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 , , , | 1 Comment

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

…So who really died? ūüė≠ūüė≠ūüė≠

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 na√Įvet√©. “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.

Posted in Dates, Family, Food, Restaurant reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, baby, children, Pregnancy, Ramblings, Updates | Leave a comment

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. “Its just right in front of the hotel. Just cross the street!”

Manila has been criticized for its penchant for big malls. Filipinos have no money and the city has less space, and yet, big malls are being built in every community as if they are mere 7-11s or Family Marts.


How can one city where space is an issue have this many malls?” another author asked. Her article was published in Rappler and she criticized that malls don’t say much about our history except to highlight our materialisticness and consumerist attitudes.

I respectfully disagree with my fellow kababayan on multiple accounts. I am actually very proud of our malls. Here is an aerial view of the SM Mall of Asia:


But why you may ask?

Well, it’s all about perspective. While many people see our supermalls as hunks of steel and concrete full of materialistic shoppers, I see something else. I see:

1. The thriving of local businesses and the ingenuity of the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit.

Whenever I go around the Philippine malls, I see a healthy mixture of both international and local brands. As I walk across the shiny floors and window shop various stores, I cannot help but appreciate all the small to large businesses that make up the malls.

A lot of Filipinos made their money through the help of the malls.

Case in point is Potato Corner, a small store that sells flavored French fries that boasted php1 billion of sales in 2015.

Potato Corner bags P1-billion sales in 2015

Homegrown food cart business Potato Corner had 2015 as its banner year by hitting over P1 billion ($21.36 million) in sales.


The 23-year-old company benefited from a robust domestic market, plus expansive growth network, ABS-CBN reported on March 9.

Potato Corner, whose franchisees swear success through the brand has over 550 Potato Corner stores worldwide: 90 are located in overseas markets such as Australia, Indonesia, Panama, United Arab Emirates, and the US.

There are many other success stories out there. Stories like Silverworks, Unisilver, Penshoppe, Genevieve and Gozum, People are People, Lydia’s Lechon, Chowking, Greenwich, Belgian Waffles, and more!

So while the author sees shoppers, I see local businesses. All owned and managed by entrepreneurial Filipinos.

I see jobs being created. Imagine how many cashiers and cooks Greenwich employs?

I see families being supported. Imagine how many kids can go to school because their parents have jobs? How many family members can afford to stay at home because their daughter and son are working in the mall.

I see the economy running, generating income and creating stability for the country. While other countries like China and the USA have to rely on infrastructure and government spending to make their economy go around, we Filipinos can depend on the trusty retail market to keep our economy stable.

Why do you think we Filipinos have been relatively protected from all the financial/economic crisis hit globally, aber?

2. The togetherness of the Filipino community.

In other countries, you can see people shopping. But look very closely and you can see them mostly shopping alone.

The Singaporean mother buys grocery for her family. The HK corporate yuppie shopping for clothes or shoes. The Taiwanese millennial enjoying the quiet.

But the Filipinos?

Oh, the malling is a group event.

As teenagers, their favorite hangout place is the mall. There, they window shop and watch the latest blockbuster movie. They exchange gossip over cups of Bo Coffee or if they’re financially challenged, Zagu or Fruitas.

The Filipino family goes to the mall together on daddy or mommy’s rest day. Despite their meager income, they have enough moolah to enjoy the aircon, but Jollibee for their kids, and a little more extra for a few games in the arcade.


My dad and mom, as retired senior citizens will also go to the mall. Every Wednesday, they would watch the free movie (because they’re seniors) in Rockwell and then sit by the McDonald’s sharing a hamburger as they people watch and for time to pass by. They will finish all the English movies available that week before restarting the cycle again.

I don’t see lonely people in the mall.

I see happy people in the mall.

Happy because even though life is hard, php100 is still enough to buy you food from the food court and a little extra for dessert.

3. The mall is one big convenient store. SM was correct in its tag line, “We got it all for you.”


I just love the fact you can buy anything —including the kitchen sink — in many of our supermalls.

If you want office and school supplies, you can find it at National Bookstore.

If you want affordable food with different cuisines, there’s always the food court.

If you want to buy bread, fruits, milk, potato chips and shampoo, there’s always the supermarket.

If you want to fix your home, you can find whatever you need at Ace Hardware.

If you want to buy furniture and fixings, there’s always SM Our Home and an array of different furniture stores on the 4th floor.

If you have kids, you can let them run around at Toy Kingdom or ride the token car at World of Fun arcade.

There is a section of the mall, called Cyberzone, selling all high tech items including PCs, mobile phones, cameras and other accessories.


If you want anything else, there’s always the SM Department store. Again, whatever you need, the mall has it. Why would you want to go anywhere else?

4. The mall as the great equalizer.

No matter how pretty or smart you are, no matter how big or expensive your house or car can be, and no matter how screwed up your marriage is, every mall goer will still go through the same security check, breathe in the same oxygen, and shop at SM Department Store.


I love the fact that our malls are our society’s great big equalizer. Especially as the poor gets poorer and the rich gets richer, I admittedly get off in the fact that our malls are so ubiquitous, ¬†nobody can escape the allure of the supermall.

In some countries, megastars like Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian can still close off a retail store for “privacy.”¬†VIPs still get some extra special treatment.

Not in the Philippines.

Here, you get to touch the same clothes showcased in H&M as celebrities do. You get to see them in the same restaurants you’re eating in.

Sure, Heart Evangelista is wearing an Hermes bag that costs as much as your house, but you’re still in the same Mango or Zara store as her.

The mall is a great reminder that no matter how rich or poor we are, we still shop at one of Manila’s supermalls when we have time.

5. Lastly, the mall is part of the Filipino culture, like it or not. 

If you spend most of your weekends at the mall, it inevitably shapes who you are. We were trained to be spoiled because of the mall.

If you want to buy anything, you go to the mall.

If you want to tambay (waste time), you go to the mall and enjoy the free aircon.

If you want to see the latest offerings and whatever is on trend, you go to the mall.

In the mall, all you have is to brace the heavy traffic to and fro the mall. But once you are there, you don’t really have to leave until closing time.

There is food, stuff to window shop, the movies and amusements to keep you entertained till the mall closes.

Sure, people may criticize you for not wanting to stay in the outdoors and enjoy the Philippine lovely beaches and mountains, but seriously, who would want to brave going out of town given the Manila traffic?

The mall is part of our culture. We can’t escape it no matter how hard we try. So instead of complaining about it, why don’t we savor it instead?

There are many things bad about the mall. But there are many good things as well. I hope that you can see what I see as well so you can see the good in the mall and not just the mindless consumerism seen by others.

How about you? Do you see what I see?

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

Parenting = Being the Bad Guy 

Yesterday, we had to admit my daughter into the hospital.

She’s had on and off fever for three days straight, and her white blood cells are a high 38,000 count. The average count for white blood cells for babies her age is just a mere 15,000.

Last night, she’s had an x-ray, results of which were normal, and had her IV inserted. It’s terrible too her crying like a banshee for 15 to 20 minutes as the resident doctor struggles to put the IV in.


Every time she sees her IV, she cries. Loudly. It’s enough to break any mother’s heart.

But the IV is a necessary evil. Since her appetite has dropped, the IV is the one that’s giving her sustenance. What’s more, it’s how the antibiotics are given. Without the IV, we would have to prick her more than necessary.

I talk about the IV because my daughter hates it. She keeps on saying “Bye Bye” to anyone who would listen because she’s tired of the hospital and wants to go home.

Do I want to punish my daughter? No.

Does it bring me joy to see her thrash around, cry and scream and struggle? No.

Do I want to keep her in the hospital longer than we should? No.

But we need to admit her in the hospital. We need to put the IV in and we give her antibiotics. We know she hates where she is right now, but we force her to stay because it’s for her own good. If she doesn’t stay in the hospital, she won’t get well. Her fever might get worse and goodness knows what will happen.

And I think that’s what parenting is…

Parenting is making tough decisions on behalf of your child. Children hate it when parents say, “It’s for your own good!” But if you really think about it, this is true.

We don’t do things to please our children. We don’t go and ask them what they want to happen. They’re kids.

More often than not, they don’t have the experience, the means or the maturity to make the right decisions. For example, if you ask my 17 month old daughter what she wants, she would want to go home.

She would not want the needles and the IV nor would she want to stay in the hospital and undergo tests.

But if she went home, what will happen to her? Will she get better? Of course not. In fact, shell just get worse.

So we keep her here in the hospital, against her wishes. And we shut our ears from her loud cries and keep her in her IV.

And she’s very miserable about it.

But what can we do? Sure, as good parents, we want them to be happy but parenting involves making unpopular decisions for the good of our children.

We are not their friends. We are their parents. And we do things for their own good even if they hate us.

So as our kids get older, I will remember the time my daughter is helplessly stuck in the hospital getting antibiotics to heal her.

I will remember this when she doesn’t want to study and want to go out with her friends to the mall.

I will remember this when she wants to do an overnight with her barkada.

I will remember this when she wants to date somebody who I believe isn’t good for her.

I will remember this when she makes a decision that isn’t good for her.

And I will tell her, firmly, no.

And that it’s for her own good.

Sure, my decision might be wrong and she may hate me, but I can live with that than to support her as she make big mistakes. I will keep to my principles but be open to her trying to change my mind. I will change my mind if I think there’s reason to do so, and not because she said so.

Most parents will not agree. Permissive parenting is popular nowadays. Parents want kids to be happy and are supportive even though they think their kids are making the wrong decisions.

Not me, I’ll stick to my guns and wait to be persuaded otherwise. Because I love her and want the best for her. And I want her to be truly happy, and that involves making the right life decisions.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, Early Learning, Family, Parenthood, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wives: We are the Problem!

I am a part of a popular mommy group.

Many of them complain about their husbands.

A few complain of their husband’s addiction to video games. “I am exhausted and take care of the baby 24/7, while his nose is stuck in his PS4!” they’d cry.

A few tearfully ask about what they’ll do when their husband is a womanizer. Should they save their dignity and flee, or stay since he promised they will change?

A lot complain about their hateful in-laws. “My mother-in-law hates and disrespects me! She tells me what to do and I hate it! She never asks for my opinion!”

A lot suffer through depression and bouts of negativity. They feel guilty that they’re not good enough mothers, wives and women. Some feel ugly and unattractive. Others don’t seem to have a loving affinity to motherhood and seem to hate their kids. While others are just lost in their unhappiness.

You should be careful about getting involved in such negativity,” my mom advises. “Bad vibes follow if you listen to them close enough.”

Maybe it’s just me, but reading through all their posts make me feel so blessed. Sure I complain a lot, but none of my complaints are as hopeless as others.

I have my husband, my dear daughter, and a close-knit family. What more can I ask for?

But as I analyze other people’s problems, I can divide them into two areas:

1. They were problems before, and are still problems now. Complaining about the problem will NOT solve the problem.

Case in point, the philandering husband was a already playboy even when you were dating. There were mysterious text messages from “friends” even before, and you’ve always suspected he’s had dalliances but refused to accept the fact. He may have cheated and gotten caught, but was quickly forgiven after begging for mercy.

Or, the guy was financially irresponsible even before marriage. He’s supported his entire family and have stayed in a dead end job which paid less than it should. He would keep up with the Joneses and spend for unnecessary things even though he was in debt.

It was a problem then and it’s still a problem now. People never change. It’s just that women thought they could change him.


Whoops, big mistake.

And now that they’re married, the girl is stuck. Annulment is almost impossible to get and with a child or two in tow, they now have to think about the good of the family, and keep the family unit intact even though they’re abused, disrespected and cheated on.

Marriage does not solve problems. Do NOT get married just because you already have a child with him. Getting pregnant is already a problem. Marrying the jerk who got you pregnant is not the solution.

If you marry the wrong man, then marriage will become the problem. Not the solution.

2. Problems are problems if only we problematize about them. Sometimes it’s how we view things.¬†

Problems will always be there. Babies problematize about getting sweets. Pre-teens will problematize on how to belong. Teenagers problematize about how to get their crushes to fall in love with them. Adults will problematize about jobs and money, while old people problematize about their health.

The only way a person will not have a problem is when they are dead, and it’s a long way to go.

To be honest, everyone has problems. You, me and everyone else.

But the difference is this — problems become bigger or smaller depending on how you see and settle problems.

Worrying about problems will not solve it.

Stressing about our problems will not make them go away.

Complaining about our problems will just exacerbate them.

In fact, the more you worry and stress about your problems, the bigger they get. Even the smallest issues become mountains the more we problematize about them. Problematizing about issues make them larger than they actually are.

However, if we try not to think about them, and instead strive to solve them step by step, then our problems become smaller.

All problems become easier to deal with when we can just stop and breathe and then come up with concrete solutions to solve them.

So mindset is very important. Staying strong and positive in amidst issues is important. Not giving up and attempting to tackle the problem one by one is important.

And I think that’s the difference between happy and unhappy wives.

Happy wives focus on their blessings, and thank the Lord everyday with what they have. Even the poorest of people have many things to be thankful for, if they just open their eyes.

Dissatisfied wives may have everything and still feel unhappy, alone and angry at their spouses.

Unhappy wife = unhappy life

And imagine you marrying a woman who is constantly dissatisfied and unhappy, now, that’s hell on earth. Because an unhappy wife will nag. As they say in Proverbs 27:15, “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm…”

A leaky roof is very very annoying. You just want it to shut up. The fact that it leaks, and continues to leak, will not solve the problem. Calling the plumber is a solution. Be the solution and NOT the problem.

So to everyone, when you have a problem, think very carefully. Yes we all have problems but maybe, we are the problem.

We are the problem because we knew we have a problem with our partners, and yet we still continued to proceed with marrying the dude.

Or, we are the problem because we only see the problems, never the solution.

Ladies, let us be the solution. Not the problem. And once we see our responsibility in creating our issues, then maybe this is the first step in solving our problems and having a happier marriage.

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Husband, Kid Problems, lovelife, Marriage, newlywed life, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Money Can’t Buy Class

The Met Gala is one of the biggest fashion events of the year.¬†Celebrities and attendees have a chance to WOW everyone with their interpretation of a theme — this year it was¬†Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Gar√ßons — and show off their style, talents and creativity.

I especially loved the looks of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ruth Negga, Priyanka Chopra and Cara Delevigne. They stuck to the theme and ran with it.

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On the flipside, there was always the Kardashians, followed by the Hadids, who always try to shock out-nude each other.

To be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment when two young beautiful celebrities, Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, came in in their underwear. Or shall we say, almost nothing attire, wearing with sheer dresses that leave little to imagination.

Kendall wore a La Perla Dress that featured 85,000 crystals sewed into a dress, while Bella wore a meshed pantsuit by Alexander Wang.

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I have no problems with their fashion choices, and in fact, their clothes, or shall we say semi-nude attire/lingerie, featured their impeccable butt cheeks and bodices.

But it does signal to us how low society has brought us — that we have to resort to exposing our bodies and show up half-nude to grab attention. Why, are women reduced to just a pretty face and a sexy body?

Here’s the dilemma women have gotten ourselves into. We want to be treated with importance and respected, and yet we reduce ourselves to flesh, boobs and butt.

Look at me! Ravish me! Look at me as a sexual being!”¬†we scream as we show off more skin, leaving none to the imagination.

And then we complain on why men treat us with perversion, disrespect and callousness. “We are women! They should respect us!”

Why? Is it fair that we demand respect from the opposite sex, when we have done nothing to prove that we are worthy of that respect?

If we act like any other girl in a seedy bar, is it right for us to demand that they treat us like queens and princesses?

I think that women have to re-evaluate how we want to be seen and treated.

Yes, I understand that we would want to show off our beautiful bodies because we worked really hard on it.¬†The Hadids and Kardashians spend oodles of money trying to look good. It is not wrong¬†to ask people to appreciate how they look given that they’ve worked so hard and spent so much money perfecting it.

Again, I have nothing against the Jenners, Kardashians or the Hadids if they show up in one of the flashiest fashion galas in lingerie or a swimsuit. The fact that they’ve even scored an invite meant that they are deserving to be there.

However, it would have been a great opportunity for them to highlight themselves apart from revealing what their boobs or butt cheeks look like. There is always some beauty in keeping the human body mysterious, reserved only to those deserving to see it.

But not the Kardashians. They just couldn’t help themselves.

And whereas the older Kim needed a sex tape to be popular, the younger Kardashian decided that she didn’t¬†need a sex tape anymore to let people see her butt cheeks¬†and boobs.¬†All we have to do is to google “Met Gala Kendall” and everything is¬†revealed to our very eyes.

A pity.

Kendall is actually one of the prettiest Kardashian there is. She is tall, beautiful and seems eager to run away from the Kardashian name. Through some support and some great decisions, Kendall has risen quickly up the ranks to be a top runway model and brand endorser.

Alas, there is only so much that a woman can do before reverting back to her own ways and doing the Kardashian thing of going almost naked in and out of the Met Gala, dating overrated rappers, and having your boyfriend fondle your butt in public while being documented by your younger sister who follows in your footsteps.

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Sigh, I had high hopes for Kendall. And so far, she’s been doing all the wrong things.¬†She hasn’t been so lucky in terms of endorsements: The Pepsi debacle was bad in all fronts, and so is endorsing the disastrous Frye¬†Festival.

There is hope yet though. Kendall is only 21. And it’s only just May 2017.

All I can say is, I wish we had better female role models out there who can elevate themselves beyond going nude or acting lasciviously.

There are many way to feature female greatness. We can do so through our intelligence, hard work and our desire to bring positive changes to community. We can gain respect based on our ideas, our contributions and our achievements.

Sure, it’s boring when you are celebrated because you’re a Bar top-notcher — congrats by the way to Caren Mae Calam of the University of San Carlos in Cebu, who topped the 2016 bar examinations besting over 6,000 others who took the¬†exam — but it’s one way to show people you don’t have to go nude to¬†earn respect.

I hope there will be more Caren Mae Calam in the world than there are Kardashians.

And while the Kardashians, Hadids, and the Jenners may have more likes, more hits and more Instagram followers today, there will be a time when they will crash and burn and the world goes off to the next best thing. Meanwhile, women who highlight all other assets aside from their bodies run steadily along, making the world a better place.

I’d rather be a boring Calam than a popular Kardashian. How about you?

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What are the steps for a successful startup?

It’s all about execution. No matter how great your ideas are, if you do not execute your idea, you won’t become successful.

Case in point, we have a small accessory retail business. Currently we have 20 stores in major malls but are still growing. We want to grow to above 100 stores in a few years. When we look at our bigger competitors, I can see they sell similar products as ours but execution is key.


Sure, it’s easy to get in the market. Just throw in enough money and you can make some sort of a presence. But, the trick here is to throw your money with caution.

Throwing money is easy. Getting it back with profit is not. So think first before you throw. Estimate some numbers, see if you have any capital to survive.

Next is managing the business. In my retail business, it’s all about the people. Finding good people can be a bitch and seriously, I had to fire two area supervisors in three months because they just couldn’t cut it. One couldn’t handle people well while the other couldn’t sell. It’s hard to know this just from the interview. You really have to give them a try to see if they’ll work out for you.

Lastly, it’s having the patience doing the same mundane thing in and out. Seriously, there’s nothing more boring than writing out checks, depositing sales in the bank and balancing your books. I do that. I also source merchandise, cost them, clean and repair them and then tag them for distribution. Payroll is another headache and while I do have people to help me with it, you still have to double check their work.

All of this becomes harder if you have limited resources. Money isn’t unlimited and so is time. And how about energy? Woe is to a person with a spouse who cannot understand the sacrifices you have to make as a businessperson.

For example, Sundays are devoted scouring new mall locations. Last Thursday, I was counting inventory. In the evenings, I balance my books. Nothing is glamorous about it. Just tedious hard work. And lots of resilience to keep going at it even when it’s no longer “fun.”

If you have what it takes to do a startup, then do it. Have a good idea then EXECUTE. Many people can start but few can sustain. Hopefully, you’re one of the few who can sustain.

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Finance, Personal opinion, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Husband’s Walking the Baby

It’s 2:30am and my husband is walking our 16-month old baby.

Baby slept a tad bit early and woke up at 1:30am, fresh from her “nap” and pushing for some action.

So husband took the bullet and is around the area walking the baby. 

He just called a few minutes ago asking me if I wanted something from KFC which opened after renovations.

“I can eat a zinger,” he muttered. I can hear baby in the background. 

When everyone talks about romantic love, the kind of love my husband gives is when he walks the baby in the hopes of tiring it out. I think they may have to walk around Family Mart too if he wants it to sleep.

Love love my husband. Busy day tomorrow so your wife will now drift off to sleep while you walk the baby. 

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Do What You Love and You’ll Never Work a Day in Your Life

It’s a popular adage that¬†you need to do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. And if you cannot find what you love, don’t settle. Keep on looking for it until you find it.

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To be honest, I find this to be 80% BULLSH*T.

If everyone did what they love, many would be jobless.

For every person who succeeds in Hollywood or in Silicon Valley, there’s a gazillion over people who remain destitute and jaded. We’re talking about a Selection Bias here, and I always thought that many people who got rich became so because they were very lucky and was at the right place or the right time, or had the wits and deviousness to get ahead.

My husband’s best friend is a 30-year old talented artist. Specifically,¬†he can sculpt figurines from scratch through the use of resin, styropor, glue, paint and fiber glass.

He used to have a cushy job in a Philippine public company. However, as he looked around at all the tycoons who were getting rich by the minute, he shook his head and wanted a piece of the pie. For him, having been educated in top schools, he was wasting his intellect working for somebody else. Why work for someone else if you can be your own boss?

To be rich, you have to have your own business,”¬†he said. “I am wasting my time just by being an employee.¬†As an employee, your earnings as limited. If you’re the boss, the sky is the limit.”

As a result, he quit his job.

In his defense, he simplified his life. He got rid of his rental and lived back with his parents. He started doing his figurines full time.

“Before, I have to do what my boss wants to do,”¬†he said.¬†“Now, I can do what I want to do.”

His interests lie in making medieval houses and¬†WWII items. “They make me nostalgic. Medieval villages tell us of happier times when life was void of consumerism and greed.”

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Yes, but it also tells of times when there was no electricity and hot water,”¬†I replied. “Who would want to live in a period where you’ll most likely be the slave?”

Yes, but you can also be a knight or a baron?”¬†he optimistically opined.

The problem with medieval homes is that not a lot of people like them. In a country where people are worried about a roof over their heads, a medieval house is not one of the best things to collect.

Until Hollywood came out with the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, not everyone was keen to relive the medieval days especially since we never really went through the medieval period. Heck, a house is a house. How do we know what house differs from the other?

But I want to make houses!”¬†my husband friend’s proclaimed. “I can make the most beautiful houses, and make it to a diorama.”

Well, aside from the Christmas nativity scene, the Filipinos aren’t really keen on collecting town dioramas. It just doesn’t do things for us.

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So here’s the dilemma of my husband’s friend — he quit his corporate job to do medieval houses and WW2 dioramas, only to find out that there is not enough demand for them.

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As he went through the motions of hawking out his big inventory of houses, he had to face reality that not a lot of people wanted to buy them. Not everyone believed in his dream. Sure, they were great houses but not a lot of people wanted to buy a lot of houses for their collection.

They’ll just be junked if you buy them,”¬†said another acquaintance. “Nice to have, but useless anywhere else.”

The solution came shortly by the fact that there is enough demand for Transformers, Gundam and Star Wars diorama.¬†Thanks to Hollywood, there is renewed interest for robotic machines. Thanks to nostalgia, there’s also enough grown men to shell out money for them.

For example, a plastic Transformer toy can cost Php 6,500 in Toy Kingdom. That’s 13x of the daily minimum wage. And that’s just “one” toy.

But I don’t feel any feeling with Gundam or Transformers,”¬†my husband’s friend moaned. “I want to do houses!”¬†

The problem was, he was one of the few who loved houses. Hence, he had no income.

So my husband persuaded him to start doing other things. His friend was a very talented man. It would be a shame to put that talent to waste. Besides, his friend was running out of cash. There is a limit to how much cheese and bread you can eat.

Begrudgingly, his friend agreed. They started to do more products that had higher demand. Sales started to pick up. Income started to come.

And then his friend started complaining¬†again. That he didn’t want to do these items. That he wanted to¬†follow his dreams and do what he wanted. That was the reason why he¬†quit his job in the first place.

And here lies the problem of many wannabe entrepreneurs. 

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They want to be rich. They know what they need to do to be rich. And yet, they want to be rich THEIR way. Even if nobody really wants to buy their stuff.

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I am also an entrepreneur. Most of my days are spent berating my sales staff, paying the bills, and sending out memos. None of these are happy and cool.

Of course, there are some happy days too — like the time my staff cried and thanked us for providing them livelihood, like after a¬†busy Christmas when¬†most of our stores hit their quotas, and¬†like the time I see we are making a difference in our people’s lives and seeing them stabilize their families¬†and life.

But honestly, not all days are happy. Most days are exhausting, stressful and problematic.

If you’re not happy being an entrepreneur, why are you still being one?”¬†husband said. “Nobody is forcing you to be one anyway!”

Actually,¬†its hard to be an entrepreneur. Once you start your business and have people under you, it’s hard to just give up and fold your business just because you’re not feeling it. So many people are depending on you to keep your company well capitalized, well-managed, and smoothly operational.

My point is,¬†managing a business is like getting married. Once your business is open, you have to do whatever is necessary to keep it open, even if you don’t enjoy it.

A lot of people mistakenly think that being an entrepreneur means being your own boss AND doing whatever the hell you want. This is WRONG.

Being an entrepreneur is a HUGE responsibility. People are counting on you to make the right decisions and to keep the business afloat. It means making the hard decisions even if you don’t want to. It means sticking in your business even everyone has already abandoned ship.

There are days where I don’t like myself. Especially when I have to lay people off just because they don’t make the cut. Or when I run out of stocks because I didn’t order early enough. There was a time I almost ran out of stocks because of supplier delays.

Being an entrepreneur is loving the work. Not because you love it in the first place, but¬†rather because you have¬†grown to love it. And by hook or by crook, you’re not going to give up just because it gets hard.

My husband’s friend is wrong. You don’t become an entrepreneur because you love what you’re doing. Sure, you can start a business because you love your product or service, but the longevity of a business does not depend on feelings alone.

Instead, it depends on a deep sense of responsibility to your customers, to your investors, to your staff and also to yourself.

Feelings come and go. But a business, well, hopefully, you hold onto it as hard as you can. It is only when you make a deep commitment that a business can truly thrive.

So yes,¬†do what you love. But most importantly, running a successful business involves loving what you do. Even if what you do don’t love you back.

Happy Holy Week!

 

 

 

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When your husband annoys you during a Coldplay concert

Years before, I told myself that if Coldplay was¬†holding a concert in the same country, I would definitely watch it. Apparently, they’re one of the few bands that put on a great show and authentically sing in their concerts.

So imagine my surprise when Coldplay came to play in Manila. And while the tickets cost an arm and a leg, I managed to scour Php 15,000 for two silver tickets (Note: That’s¬†more than one month of minimum wage) just to watch the show.

Now, husband is NOT a Coldplay fan. “I change the radio channel once the DJ puts them on,”¬†he murmurs. Well, he’s not a Linkin Park fan but he did trudge along the Linkin Park concert with me when they visited.

But he’s married to a crazy wife who insists on watching Coldplay. As they say, happy wife, happy life.

So the entire day yesterday, he was murmuring and dragging his feet. We left the office at 7pm already and we arrived at SMX Concert Grounds at 9pm after walking for 1 kilometer since it was so traffic.

Aren’t you happy that you’re married to a wife who doesn’t complain because she’s walking a kilometer away?”¬†I chirpily asked.

