Talk is Cheap.

One of the most frustrating things I experience is being lied to.

People lie to me everyday.

Now when I say the word “lie,” I mean this in the strictest sense. A lie is a false statement. There is a deliberate intent to deceive.

And while I believe that many people lie every day, many do so with a clear conscience.


Maybe because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. The truth hurts so maybe they believe that they’d want to spare that person’s feelings so as to maintain a good relationship.

Maybe because they believe that it’s better to lie and to shrug off the issue, than to confront the other person of the truth. Because why pick a fight when you can just gloss things over?

Maybe it’s because they believe that a little white lie won’t hurt. So lying a small lie is the price to pay to not be hated.

There are a gazillion reasons to lie. Here are at least 13 of them. People do not think they are bad people for lying, as long as the intent is not malicious.

But for me, lying hurts. Lying deceives. And lying causes many problems in the long-run.

Personally, honesty for me is at the utmost priority.

I actually married my husband because he’s very direct and brutally honest, almost at a fault. He will say in your face that you are stupid if you ask stupid questions. He will say that you’re lazy if you didn’t get things done. And he has no qualms to say you’re a bad person if you indeed did something bad.

Sometimes, I get hurt too when he tells me things I don’t like to hear. Husband can be very tactless, and sometimes, I have to tell him to tone it down a bit.

But hey, overall, I cannot complain. I asked God for honesty, and He gave me honesty. And as much that the truth hurts, it’s better to be slapped with the truth than to delude yourselves with lies.

I carry the same standard over my life and business.

I like to surround myself with people who will simply answer my questions already and don’t mask their incompetence with lies.

Sure, it doesn’t mean that my people are never negligent or incompetent — because they are at times — but at least they do not delude themselves into thinking that they are so good, when they are not.

I prefer them to look at the mirror and see the naked truth. It is the only way they can change and improve.

So I tell myself and them, Talk is cheap. Tell me WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

In life, it’s better to focus on what’s been done than to what the person is saying.

People can talk about their dreams. Their delusions. Their ambitions. And what they want to do.

Very few people actually do it.

I learned that it’s better to see what people are doing, than what they are saying. Here are a few quotes that I truly believe in.

So if someone tells me, sure, I’ll get it done. I tell them, “Okay, I’ll wait until you’ve almost finished because I believe you.”

If people say we can depend on him/her to do a good job, I pause first and wait and see what he does first before trusting the person.

Not everyone does what they say.

Talk is cheap.

But actions — you follow the actions.

A close relative for example is a man of many words. He can babble the entire day and the entire night. One of his dreams is to be an entrepreneur, and he talks about building and managing his own business so he can be rich.

The only problem is, after years of knowing him and listening to all of his business ideas, none of his business ideas seem to stick. Something, somewhere falls apart and he is left with a bruise ego, an irate and angry investor and a lot of failed dreams.

He still talks of his dreams and ambitions every day.

Personally, I think they are delusions… delusions until something concrete comes out from it.

Talk is cheap. What do you have to show for it anyway?

This close relative has expressed surprise on why I am so performance based. “Do you mean that if your daughter achieves nothing, you will feel she is nothing?” he asked.

Actually yes,” I answered. “To more is given, more is expected. And she has no excuse but to fail.” 

I think you have to walk the talk. You have to show something for your words. There must be concrete actions and consequent results.

Otherwise, everything’s just bullsh*t.

Yes, people lie everyday. Maybe we need to make ourselves feel better. Maybe we feel that we need to hide from the truth because we don’t want to admit we are incompetent losers who can’t get shit done.

But I’d rather be honest with other people, and with myself.

I am still far away from the success I want to be. To be honest, I still have a long way to go. But admitting it is not a sign of weakness. It’s the truth. And before I delude myself into thinking this is the best I can do, I would rather challenge myself to be better.

How about you? Do you walk the talk?


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My kid is starting school next month


A recent study reveals that a child’s intelligence is inherited from the mother. That means, if the mother is smart, usually the kid is also.

And while I don’t believe in it fully — there’s so much that genetics can do — I see evidence of this whenever I look around.

For example, my cousin-in-law’s two children are top students in ICA, one of Manila’s most prestigious Chinese schools. This is surprising considering that Tyrone failed grade school twice, and almost got kicked out of high school. Every one was surprised that he even graduated.

Tyrone was a great guy, but as a kid, he was never academically smart, causing his mother to pull her hair during every report card season.

His wife however was pretty and received top grades.

They were classmates and she was a performer, while he was at the other extreme of the sphere. They fell in love, got married, produced two kids and BAM, the children are as smart, or are even smarter than the mother!

My father for example graduated from Mapua, one of the premier engineering universities in Manila, but he was just an average student. He was more active in extra-curricular activities than my mom, and had his fair share of bad boy adventures.

My mom however was a bookworm. Specifically, she graduated with a degree in Mathematics and taught calculus for 10 years in another university. In other words, my mom was slightly smarter than my dad.

When I look at my cousins (from my dad’s side) and I, it seems that my family was more inclined to study. My little brother, who hated reading and studying, still graduated from university with honors. I graduated from a pretty good university and my dad never had a problem with me academically.

Compare this to my cousins from my father’s side, most of them did not even finish university. Many dropped out due to personal problems, and didn’t amount to much.

And while I’d like to think it’s because I was smarter and better than them, I would much rather give credit to my mom’s wish to immerse us in education and academics.

My mom gave me free credit to buy myself any book I wanted from National Bookstore.

She supported me in every school project, and tutored my little brother every evening.

I was tutored my Chinese subjects every single day up until 9 in the evening. And after coming home, I would study my English subjects.

We were expected to graduate from university. It wasn’t a choice.

I think that intelligence is more about the parents’ belief in myself and my brother. Of repeatedly exposing us to books and real-life experiences.

According to this other research, parents of high achieving kids have higher expectations for their children. What they believe, they subconsciously do, steering children to the direction that they wanted.

My father used to brainwash me all the time, “You need to be a businessman. It’s great to go corporate but you have to start your small business.”

Well, he never told me the downsides of having a business, but maybe all his brainwashing had fruit since we now have a small business to manage.

So don’t laugh at me when I share with you that I am investing early in my daughter’s education.

How early?

She’s been attending Kindermusik the last couple of months, teaching her the joys of music, and this November, at 11 months, she will go to pre-nursery school.

My Husband thinks I’m loco but I tell him to watch me as I mold my daughter to love studying and reading and socializing with other children.

But I’ve been right so far.

She’s hitting all her mental and physical milestones early, and hasn’t embarrassed us too much yet.

Sure, I might be wrong and my child may turn out to be an angsty, gloomy kid, but hey, I’d rather bet and do my darnest to ensure she turns out to be the opposite.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Posted in Baby Stuff, School, Updates | Leave a comment

Why you should NOT come back to Manila?

Someone asked me in my blog what I regret the most coming back to Manila.

To be honest, I’m pretty lucky.

I got to spend one year with my father before he passed away from liver cancer, met a reformed troublemaker who was tall and cute enough for me to marry him, have an adorable kid, given a small-sized business to manage, and blessed enough to hire a handful of loyal, dedicated and competent staff.

But most aren’t so lucky.

1) Many of my friends who returned did not find their Prince/Princess Charming back home.

A lot of people came back to Manila around the same time as I did in the hopes of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right, settle down and start a family.

They weren’t able to meet the Right One when they were overseas. Maybe it was because we were having too much fun. Or because we didn’t meet anyone who matched us culturally, mentally or emotionally. Or maybe because we were just unlucky.

So, they came back hoping that someone, somewhere will kai siao (introduce) them to Mr./Mrs. Right. If they couldn’t find it abroad, they surely can find them here.


For one, most of us who returned were already in our 30s. And to be honest, women here marry earlier… a lot earlier.

On average, women in the Philippines marry at the age of 26. Once you hit you’re 30s, you’re no longer as marriageable given your old eggs, or the fact that maybe there’s something wrong with you, which is why you’re still single.

As my father-in-law said when he met me and learned how old I was, “Woah, you’re no spring chicken any more!”

spring chicken.jpg

Back in Taiwan and Hong Kong, most of my friends lived life to the fullest and celebrated their singlehood until the age of 30. It was only after reaching 30 that most of them started sobering up and getting married.

I have no regrets staying single in my 20s.

Because I was single, I was able to travel my heart out. I was lucky enough to go to most of Asia and Europe because I had no baggage.

Because I was single, I was able to dance till 2am, go to KTV up until 6am, and then have breakfast early in the morning before crashing at 11am.

Because I was single, I was able to overnight at the beach, look at the stars and listen to the waves crashing, talking to my friends until it was sunrise.

Because I was single, I was able to focus on my career, culminating to me being transferred to Hong Kong at the height of the financial crisis.

Because I was single, my 20s were my best decade yet. And I cannot count the number of super fun days and nights.

I was too busy having fun to be in a stable, committed relationship.

And once I was able to snag a relatively decent man at the age of 28, I was quite the bitch to him because he was putting a damper to the fun I should be having.

Ironically, he did hit me back after he icily dumped me when he found his Ms. Right at his sister’s wedding, leaving me single at an old, “unmarriageable” age of 31. So yes, what goes around comes around.

But I digress…

So when I came back home to Manila, I was single and in my 30s, a recipe for disaster for most Chinese mothers who are itching for grandchildren.

Sure, I had a whole plethora of achievements: an MBA degree from a decent institution, a great resume which could get me hired to most places, and a luggage full of worldly experiences that would make me an envy of many of my local friends.

But I was still single. With no good candidate in sight. So there.

I was lucky I found my husband.

I really am.

But it wasn’t an easy effort.

I said yes to every single social event, didn’t shy away from any introduction, and tried out internet dating, where I ultimately met my husband.

It was easy because I was an extrovert. I LOVED meeting people, and I embraced new experiences. I didn’t mind meeting eligible bachelors whether they were short, fat and ugly. I loved meeting friends, even though they didn’t turn out to be Mr. Right.

My other late 30s friend who came back from Taiwan also shared the same mantra: She had more than 10 blind dates in the span of a year after coming back to Manila. She dated all the losers and had a belt-ful of laughable and disastrous blind dates that would last her a lifetime. But she did meet her Mr. Right on the second year of continuous and disastrous dating, and they happily married late last year — while she was at the ripe age of 38.

Many of our other single friends did not share the same fate. Most of them are still single up until now.

They were too picky. Closed to many new experiences. And were still pakipot despite their ticking biological clocks. Consequently, they’re still wishing and hoping for Mr. Right years after they came back home.

I wrote about this before: You need to be open and ready to find your Mr. or Mrs. Right. If you are open to new experiences, and didn’t mind to get embarrassed once in a while, you WILL find your Mr. Right.

But yes, if you’re hoping to find a mate back in Manila, you’ll be hugely disappointed. It’s not as if there will be a lot of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes lining up your door. You still have to go out and make an effort before even finding the right one for you.

2) Nothing compares to the money I used to make.

I kid you not. The salary I give myself from my small business is less than 10% than what I used to make back in Hong Kong.

To put it simply, my one month salary in Hong Kong is equivalent to almost a year’s salary here in Manila.

If that doesn’t make you bawl like a baby, it should. Because the income disparity is just so huge, it’s not even funny.

When I was in Hong Kong, I could buy anything I want. I could afford a new Chanel a month, travel to as far as Europe if I wanted, and still have spare change to afford my relatively exorbitant flat (since most units in Hong Kong are expensive) and my lifestyle.

I was getting paid a lot of money back then, and didn’t appreciate it. On hindsight, I should have saved more money and invested them in bonds.

Oh well, regrets… regrets…

But my point is, money in the Philippines is not as sweet and delicious as back abroad. It really isn’t. Even if I worked for a premium security house here in Manila, the money I will make here isn’t comparable to the money I used to make back in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But you have a business?!” Some of you may ask. “Shouldn’t your business make you RICH?”


Why not find a better paying job back in Manila instead of wasting your time in your small business?” 

Don’t be surprised my friends.

Yes, I have a business (yehey!) but in no way am I rich (boo!).

Monetary-wise, the money I make in my business, we reinvest back to the business.

A stable business requires good fiscal discipline, and it will be disastrous if I take the profits from the business and deposit it to my bank account. It’s one sure-fire way to bankrupt your business.

Money is power and you can buy many comforts and conveniences with money. And with less money, well, life is just a little bit harder.

Of course, I have a baby and a business but admittedly, I cannot travel or experience as much as before because I earn less money now.

And whenever I do travel, it’s not for leisure but for business.

So yes, earning less money is a complete b*tch.

And if you can handle earning less money for you to spend more time with family, then you’re welcome. But for most families where you are the breadwinner, you can’t afford that. And if you cannot handle the lackluster earnings you’ll get in Manila, then don’t come back home.

3) People here can be the worst. 

Staff simply not showing up to work without any notice (Absence Without Leave = AWOL) is VERY common here. I’ve never had people who simply don’t show up to work in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but here, employees just don’t show up for the most insane reasons.

One sales staff didn’t show up to work because no one will take care of their kids.

One sales staff didn’t show up to work because her dentures fell and she has no teeth.

One sales staff didn’t show up to work because she had tummy problems. But she has nothing to prove.

One sales staff didn’t show up because she didn’t have enough money to go to work.

One sales staff didn’t show up because she was ashamed of being an underperformer.

One sales staff didn’t show up because her husband asked her to.

People here don’t come to work for the most insane reasons.

So you think it’s easy to do business in the Philippines? That it’s so easy being rich here? Well think again.

Think again if the city hall delays your permit because you refuse to grease their palms with money…

Think again when your staff don’t show up when they’re supposed to… or they don’t perform when they’re supposed to… and then blames you for their shortcomings.

Think again when you see just how unprofessional people are here, and they’re poor with good reason. To be honest, there’s so many jobs out there but there’s not a lot of qualified or professional people to do it.

No, it’s NOT easy doing business in the Philippines.

Business is already difficult as it is but it’s the people management that make business even more impossible.

In summary, I think people want to come home because they believe that the grass is greener on the other side. When they come back here, they’re disillusioned because they realized that life overseas was a lot cherrier than coming back here. But after selling off their things, uprooting their lives, and moving back here, all they have are regrets and what could have beens.

Remember, once you move back here, it’s hard to go back overseas again.

Coming back is usually a serious, irreversible decision. You have to quit your job, pack your stuff and move everything back here to live here. Going back overseas would not be as easy.

So pray hard and discuss your options with your loved ones first before making that big leap.

There are many rewards to coming back here, but there are also costs, mostly financially and culturally. Think thoroughly all options before deciding.

And for those who are new to my blog and need counter reasons on why you should move back here, check this out: Why I went back to Manila after 10 years overseas?

Hope this helps and good luck!





Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, Lists, Philippines, Updates, Work | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

August was a bad month for us…

My friend Carol posted the following on her Facebook page:


Read Psalm 102:1-11

One day I phoned a friend of mine who is in the ministry and asked, “How’s it going?” His quiet reply was, “Well, I’m having one of those days.” The next time you’re having one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong–your plans are falling apart, you don’t feel well, there are problems and burdens, and it seems as if all of the forces of the enemy are against you–read this psalm. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble” (vv. 1,2). What kind of a day was the psalmist having? A day of trouble. In fact, he compares himself to a lonely bird. “I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert…. I am like a sparrow alone upon the housetop” (vv. 6,7). That’s the way he feels–like a bird alone on a housetop. He wants to go into the house and enjoy some fellowship, but he’s alone.

The psalmist’s enemies were reproaching him (v. 8). But in a day of trouble and reproach, he says, “I’m going to change this by the grace of God.” And it becomes a day of prayer. He tells God how he feels and what he sees. He cries out, “God, You are the only one who can change things.” God can change things for you also. He may not change the circumstances on the outside, but He does change your feelings on the inside. Then the day of trouble becomes a day of triumph.

* * *
Everyone has days of trouble. When circumstances entrap you and trouble closes around you, pray to the Lord. He knows how to turn your trouble into triumph. Although He may not answer your prayers the way you expect, He will do what is best for you and for His glory.

The above was quite apt for the occasion.

August was a bad sales month for us. After doing so well this 2016, sales dropped 15%. My supervisors blamed it on the rainy season and “Ghost month.”  In their defense, it DID rain hard a few days last month.

But paranoid me wonders if our business is loosing its juice especially in light of new competitors popping up every month, harshly cutting their prices as if there’s no tomorrow.

In one of the malls, one competitor even slashed their prices to Php 200 per item. Honestly, it’s less than the cost of some of our items. I really wonder where they get their items given that you always get what you pay for.

Family-wise, our yaya left us. This type of news is bad for any household. Thank goodness we were able to find a replacement the same day!

Our baby is thankfully healthy and is now at 10 kilos at 8 months plus! This, despite not breastfeeding and eating often. She has been spared from bumps and bruises given that she adjusts and becomes more careful the more she falls.

But yes, I worry about my business.

I worry that the lowdown is permanent and we cannot get our ass off the ground. Sometimes, I look at my sales and wonder, “Where the heck do we get our sales from?!” 

This is followed by a simple word of prayer thanking God for His blessings. Honesty, if not for him, I don’t know where our sales come from. It’s a lot more than I, or anyone, expects.

As I pay my bills, I worry.

I look at my passbook and calculate my cash, and I worry.

I worry about the huge rent I have to pay every 15th of the month. This fixed overhead drives me nuts, and I worry I don’t have enough sales to cover it.

I worry when I have to borrow money from our personal account just to meet the payroll. I did this yesterday and it’s uncomfortable. I know I can pay it back this Friday when more money comes in, but still, I would prefer more of a buffer.

I look at the Philippines’ ultra-rich and I wonder if they worried like I do right now.

I look at my August sales and I bemoan that I didn’t make enough to buy more inventory. I have to get the money somewhere, and I am looking at where to get it.

I try not to worry, but it’s hard.

So to anyone who wants to go into business, know that you too will worry. You worry about your sales, your overhead, and the many people whose families depend on you.

You do this all the time!” my husband chides me. “Every beginning of the month, you worry!”

It’s true. I worry about money all the time, while my husband peacefully looks at me and trusts that I have everything handled.

But I know I have to trust. Trust in God that He will make everything right.

It’s now the Ber months. I hope He is right.

Have a great week everyone!

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Yaya Left Us…

The good thing about raising in the Philippines is you can hire a stay-in babysitter who will take care of your children while you are at work. We call them Yayas.

In Manila, there are yayas for newborn babies, and yayas for toddlers. The price for newborn babies are higher than that for toddlers. Many yayas prefer to take care of newborn babies as they are easier to manage and are less makulit (mischievous).

Kaya ko namang magpuyat,” one yaya told us. “Ayaw ko lang ng salbahe or malikot.” 

Translation: It’s fine for her to be awake at night, taking care of the baby. She just doesn’t want a well-mannered or hyperactive kid.

The great thing about yayas are they are helpers. Meaning, they assist us so our children are well taken care of and safe while we bring home the bacon.

The bad thing about yayas is, because of their position of taking care of our children, they can hold the parents hostage if the babies grow up to be too dependent on their caregivers.

Many of my friends leave their babies to the yayas. It is the yayas who spend the most time with the baby, from the time they wake up, to the time they go to bed at night. It is not uncommon for the babies to sleep with the yayas so that the parents can get a good night sleep.

Here is a Singaporean ad that highlights how maids have taken over our children’s lives:

It’s mostly the parents’ fault but given the time our maids spend with our kids, they are bound to know our children’s ins and outs more than us.

Personally, I never thought of myself as a good mother. There are more hands-on mothers out there who are way better than me.

But I count myself lucky to 1) be able to bring my baby with me to work, and 2) have a lazier yaya who doesn’t mind when I take care of my child. If I do the work, then she can twiddle on her phone and Facebook her friends.

Hence, even though we have a yaya, our baby looks for me instead of the yaya. We don’t have a problem when yaya goes on her day off (which is twice a month), and baby is happy being carried by myself and my husband.

Then again, our baby is exclusively breastfed and co-sleeps with me, which is why she has remained independent of yaya despite yaya’s best intentions to make baby dependent on her.

Other parents aren’t so lucky (or unlucky)…

Without yaya, they are in tatters. Baby cries when the mother holds him, and it’s really difficult for the parents when yaya goes on a day-off because yaya is the primary caregiver.

It’s very common for parents to fight with the yaya. Mothers get protective of their babies and don’t like that their babies love the yayas more than them.

But what can you do?

If you leave your baby mostly to yaya, the baby will think of yaya as the primary caregiver.

Personally, I like it that my baby isn’t too dependent on our yaya.

On the downside, I have to bring her with me ALL the time. Even on business trips, I have to bring her with me. And anyone who’s brought babies anywhere know just how hard it is.

On the upside, when yaya leaves, there are no painful adjustments or tearful goodbyes.

My yaya has been with us since baby was born, and announced one day off the blue that she had to leave this week because she has to go home to the province.

That’s the problem with yayas — when they want to leave, no matter how illogical the reason, they will just leave you without any notice.

She announced to us last Tuesday morning that she had to go. Her 28-year old son was sick and her husband asked her to bring her son to Davao, where they’re from.

Then she left to Valenzuela to find her son.

On Wednesday, she came back for her things.

Everything went by all so fast.


Yaya was gone.

Good for us, baby didn’t care.

And even better for us, we have a full network of agencies we can call to find a replacement.

By Tuesday afternoon, we hired a new yaya. On Wednesday morning, when yaya came to get her things, she was surprised on how fast we were able to find a replacement.

No tears, no goodbyes — just a change in yaya.

Of course, baby is still adjusting to the new yaya. Every style is different and it’s not easy for her too. Sometimes, I feel that she’s looking at me asking me who this new caregiver is. Often times, she wants me to hug and comfort her out of the blue.

But I am glad she looks for me, and not the yaya.

So in the end, all has ended well. Yaya is gone but it’s not the end of the world.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Give and Take

There has been a lot of giving and taking after I got married.

Husband is out now with wannabe entrepreneur good friend as they tinker with toys that will hopefully make them millions.

I’m at home blogging, waiting for him to get home so I can brush my teeth, take a shower and go to bed. Yaya is on her day-off so it’s perilous to leave a sleeping child on the bed alone while you shower. 

It makes me want to call him up and tell him to come back home already. I guess that while time flies when you’re having fun, time inevitably slows down when you’re waiting for husband to get home. 

But I think I’ll let him have his fun for a few more minutes.

I remember he didn’t really fuss when I went on my girl’s night out before. Even after showering, taking care of the baby and the baby screaming herself to sleep, husband manned up and didn’t bother me until I got home, satiated from catching up with my best friends.

He does spoil me sometimes. Today, he didn’t really make a fuss when I bought a bag even though I already have a lot of bags. It wasn’t cheap but it was nice, and he lets me have nice stuff once in a while.

He doesn’t complain when I ask him to take care of baby so I can relax a little bit. I babysat my daughter today in church (while he was working), and instead of listening to the sermon, I spent the good hour chasing after my crawling daughter as she tried the push car, came out of push car, went to slide, attempted to go up of slide, chose to go up four stairs to bang on the wall, munched on the plastic ball, tried to eat the string of dinosaur, go to push car again and then munched on ball, and then up the slide.

I kid you not.

I think I might have accompanied her to the push car 4x, the slide 3x, the stairs 2x, the ball 2x, banging the wall 3x, the other push toy 1x and then following her as she crawl around the freaking room 3x.

So taking care of baby is not easy work. And she’s less than a year old who still can’t walk!

I hear they get even more makulit as they get older…

Anyway, I digress. Point being, married is about give and take.

He gets his boys night out, and when he gets home, he is happy. A happy husband makes me happy. 

Sure, I don’t always get what I want but since time with his good friend is important to him, I should respect that and let him do it since he’s happy when he’s free from fatherhood, even if it’s just a few hours. 

The world doesn’t revolve around me anyways. When you’re married, it should be about the two of you, keeping a balance of give and take.

Have a good week everyone! It’s almost Monday again. Love you!

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I have never been Ms. Popular

I am your typical firstborn: arrogant, bossy and a know-it-all. 

As the only child, I felt that the world revolved around me. That didn’t last long. When my sibling was born, I felt he was a pest and only existed for me to learn how to “share” things which were supposed to be only mine in the first place. 

We used to fight over the pettiest things. Such as who sits in front (of the car), who gets to play with the toy first and whose instructions had to be followed all the time.

As the oldest, I learned how to boss him and everyone else around me around. I learned at a young age that the more authoritative and confident you sounded, the more you can get your way. Why argue with me when it’s just easier to give way?

I was pretty independent as a kid. My parents were mostly out doing business so I was left on my own with the cook and our maid. Hence, I had to take the school bus on my own and study on my own. I was one of those kids who sat in front, took great notes, and studied on her own without prodding.

That made me one of the more unpopular kids in school. 

And while I wasn’t really a teacher’s pet — I had to work for every grade I got and never received any favors — kids just don’t like the kid with thick glasses who seemed eager to please and studied.

I think the more chill you are and the less you studied, the more popular you got. That and excelling in sports. That gave you a lot of brownie points.

Consequently, you learn not to care too much of what other people think.

It goes both ways, people not liking you either breaks you down and you fall into depression. 

Or, it just makes you shrug your shoulders and just focus on studying. Why care too much about what other people thought? There’s no pleasing them anyways.

Damn if you do… And damn if you don’t. 

So, I became comfortable dancing in my own internal beat. I didn’t have a lot of friends. Remember, I wasn’t a popular kid. But I did maintain a best friend or two who occupied much of my time.

And I was fine with that.

I buried my head with books, my best friend and doing my best in school.

Consequently, when you care less about what other people think, you talk mostly taking what you think into consideration. 

Yes yes yes, I hear what you’re saying but… Was a familiar thought process for me.

Other people’s opinions mattered but my opinions matters too.

And that was unfortunately a recipe for arrogance. Or at least perceived arrogance.

It wasn’t my intention to sound arrogant, but it’s hard not to when you think you have a point. 

So aside from being a bossy, I sounded a lot more arrogant. A know-it-all. I spoke as if I didn’t care too much about what other people thought.

A double whammy.

But at the end of the day, I am aware of who I am. 

I will never win a popularity contest. 

I’m too much of a try-hard, wannabe overachiever who sits in front of the class and tries to listen hard to what the teacher is saying. 

I am used to classmates being annoyed because I take school, work and life too seriously. Loosen up! They would say…

I am Hermione Granger, Anne Hathaway and Reese Winterspoon rolled into one.

Except I don’t have best friends as great as Harry Potter, I’m not rich and famous, and I’m not an Oscar winning actress.

I am just a normal girl, trying her best to make sense of the world, who attempts to make an impact in the lives of my staff, my daughter and my family.

So if I am not as well liked, well, welcome to my world. 

Again, I have never been the popular kid. I don’t think I will ever turn out to be a popular adult.

But at the same time, I never really aspired to be generally liked anyway. I have always been a niche market, loved by a few, respected by those who have actually interacted with me, and tossed aside by many.

And that’s just fine by me.

And as my daughter, my firstborn, grows up, I think it’s important to teach her that while it’s important to be well liked and to please people, it’s more important to be herself and to accept who she is, annoying quirks and all.

Only then can you experience full freedom. Because in truth, you can’t please everyone, so you might as well please yourself.

Love you guys! Happy weekend!

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I’ve become one of those moms…

Welcome to my worst nightmare.

I have become one of those moms who…

…Post constant and annoying updates about their offspring. 

It has come to this: Almost all of my status updates on Facebook and Instagram are about my daughter. 

Whaaatt?! I simply find her cute and I want to record the moment for posterity. 

But I acknowledge the updates can be annoying. It’s just that life is hard and boring, and babies don’t remain cute for long, so yeah, shoot me.

Who bring their kids to restaurants and sometime in the middle of the meal, the baby fusses and makes some noise…

I have to eat too, and since I exclusively breastfeed, baby comes with us. 

Only those with babies can sympathize when you have to calm a fussing baby midway through the meal.

But yeah, parents with crying babies are always annoying. Can’t they just keep them at home?

But now, I’m one of them. 

Sorry restaurant patrons. I will just try my best to ignore your annoyed look and eat my meal quickly so we can go and you can have your peace.

…Who talk and brag about their kid all the time…

And what’s not to brag? Little kiddo could somehow walk at four months! And says “Daddadadadahhhdahhh” at 8 months!

Sure, two months advanced in terms of milestones is not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but yeah, I’ve morphed into my greatest nightmare, a doting mom who falsely believes her baby is overly cute, smart and charming.

Yes, I am aware that she’s probably not going to be an Olympic athlete, a charmismatic popstar or a future Elon Musk or Albert Einstein. In all probability, she should come out average. But I join gazillion of mothers who believe her kid is one of THOSE. Those people who make a mark in the world.

One can hope right? 🙂

Who spends more shopping on her kids….

I got tons of useless junk.

Onesies of different colors, many of which she’s already outgrown.

Educational wooden toys she won’t likely touch till she’s over two.

A baby helmet which she hates. We laugh anyway whenever she wears it.

Noise cancelling headphones for infants, like Baby Phelp’s, so as to ensure a more peaceful afternoon nap.

Expensive baby toys she’ll probably forget about once she reaches one.

Hundreds of children’s books even though she still can’t talk, let even read.

Yes, mothers are one of the most gullible buyers in the world. And I’m not the worst of the lot. And still, look at all the junk I’ve bought.

*big sigh*

Who unprofessionally brings her kid to work…

Yes, I am aware she is a distraction. And I used to get more shit done before she was born. I was on fire then.

But I can’t just leave her at home with the maid. Husband and I made a quiet pact to bring our baby everywhere with us, so here we are — with a crying baby in the afternoons, with a staff who is good enough to understand where we are coming from.

But yes, I know how unprofessional it is, and I know I’m one of the lucky few who can get away with it.

Who Join Mommy Groups and Actively Comment as if I’m the most doting mother in the world.

Shhhh… Actually, there are tons of better mothers than I am.

I just birthed my daughter and feed it. It’s actually my husband who deserves the Great Daddy award, thanks to the fact that there are a gazillions of better, hands on mommies out there, while most husbands usually stay in the background and let the women handle the baby.

But hubby changes the diapers and bathes our child. He plays with her so I can have some peace and quiet with the iPad. And when I’m too tired and dozes off to sleep, he makes sure baby is still alive and somehow will doze later safely in between us. 

So admittedly, I’m not a great mother in a way that my husband is an amazing father. 

But I still comment on mommy blogs. 

I talk about my experience with Babywearing, hiring nannies, dealing with pesky in-laws and how to not kill your child.
It’s a great community. 

To be honest, I enjoy browsing through the threads too. You learn a lot of useless stuff that may be useful later on such as how to care for sick children, how to tell your maid she has bad odor and how to arrange birthday parties for cheap.

They can be the most annoying and the sweetest. 

And I’ve become one of them. Sigh.

Who lets her baby do whatever she wants. Even though it may not be 100% safe or hygienic and may cause her to be spoiled later on.

Baby grabs my PC. Here, have a Stabilo highlighter to chew on…

It hasn’t been sterilized yet or wiped with alcohol but hey, what doesn’t kill you make you stronger!

She drops her cookie on the floor. You pick it up and give it to her again. Germs are fine and I just did clean the floor last Sunday.

Husband gives her iced tea. She is not allowed iced tea. I let him do it because a few drops of sweet tea will not cause long-term damage. I hope she doesn’t become obese when she grows up.

She co-sleeps with us every night. She sleeps soundly and wakes up in the morning when we wake. So much for me bragging that we will have her sleep in the crib and sleep train her.
Who cannot bear seeing her baby cry.

Babies can be the most manipulative little people. 

She cries and I pick her up. 

She stops crying. 

Now she cries whenever she sees me. 

And she is extra naughty when I am there. 

She is better behaved when she’s just with Yaya.

Hmmm… I think I missed a memo on how to discipline my child. I am a softie after all. 

Who will probably die for her kid.

I told my husband that in the case of a sinking ship, he should save me first before our offspring.

And if he can only save one, to save me.

Save me first,”  I said. “We can make another kid anyway.”
This was before I gave birth.

Now, the answer is still the same. But I think realisitically, if our little baby was taken away from us, we will be crushed.

Logically, we’ll still be fine, but realistically, I will be hit harder than my husband.

No parent should ever see their kid be buried before them,” people always say. 

I used to laugh at that. 

But that’s right.

Now that we have our little pea in our arms, now that we see her smile and cry and interact with us, how can we bear it?

How can we bear to lose her?

So in the end of the day, I’ve turned into a sucker too. I’ve turned into my worst nightmare: a mother who makes her kid her world and (still) find it cute despite the many annoying things that it does.

Who would’ve known?

Have a great week everyone!

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My Pregnancy Journey

My mother-in-law asked me to not get pregnant until after our USA trip in November 2014.

We’re going to Universal Studios (in Florida),” she advised, “It would be a pity not to get on many of the rides just because you’re pregnant.”

Needless to say, immediately after going on our last wild amusement ride, she said, “Now, you can get pregnant.”

Uhhhhh… okay…They’re very matter-of-fact, my family.

I got pregnant in January 2015 without a hitch. I bought a pregnancy test and when it came positive, I found a box, and placed the positive test onto it and placed a ribbon on top of the box.

My husband’s birthday was also in January so what better birthday gift was it than to announce the news that he’s going to be a father!

We had a luxurious dinner at Vask in BGC to celebrate his birthday. The decor was so simple, and the food was so-so and tasted like the sea. But husband was ecstatic about the news, so it all balanced out.

But to make the experience worse, I promptly experienced LBM afterwards in the evening.

Three days later, I started to bleed profusely.

I bled for four whole days.

Chunks of blood… I was using heavy-duty pads the whole time.


At first, I couldn’t believe it. “Maybe it’s just spotting,” I thought. But when it bled even more, I knew we lost the baby.

Till this day, I don’t know if it’s because of the semi-fresh food we ate at Vask.

The baby was not supposed to live,” my husband consoled me. “I cannot cry over a baby who’s not physically viable. There’s no relationship yet.”

But women who experienced a miscarriage can understand — no matter how small the baby is in your womb, you still feel emptiness inside. It’s a hollow feeling.

A feeling of loss.

I was sad when I found out the baby was gone. Even if I wasn’t that maternal, I still felt bad we lost our baby.

I went to a famous OB and he declared that yes, we have indeed lost the baby. But given that the baby was so small, there was no need to scrape me out, and we could just produce another one without any issues.

Come back to me after 3 or 4 months if you’re not pregnant,” he said. “Try doing it the natural way first.”

God was so good that after that bleeding caused by my miscarriage on January 2015, I didn’t bleed again.

That meant that after the bleeding, my uterus was clean and I got pregnant afterwards through normal means.

We couldn’t believe it — how could I get pregnant so quickly after a miscarriage?

That is why I cannot answer doctors when they asked me when the baby was conceived. After the baby was lost, another baby took its place, and we have little clue when it was conceived.

That’s Little Pea’s ultrasound at 10 weeks 3 days. Doesn’t she look like a little hamster in this photo? 🙂

Little Pea.jpg

Even with the good news, I was deathly afraid of losing this little one once again. If we lost a baby once, we could lose this one again.

But praise God, this baby was so strong. And ensured that my pregnancy was as smooth as can be.

When I was pregnant, I experienced ZERO nausea, morning sickness, or food cravings. Everything was as if I was NOT pregnant.

I carried on work as if I wasn’t pregnant and even went through rigorous mall visits. Sure, my appetite did increase a little — from half rice, my appetite can now cover 1 cup of rice — but aside from that, nothing really changed.

