Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fireworks in Bocaue, Bulacan

Filipinos are known to celebrate New Year's eve by lighting different kinds of fireworks. Most locally made fireworks are made in Bocaue, Bulacan and people from Manila and nearby provinces travel there to buy fireworks in bulk to sell or just buy for personal use on New Year's eve. When I was a kid, fireworks were generally "safe" and I hardly remember an accident that involved kids during New Year's eve. But now, when fireworks were made to become more complex, loud and lethal, a lot of injuries are reported every year where children are the usual victims of prohibited fireworks.

Here is a list of fireworks that are still being made today and have continued to cause accidents to children:

1. Super Lolo
2. Bawang
3. Sawa or Judas Belt
4. Watusi
5. Picolo
6. Five star
7. Lolo
8. Kwitis or Baby Rocket
9. Whistle Bomb

Some accidents involve poorly manufactured "safe" fireworks that were generally expected just to provide a light show but exploded when used.

1. Fountain
2. Trompillo
3. Roman Candle
4. Lusis

My wife and I have long decided to avoid using fireworks every New Year. When we started watching news about people and children rushed to hospitals because of serious injuries caused by fireworks, we realized that we can celebrate the occasion safely by using alternative ways to make noise. Here are our suggestions:

1. Torotot or horn
2. Loud music
3. Drums or hitting steel or stainless cookware
4. Sirens
5. Vehicle horns

Or better yet, just join fireworks display by several cities around Metro Manila where the local government buys imported fireworks and are lighted by professionals from a very safe distance. Two years ago, we went to Ayala Avenue in Makati for the New Year Countdown and the place was very festive. The local government displayed a huge digital clock on a stage and people started to shout the countdown until New Year's day. Once the clock reaches 12:00 am, fireworks were lighted and people danced on the streets to celebrate the New Year. A number of the audience wore costumes and masks which made the occasion like a street party. Showbiz personalities also performed song and dance numbers to highlight the event.

Let's be safe this New Year and avoid buying dangerous fireworks. Celebrate with your love ones and welcome the New Year with a prayer to God so He will continue to bless us. Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

This year's Christmas celebration is one of the happiest and most memorable for our family. It is our first Christmas as a family of four, Me, my wife-Hahai, Leon and Maia, our youngest. We also completed the 9-day novena or Simbang Gabi/Misa de Gallo this year as a thanksgiving for all the blessings we received the past year.

We have lots to thank for most especially for our children being healthy the whole year and for our steady income to provide for our family's needs. We are looking forward for the year 2011 which we think would be better and much more productive for us. We would also like to thank our parents and relatives who are always there to help us. Friends also are a blessing and without them, life would not be interesting.

Thank you very much Jesus and we all greet you a very Happy, happy Birthday. May you continue to shower us your blessings next year and the all the years that will come.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Simbang Gabi - Misa de Gallo

Ever since I was a child, my mom always makes it a point for us to attend the 9-day novena and mass called simbang gabi during the Christmas season. She believes that it is a good way for us to be prepared for Christmas day which is the birthday of our savior, Jesus Christ. She also believes that waking up early and listening to the priest's sermon is a good sacrifice to give thanks for all the blessings we received for that year. Up to now, even though my mom is living with my aunt in our province, she still completes the 9 days dawn mass.

I was really hesitant when I was going with my mom when I was a child because it was really hard for me to wake up early and stay awake during the mass. I just follow my mom, no questions asked because once I complain, I would be given the "serious look don't ask why" from my mom. I just think that it is just 9 days and by the 10th day, it would be Christmas and I would get gifts from relatives and friends.

Now that I am an adult and have two kids of my own, I realized that my mom's teaching was really for the best for our family. I realized that going to mass early in the morning is such a small way to give thanks to all the blessings we received this year. My wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful and healthy kids and a steady income for our expenses at home. Our kids have been healthy for the whole year and my wife gave birth with no complications last April. My parents' health is okay and my mother-in-law doctor's test were also good. Both of our jobs are quite difficult but our employers managed to give us good salaries and treat us well. Although not enough, we still have a small savings account which we intend to increase by next year. Everything turned out to be a blessing this year that we are very anxious to start the next year to achieve our plans. God has been so good to us that a 9-day novena and mass is such an easy thing to do to give thanks. Besides, I miss attending them since the time I transferred to my wife's place and stopped living with my mom and my sister.

2010 was a great year for our family and we are already excited to start 2011. Our son will soon attend his first year in school and our daughter will turn 1 year old this coming April. We have so many plans and we hope we achieve most of them by the end of the year. My wife and I intend to finish the 9 days Simbang Gabi Mass this year and every year after. This is to give praise and thanks to God who has given us so much and to teach this practice to our kids someday so that once they become adults, they will continue the tradition which our parents taught to us when we were still kids.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vizconde Massacre Verdict

Today was a day of mourning for Lauro Vizconde, the father and only remaining survivor of the Vizconde Family Massacre. The Supreme Court reversed the lower court and Court of Appeals ruling to implicate Hubert Webb and six other accused of the gruesome murder. The reason was the prosecution failed to prove that the accused were guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The murders happened June 30, 1991 and after 19 years, Lauro Vizconde is still seeking justice for his family.

The motion for acquittal started after the Supreme Court approved a DNA testing to be performed on the semen specimen obtained during the autopsy of the victims ( . Unfortunately the specimen was reported lost by the National Bureau of Investigation which prompted lawyers to submit the motion in reference that the evidence to prove that it was indeed Hubert's sperm found inside rape and murder victim Carmela Vizconde, will never be used to prove the accused innocence or guilt. The lower court and Court of Appeals decision entirely rests on Jessica Alfaro's testimony of what happened on the night of the murders. The Supreme Court cited several inconsistencies in the star witness' testimony which was the reason why they approved a DNA testing to be conducted.

Truly this is an example of a poor police system in our country. The NBI, with its belief that the case was closed after the lower court and Court of Appeals decision implicating the suspects, did not take care of vital evidence in their jurisdiction. They merely stated that the semen specimen was in the possession of the lower court which handled the case. But storage of vital crime evidences should be NBI's responsibility and not a trail court which handles hundreds of cases in a month. Because of this irresponsibility, the accused was freed and nobody will ever know the truth if Hubert Webb was indeed the one who raped and killed Carmela Vizconde. Although the Supreme Court handed out its decision, more than a million questions are left unanswered and people are thinking of who are really the people responsible for the murders.

I sympathize for Mr. Lauro Vizconde's situation and I pray that he will get his justice in due time. The Vizconde case is another example of how our justice system runs and how efficient our police force in doing their jobs. How many families will experience this kind of injustice? Will there be hope for the victims of unsolved crimes here in our country?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Vacation Travel

Christmas season is a time to spend quality time with your love ones. The Christmas break, usually starts on December 23 and will last until December 27 or if you have accumulated enough vacation leaves at work, you can extend your vacation until January 2, 2010. Everyone is busy and excited preparing for Christmas, going to church, buying gifts, attending parties and preparing for the traditional Noche Buena on Christmas eve. After spending Christmas day at home, families have an option to travel and relax to local tourist destinations. Instead of flying to Hong Kong Disneyland or other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, why not try nearby tourist destinations to help boost our tourism industry. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Caliraya Lake in Lumban, Laguna - Lake Caliraya is situated approximately 1,200 feet above sea level, and is perched high in the Sierra Madre. Travel from Manila will take you about 3-4 hours. The lake experiences cool climate all year round. ( Temperature here is almost as cold as Baguio City and the town is not over populated. If you are looking for first class amenities, you may check in at Caliraya Resort Club. If you are in a budget, there are other resorts around the lake that provides good accommodation and superb food.
2. San Juan, Batangas - It is located 43 kilometers east of Batangas City and 115 kilometers away from Manila. San Juan is famous for its Laiya Beach. Travel from Manila will be around 3-4 hours.