What do you mean?!”¬†he asked. “You wanted this!!!”

 

Okay, husband was obviously not in a jolly mood. But nothing will deter me from enjoying the concert. Not even a sour husband.

We arrived 10 minutes before the show started. And while we were in the Silver section, there were still a LOT of people and we could only see the following view from where we were standing:

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For Php 7,500, the view is not so impressive. But then again, a Coldplay concert is the great equalizer as there were a lot of better dressed well-to-do concert goers¬†who are also standing like us. Here’s the crowd behind us, haha!

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Now imagine one of the coolest bands to ever come to Manila playing at a pricey expense. People are singing along and moving to the beat. And guess what husband is doing?

Yup, that’s husband sitting on the floor at the Silver section of the concert, deleting his trash photos, answering emails, and Facebooking.

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I was¬†upset. I mean, given how much money I’ve spent on Coldplay, the least he can do was accept his fate and enjoy the show. Why does he have to sit on the floor to make a point?

To be honest, I wanted to get angry and pout. My heart was troubled and I couldn’t understand why husband wouldn’t like to play along especially since we’re already at the concert?

But as I began to get angry, I decided to see things from his point of view. Sure, it wasn’t his choice to watch Coldplay, and yes, he will make it seem as he’s miserable. But then again, he IS there with me watching, and he did walk 1 kilometer on foot just to make it¬†to the start of the show.

And while he could’ve been more galant about it, honestly, fighting¬†with him does nothing to improve the situation. He will continue to sulk even more, and he¬†may even not want to accompany me on other crazy expensive adventures.

Anyway, we are at the show just like I wanted. So instead of being all pissed about it, why not I just enjoy the show as it’s the reason we are there in the first place?

So I did —- I sang to the songs, moved to the music, and saw¬†Coldplay play in the Philippines for the first time ever.

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And I think that’s what marriage is — it’s a series of giving, taking and compromising.¬†Like husband, he knew he couldn’t really change my mind from going to Coldplay so he went along with it. And for me, I know that he might not enjoy it, but heck, he’s there, so let’s just enjoy the concert and have him as the driver.

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So whenever people tell me how lucky I am with my husband, I can look at it in two ways. If they know how annoying husband can be at stubborn times like this, they can surely empathize with me. But if you really think about it, the fact that he is still with me against his will is still a plus for him. Hence, you can look at the positive or the negative. Your choice.

For me, I choose to see the positive. I get to watch Coldplay. My husband gets exposed to Coldplay. And in the end of the concert, he did actually put his phone away and went to get me something to drink.

At the end of the concert, I kissed his cheek and said, “Thank you for going with me to see Coldplay,”¬†as he grumbled a little more. “You know I appreciate it when you accompany me.”

I can see him soften a bit. I think he was expecting a fight but was pleasantly surprised to not see a confrontation. “Yeah, it’s fine. As long as we don’t see Rihanna when she comes to town,”¬†he said. “I don’t like Rihanna.”

So we’re not watching Rihanna when she comes. That’s fine. She’s not my ultimate favorite band anyway. But at least, we got to see Coldplay. Which is fine by me.

In summary, marriage is about giving and taking. You won’t always get what you want but who said that you should win every battle you experience with your partner? And¬†while we cannot really control our partners, we can however control how we react to the situation.

We can size our partners up and fight the entire night OR we can be sweet and look at the good side, and fight for something more improtant another day.

I choose to diffuse the situation and enjoy the concert.

How about you? Would you have handled it differently?

 

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Does your staff have Tom-K?

 

My father-in-law has a rule that he will hire AND keep people who has TOM-K. After 25 years in the business, I think he knows what he’s talking about.

Now, what does Tom-K mean?

T – Tapat (Integrity)

O – Oras (Time to fulfill the job)

M – Malasakit (Empathy for the Company)

K – Kusa (Initiative)

As you may have noticed, Competency is not included in this list. That’s¬†because¬†competence is already a given when you hire someone. You hire someone because you already know they can do the job.¬†That’s the basic requirement. But, you keep someone if they have Tom-K.

Why is Tom-K important for staff longevity?

T – Tapat or Integrity

Tapat or Integrity is important because you need staff you can trust and rely on.

Trust is different from relying on. Relying on is someone you can call when your house is¬†burning and you need help. When there’s an emergency, even if it’s in the most inconvenient of times, you¬†still have the peace of mind that you can call them and they will come.

I have had reliable people before. They’re the ones who chip in when other staff members abandon you. They’re the ones who agree to stay late just to finish a project. They’re the ones who will help you pack up even if it’s¬†after midnight. They’re the ones who don’t go to the family reunion because you sorely need their help.

But¬†integrity is important. For example, what use is a reliable person if she isn’t honest? What if you can depend on her to be there, but secretly, she’s stealing from you? I’ve had such experience as documented here.

When you’re running a business, you need someone you can trust. Someone you can ask to deposit Php¬†1 M in cash, and won’t run away. Someone who knows the difference between right or wrong.

It doesn’t matter if he is your messenger or your second-in-command. What’s important is you can entrust them to be honest with their work, and to put in their best work even if you’re not constantly watching.

Now, that’s true integrity.

O – Oras (Time to do the job)

What use is an employee if they’re unavailable? I have a very competent assistant right now who has been late a few days in a row. Consequently, work stops when she’s still not there.

My business is in retail and we are open especially on holidays and weekends. To be honest, the only time we are closed is when the mall closes. What if the person want to spend time with their family during holidays? What if they want to take 2 week vacations?

If a person cannot show up to work, then what use is that person?

You need a person who can follow office hours and be there when you need them. If the job requires overtime, they should understand this and not grumble and complain. If the job needs them to¬†answer their phones even if they’re on vacation, then so be it.

Find someone who has the time to do the job, not someone who’ll come up with a million reasons why they can’t be there.

M – Malasakit or Love/Empathy for the Employer

The employer-employee relationship is strictly transactional. People give you a level of service because you pay them. If they go on an overtime, you pay them overtime pay. Everything is professional and by the book. You really get what you pay for.

However, for a business’ longevity, love and empathy need to exist between the employer and employee.

What does this mean?

This means that the employee need to have the heart for the employer. Business is sometimes up and down and it’s hard if an employee abandons ship when you need them the most. Given that they are staking their¬†livelihood onto the company, it’s crucial that they also embody¬†their employer as if they own the company.

It is only then can the employee be excellent. No matter how talented or excellent an employee can be, it’s useless if the employee does not act in your behalf as if they own the company.

Sure, I can always get sales staff who can man our branches and sell our product.

But only those who love their job can reach the quotas and sell. Because they know that sales are the lifeblood of the company, and without sales, the company will shut down. Even if they’re only manning one branch, they do whatever it takes to contribute their share.

Sure, I can always get supervisors who will rove and go around the store.

But only those who love their job who can really get¬†mad when sales are down. They¬†just don’t get mad. They get furious. They push your staff to work harder than they’ve ever had before. When people love their job, you get excellence.

K – Kusa (Initiative)

Initiative happens when you’re not looking. When you’re busy doing other things, you need staff who are doing their best work even when you’re not there.

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It’s such a hassle when people don’t have initiative, when they¬†need constant supervision for them to work. If¬†they need a babysitter, then why should I hire them? ¬†That’s why I like staff who I can trust to do the work even when I’m not there. Who don’t just show off to impress, but work because that’s how they really work, even without people looking.

It’s these people with initiative who go the extra mile. And as a business owner, you want the extra mile. Because it is this extra mile who can make your business successful.

When my husband’s dad told me about Tom-K, I just shrugged it off. Anyway, TOM-K should already be a given in any job, right?

No, it’s not a given.¬†In fact, it’s actually rare.

So,¬†continue to do your business. But if you’re looking for people who will stay, look for those with TOM-K. You won’t regret it.

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Planning a Wedding? Here’s a Super Helpful Must Have List for You!

I just thought of starting a wedding planning series to commemorate my brother’s wedding. So lucky for all the¬†readers who are planning a wedding soon!

If you are a woman, congratulations for getting the man of your dreams to propose! I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him to make. No man would want his freedom curbed so easily and not everyone has a billionaire like Christian Grey who will romantically propose¬†despite a super short sexual engagement and hand you a big rock that will make everyone green with envy (though if you have such engagement, congrats to you too!).

If you are a man, prepare yourself to spend A LOT OF MONEY and experience a whirlwind of emotions as you book uber expensive wedding suppliers who may over-promise and yet underdeliver on your wedding day. Prepare yourself to having your lovely fiancee possibly morph into a Bridezilla and become a high-maintenance demanding woman who insists on having the wedding of her dreams.

In short, for many couples, a wedding can be the best day of their life or their worst. It’s a day that comes after months of stressful and expensive preparations, only to end with a whimper at the privacy of your hotel when both of you will toast and say, “Finally! It’s over!”¬†

Please note that my wedding planning advice is most catered to those living in Manila. However, those who are getting married elsewhere can get some valuable advice as well. Anyway, everyone appreciates all help they can get, right?

So let’s start with an Excel list — Before you start your extensive wedding planning, it’s crucial that you have a list¬†on hand so you know what are the things you need to worry about, and book suppliers accordingly.

Because I love you guys, the list¬†can be downloaded here as well. Please credit my blog whenever you use such list —¬†Nameless in Taipei – List of Wedding Preparation Must Haves

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I will talk about crucial parts of wedding planning and the pitfalls one must avoid as we go along (let us build the suspense). Pitfalls include choosing the venue, the food, and the photographer and videographer. These are decisions that impact a wedding, and can make or break it.

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But the list above is already wonderful in terms of what you need to look into. Please download it and use it as a guide. And do comment when you feel I’ve forgotten an¬†item.

Good luck with the wedding planning!

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Mien Bao (Bread) huo Ai (Love)?

In Taiwan, there’s a saying, “ťĚĘŚĆÖśąĖÁąĪ.”

This literally mean, “bread or money.”¬†This implied that if we’re lucky, we can have both. But if we’re not, we may have to choose between¬†marrying for love or money.

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By ourselves, we are complete romantics. The romantic fiction and rom-com movie industry wouldn’t rake in hundreds of millions of dollars if otherwise, and every little girl will dream of their own knights in¬†shining armor.

No matter how we look, we always dream of a handsome manly man, who will swoop us off our feet, and ride us away to the sunset. And of course, it’ll be perfect if he’s a man of nobility and wealth so we never have to worry about cooking and doing the laundry anymore.

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In the daytime, he is a man of respect, and everyone bows down to him. But in private, he is submissive to our needs and exists to serve us in bed. How many romantic fiction novels talk about a well ripped man whose hard abs excite and has the stamina to please us all throughout the night?

Cue in the reality with our own partners — “Husband, are we doing the deed today?”¬†I asked him last night.

To which husband replied, “Not tonight, I’m a bit exhausted. Maybe next week after the show.”

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And while we are financially comfortable and not starving, we do not live in a castle with servants to do our bidding. My clothes are the same since I got pregnant, my husband drives second-hand cars and my year’s salary can buy me ONE Hermes bag.

I went out with a man whom we shall call Steel Magnate when I was single. He was tall, single, in his mid-40s, a self-made man and was wealthy. On our date, he talked about investing in a few hectares of land where he was building a foundry.

The deal is Php 10 billion,”¬†he said matter of factly. He wasn’t even bragging. It was the truth.

And while we clicked, we¬†didn’t really pursue the friendship. He didn’t understand why I should be working for my brother. For him, as a woman, I didn’t really neede to work.

And since I was at least a decade younger, I didn’t understand his current life of playing golf, hobnobing with other successful businessmen, and living the now good life. My mindset¬†was that we still had to work for our successes. I wasn’t there yet and couldn’t let go of the nagging feeling that I must still work to achieve something.

Steel magnate was definitely the¬†ťĚĘŚĆÖ. If we actually got together, life would be mighty comfortable and he can afford giving me a few Hermes bags here and there.

My husband was more of¬†ÁąĪ.

Like many businessman’s sons, he wasn’t financially uncomfortable, but we are still poor enough that we can appreciate what a million pesos meant.

We currently manage two differing businesses, and it’s slow moving compared to Steel Magnate’s billion peso business. What billion? We are happy to have a few millions, and even then, most of our capital goes to pay our rent, overhead and labor. We are lucky if we still have some left for us.

When we bought our current office, we had to take out a 10-year business loan, and our return on investments will only come through a decade later. In short, we had to work for everything we have.

Our house was lent to us by his father, and sometimes, I worry about paying our association dues, which amounts to a few hundred pesos a year. Electricity bills surprise me, and sometimes, we wonder how lucky we are that we can pay our credit card bills on time.

But we love each other.

We make each other happy.

And we have a lovely family via a daughter whom we believe is cute. Hahaha.

So looking back at the question,¬†ťĚĘŚĆÖśąĖÁąĪ, I think the answer is, there is happiness in marrying for love. But there is even more¬†happiness in marrying someone whom you love, and ain’t too poor. Not too rich or poor. Just good enough.

How about you? Did you marry for love or money? Tell me your thoughts.

Posted in Advice, Family, First Days of Marriage, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Sister’s Advice to a Brother on his Wedding Day

Dear Brother,

Welcome to the married club!

Finally, you‚Äôve decided to get married! And if you wonder why I‚Äôve been less opinionated as of late, know I do so because I wanted you to make the most important decision in your life — who you marry — by yourself. Granted that you‚Äôve been with (wife‚Äôs name) for so many years, I am sure you‚Äôve made an informed choice. You‚Äôve thought about it long and hard, and decided that she is the right person for you.

Marriage can be a burden or a blessing depending on who you picked as a spouse. If your choice is correct, you’ll think you’re the luckiest guy in the world. Dad made the best choice of his life by marrying mommy. Without mom’s help, I doubt his business would not have flourished nor could we have ended up where we are now. A lot of what daddy became was because of mom. I hope that your now wife can help you in a similar way that mom helped dad. And not just in business, but in life and family as well.

Being married to the right person can be such a relief.

It feels like coming home. You finally found your partner, who can help you carry life’s ups and downs. You have a close confidant you can constantly discuss things with, a helper you can share life’s load with, and a wife who can be a great mother to your children. It’s a very lovely feeling, and it feels like hitting the jackpot. I sincerely hope you feel the same way about your now wife. I know my husband that feels very lucky with me, hahaha!

To be honest, I was quite impressed with how (wife’s name) handled herself during the wedding planning. I was expecting to get a Bridezilla who would insist in getting her own way. We both know of brides who insist on getting a particular type of flower in her wedding. One of my friends insisted on a Php 250,000 wedding dress to be worn only for a few hours. But (wife’s name) seemed to be far from it. She was reasonable of the budget, thorough when booking suppliers, and kept a cool sense of humor despite many hiccups. It’s a great preview to what marriage with her can be, and if she can keep it up, then you’re in for a real treat.

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Despite our rocky beginning, husband and I are very lucky to have found each other. To be fair, we don‚Äôt fight very much. The last meltdown we had was during our first two months of marriage — when he insisted on using his phone during mealtime — and we‚Äôve had minor disagreements here and there. But that‚Äôs also because we don‚Äôt fundamentally disagree too much. We share similar views on working, parenting, sense of humor, and living our lives. The fact that husband had one failed marriage also made him more flexible with dealing with me. What‚Äôs more, after 16 sessions of pre-marital counselling, we‚Äôve realized it‚Äôs better to be married than to be right. Regardless, when we fundamentally disagree, we do have strong shouting matches that last 2-3 hours. Thankfully, this doesn‚Äôt happen very much, so we‚Äôre happier than most married people out there.

Why? Well, while other people may see only two people with strong personalities coming together, husband and I actually do a lot of day-to-day compromising. We get to the point and tell each other a) what’s troubling is, and b) what we want the person to do.

We talk about our issues directly, and resolve them on the spot. Once we resolve the issue, we come up with a list of things NOT to do so the issue won’t be repeated.

I hope you and (wife’s name) communicate well. Marriage is for life, and people who can’t work out their differences end up with miserable marriages. And it’s awful to be stuck in marriage you don’t see eye to eye with. Many marriages are like that by the way. Don’t believe all happy posts that Facebook shows you. Happy marriages are rarer than you think, and the two people have nobody to blame but themselves on the disintegration of their marriages.

To have a smooth marriage, you have to understand and accept two facts of life: 1) Hindi na magbabago ang asawa mo dahil nagpakasal kayo. If anything, maglalala pa ang bad habits niya, and 2) When you fight, you must quickly figure out how important the matter is to you or her, and kung kanino mas importante yung issue, let that person have their way.

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Look, (Wife’s Name) will not really going to change that much. You’re not going to change that much. The more you accept each other’s faults, the more peaceful life will be.

Remember the stuff that annoys you about (wife‚Äôs name) when you were dating? They won‚Äôt go away. Anything that irritated you before — her indecisiveness, her utter dependence on you, her need to constantly diet to avoid gaining weight, and her irritation towards her mom‚Äôs favouritism, among others — it‚Äôs just going to get worse. People don‚Äôt really change because they get married. In fact, they get even worse!

For example, husband was surprised that I hated to do housework. He thought given my mom was masipag, I would be the same thing. He thought I would change despite the fact that I told him early on that I didn’t like to do housework. Never did he realize that I would be this lazy. So as you can see, this laziness was an awful surprise for him after we got married!

But smart husband, he accepted this as my fundamental flaw: I’m okay with working in the office and balancing the books, but I’m just weak at housework. I simply can’t be bothered.

Now, what if husband insisted that I start doing the laundry and cleaning the toilet? If that happens, then we will fight every day. But since he knows I’m lazy when it comes to housework, he himself picks up the slack and does the laundry (if his mom is away), and cleans the bathroom regularly. Edi walang away, right?

Fact is, even though after marriage, you won‚Äôt change much, and (wife‚Äôs name) won‚Äôt change much. Deal with it. So instead of trying to change each other, know which battles you can win or lose. Work around each other‚Äôs weaknesses, and start complementing each other now, weaknesses and all. After dating each other for 7+ years, you already know what (wife‚Äôs name) is like, and given you‚Äôve made your decision na, it‚Äôs better to accept her, weaknesses and all. Buhat buhat mo na ‚Äėyan habang buhay.

Two, a happy marriage is all about giving and taking. You can’t win every time. You can’t lose every time either. Marriage is literally an endless number of give and take.

One great thing about husband is that when all is said and done, he admits he is wrong when he is wrong. Likewise, I admit if I am wrong when I am wrong. Marriage is a series of decisions you will jointly make, and battles to be fought, but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself how important an issue is to both of you, and is it worth going to bed angry?

If husband feels an issue is more important to him, I usually let him get his way. If I feel that an issue is more important to me, then I insist I get my way. Take for example the Santorini sunset — even though he thinks a sunset is the same all around the world, I wanted to see the sunset. It was important FOR ME. And there will be a lot of resentment if I don‚Äôt get my way. So in the end, a sunset is not worth upsetting your wife over. Spending an afternoon just to see the sunset will not kill him. And it would make his wife really happy. So at the end of the day, we still saw the stupid sunset.

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Remember the sunset story when you fight with (wife’s name). Ask yourself, who finds this issue most important? If it’s really important, fight for it. If you don’t care either way, let her have her way. And that’s why while I got my sunset, husband and I still ended up eating Chinese food multiple times in our honeymoon. I prefer eating local food but Chinese food is more important to hubby. So I let him get his way.

As you can see, you win some, you lose some. And that‚Äôs what a happy marriage is all about — knowing which battles to win, and which battles to let the other side win.

Marriage is growing up, and starting to be more responsible for your decisions. If you make good decisions, your family will benefit. If not, your family will suffer.

After I got married, mom stopped paying for my Globe and credit card bills. I started paying for our condo’s association dues, electricity bills, gasoline and water bills, and boy, do these bills rack up! I remember shaking my head in surprise just how expensive marriage can be! Whereas before, I was happy spending money online shopping, I now have to be conscious about expenses because every decision I make impacts us financially.

It’s the same as decision making. Given that I married into husband’s family, I feel that I have to be more careful in making the right decisions for our family. Every right decision I make in life and in business propel us forward. Every wrong decision steps us back. Marriage is a conscious step towards adulthood. No longer can you live irresponsibly and have your parents save you. You’re married. Now start being an adult.

That‚Äôs why, you have to think carefully on how decisions will impact you and your family. It‚Äôs no longer just about you. It‚Äôs about your family as well. Make sure that you and (wife‚Äôs name) share the same definitions of what the ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ decision is. Seek counsel and think carefully before deciding. It‚Äôs your job to help each other make the right decisions. And when both of you make more good decisions than bad, and then the life you will lead will be more stress-free.

Always appreciate your family and never forget your roots.

Mom only has both of us left. And even though you and (wife’s name) are married and living in (name of home), please do not forget mommy, or let (wife’s name) overstep her.  I know a wife’s happiness is important, but a good spouse also understands that we are first and foremost good children, and must do right to our parents.

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We both know naman that we are lucky that our mommy will not ask for too much or even abuse. She makes good judgment and without her, we are nothing. As for me, I have already talked to husband and we both agreed how much we appreciate mommy. We are happy to take care of her whenever she needs us. Husband is happy when he sees mommy happy playing with (granddaughter’s name).

But knowing mommy’s pride, she may not want to ask for my help, and instead will ask for your help. Please be there for her as well when she needs you. Always welcome her with open arms and make time for her no matter what happens. And while we know that we are a good spouse to our partners, we are her children beforehand, and we owe everything to her. This is an obligation I am more than happy to keep and I look forward to ensuring that mom will be comfortable and happy for the rest of her life. Agree?

Even though you are married, we will still always be there for you no matter what.

You know you can always count on me to be by your side if you need me. You can always count on my help. Never be afraid or shy to call. Mom has talked about regular dinner outs for just the two of us. Let’s make it happen.

If we don’t look out for each other, who else will? While we think the best from our marriage, I believe that the fact that husband knows you and mom are behind me no matter what, lets him respect me more as an individual. He knows he cannot bully me too much. I think that’s the importance of family backing. There is strength in numbers, and even though it’s important to rely on your spouse in marriage, many times, you still have to rely beyond your marriage, and that’s where family comes in.

I am very lucky to have you and mom behind me. Marriage is hard, and being part of another family apart from your own isn’t easy. But know that you are not alone, and as you are behind me, we are also behind you supporting you. It is important that your spouse appreciates that. Maybe that’s also why husband loves being married to me. He not only loves me and daughter, but also the mother-in-law who cooks steak and buys him toys, as part of the package. That’s what a good marriage is all about.

I hope this letter gives you relief and happiness on your wedding day. While dad could’ve cared less of me getting married, I am ultimately happy with my choice of a life partner.

I remember being in the hotel room with husband after our wedding. We were just talking about the eventful day, and laughing about his boo boo. It was very relaxing to be with husband. As we talked, we both realized at the same time just how lucky we are to have found each other. We may not be perfect. We have our faults. And it’s truly a miracle for both of us to get married (haha, you didn’t help!).

But there we are, married and finally together after a tumultuous courtship. And it’s a great feeling being married to the person God meant for you to be with.

I wish you and (wife’s name) will share the same fate. I pray and hope your decision is a good one, and here’s to a happy marriage and a lifetime of adventure with your new wife! I love you!

Much love,
Bonita

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Dad's Advice, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Life lessons, Mom's advice, Parenthood, Personal opinion, Philippines, Ramblings, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Think about your guests when planning your wedding

A wedding is a happy ceremony¬†celebrated between two families, as an event to cement one’s love for each other. Truth be told, a successful wedding is one where two people marry the persons of their dreams. No matter how much money was spent, what’s important is that you pick the right person to spend the rest of your life with.

Regardless, while the wedding is between the two families, I do believe that the bride and the groom also have to think about their guests when planning their wedding. During my wedding, while preparing for the reception, I remembered feeling an outpouring of love and care for us from our guests.

In a way, by thinking about your guests’ comforts and happiness, you have a smooth and happy wedding ceremony and reception. Happy guests clap more, cheer more, and eat more. Irritated guests leave earlier and talk about your wedding on your way home.

So to make a great wedding, here are a few things you have to particularly focus on before planning a wedding:

1. Think of your guests when deciding your venue. Avoid outdoor venues if you can.

I dislike beach weddings and garden weddings.

They’re hot, outdoors, prone to¬†weather risks (What if it rains? What’s Plan B?), and inconvenient to people walking with heels.It’s difficult for guests to look pretty if they’re walking on uneven surfaces or sand.

What’s more, some guests may be allergic to¬†wildlife. My husband suffered red eyes while I had red elbows because the wedding was outside. Guests who are¬†irritated because of the heat, sweat, sand and allergy,¬†are unhappy guests.

And while we don’t really care about¬†guests who complain — as there will always be guests who will always complain no matter what — it’s better to think carefully and think on behalf of your guests when picking the venue.

Ask yourself if¬†the venue may be too far? If it’s far, don’t hold¬†your wedding from Monday to Saturday. Do it on a Sunday when it’s less traffic.

Ask yourself if the venue is comfortable to the guests. ¬†Especially¬†if¬†you require that your attire be formal, do remember that if you hold your wedding in the open air, beautiful long gowns get dirty and it’s hard to walk when your heels are 3- to 4-inches¬†high.

2. Think about your guests when deciding on a caterer.

First, you have to see what type of guests you’re inviting.

Depending on how high the level of VIP, plan your menu accordingly. Do NOT serve cheap food if you have Erap Estrada as a ninong.¬†As they’re accustomed to good food, they will know if the food is cheap and¬†tinipid lang.¬†

I always see the¬†food you serve in the wedding as your gift back to your guests for taking the time off their busy schedule to come and celebrate with you. It’s a wedding after all and they’re expecting a delicious feast especially after suffering several inconveniences just to come to your wedding.

And for goodness sakes, if you’re inviting more than 300 guests, serve the food plated or on a round table. It’s¬†more than enough to come dress in long gowns and high heels.¬†We hope that once the program starts, we can enjoy our food in peace without falling in long lines just so we cannot starve.

Make sure that guests are well-fed and aren’t starving. Tell the caterer to serve enough appetizers and canapes before dinner if you’re starting late, and please keep the drinks flowing. On my wedding, I made sure there were unlimited alcoholic drinks as liquor makes for happy guests.

3. Think about your guests when starting the reception. Hungry guests = unhappy guests

On my wedding, we started at 4pm sharp. After the wedding, we made sure that cocktails and canapes were immediately served, and our only order was to keep the drinks flowing.

We started dinner at exactly 7pm. By hook or by crook, we were going to adjust to our guests and not vice versa. We made sure our caterer knew this, and rushed the first course after we started the program between 7pm and 7:15pm by the opening prayer.

There were no¬†relatives singing bad songs. There were no long games about “How do you know your groom/bride?”¬†Just a¬†handful of good speeches made by people who meant something to us to accentuate that the day is a celebration of love justween the both of us.

We were done with our reception by 9:30pm. People went home early that day, which they appreciated.

4. Think about your guests when taking photos. Have your photographer be ready and by your side wherever you go.

My greatest wedding regret was that we only took photos of half of our guests. My husband suffered a little emergency after the first dance and we had to take a 30-minute breather just to correct it.

Consequently, we ran out of time and couldn’t take photo with all of our guests table-by-table. At the end of the day, I think it’s important to remember who took their time to¬†come to your wedding. Likewise, it’s important to remember guests who didn’t bother to show up despite RSVPing.

At the end of the day, as time goes on, you would want to have photos of those who attended your wedding to look back to. So do tell your photographer this is your wish so they can make it happen.

5. Lastly, think about your guests even after the wedding.

To end, while it’s great you’re happy after finishing such a tiring event, you still have to take the time¬†to show appreciation to your guests. To be honest, I spent the next 3 days texting and thanking each guest we went for their presence and for taking the trouble for attending the wedding.