Everyone was afraid for me. They held me while I was going down the stairs, and held my arms as I walked briskly on water puddles.

But the baby, our Little Pea, was such a trooper.

For one, she was normal and healthy — I had to hold my breath while they did our prenatal congenital scan. Given that I’m in my mid-30s, there was always the risk of Down Syndrome, but literally praise God that she was okay.

Two, she was so strong and healthy that not only didn’t she bother me, but she kept on strong and held on even after subjecting her to many tests. For example, when I was 7 months pregnant on my birthday, I insisted on going to Corregidor Island on a boat.

I didn’t know that pregnant women should NOT ride on boats at the risk of miscarriage. It was very very ignorant of me. To top it off, there was a storm that weekend, and we were stuck in Corregidor Island for 5 days.

Hence, the water was choppy, and my mother was screaming at me for subjecting the baby to unnecessary danger and bringing her to an island where hundred of thousands of soldiers DIED.

Okay, so I forgot about that — as a Christian, I don’t believe in ghosts. Also, I believe that the Lord was watching over us all the time.

In the end, all my mother’s fears were for naught, and we got home safe with the baby still intact.

As I’ve said, with this baby, everything went smoothly.

The only thing that bothered me was that I had to eat an extra snack in the afternoon, and some days of sleepiness when I just had to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon.

At the 6th month, my hands experienced some tingling and I felt my arms and hands cramped, especially on my right side.

On my 7th to 8th month, my feet started getting swollen and pimply and irritating. My feet ballooned and became really ugly. I had to wear my loose Crocs just to get anywhere.

Here’s an ugly photo of my feet for posterity — sorry about that.

ugly feet.jpg

But overall, I was very lucky.

Aside from my cramped hands and ugly feet, everything was normal and I was still working hard up to the day of my delivery in December 2016.

So it’s true what they say, “When God opens the door, He opens a window.”

Our first baby left us to some sorry, but I think he/she prepared the way for our Little Pea. If our first baby lived, he/she may have some sort of birth defect. It was that our first baby was not strong enough to survive.

But our Little Pea was such a trooper from Day 1. She truly is a blessing from God. And as we look at her today, more advanced than her age and hitting all her milestones correctly, we cannot help but praise the Lord for His great plans for us.

So as I go back to sleep, I thank Him. Thank Him for giving me more than what I deserve. For giving me my lovely husband and our little girl.

Even in tragedy, the Lord reveals His great plans to us. And for this, I am very grateful.

What more can a mom ask for?

Posted in Baby Stuff, Motherhood, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Get Pregnant When You’re Not Yet Ready

Since I’m in the topic of motherhood, I’d like to talk about the rampancy of unwed single mothers in the Philippines.

To place it in context, I work in a business that hires a lot of women. Since our products cater to women, we hire more women because they’re the best gender to sell to our target market.

I love hiring women — they are usually more detail-oriented, more serious at work, tolerant, and despite their issues, still serve mostly with a smile. They can also handle criticism better, and usually are less argumentative when it comes to work.

At the same time, women have more self-confidence issues. They think lower about themselves, and are victims of philandering husbands and live-in partners, or abusive boyfriends. They seem to grab on whatever small bone of happiness their partner throws at them, even though it’s less than what they deserve.

They are also more responsible and take on the issues of the family when their family members or partners fail. Many are breadwinners and carry the family’s financial burden. Which is a lot especially when you’re taking care of your parents, your siblings and a few of your children from various fathers.

What’s worse, they hold the burden of supporting sick family members.Since many of them have to check in their family members at public hospitals, they as the responsible ones are forced to be the ones to leave their jobs and care for the ill patient.

So there are pros and cons to hiring women in the Philippines.

Pros is that they are better suited for the job offered, mentally and physically. While the con is that, when family and money problem arise, it affects them and their work, and ultimately, force them to leave their jobs, causing my business a lot of cases of AWOL (Absence Without Leave)

And you have to give it to the women —

In 2008, 37% of the 1.8 million babies born in the Philippines were from unwed mothers according to the National Statistics Office. This is an increase of 12% from 2007.


In a 2013 demographic survey, 10% of women from ages 15 to 19 are already pregnant with their FIRST child. Eight percent are already mothers while 2% are pregnant.

I for one only have to look at all the women who come in to interview. I listen to their stories and inwardly cry at their naivete and stupidity. Of allowing men to get them get pregnant without both being financially ready.

Personally, I don’t judge single mothers. My heart bleeds for them. As a mother who is lucky enough to have a helpful husband, I cannot imagine just how much harder it is to raise a kid on your own.

Case in point, two of my office staff are single mothers.

single mothers.jpg

My older supervisor is married with two beautiful daughters, but is separated from her husband who has a second family.

They all carry the burdens of raising their families, half expecting some half-hearted support from the fathers, but realistically paying for their and their kid’s daily needs from their own pockets.

Today, my supervisor told me that one of her staff Jenny was missing from the store for more than the allotted hour.

When asked where she went, she said that she had to fix some money issues because she’s already spent all of the money she received from her wages last Saturday (Today is Wednesday). And because she spent all of her money already, she couldn’t pay their utility bill and their electricity got cut off.

I told the supervisor to closely monitor the staff in the next few days. Her work has indeed been affected due to her personal problems and historically, staff who couldn’t budget and are constantly running out of money usually fall into the temptation of AWOL and theft. Because of her money problems, I doubt that Jenny will stay longer with us.

So why not increase their salaries then?

Some critics tell me that the easiest solution to help all these women is to increase their salaries. If you give them more, then they would need less, and you can pat yourself in the back knowing that you’ve helped.

Anyway, why not give more to your staff instead of enriching yourselves? Wouldn’t that be the more socially responsible thing to do?

I’m sorry, but people who use this reasoning, do not understand. They give many helpful advice without thinking the problem through, and understanding the consequences.

Business is all about balance — balance in paying your suppliers (for your goods), your people (for your operation), receiving money from your customers (as revenue), and rewarding yourself for the trouble and capital you put the money in.

You cannot overpay one at the risk of another, and if the trouble is too much for me, I’d rather just close shop and enjoy peace and quiet with my capital earning minimal cash in the bank, which is just fine.

And to debunk the argument of paying your people more, actually, that’s NOT TRUE.

Paying your people more is not the answer. It’s paying DESERVING people more.

That is the reason why our business operates in a basic pay + high commission, so as to spread the love and profits to staff who sell better and more consistently. And for our regular staff, we offer them a generous performance bonus that genuinely reflects the effort they’ve given the entire year.

It’s not about increasing people’s salaries. To do so is to invite lazy, ignorant and ungrateful staff into your fold. It’s about increasing people’s salaries IF THEY’VE EARNED IT.

That way, good staff comes to your fold. Because they know that if they work hard and perform well, they will be amply rewarded for their efforts.

And even if you increase salaries, it’s never enough. If a woman cannot budget her money, even doubling her salary is a mere temporary band-aid to the problem. She will still have money problems despite her salary increase.

Case in point, one of my supervisors who is no longer with us. Despite earning 50% more than her subordinates, she still borrows from them! Why? Because she is financially irresponsible, supporting a lazy husband, a teenage daughter with a baby, and a few more children.

So I don’t think it’s about raising the salaries. Instead, it’s about being responsible, and looking at the long-term.

And, it’s also about protecting yourselves from pregnancy and not having babies when you’re not ready for them!

Now I love babies. I have one so I have to love ’em. But they sure are expensive.


It’s like a cash register — every day is a Ka-Ching!

When they were born, Ka-Ching on hospital bills!

When you take them home, Ka-Ching on diapers! Php 8-10 per piece and you have to change them 8x-10x per day! I think we finished more than four boxes already…

Ka-Ching on vaccinations!

Ka-Ching on Onesies, Swaddles, and Clothes!

Ka-Ching on their food! Thank goodness I breastfeed so I save up on milk expense, but seriously, Ka-Ching!

Ka-Ching on breastmilk pumping materials!

Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!

So babies are expensive. My baby is expensive. As a first-time mother, I spend more money on her, than for me.

And I will continue spending until she comes home for her first paycheck… when she’s around 21 years old!

Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!

And I’m one of the luckier ones.

I am in my mid-30s, married, with a relatively stable job and two supportive households who will be there to bail us out in case we run into money problems.

While we aren’t super rich, we have many of life’s comforts. I can buy my kid unnecessary toys just because I want to, and I don’t need to check my account to see if we can afford it or not.

With regards to the others… well, that’s a different story.

They are pregnant at a younger age, with multiple children when they reach their mid-20s, and don’t have the stable support of a husband. They are usually unmarried, and by the time they’re in their 30s, they may already have a different partner.

Which is why I am pro-contraceptive. Why I believe in protecting yourself in unwanted pregnancy.

If you’re going to do it, be safe and be protected. And not fall in the trap of raising a family earlier than necessary.

So that’s my thoughts on solving poverty — Have sex responsibly. Use protection. Don’t get pregnant unless you’re in a stable relationship, hopefully married, and have a stable job to raise your kid properly.

Rant over. Have a good week ahead!






Posted in Advice, Baby Stuff, Boyfriend, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

One of the Most Tiring Things about Being a Mother…

…is to be the recipient of so many “helpful” advice.

I kid you not.

Ever since I became a mother, I had to wrap my head around well-meaning advice givers who seem to know better how to raise my child.

One well-wisher said it’s better to bathe the child at night so as to make her sleep better. “There has to be a nighttime routine,” she said. “So you bathe her, sing to her, then tuck her to bed.”


Another well-wisher said NOT to give the child a bathe in night. “Baka ma-pasma,” she said. Pasma is a Filipino term for exhaustion brought about by introducing water to a tired body.

One mother said not to vaccinate her kid. “I heard vaccinations is caused to autism,” she said.

Another mother said you MUST vaccinate your kid.

One well-wisher said that our caretaker/yaya must alcohol her hands and wear a face mask so as to ensure a clean living environment to our kid.

Another well-wisher said it’s best to expose our baby to germs early on as to build up her immunity.

My aunt says to ignore the child as she cries because it teaches her independence and stops her from being too spoiled.

Another mother said it’s best to hug the child and console it immediately upon crying so as to build her confidence and to show her she is loved.


Seriously, to all parents who have children, how do you cope with all the know-it-alls in the world?!

To be honest, husband and I are bad parents.

Husband teases and abuses our baby like there’s no tomorrow, pinching her cheeks and kissing her hard, just because he can’t help herself.

When she falls down and cries, he laughs are her clumsiness. He finds humor in her hardship.

He has no qualms leaving her be, sometimes to her detriment, because she sometimes bump her head on the cabinet on the floor.

I’ve had many accidents when I was a baby and am still okay,” he defensively said. “It’s a kid. And they’re not as fragile as you think.”

I’m no better.

I for the other have never changed a soiled diaper yet. Nor have I ever bathed my own child. I leave that dirty job to my darling husband and the nanny.

And while I bring my baby to work and keep a watchful eye on her, I also work in the daytime, leaving my baby mostly to my nanny’s care. I only go to her when she’s really making a fuss and needs me.

To be honest, our daughter is a very considerate baby despite her parents’ weaknesses.

She knows that day time is work time and is usually quite docile, napping for short periods and playing with her toys. And at night, she sleeps through the night so as to ensure we all get a good night’s sleep.

And to many people’s shock and horror, we have a laissez-faire attitude in child rearing. Stuff that many mothers stop their babies from doing, we’re fine with it.

For example, we don’t sanitize everything that our daughter puts in her mouth. We tried initially, but there were too many things to sanitize. In the end, we thought, “A little germs won’t kill her.”

So just imagine what our daughter likes to put in her mouth — bottle caps, staplers, highlighters, and closed capped pens. She even likes to nibble on her Graco crib, which is not the most clean item in the world.

My husband also lets her play by herself while he takes a bath. He places her on a padded mat and let her explore. Sometimes she bumps her head, but we thank our lucky stars, the damage isn’t serious. Then baby gets smarter and becomes more careful.

We also have a relaxed attitude when it comes to feeding.

My husband feeds our baby iced tea as a reward, though we mostly stick to water. We give her congee, rice and pasta, but if we don’t follow the normal recipes other parents follow, it’s fine. Baby has breastmilk to fall back on anyway.

At the end of the baby, we remind ourselves that she is OUR baby anyway, and we do have the right to take care and raise her however we want.

This has served us very well.The trick is to NOT be bothered when people tell you how to best raise your kids.

Despite so many naysayers in the world, we realize that we can always accept the advice we like and ignore the rest.

For us, so long as you love your daughter and try to raise her the best way you can, even though you make a few mistakes here and there, the baby will still be fine.

And she is.

Baby is fat, cute and inline to hitting all of her milestones.

She smiles and reaches out to us when we go near her, which means she loves us and forgets about all the little mistakes we’ve done to her.


She cries when she don’t see her mother, and there’s no better feeling in the world knowing that despite your many weaknesses, you’re still #1 in the heart of your child.

So to all naysayers, thank you for your advice. We appreciate it and accept it.

We will follow it when it makes sense, and forget about it when not.

And when it gets too irritating, I just look at my baby and smile.

You’re mine,” I would say. “And I will raise you in any way I want.”

And then hug her with love. 🙂

Have a good week everyone!



Posted in Baby Stuff, First Experiences, Parenthood, Updates | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Problem with Being a Former Expat in the Philippines

I’ve lived overseas for almost 10 years before coming back home.

There was a time I moved from Hong Kong to London, from London to Hong Kong then back to the Philippines in a span of four months, with luggage in tow.

Moving is depressing. It takes a lot of work, and there’s a sense of restlessness in knowing that the work’s not done until the last box/luggage has been unpacked and tidied up.

It’s very exciting though — the expat life.

Where you’re always the foreigner, and you can act like a foreigner because you’re not local. So some rules don’t relate to you and locals are kind enough to understand.

Where locals treat you like an oddity, and it’s so easy to make friends because you’re just so intriguing.

Where fellow expats find a sense of connection to you, and it’s great to wallow in that expat community where it’s all about parties, adventures, and fun fun fun.

Where you don’t think about tomorrow because today is already wonderful, and you’re busy living in the moment.

And where you feel that the world’s your oyster, and there are no boundaries to where you can go.

Now, with a baby and husband in tow, traveling now seems to be a luxury. But I remember when I was in Taipei, I would just call my travel agent, pick a region, book my tickets and just GO.

So a big problem of an ex-expat is nostalgia.

Where you remember the good ol’ days until your nice husband shakes you awake and tells you that was five years ago, and since we’re now living in the Philippines, I should focus on living and enjoying the Philippines.

Where you feel that the rules that you followed as an expat still applies to you back home. When you catch yourself saying, “That wouldn’t happen in (insert country where you lived here)!” and then remind yourself that you’re no longer in that country, and you just have to live with that.

Where you meet again friends who visit you in Manila, friends with whom you spent countless of hours having so much fun, only to find out that both of you have matured and no longer don the free life, and it’s no longer the same.

Where you remind yourself that being an ex-expat does NOT make you better than a local, and if ever you’re stupid enough to show your arrogant I’m-better-than-you-because-I’ve-lived-overseas, Filipinos will have no shame in reminding you that you’re just the same as them because NOW, you live in Manila with everything that comes with it.

Where you thought of all the money you used to make, money that you splurged on luxury bags and expensive far-off trips. And then you look at your current salary and then cry.

Yup, the biggest problem of being an ex-expat is NOSTALGIA.


Where you remember the good ol’ days, and think of what could’ve been.

On how lovely it is to live in a developed country where everything JUST WORKS.

Then, you realize to yourself — there was a reason why you chose to leave. Why you chose to come back, and why you chose to stay.

Yes, at times, especially when I feel especially poor, I am nostalgic about the past.

But as I look at my family, and our small little business, and the people who entrust their livelihoods with us, even though I am poorer here than overseas, my heart swells and I feel blessed and lucky.


And as I look around where I live, with all the traffic issues/corruption/disarray, I realize that no country is perfect but this is a country that I call home.

Because when I lived overseas, I was still the lao wai and the foreigner, and despite learning the language and adopting their habits, I am still different and I can never be “local” enough for the locals.

I think the problem of being an ex-expat lies on mind of the ex-expats.

It’s okay to miss the life that you’ve had… the life that could’ve been only if you did not leave.

But to regret is another thing.

I for one, thank the Lord, have no regrets.

I was able to spend time with my sick father before he passed away. It was a year, but I wouldn’t exchange that year for the world.

I was able to meet my husband, and changed his life for the better.

I am able to spend time with my healthy senior citizen mother while she is still alive. And to bring her joy via my child, who grows lovelier every day.

And I was able to find myself. I discovered what type of woman and wife I really was, and what type of boss I was.

I think if I stayed overseas, I would not have that. Because I would be so preoccupied with being an expat, I wouldn’t have much time to live as a local.

So yes, I am a former expat and proud of it. And I have made my choice and I am proud of it. And to those who are still deciding, good luck to you too!

But let this be an encouraging post to show that no matter what you choose, both are good choices.

Just make the choice you can live with.

Have a good week everyone!



Posted in Advice, Life lessons, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Motherhood Changed Me…

I remember going back from the hospital after giving birth to our baby girl.

It was such an overwhelming moment.

You feel awash with a sense of responsibility. That it’s no longer about you anymore. That it’s now about HER.

To be honest, parenthood does not change you as much as it actually reveals what you are more capable of.

For example, I didn’t know that I was capable of loving another person. Sorry but I will be the first to admit that I am innately selfish and for the first time, I am obliged to care for another person.

Case in point, even if she’s only a few months old, I am already worrying and planning for her future. Ever heard of Estate Planning? Even if Husband and I have little estate for the moment, I am already mentally readying our estate for her.





Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think motherhood changed me as much. I love my daughter a lot and I do miss her, and I have a fuzzy feeling whenever I think of her. But yeah, am not super duper maternal.

So yeah, am still the same person except for the fact we now have a baby and her yaya tagging along with us wherever I go since I’m exclusively breastfeeding.

However, I think fatherhood revealed a lot more to me about my husband.

He is a wonderful father, full stop.

I kid you not — from the time Pea was born, husband has taken over diaper duties, bath duties, and in many times the night, play duties.

It’s more than any woman/wife can ask.

I am not embarrassed to admit it: Since Pea was born, I have yet to change a SOILED diaper. I have changed a wet diaper, but never a soiled one. Husband always comes to the rescue.

Husband is super dad.


And aside from being an awesome father, he still remains a great husband.

Yesterday for example, he bought us midnight snack from Jollibee — palabok and sour cream fries, my favorite.

So I think the lesson is: When you get married, find a man who can be a good father.

It makes life a lot easier, because babies truly is a big responsibility which is too heavy to carry if you’re alone.

So for me, I feel blessed and undeserving to have my lovely daughter and my amazing husband… and I feel in awe of the many single mothers who’s winging it and making life great for themselves and their kids.

They are way better than I am.

Sure, I can work and earn money, but hat’s off to them for being able to balance parenthood and making a living without help.

As for me, even though am Mrs. Tough Girl, motherhood revealed to me that I am weak without my husband. That he makes life easier for our family. That without him, I have to do everything, and wow… just wow.

He has been our rock —

So yeah, motherhood has changed me.

Before, I thought I can do anything.

But actually, I am not that tough after all.

And I realized that, only after having our baby.

Have a great weekend!

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All Failed Relationships Lead You to the Right One

The first guy I dated worked as a waiter, became a restaurant cook and ended up to be a holistic masseuse in Japan. He was a high school graduate who felt he was inferior against college graduates because they have a degree and he doesn’t.

Why didn’t you get a college degree?” I asked.

I wanted to work,” he said. “It made better sense for me to work and earn money than to waste more money going to university.”

He was what you called a failed soccer player. Back in high school, he was a good enough soccer player that they sent him to Brazil to train for soccer. Unfortunately, an injury put a quick end to that career.

So he was in Taiwan with me learning Mandarin. On the side, he was a waiter and helped out in the kitchen at a friend’s restaurant.

In other words, he was not very well off. But given that I was head over heels in love with him and 22 years old, that never really mattered to him. I comforted myself with the fact that I could be the family’s breadwinner because given my training and education, I can make money for us.

But men don’t like to be outshined by their partners and he was no different.

While he did look up to me, he also unconsciously put me down. Having a college degree was not important, and if we got married, education will also not be a priority with our children.

After awhile, the relationship ran its course and we broke up in our one-year anniversary.

We were different in many ways — culturally, socio-economically, and everything else. Only love kept us together, and when the love candle dwindled, we finally didn’t have many things in common.

I remember he would spend his rest days drinking sake with friends, making tambay.

That was not really me.

I loved to travel, discover new restaurants, talk to different people of various nationalities. In short, we were incompatible.

So of course, while I was hurt we broke up, I was glad as well. I realized that it was important to be with someone who shared the same background as you do. That while too many commonalities made someone boring (I mean, would you marry yourself), if you’re too different culturally and socio-economically, that’s a problem as well.

Relationships are hard enough already. Why complicate it further if you can choose it?

It was then I realized the value of choosing someone who has a similar background and culture as you. And language is also important – you must have the same mother tongue.

Do you know how hard it was to argue in Mandarin?

Yeah, I guessed. 

The second relationship I had was with a recent divorced man with whom I had a 18-year age gap.

I was 25, and he was 43 years old, but looked 35.

Nobody could imagine he was 43… not until they saw his ID.

He was American-born Chinese, mature in the ways of the world, and loved the finer things in life. He made me feel like a princess, and whisked me one time to Hong Kong just to eat at the Mandarin Grill.

After eating instant noodle with Guy#1 and saving money all the time, that was nice.

I realized that while love works, it was important to be comfortable, and you have to have enough money so as to NOT worry about money.

Again, relationships are hard enough as they are already, but if you have to fight about money, your relationship won’t even stand a chance.

And before you condemn me for going out with someone who’s old enough to be my dad, we did ultimately broke up.

Turned out despite his age, he was a sweet mommy’s boy and his mother didn’t approve of him dating someone who was 18 years younger than him (Then again, who can blame her). What’s worse, divorce does something to a man.

Because of that relationship, I had a new rule: DO NOT date any guy who just broke up with a serious long-term girlfriend/wife.

These men have issues, and you’re the sap who have to listen to him to sort out those issues.

Every moment, every instance, is a reminder of his ex.

So yeah, from that time on, I never dated anyone who broke up with a serious girlfriend… not until I know he’s 1000% over her. This usually takes 2 years of playing around.

From the next guy I dated, I learned the value of dating emotionally available men. If the guy is not that gung ho about you, NEXT!

I remember moving to Hong Kong, a new city for me at that time, and waiting for him to call. He was from Singapore and we were in a long-distance relationship. It was Christmas and cold and 2008 so people were getting sacked from their jobs. It was depressing and lonely for me.

No call — he called me in New Year’s and we broke up then.

Or shall we say, I broke up with him. I cried afterwards but it was empowering for me. If it’s not working, gather up the courage to break up than to drag a relationship nowhere.

As a result, I wasted only a few months. And learned a good lesson.

Worth it!



Given all the lessons I’ve learned through the years, my next boyfriend came from the same culture, had a good analytical job, was about the same age, did not break up with someone recently and was emotionally available.

In other words, in paper — I hit the jackpot! What’s not to like?

He was also very very nice to me.

He was sweet and given we were in a long-distance relationship, with him from Singapore and me in Hong Kong, we Skyped every day and saw each other every month. Thank goodness for cheap fair of AirAsia and other budget airlines.

But to be honest, he was so good to me that I found him to be boring. Regrettably, I was a bit of a bitch to him, because I wanted to see the extent on how patient he was.

I tested his patience and pushed his buttons. I was a brat. And deluded myself into thinking that I was worth it and hence, if he wanted me, he had to work to get me.

On that relationship, I learned not to be a bitch to your partner. And to give and take. If you take too much advantage, you will get dumped.

And I did get dumped. Rightfully so.

Although arguably, he dumped me because he already found a replacement (they officially announced they were a couple in Facebook exactly 30 days after we broke up, those creeps), it taught me to value my relationship and to treat my boyfriend as I wanted to be treated.

It also taught me the importance of finding someone you won’t be bored with.

I was so bored in my last relationship. He was boring. But he was nice, so I stuck around.

I remembered watching my brother with envy as he talked animatedly to his then new girlfriend. They talked about everything and anything. And they seemed to really enjoy their time together.

I looked at my relationship and felt empty. Our conversations were constrained and I couldn’t find in my heart the same animatedness that my brother had with his girlfriend. We talked the same language and loved the same things, but for some reason, didn’t enjoy each other’s company too much.

Sure, he was good in paper and I was good in paper but we were also not right for each other. If we got married, we would’ve settled for each other. And that’s not right.

I remembered looking at him as he arrived the Airport Express, and couldn’t muster the excitement to greet him. He was there sure, and that was nice… but that was it.



So I learned another lesson: When choosing a partner, choose someone who excites you. Someone you can’t wait to talk to. Someone you’d like to see everyday. Someone whom you will miss, and someone whom you can see tomorrow and forever with.

I honestly thought finding the right relationship was bullshit.

That love stories were concocted by lonely women who project their wants and dreams in paper. That rom-coms are there for us to make money for Hollywood executives. That true love is an impossibility. That it doesn’t exist. And so, why waste time in things that don’t exist? Just focus on being happy single.

And I was happily single.

Until I met my now husband.

I realized after I met him that all my other relationships — all my failed relationships — opened the pathway for me to realize that my husband was the One for me.

From my first relationship, I learned the importance of finding someone who is culturally and socio-economically suitable. And not to judge someone just because they wear shorts and t-shirts on a daily basis.

From my second relationship, I learned to give divorced guys a chance. That it was not a taboo as most people in the Philippines think it is. And to find someone who can feed you, because worrying about money is a bitch.

From my third relationship, I learned that the guy has to be emotionally available and ready for a relationship with you. With husband, I never had to chase after him and ask him to be mine. He did the right moves and made sure I knew he wanted something serious and long-term once he was ready. Which was before I was ready, so that’s good!

From my last relationship, I learned you have to enjoy your partner. His company, his stories, and the way he thinks. It’s important that you share the same beliefs and values, otherwise, you’d constantly ask yourself, “Why do you think that way?” You have to have the same mindset.

Oh, and I also learned not to be a bitch in a relationship.

Yes, that’s very important.

So it’s easy to say it now, but I will say it because I believe it is true — for me, every single one of my relationships readied me for the One for me.

Yes, they took years and many lessons were painful for me. My heart and ego took a beating but they transformed me to a better person who was ready for my now husband. When we met each other, I was a nicer, better girlfriend because of everything I went through. And because I was one of the more amazing women he’d ever met, he married me.

So it’s true — for those who are married, kudos to you. I hope you didn’t settle, and I hope you are happy with your choice.

And for those who are single, think about what I said. Look at your past relationships and see how much they’ve changed you. Thank the Lord for all the lessons and take them to heart.

Then open your eyes and never lose hope. My mistakes let me to my husband. I hope yours will also do the same.

So let me know what other lessons you’ve learned in your past relationships. Once agian, comments welcome below. 🙂

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Dates, Favorite Posts, Life lessons, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Personal opinion, Reflections, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you know you’ve found the Right One?

Answer: “You just know.”

And before you strangle me for giving you a typical B.S. answer, let me implore you to think more about how deep that answer is.

First, majority of people who’ve found The One say it, and say it often. They agree with this statement 1000%.

Everyone doubts when an answer is too simple. How can something as complicated as love be answered that simply?

But yes, it’s true — if it’s the One, there will come a point in that relationship when you just know.

My husband knew I was the One when I didn’t abandon him at his darkest moment.

He was sitting inside a jail cell crying his heart out thinking I would leave him for what he did, and I stuck around.

I knew Husband was the One after he quit porn and drinking.

This belief was further reinforced a week before our wedding day when he agreed to take care of the giveaways. There he was mechanically arranging our souvenirs while watching TV. That moment, I thought, “I’m glad I’m with someone who can handle things. “

A few days later, he helped me glue sparkly beads on my wedding dress.

That did it for me.

Sticking sparkly beads to a wedding dress may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but it was to me.

Just imagine the scenario, there I was regretting why I even started gluing sparkly things to my wedding dress. I’ve already started and I had to finish the whole darn thing, and I was only 20% done and the wedding was 5 days away.

It was very frustrating for me that I am still not even half-way done, and it has to be done, and nobody is helping me. And I cannot get anyone to help me because it was my dress, and I had to finish it on my own.

And since husband finished his job, which was taking care of the souvenirs, I couldn’t ask him to help me with MY job, which I wanted to do in the first place.

My now husband felt so sorry for me he took another stick of glue and helped me with my dress.

There we were at the living room, gluing stick beads to a big flowing wedding dress. Working together as a team.

Husband of course did most of the work. I was slower than him, or he had better glue. But the most important thing was, we finished it in 2 days.

That did it for me — that was the day, I knew Husband was the One.

3 days before the wedding.

And I never looked back ever since.

When you know.jpg

During my wedding day, all the doubts and fears were gone… only excitement. It was honestly one of the happier days in my life, and all I can feel was LOVE.

Love from my family, love from our friends, and of course, love from my husband. There was a lot of love that day.

I think it’s okay to have doubts in a relationship.

To tell you the truth, I doubted my relationship with now husband all throughout. I thought in many points of our relationship, we were going to break up. It was truly because of God’s grace and approval that we are here today.

When I said “Yes” to my husband’s proposal, I also had doubts. But I said yes anyway. Because it’s better to say yes when you are not sure, than to say no and then regret it.

But I can tell you for sure — on my wedding day, I was SURE.

I was 1000% sure that this is God’s BEST for me. That my husband was the right person for me. And I was so happy that I found him.

So to answer the question, How do you know if the man or woman you’re dating is the Right One?

My answer is, like many happily married couples out there is YOU JUST KNOW.

And while I agree that the timing differs with everyone – you’d never really know when knowing will hit you – I think everyone will agree that you have until your wedding day to figure it out.

As the door opens and you walk down the aisle, your heart must be at peace, and your eyes only for him.


There must be no doubt, no stress in your heart that the Right person is the one standing in front of you.

Otherwise, RUN.

Run my friend, RUN. Don’t get married just because he asked you.

Don’t get married if you do not know.

Marry the man/woman you know in your heart is the Right One.

And you have until your wedding day to be sure about it.

I was sure on my wedding day. Are you?

Comments below appreciated.

Posted in Advice, Favorite Posts, First Days of Marriage, Husband, lovelife, Marriage, Personal opinion, Reflections, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Separation Anxiety

I think God made babies so cute and so helpless, so you have no choice but to take care of them.

My baby is now almost 7 months old, and is entering her separation anxiety stage.


According to BabyCentre, separation anxiety is a real thing:

Babies can show signs of separation anxiety as early as 6 or 7 months, but the crisis age for most babies peaks between 10 to 18 months. Most commonly, separation anxiety strikes when you – or your partner – leave your child to go to work or run an errand.

In actuality, that means that whenever we leave her, our baby makes a fuss and cries. She’s usually fine after we leave — we have good caretakers anyway — but there’s nothing more efficient in giving me mommy guilt than to have your child cry every time you leave.

Which makes it an issue when we do business.

As much as it’s fun and cute, it’s also embarrassing and unprofessional when you lug your baby along with you wherever you go.

And we do bring her along wherever we go.

Because we are in retail, I’ve brought our baby since she was 3 months old to store visits.

To date, she’s been in over 20 malls, even as far as Subic, Batangas and Cavite. When we do store visits, we would go to 6 malls in a span of a day. By the 5th or 6th mall, you can see she’s a bit tired, which is why I leave her in the car with yaya with the aircon opened.

But what about bacteria or illness?!” some mothers will criticize. “You don’t bring babies out until their 6th month because they’re not vaccinated yet.”

Well, tough. Our baby’s been out since she was a month old, and she’s fine.

Sure, there had been sniffles here and there, and sometimes, there’s that cold that wouldn’t go away, but so far, we’ve been blessed that our baby has been spared of the more serious sickness like fever.

We’ve also brought her along car shows and a toy convention and she’s come out unscathed by the entire experience.

To be honest, I think all that exposure has only made our baby stronger, healthier and more socialized. She’s okay with loud sounds and a LOT of people. And with regards to overstimulation, I think she’s been overstimulated since Month 1, and so far, she’s okay. In fact, the pedia tells us our baby is quite advance for her age.

But despite our best efforts, it’s still not enough.

Our business has slowed down because of baby.

Unlike before, we can’t just book our tickets at a drop of the hat and then go abroad to buy new inventory. Till now, we are still thinking how we’re going to get away to going to an International Trade Show in November in Hong Kong. Should we or should we not bring baby along with us? Hmmmm….

We can bring my mom to babysit,” I murmured.

Sigh, then we’d have to babysit YOUR mom too!” husband retorts.

It’s not easy. While baby has separation anxiety, we also have parental guilt of leaving her behind.

Last night, I left her at home to deliver something to hubby. I was gone for an hour, and for the time I was gone, she cried.


Yes, a baby makes for slower, less efficient days.

And honestly, our business has suffered from it. Last year, we opened around 8 branches. This year, we’ve only opened one, and closing another.

But what can we do?

A baby will really slow you down. You have to take into account what your baby needs and slow down.

You can’t speed along like before.

You have to make sure her diaper bag is prepared, she’s well rested and everything is convenient before you go go go. Unlike before where I can take a public bus to the store, I have to book a driver for store visits if baby comes along.

It is worth it though.

And when I look at my baby’s eyes when I nurse her at night, I tell her thank you. Thank you for tolerating mommy’s crazy schedule. For going to work with mommy. For being a trooper for it.

And then I tell myself, I’m doing my best. And I’m doing a great job as a mother.

Foolish words? Maybe. But again, what can I do?

A baby changes your life. A baby changes you.

So the best you can do as a mother, and as a parent, is to do your best and carry on.

Have a good week ahead!

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When you’re pissed and you know it, write a post

Someone set an appointment for which I had to go to Makati for.

Anyone who understands the traffic condition in Manila knows that to get anywhere, you have to allocate at least two hours of travel time.

Consequently, I had to cancel my morning meetings to accommodate this request.

The person didn’t show up.

And shot me a last minute email about it.

No text, no apologies, no nothing.

At first, I was pissed.

Decent people do not do that. If you have an appointment, you keep it. If you can’t make it, then inform us earlier.

But I realize not everyone is like me. And it’s difficult for me to project my values to everyone. Doing so welcomes disappointment. Because people don’t act the way I expect them to.

So breathe it and out. Relax. Don’t be too mad and carry on.

Anyway, life is too short as it is. Getting mad helps no one. It’s just a waste of energy.

That’s why, I am writing this post. If I cannot scream and shout and be pissed, at least I have another outlet to release those negative energies on.

Thank you blog. And thank you readers for being my outlet.

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Protected: Updates: Nope, we’re NOT sick. 

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Protected: When you thought you were sick

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Baby Stuff: Stuff I swear by and can’t live without (From Sister-in-Law)

Update: I’m already on my 23rd week and entering my sixth month. Whereas my jeans and shorts still fit me two weeks ago, they now don’t. I officially start looking pregnant and from what I’ve heard, I will look even more pregnant for months to come.

For now, I am taking it easy. No pressure, no hassle.

