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.

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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!

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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.

19-couple-fight-190712

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.

bring

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

fat child.jpg

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.

bad bf.jpg

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.

water.jpg

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!”

snoring.jpg

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.

Suorkear.jpgsuorkear 2.jpgsuorkear 3.jpgsuor.jpg

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.

shopping.jpg

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.

sweat.gif

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.
Posted in Advice, baby, Family, First Experiences, Food, Kid Problems, Lists, Personal opinion, Travels, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

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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.


This is the type of guy who shoots people in EDSA if he has a gun!!!” I laughed. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he still couldn’t let it go?!”

Okay, to be honest, it’s kind of a scary situation to be in. But I actually saw the humor in our sad situation.

My husband sighed and said, “I can fix it.”

I then told my husband that we should just get in the car and go. To hell with the angry man who couldn’t let it go. 

He has a LOT of anger issues. 

Maybe, he did this because he wanted to pick a fight. Since he couldn’t do it in the party, my guess is he purposely dented the car to have my husband come back and sock him, Maybe he was still in the entrance waiting for us to confront him. 

This guy thinks the world is street fighter! 


Wah, if he cannot let this petty issue go, imagine how much more enemies will he have in the future? 

If he cannot let an issue with a stupid chair go, and tries to pick a fight with a man who’s already said sorry, who by the way was carrying a 2-year old daughter and was babysitting the whole afternoon, then you can imagine what type of man he is!

That’s why I laughed.

Given the absurdity of his temper, he will one day pick the fight with the wrong person, who might retaliate hard and kill him. We don’t need to do anything to him right now…. given his temper, one day soon, he will get his revenge from somebody else!

That’s the problem of being angry.

Angry people always think they’re in the right. 

Regardless of reason, they cannot help but let the anger simmer because they feel the apology is fake, and still worsen the problem by trying to destroy your car! 

The heck dude?!

LET IT GO. 

It’s just a stupid seat.

It’s a stupid accident.

And there already was a stupid apology,

LET IT GO!

But he didn’t.

So we drive away laughing.

We laugh because we believe that karma’s a bitch and if he’s like this to us, he should consistently act like an asshole to a lot of other people too. 

We laugh because his denting the car proves that he’s the asshole, and not us. He has serious anger issues. 

And we laugh because I now have something to blog about. And that there’s really no shame to walk away — especially when you’re dealing with the crazy man we encountered today. 

And he’s a father too!

Oh well, how would we know?

Would you have done the same? Have a good weekend everyone!  

Posted in Family, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, First Experiences, Marriage, Ramblings, Rants, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Shocking Discovery

I was browsing through my husband’s phone yesterday since my phone battery already died.

Since we were traveling to Angkor Wat with family soon, I was checking out activities I can add to our itinerary. Given our destination, I wanted to check out massage and spa establishments in the area.

So I googled, “Angkor Wat massage.”

To my surprise, this came out.

Angkor

I tried several times but still, the same message came out. When I clicked, “Allow Website,” another page came out.

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The f*ck?

I asked husband about it after he woke up from his nap.

Why is the page restricted?” I asked. “I don’t have such restrictions on my phone.”

Oh,” he replied. He seemed embarrassed. “I turned on the child lock on my phone so that I won’t be tempted in checking out porn sites. Apparently, massage and spa are included in the filters.”

“Well, what’s the code?” I asked.

Oh, I just inputted some random code and completely forgot about it,” he said. “That means, I can’t log on even though I want to. Removes the temptation.”

“Actually, the child safe lock follows you around even after you migrate to another phone,” he helpfully added. “It’s quite a cool feature.”

When we were dating, my husband made a promise to me to minimize his porn usage and to not drink alcohol without my consent. His answer to controlling is to just removing the temptation completely. I was NOT aware that he carried out this promise to such extent.

After finding out, I smiled. I truly love this man!

love is heaven 2

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A Father’s Love

My uncle is a single parent with an adult daughter.

He was separated from his wife years ago, and has resorted to maintaining a slew of long-term girlfriends. The current girlfriend has been in his life for a decade already.

The sexy and pretty girlfriend is straightforward and hot-tempered. To put it simply, she has a strong personality and wants to be followed all the time. Thankfully, half of the time, she makes sense. Half of the time, the girl seems crazy and unreasonable. She is not beyond destroying household items for example when in a fit.

At first, the daughter was thankful that her dad wasn’t lonely anymore.

There is so much that a daughter can do to offer a father for companionship. Everyone wants to be loved. What’s more, since their ages wasn’t too far away, she was happy to have a sister and protector.

However, as years passed, this fondness turned to bitterness as the girlfriend wanted to become a mother figure and tried to tell the daughter what to do. Right now, after a host of negative experiences, they aren’t close anymore. In fact, they are acrimonious to each other.

Being lonely, my cousin found love online, thankfully, with someone who was dusty blond haired and green eyed.

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A cute 20-year old who thankfully has a job and is actually quite attractive. Fortunately, he found her cute too.

The only problem was, he lived in a European country.

So when an invitation came for her to visit him, , my young cousin begged her father for a chance to go. If you are from the Philippines, you will understand that it’s not easy nor cheap to get a Schengen visa.

But after months of begging, the tired father acquiesced. And he himself accompanied his daughter to Europe. And he saw in his eyes how her daughter fell even more deeply in love with the cute European.

The motions have set.

The dude did come for a 2-week visit in Manila.

Talks started for her to move to Europe on a sponsored resident visa.

And they both wanted to try to see if a relationship would work out.

The father cannot do anything to stop it.

Sure, he’s had his share of mistakes.

Maybe it’s the girlfriend so the daughter felt ignored and unheard. Maybe it’s his business that his daughter felt she had no place in Manila. Maybe it’s just the daughter falling in love with a handsome European man.

Regardless, she wanted to leave him and be with her dusty blond boyfriend halfway around the world.

And this is where the father’s love comes in.

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IF it was me, I would not give my daughter my blessing nor any financial support to go.

I don’t care if she’s unhappy for the rest of her life, I think she’s making a big mistake by going somewhere halfway around the world, and entrusting herself to someone she knows just by talking over the internet.

Call me crazy but yeah. That’s just me.

If he turns out to be a serial killer or domestic abuser, she does not have the family or financial support to protect herself. She will not be a citizen of that country and will have nowhere to turn to. It’s not like if they live in Manila, even though they are living apart from me, the dude knows that if he fucks her up, we can easily fuck him up, and will then treat her with at least a minimum amount of respect.

But in the European country, she will live with him. If the relationship goes to flames, she will have to find another place to stay. She does not have the same support system as she has back home where she can always just call, and someone WILL be there to somehow protect her. And if she gets pregnant, there is still a family to support her even if the boyfriend leaves.

Alas, she is naive and idealistic and romantic.

And the father loves her.

So despite his better judgment, after her crying and begging him to help her, he supported her getting a visa to live abroad. She is on the final stretch in getting the visa and he cannot do anything to stop her.

I don’t know if she’s making the right choice in moving to Europe. I do not know if my uncle is making the right choice in letting her go. But such is a father’s love for his child.

What about you?

Would you have let her go?

Posted in Boyfriend, children, Europe Trip, Family, Family Drama, Kid Problems, Parenthood, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quitting While You’re Ahead

Our store in Robinsons Galleria was the branch that started it all. 

It was the first branch we signed the contract on after my in-laws gave us the company to manage. We refurbished a brand new look and feel for our kiosk, and it became the jumping board in updating the brand. 

Last month. we pulled out. And was replaced by our direct competitor. 


To that, I say, wish them luck and hope that they do better than we did.

On one hand, I feel a bit bitter. That’s how you feel when your ex replaces you easily with another woman. No matter how incompatible you guys are, you’d still be somewhat hurt, 

It’s the same with this mall.

Foot traffic isn’t as much as it used to. At its peak, it was the go-to mall of everyone. That was before SM Megamall, SM North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia were not even as popular as before. We all used to go to this mall to hang out, watch movies and enjoy the free aircon.

But with new malls popping up every month, competition got really stiff and despite being in a nice location, people just didn’t go to Galleria as much. 

Do you think we made the right decision to leave the mall?” I asked my husband. “Do you think it’s like admitting defeat?”

“Well, do you think we can be profitable in this mall?” He pointedly asked. “Despite best efforts, do you think we can make money?”

“Not really,” I admitted.

Then they can have our spot,” he retorted. “Let them realize what we realized early on. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

It’s really tough to cut your losses. In a way, it’s like admitting defeat. That you cannot survive, and hence, you have to close shop and move on.

My in-laws remind me it’s a matter of economics. Sometimes, we hold on to something that doesn’t work because of sentiment. But sometimes, cutting loss is a much better decision. 

If you close shop, you cut down your expenses. To be fair, since evacuating, we were able to reallocate our resources and focused on our other existing stores.

