About

About NamelessinTaipei:

It’s about the life of a Tsinay balikbayan after almost 10 years overseas. After a decade abroad, Bonita is now back in dusty Manila and experiencing the total culture shock. No training or independence in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, or the United Kingdom has prepared for the unruliness that is the Philippines, along with the drama that’s going on with her friends, her family and her life.

NamelessinTaipei is about life, love and work experienced while back in Manila. Totally tactless and judgmental, unapologetic and no holds barred, Bonita writes with much candor that the only way she gets away with it is via the anonymity found in this blog.

About Me:

I have issues. Well, not really. But I have thoughts and derive great pleasure in writing about them, just as you enjoy reading them right now.

As my guest, I would appreciate if you can respect my privacy especially if you know me outside this blog. Please do not take any of my posts personally (e.g., it’s not all about you dear), or judge me based on what you’ve read. People are more complex than a few words in a public forum.

Oh and if you are offended, feel free to exercise your free will to leave. No hard feelings. 🙂

Thanks once again for dropping by. To get in touch, leave a comment. I’ll respond to you as fast as I can.

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46 Responses to About

  1. arthur chang says:

    Aug 17. reading your post for long time. first ive seen you password protect one.. it must be real good story

    Art C

    Like

  2. bonita says:

    Not just a good story but a very personal one as well. Will release it once the issue is no longer as sensitive. Hope that’s okay. 🙂

    Like

  3. Moving_To_Taipei says:

    Hi there,
    Got to your blog through some random google searches…well..I am moving to Taipei as an expat very soon and (knowing that you no longer live in Taiwan, good luck with HKUST btw), would you have some contacts for me in Taipei?
    Please feel free to mail me.
    Cheers

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Sorry but do you still need contacts? I would suggest meeting up friends from Oriented.com and CAPT. They’re a great source of new friends. 🙂

      Like

  4. graeme82 says:

    I’m a Canadian living in the Philippines and keeping a journal for my friends and family to follow. I took lots of pictures of videos of my recent trip to Boracay, but none of D’Mall. I was wondering if I could use the photo you took on my blog and place a link to your blog post or homepage and place a photo credit on the picture?

    Thanks

    Like

  5. crystaltao says:

    Hi. You have a wonderful blog.
    And there is one specific post which I got interested in.
    I also have a blog and wanted to use that post (but not in a direct way).
    Anyway, could you please contact me?

    My name is Crystal. You can contact me through “About” page on
    http://www.lovelovechina.com

    Thanks.

    Like

  6. crystaltao says:

    Bonita,
    I got your message, but my reply-mail came back with mail delivery failure message.
    Do you have another mail address?
    My mail is luvluvchina@gmail.com .

    Like

  7. Gemma says:

    Hello, we’re SKIN Marketing China. We hereby on behalf of our client Barry
    Callebaut, want to send you a press release about the World Chocolate Masters
    Finals. Please send an email to me and I can send you the details and ask
    whether you’ve got the interest in reporting it. We can pay you for the post and
    talk about the promotion cooperation. Thanks. Gemma

    Like

  8. Pauline says:

    I like your writing style, truly speaking. I was attracted to your blog by searching some information about full-time MBA. We have a common at this point. I’m applying my MBA this year. For getting a full support from my parents, I have been fighting with them. Actually, what I have been doing within recent several months is arguing, persuading and pleaing with my parents, including myself. I knew that they really worry about me, and my future. I have been working for more than 13 years since my graduation from university. It is really hard for me to make a decision but I think it deserves to do it.
    I will be having an interview this Sunday and got me nervous there. Wish me good luck. What I can do is go – jump into it

    Like

  9. Bonita says:

    Thanks a lot Pauline. Btw, I wrote m blog entry on behalf of your comment. Please really think about why you’re doing an MBA. Am glad I did it but it’s not for everyone. If you have been working for over 13 years, would you ever consider an EMBA? The network is so much better… 🙂

    Where are you interviewing? Good luck and just want it. You should get it. 🙂

    Like

  10. Ann says:

    Hi! I came across your blog this morning while I am at home sick and looking for a Filipino-Chinese doctor online. I was surprised to learn of someone with common sentiments (re: cute things, superficial news/preoccupation, chinese families in the Phils., being Fil-Chi in Taiwan, etc.). It got me to thinking about many things and most especially about moving on with my life. I never really had the pleasure of being in Fr. Ferriols’ class (if I’m assuming correctly that we are talking about the same person), but I have forgotten what it was like to hear and have intelligent conversation for a long time now. So thank you and more power to you wherever you are now.