3. Alaminos, Pangasinan - Alaminos is home for the country's Hundred Islands. In fact, there are 123 islands that can be found of the coast Barangay Lucap, Alaminos City. ( From Manila, It will take you about 4-5 hours to reach the city.

These are just a few places near Manila where you can enjoy nature and travel with your family and friends. Going outdoors need not be expensive and it is a good stress reliever from the busy life we have in the metropolis. Sometimes, we need to learn to enjoy nature more for us to appreciate the gifts we have around us so we will do our part to conserve nature so our kids and grandchildren will also enjoy nature as much as it was enjoyed by our parents and grandparents.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Shopping in Metro Manila

By this time, the first day of December, people should have started doing their Christmas shopping for gifts for their friends and love ones. Gifts need not be expensive because this holiday season is about giving and sharing your blessings no matter how simple they are. In our family, we usually ask or see what does our love one needs the most in his or her everyday life and if we can afford it, then we give it with all our hearts. I heard a lot of people who dread the Christmas season because for them it is such a big expense and they cannot afford it. What I say to them is just give what you can and if you can not afford to give then simply greet them a Merry Christmas, pray for them and wish them the best of health. Prayers are such a powerful gift that people should not take for granted.

Anyway, if you have still time and the budget to shop, here are a few suggestions:

1. Divisoria - by now, shops are open 24 hours daily but you have to have extreme patience to go through the crowds. Items are so cheap that you can end up buying more if your budget is based on mall prices. Security is a bit questionable since a lot of thieves and pickpockets know people go here to buy and spend.
2. Bazaars located at schools, church grounds, offices and parking spaces. Prices are higher than Divisoria but still cheaper than malls. Noel Bazaar at the World Trade Center in Pasay City is a good example.
3. Malls - they offer extended mall hours for the weeks approaching Christmas. No more sale by December and tenants jack up their prices to get more profits. Security is better compared to Divisoria. If you plan to get a taxi, forget it. Just commute, by bus or jeepney because taxi drivers are usually so picky and lines are 3-5 times longer than ordinary days.

4. Greenhills - a favorite among shoppers. The atmosphere is like a mall, tenants are situated just like bazaars and shoppers can actually ask for a bargain. Items are usually imported from Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Taiwan, etc. and they are a bit cheaper compared to mall tenants. Security is comparable to any other first class malls.
5. Non-government organizations - NGOs such as Haribon Foundation have gift suggestions during holidays. They sell shirts, books, fans, kids activity books and seedlings to anyone. Proceeds go to projects which help their cause. Some organizations pool the funds they get from their merchandise and use them for sponsoring scholarships for children who cannot afford to go to school.
6. Online shopping - sites such as,, are all local sites that posts sellers and the items they sell. If sellers do not have stalls to display their products, they ask buyers to pick up items at their homes or just do meet ups. A word of caution to online shoppers, just like everywhere else, there are people who manipulate buyers to get payment and run away without giving the items which were purchased. Be sure to get the item first before paying or just to "kaliwaan" to be sure.

Happy shopping to everyone and do not forget that Christmas is not about gifts and money but it is the spirit of giving and spending quality time with your family. Have a blessed Christmas to all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My First Race - Haribon Million Hectare Challenge

First of all, I would like to congratulate Haribon Foundation for the successful Million Hectare Challenge last November 21, 2010. More than a thousand people joined the race and supported the cause to raise funds to restore our forests by the year 2020. Everyone had a great time and some runners can not wait for the Haribon Run next year. As for me, I am very happy for my first run and I decided to continue running as what I mentioned on my previous blog post.

I joined the 5k race and successfully finished it in 37 minutes and 10 seconds. It was a slow pace but I know I will improve in the coming months. I could have finished earlier if I knew the route and was not dependent on race marshals. I was a bit relaxed, saving my energy for the last 50 meters because I was planning to finish in a bit of a sprint. I had a hard time during 2 uphill stages and I relaxed a bit to gain strength. To my surprise, race marshals were pointing to a direction towards the finish line and I have plenty of energy left. I was a bit smiling when I crossed the finish line because I knew that in my next race, I would definitely get a better time and I knew 5k is not that difficult after all. I can run for 6 or 7k next time, to prepare for the next 5k run and in a few months, try the 10k run.

I am planning to join another race this December and train during the holidays. I am so excited to start this running hobby and I am also looking forward to meet new runner friends. My wife has always been very supportive and in fact had a great time running the 3k race too. Hopefully, she'll have more time on her hands and try the 5k run next year.

I would also like to give my sincerest gratitude to the Rotary Club of Midtown Diliman for supporting the Haribon Million Hectare Challenge, most specially President Randy Tan for being present during the event. Finally, congratulations to my loving wife, Yasmin Mangila Ponce for doing a great job as the overall logistics supervisor, I am very proud of her accomplishments and will always be there to support her future projects and endeavors.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nike, Adidas and Reebok Running Shoes

I will be starting my goal to get serious in running this coming Sunday at Haribon Foundation's Million Hectare Challenge at Mckinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. A must have is a good quality running shoes since I will be running the 5 kilometer distance. I plan to run 3-4 races more for the 5km distance then I will decide if I will be ready for the 10 kilometer race. I recently talked to a friend who has been running since last year and he told me that shoes will be my biggest investment. He already has 3-4 pairs and he is again looking for a new one. I knew that it is a bit expensive but compared to my other interest, which is to build my own mountain bike, this sport will be hands down much cheaper.

Now, after visiting a few malls and running shoes shop, I became confused. There are a lot of nice shoes to choose from. Other than the usual brands- Nike, Adidas and Reebok, other brands have good looking shoes too. New Balance, Salomon, Merell, Mizuno, Asics, Newton, etc. made consumers have a wide variety of brands to choose from. From these options, I asked my friend's advice and he told me he prefers Adidas. I agreed it was a nice choice since I bought my Samba 4 or 5 years ago, been using it regularly and it is still alive and nice to look at. I also had my experiences with Nike but unfortunately, they never last for more than a year. Will I give Reebok a chance or try other brands? I searched the internet about reviews of running shoes and most American say they prefer Saucony, Nike and Adidas. Too bad we do not have a retailer of Saucony brand here in the Philippines.

I will have to wait and see, try one brand this year and probably another one or two next year. Then I will know which brand do I truly prefer and recommend to use for running.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Manny Pacquiao Simply the Best Boxer

In what appears to be Manny Pacquiao's biggest opponent and test to his illustrious career, against Antonio Margarito, 4 1/2 inches taller and 17 lbs heavier, Pacquiao did what he does best-winning a boxing match in a very convincing manner. Margarito suffered a devastating defeat that he needs a surgery to his fractured eye socket. It was such a one-sided match that you may think that Pacquiao had the best training and Margarito had so many distractions.

Much has been written and said about Team Pacquiao's camp and training being the worst ever, from distractions in Baguio City and meetings with politicians, a singing engagement in a tv show, coaching a basketball team in the US, campaigning for a US Senator, preparing for a concert after the Margarito match, Pacquiao has done it all. He has multi tasked once again, in the weeks before his bout with Margarito, and pulled off a very convincing win that makes people wonder how did he do all that? Will he ever be called the greatest boxer even if does not have a match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. at all?