I refuse to succumb to the pressure of many would-be moms who would research motherhood and read gazillions of websites. My sister-in-law was well-prepared for her daughter when she came. I simply don’t have time.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law sent me a helpful list of things to buy and NOT buy. Happy to share:


Stuff I swear by and can’t live without

  1. Out and about

a.) A Baby carrier !!!!!

– For example: Mamaway ring sling, Baby K-tran are great for newborns; ring sling good until at least 3-4


– Structured carriers like Baby Bjorn and Ergo baby are ok, but I find all the bits and pieces a little annoying

b.) Diaper bag

c) Stroller – I don’t really use stroller since I love the sling, but if you get one, make sure it’s lightweight and easy to fold and maneuver; you may also want to get a model that has built-in car seat since you guys have a car

  1. Keeping clean

a.) Newborn/toddler 2 in 1 bathtub

b.) Shampoo/soap

c.) Baby towel with hood – I gave you 2 already

d.) Baby lotion

e.) Baby grooming kit

f.) Rubber changing mat

g.) Baby wipes – for wiping off most of the poo

h.) Cotton balls – dip in warm water and clean up the leftover poo

i.) Butt cream – I still use Mustela

j.) Diapers – I have a whole stack of newborn size diapers someone gave me and Jess never used bec she was too big, it’s still in 14A den, should fit pea

  1. Feeding

a.) Breastfeeding-friendly tops and bras!!!! – I have no issues nursing in public but feeding friendly tops and bras make a huge difference!

b.) Good feeding cover – not available in Manila at all! Allows you to see baby while baby feeding. Great for feeding in public. Word of warning – the cover is easy to use for small babies but as they grow they play with the cover and try to yank it off. I’ve given up using mine because creates more problems for me now that daughter is a toddler – I can pass this on to you

c.) Bottle warmer

d.) Baby bottles – for breastfed babies the advice is generally to buy wide-neck bottles since it’s supposed to make them feed more similar to breastfeeding, but Jess used standard bottles and is fine

e.) Bottle cleaner

f.) Bottle brush

g.) Sterilizer – I like the 2 in 1 sterilizer and dryer units, HATE the steam sterilizer only since it takes forever for the parts to dry. Since I only use a few bottles a day I got a small unit that fits 5 bottles.

Michelle bought a giant kitchen model in SM appliances. Depends on how much stuff you have to sterilize at the end of the day

h.) Breast pump – I would go for the Medela Pump in Style, it’s the best unit for getting the most milk out; Freestyle is portable but not ideal for serious working moms, it’s intended for use by moms who only occasionally need to bottle their baby

g.) Extra breast pump parts and bottles – I can give you 2 extra pump/bottle sets (I have 4); when baby is small you could be pumping 2-3 times during working hours 9-5, you will go nuts washing the parts after every use if you don’t have extras; I use the extras and wash everything together at night when I get home, saves time

i.) Breast milk storage bags – I get mine on Taobao for 25 RMB for 30 bags. The branded ones for sale in Manila (Lanisoh, Medela) are super expensive it’s not funny!

j.) insulated carrier bag and/or freezer blocks for transporting breastmilk

k.) Hands-free pumping bra – I use this so I can pump and work at the same time, allows me to pump, hold concall, and type on laptop all at the same time

Also I told brother that I don’t like the bulb syringe nasal aspirator to suck snot out of baby’s nose, it’s really hard to use. So I got an electric snot sucker that does the job a lot faster. I don’t think you’ll need it while pea is a newborn, but once she’s more mobile 6+months and above this one is also a sanity saver.


  1. Keep baby quiet

a.) Pacifier – not to be introduced until at least 6-8 weeks but may not work – daughter didn’t like pacifier and never used one

b.) Swaddle wraps – never used this either since daughter didn’t like it but most babies like being swaddled

  1. Sleep

a.) Sleep sacks – I sent you 2 already, babies wiggle a lot and can dislodge blankets

b.) Bedsheets ONLY

c.) Crib/cosleeper – depends on what you want to do with pea and yaya. It’s much easier to breastfeed if pea is right next to you at night so my personal choice is a cosleeper. Babies love to sleep next to adults so most hate cribs (can’t blame them).


Don’t waste your money

  1. Changing table – any flat surface and rubber mat will do
  1. Baby closet – useless furniture
  1. Crib decor – anything aside from a mattress and bedsheet is useless, just looks cute, plus suffocation risk
  1. Nursery decor – waste of money, just looks cute
  1. Anything “organizer” – diaper organizer, bottle organizer, bottle rack
  1. Sealed diaper bin – useless piece of equipment, just take the diaper out to the trash
  1. Baby mitts – just trim the nails and baby will be fine, mitts are hot
  1. “Special” crib pillows – anti colic, cosleeper pillow, all useless
  1. Moses basket – easier to carry baby in arms or sling than lugging heavy basket
  1. Portable bottle carrier/warmer – I personally don’t see the point in bringing milk and bottle out if pea is also coming with you, but that’s because I have no problems nursing in public. But some moms may not feel comfortable and would rather have yaya feed baby using the bottle while they go off to pump. But mind you pea may have her own opinion and refuse the bottle if she knows mommy and the boob is readily available (Jess does this).
  1. Modern cloth diapers (peapod, etc) – I tried this, didn’t work for us. Much easier to use disposables even though we contribute to environmental disaster
  1. White noise machine, blackout curtains, any “sleeping aid” product – US websites are just so full of this sleep training stuff. None of this worked for daughter and can even backfire. One mom wrote that her kids were so well trained to sleep well because of white noise machine (to block out other noise) and blackout curtains (no light in the room) that she had to bring the machine, scotch tape, and curtain material to every single trip and hotel they stayed in for years! Baby will sleep when baby will sleep.
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When God gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Poor Little Pea. 😦

The Lord has put a lot of trials in front of us the last week. It has been stressful for us.

Fortunately, all these trials are work-related. In one week alone, we had to deal with four different malls.

One mall had already approved our lease, and then told us after a week that the head office has rejected our request and we cannot enter the mall anymore.

Another mall pre-terminated our lease contract two months after signing, and had asked us to vacate within the next month. Then, to top it off, they asked us to remove our other branch due to a change in head office policy.

The third mall asked us to move to the second floor instead of the promised first floor.

And the fourth mall did not renew our contracts for another year, and hence, we are forced to cease operations on July 3.

The trials were hard for us because these are issues that are way beyond our control. When it comes to the mall’s head office policy, who are we to change them? If they want to make changes to our leasing agreements, what are we to do than to cry? We are merely tenants and have to subject ourselves to our mall partners’ rules and regulations.

Such issues will always arise in business. Sometimes, when it rains, it really pours. And there’s really nothing you can do about it than to be sad, weep, and then dry up your tears and fight another day.


After getting all this negative news IN A SINGLE WEEK, we cannot help but wonder, “Why is God putting all trials in front of us? Haven’t we been good Christians following His path? Why can he not give us a break? Help us succeed?”

I think it’s often times easy to blame God for our problems.

When we received all these hard negative mall decisions, hubby and I fell asleep without any solution.

It is honestly frustrating.

And for go-getters like us, we wonder how the hell are we going to get out of these mess when it is really beyond your control?

I spent the entire last week going to all these malls to see if we can find a happy win-win concession. Accepting all these decisions without talking to the malls are folly, and it shows that we are okay to accept bad decisions without putting up at least a small fight. Tenant relation officers are actually quite nice and reasonable so long as you talk to them in a civil manner.

So last week, I went around the malls to talk to them. I think I went to 6 different malls from North to South. I met with the tenant officers, and their regional bosses. Even this week, we have set two more meetings to talk to the mall.

After going through these exercise, I finally understood that God placed all these trials in front of me with good reason.

For one, I got to meet mall’s regional officers. Together, we were able to find a concession that was acceptable for both parties. It was good for me to finally place a face to the name.

Two, I went to see four new malls where we can possibly open new stores. I would have never visited these malls if we did not receive these pre-termination notices. Maybe there is more business to be made there. I received two new lease offers last week because of the entire exercise.

Three, the trials made me understand more on how mall relations work. I used to think that mall relations is about paying the rent and managing the store. NO! Mall relations are all about relationships, and it is important that you also spend time growing these relationships especially if we want to grow bigger.

Lastly, we understood that the Lord is still in control. Despite the headaches, we know that He will never give us anything we cannot handle. And what better way to deal with mall management than the time when our mentors, my husband’s parents are still there to guide us through these headwinds. Because of these issues, my in-laws shared with us their long-term contact, which may help us expand in the future.

In the end, business is all about ups and downs.

After having a good month in May, the Lord allowed us to be challenged. Maybe to humble us and to remind us that He still is God. That He is still in control.


So you still want to be in business? 🙂

Haha, when people see us, all they see are our stores, our people, our brand and our sales. They don’t see that life can also be challenging and frustrating. Business is like this. Sometimes up and sometimes down, and often times, we just do our best to survive.

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

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Getting Married > Being Happy

My friend asked me why it’s so hard to find a lasting relationship.

She is already 38 years old, and have just broken up with her Korean-American boyfriend of 9 months. They have had a long distance relationship.

Her ultimate dream is to be happily married.

I honestly saw doom and gloom in her relationship from February 2015. It was Valentine’s Day and she has yet to receive any hoopla from her significant other. No gifts sent over from abroad. No flowers ordered online. Not even a meager “Happy Valentine’s” message in Viber. And yes, they were exclusively dating at that time.

I remember her crying to me the evening before.

They’ve just had a fight, one of what will become a regularity. He has asked her for a break — note, not a breakup, but a break from her — because he felt pressured to keep the relationship given the challenges of being unhappy with his current job, his divorcing mother, and his balding scalp.

When it’s a break,” I said, “It doesn’t spell good news for the relationship. Don’t you find it inconvenient when he tries to break with you on Valentine’s Day? What an asshole way to do so!”

Admittedly, I don’t like the guy. Never met him. Only heard stuff about him from my bestie, but from what I’ve heard, he sounds like a selfish bastard who’s most likely single at 44 years old for a reason.

His profile: The youngest and the only son born to a needy mother. Successful in his career and now works at Booz Consulting. Has experiences in the US and in Asia. Good in paper.

Stuff you don’t see: His selfishness and inability to handle pressure. He finds it difficult to continue a long-distance relationship. His insensitivity of breaking up with you at opportune times. For example, he broke up with Bestie the day before her birthday. See a pattern here?

I think most women remain single for a reason: They, for some reason or the other, seem to accept crap from ass-holic men. And then become a martyr and make excuses for them.

I am not like that. In fact, I often times can be more guarded and selfish in a relationship. For me, I like to mirror my relationships.

Meaning, I give whatever I take. And it has served me well. I don’t give too much nor do I give too little.

My bestie waited 9 months with a guy. She feels she don’t have enough time even though her relationship was stacked against her. For example:

  • They were in a long-distance relationship. Statistics for any long distance relationship is not that great. It can work, but it takes a special relationship to do so. What’s worse, they operate in two timezones: she’s in Asia while he’s in the US. Good luck trying to find time to Skype and visit each other. Have a fight? Just turn your phone off. Good riddance!


  • They are a multi-racial couple. He is still strongly Korean despite his American roots, and she is Taiwanese. Given my interactions with close Korean friends, they have whispered that many Korean parents still dream that their kids marry fellow Koreans. This is not weird and is the same as Chinese parents wanting their kids to marry Chinese. Taiwanese is NOT Korean.

    Yes, it is very racist but the fact remains that in-laws usually give their foreign daughter-in-law a hard time if they don’t understand their husband’s language and culture. It’s not impossible, and multiple multi-racial couples show that it is possible, but it’s still a deterrent.

  • He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to get married. She is. That’s the problem when women hit a certain age. We cannot help but worry. Unfortunately, worrying is not sexy. Pressuring guys to marry us just because we are getting older is NOT sexy.

    Boyfie is at the point of his life when he just moved back to the US, started a new job, and adjusting to a new life. Bestie just wants to be married soon. A man doesn’t need to get married. His sperm has no expiry date. Her uterus is another story. So it’s an issue when she tries to open up alarming conversations like, “Where is this relationship heading? Are you open to getting married?” when it’s not something he’s still thinking about at the moment.

  • Admittedly, he hates conflict and doesn’t seem to handle conflict very well. When he is stressed, his hair falls off. He cannot sleep and avoids conflict. After every fight, he disappears a few days. Like completely disappears. A man who always disappears when things get hot is not really the type of guy you should dream of marrying. He might even leave you at the altar!

It’s a relationship that seems to be doomed from the start. And yet, she hopes. Then cries when it doesn’t work out.

At least I gave it my best shot,” she said.

Well, time is wasted when you listen to your heart too much and not your head. 9 months to be exact…

I feel sad for my friend. I want to see her happily married. I hope she will meet the guy of her dreams. Her Prince Charming.

But it’s hard to be with Prince Charming if you keep your standards low and accept whoever comes your way just because he’s there.

Marriage is serious business, and can really enhance or destroy your life. Unfortunately, so many women are blinded by their dream to get married that they are willing to compromise for just a guy who’s willing to put a ring on it.

Getting married is easy. Staying married is not.

I am still very lucky to have found my husband. He’s not perfect, but he’s a lot more giving than bestie’s ex. He pampers for me and cares for me. He just doesn’t say that he loves me. He actually shows it.

I hope more women would open their eyes and not be blinded by the smoke just because they want to finally be with someone.

40 may be a long time to start settling with someone, but just imagine, if you live up to 80, you’re just at half of your life.

Good luck in finding the man of your dreams. May he really prove himself to be the man you are looking for!

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Updates: Sick but Alive

It is a pain to be pregnant and be sick.

You are always extra careful on the type of medications you can consume. For example, for headaches, I cannot take Advil, and must go to the drugstore and buy Tylenol instead.

For my dry cough, Dimetapp is a no-no. Robitussin is a safer option.

For my sniffles, there’s only the allergic medicine, Claritin, instead of the usual Solmux.

I have spent two evenings waking up, coughing my heart out, and drinking water to parch my dry throat. It makes me worry that Little Pea is not getting enough sleep, constantly waking up because of his Mommy’s cold.

The good news is, we have passed our first trimester.

Little Pea

Yes, Little Pea is still alive and kicking!

After a disastrous miscarriage last January, we are extra careful in announcing the pregnancy. We don’t want to disappoint the in-laws, especially my mom who’s just thoroughly bored and is waiting for something to occupy her time.

Business-wise, we are in a constant state of flux.

It’s hard to find good people, and while we have increased our number of stores, we have also lost a lot of people, both good and bad.

But it’s all for the best. Anyway, as the Lord promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

I think it just entails a lot of trust — for me, it’s how to be a good mother. For the life of me, I cannot see myself as a doting mom. In fact, I am readying my husband that I’ll probably like my authoritarian dad and I hope that he’s okay with that.

We don’t need a happy baby,” I declared. “We just need a smart baby.”

His face when I make these silly declarations:


Anyway, at least all is well. Baby is still alive, and I have no food cravings or morning sickness whatsoever, which is a good thing. God is truly good.

Hope that this peaceful and happy state lasts for awhile…

Have a good week ahead!

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Who said women were practical?

Hon, I want to buy a cashmere scarf,” I cooed to my husband after joining my friend RBF to a high-class party.

Okay, how much is the scarf?” asked husband.

Oh, it’s cheap,” I said. “It used to be Php 58,000 but since the Euro depreciated, the price is now at a more affordable Php 50,000 (USD1,250).”


“Php 50,000 for a freaking scarf?!” half-yelled Hubby. “You gotta be kidding me!!!”

“I can get it from my own money,” I reminded him. “You know I have savings from before we were married.”

Poor hubby.

I know he wants to please me. One thing great about my husband is that he always wants to make me happy. But I also know he thinks spending that much money on a cashmere scarf is ridiculous. There is no other explanation for it — I want it, and then I want to buy it.

It’s the same as my former bag addiction.

But with Baby Pea on the way, he knows we need to start becoming more practical. A normal delivery costs Php 100,000 in a nice hospital; Double that amount for a Caesarean.

I think when people get married, there has to be some compromise. It cannot be just about me, me me. Honestly, that blue, pink and purple scarf is more of a want, than a need.

Sigh, women have many wants. Whereas men want to style up their car, women desire to carry the next best IT bag.

At least, I don’t want a crocodile Hermes bag,” I consoled him.

How much is that bag?” he asked.

According to RBF, a croco bag will cost you Php 1.8-2.2 million,” I answered. “I will not buy that expensive a bag even if I have a millions.”

Husband almost went bananas. “A Montero Sport will only cost you Php 1.6 million! Why would you spend more than that on a stupid bag?!”

“No no no, I don’t want an Hermes bag,” I said. “I would like to buy the more affordable Hermes cashmere shawl.”

In the end, I know husband is right. Affordable is one thing, practical is another. I thought I would find a supportive friend from my mother, but alas, she shared the same idea with husband.

Bonita, it is really silly to spend that much money on the scarf,” she advised. “Plus, the Philippines is a hot country. When will you wear that scarf aside from the times we go out for movies? You don’t go to flashy socialite events anyway…”

What’s more, she warned me not only of the impracticalities of buying a pricey scarf, but she also shared with me the kind of wrong impression I would give my in-laws.

How can they entrust anything to you if their daughter in law seems like the type who spends money like water?” she added. “It’s good to spend on nice things, but you are still too young for it. You guys are still catching up and building your business. You should focus on adding the revenue instead of the expense.”

Big sigh again. They are both right. So with that, I hang my cashmere shawl idea to the wall.

Husband and I eat at the SM Food Court yesterday. Our total meal was Php 250.00. In the evening, we splurged on some cheap crepes at Café Breton. The price is nowhere the price of the Hermes scarf.

And so is our life — we are not rich people by any means. And yes, we have silly wants to just like the Hermes cashmere shawl I wanted. But joy comes in packages that don’t need to be very expensive. Peace comes in knowing you already have everything you need, and the ambition that you are always working towards something you want.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

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I’m Pregnant!

After suffering a miscarriage last January, I am happy to announce that I am once again pregnant.

We are keeping it a secret yet from our folks because we don’t want to share the happy news, and again suffer another disappointing miscarriage. Studies have shown that the chances of miscarriage increases during the first trimester, and I am about 10 weeks and 5 days and counting y’all.

How is this different from normal?

1) For one, I feel fat and bloated. While I have maintained the same amount of weight, Lord forbid, I now have a tummy bump — also known as a salbabida — even though I eat about the same.

When you hold my stomach, I now have two bumps. Whereas I had a flat tummy before, thanks to my vanity which I learned in Taiwan/Hong Kong, my little bump exists, and it’s growing quickly.


My clothes now feel tight especially around the chest, especially when I breathe. There are certain things I cannot wear because they are uncomfortable, and I’m just in my first trimester!!!

2) I get more tired easily. Over the last week, I was already exhausted from 9pm. Two evenings ago, I slept at 10pm, and woke up at 9am! For someone who is used to at most 6 hours of sleep, this tiredness is ridiculous. As if I am super busy the whole day.

Yesterday, after the doctor’s check up, I was once again tired. Maybe it was all of the groping, but I was snoring by 10pm.


Who knew that being pregnant drains your energy? Or maybe that’s just my body’s excuse that I am working too hard and haven’t gotten a lot of sleep.

3) I love being pampered and getting what I want. My husband spoils me. With little pea coming, he spoils me a lot more. He lets me pick what to eat in the evening, and is sweeter than ever, if that’s even possible.

He was nice enough to go with me to the Ob-Gyn yesterday even though the line was long. We arrived at 1:30 pm, and waited till 3:00pm just to see the doctor. Then, we had an ultrasound and some tests. At Php 5,500.00 poorer, we were done by 6:00 pm!


The whole afternoon gone just to check up on Little Pea!

I think there will be a lot of physical, emotional and mental changes up ahead. For one, I am not feeling especially maternal yet.

I think I will be a bad mother,” I confessed to husband.

While other parents just want their kid to be healthy and happy, I already have ambitions to enroll my kid in Math class at a tender age of 3, and learn chess by 4. If I have my way, he/she would be reading company annual reports and doing discounted cash flows (DCF) by high school.

Let the kid be a kid,” my husband implored after hearing of my plans to give the yaya a Php 2,000 bonus if she can teach our Little Pea to walk before it reached 1 year old, and to talk before the age of 10 months.

He/she will be a kid. But he/she will be a successful kid,” I answered.

Like I said, I will be a terrible mother.

Honestly, I don’t know how to raise a child… I only know how to manage a business. But nobody taught me how to raise a child, and a screaming baby at that.

You’ll be fine,” my husband consoled.

Let me be first to get it out there. I don’t know how to be a mother, and I envy those who can be great mothers. My sister-in-law pampers and showers her daughter with love, and Lord knows how I wonder why she is spoiling her child like that.

My dad raised me with a lot of control and discipline, and I turned out okay.

Anyway, let’s wait and see if Little Pea survives the first trimester. Then whether I can survive the birth.

This will be an interesting journey, and Lord knows I really need a lot of prayers on how to raise our child, because I know I really need all the help I can get. 🙂

Have a great week ahead!

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Date Nights

I haven’t gotten laid for days!” I grumbled to my husband as we got ready for another new day.

But we were sick… and exhausted!” he defended himself. “You were zonked out the other day because you were so tired!”

I still need to get laid you know,” I reminded him. “We’re like an old couple whose passion has already fizzled out. And we haven’t even been married a year!”

It’s true — after settling to married bliss, other priorities took front seat.

For example, managing your own business requires a lot of time and effort. I wonder how working parents can even manage to raise children. We’re tired enough already by taking care of our business!

I cannot even remember the last time we made love. Maybe it was interspersed between watching downloaded Scandal episodes or doing the payroll. Should’ve been sometime last week.

Wow, has it been that long?

That is why it’s important to have dates. To keep the passion alive. To remind yourself why you’re still hot for each other.

We’re going tonight. Hehe.

Maybe I’m going to get laid tonight… 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Posted in First Days of Marriage, Husband, lovelife, Marriage, Relationships | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What Type of Girl Finds Boyfriends Easily

I’ve noticed that there are some women who will simply end up with a man.

While there are some with prolonged dry spells and are single even in their late 30s.

I noticed one characteristic that many women who actually have boyfriends have — it’s open-mindedness.

What do I mean when I say, “open-mindedness?”

Open-mindedness means that she is open to dating men who do not fit her standards. You see, women’s standards can be pretty high.

We all want a tall, handsome, suave, single man with no children, who have the intelligence, breeding and good manners to sweep us away from our feet, and who will remain loyal and devoted to us to our dying day.

Now, in my experience, if the guy is single, he is usually single with good reason.

If he is cute or good-looking, he may not be as loyal to you given the myriads of women that flirt and throw themselves at his feet.

If he is too intelligent, then he is socially inept.

If he has no baggage, he is probably too boring and simple to keep us interested.

And even if he has all these characteristics, we may either not find him attractive. Or worse, he may not find us attractive!

That is why, I say, “Phooey” to keeping strict standards. It’s okay for them to be high, but only if you recognize that love is a negotiation, and sometimes, you have to pick and choose your need-to-haves and your nice-to-haves if you want to have someone by your side.

What’s worse, while we are very critical of other people, how about being more critical about ourselves?

I am for example, not perfect.

I can be a bitch sometimes, and my husband has seen me melt down too many times when I don’t get my way.

I am opinionated, and cannot keep my mouth shut. My opinions are stated as law, even though in reality, they are not.

I am overconfident and can be critical of others. Sometimes, this gets me in a lot of trouble.

My forehead is too big and my nose is too wide. Pretty I can be, but beautiful is really pushing it. Even when growing up, guys didn’t line up just to get my attention.

But one thing I have is that I was open-minded.

When I met my husband, he fit a bit of my checklist.

He was tall, Chinese, and I found him quite attractive. Looks don’t have to be good for everyone. But at least, I must find him cute.

He came from a good Chinese family, but for some reason, had to learn a bit of breeding and good manners. He likes to wear tee-shirts and shorts. Thankfully, he leaves his flip-flops at home.

He had a lot of baggage and was a young Christian. He drank too much and swore like a soldier. He was surrounded by cars, booze and girls — a clear recipe for trouble.

If I was close-minded, I would’ve crossed him off as a chickboy who’s only out to get me off my skirt. “Just another conquest,” I would’ve said as I would hear once again another one of his over-confident tirades.

But my curiosity, attraction and growing feelings for him kept me by his side.

And thank God I was patient!

Otherwise, I would never have married him! Nor would I realize that beneath his rough loud exterior, my husband was a sweetie who will always be there for me.

I was also open to online dating.

One single friend was moaning the fact that she felt so alone given her single blessedness. When my husband and I suggested online dating, she huffed and declared, “No, online dating is only for the desperates and the losers.”

My husband and I looked at each other — we met in, an online dating site.

If we didn’t sign up and registered, we probably wouldn’t have met each other!

As we left her, we shook our heads.

Girls want to find themselves a man. And they complain to everyone who would hear that they are still single. AND YET, THEY REFUSE TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO FIND A GUY.

Not as attractive? Well, do your best with your God-given looks and personality. Make yourself look better by applying a bit of makeup and dress less dowdily.

Not as accessible to men? Well, join clubs and organizations? There are tons of organizations to choose from if you’d only take the time to look?

No time to date? Well, if you have no time to date, then you really won’t find yourself a man!

Lastly, no good guys out there? Well, no wonder you cannot find a man. You don’t give them enough a chance to show you they’re good guys after all!

I think women have to be open to men and dating if they want to find a man. Dating can be a fun experience if you don’t pressure yourself too much.

So the next time someone invites you out, go!

Who knows what will happen so long as you simply give yourself a chance!

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Dates, Husband, lovelife, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Couple Envy

There is what you call, “Business envy.”

Business envy is when you wish you are in another business because you are envious of the profits and success that business entails.

I have a little bit what you call, “Couple envy.”

It is when I see that other couples have more glamorous lives than we do. As they say, it’s always green on the other side.


When I looked at other couples who got married last year, there is one couple which caught my attention.

The woman is a professional dentist who has her own clinic on the jazzy side of town. Her hair is always perfectly made up, her outfits impeccable, and she likes to socialize in popular business organizations, joining media-filled events in the arm of her older but suave-looking businessman husband.

When we got married, it was a quaint relatively small family affair filled with loved ones. I am very proud that most of the people invited to the wedding, we personally knew.

Compare it to their wedding when theatrics abound, complete with a room-length LED screen that regaled guests on their prenup photos that were taken in an exotic location in China. Ours was in a more modest Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife.

She had a bridal shower, I didn’t. Her bridal shower was featured in blogs and magazines, while I was too busy to even attend to my own.

And now, she is pregnant with a baby boy and popping out soon!

How can one have it all? 🙂

As I look at my own married life, I cannot help but compare.

My husband for example, would only wait for a very special occasion — cough, like our wedding — to wear a nice suit. On regular days, he is as comfortable wearing a shop tee-shirt and Uniqlo shorts. His only vanity is Safeguard soap in the morning. No perfumes, lotions or any beauty product for my devil-may-care husband.

Since we got married, we have been working our asses off.

Compared to the couple I am a little envious of, we do not really allocate a lot of time socializing.

Socializing meant hobnobbing with people whom we may or may not like, and wearing expensive outfits that would cost a quarter of my monthly salary. Evenings are spent over-timing at work, or doing accounting at home, if not watching a movie with my dear sweet mother. We have a very small group of friends we hang out with at least once every quarter or half a year, and the last time I introduced myself to a new acquaintance, it was purely for business reaons.

Our lives are pretty simple. Our only luxuries are semi-frequent business trips where we go abroad wither together or with family. And the little celebrations such as Valentine’s and soon, anniversaries.

And yet, as I look at another glamorous photo of the woman I am envious about — a glamour maternity photo this time — I cannot help but count my lucky stars I married my husband. 🙂

For one, we are both in love and happy with each other. As you can see in my previous posts, unhappy couples seem to be more than a norm.

Last night, when I zonked off to bed, my husband tucked me in. He placed a pillow underneath my feet, and then put the blankets around me. Then he kissed me goodnight, not knowing that all this moving jarred me half-conscious.


In the evening, he massages my feet after we get home. This is our daily habit ever since we get home. Sometimes, he sniffs it and gags. It’s kinda both sweet and disgusting when he does it.


He gets me water when I ask for it.

Kisses and hugs are abundant as long as I say so.

And when I am late in going off with my friends, he would pick me up from the mall after dinner in his boxers and shorts with nary a complaint.

Honestly, he may not be the debonair 007 like the dashing husband in the pairing I am envious of, but he is definitely the love of my life AND my Prince Charming.

Sure, I may be envious of other couples. It’s hard not to, especially since they look so darn perfect! Their lives seem to be rich and full of order!

However, I also realize that my relationship is also the envy of others.

We may not be as rich, or as glamorous. But we do have one thing — we both love and appreciate each other. And I think, that’s God’s best gift to us.

Each other.

Hope you’re having a great week ahead! Cheerio!

Posted in Conflicts, First Days of Marriage, Friendship, Husband, newlywed life, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 5 Reasons Why Couples Divorce Very Quickly

It is every girl’s dream to be married.

From the time they were young, they dream of wearing the perfect dress, walking down the aisle to a song they’ve picked from high school, looking to the crying eyes of her Prince Charming.


And they lived ever after,” women would sigh as they start scouring for the best venue, caterer, and dress for what should be the best day of their lives.

That is why, the first people women would usually call after getting engaged are their parents and their girl best friends.

Together, they would scream and shout as they gushed on how big the stones on their engagement rings are, while the men would wink and joke to the guy that this unfortunately is the beginning of the end.

Hence, it is a shock to many women that marriage is not what it promised to be.

Maybe it’s our high, unrealistic expectations, or maybe it’s because nobody really told us women how married women are like — that it would be a lot of sacrifice than happiness — but I observed that so many women regret getting married, especially during the adjustment married.

When Marriage Becomes Unbearable

In the last two years I’ve been here, I’ve seen more than a handful of women getting married. At least half of that are unhappy in their marriage and are thinking if their marriage is “worthwhile.”

It’s only been two years,” I told my unhappy friend during one sob fest. “And you have a lovely baby girl. Why would you think of giving up? You just got married!”

After talking to many girl friends who seem to regret getting married, I have compiled a short list on why these women regret getting married to their spouses. May this be a warning to my fellow girl friends who want to get married but actually don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

1) When you get married, you separate from your family. This is HARD.

This was an immediate lesson for me when I first got married — You cleave yourself from your family and join his.

During the first two weeks of my marriage, my mom and I had a hard time settling on a comfortable dynamic.

You see, before my marriage, I was with my mom 24/7.

We would go out together. I would accompany her to her errands and even join her to her senior retreat. We even shared the same bed after my dad passed away. My mom was very makulit but I loved being with her. She spoiled me, and  always made life for me very comfortable.

So after marriage, it was tough staying away from each other.

Imagine, my mom even dropped by our hotel the day after our wedding to give us some stuff! She would call me consistently on different times those first few weeks just to tell me what’s going on with her life. And being the good daughter that I am, of course, I was happy to hear from her and regale her with stories on how life is as a newlywed.

Husband was not very happy.

If a woman wanted to be with her mom all the time,” he once said, “Then she shouldn’t get married.”

I insisted that my mom was merely trying to be sweet and concerned. But I knew he was right. Boundaries had to be made.

In the end, we settled on spending every Saturday together.

She would cook us a delicious lunch at her house, and I would spend the afternoon with her while my husband goes to work. Then after work, my husband picks us up and we have dinner and a movie together.

It keeps us in close contact but at a consistency that my husband is comfortable with. Problem solved.

However, not a lot of couples are as lucky. My friend for example still couldn’t cleave herself away from her family. “They need me,” she insisted. “I am very good at organizing and they need my help in organizing their wedding.”

Unfortunately, she had four other siblings and three were getting married, one per year. That means, she has to drag herself to supplier meetings and was at her family’s beck and call. She would take their calls for even the minutest details much to the chagrin of her husband, who wants her to make him and their baby a priority.

This is a problem of leaving and cleaving. If a woman cannot let go and be firm of her family’s boundaries, she will have a problem with her husband. It will cause unnecessary tension in her family.

In Genesis 2: 24, the Bible states, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

Filipino celebrity Richard Poon shares his thoughts about leaving and cleaving here. His wife Maricar Reyes Poon gives her insight here.

2)  When you get married, you marry his entire family, quirks and all.

Woe is to the woman who dislikes any of her husband’s family member(s).


Trust me, this feeling would most likely NOT go away.

And if you don’t like them, chances are, they don’t like you too.

And that’s a terrible feeling to have.

One of my husband’s cousins is getting married this June. Unfortunately, his parents do not like the girl and insists on boycotting the wedding. The girl’s parents feel slighted and pridefully insists that the two of them get married with the girl’s family footing the entire wedding bill.

Every week, there is news of more bickering fueling the clan’s eager gossip fodder. The woman is adamant that no guy’s family will stop her happiness, while the cousin is miserable at being caught in between. It is an awful situation to be in. What’s even sadder is that the couple is entering in a thorny marriage that is already full of mutual hatred, strife and hurt.

Do you think that the conditions would improve after they get married?

No, I think not.

Families are supposed to be one of the greatest supporters of your marriage. When times are tough, it is usually a family member who will shake some sense to the stubborn spouse and try to save the marriage.

My mom is a good example. When my husband complains to my mom, when he is no longer in earshot, my mom would tell me that I was wrong in this situation and I should treat my husband better. She would then teach me what she would do in my situation. Usually, that requires the woman to be more open, considerate and (gulp!) submissive.

Imagine if my mom was anti-husband? Then everything she would say would merely poison our marriage!

I think one of the reasons why my brother hasn’t married his long-time girlfriend is because I still have reservations about her, and am quite open about it.

I honestly think she lacks discipline, is just working because my brother would not marry her otherwise, and will not be an asset to him as my mom was to my dad. In other words, she is not “gao,” or is someone you can rely on. She will maybe make a decent mother to their children. But she will not in any way be spectacular, and someone who can help him in his business.

Now, do you think I would be super supportive if my brother would ask for my opinion about him marrying his long-time girlfriend? Honestly, I would be okay with him marrying her, but would warn him that he may have problems in the future if he has high expectations of her capabilities.

Being someone who wants to be sure in what he’s getting himself into, my brother would also share the same reservations. Which is probably why he is still mulling over whether to marry her or not even though her parents are already pressuring them.

Trust me when I say this, FAMILY MATTERS.

There are many marriage that breaks apart because the wife cannot get along with her husband’s family and vice-versa. Open your eyes and consider whether you want to get married to your boyfriend is any of his family members do not like you! If any of them like you, they will make life harder for you. I’m serious, this spells trouble in the future.

When I got married to my husband, I also got married to his family. That is why, I try my best to endear myself to his family.

They are not joining my family. I am joining theirs! And it is to my best interest if they like me. Because life just becomes a lot better if your in-laws like you!

3) When your husband falls short of your expectations, the woman do not know how to communicate her needs properly in the way that men can accept and understand. So the fights escalates.

When we were dating, my husband and I would go out every night, pick a decent restaurant, watch a movie and then make out a little bit before sending me home before midnight.

After marriage, my husband and I would overtime at work. Then, we would grab food either at my in-law’s house or eat at a local turo-turo. If we’re lucky, we can still watch House of Cards before sleeping. We would be too tired to make out, much less to nookie. Then the grueling day starts once again.

Talk about a demotion in the romantic scale!

Where’s the romance?” I would ask my husband. “When was the last night we had date night?!”