    Like

  11. yenn says:

    Hi , I came across your blog while browsing. From your blog, it seems like you worked in financial institution in Taipei before your MBA ? I am currently working in one of european investment bank in Singapore and thinking to move to Taipei to work. Just want to find out the employment policy and opportunity for foreigner working in financial services in Taiwan.
    My email address is renzene@hotmail.com.
    Glad to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    Like

  12. Bonita says:

    Yenn, Taipei is still a satellite office for most banks so unlike Singapore, you’re further away from HQ/core management. However, from a work/life balance perspective, Taipei is great. Your colleagues would be as friendly as in Singapore, and you’ll have a lot of fun getting to know the city, getting around the country, and meeting new people. The salary is of course lower, but taxes are lower too. Overall, it all depends. If you’re there as a step-up in experience, then good. But to stay for a lifelong career, best to just go to Hong Kong.

    Like

  13. Yenn says:

    Hi Bonita, Thanks for the reply. I lived in Taipei before for 3 months two years back and I enjoyed Taiwan very much especially the culture , fun and the friendliness.Just wondering if they ever consider foreigner like me. I heard the government and policy make foreign hires difficult in Taiwan. Most foreigners who work there are more into engineering / tech field.
    How did you get a job in banking at the first place ? Did you get it from Philippines as in before you went to Taipei? What did you do in a bank in Taipei last time ?

    I am actually indonesian chinese who has been living in Singapore for about 10 years .I am in middle office , investment bank operation, looking forward to trying something different if possible.

    Like

  14. Bonita says:

    I was working in Taiwan when I moved to the bank. I had an offer BEFORE I moved, so they arranged all the working papers for me. If you have an offer already, then go for it. But if you’re going there to see if you can find a job, it’s a tough call especially since most banks are cutting people. You also need to speak Mandarin well. 🙂

    Like

  15. carol says:

    Hi Bonita,
    I came across your site when i was searching for HK UST dorm pictures. I really enjoyed reading your posts and I think we have almost a chilling percent of things/experiences in common. I’m also in a great career for 8 years now and just got into HK UST MBA program. I would love to connect with you to hear about your experience.
    If possible you can email me or friend me on facebook.
    Thanks!!!!

    Like

  16. Bonita says:

    Carol, please send me your email and I will get in touch with you. 🙂

    Like

  17. Carol says:

    Hi Bonita, you can email me at the above address. Thanks!

    Like

  18. Carol says:

    Hi Bonita if you don’t mind, please email me directly to my email. I would rather not post too much personal info on a public site. Thanks

    Like

  19. chichow says:

    FYI – you have spam comments on some of your latest posts. tc.

    Like

  20. Bonita says:

    Thanks for the heads up Chichow. Think the posts from David are legit?

    Like

  21. Briton says:

    Grow health care a longer pipe.

    Like

  22. Kim says:

    Hi Bonita! Stumbled across your speed dating blog post and kept reading from there. I love how you express yourself, and can definitely relate even if I actually have more in common (in terms of my personal life/history) with some of the local (Philippines-based) female friends you occasionally mention here. Would love to be able to talk some more, if you wouldn’t mind doing it over email as I have some privacy issues in public forums like wordpress. 🙂

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Hi Kim! Thanks a lot for your note. Hmmm, would it be possible for you to give me your email so I can contact you?

      Like

      • Kim says:

        Hi Bonita! Wow, only saw your reply more than a year later! LOL. Congratulations on your wedding by the way. 🙂

        If you’re still OK with getting in touch, any other way I can send my email to you? Would rather not do it in a publicly searchable forum where bots can get a hold of my email address.

        Like

  23. Ker says:

    Hi, Bonita. I chanced upon this blog post while I was looking into my potential universities. I will be taking up a Bachelor of Business Administration this coming fall semester in either HKUST or NUS. I was hoping you could give me some insight into how you went about choosing HKUST over the other universities. Also, how well recognized is HKUST overseas, if you don’t mind me asking? Thanks!

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Hi Ker, depends on where you want to work. If you want to work in HK, HKU and HKUST are the two best schools. For SG, I think that would be NUS (?) though I’m not sure.

      I chose HKUST because it is known for finance, the field where I came from and would like to continue to get into. I also wanted to work in HK because I felt that salaries in HK were higher than that of Singapore. It’s also more international of a city in my opinion, and has less restrictions. Alcohol is cheaper too! In a way, I worked in HK and felt more comfortable there. It is however a more aggressive work place to be in, but I felt it made me a better person.

