8 Tips when Visiting Manila Ocean Park

My daughter is 3 and there’s not a lot of places that a child that age can go to, except for the mall’s play places.

Fortunately, there’s Manila Ocean Park, which is a decent place for a day trip for kids of all ages.

Here are eight valuable tips BEFORE visiting Manila Ocean Park for a more pleasant experience.

Tip # 1: If you are going to Manila Ocean Park, look at the various deals available for the season. Metrodeal does NOT offer the best value for your money.

I bought this Manila Ocean Park dealOcean’s Sky Wonder: Enjoy 10-in-1 Attractions at Manila Ocean Park for P799 instead of P4100.

Manila Ocean Park.jpg

Deal Highlights:

  • Experience the ultimate Manila Ocean Park adventure as it levels up with Ocean’s Sky Wonder, which features 10-in-1 attractions for the whole family to enjoy
  • Enjoy day and night fun and excitement with attractions and shows at Manila Ocean Park featuring:
    • Oceanarium
    • Trails to Antarctica (Penguin Exhibit and Christmas Village)
    • All-Star Bird Show
    • Symphony Evening Show
    • Birds of Prey Kingdom
    • Barnyard
    • Birdhouse
    • Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter
    • Penguin Talk Show
  • The Oceanarium is home to 14,000 marine creatures from around 277 species, all indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
  • At the heart of the Oceanarium is a 25-meter long, 220-degree curved walkway tunnel with a spectacular underwater view of amazing sea creatures swimming overhead
  • Interact with little creatures like hamsters, rabbits, and chickens. Learn how these small animals make huge contributions to the planet in The Barnyard
  • Be surrounded with hundreds of colorful Budgies in the Birdhouse. Watch them fly around you and have a chance to feed them on your hands
  • Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter allows you to touch stingrays in Acquatica’s outdoor pool without getting wet
  • Trails to Antarctica features a walk-through exhibit of the frozen continent, live Humbolt penguins and a festive Christmas Village
  • Birds of Prey Kingdom features one of the most stunning coastal raptors in the country, the Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) in their unique bird sanctuary
  • All Star Bird Show showcases the beauty and intelligence of our fine-feathered friends in a highly entertaining show for the whole family
  • Watch a display of huge water fountains as the Symphony Evening Show ignites the night sky with larger than life distinct characters from the sea
  • Experience real-time digital puppetry in a theater setting at the Penguin Talk Show. Get a chance to interact with Hamboo the Penguin

I thought I was getting a greater and cheaper deal. However, when we arrived in Manila Ocean Park, we saw that you can buy the following deals on the spot:

Tickets.jpg

A short analysis comparing the different packages to the Metrodeal’s Php 799 deal showed that depending on the season, sometimes, the Metrodeal is better, and other times, buying onsite is better.

Looking at the different rides, here’s the deals available for the park onsite ticket for the period of December 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019 vs. Metrodeal’s Php 799 “promo”:

Tickets 2.jpg

Depending on the rides which you want, I would have simply just bought the park’s complete package worth Php 995.00, vs. Metrodeal’s Php 799, as I will pay only Php 200 more, but will get 4 to 5 more attractions, including entrance to the World of Creepy Crawlies, Super Toy Collection and Fish Spa.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tip # 2: Go on a weekday, NOT on a Sunday.

I didn’t heed my own advice, and this was the crowd when we went after lunch on a Sunday.

IMG_9054.jpg

It was FULL of people — lots of field trip groups and families last February 3. I have been to Manila Ocean Park multiple times, and it was never this crowded. Luckily, Manila Ocean Park is becoming a hit to Filipinos everywhere, and is a good day place to visit for people of all ages.

It was hot, crowded and slightly uncomfortable. In Ocean Park’s defense, the crowd thinned out when we left at around 4:30pm.

Still, why go on the peak hours if you can go on a more relaxing less crowded pace?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tip # 3: No need to stress and pre-plan the itinerary. Just go with the flow of the park. Following the route, you will still see all attractions even if you have no map on hand.

When you arrive and buy your tickets, you just have to follow the park’s flow to see all the attractions. From the expansive park entrance,

IMG_9041.jpg

The first attraction you will see is the Birds of Prey exhibits on your right. The attraction allows you to view and take photo with the Philippines national bird, the Philippines Eagle.

IMG_9043

In other ocean park’s, you have to pay extra for the photo. Here at Manila Ocean Park, it’s Free, so take advantage of a photo session with our Philippines eagles:

The next attraction is the Oceanarium.

Warning: This is not the Hong Kong Ocean Park, so please manage your expectations accordingly. The Oceanarium is slightly hot (maybe it’s crowded) and requires strong AC. There are also a lot less varieties of fishes vs. other ocean parks. But for Philippines standard, it’s fine.

When you enter the Oceanarium, you are first treated to a cool Jungle Trek where you see a lot of hanging plants, large fishes and a live crocodile/alligator who at the time of our visit was getting a water jet massage by the waterfall:

IMG_9060.jpg

It’s not a large amount of space, but the park manages to keep it interesting by allowing you to go up and down the stairs and see many different things as you go along.

Then the proper Oceanarium, where there’s a lot of tropical fishes to look into. Not as much as Hong Kong’s, but at least, enough for the regular Filipino visitor.

The Living Ocean exhibit inside the Oceanarium was a highlight of the visit, as such ability to walk through the “ocean” is something special for the Filipinos. The park brochures calls it:

At the heart of the Oceanarium is a 25-meter long, 220-degree curved walkway tunnel with a spectacular underwater view of amazing sea creatures swimming overhead

Here you can see various types of sharks:

And you can even pay extra to walk among the big fishes. If you plan to do so abroad, just do it here at the Manila Ocean Park.

IMG_9093.jpg

Cheaper price, better service, and the team at Manila Ocean Park does its best to accommodate special requests.

For example, a friend of mine pulled off a surprise proposal at the Manila Ocean Park. The girl was there with family, and the guy was there in the water wearing scuba diving gear to propose to her.

It was very romantic, and done at a reasonable price.

Extra wonderful: She said YES! 🙂

At the end of the exhibit, you can place your hand in this open aquarium to have fishes clean your hand. Something worth a try.

IMG_9095.jpg
Perfectly safe, just a nice sensation overall.

You can also have very nice photos taken on a less crowded area of the aquarium.

IMG_9096.jpg

Following the Oceanarium, you have to go up the stairs to go to the Fish Spa. 

IMG_9098.jpg

When we went, it was CROWDED with people.

However, if you were lucky enough to not go on a weekend and there weren’t anyone around, the Fish Spa is a great place to relax and clean your dirty feet.

Right beside the Fish Spa are some token cars that the little kiddos loved.

We spent a good half hour trying the few rides and relaxing. At this point, you are now mid-way finished with the park.

The next attraction is the Trails of Antartica, where you can view and take photos with the handsome penguins:

Our friends from Hong Kong were surprised that the park charged only Php 500 for a printed photo of visitors (Max: 4 people) feeding and taking photo with the penguins.

IMG_9110.jpg

It was a complete steal especially since Hong Kong Ocean park charged a LOT MORE for such souvenir.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So Tip # 4: When you are at Manila Ocean Park, pay the Php500 and take the photo with the penguins with your family as a souvenir.

It’s worth it. Quality was terrific for the price.

IMG_9174.JPG

The Festive village at the end of the penguin attraction was a downer. There was no real snow compared to when it first opened, and its snow making machine was reduced to a single workable machine which churned out small tufts of snow:

IMG_9114.jpg

Oh well, you didn’t go to Manila Ocean Park for the snow, right? So can’t complain since this isn’t the right venue for snow watching anyway.

Tip #5: Buy from the Park Souvenir Shop.

At the end of the exhibit was the park’s Souvenir shop.

IMG_9117.jpg

I kid you not — the selection was quite extensive, and the prices uber reasonable!

A large seahorse pillow cost only Php 800.

A blue toddler shark backpack put us back only Php 300.

The T-Shirts I think was less than php 300 each!

Almost everything in the Manila Ocean Park souvenir shop was of decent quality sold at a reasonable price. I would strongly suggest you buy souvenirs at the Manila Ocean Park gift shops as they’re really a great bang for buck.

Here we are, very much delighted with our purchases.

IMG_9118.jpg

We then moved on to the next exhibit, which is the Jellyfish exhibit.

This exhibit was significantly smaller than when the park first opened. What’s more, there was a limited variety of jellyfishes exhibited.

However, I love jellyfishes and can stare at them for a long time. Hence, it doesn’t really matter to me that it’s smaller, but that it was part of our ticket.

Tip # 6: Rest and buy food and drinks inside the park.

Compared to other parks, the Manila Ocean Park offered an extensive number of food and drinks available at a reasonable price.

It’s not like Disneyland where all you had to eat where turkey legs and fries, and you had to pay for an exorbitant amount of money just to get your grub.

At the Manila Ocean Park, you can buy food and drinks at mall prices, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

IMG_9126.jpg

Hence, you don’t need to bring your own food at the park. All you have to do is bring a small bottle of water, and buy the rest of your snacks at the park to rejuvenate.

Tip # 7: Go and see all the live shows.

We didn’t follow our own advice since our companions were already super tired after the jellyfish exhibit. For your information, here are the attraction’s showtimes so as to plan a better trip.

IMG_9038 (1).jpg

However, if you’re not tired, I strongly suggest that you not miss out the live shows prepared by the park:

acquaticatheater

They are delightful and interesting. Just too bad we had to give it a miss, because our visitors were poofed.

Tip # 8: Visit the Manila Ocean Park with your family.

It ain’t the best park in Asia, but for the price you have to pay for the enjoyment, it’s pretty good for the buck.

There is parking available —- we paid Php 40 tip to the guys outside the park — the tickets are reasonable, and everything inside the park is not expensively priced.

The park is still in the Philippines so you have to manage your expectations but when all is said and done, it’s still an afternoon of fun at a huge price cut from other parks around the world.

IMG_9127.jpg

EXTRA: Additional itinerary suggestions if you’re going to Manila Ocean Park in the afternoon:

Option 1: Tour the Old City Intramuros or do a Binondo Walking Tour in the morning, and then Manila Ocean Park in the afternoon. Here are some tour options we’ve tried and like:

For dinner, I would take our foreign guests to any of the nearby Filipino restaurants:

Bay.png

Hope you can make time to visit Manila Ocean Park. I’m glad we did. For more details, please do not hesitate to call the park at:

Manila Ocean Park
Pasay Boulevard Manila
Phone: (632) 567-7777 loc 118, 119, 123
Website: http://www.manilaoceanpark.com/

Advertisements
Posted in Advice, Interests, Philippines, Tours and Travels, Travels, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Relatives Make Bad Decisions

My biggest weakness is my pride.

I believe that before I make an important decision, I have already give that idea a great bit of thought. Not only do I make a decision based on the facts at hand, but I also look at other factors that may affect my decision, and think about Plan B, C, and D.

In short, I love seeing how a situation looks like, and then making plans accordingly. I pride myself into making some very good decisions in life.

As I’ve said, my biggest weakness is pride.

Hence, it bothers me when people around me want to make seemingly bad decisions.

I scratch my head and wonder why they cannot see the same problems that I see, and still choose to continue their course of action, even though it leads to the edge of the cliff.

cliff.jpg

I cannot comprehend how they can still make stupid decisions, despite knowing that they’re running to their death.

Why can they not see what I see?

Why do they keep on making the same darn mistakes over and over?

One of my relatives is one of these people.

He had been unemployed for years, working on projects here and there.

One year, he managed to persuade a friend to invest in a few million pesos to start a business with him. Technically, my relative will do all the legwork, get paid a generous salary, and his partner will give him the money. This is in assumption that my relative will build a business that would make both of them money.

My relative processed the business, built a business, hired a handful of staff, and had zero customers.

It’s Partner’s fault,” my relative scoffed. “He didn’t give me even more money to make sure the business succeeds. So we built an office, but couldn’t get customers because he didn’t send more money.”

Who was at fault, we won’t really know. We can only hear the side of my relatives where he came off smelling like a rose.

But this isn’t the first partner who had lost money after working with him. Actually, he has had quite a list of ex-partners, and they only had disappointing stories to tell after working with my relative.

But I am built as an entrepreneur,” my relative said. “It is my calling. It just isn’t the right idea.”

Given that he has invested no money of his own, that statement is unfair. The partner loses money, while my relative has profited off his partner having been paid a generous salary. At the end of the day, I feel bad for his partners who seem to lose money whenever they invest on something my relative has pitched to.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I remember that business idea vividly. There were many holes to that idea.

They wanted to build a medical health business even though one was a travel agent, and the other was a teacher. None of them were doctors.

They were both foreigners and could not speak Mandarin. Operations would require them to speak in the local language.

They had no network of clients, only the hopes of it. They only traveled in the expat circles and knew none of the rich Chinese they hoped to make money from.

They wanted to build the office at an expensive part of town. But it was in the upper floor where there was minimal foot traffic.

I have expressed my doubts to him when he visited us. While there was a 60 page business plan, holes on this plan made it seem clear that it was bound to fail.

And yet, everyone hoped that this idea would succeed.

After all, every 6 months, he would come up with a brand new idea that would hopefully make him a millionaire.

Yes Bonita,” he replied. “I heard you, but you don’t really know what you’re doing because you’re not in the situation.”

Great, I am chided on for being ignorant, for not knowing the entire facts. And for being unsupportive.

doubt.jpg

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Months later, as the business crashed and burned, my relative came back in his defense asking, “Why didn’t anyone stop me?”

O M G.

Seriously?

Nobody stopped you?

What do you mean nobody stopped you?

I made my concerns vocal, told you of the holes in your wonderful plan to which you have no answers, and you just not listened, nodded your head and still went your own way.

I tried to ask you relevant questions related to his business, hoping he would use it as feedback on how to make his business better, and after ignoring my concerns, found that such concerns were really valid and were the cause of his failed business.

And I didn’t stop you?

Facepalm-statue-300x300.jpg

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now, he is in his nth wonderful idea.

After years of employment, he finally took on the job as an English teaching in China.

After finally being employed teaching English in China and earning a generous wage, the relative declared that it was not his hope to teach English as this was the type of job white people are embarrassed to have.

“I am not happy being an English teacher,” he said. “I would like to be an entrepreneur as this is my calling.”

So his plan was to sell the home that’s under his wife’s name, and move the entire family to the United Kingdom, because hey, he likes the UK.

zsoA9vCg.jpg

There was a serious lack of thought in such major life decision change:

  1. He is not a UK taxpayer or citizen. They have a 4 year old daughter: Will her education be free or cheap?
  2. He is already in his mid-40s and does not have any relevant corporate experience. He doesn’t want to do menial jobs, and want a job that pays well so he can support his family of 3. However, he doesn’t have any technical skill, and is currently an English teacher in China despite not having any educational degree.
  3. His family will start from scratch. Wife will have to start looking for a job after getting rid of a good gig from China. He cannot teach English in the UK. His Chinese is bad, so he cannot teach Chinese in Britain.
  4. Where will they live? How can they afford their home and their cost of living? How can they have income?

But the general plan is — Sell the home that was gifted to his wife by her parents in China, and use that money to fund their move to the UK and hopefully find a source of income there.

I can start selling ginger candy from the Philippines in Amazon UK,” he said.

As if it was that simple.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It takes a lot of effort not to challenge a relative when they make seemingly stupid decisions that affect other people.

On one point, as a man, I understand his need to be secure in his ability to provide for his family after many years of hopping from one job to the other. I am sure it is emasculating for him to have his wife be the breadwinner for many years.

On the other hand, I do not understand why he can’t just accept whatever job he is qualified for, and work up from where he is.

Teaching is NOT an embarrassment when it puts food on your table.

