou Street and Pokombor Avenue
Pub Street
Red Piano to order Tomb Raider Drink
Angkor Night Market (**If asking price is $10, ask for $3)
Can eat fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on cob, banana chocolate pancakes (from corner
closest to Warehouse)
Can try Baray Spa for affordable foot reflexology for only $2 n 1 hour
Monday
8:30 AM Happy Angkor Tour Pickup. Have breakfast already.        180.00
Tel: Mony (Tel: +855-92-900 000)
**Ticket to Temples at USD 62 per pax        310.00
Morning Angkor Thom Elephant & Leper King Terrace
Bayon Ta Prohm
Baphoun
Royal Enclosure
12:30 PM Lunch at Local Restaurant (Palmboo)
2:00 PM Angkor Wat
Phnom Bakheng to watch sunset view
6:00 PM Back at Hotel
Dinner Aspara Show: Koulen Restaurant
Includes Buffet dinner and show at USD 12 per pax excluding drinks          60.00
Tuesday
5:00 AM Watch Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Back to Hotel for Breakfast
Banteay Srei or Ladies Temple Banteay Samre
Sugar Palm Villages or Landmine Museum Pre Rup Temple
12:30 PM Lunch at Local Restaurant (The Hut)
Off Route #6 | Steung Village, Prasat Bakong District, Siem Reap 00000, Cambodia
Tel: +855 12 926 391
1:30 pm or 2:00 pm Tonle Sap Lake at Kampong Pluk Village OR
Grand Circuit Road: Prah Khan, Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Genevieve’s Restaurant 3968 Reviews
Bamboo Street Sala Kamreuk Commune, Siem Reap 3058
Tel: +855 81 410 783
10:30 PM 5J 258 Departure from Siem Reap to T3 NAIA
2:25 AM Arrival in NAIA Terminal 3

Downloadable Excel File: FINAL Itinerary – Angkor Wat Trip

7. Must Do in Cambodia!

For restaurants, must try dining areas are the following:

The Fresh Fruit Factory (Rated #1 in Trip Advisor)

Fresh Fruit2.png

Fresh Fruit

Order their lovely ice mountains and french toasts. We thoroughly enjoyed our Mango Ice Mountain (USD 5) and Alcoholic Coffee Ice Mountain (USD 6.5).

Worth every penny!

Lunch at The Hut Natural

Address: Off Route #6 | Steung Village, Prasat Bakong DistrictSiem Reap 00000, Cambodia
Tel: +855 12 926 391
Website: http://thehutnatural.com/
The hut.png
We ordered the fish with lime sauce and it was DELICIOUS! Very fresh, fat, and succulent and priced at only USD12 a fish.
We also ordered the other dishes — fish amok, lok lak, etc. but nothing was as good as the fish. What’s more, the fact that the restaurant consists of several nipa hut tents with cool air and usable relaxing hammocks as part of the decor helped aplenty!
Please please please add this restaurant to your itinerary! We did this restaurant when we were temple visiting. You won’t regret it.
It seems that Genevieve’s is an institution in Siem Reap. Managed by a friendly Aussie who dedicated the restaurant to his long gone wife, the food was above average, the price still reasonable and the service great!
genevieve.png
We were glad that we managed to squeeze Genevieve’s on our last meal.
The meats were tender and nicely cooked. We enjoyed every dish except for the beef in betel nut appetizer. Please skip this dish.
Yes, there were a LOT of tourists.
Yes, the food is not as much as the other restaurants.
But at USD 12 per pax, what do you expect?
koulen.png
We found the show to be impressive and well done, and we left the restaurant happy and fulfilled.
8. Overrated Restaurants
We didn’t like Lilypop Restaurant which was well-ranked in TripAdvisor.
lilypop
They didn’t have any stock of Khmer Curry and Fish Amok. The service was sloooooww. The price was average (not cheap), and the food was just okay.
As to why this restaurant was well ranked, I don’t even know.
TripAdvisor ranks it at #39 out of Siem Reap restaurants.
Over priced dishes with small servings.
Spoons.png
Relatively slow service with more arrogant waiters (compared to friendlier waiters elsewhere).
The food selection was limited and the taste merely okay.
We did not enjoy Spoons at all.
Given, the restaurant had a good ambiance but that’s the only thing it had going for it. To be honest, it’s a restaurant most Westerners will love, but there are other better restaurants elsewhere.
Please save your money and go elsewhere instead. Spoons is ranked #5 restaurant in Siem Reap.
Most tours will offer a tour of the Tonle Sap lake for USD 15 per person.
Tonle.png
The fee comes with a private boat and a tour of the stilted village at Tonle Sap.
The only great thing we saw was a small crocodile farm where you can feed it a small sized goose for USD 10. Not impressive at all.
Please skip this tour!
It’s not that it’s expensive. It’s more of, there’s really nothing special of huts on top of stilts. You came to Cambodia for the temples, so if I had to do it all over again, I would just do the Grand Circuit tour and visit Prah Khan, Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon.
Preah Khan Temple
prah kean.png
Neak Poan
second
Ta Som
Ta som
East Mebon
east mebon.jpg
9. The best time to go to Angkor Wat is when you are single and childless.
We had a senior and a toddler in tow. So climbing up the temples of Angkor Wat was not as easy for us. I think we would have had a grander time if there were no kids around.
survive siem.jpg
10. If you haven’t been, just GO!
This is my second time to Siem Reap and the place is as magical as it was before. The tourist industry is more mature and there are less annoying children trying to sell you useless trinkets for USD 1.
I hope that my commentary of Siem Reap will entice you to go. Despite the relatively expensive airfare, Siem Reap is a wonderful haven if you’re into culture and temples, delicious food and cheap items.
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Language Miscommunication