In a way, it’s like the cookie test. You don’t have to give cookies, but people do appreciate a token of appreciation now and then.

Say thank you for them¬†attending your wedding.¬†If you already know what gifts they gave, do send them a note that you’ve received the gift to show appreciation.

Do this¬†for every guests no matter how many they are. A guest list of 300 or 1,700 does not differ. These people took the time to celebrate with you, and it’s crucial that you thank them for their efforts.

Once again, think about your guests when preparing your wedding. And while this day is between you and your partner, you can never go wrong by thinking of your guests too.

 

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To save your marriage, love your MIL… even if it kills you

My staff has recently married after a short engagement. When I asked her about her marriage, she commented that she feels embarrassed when her mother-in-law (MIL) does her laundry.

Her¬†MIL¬†is a housewife and used to do her husband’s laundry when he was a bachelor.¬†The MIL has opined, “They are working and since I’m alone in the house. So, it’s better for me to do the laundry just so I have something better to do.”¬†

My staff is embarrassed to let her MIL literally launder her dirty laundry. In their household, she does the laundry for herself. To be honest, for many households, many women still choose to launder their own undies, bra and lingerie.

To be honest, I hate doing the laundry. I’m okay with cooking, cleaning up and doing the dishes, but ever since, I’ve always disliked doing the laundry and cleaning the toilet.

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In fact, I hate it so much that I can tolerate not doing the laundry for 3 months or not cleaning the bathroom for a year.

True story.

To be honest, every guy I’ve dated could not tolerate my pigsty habits and have volunteered to launder my clothes every week.

And I let them.

But I digress.

Actually, now that I’m married, I still don’t do the laundry.¬†My MIL does the laundry for us (gasp!). And while¬†this¬†information is enough to make my own mother cower in shame for not training her own daughter better, I still feel that it’s okay.

Why?

Because I know that I’d pay for my MIL doing the laundry in the future… and I am happy to be at service when¬†she needs me.

For other people, it’s laundry. “What?!”¬†they exclaim. “You let her do your laundry?! How shameful!”

For me, it’s strategy and a long-term play.

I know it’s not just about doing laundry. It’s in fact a long-term play for my¬†MIL to show her affections for me, so that I will treat her and her son better.

It’s the same way of my mom cooking lunch for us every day even though we live in a different house. Every morning, she has our driver bring us lunch, and it usually contains my husband’s favorite foods like¬†steak, shrimp and crab.

When our parents or parents-in-law does these acts of kindness, we don’t deny them¬†the appreciation. We don’t tell them, “No, thank you. I can do it myself.”¬†Instead, we accept these kind acts for what they are — favors that will be repaid in the future.

My mother-in-law knows that I will do whatever she asks of me. This is our silent understanding. Even if it’s something my husband would hate to do, she has my¬†unwavering support.

This is my cost of doing laundry.

My mother knows that when she needs to ask a favor from my husband,¬†he can never say no to her. For example, she borrowed a car from him. There’s no way he will say no to her after all the steak and shrimp he ate.

This is the real cost of in-laws being nice to us. And given that we are aware of such transactional dynamics, and understand how important it is to honor and respect parents, I look forward to payback time when it happens.

So¬†fellow wives and mothers, it’s NOT about the laundry.

After marriage, we are constantly campaigning for our in-law’s affections. If you’re not, you should be. The Bible says to honor your parents, and even after you’re married, you should honor your spouse’s parents as well.

A lot of wives and mothers complain about their MILs. Many marriages become strained because they hate their in-laws.

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They bitch and complain about their in-laws, and are surprised when their in-laws don’t like them too and try to sabotage their marriage!

I am aware how powerful in-laws can be, and how important support can be.

I know of people whose parents helped them get an annulment. Do you think that would happen if the wife worked to make their in-laws like them like a daughter?

No.

Ladies, we need our mother-in-laws support. We need to love them like we do our own mothers. If we hate them, we do so at our own risk.

Because when we fight with their sons, you need a mother in law who would beat the shit out of her son for hurting “the only good woman you can ever have.”

We don’t want a mother-in-law who would volunteer in helping their son get a lawyer so he can divorce your ass.

Again, it’s a long-term game and we should be campaigning for¬†our MIL’s affections. And not pit their son against them.

And if you chose to ignore my advice, do so at your own risk.

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, children, Conflicts, Family Drama, Marriage, Mom's advice, Motherhood, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mommy Review: Gymboree Magnolia

Like many mothers, I have enrolled my baby on both Gymboree and Kindermusik. For Kindermusik, my baby has finished a semester and one unit in two of their branches. For Gymboree, we have only availed of their Php 600 trial class in their branch at Robinsons Magnolia.

What Gymboree Magnolia Looks Like

Here’s what Gymboree Magnolia looks like — padded floors and materials, with wooden and plastic slides. Despite its “safe”¬†environment, you still have to supervise and watch your child especially as they can always bock their head if they fall.

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As you can see, there are still some hard corners a child can hit himself/herself with if you’re not careful. It will not kill your child, but it’s enough to give them a bruise.

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Given that it’s inside the mall, the area is¬†lighted with fluorescent and¬†can be a bit dark. There’s no natural light pouring in, which is one limitation of a mall area that cannot be helped.

The¬†area is clean though and well maintained. It just doesn’t look bright and brand new, but heck, that’s not what we’re there for.

The price can be a bit confusing.

Instead of charging the parents per class or per semester, Gymboree charges an annual membership fee of Php 2,000 before you can enroll your child to a class.

Gymboree 3.png

There’s a lifetime membership of Php 4,000 which you can use most likely until your child is 5 years old. After which, I don’t think Gymboree will hold their attention any longer.

The class rates are cheaper when you enroll to more classes. If you enroll your child to Gymboree 4x a day for 48 weeks for example, class is almost half the price at Php 500 + the 1-time annual fee of Php 2,000.

For simplicity sake, I made this chart so you can understand the price per class better. I don’t like confusing marketing so this chart will help you decide which classes are for you:

Gymboree 5

Being a member, you can avail of the gym free play schedule, a sample of which is as follows. As you can see, despite paying for the annual membership fee, you still cannot come and play whenever you want. Instead, you follow the schedule given by the branch.

Gymboree 4.png

As you can see, prices are NOT that cheap for an hour’s worth of play. I will talk about the program later on so you can see if it’s worth it for you or not. But in comparison,¬†the price I pay for Kidzoona with 1 baby child is only Php 450, so a Gymboree class is almost equivalent to what you pay for in Kidzoona free play.

A Kindermusik class is Php 875 for the same hour (but with no annual fee), so technically, a Kindermusik class is slightly cheaper than Gymboree for the same amount of time your son or daughter spends in class.

Thankfully, Gymboree is one of those programs where you can try first before you enroll. Trial class was Php 600 for my child. That way, you can see if this class is meant for you before you part with your hard-earned money.

There are several classes available for Gymboree depending on age

Gymboree 6.png

Since my daughter is still less than 18 months old, we availed of the free trial class for Gymboree Play & Learn 3. After her class,¬†we also checked out the Play & Learn 4 class, and it’s mighty similar to¬†Play & Learn 3 except that the children are more¬†active, and there’s a small up in terms of difficulty.

At first, the class begins with the child and their caretaker embarking in a brief sing-along, sang acapella by the teachers. This was followed by the first activity where the child, with some support, is asked to:

  1. Crossing a makeshift bridge with pillows,
  2. Climbing a wooden slide
  3. Walking across the plank
  4. Getting the colored pillows and
  5. Placing them in a plastic box at the end of the plank before
  6. Coming down the steps facing backwards

Gymboree 7.png

Yes, it’s¬†that complicated. I think the 1-year old children finish the activity with TONS of help from their adult companions. For children who are older, they can do the activities with a lot more ease, but¬†it’s still¬†almost the same steps.

Thankfully, given that there were only 4 kids in the class, the teacher-student ratio was terrific.

For this session, there were two teachers and one assistant for a group of 4 students.So even though that some of the kids¬†couldn’t even walk, everyone still managed to finish the activity in 10 minutes or so time. There’s a lot children can do with adults’ help!

After this activity, they had to climb another slide, push down pillowed shapes down the holes, before rolling two balls after reaching the top, and then sliding down.

Another activity was climbing up the stairs with assistance, moving across the pillowed tube before sliding down after reaching the end:

Gymboree 8.png

Another activity was sitting on a circle, singing songs, playing with some toys, and then appreciating the blowing bubbles song.

Gymboree 9.png

The class lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. As a whole, there was singing, a lot of movement and activity, and some free play.

My Thoughts on Gymboree

I can only talk about the trial class we experienced last week so do take my advice with a grain of salt.

Personally, Gymboree is a great program for you to plunk your child in if you want them to be occupied by an hour or two per day. After Gymboree, you can enjoy some merienda as a family in the foodcourt outside.

However, if you are operating on a limited budget and can only pick one class, I would suggest you sign up for Kindermusik instead. I say this with much caution especially since I know that a lot of mothers are big fans of Gymboree, but analyzing the two programs as a whole, I feel that Kindermusik is more cohesive, more professionally ran, and honestly speaking a better program than Gymboree.

Not that Gymboree is bad, but it’s¬†just that the quality of Kindermusik Philippines is simply above¬†average. From what I’ve heard, Teacher Jeannie of Cubao and BGC Chapter is one of the best Kindermusik teachers in the world. Now, how rare is that?

Kindermusik’s pricing scheme is also more straightforward than Gymboree.¬†You can pay per class, or for a semester, and the¬†prices don’t really vary too much.

And effect wise, while my daughter was tired after Gymboree, I felt that she enjoyed Kindermusik a lot more. The songs are catchier and are more ingrained to her brain. For example, if she pulls a tantrum, all I have to do is to sing to her and she immediately breaks into a smile.

Regardless, given that these two programs have trial classes available, you can go and see for yourself which program is better for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gymboree directly. Details are as follows:

Website: http://www.gymboree-ph.com/
Phone Customer Service: (632) 817-0951 local 251
Customer Service Hours: 9am to 5pm
Email Customer Service: tellgymbo@gymboree-ph.com

 

 

 

 

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Make the Right Decisions Before You Get Married

It’s a week before my brother’s wedding, and his greatest problem yesterday was¬†what type of Tempur bed to purchase.

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Apparently, there’s three types of Tempur Beds — hard, soft, and softest.

Tempur.png

My husband and I have the standard Tempur bed bought on sale almost three years ago. My husband deems it as one of the greatest life-changing things he received when he got married.

Men are so easy to please: So long as they’re fed, get enough good sleep, and have some quiet time, they’re happy.

When I got married, I made sure we had a nice bed to sleep in and luscious pillows to place our heads in. Consequently, my husband is forever indebted to me in changing his sleeping habits forever.

But before I digress, my main point in making this blog post is that we devote more resources in researching for the right type of bed, the right type of tupperware and the right type of car than in picking the right type of spouse for us.

My brother and his fiance spent long hours every night poring over online reviews to pick the right hostel to stay in their one-month long honeymoon. While the time spent on premarital counseling was only 1-2 hours per week, for 5 weeks.

In the Philippines, only one session of pre-marital counseling is required by law before getting married.

People who are avid readers of my blog know that I wasn’t a big fan of my future sister-in-law. Much tears¬†had been shed and fights had been made because my brother disliked my husband while I disliked his¬†choice of partner. Here’s¬†a post I made on the matter.

I’ve read so many complaints from fellow wives about red flags they spotted from their husbands when they were still dating. Given that they wanted to get married, they ignored these problems and had lived regrettably to tell the tale.

But when all things had been said and done, by God’s grace, I am glad that I had married my husband. All of my brother’s fears were unfounded. But I was very lucky and blessed.

Now as my brother will start his next phase of life, he will have to lie in the bed he picked in.

On the plus side, I am glad he’s making the right decision of his own. Given that it’s your life, only you can decide who you can marry.

And given how relatively smooth their wedding planning was, I am quite optimistic of their marriage. Truth be told, his soon-to-be wife was not as bitchy or as demanding as I thought she would be. She was able to playfully pull in the punches, and seems to be a great fit for my brother.

Nonetheless, it’s my brother’s choice. And marriage is forever. *gulp*

One more week to go before his wedding!  Yehey!

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Dad’s Words of Wisdom: Being Hands on in Business

When we got married, my husband’s father gave us a¬†very small business to manage.¬†It was supposed to be our “bread and butter.”

When he gave us the business, it wasn’t cashflow¬†steady. It was not profitable and we were running at almost break-even, often times losing money.

But it was a great platform for us to learn the trade.

My husband’s dad emailed us the following to encourage u to be hands on in business. He wasn’t kidding. Today, I am the one who¬†source and price the product, and manage sales and¬†operations. It’s a tedious role, and sometimes, it hurts my head to see how my work is never-ending.

And yet, he was right with the pleasure that comes in managing your own business.

I am sharing this to you because words of wisdom from older, more experienced people, are always handy. Plus, I would like to document this well.

Hope you enjoy his words of wisdom:

============================================
In business, you always hear the word ‚Äúhands on‚ÄĚ.¬†There is no substitute to be a ‚Äúhands on‚ÄĚ in managing your own business. Because, by being ‚Äúhands on‚ÄĚ, you will know every phase, every in and out of your business.
 
This is very contrary to working for a big multinational organization or conglomerate.¬†Because your job is what we call ‚Äúde kahon‚ÄĚ. You are literally confined in a box, both in your office table and duties & responsibilities.
 
Managing one own’s business give you the flexibility to unleash your own talent and making a go for it.If you work in a corporate setting, you are constrained or limited to do only what your boss told you to do.
 
I have decided to pull out (staff name) from (company name) after the transition period to give you and (husband) the flexibility of getting your own people. That being the case. I suggest that you should treat yourself as a ‚Äúhands on‚ÄĚ boss to janitor.
That means, you learn and can do everything yourself.
 
Once you know what you are doing and what needs to be done, you can then hire people to help you do particular tasks. You will then know whether the person you hire is up to par or not. From there, you can start building up your own organization.
 
It is difficult for a 40 years old servant to serve a 20 year old master (although there are exception) compare with a 20 year old servant to serve a 40 year old master.
 
History has more stories about the 20 year old servant who has been loyal and have serve his master well if they are treated well by the master. They remain loyal until the dead of his master.
 
I have make out a list of things that are to be done continuously non-stop. You should learn how to do this yourself. Because when push come to shove, and all your hire hand resign or desert you, you should see to it that you can still operate.

Otherwise, you are dead.
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Second Chances

A friend of mine told me that his son was sullen and depressed following a failed marriage. He married young at 21 years old, at a time his now wife was 3 months pregnant, much to the chagrin of everybody.

We warned him not to get married. Everyone told him it’s a bad idea,”¬†the father muttered. “But he insisted. He wanted to do right with this woman.”

What followed this bad decision was two now teenage kids, at least 5 years of long distance relationship as the woman migrated to the USA to study and practice nursing,¬†him and his family following suit, and then him returning back to the Philippines when he couldn’t take it anymore.

It’s been three years since he returned,”¬†the dad said. “And it’s hard to be separated.”

My husband knows about separation. He has been married at 26 years old to another woman — no kids thank goodness — and had his marriage annulled after 6 months of marriage. Apparently, they were fighting all the time.

You know it’s a bad marriage when your wife becomes bridezilla and sulks in the wedding just¬†because the wedding coordinator got the song incorrect,”¬†he said. Apparently, the wife wanted with lyrics, instead of just getting the instrumental. She was also unhappy with the waterfall decor they ordered.

The first wife was a little hot tempered. In defense, my husband was no saint either, and given their relatively young age and their immaturity to refuse to compromise to each other, the marriage was kaputz as soon as it started.

Geez, so you asked your parents to help you get annulled,”¬†I said.

Yup,”¬†he said,¬†apparently not as guilty that his parents paid for his wedding AND his annulment. “The worst decision I made was to get married at 26,”¬†he said. “The best decision I made aside from marrying you was deciding to push through the annulment at 26.”

What I do know however was that following the demise of his marriage, my husband spent the next decade enjoying his bachelorhood. Of course it got old pretty fast, and he still moans of the money and time he spent in Reserve Ortigas trying to pick up random chicks.

At that time, I didn’t believe that any good girl would want me,”¬†he said. “Random girls, sure. But good girls? Nah.”

Well, the Lord has been good.

We met in late 2013, got married in mid 2015, had our daughter in 2016 and now she’s 15 months and walking.

Who would have known?

So yes, I’m the second wife.

Booyah.

In my defense, we legally got married and everything. We had the CENOMAR, marriage license, tinghun and wedding reception, although his parents invited a different set of friends this time around. It’s kind of weird to be invited to a wedding with the same groom twice.

Do I feel this to be weird?

Not at all.

Apparently, love¬†stories are complicated. The guy or girl you think you’d spend the rest of your life with may not be the partner you’ll end up with when you die.

A sales staff of ours was married to another man when she started with us. In the course of her employment, she met another man who was more responsible, moved out of her house, moved in with him and is now pregnant with her son.

My makeup artist was a single mother with a pre-teen child. She met her now husband later, they fell deeply in love, and now they have another baby boy.

There are second chances anywhere and everywhere. Life is funny that way. And despite the wrong decisions we may have made, time has a way to make us feel better and help us redeem ourselves.

My husband, given his past, has become a better wife and father because of his sad experience.

Yesterday, I was really tired and had to go to bed early. Daughter, like any toddler, refused to do so.

My husband spent an hour walking around the area with daughter to tire both of them out. I think they both slept at 2am, stinky and hot after the night excursion.

I doubt that my husband would have done so if I was his first and only wife. He would not think his life right now would be as precious without having experienced what life would be without his family.

So I am a firm believer of second chances.

Yes, we may make the wrong decisions and fail at life, but that doesn’t mean life is over just because we make mistakes.
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Let’s be the train that keeps on going, while we still can.

Have a good week everyone!

 

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, lovelife, Marriage, Updates | Leave a comment

My List of Baby Essentials – Here’s my list from my own experience. What’s yours?

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How to Make Your Wife Happy

When my baby was born, I was caught up with babywearing, and hoarded carriers. My mom bought me an Ergobaby 360 before our daughter was born, and since it was too hot and bulky, we bought the Baby K’Tan for our newborn.

Unfortunately, while the Baby K’Tan is light and convenient, it’s also catered to the body size of the wearer. This means that given that I, my husband and our yaya have different body sizes, we had to get three Baby K’Tans for our family (XS, M, L).

When the Babywearing Philippines Facebook group started talking about the Love & Carry Air carrier, a lighter and cheaper alternative to the Ergobaby 360, I knew I had to get it. At Php 3,950 for a set with two free drool pads, it was for me a steal. So I bought.

Then, there was the Bitybean which was on sale at Php 2,800 at a baby fair. The lightest, safety certified carrier there is, the Bitybean was for ‚Äútravel‚ÄĚ since you can just roll it up and chuck it back in your bag for emergency use.

Yes, I’m a crazy hoarder, I know.

I always tell myself that I’d sell them one day, but so far, I haven’t. My husband knows not to argue with his unreasonable wife.

*In the background, my husband shakes his head in shame*

Now this month, while baby is 15 months old, I saw that the Lillebaby Complete Airflow combined all the features of the Love & Carry mesh and the Ergobaby’s front facing capability. Since it was made out of mesh, it was way lighter and airier than the Ergobaby 360.

I wanted to buy it. It was impractical but I wanted it and checked out the sites for the last two weeks.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs for our next trip,‚ÄĚ I told husband. ‚ÄúI know that baby want to front-face and this is the safest carrier there is.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúHow much is it?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Php 7499.75.‚ÄĚ I answered as husband promptly fell off his chair.

‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt need it,‚ÄĚ was his curt answer.

I know… I know… after owning almost every single carrier in the book, I didn’t need another one.

Yesterday however, we were going around SM Department store, and as luck might have it, it was their March Wednesday sale. If you have an SM Prestige card, you get an extra 10% off.

I automatically headed over to the Lillebaby counter. Aha, it was on sale! And it was discounted!

I couldn’t help myself, I looked around for my husband but he wasn’t there. He was taking some of our shopping back to the car.

I felt guilty and tried it. I still wanted it but I knew husband didn’t approve. And we have talked about saving money.

So I decided to carry the Lillebaby Complete Airflow box around while I shopped for the item I really needed to buy, a plaid long-sleeve shirt for my daughter for her last day of school.

As I looked around, my husband found and called me, ‚ÄúHey Bonita!‚ÄĚ

I jumped in surprise, feeling a bit guilty for bringing the Lillebaby box around.

‚ÄúI wanted to buy this carrier but I know you won‚Äôt approve,‚ÄĚ I said meekly.

He looked at me.

I was expecting to be sermoned, but it never came.

Then he broke to a smile and said, ‚ÄúOkay, if you want it, you can go and pay for it.‚ÄĚ

I was floored and over the moon.

I proceeded to pay at the counter, and was very happy.

Then as I carried my precious package out, I remembered that this is what marriage is all about. It’s not fighting about winning or losing, but rather in giving the other person their way sometimes.

At a relatively cheap price of a Lillebaby Air, which by the way was at 10% off, my husband made me a very happy and appreciative wife for a night.

Happy-wife-happy-marriage-happy-life

Sometimes, each of us can be very irrational. And as rational human beings, we try to stop our partners when we want something unreasonable.

‚ÄúNo, it‚Äôs not practical,‚ÄĚ we‚Äôll say. ‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt need to buy it.‚ÄĚ

It happens when my husband buys another Transformer toy (he‚Äôs a collector) at Toy Kingdom. ‚ÄúWhy do you need another version of the Devastator?‚ÄĚ I‚Äôd ask. ‚ÄúTransformers value do not appreciate the same way as Lego does.‚ÄĚ

It happens when he spends most of the entire night painting his Gundam models.

It happens when he asks for the driver that afternoon to deliver one of his pet projects to a customer, and I’d have to Uber to and fro the pre-school to pick up our daughter.

But who am I to complain?

As the Lillebaby example has shown, I am irrational too.

I am irrational as I buy my nth baby carrier even though we already have too many carriers.

I am irrational as I purchase more books for my baby in Amazon, even though she still can’t read.

I am irrational as I think about enrolling my daughter to her second pre-school, while being enrolled already to one. I was a Montessori child, so I was thinking of having her go to Montessori in the morning, and her playschool in the afternoon. Please note that she is only 15 months old.

A happy marriage is a balance — sometimes, husband gets irrational. Sometimes, wife gets irrational. But regardless on who is irrational, it‚Äôs important to acknowledge that marriage is for the both of you. It‚Äôs not a zero sum game where one wins and one loses.

It’s about giving way and making each other happy from time to time, as long as your family can still budget and afford it, no matter how irrational it seems.

Have a great week everyone!

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The Cookie Test

My husband tells me that he comes from a family that doesn’t say “Thank you” a lot. He chides my family for being overly polite and for saying thank you¬†too often that it almost comes out as fake and meaningless.

My¬†mother used to dislike the fact that every time she does something nice to my husband and to my husband’s family, they forget to say thank you.

I won’t do nice things for them anymore if they’re so unappreciative,”¬†she’d huff and puff.

Personally, I think I’m mostly a kind and generous person. And I like helping out people whenever I can.

But I also do like some appreciation for the kindness that I do. And if people do not reciprocate, then I am discouraged to help them again next time.

Why help them if they don’t say thank you or show appreciation? It’s not as if I need to help them.

Again, my husband reminds me this thinking is wrong.

My husband tells me that when you want to be generous and giving, you shouldn’t expect anything in return. “It’s wrong to give just because you think your goodwill will be reciprocated. Then the good turn doesn’t come from the goodness of your heart.”

Well, I’m human and I don’t care.

If people don’t show appreciation, then I don’t need to help them next time.

This happens often as I donate my milk. As per my previous post, I have already donated more than 3000 oz of milk over the last 10 months.

Now, whenever I give milk, I don’t ask for anything in return. Some people offer to pay but I refuse. I do accept a token of appreciation now and then for milk bags — they cost around Php 10 a piece — or sometimes a¬†box of brownies or cookies.

The Cookie Test.jpg

I usually get some token of appreciation most of the time I donate. The best people who receive my baby’s breastmilk are those who:

  1. Pick up the breastmilk themselves, with or without the baby in tow
  2. Show personal appreciation on getting the milk
  3. Give a small token of appreciation such as some fruits or some brownies for the milk

When this happens, my heart grows bigger and I usually donate to them when they ask.

Sometimes however, there are some mothers who don’t know how to say appreciation. Like there was a mother who messaged me on Facebook for milk,¬†asked her driver to pick it up, and never even said thank you.

B*tch.

There was another mother who asked for some milk, which I gave generously of. Her driver picked it up, and she did say thank you. But when she asked again the second time, her driver was 1.5 hours late, causing my girl to wait for him till 9pm overtime (since pickup was from our office).

Sorry! Should I give her something for overtime? Really sorry,”¬†she messaged me.

Well, after waiting for more than an hour at night, I sent my girl home because she had a family to go home to. I went to the office to meet her driver to again give this mommy my milk.

Of course, it was just a normal driver with a huge cooler. It wasn’t even the mother who requested for milk twice. And no, there were no tokens of appreciation or cookies.

I gave the driver 125 oz. of milk and he left.

What is the lesson here?

I think the lesson is this, in society, it’s crucial to give and take. Sometimes, we help and sometimes we receive help. What’s most important when receiving help is to always say thank you and to show appreciation, hopefully with some sort of¬†small token.

How much does it take to actually pick up the precious milk gold yourself so at least I know who I am donating to?

How much is a box of cookies? Php 75 or Php 80?

How much does it take to show people you really appreciate what they’re doing, instead of leaving them to feel that¬†you’ve taken¬†them for granted?

Again, it’s not the cookies that matters. But it’s how you react when someone is helpful to you that shows what type of person you are. On¬†whether your parents have taught you the correct manners or not.

To be honest, I cannot wait for my daughter to grow up. I will¬†teach her the cookie¬†test. Even if my husband’s family is not a thank you saying family, I will teach my daughter to properly say thank you and please because it’s the good thing to do.

Never do I want anyone to feel they’ve been used or taken advantage of just because my child is not taught correctly how to show appreciation. It shows a lack of class and good manners.

So yes, saying thank you too much may run a risk of people seeing you as fake.

But failing the cookie test — such as not saying thank you or properly showing appreciation — is an even bigger abomination.

 

 

Posted in children, Family, Rants, Updates | 1 Comment

A Reason for Everything

I believe that there is a reason for everything. When things don’t go our way, there’s usually a hidden plan behind it.

I remembered¬†when I was in Taiwan, I applied for a marketing position in DeBeers, one of the world’s leading diamond sourcing and retailing companies. I had the¬†marketing education and the interest, but had difficulty in their exam where they asked me to translate an English article to Chinese.

At that time, I could speak fluent Mandarin, at least for a foreigner. But Chinese reading and writing were still my weaknesses and I failed miserably.

I remembered being very disappointed after not getting the job. Who wouldn’t right?

But what can a girl do?

I continued working for the company until I received another call from a headhunter. Apparently, a leading investment bank was looking for a coordinator, and my extra-curricular activities gave me the experience and background to do the job well.

After six months, I got the job… and it is still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.

I would not have gotten the plush job if I was accepted by DeBeers.

The same goes for my love life…

I dated several men from different cultures and nationalities. My first boyfriend was Japanese, the second was American-Born Chinese, and then an Irishman, before moving on to a Filipino-Chinese.

From the Japanese guy, I learned that it’s important to date a guy whom you share the same language with. Do you know how hard it is to express yourself when you’re mad when all you can say is, “Wo hen seng qi?”¬†(I’m very angry) and¬†“Wo bu gao xing!”¬†(I am very unhappy).