I say, yes. Definitely. Pacquiao does not need Mayweather to be called the best. Mayweather may be a defensive specialist, and has not lost once but he has not made any convincing win as convincing as Pacquiao has done from the last boxing matches he had. According to Bob Arum, his manager, Manny has not only won his match against his opponents but perhaps ended or altered their careers. From David Diaz, Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Among the boxers mentioned, only Joshua Clottey seems to probably have a future in boxing. Diaz has not been heard for a while, Dela Hoya and Hatton retired, Cotto is still recovering and Margarito will need several months, probably a year to heal his wounds and spirit. Mayweather has repeatedly avoided having a match signed against Pacquiao and with legal issues hounding him right now against his former girlfriend, I doubt he will agree this time. Mayweather is not a multi tasker like Pacquiao and has not handled mental pressures as well as Pacquiao. At this point in time, Pacquiao is right, Mayweather needs him and Pacquiao does not need Mayweather.

If the match will defy odds and push through, when Floyd losses, everybody will expect that his reason for loosing will be his distractions outside the ring. This will be unfair for Pacquiao. Before every fight, Manny trains as hard as he can and it will be unfair to not credit him the win against Floyd. So, the best option may be a fight with Marquez. Will Marquez be a formidable opponent against Pacquiao? Is his performance against Mayweather a good gauge for him to be worthy of Pacquiao's stature? I say no. Some boxing analysts say that Pacquiao could have lost to Marquez once or twice but the Pacquiao who was against Marquez during those time was only half of what he is today. He is such an excellent boxer today that a match with Marquez will be a mismatch once again. Pacquiao's desired weight of 145 lbs is high for Marquez because he was so outclassed by Mayweather during their last match. But who knows? Maybe Marquez has improved too?

For me, this is the best time for Pacquiao to retire. He has achieved so much for the sport, for his family and for the Filipino people that it is hard to think of what is left for him to prove. His venture to politics may help or inspire more people but it may also be his downfall. Once he retires, I suggest for him to concentrate on helping other Filipino boxers achieve what he has done by providing a scientific way of training them and hiring the best trainers from all over the world. There may never be another Manny Pacquiao to pass by Philippine history but it will be nice to see Pacquiao protegees once in a while. Not only in boxing, he may venture in being the country's godfather in sports and help athletes have good exposure, training and equipment so that in 5 or 10 years from now, we may soon achieve our first, second or maybe third gold medal in the greatest sporting event of all time- the Olympics.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Running for Fitness

This coming November 21, Sunday, I will be one of the participants of Haribon Foundation's Million Hectare Challenge. I will be joining the 5-kilometer race and I hope my time will be decent enough compared to other runners in the event. Yesterday, my wife and I went to see a similar fun run in SM Mall of Asia grounds to observe how the organizers managed the event and for me to see what are the best times by first place finishers of the race.

2 Kilometers - around 20 minutes
5 Kilometers - 24 minutes
10 Kilometers - 34 minutes.

First place finishers of 2 and 5 kilometers were Filipinos but the first and second place finisher of the 10 kilometers were Kenyans (I think, judging by their looks). According to one of the organizers of the event, the first place finisher of the 5 and 10 kilometers race were familiar faces of previous races. We were told that these participants are training for a bigger competition, probably a marathon within the coming months. Even kids as young as 12 and 13 years old finished within 35 minutes of the 5-kilometer run.

So in order for me to have a decent time for the 5k race, I have to finish within the 40 minute mark. I hope I can make it. I have been training once a week (its not enough though) and have been finishing 15 minutes for a 2.5k run (with great effort). If my pace is consistent, I estimate to finish the 5k run within 35-40 minutes. So, I have 14 days left to train more and hopefully I will have a good run on the 20th.

After the Haribon Run, I am planning to run regularly and join more running events. Hopefully by next year, I can compete with the 10k run. If I can do 40 minutes for a 5k run, I can probably do 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 10k run. That is way much slower than the Kenyan time of 34 minutes but I am not planning to outdo a Kenyan. These people have been running all their lives. I just plan to be physically fit so that even at the age of 70 years and up, I can still run and join races and inspire my wife and children to be healthy and enjoy sports like I do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sore eyes

Less than 2 months to go before Christmas Day and 2011 and I got a common virus that affects my work. I have so much to do this coming weeks because I do have to earn extra for the coming holiday expenses. I missed an important group meeting last night and I am not sure I will be 100% ready tomorrow. I have another important meeting on Monday so I have to be well by that time. Last time I got this disease was when I was in grade school. According to the Department of Health, there are now several strains of sore eyes and if you get infected with one strain, there is also a possibility that you will also be infected with another strain.

What complicates this situation is I am staying at home to let the virus pass, but I am living with my wife and our two kids. My wife got sore eyes about a month ago and our youngest, a 5 month old baby got infected too. Our eldest son got infected but recovered very quickly but to my surprise, I did not get infected. Now, if i assume that this is another strain, then there is a chance my wife and two kids will be infected again. I really hope and pray that they would not and I am doing everything to disinfect our things to minimize the spread of the virus.

My wife told me that this may be a sign that I should slow down things a bit since I am working very hard these past weeks. She said, I should rest to avoid getting a disease which may be worse than my condition right now. Well, I guess she is right so I am slowing down my pace. I just hope that everything will be alright by the end of the week so I can go back to my normal work pace.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Financial Freedom - Our Goal

When I was invited to join the Rotary Club here in our area, little did I know that I will meet a person who I consider to be my mentor in life. I have been working since my college years, have ventured into small businesses over the years but I have yet to see my niche in life which will help me or guide me to my goal which is to be financially free by the time I retire. I read a few books which made me understand that I will never reach my goal as long as I am employed and thanks to Robert Kiyosaki's book of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I think I have an idea how to reach my goals. The big problem is, how will I start or what will I do next?

According to Kiyosaki, people are grouped in 4 classes. Employed, self-employed, businessman/woman and investor. Majority of our population is unemployed (which was not included in this group) a big portion is employed, some are self-employed and business owners but only a few are investors. Judging by the groups, you can immediately see that financial free people belong to the business owners and investors. Why? Simply because they do not work for money but let their money work for them. How is this so? Unlike me, I earn when I work, which is my active income, these people earn through their passive income. Their money multiply by themselves and they live only by the interests of their investments, which are their passive income. It is no secret, the rich gets richer and the poor becomes poorer.

People do not get rich by how much they earn. They get rich by how much they save. No matter how much you earn, if your expenses are as much as your revenue or maybe higher that how much you make in a month, chances are, you will be broke in a month or two if you lose your job or your business. Saving takes so much discipline that only a few realizes its advantages. Regular people get their savings after their expenses which sometimes get zero amount because expenses are so high nowadays. My mentor told me that in order to have savings, here is the formula. Income - savings = expenses. One must get a fixed amount of savings in a month and the money left is for expenses. What if the money left is not enough for expenses? You should make ways to increase your income and not get anything from your savings. Once you discipline yourself to increase your savings and channel it to other ways to grow and multiply, then there you are, you are on your first step to reaching your goals.

Once you accumulate savings will they automatically make you rich? If you have a million in time deposit, will that make you rich? Another no. Time deposit usually gives you 2.5-4% annual interest, so your 1 million will earn 40,000 in a year, break it into 12 months and you get only 3333 in a month. That hardly supports a family of 3 or 4. How about 2 million in time deposit? 80,000 a year, 6,000 a month, still not enough. Probably 10 million in time deposit. Truth is, time deposit is just one tool, and there are a lot of tools out there which are better than time deposit. Some give you 5% annual, some 10% others even 40-50%. But, the higher the rewards, the more risk you are exposed to. How will you be able to handle these risks to gain more? Education. You need to study all these tools to maximize your income potential. Some say people get rich in stocks but a lot of them also loose big. It is really a risk, so if you just join the bandwagon of buying stocks just like everybody else, you will end up just like everybody else.