      Where are you from? Where would you like to work? If you want to work in Asia, depending on the country you want to work for? If you want to work overseas like in the US, better go for a US school.

      Like

  24. Sel says:

    Good day! I chanced upon one of your posts and I’d like to discuss a few things with regard to this matter, is there a different venue where we may exchange Ideas? Thanks! 🙂

    Like

  25. chengedward312 says:

    My initial post didn’t show, this is a test comment to check if you read my post 😀

    Like

  26. chengedward312 says:

    Unfortunately, it didn’t

    Hi! I’ve been an avid fan of your blog. I’m sorry for the random comment and for the straightforward post, may is it possible for me to ask have an opportunity to listen and chat to Ms.Bonita personally? I’m graduating student at University in Pasig 🙂 What I aspire for is similar to your achievements 🙂 Entering the corporate field, taking up an MBA and/or staring or helping my own business (or family’s business) after! But recently, I’ve been experiencing apprehensions about what lies ahead of me; with the setbacks I’ve been encountering recently. I would love to listen to someone that I look up to and could relate. Considering that I also experience the strain of being part of the Chinese community, and with your position now… I aspire to have the same achievements as yours in the future 🙂 hope for you reply!

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Hi Edward, my path is quite normal. I studied my ass off, and got decent grades. I was active in extracurriculars and held leadership positions in a respectable org. This made me “attractive” to corporate recruiters and potential employers.

      Because of my grades and leadership position, I was offered a one-year scholarship to go abroad. Versus taking a nice marketing job at a MNC or getting paid to learn chinese and live life overseas, I took the latter. After studying, I started working again. Every job I took, I once again worked my ass off. I was paid really well (vs. people my age), in most of the jobs I took. Was it because of luck? No! I remember overworking myself in every job I took on. I was stressed and got the job done, and because I was reliable and competent, my employers gradually increased my salary.

      It was only through marriage that I actively entered business again. And then I realized that working for someone else was a walk in a park vs. managing your own business. Now, you have more livelihoods to sustain and people to feed! That’s a lot of responsibility! But like before, I am working my ass off, and through God’s grace, it’s slowly gaining fruit.

      In summary, it’s ok to have doubts. It’s ok to be afraid. It’s ok to ask questions. But the only question I have for you is: what are you doing about it?

      I did a lot more doing than problematising about where my life is going. I made choices, leaped at every opportunity, and if I made the wrong choices (like choosing my OJT), I learned from the experience and corrected myself along the way. In everything I did as well, I gave it my all. And if you give it your all, it would be impossible to get somewhere. I did it. You can too. Let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like me to answer. Thanks! -Bonita

      >

      Like

  27. I occasionally like to see what comes up as I google my name. Your review of my comedy show in 2008 popped up and it brought back some great memories. (Tropical Penguins…)

    Glad to see you are still writing.

    Like

  28. Fran Choi says:

    Hi Bonita! I’m happy I chanced upon your blog because I am a Tsinay living in Taiwan as well. I started my 5-year Medicine program in Taiwan 2 years ago. My school is in Kaohsiung. I was wondering if you have other Fil-Chi friends that I can connect with? 🙂

    Like

  29. I wonder what happened to you Bonita. Your last entry was last year and it’s you talked you being HIV Reactive. What happened to the second result? Are you ok? Hope you read this.

    Like

  30. Mark says:

    Hi Bonita, It sounds like you are doing well and I’m glad to hear you are born again. I also found God in my life as well…I just wanted to write you and ask your forgiveness for breaking up during our relationship. Yes…it was the age gap that really bothered me…it wasn’t you at all…we were actually pretty good together. Yes…I was pretty messed up during that time in my life. I really like what you said about our relationship though…it was good. I am glad that we both found someone fantastic in our lives…congratulations on your beautiful daughter…may God bless you, your husband and your daughter….Mark

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Hey Mark! Long time no see! I’m glad you also found God. And thanks for writing and asking for forgiveness. Much appreciated. Am smiling right now as I write this.

      You’re right, it was an amazing relationship while it lasted. First, you are a cool person, and two, you really are a nice guy. You introduced me to the concept of what a good relationship should be, and even up until now, I still think of you fondly.

      Because of that brief relationship, I realized that a good relationship needed to be with someone extremely compatible to you. And we were so alike in so many ways. That’s probably why it was harder to break up: despite the short period, we shared so many interests and common friends, we still bumped into each other often even after we broke up!