“But I’m tired,” my husband would reply. “Romance is hard to find in the most mundane of things. You don’t demand it as much if you know you have it.”

Big sigh.

Yes, romance deteriorates after you get married. It takes effort to keep the romance especially after family and financial pressures.

When you get married, you save up for the future. What’s worse, when the baby comes, kiss your love life goodbye. From the first year, all you have time for is your work and your baby. Husband be damned.

Many women still demand the same level of romance, love and care from their husbands. “You’ve changed,” they would accuse their husbands. “You didn’t use to act this way!”

Now ladies, one thing you should NOT do is to tell your husband he is not giving you enough. Men hate this. They want to make you happy. And knowing that they’ve done all they can and you’re still unhappy are sure fire ways of having that one big fight.

In return, men would get defensive. Most guys would ignore you, which would make you even madder and provoke a fight just to get a reaction from him.

Bad move — guys have pride. They will refuse to give you what you want if you play hardball. On the other hand, women will also not want to give way. Hence, we will start to nag and insist our way, which will make things worse.

Trust me when I say this, when married couple fight, one has to give way. If both stand their ground, that marriage crumbles. Words get exchanged and feelings get hurt. After awhile, people forget why they are fighting and just remember the hurt they feel.

I am very lucky in this regard.

My husband is not as stubborn as other men. Because he has been married before, he knew what being stubborn can get you. They were already starting their annulment procedures after a mere six months of marriage.

It is better to be married than to be right,” he would say. Then he would try to understand what I am so pissed about.

Two, we are direct communicators. If I am unhappy, I tell him specifically why I am unhappy, and what he needs to do to make him happy.

My wife tells me that her ex can understand what she’s feeling without her telling him,” my guy best friend complained. “I had to hold my tongue from telling her that she should’ve married her ex then!”

I am not a mind reader,” another guy friend moaned. “Why can’t she just tell me what she wants instead of crying and telling me I should ‘get’ it if I love her? What does me knowing what she is thinking have to do with loving her? If I didn’t love her, I wouldn’t have married her!”

Ladies, if you expect your men to be mind readers and don’t tell them what the hell you want, then there would be hell in your marriage. Men cannot help you if you don’t tell them specifically what you want them to do.

One of our biggest fights as a young couple has to do with technology. I hated the fact that my husband was always on the phone, texting his customers and answering messages. I hate the fact that he does this as soon as he wakes up, and until he goes to bed. When we were in Disneyland Florida, it irked me that he was Flipboarding instead of spending time with me.

Here is my complete post on how technology is evil for marriages.

In the end, we resolved to save our marriage and keep technology on certain times. For example, no cellphones during meal times. That means, as soon as we get inside the restaurants, he would have to put his cellphone away.

He falters from time to time, and gets irritated when I remind him, but clear instruction has made our married life better.

Compare this to a friend of mine who shares the same problem with her hubby. The issue is, she keeps on telling him to put the phone away but there is no conditions involved except that she doesn’t like him on the phone all the time.

Ladies, please explain clearly why he should put it away. Don’t ask him to do so just because you told him to. This is the best way for him to disobey you. Men don’t like to be ordered around. They want to be convinced. Convince him and then set certain conditions when he can play on his cellphone.

4) When you delude yourself in thinking that your differences before marriage was acceptable, only to find out they were deal breakers after marriage.

This is a really stupid reason why marriages fall apart.

You marry someone thinking you can accept your differences, then one of you realizes too late that you can’t take it anymore.

By then, you are stuck in an unhappy marriage.

Common differences include the following:

  • Difference in religion. For example, you are Christian while he’s a Muslim. What if his parents encourage him to take another wife?
  • Differences in personalities. What if you like joining business associations while your husband would like to keep to his close circle of friends? So do you start doing different things together? What are the chances you will meet somebody else who share the same interests? Would you start thinking you married the wrong man?
  • Differences in career expectations. What if he wants you to stay at home and bear his children, while you want to have your own career? On the flipside, what if he wants you to help out in his family business but you only want to stay at home? His family is unhappy on how selfish you are and makes life harder for you?
  • Differences in wanting a kid. You want children. He doesn’t. Uh-oh.
  • Differences in home habits. He wants you to be domestic. You’ve never touched a cooking utensil in your wife. He starts comparing you to his friend’s spouses who can cook. You feel unfairly judged because you thought he already knew you were not domestic.
  • Differences in raising a kid. You want to raise your kid your way. He and his family has other ideas.
  • Differences in deciding how much freedom a woman can have in their family. You want the freedom of being able to do what you want. He and his family thinks you should be more controlled in what you do because you now represent their family. This is very common in very rich families.
  • Differences in thinking how important you are to their family. You want to be seen as an important part of their family. But since your in-laws do not like you, they show favoritism to other members of their family. You hate that feeling but cannot do anything about it.

The list goes on and on… now, would you still want to be married?

5) Lastly, you married for the wrong reasons. You felt that you were forced into the marriage.

This is quite sad. Marriage should be a decision made by the two parties, and no one else. Unfortunately, other factors come to play.

For example, many people get married if the girl gets pregnant.

Or if they’ve been dating for a long time, and it would look bad to both sides of the family if they break up.

Or if the guy/girl is pressured to marry someone their family wants in order to please their parents. This usually happens with Chinese families where a guy/girl likes a Filipino but marries a Chinese kai shiao due to family pressure.

Or if the woman is afraid of being single for life and marries the next guy who asks, even if they are not really compatible.

No! No! No!

You should only get married if you want to marry him, and he wants to marry you!

There should not be any pressure. Don’t say yes just because he asked. Or because it’s time. That’s bullshit. Do not get yourself in a pile of crap because you are afraid of being alone.


Because marriage can be heaven or hell depending on who you marry. And when shit hits the fan, it’s better to be married to someone you chose, instead of someone who was simply pushed down your throat.

There is no worse feeling than to be “stuck” in a marriage. It’s like a decaying disease that will never get better. What’s worse, the longer you are in that marriage, the more restless and depressed you get.

Marry for the right reasons! Don’t just jump into marriage because you’re afraid to be single! See here a first-person account on how much it is a hassle to escape a marriage wrongly entered.

What’s worse than being single is to be married and miserable. Trust me on this!


There you go. My Top 5 Reasons Why Couples Divorce Very Quickly. If you have any additions, please feel free to share in the comment below.

Happy Easter!

Posted in Advice, Boyfriend, Conflicts, Family, Family Drama, Favorite Posts, First Days of Marriage, First Experiences, Husband, Life lessons, Lists, lovelife, Marriage, Men, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Share: Useful Video Links of Taiwan Tour

If you are not joining a guided tour, here are a few videos you can watch beforehand about Taiwan for your reference! All these are based from the six-day itinerary I wrote the last time at post:

To Share: A Real-Life, Jump-Packed 6-Day Taipei – Hualien – Jiufen – Yehliu – Taipei Itinerary

Things you have to know before visiting Taiwan

Taiwan travel tips

Taiwan vacation travel guide. Note: This video is owned by Expedia.

Guide to Taroko Gorge

Guide to Jiufen

Yehliu Geopark Travel Guide

Maokong Night Market in Jeelung

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Exciting Ximending Shopping

Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Hall

Taipei 101

National Palace Museum

Comparing Two Palace Museums

A Tour of the Shilin Night Market


Beitou Hot Springs Guide

Amazing what Youtube has on offer, right? Good luck!

Posted in Family, Favorite Posts, Fun activities in Taiwan, Lists, repost, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Share: A Real-Life, Jump-Packed 6-Day Taipei – Hualien – Jiufen – Yehliu – Taipei Itinerary

My family is planning a 6-day trip to Taiwan and they’ve asked me to prepare a customized schedule for them. Their tour agency suggested that they visit Sun Moon Lake and Alishan but I personally feel there’s more than enough to see just in Taipei alone. If they want to go outside Taipei, I suggested they go for Hualien and spend the rest of the days in Taipei.

Taipei is all about delicious and reasonably-priced food, a clean environment, convenient transportation and a mix of Japanese and Taiwanese cultures.

WARNING: People here speak Mandarin so it can be a bit hard to go around Taiwan if you don’t speak Chinese. But at the same time, they’re also very friendly and are willing to help. And if they don’t, it’s only because they’re shy.

Otherwise, below is the itinerary I sent them. The hotels I picked were not as expensive, and the food is still okay. I removed Ding Dai Fong because I felt that you can eat good xiao long bao anywhere since the restaurant already have branches globally, and replaced them with some good BBQ and hotpot buffets. I also removed Mitsui Taipei since my mom is paying for most of the dinner and each person was NTD 2000 a pop.

Overall, my family will come away exhausted. This is a jump-packed schedule!!! But they will have a good feeling of Taiwan’s true “essence” in just 6 days, and will understand why I love the country so much.

And if you readers would want to do 7 days, I would suggest visiting the a) Taipei Zoo and having tea at Maokong in the evening, or b) traveling to Wulai and visiting the Wulai Aboriginal Village. You can also do a day trip to Yang Ming Shan Park.


To Share: A Real-Life, Jump-Packed 6-Day Taipei – Hualien – Jiufen – Yehliu – Taipei Itinerary

Day 1: MANILA – TAIPEI – HUALIEN (Book Tour)

7:40 am: Depart Manila to Taipei via PR896

9:50 am: Arrival in Taipei. Tour guide will meet you at the airport to transfer to train station going to Hualien. The tour guide should already buy TPE-Hualien-TPE tickets for group’s behalf

Lunch: Buy and eat Taiwanese bento box (around NTD 100) inside the train.


店) **Hotel is only a 5-10 min walk from train station**
Address: No. 139, Guolian 5th Road, Hualien City, Hualien (970
Tel: 03-835 9966

Dinner: Taxi to Zhiqiang Night Market (自强夜市) in Hualian

Must have: The First BBQ Store and Guan Zai Fan (蔣記花蓮式棺材板)

Guan Zai Fan sells French toast with your choice of filling. In Chinese, it means “Coffin Sandwiches.” Its popular flavor is black pepper beef but try the other flavors. The meal comes with free milk tea/red tea.


The First BBQ Stall (第一家烤肉串). Because lines are long, just choose whatever you want them hand it to the stall owner at the end of the queue and pay for them. They will mark your sticks and send them for grilling and proceed with giving you a queue number.

Since waiting can be as long as 1 hour on weekends, head to this stall and choose your food first, go and try other food and then return to collect your BBQ treats.

On Fuxing Street (復興路), there are 2 stalls selling the same snack – yup, only one snack – that everyone is willing to come early / queue to buy. It’s the spring onion pancake with an egg! What makes this unique is that the egg yolk is still soft and oozy – the whole egg is added into the hot oil (yes, unhealthy deep-fried egg) together with the pancake dough and deep-fried such that the egg sticks to the dough. It is then scooped out and brushed with a soy-sauce-concoction and chili sauce before serving.
Then walk to the Hualien Golden Triangle (花蓮金三角商) for shopping.


Day 2: HUALIEN – TAIPEI (Book Tour)

Check-out: Classic Hotel City Resort. Leave luggage in concierge for pickup later

8:00 am: Tour guide picks group up from hotel

TOUR: Taroko National Park. Taroko Gorge is an exceptionally beautiful, narrow raving road created by a river which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble. A road cared into sheer walls of rock snakes its way past forested peaks and cliffs towering thousands of feet above it, while hundreds of feet below a river roars past gigantic marble boulders.


Stops will be made at Evergreen Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Nine Turns of Tunnel (pass by), Marble Bridge and Tienshiang.

Simple lunch at Buluoge Visitor Center.

Finish the tour in the afternoon. Then get luggage from Classic Hotel City and catch train to Taipei

Upon arrival to Taipei, take a taxi to Sunworld Hotel. Taipei taxis are generally clean and safe. They will take you to the right direction using the car meter.

105 台北市敦化北路100 (No. 100 Dun Hua North Road, Taipei)
+886-2-2719-7199 / Closest MRT: Nanjing East Road



9:00 am: Pickup from Sunworld Hotel. Coach to North coast of Taipei. Travel time: 40 minutes

TOUR: Jiufen Old Street. Once  a prosperous town famous for its gold mining industry, Jiufen was abandoned in the 1970s and nearby forgotten. Now, it’s a mecca for artists and writers, as well as inspiration for films like A City of Sadness and Spirited Away.

**To do: Walk through Jiufen Old Street. Try the different snacks along the street, and buy souvenirs at own pace. No need for proper lunch as you’ll be full by the time you’ll reach the end of the street**

Lunch: IF you are still hungry, have tea in one of nearby teashop. You can try Jiufen Tea House (No. 142 Jishan Street, Tel: +886-2-2496 9056). The tea house was once a meeting place for many great Taiwanese writers and artists. You can eat at a quiet table at the lower levels or sit outside the back entrance in good weather. Choose your favourite tea and snacks from the menu. Sit as long as you like.

Afternoon: Drive to Yehliu Geopark.

Travel time: 50 minutes

Opening Hours: 8am-5pm, Entrance: NTD 50 for adults/NTD 25 for children below 115 cm. Allocate 3 hours for leisurely walk.

Wear a light jacket. It will be windy and cold. The park is divided into 3 areas: there are mushroom rocks, ginger rocks, candle rocks, slipper rocks, and even a queen’s head.


Make sure you have snacks and water for the trip because food is not as accessible inside the park. Upon arrival, treat yourself to the short English film at the visitor center. Then, follow the path for amazing views.

The Queen’s head resembles the head of an Egyptian Queen. From her narrow delicate neck to the imposing head dress. It is said that the Queen’s Head will break from natural wear and tear within 50 years. On the other side of the park, notice the statue of Lin Tien Jen, a man who sacrificed his life by jumping in the water to save some drowning children. After saving the children, he couldn’t pull himself back in. He left behind a wife and children, and a statue was built dedicated to this unsung hero.

Evening: After the park, drive to Keelung City.

Travel time: 30 minutes

Dinner: Eat at the famous Keelung Miaokou Food Street and Night market.
Must try: This light seafood noodle soup (similar to La Paz Bachoy), Mayonnaise Sandwich


and Thick Crab Soup (Stall #5)


After touring, ride back to rest in hotel in Taipei. Travel time: 35 minutes


Buy breakfast at 7-11 Convenient Store. Better yet, if you can wake up early enough, go for traditional Taiwanese breakfast at the famous Yonghe Dou Jiang (102, Fuxing South Road, Sec. 2, Taipei).

MRT to Da-An Station (Blue line). It’s 24 hours, 7 days a week.


A definite must order?

The fantuan (饭团), a rice roll filled with a crushed youtiao (油条, translated as ‘grease stick’), pork floss, and some diced fried radish.  Fantuan is basically the ideal combination of sweet-savory (pork floss), chewy (rice), crunch (youtiao and radish), and greasy (all of it). I also like Dan Ping (Egg pancake) with soy milk drink, but many people order the salty soy milk with you tiao.


If you choose the Taiwanese breakfast, you must finish by 9:30 am to make it to church. Church service starts at 10:00 am and ends at 11:10 am.

For church, taxi to Grace Baptist Church (基督教浸信會懷恩堂)

Service: 10am-11:10am at Sanctuary, 2/F Grace Baptist Church
Address: No. 9, Xinsheng South Road Sec. 3, Daan District, Taipei City (台北市新生南路三段90號)
Tel: +886-2-2362 5321 / Website:
Closest MRT: 5-10 mins walk from Gongguan MRT Station, Red church right beside NTU


LUNCH:                Yongkang Beef Noodles
Address: No. 17, Lane 31, Sec. 2, Jishan South Road, Daan District, Taipei
Tel: +886-2-2351 1051, Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-8pm

Directions: Take taxi or MRT. For MRT, Gongguan is on green line so must transfer to the red line for Dong Men MRT station Exit 4

Must-try: Beef tendon noodle soup (a little spicy) and “fen zheng pai gu” (yam and pork ribs). Yongkang Beef Noodle is an institution and has been there since 1963 serving Taiwan’s most famous dish. Their broth is made out of tasty and beef and soybean based stock. Add pickled vegetables generously.

Then take MRT from Dongmen MRT Station to Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall MRT Station. They are one stop from each other. Both are in the red line.

TOUR: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall MRT: Chang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall showcases two buildings facing each other — the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall — right inside the gated Liberty Square. The CKS Hall lies at the center and situates a large Chiang Kai-Shek statue. Inside the hall, you can see much of what Chiang Kai-Shek’s life was like. From his bulletproof Cadillac to the clothing he wore, and the chair he sat on. A wall clock has needles set to 11:50pm, the time of his death.

Check out the bullet holes of Chiang’s car at the left rear part, and count the number of steps from the ground to the second floor. There are 89 steps to be exact, equivalent to President’s Chiang age. He lived for 89 years. The back of the bronze says, “Ethics, Democracy, Science.” This is the essence of the Three People’s Principles — To practice nationalism by ethics, by democracy, and by science.

Must do: Wait for guards to change. It happens on the hour from 10am to 4pm. Wednesdays are from 10am to 6pm. The army, navy and air force takes turns to be the guards every four months. How do you know who is which? The army wears the green uniform, the navy wears the black uniform in summer and white in winter, while the air force wears blue.

Then take MRT from CKS Memorial Hall to Ximending. Use the GREEN line.

Called as the “Harajuku” or “Shibuya” of Taipei, I personally think of Ximending as the place where the young people hang out. Currently, it’s a decent place to see Taiwan young fashion and Japanese culture. The shopping area is the first pedestrian shopping area built in Taipei, and is the largest in Taiwan.


Must do: Shop a little and eat some snacks. Pass by the red house close to the MRT entrance.

 Note that the closest MRT to go anywhere is the Ximending MRT Station. So no matter how deep you go in, you still have to go back where you come from at the MRT station.

Longshan Temple

To get there: take the Longshan Temple MRT station. It’s one stop from Blue line from Ximending.

Longshan Temple is Taipei’s oldest, most popular temple, dating back to the 18th century, when it was first established by settlers from mainland China. In the meantime, it’s expanded and contracted in times of war and peace, very much integrated into city life, while offering an oasis of reflection and contemplation within its heart.


Visitors are usually moved by the amazingly ornate carvings and other decorative elements in display. The ceremonial gateways, elegant pagoda roofs, and heady incense burners associated with traditional Chinese temples are found here. Also typically Chinese is the mix of faiths: Longshan is associated with Buddhism, Taoism and other local gods.

Longshan Temple is found in central Taipei and is served by its own MRT station. It’s open until 10am so you can consider an evening visit when the temple is at its atmospheric, perhaps before or after dinner at the nearby Huaxi Street Market. Admission: Free.

If you are hungry, go and eat snack at the Snake Alley, which is very close to the Longshan Temple.

Huaxi Night Market (or Snake Alley) announces itself with a ceremonial gateway with charming Chinese lanterns providing decoration and more powerful lights illuminating the area to near-daylight levels.


Most visitors are drawn to Huaxi Street by the stalls collectively known as “Snake Alley.” Vendors attract far more onlookers than those willing to test the potency and vigor that comes from eating snake soup and other serpent derivatives. For the less adventurous, there is a huge range of dining options in the surrounding streets encompassing noodles, oyster omelets, chicken skewers, cuttlefish soup, traditional custard pastries, and local delicacies include stinky tofu.

If you don’t like to try the snake delicacy, suggest you skip this part altogether.

Then take MRT from Longshan Temple (or Ximending if you skip Longshan Temple) and travel to Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Hall (Blue line)

The National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park

A memorial dedicated to the Father of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, this Memorial Hall was completed on 1972. The total building area covers 29,464 square meters (7.3 acres) with an open space of 115,000 square meters. It contains displays of Sun’s life and he revolution he led, and is currently a multi-purpose social, educational, and cultural center for the public.

Walk towards Taipei 101. Drop by Taipei Eslite Bookstore, the largest retail bookstore in Taiwan, and pass by Mitsukoshi Mall. Go around the higher-class area. This is where rich people go and shop.

If you don’t like to walk, Taipei 101 is accessible via MRT to the stop “Taipei 101/World Trade Center” station.

Taipei 101

Taiwan’s largest skyscraper, Taipei 101, enjoyed the title of the world’s tallest building from 2004 up until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2010. It remains as the world’s largest and tallest green building, standing at 1,667 feet and consisting of 101 aboveground floors, five underground floors, and houses a mix of offices, a multi-level shopping complex, food court and restaurants.


Most impressive than the total building height is its structural integrity. Taipei 101 is designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoon-level winds thanks to a massive damper sphere, the largest in the world. The building’s exterior is meant to resemble bamboo, a symbol of longevity.

Ride the world’s fastest elevator to the eighty-ninth floor of the observatory. Take a self-guided audio tour in the indoor observatory before climbing to the outer deck to take in the bird’s eye view of Taipei.

Hours: 9:00am-10:00pm, daily. Last ticket entry: 9:15 pm.
Admission: NTD 450 for adults

8:00 pm DINNER: 2-Hour Eat-all-you-can BBQ at Gyu-Kaku  (牛角日式炭火燒肉)
No. 309, Fuxing North Road, Song Shan District, Taipei (台北市大安區忠孝東路四段177號2樓(忠孝東路 敦化南路口)
Tel: +886-2-2514 7070 (http://www.gyu-kaku/
Average price: NTD 599-899/pax


After Dinner: Dessert at Dong Qu Fen Yen (Walkable from Din Dai Fung. Closest MRT is Zhongxiao Dunhua).

Walk to Dong Qu Fen Yuen near Chungxiao Dunhua.


Dong Qu Fen Yuen
No. 38, 216 Alley, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei (Tel: +886-2-2777 2057)

Closest landmarks would be the Ming Yao Shopping Center and is close to Ding Tai Feng. The shop will be packed and you can choose all your favorite ingredients. Choose from the tofu, red bean and grass jelly sweet soup, fill up with crushed ice and select up to 3 toppings for only NTD 25. Toppings include yams, green beans, red beans, soft peanut, passion fruit, strawberry jam, gingko, pumpkin balls, almonds and pearls. The QQ balls glistens with the ice and is sweet, soft and very chewy.

Closest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua


11:30am-1:30pm: Tasty Steak. There’s a close one near your hotel.
Address: 2/F, N. 11, Sec. 2, Nanjing East Road, Zhong Shan District, Taipei City) OR Taipei Fuxing South Road Branch (3/F, No. 152, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Road, Daan District)

Travel via MRT To National Palace Museum. Drop at Shilin MRT Station (Red Line). Then:

  1. a) From Shilin MRT Station, take bus R30 (Red 30), 255, 304, 815, Minibus 18 or Minibus 19 to plaza in front of National Taiwan Museum). Ask for directions on MRT personnel, or
    b) Take taxi

    Arrive at National Palace Museum by 2:45 pm

    3pm: Take English-guided tour at 3pm. Apply online and register to join tour. You need passport number, contact number and email address. Be at audio reception desk 15 minutes before.

After the Museum, take the bus back to the Shilin Station. Go to Shilin Night Market in the area. 10 minute walking distance.

Note: The closest MRT station to Shilin Station is Jiantan Station, NOT Shilin Station.

The Shilin Night Market (士林) is one of the most well-organized, most popular night markets in Taipei. One section covers the streets surrounding the traditional Yangming Theatre and stretching to the Chicheng Temple on Danan Road. The other sector is a centralized food court serving a wide variety of snacks that attract large crowds.

Must haves at the Shilin Night Market:

  • Chili Wantons (Stall #1), NTD 45
  • Hot Star Fried Chicken, NTD 60 (Stall#50?). It’s to the left of Chili Wantons, blue sign
  • Giant sausages, NTD 60
  • Frog eggs drink (青蛙下蛋). I usually order Aiyu (愛玉) with tapioca pearls (粉圓) and milk. Tastes better than milk tea.


  • Fried oyster cake and oyster misua soup
  • Large Taiwanese sausages
  • Cold Layers milk dessert (Stall # 250)
  • Lou Rou Fan (Stewed meat in rice)
  • Teppanyaki, ~NTD 100
  • Sizzling giant steak with spaghetti and egg, NTD 120


  • Pan-fried bun (生煎包) with sesame seed, NTD Like the fluffiness of cake and the crunchiness of potato chips? The pan-fried bun gives you the best of both worlds. The buns are made with spongy white Chinese bread that is pan-fried on the bottom. Break one open to reveal the moist porky filling. A Shanghainese staple, the Taiwanese version differs in two ways: it’s slightly bigger in size and it hits the pan upside-down.


  • Cold La mian, NTD 50
  • Toilet restaurant for photo ops and desserts (Address: 2F, No 7, Lane 50, Xi-Ning South Road, Taipei Taiwan / Tel: 02-2311 8822) It’s at the very end of the Shilin Night Market

Here’s how to find Modern Toilet
1. If you are coming from the metro, get out of Ximending station exit 6.
2. Head to the right side of Eslite mall. That street is called Emei street. Just go straight until you reach the end of the road which is called Kunmimg Street.
3. Turn right as soon as you see the parking lot.
4. Turn right once again. Walk a few steps. Modern Toilet is to your left and located on the second floor.

Day 6: TAIPEI – MANILA (Book Tour)

Check-out from Sunworld Dynasty Hotel. Bring your luggage.

8:30 am Depart from Hotel for Danshui

Danshui: Fisherman’s Wharf and GongMing Street

Upon arrival at Danshui, head to Fisherman’s Wharf by taking the R26 bus from Danshui MRT station. Go to the Lover’s Bridge, an infamous bridge born on Valentine’s Day and is the reason for its inspired name. Watching the sunset off this bridge is one of the most breathtaking moments.


11:30am – 1:30 pm: Lunch at Man Tang Hung (滿堂紅), Danshui Branch
Address: No. 8, Zhongshan Road, Danshui District, Taipei (11/F, Meitou Department Store / Tel: +886-2 2775 3738)


Then, head back to Danshui’s GongMing Street, a street full of unique Taiwanese eats to enjoy some local food. Shops generally open at 10:30am. A mere 5-minute walk from the Danshui Main Station, try the following eats:

  • Ice cream shop that sells 6 different flavors — all at arm’s length: vanilla/chocolate, green tea/mango, taro/strawberry. Taste-wise, it doesn’t have the same creamy consistency and is more of a sorbet. But it sure is refreshing. Price: NTD 10
  • Freshly grilled squid with bonito flakes and onion garnish. The squid is usually moist and the texture is neither pasty nor chewy. The taste is a little sweet. Price: NTD 60
  • Ah-Gei (NTD: 30): Fried tofu stuffed with cellophane noodle and sealed with fish paste. It’s steamed and topped with special ketchup sauce.
  • Take home some souvenirs include iron eggs, almond tae and nougat (Flavors: Green tea, almond, chocolate). The iron eggs are stewed in a variety of spices and air dried, giving them a chewy consistency.

Travel to Beitou Hot SpringsA good source of information can be found here. Note that all photos from Beitou part is taken from this website.


Visit the:

  1. Beitou Park (北投公園): Coming out from the Xin Beitou station, you will see the Beitou Park across the street on the right hand corner. The entrance is marked by a water fountain that perform shows on the hour, every hour during the day. Inside you will find pleasant trails, streams and popular sights such as the Beitou Library and Beitou Hot Springs Museum


2. Beitou Hot Springs Museum. This is an old Western building constructed by the Japanese in 1913. This was the main public bath in the area during the Japanese Era. This historic building was restored and re-opened in 1998, allowing visitors to view into the former lifestyles of the Japanese. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes before entering and change to slippers provided by the museum. There are 12 rooms including 1 tatami mat performance area, and the original public bath in the basement.


3. Beitou Garden Spa (北投親水公園露天溫泉浴池 or Millenium Hot Springs). Up the road is the Beitou Garden Spa It is a modern day public bath located outdoors next to a river and among green trees. This is a mixed public bath, requiring bathing suits. Admission price: NTD40.


4. Plum Garden. Beside the outdoor hot springs is another historical building called the Plum Garden, a summer house of the former Control Yuan president and calligraphy master Yu You-ren. The building only opened to the public in 2010 and displays Japanese colonial wood architecture and a number of calligraphy works by Yu You-Ren. Stroll through the manicured garden or sit down and relax inside the quiet house. Closed on Monday. Admission: FREE


5. Beitou Thermal Valley: Go to the Beitou Thermal Valley (aka Hell’s Valley) You will see steam rising as high as 100 meters above the geothermal pools. The area is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am-5pm. Admission is free.


6. Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch. Once you are warm and relaxed, walk a little further down the road and arrive at the modern Taipei Public Library.


WARNING: Both Xin Peitou and Danshui takes about 40 minutes to an hour to get to your hotel. Please time your schedule accordingly.

6:45 pm:  Leave Taipei for the airport
9:20 pm: Departure from Taipei to Manila via PR 899
11:40 pm: Arrival in Manila.


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How to Keep Sane — Prioritize Only 3 Things!

Why does it seem as if time flies?” I asked my husband during lunch today. “I really wish that there are more than 24 hours in a day.”

After I got married, I found myself short on time.


But I am always gasping for time. Even right now, I have a huge backlog of things to do!

For some reason, the days pass by quickly and before I know it, it’s already midnight and I still have to do some accounting.

Some days, I get lazy and sleep immediately after twiddling on my iPad. Other days, I just zonk myself out to sleep.

After thinking a bit about time and the challenges on how to manage time, I find that in order to be peaceful and content, you have to prioritize three things in life.


If you take on too much, you’ll be stretched too thin, stressed and exhausted.


But if you take in too little, and you’ll be bored and frustrated. That’s why we say that many people are walang magawa (have nothing to do).

Here are my list of the biggest time-munchers — feel free to add more if you think of any:

  1. Taking care of your spouse or if you’re single, finding a husband/wife
  2. Your parents – worse if they demand a lot from you
  3. Your siblings
  4. Your work/job/career
  5. Your child(ren)
  6. Your friends
  7. Church activities or volunteer work
  8. PR work or business associations (e.g., Lion’s Club, Rotary, Jaycees International, Federation, etc.)
  9. Yourself and your own interests
  10. Your studies (e.g., studying for an undergrad, masters, an advancement program, etc.)

A friend of mine complained to me once that her husband was not so happy with her.

He wants me to help him out in the family business,” she said. “But how can I squeeze time into that? He is complaining that I am lagging in my work.”

Well, what takes a lot of your time?” I asked.

Well, I am helping my sibling to plan his wedding,” she answered. My friend by the way is an amazing event organizer. Even though she does it pro-bono, if my friend helps you out in your wedding, you’re pretty much in good hands.

Unfortunately, she has five siblings. Each of whom have been marrying once per year.

In addition, she is super close to her family.

A self-professed daddy’s girl, my friend cannot help but meddle in family affairs. My husband for example limits my family affairs to once a week and on special holidays or birthdays. My friend spends a lot more time than that.

Some friends find it hard to leave and cleave. But as my husband says, “If you guys want to spend a lot of time with your family, then why did you even bother to get married?”

What’s more, she has a one-year old daughter and a husband who hopes she spends more time with him.

So in terms of priority, she wants to fit the following into her schedule: 1) her husband, 2) her daughter, 3) her parents, 4) her siblings, and 5) their family business.

Her husband also wants her to take care of the household. She likes to cook and take care of the household issues so that also takes a lot of her time!

Result = Chaos and time pressure!!!

In other words, what she is doing is INSANE.

Personally, my priorities are only as follows — my husband, our business, and my mom.

In that order.

While our family business takes up most of my time — for example, I do the sourcing, pricing, balancing the books, sales and marketing — I know I should drop everything to be there for my husband.

For example, just two days ago, he wanted me to go with him to his friend’s birthday party. Even if I’ve spent the whole day going around our stores, I still mustered enough energy to go with him since I knew how important it was for him to spend a bit of time with his business associates.

The business can wait for an evening. It should survive.

As for my mom, she has been there for me ever since. So even if we are busy, I always try to spend one day per week with her, which she thankfully appreciates. She also bribes us with love, gifts and attention, which make time with her very enjoyable.

That’s it.

I think life will be much harder to balance once (if) I have kids. If I have kids, I would have to take out some time from the business, the hubby or my mom to take care of him/her. Thankfully, I think my mom would love to co-parent my kid with us, so there is really no conflict of interest.

But adding friends to the mix, my gosh.

Once a week or every two weeks is doable.

But if I have to spend time with a friend every day, I don’t think I can handle that anymore.

So think about your life. How do you manage your time? Do you agree that you can only do so much?

As usual, your comments below are appreciated.

Posted in entrepreneurship, Family, Husband, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 5 Qualities I Look for in an Employee

The key to a good business is finding the right people.


When you have the right people in your team, you can rest easier knowing that your business is in good hands.

That’s the advantage of my parents-in-law’s 20-year business: They can take a vacation. Leave the country for 2 weeks, and come back still having their business intact.

Last year, we didn’t really focus on our business, and yet, we still managed to make more money in 2014 than in 2013,” says my father-in-law. “The business runs in auto-mode.”

I personally think that this is because his team are made up of veterans who’s been with them with an average of 18 years.

I look at my own team: My oldest veteran is an area supervisor who’s been with me for a little over a year. Everyone else is still new. I just regularized my second employee a month ago.

Big sigh — still a long way to go before we can leave the country in peace and not worry about our business. In fact, there is no such thing as a relaxing vacation.

Case in point, when we went to Balesin last weekend, I was still calling, texting and emailing my people just to ensure that we’re on top of things.

Up till the time I find veterans of our own, the company will be a revolving door of people. Just yesterday, I fired our sales coordinator for gross and habitual lates and absences, an offense serious enough because we just hired her the beginning of February!

You have to find better people, Bonita!” my father-in-law once chided me. “You have to be better in the interview process!”

Here’s the problem dad,” my mother-in-law countered in defense. “You’ll never really know what type of people you’ll hire unless they’ve started working.”

I found the latter statement to be true.

While experience teaches you to be better in filtering people during the interview, there is no better way to see if people are good or not than actually having them start working for you.


The worst case I’ve had so far was an area supervisor who came for a one-day training then left citing personal reasons! That was really bad. See my entire rant here in my entry, “Disappointed with the Philippine workforce.

After awhile of managing a business here in the Philippines, I’ve now grown immune to people crying, asking for pity and begging. You never know if it’s a truth or a lie!

I’d like to think I get better when interviewing as time goes on. Now, I no longer accept every Tom, Dick and Harry who walks in the door. I used to, with disastrous results.

Anyway, to make life easier, here are the five (5) qualities I look for when I interview an employee:

  1. Available: The employee must be willing to show up at the times you need them.

    My business is in retail. That means, when the mall is open, we are open. The only days we are closed in Maundy Thursday and New Year’s. Seriously.

    Hence, whereas construction companies enjoy long vacations especially during Christmas, our office is still open up till 4pm on Christmas eve. Then we take one day off on Christmas day and then resume work on December 26 onwards.

    On regular days, we are open from Mondays to Saturdays, 9am till 7pm. And my people don’t go home until they finish their work.

    The first requirement is that potential job candidates have to accept the long-hours and our tedious schedule. If they want a 9:00am-5:00pm job, or they want to take long vacations on Christmas, they are knocking at the wrong door.

    We might be a great company, but we’re not a good company for their needs. NEXT!

  2. Competence: The employee must be able to do the job at the deadline you require.

    This is an important question to ask yourself when interviewing: Can this person do this job?

    So many employers are swayed because they “like” a person during an interview.

    “I can always train him,” you tell yourself.

    Or “He’s a friend and he needs a job. Why should I not take him on?”


    I don’t care if the person is nice, or if I like his personality.