Thanks to God’s blessing, our sales still remain the same levels. And we have saved up on rent and labor. 

So our competitor can have our slot. 

If they think they can make money in the mall, so be it. But not all that glitters is gold. 

And if you think something’s a rock, don’t keep on bumping your head into it just because you don’t want people to realize you’ve made a mistake in the first place. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Two Week Employee

We hired a Designer two weeks ago. 

He was in his 30s, worked for a food packing company, and could seem to do the job. He showed us his impressive portfolio and I liked how his designs seem professionally done and ready for printing. 

We each promised each other the moon. 

Two weeks later, after paying his two-week salary, we let him go. I let him go.


I think that as I managed the business, I developed an instinct for weeding out people that I don’t think will fit the company long term. 

What did I not like about him? 

For one, I like people with initiative. Staff who will work even with minimum supervision. 

This designer would work and make a good show for it. However, he requires me to look over his shoulder to do fast, efficient work. If I am not supervising him, he would be googling or prolonging the speed of the tasks. 

Two, he talked far more than he worked. 

This is a warning sign. After weeding out people who were loud and incompetent, I wasn’t ready for another loudmouth to come into our office and destroy the peace.

On his first day, he already told us his complete personal story. And he would make comments even though he didn’t have any background on the subject. What’s worse, when he talks, he stopped working. And people will also stop working to hear him talk.

Sorry, but I like to keep the office productive. He wasn’t helping in keeping the office productive.

Three, he couldn’t do the work properly and required you to tell him what to do. 

If he was a fresh grad, I will be more accepting of his faults. Fresh grads require more supervision and guidance. But this is a man who had years of designing experience, and boasted that works he gave his previous bosses were so good they were ready to be printed out. 

The last straw when he gave me work that was half assed.

I asked him to take photos of our products, clean them via Photoshop and submit them to me.

To my dismay, I saw that he took blurry photos, and then didn’t clean them. Instead he short cut the process and just lightened them but the dirt and specks in the background could still be seen. 

What’s more, he submitted to me the rushed botched job.

I told him that being a designer, he should have work integrity. This meant that he needed to know how to filter his work and submit drafts only when he feels they are good enough. 

There are two ways to look at this: Should we have given him more of a chance, or should we let him go if we feel that he might not be a good fit for us long term?

I chose the latter. When I saw the red flags, I paid what was due him and let him go. As you get older and more experienced, you feel that life is too short to tolerate incompetence and/or incompatibility.

Sigh. It’s so hard to find good people nowadays. 

Last week, we interviewed 17 people and didn’t choose anyone for the position. We are interviewing again this week. Wish us luck that we can find the right people we are looking for.

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When your husband buys an expensive tub of ice cream…

My husband wanted to buy a php381 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tub of Cherry Garcia yesterday at Rustan’s. 


Php 381 isn’t cheap. It’s almost the daily minimum wage of a waiter in the Philippines. 

I don’t think that an expensive tub of ice cream is worth the moolah since I feel they all taste alike. Like, how creamy can you get? 
But my husband was nice enough to take me to a restaurant for lunch I picked. And even though it wasn’t super great, he kept his mouth shut and went with the flow. 

So like husband who shuts up about my questionable restaurant choices, I shut up with his questionable ice cream tub. 

He happily opens the tub of ice cream and gives some to our daughter. They enjoy the rich, creamy vanilla ice cream with a mix of cherries and chocolate. 

I take a taste.

It’s not bad at all. 

I still don’t think it’s worth php381.00 a tub, but if it’s worth the smile in both of my loved ones faces, it’s well worth the money. 

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

How to Fight With Your Husband

If you’re with someone, it’s inevitable that you will one day fight with them.

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I personally have fought with my husband in our three years of marriage.

The biggest was during our first few months of marriage when I had a big meltdown in the middle of Ortigas Center, screaming at him and refusing to get out of the road even if it meant that I was at the risk of being hit by an incoming car.

Not my proudest moment.

But at the heat of the moment, I felt that that was a fight worth making. And if it meant dissolving our young marriage, then so be it.

What was the issue at hand?

It was that new hubby would not and could not put down his cellphone during mealtime. So even when we were having lunch, he would still be texting and Facebooking.

Hence, the meltdown.

We came up with a few rules of engagement that day. So far, in our brief marriage, these rules have kept us happy and sane. And I would like to share them to you so hopefully, your marriage/partnership will also benefit from our mistakes.

1. Keep fights clean and stay away from the Red Topics.

When we fight, we want to hurt the other person as much as they’re hurting us.

That’s why, we often go for the jugular, using vile words that we know should be off-limits, if only we can help ourselves.

They’re not bad words per se, but these are words that hurt the heart.

For example, if you know that your husband is always afraid that he cannot meet his father’s expectations, we cannot help but slide in the words, “And that’s why your father is always disappointed in you! You always fail to do what is right!”

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If he had an indiscretion he was truly sorry for before, we cannot help but say, “And that’s why I can’t trust you. You cannot help but cheat on me for every girl that shows you the littlest of attention!”

If he is having trouble at work and can’t seem to catch a break, it may be words like, “And that’s why you can’t find a job. You’re a good for nothing and nobody will ever want to hire you!”

Sadly, it’s usually our loved ones that hurt us the most. Because they always know the worst thing to say. And when they speak, the words cut to the core.

For my husband, the big red no-no words are threats that I will leave him and our marriage.

Say whatever you want, but never tell him that you’re leaving him.

Discuss the topics with your husband that are off-limits and KEEP THEM OFF-LIMITS.

Stay within the topic.

If you’re fighting about his inability to call you back, keep the fight to the fact that he’s not answering his phone. Do not bring his family, his job into the mix. The more you stay on topic, the better you can in solving the problem, which is why the fight is there in the first place.

2. Do not involve other people as much as possible. Discuss the problem with your husband directly. Solve it with him directly.

Divorces and separation become more likely once other people get involved. When we tell other people our problems, they tend to butt in on the smallest of issues and petty problems become mountains.

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I don’t like it when my husband complains about me to his parents. For example, I really don’t like to do the laundry, and I’m useless in housework. He knows this, and he cannot help but shake his head on my domestic ineptitude.

Sometimes, he cannot help himself.

During family dinners, he will once again mention that I don’t do the laundry. He said he meant it as a joke, but do it a couple of times and it becomes annoying.

So I told my husband to stop complaining about me to his parents. Marriage is hard enough and it’s crucial that we build our support system with the people around us. Even with my family, I build my husband up.

If there was a bad thing he did with me, I don’t go around complaining about him to other people. I deal them directly with him. Anyway, if I have the problem with him, complaining about them to other people will NOT solve the problem. If husband is the problem, only he can solve the problem.

3. Be very direct on what’s bothering you. Don’t beat around the bush.

Maybe it’s the way women are trained but we can be very passive aggressive when we’re fighting with our husbands. We don’t usually say what we want them to do, and instead, say many things that  has nothing to do with what’s bothering us.

If we are angry, we tell him to do whatever he wants, even though we want him to STOP doing what he’s doing.

And then get even angrier when he actually does it!

Ladies, let us tell them what exactly we want them to do. Men listen better to instructions, so we better be clear on what exactly we want them to do.

For me, I will usually tell him, “Stop complaining about me with your family. I only want you to say good things about me even if it kills you.”

In our house, we have the you-need-to-call-me-back rule. If we see a missed call from each other, we want them to call us back.

Keep instructions clear and specific. That way, we can get what we want.

4. Don’t ever bluff and say you will leave the marriage unless you meant it.

Many a marriages are destroyed because someone bluffs to leave the marriage, and the other person calls them out on it. Stop threatening to leave unless you’re actually ready to carry out that bluff!

It’s really annoying when you fight over petty things, speak words that wound the heart, and then threaten to leave at any time! Do that a few thousand times and eventually, your husband WILL leave you!

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STOP BLUFFING AND THREATENING THAT YOU’LL LEAVE YOUR HUSBANDS IF YOU CANNOT SUSTAIN YOURSELF. There might be a day that he will leave you. And there’s nothing else you can do than cry.

A breakup is not a joke. Do not bluff and threaten to break up with someone if you really don’t mean it.

5. Admit if you’re wrong. Apologize if you are wrong.

That way, you’re not the unreasonable bitch who’s always right, even though she is wrong. Pick your fights and make sure to remain sane and reasonable, so if you really are right, your husband will concede too.

Sometimes, we always want to get our way.  We want our husbands to give in with us all the time. Otherwise, we will threaten to leave (See Rule #4). Don’t do that.

If you’re wrong, say you are wrong and apologize.

That way, if you’re right, your husband will do the same too.

6. Always end a fight with a resolution!

When we fight, we always end our fights with a resolution. This is how resolution is defined.

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Finish the fight with the end in mind — in every fight, there’s always something that pissed you or him off, and you don’t want him to do it again.