I asked why the stir fried beef noodles my family took home last night had no beef. 


We were in Siem Reap for a family vacation. I stayed at home to be with my sleeping toddler.

They laughed.

Your husband repeatedly told the waiter that he wanted the beef noodles, and he wanted it for take away,” sister-in-law said. “He kept on saying, ‘Take away! Take away!’

“So they took away most of the beef from the beef noodles.”

Oh.

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What did I learn from Touring the Slums (Part 2)?

Continuation….

7. It’s tough to be educated in Baseco.

There are two schools closely located in Baseco. The average teacher to student ratio is 1:75. When I was a child, the average is 1:45.

The big problem is not the student-teacher ratio. Personally, I feel that the largest problem is the road to school comes with a lot of temptations.

There are makeshift piso pay net centers in Baseco. A sample of Piso Net computers from OLX:

Piso pay.jpg

For many boys, it’s hard to stay in school if you are tempted with Php 1 for 5 minutes of computer and Internet use. That’s why, many piso nets do not allow children wering uniform to okay during schooldays.

There are many children who are also NOT in school in Baseco. How can you be encouraged to go to school if many of your friends are not, and are playing in their free time?

children.jpg

There aren’t a lot of children who would like to go to school. Many of them, given a choice, would rather play than study.

Given that many parents work to sustain their families, and there are so many kids per family, it’s really hard to monitor each and every child’s education. Given harsh circumstances, it’s better to ensure that the family is fed instead of ensuring the kids stay in school.

But there is less of a future to those who do not have good education.

Many kids in Baseco do not have the luxury of a good education. And hence, will remain in the cycle of Baseco till they too will have families.

8. There aren’t a lot of assistance from politicians.

The Baseco slum dwellers compared their experience with a Dutch NGO who brought 18 doctors, a lot of medicine, and ZERO media, to a very popular politician who went for a medical mission last year with 3 doctors and busloads of media.

Have you ever wondered why such charity is widely reported in the news? It’s because they  brought their own photographers to document the event!

villar.jpg

Here in Baseco,” they stated a matter of factly, “They (politicians) only come during elections. And if they come, for sure, they will bring media.”

That’s the sad thing: Everything is just a publicity stunt.

Filipino politicians care less about their fellow countrymen than the white doctors who flew in all the way from the Netherlands, brought medicine and gave it out for free, and saw 150 patients every day for 7 days.

