This is the funniest story I read last week

The story of the couple who sells all their belongings, buys a boat to travel the world and somehow sinks it two days later.

Since their boat is below water, they are trying crowdfunding in the hopes of raising $12,800 to bring their ship back.

They are seeking $12,800 to rescue the ship, which sunk off the coast of Madeira Beach, Florida.

Ms Walsh said raising the boat alone will cost at least $8600.

“We have a lot of family helping us, but it’s hard when you’ve lost everything,” Ms Walsh told the Post from Jacksonville, where the couple is staying with loved ones.

A piece of me do feel sorry for the couple. After all, it is their life savings.

Another part of me also chuckles, as the story is pretty ridiculous. Lesson to self: If you decide to invest your entire life savings on a boat, also do some due diligence on HOW TO SAIL A BOAT.

It is easy to feel sympathetic, but that won’t help bring their boat back. But laugh all you want, the couple has already raised their target in their GoFundMe account:

Isn’t it great that in today’s world, stupidity is rewarded after all. So laugh all you want. But this couple was able to raise more money than they need to travel around the world.

Now let’s see if they will actually use the money to salvage their boat and finish their dream. I think not — it’s not hard for me to imagine that they’re laughing all the way to the bank — but hey, one can always hope!

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Posted in Commercial Break, Fun Stuff, Random News, Travels, Updates, vacation | Leave a comment

The Biggest Book Fair in Manila is HERE!

The Big Bad Wolf Book Fair is now ongoing at World Trade Center from February 16 to 25, 2018. The fair is 24 hours and last continuously everyday until midnight of February 25.

Entrance is FREE and the venue is airconditioned. The only thing they don’t allow are food and drinks. Books are usually sealed but there’s often a sample book that’s available for you to browse. The fair does replenish titles daily.

Pushcarts are provided for shopping convenience and after checking out, they do have a helper to assist you in carting your purchases out. Cash, debit cards and credit cards are all accepted.

Parking is a bit of a hassle and bringing a driver is recommended. One can park across the street at Wensha Spa for php35 and walk a bit to the fair. Not a big problem if you ask me.

We went last Friday and boy, was it FULL!

Great thing there were 42 cashiers so lines were still manageable. They do have priority lanes for PWDs and senior citizens so bringing my mom was a plus.

According to the cashier, there were 2 million books on sale. And we had our fun browsing through different titles. They had books categorized into Architecture, Travels, Transportation, Cooking and Baking, Self-Help, Movies & Music, History and Biography, Business & Economics, Young Adults, Romance, Hobbies & Recreation, Fashion & Beauty, Young Readers among others. Half of the hall were Children’s Books!

Here were our purchases on the first trip:

Usborne Big Picture Atlas 370

Please 160

Thank You 160

Sorry 160

Mary Had a Little Lamb 230

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes 190

My Book of First Words (Kasia Bowowiejska) 160

Toddler Town Zoo 160

Hoot, A-Holesome book of counting 190

Young Learners Picture Dictionary 190

How do Dinosaurs Stay Friends 290

Frozen Puzzle Book 290

Big Book of Aesop Fables 390

Tall and Short, a peek-through Book of Opposites 190

Dino, a Cracking Book of Colors 190

Playtime Stories Campbell Baby 190

Cinderella, James Newman Gray 230

Little red riding Hood, James Newman Gray 230

Frozen Poster Collection 100

My husband also dorked out and bought these:

I on other hand built up my collection:

Yesterday, we came back and hulled the following books:

My Little World: Love, A Heart-Warming Book of Giving 190

My Little World: I Love my Daddy 190

My Enormous Book of Numbers 330

The Great Big Dinosaur Treasury – 390

Pompom Panda Gets the Grumps (Sophy Henn) 230

Ladybird Favourite Stories 350

We are Best Friends 230

Dora Look and Find 290

Monkey Not Ready for Kindergarten (Marc Brown) 190

My Book of Counting (Britta Teckentrup) 190

Freddie the Fish, Star of Show 160

Seasons Come Seasons Go Tree (Britta Teckentrup) 290

How I Did It (Linda Ragsdale) 290

The Mr Men Show Popup Book 290

Hoppity Hop Peekaboo 160

Princess Baby Night Night 160

Wolfie the Bunny 230

Can You Find Happy Cow

Fish Food Popup (Andy Mansfield) 190

Up & Down (Britta Teckentrup) 290

1000 Fantastic Stickers 190

Bad Kitty’s Tasty Treats (Nick Bruel) 290

The Almost Terrible Playdate 230

Julius Jr. Stickertastic 100

Pinkabella 2000 stickers 190

Super Animals 2000 stickers 190

My Big Wipe Clean Around the World 230

Doodle Numbers (Taro Gomi) 190

Alphabet Activity Sticker Book 230

Kimmidoll Junior Best Friends Sticker Book 160

The Triple Package (Amu Chua and Jed Rubenfeld) 230

The Patron Way (Ilana Edelstein) 190

Winning the Customer (Lou Imbriano) 290

How to Speak Money (John Lanchester) 350

The Moment You Can’t Ignore (Malachi O’ Connor) 290

Icons and Idiots (Bob Lutz) 190

I Love You More than My Dog (Jeanne Bliss) 190

Fizz (Ted Wright) 290

Habit (Charles Duhigg) 190

Running the Gauntlet (Jeffrey Hayzlett) 290

Fairness is Overrated (Tim Stevens) 290

A Bigger Prize (Margaret Heffernan) 230

The Mind of the Customer (Richard Hodge) 290

We also bought cookbooks and books for kids for my yaya’s daughter.

Overall, The Big Bad Wolf Booksale is a real treat for all book lovers. If you love books and don’t mind to go one time big time, this is a great show for you!

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Question: Should I marry someone even though I feel there might be somebody better out there for me?

I dated a guy who was great on paper for 2.5 years. He was smart, had a great job, was very responsible, and said he will love and take care of me for the rest of his life.He was also quite boring.

Or I think I was just bored with him.

Maybe it was his low energy, or his personality, but when we were together, time seemed to drag on and I didn’t really look forward to seeing him every time we met.

When we talked, we discussed which restaurants we would try next or which movie should we watched. We updated each other on our lives and our friend’s and we couldn’t go deeper beyond talking about what happened to whom and why.

I guess he felt the same way because he broke up with me when he met someone else with a more similar wavelength to his. I was admittedly crushed and felt that I may have lost my chance for marriage to a nice guy, and maybe this was the best I could ever get.

Boy, was I wrong!

I met my now husband online dating, and from the time we met, our conversation simply FLOWED. Minutes turned into hours and we were exchanging ideas, not information. We talked about movies and how it related to us. We hung out and yet felt a deep sense of comfort as if we’re at home.

Sure, we had our disagreeements. But it sure wasn’t boring. I looked forward to being with him and he does me. And since we’ve gone through our fair share of boring relationships, we tied the knot after a year of dating because we believe we couldn’t find anyone better for us and if we don’t get married, we’d regret it for the rest of our lives.

We spent our wedding night simply thanking God for leading us to each other. That’s how lucky we felt to have found each other.

So to answer your question, I’d strongly suggest for you to you wait.

Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen to be single than to spend the rest of my life with a man who I married so that I’d be a Mrs. I know I only married him to settle because I’m in a hurry, and will always be in the lookout for somebody better. I don’t think that would be fair to the poor shmuck, and honestly, it wouldn’t be fair for me either. Life is too short to be with someone who bores you out of your wits.

I’m glad I waited.

Or was forced to wait.

The love I have now is worth far more than any of my previous relationships. And I feel I’m the luckiest girl ever to have married my husband. Fortunately, he also feels the same way.

Good luck in finding that right person who’d let you feel the same.

Posted in Advice, Dates, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Matigas ang Ulo (Hard Headed)

I have extensive experience of multiple staff who are especially hard headed.

These are the people who intentionally try to circumvent the rules when they can, and pout when they cannot.

True Story # 1: 

My brother went on a family vacation and left me in charge. While he was gone, many of his staff went on sick leave without any medical certificate despite it being on the rules.

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I was livid.

If you do not present a medical certificate, then you cannot come back to work,” I said. I will not force anyone who is unfit to work to come back to work.  If they are sick, then the medical certificate is an easy requirement to get.

Rumor has it that many people grumbled.

To get a medical certificate requires Php 450 to Php 650,” they said. “We have no money to get a medical certificate.”

No, it is only expensive if the sickness IS NOT true,” I answered. “If you are truly sick, then there is the barangay center which will treat you for free, provided that you arrive by 3:00pm that day.”

That is the problem: People who are NOT sick but are pretending to be sick to go hooky. And then, getting angry when they are reminded of the rules. No, I will not admit them back to work without any medical certificate.

True Story #2:

I have a staff who is always late.

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Opening at 10:00am, closing at 12:00pm, and even when we invited her to a life improvement seminar, she was still late despite being housed on the same hotel.

We have given her a lot of verbal and written notices regarding her gross and habitual tardiness. She has written her apologies on every single one of them. We have warned her several times, and yet she is still constantly late.

This is a girl who has been with us for almost 3 years, and still haven’t improved. She has stayed in our company because she can moderately perform as a sales staff and at least shows up.

Who cares if she is 30 to 45 minutes late if she can ‘make up’ for it by selling well the entire day?” my husband asked.

It’s a problem — here is a staff who can perform and at least reliably shows up albeit super late. She knows there is a problem but refuses to change. No matter what we do, she is still almost always late.

When her supervisor left and was replaced with a tougher and stricter supervisor, the new supervisor tried to make her change. She made the staff promise not to be late, of which the staff did try for less than a week.

After a while she was back to her bad habit.

Can you stop being late?” my supervisor asked. “The rules state that you have to stop being late and you already have multiple warnings on this habit. We cannot tolerate it anymore because it’s not fair that we allow you to be late, but others cannot.”

I cannot stop being late,” she said. “I cannot help it. If you cannot accept it, I will just resign.”

So the supervisor accepted her resignation.

Despite her working for us for many years, in the end, it was her bad habit that did her in. She cannot correct it so she cannot stay and work for us.

A lot of staff are hard headed.

They’re not the easiest people to handle — They already know what the rules are but still do not obey the rules. They try their best to survive and stay despite knowing that they are disobeying the rules.

As their managers, we know what they are doing. In honest truth, I can more or less tell if the person is lying or not. When it comes to hard headed staff, most of the time, they are lying. They are not sick and actually they can change their bad habits.

But they refuse.

So we let them go.

Sayang ba?” you may ask. This translates to, “Do you think it’s a waste to let them go if they are still somewhat performing?”

To be honest, I am the saddest when I let someone like this go.

It’s really not easy to find staff who can perform. To find one good sales staff, we have to interview and orient 20 more. It’s a headache.

There is so much potential in them, and yet I have to let them go because they refuse to follow the rules. Given that we hire more than 20 staff, it’s important that the rules are followed because only then, the company can thrive and survive.

Don’t worry Ma’m,” my supervisor said. “We will just find someone better.”

It is easier for me to find and train a new one,” she said. “Than to keep this one person and risk the rest.”

I hope this is something we can learn for the new year.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Advice, Business, Conflicts, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, leadership, Philippines, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relationship Advice: Stop making your wife do all the work!

In marriage, it’s easy to push responsibilities to your partner.

“It’s the job of the mother to take care of the kids.”

“It’s the job of the wife to cook for the husband.”

“It’s not my job to keep the bathroom clean.”

“It’s not my job to change the diaper or bathe the baby. That’s the woman’s job.”

I realised that a big part of my being happy in my marriage comes in large part because my husband stops himself from pushing jobs to me just because I am a wife, mother and woman.

A lot of women complain about their husbands. As part of a huge Filipino Mommy group, I am privy to many women’s heartaches, many of which circles around the fact that their husbands do not help in the house or with the kids.

What’s even worse, many of these women work. And when they get home, things at home are still expected to be in their realm of responsibility.

What’s more annoying is that while women take care of the house and families, fathers are either…

Or doing this….

And then angrily say, “Can’t you see I’m busy!”

No wonder women are unhappy. Who wouldn’t be pissed if this is what happens at home?

So if you guys want to make your wife happy, do the housework. Don’t burden and leave her in doing all the childrearing and keeping the house clean. Then complain when things aren’t done your way. That’s really annoying!

As they say,

No need to buy the book. Just change the diapers, do the laundry and cook and clean once in a while and your wife will love you forever.

I know I love my husband! He’s the best!

Posted in Advice, children, Family, Filipino Men/Women, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Kid Problems, Marriage, Parenthood, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tale of Two Pregnancies

I talked about our driver who was na-kupit by the girlfriend. Despite having relationship problems with his needy and controlling girlfriend, our driver managed to get her pregnant, of which I believe is NOT an accident.

*The things women do to cling on a relationship, mutter mutter…*

He is obviously not too happy with what happened, and is just trying to muster a smile and look brave despite the additional bundle of challenge that will come his way. He already has a few kids with his first wife whom he is supporting. Trust me, he does not really look forward to having another child with a woman whom he wanted to dump last week.