Identify what is the root cause of the fight and resolve to avoid doing it again.

If there’s always a resolution to a fight, then a fight becomes worthwhile. If it stops you from getting pissed from each other, then a fight becomes a constructive fight. There’s a purpose to the fight, which is stopping you or him from doing something that upsets the other.

End every fight with a resolution, and if all fights end with a resolution that is kept, then you’re already on your way to a happy marriage.

Happy weekend everyone! Do you have any other tips on how to fight fair and square with your husband? Comment below.

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, First Days of Marriage, Life lessons, Lists, lovelife, Marriage, Personal opinion, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Biz Chronicles: My Stupid USD 1,200 Mistake

Fortunes are lost because of stupid 5-second mistakes.

I lost USD 1,200 (or Php 60,000+) over the weekend because of a stupid one.

I ordered a few boxes of goods for shipping to Manila. Usually, the boxes are heavy and are shipped by sea.

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The problem is, my shipper shipped it by air.

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When I was screaming my head off, the shipper just shrugged and said, “Sorry, but we shipped it by air because you didn’t write anywhere in the box that it is by sea.”

We have always shipped goods by sea. Our goods are not expensive but are bulky and heavy. Obviously, shipping should be done by sea. Not by air.

But it’s a Catch-22.

If we don’t pay the USD 1,200 bill, we won’t get our goods and we hurt our relationship with our shipper. Sometimes, you’d just have to chock these mistakes up by experience and grit your teeth.

The lessons here are:

  1. Not everyone has common sense. Make sure that your instructions are as fool- and stupid-proof as possible. Even the most retarded of employees should get it.
  2. In business, you win some. You lose some. Sometimes, I feel it’s better to be an employee. If you make a mistake, your boss will berate you but you don’t have to pay. This is a very expensive and painful mistake for me.
  3. Don’t take things for granted. It takes 2 seconds to write “Sea” in the box. I didn’t write it. Now, I have to foot the USD 1,200 bill.

Life is like that. Business is like that. If you make a mistake, you pay for it. So it’s better if you learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat it again.

 

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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. 

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Whoever said being a boss means bossing people around is LYING

My husband’s friend quit his cushy job to start his own business. 

Apparently, many believe that if you want to be a millionaire and be able to order people around, you need to have your own business. 


I don’t think I’m in the right business as I don’t order people around. In fact, I don’t even ask them to make me coffee. That’s technically not their job. 

Just today for example, I listened to my sales supervisors as they give their daily report. 

After reporting, I quickly made their payroll, and then interviewed around 15 people for a specific role. Because people were arriving en masse, I ate lunch late at 2:00pm. 

After I finished interviewing, it was already 6pm. I still had to pay some bills and edit a letter before doing two more interviews and heading home. 

Where’s me being the boss here?! Where is me ordering people around? 

No, being an entrepreneur means that you have to get the sh*t done and your hands dirty. It means doing things people don’t dare to do, and making calls people don’t want to make.

For example, I can always delegate the payroll for the head office. But I don’t. 

Why?

Because I don’t want my staff finding out how much each other earns. I believe this creates dissent in the workplace. 

When making job offers, I dictate how much everybody earns and are responsible on ensuring that the company pays what was agreed on. 

When hiring for the office, I do it myself. I interview, probe and make an offer. No other staff dare to hire on my behalf because they’re afraid to make a mistake. 

I don’t. 

If something isn’t finished, I stay up the latest to finish it. 

If my sales staff’s payroll is not done correctly, I make sure I stay behind and do it right.

If I fire a staff, I take the brunt of it. I listen to them cry and wail and complain but I stand firm on my decision. 

It doesn’t mean that I do everything myself. Quite the contrary — I have multiple people to supervise sales, and I delegate what I can.
But it doesn’t mean that I stop working, not does it mean that I sit on my desk and order people around. I don’t know a lot of bosses who have such luxury, and a boss who is not hands on will soon find himself in a bad position and made a fool.

So yes, I’m a boss. 

But it doesn’t give me the right to boss people around.

In fact, being a boss is a HUGE responsibility. 

It’s so huge because so many people trust you to steer the company in the right direction and grow it well. Because they’ve staked their livelihood and their families on you. 

For me, this is what being a boss is really like:


Being at the front when business is tough, and making sure that people are working hand in hand together to achieve a common goal.

How about you? What for you is being a boss?

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Inertia stops you from succeeding

Three years ago, when husband and I got married, my in-laws gifted us with a small, fledging retail business. “This will be your bread and butter,” they said.

I looked at the numbers and quickly became concerned. Rent was high and labor costs weren’t cheap either. And while 11 stores were not a laughing matter, the cash burn was higher given the revenue was hard fought. 

Our items were wants, not needs. And while everyone needs to eat, luxury and accessories were the first thing they cut when things got tough. 

But a gift was a gift, and very much appreciated. Anyway, nobody says no to a gift and if you look her closely, this fledging business could easily turn into a gem if you worked wisely. 

We accepted the gift with open arms. Happy that our in laws gave us fishing rods instead of fish.

I told my husband then we needed to expand. Given overhead, 11 stores were not enough and we had to increase our number of stores to spread our costs. 

So in a span of 3 years, we doubled our size and our revenues. Sure, we increased our costs but the revenue increase off settled our bills. 

Slowly but stably, our bread and butter is becoming just one. People were starting to know our brand and we were feeding more families.

And now, at the crux, lay another challenge: how do we grow? How will we be bigger? How can we make more money?

Expanding to 20 stores was great. We needed to do this to be stable. But 20 stores isn’t enough. We still had to grow to survive.

That’s how business is: you are only as great as your people. And your people will work hard if they think they are working on a goal bigger than themselves.


When people are challenged, they push harder. 

They persist and achieve more.

And it’s only when your people move beyond their comfort zone can a company achieve great things. 

That’s how Tesla achieves great things… it’s not when people are stable and comfortable. It’s when you challenge them to achieve the impossible that ridiculous things become a possibility.


Our company is NOT a Tesla. It’s not a Facebook or a Microsoft nor will it rank in any business magazine in the Philippines. 

Our people are not rich. We don’t have stock options to give them to make them millionaires. We ourselves are struggling so they struggle along with us.

But we are in a better place than 3 years ago. 

We have a nicer (and still modest) office. We have hired better staff and have come up with systems so we can expand further. Now, my people look up to me for my guidance. To help me help them enrich their lives.

I am scared. It’s scary when you do something you don’t know. 

I might fail, and nothing scares me more than failure. I’d hate my in-laws wagging their fingers at me saying, “See? That’s what happens when you get too greedy.”

But I’m not greedy.

If I was, I wouldn’t be in business. There’s too much headaches one must get into before achieving wealth.

But I am practical. 

And we must grow.

So wish me luck — wish me wisdom so we can grow. Because inertia is our biggest enemy. And we mustn’t let it win.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Updates: A Cranky Sunday

The entire household has the cold.

Yaya was patient zero.

Then came baby girl.

Hubby got struck yesterday.

And I’ve been experiencing mild sore throat today. 

Baby girl can’t go to school due to the cold. When she sneezes, she gets sent home.

Husband becomes weak and cranky when he’s sick. “Can’t you be more considerate and stop talking?” He said as he slunk home.

For me, I still have work to do. Payday’s tomorrow and I have yet to prepare the payroll. Poor me.

Hope everyone else is having a better Sunday!

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Interview Chronicles: Top 5 Red Flags when Interviewing

I’ve interviewed thousands of people since our business is in retail and we have been expanding. 


When I interview, there’s a few red flags I look out for. The biggest bombs come after the question, “Why did you leave your last employer?” 

Here are a few red flags I look out for when I interview. When I hear them, I don’t hire the candidate. Take a look and see if you agree:

1. “For greener pastures or “For career growth.”

I like people who tell it to me straight. There’s few things I like less than bullsh*t, and when you answer that the reason for leaving your previous employer is for career growth, you’re not telling me the entire truth. 

People leave because they’re unhappy about something. Maybe they’re unhappy with the pay, their coworkers or with how they’re treated. These are completely valid reasons to leave a company.

But when you leave a company because of career growth, it shows me two things: 1) Your capability limits your growth in your previous job, and 2) You’re most likely to show little loyalty and run after the money. 

The first point possibly means you cannot climb the company ladder anymore so you’ve decided to shift gears. As I know there’s always a demand for reliable and competent people, you having reached the top of the ladder means that’s how good your work is. And if your boss hasn’t promoted you yet, there must be some good reason for it.

The second is most likely, you’re a job jumper. This means that every 1.5 to 2.0 years, you jump into another company because they’re offering you a little bit more money. This shows a lack of loyalty, grit and compassion for your employer, qualities I don’t like in my people.  If you’re bribeable to change jobs for just a few thousand bucks, I wouldn’t want you with us lest you dump me for another higher paying employer.