And here lies the hypocrisy of the Philippines: We always tell ourselves that we should love our own. We should love our countrymen. And yet, we fail them when they need us the most.

9. Gina Lopez did a lot of good in Baseco.

Surprisingly, the people were very appreciative of Gina Lopez’ work in Baseco.

Her mangroves still live in the area. Systematically placed, they protect the dwellers from large tides and adds greenery to the trash.

mangroves.jpg

Gina built a community center, which ironically now has the name of Cynthia Villar on it. Technically, it was Gina Lopez’ project which Cynthia Villar finished. However, it is Villar’s name that is on the small building.

Much of the trash was cleared away though some remain. Garbage is collected twice a week in Baseco to keep the trash from piling up.

So authentic help is available for Baseco dwellers. It’s just that help came from the private sector, and not really the public one.

10. Pagpag isn’t something that’s eaten by all.

Baseco slum dwellers eat dried fish or mollusks, the latter of which can be bought from the local fishermen. They do not really eat the famed pagpag, which is leftover foods from restaurants that’s already thrown away but collected by scavengers to be recooked and sold to the poorer population.

Pagpag isn’t super expensive — around Php 20.00 can buy you a bag. Php 50 will get you a larger bag.

I saw where they sourced the pagpag,” our guide said. “It’s what the pigs eat.”

At the end of the day, many of the Baseco slum dwellers are still people, and they refuse to eat food fed to the pigs.  Still, it was good for me to ask and satiate my curiosity.

If you would like to see the slum tours by yourself, you can always sign up for Smokey Tours and they usually have a tour per request!

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Slum Living in Baseco Manila

We joined the Smokey Tours yesterday and visited the Baseco Slums in Tondo, Manila.

Baseco slums.jpg

The tours itself only cost Php 950.00 per person and includes a local tour guide and the transportation to/fro Carriedo and Baseco. Details and inclusions of the tour can be found here.

Here are some interesting things I learned from the Tour:

1. There is no running water in Baseco.

Water pipe installation cost money, money that Baseco residents do not have. Hence, many households are forced to buy water from neighbors who make water selling a business.

Tap water filling up a medium sized container is Php 5.00. A slightly bigger container is Php 12.00. Drinking water is Php 30.00. And water from the open deep well which is contaminated by trash and salt water is free.

water container.jpgPhoto credit: GettyImages

The water must be carried in plastic containers to the makeshift house for use. This is the water you use to bathe, wash the dishes, clean and drink. If you have some money, you can afford Php 30.00 to have drinkable water for your family. If you have less money, you can drink the water from the tap. If your really do NOT have any money, then the contaminated well will do.

2. That is why, common ailments for Baseco residents are diarrhea and asthma.

Without clean potable water, residents get diarrhea all the time. From the water they use to wash their dishes to the water they offer to their families, it’s not surprising how fast residents get sick despite already building up a strong immunity from birth.

baseco 2.jpg

Getting sick causes many problems. For adults, it can cause them to miss work, which makes them unemployable. For kids, it causes them to miss school and not be able to catch up with their fellow students. For younger babies, it can cause early death.

But how can you have clean water if there’s no faucet? And how can you have faucets if there’s no infrastructure for plumbing?

3. The residents poo in the water.

Without a proper plumbing or septic system, residents have no choice but to poo and pee in the surrounding water, which by the way, fishermen swim in to catch mollusks.

You can pay Php 5.00 to use the makeshift “toilet,” which is a wooden structure that hangs out to the side. Or you can just go to the water and poo/pee there, right by the edges of the South Harbor district of Manila Port Area.

By the way, the water is very close to the open aired deep water where residents get and drink free water.

baseco getty images.jpg
Photo Credit: Getty Images

No wonder sickness surrounds the Baseco slums.

4. The Baseco slums is HUGE.

Put it this way, there are 100,000 recorded residents in the Baseco slums.

The assumption is, this only counts the reported residents in the 56-hectared area.

The guide estimates that there are actually 200,000 residents in the area, counting in at least 30,000 households!

baseco 3.jpg

Janet, our guide, said that even as a resident, she can still get lost in the middle of Baseco if she is not careful.

