Thursday, January 29, 2009

Victim of Ruthless Makati Police Safety Assistance (MAPSA)

As always, i have heard numerous complaints about Makati Police Safety Assistance (MAPSA), a group under Makati City Government who is in charge of the traffic situation in Makati City. As a sales person, I usually visit Makati since majority of our existing and new clients' offices are located to this busy city.

MAPSA from what i have heard never accepts bribes from motorists who are guilty of traffic violations. They confiscate driver's licenses and tells motorists to claim them a day or two after the incident at their office in Makati City Hall. Motorists are then asked to pay expensive fees to claim their license. Take note, the lowest fee is P 500, for minor violations such as ignoring no right/left turns and the like. I personally witnessed a motorcycle driver fined P 2700 for lack of side mirrors on his bike, which is probably much more expensive than buying a new pair of side mirrors.

Just recently, I parked my car at the back of an abandoned building in between parking slots which are both occupied. I looked for a parking attendant, who usually walks around and waits for motorists to park and issue tickets. After a couple of minutes, no attendant in sight, I decided to go inside a client's office adjacent to the parking space and pick up something. I was inside the building for about ten minutes and upon returning to my car, i was horrified to see it was gone. I asked bystanders and a security guard near the site what happened and they told me that my car was towed. I asked for directions where my car was brought to and they all told me to go to Yakal street near the city's fire station.

I immediately proceeded to the impounding area and located my car in 5 minutes upon arrival to the site. I asked the officer in charge what was the reason why they towed my car without even a warning or not even waited for 30 minutes or just issue a parking violation warning. They told me that i parked at a no parking area. I asked how come, since there were no "no parking" signs, no parking attendant who usually issue parking tickets and i didn't even parked at the building's driveway (which is by the way abandoned as I mentioned earlier). And i just left for 10 minutes, which is i think was too fast for a towing truck to spot my car, lift it and tow to the impounding area.

In short, nobody at their office offered an explanation, their towing truck just left, a lot of motorists with their cars impounded are looking and asking for explanations and people at their office just collected payments and know nothing of what happened to our vehicles. We were just left to face a rude male cashier who demanded payment of P 1000 for each motorist, for them to release our cars. He informed us that if we can not pay, just leave our vehicles there and come back if we have the money.

This is plain robbery by MAPSA and motorists are forced to pay instead of leaving their vehicles overnight and face the possibility that their cars will be sent to another impounding area or worse, damaged or be a victim or carnapping. Their staff were just too rude, never offered any explanation and were not even wearing uniforms or IDs (i guess, so they will not be associated to the Makati City government).

I wrote this blog to warn other motorists who frequent Makati area. Beware of MAPSA people pretending to assist motorists. One wrong move and you will definitely pay fees that favor the city's politicians. Also, this warning also goes for motorists who frequent pasig/ortigas/shaw boulevard area, their tow trucks will be there in less than 5 minutes if your vehicle ever touches the MMDA pink line. No warnings, no ifs and buts, no explanations, just follow them to their impounding area and pay at least P 3000 to claim your vehicle.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Banchetto at Ortigas Center

For the past 3 weeks my wife and I have been to Banchetto at Emerald Avenue in Ortigas, Pasig City to observe a business opportunity. The place was introduced to me by my sister who has 2 outlets for more than six months already. Banchetto actually means feast and this place is participated by more than 50 food concessionaires who cater to call center employees at the Ortigas area.

If you are wondering why some of you have not heard of this before (if you have a regular 9-5 job) its because this "feast" actually starts at 12 midnight Friday and ends 12 noon Saturday. A portion of Emerald Avenue is closed to traffic to give way to maybe a hundred tents for food stalls and a dining area. What makes it click and unique? Majority of the clients' orders are cooked right in front of them. You can just imagine about 15-20 grillers cooking barbeque, porkchop, liempo, stuffed squid, burger patties and anything you would like to be grilled all at the same time. You can also find a number of shawarma outlets, rice in a box, mongolian rice meal bowls, tempura, sushi and of course several pasta dishes. Looking for desserts? Crepes, cakes, brownies, cakes and even native desserts are also available.

The atmosphere is in itself a feast. From 12 midnight to 5 am, call center employees troop down from their offices and eat their favorite dishes. Some stay and chat with their friends while some just order take-out. Food concessionaires are mostly satisfied since sales for a day (or night in their case) are good because of the client population.