2. For personal reasons (e.g., mother got sick, family asked you to go home to take care of some legal issue, you got pregnant, etc.)

True. 

Life is unpredictable and bad shit happen all the time. People get sick, get hospitalized and die. There will be tragedy and unfortunate accidents, and such occasions call for you to deal with them properly.

But you don’t quit your job because of some personal issue. In fact, you should NOT quit your job when these issues arise.

Why?

Because you need funds to tide you over. 

If you have money, you can pay for your mother’s hospitalization bill. You can support your kids even if your husband leaves you. You can pay someone else to take care of your kids while you work.

While money is not the answer to your problems, it’s still a great way to help you with your problems. If you have money, many problems go away. If you don’t have money, you’ll feel powerless and you won’t have the financial artillery to get you through.

So if you have personal problems, deal with them. Don’t quit your job.

And if you quit your job because you’re dealing with a personal problem, chances are, you’re probably the sole responsible breadwinner of the family who can’t stop but save his/her family member when they’re in trouble. You don’t have the healthy support system to help you through.

If that’s the case, come the time there’s a next personal crisis, you will once again quit your job and now it’s me who is hanging.

3. My employers treated me unfairly. I should get this or this pay, or this or this benefit.

Sure there are bad employers out there who abuse their people. But given the strictness of the government, these very abusive employers are a lot less than you think. Instead, I’d like to think that many companies have a minimum set of standards that they uphold to. In other words, the abuse many employees believe they’re in just lie in their heads.

I don’t say this very lightly. In fact, I empathize with employees who have clearly been abused by their employers. As I’ve said, there are a few bad companies out there. But most of the time, the complaints staff have over their previous employers are not exactly valid.

Many applicants complain about the lack of benefits. But it’s the understanding of what benefits are mandatory or are merely icing on the cake that’s the problem. 

For example, staff complain about the lack of benefits. But upon further questioning, it turns out that they are complaining a lack of health card or HMO. However, the mandatory benefits are SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig. HMO card depend on company policy, tenure and need. They’re great to have but it doesn’t mean that if the company doesn’t offer HMO yet, they’re already an evil employer.

Many employers offer HMO but with good reason. My husband’s company offers accident insurance because the job is risky and they’ve had people who lost a finger or two while on the job. Many BPOs offer HMO because the graveyard shift screws up with your body and makes you easily susceptible to sickness. But if the company doesn’t offer HMO, it’s not a deal breaker. 

Some employers complain that their salaries hadn’t been increased every year. Their families and needs have grown and yet, their salaries had remained stagnant following only the minimum wage. 

Technically, companies need to follow the minimum wage. Above that, salary increases per year are not mandated by law. As a waiter for example, your salary follows the minimum wage for as long as you are employed. The wages do not really increase the longer your tenure, but they will be increased if you take on additional responsibilities or get promoted.

In short, salaries are rightfully based on performance and output. If you are good, I don’t need you to wait for five years before your salary is increased. I should increase it already after a certain period especially if I don’t want to lose you. However, they are not based because your wife gave birth to another child, or your husband lost his job. 

That’s why I don’t want to hire people who wrongfully complain about the pay or benefits they should have. Aside from what is dictated by law, there are no shoulds. And if you want to have that salary increase, don’t act like the victim. 

Take control of the situation and work harder and better. 

Then money will naturally follow.

4. “I do not get along with my boss / co-workers. They think I am (insert criticism here).”

If you complain about your previous boss or colleagues, more often than not, you’re the problem. Not them.

Again, there are some employers who are truly bitches and awful. But if you can’t get along with most of the people working in the companies you used to work for — mind you, the word is companies — you’re probably the problem. 

And I don’t want to have toxic, complaining and negative people to be part of my team.

5. If you did not leave properly.

Companies all have a set notice period. 

The standard in the Philippines is 30 days notice, but some places do allow for 15 days. There aren’t a lot of companies who will allow you to leave without putting in the notice period as you leaving immmediately causes operational disruption and a lack of turnover. 

So if you left without resigning and clearing properly, it sets off a big alarm that you’re the type who has no qualms in leaving other people hanging. If you’re unhappy, you leave. If you don’t feel like working, you don’t go to work.

If you are unhappy with your job, will it kill you to work for 15 or 30 more days to properly turnover your tasks and clear yourself properly? 

It won’t, right?

Why then would you just wake up and not come to work because you are unhappy? It shows irresponsibility, immaturity and unreliableness that I don’t like in anybody I hire.

There are many other red flags I look out for. But these are the top 5 so far.

How about you? What are your top 5 red flags when it comes to hiring people?

Posted in Business, Conflicts, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Interview Chronicles, Lists, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To the best band there is… I’m so sorry and I cry with you…

My husband shook me awake last night, “Linkin Park is dead.”

“What do you mean it’s dead?” I groggily asked. Mind you, I was already half asleep by then. 

He showed me the article, “Chester Bennington is dead due to suspected suicide.”


My heart dropped. How could it be? 

I thought it was a hoax until I saw the article from TMZ. 

I still couldn’t believe it. 

Of all people in the group, how can lead singer, the one who makes a Linkin Park song sound like Linkin Park pass away? It’s because of Chester’s voice and passion that I fell in love with the band. I am a big fan since they released “In the End” back in college.

https://youtu.be/GXLVzQ1Q4Ng

I became an even bigger fan when they released Meteora and launched the singles, “Somewhere I Belong” and “Breaking the Habit.”

My love affair with Linkin Park grew that they could do no wrong. Their album Reanimation was on repeat when I was in Hong Kong. Back when I was wallclimbing, I had “Pushng me Away” and “Numb” on repeat. 

When I was at work, I can be mesmerized by “Krwling” and the song made time fly by. 

I was ecstatic when they were featured in two Transformer movies. In a way, it was as if I was sharing my favorite band to the mainstream market, as if they needed even more fans. 

Linkin Park was a band that was somehow rock, pop, alternative and yet mainstream. Their music touched those with depression and angst. They reached out to the forgottens and the rejected. Personally, I just love their music. The rawness of it. The strength of their lyrics, and the musicality on how they put everything together.

Linkin Park is probably my only consistent favorite band.

I was such a big fan that they’re the only band I have committeed to see when they’re on tour and I’m in the same city. So far, I’ve already watched them in Hong Kong, London and Manila and I was ready for more.

Even though their concerts had less special effects and costumes than for example, that of Katy Perry, they had a lot of heart and brought passion into each performance. Nobody was lip singing at their concerts. They always gave it their all and brought true realism in every song.

I am dumbfounded, saddened and affected by the news. There is no one like Chester Bennington and a part of me died when he passed away. I don’t know if there is a Linkin Park after this tragedy, and I am oh so sorry that he passed away so soon.

R.I.P. Chester Bennington

What’s your favorite Linkin Park song?

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“Your Child is ‘Matigas ng Ulo’ (Hardheaded)”

My daughter’s teacher has been complaining about our 19-month old child. She said that our kid is strong-willed and hard headed.


The teacher also said that she has a tendency to hurt herself when she is frustrated. According to the teacher, our baby goes dabog dabog (pull a tantrum) when she doesn’t get her way, stomping her feet in frustration.

This unfortunate news was met with shock by the husband and the grandmother. 

They don’t know our kid!” they exclaimed. “She’s not even 30 and don’t even have kids. How can she be a good judge on whether a child is hardheaded or not? All kids her age are the same way!”

That’s what parental love is — if other people criticize your child, you become a protective tigress and immediately defend them. 

In my husband’s case, he can’t help but think that the teacher is picking on our kid, singling her out. “She’s been complaining about her over the last two days,” he said. “Does she complain about other kids too?”

My own mother is at a loss too. This is the first time a teacher has actually criticized my child. Most of the time, teachers love and adore her.

To be honest, I am a bit surprised too. 

My daughter is sweet and helpful. She is very active and likes to learn. In class, she’s usually in front listening intently to the teacher. And while she is stubborn and opinionated, a little bit of personality does not hurt anyone. 

Do you want a pushover for a daughter?” my husband asked. “You said you wanted personality. Well, you got personality.”

Personally, I think being defensive is an automatic reaction by any parents who love their child. It’s easy when other people adore our kids. It’s hard if other people don’t like our kids as much. 

I think maybe the teacher doesn’t like our child as much. In defense, our child doesn’t lean towards her as much with the other teachers. While she can easily show affection to other people, she is a bit wary with this one, which may cause the teacher to single her out. 

Regardless, I’d like to believe the alternative — that the teacher is telling the truth and our kid truly can be stubborn and hard headed. She is our firstborn daughter and the first grandchild after all. 

If that’s the case, this might be an eye opener for us. That our daughter may not be as sweet as we think she is, and we may have to adjust how we deal with her a bit so that she won’t turn into a complete brat. 