Why hope to be like Jeff Bezos if you can’t even hold a job?

Bonita, STOP CHALLENGING ME,” he said. “I know what I am doing. It seems that every time I talk to you, it’s a challenge.”

I shut up after that.

I keep quiet despite hearing his dreams of grandeur and his wanting to be British even though he isn’t.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the end of the day, getting sucked in my relatives vortex is just more headache for me. To be honest, his life decisions do not affect me or my family. I am not expected to fund him, or to carry any of his work, or to support his family when they fail.

And if he is driving a train with a wreck that’s waiting to happen, it should NOT involve me at all.

train.jpg

He wants neither my help, opinion or support.

So I have to accept in my heart to just let this matter go. Let him make the wrong decisions in his life and suffer the consequences. Let his family suffer from his foolishness.

It is their life, not mine.

Once I can accept this, I remove myself from his mess, and not worry about him at all. Why worry when you can’t do anything? Why bother even helping if it’s not welcome? It just isn’t healthy at all.

Hence, this is what I will do.

I will let sleeping dogs lie, pray for him and his family, and hope for the best.

Hopefully, his best laid plans will make him fulfill his dreams.

Or it won’t.

Regardless, I take no credit or delight with the results. All I can do is to stay still, listen and watch the show.

Have a good week everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in entrepreneurship, Family Drama, Updates, Work | Leave a comment

Format: Quit Claim for Departing Yayas

RELEASE WAIVER AND QUITCLAIM

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

That I, (Yaya Name), Filipino, of legal age, a resident of (Yaya Residence Address), and formerly employed with (Employer’s Name), do by these presents acknowledge that I have already received my full payment and final settlement of the (financial assistance or separation pay, overtime pay, salary or salaries, wage or wages, commutable sick and vacation leaves, gratuities or any kind of compensation or emoluments) due to me or which may be due to me from (Employer’s Name) under the law or under any existing agreement with respect thereto, as well as any and all claims of whatever kind and nature which I have or may have against (Employer’s Name), arising from my employment with (and the termination of my employment with) (Employer’s Name).

In consideration of this agreement, I do hereby acknowledge this quitclaim, and will waive any and all actions of whatever nature, expected, real or apparent, which I may have against (Employer’s Name).  I will institute no action, whether civil, criminal, labor or administrative against (Employer’s Name). Any and all actions which I may have commenced either solely in my name against (Employer’s Name) are hereby deemed and considered voluntary withdrawn by me and I will no longer testify or continue to prosecute said action(s).

I declare that I have read this document and have fully understood its contents.  I further declare that I voluntarily and willingly executed this Release, Waiver and Quitclaim with full knowledge of my rights under the law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand at Current Address, this ___ day of (Month) 2019.

_______________________________________
(Yaya Complete Name)

SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF

_______________________        ______________________

I also use this document for all other employees departing our employ. Word Document can be downloaded here: QuitClaim – Generic

Posted in Advice, Work, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unlucky Week: When you deal with people who are malabong kausap

This has not been a great week.

I have been a victim of people who are malabong kausap (people with no word of honor) several times this week. It’s annoying.

There’s an online seller who had agreed to sell to me a branded bag at an x price. Everything was already confirmed and settled and I was just going to pickup and pay for the bag.

Before we met, he messaged me, “Bonita, I’m so sorry, but someone gave me a higher offer, and I really need the money so I am giving her the bag.”

The offer was x plus Php 1,000 so it was truly annoying. It wasn’t that I couldn’t match the Php 1,000. Rather, it was that the deal was already struck, and he backed out instead of informing me that someone was offering a higher price for the bag.

I had another company who confirmed a quotation, but then charged me a higher price once I was about to pay. 

This bad luck has moved to my personal life.

I also hired a private tutor for my daughter this week.

On her ad, she said she was “responsible, hardworking and patient with kids.”

Annoyed.png

On the day she was supposed to teach for the first time, she messaged me that she was not feeling well.

Later on, she messaged me again to say that I need to find another tutor.

Bwisit.

I would like to look at the positives in this unfortunate situations. This quotation comes to mind: 

When-God-closes-a-door.jpg

Maybe there is a better bag for me.

Maybe there is a better solution for my business.

Maybe there is a better tutor for my daughter.

Still, it’s very frustrating. Hopefully, my bad luck would end. Happy Chinese New Year!

 

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Mommy Chronicles: How to Raise a Budding Entrepreneur

One dollar! One dollar!” exclaims my daughter as she tries to sell her wares to my staff from the shop set her grandma gave her today.

She must have learned selling from Ryan’s Toy Review. Either that, or one dollar is too cheap a price for legitimate wares.

Another Mommy asked how to teach kids entrepreneurship a few days before.

My father was an entrepreneur.

My mother was an entrepreneur.

And I later grew up to be an entrepreneur as well.

I don’t really remember my parents actively teaching me how to be an entrepreneur.

So how the heck did I turn out to be one?

It’s the Littlest Most Mundane Details

My father used to teach me about entrepreneurship without me knowing it.

We would go to a restaurant, and we would analyze if this restaurant was profitable or not.

“How many staff are there at the store?” he would ask.

There’s ten,” I’d answer. And would proceed to count them one by one.

Good,” he would reply. “If each employee cost php 13,500, how much would the total labor cost be?”

“₱13,500 times ten is php ₱135,000.” The middle school me would answer, pleased that my multiplication tables can now be used.

He continues to ask, “Let’s say rent and overhead which includes electricity is php 60,000, how much is the total cost of running this business?”

“₱135,000 plus ₱60,000 equals php 195,000.” I would answer. This is easier math.

So let’s say cost of doing business is rounded up to php200,000, how many meals do you need to sell to break even?” He asked.

What do you mean?” I asked, now confused.

Okay, how much is the price per meal?” He would then ask.

It’s php 100,” I would answer. “And there’s four of us so that’s php 400 for our table, more or less.”

“Now, if the cost of the food is php 30 per order, that means per meal has php 70 of profit,” he concludes. “If you make php 70 per meal, how many meals do you sell to break even?”

Ahhhhhh…. see the point?

Cost of business is php 200,000. Divide php 200,000 by php 70 profit per meal, how many meals is that?” He asked.

2858 meals!” I excitedly answer.

Now divide 2858 meals by 30 days, how many meals must be sold per day to break even?”

“95 to 96 meals a day, daddy,” I answered.

Or 50 meals per lunch and dinner,” he would say. “Or around 10 to 15 tables per meal hour. Look around you. Is this restaurant full? How many diners are here on a weekday lunch?”

There was only 4 tables dining. Two had two people, one was a sole diner and there was us, 4 on a table — or 7 people in total.

The restaurant isnt making money,” he concluded. “It will close down in a few months unless they change something. Anything.”

How sure are you, daddy?” I asked.

Do the math,” he said. “And you will know.”

Sure enough, the business DID close down.

It was tragic to see.

I am sure that the owners were well intentioned and had high hopes and dreams when they opened the store, but you can’t fight against the tide if the numbers were against you.

And that was how my dad taught me about entrepreneurship.

Not by reading a book or taking a class.

But by analyzing every business that we come in.

Every single day.

My daughter is only 3 and there’s still more to teach her.

Right now, she’s just selling things for one dollar. Tomorrow, hopefully she’ll be selling more at a profit.

Teaching about entrepreneurship is like building the pink towerZ

You talk to her everday about the most mundane things, and build it up, until years later, without her really knowing it, she inevitably becomes an entrepreneur.

Because this was what her parents did.

Because this was something you guys talked about every day.

Because this was her training.

Because this training became her calling.

And that is how you raise an entrepreneur.

One day at a time.

Posted in baby, Business, children, Dad's Advice, Education, entrepreneurship, Family, Kid Problems, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only in the Philippines: Palusot Queen

My promodiser was caught sleeping on duty. She was suspended for three days, as she had a tendency to sleep on the job and was vocally warned multiple times.

I didn’t sleep on the job,” she wrote in her incident report. “I only closed my eyes.”

facepalm.png

Great, at least she didn’t say that she was praying instead of working.

Upon inspection of her kiosk, the security guard found out that several unpaid items belonging to other concessionaires were hidden inside our kiosk.

Ma’m, I have no idea how the outright items got there,” she wrote. “I did borrow the items from the concessionaire and put it inside the kiosk to reserve the item. I plan to pay for them once I received my salary.”

Accounts made by the concessionaire claim that she had no clue that my diser had the missing earrings in her possession. She didn’t lend it to my promodiser. Instead, my promodiser took it without the concessionaire’s consent.

Here were the list of unpaid items inside the kiosk:

  1. 12 x pairs of socks (4 packs of 3 pcs Burlington socks)
  2. 2 x small stuffed toys
  3. 1 x keychain
  4. 1 x shirt
  5. 6 x pairs of eyeglasses
  6. 1 x pair of earrings (Yaya Dub)

To why she has 6 pairs of glasses, I have no clue. But it was there hidden in my kiosk, and only she was responsible.

But this was not only the items she took. Our relievers submitted an incident report dated January 17 that there were the following items that were found inside the kiosk but is no longer there — two cycling shorts, one neck pillow, fitted blouses, 3 wallets with feathers. These items are already missing from the department store.

My promodiser admitted that she only borrowed the things that she was caught with. She told them these were on loan until she paid for them.

Apparently, it’s not stealing if you put a can of coke inside your bag while inside 7-11. It is only stealing if you take it out without paying.

Well, that doesn’t explain how other things were reported missing and were seen in her kiosk, and have now disappeared.

That’s the biggest problem in the Philippines. Cost of business is great here, but managing people is difficult.

They are always excusing themselves. Giving silly reasons on why they are unprofessional.

If they are late, they blame the traffic.

If they don’t sell, they blame the crowd or the customer.

If they steal something, they say they have no clue how it got there.

Only in the Philippines…. only in the Philippines. If you manage people here, you have to get used to the excuses, and to put your foot down and ensure that everyone follows the rules. It’s not easy to be Ms. Bitchy, but sometimes, if you want to successfully manage a business here, you need to trim the fat from the bone, and to not accept bullshit just because the staff is fake crying.

Posted in entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Tips in Looking for a Yaya Online

As agencies have increased their fees to now Php 6,000 to Php 18,000 for every successful referral, there is a need to be more self-sufficient in finding yayas on our own.

But I would rather wait to get a referral from someone I know,”  some mommies would say. “At least they can be trusted and not steal.”

Well, many mommies end up NOT having a yaya anymore, and end up taking care of their own kids themselves.

I don’t have that option. I work full time, and I need to take care of our business. I need a yaya, and am willing to do whatever means necessary to get a yaya, including opening myself up online.

Anyway, even the best yaya agencies source their yayas online. So why not if possible save on the fees and search online as well?

oyamada.jpg

Over the last month, I have interviewed at least 10 serious applicants for the yaya position, hired 3 and browsed through at least 25 applicants. I am no expert, but at the end of this adventure, I have done more interviewing of yayas than I should in a lifetime.

Here are my tips in searching for a Yaya Online.

1. Hire someone who is at between 28 to 60 years old.

If the yaya is too young: If the yaya is only 17, you would need parental consent before allowing her to come and work for you.

If she is between 18 to 21, she is only coming to you for experience and really isn’t serious about working. My sister in law’s yaya is 18, and spends a lot of her evenings talking to her partner, making her always exhausted when working the next day.

Her last newborn yaya who was still looking for love got pregnant by the houseboy. The baby is expected to come out mid this year. Maricel only stayed for 1.5 months, got pregnant, and is not at home resting as she doesn’t want to work anymore.

If the yaya is too old: They tend to be slow, forgetful and sometimes stubborn. You have to be patient and repeat your instructions in a very clear manner. If they are wrong, you can’t shout at them, but have to talk to them in a still respectful manner.

Since I am looking for a yaya to my 3-year old daughter, I need someone who can keep up with her. This means that I cannot find a yaya who is too young (who will only look at the cellphone) or too old (who cannot run around with her).

It’s the Goldilocks principle. For yayas, you cannot get them too young, or too old. They have to be just the right age.

The right age varies from employer to employer. For me, it’s 28 years old to 55 years old.

goldilocks.jpg

At 28 years old, they have most likely had 1-2 kids from 1-2 different fathers, so they’re less likely to have more children since the realities of taking care of a lot of kids are more real to them.

A yaya in her 30s are already more serious in finding a job for keeps since she has mouths to feed and she understands that her husband’s income is insufficient in providing for her family. She works because she loves her kids. If she doesn’t work, her family would starve.

2. Sorry, just a personal preference, but I want a yaya who is not too pretty or sexy.

This is unacceptable for us — yayas who post sexy photos on Facebook.

hello.jpg

This means that if the yayas post photos of herself showing off her legs, boobs or tattoos, I am no longer interested in them.

wena.jpg

We live in an area where there are a lot of construction workers, traffic enforcers and security guards, all of which try to get in our yaya’s pants whenever possible, despite being married and having kids. That’s just the way it is.

Our previous yaya was fired because she was dating the married traffic enforcer in our area while on duty. I caught her the second time having tryst with the traffic enforcer in a darkened area before firing her.

Stories of the driver or the houseboy dating and impregnating the yayas are too common in their own good.

To make it safe for everyone, I choose yayas who are not that attractive. Just my personal preference, if her photo includes of her in a spaghetti strap, she’s off my list.

IMG_8579.JPG

Yes, this applicant was applying to be a yaya in our household. She is way too pretty to be a yaya. 🙂

3. I hire people who are actually unemployed. Meaning, they are not looking of transferring employers while still employed with the others. I don’t hire yayas who are still employed with others. 

I had applicants who applied with me while still being employed with others. Their reason for switching?

  • Higher salary which is understandable.
  • Not liking their current employers because of (insert reason here).
  • Complaining about their current work.
  • The best? “I only stay here because I am merely tolerating my boss. In fact, I have wanted to switch ever since.”
  • Gee… if you are like that to your current boss, then how will you be when you switch? Will you snitch on me too?
  • Among other reasons…

There are cases when the complaints are valid. If you have been in a household for years and are still paid peanuts, YOU SHOULD LEAVE.

But on many cases, the complaints stem from a yaya who is unsatisfied with her lot. It is a red flag for me that this yaya has a tendency to complain despite knowing what she was getting into in the first place.

This is because salary, benefits and work conditions are usually disclosed to the yaya during interview. Before they start, a yaya should ask all questions necessary to ensure that they know what they are getting themselves in. In other words, Pinili mo yan (You chose your fate). Hence, you should barring extreme circumstances, enjoy your lot instead of endlessly complaining about it.

In my personal opinion, I prefer yayas who actually like the situation they bring themselves in. I don’t like yayas who keep on complaining about their situation especially since it was their choice to enter these situations in the first place.

A leopard never really changes her spots.

leopard.jpg

If they complain there, they will also complain once they are in my household. And I don’t want the peace in our household be destroyed because of one yaya’s discontent.

In addition, I also don’t choose these women who are still employed with others because of delicadeza. This means that just because I am in desperate need, I would pirate another person’s yaya and cause her misery in looking for a replacement.

There are still many applicants who need jobs out there. Would rather pick someone else than to harm another household because of my own dire need.