Place the focus now to my brother, who happily announced that his wife of 10 months is now pregnant.

My mother called me yesterday saying that she was already pregnant. They asked me for OB recommendations which I sent via Messenger.

Guess what?

As soon as I sent the information, they immediately called the doctor and sped to her clinic. They were THAT excited.

Apparently, sister in law was already 5 weeks pregnant. Not even a trimester yet, but the couple was very excited and happy with the news that a new bundle of joy was coming. It’s like how these other dads react to the news — they were OVER THE MOON.

Compare the two pregnancy reveals which came a few days with each other, there was the reluctant new dad (our driver) and the over the moon soon-to-be father (my brother). How can one pregnancy be reacted so differently?

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I think it’s worthwhile to consider that there is actually a good and a bad time to be pregnant. It is also important to note that when a baby comes at the right time, there is so much joy all around. We must all strive to plan for babies, and do it at the right time.

When is the right time to have a baby?

The right time to have a baby is when both of you are in a good place relationship-wise.

The right time to have a baby is when both of you are financially stable, and can afford all the expensive things needed for a baby (e.g., monthly check-ups, vaccination, diapers, milk are just some of the basics).

The right time to have a baby is when you both decided BEFOREHAND that you wanted one. A baby is always great, but it should enhance your relationship, not be the bandaid to your problems.

The right time to have a baby is when you have the capacity and person to raise it. Most people ask their in-laws to help. Some struggle just finding someone they can entrust the baby to. What’s the point of having a baby if there is no capable caregiver around?

The right time to have a baby is when it will come into the world welcomed, loved, and cared for.

Otherwise, it’s NOT a good time to have a baby.

How about you? What do you think is the right time to have a baby?

Posted in Advice, baby, Baby Stuff, Husband, Pregnancy, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Debt is a Ticking Timebomb

My father-in-law warned me from being jealous of the very rich men in the country. He said, “Don’t ever think they are rich just because they say they are rich. You never know, they are even poorer than we are.”

What he meant was this, while many businessmen may be paper rich, they may be ultra-poor and drowning in debt.

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Debt is a wonderful thing: The money you owed can supercharge a business and make it grow exponentially. Through debt, you can open a large number of stores, increase your workforce, introduce a new product in the market, get a large endorser and increase your brand visibility, among others.

Debt can also kill a business. If overdone and the business cannot pay the debt interest, or if your debtors suddenly pull their support, then your business is dead, leaving you a pariah and poorer than you’ve ever been.

My father-in-law has a friend Mr. H who lives dangerously in the edge. He is known to be rich, and is active in the Filipino-Chinese business community. Weirdly, many other businessmen do not seem to respect him. Despite his high profile and wealth, this friend cannot muster respect from the Filipino-Chinese community.

When I asked my father-in-law why, he said, “It’s common knowledge that (Another Tycoon’s name) does not respect him.” 

Another Tycoon Mr. L owns a bank to which Mr. H owes money. Apparently, it’s a LOT of money, worth in billions!

Put it this way, if the rumors are true, and assuming that the bank rate is 5% per annum, Mr. H would have to pay a whopping Php 25 MILLION per month merely in interest payments!debt.jpg

That’s like buying one condominium unit per month.

No wonder Mr. L scoffs at Mr. H. Despite living in a very prestigious village and touting several businesses, even going as far as appearing in a social media show that highlights him as an angel investor, Mr. H owes a large amount of debt. In the end, all his wealth is in the brink of exploding.

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Which is why I can understand Mr. L’s disdain for Mr. H’s high profile lifestyle.

How dare you tout your wealth, lifestyle and riches, even to the point of giving advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to make money and be rich like you… only to hide the fact that you are deeply in debt and have to work your ass off to pay the interest just so that your debt will not explode to your face. What’s more, if you are already struggling to pay the interest, how much more can you afford to pay for the principal?

Most likely, this is a debt that can never be paid, and Mr. H is just paying the bare minimum per month (e.g., just the interest payments) for his business to survive.

When I asked my father-in-law why Mr. H took on such a large amount of debt, my father-in-law explained that Mr. H took that risky bet because he thought that the government would approve and buy his products. He thought that if his political bet won the election, Mr. Political Bet would take on his business and roll his product nationwide.

Alas, he bet on the wrong horse. Another candidate won the election and this candidate was a dark horse from the South who had no knowledge of what Mr. H was doing with the previous administration, and was in fact, against everything that the previous administration supported.

So despite already expanding his factory’s capacity to churn out a large amount of product that can be rolled out nationwide and investing millions in marketing his product to the government, all such investments didn’t really push through, leaving him with a large amount of debt with not enough revenue to pay for it.

Learning about this story, I do not want to be Mr. H anymore.

I would rather be happy with my small business enterprise and be relatively “debt” small (e.g., We do have debt but it’s something we strictly budgeted for, and we know we can pay in whole if needed be), than be like Mr. H, who I don’t know how he sleeps at night.

Debt can be a great or dangerous thing.

Before we become jealous to the rich tycoons who rule our land, first understand where they are coming from and if ever they are cash rich or debt poor. Because sometimes, all we see are their huge houses, cash thrown around and glittering TV show, when in fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, and truly, the man we think who is very rich is actually poorer than we are.

How about you?

Are you cash rich or debt poor?

Have a good weekend!

 

 

Posted in Advice, Business, Dad's Advice, entrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Personal opinion, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nakupit”

I asked my husband the English translation of the Filipino word, “Kupit.”

There’s actually no accurate English translation,” he said. “But it’s like getting pregnant out of wedlock.”

That’s actually not a good translation. For me, nakupit means to be caught in a net. To be deceived and as a result, was given no choice.

 

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This is what happens to so many men in particular.

They are casually dating a woman, having sex with them like rabbits. They don’t take this woman seriously, but still continue to see them because the milk is free.

I have a lot of friends like that.

When I ask him, “How are you and (girlfriend’s name)?” they will answer, “Oh, we are trudging along. We’re just having a good time.”

When I implore him for more information, he would say, “I’m just enjoying life at the moment. I don’t want anything serious… and she knows that.”

Half a year later…..

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SHE’S PREGNANT!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh.

This is the time we say, “Nakupit ang lalake.” 

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The woman tells the man that she is pregnant. At first, there is disbelief on how the heck she managed to get pregnant when they have been so careful in using protection.

Here’s some news for you, There’s no way it was an accidental pregnancy.

If the girl got pregnant, she knew she was going to get pregnant soon enough, and she did so in the hopes that makupit yung guy.

Women do this a lot. In Taiwan, women used to poke holes in condoms in the hopes of getting “accidentally” pregnant because she wants her playboy boyfriend to settle down with her. While women are still interchangeable when they are single, it’s hard to replace them when they are the mother of your child.

My friend M did that. She was dating a Filipino-Chinese man R and they have had an on-off relationship for months. M is a former model/escort while R was a man of means.

During their breakups and makeups, R cannot stop having sex with M. Stupidly, he believed that she was using protection and didn’t want to get pregnant. That was a laugh.

A few months of constant sex got M pregnant.

R was forced to house her. He bought her a DMCI condominium and had to take care of her while she was pregnant with his child. He still wanted to be free and date around, but technically he is stuck since he got his on-off girlfriend pregnant.

She gave birth last December and R is miserable.

He knows he is stuck but he doesn’t know what to do. In other words, “nakupit siya,” stuck with a woman who was supposed to just be a casual fling, but turned out to be a snake whom he cannot easily get rid of.

My mother’s driver E got his girlfriend pregnant. Ironically, his girlfriend also works in my brother’s firm.

Their relationship has come to the point that his girlfriend was so needy and controlling that E was feeling shackled. He wanted out from the relationship, and would feel irritated whenever he sees her calling.

Then she got pregnant.

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Here you go again.

Now, he’s stuck with her.

He can’t dump her while she’s carrying his child without looking like an ass. However, the relationship isn’t really working out and they’re fighting everyday, and yet, they’re now stuck to each other for life because of their child.

Big sigh.

The woman is the b*tch and isn’t a great partner. However he’s stuck now with her because he foolishly believed she won’t get pregnant by choice.

WRONG!

Sigh — so many men get caught with this mistake. And yet, they keep on making the same mistake over and over again. He deludes himself into thinking that if the relationship isn’t working, the woman would rather not get pregnant. He fools himself into thinking that she is smart enough to not want kids when the relationship in trouble.

Quite the opposite: When the woman feels that the relationship is ending, she gets pregnant to ensure its continuity. To keep a man, or at least increase the chance of keeping a man, get pregnant.

Which is why, there are so many pregnancies in the Philippines.

How about you? Do you agree with the concept of kupit? How do you translate kupit to English?

Posted in Advice, baby, Baby Stuff, Boyfriend, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s better to be an Employee than an Employer

Ever since I was young, my father has always instilled to me the wonders of being an entrepreneur. “You need to manage your own business, Bonita,” he said. “No matter how high up the corporate ladder you get, if you are an employee, you still have to answer to your boss. He makes all the money, while you get all the scraps.”

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Ironically, I actually ended up climbing up the corporate ladder.

I was fortunately hired by a leading IT company, which led me to switch to a leading investment bank. I didn’t make a lot of demands and had a great relationship with my boss and co-workers. Consequently, by the time I was 28, I was already making upwards of USD 100,000 per year exclusive of bonuses.

All I had to do was show up to work, do what I am good at, mingle with talented and competent colleagues and get paid a lot of money doing what I love. I had 21 days of leave which I can never finish and the respect of my co-workers around the globe.

What’s not to love?

Stupidly, I didn’t know how good my gig was until I quit to get my MBA.  To be perfectly honest, I still count leaving my wonderful job at investment banking for my MBA as one of the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

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After my MBA, life moved me to being an entrepreneur. When I married my husband, his family gifted us a small business enterprise, to which we’ve managed to develop and grow with much difficulty.

We started off with 11 stores and doubled it. We had just enough working capital to last us a month and a half, and depended on family loans to keep us afloat.

People we trusted betrayed and stole from us.

Applicants and suppliers lied to us on a daily basis.

Being an entrepreneur was not fun. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. In fact, people who do not have the risk tolerance and capital should NOT be an entrepreneur!

And yet, so many people want to be an entrepreneur. The interest of being an entrepreneur is enough that there is a magazine that tots the wonders of being your own boss and getting rich while you’re at it:

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This is how much it’s not fun being an entrepreneur is.

On the 15th of every month, I pay the rent. I pay around Php 30,000 to Php 80,000 per month on rent, and this amount goes up at least 10% per year. How anyone can afford rent nowadays is beyond me.

I also pay the office staff and sales staff twice a month. This doesn’t include remitting their benefits which can cost a pretty penny depending on the number of staff you hire. This by the way is fine by me since they worked hard for it and deserved every penny they get. But yeah, settling the payroll still hurts even though you know paying your staff correctly and fairly is right.

Business permits is around Php 10,000 to Php 20,000 per permit. Count the number of stores we have and that’s a pretty big number.

There’s still the income tax, VAT and all other business obligations that you still have to pay. If your business is legit and not under the table, this amount becomes very significant.

Cost of goods are rising due to the weakening peso. Gas prices are going up due to the excise tax and the weakening peso. That means, transportation expenses will climb significantly, but I cannot increase my product prices too much so there’s that.

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Competition is getting higher. As the years go on, more and more competitors join the race. Every time a new competitor opens, our sales go down a bit.

What’s worse is that despite all your sacrifices, you will still get staff complaints and customer complaints. Despite all that you do for them in paying them correctly, there are still some staff who won’t be happy and try to sabotage your business operations because they can.

In other words, it’s getting harder to be an entrepreneur. We can’t just quit halfway. We really have to keep on going despite all the challenges knowing that there are a lot of people depending on us for livelihood.

Back when I was in the corporate world, I would earn a lot of money just for being me. Like seriously, my salary being a corporate slave was 10x my current salary, and I earned that money day in and out without fail.

Sure, anyone can easily be fired, but I was then very competent and literally unfire-able. Of all people, I was not afraid of losing my job. My bosses love me.

Now, I am earning less money, deal with a lot more headaches, and have to constantly worry about my business.

Money wise, it’s definitely not equal. While my business earns more money as a whole, I had a lot more payables so only a little is left. Whereas in corporate life, my entire salary is mine to enjoy, the money I get here in business is still not enough to pay for my home’s association dues.

So entrepreneurship is really not for everyone.

Think very carefully before you cross that bridge. Because at the end of the day, you may think that you’re winning, only to find out that maybe, you’re really biting more than you can chew.

I can afford to lose money in business. My mother and my in-laws can still bail me out, and technically, we don’t have a lot of expenses.

However, not everyone can gamble their life savings.

So before you take that leap, think very carefully. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone, so do pray hard before making that gamble.

Have a good week ahead!

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How can you tell if someone’s lying?

The wonders of a lie is that it’s usually not perfectly thought of…

That means, when a question was asked, the lie was blurted without much thought whatsoever. What’s more, if other fellow liars are involved, there is not a lot of discussion involved aside from answering the question.