    But if the person cannot do the job, I will not hire him.

    What’s more, I personally prefer employees who are already competent and can do the job. If the candidate requires training, at least, the training would be minimal and they can more or less do the work I require right off the bat.

    Anyway, I didn’t hire this person to train him/her. I hired him/her to work. That’s what I am paying them for.

    Competence is very important.

    Competent employees make managing a business a lot easier.

    You hire people who can help you because they can lighten up your load. 

    On the other hand, hiring a person who is incompetent adds to this load.

    Case in point, one of our staff who is family is like that.

    He is always the first to come and the last to leave. And yet, because he often forgets things and does tasks inefficiently, which always pisses off my mother-in-law.

    Now, because he is family, we have to tolerate him. We can’t really fire him.

    But instead of helping out in the office, he makes it harder for us to manage the business. Most afternoons for example are filled with my mother-in-law sermoning him once again due to a boo-boo.

  3. Trustworthiness and integrity: The employee is someone who you can trust, who live their lives with integrity, and are actually good people in words and in deeds.

    Ever heard of the saying, “When the cat is away, the mouse will play?”


    Most people are like that. Many employees work only when their boss checks up on them. But turn away, and they do things you dislike.

    For example, yesterday, we did a surprise visit to our stores. We do this at least once or twice a month when we have time.

    Imagine our surprise when our store in Pasig was found unmanned! We found the sales staff in another store, sitting on the floor and texting.

    Big sigh.

    Nope, we don’t like employees who are like that. They require constant supervision, and cannot be left alone.

    These are employees whom you are always playing cat and mouse games with. You have to install CCTVs to monitor them while you’re away. You need to call them constantly because you don’t trust that they are where they should be.

    I didn’t build a business to serve my employees. I did not hire them so I will be stressed about what they are doing.

    So if I find employees who violate my trust — and do things that they shouldn’t do — no matter how much I like them, I cannot keep them. Somehow, somewhere, I would have to get rid of them.

    In short, we have zero tolerance for those who are not trustworthy.

    We built out business so it can be filled with people who are good people. Those who do not lie, cheat and steal. It makes working and building a business more fun, don’t you think?

  4. Has initiative and is trainable: In Filipino, we call it, “Hindi namimili ng trabaho.” This means that the candidate is flexible and does not pick and choose tasks assigned to him.

    I once argued with an employee because she refused to pick up an item for the office. The item was a medium-sized easel used for promotions and was situated in a location 10 minutes away by foot.

    Ma’m, I can’t do it because it’s too far and I cannot carry the item myself,” she said. “I need a taxi just to bring it back.”

    I got pissed: “If I am only not busy, I would get it myself. Bakit ka namimili ng trabaho?” (Why are you picking and choosing your job).

    My employees know that one of the things that pisses me off is someone who says, “I’m sorry. That is not part of my job description.”

    As I myself wear many hats — for example, I am the one who manages the finances, the merchandising, and the sales of our company — I thoroughly dislike people who like to limit themselves to a single role.

    I’m sorry – There is no work divas in my office.

    I like surrounding myself with people like me. People who like and take initiative to learn. People who are willing to take on new challenges even if it is not part of their job description.

    For example, our company’s messenger boy.

    While he is just our messenger boy, he has managed to take on additional roles such as applying for our company’s business/mayor’s permit, and repairing and engraving items.

    This makes him very valuable. It shows he is not satisfied in just being a messenger boy, and is happy to prove to us that he is worth more than his salary.

    I look forward to the day we promote him and give him a bonus. 🙂

  5. Loyalty and staying power: When people believe in and are loyal to the company, they will help you. When they are loyal to you, your company will survive through thick and thin.

    A company is only as good as its people.

    If you have people who are loyal to you, then your company has a good chance of making it. That is by the way what my parents in law enjoy in their two-decade old business.

    Admittedly, I am envious of their team. I personally am still picking and choosing my own team. Truth be told, it’s not easy to find good people.Many candidates are only there because it is what is available at that time. Long-term wise, they have no plans to stay.

    Come a higher offer and they jump ship.

    At the first sign of trouble, they leave you at a critical time.

    Personally, while times are good, I am looking for employees who can stay a long time.

    Low staff turnover can only be good for the company. I like dealing with people I know I can count on. It keeps employees who already have the experience to do their jobs well, and already have a shared history with the company.

    That’s why I also reward people not only for their performance and competence, but also for their tenure and loyalty.

    It’s hard to find good people, and even harder to find people who believe in and are loyal to you.

There we go — the five qualities I look for in an employee. Do you agree or have anything more to add?

As usual, comments appreciated below.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Advice, Business, Conflicts, entrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, Interests, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What is Wrong with Working for Someone Else?

Dear Aspiring Entrepreneur,

I’ve always found you to be very admirable.

For one, you are very optimistic.

Being optimistic despite the odds is a very good trait. It shows you have resilience, and have the ability to keep on smiling even when things seem to be against you.

Look at the odds of being an entrepreneur — it’s not as high as people think. And yet, you dream of still having your own business:

will-I-succeed-with-my-startup-infographic (1)

Yup, the odds are really not at your favor.

So yes, it would be logical to assume that being an entrepreneur means that you are optimistic. Because you believe in yourself enough to succeed when others do not.

Personally, I am an entrepreneur.

I’m living the dream.

Our small business consists of seven regular employees and more than a handful of distribution channels. If you go around the mall, you might see one of our stores and buy one of our items.

But while I am an optimist, my business forces me to be a realist.

If I am positive all the time, I will hope for better sales tomorrow without doing anything today.

This is a trap. A deadly one.

Because as a businesswoman, I know I have to act today to change my fate tomorrow.

Ma’m, we have to think positive,” my area supervisor reminded me. 

Thinking positive — ahhh, if you have a business, thinking positive is not enough.

So I told her, “Yes, I have to think positive that’s why I’m in business. But you have to wake yourself up to reality if you want your business to last.”

The reality is harsh for a person who is in business.

Rain or shine, I still have to pay my bills. Unlike working for other people, I still have to worry about my company’s income and expenses on a regular basis.

Honest to goodness, I spent the better part of yesterday questioning myself and wondering if we can generate enough revenue to pay our bills.

As we are in retail, more than half of my expenses are fixed costs and in mall rents. I have to pay my people’s salary every 15th and 30th even if business is not doing well.

Compared it to the time I was working for a bank. Wow, at that time, though life can be as stressful, when it comes to paying the bills, I never really had to care for a thing.

Honestly, I cared only for my  own work.

I cared about coming to work on time, doing a great job and wait for my salary to be deposited to my bank account.

Those were the good ol’ days.

But as an entrepreneur, these worry-free days — at least when it comes to being personally responsible for paying for all the bills — are over.

People often admire entrepreneurs for their success.

Do you know why we can be successful?

Because we are afraid.

We are afraid that if we don’t push ourselves, our company will go out of business. Because if we cannot balance our revenues and expenses, we cannot pay the people who depend on us. And we are afraid to tell other people that we failed.

That is why, as an optimistic realist, I will spend the rest of the month pushing my people to sell more instead of leaving it up to my people the hope of an even better day.

There is no luck in business,” I would always tell my people. “Only action to change your fate.”

Two, it is not completely true that being an entrepreneur would mean more freedom to spend your time however you want.

A lot of people are envious of entrepreneurs because they get to leave work whatever time they want.

This is partly true —- For example, I managed to visit a sick ninong at the hospital at 5pm yesterday without asking approval from my boss. I wouldn’t have the same type of luxury if I worked for someone else.

My people can’t leave to buy snacks without informing others first.

So yes, it is partially true that you have the freedom to choose how you spend your time if you worked for yourself.

However, it is not true that these “escapes” don’t come at a cost.

There are no back-ups as the entrepreneur. There are still many things that you yourself would still have to finish.

Hence, because I was gone for the afternoon, I have to finish my backlog of balancing the checkbook later that evening. Someone still has to do it, and that someone is me.

Taking work off does not mean that you can afford for the work to be unfinished. Instead, it only means that the work gets delayed and would invade my personal time.

That is why, when we watched 50 Shades of Gray, I was nudging my husband about the unrealistic portrayal of a 27-year old billionaire who still manages to free up his schedule to see Ms. Anastasia Steele!


Uhhhh… how does he even have the time to leave his business?” I asked my husband.

Actually, I was more jealous that Christian Grey could leave his business for a good while without the business self-imploding than the good sex that Anastasia Steele was having.

Ahhhhh…. the things you never read from Entrepreneur magazine. 🙂

This Friday for example, we would be taking off for an overnight in Balesin resort. My husband’s sister is in town and the family creeds us to join them (family orders).

Don’t get me wrong —- I would love the chance for a nice R&R. Goodness knows, we deserve it.

But while the old me would jump at a chance for a free vacation, the new entrepreneur me groans that the vacation would cause us to stay away from our business for 2 days. 😦

That would mean that I would be in calls with our people throughout our vacation,” I said. “And I would be worried about sales throughout the weekend.”

Such is the life of an entrepreneur.

Compare it to my Shanghainese friend who is here for Chinese New Year.

“How many days off do you have?” I meekly asked her. She currently works in corporate strategy for a large pharmaceutical company in Shanghai.

Oh, I only have 15 days,” she said. “Not that much.”

My husband who works for a Finnish company has 25 days off per year,” she added.

Shit. 😦

Nope aspiring entrepreneur, 25 days off away from your business is still a luxury you most likely cannot afford until your team is in place and your business is stable.


Bye bye long vacations.

For us, that would probably come in a few years time. Le sigh…

Lastly, I actually get little respect from peers.

Blame it on my friends having great jobs in huge companies. Most of my friends work in World Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, BOA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, McKinsey, Amazon, LinkedIn, Unilever, P&G, Johnson&Johnson, and other leading companies.

Compared to the companies they worked for, my company… well, nothing much to brag about right?

When I first heard of my husband’s company, I cannot help but give him a blank stare. Seriously, I’ve never even heard of it!

When I heard of my parents-in-law company, I scratched my head. Never heard of it either!

Such is the life of an entrepreneur.

Most of the time, nobody’s heard yet of your company!

So when I meet people, they will politely nod their head after asking me what I did. And then they would change the topic.


It can be a bit deflating to the ego that people have never even heard of your company.

Sure, that probably means that you need to do more marketing, and yes we are actually working on that part, but hell, it’s still a bit depressing when people are not as excited as you are about your company and your products!

Compare it to telling people that you work for McKinsey Consulting. Eyes would light up, and the immediate respect would be there. If you worked for McKinsey, that means you have the skills and the intellect to make it to their rigorous selection process.

Yes my friends, there is a difference.

Regardless, after bashing entrepreneurship — and yes, I can courageously do so because I am an entrepreneur — I cannot imagine myself being anywhere else.


Because for one, this is my fate.

I married into an entrepreneurship lifestyle. The business is ours by marriage. And if I want to continue to be happily married to my husband, this is the life I would have to live.

Plus it doesn’t help that I’ve been raised by two optimistic entrepreneurs who brainwashed me into thinking that there is no better option than managing your own business.

Two, because at the end of the day, this realist is still the ultimate optimist.

In the end, I still believe in our business. I believe in our products, and I believe in our strategy. We feel that we can grow our business through sheer force of will, and there is a future in our business. And yes, we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.

And lastly, I like to make a difference.

Whenever I hire someone new, I feel I am making a difference. Every person I hire, I always wonder if I can sustain his/her livelihood for the rest of his life.

Every time I sell my item, I imagine somebody else would be happy to receive such nice gift.

Every time someone actually knows who we are, I cannot help but feel a little bit proud, knowing fully well we have a direct hand in its success.

So is entrepreneurship for you?

Only you can answer that for yourself.

All I can say is, dive with your eyes wide open.

And then swim… swim as hard as you can.


Love, Bonita

Posted in Advice, Business, entrepreneurship, Marriage, Ramblings, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stalkerish Much?

Unlike many women, I like accompanying my husband everywhere he goes.

My mom used to go with my father everywhere so history repeats itself.

A friend used to tell me that the one time that my father went to Europe without my mother, she found him crumpled on the floor staring in front of his luggage because he usually relies on my mom to fit everything inside.

In short, my father was lost without my mother.

In my father’s lifetime, he left even the most mundane of tasks to my mother. He doesn’t even have a cellphone because he will just instruct my mom to call his friends on his behalf.

What can I say? My mom spoiled my dad a wee bit too much!

Now, my husband is more self-reliant and independent than my father.

While my husband doesn’t need me as much, it’s still cool that he likes me around as well. He’s not like other men who like to keep his work and wife separate.

Give me boys time!” an ex used to tell me. “Can’t you understand it’s important for me to have time with the boys?” 

Not so with husband…!

When we were dating, after work, he used to ask me to accompany him to car club meets.

People who go to these meets know that you do not bring your girlfriend along with you. Not only will the women would be bored, but combine a bunch of men with beautiful models and alcohol, then chaos ensues. Bringing the girlfriend was considered as KJ (killjoy).

So I am tickled that my husband always ask me to go with him. 🙂

It helps that his parents are almost always together too. His father spends the afternoon in his foundry business, before meeting up with my mother-in-law in the evening to help him in her business.

I guess, history really repeats itself, huh?

So whenever possible, I try to be with him. I can’t always have the time to go because of our business, but whenever I can, I try to be present whenever possible.

Like today, I managed to get away from our business to hang out with him at his shop. I keep busy by scheduling some interviews, mooching off the free internet.

It’s my way to offer him some moral support.


Since I have a small business to handle, these moments are more of a luxury. I don’t always have time to go with him to his shop.

But when I do, he makes me feel very comfortable.

For example here he is bribing me with cheap Great Taste coffee.


Warms my heart.

I think it’s great that we share the same beliefs on the amount of time we would like to spend together. If he is not comfortable in having me around, my regular calls and presence would be considered “stalkerish.” 

I have been called “needy” before and it hurts.

Great thing, I don’t have to worry about being needy with husband. Because he loves having me there as well. 🙂

Hope you’re having a great day as well!

Posted in Boyfriend, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Marriage, Reflections, Relationships, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Important is Sexual Compatibility? (Warning: NSFW)

It’s Sunday, and I’m in a good mood. Plus the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is coming out this week. So I will honestly answer what many people want to ask but are afraid to.

How important is sexual compatibility in a relationship? And if you are sexually incompatible, is there any way to salvage the relationship just because you love each other?”

*Cracks my knucles*

This is a fun question to answer, especially since I myself have adamant opinions about it. And while some of the answers are mine, others are shared to me by my other similarly opinionated and sexually independent girlfriends.

Yes, we talk about these things over cups of tea. 🙂

So back to the answer — Yes, sexual compatibility is very very important.


If your libido is higher than his, it would suck if he rejects you when you want it. He will shy off from sex. If the guy has lower libido, this will happen very often. It will be very frustrating. And you will feel unattractive.

FACT: Yes, guys can have lower libido than women. They are not all horny rabbits as everyone tells us to be. I have met men with lower libido and reject their partners.


If you like oral, and your guy does not like to give oral, then there’s no way in earth you can convince him to pleasure you. He will try to escape this job as much as possible. He will do it for a minute or two then stop and ask you to pleasure him instead!

Some guys like it super tight, while others like it wet and soft. It hurts their penis when it’s too tight.

Some guys like plain vanilla missionary and can only come in this position (Note to the ladies: It gets tighter if you cross your legs while doing it), while others prefer a lot of wetness (Add lubricant if you can’t provide lubrication) and/or variety.

Guys have their favorite positions — it’s our job to find out what it is and do it often. They will be bored or frustrated if we don’t try what they like.

Take for example hubby. He gave me a suggestion before of a position he liked.

Really? You like that?” I asked him nonchalantly, not really realizing I sounded as if I was dismissive of his idea.

He kept quiet about this until after a few months of self-reflection when he finally confessed that this was something he really wanted to try with me.

I totally forgot about it!

If it really meant a lot to you, why didn’t you ask me again?” I asked.

I thought you didn’t like the idea!” he exclaimed.

No, I never said I didn’t like the idea,” I answered. “I just weren’t sure if that was something you really really wanted to try.”

That’s why I asked you!” he said.

Oh, okay…. note to self, if you really want to try something, SAY IT. Ask for it. Because if you won’t, it would eat you up inside!

Sex is all about constant communication. Guys don’t usually know what to do with you. It’s all about regular exploration, and you telling them what you need.

Hubby for example got better with oral as our relationship progressed. He was open to instruction, and my gosh, sometimes, he could really make me come hard.

*Suddenly shy — oh well, we’re married. So it’s fine.* 

But honestly, for me, a non-negotiable is a guy who likes to give oral sex.

I know that some guys do not like giving oral sex.

For them, oral sex is dirty.

The mound is yucky, and you have to part hairs away. The taste is something not everyone is used to. His tongue gets tired.

Whatever the reason, he doesn’t like it.

Ironically, all guys want to receive blowjobs! So they won’t give it to you but asks you give them some.


For me, if the guy does not like to give, he is selfish. Period.

He can’t get over his high horse and pleasure you the way women could be pleasured.

That means, a relationship with this dude will be marred with you constantly asking him for things you need, and him giving you a gazillion excuses why he cannot deliver.

Girls, bewarned: Your needs are just as important as his, and him not really giving you what you ask for is not a good sign!

So sexual compatibility is all about matching your natural sexual needs and wants. It’s either you have it, or you don’t. You can learn as much as you can, but if your needs are different, there’s really no forcing it.

For me, sexual compatibility is a non-negotiable. 

If you are not sexual compatibility, you will struggle in the bedroom.

He will try to convince you to try his kinks, and you in your own conservative beliefs, would shy away.

If he likes to be Mr. Grey and you shudder at the thought of blindfolding him, don’t be surprised if he dumps you to try that kink elsewhere. If you are married, be wary of him being loyal because he will always want to try that elsewhere. He will always wonder.

As they say, masarap ang bawal (Bad is sexy).

Even Anastasia Steele was open to trying BDSM, and yes, that openness is sexy! So should you!

There’s no way around it, or to fake it. It’s your body, and your boobs can’t get bigger (an incompatibility if he likes big boobed women), you can’t get any wetter or dryer, and your libido is more or less won’t change.

Woe is to the person who is not sexually compatible with their partners. It can work, but it will be a struggle.

Relationships is already as hard as it is. Let’s not complicate things more by being with someone who is not as sexually compatible as us.


If you are the more dominant partner, you will always be frustrated. Why can’t he/she try this? Why can’t he/she do it more?

If you are the more submissive partner, you will get defensive. Can’t he/she understand you don’t need it as much? Why does he/she want to try that? It’s so…. taboo!

That’s how affairs happen.

I know women who were the mistresses in affairs. I knew women who were the wife in the affairs. And I knew the men who were involved in affairs.

Affairs happen because guys aren’t getting their needs met at home.

I condone affairs. I think it is hurtful to the wife and the kids. I feel sorry when an affair happens.

But I also understand affairs.

Big sigh.

If the wife cannot deliver, can we blame the guy for looking elsewhere? For being tempted with something he’s always wanted to try but can never really get at home?

I know of a guy who would have sex with his wife once a month. She would mark down that day in a calendar, and he would count to the days when they would have sex.

I know of a guy whose wife was an alpha female and was highly respected in the financial industry. He was also respected, but not as much as the wife. Was it a surprised he had an affair with a younger, more adventurous woman who was in another office who looked up to his greatness?

I know of a very respectable doctor whose wife is a housewife who successfully raised three kids but now spends her time playing online games with her daughter. Talking to her, the wife would complain about the drama in her family, her dogs and her kids. Coming from a position where critical decisions are made that can cause a patient to live or die, would it be too much of a surprise that this doctor would be easily attracted to someone who is his intellectual equal?

Yes, masarap ang bawal.

Now, can sexual compatibility be salvaged? Can love conquer all?

Honestly, I don’t think you can change sexual compatibility too much.

Love can make you stay in the relationship. “At least we are compatible in so many other ways,” you will tell yourself as you hug him/her tight, but I promise you, sooner or later, you will yearn what you don’t have.

When you look at other couples who are sexually compatible, who love touching each other, you will look at your partner and ask, “Why isn’t he/she like that?”

Later, as frustrations build up, you will ask, “If he/she loves me, why can’t he/she change for me?”

Trust me, nothing good will come out of this disastrous thought process. Confronting your partner regarding your frustrations would only make him/her say, “Hey, I thought we already talked about it, and I thought you understood!”

Oh well, I thought we could understand, but our bodies yearnings, well, they’re quite hard to control…

This is my official view: Sexual compatibility IS important, and no, if you are not sexually compatible, you and your partner WILL struggle.

So think very carefully if you really want this person if you are not sexually compatible.

Wait Bonita, how will you know if you are sexually compatible if you are a Christian and you can’t really try out the sex thing before marriage? What now?

It’s hard to know whether a car is good or not without giving it a test-drive.

But there are some ways to find out.

First, the way a guy kisses.

The first time I kissed Trader, I felt… NOTHING.

It’s bad to say it because it sounded very bitter, but honestly, it was nice. Tongue was given, but it was mechanical and yes, boring.

When I kissed him, I could hear other things happening. I thought of my work. I thought about his tongue. I could feel it going around, but that was about it.

I thought kissing him would improve over time. I became more aggressive and less aggressive, but kissing did not improve too much over time.

When I would hug him, the hug was mechanical for me. He would squeeze me and I would feel the squeeze, but there wasn’t too much warm feeling inside. It was really weird.

As for hubby, I could still remember the first day we kissed.

It was a dare between strangers, and we tried kissing each other. It was soft at first, but we couldn’t really stop.

After we left the restaurant, on the way to the parking lot, we heavily made out in the stairwell.

Phew, that was really hot.

Okay, now that we are married, those hot moments seem like memories, but heck, it was a good appetizer to the main course.

It made us think, “Whoa, this is good!”

Hubby didn’t really disappoint.

A man who has the guts to make out with a woman in a stairwell = A man who really don’t give a shit about common conventions and is willing to try out new things.

A man who can move like that = Must have more moves in the bedroom (True that, as I’ve discovered later after we got married).

Kissing Hubby and kissing Trader is like hot and cold. It was really different!

That’s when I learned how much I gave up just to be with a good guy. I closed my eyes and consoled myself that I was dating someone who was smart, decent and had a good job that I shut my eyes to the prospect that sex with Trader would’ve been boring.

I thought boring was acceptable.

Why not?

You got something better in return, right?

At least, in paper, you got a nice guy who can be a good husband and father.


Why do we always date/marry guys who look good to others? Often ignoring what would look good to us? If I married Trader, I already know that I would settle for a guy who couldn’t really make my blood boil. And he will always wonder why he couldn’t properly satisfy me.

And yes, it would’ve been terrible.

So guys/gals, please, think carefully before really getting into a committed relationship with someone you are not sexually compatible with. Please think carefully before putting a ring on it.

Sex is very important.

If you are not compatible sexually, don’t delude yourself in thinking it can get better. Thousands of pesos and a gazillion counseling sessions can only help too far.

Hope this helps. Feel free to agree/disagree in comments below. Good luck!

Posted in Boyfriend, Conflicts, Dates, First Days of Marriage, First Experiences, Husband, Interests, Life lessons, lovelife, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have you found your “Soul Equal?”

This has been reprinted from Debra Faith Warshaw’s article, “There is Something Better Than Finding a Soulmate

I find this article quite accurate.

With ex-boyfriend Trader, I was the more dominant partner.

Frankly, I felt he was holding me down, and stayed in the relationship because I felt that women were supposed to find nice guys to marry. And Trader, to his benefit, was the typical nice guy (And I was the total bitch — but that’s another story).

I acted out. I tried his patience, but I wanted to see how much longer he could tolerate me. Honestly, I didn’t feel that Trader was an equal.

He was just there…

Sad I know.

With hubby however, I feel constantly challenged by his presence. It’s not always sweet nothings and roses, but at least with husband, I respect him more as an equal. While Trader was probably more academically smart, I felt that Hubby is someone I can really listen to. Hubby’s thoughts carried more weight, and they matter more.

Maybe it’s because we share the same wavelength?

I cannot stress just how important sharing the same wavelength is important in a relationship. If you and your partner do not talk the same language, if he/she does not find your humor funny, and if you feel bored when you are with them, for goodness sake, please DO NOT MARRY THEM.

Anyway, please do read this article. You might get something from it. I know I did. 🙂


They say that when we’re choosing a tennis partner it is best to find someone that plays better than us so that it will help to improve our game.


Unfortunately, this kind of sucks for the better player if what they’re looking for is a challenge and the hope of improving their own game.

Romantic love works pretty much the same way…sort of.

Romantic love thrives best when both partners share a perception of equality  between them and it struggles when we don’t.

Perception of equality means something very different to equality in the traditional sense of the word. This is not equality based around superficial or materialistic things. This is not about looks, age, gender, life experience, power, financial status or even intelligence. This is not about equality “in the eyes of God” sense either.

This type of equality is based on how both partners feel with and about each other. It is of a spiritual nature with an “essence” and “felt perception” that comes from a shared commitment to certain principles, values and a well-developed sense of self…A “Soul Equal” if you will.

Different than “Soulmates”—a term which can have more of an esoteric, intangible, serendipitous quality to it—“Soul Equals” are on similar spiritual paths to each other. These paths require choices and criteria beyond what we think of with a typical Soulmate connection. There are self-imposed standards here that are highly conscious and deliberate regarding ones thoughts, feelings and actions.

The two concepts often do merge, but not always.

Soul Equals truly value each other as equals and share an intention and dedication to the wellbeing and growth of themselves and the relationship. There is a strong mutual desire to keep healing and moving things forward. This happens through a daily practice of honest communication, self-reflection, and a high level of personal accountability.

When the sh*t hits the fan, Soul Equals do not run, hide or blame—instead, they pause, reflect and talk.

They support each other in the process of peeling away their layers.

When partners honor and live by these core traits and choices, a deep level of trust, honesty, adaptability, resiliency and unconditional support can flourish. And it flourishes well because of the wide-open space that’s created for safety and security. The ego may tempt, but rarely does it win.

The feelings generated through this kind of shared responsibility grounds the relationship with a tremendously strong foundation to build upon. Both partners can feel free and liberated to be their authentic selves and this will create a flow of high vibrational energy that will keep everything buzzing and humming with passion and aliveness.

We achieve our deepest levels of intimacy from this type of partnership.

These relationships are often completely mysterious to outsiders. We sometimes observe happy couples that seem to make no sense to us, yet they are blissfully happy. This is usually because we are viewing them through the lens of superficial, societal criteria.

Alternatively, when two people are not Soul Equals, if they are not aligned in many important and key self-development areas, the mismatched tennis game unfolds.

This will often show up when we begin a relationship because there is a strong physical attraction and perhaps not a heck of a lot more. Biochemical reactions take over and we ignore {or typically don’t even see} the half dozen or so red flags indicating the mismatch.

What started out with lust will turn pretty lack-luster faster than you can say “game, set, match.” A challenging dynamic of the fairly miserable kind will soon settle in.

The partner in the subordinate role will typically begin acting out of the fear of being left. They will abandon themselves and their needs and operate from the wounded ego; repeatedly giving in, hiding in the shadow of their partner, not voicing their truth, doing anything they need to do to hang on, remain “in the game” and try to win love and approval.

They may also take the opposite approach {with similar results} and repeatedly test their partner’s staying power by acting out and self-sabotaging anything positive.

The partner in the dominant role will fairly quickly become bored and frustrated by the inability to evolve and be challenged. Things will turn stagnant, the relationship will suffer a loss of respect, the connection will erode, resentments will build, and passion will wane, eventually grinding to a halt.

Intimacy cannot thrive in a union of misaligned souls.

So just how do we spot a Soul Equal?

Initially it’s really no different than any other way we look for a mate; attraction and compelling chemistry hopefully start us off. Then we need to chase that with a healthy dose of reality in realizing and accepting the intoxicating chemical effects of the honeymoon phase. Many of us get so sucked in and swept away by the early “high” that we lose our ability to be objective.

In order to evaluate if someone is a possible Soul Equal we need to take a deeper look and become investigative detectives looking for clues and evidence of a kindred spirit on the path—this is highly advisable before we run off to Vegas.

As we get to know someone there are definite things to look out for including: a person’s willingness and desire to take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions, their commitment to personal growth (what actions do they in fact take), how well they handle feedback and/or conflict, a fairly well developed (or developing) sense of self, an openness to share and express thoughts and feelings, and a wish to create an outstanding relationship.

Some of these things might reveal themselves fairly quickly but it’s more likely that it will take some time before we will see our new love interests “more authentic side.” For that reason it’s imperative to keep things light and unattached in the beginning.  We should keep communicating, stay intensely curious and try our best to leave our expectations and assumptions out of the mix.

We don’t need to be at equal points along every spot of our spiritual path; in fact, it keeps things more interesting when we’re not and helps facilitate greater learning opportunities. It’s really more about the desire and commitment to invest the time and do the work.

If after some time together we find we are “volleying” well on the relationship court, then it’s likely we have found our Soul Equal.

Posted in Boyfriend, Husband, lovelife, Reflections, Relationships, Reprints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are the Pussy Generation

Clint Eastwood called us “The Pussy Generation,” and I can’t help but to agree.

Compared to the older generations, we work a lot less.

We have more money and we have more things. And yet, we complain more.

We complain about the weather. We complain about our job. We complain about our colleagues. And we complain about our boss.

As if complaining would make us feel better, and all our issues would simply solve themselves.


We arrive at work late, and leave on time. The last 15 minutes is spent shutting down your PC, going to the bathroom, primping and putting on makeup.

We are lazier, often choosing to chat, play our iPads and tinker with our mobile phones than taking work seriously. How many of us spend time choosing the right music to play on online radio instead of finishing a report? Or chatting with friends via Facebook or Gmail instead of finishing up our assigned task?

We expect our bosses to love us, and yet don’t do enough work.

We refuse to learn. “It’s not part of my job description,” we would say, and then feel shocked when we don’t get a bonus.

They should be lucky I am working for them,” you would say. And are surprised when they don’t give you a party when you leave.

We demand to be paid more, for sub par work.

I promise you the (insert sun, moon and stars here),” we would promise, and then feel surprised when the work is harder than we thought and we don’t get the results immediately. Nothing comes easy, my friend.

We believe just because we exist, we “deserve” to be successful without wanting to put in the hours.

We ask questions we already know the answer to. For example, asking our boss to allow us to take that family vacation since you’ve already booked your ticket. And then feel hurt and angry when bosses say “no” because apparently, they needed you at that time and you didn’t consult them first.

I guess for the pussy generation, questions are actually demands in disguise.

We want our bosses to keep quiet if we make mistakes. “It’s (insert excuse here)‘s fault,” we would say as if we had no part in it.

And then cry and feel hurt when they reprimand us for not doing our work well.


We blame everyone else about our shit of a life, as if we cannot do anything about it.

We blame our parents for giving us issues.

We blame our school and teachers for not teaching us the right things.

We blame our jobs for stopping us from achieving our dreams.

We blame our friends for giving us the wrong advice.

We blame the government for making us poor.


We refuse to look long-term, choosing to insist on the here and now.

We get angry when we don’t get a big enough bonus because we felt that our contribution “made” the company’s profit.

Never mind that your company didn’t even break even. Did we not work hard for the company?

Now, pay up.

We choose to hop from job to job, never sticking around long enough to reap the benefits.

I don’t think they paid me enough!” we would scream. “Where are my vacation leaves and where are my benefits?!”

Then ask for even more money when we look for new jobs.

For every open position I have, I’ve had 100 more other applicants. The ratio is not good for the job-seeker. Everyone wants to have more money for less work, and yes, they want to start working on their terms not the company.

And they are shocked when they don’t get the job…

Honestly, I am part of the pussy generation.

I was darned lucky to have been born in a comfortable family who never really had to worry about putting food on the table.

I was fortunate to have been given a good education.

And I was lucky to have the opportunity to study and work abroad.

But as I look around, I saw how badly entitled my generation can be.

On how lazy and unreliable we’ve become at work. On how cold and distant we can be towards the family who’s worked hard to ensure we get the best things in life. On how selfish and self-serving we can be among our friends and comrades. And how much of a bitch we can be to those we love.

Love us because we exist,” we cry. “We DESERVE THIS. Give what we want to us just because we demand it.”


So to the pussy generation, here’s what I have to say:

If we want success, earn it. Not take it, not wish for it, receive it, but EARN IT. 

Chad Howse says it best in his article, How to be Old School: 

Be old school. Don’t whine, complain, or wish you were elsewhere. You are where you are for a good reason, as am I. What we have and where we are right now is where we deserve to be – good or bad. But this is not where we’re going to end up. Keep pushing. Whatever you want to accomplish in life, whether it be career, family, or fitness oriented, hustle. Focus. Let nothing stand in your way, not even jealousy, laziness, or our burning desire to complain.

Then again, is that too much for me to ask from the Pussy Generation?

Yeah I guess so.

Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Intricate Balance of Getting Along with Your Husband

I think marriage is about getting along with another person.

Day in and day out, you’re pretty stuck with each other. And if you don’t get along well with each other, then life can really be hell.

marriag in hell

That’s why it’s really important to marry someone you can really get along with, someone who shares the same wavelength as you. The more you have in common, the better your chances would be.

Imagine marrying someone with a different values system or religion as you. My husband insists for example that those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ would not be saved. It would be an issue if I did not share the same beliefs. We will fight… unnecessarily.

It’s inevitable. When you do not share the same beliefs, arguments will come, tempers will flare and problems will escalate. Marriage is hard enough as it is.

I remember disagreeing with my husband last week. He said something that was hurtful to me, and because I was hurt, I refused to submit and follow him.

The more I became stubborn, the more frustrated he got. The angrier he got, the meaner things he said.

At that time, I did not want to touch him or talk to him.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Why was my husband saying these things to hurt me, especially when we both knew that what he said were not true?!

You wouldn’t want the answer,” my husband replied. “Actually, when I get angry at you, and you hurt me, the temptation to fight back and hurt you back is strong.”

It’s true what they say: Just like any other relationship, marriage is like maintaining a bank account. For every nice thing you do or say, you add money to that bank account. For every mean and hurtful thing you’ve done or didn’t do, you significantly reduce money from that bank account.

Piggy Bank and Red Heart

There are marriages that become depleted after so many hurtful exchanges. Imagine years of saying or doing things that would hurt each other!

Consequently, man and wife no longer sleep on the same beds. Or they live with each other, but do so out of tolerance and sheer obligation.

Conversations become dry.

When they do talk, it’s only about their children or their work. Gone are the times when they used to talk about sweet nonsense and their deepest thoughts.

As I look back in our seven months of marriage, I realize just how easy it is to fall into that trap of resentment.

Matigas kasi ang ulo ng tao,” my mother would say (People are stubborn). “They always want to win. They never want to give way. But look, they may win the battle, but lose the war.”

A good friend of ours gave us this helpful tip before we got married, “What’s the use of being right if your marriage fails?”

“In the end, it’s all about submission,” my husband explained.

Submission?” I asked.

Yes, the Bible said women should submit,” he continued. “At first, it sounds so masochistic but actually it makes a lot of sense. Men have a lot of pride. If the woman is stubborn and does not submit, the husband’s pride would feel slighted, and the more he will not give the woman her way.”


He will also start resenting her,” he added. “Hence, he wouldn’t like to talk to her, be with her, or have sex with her…”

Are you saying that men would actually say no to sex?” I asked.