      On the flip side, you opened up my relationship with hubby. He’s like you actually – also a nice kind hearted guy, very compatible to me, we can talk for hours, and yeah, also divorced! So it’s like Deja vu, but better of course. No age gap with this one, and we’re super happy together. He also does our laundry so some things never change. 🙂

      To be honest, the only two sour thing you did to me was 1) to date Debbie afterwards (she was a year younger than me by the way) and 2) to unfriend me on Facebook, which was unnecessary since I was mature enough to move on with my life. But I harbored no ill feelings and merely shrugged it off to your midlife crisis, so all is well. I understood where you were coming from and yeah, it was a messy period in your life and am glad you finally acknowledged it. Besides, Debbie is also a wonderful person and I understood her appeal. We are friends by the way, and I am equally ecstatic that she found her own happiness with her family and career. She deserves every bit of it.

      But you did finally make up and got your life together by finally dating and marrying your current wife. When I saw you remarried, and who you remarried, I was very happy for you. It was good to see you get your life back together! And while I don’t know your wife personally, I knew she and her children love and appreciate you for all that you are. And to top it off, a new addition to the family!

      So in the end, all ended well. I am very glad we all found happiness and are now where we all belong. There is a happy ever after after all. And besides, your leaving me a note in my blog — didn’t know you or anyone I know read it — was a nice touch and a good surprise.

      So now that we’re friends again, can you friend me again on Facebook? Haha! 😄

      Like

      • Mark says:

        Hi Bonita, I would Facebook a lot of my old gf’s but out of respect for my wife, I decided that I would not Facebook any of them. That just wouldn’t be cool for her. I normally don’t keep in contact with any of my previous relationships (not out of disrespect for you or others but out of respect for my wife). After this note, I most likely won’t be in contact much (I hope you understand)…but I felt that you deserved a sincere apology for what happened. You really are a cool person and I did enjoy the time we had together. Best wishes to you and your family ! :o)

        Like

        • Bonita says:

          Oooooh I get it. Thanks for explaining. No worries! Am glad you still touched base. Best wishes to you and your family too!

          Like

  31. P says:

    Dear Bonita,

    Avid reader here. I was drawn to your blog because like you, I am a Filipino and currently working for a Swiss bank here in Singapore for the past four years. I am planning to start a business back home as well. Any tips for an aspiring entrepreneur with Swiss banking experience? Also, care to share which Swiss investment bank you worked for previously? The Swiss bank that I work for has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo with Taiwan as satellite office (in APAC) and given that I know of only two Swiss banks with presence in these countries, it may be possible that we have worked for the same bank. 🙂

    Like

    • Bonita says:

      Haha, there are only two Swiss banks who fits the description: the longer named one and the shorter named one. I went to the better, shorter named one. It’s one of the best companies in the world in my own biased opinion, and bar none, my salary there when I was in my 20s has yet to be topped. I am filled with many happy memories when I think about my tenure there. Do we work at the same bank or are you with the competitor?

      We got our jobs because we had the right credentials and competencies to earn it. Plus of course a lot of luck. Sure we worked hard, but we were more than fairly compensated for it. People I worked with were the creme of the creme. I loved working with them. One call and things got done. And it doesn’t matter what his or her position is. You can call and ask help from any Managing Director in the company database and they’re on it immediately.

      That’s why, I miss the corporate life. While being an entrepreneur can be rewarding, it’s mostly frustrating. There is heavy rain before the rainbows. Most of the Filipinos back home are lazy, incompetent, ma-reklamo, have many family problems and may maraming paninindigan pero mali naman. I’ve talked about staff going AWOL: every week, there’s always a or three staff going AWOL so you have to systematize continuous hiring. You have to supervise them all the time: if you don’t, they will disappear. I’ve had a staff time in, disappear to go to a morning wedding, and come back to the store without anyone knowing. The nerve, right? This would NOT happen in Taiwan, HK and SG. There, work is work. Here, “work” isn’t really.

      You also have to bear all the costs and risks. It’s not cheap to do business. Labor might be cheaper at USD10 minimum wage per day, but it’s not. That’s why restaurants in SG hire one waiter while here in the Philippines, you need 10. That one SG waiter’s effectivity is the same as the Philippines’ waiters. Permits, taxes, rent, the exchange rates (if you’re importing) are all rising, so it can be depressing just how many bills you’re paying, even if the revenues aren’t increasing.

      The salary I had at my work per month at our Swiss bank is equivalent to the YEARLY salary I pay myself here in my company. I wish I can pay myself more, but it’s what our company can afford. Sacrifices have to be made to ensure business continuity. Thankfully, I am not really in want of money since my family supports me. But still, the significant salary decrease is painful. If I knew I would come home to manage a business in Manila in my 30s, I would have saved all my excess savings and stopped buying designer bags. A Bottega, a Chanel or a Tods may be useful when you are working there, but it’s useless here unless you plan to be a socialista.