4. I hire yayas who are okay with my conditions namely:

  1. Rest days two days (48 hours a month) a month: I do NOT agree if the yaya wants weekly rest days. Nothing wrong with weekly rest days, but having them leave every week is a hassle and a security risk for me. Please note that I pay for the two rest days not taken, which is in accordance with the Kasambahay Law.
  2. No emergency rest days. We follow the schedule of two rest days per month. Anything above that is a no, except if someone died. Before hiring the yaya, I always ask them if they have their family affairs in order. I do not hire anyone who will disappear from work whenever there’s a family emergency because this means they are unreliable. I also like yayas who return on time from their rest days.
  3. No cash advance or bale while under my employ: This is a big one. I have had yayas who backed out after hearing this rule. Bale or cash advance is a big problem in hiring Filipinos. Because they can’t budget their money properly, they always tend to borrow money from their employers, leaving them on a continuous cycle of indebtedness. I tell my yayas I will never lend them money. If someone dies in their family, I will give her family, but save on a death, I will not help out since I pay her a lot of money and on time.
  4. No cellphone on duty hours: Many Filipinos cannot let go of their cellphones or Facebook. My rule indicates that they can only cellphone when my child is asleep. Many don’t like this.
  5. They eat when we eat: We provide three meals and more a day, but I don’t like yayas who are more particular with food than we are.
  6. They are okay with being an all around, which is already disclosed to in the ad. This means, I don’t like yayas who only want to take care of the kid and nothing else. Since I pay 50% more than minimum, I do want the yaya to also care about the general surroundings and do the laundry (via WASHING MACHINE) once the clothes need washing. I put this clause in because I don’t want our yaya to be maarte. 
  7. No to padala pamasahe. With so many scammers in the Philippines, I don’t want to problematize about sending money to applicants who never plan to show up. If they want work, they will always find a way to come to you (I will reimburse the travel expense AFTER they arrive) with complete requirements.

These conditions already filter out many applicants. But since I only need one and they are joining my household, I would rather filter out those who are maarte, mareklamo and have many family issues instead of accepting them and then being disappointed later on.

5. I don’t hire yayas who don’t post their own faces on Facebook.

This is a photo of a Facebook applicant for yaya:

2.jpg

Lord help me if she really looks like that. She should be an actress, not a yaya.

If the yaya cannot be honest with who she is on social media, she may be hiding something, and I don’t want to consider yayas who don’t reveal anything about themselves.

6. I don’t hire yayas who frequently updates her status and post on Facebook. 

If I check their Facebook page and see that the yaya is always updating on Facebook, I don’t interview her anymore.

facebookhacksBanner.jpg

There are yayas who update their status every day, every half a day, with selfies and post about their random thoughts. This means, their phones are always by their side and they are very busy being active on social media.

Since one of my rules is to only use the cellphone during off duty or when the baby is sleeping, I don’t think hiring someone who is always on Facebook will work for us.

7. I also don’t like it when a yaya posts photos of herself and her alaga. Or photos of her in her employer’s house. 

alaga.jpg

It’s not her house or her kid. She should not post photos of what isn’t hers on social media. It’s not right, and in the Philippines, can be quite dangerous.

So when I see a yaya applicant posting her photo that features her employer’s house, child, car or belongings, I don’t even consider hiring her anymore.

8. I don’t hire yayas who have a bad record online.

I check out whether she has been blacklisted on other maids groups as a scammer or a maid with a bad record. I check her name out on Bad Maids PH Facebook group to see if she has been previously employed by someone before.

bad maids.jpg

Checking online of their status have saved many employers a lot of future grief. For example, an agency referred to me a yaya who sounded decent on the phone. She was 4 years old, single, and was well experienced as a yaya.

Later, when checking online, someone gave me the feedback that not only does this yaya suffer from a bad attitude, she also had sexy photos of hers posted online!

These were her actual photos posted on Facebook for everyone to see!

My gosh, makati pala! Even I do not have the gall or strength to post a photo of myself on a swimsuit online, and here in an applicant who is open to showing on what she looks like to everyone who wishes to see.

And to those who are wondering, these are her real photos. Not Photoshopped. The agency said that these were her bikini photos from Boracay. Uhhhh….

Thank goodness for the Interet. If I didn’t ask for feedback, we would have ended up with a yaya who would give us many problems later on.

9. I hire yayas who have an acceptable record of leaving their previous employers properly. 

Many yayas, like mine, leave their employer without proper notice. Many simply go on a rest day and never come back, insisting that they left their employer because of (insert yaya reason here).

It doesn’t matter if the employer was masungit or abusive. What’s important is that the yaya leaves with grace, and with proper notice.

If they left an employer without giving a proper goodbye, they would do the same to me too. And given that I had been a victim of such yaya before, I do not want to have such experience repeated again.

Hence, I listen very closely when asking the question, “Why do you leave your previous employer?”

If they give me an answer that shows they are malabong kausap, then I move on to the next interviewee.

10. I only hire yayas who show WORD OF HONOR. They have to show up on the agreed schedule. They don’t lie on the interview. In short, they do what they say. 

My previous yaya told me that she didn’t even finish high school even though the yaya she was replacing was a college undergrad.

I appreciated the honesty and told her there was nothing to be embarrassed about. She turned out to be a pretty decent yaya for my daughter until she wasn’t.

I like yayas who tell you as it is. No lying, no twisting of the truth, no drama. One yaya told us that her first husband was dead, even though he wasn’t really. That was bad.

Since they are joining our household, we have to choose people who is similar like us. My husband says we like to surround our people who is not malabong kausap (which means we hate people who don’t do what they say).

Hence, we have declined the services of a yaya who keep on moving their starting dateBago pa lang, ganun na. 

This was a yaya who didn’t show up as agreed because she claimed her son was sick. It would have been more believable if she didn’t text me the day before asking me to postpone her start date since her daughter wanted her to get her report card in school.

IMG_8572

I didn’t take her anymore.

Sure, maybe it means having a yaya starting later, but at least, weeding out those who are unreliable will keep us more sane in the long run.

SUMMARY

Yes, it’s very hard to find a yaya in the Philippines. Even at a higher salary, I still experienced difficulty in finding a yaya myself. There is reason for agencies to exist. It’s not just to profit off employers, but to also save employers from the type of stress and frustration I’ve experienced this month.

Many employers have already given up from finding a suitable yaya for them.

The group that asks for referrals now number more than 1000 and yet, so many are left yaya-less. Many mothers choose to give up their jobs because they cannot find suitable help.

Personally, I can’t stand inactivity.

I don’t believe accepting my fate that I should be left yayaless since yaya left us last December. If I cannot find a yaya, I would have to take care of our child, and our business and my staff will suffer. Since we can afford a yaya, we should have one. Hence, not having a yaya is unacceptable for me.

So now, we have one. Zeny started just last Sunday, and she’s still alive as of today.

IMG_8574

I hope she’s finally the yaya I am looking for. If not, we will look for someone else again.

Ahhhhh… that is life.

Anyway, hope my tips will help you find a yaya of your own. Good luck to all of us, and may the right yaya enter our employ.

 

 

Posted in Advice, baby, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Lists, Parenthood, Philippines, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yaya Chronicles: The Search for a Good Yaya Continues

All of you know that I have been looking for a yaya (stay-in babysitter) ever since my old yaya didn’t come home for the holidays last December

While the experience has been very frustrating — we treated her like family, and she didn’t even have the decency to inform us she won’t be returning after we paid for her holiday — I decided to look at at the positive side of it, and rolled up my sleeves to find my daughter another yaya.

Since my yaya left last December, yayas were in short supply as many were also on extended holidays. Agencies couldn’t supply us with any, leaving us with no choice but to find one on our own. Here was my experience in looking for a yaya online.

The yaya I found during the first round only lasted 6 days.

On her sixth day, she texted me saying that her husband was in the hospital and she had to visit him as it might be an emergency. When she started, I made it clear that her first rest day would be after a month, so this request was already out of the ordinary.

As I have many experiences with the help, I knew this was a white lie and decided to simply let her go to her husband, with paid salary, packed bags and all. Here was my experience in handling this yaya.

My point is, despite my best efforts, it was really hard to find a reliable yaya in the Philippines.

Many yayas were malabong kausap: this meant that their words mean nothing. They will promise you the moon and the stars and will miserably fail.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The next yaya I found online was Tessie, 52 years old, who worked as a housemaid, nanny and caregiver abroad.

I interviewed her on January 4, and we agreed for her to start n January 8.

On January 8 morning, here was her text to me:

IMG_8573.PNG

Long story short, she was backing out.

This was very annoying because it was done in the last minute. I had waited 4 days for a yaya who didn’t plan on showing up.

The next one I got was interviewed on January 14 (Tuesday). We confirmed to start on January 16 (Thursday) so that she can pack up and spend time with her kids.

On January 15, she asked me if she could start on January 21 (Monday) instead since she needed to get her daughter’s report card in school that Saturday.

I replied to her in Tagalog, “Can’t your husband get the report card? Because we already agreed that you will start on Thursday. It’s difficult if you keep on changing your mind.”

She told me that it was always her husband who gets it but her daughter has requested that she do it this time around. However, given that she had word of honor, she will still arrive as agreed on Thursday.

At 9:57am on Thursday, she sent me the following text complete with photos:

IMG_8572.jpg

There we go — she can’t make it on Thursday because her son had a fever. If so, she will just start on Monday, which was her original revised request.

This was my answer, “Why are you looking for a job if your family affairs are still not in order? During my interview, you told me that your mother-in-law and husband are the ones who take care of your children so that you can work. Now, you are telling me that you have to be there for your son because your husband is MIA.”

I understand that she needed to work and she cannot leave them when they are sick. But the problem is not the child. I was okay with her taking care of the child if the children was said to be her priority during the interview. However, she already told me her children would not be a problem, even if they are.

The problem is that she had no word of honor. And I do not like to deal with people who were malabong kausap.

So I told her to take care of her kids and to just manage her household instead.

Ironically, on Monday, she texted me again saying she wanted to work for me.

No sirree…!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After receiving disappointing news, I renewed my search for another yaya. This time, I found someone on Facebook once again.

Zeny was 50 year old, from Mindoro, and was an all around yaya. She served in a family of Manila for 4.5 years.

IMG_8574.jpg

I talked to her on Thursday, January 15, the same time that Mitch backed out. And we agreed that she start on Sunday, January 20, evening.

Her daughter would buy her ticket from Mindoro to Manila, and she is to go direct to our condo.

We waited with abated breath. After frequent disappointments over Arlene, Tessie and Mitch, we had low expectations. If Zeny did not show up, we would not be too surprised anymore.

Surprisingly, she showed up at 6:30 am on Sunday, just as agreed.

So far, so good. It’s been at least a day, and she’s still here.

She is a bit quiet, but caring and seems serious about the job. I hope she’s already the One for us.

And if not, the search continues — Just this January, my daughter has had 3 yayas in quick succession. It is so depressing that it’s now amusing.

At the end of the day, if we need a yaya, we need a yaya. I will go through as many yayas as I can so that I can find someone to take care of my daughter.

Let’s hope that this is already the one we are looking for. 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Updates, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

When your 3 Year Old gets Stubborn

My daughter refuses to finish her lunch because she wants to open up her new gift, a Cinderella castle made of Lego.

So she’s at the floor moping, whining and refusing to eat her lunch.

It’s dirty on the floor, but she doesn’t care. She wants to play Lego with her daddy, and SHE MUST BE FOLLOWED.

Mind you, she just turned 3 last December.

This is going to be fun.

So, we stick it in: No reward if you don’t listen to Mommy and daddy.

She goes around the living room.

She plays with other toys.

She goes to the kitchen.

Crosses her arms and pouts several times.

We push her to eat.

No banana.

Lord, she is stubborn.

She tries to stall, cry, whine and delay the process.

We stick it out.

Today’s our rest day and we have nowhere to go.

Finally, she eats.

She eats hesitantly, still goes around the dining area, but she eats.

And finishes her corn.

Now Cinderella castle?” she asks me.

Sure, Cinderella castle,” I replied.

It was an old gift given to her by her grandmother. It’s really for her anyway.

She is happy.

Now, she and her dad play the Lego castle this afternoon.

Sigh, since when did 3 year old kids start to reason out like this? When I was a kid, my dad’s rule was law and everyone simply listened and followed.

My 3 year old has her own mind. She wants to be followed. And she sulks when she doesn’t get her way.

Mommy and daddy fight with me,” she would say.

Well, she’s 3.

We make the rules, and kids must follow them. And if they don’t, we won’t lift a single finger and give them what they want.

Looks like it’s working. 😇😍❤️

To more fights and adventures ahead!

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, children, Early Learning, Family, Family Drama, Husband, Kid Problems, Mom's advice, Motherhood, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I want a Rolex but Buy a Timex

Big sale in SM Mall of Asia

I bought this classic Timex watch during the big SM sale. It cost me less than php 1,740.00 (USD 30) at 50% off.

The watch on my wishlist is a Rolex.

But at a price of at least USD 4,000 a piece, it seems impractical to purchase something that would still tell the same time.

So I buy the Timex.

In times like these, best to be practical. Anyway, a Rolex is a treat. A treat can wait.

Work and success first, then treat.

My best friend tells me to purchase a Panerei.

Bonita, the gold one costs two mill but they will release a stainless one that will only cost half a million,” she said.

In my head, I know of Cartier, IWC, Patek Philippe, Rolex, but this is the first time I’ve heard of Panerei.

Apparently, that’s important in the world of watches, which shows there’s still more I should learn in how to be a dona.

Let me stick to my Timex for now. Presently, I don’t think I have ₱500,000+ to spare for a watch.

There will be times for higher priced ticket purchases.

It’s just not today.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

How to Protect your Marriage Against Adultery

This week, Amazon owner and billionaire Jeff Bezos and his wife announced they were going through an amicable divorce after four kids and 25 years of marriage.

Tweet.png

A day after their announcement, the real reason for the divorce was dropped to the media — Apparently, the tycoon was having an 8-month affair to celebrity host, Lauren Sanchez, complete with cringy sexts that include cheesy words like:

“I love you, alive girl. I will show you with my body, and my lips and my eyes, very soon,”

And

 “I want to smell you, I want to breathe you in. I want to hold you tight.… I want to kiss your lips…. I love you. I am in love with you,” 

The media also alludes to Bezos sending his mistress nude photos of his supposedly big junk.

With fake boobs and lip fillers, who can complete with the brunette bombshell?

wife.png

MacKenzie Bezos married Jeff when he was relatively poor after meeting him at DE Shaw. She was one of the first employees at Amazon, and did the company’s accounting on its first year.

As Jeff is now worth USD 136.9 billion and there was no prenup, we can daresay that Mrs. Bezos is probably the BEST investor in the world:

investor.png


I share this news as a cautionary tale that husband cheating on their wives can happen to just about anyone. Last year, the couple happily celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

mackenzie.png

A few months later, they are getting divorced.

Because of another shameless woman, and probably more.

It’s really that fast, ladies.

So the question is, How does one protect our marriages?

I have only been married to my husband a little shy of 5 years so I am not one to talk. But I do notice some similarities between couples who have remained married through the ups and downs of life.

My mom and dad is one successful love story — Until my father’s death, my parents were inseparable, and theirs is a lesson on how to protect one’s marriage. Here’s how:

45d52bbce1128cf0686bd4c6f21dc226.jpg

1. They spend every day together. Where my dad was, she was there too.

I’ve always wondered why my mom is always with my dad wherever he went. Where my dad is, there she was too. My husband’s mother is also the same. Combined together, our parents have a combined 80 years of successful marriage between them.

Regardless of the occasion, my mom has always found her way to accompany my dad. I remember when I was in my teens, we joined my dad to Pegasus, a night club, for his friends gathering.

It was just a habit for my mom to accompany my dad wherever he went that even during bachelor parties, she was there and was the resident cool chick.

I knew of all their wives and their mistresses,” she would tell us. “It’s a boy’s thing. And we just let them be. It was their life after all.”

My mom was always beside my father that it never occurred to anyone that it was weird that she was there even during my father’s friends’ partook of extra-curricular activities. Everyone simply accepted that when they invited my dad, his wife and family would come along. Hence, we were present even during his business meetings and trips or when he played mahjong.