My mentor told me that in order to get rich, you must be involved in three aspects. Business, real estate and stocks. All of these require money, and not just little but big money. Unfortunately I only tried one aspect-business, and was not successful. But, I am not giving up. I have much to learn and have much to gain. In order to gain wealth, a person should have 2 things, discipline and time. During my youth I have lots of time but no discipline. As I grow older, I have discipline but only little time. But it is not too late. I have 5 years to reach 40 and 15 years to reach 50. If everything goes well, my target is to retire by the age of 55 to enjoy everything that I have worked for. So, that's it, my goal is to be financially free by the age of 55 and the more money I have, the more I can share and give to others and the more quality I can spend to my wife and children.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bayantel DSL Speed

After 10 months of using Sun Broadband Internet, we finally decided to apply for a Bayantel DSL connection. I figured Sun Broadband will improve their service for months and I was a bit controlling our expenses for internet subscription so I opted for prepaid. Unfortunately, despite Sun's aggressive campaign of getting up to 3.0 mbps internet speed, the best we got ranges from 600-800 kbps during lean hours and 100 kbps on peak hours. We live in Project 4 Quezon City area and I am sure there is a near cell site since Cubao and Eastwood (which are 7-10 minutes drive from us) are prime business locations. Maybe prepaid users are not priorities, but I also have a friend, who uses Sun postpaid but says he also has a crappy connection.

I tested our connection speed at yesterday and today. Yesterday I got 700 kbps during peak hours and today I got 1.03 mbps also on peak hours. Not bad, considering our plan, 999 is the second cheapest. Plan 999 promises 1.0+ mbps on their billboards and advertisements and by the looks of it, they are truthful. Hopefully they will be consistent most especially during peak hours. I was considering to get the 1299 plan but I decided to test the plan 999 first and upgrade later. Seems to me, our current speed is acceptable. The reason we shifted from prepaid to postpaid is my wife is beginning to use the internet more frequently for the past two months. I was the one who started blogging (through my friend's inspiration) but my wife got the hang of it when she started to gain more "mommy" friends online. She has been purchasing prepaid cards everyday and we end up spending Php 1500 a month for prepaid and for a retarded Sun broadband connection. Logically, DSL connection will be cheaper for a low monthly plan. And yes, connection is much better. So there it is, my wife and I are both happy and she can blog as much as she wants (except when my 3-year-old son dominates the pc). Incidentally, if you are a mom blogger or a female, you might want to check up my wife's blog and her friends. Here is the link:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

President Noynoy Aquino First 100 Days

It was President Noynoy Aquino's first 100 days last October 5, 2010. He had his speech and "Report to the Boss" at La Consolacion College Auditorium in Manila. After his speech, the program allowed different Filipinos from all over the country, even overseas to ask a question to the President about his plans related and other issues which concerns their provinces and regions.

It was an informative program, with the President mentioning his administration's accomplishments in less than four months and other projects in line for the coming days, months and years. His speech was applauded several times and the viewers can see that the audience was satisfied with his speech. In the middle of the program, during the question and answer part, several UP Manila students stood up, held bond paper sized placards and shouted their criticisms on the present government's plans on limiting the budget allocation for education.

UP students are known for years to be activists and militants of current administrations. Together with Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), these schools are training grounds for students who are passionate about their beliefs in politics. They are introduced to organizations who are headed by activists or members of political groups who usually go to the streets and show to the public their protest actions. The Philippines is a democratic country and the government exercise maximum tolerance to protest actions because they believe it is every Filipino's right to express his opinions and beliefs to issues that directly affect his life and the lives of his fellow Filipinos. Personally, I had a block mate before in UP Diliman who was so passionate about politics that he decided to skip his classes and instead join an organization who are known to have protest actions to any current political issue.

It was both good and bad that the students were able to get the attention of the President and all other public officials involved but I would say this time it was really premature. If you analyze the situation, 100 days is a very short time to make changes which could make a difference to the country's situation economically. In about 3 months, the present government had exposed a lot of anomalies with regards to the use of millions of government funds to give unreasonable salaries to Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), the president had a trip to the US and got a millions of grants (not loans) to fund projects in the provinces and invited investors to give jobs to Filipinos. It may not be a big accomplishment, but these things can be a start of something good for the country. We may be a democratic country but we must give the present administration a chance to prove themselves and fulfill their promises made during the election period. 100 days is very short time to give criticisms, judge performances or even go to the streets and blame poverty to the present administration. I would say give Noynoy a year or two and see his accomplishments and then make it a point to inform him and his cabinet members issues that are not given priorities.

Actually, asking the President programs and plans for a certain city or province is like barking at the wrong tree. Each province has a governor, each city or town has a mayor and each district has a congressman. These people control millions of pesos in their annual budget and it is their priority to uplift the situation of their constituents and improve the economic value of their city, town or province. Even here in Metro Manila, you could see which cities are performing good and who are the mayors who use public funds to improve their city or just putting them inside their pockets. For example, Quezon City and Makati, both prime locations for residential and commercial establishments. Can you compare the business districts of both cities? How about slum and squatter areas for both cities? Did both previous mayors bragged about their accomplishments or did the progress of their cities came from private investors and not from the local government? How about the provinces? Which mayors and governors did their jobs? Can you compare the province of Davao to Samar? How about the Negros province compared to Mindoro? Palawan and Bicol? Ilocos and Isabela? Were pork barrels of congressmen used for progress or just for mansions and other properties abroad?

The Philippines need time to recover from the economic turmoil the Arroyo and Estrada administration gave us. The Estrada had 2 years and Arroyo 9 years. That is a total of 11 years. How could you fix it in 100 days? It is like asking a farmer to plant rice in hectares of barren land in a span of 24 hours. Or asking a janitor to mop and wax the floor of a basketball court in 3 minutes. We need time and patience. Sadly Filipinos are known to be very impatient. It is our major flaw and it is one of the reasons why until now, we are a third-world country with a very big population.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Manny Pacquiao Training

Yesterday I got a chance to see the Pound for Pound Champion boxer Manny Pacquiao here in Metro Manila. I just read an article featuring his training with Freddie Roach in one of Elorde's boxing gym in Quezon City. The article stated that Manny trains everyday in the afternoon but will head to Baguio City starting September 26. So yesterday was his last day here in Manila and after his training in Baguio, he will proceed to the United States for his final training days. I have work during Saturdays but it was a little bit light yesterday. I was on fieldwork in the morning so I figured I could drop by the area and catch a glimpse of Manny's workout. I knew people will be allowed to watch since most of his photos and videos indicated that the public is allowed to watch while he trains.

After my fieldwork in Binondo area, I proceeded to Elorde's gym in Roosevelt Avenue. The gym is situated at the 4th floor of a new building at the corner of Roosevelt and Del Monte Avenues. I arrived at the area with a friend around 2pm expecting a lot of people in the area but to my surprise I only noticed a few media people and a Team Pacquiao pick-up truck. When we reached the 3rd floor, we were stopped by a gym personnel before going up the next floor. We told him we were going to watch Manny's training but he told us only media people were allowed to watch. I told him all excuses I could think of just to be allowed to go up but he apologized that he was instructed not to allow anyone without proper clearance. I understood him but I still hoped I could catch a glimpse of the Filipino champion. I got word that Manny is running late and he is about to arrive in a while. I then decided to stay for a while and wait for him since this will be my only chance to see him up close.

