Thursday, July 30, 2009

Condominiums for Sale

Condominiums are really selling big nowadays. If you go to malls during weekdays or weekends, chances are, you will see sales agents giving flyers of the condo units they are selling, complete with a miniature model displayed in a small booth. Trade fairs and events are favorite venues for agents selling condos and if you are looking for one, chances are you'll have lots of choices by now.

SM and Robinson's have joined the bandwagon of selling high rise condominiums recently. Robinson's has a high end condo under construction in the middle of Ortigas area and SM just finished 3 towers along Aurora Boulevard near SM Sta. Mesa. At the same time, Megaworld Corporation is almost done with its own 3 condominium towers in Cubao, Quezon City. Ayala, through Avida Land is constructing Avida condominiums in different locations in Quezon City, Makati and Manila. These are the well known companies known to be involved in different types of businesses. How about companies who are the realty business since day one? They too, are putting up condominiums around the metro and offering competitive rates against the big companies i mentioned.

Are condominiums really in demand nowadays? Can the average Filipino who works from Mondays to Fridays afford to buy one? Last time i checked, the cheapest units being sold ranges from 9,000 - 11,000 a month. This does not include the initial downpayment, taxes, other fees and parking rates. These units are so small, about 30-36 sq. meters, has 1 bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen, dining and living room all located in one area. It is made for single people, but if one decides to have a family of his own, a bigger place is a must. Maybe OFWs are the ones purchasing condos which is why the demand is high. I was told by an agent before that companies would not start construction if the units would not be sold out. So I guess, the demand is really high.

How about you, do you live in a condo? Are you planning to buy one? Is it a good investment?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Support for a Charity

There are a lot of institutions here in the country that are founded and organized to help people who are in need. A number of them are international non-government organizations that decided to set up locally to widen their reach and help more. Everyone is familiar with organizations like Unicef, Red Cross, Caritas, Greenpeace, etc., and that in one way or another had supported them through activities announced by the local media.

ABS-CBN and GMA 7, the two biggest TV networks in the Philippines has their own charitable institutions they support. A big factor of their success may be attributed to their wide reach through media and easy access for donations, cash or in kind. Most of the time, during typhoons and other natural calamities, these 2 networks have been very active in supporting local governments by asking donations through TV, radio and print and effectively sending donations to affected areas. Projects are not limited to natural calamities but also to people who need medical support but could not afford to pay bills in the hospital. Even students who need education support are beneficiaries of projects and donations from these two networks.

Personally, I believe, each and everyone should have a charity to support to share blessings given to us everyday. Most of us are lucky that we graduated from decent schools and have a regular income from work or personal businesses. Giving to church is good but I believe each person has a unique gift that we can share to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Sometimes, we think monetary donations are the only things we can give but we can also support them in many other ways. It is just finding the right charity or organization that you believe in and decide to support. Giving and sharing should not be done only during the holiday season but all year round. A list of certified non-government institutions may be found in PCNC's website (Philippine Council for NGO Certification). These organizations have been operating for a number of years and have been certified. It is PCNC's job to certify organizations basing on their performance and structure to help people identify legit NGOs as against fly-by-night groups who are just in it for the money. Most of the listed organizations, even certified are unknown and would really need help not just funding, but also for more exposure.

For you, what cause or organization would you support?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do You Love Pets?

Recently, through Facebook, i got to talk to a close friend who was out of touch for a couple of years. It was nice to renew our communication since he was a friend back in college years. He was also the one who introduced me to hiking and mountaineering and his interests in pets, particularly dogs, birds and fishes.

This guy is still single, had two serious relationships but was unable to settle down yet. I guess he has yet to meet his match. Anyway, to keep himself busy, he ventured into a lot of businesses. I think the most successful ones were breeding lovebirds, parakeets, flowerhorn and dogs such as golden retriever, labrador and shitzu. One time he had 7 retrievers at home and i could not imagine how he managed all his pets and still work at the same time. I had a golden retriever once and he was a handful back then. I got him, when he was around 1 year old and he stayed with me for about 3-4 years. It was just one and managing him was difficult, but my friend had 7, plus birds, fishes and other dogs.

My friend's love for his pets was really deep because he mentioned that sometimes what inspired him to work was to feed and groom his pets. Nowadays, he still have a couple of retrievers, shitzu and a siberian husky. He also works in a farm in his province, maintaining mango trees, tomotaoes and other vegetables.

Pets are his passion. I recently advised him to make a blog about his interests and who knows, he might learn a lot, meet new friends and improve his business. As for me, i also love dogs. Someday, when we have our own house, my wife and i might get a labrador because we both like that breed and it is easier to maintain compared to a retriever. We also have an aquarium at home where we enjoy a lot to help us relax after a hard day's work. Dogs and fishes are probably our limit since i am not interested in having birds and cats at home.

How about you, do you love pets? Are you attached to them and treat them just like any family member? How do you value them?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Haribon's R&R at D Farm, Pampanga

Haribon Foundation's R&R this year was held at D Farm Resort in Bacolor, Pampanga. It is a private resort with 2 big swimming pools, air conditioned family rooms, functions rooms, billiards, table tennis and a big fishpond for fishing tilapia and hito. My wife was one of the organizers and they invited family members of Haribon's staff to join this year's activity.