Later on, I realized that this wasn’t the norm and most wives stayed at home while their husbands had their good time. I think my mommy’s presence was a big reason why my father stayed loyal to her until he died of old age.

2. My father was super dependent on my mother for everything.

My mom was very smart. She was so efficient that she took care of my dad’s most basic tasks.

In the morning when he woke up, she has already laid out his toothbrush and toothpaste, his clothes and everything he needed for the day.

For lunch, she would debone the chicken and fish and lay it out for him to eat.

When they went on business trips, she would do everything — book the tickets, print the out, pack the clothes, fill up the forms, etc.

Why are you always serving daddy?” I asked her many times. “Why doesn’t he service you instead?”

It’s okay Bonita,” she answered. “It is my job to serve.”

Later on, I realized the value of her service.

Because she was very good at it, my father was dependent on her for everything.

He doesn’t have a telephone book because my mom would always dial his friend if he wanted to call them up for a chat. Hence, there were no privacy issues for him. His phone was her phone, and she knew whom exactly he was talking to and for what.

He doesn’t need to deal with the details as my mom does this for him. Hence, she’s the one who will handle the business permits, do the payroll, pay the taxes, and make sure that all business operations are in order. Consequently, if he was to leave my mom for another woman, his business would be in shutters since he does not know where anything is.

It’s hard to cheat on a woman who is so nice to you and handles all your affairs. Leaving her would mean a lot of hassle and inconvenience. Of course, before getting it on with a ho, my father would have to think whether the ho would be better than my mom in servicing him, and would toss that idea aside.

3. My mom made sure that she supported my dad with everything he did. She was his biggest cheerleader and enabler.

My mom spoiled my dad rotten.

Since she was always there beside him, he would bounce his ideas off her. She would meet all his friends and provide her input. She would be at his beck and call.

My mother made sure she was irreplaceable in his life by literally being irreplaceable. While she was not super beautiful by any means, she has made my father the center of her life, next to us kids. She never disrespected him or fought him head on. Instead, when he was wrong, she still kept quiet until she was proven right.

How different is my mom from many women, including me!

How can I support my husband if I know he’s doing the wrong thing?” I asked my mom.

How can you keep your husband if you always win?” would be the answer.

It is a good lesson to remember.

In Summary

We do not know what happened to Jeff and Mackenzie, and how the heck did something so good dissolve just like that.

However, as Jeff Bezos became increasingly successful, MacKenzie Bezos chose a different life path from her husband and became a prize winning novelist.

She was not privy to the small changes in his life, and was happy building her own career and taking care of their four children.

She noticed that he was taking more out of town trips away from the family, and allowed it. The opportunity was there to cheat since she was not there beside him because she believed him all the time.

Mackenzie Bezos almost stumbled on his mistress month ago when Jeff and his mistress flew out of town in their private jet, only to be consoled after her husband told her that the trip was merely for business. She would have caught on his lies if she chose to accompany Jeff on this trip, instead of letting him go alone.

She allowed him to steal away from her bed. At night, she was okay with him sleeping in a different bed/room from her, allowing him to sleep with his mistress when she’s not there. It would have been more logistically difficult if she was always there with him by his side.

Adultery can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. 

I am not surprised that a man of Jeff Bezos stature would resort to finding a hot mistress on the side to boost up his ego. Time immemorial is full of tragic stories of women who help their husbands become successful, only to find themselves replaced when the next hot young thing comes along to seduce their husbands away.

But I am surprised that MacKenzie Bezos allowed this travesty to happen. The problem could have been avoided if she was only more intuitive, more hands on and more PRESENT.

Then again, she is set to gain USD 65 billion out of her husband’s wrong decision. After 25 years of loyal marriage and service, her husband’s adultery is a great excuse to cash out on a lonely, miserable marriage and still look like the good guy.

More power to MacKenzie Bezos — maybe divorce, while painful — is the right decision for her. Not everyone can come off with that much money in 25 years.

But we are not MacKenzie Bezos, and our husband is not as rich as Jeff. 

Personally, it serves my better interest to remain married for now. My husband is not as rich as Jeff Bezos that I am better off financially if we separate. My work with him is not yet finished, and we can still achieve more together than apart. Our daughter would greatly benefit from us still being together.

So yes, I will pray to God and lock my car. 

I hope you will too.

Posted in Advice, Business, Celebrity News, entrepreneurship, Family, Family Drama, Marriage, Men, Mom's advice, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Work: Am I a Failure as a Wife and Mother?

It’s very frustrating to be a working wife and mother.

Society still demands you to fulfill your duties as a doting yaya to your child, a neat maid to your household (which includes laba, plantsa and taga-linis ng bahay) and an eager sex partner and a sweet companion to your husband, DESPITE also working at least 8 hours in the daytime to bring home the bacon since husband’s income is not enough to smoothly sustain the family.

After working the entire day, one would wish to have some time to kick back, relax, and do nothing but zone out.

But no. At the end of the day, the husband still wants food on the table (instead of you ordering out), the baby still requires attention, the laundry still needs washing, and the house still needs cleaning.

Such is a woman’s lot,” my more traditional mom would say. “How can you expect your husband to do woman’s work?”

I saw this meme today which perfectly explains a modern woman’s problem:

IMG_8352.jpg

This meme perfectly describes me: My husband has changed our baby’s diaper a few thousand times since she was born. He does our family’s laundry since we were married. So apparently, based on this meme, I am a complete and utter failure as his wife and partner. 🙁

Great…. just great.

Nobody notices that I have worked all day to ensure the money still comes flowing in. Nobody notices how good I am at work. Nobody notices that the baby is still alive, and my husband has received more comforts in life married to me than not.

Nooooo… the only thing society sees? 

My husband bathing our baby and changing her diaper. My husband doing the laundry, while his wife plops in bed and relaxes. Basically, all society sees is a man, doing woman’s work.

What a tragedy, the worst fate a man should have.

It is a tragedy to be a woman nowadays. A Christian blog writer created a viral post after making a chart on whether women should maintain careers or not. In her chart, “Should Mothers Have Careers,” she makes a strong play that it’s better for women to give up their careers and become full-time home makers for the following reasons:

IMG_7409.JPG

I am the woman described on the left side of the chart. The Career Woman:

  • Who is always away from home the entire day
  • Whose childcare is outsourced to others, namely the Lola or the yaya
  • Who comes home exhausted, plops in bed and watches Netflix while the home stays in disarray
  • Whose dinner is usually microwaved or take out
  • Who reads a book before putting a child to bed
  • Whose weekends is simply buying basic goods for the week ahead
  • Whose intimacy is limited to once a week if any given both she and her husband is tired (hence, the only child problem)

The only thing I did not agree with is the last part — I do NOT believe that my life is falling apart, and I do NOT believe I am a failure as a wife and mother.

It is because of such pessimistic messages that discourages women to be the best people we hope to be. What is the point of studying so hard, striving to get the best jobs, only to give them up once you have a baby or two?

Yes, I am a proud housewife,” one would say. “Family first. I know my priorities. What is money if I can’t do my best for my kids?”

That’s the problem — We assume that we have to be there for our husband and kids 24/7 in order for us to be happy. As if servicing them is our lifelong noble goal, and we do not deserve to find happiness in our own terms. 

I can’t see that for myself. Not yet, and maybe not ever. Who says that one’s life path should be a full time homemaker and mother in order to be happy?

Why should this be the only path?

Men work all the time, and they’re NOT ostracized for putting their career first.

So why are women judged on a different standards and are seen as failure for not putting their kids and husbands first?

Here’s the clincher, especially in today’s society, what if the woman has better earning power than the men? Does this mean that the man still needs to take the responsibility of being the family’s breadwinners just because society says so? Or, should women take up the mantle and the men stay home with the kids?

I strongly disagree that women should only stay at home. I was not trained that way by my family — My dad has trained me to study hard and earn money — and I do not think I am a failure for never really knowing how to clean the bathroom, do the laundry or iron the clothes.

Why should I do it especially since I can always outsource it to someone else who can do it better than I am?

It’s hard to be a woman. Society deems you a failure if you do not take on the household works. Society thinks you’re a bad wife if your husband takes on what should be your job. But I don’t think that should be the case.

The Bible tells us of The Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs 31:10-31.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I do not read that a good and noble woman should cook, do the laundry and clean the house. Instead, the actual words is that she “provides” food for her family and give portions to the servants. 

As a working woman, I have provided food for my household. I have paid for our unit’s association dues, our family’s electricity bill and most expenses in our household. Like my husband, I provide for us and make life easier for him and our daughter

The Proverbs 31 woman is a good businessman. She buys a field and plants a vineyard. She EARNS for the family. Her trading is profitable and she works day and night. Even during times of cold, she provides wool for her family. Wool is expensive and requires money. The Bible didn’t say she asked money from her husband. Instead, the Bible said that the woman provided.

Because of who she is, how she acts, and what she does, her husband holds his head up eye and is respected in society.  “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” Do you think a man will be respected if his wife was a harlot and an embarrassment?

Actually, reading Proverbs 31, I am encouraged and renewed. The Bible does not look down on busy working women. In fact, it is full of praise, which is appreciated.

I pray that I do not lose too much hope and give up my ministry.

My work provides jobs to at least 40 staff members, mostly women, and I feel that this is how I give back to the Lord. I have seen so many women uplift their lives after being provided a stable job that gives them good income. Many of my employees came from broken families. They were beaten and cheated on by their good for nothing husbands, their children left in the care of their elderly parents. My role here is to keep them employed in the hopes of empowering them to make better decisions for themselves and their families.

I believe that my daughter will benefit in seeing that Mommy is working.

I think being a home maker is equally wonderful and noble, but I do wish my daughter to find her fulfillment in pursuing her passions (which is hopefully income generating), than merely being a cost center to her husband when she grows up.

I wish that Society will be more forgiving to women.

Men have started to lose their manliness and have relegated to the sidelines. More and more men stay on the sidelines of unemployment and depend on their families and their working wives to make money for the family. It is my hope that society can be but fair to women and let them also relax after a hard day’s work especially if they now are bringing home the bacon.

I hope that women would be more supportive of each other.

Everybody’s life and desires are different, so it’s best to respect each other’s life decisions. Kudos to you in wanting to be a stay at home mother, but can you please also be supportive to me as I choose a different path from you?

Lastly, I know I am making the right decision for me.

My father has trained me to make money. I am equally contributing to our household. My daughter is still alive and is doing well in school. My husband grumbles I have less time for him, and wants me to be more service-oriented, but finds a way to show appreciation after seeing the alternative.

I am a working wife and mother. And I am good at it. I hope others would find encouragement to know that it’s okay to work and still be a good mother and partner to your kids. 

Happy weekend!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Business, Conflicts, entrepreneurship, Family, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Interests, Kid Problems, Marriage, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Lesson: “?” or “.”

I was talking to my supervisor today about how he talks to his staff. 

Tell me again what you happened,” I said. “What did Camille answer you?”

“I asked her why she didn’t fill in the inventory sheet as she should have done,” replied my supervisor Ryan. “She answered me and said it was because she didn’t have any excess sheets available, and I only gave it to her last January 3.”

“The job of writing the inventory sheet lies on the sales staff,” I said. “Why did she turn it around and made the issue of her not doing her job your problem?”

“How about you?” I turned to my other supervisor. “Josefina (your staff) is late all the time.”

I kept on asking why she is late,” she answered. “I am asking her to correct the habit immediately.”

I sat down my supervisors.

Why do you keep on asking your staff QUESTIONS?” I said. “You don’t need to ask them why they are late, why they haven’t done what they’re supposed to do, and why they haven’t sold anything yet.”

“They are the staff. You are not asking for their permission. The instruction isn’t a request. It was an order.”

One of the biggest issues in managing staff in the Philippines is that they always have a ready excuse on why they’re not doing things.

Ask them why they aren’t selling, and they will blame the customers. “But ma’m, many people ask but they’re just not buying.”

Ask them why they’re late and they will blame the traffic.

Ask them why they didn’t file the forms, and they will say that it’s because they’re too busy “selling” (even though their sales figures don’t show it).

Ask them why things aren’t done, and they’ll suegwey and put the blame on someone else.

It’s a big problem — pushing one’s faults to someone else. As if they can’t do anything. That’s one of the most frustrating things about managing people.

It’s almost never their fault. 

Point out the issue, and they’ll always justify the fault with something else. As it they’re the victims, and not the ones making a mistake.

This is the lesson — When managing staff, give instructions (in a nice way). Make sure they’re done. Stop asking questions!

teaching.jpg

“Remove the question marks when you talk to the staff.” I said.

Don’t ask them why they’re late. Tell them they were late x times over the last 15 days.

Don’t ask they why they still haven’t sold anything. Tell them that they’ve been at the store for x hours and they still haven’t sold anything.

Don’t ask them why they haven’t filed the forms. Tell them to file the forms now, and to do it right in front of you.

Don’t ask them why they haven’t done something they should have done as part of their job descriptions. Tell them to do it NOW.

Asking questions is for everyone else. We ask questions and get consent with the people around us because they’re doing things as a favor to us. We want to be nice and polite and respectful, and we ask because they don’t need to do it, but we want people to do so.

But our staff know their jobs. They were fully oriented what their job descriptions were from the beginning, and the instructions are clear.

They must be done.

Stop with the “?s.”

Talk with the “.” or “!”

My friends, when dealing with staff, change the way you talk. You can still be polite and respectful even when giving instructions. However, asking questions show doubt and allow the staff to undermine authority.

State the facts. Give instructions, and make sure they’re done.

And I believe that you’ll be a better leader for it. Happy Sunday!

Posted in Advice, entrepreneurship, Leadership Series, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yaya Chronicles: White Lies in the Philippines

Our new yaya messaged me the following yesterday noon:

IMG_8059.jpg

To translate: “Good morning Ma’m, I have an emergency. I need to go home for 24 hours because my husband was rushed to the hospital. I will finish the laundry and have my lunch, and will wait for your husband to wake up before I leave.”

She has been with us for 6 days.

To be fair, it was nice of her to calmly finish the laundry, have lunch, and wait for my husband to wake up before leaving. It wasn’t as if I was given a choice. But it was something that should be done since of course, her husband was rushed to the hospital and it was an emergency.

When I saw her, she was calm and she had her handbag ready.

All her stuff was in her room, so it sounds as if she just needed to visit her husband for 24 hours, then come back and resume her duties. Apparently, her husband suffered some chest pains and was rushed to the hospital.

For a wife who’s been happily married for 23 years with her husband in the hospital, she was surprisingly calm. In emergency cases like these, many women would be in tears, their hands shaking and struggling to form words asking for leave.

I sighed. After hiring so many women through the years, I knew what was up.

Most likely, it was her husband who wanted to see her to talk. She was a homemaker and has been out of the workplace for 10 years, so he probably missed her. She probably needed to go home, reassure him that this job was right for them, and then come back.

That’s why she had to see him after 6 days of employment, even though I was clear from the beginning what their leaves are.

I know this little white lies dance.

white lies ance.jpg

She’s telling a half truth, but not the whole truth, but didn’t want to confront me with the real story. Which is very normal here in the Philippines.

I talked to her about her husband issue and told her that it’s better for her just to take her things and her pay and to deal with her husband. At the very least, there is no samaan ng loob, and she doesn’t owe me and I not her.

My daughter starts school on Monday, but it doesn’t really matter. I would rather let her go to avoid any issues later on.

Her husband is an issue.

Her not prioritizing her work is an issue for me.

Her telling those white lies are an issue for me.

So I let her go. This was my text to her last night:

arlene.jpg

Translation: I thought about your question. No need to come back. Because your husband will always be a problem. Let’s just avoid issues like this while still early and while we are in good terms. Thanks for services rendered.

A bit harsh maybe.