Regardless on our initial attraction to each other, I couldn’t be Japanese enough and he couldn’t get that. He wanted me to know how to be polite and know how to be Japanese. Even though my directness was initially cute, it¬†became tiring in the end.

We mutually agreed to end it after more than a year of dating.

For the American-born Chinese, when I met him, he was recently divorced, single and ready to mingle. He was great, don’t get me wrong. But he was still discovering himself after being in a long-term relationship with¬†his wife.

Lesson learned: Don’t date a guy who recently got divorced. No matter how charming he is, wait for at least 2 years before dating him.

I think I was one of the first women he dated after his divorce. Then, he dated another lovely woman who was a year younger than I was. I think he left a lot of broken hearts in his wake because he was still finding his way.

That was selfish of him of course, but perfectly natural. Again, he wasn’t ready for any serious dating. He finally reconnected and re-married the real love of his life after he broke up with the younger woman.

But what I learned from this relationship was that dating divorced or separated men were okay. Despite the social stigma of dating divorced men in the Philippines, I remained unaffected.

That’s why, when I met my now husband who¬†had been married and¬†annulled his marriage 10 years ago, it was fine. Of course, my mom¬†almost had a heart attack and we went through a gazillion couples counselling sessions, but the fact that I would be the second wife¬†didn’t really faze me much.

I think it was because I dated divorced ABC that led me to being more accepting of my annulled single husband.

The third guy I dated taught me that I had to date physically and emotionally available men. Long¬†distance was a bitch, and unless you can be public with a relationship, then it’s better not to proceed.

By the time I dated third boyfriend, I learned how to let go of men who weren’t really healthy for me. And while I have no regrets on dating him, as soon as I found out there was no future, I got out of the relationship as fast as I could.

As for fourth boyfriend, I realized how important it is that you and boyfie must share the same wavelength.

While fourth boyfriend finally shared the same culture/background since he was similarly¬†Filipino-Chinese, was emotionally available and gave me all I wanted, and was completely single, we didn’t really share the same beliefs and principles.

For one, he wanted me to be a housewife like his mom. I would rather die than to cook, do the housework, and clean the toilet on a regular basis. That’s just not me.

He also wanted me to be subservient. I was the opposite of submissive. In fact, I was a complete b*tch to him.I guess that’s what happens when a guy is too nice to you. You sort of take advantage of that kindness.

I¬†didn’t really get him too much. He found me to be too direct, tactless and aggressive. We were really not a good match.

We stayed for 2.5 years because I didn’t know anything better. Fortunately, he dumped me for another woman who was better suited for him, and I learned how important dating someone who “gets” you¬†and can make you laugh.

It sucks when you date someone you don’t share too much in common with, and all you can do when you eat is stare at the food or your mobile phones:

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I cried for 4 months after we broke up. I guess I was not used to rejection and it hurts to be replaced.

But I learned to trust the process and moved on. I¬†kept an open mind and dated guys¬†who I wouldn’t otherwise consider. I went on blind dates, group dates and tried online dating.

Then I met my now husband.

And suddenly everything made sense.

We shared the same background and culture, and grew up in the same type of household. His mother and father worked in their business together, and we lived 5 kms from each other. And unlike boyfriend four, he gets me.

So you snore…”¬†he said after we got married.

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Yes…”¬†I answered. To be honest, snoring is one of the habits I’m ashamed of. When I sleep, I sleep like a log. But apparently, I snore pretty loud for a girl.

Boyfriend #4 was a light sleeper so that was a problem. I remembered being ashamed that I snored and he couldn’t get a good night’s sleep.

“Well that’s fine,” ¬†he said. “Our baby snores too.”

As for the laundry, he’s appalled that I don’t do any housework, cook or clean for him. His mother actually¬†does it for us. Actually, for all of my relationships, all of my boyfriends did my laundry. I really hated doing the laundry.

Oh well, I’d rather you work and help me in business than cleaning our toilet,”¬†he said.

Now that’s a relief. It’s great when someone accepts you for who you really are.

Point being, there’s always a reason for everything.¬†

For every disappointment or heartbreak comes a bright light. I don’t think there are any accidents in life. And I think that every little thing that happens to us opens us up to the next scenario, which would not have been possible if ever we did not go through the thing we did.

Sometimes, I wonder what life will bring. I’m a Christian so I do believe¬†in God’s promise that He is in control, and everything will be okay (Jeremiah 29:11).

But as I look back in my life, I realize that everything brought me to these moments and I’m thankful.

How about you? Have you realized that your life is built in steps, and all the things that happened in the past opened you up to today? Let me know what you think.

Have a good Sunday!

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, lovelife, Marriage, Updates | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

My Thoughts on Early Learning

I’m a big fan of early¬†learning for my child.

I began hoarding books¬†when she was born, scouring pre-loved book depositories for bargains and ordering from Amazon.com the rest. Here’s one site where I get my second hand children’s books in the Philippines.

At seven months old, she attended her first Kindermusik class.

kinder

She came home so excited and despite her young age, will drum her hands whenever she hears us singing. Our baby really loved her Kindermusik classes. Here are some of the schedules for those who are curious about the classes.

Kindermusik classes are once a week, for an hour per time. It includes 15 minute free time and 45 minutes of continuous singing and parent/yaya participation.

I¬†strongly¬†recommend Kindermusik to¬†any¬†mother. I believe the class semester cost Php 18,500. We enrolled her to a monthly class that cost Php 3,500 (or Php 875 per class). If you can afford it, they’re well worth your time and money.

Afterwards, I enrolled my daughter to a pre-nursery class.

The pre-nursery kindergarten exposes children to reading at any early age. The earliest you can get in is 1 year old. Our baby started at 11 months old, the youngest possible age.

Classes is 5x a week, at 1.5 hours per day. The ratio of teacher to student is 1.5 teacher to 1 student. In my daughter’s class, there are 2 teachers and 1 assistant, so the program really focuses on your child.

I remembered her first day — there was some free time with music and toys, followed by some singing and book reading. The book on her first day was “Where is Spot?” ¬†Afterwards, the teacher will teach them about phonetics.

Since parents are not allowed to come in anymore after the first week to allow children to be more independent, we aren’t privy to what’s going on in her class. However, I do see a slight uptick on her need to read books every evening.

When we get home and after she bathes, there’s reading time. She will¬†toddle¬†and get a book from her bookshelf for me to read out loud.

So I guess early learning classes work. As a working mother, I cannot babysit my daughter full-time, and I don’t want to leave her with the maid all the time. It’s good to have some formal teaching environment for her to socialize properly and to hopefully absorb some good¬†information from trained teachers.

Some mothers laugh at me and chide me¬†from being a tiger mom. “What if your baby gets scared of school because you expose her to formal¬†schooling so early?”

That’s the issue — I honestly believe that babies are very resilient and adaptable creatures.¬†The schools I enroll them in are actually playschools, where they mostly do play and all teachers are hired to ensure that learning becomes fun for them.

There are no¬†grades or pressure to do well. There’s no honor roll or competition among babies. Instead, all they have to do is show up while a bunch of adults entertain them.

In a way, early schools teach kids that learning is FUN.

Instead of scaring kids, I think early schools¬†show them that teachers are friends and schools can be fun places. And if that doesn’t set a positive tone early in their education, I don’t¬†know what else to do.

How about you? Will you enroll your kids to a playschool while they’re very young? At what age do you think they should start schooling?

 

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff | Leave a comment

When Someone Betrays Your Trust

I found out two months ago that my assistant has been stealing money from the company. She’s been doing it since February 2016, and has gradually started siphoning money from the company account to her personal bank account.

When I discovered it, I couldn’t believe it.

This was a woman I entrusted money to. Whom I foolishly believed would NOT steal. Who I’ve worked with since I started with the company.

Here was a single mother of a 7-year old boy, whom we hired after she was ceremoniously dumped by her live-in partner for another woman. She was amicable and friendly, positive in thinking and work, and seemed adamant to do good for the future of her little boy.

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And yet she stole.

She stole for her son’s medications since he had asthma. And she stole to fund her sibling’s application to work in Saudi Arabia, and to be a sugar mommy to her uneducated and poorer driver boyfriend.

I found out last December and I was sad for a week. Here she was, lying to my face. My husband and I went to our lawyers and they convinced us that the best way to approach this is to bring this charge to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Unfortunately, that meant not confronting her as soon as we found out. “Cooler heads will prevail,” our lawyer said.¬†This is not only a criminal case, but if done improperly can be an HR headache. “There must be due process,”¬†he warned.

It is apparently not uncommon for fired employees who stole money to report to the Department of Labor to ask for their backpay for being unfairly fired.

So we waited till we built the case.

We spent two months observing her, first by removing her from a position where she can steal even more money, and to slowly but surely transition her work to another co-worker so that even if she ran away, the company operations would keep running. And we made sure that every single offense was properly documented to protect us from possible labor complaints labor on.

Of course, that meant giving her her 13th month pay, which is by the law, and continuing to employ her until she received her NBI subpoena. We even had to include her in our Christmas party where she gave a sweet speech on how good the company was to her.

Ha! If only people could see the hypocrisy of her words!

I am not a fake person, so it was a struggle for me to treat her fairly and nicely as if nothing happened. In the beginning it was hard. This was someone I trusted, and she has severely, blatantly and grossly betrayed this trust. At home, I was saddened and sickened on how she could do it.

But after awhile, I focused more on our business and our people, and things were a lot easier to bear.

Hence, when she was served her NBI subpoena this week, it was finally a sweet relief after months of waiting. The NBI was delivered to our office by courier, and was opened by her at her desk.

Then, we talked to her.

At first, she denied the allegations, saying that she will help find the money. “It’s just there, ma’m,”¬†she countered as she flipped through our company passbook.

But¬†when I told her that the money was NOT there,¬†that I’ve checked, triple checked and checked again, and the money was still not there and only she had access to the money, she broke down and confessed to everything.

She confessed how she stole the money. How she slowly took money from the company account until the amount was too big for her to pay.

She confessed on where she spent¬†the money. She spent it on her son, and her¬†sibling’s application to Saudi, and on her boyfriend, among many other things.¬†The money is now gone, and there’s no way she can recuperate the money.

She confessed how she stole our company ledger in the attempts to hide her crime.

And she confessed how she forged my signature in November 2016 to steal cash.

Basically, she confessed everything. I already know about everything and have sufficient proof to tie her to all of her illegal activities, but it was still nice to get some closure and an answer from her own words that she took it.

According to the Revised Penal Code  of the Philippines, Article 308 and 309, given her crime, she is liable to be jailed for 20 years:

‚ÄúArticle 308. Who are liable for theft: Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against, or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter‚Äôs consent.‚ÄĚ

You may file a complaint for theft against your housemate who took your cellphone before the Office of the Prosecutor of the place where your cellphone was stolen. To successfully prosecute her of the crime of theft, you must prove the following elements: 1) that there be taking of personal property; 2) that said property belongs to another; 3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; 4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; 5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things (Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code (Book Two), 14th Edition, page 686).

The penalty for the crime of theft shall depend upon the value of the thing stolen. Since the value of your cellphone is P18,000, the penalty to be meted out to the person liable to the theft is that which is provided in Article 309 par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:

‚ÄúArticle 309. Penalties. ‚Äď Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:

1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than P12,000 but does not exceed P22,000, but if the value of the thing stolen exceeds the latter amount the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional P10,000, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be.‚ÄĚ

Add forgery to the list of crimes and if caught, her son will be 27 years old when she gets out of jail.

She broke down and cried in front of us. She said how sorry she was,¬†and how we haven’t really been bad employers but she was only forced because she needed the money.

Now before you feel bad for her, please know that I have other people under my employ who earns a lot less than her.

Her salary was¬†high enough for a supervisory position and her bonus last year was probably more money than she’ll ever earn in a single month. This is a person with money, who foolishly¬†became Mrs. Santa Claus to her¬†relatives and boyfriend, stealing money from the company because she didn’t think she’ll get caught.

No, she didn’t need more money. She had more than enough. She was just stupid enough never to say no when her family and boyfriend asked for money and felt that the company bank account was a convenient ATM machine.

So I don’t feel bad for her. She stole money from ME. From the company. If she knows she will feel bad, then she shouldn’t have stolen money in the first place.

Good people do NOT steal. People who steal are THIEVES.

And if you steal, the law takes the case out of my hands and put you in jail.

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For her offense, that’s 20 years (excluding forgery) of jail.

Again, we have a very strong case. There’s nobody to blame but her, and the fact that she even forged documents to steal more money is damning.

But cool heads must prevail — I told her that because she stole the money, she must return the money in full.

The more you return, the shorter your sentence will be,”¬†I told her. “But if you do not pay it back,¬†there will be an arrest warrant for you this year and you WILL go to jail. And if you go to jail, who will take care of your son?”

People celebrate when a relative becomes Mrs. Santa Claus and give them financial assistance. But how many relatives and friends will actually be there for you and your family IF they know you are a criminal in jail?

Think about your child,”¬†I implored. “Do the right thing.”

It’s obvious what will happen to her child if she¬†doesn’t do the right thing. Multiple studies show how children of incarcerated people suffer. Some answers are here, here, and here.

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As a mother, I pity her child. I¬†think a child must be innocent of her parents’ mistakes, and yet, it can be traumatic for any child to know that¬†his/her mother is in jail for doing the wrong thing.

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Despite being a mother, I still believe that crime does not pay. I believe that the world must be balanced, and despite how I feel, crime should be corrected. The law must met out the correct punishment.

It’s all about the principle. For me, there is doing the right thing and the wrong thing. Always do the right thing. And if you do the wrong thing, the universe will come and bite you in the butt so hard you don’t know what hit you.

In fact, what I did is more than fair — the¬†whole process in getting her arrested for jail will take 3-4 months. If she can come up¬†and return the money in full, we will drop charges and she can chock this experience to one bad dream.

Given your experience with us, you can find a better job elsewhere,”¬†I advised. “But if you don’t return the money, you will end up in jail. The police WILL find you. We will make sure they do their job. So do the right thing.”

I honestly don’t know if she will follow my advice. Most people don’t. That’s why they get into¬†trouble. That’s why she stole money in the first place.

But I hope she doesn’t underestimate my act of kindness as a way to flee. As a mother with a child, you can’t flee too far. You can’t run away for years. Justice will still be served if not this year, but the next or the next.

70-30 she will flee. Let’s see if¬†she will face her crimes.¬†But at least, there’s a good preliminary conclusion to this investigation. Now, let’s see what happens in the next couple of months.

Any comments, please let me know.

 

Posted in entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do You Have a Prenup?

My brother is marrying his girlfriend next month. While other men experience the 7-year itch, brother has chosen to forget the itch and actually put a ring on it.

And when two families get together, there are legalities both sides have to think about. Take for example, the concept of conjugal property. Apparently, there are 3 kinds of property regimes for married couples in the Philippines. They are:

  1. Absolute Community of Property (everything you both own before and during the marriage is conjugal),
  2. Conjugal Partnership of Gains (whatever you own before the marriage is yours alone but whatever you earn during the marriage is conjugal), and
  3. Complete Separation of Property

If no agreement was made at the time of the marriage, then the default regime is absolute community of property. That means, everything you own and everything he owns coming to the marriage are now mutually AND jointly owned by you.

This is great if you are marrying up.

Without any prior agreement before the marriage, a person marrying a richer spouse finds himself/herself co-owner of whatever asset her richer spouse have. Great, if you married a billionaire!

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It sucks though if you’re marrying down.

If you’re the richer of the two, all of a sudden, everything you own is now co-owned by your spouse, regardless on¬†what happened in the marriage.

For example, there are¬†many instances of spouses who lied, cheated and¬†abused you, and yet, when it’s time for you to divvy up your assets, you find yourself still giving that lying cheating SOB most of your money.

Here are just a few examples.

That is why, before marriage, instead of thinking about just the love and happiness you share right now, you might have to wisely consider signing a pre-nuptial agreement.

*Everyone gasps*

But that’s cruel!”¬†people will exclaim. “That means you will leave your (poorer) spouse in the dirt in case the marriage won’t work out!”

or

Are you accusing her of gold-digging?”¬†they’ll say. “She’s not a gold-digger. She’s actually in it for true love.”

Uhmmm… here’s the clincher — If you really think hard about it, there are no risks to you in having your future spouse signing a pre-nup. Sure, he/she may be unhappy at the concept of complete separation of¬†property if in case the marriage don’t work out. But if you think about it, you are actually protecting yourself against a¬†future that MIGHT happen, and if they sign it, it really means that they’re only after you, and not after your money.

I’ve thought about it carefully and thoroughly.

Think about it, first, signing the pre-nup actually encourages the marriage to prosper. If it does not survive, then both of you cleanly keep your properties separate as if the marriage didn’t happen. Haing signed the pre-nup, it’s in everyone’s incentive to keep the¬†marriage going.

Two, the prenup only kicks in IF the marriage doesn’t survive. Given that you’re so in love, why be afraid of a future that you think will not happen? If the marriage lives to an old age, don’t you think that the spouse will enjoy the lifestyle and its fruits while¬†being married to the wealthier spouse?

For example, Melania Trump does not fly coach while President Donald Trump flies in his private jet. If Donald Trump flies in a private jet, Melania joins him too.

Three, the fact that a prenup is a point in contention might reveal that the poorer partners’ intention might not be as clean in the first place. If¬†money is not truly a factor in the union, the prenup is no big deal.

That’s why, I believe it’s important¬†to see your future spouse’s reaction when you ask them to sign the prenup.

If they understand the concept of it and signs it without too much pomp and fuss, then you might have a keeper. But, if the person picks a fight about it to you, then, you might have to be careful. The marriage may be about the money after all.

 

Here’s what most pre-nups indicate — That the assets and its fruits of both parties are kept separate throughout the marriage, though it’s possible that you may keep a joint account for your expenses. The assets of each spouse does not go to the other at the time of death. Instead, it goes to your heirs or children, which is where the money should go in the first place.

I’ve actually signed a pre-nup before marrying my husband.

In fact, it was his father’s idea.

To put it in context, his father has asked¬†all his children’s future spouses to sign a prenup so it wasn’t a really big deal for me. I was expecting it since dating him.

When I read the prenup, I admittedly felt very comfortable. I was¬†okay with the concept of his assets being passed on to his heir at the time of his death. But I was uncomfortable when I read that if he dies, I would not own any of his assets, as if the marriage didn’t take place. It was not a very romantic document to sign to.

But I understood its practicalities and signed it. No fuss, no complaints, no big drama. Just signed it, had it notarized, and each having a copy.

And because it’s Valentine’s, I’m happy to share with you the contents of my prenup in case you need it.

Save yourself the trouble and get yourself a prenup. I signed it. My husband signed it. And we are still happily married.

Don’t get stuck with your pants down just because you’re in love. Love might not be binding but a Prenuptial¬†Agreement is.

Happy heart’s day!

======================================================

PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This Pre-Nuptial Agreement (‚ÄúAgreement‚ÄĚ) made and executed this ____ day of Month¬†20__ in ____________, Philippines, by and between:

Husband’s Name¬†(hereinafter referred to as the (Husband-To-Be), or (“Husband”), with residence at Husband’s Address;

– and –

My Name¬†(hereinafter referred to as the [Wife-To-Be], or (“Wife”), with residence at My Address;

(Each person will be called ‚ÄúParty‚ÄĚ and collectively, ‚ÄúParties‚ÄĚ).

RECITALS:

WHEREAS, The Parties intend to get married in the near future after the signing of this document and have agreed to set forth their agreement insofar as the regime which will govern their property and financial relationship. The matters set forth herein are intended to remove any doubt and/or question by establishing the limits or eliminates the rights of a Spouse in and to the property and income of the other Spouse, according to the terms set forth herein.

The terms set forth herein constitute the agreement of the Parties, which may change the normal operation of law in the event of death or termination of the marriage during the lifetime of the Parties. Accordingly, each of the Parties hereby agrees to accept and carry out the terms of this Agreement in full and complete satisfaction and waiver of all his or her legal rights in and to the property and income of the other Spouse.

This Agreement shall become effective only upon the marriage of the Parties and shall be invalid, null and void in the event that the planned marriage of the Parties does not occur.

NOW, THEREFORE, IN CONSIDERATION OF the contemplated marriage of the Parties and the promises contained herein, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. Full Disclosure.

Each of the Parties understands that, for this Agreement to be valid and enforceable, it must be based on a full mutual disclosure of each Party’s financial status to the other Party. Each of the Parties has made a full, complete and fair disclosure of all his or her property, liabilities and income to the other Party by an itemized list delivered to the other Party which are attached to and made a part of this Agreement. All of Husband’s financial net worth and income is set forth in Exhibit A, which Husband verifies is true and accurate. All of Wife’s financial net worth and income is set forth in Exhibit B, which Wife verifies to be true and accurate.

Each of the Parties further states that he or she has fully reviewed the financial Exhibit of the other Party and has become familiar with the financial status, circumstances and condition of the other Party before signing this Agreement.

  1. 2. Separate Property.

As used in this Agreement, the term “Separate Property” means all rights, titles, and interests to property, whether real property, personal property, mixed including cash and investments/securities/bonds and similar financial instruments wherever located, invested or found, which is owned separately by either Party as contained in Exhibits ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúB‚ÄĚ hereof. The term ‚ÄúSeparate Property‚ÄĚ shall also include the following:

  1. All income produced by or from any Separate Property, the rights to all appreciation or gain, the rights to all proceeds from the sale thereof and the exclusive right to manage, operate, dispose, invest and exercise absolute ownership over such property;
  2. Property obtained or acquired in the future after the date this Agreement is signed (“after-acquired” Separate Property) which is/are: (i) obtained through sale, trade, exchange, development or improvement of currently owned Separate Property; or (ii) Purchased from separately owned money or funds or through loans or credit separately obtained by one of the Parties; or (iii) Combination of (i) and (ii);
  3. Property and/or funds obtained or received by one of the Parties by way of gift or inheritance; and,
  4. Any and all successor businesses, including proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. In general, after acquired Separate Property of a Party usually comes from currently owned Separate Property, or separately obtained credit, or both.

Unless otherwise specified in this Agreement, neither Party shall have any right, title, or interest in, nor any claim against the Separate Property of the other Party, whether currently owned or after-acquired during the contemplated marriage or after its termination during lifetime or upon death. Accordingly, each Party shall have the exclusive right: (a) to dispose of or transfer any or all of his or her Separate Property by inter-vivos (lifetime) or testamentary (at death) including by will, trust, or gift, or by any other disposition, and, (b) Each Party shall have the right to mortgage, encumber, hypothecate, or pledge his or her Separate Property, at his or her sole discretion as if their contemplated marriage had not occurred.

The Parties understand that if they are married, it may be necessary for a Spouse dealing with his or her own Separate Property to obtain the other Spouse’s signature on certain documents in order to satisfy the requirements of lenders, title companies, applicable law, buyers, sellers or others. Therefore, each Party agrees that, when so requested by the other Party during the marriage, he or she will cooperate, join, and sign documents, including contracts, deeds, mortgages and gifts which transfer an apparent interest of the Spouse. However, the participation of the non-owner Spouse shall neither create any personal liability on him or her ¬†or against the property of the non-owner Spouse nor shall it create any interest, right or claim to the owner-Spouse‚Äôs separate property. This notwithstanding, nothing herein shall prohibit either Party from leaving any of his or her Separate Property to the other Party by will, trust or other such method, but this provision shall not create any right or claim by the other Party.

  1. Jointly Owned Property, Accounts, Living Expenses and Obligations.

During the term of the marriage, the Parties may acquire jointly owned property. For all property other than their personal residence, such acquisitions may be made either from joint funds or through separate contributions by each Party. If made from separate contributions, the Parties may by separate agreement specify the interest of each Party therein. Further, in the absence of any separate agreement, each Party will be deemed to have an equal interest in such jointly acquired property.  The respective interest of the Parties shall be documented and reflected in the pertinent ownership/property documents.

For their living expenses and other joint needs, the Parties shall establish a jointly owned checking/saving account at a mutually agreed bank, savings and loan, or other similar institution. Each of the Parties shall make a mutually agreed contribution to that account. Living expenses and joint needs refer but are not limited to: ordinary living expenses and utilities, groceries and food, entertainment, home maintenance and repair, transportation, routine medical and health related expenses, general cost for running the household, and other related items as agreed upon by the Parties.¬† It is understood that any excess funds accumulated in such joint checking or savings accounts established by the Parties shall be deemed to be mutually owned by the Parties and titled in the form of ‚ÄúOwnership of Accounts‚ÄĚ. Finally, in managing jointly owned property/ies, account/s and obligation/s, the Parties agree to keep the other Party informed of all financial and economic activities which a Party might do throughout the lifetime of the marriage.¬† However, in the event that either Spouse is found to have committed any act of infidelity, the he or she will not interpose any objection to the innocent spouse taking over the administration of the common property or fund/joint accounts.

  1. Separately Owned Bank Accounts, Debts & Liabilities.

Other than the special joint account referred to in Section 3 above and any other such joint cash accounts which the Parties may establish under the same terms and conditions, all other cash accounts will be maintained as the Separate Property of each Party. All such Separate Property accounts opened by either Party during the marriage may be designated under the owner Party’s name as “Separate Property of (Party’s name)” or as the “Sole and Separate Property of (Party’s name)”. It is understood that, even if the other Spouse’s name is added as an authorized signatory on any of the other Spouse’s Separate Property cash accounts for emergency situations, such accounts shall nonetheless be and remain as the Separate Property of the Spouse owning the account.

Except for any such arrangements for emergency purposes, each Separate Property account shall remain under the total and exclusive control of the owner who shall have the full and exclusive right to make all deposits to any such account of income produced from his or her Separate Property such as but not limited to: (a) wages, salary, or other earnings resulting from his or her labor, efforts, or contract rights; and, (b) any gifts or inheritances received separately by that Party. The owner of any such Separate Property account shall also have the full and exclusive right and control to make all withdrawals from such account, except for emergency withdrawal rights granted to the other spouse, if ever.

The interest earned on any such Separate Property accounts, together with accumulations or any other increases, shall be included as a part of the account as the Separate Property of the Spouse owning the separate account.

Any withdrawals from any such account, or purchases made with the proceeds of any separate account which are given to the non-owner Spouse shall be considered as a gift to the other Spouse, in the absence of any written agreement which specifies otherwise.

Nothing herein shall create any right, title, interest, or claim, or create any right of reimbursement on the part of the non-owner Spouse unless otherwise specified in a separate written agreement.

  1. Debts and Liabilities.

Unless otherwise specified herein, all debts, liabilities, liens or encumbrances which have been incurred or guaranteed by each Party before the contemplated marriage shall be the sole and exclusive responsibility of and to be paid by the Party who incurred them, and neither the other Party nor his or her property shall in any way be liable or obligated for the payment thereof.

Each Party agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the other Party from any and all debts or liabilities separately incurred by him or her, and each Party agrees that he or she will not seek any financial participation for debt reduction or satisfaction, unless otherwise specified herein.

  1. Divorce, Dissolution, or Separation.

During the lifetime of both Parties, in the event of annulment, dissolution, separate maintenance, or other such legal action, or a separation pursuant to court order or the written agreement of the Parties, or if the Parties do not live together for a period of six (6) continuous months and one of the Parties does not intend to end such separation (all of which are referred to collectively as “Annulment/ Separation”), then the Parties agree that this Pre-Nuptial Agreement shall be the basis for the financial and property settlement of Annulment/Separation, and each of the Parties agrees to request that the court follow the terms set forth herein.¬† In the event of an Annulment/Separation, the Parties further agree as follows:

Each Party shall retain their own Separate Property, subject to any debt or encumbrance thereon.