This makes it easier to catch people in a lie.

How?

By asking increasingly detailed questions over and over.

For example, my staff will usually tell me that she was sick, that’s why she didn’t come to work.

What’s your sickness?” I would ask.

I had a tummy ache and was vomiting,” she answered. “I had diarrhea.”

What time did you have your tummy ache?” I asked. “Tell me the sequence of events on how it lead to the tummy ache and diarrhea.”

She will answer it was after she ate bad food. Then I would ask her if she went to see a doctor.

If she said she did see a doctor, I will ask her the name of the doctor and to which hospital she actually visited.

Once I get the name of the hospital, I will ask for the clinic number and what the doctor prescribed.

I will ask for a medical certificate or prescription if she visited, evidence that she should have if my staff really visited the doctor.

If she didn’t see a doctor, I would ask why not especially since her sickness was serious enough for her to miss work.

I will ask many questions and go over her answers over and over until I get to the bottom of it.

Remember, people who tell the truth can justify every single detail of the story. People who lie cannot and make up the lie as they go along. It is in this making up phase that you can catch them give inconsistent answers and unreasonable logic.

This is how you catch a liar.

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How My Friend Got Away with Infidelity

My married friend learned that her husband was flirting with other women behind her back. Given that he needs to be based in the Southern area and their child studies here in Manila, they have spent many days apart per month despite flying back and forth to see each other.

The last time my friend caught her husband flirting, it was on Facebook with him liking and messaging sexy car show models.

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Note: Image taken from the Internet to illustrate just how tempting car show models can be. Doesn’t mean friend’s husband is flirting with any of them.

It went unnoticed to the point that the husband was already having friendly chats with the model. Then he was caught.

After some groveling and a hesitant promise not to message these models on Facebook again, he’s back at it, this time befriending a mall cashier.

The worst part is that the friendship so to speak has been going on over the last 1.5 years. My friend’s husband has met this cashier at least once as admitted in their text conversation, and goodness knows what happened next, especially since they have continued their flirtatious relationship afterwards.

I don’t think anything happened when they met,” my friend cried as she shared with me this story. “Right?”

I am not naive.

I will not delude myself into thinking that after months of build-up, nothing happened. Especially since the guy has gone on to invite the woman into his family apartment and stay in his room. But heck, why pour salt into the festering wound?

My friend was beyond herself, and her normal prim and proper demeanor was broken when she started to cry.

I don’t know why he’s doing this again after promising that he will stop,” she moaned. “It is unbecoming for him to go out and date the cashier especially since he and his family are trying their best to keep a good reputation in the community. Why throw it away because of a piece of trash?”

To be honest, I don’t think the man was thinking of his family or his reputation when he eyed the cashier.seduce.jpg

Put it this way, guys are very simple: He came, he saw and then he conquered. To hell with everything else. So his reaction was a very primal, carnal thing.

So the wife had her suspicions. Given the wife’s intuition is very strong, she woke up one day from a bad dream and looked over her husband’s phone.

Her blood ran cold —- She saw a message pop up just as soon as she looked. It was from another woman, and the text was a text that only a girlfriend would send. Something similar to this…

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Dismayed, my friend accessed her husband’s emails, Facebook chats and phone messages. To her dismay, she saw that they’ve been messaging for over a year!

She carefully screenshot all the incriminating messages to confront him later on. Then she took a Valium and cried herself to sleep.

One week later, their love was strengthened and they are back together again.

Now a lot of you would ask wWahy. Given that the husband was already caught cheating, how the hell did he get away with it? Here is what he did:

1. Upon finding out that he was caught —- the maid told him how distraught the missus was — the husband kept calm, deleted all the incriminating messages, and waited for the wife to confront him.

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There’s no point to keep any messages as further evidence. Delete every message you think your wife will frown upon.

2. When your wife confronts you, first deny everything. Do this so that she will show you what type of evidence she has on hand.

Wait for your wife to confront you. She will, you know? And she will ask you all the questions you don’t want to answer but should.

She needs an answer so give her some, but not all.

Answer questions to the goal of finding out what evidences she knows about, and which instances she does not know about. That way, you will know what exactly are the charges against you.

3. When you find out which evidences she has on hand, only begrudgingly confirm those she has evidence of. DENY EVERYTHING ELSE.

Yes, we have been talking on the phone. Yes, I know it was wrong and I am very very sorry.”

“Yes, even when we met, swearing on the life of our child, NOTHING HAPPENED. We didn’t sleep together. All we did was meet, and that was it.”

No, I didn’t give her any gifts. I actually was just joking with her, but to be honest, no gifts were exchanged.”

4. Admit you have a sex/porn addiction and admit that you need her to help you overcome it.

Every woman wants to “save” a man. Let your wife “save” you from your sins. Even offer to go to church to show sincerity to change.

5. Promise her that while you made a mistake, you realize just how important she and you family are to you, and that while you screwed up now, you will not do it again.

6. Check out if there’s any crack in her armor. When she starts to laugh or let you touch her, then you’re almost scott free.

When after confronting her, she allows you to touch and make love to her, all is forgiven. You have now escaped with nary a scratch.

7. Do not make the same idiotic mistake of getting caught. Either sincerely change to be a better man, or if you cannot, be better in hiding your affairs next time.

Love makes us idiots.

My friend did not want to admit that her husband was a cheater. As I’ve said, this is not the first time he’s cheated.

However, for the sake of the family, everything is swept under the rug. And all is forgiven.

It only took a few hours in an afternoon for the husband to make amends.

Now, do you think he’s really changed and stop cheating, or did he just try to save his sorry ass from his angry wife?

I really hope that it’s the former. Unfortunately, I think it is the latter.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Friendship, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Philippines, Question & Answer, Rants, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we still don’t have our second kid?

Let me approach the elephant in the room — Bakit walang kasunod ang anak ko? 

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In English, it means, “How come we have yet to have our second child?”

Our daughter is already 2 years old. We just recently celebrated her second birthday. How come I am not pregnant with the next one?

Here are the real and practical reasons:

1. We have a lot less sexy time since our daughter was born.

My daughter and I co-sleep since she was born. She is also exclusively breastfed. My daughter follows our schedule and sleeps late.

That’s why, we have less sexy time than when before daughter was born.

Before she was born, we could still schedule our time together. Now, we cannot anymore. We have to wait till she is asleep, and she sleeps very late.

That’s why, there’s no baby #2.

2. We have gotten older, a lot busier with work, and our body is not as good as it used to.

Blame husband on being lower energy. We work hard during the day and apart from daughter sleeping late, he is more tired during the night.

My body is not like what it’s used to,” he admitted. “Before, I could party the entire evening and still be awake the next day. Now, that’s no longer the case.”

There are times when I want to do it too, but I’m just so sleepy that I would doze off before our show is finished. So, we would just think, “There’s always another day, another time…”

That’s why, there’s no baby #2.

3. My baby might hurt my other baby.

My baby is breastfed and actively moves around. Just last night, she stepped on my tummy because she keeps on frolicking around the bed.

It hurts.

Wah, imagine what will happen if I was pregnant with another child? I would suffer a miscarriage if that happened

4. We are already happy with our child. The pressure of having a second child is a lot less than not having a child yet. 

Our baby brings so much joy that sometimes, it’s easier to forget that we need to make another. There is always the fear that maybe, the second child may not be as good as the first.

We do not want to not favor the second child just because she is a lesser performer than the first. No matter what you say, a parent will always favor one child over the other.

My husband is adamant, “Pea is my favorite,” he said. “Nobody is better than her.”

I personally have to favor our only child. So I do not honestly know how to deal with the second. It has always been my prayer that we will be blessed with a wonderful second child. But we also know that it depends on luck, and God’s blessing and wisdom. Sometimes, it’s scary to risk because you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

5. The real reason: God has yet to bless us with another.

Despite the lower frequency of sexy time, we are not using protection and we do still hope that I can get pregnant again. Anyway, I am nearing my 40s, and it’s better to have a second child sooner than later, IF we are still having one.

Alas, we have yet to be blessed with another one.

I was so disappointed the last time I had my period.

Oh so disappointed.

I didn’t think I would be THAT disappointed but I was.

So it’s not that we aren’t hoping. We would welcome another addition to the family, but there is yet another one. I am just not pregnant yet.

And I don’t know when I will get pregnant again despite our best hopes.

I know that husband and I should do more to ensure my next pregnancy but we are too tired and busy to make one. We are lucky when we find time to do so, and can only hope that I can conceive despite the lower frequency.

Anyway, these things are best left to God.

And that’s why we still do not have Baby# 2.

 

 

 

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If you don’t watch your staff, don’t be surprised if they go and party!

My father-in-law tells me about a janitor who works in his Association’s building. Since he was the Association President that year, he was the one who interviewed and oriented that personnel before hiring him.

The janitor was good. He has initiative,” he shared. “He would come in on time, mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, and even change the light bulbs when they need changing.”

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“Even though I wasn’t there everyday,” he added, “I would see the janitor happily working.”

When my father-in-law’s term was finished, he turned his duties over to another administrator.

One day, this administrator called him to complain about the janitor.

Apparently, the janitor would time in at 8:00am, disappear, and then work a little before timing out on time at 5:00pm. The administrator felt that the janitor was not working well, and was asking for advice on how to handle him.

My father-in-law told me, “When a personnel stops doing their job, it’s usually not the personnel’s problem. But rather the supervisor’s problem.”

Then he paused and looked at me. He wanted me to learn the important lesson.

I smiled.

I got the lesson.

To be a good manager, you have to constantly monitor and supervise your staff. 

If they do the right thing, you have to praise and compliment them. You need to show them that you are invested in them and care about how they are doing their work.

If they know that you know that they are doing their job, then they know that you will not forget them come bonus season. Of course, if a staff is doing their job, you will have to compensate them accordingly. So it’s crucial to show the staff that you know that they’re doing their job. That your eyes are wide open and you see their faults and their successes.

At the same time, you have to catch them as soon as they make a mistake. THEN CORRECT THEM ON THE SPOT.

One of my former supervisors would always bring erroneous documents back to the head office. When asked about them, she would say, “I don’t know. Ask the staff. It’s their hand that wrote in the receipt.”

Therein lies the problem — the former supervisor does not take responsibility for her task in spotting and correcting her staff’s mistakes.

The former supervisor did not check the staff’s work at the store. Instead, she brings them — wrong and all — back to the head office to inflow the items. Consequently, the staff feels they are doing the forms correctly, and keep on making the same careless mistakes. This makes the supervisor’s job harder, because she needs to constantly correct her staff.

Compare this to another of my supervisors: She is a perfectionist.

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Even from Day 1, she would look at her staff’s work and correct them immediately when they make a mistake. The supervisor would tell the staff how she wants things to be done, and does not want the staff to deviate from her instruction.

As a result, her work is easier because she has had the staff complete the forms the way she wants it, file the papers by date, and write the forms on her outflow book for her checking. She doesn’t have to waste too much time re-organizing and refiling the papers. The staff already does it for her.

So when she goes to the store, she only needs to check the forms if they are in order and stapled properly. Every time something is wrong, she will correct them immediately so that the staff does not do it again. Then she signs the logbook and brings it back to the head office.

This supervisor is highly respected by the staff. She is very strict with them, but her staff likes working under her because they perform better. When I talk to them, they say, “I am very thankful for (Supervisor name here). She motivates me to work harder, and hence, my salary is higher with her.”

The other more lenient supervisor has very little control to her staff.

Her staff always circumvent the rules and bully the former supervisor. I let her go last week. While she is a nice person, she cannot supervise staff properly.

What’s the Lesson Here?

Everyone wants to be happy with their job.

When they are happy with their job, they are motivated and would like to please their bosses more. But staff always need to know that their boss are watching them. That the bosses care about their work and well-being as much as them.

So I understood my father-in-law’s lesson — It is our job as bosses to make sure we watch and correct our staff. If we do this properly, we will have happier, more productive workers. If we are too lose, our staff will think work is a joke and will not work as hard.

The problem with the administrator,” my father-in-law ended his story, “Is that she is too lazy. She comes in way after 8:00am call time, does not really monitor the janitor’s work and expects him to work.” 

Then she complains about him that he’s not working,” he added. “When the staff is not working, it’s because the administrator is not working as well. She is lazy and just coasting and expect that other people will do their work without any effort from her.”

“Do not be like the administrator,”  he concluded.

How about you? What is your management style? Do you agree with my father-in-law?

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Family, leadership, Life lessons, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Know it’s Christmas in the Philippines if….

The malls are full, even at 11:00pm


There is laughter in the air, and traffic everywhere….


Christmas cantatas in the park, simbang gabi after dark…..


Gastos sa gifts, no need for balik…..


Gastos din sa employees, 13th month pay, bonus and Christmas party….


Time with families, handaan sa bahay (dinner at home)….


Hay…. Christmas na naman. The happiest, most tiring, most expensive time of the year. How are you celebrating this Christmas?