But given the offer and our confidence on the type of employers we are, we don’t want a yaya who’s malabong kausap and has husband issues.

The good news is: I found another yaya today.

As they say, if you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Wish me luck that this one is better! 🙂

The search for a unicorn yaya for life lives on.

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Format: Contract for New Yaya

Ang kontrata ng trabaho sa tahanan ay napagkasunduan sa pagitan nila:

Pangalan ng Pinaglilingkuran:  
Tirahan:  
Telepono:  
Pangalan ng Kasambahay:  
Tirahan:  
Telepono:  
Birthday/Edad/Civil Status:  
ID at ID number:  

Nagkakasundo sa mga sumusunod na tuntunin at kondisyon:

DETALYE NG KONTRATA NG PAGLILINGKOD SA TAHANAN
Lugar ng Trabaho: Metro Manila, may or may not include vacations within the Philippines
Tagal/Panahon ng Trabaho: Mula Sa:                  December 29, 2018
  Hanggang Sa:         December 28, 2019, extendable upon mutual agreement between both parties
DESKRIPSYON NG TRABAHO AT MGA INAASAHANG MGA SERBISYO SA EMPLEYADO:
Uri ng Trabaho: All around yaya and maid
Mga Tungkulin at Gawain: Bilang yaya:

1.       Bantayan at alagaan ang bata, (Name of Child).

2.       Paliguan, sipilyuhan, hugasan ang pwet pag dumumi, palitan ng damit at diaper as necessary,

3.       Lagyan o painumin ng gamot, as necessary

4.       Ibasta ang mga gamit na kailangan sa eskwelahan (baon, tubig, gatas)

5.       Bihisan, samahan sa pagpasok sa eskwelahan at hintayin hanggang lumabas sa eskwelahan, samahan paguwi pabalik sa condo

6.       Makipaglaro sa bata,

7.       Ipagluto or ipanit ang pagkain, at pakainin sa tamang oras ang bata

8.       Ipasyal sa mga inaprubahang lugar ng may pahintulot ng magulang,

9.       Siguraduhing malayo sa kahit anong pahamak o peligro.

10.    Huwag gutumin, patayin, or walain ang bata.

  Bilang maid:

1.       Maglaba (washing machine sa damit ng amo, OR hand wash kung kinakailangan ang damit ng bata), fold ang damit at ibalik sa tamang cabinet

2.       Panatilihing malinis ang bahay, kasama ang CR at sariling kwarto at banyo

3.       Gawin ang ibang maaring iutos (halimbawa: bumili sa grocery) basta ang mga inuutos ay reasonable, hindi nakakahiya, hindi peligroso, hindi magdudulot ng kapahamakan, hindi malaswa, at may kinalaman lamang sa pagpapanatili ng kaayusan ng bahay, pagmanage ng bahay, o pag-alaga sa bata.

Oras ng Trabaho: Kung weekday at may pasok: 7am – paguwi sa mall, paliguan at pa-tooth brush si baby, Kung weekend  holiday: maaring mag-iba.

Pagkauwi sa bahay at pinaliguan, pina-toothbrush at pinainom na ng gamut si baby, pwede na si yaya magpahinga sa kanyang kwarto.

Araw ng Pahinga (Day Off) – Once a month, 48 hours na diredirecho, sana sa Friday ng gabi ang alis, at Sunday ng balik ng parehong oras. Pag ang employee ay na-late sa pagbalik, naiintindihan niya na maaari siyang kaltasan ng sweldo base sa oras ng kanyang pagbalik.

– Kung hindi kinuha ni yaya ang kanyang rest day para sa buwan na iyon, pwede po niyang i-kolekta para sa masmahabang bakasyon na bayad.

– Pakipaalam ang araw ng rest day 5 days before taking a rest day para makapaghanda ang employer. Pag alis sa bahay lalo na pag rest day, ipapacheck lang ang bag para walang problema.

 

PAGKAIN AT TULUGAN
Pagkain: Ang empleyado ay papakainin ng tatlong beses isang araw. Pwede ring bigyan ng pangmerienda pa minsan minsan. Kung may gusto si yaya na special snacks, siya na po ang bibili para sa kanyang sarili. Walang espesyal na kondsiderasyon na gagawin ang magasawa para sa kagustuhan (preferences) ng empleyado.
Tulugan: Ang empleyado ay bibigyan ng desente at malinis na tulugan. Ang empleyado ay bibigyan din ng access sa sanitary facilities (CR).
Toiletries or Load: – Ang empleyado na ang bahala sa sarili niyang toiletries or load sa cellphone.

– Naiintindihan niya na pwede siyang mag cellphone pag off-duty or pag tulog si baby. Bawal i-post ang mukha ni baby sa social media.

Uniform: Bibigyan ang kasambahay ng sapat na uniporme sa pagsuot habang nanunungkulan. Ok lang mag-tsinelas sa bahay pero po, pag labas, sana po tayo ay magsapatos.

Please wear proper attire at all times: See through shirts, short shorts are not allowed in the household. Pwede poi tong suotin pag rest day.

 

PASAHOD AT BENEPISYO:
Halaga ng Sahod: Php 9,000 bawat buwan
Karagdagang sahod: 1.       13th Month Pay in December

2.       Karagdagang Bonus: depende sa performance ng empleyado.

Takdang Araw ng Bayad ng Sahod: Tuwing 15-30 ng bawat buwan
Government Benefits: Babayaran ng tama ng amo ang employer share ng SSS, Philhealth at Pagibig. Naiintindihan ng kasambahay na siya ay kakaltasan ng employee share.
Mga Basic na Benipisyo: Pag nakatapos ang empleyado ng isang taon, mayroon siyang 5 days of service incentive leave. Maari itong i-convert sa cash.
Medical Assistance Pagbibigay ng unang lunas kapag nagkasakit o nagka injuries habang naninilbihan.
Other Benefits Maari pong dagdagan ng benepisyo ang employee tulad ng dagdag na bakasyon, regalo, pera at iba pa. Pero ito ay kusang galing sa loob ng employer, at hindi dahil kailangan nilang ibigay ang mga ito sa employee.

 

PAGHIRAM NG PERA O PAG ADVANCE NG SWELDO:
Kasunduan tungkol sa pagkakautang, kung meron: Naiintindihan ng empleyado na sinabihan na siya ng amo na bawal siyang mag-advance or mag bale habang nasa serbisyo ng amo. However, hindi ibig sabihin na hindi siya bibigyan ng pinansyal na tulong pag may nangyaring hindi ka nais nais. Hindi ito obligasyon ng employer, pero kusa na lang ibibigay depende sa situasyon.
Kasunduan tungkol sa pagkasira ng gamit, pagkawala ng mga bagay o ng pera: Kapag may nawala o nasirang kagamitan sa bahay, ang empleyado ay binibigyan ng karampatang pagkakataon para magpaliwanag. Kapag pera o alahas ang nawala, ang halaga nung nawalang pera o gamit ay kakaltasin mula sa sahod ng empleyado. Pag natuklasan ng amo na kinuha pala ng empleyado, naiintindihan ng empleyado na pwede siyang ipapulis, ipakulong at kasuhan ng qualified theft at maaaring pababayarin siya ng abugado.

 

MGA IBA PANG KASUNDUAN
1. Ang pagdidisiplina sa bata ay katungkulan ng magulang lamang. Ang bata ay HINDI maaring paluin, kurutin, isubsob, sakalin, pasuin, ikulong sa banyo, ikulong sa balconahe, takutin, intensyunal na paiyakin, ipahiya, sigawan, murahin, pasuin, atbp.  Kapag isa sa mga ito ay napatunayang ginawa sa bata, pinapahintulutan ng empleyado na IDULOG sa barangay and/or sa DSWD ang empleyado para sa child abuse.
2. Kung ang bata ay may sakit at nangangailangan ng paunang lunas, itawag agad sa mga magulang o kaya ay sa Lola, para mabigyan ng ginhawa ang bata. Ang mga pagkakataon kung kelan dapat isugod ang bata sa ospital:

Mataas na lagnat (High fever above 39 degrees Celsius), Kawalan ng malay (Unconscious), Hindi makahinga (difficulty in breathing), Di maipaliwanag na pamamantal (allergies), Naaksidente  may dumugo, Naaksidente at nawalan ng malay, nasagasaan, nabalian ng buto, Hindi makagalaw or makalakad, napaso,

3. Kapag nasa mall, katungkulan ng empleyado na masigurong ang bata ay malayo sa aksidente at kapahamakan, kaya lubos na kailangan ang 100% na atensyon ng empleyado sa bata. Mahigpit na ipinagbabawal na gumamit ng cellphone (text at call), kapag inaalagaaan ang bata, lalo na sa mall. Pakitutok lang kay baby.
4. Ang empleyado ay papahiramin ng cellphone at SIM card na ang pangunahing gamit ay para magkaroon ng komunikasyon ang empleyado at ang magasaawa. Ang cellphone ay palaging dapat may charge/battery. Huwag gamitin para sa personal na pagtext or pagtawag. Pag ginamit siya sa personal, naiintindihan ng employer na may x5 ang charge sa billing.
5.  Kami ay humihiling ng 30 days na abiso para sa paghinto sa trabaho para makahanap ang employer ng kapalit. Sa 30 days na ito, gagawin pa ng kasambahay ang kanyang tungkulin sa maayos na paraan. Pag tapos na ng 30 days at wala pang nahanap na kapalit ang employer, walang obligasyon na ang kasambahay para manatili sa trabaho.
 
6. Kapag inabandona ng empleyado ang bata na si (Child Name) habang ang bata ay walang kasama sa eskwelahan o sa bahay at nasa pangangalaga dapat ng empleyado bilang taga-pangalaga ng bata, pinahihintulutan ng empleyado na maghain ng kasong CHILD ABANDONMENT ang magasawa laban sa empleyado.

Child abandonment occurs when a parent, guardian, or person in charge of a child either deserts a child without any regard for the child’s physical health, safety or welfare and with the intention of wholly abandoning the child, or in some instances, fails to provide necessary care for a child living under their roof.

PAKATANDAAN J “Anuman ang inyong ginagawa, gawin ninyo nang buong puso na parang sa Panginoon kayo naglilingkod at hindi sa tao.  Sapagkat si Cristo ang Pan+ginoong pinaglilingkuran ninyo at alalahanin ninyong pagkakalooban kayo ng Panginoon ng gantimpalang inilaan niya para sa inyo.” – Mga Taga Coloso 3:23-24

Pinagkasunduan at nilagdaan ngayong December 28, 2018

 

_________________________                      ____________________________

Download PDF Contract Here: New Maid Contract Format

 

 

Posted in Reference, Yaya Problems | 3 Comments

How I Found a New Yaya Online

I decided to try the Internet in my search for a brand new yaya because all agencies I called up in December had a low supply of yayas to choose from because most of the yayas had gone home for the holidays.

As the agencies I know usually charge me Php 8,000 to Php 15,000 for every referral, I figured, why not save on the agency fee and try my luck on the Internet?

Anyway, I’ve always believed that all agencies do is to refer a yaya to you. The hard job of interviewing, screening and deciding still land on the hands of the employer. So I posted the following ad online on my search for a new yaya for my daughter:



LOOKING FOR TODDLER YAYA

Baby.jpg

RESPONSIBILITIES:
* To take care of and monitor a happy, normal 3 year old daughter (Bring her to school, feed/bathe/play with her, etc.)
* Launder our clothes via washing machine (Fold then return back to cabinet)
* Tidy up general surroundings (e.g., sweep and mop floor, tidy up. We live in a condo).

PERSONALITY NEEDED: Happy and pleasant, trustworthy, honest, hardworking, and reliable. Easy going and neat (pero hindi kailangang OC. Hindi kami maselan). May kusa at malambing sa bata.

SALARY:
* Monthly: PHP 9,000.00
* Rest day: 2 days per month. I pay for the two days you didn’t take, so add Php 692.31 per month. Net pay per month with two rest days = Php 9,692.31.
* SSS, Philhealth, Pagibig from 4th month, 13th month pay, 5 days SIL after 1 year of service
* Have own room and toilet. Yaya buys own toiletries.

REQUIREMENTS:
* Completed Bio-data
* Photo
* NBI Clearance (Valid and unexpired)
* Barangay Clearance
* Birth Certificate (NSO/PSA)

TO APPLY:
1. PM me requirements and cellphone number. I will call you for interview if you qualify.
2, If I like you, I will hire you. You have to come to Manila at your own expense though. No to padala pamasahe. We can pick you up from Cubao or Makati.

NOTE:
* We don’t do CAs or bale.
* Cellphone only after duty hours.
* No cooking needed. Still, we need someone who is not maselan sa pagkain.


To my surprise, I got a bit of traction with my online ad. More than a handful of candidates PM’d me to try their luck. To be honest, I was quite humbled with the fact that so many people was interested in applying:

facebook.jpg

One of the things that I have going for me is the fact that I was offering a slightly higher than average salary for a yaya.

The minimum wage for a kasambahay in the Philippines is Php 3,500.00 per month with four rest days. On average, many employers offer a range of Php 4,000 to 7,000 for a yaya. As you can see in the ad, I was offering Php 9,000, which is already 30-50% higher than what most employers are offering.

I didn’t do it to get more applicants. That was just the happy effect.

However, my daughter’s yaya has always earned an average monthly salary of Php 8,000-12,000. I have sourced these yayas through various agencies who charge me a referral fee of Php 8,000 to Php 15,000 per referral. So the amount I was offering is on par to what I have offered every single yaya on my employ.

In addition, I have paid for the correct benefits, are okay with 13th month pay and have given our yayas over and above what they have given us in service. All of our yayas were able to save up and uplift their lives while under our employ.

So what’s not to like?

We were confident we were pretty good and fair employers. Our child was normal and healthy, and any yaya who comes to us is lucky to be part of our family.

Why more employers should consider the Internet when looking for yayas

The great thing about using the Internet when looking for yayas is that you get to see their Facebook accounts, scroll through their online histories, and see what type of people they are via looking at their social media posts.

Yayas I don’t even consider:

  1. Those who post sexy photos of themselves over the Internet. Yes, apparently, they have no shame in showing off their bodies. Great when you’re looking for a good time, but probably not the best candidates for a yaya for my 3-year old girl:

Yayay 1.jpg yaya 1b.jpg

yaya 2.jpg

2. Those who post angry or emo-like status updates. A red flag is someone who complains about their employers online. Negativity is not something I’d like to invite in my home.

3. Those who posts too many selfies of themselves online. Too much vanity!!! I also don’t feel comfortable when they pose around the house, take photos and post them online.

4. Those who post photos of the kids they take care of online. It’s not their call to post photos of their employers’ children on the Internet.

5. Those who don’t read the ad in full and keep on asking the same questions over and over. Like many of those who applied do not even have the requirements I need to consider them. Their NBI Clearance is expired. They have no valid IDs. Or they’re in the province and not in Manila. What’s the point of inquiring if you have no interest in coming here to work since you have no money?

6. Those who are too young and don’t have the work experience for the job at hand. Apologies, but an 18 year old is too young to be a yaya for my daughter at a rate of Php 9,000. I would prefer someone older who knows how to take care of different types of kids.

Yayas I considered:

  1. Those who are slightly older, at least 28 years old and above. 
  2. Those with relatively happy families. I am okay with single mothers, but I hope that they have a good head on their shoulders.
  3. Yayas who actually have all the required documents on hand.
  4. Those who didn’t really pose any red flags during the phone interview. Here are the Questions I Ask in a Phone Interview with Yaya.

The yaya I finally chose was 46 years old, happily married to the same man for 23 years, and have two older boys, 19 and 21 years old. She ticked all the boxes, and was fine with all my conditions, and was willing to come in on the 28th, which was before January:

yaya.jpg

Anyway, life is short. Why not try out new things? At worse case I don’t like this yaya, we can always terminate her and find a new one. It’s not as if we cannot survive without a yaya. If we fail, try and try again.