The Parties shall attempt to divide their jointly owned or community property and set forth their agreement in writing, or if they are unable to reach mutual agreement on such division, division, then all such joint or community property shall be divided and distributed pursuant to court order.

Each of the Parties agrees to request that if this entire Pre-Nuptial Agreement cannot be withdrawn from court proceedings before it would be filed as a part of public court records, that at least the Parties shall request the court’s permission to detach Exhibits of each Party’s property and financial condition before filing in court records, due to the personal and confidential nature of such Exhibits.

Each of the Parties agrees to execute any and all documents, and take all steps necessary to carry out the terms of this Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

  1. Death of Either or Both Spouses

In the event of death of either Spouse, the other Spouse shall have no rights in or to the estate or Separate Property of the other Spouse, just as if their marriage had not occurred. Each of the Spouses agrees to accept the terms of this Pre-nuptial Agreement instead of, and in full and complete satisfaction of all rights in and to the other Spouse’s estate which he or she would have had under law if this Agreement did not exist. Each Party agrees, after the marriage, to execute consent to the other’s will, and to execute any and all other documents necessary to carry out the terms of this Agreement.

At the death of either Spouse, all of his or her Separate Property shall pass to his or her respective heirs, beneficiaries, legatees, devisees, and assigns as provided in his or her respective will, trust or other disposition document or device; provided, however, nothing in this Agreement shall prevent either Spouse from making provision for the other Spouse in his or her will, trust, or other disposition document or device.

Neither Spouse shall contest the will or other testamentary disposition of the other Spouse’s estate. If necessary under applicable law to carry out the Parties’ intent expressed in this Agreement, the Separate Property of each Spouse shall not be counted as part of the elective share of a surviving Spouse.

Following the death of one of the Spouses, the surviving Spouse shall execute and deliver any and all documents necessary to carry out the terms of this Agreement.

In the event that both Spouses should die simultaneously, or in a common disaster, or if one of the Spouses does not survive for a period of at least thirty (30) days after the death of the first Spouse to die, it shall be deemed that each Spouse survived the other and as if the marriage never occurred.

  1. Sole and Exclusive Agreement; Amending; Binding on Heirs.

This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement of the Parties, and totally cancels and supersedes any and all other prior written or verbal agreements or arrangements between the Parties which address the subject matter of this Agreement. No representations or warranties have been made by either Party to the other, nor by anyone else, except as set forth herein, and neither Party is executing this Agreement upon reliance of any representation or warranty which is not expressly set forth herein.

This Agreement may be amended, modified, or revoked only in writing signed by both Parties and executed in the same manner and with the same formality as this Agreement.[1]

This Agreement and all its terms and provisions shall be binding on and insure to the benefit of the Parties, and their respective heirs, assigns, executors, administrators, and legal representatives.

  1. 9. Effective Date.

This Pre-Nuptial Agreement shall become effective upon the marriage of the Parties. If the proposed marriage of the Parties does not occur for any reason whatsoever, this Pre-Nuptial Agreement shall be null and void, and of no effect.

  1. 10. Severability.

The terms of this Agreement are severable. If any provisions herein are not valid or enforceable under applicable law, then all other provisions which are valid and enforceable shall remain in full force and effect.

  1. 11. Governing Law.

This Agreement shall be construed and interpreted under The Family Code and other laws of the Philippines, which is the country of residence of the Parties, which is deemed applicable to such case.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties have executed this Pre-Nuptial Agreement in two or more counterparts on the day and year first written above.

 

___________________________      ___________________________

signed in the presence of:

 ___________________________      ___________________________

 

   

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Republic of the Philippines)

_____________________ ) S.S.

Before me, a Notary Public for and in ____, this __ day of Month 20__, personally appeared the following:

Name Competent Evidence of Identity Date/Place Issued

known to me and to me known to be the same persons who executed the foregoing instrument, consisting of  seven (7) pages, including the page where this acknowledgment portion is found, and acknowledged to me that the same is their free and voluntary act and deed.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal on the day and in the place above written.

 

 

Notary Public

Until 31 December 20 ____

 

Doc. No.  _______;

Page No. _______;

Book No. _______;

Series of  _______.

 

 

[1] No provision in the Family Code allows the revision of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

 

Posted in Advice, Conflicts, Family Drama, Husband, Marriage, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When my kid gets older, I’d ask to her to work as a sales staff…

A sales staff in Manila earns minimum wage. Currently, the price is Php 491/day (USD 10.00), and the number goes up a little every year.

Its a thankless job — standing up for 8 hours straight with 3 breaks (one for lunch, and two for snacks), selling to random customers¬†in the mall. Time-in is at 10:00am when the mall opens, and ends at 7:00pm if you’re in the opening shift. If you’re at the closing shift,¬†working hours is at 12:00pm to 9:00 pm.

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Work is usually 6 days a week, with rest days only from Mondays to Thursdays. There are no rest days during holidays or the weekend, since the malls are packed with people then. Hence, even¬†during Christmas time when everyone¬†has the day off to spend it with their families, you’re still in the mall,¬†working and selling because Christmas is the peak¬†selling season of the year.

Coca-cola got this correct when they released this ad last December 2016:

To be honest, aside from our Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs), I view retail sales staff as our country’s heroes.

They are the oil that greases the domestic market, and¬†have relatively shielded our country from multiple global financial crises. Even when everything fails, there’s always the sweet air-conditioned mall to¬†hang out in, enjoying the free air conditioning, and reveling at beautiful items you’ll eventually buy after paydays.

This makes a retail sales staff in the mall the perfect job for my daughter when she grows up.

For one, a job in the mall teaches my child about the value of money.

It’s easy for a child to feel entitled nowadays. Since both parents usually work, we overcompensate our absence by showering our children with gifts and nice things. Consequently, children never learn the value of money. They think money grow on trees, and money is easy to earn.

Numerous articles have come out on recent years on just how spoiled and arrogant children have become. And I honestly believe that merely giving your children money and not teaching them how to earn it, is one of the best ways to destroy the next generation.

Well, at minimum wages, children can learn the value of money.

They learn that Php 491/day does not get you too far.¬†It’s enough for a movie ticket and a snack, but that’s it. It doesn’t buy you any nice toy, and if you buy a toy, then where else will you get money to eat or sleep?

By having them work in the mall, they realize that money is not easy to earn.

That Php 491.00 is¬†equivalent to 8 hours of standing up, and multiple disappointments in selling. It’s shivering in the¬†air-conditioned room as you watch people¬†pass your storefront, while you call out repeatedly until one of them stops and actually looks at your item.

shopping2.jpg

Two, working at the mall teaches them humility.

Working in the front-line is a great¬†equalizer.¬†When you’re selling to a customer, they don’t care how¬†big your house is, how impressive your car is, or how much money you have in the bank account.

They only care about how good is your product, and how well you can pitch your product to them. If you cannot sell your product¬†at its own merits, and can’t do any sales talk, then they won’t buy from you.

At the end of the day, customers buy from the sales staff. Sure, they like the product, but the sales staff herself is a big part of the equation.

Unlike other jobs, you can’t brag what your position is, or how much money you have. In fact, the more arrogant a sales staff is, the more people won’t buy. Because who wants to buy from a bonafide asshole?

That’s why being a sales staff is a great equalizer. You have to go down to people’s level in order to sell to them. You have to be humble and let them have their way, in order for them to buy your stuff.

Remember, you’re the sales staff and they’re the customer, so you have to be humble and let customers be mostly right for them to make the sale.

Three, working in the mall teaches you about people. How to deal with them, and how to read them.

Being a retail staff, you cannot judge a book by its cover. You have to treat every customer whom you entertain well, regardless on how they look.

Because you can’t judge¬†a book by its cover.

For example, some of our richest customers are those who are dressed simply, wear Crocs, and talk very courteously. They’re the ones whose wallet are filled with 1000 Php bills cash, or have Platinum credit cards.

There are also customers who look rich. They’re draped with the shiniest jewelry, wear the strongest perfumes and carry the most logo-laden designer bags.

But bewarned, do NOT be fooled to giving them credit¬†because¬†they have a huge amount of debt on their credit cards, and they’re living off from borrowing other people’s money to fund their excesses.

They may also be the baddest bitches on the planet. Meaning,¬†it’s hard to sell to them. They make impossible demands, ask for the steepest discounts, and then¬†lash out at you for the smallest mistakes.

So yes, working in the mall exposes you to all kinds of people. The good, the bad and they ugly. And given that you still have to sell, regardless on how bad customers can be, you still keep your charming smile on and carry on the day.

Four, you learn to have more personality. And to sell yourself and to talk better.

Working in retail sales, it helps if you’re pretty and tall. Multiple studies have shown that customers are more likely to buy from good-looking sales people than ugly ones.

That is the reason why medical representatives, car salesmen, bank representatives, lawyers, and insurance salespeople are usually good looking. Apparently, doctors are found to buy more from cute sales representatives.

My daughter is not particularly pretty. She’s cute because she’s only 14 months old, but she’s not beautiful in the most traditional sense of the word.

That is why she needs to build up her intelligence and her charm.

And the best place to do that is in sales.

Sales teaches you to look presentable.

No matter how bad you look, there’s always makeup¬†to accentuate your features. Many of our sales staff looked like factory workers when they start with us, but look a lot¬†more impressive after working with us.

That’s the power of makeup.

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What’s more, you have to develop a personality in sales. Because at the end of the day, customers buy from YOU, the sales staff.

How many people have bought just because the sales person was great? LOTS.

That’s why, as a sales staff, you need to be confident, polite, intelligent, flexible, and persuasive. You need to convince people to buy your product. You need to show them they need it. You need to demonstrate the products on its¬†merits, let them try the product, and then help them make a good purchasing decision.

Now who wouldn’t want their kid to learn such positive traits?

Five, working as a retail staff teaches you about the beauty of monotonous work.

Thanks to technology and gadgets, which by the way make great alternative babysitters, our children are now more fidgety and are always on the lookout for exciting stimuli. For them, a day of doing nothing, is boring, and they’re in the search for adventure in the form of violent video games and colorful youtube videos.

I’m against the¬†excessive use of technology¬†in raising kids. I think technology brings out the¬†worst in children, and left in their own devices (pun intended), our children become addicted to such digital heroin and¬†grow up to be less functioning adults.

Working as a retail staff teaches about the beauty of being bored.

Because when you are standing there for 8 hours and waiting for the next customer, you can’t text or use Facebook. You have to be fixing your displays, updating your records, or filing your documents. And after doing so, you can be calling out for customers to stop and look at your products.

The work is admittedly monotonous and boring. But then again, most work is monotonous and boring.

My secretary updates our sales ledger and files office documents. In the afternoon, she falls in line and deposits checks during her bank run.

My office staff encodes data onto our inventory system the entire day.

My inventory girl helps me prepare goods for pricing and delivery. After which, she stores some of them in our vault for replenishment, which she encodes onto a delivery receipt to give to our area supervisor.

Work is¬†and an be boring. But that’s what jobs are — no matter how exciting jobs are in the beginning,¬†they later on become monotonous and boring. Because you’re already used to the grind and do things automatically.

That’s not¬†necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think¬†being good at what you do and doing repetitive but accurate work is a great way to get promoted.

Life is not about¬†jumping from one exciting job to the next. It’s not about changing boyfriends as you change your underwear. The best things in life are often times the most comfortable of things.

And working at a retail sales job can teach my daughter just that — being content in the monotony and looking for the positives even when you are bored.

Lastly, working at a retail sales job teaches you how to be detail-oriented, and how to logically make and file all paperworks.

You can’t be careless if you’re a retail sales job.¬†Once the item is delivered to the store, the inventory is now under your responsibility, and you are charged when anything gets lost.

Hence, you have to take care of inventory and make sure nothing goes missing, lest you be charged.

You also need to properly do your paperworks.

If you sold an item for Php 500, you better make sure your sales receipt reflects Php 500 lest you be accused of stealing. How many sales staff has been fired because they wrote down the wrong amounts in sales invoices?

You cannot be disorganized when you’re in sales. In fact, you have to be very organized. All your paperworks must be in order, your store front be neat and tidy, and your products displayed beautifully.

If you can’t be organized, you can’t be in sales.

In summary, there are a gazillion reason why I’d want my daughter to be in retail sales.

Of course, that doesn’t mean she has to do retail sales for the rest of her life. In fact, if all goes well, she may one day manage a¬†retail brand or two when she gets older. But the fact of the matter is, it’s hard to manage if you yourself don’t know from the grassroots level¬†what your customers want, how to sell your product carefully, and how to deal with your staff.

Working as a sales staff is the first step in learning all of that.

But mom! I’m your daughter!”¬†she might wail. “Why can’t I be a manager or something?”

For one,¬†your people have to respect you first before they work for you. They need to know you’re smart, experienced, and will do the right thing. When you manage people, you just don’t give them a livelihood. They entrust their future to you as well.

That is why it’s critical for my daughter to learn how to follow, before learning how to lead.¬†She needs to earn¬†my people’s respect first, before she can lead over them.

That’s still 18 or more years away, but a mother can wish. In the end, even if my business folds up, I’d still want my daughter to start in retail sales before venturing in anything else. The lessons she will learn are priceless and will be there for her for the rest of her life.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted in baby, Business, children, Education, entrepreneurship, Family, Favorite Posts, Kid Problems, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health is Wealth

I have a tummy ache ever since this morning. It must have been the McDonald’s Spaghetti I ate for my midnight snack last night.

To make it worse, I can’t drink any medicine since I’m breastfeeding.

So while my butt is stuck to the toilet for the entire day, and my tummy continues to ache, I am reminded once again how important health can be.

We may make all the money in the world, but once we get sick, everything stops and we have to take care of ourselves.

I am still blessed that my pain is not debilitating. It could be a lot worse than just having a tummy ache. And as I continue to go to the toilet once more, I am reminded that I must still rest and take care of me.

Have a good evening everyone!

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How does it feel to donate 3000 oz. of breast milk in 10 months?

My daughter is an exclusively breastfed baby.

Ever since¬†she was born, she has received nourishment straight from the boob. Not for the lack of trying, we’ve tried to get her to take milk from the bottle, but she has stubbornly insisted to go boob or go hungry.

Consequently, I had to donate all the breast milk that I express. 

Sure, I can pump and dump, but they’re not called liquid gold for nothing. It would be a pity for all the breast milk to go to waste. Hence, I’m always in the lookout at mommy groups to see which moms are in need.

And they’ve been many.

Many mothers simply don’t have enough milk. They just don’t. Despite eating all the malunggay¬†tablets and medicine, they sadly cannot provide enough milk for their children.

Other mothers are forced to pump and dump when they get sick. If they’re under medication, they have to feed their child another source of breastmilk.

Other mothers simply insist on feeding their child breastmilk. They refuse formula milk of any kind, and have a whole group of mothers who have milk to spare. Who can blame them anyway? Breastmilk is still the best.

Personally, I’ve¬†just been very lucky to have a lot of milk.¬†

Yes, I’ve eaten malunggay tablets and¬†subscribed to lactation cookies when I just gave birth, but honestly, I think I’m just very lucky that I can produce enough milk for my baby daughter and still have a lot of milk to spare for donation.

My schedule is this: In the morning when I wake up, I pump at around 9:30am-10:00am once. I get around 2.5 to 5.0 oz depending on how much my baby has fed during the night. At 5pm or so, I pump once again. I get around 6 to 8.5 oz given the long period where my baby does not feed.

So on a given day, I get a minimum of 10 oz. to store. Multiply this on a 30-day basis, I have around 300 oz. more or less to donate per month.

Now what am I going to do with 300 oz.? My refrigerator can only handle a specific number of bags, right?

So I donate.

And apparently, my baby and I have helped a lot of children. Because¬†every time I donate, I record it on my daughter’s email address, now compiling all the donations we’ve done through the year, I was amazed that we reached 3000 oz.

breastmilk-donations-2

Here are the complete list of¬†breast milk donations I’ve done over the last 10 months. I’ve also recorded the¬†mothers’ names but in lieu of this public blog, have chosen to not reveal this fact:

breastmilk-donations

From May 26 to the Present, I’ve already donated 3,015.75 ounces to fellow mothers.

And I am still continuing to donate.

So how does it feel to be a mommy cow?

To be honest, I don’t feel accomplished or special.¬†It’s just that every day, I will¬†put out my Medela Pump in Style (PISA) pumper and do my thing. I do it before I get to work, and once while at work in the conference room.

Breastfeeding doesn’t hurt nor bother me. In fact, it’s as if I’m just typing this blog entry, except I’m close to the electrical socket.

My baby doesn’t seem to be bothered that she’s a breastmilk donor. Though I record how much I donate for posterity so she’ll know that even when she was young, she has already positively contributed to society.

There are no fanfares, or any awards.

Just me pumping, dumping my milk into bags, and then giving it away once my ref gets full.

What do I eat or drink?

Nothing. I just eat whatever I want, usually Ministop Fried Chicken or Jollibee Spaghetti, and pump away. And I guess, not being anxious about my milk supply helps me in getting enough milk supply for my baby.

In fact, she was obese when she was around 8-10 months old. Now, she’s thinner because she eats solid food and drink less of my milk. But it doesn’t change the way we live or act in any way.

So to all nursing mothers, don’t sweat breastfeeding. It only gets harder if you worry about it. Pump away!

 

Posted in Baby Stuff, Family, First Experiences, Motherhood, Parenthood, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Alleged Evils of Peppa Pig and the Importance of Censoring your Children’s Shows

Peppa Pig burst into existence last May 2004. Peppa spoke in a British English accent and the show revolves around her adventures with her family and friends.

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But a lot of¬†psychologists warn of the dangers of watching Peppa Pig without any¬†parental guidance. Many mothers are becoming conscious of¬†Peppa’s bad influence, and are slowly banning the show from their households.

According to a Harvard study, don’t let your children watch Peppa Pig as the show encourages the following negative traits.

  • Suffers from the syndrome of superiority;
  • Inappropriate behavior;
  • Imposes ideas regardless of others‚Äô opinions;
  • Impolite;
  • Competitive (it does not how to lose);
  • Intolerant;
  • Disrespectful
  • Envious;
  • Arrogant;
  • Proud

The site shared:

According to experts, there is a proof that shows an increased inadversarial, snide, questioning, confrontating, and disrespectful behavior in children which results from watching cartoons such as Peppa Pig. Peppa is downright rude and her parents allow her get away with murder. There is an episode where Peppa and her brother George refused to tidy their room, but then their parents made it into a game. When they finished, the brats trashed the room again, laughing arrogantly.

My niece is 2.5 years old and loves Peppa Pig.

She watches Peppa Pig in two languages, English and Mandarin. She is also ill-mannered, answers back to her parents, and very adversarial. She hates sharing and almost tried to strangle my 1-year old daughter when we went together on vacation.

I wonder if Peppa Pig had anything to do with it?

To be honest, I have yet to watch the show.

For one, we have a relatively strict no-gadget policy and have yet to expose our daughter fully to the wonders of iPads and the Internet.

Hence, without exposure, our daughter is mostly ignorant of the evils of the Internet. She is only 13 months old after all, a bit too young for technology in my opinion.

In contrast, I have bought¬†her a lot of books from the Internet. My husband shakes his head on his crazy wife who have bought complete books of the Berenstain Bears and Dr. Seuss. “She doesn’t even know how to read yet,”¬†he said.

That’s okay,”¬†I replied. “She’ll learn. And when she does, she’ll have books to read.”

Two, I do not want to expose my child to shows I have yet to censor.

I think it’s easy for parents to just give a tablet to a baby just to shut them up. For many of my friends, their kids started watching Youtube videos when they were merely a few months old. My nephew-in-law Saren will hem and haw until you give him an iPad¬†while he eats. If he does not have an iPad, he will not sit down and eat.

For me, there is no¬†replacement for face-to-face interaction. I honestly don’t think gadgets make the best mommies. In fact, I agree¬†with this New York Post¬†article that states that gadgets are digital heroin and make kids zombies.

But they keep my child quiet!”¬†other parents insist. “I get to do my chores and leave them in peace. Anyway, they are watching educational videos.”

Have you ever taken away a gadget from a child?

Like seriously,¬†have you seen how adversarial they become when you¬†take away a phone or iPad? While their eyes are glued to the screen, they look like sweet little zombies. But once you remove their ipads, it’s as if they turn into Baby Hydes, wailing and lashing out as if the end is here.

Then what do you do? Return the iPad to them?

Three, I don’t feel comfortable exposing my child to any possible role model who¬†answers back.

While I do believe that we should build our child’s confidence and encourage them to speak up,¬†I also believe that there’s a line of a child speaking his mind and sharing his opinion and defying his/her parents.

 

It’s okay for a child to give his/her opinion. It’s okay for him/her to question¬†his/her parents. But at the end of the day, they need to follow.

Case in point, a child is walking towards a busy street.

NO!”¬†you shout at your child. Because you are afraid they might get into an accident. Because you can see the dangerous traffic, and you¬†know it’s possible your child may get hit.

If your child is trained well, he/she will stop. Mommy’s rules are law, and today is no exception.

But if your child is used to defying you, he/she will ignore you and continue on. And he/she will get hurt in the process. And other people may also get hurt because of your child.

That’s the danger of giving a child free rein. They are children. You¬†are still their parents. Not their friends. So it’s better to act like it.

I guess that’s why my dad refused to let me watch¬†The Simpsons¬†until I¬†graduated college. Which is funny because¬†The Simpsons¬†became social satire which correctly predicted Trump’s win as POTUS.

But looking back, Bart was truly a bad influence.

Bart-Simpson-File-5466847.jpg

He disrespected his parents, fought with his sister, and created trouble wherever he went. His father Homer was a deadbeat who didn’t result to much. And while Lisa was a better role model, she wasn’t enough to save the show’s moral code.

After college, I did start to watch The Simpsons. The show was still funny and entertaining, but I am thankful that I started watching the show after I’ve¬†reached a lever of maturity and intelligence. I think my parents saved themselves from a lot of pain by picking and choosing the shows that I watched before letting me watch them.

But that’s censorship!”¬†other parents will say. “These shows have already been approved by experts before showing to kids. If they were evil, they would not show it?”

Oh really? They were properly vetted by the experts? Did you double check that these shows were studied carefully before they were aired?

I’m sorry — it’s my kid, and I want to make sure that what they are watching are truly healthy and good for them. And if that means watching the show beside your child as they watch it, then so be it.

And if that doesn’t make me a cool mom, then so be it.

I don’t need to be a cool mom in order to be a good mom.

How about you? How do you pick and choose the programs your children watch?

 

 

Posted in children, Education, Family, Personal opinion, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

The 8th Commandment¬†commands, “Thou shalt not lie.” ¬†

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And yet, we continue to do so on a DAILY basis.

I am aghast on how¬†easily and naturally people lie. They tell white lies to “avoid hurting your feelings.”¬†They commit crimes of omission as if the half truth will make everything better. And they lie without any conscience or remorse.

As long as nobody gets hurt,”¬†they justify their lies, “why is it wrong?”

My husband is the opposite. He mostly tells the truth. In fact, he gets himself into trouble because he always never hides behind a lie.

I don’t like your face,”¬†he’d tell an annoying client.

You’re lazy,”¬†he’ll opine to his friend when¬†his friend shares with him all his problems at work. “If you can stop you-tubing and get more work done, your work won’t pile up.”

It’s all truth but society prefers that we hide behind lies because it makes everyone feel better.

But it doesn’t.

Lies are the disease that festers under everyone’s skin. They are there, gnawing at you and infecting, until the whole arm would have to be cut off just to save the body.

It destroys relationships, families and working environments.

Lying was included in the 10 Commandments because it is deceptively innocent. You think nobody is going to get hurt but you’re wrong. When you lie, everyone gets hurt.

One of our sales staff resigned yesterday because of a lie — a big FAT lie.

Specifically, she concocted an entire life story that was 100% false.

She told us that she was Muslim, and was supposed to get married last January 11 to a distance cousin because their families caught them kissing. Under the Muslim law, if you are caught in a scandalous relationship, which includes kissing someone you’re not married to, you get married to them.

She took 2 days off for her “marriage.” Of course, we wish her nothing but most happiness in her union.

After 2 weeks of marriage, her supervisor found her wailing and crying at her place of work. Apparently, she was jealous of her husband, who seemed to show interest to her friend, who was living with them from the time they got married.

This friend was prettier and sexier than she was. They were such good friends that she referred her to our company and is now working as a sales staff in another of our branches.

According to our sales staff, her newly minted husband would do the laundry of her friend, including her “undies.”¬†My supervisor was aghast. Doing the laundry of somebody is one thing but asking the husband of your friend to launder your underwear is something else.

Her husband will also cook breakfast for them both, giving her rice and two eggs, while her friend gets an additional fried fish for lunch.

What’s worse, when she forgets her lunch, my husband would run after her to the bus stop to give her the packed meal!”¬†said our sales staff as she cries even louder.

After dealing with this issue for an entire week and our store suffering in sales, my area supervisor found out that everything our sales staff was a COMPLETE LIE.

For one, the man she was living with was not her husband. They are boyfriend and girlfriend, and she was previously married to another man with whom she had 2 kids already.

When asked why she lied, the sales staff said she was embarrassed about her past and instead had a made-up story on what her life was.

What’s worse,¬†her friend was not living with the sales staff and her husband. It was instead the other way around. They were living with the friend!

As per the accusation that her husband was lusting after her friend, that wasn’t really true. They were distant relatives if that made any sense.

And as a result of being caught in the lie, the two sales staff resigned. The first one for being embarrassed in being caught in a lie, and the second one for leaving when her friend was leaving.

When asked what merited them to both resign, and why honesty is so important in the workplace, given that nobody really got hurt, the most important thing is that when dealing with money and valuable inventory, it’s crucial that people are honest.

I’m a firm believer of living straight and letting people know how things really are. I don’t like to surround myself with people who lie to me and naturally lie as if they were simply breathing air.

So yes, this is what entrepreneurship is — dealing with all¬†walks of life,¬†including women who lie about their entire life story.

I don’t understand,”¬†I complained to my husband. ”¬†Am I just¬†surrounded by the most f*cked up people you’ll ever meet, or other people have the samte experience but just don’t talk about it?”

“I think it’s the latter,”¬†he consoled me. “It’s just that people just don’t talk about it.”

Do you think this is true?

Are people really this screwed up? Comments appreciated below.

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Work: You Snooze, You Lose

Our office needs a new accounting clerk so I’ve been holding interviews this week.

To be honest, it’s not easy to find good, capable, and willing employees nowadays. Many of the applications I received¬†were from under-qualified candidates or from applicants who priced themselves too high versus their competency. There’s also the issue of¬†fit — even if they are competent and reasonably priced, will they¬†like our straight-talking office culture.

Last Wednesday, there was a candidate my husband and I liked.

Rosa was a failed CPA board tester. She took the test three times and failed, and has now given up her dreams of being a CPA and is looking for long-term employment. She has no kids or a husband, which makes her attractive from a baggage perspective. What’s more, she’s great at filing and¬†according to her, she’s a hard worker.

We¬†didn’t hire her right then and there. We still had a few candidates to interview on Saturday, and we¬†wanted to see the other applicants before making a hiring decision.

Sounds prudent, right?

Well, on Saturday, after seeing all the candidates, we got back to her with a firm offer.

After two hours of waiting, we received the following text:

Good evening. Thank you for your offer. It’s a nice feeling that you chose me for the position. However, I had just signed a contract for a job today. Please do offer it to other qualified applicants that meet your merits. God bless.

DAMN!

After a mere two days, she was already employed!

I felt bad of course.