In about 30-45 minutes Manny's vehicle, together with a few security and training people arrived. His vehicle is a black Escalade and it parked in front of the building. Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza, his conditioning coach arrived earlier including Pacquiao's sparring partners. Manny alighted from his vehicle and proceeded to go up to the building to start training. I knew that he will pass by our position and will be just steps away from me. Too bad we do not have a camera to get a photo and we just tried to use a friend's cellphone. He passed by in front of me and I was surprised how short and thin he was. I expected he was a bit bulkier because of his physique but he was just like any ordinary Pinoy. You would not know he was the world's best boxer in this decade if you just pass by him in the streets. Except for his signature clothes and a few security, this guy is so simple considering he is also a congressman. I was thinking I could shake his hands but unfortunately he was talking to his cellphone. Well, at least I got a chance to see him and I could proudly say that once in my lifetime, I saw Manny Pacquiao up close. Hopefully he wins his fight with Antonio Margarito this November so he could cement his legacy as one of the world's best boxer who lived in my lifetime.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Million Hectare Challenge

Join the Million-Hectare Challenge! Haribon Foundation announces its 4th annual event, happening November 21st at McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The Million Hectare Challenge urges all Filipinos to support the ROAD TO 2020 campaign, which aims to restore 1 million hectares of forests by year 2020 using native tree species.

Rainforests are our primary source of water. Healthy rainforests prevent soil erosion and enhance biodiversity. In the past few years, the Philippines has seen an increase in natural disasters such as killer landslides, droughts, floods, as well as water crises - all telling signs of the state of degradation of our rainforests. To date, we have 22.08% (Philippine forestry statistics, 2007) forest cover left, we need 54% to maintain ecological processes in the country.

Let’s hit the road! Help raise at least 1 million pesos towards ROAD TO 2020. Funds generated from the Million-Hectare Challenge event will be used to support tree-planting activities, promotion of environment-friendly and sustainable livelihood options for local communities, establishment and maintenance of indigenous tree nurseries, awareness-raising and capacity building– just to name a few.

- Join and accept the challenge! You can choose to walk, run at your pace or race to raise pledges (3K, 5K, 10K)
- Registration Fees: 400 pesos; and 350 pesos for Haribon members.
- Pledges are optional but help us reach our fundraising goal and get pledged!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Taekwondo for Kids

Recently I had the chance to meet one of my college friends who is currently teaching Taekwondo for kids. He has been training children since 1998 and his students joined a lot of tournaments over the years. My wife and I have been contemplating to enroll our son to his class for him to have a venue to use his energy other than at home and to learn discipline and sportsmanship at a young age. Coach Stauro Punongbayan has been involved with the Milo Summer Sports Clinic which is also under the supervision of Philippine Taekwondo Association.

Coach Stauro teaches taekwondo to kids at several locations in Metro Manila. Here are the venues and time slots:

1. Dance Theater Arts, 5th floor Walter Mart Makati (beside Timezone) - Saturday and Sunday, 4:30 PM (call 487-6083, 0917-6420123)
2. Kalayaan Badminton Center, Kalayaan Avenue Diliman, Quezon City - Saturday 1 PM (545-9778, 0917-6420123)
3. Higher Ground Baptist Academy, Malabon City - Saturday 8 AM (545-9778, 0917-6420123)
4. State Fitness Gym, Malabon City - Saturday 10 AM (545-9778, 0917-6420123)

Coach Stauro's class consists of kids as young as 4 years old up to full grown adults. Taekwondo is not just for competition but for exercise and self discipline. Here are the benefits of the sport:

1. Enhance Self Esteem by heightening your physical and mental powers.
2. Build Confidence by encouraging you to succeed and to take control of your life.
3. Develop Discipline by thoroughly training your body and mind by the tenets and techniques of Taekwondo.
4. Teach Self Defense by training you to recognize situations in which physical self defense may be necessary and teaching you how to control such situations to your advantage.
5. Strengthen your mind and body through increased physical coordination and mental discipline. (

To learn more about Coach Stauro's class, visit his site at: or you may email him at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hacienda Luisita and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program

It was news two days ago that the infamous Hacienda Luisita dispute has been partially resolved. After 21 years of conflict and death of farmers during the Cory Aquino administration, the owners of the land and the farmers have made a compromise giving farm workers two options - to receive land parcels or retain their Hacienda Luisita Inc. stocks ( Although "only" 1400 hectares will be awarded to the farmers from the total 6453-hectare plantation, i think it is a good compromise, not the best, but a good start.

This issue, which hounds President Noynoy Aquino, even before the start of the campaign period has become a torn to his popularity. Even though Noynoy's share is just a small percentage of the 6453 hectares, his opponents are trying their best to link his name to the death of the farmers who perished during the Hacienda Luisita massacre during his mother's administration. I was too young when the massacre happened and the media nowadays are just highlighting the deaths but not what transpired that led to the bloodshed.

Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, which was enacted by the 8th Congress of the Philippines and signed by President Corazon Aquino on June 10, 1988, and individual cannot own more than 7 hectares of land. If this will happen, the remaining area will be parceled out and will be divided into individual tenants. Such tenant may enjoy a maximum of three hectares of irrigated land, or five hectares of unused land, where the new owners will pay royalty taxes and the computable amount of land to the original landholders for a maximum of fifteen years ( This law will make farmers landowners and will prevent them from being just tenants forever by wealthy landowners. It is a good tool for dividing wealth to promote equality among landowners and small farmers.

Hopefully the issue will then be laid to rest and farmers will get a fair share of the land they have been fighting to own for more than 20 years of their lifetime. It is a good sign for Noynoy's administration and a big help to the farmers in Tarlac. The CARP is a good program but farmers should also be aware that there is a limit for lands that will be rewarded to them. CARP may be seen as an unfair law for the wealthy since they can always argue that their parents or grandparents have worked hard to purchase lands as an investment for the children's future which will later be taken away from them by the government and awarded to the farmers who live on these lands. They should also put themselves on the landowners shoes where they will be forced to give up their lands because it is a law passed by government officials and representatives they elected from their communities.

Monday, August 2, 2010

LTO Registration Renewal

I just renewed our vehicle registration today. I am 2 days late because I did not had the time to renew last month (since our car plate ends in 7). I was willing to pay the penalty expecting it would be a relatively low amount but I was proven wrong. Here were the fees I paid today:

1. Smoke Emission - P 420
2. Mandatory Insurance - P 990
3. Vehicle Registration plus other fees - P 2200
4. Late Registration Penalty - P 1000

Total fees paid: P 4610.00

I could have saved 1000 if I registered on the right month but I guess its a lesson for me. I was expecting an amount not higher than 500 but I was wrong. Well, I have to be sure next year that I register on the right month to avoid the late penalty. What aggravated my experience today was the usual slow process of renewing your vehicle registration to the LTO. I was expecting an improved service since LTO leadership was changed but again, I was wrong. Here is my experience.

1. Smoke Emission Test - 10 minutes
2. Stencil - 5 minutes
3. Insurance application and payment - 1 hour (the computers were off line during peak hours)
4. Payment of registration - 30 minutes
5. Release of Stickers and official receipt - 1 hour

Total: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Payment was really slow moving since the La Loma, Quezon City LTO office only has 2 cashiers and the registration forms are piling up. There is no system of lining the registration forms (first in first out should always be observed) and payments are just stapled to forms. Release of the official receipt and car plate stickers are also piling up since only 2 employees are matching the receipts to the forms and issuing stickers. Delays are caused by problems with registration names, vehicle makes, and other minor details to be edited on the official receipt. People who know employees inside the LTO office are given priority and people who do not know anyone will just have to wait for more than an hour. This is the sad state of our Land Transportation Office and you can just imagine how inefficient the system at the Main LTO Office at East Avenue, Quezon City. Hopefully, new leaders will step in and change their system. Filipinos are so fed up with red tape and other "palakasan" system on government offices which is one of the main reasons why graft and corruption is still very visible.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Water Shortage in Metro Manila

Recently, for the past few weeks, major parts of Metro Manila have been experiencing water shortage. Most of the Maynilad water concessionaire's clients are affected since Maynilad's water source is Angat Dam. Manila Water, another water concessionaire, which serves our district here in Quezon City has been consistent in their water supply since they get water from the nearby La Mesa Dam. Maynilad customers which serves several areas in Manila, Caloocan, Novaliches and other heavily populated areas are not that lucky. They started experiencing water shortage, getting just a few hours of water supply in a day for a month now and just last week, since Angat Dam reached its all time lowest water level, Maynilad customers started getting no water supply for more than 24 hours. They have been lucky though, for the past 2 days when Metro Manila experienced occasional rains, they got water supply for a few hours.