She seems okay with our little baby. Of course, our baby prefers the old yaya but hey, we make do with what we have.

So there we go. I hope you can try finding a yaya too online.

Who knows?

The yaya for life we are looking for may just be right in the corner, waiting for us to post online. 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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

When your Daughter becomes a Monster

It’s Mine…. It’s Mine… It’s MIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNEEEEE!” screamed my usually lovely 3-year old, who suddenly turned into a Baby Hyde in a matter of seconds.

She was at the floor, writhing and clutching at the big baby bottle filled with marshmallows. I think she didn’t want me to touch the bottle, which she said was hers.

I have never seen anyone treat such item with such possessiveness, and there she was, my daughter, insisting that nobody, not even her loving mommy, should touch her and her big precious baby bottle.

She was never really like this.

Before she hit three, she was always sweet and adorable. She sometimes sulked when she didn’t get her way, but never like this.

As soon as she turned three, she became this:

IMG_7665

When a child’s tantrum unexpectedly hits, a mother is usually caught offguard.

What happened to my sweet, malambing baby, who turned into this terrifying crying mess that don’t want to be touched or bothered? All of a sudden, cheap purchases become priceless, and she’s ready to scream, gnaw and hit anyone who dare touch what she deems is hers.

So what did we do?

We let her cry.

And cry.

And CRY.

We watched her with a neutral expression, made sure that she doesn’t hurt herself and let her scream and cry on the floor.

As long as she was safe, we were fine with her pulling the tantrum.

I slightly felt like a mean and unsupportive parent, but shrugged the mommy guilt away. What can we do? She was being a brat, and unreasonable. And maybe it’s the Terrible Threes (She just turned 3 last December 9) that everyone’s been talking about.

Hooooboy. The crying took at least 30 minutes, and it felt like forever.

But it was fine.

After she got tired, I asked her if she wanted to mammam and she tearingly said yes. As she breastfed, she started to calm down…. and sniffled all the way through.

Half an hour later, she was back to her sweet self again, as if nothing happened. It was just as surprising for us to see her wail and scream and shout, and then cling happily to us with nary a guilt or memory on what happened.

Note to Self: The next time it happens, just keep your cool. Watch with a bemused smile, and make sure she doesn’t hurt herself. Talk calmly and wait for the anger to subside.

My lovely lady tantrumed again a few days later, but it was shorter this time, around 10 minutes. I guess she learned that she may feel angry and express it, but heck if she gets her way.

So tantrum all you want dear girl.

Let it out.

It’s better to show it now when you’re three than later.

At the end of the day, mommy still loves you, and will be there for you after we pick up the pieces.

And no, you still won’t get your way.

We are still her parents after all.

Happy new year!

 

Posted in baby, Baby Stuff, Motherhood, Updates | Leave a comment

The Changes of Motherhood… or is it just Old Age?

I slipped on my old pairs of shorts yesterday and was aghast to find that they didn’t fit. They used to fit last November before we went on vacation.

I tried another pair of shorts and found out that my hips grew larger, and they couldn’t even reach my waist.

Finally, I tried another “loose” pair of shorts, and was surprised I looked like a suman.

IMG_7892.JPG

Yes, my body has turned disgusting, and belly flabs which had escaped me during my post-pregnancy are now appearing.

Well, you did say carpe diem!” my husband reminded me. “You said that the food was so good (at the cruise) that you can’t just say no. Now, you’re paying the price.”

Sure, sure, sure… but you see, my body never really changed through the years.

I was unused to the flab, and have never really become fat. Even when I was pregnant, only my belly swelled. And after I gave birth, my body bounced back to its original weight pretty quickly.

In short, I had taken my figure for granted, and now, I’m paying the price.

I used to scoff at women who would endlessly diet. “I’m not like them,” I would say. “Just eat less…”

Apparently, I am not immune to weight gain. Nobody is. Maybe it’s the delicious cruise food. Maybe it’s the age and the slower metabolism. Maybe it’s motherhood.

But whatever it is, I don’t like my body or the excess weight.

Sigh… I’m now 38 and starting to look like it. Which is depressing. I have always prided myself to wearing nice looking shirts and heels when I was younger. Now, I look like a mom.

I am envious of the mothers who look very well put together. Always well-dressed, made up, and looking like they’ve never had kids.

Compare it to me now, wearing my loose nursing dresses, hair in a ponytail, wearing Crocs and have belly flabs. What happened to me?

It’s unfair to blame Motherhood or Age for my weight gain. I ate a lot so I gained weight. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. I should take responsibility for what happened.

So I will cut back on food… not starve myself to death.

But stop eating when I shouldn’t. Food is good in moderation anyway.

Sigh… slightly depressed and disappointed in myself….

Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019!

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Dear Cousin: A letter when everyone hates your GF

November 3, 2018

Dear Cousin,

You were surprised on why your relatives have judged your girlfriend so harshly after seeing her for the first time last week. You probably are asking on how they can be so critical of her without even knowing her, and how can they know better than you, you who have already been dating her for a few months.

I am writing to ask your forgiveness if you have been hurt. I know that by presenting her, you took a risk that your relatives may or may not like her. You still took that chance though, because you felt that she was already the right girl for you. In your mind, if she was good enough for you, then she should be good enough for everyone. Anyway, it was her, not us, who make you the happiest. Isn’t that what really matters?

Congrats cousin — you now join the ranks of many a star-crossed couples who face an opposing challenging world. Like Romeo and Juliet, any hardship will only make your love stronger, and your evil relatives will soon be proven wrong. It’s your life anyway, and as an adult, you can make your own damn decision. To be honest, I don’t even think you cared about whatever anyone thought, so long as she makes you happy. And to be quite frank, I think you’re right. The most important thing was that you like her, and to hell with everyone else.

Before you get even more upset, cool down a bit.

The initial disapproval is just a test. It can be heart breaking, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end. There is still hope that minds will be changed, and it all depends on how you react to such possibly devastating news. You had a right to be angry of course. As I’ve said, it’s not our business to meddle in your love life. But I would rather look at it in a positive way, and use this experience to truly test whether or not she is the right girl for you.

Our relatives was against Husband too when I first introduced them. They thought he was plain rude, a womanizer, and an irresponsible son who have constantly made bad judgments throughout his youth. The fact that he was annulled at a young age didn’t make matters worse. He would say the wrong things all the time, and offend everyone. We couldn’t even finish our pre-engagement counselling with Uncle Eee and Auntie Dee as they couldn’t believe that he was a true Christian. He had anger and alcohol issues. My brother felt he was not good enough as a man for me. My brother even slammed his hand on the wall after I told him to back off. Auntie Bee implored my mom to meet Husband’s first wife, and it was through this arrangement that I met See. It was initially awkward, but I am glad I met her. It put a lot of their concerns to rest.

Relatives do this because they love us. Sure, they worry because whoever we pick will taint our bloodline, but I also do believe from the bottom of my heart that they criticize so that we will as well. When we’re in love, we still wear rose-colored glasses and throw our cautions into the wind. That’s how infatuation work, and it can be a dangerous thing. It blinds us to our partner’s weaknesses and make bad character traits look like cute quirks. We forgive our partner’s dangerous habits easily and say they don’t matter, and that they will change. That it’s okay if our partner argues with us in a destructive and disrespectful manner, or if our partner’s family is crazy and dysfunctional. Anyway, we are marrying HER and not them, so these things doesn’t matter.

Oh please, let’s not delude ourselves.

If you are irritated with her, these things will irritate you even more through time. If she gets angry easily, she will be hot tempered once you get married. If she keeps on complaining about her life, she will also complain about you, and that’s unhealthy. These things will never go away because they already make who she is. If you don’t like her family, remember that they brought her up and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If they’re dysfunctional, she’s cuckoo too but you just can’t see it.

That’s why we date.

The main goal of dating is to find out whether the (wo)man we love is truly the right person for us. Through the time we spend together, we see if they can make us truly happy beyond the dating stage, and whether they will make good partners, spouses, and mothers/fathers.

You say that she is already everything you need and want in a woman. Okay, prove it. Show us that your love is strong and unwavering. That she makes you a better person, and that life is much better with her around. That she will be very loving and caring towards you, and will not fight with you or ask you to isolate yourselves from your family and friends. The right woman should bring you closer to your family despite initial misunderstandings, not turn you against each other.

It takes humility and maturity to accept harsh criticism, ponder upon them, and to see whether it is something to be concerned about. It takes wisdom to respect the views of elders, even when we don’t agree with it. It is not bad to ask, “Why don’t they like her?” instead of attacking defensively and saying, “Who do you think you are to not like her? You don’t even know her.”

Honestly speaking cousin, it’s your life. And it’s not really anyone’s business to comment on who you choose to come into your life. As you’re now working and have your own income, your relatives have nothing that you want and they can all go to hell for all you care.

But before you make angry snap judgment, take a moment to really ask yourself why your girlfriend isn’t liked? What was it about her that everyone saw that they felt made her not a good match for you? Why did they think that by choosing her, you would be less happier in the future than if you choose someone else? Was it something she wore, something she said, or the way they acted that revealed to them something they felt would not be good for you in the long run? The assumption is that your relatives loved and cared for you. So what was it that they were warning you against? And how can they have seen this in just one meeting?

In Chinese, there’s a word, “看人” or “Kwa lang.” This is a skill that’s honed by meeting different types of people and knowing their stories. My dad was allegedly very good at this. Through just one meeting, he can already make a snap judgment about a person, and it was almost always correct. This uncanny ability was able to enrich him as he can decide very quickly whether this was a person who you could do business with, or who will fool you. I was afraid of this skill, as he oftentimes had an opposing view about people I was friends with. And it bothered me that in time, he was oftentimes proven right in his judgment.

What was it that everyone saw in her that made them feel that she was not the right person for me? Why would they say that while it’s my choice, I might end up unhappier if I ended up with her? What did they see that I cannot?

I think these are good questions to ask. I had asked the same questions when I dated Husband. To be fair, our relatives were correct in their assessment: There were many reasons on why Husband was not the right person for me, and that I deserved better. To be fair, he got rid of the drinking (alcohol) before we got married, so that was one burden off my back. He’s also changed so much since we married. He’s also proven that he’s a terrific father after Baby came along.

But I think that it was good we went through this exercise before we got married. Left by ourselves and without elderly counsel, I don’t think our marriage would have been stronger. Even Husband had to change before he married me, and it was because I demanded that he should.

Though it was an uncomfortable time for everyone, I am still glad that our relatives criticized him then, he still kept an open mind with that. He didn’t blacklist or hate them, nor wasn’t he angry at them for saying such mean things about him. Instead, he understood and tried to prove everyone wrong. What should have destroyed us just made us stronger. What he is right now is due to the trials we went through as a couple. If he wasn’t a good partner then, he was a good partner now because of our relatives’ feedback. And I am very thankful and blessed as a result.

At the end of the day, it’s your life.

You get to decide who you allow inside your life, and who to remove from your life. And before you make any snap decisions on removing your relatives from yours just because they don’t like the girl you’re dating, ask yourself if it’s just your relatives who don’t like her. Does your parents like her, like really like her? Does your friends who have known you for decades like her, as in really like her? Is she like your mother, Auntie Edwina? Will she make a good wife, mother and life partner?

Now, ask yourself WHY.

Reflection is a gift that keeps on giving.

Date her if you must.

Marry her too if you think she’s the best girl for you now and forever.

But choosing the (wo)man you will marry is the most important decision any person has to make in their lives. Therein that one decision lays your happiness, your luck, your future, and your children’s future.

If you choose her, still invite us to the engagement and wedding. Blood runs thicker than water, and it’s laughable and silly if you discard your relatives just because of a woman.

But if you can, pray. Think very carefully. Ask yourself why. Ask other people why. Therein lies the answer. Then decide accordingly.

Good luck, cousin. This is your first time to be in love, and hopefully, it won’t be your last. May you make the right decision for yourself, and may she make you very happy if you do choose her. We wish you only the best in whatever life has to offer.

Big hugs,

Cousin Bonita

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, Husband, Life lessons, lovelife, Philippines, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When a Yaya Leaves AGAIN!

Our yaya didn’t come back from her 12-day holiday from Guimaras.

Yaya gone

We gave her a paid 12-day vacation to Guimaras as we were also on holidays to Europe this month.

Yaya, you will come back in the evening of December 11 ha,” I told her.

Of course, ma’m,” she said. “You know naman that mahal na mahal ko kayo.” (You know that I love you all very much).

She was referred by an agency and was with us for 6.5 months before we both went on our separate holidays.

I was happy to give her the holiday as it was a great reward for her to see her family. I even paid for her transportation to and fro the province, gave her extra petty cash, and gifts for her family.

When we got back, we waited for her.

She didn’t arrive on December 11.

We took our daughter to school on December 12.

She didn’t come back on December 12.

We tried to call and text her, but our texts remained unanswered and her phone was out of reach.

We regretfully accepted the fact that maybe she ghosted us, and she really had no plans of returning to Manila. Or maybe her husband and her five kids got in the way, and since she had sufficient funds from her 6 month stay, she didn’t come back to Manila anymore.

Lesson to Self: Look at the Yaya’s actions, not just with her stories. No matter how sweet she sounds, expect the unexpected.

Our daughter is sad: She really liked this yaya.

See her reaction when I asked her where her old yaya was:

Our daughter is sad. She’s bothered by the fact that yaya has abandoned her.

Unfortunately, what do you do when another yaya leaves you just like that?

So, I started looking for another yaya for my daughter.

I started sourcing a yaya on December 13. I interviewed one yaya on December 14, and accepted the new yaya.

She will start on December 17 after resting over the weekend.

Hope this yaya is better and we can finally get a yaya for life. 🙂

Ah, yayas in the Philippines. You can’t rely too much on them, and you just really need to go with the flow.

Posted in Updates | 3 Comments

Project Wheelchair Charity Dinner: an event full of heart and amazing food

We joined the Project Wheelchair 12-Course Degustastation dinner event this November 18 at the Champagne Room, Manila Hotel.

It was truly a treat. Not only did we enjoy the open bar that’s sponsored by YATS Wine Cellar and Destileria Limtuaco, but we also enjoyed a special feast prepared by some of the best chefs in the country.

Sherwin Tee prepared the Savory Rice Krispie Treat, Fish Sauce Caramel and Pork Floss.

Tastes like rice krispies with sweet floss. Interesting amuse bouche to start the event.

The next was Happy Ongpauco-Tiu’s Crab Aligue Creme Brulee in Egg Shells.

Good presentation: Originally thought it was Uni flan so the guess was pretty close.

The next was Jules and Cello Templo Strawberry Stracciatella.

Homemade buffalo stracciatella cheese with balsamic creme, strawberries, basil and evo. Tastes like buffalo cheese with a hint of sweets. The olive oil here is strong.

Ham chowder: tastes as good as it looks

It came with this chicharon which was very crunchy and delicious.

Shrimp roll in sili labuyo sauce by Lawrence Cua. Buttered roll loaded with spicy shrimp.

Loved this dish! It was hot and nice.

Pomelo salad by Bettina Osmena

This was pretty special: tastes very seafoody. Seafood lumpia in squid ink wrapper with sweet garlic sauce, aligue, and crushed nuts.

Something different. I enjoyed this dish.

Chicken Inasal with Fried Rice by Rommel Hinlo. Better appreciated by foreigners.

One of my favorites, Open Waterspinach Raviolo with salted red egg, etag, kabute mushroom and bulaklak ng kalabasa, smoked kesong puti cream by Margarita Flores

The 6-Hour Cooked Short Ribs with roasted bone marrow, miso sweet potato, pumpkin puree and house pickles by Ed Bugia

Truffle Rice Stuffed Lechon by Dedet dela Fuente. The best dish of the night!

