Monday, July 23, 2018

Kings Road

I am currently playing Kings Road. First character is a Knight, followed by a Wizard and finally an Archer. My Knight and Wizard is already level 60 and my Archer is level 53. I am currently playing my Knight to get better equipment and trinkets so I can challenge other players in the PVP arena. I will be posting more information about this game soon.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Driver's License Renewal


Last Wednesday, I decided to renew my driver's license since it will expire on my birthday next week. I figured I renew early to avoid the penalty I paid two years ago when I renewed late and to prepare for a penalty charge which I think will be traced to my MMDA apprehension last June 2009. I decided to proceed to the renewal center at Farmer's Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City which was nearest to my office and my residence. Upon getting the renewal form, I was instructed to proceed to the medical laboratory next door and have my medical and drug test. The following are the fees:

Medical Test - Php 100.00 (Blood pressure, Eye check up, weight, height, etc.)
Drug Test - Php 300.00 (Urine test)
Total Laboratory Fees: Php 400.00

Medical test was finished in about 15-20 minutes and I immediately got the result to proceed to my license renewal. Upon submitting the form, I was informed that there was a notice from MMDA that I am supposed to settle before my license renewal. It was already past three in the afternoon so I was advised to go to MMDA the next day.

The following day, after punching in at the office, I proceeded to the MMDA head office in Makati to settle the penalty. I arrived a little past ten and I got 220 as my number. The cut-off was number 350 and judging by the line outside the office, I think they will reach 350 by 1 pm. I filled out the clearance form and paid Php 30.00 for the clearance fee. After an hour and 30 minutes, finally my name was called. I was informed to pay the fee (Php 150.00 - my apprehension charge) and I was not charged any other fees. Frankly, I was expecting penalty fees to reach Php 500 but to my relief, there was no additional fees. After paying the fee (was in line for 20 minutes), I was told to wait again for my clearance certificate. It came out after another 15 minutes (which was already past lunch time) and I decided to proceed to the license renewal LTO office to submit the clearance form. Upon reaching the renewal office, the LTO staff, just took a 5-minute look at my MMDA clearance and proceeded with the renewal.

I was told to pay the renewal fee of Php 417.00 and wait for my new license. In ten minutes, I got my new license and went back to my office. Here are the fees I paid to renew my license:

Medical Test - 100.00
Drug Test - 300.00
Renewal Fee - 417.00
Total - Php 817.00

Time consumed:
Medical and Drug Test : 20-30 minutes (depends on the number of clients)
License Renewal: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Unfortunate MMDA license clearance: 2 hours
Lessons learned: If apprehended by MMDA, ask a ticket and immediately pay penalty fees at Metrobank within 7 days to avoid spending precious time at the MMDA office to get a license clearance.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Archbishop Oscar Cruz Calls PNoy Incompetent


Archbishop Oscar Cruz grabbed the limelight again with an announcement that 2 groups are working to replace President Noynoy Aquino because of incompetence. The bishop is well known to be an advocate of anti-jueteng operations of government officials but this time, he centered his advocacy on warning the current president that groups are eying to replace him.

To put this into perspective, this is an alarming situation. After 7 months of presidency, people are already calling PNoy as an incompetent president. How is this possible? What are their grounds? Here are a few which was stated at http://ph.news.yahoo.com:

1. Deterioration of peace and order in the country (gauged by the recent killings and car napping incidents and bus bombing)
2. The stalling of the Truth Commission which was supposedly made to go after corrupt official specially during the last administration.
3. Questioning of the 21 Billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) - giving subsidies or allowances to poor people who can not afford to eat at least 3 times a day

Are these issues enough to say that the president is incompetent? How about news of his purchase of a second hand Porsche car and his use of his brother in law's Lexus SUV? Or his failed dates and romance with single women?

Truly, 7 or 8 months is too early to say that a person, much more a president is incompetent. What must a president do within a year to prove that he is competent? Is it fair to him to be judged this early even after the huge mess left to him by his predecessor?

Archbishop Cruz warning must be taken seriously by the president because it is the first sign that his people are beginning to get bored and impatient. Filipinos want instant results no matter how things are done and they are the ones to criticize first if a project or job is poorly executed because of haste. Can we be more patient for a change? Can we just support our leader and do what we must in our own lives?

The bishop has clearly gone overboard this time. What happened to the church teachings that people should not judge others in order not to be judged themselves? Or the separation of the church and state (government)? Or just the simple phrase of "Patience is a Virtue".

President Noynoy needs all the help he can get and not statements made too early evaluating his presidency. How about asking Bishop Cruz regarding the church projects to help the poor and educate them to control themselves to practice abstinence to help prevent the increase of population?

What happened to the church's "Pondo ng Pinoy"? How many families benefited from this project? Does the church have scholarship programs to give poor people a chance to study at prestigious catholic schools? How many children have benefited if there is a scholarship project? Does the church have health programs for the poor to help them receive proper health care to hospitals other than government-owned institutions? How about shelter? Does the church help in building basic houses to help improve poor communities? Does the church control Gawad Kalinga? How many families benefited from this project? Do local parishes provide jobs to unemployed individuals? Do they give government mandated minimum wages?