As I’ve said, good staff are not¬†easy to find, and it’s annoying to be rejected. I asked myself whether we should have given her an offer after her impressive interview, and if so, would that have saved me the trouble of looking further for more help?

I then imagined what if she accepted the offer. If she would be one of our staff who can last decades with us. If she can pull us out of the muck and put our office in order.

My husband berates me.

No he didn’t say, “You Snooze, You Lose,”¬†but for him, having¬†a candidate reject you is not the end of the world. In fact, as a Christian, he believes that maybe there’s someone even better out there.

Maybe she’ll hurt our company if we hired her,”¬†he said with a shrug. “It’s just not meant to be.”

Sure, maybe it’s similar to the story of¬†The Fox and the Grapes where we justify not having the things we don’t have, but maybe there’s some wisdom in that.

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’ People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.[4]

foxandthegrapes.jpg

Anyway, you snooze you lose. She’s not meant to be so¬†that means we’ll just look again for a candidate better suited for our needs.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you find someone you like, hire them immediately. If not, be ready to bear the risk that they may be employed elsewhere.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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The Crime of Omission

What does the word, “Omission”¬†mean?

o·mis·sion
…ôňąmiSH(…ô)n,ŇćňąmiSH(…ô)n/
1. Someone or something that has been left out or excluded.

“there are glaring omissions in the report”
2. The action of excluding or leaving out someone or something.

“the omission of recent publications from his bibliography”
3. A failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do.

“to pay compensation for a wrongful act or omission”
synonyms: exclusion, leaving out

My father-in-law warns me about the dangers of staff who regularly omit relevant information from their reports.

When you find your people, it’s important to find someone who can give you the ENTIRE story — the good, the bad,¬†and most importantly, how they are responsible for the¬†problem — so you can take the correct action as a manager. Otherwise, they are committing a crime of omission, which is very dangerous.”

I didn’t get that when he first said it. To be honest, it’s hard to deal with an issue that you personally have not encountered yet, which is common to many old people’s advice.

An example of this is a long-term staff who recently departed my father-in-law’s employ.

Gio (the staffers name) has an outstanding loan of Php 8,000 with the Legaspi office for 3 years already.

He kept silence of this when we ask him to do turnover and clearance.

I held the release of his last paycheck to answer for it.

If he sees you, ask him why he commit the sin of omission?

Sent from my iPhone

But I learned firsthand when I dealt with my own office staff:

My office staff came to me one day admitting to me that she has forgotten¬†to compute the number of hours of a sales staff’s payroll from a certain time period. She thought that she has included it in the payroll but neglected to see her daily time record tucked somewhere else.

She told me that the agency did not want to cover such expense since it is negligence in our part. Hence, she went to me because the staff was creating a ruckus already for having her salary delayed.

I was surprised.

Staffers usually do get upset when back pay get delayed, but her anger was unnecessary. Our staff know we¬†always fulfill our obligations and there’s no need to be angry for a simple mistake that is easily rectified by writing a check.

After further questioning, I found out the REAL reason why the staff was upset.

She wasn’t upset¬†because her¬†back pay was delayed. She was angry because it was delayed TWICE.

She was not included in an earlier payroll because of a careless mistake. When she reminded our HR, our HR promised they will amend it and her backpay will be included on the next payroll.

Then the HR forgot about her backpay AGAIN.

This meant that her back pay was delayed for an entire month!

The first one was folly, but the second time was total negligence.

Fearing for her job, our HR tried to ask the agency to cover up her mistake. When the agency said no, then the HR came to me for help in writing the check.

This my friends is a crime of omission — when someone tells you the story but covers up¬†some relevant information because they look bad.

Be careful when a person commits the crime of omission. Anyone can do it — friends, family, staff members, government officials.

It’s not what they say.

IT’S WHAT THEY DO NOT SAY THAT SOMETIMES MATTER.

It’s the same as the¬†cheating husband who tells you that he’s been¬†hard at work the entire day, but neglect to inform you what he was doing¬†for lunch.

It’s the same as the friend who tells you of an acquaintance who gossiped about you, but neglects to inform you¬†her part in the equation. What was she doing there listening in the conversation anyway?

I can go on and on, but the most important thing is, if someone you know commits a crime of omission, be careful. Open your eyes. No matter what a person says, listen closely to what he/she does NOT say, instead of just what the person is telling you.

Shhhhh.jpg

I am learning this and hope this benefits you too. Have you ever been on a receiving end of someone committing a crime of omission?

Have a great weekend!

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Why I Love Open Work Spaces

My business has an open-office plan.

When you walk through a lean corridor, you see a slew of tables facing each other. Staff members work facing each other, and when people bark orders at each other, all they have to do is talk loudly across the table.

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A big reason why we have an open office plan is that it saves space.

Our office is only a humble 88-sqm (950 square feet), consisting of a safe/vault room to keep our inventory, a large conference room for training, and a general working area for all staff.

I have a big table in the center of the room (no corner office for me), but I usually sit in the conference room when there’s no training with the sliding doors open. The room temperature is comfortable for me, and I have the big wide conference table to work on. From inside the conference room, I can give out orders at random, and everyone can hear me.

Just imagine, if I have¬†an office, not only will it eat whatever small space I¬†have, but it also limits my presence as a leader. While I may have my privacy, I wouldn’t be able to see and hear what’s going¬†outside as conveniently and I won’t be able to do my job well.

Two, it equalizes every staff member.

I always tell my staff that there is nobody superior to each other. This means that everyone has their own roles and responsibilities to fulfill and nobody is in charge of each other. Even our 21-year old cannot be bullied by a supervisor to buy them coffee or lunch. A supervisor should always buy her own lunch, thank you very much.

The golden rule is alive in our office, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”

This allows open communication and less politicking amongst our small office. If people know that they have to please a superior, they might forgive that superior¬†and hide their faults to me in fear of earning that superior’s wrath.

But if everyone is of equal rank and are given the obligation of reporting directly to me, the general manager, then they are more deadset in working FOR me and pleasing me, and hence, productivity increases.

I like it when there’s less politics in the office. More work gets done.

One of my supervisor who came from a highly political office shared with me that their general manager then used to invite and go out drinking with her subordinates in the evening. She will then carry out a grudge which flows over the work place if you do not join these drinking parties.

Now, that’s politics at its worst. I don’t want my company to be tarnished with too much drama and personal feelings. Work is work and I’d rather judge people by their own merits instead of how they can hold their drink.

Three, it gets a lot of work done easier.

People just have to pass papers across the table. They can just bark instructions. Everyone can hear and see each other.

If you’re working, I know you’re working. If you’re Facebooking and slacking off, I know this as well. No point to have CCTVs. All I have to do is¬†to stick my neck out and I can already see what’s going on.

Of course, there’s less privacy but at least more work can be done.

Anyway, open work spaces is not for everyone. But that’s one thing about being a general manager and choosing what type of work environment you will have.

For me, almost all the¬†offices I’ve worked in had open work spaces and we did just fine. Sure, the¬†head of equities had his own room, but everyone else shared the same work spaces and there was more benefits than there were negatives.

So if you’re a new business and considering what type of work space layout to have, I’m all for open work spaces. Feel free to drop me a line if you¬†have any questions!

 

Additional Reading:

Forbes: Is an Open Office Plan Healthy for your Staff? February 1, 2017, Melissa Thompson (Contributor)

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The Chinese Way of Teaching the Staff

I’ve previously shared my experience with a negligent staff in my blog.

Aside from the earlier listed offenses, she misplaced an important document, an aircon and ducting certification in one of our branches, which is crucial in getting back my construction bond.

I gave her a written memo informing her of her offense. As a reply to the incident report, she wrote back that she apologized for losing the document, knowing fully well she is responsible, and is willing to take whatever consequence of her mistake.

I gave her a deadline.

After that deadline has passed, she could still not produce any document.

Now, without the document, we would have to request another contractor to do another set of testing, which will cost us at least Php 5,000.00 and a lot of headaches. Left with no choice, I booked the contractor to do another round of testing for February 4.

Last January 31, I charged her the entire Php 5,000.00 to her payroll.

The day went by quickly, and it was only in the evening of January 31 that I received her text:

“Good evening Ma’m, I just inquired my salary from the ATM. What are my deductions? Thank you.”

The next day, she was sulking and crying in my office, asking why I did not inform her before I deducted from her salary the full amount.

I told her that for one, I have given her a written memo on her misplacing the document. On her reply, it is clear that she agrees that she is solely at fault in losing the document. Given that doing another round of testing to get another version of the document will cost Php 5,000.00, I am charging the full amount to her since she is the one responsible and she had indicated in her letter that she is ready for any consequence her negligence has caused.

She told me directly that I should have informed her before deducting the amount from her salary.

I apologized that her feelings were hurt, but I replied that as the general manager, the cost of the offense is solely linked to her. It is her negligence that incurred an extra Php 5,000 company expense, and it was my decision to charge it to her as a whole so that she can wake up from her negligent stupor and do a better job, knowing fully well that all her mistakes have a price.

It’s true — maybe out of decency, I should have informed her before charging her. But my intention is to¬†surprise and wake her up. Deducting the Php 5,000 was to do just that.

She sulked and she cried.

I gave my explanation and made sure that everyone in the office understood where I was coming from. Mind you, this is not her first offense.

So far she has lost me my sales ledger, an original Contract of Lease for one of my branches, the aircon certification, and underpaid some of our sales staff because she “forgot” to¬†count some of their days worked. She also did not collect Php 600,000 worth of outstanding checks because she forgot.

So trust me when I tell you that enough is enough. It’s not as if this is her first offense and I can just look away. This is already gross and habitual negligence.

As for you telling me, “Then why not just fire her?”¬†The answer I will tell you in another blog post. This is not the last time you¬†will hear about negligent employee.

Anyway, she’s still here and I charged her Php 5,000.00 from last January 31’s salary. Given that she is a breadwinner and a mother to a 7-year old son, I come off as an insensitive heartless b*tch who can’t give someone a break.

Php 5,000 is still Php 5,000 and goes a long way to support a lifestyle.

So I go on to my meetings outside. I visit one of my branches and talk to the mall manager regarding the status of our store.

When I come back in the evening, she is curt and unsmiling. But she tells me that after 2 months of looking for the document, she finds it.

 

 

 

AFTER BEING CHARGED PHP 5,000, SHE FOUND THE FREAKING DOCUMENT.

Months of stress and headache trying to get a replacement, and she finds it after being charged.

So the story ends happily ever after.

She finds the document and I get to return her the Php 5,000.00 tomorrow.

The head office learns an important lesson on doing their job well. Otherwise, the big bad boss will charge you.

And since I return the Php 5,000 tomorrow, technically, I don’t come off too much of a bad cop.

A lot of you may not agree with how I handled this. A lot of you may have your own opinions on how you could do things differently. I don’t blame you. As I’ve told you multiple times, it’s hard to manage people.

But this is how I handle things.

Love me or hate me, for Php 5,000, I was able to “wake up”¬†a negligent person to¬†realize there are real costs to her mistakes, and I get to teach my entire office to do their job better.

Not bad for a full day’s work.

 

 

 

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I don’t mind that my baby is not “beautiful”

“(Our baby’s name) is not pretty, but at least she is¬†kiao (smart),” my mother-in-law said. She says this often to anyone who will listen to her.

While many mothers may¬†feel scandalous for their own babies are called ugly or not beautiful, I’m not like that. In fact, as I look at my baby, I’d have to admit the fact that she really is NOT beautiful in the purest sense of the word.

For one, her eyes are small and chinky. They look like flat almonds with none of the charm.

Her nose is a bit wide and flat.¬†The holes are not cute and dainty. In fact, they’re quite big for a baby. My mother is shocked on how loud our baby snores. “She’s like YOU!”¬†my mom would say as a joke.

Her hair is thin and unruly. There is no order to her hair. It brushes to the front and goes to all directions.

If she’s not wearing a pink dress, she looks like a boy. When we walk in the streets, people look at her and say, “Annyong” because she looks Korean.

My baby is only beautiful when she smiles. When she smiles, her eyes crinkle upwards and her mouth flashes the cutest smile you’ll ever see.¬†Unfortunately, she doesn’t smile unless there’s reason to do so, so most people just get to see her b*tch face.

But my husband deems her cute.

At least she is a cute baby,”¬†he would say as he showers her with kisses. “I know when a baby is cute or not, and thank goodness she’s cute.”

Honestly, I don’t get it.

I don’t think our baby is THAT cute. Not like her cousin who is half-white and half-Chinese. With her large eyes, fair skin, flushed cheeks, and pursed lips, Jessica is C-U-T-E. If there was a baby pageant, our own baby won’t even¬†pass the¬†preliminary rounds.

Then again, I was not cute as a baby. Relatives would kid me as the “Ugly Duckling”¬†who never transformed into a beautiful swan until after puberty. Nobody at school¬†chased after me, and as I buried myself in books, many of my prettier classmates busied themselves in turning down date offers from boys.

I’m glad I somehow turned out decent. As a child, I had no charm and none of the beauty. But I was a studious well-mannered kid, so it’s not as if my parents lost out.

I think my daughter and I will share the same fate.

She is not pretty, or beautiful.

But she is cute, and charming.

She smiles at strangers for no reason and obediently grabs your hand to pay her respects when asked. She waves at people hello and goodbye and will dutifully follow you wherever you go.

I have hoarded books from Amazon.com to gift her an early love for reading. I’ve enrolled her to a nursery that exposes her to the written word and songs. Even at 13 months old, she is curious, independent, and wonderful to be with. Adults huddle over her and coo.

So it’s fine that she’s not pretty or beautiful.

As the most recent Miss Universe competition has shown, beauty can only take you too far. After awhile, you need to back it up with some personality, heart or brains.

I don’t mind that my daughter is not pretty or beautiful.

I just want her to be kind-hearted and do the right thing.

I don’t mind if she doesn’t join beauty pageants or become a model.

I just want her to be normal, and healthy and happy.

I don’t mind if guys don’t chase after her until she becomes an adult.

At least, she can focus on school and herself, and become a better person regardless on what other men think of her. Besides, her daddy don’t¬†want her married off easily anyway.

I¬†don’t mind if her cousin is prettier than her.

If my daughter is smarter, then I’m happy.

And yes, I will tell my daughter¬†all of this. I¬†do it not to ruin her self-esteem but to boost it. I will tell her, “My daughter, you will not top beauty contests and guys will not beat your door. But you are much loved and are wonderful and it’s important that you let your¬†personality and brains shine through. You need to know and¬†embrace who you are, and you need to show the world what you an do, instead of just showing off what you look like.”

My daughter, your non-beauty is a gift as it allows you to enhance your other gifts. So work hard and do everything to deserve people’s acceptance and respect. Always do the right thing. I love you.”

And she will give me a sweet hug and go back to her books.

That’s my girl.

———————————-

On a related post, Dayanara Torres explains why Miss France won

miss-france-iris-mittenaere-miss-haiti-jacque-pellisier-and-miss.jpg

Torres added that all of the judges were looking for a different kind of beauty queen to represent the Miss Universe Organization, one with more personality rather than just physical beauty.

“When you arrive at an event where the Miss Universe is going to be, you want to find a person that’s accessible and not just a robot or with an attitude. You don’t want that,” she explained. “You want somebody that’s more human and who’s going to touch other people. Because when they talk, people are going to listen.”

She added that Mittenaere’s strength lies in her natural appeal and eagerness to help other people.

Posted in Parenthood, Updates | 1 Comment

The Price of Negligence

I have a 30+-year old assistant who has been with me for two Christmases. She is a single mother to a young boy, and was left by her boyfriend of 7-years who impregnated and soon married their ugly yet flirty neighbor.

When I hired her last November 2014, she was depressed given her love life. She was dark-skinned, a bit overweight and had low self-esteem. But I hired her because she seemed capable and had a high test score. So I figured, why not give her a try?

Over the last two years, she was able to pull herself up. She found a hunky man from OkCupid, who worked as a truck driver, and through her salary, was able to sustain her son who was now living with her mother in the province.

Unfortunately, my assistant had a tendency to be forgetful, and neglect to finish things that I’ve asked her to do. As low self-esteem is hard to remove no matter how hard we try, she found herself distracted and left many things undone.

The problem is, every position in my company held a scope of responsibility. Her job was to organize, record and file company documents, and to ensure a steady supply of applicants to man our branches.

The problem was, she was weak in filing and have a tendency to put documents all over, forgetting them until they are needed. Here were some of her worst offenses:

  1. She did not collect our accounts receivables for one year. This happens when she forgets to request many of the credit card payments from the bank, and hence, these remain uncollected for many months.
  2. She misplaced¬†our sales ledger for two stores, which has their sales records for 4-6 months. Consequently, we are struggling to track on whether we’ve received all the money for the sales for the missing months.
  3. She did not followup with our store construction bond properly, leaving us with no leverage as we try to renegotiate our rents with a mall.
  4. She forgot to send an important email to apply for a government document. This documents take more than a month to process. As a result, we might be heavily penalized for the mistake. The penalty is heavy and is even more than 2 months my salary.

It troubles me to talk about this, as she’s nice and a loyal worker. She stays late, works without complaint, and gets along with many people in the office, having been one of the veterans. What’s more, she’s a breadwinner to her still dependent son.

However, as I rack up all her many mistakes, I wonder how much more can I bear before I have to let her go? The amount of uncollected checks came up to over USD 10,000. I am shaking my head how I can collect this amount when these amounts should have been collected more than a year ago.

It is possible that she stole money and misplaced the sales ledger. Without the sales ledger, it’s a struggle for us to check if we’ve received the monies from these transactions.

As I list down her mistakes, it becomes clearer to me that I’d have to inevitably let her go.

It breaks my heart that she is the breadwinner and I’d have to send her on her merry way. However, the amount of mistakes she makes is damning, and I don’t know what to do anymore in order to cover her up. It is true what my in-law said, “If you tolerate incompetent and negligent people in your organization, no matter how nice or how loyal you are, you will still lose long term. You do them no favors by keeping them.”

I hate it when my in-laws are right. But sometimes, being a leader means you have to sacrifice the few for the many, and if I do not let her go, I would have to let other people go. Other people would have to be punished to answer for her mistake.

It’s not easy managing a business. You sometimes have to make hard decisions. Good luck to me then!

Posted in Business, Personal opinion, Philippines, Ramblings, Updates, Work | 1 Comment

Parenting a Strong-Willed Daughter

My daughter had a very public meltdown in a Christmas bazaar yesterday.

She sucked her breath for a long time, to the point that her lips started turning purple, and then cried hard as loud as she could. To be honest, she looks like this:

baby

There was no consolation for our baby. When I tried to hug her, she still continued crying. And when I tried to get her to stand, her knees were like jelly, and she just wouldn’t hold.

Why did she cry?

She wanted to touch the items at the store, which is not allowed. And when I carried her out of the booth, she went bazooka.

I sat on the floor with my little angel turned hell-on-earth, suffering the annoyed looks of pretty shoppers, who thought it was my fault that my daughter is having a tantrum.

It came to a point that someone took a pity on me and gave me a plastic chair to sit on while I console my baby.

She was inconsolable for about 20 minutes.

It was then that I realized that I have a little hellion in my hands.

And she only turned 1 year old 10 days ago.

A one-year 10-day hellion.

My husband thinks it’s normal, but I wondered to myself where my sweet little baby went. The baby who smiled and cooed when I picked her up. The one who believed I was her savior in a loud, bright and chaotic world.

I think my daughter will be strong-willed and stubborn, just like her big mamma.

Why do I say that?

Well, my 1-year old daughter loves her independence. Since she learned how to walk unassisted at 11 months old, my baby loves to stroll around the mall and enter every store that caught her eye.

Sometimes, she likes to hold my hand. More often than not, she prefers to walk alone, nonchalantly entering the store and touching anything that keeps her fancy.

And when you try to carry her out of the store, another battle ensues. She starts sobbing until you bring her to another interesting store.

I look at the other mothers with clingy babies who never venture more than 2 feet away. Nope, my daughter’s not like that. She’s going to be a big traveler soon.

My stubborn baby also has her own mind. If she wants something, she really wants it. And if she doesn’t want it, nothing will convince her to try it.

And she can be very opinionated.

She’s¬†opinionated with food, with her toys, with stuff that she wears.

She also doesn’t listen too much when I call her. She doesn’t come when I call her, and doesn’t follow my wishes for her.

And once again, she’s only 1 year old.

I think I have a problem in my hands. Most people talk about the Terrible Twos. She’s just one. This should be just the beginning, and wow, I think she’s a strong-willed girl.

Good luck to me.

Happy holidays!

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Top 10 Favorite Philippine-Based Sites For Children’s Christmas Gifts

Okay, I admit it.

I’m a shopaholic.

I love browsing through Zalora.com and Lazada.com, and since having a baby,¬†I’m an active member of a handful of mommy blogs and shopping sites.

Consequently, I discover¬†various shopping sites catered to price-conscious mommies like me. They sell a wide variety of items from baby’s clothes to toys and books at various price ranges.

And because it’s Christmas and it’s a season of giving, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite discoveries with you fellow mommies who live in the Philippines.

So here are my favorite list of places to buy stuff for my little one:

  1.  Mom and Milly Educational Toys Facebook Page (45,000 Facebook likes)

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What do they sell: They mostly sell wooden toys, musical instruments, pounding toys, lacing toys, educational items and books at very good prices.

When I first discovered Mom and Milly, I went haywire. I LOVED the selections! There were tons of educational wooden toys at super cheap prices. On my first buy, I probably bought more than 10 toys at less than Php 2,000.00.

Sure, many of their items are sourced from China. Sure, they may use paint that may be unhealthy for babies. But, my baby is still very much alive and I don’t really believe in shelling a lot of money for toys that will only be used for a few weeks.

To Buy: Message them on Facebook, and you can pay via bank deposit. Most often, they offer a freebie if you buy in volume. Fast service, fast delivery, no problems.

2. Kara Mia Educational Toys Facebook (17,000 Facebook Likes)

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What They Sell: Selections are similar to Mom and Milly, but with slightly different¬†items. That’s why it’s great to browse through both sites and¬†canvass for cheaper prices. I think in general, Mom and Milly is slightly cheaper but there may be some items that Kara Mia has that Mom and Milly doesn’t.

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Kara Mia accepts BDO, BPI, Palawan Express, Cebuana and other payment centers, and send their items via Xend.

Fun Tip: They are now offering a 5% to 10% discount on their educational toys, making them temporarily cheaper than Mom and Milly.

3. Oh Baby! Educational Toys (73,000 Facebook Likes), Instagram: OhBabyPH

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What They Sell:¬†Your Baby Can Read Set (Php 3,850), which my baby by the way loved. We are just on the Starter DVD and she can now follow words such as “Hi,” “Wave,” “Arms Up/Down,” “Clap,” “Dog,” “Cat,” and 20 other words. When the DVD music starts, our baby starts to raise her arms up and down excitedly and seems to connect very well with the DVD to the point we call it, “Baby’s show.”

Our baby also loves the sliding double-sided word and photo cards. We’ve only purchased this recently and am so far loving the results.

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They also have¬†educational DVD sets by Leapfrog, the complete episodes of Peppa Pig, and various 8×11″ books by popular children’s authors.

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To be fair, their prices are mid-range to high. Book collections cost around Php 580 to Php 980, and the DVD collections can reach up to Php 2,000, but if you think that these items can help your child grow smarter, then why not?

4. Urban Moms Store Facebook (16,000 Facebook Likes)

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What They Sell: I’m not a big fan of their nursing covers and baby girl dresses since I think you can source them way cheaper elsewhere, but I love their cloth books and cloth toys to death!

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Check the above quiet book which retails for only Php 650.00. Description as below:

My Quiet Book Stripes will surely keep your children busy while learning with 14 pages filled with buttons, zippers, buckles, snaps, shapes, velcros with pictures, pockets, laces and more! ‚ÄĘ Hand-washable ‚ÄĘ Enhances motor skills ‚ÄĘ Travel friendly ‚ÄĘ Age recommendation: 12 months and above ‚ÄĘ Dimension: 25 cm x 21 cm Available color: Red, Pink, Blue Price: 650

Now, isn’t this a great gift item for any mother, and is a perfect accessory for any family that loves traveling?

Even though my baby was less than a year old, the materials were durable and held steady despite her pulling, chewing and touching the item. What a great steal for Php 650.00!

Here are some loveable soft toys as well:

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There’s a doctor’s kit, a tool set, a fishing set, a princess and the castle set, Noah’s ark, and an Indian story set for¬†parents who like to open their children’s imagination and creativity. And if you’re wondering about the prices, everything is less than Php 1,000.00!

5. BabyBabsStore Facebook (98,000 Facebook Likes)

I have a love-hate relationship with BabyBabsStore. What I love is their super wide selections ranging from children’s dresses from newborn and up, to baby accessories you’ve never even imagined.

What I don’t love is their relatively slow speed in replying to my messages. I had to message them several times to confirm my order, and it took a day or two delay before my items came (although they did come).

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It’s a great place to find anything and everything, and if I can’t find it on other sites, they usually have it at prices with a slight premium. Please note that they have stuff like electric fan covers, baby bath tubs, baby costumes, diaper bags, playpens, socks, teethers, baby bottles,¬†and more.

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The most fun things I found were the¬†toddler backpacks, toddler leases and potty training items. They have more than 490 items in their Baby Accessories folder, happy shopping and you’re welcome!

6. Bookery for Kids and Moms Facebook (1,690 Facebook Likes)

At a measely 1,690 Facebook Likes, Bookery for Kids and Mom is a relative newcomer in an otherwise crowded online shopping industry, but boy, do they make up with their wide variety of pre-loved books!

Check out their 677 available titles launched last November 8:

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Check out their Facebook site, they have even better selections for children of all ages!

I just went crazy browsing through their many titles. They were also very responsive to my queries, and processing my order. Fellow mommies, instead of buying brand new books at the bookstore, consider buying from Bookery instead.

The quality of the selections are great, and the books, while preloved, are still in excellent condition. The prices are even more wonderful since you can get books at a fraction of a price.

7. House of Madison Facebook and Instagram (3,281 Facebook Likes)

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What I Love: House of Madison sells hard-to-find durable wooden items such as girl’s dollhouses, kitchen sets, bookshelves, pianos and pretend play items.

Most of them require pre-ordering and waiting time is 3 weeks, but¬†for the items you’re getting,¬†and the smiles on your children’s faces when they get them, their toys are well worth the wait. If anything, they’re worth far more than similarly priced items from Toy Kingdom and Toys R Us.

The seller is friendly and responsive and I did get everything on time. Overall, quite happy with the service.

8.  Baby Save More Facebook (8,000 Facebook Likes)

Best Things to Buy: Brand-new on-hand walkers, plastic playhouses, Fisher-Price items like Jumperoos, plastic playpens, and Mamaroo.

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Prices are cheaper than that of department stores, and they do personally deliver the items to your door. My Fisher Price Cradle and Swing was such a godsend, and was delivered and installed by the lovely resellers of Baby Save More. I cannot recommend them enough!

9.  Mommy Says PH Facebook Page (394,000 Facebook Likes)

What to Buy: Brand-new baby bottles, Gracos Pack N’ Play, Strollers, Diaper Bags,¬†Carters outfits, and more!

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I wish I knew about this site BEFORE I bought my Graco Pack ‘N Play from OLX.ph and SM Department¬†Store.¬†Their playard prices are cheaper than retail, and I should have bought from them.¬†Sayang talaga!¬†I could have saved more money than paying full price for these items.

10. MomSavers143 Facebook Page (33,000 Facebook Likes)

What to Buy:¬†If you’re planning to buy a plastic playpen, playground, table, large toys, potty, strollers and other pre-loved items, AND live in the New Manila area, then this site is perfect for you.

