Friday, January 21, 2011

Discounted Gasoline Stations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why is it Cold in Metro Manila?

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

President Noynoy Buys a Porsche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

Facebook's CityVille

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Very Proud To Be Leon's Dad

Last December 28, 2010, Rotary Club of Midtown Diliman had its Christmas Party at a restaurant in Timog Avenue, Quezon City. Rotary members were present together with their wives and children had dinner, exchanged gifts, listened to a live band and sang songs the whole night. Leon, as his usual self was never shy and made friends with the other children. He was particularly interested with the musical instruments on the stage and while the band members were not there yet, he tried the keyboard and the drums. It was his second time to experience playing the keyboards but his interest shifted to the drum set. Without drum sticks on sight, he tried hitting the drums with his hands and he enjoyed it. The Bass drum (biggest and located at the center) can be hit when you step on a pedal and the hi-hat cymbals can also be sounded with a step on another pedal. Leon needs to stand to step on both pedals but he does not hit them at the same time of hit them repeatedly. He makes it a point to hit them one at a time after tapping the other drums (snare, high and floor tom-tom). People (even the adults) began noticing him and a number of them told us he was a talented young boy and we should consider sending him to a music school.

When the two band members arrived (keyboards and bass guitar) and played a couple of songs, Leon could not help himself and he joined the band by being the drummer. My wife and I started to refrain him, thinking he might disrupt the band, but without the sticks, we figured it was ok. Rotary members began singing and Leon also began hitting the drums. His timing was almost perfect! My wife and I could not help ourselves from laughing and giggling because our kid was so good considering it was his first time to see and actually touch a drum set. The bass guitarist also noticed him and he said something to Leon in between songs (it was like two band members talking about the next set of songs) and the guitarist told the audience that Leon was asking him if he had sticks for the drums. Everyone roared with laughter and this even made us prouder. I had almost tears on my eyes because I did not imagine my kid being such a talented boy at the age of 3.

After a stint with the drums, during the band breaks, he grabbed the microphone from the stand and began singing the alphabet. He finished it and people were clapping their hands. It was such a nice Christmas party and when we began saying good nights and good bye to everyone, almost all of them told us that we have a very talented kid. Leon was such a wonderful gift from God and we thank Him everyday for being blessed to be chosen as Leon's parents. That Christmas party was one of my most memorable one and I am sure that one day, I will be telling Leon a story (even when He becomes an adult) about a young boy who made his parents very proud of him.