Brazo by Pixie Sevilla

Ube Sansrival and Green Tea Cheesecake by Roselyn Tiangco-Siapno

Overall, great event. It’s heartwarming to be seranaded by talented singers while eating one delicious dish after another. At php 4,000 per person, you not only enjoy the evening, but you’re part of helping the donation of 203 wheelchairs.

Kudos to the organizers for a spectacular event! Hope we can get a slot next year again!

Posted in First Experiences, Food, Restaurant reviews, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Met my Husband

We met via e-Harmony.

Yes, our love story is a testimony that online dating works, and works beautifully.

I was single, 33 years old, and fresh out of a breakup from a 2.5 year old relationship that blindsided me.

He was 36, a notorious playboy over the last decade, and has been searching fruitlessly for love that would his parents would approve.

I found a sponsored article that asked whether someone was The One for you. The article had many points that provided some clarity on my brother’s relationship problems, and alongside this article was a “REGISTER FOR FREE” ad for e-Harmony.

Thinking I had nothing to lose, I signed up for the experience.

What’s great about the site was that it was anonymous, and it asked you to answer a personality test that allowed the system to match you to someone that fits your personality.

According to eHarmony, “eharmony is the first service within the online dating industry to use a scientific approach to matching highly compatible singles. eharmony’s matching is based on using its 29 DIMENSIONS® model to match couples based on features of compatibility found in thousands of successful relationships.”

Unlike other sites, it only showed your profile to your matches. You can state your preference on the type of person you liked. It was nice that the only thing others can see was my name.

I cited I wanted someone who was tall, was a Christian, Chinese and from Hongkong, Philippines or Singapore. I figured it was an interesting concept and was worth a try.

Little did I know, my future husband was signing up as well.

His sister was able to successfully find love online as well, so he thought he’d want to give it a try.

My future husband wanted someone who was a Christian, a non-smoker, Chinese and lived 20 kilometers from his house.

I was okay with meeting men from all over as I lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Given his location preference, I was one of his two matches from the site.

I on the other hand had around 90+ eligible men to choose from! Wohoo!

The less picky you are, the more matches you will have!

As I was the better looking one out of his only two matches, my now husband sent me a nudge and requested to see my photo:

eHarmony sent the notice straight to my mailbox. It was August 2012.

What initially attracted me was his honesty.

Husband was very honest, very direct, and oftentimes, tactless. He doesn’t really lie and would tell the truth if you ask for it. There is no sugar coating with him. Black is black and if politeness indicates that he is to say white, he would still say it is black.

His unfiltered mess both attracts and repels depending on who you talk to, and yet, I found it quite refreshing.

From the get go, he was open about his first failed marriage, and that the annulment was clean and there was no way they were getting back together. He has no bad words about his ex-wife, only citing they remained friends and in civil terms.

We exchanged tons of messages, never really talking about anything confidential but open about educational and family background, our interests, and what we do.

We had common friends but didn’t know it yet.

The only thing I knew was that this guy was different, quite intelligent, and very interesting.

I looked forward to reading his emails and learning more about him.

From the initial emails, I learned where he went to school (it was my mother’s school), graduated with a degree in Engineering in one of Manila’s better schools, and his family went to a Christian church.

In truth, I think that maybe it is God’s plan to let us meet each other this way.

If I met my husband in a car show, I would have found him too strong, too confident and too in-your-face. As we only had words to rely on, we got to know each other better from a non-physical standpoint.

When my husband said he liked me for my brains, it was because of weeks of emailing each other back and forth.

Here was the catch —- to exchange messages, each of us had to pay USD 63.00 for a 3-month subscription.

Intrigued, we both gladly paid the USD 63.00 from each of our sides. This is how eHarmony makes money, ladies and gentlemen.

But to my husband, “It was the best thing my USD 63.00 has ever purchased in my life.”

THE FIRST DATES

After a month of emailing and then texting, we finally met up.

Our first date was in this casual steak place in Pasig and we talked for hours. Unlike my dates with other men when I felt like an amused observer, time with my now husband went by quite fast.

I don’t really know what we talked about really, but most likely it’s about our college days and my times abroad, and for him working for the family business and his first marriage.

On our second date, I met his sister and her husband, both expats from Shanghai. At that time, coincidentally, they came by in Manila for a visit.

In between dates, we texted and talked to each other on the phone.

I enjoyed talking to him.

We had the same wavelength and can discuss multiple topics from American gossip, to politics, to car shows to wall climbing and keeping fit.

In November 2012, we became a couple. On June 2014, we got married, and have been happily married ever since.

We have a daughter who is almost 3 who is the light of our lives.

Since then, I have been a fierce endorser of online dating.

We both think it’s an incredible discovery, and it’s the best USD 63.00 we’ve ever spent.

Who knew we would meet each other via an American dating app? Who knew that while we had mutual friends, it was this app that brought us together.

So if you’re single and looking for love, never lose hope.

Try eHarmony.

We did, and we’re so very glad that we did. 🙂

Posted in Advice, Dates, Favorite Posts, First Days of Marriage, Husband, lovelife, Marriage | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

As a working mom, do you get angry or annoyed when the non-working moms say “I left my career to raise my child”? How do you manage this situation?

My response: “Good luck! I hope it turns out to be a good decision for you.”

I honestly think not working is a luxury.

It means that someone else, not you, is bringing food on the table.

As children increasingly become expensive given education, food, upbringing, etc., there really has to be someone who brings home the bacon.

Usually it’s the husband.

However, I personally do not like to be completely and financially dependent on a man.

Yes I know my husband is wonderful, but seriously, it’s my life we are talking about. Our family and mine.

Here are the problems in depending on someone else for financial support?

What if my husband loses his job?

So he has to be stuck in his job because he needs food on the table. He will resent me for forcing him to work.

What if my husband cheats on you?

How can a woman live if she has kids and no means of financial support?

What if your husband dies unexpectedly?

So now you have to force yourself to leave your kids and go back to work? How high will be your salary after being out of the workforce for 20 years?

Life surprises us. I don’t want to be caught off guard. I want to be ready.

A friend was a stay-at-home wife.

She met her husband in university.

After they graduated, they both worked.

When it was obvious the man’s career was doing better than hers, he encouraged her to quit her job and be a stay-at-home wife.

She supported him through his career, and moved their family from the Philippines to Taiwan to New York.

She is in her early 50s now, and she discovered that her husband who became the head of a business division, was cheating on her with someone he worked with.

Angry and insulted, she confronted him.

He just laughed at her and challenged her to leave.

All the money was made by him, managed by him and dispensed by him.

Literally she had no money, no job, weak working experience.

She didn’t leave.

She couldn’t leave.

She doesn’t know what to do. She had nowhere to go, nobody to help and no money for legal action.

Thats what happens when you’re financially dependent on someone else all your life.

I personally don’t like to hand over my life to someone else.

I think of my future and my my child’s future.

Given that I am equally capable and very much hire-able, I want to financially secure myself and my kids.

Because I don’t want to be placed in a position where I am with a guy just because he brings home the bacon.

I want to have the freedom to leave if he gets abusive.

I want to have the money for better childcare.

I want my children to go to better schools.

I want my children to see how hard I work for us.

I want my children to know it’s possible to work and still love them at the same time.

So good luck.

And from the bottom of my heart, I really hope giving up your career is truly the right decision for you and your family.

Posted in Advice, entrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Finance, Husband, Life lessons, Motherhood, Parenthood, Question & Answer, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How a Motorcycle Led to Infidelity

It all started with a motorcycle.

Our driver wanted to buy a brand new motorcycle. The price tag was 6x his salary but since it was a 2-years to pay deal at Php 3,500 a month payment.

Motorcycle.jpg

That’s around 23% of his monthly salary.

“How can he afford it?” I said. “That’s a lot of cash out. A preloved bike would cost just half the amount.”

“It’s okay,” my husband consoled me. “Guys always want something that’s pogi (handsome). His wife is working anyway, so they can very well afford it.”

So our driver bought the bike.

Every month, he is forced to pay the installment or forfeit the bike.

As expected, money became tight.

When money becomes tight, the wife became more of a nagger. This usually happens when you have a kid and another one on the way.

It became an unhappy home. Who wants a pregnant wife who screams at you all the time?

1200-497153633-woman-fighting-with-man.jpg

Then my husband gave the driver a postpaid line. “To make sure he has load so I can reach him the whole day.”

Great — so now the driver has load and Internet. 

Understandably, given his unhappy home, the driver found excitement via messaging women from Facebook. Since his boss was paying for his load, our driver could now flirt with abandon.

Whereas Internet used to cost him Php 50 for three days, it was now free. So our driver found old loves, created fake accounts, and messaged them online.

Apparently, one believed that he was in an unhappy marriage and boinked him. “It’s okay,” our driver winked to his coworker. “I used protection this time.”

Our driver came to a point that he would lie about his work schedule. He usually gets off early at 3pm on school days. His wife didn’t know. So he would spend late afternoons chasing after women.

Of course, one day, he got caught. 

Everyone does get caught eventually.

For our driver, it was a message sent by his girlfriend to his phone that his wife happened to see.

All hell broke loose — he was kicked out of the house. Cried a bit. And his children got into the mess because the mother told the kids that their father didn’t love them because he chose her over them.

He took two days off to solve his family problem.

He was a lot quieter.

The wife forgave him, only to kick him out once again after she caught him with a second Facebook account, the one with the chicks.

Oh well, so now he has an unhappy home.

And I want to tell my husband, “I told you so.” 

But what for?

We all know where the problem lay. He was happier when he didn’t have the freaking phone, load, and brand new motorcycle.

It’s a bunch of wrong personal decisions that brought him to an unhappy home, a reduced bank account, and instability.

divorceandkids1063x597.jpg

Well, it was an unhappy home anyway,” my husband said.

No, it wasn’t.

He was happier when he didn’t have enough money.

He was happier when he commuted to work.

He was happier when he didn’t have a phone to find a sex buddy.

He was happier when he didn’t have free internet.

As bosses, we need to be more vigil in giving our people liberties that are inevitably harmful to them. If we care about our staff, we need to be more careful on how one bad decisions end up to the other.

The unhappy home started with an expensive acquisition and led to a broken family.

Next time, we should do better in becoming good bosses to our staff.

 

Posted in Boyfriend, children, Family, Family Drama, Husband, Life lessons, Personal opinion, Philippines, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teaching Resilience Early

Today is the Sunday before Halloween. SM Megamall has a grand Barbie party and it’s packed.

We couldn’t get it so we tried for the next best thing — Trick or Treating!

This was the best we can do provided that she didn’t want to wear her beautiful Anna costume. She would have looked like this if she was more compliant:

But I digress…

I think every mother should join the mall trick-or-treat activity.

For one, not every tenant gave away candy. So it was honestly an amazing lesson of kapal ng mukha (having a thick skin) and resilience.

I encouraged her to go to every single store and ask for trick or treat, even though there was no treats. Personally, I think it’s a great way to teach kids to ask… even when the answer may be no.

So she went into every single store in the area:

We went into stores that had nothing to do with kids or candy.

We even tried asking for candies at BDO.

And no, as per expected, they had no candy. Oh well, it was great to try.

And for most stores, the kid came away sad and dejected.

But for many other stores, there was candy to be had! Hooray!

Who knew that there were candies at Under Armour, but they did!

Trick or treating is similar to life: It’s full of disappointments and rejections. That’s why, it’s a great place to bring your kids to this mall activity.

But hey, if you don’t ask… you don’t get.

So why not ask?

There’s no harm to ask. 🙂

Mall activities like these also teach kids to be patient. Especially when you have to fall in long lines.

Here we are lining up for Toy Kingdom’s trick or treat activity:

Yes, it’s a hassle to fall in line. And sure the child does get bored.

But life is all about waiting for our turn for the rewards that will come next.

It’s not really about Insta-pleasure, but rather, good things come to those who wait.

Halloween is my daughter’s favorite yearly activity. She loves trick or treating even though she gets more tricks than treats.

But it’s also a lovely place to teach some of life’s best lessons such as:

  • That you need to learn in waiting for one’s turn. Don’t be a bully.
  • That good things come to those who wait.
  • That it’s ok when people reject you. Sometimes even before you enter their store.
  • That you still have to ask in an orderly manner, one store after another so you will cover more ground.
  • That if you keep on asking, eventually, someone will give you that break you need.

See? That’s why trick or treating is so much fun!

Till next year!

Posted in baby, children, Early Learning, First Experiences, Motherhood, Parenthood, Personal opinion, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stories of Manila: The Rascal

Our driver has a problem.

He cannot stop cheating on his wife, and because he was so reckless in doing it, he has been caught a handful of times.

This time around, he was once again, kicked out of his house by his irate wife.

wife-kicked-out-600x379.jpg

I was more careful this time though,” he told my husband. “This time, I used protection. So that I won’t have the same problem anymore.”

Just last year, our driver got a 14-year old teenager pregnant. The girl was the younger sister of one of our office staff. Up until today, he denies that the baby is his.

The teenager found another older man who was willing to have someone a third of his age, with a baby to raise, as an insta-family. In a way, that problem ended relatively well. The underaged teenager found a better sugar daddy who was willing to raise her child as his own, releasing our driver from that financial responsibility.

The baby looks like our driver.

Our driver has two babies within the same time period, as the baby was conceived when his own wife was pregnant. It was indeed a mess.

We thought he changed. He didn’t.

After his wife forgave him after he begged for mercy, he returned to a seemingly happy home. When my husband gave him a phone and a line for business purposes, our driver also used the line to look for other girls on the internet.

The girl he managed to look for was an ex, who is mother to two kids. She was happy to have sex with him despite him being married. He probably fed her with lies.

We thought he changed. He didn’t.

If a man is unhappy in his home,” my husband said. “Then he will eventually cheat.”

I think this is a cop-ass way to excuse irresponsible behavior.

Cheating is a choice.

And our driver continues to make it. He will probably continue to make the same senseless choices until the day he died.

As his employer, I do not know what to do. In a way, his family is his business. And if he wants to sleep with many women despite having a wife and kids, that’s still his business.

But at the same time, I feel that his character and integrity are a big question mark.

He chose his wife.

Got her pregnant.

Started a family with her.

It is wrong to have an affair and abandon your family.

He has two kids, a boy and a girl. Through his choices, he will destroy his family.

The story of the Rascal is very common in the Philippines. 

Actor and politician Ramon Revilla Sr. has 72 kids. 

When God said, “Go forth and multiply,” Revilla Sr. took the instruction to heart.

The man with many chicks are admired in the Philippines.

Baby+Chickens.jpg

To cheat on your wife and have multiple mistress are admirable traits by men in the Philippines. It means you are handsome and very attractive.

It also means you’re a selfish rascal who can’t seem to keep your dong in your pants.

Sigh – life in the Philippines indeed.

It is more fun in the Philippines.

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, lovelife, Men, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suggestion: Let’s Remove the Word, “Dapat” from our Vocabulary

We have to get rid of “Dapat” from our vocabulary.

In English, “Dapat” means “Should” and herein lies the crux of all our problems.

With just a single word, “Dapat or should” we place all our dreams and expectations. Only to be crushed when people disappoint us. Or when things don’t go our way.

How are we a victim of this cruel word?

To our bosses, you want to shout to them, “You should open your eyes and see how good I am for your company. And you should reward me greatly for tolerating your idiosyncrasy. If without me, what are you?”

To our husband, we tell them, “You should appreciate me more. You shouldn’t look at other women. You should be grateful I married you.”

should.jpg

To our children, we instruct them, “You should listen to me more. You should excel in school. You should understand that what I do is for you.”