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“Hindi Pwedeng Hindi” (Never say Never)

When I worked at a prestigious investment bank, I asked my assistant to DHL a very important time-critical document to one of our largest clients. It was her visa, which will allow her to fly to Taiwan that Sunday for a very important two-day conference that following week.

My assistant couriered the document to our client’s office.

And while it was the correct office, he managed to stupidly send it to the wrong country! Instead of mailing it to her where she is residing in Hong Kong, he mailed it to their satellite office in Singapore.

The document arrived on Friday evening at the client’s office in Singapore. Her assistant called me to inform me of this huge mistake.

My first reaction was to kill him. Like, literally, throwing him off the building.

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So to calm myself down, I locked myself in the room and immediately called my counterpart in Hong Kong to calm myself down. I started screaming in frustration and didn’t know what to do.

Put it this way, this was one of our top-tier clients, and we have already arranged 16 one-on-one meetings for her for the conference. If she couldn’t arrive, then we would have to cancel all the meetings, and this stupid boo boo can cause us to lose millions in commissions.

How do you think my boss could explain this to her? “Sorry, but my girl mailed your visa to the wrong country?”

There’s really no way to get out of this. There is ZERO way we do not deliver the visa to her.

The problem is that DHL do NOT courier documents on a weekend. If the assistant sends the visa to her that Friday afternoon, the visa will already arrive on Monday afternoon at the latest, causing her to miss one whole day of meetings.

She would have to change her flight. This will cause major embarrassment both for us, since the people whom she worked for, and the companies she is meeting will know the snafu we got ourselves into.

In other words, such boo boo was UNACCEPTABLE.

And despite the fact that it was my incompetent assistant who couriered the visa to the wrong office, it was still ultimately my responsibility to fix the problem. I was his boss and I had to take accountability for his mistake.

So what did I do?

My partner and I looked into the bank’s travel network to see if there were anybody in the company who will be traveling from Singapore to Hong Kong on Friday evening or Saturday.

Thankfully, our company database was state of the art, and we were able to find ONE match.

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I think the Lord was really watching out for me.

Another blessing was that we actually knew who this person was — This guy worked in the institutional equity sales desk in Singapore and knew just how critical this client was, and how important this task was for us.

He was also a super nice guy, who immediately agreed to be our mule to bring the visa from Singapore to Hong Kong.

The second problem was how do we get the visa from our client’s office to him, so that he could bring the visa to Hong Kong? By that time, it was already evening and the client and her assistant has gone home.

The visa at that time was in their office. There was no work the next day.

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So we racked our heads again for a solution.

Once again, we tried to ask for outside help. Since this problem is bigger than I was, I escalated the problem to my boss, the Head of Equities.

I calmly told him the problem: that we made a big boo boo, but that we have a solution. We informed him that Garett would deliver the visa from Singapore to Hong Kong the very next day (since he departed at noon), but needed help to get the visa from the client’s office to Garett before his flight.

I told him that I’ve already booked a driver in Singapore, but wanted help on how we can get the client’s help to inform their Singapore office assistant to go to the office early Saturday morning and give Garett the visa.

Thankfully, we were once again able to find a solution.

One of our equity sales staff was married to a senior analyst who worked for that client. He was more senior than our client, and was able to ask their Singapore assistant to get out of bed on Saturday morning, get the visa from their office, and deliver the visa to Garett on time before he leaves for his flight.

Of course, the driver was on OUR expense. I booked our most reliable in Singapore to pick the assistant up, take her to the office, and then to Garett’s house before taking her back home.

I also asked Garett to buy her a big box of Godiva chocolates and flowers, so that when she came with the visa, he had a token of appreciation for her hassle in getting up early Saturday morning. Garett was in sales and was a charmer.

And while there was some grumbling in the Singaporean assistant’s part, the moment she met cute Garett, she was charmed and happily accepted her flowers and chocolates.

Garett flew from Singapore to Hong Kong that afternoon and hand-delivered the visa to the client.

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Oh my gosh — you can never imagine just how stressful everything was. Honestly, even up until today, I really don’t know just how we pulled it off. It took an entire group of competent people to save the account, and save it we did.

This just proves that no matter how problematic an issue may be, there is always a solution IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT DEFEAT.

And I think this experience gave me an invaluable lesson —- Shit happens. Shit happens all the time.

However, we cannot take these experiences in defeat. If shit things happen, then we face the problems and solve it.

Now that I am managing my own business, this is a lesson I try to impart to my staff — Never accept defeat. Hindi pwedeng hindi (Don’t say NO or never).

If people give you a problem, still do not accept no as an answer. Always find a way to solve the problem.

Three weeks ago, I have asked my supervisor to get the necessary permits to start operating a store. She brought all the relevant documents to the mall for feedback and approval.

Then she called me, “The Operations team said we do not have all the documents to open our store on time. They said that they will not allow us to ingress unless we already provide the necessary permits on hand.”

The issue was, I have already talked to the mall earlier in November to ask them to waive the requirements because the year was already ending. My email was delivered but remained unanswered. So, I assumed that their answer was no problem since we never really had any issues regarding permit applications when opening a store in other malls.

However, the week when we were going to open the store, the Operations Assistant informed us that she will refuse us to start operations unless we come up with the necessary permits.

I was livid —- I had no problems regarding getting the permit. But I had actually informed them earlier that I was requesting for a waiver on permits since it’s year end. If they had an issue with that, they should have replied to my email.

As it turned out, the teams in that mall were poorly coordinated. And while it was okay for one team for us to proceed without a permit, the Operations Department had a different view.

Consequently, the Operations Department had her running around in circles.

At the end of the day, I had to step in, go to the mall, and ask the Operations assistant myself, “Ultimately, what do you need from us so that we can operate on time?”

After we talked, I got the minimal list of requirements she needed to allow us to operate. It was doable in a one-week period but will allow us to operate with a few days delay.

Would you penalize us for not opening on time especially since our delay in getting the permits is honestly not our entire fault since we were only informed this week that such permits were non-negotiable?” I asked.

Yes, we will not charge you until you start operating. We will allow you to ingress your store but not operate until you give us the necessary documents.”

We opened with a two day delay but with zero penalty.

There was a lot of takeaways from this experience —- At work, we will encounter many issues. People will inform us why we cannot get what we want, and usually, it’s easier to just shrug off our shoulders and say, “Oh well, that is life.”

But a company with people who merely accept defeat is a company who will not be there in the long-term. In business, tasks need to be done on time, and unless we insist that they be finished in time, there will be a lot of heeing and hawing and nothing will get done.

This is unacceptable.

That is why, hindi pwedeng hindi. If you want to get anywhere, do not accept no for an answer. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

 

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My Daughter is Raised by a Community

I have never prided myself as a Supermom.

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The first time I bathed my baby was when she was 13 months old.

That was also the time I cleaned up my baby’s poo.

My husband was absurdly hurt, and I was left to clean and bathe her while he was having his bleeding hand stitched in the Emergency Room.

During the daytime, I have our maid bring her to school early in the morning. The babysitter comes in our room at 7:15am to bring her to the nursery in time for class at 8:00am. The driver drives both of them there.

My mom’s driver picks her up at 10:00am and takes her to lunch, where she is then sent to another playschool at noon till 3:00pm. Then she watches sing-along videos in the office till 7:00pm.

The only time I have time for her is after work in the evening.

In the daytime when I cannot be a proper mother, I have hired the babysitter, the driver, the nursery teachers, my staff, and even asked for the help of my own mother to take care of my own offspring.

I do this without shame — as I find it impossible to earn a living and raise my daughter at the same time.

Thankfully, despite my lack of motherly competencies, my daughter still adores me and still gives me a big smile when she sees me come home.

It is because of my lack of time, energy and experience that I’d have to say — My Daughter is Raised by a Community of People who Adore and Love Her.

If she ended up reasonable and sane, it is to their credit that she turned out okay.

That’s why, I thank yaya for waking up early and bringing her to and from school. I know that a lot of other mothers do this, and I’m sorry I do not. But I try my best to be there for daughter on very special occasion and performances, and hope that yaya’s constant presence at school bring my daughter comfort that at least there’s someone looking out for her while I am gone.

I thank her teachers for being patient with her. It warms my heart to hear them comment on how my child is doing, and how she refuses to sit for long periods of time. The teachers are extra pairs of eyes who watch over my child and teach her the right and wrong way. They are the reason why she knows “burger,” “pail,” and “pack away,” words that I know she learned in school.

I thank my mom for adoring her only granddaughter. Since we aren’t super rich, my mother has been such a blessing for us. She has bought for us Pampers since my daughter was born. My daughter has never been in need for any material things because of my mom. For this, I thank you. That, and for doting on my daughter whenever she can.

I thank my in-laws too for taking care of my daughter in the evenings. For feeding her mango and for letting her use the iPad, especially since she can’t do it when I’m not around.

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I thank my staff for entertaining her, feeding her, watching over her, and for obliging her when she is in the office. I hope that she learns all of the best things about you guys and see you as her extended family.

I thank the Lord for always watching over us. For keeping us safe. And for keeping us relatively healthy. We are blessed a thousand times over, and none of this is possible without God’s watchfulness.

My daughter is now two years old, and is raised by a community.

She is the ways she is not because of me and her father alone, but rather, because of a slew of people who helps us in raising her and ensuring she is well taken care of.

She is never lacking of love, care and attention. Even when I am not around, they compensate for my absence, and the accumulation of all of us produces what my daughter is today.

So thank you to the community who raised her.

And thank you to the daughter who brought us so much joy.

Happy birthday, little pea!

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Why I celebrate my daughter’s 2 year old birthday even though she’s too young to remember

My husband thinks I’m crazy.

Why do you even need to celebrate her birthday party? She’s only two,” he said. “She is way too young to remember.”

He sees me buying stuff for her lootbag. I am very happy with my purchase:


From left to right, I’ve prepared a small cute sling bag, ball that lights when it hits the floor, a large coloring book, a Big Book of English Words, a spill proof tumbler, a set of 8 jumbo crayons, plastic letters and numbers, and a spoon/fork/chopsticks set. Basically, stuff I’d like to gift my own child. 

It’s always been a pleasure for me to share life’s blessings. I’ve always prided myself as a good gift giving person, so in a way, preparing all of these for my daughter’s classmates/friends also give me joy. 


I also bought a simple chocolate cake and took out McDonald’s Happy Meal for the class. Even though they’re still very young, they’re never too young to munch on french fries and drink pineapple juice.


I know that at 2, my daughter may be way too young to remember. However, I still celebrate her birthday because of the following reasons:

1. I want her to remember that her birthday is a day of joy, and she’s worth to be celebrated.

Even as I near mg 40s, I still make a big deal out of my birthday. No matter how husband insists that I not make a big deal out of his birthday, I have always insisted that he makes a big deal with mine. 

This reinforces self worth. 

You may or may not agree with me, but for one day a year, it’s my birthday, and I get to selfishly celebrate it however I want. Any other day is a non issue, but come my birthday, I want my loved ones to make an effort to celebrate my birth.

So husband makes plans even though he’s more of a spontaneous person. 

I get a nice gift that I don’t get everyday.

I eat a nice dinner with people I love and get to choose where to go, with less thought on budget. That’s why I scour blogs looking forward to that one restaurant I can try and splurge on during my birthday. 

And I feel very very special at least one day a year.

I want my daughter to insist that her significant other make a big deal out of her birthday too. I don’t want him to take her for granted. So now, while I still can, I will make her feel special on her birthday. So that when I am gone, she will also insist that such tradition is continued.

2. Yes, I want her to feel equal to her classmates.

When I was young, I used to be jealous of my classmate’s new pencilcase. I wanted to hold it because I didn’t have one. At thay time, these types of pencil cases were so damn cool: 

1980s babies would know why these were a big deal back then. 

No matter what you say, schools can be very cliquish. There are kids who have the new pencil cases and the kids who are looking yearningly over the pencil cases.

There’s always those kids who gave the best parties and the nicest loot bags. We don’t really care who they were, but we waited in anticipation for a birthday invite because we know attending it meant the coolest prizes and lots of nice games.

In short, I don’t want her to be a loser kid.

I want her other classmates to still give her some recognition and to remember that on her birthday, daughter gave her something nice as a token of friendship.

3. It’s also a way of thanks for a year of friendship.

Related to what I mentioned above, I want my daughter to show her appreciation for a year of friendship.

These are her classmates who see and play her everyday. Most of them will eventually be her friends. 

On their birthday, my daughter gets a nice lootbag from them, also lovingly painstakingly prepared by the parents. Sometimes, when the parents are there, she also gets some special treat.

My daughter’s birthday celebration is a way for us to give back for everything she’s received the entire year from others. A sort of thank you for everything they’ve done for her. Now’s our time to give back. 

4. It’s precious time with my daughter I won’t be able to get back.

I work so I’m mostly very busy in the daytime. Usually, I only have evenings reserved for my daughter.

On her birthday, I make time for her.

I wake up super early to prepare everything. 


And while other mothers do this every day, I can’t so I take time on her birthday to celebrate it with her and make it a big deal. 