In the end, we chose our school for a reason. They chose their teachers following strict standards, and we have to respect that these teachers know exactly what they are doing.

It’s very tempting to paint the teachers as the bad guys. That they are wrong and we know our children better. 

But if we fall into that trap, we don’t do our kid or ourselves any favors. If we think we can do better, why don’t we homeschool them ourselves?

The truth is, we can’t do it better. 

We aren’t trained teachers and we don’t have the time to teach our children. The school has been there for decades and the teachers are properly trained and must follow a strict curriculum. 

Teachers deal with a lot of children everyday. 

Because they observe a lot of kids, they can see disturbing patterns earlier. If left unchecked, our daughter might become increasingly difficult. 

So even though the news is hard to accept, I thank the teacher for opening our eyes. For bringing this to our attention. 

Again, teachers are not the enemy. They are our partners in teaching our kids academic knowledge and common sense. It’s critical that we work together to maximize our kids potential.

How about you? Do you get defensive when your own child is criticized?

Posted in baby, children, Early Learning, Education, School | Tagged | 2 Comments

Interview Chronicles: This must be one of the most unfortunate women in the world…

…So who really died? 😭😭😭

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Interview Chronicles, Philippines, Work | Tagged | Leave a comment

I’m happy I had kids late

There’s a lot of young mothers in Manila. Many of them already have one child as teenagers, often due to callous attitudes towards contraceptive and the ignorant belief that that getting pregnant will not happen to them. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/embed/p053y66t/40060748

I got married at 33 years old, got pregnant at 34, and had my first baby at 35. 

Compared to many mothers in the Philippines, I’m a dinosaur. I have crows feet in my eyes and I can’t carry my baby for prolonged as much as I want to, 

Is it because of age? 

Not really… we have a yaya/babysitter who takes care of my baby in the daytime while we work. I personally prefer she carries my baby as I usually have something to do in the morning. I take care of my baby at night as yaya gets her rest. 

My husband’s only regret is the age gap. He is 39 years old now, and fears that by the time our little pea gets married, he will be a senior citizen. I on the other hand wish that to be the case. Honestly, I hoped she will get married in her 30s like her mommy.

This is a weird belief back here in Manila. Most people prefer to get married in their 20s. The median age for my friends to get married was at 26.

Marry before 26 and you’re considered a young mother. Do note that we graduated at the age of 21, so that’s 5 years in the workforce. You’d probably been dating your boyfriend for 3-4 years and feel that it’s time to take the leap.

Marry after 28 and you’re no longer a spring chicken. That means, future in-laws question your ability to reproduce grandkids and everyone wonders why nobody snagged you when you were younger, implying that maybe, something is wrong with you.

I have no excuses. I had a great single life!

Like all my peers, I graduated at 21. My 20s was a complete blast as I spent it living in three cities: Taipei, Hong Kong and London, 

I had tons of fun. 

While I worked hard in the daytime, I had an active social life. I would have dinner with various friends and people had to book me two weeks in advance to get a slot. From Tuesday’s to Sunday’s, my friends and I would go out and have fun, often starting with dinner, topping with drinks, dancing from 11:00pm to 2am, and then going to KTV before having breakfast at 6am at NY Bagel in Ren Ai Road.

I am surprised I didn’t get fat or pregnant from my adventures. Admittedly, I ate too much and tried to kiss a lot of dudes. 

Tried here is the operative word. Thanks to my dad’s strict upbringing, I couldn’t really get myself to sleep with anybody. I couldn’t really wrap around why I can just lose myself to a dude I don’t even know just because he’s cute.

But making out is fine. In fact, if you break up with someone, make out with someone really cute that evening. It’s a better way than indulging yourself to gallons of ice cream and is great in boosting your self-esteem and getting your groove back.

I wouldn’t be able to have such fun or move countries if I had a baby. In fact, one regret I still have was not getting my MBA in the US. My then boyfriend discouraged me as he didn’t want us to be too long distanced.

As we broke up, on hindsight, I should have taken the chance to get my MBA overseas. Oh well, lesson learned. 
I think there’s always a time for everything: a time for fun and a time to get serious. A time for dating around and exploring yourself and a time to settle down. A time to have a baby and a time to grow your business.

As a working mother, I honestly don’t have a lot of time for friends. To be fair, they don’t have that much time for me either. They’re also very busy with their families and their work. 

As I near my 40s, it’s very tempting to look back and see what I could’ve done better. 

I thank God everyday for my daughter, and appreciate the fact that He allowed me to get married late and live life to the maximum. I wouldn’t have had that much fun if I had settled down and had kids earlier. 

What’s more, I thank God that she is normal, as everyone has been warning me of the many dangers of having kids later in life. I thank God He has spared me of this hardship on my first child, and I hope He is gracious enough to bless me with a second who is normal as well.

Everyone’s life is different. Some prefer to have kids later. I’m fine with my own life schedule. 

How about you? When did you settle down and had kids and are you glad of your life timeline?

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How can you work if you are hungry?

I had a staff member start working for us last week. 

According to her, she was living with her aunt in Caloocan, and the aunt was forcing her to find work. “I only have php 5.00 in my pocket,” she said with tearing eyes. “I have to find a job.”

I hesitated to give her an offer. People who are destitute usually find it difficult to keep working, often because they don’t have the money to commute to work or to sustain themselves. They usually have many financial problems and have to resort to debt at usurious rates to live. The small money that they make are used to pay for a high interest, and once you’re in debt, it’s so hard to get out of it. 

Against my better judgement, I had her start last week.

I later found out that she walked to work. Given her call time at 12:00pm noon, she woke up early and walked three hours to get to the store. When she got there, she was tired and hungry and was so exhausted to work. 

She didn’t bring anything to eat, Ma’m,” my supervisor reported. “She had no money to buy food.”

Given her sorry state, she wasn’t able to sell anything. In fact, she came to work for 3 days and sold nothing at all.

It’s hard for people to sell if their stomached are empty and their mind is light due to hunger,” my supervisor said. “I even asked Myra to bring some extra food just to share with her.” 

Managing a business is a big responsibility. Presently, we are supporting around families and providing people their livelihood. Through their jobs, our people find confidence and security, and have a chance to raise a good family and to arise out of poverty.

But at the same time, it’s hard to help everyone else. A business is not a charity and it hopes that people can perform. And it’s hard to sell if you are hungry and exhausted. 

In the end, the girl left work. As predicted, she didn’t even last 5 days and she couldn’t sell. It’s hard to sell if you have nothing in your pockets or your stomach. 

This is one of the more heart breaking parts of our business. That you encounter people who need work BUT cannot work. They cannot perform or deliver, and hence, remove themselves out of the workforce. 

And without a job, you have no money. And without money, you have many problems. You want to help, but you can’t help everyone. All you can do is provide them with an opportunity and hope they can make it.

It’s days like this that make managing a business hard. But we trudge on as so many people are still depending on us.

Have a good week everyone!

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Review: Bijin Nabe Hotpot in S Maison Mall

We were at Conrad Hotel’s S Maison Mall for dinner last night because of the Toy Convention, and had the opportunity to try two of their restaurants: Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo Hotpot Restaurant and Tsujiri Macha for desert.

There were no reservations available given the weekend and the lines were particularly long. Paradise Dynasty has a 1-hour waiting list (I kid you not), China Blue was fully booked, and we were lucky to try Bijin Nabe after a reasonable wait.

The restaurant itself is surprisingly small. As you walk in, there are one row each of tables to your left and the right, and that’s it. There’s only one passageway from the entrance to the end of the restaurant. 

Everyone was required to order the hotspot. If you ate there, franchise rules indicate you have to order their special chicken collagen hotspot (php750 for two pax). 

For a table of 8, that means we are required to order (4) hotspot servings. That’s php750 x 4 = php3,000 right off the bat.

Yup, they look like taho or rubberized breast pads to me…

The set includes some vegetable, two types of mushrooms, tofu skin, a few pieces of corn, a row of seafood ball mix, and an order of noodles or rice which is served last with a free extra helping of collagen soup.
It looks like a lot but it’s not if you’re sharing for four people. The chicken inside the pot is only 4-5 pieces, barely enough meat to eat. You can’t order extra meat for the chicken soup as the option isn’t available in the restaurant. 


As you can see, the chicken collagen quickly heats up and turns into soup. A small sake cup of soup is served to you by your waiter. He will also help prepare the seafood ball for you at your request.


The good news is, the soup stock is delicious. It’s rich, hearty and very yummy. Even my daughter who is a picky eater couldn’t help but slurp the soup. It’s THAT good. It’s probably one of the best chicken soup in Manila. 

The bad news is, the hotspot itself is NOT enough to fill you up. You really have to order the side dishes to complement your meal, and order we did.

The Nikumaki was a good appetizer. It’s a rice roll wrapped in thinly sliced meat. We cut each piece in 4 pieces and shared. It’s delicious too. 