Since Metro Manila residents are so dependent on Angat Dam for their water supply, i think its time for the new government to start thinking of new ways to supply water to the millions of residents of the metropolis. Angat Dam, a freshwater source is also the main source of water supply for rice field in central Luzon which supplies rice and other basic food commodities for Metro Manila. A lot of talk has been circulating for the construction of another dam, Laiban Dam which is located at Rizal province. Constructing a dam has major implications on the environment and environmental groups are against it since they believe it is not a long term solution to the water crisis. Besides, getting fresh water as another source is not really a solution since we will still be very dependent on rain to provide water. The El Nino phenomenon has intensified the effects of climate change and we started experiencing hotter summers and destructive typhoons. Hotter summers dry up our water supply and destructive typhoons fill up dams very quickly which was the reason why dams released water during the Ondoy typhoon which was one of the causes why major areas of Luzon were flooded.

The government has been vocal about tapping the Laguna de Bay as an alternative water source for Metro Manila. This freshwater source is located south of Metro Manila which is currently famous as a site for fish pens and other source of livelihood for fishermen. Once Laguna de Bay is tapped as a water source for Metro Manila residents, there is also a possibility that it may soon dry up, just like Angat Dam and hundreds of livelihood will be affected by this. I think its time for the national government to consider constructing a desalination plant or at least a facility which gets water from the sea and sends it to consumers as an alternative water supply besides drinking. A lot of water is wasted in buildings and commercial establishments which uses fresh water for toilets and urinal use. Saltwater can be an alternative and you can just imagine how many gallons of water we can save for drinking and cooking purposes. We can even use salt water for cleaning purposes for floors and walls which also consumes a lot of water supposedly saved for drinking purposes.

Can the Philippine government afford a desalination plant? It is very expensive and uses a lot of energy to operate but we have to think of it as a long term solution. Besides, we really can not afford to depend on rainwater to provide water, a basic need for humans. Water conservation is still a priority for every household, but the government should really think ahead. Water shortage will continue to be a problem for years to come because we cannot stop the increase of our population which in turn increases the demand for water.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup 2010 Finals

Its Spain and Netherlands for the World Cup Finals. Both countries are first time finalists to the world cup which makes the finals more exciting for their countrymen. Its so spectacular to watch the world cup which is considered the most famous sport in the whole world and the most anticipated football event just like the Olympics. The Philippines which treats basketball as its most popular sport is beginning to embrace football or soccer as a sport. Unlike basketball where height is a factor to excel, I think with proper training and exposure, the Philippines has a chance to be good at this sport on an international level. A major obstacle for Filipinos to love the sport is the absence of football fields. Football fields are usually found inside private schools and universities where only middle and upper class people can afford to pay for their child's education. Public football fields are located inside city stadiums where usually an entrance fee is collected to play.

Personally, playing football is as fun as playing basketball. I had a chance to play the sport when I was in high school and it was one of my favorites. What makes it exciting is that it is so difficult to score a point or a goal especially when both teams are evenly matched. Once your team scores a goal, it is so exhilarating that it is as if you won the entire match. If time expires and both teams have not scored a goal, each team is given 5 penalty shots to score. A match is now entirely dependent on the goalkeeper and the 5 players to take the penalty shot. Even when it rains, unlike basketball, a game can still go on. Now this is the time where it gets more exciting. Playing on a wet field, with mud splashing on your shirt and even at your face makes it more challenging.

Hopefully Filipinos will get more chances to play football. Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea qualified for the world cup and it is not impossible for Philippines to someday qualify for the world's most famous sport. It is a sport where even third world countries in South Africa excel which means it doesn't mean that it a sport for the rich people. What we need are just makeshift football fields all around the country. It doesn't even have to be a full length field. All it needs is a makeshift goal, a flat ground and 6-8 players to play. Once interest sets in, kids should be taught to play with rules at schools. The more kids that play sports, the more they have interest to go to school and less the chance for them to get hooked on crimes, vices and drugs.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

President Noynoy Aquino Inauguration

Today is President-Elect Noynoy Aquino's inauguration. Hopefully everything turns out well. Judging by the images shown at our local tv outfits, the crowd at Luneta grandstand is overwhelming. I don't remember such a big crowd attending an inauguration of a new president except during Gloria Arroyo's time at the EDSA shrine at Ortigas Center, Pasig City, nine years ago when former President Joseph Estrada voluntarily stepped down from the office amid allegations of massive corruption and abuse of power.

I still remember when Gloria Arroyo took her oath and promised the Filipino people to do a good job. Almost everyone wished the nation will be lead by a president who will not follow her predecessor's footsteps and will be a better example for us all. After nine years of her leadership, you can ask any ordinary Filipino citizen how she did her job and almost everyone will say that she definitely failed. In spite of all the reports that the country's economy improved and GNP percentage increased, poverty, graft and corruption is still very much visible everywhere. Is it not possible for a president to turn around a third world country from poverty and corruption to an improving country? Has the Philippines been so deep in troubles that moving forward is such an impossible task? Is there really a genuine hope for change?

The president may have the biggest influence in turning the country around but it is still up to every Filipino or Juan to make a change and move the country forward. Are Filipinos ready and willing to change? Can we leave our bad habits behind and start a new life of hope? Are we ready to rely on ourselves and stop expecting our government to do the job for us? Do we really want change?

The answer is very simple. All we need is responsibility for ourselves. Stop expecting government to provide jobs because it is up to us to look for jobs. Stop expecting the government to give free education and start working hard to afford a good education for our children. Stop expecting government to clean our rivers and canals and start disposing our garbage properly. Stop expecting government to reforest our mountains and plant trees ourselves. Stop expecting government to provide free medications and hospitalization and start working hard to afford good health benefits. Stop buying foreign products and start buying Filipino made. Stop expecting the police and MMDA to fix the traffic and start being a responsible driver. Stop expecting the government to provide free homes and work hard to afford good quality homes. Stop greediness in earning more in businesses and start giving employees good compensation and benefits. Stop living an extravagant lifestyle and start being simple and basic. Are we really ready to change our old ways? Or are we still leaving everything to Noynoy to change and blame him if we do not experience a better future?

Every Filipino is responsible for change. The government can only lead but everyone should be a good follower. Change is constant and change for the better is possible. Bottom line is it is really up to us.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

LA Lakers NBA 2010 Champions

Congratulations to Kobe Bryant and the rest of the LA Lakers team for this year's championship. The team showed mental and physical toughness to beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of this years Finals. Although I am not a Kobe fan, it is still fun to watch the two teams play hard with each other and give their best for the final game this season. Kobe's fifth ring and Phil Jackson's 11th championship proves that they are indeed exceptional and future Hall of Famers for the Lakers franchise.

I also give full credit to Boston for extending the series to a 7th game where I predicted that the Lakers will win in 5 or 6 games. I was disappointed for Boston's loss since I am a Garnett fan but it was entertaining to watch Boston beat Cleveland and Orlando to meet LA. It is a shame that Boston will not be the same anymore by next season since coach Doc Rivers future with the team is uncertain. Ray Allen will join the free agent and Rasheed Wallace will retire. Anyway, Boston needs new faces and young players to complement or substitute the veterans such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Rajon Rondo definitely needs more young legs to complement his speed and precision and to match young NBA teams who will definitely playoffs contender next season.