She smiled widely when she saw me. 

I know she is happy and surprised when she saw me in school.

Mami,” she said as she grabbed my hand. 

She doesn’t let go of my hand. She’s very happy to see me there. 

And that is why I am there to celebrate her birthday. Because no matter how busy we are, we still make time for those special moments. 

5. This is one way I show my love.

I may be the most dense and useless mother you may know. But in these moments, I take the time and effort to show her I love her. 

This is one of those times. 

Happy birthday my love!

Posted in baby, Early Learning, Education, Family, Kid Problems, Parenthood, Parenting, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t Be Boastful When Mad

My husband screamed at me today.

Two days ago, he asked me to help him to transfer money overseas. My supplier gives me better rates than his, so he asked for my assistance, which I timely gave.

Today, his supplier said he received the money but he wants us to send the money to his personal account instead of the company account. It is a ridiculous request since he was the one who gave my husband the bank account details in the first place.

It is not our side’s fault that he asked us to transfer money to the wrong account.

However, it becomes my problem when he asked us if he could return the money back to us, and we transfer the money back again to the correct account.

As I’ve told you, it’s a mess. It’s a big hassle and a mess.

So of course, my supplier got upset on why they have to correct an unnecessary mess. I expressed the frustration back to the husband on why his supplier wants us to correct his mistake.

My husband then got mad at me for making a big deal out of the situation.

You wanted me to correct your supplier’s mistake and of course, I will make sure it’s done,” I said. “My supplier said this is the last time they will do it for us anymore. Of course, I am upset because it is MY relationship that is placed on jeopardy.”

My husband then got mad because he doesn’t understand why my supplier got mad on such a simple request. “I don’t think they will not serve you anymore because of this. I want to talk to them and ask them why they are making a big deal out of this.”

“Why? If we give them a million bucks of business, would they say no?” he arrogantly continued. “They are not the only supplier in town. I am quite happy to pay more and use other supplier if yours are making a big deal out of this.”

My husband is a lovely guy, but sometimes, he has no empathy. Technically, it’s his side that made the mistake, not mine.

He should be mad at HIS supplier, not at MY supplier.

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And when a man gets mad, he starts to make boasts like this.

Why? Do we even have to use them?” he said. “I’m okay with paying Php 5,000 bucks or more to my more expensive supplier. Why do I have to use your supplier if that’s the case?!”

I’ve had enough.

My supplier gives us favorable rates and charges me less. Every single savings add up. They are fast and give me no trouble. I have been dealing with them for years.

If you want, then I’ll fend for myself!” he boasted. “I’ve been doing fine for years. Why do I need your supplier?”

Let me count the ways:

  1. Well, first, he only needs to email me the transfer request and it gets done the next day. He doesn’t have to do anything except to email me the instruction.
  2. The savings can get really big depending on the transfer amount.
  3. I actually advance the money instead of him paying in cash.
  4. He gives a blank check to the other supplier which is very risky. The blank check is deducted straight to the company account so if the blank check falls into the wrong hands, bye bye.

But heck, a man’s arrogance creates even more problems for him. Who am I to correct my husband? Let him do the work his way.

So let us learn from my husband: Take care of your words when you are mad.

Sure, you may feel that you have “won,”  but such victory is empty.

At the end of the day, instead of having someone else do the work at a favorable rate, you have to do it yourself.

I apologized to my supplier for the hassle and the relationship lives another day.

Husband on the other hand refuses to apologize to me after getting angry and telling me to shut up, and will now handle most of his transfers.

Who is the bigger loser?

I don’t think it’s me.

So watch your words when you are mad.

Sometimes, words that are said in a fit of anger can offer a lifetime of regret. And if husband can’t stop to watch his words, then he will find less and less people to help him when he needs it.

Posted in Advice, Conflicts, Marriage, Men, Rants, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein is a powerful Hollywood producer.

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He is also a man who raped and sexually harassed many women. Weinstein used his position to place women in compromising positions and sexually abuse them. Here are just the impartial list of women that Harvey allegedly abused:

After the Harvey Weinstein story broke in the New York Times last October 2017, a flood of women and men started to complain about sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood.

All of a sudden, sexual abusers became uncool, and everyone who had a long term grudge can come out and say that they too were a victim of sexual abuse. Here are the impartial list of people who have something to say.

Harvey Weinstein is not alone. Even Kevin Spacey was thrown in the mix.

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The sad part is, Harvey Weinstein’s misbehavior has been an open secret for YEARS.

We all knew that Terry Richardson was a predator, who objectified women and treated them like sh*t. There was a lot of exposes about him. Here is one example that came out in 2010 about how much of a jerk Richardson was — Meet Terry Richardson, the World’s Most Fcked up Photographer.

Here he is with Barack Obama.

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And Vogue only cut his contract after the shit hit the fan.

What I am saying is this, in this day and age of fast Internet and the spread of information, nothing gets hidden for too long.

Gone are the days where people can kill and get away with this. Take for example this blind that alleged that the naughty Bill Clinton did something bad before he was President.

The biggest lesson is this: Don’t ever let your sense of power and entitlement get to your head. 

That’s the problem with having authority.

Sometimes, we take our position for granted. We forget that with more power, comes more responsibility. At the end of the day, everything catches up to us and we have to be even more accountable with the power.

The problem with powerful figures is that we forget that authority can be fleeting.

Take for example Robert Mugabe who has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987, whose power is threatened this week via a coup. That’s 30 years!

Over the 3 decades of power, Mugabe stole from his countrymen and amassed so much wealth at the expense of his countrymen. He may have lied, stole and rampaged his country for YEARS.

Now, if he is removed from power, there is a day of reckoning. Nothing gets hidden forever, and we have to face the consequences of our actions one day.

That is why, I try to remain humble and level-headed.

It’s really hard.

Many times, I feel other people are lazy or stupid or beneath me. Sometimes, I don’t understand why people cannot get it even though the answer is so obvious in mind. There are times as well that I am tempted to do the wrong thing just because I know I can get away with it.

I guess, that’s human nature.

But the Harvey Weinstein scandal and those that follows show that nothing remains a secret for long.

If you are a jerk, you will be found out as a jerk later on.

If you are a liar, time will tell and show the real depth of your character.

No matter how much you hide your stench, later on, the door will burst open and everyone will know what an asshole you really are.

So why even try? Why even try to open the Pandora’s box?

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That is why, we need to live our lives as if people are watching.

Not for their benefit or for their approval. But rather, because we are decent human beings and it’s not right for us to do evil things just because people aren’t paying attention.

Because you’ll never know if people are watching and recording, or when shit will hit the fan.

Kevin Spacey’s career is now over.

While he is a phenomenal actor, Spacey will find it hard to reboot his career. It’s too bad. He doesn’t have to step into too many toes to be excellent. He is already a great actor as it is.

Too bad it got into his head.

 

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Na-Basted! 

My friend J, who I have talked about in this post, “When a man chase after a woman and he’s not that cute,” has been busted by his potential lady love.

Long story short, the woman said she only wanted to be friends.

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Of course, the man was heartbroken.

At 42 years old, he wanted to settle down and start a family stat. He thought that this beautiful, sexy and smart woman was his last hope.

Unfortunately, the woman just didn’t think he was her type.

I guess, women are picky when it comes to looks. The “I don’t look cute but I can love and take care of you forever” spiel did NOT work on her.

Hence, friend was depressed.

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He changed his Facebook profile and cover photos, resigned from his post, and stayed at home and cried.

Loss is a powerful feeling.

To be honest, J did not really know my friend.

If he knew my friend, he can easily see just how incompatible they were.

She was indecisive and flighty.  He wanted to settle down.

She was still busy dating around and enjoying the company of men. He was already tired of going from one shallow relationship to the next and wants to start a family ASAP.

She was unsure of her future and is thinking of switching jobs for better job security. She lives in Singapore but is working with a work visa. He is happy where he is here in the Philippines.

And yet, he cried for her.

Because loss is a very powerful feeling.

No matter how incompatible we are, we react violently when that something gets removed from us.

It’s the same when I broke up with my last boyfriend. In fairness, I didn’t love or appreciate him as much when we were together. I didn’t treat him as good as I should if I truly valued him.

However, when he broke up with me, it was as if my world shattered. I didn’t know what to do. And I wanted him back, even though consciously, I knew we were not meant to be.

Funny how our heart does one thing, even though it knows it’s not the best thing for us.

Same with my friend.

He wanted her even though they really weren’t meant to be. If they were, she would have been more accepting of his love declarations.

That’s why, this is a lesson for us: Feelings are not the best indicators on whether we are a good fit for another person. Feelings can still fool us. In the end, we have to see through time and actions if the person is a good fit.

How about you? Have you lost something and made a big deal from it even though you know it’s not the right decision for you?

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Posted in lovelife, Marriage, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

When a man chases after a woman… but he’s not THAT cute

A man in serious like/love, who is ardently pursuing a woman, is a man on fire.

My friend, who is pursuing my female best friend, is such a man.

Since she lives in another country, when she came to visit, he picked her up from the airport even if her flight arrived at 5:00am.

He spent a lot of money accompanying her and her friends in Palawan.

When she came back to Manila, he accompanied her shopping and took her to nice restaurants. Two restaurants for dinner per day just for her to taste Filipino food.

And on the last day of the trip, he drove her back to the airport as if he was her personal chauffeur.

A man in love goes far and beyond to get the woman he wants. He spends so she is comforted, and tries to keep in touch so that she can get to know him.

He keeps on texting me and telling me what’s going on with his day,” she said. “It’s kind of weird.”

It’s true — when I was in Taiwan and Hong Kong, guys do not just randomly text you to tell you about their day. They do not stick to you like glue and want to be in your company wherever you went.

Actually, the last guy who did that… I married. As they say back, “Kung may tiyaga, may ginhawa…”(There’s success with perseverance).

Back home in the Philippines, where people aren’t particularly tall, guys get the girls with an outpouring of attention, charm and personality.

FilipinoGuys5

Filipino guys are not particularly handsome. Their skin is usually mocha colored. They are not particularly tall and given our fatty pork diets, there’s almost always a belly.

But a Filipino guy is usually very charming sweet talkers. They know how to shower a woman with attention and to make her feel loved and cared for.

I asked my staff if they would give a man hope when he is in pursuit of her. They all answered, “Yes, if he will love and take good care of me.”

Filipinos are romantics, what can I say?

Unfortunately, my girl best friend is NOT Filipino. She is Taiwanese. Taiwanese women can be very practical.

And may be a bit superficial…

Since knowing my best friend, my husband has seen my friend get her heart squashed by multiple cute guys.

She briefly dated a cute young doctor whom she met in Boracay and had a passing fling. He lived in Los Angeles and she tried to keep in touch with him. In the end, he let her down by telling her he already had a girlfriend. JERK!

She dated a clean cut Korean consultant who had commitment issues. They broke up when she moved to Singapore.

In Singapore, she dated a New Zealander who kicked her out of his house for not cooking his dinner on time. In the end, it was his anger issues and their incompatibility that did them in.

Now, she’s dating around. Unfortunately, most of the guys she’s been seeing are a decade younger than her who don’t take her seriously. Older guys see her as too old. So she’s in a dating limbo where there doesn’t seem to be any better options out there.

Given the slim pickings, husband and I are betting on whether our Filipino friend will succeed in wooing my Taiwanese girl friend.

On one hand, she may not like him because he isn’t particularly tall (he is just my height) or slim. He’s not fat by any chance, but he’s not tall and slim. So if she is particularly superficial, she won’t really like him.

On the other, she is nearing 40 years old and has had her fill of tall yet arrogant assholes who don’t care about her. She’s already had a merry go around of men in Singapore, and the pickings for nice guys are pretty slim. She may give Filipino friend a chance just because he’s a nice guy who sincerely care about her and wants to take her seriously.

And while he lives in Manila and she in Singapore, his job can be remotely done and his talents are more in demand in Singapore than Manila. In short, it can work IF she wants too.

He has booked his flight to visit her in Singapore this November 2017.

Two days later, he’s changed his cover photo and profile photo to the following:

Profile

Uh-oh,” I called husband. “It seems our friend is busted…”

Your friend is kind of superficial,” my husband concluded. “Maybe it’s bad news.”

Apparently, friend couldn’t sleep the entire night last night because girl best friend was slightly discouraging. For men, chasing after women is a challenge, but only if there is hope. Maybe she has discouraged him from going?

Anyway, the story continues…. who will prevail?

Are women as superficial as we think?

We shall see…

 

Posted in Filipino Men/Women, Friendship, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Bottlefeeding at almost 23 months

My baby is exclusively breastfed ever since she was born.

Despite me overstocking various brands of milk bottles, daughter refused to drink from the bottle. I had to sell all our surplus bottles just because she refused to drink if not from the breast. 

But surprise surprise, last week, she began drinking from the bottle!


Apparently, peer pressure comes at a super young age.

Our 22-month old daughter saw her classmates using the bottle, so she herself wanted to use the bottle too! 