The chicken with leeks was nice, but at php260, we were expecting bigger.
We ordered the original Chicken Nanban (php295) which was good. I especially loved the creamy egg sauce. Masarap I-ulam with plain rice. 


Just a reminder though, each other is 5 medium sized pieces which again is not enough, unless only one person is eating this as a viand.

We also ordered the prawn fried rice which was the only disappointment for the night. The serving is small, the taste is bland, and it’s like fried rice served in a local carinderia. Please skip the fried rice and order plain rice instead if you wish.

We finished everything. Well almost everything as the fried rice was left half finished. When we were done with the hotspot, we were given an extra serving of soup and mochi noodles, and we finished all of that too. In the end, it was a decent meal with small servings. So even though every dish is still reasonably priced, in the end, because serving size is small, you still have to order a lot which will still rack up your bill.

In the end, we enjoyed our hotspot experience. I don’t know if it’s enough for u to travel all the way to Conrad for, but I do know Bijin Nabe is still better than many of its neighboring restaurants.

The service needs some work and the servings need to be bigger, but hey, you go there for the soup and it’s not a bad thing to make your customers wanting more. In the end, I will still recommend you guys to try, albeit go on a weekday when it’s not that long of a wait. 

Recommendation: Go and try it. Bring extra cash. 

Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo

2/F, S Maison Mall, Conrad hotel

Tel: +63 2 809 1268

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No means no

My daughter is 18 months old. 
And for an 18-month old, she has a good memory. 
Just imagine, two months ago, we brought her to Kidzoona Robinsons Galleria. 
Today, as we go to Galleria, she holds my hand and tugs me back to Kidzoona.
We have yet to have lunch so I say no. As a result, she is at the floor, crying her eyes out. 

No daughter, we will eat first. And then go to Megamall, and there, I promise you will play.”

Of course, baby girl doesn’t listen. In fact, she continues her tirade on the floor. I bring her in Pancake House where her favorite food, spaghetti, is on the table.


Nope, no banana. Instead, she continues her tantrum, stands up and stomp her feet. 

She does so while I eat, yaya eats and we finish our food. 
Afterwards, when she is exhausted, she finally stops, and then quietly eats. 

She doesn’t eat a lot, just a few strands of spaghetti, but she eats. 


Disciplining is a problem because if her father or her grandmother was there, they would bring her to Kidzoona if she cries.

Oh well, I’m neither her father or her grandmother. So no means no. 

Am I ashamed of her tantrum?

Not really. I know I will vindicated when other people watching us start having toddlers. 

What’s more, it’s important that the child understands that they don’t always get what they want. 

I think there should be less tantrums in the future. 

Good luck to me!

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HR Mode On

Since my HR assistant left, I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing and orientation. My heart breaks whenever I see another single mother who’s been beaten or cheated on by her ex boyfriend, and cannot seem to get her sh*t together.

You have to be on the ground to really understand just how sad the Philippines can be. You don’t really see it when you window shop or eat at BGC. You see it when you talk to these minimum wage earners who’s dragged down by life.

I feel bad because often times, it’s their own fault on why they’re in their mess,” I tell my husband. 

They knew the guy was an irresponsible good for nothing and they still had multiple babies with the dude.

They knew the job was merely temporary and yet, they still tried the job and left once their 5-month contracts ended.

They left their previous jobs for the stupidest of reasons, only to stupidly jump into another job. At the end of the day, the job’s fine. It’s the applicant who is not.

They knew that they have to work to feed their family. And yet many of them abandon the work because of family, only to borrow money to find another job because their family can’t survive if they don’t work.

They make wrong decisions in their personal lives and suffer greatly as a result. 

Many people are poor and suffering. But many poor people can also improve their lives with enough hard work. Money doesn’t just come to the lucky but also to those who work hard for it. But often times, many Filipinos don’t want to work hard.

I’ll try to expedite finding an HR personnel before I go out of my mind.

Cheerios. 

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Late Night Discovery

Some good and bad news:

Bad news: I’m not yet pregnant. Even though so many people are chasing me for a second kid. 

Good news: I just got my period last night! Wohoo! 


How can that be good news?

Well, here’s a fun fact — my last period was in the end of January 2015. That was almost 2.5 years ago!

Many moms get theirs within the first year of their baby’s life. I got mine when she hit 18 months old. It’s been a LONG time.

And without my period, I can’t really get pregnant. So no second baby for us. 

Anyway, just want to share some light in a somewhat dark week. We are still finishing our turnover in the office but so far, everything is moving relatively well. Happy Sunday!

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Lesson of the Day: Engagement

I read an interesting article by Business Insider, “My 11-year-old son auditioned at Juilliard, and we both learned a lot about how top performers practice.”

As I read the article, I can’t help but ask, “How engaged are we really with our life? Our work?”

The reason why I’m asking is because I think many people merely cruise through life. 


Many of our habits are automatic. We brush the same way, dress ourselves with little thought and then sludge through work until we punch out the clock. 

I realize that many of my achievements were made when I am actively engaged with what I am doing. 

That means, I’m very conscious about what and why I’m doing something. It’s not automatic. Instead, I give active thought to what I am doing.

The results are different — If you are engaged, you do things more carefully. You complete the loop more thoroughly. And the results are better than if you’re mindlessly just going through the motions.

Think about it — are you engaging your life? And if you engage, don’t you think that life would even be more beautiful?

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There’s been a lot of movement in the office…

…so apologies for not updating as often as I should.

Just this week for example, I’ve let go of two people. One for extreme negligence, habitual absenteeism and tardiness and complete disregard for work, while the other is because she simply can’t do her job. She’s worked for us for two days just to try it out and it hasn’t worked out. 

Another staff member is resigning after realizing that she hasn’t been doing her work very well. She’s been doing multi-level network marketing as a sideline and she wants to do it now as a main line. 

My former employee taunted me tonight that more people will leave, but all I thought was, “So be it.”

If people don’t want to work and want to focus on their drama, that’s the problem. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. Problematizing about people who are leaving anyway should not be my problem. 

So I don’t feel bad about it. 

In fact, I feel pretty darn good.

While it’s been challenging the last couple of weeks, I know that it’s all for the better and cannot wait for the day that we finally get rid of our office’s “problematic people.”

Yes, it’s bad for me to say. But it’s the truth. While change is uncomfortable, it is necessary and given how small our business is, every person is critical. And if they don’t want to be with us for the journey, it’s better to look for someone else.

Happy week ahead!

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The Lord answers prayers

I have a bit of issues in the office, and given that everything is happening at the same time, it’s been a very stressful time for me. 

Two of my staff share the responsibility of monitoring our inventory. One is a manager while the other is a 22 year old junior. 

Unfortunately, they have not been doing a good job. Unbeknownst to me, the manager has been short-cutting some of the controls, misplacing documents, and doing a sideline apart from her main work. Hence, given her sloppy work, they are afraid that they’ve lost a lot of items from the vault. 

My husband wanted to not charge the junior personnel. “Why should we even charge her if her superior couldn’t manage her well?”

The junior personnel was one of our first hires. When we gave both of them the responsibility of managing the store vault, we ensured that they knew that they had to be careful and conscious with what they’re doing since they are directly responsible for the items and will be charged for any items lost. 

It’s just unfortunate that her superior is burara (disorganized). As monkey see, monkey do, if the leader is unsystematic, the junior is as well. 

But how can we punish one but not the other?

That evening, the Bible verse went to a chapter that indicates we should have no favoritism. It was James 2.


On the second day, I was wondering how to do things as the task at hand was so big. I couldn’t really wrap my head around it.

So I open the Bible again that night and the chapter was about no favoritism and to seek advice from others. 

On the third day, I ask advice from my mentor and her staff and they were very helpful on pointing me to the right direction on what I needed to do.

By this time, I have verbally hired three replacements for the vacuum that is coming. So the problem isn’t as worse as before. But I doubt myself a little bit.

On that fourth evening, I open my bible and it goes to James 1:1: 

Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

The Lord is indeed very good. He is overseeing all things. Even in times of trouble, He is still in control. And there is always something He wants you to learn, that is why He exposes us to problems.

So even though I now have many problems, I have faith that it will be okay. I have peace in my heart. I will bury my head to work and fix them one by one, looking at God for guidance. 

How about you? Do you have problems today? Have you sought him for guidance? I hope my true story gives you hope that He is in control and He will make sure everything is okay if you seek Him.

Happy Sunday!

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Tag Along Baby

My husband is fixing the zamboni machine at an ice skating rink in an SM mall. 

We bring along our daughter with us. We picked her up from home and bring her along with us. At present, she is just walking around and trying to keep herself busy. Given her age, she finds the white polar bears interesting.

My parents always brought us with them when we were young. After school, they’ll pick us up and we will tag along with them wherever they’ll go.