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I think they mostly import these pre-loved items from the US and sell them cheaply. However, I’ve heard complaints that their Facebook moderator and actual store do not coordinate and it’s possible that items that may be reserved online are no longer available in the store.

To be safe, visit their shop. Address is located at 1st street, corner Broadway Avenue, beside E-games across Broadway Centrum Savemore near Gilmore Q.C.

Consolation Prizes:

  1. The Project Mommyger¬†(3,500 Facebook Likes) – Baby-safe silicon¬†plates that stick to the table. The price is not cheap, but hey, whatever that don’t cause much waste. Great for baby-led weaning moms.¬†feed.jpg
  2. Smart King Strollers –¬†a China-made knock off stroller of the more expensive Baby Yoyo Zen. Here’s how it works, and if you can see, it’s¬†one of the best travel strollers out there. Trust me, I’ve checked out the many models in local retail shops and this is one of the better ones out there!

  3. Mommy’s Little Boss Facebook (55,000 Facebook Likes) – They sell nursing covers but what I love about them is they are the original source for Bitybean in the¬†Philippines, one of the best SSC wraps out there.

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  4. Loving Carry Philippines Facebook (5,000 Facebook Likes) РLocal source for Love & Carry Air and Love and Carry Dlite, two of the safe and approved carriers out there.
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    People who know me know I’m a big fan of great deals, and I’m a big fan of Love & Carry carriers as they cost less than Php 4,000 in a world of SSC carriers like Ergobaby, Tula and Lillebaby which are priced at Php 7,000 and up.

To be honest, if I can keep these sites a secret, I would!

But that would be a great disservice to fellow moms who like the best things for their children but don’t want to overspend. So yes, please take advantage of these wonderful sites and happy shopping!

Posted in entrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Lists, Mom's advice, Motherhood, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line

Today, I’d have a sales staff go home mid-day because she didn’t feel like going to work. She has a headache, and decided to just go home despite the store having no reliever for the day.

The action was intentional and malicious. She knew she was the only one manning the store and still, she did this with utter disregard of the consequences. Before she left, she said, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs up to you to decide what to do with what I did.‚ÄĚ

As a result, the store today is closed.

Ever since I’ve started managing a business, closed stores are a rare occurrence. So far, this is the second time in three years this has happened.

Now to give more background about this sales staff, she is one of our best selling sales staff in the company. Over the last few months, she’s hit her quota consistently. And because my company pays a large commission for every sales a staff makes, this has resulted to a bigger salary.

Unfortunately, this has also resulted to a bigger ego.

With this sales staff, this is already the second time in 1.5 weeks that she didn’t come to work simply because she didn’t feel like it. Last week, she was also absent just because she didn’t like to be in the store assigned. And when she does show up, her sales are intentionally down.

Now, I know that big talents need to be cultivated, and their ego massaged. To be honest, I have her to thank for increasing the sales of one of our largest stores.

But there comes a time when I have to think about the good of the company, vs. the good of one self-centered, undependable sales staff.

At work, we value competence, good work ethics and reliability. What use is a talented sales staff if she doesn’t show up to work when she doesn’t feel like it? And if we keep it on, what damage can this do to the morale of the other remaining sales staff who follow the rules and don’t have such big an ego?

Business is all about making hard decisions. Sometimes, we have to make a hard decision for the good of the company even though short-term, it would hit my sales big time.

Given her departure, I’m sure my sales will dip. But if we keep her, my sales would dip some more, because of the damage caused to the morale of my other sales staff.

It’s a Catch-22. But the decision have to be made.

I would have to get rid of her.

May this be a lesson to everyone, no matter how good you are, there comes a time when enough is enough. If you’re really smart, you must not push your company to a breaking point that will make them decide to cut ties with you. Even though you’re not happy, leave in your terms and not in a way that would put you and the company in a difficult position.

If she didn’t walk out, maybe the business would still be tolerable. But she did, so we have no choice but to let her go.

Don’t make the same mistake, my friends.

Have a good week ahead!

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Being an Entrepreneur is NOT Fun

I interview a lot of job candidates who knock on my door after a failed business. Just yesterday, I interviewed an area supervisor wannabe who said she sold off her chicken¬†feeds and dog food business because it was “too stressful.”

I didn’t know that I would have to do everything herself,”¬†she lamented. “I was the one sourcing, pricing and¬†manning the store. It was hard for me to find someone I can trust who can help me.”

In the end, the husband asked her to close down the store in order to take care of their children. Even though it made money, business was too cumbersome and took too much time.

I had to make money day in and day out,”¬†she complained. “Even if I had sales, I still had to pay my overhead.”

Welcome to the real world, honey.

And you think that I’m very lucky to have a business,¬†swimming in oodles of cash.

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Let me let you in on a secret: Most days, I am looking at my passbooks and wondering whether the balances are correct.

My thought, “They should be higher, right?”¬†as I ask¬†my assistants for checks they have yet to deposit or¬†my supervisors for sales they have yet to make.

I always worry about money, especially on the 14th of every month where I have to pay¬†rent and payroll. As¬†these large expenses put a huge dent onto my bank account, I cannot help but worry.¬†If I can’t find enough money to pay, I’ll be out of business!

Yes, I have staff to feed, and I have stores to manage. But at the end of the day, managing a business isn’t¬†all fun and games.

For example, today, I am awoken by the text that one of our best sales staff somehow had a crazy idea on not showing up to work because she simply didn’t like to relieve in another store. “She has a migraine,”¬†my supervisor said. “But she always has a migraine when she doesn’t want to¬†be assigned to other stores.”

I had another sales staff go absent yesterday because she¬†just didn’t feel like it. Her boyfriend apparently said he will financially support her. Today, they must have had a fight yesterday so she said she wanted to return to work.

I had to delay a store opening¬†because I wasn’t able to get a Contract from the lessor. There are some red tape we have to finish before we can open the store. As you know,¬†government rules and regulations are getting stricter nowadays.

So no, I am not wallowing in cash.

Instead, I mutter and complain as I deal with another frustrating HR problem, supplier problem, and payroll process.

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And the problems never end…

No matter what: The job still has to be done and there’s no one to do it but me. So I have to do my best to manage my time and get it done. Otherwise, I am the bottleneck and the wheels stop turning.

If I stop procuring and pricing stocks, we will run out of new items to release…

If I stop¬†checking and paying the payroll, computations get awry and people won’t get paid…

If I stop pushing¬†my staff for sales, revenues will go now and the business will explode…

If I don’t pay my suppliers, they’ll cut us off and I’ll have a problem doing business…

If I don’t balance my cash, we can easily run out of it…

In the end, it’s all up to my shoulders to manage the business.

So no, managing the business is all fun and games. It’s not being a gazillionaire. In fact, it’s a lot of work that needs to be done. And someone’s got to do it.

So let this be a warning for any aspiring entrepreneurs, think first before quitting your job. Check first if you have enough capital to subsist and the mental willpower to survive all the craziness that is entrepreneurship.

When you do entrepreneurship, you can’t quit mid-way. You have to finish the race¬†all the way to get the returns.

So good luck you guys. And have a good weekend ahead!

 

Posted in Advice, Business, Finance, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Grass is Greener from the other Side?

My friend lives in Corinthian Gardens, one of the most expensive addresses in Manila. And owns a heated pool.

His household expenses go above Php 100,000 (or USD 2,000) per month, which for me is a bit preposterous given that the collective salary of my husband and I do not even reach that amount.

Yes, being a businessman in an SME does not generate you that much income.

My cousin plans to send their son to International School, whose tuition reaches at least a million pesos per year.

Hubby and I plan to send our daughter to the local Christian school, my alma mater, where tuition is probably 5% to 10% of the total tuition paid by my cousin for her kid per year.

So yes, I can pay for 10 years of schooling for daughter in just 1 year of my cousin’s son tuition.

My parents’ friends are billionaires and grace¬†Fortune magazine covers. Their children, the second generation, who are the same age as I am, manage thousands of employees and earn millions of pesos per day.

I struggle to pay overhead and the bills. Every 14th, during payday, I admittedly get depressed because that means, our company bank account suffers a hit.

Yes, we are comfortable but in no way are we gazillionaires.

We live in my husband’s parents condominium (which does have an unheated swimming pool), own second hand cars (bought at heavily discounted prices), and our baby’s clothes are from Divisoria and 168,¬†where Filipinos buy the cheapest items.

Our luxuries?

Well, we can still afford a babysitter for our baby, and pay all of our utility bills. We can afford to have hot water and an aircon turned on for the entire evening. We can eat out in most restaurants we pick around the area, and if we need a loan, my husband’s parents can give us access to cash at 10% maximum interest.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have married someone richer.

A billionaire (I kid you not!) asked me out once or twice before, and I could only gape in awe as he talks about his billion-peso projects, and his ability to still play golf early in the morning. Marrying him would mean a life of hedonistic pleasure, and the ability of me buying whatever I want, whenever I want.

And as I manage our cah and struggle¬†to pay our bills, I wonder — should I have married up?

Then I look at my¬†adorable daughter, who looks very much like my husband and shares many of his mannerisms. I don’t think I would have her if I married Mr. Billionaire. Nor will I be as hands on as a mother as I am now.

Then I look at my husband, who doesn’t mind that I don’t do any housework, and dutifully prepares his own instant noodle midnight snack when he’s hungry, without pestering me too much.

Then I look at our fledgling business, which has grown two-fold over the¬†last two years. Sure, we can’t afford to pay our people salaries similar to that of multinational companies, but at least these are good people, and loyal people, and it’s a pleasure for me to see them grow and build their lives around us.

Then I look at myself, who, despite our tight budget and relatively heavier workload, is forced to work hard and build “our own empire”¬†with hubby. Maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated it more if everything was readily handed over to me. It would be better for me to actually work hard¬†and deserve the wealth we slowly but surely make.

Yes, the grass is definitely greener in the other side.

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But the grass is also greener on my side of the fence.

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And I guess, despite not having a heated pool, I¬†don’t really mind having it in this way. Our way.

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Talk is Cheap.

One of the most frustrating things I experience is being lied to.

People lie to me everyday.

Now¬†when I say¬†the word “lie,”¬†I mean this in the strictest sense. A lie is a false statement. There is a deliberate intent to deceive.

And while I believe that many people lie every day, many do so with a clear conscience.

Why?

Maybe because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. The truth hurts so maybe they believe that they’d want to spare that person’s feelings so as to¬†maintain a good relationship.

Maybe because they believe that it’s better to lie and to shrug off the issue, than to confront the other person of the truth. Because why pick a fight when you can just gloss things over?

Maybe it’s¬†because they believe that a little white lie won’t hurt. So lying a small lie is the price to pay¬†to not be hated.

There are a gazillion reasons to lie. Here are at least 13 of them. People do not think they are bad people for lying, as long as the intent is not malicious.

But for me, lying hurts. Lying deceives. And lying causes many problems in the long-run.

Personally, honesty for me is at the utmost priority.

I actually married my husband because he’s very direct and brutally honest, almost at a fault. He will say in your face that you are stupid if you ask stupid questions. He will say that you’re lazy if you didn’t get things done. And he has no qualms to say you’re a bad person if you indeed did something bad.

Sometimes, I get hurt too when he tells me things I don’t like to hear. Husband can be very tactless, and sometimes, I have to tell him to tone it down a bit.

But hey, overall, I cannot complain. I asked God for honesty, and He gave me honesty. And as much that the truth hurts, it’s better to be slapped with the truth than to delude yourselves with lies.

I carry the same standard over my life and business.

I like to surround myself with people who will simply answer my questions already and don’t mask their incompetence with lies.

Sure, it doesn’t mean that¬†my people are never negligent or incompetent — because they are at times — but at least they do not delude themselves into thinking that they are so good, when they are not.

I prefer them to look at the mirror and see the naked truth. It is the only way they can change and improve.

So I tell myself and them, Talk is cheap. Tell me WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

In life, it’s better to¬†focus on what’s been done than to what the person is saying.

People can talk about their dreams. Their delusions. Their ambitions. And what they want to do.

Very few people actually do it.

I learned that it’s better to see what people are doing, than what they are saying. Here are a few quotes that I truly believe in.

So if someone tells me, sure, I’ll get it done. I tell them, “Okay, I’ll wait until you’ve almost finished because I believe you.”

If people say we can depend on him/her to do a good job, I pause first and wait and see what he does first before trusting the person.

Not everyone does what they say.

Talk is cheap.

But actions — you follow the actions.

A close relative for example is a man of many words. He can babble the entire day and the entire night. One of his dreams is to be an entrepreneur, and he talks about building and managing his own business so he can be rich.

The only problem is, after years of knowing him and listening to all of his business ideas, none of his business ideas seem to stick. Something, somewhere falls apart and he is left with a bruise ego, an irate and angry investor and a lot of failed dreams.

He still talks of his dreams and ambitions every day.

Personally, I think they are delusions… delusions until something concrete¬†comes out from it.

Talk is cheap. What do you have to show for it anyway?

This close relative has expressed surprise on why I am so performance based. “Do you mean that if your daughter achieves nothing, you will feel she is nothing?”¬†he asked.

Actually yes,”¬†I answered. “To more is given, more is expected. And she has no excuse but to fail.”¬†

I think you have to walk the talk. You have to show something for your words. There must be concrete actions and consequent results.

Otherwise, everything’s just bullsh*t.

Yes, people lie everyday. Maybe we need to make ourselves feel better. Maybe we feel that we need to hide from the truth because we don’t want to admit we are incompetent losers who can’t get shit done.

But I’d rather be honest with other people, and with myself.

I am still far away from the success I want to be. To be honest, I still have a long way to go. But admitting it is not a sign of weakness. It’s the truth. And before I delude myself into thinking this is the best I can do, I would rather challenge myself to be better.

How about you? Do you walk the talk?

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Posted in Advice, Business, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My kid is starting school next month

 

A recent study¬†reveals that a child’s intelligence is inherited¬†from the mother.¬†That means, if the mother is smart, usually the kid is also.

And while I don’t believe in it fully — there’s so much that genetics can do — I¬†see evidence of this whenever I look around.

For example, my cousin-in-law’s two children are top students in ICA, one of Manila’s most prestigious Chinese schools. This is surprising considering that Tyrone failed grade school twice, and almost got kicked out of high school. Every one was surprised that he even graduated.

Tyrone was a great guy, but as a kid, he was never academically smart, causing his mother to pull her hair during every report card season.

His wife however was pretty and received top grades.

They were classmates and she was a performer, while he was at the other extreme of the sphere. They fell in love, got married, produced two kids and BAM, the children are as smart, or are even smarter than the mother!

My father for example graduated from Mapua, one of the premier engineering universities in Manila, but he was just an average student. He was more active in extra-curricular activities than my mom, and had his fair share of bad boy adventures.

My mom however was a bookworm. Specifically, she graduated with a degree in Mathematics and taught calculus for 10 years in another university. In other words, my mom was slightly smarter than my dad.

When I look at my cousins (from my dad’s side) and I, it seems that my family was more inclined to study. My little brother, who hated reading and studying, still graduated from university¬†with honors. I graduated from a pretty good university and my dad never had a problem with me academically.

Compare this to my cousins from my father’s side, most of them did not even finish university. Many dropped out due to personal problems, and didn’t amount to much.

And while I’d like to think it’s because I was smarter and better than them, I would much rather give credit to my mom’s wish to immerse us in education and academics.

My mom gave me free credit to buy myself any book I wanted from National Bookstore.

She supported me in every school project, and tutored my little brother every evening.

I was tutored my Chinese subjects every single day up until 9 in the evening. And after coming home, I would study my English subjects.

We were expected to graduate from university. It wasn’t a choice.

I think that intelligence is more about the parents’ belief in myself and my brother. Of repeatedly exposing us to books and real-life experiences.

According to this other research, parents of high achieving kids have higher expectations for their children. What they believe, they subconsciously do, steering children to the direction that they wanted.

My father used to brainwash me all the time, “You need to be a businessman. It’s great to go corporate but you have to start your small business.”

Well, he never told me the downsides of having a business, but maybe all his brainwashing had fruit since we now have a small business to manage.

So¬†don’t laugh at me when I share with you that I am investing early in my daughter’s education.

How early?

She’s been attending Kindermusik the last couple of months, teaching her the joys of music, and this November, at 11 months, she will go to pre-nursery school.

My Husband thinks I’m loco but I tell him to watch me as I mold my daughter to love studying and reading and socializing with other children.

But¬†I’ve been right so far.

She’s hitting all her mental and physical milestones early, and hasn’t embarrassed us too much yet.

Sure, I might be¬†wrong and my child may turn out to be an angsty, gloomy kid, but hey, I’d rather bet and do my darnest to ensure she turns out to be¬†the opposite.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Posted in Baby Stuff, School, Updates | Leave a comment

Why you should NOT come back to Manila?

Someone asked me in my blog what I regret the most coming back to Manila.

To be honest, I’m pretty lucky.

I got to spend one year with my father before he passed away from liver cancer, met a reformed troublemaker who was tall and cute enough for me to marry him, have an adorable kid, given a small-sized business to manage, and blessed enough to hire a handful of loyal, dedicated and competent staff.

But most aren’t so lucky.

1) Many of my friends who returned did not find their Prince/Princess Charming back home.

A lot of people came back to Manila around the same time as I did in the hopes of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right, settle down and start a family.

They¬†weren’t able to meet the Right One when they were overseas. Maybe it was because we were having too much fun. Or because we didn’t meet anyone who matched us culturally, mentally or emotionally. Or maybe because we were just unlucky.

So, they came back hoping that¬†someone, somewhere will¬†kai siao¬†(introduce) them to Mr./Mrs. Right. If they couldn’t find it abroad, they surely can find them here.

THEY WERE WRONG.

For one, most of us who returned were already in our 30s. And to be honest, women here¬†marry earlier… a lot earlier.

On average, women in the Philippines marry at the age of¬†26. Once you hit you’re 30s,¬†you’re no longer as marriageable given your old eggs, or the fact that maybe¬†there’s something wrong with you, which is why you’re still single.

As my father-in-law said when he met me and learned how old I was, “Woah, you’re no spring chicken any more!”

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Back in Taiwan and Hong Kong, most of my friends lived life to the fullest and celebrated their singlehood until the age of 30. It was only after reaching 30 that most of them started sobering up and getting married.

I have no regrets staying single in my 20s.

Because I was single, I was able to travel my heart out. I was lucky enough to go to most of Asia and Europe because I had no baggage.

Because I was single, I was able to dance till 2am, go to KTV up until 6am, and then have breakfast early in the morning before crashing at 11am.

Because I was single, I was able to overnight at the beach, look at the stars and listen to the waves crashing, talking to my friends until it was sunrise.

Because I was single, I was able to focus on my career, culminating to me being transferred to Hong Kong at the height of the financial crisis.

Because I was single, my 20s were my best decade yet. And I cannot count the number of super fun days and nights.

I was too busy having fun to be in a stable, committed relationship.

And once I was able to snag a relatively decent man at the age of 28, I was quite the bitch to him because he was putting a damper to the fun I should be having.

Ironically, he did hit me back after he icily dumped me when he found his Ms. Right at his sister’s¬†wedding, leaving me single at an old, “unmarriageable”¬†age of 31. So yes, what goes around comes around.

But I digress…

So when I came back home to Manila, I was single and in my 30s, a recipe for disaster for most Chinese mothers who are itching for grandchildren.

Sure, I had a whole plethora of achievements: an MBA degree from a decent institution, a great resume which could get me hired to most places, and a luggage full of worldly experiences that would make me an envy of many of my local friends.

But I was still single. With no good candidate in sight. So there.

I was lucky I found my husband.

I really am.

But it wasn’t an easy effort.

I said yes to every single social event, didn’t shy away from any introduction, and tried out internet dating, where I ultimately met my husband.

It was easy because I was an extrovert. I¬†LOVED meeting people, and I embraced new experiences. I didn’t mind meeting eligible bachelors whether they were short, fat and ugly. I loved meeting friends, even though they didn’t turn out to be Mr. Right.

My other late 30s friend who came back from Taiwan also shared the same mantra: She had¬†more than 10 blind dates in the span of a year¬†after coming¬†back to Manila. She dated all the losers and had a belt-ful of laughable and disastrous blind dates that would last her a lifetime.¬†But she did meet her Mr. Right¬†on the second year of continuous and disastrous dating, and they happily married late last year — while she was at the ripe age of 38.

Many of our other single friends did not share the same fate. Most of them are still single up until now.

They were too picky. Closed to many new experiences. And were still¬†pakipot¬†despite their ticking biological clocks. Consequently, they’re still wishing and hoping for Mr. Right years after they came back home.

I wrote about this before: You need to be open and ready to find your Mr. or Mrs. Right. If you are open to new experiences, and didn’t mind to get embarrassed once in a while, you WILL find your Mr. Right.

But yes, if you’re hoping to find a mate¬†back in Manila, you’ll be hugely disappointed. It’s not as if there will be a lot of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes lining up your door. You still have to go out and make an effort before even finding the right one for you.

2) Nothing compares to the money I used to make.

I kid you not. The salary I give myself from my small business is less than 10% than what I used to make back in Hong Kong.

To put it simply, my one month salary in Hong Kong is equivalent to almost a year’s salary here in Manila.

If that doesn’t make you bawl like a baby, it should. Because the income disparity is just so huge, it’s not even funny.

When I was in Hong Kong, I could buy anything I want. I could afford a new Chanel a month, travel to as far as Europe if I wanted, and still have spare change to afford my relatively exorbitant flat (since most units in Hong Kong are expensive) and my lifestyle.

I was getting paid a lot¬†of money back then, and didn’t appreciate it. On hindsight, I should have saved more money and invested them in bonds.

Oh well, regrets… regrets…

But my point is, money in the Philippines is not as sweet and delicious as back abroad. It really isn’t. Even if I worked for a¬†premium security house here in Manila, the money I will make here isn’t comparable to the money I used to make back in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But you have a business?!”¬†Some of you may ask. “Shouldn’t your business make you RICH?”

OR

Why not find a better paying job back in Manila instead of wasting your time in your small business?”¬†

Don’t be surprised my friends.

Yes, I have a business (yehey!) but in no way am I rich (boo!).

Monetary-wise, the money I make in my business, we reinvest back to the business.

A¬†stable business requires good fiscal discipline, and it will be disastrous if I take the profits from the business and deposit it to my bank account. It’s one sure-fire way to bankrupt your business.

Money is power and you can buy many comforts and conveniences with money. And with less money, well, life is just a little bit harder.

Of course, I have a baby and a business but admittedly, I cannot travel or experience as much as before because I earn less money now.

And whenever I do travel, it’s not for leisure but for business.

So yes, earning less money is a complete b*tch.

And if you can handle earning less money for you to spend more time with family, then you’re welcome. But for most families where you are the breadwinner, you can’t afford that. And if you cannot handle the lackluster earnings you’ll get in Manila, then don’t come back home.

3) People here can be the worst. 

Staff¬†simply not showing up to work without any notice (Absence Without Leave = AWOL) is VERY common here. I’ve never had people who simply don’t show up to work in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but here, employees just don’t show up for the most insane reasons.

One¬†sales staff didn’t show up to work because no one will take care of their kids.

One sales staff didn’t show up to work because her dentures fell and she has no teeth.

One sales staff didn’t show up to work because she had¬†tummy problems. But she has nothing to prove.

One sales staff didn’t show up because she didn’t have enough money to go to work.

One sales staff didn’t show up because she was ashamed of¬†being an underperformer.

One sales staff didn’t show up because her husband asked her to.

People here don’t come to work for the most insane¬†reasons.

So you think it’s easy to do business in the Philippines? That it’s so easy being rich here? Well think again.

Think again if the city hall delays your permit because you refuse to grease their¬†palms with money…

Think again when your staff don’t show up when they’re supposed to… or they don’t perform when they’re supposed to… and then blames you for their shortcomings.

Think again when you see just¬†how unprofessional people are here, and they’re poor with good reason. To be honest, there’s so many jobs out there but there’s not a lot of qualified or professional people to do it.

No, it’s NOT easy doing business in the Philippines.

Business is already difficult as it is but it’s the¬†people management that make business even more impossible.

In summary, I think people want to come home because they believe that the grass is greener on the other side. When they come back here, they’re disillusioned because they realized that life overseas was a lot cherrier than coming back here. But after selling off their things, uprooting their lives, and moving back here, all they have are regrets and what could have beens.

Remember, once you move back here, it’s hard to go back overseas again.

Coming back is usually a serious, irreversible decision. You have to quit your job, pack your stuff and move everything back here to live here. Going back overseas would not be as easy.

So pray hard and discuss your options with your loved ones first before making that big leap.

There are many rewards to coming back here, but there are also costs, mostly financially and culturally. Think thoroughly all options before deciding.

And for those who are new to my blog and need counter reasons on why you should move back here, check this out: Why I went back to Manila after 10 years overseas?

Hope this helps and good luck!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, Lists, Philippines, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

August was a bad month for us…

My friend Carol posted the following on her Facebook page:

TROUBLE BY WARREN WIERSBE

Read Psalm 102:1-11

One day I phoned a friend of mine who is in the ministry and asked, “How’s it going?” His quiet reply was, “Well, I’m having one of those days.” The next time you’re having one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong–your plans are falling apart, you don’t feel well, there are problems and burdens, and it seems as if all of the forces of the enemy are against you–read this psalm. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble” (vv. 1,2). What kind of a day was the psalmist having? A day of trouble. In fact, he compares himself to a lonely bird. “I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert…. I am like a sparrow alone upon the housetop” (vv. 6,7). That’s the way he feels–like a bird alone on a housetop. He wants to go into the house and enjoy some fellowship, but he’s alone.

The psalmist’s enemies were reproaching him (v. 8). But in a day of trouble and reproach, he says, “I’m going to change this by the grace of God.” And it becomes a day of prayer. He tells God how he feels and what he sees. He cries out, “God, You are the only one who can change things.” God can change things for you also. He may not change the circumstances on the outside, but He does change your feelings on the inside. Then the day of trouble becomes a day of triumph.

* * *
Everyone has days of trouble. When circumstances entrap you and trouble closes around you, pray to the Lord. He knows how to turn your trouble into triumph. Although He may not answer your prayers the way you expect, He will do what is best for you and for His glory.

The above was quite apt for the occasion.

August was a bad sales month for us. After doing so well this 2016, sales dropped 15%. My supervisors blamed it on the rainy season and “Ghost month.” ¬†In their defense, it DID rain hard a few days last month.

But paranoid me wonders¬†if our business is loosing its juice especially in light of new competitors popping up every month,¬†harshly cutting their prices as if there’s no tomorrow.

In one of the malls, one competitor even slashed their prices to Php 200 per item. Honestly, it’s less than the cost of some of our items. I really wonder where they get their items given that you always get what you pay for.

Family-wise, our yaya left us. This type of news is bad for any household. Thank goodness we were able to find a replacement the same day!

Our baby is thankfully healthy and is now at 10 kilos at 8 months plus! This, despite not breastfeeding and eating often. She has been spared from bumps and bruises given that she adjusts and becomes more careful the more she falls.

But yes, I worry about my business.

I worry that the lowdown is permanent and we cannot get our ass off the ground. Sometimes, I look at my sales and wonder, “Where the heck do we get our sales from?!”¬†

This is followed by a simple word of prayer thanking God for His blessings. Honesty, if not for him, I don’t know where our sales come from. It’s a lot more than I, or anyone, expects.

As I pay my bills, I worry.

I look at my passbook and calculate my cash, and I worry.

I worry about the huge rent I¬†have to pay every 15th of the month. This fixed overhead drives me nuts, and I worry I don’t have enough sales to cover it.