And that is how, after almost two years, our stubborn daughter who refuses to drink anywhere but my breast started drinking from the bottle.

It’s true what they say: The child is ready when the child is ready…

Have a good week everyone!

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When husband calls

My husband calls me. 

He says he is hungry.

I look at my desk. Actually there’s still a lot to do. 

I find it a little bit unfair has the free time to roam around the mall while I manage the business. 

Our business. 

But I stop thoughts of negativity. Was it not also my choice that he takes care of our little girl so I can get things done?

So after a few minutes, I make a conscious choice of packing up some work home and leaving.

He is hungry after all.

And in times like these, we prioritize the husband. 

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My Yaya’s Key Performance Indicators

My baby has a yaya (nanny) who’s already been with us for a year.

Now, I’ve never really been too sensitive regarding dust or dirt, which is why I’m not too upset when she doesn’t really clean our living room. Anyway, her main job is to help us raise my daughter. Not clean the house.

But to make life simple, I have made official the three key performance indicators (KPI) I gave my yaya:

  1. Huwag mong patayin ang anak ko. 

In English, this means, do not kill my child.

Specifically, you have to watch over my kid and ensure that she enters no danger. You have to make sure she is safe at all times, and she doesn’t end up dead.

It only takes a few seconds of carelessness for a child to be damaged permanently. Her job is to ensure that my daughter is safe and protected at all times.

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2. Huwag mong walain ang anak ko.

This means, do NOT lose my child.

Whatever she does, she ensures that my child is returned home safely. This includes making sure she gets to school on time, gets home safe after school, and is looking after my child especially in large public places like the park or the mall.

3. Patabain mo ang anak ko.

This means, fatten my child.

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She needs to feed my child timely and with the correct nourishment. My child should not look as if she is starving, and should be well fed at all times.

How about you?

What is your yaya’s KPI?

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When Your Baby is a Picky Eater

Karma really is a b*tch…

Last year, people were asking for advice on what to do when their baby is a picky eater.

My baby, who was super fat at that time, did NOT have this problem. Just by exclusively feeding on my breastmilk alone, baby was considered obese and was scaling at the 96th percentile in terms of weight.

So, my haughty advice for fellow mothers was, if their babies don’t want to eat, then they could just let the babies be.

Anyway, babies being babies will NOT starve to death. When they are hungry, they will find food.

In other words, if baby don’t want to eat…

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Ironically, as soon as my baby started to eat solids, her appetite and her weight started falling down.

All she eats now for example is corn, nuts, beans, and a little bit of noodle/pasta.

She refuses to eat when fed. In fact, she would rather be self-fed.

We oftentimes have to convince him to eat or we turn off her TV.

In other words, what I used to chide other parents with, are now the same problems I deal with. Karma is truly a bitch, is it not?

Ha ha ha. Now the joke is on me.

Baby is still alive now, albeit thinner.

Till then, we will just serve her with what she likes. Good thing she likes brocolli!

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Will you compromise just a little bit if you’re not a spring chicken no more?

When I was dating my now-husband at 32 years old, my future father-in-law chided me, “But you’re not a spring chicken anymore!”

Spring

I wasn’t insulted as much as I was amused.

In the end, I had the last laugh.

I married his only son at age 33, had a child by the time I hit age 35, and still happily married at age 37.

My best girlfriend is encountering the same issues as I did. At 39 years old, she is gregarious, super sexy, easy going and yet very single.

So why is she still single, you ask?

Maybe it’s because of bad luck? She wasted a lot of time dating a string of idiots who was totally incompatible to her.

One was a Korean IT consultant who had mother issues and disappeared every time he felt stressed. Every time they would fight, he would literally disappear until weeks later when he would text her again to say hi.

The other was a Hong Kong teacher who wanted a housewife. He asked her to be at his beck and call, waking up early to go to the market to buy the freshest vegetables, cook for his lunch during lunch break, and then be waiting for him until he got back from school (work) to once again cater to his needs.

When she moved to Singapore, she dated a Kiwi dude with serious anger issues. He was stressed and anxious all the time, and wanted to be in control. Every time he wasn’t, he would shout at her. At one time, he told her to get out of his house, leaving her outside his apartment door crying, just because she got back late to cook him dinner.

Apparently, being late to cook him dinner was such a serious offense and is considered as her not caring enough for his health and well-being.

I would have dumped him right then and there — I am not a dog you tell to get out whenever you want to.

She spent an extra 6 more months with him.

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Now, she has another suitor.

Unlike her other boyfriends, he initiates contact and accompanies her when she goes shopping. When she was in town, he tried to spend as much time with her.

J makes me fat!” she would complain as he takes her to another nice restaurant.

On other days, she asked me why J was texting her all the time.

What does he say?” I ask her.

Well, he tells me about his day…” she replied. “As if I want to know that he went to a car club meet or to the gym.”

She must be the densest woman on earth!” my husband said. “She should know by now that J is interested.”

That’s what ligaw or courtmanship is here in the Philippines.

If a guy is interested, he will try as much as possible to get to know the woman. He will try to spend time with her and shower her with attention up until she agrees to be his girlfriend or break his heart.

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Most girls eventually give in if the guy is sincere enough,” my mom scoffed. “It’s just about enough time and effort.”

I don’t know…

Superficial as it may seem, J is not as tall or as fair. And he’s a bit stocky.

He snores…. LOUD,” my friend complained. “I’m a light sleeper so he keeps me up at night literally! I can’t sleep!”

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I wonder if heavy snoring is a deal breaker.

As a heavy snorer myself, I too have worried about finding love. I dated a dude before who was a light sleeper and he didn’t get enough sleep for the wrong reasons. Maybe that was why we ultimately broke up.

I hope not as J might be the last chance she has for a decent guy who truly wants to be with her for all the right reasons. Will she let her superficiality get in the way of true love?

He will go and visit her in Singapore this month (of November).

We shall see if she will welcome him, or will she turn him away.

At 39 years old, she is really no spring chicken anymore. And yes, because she is still pretty and sexy, she still gets a lot of male attention albeit more and more from guys who are 10 years younger than her.

We hope that she can find the love of her life. The only question is, is J it?

Abangan ang susunod na kabataan…

 

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Top 10 Tips in Traveling to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat

We were at Siem Reap last weekend for my birthday. Here are some takeaways from our trip:

1. The flight and temple tickets were expensive. The rest were not.

We booked a direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap via Cebu Pacific. The flight was 3 hours long and we left on Saturday at 7:30pm, arriving in Siem Reap International Airport at 9:30 pm. We then departed Siem Reap back to Manila at 10:30pm arriving Manila at 2:30am on Wednesday, missing only 2 days of work for a 3-day vacation.

The airfare was expensive given a budget airport. We paid Php 18,000 net per pax. I understand we can find another place cheaper than Siem Reap, but hey, since Bali’s Mt. Agung volcano was rumored to erupt soon, we had to change plans and settle for Cambodia instead.

Ticket for a 3-day temple tour is at USD 62.00 a pax. However, aside from these large ticket items, visiting Cambodia is still relatively cheap.

2. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency at the airport or anywhere else!

In Siem Reap International Airport, you can exchange USD to Cambodian Reals at 3,850 Reals to 1 USD. Outside, the exchange rate in MOST restaurants is 4,000 Reals to 1 USD. Truth be told, the currency exchange in Siem Reap is making a lot of money.

Everyone in Siem Reap accepts USD. Actually, they prefer it. You will also get Cambodian reals as change when you purchase/buy something. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency.

3. Hotel rates in Siem Reap are relatively cheaper. Book a hotel with free breakfast. 

We stayed in the Suorkear Villa & Resort in a 2-storey villa with private pool, paying USD 420.00 (Php 20,000) for 3 nights and 5 adults. This is still cheaper than a 4- or 5-star hotel in Manila.

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The bedroom is nicer in the photo, but the service is warm and attentive, and the public pool is as beautiful as the photo. It’s a bit out of the way and requires a USD 3 tuktuk ride to town (Note: The resort does provide free tuktuk rides to town up until 10pm), but if you would like to stay in a relaxing place, Suorkear Villa & Resort is a nice reasonably priced hotel to book.

We really enjoyed our breakfast and free coffee refill. They served a variety of Asian and Western dishes which include Asian fried rice, Khmer curry noodles, Asian stir fried noodles, Cambodian noodle soup, pancakes, french toast, American breakfast, among others.

Suggest you try out their Asian fare than their Western’s. It’s more sulit!

4. Shopping in Cambodia is cheap.

Even inside the temples, shopping in Cambodia is cheap if you bargain carefully.

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We bought 3 pcs of t-shirts for USD 5. Pants were only USD 2 a piece. A drum that was marketed as USD 15 was let go for USD 6. To be fair, shopping is a joy in Siem Reap if you like their loose backpacker style.

Personally, I appreciated the products available.

Cambodia is VERY HOT and we went through at least 2 changes of clothes per day. We brought enough clothes to last us our 3 days but went through them by the first day of tour. Being able to shop for a cheap change of clothes was a godsend, and the products weren’t bad for the price you paid for!

5. That said, the weather in Cambodia was HOT!

We were sweating like pigs the whole time.

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I sh*t you not — my husband changed clothes 3x. He usually doesn’t do that in Manila.

Siem Reap weather is a lot like Manila’s — hot, humid but less air circulation. So you feel like you’re in a hot oven with nowhere to cool off.

Restaurants are open air and not a lot of establishments have aircon. We ate at several establishments but none of them were airconditioned. I guess, they take saving electricity seriously.

If you go to Cambodia, bring a change of clothes. Better yet, buy clothes in Cambodia!

6. Our 3-day itinerary:

USD Price
Saturday
7:35 PM 5J 257 Cebu Pacific Departure from Manila T3 to Siem Reap
9:30 PM Arrival at Siem Reap International Airport
Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort        410.40
Angkor High School Road, Sangkat Sala Kamreuk, Siem Reap Cambodia
Tel: +855 60 999 882
Check in: Oct 21, Check out: Oct 24 (1pm)
Sunday
Breakfast Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort
Can swim a little bit and enjoy private pool
Lunch Lilypop Restaurant (10am to 10pm) 717 Reviews
#20 Taphul Road, Siem Reap 17259 Chicken amok, spring rolls, lok lak, khmer curry,
Tel: +855 86 879 255 papaya salad, smoothie
Try Me (8:30am to 10:30 pm) 292 Reviews
Taphul Road. It’s the road beside Caltex Station Amok fish, Lok Lak, Cambodia Curry, pesto pasta
Tel: +855 17 419 343
After Lunch Meal Fresh Fruit Factory Fruits on french toast, ice mountains (mango+passion fruit)
#155, Taphul Road, Siem Reap
Tel: +855 81 313 900
Afternoon Cool Sense Spa
60 Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Magic Four-Hand Massage With Warm Herbal Linen USD 25 for 90 mins
Traditional Khmer Massage (60 mins) USD 10, USD 14 for 90 mins
2-Hour Specialized Package USD 25
http://www.coolsense-spa.com/
Free Pickup from Tuktuk
Dinner Spoons (11:30am to 10:00 pm) 521 Reviews
#142, Group 5 Pave Road, Wat Damnak Village, Mackarel, coconut chicken, beef skewers
Salakomreouk Commune, Siem Reap
Tel: +855 76 277 6667
Old Market Area
Between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou Street and Pokombor Avenue
Pub Street
Red Piano to order Tomb Raider Drink
Angkor Night Market (**If asking price is $10, ask for $3)
Can eat fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on cob, banana chocolate pancakes (from corner
closest to Warehouse)
Can try Baray Spa for affordable foot reflexology for only $2 n 1 hour
Monday
8:30 AM Happy Angkor Tour Pickup. Have breakfast already.        180.00
Tel: Mony (Tel: +855-92-900 000)
**Ticket to Temples at USD 62 per pax        310.00
Morning Angkor Thom Elephant & Leper King Terrace
Bayon Ta Prohm
Baphoun
Royal Enclosure
12:30 PM Lunch at Local Restaurant (Palmboo)
2:00 PM Angkor Wat
Phnom Bakheng to watch sunset view
6:00 PM Back at Hotel
Dinner Aspara Show: Koulen Restaurant
Includes Buffet dinner and show at USD 12 per pax excluding drinks          60.00
Tuesday
5:00 AM Watch Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Back to Hotel for Breakfast
Banteay Srei or Ladies Temple Banteay Samre
Sugar Palm Villages or Landmine Museum Pre Rup Temple
12:30 PM Lunch at Local Restaurant (The Hut)
Off Route #6 | Steung Village, Prasat Bakong District, Siem Reap 00000, Cambodia
Tel: +855 12 926 391
1:30 pm or 2:00 pm Tonle Sap Lake at Kampong Pluk Village OR
Grand Circuit Road: Prah Khan, Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Genevieve’s Restaurant 3968 Reviews
Bamboo Street Sala Kamreuk Commune, Siem Reap 3058
Tel: +855 81 410 783
10:30 PM 5J 258 Departure from Siem Reap to T3 NAIA
2:25 AM Arrival in NAIA Terminal 3

Downloadable Excel File: FINAL Itinerary – Angkor Wat Trip

7. Must Do in Cambodia!

For restaurants, must try dining areas are the following:

The Fresh Fruit Factory (Rated #1 in Trip Advisor)

Fresh Fruit2.png

Fresh Fruit

Order their lovely ice mountains and french toasts. We thoroughly enjoyed our Mango Ice Mountain (USD 5) and Alcoholic Coffee Ice Mountain (USD 6.5).