We would go with them during business meetings. Even when my dad plays mahjong, my brother and I will be in the other room with my mother, doing our homeworks or watching VCDs. 

It’s nice to see that we’re doing the same thing with our own offspring. 

We bring her to the office everyday since she was 1 month old. By the time she was 4 months old, she’s been to more than 20 malls around Metro Manila. 


But I like it. 

When I see her much exposed to various experiences, it makes me happy. I feel that I am reliving my parents’ footsteps.

And I liked how I turned out.

How about you? Does your child accompany you often? What are your beliefs in child rearing?

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Don’t borrow money. Just cut back.

For many Filipinos, it is easier to borrow money when times get tough. And to return the money when we already have money. 

The problem is, it’s not easy to borrow money. If you have a habit of borrowing money, people will start to avoid you. They don’t want to be around you because you keep on borrowing, and not really paying.

That’s why, people would borrow money from loansharks, who lend money at unscrupulous rates. The term, “5/6” is very common, which means if you borrow 5, you have to pay 6. In short, that’s 20% interest to borrow and pay money within the timeline agreed.

Our messenger is such an example. His wife does not work and they have two young kids to feed. Given her poor health, he has resorted to borrowing money from SSS, and when that wasn’t enough, from the local loan shark. 

The issue was, his wife didn’t understand the financial muck he has put themselves in and has continued to spend beyond their means. She also didn’t want to work, which contributed further to their financial constraints. 

The problem with debt is that it’s so easy to get into but so hard to get out of. 

Once you’re in debt, it’s a struggle to get out of it, and all the money you make is now for the payment of debt and interest. 

Our company does not provide advance, vale or credit notice to our people. In the Philippines, it is quite common to do so especially in blue collared jobs like construction. 

I have asked my father-in-law about it and he had strict rules against loaning money to his staff.

He said that even during the Spanish times, it’s common for a master to lend his people money to help them out. But there is actually a sinister way on why this system is in place — once the person cannot pay anymore, the person becomes indebted to the master, and will have utang na loob.


A person who has utang na loob can often find himself giving more to pay off his debt. In the olden days, the family would be under the master’s employ to pay off their debt. And often times, you will sacrifice yourself and your dignity because you are indebted to your master with a debt you cannot pay.

I want to treat people with respect and dignity so I do not give people money in the form of debt,” he said. “That for me is cruelty and you are not really helping them, but harming them.”

“The best thing we can do as bosses is to pay them fairly and on time,” he said. “But we do them no favor when we help them get mired in debt.” 

That is why it’s our company policy to not allow any borrowing or loaning of money in the workplace. 

We tell them during their first day that we will pay them fairly and timely, but we expect them to be financially responsible and to limit their expenses to their salaries. Violators run the risk of being terminated. 

But it’s hard to stop borrowing money, especially when you have the habit. 

There’s actually a joke — people who borrow money from others are often the ones who get angry when other people say no.


Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Why should we get offended when other people do not lend us money? 

Personally, borrowing money for me is embarrassing. I am ashamed when I have to ask people for favors. It shows I cannot do it on my own. That I need people to help me get off my own mess. 

But not everyone is like me. For many people, especially to those who have made it a regular habit, borrowing money is the norm. They don’t feel embarrassed, and they have no qualms asking you for money. 

But debt would always have to be paid. 

Nothing is for free. If it is, it would’ve been called a gift, not a loan. And money once borrowed, well, it’s just so easy to spend.

Have you noticed how easy it is to borrow and spend, but how hard it is to pay something back?

But pay back we have to, and at much significant cost. And it’s not uncommon to have people pay for their debts, only to find out that they are merely paying for their interest and not for the principal. 


So please stop being in debt. 

It is much easier to cut back on expenses than to be in debt.

If you don’t have a lot of money, cut back on expenses. 

My daughter’s favorite foods for example are pasta noodles, rice, and pandesal bread. We joke that she can live a simple life and still be okay. 

I used to live in an apartment that was half the price of my colleague. It was in a more local neighborhood and in a marketplace, but it was also cheaper and the money I saved allowed me to buy other things. 

I wore clothes bought from the thrift market. In Taiwan, everything I wore was from the night market. A skirt was NTD100 each (or php150), back at a time when ukay ukay was still unpopular. 

I ate simply and loved the food court. It’s only now that I am older that I let myself eat more luxurious things, but back when I was budgeting, I would choose cheaper restaurants and didn’t shy away from eating in the side streets. Anything to save money.

Instead of taxi and Uber, I would always take the public transportation. My company had a free bus and I would take it because it saves me money.

If you really want to, it’s easy to cut back — just don’t spend too much money. Have a budget and stick to it, and when you don’t have any money anymore, adjust and live simpler. 

Money can go a long way if you don’t keep up with the Joneses.

Money can be your best friend or your greatest enemy. If you put money in the bank or in bonds where it earns interest, it will make money for you Day in and out.

But at the same time, money as debt can be a cruel master. No matter how hard you work, it’s so hard to get yourself from the mess.

So are you savings positive or debt positive? Do you have debt? What are your experiences with having debt? How do you manage it and do you think it’s possible for you to cut back so you can get yourself out of debt?

Posted in Advice, Filipino Men/Women, Personal opinion, Philippines, Ramblings, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do we only have one child? 

I didn’t believe my college friend when he warned me that the second kid was the hardest to make. 

When he told me that, I was newly married and not even pregnant. How could sexy time even be a problem?

“But it only takes 5 to 10 minutes?” I exclaimed in my naïveté. “What makes it so hard?”

Now that I have my first kid, I now understand how hard it is to have the second. 

Ask Pea when we should schedule our sexy time,” joked my husband. 

But why should I even ask a 1-year old about our sex life?” I asked. “What does she have to do with that?”

Apparently a lot when you exclusively breastfeeding your daughter and she co-sleeps with us. 

There seems to be a conspiracy to ensure that she remains the firstborn and the only child. 

When she is awake, she is a big flurry of activity. She will ask you to read her multiple books, or play with her. Her attention is quite short so there’s a lot of mess to be expected when she’s around.


So after playing with a new toy, we’d have to clean up after her. And she will only doze off when she’s completely exhausted, and by that time, you’re completely tired as well. 

And even when you do have some energy left for some sexy time, daughter WILL wake up when it’s time to do the deed. 

For some insane reason, if you are tired, she will sleep through the night without fail. But if you are not tired, she will wake up when you attempt to touch each other.

How many times have we tried for sexy time and then find her wiggling and crying for some milk? I’ve already lost count.

So when a friend asks us why we only have one child, blame the kid. Not us. 

We have tried for a second one, with try being the important word here. But we do need time to make a baby, and once you have your first, time is such a limited resource.

It makes me wonder how the older generation managed to birth 6-10 kids at a time. For me, having a second kid is already a challenge. 

How about you? How did you manage to have a second child? And was it easy to take care of two kids when both are toddlers? What are your thoughts?

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Restaurant Review: L’Entrecote at Burgos Circle

Today is Mother’s Day! So in lieu of my second year of motherhood, my husband agreed to take me for a nice lunch at BGC.

We ate at L’Entrecote in BGC, a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try months ago. And what better time to try a slightly more expensive restaurant that’s out of the way than Mother’s Day!


I love celebrations that honor me because it’s a time when I can get away with ordering stuff beyond our budget. If husband had his way, he would have been as happy eating at his favorite Chinese restaurant. 

The white bread is nice and hot, and the generic butter goes well with it. The aircon seems to be broken so it was quite hot at the restaurant.

Since we were at the first floor, we heard much of what was being said by the general manager to the servers. “Smile more!” “Be faster! Followup on onion soup!!!” and generally ordering people to be professional and do their work faster.

I don’t blame her. Service today was slow, and there were many issues, service wise. 

For example, there was no bread knife for the bread. There was no butter that was served with the bread until we asked. When we asked for a bread refill, the inexperienced lady server “dropped” the bread to our plates instead of gently placing them along with the bread. 

My husband finished his mushroom soup (php 280) before my onion soup was served. It wasn’t Campbell’s but it was nothing special either.

My onion soup (php245) was a bit tasteless and had more water than flavor. A bit of a pity because soup is not very easy to screw up.


The salad that came with the steak came and the sauce was okay, but nothing special. We ordered the double so we had two plates of garden salad as below. See for yourself on how appetizing it is.

The US Angus Striploin “Double” steak (php2580) came after awhile and it wasn’t seared enough. The meat was tender but it’s not a steak where you bite and all you can say is, “Wow.”


No, it wasn’t a wow. 


In fact, it wasn’t anything at all except that it was just an ordinary 12 oz. medium steak. Many other steak elsewhere were better. 


Given it’s php2,580 price tag, it was clearly overpriced for an average 12 oz. meat.

The only saving grace was the steak’s herb and butter sauce, which I used to dip the frites in. It was delicious and quite different.