Well, if you’re pissed at me, would you want to have sex with me?” he asked.

No!” I answered.

Well, there you go…”

Resentment is a tricky thing.


Resentment creeps in your marriage like a thief in the night.

resentment (1)

At first it starts with one argument, then the next. Before you know it, you’ve thrown your husband out of the house and changed the locks!

So again, who is the bigger loser?

The husband who is out of the house, or the wife who is out of her marriage?

Fortunately, I am a lucky wife.

My husband for example knows how to say sorry. When he says hurtful things, he does apologize for them and do a lot of cute things that help you forgive him.

I also know how to say sorry.

Of the 10 things I say when I am angry, 50% is usually true and must be said, 30% is usually true but should NOT be said and 20% is very unfair and shouldn’t even leave my mouth.

In the end, we would rather choose to be married than to be right.

And once one gives way, everything falls back in love again.

Are we friends now?” I asked my husband whenever we fight.

Yup, we’re good now,” he says as he gives me a hug.

Marriage is all about getting along with your husband all day, every day.

So are you getting along with your husbands? To those who are single, still think that marriage is a walk in the park? 🙂

Posted in Family, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Marriage, Ramblings, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only in the Philippines – The Texts You Get in the Morning

When you work in the Philippines, you’d never know what you’re going to get.

Like yesterday, here is the text exchange between myself and an employee coming in on her first day:

Employee (Text: 8:51am): “Hi Ma’m. Good morning. Ma’m, this should be my first day at work, but Ma’m, may I request that I come to work tomorrow instead? Actually, I was already on my way to work when my sister called me and said she has an emergency at her house. Ma’m, I’m really hoping for your kindest consideration. I don’t mean to postpone my first day of work. Thank you in advance and God bless.”


Me (Text: 8:55am): “I cannot do anything if you decide to go to your sister. But work is work. Your sister’s emergency is hers. I think it’s something she can take care of herself. I don’t think it’s a “real emergency” based on what we discussed on the interview. You have to know your priorities.”

Employee (Text): “Ma’m, I’m really sorry for this. My sister called me up saying that someone almost raped my daughter. It was the husband of my auntie. My daughter went to my aunt’s to bid farewell before school. They wondered why it took her so long. When they went to see her, they saw my uncle touch my daughter. Ma’m I am sorry and I await your consideration.”

Me: “Why would you leave your kid in an environment that there might be a rapist?! If you already know that your uncle is an asshole, why is your kid even there? I think you need to fix your family issues first before starting work.”

Employee (Text): “I’m really sorry. I will fix this issue first before starting work tomorrow.”


This is so fucked up. 😦

Apparently, the uncle was an unemployed alcoholic with a penchant for little children. And yes, he was left alone in the company of children.

As a child, I was always left alone in the maid but was never touched or raped by a driver or gardener. That’s what good parents do. They leave you in good capable hands.

The above only shows my employee shows poor judgement.

Oh and she was late today, citing it was traffic coming to work. We even rode the same elevator.

I think you can blame the traffic all you want,” I told her point blank. “But I think the problem comes in leaving your house earlier.”

Big sigh.

Not a good sign.

Posted in Business, Conflicts, enrepreneurship, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, First Experiences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Thought I Was Pregnant… And Then I Wasn’t

It was the perfect birthday gift.

After having a nice romantic dinner at Bonifacio High Street, I gave my husband a little dark gray box with a nice bow…


He looked at it and smiled, “So, we can now call our mommies and tell them that they’ll be grandparents.”

We have started trying for a baby since November after I stopped taking my birth control pills. Our respective parents had been slightly pressuring us for an apo (grandchild).

I haven’t had my period since mid-November, and yes I am a regular bleeder so it can only mean one thing. A trip to Watson’s again confirmed my suspicion, we were going to be parents!

Honestly, after I saw the results of the pregnancy test, I became afraid and nervous. Would I be a good mother? How can I raise good children? Where will I get the time?

But at the same time, I was happy and excited. Excited in such a way that a baby would be the perfect gift in our happy union. Happy because I can finally make my lovely mom a grandmother, a role she’s been jealously pining for years!

What’s more, I knew that my husband can be a good father. I’ve seen him with babies and it would be great if he can finally have one of its own.

“I don’t think our kid would be that pretty or handsome, but he/she would sure be smart!” I teased him.

I gave him his gift last Wednesday.

And it was great to see us adjust to the prospect of parenthood.

My husband started talking to my still invisible baby bump, touching the place where the baby would be staying for another 8 months.

We started talking about the baby, on who will take care of it and how our schedule would be.

We were excited to tell our folks, deciding to inform them of the good news this weekend when they take us to my husband’s birthday dinner.

Alas, just yesterday, I started spotting.

Spotting was NOT a good sign.

I called up hubby immediately, “Let’s not tell our folks yet that I’m pregnant. I have bad news: I’m spotting.”

He paused for awhile. “What do you mean spotting?”

I’m sure it’s not that serious,” I said. “But I am bleeding lightly. Let me google.”

A bit of googling showed that spotting is usual to 20% of women in their first trimester. According to the doctor, I am around 3-4 weeks pregnant. So that seems about right.

I called my husband back, “It’s okay, I think the Internet did say that some spotting is normal.”

“That’s a relief,” he said.

That evening however, the spotting became much worse, and the blood came out stronger. It was a much heavier flow, similar to my regular menstruation but worse.

I think we lost the baby,” I sadly told my husband.

Are you sure?” he asked.

Not yet, but I think if it doesn’t stop, I may have had a miscarriage.”

There is no real reason why miscarriages happen, although it usually happens on the first trimester. Up to 25% of recognized pregnancy ends in miscarriage.


Today, the flow is stronger as if I am on my second day of my period. There is some discharge and my lower abdomen hurt. I also needed to lie down.

In the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that if I was ever pregnant, there is no doubt that I am no longer pregnant.

Give me a hug,” I asked my husband. “I need to be consoled.”

Having no maternal instincts whatsoever, I am still surprised to experience that sense of loss of losing what could’ve been our little bean. While I was not entirely excited about being pregnant, it’s still a new beginning for us. And heck, maybe it’s a good time for us to be parents! I’m turning 35 this year after all.

Don’t worry,” husband said. “I can pork you again. Maybe this baby has some defect or something. Maybe it’s not meant to be this time.”

Maybe we are lucky. Maybe we would’ve lost him/her anyway through the process of the pregnancy. It could’ve been worse. We could’ve told our parents the exciting news only to pop their bubble later on. Maybe the kid would’ve had a defect, and an early pregnancy termination through God’s hands would’ve spared us from unnecessary grief.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But I am still a bit sad. Despite consoling myself of the maybe’s, I wonder what could’ve been.

And sad that we had a few days of hope, and now, a day of loss.

I feel sad for the Little Bean that now wasn’t.

So now I feel for those who were pregnant, and then wasn’t.

Cause now I can count myself as one of them.

And yes, it’s one of the sadder things that could happen to a woman.

I know this now.

Posted in Family, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, First Experiences, Husband | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What do you do when good people resign?

What do you do if two of your key people resign on the same week?

For an office with only seven people, it can be disaster.

Let me tell you, there is no worse feeling than getting a resignation letter from a valued employee of the company.

To be honest, it fills you with dread and self-doubt.

Like any failed relationship when a guy tells you that he’s leaving, and “it’s not you, it’s me,” you immediately jump into the conclusion that when a good employee leaves, it’s because it’s you.

quit job.jpg-550x0

Anyway, put yourself in their shoes, will you leave a company unless the ship is sinking? If the company gives a bright future to the staff, why would they want to anchor to somebody else?

In addition, you wonder if your management style can be too harsh. Maybe you scream at them too much? Maybe work environment is too much stressful?

Am I a bitch boss?” I asked my husband.

He laughs.

Yes, you can be a bitch boss at times.”

That doesn’t make me feel better. 😦

When employees resign, it’s time for self-reflection. But I don’t like to wallow in self-doubt and self-pity. I’d rather go straight to the staff and ask them why they are leaving.

Employee 1 is our office manager. While she is only 27 years old, she has managed to endear herself to us. Her hands are fast, her brain is bright and she can be trusted.

So much so that by last week, she was helping us with the inventory, the hiring, the staff training, the paperworks and basically everything that’s needed to be done around the office.

Sure, there were some kinks that need to be smoothened out — say for example, her penchant of doing things too fast to the point that she overlooks mistakes because she does not double check — but overall, I like her, and if the boss likes you, she would want to keep you.

Employee 2 is our web designer.

We started off at the wrong foot. She was constantly late and frequently took leaves to take part on family vacations.

I live in Bulacan, ma’m” she reasoned as if it was an acceptable one. “The commute is long.”

“Regardless on whether the commute is long, every employee has the responsibility of coming to work on time,” I said. “It’s about employee discipline, and when a staff does not have the discipline, they cannot be relied on anything else.”

It all came to a standstill after we assigned her to take charge of an exhibit, and she was nowhere to be found!

Where the hell is Estee?” I asked my husband.

She must just be around….” said my husband. I later found her going around with the model we hired, babysitting her.

We did not pay you to babysit the model,” I said. “She can take care of her own self.”

The last straw was when she abandoned our kiosk displays at Market Market! As she was in charge, she was supposed to ensure everything was finished before she went home. Instead, she went ahead and left our kiosk, our people and our products at the venue.

Abandoning one’s post before the show is done is a no-no.

That was it. I’ve had enough.

I didn’t talk to her for a week. I didn’t care if she came or went, or what work she did. I refuse to work with someone who does not want to be taught.

She smartened up.

She came to work on time and started to finish her job without dilly-dallying.

We kept her.

And now, she’s also resigning.


How did I handle it?

Here is what I did:

1) Talk to the employee who is resigning. Find out why they are resigning first.

If someone quits your organization, it’s important to stay calm and first talk to the person who is resigning.

Why are you resigning? Is it the company? Do you think that there is no longer a plan for you within the company?

Without information, you don’t know where the organization stands, and whether you would want to keep the person or not.

For Employee 1, I learned that she didn’t realize how important she was in the organization. While her actual role was the office manager, she thought she was merely one of the staff in the office who takes orders from everyone else.

Role misunderstanding is a common issue in the office and it was an absolute pleasure for me to correct her.

You are more important than you think,” I told her. “The company already has made plans for you since the third month you’ve started and begun to do more work in the office by training our sales staff.”

2) If you want to keep her, convince her to stay by showing her your plans for the company and what are your plans are for her. Show her she has a future inside your company. 

It’s true. We have already singled her out for promotion and a pay increase ever since she started. Good people are hard to find and when you find one, you try to keep them in the organization if you can.

I’d like to think that the company can give you a future,” I continued. “One of the best things of working for us is that we treat our employees as family. As you know, our longest employee has lasted us 18 years, and they would not have stayed if the company was bad, or if the company was there whenever they needed it.”

One of the perks of working with us is the close relationship between the employer and employee. Compared to a large corporation who cares jack shit about you and your family, our family business was instrumental in propping up our employees lives, be it support when a family member dies, when an employee gives birth, when they need a loan to buy a car or a house, and when times are tough and everyone else is shedding jobs.


Why do you think Tess had been moved to the parent company?” I asked Employee 1. “It’s because we are confident that given her age, we can support her and her family.”

At a time where everyone jumps ship, our company is still an organization that aims for employees who can stay long with us for decades. Once proven their service and loyalty, we do give back to our employees and support them whenever we can.

That’s why I would ask you to reconsider jumping ship,” I concluded. “Sure, your new employer may be good at first, but I doubt that they can give you what we can give you in the long run. You would once again have to start from scratch, and find your way in their political system, but I can assure you that as I know what your future would be like with us, I don’t think they can match up what we can give you if you stay.”

I have confidence to claim this because she told me about her supposedly new employer: a medium-sized construction company in Rizal where she is in charge of payroll and paperworks. Similar job description with what she’s doing now, but with less trust and a less brighter future.

I truly believe there’s a lot of politics inside the company. Her last company was a similar construction company and she left that organization after 8 years because there was too much politics. She was ousted by the president’s aunt who is in charge of accounting.

But here in our company, she has a bright future.

While she is only 27, she has already endeared herself to her employers, and we have good plans for her. Once you get a good egg, it’s a wonderful feeling to invest in this good egg instead of taking the trouble of looking for another one.

3) Dangle a pay increase if necessary. How to calculate for a pay increase.

I offered her a pay increase.

Now, I didn’t offer her a pay increase because she was leaving — that would’ve been blackmail — but I simply told her the pay increase we have planned for her ever since we have pegged her for a promotion.

How did I calculate the pay increase?

First, I looked at the company overhead. How much money can I offer this employee and still be able to support my business with a profit?

Two, I looked at what jobs she can do, and what is the fair pay for each?

Then, I looked at the fact that if she left me, how much more money will it take me to find a new person, and whether that person can deliver the same amount of goods.

Take for example, this employee does office work (e.g., tagging items, distributing them, making delivery receipts, recording our sales, etc.) and does the hiring and training of our staff. If I was to look for a new person, I would have to hire someone who is capable of doing office work and training.

Looking at the job market pool, it’s easy to find an administrative officer. It’s also easy to find a human resource person. But it’s difficult to find an administrative officer who can do human resource.

Hence, if she left, I would have to hire two people instead of her.

That amount adds up.

So I get the salary I would pay the two people, then compare that to her present salary. Given these two numbers, I would adjust my proposed salary to her that would be in the middle of what she’s getting now, and what I would pay if I hire two new people to replace her.

TA-DA! Salary increase — but a salary increase she actually deserves.

I make sure she understands that I am not increasing her salary because she is resigning. Nor am I increasing anybody’s salary because they are resigning.

Simply, I am increasing her salary because it’s about time I increase her salary, and because I like her and she deserves the salary increase.

4) Be gallant regardless on whether your resignation talk go well or not. It’s not a zero-sum game, and you can’t win them all. 

In the end of the day, you cannot convince a departing employee to stay. If they want to leave, let them go. 🙂

With Employee 2, because she was leaving to greener pastures — they offered her a 35% pay increase — there’s nothing better to do but to accept her resignation and get her promise that she will ensure a proper turnover.

There’s no need to burn bridges or take things personally.


Employees come and go all the time, and nobody is truly indispensable. If your business is hinged on a single employee, then you’d better ask yourself if you’re really hands on or not. Maybe you shouldn’t be in that business after all if you are always dependent on your employees.

Anyway, there are more fishes in the sea.

5) Have Plan B, C, and D.

After I got their resignation and wallowed in a bit of self-pity, I braced myself and started looking for Plan B, C and D.


Regardless on whether I can convince them to stay or not, life will go on. I then started looking for replacements in case they do leave me.

Businesses should not be hostages to departing employees. If people leave, new people will come so long as the business is good.

And our business is doing well.

We’ve just gotten an extremely good December, we have just opened a new store in the South, and are looking to open our first provincial store in February. Sales are healthy and after a tumultuous January, I am looking forward to a brighter February.

So it’s easier to ask prospective employees to come and work with a growing ship than a sinking one. And we’re far from a sinking ship. 🙂

I got employee 1’s resignation letter last Monday. Thanks to God, He gifted me with great people this time in my job search!

I already have three prospects in mind to hire. One to replace the cheating bastard who stole from us early this January, one to replace Employee 1 if needed be, and the other one who can head our provincial push.

One already accepted. I am waiting for Prospective Candidate 2’s response to my offer, and I have already asked Prospect 3 for a final interview.

In the end, the beginning of the week was a downer. What do you really do indeed when good people resign? That one is a tough question to answer.

But by yesterday, everything is already in place. New blood will come in to replace people who may be leaving you anyway, if not now then maybe in the future, and life will go on.

Hope that you’re all doing well! Happy weekend!

Posted in Business, Conflicts, enrepreneurship, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, First Experiences, Life lessons, Lists, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m sick.”

I’m hungry,” my husband groaned last weekend while we were at SMX at the bridal show.

Uhhhhh… we’re still not yet done setting up,” I said.

But I’m hungry,” he moaned like a ravished child. I need something to eat.

I was torn.

While I don’t want my husband to be hungry — and grumpy — I do believe there is a time to work and a time to eat. A time to be game on and a time to relax.

It was almost 10am and we were still not done setting up. The guests were coming and our booth was not yet ready!

After the booth was almost ready, I went with my husband to eat. Once full, he sniffed and said, “I’m sick.”

First, you are hungry. Then once hungry, you are sick. What else is next?

And there he was sniffling and sneezing. Yes, he is really sick. And when hubby gets sick, he gets grouchy.

Oh, and I am sleepy.”


First, I have no sympathy for sick people… unless of course they are really sick. As in sick that they collapse on the floor and have to be taken to the hospital.

When I was very young, my father pushed me to go to school even though I was sick. “Sickness is not an excuse,” he would say, only taking me home if I am sick enough to be sent by the teacher to the clinic and sent home by the nurse.

I was almost never THAT sick.

So save a high fever that kept me bedridden and a one-week bout in the hospital, I had perfect attendance in school. In short, I was only absent if I needed to be, and I was not maarte about that.

Not my husband.

If he is sick, he cannot operate properly if he has a cold. To solve the problem, he sleeps it off. Drinking half a bottle of Dimetapp, my husband will zonk out after half an hour, snoring noisily in his sleep.

Sleeping does wonders for him. A bit of sleep and rest and he’s all spic and span.

The problem is, he is usually sick WHENEVER we need him.

Sickness chooses no occasion and last weekend, sickness caught onto him on the very first hour of the show.

So instead of having an equal partner who readily helps out in all elements of the show, I have to instead be very considerate and take care of my husband, who needs as much attention as the show.

Marriage is a delicate balance.

And here lies the dilemma — between the show or your husband, who do you take care of first?

I think therein lies my mistake: I chose to take care of the needs of the show.

I consoled myself in thinking that my husband is a grown man who can take good care of himself, forgetting that men also like to be showered with attention especially when sick.


The show must go on,” I said to myself. And between the show and my husband, the show still needs immediate attention, while my husband can sleep his sickness off in the car.

My second mistake was to be frustrated.

I was frustrated that my husband was not pulling his own weight, conveniently choosing a very busy occasion for the company to be sick, as if it was only an excuse to get away from work. How convenient is it for him to be sick in the beginning of the show? That way, all he has to do was rest, leaving me to do all the work!

How can I leave the show alone? And our staff? Seeing my husband slumped by the booth looking sickly and sleepy is not the best showing of our company to our people and to the exhibit goers.

It’s a hard balance.

At one side, you want to be sweet and romantic, catering to every need and want of your ailing husband.

But on the other side, you have to instill discipline when it comes to work. No, you can’t take a break whenever you want to just because you’re a boss and no, you can’t abandon your people when they’re working alongside you on the weekend.

Wah, work has a way of dampening romance.

Up until now, I feel sorry that I lack empathy for those who are sick and in need.

I simply cannot sympathize too much when people are sick, since if I was in their shoes, I would still trudge on and get over the show as quickly as possible even when I am weak, sleepy or hungry. This has always been my training since birth.

I feel like a drill sergeant. 😦


Oh well, in the end, husband did sleep off his sickness in between the show.

I almost suffocated in the car,” he complained. “But I feel much better now.”

On the bright side, his parents did come by to check out our booth. I think they liked what they saw and was happy to see both of us there working.

And this my friends is what working with your spouse is all about. It’s not all beds and roses. In fact, we argue a lot about how to run the business.

And yet, there are roses amongst the thorns.

You almost killed me by letting me sleep in the car,” husband grumbled.

Well, almost. 🙂

Onto the next show!

Posted in Business, Conflicts, Family, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Life lessons, Marriage, Men | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Rest for the Weary Entrepreneur

I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week.

If you are an entrepreneur, theoretically, there is no sleep and there is no rest.

When we returned from a one-day vacation last June 2, husband and I were riding high from an awesome December month.

Sales were up 16.5% from last year’s high and our stores were humming and churning good numbers.

We’ve finally stabilized our team having hired five key people for the head office in less than six months. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and it’s good to finally breathe easy again knowing that your business is in good hands.

Most importantly, we are opening two new stores in the first quarter of 2015.

Life seemed great and perfect.

On January 3, it all came crashing down.

One of our area supervisors came to us wailing like a baby, claiming that a woman in the bus hypnotized him and took money from him. She rode with him as he went through store by store to get the cash sales from our sales staff. Since he was the supervisor, they gave the money to him.

The total damage? Php 54,000, 4.5x the Philippine minimum wage. A big amount of money for many people out there.

As we investigated the matter further, many holes appeared in his story.

For one, he changed company policy from the store directly depositing the money to the bank to him receiving the cash himself and bringing the cash to the office. This was done without management approval.

Two, taking advantage of the holidays, he also kept money in his boarding house for 5 days, saying he intended to deposit it to the head office when the money was given to the said lady. By policy, area supervisors are not allowed to keep goods and money at home.

Ma’m, hindi ako magnanakaw!!!! Mamatay na ang nanay ko, pero po, biktima po ako dito!!!” he meladromatically cried and wailed. What he was saying was, “Ma’m, I am not a thief. May my own mother die but I myself am a victim of this occurence!”


Seriously, he could’ve won an Oscar.

If you manage a business, you know that many staff lie to your face. How many times have I heard a person swear to God that he didn’t steal (but did), or come up with a stupid excuse on why he didn’t come to work when in fact he was going out for an interview or something.

Filipinos can be really good at lying.

They will say things that would tug your heart and make it seem as if they are kawawa (to be pitied), but in fact, they are as guilty as hell. If all reasoning don’t work, then work on your boss’ mercy and emotions.

This is such a case.

As the investigation came about, I realized that things are not as rosy as they seem.

He was able to take money from the company because of a lack of control in the head office. Items and money were not recorded properly and several rules were not strictly implemented. Supervisors took it upon themselves to handle money even if they were told not to, and nobody said anything about this.

I was dumbfounded and angry.

First, angry at my staff for not doing what they should be doing. That’s why I hired someone to be our accounting clerk – for her to record and receive the right things. That’s why I assigned a second-in-command, for her to keep track of people in the company.

Alas, if something bad happens in your own business, the most guilty party of all is yourself. If I caught him earlier, this wouldn’t have happened. Money would not have been lost. If I double-checked their work, my staff would have been more on top of their game.

I enjoyed the high tide a bit too much, turning complacent when things were going well our way. I didn’t stay as late as I should nor did I push my staff to take their work more seriously because it was the Christmas season.


When you are in business, there is no rest.

I’ve looked at our business and found six (6) critical aspects of managing one’s business. They are as follows:

  1. Products: Product includes sourcing products that can sell or at least dispose of at a certain amount of time. If you have no items to sell, there is no business. And if you cannot sell your item at a price people want to pay, then you will also have no business.Distribution is also part of product. Customers must be able to access your product when they need it. If your product is always unavailable in the market, then customers will get frustrated and buy from your competitor.

    This was not a problem since our stores were all well-stocked with salable items. Even when sales were brisk, we did not run out of stock. Our products were great gift items, and hence, were salable during the Christmas season.

  2. Hiring and Recruitment: Hiring the right people is important to business. Hiring the wrong people is tantamount to a lot of headaches and pain. My area supervisor not only lost me money, but also my precious time, which could have been spent elsewhere. If you cannot also staff people on time, your stores have to close even if business is high.This was not a problem since our stores were well-staffed during the Christmas season. Even if there were a lot of people who left or were terminated, our stores were still open every day at prolonged mall hours and holidays, and sales were not impacted at all.
  3. Sales and Marketing: You have to source products people would actually want to buy. You have to hire and train people who can sales talk. You have to somewhat promote your business so people know your brand is to be trusted. Retail is about making your products desirable and pushing your customers to buy. If you have a store and sales are low, then you’re dead.Last December, sales were great. Our staff was pushing and chasing the quota. We gave out an annual planner for a minimum purchase. People were hitting record numbers. No problem in this avenue.
  4. Paying your expenses and liabilities: Managing a business requires you to balance your cash. If you are a good businessman, you have to have a good handle on how much cash your business is bleeding on a daily basis. Spend too much, you will run out of cash. Run out of capital and you have no choice but to close down your business. Bounce a check and you have to pay a fee, and worse, ruin your reputation and lose your supplier’s trust.Last month, I was on time in paying all of my financial obligations — from the payroll to the rental, and up to the miscellaneous expenses. Great!
  5. Receiving the correct amount of money back to the office: If your sales are high but no money is received by the head office, then your business is fucked. People will steal from you. Your bank may make a mistake (e.g., did not record the deposit even if you gave them the money). Your customers will delay paying for as long as you can. And people can conveniently “lose” the money like what happened in my case.Our money problems started because we were not tight enough with control. My girl in the office was receiving the money, but did not really relate that to actual sales that were happening. Our staff was delayed in depositing money. Our supervisors were handling the money even if they shouldn’t touch it opening up the temptation to steal.

    As a boss, it’s crucial that you have a tight hold in money coming in. If you cannot reconciliate your numbers and are still confused where your money comes from, then maybe you’re in the wrong job.

  6. Back office controls: Now this was where we had a problem. Money was being deposited, but was the amount correct? People seemed to be doing their jobs, but were they? My staff were leaving the office on time but were their work done? Our supervisors were turning over their documents, but were they correct? Back office controls means that not only that people are doing what you hired them to do, but they are also doing the right things at the right time.Take for example this image: Sure, you’re climbing the wall fast and efficiently. But are you climbing up the right wall?

    Ladder of success

Our company’s mistakes happened because I was so strict with the four, but lacked the time and discipline to check the deposits and check to see if people in the head office were doing their jobs.

Honest to goodness, I was too busy expanding my store, enjoying the fruits of our people’s labor and worrying about the other three aspects of the business. December was our peak month so I was more focused on getting our products out and ensuring that everyone can push our product.

This effort was successful, which was why we beat our quota.

But because I removed my eye from the other two, the whole thing bombed in my face. This is the reason why I was left with a wailing scheming son-of-a-bitch who managed to take advantage of the lack of controls in the head office to steal Php 50,000+ from us.

In summary, there is no rest for the weary entrepreneur.

Unlike a corporate dude who can still leave work in the office and focus on a few specific mandates, an entrepreneur cannot take his/her eyes from the six critical aspects of business.

Take your eye out from product, and you’ll find yourself with angry customers who are tired of coming back again and again.

Take your eye out from hiring, and you might force yourself to close stores because you are understaffed. You may end up with poorly trained staff with low morale. Worse, you get staff who will file a case against you for wrongful termination even if they needed to be fired.

Take your eye out from sales and marketing and you may find yourself with a lot of inventory you cannot dispose of. Whoops!

Take your eye out from paying your bills and your creditors will take you to court. You may be in jail and your reputation in tatters.

Take your eye out from deposits and people may be stealing under your nose.

And lastly, take your eye out from controls and you’ll find your people taking you for a ride. Nothing gets done, and even if it is, it’s the wrong thing.

My mother-in-law always said, “If I had a choice, I would rather be a bean counter in a large company. I don’t think its always good to be a businesswoman. Sure, there is fulfillment in managing your own business, but there is no rest for the weary.”

She is 100% right.

The only time an entrepreneur can rest is if he closes the business down willingly or unwillingly. Otherwise, one must trudge on. 🙂

Entrepreneurship is my fate.

My dad is an entrepreneur. My mom is an entrepreneur. My husband’s family is an entrepreneur, and my husband is also an entrepreneur.

Though I can easily jump to a cushy corporate job, entrepreneurship is my present and my future.

But it’s no peace of cake.

Hopefully, my sharing with you what I think are the six critical aspects of business would help you manage your business better. Till then!

Posted in Business, Conflicts, Family, First Experiences, Life lessons, Philippines, Ramblings, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Husband’s Guest Post — “My Wife Drives Me Nuts”

Does your mom, dad or sibling have a particular habit that just simply drives you nuts?

Burping out loud, leaving the door open, cluttered mess… these sort of things?

Now, take these irritations and multiply it by at least ten.

That’s the stress level of everyday married life.

Things that you’re so used to do, your partner simply doesn’t and it boggles your mind on how much common sense can be so uncommon. Therefore, in lieu of my wife being too busy running our business (Note: Christmas is our peak season), I now present to you my “Wife Drives me Nuts” habits.

Hair, hair and more hair everywhere!

I grew up with two sisters a mom. People naturally shed hair. Google says an average of 100 hairs fall of everyday. But my gosh, can my wife really shed!

Here’s her hairbrush for a yucky visual description. That’s how much hair she can shed in just a single brushing!


Now, I have an issue with hair.

I hate seeing it on the floor of the bathroom. Ironically, God has seen it fit to give me a wife that definitely sheds more than a 100 strands a day.

I really fail to understand where it all comes from, or more mysteriously how it ends up at the back of the toilet bowl!

Like seriously?!?!?

There is no swirling air current inside our 10sqm bathroom.

The wife doesn’t even shrug at the fact that we have that much hair on the floor!

So my mornings are spent sweeping and collecting the hair from the floor and the shower area, and repeat cycle at night before going to bed.

Laundry blues

Why do you have to do the laundry?” my wife asks every so often. “I only do it when I have nothing left to wear. This is how I used to do it when I lived abroad.”

Now wifey has enough clothes that would last her months if she doesn’t do the laundry. According to her, her longest record was three months without doing the laundry.

I would just wear the clean clothes I still have,” she beamed proudly. “Why waste water doing the laundry. Save the earth!”


I used to have the same process when my mom always always packed laundry detergent every time we travel, and would yell at us to give the laundry every night. Why launder when you can just pack enough?

Well 15+ years of doing this made its way into a habit.

Thus, the wife snickered at me during our 1st week of the honeymoon when I walked 2km just to find a laundry service in Milan. And when I came back with clean clothes, gave me a loud scolding because I told her that I found one and paid 15 Euros for the service.

WHHAAATTTT???? HOW MUCH?!??!?” she moaned. “That’s highway robbery!!!”

I shrugged. It was the sweet old lady who did it and I don’t mind parting off my Euros if it meant clean clothes.

Two days later when in Venice, I gleefully squealed when our AirBnB place had a washing machine with powder soap, promptly getting a “What dafuq” look from the wife.

So yeah laundry is my department which I do every 2-3 days depending how much my wife recycles hers sleepwear. An overflowing laundry basket drives me nuts.

Clothes don’t walk by themselves to the washing machine and fold themselves you know.

And if my wife don’t care about the laundry, then I’d have to do it!

3 of a kind. Maybe 4…

I occasionally channel surf and land on a show in Lifetime channel called Hoarders, of which the mother-in-laws house can actually pass in for an episode. Years of training have made my wife a quasi hoarder.

While no, we don’t have piles and piles of stuff and endless boxes — yet — the wife likes to buy and stock bathroom supplies, so at any time we have 3 toothpastes, 4 toothbrushes, and 18 rolls of tissue paper at any time of the day. Let’s not even get started on the soap and the shampoo. I think we have enough Safeguards to last us two years.

But the kicker discovery I made is that she has 3 eyelash curlers!

Who needs or has 3 eyelash curlers?!?!?!


“I do, got a problem?”

Nope”. Eeep!

And my bathroom clean freakiness demands that I wash the eye lash curler of accumulated gummy lash goop every week… All 3 of them. Can you believe that before she met me, she washes it once every six months?

Oh not to mention she does the extremely Chinese thing when checking out of hotel rooms, which is to take each and every shampoo, conditioner, perfume, lotion bottle there is… even the tissue paper!

Our luggage before checking out:


Check out the tissue, free water and the hotel lotion.

“What??? I paid for the room! These are mine,” she says as she zips up the back with her goodies.

For the love of squeegee

Before you start thinking that how come it’s all complaints and gripes, rest assured it’s not.

One delightful thing we discovered is that we both like to squeegee the water droplets on our shower mirror. So much so we actually 3 different squeegees, but the red one is our favorite, which wipes clean and good.

And it’s not only the shower glass we squeegee, but also the mirror.

The feeling we both get when wiping the glass.


Ahhhhhhhhh….. Squuuuueeeeee-Geeeeeeeeeee

Low battery bane

I also have a slightly battery life anxiety.

I cannot stand not to have my gadgets almost always fully charged.

My wife couldn’t care less.

So every trip I’m in charge of all the chargers.

Charge, chargers get it? Hahahahahaa, oh never mind.

I’m not particularly techy-ish but I do like cruising the cellphone gadget stalls to see what new quirky things they have, or what they say in Taiwan, qi qi guai guai de dong xi.

We each have a night table and I actually have 3 cords for my 2 devices and while browsing the internet, I came upon the Quirky desktop charging dock, and I swear, it is the most elegant solution I have seen.

Scouring eBay, I found a used one for US$15 and promptly bought it and gave it to her for Christmas. Here it is front and back.

quirky dock

quirky dock back

Fits her iphone and ipad very well.

Binge watching

Everyone binge watches, whether its LOTR marathon or The Simpsons.

And for this I thank almighty God that my wife barfs at shows like the Real Housewives of whatever.

Married life is about sharing and spending time together doing what you want.

My go-to channels before are always the documentary ones like History, Nat Geo and Discovery.

But since getting married, I have discovered a whole host of shows that I would otherwise not normally pick when visiting the DVD tiangge place.

6 months into marriage, we’ve already watched Scandal, House of Cards, The Americans, Orange is the New Black and so much more, and I’ve enjoyed each and every one, and am very happy I have someone to share it with.

On a slightly off topic note, I got a bunch of toe socks for Christmas and I have read somewhere that this is one of the dumbest fashion inventions ever, but I absolutely like them.

I think it’s cute, my wife wrinkled and brow and gave me the “Dafuq” once look, which promptly had me grabbing a leg and putting it on her foot.

toe socks

Cute isn’t it? Comes in pink as well.

So there you go. There are things that drive me nuts, and there are things I enjoy being married. And the things that drive me nuts don’t make me more miserable. It’s just the basic difference between two people.

We should not let the stuff that drive us nuts drive any wedge between us. In fact, it should endear us more to the other, just as my wife, somehow.. somewhat… given her many quirky habits make me want to love her more.

Wait, wife’s calling for us to watch a torrented movie of The Interview.

Let me know if there are also other quirky things you hate/love from your partner. Gotta go guys!

Posted in Conflicts, First Days of Marriage, Friendship, Guest Post, Husband, Life lessons, Lists, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technology is EVIL

After over five months of marriage, Hubby and I remain happy and content in our togetherness.

He still makes me coffee every morning and massages my tired feet every night. He helps clean the shower (I never seem to get why you have to pick up hair in shower instead of allowing the hair to accumulate) and ensures that our laundry gets done twice or three times a week. For me, I am happy working in the day time then resting at night, often playing Anipop or watching our favorite shows per night. Not a bad life if you ask me.

We have admittedly fought twice in our marriage. Hubby calls them “complete melt-downs” where I am reduced to a “wailing, useless puddle.”

I call it, “fighting for what I think is right.”


The first fight happened around three months after our wedding. We were reduced to shouting at loud volumes to each other. The second fight happened last week at Disneyland where I gave him the silent treatment, and kicked him in the morning.

As newlyweds, we’ve always had our little irritants here and there — me for not getting my way and him working on his patience, but the two blow ups take the cake. And guess who is the culprit?


Yes, evil technology.


You see, Hubby conducts a lot of his business online. He answers customer inquiries via email and Facebook ALL THE TIME. Even while he is away, it never ends. He is busy emailing his office.