The NBA Finals is over and the whole world is now watching the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The world cup is the most watched sport in the whole world and I remember last World Cup where even F1 drivers were watching the match during their rest periods of the F1 race. One driver even said that Formula 1 racing is their work but football is their passion. Let us see which nations will qualify for the semifinals and the championship this year. Will Argentina, Brazil or Germany win this year or will there be a major upset among favorites? Let us just wait and see....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

NBA Finals 2010 Lakers VS Celtics

NBA 2010 Finals is just around the corner. Two great teams and franchises will meet again after 2 years and their renewed rivalry will be the most anticipated factor to this year's championship. It is not easy to forget how the Boston Celtics crushed Kobe's championship goal 2 years ago but the Lakers are a very different and focused team this year. Plus they have a score to settle. The news that the Lakers bus was humiliated at Boston after their last game was an added insult to injury the team experienced to the previous championship series. Kobe will definitely not let that happen again. A very determined Kobe Bryant, an improved Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum plus a revived career of Ron Artest shows how hungry the Lakers team for this championship. Does Boston have a chance? Here are a few insights:

1. It may probably the Boston's Big Three last finals appearance. Garnett is showing age, Ray Allen is looking for another trade and Paul Pierce is not that consistent anymore. The fire that kept them going is the awesome performance of Rajon Rondo which made him this year's team leader.
2. Boston has too much pride at stake. They knew they beat the Lakers before and they know they can beat them again.
3. Boston's reserves have championship experience. Coach Doc Rivers will use his bench to help his 5 starters contain the Lakers offense.
4. LA is too predictable on offense, they either go to Kobe or Gasol. Kobe is next to impossible to guard so put 2 defenders on him but concentrate more on Gasol and Odom. Once Gasol and Odom gets confidence plus Kobe's immaculate offense, Boston will definitely be in trouble.

Although I am a Boston fan, I think the Lakers will get their revenge. I have been a Garnett fan since he was a rookie and I hope he plays more consistent and use his power more often. He is an explosive player during his younger days and I know he still has it in him. Paul Pierce is a bit over rated but since he has been with the Celtics since the beginning of his career, and the constant comparison to Kobe, he should also show his best offense. Kobe's hunger and leadership is the heart of the Lakers team and if he displays his confidence and aggressiveness, his team mates will follow. The key to stopping Lakers is Gasol and Odom because Kobe alone can not lift the whole team by himself. He needs support and this is where Gasol and Odom falls in.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Philippine Elections 2010

It has been more than 10 days since the last elections and so far we had a relatively good one. Except for the country's Vice President, I think everything is clear who will be our leaders for the next 6 years. For the President, Noynoy Aquino got more than 4 million votes compared to the second placer Joseph Estrada and in my opinion, Erap should be a gentleman and should concede and accept his loss. In fact, for the vice presidency, even though I am not a fan of Jojo Binay, I think Mar Roxas should start accepting that it would take a miracle to overtake Binay's lead of more than 700,000 votes and just concentrate on being a good senator and an adviser to Noynoy Aquino.

The country's first automated election is a 90% success and we should commend Comelec and Smartmatic for doing a good job (not great, but a passing mark). We should be thankful that we did not have several areas and provinces that had a failure of elections and this may be considered birth pains since it was our first time to had an automated one. A lot has to be learned from this year's experience and we must be more vigilant and be better to the next automated elections we will have in about 3 years. We may still experience a few errors on our second try but if we correct our mistakes and be more efficient, I can see that our elections will someday be as clean and efficient as the US elections.

Having a second Aquino as our president will indeed have a lot of expectations from the people. Just by watching and listening to his campaign ads in TV and radio, people expect him not to be corrupt and avoid committing the same mistakes as the Arroyo, Estrada and Marcos administration. Gloria Arroyo has been a good senator and a vice president but when she assumed the highest position, the temptation was too big for her not to notice. Her accomplishments as an economist was overshadowed by corruption cases and allegations thrown to her which were often supported by witnesses who got the sympathy of the public. Her husband, being the center of controversies was always implicated which added the public's distrust to the first couple. Now, after running and winning a congressional position to her hometown in Pampanga, people are saying that she will push for a charter change which will eventually bring her back to power as a prime minister. The Arroyos have been addicted to power and money that they do not know when to stop and try to exit properly.

Noynoy Aquino has a big hole to fill and 6 years is such a short time to help recover a third world country. A lot of issues has to be prioritized and he needs all the help he can have. I sincerely wish he avoids appointing traditional politicians as cabinet members and focus more on the youth and civil society. I pray that self serving politicians will be kicked out from their positions and deserving ones will be appointed. Since 6 years is a very short time, I think the president should try not to solve everything at the same time and focus on the most obvious. Poverty and population is the main problem and he should focus on the cause of poverty. Education and health is the key and if people are well educated, all other problems will eventually be solved.

Good luck and God Bless to our new leaders and let us all do our part to help make our country a better place to live in.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Baby Girl

It has been a very busy month for us. My wife was due to give birth to our second child on the first week of May but her doctor told us to expect the baby earlier since the baby will be born by C-section. We set the date to be on the 3rd week of April but to our surprise, the baby came much earlier. My wife was still going to the office but she decided to call me around 10:30am last April 8 because she called her doctor and asked for advice regarding the pain she felt the previous day. Upon seeing her doctor at around 11am, her doctor advised her to be admitted already because she had been experiencing contractions regularly.

To cut a long story short, my wife gave birth to our second child, a baby girl at around 3:30 pm last April 8. It was such a blessing because our first child is a boy and our second is a girl. We did not want to find out the gender of the child through ultrasound because we love the experience of people guessing if the baby is a girl or a boy and the surprise when my wife gives birth. Our daughter is 2.9kg when she was born and she looked like his brother when Leon was a new born. We stayed at the hospital for 3 days, too bad our son was not allowed to visit his mom but upon arriving at home, our son was really happy and excited to finally see his baby sister.

It has been more than a week now, after her first check up with the pediatrician, everything is ok and fine. We really thank God for the blessing we received and all the prayers our relatives and friends offered for us. We are very happy and excited to the coming days that we spend our time together, with my wife, our son and our baby daughter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Its been a while since I wrote a post here in my blog. I discovered a new site and I got addicted to it since day one. The site is It was my first time there and I got addicted in posting answers and asking questions to the community. There is an incentive for every answer you post. Each answer, if you post within an hour when the question is posted, you get 4 points. If not, you still get 2 points. The point system will determine your rank or "belt" which will give you more opportunities when you accumulate points. Not only that, you get to earn a few dollars too, that is if you answer good, base on facts or experience and your answer was chosen as the best. You get to compete with a lot of members but it you will be inspired to answer better if you see that members comment or vote for your answer as the best.

Payout will be sent to your Paypal account upon you reach $150 Mahalo dollars. Each Mahalo dollar is equivalent to $0.75. It will be quite a while to reach $150 but you get to learn a lot more opportunities. Last month, they listed members who got a payout and I was surprised to see more than 20 members who got a payout ranging from M$150 to M$3000. Those who got more than M$500 are usually page managers of different pages in Mahalo or they did a number of tasks assigned. It is a nice site to learn new things and you get to improve your researching skills to get the best answer to each category.

Hopefully I get more time to post articles here in my blog. Summer is here and a lot of activities is in line during this season.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's My Son's 3rd Birthday

Tomorrow, March 2, will be my son, Leon's birthday. We will celebrate his birthday but it will be a simple celebration. I'll cook pasta at home, buy ice cream and my wife will buy the cake. We are so thankful to God that for the past 3 years, our son is always healthy and is always cheerful and obedient. We love our son very much and he always brings out the best out of us.