But again, while I’m glad we finally went to L’entrecote after months of pining for it after reading good reviews off the Net, I honestly don’t think it’s really worth a visit if steak is really what you’re looking for. There are better steaks elsewhere in the same price range found in House of Wagyu, the Fireplace and Mamou.
The deserts were also slightly disappointing. I think the prices were reasonable at php190-300+ a pop, but it’s really nothing to celebrate about.


Then again, it is the thought that counts and I am glad my husband brought me to L’entrecote to finally shut me up. 

Our final bill was php4,000 inclusive of taxes and it’s a small price to pay to quiet my curious heart and to scratch this restaurant off my list. 
How about you? How did you spend your Mother’s Day? Where did you spend time with your family?

L’entrecote Bistro

Unit A, Bellagio 2, near Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City Taguig

Map here.

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The Plight of the Single Mothers

There are many single mothers at the place I work in. A lot of them had their first child as a teenager, and most of them in their 20s.

Who are the fathers?

Well, half of them did not take responsibility, leaving the mother and child to the whims of life. While the other half are still there, hanging on and somewhat taking some sense of responsibility. Many of them are just living in and unmarried.

Why don’t you get married?” I asked.

Well, we’re still saving up for marriage,” they said. “It’s expensive.”

“Yes, it can be expensive but so many people get married without spending too much,” I countered. “All it takes is for you to get married civilly and hold a celebration at home or in a cheap restaurant.”

The old adage runs true: Kung gusto, may paraan. Kung ayaw, may dahilan. In English, it means, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Literally, it means, if you want to, there’s always a way. If you don’t want to, there’s always a reason.

As I ask more questions, it comes to light that it’s usually the guy who don’t want to get married. Maybe, despite fatherhood, they’d like to hold on in whatever bachelorhood they still have left.

This arrangement are not always fair to the woman. It is not uncommon for women to live-in with their partners for many years, only to find them cheating with someone else.

And it’s a Catch 22.

If you leave the cheating bastard of a live-in partner, what will happen to your child? Be illegitimate?

And if you stay, what will happen to your self-respect?

That’s why, it’s better to ask the right questions before you become sexually active.

Questions such as, “If I get pregnant, would you take responsibility for our child?” does damper the sexual excitement, but there is honestly no excitement in getting pregnant out of the wedlock and guys leaving you both behind.

Pasay-City.gif

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority in their 2013 study, 10% of women aged 15-19 years old are already mothers. In 2014, more than half of total birth recorded are to unwed mothers. That’s 880,524 children recorded. 62% of the babies in the National Capital Region are illegitimate.

This isn’t a global trend — in other countries, almost 80% of total births are legitimate babies.

Figure 4.png

Apparently, 20% of teenagers are actively having sex with almost half of them uneducated well and coming from low income families (Source):

Percentage.jpgPercentage2.jpg

This just breaks my heart.

Why are there many single mothers in the Philippines?

For one, the Filipinas are complete romantics. While money is important to us, love and family are even more important.

In China, women will refuse to marry men unless they have the three Cs: Cash, Car and Condo. It’s so ridiculous that it’s news in China when a woman marries a coal miner, a man who has little money.

Here in the Philippines, women will be with you if you are nice to them. Show them some kindness and some sincerity, and they are mostly yours.

That makes us the best of partners and the most gullible ones.

I’ve talked about this previously in my post, Mien Bao (Bread) or Love (Ai).  There comes a point in time when we should be practical when it comes to decisions that affect us long term.

Two, sex education is sorely lacking.

“This might be your last year to access birth control!” a CNN Philippines cover story declares last March 31 as news come to light that by 2018, women may not have access to any more birth control. By 2020, condoms should only be the allowed contraceptive in the market.

I am a supporter of contraceptive pills as birth control. Since I am a breastfeeding mother, I use Daphne. I have used birth control pills for years, usually to help me regulate my periods.

But aside from my personal requirements, for me, if you are sexually active, please use contraceptive pills. They are effective and prevent unwanted pregnancies before it start. It’s better to prevent pregnancy than to be stuck with a child who’s unprepared with life.

How do you use pills?

Merely take them religiously one pill every day for 21 days. They must be taken around the same time without skipping. If you forget, you must take one immediately. If you skip too often, you are no longer protected and must use other forms of contraception going forward until the next cycle.

You are protected after completing one cycle (21 days). That means, when you start taking birth control pills, you still have to use condoms or abstain from sex on your first month. You are already protected from the second month of taking the bills.

If you cannot be disciplined enough to use birth control pills or condoms, abstinence is a great birth control alternative.

Lastly, we have to be more vigilant about our women. We must make them aware of the consequences that lie in the future if they proceed with being sexually active without protection.

I didn’t think it can happen to me,” moaned a young mother who got pregnant after doing it “once.” 

Yes, you can get pregnant even if you do it once. It is also possible to get pregnant if you just insert it. And if you don’t get pregnant, if your partner has STD, then it’s highly likely you will get STDs too.

When I was in Taiwan, I remember being very behaved and careful due to my fear of pregnancy and STDs. There’s also the fear of parental anger. I thank God for giving me strict parents that helped me from staying out of trouble.

It’s really tough to be a single mother.

My husband is a great help to me.

He walks the baby when I need some alone time. He changes the diaper and bathes the baby when yaya isn’t there. I can imagine the immense burden women have to go through if they raise a child alone.

Everyone dreams of a good husband who can be a good father. But not a lot of people are willing to wait until everything is in place before making a baby.

My path to motherhood was a shaky one. People who know me intimately know that I was anti-marriage or anti-kids till I got married and had my own child. I had my daughter when I was 35 years old, an age when many mothers fear that their kids will be autistic or with Down Syndrome.

I am glad that I waited.

Life is so good right now because I waited for the right man and the right time.

To those who are single mothers, I salute you. It’s not easy doing it all alone, and I admire you for your courage and for being determined to earn a better life for your kids.

To those who are not yet mothers, please, reconsider. The odds are against you and statistics say that you should get pregnant when you are least prepared. I hope that you can take better take care of yourself and make the right decisions, for the good of your future child and yourself.

Good luck mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is one of those challenging days. 

One of the biggest issue surrounding a worker in Manila is that it’s very difficult for them to keep their professional and personal life separate. 

Especially as women, we have accepted our fates as responsible breadwinners, burdened mothers, martyred wives and subservient employees. 

Lagi na lang tayo kawawa (We are always the pitiful one).

If our family gets into trouble, the breadwinner would have to financially contribute if not pay for everything. The rule of the game is, he who is working must pay for his/her sibling’s education and the household expenses. Sucks to be the eldest responsible daughter if you ask me.

If you have a child(ren) and they get sick, it’s the woman who has to worry about who has to take the baby to the doctor. If they have problems in school, we’re the one who faces the principle.

If we are married, we worry about our husband’s vices be it alcohol, gambling or women. Woe is to a woman stuck with an irresponsible deadbeat husband who doesn’t give her the love and respect in the world and even dares to cheat on her. 

What’s worse, despite working your butt off at work all day, you are greeted by a messy unkept house, dirty laundry and hungry kids when you get home.

There is really no rest for the weary. 

Admittedly, it’s hard to be a woman. Because most of the time, being a woman means taking care of everyone AND everything.

You have to take care of your parents, your siblings, their families, your husband, your children, the household help and the chores. No wonder women are so exhausted at the end of the day!

That’s why, it becomes a problem when you have an office full of women. 

Given that there’s a lot of burdens women carry on their shoulders both inside and out of the office, it’s inevitable there will be days that personal issues will creep into the office and affect one’s work. 

Today is one of those days. 

My office assistant took off at lunch to deal with a personal issue, leaving her work undone. She had to train and orient four new trainees, and because she left without too much warning, I had to cover for her. 

I know it’s not a medical issue. It’s a family issue. And her personal issue is affecting her work. 


So what do I do then? 

Well, the best thing to do is to take it one day at a time. 

I got myself into this issue, by allowing this to happen, but I know that I’ll come up with a solution in a month’s time. So instead of complaining about it, I’d keep my head up and stay optimistic.

Two, I will have a serious talk with my assistant tomorrow on what her priorities are. Our company has a 30-day notice period, so if her priorities lie elsewhere, I know o have to start preparing for Plan B. 

Three, I will learn a lesson and not get myself into this muck again. 

I now understand that my staff cannot separate her family and professional life and cannot be depended upon. If she can do this once, she can do it again. 

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. If anything, it’s just another challenging day of being an entrepreneur. 

Wish me luck that tomorrow will be a better day!

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Why I love the Philippine mall culture!

Whenever I have foreign guests flying into town, I book them in a half-day cultural tour in Intramuros and ask them to visit our big malls.

Come to SM Megamall!” I’d exclaim as I book them at the BSA Towers. “It