And if you think he is secretly emailing other people, I’ve checked. His texts, messages and emails are all work related. So at any given time, Hubby is ordering an item, shipping the item, quoting a price, posting a comment or photo on the car club walls, or instructing his people. Ho hum.

The issue is this though — I DO NOT think it’s polite for us to spend time together, be it just the two of us or with family, and have your face stuck in the phone, texting or emailing.

It’s ironic that technology which is supposed to bring people closer together, is actually bringing people apart.

Imagine this, how usual is it for you to have dinner with someone and have that person Facebook while you’re talking to them? Or in the midst of an intense conversation, you see them interrupting the flow to text somebody else on the other line?

For Hubby, it’s okay to put technology over loved ones since I am a “kai ki e lang” (Fookien slang for own people). Hence, while he would not be texting while having dinner with the president, it is okay to text if you’re just having dinner with your parents. “Hon, you should be very understanding and know that I am working. So I should be allowed to get away with it,” he would say.

I find this concept ridiculous! Since when are you allowed to get away with rudeness just because you are close? Politeness should be universal. I think people should be polite with the president, with their friends and yes, even with loved ones!

Personally, I feel that there is always the right time to work, to spend time with family and to play. I find it preposterous that you are spending time with me, but actually your focus is somewhere else!

Sure, it is work.

And yet, I do believe that when having dinner, one should focus on your companions who are there with you at the dinner, instead of texting a customer who is somewhere else and can wait to receive his price quotation for headers!

Now hubby would insist that replying fast is good customer service. I agree. However, there is the case of good customer service and actually spending quality time with your dinner companions.

If you are a doctor, I can understand,” I told him. “If you don’t reply, your patients may die. But you are not a doctor so yes, your customers can wait while you eat with your wife.”

So the first fight was when he was twiddling on the phone during lunch time, replying to another inquiry. The second fight was when he was FlipBoarding (it’s a magazine app) in The Magic Kingdom.

I went bonkers then.

The straw that broke the camels back was when he was again FlipBoarding during the Disney fireworks which I was so excited to show him. I showed my displeasure and he curtly answered back.

So I didn’t talk to him for the rest of the night.

I am usually very sweet and understanding but if he wants to still talk or use his phone when it’s “meal” or “family” time, then I put my limit to that. I don’t think it is polite and I think it’s an INSULT to the people you’re with that they’re spending time with you and your nose is on your phone or iPad! If that’s the case, then why not text, Facebook or iPad at home?

I call it Technology Addiction and I think it’s a big problem. I really think it’s in bad taste and I know if not stopped, this bad habit will only get worse.

Do you know what else is interesting?

This Technology Addiction is mostly an Asian bad habit. Go around bustling Asian cities and you can see Asians on their phones or iPads all the time. They Facebook, read the news, or watch their favourite soap operas on their favourite gadgets.

Generally, Americans are not as addicted to their gadgets as Asians. While waiting at Disneyland, I noticed that my husband and my husband’s sister were the only ones Facebooking and twiddling on their phones. The rest of the people on line were talking to each other or patiently waiting for their turn.

But that’s because we don’t have universal internet access!” my sister-in-law insisted. “So we mooch over it as much as we can.”

I disagree.

I just think that Asians cannot control their technology intake, while Americans may know how to put their gadgets away and enjoy what is in front of them more. Technology addiction is truly an Asian thing!

Anyway, I digress.

In summary, I do agree that technology can be very helpful. But there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. As we focus on our phones and apps too much, we forget who we are with in the first place.

So when Hubby insists that his phone is important, I always tell him when I am with him, he is more important. Not the phone. If he noticed, I do not pull the phone out. Instead, I focus my entire attention to him or the people I am with.

Husband cannot protest. He knows when it comes to technology, people I am with comes first. Which is probably why mom always complain I don’t answer my phone.

In the end, we resolved our issue.

For one, my husband doesn’t like to upset his wife.


No technology is worth that much as seeing a wife angered.


And as a smart person once told us, “It’s better to be married than right.”

So we agree to the following:

  • On mealtime, all gadgets are put away. Inquiries can wait. Mealtime begins when you go in the restaurant and lasts until everyone stands up from table.
  • If someone calls, then you can answer phone. If people take the time and money to call you, it must be urgent or important.
  • When using gadgets, answering customer inquiries, ordering or any business related stuff is okay. But if I am with you, no Flipboarding or Angry Birds, especially when we are still talking. Insistence that you can multi-task well and can talk sense to me while Angry Birding simply isn’t true. Conversation quality actually goes down so no.
  • Lastly, everyone can Flipboarding and play games if the other party is doing so too. This usually happens when we are relaxing AT HOME.

I share this because I want you to know, like any couple, that we fight too. And we may fight for the silliest of reasons.

But technology addiction is not silly. This is the real evil. It’s smart really. Technolofy fools you into thinking they bring you much closer to people much to the detriment to the people you are with now!

Husband thinks playing with his phone is fine.


For me, I think it’s rude if you are in the company of other people. As I really believe in this more (e.g., I really get irritated when I see him twiddling on phone while we are with other people) vs. him (e.g., he agrees people can wait for his text), he gives way.

Then again I don’t ask for much and if this will keep me happy, why not?

Anyway, I think this is a fight worth having, and hopefully by hearing our story, you have a taste on what it’s like to be married and how it’s about giving and taking.

Posted in Conflicts, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Interests, Life lessons, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Husband Speaks — “Hello World!”

“I have something to tell you but don’t get mad,” my ex-girlfriend told me. “Because my ex-boyfriend went berserk when he found out about it.”

“Unless you happen to be a professional drug lord kingpin or an axe murderer, I don’t think there is anything that bad that you can do,” I replied to my ex-girlfriend.

After a pregnant pause, she finally mumbled, “Well, I have a blog, and I don’t want you to read it because then I can’t write about you.”

A blog?!” I was flabbergasted. “That’s it? Geeee, okay…….”

“Trader didn’t like it that I was complaining to the world about our private stuff,” she confessed.

Uhhhh why?” I asked. “Got any X-rated posts on it?”

I snickered. Maybe there was… who knew what type of blog she can come up with. She was always full of surprises.

No lah,” she snapped as she slapped my arm. “It’s just a way for me to vent off and organize my thoughts, I tend to focus better when I write it down. And no you can’t read it.”

Eventually I did.

Maybe the fact that I didn’t make a big deal out of it gave her the encouragement to share with me her deepest thoughts.

But I think the fact that I finally married her had more to do with it.

Anyway, marriage is forever.

Can’t dump the weird girl who has a blog if you’ve vowed in front of everyone you love that you’ll forever be loyal to her and stick with her through thick and thin.

So a year something later, ex-girlfriend graduated to wife status and I now get first dibs on her latest blog entry here at Namelessintaipei.

She is really weird, my wife.

You’ll often find her, during breaks from work and life, often writing in bed or in our home office.

Geee… and all the while I thought all the furious tapping of her keyboard was work related. Ha!

So now, here is my contribution to that blog, and damn it, I better get more likes on this article than the usual 2-3 she normally gets.

She does care about her readers, my wife. And she really loves it when she says something significant that hopefully helps other people.

So what to write about…….

Ah yes, the ever loving topic of married life. I can write about that.

Funny though, most written articles out there about married life are written by women. You would assume that since the man is 50% of the marriage, there would be more out there written on how to deal with women.

But alas, that would make us pretty pathetic sissies!

Real men don’t talk to their buddies about their girl problems.

Hell, that’s the last thing we wanna talk about when we get together with the boys.

We only want to talk about girls who are not our wives. Or cars. Or sports.

Nobody wants to go around with the boys and vent about their wives!

So yes, I’ll be one of the few brave souls that dare approach this deadliest of topics and delve straight into sissy-hood. So behold, the quasi-official men’s point of view on marriage.

There are five thoughts I have about marriage – in lieu of my five months with my wife.

1.  The Honeymoon Stage.

We are now 5 months married and every one, and I mean everyone tells us we are in that syrupy sweet honeymoon stage.

All I can say is:


Ah, honeymoon — that one word already means Mars and Venus.

For many women including my dear wife, they think that the days should be filled with romantic bliss and endless passionate love-making every night with the both of you too tired to work the next day.

It’s all about the two of you and only you. And you hold hands as you watch the sunset together, sighing how lucky you are you’ve found each other.

Sorry ladies, the sex all night until morning is not humanely possible, unless you are on drugs.

When I come home, the first thing on my mind is food.


Yes, food.

I am grumpy and sour until this need is satiated.

Satisfy that need and then we’ll talk.

So while we do know how to have a pretty good roll in the hay quite often, there are simply some nights where bliss is just the both of you watching TV together.

Take for example last night, we picked up a new series called “The Americans.”

I would admit I never really watched these government-spy-conspiracy shows before, and guess what? Neither does she. It’s actually something new for the both of us to enjoy together as a couple.

The honeymoon stage is to find out what both of you enjoy together — both old and new things — now that you’re together 24/7. Who knows what you may discover?

2. Dun-dun-duuuunnnnn…. The romance is over.

My wife slaps me in the shoulder many times. It starts to hurts especially after seeing a rom-com.

Where has all the effort gone?!” she would say. And no, wifey has no shame in complaining about my lack of romance after we got married. No shame at all…

“Before, you used to pick me up, we’d have dinner, movie, go see a play, go to concerts, and now it’s gone. ALL GONE!” my wife would tell me. “What the hell just happened? All we did is to get married!”

The hard fact of the matter is, my wife and I — despite her accusations that it’s not the same anymore — do actually spend a lot more time now as husband and wife than when we were still dating.

Before, I would pick her up at 6:30 pm, go for dinner, then a movie and then take her home by 12:00pm midnight before her mom starts calling me up, or worse, starts calling MY MOM.

And yes, this has happened before.

Now that we’re married, we spend a minimum of 8 hours non-stop together. Ok, this is sleeping time but who’s counting.

I saw this at 9Gag yesterday, and it totally reminded me of my wife.


Yup, that’s her. She’s like a log while sleeping. You can literally steal a pillow under her head and she won’t even wake up!

But kidding aside, let’s face it. You cannot always eat at a restaurant everyday, and you’d finish off all the movies in a week. Life is not just about distractions. It’s about moments that matter.

Just because you’re not doing the usual dating stuff, doesn’t mean that the romance is over.

Far from it.

In fact, in our case, it’s been replaced by other little things, such as me making coffee for wifey in the morning (I do like seeing the Nespresso machine hum and gurgle), massaging her feet the second she kicks off her shoes and flops into bed (consider her immovable at this point), making the bed in the morning (I used to never do this, because my reasoning is why make it when your just gonna mess it at night?), going to work together, having lunch together, and the list goes on and on.

Sure there may not be expensive flowers anymore, but do you really want flowers when you can be with each other?

3.  All your bad habits get exposed. And it doesn’t make you any less sexy. If it does, he’s not the right dude for you.

Well you’ve seen each other naked, what else can you hide?

One of the first things that will come out in the open, literally, is when any one of you farts.

As my wife would say:


Women in particular are ashamed of this and while yes it’s not very sexy, neither does it matter to the guy.

As for me, I have no shame. Especially with my poor wife.

You can’t hide, conceal it or prevent it.

You’re a human being — what you eat has got to go somewhere and it’s all about natural.

There will be ewwww and go away moments, but definitely not a deal breaker and the situation is often more humorous than not.

Farting does NOT change or diminish our desire for you. Neither should it be.

Do you really think we’ll be thinking or turned off by the way you fart when we’re about to get some nookie?

Definitely not!

There are nights that I do a series of continuous short bursts and my wife hits my arm and says, “What’s wrong with you?”

And you know what?

That’s what makes us us, and that’s what makes us work and enjoy each other’s company all the more.

4.  Date night.

Before marriage, this is used to be almost every night for us.

But now, it’s once a week, twice at most.

Marriage forces you to be more creative than the “Hey, wanna movie dinner?” routine. Because heck, you’re married. Who else are you having dinner with aside from your wife?!

So for a guy who owns an automotive performance shop, I don’t like long drives.

But just the other day I took my wife to Tagaytay just to have coffee and back.

We literally had guyabano juice at Good Shepherd’s and then came back to Manila and had a chocolate pao from Chowking.

I kid you not, these things are cheap AND delicious.


Ok ok, breaking in the new car had something to do with it. But you get the point.

It may not be out of town trips all the time, but simply doing something different and still spending time with your spouse aside from the regular movie dinner CAN be special. And it doesn’t even have to be expensive to be memorable.

Wifey and I are perfectly happy to eat in the mall’s food court and share a Razon’s Halo-halo.


5.  Lastly, all the other small things.

One thing I suspected but never confirmed was that my wife is domestically inept.

So it’s up to me to do the laundry, clean the bathroom, make breakfast, trim her finger and toe nails, sweep the bed of dirt, empty the trash, etc. etc. etc.

Sounds like a real chore but it doesn’t feel like it for me.

Yeah yeah you might say that I do it because of the honeymoon stage (See #1), but here’s the thing, I do it even before we got married. The biggest and only difference now is that I do it gladly and am happy that she gets to lounge in bed, ipad in hand flicking away at Ani-pop after a long day at the office.

I love her that way and I like to see her happy.


Anyway, the reason I’m writing this guest post (and allowing her to edit it a bit, correcting my grammar and all), is that wifey just celebrated her supposedly 28th birthday yesterday and things didn’t really go according to plan.

She got a nasty fever and rumbly stomach the night before.

So instead of going to Ocean Adventure in Subic just like I planned, we simply skipped work, had lunch at Rockwell and just enjoyed each other’s company without worrying about the everyday happenings of life.

The office kinda cooperated with by leaving us alone and not calling… most of the time.

So to my dear wife, happy 5 monthsary!

Here’s a happy birthday to my 5-month old wife and cheesy as this will sound, may we have many more birthdays and milestones to celebrate for the next 60 or more years!

Old love

I love you!

– The Husband –

Posted in Dates, Favorite Posts, Filipino Men/Women, First Days of Marriage, Guest Post, Husband, Life lessons, Lists, Marriage, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s that time of the year again where I celebrate yet another birthday.

As I looked back on my blog posts, I realized that I haven’t been blogging as much as I should. That’s what happens when you get engaged (November 2013), plan your wedding, enjoy the wedding, go on a 28-day honeymoon, and then start managing your own business. There are so many posts I want to share and yet so little time to write them.

How time really flies…

Anyway, it’s been another interesting year for me. For one, last October, I never realized I would be married by this year. In fact, that was the FARTHEST thing on my mind.

I also didn’t think I would be managing my own business. Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve always wanted to manage my own business. And now, I am.

Truth be told, I’m still very new and inexperienced. There’s still a long way to go. Managing your own business is hard. I managed to hire a bad area supervisor and sales dropped 30%. I got a few bad employees and got involved in some labor cases. On the flip side, our business is stabilizing and the core group is coming on nicely. Our staff quality is getting better, and I love our company culture. People are workaholics and thankfully, through God’s grace, their heads are in the right place. I really do hope that this period of stability will last.

And finally, I love being married.

It’s only been 5 months, but it’s been blissful so far. People say it’s the honeymoon period but I really do hope this is forever. My husband is so sweet and loving, I’m glad I married him!

Anyway, enough with the summaries. As per tradition, here are the Q&As:


1) What have you done when you were 33 that you’ve never done before?

– Bought wedding magazines. I’ve never bought them in my life!


– Shoot pre-nup photos and videos.

– Get engaged. Whoah, I never knew organizing a tinghun was so tedious! Lots of traditions to follow! It was tons of fun though.

– Get married! Yeah, that was a night to remember. Right, Hubby? 😉


– Travel with my Husband. Believe it or not, we’ve never stayed overnight together. Our honeymoon was our first foray in how to co-live together. And boy, was that an adjustment.

– Smoke weed. And then have sex while still high. Chronicled here.

– Visit Amsterdam, Milan, Venice, Verona, Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.

– Ate delicious durian fresh in Singapore. Never thought they could taste so darn good. They tasted like warm chocolates! First time in my life!

durian 2 durian

durian3 durian4

2) Did anyone close to you give birth?

– Yes, my sister-in-law gave birth to my husband’s family first grandkid. She’s six months now and uber fat! Cries a lot though…

3) Did anyone close to you die?

– Not really. I wasn’t also allowed to go to any wakes.

4) What countries did you visit?

– Singapore and Hong Kong to buy things for our tinghun. 

– The Netherlands: Have I mentioned I love their curry fries? I still dream of them till today.


– Italy: George Clooney made a good decision to get married in Venice. It’s one of the most romantic and most interesting places on earth. And I’ve been to MANY countries.

– Greece: I loved their laid-backness and their Frappes! Can’t get any cheaper coffees than these in Europe! I could drink them morning, noon and night… for only about EUR1.5!


5) What would you like to have when you’re 34 that you lacked when you were 33?

– For me to have a good relationship again with my brother. So far it’s been a year and we’ve come to a friendly truce, but I would love to have that level of closeness back.

– For my husband and my brother to repair their relationship together. They still dislike each other and it’s awkward during family gatherings. Since they’re the two men I love most in my life, I would like for them to have a good relationship with each other.

– Even better relationship with my mom and my in-laws. I love my parents-in-laws but since it’s the first year they have with me around, there are still things that are new. I hope that they can love me more deeply and we can enjoy good relationships together.

– Good business acumen: I’m far from perfect and am still learning every single day. I still get frustrated and there are days when my head would just hurt. I would like to make less expensive mistakes in business and more better business decisions in the future.

– Better people at work: I’ve chronicled in several posts — You Get What You Pay For and Disappointed with the Philippine Workforce — how hard it is to find good people here in the Philippines. I pray for better people in the coming year.

– For growth. I hope to grow our business more aggressively in 2015. I hope that the road would be smooth and our plans would come to fruition.

– For me to be able to blog more with more interesting and relevant posts. 🙂

6) What date this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

– June 1, 2014: Our new anniversary date

7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

– Surviving wedding planning while still maintaining good relationships with my family and all my in-laws. Weddings can be expensive and can be an easy source of tension for both families. Thankfully, both families survived and we were able to organize a nice wedding.

– Making a livable home with Hubby. Thank you SM Our Home for reasonably-priced furniture! My cousin sells expensive furniture and we managed to buy our sofa, dining, and bedroom set for a price that is just a sofa in their store. Proud! 🙂


our home

– Staying happily married with Hubby. Almost five months and counting… hey, it’s not easy! Marriage is all about give and take. Thankfully, Hubby is also generous with the giving and letting me take more than my fair share of goodies.

8 ) What was your biggest failure?

– Not spending enough time with my mom. I miss her and understandably, I could not spend more time with her. It’s good though that we spend Saturday afternoons together.

– Not increasing sales in my business. I blame my folly for hiring the wrong people in the organization. Yes, it’s been a steep learning curve. Ganbatte for 2015!

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?

– Not really, maybe just a lot of back ache due to stress. Same as last year.

10) What was the best thing you bought?

– Our Tempur Original Collection bed. Actually it was a wedding gift from my mom and it’s money very well spent. Now, most beds cannot compete and our backs ache when we live elsewhere. Once we sleep, we don’t want to get up. 🙂


– A Chanel GST with gold hardware in Athens. Should’ve bought it in Venice where it was cheaper, oh well. Isn’t it an impractical beauty? Should be the last expensive bag I’d ever buy.


– Rolex watch for my engagement party. It’s a watch I’ll most likely buy once in my lifetime.

11) Whose behavior merited celebration?

– Husband: for putting up with my quirks and idiosyncrasies. And for letting me have my way most of the time.

– My mom: for being a great mother and mom-in-law.

12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Our area supervisor whom I fired a month ago. Honestly, she was a manipulative liar.

13) Where did most of your money go?

– After getting married, mostly savings? We’ve been saving up most days and eating at my in-laws. You suddenly become more responsible after getting married.

14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

– My marriage and our business. 🙂

15) What song will always remind you of this year?

– Katy Perry, “Unconditionally” and “Dark Horse

– Pentatonix, “Daft Punk”

– Christina Aguilera & A Great Big World, “Say Something

– Pharrell Williams, “Happy

– Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minah, “Bang Bang”

16) Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier. Being married is good!

ii. thinner or fatter? Oh gosh, fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? A LOT poorer. Being an entrepreneur means lots of sacrifice and savings!

17) What do you wish you’d done more of?

– Spent more time with mom when I was still single. How the hell was I supposed to know I was getting married this year?

– Maybe spent more time with my brother. I wonder if there was anything I could do that would’ve made my relationship with my brother better.

– Gone to Morroco with my girlfriends before I got married. Oh well, put it in the bucket list of places to go with Hubby.

18) What do you wish you’d done less of?

– Get mad at work. Useless stress.

19) How will you be spending Christmas?

– I don’t know yet. When you’re married, you follow Hubby’s family’s instructions. So far, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet.

20) Did you fall in love between October 2013 to October 2014?

– Yes! I’ve fallen more deeply in love as time goes on. :D

21) How many one-night stands?

– Hahaha, do many night stands count?

22) What was your favorite TV program?

– “House of Cards” – I wonder what would happen to Underwood once he gets what he wants. What else would keep us at the edge of our seats?

– “Scandal” – Premise was interesting in the beginning but went downhill really fast. Enough with the sappiness and more with the intelligence!

– “The Americans” – Russian spies posing as Americans? Count me in!

23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

– Yes, let’s keep it at that.

24) What was the best book you read?

– Haven’t been reading a lot of books this year. Too much Anipop. 😦

25) What was your greatest musical discovery?

– Tiffany Alvord: See her haunting rendition of “Royals

– Ed Sheeran, “Lego House”

– Labrinth feat. Emelie Sande, “Beneath your Beautiful”

26) What did you want and got?

– The Chanel GST. It was half the price of the Chanel Classic and bigger, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

– A very nice engagement and wedding party

– A European honeymoon

– A loving marriage

27) What was your favorite film of this year?

– “Snowpiercer” – Interesting story. It tells of a high speed train that runs 24/7, 365 days a year on a rail that goes around the world. The premise is something that I haven’t seen before, and I couldn’t help but be in suspense every time Chris Evans opened a new carriage.


28) How did you celebrate your birthday?

– I was sick with fever the night before my birthday. 38.6! My hubby nursed me back to health — with lots of love and water. Come noontime I was fine and we tried out a restaurant in Rockwell, Grace Park.

Had 2-way chicharon (Php250), hubby had muscovado beef belly (php580) and the seafood pasta for me. The food was fine but not as satisfying as I’ve thought. Company was great though! Always love spending time with hubby especially our green tea latte in Starbucks.

Dinner at Gumbo followed and some relaxing one on one time with hubby. Overall a peaceful yet pleasant birthday! 🙂

29) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

– A good relationship with my brother.

30) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

– Still the same, lots of skirts and dresses, interspersed with a little pants and shorts. Lots of cardigans since the AC in the office is especially cold.

31) What kept you sane?

– My husband and my mom.

35) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

– Joy Tan-Chi, she is the writer of the blog. Her candor, faith and good example is a model for many women and wives everywhere.

36) What political issue stirred you the most?

– The Umbrella Protest in Hong Kong – then again, it got old pretty quickly

37) Who did you miss?

– My dad, hands down.

38) Who was the best new person you met?

– None really. I’ve not met a lot of great people lately. Maybe Tess, our office manager, who has been employed by my parents-in-law for the last 18 years. Her steady presence, retail expertise and willingness to teach have really helped me in learning more about business. I really appreciate her presence in the office.

39) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned between October 2012 to October 2013:

– Good people are not easy to find.

– People have no qualms lying to your face. They will be frustrating and irritating. The most important thing is to stand your ground and stick to your principles. Just do the right thing.

– Managing a business is HARD. It’s not easy to make money. Every day is a learning experience, and you really have to love what you do. Otherwise it’ll be hell on earth.

– Prioritize your husband. Make him feel special and he will make you feel special.

– Buy a good bed. And nice pillows.

– If your wife irrationally wants to see the Santorini sunset, you give her the freaking sunset. It’s not worth arguing with her.

– Getting fat is inevitable. Remnants of stress. Oh well.

– You really have to trust God in His ultimate wisdom. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

40) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off” — Sometimes, you have to stop caring what other people think of you.

I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

I go on too many dates [chuckle]
But I can’t make ’em stay
At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I never miss a beat
I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm
that’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm

I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own)
I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm
that’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,
You could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like “Oh, my god!” but I’m just gonna shake.
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake

Yeah ohhh

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate (haters gonna hate)
I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break (mmmm)
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake (and fake, and fake, and fake)
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off (you’ve got to),
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Have a great week ahead everyone!







Posted in First Days of Marriage, Husband, Life lessons, Lists, Marriage, Philippines, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage is all about Compromise

Marriage is all about compromise.

For me, it’s about getting my hot Nespresso coffee made fresh by my husband every morning.

For him, it’s about me letting him get that extra 10 minutes of sleep in the morning.

For me, it’s about him carrying my heavy backpack to work.

For him, it’s about me remembering to carry his Samsung pad because he always forgets it on his way to work.

For me, it’s about him being in the office, listening to what’s going on and him giving his output once in a while.

For him, it’s about me giving me his peace and quiet while he manages his other business remotely.

For me, it’s about him listening to me while I rant and rave about my frustrations about running a business in the Philippines.

For him, it’s about allowing him to eat whatever junk food he likes for the moment. Like for example, the Jollibee Ultimate Burger Steak we had for lunch today.


Yes, burger steak, mashed potato, garlic, mushrooms, rice, egg and gravy looks like a weird combination — and it is — but it makes my husband happy, and subsequently, me happy.

For me, it’s about him answering every single one of my phone calls and letting me share with him whatever’s going on during my day. It’s important to have someone who keeps you sane in the crazy afternoon.

For him, it’s about me letting him get mad and stew without being critical and offering helpful suggestions.

For me, it’s about us having dinner at home together. And he gets to cut me sweet mangoes for dessert.

For him, it’s about me letting him eat his favorite Potato Chips Classic every night… without too much nagging that he will get fat.

potato chips

And yes, he can finish one whole bag in one entire sitting.

For him, it’s about me showering before getting into bed at night. “Hmmmm… warm and clean,” he would say as he sniffs me.

For me, it’s about him brushing his teeth before going to bed. Especially after the barbecue potato chips.

For him, its about his daily dose of DVD watching that’s cool at the moment. We already went through Games of Thrones Season 1 (yes, we are so far behind), Scandal 1-3, House of Cards 1-2, and now we’re watching The Americans.

For me, it’s all about letting me AniPop in peace.


Yes, it’s a stupid game I know. Graphics are cute though.

In the end, marriage is all about compromise.

You can’t win ’em all, and you can’t lose ’em all.

It has to be a give and a take.

And for us, it’s about giving and taking.

And that’s what makes for a happy marriage.

Posted in First Days of Marriage, Husband, Life lessons, Marriage, Philippines, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Labor in the Philippines: You Get What You Pay For

I realized that you always get what you pay for.

This month, my business is looking for a junior administrative officer. The minimum wage is Php 466/day or Php 12,200/month (that’s USD 285 for 26 working days).  I’m willing to pay up to Php 13,500, which is already slightly higher than minimum wage.

And boy, did I get peanuts.

The job itself is deceptively simple — data encoding, reviewing of receipts, preparing the payroll from the daily time sheets. Anybody who can add and subtract can do it.

Finding the right person to do it is another story.

For one, there were many interview no-shows.

This is I believe, a distinctive Philippine labor issue.

You have a job post, then many people apply for it.

You contact them for an interview and they confirm that they will come.

You give them the details and address, and reconfirm with them the time.

Come the proper time…


They simply don’t show up for the interview.

Your normal reaction usually is:




Then again, after several hiring cycles, you become immune to the absenteeism and no-shows that have become so rampant in the Philippine recruitment market.

People just don’t care about appointments, or informing you earlier if they cannot make it.

They’ll just go, “Whoops. Sorry dude, can’t make it.”

Like today, after not showing up for her interview, I texted one applicant, “No show for interview, Shella?”

No answer.

I try again, “I will be putting you as a no show on Jobstreet. Will you still want to reschedule?”

With the threat of blacklisting herself, she finally answers, “I’m sorry mam for not coming. I have an emergency in our home.”


Hmmmm…. very dubious.

Seriously, if I can give myself a peso for every number of times Filipinos use “family emergency” as an excuse for NOT showing up for something, I’d be a multi-billionaire.

Put it this way, I’ve had five (5) interviews lined up today. Three had family emergencies. Coincidence much?

I think not.

Two, many of the applicants seem to not take work seriously. You cannot rely on them too much.

Two weeks ago, I was interviewing one applicant who said that she’s been hopping jobs every five months because she was bored of the position.

I want a job that challenges me,” she said. “Someplace where I can expand my skills and talents, and develop my career.”

Can you write?” I asked. “We are looking for someone who can help us do research.”

I can write,” she answered.

Okay, I am interested in hiring you but want to see your writing samples,” I challenged her. “Can you send me your writing samples to this email address?”

No problem, ma’m,” she replied.

Two weeks later, and I’m still waiting for her writing samples. I followed up but wasn’t even given a polite answer.

Another girl we were interested in was interviewed and came to our training. We then asked her to go to the agency to sign the contract so she can start working.

No problem, ma’m,” she said.

And off she goes. The next day, we called the agency to followup if she showed up for the contract signing.

Lo and behold, she didn’t.

We called her up a few times again to try to get in contact with her.

No answer.


Seriously, people here have no word of honor. They don’t show up when they say they would, and they’re not even that polite to tell you they are no longer interested.

After finding out that it’s not just our business that has this problem, I ignorantly asked my husband, “Why do they always do this?!”

Because they usually can get away with it,” he explained. “In the Philippines, there is no consequence. If you don’t show up, what can you do anyway? Nothing. So they don’t show.”

And 3) It’s rare to find someone here who can keep their personal and professional lives separate.

Filipinos are very close to their families. There’s a local joke actually, “Marry the Pinay, and get their family as part of the package.”

I remember when we went to Singapore and our taxi driver was telling us that he married a Filipina when she was on vacation in Singapore with her friend.

“How many times you go home to Manila?” I asked.

Once a year, and thank God for it!” he replied.

As it turns out, every time they would come home, they would pack two balikbayan boxes full of pasalubongsPasalubongs mean gifts for the family, and they look like this:


Just imagine how many chocolates you can pack in this humongous box. 🙂

The pasalubong itself already makes for a very expensive homecoming trip.

What’s worse, when the taxi driver and his wife comes home, the family treats him like a regular Santa Claus.

All of a sudden, people I’ve never heard of before come to the house and pick us up,” he related. “Then we would go to the mall, and I would pay for their food, their gas and the movie. There would be 20 of us going out.”

“Thank God it’s only once a year,” he again repeated while shaking his head.

It’s the same with hiring people in the Philippines.

For many applicants, their lives are too intertwined with either their families or their boyfriends.

Take for example Nelain, one of our salespeople. She was absent for two days because of boyfriend issues. She was cheating on him with a customer and he caught her and beat her up. For some reason, women in the Philippines cheat too, and they’re always caught and beaten for it.

The sales of our best selling salesperson, Jho, dropped 50% because of husband issues.

Robby had to be absent for two days because he had to take his auntie to the bus stop.

One of our salespeople feigned sickness on a weekend, only to find out that she was out with her police boyfriend while her husband thought she was working.

Conflicts at home have a way of affecting performance. It’s hard for my people to separate their personal and professional lives.

Walang personalan,” or “It’s nothing personal,” we would say.

But it’s not true: Here, many things are personal.

Criticisms are taken personally.

When you give people performance feedback, you have to be very very clear that what you are criticizing is their performance and not them as people. They take it the wrong way, and they mutter under their breaths that you’re out to get them instead of seeing it as a way to improve.

When families are involved, especially parents and children, you’d have to give leeway. Work is important but if your child has a slight fever, people here have a tendency to drop everything and go cater to the child.

I personally have no issues with this by the way. Health is wealth and of course, family is more important than work. What irks me is if they use the excuse of sickness or family emergency to escape work, when it’s not actually true!

Happens more than you think. 😦

So in general, with many Filipinos, when you hire them, there is no security blanket. You are not sure that the job would be done correctly, and you have to be patient in teaching them to be more careful over and over.

Here, there is no such thing as limited supervision. Stop monitoring them and productivity goes down. Facebook, Youtube and shopping online goes up.

Big sigh.

Look, all I’m saying is, it’s not easy to get good help here in the Philippines.

Problems that are rampant here that are not as rampant elsewhere include: absenteeism, stealing, gross gossiping, insubordination, tardiness, and letting other issues affect work.

That is why, doing a business in the Philippines is hard.

It’s not the business aspect per se that makes things hard. It’s the managing people aspect that makes life difficult.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Not all Filipinos are bad. There are some that is competent, loyal and have good working attitudes. I am proud to say, a lot of people in my core team are people I value and respect, and I do not regret hiring them.

However, they are much rarer than you think.

And comes with so many hits and misses.

Mostly misses.

And so the search goes on: For the perfect employee.

Like my mother in law said, “It’s not that we don’t want to pay people higher. It’s not that we don’t like to regularize our people. It’s just that we cannot find the right people whom we can trust to reward better.”

I 1000% agree.


How about you guys? Are you running your own business and how are your experiences in hiring people in Manila? Are they the same as mine, or are you having better luck?

And yes, I know that to get better candidates, I have to increase the salary range. However, for clerical work, paying the person a little above minimum seems about right. I only need her for data entry and permit applications anyway. I cannot go too wild on the salary knowing fully well there are other places I can allocate the funds to.

Anyway, looking forward to your comments if any!

Posted in Business, Conflicts, Filipino Men/Women, First Experiences, Life lessons, Philippines, Ramblings, Rants, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Me: The Green Eyed Monster

I’m sorry, but you’ve had a cancelled line before and Globe cannot process your application for new phone lines if you don’t pay your bill,” the friendly customer service personnel informed my husband.

Huh? What do you mean?” my husband asked. “I’ve always been a good payer of Globe…”

Well, it’s for number 0917-XXX-77X7,” she replied. “Does the number ring a bell?”

“Not really…” my husband said as he keyed in the number on his phone.

We were right there at Globe applying for more phone lines for my husband’s business. A good subscriber should be able to apply for at least 11 phone lines.

Oh,” my husband said.

What?” I asked.

It’s for Wabbit,” he said. Wabbit is the nick name of his ex-girlfriend.


Now guys, I’ve never really been much of a jealous type.

Demanding, sometimes.

Stubborn, often.

But jealousy is not a problem that’s plagued any of my relationships ever since.

However, I don’t like it when an ex-girlfriend gets involved. Unfortunately, having been in a relationship with that girl for 2.5 years, her name does pop up now and then.

Like right now.

So how much does she owe?” Husband asked.

Php 29,000+, sir,” the customer service representative said.

I almost choked. “Php 29,000 of phone bills?!”

Php 29,000 is around USD 675 but hey, who’s counting?

Our situation is a Catch-22.

Since this is an ex-girlfriend husband hasn’t seen in the last five years, it’s going to be weird if he/we contact her again asking her to pay her Php 29,000 that is in my husband’s name. Even more so, the fact that she hasn’t paid her bill for almost a year also meant that she had no intention of paying her bill. Not now. Not ever.

It’s a dilemma created by the past.

And yet, my first reaction was anger.

Why would anyone not pay their bill?” I thought. “If you incur the charges, you should pay! Why run off from your obligation just because it’s inconvenient?!”

There I am again… projecting my ethics and values towards others. This is silly of course. A lot of people here don’t care about unpaid debts. One of which is dear Wabbit.