Leon is turning 3 and he will learn more things this year. Nowadays, he is always into puzzles and my wife and i are so amazed on how he quickly learns to put the pieces together. Even when we mix 2-3 sets of puzzle pieces together, he knows which pieces are related to each other. In fact my wife bought him probably 5-6 different sets and he already outgrown them. We are now looking for 100-150 pieces but we have not had a chance to buy one from bookstores and shopping malls. We bought a 500 piece puzzle but it is too complicated for him. Honestly, it is also too complicated for me...:).

I am planning to buy a Lego set for him. This toy has been with us for years. I remember when i was a kid and i built all sorts of vehicles from my small Lego sets. Hopefully i can find an affordable set for my son because Lego sets are a bit expensive. Lego may be too old school but i can't find any other toy that would develop a child's creativity through building blocks as flexible as Lego.

My wife is also planning to buy him a bike. His only bike was the prize we got from his baptism and the bike is way too small for him now. Still, he oftentimes play with it during mornings. I am sure, when he gets a bigger bike, he will ask us to go to the nearest park so he can maximize the space he has to ride his bike.

I love being with my family and i enjoy every minute of it. I am even more excited now because my wife is scheduled to give birth to our second child this April. She had her ultrasound 2 months ago but we refused to know if it is a boy or a girl, same thing we did with Leon. We just love it when everybody is guessing the sex of the baby and i love it when my wife gives birth, i will be the first to tell everybody if our child is a he or a she. Our family is truly blessed and I thank God for everything that He gave us.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Working Out

My friends and I have been playing badminton every Saturdays and it feels great. To have a regular exercise and an activity to look forward to other than work really helps relieve stress. I have been thinking to play twice a week but I still have to figure out where will I fit badminton to my busy schedule during weekdays. Plus, getting friends to join you is another thing. You have to organize at least 5-6 players to play for 2 hours. One hour is not enough because you are barely warmed up and just starting to get the hang of it and suddenly your 1 hour has lapsed.

One of my co-workers decided to join us 2 weeks ago and I was impressed by the way he moved. It was his first time to play in a real badminton court and his smash and power is really good. I would say, given about 2-3 months of regular play and training, he will be a good player. His secret.... he regularly goes to the gym to workout for years and has maintained a good and healthy lifestyle.

He has been convincing me for weeks to join him during his workouts but i really can not include it to my schedule. My work extends up to 6-7pm and i hurry home sometimes to cook dinner or just spend time with my wife and my son. I still have work on Saturdays and my only off-Sunday is for church and lunch at my sister's house with her family, my mom and my dad. If only if i have one more day between Sunday and Monday, I am sure it will also be filled up with all sorts of activities.

Just yesterday, i had to meet a client at Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. I was with my co-worker since i have been training him for a month now. We were on our way back to our office in Quezon City but got stuck for 2 hours in EDSA because of the EDSA People Power Anniversary celebration. I had to return some stuff to the office because Thursday is my car's coding day. It was past 7pm, traffic is still at a standstill and i have to go home. I then decided to just wake up early, go to the office before 7am to avoid the coding scheme and return things to our office. Now, i wondered what to do from 7am-830am? My co-worker suggested to go to the gym and i guess it was a good idea. It was really fun. It was my first time again since college days and i miss lifting weights. A lot has changed since then, i learned to use a few machines and now i am eager to go to my next session. I am not really into building a great physique but i remembered i do enjoy working out. And it is a inexpensive sport since gym fees are really affordable, except if you enroll to high class gyms that charge thousands per month. Going to the gym is fun and i plan to do it regularly. It is really nice to include sports to your regular routine and i cannot wait to start swimming and biking again. Will i still have time? I really hope so.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Goal Setting

Recently, as the head of the sales team at work, I had the chance to talk to my subordinates about visualizing our goals. These goals are set at the end of the year or possible for two years which will help us be reminded everyday that in order to achieve our goals, we have to work hard. I mentioned that besides having goals like paying off our debts, improving our savings, having a good health, we have to make goals which are tangible and can be purchased and seen. These goals should be attainable and realistic given that we will get our commissions every month when we hit our monthly sales target. Here are the goals made by my team:

1. An original and affordable Tag Heuer watch
2. A good laptop, possibly a Mac
3. A Nikon Digital SLR
4. A new car paint
5. Magic Sing Videoke Set
6. A trip to HongKong Disneyland
7. Pay off a land title
8. A good quality mountain bike
9. A nice ref
10. 15 or 16 inch magwheels

These goals may be too simple for some people but to us it will be a big achievement. Hopefully with the right attitude and teamwork, we may be able to pull it off and be one step closer to our end of the year goals. Good luck and God bless to us all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting a New Mobile Phone

It has been almost 5 years since I last bought a new mobile phone. My phone has already retired, even after several attempts to revive it, like replacing the original battery and the original casing. In case you are wondering, it was a Motorola L6 model and it has been with me even before I met my wife. This Motorola model has been my only phone for years and i just got a new one last year for office use. I am planning to buy a new one, just a simple and affordable phone which I can use for personal use. I have been planning to buy a Samsung phone but just like Nokia models, most of them are a bit expensive.

Recently, I noticed LG and MyPhone phone units are more affordable and has a wide range of models to choose from. I would love to have touch screen phones but most of them are way above my budget. I am also considering phones that have a qwerty keypad which saves time while texting compared to traditional phones. I really hope that when I decide to buy a new phone, it would also last for 4-5 years or longer.

Here are my choices:
1. My Phone Q21 - features: dual sim, GSM GPRS, 2.2" 220 x 176 pixels, SMS, MMS, Chat, Email, MP3, MIDI, True Tones, Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel, 1000 entries, Micro SD up to 2GB, 220 min talk time
2. LG GW300 - features: 240 x 320 resolution, FM radio, bluetooth, micro SD up to 4GB, 262K colors, MP3 player, internal memory 15MB, 2.0 megapixel

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sun Broadband Speed

Last Christmas, I made a post about our activities during the holidays. One of our gifts that my wife and I shared was to buy a new desktop computer. We figured that we really need a computer since most of the time we do our blogging activities after work or during weekends. After buying a desktop computer, I decided to purchase a broadband modem from Sun Cellular so we can go online at home immediately without waiting for approval from cable companies who offer DSL internet connection. I decided to get Sun instead of Smartbro and Globe Tattoo since at that time it was the cheapest and a few friends told me the connection is good.

Just like any other advertisements we see on the tv and print, Sun Cellular is no different. They claim that you can get a speed of as high as 3.6 mbps but the truth, after using their services for almost a month now, i cannot even get a connection close to 1.0 mbps. The average speed i get is 120 kbps. That is not even 25% of the speed they claim you can get when you decide to use their services. Most of the time, i get 0.15 kbps and sometimes i just get disconnected after being online for a few hours. Is Sun offering broadband internet or dial-up? Frankly, i could not tell the difference because of their broadband snail speed. Now, to be fair to them, i understand that broadband signal depends on the location. Presently I am located here in Quezon City just 10 minutes away from Cubao or Eastwood, Libis. Is my location difficult to reach? Is this one of Sun Cellular's dead spot?

Hopefully their services will get better in a few months. But my wife and I cannot wait for their improvements. We were just talking yesterday about our friends experiences with other companies. If our budget permits, we might consider trying Smartbro or Bayantel. I did not include PLDT to our choices since our connection at the office is PLDT and we had several bad experiences with them. I know Smart and PLDT are managed by the same people but I hope Smartbro is better than what we have right now. Our connection right now is really bad. Hopefully people considering to avail of their services will think twice. But then again, you can always give the lame excuse of location problems.