5. Garlic peeling is a big industry in Baseco.

As residents lack the education to be competitive in the job market, many residents especially women fall into the job of garlic peeling using dull blades.

garlic

Each sack holds 14.5 to 15 kilos of garlic. Each sack takes an afternoon to peel and earns the peeler Php 50.00 per sack.

garlic peeling.jpg

While the acidity of garlic peeling burns the hands of the women, they still do it because at least, there’s a community of women who do it in Baseco. They can gossip, sing songs and enjoy each other’s company while garlic peeling.

Plus, it’s better than having no jobs. The money they make from garlic peeling, albeit small, can still feed their families, especially since many of them are the primary breadwinners of their households.

6. Despite their large sizes, households in Baseco do not have many breadwinners. Actually, many members of the households are unemployed by choice.

We talked to the elderly garlic peeler in the tour. She said she had 7 adult children living with her. When I asked why they do not help with garlic peeling so the family can earn money more quickly, she answered, “Kasi tamad sila. Walang trabaho.”

Translation: They do not help and are unemployed because they are lazy.

Alas, the biggest problem in Baseco is that many of the residents are NOT stably employed. Many of them stay in the house or in the neighborhoods making tambay (hanging out).

Maybe they do not have work because they are not properly educated — there are only two public schools close to the Baseco area, with an average of 1 teacher to 75 student ratio — but I think the bigger problem is that there is no incentive for children to study.

When I was a kid, my mom made sure we had the best tutors who will force us to study. My dad would hit us if ever we had a bad grade.

In Baseco, the parents have to work and are usually out of the house, leaving the children in the care of others. And while public school is free, children would still have to take the initiative in going to school. It is a long road from the house to the school, full of temptations to not go to school.

With nobody to ensure that they go to school regularly, many children do not finish school and end us underemployed just like many of their parents.

To be Continued…

 

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What to do when you encounter a crazy man who’s out to get you?

We went to a children’s party today. 

During one of the games, my husband who was babysitting (yaya was in day-off) sat our 2-year old toddler in one of the seats previously occupied by another kid when she stood up. 

The father or uncle who saw it got upset for the child. 

My husband did not notice the man’s anger and proceeded to win a small prize with our daughter. He did not know the man’s eyes was shooting daggers at him. 

The man aggressively went to my husband’s face and demanded an apology. Since my husband felt he did nothing wrong, he said nothing to the man and simply walked away with out toddler. 

The man then went to me, the wife, saying, “Your husband should say sorry. He pushed my daughter.” 

To which, I immediately said, “Well, if that is the case, I am sorry. Maybe it was just an accident?” 


The man still did not let the issue go. 

As the afternoon went on, he still continued to look heatedly at my husband and daughter. Of course, my husband simply ignored him. 

When my husband and daughter went back to me, he once again approached us, faced my husband and angrily said, “You pushed my daughter.”

“I already said sorry,” I said, inwardly laughing at how this man simply couldn’t let it go. 

Well he didn’t say sorry,” the man angrily replied, pointing to my husband who by the way was carrying our toddler in his arms. 

My husband paused and looked at him. Maybe for two seconds. 

Then he said, “I’m sorry.”

The man looked at him again. 

Then he slinked away. 

Anyway, how do you fight a man who refuse to take the bait? You can only fight a man who pridefully fights back. 

We continued enjoying the party. The magic show was on and we sat in front to enjoy the show. We didn’t see the man and forgot about him.

On our way out, we saw the man again by the entrance. He seemed to be waiting for us and his eyes followed us as we went to the parking lot. We simply ignored him as we carried our baby to the car. 

When we got to the car, we saw that the guy dented the front of our f*cking car!

The angry man kicked the front of the car and dented it. Photo of a similar dented car for reference:


Initial reaction of my husband was that he could fix it. He knows about cars and the problem isn’t big. The paint was still intact. The front bumper is made of plastic and could easily bounce back. 

My initial reaction was to laugh. 

Out loud. 

I couldn’t stop laughing.