My second reaction is jealousy.

Hence, the Green Eyed Monster.


Yes, I was upset that my husband applied for a line under his name for his ex-girlfriend. Obviously, that should’ve been cut when they broke up, which he wasn’t able to do. I do believe that he forgot to do so, and it was an innocent, careless mistake.

Honestly, I don’t want to hear of ex-girlfriend’s name.

I don’t want her to be spoken off positively, or to be better than me.

Honest truth, hearing of her again reminds me that husband had a past. He loved someone else other than me. And even after we are married, she is still somewhat present in our lives. What’s worse, ex-girlfriend has reared her ugly head once again via an unpaid extravagant phone bill.

Which somehow has to be paid for my husband’s name to be cleared off in Globe.

My third reaction is frustration.

What else can we do? We’re stuck in this problem now. And somehow problem needed to be solved.

Also, criticizing my husband would not help. In fact, it would simply make matters worse.

Finally, after thinking about it a little bit more, I calmed down.

First, it was a mistake.

Careless, true.

Somewhat expensive, yes.

Intentional, absolutely not.

Two, I realized that jealousy makes me paranoid.

And this particular paranoia is not based in reality.

Hubby has not been in contact with her for 5 years. He has been nothing but devoted to me ever since we met, and I truly believe that I am the only girl in his life.

And there lies in our redemption — the realization that jealousy is irrational and can cause us to act in ways that are not correct.

So I apologized.

Honey, I’m sorry for my reaction,” I said. “I think me being jealous makes you think that I don’t trust you. That I am doubting your loyalty.”

“Yes, I feel that way when you are suspicious,” he answered. “As if I’ve done something wrong and you caught me. It makes me feel that I am not worthy of your trust.”

“I trust you hon,” I replied. “It’s just that jealousy is an irrational feeling. It’s a girl thing and it makes our imagination wonder. However, it doesn’t mean that it is right, nor is it justified.”

It’s fine love,” he said

And we snuggled and hugged.

And we were fine again.

That’s what marriage is like folks.

After almost five months of marriage, all I can say is marriage is what you make of it.

You can overreact, cry and nag, and only cause sadness and contempt.

Or you can talk about issues with your husband, and try to find a happy compromise so you can get back to loving.

It’s how you manage it.

As a friend once said, “Would you rather be right, or married?”

No other truer words have spoken.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Conflicts, Family Drama, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Ramblings, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Traveling again

Cebu Pacific is once again delayed. We don’t mind though. That’s the price you pay for saving a few bucks.

So what’s our schedule now?

After waking up at 5:30am, we are on our way to Hong Kong for a classmate’s wedding. It’ll be great to see everyone again. Lots of nostalgia on our MBA experience and finding out how everyone is doing.

Ironic, I am not using too much of my MBA in my business. I think an MBA degree would’ve suited me better if I stuck in the corporate world.

Regardless, no regrets. I’ve made tons of lifelong friends and I no longer need to contend on “What ifs.”

At least I took the program and know I wouldn’t regret not taking it.

Boarding now. See you all soon!


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Just a Normal Day

8:45am – Wake up and take a shower. Makeup for 5 mins

9:30am – Arrive at work.

9:35am – 11:00am – Drink my Nespresso as my sales supervisors and I go through their yesterday. I advise them of strategies and solutions to their issues

11:00am – 11:15am – Write an incident report for an AWOL sales staff. Email agency a copy.

11:15am – 11:30am – Update training document. Send to assistant for printing. Prepare for ingress papers as we are opening a new store tomorrow.

11:45am – Have a nice peaceful lunch at Subway. I feel sleepy so we grab an extra cup of coffee to wake me up.

1:05 pm – Return to office.

1:05 pm – 7:00 pm – Conduct sales training in between ordering new inventory. Also write costing sheet.

7:00 pm – Followup on what was forgotten on tonight’s ingress. Give me the new stuff to stock the store. Whoops, forgot to order net. Rush order.

7:15 pm – 7:25 pm – Call and admonish a sales staff who seem to be obstinate and who doesn’t want to go to work on Thursday. I insist he is nuts and arrange for him to do his rest day on Friday instead.

7:30 pm – Leave for ingress. Lug heavy stuff down to car.

8:15 pm – 9:00 pm – Find a nice Korean restaurant. Eat a nice dinner before mall closes and ingress begins.

9:30 pm – Where the hell are the people? They’re supposed to be here 30 minutes ago. The guard pesters me for a gate pass.

9:55 pm – There they are with our kiosk. Yehey.

10:00 pm – My sales staff comes. We start turning over inventory to him. I help him write in his inventory sheet.

11:00 pm – Kiosk is ready. Lights switched on. Yay.


11:30 pm – We wave defeat. Too many items to list. We decide to finish tomorrow.

11:45 pm – Get home and take a rest.

Just a normal day in the life of an often times frustrated yet more happy than not startup entrepreneur.

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Edric Mendoza — Many Women’s God’s Best

Eeeeee! He’s on TV!” my husband shakes me as he sees Edric Mendoza on TV.

If you are wondering what is causing my husband’s excitement, here is a photo of Edric Mendoza that I’ve gotten on the Internet:


Cute, ey?

Bespectacled, clean cut, tall and popular, Edric is many a woman’s dream for God’s Best.

For one, he is cute.

Edric is not only voted one of the cutest newsmen on TV as per a 2012 survey — ranking #1 of course. How many men can boast of that award?

Two, he seems to be a wonderful husband to his wife Joy.

Edric and Joy are totally cute together, and many of their photos show them always awash with love and devotion even after five children together and counting!

Here’s a short version of their love story by the Philippine Star for you guys to swoon upon: The Love Story of Joy and Edric Mendoza. 🙂

edric and joy
The photo is taken from Joy’s website, and was googled off the Internet.

Joy’s well-written posts on her blog, Teach With Joy, chronicles their lives as the family walks and serves the Lord. With much humility and candor, Joy shares her many struggles in submitting to Edric’s role as a man, his leadership and many moods, and yet provides encouragement when she shares that the Lord rewards her obedience with an insane amount of joy happiness in her ministry, in her children and in her husband.

Joy’s posts strikes a cord. Often times, they reflect my own personal struggle as a married woman. Submission is never easy especially given my headstrong personality. Many times I ask, “Why submit when I am right, and husband is wrong?!” 

As you can see, it’s a real struggle for me.

Anyway, reading her blog has always been a joy (sorry for the pun but it’s true!), and there’s always an insightful takeaway after almost every post. Honestly, I applaud her for her candor, transparency and humility in sharing with us her story. For me, I still love my anonymity and can’t imagine opening my life up as much as she does.

But back to my point, Edric is a fine catch.

Not only is he a good-looking man and a doting husband, but Edric also seems to be an amazing father to his children, all of whom are ridiculously cute, well-behaved, and smart children who seem to walk closely to the Lord.

His eldest even joins him in their ministry, and looks well on his way to be a son any father can be proud of.

I can imagine just how many women want the same marriage and family life as the Mendozas have.

Whoa, she is so lucky to have him!!! Lord, when can I have what they have too?!”

No one can fake that adoration! It must be true! I hope I can find someone who can adore me as Edric adores his wife?”

When can I find my God’s best already? And can he please be as cute as Edric Mendoza?”

Lots of coveting there, but who could blame them?

The Mendozas are adorable together, and their down-to-earth personalities make us want to cheer them on. 🙂

Which is why my husband was so kilig to see Edric on TV. He seems like the perfect guy. A family man with a great head on his shoulders — Hey, it’s not easy to be a well-informed host of a popular financial TV show in ANC — Edric is an epitome of a God’s best.

Do you wish you could have married him instead of me?” my husband playfully asked. “I wouldn’t blame you if you think he is cute.”

I looked at my husband.

My husband is a far cry from Edric Mendoza.

Physically, at 5″8, Hubby is slightly shorter than the tall and handsome Edric. What’s worse, he’s starting to grow a small pouch, a testament as to how much happy and satisfied men eat. If I don’t watch him closely, he steals away to the refrigerator to heat up his favorite midnight snack.

He doesn’t command a room as Edric does, and feels uncomfortable in a room full of strangers. I don’t think he can work a crowd as well as he is not used to the public eye. In fact, he prefers our own quiet office to a social event.

Style-wise, as Husband has a car garage, his daily attire of t-shirt and shorts pale in comparison to Edric’s smart suits and preppy look.

Personality-wise, Hubby can be quite direct and tactless. While Edric can be friendly and diplomatic, Hubby can’t lie to save his life. If he doesn’t like the person, it shows, and he’s unafraid to show it. While Edric can go to an event and befriend even the crankiest person around, my husband prefers to stay in his corner until something interests him.

People call him suplado (standoffish and haughty) a lot behind his back.

Not only that, Husband has a past. He’s gone through his fair share of sins, and has probably disobeyed most of Moses’ ten commandments. When I dated him, my mother worried about my relative innocence and was afraid that my husband would corrupt me and bring me to the darkness.

He is also a relatively young Christian. I remember when we were going through premarital counseling and our pastor asked him if he was a real Christian, he was surprised to hear that Christians needed “fruits” or real change to have salvation. He thought all he did was to accept the Lord in grade school and that was it. There was no real change to his life then, although the Lord has made great leaps and bounds since then.

In short, my husband is not a lot of women’s God’s best when I first met him. He was brusque and rough and uncontrollable. He did what he wanted and ran with the consequences.

Two years later though, I realized that I wouldn’t exchange him for the world.

Sure, Edric is a wonderful friend, husband and father, but he is Joy’s, as my husband is mine. 🙂

I love my husband — as Joy loves her husband.

He is perfect for me, as Edric is as wonderful to Joy.

Sure, he’s not voted as the cutest car dude in the industry, and he’s not popular in any survey, but my husband is attractive in his own right, and I find him to be way sexier than Channing Tatum, Ryan Reynolds, and yes, even Edric Mendoza.

He may not be everyone’s best friend and sometimes, I struggle with the lack of social invitations given our anti-social tendencies, but he is also a devoted husband and companion. I am never really in want, and whenever I ask for water, some fries, or a foot massage, my Husband always provides.

He also tries not to disappoint me and tries his best to make me laugh, even when it comes at his expense. I remember him sitting on the escalator the other day to make a point. He sat on the escalator because the escalator specifically instructed people NOT to sit on the escalator! It’s this unabashed silliness that adds spice to our marriage.

So yes, even though I agree with him that Edric Mendoza is many women’s God’s best, my husband is MY OWN’s GOD’s BEST and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Happiness is NOT a zero-sum game.

I find what the Mendozas have as adorable and cute, but in no way do I covet it. It is their life, and hurray to them! But it doesn’t mean that I have to be unhappy so she can be. Everyone can be happy as long as they are satisfied with what they have.

We can all be happy with what we have.

And the Lord is really good: He gives us what we need.

And my Husband fills me up.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in Christian Life, Family, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, First Days of Marriage, Husband, Marriage, Men, Reflections, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does God answer prayer?

My husband and I are born-again Christians.

In the evening, we try our best to have quiet time together, reading a few chapters in the Bible and reflecting on what they mean. Afterwards, we say a little prayer thanking the Lord of our good day, and asking for guidance in the days to come.

So we think about prayers a lot. What they are for, how they are effective and what do they mean.

Praying Woman

According to Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

therefore I tell you

In 1 Chronicles 16:11, the Bible tells us to “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”

We believe in God and the powers of prayer, not for what it gives us but rather, because we believe that it’s good to cry our requests to God, to give him thanksgiving, and to leave our concerns up to Him.

I always tell people, “If you are worried or scared, that means you are not trusting in Him enough. Because He always has plans for you, to take care and to prosper you” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So it confounds us when our Christian employees tell us that they’ve been praying for good sales performance every night, and yet right in front of me, I only see consistently low sales performance.


How is that possible, Bonita?” my husband asked. “If indeed, she is praying for good sales, then how come the Lord does not seem to answer her prayers? Does that mean that prayers are useless?”

Does God really answer prayers?

I looked back on the days when I prayed really hard.

Two examples came to light: 1) When I was in Taipei, I applied for a marketing job at DeBeers, and I prayed to God that I would get the job, and 2) When Trader and I broke up, I prayed to God to open Trader’s heart and make him realize that he loved me once again.

Both times, the Lord didn’t answer my prayers.

In fact, in my hurt and pain for not getting the marketing job at DeBeers and for finding out that Trader technically cheated on me and replaced me a month after we broke up, showing that he had planned the breakup all along, I asked myself if God really answered prayers.

Lord, why don’t you give me what I wanted?!” I would ask as I wept in my sleep (Note: This was when I was broken-hearted with Trader. “I prayed so hard.”

When the Lord still kept silent, I tried a different prayer, “Lord, what is it you want for me?! Let Your will be done!”

But please, show me what Your will is RIGHT NOW!” I would add to my prayer.  You see, I was very impatient in seeing what the Lord wanted for me. My heart so wanted to be healed, and at that time, it was broken.

Still no answer.

Over time, I healed my heart.

I wasn’t really killed over not getting the DeBeers gig. Anyway, I was still in good employ in a multinational company and wasn’t really in a hurry to leave.

As for Trader, well, I moved on. I traveled around Europe, healed my wounds, and decided to come back home to the Philippines, a decision I’ve chronicled extensively in this blogpost, “Why I Went Back to Manila After 10 Years Overseas.

I met someone online (See refresher in The Pros and Cons of Online Dating (And How I Met Someone There)), and two years later, I am writing to you today in happily wedded bliss.

I then realized that I was looking at prayers ALL WRONG.

Why do I say that?

I seem to think of God as my personal genie, as if God will grant my wish simply because I asked for them. The same way as we make wishes on our birthday, “Lord, grant me my wish, I beg you…”

make a wish

But looking back, I think it’s the wrong way of looking at God and prayer.

God is Almighty and is NOT our personal wishing well.

On the contrary, He does what He wants as He pleases.

The only promise we can hold onto is that, although we may not know where He would lead us, we DO KNOW FOR A FACT that He would not lead us to the wrong path (Again, my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayers however is for us to show Him our deepest desires. He wants to know. He delights in being dependent on. But it is really up to Him whether He wants to grant our prayers or not. And if so, it’ll be in His perfect time, and not in the time we demanded Him to give us.

That is why we don’t seem to feel that God answers our prayers. We feel that He ignores us. That He doesn’t care.

If you love us and care for us, why can’t you answer our prayers NOW?!” we would cry — not knowing fully well that if God answered our prayers the way we wanted Him to, His plan, which is way better than we could ever have dreamed, could not have come to fruition.

If I got the DeBeers job, I would not have been able to find an even more awesome job six months later. I would’ve crashed and stumbled and failed miserably mostly because I couldn’t speak Mandarin as fluently then as the job would’ve required.

If I stayed with Trader, I would’ve been utterly miserable. I would not have met my husband and his wonderful family.

No, the Lord brought me to places I never even thought existed.


The better way to look at prayer

Instead of looking at God as our personal genie, would it be more fair to actually quiet our heart’s desires and try to listen to what God is telling us?

Why do I say that?

Because it seems that we are so preoccupied in telling God our heart’s desires, that we seem to hold onto our own desires. Because what we want is so strong, we blind ourselves with the possibility that God may want us to follow a different path — His Path.

Looking back at our Christian staff, I discovered how easy it is for her to invoke God into her conversations.

Two months ago, she said, “I was really pushed by God to apply in your company. I feel that this is what He wants for me.”


I really feel that God wanted me to help your company, Bonita,” she would say. “After I came into your company, I found myself a sense of purpose. I am no longer depressed.”

At first glance, you cannot help but feel how Christianly she is! How close to God is she that she would talk to God daily, and the Lord would show His direction to her. And that, in a way, you were the answer to her prayers.

On our side, we were similarly happy to consider that maybe God is answering prayers through her. Anyway, how can you argue with God’s calling? If God truly wants her to apply in our company — and yes, we do have an opening then — maybe she is truly God’s answer to our prayers (since we were also praying for good people).

However, as I got to know her better, I felt that she was using God as a crutch to further her agenda.

In Matthew 6:5, the Bible warns us, “”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”


Her prayers got her inside the door.

But it should take more than prayers to keep her in the door.

It’s like when she prays for good sales every night, she tells me that she hopes that more people come to our store. That our business would blossom. That she can keep her job. That we can all grow together.

Prayers are good and fine, but I think she has to work on her listening skills.

Whereas she is good in bringing her concerns to God, she is not good in listening to what God is telling her, through us.

Melissa, I am telling you, your sales are low because on how you manage your people,” I told her a month ago. “If you find that they are not following the rules, you have to discipline them promptly.”

Yes yes yes, I will do it,” she would answer. And then proceed to hide her people’s faults away from management’s prying eyes.

Melissa, you have to make people realize that the low sales is a result of them not selling every hour, every day,” I would say. “Do not believe their excuses. Ultimately, they’re not selling because they are not giving their very best.”

But they told me they are giving me their very best,” she tries to explain. As if now, her people’s excuses are now her very own.

Finally, the nail in the coffin came when she told me this week, “Bonita, after analyzing my results the entire evening, I can tell you that I’ve had low sales this month and last month.”


It was then that I realized that Melissa doesn’t listen. She has no clue what I’ve been telling her every single day. She cannot comprehend what I’ve been telling her, and is merely holding on to what she believes, which is what she thinks is God’s purpose for her.

I pray for good sales every night. I cannot sleep,” she says. “I pray that God can tell me what to do so I can do my job better.”

That is when I realized that she was using prayers as a crutch.

As a weapon to keep her job.

To allay our sense of pity in letting her keep her job.

And instead of listening to what God is truly telling her — maybe, that this career path may not be so good for her, or that she has to listen to me, her boss and make drastic changes to herself and her management skills — she chooses to hold fervently to her own prayers.

This is a lesson for all of us — LISTEN TO GOD’s COUNSEL!

When we pray, we also have to listen to God’s counsel.

He talks to us you know. He talks to us through our friends, our colleagues, our parents, and everyone around us. He talks to us through circumstances. God has a way of leading us to the path He wants us to follow.

If it’s really God’s will for you, He will make the path smooth,” my mother in law once said. “If He makes it too hard, it may be that this is ultimately not His will, and you may have to follow another path.”

I found this to be true especially in my relationship with Hubby.

Our relationship is not perfect, in fact, we went through 16 pre-marital counseling sessions because our pastors saw us as a troubled pair! While most people get only 6, we got a whopping 16 sessions with three different sets of pastors and elders. 🙂

However, I realized that whenever our relationship hit a curb, the Lord always found a way to let us find each other again. When all things seemed hopeless, we somehow managed to find encouragement from those around us. And we never really managed to break up.

On our wedding night, Hubby and I cannot help but thank God’s grace in letting us find each other. There was so many ways our relationship could’ve imploded, and we wouldn’t had made it to the finished line!

It’s the same in Melissa’s case.

She has been praying fervently that she can do a good job. That we can let her keep her job.

And yet, she seems to be fighting against the tide.

For every encouragement we receive that she is not a hopeless case, there is another way that she seems to have lost her way. That she truly is indeed a hopeless case.

The path is not smooth. In fact, sales had suffered 30% under her tutelage.

You can bullshit how you perform your job, but nobody can argue figures. Her sales performance really sucks.

So I think that while I applaud Melissa’s religiosity, I do want to share her story with you so that you can be warned against following her example: Of praying without listening, of using “prayer” and “God” for your own personal agenda.

If it’s truly God’s will, He would’ve found a way to make her management style effective. Results will follow: Her people will follow her, and they will deliver.

Instead, it’s the other way around: Her people does NOT deliver. In fact, they deliver when they are new, and 3-4 days under her tutelage, they all become complacent and lazy, without any reprieve.

So is it God’s will or Melissa’s will?

I think it’s the latter.

You be the judge.

Stay dry and have a good weekend, everyone!

Posted in Business, Christian Life, Conflicts, Family, Filipino Men/Women, Husband, Life lessons, Marriage, Personal opinion, Philippines, Reflections, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“You’re Fired!”

The only thing I remember from Donald Trump’s Show The Apprentice is him telling aspiring candidates, “You’re fired!”

Trump You're Fired

He makes firing so easy.

As a business owner and a female boss, I don’t feel as comfortable firing people as Mr. Trump.

Whenever I am about to terminate someone’s employment, I remember that I am removing from them their livelihood. Maybe they live alone, or they have other mouths to feed. People depend on them and their income. And here I am, the big bad boss removing from them their source of income.

I also remember the good side of them. Of the days we used to kid around in the office. Of the days of friendship and camaraderie that comes in working closely side by side. “They are not bad people,” I think to myself. “Only ineffective managers.”

I also see that they are trying very hard to fit in the company. To be productive and to be of help. One of our supervisors for example do put in the hours and effort in her job. “This job removed my depression and gave me purpose,” she said. “I do not feel sad anymore going home to an empty house.”

I am very fortunate to have people who want to work for us. It’s not as easy to find good help. As I’ve written before, many people I meet were Juan Tamads.

That is why when you find decent help, you hope against hope that they can meet your expectations so you can keep them and pay them more. You want to increase their salaries so they will be happier to work for you and be an asset to your business.

My father-in-law tells me that he is looking for a few good qualities in order to keep an employee. They have to have the following qualities — TOMKK:

  • Tapat – Integrity, Loyalty and Honesty
  • Oras (Having The Hours for the Job) – You are available on the times we need you. The staff is willing to do overtime and work on holidays if necessary
  • Malasakit (Empathy for Work) – You understand the business owner. You know to increase your salary, the business has to grow, so you help the owner to grow the business so everyone can benefit
  • Kusang Loob (Initiative) – To have initiative for work. Nobody has a gun to your head and you give your work your all
  • Kakayahan (Competence) – The ability to perform the job description

Unfortunately, I have to fire someone next week.

She has integrity, the availability and the initiative, but not much the competence.

Under her tutelage, sales had dropped a whopping 30% in two months. That means, if our business earned a million before for example, we would not have only 700,000. Not even enough to pay for our overhead and rent.

The loss of business is directly caused by this person.

As a manager, you must know how to handle your area, your people and yourself. Good managers must know how to act when an issue arises. They must know what to say AND what not to say.

Unfortunately for this manager, she almost always says and does the wrong thing. Consequently, whenever she does something wrong, the staff under her reacts and sales drop.

I love my job, Bonita,” she said today as if feeling that her job was already in jeopardy. “I get purpose in coming to work for you everyday.”

I have to remain calm, empathetic and firm.

That’s okay Melissa, I know,” I said. “But in order to keep you, there has to be actual results and performance. And I can see that your sales has really dropped. Your people don’t listen to you.”

I know many of you are wondering why I haven’t booted out yet. If low sales is a result of her being the manager, why haven’t I canned her yet?

I think it’s because like many managers, I don’t like yanking the rugs off people’s feet. I am not as cold-hearted as people think. I also feel bad when I let people go.

But I have to do it.

If I don’t let her go, my business will suffer. Sales will continue to drop because she is what she is and you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

If I don’t let her go, staff morale will go down. People will not be able to understand how one person can be so ineffective and get away with it, while they have to pull in their fair share. For the organization to remain efficient, I must kick this manager out.

If I don’t let her go, things will start not working out. Bad influence has a way of catching on, and if I don’t stress the importance of performance and outcome in choosing my people, then the company becomes a charity or a political organization, operating without profit.

I have to let her go.

It’s not easy though.

But I have to do it.

So the next time you clap Trump for his audacity to simply fire people and say, “You’re fired,” think that most likely, this is an exception than the rule. It’s a show anyway, and Trump has to do this to keep people in watching his show.

But it’s not like that in real life.

Firing people — though necessary — is harder than it seems. It’s also not easy for the business owner.

But it has to be done.

So I’m sorry Melissa.

But I have to let you go.

Posted in Conflicts, Filipino Men/Women, Philippines, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disappointed with the Philippine Workforce

While I am lucky to have a few good men, I couldn’t help but observe how disappointing the Philippine workforce can be. There are just a lot of headaches that occur here that would probably not happen in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

It’s true what they say: Only in the Philippines. 😦

Honestly, I am still at a shock on how many things can happen here that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

Case in point, the day before yesterday, one of my sales people told my area supervisor that she is taking a few days break because she was traumatized of something she experienced on the way home from work.

Muntik na daw siyang na-rape,” my area supervisor said. (She said, she was almost raped.)

What happened?” I asked. Experience has shown me to keep my calm and never be surprised about these things anymore.

Apparently, on her way home, there was a car who stopped beside her, and a man came out. He then asked her to take a ride with her, and they hailed a taxi,” my area supervisor retold the story.

Okaaaayyy….” I said. This is going to be good.

While in the taxi, he was hugging and kissing her, telling the taxi driver that she was his wife and they were on his way home.”

Did she scream?” I asked.

No, she said she was too confused and scared with what happened to scream,” my area supervisor replied.

Did he have a gun or a knife?” 

Well, she said he had a weapon…” she answered.

I asked her to go on.

After they hailed the taxi, they drove for almost an hour and came to Libertad, which is consequently, very near her house,” my area supervisor said. “There, they met a friend of hers, who was just there. Seeking him to save her, they both rode in a jeepney, and the weird guy followed them all the while saying that she was his wife.” 

Okay…. this story was becoming weirder in a minute.

When she was near her house, she and the friend went down the jeepney leaving the weirdo behind,” my area supervisor finished her little tale.

“So do you believe her?” I asked my area supervisor.

Well, weirder things have happened,” my area supervisor replied.

Okay, so you believe that she would board a taxi with a stranger and not make a sound?” I asked. “If it was me, I would be screaming from hell to kingdom come!”

Maybe she is afraid?” she asked.

And what are the chances of all the places that while the dude has practically kidnapped you, he will let you get down of a taxi at a place close to your house, and whaaaallllllaaaaa, your friend is there, COINCIDENTALLY, waiting for you?” I asked.

Well, she said she was surprised to see him there too,”  my area supervisor shared. “But at least she was glad that she was saved from a guy raping her…”

I think her story is complete bullshit,” I said. “There are too many holes for it to be plausible. Everything you said is not the real story. Go and talk to her and get the real story out from her.”

Two days later, she comes back to me with the REAL STORY.

And boy, people here can lie.

Apparently, she met the dude in another mall she was working on. He was the owner of the cafeteria that was operating in that department store.

She has arranged for him to pick her up and take her home, most likely for some hanky panky.

They got in the taxi and she did not even fight him. Then when they alighted at Libertad, she saw her boyfriend waiting for her in the jeepney stand and they were caught red-handed.

The trauma she experienced was due to her boyfriend probably beating the shit out from her.

That is the real reason why she couldn’t be at work the next day.

So that is one of the problems with the Philippine workforce: THEY LIE.

And while everybody lies, you have to give Fiipinos the credit of having a very active imagination.

I mean who else can come up with this sort of shit?!


My second example came today.

I recently hired a supervisor for our business.

We followed his 30-day notice, waited for him, and just yesterday, oriented and trained him.

Today, when I got to work, I was expecting to see him there, all set and ready.

Instead, he wasn’t there.

I texted him where he was. And this was his reply:

Mam sorry po. Di po kinaya ng katawan ko ung pagod mam eh di po ako nagising ng umaga. Cnsya na po sobrang sakit ng katawan ko po mam. Wala po kasi akong day off sa sportshouse. Mam eh cnsya na mam. Baka po di ako makapasok mam. Sori po.

Mam sori po baka po di na po ako mamakakatuloy sa inyo kasi po absent po ako ngayon. Mam nahihiya po ako sa inyo mam eh. Sori.”

Rough translation as follows:

Mam, I am sorry. My body couldn’t take it and I overslept. Apologies because my body hurts. I didn’t have a day-off from my last company so I hope you understand. Maybe I won’t be able to come to work. Sorry.

Mam, sorry but I don’t think I can no longer join your company because I was absent today. Mam, I am so embarassed. Sorry.”

Upon reading his text message, I was mad. How the hell is being absent one day related to not continuing to go to work? He was just looking an easy ass excuse NOT to work in our company anymore, and he was using his inability to get up to work as the reason for backing out.


And fucking unprofessional.

I texted him: “Come to work tomorrow and don’t quit. You should be more ashamed if you quit. We are counting on you.”

He then texted me that he will come to work at 11:30am.

Okay mam, thank you. I am already on my way but apologies but I will be late. But I will come in. Thanks for your consideration, thanks.”

My husband and I were off to lunch, and I asked him to wait.

Go to my secretary and apologize for being late. Then ask her what you can do to help. If you are embarrassed, then just don’t do it again.”

I am at the waiting area,” he texted back. “Thanks for your consideration.”

When husband and I got there, he was gone.

Where is he?” I asked.

He said he was going down,” my guy said. “Don’t know where he went.”

We waited and waited and waited.

The whole day, he didn’t freaking show up.

The guy waited, sweated in his pants and didn’t want to face us, and decided to simply walk away.

That’s it. He didn’t even have the galls to show up and apologize to our face.

He’s acting like everyone else!” my husband said. “He is not acting like a manager! I can imagine if he was a lowly employee but this is a middle ranked person!”

I am as well surprised. Never have I really experienced it. For me, word of honor is very important. You turn up when you say you will, and you do what you say. Never have I experienced anyone who simply don’t show up.

I’ve noticed this in many of my people, They are people pleasers, and are afraid of conflict. If they do something wrong, they will say a gazillion lies to cover it up. Usually if they have something else to do, they will simply not show up and say that they are sick or they have a family emergency. Most of them lies. How many times have a sibling/father/mother/grandmother/grandfather died in my workforce? Why can’t they just tell the freaking truth?!

The funny thing is, since they know they are wrong, they are afraid to face the consequences.

They avoid the penalty if they can.

That’s why, they hide. Back out. Simply not show up.

They will risk everything — even their reputation and word of honor — so as to escape the consequences of their wrong actions.

This goes beyond everything I’ve learned.

When I was young, when you do something wrong, expect a sermon from dad. It’s scary and nerve-wracking, but expect dad to sermon you the whole night. He will not mince words and you get no reprive.

But when you do something wrong, the sermon is valid. There has to be a consequence. You don’t escape it. Instead, you face it head on.

That’s how you learn.

The manager I had chose to run away from the consequence.

As a result, he lost far more than our trust, and our respect.

He has no word of honor.

His reputation with us broken.

And while these have no consequence in the real world here in the Philippines — in fact, many people get away with many things here — it still has consequence in the long-run.

I value my reputation. I guard it very well.

And I guess, herein lies my advantage in doing business in the Philippines.

Because so long as I know that I am conducting myself and my business in a fair manner, I know I will get ahead. I know I will treat my people right, and incidence like these will not break me.

People with integrity and with word of honor will get ahead.

And I plan to protect my integrity, word of honor and reputation at all costs.

Posted in Conflicts, Filipino Men/Women, First Experiences, Husband, Personal opinion, Ramblings, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What would happen if I didn’t marry my husband

I was thinking about what my life would be if I did not marry my husband.


If I married my first boyfriend, it would’ve been a loveless marriage. 

It was a one-sided relationship which started wrongly — with Michan first being head over heels in love with me, then when I turned away, it was I with him. It was a seriously fucked up relationship dynamic with two people falling in love with each other, but not at the same time.

We were together long distance for 6 months, and were together for a year before breaking up on our first year anniversary.

If Michan and I married, I would’ve lived in Japan. Since Michan didn’t have a college degree, he would’ve worked as a cook or waiter or a massage therapist, the latter of which he ended up doing.

In Japan, there would’ve been a glass ceiling for educated women so I’ll probably just end up teaching English to Japanese kids, or working as a secretary in a big company somewhere. I would earn enough but I won’t be rich.That is, if I worked.

Another option was to be a housewife. To cook Michan’s food and to take care of his children. In Japan, it’s not likely that a woman is better than her husband. Michan’s pride wouldn’t had allowed it, and to save the marriage, I would’ve made sacrifices.

But hey, that’s the cost of being with Michan.

If I married Mark, it would’ve been another story.

Mark was a nice guy.

He had a stable job working as a Head of IT for a big global bank. He was paid very well, and lived well.

Mark was the first one who introduced me to the delights of fine dining and delicious wine. He taught me that money was supposed to be enjoyed, and one has to spend in order to make life worthwhile. I even remembered he offered to fly me to Hong Kong for the weekend just to have a nice dinner at the Mandarin Grill in Central.

It was a very nice relationship.

Whereas Michan and I were imbalanced, Mark and I were more like equals. We were both educated, with good stable jobs, and can talk for hours and hours. We spoke the same language, and it was at that time that I realized just how important it was to be with someone who shared the same culture as I did.

We never fought, and shared the same interests. We loved to socialize, spend time with friends, and became healthy by going rock-climbing. We would rock-climb three times a week.

If I married Mark, we would’ve been blissfully happy. It would’ve been a peaceful relationship, and I would’ve been content.

However, he was also 18 years older than me.

Stop looking at me like that! At the age of 24, it was fine to date a 42-year old man.

Anyway, he looked like he was merely in his early 30s (no kidding). People would ask him to bring out his ID because nobody believed he was already above 40.

Whereas we can date the pros and cons of dating an older man, I only saw the good. He was happy, stable and had his life in order, different from Michan’s lost life. For once, he talked to me like an adult.

We broke up after six blissful months. Don’t ask me why — I think he realized the folly of dating somebody younger than him, and he was more concerned about what others thought than what he believed.

In the end, it would’ve been good.

If we got married, he would now be in his 50s. Marriage would mean I would be a mom earlier when I am not really prepared for motherhood, and it would’ve mean that he would die earlier than me.

So while I’m still relatively young at 42, he would’ve been a senior citizen already.

It would mean that I would’ve taken care of him more when his health gave way. That would mean more visits to hospitals. Even at the age of 42, he already had a bit of arthritis and he wasn’t as sprung as he was in his youth.

Mark ended up marrying somebody else closer to his own age. They now live content and happy in Taiwan. 🙂

Personally, breaking up with him was honestly heart-breaking. It took us six months to get over each other, and a few more months for me to get over him.

But it did give me around 2 years of awesome freedom!

Party… party… party…!

My relationship with next dude was a short one, and was with a colleague.

Aiyo, that was a mistake.

I have nothing against office romances, but it sure was a bit difficult trying to keep this relationship under wraps.

It wasn’t entirely because I was ashamed of it, but rather because I was already getting ahead in my career and I didn’t want anything personal to tarnish my work. Like many women, I didn’t want to be identified because of my relationship. It would rather be best to keep personal and professional life separate.

He was part of our regional office, while I was in another country, and yet we connected well. I liked his fast confidence, smart wit and his wide-range of industry experience.

He was also quite senior in our company, although we had different bosses. You can say we were in different departments.

I just went out with him just for the hell of it. He was available and I was curious. Hey, sometimes, relationships don’t need a lot of explanations. You just give it a go and see where it goes.

Unfortunately, the relationship fizzled out.

Maybe it was the long-distance, or maybe it was because of the absurdity of it all?

But right before it fizzled out, I thought to myself, “My, this person — after looking through his immense confidence and abilities — is actually quite boring.” 

That’s the problem with people: Strip them of their achievements and you realize that they can be quite one-dimensional after all.

Boyfriend for the meantime, sure. But for a lifetime? Well, how else could it have last? I don’t think we could’ve tolerated each other for a week straight after the newness was gone.

He tried three times to get us back together, even coming to Manila to ask for another chance.

This is one relationship where “No” really means NO.

And I am so glad that I declined.

I think it would