Saturday, May 23, 2009

Local and Overseas Employment

Getting a good education will always be one of biggest investments one person must have to be able to secure a good future. Since good education is very expensive nowadays, majority of the youth have very limited access or opportunity to get this kind of education and would settle for just getting a degree to a college or university they can afford. Scholarships are available but a student should be very good in order to get a good one.

When a high school student is asked what does he or she wants to take up in college, the common answers will be either engineering, medicine, nursing, computer science/programming, business or management or hotel and restaurant management. If the student does not excel or does not pass the board exam, chances are he or she will either be unemployed or have to look for work abroad. There are available positions here in the country but the competition is very stiff and the pay is not that good. If you are planning to have your own family, rent a place and have savings, your salary as an ordinary employee in the Philippines will not be enough. Both husband and wife should work hard and have extra income to be able to afford the necessities to live here in the metropolis.

Since jobs here pay low and are difficult to get, graduates usually find work abroad. When you look at jobs available abroad, majority are for skilled workers. These are nurses, caregivers, welders, carpenters, butchers, etc. If you studied these courses, there are a lot of opportunities for you. But what if you are a graduate of management, computer courses, economics and hotel and restaurant management? These courses are seldom in demand abroad. Skilled workers salary abroad ranges from 40,000 - 150,000 pesos a month abroad as compared to local management jobs that ranges from 15,000 - 30,000 pesos only. Even local bank managers and fast food managers salaries are lower than skilled workers abroad earn in a month.

Filipinos have little or no choice at all when in comes to employment locally. Public school teachers that teach 50-70 students in a class would not even reach 30,000 pesos a month even if they teach until the age of 50. Locally employed nurses sometimes earn below 15,000 a month and are taxed heavily if they are single. Net take home pay ranges from 6,000 - 10,000 a month. Is that figure commensurate to the heavy work they do everyday? Definitely not.

Any other choice? Call centers and BPO. Many of our new graduates now are employed in this industry to earn a decent living. Call centers pay better because of night shift pay, overtime and hazard pay. A number of companies also provide meal allowances, clothing allowances and sales incentives. If a call center agent is good, plus has experience, promotion is also fast. Salaries ranges from 18,000 - 35,000 pesos a month which is much better than the average day job. What is the catch? Your health. A number of studies shows that working during night time causes a lot of diseases and sickness to a person. Low blood, stress and fatigue, low resistance to diseases are just a few causes of problems a call center worker will face in the future.

What can we do? Parents should guide their children on what careers will they pursue to be competitive in their chosen field. Children should also be trained to be young entrepreneurs so that they will be the ones providing jobs and not the ones looking for it. How about earning online? Is it worth teaching to kids? Will there be a saturation point? Education is always the key to a bright future, so we have to make sure that our kids will have the proper education for them to handle all the challenges they will face when they are adults themselves.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flu Vaccine

Last Saturday, my wife and i got a flu vaccine. My wife's workplace was informed of an affordable flu vaccination in UP Diliman so we checked its legitimacy and signed up to avail of the opportunity. We arrived at the venue an hour after the opening and were given numbers 44 and 45. The line was a bit long but it was also generally fast. We got our shots a little past 3 pm and i went back to work.

Vaccination is really big nowadays. When you have a new born child, chances are you will get a "baby-book" which you will use to compile your child's medical history. Every time you visit your pediatrician, the visit will be logged on the baby book plus comments written by the doctor. At the back of the baby book, is a table/list of vaccinations your child will have to undergo within a period of 2 years. If you are a first time parent and you've never heard of the disadvantages of vaccination, most especially to infants, then your objective is to complete all the vaccines required to prevent your child from getting sick. If you are more cautious and research first, then probably you won't be too much concerned on completing all the vaccines.

Vaccination has been with us since Louis Pasteur discovered the germ theory. A disease is introduced to a body externally and injected directly to a person's bloodstream. By definition, a vaccine is a preparation of viral or bacterial particles that will mimic the viruses or bacteria responsible for a disease. It is chemically prepared in a much reduced potency in order to (supposedly) be safe to inject in the body. The theory is that once present in the body, the vaccine will provide artificial immunity and not have the harmful effect of the disease itself.
According to pharmaceutical companies vaccination is:

* The main reason for the decline of infectious conditions
* The only effective method of eliminating dangerous infectious conditions
* Harmless when compared to the disease itself

Of course, not all vaccines are 100% effective. If you research more, you will get lots of information about vaccines being the cause of sickness, a new virus strain has developed to counter the vaccine, or vaccines being the cause of infant deaths. How come governments are pushing for vaccination as a major project of the health department? Is it really for disease prevention or are they just being pressured by pharmaceutical companies worldwide?

For me, the reason we got the flu shot is prevention. My wife told me it is better to have a first line of defense instead of being sick, drinking medications or worse being hospitalized. We did not include my son to the vaccine because he is too young to get the shot as advised by the doctors. Frankly, it is also a peace of mind. With so many diseases out there plus the stress and pressure of everyday work, i really can not afford to get sick.

What about you? When did you last had a vaccine? For females, have you considered the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer? I heard the price is really high and you have to get 3 shots for that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Planning for a Low Budget Wedding

My wife is trying a new business nowadays. She is organizing 2 weddings, one this year and the other one next year. She has long wanted to try event organizing as a sideline but because her work takes majority of her time, sometimes even on weekdays, her plans were always put on the side. Just last month, she had her break when a close friend asked her help to organize their wedding next year. She did not even blinked, she just talked to her friend, got the details, explained her limitations and accepted the job for a minimal fee. After a week or two, another office mate asked for her help too. It was just a simple church wedding, with a limited budget, and she is also close with the bride to be, so she accepted the job.