Hopefully my wife and I can save up for a capital and join this business opportunity. We just need to be patient, resourceful and of course hard work because we need to be there instead of just resting at home after a week's hard work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leon's First Treeplanting Experience

Our son's first tree planting experience was last January 17, Saturday at Caliraya, Laguna. My wife and I are very proud of this achievement because he has already contributed a lot for the environment at a very young age. He participated last year at Haribon Foundation's Million Hectare Walk to help raise funds for the organization's reforestation projects and this year he also participated in planting more than 100 trees at the project site. He joined my wife's officemates and his two cousins in planting native trees to a site near the Caliraya Lake.

Although he was not able to plant tree seedlings himself, he was there to help dig the soil, remove the seedling bag from the plant, put back the soil and water the plant after. It was quite an experience because their group was assigned to plant more than 100 seedlings that were donated last December 2008.

Haribon Foundation has lined up a lot of activities for this year and I am sure this will not be the last time my son will join. I am eagerly waiting for him to grow up a little more for him to appreciate birdwatching activities starting October to February the following year. Art workshops, exhibits and even kite flying activities are also lined up so I guess it will be a good year for him to be exposed to these experiences.

Leon is just turning 2 this March and he has already contributed to conserve our environment and offset our carbon footprint. He is also a regular Haribon Foundation member since his birthday. Hopefully bloggers will also do their part either in joining the activities or just through donations. Bloggers can also help us spread the information by writing on their sites and asking their friends to support environment conservation efforts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Freedom of Speech for High School Students

This phrase has been written, used, read and heard more than a million times when it comes to sharing a person's opinion about something he or she agrees or disagrees with. This phrase is also oftentimes used by people from the press to stretch their rights to speak freely even up to the point of damaging other people's reputation and character. When can we actually say that our freedom to speak is still tolerable or do we use this reason to abuse others?

Yesterday, a friend from my high school days wrote an email to our yahoogroups asking if anyone has a copy of a blog posted by high school students from my alma mater which caused their suspension from attending classes. I immediately googled the issue hoping to find the student's blogs. After less than five minutes, i was reading one of the blogs written against the school principal and her management styles. I also found out that this issue was aired in a news segment from a leading tv station and also written in a leading national newspaper.

To summarize the issue, a number of students had decided to write blogs about their sentiments on how their school was being managed by a principal they think is not qualified to lead their school. Since most of the students are young and very idealistic, they used strong words against their principal which is damaging to her character and credentials. Upon discovery of these blogs, the principal decided to cut internet connection at their school, suspended the students for 10 days and even banned the publication of two of their school's paper. Her reason for her actions were the blogs were so damaging to her reputation and even the reputation of the whole school was also affected once read by anyone who has internet access.

Since the issue was already known to a lot of tv and news reporters, the case was reviewed by the country's Department of Education officials. As of this moment, the parents of the suspended students also made an appeal regarding the suspension which they think was too harsh for the children.

So, is this situation a classic example of a person's right of freedom to speak being supressed or is it a case of abuse of this right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Looking forward this 2009

It has been quite a while since i posted a blog, i have been busy with the office and our business since january 5. I regularly check this site and log in at blogcatalog and mybloglog to build my network but this will be my first post for this year.

Our office is busy with our clients lately, catching up for the long vacation last weekend and getting new clients to start the year right. We are also in the process of making our own brand so every detail should always be checked and evaluated. My wife and i also added a few products to our food store in mendiola, manila to increase our revenue. We also talked to a few friends, purchased and borrowed equipment for the store.

Leon, our son is growing up fast and will turn 2 this March. You could just imagine our situation at home where he always make it a point to enjoy all his toys and books, play with our cats and try to enjoy eating while playing. Our room is his playground everyday, playing with his 3 girl cousins and his yaya. His favorite toys are balls, balloons and toy cars. He is also learning to speak a few words which is very nice to hear when we go home after a hard day's work.

We have a lot of plans for this year but our priority is to expand our business and to look for a new home. Another priority is to focus more on blogging to learn more and eventually earn from it. We know that this year will be very busy for us since we are trying to balance work, business, family time but we also need to focus on our health. We plan to schedule regular exercises like jogging, walking and running and hopefully play more badminton this year. Hopefully this year will be better for us and Leon will grow up well and always be healthy all year round.