I worry when I have to borrow money from our personal account just to meet the payroll. I did this yesterday and it’s uncomfortable. I know I can pay it back this Friday when more money comes in, but still, I would prefer more of a buffer.

I look at the Philippines’ ultra-rich and I wonder if they worried like I do right now.

I look at my August sales and I bemoan that I didn’t make enough to buy more inventory. I have to get the money somewhere, and I am looking at where to get it.

I try not to worry, but it’s hard.

So to anyone who wants to go into business, know that you too will worry. You worry about your sales, your overhead, and the many people whose families depend on you.

You do this all the time!”¬†my husband chides me. “Every beginning of the month, you worry!”

It’s true. I worry about money all the time, while my husband peacefully looks at me and trusts that I have everything handled.

But I know I have to trust. Trust in God that He will make everything right.

It’s now the Ber months. I hope He is right.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Baby Stuff, Family, Motherhood, Rants | Leave a comment

Yaya Left Us…

The good thing about raising in the Philippines is you can hire a stay-in babysitter who will take care of your children while you are at work. We call them Yayas.

In Manila, there are yayas for newborn babies, and yayas for toddlers. The price for newborn babies are higher than that for toddlers. Many yayas prefer to take care of newborn babies as they are easier to manage and are less makulit (mischievous).

Kaya ko namang magpuyat,”¬†one yaya told us. “Ayaw ko lang ng salbahe or¬†malikot.”¬†

Translation: It’s fine for her to be awake at night, taking care of the baby. She just doesn’t want a well-mannered or hyperactive kid.

The great thing about yayas are they are helpers. Meaning, they assist us so our children are well taken care of and safe while we bring home the bacon.

The bad thing about yayas is, because of their position of taking care of our children, they can hold the parents hostage if the babies grow up to be too dependent on their caregivers.

Many of my friends leave their babies to the yayas. It is the yayas who spend the most time with the baby, from the time they wake up, to the time they go to bed at night. It is not uncommon for the babies to sleep with the yayas so that the parents can get a good night sleep.

Here is a Singaporean ad that highlights how maids have taken over our children’s lives:

It’s mostly the parents’ fault but given the time our maids spend with our kids, they are bound to know our children’s ins and outs more than us.

Personally, I never thought of myself as a good mother. There are more hands-on mothers out there who are way better than me.

But I count myself lucky to 1) be able to bring my baby with me to work, and 2) have a lazier yaya who doesn’t mind when I¬†take care of my child. If I do the work, then she can twiddle on her phone and Facebook her friends.

Hence, even though we have a yaya, our baby looks for me instead of the yaya. We don’t have a problem when yaya¬†goes on her day off (which is twice a month), and baby is happy being carried by myself and my husband.

Then again, our baby is exclusively breastfed and co-sleeps with me, which is why she has remained independent of yaya despite yaya’s best intentions to make baby dependent on her.

Other parents aren’t so lucky (or unlucky)…

Without yaya, they are in tatters. Baby cries when the mother holds him, and it’s really difficult for the parents when yaya goes on a day-off because yaya is the primary caregiver.

It’s very common for parents to fight with the yaya. Mothers get protective of their babies and don’t like that their babies love the yayas more than them.

But what can you do?

If you leave your baby mostly to yaya, the baby will think of yaya as the primary caregiver.

Personally, I like it that my baby isn’t too dependent on our yaya.

On the downside, I have to bring her with me ALL the time. Even on business trips, I have to bring her with me. And anyone who’s brought babies anywhere know just how hard it is.

On the upside, when yaya leaves, there are no painful adjustments or tearful goodbyes.

My yaya has been with us since baby was born, and announced one day off the blue that she had to leave this week because she has to go home to the province.

That’s the problem with yayas — when they want to leave, no matter how illogical the reason, they will just leave you without any notice.

She announced to us last Tuesday morning that she had to go. Her 28-year old son was sick and her husband asked her to bring her son to Davao, where they’re from.

Then she left to Valenzuela to find her son.

On Wednesday, she came back for her things.

Everything went by all so fast.

poof.jpg

Yaya was gone.

Good for us, baby didn’t care.

And even better for us, we have a full network of agencies we can call to find a replacement.

By Tuesday afternoon, we hired a new yaya. On Wednesday morning, when yaya came to get her things, she was surprised on how fast we were able to find a replacement.

No tears, no goodbyes — just a change in yaya.

Of course, baby is still adjusting to the new yaya. Every style is different and it’s not easy for her too. Sometimes, I feel that she’s looking at me asking me who this new caregiver is. Often times, she wants me to hug and comfort her out of the blue.

But I am glad she looks for me, and not the yaya.

So in the end, all has ended well. Yaya is gone but it’s not the end of the world.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Give and Take

There has been a lot of giving and taking after I got married.

Husband is out now with wannabe entrepreneur good friend as they tinker with toys that will hopefully make them millions.

I’m at home blogging, waiting for him to get home so I can brush my teeth, take a shower and go to bed. Yaya is on her day-off so it’s perilous to leave a sleeping child on the bed alone while you shower. 

It makes me want to call him up and tell him to come back home already. I guess that while time flies when you’re having fun, time inevitably slows down when you’re waiting for husband to get home. 

But I think I’ll let him have his fun for a few more minutes.

I remember he didn’t really fuss when I went on my girl’s night out before. Even after showering, taking care of the baby and the baby screaming herself to sleep, husband manned up and didn’t bother me until I got home, satiated from catching up with my best friends.

He does spoil me sometimes. Today, he didn’t really make a fuss when I bought a bag even though I already have a lot of bags. It wasn’t cheap but it was nice, and he lets me have nice stuff once in a while.

He doesn’t complain when I ask him to take care of baby so I can relax a little bit. I babysat my daughter today in church (while he was working), and instead of listening to the sermon, I spent the good hour chasing after my crawling daughter as she tried the push car, came out of push car, went to slide, attempted to go up of slide, chose to go up four stairs to bang on the wall, munched on the plastic ball, tried to eat the string of dinosaur, go to push car again and then munched on ball, and then up the slide.

I kid you not.

I think I might have accompanied her to the push car 4x, the slide 3x, the stairs 2x, the ball 2x, banging the wall 3x, the other push toy 1x and then following her as she crawl around the freaking room 3x.

So taking care of baby is not easy work. And she’s less than a year old who still can’t walk!

I hear they get even more makulit as they get older…

Anyway, I digress. Point being, married is about give and take.

He gets his boys night out, and when he gets home, he is happy. A happy husband makes me happy. 

Sure, I don’t always get what I want but since time with his good friend is important to him, I should respect that and let him do it since he’s happy when he’s free from fatherhood, even if it’s just a few hours. 

The world doesn’t revolve around me anyways. When you’re married, it should be about the two of you, keeping a balance of give and take.


Have a good week everyone! It’s almost Monday again. Love you!

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I have never been Ms. Popular

I am your typical firstborn: arrogant, bossy and a know-it-all. 

As the only child, I felt that the world revolved around me. That didn’t last long. When my sibling was born, I felt he was a pest and only existed for me to learn how to “share” things which were supposed to be only mine in the first place. 

We used to fight over the pettiest things. Such as who sits in front (of the car), who gets to play with the toy first and whose instructions had to be followed all the time.

As the oldest, I learned how to boss him and everyone else around me around. I learned at a young age that the more authoritative and confident you sounded, the more you can get your way. Why argue with me when it’s just easier to give way?

I was pretty independent as a kid. My parents were mostly out doing business so I was left on my own with the cook and our maid. Hence, I had to take the school bus on my own and study on my own. I was one of those kids who sat in front, took great notes, and studied on her own without prodding.


That made me one of the more unpopular kids in school. 

And while I wasn’t really a teacher’s pet — I had to work for every grade I got and never received any favors — kids just don’t like the kid with thick glasses who seemed eager to please and studied.

I think the more chill you are and the less you studied, the more popular you got. That and excelling in sports. That gave you a lot of brownie points.

Consequently, you learn not to care too much of what other people think.

It goes both ways, people not liking you either breaks you down and you fall into depression. 

Or, it just makes you shrug your shoulders and just focus on studying. Why care too much about what other people thought? There’s no pleasing them anyways.

Damn if you do… And damn if you don’t. 

So, I became comfortable dancing in my own internal beat. I didn’t have a lot of friends. Remember, I wasn’t a popular kid. But I did maintain a best friend or two who occupied much of my time.

And I was fine with that.

I buried my head with books, my best friend and doing my best in school.

Consequently, when you care less about what other people think, you talk mostly taking what you think into consideration. 

Yes yes yes, I hear what you’re saying but… Was a familiar thought process for me.

Other people’s opinions mattered but my opinions matters too.

And that was unfortunately a recipe for arrogance. Or at least perceived arrogance.

It wasn’t my intention to sound arrogant, but it’s hard not to when you think you have a point. 

So aside from being a bossy, I sounded a lot more arrogant. A know-it-all. I spoke as if I didn’t care too much about what other people thought.

A double whammy.

But at the end of the day, I am aware of who I am. 

I will never win a popularity contest. 

I’m too much of a try-hard, wannabe overachiever who sits in front of the class and tries to listen hard to what the teacher is saying. 

I am used to classmates being annoyed because I take school, work and life too seriously. Loosen up! They would say…

I am Hermione Granger, Anne Hathaway and Reese Winterspoon rolled into one.


Except I don’t have best friends as great as Harry Potter, I’m not rich and famous, and I’m not an Oscar winning actress.

I am just a normal girl, trying her best to make sense of the world, who attempts to make an impact in the lives of my staff, my daughter and my family.

So if I am not as well liked, well, welcome to my world. 

Again, I have never been the popular kid. I don’t think I will ever turn out to be a popular adult.

But at the same time, I never really aspired to be generally liked anyway. I have always been a niche market, loved by a few, respected by those who have actually interacted with me, and tossed aside by many.

And that’s just fine by me.

And as my daughter, my firstborn, grows up, I think it’s important to teach her that while it’s important to be well liked and to please people, it’s more important to be herself and to accept who she is, annoying quirks and all.

Only then can you experience full freedom. Because in truth, you can’t please everyone, so you might as well please yourself.

Love you guys! Happy weekend!

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I’ve become one of those moms…

Welcome to my worst nightmare.

I have become one of those moms who…

…Post constant and annoying updates about their offspring. 

It has come to this: Almost all of my status updates on Facebook and Instagram are about my daughter. 

Whaaatt?! I simply find her cute and I want to record the moment for posterity. 

But I acknowledge the updates can be annoying. It’s just that life is hard and boring, and babies don’t remain cute for long, so yeah, shoot me.

Who bring their kids to restaurants and sometime in the middle of the meal, the baby fusses and makes some noise…

I have to eat too, and since I exclusively breastfeed, baby comes with us. 

Only those with babies can sympathize when you have to calm a fussing baby midway through the meal.

But yeah, parents with crying babies are always annoying. Can’t they just keep them at home?

But now, I’m one of them. 


Sorry restaurant patrons. I will just try my best to ignore your annoyed look and eat my meal quickly so we can go and you can have your peace.

…Who talk and brag about their kid all the time…

And what’s not to brag? Little kiddo could somehow walk at four months! And says “Daddadadadahhhdahhh” at 8 months!

Sure, two months advanced in terms of milestones is not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but yeah, I’ve morphed into my greatest nightmare, a doting mom who falsely believes her baby is overly cute, smart and charming.

Yes, I am aware that she’s probably not going to be an Olympic athlete, a charmismatic popstar or a future Elon Musk or Albert Einstein. In all probability, she should come out average. But I join gazillion of mothers who believe her kid is one of THOSE. Those people who make a mark in the world.

One can hope right? ūüôā

Who spends more shopping on her kids….

I got tons of useless junk.

Onesies of different colors, many of which she’s already outgrown.

Educational wooden toys she won’t likely touch till she’s over two.

A baby helmet which she hates. We laugh anyway whenever she wears it.

Noise cancelling headphones for infants, like Baby Phelp’s, so as to ensure a more peaceful afternoon nap.

Expensive baby toys she’ll probably forget about once she reaches one.

Hundreds of children’s books even though she still can’t talk, let even read.

Yes, mothers are one of the most gullible buyers in the world. And I’m not the worst of the lot. And still, look at all the junk I’ve bought.

*big sigh*

Who unprofessionally brings her kid to work…

Yes, I am aware she is a distraction. And I used to get more shit done before she was born. I was on fire then.

But I can’t just leave her at home with the maid. Husband and I made a quiet pact to bring our baby everywhere with us, so here we are — with a crying baby in the afternoons, with a staff who is good enough to understand where we are coming from.

But yes, I know how unprofessional it is, and I know I’m one of the lucky few who can get away with it.

Who Join Mommy Groups and Actively Comment as if I’m the most doting mother in the world.

Shhhh… Actually, there are tons of better mothers than I am.

I just birthed my daughter and feed it. It’s actually my husband who deserves the Great Daddy award, thanks to the fact that there are a gazillions of better, hands on mommies out there, while most husbands usually stay in the background and let the women handle the baby.

But hubby changes the diapers and bathes our child. He plays with her so I can have some peace and quiet with the iPad. And when I’m too tired and dozes off to sleep, he makes sure baby is still alive and somehow will doze later safely in between us. 

So admittedly, I’m not a great mother in a way that my husband is an amazing father. 

But I still comment on mommy blogs. 

I talk about my experience with Babywearing, hiring nannies, dealing with pesky in-laws and how to not kill your child.
It’s a great community. 

To be honest, I enjoy browsing through the threads too. You learn a lot of useless stuff that may be useful later on such as how to care for sick children, how to tell your maid she has bad odor and how to arrange birthday parties for cheap.

They can be the most annoying and the sweetest. 

And I’ve become one of them. Sigh.

Who lets her baby do whatever she wants. Even though it may not be 100% safe or hygienic and may cause her to be spoiled later on.

Baby grabs my PC. Here, have a Stabilo highlighter to chew on…

It hasn’t been sterilized yet or wiped with alcohol but hey, what doesn’t kill you make you stronger!

She drops her cookie on the floor. You pick it up and give it to her again. Germs are fine and I just did clean the floor last Sunday.

Husband gives her iced tea. She is not allowed iced tea. I let him do it because a few drops of sweet tea will not cause long-term damage. I hope she doesn’t become obese when she grows up.

She co-sleeps with us every night. She sleeps soundly and wakes up in the morning when we wake. So much for me bragging that we will have her sleep in the crib and sleep train her.
Who cannot bear seeing her baby cry.

Babies can be the most manipulative little people. 

She cries and I pick her up. 

She stops crying. 

Now she cries whenever she sees me. 

And she is extra naughty when I am there. 

She is better behaved when she’s just with Yaya.

Hmmm… I think I missed a memo on how to discipline my child. I am a softie after all. 

Who will probably die for her kid.

I told my husband that in the case of a sinking ship, he should save me first before our offspring.

And if he can only save one, to save me.

Save me first,”  I said. “We can make another kid anyway.”
This was before I gave birth.

Now, the answer is still the same. But I think realisitically, if our little baby was taken away from us, we will be crushed.

Logically, we’ll still be fine, but realistically, I will be hit harder than my husband.

No parent should ever see their kid be buried before them,” people always say. 

I used to laugh at that. 

But that’s right.

Now that we have our little pea in our arms, now that we see her smile and cry and interact with us, how can we bear it?

How can we bear to lose her?


So in the end of the day, I’ve turned into a sucker too. I’ve turned into my worst nightmare: a mother who makes her kid her world and (still) find it cute despite the many annoying things that it does.

Who would’ve known?

Have a great week everyone!

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My Pregnancy Journey

My mother-in-law asked me to not get pregnant until after our USA trip in November 2014.

We’re going to Universal Studios (in Florida),”¬†she advised, “It would be a pity not to get on many of the rides just because you’re pregnant.”

Needless to say, immediately after going on¬†our¬†last wild amusement ride, she said, “Now, you can get pregnant.”

Uhhhhh… okay…They’re very matter-of-fact, my family.

I got pregnant in January 2015 without a hitch. I bought a pregnancy test and when it came positive, I found a box, and placed the positive test onto it and placed a ribbon on top of the box.

My husband’s birthday was also in January so what better birthday gift was it than to announce the news that he’s going to be a father!

We had a luxurious dinner at Vask in BGC to celebrate his birthday. The decor was so simple, and the food was so-so and tasted like the sea. But husband was ecstatic about the news, so it all balanced out.

But to make the experience worse, I promptly experienced LBM afterwards in the evening.

Three days later, I started to bleed profusely.

I bled for four whole days.

Chunks of blood… I was using heavy-duty pads the whole time.

miscarriage.jpg

At first, I couldn’t believe it. “Maybe it’s just spotting,”¬†I thought. But when it bled even more, I knew we lost the baby.

Till this day, I don’t know if it’s because of the semi-fresh food we ate at Vask.

The baby was not supposed to live,”¬†my husband consoled me. “I cannot cry over a baby who’s not physically viable. There’s no relationship yet.”

But¬†women who experienced a miscarriage can understand — no matter how small the baby is in your womb, you still feel emptiness inside. It’s a hollow feeling.

A feeling of loss.

I was sad when I found out the baby was gone. Even if I¬†wasn’t that maternal, I still felt bad we lost our baby.

I went to a famous OB and he declared that yes, we have indeed lost the baby. But given that the baby was so small, there was no need to scrape me out, and we could just produce another one without any issues.

Come back to me after 3 or 4 months if you’re not pregnant,”¬†he said. “Try doing it the natural way first.”

God was so good that after that bleeding caused by my miscarriage on January 2015, I didn’t bleed again.

That meant that after the bleeding, my uterus was clean and I got pregnant afterwards through normal means.

We couldn’t believe it — how could I get pregnant so quickly after a miscarriage?

That is why I cannot answer doctors when they asked me when the baby was conceived. After the baby was lost, another baby took its place, and we have little clue when it was conceived.

That’s Little Pea’s ultrasound at 10 weeks 3 days. Doesn’t she look like a little hamster in this photo? ūüôā

Little Pea.jpg

Even with the good news, I was deathly afraid of losing this little one once again. If we lost a baby once, we could lose this one again.

But praise God, this baby was so strong. And ensured that my pregnancy was as smooth as can be.

When I was pregnant, I experienced ZERO nausea, morning sickness, or food cravings. Everything was as if I was NOT pregnant.

I carried on work as if I wasn’t pregnant and even went through rigorous mall visits. Sure,¬†my appetite did increase a little — from half rice, my appetite can now cover 1 cup of rice — but aside from that, nothing really changed.

Everyone was afraid for me. They held me while I was going down the stairs, and held my arms as I walked briskly on water puddles.

But the baby, our Little Pea, was such a trooper.

For one, she was normal and healthy — I had to hold my breath¬†while they did our¬†prenatal congenital scan. Given that I’m in my mid-30s, there was always the risk of Down Syndrome, but literally praise God that she was okay.

Two, she was so strong and healthy that not only didn’t she bother me, but she kept on strong and held on even after subjecting her to¬†many tests. For example, when I was 7 months pregnant on my birthday, I insisted on going to Corregidor Island on a boat.

I didn’t know that pregnant women¬†should NOT¬†ride on boats at the risk of miscarriage.¬†It was very very ignorant of me. To top it off, there was a storm that weekend, and we were stuck in Corregidor Island for 5 days.

Hence, the water was choppy, and my mother was screaming at me for subjecting the baby to unnecessary danger and bringing her to an island where hundred of thousands of soldiers DIED.

Okay, so I forgot about that — as a Christian, I don’t believe in ghosts. Also, I believe that the Lord was watching over us all the time.

In the end, all my mother’s fears were for naught, and we got home safe with the baby still intact.

As I’ve said, with this baby, everything went smoothly.

The only thing that bothered me was that I had to eat an extra snack in the afternoon, and some days of sleepiness when I just had to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon.

At the 6th month, my hands experienced some tingling and I felt my arms and hands cramped, especially on my right side.

On my 7th to 8th month, my feet started getting swollen and pimply and irritating. My feet ballooned and became really ugly. I had to wear my loose Crocs just to get anywhere.

Here’s an ugly photo of my feet for posterity — sorry about that.

ugly feet.jpg

But overall, I was very lucky.

Aside from my cramped hands and ugly feet, everything was normal and I was still working hard up to the day of my delivery in December 2016.

So it’s true what they say, “When God opens the door, He opens a window.”

Our first baby left us to some sorry, but I think he/she prepared the way for our Little Pea. If our first baby lived, he/she may have some sort of birth defect. It was that our first baby was not strong enough to survive.

But our Little Pea was such a trooper from Day 1. She truly is a blessing from God. And as we look at her today, more advanced than her age and hitting all her milestones correctly, we cannot help but praise the Lord for His great plans for us.

So as I go back to sleep, I thank Him. Thank Him for giving me more than what I deserve. For giving me my lovely husband and our little girl.

Even in tragedy, the Lord reveals His great plans to us. And for this, I am very grateful.

What more can a mom ask for?

Posted in Baby Stuff, Motherhood, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Get Pregnant When You’re Not Yet Ready

Since I’m in the topic of motherhood, I’d like to talk about¬†the rampancy of unwed single mothers in the Philippines.

To place it in context, I work in a business that hires a lot of women. Since our products cater to women, we hire more women because they’re the best gender to sell to our target market.

I love hiring women —¬†they are usually more detail-oriented, more serious at work, tolerant, and despite their issues, still serve mostly with a smile. They can also handle criticism better, and¬†usually are less argumentative when it comes to work.

At the same time, women have more self-confidence issues. They think lower about themselves, and are victims of philandering husbands and live-in partners, or abusive boyfriends. They seem to grab on whatever small bone of happiness their partner throws at them, even though it’s¬†less than what they deserve.

They are also more responsible and take on the issues of the family when¬†their family members or partners fail. Many are breadwinners and carry the family’s financial burden. Which is a lot especially when you’re taking care of your parents, your siblings and a few of your children from various fathers.

What’s worse, they hold the burden of supporting sick family members.Since many of them have to check in their family members at public hospitals, they as the responsible ones are forced to be the ones to leave their jobs and care for the¬†ill patient.

So there are pros and cons to hiring women in the Philippines.

Pros is that they are better suited for the job offered, mentally and physically. While the con is that, when family and money problem arise, it affects them and their work, and ultimately, force them to leave their jobs, causing my business a lot of cases of AWOL (Absence Without Leave)

And you have to give it to the women —

In 2008, 37% of the 1.8 million babies born in the Philippines were from unwed mothers according to the National Statistics Office. This is an increase of 12% from 2007.

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In a 2013 demographic survey, 10% of women from ages 15 to 19 are already pregnant with their FIRST child. Eight percent are already mothers while 2% are pregnant.

I for one only have to look at all the women who come in to interview. I listen to their stories and inwardly cry at their naivete and stupidity. Of allowing men to get them get pregnant without both being financially ready.

Personally, I don’t judge single mothers. My heart bleeds for them. As a mother who is lucky enough to have a helpful husband, I¬†cannot imagine just how much harder it is to raise a kid on your own.

Case in point, two of my office staff are single mothers.

single mothers.jpg

My older supervisor is married with two beautiful daughters, but is separated from her husband who has a second family.

They all carry the burdens of raising their families, half expecting some half-hearted support from the fathers, but realistically¬†paying¬†for their and their kid’s daily needs from their own pockets.

Today, my supervisor told me that one of her staff Jenny was missing from the store for more than the allotted hour.

When asked where she went, she said that she had to fix some money issues because she’s already spent all of the money she received from her wages last Saturday (Today is Wednesday). And because she spent all of her money already, she couldn’t pay their utility bill and their electricity got cut off.

I told the supervisor to closely monitor the staff in the next few days. Her work has indeed been affected due to her personal problems and historically, staff who couldn’t budget and are constantly running out of money usually fall into the temptation of AWOL and theft. Because of her money problems, I doubt that¬†Jenny will stay longer with us.

So why not increase their salaries then?

Some critics tell me that the easiest solution to help all these women is¬†to increase their salaries. If you give them more, then they would need less, and you can pat yourself in the back knowing that you’ve helped.

Anyway, why not give more to your staff instead of enriching yourselves? Wouldn’t that be the more socially responsible thing to do?

I’m sorry, but¬†people who use this reasoning, do not understand. They give many helpful advice without thinking the problem through,¬†and understanding the consequences.

Business is all about balance — balance in paying your suppliers (for your goods), your people (for your operation), receiving money from your customers (as revenue), and rewarding yourself for the trouble and capital you put the money in.

You cannot overpay one at the risk of another, and if the trouble is too much for me, I’d rather just close shop and enjoy peace and quiet with my capital earning minimal cash in the bank, which is just fine.

And to debunk the argument of paying your people more, actually, that’s NOT TRUE.

Paying your people more is not the answer. It’s paying DESERVING people more.

That is the reason why our business operates in a basic pay + high commission, so as to spread the love and profits to staff who sell better and more consistently. And for our regular staff, we offer them a generous¬†performance bonus that genuinely reflects the effort they’ve given the entire year.

It’s not about increasing people’s salaries. To do so is to invite lazy, ignorant and¬†ungrateful staff into your fold. It’s about increasing people’s salaries IF THEY’VE EARNED IT.

That way, good staff comes to your fold. Because they know that if they work hard and perform well, they will be amply rewarded for their efforts.

And even if you increase salaries, it’s never enough. If a woman cannot budget her money, even doubling her salary is a mere temporary band-aid to the problem. She will still have money problems despite her salary increase.

Case in point, one of my supervisors who is no longer with us. Despite earning 50% more than her subordinates, she still borrows from them! Why? Because she is financially irresponsible, supporting a lazy husband, a teenage daughter with a baby, and a few more children.

So I don’t think it’s about raising the salaries. Instead, it’s about being responsible, and looking at the long-term.

And, it’s also about protecting yourselves from pregnancy and not having babies when you’re not ready for them!

Now I love babies. I have one so I have to love ’em. But they sure are expensive.

babies.jpg

It’s like a cash register — every day is a Ka-Ching!

When they were born, Ka-Ching on hospital bills!

When you take them home, Ka-Ching on diapers! Php 8-10 per piece and¬†you¬†have to change them 8x-10x per day! I think we finished more than four boxes already…

Ka-Ching on vaccinations!

Ka-Ching on Onesies, Swaddles, and Clothes!

Ka-Ching on their food! Thank goodness I breastfeed so I save up on milk expense, but seriously, Ka-Ching!

Ka-Ching on breastmilk pumping materials!

Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!

So babies are expensive. My baby is expensive. As a first-time mother, I spend more money on her, than for me.

And I will continue spending until she¬†comes home for her first paycheck… when she’s around 21 years old!

Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!

And I’m one of the luckier ones.

I am in my mid-30s, married, with a relatively stable job and two supportive households who will be there to bail us out in case we run into money problems.

While we aren’t super rich, we have many of life’s comforts. I can buy my kid unnecessary toys just because I want to, and I don’t need to check my account to see if we¬†can afford it or not.

With regards to the others… well, that’s a different story.

They are pregnant at a younger age, with multiple children¬†when they reach their mid-20s, and don’t have the stable support of a husband. They are usually unmarried, and by the time they’re in their 30s, they may already have a different partner.

Which is why I am pro-contraceptive. Why I believe in protecting yourself in unwanted pregnancy.

If you’re going to do it, be safe and be protected. And not¬†fall in the trap of raising a family earlier than necessary.

So that’s¬†my thoughts on solving poverty — Have sex responsibly.¬†Use protection. Don’t get pregnant unless you’re in a¬†stable relationship, hopefully married, and have¬†a stable job to raise your kid properly.

Rant over. Have a good week ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Baby Stuff, Boyfriend, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Updates | Tagged , , , , , |