Now the challenge is to make a memorable and beautiful wedding for a limited budget. How limited? I think the total budget is 100k. Is it possible? We are working on it.

The key in maximizing your budget is limiting your guests. We are saying this because we actually did it with our own wedding. We had less than 100 guests. We got lots of support from our siblings, parents and godparents to make it a reality. Our wedding was a very memorable one and in spite of a few blunders and boo-boos, we enjoyed every minute of it. We just keep on saying that the wedding is for the two of us and not to please our guests. We had our debates with our parents but in the end they realized that what is important is for us to be happy on our wedding day. We even had a great honeymoon! Limited budget too, but also very memorable.

One detail that is difficult to hurdle is getting a good photo and video that does not charge much. Rates nowadays are usually 40k-80k up for good ones. Capturing one of the most important event in your life is so essential that you would not want to get the services of amateurs.

We have six months before the first wedding and 3 months after for the next. Hopefully we can pull it off decently so my wife will have a career by her side. We accept suggestions and recommendations too. Thanks in advance!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Hate Political Advertisements

This early when we watch tv or listen to the radio, we would expect political advertisements from personalities who are planning to run for a government position next year. When i see them, i instantly switch channels or turn the tv off. After watching them once and trying to decipher their platforms from their political ads, i am now sure who not to vote next year.

I apologize if this is blunt but i really hate politicians who portray their images on tv as if they are poor or they are the answer to poverty. These commercials really prove that these politicians think majority Filipinos are stupid and would easily be convinced by their antics. Here are a few examples:

1. A politician who talks to poor kids on a bicycle sidecar and decides to help the kid by asking him to go down so he'll be the one to drive the pedicab.

2. A politician who keeps on saying he gave money to abused OFWs so they could go home.

3. A politician who keeps on claiming he is responsible for Makati City's development. Is it obvious that the businesses in Makati was initiated by influencial families and business tycoons who never ran for public office? Is the politician unaware of numerous squatter problems overshadowed by the tall buildings situated in the city?

4. A classic politician who gets photographers to take pictures when he eats using his hands beside the poor and elderly.

5. An incumbent politician showing increase in percentages or numbers claiming the economy is doing better.

6. How about a politician showing his advertisements during the Pacquiao-Hatton boxing fight?

It is sad that the Philippines is still in the Dark Age of politics. We are known as one of the top countries who practice corruption regularly. When can we expect a genuine change? Will the automation of the elections next year help?

As for me, i still don't know who to vote next year. I am hoping for a young politician but i heard the person is still too young. How about Pacquiao? Nahhh, i don't think so. I agree with a lot of sportswriters and analysts. He genuinely cares for the poor but the politicians around him just care for the money. He will just be lured to a lot of temptations until he realizes that he is in too deep to go back. I wish i could have been born earlier to experience the administration of the late Magsaysay, i heard he was great and one of the best the country had as a president.

How about the cost of this political advertisements? Just for a 30-second ad shown on primetime tv costs roughly 2 million. How can these politicians recover their investment? Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Best Gift for a Mother

Tomorrow will be Mother's Day, one of the important celebrations we have every year. This day, we honor mothers, whether our mom, grandmom, aunt, sister, cousin, best friend or any mom we know. Being a mom is probably one of the hardest jobs a woman will experience, and it becomes more difficult if you are a working mom or a single parent. I should know, my mom was working alone to give me and my sister a bright future.

Sometimes i feel guilty when i don't spend enough time with my mom. I have my own family now and alot my time to be with my wife and son during weekends and holidays. Weekends is not enough because these are the only days when i also have to rest. We regularly visit my mom and my sister during weekends after going to church and have lunch at their house. I wish i have more time so i could bring along my mom when we go to the malls or go out of town.

I am still thinking of what to give to my mom tomorrow but i don't want to give material things. I want to give her something that she will remember for a long time and will always think that eventhough i don't say it often, i really love her very much. My mom is always there for us, me and my sister, and eventhough we fell short of her expectations (she wanted my sister to be a successful entrepreneur and she wanted me to be an engineer) she still helps us in any way she can. Helping us, she feels is not enough so she always prays hard for us. She is really a very lovable person and I thank God for giving her as our mother.

So, what do you think will be the best gift for her? Any suggestions?

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Got Featured in Manila Times

I spent the long weekend at home and had quality time with my family. It was really fun playing with my son and I miss him everyday when i go to work. Sometimes i wish i could go home early so that i could spend more time with him. Anyway, i got lucky this weekend and i was featured in a small space in Manila Times Newspaper. Haribon Foundation regularly send member profiles to them and this time, i was picked by the organization. The questions were a bit hard but i tried my best to give good answers.

The title was "Non Expiry Mission" and was written by Florench May Corpuz. Here is a part of the article:

Membership expires but one’s calling never does.

Being part of an environment advocacy group doesn’t limit one from caring for one’s environment. This was exemplified by Lemuel Lancer Ponce, a former Haribon Foundation staff who continued his mission as steward of nature by handling projects and providing environmental awareness through blogging.

Ponce, a graduate of the University of the Philippines was a member from 2003 to 2005. Though he was no longer a Haribon staff, he worked with different non-government organization and handled environment-related projects.

“My education in Haribon helped me conceptualize a proposal, submitted to a private company and was approved with funding. After more than a year, the project is still ongoing and has benefited a lot of members in the community,” said Ponce.

Ponce, who believes that education is the solution to environmental problems, regulary updates his blogsite ( with environment conservation topics that have already earned him loyal readers both local and international.

“During these times where information is shared through different medium, we should take advantage of the situation. Internet being the most affordable is Haribon’s best chance. Once information is disseminated then we should start thinking of how to convert knowledge into action,” he said.

If you want to read the full article, please visit this link.