We left Quezon City aboard a rented Victory Liner Bus around 8am and reached our destination before lunch. The trip was a bit slow because of 2 stopovers. Anyway, upon reaching the resort, the Haribon staff, each assigned to a specific group eagerly prepared for lunch. A little past 12 noon, we started eating a very sumptous lunch consisting of pinakbet, soup, ensaladang talong, chicken adobo and inihaw na liempo. The menu was perfect! Everybody was happy to eat a well prepared meal.

Our son was as usual very excited about the trip. It was his first time to ride a bus and he loved it! He was very well behaved, looking through the window and was always smiling when asked if he was happy. You could just imagine his dimples showing... it was really fun to see. Upon arrival at the resort, after about 10 minutes, he anxiously asked if we could swim. At first i was really hesitant, it was past 10am, almost 11 and the sun is really up. I had no choice, he would not let go. We just applied sunblock, inflated his rubber boat and dived into the pool. I told him it was really hot and pointed the sun but he corrected me saying "lamig" pointing the water. I could not resist him. He is so lovable. Anyway, i too enjoyed every minute with him even under the scorching sun.

After lunch, we rested for a while and went back to the pool. We stayed for a about an hour or two and upon seeing him trying to stay awake, we went up, took him for a bath, to prepare him to have his afternoon nap. He only slept for about 30 minutes! He did not ask to swim this time but tried to play billiards with my wife's officemate. He could not see the top of the table but it did not stop him from playing with the balls. After billiards, i took him to the fishing pond and we watched my wife's officemates catch tilapia for our dinner.

Night time came and my wife did not have any trouble making him sleep. We figured he was really tired the whole day so we was asleep immediately. The following day, his first activity was of course swim again until 9am. He really had a great time. It was not difficult to convince him to get out of the water because we told him we will ride the big bus again. After a few minutes upon riding the bus, he was asleep again.

The R & R activity with my wife was really great. We had a great time and my son enjoyed the trip and swim very much. It was also nice to try a different place other than the usual resorts in the south and Subic area. Time with my family is really important and i am glad i was able to take a vacation leave from work. It was really overdue since we were not able to had a summer outing this year. Hopefully during the Christmas break we can spend more time together as a family and with my son's cousins and grandparents.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How Loyal Are to Your Work?

I have been working to my current job for almost 2 years now. I have been very loyal and i think have been productive to the company since day one. It is a small company but has a big potential. Lately, after a couple of months of not reaching our target, sales has improved dramatically. It has to do with the influenza scare. Hopefully our sales will be consistent so the company can expand.

A co-worker has been on leave for more than a month now. She had a baby so she was entitled for a maternity leave. Before she went on leave, i suggested that we hire a reliever to fill in her shoes. We were not able to get one because our sales then were down. But now, i think we can afford another staff to help with the workload. Things have been really crazy at work, phones kept on ringing, emails were piling up, honestly we could not keep up.

Lately, i have been thinking of asking a salary raise. Actually i already made a letter to my boss. It is just really hard for me to give it to him. I don't know, i think it is not in my nature to ask. But when i receive my salary, i already feel it is not commensurate to the work i am doing. So, i plan to give the letter this week, hopefully tomorrow. I hope my boss would consider my request. If not, then i guess my loyalty will be tested. Times are hard, and i have to think of my family to feed.

How about you? How long have you stayed in your work? Have you asked for a raise?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Profession You Could Have Been

I am working as a sales person for more than 3 years now. I am still new compared to a lot of sales people who are in this profession for more than 10 years. I am still an amateur but i know i will excel in the future. I love talking to people and knowing what they need and being able to provide their need. Sometimes customers go overboard and ask for more which makes you even better. Knowing when to say yes and when to say no is a hard trick to master but i guess i am learning slowly but surely.

I did not choose this profession, it was offered to me. I accepted it since it pays better than working in a non-government organization. But don't get me wrong, working in an NGO is 10 times more fulfilling. Too bad it pays bad. I don't know about international NGO's, they pay better for sure but it is really hard to qualify.

Sometimes i wonder if i could have been the person i was dreaming of when i was a kid. I really planned to be an engineer. I was amazed by man made structures like tall buildings, long bridges, large airplanes, etc. I also dreamed of being a pilot. I liked thinking that i am in control of a large commercial airplane or a fast military plane. Even helicopters amaze me until now. I don't know. What could have happened if my plans were fulfilled? Will i still be here in the Philippines? Will i be married and have a kid or kids by now? Sometimes it is really nice to imagine.

I love my family and i love spending time with them. If my plans of being an engineer or a pilot were materialized, i might not probably meet my wife and could have married somebody else. Now, that's a thing to think about. If i was not married to my wife right now, i would not have my son right now. That would be sad. I could not imagine life without them. They are the reasons why i work hard everyday and not thinking of not being with them makes me sad. It is probably right that God really has plans for each and everyone of us. We are just normal human beings that we could not see beyond one day. And that makes it very interesting.....

How about you? Are you in the profession you thought of when you were a kid? If not, any regrets?