Worth every penny!

Lunch at The Hut Natural

Address: Off Route #6 | Steung Village, Prasat Bakong DistrictSiem Reap 00000, Cambodia
Tel: +855 12 926 391
Website: http://thehutnatural.com/
The hut.png
We ordered the fish with lime sauce and it was DELICIOUS! Very fresh, fat, and succulent and priced at only USD12 a fish.
We also ordered the other dishes — fish amok, lok lak, etc. but nothing was as good as the fish. What’s more, the fact that the restaurant consists of several nipa hut tents with cool air and usable relaxing hammocks as part of the decor helped aplenty!
Please please please add this restaurant to your itinerary! We did this restaurant when we were temple visiting. You won’t regret it.
It seems that Genevieve’s is an institution in Siem Reap. Managed by a friendly Aussie who dedicated the restaurant to his long gone wife, the food was above average, the price still reasonable and the service great!
genevieve.png
We were glad that we managed to squeeze Genevieve’s on our last meal.
The meats were tender and nicely cooked. We enjoyed every dish except for the beef in betel nut appetizer. Please skip this dish.
Yes, there were a LOT of tourists.
Yes, the food is not as much as the other restaurants.
But at USD 12 per pax, what do you expect?
koulen.png
We found the show to be impressive and well done, and we left the restaurant happy and fulfilled.
8. Overrated Restaurants
We didn’t like Lilypop Restaurant which was well-ranked in TripAdvisor.
lilypop
They didn’t have any stock of Khmer Curry and Fish Amok. The service was sloooooww. The price was average (not cheap), and the food was just okay.
As to why this restaurant was well ranked, I don’t even know.
TripAdvisor ranks it at #39 out of Siem Reap restaurants.
Over priced dishes with small servings.
Spoons.png
Relatively slow service with more arrogant waiters (compared to friendlier waiters elsewhere).
The food selection was limited and the taste merely okay.
We did not enjoy Spoons at all.
Given, the restaurant had a good ambiance but that’s the only thing it had going for it. To be honest, it’s a restaurant most Westerners will love, but there are other better restaurants elsewhere.
Please save your money and go elsewhere instead. Spoons is ranked #5 restaurant in Siem Reap.
Most tours will offer a tour of the Tonle Sap lake for USD 15 per person.
Tonle.png
The fee comes with a private boat and a tour of the stilted village at Tonle Sap.
The only great thing we saw was a small crocodile farm where you can feed it a small sized goose for USD 10. Not impressive at all.
Please skip this tour!
It’s not that it’s expensive. It’s more of, there’s really nothing special of huts on top of stilts. You came to Cambodia for the temples, so if I had to do it all over again, I would just do the Grand Circuit tour and visit Prah Khan, Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon.
Preah Khan Temple
prah kean.png
Neak Poan
second
Ta Som
Ta som
East Mebon
east mebon.jpg
9. The best time to go to Angkor Wat is when you are single and childless.
We had a senior and a toddler in tow. So climbing up the temples of Angkor Wat was not as easy for us. I think we would have had a grander time if there were no kids around.
survive siem.jpg
10. If you haven’t been, just GO!
This is my second time to Siem Reap and the place is as magical as it was before. The tourist industry is more mature and there are less annoying children trying to sell you useless trinkets for USD 1.
I hope that my commentary of Siem Reap will entice you to go. Despite the relatively expensive airfare, Siem Reap is a wonderful haven if you’re into culture and temples, delicious food and cheap items.
Posted in Advice, baby, Family, First Experiences, Food, Kid Problems, Lists, Personal opinion, Travels, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Language Miscommunication

I asked why the stir fried beef noodles my family took home last night had no beef. 


We were in Siem Reap for a family vacation. I stayed at home to be with my sleeping toddler.

They laughed.

Your husband repeatedly told the waiter that he wanted the beef noodles, and he wanted it for take away,” sister-in-law said. “He kept on saying, ‘Take away! Take away!’

“So they took away most of the beef from the beef noodles.”

Oh.

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What did I learn from Touring the Slums (Part 2)?

Continuation….

7. It’s tough to be educated in Baseco.

There are two schools closely located in Baseco. The average teacher to student ratio is 1:75. When I was a child, the average is 1:45.

The big problem is not the student-teacher ratio. Personally, I feel that the largest problem is the road to school comes with a lot of temptations.

There are makeshift piso pay net centers in Baseco. A sample of Piso Net computers from OLX:

Piso pay.jpg

For many boys, it’s hard to stay in school if you are tempted with Php 1 for 5 minutes of computer and Internet use. That’s why, many piso nets do not allow children wering uniform to okay during schooldays.

There are many children who are also NOT in school in Baseco. How can you be encouraged to go to school if many of your friends are not, and are playing in their free time?

children.jpg

There aren’t a lot of children who would like to go to school. Many of them, given a choice, would rather play than study.

Given that many parents work to sustain their families, and there are so many kids per family, it’s really hard to monitor each and every child’s education. Given harsh circumstances, it’s better to ensure that the family is fed instead of ensuring the kids stay in school.

But there is less of a future to those who do not have good education.

Many kids in Baseco do not have the luxury of a good education. And hence, will remain in the cycle of Baseco till they too will have families.

8. There aren’t a lot of assistance from politicians.

The Baseco slum dwellers compared their experience with a Dutch NGO who brought 18 doctors, a lot of medicine, and ZERO media, to a very popular politician who went for a medical mission last year with 3 doctors and busloads of media.

Have you ever wondered why such charity is widely reported in the news? It’s because they  brought their own photographers to document the event!

villar.jpg

Here in Baseco,” they stated a matter of factly, “They (politicians) only come during elections. And if they come, for sure, they will bring media.”

That’s the sad thing: Everything is just a publicity stunt.

Filipino politicians care less about their fellow countrymen than the white doctors who flew in all the way from the Netherlands, brought medicine and gave it out for free, and saw 150 patients every day for 7 days.

And here lies the hypocrisy of the Philippines: We always tell ourselves that we should love our own. We should love our countrymen. And yet, we fail them when they need us the most.

9. Gina Lopez did a lot of good in Baseco.

Surprisingly, the people were very appreciative of Gina Lopez’ work in Baseco.

Her mangroves still live in the area. Systematically placed, they protect the dwellers from large tides and adds greenery to the trash.

mangroves.jpg

Gina built a community center, which ironically now has the name of Cynthia Villar on it. Technically, it was Gina Lopez’ project which Cynthia Villar finished. However, it is Villar’s name that is on the small building.

Much of the trash was cleared away though some remain. Garbage is collected twice a week in Baseco to keep the trash from piling up.

So authentic help is available for Baseco dwellers. It’s just that help came from the private sector, and not really the public one.

10. Pagpag isn’t something that’s eaten by all.

Baseco slum dwellers eat dried fish or mollusks, the latter of which can be bought from the local fishermen. They do not really eat the famed pagpag, which is leftover foods from restaurants that’s already thrown away but collected by scavengers to be recooked and sold to the poorer population.

Pagpag isn’t super expensive — around Php 20.00 can buy you a bag. Php 50 will get you a larger bag.

I saw where they sourced the pagpag,” our guide said. “It’s what the pigs eat.”

At the end of the day, many of the Baseco slum dwellers are still people, and they refuse to eat food fed to the pigs.  Still, it was good for me to ask and satiate my curiosity.

If you would like to see the slum tours by yourself, you can always sign up for Smokey Tours and they usually have a tour per request!

Have a good weekend everyone!

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

Slum Living in Baseco Manila

We joined the Smokey Tours yesterday and visited the Baseco Slums in Tondo, Manila.

Baseco slums.jpg

The tours itself only cost Php 950.00 per person and includes a local tour guide and the transportation to/fro Carriedo and Baseco. Details and inclusions of the tour can be found here.

Here are some interesting things I learned from the Tour:

1. There is no running water in Baseco.

Water pipe installation cost money, money that Baseco residents do not have. Hence, many households are forced to buy water from neighbors who make water selling a business.

Tap water filling up a medium sized container is Php 5.00. A slightly bigger container is Php 12.00. Drinking water is Php 30.00. And water from the open deep well which is contaminated by trash and salt water is free.

water container.jpgPhoto credit: GettyImages

The water must be carried in plastic containers to the makeshift house for use. This is the water you use to bathe, wash the dishes, clean and drink. If you have some money, you can afford Php 30.00 to have drinkable water for your family. If you have less money, you can drink the water from the tap. If your really do NOT have any money, then the contaminated well will do.

2. That is why, common ailments for Baseco residents are diarrhea and asthma.

Without clean potable water, residents get diarrhea all the time. From the water they use to wash their dishes to the water they offer to their families, it’s not surprising how fast residents get sick despite already building up a strong immunity from birth.

baseco 2.jpg

Getting sick causes many problems. For adults, it can cause them to miss work, which makes them unemployable. For kids, it causes them to miss school and not be able to catch up with their fellow students. For younger babies, it can cause early death.

But how can you have clean water if there’s no faucet? And how can you have faucets if there’s no infrastructure for plumbing?

3. The residents poo in the water.

Without a proper plumbing or septic system, residents have no choice but to poo and pee in the surrounding water, which by the way, fishermen swim in to catch mollusks.

You can pay Php 5.00 to use the makeshift “toilet,” which is a wooden structure that hangs out to the side. Or you can just go to the water and poo/pee there, right by the edges of the South Harbor district of Manila Port Area.

By the way, the water is very close to the open aired deep water where residents get and drink free water.

baseco getty images.jpg
Photo Credit: Getty Images

No wonder sickness surrounds the Baseco slums.

4. The Baseco slums is HUGE.

Put it this way, there are 100,000 recorded residents in the Baseco slums.

The assumption is, this only counts the reported residents in the 56-hectared area.

The guide estimates that there are actually 200,000 residents in the area, counting in at least 30,000 households!

baseco 3.jpg

Janet, our guide, said that even as a resident, she can still get lost in the middle of Baseco if she is not careful.

5. Garlic peeling is a big industry in Baseco.

As residents lack the education to be competitive in the job market, many residents especially women fall into the job of garlic peeling using dull blades.

garlic

Each sack holds 14.5 to 15 kilos of garlic. Each sack takes an afternoon to peel and earns the peeler Php 50.00 per sack.

garlic peeling.jpg

While the acidity of garlic peeling burns the hands of the women, they still do it because at least, there’s a community of women who do it in Baseco. They can gossip, sing songs and enjoy each other’s company while garlic peeling.

Plus, it’s better than having no jobs. The money they make from garlic peeling, albeit small, can still feed their families, especially since many of them are the primary breadwinners of their households.

6. Despite their large sizes, households in Baseco do not have many breadwinners. Actually, many members of the households are unemployed by choice.

We talked to the elderly garlic peeler in the tour. She said she had 7 adult children living with her. When I asked why they do not help with garlic peeling so the family can earn money more quickly, she answered, “Kasi tamad sila. Walang trabaho.”

Translation: They do not help and are unemployed because they are lazy.

Alas, the biggest problem in Baseco is that many of the residents are NOT stably employed. Many of them stay in the house or in the neighborhoods making tambay (hanging out).

Maybe they do not have work because they are not properly educated — there are only two public schools close to the Baseco area, with an average of 1 teacher to 75 student ratio — but I think the bigger problem is that there is no incentive for children to study.

When I was a kid, my mom made sure we had the best tutors who will force us to study. My dad would hit us if ever we had a bad grade.

In Baseco, the parents have to work and are usually out of the house, leaving the children in the care of others. And while public school is free, children would still have to take the initiative in going to school. It is a long road from the house to the school, full of temptations to not go to school.

With nobody to ensure that they go to school regularly, many children do not finish school and end us underemployed just like many of their parents.

To be Continued…

 

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What to do when you encounter a crazy man who’s out to get you?

We went to a children’s party today. 

During one of the games, my husband who was babysitting (yaya was in day-off) sat our 2-year old toddler in one of the seats previously occupied by another kid when she stood up. 

The father or uncle who saw it got upset for the child. 

My husband did not notice the man’s anger and proceeded to win a small prize with our daughter. He did not know the man’s eyes was shooting daggers at him. 

The man aggressively went to my husband’s face and demanded an apology. Since my husband felt he did nothing wrong, he said nothing to the man and simply walked away with out toddler. 

The man then went to me, the wife, saying, “Your husband should say sorry. He pushed my daughter.” 

To which, I immediately said, “Well, if that is the case, I am sorry. Maybe it was just an accident?” 


The man still did not let the issue go. 

As the afternoon went on, he still continued to look heatedly at my husband and daughter. Of course, my husband simply ignored him. 