To our workers, we expect them, “You should not dilly-dally, and just do your jobs. You should do your work without me overlooking your shoulder. You should not steal. You should be on time. You should not complain.”

No wonder life disappoints us. We expect life to be a certain way, and it isn’t. 


I am a victim of the word, “Should.” 

I heap my expectation with my husband, my kid, my people, and everyone around me. I get frustrated when things don’t go my way because they don’t get me.

What an idiot am I.

idiot-inside.jpg

I realize that much of my frustrations lie on ME. The way I expect things to go my way, and don’t. The way I expect others to behave but don’t.

Actually, if I loosen my expectations, I could actually be a happier, chirpier person.

The struggle lies on the fact that I refuse to let go. I still hold on others to their promises. And I wish everyone would just follow whatever I say.

For example, what if my husband cheats on me?

The usual thing to do is to hanker down, get mad and scream at him. Slash his tires, poison his drink, and go bananas. All this because he did something he SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE.

Now, what if after I found out, I simply go home, pack up our things, and move our daughter elsewhere.

No shouting matches, no struggle, and no denial.

Just pack up and go.

When my husband comes back, all he would see is me packing up and taking away what he loves the most, our daughter.

No drama, just a matter of fact, “Sorry, you fucked up. I told you I would leave you if you did, and I will.”

Same result, smoother ride.

Wouldn’t that be better?

If we let go of our expectations, it empowers us to take the situation in our hands and just react by ourselves. We don’t have to push other people to follow what we want. We can just do what we want to do.

Don’t you agree?

Let’s remove “Should” from our vocabulary. I know it’s hard. It’s my personal struggle. But let’s try.

I think we’d be happier persons for it.

 

 

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

When you’re depressed, still count your blessings

I have been depressed over the last couple of weeks. 

For one, there was the disappointment of losing our 2nd baby via miscarriage. When people talk about miscarriages or nahulog ang bata, they make it sound so clean and clinical, as if it was like a walk in the park.

Miscarriage was NOT a walk in the park.

There was a time when I lost so much blood, I collapsed and felt I was going to die.

Losing a baby is like losing a part of you. It’s small and tiny and looks like an alien, but you still feel sad for what might have been.

To top it off, work has been very stressful and challenging as well.

A handful of irate people decided to file a complaint despite being the ones who went AWOL, stole some items, and caused us business disruption. They falsely claimed that they were being maltreated by their supervisor and were then forced to destroy business operations to get my attention.

What bothered me was how they blatantly lied and was able to twist the truth to show that it was them who were the victims.

In the era of #fakenews, this was icing on the cake.

What do you do when people make false claims against you? While you had the truth in your side, enough people making false claims still destroy your reputation.

I was able to settle with them this week on my birthday. They apologized for trying to hurt me and my business, and we all hugged it out in the end.

Still, their false claims put a toll on me. And their behavior and activity were part of the reason I was so stressed and miscarried.

Business has also been slowing down.

Despite entering the Ber season, sales has been harshly low. I blame the macroeconomy to anyone who would listen, but it’s a sign of challenging times ahead.


I am reminded however that I am still very much blessed.

I have a husband and daughter who loves me, and they are happy and healthy.

happy.jpg

The business is weaker but it’s still chugging along, and I am glad to have the people on my team right now.

My brother and his wife had a new baby last September, and at least it’s normal and healthy.

My mother is happy just to have two granddaughters to add to her glowing list of achievements.

In times like these, count our blessings. Remember that everything happens for a reason and there’s still a lot of things to celebrate about. So:

yeah

Happy birthday to me!

Posted in Updates | 3 Comments

When you lose a baby via miscarriage

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

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

We lost the baby at 11 weeks old.

The heartbeat simply stopped.

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

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

I “popped” on Wednesday late afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

I flushed the toilet.

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

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

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

miscarriage.jpg

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

It lay on top of the bloody toilet paper.

We gingerly collected it on a small white bowl.

Yup, that’s our baby.

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

I felt sad.

But I was not done bleeding yet.

I bled, and bled, and bled.

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

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

My OB asked me to go to the hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I changed to a new one.

I quickly went through three adult diapers.

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

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

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

miscarriage2.jpg

It was very discomforting and unpleasant.

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

Whenever I would stand, I would bleed some more.

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

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

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

I felt really weak, my breathing long and labored.

The nurses panicked.

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

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

Oooooh, so this is how it feels…

I never felt like this before.

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

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

My OB arrived upon my stabilization.

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

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

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

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

They gave me a spinal anesthetic to remove the pain.

They sedated me.

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

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

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

I was admitted to the room at 4am.

I was monitored closely.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The irony wasn’t lost in me.

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

The experience was interesting at best.

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

The body is not fit for an abortion.

It will always be a traumatic event.

It can be dangerous.

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

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

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

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

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

I survived my abortion.

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

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

Posted in baby, Conflicts, Husband, Pregnancy, Reflections, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

When your Baby Dies inside You

The doctor called it a “missed abortion.”

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

She asked me to do a pelvic ultrasound.

Petrified, we went this afternoon.

The result.

Our baby is dead.

It should have been 14 weeks old.

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

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

—————————

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

There was no heart beat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our baby is dead.

It’s not meant to be.

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

But we will mourn it today.

Have a good week everyone!

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Mommy Guilt and Being a Bad Mother

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

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

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

baby-wipes-for-diaper-change-01.jpg

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

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

exhausted.jpg

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

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

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

avverage.jpg

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

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

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

This is great when you’re single.

But not after having children.

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

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

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

child-and-mother500.jpg

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

cute-housewife-cooking-dinner-young-beautiful-woman-holding-pot-mitts-34489429.jpg

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

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

step.jpg

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

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

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

cute-outfits-for-housewives.jpg

This is exactly what I mostly look like every day.

jen.jpg

My husband is lucky I still wear makeup.

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

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

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

baby.jpg

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

Yes, I am considered as a bad mother. 

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

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

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

But what can I do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because I work, our time together becomes more valuable.

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

Because I work, she is more independent.

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

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

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

Because I work, I help other people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given that, should I be ashamed for being me?

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

Goodbye mommy guilt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

book0.png

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

A bonus? The slide function in every page!

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

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

from.jpg

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

What Baby Learns: Animals, Colors

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

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

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

What Baby Learns: Parts of Body

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

book2.jpg

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

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

What Baby Learns: Animals, Animal Sounds

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

book3.jpg

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

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

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

What Baby Learns: Using the word “Please”

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

Giraffes.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do Dinosaurs2.jpg

The best books in the collection are as follows:

  • How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

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

How do Dinosaurs.jpg

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

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

7. Potty by Leslie Patricelli (USD 4.00)

Potty.jpg

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

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

What Baby Learns: Potty is our friend.

8. Press Here and Mix it Up by Herve Tullet

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

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

Press Here.jpg

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

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

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

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

beginning2.jpg

beginning.jpg

What Baby Learns: Parts of the Body

10. The Berensteins’ B Book by Stan Berenstain

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

What Baby Learns: Words that starts with the Letter B

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

—————————————————-

BOOKS I FEEL ARE OVERRATED

No, I didn’t forget about these.

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

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

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

 The Very.jpg

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

Good.jpg

  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Eat.jpg

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

wild.jpg

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

harold.jpg

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

corduroy.jpg

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

The Problematic Bear

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

teddy bear

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

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

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

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

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

teddy bear2.png

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

BIG FREAKING SIGH.

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

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

Have a good weekend everyone!

 

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

8 Things I dislike about Pregnancy

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

You have to go and see your OB every month.

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

This is going to be a looooong wait.

3. You feel uncomfortable the entire day.

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

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

3. The tiredness that comes in the afternoon.

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

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

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

4. Food restrictions

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

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

5. Medicine Restrictions

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

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

All for the good of the baby.

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

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

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

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

7. The Risk of Miscarriage

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

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

I was surprisingly depressed afterwards.

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

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

8. The Prospect of Losing Work Time

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

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

They did —- thankfully.

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

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

Overall, I am just griping…

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

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

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

So might as well be thankful for what I have.

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

World cup.jpg

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

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

 

 

 

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

180703093959-japan-world-cup-locker-room-trnd-exlarge-169.jpg

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

WC 4.png   WC 5.png

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

It’s enough to make you shed a tear.

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

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

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

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

Gilas fail2.png

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

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

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

He later justifies this instruction as basketball talk. 

 

 

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

Gilas fail.png

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

Gilas.jpg

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

gilas 2.jpg

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

gilas3.jpg

People from the bench joined in.

gilas5.png

gilas6.png

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

gilas 4.jpg

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

YES, YOU HEARD IT RIGHT. THE ASSISTANT COACH.

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

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

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

defense.jpg

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

 

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

Afterwards, the proud Filipino team takes a selfie.

proud.png

The Philippines is proud…. proud of being what?

Tweets.png

Tweet2.png

I don’t really care what you think.

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

However, as a Filipino, I am embarrassed.

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

The Australians called us monkeys. This makes them racists.

I called what happened as the act of dogs.

Very shameful and embarrassing.

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

WC3.png

Not this.

I am Filipino. A proud one at that.

But oh, what a disgrace we are.

ostrich-head-in-sand.jpg

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

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

One of the Hardest Things to Do is to Do Nothing

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

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

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

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

The hardest thing to do is to do NOTHING.

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

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

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

kawaii-bandaids1.jpg

So I watch in the sidelines and worry.

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

I know, dad… but what can I do?

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

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

I try not to interfere but it is hard.

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

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

BIG SIGH.

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

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

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

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

Are_You_a_Train_Wreck_Waiting_to_Happen.jpg

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

When someone doubts your integrity

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I feel that her defensiveness and paranoia are unfounded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I won’t.

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

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

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

I am Pregnant… Again!

I am pregnant again!

IMG_0550

A lot of thoughts went into my head:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow, a second child…!

How will a second child work?

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0551.JPG

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

Let’s pray for a safe pregnancy, wohoo!

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

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

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

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

forbidden.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asian-Women-White-Men.png

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week ahead!

 

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Hiring in the Philippines

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

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

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

Guy C actually came.

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

Guy D came in today.

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

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

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

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

Whoopee-doo-dah!

 

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

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

One of our office staff resigned two weeks ago.

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

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

cashier.jpg

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

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

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

Job.jpg

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

1. They lived far away from our office.

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

Commonwealth-traffic-20160517-04.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

salary.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jobhunting.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jobhunting2.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

no show.jpg

9. When they have bad body hygiene. 

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

Body-Odor.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

baggage.jpg

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

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

Out of the 265 Applicants who applied for this position:

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

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

But that’s another story. Happy weekend everyone!

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

Marriage Tip: Love Your In-Laws

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

motherinlaw.jpg

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

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

Most of the mommies were very upset.

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

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

And….

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

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

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

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

I honestly think it’s a Perspective Issue.

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

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

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

motherinlaws_1936228c.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emotional-Bank-Account_mini-1030x796.jpg

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

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

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

Here was my advise to the complaining mommy:

Think before you blow.

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

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

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

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

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

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

They are our elders.

We need to love and respect them first.

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

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

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

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

And therein lies the difference.

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

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

 

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

Life Tip: Get a smaller house

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

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

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

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

I LOVED THAT UNIT.

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

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

It was a very simple and content life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The view was amazing.

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

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

Here was my rent at that time in 2011:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When a Deal Falls Apart

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

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

contract_original_crop_north.jpg

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

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

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

Our new tenant was a up and coming security agency.

ohno

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you think I did the right thing?

 

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

Three Bad Lucks

This week, we experienced three unfortunate events:

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

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

That same day, our new Yaya went crazy.

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

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

She even claimed her chest was tightening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s disheartening when bad things happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I actually disagree.

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

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

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

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

French Fries Food Cart.jpg

The capital required is not that great.

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

The Php 45,000 was spent as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is correct, my friends.

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

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

joe-magsaysay.jpg

But that requires several things.

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

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

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

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

curveballs.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

gunpla.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are the true entrepreneurs.

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

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

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

Why You Have to Love Yourself

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

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

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

Every guy I dated did my laundry.

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

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

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

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

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

We did see the sunset eventually. It was fine.

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

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

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

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

My heart breaks when I see this.

Women beaten.

Women cheated on.

Women who force themselves to be silent.

Women who demur their needs over someone else.

Women who are afraid of their bad tempered husbands.

Ladies, WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?

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

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

Ladies, that isn’t love.

Guys who love you don’t beat you up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like seriously, who would want them?

More personally, who would want me?

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

The woman who snored.

The woman who placed her work above family.

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

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

Everyone thought I would remain single.

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

Did I just get lucky?

Did I win the lottery?

Not really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why don’t other people be themselves more?

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

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

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

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

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

Loving oneself = Having the courage to BE YOURSELF.

You can be yourself and still be loved.

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

Why do you not start loving yourself today?

Comments appreciated. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

However, this habit has turned into a disservice.

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

sintra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When you have a business, every little penny counts.

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

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

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

So the lesson is: Always double check your bills.

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

check.jpg

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

Check and double check.

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

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

Why I got into Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Groom yourself to get the best corporate job there is.

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

Ironically, I did end up in entrepreneurship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our business is now stable, more or less.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honestly, we are not rich yet.

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

Yes, it’s that bad.

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

With our business, we are helping people.

I have more or less 50 people in my employ.

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

Sure, I make less now.

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

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

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

So why did I become a businessman?

It started with my father’s dream.

Then fate brought me here when I married my husband.

But I get it now.

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

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

Do you want to be a businessman?

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

Have a good weekend!

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

The Danger of Discontentment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This my friends is what I call false entitlement.

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

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

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

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

Happy Labor Day everyone!

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

Why We Brought our Toddler to the Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

The child will scream bloody murder!

Who could blame the child?

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

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

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

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

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

3. Bad teeth = ugly child

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why we didn’t bring Little Pea this trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Little Pea stays at home.

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

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

My abs hurt from walking.

My feet was sore from walking.

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

Three, it simply doesn’t look professional.

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

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

Why should I?

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

We do miss our little daughter though.

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

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

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Questions to ask during yaya interview

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

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

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

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

1. I have a results oriented mindset.

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

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

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

She still has no yaya up until now.

2. I will hire on the spot.

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

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

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

3. I don’t scrimp on fees.

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

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

4. I’m actually a reasonable boss.

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

5. I’m open to agencies and recruiters.

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

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

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

SELF

• Love life and anak? Sino ang magaalaga?

• Anong kurso ang pinasok mo?

FRIENDS

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

FAMILY AND BELIEFS

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

• Siblings? Ano ang trabaho nila?

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

• Nagsisimba ka ba? Saan?

HOBBIES

• What do you like to read?

• Last book you read?

• Anong gagawin mo sa gabi pagkatapos ng trabaho?

PREVIOUS WORK

• Bakit ka umalis sa dati mong amo?

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

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

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

• Anong naturuan mo sa bata?

*Read one page article*

• Anong pinaka mahirap na experience mo sa buhay?

• Pinagsabihan ka ni lola? Papano na?

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

• Cellphone use: When pwede mag cellphone?

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

• Ok lang ba sa gabi mag mall?

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

• May pagkain ka bang hindi kinakain?

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

• Pinaka malaking halaga nakita mo or nahawakan mo?

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

SAVINGS & FINANCIAL MINDSET

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

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

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

• Sahod mo: saan mo gagastusin?

DAYS OFF

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

• We cannot accumulate day off ok lang ba?

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

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

Posted in baby, children, Family, Family Drama, First Experiences, Kid Problems, Parenting, Updates, Yaya Problems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bye Bye Yaya!

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

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

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

Alarm bells were ringing then. What happened to her?

alarm.jpg

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

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

Yaya and I went home.

When I asked her why