      Overall, Philippine entrepreneurship is a humbling experience. I am not as great as I thought of myself then. My MBA is pretty useless here. I underestimated the Philippine workforce, and they are worse than anyone expected. I am always putting out fires, many of which happen just because we are in the Philippines.

      There are rewards though. The company is still alive, thank goodness. It’s now in the black and we do have some cash buffer after 3.5 years of operation. Sales had grown, our stores have grown and the team has to. It’s nice to be supporting many Filipinos, as the salary I give my staff uplifts their lives and families. I try to build a company of good character and people like doing business with us. We may be small but we have our word and people know our word is good.

      Personally, I don’t do the household chores. We have a yaya and a driver. These are expensive in SG. Life is somewhat comfortable here too since I live with my fellowmen. Despite years abroad, I still couldn’t shake off the fact that I am and will always be a foreigner. What’s more, I live in the Philippines, a better place to live the rest of your life with than in HK or SG. Honestly, you are as good as your job there and employment can be fleeting. Ask my colleagues who become unwittingly unemployed in 2008 to 2010.

      So there are pros and cons. I know I complain too much but for me, the pros of doing business here outweighed the cons. I’m pretty much stuck where i am because after marrying my husband, i had to manage their family business so in a way, entrepreneurship was not really a choice for me. They gave us a business and we ran with it. It might be different for you though. Anyway, will try to address more of your concerns and my thoughts on it on a blog post. Till then, thank you for reading and I hope my answer sheds some light in helping you with your decision. Cheers!

      >

      Like

      • P says:

        I also work for the Three Keys! I know people from LPCC and 2IFC! I can’t believe this! Funny story, I was drawn to your blog because of your blog entry entitled ‘Why I went Back to Manila after 10 Years.’ It was four years ago and I was only starting my job here in Singapore then. I was struggling to adjust both in my work and social life and was really homesick at the time so I was looking for some insight as to whether I should continue on or just go back home. That was four years ago! Little did I know that I was looking for advice from someone from the same company! Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and am now thriving here. And you are right, this is the BEST company in the world and you get challenged everyday because you are working with the best of the best in their respective fields. You will get eaten alive here if you are not up to the challenge. I do consider myself lucky because unlike yourself, I didn’t come from a top three (or what is generally regarded as being in the top three) university in the Philippines and came from a poor family, so the odds of succeeding are stacked against me. What I do have, however, is determination to succeed to lift my family from our situation. Wit and good looks also helped! Haha!.

        Like

        • Bonita says:

          Yup, used to work in Cathay Building in TPE and 2 IFC in HK. Best times. Came to HK at the GFC. But seriously, if I only knew, I would have stayed there na lang. It was a stupid move to leave and get my MBA. Nothing beats 3 Keys.

          Why do you even want to be an entrepreneur? Many people have found success in the corporate field and 3 Keys is one of the best companies there is.

          Like

          • P says:

            Yes, I must admit that the experiences that you share in dealing with your staff and Philippine workforce in general is very discouraging. I absolutely abhor ineptitude and I do not know if I will ever recover from a trusted employee/colleague who will steal from me over a period of time! Sigh. Well, I guess I was just delusional in thinking that having and managing your own business is the way to go. Also, I intend to start a business and somehow still be working here. So, it will be managed by business partners and family back home. Thank you for sharing your experiences and keep writing. You have an avid reader here. 🙂

            Like

  32. P says:

    I also work for the Three Keys! I know people from LPCC and 2IFC! I can’t believe this! Funny story, I was drawn to your blog because of your blog entry entitled ‘Why I went Back to Manila after 10 Years.’ It was four years ago and I was only starting my job here in Singapore then. I was struggling to adjust both in my work and social life and was really homesick at the time so I was looking for some insight as to whether I should continue on or just go back home. That was four years ago! Little did I know that I was looking for advice from someone from the same company! Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and am now thriving here. And you are right, this is the BEST company in the world and you get challenged everyday because you are working with the best of the best in their respective fields. You will get eaten alive here if you are not up to the challenge. I do consider myself lucky because unlike yourself, I didn’t come from a top three (or what is generally regarded as being in the top three) university in the Philippines and came from a poor family, so the odds of succeeding are stacked against me. What I do have, however, is determination to succeed to lift my family from our situation. Wit and good looks also helped! Haha!.

    Like

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