When my husband and daughter went back to me, he once again approached us, faced my husband and angrily said, “You pushed my daughter.”

“I already said sorry,” I said, inwardly laughing at how this man simply couldn’t let it go. 

Well he didn’t say sorry,” the man angrily replied, pointing to my husband who by the way was carrying our toddler in his arms. 

My husband paused and looked at him. Maybe for two seconds. 

Then he said, “I’m sorry.”

The man looked at him again. 

Then he slinked away. 

Anyway, how do you fight a man who refuse to take the bait? You can only fight a man who pridefully fights back. 

We continued enjoying the party. The magic show was on and we sat in front to enjoy the show. We didn’t see the man and forgot about him.

On our way out, we saw the man again by the entrance. He seemed to be waiting for us and his eyes followed us as we went to the parking lot. We simply ignored him as we carried our baby to the car. 

When we got to the car, we saw that the guy dented the front of our f*cking car!

The angry man kicked the front of the car and dented it. Photo of a similar dented car for reference:


Initial reaction of my husband was that he could fix it. He knows about cars and the problem isn’t big. The paint was still intact. The front bumper is made of plastic and could easily bounce back. 

My initial reaction was to laugh. 

Out loud. 

I couldn’t stop laughing.


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

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

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

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

He has a LOT of anger issues. 

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

This guy thinks the world is street fighter! 


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

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

That’s why I laughed.

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

That’s the problem of being angry.

Angry people always think they’re in the right. 

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

The heck dude?!

LET IT GO. 

It’s just a stupid seat.

It’s a stupid accident.

And there already was a stupid apology,

LET IT GO!

But he didn’t.

So we drive away laughing.

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

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

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

And he’s a father too!

Oh well, how would we know?

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

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

A Shocking Discovery

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

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

So I googled, “Angkor Wat massage.”

To my surprise, this came out.

Angkor

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

angkor2.jpg

The f*ck?

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

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

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

“Well, what’s the code?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

love is heaven 2

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A Father’s Love

My uncle is a single parent with an adult daughter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

averageswedeman.jpg

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

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

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

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

The motions have set.

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

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

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

The father cannot do anything to stop it.

Sure, he’s had his share of mistakes.

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

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

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

father-heart-banner.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Alas, she is naive and idealistic and romantic.

And the father loves her.

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

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

What about you?

Would you have let her go?

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

Quitting While You’re Ahead

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

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

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


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

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

It’s the same with this mall.

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

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

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

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

“Not really,” I admitted.

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

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

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

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

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

So our competitor can have our slot. 

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Two Week Employee

We hired a Designer two weeks ago. 

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

We each promised each other the moon. 

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


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

What did I not like about him? 

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

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

Two, he talked far more than he worked. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When your husband buys an expensive tub of ice cream…

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


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

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

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

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

I take a taste.

It’s not bad at all. 

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

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How to Fight With Your Husband

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

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

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

Not my proudest moment.

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

What was the issue at hand?

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

Hence, the meltdown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay within the topic.

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

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

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

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

Sometimes, he cannot help himself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then get even angrier when he actually does it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Always end a fight with a resolution!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Biz Chronicles: My Stupid USD 1,200 Mistake

Fortunes are lost because of stupid 5-second mistakes.

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

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

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The problem is, my shipper shipped it by air.

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

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

But it’s a Catch-22.

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

The lessons here are:

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

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

 

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Question: Should I marry someone even though I feel there might be somebody better out there for me?

I dated a guy who was great on paper for 2.5 years. He was smart, had a great job, was very responsible, and said he will love and take care of me for the rest of his life.He was also quite boring. 

Or I think I was just bored with him.

Maybe it was his low energy, or his personality, but when we were together, time seemed to drag on and I didn’t really look forward to seeing him every time we met. 

When we talked, we discussed which restaurants we would try next or which movie should we watched. We updated each other on our lives and our friend’s and we couldn’t go deeper beyond talking about what happened to whom and why. 

I guess he felt the same way because he broke up with me when he met someone else with a more similar wavelength to his. I was admittedly crushed and felt that I may have lost my chance for marriage to a nice guy, and maybe this was the best I could ever get.

Boy, was I wrong!

I met my now husband online dating, and from the time we met, our conversation simply FLOWED. Minutes turned into hours and we were exchanging ideas, not information. We talked about movies and how it related to us. We hung out and yet felt a deep sense of comfort as if we’re at home. 

Sure, we had our disagreeements. But it sure wasn’t boring. I looked forward to being with him and he does me. And since we’ve gone through our fair share of boring relationships, we tied the knot after a year of dating because we believe we couldn’t find anyone better for us and if we don’t get married, we’d regret it for the rest of our lives.

We spent our wedding night simply thanking God for leading us to each other. That’s how lucky we felt to have found each other.

So to answer your question, I’d strongly suggest for you to you wait.

Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen to be single than to spend the rest of my life with a man who I married so that I’d be a Mrs. I know I only married him to settle because I’m in a hurry, and will always be in the lookout for somebody better. I don’t think that would be fair to the poor shmuck, and honestly, it wouldn’t be fair for me either. Life is too short to be with someone who bores you out of your wits.

I’m glad I waited. 

Or was forced to wait.

The love I have now is worth far more than any of my previous relationships. And I feel I’m the luckiest girl ever to have married my husband. Fortunately, he also feels the same way. 

Good luck in finding that right person who’d let you feel the same. 

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Whoever said being a boss means bossing people around is LYING

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

I don’t. 

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

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

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

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

So yes, I’m a boss. 

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

In fact, being a boss is a HUGE responsibility. 

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

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


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

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

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Inertia stops you from succeeding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


When people are challenged, they push harder. 

They persist and achieve more.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

But I’m not greedy.

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

But I am practical. 

And we must grow.

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

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Updates: A Cranky Sunday

The entire household has the cold.

Yaya was patient zero.

Then came baby girl.

Hubby got struck yesterday.

And I’ve been experiencing mild sore throat today. 

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

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

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

Hope everyone else is having a better Sunday!

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Interview Chronicles: Top 5 Red Flags when Interviewing

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True. 

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

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

Why?

Because you need funds to tide you over. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take control of the situation and work harder and better. 

Then money will naturally follow.

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

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

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

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

5. If you did not leave properly.

Companies all have a set notice period. 

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

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

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

It won’t, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My heart dropped. How could it be? 

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

I still couldn’t believe it. 

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

https://youtu.be/GXLVzQ1Q4Ng

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

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

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

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

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

Linkin Park is probably my only consistent favorite band.

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

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

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

R.I.P. Chester Bennington

What’s your favorite Linkin Park song?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

To be honest, I am a bit surprised too. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The truth is, we can’t do it better. 

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

Teachers deal with a lot of children everyday. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

…So who really died? 😭😭😭

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

I’m happy I had kids late

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

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

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

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

Is it because of age? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had tons of fun. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How can you work if you are hungry?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week everyone!

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Review: Bijin Nabe Hotpot in S Maison Mall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Recommendation: Go and try it. Bring extra cash. 

Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo

2/F, S Maison Mall, Conrad hotel

Tel: +63 2 809 1268

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No means no

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Am I ashamed of her tantrum?

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

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

I think there should be less tantrums in the future. 

Good luck to me!

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HR Mode On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios. 

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Late Night Discovery

Some good and bad news:

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

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


How can that be good news?

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

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

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

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

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Lesson of the Day: Engagement

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I don’t feel bad about it. 

In fact, I feel pretty darn good.

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

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

Happy week ahead!

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The Lord answers prayers

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how can we punish one but not the other?

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


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

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

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

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

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

Trials and Temptations

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

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

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

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

Happy Sunday!

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Tag Along Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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


But I like it. 

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

And I liked how I turned out.

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

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Don’t borrow money. Just cut back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

But debt would always have to be paid. 

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

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

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


So please stop being in debt. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we only have one child? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Restaurant Review: L’Entrecote at Burgos Circle

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


No, it wasn’t a wow. 


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


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

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

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


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

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

L’entrecote Bistro

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

Map here.

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

The Plight of the Single Mothers

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

Who are the fathers?

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

Why don’t you get married?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

And it’s a Catch 22.

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

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

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

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

Pasay-City.gif

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

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

Figure 4.png

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

Percentage.jpgPercentage2.jpg

This just breaks my heart.

Why are there many single mothers in the Philippines?

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

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

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

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

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

Two, sex education is sorely lacking.

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

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

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

How do you use pills?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s really tough to be a single mother.

My husband is a great help to me.

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

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

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

I am glad that I waited.

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

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

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

Good luck mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Today is one of those challenging days. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is really no rest for the weary. 

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

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

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

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

Today is one of those days. 

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

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


So what do I do then? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck that tomorrow will be a better day!

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Why I love the Philippine mall culture!

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

Come to SM Megamall!” I’d exclaim as I book them at the BSA Towers. “Its just right in front of the hotel. Just cross the street!”

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


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

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


But why you may ask?

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

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

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

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

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

Potato Corner bags P1-billion sales in 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The togetherness of the Filipino community.

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

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

But the Filipinos?

Oh, the malling is a group event.

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

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


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

I don’t see lonely people in the mall.

I see happy people in the mall.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

4. The mall as the great equalizer.

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


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

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

Not in the Philippines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you? Do you see what I see?

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

Parenting = Being the Bad Guy 

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

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

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


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

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

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

Do I want to punish my daughter? No.

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

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

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

And I think that’s what parenting is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she’s very miserable about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I will tell her, firmly, no.

And that it’s for her own good.

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

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

Wives: We are the Problem!

I am a part of a popular mommy group.

Many of them complain about their husbands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Whoops, big mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worrying about problems will not solve it.

Stressing about our problems will not make them go away.

Complaining about our problems will just exacerbate them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unhappy wife = unhappy life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money Can’t Buy Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A pity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What are the steps for a successful startup?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Husband’s Walking the Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a result, he quit his job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here lies the problem of many wannabe entrepreneurs. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holy Week!

 

 

 

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When your husband annoys you during a Coldplay concert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I choose to diffuse the situation and enjoy the concert.

How about you? Would you have handled it differently?

 

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Does your staff have Tom-K?

 

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

Now, what does Tom-K mean?

T – Tapat (Integrity)

O – Oras (Time to fulfill the job)

M – Malasakit (Empathy for the Company)

K – Kusa (Initiative)

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

Why is Tom-K important for staff longevity?

T – Tapat or Integrity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, that’s true integrity.

O – Oras (Time to do the job)

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

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

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

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

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

M – Malasakit or Love/Empathy for the Employer

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

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

What does this mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

K – Kusa (Initiative)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck with the wedding planning!

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Mien Bao (Bread) huo Ai (Love)?

In Taiwan, there’s a saying, “面包或爱.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My husband was more of 爱.

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

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

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

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

But we love each other.

We make each other happy.

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Brother,

Welcome to the married club!

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

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

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

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

To be honest, I was quite impressed with how (wife’s name) handled herself during the wedding planning. I was expecting to get a Bridezilla who would insist in getting her own way. We both know of brides who insist on getting a particular type of flower in her wedding. One of my friends insisted on a Php 250,000 wedding dress to be worn only for a few hours. But (wife’s name) seemed to be far from it. She was reasonable of the budget, thorough when booking suppliers, and kept a cool sense of humor despite many hiccups. It’s a great preview to what marriage with her can be, and if she can keep it up, then you’re in for a real treat.

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Despite our rocky beginning, husband and I are very lucky to have found each other. To be fair, we don’t fight very much. The last meltdown we had was during our first two months of marriage — when he insisted on using his phone during mealtime — and we’ve had minor disagreements here and there. But that’s also because we don’t fundamentally disagree too much. We share similar views on working, parenting, sense of humor, and living our lives. The fact that husband had one failed marriage also made him more flexible with dealing with me. What’s more, after 16 sessions of pre-marital counselling, we’ve realized it’s better to be married than to be right. Regardless, when we fundamentally disagree, we do have strong shouting matches that last 2-3 hours. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very much, so we’re happier than most married people out there.

Why? Well, while other people may see only two people with strong personalities coming together, husband and I actually do a lot of day-to-day compromising. We get to the point and tell each other a) what’s troubling is, and b) what we want the person to do.

We talk about our issues directly, and resolve them on the spot. Once we resolve the issue, we come up with a list of things NOT to do so the issue won’t be repeated.

I hope you and (wife’s name) communicate well. Marriage is for life, and people who can’t work out their differences end up with miserable marriages. And it’s awful to be stuck in marriage you don’t see eye to eye with. Many marriages are like that by the way. Don’t believe all happy posts that Facebook shows you. Happy marriages are rarer than you think, and the two people have nobody to blame but themselves on the disintegration of their marriages.

To have a smooth marriage, you have to understand and accept two facts of life: 1) Hindi na magbabago ang asawa mo dahil nagpakasal kayo. If anything, maglalala pa ang bad habits niya, and 2) When you fight, you must quickly figure out how important the matter is to you or her, and kung kanino mas importante yung issue, let that person have their way.