Archbishop Cruz, can we just ask you to help? Or maybe focus on your drive to eradicate jueteng in our country. Were you able to name the bigwigs of the jueteng industry? Have you already collected hard evidences to eventually send them to jail? How many politicians did you identify to be jueteng lords and sent to jail?

You are a Filipino Archbishop and we also expect you to be a good leader, much more a competent one.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Discounted Gasoline Stations


Just as everybody is busy at work and school, motorists were again slapped a Php 0.75 increase per liter by gasoline companies this week. No announcement were made on TV and radio before the increase and people had no choice but to go with the flow. I just wonder, what is the reason for another increase? Due to the cold weather? No enough supply from the world market? Peso depreciation against the dollar?

The Big 3 oil companies has been dictating the oil prices in the Philippines for decades already. The government, especially the Department of Energy has no control over these 3 big oil companies. How come Shell, Caltex and Petron have the same price increase values? How come other oil companies such as Total, Seaoil, Jetti, etc. can charge less? I know it is a strategy for consumers to buy gas from them compared to the Big 3 but in the end its the consumers who suffer the regular price increases. When will we be liberated from the oligarchy of these Big 3?

The next best thing is for us to know where to buy gas that are cheaper compared to other locations. My work often requires me to go on fieldwork around Metro Manila so I know a few areas where to buy gas that is cheaper compared to other areas. Here are my tips:

1. Total gas station at EDSA Boni after Shaw Boulevard before Boni (Southbound). They are usually 0.75-1.00 cheaper than most gasoline stations in EDSA.
2. Total gas station Ortigas Avenue right after Santolan road if you are coming from Gilmore, QC or San Juan.
3. Seaoil gas station EDSA after Quezon Avenue (southbound) if you are coming from SM North EDSA.
4. Shell gas station EDSA (southbound) after Seaoil gas station mentioned above. They charge 0.25-0.50 cheaper than other Shell gas stations.
5. Shell gas station N. Domingo Avenue in San Juan after turning right from Broadway.
6. Caltex gas station Aurora Boulevard near J. Ruiz LRT station in San Juan. It is after Broadway Avenue if you are coming from Cubao, QC going towards San Juan and Manila.
7. Jetti gas station after Ayala Bridge in Manila if you are coming from Taft Avenue going towards Mendiola.
8. Jetti gas station at Macapagal Avenue after Petron in Blue Wave going towards Coastal Road coming from World Trade Center.

It is time for us to support the use of renewable energy sources so these oil companies will not dictate the prices they want. All you hear from them is they have to recover their losses from not increasing gas prices after the price of world crude went up months ago. They always advertise that they are pro-people because they "do not adjust" gas prices unless it is really necessary. Have you seen how extravagant their offices in Makati and how high the salaries they give to their executives? I have been inside a refinery of a oil company in Bataan and it is so impressive that you feel like you are not inside the Philippines.

Time for us to develop ways to use wind and solar energy at home and at the office. The less we demand electricity, the less we consume fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Support non-government projects for renewable energy and help in environment conservation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why is it Cold in Metro Manila?


Recently Metro Manila has been experiencing unusual cold weather even during the afternoons. My friend and I were on fieldwork earlier at The Fort Global City Taguig and the wind was generally strong blowing a cold breeze to everyone. It was a nice experience for me because I love cold weather (not too cold though) just like in Baguio, Tagaytay, Caliraya and other elevated areas. Not all people want this kind of weather and my wife has been constantly saying its too cold during nights and early mornings.

I love cold weather because I would rather have this kind than experience scorching heat during summer. My work is in sales and I go out of the office almost everyday and even if I ride an air conditioned vehicle, most of the time, the heat is too much that it becomes unbearable and makes you sick. People get tired easily and most of us gets dehydrated. But during cold weather, we can wear protection like sweaters, jackets and hats which most of the time looks good on us.

The reason why we still experience cold weather is because of the combined effect of Northeast Monsoon (AMIHAN) and Tail-end of a cold front over the whole country (http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/). Temperature ranges from 22 -28 degrees Celsius which is generally low compared to summer months.

Hopefully we still experience cool weather before summer starts and we don't experience extremely hot weather during summer just like last year. Hopefully we get a couple of rains once in a while to help fill Angat Dam so we won't have water shortage during summer. So I advise people who complain about the cold weather is to enjoy it while it lasts because summer heat is just around the corner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

President Noynoy Buys a Porsche

PNoy recently bought a 2007 model Porsche which made headlines and got several reactions from critics and supporters. Here are the facts of the story:

1. The Porsche is "third-hand" vehicle worth 4.5 million Pesos
2. The model may be a Cayman or a Carrera, basing on the news photos
3. He sold his other vehicle a BMW to buy this Porsche.
4. He used his own funds.
5. He is a bachelor and a car enthusiast.

People are saying that the timing is "off" because of the announced fare hike at MRT and LRT. There are also surveys done saying people are "poorer" today compared to the previous years. Gasoline and diesel prices have increased more than 3 times already since December 2010. Floods and other natural disasters continue to damage lives in the Bicol Region.

For me, I do not see anything wrong with PNoy's Porsche purchase. There will never be a good timing because the Philippines, a third world country will always be a face of poverty. No matter how a good a President or a leader is, 6 years of governance is not enough to turn the tables around. Too much damage was done by the past presidents and we need at least 15-20 years to recover and be compared to developing countries. The proposed MRT and LRT hike should have been implemented months ago to recover government losses. Gasoline and diesel prices will continue to rise as long as the market is controlled by "The Big 3". How come lesser known gasoline stations afford to sell gas 50 centavos to 1 peso cheaper than The Big 3? It is so obvious that Shell, Caltex and Petron can lower their prices but refuse to do so.

Is Php 4.5 million an extravagant purchase? To an ordinary Filipino, yes. To a rich family or individual, no. Picture this: a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser costs around Php 4.5M, a 2010 Nissan Patrol costs Php 2.6M, a 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero costs Php 2.8M, a second hand 2010 Mercedes Benz E Class costs Php 4.5M, a second hand 2010 BMW 5 series costs Php 2.1M and a second hand Porsche 911 GT3 costs Php 6.8M. I see these types of vehicle everyday (except the Porsche GT3) at EDSA and it seems Filipinos can afford to buy these luxury vehicles. Rich Filipinos are outnumbered by poor ones but to them, it is not their fault that they were born rich or they worked hard to be rich.


President Noynoy was born rich. All his siblings are rich even without entering politics. His youngest showbiz sister earns 3-5 million a month just for shows excluding endorsements. People say that he should be sensitive and should avoid extravagant purchases. Can we give the guy a break? It may be his Christmas gift to himself, or a reward after working hard since being elected. Do we not allow ourselves to at least reward ourselves after a year of hard work? How about people buying IPhones, IPads, PS3, Xbox, Flatscreen TVs, DigitalSLR, Laptops, Louis Vuitton bags and Tag Heuer watches? Aren't they extravagant too in a smaller scale? Actually, PNoy's Porsche is just peanuts compared to his counterparts. His predecessor spent a million pesos for a dinner abroad.

Let us try to be open minded once in a while and understand people's ways which are different from ours. We sometimes say we belong to the masses and we sympathize with them but we do not even lift a single finger to help. We just criticize and see the negative side of things. Focus on what are the important issues and try to help. Count our blessings and be happy for other people's blessings.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Facebook's CityVille


Facebook has launched another successful social networking game which made Facebook members look forward in playing the game every time they log in. Reports have stated that CityVille has overtaken Farmville as the most number of active monthly users at 84.2 million compared to Farmville's 83.8 million. CityVille's daily active user audience is currently at 14.8 million, more than the most popular full-pledged online game, World of Warcraft, which has "just" 12 million monthly subscribers (http://news.softpedia.com).

Here are a few reasons why CityVille has already beaten the current records:
1.
CityVille was Zynga's (game creator and developer) first multilingual release, having versions in English, but also in German, Italian, Spanish, and French, thus allowing more people an easier access to it (http://news.softpedia.com). Imagine if they have it in Chinese....
2. Zynga used all of its other Facebook games, from FarmVille to FrontierVille, Mafia Wars or Zynga Poker to advertise the release of CityVille, thus appealing to those that were already interested in gaming on Facebook (http://news.softpedia.com).
3. CityVille has similarities with Sim City game which, I think has already 6 versions excluding The Sims games. Its first release was in 1989 and last was in 2007.
4. CityVille is free. No need to buy the software or download more applications. Facebook, being the number 1 social networking site with the most number of members is a great platform for CityVille's popularity.
5. CityVille concept generates the users creativity. It allows a player to control a city, beginning from a simple community to a very successful metropolis. Almost every human being has dreams of owning a good business, build a nice home, manage a small farm and be a leader or politician who can control a city and earn on the side. There is no violence in this game and people love to earn by just using their laptops or desktop pc's.

I already tried the game and I am sure, if my internet connection is good, I'll be addicted playing the game. Hopefully I won't. It is another way of wasting one's time at home or at the office. Social networking sites are good tools to communicate with long lost friends or relatives but it is also the reason why we lack time with our own love ones who live with us at home. Instead of having quality time playing with kids and teaching them homework, people spend an average of 2-4 hours a day to play internet games.

Playing online is not bad but it must always be in moderation. Hopefully we will learn that sometimes technology helps us and sometimes it does not. Just keep everything in moderation and try to balance time at home, work and leisure. Have fun playing but remember to do your responsibilities at the office and at home first before playing CityVille.